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Links 20/11/2015: DockerCon EU, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Organize your cooking with an open source recipe manager

    Take the time to weigh your options, and answer some basic questions. Which device is easiest for me to access in the kitchen? How is the system I store them on backed up? What features are a dealbreaker? Whatever you decide, here are a few open source software solutions to recipe management you might want to consider.

  • Changing Tack: Evolving Attitudes to Open Source

    What does it mean when an organization that saw software as an asset worth protecting commits to open source? Or one that viewed software as the ends rather than the means and had tens of billions of dollars worth of evidence supporting this conclusion? The short answer is that it means that open source is being viewed more rationally and dispassionately than we’ve seen since the first days of the SHARE user group.

  • Ekinops demos DWDM with Onos open source SDN controller

    The interoperability assessment was done on a mesh network consisting of several Ekinops 360 Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexer (ROADM) nodes. To perform this live demonstration, 100 Gbps second wavelength routes were created via the Onos controller and automatically routed within the mesh network.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Storm in a teacup: Wileyfox does Android cheapie, British style

        Review Wileyfox is the first new British phone brand in over a decade, and it’s hoping to cash in on the Shenzhen economic miracle.

        Not so long ago, cheap Android phones were synonymous with “Landfill”. There was usually something lacking. But rapid advances in component manufacturing and packaging have seen companies enter the market offering extraordinary value for money. The upstarts offer near high spec devices for a fraction of the cost of a top brand flagship, benefiting from huge economies of scale gained by selling into India and China, and some novel (for hardware) low or zero margin business models. These are dubbed “flagship killers” or “super midrange” devices. So if Chinese startups can do it, why can’t we?

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • CMS

    • Why I chose WordPress for my college football blog

      At this point, I started making WordPress websites—taking a theme and customizing it to create a branded site for companies. I definitely felt empowered. WordPress is open source, and I am grateful for this, as it has become the very core of many successful businesses across the globe. It is the core of what I do every day, whether writing, consulting, or developing a website.

  • Healthcare

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Netflix and skill: Web vid giant open sources Spinnaker cloud tool

      Netflix has released Spinnaker, an open-source tool for testing and rolling out software updates in the cloud.

      The Apache 2.0-licensed code provides continuous delivery of applications, including managing and monitoring their deployment. Netflix said Spinnaker will replace its Asgard project.


    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: November 20th
    • Service composition in GuixSD

      GuixSD is not like your parents’ distro. Instead of fiddling with configuration files all around, or running commands that do so as a side effect, the system administrator declares what the system will be like. This takes the form of an operating-system declaration, which specifies all the details: file systems, user accounts, locale, timezone, system services, etc.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Bulgaria to start open source repository

      The government of Bulgaria has proposed to start a repository for open source software. The government also wants to make it mandatory to use the web based code revision and code management system for all future government software development projects.

    • Editable version UK’s ODF guidance

      A free software advocate has created an editable version of the UK government’s Open Document Format manuals, the “ODF Guidance”. Making the texts available on the Github software development repository facilitates others to edit, update and translate the texts, explains Paolo Dongilli, uploaded the documents to Github on 28 October.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • How to hack your tea

      Of all the beverages out there, one stands out among the rest. Tea.

    • Open Hardware

      • Meet HU-GO, the Open Source DIY Low-Cost Wheelchair with 3D Printed Parts

        Most able-bodied people don’t really understand exactly how expensive it is to be disabled in a world built for people who are not. I have heard several people, after reading an article about e-NABLE, comment about how shocked that they are at the cost of traditional prostheses. I would imagine that the same sticker shock would apply to those who have never had to purchase a wheelchair. On the low end, wheelchairs still cost several hundred dollars, but they can reach costs up into the thousands. And electric powered chairs are even more expensive, with prices often doubling the cost of their manual counterparts. That is hard for most people to afford in a developed country like the United States, but would be nearly impossible for a poor person in developing countries.

  • Programming

    • Work Set on Open Source Compiler

      The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and its three national labs have reached an agreement with NVIDIA’s PGI® software to create an open source Fortran compiler designed for integration with the widely used LLVM compiler infrastructure.

      LLVM (formerly Low Level Virtual Machine), a collection of reusable compiler and tool chain technologies with a modular design, facilitates support for a wide variety of programming languages and processor architectures. The Fortran front-end module created through this project will be derived from NVIDIA’s PGI Fortran compiler.


  • The 5 Most Infamous Software Bugs in History

    In the digital era, computer bugs can affect our lives, the economy of a nation and even the well-functioning of society in general. As the internet of things gradually invades all aspects of our environment, the importance of identifying and preventing computer bugs grows exponentially.

  • Security

    • How were Linux kernel servers rooted four years ago?

      Moen added that in sharp contrast, when the servers of the Debian GNU/Linux project were broken into in 2007, developer Wichert Akkerman posted what he (Moen) described as “an excellent report” about what had happened. Moen added that when the servers of the Apache web server were compromised, the Apache Foundation did not hold back on detailing what had taken place.

      And when the Debian project released a version of OpenSSL with a serious vulnerability unwittingly created by one of its own developers, it made no bones about it and made a full public confession.

    • Web Stores Held Hostage

      Last week has seen an explosion of e-commerce sites infected with the Linux.Encoder.1 ransomware. For those not familiar with the term, ransomware is a particularly vicious type of malware that aims to extort money from the owners of compromised systems.

    • Ransomware Encrypting Files Proliferating Rapidly on Linux, warn security Researchers
    • The danger of ‘exceptional access’

      In the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris on Friday, there have been renewed calls to find some way to allow the government to read encrypted communications. And on the surface, it sounds simple and obvious — why wouldn’t we want the government to be able to monitor terrorists? But the reality is that it’s a very bad idea, not only because it won’t work, but because it will hurt Internet security more broadly.

      Of course, at this point, we don’t even know if the Paris attackers used encryption. There’s speculation they did, because reports suggest that no intelligence agency has found any traffic by them. But right now it’s just that: speculation.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Death-Squad Organizer Is NYT’s Source on Ben Carson’s Lack of Foreign Policy Smarts

      In its effort to vet one of the leading GOP presidential candidates, Dr. Ben Carson, the New York Times didn’t properly vet its primary source in this vetting, former CIA officer Duane Clarridge—an indicted liar and overseer of Contra death squads in Central America.

    • Coverage of Russian Plane Bombing Shows What a Difference an Enemy Makes

      Before it was determined that a bomb caused the crash, Associated Press‘s Jim Heintz (11/7/15) wrote a speculative piece that began, “No matter what caused the fatal crash of a Russian airliner in Egypt, the answer will almost certainly hit Russia hard—but not President Vladimir Putin.” Whether it was terrorism or mechanical failure, Heintz wrote, “Either answer could challenge Russia’s new self-confidence—but could also be used by Putin to advance his aims and reinforce his power.”

      Needless to say, we’re not seeing a lot of coverage of how France’s François Hollande could use the Paris attacks “to advance his aims and reinforce his power.”

      While US outlets were circumspect to the point of being unintelligible in drawing a connection between France’s war against ISIS in Syria/Iraq and the Paris attacks, AP had no trouble making it clear that Russia had been targeted not because of its values or symbols but because of its military attacks against a violent adversary: “A faction of the militant Islamic State group claimed it had downed the airliner in retaliation for Russia launching airstrikes on IS positions in Syria a month earlier.”

    • ISIS Killed More Americans in Beirut Than in Paris–but Only Their Hometown Papers Noticed

      The debates continue over whether last week’s ISIS terror bombing in Beirut was undercovered by the media or just unappreciated by an uninterested public — even though, as Jim Naureckas pointed out on Tuesday, US news outlets overwhelmingly skewed their coverage toward the next day’s mass killings in Paris, in quantity, placement and level of sympathy for the victims, not just in number of Facebook shares. (As of this morning, the New York Times had run 130 stories mentioning Paris and terror attacks since November 13, versus 20 mentioning Beirut — with much of the Paris coverage being front-page news, while Beirut was mostly relegated to brief mentions deep within the paper—often in articles that were primarily about the Paris violence.)

    • Syrian-American Survivor Of Paris Attacks: Telling Syrian Refugees “That They Are The Problem … Is Very Upsetting”

      Dina Jaber: “I’m Sure If You Were To Hear What They Have Been Through, You Wouldn’t Think That They Were A Threat To You”

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • A Change of Political Climate

      I just watched a recording of Westminster yesterday where Tory Minister Amber Rudd announced the government was rapidly dropping the subsidy for solar energy down to zero. Yet the government has just agreed to pay to the nuclear industry a subsidy that will dwarf, in real terms, all the subsidies ever given to the coal and renewable industries combined, and what is more will be paid to the Chinese and the French. I am lost for words.

      Nor am I in any way pleased to be proved instantly correct, that Western governments view terrorist incidents like that in Paris primarily as a means to enhance their power and social control.

    • Koch Spy Agency Led by Voter Fraud Huckster

      The Kochs have been complaining about a “lack of civility in politics” as they seek to boost their public image–but one of their top operatives helped propel perhaps the most egregious case of race-baiting voter fraud hucksterism in recent years.

    • CMD Submits Evidence of Exxon Mobil Funding ALEC’s Climate Change Denial to New York Attorney General

      The Center for Media and Democracy, a national watchdog group exposing corporate influence on democracy, has submitted evidence to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman showing how Exxon Mobil has promoted climate change denial through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). CMD believes this information is relevant to the landmark investigation into whether Exxon Mobil deceived its shareholders and the public about the impact that burning fossil fuels has on climate change.

    • Kochs’ Freedom Partners Spent $129M in 2014, Invested Massively in Voter Data Lists

      The Koch network’s secret bank, “Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce,” spent big during the 2014 midterm elections, including doubling its investment in voter data collection efforts and secretly backing U.S. Senate candidates associated with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

    • Brussels, big energy, and revolving doors: a hothouse for climate change

      As environment and energy ministers prepare to meet in Paris for the COP 21 climate change talks, CEO takes a look at how the revolving door ensures that the EU institutions remain close to Big Energy.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • The Paris Attacks And The Encryption/Surveillance Bogeyman: The Story So Far

      All of this is no surprise, as just a couple of months ago the intelligence community’s top lawyer flat-out admitted that he and his friends planned to wait for the next terrorist attack to push their agenda.

    • Using Paris Attacks as Excuse to Expand Domestic Spying

      It’s no surprise that Friday’s Paris attacks are already being used to push for both more and continued surveillance here in the U.S.

      FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler was on Capitol Hill on Tuesday speaking before a House subcommittee, making the case for expanding the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) which compelled telecom companies, Internet providers and some VoIP services to make their networks easier for law enforcement to access. Wheeler would like Congress to consider expanding the scope of the law to include devices such as gaming platforms, which now have capabilities that go beyond mere gaming.

    • Carnegie Mellon: We Didn’t Get $1M to Hack Tor

      Carnegie Mellon University this week denied reports it was paid by the FBI to help identify criminal suspects on the Dark Web.

  • Civil Rights

    • Anti-Syrian Muslim Refugee Rhetoric Mirrors Calls to Reject Jews During Nazi Era

      During the 1930s and early 1940s, the United States resisted accepting large numbers of Jewish refugees escaping the Nazi terror sweeping Europe, in large part because of fearmongering by a small but vocal crowd.

      They claimed that the refugees were communist or anarchist infiltrators intent on spreading revolution; that refugees were part of a global Jewish-capitalist conspiracy to take control of the United States from the inside; that the refugees were either Nazis in disguise or under the influence of Nazi agents sent to commit acts of sabotage; and that Jewish refugees were out to steal American jobs.

      Many rejected Jews simply because they weren’t Christian.

    • Thrashing Not Swimming

      David Cameron relies on the complicity of mainstream media and the gullibility and disinterest of the British public to get away with an extraordinary switch. Two years ago he was strongly urging military action in Syria against the forces of President Assad. Now he urges military action against the enemies of President Assad. That includes against groups and individuals who were initially armed and financed by western intelligence agencies, and are still being financed by our Saudi “allies”.

    • George Osborne’s National Spider Plan
    • A Police State to Avoid Any Critical Evaluation?

      Today the French National Assembly adopted the bill on the state of emergency. This text was adopted in great urgency in an unprecedented one-upmanship autoritarian atmosphere. La Quadrature du Net expresses its concerns about several measures found in the bill, especially regarding police searches of electronic devices, Internet censorship and freedom of association. Rather than enganging in any thorough consideration of the causes that led to the killings and of the way to solve this complex situation, the entire French political class betrays itself by responding to this unprecedented attack on our liberties with a broad restriction of our civil liberties.

    • Two questions about “something must be done” following the Paris attacks

      But each such demand raises two issues: one of practicality, and one of principle. That is: would the proposal actually help, and does the proposal conflict with the supposed principles, and way of life, we are presumably seeking to defend.

      In terms of practice: just doing “something” does not mean you are doing the right thing. It may make no difference, or it may make things worse. In terms of dealing with terrorism, one false move can cause problems for a generation. The history of dealing with the terrorist problems in Northern Ireland is packed with examples of things being “done” which just caused greater difficulties later on.

    • ‘We Are in a Whole New Struggle Over the Right to Vote Now’

      The 2016 election will be the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. Joining us now to discuss the significance of that is Ari Berman. He’s a senior contributing writer for The Nation magazine and an investigative fellow at the Nation Institute. He’s author of, most recently, Give Us the Ballot: the Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America. Welcome to CounterSpin, Ari Berman.

    • The damning Commons justice committee report on the criminal courts charge

      One of the most illiberal and misconceived measures adopted by the Ministry of Justice – perhaps by any government department in recent years – was the criminal courts charge.

    • Independence By 2018

      The people of Scotland thus have multiple citizenships. They are citizens of Scotland, and of two over-arching bodies, of the United Kingdom and of the European Union. Both UK and EU citizenship are very real, with EU citizenship in particular conferring a wide range of individual rights to the citizen enshrined in numerous international treaties. This dual citizenship is reflected on your passport. On both the cover and the inside page, it says European Union above United Kingdom.

  • Intellectual Monopolies


Links 19/11/2015: Linux Kernel 3.2.73 LTS, DockerCon EU

Posted in News Roundup at 2:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 14 amazing open source gifts for the holidays

    Here it is the annual Opensource.com holiday gift guide. Our collection of gifts is sure to get kids, adults, and hobbyists geared up and ready for hours of fun coding and creating. We’ve got 3D printers, Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, gadgets, robotics, and more!

  • Plotly to open source its dataviz code

    Data visualization platform Plotly is open-sourcing its powerful JavaScript library, which supports three dozen different types of graphics including maps, box plots and density plots as well as more common offerings like as bar and line charts. The code is scheduled to be posted on GitHub at https://github.com/plotly/plotly.js today.

  • Hiring Open Source Maintainers is Key to Stable Software Supply Chain

    Samsung is on a multi-year journey to become both a better consumer of open source, and a better contributor and leader in the projects that end up in our products. The reasons for doing so are quite clear to us: While it’s easy to use code that’s made freely available, it’s risky and potentially quite expensive to rely upon it long-term, unless you are proactively working within the community.

    The reason it’s potentially risky is actually the flip side of two of the biggest benefits of open source: development moves extremely fast, and a vibrant developer community leads to more diverse contributions. The result of this combination is that the APIs and the features you depend upon today could be entirely different tomorrow, depending upon the will of the contributor community.

  • Open source projects rely on donated time—what motivates participants?

    The study’s authors collected data from approximately a thousand R contributors who responded to a questionnaire distributed via e-mail. The respondents were asked about what drove them to participate in the project, with possible answers including taking pleasure in applying their skills and feeling a sense of responsibility toward the scientific community. They were also asked about extrinsic motivators, such as the potential that their work could help with academic advancement. Additionally, the surveys included questions about the characteristics of the software development work (e.g. repetitive, technical, social) and the demographics of participants.

  • Implementing open source requires tough staffing, IT calls
  • Import old email archives into Gmail using these open source tools from Google

    If you want to try these open source tools yourself, you can download them at Github (mail-importer and import-mailbox-to-gmail). Unfortunately, mail-importer appears to only support Thunderbird at this time. If you used a different client, you will need to wait for a future update. If you are savvy enough, maybe you can tweak the source to make it work. I have a large Lotus Notes archive saved — I won’t hold my breath on that one being anyone’s priority.

  • Celebrate GIS Day 2015 with 3 open source alternatives to Google Maps API

    If you’re looking to get started with web mapping, here are three libraries which are worth checking out.

  • Stickers

    Basically, stickers are a great way to promote open source projects. Also – fun! For more “Rules of sticker club” go HERE.

  • Events

    • LinuxCon Europe – Day 1

      The conference was opened by the LinuxFoundation’s Executive Jim Zemlin. He thanked the FSF for their 30 years of work. I was a little surprised to hear that, given the differences between OpenSource and Free Software. He continued by mentioning the 5 Billion Dollar report which calculates how much “value” the projects hosted at Linux Foundation have generated over the last five years. He said that a typical product contains 80%, 90%, or even more Free and Open Source Software. He also extended the list of projects by the Real Time Collaborative project which, as far as I understood, effectively means to hire Thomas Gleisxner to work on the Real Time Linux patches.

  • Databases

  • CMS

    • Setting up a Digital Ocean remotely hosted WordPress blog

      After considering our options, we decided to try using a Digital Ocean “Droplet” to host a WordPress blog. Here, I want to tell you how that went, and give a few pointers. This might be a good idea for some of you. And, I’ll explain what the heck Digital Ocean is in case you don’t know.

  • Education

    • RoboTutor team using open source tools to address short supply of teachers, schools

      Where were these Carnegie Mellon University researchers when Sister Thomas Catherine was frightening me and other good little Catholic school 3rd graders back in the day?

      CMU today informed us that a team of its researchers is taking aim at the $10 million grand prize of the $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE competition, the goal of which is to empower children to take control of their own learning via tablet computers, software and the like. The competition was announced about a year ago.

  • BSD

    • LLVM’s Clang Lands More CUDA Improvements

      Just days after writing about GPUCC as Google’s open-source CUDA compiler built atop LLVM and how to compile CUDA code with LLVM, more improvements have landed.

      There’s now support for CUDA compilation by default as one of the most prominent changes today. “Currently clang requires several additional command line options in order to enable new features needed during CUDA compilation. This patch makes these options default.” That change was done by Artem Belevich at Google.


    • GCC 5.2 Compiler Benchmarks With ARM Cortex-A57 A Mixed Bag

      In this article are some benchmarks using the Jetson TX1 when running open-source tests using the stock GCC 4.8.4 compiler and then trying out GCC 4.9.3 and GCC 5.2.1. The same compiler flags were used each time when building the benchmarks under each of the different compilers using the automated Phoronix Test Suite. GCC 4.9 and GCC 5.2 were obtained from the Ubuntu Toolchain PPA. All tests are built on the Jetson TX1 without any cross-compilation or other steps.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Farmers need better software

      The Open Food Network is a free, open source, scalable e-commerce marketplace and logistics platform that enables communities and producers to connect, trade, and coordinate the movement of food. It was founded by Serenity Hill and Kirsten Larsen, and besides being a network of consumers and producers, Open Food Network is built on free and open source software and released under AGPL license. Plus, anyone can contribute to the project on GitHub.

    • These Biohackers Are Creating Open-Source Insulin

      The 370 million people worldwide with diabetes rely on injections of insulin to regulate the amount of sugar in their blood, since their bodies can’t make the hormone themselves. Since there are no generic versions available in the United States, insulin is very expensive—that cost was likely a large proportion of the $176 billion in medical expenditures incurred by diabetes patients in 2012 alone. Now a team of biohackers with Counter Culture Labs, a community lab in Oakland, California, wants to pave the way towards generic insulin, and they’ve started a crowdfunding page for their project.

    • OpenCar wants to open source in-vehicle infotainment

      The OpenCar suite of offerings come together to work in a way similar to the software developer kits (SDK) offered for various tech and platforms. Everything from Web-based applications like WordPress to gadgets like the Apple Watch have developer kits associated with them so that third-party programmers can build software to work with them. In many ways, what OpenCar is offering is the platform for an SDK for in-car infotainment. Automakers still have to sign on and make their software compatible, but in return they can open their vehicle infotainment to outside developers without compromising its integrity or their control of the experience, branding, and legalities.

    • How will the children of the future learn about science?

      As our understanding of the world expands, it is important to ensure that that knowledge is equally accessible by all members of our society. This is vital to the progress of humanity. This philosophy, which is shared by the open source software movement, is not new; it has been around since the 1600s when the first academic journals were published for public reading. The Jupyter Notebook hints at what the academic journals of tomorrow will look like and paints a promising picture. They will be interactive, visualization-focused, user-friendly, and include code and data as first-class citizens. I believe that these unique characteristics will go a long way toward bridging the gap of understanding between the scientific community and the general public through both narrative and code—a gap that, when bridged, will have a significant impact on our society.

    • Open Data

      • EC brings pan-European open data together on European Data Portal

        On November 16, the European Commission launched the European Data Portal, which will serve as a central gateway to data published by administrations in countries across Europe, from the EU and beyond. Currently over 240,000 datasets from 34 European countries can be accessed through thirteen different categories and a multi-language search function.

      • Greek geodata project extends open data platform

        The Greek government’s open geodata platform (geodata.gov.gr) is making available as open source several tools and extensions to CKAN, a commonly used data management system. The development of reusable tools to help publish and discover open geospatial data is one of the goals of the PublicaMundi project that built Greece’s geodata platform.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • You might want to hug this book: a review of ‘Git for Teams’

      Git has a bit of a reputation as being difficult to learn and even more difficult to master. Because it’s such a powerful and flexible tool, it is easy for users to make hard-to-correct mistakes. When working with others, it becomes even easier to get out of sorts. Git for Teams aims to solve that problem by not only teaching the reader how to use Git, but how to use teams.


  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • 2015 shatters the temperature record as global warming speeds back up

      With just a month and a half left in 2015, it’s clear this year will be by far the hottest on record, easily beating the previous record set just last year. The temporary slowdown in the warming of global surface temperatures (also misnamed the “pause”) has ended, as each of the past four years has been hotter than the one before.

      El Niño is one reason 2015 has been such an incredibly hot year. During El Niño events, hot water is transported from the deep ocean layers to the surface. Over the past 15 years, we’ve experienced more La Niñas than El Niños, which helped temporarily slow the warming of global surface temperatures.

    • I’m a nuclear armageddon survivor: Ask me anything

      Press events are usually decadent affairs of food, drink, and well-dressed executives in up-market hotels. Not this one. A small number of journalists including your correspondent were dumped at dusk in a wet field in the Essex countryside, given blue boilersuits and a small knapsack containing bottle-tops and leaflets, and told to await developments. As most press events don’t ask for disclosure of any medical conditions, nor involve signing a waiver against accidents, those developments were unlikely to be pleasant.

    • The Koch intelligence agency

      The political network helmed by Charles and David Koch has quietly built a secretive operation that conducts surveillance and intelligence gathering on its liberal opponents, viewing it as a key strategic tool in its efforts to reshape American public life.

      The operation, which is little-known even within the Koch network, gathers what Koch insiders refer to as “competitive intelligence” that is used to try to thwart liberal groups and activists, and to identify potential threats to the expansive network.

      Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/the-koch-brothers-intelligence-agency-215943#ixzz3rrzL8oiR

  • Finance

    • House Democrats call TPP ‘too big’ to pass Congress

      A half dozen House Democrats asserted on Wednesday that opposition is growing for a sweeping Asia-Pacific trade agreement as the White House ramps up efforts to build support for the deal.

      The six Democrats — Reps. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), Louise Slaughter (N.Y.), Marcy Kaptur (Ohio), Nydia Velázquez (N.Y.), Mark Pocan (Wis.) and Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) — said the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal is “too big” to pass Congress and must be scrapped.

      The Democrats, who have long opposed the expansive deal, said the more than 5,000-page agreement, which they carted out in front of the Capitol by hand truck for a press conference, is a big giveaway to multi-national corporations and will have devastating effects on the U.S. economy, jobs and wages.

  • Privacy

    • Don’t Blame Encryption for ISIS Attacks

      Let’s start with what we don’t know. No firm details have been released about how the perpetrators of the attacks in Paris last Friday communicated.

      All the same, some media outlets, politicians, and security leaders in Europe and the U.S. are now suggesting that the tragic events show how encryption technology has lately made it easier for terrorists to evade the authorities.

      Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan complained about that at an event at the Center for Strategic & International Studies on Monday. “There are a lot of technological capabilities that are available right now that make it exceptionally difficult, both technically as well as legally, for intelligence security services to have insight that they need,” he said.

