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07.09.15

Links 9/7/2015: LinuxIT Sold, Alpine Linux 3.2.1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 8:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Don’t touch this! Seven types of open source to dance away from

    d In a world where even Microsoft gets the open source religion, the planet’s overall quota for positivity and good karma must be increasing, right? Of course this is not the case, there are bad eggs in every basket and open source has had its share of so-called “openwashing” from time to time.

  • This is the tiny computer the BBC is giving to a million kids

    BBC Learning head Sinead Rocks said the project was about “young people learning to express themselves digitally” through coding. Suggested projects for the Micro Bit include using its magnetometer to turn it into a metal detector, using it to control a DVD player, or programming its buttons to work as a video game controller. After the devices go out to school children later this year, the BBC and its partners in the project are planning to make the Micro Bit available for purchase, and its specifications open source.

  • 5 open source tools for taming text

    Text: it’s everywhere. It fills up our social feeds, clutters our inboxes, and commands our attention like nothing else. It is oh so familiar, and yet, as a programmer, it is oh so strange. We learn the basics of spoken and written language at a very young age and the more formal side of it in high school and college, yet most of us never get beyond very simple processing rules when it comes to how we handle text in our applications. And yet, by most accounts, unstructured content, which is almost always text or at least has a text component, makes up a vast majority of the data we encounter. Don’t you think it is time you upgraded your skills to better handle text?

  • Open source developers hostile to women, claims Docker DevOps guy

    Open source development is not a meritocracy, and its culture globally is hostile to women. That was a claim made at Cloud Week 2015 in Paris by Jérôme Petazzoni, ‘Tinkerer Extraordinaire’ for software container provider, Docker.

  • HashiCorp Unifies Open Source IT Infrastructure Management

    When it comes to IT infrastructure management, many IT organizations have opted to employ open source tools such as Packer, Terraform and Consul as alternatives to commercial offerings, mainly because getting budget approval for IT management software can be a challenge.

  • Introducing s2n, An Open-Source TLS implementation from Amazon
  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Something about styles in LibreOffice

      Styles are much more than defining the look and feel of text in a paragraph. Its almost everything about how paragraphs behave in the context. A Paragraph style for example defines how words are hyphenated and in what language the text in the paragraph should be spell checked.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FSF endorses embedded GNU/Linux distro ProteanOS as fully free

      The FSF’s list consists of ready-to-use full GNU/Linux systems whose developers have made a commitment to follow the Guidelines for Free System Distributions. This means each distro includes and steers users toward exclusively free software. All distros on this list reject nonfree software, including firmware “blobs” and nonfree documentation.

      ProteanOS is a new, small, and fast distribution that primarily targets embedded devices, but is also being designed to be part of the boot system of laptops and other devices. The lead maintainer of ProteanOS is P. J. McDermott, who is working closely with the Libreboot project and hopes to have ProteanOS be part of the boot system of Libreboot-compatible devices.

    • The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews Joël Krähemann, maintainer of Advanced GTK+ Sequencer

      In this edition, we conducted an IRC-based interview with Joël Krähemann, Maintainer of Advanced GTK+ Sequencer. Joël is an IT professional in Switzerland and works on music for fun. Advanced GTK+ Sequencer (AGS) is a an audio processing and composition tool.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Germany IT planning board wants to pool resources

      Germany’s IT planning board (IT-Planungsrat), a steering committee of federal and state government IT boards, is recommending the pooling of IT projects and IT development. Uniting IT project is important because of the increasing digitisation of public administration services, the rising complexity of IT and the growing importance of IT security.

    • Denmark helps coach Malta local councils on eGovernment

      Denmark’s Digital Agency (Digitaliseringsstyrelsen) and Malta’s Information Technology Agency (MITA) are coaching the archipelago’s local council officials on eGoverment solutions. In June, a workshop on guiding and encouraging citizens to use online services, was attended by about 100 council representatives from the islands of Malta and Gozo.

    • Awards for Austrian and Swiss eGovernment projects

      The Austrian online family allowance application and the Swiss federal geoportal geo.admin.ch are the winners of this year’s eGovernment-Wettbewerb (eGovernment Competition), which took place in Berlin on 24 June.

    • Italy: eParticipation at the centre of decision making (webinar)

      In a webinar, titled “Govern with Citizens: online participation in the design of public policies”, the Ministry for Simplification in Administration said that civil society had been consulted in finalising the next Action Plan and commentaries had been collected to help build the text.

    • Malta a front-runner in provision of e-government services, yet take up is low – Jose Herrera

      Malta is one of the leaders in the European Union when it comes to the provision of e-government services, yet the uptake of such services is low, the Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness Jose Herrera said today.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The API Evangelist has spoken

      Kin Lane is on a mission to educate the world about the transformative potential of APIs. He has a message for you, too

    • An Interesting Interview About The Vulkan API

      Neil Trevett, the President of the Khronos Group, did an interview recently about the Vulkan API as the future of graphics programming.

