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Links 17/2/2015: TripleO, Pivotal

Posted in News Roundup at 7:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Vivaldi Browser Devs Add 32bit Linux Builds [Quick Update]
    • Vivaldi Web Browser Now Has 32-bit Builds for Linux

      Vivaldi, a new web browser based on Chromium, built by an Opera founder and his team, has just received an upgrade and 32-bit versions for the application, among other things.

    • First fully sandboxed Linux desktop app

      Its not a secret that I’ve been working on sandboxed desktop applications recently. In fact, I recently gave a talk at devconf.cz about it. However, up until now I’ve mainly been focusing on the bundling and deployment aspects of the problem. I’ve been running applications in their own environment, but having pretty open access to the system.

      Now that the basics are working it’s time to start looking at how to create a real sandbox. This is going to require a lot of changes to the Linux stack. For instance, we have to use Wayland instead of X11, because X11 is impossible to secure. We also need to use kdbus to allow desktop integration that is properly filtered at the kernel level.

    • The Beat Goes On In India – Desktop Growth At Home And Office

      Clearly, GNU/Linux is growing as rapidly at work as at home. Thanks to Dell, Canonical, the government of India and others who laid the groundwork for this growth. May it continue for years to come and accelerate.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KRecipes Gardening Day: Saturday 21 February

        It’s clear the current KRecipes gardening effort is not having much traction, but before moving on to different applications, let’s try a different format, the Gardening Day.

      • Big Data Suite Goes Open Source

        Last spring, Pivotal unveiled its Pivotal Big Data Suite, a subscription-based software, support and maintenance package that bundled its big data components into a single, simple licensing structure. The Big Data Suite was responsible for $40 million of the $100 million in total business Pivotal did in 2014. Today, the company took the unprecedented step of open sourcing all those components.

      • Why should you consider using a Linux-based system for music making?

        Linux has a reputation for being geeky, esoteric, hard to get into and limited in terms of available software. But does the increasingly popular free OS and its ecosystem deserve such criticism, or are musicians missing out by not considering making the switch from Windows or OS X?

  • Distributions

    • The Top 11 Best Linux Distros for 2015

      Linux is omnipresent, even if you don’t realize it. I have been using Linux as my only OS since 2005 and with every passing year I come to realize that it has much more to offer than I initially, back in 2005, understood. There is something for everyone. In this article, I have picked some of the best Linux distros to help you get the job done.

    • New Releases

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • SUSE Unveils Open Source Enterprise Storage Based on Ceph

        Open source vendor SUSE jumped into the distributed storage market this week with the launch of SUSE Enterprise Storage. Based on Ceph, the new offering positions the company to compete more strongly in the software-defined, scale-out storage market.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack 6 Previews TripleO

        Red Hat Feb. 17 announced the general availability of release 6.0 of its Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform (OSP), providing an enterprise-grade cloud platform based on the OpenStack Juno milestone release. Red Hat is also going a step beyond what was in the OpenStack Juno release by providing its users with a technology preview of the TripleO OpenStack-on-OpenStack project. Red Hat is one of the leading code contributors to the open-source OpenStack cloud platform, and has both a community distribution called RDO and an enterprise-supported release with OSP that it makes available to users. RDO, much like Red Hat’s community Fedora project, closely tracks and follows the upstream open-source community, while OSP is a more stable release that benefits from additional enterprise hardening. The Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 6.0 release follows the upstream OpenStack Juno release, which debuted on Oct. 16, 2014.

      • Red Hat Takes Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform to the Next Level

        Red Hat remains very focused on advancing its OpenStack-focused cloud business initiatives. The company has now released an update of its OpenStack distribution, marrying its Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (RHEL) platform with the latest OpenStack release: Juno. “Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform sets a new standard for OpenStack deployments, with customers in production in every region, spanning industry verticals and enterprises of various sizes in education, financial services, government, healthcare, retail, and telecommunications,” claims the company’s announcement.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Hands-On with the Raspberry Pi 2

      I’ve had my lovely new Raspberry Pi 2 for a few days now – it was shipped from the Swiss Pi-Shop less than a week after the announcement, so thanks once again to them for their prompt and courteous service. I’ve been trying it out since then, mostly comparing it to my original Models B and B+. The results have been interesting, generally what I expected, but with one or two surprises.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Samsung SUHD Tizen TVs coming to the Philippines in April 2015

          Samsung unveiled their new 2015 Smart TV Lineup at CES 2015, which are Smart TVs that run Tizen, as well as offering Sony’s PlayStation Now service combined with Samsung’s latest screen technologies. The SUHD Re-Mastering Engine uses a colour grading tool to offer a high dynamic range and wider colour gamut, which is 64 times the colour expression thanks to quantum technology and 2.5 times the brightness when compared to conventional TVs.

      • Android

        • Android 5.1 Lollipop Hitting Nexus Devices Soon Ahead of Motorola’s Smartphones!

          Contrary to initial reports last week that it would be Motorola devices which shall be first receiving the Android 5.1 Lollipop, the major update to the problematic Android 5.0 Lollipop, it seems that Google Nexus devices will beat everyone else to the draw.

        • Android 5.0.2 Lollipop Update Now Available on Sony Xperia Z1

          Are you a Sony Xperia Z1 Compact owner? If you are, you have reason to rejoice: the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop update is now available for your smartphone, according to reports.

        • Hey, Samsung, LG And HTC—Shunning Android Wear Is A Huge Mistake
        • Sony SmartEyeglass Developer Edition On Sale Now
        • Sony jumps down the Google Glass rabbit hole with ugly glasses

          Sometimes companies do the stupidest things, and Sony is one of the latest examples. The company has decided to take on Google Glass with its own version of ugly glasses that no one will want to wear.

        • ​Google launches Android One in the Philippines

          Google has extended its Android One push to the Philippines, offering low-cost devices running the latest version of Android out of the box.

          Google has partnered with local operators Cherry Mobile and MyPhone for Android One’s launch into the Philippines, following the scheme’s debut in India last year. Both operators will release one Android One handset each.

        • The four best lock screens for your Android phone

          If you’re getting bored with your phone’s lock screen, maybe it’s time to try another. This is Android after all, so you’re not locked in to what came with your device—there are a ton of options to put impressive images, better notification controls, and a steady stream of news and updates right in front of you.

        • Battery Life on Android 5.0 Lolliipop: Benchmarks Show Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, Nexus 5, LG G3 Results

          One of the slick, new features touted by Google about Android Lollipop before its release in November is Project Volta, a collection of optimization settings that promise to offer better battery consumption for devices upgrading to Android Lollipop. Aside from a power-saving mode native to the platform, Project Volta allows developers to specify when their apps need to connect to data or Wi-Fi in order to save up on juice.

        • Any app that works with Android Wear now works on your Pebble

          It’s been splashing around in beta for a little while, but now your Pebble can respond to notifications directly from that monochrome screen — kind of like Android Wear, sans touchscreen. You’ll need to update your Pebble smartwatch firmware as well as download the very latest edition of of the companion Android app to get rolling. But given Pebble’s popularity and price, it should mean far more people are making wrist-based responses to messages. Aside from the ability to set multiple custom notification responses (available to you whenever a compatible app offers a reply option), you can toss money around with Square Cash. The update also adds support for Android 4.0 and over devices, as well as automatic app and watch face updates, even when your Kickstarted smartwatch is idle. Oh and you can reply with emoji. Hopefully, that will be enough to keep the Pebble on your wrist on until that fancy new interface arrives in the near future.

        • Android 5.0 Lollipop vs iOS 8 Features Review: Specs Comparison of Top Operating Systems

          Within the past six months, the mobile phone operating system battle seems to have come to a head with the release of Apple’s iOS 8 and Android’s 5.0 Lollipop. A report on Mashable on how both operating systems fare when compared with each other says that “iOS 8 has as many features as Android” while on the design side, which was historically Apple’s edge, the Android 5.0 Lollipop “has an almost iOS-level of fit polish and finish.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • Facebook and Open Source: A Technological Love Affair

    Facebook is among the most recognizable and advanced social media enterprises today. A major part of its success story is its professed love for open source software, which the company uses as means of augmenting innovation across multiple projects. In fact, open source is a key resource among Facebook’s web developers due to its flexibility in providing immediate security patches and collaboration across platforms.

  • Open Source Enters The Classroom

    A growing number of educational institutions are adding classes or programs that focus on open source. There are some channel executives, however, who worry these initiatives are inadequate to meet business needs and are concerned their companies will continue to carry most of the technology’s training burden.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • BSD

    • Hostkey rotation, redux

      A couple of weeks ago I described the host key rotation support forthcoming in OpenSSH 6.8. Almost immediately after smugly declaring “mission accomplished”, the bug reports started rolling in. First Mike Larkin noticed an interaction with ssh’s CheckHostIP option that would cause host key warnings, then Theo de Raadt complained about the new code unnecessarily rewriting known_hosts when no changes needed to be made, finally Philipp Kern and Jann Horn pointed out a way for a hostile server to abuse the extension.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Portugal Gets FLOSS

      If you have the right to use, examine, modify and distribute the software, your costs go down, just as they go down for everyone who uses FLOSS. It’s about sharing. If everyone shares in the cost of producing and distributing software, everyone pays less because folks like M$ are not siphoning off $billions and imposing software slavery to keep you coming back for more abuse.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Routing on OpenStreetMap.org

        Good news for OpenStreetMap: the main website now has A-to-B routing (directions) built in to the homepage! This will be huge for the OSM project. Kudos to Richard Fairhurst and everyone who helped get this up and running.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • HP adds scale to open-source R in latest big data platform

      HP says that while R is an open-source language used by millions of data scientists, it has been, up to this point, inherently limited. It’s that increased scale that HP stresses as providing a new level of predictive analytics capabilities.


  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The CIA asked me about controlling the climate – this is why we should worry

      I told them that I thought we could, because if a cloud in the stratosphere were created (the most commonly proposed method of control) that was thick enough, large enough, and long-lasting enough to change the amount of energy reaching Earth, we could certainly see it with the same ground-based and satellite instruments we use to measure stratospheric clouds from volcanic eruptions. If, on the other hand, low clouds were being brightened over the ocean (another suggested means of cooling the climate), we could see telltale patterns in the tops of the clouds with satellite photos. And it would also be easy to observe aeroplanes or ships injecting gases or particles into the atmosphere.

    • Can the CIA weaponise the weather?

      A leading climate-change scientist has warned that the US secret service’s interest in geoengineering technology may not be benign. But it’s not the first time a government has tried to control weather patterns

    • Is the CIA trying to weaponise weather?

      Weaponising the weather is nothing new. U.K. government documents showed that, 99 years ago, one of six trials at the experimental military station of Orford Ness in Suffolk sought to produce artificial clouds, which, it was hoped would bamboozle German flying machines during the first world war. Like so many military experiments, these trials failed but cloud seeding became a reality in 1967/8 when the U.S.’s Operation Popeye increased rainfall by an estimated 30 per cent over parts of Vietnam in an attempt to reduce the movement of soldiers and resources into South Vietnam.

    • During Iraq Occupation, CIA Bought Looted Chemical Munitions

      Decades-old weapons long past their expiration date, most of the chemical arms recovered in Iraq were not close to usable in the traditional sense. Officials did say they were surprised, however, at the potency of some of the chemicals despite many years in storage.

    • “I no longer love blue skies”: What life is like under the constant threat of a drone attack

      Mohammed Saleh Tauiman was just 13 years old in 2014 when the Guardian newspaper gave him a camera so he could record life under the drones that flew over Marib province, Yemen.

      His father and teenage brother had been killed in a US drone attack in 2011 while they were herding the family’s camels. Afterward, he lived in constant fear of what he called the “death machines” that circled above him in the sky.

    • U.S. to allow wider export of armed drones

      The Obama administration will permit the widespread export of armed drones for the first time, a step toward providing allied nations with weapons that have become a cornerstone of U.S. counterterrorism strategy but whose remotely controlled power to kill is intensely controversial.

    • US to Allow Export of Armed Military Drones
    • Israeli-owned drone manufacturer shut down by pro-Palestine protesters
    • Second UK-based Israeli drone factory shut down by occupation
    • Activist groups shut down Israeli arms factory in Kent
    • ‘Complicit in Gaza’s misery’: Pro-Palestine activists shut down UK arms factory
    • The Front Page Rule

      As drone warfare proliferates, the stings of the drone become more lethal and terrifying.

    • Drones, Pakistan & international law

      The conference was informed that 364 of the 415 drone strikes (until early February 2015) on targets inside Pakistani territory had killed nearly 4,000, including over 1000 civilians, mostly women and children. A case study of 24 such strikes by the Centre for Research and Security Studies, too, had exposed the extremely disproportionate civilian harm caused by these attacks which increased seven-fold under the Obama Administration.

    • DFA might be invited to Mamasapano probe to explain cooperation with US
    • Militants want US envoy Goldberg expelled from PHL for alleged US role in Mamasapano

      An alliance of militant organizations has called for the expulsion of United States Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg in light of reports that the US government was heavily involved in the planning and implementation of the Jan. 25 covert police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

      In a statement issued Monday, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. accused the US government of “blatantly interven[ing]” in the Philippines’ domestic affairs in pursuit of high-profile terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman.

    • 8 Americans sighted monitoring Oplan Exodus

      Eight Americans were monitoring from the Special Action Force (SAF) command post the operation against a Malaysian terrorist in the marshland 11.8 kilometers away that went wrong and left 44 police commandos dead on Jan. 25, the Inquirer has learned.

      A US drone located trapped SAF commandos as they were battling their way out after killing their target, Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” according to three sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    • With ISIS, give peace a chance

      U.S. bombings and drone attacks have killed thousands of innocent people. This has resulted in hatred toward America. How about making a serious effort at diplomacy instead?

    • Islamic State expanding beyond base, intelligence officials warn

      The Islamic State group is expanding beyond its base in Syria and Iraq to establish militant affiliates in Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt and Libya, U.S. intelligence officials assert, raising the prospect of a new global war on terror.

    • Fall of Yemen’s Government Surprised U.S. Intelligence Community

      The collapse of the American-backed government in Yemen took the U.S. intelligence community by surprise, the Obama administration’s senior counterterrorism official admitted on Thursday as he testified before Congress, according to The Associated Press.

    • Donetsk International Airport Reduced To Twisted, Burned-Out Shell By Months Of Artillery Fire

      The international airport in Donetsk was opened to facilitate the thousand of football fans flooding the country for the 2012 European Championships – a $1 billion dollar symbol of Ukraine’s modernity. It now sits as rubble, destroyed by the conflict in which Russian-backed separatists have waged a bloody civil war with forces loyal to Kiev.

  • Finance

    • We Need Syriza in Illinois

      The new governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, is a hedge fund manager whose salary last year was $60 million. He spent $65.9 million—including $27.6 million of his own money—buying his last election, and he’s about to introduce an austerity program that will make most folks in Illinois think they are living in austerity-wracked Greece, with less idyllic weather. While he’s generating national headlines by trash talking unions, he is quietly taking a scalpel to every important social program in the state, starting with an Illinois program that subsidizes high-quality childcare for 160,000 low-income kids. Instead of extending a small tax increase that passed the Illinois legislature in 2011, staving off a crisis, he’s letting the increases expire. Rauner is methodically manufacturing an economic crisis for his state, one that will let him do what he has long been set on doing: shrink the government and squeeze the 99 percent.

    • Icelandic Bankers Sentenced to Prison

      The Supreme Court of Iceland today upheld prison sentences issued by Reykjavík District Court in December 2013 on four former key executives and majority owners of Kaupþing Bank in the so-called Al-Thani case in what is the heaviest sentence ever given in Iceland for economic fraud, ruv.is reports. The four were charged with market manipulation in relation to Sheik Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Qatar’s acquisition of more than five percent of shares (worth ISK 25.7 billion) in Kaupþing Bank shortly before it collapsed in autumn 2008.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Why I have resigned from the Telegraph

      The coverage of HSBC in Britain’s Daily Telegraph is a fraud on its readers. If major newspapers allow corporations to influence their content for fear of losing advertising revenue, democracy itself is in peril.


      No one has ever expressed quite as well as Utley the quiet decency and pragmatism of British conservatism. The Mail is raucous and populist, while the Times is proud to swing with the wind as the voice of the official class. The Telegraph stood in a different tradition. It is read by the nation as a whole, not just by the City and Westminster. It is confident of its own values. It has long been famous for the accuracy of its news reporting. I imagine its readers to be country solicitors, struggling small businessmen, harassed second secretaries in foreign embassies, schoolteachers, military folk, farmers—decent people with a stake in the country.


      With the collapse in standards has come a most sinister development. It has long been axiomatic in quality British journalism that the advertising department and editorial should be kept rigorously apart. There is a great deal of evidence that, at the Telegraph, this distinction has collapsed.

      Late last year I set to work on a story about the international banking giant HSBC. Well-known British Muslims had received letters out of the blue from HSBC informing them that their accounts had been closed. No reason was given, and it was made plain that there was no possibility of appeal. “It’s like having your water cut off,” one victim told me.

      When I submitted it for publication on the Telegraph website, I was at first told there would be no problem. When it was not published I made enquiries. I was fobbed off with excuses, then told there was a legal problem. When I asked the legal department, the lawyers were unaware of any difficulty. When I pushed the point, an executive took me aside and said that “there is a bit of an issue” with HSBC. Eventually I gave up in despair and offered the article to openDemocracy.

  • Censorship

    • Manufacturing Silence: On Jordan’s ISIS War, Arab Authoritarianism, and US Empire

      Media outlets and Middle East analysts have expended considerable energy assessing whether and how Jordan’s war on ISIS in the aftermath of the Kassasbeh capture and death represents a game changer. It is difficult to find a sustained critique of this war on ISIS in the local Jordanian media, whether in the mainstream or the more critical online venues. This is not surprising. After all, Jordan is an authoritarian state. Both historically and in the contemporary moment, the regime has carefully drawn red lines around public speech and political opposition.

    • Tumblr Panics as Site Gets Tough on Music Piracy

      Tumblr users say they are witnessing a tougher response to music piracy by the blogging platform. A wave of complaints suggest that increased anti-piracy activity by the music industry is resulting in Tumblr more readily banning users as part of a “three strikes” policy.

  • Privacy

    • Your HDDs were RIDDLED with NSA SPYWARE for YEARS

      The US National Security Agency (NSA) has infected hard disk firmware with spyware in a campaign valued as highly as Stuxnet that dates back at least 14 years and possibly up to two decades, according to an analysis by Kaspersky Labs.

    • NSA planted surveillance software on hard drives, report says

      In a new report, Kaspersky revealed the existence of a group dubbed The Equation Group capable of directly accessing the firmware of hard drives from Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, IBM, Micron, Samsung and other drive makers. As such, the group has been able to implant spyware on hard drives to conduct surveillance on computers around the world.

    • NSA Has Planted Surveillance Software Deep Within Hard Drives Since 2001: Kaspersky
    • How to Here’s How to Find Out if the GCHQ Used NSA Data to Spy on You

      A few weeks back, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled that GCHQ had been spying unlawfully on British citizens, using the NSA’s Prism and Upstream tools to gain access to private communications. Anyone may have fallen foul of GCHQ’s secret snooping. But it doesn’t have to remain secret. Here’s how to go about finding out if you’ve been spied on by the GCHQ and, hopefully, have the data acquired destroyed.

    • Here’s How You Can Find Out If The NSA Shared Your Data With British Spies

      Once the UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal has determined whom was affected, it has to inform them. Though participants should find out whether their data were unlawfully obtained by GCHQ from the millions of private communications hoovered up by the NSA up until December 2014, it won’t be anytime soon. Privacy International warned in its FAQs: “Count on it being many months, and likely years before this action is completed.”

    • Equation = NSA? Researchers Uncloak Huge ‘American Cyber Arsenal’

      Security researchers have uncovered a trove of highly-sophisticated hacking tools used over the last 15 to 20 years to break into thousands of targets’ computers. There’s little doubt the malware and exploits used belonged to the National Security Agency, according to security experts.


      The GRAYFISH tool, which works with almost all versions of Windows, including 8, was another of the more impressive malware types. It sat in the Microsoft MSFT -1.13% Windows registry, which stores information on most activities and settings on a PC. GRAYFISH used a bootkit, a malware that resides at a low level of the operation system so it can execute every time a computer starts up. That was the most complex bootkit Kaspersky had ever seen. GRAYFISH also stole files and stored them in its own encrypted Virtual File System (VFS).

    • ‘Equation Group’ hackers attacked 30+ nations with NSA-style tech

      Russian security experts say that an advanced persistent threat team has infected thousands of computers in more than 30 countries using tools and tactics not unlike what’s already been attributed to the National Security Agency.

      Kaspersky Labs of Moscow declined to specifically implicate the United States and its spy office in a report published by the security firm on Monday this week. The researchers, however, say that it’s been monitoring a group of computer hackers that have waged attacks since 2001 and that share similarities with operations of the NSA.

    • Destroying your hard drive is the only way to stop this super-advanced malware

      A cyberespionage group with a toolset similar to ones used by U.S. intelligence agencies has infiltrated key institutions in countries including Iran and Russia, utilizing a startlingly advanced form of malware that is impossible to remove once it’s infected your PC.

      Kaspersky Lab released a report Monday that said the tools were created by the “Equation” group, which it stopped short of linking to the U.S. National Security Agency.

      The tools, exploits and malware used by the group—named after its penchant for encryption—have strong similarities with NSA techniques described in top-secret documents leaked in 2013.

    • An NSA spy, a Fed and a sysadmin walk into a bar – that’s Prez Obama’s new cyber-security order

      President Barack Obama has signed an executive order that will attempt to protect America’s crucial computer networks by sharing knowhow between g-men and techies.

    • Creepy, Calculating and Controlling: All the Ways Big Brother Is Watching You

      License plate readers can record up to 1,800 license plates per minute. However, it seems these surveillance cameras can also photograph those inside a moving car. The Drug Enforcement Agency has been using the cameras in conjunction with facial recognition software to build a “vehicle surveillance database” of the nation’s cars, drivers and passengers.

    • AT&T charges $29 more for gigabit fiber that doesn’t watch your Web browsing

      Just as it did when launching its “GigaPower” service in Austin, Texas in late 2013, AT&T offers different prices based on how jealously users guard their privacy. AT&T’s $70 per-month pricing for gigabit service is the same price as Google Fiber, but AT&T charges an additional $29 a month to customers who opt out of AT&T’s “Internet Preferences” program.

    • AT&T Says It Will Match Google Fiber’s Speed & Pricing, But Only If You Allow AT&T To Spy On You

      To counter the PR hit from Google Fiber, AT&T has recently been proclaiming that it too is now offering 1 Gbps services under the company’s “Gigapower” brand — but pretending that Google has nothing to do with it. On the surface, it looks like AT&T is taking on Google blow for blow, and that this is a wonderful example of how competition works. And while that’s true up to a point, as we’ve discussed previously, AT&T’s offering is highly theatrical in nature. AT&T’s actually been slashing its fixed-line CAPEX each quarter, but is offering 1 Gbps speeds to a few, scattered high-end developments where fiber is already in the ground.

  • Civil Rights

    • Poland’s complicity in CIA torture programme confirmed

      The European Court of Human Rights today confirmed that the Polish government was complicit in the CIA’s secretive programme of rendition, detention and interrogation.

      The Court in Strasbourg today rejected a challenge from the Polish government to a landmark ruling from last July, a decision which now makes that original judgement final.

    • European court rejects Polish appeal in CIA jail case

      The European Court of Human Rights refused on Tuesday to reconsider its ruling that Poland hosted a secret CIA jail, a decision that will now oblige Warsaw to swiftly hold to account Polish officials who allowed the jail to operate.

      The court’s decision will add to pressure on other European countries to end years of secrecy about their involvement in the CIA’s global programme of secret detention after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

    • CIA whistleblower calls for prosecution of officials responsible for torture

      John Kiriakou, the former CIA agent who helped reveal the agency’s use of waterboarding in a 2007 interview, was released from prison on February 3 after serving a two-year sentence.

    • CIA Torture Program was “Dick Cheney’s Baby” – John Kiriakou

      “Hypocritical” is how CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou describes his arrest and imprisonment for exposing the spy agency’s use of torture while those who actually committed the heinous acts go unpunished.

    • North Korea Slams US Human Rights Conference, Citing CIA Torture Crimes

      North Korea’s mission to the United Nations has criticized the upcoming human rights conference to be held in Washington, pointing to torture crimes committed by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

      “The United States and South Korea are going to convene so-called ‘Conference on North Korean Human Rights: the Road Ahead’ on 17 February in Washington…The Permanent Mission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea [DPRK] to the United Nations condemns the convening of such human rights gathering as a political human rights plot against the DPRK,” the mission said in a statement on Sunday.

    • UC student leaders wrong about rights abusers

      That’s right, America. While the resolution makes some fair points about crowded U.S. prison systems and the questionable ethics of using drones to kill suspected enemies, lumping the U.S. – and Israel – in with nations that routinely violate fundamental rights, while failing to mention far more egregious violators, like much of the Arab world, is certainly a sophomoric stretch.

    • Engelhardt: Walking Back the American Twenty-First Century?

      Machine Guns, MRAPs, Surveillance, Drones, Permanent War, and a Permanent Election Campaign


      Keep in mind that New York City already has a police force of more than 34,000 — bigger, that is, than the active militaries of Austria, Bulgaria, Chad, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kenya, Laos, Switzerland, or Zimbabwe — as well as its own “navy,” including six submersible drones.

    • Arab and Muslim blood is cheap

      All the pillars of the earth would shake if a Christian or a Jew is killed or if a Buddhist statue is destroyed or comes to any harm. International forces wherever they may be join together to condemn the killing of an individual so long as he or she is not of Arab or Muslim background. These same leaders do not hesitate to condemn any infliction that comes to a Buddhist statue in Afghanistan.

    • APNewsbreak: Suspect in Halifax mall plot confessed

      Police and Canadian Justice Minister Peter MacKay said the plot was not related to terrorism.

    • Charlie Hebdo: Imperialism’s new 9/11?

      We have heard of no measures taken to protect the beleaguered Muslim communities—the “banlieues” that surround Paris, largely populated by impoverished African and Middle Eastern immigrants—where unemployment ranks highest in the nation and social services rank lowest. Unemployment among Muslim youth approaches 40 percent. Close to half of the residents of Muslim communities lack a high school diploma. As in the U.S., police harassment and profiling—stop and frisk, French style—are taken for granted. There has been little mention of the 50 recorded post-Charlie Hebdo fire bombings or of the racist graffiti-tagged and bullet-ridden mosques; such atrocities meant to terrorize the Muslim population are ongoing and proceed with impunity. France’s Central Council of Muslims reported 21 shootings that targeted Muslim buildings.

    • Government to introduce legislation Monday to end rail strike: source

      The bill, titled “An Act to provide for the resumption of rail service operations,” will be presented by Labour Minister Kellie Leitch, who took part in the talks. In a statement issued Saturday night after negotiations broke down, Leitch made it clear that the government was prepared to act quickly.

    • Virginia Action Alert: Help Stop NDAA Indefinite Detention, Support HB2144

      Virginia House Bill 2144 (HB2144) expands on the state’s current anti-indefinite detention law by setting the stage for ending some state-federal partnerships. (read about the bill here). It passed successfully through the state house on Feb. 10 by a 96-4 vote. The bill now must pass successfully through the Senate Committee for Courts of Justice before it can receive a full vote in the state senate. Follow the action steps below to support this important bill.

    • Police dash cam shows part of contested arrest – until St. Louis officer turns camera off

      As video cameras begin to sweep post-Ferguson policing — and policymakers grapple with whether to bar the public from watching the images — one such recording sits at the heart of a new lawsuit.

      It shows St. Louis police making an arrest that would later be called abusive, and catches an apparently surprised officer yelling, in part, “Everybody hold up. We’re red right now!” before she abruptly shuts off the camera.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality advocates identify holes in FCC’s net neutrality plan

      Attorney Matt Wood, the policy director for advocacy group Free Press, told the FCC last week that it faces “legal obstacles” in how it intends to regulate Internet service providers. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposes to reclassify Internet service providers as common carriers in two parts. ISPs will be common carriers in their relationships with home Internet consumers. They will also be common carriers in their business relationships with “edge providers,” companies that offer services, applications, and content over the Internet.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Links 17/2/2015: SystemD 219, Frugalware 2.0 (Rigel) Released

Posted in News Roundup at 2:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Is Linux A Labour Of Love?

    So is Linux a labour of love? I think that there is money to be made but not in the traditional sense of just making a single product and selling it. If distributions are out to generate income then they have to be a bit creative about how they do that. Multiple revenue streams are definitely going to be important.

    I think charging for a download may help to generate income in the short term but it will ultimately mean missing out on possible revenue streams later on.

    The debate is much like the newspaper paywalls. Would you really pay to read a newspaper online when the BBC provide similar or sometimes better information for free? Therein lies the problem for Elementary.

  • How to Hire Open Source Talent: Focus on the Community, Says Linux Foundation

    Soaring demand for professionals with expertise in Linux and open source is great for people with the requisite skills. But it makes finding the right employees more difficult for companies. That’s why the Linux Foundation recently outlined tips for attracting open source talent, which is about much more than the hiring process itself.

  • Desktop

    • Spelling in Malawi

      The inquiry from Malawi was passed to our local expert, Esben Aaberg, who after a few hours of work got the dictionary to work. Unfortunately dictionaries can not be registered without the language been known by LibreOffice. Instead, Esben “cheated” by using a language code from another language. Of course we need the language Chichewa registered, but here and now, it works after all.

    • Ask LH: Can I Get A Refund Because Presto Doesn’t Work On Linux?

      Dear Lifehacker, I was recently in hospital and wanted to try out some streaming services in Australia. I have a Linux laptop. I tried out Stan on the free 30-day trial but then realised it uses Silverlight so I cancelled that straight away. Then I wanted to try Presto which has no free trial.

      I signed up because it was only 10 bucks and on the supported devices it lists PCs and Macs, with no qualification, but much to my dismay the service doesn’t work on Linux machines. Foxtel refuses to give me a refund. Is this false advertising, and is there any way to submit a complaint about them? Thanks, No Light At The End Of The Tunnel

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.20 Likely to be Renumbered as Linux 4.0

      Back in November of 2013, when the Linux 3.12 kernel was released, Linus Torvalds first began to talk about about Linux 4.0

      Linux 4.0, much like Linux 3.0 isn’t about any major milestone or API compatibility feature in the Linux kernel, but rather is just an arbitrary number.

    • Systemd 219 Released With A Huge Amount Of New Features

      Lennart Poettering announced the release of systemd 219 today and it comes with a very large number of new features and changes.

    • systemd 219

      Many many improvements, in particular in the area of containers, btrfs hookup, and networkd. Also, many bugfixes. Enjoy!

    • systemd 219 Officially Released, Introduces a New API

      Lennart Poettering, the creator of systemd, has announced the immediate availability of systemd 219, a release that includes numerous improvements, specifically for Btrfs hookup, networkd, and containers. Many bugs have also been fixed in this release.

    • Torvalds turns to Sir Mix-A-Lot for Linux versioning debate

      Linus Torvalds is “running out of fingers and toes” and therefore wonders if it might be a good time to tip the Linux Kernel over into version 4.0.

    • Kernel 3.19 development – the kernel column

      Linus Torvalds, freshly returned from speaking at Linux Conf AU (LCA) 2015, announced 3.19- rc5 saying “[a]nother week, another -rc”. His announcement mail included his usual opening about his desire for less churn late in the development cycle (Linux kernels typically have up to 8 RCs – or Release Candidates – in the two months of the average release). Overall, Linux 3.19 is shaping up to be a normal sized release – though there’s still well over 10,000 individual commits or patches, each with many lines, which isn’t bad when you consider how the development largely aligned with the end of year holiday period. The new kernel will add a few exciting features, including support for Intel’s MPX processor extensions, and the nios2 embedded system microprocessor architecture from Altera.

    • Graphics Stack

      • wayland 1.7.0

        The 1.7 release of Wayland is now available for download. Thanks to all who have contributed, and especially to the desktop environments and client applications that now converse using Wayland.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Final Report : Season of KDE

        This project is primarily for school children.It helps them to get acquainted with different parts of computer both internal and external and also to know about their functionality.

      • 2+ years with network management in KDE

        It has been more than 2 years when I was an intern in Red Hat and Lukáš Tinkl, my leader that time, told me that I should take a look what needs to be done around network management in KDE. I started with contribution to libnm-qt (networkmanager-qt now), because there was a plan to have a separated library for NetworkManager and port the applet to use it later. It took me a few months to get familiar with NetworkManager DBus API and implement all missing stuff and I was ready to start porting the applet. Problem was that the old NM applet was not ready at all, its architecture had been done with more network daemons in mind (like wicd) and the code base became really complicated. I still remember that discussion we had about starting from scratch, it was quite tough decision, because we had to drop such huge code base and years of work. Anyway, we decided to go for it and start from scratch and one of the best journeys of my life had begun. It went quite good, we were able to reuse some existing parts from the old applet and we had first release like half year later. Well, quality of first releases is questionable, not everyone liked them we did, but we have learned from mistakes and now I daresay that the version we have after 2 years currently in Plasma 5 is really great and we enjoyed doing it.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • The Usability of GNOME

        I recently spoke at GUADEC, the GNOME Users And Developers European Conference, and I opened my presentation with a reminder that GNOME is competing for mind share with other systems that are fairly easy for most people to use: Mac, iPad, Windows and Chromebook. So for GNOME to continue to be successful, it needs to be easy for everyone to use—experts and newcomers alike. And, that’s where usability comes in.

