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Links 21/10/2015: UK Government Kicks Out Microsoft, France’s Citizens Vote for FOSS

Posted in News Roundup at 5:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Users, Start Your Engines

    Simple. Linux and FOSS have a wide cast of Coopers and Shelbys making high performance versions of mass-produced distros, building on the foundation of one of the “big three” Linux distros to make fire-breathing, pixel-burning distros; distros that are the digital equivalent of vehicles that are more than just for taking the kids to soccer practice or zipping over to the grocery store.

    In fact, many of the less-than-mainstream distros out there — most of the nearly 300 Linux and BSD distros, as a matter of fact — are more than just a developer “scratching an itch.” In many cases, it’s a matter of chopping and channeling, boring out the engine, adding high performance parts, aerodynamic devices like spoilers and air dams, and even painting a flame or two on the side.

  • Meet Solu, a Gorgeous and Revolutionary Mini PC Powered by Linux – Video

    A group of Finnish developers are convinced that Solu, a revolutionary, beautiful and minimalist computer, will change the way you think about computing.

  • What Features Did Windows 10 Steal From Linux?

    Three months have passed since Microsoft launched its new OS, the Windows 10, which will be the last edition of Windows. This means that, from now on, the developers will release only updates and will continue to improve this platform. But what did Windows 10 bring new? Of course, many features. But are they… new, or inspired from other OS? Let’s see what Microsoft stole from Linux.

  • Linux: When Uniformity is Good

    We’ve been in this bid’ness for ten years now. The business of giving Linux-powered computers to kids who cannot afford this technology, or any technology for that matter. And so far so good. There have been some lessons learned along the way. Some of those lessons small but valuable. Some of those lessons so painful that we had no choice but to change the way we do things. And never doubt…there were uh, spirited discussions about this change. Yeah, we’ll stick to “spirited”. I’ve been to football matches in Great Britain and Germany that couldn’t come close to such levels of “spirit.” So which thing could bring about this measure of “spirited” discussion?

  • Desktop

    • GALPon Minino Another Lightweight Linux Distribution For 10+ Years OLD Computers

      Here we have “GALPon minino” another Linux distribution that is based on Debian and designed for computers older than 10 years or more. The distro comes with LXDE Desktop Environment and a set of applications that fulfills the day-to-day needs of the users without slowing down the machine.

    • Linux is about choice, control, and learning something new

      For me Linux is about choice, control, and learning something new. I think that’s one reason it’s not as “easy” for some people. Some prefer a mouse with just one button because there’s less to confuse. Personally, I’d rather have a 20-button mouse for more flexibility and spend two hours making it work my way. And yes, I run Gnome 3 because I like it, not because I have to.

    • System76 Releases The Wild Dog Pro, Their First Skylake Linux PC

      Our friends at System76 today announced the release of their first Skylake system. This first computer using Intel’s latest-generation processors is a desktop that’s part of the Wild Dog Pro family.

      The new System76 Wild Dog Pro features a Skylake CPU with options for a Core i5 or i7, Intel HD Graphics 530 or NVIDIA graphics up through a GeForce GTX 980, up to 64GB of DDR4 memory, and SSD options.

    • System76 unveils Skylake-powered Wild Dog Pro with Ubuntu Linux 15.10 ‘Wily Werewolf’

      Linux-based operating systems are wonderful for many reasons, such as being lightweight and secure. One of my favorite aspects, however, is the open and customizable nature. Ubuntu, for example, is one of the best operating systems, but if you do not like the default Unity environment, you can simply choose another — not so with Windows or OS X.

    • System76 Launches Wild Dog Pro Powered by Ubuntu 15.10 and Intel Skylake

      System76 just revealed the new Ubuntu 15.10-powered Wild Dog Pro desktop with the 6th Generation Intel Core ‘Skylake’ processor is available in their stores.

  • Server

    • ONOS, ODL closer to cooperating on open source controller

      Two open source groups building separate software-defined networking (SDN) controllers are now part of the Linux Foundation, increasing the likelihood of cross-project collaboration.

      This week, the Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab) placed its Open Networking Operating System (ONOS) project under the foundation. ONOS developers are building a carrier-grade SDN open source controller.

    • Greater collaboration would be a boon for open networking projects

      With so many projects, though, it seems that eventually there will have to be some consolidation among the projects … or at least an overall standard that everyone can agree on. Last week, ON.Lab’s ONOS project was added to the ever-growing list of Linux Foundation projects. It joins several other open source networking projects that are Linux Foundation projects, including the OpenDaylight Project, OPNFV and IO Visor.

    • ONOS chief architect hopes to add clustering features over the next year

      Now a Linux Foundation project, the Open Network Operating System project is likely to attract more attention.

      On the CloudRouter Project’s blog, Thomas Vachuska, ONOS’s chief architect, indicated that since ON.Lab launched the open source software-defined networking project in December 2014, several collaborators and contributors have joined. The number is growing, he noted. It will probably do so more rapidly now that ONOS is a Linux Foundation project.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.3-rc6

      Things continue to be calm, and in fact have gotten progressively calmer. All of which makes me really happy, although my suspicious nature looks for things to blame. Are people just on their best behavior because the Kernel Summit is imminent, and everybody is putting their best foot forward?

      Or maybe this just ended up being one of those rare painless releases when nothing bad happens.

      That would be lovely.

    • Exclusive Interview: Max Ogden of HyperOS

      HyperOS is a nifty solution for those who want to run their own containerized environment on desktops or laptops for development purpose. HyperOS supports Linux, Mac, and soon Windows and is intended to be used primarily as a end-user CLI tool on workstations. We reached out to Max Ogden who leads the development team.

    • GROBR: a drama queen quits the Linux community

      Sharp, who had been maintainer of the USB 3.0 tree, came to prominence two years ago when she attacked Linux creator Linus Torvalds, who is also head of the kernel project, for his verbal attacks on other developers who erred in their coding. It turned out that she had planned this to perfection.

      The whole episode bears some re-examining, especially in light of the fact that since the 2013 exchange between Sharp and Torvalds, the latter has not spoken a word against anyone. The Linux Foundation, his employer, took note of the exchange by putting some curbs on him in the form of what it called a code of conflict which was merged into the kernel itself.

    • Media Advisory: Linux Foundation Releases Episode 2 in World Without Linux Series

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux and collaborative development, today announced the immediate release of episode 2 in its World Without Linux digital video series.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel minions create fast open source graphics

        Chipmaker Intel has set its minions the task of creating a high-performance software rasteriser for the Linux Mesa 3D Graphics Library.

        Mesa currently uses swrast, LLVMpipe, and Softpipe drivers as software rasterisers that run OpenGL on the CPU rather than any dedicated GPU. But apparently Intel’s minions have been developing a new, high-performance software rasteriser.

      • Intel Has Developed a Super Fast Linux Software Rasterizer Called OpenSWR

        Intel employees Tim Rowley and Bruce Cherniak have published a very intriguing announcement on the Mesa 3D Graphics Library development mailing list, informing us about their new software project developed within a small team at Intel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.5 Will Have a Quicklaunch Applet, New Bluetooth Devices KCM

        KDE developer David Rosca has published an interesting article on his blog to inform us all about the work he has done on the upcoming and highly anticipated KDE Plasma 5.5 desktop environment.

      • Some thoughts on the quality of Plasma 5

        Last week we got quite some criticism about the quality of KDE Plasma 5 on the Internet. This came rather surprising for us and is at least in my opinion highly undeserved. So far what we saw is that Plasma has a high quality – probably better than previous iterations of what was known as the KDE Desktop Environment – and got lots of praise for the state it is in. So how come that there is such a discrepancy between what we see and what our users see?

      • 19 Years of KDE History: Step by Step

        KDE – one of most functional desktop environment ever. It’s open source and free for use. 19 years ago, 14 october 1996 german programmer Matthias Ettrich has started a development of this beautiful environment. KDE provides the shell and many applications for everyday using. Today KDE uses the hundred thousand peoples over the world on Unix and Windows operating system. 19 years – serious age for software projects. Time to return and see how it begin.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.20 Arrives on March 23, 2016, Here’s the Full Release Schedule

        Now that GNOME 3.18 has been introduced and it already has a first point release, and many of us GNU/Linux users are starting to upgrade our old GNOME 3.16 desktop environments to the new and improved version, the time has come to learn some information about the next major release, GNOME 3.20.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • The friendly face of Linux Lite 2.6

        I greatly enjoyed my time with Linux Lite 2.6. The distribution does a lot of things well, is easy to set up and use and the project offers us a lot of beginner friendly documentation. Linux Lite provides a great balance of speed, user friendliness, features and stability.

        I like that Linux Lite manages to live up to its name by using few resources while still looking nice, the distribution manages to provide a stable base while shipping with up to date desktop applications and it offers good hardware support too. It is especially nice to see a distribution provide a control panel similar to the OpenMandriva Control Centre. This is one of the features I have most wanted to see adopted by distributions outside of the OpenMandriva family and it’s nice to see Linux Lite take the lead on this one.

        Lite ships with a good deal of functionality, providing users with most of the desktop software they are likely to need without, I’m happy to report, bogging down the application menu with a lot of extras, I feel a good balance was struck with regards to the default applications. Plus, I like that Lite offers us multimedia support out of the box.

        Mostly, what I appreciated about Linux Lite was the distribution’s sense of polish. I don’t mean visually, though I did enjoy Lite’s default look, I mean polish in the sense that the little details were addressed. Most distributions will have some small bugs or quirks or little annoyances. Perhaps too many notification messages or an application that won’t launch or the software manager will not always run properly because PackageKit refuses to relinquish its lock on the package database. Linux Lite, by contrast, offered a smooth, pleasant experience. The one bug I ran into was with the system installer locking up when I attempted to use Btrfs as my root file system. Otherwise, I had a completely trouble-free experience with Lite. The documentation was helpful, the system was responsive, no applications crashed, there were no annoying notifications and the package manager worked as expected. I came away from my trial with Lite sharing the opinion that Linux Lite deserves more credit than it gets.

      • Liquid Lemur Linux Floats Fluid Desktop Design

        Developer Edward Snyder recently released the second alpha version of Liquid Lemur Linux 2.0. It offers a hybrid desktop experience that combines the Window Maker window manager with elements of the Xfce desktop.

    • New Releases

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro 15.09 (Bellatrix) Receives One of the Biggest Updates So Far

        The developers of Manjaro 15.09 (Bellatrix) have issued yet another update for the operating system, and they say that it’s one of the biggest ones made available so far. One look at the changelog makes it clear why that is the case.

      • 5 Ways to Make Arch Linux More Stable

        Arch Linux has a reputation for being unstable and hard to use. The distribution is bleeding edge, so its public perception is understandable. It is because of this fact that we’ve decided to compile a list of the top five ways to improve the stability of Arch.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Rescatux 0.40 Beta 1 Live CD Adds SELinux Support, Based on Debian 8 Jessie

          Adrian Raulete has informed Softpedia about the release of the first Beta build of his upcoming Rescatux 0.40 Live CD, which can be used for performing system administration tasks on both GNU/Linux and Windows PCs.

        • The status of the Devuan project, presented at Opennebula

          tomorrow our fellow VUA Alberto Zuin will be presenting Devuan at the OpenNebula conference 2015 in Barcelona…

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) Release Candidate Images Out Now

            Canonical has started seeding the RC (Release Candidate) ISO images of the anticipated Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) operating system to testers worldwide to hunt down the last remaining bugs for the October 22 release.

          • The First Malicious App Enters The Ubuntu Touch Store & Quickly Removed

            First malicious app entered the ubuntu touch app store
            If you’re using Ubuntu Touch then this is for you. Recently the first malicious app has entered into the Ubuntu touch store by bypassing the security measurements. The app does some malicious activities and changes the default flash screen without any permission. Fortunately, the app called “test” has been quickly removed from the store after being noticed.

          • Attacker slips malware past Ubuntu Phone checks

            Canonical has issued a security advisory to all fifteen people who installed a particular Ubuntu Phone app.

            While its reach might be trivial, the bug itself was serious: someone worked out how to bypass checks that are supposed to protect the Ubuntu Phone operating system’s single-click app installation process.

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-7 Update Released, Brings Improved App Startup Times

            Canonical has announced that the latest OTA-7 update for Ubuntu Touch has been released, and users should start receiving the notifications. It’s a phase system, and not everyone will be prompted at once to upgrade.

          • Canonical Prepares Ubuntu 15.10 Linux Open Source OS for Final Release

            Ubuntu 15.10, aptly code-named Wily Werewolf, will officially debut this week from Canonical, bringing with it a surprising number of new features. Here’s what to expect in the newest version of the popular Linux-based open source operating system.

          • Ubuntu 15.10 Is Coming This Week & AMD’s Catalyst Chokes On Its Kernel

            Ubuntu 15.10 is set to be released on Thursday, but those dependent upon the AMD Catalyst proprietary graphics driver for Linux gaming or the like might want to hold off on upgrading… While there is the latest Catalyst driver packaged and it’s been patched to work against the Wily Werewolf’s default Linux 4.2 kernel, it doesn’t seem to work reliably.

          • Ubuntu UI Toolkit Updated to Help You Build and Design Apps for Ubuntu Phones

            Ubuntu community member Kevin Feyder has shared with us an update to the Ubuntu UI Toolkit, an open-source project designed from the ground up to help Ubuntu application developers and designers build and design apps for Ubuntu phones.

          • GPS Navigation App for Ubuntu Phones Has Just Become Amazing – Gallery

            After announcing at the end of August 2015 that the next major release of the uNav GPS navigation app for Ubuntu Phones would be amazing, Marcos Costales has had the pleasure of announcing the immediate availability of uNav 0.30.

          • AMD Radeon R9 290: Ubuntu 15.04 vs. 15.10 – Don’t Expect Much Better Performance

            While thwarted by some open-source Radeon DRM issues, here are some Radeon R9 290 “Hawaii” graphics card benchmarks between Ubuntu 15.04 vs. 15.10 for those curious.

            In still working through a larger comparison and also now running into the lack of working AMD Catalyst support on Ubuntu 15.10, tonight to share are just some Radeon R9 290 “Hawaii” GPU numbers under Ubuntu 15.04 and Ubuntu 15.10 out-of-the-box.

          • Ubuntu Celebrates 11 Years Since “Warty Warthog” Release

            Just 11 short years ago, Mark Shuttleworth was announcing the release of Ubuntu 4.10 “The Warty Warthog.” It changes the way people were using Linux distribution, and it’s still to this day a force in the open source world.

          • Canonical Takes the Wraps Off Ubuntu 15.10 Linux Distro

            Canonical, the lead commercial sponsor behind the open-source Ubuntu Linux distribution, is set to debut its latest release on Oct. 22. Ubuntu 15.10, also referred to as the Wily Werewolf, follows the Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet release that debuted April 23. Ubuntu 15.10 includes an updated Firefox 41 Web browser, LibreOffice 5 office suite and other desktop tools. The desktop itself has been further refined for stability and performance to help improve the user experience. One of the only user-visible changes on the desktop is the use of Gnome overlay scroll bars, which provide a more streamlined approach to window scrolling in Ubuntu 15.10. On the server side, Ubuntu 15.10 now includes the new OpenStack Liberty cloud release that debuted last week. The LXD container hypervisor also gets a boost in the new Ubuntu 15.10 release, providing users with the ability to scale container deployments securely. Sitting underneath server and desktop editions of Ubuntu 15.10 is the Linux 4.2 kernel that Linus Torvalds unveiled on Aug. 30. Here’s a look at key features in the Ubuntu 15.10 Linux distribution release.

          • Ubuntu 15.10 Is Going Through Final Testing

            Canonical is ready to release a new version of Ubuntu, 15.10, and it’s doing some final testing. The new version should arrive in just a couple of days.

          • Canonical Explains Its Convergence Goals

            Canonical’s converge goal has been a lofty one right from the start, but the company didn’t fully explain what they really wanted with it. Their goals for convergence changed over the years, and only now they point out exactly what’s this convergence all about.

          • Ubuntu 15.10 Now Supports Steam Controllers After Being Patched

            Ubuntu 15.10 will ship with support for the Steam Controller after the developers have fixed a couple of problems that prevented this particular device to work.

          • The Impact Of Switching To Linux 4.3 + Mesa-11.1/LLVM-3.8 On Ubuntu 15.10

            Yesterday I posted some performance results of a Radeon R9 290 tested on Ubuntu 15.04 and Ubuntu 15.10 out-of-the-box. In this article are some numbers when upgrading the Ubuntu 15.10 installation to use the non-standard Linux 4.3 Git kernel as well as Mesa 11.1-devel Git that’s built against LLVM 3.8 SVN for the newest open-source AMD Linux experience.

          • Canonical Patches Two Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

            Canonical announced earlier today, October 20, that they’ve released updated kernel packages for the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) operating system, patching two security vulnerabilities.

          • Canonical Releases Important Security Patches for Ubuntu 15.04 and 14.04 LTS

            After announcing the general availability of a new kernel version of its Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) operating system, Canonical published details about an important security patch for the kernel packages of Ubuntu 15.04 and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-7 Fully Deployed, Developers Begin Work on OTA-8

            In the last hours of October 20, Canonical’s Łukasz Zemczak sent in his daily report to inform us all about the things that happened in the Ubuntu Touch world since the release of the OTA-7 software update on October 19, 2015.

          • Ubuntu UI Toolkit Updated To Help Build Better User Interface

            Ubuntu community member Kevin Feyder recently shared an update regarding Ubuntu UI Toolkit, an open-source project designed from the ground up to facilitate Ubuntu application developers so they can best design and build apps for Ubuntu powered phones. The toolkit also has Suru Icon Template in it that allows users to create consistent icons for their Ubuntu phone apps.

            “If anyone is interested in building or designing for the Ubuntu phone. I just updated my vector ui toolkit. You can find it at: https://github.com/halfsail/Ubuntu-UI-Toolkit ,” said Kevin Feyder in a Google+ post.

            There are also the Ubuntu Ui Patterns, a set of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) images that help application developers create mockup layouts for the Ubuntu Phone, and Device Stickersheet, a collection of Ubuntu devices that help mocking the UI.

          • Ubuntu celebrates 11th birthday, looks ahead to smartphone/desktop convergence

            11 years ago the first version of Ubuntu was released: Ubuntu 4.10 Warty Warthog. Later this week Canonical will release Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf.

          • Ubuntu 15.10 Release Candidate Available For Final Bug Testing

            Canonical has started sending out Release Candidate ISO images of Ubuntu’s next iteration, the Wily Werewolf (version 15.10) to testers worldwide so they can find out the bugs and report back prior to the official October 22nd release date of the OS.

            Ubuntu 15.10 is currently in the Final Freeze stage of development, which means that the OS will not get any new features and updates, except for fixes for critical security vulnerabilities and major bugs that might be discovered during the testing period of the Release Candidate images.

          • Ubuntu Phone Faces First Security Attack against Open Source Mobile OS

            Ubuntu Phone, the open source mobile OS from Canonical, has suffered its first security vulnerability in the form of an attack that gave hackers root access to Ubuntu-based smartphones.

          • Ubuntu to-do list

            EVERY time I install a new version of Ubuntu, I go through the same routine of installing extra programs that give me the convenience and extra functionality I need on my home computer. I’ve not been terribly organized about it, however, and often end up doing a number of online searches each time to recall what it was I did to get those applications and utilities onto my machine.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sonic Pi uses code to compose a dance party

      Sam Aaron is a live coder who considers programming a performance. He created Sonic Pi, an open source live coding synthesizer that lets people use code to compose and perform in classical and contemporary styles ranging from canons to dubstep. By day, Aaron works as a research associate at the University of Cambridge. By night, he codes music for people to dance to.

    • 5 Things Only a Raspberry Pi 2 Can Do

      The latest edition of the pint-sized computer is awesome. It’s faster, bolder, and comes with a souped-up CPU and double the RAM. Simply put, it’s a significantly more capable machine. But you probably already knew that.

      The iterative nature of hardware releases means that each new arrival is inevitably faster and more powerful than what preceded it, but often without any meaningful difference. But the Raspberry Pi 2 is radically different. It can do a whole lot more than what preceded it.

    • Rugged, wireless-capable COM runs Linux on Sitara AM57x

      CompuLab unveiled a COM based on TI’s new Cortex-A15 based Sitara AM57x SoC, with options for onboard wireless, up to 32GB flash, and -40 to 85°C operation.

      When it ships in December, CompuLab’s “CL-SOM-AM57x” computer-on-module will closely follow the BeagleBoard-X15 as one of the first embedded boards to integrate TI’s newly announced Sitara AM57x system-on-chip. Aimed at industrial automation and control IoT applications, the Linux-supported CL-SOM-AM57x COM is available with an optional “SB-SOM-AM57x” carrier board. The COM and carrier board are also available pre-integrated, as the “SBC-AM57x” sandwich-style single board computer (see farther below).

    • Raspberry Pi 2 doppelganger runs Linux on 1.8GHz Atom x5

      Aaeon launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a Raspberry Pi form-factor “Up” SBC, that runs Linux and Android on a quad-core, 1.84GHz, Intel Atom x5 SoC.

      Embedded board maker Aaeon Europe, a subsidiary of Asus, went to Kickstarter to launch “Up” SBC with the same 85.6 x 56.5mm footprint, port layout, and expansion interface as the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. Instead of a 900MHz Broadcom ARM SoC, however, the Up board features an x86-based Intel Atom x5-Z8300 system-on-chip from the 14nm Cherry Trail generation clocked to 1.33GHz or 1.84GHz.

    • Watch: Juju Status Flasher on Ubuntu Snappy Core with Raspberry Pi 2

      Matt Williams has shared with us a proof-of-concept project, which has been in the works for some time now and aims to help developers combine the power of the Juju orchestration tool with the innovative Ubuntu Snappy Core operating system.

    • Tiny Snapdragon 600 module includes WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS

      The tiny 50 x 28mm “Inforce 6401 Micro SOM” module runs Android 4.4 or Ubuntu on a Snapdragon 600 SoC, and offers built-in WiFi-ac, BT 4.0, and GPS/GLONASS.

      Inforce Computing’s “Inforce 6401” computer-on-module has the same 50 x 28mm footprint and many of the same features as its higher-end Inforce 6501 COM, which runs on a quad-core 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805. The 6401 model instead adopts the Snapdragon 600 (formerly S4 Pro) SoC, which has enjoyed wide adoption in embedded circles.

    • DragonBox Pyra Linux Handheld Now Available To Pre-Order (video)

      First unveiled back in 2014 in its first edition, the latest version of the DragonBox Pyra Linux handheld gaming console is now available to pre-order price at €290 or roughly $330.

      Unfortunately the final price of the Linux handheld will be more than the pre-order deposit pricing but as yet has not been revealed by the systems developers.

    • PHYTEC Announces a New System-on-module (SOM) Based on the New Sitara™ AM57x Processor Family from Texas Instruments
    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Tracked Robot Supports STEM in Africa

    We’d bet most Hackaday readers won’t need the software, anyway. The robot clearly uses RC servos for the drive and the little arm at the front, so controlling it directly from the Arduino ought to be easy enough. If you don’t want to roll your own, Senegal-based Azibot is taking preorders for kits for $99. We were a little surprised you couldn’t kick in a little more when you ordered to subsidize other kits for schools in need.

  • My Free and Open Source Photography Workflow

    After several years of trial and error, I finally have a complete RAW photography workflow in Linux that I am happy with.

    The applications in this workflow aren’t just native to Linux, they are also free, open source software (FOSS). There is no need to dual boot, use WINE or a virtual machine. It’s a pure FOSS photography workflow running in Linux.

  • Coinprism Launches Open Source Distributed Ledger

    lockchain technology company Coinprism has released Openchain, an open source, distributed permissioned ledger that targets enterprise and financial institutions.

  • Imply launches with $2M to commercialize the Druid open-source data store

    Some of the first few people to work on the Druid open-source data store are today launching a new startup, Imply, with $2 million in seed funding from Khosla Ventures.

    Think of this as the next big-data startup to spin out, in the vein of Hadoop-oriented Hortonworks (former Yahoo), Kafka startup Confluent (former LinkedIn), and Drill startup Dremio (former MapR). In this case, Imply is spinning out of advertising analytics startup Metamarkets.

  • Apache HTTP Server Adds HTTP/2 Support for Speed and Security

    Apache HTTP Server, the open source web server that controls around half of the market, has become the latest platform to support HTTP/2, a major security- and efficiency-focused revision of the protocol computers use to download information from the web.

  • AllSeen Alliance Adds Security Updates to Open Source IoT Platform

    The AllSeen Alliance claims to have made open source Internet of Things (IoT) development more secure with the latest update to its AllJoyn IoT framework, Security 2.0. The new feature brings authentication, device authorization and encryption enhancements to the platform.

  • Open Source Survey Cites Value

    Open source practices have been revolutionizing the way we build software for a while now. Besides providing a wealth of low-cost and well-built components, open source software has been the catalyst behind some of the most exciting new technology developments of our time: cloud computing, software-defined networking, online software delivery and more. Open source practices are also beginning to impact hardware engineering via initiatives such as the maker movement, 3D printing and low-cost platforms such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

  • The Impact of Netflix’s Open Source Software Development

    Much of Netflix’s success can be attributed to the open source environment that it has created for its products and services. Since Netflix began to realize the benefits of making its software available through open source, the company has released more than 50 projects for input on its Github page. And due to its open source preference, usage and success in code software development, Netflix has assisted in legitimizing open source as a powerful tool for many organizations.

  • Apple…Google…AllSeen Alliance: Is the Internet of Things Getting Fragmented?
  • AllSeen Alliance’s IoT Framework Gets Major Security Enhancements
  • Walmart’s cloud is open source for the wrong reasons

    Walmart Stores is entering into cloud computing … kinda. Last week, Walmart announced it will open-source the cloud technology it has built up following its acquisition of OneOp about two years ago. (Walmart maintains a 2,000-person presence in Silicon Valley.) Walmart says it will upload the source code to GitHub by 2016.

    For Walmart, this is all about putting a dent in the growth of its major rival Amazon.com. Amazon has been giving Walmart fits on the retail side for the last decade. Now Walmart is moving the battle to the cloud, with Walmart basically declaring that Amazon Web Services means cloud lock-in that enterprises can avoid if they use the open source Walmart technology instead.

  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) Plans To Open Source Its Cloud Management Platform

    There are serious cloud projects going on at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)’s WalmartLabs, and the company has indicated its willingness to freely share whatever it is cooking in the cloud. Wal-Mart intends to open source the cloud management technology that its WalmartLabs team in Silicon Valley is developing. With Wal-Mart involved in cloud publishing, disruption of cloud can be seen reaching far.

  • Affectio Societatis

    There is a mystery of sorts about the reasons people have (or think they have) to contribute to a Free and Open Source Software project. It seems very few people can explain it and it continues to puzzle everyone in the industry, the press and the governments alike.

  • Events

    • Tizen Developer Summit 2015 Bengaluru – Inaugural Keynote
    • Linaro Connect US ’15

      One of the items that came out of Linux plumbers for me was discussion on the future of the Ion memory manager for Android. While not as relevant to my day to day work anymore, I still have a lot of background knowledge and input to give. Linaro Connect happened a little over a month after plumbers and I was up there for the week, mostly for Ion and other ARM talks. (Non-technically, being at Linaro Connect also meant I could avoid the chaos in my apartment from an impending move. Yay for convenient excuses!)

    • LinuxCon Europe 2015 in Dublin

      The second day was opened by Leigh Honeywell and she was talking about how to secure an Open Future. An interesting case study, she said, was Heartbleed. Researchers found that vulnerability and went through the appropriate vulnerability disclosure channels, but the information leaked although there was an embargo in place. In fact, the bug proofed to be exploited for a couple of months already. Microsoft, her former employer, had about ten years of a head start in developing a secure development life-cycle. The trick is, she said, to have plans in place in case of security vulnerabilities. You throw half of your plan away, anyway, but it’s good to have that practice of knowing who to talk to and all. She gave a few recommendations of which she thinks will enable us to write secure code. Coders should review, learn, and speak up if they feel uncomfortable with a piece of code. Managers could take up on what she called “smells” when people tend to be fearful about their code. Of course, MicroSoft’s SDL also contains many good practices. Her minimal set of practices is to have a self-assessment in place to determine if something needs security review, have an up-front threat modelling that is kept up to date as things evolve, have a security checklist like Mozilla’s or OWASP’s, and have security analysis built into CI process.

    • Second Round of systemd.conf 2015 Sponsors
  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • UK Government Kicks Out Microsoft Office and Adopts LibreOffice

      The UK Government is looking to shed its dependency on proprietary software and entered into a new commercial deal with an open source software company Collabora Productivity that adapts LibreOffice for the use in enterprise environments.

    • Government Open Source Office deal set to provide major savings

      UK Government buyers have signed a new commercial deal for Open Source office applications on desktop, mobile, and cloud. The “Cloud Transition Agreement” between the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), an executive arm of the Cabinet Office, and British Open Source software firm Collabora Productivity, states the Government’s commitment to Open Source and Open Document Format, and offers major cost savings for public sector bodies.

    • LibreOffice 5.1 Arrives in February 2016, First Bug Hunting Session Announced

      The Document Foundation, through Italo Vignoli, has had the great pleasure of announcing that the first bug hunting session for the upcoming LibreOffice 5.1 office suite will take place between October 30 and November 1, 2015.

    • Upcoming Features of LibreOffice 5.1

      We reported earlier that The Document Foundation non-profit organization announced the first bug hunting session for the upcoming LibreOffice 5.1 open-source office suite.

  • CMS

    • What’s top of mind for a Drupal web developer at Georgia Tech

      That both open source and education have core commitments to sharing knowledge freely and to impacting the world for good through collaboration. We also share a similar challenge of how to encourage many small and unique contributions to a very large-scale project. There is some fascinating work going on in India to create social infrastructure in and around schools that makes Drupal knowledge and community easier to build and sustain.

  • BSD

    • An OpenBSD History Lesson to Mark the Open Source OS’s 20th Birthday

      OpenBSD, the open source Unix-like operating system that today mostly lives in Linux’s shadow, turns 20 this month. To mark the occasion, here’s some historical background on one of the only major “open source” operating systems to have survived without embracing the GNU GPL license.

    • Deweloperzy OpenBSD: Vadim Zhukov

      I’m a 30 years old programmer/sysadmin with wide range of interests from Moscow, Russia. I’m working in IT industry for about half of my life, and last few years I’m also a freelance teacher at Moscow State University of Information Technologies, Radiotechnics and Electronics (ex. Moscow State Institute of Radio Engineering, Electronics and Automation). I have a daughter (best one in the world, of course), which was born at October, 18 – you may call this a Fate. :)

    • EuroBSDCon 2014 Videos Online

      No, that’s not a typo; the videos for EuroBSDCon 2014 are finally online.

    • Deweloperzy OpenBSD: Ingo Schwarze

      Since 2001, so for almost three quarters of its history by now. Originally, it was pure chance. A coworker who used to run various Linux distributions repeatedly got his boxes rooted. Instead of properly securing them, he proposed to try OpenBSD. I said i didn’t care much which system he used. At that time, i was used to working on many different Unix and Unix-like systems (DEC OSF/1, Ultix, HP-UX, AIX, SuSE Linux, Debian GNU/Linux …) and OpenBSD looked like just another Unix-like system, so why not.

    • Linux Top 3: Robolinux 8.2, Bodhi Linux and OpenBSD 5.8

      Lots of changes debut in the new OpenBSD 5.8 release including some interesting security updates.

    • Microsoft taps open source LLVM compiler for cross-platform .Net

      Consider the LLILC project. Rather than reinvent the wheel, Microsoft’s new compiler for its CoreCLR .Net runtime leverages an existing cross-platform compiler framework: LLVM. Now six months into the project, its maintainers — a foundation comprised largely but not exclusively of folks from Microsoft — reports “great progress” with LLILC, but also “much still to do.”


  • Public Services/Government

    • France’s citizens vote in favour of open source

      France’s citizens are in favour of their public administrations’ use of free and open source software. France should also implement this type of software in education, according to the results of a public consultation on France’s Digital Republic bill (La République numérique). After twenty days of public debate and voting on proposals, the consultation ended on Sunday. La République numérique – the Digital Republic – drew 147,710 votes, received 8501 proposals and attracted 21,330 participants.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Spain shares database model of school student records

      Spain’s Ministry of Education has made public a database model for school student records. By sharing the technical specifications for storing and querying the student records, the ministry is encouraging the interoperability of software solutions.

    • Open Data

      • Governments should open APIs to core services

        Governments should build or help build application programming interfaces (APIs) to their core eGovernment services, says Kimmo Mäkinen, development manager at Finland’s Ministry of Finance. “We must offer an open API’s for software developers, not just the end-user interface”, he said.

    • Open Access/Content

      • InFocus: Should NIU adopt an open-source textbook program?

        The Affordable College Textbook Act, a bill reintroduced by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) on Oct. 8, would encourage universities to support pilot programs that create digital and print open-source textbooks. Universities participating in the programs would be required to create digital educational resources that would be printable and available free of charge, according to the act.

      • Letter: Open source textbooks can combat rising prices

        My name is Meghan Healey. I’m an undeclared freshman. Being on this exploratory track, most of my textbooks were relatively cheap, but they were still more expensive than they should be. If all textbooks were as “cheap” as my American Politics class, students would still have to pay at least $150 in order to have a proper education. This $150 could have been spent toward my tuition, my meal plan, or a plentiful amount of other academic expenses. Geology Textbook: $50. Environmental Science Packet: $30. Sustainability Book: $10. Freshman Seminar: $20. iClicker 2 for American Politics: $60. American Politics Textbook: $90 My total? $260. What should it be? Priceless.

    • Open Hardware

      • Ultimaker Releases Open Source Files for Ultimaker 2 Go and Extended

        For Dutch 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker, being open sourced has been part of who the company was since the very beginning, and their early success can easily be traced directly back to their loyal community of users. Their first 3D printer, the Ultimaker Original, was already a great 3D printer and remains (despite being four years old) one of the most reliable 3D printers available today. And from the very beginning Ultimaker has encouraged their community to help them make the Original better, and they certainly have. In fact, many of the improvements created by the community for their personal Originals were implemented into their next 3D printer, the Ultimaker 2 and the resulting Ultimaker 2 family of 3D printers.

  • Programming

    • File::Slurp is broken and wrong

      If your needs are average (which is the case for most people), I’d recommend Path::Tiny. This provides a well-balanced set of functions for dealing with file paths and contents.


  • Steve Ballmer Says He Owns 4% Stake in Twitter

    Former Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has acquired a 4 percent stake in Twitter Inc., giving him a bigger holding than the social-media company’s new CEO, Jack Dorsey.

    “Glad I bought 4% past few months,” the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team tweeted Friday. He praised Dorsey, who was appointed last week, for making the company “leaner, more focused.”

  • Steve Ballmer Buys Into Twitter

    In a tweet sent on Thursday evening, Mr. Ballmer, the former chief executive of Microsoft, said he had acquired a 4 percent stake in Twitter, becoming one of the single-largest outside shareholders of the company. He also praised one of the company’s new products, Moments, which organizes tweets on specific topics.

  • Northern EU leaders to discuss government modernisation

    Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur Davið Gunnlaugsson has invited his colleagues from the Nordic countries, the Baltic states and the United Kingdom to discuss government modernisation. The Northern Future Forum is to take place in Reykjavík on 28 and 29 October and will focus on simpler, smarter and innovative public services.

  • Hardware

    • Good luck repairing anything in the new iMac

      If you’ve read our review of the new iMac, you already know that a majority of what’s really new about Apple’s latest all-in-one is its accessories. The destructive folks over at iFixit say that the 21.5-inch model has what “looks like” an LG ultra-HD display and a Texas Instruments chip, while the fan and HDD are the same — the speakers are too. The logic board is where the surprises come in, and they might not make you too happy. Configure a machine without flash storage or a Fusion Drive? You won’t be able to add one at a later date because those don’t include an onboard connector to do so.

    • Is Apple’s new 4K iMac a total ripoff?

      Apple delivered the 4K iMac many fans have been waiting for this week, but it’s not quite the all-in-one powerhouse some were expecting. Look past its beautiful design and you’ll find a lot of drawbacks you probably wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) expect to get with a $1,500 computer.