    • The Future of Graphics Programming: The Vulkan API

      The Khronos Group announced a few months ago the Vulkan API, a project aimed at replacing OpenGL, and starting from a clean slate in terms of graphics programming. We had the opportunity to have a chat with Neil Trevett, President of the Khronos Group, to talk about the future!

    • Khronos To Soon Open-Source Initial SPIR-V LLVM Work

      One of the big things we’ve been looking forward to with SPIR-V is the to/from LLVM IR pass in order to open up the possibilities for this new industry-standard intermediate representation to be used by Vulkan and OpenCL. Some code will soon be opened up, but it’s not the end game.

Leftovers

  • Uber Under Fire For Tripling Fares During London #TubeStrike

    Taxi firm Uber is under fire after it emerged fares had nearly tripled at peak travel periods during the London Tube strike.

  • TfL Tube strike: Total shutdown of Tube set to cost London £300 million

    Desperate London commuters battled their way to work today as business leaders warned that the first total Tube shutdown for 13 years could cost up to £300 million.

    About 20,000 staff from four rail unions refused to work in a stoppage causing disruption over three days that started during last night’s rush hour.

  • Tube Strike: LBC Host James O’Brien Goes On Epic Rant In Support Of Drivers
  • Hardware

    • The truth about Intel’s Broadwell vs. Haswell CPU

      Intel’s fifth-generation Broadwell CPU has been the default laptop processor of choice since its debut in January, but it’s been difficult to get a real bead on just how much of an improvement it really was over its Haswell predecessor.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Bundestag Hack: Possible Backgrounds and Defense Methods

      Here at Univention, we are of course also concerned by the attack on the German parliament’s IT infrastructure, better known as the “Bundestag hack”. To recap: It appears that there were some bogus e-mails there including links to malware. A number of the Windows PCs in the Bundestag’s “Parlakom” network were or may still be infected with the malware, which is alleged to have searched for and copied certain confidential Word documents. According to a report in the Tagesspiegel (German) newspaper, this allowed the hackers to gain “administration rights for the infrastructure”. The attack was conducted as an “advanced persistent threat” or “APT attack” for short: in other words, a complex, multi-phase attack on the German parliament’s “Parlakom” IT network.

  • Finance

    • Greece’s fight is for democracy in Europe. That’s why we must support it

      From the cradle of democracy, a lion has roared. It is difficult to overstate the pressure the Greek people have both endured and defied. A country that has already experienced an austerity-induced economic disaster with few precedents among developed nations in peacetime has suffered a sustained campaign of economic and political warfare. The European Central Bank – which has only recently deigned to publish some of the minutes of its meetings – capped liquidity for Greek banks, driving them to the verge of collapse. There were stringent capital controls, and desperate queues outside banks followed. A country desperate to stay within the euro was told it would be ejected, and with calamitous results.

    • Prof. Wolff on Roots of Greek Crisis, Debt Relief & Rise of Anti-Capitalism in Europe on Democracy Now!

      Prof.Wolff joins Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! to discuss the latest on the economic and political situation in Greece and the rise of anti-capitalism in Europe

    • New York Stock Exchange suspends trading after technical glitch

      The New York Stock Exchange halted trading in all securities on Wednesday morning after a “major technical issue”.

      The exchange posted the news on its website and said “additional information will follow as soon as possible”. The halt began at 11.32am ET. the Department of Homeland Security said there was no sign of suspicious activity.

      The NYSE has been hit by technical difficulties in the past but the scale of the closure was unprecedented. Also known as the Big Board, the NYSE is the world’s largest stock market and home to many of the world’s largest companies including AT&T, Bank of America, Ford and General Electric.

      The US’s other large exchanges, including the technology heavy Nasdaq, remained open.

      The halt came as China’s stock markets continued their free fall and the Greek debt crisis continued to rattle European investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had fallen 213 points when trading was halted, a fall of 1.2%

    • What it looks like when the New York Stock Exchange suddenly shuts down, in 1 chart

      The New York Stock Exchange stopped trading unexpectedly on Wednesday morning. “NYSE/NYSE MKT has temporarily suspended trading in all symbols,” the NYSE said on its market status page. “All open orders will be cancelled. Additional information will follow as soon as possible.”

    • Tonight’s Tube Strike Is Entirely Justified

      This evening sees the beginning of a strike by workers on London Underground and with the reliability of a Swiss train timetable, the mainstream media has been quick to dust-off the hackneyed cliché of the tanned, well-fed, well-paid train driver holding London to ransom at any opportunity to chisel money out of TfL. To describe the dispute in this way is to do a disservice to readers: fundamentally, it has little to do with the money on offer and by portraying it as ‘yet another tube strike’ is to ignore the severity of the real issues at stake.

      It will be the biggest tube strike for over a decade as all four unions representing London Underground workers are participating, resulting in total stoppage of the network. The RMT, TSSA and Unite will walk out at 1830, with ASLEF members walking out at 2130, all for a 24-hour period so, overall, industrial action will span 27 hours. London Underground will be putting contingency measures in place to allow normal service to resume as quickly as possible; expect services to start winding-down this afternoon and not back to normal by at least Friday morning.