      • Using OpenGL with GTK+

        let’s say you are on a bleeding edge distribution, or have access to bleeding edge GTK+.

      • How-To Use OpenGL With GTK3 In Upcoming GNOME 3.16

        With the upcoming GNOME 3.16 release and its GTK+ 3.16 tool-kit there is native OpenGL support and a new GTKGLArea widget.

  • Distributions

    • The Dangers of Boutique Linux Distros

      Every time a new boutique Linux distro rolls out into the limelight it seems the same two thoughts cross my mind. First, the distro’s developer must be excited to present their vision to potential uses and work hard to provide the best distro possible. Second, this also means that if something happens to the developer the project can instantly end in its tracks.

      In this article, we’ll examine the risks of relying on a boutique Linux distro and what to do when you’re forced to switch due to a distro ending its development.

    • New Project Points to Danger of Boutique Distros
    • Reviews

      • Elementary OS: A good looking cheap Apple lookalike

        So after spending the not-so-bad-after all-valentine watching “romantic” movies I decided to go on a cleanse and get back in my geek groove. What better way to do this than testing a Linux Distro Beta? So I remembered how one reader once requested a review of Apple lookalike Linux distros and decided to take the latest Beta of Elementary OS nicknamed Freya which is due for release “when it is ready!”

      • MakuluLinux 2.0 Cinnamon

        I think it is easy to get excited about Makulu as the distribution offers a lot. Users are given a modern, feature rich desktop (Cinnamon), a lot of useful software, including VLC, the WPS suite, a rich settings panel and easy to use backup utility. Multimedia is well supported and the operating system (when run on a physical machine) performed well. Plus users have access to a huge supply of software in the Debian repositories. I was a little surprised at some of the choices offered. For example, offering us WPS over LibreOffice is an unusual choice for an open source operating system. It’s not a bad choice necessarily, just uncommon. Likewise, the focus on gaming (providing Steam and PlayOnLinux) is an interesting choice. The theme, with its focus on rich, 3-D icons, is also strange, but a welcome breath of fresh air when compared against the stark utility of GNOME or the flat, washed out look of recent KDE releases.

        I suppose what really stands out about Makulu is it is an open source operating system that does not shy away from including proprietary applications when the developers feel those are the right tools for the job. It is a philosophy that may disappoint proponents of free software, but I have to admit it seems a practical path, one which is likely to attract people transitioning from Windows to Linux.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enhances Certification Program for Open Source Experts

        Red Hat (RHT) has beefed up its certification and training programs for open source software. Now, the company is offering new Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA) concentrations focused on clouds, data centers and applications related to its Linux-based solutions.

      • Fedora

        • DNF 0.6.4 and DNF-PLUGINS-CORE 0.1.5 Released

          New version of DNF and DNF-PLUGINS-CORE is available for F21 and F22. The update fixes over 25 bugs, exposes more API and enhances plugin options. Read more in release notes of DNF and plugins.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Open source robot kit taps Raspberry Pi 2

      On Indiegogo, CoroWare launched a 4WD “CoroBot Spark,” open robot platform for STEM education, based on a Raspberry Pi SBC and a CoroWare controller board.

      CoroWare Robotics Solutions’s CoroBot Spark is the latest of several open source robot kits that have used the Raspberry Pi single board computer. Recent examples include iRobot’s Create 2, a hackable version of its Roomba robot, as well as Frindo.org’s RPi-ready Frindo robot. Other Linux-based robot controller boards designed to integrate the Raspberry Pi include the Roboteq RIO, Mikronaut’s RoboPi, and the Calao Systems’s PinBall SBC.

      The open source CoroBot Spark differs from the Create 2 or Frindo in that it’s a larger four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicle. Like the Create 2, the Spark is designed for middle school and high school science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs, as well as university research and education.

    • 3.5-inch Haswell SBC has powered serial ports

      Axiomtek’s “CAPA881″ SBC taps Intel’s 4th Gen Core chips, supports extended temperatures, and has powered COM ports, plus SATA, CFast, and mini-PCIe.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Best new Android and iPhone games (February 9th – 15th)

          Let’s start off the week with some fun! In our weekly round up of the best new Android and iPhone games we introduce you to everything new and worthy with no limits to the genre, platform, or price. We can’t guarantee that you’d love the genre of the game we’ve picked, but if you do, chances are you’d spend hours playing one of these games.

        • Android 5.1 Lollipop makes another appearance, this time in the Philippines

          Google is still keeping mum on Android 5.1 Lollipop, the seemingly-newest version of its OS, albeit it’s already been spotted on some Android One devices that got recently launched in Indonesia.

        • Google’s Android One debuts in PHL, priced below P5k

          Google Philippines, together with local phone brands Cherry Mobile and MyPhone, announced on Tuesday, February 17, that it is finally bringing the much-anticipated Android One smartphone into the country at a retail price of under P5,000.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-source software aims to change game for smart facades

    Where outcomes don’t meet thermal performance standards, variations mean innovation often becomes a casualty. InEnergy, a new open-source software tool engineered by Inhabit Group, aims to prevent the dumbing down of designs and assist clients and designers to achieve higher performance outcomes without adding to costs.

  • 17 years of defending open source: Join the OSI today

    The Open Source Initiative (OSI) serves as an international nexus of trust, protecting and promoting open source software as well as the communities that develop and depend on it. Primarily known for our work in certifing open source software licenses, the OSI’s work today has grown—just as open source has—to include a vaeirty of member-driven working groups and incubator projects that help practitioners and communities create and share resourcs, furthering the open source movement. For 17 years, the OSI has brought together open source developers, organizers, contributors, advocates, and businesses toward the common goal of creation through collaboration. Our membership campaign is dedicated to furthering this vivsion.

  • Now Open Source Firmware Enters the Equation

    It seems that running free software programs that will allow (in theory, at least) backdoors to be spotted in code, is not enough. The Kaspersky discovery shows that we must go even further, and demand open source firmware for hard drives (and presumably everything else), so that these too can be audited by independent researchers. It’s a salutary reminder that while there is any element of the software and hardware stack that is not open, there is always the danger the system can be compromised and turned against you.

  • Events

    • Vote for Presentations: OpenStack Summit Vancouver 2015

      This year I’ve submitted, together with Sage Weil, a talk to the “Cloud Security” track with the title: “Storage security in a critical enterprise OpenStack environment”. The talk will provide insight into requirements for a secure setup and potential issues, pitfalls, and attack vectors against storage technologies used with an enterprise OpenStack cloud. We will present what Deutsche Telekom and Red Hat/Inktank, together with the community, are working on to build a security critical cloud with OpenStack and Ceph.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Compare Office 365 vs. Office 2013 before going open source

      The best part about OpenOffice and LibreOffice is that they’re totally free. Even if they can’t compete with Office 2013 on a feature-by-feature basis, they still have plenty to offer. They’re simple to install and provide benefits not available with Office 2013, such as the ability to run on Linux.

      Plus, the editions available to Windows, Mac OS and Linux are comparable, unlike Office, which lets the Mac version lag behind its Windows counterpart. In fact, OpenOffice and LibreOffice will run on Windows XP and Vista, something even Office 2013 can’t do.

      In my next article, we’ll look at how open source suites compare with Office 365 and how OpenOffice stacks up against LibreOffice.

  • Healthcare


    • Where do we stand after 30 years after the founding of the Free Software Foundation?

      There is a growing concern about government surveillance. At the same time, those of us who live and breathe technology do so because it provides us with a service and freedom to share our lives with others.

      There is a tacit assumption that once we leave the store, the device we have in our pocket, backpack, or desk is ours. We buy a computer, a tablet, a smartphone, and we use applications and apps without even thinking about who really owns the tools and whether we truly own any of it. You purchase a device, yet you are not free to modify it or the software on it in any way. It begs the question of who really owns the device and the software?

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a nonprofit with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom and defend the rights of all free software users. FSF proudly promotes the idea of free software—not “free” as in “free beer,” but “free” as in “free to modify the code, share the code, and distribute it freely.”

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Rationalising ICT takes Portugal to open source

      The government of Portugal is expanding its use of free and open source software solutions, to modernise the country’s ICT and to “target an effective expenditure”, says Pedro Viana, a ICT specialist working for the country’s Agency for Administrative Modernisation (AMA). Open source has been implemented since 2013, he says, “whenever a rigorous and objective evaluation analysis of maturity and total cost of ownership shows that it is advantageous.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Tesla Open Source EV Patents Let Apple Jump in as Competitor [Ed: misleading FUD piece, not about Open Source]

      On June 12, 2014, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on the company’s web site that “All Our Patent Belong to You.” In adopting an “open source” policy to allow others to use the company’s patented intellectual property for free, Tesla’s stock (NASDAQ-TSLA) went up and the company got lots of publicity. But the statement preserved patent rights by requiring “good faith”, which is definitely not “open source.”

    • Open Data

      • Italian Open Budgets portal showcases open data analytics

        The Italian web portal www.openbilanci.it (Open Budgets) showcases the value of open data. The site provides financial statements from all Italian municipalities for the last ten years, and information on their mayors. Visitors can freely download and re-use all the raw data. The portal itself provides additional functions, such as the dynamic generation of charts and maps, and the ability to make comparisons between municipalities. The latter allows you to compare taxes and investments in culture and public transport, for example.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • 5 March Will Be A Very Exciting Day For Next-Gen OpenGL

      Earlier this month a GDC 2015 session was listed for showing off “glNext”, the next-generation OpenGL. This major advancement for a cross-platform, multi-purpose graphics API is going to be presented by Valve, Epic Games, Unity, and the Khronos Group, among others. Besides the GDC session for glNext, on the same day they’ll be having a separate event about this new API.


  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • MPs’ pension fund at risk from fossil fuel investments, Caroline Lucas warns

      The £487m MPs’ pension pot is in danger of taking a financial hit due to the failure of its trustees to acknowledge the economic risk posed by fossil fuel investments, a group of 11 MPs and two Lords have warned.

      The trustees of the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund were challenged last year by the group, which include Green party MP Caroline Lucas, to shift its investments from oil and coal companies because of widespread fears that they are overvalued.

  • Finance

    • “The Game is Rigged”

      ACLU SoCal, L.A. Progressive and Occidental College hosted Prof. Wolff for a discussion on economic rights and reform…

    • Class, Change and Revolution
    • Feel Trapped in Your Job? That’s Because You Are

      The eight-hour-day movement, which itself grew out of the ten-hour-day movement, was a central demand of the labor movement in its pre–New Deal phase, before the National Labor Relations Act and Fair Labor Standards Act locked in a system that many of us would recognize even if we don’t work under its actual conditions. The five-day work week, the eight-hour day—the “nine to five” (thanks, Dolly Parton).

  • Privacy

    • Russian researchers expose breakthrough U.S. spying program

      The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.

    • How “omnipotent” hackers tied to NSA hid for 14 years—and were found at last

      In 2009, one or more prestigious researchers received a CD by mail that contained pictures and other materials from a recent scientific conference they attended in Houston. The scientists didn’t know it then, but the disc also delivered a malicious payload developed by a highly advanced hacking operation that had been active since at least 2001. The CD, it seems, was tampered with on its way through the mail.

      It wasn’t the first time the operators—dubbed the “Equation Group” by researchers from Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab—had secretly intercepted a package in transit, booby-trapped its contents, and sent it to its intended destination. In 2002 or 2003, Equation Group members did something similar with an Oracle database installation CD in order to infect a different target with malware from the group’s extensive library. (Kaspersky settled on the name Equation Group because of members’ strong affinity for encryption algorithms, advanced obfuscation methods, and sophisticated techniques.)

    • Obama’s War on Leaks Skirts the Constitution

      The Obama administration is gloating over the recent conviction of Jeffrey Sterling in an Alexandria, Va. federal court for allegedly leaking details of a secret government program called Operation Merlin that was intended to damage Iran’s nuclear program. Attorney General Eric Holder described the verdict as “…a just and appropriate outcome. The defendant’s unauthorized disclosures of classified information compromised operations undertaken in defense of America’s national security. The disclosures placed lives at risk.”

    • U.S. Embedded Spyware Overseas, Report Claims

      The United States has found a way to permanently embed surveillance and sabotage tools in computers and networks it has targeted in Iran, Russia, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and other countries closely watched by American intelligence agencies, according to a Russian cybersecurity firm.

      In a presentation of its findings at a conference in Mexico on Monday, Kaspersky Lab, the Russian firm, said that the implants had been placed by what it called the “Equation Group,” which appears to be a veiled reference to the National Security Agency and its military counterpart, United States Cyber Command.

    • The NSA hides surveillance software in hard drives

      It’s been known for a while that the NSA will intercept and bug equipment to spy on its soon-to-be owners, but the intellgency agency’s techniques are apparently more clever than first thought. Security researchers at Kaspersky Lab have discovered apparently state-created spyware buried in the firmware of hard drives from big names like Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital. When present, the code lets snoops collect data and map networks that would otherwise be inaccessible — all they need to retrieve info is for an unwitting user to insert infected storage (such as a CD or USB drive) into an internet-connected PC. The malware also isn’t sitting in regular storage, so you can’t easily get rid of it or even detect it.

  • Civil Rights

    • Jeb Bush in ‘95: We need more for-profit prisons

      Jeb Bush began his political career as a firebrand soldier of the Republican Revolution.

      Although he’s now widely known as the moderate Republican choice for 2016, Bush ran multiple campaigns for Florida governor while promoting the “deinvention of government” through broad privatization and the rapid shrinking of the public sector—including the transformation of the state’s prison system into a for-profit industry.

    • Guantanamo Whistleblower: Guards Rehearsed for Reporter Visits Weeks in Advance

      SN interviewed Joseph Hickman, a former Guantanamo staff sergeant and author of the recently published book, “Murder at Camp Delta: A Staff Sergeant’s Pursuit of the Truth About Guantanamo Bay.” In the book, Hickman alleges that three Guantanamo detainees were murdered at a CIA black site, and that this was later covered up, the deaths portrayed as suicides.

    • Why can’t media describe Chapel Hill murders as terrorism?
    • The everyday terror we all live with

      I realize that terrorism is scary and I certainly hope that the US doesn’t suffer any more attacks from Islamic extremists any time soon.

    • Islamic School of Rhode Island vandalized

      Hilmy Bakri, president of the school’s Board of Trustees, said Sunday that racial slurs were spray-painted on the school, at 840 Rear Providence St.

    • U. Mass. Will Not Admit Iranian Students to Schools of Engineering and Natural Sciences (Updated)

      1. Turns out that Kaplan, which is a US-based educational company, is implementing an even more draconian version of the policy over in Britain. For similar reasons as U. Mass. And it’s caused some problems.

      Kaplan, a US-owned education provider in the UK, is refusing students who are residents of Iran enrolment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects as well as any of its post-graduate courses, citing US sanctions.

      Applications for more than a dozen Iranians students have been withdrawn since autumn 2013 because the company felt it had to comply with the US regulations and sanctions policy regarding the country.

      Critics say sanctions were put in place to punish Iranian authorities, not ordinary people, and that such interpretations were based on a misreading of the policy.

      Iranian students studying in Britain’s public universities can generally take such courses.

    • DOJ Doesn’t Want You To Think CIA Doctored Evidence in the Sterling Trial

      Indeed, it is an agency with a long and storied history of serially destroying evidence. The Eastern District of VA US Attorney’s Office knows this, too, because they have so much experience reviewing cases where CIA has destroyed evidence and then deciding they can’t charge anyone for doing so.

      And while I don’t expect Judge Leonie Brinkema of CIA’s own judicial district to therefore deny the CIA the presumption of regularity, I confess DOJ’s concern that Sterling might suggest CIA had doctored or destroyed evidence makes me pretty interested in what evidence they might have worried he would claim CIA doctored or destroyed, because with the CIA, I’ve learned, it’s usually a safer bet to assume they have doctored or destroyed evidence.

      Especially given the two enormous evidentiary holes in the government’s case:

      The letter to the Iranians Merlin included with his newspaper-wrapped nuclear blueprints
      A report of Merlin’s activities in Vienna

      As I lay out below, CIA’s story about the letter to the Iranians is sketchy enough, though the government’s ultimate story about it is at least plausible. But their story about Merlin’s non-existent trip report is sketchier still. I think the evidence suggests the latter, at least, once did exist. But when it became inconvenient — perhaps because it provided proof that Bob S lied in the cables he wrote boasting of Mission Accomplished — it disappeared.


Links 16/2/2015: Netrunner 15, Bridge Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 3:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • CuBox-i review – an elegant mini PC which runs Android, Linux and OpenELEC

      The CuBox-i is certainly an interesting mini PC. It offers a lot of flexibility since its support for Android and Linux is excellent, and it excels at running Kodi.
      One of the most important commercial uses of a Single Board Computer (SBC) is as a prototyping and rapid development platform. Recently I reviewed the HummingBoard-i2eX, a SBC from SolidRun that is compatible with Android and Linux. Since the proof is in the pudding, SolidRun has used its own tech to create a truly miniature PC.

      At just 2 inches x 2 inches x 2 inches (50.8 mm x 50.8 mm x 50.8 mm) the CuBox is a marvel of engineering. On one side of the cube is a set of ports including the power socket, HDMI, Ethernet and two USB ports. While the rest of the cube is fairly bland except for various labels, logos and LEDs.

    • Are We There Yet?

      Inadvertently, this was a driver for adoption of GNU/Linux as one could install GNU/Linux and get better performance in the same amount of RAM, or one could keep an old PC snappy for years longer. GNU/Linux also increased use of RAM as did browsers… but the need to constantly double RAM every few years was gone for those first-adopters of GNU/Linux. Now it’s gone for everyone else. RIP Wintel.

  • Server

    • Lets review.. Docker (again)

      It’s been just over a year since my last review of Docker, heavily criticising it’s flawed architectural design and poor user experience. The project has since matured into 1.0 and gained some notoriety from Amazon, but has suffered growing user frustration, hype accusations and even breakout exploits leading to host contamination. However the introduction of private repos in Docker Hub, which eliminated the need to run your own registry for hosted deployments, coupled with webhooks and tight Github build integrations, looked to be a promising start.

  • Kernel Space

    • Redesigning the Linux video system from the ground up

      Being a good open source citizen—that’s where it starts. For Jon Cruz, navigating various technical opportunities over the years eventually led him there. Jon recently started working in the Open Source Group at Samsung where he works on the Wayland project as well as IoTivity, an infrastructure for the Internet of Things.

      Cruz’s open source journey began when he started contributing to the Inkscape community. His connections with Inkscape contributors eventually led him to his current role at Samsung. I think it’s important to note that this is a common story for many people who get involved with open source. The first step is to find the right project and start contributing—you never know what career opportunities could stem from that first step.

    • The Community Really Wants To See Linux 4.0

      Linus Torvalds has yet to reveal whether Linux 3.20 will be re-branded as Linux 4.0, but it seems the community at least really wants this version bump to happen.

      Last week on Linus Torvalds’ Google+ page he polled the community over Linux 3.20 vs. 4.0. Torvalds has yet to say what version he’s going with for this next kernel — it will probably be revealed next weekend when he’s closing the merge window and bumping for -rc1 — but it seems overwhelmingly that people want this Linux 3.20 to 4.0 jump.

    • Arnold’s T-800 Terminator Runs Linux Kernel 4.1, We’re All Doomed

      If the Terminator movies are to be believed, we are getting closer to the end of the world. It looks like the T-800 model is running Linux kernel 4.x and we already know that Linus Torvalds is thinking about releasing the 4.x branch soon.

    • Linus Torvalds: I don’t care if Terminator robots run on Linux

      Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel was under heavy fire after a leak by Edward Snowden which showed that Skynet, the US-based company which builds robots, was using the Linux kernel to power their machines. Skynet is one of the most secretive US companies which reportedly operates from a leased hanger in Area 51.

      However, Linus Torvalds denied any association or knowledge of Skynet Corporation. During a local Linux conference in Portland, Linus was addressing a small crowd when a reddit user asked if he had been approached by Skynet? Linus, with a faint smile on his face, said ‘no’ while nodding (in yes).

    • Graphics Stack

      • The DRM Graphics Changes Submitted For Linux 3.20

        The most recent pull request for the already very exciting Linux 3.20 / 4.0 kernel is the DRM graphics driver changes, which of course excite us a lot. This DRM pull request is another fairly heavy pull request with a number of end-user features for the popular open-source graphics drivers.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 3.19, 3.20/4.0 Doesn’t Do Much For Intel HD 5500 Performance

        Yesterday I ran some benchmarks from the new Core i3 Broadwell NUC to see how the latest Mesa Git affects the OpenGL performance for the Core i3 5010U chip with HD Graphics 5500. Today I’m complementing that testing to see if the latest Linux kernel Git makes any difference for this low-end, low-power Broadwell chip.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Sometimes they come back: Danbooru Client ported to KF5 and C++

        And so a port of Danbooru Client to C++ began. I took the opportunity also to learn some model/view programming (still baffling at times, but I’m getting ebtter) and then I even tried to implement a custom thumbnail view for posts (I managed more or less, with a lot of blood and tears).

        Then the KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt 5 arrived on the scene…

      • KDE Partition Managers 1.1.1 and 1.2.0

        I would like to announce two releases of KDE Partition Manager. Version 1.1.1 is a bugfix release. It was ported away from Solid to avoid the unfortunate udisks2 bug and uses libparted directly (partitionmanager was using libparted already anyway). That means packagers do not have to select -DENABLE_UDISKS2 cmake option anymore.

      • Kdenlive news for 4 months… many good things!

        First, let me come back to September: we didn’t talk about it here, and it’s a shame: we all must sincerely thank Akademy Jury for designating JB for Application Award! We all were really touched, he can be very proud of it and deserves it for so many years of hard work… and he did rise to the bait, as this raised back his motivation to come help us again! So double, triple, infinite thanks for that prize.

      • Kdenlive KDE Video Editor Is Still Progressing
      • [Krita] Interview with Chris Jones

        Most apps feel like they’re designed for someone else, and I have to try and adapt to their workflow. Krita feels more like it was built with me in mind, and whenever I feel something should behave differently, someone is usually already on the case before I even make mention of it. As far as 2D software goes, Krita fits my needs better than any of the alternatives.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.7.0 Prepares for Qt 5.5

        KDE Frameworks 5.7.0 has just been released by the KDE Community and the developers have pushed a large number of updates and various fixes. It’s a maintenance update, but it’s an important one.

      • Scalable UIs, Scaling the Content

        So far we talked about the technical aspects of scaling your application, the dpi, the number of pixels, its nature, the nature of image formats and the implications of all that on the creation of visual elements for your UI.

        But this is only a part of the problem, for although all this helps you to create answers to your scaling problems, it does not answer the problems that created the need for those answers: the fundamental part of the problem.

  • Distributions

    • Netrunner 15 – Prometheus (64bit)

      We are proud to announce the official release of Netrunner 15 – Prometheus (64bit).
      Netrunner 15 is revised from the ground up: As the first distribution, it officially ships the new KDE Plasma Desktop 5.2.

    • Netrunner 15 “Prometheus” Officially Released with KDE Plasma 5.2 – Screenshot Tour

      Clemens Toennies from the Netrunner project had the pleasure of announcing earlier today, February 16, the immediate availability for download of the Netrunner 15 computer operating system, dubbed Prometheus, based on the Kubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) distribution and built around the KDE Plasma 5.2 desktop environment.

    • Netrunner 15 ‘Prometheus’ is here — the best KDE-based Linux distro gets better
    • Bridge Linux KDE Is an Arch Linux Distribution with a Nice KDE Setup – Screenshot Tour

      A brand-new release of the Bridge Linux computer operating system arrived this past weekend, version 2015.02, which uses the latest ArchBang sources to provide a user-friendly Arch Linux distribution for those who want to easily install the acclaimed OS on their computers. The release is distributed in four editions, with the KDE, GNOME, Xfce, and LXDE desktop environments.

    • Black Lab Linux Introduces Its First MATE Edition – Screenshot Tour

      Roberto J. Dohnert, lead developer and project lead of Black Lab Linux, had the pleasure of announcing Softpedia earlier today, February 16, about the immediate availability for download of the Black Lab Linux MATE computer operating system, based on Ubuntu Linux and the MATE desktop environment.

    • Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 Released

      Today we are pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1. Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 is a distribution of Black Lab Linux that utilizes the Mate Desktop environment.

    • Reviews

      • MakuluLinux KDE 7.0 Officially Released, Not Yet Ready for 64-bit – Video

        The MakuluLinux KDE 7 distribution has been officially released this past weekend, bringing a rock solid, stable, secure, responsive, safe and gorgeous KDE graphical desktop environment based on the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Core operating system, which is supported with software updates and security patches until 2019.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Rawhide: Beloved and vital member of the Fedora family

          There are indeed people using Rawhide day to day. I myself have for the last few years, and I know there are a number of others (based on IRC conversations and posts to the test list). Regarding the KF5 issues, this is a somewhat unstable time for KF5, as they are just now landing things and integrating them and also gcc just updated to 5.0, causing them some issues. Perhaps some of this work could have been done in a copr or the like, but sometimes it’s really hard to anticipate what will happen when you finally build in the official Fedora buildsystem. I don’t think the common answer here should be “you should expect that in rawhide”, but instead “You should understand that at times various parts of rawhide may be under more work and help them work around those issues”. I’ve definitely run into situations in the last few years where something was broken and I couldn’t use it, but I reported bugs on them and people fixed them up. In the mean time it’s always good to have alternatives.

    • Debian Family

      • Removing Systemd from Debian (and still running a desktop)

        This is a work-in-progress report on getting a functional Debian GNU/Linux system that does not have systemd or any systemd libraries installed, yet (with some inconvenience) is still functional. The process is not without risk, may require (required, as of 5am on 14th Feb 2015) some recovery procedures, and will almost certainly require ongoing maintenance that may be unattractive for some users. The recovery procedures utilised are also documented.

      • Debian Project Reaches 83% Reproducible Builds for Source Packages

        Debian developers have just announced that 83.5% of all source packages in sid main can be rebuilt reproducibly, which is actually a huge percentage.

      • Derivatives

        • Tails 1.3 RC1 Out Now, Edward Snowden’s Favorite Incognito Live CD

          The first Release Candidate (RC) version of the forthcoming Tails 1.3 amnesic incognito live system has been officially released for testing, bringing three major new features and four minor improvements that are described for your reading pleasure in the next paragraphs.

        • CrunchBang Linux Revived As CrunchBang++

          Earlier this month we wrote how CrunchBang Linux was winding down with its lead developer halting development of this Debian-based distribution. However, there’s new developers now forming the CrunchBang++ project.

        • CrunchBang Linux Is Back from the Dead as CrunchBang++, Based on Debian Jessie

          Ten days ago, on February 6, 2015, we’ve reported that the CrunchBang Linux computer operating system is no more because its developer, Philip Newborough, decided to stop developing the distribution. As a result, a bunch of devoted CrunchBang Linux fans decided that it is not time for CrunchBang Linux to die just yet.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Meizu teases Ubuntu phone ahead of MWC event

            Ubuntu on mobile phones has been a long standing project for Canonical and quite an ambitious one. Much like Microsoft and its new One Windows ideology, Canonical hatched the scheme for a unified cross-device application ecosystem long ago, but progress has been rather slow.

            Meizu has been a vital part of the new OS development with various demo builds and rumor of Ubuntu-powered Meizu handset popping up ever since the MX 3 was the company’s flagship offer. Today the Chinese smartphone maker posted a rather interesting teaser on Facebook. The image hints at a new OS, which will join the ranks of Flyme and YunOS and probably be unveiled at this year’s MWC.

          • Meizu Is Teasing Ubuntu for Phones Ahead of MWC 2015 in Barcelona

            Meizu is now teasing the launch of an Ubuntu OS-powered phone at the Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, which falls right into the plans that have been revealed until now via various rumors.

          • First Ubuntu Phone BQ Aquaris Sold Out; But Will It Challenge iOS-Android Dominance?

            The world’s first Ubuntu phone, the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, finally went on sale last week and promptly sold out within day. The Ubuntu OS offers an alternative to iOS and Android but it has a long way to go before it can take on the two market leaders.

            Ubuntu’s phone itself is not that exciting; the most interesting thing about it is the software.

            The first Ubuntu phone runs on Ubuntu for smartphones, the mobile version of Canonical’s leading Linux desktop OS brand Ubuntu. As such, there were high hopes for Ubuntu OS, which Canonical has seemingly met. The Ubuntu OS reimagines the mobile OS with Scopes, which consists of different home pages to organize your apps.

          • Multiple PostgreSQL Vulnerabilities Corrected in All Supported Ubuntu OSes

            Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS operating systems have been updated in order to fix a number of PostgreSQL vulnerabilities discovered to affect them.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Sony SmartWatch 3 Review: The Best-Performing Android Smartwatch Yet

          Sony’s been trying the smartwatch thing for years, but the original SmartWatch and the SmartWatch 2 both…what’s the word I’m looking for here? Sucked? Yeah. But the SmartWatch 3 has solid performance and two nifty features you won’t find on any other Android Wear. It’s the first with built-in GPS and a screen you can read without backlighting.

        • What Every Company Can Learn From Xiaomi

          I’ve mentioned a couple of times the rising Chinese star Xiaomi, which could well become the leading manufacturer of Android-based smartphones worldwide if it manages to carry on as it has begun. In another sign of its global ambitions, it held a press conference in the US last week:

          Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra, vice president of international for the company, announced at a press event in San Francisco Thursday that it plans to launch its e-commerce website in the U.S. and other international markets soon to start selling accessories like its fitness band, power banks and other accessories.

        • Android 5.0 Lollipop Is More Stable Than iOS 8: Report

          Someone once said any edge is a good edge, even if it’s not a huge edge and that is what Android 5.0 Lollipop is enjoying right now given its stability edge over Apple’s iOS 8.

          A new Crittercism report reveals the Android mobile platform Android 5.0 Lollipop has a tiny slight edge when it comes to stability when compared to Apple’s iOS 8 mobile platform. That means mobile application crash and burns don’t happen as frequently on Android 5.0 Lollipop as they happen on Apple iOS 8.

        • LG’s new Android Wear smartwatch, the Watch Urbane, has an all-metal body

          In the long-term, Android Wear isn’t likely to be about just a small handful of watches. Fashion and individuality often go hand-in-hand, and now we’re starting to see some of the early Android Wear watch-makers reflect that, making different smartwatches for different styles. The latest? LG’s all-metal take on the G Watch R, the LG Watch Urbane.

        • Best new icon packs for Android (February 2015) #2

          In Android’s domain, customization is one of the main selling points. One of the easier ways to refresh your device’s UI and give it a new look is by changing your icon pack.

        • Samsung and Android 5.0: What does Lollipop bring to your Galaxy S5?

          At a glance there’s very little visually different on the Samsung Galaxy S5 homescreen. Delve a little deeper and cleaner design can be found. Notifications have a much cleaner look, which work well, while being able to control app notifications is a welcome extra.

          If you delve a little deeper there are stock Android treats to be founds on the Galaxy S5. The Easter egg for this version of Android has added another layer of fun with and Android style Flappy Bird game. Go to settings, select the version and tap until the Lollipop appears, you can tap this to change colours or hold to play the fun game.

          Making the jump from KitKat to Lollipop on Samsung doesn’t feel as bold a move moving from stock KitKat to Lollipop, where the changes across the design are much more pervasive.

        • Xposed Framework For Android Lollipop Now Available: What You Need To Know
        • Android 4.4 KitKat Update Now Available for Xolo Q1200

          Xolo has released the Android 4.4 KitKat update for the Xolo Q1200 smartphone. The update installation files as well as instructions are available on the Xolo website.

        • Lenovo A6000, A5000, P70, S90 and Others to Get Android 5.0 Lollipop Update Soon

          Lenovo has announced that its devices – A5000, A6000, P70-A, S90-A, VIBE X2 (Lenovo X2), VIBE Z2, and VIBE Z2 Pro (Lenovo K920) – that currently run on Android 4.4 KitKat will receive Android 5.0 Lollipop update in the second quarter of 2015.

        • G3 Android 5.0 Lollipop roll-out starts on another U.S. carrier

          Android 5.0 Lollipop started rolling out to the LG G3 on AT&T last week, and now it’s hitting another U.S. carrier. Sprint announced on Monday that customers should start seeing the latest version of Android hitting their devices over-the-air beginning now.

        • Android 5.0 Lollipop Update: Moto G 2013 Users Require To Update Motorola Updates Services To Upgrade

          Like other leading brands, Motorola is also trying its best to roll out the Android 5.0 Lollipop update to its numerous devices. According to Mobile Syrup, some of the Moto G 2013 users have received an official notification message from Motorola about the arrival of Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Free Software/Open Source

  • An Update On The Open Source Project ‘Xoreos’ Concerning Jade Empire

    Continuing with my quest to make the engines display areas (as I did with Neverwinter Nights 2), I turned to Jade Empire the last two weeks. There was just one tiny issue: xoreos didn’t yet support the model format. While I could make use of other’s people reverse-engineering work for the model formats of other engines (Neverwinter Nights (Torlack), Neverwinter Nights 2 (Tazpn) and Knights of the Old Republic (cchargin), apparently barely anybody bothered to look into Jade Empire. A person called Maian tried to figure out a few thing with just a hexeditor, and while that was a great start (and confirmed my suspicions that the format is similar to Knights of the Old Republic’s), it wasn’t enough for full support in xoreos.