      There is also much chatter about the possibility that the Paris attackers used Sony’s Playstation gaming network to communicate because it offers a very high level of protection against eavesdropping. This is based on a false assertion—now retracted—that a Playstation 4 console was among the items seized in a series of raids this weekend in France and Belgium. (Belgium’s interior minister did say last week that it was “very, very difficult” for intelligence agencies to “decrypt” communications made through Playstations, but he didn’t back up his claim.)

    • EU centre-right group using Paris tragedy to try to kill data protection directive

      Since the Paris attacks politicians, police and intelligence agencies have pushed for more mass surveillance. And now, it seems they are also trying to undermine the new EU framework for data protection.

      The EU data protection directive has been under massive fire from special interests and member states in the council. But the European Parliament has been firm in insisting on a clear and meaningful framework to protect citizens private data.

    • FBI Paid Carnegie Mellon $1M to Crack User IDs, Claims Tor

      The Tor Project last week claimed the FBI paid Carnegie Mellon University $1 million to crack the anonymity of Tor users.

    • U.S. Mass Surveillance Has No Record of Thwarting Large Terror Attacks, Regardless of Snowden Leaks

      Despite the intelligence community’s attempts to blame NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for the tragic attacks in Paris on Friday, the NSA’s mass surveillance programs do not have a track record — before or after Snowden — of identifying or thwarting actual large-scale terrorist plots.

      CIA Director John Brennan asserted on Monday that “many of these terrorist operations are uncovered and thwarted before they’re able to be carried out,” and lamented the post-Snowden “handwringing” that has made that job more difficult.

      But the reason there haven’t been any large-scale terror attacks by ISIS in the U.S. is not because they were averted by the intelligence community, but because — with the possible exception of one that was foiled by local police — none were actually planned.

    • Study finds no increase in jihadists’ use of encryption since Snowden leaks

      Is Edward Snowden to blame, even indirectly, for the Paris attacks that left 129 dead and hundreds others injured?

      Ask surveillance hawks, and you’ll likely get an emphatic “Yes!” The rising popularity of encrypted communications following Snowden’s 2013 leak of gigabytes of secret NSA documents has made terrorists far more difficult to identify, they say. Without Snowden, the attackers would still be out in the open.

    • Syrian passports found at Paris attacks scene were fakes made in Turkey

      EU commission chief says EU does not need to review migration policy in light of fears that militants posing as refugees launched attacks

    • NYT Quietly Pulls Article Blaming Encryption in Paris Attacks

      Questions about how the terrorists behind Friday’s attacks in Paris managed to evade electronic surveillance have fueled worrisome speculation in Europe and in the U.S. from intelligence experts, lawmakers and the press — including the New York Times, which on Sunday quietly pulled from its website a story alleging the attackers used encrypted technology.

      On Sunday, the Times published a story citing unidentified “European officials” who told the outlet the attackers coordinated their assault on the French capital via unspecified “encryption technology.”

      “The attackers are believed to have communicated using encryption technology, according to European officials who had been briefed on the investigation but were not authorized to speak publicly,” the article, which has since been removed, stated.

    • After Endless Demonization Of Encryption, Police Find Paris Attackers Coordinated Via Unencrypted SMS

      In the wake of the tragic events in Paris last week encryption has continued to be a useful bogeyman for those with a voracious appetite for surveillance expansion. Like clockwork, numerous reports were quickly circulated suggesting that the terrorists used incredibly sophisticated encryption techniques, despite no evidence by investigators that this was the case. These reports varied in the amount of hallucination involved, the New York Times even having to pull one such report offline. Other claims the attackers had used encrypted Playstation 4 communications also wound up being bunk.

      Yet pushed by their sources in the government, the media quickly became a sound wall of noise suggesting that encryption was hampering the government’s ability to stop these kinds of attacks. NBC was particularly breathless this week over the idea that ISIS was now running a 24 hour help desk aimed at helping its less technically proficient members understand encryption (even cults help each other use technology, who knew?). All of the reports had one central, underlying drum beat implication: Edward Snowden and encryption have made us less safe, and if you disagree the blood is on your hands.

  • Civil Rights

    • What Americans thought of Jewish refugees on the eve of World War II

      The results of the poll illustrated above by the useful Twitter account @HistOpinion were published in the pages of Fortune magazine in July 1938. Fewer than 5 percent of Americans surveyed at the time believed that the United States should raise its immigration quotas or encourage political refugees fleeing fascist states in Europe — the vast majority of whom were Jewish — to voyage across the Atlantic. Two-thirds of the respondents agreed with the proposition that “we should try to keep them out.”

    • ​’Offensive and hysterical’: Obama lashes Republicans over Syrian refugees

      President says Congress lawmakers and state governors are doing Islamic State’s work…

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Elsevier Says Downloading And Content-Mining Licensed Copies Of Research Papers ‘Could Be Considered’ Stealing

        Elsevier has pretty much established itself as the most hated company in the world of academic publishing, a fact demonstrated most recently when all the editors and editorial board resigned from one of its top journals to set up their own, open access rival. A blog post by the statistician Chris H.J. Hartgerink shows that Elsevier is still an innovator when it comes to making life hard for academics. Hartgerink’s work at Tilburg University in the Netherlands concerns detecting potentially problematic research that might involve data fabrication — obviously an important issue for the academic world.


Links 17/11/2015: BQ Aquaris Ubuntu Edition in Russia, 4K Samsung Tizen (Linux) TVs

Posted in News Roundup at 6:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Visiting the System76 headquarters — a Willy Wonka-like superfan experience

      Users of Linux-based operating systems often buy Windows-powered computers, format the hard drive and install their favorite distro. This can sometimes be a fine experience, although, quite often, it comes with annoyances such as non-working hardware (usually Wi-Fi). Not to mention, the keyboard will likely house a “Windows” key, which taints the experience.

      The holy grail for many Linux users — besides building their own computer — is to get a desktop or laptop that comes pre-loaded with a Linux-based operating system. One of the most popular such manufacturers, System76, sells computers pre-loaded with Ubuntu, including a lifetime of telephone tech support. Obviously the company has accumulated many fans over the years, so this past Thursday and Friday, it held its first-ever superfan event. Fans were flown to its Denver headquarters. I was honored to be given the opportunity to cover it.

    • Senior Tech: Sometimes Linux Isn’t the Solution

      She was using a Dell Optiplex with Windows Vista installed, and it was a mess. It wasn’t virus-laden, it was I-love-all-of-these-toolbars-they-make-life-so-easy laden. She mentioned that Claude said I could put a program on her computer that was better than what she had, and I said, yes, I did have such a program and would she like to see how it worked before I put it on her computer. She said she would be thrilled to do that.

  • Server

    • Best Linux Distribution for Your Hosting

      There’re also a wide variety of special purpose distros out there in the market which may play an important role in the deployment, if the dedicated server’s purpose matches that of the distro. Some good examples are the Boot2docker or the CoreOS, which are so small distros that are mainly designed for just launching the Docker containers, and such containers might include more standard Linux distros.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Kubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf – Pretty useless

        I heard there’s been a change of management with the Kubuntu community or some sort like that. Well, perhaps it’s for the greater good. I am quite close to abandoning Kubuntu forever. Much like PCLinuxOS, it’s slowly creeping toward irrelevance, offering none of the love and fire that you’d want and expect. It’s exhausted, it’s defeated. It just doesn’t try to win you in any way. It’s there because it exists. Nothing more.

        Moreover, there’s the matter of inconsistency. I mentioned this before, and I will mention it again. I absolutely loathe when things break in between releases. Small, simple things. Like Samba or printing or codecs. Why? WHY? WHY! How difficult is it to try to offer a sane, steady user experience? Why do I have to dread every single update? You can never really know. One version, things work, and then they don’t. Samba sharing. Year 2015. How difficult can it be to copy files from one frigging computer to another without problems? It’s not like sending probes to Mars. Just a bloody copy operation, source destination. Simple.

        On top of that, Kubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf literally fails in every aspect. It’s totally useless, it’s buggy, it’s crashy, and it offers nothing that would make it even remotely interesting. Nothing useful or practical about it really. Nothing. I’m sad. And angry. Avoid at all costs. 0/10. Bye bye now.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and CentOS 5 Receive an Important Kernel Update

        The latest Red Hat Bug Fix Advisory (RHAB) informs users of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server (RHEL) 5.x and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop 5.x operating system about a new kernel update that fixes multiple vulnerabilities.

      • Vendor Q&A Series: Mark Enzweiler, Red Hat

        Open source will play a big part in this evolution. It is, after all, the foundation of many of these technologies. Solution providers will need to become intimately familiar with how open source works and the benefits it provides.

      • Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) – Large Cap End of Day Report
      • Fedora

        • Fedora Elections November / December 2015

          The Fedora 23 release has been a huge success and now it’s time for Fedora Elections!

        • Introducing Autocloud

          During Fedora 23 release cycle as part of Two week atomic image, we have developed, and deployed a new service in Fedora Infrastructure, called Autocloud. In simple words this services listens to fedmsg messages for successful koji builds of cloud base, and atomic images. When found, it downloads those images, and test them locally using Tunir. It tests the standard qcow2 images, and also the box files for vagrant. Yes, we test both libvirt, and Virtualbox based vagrant images (using tunir).

        • Fedora 23: “Possibly my favorite release they’ve ever done”

          Network World recently published an article review comparing three major distributions: Fedora, Ubuntu, and OpenSUSE. What did they have to say about Fedora?

        • Rawhide: notes from the trail (2015-11-16)

          The python 3.5 rebuild has landed. The vast majority of it was done in a side tag by Peter Robinson, Kalev Lember and Robert Kuska (and others!), then merged back into rawhide on friday (the 13th). There are still a number of packages that need fixes to build against python 3.5, expect most of them to get fixed up this week. If you have some of those installed, dnf may well hold back python3 and all the newly rebuilt packages until the ones you have installed are all fixed or you remove them.

        • Design Clinics

          Back to work after Django Girls workshop and attending PyconCZ! It was all super exciting and I’m for sure going to write a separate blog post just about those events, as soon as all the pics and videos are out. But while we wait, it’s high time I posted about all the design clinics I had in past couple months. So let’s get to it!

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 Already Got a New Web Browser App, Thai Font Support

            Canonical’s Łukasz Zemczak has just sent his daily report on the work done by the Ubuntu Touch developers in preparation for the soon-to-be-released OTA-8 software update for Ubuntu Phones, as well as some initial details about the next major update, OTA-9.

          • Libxml2 Vulnerabilities Closed in Ubuntu OSes

            Details about a number of libxml2 vulnerabilities that have been found and fixed in Ubuntu 15.10 Ubuntu 15.04, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS were published in a security notice.

          • HP Linux Imaging and Printing Driver Update with Support for Ubuntu 15.10

            Today, November 16, HP had the great pleasure of announcing a new release of its open source and freely distributed HPLIP (HP Linux Imaging and Printing) driver for GNU/Linux operating systems.

          • BQ Aquaris Ubuntu Edition Phones Land in Russia

            After previous successful launches of the Aquaris E4.5 and E5 HD Ubuntu Editions, BQ will now release Ubuntu Phones in Russia. Devices will be available for purchase through a host of local distributors such as Ozon.ru. The Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition will be sold at a price of 15,499 ₽ with the soon to be launched Aquaris E4.5 at a price of 12,499 ₽.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • TPP Harmful To Open Source

    It’s not enough to mitigate this ban on open source by partial mitigation to allow secret disclosure to governments. Our perspective is that simply having source made available for viewing by select parties is not sufficient. Source code related to public regulatory matters should be released under an OSI approved license and thus made available to all those who use the software. Doing so allows them to study, improve and share the software as well as to check that their lives are not negatively impacted by its defects. Ideally, all software written using public funds should also be made available as open source.

    There’s much else in TPP to be concerned about, as the EFF notes, but this clause is especially regressive and is cause alone to reject the agreement. The clock is ticking — President Obama notified Congress on November 5 that he intends to ratify TPP on behalf of the USA — so the time to protest is now.

  • Today’s open source movement takes cue from Ben Franklin

    Open source innovation is a phrase we tend to associate with post-millennial creativity, but it’s actually a 300-year-old idea. Benjamin Franklin famously did not patent his lighting rod, his bifocals, his stove, and many other of his inventions because he thought that these ideas were simply too important not to share.

    This is the same mindset behind today’s open source movement: unrestricted access to designs, products, and ideas to be used by an unlimited number of people in a variety of sectors for diverse purposes.

  • Three reasons I love open source

    I am a user of open source software. My earliest experiences with open source software was with the Minecraft server software Bukkit as a kid, when I was attempting to make a cool game server for friends. I started using Fedora in December 2013 with my first laptop, ending a lifetime of using Apple devices. I like to believe that I am familiar and experienced with open source software as an everyday user.

  • Tim Bray

    Watching Tim Bray talk to an audience is a little intimidating. He talks fast and every word counts. And he wants action – he wants his audience to change the world. After founding companies, co-authoring the XML specification, working at Sun Microsystems and then Google (leaving because he famously didn’t want to leave Canada for Silicon Valley), Tim has seen, thought and talked about most things to do with technology. He’s even making his own security contributions to the amazing open source Android email application, K-9. His keynote at OSCON 2014 was about threats – threats to our privacy, threats to our online freedoms and threats to our data, and “Now is the time for sensible, reasonable, extreme paranoia,” as he puts it. Which is exactly what we wanted to talk about when we met with him.

  • Open Source a hit with Bengaluru’s techies

    Open source is a software or a set of instructions that can be used for free and modified without having to worry about copyright issues. People like Arora are a growing species in the city, thanks to its ever blossoming tech culture.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Public Services/Government

    • France votes for open source, Govt. not keen

      After India, it seems the French public are the next in queue favouring open source for government administrative offices. The results of a public consultation on France’s Digital Republic bill came out after 20 days of public voting and debate. 147,710 votes were cast, 8501 proposals received and 21,330 participants took part.

      The proposal was submitted by April, France’s free software advocacy group and the one relevant to open source software usage in administrative offices is in the third spot in the results.

  • Programming

    • Profiling Python using cProfile: a concrete case

      Profiling a Python program is doing a dynamic analysis that measures the execution time of the program and everything that compose it. That means measuring the time spent in each of its functions. This will give you data about where your program is spending time, and what area might be worth optimizing.


  • Former Apple designers say the company has lost ‘the fundamental principles of good design’

    Two early Apple designers have written a piece on Co.Design chastising Apple’s new design direction, which they claim puts elegance and visual simplicity over understandability and ease of use. Bruce “Tog” Tognazzini, who was Apple’s 66th employee and the writer of its first human interface guidelines, and Don Norman, Apple’s user experience architect from 1993 to 1996, aren’t holding back in the least.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Could Antibiotics in Meat Be Making Our Kids Sick?

      There’s another place to watch for antibiotic overuse: the meat your children are eating, whether beef, pork, turkey or chicken. As a result, the country’s leading pediatrics group is calling for farmers to stop using antibiotics to help livestock grow faster.

      In a report Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics detailed the overuse of antibiotics in animals, which can make bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli and Campylobacter stronger and resistant to drugs previously able to fight them off. The federal government has been warning Americans about the dangers of overusing antibiotics in hospitals and of asking doctors to prescribe them when they aren’t necessary, but what hasn’t received as much widespread attention is the danger that can occur when these medicines are overfed to animals, the academy wrote.

    • Pediatricians say farm use of antibiotics harms children

      In a new technical report, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) argues that unnecessary use of antibiotics in livestock is fueling drug-resistant, life-threatening infections in humans, particularly young children. The report, published Monday in Pediatrics, recommends limiting the use of antibiotics on farms.

      As Ars has reported before, the vast majority of antibiotics used in the US go to agriculture and aquaculture—about 80 percent of total tonnage, to be exact. Those drugs are often given to livestock to fatten them up or prevent future illness. Such doses of drugs, many of which have crossovers in human medicine, can spur drug-resistant microbes that may make their way off the farm and spread to food or share their drug-resistant genes with other microbes, the AAP noted.

  • Security

    • The most popular curl download – by a malware

      During October 2015 the curl web site sent out 1127 gigabytes of data. This was the first time we crossed the terabyte limit within a single month.


      The downloads came from what appears to be different locations. They don’t use any HTTP referer headers and they used different User-agent headers. I couldn’t really see a search bot gone haywire or a malicious robot stuck in a crazy mode.

    • Your containers were built in some guy’s barn!

      Except even with as new as this technology is, we are starting to see reports of how many security flaws exist in docker images. This will only get worse, not better, if nothing changes. Almost nobody is paying attention, containers mean we don’t have to care about this stuff, right!? We’re at a point where we have guys building cars in their barns. Would you trust your family in a car built in some guy’s barn? No, you want a car built with good parts and has been safety tested. Your containers are being built in some guy’s barn.

    • More Privacy, Less Latency – Improved Handshakes in TLS version 1.3

      TLS must be fast. Adoption will greatly benefit from speeding up the initial handshake that authenticates and secures the connection. You want to get the protocol out of the way and start delivering data to visitors as soon as possible. This is crucial if we want the web to succeed at deprecating non-secure HTTP.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Russia confirms Sinai plane crash was the work of terrorists

      The mid-air explosion of a Russian jetliner over the Sinai desert last month that killed all 224 people on board was the result of a terrorist attack, Russia’s chief intelligence officer said Tuesday.

      At a meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin, Federal Security Service head Alexander Bortnikov said that traces of explosives found in the plane’s wreckage indicated that an improvised explosive device had been detonated on board.

    • Chilling video warned of attack on Paris Bataclan SEVEN years ago

      A group of revellers queuing up to into the club watch on in concern as the same man goes on a three-minute rant about their fury over the venue hosting “galas to raise fund for the Israeli army” adding “and we can’t continue to accept that”.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Vast forest fires in Indonesia spawn ecological disaster

      Palm oil and paper pulp companies illegally set fire to forests to clear land to plant more trees in the cheapest and fastest way possible. Authorities are investigating more than 300 plantation companies and 83 suspects have been arrested, according to national police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti. The licenses of three plantation companies have been revoked and those of 11 others have been suspended.

    • Indonesian fires: world environmental crisis – corporations responsible

      Thousands of fires have been lit to clear land simply because it is 75% cheaper than other methods. By burning down forests companies can get access to the land and can commence industrial pulp and palm oil plantations.

    • The World Runs on Palm Oil, and That’s Fueling Climate Change

      The worst climate crisis of the year is happening right now in Indonesia due to slash-and-burn deforestation that sends up as much carbon dioxide as the U.S. does. It’s all for the sake of palm oil.

      Each day in Indonesia, forest fires release as much carbon dioxide as the entire United States. The fires have been burning since July, thanks to a combination of slash-and-burn land clearing, flammable peat soil, and El Nino. And the worst part is, although your and my consumption habits are largely to blame, there’s almost nothing we can do about it.

    • Gates Foundation would be $1.9bn better off if it had divested from fossil fuels

      Analysis of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation health charity, and 13 other major funds, reveals moving investments out of coal, oil and gas and into green companies would have generated billions in higher returns

  • Privacy

    • As Predicted: Encryption Haters Are Already Blaming Snowden (?!?) For The Paris Attacks

      Well, as you already know, on Friday there was a tragic and horrifying terrorist attack in France that killed over 100 people. And it took basically no time at all for defenders of the surveillance state to start… blaming Snowden and encryption? It started with the usual talking heads, such as former George W. Bush press secretary and current Fox News commentator, Dana Perino, who seriously seemed to blame Snowden for the attacks based on… who knows what.

    • Don’t fast-track the new surveillance bill: it needs considered scrutiny

      Lord Carlile’s call for the investigatory powers bill to be rushed through parliament in the wake of the Paris attacks is a misjudged knee-jerk reaction

    • How the Baseless ‘Terrorists Communicating Over Playstation 4′ Rumor Got Started

      On Friday evening, a group of terrorists launched a string of simultaneous attacks in Paris, killing at least 129 people, according to media reports.

      Very little information is known about how the terrorists, who allegedly had links to ISIS, planned the attacks. Yet, that hasn’t stopped commentators and the media from speculating the group likely avoided surveillance by using messaging apps that use encryption, and even by communicating over PlayStation 4.

      Belgian interior minister Jan Jambon ignited the speculation over the weekend when he complained that communications over PlayStation 4 are extremely hard to spy on. His comments were not related to the Paris attacks, however; in fact, they came three days before they even happened, during a talk at a POLITICO event.

    • Cameron might fast-track snooping bill after Paris attacks

      Update: Home secretary Theresa May may have ruled out any fast-tracking of the bill in a statement made to the House of Commons on the UK’s response to the Paris attacks. May said it is: “important that this landmark legislation undergoes proper Parliamentary scrutiny”.

    • Interior Minister: Finland needs web surveillance – sooner rather than later

      Interior Minister Petteri Orpo has called for a speedy reform of intelligence regulations, saying that amendments to existing legislation could take years to implement. Orpo said that it is possible to conduct online intelligence gathering without violating fundamental rights or individual privacy.

    • After Paris Attacks, Here’s What the CIA Director Gets Wrong About Encryption

      It’s not surprising that in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks last Friday, US government officials would renew their assault on encryption and revive their efforts to force companies to install backdoors in secure products and encryption software.

    • Paris Attacks Blamed on Strong Cryptography and Edward Snowden

      I was going to write a definitive refutation to the meme that it’s all Snowden’s fault, but Glenn Greenwald beat me to it.

    • Paris attacks: questions being raised over missed ‘Isil red flags’

      …Paris attackers were already known to authorities

    • Moscow tells Twitter to store Russian users’ data in the country

      Moscow has warned Twitter that it must store Russian users’ personal data in Russia, under a new law, the national communications watchdog told AFP on Wednesday.

      Legislation that came into force on September 1 requires both Russian and foreign social media sites, messenger services and search engines to store the data held on Russian users on servers located inside the country.

    • Encryption is not the enemy: A 21st century response to terror

      Whenever terrorists strike, governments respond. It is in the quality and wisdom of those responses that the future of our society rests. David Gewirtz looks at the question of encryption, and how we should think about policy and security in light of the Paris attacks.

  • Civil Rights

    • NC dad fatally shot during struggle for Taser with Harnett Co. deputy, witness says

      A dad was shot several times and died in an officer-involved shooting in Spring Lake Sunday morning, witnesses said.

    • Paris attacks: French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve calls for ‘dissolution of mosques where hate is preached’

      The interior minister of France has reportedly said he will begin the dissolution of “mosques where hate is preached” following a series of terror attacks across Paris, which have killed at least 129 people.

      Bernard Cazeneuve made the announcement during an interview with French television, according to MSNBC.

      He is reported as saying: “I don’t expect the state of emergency for me to attack preachers of hate but the state of emergency should allow us to act more rapidly.”

    • Following Paris Attacks, Right-Wing Media Echo GOP Call To Accept Only Christian Refugees

      Right-wing media figures are bolstering calls from Republican presidential candidates following the attacks in Paris to limit Syrian refugees entering the United States to Christians only, claiming it will stop terrorists from entering the U.S.

    • 5 Ways Conservative Media Are Exploiting The Terrorist Attacks In Paris To Hype Misinformation

      Right-wing media seized on the November 13 terror attacks in Paris to make at least five false or misleading claims about Syrian refugees, past statements from Hillary Clinton, President Obama’s strategy against ISIS, the release of Guantanamo Bay detainees, and how guns in civilian hands could have supposedly changed the outcome of the attacks.

    • Fearing Fear Itself

      The point is not to minimize the horror. It is, instead, to emphasize that the biggest danger terrorism poses to our society comes not from the direct harm inflicted, but from the wrong-headed responses it can inspire. And it’s crucial to realize that there are multiple ways the response can go wrong.

    • Did Marco Rubio’s Campaign Violate The CFAA? Will He Commit To Reforming It?

      We’ve talked a lot in the past few years about the desperate need to reform the CFAA — an absolutely horrible “anti-hacking” law that has been stretched and broadened and twisted by people over the years, such that it’s frequently used to “pile on” charges when nothing else will stick. If you want to go into a lot more detail, you can listen to the podcast we recently did about the CFAA, or listen to this wonderful podcast that Reply All did about the CFAA (where I also make a brief appearance). But one of the biggest problems with it is that it considers you to be a dangerous hacker if you access a computer/network “without authorization” or if you merely have “exceeded authorized access.” It’s that latter phrase that often causes trouble. What does it even mean? Historically, cases have been brought against employees who use their employer’s computers for non-work related things, against someone for supposedly failing to abide by MySpace’s terms of service and for downloading too many academic journals that were freely available for downloading on MIT’s campus network.