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Why Aren’t There Better Cybersecurity Regulations for Medical Devices?

      This summer, the Food and Drug Administration warned hospitals to stop using a line of drug pumps because of a cybersecurity risk: a vulnerability that could allow an attacker to remotely deliver a fatal dose to a patient. SAINT Corporation engineer Jeremy Richards, one of the researchers who discovered the vulnerability, called the drug pump the “the least secure IP enabled device I’ve ever touched in my life.”

      There is a growing body of research that shows just how defenseless many critical medical devices are to cyberattack. Research over the last couple of years has revealed that hundreds of medical devices use hard-coded passwords. Other devices use default admin passwords, then warn hospitals in the documentation not to change them.

    • Congress Introduces Provision That Could Make Vehicle Security Research Illegal

      Far too often Congress proposes tech legislation that is either poorly researched or poorly drafted (or both). Fortunately, most of the bills don’t advance. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to dissuade Congress from constantly writing these types of bills. The House Energy and Commerce Committee released such a bill last week. It’s only a discussion draft and hasn’t been introduced as a formal bill yet, but its provisions would not only effectively put the brakes on car security research, but also immunize auto manufactures from FTC privacy enforcement when (not if) they fail to secure our cars. It’s a classic one-two punch from Congress: not understanding something and then deciding to draft a bill about it anyway.

    • Crypto researchers: Time to use something better than 1024-bit encryption

      It’s possible for entities with vast computing resources – such as the NSA and major national governments – to compromise commonly used Diffie-Hellman keys, and over time more groups will be able to afford cracking them as computing costs go down.

    • The first rule of zero-days is no one talks about zero-days (so we’ll explain)

      How do you defend yourself against the unknown? That is crux of the zero-day vulnerability: a software vulnerability that, by definition, is unknown by the user of the software and often its developer as well.

      Everything about the zero-day market, from research and discovery through disclosure and active exploitation, is predicated upon this fear of the unknown—a fear that has been amplified and distorted by the media. Is the world really at threat of destabilisation due to lone-wolf hackers digging up vulnerabilities in popular software packages and selling them to whichever repressive government offers the most money? Or is it just a classic case of the media and megacorp lobbyists focusing on the sexy, scary, offensive side of things, and glossing over the less alluring aspects?

    • List of Linux System Hardening Resources

      My recent post about how quickly newly commissioned Linux systems can be attacked and possibly compromised led to a bunch of e-mail queries about resources which explain how to lock down a variety of Linux distributions. Most such guides are distribution specific because, while the basic principles are always the same, there are significant differences between distributions and even versions of the same distribution that make writing a generic guide difficult at best.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • A ‘second Snowden’ leaks to the Intercept about ‘drone wars’

      The same reporters who received documents from former NSA worker Edward Snowden are now publishing information from a second governmental source.

    • A Second Snowden Has Leaked a Mother Lode of Drone Docs

      It’s been just over two years since Edward Snowden leaked a massive trove of NSA documents, and more than five since Chelsea Manning gave WikiLeaks a megacache of military and diplomatic secrets. Now there appears to be a new source on that scale of classified leaks—this time with a focus on drones.

    • Ramstein ‘involved US drone programs,’ says former US drone operator

      A former US drone operator says the US Ramstein airbase in Germany had a key role to play in US drone strikes. Brandon Bryant was answering questions from a parliamentary committee investigating the NSA.

    • Former US drone operator to get German whistleblower award

      A former U.S. Air Force drone sensor operator, who spoke to German media about Ramstein Air Base’s alleged role in the U.S. drone war, is one of two people being honored Friday with a biennial “whistleblower award” in Germany.

      Brandon Bryant and French molecular biologist Gilles-Eric Seralini, whose research showed the popular herbicide Roundup to be toxic to animals, will each receive a prize of 3,000 euros from the Federation of German Scientists and the German Section of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms. The awards were to be presented at a ceremony Friday in Karlsruhe.

    • The Oil Weapon: 42 Years After the OPEC Oil Embargo

      Forty-two years ago today, a series of events on the other side of the world culminated in the strategic and crippling use of oil as a political weapon. As a result, the United States entered into the most devastating economic recession to hit the nation since the Great Depression.

    • Pakistan seeks explanation from former defence minister who said Osama bin Laden was given shelter in the country

      A massive political storm has been stirred in Pakistan over former defence minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar’s revelations that the top authorities in the country knew about the presence of Osama bin Laden. Former Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are disturbed by the statements made by Chaudhry and the government has ordered an inquiry against him.

    • Ted Cruz’s Closest Counselors Are Neocons

      There’s a lot about Ted Cruz that should worry constitutionalists considering voting for the senator in the presidential election of 2016.

      Recently, Infogram published brief but illuminating biographies of several of Cruz’s key foreign policy advisors. The information disclosed in these revelations could trouble many constitutionalists otherwise keen on the senator and who rely on him to restore the rule of law to the White House.

    • AP Interview: MSF says bombing of Afghan hospital no mistake

      The head of an international medical charity whose hospital in northern Afghanistan was destroyed in a U.S. airstrike says the “extensive, quite precise destruction” of the bombing raid casts doubt on American military assertions that it was a mistake.

      The Oct. 3 attack on the compound in Kunduz city, which killed at least 22 patients and hospital staff, should be investigated as a possible war crime, said Christopher Stokes, general director of Doctors Without Borders, which is also known by its French abbreviation MSF.

    • Smoking gun emails reveal Blair’s ‘deal in blood’ with George Bush over Iraq war was forged a YEAR before the invasion had even started

      A bombshell White House memo has revealed for the first time details of the ‘deal in blood’ forged by Tony Blair and George Bush over the Iraq War.

      The sensational leak shows that Blair had given an unqualified pledge to sign up to the conflict a year before the invasion started.

      It flies in the face of the Prime Minister’s public claims at the time that he was seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

      He told voters: ‘We’re not proposing military action’ – in direct contrast to what the secret email now reveals.

    • Butt dials behind surge in 911 calls

      When San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management realized that the number of 911 calls coming in had been dramatically increasing since 2011 — straining staff and city resources, and potentially creating dangerous delays for callers — officials wanted to find out why.

    • Terror offenders to be barred from working with children under David Cameron’s new counter-terror strategy

      New counter-extremism strategy will see people convicted of terrorism treated like sex offenders to protect young people

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Fact checking the first Democratic debate

      CNN aired the first Democratic presidential debate Tuesday featuring five candidates, including former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

      Not every candidate uttered facts that are easily fact checked, but following is a list of 13 suspicious or interesting claims. As is our practice, we do not award Pinocchios when we do a roundup of facts in debates.

    • Fox News Gets Suckered: 11 Outrageous Lies by Their ‘Terror Analyst’ Who Was Actually a Con Man

      Con artist Wayne Simmons created an elaborate life story. It is fake. He identified as a CIA outside paramilitary special operations officer. He wasn’t. He wrote a book claiming he worked in the CIA for 27 years. He didn’t.

      Fox News took him at his word. So did the U.S. government. Simmons worked as a subcontractor for the government multiple times, and was even invited to train at an Army facility. He ended up receiving security clearance and served as an intelligence advisor to senior military personnel overseas. So much for background checks.

    • 6 signs the new Hillary is still the old Hillary

      During Tuesday’s Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton tried to display a new and more progressive version of the Hillary who Americans have seen for years: as First Lady, U.S. Senator, 2008 presidential candidate and Secretary of State.

    • If Larry Lessig is elected president, and campaign reforms pass, he won’t resign

      Lawrence Lessig, one of the country’s foremost tech legal scholars, announced Saturday that he would be making a key modification to his quixotic campaign for president.

      If elected, the Harvard Law professor would plan to stay on as president—rather than resign immediately (as he had previously promised) after the passage of his as-yet-undrafted Citizen Equality Act. The bill would be designed to increase voting access, end partisan gerrymandering, and reform campaign finance, among other reforms.

      Why the change?

    • Larry Lessig Dumps His Promise To Resign The Presidency In An Attempt To Get People To Take His Campaign Seriously

      We’ve written a few times about Larry Lessig’s somewhat wacky campaign for President, which was premised on the idea that it was a “referendum” campaign, where his entire focus would be to push Congress into putting in place serious campaign finance reform and then resigning from the Presidency. As we noted, the whole thing was a bit of a gimmick. And apparently that gimmick hasn’t been working too well. Earlier this month, Lessig noted that he was being shut out from the Democratic debates, despite being a Democrat running for President and polling roughly on par with a few of the other nobodies in the campaign. The problem is that the Democratic National Committee apparently chose to ignore the campaign and because it refused to officially “welcome” him to the campaign, pollsters aren’t including him and thus he didn’t have enough polling data to be invited to the debate.

  • Privacy

    • Germany’s intelligence community allegedly spied on friendly states
    • German spy scandal deepens

      The German intelligence service has spied on European and American embassies in ways that may have been beyond its mandate, German media ARD and Spiegel Online reported on Wednesday (14 October).

    • German intelligence service accused in new espionage scandal

      Germany’s intelligence service, already accused of spying on behalf of Washington, allegedly took the initiative of spying for several other allied countries, such as France and the United States, reveal German media on Thursday.

    • Germany’s BND spied on allies: Report

      – Der Spiegel claims German secret service BND carried out digital surveillance targeting friendly nations, including France and US

    • Germany Surveillance Scandal 2015: US, France Spied On Illegally By Intelligence Agency BND
    • Spiegel Online reported that the Germany’s Federal Intelligence Agency (BND) spied on EU institutions and France and the US

      BND embroiled in another scandal as Spiegel Online reported that Germany’s intelligence agency was spying on EU institutions, France and the US until late 2013, on its own and not on behalf of the NSA.

    • Germany spied on USA, France until late 2013

      Spies at Germany’s BND foreign intelligence service snooped on the communications of friendly states’ embassies and government offices, including EU members and the USA, as recently as 2013, media reports claimed on Wednesday.

    • Germany’s secret services ‘spied on France, US’

      Germany’s secret service, already under fire for having allegedly spied for Washington, had also spied for its own account on allies including France, German media claimed Thursday.

    • Has the NSA balkanized the cloud market?

      Much of Canadian data stays in Canada, German data in Germany. Data can’t be carted over the borders into that skanky NSA-monitored data sieve called the USA.

    • EU Court Declares NSA Surveillance Illegal

      As expected, the European Union court has thrown out an agreement, forged in 2000, that allows virtually uninhibited data sharing and transfer between the United States and EU countries and is the legal basis for National Security Agency’s on-line surveillance and data capture programs.

    • Private NSA Army is Attacking YOU!

      They are freelancers with no oversight or rules. They are only accountable to themselves and their employers. These freelancers thrive on their ability to remain hidden from the public eye. In reality, they could be your socially inept, angry neighbor down the street who is afraid of their own shadow in person. But give them a keyboard and they’ll take your job, your bank account and your freedom.

    • First Firms Blocked Porn. Now They Scan for Child Sex Images

      The first alarm came within a week. It meant an Ericsson AB employee had used a company computer to view images categorized by law enforcement as child sexual abuse.

      “It was faster than we would have wanted,” says Nina Macpherson, Ericsson’s chief legal officer.

      In a bid to ensure none of its 114,000 staff worldwide were using company equipment to view illegal content, in 2011 the Swedish mobile networks pioneer installed scanning software from Netclean Technologies AB. While many companies since then have adopted similar measures, few have been willing to discuss their experience publicly.

    • IAB: It’s time to tackle the web advertising elephant in the room

      THE INTERACTIVE ADVERTISING BUREAU (IAB), which ought to know about these things, has said that online advertising has failed the consumer and needs a rethink.

      The alarm has been sounded at a time when ad blocking is high on the news and public agendas. The sometimes controversial issue of ad blocking is a relevant topic at publishing houses large and small, and the IAB, the organisation created to concern itself with the medium and the message, is on the case.

      “Through our pursuit of further automation and maximisation of margins during the industrial age of media technology, we built advertising technology to optimise publishers’ yield of marketing budgets that had eroded after the last recession,” the IAB said in a bold statement about its Lean Ads programme.

    • Lawrence Lessig interviewed Edward Snowden a year ago

      Last year, US president candidate in the Democratic Party Lawrence interviewed Edward Snowden. The one hour interview was published by Harvard Law School 2014-10-23 on Youtube, and the meeting took place 2014-10-20.

    • Users complain Facebook is causing iPhone batteries to drain

      Facebook’s iPhone app is consuming large amounts of battery charge even when it is not open, users have complained.

      Users say the app records long periods of background activity, even when settings such as background refresh are disabled.

      One user, product developer Matt Galligan, wrote that the Facebook app was not “sleeping properly when I hit the home button” and that the “problem may not be an easy fix for Facebook and the way their app is built”.

      Analysis of the Facebook app by iOS developer Jonathan Zdziarski indicated that Facebook’s location tracking of users could be at least partially to blame for the battery drain.

    • Security News This Week: The NYPD Doesn’t Want You to Know About Its X-Ray Spy Vans

      This week we found out that as many as 90 percent of people killed by US drones weren’t the intended targets, thanks to a ‘second Snowden’ who leaked a motherload of documents to The Intercept. The Democratic presidential candidates discussed Edward Snowden during the Democratic presidential debate, but only long-shot candidate Lincoln Chafee said he would welcome him home without any charges. French hackers showed they can remotely take control of Siri and Google Now by using radio waves from as far as 16 feet away. We took a look at the many ways cops could hack into your iPhone even without a backdoor. It’s not all bad news, though: Tech companies like Apple may have a new legal defense for resisting the government’s orders to unlock devices.

      And that’s not all. Each Saturday we round up the news stories that we didn’t break or cover in depth at WIRED, but which deserve your attention nonetheless. As always, click on the headlines to read the full story in each link posted. And stay safe out there!

    • Facebook warns users of potential state-sponsored attacks

      Facebook will now warn people if it has a strong suspicion an account is being targeted by a nation-state.

    • What America Fears

      Chapman University has just come out with its second annual Survey of American Fears, and while you don’t want to read too much into the rankings—the vast array of fear-producing stimuli means we’re inevitably comparing apples and oranges, if not elephants and elevators—the answers are revealing.


      What to make of that list? For one thing, the survey of 1,500 American adults (which was designed to reflect the population as a whole) confirms the truism that we have a strong distrust of government. Note that fear of corrupt public servants tops the list, with 58 percent of respondents saying they were either afraid or very afraid of this phenomenon.


      Fear of a terrorist attack has apparently waned in the years since 9/11. Although high on the list (at number four), only 44.4 percent of respondents said they were afraid or very afraid of such an event.

    • German parliament okays law to store telephone and Internet data

      German telecom companies will be obliged to keep telephone and Internet data for up to 10 weeks to help fight crime under a new law passed by parliament on Friday after a long political wrangle over possible infringements of individuals’ rights.

      Under the data retention law, companies will be required to keep data on the timing and duration of telephone calls, as well as online traffic through IP addresses. Location data from mobile phones may only be stored for four weeks.

    • Third Circuit to the City of New York: Being Muslim is not Reasonable Suspicion for Surveillance

      Being Muslim can’t be the basis for law enforcement surveillance. That was the message from the Third Circuit on Tuesday when it told the plaintiffs in Hassan v. The City of New York that their lawsuit could go forward. The plaintiffs are suing over the New York Police Department’s suspicionless mass surveillance operation revealed by the Associated Press in 2011.

    • LINE Messenger Adds End-To-End Encryption

      Online privacy is a really delicate topic, especially after various reports revealed how the NSA and other governments have been spying on users all over the internet. We use instant messaging every day and for most of us concerned about our privacy, an encrypted messaging systems are very much welcomed. LINE is one of the most popular messaging systems out there and, although not the first one, the Japanese company has just announced a new feature called Letter Sealing to further protect messages as they are being sent. If you are asking yourself, “Letter sealing? What?”, this is like the seal kings would put on medieval times to send their letters somewhere – a bold name to End-To-End encryption technique.

    • Can You Hear Me Now? How Police Track Your Cellphone

      He took every step very carefully and made sure he covered his tracks. But on Aug. 3, 2008, Daniel Rigmaiden was arrested by the FBI near his apartment in northern California.

    • Six times Bernie Sanders showed his ‘socialist’ street cred

      Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders did not mince words at the first Democratic debate in Las Vegas, where he talked about Wall Street, NSA surveillance and climate change.

    • Scott Ludlam’s Top Five Tips On Dodging Tomorrow’s Data Retention Laws

      With data retention laws about to kick in, New Matilda speaks to its major parliamentary opponent about what it means for online freedoms and how to beat the system. Max Chalmers reports.

    • Congress Should Declassify the Legislative Negotiations Over the FISA Amendments Act

      On October 5, Third Way and the R Street Institute sent a joint request to the respective leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees. The letter asks the committees to declassify records of the legislative negotiations leading up to passage (and subsequent reauthorization) of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) of 2008.

    • Tech, cyber voices emerge in wide-open Speaker race

      Both support the Email Privacy Act, which would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant before accessing private email accounts.

      The bill has amassed over 300 co-sponsors, but hasn’t come close to getting a floor vote.

      Chaffetz is also a co-sponsor of the GPS Act, which would force investigators to get a warrant when seeking electronic location data.

    • Manipulating Reality: Facebook is Listening to You

      One thing we have become all too used to is that our reality can be manipulated to create the appearance of something else entirely. Invading another country is defensive, rigged elections are passed off as democracy in action, more guns (or more nuclear weapons) ensure the peace, trade and foreign investment increase jobs at home. Orwellian logic has become commonplace.

    • This group is trying to convince the next Edward Snowden to blow the whistle

      We recently told you about the NSA’s recent (and very weird) love notes being spread online. But there’s a new organization called Intelexit that’s not feeling the love at all.

      In fact, Intelexit’s goal is to get intelligence workers – particularly those at the NSA – to quit their jobs. And, if they’d like to be whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, Intelexit will help with counseling, legal support and media planning.

    • The Hacking Quandary

      This summer, two different events affected two different worlds. First, Milan-based Hacking Team — a small group of programmers who customize malware to gather intelligence — was itself hacked, and more than 400GB of its internal data was leaked. A few days later, a South Korean intelligence officer who had been implementing tracking software killed himself, and his suicide note allegedly referred to Hacking Team. As a result, many professionals in software development and espionage are pondering their future.

    • The Chinese-US Anti-Spying Pact Yields Its First Results
    • US-China cyber espionage treaty ‘will do nothing’: FireEye boss
    • Europe vs. USA on privacy
    • Max Schrems Provides In-depth Analysis Of Safe Harbor Ruling
    • MPs’ communications at risk of ‘incidental collection’
    • GCHQ can spy on MPs’ private communications
    • British Court Rules UK Politicians Are Fair Game for GCHQ Spies
    • GCHQ given green light to spy on MPs, court rules
    • Wilson Doctrine has ‘no legal effect’, tribunal rules
    • Court says UK politicians don’t get protection from snooping
    • Cybersecurity in 1989: Looking Back at Cliff Stoll’s Classic The Cuckoo’s Egg
    • Take With a Pinch of Salt

      The second and more important thing is that Mr Lucas is an old-fashioned journalist who can be lumped into that group that is, not very flatteringly, called the Old Boys Club in the UK. Consequently he is friends with some CIA, NSA and GCHQ veterans, alludes to giving talks at such institutions, has blurbs for this book from a former US Secretary of Homeland Security and a former Director of GCHQ on the back. This obviously comes with all kinds of caveats particularly when the book is about subjects as political as cyber warfare and hacking. One of those caveats is his conspiracy theory, shared by many conservatives in the West, that Edward Snowden is a Russian spy which made him say, “If Snowden had approached me with these documents, I would have marched him down to Bow Street police station and asked them to arrest him”.

    • Korea monitors Google’s privacy issue

      The nation’s online communication watchdog is considering taking tough measures against Google which is suspected of leaking users’ personal information to third parties.

    • Living in a data glass bowl

      “You are the data: You are the queries you ask, the addresses you provide, the emails you answer, the transactions you carry out, the conversations you have. There is an inexhaustible amount of data that we leave online, leaving us vulnerable to various threats,” says Nikhil Pahwa of the internet watchdog Medianama.

    • We’ve Just Learned the Origins of Illegal Surveillance in the United States Go Back to the 1930s

      Half a century before either Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning was born, American military codebreakers and U.S. telecommunications companies collaborated on a secret electronic surveillance program that, as newly declassified documents reveal, they knew to be illegal. The program, approved at the highest levels of the U.S. government, targeted messages sent by foreign embassies in Washington, DC, in the years leading up to World War II, and was dramatically expanded after the war.

    • Norman Solomon: Clinton’s Debate Comments on Snowden “Give Hypocrisy a Bad Name”

      At Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate, candidates offered differing views on what should happen to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for exposing illegal mass surveillance. “He stole very important information that has unfortunately fallen into a lot of the wrong hands,” said front-runner Hillary Clinton. “So I don’t think he should be brought home without facing the music.” The four other candidates expressed appreciation for Snowden’s leaks and said his exposure of wrongdoing should be taken into account. We get reaction from Norman Solomon, longtime activist and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

    • UN: lack of whistleblower protection has ‘chilling’ effect on exposing wrongdoing

      People who expose wrongdoing on national security and intelligence issues around the world are often given weak or no protection and are often subject to retaliation, creating a “chilling effect on people speaking out”, a United Nations report has found.

    • Europe has more privacy than U.S.

      U.S. law gives the National Security Agency a green light to collect a staggering amount of personal data from phone and Internet users around the world, most of whom aren’t even remotely connected to terrorists. This week, however, a European court said the NSA’s shotgun approach to surveillance violated Europeans’ privacy rights. And because the European Court of Justice has no jurisdiction over the NSA, it took out its displeasure on the Internet.

    • Government will no longer seek encrypted user data

      The Obama administration has backed down in its bitter dispute with Silicon Valley over the encryption of data on iPhones and other digital devices, concluding that it is not possible to give US law enforcement and intelligence agencies access to that information without creating an opening that China, Russia, cybercriminals, and terrorists could also exploit.

    • Administration Won’t Seek Holes In Encryption… But That’s Just THIS Administration

      I don’t normally recommend Lawfare, seeing as it’s generally filled with NSA apologia and has been known to host the complaints of FBI directors who apparently just don’t have enough outlets for crypto-related spleen-venting. But Hoover Institute cyber-policy/security scholar Herb Lin makes a few good points about the administration’s decision to brush that backdoor dirt off its shoulders.

    • Edward Snowden And Black Lives Matter Activist DeRay Mckesson Had A Great Dialogue About Surveillance

      NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson had a spirited discussion about their respective causes on Twitter Monday night, trading points on the relationship between police and state violence and surveillance.

    • Snowden keynote at Bard conference stresses privacy

      “Privacy isn’t about something to hide, it’s about something to lose,” Edward Snowden told attendees at the “Why Privacy Matters: What Do We Lose When We Lose Our Privacy?” conference hosted by the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College.

      Snowden, whose keynote delivered via satellite from Russia and was punctuated by applause, contended that the technology and apps being used today – even lunch cards on college campuses — especially those that use geolocation are creating “perfect records of private lives being aggregated and stored.”

    • MPs want govt to report on findings over NSA mass surveillance

      The parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission asked the government on Wednesday for a comprehensive briefing on its findings pertaining to the mass surveillance operation in which the US National Security Agency and its German counterpart BND allegedly also spied on Slovenian citizens between 2005 and 2008.

    • Mass surveillance: EU citizens’ rights still in danger, MEPs say

      Too little has been done to ensure that citizens’ rights are protected following revelations of electronic mass surveillance, say civil liberties MEPs in a resolution passed on Tuesday. They urge the Commission to come up immediately with alternatives to Safe Harbour, following the ruling by the European Court of Justice. They are also concerned about the surveillance laws in several EU countries.

    • Why Has a European Court Banned Sending Personal Data Across the Atlantic?

      In a decision on October 6 that was as shocking as it was predictable, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) invalidated the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor for westward bound international transfers of personal data.

    • NSA Leak Exposes Truth About America’s Drones

      Between January 2012 and February 2013, the drone strikes in Northeastern Afghanistan killed 200 people, with only 35 of whom were intended targets. Nearly 90% of innocent lives were taken for the 10% of terrorists America wished to destroy.

    • Trust – in a system built in stone

      We need to gain distance from the state, even as we make claims. And the claims we make should serve a dual purpose.

    • Politicians panic after law change could leave them open to surveillance

      The world of politics is filled with people who many would consider to be out of touch with real life. All too often politicians are treated differently, and this has certainly been the case when it comes to NSA and GCHQ surveillance of phone and internet traffic. In the UK a court has ruled that a ban on intercepting politicians’ communication is not valid.

    • Germany Confronts Deadly Result of Providing Metadata to NSA (Die Zeit, Germany)

      Bald, bearded, with tattooed arms and a T-shirt – Brandon Bryant appears out of place among the people in suits of the German Bundestag. On Thursday he testified before the NSA Committee [of Inquiry] about his earlier work with the U.S. Air Force, including his day-long observations from the air and killing people with Hellfire missiles; the “manhunt,” as he called it.

      But it wasn’t only Bryant’s appearance that set him apart from the others in the hearing room. It was if reality were bursting forth into what is otherwise theoretical debate on surveillance and selectors, antennae signals and those who carry them. The 29-year-old Bryant was at the receiving end of all that government-collected data. He was the one to pull the trigger, making sure that missiles hit preselected targets identified through the use of secret service-collected surveillance.

    • Twitter v. NSA Lawsuit Appears at Last Gasp

      A federal judge said Tuesday that she will dismiss Twitter’s lawsuit against the National Security Agency because of the “new landscape” created by legislation that limits government surveillance – but asked Twitter to amend its claims anyway.

    • A Penn prof co-wrote this paper that explains how the NSA could be breaking trillions of secure connections

      Penn professor Nadia Heninger, whom TechCrunch once dubbed “the Chuck Norris of the crypto world,” is one of 14 researchers behind a paper that’s making waves in the internet security community.

      The report, which won the prize for best paper at the this week’s ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, suggests a solution to what the authors called a “technical mystery.” If the rumors of the National Security Agency’s mass decryption powers are true, how is the agency doing it? The answer has to do with a flaw in a method of secure communication, as well as the NSA’s multi-billion-dollar budget.

    • A Penn prof co-wrote this paper that explains how the NSA could be breaking trillions of secure connections
    • How Soviets used IBM Selectric keyloggers to spy on US diplomats

      A National Security Agency memo that recently resurfaced a few years after it was first published contains a detailed analysis of what very possibly was the world’s first keylogger—a 1970s bug that Soviet spies implanted in US diplomats’ IBM Selectric typewriters to monitor classified letters and memos.

    • Athens knew of CIA, NSA involvement in 2004 wiretaps

      It was the morning of 9 March, 2005. Panayiotis Tsalikidis was heading to have coffee with his brother Costas in Kolonos, downtown Athens, before a meeting. As he entered the building, he heard his mother screaming: “Cut him down!”

      He entered the apartment and saw his brother’s body hanging in front of the bathroom door. “I immediately called my wife and asked her to bring a high-definition camera so I could take some pictures on the spot, because I didn’t believe it was a suicide,” says Panayiotis today.

    • Cybersecurity expert urges government-business dialog

      When Keith Alexander arrived in Tampa in 1998 to take over as director of intelligence for U.S. Central Command, he spent the first six days walking around MacDill Air Force Base, checking out his new surroundings.

      “Then on the seventh day — and this isn’t biblical — but on the seventh day, al-Qaida bombed the two embassies, and it all went down hill after that and I never saw the sun again while I was here.”

    • Former NSA director calls for tighter cyber security at USF event

      When Sony pictures was hacked last year, it brought cyber attacks to the forefront. This is an issue that is growing with time.

      That’s why a cyber security conference at U-S-F is crucial in the fight against cyber attacks.

    • NSA’s Former Head Lawyer on Snowden and Cybersecurity

      …NSA’s legal chief while the agency experienced the Snowden leaks and subsequent government surveillance debate.

    • Senate Pushes Forward With CISA As Internet Industry Pulls Its Support

      Despite the fact that most of the internet industry has recently come out against the ridiculous faux-cybersecurity bill CISA, the Senate today began the process of moving the bill forward with a debate. The arguments were pretty much what you’d expect. The supporters of the bill, such as Senators Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr, went on and on about how the bill is “voluntary” and about various online hacks (none of which would have been stopped by CISA — but apparently those details don’t matter). Senator Ron Wyden responded by pointing to all the internet companies coming out against the bill, and saying (accurately) that they’re doing so because they know the public no longer trusts many of those companies, and they don’t want a bill that will almost certainly be used for further surveillance efforts.

    • Tech Industry Trade Groups Are Coming Out Against CISA. We Need Individual Companies To Do The Same

      As if “national security” weren’t enough, now Congress is trying to use “cybersecurity” as an excuse to chip away at our right to privacy—and it’s riding on the coattails of incidents like the Experian and OPM breaches. Once again for continuity, it bears repeating that the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) would not have stopped the recent high-profile security breaches.

    • Bernie Sanders Would ‘Absolutely’ End NSA’s Mass Telephone Surveillance

      “I’d shut down what exists right now [which] is that virtually every telephone call in this country ends up in a file at the NSA,” Sanders told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “That is unacceptable to me.”

  • Civil Rights

    • You Think the NSA Is Bad? Meet Former CIA Director Allen Dulles.

      In a new book, David Talbot makes the case that the CIA head under Eisenhower and Kennedy may have been a psychopath.

    • What Do We Really Know About Osama bin Laden’s Death?
    • Foreign Office faces living wage row after cleaners claim they are dismissed over pay complaint

      The Government is facing a hypocrisy row over living wage targets after a group of Foreign Office cleaners claimed they were laid off for complaining about their pay packets.

    • Disciplinary investigation for FCO cleaners after pay appeal to Hammond

      Cleaners at the Foreign Office (FCO) have been put under disciplinary investigation after they sent a letter to Philip Hammond requesting to be paid the London Living Wage.

    • Mouth Wide Shut

      Barack Obama was, in 2008, the anti-torture candidate.

    • Forty years of whistleblowing: from anti-war activists to Snowden

      On March 8, 1971, eight anti-war activists burglarized an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania. Documents stolen from the office exposed a secret counterintelligence program — COINTELPRO — which, among other things, gave federal agents the authority to conduct domestic surveillance on U.S. citizens, eerily similar to what Edward Snowden would reveal more than 40 years later. But unlike Snowden, the eight anti-war activists were never caught, and their identities remained a mystery for decades.

    • Wife of Missouri-born jailed ex-CIA whistleblower asks Obama for pardon

      The wife of a Missouri native and CIA whistleblower serving time in federal prison for leaking classified information is asking President Obama to pardon her husband, Jeffrey Sterling.

      In a press conference that included other CIA whistleblowers or their lawyers leveling allegations of a double standard involving former General David Petraeus and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, St. Louis resident Holly Sterling said her husband was both the victim of an Obama administration “shrouded in mis-truth and secrecy,” and the target of a prosecution based on race.

    • Washington Persecutes America’s Greatest Patriots

      John Kiriakou is an American patriot who informed us of the criminal behavior of illegal and immoral US “cloak and dagger” operations that were bringing dishonor to our country. His reward was to be called a “traitor” by the idiot conservative Republicans and sentenced to prison by the corrupt US government.

    • ANU academic Jacky Sutton dies in Turkey; colleagues, family unconvinced cause was suicide

      The colleague of an ANU academic found dead in Turkey has called for a full investigation into her friend’s death, saying she is “unconvinced” the cause was suicide.

      The BBC is reporting that Jacky Sutton, 50, a former journalist from their newsroom, was found dead in a toilet in Istanbul’s main airport on Saturday.

      Asked directly about Ms Sutton’s death, the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed that a British National had died in Istanbul.

    • Bank’s severance deal requires IT workers to be on call for two years

      SunTrust Banks in Atlanta is laying off about 100 IT workers as it moves work offshore. But this layoff is unusual for what it is asking of the soon-to-be displaced workers: The bank’s severance agreement requires terminated employees to remain available for two years to provide help if needed, including in-person assistance, and to do so without compensation.

      Many of the affected IT employees, who are now training their replacements, have years of experience and provide the highest levels of technical support. The proof of their ability may be in the severance requirement, which gives the bank a way to tap their expertise long after their departure.

    • Body Cameras Are Everywhere, But Recordings Remain Locked Up Tight

      All over the nation, police departments are deploying body cameras. But there’s no guarantee the public will have any access to the footage. As Kimberly Kindy and Julie Tate of the Washington Post report, the ultimate goals of greater accountability and transparency are routinely being thwarted by law enforcement agencies.

    • Saudi prince avoids felony charges in sex assault case near Beverly Hills

      Los Angeles County prosecutors said Monday they will not file charges against a Saudi prince arrested on suspicion of sexual assault at a compound on the edge of Beverly Hills, citing insufficient evidence.

      Majed Abdulaziz Al-Saud, 29, was arrested last month after a female worker accused him of trying to force her to perform a sex act on him inside a Beverly Glen residence he was renting, police said. Police alleged there were multiple victims, and within days of Al-Saud’s arrest three women sued him in civil court.

      Although prosecutors said there was not enough evidence for felony charges, the case was referred to the L.A. city attorney’s office, which could charge him with a misdemeanor. Officials in that office said they would have to review the case before making any decisions.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Protecting the 97%

      Today’s wireless networks are sophisticated and complex, but what our customers want is simple – to access their information and entertainment with a simple click. To make this happen, we’ll continue to take a responsible and thoughtful approach in how we manage our network resources. Whether we’re adding capacity to a cell site, upgrading our network to deliver even faster speeds, or implementing today’s QoS technique, our goal is simple – to provide a great network experience to our customers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Asks Government to Facilitate Private Anti-Piracy Deals

        The MPAA has asked the U.S. Government for help in its efforts to reach private anti-piracy agreements with search engines, domain name registrars and hosting services. The Hollywood group believes that these three industries have shown “lagging progress” and should do more to deter online copyright infringement.

      • YouTube paywall looms

        Google is expected to announce this week that some YouTube videos will only be available to subscribers.

        It’s no secret that YouTube is funding content development, putting some fairly serious money into projects involving its most popular talent.

        But according to Re/code, some of this new content will be revealed at a YouTube event on Wednesday 21 October (US time), and it will only be available to paying YouTube subscribers.

      • Language Matters: All The Copyright Lobby’s Subtleties

        We’ve discussed industrial protectionism and content vs container before. To wrap up the theme, I’d like to look at the more subtle points of lobbyist language, which are just as devious – if you copy them, you’re working against your own liberties.

        The copyright industry doesn’t just choose positive phrases to describe their specific “innovations”. They also try to establish sayings, phrases, and other combinations of words to make them uttered so often they become colloquilalisms, and yet, have very strong values embedded into them. This is very subtle, but just as important to understanding proper usage of the copyright monopoly, industrial protectionism, and digital restriction measures. It may not be those words that win the mindset, but the words in between – small words like left, right, black, and white.


Links 18/10/2015: OpenBSD 5.8 Released, OpenBSD 20th Birthday

Posted in News Roundup at 8:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Twitter cuts 336 jobs so fast an ex-employee learns fate by “no access” notice

    On Tuesday, Twitter’s recently returned CEO Jack Dorsey sent a letter to all employees, notifying them that 336 jobs would be cut—around eight percent of the company’s workforce.


    In a follow-up tweet, Teeuwisse clarified that he worked from home and HR called him, but the call went to voicemail. Apparently, HR decided to remove him from the corporate network despite the lack of person-to-person contact.

  • Electronic Beowulf 4.0

    It is a pleasure to report that Kevin Kiernan, one of the world’s foremost Beowulf scholars and editor of Electronic Beowulf, was inducted into the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame on 9 October 2015. To coincide with this event, we have made Electronic Beowulf 4.0, available as a free online digital academic resource, which will be of interest not only to scholars of Anglo-Saxon England but to all interested in the history of the text of this celebrated poem.


    In addition to providing standard digitised images of the Beowulf manuscript (Cotton Vitellius A. xv); it includes over 130 ultraviolet images, and over 750 backlit images that reveal hundreds of letters, which are covered by the nineteenth-century restoration frames. These were installed to protect the manuscript after fire damage in 1731, for more information on the fire damaged items in the Cotton Collection check out this blog post by my colleagues in Collection Care.