  • Why I am a Member of the Open Source Initiative

    For the first time ever, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) is running a membership drive to recruit more individual members. The goal is to recruit 2,398 new members, with that number chosen in homage to the organization’s founding date on February 3, 1998. As an individual member of the OSI, you receive a number of benefits for joining:

  • Startup OpenLegacy Open Sources App Modernization Tool

    A company called OpenLegacy is beginning to gain momentum with a suite of free and open source tools for modernizing IBM i and z/OS applications. Besides giving away most of its technology (it charges for support in its professional edition), the company is also unique with its API-driven approach to giving older apps new life with Web, mobile, and cloud interfaces.
    OpenLegacy was founded in Israel about a year ago with the goal of helping organizations expose their IBM i and z/OS assets in new and useful ways. The company’s CEO and co-founder, Romi Stein, is a former IBMer and its COO, Hans Otharsson, worked previously at Software AG, and they were in New York City recently to drum up interest in the venture-based company and its unique business model.

  • Events

    • SCALE 13x: My Dance Card

      I bring this up because since SCALE 8x, my life is never my own during mid-February. Frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way — being part of SCALE every year, working with the rest of the SCALE team to make a great show, and leading a fantastic SCALE publicity team made up of Hannah Anderson, Dennis Rex, Sean McCabe, Sam Is, Michelle Klein-Hass, Jason Riker, and new this year, Mimi Cafiero.

    • Open Source Promotion Event at Toch Institute
    • Mozilla Angika Meetup @ Bhagalpur, Bihar – A Report

      I am overwhelmed with the success of the event and to see the love of the people for Angika and how they are excited to know that Angika is going to be present with one of the languages in which Firefox is present. UNESCO says that Angika is endangered but now I am convinced that Angika cannot be an endangered language. How a language – a real Lok-Bhasha – can be endangered?

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • A Prediction: 2020 the year of (PC-)BSD on the desktop

      I am going to make a prediction right now that FreeBSD is going to take off in a big way on or before 2020, perhaps even to the point where it threatens Linux Desktop share.

    • m0n0wall BSD Firewall Is Officially Dead

      m0n0wall was a BSD firewall operating system that’s been around for quite some time. It was recognized as one of the best, but there is a reason why we are now using past tense for it. The developer has stopped development and dropped the project.


  • Public Services/Government

    • Malta to start government software repository

      The government of Malta is to implement a repository and observatory of information systems to be used by the islands’ public administrations. The repository will make available open source solutions and share information on reusable tools and systems from across the EU.

    • Galicia publishes CeMIT classroom management system

      Amtega, Galicia’s agency for technological modernisation, has published the classroom management system XEA as open source. The software and its documentation can be downloaded for free from the repository of the Galician government (Xunta de Galicia).

  • Programming

    • A beginner’s guide to GitHub

      GitHub uses Git, which is a distributed revision control system designed and developed by Linus Torvalds for Linux kernel development back in 2005. Since then, it’s become the most widely adopted version control system for software development there is.


  • East Germany’s doping legacy lives on, 25 years later

    Twenty-five years ago, as a nation officially divided into East and West worked out a plan for how to become simply Germany, Ines Geipel decided to get her name out of the record books.

    Geipel – who under her maiden name, Ines Schmidt, had been a member of the formidable East German women’s track team when she helped set a German relay record in 1984 – had started wondering whether the little blue “vitamins” she’d taken as part of her official training regime didn’t taint any glory of being a champion.

    The pills, it turned out, were steroids, banned under international competition rules. Geipel asked that her name be removed from the German record books. An asterisk instead of her name now appears.

  • Hardware

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Drone Strikes and the Sanitization of Violence

      After a lull of some two months – a break punctuated by the toppling of Yemen’s government – the US drone campaign in Yemen has resumed.

      The pattern that has emerged is distressingly familiar.

      While the US government can claim the death of radical preacher Harith al-Nadari, the victims also include Mohammed Tuaiman, a 13-year-old boy whose father and brother were killed in a drone strike in 2011.

    • What Is Going on in the World?

      Could an international tribunal hold war criminals accountable?

    • Hailed as a Model for Successful Intervention, Libya Proves to be the Exact Opposite

      When Saddam Hussein was captured in 2003 by U.S. forces, Iraq War advocates boastfully celebrated the event as proof that they were right and used it to mock war opponents (Joe Lieberman and John Kerry, for instance, gleefully exploited the event to demand that Howard Dean admit his war opposition was wrong). When Muammar Gaddafi was forced by NATO bombing in August, 2011 to flee Tripoli, advocates of U.S. intervention played the same game (ThinkProgress gleefully exploited the occasion to try to shame those who objected to the illegality of Obama’s waging the war even after Congress voted against its authorization: as though Gadaffi’s fleeing could render legal Obama’s plainly illegal intervention).

    • AP Exclusive: High Civilian Death Toll in Gaza House Strikes

      The youngest to die was a 4-day-old girl, the oldest a 92-year-old man.

      They were among at least 844 Palestinians killed as a result of airstrikes on homes during Israel’s summer war with the Islamic militant group, Hamas.

    • War punishes Gaza

      In almost every way, the Gaza Strip is much worse off now than before last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas. Scenes of misery are one of the few things in abundance in the battered coastal enclave.

      Reconstruction of the tens of thousands homes damaged and destroyed in the hostilities has barely begun, almost six months after the cease-fire. At current rates, it will take decades to rebuild what was destroyed.

    • What ISIS Really Wants

      What is the Islamic State?

      Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Oscars Make History, So Hollywood’s War Stories Need To Be True

      I’m not referring to the Oscars that particular films might win, but our embrace of their narratives of history. If “American Sniper” gathers a fistful of statues, even more people will see a film that presents a skewed view of the Iraq war. If the “Imitation Game” gets lucky, a lot more people will watch a movie that erroneously portrays Alan Turing as a social idiot. If “Selma” catches some of the limelight, more people may believe that Lyndon Johnson wasn’t entirely supportive of Martin Luther King.

    • From Brian Williams to ‘American Sniper,’ the Iraq War Keeps on Killing the Truth

      Who remembers the last time watching the nightly news on network television was an important part of their evening routine?

      No one I know. So when Brian Williams fell into an abyss of amnesia over what he actually went through on a press junket covering the Iraq War in 2003, I just felt sorry for the NBC star because we all make mistakes, and as we get older, our memories aren’t what they used to be—along with every other part of our body. I’ve never taken Williams seriously or anyone from his generation of newscasters. But I do remember growing up with my parents being glued to the tube when the battle in my house was fought over whether we’d watch Walter Cronkite on CBS or Chet Huntley and David Brinkley on NBC—whoever was on ABC was never part of the evening equation.

      What an uncanny coincidence—as we used to say in the tabloids—that in one week the news shows are the big news in America, and it has nothing to do with what they’re reporting but which anchor is doing the job on the air.

      When Jon Stewart proclaimed on the same Daily Show where he announced his heart-rending pending departure from our nightly routines how happy he was that “finally, someone is held accountable for misleading America about Iraq,” we had to take notice because the irony factor was too large to ignore. He was describing how Williams had succumbed to “infotainment confusion syndrome” and that malady had messed up his memory.

    • Questions they ought to ask on the citizenship tests

      Folks should, for example, be aware of how things really work in government — as opposed to how they are ostensibly designed to work. They should also be familiar with some of those inconvenient tidbits from history that may not show us in our best light but nonetheless have had a drastic impact on the way we are today.

  • Censorship

    • Jordan hands senior Islamist 18 months for criticizing UAE

      Jordan’s state security court on Sunday sentenced a top official in the Muslim Brotherhood to 18 months in prison for criticizing the United Arab Emirates, an ally of the kingdom, his lawyer said.

    • The War Over Control Of The Net Is A War Over Information Advantage

      Throughout history, you can observe that many groups have fought over the information advantage – to know more about other people than those others know in return. Whoever has held the information advantage has usually risen to power.

      We know little of spycraft before ancient times, but we do know that covert messaging was common in the Roman Empire. One well-documented method was to shave a slave’s head, tattoo a message into the scalp, let the hair grow back, and send the slave on foot to the recipient, presumably carrying a decoy message.

  • Privacy

    • News outlet to release more secrets of US National Security Agency obtained from cybersecurity firm in Mexico

      A yet-to-be identified news outlet is preparing to release top secrets of the US National Security Agency (NSA), adding to the woes of the intelligence wing which is still suffering from the massive leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Report: NSA Bracing for Major New Leaks

      Though the NSA is characteristically not publicly discussing the matter publicly, reports citing private comments from the officials say that the agency is bracing for “major” new leaks.

    • NSA braced for new leaks

      The National Security Agency, still reeling from massive leaks caused by Edward Snowden, is preparing to be hit with another major loss of secrets, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

      The leaks are expected to be published in the near future by a news outlet that was not further identified by the officials familiar with details of the compromise, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

      The NSA is aware of the news outlet’s forthcoming disclosures and is taking steps to try and minimize any damage they will cause.

    • Feds Visit SpiderOak and Leave Empty-Handed

      Dropbox and similar cloud storage services routinely get inquiries, warrants, non-disclosure NSLs (National Security Letters), etc. which demand information about their users and the content of those user’s files. Because most of those services encrypt your data with THEIR key, (if at all). they can easily hand this data over. Many of these cloud services make an honest effort to protect their customers, but in the end they all too often must surrender the data and keep their mouth shut about it. Many of these services are publishing so-called “transparency reports” detailing (well after the fact) the nature and type of such government demands.

    • FBI redacts Public Records requests

      Documents first acquired and reported on by the Minnesota Star Tribune in December 2014 reveal that the FBI is working with State Bureaus of Investigation to “prevent disclosure” of how cell-site simulators are used to determine a phone’s 
location and intercept calls.

    • Big Brother Knows What You’ve Been Reading

      Every book you read on your Kindle (or Kindle app) and every word you highlight in those ebooks is recorded by Amazon and may be shared by the bookselling behemoth with the federal government.

    • How data privacy is turning into an Orwellian maze

      Earlier this month, the tribunal held that the British intelligence and security agency had been in breach of articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, referring to the right to private family life and to freedom of expression. But hard on the heels of the UK ruling came news that the US government is creating a dedicated agency to monitor cybersecurity threats, pooling and analyzing information across a spectrum of risks. The Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC)’s mission will be to ‘connect the dots’ between various sources of intelligence.

  • Civil Rights

    • They Treat the Constitution Like a Worthless Piece of Paper

      President George W. Bush was fond of saying that “9/11 changed everything.” He used that one-liner often as a purported moral basis to justify the radical restructuring of federal law and the federal assault on personal liberties over which he presided. He cast aside his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution; he rejected his oath to enforce all federal laws faithfully; and he moved the government decidedly in the direction of secret laws, secret procedures and secret courts.


      Snowden revealed that Obama’s lawyers had persuaded these secret judges, without any opposition from lawyers representing the victims of this surveillance, that somehow Congress had authorized this and somehow it was constitutional and somehow it was not un-American to spy on all of us all the time. These judges actually did the unthinkable: They issued what are known as general warrants. General warrants were used against the colonists by the British and are expressly prohibited by the Fourth Amendment. They permit the bearer to search wherever he wishes and seize whatever he finds. That’s what the NSA does to all of us today.

    • Focus:Iraq War and Torture Violate the Values of Humanity (1-5)

      Yes, they were on top of the world and undoubtedly chilled to the bone with fear as well. And fear and impunity turned out to be an ugly combination indeed. Both the fear and the sense of license, of the freedom to act as they wished, drove them fiercely. Take Michael Hayden, then head of the NSA, later of the CIA. Of that moment, he recently said, “I actually started to do different things. And I didn’t need to ask ‘mother, may I’ from the Congress or the president or anyone else. It was within my charter, but in terms of the mature judgment about what’s reasonable and what’s not reasonable, the death of 3,000 countrymen kind of took me in a direction over here, perfectly within my authority, but a different place than the one in which I was located before the attacks took place.” In other words, on September 10, 2011, he was simply the director of the NSA. On September 11th, without ever leaving the NSA, he was the president, Congress, and the chief justice of the Supreme Court all rolled intone.

    • Their Barbarism and Ours

      It will come as no surprise to you that we’re top-notch when it comes to denouncing barbarism — as long as it’s theirs. So the responses here to the horrific burning to death of a Jordanian pilot by the Islamic State — the definition of an act of barbarism — were suitably indignant and horrified. Unfortunately, when it comes to our own barbarism, we turn out to be a tad weaker, whether you’re talking about torture, horrific abuses, the killing of prisoners and of innocents, or the deaths of children by drone (“collateral damage”) across the Greater Middle East.

    • How Can This Happen? Here Is How

      So: Ukraine’s troops are permitted to steal whatever they want from the residents in Donbass, the rebelling region. The particular victim here lives in an apartment, and so all that Ukraine’s troops can take from him are his belongings. He’s lucky they didn’t shoot him (if they didn’t).

    • “Oh My God, This is Way Off”: New Investigation Shows Texas is Likely Set to Kill An Innocent Man

      Kevin Gannon, a retired detective sergeant with the New York Police Department, spent just 10 minutes looking at official documents related to the case of Rodney Reed — slated for execution in Texas on March 5 — before concluding that something was very, very wrong.

      It was October 2014 and Gannon was working as part of a three-cop team featured on the A&E channel true-crime show Dead Again. The program follows the trio of veteran detectives as they reinvestigate old murder cases. The team approaches the cases cold, not knowing what original police investigators concluded — or who was arrested and prosecuted in the end. Sometimes, Gannon says, he and his colleagues end up agreeing with the official outcome. Sometimes, they do not.

    • George Washington, Slave Catcher

      AMID the car and mattress sales that serve as markers for Presidents’ Day, Black History Month reminds Americans to focus on our common history. In 1926, the African-American historian Carter G. Woodson introduced Negro History Week as a commemoration built around the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Now February serves as a point of collision between presidential celebration and marginalized black history.

      While Lincoln’s role in ending slavery is understood to have been more nuanced than his reputation as the great emancipator would suggest, it has taken longer for us to replace stories about cherry trees and false teeth with narratives about George Washington’s slaveholding.

    • Coup Plot in Venezuela Thwarted

      Coup plotters planned on assassinating the Venezuelan president and installing a de facto government.

      A coup plot against the Venezuelan government has been foiled, with both civilians and members of the military detained, President Nicolas Maduro revealed Thursday in a televised address.

      Those involved were being paid in U.S. dollars, and one of the suspects had been granted a visa to enter the United States should the plot fail, Maduro said.

    • Britain and Canada Involved in Foiled US Venezuelan Coup Plot

      Britain and Canada were co-conspirators in the latest plot to topple Venezuela’s government.

      TeleSUR provided detailed coverage of Washington’s war on Venezuelan democracy. Its dirty hands manipulate violence and instability worldwide.

      US funded and supported key opposition fascist figures Antonio Ledezma, Maria Corina Machado and Leopoldo Lopez released a joint February 11 communique a day before the foiled coup.

    • ‘Almost All’ Opposition Leaders Knew About Venezuelan Coup Plot

      Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro added that a U.S. Embassy advisor drafted the script that the coup plotters read in video they planned to air.

    • Venezuela Coup Thwarted

      Coup plotters planned on assassinating the Venezuelan president and installing a transitional government.

      A coup plot against the Venezuelan government has been foiled, with both civilians and members of the military detained, President Nicolas Maduro revealed Thursday in a televised address. Below, teleSUR English’s indepth coverage explains the details and context behind the plan.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Merkel’s moment of power and partnership with America is right now

      Yet, this trade deal faces the strongest opposition of any recent joint initiative. Fueled by remaining distrust vis-à-vis the United States, 1.2 million Germans signed a “stop TTIP” petition in just ten weeks. Given these realities, experts now recommend that the negotiations relaunched last week focus on getting an agreement more limited in scope–a work in progress–coupled with a strong education campaign to prevent a greater backlash against globalization. European and American leadership will face an uphill battle with public opinion, but a trimmed down deal coupled with public education efforts should create substantial progress on this deal in the next two years.


Links 16/2/2015: CrunchBang is Back, OpenPi Reviewed

Posted in News Roundup at 7:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Works Great As A Linux Ultrabook

      Lenovo’s new X1 Carbon is made of carbon-fiber construction as implied by its name and is very thin and light at 0.70″ and just under three pounds. Lenovo claims that the X1 Carbon can last up to 10.9 hours with its lone battery, and continues with all of the features collected over the years with the various ThinkPad laptops/ultrabooks. This third-generation X1 Carbon also has much anticipated improvements to the keyboard and touchpad/trackpoint.

  • Kernel Space

    • Changes Already For Linux 3.20 (Linux 4.0?) Are Very Exciting

      While we don’t yet know whether the next kernel version is Linux 3.20 or Linux 4.0, what we do know is that this next Linux kernel revision will contain a lot of exciting updates.

    • The Staging Pull For Linux 3.20 Has A Lot Of Changes All Over The Place

      The latest pull requests sent in for the Linux 3.20 kernel are the various subsystems maintained by Greg Kroah-Hartman. The changes for the USB drivers, char/misc, driver core, staging, and TTY/serial aren’t too jaw-dropping, but for staging at least is the usual heavy churn between kernel cycles.

    • Reiser4 Updated For The Linux 3.18 Kernel

      For those still relying upon the Reiser4 file-system and haven’t migrated off to ZFS On Linux or Btrfs, the out-of-tree Reiser4 kernel code has been updated for compatibility with the Linux 3.18 kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • MakuluLinux KDE 7.0 is Live !

        Finaly the wait is over, the new MakuluLinux KDE 7 has been released, grab your copy from the KDE section in menu or simply click here.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.7 Brings Many Fixes, Supports NetworkManager 1.0, Etc

        The KDE community has done a Valentine’s weekend release of KDE Frameworks 5.7.0, the newest version of the add-on libraries used by KDE applications, KDE Plasma 5, and a growing number of other projects like LXQt.

      • Release of KDE Frameworks 5.7.0

        February 14, 2015. KDE today announces the release of KDE Frameworks 5.7.0.

        KDE Frameworks are 60 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms.

      • Local KDE meetings rock, and you should be in one

        A bunch of KDE enthusiasts from the sunny Barcelona (Spain), decided to organize a dinner in a restaurant to celebrate the launch of KDE 4.6. At that time, I was not even using KDE 4 (I was a happy KDE3 user instead!) but I though it would be nice to meet other people and discuss about the problems I had with KDE 4.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Three Things That Annoy Me With Using GNOME 3

        At the beginning of this month I wrote how I switched back to Fedora Linux on my main system to replace Ubuntu and also wrote about changes I made when installing Fedora 21 on my main system, a new ThinkPad ultrabook with Broadwell processor. There’s three small things that annoy me the most though about using GNOME 3.x.

  • Distributions

    • CrunchBang Linux is back from the dead

      It was just a little while ago that the Linux world was shocked to find that CrunchBang Linux had died. The CrunchBang developer felt like it was time to move on, and so CrunchBang users were going to have to let it go and find a new minimalist distro for their computers…until now.

    • CrunchBang rises from the ashes
    • Arch Family

      • Some Linux distributions never change

        In comparison, the set-up of Arch Linux was a breeze and extremely fast once the hard drive partionning was figured out. I got a laptop that does not isn’t UEFI enabled so I had more choices and did not have to go through the rather complex tools such as parted or gdisk. I got to use cfdisk which I have relied on for several years.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat wants you to contain yourself and your workloads

        Red Hat’s newest push in the virtualization realm is containers. You know, the good old BSD jail-type containers that leverages your hardware better than any other virtualization technology? Yes, that one.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora is sponsoring HackRU Spring 2015!

          After much anticipation, we have decided to sponsor HackRU, a hackathon occurring on April 18-19th 2015 at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ). As a hackathon attendee, I have noticed relatively little FOSS activity within the recent collegiate hackathon scene — as an organisation that strives to lead, not follow, Fedora will be sponsoring HackRU in April.

        • s3cmd 1.5.2 – major update coming to Fedora and EPEL

          As new upstream maintainer for the popular s3cmd program, I have been collecting and making fixes all across the codebase for several months. In the last couple weeks it has finally gotten stable enough to warrant publishing a formal release. Aside from bugfixes, its primary enhancement is adding support for the AWS Signature v4 method, which is required to create S3 buckets in the eu-central-1 (Frankfurt) region, and is a more secure request-signing method usable in all AWS S3 regions. Since releasing s3cmd v1.5.0, python 2.7.9 (as exemplified in Arch Linux) added support for SSL certificate validation. Unfortunately, that validation broke for SSL wildcard certificates (e.g. *.s3.amazonaws.com). Ubuntu 14.04 has an intermediate flavor of this validation, which also broke s3cmd. A couple quick fixes later, and v1.5.2 is published now.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • elementary OS: is financial support the only way to help a project grow?

              elementary OS is in news again, and for wrong reasons. In the latest blog post, the team accused those users of ‘cheating’ who chose not to ‘pay’ for the software.

            • 5 Reasons To Use Linux Mint And Not Ubuntu

              On the surface there isn’t much difference between Linux Mint and Ubuntu as Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu (except for Linux Mint Debian Edition) and apart from the desktop environment and default applications there isn’t really a difference.

              In this article I am going to list 5 reasons why you would choose Linux Mint over Ubuntu. Now I am well aware that Ubuntu users are going to come back and say that there are loads of reasons to use Ubuntu over Linux Mint and so the counterargument to this list will be made available later in the week.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • OpenPi review – a Pi of Things

      The OpenPi on first look is a curious device – a nondescript black box with merely an HDMI and a microUSB slot. There’s no real indication of what it might be, however cracking it open reveals a custom board connected to a Raspberry Pi compute module. Inside as standard is a wireless dongle and a bluetooth receiver for a mini-wireless keyboard/mouse combo. It seems quite simple, and to be fair in this state it is – it’s basically just a (fully-functioning) Raspberry Pi.

      That’s actually the point of it though. With the compute module and the OpenPi board, you have full access to the usual Raspberry Pi power and settings and such. The selling point of the OpenPi though is that you can then take this board – which is completely open hardware – and modify the plans yourself to make a custom board that fits your needs. Wireless Things thinks of it as an easier way to create an internet of things, and they’ve succeeded in creating the platform to do this really.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Study says Android 4.0 and iOS 8 are most likely to crash your apps

          Ever had the feeling that certain phone operating systems are more likely to crash your apps than others? It’s not just you. Crittercism has posted its latest breakdown of crash reports from about 20,000 apps, and it’s clear that certain operating systems aren’t as friendly as others. On Android, Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) is most likely to wreck your day; KitKat (4.4) is close behind, while Lollipop’s early reputation for glitches apparently doesn’t affect apps. With Apple devices, however, the tables turn. While iOS’ app crash rate is lower overall, iOS 8 is a bit more problematic than its predecessor. That’s not surprising given that Apple hasn’t had as much time to tackle issues in 8, but you may feel better if you’re still holding on to 7.

        • Android 5.0 Lollipop Update for Samsung Galaxy S4 Features New User Interface: Device Receives New Google OS

          The update is now available for users in different parts of the world such as Russia, India, Slovakia, Germany and Czech Republic. Most European countries can also enjoy the update already. However, Galaxy S4 users from the US should wait for their mobile carriers to roll out the update.

        • iOS versus Android: The text bubble witch hunt

          There’s another petty iOS versus Android controversy brewing. Apparently some folks have gotten it into their heads that Apple is teaching people to hate anyone who doesn’t use an iPhone by displaying SMS messages in green and iMessage messages in blue.

        • Android 5.0 Lollipop Update For Moto X 2013 Edition Delayed, Motorola Reveals The Reason Behind It

          In October 2014, Google announced the arrival of a new firmware update, Android 5.0 Lollipop. Motorola has been among the brands that promised the new firmware would be available to its devices. Motorola said that Android 5.0 Lollipop would be introduced in its flagships devices including 2013 editions of Moto G and Moto X.

        • Moto E and Moto Maxx get Android 5.0 Lollipop update

          The mobile phone manufacturer made the Android update announcement on their official Twitter account on Feb. 12, saying that Android 5.0 Lollipop can now be downloaded for Moto Maxx and Moto E in selected markets.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 36 Won’t Bring Native YouTube HTML5 Playback, But Will Sync Pinned Tiles

        Only ten days from today, on February 24, Mozilla will upgrade its ever-popular Firefox web browser to version 36.0, a release that won’t bring the highly anticipated native HTML5 playback on YouTube, according to a recent discussion on the Mozilla bug tracker, but will finally allow users to sync their new tab page’s pinned tiles across all of their devices where Mozilla Firefox is installed.

      • uBlock ad blocker added to Mozilla’s extensions site

        If you’re in the market for an efficient ad blocker, you can now get uBlock from Mozilla’s extensions site to add it to your Firefox browser. uBlock can be a great alternative to AdBlock Plus and other ad blocking extensions since it seems to use less system resources.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD-Based m0n0wall Firewall/Network OS Announces The End

      For anyone that in the past decade has looked for an embedded firewall/network operating system to build your own router or network device has likely encountered m0n0wall. While m0n0wall has been popular over the years and is powered by FreeBSD, the lead developer of m0n0wall has tossed in the towel after twelve years in development.

    • End of the m0n0wall project

      on this day 12 years ago, I have released the first version of m0n0wall to the public. In theory, one could still run that version – pb1 it was called – on a suitably old PC and use it to control the Internet access of a small LAN (not that it would be recommended security-wise). However, the world keeps turning, and while m0n0wall has made an effort to keep up, there are now better solutions available and under active development.


    • I ♥ Free Software 2015

      It is that time of the year again – the day we display our affection to our significant other …and the Free Software we like best.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Deaf group sues Harvard, MIT over online courses

      The National Association for the Deaf (NAD) filed a lawsuit (PDF) against Harvard and MIT yesterday, saying the two universities are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act because they don’t properly caption their online course offerings.


  • Should we be flattered or worried that the British accent turns foreigners on?

    I do hope Time Out magazine didn’t rush its Global Dating Survey in order to publish it in time for Valentine’s Day. It would be very much against the spirit of the age. Sir John Chilcot has shown us the way: if an investigation is important, it mustn’t be rushed. We must take time to draw the right conclusions even if hell freezes over first – surely the perfect opportunity for Tony Blair to take up skiing.

  • As Dynasty’s Son, Jeb Bush Used His Connections Freely

    The stream of requests to the White House from Jeb Bush, a young but well-connected Republican leader in South Florida, ranged from the weighty and urgent to the parochial and mundane.

    In 1985, he sent an emotional letter pressing his father, Vice President George Bush, to investigate the detention of Cuban children in Texas, asking, “Shouldn’t there be some compassion?” (The vice president’s reply: “Heartbreaking.”)

    In 1989, after his father became president, Mr. Bush offered his recommendation for the next Supreme Court opening. (“Your suggestion will be given thoughtful consideration,” a senior aide responded.)

  • Woman stung by scorpion on flight from LA to Portland

    A scorpion stung a woman on the hand just before her flight from Los Angeles to Portland took off.

    Flight 567 was taxiing on the runway Saturday night when the passenger was stung, Alaska Airlines spokesman Cole Cosgrove said. The plane returned to the gate, and the woman was checked by medics. She refused additional medical treatment, but she didn’t get back on the plane.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Mind control experiments on the mentally ill — Vermont State Hospital and the CIA

      I asked Karen what she thought they were trying to do her. She said that she had no doubt she was a research subject. The purpose of all this was just an extension of MKULTRA – mind control experiments. The CIA and their “Frankenstein” doctors were investigating how and when a person will break, when they will talk, at what point you can make a person do anything you want and when is too much, where they will just die.


      Apparently, 3,000 mysterious deaths from 1952-1973 at the Vermont State Hospital, hundreds of thousands of dollars funneled to the Hospital from the CIA, giving deadly and experimental drugs to mental health patients, putting them in strait jackets, giving them no bed, and making them urinate on the floor is not worthy of investigation. Is this not news in part because the CIA was acting criminally, or because these were expendable mental health patients? You tell me.

    • Could supermarkets for poor people tackle the UK’s chronic food poverty?

      It is rare to meet someone in the poverty world who does not profess to be motivated by politics, faith or social injustice. But Mark Game, who runs Community Shop, seems almost embarrassed by the idea that he might be trying to do anything other than run a successful business. Practical problem-solving, he says, is his thing. He is not religious, and he is not really a politics person.

    • Pakistan Polio Update: Vaccination Team Attacked In Khyber Agency; Second Team Disappears In Baluchistan Province

      Resistance to polio campaigns in Pakistan have been growing since the 2011 U.S. Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. The CIA had used a vaccination campaign as a cover for gathering information on the whereabouts of the al Qaeda leader.

  • Security

    • Facebook bug could have ERASED the ENTIRE WORLD

      The flaw potentially allowed mass deletion of photos using the identification number of a target album and an attacker’s Facebook Android app token. Any scripts to pull off this trick could be stopped by security controls like rate limiters.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • What Libya’s Unraveling Means

      Largely overshadowed by the crises in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine, Libya’s unraveling has received comparatively little attention over the past few months. As this oil-rich nation veers toward complete chaos, world leaders would be wise to redouble efforts led by the United Nations to broker a power-sharing deal among warring factions.

    • Dome of fire: Libya’s largest oil field sabotaged, company releases footage

      Libya’s Waha Oil Company has posted a video on its Facebook page showing the fire that raged through El Sarir oil field and halted oil flows to the Hariga port, in what is believed to be an act of sabotage.

    • Prison Dispatches from the War on Terror: Confessed Plotter Gives Insight into Radicalization

      In 2006, 21-year-old Fahim Ahmad was arrested and charged with leading a group of young men who planned to bomb power stations, take hostages and “behead politicians” in order to compel the Canadian government to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Ahmad was also accused of planning to travel abroad to join Islamist insurgents fighting in foreign conflicts.

    • al-Qaeda’s Feud with Denmark

      Denmark is a relatively small country, with a population of 5.7 million. But it is relatively wealthy, being the 35th largest economy in the world, producing more goods and services than Malaysia, Israel or the Philippines. Its military is more important than the country’s small size would suggest, since it is well supplied with fighter jets.

      The country is clearly in al-Qaeda’s sights, and not only because of the Jyllands Posten publication in 2007 of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. A Danish secret agent Morten Storm, went public with claims that he was key to tracking down Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born propagandist for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), based in Yemen. On the basis of Storm’s information, he says, the US were able to launch drone strikes against al-Awlaki and to kill him in September, 2011. AQAP therefore has a vendetta against Denmark. The country also supported the Bush invasion and occupation of Iraq, so that Daesh / ISIL sympathizers have an animus against it. The Danish air force is bombing the radicals in Iraq nowadays.

    • New shooting in Copenhagen: 3 wounded, including 2 police

      Police say three people have been wounded, including two police officers, in a shooting in downtown Copenhagen.

    • Denmark On High Alert After Copenhagen Terror Attack Kills One

      Multiple reports indicated that shots were fired early Sunday morning at a Copenhagen synagogue. It was not immediately clear if the shooting was related to the earlier killing at the free speech event.

    • Gunman Believed to Be Behind 2 Copenhagen Attacks Is Fatally Shot, Police Say
    • Police Kill Suspect In Copenhagen Shootings

      Danish police shot and killed a man early Sunday suspected of carrying out shooting attacks at a free speech event and then at a Copenhagen synagogue, killing two men, including a member of Denmark’s Jewish community. Five police officers were also wounded in the attacks.

      Officials have not identified the perpetrator but say it is possible he was imitating the terror attacks last month in Paris in which Islamic radicals carried out a massacre at the Charlie Hebdo newsroom followed by an attack on Jews at a kosher grocery store.

    • Danish police believe they killed gunman behind two Copenhagen shootings that killed 2, wounded 5

      By early Sunday, Danish police hunting for the shooter in each attack — one of which has been labeled a terrorist act — had shot and killed a man who opened fire on them near a train station, officials said.

    • Police say Copenhagen gunman had criminal record, gang past

      A Danish filmmaker was killed in the first attack. Nine hours later, a security guard protecting a bat mitzvah near a synagogue was slain. Five police officers were wounded in the shootings.

    • Copenhagen shootings suspect was ‘known to police’

      The suspect was from Copenhagen but has not been named. He had been “on the radar” of the intelligence services, police said. They have recovered a weapon believed to have been used in the first attack.

    • Israeli leader calls for mass Jewish influx after attack

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that at a time of rising anti-Semitism in Europe, Israel is the only place where Jews can truly feel safe. His comments triggered an angry response from Copenhagen’s chief rabbi, Jair Melchior, who said he was “disappointed” by the remarks.

    • Danish chief rabbi responds to Netanyahu: Terror is not a reason to move to Israel

      Netanyahu responds to Copenhagen attack: Wave of terror attack in which Jews are killed for being Jews will continue – Jews of Europe, Israel is your home.

    • Declassified Report: US Helped Israel Obtain Hydrogen Bomb

      The US assisted Israel in developing the hydrogen bomb, according to a declassified report by the US Department of Defense. The move violated international laws the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act enacted in 1978 which codified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty the US signed.

    • US Confirmed Existence of Israeli H-Bomb Program in 1987

      Back in 1987, according to a tightly-held report produced for the Pentagon, (PDF) the Israelis were “developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs. That is, codes which detail fission and fusion processes on a microscopic and macroscopic level.”

    • Rethinking the unthinkable

      A new report from the US National Academies looks at the ‘wildly, utterly, howlingly barking mad’ idea of geoengineering the climate.


      The NAS report refers to ‘climate intervention’, a phrase that joins ‘climate engineering’ and ‘climate remediation’ as recent attempts to rebrand geoengineering. But at least with this new phrase there is recognition of the almost complete absence of engineering in geoengineering. The rapid growth of geoengineering as a form of magical thinking makes it easy to forget that the technologies are largely imaginary. Scientists talk as though we could cool the planet tomorrow. The truth is that our technologies are no closer to being able to do this than they were at the end of world war two. We may pretend towards certainty but when it comes to geoengineering, it is tempting to conclude that, as William Goldman said about Hollywood, “nobody knows anything”.