    • Who controls the cop cam?

      At the end of October this year, 14,000 police officials from around the world gathered in a Chicago conference center for the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference. It was equal parts political convention and trade show, with panels on crisis response splitting time with hundreds of small companies selling bomb-disposal robots and guns.

      There were more than a dozen body camera companies on the show floor, but Taser made the biggest splash, constructing a Disney-style amphitheater called the USS Axon Enterprise. The show began with a white-jacketed captain, who announced he had traveled back in time from the year 2055, where lethal force has been eliminated and police are respected and loved by their communities. To explain how to get there, he ran through a history of policing tech. Approaching the present moment, he fell into a kind of disappointed sadness.

    • On CNN, Muslim Refugee Advocate Slams Conservatives’ Call For A “Christian-Only” Refugee Policy

      Arab American Association Of New York’s Linda Sarsour: They Are “Bar[ing] The Very People Who Are Running Away From The Same Terrorism That We’re Talking About”

    • Context-Free Coverage of Terror Helps Perpetuate Its Causes

      It feels callous to question the allocation of outrage; empathy is in such short supply in this world that one hesitates to question it when it emerges. But as a long-time citizen of New York City, I’m all too aware of the weaponization of grief. The outpouring of no-context, ahistorical sympathy after 9/11 helped pave the way for a violent reaction that killed in Iraq alone roughly 150 times as many people as died in Lower Manhattan that day—an opportunistic catastrophe that did more to mock than avenge those deaths.

    • Rupert Murdoch Endorses Religious Test For Refugees, Calls For “Special Exception For Proven Christians”
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Anne Frank foundation moves to keep famous diary copyrighted for 35 more years

        The diary of Anne Frank is just six weeks away from entering the public domain in most of Europe—but it might not happen. The Basel-based Anne Frank Fonds, which owns the copyright, has a plan to retain ownership until 2050.

        Anne Frank and her family famously hid from the Nazis in occupied Amsterdam during World War Two. They were ultimately discovered, and Anne died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. Her father, Otto Frank, survived the Holocaust and published her diaries and notebooks.

        Most European copyrights end 70 years after the author’s death, meaning that on Jan. 1, 2016, the diary becomes public domain in much of the continent. But the Anne Frank foundation has a new legal strategy to keep its most valuable copyright: declare that Otto Frank is actually a “co-author” of the diaries, not merely an editor. Since Otto Frank died in 1980, anything he authored will stay under copyright until 2050. (The book was first published in the US in 1952, so copyright stateside will last until 2047 regardless of what happens in Europe.)

        This weekend’s New York Times carried the news that the foundation is issuing an “early warning” to publishers that they aren’t allowed to freely publish the diary. That’s led to criticism of the foundation, including some who have threatened to begin publishing the diary online, whether the foundation likes it or not.

      • BitTorrent Usage Doesn’t Equal Piracy, Cox Tells Court

        U.S. Internet provider Cox Communications is scheduled to go to trial soon, defending itself against copyright infringement claims from two music companies. In a new motion Cox asks the court to prohibit the use of any material claiming that BitTorrent equals piracy. BitTorrent has plenty legitimate uses and equating it to infringement would mislead the jury during trial, the ISP argues.


Links 16/11/2015: Linux 4.4 RC1, DockerConEU

Posted in News Roundup at 3:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Windows 3.1 Is Still Alive, And It Just Killed a French Airport

    A computer glitch that brought the Paris airport of Orly to a standstill Saturday has been traced back to the airport’s “prehistoric” operating system. In an article published Wednesday, French satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné (which often writes serious stories, such as this one) said the computer failure had affected a system known as DECOR, which is used by air traffic controllers to communicate weather information to pilots. Pilots rely on the system when weather conditions are poor.

    DECOR, which is used in takeoff and landings, runs on Windows 3.1, an operating system that came onto the market in 1992. Hardly state-of-the-art technology. One of the highlights of Windows 3.1 when it came out was the inclusion of Minesweeper — a single-player video game that was responsible for wasting hours of PC owners’ time in the early ’90s.

  • Spaghetti Strainer Helmet Driver’s License Photo Approved On Religious Grounds

    Just over the border from New Hampshire in the Massachusetts city of Lowell, a woman identifying herself as a follower of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), otherwise known as Pastafarianism, has been approved by the state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to wear a spaghetti strainer on top of her head in her state issued driver’s ID.

    The approval to wear the helmet was initially denied. However, citing religious grounds, Lowell resident Lindsay Miller filed an appeal. Following intervention by the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, the RMV reversed their decision and allowed her to put on her colander and get her driver’s license picture taken.

  • What today’s CIO needs to succeed tomorrow, and more news for IT pros

    It’s that time of year when technology predictions start to infiltrate your social networks, inbox, and news feeds. To kick off prediction season, ZME Science reminds us of perhaps the most accurate tech prediction of all time, coming from Ray Kurzweil in 1908. He says, “An inexpensive instrument, not bigger than a watch, will enable its bearer to hear anywhere, on sea or land, music or song, the speech of a political leader, the address of an eminent man of science, or the sermon of an eloquent clergyman, delivered in some other place, however distant.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Before Paris Terrorist Attacks, CIA Director Brennan Met With French Intelligence DGSE Chief Bernard Bajolet: Report

      The White House correspondent for French television network Canal+, Laura Haim, reported an interesting tidbit during a live report with MSNBC’s Brian Williams Friday evening.

      Haim stated that Central Intelligence Agency director, John O. Brennan, recently met with his counterpart, French intelligence (DGSE) director Bernard Bajolet.

    • CIA Director Brennan Met With French Security Chief Before Paris Attacks – Report
    • Next Terrorist Plot in France Hard to Detect – Ex-CIA Officer

      The French authorities will face serious problems in detecting additional terrorist plots despite the current state of emergency after the attack in Paris, former US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer Paul Pillar told Sputnik.

    • ‘Terrorists chose Paris as iconic target like twin towers’ – ex-CIA officer

      The series of apparent Islamic State attacks in Paris can be compared to the 2001 destruction of the WTC towers in the US, says Jack Rice, a former CIA officer. The French capital is an iconic European city, and terrorists target icons.

    • Child porn, war crimes & fraud: Internal CIA probes reveal shocking findings

      Documents released by the CIA show details of over a dozen investigations into serious allegations of misconduct by agency employees, including child pornography, torture and war crimes. In many cases, the Justice Department decided not to prosecute.

      Redacted records of the investigations, part of the 111 probes conducted by the CIA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) between January 2013 and May 2014, were obtained by Vice News under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

    • Former CIA director loves comparing ISIS airstrikes to casual sex

      This may be one of the more interesting ways to describe an airstrike against ISIS and it comes courtesy of former CIA Director Michael Hayden.

      Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Hayden was talking about how airstrikes are being used to go after the terror organization’s infrastructure.

    • Former CIA Director Compares ISIS Airstrikes to Casual Sex on Morning Joe

      Then General Hayden made an unexpected comparison that seemed to temporarily stun Brzezinski and elicit a too-eager response from Deutsch. Hayden continued, “Airstrikes without ground power is a lot like casual sex: it offers gratification without commitment!”

      Deutsch hopped in unabashedly, “Sign me up for that!”.

      “Oh, my god,” responded Brzezinski.

      As Mediaite reported over a year ago, General Hayden has made similar suggestions to this military approach before.

    • Rebels Have CIA Weapons Capable of Downing Planes Flying Above 10Km Range

      The CIA urged Turkey and Saudi Arabia to provide certain Syrian rebels with anti-aircraft weapons capable of shooting down airplanes, including high-flying passenger jets, Hildegard von Hessen am Rhein wrote for Boulevard Voltaire.

      The fact that Syrian rebels fighting against Bashar al-Assad, a Russian ally, had CIA-sponsored weapons capable of downing a commercial airliner flying above 10,000 meters, makes a very uncomfortable situation for the US government amid the crash of the Airbus A321 operated by the Russian airliner Kogalymavia on October 31, the author said.

    • CIA, Saudis Launch Proxy War Against Syria, Iraq, Iran, Russia; U.S. Checkmated in Syria?

      This all comes at a time when opinion polls in the West show a majority favor Russia’s Syria intervention.

    • Former CIA Director Reveals He Approved Drone Attack He Knew Would Kill Innocent Children

      The CIA’s targeted killing program has long been shrouded in secrecy. Recent leaks given to the Intercept, as well as thorough reporting by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, have shed light on the execution of such attacks, but interviews with former CIA directors for an upcoming documentary puts the ethical quandaries of the program, which has few regulations, in stark relief.

      “We do not know what the rules of engagement are,” former CIA director Porter Goss, who resigned under George W. Bush due to frustration, told Chris Whipple for the documentary The Spymasters: CIA in the Crosshairs. “Are we dealing with enemy combatants? Are we dealing with criminals? Are the rules shoot first? Do we only shoot when we get shot at? Can we ask questions? Do we have to Mirandize people?”

    • UAE illegally shipped arms to Libya to support CIA-linked Haftar

      The UN Special Envoy to Libya became involved in conflict of interest after he was offered a high-paying job by the UAE while still a supposedly impartial head of dialogue talks to forge a peace agreement between the two rival Libyan governments.

    • Beirut, Also the Site of Deadly Attacks, Feels Forgotten

      Ali Awad, 14, was chopping vegetables when the first bomb struck. Adel Tormous, who would die tackling the second bomber, was sitting at a nearby coffee stand. Khodr Alaa Deen, a registered nurse, was on his way to work his night shift at the teaching hospital of the American University at Beirut, in Lebanon.

      All three lost their lives in a double suicide attack in Beirut on Thursday, along with 40 others, and much like the scores who died a day later in Paris, they were killed at random, in a bustling urban area, while going about their normal evening business.

    • PETER HITCHENS: Really want to beat terror? Then calm down and THINK

      Could we please skip the empty bravado? This is a time for grief above all else, and a time to refrain from soundbites and posturing. France – our closest neighbour, oldest friend, beloved rival, what Philip Sidney called ‘that sweet enemy’ – France is stricken, and we should weep with her.

      Over the past 40 years or so, most of us have heard quite enough politicians and others pledging to stand firm against terror, hunt down the vile perpetrators, ensure that it never happens again, and the rest.

      Then there have been the emergency meetings of grandly titled committees, the crackdowns, the increased surveillance, the billions spent on spying and snooping, not to mention the various wars on terror which have certainly killed a lot of our troops, but never seem to make us any safer. It is remarkably hard to defend yourself against an enemy whose language few of us speak, yet who speaks ours and can move freely in our world, and who is willing, even happy, to die at our hands – or his own – if he can kill us first.

    • Anonymous Has Declared War on ISIS in Revenge for the Paris Attacks

      The hacker collective Anonymous released a video message on YouTube Sunday declaring war on the Islamic State in the wake of Friday’s bloody terror attacks in Paris.

      The video, posted in French, announces the beginning of #OpParis, a coordinated campaign to neutralize ISIS’s social media channels.

      “Anonymous from all over the world will hunt you down,” an (anonymous) Anonymous spokesperson, his face shrouded in the group’s signature Guy Fawkes mask, says in French. “Expect massive cyber attacks. War is declared. Get prepared.”

  • Transparency Reporting

    • WikiLeaks Provides CIA Brennan’s Hacked Emails Online

      On October 21, 2015, WikiLeaks (1) posted emails that were supposedly taken from the hacked AOL account of CIA Director John Brennan. The private email account was hacked by a supposed teenager who allegedly posed as a Verizon agent in order to gain access (2).

      According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), some of the information that’s been released is correct. The journal attempted to contact many on the contact list as well as verify other pieces of information leaked. The WSJ also reported that some of the people whose addresses appeared on the list were actually contacted “by intelligence officials telling them their information had been compromised” (3).

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • The “Carlile Doctrine”

      For example, France already has more extensive surveillance laws than UK, and the atrocities still happened.

    • Finland mulls constitution changes, web surveillance powers for intelligence police

      The Interior, Justice and Defence ministries are considering constitutional changes to facilitate more effective civilian and military intelligence operations. Web surveillance powers for the security and intelligence police Supo are among the reforms on the table. Meanwhile President Sauli Niinistö says it’s time to raise the level of Finnish intelligence work to meet European standards.

    • Germany says it will (mostly) stop spying on EU citizens and institutions

      The German government plans to make it illegal for the country’s intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), to spy on citizens or institutions in EU countries. This follows revelations that the BND has been helping the NSA to snoop on European politicians and companies, as Ars reported in April. More recently, it has emerged that the BND’s own spying extended far more widely than thought: those kept under surveillance included the interior ministries of EU member states, the Vatican, and non-governmental organisations such as Care International, Oxfam and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

    • Surveillance Hawk Stewart Baker Confirms Dragnet Didn’t Work as Designed

      The French authorities are just a day into investigating the horrid events in Paris on Friday. We’ll know, over time, who did this and how they pulled it off. For that reason, I’m of the mind to avoid any grand claims that surveillance failed to find the perpetrators (thus far, French authorities say they know one of the attackers, who is a French guy they had IDed as an extremist, but did not know of people identified by passports found at the Stade — though predictably those have now been confirmed to be fake [update: now authorities say the Syrian one is genuine, though it’s not yet clear it belonged to the attacker], so authorities may turn out to know their real identity). In any case, Glenn Greenwald takes care of that here. I think it’s possible the terrorists did manage to avoid detection via countersurveillance — though the key ways they might have done so were available and known before Edward Snowden’s leaks (as Glenn points out).

    • Together in Sorrow, Looking at the Future

      Unfortunately, given recent political statements, we fear that the only response will lie in further bombings in the Middle-East and the escalation of security measures evermore harmful to fundamental rights. But when will we take the time to carefully analyse the failed policies carried on for the past fifteen years on a global scale, and through dozens of laws in France?

      In the light of the declaration of the state of emergency and of political statements made over the weekend, La Quadrature du Net solemnly asks political leaders to take the time to reflect and engage in a rigorous, critical and transparent evaluation of France’s international, diplomatic, military, geo-strategic and commercial commitments; to think about the strategy of intelligence services and to complete a thorough examination of their workings; to defeat a warmongering rhetoric drive us towards a “clash of civilisations” doubled with an internal civil conflict within our society; to also address the tensions that ripple through French society, the discriminations stirred by a part of the political and media elite, the shared responsibilities into the largely misunderstood phenomenon of violent radicalisation, the dissolving of perspectives for social progress.

    • How Edward Snowden Changed Everything

      Ben Wizner, who is perhaps best known as Edward Snowden’s lawyer, directs the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project. Wizner, who joined the ACLU in August 2001, one month before the 9/11 attacks, has been a force in the legal battles against torture, watch lists, and extraordinary rendition since the beginning of the global “war on terror.”

      On October 15, we met with Wizner in an upstate New York pub to discuss the state of privacy advocacy today. In sometimes sardonic tones, he talked about the transition from litigating on issues of torture to privacy advocacy, differences between corporate and state-sponsored surveillance, recent developments in state legislatures and the federal government, and some of the obstacles impeding civil liberties litigation. The interview has been edited and abridged for publication.

    • FBI: “The allegation that we paid CMU $1M to hack into Tor is inaccurate”

      The FBI is denying that it paid $1 million to Carnegie Mellon University to exploit a vulnerability in Tor.

      “The allegation that we paid [Carnegie Mellon University] $1 million to hack into Tor is inaccurate,” an FBI spokeswoman told Ars in a Friday morning phone call.

      Two days ago, the head of the Tor Project accused the FBI of paying Carnegie Mellon computer security researchers at least $1 million to de-anonymize Tor users and reveal their IP addresses as part of a large criminal investigation.

  • Civil Rights

    • ‘Extremely rational’ Anonymous hacktivist Matt DeHart avoids 70-year prison term with child porn plea deal

      Matt DeHart, the former U.S. airman and Anonymous hacktivist who made a failed asylum bid in Canada — claiming torture over his access to secret U.S. government documents — has accepted a plea deal in a Tennessee court, avoiding a possible 70-year prison term but admitting to having explicit photos of under-aged teenagers.

    • The Terrible Truth About Secret CIA Prisons

      According to Investigative journalist Will Potter, the secret prisons emerged during the last Bush administration in response to the 9/11 destruction of the New York Twin Towers.

    • Classified Report on the C.I.A.’s Secret Prisons Is Caught in Limbo

      A Senate security officer stepped out of the December chill last year and delivered envelopes marked Top Secret to the Pentagon, the C.I.A., the State Department and the Justice Department. Inside each packet was a disc containing a 6,700-page classified report on the C.I.A.s secret prison program and a letter from Senator Dianne Feinstein, urging officials to read the report to ensure that the lessons were not lost to time.

    • Classified Report on the C.I.A.’s Secret Prisons Is Caught in Limbo

      The report tells the story of how, in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the C.I.A. began capturing people and interrogating them in secret prisons beyond the reach of the American judicial and military legal systems. The report’s central conclusion is that the spy agency’s interrogation methods — including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other kinds of torture — were far more brutal and far less effective than the C.I.A. acknowledged to policy makers, Congress and the public.

    • New Zealand spy watchdog probes possible complicity in CIA torture

      As the complicity of US allies in CIA torture comes to light, New Zealand has become the next nation to investigate its own possible ties to the secretive programs and illegal tactics that found favor with Washington in a post-9/11 frenzy.

      New Zealand’s spy watchdog is acting on information disclosed in last year’s controversial US Senate Intelligence Committee Report, which outlined both the torture methods used and the countries that made it all possible; although “the names of those countries have been redacted,” according to Cheryl Gwyn, New Zealand’s Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

    • Spooks, banks and drug money laundering

      On the strength of a claimed turnover of $1 billion, the Australian Financial Review reported in early February 1978: “At this sort of growth rate Nugan Hand will soon be bigger than BHP.”

      But two years later, on January 27, 1980, one of the bank’s two founders, Frank Nugan, was found dead near Lithgow in NSW from a gunshot wound to the head. An inquest found it was suicide. Meanwhile, the other founder of the bank, Michael Hand, was busy shredding documents, including “files identifying clients regarded as sensitive”.

    • Intelligence agency friends hide corruption

      Most of us who recall the extraordinary story of the Nugan Hand Bank never expected to live to hear an explanation for some of its notorious activities, never mind see anyone prosecuted for their conduct.

      But now, thanks to Sydney investigative journalist Peter Butt, one of the bank’s co-founders, Michael Hand, has been found and we might at last get some answers.

      Hand slipped out of Australia in June 1980 following the apparent suicide of his partner, Frank Nugan.

      Butt, researching his book, Merchants of Menace, discovered him living under the name Michael Jon Fuller in the small US town of Idaho Falls where Channel Nine’s Sixty Minutes confronted him

      After the body of Nugan was found in his Mercedes-Benz on a deserted road outside Lithgow on January 27, 1980, the bank collapsed, costing Australian investors millions of dollars.

    • Former CIA Detainees Sue CIA Contractors Under The Alien Tort Statute For Alleged Torture

      Last month, the ACLU filed a civil action in the Eastern District of Washington on behalf of Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud and Gul Rahman. They assert that the CIA secretly detained them in Afghanistan and subjected them to torture. Two of the plaintiffs, Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, survived their time in CIA detention, were eventually released and now reside in Libya and Tanzania. The third plaintiff, Gul Rahman, died in CIA custody in November 2002. The complaint names as defendants James Mitchell and John Jessen, former military psychologists. Plaintiffs claim that while serving as CIA contractors, defendants helped design and implement the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Mitchell and Jessen are both described in the controversial December 2014 report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

    • The DoJ won’t let anyone in the Executive Branch read the CIA Torture Report

      The Senate’s 6,700 page, $40M report on the CIA’s participation in torture has apparently never been read by a single member of the Executive Branch of the US Government, because the Department of Justice has ordered them all to stay away from it.

      Why does the DoJ want to keep the Executive from finding out about the CIA’s use of torture? Because Senate documents are not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests, but Executive documents are, and the DoJ is so pants-wettingly afraid of the public discovering official wrongdoing that they have banned anyone subject to FOIA from touching the document, lest it become subject to transparency rules.

    • Book events include Paula Deen and CIA whistleblower

      CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou and psychologist Bradley Olson will headline two free events Thursday bringing torture into the spotlight.

    • Letter: CIA whistleblower prosecuted for truth

      My drive was worth it. Kiriakou’s revelations in 2007 led to exposure of crimes, lies and cover-up all the way to the top of the Bush White House. It also brought the full weight of the federal government down on Kiriakou. We knew then that torture was illegal (against U.S. and international law), ineffective (yielding no actionable intelligence), and immoral (brutally sadistic). We know now from the Senate Intelligence Committee Summary Report, American Psychological Association’s Hoffman Report, flight logs of extraordinary rendition flights (many from Johnston County airport), and personal testimony that torture was widespread, systematic, orchestrated from the top, falsely justified by White House legal counsel, and counterproductive to fighting terrorism. Yet, no one except the person who spoke truth to power is being prosecuted. Even Bush and Cheney boast in their memoirs that they endorsed torture.

    • The torture report

      Multiple government agencies are doing their best to ignore a 6,900-page elephant in the room: a mammoth report, authored by the Senate Intelligence Committee, detailing the horrors of the CIA’s post-9/11 torture programme.

    • Fox’s Ralph Peters Endorses Closing Borders To Muslim Refugees
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights


Links 15/11/2015: Wine 1.7.55 and KDE Frameworks 5.16 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Swedish gym goers hit with ‘Bieber torture’

    “Every time you don’t clean up after yourselves, we’ll add another Justin Bieber song to the playlist.”

  • Gatwick terminal evacuated as explosive experts inspect item

    Police were called on Saturday morning to reports of “suspicious actions” on the man’s part. They said explosives ordinance disposal specialist officers at the airport but that it was too early to determine what the item was.

  • [False/drama] Breaking news: Gatwick North Terminal evacuated after armed police arrest a man with a ‘gun in his bag’

    Police said they were called at around 9.30am on Saturday morning following ‘suspicious actions by a man who discarded an item at the airport’.

    In a statement they said that the man was arrested and EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) specialists have been called to the airport to investigate the item.

    Eyewitness Tim Unwin tweeted that the terminal is in a ‘shutdown situation’.

  • BREAKING: Gatwick’s North Terminal evacuated

    GATWICK’S North Terminal has been evacuated this morning.

    There are unconfirmed reported of a “suspicious package” at the site.

  • Warren Mitchell obituary: Alf Garnett and much more

    It was a role he relished and he often returned to it over a period of four decades.

    He was a consummate character actor who took on a wide variety of roles on stage, screen and television.

    And despite playing Johnny Speight’s infamous creation for such a long time, he managed to avoid being typecast as Britain’s favourite bigot.

    Warren Mitchell was actually born as Warren Misell on 14 January 1926 in north London.

  • Ten dead as high-speed TGV train crashes near Strasbourg during test run

    There were sixty technicians on board the high speed TGV train on Saturday when it crashed near Eckwersheim, leaving ten people dead. Local authorities said the train appeared to have “derailed because of excessive speed.”

    The train derailed and caught fire at about 6:15p.m. local time (1700 UTC) according to local press reports. The wreckage fell into a canal.

    The crash happened on the second section of the Paris to Strasbourg high-speed TGV line, which is due to open in April 2016.

  • Strasbourg train crash: Carriages derail and plunge into river during France’s highest ever terror alert

    Five people died and at least seven were injured when a high speed train derailed in France during the country’s highest ever terror alert.

    Early reports suggest the TGV 2369 test train caught fire before overturning and smashing onto its side in Eckwersheim, near to Strasbourg this afternoon.

    The train is thought to have been undergoing a trial run when witnesses said it hit a nearby bridge just before setting fire.

    Crash scene investigators are probing whether the derailment was caused by “excessive speed”.

  • Science

    • In Memoriam: Gene Amdahl 1922-2015

      American computer architect and high-tech entrepreneur Gene Myron Amdahl died Tuesday at the age of 92.

      Amdahl’s wife Marian said he had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for about five years, before succumbing to pneumonia. “We are thankful for his kind spirit and brilliant mind. He was a devout Christian and a loving father and husband. I was blessed with having him as my husband and my best friend. I praise God for His faithfulness to us for more than 69 years.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • On Terror, We’re All Right-wingers Now

      Remember the mood in America just after 9/11? The surge of super-patriotism (dare we say jingoism)? The pall of political correctness (you’re fired, Bill Maher). The phrases that so resonated: “Let’s roll.” “You’re either with us or against us.” “Bring ‘em on.” Something like that is taking hold in France right now after Friday night’s horror, one of the worst terrorist attacks on Western soil since that terrible day 14 years ago.