  • Boris Johnson rugby tackles schoolboy in Japan: His other sporting slips
  • Guardian braces for cutbacks after ‘difficult’ year

    The Guardian is preparing for steep editorial cuts after a slowdown in advertising sales. Job losses are highly likely, insiders at the media company said.

    “This is shaping up to be one of the most difficult … periods we’ve faced in many years,” David Pemsel, Guardian Media Group’s chief executive, said in an internal memo obtained by POLITICO.

    Spending on new hires, salaries, travel and other expenses will be reined in as the company tries to reduce its losses, Pemsel added. He did not mention job cuts in the e-mail but several people at the company said there will need to be a reduction in the workforce to stem the red ink.

  • Huffington Post’s US Traffic Tanks In 2015, As BuzzFeed And Vice Media Grow

    The Huffington Post has seen a major decline in its monthly traffic coming from within the U.S. over the past year, while competitors such as BuzzFeed and Vice Media continue to grow, according to data provided by comScore to International Business Times. In September of last year, HuffPost pulled in around 113 million unique visitors and hit 126 million last November, but then steadily bled visitors into 2015 and throughout the year. Last month, it was down to 86 million.

  • Be careful who you fire: Twitter’s culling of engineers is shocking

    Culling engineering jobs is a bizarre act in a field where, such is the intense competition for staff, poaching is commonplace

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Netgear Publishes Patched Firmware for Routers Under Attack

      After a pair of very public disclosures in the last two weeks, Netgear published new firmware for vulnerabilities in its routers that have been publicly exploited.

    • Adobe just fixed a major security flaw in Flash, so it’s time to update your software
    • Adobe Patches Criticial Flash Vulnerability
    • Good news: Adobe bangs out Flash patch fast. Bad news: Google’s defenses were useless
    • All Windows affected by critical security flaws

      Microsoft has issued a cumulative patch for a set of critical flaws affecting all supported versions of its Windows operating system, to protect against remote code execution flaw in its Internet Explorer web browser.

    • Hacker Who Sent Me Heroin Faces Charges in U.S.

      A Ukrainian hacker who once hatched a plot to have heroin sent to my Virginia home and then alert police when the drugs arrived had his first appearance in a U.S. court today, after being extradited to the United States to face multiple cybercrime charges.

    • Think Apple OS X is below the malware radar? Think again

      Instances of Apple OS X malware are soaring this year, already totaling more than five times the number tallied over the previous five years combined, according to an in-house Bit9 + Carbon Black report.

      Instances totaled 180 from 2010 through 2014, but have already reached 948, according to “2015: The most Prolific Year in History for OS X Malware”, the results of a 10-week study of malware crafted for the operating system.

    • Malware, restoring data: What keeps data center techies up all night

      A majority of organizations polled in a data center and cloud security survey are dissatisfied with their malware containment and recovery times.

      More than half (55 per cent) of survey respondents were dissatisfied with the length of time it takes them to contain and recover from hacker infiltrations and malware infections, with more than 17 per cent of respondents needing more than a week to contain an contagion. About 37 per cent reported containment times of up to eight hours.

    • Who’s Behind Bluetooth Skimming in Mexico?

      In the previous two stories, I documented the damage wrought by an organized crime gang in Mexico that has been systematically bribing ATM technicians to install Bluetooth skimming components that allow thieves to steal card and PIN data wirelessly. What follows is a look at a mysterious new ATM company in Mexico that sources say may be tied to the skimming activity.

    • Tracking Bluetooth Skimmers in Mexico, Part II

      I spent four days last week in Mexico, tracking the damage wrought by an organized crime ring that is bribing ATM technicians to place Bluetooth skimmers inside of cash machines in and around the tourist areas of Cancun. Today’s piece chronicles the work of this gang in coastal regions farther south, following a trail of hacked ATMs from Playa Del Camen down to the ancient Mayan ruins in Tulum.

    • How the NSA can break trillions of encrypted Web and VPN connections

      For years, privacy advocates have pushed developers of websites, virtual private network apps, and other cryptographic software to adopt the Diffie-Hellman cryptographic key exchange as a defense against surveillance from the US National Security Agency and other state-sponsored spies. Now, researchers are renewing their warning that a serious flaw in the way the key exchange is implemented is allowing the NSA to break and eavesdrop on trillions of encrypted connections.

    • How is NSA breaking so much crypto?

      There have been rumors for years that the NSA can decrypt a significant fraction of encrypted Internet traffic. In 2012, James Bamford published an article quoting anonymous former NSA officials stating that the agency had achieved a “computing breakthrough” that gave them “the ability to crack current public encryption.” The Snowden documents also hint at some extraordinary capabilities: they show that NSA has built extensive infrastructure to intercept and decrypt VPN traffic and suggest that the agency can decrypt at least some HTTPS and SSH connections on demand.

    • Here’s Why Cybersecurity Experts Want Public Source Routers

      “In our letter [PDF], the scientists and engineers most deeply concerned with the internet have finally spoken with one voice, loud enough, maybe, to make a difference,” Dave Taht, co-founder of Bufferbloat, an initiative to improve router performance, told Motherboard. Taht, who lead author of letter to the FCC, said that manufacturers often ship routers that are vulnerable to known exploits, putting consumers and the wider internet at risk as soon as the routers are turned on. Making the matter worse is how few consumers bother to upgrade their firmware if patches are released.

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • HP perfomance monitor can climb through Windows

      Crimp nasty privilege escalation bug by running it in Linux instead says Rapid7

    • Why Cybersecurity Experts Want Open Source Routers

      A coalition of 260 cybersecurity experts is taking advantage of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) public comment period to push for open source Wi-Fi router firmware.

    • Internet daddy Vint Cerf blasts FCC’s plan to ban Wi-Fi router code mods

      Vinton Cerf has added his name to a campaign begging the FCC to scrap plans to ban custom firmware on Wi-Fi routers and other wireless devices.

    • Have your say on the FCC’s plan to lock down WiFi routers

      You may know that you can replace your WiFi router’s software with an open source version like DD-WRT or Tomato to make it more secure or powerful. However, the US wireless regulator (FCC) only seems to have figured that out recently, and is not happy with your ability to boost the signal power excessively on such devices. As such, it proposed changes to regulations, with one document suggesting it may ban or restrict third-party software altogether. That caught the eye of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which created an online petition asking the FCC to make changes.

      The EFF petition says that “router manufacturers are notoriously slow about updating their software — even with critical security fixes on the way. Under the FCC’s proposal, you could have no alternative to running out-of-date and vulnerable firmware.” It’s referring, in part, to an FCC demand that manufacturer’s “describe in detail how the device is protected from ‘flashing’ and the installation of third-party firmware such as DD-WRT.”

    • Technology Community Responds to FCC Rules Banning WiFi Router Firmware Modification
    • The world needs open source routers
    • FCC Should Mandate Open Source Router Firmware And Fast Security Updates, Say Internet Experts
    • 260 ‘Net Experts Urge FCC to Embrace Open, Transparent RF Rules

      A coalition of 260 leading Internet technology experts are warning the FCC to tread carefully when it comes to updated FCC rules governing RF devices. In a filing (pdf) with the FCC, experts like Vint Cerf (co-creator of the TCP-IP protocol) and Dave Farber (former Chief Technologist of the FCC) warn the agency that the FCC’s latest proposal for updated RF device guidance, as currently written, could potentially make the Internet slower, less secure and prevent users from maintaining and modifying devices they own.

    • Vint Cerf, hundreds of researchers, call on FCC to mandate open-source router firmware

      The FCC is currently inviting open comments on its plan to require router manufacturers to lock down device firmware as a means of ensuring that consumer devices can’t operate in certain frequency bands or at power levels that violate FCC guidelines. While these requirements are made to guarantee that limited spectrum is allocated fairly and in a manner that minimizes interference, many have raised concerns that locking down devices in this way will prevent open source firmware projects from continuing as well as hampering critical security research.

      Now, a group of more than 250 researchers and developers, including the Internet’s grandpa, Vint Cerf, have sent the FCC a letter proposing an altogether different set of rules that would actually mandate open-source firmware while simultaneously protecting the FCCs original goals. There are multiple reasons, the letter argues, why open-source firmware updates are a necessary part of securing the Internet against attack.

    • Hackers Can Silently Control Siri From 16 Feet Away

      Siri may be your personal assistant. But your voice is not the only one she listens to. As a group of French researchers have discovered, Siri also helpfully obeys the orders of any hacker who talks to her—even, in some cases, one who’s silently transmitting those commands via radio from as far as 16 feet away.

    • Is Apple’s security honeymoon on OS X ending?

      Apple scored unforgettable hits against Microsoft with its Mac vs. PC ads, which anthropomorphized Windows as a sneezing, miserable office worker.

      Security experts always knew that the campaign was a clever bit of marketing fluff, one that allowed Apple to capitalize on Microsoft’s painful, years-long security revamp.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Washington Post Reduces Palestinian Victims to a Word Problem

      There’s a lot going on in this paragraph. The heretofore unmentioned Palestinian dead come in at the back end of a sentence about Israeli fatalities, to whose numbers are added dozens of wounded so it is not immediately obvious that there are three-and-a-half times as many dead on one side as the other.

    • ‘How Many Afghans Have to Grow Up Knowing Nothing but War?’ – CounterSpin interview with Phyllis Bennis on US bombing of Doctors Without Borders
    • New Edward Snowden? Whistleblower leaks documents on US drone killings

      Classified documents, leaked to investigative news website The Intercept, have revealed the inner workings of the secret US drone program in Yemen and Somalia.

      A source from within the US intelligence community leaked the documents which appear to undermine American claims that drone strikes have been precise.

      The whistleblower, who has already been labelled as the new ‘Edward Snowden’ on social media, said the public has the right to know about the process by which people are placed on ‘kill lists’ and “ultimately assassinated on orders from the highest echelons of the US government.”

      The source told The Intercept: “This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield — it was, from the very first instance, wrong.”

      The leaked papers appear to show that drone strikes were often carried out based on insufficient and unreliable intelligence and when executed, often compromise further gathering of intelligence.

      The documents reveal that in Afghanistan, drone strikes on 35 targets killed at least 219 other people.

    • The Drone Papers

      From his first days as commander in chief, the drone has been President Barack Obama’s weapon of choice, used by the military and the CIA to hunt down and kill the people his administration has deemed — through secretive processes, without indictment or trial — worthy of execution. There has been intense focus on the technology of remote killing, but that often serves as a surrogate for what should be a broader examination of the state’s power over life and death.

    • The US Could End Saudi War Crimes in Yemen – It Just Doesn’t Want To

      The Saudi-led coalition is guilty of systematic war crimes in Yemen, and the US bears legal responsibility because of the use of arms purchased from the United States, an Amnesty International report charged in early October.

      But although the Obama administration is not happy with the Saudi war and has tremendous leverage over the Saudis, it has demonstrated over the past several weeks that it is unwilling to use its leverage to force an end to the war. And it now appears that the administration is poised to resupply the munitions used by the Saudis in committing war crimes in Yemen.

    • Taliban waged a calculated campaign against women in Kunduz

      The Taliban occupation of Kunduz may have been temporary, but what they did to Afghan women’s rights could prove to be lasting.

      In a methodical campaign, the Taliban relentlessly hounded women with any sort of public profile, looted a high school, and destroyed the offices of many of the organizations that protected and supported women in Kunduz.

      Among those who have fled are the women who ran a shelter for female victims of violence, who Taliban commanders say are “immoral.”

    • The Problem With Using Metadata to Justify Drone Strikes

      The US military maintains that its drone program delivers deadly “targeted strikes” against its enemies overseas, and yet, reports of civilians being killed by drones keep pouring in.

      Secret documents prepared as part of a Pentagon report on the US drone program in Yemen and Somalia, obtained by The Intercept, reveal the reason for this apparent contradiction: The US military is over-reliant on signals intelligence, or SIGINT—such as cell phone records, or metadata, of who is called and when, as well as the content of phone and online communications—when selecting targets for drone strikes.

      This kind of intelligence is often supplied by foreign governments, is difficult to confirm on the ground in Yemen and Somalia, and is easily gamed by adversaries, the Intercept report on the documents alleges. Basically, it’s unreliable until a human confirms it. But in Yemen and Somalia, signals intelligence makes up more than half of the intel that goes into marking someone for death, the documents state.

    • U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies

      In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • UK refuses Assange safe passage to hospital

      The UK government on Wednesday denied WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange safe passage from Ecuador’s embassy in London to a nearby hospital to diagnose shoulder pain. The 44-year-old Assange has been granted asylum from Ecuador, and he has been holed up at the embassy there since 2012 as Swedish authorities wish to question him about an alleged sexual-assault.

      The British decision, announced by the Public News Agency of Ecuador and South America, came as Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño told state TV that the UK should honor the request to enable Assange to “benefit from the right of asylum that we have granted him, as should be done in a respectful international relationship.” Assange has been at the embassy for three

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Volkswagen to recall 500,000 pollution-hiding cars in US

      German carmaker Volkswagen has been ordered by US regulators to recall half a million cars because of a device that disguises pollution levels.

    • A Wet Winter Won’t Save California

      As wildfires rage, crops are abandoned, wells run dry and cities work to meet mandatory water cuts, drought-weary Californians are counting on a savior in the tropical ocean: El Niño.

      This warming of the tropical Pacific occurs about every five years, affecting climate around the globe and bringing heavy winter precipitation to parts of California. The state experienced two of its wettest years during two of the strongest El Niños, in 1982-83 and 1997-98.

    • Cameron gives top environment policy job to oil man ahead of major climate talks

      Environmentalists slam appointment of ex-Schlumberger consultant as energy and environment adviser just months before global climate summit in Paris

    • Why America’s Deadly Love Affair with Bottled Water Has to Stop

      This spring, as California withered in its fourth year of drought and mandatory water restrictions were enacted for the first time in the state’s history, a news story broke revealing that Nestlé Waters North America was tapping springs in the San Bernardino National Forest in southern California using a permit that expired 27 years ago.

    • The GOP’s bullsh*t campaign: Why they’re drowning the country in an ocean of lies

      If you’re searching for advice on using the Internet without losing your mind, the classic xkcd web comic “Duty Calls” remains the gold standard. After all, no matter how much technology changes, as long as there are humans using it, the Internet will be full of people; and many of them will be wrong. So unless you figure out a way to log-off — and, more important, stay logged off — you’re just going to have to find a way to deal.

    • 26 more elephants killed with cyanide in national park in Zimbabwe

      Rangers in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park have discovered the carcasses of 26 elephants at two locations, dead of cyanide poisoning along with 14 other elephants who were found last week, officials said Wednesday.

      Patrolling rangers discovered the carcasses Tuesday, according to Bhejani Trust and the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. Bhejani Trust undertakes joint animal monitoring and welfare work with the parks agency

    • Norwegian Prime Minister demands global carbon price and end to fossil fuel subsidies

      Erna Solberg, the Norwegian Prime Minister, has called on the world to immediately set a global carbon price and phase out fossil fuel subsidies in order to better drive investment in low carbon technologies.

      Speaking at a conference hosted by the Norwegian British Chamber of Commerce in London today, Solberg argued Norway’s 26 year old carbon tax had been crucial in helping to drive development of “climate friendly” technologies.

    • New Concern Over Quakes in Oklahoma Near a Hub of U.S. Oil

      A sharp earthquake in central Oklahoma last weekend has raised fresh concern about the security of a vast crude oil storage complex, close to the quake’s center, that sits at the crossroads of the nation’s oil pipeline network.

      The magnitude 4.5 quake struck Saturday afternoon about three miles northwest of Cushing, roughly midway between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The town of about 8,000 people is home to the so-called Cushing Hub, a sprawling tank farm that is among the largest oil storage facilities in the world.

      Scientists reported in a paper published online last month that a large earthquake near the storage hub “could seriously damage storage tanks and pipelines.” Saturday’s quake continues a worrisome pattern of moderate quakes, suggesting that a large earthquake is more than a passing concern, the lead author of that study, Daniel McNamara, said in an interview.

    • VW

      Do you know the name Michael Horn? He’s the CEO of Volkswagen of America. You know what’s going on with Volkswagen, right? Dieselgate? The fact that the software that controls the Diesel engine in some of their cars was specifically written to defeat emissions tests? Yeah, apparently that software could detect when an emission test was being run, and could put the engine into a mode where it emitted one fortieth of the noxious nitrogen oxides of it’s normal operation.


      I think that argument is even more asinine than Michael Horn’s. They knew. And if they didn’t know, they should have known. They had a responsibility to know.

      If we had a real profession, those programmers would be brought before that profession, investigated, and if found guilty, drummed out of the profession in disgrace.

  • Finance

    • How Reaganomics is Still Hurting the Middle Class

      Thom talks income inequality and Reaganomics with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee’s Sarah Badawi and radio host and author Ari Rabin-Havt. In tonight’s Conversations with Great Minds, Thom discusses capitalism and the climate with award-winning journalist Naomi Klein, author of the new book “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.”

    • Donald Trump isn’t rich because he’s a great investor. He’s rich because his dad was rich.

      “It takes brains to make millions,” according to the slogan of Donald Trump’s board game. “It takes Trump to make billions.” It appears that’s truer than Trump himself might like to admit. A new analysis suggests that Trump would’ve been a billionaire even if he’d never had a career in real estate, and had instead thrown his father’s inheritance into a index fund that tracked the market. His wealth, in other words, isn’t because of his brains. It’s because he’s a Trump.

    • Capitalism and Its Regulation Delusion: Lessons From the Volkswagen Debacle

      Volkswagen (VW), we now know, systematically evaded pollution control regulations. Over the last decade it defrauded 11 million buyers of its diesel-engine vehicles, fouled the planet’s environment and thereby damaged the health and lives of countless living organisms. Regulation-defeating deception gave VW diesel autos competitive advantages over other companies’ diesel products and thereby enhanced its profits, the driving purpose of capitalist corporations.

    • Political Economy

      I hardly know where to start to deconstruct his speech, but one fact stands out. Osborne purported to give an overview of Britain’s economic crash and “recovery”, without making a single mention of the banking crisis or bankers’ corrupt and greedy practices as the cause of the crash, of vast banking bailouts by the taxpayer and the rapid contraction of the economy. That banker behaviour was of course accelerated by Gordon Brown’s extreme banking deregulation, but that was Brown’s great blunder, not the levels of public spending.

    • After Democratic Debate, Right-Wing Media Miss The Tax Cut Elephant In The Room
    • Now the Tories are allowing big business to design their own tax loopholes

      Last Monday, as the prime minister rehearsed his Manchester conference speech, a story appeared in this newspaper that showed you who really runs this country – and how. It revealed that one of Britain’s largest companies, AstraZeneca, paid absolutely no corporation tax here in both 2013 and 2014, despite racking up global profits in those years of £2.9bn.

    • US, Australia & Canada Decide Screw Over Poor Nations Because Big Pharma’s Not Happy With TPP

      With the conclusion of the negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement now in place, there has been some ridiculous whining from the pharmaceutical industry which got almost everything it wanted in the agreement, but wasn’t quite able to get a few things, including a 12 year patent-like exclusivity on biologics. And, because of that hissy fit, apparently, the USTR and its counterparts in Australia and Canada have agreed to help out Big Pharma in another arena. Jamie Love is reporting that this week there’s a meeting at the WTO this week to explore granting a special exemption on patent rules for developing nations (i.e., those who often need drugs the most, while also being the least likely to be able to afford them). It’s silly to enforce patents in these countries, because doing so would not only lead to almost no business at all, but (more importantly) because lots of people will die or, at the very least, suffer needlessly.

    • Who’s down with TPP?

      TTP is causing a lot of consternation. Critics say the agreement benefits developed countries at the cost of developing countries. They also argue that negotiations have been suspiciously secret. Proponents argue that TPP will reduces barriers to trade, support economic and job growth, improve IP protection and, ‘create new 21st century trade rules.’


      While the economic arguments are against term extension, there is evidence that public domain content spurs innovation and new content. Under the agreement, “The Parties recognise the importance of a rich and accessible public” and recognise the importance of good registers. Despite this, the agreement’s copyright terms will reduce the public domain.

      There are also provisions for making the circumvention of DRM illegal (and everyone knows how much consumers looooove DRM) and vague liability for ISPs. Not in the leaked draft are the different copyright terms for corporations, which were discussed earlier, presumably as life-support for Mickey Mouse.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Sanders Goes After Media’s Most Sacred Cow

      One of the biggest audience responses during the October 12 Democratic presidential debate came when Bernie Sanders agreed with Hillary Clinton that focus on her email server was a distraction. But as Lee Fang at the Intercept (10/14/15) pointed out, TV coverage only stressed part of that story, the part about the political impact of Sanders expressing solidarity with Clinton.

    • Pundits Thought Clinton Beat Sanders–but Did Viewers?

      What the Times and these pundits failed to mention is the fact that every online poll we could find asking web visitors who won the debate cast Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as the winner—and not just by a small margins, but by rather enormous ones.

    • USTR Fishing For Academics To Astroturf In Favor Of TPP

      Now that the TPP deal is done, it appears that the USTR has decided to focus on pushing propaganda, rather than legitimately discussing the details with the American public.

    • Why Is Lawrence Lessig Missing From Tonight’s CNN Debate?

      CNN’s decision to exclude Democratic presidential candidate and tech policy icon Lawrence Lessig from tonight’s debate in Las Vegas is drawing strong criticism from his supporters and other prominent voices from across the political spectrum.

      The Harvard law professor and campaign finance reform crusader, who is best known in tech circles as one of the nation’s top authorities on internet policy and digital copyright law, is running a highly unusual single-issue campaign aimed at rooting out what he calls the corrupting influence of money in politics.

    • Lawrence Lessig’s Attack Lines for Tuesday’s Debate—Had He Been Invited

      Lawrence Lessig sounded irritated as he spoke by phone while on a train Saturday morning. The Harvard professor turned political rabble-rouser, who launched his presidential campaign a month ago, has already raised more than a million dollars and started hiring political operatives. But CNN has not invited him to participate in the Democratic debate on Tuesday night.

    • More Americans support Bernie Sanders than Donald Trump

      For all of the attention paid to the Republican primary — thanks in large part to the classy marquee name of Donald Trump — it’s worth pointing something out: More Americans currently support Hillary Clinton than Trump, which you probably already knew. But it’s safe to assume that more Americans also support Bernie Sanders.

      We looked at this a bit back in May, when the Sanders phenomenon was first emerging. But it’s worth revisiting now that he has surged.

    • Business Whines That Even EU’s Mild, Unsatisfactory Reform Of Corporate Sovereignty Goes Too Far

      Last month Techdirt wrote about the attempt by the European Commission to deflect the growing EU resistance to the inclusion of a corporate sovereignty chapter in TAFTA/TTIP by turning it into a more formal Investment Court System (ICS). We pointed out some major problems with the proposal, and noted that the US Chamber of Commerce had already rejected the idea out of hand. We now have a response from BusinessEurope, one of the main lobbying organizations in the EU with 40 members in 34 countries.

  • Censorship

    • NJ Legislator Wants State’s Cops To Be The New Beneficiaries Of Hate Crime/Bias Laws

      It’s not enough. It’s dangerous out there for cops these days.* So, in the interest of making things even safer for our underprotected boys/girls in blue, a New Jersey politician is introducing legislation that would fold cops in to the state’s “hate speech/bias” laws.

    • Twitter is suspending accounts that share sports GIFs or highlights without permission

      Twitter has been coming down hard on accounts that share GIFs or video footage of sports highlights without permission. It temporarily suspended the @Deadspin account on Monday, and the @SBNationGIF account is still suspended at the time of writing.

    • China—not online porn—is why Playboy is dumping nude photographs

      Playboy’s recent decision to stop publishing nude photos marks a watershed moment in media, as the porn pioneer buttons up and turns its back on what made it famous. But the company’s core has had little to do with pornography for a long time.

      Over the course of a decade, Playboy has steadily transformed itself from a publishing company to a company that sells bunny drawings to T-shirt manufacturers. Revenues from licensing Playboy merchandise went from $37 million in 2009 to $65 million in 2013‚ marking about half the company’s revenues at the time (paywall).

    • 2,800 Cloudflare IP Addresses Blocked By Court Order

      When SOPA was imminent, Internet users expressed concerns that web blocking might “break the Internet”. The legislation didn’t pass, but according to data just published by a web-blocking watchdog in Russia, a similar law means that 2,800 of Cloudflare’s IP addresses are now on the country’s blocklist.

    • Yee ‘openly defied directions of the court’

      In their submissions yesterday, Yee’s lawyers said that it was not their client’s “dominant intention” to wound the religious feelings of Christians. Instead, his dominant intention was to critique Mr Lee.

    • Thai Arthouse Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul Laments Local Censorship

      Thailand has experienced a dozen military coups since it became a constitutional monarchy in 1932. While the country has one of the more prosperous economies in Southeast Asia and remains a hotspot for international tourists, many Thais feel that political violence is a persistent, latent threat to civic order.

    • Apichatpong Weerasethakul: I won’t censor my work for Thailand

      The Palme D’Or-winning Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul has said he does not want his new film to be screened in in his home country, for fear of the reaction of the ruling military junta.

      Speaking at the London film festival, which screened Cemetery of Splendour earlier this week, Weerasethakul told the BBC he would be forced to self-censor the film if he wanted to show it in Thailand. The drama centres on a group of soldiers who fall ill with a mysterious sleeping sickness, and it has been viewed by critics as a metaphor for the country’s societal travails.

    • Thai film director decries censorship

      An award-winning Thai film director has told the BBC he does not want his latest film shown in Thailand as he would be required to self-censor.

      Apichatpong Weerasethakul, winner of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or prize in 2010, said Thais did not have “genuine freedom”.

      The film, Cemetery of Splendour, evokes political uncertainty in Thailand.

      Thailand’s army seized power in a coup last year and has since increased censorship in the country.

    • Got a question about sex, violence and censorship on television?

      The organization lobbies the Federal Communication Commission and various broadcasting networks regarding the content of television programming, and encouraged advertisers to withdraw their support of programs they deem offensive or contain overly violent, sexual or suggestive content.

    • The story of censorship in America

      Conservatives once wanted to ban Playboy magazine, violent rap lyrics and offensive depictions of Jesus. Leftists then were right to fight such bans, but today leftists encourage censorship in the name of “tolerance.”

    • American Publishers Take a Stand Against Censorship in China

      This may be remembered as the year China’s publishing industry truly went global. In May, a large delegation of Chinese publishers attended BookExpo America, a major publishing trade event, as international guests of honor. And on Thursday, the Publishers Association of China, a government-backed industry group, was admitted to the International Publishers Association, a Geneva-based federation of more than 60 organizations whose mission includes promoting the freedom to publish.

    • 12 American Publishers Sign Pledge to Fight Chinese Censorship

      The PEN American Center has recruited 12 American publishing houses to a pledge. According to the press release, these companies have sworn to “monitor and address incidents of censorship in Chinese translations of books by foreign authors.”

    • American Publishers Take a Stand Against Censorship in China

      Earlier this year, PEN released a report on the censorship of foreign authors works when translated for the Chinese market, which included recommendations for those looking to publish there. That report came ahead of the 2015 BookExpo America, where China was honored as the guest of honor. PEN’s report did much to stoke conversation about weighing the appeal of China’s enormous book market with the government censorship required for entry.

    • No book censorship at Sharjah book fair

      The vision and directives of Dr Shaikh Sultan have contributed towards promoting the culture, knowledge and love of the written word, not only in the UAE but also in the Arab region and the world. The Sharjah book fair has now risen to be amongst the top fairs in the world, said Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority, on the sidelines of the Frankfurt Book Fair

    • China Tightens TV Censorship after Cleavage Controversies

      China’s state media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), is tightening up censorship of TV soaps and dramas to ensure that costumes remains decidedly demure and storylines hew towards “socialist core values” rather than courtly innuendo.

    • Privatizing censorship in fight against extremism is risk to press freedom

      Allowing ill-defined “extremist” content to be removed without judicial oversight or due process can too easily be used by states interested in limiting independent reporting and staving off public policy debates.

    • No to Government Censorship, Yes to Free Speech!

      Siaosi Sovaleni plans to bring this flawed technology and introduce “Internet Censorship” to Tonga.

    • Government censorship – a concern that should not be ignored

      There is no disputing the excellent efforts by the Hon. Minister to ensure Children’s Cyber-Safety (Parliament passes Bills to control internet access) is the centrepiece of this bill amongst others. There is never a place for online child-abuse material in any society, Tonga included.

    • Activists Beat Censorship in Lumberton, NJ

      Congratulations to the students, parents, and teachers in Lumberton, New Jersey, who have proven that grassroots action makes a difference.

    • The new PC priests of Irish censorship

      After Irish Independence, a state body with the unimprovable title of The Commission on Evil Literature was set up, followed shortly after by the Censorship of Publications Act.

    • Natasha Tripney: Was school cancellation censorship or child protection?

      On October 13, the Out of Joint co-production of Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s new play Jane Wenham: The Witch of Walkern, based on the story of one of the last women to be put on trial for witchcraft in England, was due to be staged at Ipswich High School for Girls. Instead, the performance was cancelled relatively late in the day, as reported in The Stage, due to “grave reservations” over its portrayal of child sex abuse, a decision Out of Joint’s artistic director Max Stafford-Clark branded “spectacularly perverse.”

      Co-produced with Watford Palace Theatre and the Arcola Theatre, the play’s tour includes 10 performances overseen by Eastern Angles, a regional touring theatre company based in the east of England, of which the Ipswich High School date was part. This collaboration was something of a new venture for both Eastern Angles and Out of Joint. It was important to Stafford-Clark that the play should tour this part of the country because the story it tells is so tied up in East Anglian history. In the 17th century, Suffolk was the stomping ground of the notorious Matthew Hopkins, self-styled ‘Witchfinder General,’ and while the Pendle Witch Trials are perhaps lodged more firmly in the collective imagination, the largest single witch trial in England actually took place in Bury St Edmunds in 1645. Walkern itself is in East Hertfordshire, but Wenham’s story, which takes place in 1712, in the time of Queen Anne, when the witch craze though fading was still alive in people’s memories, is part of the landscape of this part of England.

    • Rushdie decries censorship in keynote speech at Frankfurt Book Fair

      The world-famous novelist has called freedom of speech a fundamental right in his keynote address at the annual literary festival. His words come after Iran boycotted the event because of his presence.

    • Rushdie Condemns Censorship as Iranians Boycott Frankfurt Book Fair

      “Limiting freedom of expression is not just censorship, it is also an assault on human nature,” Mr. Rushdie said in his speech, according to Agence France-Presse. “Expression of speech is fundamental to all human beings. We are language animals, we are story-telling animals.” He added, “Without that freedom of expression, all other freedoms fail.”

    • Rushdie warns of new dangers to free speech in West
    • Rushdie: ‘free speech is a part of human nature’
    • Salman Rushdie: Without free speech, all freedoms fail
    • Apple News blocking is a reminder of the ethical minefield facing tech firms in the Chinese market
    • Censorship is the enemy of change

      It is without doubt, as we are constantly told, that we now live in the ‘information age’. With a click of a button, or the swipe of a finger, we can now access, share and follow more stories, content and information from across the world than previous generations could have ever imagined.

      However, as the age-old maxim goes, with great power comes great responsibility. And as we continue in our race to becoming an all-knowing, all-seeing population, we have also become a part of an extremely divisive and important debate: Should the information and media we consume so readily be censored and vetted when it comes to violent and graphic content?

      As is often the case, this debate is rarely black and white. Of course, certain forms of censorship are ostensibly necessary. For example, the use of a television watershed and various forms of film classification boards are in place to avoid unsuitable content being easily accessed by children. However, when it comes to the news outlets and mass media targeted at mature audiences, is such policy really suitable?

    • China leads the way in Internet censorship requests

      From Jan. 1 to June 30, the Chinese government asked Microsoft to remove 165 items from the web, according to the company’s annual transparency report released on Wednesday. That compared to 21 requests from other countries, which included 11 from the United States, five from Germany, two each from the United Kingdom and Russia, and one from Austria.

    • Hillel Int’l champions animal rights activist to cover for its censorship of human rights

      Pro-Israel organizations have championed a number of progressive causes as a form of hasbara, or propaganda, seeking to immunize the Israeli occupation from criticism. These include environmentalism– greenwashing– and LGBTQ rights — pinkwashing. The latest effort is a case of veg-washing.

    • Dave Helling: Censorship shouldn’t be an issue in Kansas school finance case

      Last week, the Shawnee Mission School District told the Kansas Supreme Court that the state’s cap on local spending for education should be lifted. The cap, it said, “has led to a crippling loss of teachers, loss of foreign language programs, larger class sizes, closure of neighborhood schools and loss of property values.”

      The spending cap was put in place to make Kansas’ school funding system more fair for every student. The court is trying to figure out if the scheme has accomplished that goal.


      “Ceilings on education are but censorship by another name,” the brief says.

    • Baby Boomers Share Blame for Today’s Censorship-Happy Students

      It’s fun and important to mock the jumped-up Joe Stalins who have seized power in student associations across the West and who are banning songs, hats, newspapers, and people that piss them off. But it isn’t enough. Too often we treat this scourge of student censorship as a sudden, almost malarial hysteria infecting campuses—the fault of a uniquely intolerant generation corrupting a hitherto healthy academy with their demands to be Safe-Spaced from hairy ideas. But this is wrong. These ban-happy brats are actually the bastard offspring of… well, of some of the people now criticizing them. They are Complacency’s Children, the angry logical conclusion to liberals’ failure over the past 30 years to kick back against a creeping culture of intolerance.

    • EU, Germany express concern on Keneş’s arrest ahead of key visits

      On the eve of separate visits by EU commissioners and the German chancellor to Ankara this week, officials from the European Commission and the European Parliament have expressed their concerns about the arrest of Today’s Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bülent Keneş, with the German Bundestag also joining in the growing chorus of those condemning the political pressure on the media and media professionals.

    • Purdue University Erases Video Of NSA Surveillance Speech To Obey Government Censorship Rules

      Purdue University erased a video of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Barton Gellman’s campus address on Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency because his presentation included classified government documents, Gellman said.

      Gellman, a former Washington Post reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Edward Snowden and the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, gave a keynote speech Sept. 24 at Purdue’s technology conference, “Dawn or Doom.” His talk was live-streamed and organizers promised to provide a permanent link to the video on the school website after the talk, Gellman said. But the school, located in Lafayette, Indiana, never provided the link, Gellman wrote in a piece posted on the website of the Century Foundation, a progressive think tank.

      “It turns out that Purdue has wiped all copies of my video and slides from university servers, on grounds that I displayed classified documents briefly on screen,” Gellman wrote. He said he was told that the university at one point pondered destroying the projector he borrowed as well.

    • Lincoln Book Festival: There’s nothing new in newspapers censoring themselves – it’s gone on years

      In my research for my forthcoming book, War on Wheels, on the story of the mechanisation of the army in the Second World War, I read many accounts of captivity written by those who had spent years as prisoners of war.

      They were allowed to write home, but in the knowledge that everything they wrote would be seen by their captors. The result was letters that revealed nothing of the dreadful conditions under which they were forced to live.

    • A history of nudity: Playboy’s censorship is a throwback to the medieval era

      Playboy is to abolish the nude. Many people will celebrate this, even if the magazine once seen as the bible of sexual liberation is getting out of the business of soft porn because it has been outdone by the internet, and not for any idealistic feminist reason.

    • Debate team, library staff argue censorship

      In the 2013 school year, 666 of 1241 schools in Texas protested or challenged books according to the Robert R. Muntz Library staff. Two commonly known books that have been banned or challenged are World War Z and A Christmas Carol. To bring attention to the issue of banned books, a public debate focusing on “Censorship of Offensive Material in an Academic Environment Does More Harm than Good” was organized and held at the Cowan Center on September 29th.

    • Newspapers should not practice censorship

      Recently a letter writer demanded that The Morning Call engage in the irrational and immoral practice of censorship — specifically censorship of scientific measurements and observations (i.e., scientific facts) which refuted the global warming crisis theory and the predictions of its flawed computer climate models.

      As the great scientist, Sir Isaac Newton, pointed out, valid scientific theories must be built upon measurements/observations. NASA satellites during the past 18 years have measured no significant global warming, despite an 11 percent increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Neither the theory nor its computer models predicted this huge pause in global warming, proving that both are grossly flawed.