    • Chill factor at ‘CIA’ weather query

      A leading American climate scientist has said he felt “scared” when a shadowy organisation claiming to represent the CIA asked him about the possibility of weaponised weather.

      Professor Alan Robock received a call three years ago from two men wanting to know if experts would be able to spot a hostile force’s attempts to upset the US climate.

      But he suspected the real intention was to find out how feasible it might be to secretly interfere with the climate of another country.

    • Weaponized weather inquiry alarms Rutgers University climate scientist

      A climate expert was alarmed when a mysterious organization claiming to be part of the CIA asked him whether he would be able to identify cases of weaponized weather attempts against the United States.

    • What About CIA Query Over The Possibility Of Weaponised Weather

      How feasible it might be to secretly interfere with the climate of another country? A leading American climate scientist has said he felt “scared” when a shadowy organisation claiming to represent the CIA asked him about the possibility of weaponised weather.

    • Why CIA Movie The Interview Obstructs Peace in Korea

      The ending of the movie introduces a particularly unrealistic and irresponsible message: that killing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un will result in a successful revolution by liberal dissidents. Living conditions in North Korea are so harsh that a revolution would have happened long ago if the hardship was really blamed on the government, rather than on US-led sanctions and diplomatic offensives. Although hawks and anti-communists often point at emigration out of North Korea as evidence of widespread political dissidence within the country, the argument does not resist serious scrutiny. A 2005 survey of 1346 North Korean émigrés living in China found that 95% had left their country for economic reasons, with only 2% leaving out of political dissatisfaction. According to the South Korean Ministry of Unification, political refugees are a small minority even among the émigrés that chose to resettle in the South: out of the 20,108 that had resettled by April 2011, only 7% indicated leaving because of dissatisfaction with the system. A 2011 South Korean survey of 102 North Koreans émigrés in China further showed that, even though 80% acknowledged that the South Korean economy gave the possibility of a better life than in the North, only 2% would want Korea to be reunified under a capitalist system. Obviously, even even if Kim Jong-Un was not just replaced with a new socialist leader, the country would be much more likely to descend into a protracted civil war than transform into a liberal democracy. While Americans may think they can solve the problem of nuclear-armed warlords battling for supremacy by marching into Pyongyang, so will the Chinese. This would leave us at best with a new, bloody division of Korean lands, and at worst with a new World War.

    • U.S. Closing Embassy In Yemen

      The State Department confirmed late Tuesday that it has closed the U.S. Embassy in Yemen and evacuated its staff because of the political crisis and security concerns following the takeover of much of the country by Shiite rebels.

    • CIA scales back presence in Yemen

      The closure of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen has forced the CIA to significantly scale back its counterterrorism presence in the country, according to current and former U.S. officials who said the evacuation represents a major setback in operations against al-Qaida’s most dangerous affiliate.

    • After Chaotic Withdrawal CIA Slashes Operations in Yemen

      With the takeover of Yemen by Shiite rebels, Western nations are stumbling over themselves to evacuate diplomats. The US announced its embassy’s closure, and Britain and France are soon to follow. But also racing for the exit is the CIA, potentially leaving Yemen – and the world – vulnerable to al-Qaeda attacks.

    • The chaos in Yemen is a much trickier problem for the US than people realize

      The US evacuation of its embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, leaves a Middle Eastern country with 25 million citizens, a leading Al Qaeda branch, and real estate along one of the world’s busiest oil transit choke points without much of an American diplomatic presence.

    • Fmr. U.S. Amb. to Russia:McFaul: Putin Believes CIA led Ukrainian ‘Coup’
    • The Government Is Losing Territory In Eastern Ukrainians’ Hearts And Minds

      Ukraine’s 10-month attempt to reclaim its easternmost provinces has only made locals there hate the central government even more.

    • Putin Wins, Obama Loses, in Draft Plan for Ukraine

      U.S. President Barack Obama is not mentioned there; but, for him to reject their deal, and to send lethal weapons to Ukraine now and so escalate the war and its massive bloodshed — which has already cost “up to 50,000” dead and millions of refugees — would be extremely embarrassing for the United States: no American “boots on the ground,” just tens of thousands of Ukrainian corpses under it, in a war that Obama himself had initiated (and even the founder of Stratfor, the “private CIA” firm, says that the February 2014 overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, which started the war, was “the most blatant coup in history,” which it certainly was, and is increasingly recognized as having been).

    • Female suicide bomber kills 16 in northeast Nigeria

      A teenage female suicide bomber blew herself up at crowded bus station in northeast Nigeria on Sunday, killing at least 16 and wounding 30 others.

      Most of the victims were children who had either been selling peanuts or begging for money at the time of the explosion, said witnesses.

    • PNP gave FBI the finger!

      They didn’t have a choice. Giving the FBI Marwan’s dirty finger is apparently part of the deal. In any case, we didn’t have the means to determine if the chopped finger belongs to Marwan. The US, on the other hand, has DNA sample from the imprisoned brother of Marwan as well as the facilities to perform the tests.

    • Free Syrian Army Sold Kayla Mueller to ISIS

      Jurgen Todenhofer, the German journalist who lived with ISIS recently in Iraq and Syria, said they had all the best weapons, and ISIS told him they buy all their weapons from the FSA. American taxpayers have sent their hard earned dollars to the FSA through numerous acts passed in the US Congress; most were championed by Sen. John McCain, Republican of Arizona. When Kayla was kidnapped, her parents contacted officials in Arizona, her home area, and they contacted Sen. John McCain.

    • Group plans to protest public presentation

      On Tuesday, a Laramie-based group called Wyoming Citizens Against Torture plans to protest a public presentation by Lynne Cheney, who will be accompanied by her husband and former Vice President Dick Cheney.

    • Telling the Truth About Religious Violence

      President Barack Obama committed the ultimate political blunder the other day. He blurted out the truth.

      Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast, he warned his Christian brethren against “getting up on our high horse” when condemning the violence of Muslim terrorists.

      “During the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” he said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

      Naturally, all hell broke loose.

      The Rupert Murdoch army launched into full attack, supported by Rush Limbaugh air strikes. Rabid Fox News commentators, foaming at the mouth, fought each other for control of the mics to condemn the president’s remarks as “un-American” and, even worse, liberal. He was derided as irreligious, weak, and not a real American.

    • CIA torture undermined U.S. interests: Column

      U.S. ‘intelligence’ repelled moderates, boosted extremist recruitment in Middle East.

    • Why the CIA Killed Imad Mughniyeh

      The CIA doesn’t assassinate often anymore, so when it does the agency picks its targets carefully. The story uncovered last weekend by the Washington Post and Newsweek the CIA’s reported role in the February 2008 assassination of Hezbollah master terrorist Imad Mughniyeh is the stuff of a Hollywood spy thriller. A team of CIA spotters in Damascus tracking a Hezbollah terrorist wanted for decades; a custom-made explosive shaped to kill only the target and placed in the spare tire of an SUV parked along the target’s route home; intelligence gathered by Israelis, paired with a bomb built and tested in North Carolina, taking out a man responsible for the deaths of more Americans than anyone else until 9/11.

    • Americans bearing drones

      When President Aquino first faced the nation to speak about the raid that killed Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, better known as Marwan, but also left 44 Special

      Action Force troopers dead, he said the Philippine National Police had gathered “actionable intelligence” on the whereabouts of Marwan and his Filipino protégé,

      Basit Usman. The phrase has been repeated many times since, during the testimony of various police officers in the Senate and in the House of Representatives.


      Brian Williams, American television network anchor caught telling his audience a fantasy version of his experience on a foreign assignment, has unintentionally provided us with a near perfect allegory and tale of caution about American journalism and the role it plays in politics and foreign affairs.

    • How Does the Pentagon Keep Fooling Reporters About Its Tech Research Agency?

      Last Sunday, Leslie Stahl used the coveted first segment on CBS’s 60 Minutes to do a puff-piece on the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Project Research Agency. Her story, which included a minor scoop about the agency’s work on cyber security, was covered all week in the tech press and gave DARPA another opportunity to strut its stuff on the national stage.

    • The long shadows of Augusto Pinochet: Peace Boat passengers meet survivors of the other 9/11 in Valparaíso, Chile

      For most North Americans, the mention of 9/11 evokes grey airplanes against white cirrus; slow television seconds; and the obscene inward folding of metal and glass.

      This collective memory is video-looped on CNN specials, honored by fire-fighter parades and nurtured at candlelit vigils, so that peripheral details – whether we were at biology class that day, or had told an ex we still loved them – can stick to its sides like post-it notes.

      But 9/11 has entirely different associations in Chile, more difficult to pin to a central image. For Erika Arbulu, who met with a Peace Boat group when the ship docked in Valparaíso last week, the day began with radio interference, and then military songs over the transmitter.

      At 7 am on September 11, 1973, Admiral José Toribio Merino’s navy captured the Chilean port city of Valparaíso. At 8 am General Augusto Pinochet’s army – secretly backed by the CIA – moved on Santiago. And by 2:30 pm, Chilean jets had bombed their own presidential palace and Salvador Allende, Latin America’s first popularly elected socialist president, was dead.

    • Former Army Sniper Pleads Guilty in Murder-for-Hire Conspiracy

      A former Army sergeant with the nickname Rambo pleaded guilty on Friday to conspiring to murder a federal drug agent and another man, in what the government has said was his post-military role as a contract killer.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • What does the Swiss Leaks tell news editors

      If you are in charge for a news organization, quit following the official statements all the time and start devoting more space and energy to look for those persons who are willing to talk, those potential journalists who are more than just “sources.”

      Instead of fearing the consequences and punishment, you can assure them to protect their identity.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Study Finds Rising Levels of Plastics in Oceans

      While Americans generate 2.6 kilograms of waste per person per day, or 5.7 pounds, to China’s 1.10 kilograms, the United States ranked lower on the list because of its more efficient waste management, Professor Jambeck said.

    • 140 whales die in beach stranding

      About 140 pilot whales which stranded themselves on a remote stretch of beach in New Zealand have died, an official said today.

    • Why Are So Many Environmental Activists Being Murdered?

      Jeannette Kawas was an accountant whose concept of value was broader than any balance sheet. No number could capture for her the natural wealth she saw in the forests, rivers, beaches and mangrove swamps of Punta Sal, near her hometown of Tela in northern Honduras.

      In the 1980s, cattle ranchers, resort developers and loggers all wanted a slice of this landscape. As their hunger grew, Kawas formed an environmental organization, PROLANSATE, to protect the land, and in 1994, it convinced the government to allow it to create and manage a new national park there.

      Within three months PROLANSATE renamed Punta Sal National Park to honor its founder, who was shot dead in her home on February 6, 1995. Years later a ruling from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights said Kawas’s work in defense of the environment had motivated the murder.

    • The fight to save one of the world’s oldest fish species

      Water from the iced-over Connecticut River numbed my hands as I cradled a hard, scaleless fish at the US Geological Survey’s anadromous fish laboratory at Turners Falls, Massachusetts. Its back was dark brown, its belly cream. Five rows of bony plates ran the length of its thin body to the shark-like tail. Four barbels covered with taste buds dangled from its flat snout in front of the sucker mouth. At 20 inches it was a baby. Adults can measure 14 ft and weigh 800 pounds.

    • Climate science denialists in tailspin over hottest years

      All the recent declarations that 2014 was the hottest year on record seems to have prompted a spate of panic denial among climate change contrarians, denialists and ideologues.

      We’ve had a declaration of one of the “most extraordinary scandals of our time” from UK climate science manglers Christopher Booker and James Delingpole.

      The accusation is that climate scientists have been “fiddling” the world’s temperature data with the express motivation of showing the world is warmer than it really is.

    • Great Barrier Reef: warmer waters helping coral-eating starfish thrive

      The survival chances of crown-of-thorns starfish increase by as much as 240% if sea-surface temperatures rise 2C, say Australian researchers

    • Coalition Tells U.S. Export-Import Bank: Don’t Use U.S. Dollars to Finance Coal Project that Threatens the Great Barrier Reef
  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Real Ruler of Israel: Sheldon Adelson

      To assure this, they did an extraordinary thing: they founded an Israeli newspaper, solely devoted to the furthering of the interests of Binyamin Netanyahu. Not of the Likud, not of a specific policy, but of Netanyahu personally.

    • Storytelling ability connected Brian Williams with viewers but also led to his downfall

      …NBC has also declined to publicly discuss any details relating to Williams and his suspension.

    • Former Navy SEAL Says Brian Williams’ Embed Story Can’t Be True

      Embattled NBC News anchor Brian Williams’ claim that he once flew on a mission with Navy SEAL Team Six is far-fetched and likely untrue, one former SEAL said on Sunday.

      “What Brian Williams is saying, none of it can be true. For a reporter to be embedded with SEAL Team Six or any Tier One unit, that just doesn’t happen,” Don Mann, the former SEAL, told CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter.

    • 7 Controversial World Leaders the CIA Secretly Thinks Have Psychological Issues

      Pentagon…Vladimir Putin has a form of autism… same kind of people… urged Martin Luther King to commit suicide

    • Former CIA chief controls most of the media in Serbia – report

      American Fund “KKR investment”, headed by former CIA chief General David Petraeus, from October 2013 until this day, in less than a year and a half, has put under its control a significant part of Serbian media, internet portal “Vaseljenska” reported.

    • Inside the Drawings of a Cartoonist for the CIA

      Chip Beck hasn’t taken a typical path for editorial cartoonists. A self-taught artist, he’s mostly worked for the United States government, including for the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department. Closer to the end of his career than many local cartoonists, Beck remains as active as any of them.

    • WPost Is Lost in Neocon Fantasyland

      The neocons now control the editorial pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post, a dangerous development for the American people and the world. Yet, the Post remains the more extreme of the two, pushing for endless confrontations and wars, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • VIDEO: Protesting George Friedman, CEO Of Stratfor, in Austin & San Francisco

      On January 22, journalist and political prisoner Barrett Brown was convicted in a Texas court of controversial charges. In addition to a 63-month sentence, Brown is expected to pay $890,250 in restitution to the private spy agency, Strategic Forecasting (a.k.a. “Stratfor”).

      This monumental fine, which turns a theoretically free citizen into an indentured servant of a corporation, is meant to hold Brown responsible for a hack by the Anonymous group LulzSec — even though the government admitted it didn’t have any concrete evidence to show he’d taken any material part in the hack.

      Jeremy Hammond, a member of LulzSec, pled guilty in May of 2013 and was sentenced to ten years in prison. The hack, carried out under the instruction of the FBI’s agent saboteur and snitch Sabu, revealed millions of emails that showed the complex interrelationship between the private intelligence firm, multinational corporations, and the surveillance state. The emails also revealed how Stratfor had infiltrated activist groups from Texas to India.

      On February 2, 2015, George Friedman, Stratfor’s CEO, was scheduled to sign his book “Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe,” at Book People, an independent bookstore in Austin, Texas. It would be Hammond’s 1,065th day in prison; Brown had been incarcerated for 874.

    • The CIA Is Bringing Amazon’s Marketplace to the Intelligence Community

      Last year, the Central Intelligence Agency took the 17 agencies within the intelligence community to the cloud through a ground-breaking $600 million contract with Amazon Web Services.

    • Spy agencies around the world
    • Facebook Thinks Some Native American Names Are Inauthentic

      The social network has a history of telling its users that the names they’re attempting to use aren’t real. Drag queens and overseas human rights activists, for example, have experienced error messages and problems logging in in the past.

    • Facebook’s Name Policy Strikes Again, This Time at Native Americans

      What do drag queens, burlesque performers, human rights activists in Vietnam and Syria, and Native Americans have in common? They have all been the targets of “real names” enforcement on Facebook. And despite reports from the media last year that seemed to indicate that Facebook has “fixed” the issue, they’re still being targeted.

    • NSA sends Valentine’s Day tweets to insist it’s not listening in on ‘pillow talk’

      The NSA has had a lot of fun with the lovey-dovey holiday by apparently debunking myths that their analysts spy on couples whispering sweet nothings in bed.

    • Our World Eerily Resembles ’1984′ and Might Be Even Scarier

      In 1949, George Orwell published a book that conveyed a dystopian society in a perpetual state of war under the watch of its totalitarian dictator, “Big Brother.” At the time, it was a fascinating concept partly because it echoed the deepening fears around the danger of absolute political authority in Spain, Germany and the Soviet Union. Now, in the Digital Age, “1984” is becoming eerily relevant once again—not because of the political environment, but because of how surveillance technology has started to potentially compromise our privacy.

    • Macedonia: Massive surveillance revelation: 20 000 people wiretapped

      On 10 February, EDRi-member Metamorphosis, expressed grave concern about the publicly announced allegations of mass and unauthorised surveillance of citizens. Invasions of privacy directly affect freedom of expression in Macedonia, and fuel the overall climate of fear and silence.

    • Bugging revelations stun journalists as inquiry unfolds

      One of those bugged all those years ago was Nick Kaldas, now Deputy Commissioner. Another was journalist Steve Barrett.

    • ‘Vexatious’, ‘annoying’ and ‘disruptive’ Press Gazette barred by Met from asking more RIPA questions

      The Metropolitan Police has barred Press Gazette from requesting information about its use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to spy on journalists.

      Last night, the force rejected a Freedom of Information Act request on the grounds that it was the sixth question submitted since September.

      Explaining its decision to reject further FoI requests from Press Gazette, the Met said in an email that it has the right to refuse “vexatious requests… which are intended to be annoying or disruptive or which have a disproportionate impact on a public authority”.

    • The Untold Story: How Radius Brought the Edward Snowden Doc ‘Citizenfour’ to America

      Tom Quinn and Jason Janego, who head the distribution label, discuss the secrecy involved with releasing the controversial film (code names, encrypted messages) and their fears about how it would be received (“Would Harvey fire me?”).

    • 10 things the GCHQ-NSA privacy ruling means for you

      On 6th February 2015, in an unprecedented ruling, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ruled that for a period of seven years the UK’s intelligence services had been acting unlawfully in accessing communications collected by the NSA.


      GCHQ now has seven years of data gathered through a process now ruled unlawful. Seven years of data gathered about millions of innocent people. Privacy International has challenged GCHQ to delete it all, and are working on putting together an online form to help people do so for themselves.

    • Libertarian Students Honor Their Chosen Hero, Edward Snowden

      There are no heroes, only heroic actions. That’s what NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden told a cheering crowd of more than 1,000 libertarian students at the International Students for Liberty Conference in Washington, D.C. this weekend. Thanks to the magic of modern technology, Snowden was able to accept his award via video feed, and answered questions from ISFL President Alexander McCobin.

  • Civil Rights

    • Basis for Case in Brooklyn Police Shooting: No Threat Led Officer to Fire

      On the surface, the police shooting of an unarmed man in a housing project stairwell in Brooklyn seemed like a freakish accident.

      The officer, Peter Liang, told his superiors that his gun had gone off unintentionally, the bullet rattling off a wall and into an unsuspecting man’s chest, killing him. Even the New York City police commissioner, William J. Bratton, said there was no suggestion that the officer intended to shoot the man, Akai Gurley.

    • Detained reporter’s family finds new lawyer to represent him in Iran

      The family of a Washington Post reporter imprisoned in Iran for more than half a year has engaged a prominent defense attorney known for taking sensitive cases involving Americans ensnared in legal issues in the country.

    • Pennsylvania’s governor suspends the death penalty

      “A moratorium is just a ploy,” the association said in a statement. “Make no mistake, this action is not about waiting for a study– it’s about the governor ignoring duly enacted law and imposing his personal views against the death penalty.”

    • Is US democracy in peril?

      In the US, there has been a culture of impunity for the CIA operatives responsible for torture of suspects in the wake of the 9/11 attacks

    • European Parliament to investigate CIA’s torture and rendition operations in EU

      The European Parliament today voted to investigate the extent of the CIA’s detention, torture and rendition programme in EU countries.

      The decision comes two months after the US Senate intelligence committee published a redacted summary of its six year investigation into the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme.

      The European Parliament’s committees on civil liberties, foreign affairs and human rights previously investigated the CIA’s programme in 2006, and they will now resume their inquiry with new details from the Senate’s report.

    • CIA torture: “Torture calls into question the very basis of our values”

      The torture methods used by the CIA to extract information from detainees have sparked another debate in Parliament in the wake of the US Senate publishing its report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme. MEPs were asked to vote on two different resolutions on this on 11 February, but only one of them was adopted. We talked to S&D member Birgit Sippel and EPP member Elmar Brok to find out why their political groups had different views on the issue.

    • MEPs disagree over what to do about CIA torture report

      The torture methods used by the CIA to extract information from detainees have sparked another debate in Parliament in the wake of the US Senate publishing its report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.

    • Parliament to resume investigations into CIA-led operations in EU countries

      Parliament’s civil liberties, foreign affairs and human rights committees will resume investigations into the CIA’s alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in EU countries, in the light of the US Senate’s new revelations of the use of torture by the CIA, says a resolution passed on Wednesday. MEPs also again call on EU member states to investigate these allegations and prosecute those involved.

    • My Gitmo client’s interpreter worked for the CIA

      Latest embarrassing incident demonstrates that military tribunals cannot mete out justice to detainees

    • Guantánamo Hearing Suspended when Defendants Claim Court Translator Previously Worked at CIA Torture Site
    • Gitmo Translator’s Past At CIA Throws Wrench In Sept. 11 Trial

      Government prosecutors confirmed in a Guantanamo Bay war court today that an interpreter for one of five alleged co-conspirators in the Sept. 11 attacks had earlier worked for the CIA. But they insisted no federal agency had tried to place the interpreter on the defense team to gather intelligence. Defense lawyers cried foul and asked that all further proceedings be suspended until the issue is resolved.

    • 9/11 lawyers trade barbs over CIA ‘black site’ translator turned Guantanamo defense linguist
    • Gitmo translator ID’d as CIA ‘black site’ agent
    • USA: Guantánamo 9/11 military hearing halted after defendant claims court interpreter worked at CIA black site
    • Coincidence or infiltration? Trial of alleged 9/11 plotters halted after accused ‘recognises interpreter’ from CIA ‘black site’
    • CIA chief under pressure to resign after leak of lawyer’s memo

      John Brennan, the CIA head, has strongly denied that his organisation spied on Senate staff working on last year’s report on the agency’s involvement in torture and secret rendition – but memos from a CIA lawyer suggest the contrary.

    • The CIA Lawyer Who Led a Secret Effort to Spy on the Senate

      When the CIA got caught spying on Senate staffers working on the 6,000 page torture report, John Brennan, who heads the agency, denied the transgression. “As far as the allegations of the CIA hacking into computers, nothing could be further from the truth,” he said on March 11, 2014. “That’s beyond the scope of reason.” Four months later, the CIA Inspector General found that the CIA did, in fact, improperly spy on the Senate intelligence committee. After that, Brennan apologized.

    • ACLU Won’t Give Up on Full CIA Torture Report

      The ACLU had gone to the court in Washington, D.C., last month seeking to protect its right to receive a full copy of the 6,963-page report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the CIA’s use of torture.

    • ACLU Wins Round on ‘Torture Report’

      The American Civil Liberties Union early Monday withdrew an emergency motion filed late last month in its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that blocked the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee from collecting all copies of the committee’s full, unredacted report on the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation program.”

    • CIA needs just 6 years to release data, not 28

      The CIA has some good news for a group demanding a copy of the agency’s database of nearly 12 million declassified documents: it won’t take 28 years to release the set, only six.

      A Central Intelligence Agency official told a federal judge Friday that the spy agency has found a way to streamline the review process so that the 11.6 million pages of records requested by the open government outlet Muckrock can be released with only a “spot check” of the documents for snippets of stray classified information that might get tangled up in the files during the release process.

    • Shielding US officials involved with torture has decadeslong precedent
    • White House won’t return spy doc without court approval

      The Obama administration isn’t planning on handing 6,900 classified pages of a Senate Intelligence Committee report back to Capitol Hill, until a court has time to weigh in.

      In a court filing on Friday, the Department of Justice said it would let a lawsuit over the secret report play out before giving it back to Congress, as the new chairman of the Intelligence Committee has asked.

    • 9/11 defendant sodomized at CIA ‘black site’ still suffers injuries, lawyer says

      A lawyer for a man accused of helping to plot the 9/11 attacks said today his captive Saudi client was rectally abused while in CIA custody, “and continues to bleed now, at least eight years later.” He and other men were forced to submit to rectal exams with excessive force, conducted by CIA operatives. The other words for this are rape, or sodomy.

    • 9/11 Defendant Claims Ongoing Injuries From CIA Torture

      The one refreshing thing about the hearings in the 9/11 military commission case at Guantanamo this week is that defense lawyers are now allowed to say the word “torture” without the censor blacking out the audio feed. And the word “torture” came up a lot.

    • 9/11 defendant still suffering from CIA ‘black site’ injuries, lawyer says at Guantánamo
    • 9/11 defendant still suffering from ‘black site’ injuries, lawyer says at Guantánamo
    • Medical records sought for Saudi facing Guantanamo trial
    • The only US government employee jailed over torture has been released
    • John Kiriakou: CIA Whistleblower Freed, Would Do It Again
    • ‘No one went to jail but me’: CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou speaks out
    • Espionage: Leaking Against the Impossible
    • Oh, No: The ACLU Helped Jail CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou

      The ACLU, one of the United States’ most respected civil liberties organizations, collaborated with President Reagan’s CIA in writing secrecy laws that enabled the prosecution of Bush-era CIA whistle-blower John Kiriakou, according to Mark Ames at Pando Daily.

    • EXCLUSIVE: US President Ordered Torture, Jailed CIA Agent Tells Sputnik

      John Kiriakou is out of prison two years after his conviction under The Espionage Act. In his first exclusive interview after his release, Kiriakou talked to Sputnik about torture, prison life and whistleblower protections and how torture committed by the CIA “was official U.S. policy.”

    • Leaking Against the Impossible: Whistleblower John Kiriakou, CIA Torture and Leaking

      This case reveals, as do whistleblowing cases in general, that the discloser is presumed to be guilty, the tribal member who went against the creed. The result of that disclosure – exposing an illegal program, implemented by individuals who, one would think, would be the subject of prosecution – is evaded. Twisted logic ensues: the perpetrator of abuse escapes the exposure; and the one doing the exposing received due punishment. Rules, not substance, matter.

    • Finding Creative Ways to Torture

      After World War II, Americans led the way in establishing landmark human rights principles, including a repudiation of torture. But more recent U.S. leaders have chosen to disgrace those ideals by devising euphemisms and end-runs to continue the barbaric practices, as Peter Costantini describes.

    • VIDEO: Freed CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Says “I Would Do It All Again” to Expose Torture
    • Freed CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Says “I Would Do It All Again” to Expose Torture
    • The real heroes of the War on Terror: 6 brave Americans who defied Bush’s torture doctrine

      If it hadn’t been for sergeant named Joseph Darby, we might never have known about the abuses at Abu Ghraib

    • American heroes who said no to torture
    • This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you

      “Enhanced interrogation”: the George W. Bush administration bureaucrats who coined the term had perfect pitch. The apparatchiks of Kafka’s Castle would have admired the grayness of the euphemism. But while it sounds like some new kind of focus group, it turns out it was just anodyne branding for good old-fashioned torture.

      Unfortunately, the debate around it unleashed by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report has largely missed the point.

      Certainly, the report did provide overwhelming evidence that torture did not produce useful intelligence. The CIA had concluded previously that torture is “ineffective”, “counterproductive,” and “will probably result in false answers.”

      An FBI agent wrote that one prisoner had cooperated and provided “important actionable intelligence” months before being tortured. Some CIA agents and soldiers reportedly questioned the legality of the policies and resisted carrying them out.

      A Bush Justice Department lawyer acknowledged: “It is difficult to quantify with confidence and precision the effectiveness of the program.” In any case, it is inherently impossible to know that any intelligence purportedly extracted by torture could not have been elicited by legal interrogation.

    • ​CIA torture based on ‘voodoo science’ of advocates – US intelligence expert
    • Fordham faculty petitions to revoke CIA director’s honorary degree

      A new, faculty-initiated petition is requesting that Fordham University revoke its honorary degree to John Brennan, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

      Calling Brennan’s honorary degree “indefensible,” the petition calls upon Fordham University to revoke the degree, citing what the petitioners call his defense and support of torture.

    • Fordham University Faculty Members Want CIA Director John Brennan’s Honorary Degree Taken Back
    • Was Jeffrey Sterling Trial a Gov’t Effort to Divide Investigative Journalists & Whistleblowers?

      In January, a federal jury in Virginia convicted former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling on nine felony counts, including espionage. Prosecutors accused Sterling of leaking classified information about a secret operation to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program to journalist James Risen of The New York Times. Risen later revealed how the risky operation could have inadvertently aided the Iranian nuclear program. Supporters of Sterling described him as a whistleblower, but prosecutors claimed he leaked the information to settle a score with the agency. Sterling is scheduled to be sentenced in April. He faces a maximum possible sentence of decades in prison. We speak with Norman Solomon, who reported from the Sterling trial. “We’ve got to support investigative journalists and whistleblowers. We can’t allow the government to drive a wedge between the two,” Solomon says, co-founder of RootsAction.org, which has launched public campaigns to support both Sterling and Risen.

    • Barney Frank: Making a case against torture

      It was this mindset that informed the decision to unleash the CIA to use the methods that the Senate Intelligence Committee report correctly criticizes. If our very survival as a nation was imperiled by Islamic fanaticism, then some justification might have existed for Cheney’s sneering dismissal of any concern that we were brutalizing prisoners and his lack of any regard for the fact that dozens of undeniably innocent people were among the victims.

    • Guantánamo diary… The men behind the wire

      I’m not sure how one is supposed to review a book like Guantánamo Diary. It’s not literature; its historical account of a complex episode is subjective; and perhaps a fifth of its contents are redacted. Some of the pages are comically over-censored: a slab of black with only one word left uncut. Page 301 begins “But anyway. . .” and then, there are seven pages of redactions (see picture below). But even if Guantánamo Diary is not a perfect book, it is a necessary one.

    • Woman Says Cop Beating Caused Miscarriage

      Kenya Harris sued the City of Albany, Ga., police chief John Proctor and officers Ryan Jenkins and Richard Brown, Jr. for excessive force, assault and battery and infliction of emotional distress.

    • Turkish courts being turned into ‘revenge’ instruments says outgoing top judge

      The outgoing head of Turkey’s top court launched a final broadside against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, warning that the judiciary was being turned into an “instrument of revenge” by politicians.

    • Malaysian cartoonist Zunar arrested for criticising Anwar Ibrahim ruling

      Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque – better known as Zunar – taken into custody after using Twitter to criticise judiciary involved in sodomy case

    • New Report on Lynching Reveals Sinister Legacy of ‘Racial Terrorism’ in America

      Capital punishment and ongoing racial injustice in the United States are “direct descendents” of lynching, charges a new study, which found that the pre-World War II practice of “racial terrorism” has had a much more profound impact on race relations in America than previously acknowledged.

      The most comprehensive work done on lynching to date, the investigation unearthed a total of 3,959 racially-motivated lynchings during the period between Reconstruction and World War II, which is at least 700 more killings than previously reported.

    • The police need to be reminded of their place in a free society

      From monitoring sales of Charlie Hebdo to using facial recognition technology on innocent people, Britain’s police are showing a lack of respect for our freedoms

    • Kevin Davis wrongly killed by police after calling 911 for help

      Kevin Davis did the right thing. On December 29, Kevin called 911 for help. His girlfriend, April, had just been stabbed and the man who did it, Terrance Hilyard, fled the scene. Within minutes, the family dog, Tooter, and Kevin were each fatally shot by Dekalb County Police Officer Joseph Pitts.

    • Shot three times by police, then isolated in hospital. Why was Kevin Davis’s family barred from seeing him?

      Police in Georgia who cuffed a man to his hospital bed for two days after he was fatally shot by an officer have been accused by his family of barring them from visiting him to stop full details of the shooting from being disclosed.

      Kevin Davis was detained at Grady hospital in Atlanta after being shot three times by a DeKalb County police officer, who was responding to a 911 call made by Davis and his girlfriend when she was stabbed by another man at their apartment in the suburb of Decatur.

    • Walking While Brown, Chapter 6,782

      In further evidence U.S. police forces include way too many racist thugs who slam ‘em to the ground and beat ‘em up first and (possibly) think second, Madison, Ala. police partially paralyzed a 57-year-old Indian gentleman after assaulting him for taking a morning stroll through his engineer son’s affluent white neighborhood. The cops were called after a caller declared Sureshbhai Patel “suspicious,” apparently believing he was scouting garages for the right place to plant a bomb because he hates our freedom, when in fact he was admiring the clean streets before going in to help take care of his newborn grandson. When police accosted him, he repeatedly said “No English” and pointed to his son’s nearby house, but police just pounded him anyway. Surely an understandable mistake, yes? No, said Hank Sherrod, the family’s attorney, who did not mince his words. “There is nothing suspicious about Mr. Patel other than he has brown skin.” The family is suing. On their part, Madison police admitted no crime was committed. They did suspend the officer, launch an investigation, and wish Mr. Patel “a speedy recovery.” Only in America, where this sort of thing inexplicably keeps happening, day in and day out, far too often, and will likely continue to until a big enough fuss is made about it.