    • Paris turns to #PorteOuverte to seek, offer shelter
    • Dozens Dead, Scores of Hostages Reported, in “Night of Terror” in Paris

      Meanwhile, an explosion also occurred near the Stade de France, where the French national soccer team was playing against Germany. Hollande, who was attending the game, was evacuated according to French television station iTELE. The explosion could be heard clearly during the game, as captured by the live feed of the match.

    • Hellfire missile ‘evaporated’ Jihadi John: Details of ISIS terror nut’s death revealed

      Mohammed Emwazi was blown up as he climbed into a car near a clock tower in Isis’s Syrian stronghold city of Raqqa where its jihadists have staged hundreds of brutal public executions.

      Last night US officials were “99 per cent sure” the 27 year old from London – branded the world’s most wanted man for the videoed beheadings of at least seven prisoners including two Brits – had been killed.

    • Non-French War Deaths Matter

      We are all France. Apparently. Though we are never all Lebanon or Syria or Iraq for some reason. Or a long, long list of additional places.

      We are led to believe that U.S. wars are not tolerated and cheered because of the color or culture of the people being bombed and occupied. But let a relatively tiny number of people be murdered in a white, Christian, Western-European land, with a pro-war government, and suddenly sympathy is the order of the day.

      “This is not just an attack on the French people, it is an attack on human decency and all things that we hold dear,” says U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. I’m not sure I hold ALL the same things dear as the senator, but for the most part I think he’s exactly right and that sympathy damn well ought to be the order of the day following a horrific mass killing in France.

      I just think the same should apply to everywhere else on earth as well. The majority of deaths in all recent wars are civilian. The majority of civilians are not hard to sympathize with once superficial barriers are overcome. Yet, the U.S. media never seems to declare deaths in Yemen or Pakistan or Palestine to be attacks on our common humanity.

    • China’s Xi says willing to join France in combating terrorism

      China is ready to join France and the international community in stepping up security cooperation and combating terrorism, President Xi Jinping told French President Francois Hollande on Saturday, after attacks in Paris that killed about 120 people.

    • Paris and the Lessons of 9/11

      As terrorists murdered scores of people in Paris on Friday, Americans watching in horror from afar immediately began to show solidarity with the French people. Many harkened back to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when Le Monde declared, “Nous sommes tous Américains,” and French President Jacques Chirac issued repeated expressions of his country’s solidarity with the United States.

      “I have no doubt for a single moment that terrorism, which is always fanatical, mindless, and mad, clearly represents the evil in today’s world. And so we must combat it with the greatest energy,” he told CNN in a representative interview. “The Americans are currently making a great effort, a very effective one, it seems to me, with the search for all the clues and then those to blame, so that they can determine who is at the origin of this murderous folly. And when subsequently it comes to punishment for this murderous folly, yes France will be at the United States’ side.”

    • Stop Patronizing Vets and Start Helping Them

      In the annals of shame and hypocrisy, few things match America’s duplicity toward its veterans.

      For their troubles, they earn lip service from politicians, are allowed to board some airplanes first, receive a few bucks off at restaurants and, once a year, get their own holiday on which everybody expresses support for them. They are also honored at sporting events in ceremonies that, despite appearances, are actually paid for with taxpayer dollars.

      But step away from these feel-good exercises, and you get a bucket of cold water in your face. Let’s take a frank look at the serious problems that veterans are facing every day — and what is or isn’t being done about them.

    • S. Korea-US intelligence cooperation: all the hallmarks of unrequited love

      Relationship can be described as a paradox, where cooperation is more about the US’s own interests

      In an interview with German weekly Der Spiegel, Thomas Drake, a former employee for the US’s National Security Agency (NSA), described the NSA’s relationship with Germany by saying, “It’s a sort of paradox in that relationship.”

      Drake was drawing attention to the fact that, while Germany and the NSA are partners, the NSA does not hesitate to spy on Germany when the US’s national interest is on the line.

    • [Interview] Whistleblower Thomas Drake

      When it comes to the whistleblowing on the NSA, Edward Snowden is not the first one. According to NGO ‘GAP(Governmental Accountability Project)’, Thomas Drake has dedicated his life to safeguarding his country. He served in the Air Force specializing in intelligence, and then worked as a CIA analyst and contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA)for 12 years before joining the NSA full time in 2001. Drake worked at the agency as a software contractor until 2008. When he saw abuse in the billions of dollars spent on the allegedly illegal surveillance program, he took his concerns to his superiors at NSA, to Congress and to the Department of Defense Inspectors General, but nothing changed. Finally, Drake made legal disclosures of unclassified information to a Baltimore Sun reporter. He was prosecuted by Department of Justice under the Espionage Act. He faced the possibility of decades in prison. NGOs and media made this issue public. The DOJ finally dropped all of the Espionage Act charges. Drake pled guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to one year of probation and community service, but lost his pension. The Hankyoreh interviewed with Drake on Oct. 12 for one and half hours through video chat. He declined to disclose specific declassified information but provided worthwhile insight.

    • This government’s inexplicable lack of action on illicit surveillance

      South Korea and the South Korean public have been under complete surveillance from every possible direction. The scope of wiretapping around the world revealed by Edward Snowden, former contractor for the US’s National Security Agency (NSA) and the results of the Hankyoreh’s investigative reporting into the documents he leaked bring about that feeling of shock and horror.

      The “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing group that was led by the US and included four other English-speaking countries was able to monitor online information for anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time. South Korea was no exception.

      This snooping took place at any time that these countries deemed it necessary for their national interest, even when there was no legitimate excuse.

    • Snowden leaks: Lack of homegrown equipment leaves S. Korea vulnerable to hacking
    • Xkeyscore – a form of “intelligence imperialism”

      Xkeyscore is a key program used by the US National Security Agency (NSA) to collect, organize, and search data. Internal NSA documents released by the Intercept describe it as a “DNI [digital network intelligence] exploitation/analytic framework.” It can be used by the NSA to search for information through specific email addresses or keywords. A document stating that the candidate names, genders, email addresses, and the term “candidacy” were used as keywords to search for information during the 2013 election for World Trade Organization director-general gives a hint of the program‘s capabilities.

    • S. Korean government stays mum as Foreign Ministry and SNU are hacked
    • Nicolas Maduro to Denounce US Violation of Venezuelan Airspace

      The Venezuelan president will resort to various international organizations to denounce Washington’s recent violation of the country’s territory.

      Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he will denounce Washington’s new threats against the South American country to international organizations after a United States intelligence plane violated the country’s airspace twice on Friday.

    • Russian plane crash: flight recorder captured ‘sound of explosion’

      The sound of an apparent explosion can be heard on the flight recorder of the Russian-operated plane that came down over the Sinai peninsula, killing all 224 people on board, adding to the evidence that a bomb was smuggled aboard, French media sources said on Friday.

      Giving further credence to the idea that the plane crash was a terrorist act rather than because of structural failure, Russia, which for a week has been resistant to speculation about a bomb, suspended flights to all Egyptian airports.

      An Egyptian-led international team of aviation experts, including some from France, successfully recovered the black box, the flight recorder, from the crash site. Several French media outlets, including the television station France 2, reported that the investigators had listened to it and concluded that a bomb had detonated, which would seem to rule out structural failure or pilot error. The pilots can be heard chatting normally, including contact with airport controllers, up until the apparent explosion.

    • Doctors Without Borders Describes ‘Relentless and Brutal’ U.S. Attack in Afghanistan

      “Patients burned in their beds, medical staff were decapitated and lost limbs, and others were shot by the circling AC- 130 gunship while fleeing the burning building. At least 30 MSF staff and patients were killed,” the introduction to the report says. The dead include 10 patients, 13 staff and seven more bodies that were so badly burned they have not yet been identified.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • EFF files brief calling for greater law enforcement transparency

      EFF has long fought for the public’s right to use federal and state public records laws to uncover controversial and illegal law enforcement techniques. That’s why we filed an amicus brief in a federal appellate court case this week asking it to reconsider a decision that makes it much easier for law enforcement agencies such as the FBI to conceal their activities.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Koch Group Dumps Half Million Dollars in Florida Anti-Solar Campaign

      Consumers for Smart Solar, the group promoting an anti-home-solar constitutional amendment in Florida, has collected half a million dollars from the 60 Plus Association, a group that has itself received at least $34 million since 2010 from organizations financially backed by the Koch brothers.

      Unlike most states, Florida does not allow homeowners to enter into contracts for the no-upfront-cost installation of solar on their homes. In other states, this freedom has contributed to the dramatic 80% increase in home solar installations across the US in 2014, and seen large financial investments from corporations like Google.

      Rival constitutional amendments are being proposed for the Florida ballot in 2016.

      One of these would allow homeowners increased rights to install solar energy; that one is backed by consumer and environmental organizations.

    • Network Evening News Programs Yet To Address What Exxon Knew About Climate Change
    • Magnitude-7 earthquake strikes off southwest Japan

      A tsunami advisory was issued for parts of southern Japan on Saturday after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck off the coast of Kyushu.

    • Japan earthquake: Small tsunami triggered

      A magnitude 7.0 earthquake has struck off Japan’s south-western coast, triggering a small tsunami.

      The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said a 30cm (1ft) tsunami was registered on the southern Nakanoshima island, part of Kagoshima prefecture.

      There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

      A tsunami warning issued for Kagoshima and Satsunan islands was later lifted. The quake happened at a depth of about 10km (six miles).

    • The US Still Hands Out $20 Billion a Year to Fossil Fuel Companies

      Over the years, President Obama has repeatedly called on Congress to kill the sizable subsidies the federal government annually grants to oil companies. “It’s outrageous,” he said in a 2012 speech. “It’s inexcusable. I’m asking Congress: Eliminate this oil industry giveaway right away.”

    • Scientists Warn of Health Damage From Indonesia’s Haze Fires

      Toxic fumes from the Indonesian fires that have spread a choking haze across Southeast Asia may be doing more harm to human and plant health than officials have indicated, scientists measuring the pollution say.

      Farmers are expecting a poor harvest because plants have too little sunlight for normal photosynthesis, while government figures of half a million sickened by the smoke are only the “tip of the iceberg”, said Louis Verchot, a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

    • Indonesia says forest fires could be back in weeks

      Indonesia’s forest fires, which this year sent vast plumes of smoke across the region described by climate officials as a “crime against humanity”, could return as early as February, the forestry minister said on Friday, but on not such a large scale.

      Slash-and-burn agriculture, much of it clearing land for palm oil crops, blanketed Singapore, Malaysia and northern Indonesia in a choking “haze” for months, pushing up pollution levels and disrupting flights, as it does every year.

      But this year was unusually severe.

    • Japanese tech used to extinguish Sumatran blazes

      Major Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas Group, in a tie-up with the central government, conducted a forest-fire extinguishing test on Nov. 5 using a product developed by several small Japanese companies. The exercise puts Japan’s technology into practical use as Indonesia struggles to cope with forest fires and the smoke emanating from them, which pose an ever-worsening problem for Indonesia and neighboring countries.

      The test took place on the outskirts of Palembang, a city on Sumatra Island, in a forest plantation owned by Asia Pulp and Paper Group, where a fire had continued to burn. Asia Pulp and Paper is a member of Sinar Mas Group, which is run by ethnic Chinese.

  • Finance

    • Trans-Pacific Partnership Text Released – a Look at What’s Inside

      The New Zealand government released the final text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, the White House followed suit hours later. The massive trade deal, which includes 12 countries and 40% of the world’s economy, has been shrouded in secrecy until now. Parts of the deal have been leaked along the way, but it’s the first time the public has had a chance to read what may become the the most broad reaching trade deal in history if all the interested countries ratify the treaty. The agreement has enormous implications for global labor, food and product safety, access to affordable medications, the environment and much more. For a look at how the TPP agreement would affect the internet and what access to redress would look like under the corporate-driven agreement, FSRN’s Shannon Young spoke with Evan Greer, Campaign Director of Fight for the Future, a group best known for its advocacy of an open and neutral internet.

    • GOP & Dems just puppets of wealthiest US families – Justice party leader

      The US faces lots of issues right now, from being sucked into a war in Syria to stagnating salaries and a shrinking middle class – and ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, people are looking for a candidate who can actually bring change to the way the country’s been going on in domestic and foreign policies. But what games are the candidates playing? Is the choice of candidates wide enough, or too limited? We ask the former mayor of Salt Lake City and founder of the U.S. Justice party.

    • Aide to Sanders Rips CBS On Last Minute Debate Change to National

      Though careful never to mention Clinton by name, Sanders has drawn a series of contrasts with the former secretary of state on issues that include her backing of the war in Iraq, trade and the minimum wage.

    • US State legislators ‘shocked’ by EU trade deal implications

      When State Senator Virginia Lyons thought it would be wise to develop legislation to reduce harmful electronics waste in her state of Vermont, the last complaint she expected to receive was from the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese it seemed, had issue with how new E-Waste reduction measures for Vermont would impact their sales of electronics to the USA.

    • EU Commission TTIP proposal attacked by MEPs and campaigners

      The European Commission has formally presented its proposed reforms on the controversial investment protection and dispute resolution for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

      The ‘more transparent’ investment court system will replace the so-called investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. It aims to safeguard the right to regulate and create a court-like system with an appeal mechanism based on clearly defined rules, with qualified judges and transparent proceedings.

    • Holly Sklar on Minimum Wage Economics, Nicholas Kusnetz on State Government Transparency
    • With ‘Off-Planet’ Mining Bill, US Congress Seeks to Privatize Outer Space

      In a bipartisan bid to encourage commercial exploitation of outer space, the U.S. Senate this week unanimously passed the Space Act of 2015, which grants U.S. citizens or corporations the right to legally claim non-living natural resources—including water and minerals—mined in the final frontier.

      The legislation—described by IGN’s Jenna Pitcher as “a celestial ‘Finders Keepers’ law”—could be a direct affront to an international treaty that bars nations from owning property in space. The bill will now be sent back to the House of Representatives, which is expected to approve the changes, and then on to President Barack Obama for his anticipated signature.

    • H-1B visa reform bill introduced in US Senate to check ‘abuse of the system’

      The bill would prohibit companies from hiring H-1B employees if they employ more than 50 people and more than 50 per cent of their employees are H-1B and L-1 visa holders.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Five things to watch in tonight’s Democratic debate

      There’s a reason Sanders’ online fundraising operation has caught the eye of Democratic Party leaders nationwide: He raised $3.2 million in just the two days after the last debate — roughly as much as O’Malley raised over June, July, August, and September combined.

    • Prominent Gun Advocate John Lott Was Twice Interviewed By Anti-Semitic Newspaper

      Lott is a well-known pro-gun advocate and frequent source of conservative misinformation about gun violence. He rose to prominence during the 1990s with the publication of his book, More Guns, Less Crime, although his conclusion that permissive gun laws reduce crime rates was later debunked by academics who found serious flaws in his research. (Reputable research indicates that permissive concealed carry laws do not reduce crime and may actually increase the occurrence of aggravated assault.)

    • Media Turn Civilian ISIS Victims in Beirut Into Hezbollah Human Shields

      When civilians are killed, media reaction is often contingent upon who did the killing and why. Instead of blanketly condemning such attacks, the bombing of civilians can be implicitly justified if those civilians were in the wrong place at the wrong time—say, in a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan, or, more recently, in a neighborhood in Lebanon.

      Two ISIS suicide bombers killed at least 43 people and wounded more than 230 in attacks on a heavily Shia Muslim community in Beirut on November 12. This was the worst attack on the city in years.

    • Right-Wing Media Immediately Criticize Obama After He Condemned Paris Attacks

      After President Obama condemned the attacks in Paris, France, calling the attacks “terror” and an “attack on all humanity,” right-wing media personalities immediately attacked Obama, in particular for not criticizing Islam.

    • Ben Carson: Please Believe Me When I Tell You I’m Psycho

      Probably because he’s ahead in the polls, attention is currently focused on Ben Carson’s distant relationship with the truth, most interestingly his story of getting offered a scholarship to West Point. It’s a ridiculous tale given the fact that many young Americans try to get into the military academies (I applied to Annapolis), so a lot of people know the real deal. If you gain acceptance after a grueling application process — I remember a battery of physicals that took all day and having to obtain a sponsorship from a member of Congress — tuition, room and board is free. But you’re committed to serving as a junior officer for six years after graduation.

    • Ben Carson’s New Book Contains Some Surprisingly Progressive Ideas
  • Censorship

    • Quebec Bets on Internet Blocking: New Bill Mandates ISP Blocking of Gambling Websites

      The Government of Quebec has introduced new legislation that requires Internet service providers to block access to unlicensed online gambling sites. The provisions are contained in an omnibus bill implementing elements of the government’s spring budget, which included a promise to establish website blocking requirements. The bill provides that “an Internet service provider may not give access to an online gambling site whose operation is not authorized under Québec law.” The government’s lottery commission will establish the list of banned websites:

    • Post arguing for separation of church and state gets pulled by Facebook

      Earlier this week, an administrator for a private Facebook group called “Winchester, MA Residents” received a notification from Facebook that a comment made on the group’s site had been removed.

      The comment was made beneath a controversial post about a local high school not using the pledge of allegiance, but what was unusual was that the comment in question neither incited violence nor was it harassing—in fact it seemed quite measured in its tone.

      ”Yeah that’s an unfortunate conflation of government and religion,” the commenter wrote. “I’m in favor of removing all references to god from all governmental documents and instruments, including our legal tender.”

      In the notification to the group administrator, Facebook said only that the post had been removed because it didn’t “follow the Facebook Community Standards.”

    • Pirate Bay Censorship Marks the End of Open Internet, ISP Warns

      The ISP under legal pressure to block The Pirate Bay in Sweden has criticized efforts to make the provider an accomplice in other people’s crimes. In a joint statement two key executives of Telenor / Bredbandsbolaget warn that folding to the wishes of private copyright holder interests could mark the beginning of the end for the open Internet.

    • Blocking The Pirate Bay (TPB), Similar Torrent Sites Is Severe Censorship & Will Lead To Demise of Open Internet

      Blocking The Pirate Bay and other file-sharing or torrent sites is glaring example of severe censorship that a Swedish internet service provider or ISP said will eventually curtail the free flow of information that users enjoy. Sweden denying access to TPB will doom the Open Internet concept, a new report said.

    • Can ISPs be asked to block access to The Pirate Bay?

      Can an internet service provider (ISP) be requested to block access to a torrent site like The Pirate bay?

    • Killing of journalists as the cheapest form of censorship

      When we look at the number of resolved crimes against journalists, it turns out that in more than 90 percent of murder cases, those killings are left unresolved, which keeps the executioners safe while the killing of journalist becomes one of the cheapest form of establishing censorship, along with blocking investigative journalism, preventing distribution of progressive ideas and opening the space for debate, etc.

    • When the campus PC police are conservative: why media ignored the free speech meltdown at William & Mary

      Conservative alumni, already suspicion of Nichol, saw this as the long-feared first strike against their heritage and the school’s rightfully Christian identity. They launched a grassroots campaign to pressure the college to reinstate the cross and, if necessary, fire Nichol.

      One of the organizers of this campaign was a former college board member. While writing for the student paper, I once found that she had been ghostwriting student op-eds criticizing Nichol, passing them off to conservative students and encouraging them to publish them in the school paper under their own names. When I asked her about it, she told me that if I reported what she’d done she would use her “connections” in Washington media to make sure I was “toxic” and thus would never find work as a journalist. I mention this not to insert myself into the story, but rather to illustrate that this larger campaign was not some high-minded intellectual debate but rather was experienced on campus as a bitter fight in which activist alumni were not above threatening students.

    • Students Fight Against Censorship in Indiana

      Members of the Portage High School Thespians had been rehearsing Bad Seed for two weeks when they received word from administrators that the play would have to be rewritten to expurgate references to drugs, alcohol, and sex. The students would have none of that.

    • How to deal with censorship? ‘Resist it’

      The best way to address censorship is to resist it, veteran Indonesian writer Goenawan Mohamad said.

    • Salman Khan on ‘religious intolerance’ and PRDP censorship
    • Shocking: Indian Television Censorship Rules That Won’t Let You Say ‘Sex’ And ‘Jesus’

      It was just another lazy afternoon when I was watching a rerun of one of the episodes of my favourite sitcom, Friends, when I heard the beeping of the word ‘boobies’ throughout the entire episode. In the 21st century, it is hard to believe that the ‘watchdogs’ of our Indian society would believe the audience to be this easily excitable when exposed to this word. Not only is it inconvenient for the viewers to watch the same, but it also downrightly rejects their level of intelligence.

    • Boycotting Sam Harris’s ads: Atheist freedom of speech vs. religious censorship

      The truth is, religious groups are granted a unique concession when it comes to the right to be offended. This is not so much about the battle between believers and non-believers, this is a battle between censorship and freedom of speech.

    • The censors must not win: Campus thought police have run amok — but all is not lost

      Yale and the University of Missouri both made headlines last week after students who started out passionately protesting allegations of racism and cultural insensitivity wound up attacking professors’ speech rights and freedom of the press.

    • Trigger or treat: Campus censorship

      The recent debates over free speech and “safe spaces” in the academy may have reached a watershed with last week’s debacle at Yale University, where a group of students had a meltdown over an email defending culturally “insensitive” Halloween costumes. Several video clips of a confrontation in which protesters mobbed a beleaguered administrator went viral on the Internet — serving, one hopes, as a wake-up call for the nation.

    • Protesting Censorship at MACBA, Trio Quits International Museum Committee’s Board
    • How free is the media in Turkey?

      The pre- and post-election period in Turkey has seen a mass of violations meted out against media workers. Here are just five examples of how press freedom is on the wane in Turkey

    • Iran’s Revolutionary Guards target popular messaging app in widening crackdown

      In recent weeks, Iran’s powerful hardline Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has rounded up a number of artists, journalists and U.S. citizens, citing fears of Western “infiltration”.

    • Can Bitcoin Be Censorship-resistant and Regulatory-compliant At The Same Time?

      Over the past few years, there has been an interesting debate going on regarding how Bitcoin should position itself in the regulatory landscape. While the opinions are divided as to how the solution should look like, there may be a third solution hardly anyone has ever thought of. Sometimes it’s not about picking sides, but trying to collaborate with every party involved.

    • Why does Facebook keep censoring atheists in India?

      Three days ago a petition popped up on the website Change.org urging Mark Zuckerberg to “support freedom of expression in India” by unblocking an atheist Facebook group there with over 13,000 members.

      Facebook, the petition said, had not given any reason for the blockade. One day users in India who tried to visit the site were simply hit with a message that the content was “unavailable.” This was not the first time a Facebook page for atheists had been censored in the secular state. In June, another atheist Facebook group was reportedly labeled “unsafe” and its members were unable to share its content.

    • Spotify’s Political Censorship Should Worry Us All
    • Reddit Moderators Censor, Then Un-Censor Video on Campus Censorship

      A video from The Rubin Report discussing the growing culture of censorship on U.S. campuses was recently censored by a moderator on Reddit, despite its popularity among users.

    • A penis and ‘Hootie and the Blowfish’: Colbert’s art censorship bit was a classic

      Last night Stephen Colbert showed a penis on CBS’s The Late Show. Don’t worry, he showed it for only two seconds, the maximum length of time that the network’s censors would allow. He also attempted to show numerous sets of female primary and secondary sex organs, but they were blurred out. For those getting their knickers in a twist and preparing to complain to the FCC about how Colbert is corrupting your children (but, seriously, what were your kids doing up at 11.30pm on a school night?) all of these organs were on works of art. Yes, Colbert can show the statue of David, but only at far remove and only for two whole seconds because that is the country we Americans live in.

    • Watch Stephen Colbert Troll the Censors by Demonstrating What You Can and Can’t Show on CBS

      It’s no secret that TV censors can be arbitrary, bewildering, and sometimes downright goofy. But on Thursday’s Late Show, Stephen Colbert demonstrated just how bizarre—and specific—some of these policies can be. As he discussed the recent sale of Modigliani’s “Nu Couché” (“Reclining Nude”), Colbert noted that several networks, CBS included, won’t display the painting without blurring out, as Colbert put it, “both Hootie and the Blowfish.”