    • Censorship not warranted

      Today, they are regarded as classics, but “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Fahrenheit 451” were once banned for being too controversial. More recently, “Friday Night Lights” was rejected for its depiction of profanity and racism, and the Harry Potter series is banned in several countries for allegedly promoting witchcraft.

    • Opposition politicians slam censorship of TV stations

      Reaction continues to grow after Digital satellite platform Teledünya, cable provider Digiturk, online TV streamer Turkcell TV+ and Treasury backed Tivibu have all joined the political bandwagon and censored the networks, citing an audacious terror investigation launched by a public prosecutor. The platforms’ actions have violated contractual agreements both with viewers and with the channels, and have drawn condemnation from rights groups, opposition politicians, and scores of citizens who have cancelled their subscriptions.

    • Indian Languages Festival to discuss creativity and censorship in Tamil
    • For freedom of speech, these are troubling times

      This most fundamental of principles is under attack – from over-zealous law making, online witch hunts, and a profit-driven media offensive on the BBC

    • UK porn filters still shunned by public, despite wider roll-out

      Around a quarter of UK broadband subscribers (24 percent) have opted to allow their ISPs to block pornographic content, according to an online survey by the broadband comparison site Broadband Genie. Just over half (54 percent) said that they did not use the porn filters, while another 22 percent said they didn’t know. Although there was no attempt to conduct the survey rigorously, and it was relatively small—2,491 respondents took part—it offers useful indications about the public’s uptake of filters not available elsewhere.

      According to the Broadband Genie numbers, the main reason people chose to opt out of the filtering system was that they did not want their access “hindered in any way” (40 percent), while 15 percent of those who rejected the blocks were worried about censorship. Another 11 percent said they did not need the filtering, because they had their own software to do the job.

    • Je Suis Charlie, Toronto Film Festival, review: A powerful eulogy for the victims

      Documentary attempts to put the attacks and French society in context

    • Apple Censors Mobile App Content in China, Even if Users Seek Privacy

      How committed is Apple (APPL) to user privacy and freedom? Not very, it seems—at least for users in China, where the company has blocked access to its News app for iOS mobile devices.

      As its name implies, News is an app for aggregating and reading news on iPads and iPhones (presumably for people who haven’t yet discovered Google News or other free, web-based news aggregators). The app is only available to install for Apple users in the United States. (Apple is currently testing the product in the United Kingdom and Australian markets.) Once it’s installed, however, it can be used from any location.

    • MPA Reveals 500+ Instances of Pirate Site Blocking in Europe

      MPA Deputy General Counsel Okke Visser has revealed that European instances of site blocking on copyright grounds now exceed 500. During a presentation in the UK yesterday, Visser highlighted 13 countries that are implementing web blockades, including latest addition Iceland, which blocked The Pirate Bay this week.

  • Privacy

    • IPT ruling on Wilson doctrine opens way for devolved parliament and assemblies to challenge surveillance

      The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has ruled that the Wilson Doctrine does not protect MPs and peers’ communications from surveillance by the intelligence agencies.

    • GCHQ allowed to spy on MPs and peers, secret court rules

      The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), the UK body that hears complaints about intelligence agencies, has ruled that the communications of MPs and peers are not protected by the Wilson Doctrine, which was thought to exempt them from surveillance by GCHQ and other intelligence agencies. Back in July, the UK government had already admitted that the Wilson Doctrine “cannot work sensibly” when mass surveillance is taking place, but today’s decision goes further by explicitly rejecting the idea of any formal immunity from spying.

    • Thieves steal cyclists’ bikes by following apps that track their routes

      Social media apps which track cyclists’ routes are believed to be behind a sharp rise in high-value bike thefts.

      The mobile phone apps, which allow cyclists to post details of their routes on the internet, are giving thieves the chance to track down top-of-the-range bikes to their owners’ sheds and garages.

      The apps, such as Strava, Endomondo and MapMyRide, record what make and model bike the cyclist is using, so thieves know the value of the bikes.

    • Why Does Facebook Keep Suggesting You Friend Your Tinder Matches?

      A year ago, shortly after breaking up with her boyfriend of three years, Emma Lauren decided to jump back into the dating scene, starting with an OkCupid account. Her first date went disastrously: the dude showed up late, looked nothing like his profile picture, spent the entire time talking about 9/11 conspiracy theories, and berated her for smoking a cigarette before he tried to kiss her at the end of the night. She didn’t speak to him again, and later blocked his phone number after he became belligerent because she didn’t reply to his texts.

    • It could be worse

      So this week the usual folks have been all over China’s proposal to use big data techniques to assign every citizen a Citizen Score. And while a tiny ethics-free part of my soul weeps for joy (hey, I never expected parts of Glasshouse to come true!) the rest of me shudders and can’t help thinking how much worse it could get.

      So, let’s start by synopsizing the Privacy Online News report. It’s basically a state-run universal credit score, where you’re measured on a scale from 350 to 950. But it’s not just about your financial planning ability; it also reflects your political opinions. On the financial side, if you buy products the government approves of your credit score increases: wastes of time (such as video games) cost you points. China’s main social networks feed data into it and you can lose points big-time by expressing political opinions without prior permission, talking about history (where it diverges from the official version—e.g. the events of 1989 in Tiananmen Square—hey, I just earned myself a negative credit score there!), or saying anything that’s politically embarrassing.

      The special social network magic comes into play when you learn that if your friends do this, your score also suffers. You can see what they just did to you: are you angry yet? Social pressure is a pervasive force and it’s going to be exerted on participants whether they like it or not, by friends looking for the goodies that come from having a high citizen score: goodies like instant loans for online shopping, car rentals without needing a deposit, or fast-track access to foreign travel visas. Also, everyone’s credit score is visible online, making it easy to ditch those embarrassingly ranty cocktail-party friends who insist on harshing your government credit karma by not conforming.


      First a micro-example: The Chinese government could conceivably to abolish it’s Great Firewall once the citizen score is enacted. Instead, it could require ISPs to log all outgoing internet connections; the UK’s GCHQ already does this via the KARMA POLICE program (and that name could be a big hint about where this is going). By monitoring what people are looking at, you can then reward or punish their habits. The 50 Cent Party demonstrates that they’ve got the human resources to actively track internet activities; members could be rewarded for identifying hostile foreign web sites, and non-members could then earn penalty points on their citizen scores for looking at those sites. By rendering the firewall transparent they could paradoxically improve enforcement: looking at dodgy sites on the internet would get you shunned by family, friends, and workmates out of self-interest.

    • Camgirl OPSEC: How the World’s Newest Porn Stars Protect Their Privacy Online

      I spoke with a well-established camgirl, NataliaGrey, of the popular website MyFreeCams, about how she keeps herself safe online. The first step is protecting your location.

    • If You’re Not Paranoid, You’re Crazy

      Then there was this peculiar psychic incursion. One night, about a year before my phone suggested I eat more walnuts, I was researching modern spycraft for a book I was thinking about writing when I happened across a creepy YouTube video. It consisted of surveillance footage from a Middle Eastern hotel where agents thought to be acting on behalf of Israel had allegedly assassinated a senior Hamas official. I watched as the agents stalked their target, whom they apparently murdered in his room, offscreen, before reappearing in a hallway and nonchalantly summoning an elevator. Because one of the agents was a woman, I typed these words into my browser’s search bar: Mossad seduction techniques. Minutes later, a banner ad appeared for Ashley Madison, the dating site for adulterous married people that would eventually be hacked, exposing tens of millions of trusting cheaters who’d emptied their ids onto the Web. When I tried to watch the surveillance footage again, a video ad appeared. It promoted a slick divorce attorney based in Santa Monica, just a few miles from the Malibu apartment where I escaped my cold Montana home during the winter months.

    • Judge Calls Bluffs On Encryption Debate; Asks Apple To Explain Why Unlocking A Phone Is ‘Unduly Burdensome’

      Things on the Crypto War 2.0 battlefront just got a little more interesting. The administration won’t seek backdoors and neither will Congress. The intelligence community has largely backed away from pressing for compliance from tech companies. This basically leaves FBI director James Comey (along with various law enforcement officials) twisting in his own “but people will die” wind.

      Comey continues to insist encryption can be safely backdoored. He claims the real issue is companies like Apple and Google, who hire tons of “smart people” but won’t put them to work solving his “going dark” problem for him. As pretty much the entirety of the tech community has pointed out, holes in encryption are holes in encryption and cannot ever be law enforcement-only.

    • Majority of ISPs not ready for metadata laws that come into force today

      The vast majority of Australian internet service providers (ISPs) are not ready to start collecting and storing metadata as required under the country’s data retention laws which come into effect today.

      ISPs have had the past six months to plan how they will comply with the law, but 84 per cent say they are not ready and will not be collecting metadata on time.

      The Attorney-General’s department says ISPs have until April 2017 to become fully compliant with the law.

    • Australia accessed NSA spy data more than UK over 12 months: Edward Snowden document

      Australian intelligence authorities accessed private internet data gathered by the US National Security Agency even more than their British counterparts over a 12-month period, according to a previously unreported document released by Edward Snowden.

      The document relates to the NSA’s PRISM program, which takes chunks of users’ online activity directly from companies like Google.

      In the 12 months to May 2012, Australia’s electronic spy agency, the ASD, then known as DSD, produced 310 reports based on PRISM. The UK produced 197.

      Eric King from British activist group Privacy International found the document and told Lateline he was astonished.

      “What we’ve now found out is that DSD, the Australian intelligence services, were using PRISM, they were having access directly to Google, Apple, Facebook and other big US companies which are right into heart of their customer’s data and pulling that out,” he said.

      “The fact that [Australia] had a third more than even Britain used is astonishing to my mind.”

    • How Is the NSA Breaking So Much Crypto?

      There have been rumors for years that the NSA can decrypt a significant fraction of encrypted Internet traffic. In 2012, James Bamford published an article quoting anonymous former NSA officials stating that the agency had achieved a “computing breakthrough” that gave them “the ability to crack current public encryption.” The Snowden documents also hint at some extraordinary capabilities: they show that NSA has built extensive infrastructure to intercept and decrypt VPN traffic and suggest that the agency can decrypt at least some HTTPS and SSH connections on demand.

    • Germany vows tougher control of spy agency after new revelations

      Germany’s justice minister has called for tighter control of the national foreign intelligence agency, after media reported its spies had targeted the embassies of allied countries without the government’s express permission.

      Heiko Maas told the Rheinische Post newspaper in an interview to be published on Friday that a fundamental reform of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) was needed.

      “Parliament must get all the necessary means for an effective control of the intelligence services,” he added.

    • The Guardian view on surveillance: licence to pry on parliament

      Two years ago Edward Snowden let citizens know that their privacy wasn’t all it seemed. Records were routinely being kept on the websites they visited, the texts they sent and the numbers they called. Even search terms and passwords could sometimes be harvested as “bulk data”, making it possible in principle to weave an intimate portrait from disparate electronic traces.

      There were shockwaves around the world, from Washington to Berlin. Westminster, however, shrugged off the news, with many MPs more interested in taking pot-shots at Mr Snowden, and sometimes the Guardian, than in engaging with the substance of what he had to say. If parliamentarians were less than excited about snooping, then – on the-personal-is-the-political principle – it could be because they didn’t imagine that it affected them. The Wilson doctrine – the 50-year-old prime ministerial promises that MPs’ communications wouldn’t be tapped – gave that hunch some basis. Today, however, the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) told them bluntly that the doctrine had no force in law. Now it is the politicians’ turn to discover that their privacy isn’t all that it had seemed.

    • Facebook has poached a senior Microsoft exec to lead its marketing in Europe

      Facebook has hired Microsoft’s UK chief marketing officer Philippa Snare as its marketing director for business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

    • Researchers Find ‘Impossible to Trace’ Spyware in 32 Countries

      In the summer of 2014, an anti-surveillance “digilante” only known as PhineasFisher hacked into the servers of the controversial company Gamma International, makers of the FinFisher government spyware, and exposed some of its secrets to the world.

      The breach revealed the company’s customer list as well as details of its products. For some, this was going to seriously damage the company. But a year later, FinFisher is alive and well as a now-separate company. In fact, it has more customers than previously reported, according to a new investigation by Citizen Lab, a digital watchdog at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

    • If The NSA’s Not Complaining About Encryption, It’s Likely Because It Has Already Found A Way In

      The NSA hasn’t said much (well… compared to the FBI) over the past several months about the default phone encryption offered by Google and Apple. This lack of public outcry has to do with the NSA’s capabilities, rather than a sudden interest in ensuring people around the world have access to secure communications. If it truly felt the world would be a better place with safer computing, it wouldn’t have invested so much in hardware implants, software exploits and — its biggest black budget line — defeating encryption.

      Where there’s no smoke, there’s a great deal of fire which can neither be confirmed nor denied. The NSA has very likely punched holes in encryption in existing encryption. But how does it do it? A brute force attack on encryption would be largely futile, even with the computing power the agency possesses. Alex Halderman and Nadia Heninger at Freedom to Tinker have a theory, and it involves a “flaw” in a highly-recommended encryption algorithm.

    • The NSA may have been able to crack so much encryption thanks to a simple mistake

      The NSA could have gained a significant amount of its access to the world’s encrypted communications thanks to the high-tech version of reusing passwords, according to a report from two US academics.

    • Could a simple mistake be how the NSA was able to crack so much encryption?

      Most encryption software does the high-tech equivalent of reusing passwords, and that could be how the US national security agency decrypted communications

    • Inside China’s plan to give every citizen a character score

      WHERE you go, what you buy, who you know, how many points are on your driving licence: these are just a few of the details that the Chinese government will track – to give scores to all its citizens.

      China’s Social Credit System (SCS) will come up with these ratings by linking up personal data held by banks, e-commerce sites and social networks. The scores will serve not just to indicate an individual’s credit risk, for example, but could be used by potential landlords, employers and even romantic partners to gauge an individual’s character.

      “It isn’t just about financial creditworthiness,” says Rogier Creemers at the University of Oxford, who studies Chinese media policy and politics. “All that behaviour will be integrated into one comprehensive assessment of you as a person, which will then be used to make you eligible or ineligible for certain jobs, or social services.”

    • How to Protect Yourself from NSA Attacks on 1024-bit DH

      In a post on Wednesday, researchers Alex Halderman and Nadia Heninger presented compelling research suggesting that the NSA has developed the capability to decrypt a large number of HTTPS, SSH, and VPN connections using an attack on common implementations of the Diffie-Hellman key exchange algorithm with 1024-bit primes. Earlier in the year, they were part of a research group that published a study of the Logjam attack, which leveraged overlooked and outdated code to enforce “export-grade” (downgraded, 512-bit) parameters for Diffie-Hellman. By performing a cost analysis of the algorithm with stronger 1024-bit parameters and comparing that with what we know of the NSA “black budget” (and reading between the lines of several leaked documents about NSA interception capabilities) they concluded that it’s likely NSA has been breaking 1024-bit Diffie-Hellman for some time now.

    • Freedom Equals Surveillance
    • Google, Facebook and Other Giants Oppose New Bill Over Privacy Threats

      Facebook, Google, Yahoo and a number of open source advocates are joining the rally cry against a controversial new bill proposed in the U.S. called the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015. Some experts are saying that, if passed, the bill could have a seismic impact on individual privacy and privacy at businesses.

    • How ACLU project director Ben Wizner got a firsthand look at the scope and severity of surveillance issues — as Edward Snowden’s lawyer

      Ben Wizner got a call in January 2013 that would revolutionize his professional career.

      The call was from a journalist and filmmaker, Laura Poitras, whom he had known for years. She had received an email from someone who claimed to be a senior intelligence official.

      “She came to me in order to seek advice,” Wizner says via phone from New York. “She wasn’t sure, and I wasn’t sure, whether the writer was a real person, a crank, or even something more sinister.”

      The writer turned out to be a former CIA employee and government contractor named Edward Snowden. The rest turned out to be history.

      Snowden, with help of journalists around the world, released information about the National Security Agency that had not previously been discussed in public — most notably, that the NSA was collecting telephone data in bulk, including the numbers dialed by Americans and how long the calls lasted. Snowden now lives in Russia, but he has said he would one day like to return home.

    • EU Digital Commish: Ja, we should have done more about NSA spying

      Europe’s outspoken digi Commissioner, Günther H-dot Oettinger has admitted that the European Commission did too little, too late in reaction to Edward Snowden’s NSA spying revelations.

      Following a landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) striking down the EU-US data sharing Safe Harbor agreement on Tuesday, Oetti told German daily Der Spiegel that “a mandatory government agreement would be the best solution” but that he didn’t believe it was likely to happen.

      The second-best option is a re-negotiated arrangement, said Oettinger, for once sticking to the Commission official line. He said clarity was urgently needed for “the many medium-sized companies that are now feeling insecure”.

    • ‘Are you a traitor?’ The BBC Panorama interview with Edward Snowden
    • BBC’s Panorama attacks Edward Snowden

      As well as smearing Snowden, the aim of the documentary was to head off opposition to upcoming UK government legislation, in which even more spying powers are being handed over to an already vast and all-embracing intelligence apparatus.

    • Edward Snowden: NSA Spying on Porn Habits, not Terrorists
    • Why one Utah lawmaker is calling Edward Snowden a ‘traitor’
    • Why one Utah lawmaker is calling Edward Snowden a ‘traitor’
    • Rep. Chris Stewart calls Edward Snowden ‘destructive traitor’
    • Officials in Utah defend NSA’s role fighting cyber-attacks
    • Officials in Utah defend NSA’s role fighting cyber-attacks
    • Officials in Utah Defend NSA’s $1.7 Billion Data Center

      The National Security Agency’s massive data center in Utah isn’t being used to store Americans’ personal phone calls or social media activity, but plays a key role in protecting the country from cyber-attacks by hostile foreign governments, U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah said Tuesday.

      Stewart’s comments came during a national security conference he hosted on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City. NSA Utah director Dave Winberg was among the speakers, but didn’t talk specifically what happens at a $1.7 billion data center south of Salt Lake City. He instead focused his remarks on the NSA’s global purpose.

    • Microsoft Gave NSA Access To Encrypted Messages Including Skype, Says Snowden

      According to leaked internal memos given to The Guardian, the U.S. government’s National Security Agency (NSA) worked with Microsoft in order to enable them to read personal messages sent over Skype as well as Outlook email, and its predecessor Hotmail

    • Research Shows How NSA Exploits Flaws to Decrypt Huge Amounts of Communications Instead of Securing the Internet

      According to an award-winning paper presented at a security conference earlier this week by a group of prominent cryptographers, the NSA has likely used its access to vast computing power as well as weaknesses in the commonly used TLS security protocol in order to spy on encrypted communications, including VPNs, HTTPS and SSH. As two of the researchers, Alex Halderman and Nadia Heninger explained, it was previously known that the NSA had reached a “breakthrough” allowing these capabilities. The paper represents a major contribution to public understanding by drawing a link between the NSA’s computing resources and previously known cryptographic weaknesses.

    • On its way: A Google-free, NSA-free IT infrastructure for Europe

      This really wasn’t in the script. All conquering, “disruptive” Silicon Valley companies were more powerful than any nation state, we were told, and governments and nations would submit to their norms. But now the dam that Max Schrems cracked last week has burst open as European companies seek to nail down local alternatives to Google, Dropbox and other Californian over-the-top players.

      They don’t have much choice, says Rafael Laguna, the open source veteran at Open Xchange.

    • When NSA employees leave to start their own companies

      Adam Fuchs and his small team labored for years inside the National Security Agency on a system that would enable analysts to access vast troves of intelligence data and spot hidden patterns.

      “We very much had a startup feel,” Fuchs said. The team worked in an office at Fort Meade with ideas scrawled across whiteboards and old furniture scattered around.

      Their work helped analysts identify terrorist groups. But the ordinarily secretive NSA did something else with the technology: Figuring that others could make use of it, too, the agency released it to the world for free.

      And that was when those who had built the tool saw an opportunity. Half eventually left the agency to develop it on the outside. Fuchs and others founded a company.

    • NSA may have had ability to bypass ‘unbreakable’ encryption for years
    • How to Protect Yourself from NSA Attacks on 1024-bit DH

      In a post on Wednesday, researchers Alex Halderman and Nadia Heninger presented compelling research suggesting that the NSA has developed the capability to decrypt a large number of HTTPS, SSH, and VPN connections using an attack on common implementations of the Diffie-Hellman key exchange algorithm with 1024-bit primes. Earlier in the year, they were part of a research group that published a study of the Logjam attack, which leveraged overlooked and outdated code to enforce “export-grade” (downgraded, 512-bit) parameters for Diffie-Hellman. By performing a cost analysis of the algorithm with stronger 1024-bit parameters and comparing that with what we know of the NSA “black budget” (and reading between the lines of several leaked documents about NSA interception capabilities) they concluded that it’s likely NSA has been breaking 1024-bit Diffie-Hellman for some time now.

    • This Common Cryptography Method Is Alarmingly Vulnerable
    • Snowden: NSA, GCHQ Using Your Phone to Spy on Others (and You)

      You are a tool of the state, according to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      The NSA in the U.S., and its equivalent in the UK, GCHQ, are taking control of your phone not just to spy on you as needed, but also to use your device as a way to spy on others around you. You are a walking microphone, camera and GPS for spies.

    • Edward Snowden: Governments Want to Own Your Phone Instead of You
    • Could Nosey, Tracker and Dreamy Smurfs expose your digital life?
    • Snowden discusses a scary way spies can hack your smartphone and gain ‘total control’
    • The NSA sure breaks a lot of “unbreakable” crypto. This is probably how they do it.

      The paper describes how in Diffie-Hellman key exchange — a common means of exchanging cryptographic keys over untrusted channels — it’s possible to save a lot of computation and programmer time by using one of a few, widely agreed-upon large prime numbers. The theoreticians who first proposed this described it as secure against anyone who didn’t want to spend a nearly unimaginable amount of money attacking it.

    • Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders call for Edward Snowden to face trial

      Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sparred over Edward Snowden during Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate with both calling for him to face trial, but with the Vermont senator saying he thought the NSA whistleblower had “played a very important role in educating the American people”.

    • Sanders would ‘absolutely’ end NSA spying
    • Hillary Clinton Is Wrong About Edward Snowden
    • Sanders would ‘absolutely’ end NSA wiretapping program
    • Some Democrats Deserve Praise for NSA and Snowden Stances. Hillary Clinton, Not So Much.
    • 4 out of 5 Democratic candidates agree—Snowden should face the courts
    • Snowden Broke US Law, Should Stay in Exile – Hillary Clinton
    • No, Hillary, Edward Snowden Didn’t Have Whistleblower Protections
    • Clinton ‘Out of Touch’ With Whistleblowers Reality – Ex Snowden Attorney
    • What Did Clinton Mean When She Said Snowden Files Fell Into the “Wrong Hands”?
    • Hillary Clinton wants Edward Snowden to stand trial
    • Hillary’s Attack on Snowden Was Devoid Of Facts
    • Sanders’ Snowden Response Proves He Doesn’t Want a “Revolution”
    • Snowden Says Hillary Clinton’s Bogus Statements Show a “Lack of Political Courage”
    • Why Hillary Clinton is Wrong About Edward Snowden
    • Snowden hits back at Clinton
    • Hillary Clinton claims Edward Snowden had whistleblower protections, didn’t use them

      That’s not accurate, we found. While American law does shield government whistleblowers, it wouldn’t necessarily apply in Snowden’s case.

    • GCHQ and NSA Spying on Pakistan?

      Last week, Edward Snowden made several statements about the NSA, as he usually does, and the U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ claiming that these agencies wish to control the phones of the public. Lost in much of the typical nonsense one expects to hear from Mr. Snowden, there was the claim that these two signals intelligence agencies were actively engaged in spying on Pakistan. More specifically, Snowden claimed that the eavesdropping was conducted through an exploit in the Cisco routers employed by the Pakistanis.

    • Fallout from EU-US Safe Harbour ruling will be dramatic and far-reaching

      In the wake of last week’s dramatic judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which means that transatlantic data transfers made under the Safe Harbour agreement are likely to be ruled illegal across the EU, there has been no shortage of apocalyptic visions claiming that e-commerce—and even the Internet itself—was doomed. Companies are already finding alternative, if imperfect, ways to transfer personal data from the EU to the US, although a very recent data protection ruling in Germany suggests that one approach—using contracts—is unlikely to withstand legal scrutiny. But what’s being overlooked are the much wider implications of the court’s ruling, which reach far beyond e-commerce.

      The careful legal reasoning used by the CJEU to reach its decisions will make its rulings extremely hard, if not impossible, to circumvent, since they are based on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. As the European Commission’s page on the Charter explains: “The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU brings together in a single document the fundamental rights protected in the EU.” Once merely aspirational, the Charter attained a new importance in December 2009: “with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the Charter became legally binding on the EU institutions and on national governments, just like the EU Treaties themselves.”

    • Edward Snowden attorney: ‘Pick your misdemeanor’
    • Facebook’s Like Buttons Will Soon Track Your Web Browsing to Target Ads

      Facebook’s ad targeting algorithms are about to get a new firehose of valuable and controversial personal data.

    • With Little Fanfare, FBI Ramps Up Biometrics Programs (Yet Again)—Part 1

      Being a job seeker isn’t a crime. But the FBI has made a big change in how it deals with fingerprints that might make it seem that way. For the first time, fingerprints and biographical information sent to the FBI for a background check will be stored and searched right along with fingerprints taken for criminal purposes.

    • With Little Fanfare, FBI Ramps Up Biometrics Programs (Yet Again)—Part 2

      As Privacy SOS reported earlier this month, the FBI is looking for new ways to collect biometrics out in the field—and not just fingerprints, but face recognition-ready photographs as well.

    • Sheriff: We’ll get judicial approval—not a warrant—when using stingray

      The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department (SCSD) announced a new cell-site-simulator policy earlier this week, saying that it would seek “judicial authorization” when deploying the devices, which are also known as stingrays.

      In a press release, the largest law enforcement agency in California’s state capital region touted that it was the “first law enforcement agency in the country” to release such a policy.

    • AVG Proudly Announces It Will Sell Your Browsing History to Online Advertisers

      AVG, the Czech antivirus company, has announced a new privacy policy in which it boldly and openly admits it will collect user details and sell them to online advertisers for the purpose of continuing to fund its freemium-based products.

      This new privacy policy is slated to come into effect starting October 15, and the company has published a blog post explaining the decision to go this route, along with the full privacy policy’s content, so users can read it in advance and decide on their own if they want to use its services or not.

    • South Korea-backed app puts children at risk

      Security researchers say they found critical weaknesses in a South Korean government-mandated child surveillance app — vulnerabilities that left the private lives of the country’s youngest citizens open to hackers.

    • Why I Quit My Facebook Quitting

      Most of the time, though, my slips were accidental. I discovered (again this year) that social software is embedded everywhere. My Facebook log-in doubled as my log-in for my ride-sharing app (Uber), my jogging music app (RockMyRun), my house-sharing app (Airbnb), and my bike-riding app (MapMyRide). And then there was Rise, the social app I use to send photos of my meals to a professional dietician, who advises me to leave off the chocolate and add a bit of spinach. Wasn’t that basically a social app?

    • UL creating standard for wearable privacy and security

      UL, formerly called Underwriters Labs, soon expects to certify wearables for safety and security, including user privacy.

      Founded in 1894 and more commonly known for certifying appliances for electrical safety, UL is developing draft requirements for security and privacy for data associated with Internet of Things devices, including wearables. A pilot program is underway, and UL plans to launch the program early in 2016, UL told Computerworld.

    • Germany will make telcos share customer data with the police

      Germany once again requires telcos and ISPs to make user data available to law enforcement, after a previous law and the EU directive on which it was based were declared unconstitutional.

      Even as the European Union attempts to tighten privacy laws, law-enforcement interests have won a battle in Germany: a new law forces communications service providers there to once again make data about their customers’ communications available to police.

    • Online advertisers admit they “messed up,” promise lighter ads

      The online advertising business, which has for years struggled against a rising tide of ad blockers by deploying ever-heavier and more-invasive ads, this week publicly acknowledged the error of its ways.

      “We messed up,” begins the post by Scott Cunningham of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), which represents 650 advertising and tech companies that produce 86 percent of all Internet ads in the US.

    • Reports: Department Of Transportation To Require All Drones Be Registered
    • U.S. Will Require Drones to Be Registered
    • Report: Feds Will Require All Drones to Be Registered

      If you unpack a shiny new drone on Christmas morning, it’s possible you’ll have to get Uncle Sam’s permission before you can fly it.

      NBC News is reporting that the federal government will soon announce new requirements for drones, the most severe of which is that consumer drones will need to be registered with the Department of Transportation.

    • UK Politicians To Hold ‘Emergency Debate’ After Spy Tribunal Says GCHQ Is Permitted To Put Them Under Surveillance

      Now we can see what moves legislators to take swift action against domestic surveillance. It all depends on who’s being targeted.

    • Why ORG is offering to help protect MPs’ communications

      The Wilson Doctrine is named after former Prime Minister Harold Wilson who in 1966, following a spate of scandals involving the alleged telephone-bugging of MPs, told the House of Commons that MPs’ phones would not be tapped. In 2002, Tony Blair said that the policy also applied to the “use of electronic surveillance by any of the three security and intelligence agencies”. In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations, Parliamentarians have asked repeatedly for the Government to clarify whether the Wilson Doctrine still applies. In addition, Caroline Lucas MP and Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb asked the IPT whether the Wilson Doctrine prohibited the interception of their communications – including their confidential correspondence with constituents.

  • Civil Rights

    • Domestic Abuse Victims Evicted for Calling Police

      Municipalities across the United States are evicting domestic abuse victims from their homes. Officials term these evictions as “nuisance evictions,” which occur when too many police calls are made to a specific residence.

    • No, Hillary, Edward Snowden Didn’t Have Whistleblower Protections

      That doesn’t take into account cases such as Thomas Drake’s, a former senior NSA executive who obeyed the law while trying to report problems within the NSA and found himself on the wrong side of a major investigation. He now works at an Apple store outside of Washington, DC. Admittedly, the law is fairly complicated, but as Politifact pointed out in January 2014, when the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald said Snowden did not have any whistleblower protections under the Espionage Act, his claim was “mostly true.” Greenwald received the classified information from Snowden.


      In response to the many people who have asked me whether I am leaving Berkeley, it is true that the UC Berkeley Mathematics Department has fired me. More precisely, the then Chair of the Mathematics Department, Arthur Ogus, emailed me on October 31st 2014 saying that my employment would be terminated in June 2016. I have asked the campus authorities to review the circumstances leading up to that decision and overrule it. I have filed a formal grievance, viewable here, with the aid of my union representative, and a meeting is scheduled for October 20th, 2015 with representatives from the UC Berkeley campus administration. My contract entitles me to a written response within 15 days of that meeting, by November 4th, 2015. I will be communicating the response I receive at this URL when I receive it.

    • Relatives of Black Man Shot by Off-Duty Officer in Texas Question Police Actions

      For 15 minutes, a man shot by an off-duty officer here lay bleeding from two gunshots in his abdomen as the responding officers stood by without providing first aid. At one point, as the victim, a 53-year-old black man, raised his head, an officer used his foot to keep the man’s face on the pavement, according to a dashboard camera video supplied to The New York Times recently by the man’s relatives.

      From the time the episode was first reported, at 2:17 a.m. on July 9, 2014, and including the time the man, Charles K. Goodridge, lay unaided on the ground, it took more than an hour for him to arrive at an emergency room. An hour after his arrival at the hospital in an ambulance, he was dead.

    • How The Tribune Company And The DOJ Turned A 40 Minute Web Defacement Into $1 Million In ‘Damages’

      Last week we wrote about Matthew Keys being found guilty of three CFAA charges which will likely lead to some amount of jailtime for him (the prosecution has suggested it will ask for less than 5 years). While Keys still denies he did anything he’s accused of, the prosecution argues that he took a login to the Tribune Company’s content management system, handed it off to some hackers in an internet forum and told them to mess stuff up. And… so they made some minor vandalism changes to an LA Times article. It took the LA Times all of 40 minutes to fix it. Even if we assume that Keys did do this, we still have trouble seeing how it was any more than a bit of vandalism that deserves, at best, a slap on the wrist. Its ridiculous to say that it’s a form of felony hacking that requires a prison sentence. As we noted in our original article, the Tribune Company and the feds argued that the damage cost the company $929,977 in damage, well above the $5,000 threshold for the CFAA to apply. We still have trouble seeing how the $5,000 could make sense, let alone nearly a million dollars. And it’s important to note that the sentencing guidelines match up with the dollar amount of the “damages” so this actually matters quite a bit for Keys.

    • Iranian media says Post correspondent Jason Rezaian convicted

      Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, imprisoned in Tehran for more than 14 months, has been convicted following an espionage trial that ended in August, Iranian media reported Monday. The verdict — belated and opaque — was strongly condemned by the journalist’s family and colleagues, as well as the U.S. government.

    • Law Enforcement And The Ongoing Inconvenience Of The Fourth Amendment

      The Fourth Amendment somehow still survives, despite the government’s best efforts to dismantle it… or at the very least, ignore it.

      Law enforcement agencies seemingly have never met a warrant they didn’t like. They’ll do everything they can to avoid getting one, even though the process appears to be little more than [INSERT PROBABLE CAUSE] [OBTAIN WARRANT].

      New Jersey was one of the last states to pay lip service to the warrant requirement for vehicle searches, but recently overturned that because it seemed to be too much of an inconvenience for officers (and drivers [but really just officers]). The court noted that the telephonic warrant system no one had bothered using didn’t seem to be working very well, and so the warrant requirement had to go.

      Everywhere else, there’s any number of ways law enforcement officers can avoid seeking warrants. Exigent circumstances, bumbling ineptitude/warrant-dodging d/b/a “good faith,” the Third Party Doctrine, coming anywhere near a national border, dogs that always smell drugs, the superhuman crime-sensing skills of patrolmen, etc.

    • Family sues Eaton County over son’s traffic-stop death

      The family’s decision comes four months after Eaton County Prosecutor Doug Lloyd determined that Sgt. Jonathan Frost’s actions were lawful when he shot and killed Deven Guilford during a traffic stop.

    • 8 Things You Don’t (Want To) Know About TSA Checkpoints

      If you’ve been on an airplane in the last few decades, you’ve had a close encounter of the TSA kind. We’re all annoyed about taking our shoes off, throwing out our sweet pocket machetes, and emptying all of our delicious exotic liquids just to please The Man. We sat down with someone who spent most of the last decade working for the TSA, and he explained to us just what it was like being inside that most hated of organizations …

    • Google, Facebook and peers criticize CISA bill ahead of Senate consideration

      A trade group representing Facebook, Google, Yahoo and other tech and communications companies has come down heavily against the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015, a controversial bill in the U.S. that is intended to encourage businesses to share information about cyberthreats with the government.

      The Computer & Communications Industry Association claims that the mechanism CISA prescribes for the sharing of cyberthreat information does not adequately protect users’ privacy or put an appropriate limit on the permissible uses of information shared with the government.

      The bill, in addition, “authorizes entities to employ network defense measures that might cause collateral harm to the systems of innocent third parties,” the CCIA said in a blog post Thursday.

    • Law-abiding activist faces deportation from UK

      A political activist arrested but not charged during peaceful protests is facing illegal deportation from the UK, his lawyer has claimed.

      It is thought to be the first case of its kind and has raised serious concerns that the right to peaceful protest, which is enshrined in English law, is being eroded.

      Daniel Gardonyi, 34, is Hungarian but has lived in the UK for several years. He is self-employed and has been involved in several high-profile protests, including the occupation of Friern Barnet library in north London and the Sweets Way housing occupation in the borough of Barnet.

    • Holocaust Scholar Debunks Controversial Claims Connecting Gun Control To The Holocaust

      A professor of history and Holocaust studies debunked Ben Carson’s suggestion that fewer people would have been killed in the Holocaust had there been greater access to guns in an op-ed for The New York Times, explaining that such assertions “are difficult to fathom” for anyone “who studies Nazi Germany and the Holocaust for a living.”