    • Miami cops flood Waze with fake police sightings

      Hundreds of Miami police officers aren’t happy with Waze’s police-finding feature, and they’re not content with asking Google to remove it. According to NBC Miami, a number of cops in the city are taking matters into their own hands, downloading the app and inundating it with fake police sightings. We’re sure a lot of people love the app for that particular feature, as they can use it to make sure they’re driving well below the speed limit in the presence of law enforcement. Some American officers told AP last month, though, that the app could pose a threat, as wanne-be cop killers can easily use it to find a target.

    • Hundreds protest police shooting in Washington state

      Hundreds gathered in southeastern Washington on Saturday to protest police brutality in the wake of a deadly shooting of a man who had been throwing rocks at the police.

      Before the midday rally, children and adults hand-lettered signs, calling for justice for Antonio Zambrano-Montes, who witnesses say was running away when police fired on him Tuesday in a busy intersection.

    • Protesters Hold Rally outside CIA Headquarters in Virginia

      American anti-war activists gathered in front of a CIA base in Virginia, asking for the shutdown of Guantanamo prison.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Lawyer doubts admissions will affect Dotcom

        The first of seven people indicted over Kim Dotcom’s now defunct Megaupload website has pleaded guilty to copyright infringement charges.

      • YODA Back, It Is: Law To Let You Actually Own Your Devices Even When Copyright Gets In The Way

        Last year, we wrote about Rep. Blake Farenthold introducing a small, but important piece of copyright legislation, the You Own Devices Act (YODA), which just says that if you buy some piece of computerized equipment, you can sell it with any included software, without having to get permission from the software provider. As we noted, the reality is that this is just making it clear that the first sale doctrine applies to computer equipment too — which shouldn’t need a new law, but some tech companies (especially in the networking space) feel otherwise.

      • ISP’s “Three Strikes” Scheme is Weird and Broken

        Eircom was one of the first ISPs in Europe to implement a voluntary “three strikes” anti-piracy program but strangely it’s now hiding the prospect of disconnections from customers. Together with music group IFPI, they also fail heavily on the piracy education front.


Links 14/2/2015: Mageia 5 Beta 3 Released, TPP Imperialism

Posted in News Roundup at 7:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Valentine’s Comes to Linux

    Tomorrow is St. Valentine’s Day and a lot of Open Source is feeling mushy. The Free Software Foundation began a campaign to show all the hard-working developers, managers, and support staff appreciate and has dubbed February 14 I love Free Software Day. openSUSE and the Document Foundation are in the act as well. Elsewhere, the Mageia project has announced their Valentine’s gift – Mageia 5 Beta 3.

  • Desktop

    • Digitimes Research: Google to finish 2-in-1 Chromebook development in 1Q15

      Google is planning to push 2-in-1 devices in 2015, according Digitimes Research’s inquiries within the upstream supply chain. Google’s 2-in-1 Chromebook designed by Quanta Computer is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter.

    • Uh oh! Steam Machines are doomed or something

      So I think it a good idea for Linux gamers and gamers in general to try to be patient while Valve does its work. The worst thing that could happen is for Valve to prematurely release SteamOS or the Steam Machines before they are ready for prime time. A buggy, slow version of SteamOS would cause many gamers to think twice about using it. And a badly designed controller or other hardware screw up would also damage the entire SteamOS platform.

    • Cutegram 2, the Best Telegram Client for Linux Ever

      Cutegram is one of those new apps that you fall in love with them instantly, especially if they provide overwhelming features. It is a Telegram client for GNU/Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X systems, written in Qt5/QML and designed to blend perfectly into the KDE Plasma graphical desktop environment and dubbed by its developers “Best Telegram Client Ever.”

  • Server

    • Docker

      … is the new hype these days. Everyone seems to want to be part of it; even Microsoft wants to allow Docker to run on its platform. How they visualise that is slightly beyond me, seen as how Docker is mostly a case of “run a bunch of LXC instances”, which by their definition can’t happen on Windows. Presumably they’ll just run a lot more VMs, then, which is a possible workaround.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Parsix GNU/Linux 7.0r1 (Nestor) Officially Released – Screenshot Tour

        The Parsix GNU/Linux Project proudly announced a few minutes ago, February 14, that the first maintenance release of the Parsix GNU/Linux 7.0 (codename Nestor) computer operating system based on the Debian 7 Wheezy distribution has been officially released and is now available for download from its website or as an upgrade to existing Parsix GNU/Linux 7.0 users.

      • 7.0r1 Release Notes

        Parsix GNU/Linux 7.0 (code name Nestor) brings the latest stable GNOME desktop environment, a brand new kernel built using or modernized kernel build system, updated installer and support for UEFI based systems. This version has been synchronized with Debian Wheezy repositories as of February 6, 2015. Parsix Nestor ships with GNOME 3.12 and LibreOffice productivity suit by default. Highlights: GNOME Shell 3.12.2, X.Org 1.14.7, GRUB 2, GNU Iceweasel (Firefox) 35.0.1, GParted 0.12.1, Empathy 3.12.7, LibreOffice 3.5.4, VirtualBox 4.3.18 and a brand new kernel based on Linux 3.14.32 with TuxOnIce 3.3, BFS and other extra patches. Live DVD has been compressed using SquashFS and XZ.

      • Rebellin Linux v2.5 Released!

        We’re proud to announce the release of Rebellin Linux v2.5! Plenty of great news from the Rebellin Project!

      • MeX Linux Uses Linux Kernel 3.19, It’s Based on Ubuntu 14.10 and Debian Jessie

        Arne Exton, the creator of numerous distributions of GNU/Linux, including the untroublesome and fast Exton|OS, had the pleasure of informing us today, February 14, about a new build for its MeX Linux computer operating system based on Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn), Debian 8 Jessie, and Linux Mint 17.1 (Rebecca).

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Release Critical Bug report for Week 07
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Samsung’s Spying TVs, Ubuntu Phone Sells Out & More…

            The sale of the first ever Ubuntu phone through a European flash sale was evidently a success. Of course, we wouldn’t know as the phone isn’t available yet to those of us who live on this side of the pond, so it hasn’t been getting much press over here. However, EU sites are all atwitter with headlines like “Ubuntu Sells Out!”

          • Mir 0.11 Released With Many Enhancements

            Version 0.11 of the Mir Display Server was released this week for Ubuntu.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • elementary misses the point

              A recent post on the elementary blog about how they ask for payment on download created a bit of a stir this week. One particular sentence struck a nerve (it has since been removed from the post): “We want users to understand that they’re pretty much cheating the system when they choose not to pay for software.”

              No, they aren’t. I understand that people want to get paid for their work. It’s only natural. Especially when you’d really like that work to be what puts food on the table and not something you do after you work a full week for someone else. I certainly don’t begrudge developers asking for money. I don’t even begrudge requiring payment before being able to download the software. The developers are absolutely right when they say “elementary is under no obligation to release our compiled operating system for free download.”

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Basics of Open Source Software

    With many organizations incorporating open source code into their software, business managers should have a basic understanding of what open source is all about. After all, Gartner and Accenture report open source adoption rates nearing 100% so it’s likely that your development team is already incorporating open source code into their projects.

    So, what is open source? When a developer chooses to make his or her project open source, it gives third party developers the right to tinker and innovate with it. Check out this comprehensive video for an in depth explanation.

    Developers incorporate open source into their projects to accelerate development time, thus reducing costs for the organization overall. Most of the time, the code is open to the public; but it is imperative that collaborators refer to a set of chief regulations and terms involved in open source software license management and dispersal.

  • Google launches PerfKit, open source benchmarking tool for cloud performance

    Google has announced the launch of PerfKit, an open source cloud benchmarking tool aimed at aiding developers evaluating performance features.

  • Events

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle says it still fully supports the Sparc processor

      My blog post on the Oracle/Sun merger got quite a bit of attention, and a few folks from Oracle took exception to my portrayal of Sparc dying on the vine and a thin roadmap. After a few conversations, I have a better picture of things, and I was wrong.

  • CMS

    • How sleeping 6 times a day helped the founder of WordPress build a billion-dollar company

      But before Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, was on the path to being a billion-dollar company, Mullenweg was simply an eager coder with a healthy attitude for self-experimentation.

      In conversation with author Tim Ferriss this week, Mullenweg elaborated on some of his productivity hacks, including his now-famous stint with the “Uberman” polyphasic sleep schedule. Polyphasic sleep simply means more than one sleep period per day; many of our friends in Spain are on a polyphasic sleep cycle with their luxurious afternoon siestas.

  • Healthcare

    • OpenEMR 4.2.0 is released

      The OpenEMR community has released version 4.2.0. This new version will be 2014 ONC Certified as a Modular EHR.

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 11.0-CURRENT Images Now Available!

      We hope to continue rolling these –CURRENT images as a way for testers and developers to tryout both FreeBSD and PC-BSD bleeding edge features, often months before a planned release. These images include a full PKG repository compiled for that months image. Users of this system will also be able to “upgrade” when the next monthly image is published.

    • First Release Of PC-BSD 11.0-CURRENT Images

      The PC-BSD camp has started spinning development images of FreeBSD/PC-BSD 11.0 in the present 11.0-CURRENT state that is still far out from being officially released.

    • LLVM 3.6 Release Candidate 3

    • I love Free Software Day 2015

      Valentine’s Day traditionally is a day to show and celebrate love. So why do not take this as a chance to show your love for Free Software this year?

    • Show your love for Free Software

      Every year on 14th February, the Free Software Foundation Europe asks all Free Software users to think about the hard-working people in the Free Software community and to show them their appreciation individually on this “I love Free Software”-Day.

    • We love the projects around us!

      Today the Free Software Foundation Europe reminds us to thank and celebrate all those in Free Software we love and whose work we enjoy and built upon. In KDE, we stand on the shoulders of giants. Everything we do in some way depends on Free Software written by many other people – the huge ecosystem around us.

    • Gallery of Free Software lovers

      A picture is worth thousand words and describing love with letters is much more harder than with images. On this page we collect some examples of people from all over the world expressing their enthusiasm for freedom in both software and society with photos.

    • I ♥ Free Software
  • Openness/Sharing


  • Your next favorite collaboration tool

    Last night I had a crazy realization: I could probably replace the majority of what my team hopes to accomplish with standup meetings, design documents, project management apps, and social code sharing features with a single tool.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Govt employing hackers to attack own facilities – hacking expert

      The internet has connected millions across the globe, rooting itself into the day-to-day activities. If something happens to it, it’s not just the end of kitty pictures – the whole world’s economy would collapse. What would the fallout be? How much harm can be done online? What does it mean to be a hacker these days? We ask professor at the University of Sussex and author of a book about hacking communities, Tim Jordan, on Sophie&Co.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Obama Undecided on Sending Arms to Ukraine

      President Obama says he has not yet decided whether to send arms to the Ukrainian military to fight Russian-backed rebels. Obama criticized Russia’s role in the conflict during a joint news conference at the White House with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    • Healing in post-war Gaza

      The emotional weight a photojournalist endures in covering conflict can be suppressed, but it can never be understated. And the commitment to highlighting the spirit of survival in the victims of the conflict can never be overstated. For American photojournalist Heidi Levine, that emotional toll has been severely challenged over her nearly 30 years documenting the Palestinian-Israel conflict. In the past year, she has done her work while also facing the almost simultaneous passing of two family members–her grandmother and father–while on assignment nearly 8,000 miles away from home.

    • Did Obama just declare war on Syria?

      The news that President Obama has formally asked US Congress to authorize military force against ISIS is not surprising. What may come as a shock to Americans oblivious to these developments is that the administration has de facto declared war on Syria.

    • UN envoy says Yemen national talks will resume amid crisis

      The U.N. envoy to Yemen has returned to Sanaa and resumed contacts with major political players to find a way out of a deepening crisis caused by a Shiite rebel takeover, participants in the talks said Sunday.

    • Calls Grow to Reject AUMF That Permits ‘Waging War All Over World’

      ‘The devastating and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us that when we give military authority to the executive, it should not be a blank check,’ says Congressional Progressive Caucus

    • Peter Van Buren Writes An Embassy Evacuation Explainer

      What is not silly is that we still have local employees at Embassy Sana’a. They, typically, are not evacuated when post suspends operations. In 2003, Ghulam Sakhi Ahmadzai, the building maintenance supervisor at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul was the Foreign Service National Employee of the Year. He was recognized for his exceptional efforts in Afghanistan during the 13-year absence of American employees and following the reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in December 2001. His loyalty to the U.S. government and to maintaining the integrity of the embassy during that absence, despite personal risk, could not be repaid by that one award. No doubt there are other Ghulams in Tripoli and Sana’a and in other posts where we have suspended operations in the past. Please keep them in your thoughts.

    • Houston Muslim School Burned Down In What Investigators Say Is Likely An Arson Attack

      The arson attack was the third incident of Islamaphobic violence this week.

    • Arson suspected in fire at Islamic center

      An early morning fire Friday at an Islamic center in southeast Houston left the facility’s faithful wondering if what appears to be an intentionally set fire was tied to their religion.

    • Turkey’s Erdogan chides Obama for silence on N.C. Muslim murders

      Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday criticized President Obama for his silence following the killings of three young Muslims in North Carolina this week, the latest sign relations between the two leaders have become strained.

    • Syrian townspeople insist U.S. airstrike killed civilians

      Mohammad Na’us was one of the most respected men in al Bab. He was the undertaker who washed the bodies of the dead prior to burial, a pious Quranic scholar who issued the sundown call to prayer in the Syrian town near the Turkish border, and for the past year, a seller of bread in his neighborhood.

      But on Dec. 28, the bakery’s delivery was late and he missed the prayers at sundown. Religious police arrested Na’us, a father of five in his 50s, and ordered him to spend one night in prison.

    • ‘American Terrorist’: Middle East reacts to Murder of 3 Muslim-American Students in N Carolina

      If American mass media seemed reluctant to cover the murder of three Muslims students at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill as a hate crime, the same was not true in the Middle East, where strong opinions were aroused.

      Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan criticized President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for not speaking out on the issue (which is under investigation by local police and the FBI).

      Erdogan said, “If you stay silent when faced with an incident like this, and don’t make a statement, the world will stay silent towards you . . . As politicians, we are responsible for everything that happens in our countries and we have to show our positions.”

    • Morning Plum: American public appears ready for some more war

      The good folks at NBC send over a partisan breakdown. Fifty two percent of Republicans support Obama’s authorization request, as do 51 percent of independents and 60 percent of Democrats.

      A few points about this. First, Republican voters appear at odds with GOP lawmakers on this topic. The latter have been arguing that, if anything, Obama’s request is too limiting. As Marco Rubio put it so felicitously, Congress should give Obama an authorization that says nothing more than we “authorize the president to take whatever steps are necessary to defeat ISIS. Period.” But a bare majority of Republicans supports the limits in the authorization Obama proposed, such as they are.

    • Egypt to Purchase Fighter Jets and a Warship From France

      President François Hollande of France on Thursday announced the sale of nearly $6 billion worth of military hardware to Egypt, including two dozen Rafale fighter jets and a naval frigate.

      The contract represents the first foreign sale of the Rafale for its manufacturer, Dassault Aviation, which has been under intense pressure to find export customers for the warplane as France scales back its orders as part of government spending cuts.

    • Top U.S. General in Afghanistan Provides ‘Options’ for Slowing Troop Withdrawal

      The four-star general in charge of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan told senators today that he has given the Pentagon different options for slowing the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

      There are now roughly 13,000 international troops in Afghanistan, 9,800 of them Americans, Campbell said. President Obama’s current plan would have reduced that to 5,500 soldiers, mostly centered in Kabul, by the end of this year. Army Gen. Cambell said that the Afghan government under its new president, Ashraf Ghani, did not want the U.S. to pull back so quickly.

    • FBI Director Defends Police, Says Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist

      FBI Director James Comey repeatedly defended the police in a speech intended to address race relations after a series of high-profile killings by law enforcement officers.

      Speaking at Georgetown University this morning, Comey said citizens need to have more empathy for police, that police response time is not influenced by race, and that “law enforcement is not the root cause of problems in our hardest-hit neighborhoods.”

      Comey also cited and quoted from the song “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” from the Broadway play “Avenue Q,” adding that while everyone has a duty to try and overcome bias, “racial bias isn’t epidemic in those who join law enforcement any more than it is epidemic in academia or the arts.” And yet “after years of police work, officers often can’t help but be influenced by the cynicism they feel” and begin viewing black citizens differently.

    • Chapel Hill Victim’s Sister: ‘Insulting and Outrageous’ to Call Shooting ‘Parking Dispute’

      Dr. Suzanne Barakat, sister of one of the Chapel Hill shooting victims, appeared on Morning Joe Friday morning to strongly dispute the early police theory that her brother, his wife, and sister-in-law were shot by Craig Stephens Hicks over a “parking dispute.” That all three victims were Muslim, and that Hicks had loudly proclaimed anti-religious sentiment, has led many to label the triple murder a hate crime.

    • Obama’s new secretary of defense predicted 9/11 and the NSA mass spying that followed

      Three years before 9/11, Ash Carter was already talking catastrophe.

      Carter, confirmed Thursday as Obama’s new Secretary of Defense, vividly predicted in 1998 a near-future terrorist attack that would have long-lasting consequences beyond the immediate loss of thousands of lives.

    • Life under drones — in victims’ own words

      Mohammed Saleh Tauiman was just 13 years old in 2014 when the Guardian newspaper gave him a camera so he could record life under the drones that flew over Marib province, Yemen.

    • Halt drone strikes, say faith leaders

      One of more than 150 religious leaders who drafted a statement opposing the use of lethal drones by the United States military said Feb. 11 it’s an issue that more Baptists should care about.

    • Drones make war too easy, too remote, faith leaders say
    • Military drones heard in West Midlands

      After readings from the Bible and the Qur’an the worshippers dedicated themselves to peace and shouted out “Stop the drones!” and “Drones kill”. Most of the protestors were men and women training for ordained ministry in the Church of England and the Methodist Church. Bishop Edward Musonda from the Anglican Church in Zambia said: “It is a pleasure to take part in this act of Christian witness against this savage military weaponry.”

    • “Frankly, I don’t think we know who we killed”

      A US drone strike which killed a senior al-Shabaab leader in Somalia a week ago appears to have been part of a change of tactics by the Americans since they started targeting the militant group in 2007. It was the fifth consecutive such strike against al-Shabaab’s leadership, with drones now appearing to have superseded other, manned aircraft and cruise missiles in the seven years since attacks began in Somalia.

    • Maine Voices: Let’s stand together against dehumanizing, immoral drone warfare

      Morality is missing in action as innocent people die in the strikes, fueling anger around the globe.

    • Yemen chaos shows drones can take out key targets, but they’ll never defeat terrorism

      For years, the US has relied on drones to prevent Yemen from collapsing. The strategy hasn’t worked.

    • Senators From Both Parties Back ACLU, New York Times in FOIA Lawsuit for Drone Memos
    • Four Senators File Brief Challenging DOJ’s Drone Law Secrecy
    • Paul, Dems demand release of drone docs

      Sen. Rand Paul is joining three Democrats in urging a federal court to release secret documents about the government’s use of drones to kill three Americans.

      Along with Sens. Ron Wyden (Ore.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Martin Heinrich (N.M.), the Kentucky Republican filed a friend-of-the-court brief on Wednesday supporting a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and The New York Times.

    • Heinrich among senators urging court to make drone killing memos public
    • US senators urge NY court to make drone killing memos public

      Saying the government cites “national security” too often to shield information from scrutiny, four U.S. senators urged a federal appeals court Wednesday to divulge more about rules it follows when it makes U.S. citizens the target of anti-terror drone strikes.

    • Senators call to release drone memos
    • In drone warfare we ought not trust

      While deployed, I concluded our drone strikes disproportionately kill innocent people. As a military chaplain, I preached a sermon questioning the morality of such warfare. After my commander read it, he said “the message does not support the mission” and had me investigated, officially reprimanded and released from active duty for “retraining.”

    • Think Tank Publishes Report On Tanks That Think

      No military technology is perhaps more viscerally upsetting than the idea of a machine, armed with a gun, making the decision on its own to kill people. It’s a theme throughout dystopian fiction and films, and it animates protests against drones, despite the fact that military drones still have humans at the controls. Autonomy for weapons–where a gun turret or future machine will be programmed to press the trigger on its own–is a definite possibility in future wars. A new report from the Center for New American Security, a Washington D.C. think tank, wants to guide us calmly into understanding this future of armed thinking machines.

    • Playing With Fire in an Age of Absurdity

      The peace movement is dead, the media are mute, and, in all likelihood, we will soon be engulfed in an electoral season in which the plain fact that Democrats and Republicans know not what they do will hardly even come up.

    • James Bond is Dead

      Well, not exactly. New James Bond novels and movies pop up all the time, but Gérard de Villiers (who died in 2013) wrote either 100 or 200 novels about an Austrian (and freelance CIA operative), named Malko Linge, that have sold millions of copies in France and made him “the most popular writer of spy thrillers in French history.” The discrepancy with the numbers (100 or 200) hardly matters, though those figures are cited in the biographical information about the writer at the beginning of the two novels discussed here: Chaos in Kabul and The Madmen of Benghazi, both originally published in France in 2013. Clearly, the guy was prolific—much more than Ian Fleming. His expertise was the Middle East, which made his stories not only current but, often, prescient.


      At the beginning of Chaos in Kabul, Linge is hired to eliminate Hamid Karzai. Yes, you read that correctly. So Linge is flown into Afghanistan after responding to his CIA agent, “This mission is impossible. The Agency has everything it needs in Afghanistan. You operate a fleet of drones that can hit anything. What can you expect from one man against the Karzai machine? Besides, you know I’m not a killer.” And the answer to his response? It can’t be obvious that Americans caused Karzai’s death. So, Linge agrees, but first he’s got to find an accomplice who will do the actual killing. That guy is a South African thug, and the plan is that Karzai will be shot when he’s riding in his motorcade.

    • Unauthorized Government Attacks Are Murder

      Even Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, the author of numerous books and a legal expert for Fox News, in an otherwise excellent history of the usurpation of unique American civil liberties at the expense of ever expanding executive power (see Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty) focuses too much on President Barack Obama’s killing of American citizens without due process – for example, Anwar al Alawki in Yemen in 2011. Napolitano correctly argues that an American president is essentially claiming the right to murder his own citizens without prior legal niceties, but he focuses too much on the use of exotic drone technology to do so and not enough on a larger and more important problem. If anyone – U.S. citizen or not – is attempting to attack the United States, the president should have a right to take them out, provided the Congress has authorized military action or declared war. Even then, according to the founders’ original constitutional vision, if the country is under imminent threat of attack, the president can take appropriate action and get congressional authorization at the earliest possible time. If the president doesn’t have such legislative approval or a legitimate “imminent attack” rationale, he is essentially murdering people – U.S. citizens or not.

    • President Obama puts his legacy at risk with new war in Middle East

      In light of the threat posed by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, President Obama wants Congress to authorize military force against the Islamist group in the Middle East. Although the president believes a 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) gives him the legal grounds to go to war on his own, he has sent Congress a draft authorization for their approval.

    • Confront ‘American Sniper’

      If you already understand U.S. imperialism’s crimes in Iraq, that’s what you might take away from the movie, “American Sniper.” But many viewers, unaware of the truth behind the war, receive a distorted message. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the film looks at the events only through U.S. eyes. It twists the truth, falsifying historical context while adding poisonous anti-Arab bigotry.

    • Jamil Maidan Flores: Truth Also a Casualty in Mindanao ‘Mis-encounter’

      I didn’t think much of this until hours ago when I read a banner story of the Manila Times written by its chairman emeritus Dr. Dante Ang. The burden of the piece is that in the Mamasapano raid, codenamed Operation Wolverine, the main protagonists were American agents out to get the Malaysian terrorist Marwan and the BIFF leader Abdulbasit Usman. The PNP-SAF commandos were only security escorts to the agents.

    • Purisima asked AFP for support during Mamasapano clash – general
    • Chiz asks if US involved in Marwan operation
    • Sacked SAF commander: What drones?

      This was revealed by its commander then, now relieved Police Director Getulio Napeñas, during a hearing Monday, February 9, on the operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, that claimed the lives of at least 68 individuals, including 44 elite SAF troopers.

    • COMMENT: Marwan Dead at Pyrrhic Cost

      Lives: A total of 66 lives, not including Marwan’s, were lost – 44 SAF, 18 MILF and four civilians. The SAF casualties were nine of the 42 members of the 84th SAF Company dispatched to Pidsandawan to get Marwan and 35 of the 36 members of the 55th deployed in Tukanalipao – the lone survivor PO3 Robert Lalang.

    • “How many dead women, children and innocent men for every dead terrorist?”
    • Obama’s ‘Crusaders’ analogy veils the West’s modern crimes

      Like many children, 13-year-old Mohammed Tuaiman suffered from nightmares. In his dreams, he would see flying “death machines” that turned family and friends into burning charcoal. No one could stop them, and they struck any place, at any time.

      Unlike most children, Mohammed’s nightmares killed him.

      Three weeks ago, a CIA drone operating over Yemen fired a missile at a car carrying the teenager, and two others. They were all incinerated. Nor was Mohammed the first in his family to be targeted: drones had already killed his father and brother.

      Since president Barack Obama took office in 2009, the US has killed at least 2,464 people through drone strikes outside the country’s declared war zones. The figure is courtesy of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which says that at least 314 of the dead, one in seven, were civilians.

      Recall that for Obama, as The New York Times reported in May 2012, “all military-age males in a strike zone” are counted “as combatants” – unless “there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent”.

      It sounds like the stuff of nightmares.

    • Obama’s Drones are far Deadlier than the Spanish Inquisition
  • Transparency Reporting

    • Politician Facing Investigation Tries To Destroy His Emails; Assistant ‘Helps Out’ By Emailing Order To Other Staffers

      Far too many politicians and legislators aren’t happy with the fact that their emails are subject to public records requests. Some attempt to dodge this layer of accountability by using personal email accounts to handle official business. Oregon governor John Kitzhaber is one such politician.

      Unfortunately for Kitzhaber and many others just like him, public records laws anticipate this endaround. In many states, personal email accounts are also FOIA-able if the emails discuss official (read: public) business. Kitzhaber, however, believed he could outbludgeon the system.

    • David Carr obituary: must-read newsman with a burning belief in the importance of truth

      At the end of an hour-long panel discussion on the film Citizenfour on Thursday night that he was moderating, David Carr sat back in his chair and in his distinctive, weather-worn voice asked Edward Snowden, the NSA exile, a final question via video link. “I’ve got to channel all the moms in the audience for just a sec,” he said. “You’re in Russia. So are you getting enough to eat? Is the food good?” It was classic David Carr. Unexpected, empathetic, funny. It raised a robust laugh from the packed crowd.

    • David Carr, rumpled mensch and writers’ writer, dies on the job

      On Twitter Thursday night, I tried to fight the rumor that beloved New York Times media columnist David Carr died the same evening. I’d seen him less than three hours earlier, interviewing Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Edward Snowden (via satellite) at a sold out “Times Talk.” He was sharp and funny; he seemed happy; he had a bad cough. But he could not possibly be dead.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The World Has Reached Peak Chicken, Peak Rice, And Peak Milk

      We still haven’t reached peak oil. But peak milk happened in 2004, peak soybeans in 2009, and peak chicken in 2006. Rice peaked in 1988.

      A new study published in Ecology and Society explains that 21 key resources that humans rely on—mostly food—have already passed their peak rate of production.

      “Peak,” in this case, doesn’t mean that we’re actually producing fewer chickens or less milk yet. Instead, the researchers looked at the fact that the rate of production has plateaued, at the same time that population is increasing.

    • Regionalism too tough to swallow? Try Flint’s water

      So it turns out that building your own regional water system is costly, time-consuming and difficult. Who knew?

      Apparently not officials in Genesee, Lapeer and Sanilac counties, which unhooked from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to build their own system, the unpronounceable Karegnondi Water Authority, helmed by Genesee County Drain Commissioner Jeff Wright.

    • In the eye of a mega-drought: Researchers warn US should prepare for ‘unprecedented drought conditions’ unlike anything in past 1,000 years

      Since the turn of this century, the US south-west has spent more than a decade in drought. Last year was the warmest on record in California, which is in the middle of its driest spell for more than 400 years. But according to a new scientific study, that’s nothing compared to what comes next.

  • Finance

    • Setting SYRIZA Straight, NYT Gets It Wrong on Debt

      But Alderman got the primary surplus back to front. The definition should actually be before interest payments–the primary surplus being a measure of whether a government would be spending more than it takes in if it weren’t paying back past borrowing. Could it be the Times reporter does not understand the magnitude of Greece’s financial challenges?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Prosecutor in Scott Walker Probe Asks Justices to Recuse

      The prosecutor leading the probe into possible coordination between Governor Scott Walker’s campaign and outside groups has asked some Wisconsin Supreme Court justices to recuse themselves from hearing a challenge to the investigation.

      A notation in court records titled “Motion for Recusal and Notice of Ethical Concerns” indicates that on February 12, Special Prosecutor Francis Schmitz filed a sealed motion for one or more of the Supreme Court justices to recuse themselves from the case. Schmitz was previously on George W. Bush’s shortlist for U.S. Attorney and said that he voted for Walker.

    • James Henry on HSBC, Mary Bottari on Scott Walker

      Scott WalkerAlso on the show: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said it was just a “drafting error” that led to his proposed budget calling for the evisceration of the central philosophy guiding the state’s university system, along with $300 million in cuts. Reporters and activists showed that to be a falsehood, and Walker’s proposed changes look like a revealing peak at the agenda of the man who wants to be the next president. We’ll hear from a key player in that story, Mary Bottari from the Center for Media and Democracy.

    • Fox Hosts Promote Scott Walker As The “Sexy” Republican 2016 Hopeful
    • Sun News Network, Canada’s “Fox News North,” Has Been Canceled

      Sun News Network, the right-wing Canadian news network described as “Fox News North,” is shutting down.

    • ‘He Just Made It Up’: New York Post Accused of Fabrication in Machete Lawsuit Story

      It was the NYPD’s very own “Hot Coffee” case–a sign of a supposedly hyper-litigious system spiraling out of control. A “machete-wielding mad man” attacks the cops, gets shot in the leg, and then sues the NYPD for damages.

    • Rand Paul’s claim — twice in one day — that he has a biology degree

      We first spotted a version of this quote in a Bloomberg column by David Weigel, and then checked the quotes with our colleague Jose DelReal, who had attended the conference.

    • Presidential politics: all personality, no platform

      Hillary Clinton has everything she needs to run for president: money, name recognition, staff, organization. Everything except ideas.

      The 2016 presidential campaign will begin in earnest in late summer. This hasn’t snuck up on her; she has known this was coming since at least 2008. Yet here she is, six months before the unofficial start of her run, starting to figure out what she’ll do if she wins.

  • Censorship

    • Police hunting for lone suspect in deadly Copenhagen cafe shooting

      François Zimeray, the French ambassador to Denmark who was also at the event, tweeted that he was “still alive.”

      Vilks, a 68-year-old Swedish artist, has faced several attempted attacks and death threats after he depicted the Prophet Muhammad as a dog in 2007.

  • Privacy

    • BBC could get power to access private data

      The BBC could be given new powers to access to people’s private and public data as part of a raft of new measures to tackle licence-fee evasion.

      An independent consultation suggested that the corporation could be given access to “new data sources” to help make collection of the charge more efficient.

    • UK Surveillance Consultation Suggests It Is End-Point Security, Not Encryption, That Cameron Wants To Subvert

      It is also striking that the codes of conduct were released on the same day that the UK’s secretive Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled that British intelligence services had broken the law, but that they were now in compliance because previously unknown policies had been made public. As Nyst speculates, it could be that the UK government is releasing more details of its spying in the form of these consultation documents in an attempt to head off future losses in the courts.

      Whether or not that is the case, it certainly seems that the attempts by civil liberties groups to end or at least limit mass surveillance are already having an effect on the UK government, and forcing it to provide basic details of its hitherto completely-secret activities. That success is a strong incentive to continue fighting for more proportionality and meaningful oversight here.

    • How Canadian Spies Infiltrated the Internet’s Core to Watch What You Do Online

      You might not think Canada’s digital spies are on par with those in the US and UK—but rest assured, America’s northern neighbour is just as capable of perpetuating mass surveillance on a global scale. Case in point: at over 200 locations around the world, spies from Canada’s cyberintelligence agency have been monitoring huge volumes of global internet traffic travelling across the internet’s core.

      ​From these locations, Communications Security Establishment (CSE) can track who is accessing websites and files of interest. Its analysts can also log email addresses, phone numbers and even the content of unencrypted communications—and retain encrypted communication for later study, too—as well as intercept passwords and login details for later access to remote servers and websites.

      ​But perhaps more importantly, tapping into global internet traffic is a means for CSE to monitor, and also exploit, an ever growing list of digital threats, such as vulnerabilities in networks and computers and the spread of malware as well as botnets and the computers under their control. In the process, analysts can keep tabs on both friendly and foreign governments conducting covert cyber attacks and infiltration of their own.

    • NSA Braced for New Leaks

      The National Security Agency, still reeling from massive leaks caused by Edward Snowden, is preparing to be hit with another major loss of secrets, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

      The leaks are expected to be published in the near future by a news outlet that was not further identified by the officials familiar with details of the compromise. The NSA is aware of the news outlet’s forthcoming disclosures and is taking steps to try and minimize any damage they will cause.

      According to the officials, the latest NSA disclosure of secrets is not the result of an insider stealing documents, as occurred in the case of fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

      Instead, the leaks will reveal certain NSA technical cyber intelligence gathering capabilities. The officials did not provide details about the leaks.