    • Stephen Colbert Answers the Age-Old Question: What Is Porn?
    • Stephen Colbert mocks CBS censorship on ‘The Late Show’ (Video)
    • Yes, The Censorship Of Nude Art Today Is Completely Arbitrary
    • Watch Stephen Colbert Explain CBS’ Odd Censorship Policy
    • Stephen Colbert dares to test the limits of TV censorship on the ‘Late Show’
    • Russia: Blasphemy law has aided the growth of religious censorship
    • Turkish government blocks Reddit
    • Turkey bans Reddit under Internet censorship law
    • Turkey bans access to Reddit under Internet censorship law
    • Turkey blocks Reddit through its internet censorship law
    • Reddit blocked in Turkey under Internet Censorship law
    • Turkey blocks Reddit under its Internet censorship law

      Turkey’s government has blocked Reddit under its Internet censorship law 5651. Under this law, the country’s officials are allowed to ban sites that contain content that is pirated, is pornographic in nature or contains criticism of the current President Mustafa Ataturk.

    • Turkey blocks access to Reddit under controversial censorship law
    • Publishers under pressure as China’s censors reach for red pen

      It was the scrawl of red ink snaking around paragraphs that told novelist Sheng Keyi how much things had changed. Just over a decade ago, Sheng’s best-selling breakthrough novel, Northern Girls, was published uncensored in mainland China to critical acclaim.

      But last month, as editors prepared to launch a third edition of the book, the author was informed that parts of her text were no longer publishable.

      “It is ridiculous,” Sheng complained, pointing to an editors’ manuscript on which a red ballpoint pen had been used to highlight sections that now needed excising. “It doesn’t feel like something that could happen in real life and it makes me quite angry.”

    • Censorship and Criticism

      Don’t get me wrong, my favorite comedian is Louis CK, probably one of the most offensive, least politically correct comedians ever. I personally love his jokes, but maybe others don’t, and guess what? That’s okay. I will not attempt to convince people otherwise. Not everyone likes what everyone else has to say, but labeling criticism of speech as an attack on freedom of speech is a bit overzealous. You can’t tell people what they can and cannot say, but you also can’t mandate how they should respond. We all come from differing backgrounds, which means some buttons are a bit easier to push than others. You might think a rape joke is “funny,” but a sexual assault survivor will not. (I would sincerely hope anyone reading thing does not find rape jokes funny, but, I don’t know, different strokes).

    • TPP trade pact spreads SOPA-like censorship worldwide

      Details of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement were finally released late last week following a secretive, seven-year negotiating process. The purported trade deal’s 6,194 pages of mind-numbing legalese actually cover a wide range of policy questions that have little to do with tariffs, imports, or exports — including a chapter on intellectual property that will likely dismay supporters of an open Internet.

      President Obama may boast that the trade bill eliminates more than 18,000 taxes that countries impose on U.S. exports, but TPP also enshrines the very measures sought by SOPA, a controversial copyright infringement bill that failed in Congress three years ago.

    • Quebec Moves Closer to Censoring Online Gambling
    • Quebec plan to block gambling sites draws cries of censorship

      Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao tabled legislation on Thursday to implement the provincial budget that was announced in March, including amendments to the province’s Consumer Protection Act that direct Internet service providers (ISPs) to “block access” to a list of “unauthorized gambling sites” to be drawn up by Loto-Québec. Failure to comply could lead to a fine of up to $100,000 and twice that for subsequent offences.

    • Making Movies for Democracy in Myanmar

      Myanmar’s government has been notorious for its censorship.

    • As Myanmar counts votes, a Yangon musician pushes political music past censors

      American musicians have it tough, but try making it work in Myanmar. To be an artist in the isolated Southeast Asian country is to face nearly impossible barriers. The Internet is spotty, the music scene virtually nonexistent and every original song must still be approved for release by a government-affiliated censorship board.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • “Heads up, Quentin Tarantino”: Fox News’ Bolling ominously warns “everyone thinks they don’t need a cop until they do”

      Days after the head of the largest police union in the country issued a threat to filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, warning that “something is in the works” after the director dared to speak out against police brutality, Fox News Eric Bolling followed suit, reminding Tarantino that “everyone thinks they don’t need a cop until they do.”

      Bolling, co-host of “The Five,” has repeatedly railed against Tarantino for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Tarantino has recently come under conservative fire after speaking at an anti-police brutality protest last month.

      “Remember the two guys who were executed over here in Brooklyn? In days after that, that protest. People, as Dana [Perino] points out, people look up to Quentin Tarantino,” Bolling asked during a recent show. “They look up to Hollywood actors and directors, and it feeds into that narrative. Cop violence is going up.”

    • Why Hackers Must Eject the SJWs

      The hacker culture, and STEM in general, are under ideological attack. Recently I blogged a safety warning that according to a source I consider reliable, a “women in tech” pressure group has made multiple efforts to set Linus Torvalds up for a sexual assault accusation. I interpreted this as an attempt to beat the hacker culture into political pliability, and advised anyone in a leadership position to beware of similar attempts.

    • Leak Hypocrisy: CIA Employee, Contractor Who Committed Security Breaches Weren’t Prosecuted

      The CIA was relentless in their pursuit of CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who confirmed the name of an undercover operative to a reporter and was successfully prosecuted and jailed by the Justice Department. However, at least one CIA employee and one CIA contractor committed similar breaches of classified information and were not put on trial by the United States government.

      VICE News journalist Jason Leopold obtained documents from the Office of the Inspector General at the CIA, which show the OIG completed 111 investigations of alleged crimes between January 2013 and 2014.

      The Justice Department, according to Leopold, “declined to prosecute a case in lieu of CIA administrative action involving a CIA Special Activities Staff employee who ‘misused government systems by conducting unauthorized, non-official searches on sensitive Agency databases.’ The employee was warned “on more than one occasion to cease [the] behavior but [the employee] continued to conduct unauthorized searches.’”

    • In terrorism war, as in domestic crime fight, lawful policing matters [Ed: Pro-NSA, pro-surveillance]
    • Elite fed interrogation unit training local police, other agencies

      The U.S. government’s elite interrogation unit, formed in the aftermath of the al-Qaeda suspect torture scandal, has been providing extensive training to local police, other federal agencies and friendly foreign governments.

      Since its creation in 2009, the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, overseen by the FBI with members drawn from the bureau, Defense Department and CIA, has sponsored instruction and research for at least 40 agencies, including the Los Angeles and Philadelphia police departments.

      While members of the so-called HIG have been involved in controversial encounters with terror suspects, including interrogations aboard U.S. war ships, HIG Director Frazier Thompson asserted that the group’s techniques bear no resemblance to the abusive treatment exposed following the capture of al-Qaeda suspects wanted for their alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks and during the Iraq War.

    • A Plan to Close Guantánamo Is Coming, Just Not This Week

      Another week has gone by, and the White House still has not rolled out its long-awaited plan to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

      Chatter that the release was imminent picked up over the past week after defense and White House officials said they expected the Obama administration to deliver the document to Congress soon, likely by Friday. But several defense officials confirmed to Foreign Policy on Friday that the plan will not come this week, and they are unsure when President Barack Obama will sign off on it.

    • Police Body Camera Issues and Concerns

      According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, while the federal government is pushing local and state law enforcement agencies to use body cameras for their law enforcement officers, federal law enforcement officers are not using such cameras when performing their own LE duties. According to the article, this is because the federal government hasn’t adapted policies for the use of body cams and the storage of the video.

    • Lee Robert Moore, Secret Service member, arrested on child-sex charges

      A Secret Service officer attached to the White House has been arrested on suspicion of soliciting a child for sex, CNN reported Thursday afternoon.

      Lee Robert Moore turned himself in to federal authorities in Maryland on Monday and has admitted his guilt.

      According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware, Mr. Moore, 37, sent nude pictures of himself and lewd messages to a “14-year-old girl” who was actually an undercover cop. He also asked to meet the “girl” in person for sex.

    • Obama’s Double-Standard on Leaks

      Though President Obama touts America as a nation of laws and evenhanded justice, there is a blatant double-standard regarding how people are punished for national security breaches – whistleblowers are harshly punished but the well-connected get a pass, writes John Hanrahan.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • T-Mobile is writing the manual on how to fuck up the internet

      T-Mobile has just announced “Binge On,” a deal that gives customers unlimited access to Netflix, HBO Go, ESPN, Showtime, and video from most other huge media brands (but not YouTube!). It’s just like T-Mobile’s “Music Freedom” promotion, which gives customers unlimited high-speed data, as long as they’re listening to music from Spotify, Google Play Music, or one of T-Mobile’s other partners. It sounds like a sweet deal, and many customers will benefit! But it’s dangerous for the internet. When John Herrman writes that the next internet is TV — and you should believe him — this is part of how we get there. You know that viral picture that shows ISP internet bundles being sold as cable packages? That’s basically what’s happening here, except it’s more difficult to stop because, as the FCC might say, there’s “no obvious consumer harm” in giving people free stuff.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • U.S. and MPAA Protest Return of Megaupload’s Servers

        A possible release of Megaupload’s servers, containing millions of files of former users as well as critical evidence for Kim Dotcom’s defense, is still far away. Responding to questions from the federal court, the MPAA says that it’s gravely concerned about the copyrighted works stored on there. The U.S. Government, meanwhile, doesn’t want Megaupload to use ‘illicit’ money to retrieve any data.

      • The Reprobel decision: fair compensation justified by actual harm (so is it OK to have a levy-free private copying exception?)

        This reference originated in the context of litigation between Hewlett-Packard (HP) and collective management rights organisation Reprobel.

        In 2004 the latter informed HP that the sale of multifunction devices entailed payment of a levy of EUR 49.20 per printer, and – from what this Kat understands – this should apply retrospectively.

        In 2010 HP summoned Reprobel before the Court of First Instance of Brussels, seeking a declaration that no remuneration was owed for the printers which it had offered for sale, or, in the alternative, that the remuneration which it had paid corresponded to the fair compensation owed pursuant to the Belgian legislation, interpreted in the light of the InfoSoc Directive.


Links 13/11/2015: GNOME 3.18.2, New Kubuntu Release Managers

Posted in News Roundup at 8:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Science

    • Computer pioneer Gene Amdahl dies, aged 92

      Computer pioneer and entrepreneur Gene Amdahl has died, aged 92. Amdahl joined IBM in 1952 after graduating with a clutch of degrees from South Dakota State University and the University of Wisconsin.

      As chief architect of the IBM 704 scientific mainframe computer, his engineering decisions helped IBM to sell many more of the machines than IBM had expected.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • EU whitewash on cancer risk from world’s most used weedkiller

      A report released today by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) could pave the way for EU re-approval of the world’s most used weedkiller – glyphosate – which has been linked to cancer by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The report heavily relies on unpublished studies commissioned by glyphosate producers and dismisses published peer-reviewed evidence that glyphosate causes cancer, said Greenpeace.

  • Security

    • The Lingering Mess from Default Insecurity

      These vulnerable devices tend to coalesce in distinct geographical pools with deeper pools in countries with more ISPs that shipped them direct to customers without modification. SEC Consult said it found heavy concentrations of the exposed Ubiquiti devices in Brazil (480,000), Thailand (170,000) and the United States (77,000).

      SEC Consult cautions that the actual number of vulnerable Ubiquiti systems may be closer to 1.1 million. Turns out, the devices ship with a cryptographic certificate embedded in the router’s built-in software (or “firmware”) that further weakens security on the devices and makes them trivial to discover on the open Internet. Indeed, the Censys Project, a scan-driven Internet search engine that allows anyone to quickly find hosts that use that certificate, shows exactly where each exposed router resides online.

    • Public Beta: December 3, 2015

      Let’s Encrypt will enter Public Beta on December 3, 2015. Once we’ve entered Public Beta our systems will be open to anyone who would like to request a certificate. There will no longer be a requirement to sign up and wait for an invitation.

      Our Limited Beta started on September 12, 2015. We’ve issued over 11,000 certificates since then, and this operational experience has given us confidence that our systems are ready for an open Public Beta.

    • ​Linux ransomware rising? Linux.Encoder.1 now infects thousands of websites [Ed: Tung hypes up already-patched Magento bug]

      The security firm said the ransomware was infecting Linux web servers by exploiting unpatched instances of the widely-used Magento CMS.

    • Is Linux Free From Viruses And Malware?

      Linux is very secure in its architecture that you even won’t need to go behind any kind of firewalls until you’re on a Network. The access control Security Policy in Linux which is called SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux) is a set of user-space tools and Kernel modification that implement the security policies in Linux operating system. Even this Security-Enhanced Linux isn’t must for normal users, however, it’s very important for users who are on Network and/or Administrators.

    • Thursday’s security advisories
    • Let’s Encrypt wants to use open source to simplify the security certificate process

      Infrequent web server administrators may find requesting and installing security certificates cumbersome and expensive. Open Source project Let’s Encrypt claims to simplify the process.

    • Let’s Encrypt And WoSign – How To Get A Valid SSL Certificate Absolutely Free

      Today the SSL certificate costs ~$50-100 – big money for non-commercial websites and bloggers. But some peoples can change it just now. In this article I try to describe a practical guide for getting a free as a beer certificate for your blog, website or e-mail. There are two ways:

    • Kaspersky says that Linux-Based DDoS Attacks are Increasing

      Out of all the DDoS attacks, 45.6% of attacks are from Linux-based botnets, as per the Intelligence Report of Kaspersky for the period Q3 2015. Security researchers of Akamai Technologies discovered that XOR DDoS botnet is the prominent most group, which was used to launch 150+ gigabit-per-second (Gbps) DDoS attacks.

    • Twistlock Aims to Shore Up Container Security With New Offering

      There are multiple security controls and best practices for Docker container security, many of which are inherited from the Linux operating system on which Docker is deployed, including cgroups and namespaces, which provide isolation and control.

    • How extorted e-mail provider got back online after crippling DDoS attack

      ProtonMail, the encrypted e-mail provider that buckled under crippling denial-of-service attacks even after it paid a $6,000 ransom, said it has finally recovered from the massive assaults seven days after they began.

    • NSA-Proof ProtonMail Service DDoSed, Forced to Pay $6000 as Ransom

      The BBC reveals that the attack appears to have been carried out by Armada Collective, a Swiss group responsible for numerous other online attacks. It seems that ProtonMail now regrets its decisions to pay the ransom. The company says it would advise anyone else against doing so. It is now trying to raise money to pay more than $100,000 for DDoS protection from a commercial security firm.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • West Papuans’ survival in the balance

      It’s believed that West Papuans are now a minority in their homeland, and many feel shut out of the economic expansion and democratic reforms Indonesia has experienced in the past decade.

      They see Jakarta’s rule as a threat to the survival of their people and culture.

      A separatist conflict has been simmering for decades, and the death toll is put in the hundreds of thousands by some estimates. Speaking out remains a dangerous activity in a place tightly-guarded by Indonesian military and police.

      But the new Indonesian government says it’s making real efforts to help Papuans improve their lives, and has begun allowing foreign journalists to visit and see for themselves.

    • Russia says convicts former Moscow policeman of spying for CIA

      A former Moscow policeman was convicted of spying for the CIA and of passing state secrets to a foreign intelligence agency on Thursday and sentenced to 13 years in prison, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement.

    • Russian former policeman Yevgeny Chistov ‘spied for CIA’

      Russia has convicted a former policeman on high treason charges, accusing him of spying for the CIA, according to security services.

    • Russian ex-cop sentenced to prison for ‘spying for CIA’

      Russia has sentenced a former policeman to 13 years in prison on high treason charges, accusing him of spying for the CIA, the security service said today.

      The Moscow District Court today convicted a former employee of the interior ministry’s Moscow region branch, Yevgeny Chistov, of high treason and sentenced him to 13 years in a high-security prison, the FSB security service said in a statement.

    • Russian ex-policeman sentenced to 13 years in jail for passing classified data to CIA

      A Moscow region court has sentenced former police officer Yevgeny Chistov to 13 years in prison for passing classified information to the CIA, the public relations center of the Federal Security Service (FSB, former KGB) told TASS.

    • Death Threats, Child Porn, and War Crimes: Inside CIA Investigations of Its Own Employees

      Between January 2013 and May 2014, the OIG completed 111 investigations of alleged crimes, such as the killing of an animal on federal property, possession of child pornography, fraud, embezzlement, and domestic violence. The CIA is still processing VICE News’s FOIA request for a list of investigations the OIG completed between May 2014 and the present.

    • US Won’t Recognize Israel’s Annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights

      Reacting to Monday’s comments by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House ruled out calls to formally recognize the Israeli occupation and subsequent annexation of the Golan Heights away from Syria, saying they weren’t sure if Netanyahu was even serious but that the US had no intention of changing its position on the occupation.

    • Seventy-five percent of U.S. foreign military financing goes to two countries

      American taxpayers doled out $5.9 billion in foreign military financing in 2014, according to the government’s Foreign Assistance report — that’s roughly the GDP of Somalia. But where did the money go?

      To the usual suspects, mostly — Israel ($3.1B) and Egypt ($1.3B) received roughly 75% of all foreign military aid money handed out by the U.S. last year.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Climate Hustle: Marc Morano’s Latest Climate Change Denial Stunt

      Climate change denier Marc Morano of the fossil-fuel funded Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) will feature a new “documentary film” called “Climate Hustle” in his latest attempt to promote his destructive climate change denial agenda. The film is due to be shown to a public audience for the first time on December 7 at the Cinéma du Panthéon in Paris at the same time as the upcoming United Nations climate talks.

    • Toxic smoke from palm oil fires is creating a new class of climate refugees in Southeast Asia

      Ria Heilena Pratiwi has had enough of the toxic smoke that plagues her hometown of Pekanbaru.

      The thick haze is caused by fires set to clear land for palm oil plantations and other uses. The city of around 900,000 is the capital of Riau province, on Sumatra island in Indonesia. A single mother between jobs, Pratiwi lives in Jakarta but had until recently been contemplating a move back home, so that her mother could help out with the childrearing. But now she’s decided to stay in Jakarta, and bring her mother there, away from the smoke.

      “From a long time ago, every year the haze comes again,” she tells Quartz. “So we decided to not live there anymore.”

  • Finance

    • The fix is in: Proof that H-1B visa abuse is rampant

      Major outsourcers, largely based in India, are obtaining the lion’s share of the 85,000 H-1B visas issued each year and are paying salaries far below the prevailing wages for American IT workers — a violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the H-1B rules. New information from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that oversees the H-1B program, finally proves what critics have long suspected: H-1B abuse is real and rampant.

      The H-1B program is designed to let U.S. companies hire foreigners at prevailing wages when they can’t find qualified Americans. And U.S. companies, especially those in Silicon Valley, have been clamoring for years to raise the cap of 85,000 so that they can hire more foreign workers. They’ve long denied the charges that they’ve exaggerated the employee shortage, so they can instead reduce wages by importing workers.

    • When Thomas Friedman Ridicules Campaign Economics, the Joke’s on Him

      The irony of Friedman’s comment is that Trump’s claim is not far from being true, if the United States were to adopt a more efficient healthcare system. The United States pays more than twice as much per person for its healthcare as other wealthy countries, with little obvious benefit in terms of outcomes.

      The World Bank put US annual per person spending at $9,150 in the years 2006-10. By comparison, Canada spends $5,700, Germany spends $5,000 and the United Kingdom spends $3,600. This enormous gap suggests that the United States could cover the uninsured and pay for it by eliminating the waste in its system.

    • Trump Was Right About TPP Benefiting China

      Donald Trump lambasted the Trans-Pacific Partnership at Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate, contending that China would use it to “take advantage of everyone” — generating snickers from journalists and a withering refutation from Rand Paul, who said “we might want to point out that China is not part of this deal.”

      But Trump never suggested that China was part of the TPP, only that the country would “come in, as they always do, through the back door” of the agreement. And he was right.

    • The First Bank in USA to Pay $15 Minimum Wage for All Employees Sees Immediate Benefits
    • Bank Raises Its Minimum Wage To $15, Sees Immediate Benefits

      In August, New York-based Amalgamated Bank announced it would immediately raise its minimum pay to at least $15 an hour.

      At the time, the bank noted that it was the first to make such an announcement. But it’s also committed to making sure more follow its lead.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Charles Krauthammer Calls Out Donald Trump’s Lies About His Earlier Positions On Immigration
    • O’Reilly And Donald Trump Repeatedly Use”Anchor Baby” Slur To Discuss Immigration

      Fox host Bill O’Reilly and GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump repeatedly used the pejorative “anchor baby” when discussing the children of immigrants in the U.S. This term has been described as “racist” and false because parents of children born in U.S. aren’t allowed to apply for citizenship until the child is 21.

    • Reminder: The Right-Wing Media Vetted Obama, And It Was Priceless

      But here’s the thing: conservative commentators, and especially conservative bloggers, are ignoring the fact that Obama was vetted — by them. For more than two presidential election cycles.

      And it was priceless.

      Obama’s a Muslim. Obama was born in Kenya. Obama forged his birth certificate. Obama is the son of Malcolm X. Obama’s hiding his gay past.

      All of those claims, and much more, were forwarded by right-wing media outlets (including Fox News) that have been thrashing around in cesspools over the years, all in the name of vetting the elusive Obama. (The late blogger and satirist Al Weisel, known as Jon Swift, masterfully detailed the attempted vetting.)

    • ’60 Minutes’ Pushes National Security Propaganda To Cast Snowden, Manning As Traitors

      The television program, “60 Minutes,” aired a segment on Sunday in which it assassinated the character of Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, and even went so far as to question their loyalty to America. The two whistleblowers were compared to the Washington Navy Yard shooter, who killed twelve people.

      It was part of an examination of what U.S. government officials perceive to be serious flaws in the process by which the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) reviews security clearances granted to government employees, but the framing made it seem like architects of “insider threat” programs from U.S. security agencies and politicians, who support total surveillance of government employees in the workplace and while they’re at home, had produced the segment.

      Using language that would scare everyone’s grandparents, the CBS show used “fugitive” to describe Snowden, “convicted spy” to describe Manning (even though she is not), and “mass murderer” to describe the Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis. Anchor Scott Pelley amplified the terror by adding they all had “one thing in common: U.S. government security clearances which they turned into weapons.”

    • Christians Are Leaving Homophobia Behind – Will Journalists Keep Up?

      But according to recent poling data, 54 percent of all Christians now say that “homosexuality should be accepted by society.” The data come from Pew’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study, which surveyed more than 35,000 U.S. adults as a follow up to Pew’s 2007 study. Now, the majority of major Christian groups, including Catholics, mainline Protestants, Orthodox Christians, and historically black Protestants, believe homosexuality should be accepted by society…

    • Watch A Black Community Activist Correct Bill O’Reilly On What African-Americans Need In Their Community
    • Rush Limbaugh Says Students Protesting Racial Issues “Are Self-Identifying … As Racists”
    • Fox News: Where Protests Against Racial Discrimination Are Anarchy But Armed Protests Against Federal Law Are “Patriotic”

      Fox News supports the right to protest, unless, it seems, the protesters are students of color shining a spotlight on incidents of racial injustice.

      Protests against racial discrimination on college campuses across the country are garnering national media attention with students criticizing administration responses to incidents at University of Missouri, Yale, U.C.L.A, University of Oklahoma and other institutions.

  • Censorship

    • Corporations and Governments Are Still the Real Threats to Free Speech–Not Campus Activists

      Anyone who can write a sentence like this simply doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Which is fine, but not fine when the person is the head of an organization dedicated to freedom of expression.

      By “our citizenry,” Nossel is referring to the recent round of free speech wars on college campuses. Now, when these issues of free speech arise on campus, you usually see an explosion of conversation about it: on the campus itself, and in the media. Far from dampening down discussion, the controversy over free speech on campus actually ignites discussion. Everyone has an opinion, everyone voices it.

    • Julian Assange addresses Freedom of Speech at the Union

      Mr Assange began his talk by making clear that he is “not on a TV” and that he was actively present, stating that engagement in debate and questions would make his presence more immediate. Hence, Assange opted to talk for twenty minutes and take questions from the floor. Assange discussed the fact that he had been present at the Union in 2011, and skirted around the topic of the referendum that the Union held on his address to begin with, stating “There is also an interesting contextual situation surrounding this talk itself” .

    • Shadow Bans Not Banny Enough For Reddit

      In a move that isn’t particularly surprising given their lack of support for intellectual diversity to date, Reddit has introduced outright bans to replace its shadow banning policy.

    • Center for American Progress Hosts Netanyahu as Leaked Emails Show Group Censored Staff on Israel

      The Center for American Progress, a leading progressive group with close ties to both President Obama and Hillary Clinton, held an event this week hosting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington. That decision reportedly prompted a revolt from some staffers angered that a liberal group would give Netanyahu a platform. In his opening remarks at the event, Netanyahu told attendees he wanted to speak to “a progressive audience.” Netanyahu’s appearance came just days after a new controversy over the group’s alleged censoring of writers critical of Israel. Newly leaked emails from 2011 and 2012 published by The Intercept show CAP made key editorial decisions—including editing articles, silencing writers and backing off criticism—at the behest of influential groups who backed Israeli government policies. We speak to Ali Gharib, a contributor to The Nation magazine and a former staffer at the Center for American Progress. Gharib says one of his articles for the Center was censored.