      Ben Carson has come under fire after an October 8 interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer where he claimed that the number of people killed in the Holocaust “would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed.” Carson’s comments were immediately called out as “historically inaccurate” by the Anti-Defamation League, but Fox News figures continuously stood by the controversial comments, which parroted an old right-wing media talking point.

    • Teen prosecuted as adult for having naked images – of himself – on phone

      North Carolina high schooler and his girlfriend face legal proceedings over selfies as both the adult perpetrators and minor victims

    • Anger after Saudi Arabia ‘chosen to head key UN human rights panel’

      Wife of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi says move amounts to “a green light to flog him”

    • Gunshots Fired From Sheriff’s Helicopter Kill Pursuit Suspect; NB 215 Fwy Shut Down

      A police pursuit led to a wrong-way crash and fatal gunshots fired from a Sheriff’s Department helicopter Friday afternoon, leaving three people hospitalized and prompting the closure of all lanes of the northbound 215 Freeway just south of the Cajon Pass.

    • China Makes Big Push To Get American Tech Companies To Agree To Its Rules

      China is a big — and quite appealing — market. I think just about everyone recognizes that. But it’s also a troubling market for a variety of reasons, and American tech companies have struggled with how to handle China. Beyond the fact that China often requires American firms to “partner” with a local Chinese firm, China often helps local firms get a leg up on American firms. And, then, of course, there’s the whole “Great Firewall” censorship issue, and concerns about the Chinese government’s desire for greater surveillance powers. Google famously left China about five years ago after it got tired of pressure to change its search results. However, just recently it was reported that Google has (at least somewhat) caved to China with a plan to bring a censored version of the Android Play store to China.

    • Why Backdoors Always Suck: The TSA Travel Locks Were Hacked And The TSA Doesn’t Care

      The TSA, it appears, is just simply bad at everything. The nation’s most useless government agency has already made it clear that it is bad at knowing if it groped you, bad at even have a modicum of sense when it comes to keeping the traveling luggage of citizens private, and the TSA is especially super-mega-bad at TSA-ing, failing to catch more than a fraction of illicit material as it passes by agents upturned noses. And now, it appears, the TSA has demonstrated that it is also bad at pretending to give a shit.

    • CIA torture flights have landed at Prestwick at least 19 times

      The revelation will prove embarrassing for the SNP, which last year called for a full judicial inquiry into Britain’s role in the extraordinary rendition of suspected terrorists.

      Police Scotland are also pursuing a lengthy investigation into claims that rendition flights made refuelling stops in Scotland during the early years of the war on terror.

      Glasgow Prestwick was bought by the Scottish Government for £1 in November 2013, in a move that safeguarded hundreds of jobs in and around the struggling airport.

    • He claimed to be ex-CIA and was quoted as an expert on Fox News. Prosecutors say it was a lie.
    • Fox News guest analyst arrested for lying about working for CIA

      A Fox News guest terrorism analyst was arrested on Thursday after a grand jury indicted him on charges of falsely claiming to have been a CIA agent for decades, US prosecutors said.

    • Fox News analyst arrested for lying about working as a CIA agent

      A Fox News guest terrorism analyst was arrested on Thursday after a grand jury indicted him on charges of falsely claiming to have been a CIA agent for decades, US prosecutors said.

      Wayne Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, bogusly portrayed himself as an “Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Officer” for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1973 to 2000, the US Attorney’s Office for Virginia’s Eastern District said in a statement.


      He has appeared on Fox News, a unit of 21st Century Fox Inc , as a guest analyst on terrorism since 2002 and has a wide presence among conservative groups, a profile on Amazon.com said.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • How IMDb Can Be Older Than the First Web Browser

      Here’s a riddle: the Internet Movie Database, the now-ubiquitous website that tracks pretty much every speck of info about movies and TV, will celebrate its 25th birthday on Saturday. But the 25th anniversary of the proposal that gave birth to the World Wide Web won’t come around till November. That means that the website is older than the web.

    • Telstra partners with HP for network function virtualisation

      Australian telco Telstra has partnered with HP, F5, and Nuage to announce a proof of concept for a multi-vendor, open NFV solution.

    • A lucky accident: Net neutrality changed the world for the better, let’s keep it that way

      The concept of network neutrality was unplanned, an accident even, but a lucky one that did more to encourage internet innovation than any purposeful master plan ever could have done.

      The first architects of the internet, primarily researchers in the US, wanted to build a network that would scale, and they decided the best design for such a network would have smart end points (computers) and a ‘dumb’ network that did one thing only, but did it really well, and that was to forward packets as fast as possible. In contrast, the telephone network had dumb end devices (think rotary handsets) but a smart network that handled end-to-end reservations, accounting, billing and other processing.

    • Welcome to hell: Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook and the slow death of the web

      You might think the conversation about ad blocking is about the user experience of news, but what we’re really talking about is money and power in Silicon Valley. And titanic battles between large companies with lots of money and power tend to have a lot of collateral damage.

  • DRM

    • The Obscure 1789 Statute That Could Force Apple to Unlock a Smartphone

      Law enforcement have asked a magistrate judge in the Eastern District of New York to compel Apple, Inc. to unlock (and possibly decrypt) an iPhone. In response, Magistrate Judge James Orenstein has asked Apple to brief the court on “whether the assistance the government seeks is technically feasible and if, so, whether compliance with the proposed order would be unduly burdensome.”

    • There’s No DRM in JPEG—Let’s Keep It That Way

      If you have ever tried scanning or photocopying a banknote, you may have found that your software—such as Adobe Photoshop, or the embedded software in the photocopier—refused to let you do so. That’s because your software is secretly looking for security features such as EURion dots in the documents that you scan, and is hard-coded to refuse to let you make a copy if it finds them, even if your copy would have been for a lawful purpose.

    • Making The Case Against Adding DRM To JPEG Images

      Earlier this year, we wrote about a plan to add DRM to the JPEG standard, meaning that all sorts of images might start to get locked down. For an internet where a large percentage of images are JPEGs, that presents a potentially serious problem. We did note that the JPEG Committee at least seemed somewhat aware of how this could be problematic — and actually tried to position the addition of DRM as a way to protect against government surveillance. However, there are much better approaches if that’s the real purpose.

    • The iPad and your kid—digital daycare, empowering educator, or something bad?

      Researchers want to find out, but the subject (and related science) is complicated.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • With Dotcom Absent, Extradition Hearing Won’t End Today

        Although it was due to end today there’s no end in sight for the extradition hearing of Kim Dotcom and his co-accused. After a series of delays and adjournments the case continued this week, but on occasion without the Megaupload founder present due to a reported bad back.

      • Big Win For Fair Use In Google Books Lawsuit

        For years, Google has been cooperating with libraries to digitize books and create a massive, publicly available and searchable books database. Users can search the database, which includes millions of works for keywords. Results include titles, page numbers, and small snippets of text. It has become an extraordinarily valuable tool for librarians, scholars, and amateur researchers of all kinds. It also generates revenue for authors by helping them reach new audiences. For example, many librarians reported that they have purchased new books for their collections after discovering them through Google Books. Nonetheless, for almost a decade the Authors Guild has argued that its members are owed compensation in exchange for their books being digitized and included in the database.

      • Google book-scanning project legal, says U.S. appeals court

        A U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday that Google’s massive effort to scan millions of books for an online library does not violate copyright law, rejecting claims from a group of authors that the project illegally deprives them of revenue.

        The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York rejected infringement claims from the Authors Guild and several individual writers, and found that the project provides a public service without violating intellectual property law.

        The authors sued Google, whose parent company is now named Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), in 2005, a year after the project was launched.

      • BREAKING: 2nd Circuit confirms that Google Books Library Project is fair use

        Some libraries agreed to allow Google to scan only public domain works, but others also permitted the scanning of in-copyright content. Overall, libraries agreed to abide by the copyright laws with respect to the copies they make.

        Litigation ensued between the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Authors’ Guild on the one hand, and Google on the other hand.

      • How Bad Copyright Law Makes Us Less Safe… And How Regulators Have It All Backwards

        For quite some time we’ve pointed out how problematic Section 1201 of the DMCA is. That’s the part of the law that says it’s copyright infringement to simply circumvent any kind of “technological protection measure” even if the reasons for doing so are perfectly legal and have nothing to do with infringement at all. And, of course, we now have the big “1201 Triennial Review” results that are about to come out. That’s the system that was put in place because even Congress realized just how stupid Section 1201 was and how much innovation and research it would limit — so it created a weird sort of safety valve. Every three years, the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress would work together to come up with classes of technology that are magically “exempted” from the law. Now, normally, you’d think that if you have to come up with exemptions, there’s probably something wrong with the law that needs to be fixed, but that’s not the way this worked.

      • Piracy Claims Are No Basis to Terminate Internet Accounts, Court Hears

        The copyright infringement notices rightsholders send to Internet providers should not lead to account terminations, the EFF and Public Knowledge have told a federal court in Virginia. Both groups submitted their opinion in the case between Cox and two music groups, stating that the interests of millions of subscribers are at risk.

      • ISP Will Disconnect Pirates Following Hollywood Pressure

        Following pressure from Hollywood studios including Viacom, Paramount, and MGM, an Italian ISP is now warning its customers of severe consequences if they persistently share copyright infringing content. In emails to subscribers the ISP warns that accounts will be permanently closed in order to protect the company.

      • Online Piracy Drops in Australia, Thanks to Netflix

        For the first time in years, online piracy rates have dropped significantly in Australia. The downswing coincides with the launch of Netflix, which played a key role as most consumers who say they are pirating less cite legal alternatives as the main reason.

      • Digital Orphans: The Massive Cultural Black Hole On Our Horizon

        Imagine you are a researcher in 2050, researching the history of the Black Lives Matter movement. But you’ve stumbled across a problem: almost every Tweet, post, video or photograph with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter that you want to use in your work is an orphan work (i.e., works whose owners are impossible to track down, but are still covered by copyright). You’d like to ask permission but all you’ve got to go on are usernames from defunct accounts. Where do you go from here?


        Instead, the Copyright Office proposes to “solve” the orphan works problem with legislation that would impose substantial burdens on users that would only work for one or two works at any given time. And because that system is so onerous, the Report also proposes a separate licensing regime to support so-called “mass digitization,” while simultaneously admitting that this regime would not really be appropriate for orphans (because there’s no one left to claim the licensing fees). These proposals have been resoundingly criticized for many valid reasons.

      • Are Users to Blame When Pirate Site Admins Go to Jail?

        Who is to blame when torrent and streaming site operators end up in jail?

      • Copyright Scares University Researchers From Sharing Their Findings

        For most researchers the main goal is to publish their research in credible academic journals. Getting published is a victory for them, but one that comes with a downside that’s seldom discussed. In order to get their work accepted they have to sign away their copyrights, which means that they can’t freely share the fruits of their labor.

      • Dotcom case sets Crown back $5.8m

        Crown lawyers have spent nearly 30,000 hours and counting on the Dotcom extradition case.

      • Spammers Flood Google With Fake Takedown Notices

        Google is facing a never-ending flood of takedown requests from copyright holders but there’s also another problem cropping up. Spammers are now submitting takedown notices as well, in the hopes it will indirectly drive traffic to stores selling dubious and counterfeit products.

      • The Pirate Bay Blacklisted By 600 Advertising Companies

        The Pirate Bay and several other locally significant ‘pirate’ sites have been placed on an advertising blacklist. The initiative is the fruit of a collaboration between anti-piracy group Rights Alliance and Swedish Advertisers, an association of advertisers with more than 600 member companies.

      • No Library For You: French Authorities Threatening To Close An App That Lets People Share Physical Books

        It’s not necessarily a new idea. Nearly four years ago, we asked a similar question right here at Techdirt. And even after centuries of having public libraries, we sometimes still see authors lash out at them. And, indeed, you see some weird situations like when people put up little personal libraries in their front yards, people have tried to shut them down, but for being “illegal structures” rather than over the horror of the free lending of books. And you could argue that various attacks on parts of copyright law on the internet really are attacks on the modern form of a library.


Links 14/10/2015: ONOS Liaises With Linux Foundation, New CentOS

Posted in News Roundup at 5:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 7 open-source password managers to try now that LogMeIn owns LastPass

    Some LastPass users were clearly not pleased to find out last week that the password management app had been acquired by LogMeIn. Fortunately, there are several alternatives to choose from.

    Sure, there are premium options like Dashlane, Keeper, Passpack, 1Password, and RoboForm, but there are also free password management systems that anyone can inspect and even contribute to. No matter what you use, the idea is to be more secure than you would be if you were to just use “password” as the password for every app you sign up for.

  • Framing Free and Open Source Software

    Having just passed its thirtieth birthday, the Free Software Foundation has plenty to celebrate. Having begun as a fringe movement, free and open source software has become the backbone of the Internet, transforming business as a side-effect. Yet for all is accomplishments, the one thing it has not done is capture the popular imagination. As a result, I find myself wondering how free and open source software might present itself in the next thirty years to overcome this problem.

  • Best Quality and Quantity of Contributions in the New Xen Project 4.6 Release

    I’m pleased to announce the release of Xen Project Hypervisor 4.6. This release focused on improving code quality, security hardening, enablement of security appliances, and release cycle predictability — this is the most punctual release we have ever had. We had a significant amount of contributions from cloud providers, software vendors, hardware vendors, academic researchers and individuals to help with this release. We continue to strive to make Xen Project Hypervisor the most secure open source hypervisor to match the security challenges in cloud computing, and for embedded and IoT use-cases. We are also continuing to improve upon the performance and scalability for our users, and aim to continuously bring many new features to our users in a timely manor.

  • How I learned the difference between a community and an audience

    It’s not every day that your CEO gives you a telephone ring, so I definitely remember the day mine phoned me. He’d called to tell me about a puzzling voicemail he’d just received.

    I was a consultant for a tech community website and the team was rolling out a major site renovation. Our goal was to modernize the look and functionality of the site and, equally importantly, better monetize it so it could survive and thrive in the long term.

    Apparently, however, not everyone welcomed the changes we’d made. In fact, that’s why the CEO was calling me: an active and passionate member of the website’s community, someone irked by our alterations, had found his home phone number and called him directly to protest. And he wanted me to intervene.

  • IBM Adds Node.js Debugging to Bluemix

    After building up its Node.js expertise with its StrongLoop acquisition, IBM has added Node.js debugging capabilities to its Bluemix PaaS.

  • Xen Project 4.6 released with enhanced security to match challenges in cloud computing, IoT
  • Xen Project Virtualization Updated With Improved VMI and Security
  • Xen 4.6 strengthens security and Intel support
  • Xen 4.6 Open Source Linux Hypervisor Brings NSA’s Virtual Trusted Platform Module

    Earlier today, October 13, the Xen Project, through Liu Wei, had the great pleasure of informing the world about the immediate availability for download of the Xen 4.6 open-source Linux hypervisor software.

  • Events

    • Midokura to Present on Open Source Networking at All Things Open 2015
    • Dedoimedo at LinuxCon & CloudOpen 2015!

      Once again, you may have noticed a certain dose of quietness on Dedoimedo in the last week. For a good reason, because I was away in Dublin, Ireland, attending LinuxCon and its co-located sister events. Presenting. On OpenStack. Yay.

      So let me tell you a few more details on how it all went. Should be interesting, I guess, especially some of the camera footage. Anyhow, if you care for one-man’s retelling of the Three Days of the Condor, I mean Mordor, I mean Dublin, oh so witty I am, then please, keep on reading this lovely article. Right on.

    • Citizen cloud thoughts, after fOSSa 2015

      I had (at least) three big reasons to be at the fOSSa 2015 conference, a couple of weeks ago. Two already covered elsewhere and one, “Citizen Cloud: Towards a more decentralized internet?”, that deserves its own separate post. Before getting to that, however, let me quickly remind the first two reasons: first, I and Wouter Tebbens had to present a great research project we of the Free Knowledge Institute are working on, that is Digital Do-It-Yourself (DiDIY). I described the social, cultural and economical characteristics of DiDIY, and Wouter its main legal issues, like Right To Repair. More about the “Digital DIY” side of fOSSa 2015 is here. We also wanted to check out what others are doing about Open Education, as you can read from Wouter here, and from me here. On to Citizen Clouds now.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Katharina Borchert to Join Mozilla Leadership Team as Chief Innovation Officer

        We are excited to announce that Katharina Borchert will be transitioning from our Board of Directors to join the Mozilla leadership team as our new Chief Innovation Officer starting in January.

      • Mozilla, GSMA Publish Study on Mobile Opportunity in Emerging Markets

        Mozilla has released a new report — mzl.la/localcontent — co-authored with the GSMA. Titled “Approaches to local content creation: realising the smartphone opportunity,” our report explores how the right tools, coupled with digital literacy education, can empower mobile-first Web users as content creators and develop a sustainable, inclusive mobile Web.

      • Rust programming language for speed, safety, and concurrency

        Rust is a systems programming language that got its start in 2010 with Mozilla Research. Today, one of Rust’s most ardent developers and guardians is Steve Klabnik, who can you find traveling the globe touting it’s features and teaching people how to use it.

        At All Things Open 2015, Steve will give attendees all they need to know about Rust, but we got an exclusive interview prior to his talk in case you can’t make it.

  • Databases

    • Couchbase CEO on rise of NoSQL

      NoSQL benefits from open source in a number of ways. Open source projects often innovate faster than proprietary projects due largely to the openness of the community. Open source communities share and spread knowledge about the use of key technologies across companies and industries. This allows NoSQL developers to leverage the contributions from many outside developers.

      Open source also allows for a more natural market adoption process. NoSQL technology can be adopted much more rapidly because it can be downloaded and tried for free for exploration or small usage.

  • OpenOffice.org/LibreOffice

  • Business

    • Concurrent Announces Open-Source Transparent Caching Solution
    • Semi-Open Source//Openwashing

      • Microsoft’s Prajna Open Source Project to Play in the Big Data Pool [Ed: openwashing a proprietary software hook. Sam Dean repeats the "loves Linux" lie]

        Now, Microsoft is working on a brand new open source platform, under an Apache license, that seeks to allow developers to easily build cloud computing services and mobile applications that can analyze big streams of data. It is called Prajna, and the code is now on GitHub.

      • An inside look at open source at Facebook

        Christine Abernathy, developer advocate for the Facebook open source team, will be speaking at All Things Open this month. In this interview, she tells us more about how Facebook open sources projects at scale and what challenges lie ahead for the open source team there.

        Christine also references the TODO group, which in the past year has seen its members ship 1,000 open source projects. The TODO group is “an open group of companies who want to collaborate on practices, tools, and other ways to run successful and effective open source projects and programs.” TODO stands for talk openly develop openly.

  • Funding

    • Startup DataVisor Nabs $14.5 Million to Fund Spark-based Security

      DataVisor, a startup company that is building big things around Apache Spark, has announced that it has secured $14.5 million in Series A funding, led by GSR and NEA, to purportedly help protect consumer-facing websites and mobile apps from cyber criminals. The young company’s founders spent years working on computer security at Microsoft Research, and are now focused on big data.

  • BSD

    • Why Samsung’s Open-Source Group Likes The LLVM Clang Compiler

      Samsung is just one of many companies that has grown increasingly fond of the LLVM compiler infrastructure and Clang C/C++ front-end. Clang is in fact the default compiler for native applications on their Tizen platform, but they have a whole list of reasons why they like this compiler.

    • LLVM Is Pursuing A Community Code of Conduct

      While the LLVM community tends to be very respectful to one another and I’m having a hard time thinking of when things have ever gotten out of hand in their mailing list discussions, they are now pursuing a Community Code of Conduct.


    • SFLC Files Comment with FCC Arguing Against Overbroad Rules Prohibiting User Modification of Software on Wireless Devices

      On Friday, October 9th, 2015 the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) submitted a comment with the United States Federal Communications Commission, which has proposed a number of revisions to its rules and regulations concerning approval of wireless devices. Notice of Proposed Rule Making, ET Docket No. 15-170. SFLC takes the position that the Commission does not possess the legal authority to adopt a rule that regulates the software running in devices that does not affect the operation of RF transmitters or create interference. SFLC further argues that, even within the scope of the Commission’s regulatory jurisdiction, the Commission must tread carefully to avoid over-regulating radio frequency device software to the detriment of user innovation and after-market software modification. SFLC also urges the Commission to issue a policy statement (1) supporting the use of community developed or free software in networking devices; (2) recognizing the overwhelming social benefits generated from the high-quality software produced by non-profit communities; and (3) stating that preferring proprietary software over software whose source code is publicly available does not meaningfully enhance the security of software.

    • SFLC Confronts FCC, OSI Supports GPL Enforcement Principles

      Today in Linux and Open Source news the Software Freedom Law Center filed a comment with the FCC arguing against overly-broad regulations that eliminate Open Source alternative on wireless devices. Elsewhere, My Linux Rig interviewed FOSSforce’s Larry Cafiero and Rafael Laguna released Halloween wallpapers for Lubuntu.

    • IceCat 38.3.0 release

      This is a major release upgrade following the Extended Support Release upstream cycle, moving from v31.x-ESR to v38.x-ESR. All the features in previous releases have been preserved, along with extra polish and improvements in privacy.

    • Ada Lovelace Day: Marina Zhurakhinskaya and Outreachy

      Working as a senior software engineer at Red Hat on the GNOME Project, I was very impressed by the talent of the project contributors, by how rewarding it is to work on free software, and by the feeling of connectedness one gets when collaborating with people all over the world. Yet, at GUADEC 2009, of approximately 170 attendees, I believe I was one of only eight women. Of the software developers working on the entire GNOME project at the time, I was one of only three.

    • 30 Years of Free Software Foundation: Best Quotes of Richard Stallman
    • GNU Spotlight with Brandon Invergo: Sixteen new GNU releases!

      16 new GNU releases in the last month (as of September 24, 2015):


    • [FSFE PR][EN] FSFE convinces 1125 public administrations to remove proprietary software advertisements

      The campaign began in 2009 with the intent of removing advertisements for proprietary PDF reader software from public institutions’ websites. To start it all off, volunteers submitted 2104 “bugs”, or instances of proprietary PDF software being directly promoted by public authorities, and the FSFE listed[2] them online. Since then, hundreds of Free Software activists took action by writing to the relevant public institutions and calling for changes to their websites. We received a lot of positive feedback from the institutions thanking us for our letters, and to date, 1125 out of the 2104 websites (53%) edited their websites by removing links to proprietary PDF readers, or adding links to Free Software PDF readers.

    • GLib now has a datagram interface

      For those who like their I/O packetised, GLib now has a companion for its GIOStream class — the GDatagramBased interface, which we’ve implemented as part of R&D work at Collabora. This is designed to be implemented by any class which does datagram-based I/O. GSocket implements it, essentially as an interface to recvmmsg() and sendmmsg(). The upcoming DTLS support in glib-networking will use it.

  • Public Services/Government

    • 21 October: session on public sector modernisation

      Five experts plan to challenge some of our traditional assumptions about the role of the public sector at the ‘Public Sector Modernisation: Open(ing) Governments, Open(ing) minds’ session on Wednesday 21 October. The experts will elaborate on questions like ‘How can governments meet the expectations of 21st century citizens?’ and ‘How is the information revolution going to further transform our governments?’.

  • Licensing

    • The importance of community-oriented GPL enforcement

      The Free Software Foundation and Software Freedom Conservancy have released a statement of principles on how GPL enforcement work can and should be done in a community-oriented fashion. The president of the Open Source Initiative, Allison Randal, participated as a co-author in the drafting of the principles, together with the leadership of FSF and Conservancy.

      The Open Source Initiative’s mission centers on advocating for and supporting efforts to improve community best practices, in order to promote and protect open source (founded on the principles of free software). While the OSI’s work doesn’t include legal enforcement actions for the GPL or any of the family of licenses that conform to the Open Source Definition, we applaud these principles set forth by the FSF and Conservancy, clearly defining community best practices around GPL enforcement.

  • Programming

    • Google Introduces New Developer Tools for Cloud Platform

      Google’s Cloud Datalab and Cloud Shell continue company’s efforts to help developers with apps running on Cloud Platform.
      The developer community has been a key focus area for Google in its strategy to drive broader enterprise adoption of the company’s Cloud Platform service.

    • 2013 and internship

      My college days were coming to an end with placements all around. I was sure to work in a startup. One fine day, I saw a job posting on hasjob on 12th December 2012 that boldly said “HackerEarth is buidling its initial team – Python/Django enthusiast needed”. The idea made me apply to HackerEarth and after a few rounds of email with Sachin and Vivek. I landed up in a remote intern position.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open Document Format: Using Officeshots and ODFAutoTesting for Sustainable Documents

      One of the many benefits of open source software is that it offers some protection from having programs disappear or stop working. If part of a platform changes in a non-compatible way, users are free to modify the program so that it continues to work in the new environment. At a level above the software, open standards protect the information itself. Everybody expects to be able to open a JPEG image they took with their digital camera 5 years ago. And, it is not unreasonable to expect to be able to open that same image decades from now. For example, an ASCII text file written 40 years ago can be easily viewed today.


  • Twitter Slashing Costs With Workforce Layoffs

    The cuts come as reinstalled CEO Jack Dorsey looks to boost Twitter’s fortunes after nearly a decade of financial losses.

  • Twitter cuts more than 300 staff

    Twitter is laying off up to 336 staff, with Jack Dorsey swinging the axe at the social network just a week after being appointed permanent chief executive.

  • 11 times the Windows blue screen of death struck in public
  • Science

    • Ada Lovelace Day: Celebrating the Achievements of Women in Technology

      Ada Lovelace was born two centuries ago this year, and is widely recognized as a visionary who saw the potential of computational machines long before the development of the modern computer – a prescience often credited to her devotion to metaphor-heavy “poetical” science. Lovelace’s mother provided her daughter with a thorough mathematical education, both to dissuade her from following in the footsteps of her father – the famed poet Lord Byron – and to provide her with intellectual and emotional stability. At age seventeen, Lovelace witnessed a demonstration of Charles Babbage’s difference engine, and eventually worked with him as he devised the analytical engine, furnishing Babbage with her own original set of groundbreaking notes.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • ‘MH17 hit by BUK missile’

      Flight MH17 was confirmed shot down in eastern Ukraine by a Russian-made anti-aircraft missile on July 17, 2014, in a final report by the Dutch Safety Board, but the 15-month investigation did not say who fired it.

  • Finance

    • Labour’s Dead Center

      Jeremy Corbyn, a long-time leftist dissident, has won a stunning victory in the contest for leadership of Britain’s Labour Party. Political pundits say that this means doom for Labour’s electoral prospects; they could be right, although I’m not the only person wondering why commentators who completely failed to predict the Corbyn phenomenon have so much confidence in their analyses of what it means.

      But I won’t try to get into that game. What I want to do instead is talk about one crucial piece of background to the Corbyn surge — the implosion of Labour’s moderates. On economic policy, in particular, the striking thing about the leadership contest was that every candidate other than Mr. Corbyn essentially supported the Conservative government’s austerity policies.

      Worse, they all implicitly accepted the bogus justification for those policies, in effect pleading guilty to policy crimes that Labour did not, in fact, commit. If you want a U.S. analogy, it’s as if all the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination in 2004 had gone around declaring, “We were weak on national security, and 9/11 was our fault.” Would we have been surprised if Democratic primary voters had turned to a candidate who rejected that canard, whatever other views he or she held?

    • Finishing What Thatcher Started

      The UK Trade Union Bill is a brazen attempt to crush worker power and restrict democratic rights.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • One Year Later, Hundreds of Tor Challenge Relays Still Active

      As of this month, 567 relays from our 2014 Tor Challenge are still up and running—more than were established during the entire inaugural Tor Challenge back in 2011. To put that number in perspective, these nodes represent more than 8.5% of the roughly 6,500 public relays currently active on the entire Tor network, a system that supports more than 2-million directly connecting clients worldwide.

  • Civil Rights

    • British Government cancels Ministry of Justice contract with the Saudi prison system

      The Government has cancelled a contract that would have seen the Ministry of Justice provide prison services to Saudi Arabia, Downing Street has said.

      The £5.9m deal, which Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn recently called on David Cameron to scrap, was controversial because of the autocratic kingdom’s weak human rights record.

      The commercial venture would have seen the trading arm of the National Offender Management Service, JSi, provide development programmes for the country’s prison service.

    • CIA torture survivors sue psychologists who designed infamous program

      Survivors of CIA torture have sued the contractor psychologists who designed one of the most infamous programs of the post-9/11 era.

    • Former U.S. Detainees Sue Psychologists Responsible For CIA Torture Program

      The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on Tuesday morning on behalf of three former U.S. detainees against the psychologists responsible for conceiving and supervising the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation program that used systematic torture.

    • Time’s up on Gitmo, Mr. President: To make good on his promise, Obama must veto the defense authorization bill

      Do you remember when the President first said he wanted to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay?

      “I would very much like to end Guantanamo,” he said in 2006. I’m talking, of course, about President George W. Bush.

      At the time, I was a senior Defense Department counterterrorism official. My colleagues and I had been trying to transfer or release Guantanamo detainees since 2002, when we had discovered that an overwhelming majority had neither intelligence value nor value for prosecution. Most were not taken off the battlefield, as we had been told. Many were just victims of circumstance.

      Of course, Bush’s successor, Barack Obama, campaigned on closing the prison — and on his second day in office signed an executive order pledging to shut it down within a year. More than seven years later, this prison is still open — 114 people still languish there, down substantially from its height of 775.

    • How Many More FBI Documents Contain the Phrase ‘Mohammed Raghead’?

      We asked the agencies for every document that mentioned or referred to Mohammed Raghead. More than a year later, the FBI responded by turning over 56 pages of heavily redacted documents; the NSA and CIA are still processing our request. The FBI said it found a grand total of 86 pages, but redacted and/or withheld information on national security and privacy grounds, because they are considered “deliberative,” and because disclosure of the withheld material could reveal law enforcement techniques and procedures. Some Mohammed Raghead–related records, according to the FBI, originated with other government agencies and were sent to them for review for a final decision on whether they could be released.


Links 12/10/2015: Linux 4.3 RC5, Parsix GNU/Linux 8.0 Reviewed

Posted in News Roundup at 9:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Don’t blame Linux for the XOR botnet

    The real culprits are the irresponsible vendors behind cheap broadband routers and their clueless customers

  • 2015 Indonesia Linux Conference Talks About Digital Forensic

    The 2015 Indonesia Linux Conference (ILC) that is held in Tegal, Central Java starting from October 10 to 11 is set to exhibits variety of Linux application. One of interesting application is a mobile digital forensic application that have been used by the police to assist investigation by detecting criminals’ phone and sim cards.

    “Ditigal forensic is aimed to investigate cell phone and Sim Cards, Said Dedy Hariyadi from Ubuntu Indonesia community on Friday, October 9.

  • Desktop

    • Survey: Users love their desktops more than their cheapo tablets

      In the same survey last year by ACSI, tablets scored 80 on a 100-point scale, just one point behind desktops at 81. This year, consumers rated tablets at at 75—alongside laptops, which also fell this year, the survey said. The survey criteria require that the respondent purchased a new personal computer in the last years.

  • Server

    • The 5 states of the modern sysadmin

      I think there’s (at least) 5 states you might find yourself in as a sysadmin in these days:

      Day to day things that aren’t (yet) automated.

      Automating and designing for the future.

      Fires and outages


      Time to dream

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.3-rc5

      The 4.3 release cycle continues to be fairly smooth – knock wood.
      There’s nothing particularly worrying here: we had some annoying
      fallout from the new strscpy stuff (it’s not actually *used* anywhere
      yet, but we had build failures on some architectures), and a vfs layer
      change uncovered an ancient and fascinating ext[34] bug, but on the
      whole things look pretty normal. It’s the usual “lots of small fixes
      to drivers and architecture code, with some filesystem updates thrown
      in for variety”. The appended shortlog gives an overview of the

      Things also seem to be calming down nicely, although since there was
      no network pull this week, we might have a bump from that next rc.

      Anyway, if you haven’t tried a recent kernel lately, feel free to hop
      right in – it all looks pretty good.


    • BBC bypasses Linux kernel to make streaming videos flow

      Back in September, The Register’s networking desk chatted to a company called Teclo about the limitations of TCP performance in the Linux stack.

      That work, described here, included moving TCP/IP processing off to user-space to avoid the complex processing that the kernel has accumulated over the years.


      The Beeb boffins started by getting out of the kernel and into userspace, which let them write what they call a “zero-copy kernel bypass interface, where the application and the network hardware device driver share a common set of memory buffers”.

    • Linux golden age threatened by bug army

      Golden ages are normally brought to an end by a rebellion of giants, titans or plagues. Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation said that Linux will be killed off by giant, titanic plagues of security bugs.

      Several high profile zero-day vulnerabilities in popular open source technologies last year served not only to show the importance of open source to the internet and IT world, but how how badly it projects were under-resourced.

    • Coreboot Now Supports The Sandy Bridge MacBook Air

      With the latest Git code pushed into Coreboot this morning, the Apple MacBook Air 4,2 is now supported.

    • Linux Kernel 4.3 RC5 Uncovers an Ancient and Fascinating EXT3/EXT4 Bug
    • Linux 4.3-rc5: The Cycle Is Going Smooth
    • Learn it Faster: The Complete Linux Kernel in a Single MapLearn it Faster: The Complete Linux Kernel in a Single Map

      The internet runs on Linux, everybody knows this fact. The Linux Kernel is one of the most complex and popular open source projects. If you wish to learn the basics, there is tons of material available online. Still, the core of the Linux kernel is a subject difficult to understand.

    • Linux 4.2 vs. 4.3 Kernel Benchmarks On Other Systems

      Last week I delivered some Linux 4.3 Git kernel benchmarks on Intel Skylake comparing it to Linux 4.2 stable. However, for those not yet on Intel’s latest generation of processors, here are some Linux 4.2 vs. Linux 4.3 benchmarks with older hardware.

    • Structural and semantic deficiencies in the systemd architecture for real-world service management, a technical treatise

      You’re probably wide-eyed and gnawing at your teeth already.

      I was finally tempted into writing this from a Hacker News discussion on “Debian Dropping the Linux Standard Base,” where some interest was expressed in reading an architectural critique of systemd.

      To the best of my knowledge, this article – though it ultimately ended up more of a paper in article format, is the first of its kind. This is startling. It’s been over 5 years of systemd, and countless instances of religious warfare have been perpetrated over it, but even as it has become the dominant system in its area, there really hasn’t been a solid technical critique of it which actually dissects its low-level architecture and draws remarks from it.

      In fact, much more worthwhile has been written on the systemd debate than on systemd itself. Among these include Judec Nelson’s “systemd: The Biggest Fallacies” and my own later “Why pro-systemd and anti-systemd people will never get along”.

      I am very wary of publishing this, due to being keenly aware of how these discussions descend into an inferno with the same dead horse talking points, even in cases where the author makes relatively salient or previously unexplored points. The tribal instinct to show where one stands kicks in and people begin slinging mud about init systems, even if it’s tangential to whatever they’re supposed to be commenting on.

    • Good Software, Bad Behavior

      You might say that those who are critical of the behavior on the list are not grateful for their work, and to make that assumption is a laughable mistake. It’s not the work under indictment, once again it’s the attitudes. The prevailing caustic attitude may change and it may not, but if the latter course is chosen, then the list continues in its cancerous way at its own peril.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Performance-Boosting DCC Support Being Worked On For RadeonSI VI GPUs
      • Intel Haswell Graphics Have A Few Gains With Ubuntu 15.10

        I ran some quick tests of Ubuntu 15.04 vs. 15.10 out-of-the-box to show the performance difference between the Linux 3.19 + Mesa 10.5 stack against the upcoming Linux 4.2 + Mesa 11.0 powered distribution. An Intel Core i7 4790K processor with HD Graphics 4600 was used for this weekend’s tests.

      • NVIDIA 358.09 Beta Prepares For DRM Mode-Setting Interface

        The first public beta in NVIDIA’s 358 driver series for Linux, BSD, and Solaris is available! Building off the NVIDIA 355 series, the 358 series adds in more pieces of the puzzle for interfacing with DRM/KMS and continues stepping closer to Mir/Wayland support.

      • Nvidia 358.09 Beta Linux Driver Brings a New Kernel Module

        A new Nvidia Beta driver has been released, and developers have added quite a few OpenGL changes and improvements, among other things.