    • Snowden filmmaker says US surveillance ‘out of control’

      For most Oscar nominees, the weeks before the February 22 ceremony are a whirlpool of stress.

      But Laura Poitras, up for best documentary for “Citizenfour,” insists it is like going for a healthy walk — compared to what she went through to get here.

      When former National Security Agency (NSA) consultant Edward Snowden, who revealed the massive scope of US intelligence surveillance, contacted the filmmaker, she found her life turned into a spy novel.

    • Three of Tech’s Top CEOs to Skip Obama Cybersecurity Summit

      The top executives of Google Inc., Yahoo! Inc. and Facebook Inc. won’t attend President Barack Obama’s cybersecurity summit on Friday, at a time when relations between the White House and Silicon Valley have frayed over privacy issues.

      Facebook Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, and Google’s Larry Page and Eric Schmidt all were invited but won’t attend the public conference at Stanford University, according to the companies. Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook is planning to be at the event, where Obama is scheduled to give the keynote speech and have a private lunch with a select group of attendees.

    • An NSA spy, a Fed and a sysadmin walk into a bar – that’s Obama’s new cyber-security order

      President Obama has signed an executive order that will attempt to protect America’s crucial computer networks by sharing knowhow between g-men and techies.

      The new order instructs federal agencies to set up a clearing house of real-time, up-to-the-minute information on what’s menacing US infrastructure. Companies running those networks and systems will be able to look into the intelligence stream, get an idea of what’s about to hit them, and beef up their defenses accordingly. This is assuming the system works as described.

      This sharing of information is supposed to go two ways: businesses can use the clearing house to tip off the Feds about threats that everyone ought to know about, we’re told.

    • Obama Focuses on Cyber Security, but NSA Remains an Issue

      President Obama called for companies to voluntarily share more cyber attack information with federal agencies during a first-ever White House summit on cyber security issues, signing an executive action to help pave the way for such sharing.

    • In the NSA’s aftermath, expect less cybersecurity cooperation

      The Obama administration is expected to take executive action Friday, sweeping aside two years of congressional negotiations and bickering in an effort to bolster the country’s cyber-defenses.

    • ANOTHER US court smacks down EFF’s NSA wiretap sueball – but won’t say why

      A California court has once again upheld the legality of the US National Security Agency’s Bush-era mass telephone surveillance program, but has withheld its reasoning on grounds of national security.

    • US judge backs NSA in people vs privacy case

      A US JUDGE HAS ruled in favour of the National Security Agency (NSA) in a personal privacy case, despite the protests of rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

      Jewel vs the NSA was ruled on by judge Jeffrey White in Oakland, California, who told plaintiffs that they had failed to prove that the government violated a long established hope that ‘a man’s home is his castle’, or rather the Fourth Amendment.

    • Snowden: NSA Surveillance About Control, Fight Against It About Democracy

      An entire ballroom of more than 1,000 stood to applaud Edward Snowden as he was introduced at the Students for Liberty convention in Washington, and again after Snowden challenged them to “win” against the government’s attempt to expand its own power.

    • Did the NSA and the UK’s Spy Agency Launch a Joint Cyberattack on Iran?

      An NSA document newly published today suggests two interesting facts that haven’t previously been reported.

      The Intercept, which published the document, highlighted that in it the NSA expresses fear that it may be teaching Iran how to hack, but there are two other points in the document that merit attention.

      One concerns the spy tool known as Flame; the other refers to concerns the NSA had about partnering with the British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters and Israeli intelligence in surveillance operations.

    • US likely responsible for Iran’s cyber warfare know-how
    • The NSA Acknowledges What We All Feared: Iran Learns From US Cyberattacks

      The document suggests that such attacks don’t just invite counterattacks but also school adversaries on new techniques and tools to use in their counterattacks, allowing them to increase the sophistication of these assaults. Iran, the document states, ‘has demonstrated a clear ability to learn from the capabilities and actions of others.’”

    • NSA Spy Program So Secret Judge Can’t Explain Why It Can’t Be Challenged

      A federal judge ruled in favor of the National Security Agency in a key surveillance case on Tuesday, dismissing a challenge which claimed the government’s spying operations were groundless and unconstitutional.

    • Court clamps down on warrantless surveillance case against NSA

      This week, a US District Court judge ruled in favor of the NSA in a case challenging its tactics of intercepting messages on the internet without a warrant. California District Judge Jeffrey White said that the plaintiffs in Jewel vs. NSA didn’t establish the legal standing needed to pursue claims that the US government violated their Fourth Amendment rights. White ruled that there wasn’t enough evidence presented by the plaintiffs, and that the risk of revealing of state secrets would prevent the case from going forward even if they had. The group, who are all AT&T customers being represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), still has a case against the wider telephone record collection and other forms of mass surveillance employed by the National Security Agency. Jewel vs. NSA was filed in 2008 and is one of the earliest lawsuits brought against the federal government over its monitoring practices, preceding the whistleblowing work of Edward Snowden.

    • Tennessee Bills Take on NSA Code-Breaking Facility, Ban Material Support or Resources

      On Wednesday, Tennessee legislators filed bills to directly take on NSA spying by withholding vital state resources and material support from any federal agency engaged in warrantless surveillance.

    • Data privacy becoming an Orwellian maze

      The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ruling that GCHQ’s access to information intercepted by the NSA breached human rights laws is feeding a growing and increasingly heated global debate regarding the whole issue of digital privacy.

    • Barack Obama acknowledges damage from NSA eavesdropping on Angela Merkel
    • Obama acknowledges damage from NSA eavesdropping on Merkel

      U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday that revelations of U.S. surveillance on German Chancellor Angela Merkel “damaged impressions” Germans hold of the U.S. government.

    • ‘Privacy Critical to Human Freedom’: Snowden, Poitras, and Greenwald Talk NSA

      Though Snowden beamed in remotely, conversation hosted by New York Times brings together trio that revealed vast secretive surveillance network to global public.

    • Obama tells Germany to relax about NSA mass surveillance

      President Barack Obama has called for the German people, and by extension Europe, to trust that the US is not infringing on their privacy, despite the Snowden leaks.

      Obama issued the call for “trust” about the PRISM leaks during a joint press conference with German chancellor Angela Merkel when asked how the leaks have affected the two nations’ relationship.

      “There’s no doubt that the Snowden revelations damaged the impressions of Germans with respect to the US government and our intelligence cooperation,” he said.

      “What I would ask would be that the German people recognise that the US has always been at the forefront of trying to promote civil liberties, and that we have traditions of due process that we respect.

    • Obama: Snowden revelations ‘damaged impressions’ of NSA in Germany

      Talks in Washington on Monday focused on the conflict in Ukraine, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama also touched on issues including NSA espionage and nuclear negotiations with Iran.

    • Obama Asks Germany to Stop ‘Assuming the Worst’ About NSA Spying
    • Obama asks Germany “to give us the benefit of the doubt” on NSA spying
    • Obama asks Germans for ‘benefit of the doubt’ on NSA

      President Barack Obama is asking Germans to give the United States “the benefit of the doubt” on National Security Agency surveillance, given U.S. history.

      Obama says “there’s no doubt” that NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations about the U.S. spying programs damaged the impression of U.S. intelligence operations among Germans. He says that’s understandable, given Germany’s history.

    • Court backs NSA on internet spying as Obama ducks call for reform

      It’s been a lousy week so far for opponents of U.S. spy tactics: a federal judge shut down a long-running challenge to the NSA’s mass collection of customer internet data, while President Obama brushed off a call to do something about the sprawl of government surveillance.

    • NSA’s Section 215 Telephony Metadata Program Should and Can Be Shut Down

      One year ago, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) reviewed the National Security Agency’s bulk telephony metadata program and concluded the program was both illegal and imprudent as a policy matter. Under this program conducted pursuant to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the NSA on a daily basis indiscriminately collects Americans’ calling records from telephone companies, including each call’s date and time, duration, and participating telephone numbers. This “metadata” does not include the contents of telephone conversations. The program is intended to enable the government to identify communications among known and unknown terrorism suspects. PCLOB recommended that the program be discontinued and that the government instead seek telephone call records directly from phone companies on a case-by-case basis where there is evidence of potential terrorist activity.

    • Montana State Rep. Files Bill to go Head-to-Head with NSA Spying

      A bill filed in Montana yesterday would not only support efforts to turn off NSA’s water in Utah, but would have practical effects on federal surveillance programs if passed.

      Montana Rep. Daniel Zolnikov (R-45) introduced HB443, a bill that would ban “material support or resources” from the state to warrantless federal spy programs, making it the 10th state to introduce legislation similar to a bill up for consideration in Utah this year.

      “The best thing about privacy is that it is not a partisan issue,” said Zolnikov. “Groups like the ACLU and the Tea Party can work together to protect the rights of Montanans.”

    • Mass Surveillance, Liberty & Activism talk

      ORG’s Executive Director Jim Killock will talk about mass surveillance, liberty and activism. He’ll say why mass surveillance is a danger to democracy and how we can work together to curb it.

    • MPs want assurances over wider powers for security services

      MPs wants guarantees from the government that the decision to give the security services wider powers to tap phones and internet traffic will not be abused, website nu.nl reports on Tuesday. Home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk and defence minister Jeanine Hennis are due to present their draft legislation for expanding the security services’ intelligence-gathering powers shortly. Nu.nl questioned various party representatives about their position.

    • Dutch intelligence won’t become America’s NSA: MP

      VVD Parliamentarian Klaas Dijkhoff denounced the phantom images raised by opponents that large scale data trawls will soon be conducted in the Netherlands, just like the NSA does in the United states, NU. reports. “The fear exists and people like to call up that feeling, but there is not country in the world where information is dealt with more carefully.” he said. But the Tweede Kamer (lower house of parliament) still wants guarantees that the expansion of the intelligence services’ surveillance capabilities will not lead to NSA practices.

    • Obama defers to Congress to end NSA phone tracking

      President Obama won’t end the government’s controversial collection of data about millions of Americans on his own, because he’d rather the matter be dealt with by Congress.

    • Oklahoma Action Alert: Help Stop NSA Spying, Support HB1738 and SB444

      Oklahoma HB1738 would deny much-needed material support or resources to warrantless federal spying programs. And SB444 would ban the state from participating in an unconstitutional federal-state information program. HB1738 must pass out of the House State and Federal Relations Committee while SB444 must pass out of the Senate Judiciary Committee before the bills can receive full votes in their respective chambers.

    • NSA, CIA, and FBI Implementation of PPD-28

      As we continue to read through documents released on February 3 that collectively detail the intelligence community’s efforts to implement Presidential Policy Directive-28, (PPD-28), we thought it would be helpful to overview briefly, and to compare. implementing documents issued by three agencies in particular: NSA, CIA, and FBI.

      Overall, there is a great deal of overlap between the three agencies’ implementation policies. But they differ from each other in interesting ways, both with regard to retention and dissemination of information, and with regard to permitted departures from general rules contemplated by the policies themselves.

    • Watch President Obama Talk Cybersecurity In Silicon Valley
    • Obama’s cybersecurity summit was a dog-and-pony show

      To drive the point home, he signed an executive order to this effect, in the hopes of inspiring collaboration between companies and government security agencies.

    • Twitter: U.S. government shares (some) info on data NSA requests from us

      Twitter said today that the U.S. government has filed a highly redacted version of the company’s draft national security transparency report, a step that shows for the first time information about data requests Twitter has gotten from the NSA and other intelligence agencies.

    • Twitter receives NSA requests for user information for less than one percent of users
    • IT industry experts speak out against the ‘unlawful’ nature of the GCHQ’s mass surveillance

      Mass surveillance of the internet by GCHQ prior to December was unlawful, according to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal.

      It said that the “intelligence sharing” process did not comply with human rights law, and there was a lack of transparency.

    • You can’t control the internet. GCHQ needs to grow up and accept it

      In the end – and maybe this is the biggest change of all – we all have to accept that perfect safety is illusory. Doing so would make society will be a little more open, a little more liberal, a little more scary, and perhaps a little more dangerous. But I think any democracy worthy of the name can live with that, because it’s the price of freedom.

    • US plots to KILL hackers – with bureaucracy!

      A new US government “cyber threat” agency will take information on computer security breaches at private companies, pair it with classified intelligence – and put it back out to businesses so they can learn how to beef up their defences.

      That’s the dream, anyway, according to President Obama’s homeland security and counterterrorism advisor Lisa Monaco, who launched the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC) on Tuesday in Washington DC.

    • Did the US Accidentally Give the World’s Most Powerful Cyberweapon to Terrorists?

      Next time Brian Williams or his carefully-coiffed successor assigns blame to some foreign actor for a cyberoutrage, I expect the “Cyber Threats Intelligence Integration Center” to figure prominently in the coverage.

    • Mind what you say – because your TV might be listening

      We live in privacy obsessed times, which is rather ironic. After all, many of those who complained most vociferously about the alleged snooping of the NSA on our personal emails failed to realise that by posting every conceivable piece of personal information on social media, the average spook merely needs to follow you on Twitter to find out everything they need to know.

    • Pop-up ads on TVs? Say it ain’t so!

      It’s a bad week for Samsung. After the firm addressed privacy concerns, some of its Smart TVs began displaying annoying pop-up ads. Meanwhile, the White House plans to form a cybersecurity agency, and smartphone thefts decline thanks to kill switches.

    • Samsung warns people not to discuss ‘sensitive information’ in front of their SmartTV
    • Be Warned, Samsung Smart TVs Can “Listen” to Your Living Room Chatter
    • Bruce Schneier: Your TV may be watching you

      Our smartphones and computers, of course, listen to us when we’re making audio and video calls. But the microphones are always there, and there are ways a hacker, government, or clever company can turn those microphones on without our knowledge. Sometimes we turn them on ourselves. If we have an iPhone, the voice-processing system Siri listens to us, but only when we push the iPhone’s button. Like Samsung, iPhones with the “Hey Siri” feature enabled listen all the time. So do Android devices with the “OK Google” feature enabled, and so does an Amazon voice-activated system called Echo. Facebook has the ability to turn your smartphone’s microphone on when you’re using the app.

    • Data retention: It seems BORING … until your TV SPIES ON YOU

      If there’s one thing we can thank this whole Samsung privacy brouhaha for, it’s casting data retention debates in a whole new light.

    • Privacy board head: End data collection program

      The head of a federal privacy board is reiterating his call to end the government’s bulk collection and storage of Americans’ phone records.

      David Medine, the chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, called for either President Obama or Congress to shut down the National Security Agency program. Obama has deferred to Congress to make the change.

    • America’s surveillance state. Part 6 – The future of expanded spying & surveillance

      While some citizens fight back against more encroachments on privacy, the NSA and its backers in the White House, Congress and the Courts are expanding their own reach, now monitoring literally trillions of messages. While legislators have been unable to restrain the NSA, corporations and enterprising journalists are using encryption. Even as intelligence agencies in the US and abroad are escalating their cyber war capacities, private companies are commercializing their technology. All of these issues concern whistleblowers, who say they fear the emergence of a police state if the mass surveillance is not curtailed or stopped.

    • To combat fraud, Visa wants to track your smartphone

      Those days of calling your bank to let them know that, yes, you really are in Thailand, and yes, you really did use your credit card to buy $200 in sarongs, may be coming to an end.

      The payment processing company Visa will roll out a new feature this spring that will allow its cardholders to inform their banks where they are automatically, using the location function found in nearly every smartphone.

      Having your bank and Visa know where you are at all times may sound a little like “Big Brother.” But privacy experts are actually applauding the feature, saying that, if used correctly, it could protect cardholders and cut down on credit card fraud.

    • Obama’s Big Cybersecurity Order Is Meh

      Look, his net neutrality proposal was great. It’s clear that Obama has a deeper understanding of how the internet works than at least a shitload of other politicians. But this cybersecurity order looks potentially milquetoast on the threat-prevention front and straight-up worrisome on the government-slurping-all-our-data horizon.

    • Sour grapes! Zuckerberg, Mayer, and Page expected to miss Obama’s cybersecurity order

      Not only were Yahoo, Facebook, and Google among the original “PRISM” companies revealed by Edward Snowden to have been forced into turning over information about their customers to the NSA, but France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Germany were among nations the NSA is accused of spying on as part of related programs. Perhaps today is a bit late to ask for a more open policy of sharing information.

    • Obama’s Surveillance Reform Theater

      What we’re witnessing is Reform Theater. A sort of kabuki act which is intended to provide the impression that, in the wake of Ed blundenSnowden’s revelations, something is being done. Officials create the perception of action by occupying themselves with narrow aspects of mass interception and this is intentional. They wouldn’t dare do anything substantial that would threaten the gears of the surveillance state. Instead they’ll leave Big Brother’s infrastructure in place and dither around the edges.

    • Samsung’s listening TV is proof that tech has outpaced our rights

      The Sun was an unlikely advocate for privacy in its special investigation piece early this week on the snooping Samsung telly. Forget phone hacking, it’s the technology companies you need to watch out for. The Sun’s outrage was not confined to Samsung: a neighbouring article reminded us of recent privacy complaints against Facebook and Google.

    • Barack Obama’s cyber security push spurs privacy fears

      After the bruising recriminations between the White House and the technology industry over the National Security Agency, Barack Obama will travel to the Bay Area on Friday to enlist Silicon Valley’s support for his post-Snowden push for cyber security legislation.

    • Facebook: Hey guys, come share all your securo-blunders with us!

      Facebook is teaming up with other big names on the interwebs to create a security information sharing portal, dubbed ThreatExchange*, which went live on Wednesday.

      ThreatExchange is billed as a platform that enables security professionals to “share threat information more easily, learn from each other’s discoveries, and make their own systems safer”.

    • Is Big Brother Here for Good?

      If we are to end our post-9/11 national security state, the congressional leadership must come to believe that blocking efforts to restore the Bill of Rights will result in real political consequences. If, however, they continue to see no political consequences, Americans’ rights to privacy and due process will continue to diminish into artifacts of a bygone era.

    • Obama responds to hacks and Silicon Valley with ‘emerging cyber threat’ plan

      President announces executive order ahead of summit to spur development of go-between for technology sector and government to share information

    • Three of tech’s top CEOs to skip Obama cybersecurity summit

      The top executives of Google Inc, Yahoo! Inc and Facebook Inc won’t attend President Barack Obama’s cybersecurity summit on Friday, at a time when relations between the White House and Silicon Valley have frayed over privacy issues.

      Facebook Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, and Google’s Larry Page and Eric Schmidt were all invited but won’t attend the public conference at Stanford University, according to the companies. Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook is planning to show to the event, where Obama is scheduled to give the keynote speech and have a private lunch with a select group of attendees.

    • Obama Heads to Tech Security Talks Amid Tensions

      President Obama will meet here on Friday with the nation’s top technologists on a host of cybersecurity issues and the threats posed by increasingly sophisticated hackers. But nowhere on the agenda is the real issue for the chief executives and tech company officials who will gather on the Stanford campus: the deepening estrangement between Silicon Valley and the government.

    • Homeland Security to be put in charge of info sharing

      President Obama will announce a new executive order on the sharing of cybersecurity threats and information at Friday’s cybersecurity summit at Stanford University, the White House said.

      Most importantly to Silicon Valley, the president’s proposal is expected to cement the role of the Department of Homeland Security, rather than the National Security Agency, as the government lead for information-sharing with the private sector.

    • Homeland Security to be put in charge of info sharing

      President Obama will announce a new executive order on the sharing of cybersecurity threats and information at Friday’s cybersecurity summit at Stanford University, the White House said.

      Most importantly to Silicon Valley, the president’s proposal is expected to cement the role of the Department of Homeland Security, rather than the National Security Agency, as the government lead for information-sharing with the private sector.

    • Apple CEO signals he’s not backing down on iPhone encryption

      On Friday, the White House convened a “cyber summit” at Stanford’s campus in Palo Alto so that business and government leaders could get together and talk, essentially, about how scary hackers are.

    • Kara Swisher Interviews President Barack Obama on Cyber Security, Privacy and His Relationship With Silicon Valley (Video)

      President Barack Obama took the hot seat with Re/code’s Kara Swisher Friday as the two talked about a range of tech-focused topics, including cyber warfare, the White House’s relationship with Silicon Valley tech giants and the Apple Watch.

    • Obama Calls for Public Debate Over Encryption

      President Barack Obama said Friday that he probably leans more toward strong computer data encryption than many in law enforcement, but added that he understands investigators’ concerns over the matter because of their need to protect people from attacks.

      He suggested having a “public conversation” about the issue because “the first time that attack takes place in which it turns out that we had a lead and we couldn’t follow up on it, the public’s going to demand answers.”

    • Thank Snowden: Internet Industry Now Considers The Intelligence Community An Adversary, Not A Partner

      In fact, it seems noteworthy that this whole issue of increasing encryption by the tech companies to keep everyone out has been left off the official summit schedule. As the NY Times notes (in the link above), Silicon Valley seems to be pretty much completely fed up with the intelligence community after multiple Snowden revelations revealed just how far the NSA had gone in trying to “collect it all” — including hacking into the foreign data centers of Google and Yahoo.

    • Guest Post: US Intelligence Reforms Still Allow Plenty of Suspicionless Spying on Americans

      Last week, the Obama Administration released a report and documents cataloging progress toward signals intelligence (SIGINT) reform goals set a year ago by the President in a document known as PPD-28. PPD-28 promises foreigners some of the same privacy protections given to US citizens and residents. But it turns out that those protections, even for citizens, are fairly meager, in ways that have not yet fully entered the public conversation about surveillance. US citizens and residents have been — and remain — exposed to suspicionless electronic surveillance. Implementation of PPD-28 will do little to change that.

    • Administration’s New Cyber Threat Center Replaces Old Cyber Threat Center

      This week the Obama administration is releasing its second Executive Order in as many years on computer (“cyber”) security, which reports are saying will create a new department in the intelligence community to handle computer security threat information sharing. Officials are hailing the center as “new” and unprecedented.

  • Civil Rights

    • ‘I’m Facing Years In Prison For Medical Marijuana — For Me, That’s A Death Sentence’

      Larry Harvey, 71, thought he was doing everything right growing medical marijuana for his personal use. His home state of Washington legalized medical cannabis in 1998, and Harvey says his cultivation of plants with his wife, other family members and a close friend complied with the law.

    • These Six American Heroes Said No to Torture

      Why was it again that, as President Obama said, “we tortured some folks” after the 9/11 attacks? Oh, right, because we were terrified. Because everyone knows that being afraid gives you moral license to do whatever you need to do to keep yourself safe. That’s why we don’t shame or punish those who were too scared to imagine doing anything else. We honor and revere them.

    • Exclusive: US Senate Intelligence committee corrects CIA torture report after Bureau probe

      The US Senate Committee on Intelligence has issued a significant correction to an appendix to its report on CIA torture after mistakes were highlighted by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

      A “notice of errata” was published earlier this month showing amendments for almost half of the 119 prisoners held in the CIA’s rendition and enhanced interrogation programme.

      The mistakes, which have been put down to a “technical error”, relate to the number of days the detainees were held by the CIA during the programme.

    • Man Held 20 Hours for Asking to File TSA Complaint

      Random American Citizen Roger Vanderklok (aka “Josef K.“) had the misfortune of going through TSA Supervisor Charles Kieser’s security-screening area. Vanderklok, 57, pictured with his wife, is a Philadelphia architect who runs half-marathons. He flies around the country for weekend races.

      The TSA said it was concerned about the gear in his carry-on bag, and pulled him out of line. The items of concern turned out to be only a running watch and some Power Bars, wrapped in a small PVC pipe for protection against crushing. Nonetheless, for the next 30 minutes, screeners checked and rechecked the bag. They found nothing dangerous. Vanderklok protested that he was no threat, and that the items were of no danger to anyone, and insisted on making a complaint.

      Electronics and “organic mass” can be used to make bombs, TSA Supervisor Charles Kieser said in response to Vanderlok’s complaint. “The passenger made a bomb threat to me,” Kieser testified later according to a court transcript. “He said ‘I’ll bring a bomb through here any day that I want… and you’ll never find it.’”
      - See more at: http://wemeantwell.com/blog/2015/02/13/man-held-20-hours-for-asking-to-file-tsa-complaint/#sthash.3S4vcvuH.dpuf

    • The Guardian view on whistleblowers: heroes working in the public interest

      The world needs its whistleblowers. They are indispensable to a healthy society. The employee who, in the public interest, has the independence of judgment and the personal courage to challenge malpractice or illegality is a kind of public hero. Yet, as Sir Robert Francis reported on Wednesday , in the NHS as in any large and bureaucratic organisation, whistleblowers are far more likely to be resented than respected, as Helene Donnelly, the nurse who protested about the failings in care at Mid Staffs, found out. Far from having their names embossed on a roll of honour, Francis found that the doctors and nurses and other NHS staff who reported their anxieties about failings in patient care had been shunned, suspended or even sacked by hospital bosses. Many were left struggling to find a new job. Some have been driven to contemplate suicide.

    • What’s behind the lower U.S. press freedom ranking?

      Reporters Without Borders released its annual World Press Freedom Index Thursday and revealed the U.S. has received its lowest score since 2006.

      The U.S. is ranked 49th in the world — dropping from 46th — right behind Malta, Niger, Burkina Faso and El Salvador.

      In comparison, our northern neighbor Canada was ranked eighth this year. Mexico, on the other hand, is 148th.

    • Today in the News: Former cop charged with hiring hitman

      Imprisoned former Chicago-area police sergeant Drew Peterson was charged today with hiring a hitman to kill the prosecutor who sent him to prison for 38 years.

      Dressed in his prison uniform, Peterson asked for a public defender after hearing the charges against him. Peterson has been in jail since 2012, when he was found guilty of the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

    • The Terror We Give Is the Terror We Get

      We fire missiles from the sky that incinerate families huddled in their houses. They incinerate a pilot cowering in a cage. We torture hostages in our black sites and choke them to death by stuffing rags down their throats. They torture hostages in squalid hovels and behead them. We organize Shiite death squads to kill Sunnis. They organize Sunni death squads to kill Shiites. We produce high-budget films such as “American Sniper” to glorify our war crimes. They produce inspirational videos to glorify their twisted version of jihad.

    • Let Us No Longer Keep Silent About Torture
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Tim Berners-Lee: we need to re-decentralise the web

      Twenty-five years on from the web’s inception, its creator has urged the public to re-engage with its original design: a decentralised internet that at its very core, remains open to all.

      Speaking with Wired editor David Rowan at an event launching the magazine’s March issue, Tim Berners-Lee said that although part of this is about keeping an eye on for-profit internet monopolies such as search engines and social networks, the greatest danger is the emergence of a balkanised web.

    • Google’s Vint Cerf warns of ‘digital Dark Age’

      Vint Cerf is promoting an idea to preserve every piece of software and hardware so that it never becomes obsolete – just like what happens in a museum – but in digital form, in servers in the cloud.

    • Republicans Are Shooting Themselves in the Foot Over Net Neutrality

      I’ve written before about the GOP’s peculiarly uncompromising stance on net neutrality. At its core, net neutrality has always been a battle between two huge industry groups and therefore never really presented an obvious reason for Republicans to feel strongly about one side or the other. But they’ve taken sides anyway, energetically supporting the anti-neutrality broadband industry against the pro-neutrality tech industry. Today an LA Times article dives more deeply into the problems this is causing:

    • Stop Demonizing the Internet

      In May 2013 I engaged in an hour long web chat with Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas, a think tank that describes itself as “dedicated to understanding global challenges by applying technological solutions.”

  • DRM

    • New Encryption Method Fights Reverse Engineering

      New submitter Dharkfiber sends an article about the Hardened Anti-Reverse Engineering System (HARES), which is an encryption tool for software that doesn’t allow the code to be decrypted until the last possible moment before it’s executed. The purpose is to make applications as opaque as possible to malicious hackers trying to find vulnerabilities to exploit. It’s likely to find work as an anti-piracy tool as well.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Bonobos Issues ‘Cease & Insist’ To Katy Perry After It Promised To Sell Left Shark Suits

        So the saga of the Left Shark and Katy Perry’s lawyers keeps getting more and more strange. We’ve already covered the legal threat from Perry’s lawyers to the guy who was offering a 3D printed figurine of the Left Shark, followed by the response explaining to Perry’s lawyers that there is no copyright in left shark, leading to Perry’s lawyers to issue a uh huh there is… while also using the figurine maker’s own photo of his 3D printed shark in their (now abandoned) trademark application.

      • Megaupload Programmer Sentenced to a Year in Prison

        Andrus Nomm, one of the Megaupload employees indicted by the United States, has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to a year in prison. Nomm signed a plea deal and admitted that he personally downloaded copyright-infringing files from Mega’s sites.

      • Megaupload Programmer Takes Plea Deal, Though It’s Still Unclear What Criminal Law He Violated

        A few days ago, it came out that programmer Andrus Nomm had flown to Virginia to be arrested. Nomm had worked for Megaupload in Europe and had been listed in the criminal case against Megaupload and its various employees. His name had mostly fallen off the radar, since he wasn’t down in New Zealand with most of the rest of them. It was obvious in his move to come to the US and be arrested that he must have worked out a plea deal with the feds, and that’s confirmed today with him pleading “guilty” to criminal copyright infringement with prosecutors asking for a year and a day in prison, which the court granted. Kim Dotcom noted that he has “nothing but compassion and understanding for Andrus Nomm.”

      • Go to Prison for File Sharing? That’s What Hollywood Wants in the Secret TPP Deal

        The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) poses massive threats to users in a dizzying number of ways. It will force other TPP signatories to accept the United States’ excessive copyright terms of a minimum of life of the author plus 70 years, while locking the US to the same lengths so it will be harder to shorten them in the future. It contains DRM anti-circumvention provisions that will make it a crime to tinker with, hack, re-sell, preserve, and otherwise control any number of digital files and devices that you own. The TPP will encourage ISPs to monitor and police their users, likely leading to more censorship measures such as the blockage and filtering of content online in the name of copyright enforcement. And in the most recent leak of the TPP’s Intellectual Property chapter, we found an even more alarming provision on trade secrets that could be used to crackdown on journalists and whistleblowers who report on corporate wrongdoing.

      • TPP will bring the world under US copyright control

        The text from the TPP reads “penalties that include sentences of imprisonment as well as monetary fines sufficiently high to provide a deterrent to future acts of infringement, consistently with the level of penalties applied for crimes of corresponding gravity.” The EFF suggest that countries who do not have “sufficiently high” fines could be subject to pressure from the US Trade Representative to impose fines the US deems suitable.

        It doesn’t stop there though, TPP’s current copyright provisions enable judges to order the seizure, destruction or forfeiture of anything that can be “traceable to infringing activity”, used in the “creation of pirated copyright goods” or is “documentary evidence relevant to the alleged offence”. I find the last quote the most troubling, ‘documentary evidence’ could include the machine on which the content was created, servers it’s hosted on and could, at a stretch, include seizure of another persons machine based on chat logs if the activity was being discussed with a friend.


Links 13/2/2015: Krita 2.9 and Calligra 2.9 Betas, Ubuntu in Drones

Posted in News Roundup at 6:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • How we used an open source meme generator to promote our journalism

    One of the tasks of a digital team in any major news organisation is to make the newsroom more efficient. We leverage new technologies in ways that haven’t been done before, and at a pace that’s challenging to keep up with. At The Times and Sunday Times, our team is constantly on the lookout for ways of improving our editorial workflow, and ensuring we get the very best from our great quality journalism.

  • With Joyent’s Blessings, and New Members, The Node.js Foundation Takes Shape

    A foundation can do a lot for an open source project. Just look at The OpenStack Foundation or The Linux Foundation. This week, Node.js, the very popular server-side JavaScript framework that is used for building and running websites and online applications, got its own foundation. Among other things, that means that Joyent will no longer solely govern Node.js. The foundation should help the project gain more contributions and develop more quickly.

  • Enterprise Software 2015: Mobility, Cloud and Open Source

    The economy is looking up mean that business budgets will likely see healthy growth in the new year. Forrester is predicting 4 to 6 percent growth for 2015 global IT budgets, reaching $620 billion. Much of the growth in spending will go towards technology like analytics, mobile, as-a-service, and enterprise applications like ERP and CRM. The US will lead IT spending, followed by India and the UK.

  • I Do Not Fear the Greeks Bearing Gifts

    Free software is particularly well-suite to Greece because it is a small market compared to those for the anglophone or francophone worlds, say. That means software is unlikely to be produced in regional versions as a priority. Open source, of course, can be modified by anyone, allowing localised versions of existing free software to be produced easily. All of these considerations apply elsewhere, especially among smaller countries, and it has always been something of a mystery to me why they don’t embrace open source more readily.

  • Hortonworks Teams With Others on Hadoop Data Governance Framework
  • Hortonworks and Hitachi Data Systems partner to deliver Apache Hadoop to the enterprise
  • Meet Myriad, a new project for running Hadoop on Mesos

    What he means is that companies will no longer have to run Hadoop on one set of resources, while running the web servers, Spark and any other number of workloads on other resources managed by Mesos. Essentially, all of these things will now be available as data center services residing on the same set of machines. Mesos has always supported Hadoop as a workload type — and companies including Twitter and Airbnb have taken advantage of this — but YARN has appeal as the default resource manager for newer distributions of Hadoop because it’s designed specifically for that platform and, well, is one of the foundations of those newer distributions.

  • A new open source big data framework

    MapR and Mesosphere are announcing a new open source big data framework (called Myriad) that allows Apache YARN jobs to run alongside other applications and services in enterprise and cloud datacentres.