    • Google, Facebook on Chinese Charm Offensive

      Google terminated most of its operations in mainland China in 2010 after controversy over the country’s online controls and an attack on users of its Gmail service.

      But Eric Schmidt, its former CEO and now president of its new parent company Alphabet, was in Beijing last week declaring: “We never left China.”

    • India Tops Facebook’s List Of Content Restriction Request By Government
    • Facebook Inc Faces 18% Rise In Government Requests For Customer Data
    • Facebook says governments demanding more and more user data
    • These Are the Governments That Request (and Block) the Most Facebook Content
    • Facebook sees global surge in law enforcement requests, censorship

      Facebook said on Wednesday that requests for user data from government agencies and law enforcement groups surged in the first half of 2015, with the social network site reporting an increase in demands by 18 percent worldwide.

    • US, India governments top globally in sending censorship requests to Facebook

      Facebook has experienced a significant increase of information-seeking and censorship requests from national governments around the world, according to a new self-published report, with India ranking high on the list of nations making the most inquiries.

      Per the social media giant’s Government Requests Report, international queries for account data has ramped up in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period last year, from 34,946 requests to 41,214.

    • Portage students complain about ‘censorship’ of play

      Members of the PHS Thespian Club told the Portage Township School Board that high school administrators ordered the Broadway play rewritten to remove references to drugs, cigarettes and sexual innuendo.

    • Censorship and ethics in the Discourse section

      I spent a semester studying abroad in Beijing, China, where censorship by the government is rampant and dominates all form of media. There, armed with my Western ideas of how media should be, it was easy for me to criticize the government and its apparent inability to provide accurate news and information to its people. I thought I understood the premise behind the Chinese government’s heavy hand on free speech: obviously, the people in higher positions of authority were afraid of the instability that freedom of speech and press could create. For the semester I was there, I developed a skeptical and an almost comical point of view of the Chinese national media: how could I take a news source that so heavily distorts reality seriously?

    • The Chinese are willing participants in state censorship

      For three decades, Cui Yongyuan has been one of China’s national treasures. As a veteran television presenter for CCTV (China’s BBC), Cui’s career was made by this state-controlled broadcaster. So his recent talk in London – entitled ‘An Idealist’s commitment and compromise’ – caught my attention for its political undertone. Could he have been talking about the compromises he had to make as a Chinese journalist? To my delight, Cui spoke about this – and more.

    • China’s Censorship War Against Sex, Drugs, and ‘Vulgar Content’ Is Now Hitting Online Music Streams

      On Monday, the ministry issued a “notification on strengthening and improving the management of online music” policy, demanding that music services set up self-censorship departments to check their catalogs for deviant messages. State-owned news agency Xinhua, announced this, saying: “Online music should go through a strict reviewing process according to the requirement of the ministry before being made available online. The reviewing information should be filed in the provincial relevant departments or above.”

    • Tunisia: Musicians confronted with censorship and repression

      Of Tunisia’s entire artistic community, the musicians – and in particular urban rappers – have borne the brunt of the state’s censorship and repression. A wide legal arsenal has been used to drag musicians into court and throw them unceremoniously into gaol.

    • Journalism lecturers research shows how local papers dodged Kitchener’s draconian censorship laws

      Two journalism lecturers who have embarked on a four-year First World War research project which shows how local newspapers manoeuvred round Lord Kitchener’s draconian press censorship laws and produced articles that rivaled the war poets for powerful imagery.

    • Salman Rushdie rails against censorship in accepting award

      Warming to his theme, Rushdie said universities should be refuges for the unfettered exchange of ideas. “The university is the place where young people should be challenged every day, where everything they know should be put into question, so that they can think and learn and grow up,” he said. “And the idea that they should be protected from ideas that they might not like is the opposite of what a university should be. It’s ideas that should be protected, the discussion of ideas that should be given a safe place. The university should be a safe space for the life of the mind. That’s what it’s for.”

    • Salman Rushdie on writing, political correctness, censorship, First Amendment

      Here are excerpts from Rushdie’s comments:

      “If you are not a good writer, that’s not your fault — that’s just your problem. But if you are a self-censoring writer, that is your fault because then you are choosing to be a bad writer, and that’s to my mind not forgiven.”

    • Inmates sue over prison magazine censorship

      A national newspaper for and about prison inmates is accusing the state Department of Corrections of censorship.

      The lawsuit filed in federal court contends top agency officials purposely and illegally withheld copies of Prison Legal News from inmates who subscribe. And even in situations where the newspaper eventually was delivered, portions had been redacted.

    • Prisoners’ rights magazine sues Arizona Dept. of Corrections over censorship

      Prison Legal News, a 25-year-old magazine produced by the nonprofit Human Rights Defense Center, has sued the Arizona Department of Corrections over censorship.

    • Prisoners’ rights magazine sues Ariz. DOC over censorship
    • Arizona lawsuit says prisons denied and censored inmates’ access to news
    • Publisher sues Arizona state prisons over alleged censorship
    • Artist Ai Weiwei adds to protest with Instagram LEGO portraits
    • Lego shouldn’t brick it over Ai Weiwei – refuting the censorship argument is child’s play
    • A Point of View: Why people shouldn’t feel the need to censor themselves

      We should remember, however, that offence can be taken even when it has not been given. There are radical feminists who search every innocent remark about women for the hidden sexist agenda. Even using the masculine pronoun in the grammatically sanctioned way, so as to refer indifferently to men and women, can cause offence and is now being banned on campuses all across America. It is not that you wish to give offence. But you are up against people who are expert in taking it, who have cultivated the art of taking offence over many years, and who are never more delighted than when some innocent man falls into the trap of speaking incorrectly.

    • Modern Technology Prevents Media Censorship – Rossiya Segodnya Chief

      Widespread media censorship is rendered impossible by modern technology, Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency Director General Dmitry Kiselev said Tuesday.

    • Missouri: professors against press freedom

      When students at one of the United States’ most prestigious universities throw tantrums in reaction to a call for debate, free-speech advocates who have long warned of the dangers posed by campus civility codes may be tempted simply to respond, ‘We rest our case’.

    • Video: Ben Carson Decries College Campus Protests
    • The Vilification of Student Activists at Yale

      The events at Yale over the past weeks have provoked a great deal of conversation, but little effort to understand or acknowledge the cultural and institutional biases at play. In their responses, many have made the same mistake that my friend did, assuming that individual actions can be divorced from their broader context, or from the larger and more troubling legacy of racial discrimination in America. But they can’t.


      Like many elite schools, Yale has a tense racial past and present, one that ensures that admission isn’t necessarily synonymous with full social acceptance. The reports of recent incidents, like swastikas painted on campus, or a frat turning black girls away from a party, are surely only a few examples where some students are implicitly told that they are less welcome than their classmates.

    • Serbia’s EU progress report: no progress for press freedom

      On 8 November Andrija Rodić, the owner of the Adria Media Group – which publishes 18 magazines including the daily tabloid Kurir – came out with a public apology to Serbian citizens for his role in producing overly favourable coverage of the situation in the country, alongside 80 per cent of Serbia’s other local media owners.

      Until that point he and his associated media outlets had been faithful supporters of Serbia’s Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, and his policies. In a blunt admission of the extent of political censorship in the Serbian media, Rodić described how threats to weaken his company financially or create fabricated legal cases led to the development of self-censorship among journalists.

    • Turkey continues to muzzle democracy’s watchdogs

      Journalists are the “watchdogs” of democracy, according to the European Court of Human Rights. Anyone who wants to control a country without being troubled by criticism tries to muzzle reporters, and unfortunately, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a past master at stifling the cries of freedom. As journalists from around the world converge on Antalya to cover this weekend’s Group of 20 summit, many of their Turkish colleagues are being denied accreditation.

      Sidelining opposition media has become a bad habit in Turkey, which is ranked 149th out of 180 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index. Four days before the Nov. 1 parliamentary elections, the police stormed Ipek Media Group headquarters and shut down its two opposition dailies and two opposition TV stations. After control of management had been secured and 71 journalists fired, these outlets resumed operations with a new editorial line verging on caricature. The dailies, Bugun and Millet, ran Erdogan’s photo on the front page along with the headlines “The president among the people” and “Turkey united.”

    • Live Q&A: Indonesia, identity and the lasting legacy of 1965

      It’s been three weeks since a series of public debates dedicated to reconciliation and remembrance of the 1965 Communist repression in Indonesia were cancelled at the Ubud writers and readers festival in Bali, following police pressure and increased scrutiny from the Indonesian authorities.

  • Privacy

    • The UK’s international snooping plan is probably going to end in failure, again

      The UK government is making a dramatic expansion of its internet surveillance efforts, in the space of less than 18 months trying to bring international tech companies firmly under the remit of its spy legislation.

      But the attempt is unlikely to succeed, like its other attempts to make overseas companies hand over their customers’ data and communications.

      Because millions in the UK now use services like Apple’s iMessage and Whatsapp — which are based outside of the UK and use strong encryption — the UK government says there is a large, and growing gap, in the ability of law enforcement to intercept and read communications.

    • Why the attack on Tor matters
    • Why the Tor attack matters

      Earlier today, Motherboard posted a court document filed in a prosecution against a Silk Road 2.0 user, indicating that the user had been de-anonymized on the Tor network thanks to research conducted by a “university-based research institute”.

    • Court Docs Show a University Helped FBI Bust Silk Road 2, Child Porn Suspects
    • Google Inbox Smart Reply: Cognition Meets Communication
    • Google debuts smart reply feature to Inbox app

      Google is attempting to combat the issue of inbox clutter and unanswered messages with its new smart reply feature released this week to its new email app, Inbox.

    • FCC Online Privacy Ruling Helps, not Hurts, Privacy-Minded Users

      The FCC has refused to order websites to protect users’ privacy in response to “do not track” requests — and that’s actually a good thing for people who want to stay anonymous online. Here’s why.

    • Vizio Smart TVs Track Viewers’ Watching Habits To Work With Advertisers

      When choosing a smart television, buyers are often presented with a variety of features. One they may not be aware of: that TV could be watching you.

      Vizio Smart TVs, one of the most popular manufacturers, can track your viewing tendencies and report them to advertisers, as reported by ProPublica.

    • Edward Snowden Explains How To Reclaim Your Privacy

      LAST MONTH, I met Edward Snowden in a hotel in central Moscow, just blocks away from Red Square. It was the first time we’d met in person; he first emailed me nearly two years earlier, and we eventually created an encrypted channel to journalists Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, to whom Snowden would disclose overreaching mass surveillance by the National Security Agency and its British equivalent, GCHQ.

      This time around, Snowden’s anonymity was gone; the world knew who he was, much of what he’d leaked, and that he’d been living in exile in Moscow, where he’s been stranded ever since the State Department canceled his passport while he was en route to Latin America. His situation was more stable, the threats against him a bit easier to predict. So I approached my 2015 Snowden meeting with less paranoia than was warranted in 2013, and with a little more attention to physical security, since this time our communications would not be confined to the internet.

    • The Poet, the Journalist, and the Dissident

      “I never thought that I would be Big Brother,” jokes Snowden as he is lowered down from the cloud and on to a projector screen. The crowd greets him like a rock star. He looks sheepish, perhaps overcome by the fervor of an audience in a country that he has no possibility of returning to under the present circumstances. On the stage to greet him is poet Ann Lauterbach and the Intercept’s Peter Maass. The dissident, the poet, and the journalist engaged in discussion at the penultimate talk of Bard College’s “Why Privacy Matters” conference held in October in the spirit of the college’s matron philosopher Hannah Arendt.

      Whether it is state-sponsored or corporate surveillance, or increasingly sousveillance, it seems privacy has become a relic of bygone days. In some sense, we have become unquestioning of this new reality of zero privacy put forth by government and corporate interests alike. But then I look up and see Snowden.

    • Did the FBI pay Carnegie Mellon $1 million to identify and attack Tor users?
    • Academics ‘Livid,’ ‘Concerned’ Over Allegations that CMU Helped FBI Attack Tor

      On Wednesday, Motherboard reported that a “university-based academic research institute” had been providing information to the FBI, leading to the identification of criminal suspects on the dark web.

      Circumstantial evidence pointed to Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) Software Engineering Institute and an attack carried out against Tor last year. After the publication of Motherboard’s report, the Tor Project said it had learned that CMU was paid at least $1 million for the project.

      On Thursday, other academics who focus on the dark web and criminal marketplaces expressed anger and concern at CMU’s alleged behavior, feeling that the research broke ethical guidelines, and may have a knock-on effect on other research looking into this space.

    • Tor director: FBI paid Carnegie Mellon $1M to break Tor, hand over IPs

      The head of the Tor Project has accused the FBI of paying Carnegie Mellon computer security researchers at least $1 million to de-anonymize Tor users and reveal their IP addresses as part of a large criminal investigation.

      Neither Carnegie Mellon officials nor the FBI immediately responded to Ars’ request for comment. If true, it would represent a highly unusual collaboration between computer security researchers and federal authorities.

      Ed Desautels, a spokesman for Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute, did not deny the accusations directly but told Wired: “I’d like to see the substantiation for their claim,” adding, “I’m not aware of any payment.”

    • Snowden ‘overwhelmed’ by public response

      “I was really worried … that this would be a two day story, then everybody would forget about it and we’d move on.” he said during a video question and answer session hosted by the PEN American Center on Tuesday.

    • Daniel Ellsberg And Edward Snowden: Two of A Kind

      Edward Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg met in Moscow recently to exchange views on freedom of information and Snowden’s fate.

      Ellsberg is a welcome guest on any campus these days. In 1971, while a military analyst at the Rand Corporation, he leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times.

      The two met last winter, ac

    • What Clinton Got Wrong About Snowden

      The former secretary of state attacked the NSA whistleblower without bothering to get her facts straight.

      Hillary Clinton is wrong about Edward Snowden. Again.

      The presidential candidate and former secretary of state insisted during the recent Democratic debate that Snowden should have remained in the United States to voice his concerns about government spying on U.S. citizens. Instead, she claimed, he “endangered U.S. secrets by fleeing to Russia.”

    • Google’s new About Me page helps you control how your personal info is shared

      People concerned about how much information is out there about them on Google have a new way to control what everyone can see.

      Without any fanfare, Google has begun rolling out an About Me page to make it easier for people to control what others can see about them across Google services.

      The page should be welcome news to people concerned about their privacy, according to Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research.

      “With this feature, there are no changes to what information people can see, but a way for people to better control what people can see about them across Google services in one place,” a Google spokesperson wrote in an email to Computerworld.

    • Comcast resets passwords after logins posted to dark web, but denies breach
    • Comcast says it’s not to blame after 200,000 user accounts were put up for sale online

      Comcast will reset the passwords of roughly 200,000 customers after their account information wound up for sale on a shadowy Web site, the company said Monday.

    • Barack Obama, Lawyer-in-Chief

      Why did a liberal professor embrace the Bush surveillance state? Look to the law.

    • The real threats to Britain’s security

      Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “The Gulf states have appalling human rights records, particularly Saudi Arabia, yet they are always the key focus for UK arms sales. Despite the cancellation of the Saudi prison contract, and despite the horrors being unleashed on the people of Yemen by UK arms, there is growing talk of David Cameron visiting the regime to apologise and make up.”

    • Science of snooping: Internet spying cost & feasibility examined by MPs

      MPs have launched an inquiry into the cost and feasibility of the government’s Investigatory Powers Bill.

    • Former spy chiefs to meet financiers at Gleneagles

      The pair, who both left public office late last year, will address a “top-tier” audience of fund managers on the first evening of a high-profile conference sponsored by hedge funds and investment banks. Sawers is familiar with an audience of this kind, having delivered a keynote speech at a prestigious hedge fund summit in Paris in April.

    • GCHQ says that British industry is bashed seven times a day by hackers

      We’re probably gonna need some bigger laws

    • British spy agency GCHQ is advertising on trendy Shoreditch streets
    • GCHQ Is Targeting London’s Tech Hipsters With Graffiti Recruitment Ads
    • GCHQ goes all Cool Dad and tags the streets of Shoreditch with job ads
    • GCHQ to lead £6.5m CyberInvest challenge
    • GCHQ Boss: ‘Cyber Security Market is Failing Us’
    • GCHQ chief claims that everything is failing cyber security

      Hannigan warned that the UK is under constant threat of cyber attack and that the authorities are in an arms race against the bad guys.

    • GCHQ director blasts free market, says UK must be ‘sovereign cryptographic nation’

      Speaking this morning to CESG’s Information Assurance conference, Robert Hannigan, director of GCHQ, declared that Britain was a “sovereign cryptographic nation” and reproached the free market’s ability to provide adequate cybersecurity.

      The claim was delivered to a cybersecurity shindig attended by government employees and private professionals, arranged by GCHQ’s infosec arm CESG, as GCHQ’s head honcho pontificated upon the relationship between the market, regulation, and threats affecting the cyber domain.

    • Ex-GCHQ chief: Bulk access to internet comms not same as mass surveillance
    • NSA to end bulk call data collection this month

      The U.S. National Security Agency is ready to end later this month collecting Americans’ domestic call records in bulk and move to a more targeted system, meeting a legislative deadline imposed earlier this year, according to a government memo seen by Reuters.

    • NSA mass data collection to stop in 20 days, but just on paper.

      As we have previously written the new CISA (Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act) allows this information to be passed along voluntarily with little to no recourse be the average citizen. All the NSA or other government agency has to do is quietly ask a company can hand the data over all in the name of National Security on the “Cyber” front (ASL?). This is not the first time that the US Government has tried to pass a bill like this one, but they finally managed to get one through. The claim is that this will help companies share threat information with each other, but the reality is that the law goes much deeper than that and is not really needed. Companies are already sharing threat data and indications of compromise without any fear of consumer backlash, so this bill really only serves the purpose to protect other data sharing. Russ Spitler, Vice President of Product Strategy at Alien Vault had this to say about CISA.

    • The CIA writes like Lovecraft, Bureau of Prisons is like Stephen King, & NSA is like…
    • It’s No Secret That The US Government Uses Zero Days For ‘Offence’

      Little by little, the US government is opening up about its use of computer security vulnerabilities. Last month, the NSA disclosed that it has historically “released more than 91% of vulnerabilities discovered in products that have gone through our internal review process and that are made and used in the United States.” There should probably be an asterisk or four accompanying that statement. But more on that in a minute. First, it’s worth examining why the government is being even the slightest bit forthcoming about this issue.

    • The NSA is making great strides in transparency, but not really

      Until recently, the NSA has been able to do what it wants without having to explain anything to us, the little people. At the end of October, the agency published an infographic to tell us all exactly what they do (most of the time.)

    • NSA Pats Self On Back For Disclosing Vulnerabilities ’90% Of The Time,’ Doesn’t Specify How Long It Uses Them Before Doing So

      The NSA likes its software vulnerabilities. There are those it discovers on its own and others it purchases from “weaponized software” dealers. There are also certain tech companies that hand over exploits to the NSA first before working on a patch for the rest of us.

      Up until now, the NSA really hasn’t discussed its policies regarding software vulnerabilities and exploits. A few months after the Snowden leaks began, the White House told the NSA to start informing software companies of any exploits/vulnerabilities it had discovered. The quasi-directive set no time limit for doing so and allowed the agency to withhold discovered exploits if there was a “clear national security or law enforcement” reason to do so.

      While other parties have discussed the NSA’s hoarding of software exploits, the agency itself hasn’t. All information gathered to date has come from outside sources. Snowden provided some of the documents. The EFF knocked a couple more loose with an FOIA lawsuit against James Clapper’s office.

    • TRNN Replay: Whistleblower: Obama’s Secrecy Makes Bush Look Mild

      Thomas Andrews Drake (born 1957) is a former senior official of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), decorated United States Air Force and United States Navy veteran, computer software expert, linguist, management and leadership specialist, and whistleblower. In 2010 the government alleged that he ‘mishandled’ documents, one of the few such Espionage Act cases in U.S. history. His defenders claim that he was instead being persecuted for challenging the Trailblazer Project.

    • NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake: ‘I’ve had to create a whole new life’

      Five years after becoming the first American to be charged for espionage in nearly four decades, Thomas Drake is still trying to rebuild his life.

      In 2010, Drake, a senior executive with the National Security Agency from 2001 to 2008, was indicted by the Obama administration for leaking classified information under the Espionage Act after speaking out on secret mass surveillance programs, multibillion-dollar fraud and intelligence failures from 9/11. He was the first U.S. whistleblower to be charged under the Espionage Act since Daniel Ellsberg in 1971, and faced 35 years in prison before the government’s charges against him were ultimately dropped in 2011.

    • How the media can support whistleblowers

      Can whistleblowers safely express concerns about their agency within internal channels? Do a whistleblower’s motives matter? Should the press focus on the leaker when reporting stories about the information they revealed?

      Edward Snowden — famous for his NSA data leaks — New York Times reporter James Risen and whistleblowers Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack tried to answer these questions using their own experiences at a Newseum forum Tuesday.

      “For all the whistleblowers I’ve worked with, for them, the press is the last resort,” Risen said. “They’ve tried and almost never found any real result from that internal system.”

      PEN America, a human-rights organization advocating for free speech, sponsored the event and released a report examining the channels whistleblowers have available, which showed why many concerned officials turn to the media to get their information out safely.

      Drake and Radack said they tried to work within the system to bring up their concerns with agency activities, but they suffered retaliation or superiors destroyed or redacted evidence they raised.

      Thomas Drake, a former senior executive at the NSA, revealed multi-billion dollar fraud, failures with 9/11 intelligence and mass surveillance violations. The Obama Administration indicted Drake in 2010 and charged him with espionage. He went free in a plea deal in 2011.

    • NSA whistleblower reveals details of American spying during Reddit AMA session

      Bill Binney, a former high-level intelligence officer in the NSA and later prominent whistleblower, has explained the inner workings of the security agency and its surveillance in a Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ session.

    • A Former NSA Whistleblower Thinks Everyone in D.C. Should Be Fired

      NSA surveillance has been a hot topic ever since Edward Snowden revealed the extent of the agency’s activities. But government employees were concerned about surveillance for a decade before Mr. Snowden came along.

    • No software is ‘safe from surveillance’: Ex NSA official and whistleblower

      Not many know William Binney. He is a ex-NSA official and a whistleblower who helped another serial whistleblower, Edward Snowden leak thousands of classified NSA documents two years ago. He has not suffered like Edward Snowden who has suffered the ignominy of being fugitive and a wanted man in United States. Binney left US relatively unscathed after the NSA leaks.

    • NSA whistleblower: No software is ‘safe from surveillance’

      William Binney doesn’t have a membership card to the small group of which he’s a part — people who have spoken out against the National Security Agency, and been left relatively unscathed — but at least he has the next best thing, a valid passport.

    • NSA scrapping contentious phone spy program

      The National Security Agency will phase out its bulk surveillance program sweeping up Americans’ phone data to a more targeted system, marking a continued win for privacy activists.

    • A Good American review: fascinating revelations about the NSA’s role in 9/11

      Despite the controversy over Edward Snowden’s revelations of US surveillance of its citizens, it’s easy to imagine the country’s security services privately not being that embarrassed: there might be professional pride in overzealous snooping.

      But such bodies’ role in 9/11 is another matter entirely. What if it could be shown that the NSA could have – should have – prevented the attacks on the World Trade Center; that its failure to do so wasn’t due to bad luck, but a lethal cocktail of incompetence, arrogance and greed; and that they then sought to cover up their mistakes?

      This possibility is the driver of a fascinating, conspiracy theorising documentary: Friedrich Moser’s A Good American, which premieres on Tuesday at the CPH:DOX film festival in Copenhagen. It may not have the contemporaneous frisson of Laura Poitras’s Oscar-winning Citizenfour, but it certainly packs a punch.

      The American of the title is William Binney, Bill to his friends, a crypto-mathematician and former NSA analyst, who devised a surveillance and analysis system that was cut-price, had built-in privacy protections, was up-and-running in 2000, and so dazzlingly effective that he claims it “absolutely would have prevented 9/11”, if only the agency hadn’t wilfully ignored it. The documentary doesn’t categorically prove the case – ironically for a film about data, we need to see some, or have more collaborations than are offered. Yet it does make us believe.