        The Nvidia developers have just pushed a new Beta driver out the door and this time it’s full of all kinds of OpenGL updates and fixes. It will be a while until all of these changes make their way onto the stable branch of the drivers, but these are pretty important, and it won’t take all that long.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.5 Promises a Lot of Cool New Features

        The KDE developers are already considering what they need to do to improve the Plasma desktop after the 5.4.2 launch, and they’ve shared some of the features that are going to be made available.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.15.0 Has Just Landed in Kubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf)

        The Kubuntu developers, through Marco Parillo, announced this past weekend that the they updated the KDE Frameworks package in the development version of Kubuntu 15.10 to version 5.15.0, which was released on October 10, 2015.

      • KDE PIM Sprint in Toulouse

        The KDE PIM spring sprint was held in Toulouse, France in March this year in Makina Corpus offices.

        The sprint was very important, because the team needed to decide how to continue from the current situation. At the previous sprint in Munich in November when Christian and Aaron introduced their new concept for next version of Akonadi it was decided to refocus all our efforts on working on that, which meant switching to maintenance mode of KDE PIM for a very long time and then coming back with a big boom. In Toulouse we re-evaluated this plan and decided that it is not working for us and that it will be much better for the project as well as the users if we continue active development of KDE PIM instead of focusing exclusively on the “next big thing” and take the one-step-at-the-time approach.

      • Interview with Pierre Geier

        If I remember correctly I’ve known about Krita since 2005, I guess, when I used KDE and there was this office stuff and a drawing program, which I never used. Until early 2015 I used only MyPaint and GIMP. And now I’ve been using Krita since April 2015.

      • Some Of The Features Coming To KDE Plasma 5.5

        While KDE developers are increasingly working on their Plasma mobile plans, there still are new changes coming to the KDE desktop. For the upcoming Plasma 5.5 release, there is going to be improvements to the user-switcher including a new prompt and new plasmoid, the KDE Color Picker plasmoid has returned, the Solid Device Auto Mounter has also been restored, and there are other plasmoid improvements and smaller changes throughout.

      • KWrite on Mac

        It is still ugly, as scaled on my HiDPI display as the plist file is missing and it crashs on everything (aka open dialog) and has no icons.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Star ratings in GNOME Software

        A long time ago, GNOME software used to show star ratings as popularity next to the application using the fedora-tagger application. This wasn’t a good idea for several reasons.

      • GNOME Files/Nautilus Search Is Finally Being Overhauled

        A Google Summer of Code student who worked on GTK+ and Nautilus has managed to overhaul the search feature of GNOME’s file manager.

        The new search feature built into Files/Nautilus is designed to be much more intuitive with new filters and more. The new code hasn’t yet been merged and still needs to be reviewed, but looks promising so far.

      • GNOME Software To Get A “Kudos” Rating System For Apps

        GNOME Software abandoned their “star rating system” over issues with abuse, lack of standardization by reviewers, and that package rating system really not working out. Now they’re going to introduce a “kudos” rating system.

      • GNOME Software Is Getting a New Rating System with Kudos

        The GNOME developers are preparing to reintroduce a rating system for GNOME Software, but nothing as simple as the old one. It will be a complex way of rating the applications so that users can make informed decisions.

      • Boston GNOME Summit update

        The first day was filled with discussions and planning, with one of the central topics being how to make gnome-builder, xdg-app and gnome-continuous play well together. You can find notes and conclusions from this discussion here.

      • GNOME Photos 3.18 App Gets Its First Hotfix Release Ahead of GNOME 3.18.1

        Earlier today, October 12, Debarshi Ray was happy to inform us all about the immediate availability of the first point release of his GNOME Photos 3.18 image viewer application for the soon-to-be-released GNOME 3.18.1 desktop environment.

      • View your GTK3 app or VM on the Web

        Ever wondered how to view gedit in a browser? It’s not a secret anymore, broadway is there for some time.

      • The new search for GNOME Files (aka Nautilus)

        As some (most? none? who knows =P) of you already know, last cycle I worked as a Google Summer of Code intern with Gtk+ and Nautilus. We saw the very positive results of it. And the picky eyes out there noticed that I wrote with these exact words: “While the project is over, I won’t stop contributing to Nautilus. Even with the interesting code, even with all the strange things surrounding it. Nautilus is like an ugly puppy: it may hurt your eyes, yet you still warmly love it.”

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • TI “Processor SDK” initially targets Sitara with Yocto and U-Boot

      TI has launched a “Processor SDK” based on a mainline LTS Linux kernel, U-Boot, a Yocto file system and Linaro tool chain, initially covering Sitara SoCs.

      Texas Instruments has introduced a Processor Software Development Kit based on Linux as well as its own TI-RTOS, that will eventually scale across multiple Sitara and DSP processors families. The first two SoC families supported by Processor SDK are the 720MHz, Cortex-A8 Sitara AM335x and the 1GHz, single-core Cortex-A9 Sitara AM437x. Both SoCs are notable for offering a PRU-ICSS (Programmable Real-Time Unit and Industrial Communication Subsystem), which comprises 32-bit microcontrollers that enable customization of I/O.

    • Linksys WRT1900ACS Router is Ready for Open Source Tinkering

      We still regard the Linksys WRT1900AC as one of the best and fastest routers available, though if you’re eyeing that model, there’s a new version available with more memory and a faster processor.

      It’s the WRT1900ACS, which is essentially an improved version of the WRT1900AC. The new model boasts a 1.6GHz dual-core processor, an upgrade over its predecessor’s 1.2GHz chip; 128MB of flash memory (same as before); 512MB of DDR3 RAM, which is two times as much as the WRT1900AC; and eSATA and USB ports.

    • Linux Foundation Takes on Real-Time Computing for Embedded Apps

      What’s the next step for open source in the embedded computing market? Google (GOOG), the Linux Foundation and other inaugural supporters of the Real-Time Linux Collaborative Project, which launched this month with a focus on the robotics, telecom, manufacturing, aviation, medical and similar industries, think kernel-level real-time support is the answer.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Huawei Ascend P7 gets Android 5.1.1 indicating imminent rollout of Android M

          Users of Huawei’s flagship Ascend P7 now have lots to cheer as Android 5.1.1, the latest Lollipop build is now seeding to the handset across the world. Owners of the smartphone should notice the latest update via automatic OTA.

          As per a GSMArena report, Huawei Ascend P7 owners can check out the Android 5.1.1 OS update in the form of a 1.26GB size file. Those preferring to download manually can do so by checking out the official firmware section on Huawei’s website.

        • Fun with permissions: Why the change in Android 6.0 may make you repeat yourself

          In switching to a runtime permissions model in Android 6.0 — you’re no longer giving access to your data just by installing an app — developers can now more easily explain themselves. Sort of.

        • Google Android 6.0 Marshmallow: 5 new features you REALLY should know about

          Unfortunately the latest version of the hugely popular Android operating system is currently only available to those running a Nexus or Android One devices.

          Express.co.uk has provided a quick guide on how to upgrade your handset, here.

          If you are lucky enough to be running Marshmallow – here are FIVE new features and tweaks you should know about.

        • Pichai names Lockheimer SVP of Android, Chrome OS, Chromecast

          A member of the Google family since 2006, Lockheimer has been noted to be one of the more friendly faces among the roster of Android engineers. He has been held in high esteem by Pichai, who then also managed Android and Chrome before he was appointed to oversee all Google products last year. Although not as public a persona as Pichai, something that will of course be changing soon, Lockheimer has once in a while gone public about the direction that Android is heading to, like Google’s position on Android Auto and the future of Android in general. Most recently, Lockheimer setup an Reddit AMA thread to answer some of the more pressing questions about the newly announced Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X smartphones.

        • GranitePhone Security-Focused Android Smartphone Now Up for Pre-Orders

          The security-focused smartphone segment has seen a couple of launches from companies such as Silent Circle and Turing Robotic Industries. The security-focused Blackphone 2 smartphone (from Silent Circle), which was introduced back in March at MWC, went on sale recently. Meanwhile, price of the ‘unhackable, unbreakable, and waterproof’ smartphone, the Turing Phone (Turing Robotic Industries), was also revealed recently by the company.

        • Paranoid Android Development Team Taking A Breather

          One of Android’s greatest strengths is that it is open source and relatively easy to modify. This means that the source code may be taken by anybody and modified to suit their particular purpose. A great many handsets sold in China are Android-based, whereby the manufacturer has reinvented how Android works partially because until very recently, one could not access Google Services in China. We have also seen Amazon build their Fire tablets using Fire OS, which is based on Android. At the opposite end of the scale, we have also seen dedicated teams of developers over the planet building custom ROMs for Android devices. By a “custom ROM,” I mean a replacement for the software that runs your Android device. There are many reasons why people will install a custom ROM onto their handset or tablet, from wishing to experiment with different software, to circumventing restrictions placed on them by the stock software, or through wishing to optimize or change how the device performs.

        • 10 Android smartphones that feature laser autofocus cameras

          It took a while — longer than a year, actually — but the innovative laser autofocus system that first made its appearance on the LG G3 has actually made it to no less than nine other Android smartphones. We knew there was something to it ever since we saw the laser beams firing from the LG G3′s sensor and helping it focus quickly and accurately on objects from the scene. So it makes us feel especially cheerful that more manufacturers have discovered this technology for their own smartphones!

        • Use Cabinet to Manage Files on Your Android Device

          File management on Android is improving, but it’s still not great, and it can be frustrating trying to take control of exactly which files are saved and where they’re stored. Numerous third-party apps have rushed in to fill the gap but one of the best we’ve seen in recent times is Cabinet—it’s fast, feature-rich and a signed-up member of the Material Design club.

        • Linux Top 3: Quirky 7.2, NetBSD 7.0 and Android x86 5.1
        • Android 6.0 review: A small but significant bump for the world’s dominant OS

          All the big changes happened in Lollipop. Now it’s Marshmallow’s turn is to show the world how useful and personal Android can be.

        • Leak reveals a brand-new Android phone made by… Pepsi

          Wait, what? And why? A new leak has revealed that Pepsi — yes, that Pepsi — is making an Android phone. Android Headlines has spotted a listing for a new phone on a Chinese website called the Pepsi P1 that appears to be Pepsi’s first attempt at making its own smartphone. Despite selling for roughly $200, it looks like the device will have some decent specs.

        • 5 Reasons to Still Choose an Android Phone Over an iPhone

          Today, you’ll find a handful of Android smartphones that are every bit as beautiful, capable, reliable, and well-designed as the iPhone. In fact, there are plenty of reasons why people should be choosing Android phones over the iPhone.

        • A First Look at the Most Expensive Android Wear Watch Ever Made

          Intel and Tag Heuer have done tons of hyping for its still upcoming, $1,800 Android Wear watch. But after hearsay that a November launch was coming, the Swiss luxury watchmaker is sticking with that rumored game plan. The most expensive Android Watch ever made is coming November 9th.

        • Tag Heuer is unveiling its Android Wear smartwatch next month

          Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer has set a date for its upcoming Android Wear smartwatch unveiling. The Tag Heuer Connected, as it’s called, will make its debut at the LVMH Tower in New York City on November 9th, according to invites sent out by the company today. The watch is reportedly based on the popular Tag Carrera and will cost around $1,800, according to a interview with Tag CEO Jean-Claude Biver on CNBC last month.

        • ZTE lifts lid on Axon mini Android smartphone pricing and specs

          Chinese handset-maker ZTE has revealed more about the pricing, specs, and availability of the mini version of its Axon flagship smartphone.

          Following on from ZTE’s US launch of its $450 flagship Axon in July, the company has announced it will begin offering two variants of its smaller sibling. Although the mini was also unveiled in July, ZTE has only now revealed prices.

        • Android 6.0 has a great auto backup system that no one is using (yet)

          We recently published a rather lengthy review of Google’s newest operating system, Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but there was one feature we couldn’t get working in time for the review: the new automatic backup feature for app data. The theory is that this feature would take all your app data, stick it in the cloud, and when you restore your phone or buy a new one, it would be like nothing ever changed—all your settings and logins would come back like magic.

        • Android users left at risk… and it’s not even THEIR FAULT this time!
        • Huawei Rolling Out Android 5.1.1 Lollipop To Ascend P7
        • 10 Android Tips And Tricks For A Better, Smarter Phone
        • The need for a 3D Android interface is now

          Fear not, Android faithful, 3D Touch will be coming to our favorite platform. A few days ago, Synaptics announced their ClearForce technology that recognizes different levels of pressure to the screen. Synaptics is working with Android OEMs to make this happen.

          The skeptics, of course, abound. Before Apple rolled out devices with this feature, people were doubtful of its usability. What Apple did, however, was seriously impress. They took a very challenging feature and made it work. That’s something Apple is quite good at.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source as a tool of cultural change

    The government is the de facto “keeper of the data” for the entire country. There’s all kinds of useful data on pretty much any topic. The problem is that often, that data is stored in a way that is very difficult to discover and access. In my opinion this is primarily a workflow issue as opposed to a policy issue. Too many datasets exist as documents on a walled-off shared folder somewhere. Even sharing data with another agency is difficult, especially if it’s of substantial size. Most agency networks block file sharing services like Dropbox. So, the opportunities for open data are really endless if we can change the way the government stores, creates, and releases data.

  • The importance of face-to-face in the open source world

    This is particularly important when it comes to Open Source. The Open Source world is a fabric of interconnected personalities, relationships, and expectations. It is critically important to not just get work done but to also ensure the people doing the work feel a sense of connection. To this end, face to face communication and collaboration is essential.

  • Extending a Free, Open Source Community to Our Students

    What makes the open source community so important though? Well, there are a lot of reasons out there, but for Butler, a lot of it has to do with collaboration. This is noteworthy when considering the value an open source community can bring to educational collaboration, then.

  • 3 open source projects for modern COBOL development

    GnuCOBOL (formerly known as OpenCOBOL) is a modern, open source, COBOL compiler. It works by translating COBOL code into C and compiling the code using GCC. While the project does not claim standards compliance, it passes most of the tests in the COBOL 85 test suite from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Other compilers might be more standards compliant or contain the same quirks as their historical antecedents, but GnuCOBOL is the compiler used by the other two projects I cover below.

  • Open source office at Veneto health care

    The ULSS5 health care organisation, one of 22 in the Italian Veneto Region, has nearly completed the transition to the open source office suite LibreOffice and the open document format ODF. Already 70% of all 1500 workstations have LibreOffice implemented, and the migration will be completed in 2016, says Enio Gemmo, one of the instructors involved in the project. Exchanging documents with others remains one of the main problems.

  • Industry Veterans Partner to Create a School for Software Engineers

    Another interesting angle is that during their first year at school all projects except their own, if they decide otherwise, must be open sourced online on the repository of their choice (such as GitHub).

    “Open source is a great option for teaching students because it not only helps you in building new skills as as software engineers, but also you know how to communicate with your peers. You have to understand how the team is working among many things. So I think open source is a great way to learn software engineering,” added Barbier.

    Because the Linux Foundation also runs many specialized courses, I asked whether the school had any plans to collaborate with the Foundation. I was told that, although they are in touch with the Linux Foundation, it’s too early to comment on it.

  • Eximbank opts for Allevo’s open source application FinTP

    It originates from Allevo’s older offering, qPayintegrator. The open source project has been in the making for a few years.

  • Volkswagen’s Diesel Fraud Makes Critic of Secret Code a Prophet

    A Columbia University law professor stood in a hotel lobby one morning and noticed a sign apologizing for an elevator that was out of order. It had dropped unexpectedly three stories a few days earlier. The professor, Eben Moglen, tried to imagine what the world would be like if elevators were not built so that people could inspect them.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla to Bar Many Legacy Plug-ins in Firefox By End of 2016

        As we’ve reported several times, Google has been introducing big changes in its Chrome browser, especially when it comes to how the browser handles extensions. If you’ve regularly used either or both of the most popular open source Internet browsers–Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox–then you’re probably familiar with the performance and security problems that some extensions for them have caused.

        Mozilla, like the Chrome team, is also focused on the effect that extensions have on performance and reliability. Now, Benjamin Smedberg, a Mozilla senior engineering manager, in a post to a blog, has confirmed that Mozilla will bar almost all plug-ins built using decades-old NPAPI technology by the end of 2016.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Healthcare

    • Taunton and Somerset trust explores wider open source adoption

      Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust has commenced “exploratory work” around expanding its use of open source technology to include an e-prescribing solution after going live with a non-proprietary electronic patient record (EPR) system earlier this month.

      Trust IT director Malcolm Senior said that although work around potentially adopting a new e-prescribing system was at an early stage, Taunton and Somerset was now considering dates for possible implementation.

      Senior said he was confident the trust would be able to meet a timeline for completing development of an e-prescribing service in line with aims for a ‘paperless NHS’ by 2018.

  • Business

  • Funding

    • Your Last Chance To Crowdfund InvizBox Go, A Portable Open Source VPN Router

      A small Irish tech startup is in the last few days of crowdfunding for a small Linux-based router it’s hoping to ship out to supporters in February 2016.

      If its Kickstarter campaign is successful, InvizBox Go will offer users some protection when connecting to WiFi networks. Whether you’re at home, at a hotel, or working out of a coffee shop, the InvizBox Go will be able to connect your devices and route all of your traffic over Tor or a VPN connection (or even both). And since it can connect all devices simultaneously, it’s a great solution for keeping your housemates secure without requiring them to plug into anything or even download any software. Or, let’s face it, it’s also good for watching blocked content from around the world. Users will also be able to block a known list of ad providers. An optional feature will block Windows 10’s tracking domain. Additionally, the device can acts as a WiFi extender or even be used to charge a mobile phone or tablet if users plug into its USB port.

    • Irish firm’s product to mask online activity
  • BSD

    • FreeBSD/PC-BSD 10.2 vs. Ubuntu 15.04/15.10 Benchmarks

      It’s been a while since last running any BSD vs. Linux benchmarks, so I’ve started some fresh comparisons using the latest releases of various BSDs and Linux distributions. First up, as for what’s completed so far, is using the FreeBSD-based PC-BSD 10.2 compared to Ubuntu 15.04 stable and the latest development release of Ubuntu 15.10.


  • Public Services/Government

    • Italy’s Bari switching to LibreOffice and ODF

      The Italian city of Bari is about to complete its transition to LibreOffice and the open document format ODF. At the end of this year, the open source suite of office productivity tools will have been implemented on 75% of the city’s nearly 1700 PC workstations. Change management is a key part of the transition, explains Marini Latini, who helped train the city’s staff members.

    • Another city swaps in LibreOffice to replace Microsoft Office

      Another city has decided to swap out Microsoft Office for the open source LibreOffice productivity suite. As ZDNet reported, the municipality of Bari in Italy is currently installing the open-source office software on its 1,700 PCs after a successful trial involving 100 PCs.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • ODS Onsite Training – Onsite Training to the European Commission

        The course aims at enhancing the understanding of linked open data principles and technologies. By the end of the course, participants should have a clear understanding of what linked open data is and how linked data technologies can be applied to improve the availability, understandability and usability of EU data.


  • Notable Moments in White People Taking Credit For Discovering Things (Columbusing)

    For some of you, today is Columbus Day. For others it is Indigenous Peoples day and for the rest of you, it’s Monday.

    Christopher Columbus was an Italian sailor who wandered around the Caribbean and the Americas capturing and raping indigenous peoples. For his troubles, he is said to have “discovered” what we now know as the United States, an attribution that—just as he did—leaves out the worth of the millions of people who had been living here for a very, very long time.

    Objectively, fuck Christopher Columbus.

    However, one of the few helpful things he did was inadvertently give us a word for the phenomenon when someone (specifically a white someone) takes or is given credit for discovering something that existed long before it came to that individual’s attention.

  • Field Report: Pirate Bloc – Tory Party Conference demo 4/10/2015

    Over the last week, the Tory party had their conference in Manchester. On Sunday 4th October, 60,000 people took to the streets to protest, organised by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity. We joined them as the Pirate Bloc, with some help from our friends over at the Manchester branch of Open Rights Group. We broadcast a lot of the march live on Periscope, and there are a number of videos saved on Bambuser, but we also have a few pictures to share with you.

  • The Self-Appointed Elite

    I am an unrepentant enthusiast for the European Union, indeed a European Federalist. I think the freedoms of movement of people and goods within the EU are the most profound political achievement of my lifetime, and have made the world a very much better place.

    I am therefore flabbergasted by the group of unpleasant elitist bastards who apparently will lead the pro-EU campaign for the referendum. How could anybody wishing to win a vote believe that a Board including Peter Mandelson and Danny Alexander is going to help? While the appointment of Lord Rose seems to confirm belief in the “Michelle Mone theory”, that selling knickers grants universal expertise.

    Most egregious of all, the Executive Director is Will Straw, whose main qualification is that his father is a war criminal. Founder of the rabid anti-Corbyn website Left Foot Forward and every bit as Atlanticist as Liam Fox, Will Straw is as insanely pro-United States hegemony and as ultra-Zionist as only an extreme Blairite can be. He really is a deeply unappealing figure.

  • Yogi Berra’s 50 greatest quotes

    Yogi Berra probably is better known for his unique take on the English language than for his baseball career — and it was a heck of a baseball career.

  • Science

    • Pressure to ‘publish or perish’ may discourage innovative research, UCLA study suggests

      The researchers’ conclusions are drawn from a database they assembled of more than 6 million scholarly publications in biomedicine and chemistry

    • How PowerPoint is killing critical thought

      I still remember the best lecture I ever attended. It was part of a joint series offered by the English and philosophy departments in my first term at university and, given that the subject was Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, should have been the dullest event in Christendom that night. But it wasn’t. The lecturer, Thomas Baldwin, had a deceptively simple style: he would write a proposition on the blackboard facing us and gaze at it for a moment, like a medium beckoning a spirit. Then he would turn and smile, and start to explain.

    • The Apple bias is real

      If there’s one constant on the consumer tech calendar, it’s iPhone reviews day. Happening sometime between the announcement and the release of the latest iPhone, it manifests itself with glowing accounts of the latest Apple smartphone at the top of the page, and irate accusations of Apple-favoring bias in the comments at the bottom. This is as reliable a phenomenon as today’s autumnal equinox.

      The funny thing is that everyone’s right. Readers are right to claim that the iPhone is treated differently from other smartphones, and reviewers are correct in doing so. Apple makes more in quarterly profit than many of its mobile competitors are worth, and the success and failure of its smartphone plays a large role in shaping the fate of multiple related industries. The iPhone is reviewed like a transcendental entity that’s more than just the sum of its metal, plastic, and silicon parts, because that’s what it is.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Sudden and dramatic demise of Addenbrooke’s Hospital is tragic and couldn’t be a starker warning of impact of this government’s reckless policies on the NHS

      “The sudden and dramatic demise of Addenbrooke’s Hospital is tragic and couldn’t be a starker warning of the impact of this government’s reckless policies on the NHS. The Tories are a danger to the security of our NHS and the public’s health.

      The problems at Addenbrookes are symptomatic of a financial crisis right across the NHS with two thirds of trusts predicting a deficit this year. This is a result of chronic underfunding of the NHS following a £20 billion efficiency savings programme over the last five years. Whilst healthcare inflation runs at 4% per year, the NHS budget under Tories increased just 0.8% per year during the last Parliament, the lowest average annual increase of any parliament. With the government intent on another £22 billion of savings over the next five years, the situation for patients can only get worse under the Tories and will be further exacerba‎ted by the growing rift Jeremy Hunt has created with NHS staff over the introduction of a full 24/7 NHS and the imposition of a damaging junior doctor contract.

    • U.S. Paid Healthcare.gov Contractor $4 Million to Fix Its Own Mess

      The U.S. government paid the main healthcare.gov contractor $4 million to correct defects of the botched site and withheld only $267,420 of what it owed the company, according to a new federal audit.

      The report on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and its contract with CGI Federal is to be published today by the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. It is the latest in a series of audits critical of federal oversight of the private companies that built the insurance marketplace at the heart of Obamacare. Although CMS replaced the contractor a few months after healthcare.gov’s meltdown in 2013, the agency had little power to recover the money it spent trying to fix the site.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Henry Kissinger, dangerous fraud: Why he’s as responsible for Iraq and the Middle East as Vietnam

      Two weeks ago, a mini-scandal rocked the New York literary world. Gawker revealed that Andrew Roberts, the New York Times Book Review’s choice to review the authorized biography of Henry Kissinger, had in fact been Kissinger’s original choice to write the authorized biography.

      Roberts also was a long-time friend of Niall Ferguson, the man who Kissinger wound up choosing to write his authorized biography. Roberts and Ferguson had even written a lengthy chapter together in a volume of essays edited by Ferguson. Worse yet: Roberts had revealed almost none of these involvements — with Ferguson, with Kissinger — to the New York Times when it asked him to write the review.

      So unseemly were these entanglements, and the lack of transparency about them, that Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times public editor, felt called upon to rap the paper’s knuckles. Which prompted a further back and forth between Sullivan and Pamela Paul, the editor of the Times Book Review. While the back-scratching world of book reviews in the New York Times is an old topic — unlike other publications, the Times purports to be objective and untainted by personal connections, and its reviews help promote or kill books — this scandal brought it into especially sharp relief.

      The person who revealed the scandal in Gawker was Greg Grandin, an NYU historian and winner of multiple academic and literary prizes. Grandin has his own book out on Kissinger, “Kissinger’s Shadow,” which was reviewed by the Times the same day that Ferguson’s bio was.

    • Tories have forgotten that Thatcher wasn’t just a terrorist sympathiser, but close friends with one

      It’s not surprising to see the right-wing Government and press try to assassinate Jeremy Corbyn’s character. So far they’ve linked him with the IRA, Hamas and Hezbollah. In their eyes, the Labour leader is a terrorist sympathiser.

      The problem with this narrative, as with almost all narratives that invoke the spectre of terrorism, is that they rely on a decidedly one-sided view of the world. In their minds, life comprises two neatly opposed groups: those who support terror and those who oppose it.

      The charges against Corbyn, regardless of their merit, cannot exist in a political vacuum of good versus evil though. Some conservatives would be wise to look closer to home before casting the first stone.

      Whatever his views, Corbyn has never wielded the levers of power in government, and has never done more than put forward ideas. Yet if we look to the icon of conservative politics and “keeping Britain safe”, we have someone with a well-documented history of being a terrorist sympathiser. During her time as Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher openly called a terrorist a “true friend”, invited a terrorist into her home for tea, and personally lobbied against a terrorist’s prosecution for war crimes.

    • The Author of Our Best SF Military Novel Explains the Future of War

      For my money, the best novel to read about the future of war today, in 2015, was published in 1974. Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War is an all-time science fiction classic, but it hasn’t quite enjoyed the same degree of mass cultural saturation as other war-themed SF staples like Ender’s Game or Starship Troopers—maybe because it hasn’t been made into a film or TV show, maybe because its politics are too thorny and complex.

    • The WWII-Era Plane Giving the F-35 a Run for Its Money

      On December 5, 2001, an American B-52 flying tens of thousands of feet above the ground mistakenly dropped a 2,000-pound satellite-guided bomb on an Army Special Forces team in Afghanistan. The aircrew had been fed the wrong coordinates, but had the plane been flying as low and slow as older generations of attack planes did, the crew might’ve realized their error simply by looking down at the ground.

      It was not long after the Twin Towers fell, and American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan by an American bomb dropped by an American plane. That this mistake happened illustrates just how poorly the air campaign in the United States’ longest war was executed, and how efforts ultimately failed to make things better by going after high-tech solutions that aren’t what they’re cracked up to be compared to the old tried and true technology.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange: still wanted, no longer so hunted

      Is now the time for Julian Assange to try to make a break for it?

      The British government has spent more than $19 million over the last three years trying to make sure that Assange, founder of the website WikiLeaks, doesn’t escape its clutches. Assange has been holed up in the tiny Ecuadorean Embassy in London since June 2012, a fugitive from arrest on allegations that he sexually assaulted two women in Sweden.

      But authorities have apparently decided that the vigil is no longer worth it. Scotland Yard announced Monday that it was withdrawing its 24-hour presence at the embassy, which sits in one of London’s toniest neighborhoods, near the famous Harrods department store.

    • Julian Assange: Police end guard at Wikileaks founder’s embassy refuge

      Police will no longer be stationed outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has sought refuge since 2012.

      Met Police officers had been there since Mr Assange sought asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden over a rape allegation, which he denies.

      The Met said it had cost £12.6m and was “no longer proportionate” – but it would still try to arrest him.

      Wikileaks said the decision did not change Mr Assange’s situation.

    • Police pull 24-hour guard of Julian Assange’s London embassy hide out

      Police in London have removed their around-the-clock guarding of the Ecuadorian Embassy, where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been hiding out since 2012.

      Assange sought refuge at the embassy, where he has stayed for three years, while facing extradition to Sweden for questioning about alleged sex crimes.

      For the entirety of his stint inside the building, the Metropolitan Police have posted a guard outside the embassy, until Monday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Watch A CBS Correspondent Question Charles Koch On Whether Dark Money Is “Good For The Political System”

      Anthony Mason: “Do You Think It’s Healthy For The System That So Much Money Is Coming Out Of A Relatively Small Group Of People?”

    • New Zealand deports climate change asylum seeker to Kiribati

      New Zealand has deported a Kiribati man who lost a legal battle to be the first person granted refugee status on the grounds of climate change alone.

      Ioane Teitiota, 39, has argued that rising sea levels in his homeland meant his family would not be safe there.

    • UK, France and Germany lobbied to keep loopholes in car emission tests

      The UK, France, and Germany lobbied in secret to retain outdated approaches to testing car emissions that would create major loopholes for manufacturers to exploit. According to documents seen by The Guardian, the overall effect would have been to increase real-world carbon dioxide emissions by 14 percent over those shown in the tests. Although not involving software, these loopholes would allow the carbon dioxide testing procedures to be gamed to produce deceptively good results just as Volkswagen has been doing for NOx gases.

    • Volkswagen Diesel Scandal Expands: What Should Jetta, Passat, Golf, Beetle And Audi Owners Do?

      In the wake of revelations that Volkswagen deceived regulators and car buyers about the high level of polluting emissions from its diesel-powered vehicles, you have two options if you own one of these cars: Park it or pollute.

    • Climate activists score huge victory: Hillary Clinton comes out against Keystone XL pipeline

      Breaking her years-long silence on an issue that has galvanized climate activists, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton came out against construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline on Tuesday — marking a reversal of the position she seemed to hold as secretary of state and underscoring the issue’s resonance among the progressive voters Clinton needs to secure her party’s nod.

      Speaking in Des Moines, Clinton reiterated that she had not taken a public position on the project because she did not want to interfere with the Obama administration’s deliberations over whether to approve the pipeline, which would transport oil from the tar sands of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. But given the administration’s persistent delays in announcing a decision on Keystone, Clinton said she now felt a “responsibility” to speak out.

    • Clinton comes out against Keystone XL pipeline

      Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton came out Tuesday against the Keystone XL oil pipeline, arguing the debate over its construction was a distraction from efforts to tackle climate change.
      The announcement follows years of pressure from environmentalists, and as Clinton seeks to reassure supporters surprised that she faces a tough challenger for the Democratic presidential nomination in Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), an opponent of Keystone.

    • Warming Arctic is trouble for Caribou in unexpected way

      Global warming in the Arctic means earlier and more plentiful mosquitoes in Greenland, and that’s bad news for the country’s already shrinking caribou population, Alaska Dispatch Newsreports.

      A new study found that for every degree Celsius the temperature rises in Greenland, mosquitoes take 10% less time to reach full, biting adulthood. And less time spent as larva means more mosquitoes survive into adulthood. The study found that a 5-degree Celsius jump raised mosquito survival rates by 160%.

  • Finance

    • Facebook paid £4,327 corporation tax despite £35m staff bonuses

      Social networking firm paid average of £210,000 to staff in Britain, but overall loss in UK of £28.5m meant very little corporation tax was due

    • Elizabeth Warren demolishes the myth of “trickle-down” economics: “That is going to destroy our country, unless we take our country back”

      Stephen Colbert once described Elizabeth Warren as the “school librarian you had a crush on” but on last night’s Late Show, she was the Sheriff of Wall Street.

      Like every interview with the senior senator of Massachusetts, there was a question about whether or not she’d be running for President in 2016. “You are a household name in American politics,” Colbert said. “And yet, you are one of the few household names that is not running for President of the United States. Are you sure you’re not running for President of the United States? Have you checked the newspapers lately, because a lot of people have jumped in, you might have done it in your sleep…. These days politicians have to check the ‘opt-out’ button. It’s like unsubscribing from an email.”

    • Thailand Might Be Required To Sacrifice Plant And Seed Sovereignty For The Sake Of Trade Agreement With EU

      Compliance with demands of the European Union or hasty government amendments to domestic laws allows the government to claim that Thailand did not amend any laws on account of the EU-Thai FTA negotiations.

      That’s noteworthy, because there’s evidence that the European Commission is aiming to implement key US demands for TAFTA/TTIP before negotiations are completed so that it too can claim that it did not amend any laws on account of it. If the biothai.org post is correct, it’s a sneaky trick that seems to be spreading.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • No, the Kochs’ Political Spending Is not “Reported”

      Charles Koch misled CBS when he suggested that the Kochs’ political spending is publicly disclosed.

      On October 11, the elder Koch brother gave a rare interview to CBS Sunday Morning. Reporter Anthony Mason asked, “Do you think it’s good for the political system that so much what’s called ‘dark money’ is flowing into the process now?”

      Koch replied: “First of all, what I give isn’t ‘dark.’ What I give politically, that’s all reported. It’s either to PACs or to candidates. And what I give to my foundations is all public information.”

    • Carly Fiorina’s post-truth politics: Even her most delusional defenders admit she’s fudging the facts

      I usually avoid reading anything by Jonah Goldberg because life is short and the world has a finite supply of blood pressure medication. But his column in the Los Angeles Times covering the controversy over Carly Fiorina’s comments about the Planned Parenthood videos is so awful, it has to be read to be believed.

      The editorial starts off with the full Fiorina quote that has become so controversial: “Anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’”

  • Censorship

    • France confirms that Google must remove search results globally, or face big fines

      Google’s informal appeal against a French order to apply the so-called “right to be forgotten” to all of its global Internet services and domains, not just those in Europe, has been rejected. The president of the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), France’s data protection authority, gave a number of reasons for the rejection, including the fact that European orders to de-list information from search results could be easily circumvented if links were still available on Google’s other domains.

    • Mark Crispin Miller, Peter Hart, and Gerry Condon

      Mark Crispin Miller of NYU discusses some of the recent additions to his Forbidden Bookshelf series, which seeks out important out-of-print political works and republishes them as e-books; Miller explains the insidious ways the books were first “disappeared.” Next, Peter Hart with the National Coalition Against Censorship speaks about this year’s Banned Books Week, and some of the means — short of outright banning — which keep important books away from students. The program concludes with Gerry Condon of Vets for Peace, speaking about the historic vessel Golden Rule, brought to San Francisco as part of a protest against the U.S. Navy’s annual Fleet Week activities there.

    • The President Stood Up For Free Speech On Campus — But He Didn’t Mean Middle School Campuses

      Well, it didn’t take him long to reveal that his sudden free speech platform was bullshit — with the blocking of a young conservative activist from seeing or responding to his Twitter feed,” conservative YouTube sensation CJ Pearson, a 13-year-old black middle schooler from Georgia.”

    • The Trend Of Killing News Comment Sections Because You ‘Just Really Value Conversation’ Stupidly Continues

      Over the last year, there has been a tidal wave of websites that have decided to close their news comment sections because the companies are no longer willing to invest time and effort into cultivating healthy on-site discussion. While that’s any site’s prerogative, these announcements have all too often been accompanied by amusing, disingenuous claims that the reason these sites are muting their on-site audience is because they’re simply looking to build relationships or just really value conversation. Nothing says “we care about your opinions” like a shiny new muzzle, right?

    • Pirate Bay Forum Knocked Offline by ICANN Complaint

      The Apple bias is real

      The Pirate Bay’s official SuprBay forum has gone dark after experiencing domain name problems. The forum’s domain name registrar eNom suspended the site following an ICANN complaint over inaccurate Whois information, and the site remains offline for now.