  • New open-source Myriad project unifies Apache YARN and Apache Mesos resource management
  • ONF expands open-source software development

    The Open Networking Forum (ONF), a non-profit organisation dedicated to accelerating the adoption of open Software-Defined Networking (SDN), has announced the appointment of Saurav Das as principal system architect, and the establishment of a new project to build upon the OpenFlow Configuration and Management Protocol (OF-CONFIG) to support Open vSwitch (OVS). Saurav’s contributions to ONF and the announcement of this project build on the organisation’s open-source software efforts that began with the OpenFlow Driver competition, followed by ONF SampleTap and the Segment Routing project SPRING-OPEN, all of which were completed in 2014. Open-source software is a key route to developing de factor standards and fostering interoperability, both of which are ONF goals.

  • Google releases open-source tool for evaluating cloud performance

    This week Google announced it would provide a cloud computing performance evaluator called PerKit Benchmarker. The evaluation tool is hosted on the open-source collaboration site Github, and will allow users of the Google Cloud Platform, Amazon’s AWS, and Microsoft’s Azure to measure their current provider’s performance against industry-established benchmarks.

  • Open Source Node.js To Get its Own Foundation

    Node.js, the popular open-source, server-side JavaScript runtime project, will soon be governed by an independent foundation, its chief commercial sponsor announced this week.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Hortonworks dishes out Hadoop for HDS: Mmmm, open source with big vendor gravy

      HDS will offer open-source data muncher Hadoop to the enterprise after doing a deal with Hortonworks.

      Hadoop distributor Hortonworks has signed an agreement with HDS to jointly promote and support the software. HDS can now deliver Hortonworks’ Data Platform (HDP), Hadoop in other words, to its enterprise customers.

      Hortonworks strategic marketing veep John Kreisa offered this canned quote: “The strategic agreement also provides a joint engineering commitment for the two companies on current and future projects that will help make Hadoop enterprise-ready.”

  • Databases

    • Sisense, Simba Partner Around MongoDB NoSQL Business Analytics

      Hadoop has made lots of big data headlines by now. But in a reminder that it is only part of the open source big data story, Sisense and Simba partnered this week to deliver data analytics via MongoDB, the open source NoSQL platform, which is increasingly importance in production big data use.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • VirtualBox 4.3.22 Brings Support for Linux Kernel 3.19, X.Org Server 1.17, Windows 10 Preview

      That was pretty fast! It looks like Oracle knows what it is doing and just updated its awesome VirtualBox virtualization software, which we have to admit that we use every day here on Softpedia to test all sorts of distributions of GNU/Linux and many other Linux-related applications, to version 4.3.22, bringing initial support for the recently released Linux kernel 3.19.

  • Funding

  • Public Services/Government

    • How open source delivers for government

      Amid the well-deserved hype around the impact of cloud technology and big data analytics, it is possible that casual industry watchers may have missed the real story behind the recent wave of IT re-architecting.

      Enabling many of these recent, powerful trends is a newly validated embrace of open source software technology. The movement to OSS solutions is empowering system designers and solution architects to re-examine methodologies that evolved out of the legacy proprietary, closed source software license model. Put simply, OSS allows developers of IT systems to create better results and cut costs.

  • Licensing

    • CC BY 4.0 and CC BY-SA 4.0 added to our list of free licenses

      The Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International and Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licenses are now on our list of free licenses for works of practical use besides software and documentation.

      We have updated our list of Various Licenses and Comments about Them to include the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0) and the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license (CC BY-SA 4.0). Both of these licenses are free licenses for works of practical use besides software and documentation.

      CC BY 4.0 is a noncopyleft license that is compatible with the GNU General Public License version 3.0 (GPLv3), meaning you can combine a CC BY 4.0 licensed work with a GPLv3 licensed work a larger work that is then released under the terms of GPLv3.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Commuter disruption after motorist drives car on to tram tracks in Wythenshawe

    The white Fiat drove on to the line at Baguley this afternoon, causing delays to services between Cornbrook and Manchester Airport.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Chris Matthews Calls for ‘Rambo Kind of Stuff’ as Response to Real-World Violence

      In response to Matthews’ call for “bombing the hell out of them,” Sheehan does make an important point about ISIS’s well-publicized display of violence, which is “they did this for a purpose.” The purpose he proposes–”They’re doing this to try to intimidate us so that we go home”–is implausible, since ISIS surely knows that the United States, like most countries, generally responds to violence with more violence. It’s much more likely that ISIS, like the Al-Qaeda movement it springs from, believes spectacular acts of terror will draw a military response from the United States that will help it to build its movement (Extra!, 7/11). But at least Sheehan is thinking of violence as being part of a political strategy rather than as a form of emotional release, as Matthews seems to see it:

    • Nagging questions on US role in Mamasapano mission

      Questions persist over the true role of the United States in the events leading up to the deadly encounter in Mamasapano and in the immediate aftermath.

      Did the US provide all or part of the intelligence that formed the basis for the ill-fated Special Action Force operation?

      Were its operatives involved in the planning of the mission and in its execution?

    • Protesters call for Aquino resignation

      “The blood debt of the US which include the genocide of 1.5 million Filipinos in the Filipino-American war remain unpaid and their atrocities continue to spiral up. They’re even using Filipino troops as pawns in their interventionist terror war such as what happened the covert SAF operation Mamasapano,” said Charisse Bañez, national spokesperson of the League of Filipino Students.

      Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan National Chair, said that Aquino “sacrificed his own troops in the name of the US war on terror.”

      “This disastrous collaboration between Aquino and the US is a disrespect to all the victims of the Filipino genocide during Filipino-American War,” said Crisostomo.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • Instrumentalizing Fear to Control Encrypted Communications is Dangerously Anti-Democratic

      Recent Paris attacks have triggered a wave of securitarian discourse and dangerous upcoming legislative measures that are spreading way beyond France. Increased control of communications online, surveillance, attacks against anonymous speech and encryption are already on the table, under the pretence of fighting an invisible enemy in a perpetual war.

    • Facebook and “Corporate Friends” Threat Exchange?

      Fahwad Al-Khadoumi (nsnbc) : Facebook teamed up with several corporate “friends” to adapt Facebook’s in-house software to identify cyber threats and their source with other corporations. Countering cyber threats sounds positive while there are serious questions about transparency when smaller, independent media fall victim to major corporation’s unwillingness to reveal the source of attacks resulted in websites being closed for hours or days. Transparency, yes, but for whom?

    • Court upholds NSA snooping

      The challenge against the controversial Upstream program was tossed out because additional defense from the government would have required “impermissible disclosure of state secret information,” Judge Jeffrey White wrote in his decision.

    • New York Times columnist David Carr has died. Here is his last interview, with Edward Snowden

      David Carr, the 58-year-old media columnist for the New York Times, collapsed suddenly at the newspaper’s office this evening and died after being rushed to the hospital.

      Carr was previously the editor-in-chief of Washington City Paper and the author of a memoir, Year of the Gun, about his recovery from drug addiction and cancer while raising two young daughters.


      Technology companies can enact all sorts of political agendas, and right now the dominant agendas enforce neoliberalism and austerity, using centralized data to identify immigrants to be deported, or poor people likely to default on their debts. Yet I believe there is a huge positive potential in the accumulation of more data, in a good institutional—and by that I mean political—setup. Once you monitor one part of my activity and offer me some proposals or predictions about it, it’s reasonable to suppose your service would be better if you also monitored my other activities. The fact that Google monitors my Web searches, my email, my location, makes its predictions in each of these categories much more accurate than if it were to monitor only one of them. If you take this logic to its ultimate conclusion, it becomes clear you don’t want two hundred different providers of information services—you want just one, because the scale-effects make things much easier for users. The big question, of course, is whether that player has to be a private capitalist corporation, or some federated, publicly-run set of services that could reach a data-sharing agreement free of monitoring by intelligence agencies.

    • David Carr, Influential New York Times Media Columnist, Dead At 58

      New York Times columnist David Carr, one of the most incisive and influential writers on the media business, died Thursday night after collapsing in the paper’s midtown Manhattan newsroom. He was 58.

      Times executive editor Dean Baquet informed staff of the death of their “wonderful, esteemed colleague” in a newsroom memo.


      Earlier Thursday, Carr moderated a TimesTalk on the National Security Agency leaks with Edward Snowden, and journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. Within hours, he was dead.

  • Civil Rights

  • DRM

    • Keurig Delivers DRM in a Cup

      Who would’ve thought it possible that digital rights management (DRM) would come to the coffee business? Well, it has. Believe it or not, Keurig now includes DRM on their coffee makers. Why? To keep users from using anything but Keurig coffee pods on their machines, of course. You know, just like the DRM used by some printer manufacturers to keep you coming back (and coming back) for their branded replacement ink cartridges instead of opting for the much cheaper store brand.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The secret business plan that could spell the end for SMEs

      Despite its extensive implications, TTIP has generated relatively little coverage, not least because negotiations are shrouded in secrecy and conducted primarily with corporate lobbyists, who have minimal obligations to the public interest. So clandestine are the talks that the few MEPs that are granted access can only view the plans in their original documentation, in a secure location, with the threat of espionage charges if they try to make copies or share the details with the public.


Links 12/2/2015: ChaletOS, Linux 3.20 Features

Posted in News Roundup at 9:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Five ways open source middleware can impact unmanned systems

    Traditionally thought of as intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), or kinetic action platforms, unmanned systems are now filling roles such as command and control communications, meteorological survey, and resupply, and explosive ordnance disposal platforms. Historically, these platforms have been developed and fielded as standalone systems built by different vendors with unique and often proprietary payloads, control mechanisms and data formats. But this process has created limitations on interoperability and increased costs, leading the DoD to look at other, more viable options, including commercially supported open source middleware.

  • The privacy differential – why don’t more non-US and open source firms use the NSA as marketing collateral?

    The shockwaves generated by Edward Snowden’s revelations of the close collaboration between US tech giants such as Microsoft and Apple and the NSA are still reverberating through the industry. Those disclosures, together with related ones such as the involvement of the NSA in industrial espionage, as well as the asymmetric nature of US law when it comes to gathering data from foreign individuals, present something of an open goal for non-US technology companies – or so one might have thought.

    On the face of it, then, it is surprising that non-US technology firms and others that can distance themselves from the US law are not proclaiming this fact more loudly. After all, there must be a considerable number of organisations that would dearly love to locate their data as far away from the attentions of the NSA as possible.

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of why I don’t always work in the open

    When you choose not to work in the open, what are your reasons? Are they Good, Bad or Ugly? What are your suggestions for how those of us who want to work more in the open can all do better?

  • Joyent: Never mind those other forkers, Node.js has a foundation now, too

    The popular, open source Node.js JavaScript runtime engine is getting a new foundation to manage its development, in a move that could help mend the recent schism in the project’s community.

  • Google’s new open-source PerfKit framework watches cloud application performance

    Google’s latest foray into the open-source realm is a framework it’s calling “PerfKit,” which is designed to measure application performance in the cloud, the company announced Wednesday.

  • Open source data-driven discovery at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    The Apache Software Foundation has, since those early days, been at the forefront of challenging problems. Within the context of this article, the ASF has both fostered, and continues to host keynote scientific projects such as Apache OODT (a Top Level Project at the ASF which originally came from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory), to recently incubating projects such as Singa (an efficient, scalable and easy-to-use distributed platform for training deep learning models used currently within Deep Convolutional Neural Network and Deep Belief Network as examples).

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • A Watershed Moment to Protect the Free and Open Web

        Corporations that seek to control the Web, massive government and corporate surveillance, chilling effects on free expression — all of these issues will be harder to address if the next billions coming online think that the Internet exists solely within the walled gardens of platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp. The greatest danger is people relinquishing their control to gatekeepers that get to decide the rules about what we see and what we create.

      • Cities need to be able to earn digital badges

        When I first heard of Mozilla Open Badges, my heart skipped a beat. Wisely implemented, digital badges can help individuals and communities focus their energies on worthy goals.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • Nice kitty: MongoDB 3.0 (with Tiger Inside)

      The open source cross-platform document-oriented database company MongoDB has reached version 3.0 this month.

      The new iteration sees significant changes in its storage layer performance and scalability.

  • Healthcare

  • Funding

    • The Open-Source Question

      You’d be forgiven for thinking that the tech world is a loathsome hotbed of rapacious venture capitalists, airheaded trend-riders, and publicity hounds. That’s the image presented by much of the tech press, which prizes stories about the Montgomery Burnses of the tech world over ones about its more idealistic denizens.

    • Payments

      With the new website, we’ve decided to revise how we promote and handle payments. We understand that this has rubbed some people the wrong way, and in the spirit of addressing concerns, we’ve decided to write this post. Keep in mind that this was a really difficult post to right. It covers sensitive territory, and it becomes difficult to choose the right words without offending anyone. That said, here’s our best explanation:

    • Should you pay for Elementary OS?

      Elementary OS has attracted a lot of attention lately. But a controversy is brewing over how the distro developers are setting up their new site for payments by users. The Elementary OS site is being redesigned to encourage users to pay for the distro. But should the Elementary OS developers expect a payment in the first place?

    • Jahia Completed a $22.5 Million Round of Financing From Invus
    • Jahia Completed a $22.5 Million Round of Financing From Invus
    • Growth & Expansion: Jahia Receives $22.5 million Round of Funding
    • Open Source Jahia Raises $22.5M to Grow Enterprise Clients

      Jahia is getting a $22.5 million cash infusion from Invus, a New York City-based investment firm, the Geneva, Switzerland-based open source content management system (CMS) vendor announced today.

  • BSD


    • Will you be my cryptovalentine?

      Valentine’s day is this Saturday and, if you’re like us, you’re either trying to pick the right gift or wishing you had someone to exchange gifts with. We wish you luck with that. But there’s something important that you can do regardless of your relationship status:

  • Project Releases

    • CMlyst got it’s first release

      Now that Cutelyst is allowing me to write web applications with the tools I like, I can use it to build the kind of web applications I need but am not fine with using the existing ones…

    • Cutelyst 0.6.0 is released

      Cutelyst, the Qt/C++ web framework just got another step into API stabilization.

      Since 0.3.0 I’ve been trying to take the most request per second out of it, and because of that I decided to replace most QStrings with QByteArrays, the allocation call is indeed simpler in QByteArray but since most of Qt use QString for strings it started to create a problem rather than solving one. Grantlee didn’t play nice with QByteArray breaking ifequal and in the end some implicit conversions from UTF-8 were triggered.

  • Public Services/Government

    • DISA Unveils Online, Open Source Collaboration Tool for DoD

      The Defense Information Systems Agency is launching a web-based, open source collaboration tool for the Defense Department that provides webconferencing, chat and instant messaging functions for employees based in the U.S. and abroad.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Eric S. Raymond Calls LLVM The “Superior Compiler” To GCC

      Joining in on the heated discussion that originated over Richard Stallman voicing concerns over adding LLVM’s LLDB debugger support to Emacs, Eric S Raymond has come out to once again voice his support in favor of LLVM/Clang and express his feelings that GCC’s leading days are over.

    • Perl creator Larry Wall: Rethought version 6 due this year

      Despite criticisms such as it having a “cryptic syntax,” the Perl language has remained prominent in language popularity assessments, even if popularity has declined and a planned upgrade has been slow to appear. Designed by Larry Wall, the scripting language is suited for tasks ranging from quick prototyping to Web programming and system management tasks, and it’s part of the prominent LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL Perl/PHP/Python) open source stack. At the recent FOSDEM conference in Brussels, Wall revealed intentions to have the long-awaited Perl 6 release out in a beta version in September and generally available by December. Wall answered some questions from InfoWorld Editor at Large Paul Krill via email about what’s planned for the language and responded to criticisms.

    • Learn to crunch big data with R

      Get started using the open source R programming language to do statistical computing and graphics on large data sets


  • Apple’s chorus of critics: How wrong can they be?

    Your daughter comes home from school with a report card studded with A’s. You (1) give her a hug and raise her allowance or (2) ground her and tell her you know she’ll never do this well again.

    Perversely enough, too many pundits and academics have chosen option No. 2 since Apple CEO Tim Cook presented investors the company’s most recent financial report card — a fourth-quarter earnings story that featured record sales at Apple, rapid growth, and (most important) a quarterly profit that is the largest ever recorded by a publicly traded company.

  • Russian woman dies after dropping charging iPhone into bathtub

    A young Russian woman has died after her charging iPhone fell into the bathtub in her Moscow flat.

    Yevgenia Sviridenko, 24, who was originally from Omsk, more than 2,000 miles from the Russian capital, was discovered by her flatmate in the bath on Monday evening, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reported according to The Moscow Times.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Barbarians are made, not born – here’s how ISIS was created by the United States

      The US destruction of Fallujah in 2004 was a prime motivation for the growth of ISIS.

    • Senate confirms new Pentagon chief

      The Senate on Thursday confirmed Ashton Carter as President Obama’s new secretary of Defense in a 93-5 vote.

      Carter, 60, will be the 25th secretary of Defense and Obama’s fourth. He is expected to be sworn into office next week

    • Obama Asks Congress to Authorize War That’s Already Started

      As the U.S. continues to bomb the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, President Obama asked Congress today to approve a new legal framework for the ongoing military campaign.

      The administration’s draft law “would not authorize long-term, large-scale ground combat operations” like Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama wrote in a letter accompanying the proposal. The draft’s actual language is vague, allowing for ground troops in what Obama described as “limited circumstances,” like special operations and rescue missions.

      The authorization would have no geographic limitations and allow action against “associated persons or forces” of the Islamic State. It would expire in three years.

    • Ukraine arrests journalist after call to dodge draft

      Ukraine’s security service arrested a journalist on treason charges Sunday after he posted a video online urging people to dodge the country’s new military draft, his wife and officials said.

      Ruslan Kotsaba — a television journalist from the western region of Ivano-Frankivsk — was ordered held in custody for 60 days pending investigations, his wife, Uliana, wrote on Facebook.

    • Life in the Emerald City: Houthis Control Yemen, But They Don’t Yet Govern It

      Just weeks after a coup that ousted Yemen’s Western-backed government, the capital of Yemen is a city painted in green, mostly with spray paint.

      Green tree trunks, green sidewalks, green walls and even a green Ford F-350 bearing the Houthi slogan, which includes the words “Death to America,” on each side of the iconic American truck, about 340 of which the Pentagon shipped to Yemen over the past few years.

    • Endless War? Obama Sends Congress Expansive Anti-ISIS Measure 6 Months After Bombing Began

      President Obama has sent Congress a formal request to authorize military force against the Islamic State six months after the U.S. began bombing Iraq and Syria. The resolution imposes a three-year limit on U.S. operations, but does not put any geographic constraints. It also opens the door for ground combat operations in limited circumstances. The resolution’s broad language covers military action against the Islamic State as well as “individuals and organizations fighting for, on behalf of, or alongside [ISIS] or any closely-related successor entity in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” The resolution also leaves in place the open-ended Authorization for Use of Military Force Congress enacted one week after the Sept. 11, 2001, which has been used to justify U.S. action in Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen and beyond, and which Obama had previously called for repealing. We speak with Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of many books, including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”

    • Congress, Don’t Be Fooled; Obama Still Believes in Unlimited War

      PRESIDENT OBAMA is going before Congress to request authorization for the limited use of military force in a battle of up to three years against the Islamic State. On the surface, this looks like a welcome recognition of Congress’s ultimate authority in matters of war and peace. But unless the resolution put forward by the White House is amended, it will have the opposite effect. Congressional support will amount to the ringing endorsement of unlimited presidential war making.

      Whatever else they decide, the House and Senate should revise the White House initiative to guarantee that it won’t have this tragic result. First do no harm; before proceeding with a debate over the limits of our continuing military engagement, Congress should make it impossible for future presidents to evade its final decision.

    • The Seduction of Brian Williams: Embedded with the Military

      He is a liar of course, someone who did not tell the truth no matter the reason or excuse, a bad trait for a journalist. Williams lied about being RPG’ed in a helicopter over Iraq; he did not see any variant of what you can see in the photo above. And that’s not a hard thing to “misremember.”

      But if there is any reason to forgive Williams, it was that he was seduced by both his own conflation of his sad little life as a talking head and the “brave troops,” and, more clearly, by the process of embedding with the military. I know. I saw it.

    • The Minsk Peace Deal: Farce Or Sellout? — Paul Craig Roberts

      As Washington is not a partner to the Minsk peace deal, how can there be peace when Washington has made policy decisions to escalate the conflict and to use the conflict as a proxy war between the US and Russia?

    • New York City Police Officer Is Said to Be Indicted in Shooting Death of Akai Gurley

      A New York City police officer was indicted Tuesday in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in a Brooklyn public housing complex stairwell in November, several people familiar with the grand jury’s decision said.

    • Obama to Seek War Power Bill From Congress, to Fight ISIS

      The Obama administration has informed lawmakers that the president will seek a formal authorization to fight the Islamic State that would prohibit the use of “enduring offensive ground forces” and limit engagement to three years. The approach offers what the White House hopes is a middle way on Capitol Hill for those on the right and left who remain deeply skeptical of its plans to thwart extremist groups.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Privacy

    • Samsung Ad Injections Perfectly Illustrate Why I Want My ‘Smart’ TV To Be As Dumb As Possible

      Samsung has been doing a great job this week illustrating why consumers should want their televisions to be as dumb as technologically possible. The company took heat for much of the week after its privacy policy revealed Samsung smart TVs have been collecting and analyzing user living room conversations in order to improve voice recognition technology. While that’s fairly common for voice recognition tech, the idea of living room gear that spies on you has been something cable operators have been patenting for years. And while Samsung has changed its privacy policy language to more clearly illustrate what it’s doing, the fact that smart TV security is relatively awful has many people quite justly concerned about smart TVs becoming another poorly-guarded repository for consumer data.

    • Movie review: Citizenfour

      About 20 minutes into this electrifying, often terrifying documentary, the film-maker shows for the first time the man we have come to know as Edward Snowden. The ex-NSA employee who blew the whistle on the US Government’s spying on its citizens is a familiar face only because of 24 hours of interviews this film’s maker compiled over eight days in a Hong Kong hotel room. But when he first appears, he’s talking to Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald about how they will deal with what Greenwald calls “the ‘you’ story”.

    • Jewel v. NSA: Making Sense of a Disappointing Decision Over Mass Surveillance

      A federal court in San Francisco sided with the U.S. Department of Justice, ruling that the plaintiffs could not win a significant portion of the case—a Fourth Amendment challenge to the NSA’s tapping of the Internet backbone—without disclosure of classified information that would harm national security. In other words, Judge Jeffrey White found that “state secrets” can trump the judicial process and held that EFF’s clients could not prove they have standing.

    • Judge Rules You Can’t Sue the NSA for Secretly Spying on You Unless You Prove You’re Being Secretly Spied On

      Advocates for less government snooping suffered a blow Tuesday when a federal judge in California ruled that a group of citizens can not sue the National Security Agency to stop the “upstream” collection of their data.

  • Civil Rights

    • More Power For Bad Cops: NYPD Head Supports Raising ‘Resisting Arrest’ To A Felony

      The most half-baked “weapon” in any policeman’s arsenal should never be raised to the level of a felony. “Resisting arrest” is the charge brought when bad cops run out of better ideas. This truism runs through nearly every law enforcement agency in the country. When you take a look at videographers and photographers who have been arrested for exercising their First Amendment rights (and backed by a DOJ statement), you’ll see plenty of “resisting arrest” charges.

    • Northern Va. woman dies after being stunned by deputies

      A 37-year-old woman has died after deputies in northern Virginia used a Taser stun gun on her while she was in custody.

      Natasha McKenna of Alexandria was taken off life support Sunday, five days after she was stunned at the Fairfax County jail, the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

      McKenna was in the process of being transported from the Fairfax County jail to the Alexandria city jail Tuesday when deputies say she failed to comply with their commands and resisted them. A deputy then used a Taser to restrain her, sheriff’s Lt. Steve Elbert said Monday.

    • Hundreds of South Carolina Inmates Sent to Solitary Confinement Over Facebook

      In the South Carolina prison system, accessing Facebook is an offense on par with murder, rape, rioting, escape and hostage-taking.

      Back in 2012, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) made “Creating and/or Assisting With A Social Networking Site” a Level 1 offense [PDF], a category reserved for the most violent violations of prison conduct policies. It’s one of the most common Level 1 offense charges brought against inmates, many of whom, like most social network users, want to remain in contact with friends and family in the outside world and keep up on current events. Some inmates ask their families to access their online accounts for them, while many access the Internet themselves through a contraband cell phone (possession of which is yet another Level 1 offense).

    • Pasco, Washington, police have killed more people than police in Germany and the UK combined

      With just 59,000 residents, the Pasco police department in Washington state have shot and killed four people in the past six months—more than police in the entire United Kingdom, which has over 80,000,000 citizens, in the past three years combined. In fact, Pasco police are on pace to have more police shootings than Germany, also with 80,000,000 citizens, over the current 12 month period.

    • U.S. Drops to 49th in World Press Freedom Rankings, Worst Since Obama Became President

      Each year, Reporters Without Borders issues a worldwide ranking of nations based on the extent to which they protect or abridge press freedom. The group’s 2015 ranking was released this morning, and the United States is ranked 49th.

      That is the lowest ranking ever during the Obama presidency, and the second-lowest ranking for the U.S. since the rankings began in 2002 (in 2006, under Bush, the U.S. was ranked 53rd). The countries immediately ahead of the U.S. are Malta, Niger, Burkino Faso, El Salvador, Tonga, Chile and Botswana.

    • ‘Drastic decline’ in world media freedom

      Media freedom has suffered a ‘drastic decline’ worldwide last year in part because of extremist groups such as Islamic State and Boko Haram, the watchdog group Reporters Without Borders says. – See more at: http://www.skynews.com.au/news/world/europe/2015/02/12/-drastic-decline–in-world-media-freedom.html#sthash.dLBZAYMJ.dpuf

    • How the Chapel Hill Victims Deserve to Be Mourned

      I didn’t know Yusor Mohammad, Deah Shaddy Barakat or Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha — the victims of Craig Stephen Hicks’ shooting spree in Chapel Hill, North Carolina – but I recognize them. Anyone who has spent time in American Muslim communities would, and that’s partly why this horrible crime is so painful. I realize I’m making assumptions and maybe getting sentimental in the process, but I can’t help it. The personalities that come through from the testimonies of friends and family, the record of the efforts and achievements of these young people, and the photographs that radiate such joy and life are all too familiar to miss.

    • Conservatives Dance On Grave Of ISIL Hostage: ‘Jew-Hating, Anti-Israel B**ch’

      Not all conservatives used the death of American hostage Kayla Mueller to highlight the brutality of the Islamic State — some decided to focus their disgust on the 26-year-old’s humanitarian work for Palestinians.

      “No tears for the newly-departed Kayla Mueller, the ISIS hostage whose parents confirmed today that she is dead,” conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel wrote on Tuesday, under the headline, “Kayla Mueller: Dead ISIS Hostage Was Jew-Hating, Anti-Israel Bitch.”

      “Mueller was a Jew-hating, anti-Israel piece of crap who worked with HAMAS and helped Palestinians harass Israeli soldiers and block them from doing their job of keeping Islamic terrorists out of Israel,” she wrote.

      Schlussel condemned Mueller’s humanitarian work in the “so-called ‘West Bank’” to prevent the demolition of “terrorists’ ‘houses.’”

    • Trapped in Baku

      A press freedom advocate — and husband of an American servicewoman — went to the U.S. embassy in Azerbaijan, fearing for his life. But he was turned away.

    • Azerbaijani journalist sheltering in Swiss embassy
    • Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry: Emin Huseynov went into hiding at Swiss embassy to avoid investigation

      Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hikmet Hajiyev said in this regard that the investigation carried out under the court verdict discovered that chairman of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety Emin Huseynov has engaged in illegal business over unregistered grant contracts, making a great deal of money – AZN 1,575,956 – but evading from taxes AZN 247,551 tax to be paid to the state budget.

    • German Embassy Releases “Alarming” Declaration to Residents in Venezuela

      Caracas, February 11th, 2015. (Venezuelanalysis)- The German Embassy in Caracas has alarmed political observers in Venezuela by publishing what the press has described as an “alarming” official declaration to its citizens in the South American country.

      Published on February 5th, the declaration is written and signed by the Chargé d’Affaires at the German Embassy, Dr. Jörg Polster. It began to make the rounds on social media networks over the last two days.

      In the statement, German diplomat Polster informs readers that the embassy is extremely “worried” about the current situation in the country and advises German residents to take a number of “precautions in the face of the crisis”.

    • Google’s new robo-dog stalks premises, withstands hard kicks (VIDEO)
    • US bill seeks to tie massive trade pact to EU rejection of BDS

      Bipartisan lawmakers aim to make renunciation of Israel boycott efforts in Europe a key negotiating point in largest free trade deal in history

    • A Worthless Piece of Paper

      President George W. Bush was fond of saying that “9/11 changed everything.” He used that one-liner often as a purported moral basis to justify the radical restructuring of federal law and the federal assault on personal liberties over which he presided. He cast aside his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution; he rejected his oath to enforce all federal laws faithfully; and he moved the government decidedly in the direction of secret laws, secret procedures and secret courts.

      During his presidency, Congress enacted the Patriot Act. This legislation permits federal agents to write their own search warrants when those warrants are served on custodians of records — like doctors, lawyers, telecoms, computer servers, banks and even the Post Office.

      Such purported statutory authority directly violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the right to privacy in our “persons, houses, papers and effects.” That includes just about everything held by the custodians of our records. Privacy is not only a constitutional right protected by the document; it is also a natural right. We possess the right to privacy by virtue of our humanity. Our rights come from within us — whether you believe we are the highest progression of biological forces or the intended creations of an Almighty God — they do not come from the government.

    • Protesters call for Aquino resignation

      Nationalists and anti-imperialists marched to commemorate the 116th year of the Philippine-American War on Feb. 4, with a call to make President Aquino, suspended Police chief Alan Purisima, and the US government accountable for the recent Mamasapano deaths.

    • Egyptian Court Orders Release of 2 Al Jazeera Journalists

      An Egyptian court on Thursday ordered the release of two journalists jailed for more than a year on charges of broadcasting false news in a conspiracy with the Muslim Brotherhood.

      The release followed the publication this week of a previously undisclosed opinion by Egypt’s highest appeals court condemning the journalists’ conviction as baseless when it ordered a retrial at the beginning of this year. The release also comes at a time when the Egyptian government appears to be trying to allay some of the international criticism it has received after a series of harsh and hasty criminal convictions issued during a crackdown on dissent after the military takeover in July 2013.

    • Denial of Refugee Protection For Matt DeHart

      On Monday, February 9th, Matt DeHart’s parents, Paul and Leann, received notice by mail from the Refugee Protection Division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board that the family’s claim for Refugee Protection had been denied. The family fled the United States after Matt was interrogated and tortured during an FBI espionage investigation in which child pornography charges were hastily filed after Matt was detained at the Canadian border, an action which was triggered by an espionage alert.

    • Matt DeHart Denied Asylum in Canada

      Matt DeHart claims that all his troubles stem from a file uploaded, twice, to a Tor server he ran out of a closet in his parent’s home. An FBI investigation into something the CIA might have done.

    • Matt DeHart, former American soldier claiming he was tortured by U.S., loses bid for asylum in Canada

      Mr. DeHart testified the pornography charges are a ruse to investigate an espionage and national security probe tied to his involvement in Anonymous and his operation of a “hidden” Internet server used to leak a classified U.S. government document, likely destined to WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing organization.

    • Jails Have Become Warehouses for the Poor, Ill and Addicted, a Report Says

      Jails across the country have become vast warehouses made up primarily of people too poor to post bail or too ill with mental health or drug problems to adequately care for themselves, according to a report issued Wednesday.

      The study, “Incarceration’s Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America,” found that the majority of those incarcerated in local and county jails are there for minor violations, including driving with suspended licenses, shoplifting or evading subway fares, and have been jailed for longer periods of time over the past 30 years because they are unable to pay court-imposed costs.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • “Canada Remains A Safe Haven For Online Piracy”

        The MPAA, RIAA and other entertainment industry groups keep hammering on Canada for its lacking anti-piracy enforcement. The groups label Canada a “safe haven” for both file-sharers and online pirate sites, and ask the U.S. Government to intervene.

      • Copyright Monopolist Claims Legal, Non-Infringing “Fair Use” Is Like AGGRAVATED RAPE

        In a fuming blog article, David Newhoff claims that non-infringing, legal uses of copyrighted works – that is, of people’s own property – are like “aggravated rape” when made without unneeded consent of the monopoly holder. Newhoff tries to scold the crucial concept of “fair use” in copyright monopoly doctrine, the concept which explicitly says that some usages are not covered by the monopoly and therefore not up to the monopoly holder, and ends saying that if you don’t grant permission and can’t set limits, it’s “aggravated rape”. Just when you think copyright monopoly zealots can’t sink any lower, they surprise you with one of the few creativities they’ve ever shown.

      • YouTube Flags Cat Purring as Copyright Infringing Music

        YouTube’s automated takedown tool is known for its flaws, but this week it crossed a line by attacking a purring cat. According to YouTube’s Content-ID system both EMI Publishing and PRS own the rights to a 12 second purring loop. The cat in question, Phantom, has filed a dispute and hopes to reclaim his rights.