    • Federal court to Obama: Stop spying on the American people
    • NSA Given Permission by Appeals Court to Continue Collecting Metadata
    • Appeals court allows NSA bulk phone spying to continue unabated

      The nation’s only successful challenge to the National Security Agency’s bulk telephone metadata surveillance program lasted just one day, as a federal appeals court is allowing the constitutionally suspect program to continue unabated.

    • Appeals Court Says NSA Can Keep Trampling 4th Amendment With Phone Surveillance Program For Now

      This is hardly a surprise, but the DC Appeals Court has issued a stay on Judge Richard Leon’s ruling from earlier this week that the NSA’s bulk phone record collection program was unconstitutional. This is the same appeals court that overturned Leon’s earlier ruling finding the program unconstitutional. This time, as we noted, Judge Leon refused to grant the government a stay, noting that the DC Circuit had taken its sweet time in actually issuing a ruling on the appeal — and the program is set to end in a couple weeks anyway. Also, Leon didn’t order the entire program shut down, but just that the NSA stop keeping the records of the plaintiffs who were customers of Verizon Business Network Services (J.J. Little and J.J. Little & Associates).

    • Appeals Court Allows NSA to Continue Metadata Collection
    • Overnight Cybersecurity: Judge tells NSA to kill phone records program
    • US Court Says NSA Phone Surveillance Program Illegal – Reports
    • Judge curbs NSA’s collection of phone records
    • U.S. judge again rules NSA collection of phone data is likely unconstitutional
    • Judge: NSA Phone Surveillance Program Banned By Federal Judge
    • Federal judge rules against part of NSA phone surveillance program

      A federal judge on Monday ruled [opinion, PDF] against part of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) [official website] surveillance program that collects domestic phone records in bulk. Judge Richard Leon of the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] said that the program was most likely unconstitutional and shut down the program just weeks before the NSA was scheduled to scrap it and replace it.

    • Feds to comply with court order in NSA case
    • Judge Calls NSA Phone Data Collection Unconstitutional
    • More impact from Snowden as court rules that NSA bulk phone record collection violates the Constitution

      Only weeks before the US Patriot Act will be replaced with the USA Freedom Act a federal judge ruled that National Security Agency (NSA) Bulk Telephone Metadata Program which was revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013 that systematically collects Americans’ domestic phone records in bulk “likely violates the Constitution.”

    • Judge bars NSA from collecting plaintiff’s phone records in court challenge to

      A replacement program, adopted by Congress and scheduled to begin at the end of November, essentially has the telephone companies keep the records and give them to the government according to a protocol. This does not mean the agency will stop collecting phone data, however it will be a more target specific program.

    • Lawmakers Who Upheld NSA Phone Spying Share Close Financial Ties to Defense Industry

      According to research by MapLight, the 217 congressmen that voted against the amendment received twice as much campaign financing from the defense and intelligence industry as the 205 people that voted for the amendment.

      Now joining us to unpack all this is Jay Costa. Jay is the program director of MapLight’s web and data projects. He previously served on San Francisco’s Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, chairing the group’s Education, Outreach and Training Committee, and on Berkeley’s Fair Campaign Practices Commission and Open Government Commission.

  • Civil Rights

    • Dear Idiots and Racists: Yik Yak Is a Bad Place to Make a Death Threat

      On Tuesday night, lines like this one appeared on the University of Missouri’s feed on Yik Yak, the location-based, hyperlocal social media app.

      “I’m going to stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see,” wrote an anonymous user.

      The anonymous post led to beefed up campus security on a campus embroiled in protest and turmoil. But that user didn’t remain anonymous for long. It’s hard stay anonymous when the company knows all of its users’ locations, and will ship that information to law enforcement, no questions asked. Messages like the one sent by Hunter M. Park, a 19-year-old from Missouri, who was arrested on Wednesday just hours after he allegedly posted these threats on Yik Yak.

    • Veterans Benefits Administration executives abused incentive programs, bullied subordinates

      Senior executives within the Veterans Benefits Administration misused incentive programs to benefit themselves, an Inspector General report shows. Two officials went so far as to pressure subordinates into accepting unfavorable transfers to create vacancies for themselves.

      An anonymous source alerted authorities to one senior VBA executive’s $274,019 expenses for moving from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, a distance of 140 miles, in October 2014. A subsequent Inspector General investigation has uncovered abuse of incentive systems within the Veterans Benefits Administration available to senior-level executives and has resulted in two requests for criminal prosecution to the US Attorney for the District of Columbia.

    • Video shows South Boston police tasering Richmond man who later died

      Police in South Boston repeatedly fired their stun guns on a Richmond man before he died in 2013, a network news program revealed Wednesday.

      Accompanied by graphic videos of Linwood R. Lambert Jr. being taken into custody, repeatedly shocked at the doors of a hospital, and then slumping nearly unconscious in the back of a police vehicle, the MSNBC investigation apparently buttresses allegations raised in a $25 million suit filed this year by Lambert’s family.

    • Driven to hospital, Virginia man tased, shackled and dies in police custody

      When three Virginia police officers put Linwood Lambert in a squad car around 5 a.m. on May 4, 2013, they said they were taking him to the ER for medical attention because he was speaking delusionally. Just over an hour later, Lambert died in police custody.

    • Government threatens 40 years in jail; Matt DeHart forced into plea deal

      Matt DeHart’s long saga of government persecution, including FBI torture, refused asylum, and seized property, continues today as Matt has been cornered into taking a plea agreement to avoid a decades-long prison sentence. The deal, in which the government would recommend Matt be sentenced to a total of seven and a half years — minus his three and a half years of time served — was Matt’s only hope to prevent something even worse: the government’s initial recommendation of forty years in jail or the charges’ maximum, of seventy years and a half-million-dollar fine.

      Under the deal, Matt would have to plead guilty to receiving teen “pornography,” consisting of messages dated from 2008 that the US government decided to charge years later after they became aware that Matt discovered sensitive military files had been uploaded to a server he ran and that he was a WikiLeaks and Anonymous supporter.


      Matt’s father, Paul DeHart, has cited Aaron Swartz’s case as a turning point in the family’s fear of egregious prosecution. Swartz committed suicide after facing more than 50 years in jail for rapidly downloading publicly available JSTOR documents. Similarly, in Matt’s case, the government threatened an extremely long prison sentence of several decades — a highly disproportionate sentence for the allegations against him.


      Further, we have to prevent future retaliation, like the solitary confinement suffered by Barrett Brown, Chelsea Manning and Jeremy Hammond. Matt has already been tortured during interrogation and imprisoned for years before trial. We must keep Matt’s sentencing in the public eye as only significant scrutiny will prevent further abuse and ensure as fair a trial as possible.

    • Jack Straw and senior spy could avoid torture prosecution

      The former foreign secretary Jack Straw and Sir Mark Allen, a former senior MI6 officer, could avoid prosecution over complicity in the rendition and torture of two Libyan dissidents by claiming immunity, the supreme court has been told.

      The extraordinary prospect of senior figures dodging their alleged liability for abductions and torture by deploying the “foreign act of state doctrine” in criminal proceedings emerged during a civil claim brought by Libyan and Pakistani former detainees.

    • British citizens must stand up for the EU

      Cameron’s EU renegotiation may be too little too late for the Eurosceptics. The rise of their “Out” campaign threatens the livelihoods and social protection of thousands of UK citizens, writes Jude Kirton-Darling.

    • As Things Stand, the EU Referendum Is on a Knife Edge

      As things stand, the referendum is on a knife edge, with our poll showing a three-point margin for remain. The vote is heavily conditioned by class and age: middle class people under 55 want to stay by 26 points while working class people over 55 want to leave by 34 points. It is a statistical tie among the older middle class and the younger working class. Among the general population, 13% are on one side or the other but open to changing their mind, and a further 12% don’t know either way.

    • The Worst Company in the World

      Brazil’s Vale corporation masks brutal exploitation with the language of South-South solidarity.

    • The Wrong Kind of October Revolution

      Another Cold War has started, strongly resembling the old one; but the old arsenal of ideology, like old weapons that were not maintained during a decade, have all oxidized and fallen out of use from indifference.


      Viktor Orban in Hungary wins by promising to murder more gypsies and eventually the remaining Jews. Marine Lepen, new front-woman of the party for the ovens, openly anti-semitic and anti-Arab, grows more roots in France. Her solution to the refugee crisis is bacteriological and more eloquent than Trump’s: “let them have their ebola” she says, as her popularity sky-rockets.

    • Obama backs $607 billion Pentagon bill that bars Guantanamo closing

      The White House indicated Tuesday that President Barack Obama will sign into law a Pentagon spending bill that significantly raises the base budget of the US war machine while prohibiting the shutdown of the prison camp at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba or the transfer of its detainees to US facilities.

      The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provides for a base Pentagon budget (excluding expenditures on active military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria) of $548 billion, larger than any year since the end of the Cold War.

      On top of the base budget, the funding bill includes $50.9 billion for “overseas contingency operations,” that will pay for ongoing military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, down from $64.2 billion in the last fiscal year. Together with a few smaller increments, this brings the total in military spending to $607 billion for the fiscal year that began October 1.

    • Human rights lawyers in China tell harrowing stories about their own torture and abuse

      These personal accounts come to light at a crucial time: Next week, China will answer questions from a United Nations anti-torture committee at a conference in Geneva—the UN’s fifth probe into the country’s torture practices.

    • Exposed: FBI Surveillance of School of the Americas Watch

      For a decade, the FBI flagrantly abused its counter-terrorism authority to conduct a widespread surveillance and monitoring operation of School of Americas Watch (SOAW), a nonviolent activist organization founded by pacifists with the aim of closing the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas (now renamed) and ending the U.S. role in the militarization of Latin America.

    • Alleged CIA Involvement In 2001 Anthrax Attacks

      By 2009 someone had uploaded a file to the shell, which is a server that I had operated the front-end of. Can’t really tell you the size of it. It had a text intro from an individual claiming to be a special agent for the FBI, he was explaining how the included documents pointed to CIA involvement in the Amerithrax case. It had an index, a file index which i skimmed through, it had PDFs, powerpoint files. The PDFs included scanned hand-written notes. Specifics which stood out to me, i mean I jotted some notes down before were technical nature of stuff like degraded Anthrax VS Brucellosis, degraded Anthrax VS Tularemia. There was nuclear regulatory commission paperwork tracking a radioactive cobalt source. From the handwritten notes, they thought that source was used to degrade or render inert weaponized anthrax. What else stood out to me.. it was the Ames strain of anthrax, and they said it was weaponized ‘electro-statically charged silicon nano particles’. That’s been burned into my memory

    • British student fights extradition to US for allegedly hacking the FBI and Nasa

      Love expects that if he is forced into the American judicial system, things will go no differently for him. “It’s clearly problematic that as a direct consequence of there being insufficient evidence even to bring a charge in the UK, I am facing a fate that I consider worse than any possible sentence given in the UK. If I were ever taken to the USA and refused to plead guilty, that number would go up significantly, until it were many times larger than the number of years I have left to live.”

      He thinks the extradition case against him is being used by British law enforcement officials to pressure him into giving up evidence against himself and others. Love presents his case to a British court on 10 and 11 December.

      When I ask him how many years of jail he thinks he’d face, he replies: “It’s all academic. I will never go to America except in a bodybag.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • My detergent product is green, but don’t tell anyone

      So how does Method stack up against its competitors? According to the article, major detergent challengers such as Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson and Clorox have so cleaned up their own products that they are apparently, in the main, eligible for the United States EPA (Environmental Protective Agency) seal of approval as well as for eco-labels from several well-regarded certifiers. However, companies of this type tend not to apply for such eco-labels. Not only that, but many do not provide information about how and why their products and the process of their manufacturer are now greener. The suggested upshot is that, while there may not be a significant environmental difference between the products of Method and those of its competitors, consumers may not have any clue that this is the case.

    • Trademarks

      • Judge Recused In University Of Kentucky V. Kentucky Mist Moonshine Case Because He’s A Kentucky Grad

        We were just discussing the University of Kentucky’s asshat-ish bullying attempts concerning Kentucky Mist Moonshine’s gall in selling hats and t-shirts featuring the distillery’s name and logo. The whole episode has been entirely silly from the outset, with the school essentially declaring itself the sole owner of the name of its home state for the purposes of its use on apparel. This attempt to throw aside even the question of actual customer confusion made the whole thing a strange power-play against a distillery, with some questioning how a trademark over a state’s name could be granted in the first place. Kentucky Mist itself filed a lawsuit against the school, requesting that the trademark it has chosen to flaunt so brazenly be either declared invalid entirely or reformed to protect the school only against any attempts to actually be associated with the school as opposed to the state of Kentucky.

        Again: none of this should be happening. If the University of Kentucky had simply kept its nose out of an unrelated business’ business, no suit would have been filed. But now, as the silliness continues, we get news that the judge originally assigned to preside over the case has recused himself. Why? Because he’s a graduate of UK.

    • Copyrights

      • TorrentFreak Turns Ten Today

        TorrentFreak turned ten years old today, but even after 8,477 articles and nearly a million comments we’re really just getting started. A special thanks goes out to everyone who’s helped to make this such an enjoyable ride so far.

      • Swedish Pirates are More Likely to Buy Legal Content

        As the entertainment industries catch up, fewer and fewer Swedish citizens are using unauthorized file-sharing networks. That’s according to a new study which has found that just 18% of the population now engages in the hobby. Nevertheless, those that do pirate are dramatically more likely to buy legal content than those who don’t.

      • Filmmakers Sue Dutch State Over Lost Piracy Revenue

        A coalition of Dutch film producers and distributors has today announced a lawsuit against the local Government. The filmmakers argue that the authorities are not doing enough to combat piracy and want pirate website operators and their users to face serious legal consequences.

      • A new “Happy Birthday” boss? Charity claims it owns famous song’s copyright

        In September, a judge ruled that music licensor Warner-Chappell doesn’t own the copyright to “Happy Birthday.” The question now seems to have become who does?

        A charity called the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) has now stepped forward to say that if Warner loses the copyright, it should become the rightful owner. Earlier this week, ACEI filed court papers (PDF) asking to intervene in the copyright dispute.

      • Charity Pops Up Claiming That It Holds The Copyright On Happy Birthday

        It ain’t over yet, folks. While many in the press went on and on back in September that the song “Happy Birthday” had been declared in the “public domain,” as we pointed out, that’s not what the judge said. He only said that the Summy Co. did not hold the copyright, because it seemed clear from a lawsuit back in the 1940s that the Hill Sisters (who sorta wrote the song — long story) only assigned the rights to the music and not the lyrics — and everyone agrees the music is now in the public domain. As we pointed out, this actually made the song an “orphan work”, which created a new kind of mess, and as we noted, it was entirely possible that a third party could now make a claim to holding the copyright — though we thought it was unlikely.


Links 12/11/2015: Ubuntu Community Council Election, Fedora Goes for Wayland

Posted in News Roundup at 7:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Young computer scientist shares her open source story

    I’ve been using open source for a while—seven years, to be exact. That may not seem like a long time, but when you’re 16, that’s almost half your life. My open source story is that of discovery, education, and mentoring opportunities. I’ve been extremely lucky.

    I got started with open source in fifth grade over Christmas break. My Dad showed me how to write bash scripts on Linux in what we called “Daddy’s Computer Camp.” That February, I made my Dad a Valentine’s Day robot that had bash code on the front.

  • Open source, Agile and DevOps core principles of NHS Spine 2

    Using open source tools, developing using Agile and DevOps techniques, and not signing contracts worth over £100 million were three of the core principles of building the NHS Spine 2 system – the digital backbone of the NHS which was migrated on to open source system last year.

  • 9 Useful Open Source Big Data Tools

    Hadoop is not the end-all, be-all of Big Data. There are lots of other Big Data platforms and tools, many of which are open source.

  • From open source to open community: ex-MySQL and Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos signs on with HackerOne

    When Hewlett-Packard (back in the days when it was one company) acquired open source cloud infrastructure vendor Eucalyptus a year or two ago, many were left scratching their heads about what exactly HP planned to do with the company. Subsequent events have proved that confusion justified since Eucalyptus has gone nowhere and HP has had a lurching series of pivots around its cloud strategy. Indeed, the only logical thing about the deal was that HP would get the services of a very seasoned executive in Marten Mickos. Prior to joining HP, Mickos was CEO of Eucalyptus and before that CEO of MySQL, the open source database company.

  • SAP’s HANA will lose the big data war without open source, as proven by 21 new security flaws

    SAP has been boasting about its “revolutionary” big data platform, SAP HANA, for years. While its claims have always been a bit suspect, recent revelations that HANA is riddled with critical security flaws only reinforce the mantra that, when it comes to big data infrastructure, open source is best.

  • Ex-MySQL CEO Marten Mickos On Leadership And The Open Source Revolution

    Marten Mickos is the newly announced CEO of bug bounty platform HackerOne. Marten, a Finnish native, is a proven CEO; he led the iconic open source database company MySQL, and later worked for Sun Microsystems after their acquisition of that company.

    He then led cloud software company Eucalyptus Systems, which was acquired by HP. He has also served on the board of Nokia & has been spearheading the online School of Herring, which focuses on leadership.

  • Support For Old Hardware Is Being Removed From Coreboot

    Coreboot developers are taking to their Git tree and dropping support for old motherboards and chipsets.

    Yesterday saw the removal in Git of many Tyan motherboards as well as some from IWILL and Newisys and IBM.

  • Hired adds transparency to the hiring process, makes tech open source

    Whether you’re a potential employee or a potential employer, the thing that matters most is that you find the right fit: the right job offer, location, compensation and the right co-workers. Hired is looking to fill the specialty-job niche by pre-screening both parties before the resumes start circulating and the interviews begin.

    Admit it, if you’re an employer, to grow your business you need talent. To that end, Hired delivers a curated pool of responsive candidates so less time is spent sourcing and more time devoted to interviewing and hiring.

  • NIA: Midokura’s open source MidoNet doesn’t hold back

    Midokura wins this month’s Network Innovation Award for MidoNet Community Edition, an open source version of its flagship product.

  • Open ethos powers Aleph Objects’ success

    We are firmly committed to advancing free software, libre innovation, and open source hardware. A LulzBot 3D printer was the first hardware product and only 3D printer to meet the Open Source Hardware Association definition and earn the Free Software Foundation’s Respects Your Freedom certification.

  • Google Offers Up Its Entire Machine Learning Library as Open-Source Software
  • TensorFlow could be Google’s new, open-source, central nervous system
  • Google Opens Floodgates for TensorFlow Development
  • TensorFlow – Google’s latest machine learning system, open sourced for everyone
  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • SwiftStack Advances OpenStack Cloud Storage [VIDEO]

      The Swift storage project holds a unique place in the OpenStack big tent, as one of the two original projects (the other being Nova compute) for the open source cloud platform. SwiftStack is one of the leading contributors to the Swift project and also has its own commercially supported SwiftStack Object Storage enterprise product, which was recently updated to version 3.0.

  • BSD


    • Applying the Free Software Criteria

      The four essential freedoms provide the criteria for whether a particular piece of code is free/libre (i.e., respects its users’ freedom). How should we apply them to judge whether a software package, an operating system, a computer, or a web page is fit to recommend?

      Whether a program is free affects first of all our decisions about our private activities: to maintain our freedom, we need to reject the programs that would take it away. However, it also affects what we should say to others and do with others.

      A nonfree program is an injustice. To distribute a nonfree program, to recommend a nonfree program to other people, or more generally steer them into a course that leads to using nonfree software, means leading them to give up their freedom. To be sure, leading people to use nonfree software is not the same as installing nonfree software in their computers, but we should not lead people in the wrong direction.

      At a deeper level, we must not present a nonfree program as a solution because that would grant it legitimacy. Non-free software is a problem; to present it as a solution denies the existence of the problem.

    • Getting Started with GNU Radio

      Software Defined Radio (SDR)–the ability to process radio signals using software instead of electronics–is undeniably fascinating. However, there is a big gap from being able to use off-the-shelf SDR software and writing your own. After all, SDRs require lots of digital signal processing (DSP) at high speeds.

      Not many people could build a modern PC from scratch, but nearly anyone can get a motherboard, some I/O cards, a power supply, and a case and put together a custom system. That’s the idea behind GNU Radio and SDR. GNU Radio provides a wealth of Python functions that you can use to create sophisticated SDR application (or, indeed, any DSP application).

      If Python is still not up your alley (or even if it is), there’s an even easier way to use GNU Radio: The GNU Radio Companion (GRC). This is a mostly graphical approach, allowing you to thread together modules graphically and build simple GUIs to control you new radio.

    • GNU Scientific Library 2.1 released

      Version 2.1 of the GNU Scientific Library (GSL) is now available. GSL provides a large collection of routines for numerical computing in C.

      This release is primarily for fixing a few bugs present in the recent 2.0 release, but also provides a brand new module for solving large linear least squares problems.

    • Reproducible builds: a means to an end

      GNU Guix is committed to improving the freedom and autonomy of computer users. This obviously manifests in the fact that GuixSD is a fully free distro, and this is what GNU stands for. All the packages in Guix are built from source, including things like firmware where there is an unfortunate tendency to use pre-built binaries; that way, users can know what software they run. On the technical side, Guix also tries hard to empower users by making the whole system as hackable as possible, in a uniform way—making Freedom #1 practical, à la Emacs.

      Guix provides pre-compiled binaries of software packages as a service to its users—these are substitutes for local builds. This is a convenient way to save time, but it could become a threat to users if they cannot establish that those substitutes are authentic—that their Corresponding Source really is what it claims to be.

  • Project Releases

    • [dwm] 6.1 release

      After a long time (dwm 6.0 was released on 2011-12-19) it is time for a new dwm release. Thanks goes out to all the people involved at making the software better in various ways!

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source software gains traction in federal IT

      Open source software has at last arrived in the government space, said industry executives and federal IT officials at the 2015 Red Hat Government Symposium Tuesday.

      Just 10 years ago, many agencies needed special permission to procure open source software — referring to code that’s freely available, and that users can change and improve on — said Paul Smith, vice president and general manager for public sector operations at Red Hat.

    • CSC Obtains FedRAMP Certification for PaaS Cloud Offering; Red Hat’s Paul Smith Comments

      Computer Sciences Corp. has received a Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program certification for the company’s ARCWRX cloud computing technology.

      CSC said Tuesday this is the second FedRAMP certification for the platform-as-a-service ARCWRX, which is based on Red Hat’s OpenShift and resides on CSC’s ARC-P platform.

  • Licensing

    • GPL Enforcement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

      The revelation of this clause has confused our community, as it appears as if this provision, once adopted, might impact or restrict the international operation of copyleft licenses. Below we explain that, while everyone should reject and oppose this provision — and the rest of TPP — this provision has no dramatic impact on copyleft licensing.

      First, as others have pointed out, Party is a defined term that refers specifically to government entities that sign the treaty. As such, the provision would only constrain the behavior of governments themselves. There are some obviously bad outcomes of this provision when those governmental entities interfere with public safety and ethical distribution of software, but we believe this provision will not interfere with international enforcement of copyleft.

      Copyleft licenses use copyright as a mechanism to keep software free. The central GPL mechanism that copyright holders exercise to ensure software freedom is termination of permission to copy, modify and distribute the software (per GPLv2§4 and GPLv3§8). Under GPL’s termination provisions, non-compliance results in an automatic termination of all copyright permissions. In practice, distributors can chose — either they can provide the source code or cease distribution. Once permissions terminate, any distribution of the GPL’d software infringes copyrights. Accordingly, in an enforcement action, there is no need to specifically compel a government to ask for disclosure of source code.

      For example, imagine if a non-US entity ships a GPL-violating, Linux-based product into the USA, and after many friendly attempts to achieve compliance, the violating company refuses to comply. Conservancy can sue the company in US federal court, and seek injunction for distribution of the foreign product in the USA, since the product infringes copyright by violating the license. The detailed reasons for that infringement (i.e., failure to disclose source code) is somewhat irrelevant to the central issue; the Court can grant injunction (i.e., an order to prevent the company from distributing the infringing product) based simply on the violator’s lost permissions under the existing copyright license. The Court could even order the cease of import of the infringing products.

      In our view, the violator would be unaffected under the above TPP provision, since the Court did not specifically compel release of the source code, but rather simply ruled that the product generally infringed copyrights, and their distribution rights had fully terminated upon infringement. In other words, the fact that the violator lost copyright permissions and can seek to restore them via source code disclosure is not dispositive to the underlying infringement claim.

      While TPP thus does not impact copyright holders’ ability to enforce the GPL, there are nevertheless plenty of reasons to oppose TPP. Conservancy therefore joins the FSF, EFF, and other organizations in encouraging everyone to oppose TPP.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Quartz to open source two mapping tools

      News outlet Quartz is developing a searchable database of compiled map data from all over the world, and a tool to help journalists visualise this data.