    • Man arrested for disparaging police on Facebook settles suit for $35,000

      A Wisconsin man arrested for posting disparaging and profanity laced comments on a local police department’s Facebook page has settled a civil rights lawsuit and is being awarded $35,000.

      Thomas G. Smith used the Facebook page of a rural Wisconsin village called Arena to, among other things, label local cops as “fucking racists bastards.”

      He was charged criminally in state court on allegations of disorderly conduct and unlawful use of computerized communications. He was sentenced to a year of probation and 25 hours of community service. A state appeals court overturned his conviction last year.

  • Privacy

    • Whoops: OPM Says Hackers Stole 5.6 Million Fingerprints, Not 1.1 Million

      Months after hackers first broke into Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the US government agency that handles all federal employee data, the hack keeps on getting worse.

    • OPM says 5.6 million fingerprints stolen in cyberattack, five times as many as previously thought
    • Snowden Treaty Launched: Effort To Get Countries To End Mass Surveillance

      Of course, chances of the US signing on to this are basically nil, but it will be interesting to see if other countries think it’s worth supporting. Countries that have tried to hold themselves out as bastions of free speech and against mass surveillance might make interesting targets. But, of course, actually getting countries to commit to such things isn’t always easy. Still, the effort seems worthwhile, even if it merely raises the issue of what kind of world do we live in that such a thing should even be necessary?

    • Obama administration explored ways to bypass smartphone encryption

      The approaches were analyzed as part of a months-long government discussion about how to deal with the growing use of encryption in which no one but the user can see the information. Law enforcement officials have argued that armed with a warrant they should be able to obtain communications, such as e-mails and text messages, from companies in terrorism and criminal cases.

    • [Old] Facebook case may force European firms to change data storage practices
    • [Old] How NSA Surveillance May Result In Fragmenting The Internet: EU Court Leaning Towards Ending ‘Privacy Safe Harbor’
    • Senate Intelligence Committee Forced To Drop ‘Terrorist-Activity’ Reporting Requirements For Social Media Platforms

      Less than three months after announcing it was considering turning major social media platforms into unpaid government informants, the Senate Intelligence Committee is dropping its proposed requirement that Facebook, Twitter, etc. report “terrorist activity” to designated agencies.

    • FBI Ignores Court Order, Congressional Oversight; Refuses To Respond To Questions About Clinton Emails

      Grassley is right about most of this. The FBI does tend to believe it’s above the law, what with its warrantless surveillance, refusal to cooperate with DOJ oversight and its general indifference to its own internal policies. But what Grassley is complaining about is standard operating procedure by the agency. When not withholding information for bogus reasons, the agency quite frequently cites “ongoing investigations” when refusing to turn over documents.

    • As US Turns Away From Idea Of Backdooring Crypto, David Cameron Has A Problem

      Last week, Mike wrote about what seems an important shift in US government policy on encryption, as the White House finally recognizes that adding backdoors isn’t a sensible option. That leaves a big question mark over what the UK will do, since David Cameron and intelligence officials have been hinting repeatedly that they wanted to undermine encryption in some unspecified way. Just last week, the new head of MI5, the UK’s domestic intelligence service, gave the first-ever live media interview by a senior British intelligence official.

    • [India] National Encryption Policy draft withdrawn: 13 things to know

      If you were worried that deleting WhatsApp, Facebook and Viber chats could put you behind bars, fret not. In a complete u-turn, the government has withdrawn the proposed National Encryption policy that may have landed you in trouble for deleting your WhatsApp, Facebook messages before 90 days.

    • India’s Government Looking At Mandating Backdoors In Encryption
    • India joins war on crypto

      India’s newly released draft national encryption policy includes a requirement that plaintext versions of all encrypted data and messages must be kept by every user, whether a business or an individual, for 90 days. And the “verifiable” plaintext must made available to law enforcement agencies on demand. This unprecedented requirement is likely to make security breaches even more serious, and present enormous logistical problems for companies using encryption on a large scale, since they will have to manage the storage and timely deletion of the plaintext versions.

    • Twitter Makes All Its Shortlinks HTTPS By Default

      We have discussed for years, of course, the value of encrypting more of the web, and especially increasing use of HTTPS-by-default. Kudos to Twitter for making this move and encouraging widespread use of HTTPS to better protect people’s surfing. It’s worth noting that Twitter is also warning sites that they may see a drop in referrals from Twitter, because browsers drop the referrer from the header when an HTTPS link goes to an HTTP destination — but it notes that it will be using referrer policy instead, which is good. Most modern browsers support referrer policy, and thus this isn’t really that big a deal. However, it’s one of the random complaints that some anti-HTTPS campaigners have argued over the years (that the lack of referrer is a big loss under HTTPS).

    • 4chan Message Board Sold to Founder of 2Channel, a Japanese Web Culture Pioneer

      4chan, an anonymous message board founded by Christopher Poole in 2003, has been home to a veritable smorgasbord of everything the web has to offer. With posts on the site lasting only a matter of days or even hours before they are deleted, the message board has been described as the collective id of the Internet, home to hardcore pornography, hardcore cooking tips and everything in between.

    • Government Asks Appeals Court To Change Its Mind On Warrant Requirement For Cell Site Location Info

      The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals might be revisiting its recent decision of imposing a warrant requirement on the acquisition of cell site location information. The government has asked for an en banc hearing to settle this issue.

      As of now, there is no unified view on the privacy (or lack thereof) inherent to historical cell site information. Nathan Freed Wessler, staff attorney for the ACLU, has put together a map of current decisions that shows where warrant requirements have been established (for now — many are being appealed/challenged) and where they haven’t. (Click through for a [slightly] larger version.)

    • George W. Bush Tried To Retroactively Declare Illegal, Unconstitutional NSA Surveillance Legal, Because He Said So

      When it comes to the NSA, we’ve been discussing just how dangerous it is when the government gets to put in place its own secret interpretation of laws that, when read by the public, appear to say something quite different than the secret interpretation. Otherwise you have secret laws, and that’s no way to run an open Constitutional democracy. For many years, it’s been known that in March of 2004 there was a hospital room showdown between then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales (with White House Chief of Staff Andy Card) and (at the time, quite ill) Attorney General John Ashcroft and acting Attorney General James Comey, over whether or not to reauthorize some sort of surveillance program. Comey, Ashcroft, and then FBI Director Robert Mueller all threatened to resign over the issue, and eventually, we were told, President Bush overruled Gonzales and Card. We knew at the time that the dispute was over domestic surveillance and whether or not it was legal. More recently, it came out that it was over domestic collection of internet/email metadata. This was a program similar to the phone metadata program that was revealed by Ed Snowden, but for email/internet information.

  • Civil Rights

    • Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents

      Saudi Arabia has introduced a series of new laws which define atheists as terrorists, according to a report from Human Rights Watch.

      In a string of royal decrees and an overarching new piece of legislation to deal with terrorism generally, the Saudi King Abdullah has clamped down on all forms of political dissent and protests that could “harm public order”.

      The new laws have largely been brought in to combat the growing number of Saudis travelling to take part in the civil war in Syria, who have previously returned with newfound training and ideas about overthrowing the monarchy.

    • Militant group publishes global hitlist of bloggers, activists and writers

      An Islamic militant group in Bangladesh has issued a hitlist of secular bloggers, writers and activists around the world, saying they will be killed if its demands are not met.

      The list will raise fears that Islamic militant violence within the unstable south Asian country could take on an international dimension.

    • Phone video clears man charged with assaulting cop — even after phone disappears

      Cellphone went missing after police took it, but uploaded file exonerated accused man and left judge questioning officers’ honesty, finding their testimony “deliberately misleading.”

    • Taken Offline: Years in Prison for a Love of Technology

      Writing a letter with a pen has an odd feeling in a digital age. You pick your words carefully, without a delete key. You urge your hands to recall their best handwriting. You ponder about forms of address and how much space to leave; should I fill the page, or sign off half-way down?

      The last time I wrote a letter was to the Syrian technologist, Bassel Khartabil. I had to write a letter, because Bassel’s not online right now, despite being an enthusiastic adopter of new technology when it reached his home town of Damascus. Bassel’s not online, because he was arrested and thrown in jail for his love of the Internet and free culture, and has now been incarcerated for over three and a half years.

    • ACLU, Lawyers Group Sue Cali Police Department Over $3,000 Fee Demand For Body Cam Footage

      Once again, a government agency is attempting to price itself out of the public records market. The Hayward (CA) police department told the National Lawyers Guild that it needed to come up with $3,000 before it would turn over requested body camera footage.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • White House report says Internet is a ‘core utility’ just like electricity

      A White House report says broadband Internet is a core utility people need to participate in modern society. But millions of Americans, especially in rural areas, still don’t have access to high-speed Internet.

    • The Wall Street Journal Doubles Down On Dumb: Falsely Claims Net Neutrality (‘Obamanet’) Has Crushed Broadband Investment

      Last week, we noted that the Wall Street Journal appeared to have reached a completely new low in the “conversation” about net neutrality, with a bizarre, facts-optional missive about how Netflix was to blame for pretty much everything wrong with the Internet. According to Holman W. Jenkins Jr., Netflix is the diabolical villain at the heart of a cabal to regulate the Internet, cleverly convincing regulators to treat hard-working, honest companies like Comcast unfairly. As we noted, the screed is part of a broader telecom-industry attempt to vilify Netflix for not only its support of net neutrality, but for daring to erode traditional cable TV subscriptions through (gasp) competition.

    • Network Engineers Weigh In to Support the Open Internet

      Yesterday, EFF and the ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief (press release) defending the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules in the federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Along with our legal arguments, we submitted a statement signed by dozens of engineers familiar with Internet infrastructure. Signers include current and former members of the Internet Engineering Task Force and Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ committees, professors, CTOs, network security engineers, Internet architects, systems administrators and network engineers, and even a founder of the company that registered the first “.com” domain.


      The engineers explain in detail how ISP discrimination could require innovators to negotiate with ISPs before their applications will work, rather than being able to rely on ISPs to pass data in a neutral manner. ISP interference could also introduce errors and security vulnerabilities that would be challenging to fix.

    • The internet is run by an unaccountable private company. This is a problem

      What if instead of organising a football competition every four years, Fifa took on management of the internet? Leaving aside the arrests and bribery allegations, the organisation might look a bit like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ( Icann), the private California company responsible for overseeing the running of the internet. The scary thing about Fifa is that, when things go wrong, no one else has the power to intervene.

      It was thought that 30 September 2015 was supposed to be a significant date in internet governance. The US government was going to hand over key responsibilities to the internet community – but that date will be missed, because Icann’s board looks set to oppose plans to make itself more accountable.

      If Icann’s board can override the consensus of its own community, it casts doubt on the viability of the entire Icann model, and exposes the flakiness of the way essential internet resources are governed.

  • DRM

    • White Hat Hackers Would Have Their Devices Destroyed Under the TPP

      Car hackers, farmers fixing their high-tech tractors, and teenage DVD rippers; all over the world, these digital tinkerers could have their devices seized and destroyed by the authorities thanks to provisions in the newly-minted Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

      The finalized copyright chapter of the TPP, leaked on Friday by Wikileaks, reveals that under the agreement, “judicial authorities shall, at least, have the authority to [...] order the destruction of devices and products found to be involved in” any activity that circumvents controls that manufacturers build into their software or devices, known as Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology.

    • Researchers Could Have Uncovered Volkswagen’s Emissions Cheat If Not Hindered by the DMCA

      Automakers argue that it’s unlawful for independent researchers to look at the code that controls vehicles without the manufacturer’s permission. We’ve explained before how this allows manufacturers to prevent competition in the markets for add-on technologies and repair tools. It also makes it harder for watchdogs to find safety or security issues, such as faulty code that can lead to unintended acceleration or vulnerabilities that let an attacker take over your car.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • WikiLeaks: ISPs to hand over copyright infringer details under TPP

        The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will force internet service providers (ISPs) to give up the details of copyright infringers so that rights holders can protect and enforce their copyright through criminal and civil means with few limitations, according to the intellectual property chapter released by WikiLeaks over the weekend.

      • Pirate Bay: What Raid? Police Never Got Our Servers

        Late last year The Pirate Bay was pulled offline after Swedish police raided a datacenter near Stockholm. The police confiscated dozens of servers which many believed to belong to the notorious torrent site. Today, the TPB team reveals that this is not the case.

      • South African Cybercrime Bill Would Throw the Book at Copyright Infringers

        Last month South Africa released its draft Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill for public comment; the latest in a wave of such laws that has been sweeping the continent and beyond. EFF is currently reviewing the Bill with a view to sending a submission by the deadline of November 30, and we’ll have more to say about it before then. But there is one provision that deserves immediate comment: a clause that would criminalize essentially any infringement of copyright. This provision is oddly timed, given that South Africa is also separately considering amendments to its Copyright Act.

      • [Old] Judge Says Warner Chappell Doesn’t Hold The Copyright On Happy Birthday (But Not That It’s Public Domain)
      • Cox Accuses Rightscorp of Mass Copyright Infringement

        Internet provider Cox Communications has hit back at anti-piracy company Rightscorp. While denying responsibility for the alleged copyright infringements of its subscribers, Cox turns the tables, accusing Rightscorp of sharing thousands of copyrighted works without permission.

      • RIAA CEO: Piracy Notices Are Costly & Increasingly Pointless

        The CEO and chairman of the RIAA says that the current notice and takedown anti-piracy process is both costly and increasingly pointless. Cary Sherman says the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA have forced labels into a “never-ending game” of whack-a-mole while sites under its protection effectively obtain a discount music licensing system.

      • Leaked TPP Chapter Proposes Drastic Copyright Changes

        A leaked chapter of the final Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement proposes several changes to the copyright laws of participating countries. The intellectual property chapter covers a broad range of issues including extended copyright terms, ISP liability and criminalization of non-commercial piracy.

      • Kim Dotcom Denied Fresh Bid to Delay U.S. Extradition Hearing

        A judge has denied a bid by Kim Dotcom to suspend his long-awaited extradition hearing. The hearing began yesterday but was met with immediate calls by the Megaupload founder’s legal team to postpone to a later date. The decision handed down today by Judge Nevin Dawson means that evidence will be heard when the court resumes on Thursday.

      • Kim Dotcom’s Extradition Hearing Gets Underway

        After more than 3.5 years of legal argument and ten delays in proceedings, Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing finally got underway this morning. The United States government wants Dotcom and his co-accused to be tried overseas for their role in Megaupload, but the larger-than-life entrepreneur intends to turn this into a dogfight.

      • U.S. Uncovers Kim Dotcom’s Self-incriminating Skype Calls

        After several years’ delay the extradition hearing of Kim Dotcom finally got moving this morning in the Auckland District Court. Characterizing the case as one of straightforward fraud, Crown lawyer Christine Gordon QC likened Megaupload to a post office shipping drugs, one in which its owners were well aware of their cargo.


Links 11/10/2015: Kate/KDevelop Sprint, Blender 2.76

Posted in News Roundup at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Report: Twitter prepping for “company-wide layoffs” next week

    Following the news that Twitter interim CEO Jack Dorsey was fully hired to the post on Monday, the company has been linked to a series of what Re/code has described as “company-wide layoffs” next week.

    A Friday report from Re/code cited “multiple sources” in saying that most of Twitter’s departments will be hit with layoffs starting next week. Those sources did not specify numbers or percentages of staff, but they did point to Twitter’s plans to “restructure” its engineering staff, which may affect how the alleged firings play out in all. When asked to comment on the report, a Twitter representative told Ars that “we’re not commenting on rumor and speculation.”

  • Hardware

    • Smartmobe brain maker Qualcomm teases 64-bit ARM server chip secrets

      Qualcomm, the maker of processors for Nexus smartphones and other mobes and tablets, has revealed early specifications for its upcoming server chips.

      The California company is best known for designing the brains in handheld devices, networking kit, and other embedded gear.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Monsanto’s Stock Is Tanking. Is the Company’s Own Excitement About GMOs Backfiring?

      Pity Monsanto, the genetically modified seed and agrichemical giant. Its share price has plunged 25 percent since the spring. Market prices for corn and soybeans are in the dumps, meaning Monsanto’s main customers—farmers who specialize in those crops—have less money to spend on its pricey seeds and flagship herbicide (which recently got named a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health organization, spurring lawsuits).

    • Study: Fracking Industry Wells Associated With Premature Birth

      Expectant mothers who live near active natural gas wells operated by the fracking industry in Pennsylvania are at an increased risk of giving birth prematurely and for having high-risk pregnancies, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests.

      The findings, published online last week in the journal Epidemiology, shed light on some of the possible adverse health outcomes associated with the fracking industry, which has been booming in the decade since the first wells were drilled. Health officials have been concerned about the effect of this type of drilling on air and water quality, as well as the stress of living near a well where just developing the site of the well can require 1,000 truck trips on once-quiet roads.

  • Security

    • Amazon, Google Boost Cloud Security Efforts

      Not to be outdone, Google introduced its Google Cloud Security Scanner the same day of the Amazon Inspector announcement. Unlike Inspector, Google’s product is already generally available.

    • CryptoLocker Ransomware Springs on Scandinavians [Ed: Windows]

      The screenshot, as gained by Heimdal Security, shows the link within the email that, when clicked, will redirect unsuspecting users to a website that will download the file ‘forsendelse.zip’, containing the executable file, forsendelse.exe.

    • iOS 9 Lock-Screen Bug Grants Access to Contacts, Photos

      A clever iPhone user uncovered a new exploit in iOS 9 (and 9.0.1) that allows a person—presumably with a list of handwritten steps—to bypass the device’s passcode and get into the Contacts and Photos apps.

      So unless you have a bunch of selfies you don’t want anyone to see, or you use an alphanumeric instead of a four-digit passcode, you probably don’t have much to worry about. You can also cripple the exploit by disabling Siri on your lock screen, though you’ll lose convenience in the process.

    • Malware that hit Apple similar to that developed by CIA: report

      The techniques used by XcodeGhost, the infected version of Apple’s Xcode compiler that has caused an eruption of malware on the Apple China app store, are similar to those developed and demonstrated by America’s Central Intelligence Agency.

      A report in The Intercept, a website run by Glenn Greenwald who is well-known for having been the first to report on the NSA spying disclosures made by the former US defence contractor Edward Snowden, claims the CIA detailed the techniques at its annual top-secret Jamboree conference in 2012.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Media Reports ISIS Nuclear Plot That Never Actually Involved ISIS

      There was only one problem: At no point do the multiple iterations of the AP‘s reporting show that anyone involved in the FBI sting were members of or have any connection to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (aka ISIL or Daesh). While one of several smuggling attempts discussed in AP‘s reporting involved an actual potential buyer–an otherwise unknown Sudanese doctor who four years ago “suggested that he was interested” in obtaining uranium–the “terrorists” otherwise involved in the cases were FBI and other law enforcement agents posing as such.

    • Phyllis Bennis on US Bombing of Afghan Hospital

      This week on CounterSpin: The Pentagon has declared the bombing of a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, a “mistake.” But it will investigate itself to determine how US bombs came to destroy the Doctors Without Borders facility, killing at least 22 people. Doctors Without Borders is calling for an independent investigation—and you would think journalists would, too, since who knows better than they the administration’s history of changing its story?

    • Self-censorship

      It is well enough to condemn the US for bombing a hospital and killing Muslims in Kunduz but what about the Muslim members of a wedding party who were bombed into extinction in a formerly friendly country by the air force of an extremely friendly country?

    • Turkish police use tear gas to stop mourners laying carnations at the site of bombings in Ankara that killed 97 people as officials say ‘initial signs point to ISIS responsibility’

      Turkish police fired tear gas to disperse mourners who were laying flowers at the site of Turkey’s deadliest ever terror attack this morning.

      Two Turkish security sources said ‘initial signs’ suggest ISIS were behind the two explosions which killed at least 97 and wounded 247 more at a peace rally in Ankara yesterday.

      Protesters clashed with riot police in Istanbul last night as they took to the streets to denounce the attacks. And today, police clashed with demonstrators and pro-Kurdish officials at the scene of the disaster near Ankara’s main train station.

      They held back the mourners, including the pro-Kurdish party’s leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, insisting that investigators were still working at the site.

    • The day I met the other victims of extremism: boys brainwashed to kill

      In the mountains of Pakistan I met young men who would have killed me. They would have slit my throat, put a bullet in my brain, caved in my skull with a rock. After I was dead they would have severed my head from my body and displayed it as a warning to all.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Wikileaks Releases Final Intellectual Property Chapter Of TPP Before Official Release

      Last weekend, negotiators finally completed negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. However, as we noted, there was no timetable for the release of the text (though some are now saying it may come out next week). Once again, it was ridiculous that the negotiating positions of the various countries was secret all along, and that the whole thing had been done behind closed doors. And to have them not be ready to release the text after completion of the negotiations was even more of a travesty. Wikileaks, however, got hold of the Intellectual Property Chapter and has released it online.

    • The Final Leaked TPP Text is All That We Feared

      Today’s release by Wikileaks of what is believed to be the current and essentially final version of the intellectual property (IP) chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) confirms our worst fears about the agreement, and dashes the few hopes that we held out that its most onerous provisions wouldn’t survive to the end of the negotiations.

      Since we now have the agreed text, we’ll be including some paragraph references that you can cross-reference for yourself—but be aware that some of them contain placeholders like “x” that may change in the cleaned-up text. Also, our analysis here is limited to the copyright and Internet-related provisions of the chapter, but analyses of the impacts of other parts of the chapter have been published by Wikileaks and others.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Elon Musk Says Climate Change Will Bring Even Worse Refugee Crisis

      Tech visionary warns that countries must do more to combat climate change

      Climate change could create a refugee crisis far worse than the one currently unfolding in Europe, Elon Musk warned Thursday.

      The Tesla CEO gave a speech in Berlin in which he said changes in Earth’s temperature could lead to depleted water and food supplies, thus forcing millions of people to leave their homes in search of resources, the Huffington Post reports.

    • ‘Polluter Interests Have Been Spending Millions on Disinformation Campaigns’

      Janine Jackson: “New Regulations on Smog Remain as Divisive as Ever.” That was the headline on a September 30 New York Times story which balanced what it called “concerns of lung doctors” that smog, or ozone, is a public health threat with industry claims that installing new equipment, in the reporter’s words, “could kneecap American manufacturing and threaten jobs across the country.” Three different industry sources were counterposed with a single representative of the American Lung Association.

      But if the topic is harmful pollution, is the public really served by coverage that centers the views of the polluters? What’s a different way to talk about it? David Baron is managing attorney in the DC office of the group Earthjustice. His article “Smog Kills” appeared recently in Politico. He joins us now by phone from Washington, DC; welcome to CounterSpin, David Baron.

    • On Climate Change, Listen to Pope Francis, Not Jeb Bush

      The politician says we should disregard the pope because “he’s not a scientist.” But the pope’s background is in chemistry and his counselors are top scientists.

    • The collapse of Saudi Arabia is inevitable

      On Tuesday 22 September, Middle East Eye broke the story of a senior member of the Saudi royal family calling for a “change” in leadership to fend off the kingdom’s collapse.

      In a letter circulated among Saudi princes, its author, a grandson of the late King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, blamed incumbent King Salman for creating unprecedented problems that endangered the monarchy’s continued survival.

      “We will not be able to stop the draining of money, the political adolescence, and the military risks unless we change the methods of decision making, even if that implied changing the king himself,” warned the letter.

      Whether or not an internal royal coup is round the corner – and informed observers think such a prospect “fanciful” – the letter’s analysis of Saudi Arabia’s dire predicament is startlingly accurate.

      Like many countries in the region before it, Saudi Arabia is on the brink of a perfect storm of interconnected challenges that, if history is anything to judge by, will be the monarchy’s undoing well within the next decade.

    • Report: VW was warned about cheating emissions in 2007

      The Volkswagen scandal—selling 11 million diesel-engined cars designed to fool US emissions regulations—is moving into the “who knew what, and when” phase. Newspapers in Germany are reporting that Bosch (the company that supplies electronics to the auto industry) warned VW only to use the cheat mode internally back in 2007, and that a These findings both emerged from an internal audit at VW in response to the scandal.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Major Papers Reject the Opt-Out Option

      All three papers offered arguments that closely align with the rhetoric of corporate education reform, focusing on the plight of low-income students of color while ignoring the realities of how testing affects such populations.

    • New Yorker Calls Corbyn ‘Childlike’–but Who Are They Kidding?

      The landslide victory of left-wing candidate Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Party leader in the United Kingdom has many establishment types bent out of shape. The Blair wing of the party was literally obliterated, with Corbyn drawing more than four times the votes of his nearest competitor. After giving the country the war in Iraq, and the housing bubble whose collapse led to the 2008-2009 recession and financial crisis, the discontent of the Labour Party’s rank and file is understandable.

    • CBS Analyst Pushes Paul Ryan For Speaker Without Disclosing Ryan Paid Him Over $100K

      CBS News analyst Frank Luntz pushed Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for House Speaker, claiming “he’s got a brain for policy, which is what we need in Washington right now,” adding, “if Paul Ryan says no, God help us.” CBS News and Luntz did not disclose that Ryan has paid Luntz’s company over $100,000 in consulting fees in recent years.

    • CNN is basically begging Joe Biden to join its Democratic debate

      This is quite unlike the rules CNN set for its Republican presidential debate earlier this month. In addition to reaching a poll threshold, candidates had to officially file with the FEC and say they were running three weeks before the debate. They also had to have a paid campaign aide working in at least two of the four early voting states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada). And they had to have visited two of those states at least once.

      Those Republican rules were designed to keep many candidates in the large field offstage. But CNN’s starkly different Democratic rules have seemingly been deliberately designed in hopes of coaxing one potential candidate in particular — Biden — onstage.

    • Noam Chomsky: Bernie Sanders can’t save America

      Throughout his illustrious career, one of Noam Chomsky’s chief preoccupations has been questioning — and urging us to question — the assumptions and norms that govern our society.

      Following a talk on power, ideology, and US foreign policy last weekend at the New School in New York City, freelance Italian journalist Tommaso Segantini sat down with the eighty-six-year-old to discuss some of the same themes, including how they relate to processes of social change.

      For radicals, progress requires puncturing the bubble of inevitability: austerity, for instance, “is a policy decision undertaken by the designers for their own purposes.” It is not implemented, Chomsky says, “because of any economic laws.” American capitalism also benefits from ideological obfuscation: despite its association with free markets, capitalism is shot through with subsidies for some of the most powerful private actors. This bubble needs popping too.

    • Fox News Doc Defends Ben Carson By Criticizing German Jews For Failing To Resist The Nazis

      Fox News contributor Dr. Keith Ablow is defending Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s controversial remarks that fewer people would have been killed in the Holocaust had they been armed by criticizing German Jews for not having “more actively resisted” the Nazis.

      Carson sparked an outcry after he claimed the outcome of the Holocaust “would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed.” Carson has stood by his comments. The Anti-Defamation League called Carson’s remarks “historically inaccurate.”

      In an October 9 FoxNews.com piece, Ablow defended Carson’s comments by asserting, “If Jews in Germany had more actively resisted the Nazi party or the Nazi regime and had diagnosed it as a malignant and deadly cancer from the start, there would, indeed, have been a chance for the people of that country and the world to be moved to action by their bold refusal to be enslaved.”

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Snooper Charter Strikes Back event success

      Earlier in the week we had the pleasure of entraining Jim Killock, ORG’s executive director, ahead of a workshop on talking you MP about intrusive surveillance.

      Jim bought us entertainingly up to date with the current thinking around the still-under-wraps government plans for wide-ranging updates to their subservience powers. Happy to take questions, Jim elaborated a number of points with us, including explaining a bit about what ORG’s plans are, which led neatly into the other half of the evening, but not before everyone had a well deserved tea break.

    • Everything You Need to Know About AOL’s Zombie Apocalypse

      America Online (AOL) will be resurrecting Verizon’s zombie cookies because they are fabulous data-trackers that cannot be “killed”.

    • Obama administration opts not to force firms to decrypt data — for now

      After months of deliberation, the Obama administration has made a long-awaited decision on the thorny issue of how to deal with encrypted communications: It will not — for now — call for legislation requiring companies to decode messages for law enforcement.

    • Turnbull: Don’t assume government email is more secure than private email

      Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull responded to concerns over the use of his own private email server by saying politicians use insecure communication all the time.

    • Chinese Credit Scoring System Smacks Of Censorship

      Rogier Creemers, a China-specialist with Oxford University, told ComputerWorld, “With the help of the latest internet technologies the government wants to exercise individual surveillance. Government and big internet companies in China can exploit ‘Big Data’ together in a way that is unimaginable in the West.”

    • China’s new credit reports are the government’s latest censorship tool

      Chinese Internet users now have one more reason to look over their digital shoulders at the government’s nearly inescapable surveillance and censorship regime.

    • ACLU: Orwellian Citizen Score, China’s credit score system, is a warning for Americans

      Gamer? Strike. Bad-mouthed the government in comments on social media? Strike. Even if you don’t buy video games and you don’t post political comments online “without prior permission,” but any of your online friends do….strike. The strikes are actually more like dings, dings to your falling credit score that is.

      Thanks to a new terrifying use of big data, a credit score can be adversely affected by your hobbies, shopping habits, lifestyles, what you read online, what you post online, your political opinions as well as what your social connections do, say, read, buy or post. While you might never imagine such a credit-rating system in America, it is happening in China and the ACLU said it serves as a warning for Americans.

    • White House Takes The Cowardly Option: Refuses To Say No To Encryption Backdoors, Will Quietly Ask Companies

      Last month, we wrote about a document leaked to the Washington Post that showed the three “options” that the White House was considering for responding to the debate about backdooring encryption. The document made it clear that the White House knew that there was zero chance that any legislation mandating encryption backdoors would pass. But the question then was what to do about it: take a strong stand on the importance of freedom and privacy, and make it clear that the US would not mandate backdoors… or take the sleazy way out and say “no new legislation for now.” As we said at the time, option 1 was the only real option. You take a stand. You talk about the importance of encryption in protecting the public.

    • European Supreme Court: Because of NSA, U.S. Corporations Have No Self-Agency To Agree To Privacy Obligations

      This week, the European Court of Justice – the highest court in the European Union – declared that US companies may not transmit private sensitive personal data out of Europe to the United States for processing as they have up until now. It was a cancellation of the so-called Safe Harbor agreement, where U.S. companies self-declare that they meet certain European privacy standards. But the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) reason for declaring Safe Harbor null and void goes far beyond the cancellation as such – it says that U.S. companies don’t have agency to make any such promises of any kind in the first place, contractual or unilateral, not now, not ever, as long as the NSA operates.

    • Tech companies like Facebook not above the law, says Max Schrems

      The EU’s safe harbour ruling is a “puzzle piece in the fight against mass surveillance, and a huge blow to tech companies who think they can act in total ignorance of the law,” says Max Schrems, the man who brought the case.

      “US companies are realising that European laws are getting more and more enforced. But still, people don’t believe that a court would order Google or Facebook to do something – they wouldn’t dare. Well, yes, they fucking would,” he said, speaking in Vienna.

    • How much money do you make for Facebook?

      How much do you estimate you’re worth to Facebook? If you live in America, it’s a lot more than if you’re a resident of the UK or other countries.

      US Facebook users generate the site on average four times more advertising revenue than users outside of the country, making around $48.76 per year per user as opposed to $7.71, according to market research firm eMarketer.

      The firm predicts revenue is set to rise to $61.06 in 2016 before reaching $73.29 the following year. Non-US users meanwhile, are expected to rise to $9.26 and $10.79 respectively.

    • The node pole: inside Facebook’s Swedish hub near the Arctic Circle

      From the outside, it looks like an enormous grey warehouse. Inside, there is a hint of the movie Bladerunner: long cavernous corridors, spinning computer servers with flashing blue lights and the hum of giant fans. There is also a long perimeter fence. Is its job to thwart corporate spies? No – it keeps out the moose.

    • EU-US Safe Harbour For Personal Data Eliminated

      The European Court of Justice (CJEU) handed down a decision declaring EU-US safe harbour for personal data invalid this morning. It has far-reaching implications for cloud services in particular and may presage increased opportunity for open source solutions from non-US suppliers. Looks like a real gift to companies like Kolab.

    • Facebook: I want out

      Two weeks ago, on my birthday, I decided to check Facebook for birthday wishes because I was having a crappy birthday. It became much worse when Facebook did two things. First, it informed me it had removed an image posted to my timeline based on violating its nudity/obscenity policy — though I had not posted an image, only a link to a post in which I wrote about a new documentary on identity and the gender binary (my link was posted with an NSFW warning). No image. I’ve been around the internet a long time, and I’ve been censored — mostly under inaccurate circumstances — by everyone from the government of Libya to Flickr, feminists and Christian conservatives alike, and Facebook too, when a religious organization campaigned to (successfully) get one of my pages removed on false pretenses.

    • Marketers thought the Web would allow perfectly targeted ads. Hasn’t worked out that way.

      Fake traffic has become a commodity. There’s malware for generating it and brokers who sell it. Some companies pay for it intentionally, some accidentally, and some prefer not to ask where their traffic comes from. It’s given rise to an industry of countermeasures, which inspire counter-countermeasures. “It’s like a game of whack-a-mole,” says Fernando Arriola, vice president for media and integration at ConAgra Foods. Consumers, meanwhile, to the extent they pay attention to targeted ads at all, hate them: The top paid iPhone app on Apple’s App Store is an ad blocker.

    • Stealing fingerprints

      The news from the Office of Personnel Management hack keeps getting worse. In addition to the personal records of over 20 million US government employees, we’ve now learned that the hackers stole fingerprint files for 5.6 million of them.

    • GCHQ tried to track Web visits of “every visible user on Internet”
    • GCHQ’s Karma Police: Tracking And Profiling Every Web User, Every Website

      As of 2012, GCHQ was storing about 50 billion metadata records about online communications and Web browsing activity every day, with plans in place to boost capacity to 100 billion daily by the end of that year. The agency, under cover of secrecy, was working to create what it said would soon be the biggest government surveillance system anywhere in the world.

      That’s around 36 trillion metadata records gathered in 2012 alone — and it’s probably even higher now. As Techdirt has covered previously, intelligence agencies like to say this is “just” metadata — skating over the fact that metadata is actually much more revealing than traditional content because it is much easier to combine and analyze. An important document released by The Intercept with this story tells us exactly what GCHQ considers to be metadata, and what it says is content. It’s called the “Content-Metadata Matrix,” and reveals that as far as GCHQ is concerned, “authentication data to a communcations service: login ID, userid, password” are all considered to be metadata, which means GCHQ believes it can legally swipe and store them. Of course, intercepting your login credentials is a good example of why GCHQ’s line that it’s “only metadata” is ridiculous: doing so gives them access to everything you have and do on that service.

    • Facebook Ads Are All-Knowing, Unblockable, and in Everyone’s Phone

      Sheryl Sandberg’s top concern as she prepares for New York’s largest annual gathering of advertising and media executives this week has nothing to do with ad-blocking software or click fraud. Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, can brag to Advertising Week attendees about how the world’s largest social network is largely immune to forces that have sent Internet and publishing companies into a panic. But Sandberg is losing her voice, so her pitch will need to be succinct.

      Between sips of strawberry water at the company’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters, Sandberg explains how Facebook has avoided controversies around online advertising with its emphasis on a single account tied to a user’s real-world identity and subtle ads that can be easily scrolled past if the user isn’t interested. What advertisers want, according to a raspy-voiced Sandberg, is “to reach people in a way that feels good, that’s not intrusive.” The argument ignores that Facebook trackers are just about everywhere on the Internet. But because most of Facebook’s 1.49 billion users routinely access the service through an app, the ads cannot be hidden using one of the many blocker tools now topping the download charts on Apple’s App Store.

    • CityNews investigation: Prison cellphone surveillance may have hit nearby homes

      A CityNews investigation reveals Correctional Services Canada (CSC) introduced super surveillance technology in at least one federal institution this winter; capturing calls and texts made from inside the jail, the visitor parking lot and, potentially, passing drivers and residents who live in close proximity to the institution.

      “We understand and believe there’s really been a breach of privacy. These were personal cell phones and personal calls. We’re looking at it from a legal aspect,” the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers’ Jason Godin told CityNews.

      A confidential Sept. 17, 2015 email sent by Warkworth Institution’s warden Scott Thompson to staff at the Campbellford-area prison, and obtained by CityNews, details how the technology captures these conversations.