      • US’s ‘Naughty List’ Of Countries Whose Intellectual Property Rules We Don’t Like Is A Joke That’s No Longer Funny

        Mocking the ridiculous “Special 301 report” from the US Trade Representative has become something of an annual sport around these parts. As we’ve explained, the whole concept of the report is something of a joke: copyright, patent and trademark maximalists send in reports to the USTR, claiming which countries don’t do enough to respect US intellectual property, and the USTR — via no systematic or objective process — rewrites those complaints into a report that declares certain countries “naughty” for their practices. The whole thing is such a joke that even those in the government will openly mock it. As I’ve said in the past, I once saw the head of the US Copyright Office openly joke about the purely arbitrary nature of the 301 report at a conference. Countries like Canada — which are regularly named to the report, despite having copyright laws that are, in many areas, more stringent than the US’s — have openly declared that they do not find the Special 301 process to be legitimate, and thus do not pay any attention to it. A couple of years ago, Chile also made it clear that it felt the 301 process was illegitimate.

      • Torrent Site: Copyright Troll Had Staff Access to Member Data

        Empornium, one of the leading private torrent trackers for adult content, says it believes a copyright troll gained access to a staff moderation account and is now using obtained data to threaten its users. The revelations may shine light on why some Empornium users have received settlement threats with no lawsuit filed and no notice from their ISPs.

      • BitTorrent’s Original Content Deal Makes Bid for Reputability

        The move might be an effort to appear more legitimate to advertisers and others within entertainment content distribution circles. The BitTorrent file-sharing protocol is often linked with users of the downloading software exchanging content in violation of intellectual property laws. The first project under this original video distribution agreement is the movie Children of the Machine.

Links 12/2/2015: Black Lab Linux KDE Edition, Android SmartWatches

Posted in News Roundup at 6:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Is GNU/Linux becoming too complex for its own good?

    A Debian developer, who faced issues with some minor tasks on his own machines, has now raised the question whether the distribution being built is too complex to understand and debug.

  • Server

    • Docker Popularity A Game-Changer For Cloud, Linux?

      What’s the next step for Docker, one of Silicon’s Valley’s hottest startups?

      It’s not an initial public offering — at least not this year, apparently. The well-funded, lean company says that it’s in no rush to go public.

  • Kernel Space

    • Top 10 Features of Linux Kernel 3.19

      Linux kernel 3.19 has been officially announced by none other than its father, Linus Torvalds, on February 8, 2015. It is a great release that brings some very interesting features. Because we didn’t have access to a complete list of its features at the moment of writing the news article about its availability, we have decided to drop another one that highlights Linux 3.19 kernel’s prominent features.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • A eulogy to CrunchBang, the Linux distro that time passed by

      DistroWatch.com is currently tracking 287 active Linux distributions. That’s a lot, but not every Linux distribution is a massive project. For every Ubuntu or Fedora, there are many more hobbyist distributions created and run by one or two people. Sometimes they grow into their own large projects, like Linux Mint did. And sometimes a developer decides to pull the plug, as CrunchBang’s developer recently did.


      In the end, hobbyist Linux distributions are created to scratch an itch. Developers may eventually find that itch has been solved elsewhere, or may not want to put the long hours into scratching it anymore. CrunchBang no doubt has users who use and love it, even today—but the end of CrunchBang doesn’t have to be sad. CrunchBang’s developer now believes the larger Linux ecosystem has improved so much that CrunchBang is no longer necessary.

      That’s good news for everyone, including Newborough, who now gets to spend his valuable time on something else. Thanks for a killer run, Philip.

    • Security Onion: A Linux Distro For IDS, NSM, And Log Management

      Security Onion is a Linux distribution for intrusion detection, network security monitoring, and log management. It’s based on Ubuntu and contains Snort, Suricata, Bro, Sguil, Squert, Snorby, ELSA, Xplico, Network Miner, and many other security tools. Security Onion is a platform that allows you to monitor your network for security alerts. It’s simple enough to run in small environments without many issues and allows advanced users to deploy distributed systems that can be used in network enterprise type environments.

    • Getting Started with Linux: Another Look at UberStudent

      Time flies. It’s hard to believe it, but it’s been four years since I first took a look at a Linux distribution called UberStudent. Back then it was in its 1.0 release, called “Cicero.” The latest release, “Epicurus,” came out in mid-January, with a version number of 4.1.

      There are a lot of Linux distributions out there. What makes this one worth checking out?

      As with previous releases, what makes UberStudent unique is its target audience, and the software and little added touches it has as a result.

    • New Releases

      • Black Lab Linux Releases 32-bit Edition of Their KDE-Based Distro

        In a world where everyone tries to drop 32-bit support for their OSes, Black Lab Linux developers have announced on Twitter that they’ve released a 32-bit version of their KDE-based distribution in order to support installations of the Black Lab Linux KDE Edition 6.0 SR1 operating system on low-end computers or machines with old/semi-old hardware components.

    • Arch Family

      • Satire: Linus Torvalds awarded Arch Linux as the most consumer friendly distribution

        Richard M Stallman congratulated Arch for their achievement but also pointed out the areas where he thinks Arch needs improvement, “Arch’s lack of support of DRM and binary blobs are the only areas where I see hurdles in the wide-spread adoption of Linux. We have elevated the DRM implementation project at FSF to boost work on it. Today Arch is the second most popular operating system and this gap is only due to Arch’s bad philosophy of pure Open Source software. I think they should start offering proprietary and patented applications in their repositories.”

    • Red Hat Family

      • UAE Exchange consolidates data centres with Red Hat Linux

        Red Hat, Inc. (RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that UAE Exchange, a leading foreign exchange and money transfer brand, has successfully created a scalable, secure, robust and high-performance datacenter environment by consolidating its IT infrastructure on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

      • Red Hat Upgrades Virtualization Platform

        The prolific developers at Red Hat have been relatively quiet in the New Year. Now, the open source leader is picking up the pace with the introduction of the latest version of its enterprise virtualization tool.

        The company announced general availability this week of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.5 aiming to offer tighter integration with OpenStack while promising to ease deployment of IT infrastructures for traditional virtualization workloads along with enterprise-level cloud infrastructure.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • CrunchBang, Elementary, and other Linux Complications

          The top stories today are more thoughts on CrunchBang and Elementary OS’ move to raise capital. My Linux Rig spoke to Matthew Miller from Fedora about his desktop and Adam Williamson announced Fedora 22 Anacoda/DNF testing day. Canonical pats itself on the back for a job well done in media production and John Goerzen hits the complexity nail on the head.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Raspberry Pi robot’s explained

      Is the Pi robot a specific product or just a concept? An easy answer for some, but not everyone knows the score

    • Hackable Pi-like SBC opts for 1.6GHz quad-core STB SoC

      Shenzhen Xunlong has launched a $59 open-spec “Orange Pi Plus” SBC with a 1.6GHz quad-core Allwinner H3 SoC, 40-pin Pi-compatible expansion, WiFi, and SATA.

      In December when Shenzhen Xunlong Software announced its open-spec, Linux- and Android-ready Orange Pi and Orange Pi Mini SBCs, both of which use the dual-core, Cortex-A7 Allwinner A20 system-on-chip, the company also briefly noted an upcoming, quad-core Orange Pi Plus. The Plus was said to offer a quad-core, Cortex-A7 Allwinner A31 SoC with a PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU. Instead, the shipping version, now available at AliExpress for $59, arrives with Allwinner’s new quad-core Cortex–A7 based H3 SoC and a Mali-400 MP2 GPU.

    • Linux-based mobile manipulation robots due soon

      Former Unbounded Robotics execs have launched “Fetch Robotics” with $3 million in funding, and will ship a ROS-on-Linux mobile manipulator bot in Q2 2015.

      A startup called Fetch Robotics has announced $3 million in Series A financing from O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV) and Shasta Ventures, along with a development team that jumped from the apparently now defunct Unbounded Robotics. Fetch Robotics plans to announce and ship two mobile manipulation robots in the second quarter that are aimed principally at the logistics and light industrial markets, “as well as for other human-robot collaboration opportunities,” says the company.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Russian Federation to help Tizen and Sailfish battle Android and iOS

          The Tizen Operating System has got unexpected interest from the Russian Federation, as the Minister of Communications and Mass Communications Nikolai Nikiforov showed his enthusiasm for the Tizen based Samsung Z1 and the “de-monopolization of the global IT-ecosystems”. When prompted about the lack of software, Nikiforov said that conditions will be created to promote the independent mobile OS.

        • Tizen Operating System in Samsung 2015 Smart TVs

          Samsung’s 2015 TV Line up will be Tizen, and they have confirmed that they will be dropping Android as a suitable TV platform for them. Using Tizen and EFL for its User Interface, Tizen TVs will have great multitasking between applications and movie streaming services, and great gaming potential with Sony’s PlayStation Now service, and much more!

        • Sony SmartWatch 3 Review: The Best-Performing Android Smartwatch Yet

          Sony’s been trying the smartwatch thing for years, but the original SmartWatch and the SmartWatch 2 both… what’s the word I’m looking for here? Sucked? Yeah. But the SmartWatch 3 has solid performance and two nifty features you won’t find on any other Android Wear. It’s the first with built-in GPS and a screen you can read without backlighting.

          Android Wear watches are off to a pretty decent start. The Moto 360, the LG G Watch R, and the Asus ZenWatch are all lovely and useful in their own ways. So why might you buy a Sony smartwatch instead?

      • Android

        • How Secure is Your Android? Mobile Antivirus Apps Tested

          Most of us will never see our Android antivirus apps spit out a warning because most of us will never encounter malware on our phones. So how can you tell if your Android antivirus is actually protecting your phone against the malware that sometimes sneaks onto Google Play or is installed by an overbearing spouse? Independent testing lab AV-Test is here with the answers.

        • Nokia’s HERE maps updated on Android and Windows Phone

          Nokia has announced that an update for its Windows Phone and Android Here mapping apps will be rolling out from today.

        • How to automatically unlock your Chromebook when your Android phone’s nearby

          Google is working hard to kill the password. If you want to live in that future now, you can turn on a feature that automatically unlocks your Chromebook whenever you wander near it with your Android phone in your pocket.

        • How to Download Android 5.0.2 Lollipop for Nexus 5?

          The Android Lollipop 5.0.2 update has been made available to some Nexus devices, including the Nexus 7 2012 and 2013 models and the Nexus 10. However, there is still no sign of the update for the Nexus 5 or the Nexus 4. While both the Nexus 6 and the Nexus 9 come with Android 5.0, apparently, the Nexus 5 Android 5.0 Lollipop update has been suspended because it was reported that the update causes the device’s battery to drain at a faster than normal rate.

        • Unofficial app opens up PS4 remote play on Android devices

          To this point, the PlayStation 4′s novel Remote Play function was only accessible on the PlayStation Vita, PlayStation TV, and certain Xperia mobile phones. That’s no longer the case, thanks to an unofficial port that lets the official PS4 Remote Play app work on practically any modern Android device.

        • HTC One M8 and LG G3 pick up Android 5.0 Lollipop

          AT&T began deploying Android 5.0.1 for its LG G3 variant on Tuesday. The carrier will automatically push the roughly 700MB update over the air, but eager users can also manually search for the file by navigating to Settings>General>About phone>Software Update.

        • Here are all of the phones that can get Google’s massive new Android update today

          Google started pushing out its latest version of Android in November, but most Android phone owners are still waiting for the update.

        • What’s Up With Android Wear?

          Research firm Canalys says just 720,000 smartwatches powered by Android Wear, Google’s operating system for wearable devices, shipped in the last six months of 2014.

        • HTC Could Be The Next Android Partner To Ditch Google In Smartwatches
        • JW Player Brings Its Video Player To Android Apps

          JW Player, the streaming video company that (in the words of its president Chris Mahl) helps online publishers find “life after YouTube, or life beyond YouTube,” has made a big move onto mobile with the general release of its Android SDK.

          The player already worked in mobile web browsers, so it wasn’t entirely absent from Android. But this will allow publishers to include the players directly in their apps, to customize its appearance, and to include video advertising.

        • Android Lollipop Review: Google’s Material Design Delivers The Goods

          Regardless of the tinkering Google’s engineers have done under the bonnet, the most noticeable improvement has to be the overall look. Google is calling Android’s fetching new aesthetic “Material Design” and it’s all about giving the OS a more welcoming look. It’s mostly flat colours, clever use of shadow and UI elements which look like layers of paper stacked on top of one another. Google has left behind the world of skeuomorphic design ­–– just like Apple did with iOS 7 –– and the end result is something that looks less cluttered and more eye-catching.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Finally: The best phablet in the world is getting Android Lollipop

        After releasing Android 5.0 Lollipop updates for a variety of top flagship handsets in the past weeks, including the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 3, Samsung has started rolling out the one official Lollipop ROM certain smartphone buyers were waiting for, the one made for the Galaxy Note 4.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Puppet Labs community manager on setting expectations

    The other side of community involvement in an open source project is the end users. It’s hard to be a successful open source project if no one is using it! But aside from providing documentation and forums, how else can projects and users connect?

    Kara Sowles, community manager for Puppet LabsOne way is a users group, a type of club where the members all share an interest in a particular arena. SHARE is one of the oldest computer users group around. The basic idea behind a users group is to provide more resources and share information among a local cell, provide support, encouragement, new ideas, mailing lists, and more. There are some challenges with belonging to a users group, managing a users group, and representing your open source project in a users group.

  • Cisco Takes Open Source Route to Policy Revamp

    Cisco is developing open source tools designed to allow network operators to describe policy in more meaningful terms.

    The Noiro Networks team inside Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is trying to solve the problem of network policy that doesn’t make sense in an application-centric world. Typical networking policy uses networking language — describing traffic flows or or whether specific ports are allowed to connect with each other. Instead, the Noiro Networks team is looking to describe policies in terms of how applications are allowed to interoperate, says Thomas Graf, a principal software engineer at Cisco working on Noiro Networks.

  • Without open source, there would be no DevOps

    If we’re going to do DevOps, we have to give up open source. Right? Wait, we’re an Agile shop, so we have to give that up, too. Right?

    Over the last five years or so, I’ve talked with a lot of people confused about what it means to “do DevOps,” and clearly concerned about having to give up other things that have already proven their value in order to adopt DevOps. The bad news is, we’ve not done a good job in the DevOps community of nailing down what DevOps is and what it isn’t at an earlier stage in our development.

  • Google Launches Open-Source, Cross-Cloud Benchmarking Tool

    Google today launched PerfKit, an open-source cloud-benchmarking tool that, in Google’s words, is an “effort to define a canonical set of benchmarks to measure and compare cloud offerings.” The PerfKit tools currently support Google’s own Compute Engine, Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure clouds. Google says it has worked on this project with over 30 researchers, companies and customers, including ARM, Canonical, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Rackspace and Red Hat.

  • Events

    • Oregon State University Open Source Lab hosts 160 projects

      The South California Linux Expo (SCALE) is an annual event aiming to provide educational opportunities on the topic of open source software. This is SCALE13X, and prior to the event I caught up with one of the speakers, Emily Durham, who will give a talk called Human Hacking.

      Emily Dunham of Open Source Lab at OSUEmily is currently finishing her final year in computer science at Oregon State University (OSU), where she is the student systems engineer at the OSU Open Source Lab. Previous to that gig at OSU, she helped run the Robotics Club, Linux Users Group, and Security Club. Emily has 7 years of experience in open source communities, and I talked with her regarding her career and life, open hardware, community psychology, and of course, her upcoming talk at SCALE13X.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Myriad Project Marries YARN and Apache Mesos Resource Management

      There are a lot of interesting announcements arriving as the O’Reilly Strata event rolls out. In one notable example, MapR and Mesosphere have announced a new open source Big Data framework (called Myriad) that allows Apache YARN jobs to run alongside other applications and services in enterprise and cloud datacenters. The initiative was kicked off by a developer at Ebay and turned into a collaborative effort between multiple companies. The project is now approaching Apache incubation.

  • Funding

    • Hitachi’s Acquisition of Pentaho Makes it a Big Data Analytics Player

      We’ve been watching the Big Data space pick up momentum as 2015 begins, and now Hitachi Data Systems Corporation has announced its intent to acquire Pentaho in what is being billed as “the largest private Big Data acquisition transaction to date.” Hitachi claims that the acquisition will accelerate enterprise adoption of Big Data technologies and solutions through “easier, faster deployment, leading to faster ROI.”

  • BSD

  • Licensing

    • Open Source Debate: Copyleft vs. Permissive Licenses

      Most discussions of free software licenses bore listeners. In fact, licenses are usually of such little interest that 85%of the projects on Github fail to have one.

      However, one aspect of licensing never fails to stir partisan responses: the debate over the relative advantages of copyleft licenses such as the GNU General Public License (GPL), and permissive licenses such as the MIT or the Apache 2 licenses.

      You only have to follow the links to Occupy GPL! that are making the rounds to see the emotions that this unending debate can still stir. Calling for an end to “GPL purism,” and dismissing the GPL as “not a free license,” the site calls on readers to use permissive licenses instead, describing them as “truly OSS [Open Source Software] licenses and urging readers to “Join the Fight!”

      Occupy GPL! itself is unlikely to have a future. Anonymous calls to actions rarely succeed; people prefer to know who is giving the call to arms before they muster at the barricades. Nor is the site’s outdated name and inconsistent diction, nor the high number of exclamation and question marks likely to inspire many readers. Still, the fact that the site exists at all, and the counter-responses in comments on Google+ show that the old debate is still very much alive.

    • Confessions of a Recovering Proprietary Programmer, Part XIII

      As a recovering proprietary programmer, I can assure you that things work a bit differently in the open-source world, so some adjustment is required. But participation in an open-source project can be very rewarding and worthwhile!


  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Wikileaks shows US funded Mamasapano operation – solon

      Secret embassy cables leaked by WikiLeaks in 2010 reveal the United States’ heavy involvement in the Philippines’ counter-terrorism efforts including the botched police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, a party-list congressman claimed on Wednesday.

      Kabataan Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said the cables, which were from 2005 to early 2010, show how the US government planned to operate covertly within the ranks of Philippine forces.

    • Killing of 3 Muslims in US elicits criticism over media blackout

      A shooting in the US, which has reportedly left three Muslims dead in a North Carolina university town, has set social media buzzing over accusations of double standards, with major media outlets failing to report the story.

    • U.S. Dumps Massive Load, of Weapons and Ammunition, in Lebanon

      The U.S. ambassador to Lebanon announced a new shipment of weapons and ammunition have arrived in Beirut, the latest American assistance to Lebanon’s army as it fights ISIS along its border with Syria. The Ambassador said the equipment includes more than 70 M198 howitzers and over 26 million rounds of ammunition and artillery “of all shapes and sizes, including heavy artillery.”

      “We are very proud of this top-of-the-line equipment. This is the best that there is in the marketplace. It’s what our soldiers use,” the Ambassador continued. “I know that in a matter of days it’s going to be what your brave soldiers are using in the battle to defeat terrorism and extremism.”

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Ecuador to Take Assange Case to UN Human Rights Council

      The Republic of Ecuador will take the case of its most famous asylum seeker, Julian Assange, to the U.N. Human Rights Council, according to reports this week.

    • Britain: Julian Assange Duty Is Draining Police Coffers, London Chief Says

      London’s police chief said Tuesday that the cost of keeping watch on Julian Assange, who is holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy there, was draining resources and must be reviewed. Mr. Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, sought refuge in the embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning on sexual assault allegations, which he denies. London’s Metropolitan Police have been standing guard around the clock to prevent him from fleeing, at a cost of about $15 million since the operation began. Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe told LBC Radio that officials were considering “how we can do that differently in the future, because it’s sucking our resources in.” Mr. Assange says the allegations were trumped up to facilitate his extradition ultimately to the United States, where he could be put on trial over huge leaks of information to WikiLeaks.

    • Cameras could cut £10m bill for watching Assange

      A review of the round-the-clock operation to guard Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy, was announced by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe yesterday.

    • Met Chief considering pulling the plug on £10m Assange operation

      The UK’s most senior police chief says he is reviewing the operation to guard WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange because it is “sucking” their resources. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg last week revealed the cost of the surveillance operation outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London had reached around £10m. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe told LBC radio: “We are reviewing the way forward there.” Mr Assange, who has been granted political asylum by Ecuador, has been living at the embassy since June 2012.

    • Julian Assange security ‘sucking Met Police resources’

      Security costs for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange are to be reviewed, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has said.

      Maintaining a guard for Assange at the Ecuadorean Embassy in central London has cost £10m, according to figures disclosed to LBC radio.

  • Finance

    • Hidden cards in HSBC game of leaks

      The newspaper argued that similar policies would be followed by journalists in other parts of the globe, saying that it wouldn’t be responsible to just dump information on all account holders, as this could unnecesarily expose them to criminals after the extent of their wealth became public. Although no relevant accounts were tied to government officials by La Nación yet, investigations were said to be ongoing.

    • HSBC files show Tories raised over £5m from HSBC Swiss account holders

      Conservative donors, peers and a high profile MP are listed among the wealthy who legally held accounts in Switzerland with HSBC’s private bank, for a wide variety of reasons.

      Their ranks include Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park, plus his brother the financier Ben Goldsmith, and a Swiss resident, German-born automotive heir Georg von Opel, who has donated six-figure sums in the past two years.

      Peers named in the HSBC files include Lord Sterling of Plaistow, the P&O shipping and ports entrepreneur who was ennobled by Margaret Thatcher, and Lord Fink, who was a party treasurer under David Cameron and has given £3m to the Conservatives.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • How Reality TV Is Teaching Us to Accept the American Police State

      February 04, 2015 “ICH” – Americans love their reality TV shows—the drama, the insults, the bullying, the callousness, the damaged relationships delivered through the lens of a surveillance camera—and there’s no shortage of such dehumanizing spectacles to be found on or off screen, whether it’s Cops, Real Housewives or the heavy-handed tactics of police officers who break down doors first and ask questions later.

  • Privacy

    • Google is ‘privatized NSA’, unexamined deaths, & C of E censorship (E173)

      Afshin Rattansi goes underground on Google’s shady privacy record. Kristinn Hrafnsson, lawyer for WikiLeaks, warns that it appears Google is “not a benign company, it has sinister aims,” and reveals that it wants to be a dominant part of the military intelligence complex, handing information to the US government. Dr. Suzy Lishman, president of the Royal College of Pathologists, warns up to 10,000 deaths every year should be referred for further investigation, but are not due to massive numbers of death certificates being filled out minimally or wrong. We look into why the Church of England is removing the right to free speech for one of its vicars. Boris Johnson meets Hillary Clinton to discuss ISIS in New York. And if you’re a war-wounded veteran, you’d better hope you were injured after April 2005 – or you may lose most of your compensation to pay for basic care.

    • Philip K. Dick Warned Us About the Internet of Things in 1969

      Be careful about what you say in your living room if your new TV is on. News broke earlier this week that Samsung’s Web-connected SmartTV can listen to, record, and send what the television hears to a third-party company. The television doesn’t watch you watch it back, but it is listening.

    • Mayor Muriel Bowser Orders D.C. Fire to Lift Radio Encryption

      D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered the D.C. Fire Department to lift the encryption of the department’s radios.

      News4′s Mark Segraves broke the news on Twitter Tuesday night.

      She has instructed the fire chief to stop encrypting the department’s radio transmissions beginning Friday morning. Encryption of the radios prohibits anyone except fire personnel from listening to the radio transmissions.

    • Obama asks Germany “to give us the benefit of the doubt” on NSA spying

      President Barack Obama asked Germans to give the United States the “benefit of the doubt” when it comes to snooping by the National Security Agency.

      In a Monday joint press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel held at the White House on Monday, Obama said he recognizes “the sensitivities around this issue.”

      In October 2013, German media reported that Merkel had “strong suspicions” that her personal cellphone was being monitored by American authorities.

      White House spokesman Jay Carney unequivocally told reporters at the time that such surveillance was not continuing, but he did not directly deny the allegations of past conduct. The next year, Germany decided not to renew its government contract with Verizon, citing concerns over spying by the National Security Agency.

    • Laura Poitras on Citizenfour, Edward Snowden and whistleblowers

      The first glimpse the world had of Edward Snowden was in a short video in a dark Hong Kong hotel room. But film-maker Laura Poitras’ journey with the NSA whistleblower began much earlier.

    • Oscar-Nominated Edward Snowden Documentary CITIZENFOUR to Debut on HBO 2/23
    • Court Says NSA Spying too Secret to Stop

      In a ruling handed down Tuesday, a federal district judge in California refused to rule that NSA collection of Internet and phone content without a warrant violates the Fourth Amendment, and dismissed part of a lawsuit challenging the spy agency program.

    • Judge White Makes Crucial Error While Capitulating to State Secrets, Again

      Ah well, all that discussion probably counts as a state secret. A concept which is getting more and more farcical every year.

    • Surveillance and the Vanishing Right to Know

      Despite the continuing torrent of disclosures concerning previously secret and wide-ranging government surveillance efforts, many criminal defendants are not getting notice of the secret surveillance authorities used in their cases. This is a serious problem—one felt acutely by defendants, but one that also has immense consequences for the public at large in an age of mass surveillance. To those whose liberty is not on the line, the right of criminal defendants to notice might seem like a narrow, procedural issue. It is not. In a world of multiplying surveillance techniques used in secret, the criminal defendant’s right to notice of surveillance used against him is vanishing—and this shift presents a fundamental obstacle for defendants, and a basic, structural problem for courts and the public.

    • EFF Vows to Continue the Fight Against Mass Surveillance After Disappointing Ruling

      EFF will keep fighting the unlawful, unconstitutional surveillance of ordinary Americans by the U.S. government. Today’s ruling in Jewel v. NSA was not a declaration that NSA spying is legal. The judge decided instead that “state secrets” prevented him from ruling whether the program is constitutional.

    • Judge rules for NSA in warrantless search case

      A U.S. judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of the National Security Agency in a lawsuit challenging the interception of Internet communications without a warrant, according to a court filing.

      U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in Oakland, California wrote the plaintiffs failed to establish legal standing to pursue a claim that the government violated the Fourth Amendment.

    • Surveillance and Freedom of the Media

      These findings are the result of the exposure of mass surveillance that seriously undermines the safety of journalistic sources, the safety of whistleblowers and freedom of the media, in stark contrast with a meaningful democracy where access to information, privacy and freedom of expression is protected.

    • Twitter Reports a Surge in Government Data Requests

      Twitter on Monday released its twice-yearly transparency report, showing a surge in government requests for users’ Twitter information.

      The report, which discloses the frequency with which government agencies from around the world ask Twitter to hand over data on specific users, said total requests rose by 40 percent, to about 2,871, compared with the company’s last report, in July. The latest requests came from more than 50 countries.

    • If the NSA has been hacking everything, how has nobody seen them coming?

      The Snowden docs show us that high value targets have been getting compromised forever, and while the game does heavily favour offence, how is it possible that defence hasn’t racked up a single catch? The immediate conclusions for defensive vendors is that they are either ineffective or, worse, wilfully ignorant. However, for buyers of defensive software and gear, questions still remain.

    • The state most excited for “Fifty Shades of Grey” will surprise you

      TheWrap in conjunction with Facebook took a look at some of the chatter about the film — and its stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan — online. The data came from likes, comments and shares about the movie on Facebook. “For the past seven days, 3.7 million people had over 6 million interactions related to the Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson romp on Facebook,” TheWrap reported.

    • Breaking smart TV surveillance capabilities may be a felony

      Customers who are concerned about the surveillance capabilities of Samsung’s smart TVs have another headache to worry about: Tampering with the machine to disable such components may be a felony.

      Samsung’s privacy policy raised concerns with privacy activists who spotlighted the warning: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.” Now there are concerns that tinkering with the software by tech-savvy customers may run afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

      “Most smart TVs on the market have taken technological measures to prevent users from accessing or modifying firmware in order to prevent illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted material. But users could technically face felony charges for circumventing lockdown restrictions — even if the modifications they’re trying to make are legal under copyright law,” Slate reported Tuesday.

    • Who Else Listens To Your TV?

      That’s not exactly what the Terms say; they note that “if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted”. So we’re not just talking about the sort of data Google Now or Siri sends to their service provider (the phrase after you have started the voice recognition). Samsung also sends the commands themselves, plus any conversation around them. From that description, it seems the whole stream of conversation is likely to be sent.

  • Civil Rights

    • Jeffrey Sterling’s trial by metadata: Free speech stories

      When a Washington, DC, area jury convicted Jeffrey Sterling of multiple counts of espionage, the smoking gun wasn’t a key bit of classified information found in the former CIA officer’s possession; it was a trail of phone calls and emails of unknown content.

      The information about where those calls and emails went, however – to a New York Times reporter – was enough to convince a jury to send Sterling to prison for up to 80 years.

      According to the US Justice Department, Sterling was providing Risen with details of a failed CIA attempt to undermine Iran’s nuclear programme by having a Russian scientist code-named Merlin pass along intentionally flawed blueprints. Risen then exposed the operation in his 2005 book, State of War.

    • Map of 73 Years of Lynchings

      The most recent data on lynching, compiled by the Equal Justice Initiative, shows premeditated murders carried out by at least three people from 1877 to 1950 in 12 Southern states. The killers claimed to be enforcing some form of social justice. The alleged offenses that prompted the lynchings included political activism and testifying in court. FEB. 9, 2015 Related Article

    • Lynching as Racial Terrorism

      It is important to remember that the hangings, burnings and dismemberments of black American men, women and children that were relatively common in this country between the Civil War and World War II were often public events. They were sometimes advertised in newspapers and drew hundreds and even thousands of white spectators, including elected officials and leading citizens who were so swept up in the carnivals of death that they posed with their children for keepsake photographs within arm’s length of mutilated black corpses.

      These episodes of horrific, communitywide violence have been erased from civic memory in lynching-belt states like Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. But that will change if Bryan Stevenson, a civil rights attorney, succeeds in his mission to build markers and memorials at lynching sites throughout the South as a way of forcing communities and the country to confront an era of racial terror directly and recognize the role that it played in shaping the current racial landscape.

      Mr. Stevenson’s organization, the Equal Justice Initiative, took a step in that direction on Tuesday when it released a report that chronicles nearly 4,000 lynchings of black people in 12 Southern states from 1877 to 1950. The report focuses on what it describes as “racial terror lynchings,” which were used to enforce Jim Crow laws and racial segregation. Victims in these cases were often murdered without being accused of actual crimes but for minor social transgressions that included talking back to whites or insisting on fairness and basic rights.

      The report is the result of five years of hard work. Researchers reviewed local newspapers, historical archives and court records; interviewed local historians, survivors and victims’ descendants; and scrutinized contemporaneously published articles in African-American newspapers, which took a closer interest in these matters than the white press. In the end, researchers found at least 700 more lynchings in the 12 states than were previously reported, suggesting that “racial terror lynching” was far more common than was generally believed.

    • Watch one of Jon Stewart’s most famous moments: his epic Crossfire appearance

      Crossfire’s whole premise was a debate between left and right, one that at times degenerated into a shouting match. Stewart often criticized the show as dumbing down American public discourse. And, when Crossfire’s hosts invited him on to debate, he embarrassed them.

      “You’re partisan — what do you call it — hacks,” Stewart said, to a stunned Carlson and Begala. “Stop hurting America.” Here’s the clip…

    • Privacy experts question Obama’s plan for new agency to counter cyber threats

      White House to unveil on Tuesday the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center but critics fear an expansion of government monitoring of online data

    • Judge Nap on New Cybersecurity Agency: ‘Lost Liberties Don’t Come Back’

      “I believe that the people who build these things have the ability to make them absolutely attack-proof, but in order to do that, they have to make them impervious to government intrusion,” Judge Nap said, adding that any government agency big enough to protect us is big enough to surveil us.

      “The Internet cannot be protected by the government, because the government will never permit a system that it can’t zero into,” Judge Nap said, concluding that he would “absolutely not” establish this agency.

      Watch Judge Nap and Stuart

    • Torture and the CIA’s Unaccountability Boards

      Last Saturday, January 31, CIA Inspector General David Buckley resigned after a little more than four years in office. His departure came at the end of the same month his office published a scathing report that found the agency committed serious wrongdoings in connection to its rendition, detention, and torture program. It was also the same month that his report was swept aside by a parallel investigation conducted by a CIA “Accountability Board” that was hand-picked by agency leadership. Unsurprisingly, the Accountability Board recommended holding no one accountable for any failings.

    • Guantánamo Bay: wheels of justice turn slowly – at $7,600 a minute

      The Guantánamo Bay war court is now costing US taxpayers over $7,600 per minute, according to new Pentagon figures.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Google is seriously taking on US telecom

      First it conquered search. Then it was online video and advertising. Now Google is turning its attention toward telecom — and it’s no experiment.

      In recent months, Google has said it’s bringing ultra-fast Internet to at least 18 US cities, including Atlanta and Nashville. It announced pilot tests of a low-cost, modular smartphone. The company’s joined an influential lobbying group for upstart telecom firms. And now Google is considering an entry into wireless service, as first reported by The Information, a technology news site founded by former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin.

    • Hello HTTP/2, Goodbye SPDY

      HTTP is the fundamental networking protocol that powers the web. The majority of sites use version 1.1 of HTTP, which was defined in 1999 with RFC2616. A lot has changed on the web since then, and a new version of the protocol named HTTP/2 is well on the road to standardization. We plan to gradually roll out support for HTTP/2 in Chrome 40 in the upcoming weeks.

    • Wall Street Knows Darn Well That FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules Won’t Harm Broadband: Stocks Went Up

      And, indeed, it appears the stock market acted accordingly. Following Tom Wheeler’s official announcement that the FCC would move to reclassify under Title II, all the key broadband players saw their stocks jump up, not down. If it was really that bad, you would have seen the opposite.

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