      The database, called Mapquery, received $35,000 (£22,900) from the Knight Foundation Prototype Fund on 3 November.

      Keith Collins, project lead, said Mapquery will aim to make the research stage in the creation of maps easier and more accessible, by creating a system for finding, merging and refining geographic data.

    • Stronger than fear: Mental health in the open

      Finkler is active in PHP, Python, and JavaScript communities and had developed a popular Twitter client for the WebOS platform. He has plenty of open source knowledge, but his only expierience with mental illness was personal. So he began presenting at conferences, sharing his experience. After each talk, people would share their own issues with him.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • How VA and DOD Can Approach Data Standards and Interoperability — Before Standards Are Established

      For organizations like the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, patient safety and quality of care are paramount, thus, having the ability to seamlessly share medical data with each other, as well as with other providers, is critical. Consider for a moment, a service person’s transition from active duty to veteran status. Patient records and critical medical history details must transition smoothly to ensure the patient receives appropriate, complete care at the right time.


  • Long-Term Exposure to Flat Design: How the Trend Slowly Decreases User Efficiency

    Interfaces with completely flat visual design do not use any realistic or three-dimensional visual effects. As a consequence, they do away with the heavy-handed visual cues that have been traditionally used to communicate clickability to users.

    The popularity of ultraflat interfaces has declined since its heyday of 2013, and more websites are adopting more moderate, flat 2.0 designs — in which interfaces make use of subtle effects to create the impression of a slightly layered three-dimensional space. Despite this return to moderation, we’re starting to see the long-term impact of the widespread usage of weak clickability cues encouraged by the popularity of flat design.

  • Sepp Blatter Hospitalised After ‘Stress-Related’ Breakdown.

    Suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been hospitalised after being placed under medical observation for stress, but he is expecting to leave the facility early next week, his spokesman said Wednesday.

  • France cancels official dinner with Iran’s President Rouhani… because he wants it to be wine-free

    Guess who’s not coming to dinner — or even breakfast or lunch?

    Ahead of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s landmark European trip kicking off this weekend, French officials reportedly nixed plans for a formal meal in Paris with President François Hollande following a dispute over the menu. The Iranians, according to France’s RTL Radio, insisted on a wine-free meal with halal meat — a request based on Islamic codes that amounted to culinary sacrilege in France, a nation that puts the secular ideals of the Republic above all else.

  • How Apple Is Giving Design A Bad Name

    Once upon a time, Apple was known for designing easy-to-use, easy-to-understand products. It was a champion of the graphical user interface, where it is always possible to discover what actions are possible, clearly see how to select that action, receive unambiguous feedback as to the results of that action, and have the power to reverse that action—to undo it—if the result is not what was intended.

    No more. Now, although the products are indeed even more beautiful than before, that beauty has come at a great price. Gone are the fundamental principles of good design: discoverability, feedback, recovery, and so on. Instead, Apple has, in striving for beauty, created fonts that are so small or thin, coupled with low contrast, that they are difficult or impossible for many people with normal vision to read. We have obscure gestures that are beyond even the developer’s ability to remember. We have great features that most people don’t realize exist.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Houghton has not just broken taboos over Trident, he has undermined democracy

      Asked about their view of the Trident nuclear missile system, Britain’s armed forces chiefs have always insisted that they cannot comment because it was a “political” matter, not at all a “military” one.

      General Sir Nicholas Houghton, chief of the defence staff, has now abandoned such caution, breaking a taboo by expressing a view that has huge constitutional implications. Britain’s most senior military officer has taken sides on an issue that is the subject of a highly charged political debate, and one in which tens of billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money are at stake.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Indonesia’s forest fires: everything you need to know

      The most obvious damage is to the forest where the fires are occurring. Indonesia’s tropical forests represent some of the most diverse habitats on the planet. The current fire outbreak adds to decades of existing deforestation by palm oil, timber and other agribusiness operators, further imperilling endangered species such as the orangutan.

      The human cost is stark; 19 people have died and an estimated 500,000 cases of respiratory tract infections have been reported since the start of the fires. It’s estimated that the fires could cause more than 100,000 premature deaths in the region.

      Financial damage to the region’s economy is still being counted, but the Indonesian government’s own estimates suggest it could be as high as $47bn, a huge blow to the country’s economy. A World Bank study (pdf) on forest fires last year in Riau province estimated that they caused $935m of losses relating to lost agricultural productivity and trade.

    • Orangutans are losing both health and habitat to palm oil fires

      Tellingly, the lands just outside that sanctuary—still smoking from recent fires—were recently planted with new oil palms.

    • Satellites Expose Just How Bad Indonesia’s Fires Are

      Indonesia has been aflame for a couple months now. That happens every fall—the country’s fire season is severe—but this time around, things are the worst they’ve been in almost two decades. This year’s crazy-strong El Niño has desiccated the region’s peat beds, while palm oil plantations exacerbate the problem by cutting down trees and draining the normally soggy land.

      All that dry stuff adds up to create a big, flaming environmental catastrophe. By some estimates, the inferno this year has released more than 1.5 billion tons of emissions, larger than the annual fossil fuel output of Japan.

    • The final days of sub-400 ppm carbon dioxide

      During the Pleistocene “ice age,” this measurement (or its glacial air bubble proxy) varied between 180 and 280 ppm. It was at about 280 ppm prior to the Industrial Revolution. Since then, we’ve been taking carbon out of the ground, where it was sequestered hundreds of millions of years ago, and setting it on fire. The “free” energy we got from this chemical reaction has powered tremendous advancements in well-being of most humans living in industrialized societies. But the oxidation of carbon results in carbon dioxide, and though plants suck some of it up again, and the oceans absorb about a third of it, most continues to hang out in the atmosphere. Over the past two centuries, it has been piling up like dishes in a dormitory sink. This waste gas is a problem, for it’s selectively opaque to light – visible light is unfiltered by CO2, but CO2 blocks infrared wavelengths, the kind any object sitting in the sun emits long after the sun has set. That means our atmosphere retains more of the heat that would otherwise get bled off into space. Energy comes in more or less constantly from the sun, but less and less of it is making it back out.

    • Will Indonesian Fires Spark Reform of Rogue Forest Sector?

      The fires that blazed in Indonesia’s rainforests in 1982 and 1983 came as a shock. The logging industry had embarked on a decades-long pillaging of the country’s woodlands, opening up the canopy and drying out the carbon-rich peat soils. Preceded by an unusually long El Niño-related dry season, the forest fires lasted for months, sending vast clouds of smoke across Southeast Asia.

  • Finance

    • Arrests in JP Morgan, eTrade, Scottrade Hacks

      U.S. authorities today announced multiple indictments and arrests in connection with separate hacking incidents that resulted in the theft of more than 100 million customer records from some of the nation’s biggest financial institutions and brokerage firms, including JP Morgan Chase, E*Trade and Scottrade.

    • Alibaba’s Singles Day Blowout Racks Up $5B in Sales in First 90 Minutes

      The world’s biggest shopping day is happening right now, and you probably don’t even know it.

      In China, it’s already November 11, or 11/11, and the massive e-commerce event known as “Singles Day” is well under way. Launched by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in 2009, the idea is that for a full 24 hours, shoppers who are unmarried and unattached should go online and splurge on a nice gift for themselves.

      How big a deal is Singles Day? This year, during Alibaba’s four-hour television event the night ahead of Singles Day (yes, this year they celebrated “Singles Day’s Eve”), Alibaba trotted out a parade of Chinese pop celebrities and movie stars. James Bond (er, Daniel Craig) appeared onstage with Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma. Kevin Spacey made an appearance via video in his House of Cards persona, President Frank Underwood.

    • Fast food workers strike nationwide for $15/hr

      Hundreds of fast food workers are striking nationwide Tuesday, joining other workers in pressing for a more livable wage.

      Billed as the largest rally to date, there are 270 demonstrations scheduled nationwide. Workers have gone on strike nationwide repeatedly in the last few years demanding higher pay. According to organizers, more than 60 million Americans are paid less than $15 per hour.

    • Crickhowell: Welsh town moves ‘offshore’ to avoid tax on local business

      When independent traders in a small Welsh town discovered the loopholes used by multinational giants to avoid paying UK tax, they didn’t just get mad.

      Now local businesses in Crickhowell are turning the tables on the likes of Google and Starbucks by employing the same accountancy practices used by the world’s biggest companies, to move their entire town “offshore”.

    • David Cameron hasn’t the faintest idea how deep his cuts go. This letter proves it

      It’s like the crucial moment in Graham Greene’s novel The Quiet American. The US agent stares at the blood on his shoes, unable to make the connection between the explosion he commissioned and the bodies scattered across the public square in Saigon. In leaked correspondence with the Conservative leader of Oxfordshire county council (which covers his own constituency), David Cameron expresses his horror at the cuts being made to local services. This is the point at which you realise that he has no conception of what he has done.

      The letters were sent in September, but came to light only on Friday, when they were revealed by the Oxford Mail. The national media has been remarkably slow to pick the story up, given the insight it offers into the prime minister’s detachment from the consequences of his actions.

    • The Wall Street Journal Praises For-Profit Colleges That Prey On Veterans

      Federal law allows for-profit colleges to access more federal funding by enrolling large numbers of military veterans, despite evidence that many of these schools do not prepare their students for the job market. In recent years, predatory recruitment of service members by several for-profit college chains has been exposed by congressional and media investigations, yet the Wall Street Journal editorial board continues to defend the schools’ recruiting practices and advocates for fewer student protections at for-profit institutions. In honor of Veterans Day, here are some of the Journal’s most misleading and inflammatory arguments defending failing for-profits that take advantage of veterans.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Bezos’ Stake in Uber Goes Under the Radar at Washington Post

      The Washington Post, like all major publications, reports on Uber quite a bit. In fact, it’s done so about a dozen times in the past week alone. But unlike every other publication, its corporate interest in the mobile phone-based car service company is more than journalistic in nature.

      The Post‘s sole owner, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, is a major shareholder in Uber. In 2011, Bezos and two other investors, Menlo Ventures and Goldman Sachs, collectively invested $32 million in the then-fledging startup. Because Uber is a private company, it’s impossible to know the exact current value of Bezos’ investment, but assuming the three investors contributed evenly, the last valuation of the company would put his stake in Uber at roughly $1.5 billion. To put that in perspective, it’s approximately six times what Bezos paid for the Post in 2013.

      While the Post occasionally mentions this glaring conflict when covering Uber, a large majority of its Uber-related articles make no mention of the boss’s stake. It’s unclear what criteria the Post uses to either disclose or not disclose the conflict of interest. (An email to the Post requesting an explanation went unanswered.)

    • ‘Google This’ Is Good Advice From Netanyahu, Since NYT Won’t Check His Claims for You

      Readers who followed Netanyahu’s advice to turn to Google, then, would be much better informed of the reality of Israel’s settlement policy than those who simply read the New York Times parroting his claims.

  • Censorship

    • WikiLeaks Targets “Trigger Warnings” And “Safe Spaces”

      The whistleblowing non-profit WikiLeaks has a new target. It isn’t a corrupt government or an incompetent military, but “trigger warnings,” “safe spaces” and “microaggressions.” WikiLeaks argued on its official Twitter account that the rising popularity of these terms is thanks to what it calls “generation trauma”—and that it’s harming free speech.

    • Starting From Next Year, China Wants Music Services To Vet Every Song Before It Goes Online

      As the article explains, online music companies are expected to bear all the costs of setting up censorship departments and training staff to vet all the songs, and will be punished if they fail to implement the new policy properly. At least some will have had practice, since a similar approach has been applied to online posts for some time.

    • Cinema pulls screening of Prophet Mohamed film The Message after fewer than 100 complaints

      A Scottish cinema has become embroiled in a freedom of speech row after it pulled the screening of a film about the life of the Prophet Mohamed after fewer than 100 complaints.

      The Grosvenor Cinema was due to screen the Oscar-nominated 1977 film The Message on Sunday on behalf of the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB). But it pulled the screening after an anonymous petition with 94 signatories – largely from Scotland but also from people registered in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia – criticised the film as being “inappropriate and disrespectful” to Islam.

    • How to avoid being hit by a Google algorithm update: How to SEO your website and stay off Google’s blacklist

      We explain how to ensure your website is not adversely affected by Google algorithm updates. How to SEO your website and stay off Google’s blacklist: how to get lots of traffic from search. Here are our essential SEO tips.

  • Privacy

    • How Europe can blaze a trail for whistleblowers

      A pleasant surprise from the European parliament at the end of October: delegates managed to narrowly pass a resolution calling on EU member states to recognize Edward Snowden as a whistleblower and an international human rights defender. The resolution calls on member states to guarantee Snowden protection from prosecution, extradition and transfer to third states, i.e. the United States.

      This is a major step, even if the resolution does not have any binding power. It has echoes of Snowden’s situation in summer 2013 as he desperately sent out asylum requests to states in Europe and elsewhere from within the transit zone at Moscow airport – to no avail. In the two years since then, discussions have been ongoing in Germany on whether or not Snowden could at the very least safely enter and leave Germany to give testimony to the NSA inquiry committee. But the German government made it clear that the political will for this is lacking. Similar reactions came from the governments in Switzerland and Sweden when the question of asylum was up for discussion there.

    • The snooper’s charter: one misspelled Google search for ‘bong-making’ and you’ll be in an orange jumpsuit

      Theresa May, with the general air of a hawk that had a This Morning makeover, has launched the new investigatory powers bill. No more drunken Googling: all it takes is a misspelled search for “bong-making” and suddenly you’ll be in an orange jumpsuit getting beaten with a pillowcase full of bibles. Also, pay attention when searching for a child’s prom.

      This law will create lots of new jobs, as the person charged with reading all our communications (who will see more unsolicited erections than customer services at Skype) will regularly feed their screaming face into a meatgrinder.

    • Theresa May’s proposed spying law is ‘worse than scary’ United Nations says

      Theresa May’s proposed surveillance and spying laws are “worse than scary”, the United Nations’ privacy chief has said.

      Joseph Cannataci, the UN’s special rapporteur on privacy, said the draft Investigatory Powers Bill heralded a “golden age of surveillance” unlike any that had come before.

      The draft law, published by the Home Secretary earlier this month, would require internet companies to hand over any and all of their users’ communications as required by authorities.

    • Judge Orders NSA to Stop Collecting American’s Phone Records Immediately

      Last summer, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, a surveillance reform that prohibits the government from collecting telephone metadata in bulk, but the NSA was able to get the program extended a few more months, until November 29, 2015, the last day that type of surveillance will be legal.

      Judge Leon already ruled that this program violated the Fourth Amendment in December of 2013, a decision he echoed and reiterated on Monday. The Judge also complained about the slowness with which this legal process moved.

      “I assumed the appeal would proceed expeditiously,” Judge Leon wrote in his decision. “For reasons unknown to me, it did not.”

    • Facebook must stop tracking Belgian users within 48 hours, or be fined €250K per day

      A Belgian court yesterday gave Facebook 48 hours to stop tracking Internet users who do not have a Facebook account. If the US company refuses to comply, it faces fines of up to €250,000 (£177,000 or ~$267,500) per day.

      “Today the judge… ordered the social network Facebook to stop tracking and registering Internet usage by people who surf the Internet in Belgium, in the 48 hours which follow this statement,” the Belgian court said according to AFP.

      The judgment is a result of Belgium’s independent Privacy Commission taking Facebook to court for failing to comply with the country’s privacy laws, as Ars reported back in June. The Privacy Commission wanted Facebook to implement a number of changes to its operations, including refraining from “systematically placing long-life and unique identifier cookies with non-users of Facebook.” The commission always wanted Facebook to stop collecting and using user data through the use of cookies and social plug-ins unless it obtained an unambiguous and specific consent through an opt-in.

    • As Belgium threatens fines, Facebook’s defence of tracking visitors rings hollow

      Facebook has said that it will appeal the ruling, claiming that since their european headquarters are situated in Ireland, they should only be bound by the Irish Data Protection Regulator.

    • Tor Says Feds Paid Carnegie Mellon $1M to Help Unmask Users

      Ever since a Carnegie Mellon talk on cracking the anonymity software Tor was abruptly pulled from the schedule of the Black Hat hacker conference last year, the security community has been left to wonder whether the research was silently handed over to law enforcement agencies seeking to uncloak the internet’s anonymous users. Now the non-profit Tor Project itself says that it believes the FBI did use Carnegie Mellon’s attack technique—and paid them handsomely for the privilege.

    • Did the FBI Pay a University to Attack Tor Users?

      The Tor Project has learned more about last year’s attack by Carnegie Mellon researchers on the hidden service subsystem. Apparently these researchers were paid by the FBI to attack hidden services users in a broad sweep, and then sift through their data to find people whom they could accuse of crimes.

    • Justice officials fear nation’s biggest wiretap operation may not be legal

      Federal drug agents have built a massive wiretapping operation in the Los Angeles suburbs, secretly intercepting tens of thousands of Americans’ phone calls and text messages to monitor drug traffickers across the United States despite objections from Justice Department lawyers who fear the practice may not be legal.

      Nearly all of that surveillance was authorized by a single state court judge in Riverside County, who last year signed off on almost five times as many wiretaps as any other judge in the United States. The judge’s orders allowed investigators — usually from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration — to intercept more than 2 million conversations involving 44,000 people, federal court records show.

    • Appeals Court Says NSA Can Keep Trampling 4th Amendment With Phone Surveillance Program For Now

      This is hardly a surprise, but the DC Appeals Court has issued a stay on Judge Richard Leon’s ruling from earlier this week that the NSA’s bulk phone record collection program was unconstitutional. This is the same appeals court that overturned Leon’s earlier ruling finding the program unconstitutional. This time, as we noted, Judge Leon refused to grant the government a stay, noting that the DC Circuit had taken its sweet time in actually issuing a ruling on the appeal — and the program is set to end in a couple weeks anyway. Also, Leon didn’t order the entire program shut down, but just that the NSA stop keeping the records of the plaintiffs who were customers of Verizon Business Network Services (J.J. Little and J.J. Little & Associates).

    • Broadband bills will have to increase to pay for snooper’s charter, MPs are warned

      Consumers’ broadband bills will have to go up if the investigatory powers bill is passed due to the “massive cost” of implementation, MPs have been warned.

      Internet service providers (ISP) told a Commons select committee that the legislation, commonly known as the snooper’s charter, does not properly acknowledge the “sheer quantity” of data generated by a typical internet user, nor the basic difficulty of distinguishing between content and metadata.

    • Massive Hack of 70 Million Prisoner Phone Calls Indicates Violations of Attorney-Client Privilege

      AN ENORMOUS CACHE of phone records obtained by The Intercept reveals a major breach of security at Securus Technologies, a leading provider of phone services inside the nation’s prisons and jails. The materials — leaked via SecureDrop by an anonymous hacker who believes that Securus is violating the constitutional rights of inmates — comprise over 70 million records of phone calls, placed by prisoners to at least 37 states, in addition to links to downloadable recordings of the calls. The calls span a nearly two-and-a-half year period, beginning in December 2011 and ending in the spring of 2014.

  • Civil Rights

    • DOJ Has Blocked Everyone In The Executive Branch From Reading The Senate’s Torture Report

      A year ago, we were writing a ton on the famed Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report. This report, which Committee staffers spent years on, cost $40 million, and clocked in at nearly 7,000 pages of detailed analysis of the US’s hugely questionable (both morally and legally) torture program in the wake of 9/11. After much fighting, the Senate finally released a heavily redacted executive summary, but since then there have been some questions about what happens with the full report. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who was (believe it or not!) the driving force behind the report, had copies of the full report delivered to the Defense Department, the CIA, the State Department and the Justice Department. However, there has been a lot of confusion over whether or not anyone actually read it. The DOJ clearly announced that officials had read the whole thing… but later claimed that no one had even opened the report. Obviously, the DOJ lied with one of those statements.

    • Video emerges showing unarmed Virginia man being tased by three police officers while shackled before dying in custody – and all three cops have been PROMOTED

      Video has emerged that shows three officers tasing a man 20 times in half an hour while he was shackled.

      Linwood Lambert of South Boston, Virginia, was taken into custody shortly before 5am on May 4, 2013, when police responded to a noise complaint and found him acting in a paranoid and delusional way in his room at a Super 8 motel.

      The officers had no reason to arrest Lambert and decided to handcuff him and take him to hospital.

      But along the way he grew agitated and, as they pulled up to the ER entrance, he kicked out the back window of the squad car and ran towards the hospital door.

      That is when the officers began tasing Lambert, who immediately fell straight to the ground. He was unable to break his fall due to wearing handcuffs.

      The three officers told Lambert, 46, they were arresting him and drove him from the hospital to the police station.

      He was unconscious by the time they arrived at the station, and pronounced dead by the time he arrived back at the hospital he had just left.

    • Indonesia drugs: Crocodiles ‘to guard death row prisons’

      The head of Indonesia’s anti-drugs agency has proposed building a prison island guarded by crocodiles to house death-row drug convicts.

      Budi Waseso said crocodiles often made better guards than humans – because they could not be bribed.

    • 60 Minutes Stands With Secret Keepers Against Those Who Expose Them

      How do you get Snowden, Manning and the Washington Navy Yard spree shooter in the same category? By treating leaks to the press and a sawed-off shotgun as the same thing: all “weapons.” It’s a peculiar stance for a TV news magazine that prides itself on its tradition of investigative reporting to take—that getting information out to the public is a form of violence.

      It’s also odd for journalists to describe Manning, because she was convicted under the Espionage Act, as a “convicted spy.” The law forbids giving “an unauthorized person…any classified information,” language that was not meant to give the United States an Official Secrets Act, but which has been treated as such by the Obama administration. Regardless of whether this is legal or constitutional, the Act doesn’t change the meaning of the word “spy”; presumably when 60 Minutes reporters get classified information from government officials, they don’t say to their sources, “Thanks for spying for us.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • T-Mobile Exempts Video Streams From Wireless Data Caps, Sets A Horrible Precedent

      You’ll probably see countless reports suggesting that T-Mobile’s move is sure to “invite scrutiny by the FCC,” but that’s highly unlikely. T-Mobile’s done a fantastic job of selling a potentially problematic precedent as consumer empowerment. Meanwhile, the FCC has made it abundantly clear it sees usage caps and zero rating as creative pricing experimentation, in the process opening the door wide to a lopsided vision of the Internet many will naively be cheering for.

    • Comcast Keeps Scolding Me For Calling Its Top Lobbyist A Lobbyist

      Last summer I noted that Comcast’s PR department pretty consistently now sends me snotty e-mail “corrections.” Not about any of the thousands of articles Techdirt or I have written about the company’s abysmal customer service, punitive usage caps, ridiculously high prices, or obnoxiously anti-competitive behavior mind you, but to scold me for one and only one thing: calling the company’s top lobbyist a lobbyist.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • US tries, and fails, to block “import” of digital data that violates patents

      A federal appeals court panel today struck down an International Trade Commission (ITC) ruling in a patent case that attempted to block electronic transmissions of digital data from overseas.

      The ITC’s authority to prevent importation of “articles” applies only to material things, not digital transmissions, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled. (Consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge posted the ruling’s text.)

    • Video conferencing: a golden opportunity to reduce costs in patent proceedings

      Indeed while patents are a great thing, it does cost money to obtain them — and applicants should not rely on the EPO to remedy their self-imposed inconveniences. The EPC does not contain “poor law” provisions such as financial subsidies or leniencies for parties with a tight budget, contrary to some countries’ national patent laws. Accordingly, applicants that operate on a tight budget must carefully consider if they are really and truly prepared to cover the costs entailed in EPC proceedings — or whether they should rather accept any concessions that might be available under national patent laws. As Merpel notes, if they can’t even afford the cost of dealing with the EPO in examination proceedings, and possibly in post-grant opposition proceedings, there’s probably little chance of them being to afford the cost of litigating these patents nationally or, as will soon be likely, before the Unified Patent Court, wherever that litigation might be.

    • Copyrights

      • Blizzard Sues Bot Maker For Copyright Infringement

        Blizzard Entertainment is taking a stand against popular cheating bots for World of Warcraft, Diablo 3 and Heroes of the Storm. The game company is suing the alleged operator(s) of a series of popular bots for copyright infringement and accuses them of ruining the gaming experience for legitimate players.


Links 10/11/2015: Enlightenment Foundation Libraries 1.16; NASA, FCC, USDA Use Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 9:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


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