    • How I hacked my IP camera, and found this backdoor account

      The time has come. I bought my second IoT device – in the form of a cheap IP camera. As it was the cheapest among all others, my expectations regarding security was low. But this camera was still able to surprise me.

      Maybe I will disclose the camera model used in my hack in this blog later, but first I will try to contact someone regarding these issues. Unfortunately, it seems a lot of different cameras have this problem, because they share being developed on the same SDK. Again, my expectations are low on this.

    • “Snowden Treaty” proposed to curtail mass surveillance and protect whistleblowers

      A “Snowden Treaty” designed to counter mass surveillance and protect whistleblowers around the world has been proposed by Edward Snowden, and three of the people most closely associated with his leaks: the documentary film-maker Laura Poitras; David Miranda, who was detained at Heathrow airport, and is the Brazilian coordinator of the campaign to give asylum to Snowden in Brazil; and his partner, the journalist Glenn Greenwald. The “International Treaty on the Right to Privacy, Protection Against Improper Surveillance and Protection of Whistleblowers,” to give it its full title, was launched yesterday in New York by Miranda, with Snowden and Greenwald speaking via video.

  • Civil Rights

    • NRA’s Ted Nugent Calls Unarmed Victims Of Gun Violence “Losers”

      National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent said “losers” who don’t carry a gun “get cut down by murderous maniacs like blind sheep to slaughter” in a column for WND, becoming the latest public conservative figure to blame victims of gun violence who are unarmed.

    • Locked Out Of The Sixth Amendment By Proprietary Forensic Software

      Everything tied to securing convictions seems to suffer from pervasive flaws compounded by confirmation bias. For four decades, the DOJ presented hair analysis as an unique identifier on par with fingerprints or DNA when it wasn’t. A 2014 Inspector General’s report found the FBI still hadn’t gotten around to correcting forensic lab issues it had pointed out nearly 20 years earlier. This contributed to two decades of “experts” providing testimony that greatly overstated the results of hair analysis. All of this happened in the FBI’s closed system, a place outsiders aren’t allowed to examine firsthand.

      That’s the IRL version. The software version is just as suspect. Computers aren’t infallible and the people running them definitely aren’t. If the software cannot be inspected, the statements of expert witnesses should be considered highly dubious. After all, most expert witnesses representing the government have a vested interest in portraying forensic evidence as bulletproof. Without access to forensic software code, no one will ever be able to prove them wrong.

    • Saudi Arabia’s troubling death sentence

      On September 14, local media reported that an appeals court and Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court had upheld the death sentence of Ali al-Nimr for participating in protests four years ago. He was 16 at the time. Today, he awaits the execution of his sentence, which stipulates that al-Nimr should be beheaded and that his headless body should be strung up for public display.

    • Saudi employer chops off Indian woman’s hand, Delhi seeks action

      Kasturi, 50, is currently undergoing treatment at a hospital in Riyadh, her sister Vijayakumari told The Indian Express from their home in Vellore district.

    • India woman’s arm ‘cut off by employer’ in Saudi Arabia

      India’s foreign ministry has complained to the Saudi Arabian authorities following an alleged “brutal” attack on a 58-year-old Indian woman in Riyadh.

      Kasturi Munirathinam’s right arm was chopped off, allegedly by her employer, when she tried to escape from their house last week, reports say.

    • UK and Saudi Arabia ‘in secret deal’ over human rights council place

      Leaked documents suggest vote-trading deal was conducted to enable nations to secure a seat at UN’s influential body

    • ‘UK did secret Saudi deal on human rights’: Cables allege Britain approached Gulf State about vote trade to support each other’s election to UN council

      Britain has been accused of backing Saudi Arabia’s election to the United Nations top human right’s body as part of a vote trading deal – despite the Gulf State’s appalling abuse record.

      Secret cables reportedly show that Britain approached Saudi Arabia about the trade ahead of the 2013 election for membership of the Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

      The Saudi regime has shameful record on human rights and has executed 135 people since January on charges ranging from murder to witchcraft.

    • Matthew Keys’ Hacking Conviction May Not Survive an Appeal

      The conviction of former Reuters employee Matthew Keys on hacking charges this week has renewed focus on a controversial federal law that many say prosecutors are using incorrectly and too broadly to inflate cases and trump up charges.

      The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or CFAA, is a federal law that was designed to target malicious hackers who obtain unauthorized access to protected computers. But judges have used it in a number of controversial cases to, for example, prosecute and convict a woman for violating MySpace’s user agreement, and to convict a former Korn/Ferry International employee for violating his employer’s computer use policy. It was also used to indict internet activist Aaron Swartz for downloading scholarly articles that he was authorized to access.

    • In The Post-Ferguson World, Cops Are Now Victims And It’s The Public That’s Going To Pay The Price

      There’s a new narrative out there — one that’s being repeated by campaigning politicians and buttressed by fearful news reports. Apparently, the public has declared war on law enforcement. Each shooting of a police officer is presented as evidence that it’s open season on cops. Officers aren’t simply killed. They’re “targeted.” The problem is, the stats don’t back this up.

    • 71% Of Americans Oppose Civil Asset Forfeiture. Too Bad Their Representatives Don’t Care.

      Most Americans haven’t even heard of civil asset forfeiture. This is why the programs have run unchallenged for so many years. An uninformed electorate isn’t a vehicle for change. This issue is still a long way away from critical mass.

      Without critical mass, there’s little chance those who profit from it will lose their power over state and federal legislatures. Forfeiture programs are under more scrutiny these days, but attempts to roll back these powers, or introduce conviction requirements, have been met with resistance from law enforcement agencies and police unions — entities whose opinions are generally respected far more than the public’s.

      California’s attempt to institute a conviction requirement met with pushback from a unified front of law enforcement groups. Despite nearly unanimous support by legislators, the bill didn’t survive the law enforcement lobby’s last-minute blitz. They also had assistance from the Department of Justice, which pointed out how much money agencies would be giving up by effectively cutting off their connection with federal agencies if the bill was passed.

    • H&M features its first Muslim model in a hijab

      Twenty-three year old Mariah Idrissi is the first Muslim woman in a hijab to be featured by world’s second largest fashion store

    • America’s most secretive court invites its first outsider

      A well-known Washington, DC lawyer has been appointed to be the first of a total of five amici curae—friends of the court—who will act as a sort of ombudsman or public advocate at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).

      The move was one of the provisions in the USA Freedom Act, which passed in June 2015 as a package of modest reforms to the national security system.

      The attorney, Preston Burton, was named to the post by the FISC earlier this month, which was not widely reported until The Intercept noticed it on Friday.

      Burton was likely selected because he has dealt with many security-related cases in the past, including former CIA intelligence agent Aldrich H. Ames, and former FBI Special Agent Robert Hanssen. In addition, according to his own biography, he “has held a Top Secret/SCI level security clearance at numerous points in his career,” which he will likely need again.

    • Facebook ‘unfriending’ can constitute workplace bullying, Australian tribunal finds

      Australia’s workplace tribunal ruled that a woman was bullied after she was unfriended on Facebook following work dispute

    • Absolutely Egregious: Man Jailed For Unpaid Traffic Ticket Gets Ignored Until He Dies In Custody

      This is so terrible. The guy — from a Detroit area suburb — is off his addiction-treatment meds and in withdrawal, and, at one point, lies under his bed, clawing up at it. What kind of person looks at a human being in this condition and just leaves them in their cage?

      During his 17 days in jail, in the final days the horror of his withdrawal, he laid there on the floor for 48 hours, waiting to die — in a cell that was supposed to be specially monitored.

      This guy was not a violent criminal. He lost 50 pounds in 17 days while jailed for an unpaid ticket.

    • Selling Out and the Death of Hacker Culture

      We’ve sold each other for profit and lost what makes us happy.

    • The Jocks of Computer Code Do It for the Job Offers
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Tennessee Voraciously Defends Its Right To Let AT&T Write Awful State Broadband Laws

      After fifteen years in an apparent coma, earlier this year the FCC woke up to the fact that ISPs were effectively paying states to pass laws focused entirely on protecting uncompetitive, regional broadband duopolies. More specifically, they’ve been pushing legislation that prohibits towns and cities from improving their own broadband infrastructure — or in some cases partnering with utilities or private companies — even in areas local incumbents refused to upgrade. It’s pure protectionism, and roughly twenty states have passed such ISP-written laws nationwide.

    • Facebook Hopes Renaming Internet.org App Will Shut Net Neutrality Critics Up

      Facebook is trying its best to defuse worries that the company is trying to impose a bizarre, walled-garden vision of the Internet upon the developing world. As we’ve been discussing, Facebook’s Internet.org initiative has been under fire of late in India, where the government has been trying to not only define net neutrality, but craft useful rules. Early policy guidelines have declared Internet.org to be little more than glorified collusion, since while it does offer limited access to some free services, it involves Facebook determining which services users will be able to access (and encrypted content wasn’t on the Facebook approval list).

    • Mark Zuckerberg tells the UN: ‘the internet belongs to everyone’

      Zuck was presenting a document signed by himself as well as Bill and Melinda Gates, stating: “The internet belongs to everyone. It should be accessible by everyone.”


      Google too has been involved in looking for ways to improve coverage in remote areas. The firm’s Project Loon works to provide internet access using weather balloons. Bill Gates slammed this project stating that it won’t uplift the poor. Something has clearly changed his mind.

    • Facebook founder calls for universal Internet to help cure global ills

      Signing on to the connectivity campaign were U2 star Bono, co-founder of One, a group that fights extreme poverty; actress Charlize Theron, founder of Africa Outreach Project; philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates; British entrepreneur Richard Branson; Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington; Colombian singer Shakira, actor and activist George Takei and Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales.

    • Where the candidates stand on Net neutrality

      What is it about Net neutrality that invites such political posturing over a principal that enjoys huge bipartisan support among voters? While 85 percent of Republican voters oppose the creation of Internet fast lanes, presidential candidate Jeb Bush made headlines this week saying that if elected he would roll back Net neutrality rules passed under the Obama administration.

      The Open Internet regulations still face legal challenges, but the biggest threat could come in 2016. President Obama has been a firm supporter of Net neutrality rules enacted by the FCC and a sure vetoer of any attempts by Congress to undo them. But what happens with the next president — and the next FCC? The agency is directed by five commissioners appointed to five-year terms by the president, but only three commissioners may be from the same political party. The FCC approved the current rules along party lines, with a 3-2 vote, but in 2017 the next president will be in a position to appoint a new commissioner who could reverse that vote.

  • DRM

    • Librarian of Congress who made phone unlocking illegal retires today

      The Librarian of Congress wields a surprising amount of power over the mobile devices we use every day. Once every three years, the head of the US Library of Congress is responsible for handing out exemptions to the anti-circumvention provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

    • How the DMCA may have let carmakers cheat clean air standards

      It was by sheer chance that the software “defeat device” that allowed Volkswagen to thwart emission tests on its diesel vehicles was discovered last year. The discovery came after a few university researchers tested a group of European cars made for the U.S. market.

      The West Virginia University researchers drove the vehicles for thousands of miles, testing the emissions as they went along. They weren’t expecting to discover what they did: Nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions rates 20 times the baseline set by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

      The university researchers reported their findings to the California Air Resources Board, which then further investigated. That ultimately led to the charges by the EPA.

    • RIAA chief says DMCA is “largely useless” to combat music piracy

      Cary Sherman, the chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, has some choice words about the current state of US copyright law. He says that under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, rightsholders must play a game of whack-a-mole with Internet companies to get them to remove infringing content.

      But that “never-ending game” has allowed piracy to run amok and has cheapened the legal demand for music. Sure, many Internet companies remove links under the DMCA’s “notice-and-takedown” regime. But the DMCA grants these companies, such as Google, a so-called “safe harbor”—meaning companies only have to remove infringing content upon notice from rightsholders.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Do you need permission to link? Here’s my table attempting a summary of recent CJEU case law

      Earlier this week this blog reported on the latest reference for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on hyperlinking and copyright.

    • Copyrights

      • Norway’s Pirate Bay Block Rendered Useless by ‘Mistake’

        Copyright holders celebrated a landmark victory early September when a Norwegian court ordered local ISPs to block the Pirate Bay. A breakthrough verdict perhaps, but one with a major flaw as the rightsholder forgot to list one of the site’s main domain names.

      • Pirate Party Runs Privacy Campaign Ads on YouPorn

        The Austrian Pirate Party is running a rather unusual advertising campaign on one of the largest Internet porn sites. Using an image of the Minister of the Interior the Pirates warn unsuspecting visitors that they might soon be being watched, a reference to a new mass surveillance proposal in Austria.

      • Piracy Isn’t Worth The Risk of Prison, Freed Cammer Says

        That urge to be first was what put Danks on the radars of FACT and then the police. After his arrest and subsequent conviction Danks was initially sent to HMP Hewell, a Category B prison in Worcestershire, later being transferred to the low-to-medium risk HMP Oakwood. But despite committing only white-collar crime, Danks was placed alongside those with a thirst for violence.

        “I was locked up with all sorts of people, including murderers, bank robbers etc. I remember one guy who I worked with in the kitchens who had been sentenced to 18 years for killing someone. He got out and within six hours was arrested again for killing his victim’s friend,” Danks explains.

      • Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg—aka Anakata—exits prison

        Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg was released from a Swedish prison Saturday, three years after he began serving time for a Danish hacking conspiracy and for Swedish copyright offenses connected to the file-sharing site, The Pirate Bay.

        Warg hasn’t made any public comments following his release from Skanninge Prison in Sweden.

        But his mother chimed in on Twitter. “Yes, #anakata is free now. No more need to call for #freeanakata. Thank you everyone for your important support during these three years!”

      • Aurous Dev Fires Back at “Fearmongering, Babbling” Rightscorp

        Aurous, the music equivalent of Popcorn Time, is just two weeks away from alpha release but anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp is already touting a ‘solution’ to deal with the software. Biting back, Aurous’ developer Andrew Sampson says that Rightscorp has no idea how his technology works and accuses the company of fear mongering in an attempt to get more clients.

      • Rightscorp Retains Dallas Buyers Club Copyright Troll Lawyer

        Anti-piracy monetization firm Rightscorp says it has retained a lawyer known for his work with infamous copyright troll Dallas Buyers Club. Carl Crowell, who recently claimed that it’s impossible to be anonymous using BitTorrent, will help “educate” people about the effects of piracy while suing “persistent and egregious infringers.”

      • MPAA and RIAA’s Megaupload Lawsuits Delayed Until 2016

        Megaupload has asked a federal court in Virginia to postpone its legal battles with the MPAA and RIAA while the criminal proceedings remain pending. The movie studios and recording labels haven’t objected to the request which means that it will take at least six more months before the civil cases begin.


Links 10/10/2015: IBM’s Linux-based LC Family, KDE Frameworks 5.15

Posted in News Roundup at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Using open source principles to build better engineering teams

    We become better software developers by observing how some of the best software in the world is being written. Open source has changed and will continue to change the way the world builds software, not only by creating high-quality reusable components, but by giving us a model for how to produce better software. Open source gives us complete transparency into that process.

  • Examining the KNIME open source data analytics platform

    KNIME is an open source data analytics, reporting and integration platform developed and supported by KNIME.com AG. Through the use of a graphical interface, KNIME enables users to create data flows, execute selected analysis steps and review the results, models and interactive views.

  • Events

    • What to expect from PentahoWorld 2015

      This time last year the Computer Weekly Open Source Insider blog reported on the inaugural PentahoWorld 2014 conference and exhibition.

    • Day 1 of PyCon India 2015

      Day one is the first day of main event. I was late to wake up, but somehow managed to reach the venue around 8:30am. Had a quick breakfast, and then moved into the Red Hat booth. Sankarshan, Alfred, Soni were already there. I don’t know the exact reason, but the booth managed to grab the attention of all the people in the venue. It was over crowded :) While the students were much more interested in stickers, and other goodies, many came forward to ask about internship options, and future job opportunities. Alfred did an excellent job in explaining the details to the participants. The crowd was in booth even though the keynote of day one had started. I missed most of keynote as many people kept coming in the booth, and they had various questions.

  • Web Browsers

    • Subresource Integrity Support Ready For Firefox 43, Chrome 45

      With the upcoming releases of the Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome web-browsers is support for the W3C Subresource Integrity (SRI) specification.

      The Subresource Integrity feature allows web developers to ensure that externally-loaded scripts/assets from third-party sources (e.g. a CDN) haven’t been altered. The SRI specification adds a new “integrity” HTML attribute when loading such assets where you can specify a hash of the file source expected — the loaded resource must then match the hash for it to be loaded.

    • Windows 10: Microsoft’s new browser is a FAILURE – find out why

      Microsoft tried to move users from its infamous Internet Explorer browser to a minimalist new web browser dubbed Edge following the launch of Windows 10.

      But new data has revealed that Windows 10 users are reluctant to make the transition.

    • Chrome

      • Google open source project aims to speed up web
      • Google Seeks to Speed Up Mobile Web Browsing

        Google has announced a new project that could make a difference for mobile browsing. The company has launched the Accelerated Mobile Pages project (AMP), a fully open source initiative, with the underlying code available on GitHub.

      • Google wants to speed up the mobile web with AMP project

        Google has a plan to speed up mobile Web browsing. The recently unveiled AMP—Accelerated Mobile Pages—project is an open source initiative that restricts certain elements of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to produce leaner Web pages “that are optimised to load instantly on mobile devices.” How much quicker is “instantly”? According to Google, early testing with with a simulated 3G connection and a simulated Nexus 5 showed improvements of between 15 to 85 percent.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Continues Moving Away From NPAPI Plugins

        Firefox continues making progress on loosening web developers’ and users’ dependence on NPAPI plug-ins with a goal still in place to remove support for most NPAPI plugins by the end of 2016.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • At the Heart of OpenStack Evolution

      As it matures, OpenStack’s parallel to Linux is clearer. Linux emerged 20 years ago as a somewhat exotic challenger to proprietary operating systems. Today, it is one of the most popular and widely used OSes. However, Linux still exists in a market of mixed use. It’s likely that OpenStack will be subject to the same effect, becoming a viable option among a number of cloud infrastructures.

  • CMS

    • What’s New This October in Open Source CMS

      A little love, please, for Miami-based dotCMS, maker of Java open source content management system (CMS) software. Just yesterday, it was chosen as one of the 20 Most Promising Open Source Software Solution Providers by CIO Review.

  • Business

  • BSD


    • GnuCash 2.6.9 Free Accounting Software Patches Serious Bug on Windows OSes

      The GnuCash Project has announced the immediate availability for download of the ninth point release for all supported operating systems, including GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.

    • CC BY-SA 4.0 now one-way compatible with GPLv3

      Put simply this means you now have permission to adapt another licensor’s work under CC BY-SA 4.0 and release your contributions to the adaptation under GPLv3 (while the adaptation relies on both licenses, a reuser of the combined and remixed work need only look to the conditions of GPLv3 to satisfy the attribution and ShareAlike conditions of BY-SA 4.0).

    • The party is over… but the fight for freedom is ready for another thirty years

      Last Saturday, we celebrated the Free Software Foundation’s thirtieth birthday with a party to remember.

    • FSF’s Nerdy 30
    • VimSpellcheckery

      While I was mass editing the transcripts I used to create the FSF30 wordclouds, I realized I was doing too much manual movery to get to the next misspelled word. In a moment of clarity, I was like “hey, I bet vim has a way to properly do this!” And of course it did!

    • Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 declared one-way compatible with GNU GPL version 3

      Compatibility means that a person can now take a work they received under the terms of CC BY-SA 4.0 and then distribute adaptations of that work under the terms of GPLv3.

    • Guix-Tox talk at PyConFR, October 17th

      Guix-Tox is a young variant of the Tox “virtualenv” management tool for Python that uses guix environment as its back-end. In essence, while Tox restricts itself to building pure Python environments, Guix-Tox takes advantages of Guix to build complete environments, including dependencies that are outside Tox’s control, thereby improving environment reproducibility. Cyril will demonstrate practical use cases with OpenStack.

  • Project Releases

    • New Version Of JPEG-Turbo Quietly Released

      While the Internet has been buzzing recently about the new FLIF image format, libjpeg-turbo developers released a new version of their JPEG library.

      Libjpeg-turbo 1.4.2 is the new release and it quietly made it out at the end of September. Libjpeg-Turbo 1.4.2 features at least five known bug fixes resulting in crashes and other problems.

  • Public Services/Government

    • U.S. report highlights positive elements of government open source adoption

      The report released by DHS is definitely worth a read. While focused on real problems and challenges facing use of OSS by the USG, it has very useful insights for governments around the world. It confirms my growing view, as I’ve written previously, that we are past some of the old debates about OSS. Instead, many governments are today increasingly focused on the “how tos” of open source choices; not “whether” to use it.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Open data Incubator: ODINE selected its first round of start-ups

        Seven start-ups from UK, Italy, France, Estonia and Austria were selected to be part of the first round of companies benefiting from the Open Data Incubator for Europe (ODINE). This two-year programme awarded EUR 650 000 in total to the companies, which can receive up to EUR 100 000 each.

    • Open Hardware

      • Eleven Open Source 3D Printer Hits Kickstarter (video)

        ISG3D has taken to Kickstarter this month to raise $11,000 to help take their open source 3D printer design into production.

        The Eleven 3D printer has been specifically designed to provide users with an affordable machine but offers an impressive 22 x 40 x 40 cm build area and is completely open source allowing for modifications and enhancements to be created.

  • Programming

    • Perl 6 is coming soon: What it will bring

      Perl 6, a long-awaited upgrade to the well-known scripting language, has gone into beta, with the general release planned for Christmastime.

      The upgrade went to beta late last month, Perl designer Larry Wall told InfoWorld on Wednesday, and the October monthly release will feature the first of two beta releases of the Rakudo Perl 6 compiler. There been having monthly compiler releases for years, but the language definition has now stabilized. Wall added, “At this point we’re optimizing, fixing bugs, and documenting, and I feel comfortable saying we can take a snapshot of whatever we have in December and call it the first production release.”

    • PEAR 1.10 Released With PHP 7 Support
    • Couchbase Server 4.0 introduces SQL-based query language N1QL (Nickel)

      Couchbase Server 4.0 is designed to give software application development pros a route to building more apps on Couchbase.


  • Science

    • Epigenetic Marks Tied to Homosexuality

      By examining just a handful of sites along the genome and determining whether they are methylated, scientists can peg sexual orientation with nearly 70 percent accuracy. That’s according to data presented today (October 8) at the American Society of Human Genetics meeting.

    • Elon Musk Says Apple Engineers Are Tesla Rejects

      According to Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO Elon Musk, engineers who can’t make the cut at Tesla end up at Apple, or the “Tesla graveyard,” as he calls the company in an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt, published Friday.

      “They have hired people we’ve fired,” the CEO tells Handelsblatt. “We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla graveyard.’ If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”

  • Hardware

    • Dell in talks to buy data storage company EMC: source

      Dell Inc [DI.UL], the world’s third largest personal computer maker, is in talks to buy data storage company EMC Corp (EMC.N), a person familiar with the matter said, in what could be one of the biggest technology deals ever.

      A deal could be an option for EMC, under pressure from activist investor Elliott Management Corp to spin off majority-owned VMware Inc (VMW.N).

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Tor browser co-creator: Experian breach shows encryption may not be security panacea

      The Experian/T-Mobile hack may be more worrisome than Experian’s carefully worded description of it suggests, some security experts said Friday.

      One is the co-creator of the Tor secure browser, David Goldschlag, (now SVP of strategy at Pulse Secure). Goldschlag previously was head of mobile at McAfee, and also once worked at the NSA.

      I asked Goldschlag a simple question: “After the Office of Personnel Management and Experian hacks, is there reason to fear that hackers now have the means to steal actual financial information (credit card numbers, etc.) from banks or insurers?”

    • AV-TEST tests Linux security solutions against Linux and Windows threats

      To do so, it is often sufficient to copy files from a Linux environment to Windows.” it further adds. The most obvious mode of attack involves luring victims to install software or updates via third-party package sources. The team conducted test by running 16 different Anti-virus solutions and splitting test session into three distinct phases,

      The detection of Windows malware
      The detection of Linux malware and
      The test for false positives.

      Out of 16 antivirus solutions 8 detected between 95-99% of the 12,000 Windows threat used in the test: The Anti-virus solutions that helped in detection include Bitdefender, ESET, Avast, F-Secure, eScan, G Data, Sophos and Kaspersky Lab (server version).

    • Outlook.com had classic security blunder in authentication engine

      The cross-site request forgery vulnerability means that any user visiting a malicious page can have their accounts hijacked without further interaction.

      The since-patched hole existed in Microsoft Live.com and could have been spun into a dangerous worm, Wineberg says.

    • Meet the White Team, Makers of the Linux.Wifatch Viligante Malware

      However, Softpedia News noted that the Linux.Wifatch source code has not been released in its entirety. That’s likely because the White Team is worried that traditional cybercriminals would exploit the malware for more nefarious purposes. It also explains why it was a clandestine operation in which router owners weren’t aware their systems had been infected, even if it was only to defend them against black-hat attackers.

      Whether or not anyone appreciates the White Team’s form of vigilante security tactics, they may believe the work should serve as a warning to those who don’t follow basic data protection procedures, Hacked said. For example, there are still untold numbers of home routers that use default passwords and leave admin access wide open to malware and other threats.

    • Practical SHA-1 Collision Months, Not Years, Away
    • Search engine can find the VPN that NUCLEAR PLANT boss DIDN’T KNOW was there – report

      The nuclear industry is ignorant of its cybersecurity shortcomings, claimed a report released today, and despite understanding the consequences of an interruption to power generation and the related issues, cyber efforts to prevent such incidents are lacking.

      The report adds that search engines can “readily identify critical infrastructure components with” VPNs, some of which are power plants. It also adds that facility operators are “sometimes unaware of” them.

      Nuclear plants don’t understand their cyber vulnerability, stated the Chatham House report, which found industrial, cultural and technical challenges affecting facilities worldwide. It specifically pointed to a “lack of executive-level awareness”.

    • Security advisories for Thursday
    • SHA1 algorithm securing e-commerce and software could break by year’s end
    • The Palau Experiment

      It just dawned on me. The extravagant market-share shown for GNU/Linux in Palau is a real “experiment”. With GNU/Linux being part of a botnet that spoofs Palau, we can see the huge boost That Other OS must get with its multiple botnets and high percentage of infected hosts

    • How Xen Manages Security Disclosure

      When security vulnerabilities are found in any piece of software, the ideal way to fix them is before the general public or attackers are made aware of bugs. Kurth explained that the traditional wisdom in security is to keep any type of predisclosure list for security as small as possible. In Xen’s case, the project went through multiple iterations of its security disclosure process, in an attempt to keep things fair for both large and small vendors.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Murderer was beaten up in revenge attack in jail because of his Army service, court is told

      A convicted murderer was beaten up in a revenge attack in Wakefield Jail by Muslim prisoners because of his army service in Afghanistan, a jury was told.

      Jeremy Green was a former army lieutenant whose history, and sentencing on April 7 last year for murder and attempted murder, was widely reported, said Tony Kelbrick prosecuting.

    • The Mystery of ISIS’ Toyota Army Solved

      Just last year it was reported that the US State Department had been sending in fleets of specifically Toyota-brand trucks into Syria to whom they claimed was the “Free Syrian Army.”

    • NATO: Crazed and Dangerous

      Precisely why Russian action against Saudi Arabia’s proxy militias of fanatics is against western interests is something which nobody in the western elite seems to believe it is necessary to explain. That Russia is bad and evil and must be opposed is another one of those axiomatic beliefs of the governing elite, which they can’t bring themselves to believe the public do not wholeheartedly share. Equally they cannot quite understand why we the people do not see the necessity of backing the Saudi regime.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The Turnbull files

      In 1987, three years after the National Times story, the Labor government’s treasurer, Paul Keating, introduced a system which restricted how many newspapers and television stations any one person could own in Australia. Known as the cross-media ownership rules, it allowed media proprietors to make a choice between either controlling a TV station or a newspaper in any given geographical market.

  • Finance/TPP

    • Memo to progressives: Hillary Clinton is lying to you

      Nothing says “election season” quite like politicians dumping their long-held policy stances overboard in a desperate gambit to gain votes, but you have to hand it to Hillary Clinton. With her recently-announced opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, she’s making one of the more brazen flip-flops in recent political memory.

      What’s so amazing about Clinton’s newfound opposition to the highly controversial deal is the jaw-dropping transparency of the move. It’s such an open ploy to counter both the rise of staunch TPP critic Bernie Sanders and the possible entry of TPP supporter Joe Biden that it’s almost refreshing in its shamelessness.


      here is absolutely nothing in either her political background or her political history to suggest that she has any real substantive problems with the deal.

    • What We Know So Far About Digital Rights in the Still Secret Final TPP Text

      Trade negotiators announced their agreement over the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Monday, and yet the exact terms of the deal remain as secret as ever. For more than five years, we have been given a series of dubious justifications for keeping the text under close wraps. Now that it’s done, there is absolutely no reason they should not release it immediately.

    • Silicon Valley’s Big T.P.P. Win

      When we talk about trade, we often think about material goods. News articles on the subject are illustrated with images of ships weighed down with big, corrugated containers, presumed to be filled with shoes, tires, cell phones, apples. And much of the discussion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade deal announced earlier this week between the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam, Chile, Brunei, Singapore, and New Zealand, has focussed on the movement of such goods across borders. But on Monday, after the deal was announced, some in the tech industry were fixated on a more of-the-moment aspect of the deal: its regulation of the movement of digital information—the substance of our music streams, financial payments, online communications, and just about everything else we do on the Internet.

    • Internet Providers Would Be Forced to Block Filesharing Sites Under TPP

      Digital rights advocates’ worst fears were confirmed on Friday morning after the finalized intellectual property chapter of the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal was leaked by Wikileaks, just days after talks concluded in Atlanta.

      Under the agreement, it appears that internet service providers could be forced to block websites hosting content that infringes copyright.

      The leaked copyright chapter of the TPP is just a portion of the text that all 12 negotiating nations agreed upon; the rest of the agreement will remain a closely-guarded secret until the full text is released in the coming months.

    • Stephen Hawking Says Capitalism Is Way Scarier Than the Robot Takeover

      Superstar theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking just took a strong stance on income inequality, political lobbying and the redistribution of wealth. During a curated Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session July 27, Hawking was asked whether he saw technological unemployment — robots and computers taking human jobs — as a threat.

    • China launch of renminbi payments system reflects Swift spying concerns

      China launched a cross-border renminbi payments system on Thursday, a big step in its drive to boost international use of the Chinese currency and protect itself from US spy agencies with access to the Swift system.

      Chinese leaders want the renminbi to rival the US dollar as a global currency for trade and investment. The “redback” is now the fourth most-used currency for global payments but its share by value remains low at just 2.8 per cent in August, according to Swift.

    • Irish Government Said to Drop Threat of Bank Levy Increase

      Ireland’s government is poised to drop a threat to increase a 150 million-euro ($170 million) annual levy on the nation’s banks, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

      In delivering the budget on Tuesday in Dublin, Finance Minister Michael Noonan is set to signal the charge will remain in force after 2016, extending its original three-year lifespan, should the ruling coalition win re-election, said the person, who asked not to be named as the final decision hasn’t been made.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • VIDEO: Glenn Greenwald On Battling ‘Establishment Media’

      In this video acTVism Munich asks Glenn Greenwald at a Press Conference in Munich his opinion on the Mainstream Corporate Media and their reaction towards the NSA disclosures brought to light by whistleblower, Edward Snowden. Furthermore, Greenwald talks about the signficance of the preparations that he undertook with Laura Poitras and Edward Snowden before they decided to go public with the highly-classifed NSA documents. The next two parts of this press conference with Greenwald will be released soon.

    • Democrats Depend on Affluent Voters? That’s Rich

      Well, no—because elections aren’t won by getting a lot of votes, but by getting more votes than your opponents. If Obama got many more votes than Romney among lower-income voters, as he surely did, and fewer votes than Romney among upper-income voters, then lower-income voters were, in fact, more important to his coalition.

      Now, it’s true, as Edsall says, that the Democratic Party is dependent on affluent donors—and his column has some interesting things to say about how, because of this dependence, “the Democratic Party has in many respects become the party of deregulated markets.”

    • Michael Reagan Attacks Donald Trump While Taking His Advertising Money
    • Donald Trump Says America Would Have “Common Sense” If Far-Right Host Michael Savage Headed NIH

      Donald Trump told right-wing radio host Michael Savage there would be “common sense” if Trump appointed him head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as president. Savage has called autism “a fraud, a racket,” said PTSD and depression sufferers are “losers,” advised people not to get flu shots because you can’t trust the government, theorized liberals have been driven insane because of seltzer bubbles, claimed President Obama was intentionally trying “to infect the nation with Ebola,” and once told a caller he was a “sodomite” who should “get AIDS and die.”

    • ACTION ALERT: Why Do Conservatives Get to Question Candidates–but Not Progressives?

      At the CNN-sponsored Republican Party debate last month at the Reagan Library, one of the three panelists CNN selected to question the candidates was conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, affiliated with the proudly right-wing Salem Radio Network.

      But at Tuesday’s upcoming Democratic Party debate, CNN is not planning to include a single progressive advocate among its panel of four questioners.

      It’s clear that who gets to pose questions has impact on the tenor of the debate. For example, Hewitt used September’s Republican debate to declare that President Obama’s “knees buckled” over Syria and that every Republican candidate was “more qualified than” Hillary Clinton. Hewitt pressed Jeb Bush from the right over his comment about making sure guns are not in the hands of the mentally ill: “Where does it go from what you said last week, how far into people’s lives to take guns away from them?” (Hewitt’s appearance on the CNN panel is reportedly part of an agreement by which CNN and the right-wing Salem Media company are teaming up on three GOP presidential debates.)

      At CNN‘s Republican debate last month, along with Hewitt, the panel was composed of two journalists CNN presents as neutral or objective: CNN anchor Jake Tapper and CNN correspondent Dana Bash.

  • Censorship

    • Are These Slides Classified?

      You cannot watch Barton Gellman’s conference presentation about the National Security Agency and Edward Snowden. Purdue University deleted the video.

      Gellman gave the keynote presentation at the university’s “Dawn or Doom” colloquium in September. He was promised a link to video of the presentation afterward, but was subsequently told that, on the advice of its lawyers, Purdue was unable to publish the video at all.

      What happened? In a blog post for the Century Foundation, Gellman explains: three of the slides he used during his 90-minute talk contained classified information. It’s leaked information that lives on the Internet and has been viewed by millions of people, but it is classified nonetheless.

    • Classified material in the public domain: what’s a university to do?

      I have not heard back from Purdue today about recovery of the video. It is not clear to me how recovery is even possible, if Purdue followed Pentagon guidelines for secure destruction. Moreover, although the university seems to suggest it could have posted most of the video, it does not promise to do so now. Most importantly, the best that I can hope for here is that my remarks and slides will be made available in redacted form — with classified images removed, and some of my central points therefore missing. There would be one version of the talk for the few hundred people who were in the room on Sept. 24, and for however many watched the live stream, and another version left as the only record.

      For our purposes here, the most notable questions have to do with academic freedom in the context of national security. How did a university come to “sanitize” a public lecture it had solicited, on the subject of NSA surveillance, from an author known to possess the Snowden documents? How could it profess to be shocked to find that spillage is going on at such a talk? The beginning of an answer came, I now see, in the question and answer period after my Purdue remarks. A post-doctoral research engineer stood up to ask whether the documents I had put on display were unclassified. “No,” I replied. “They’re classified still.” Eugene Spafford, a professor of computer science there, later attributed that concern to “junior security rangers” on the faculty and staff. But the display of Top Secret material, he said, “once noted, … is something that cannot be unnoted.”

    • I showed leaked NSA slides at Purdue, so feds demanded the video be destroyed
    • Edward Snowden criticizes Purdue over removal of speech
    • Classified information becomes subject of debate at Purdue
    • Purdue erases Pulitzer Prize winner’s keynote
    • Purdue deletes video of author’s academic talk on NSA after federal order
    • How the TPP Could Lead to Worldwide Internet Censorship
  • Privacy