      [...]

      So if the dispute isn’t over pay, then what is it about? In the simplest terms, it’s about rostering. As the proposals currently stand, tube workers are being opened up to the possibility of working unlimited night shifts, running roughshod over their entitlement to a life outside work. It’s akin an office manager telling their 9-to-5 staff that they are to work from 2 o’clock in the afternoon to 10 at night without asking if that’s alright. None of the unions involved are opposed to the Night Tube per se – introducing it would bring London Underground up to speed with the more complex New York Subway to an extent, but limits need to be placed on the number of night and weekend shifts individual members of staff will be expected to work. This is vitally important for passenger safety, as well as the health of those working the night shift.

    • European Parliament re-brands ISDS, still wants to let companies sue nations

      The European Parliament today called for foreign investors to be allowed to sue the EU and member states in special new courts. This controversial proposal came as part of a non-binding set of recommendations to the European Commission on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), currently being negotiated with the US. The new investor courts would replace the old investor tribunals employed as part of the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system, but would function largely in the same way.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Do we really need the Internet?

      On June 25, 2015, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly caused a bit of a kerfuffle with his remarks to the Internet Innovation Alliance. The speech was titled “What is the Appropriate Role for Regulators in an Expanding Broadband Economy?” It contained five key points that every regulator in every country should adhere to when considering legislation or regulation regarding the Internet:

      The Internet cannot be stopped

      Understand how the Internet economy works

      Follow the law; don’t make it up

      Internet access is not a necessity or basic human right

      The benefits of regulation must outweigh the burdens

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Wikimedians urge the EU to protect freedom of panorama

        The ability to freely share information of all kinds, from text to images, is core to Wikimedia’s mission of making all knowledge available to everyone. Recently, the Wikimedia community has mobilized in response to a European Parliament recommendation on freedom of panorama—the right to freely take and publish images of works in public places, like buildings, permanent works of art, and landmarks. A recent amendment to the recommendation now under consideration threatens to place restrictions on this right across all European Union member states.

      • David Guetta: Piracy Brings Fans to My Concerts

        For more than a decade piracy has been a hot topic in the music industry. While some of the major labels have tried to eliminate the problem by taking pirates to court, others prefer a more positive approach. DJ and producer David Guetta says that the industry should embrace piracy, noting that it helps him to sell out concerts.

07.08.15

Links 8/7/2015: Kali Linux 2.0, Canonical and Lenovo

Posted in News Roundup at 6:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 compelling reasons to consider open source for your enterprise storage needs

    Enterprise needs are a different beast from those of SMBs. Few areas define this as clearly as storage. Instead of storing a few hundred gigabytes, you’re looking at terabytes and maybe even petabytes. Failover, redundancy, security, backups—all essential when it comes to enterprise storage.

    You might think the only viable solutions for such tasks are proprietary solutions. Fortunately, for businesses and those working within them, that assumption is incorrect. Open source has come a long way and now powers the backbone of enterprise computing—and that includes storage. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the following 10 reasons why open source could be the right storage solution for your organization.

  • How designers can contribute to open source

    We all know that open source software isn’t always pretty. Una Kravets, a front end developer at IBM, will be speaking at OSCON this year about getting more designers involved in our projects. While it’s easy for developers to see that working together produces better software, it’s not always that way for designers who are trained to work alone. I had the chance to interview Una about open source, design, and her upcoming talk.

  • Interview with Roberto Galoppini of SourceForge

    I’ve been involved with open source software since 1994. At that time I was working for a solution provider, and a customer asked us to implement a seamless authentication system for mobile users. Neither RADIUS or TACACS met our needs, and we had to build a custom solution. Luckily enough, we didn’t need to start from scratch, as we were able to borrow some open source code.

  • Google Open Sources Deep Learning AI Tool
  • Events

    • Open source event planning is work, fun, and good for business

      In addition to picking up technical skills, networking, and learning about products and services in the expo, OSCON attendees can learn practical community-building tricks. In this interview, Kara Sowles (community initiatives manager at Puppet Labs) and Francesca Krihely give advice for hosting a community event. They’ll be teaching a half-day tutorial on planning and running tech events at OSCON 2015 in Portland.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Education is crucial to building an open web

        Emma Irwin is a participation designer at Mozilla who dedicates a lot of volunteer time to educating and empowering adults and youth on the web through making. She has a background as web developer and lives in a small Vancouver Island town with her husband and three daughters.

      • Firefox 40.0 Beta 1 Brings Linux Specific Improvements

        As you may already know, Firefox is being developed on three separate channels. First, the features are implemented in the developer branch, they reach the beta channel when enough tests have been performed and finally, some of the new features from the betas get included in the stable version of Firefox.

        Recently, Firefox 40.0 Beta 1 has been released, bringing improved scrolling, graphics and video playback performance for Linux. And Mozilla claims that this improvements are Linux specific.

      • Mozilla Plans To Rewrite Its XUL-Written UI In HTML, CSS And JavaScript
      • Big changes are coming to Firefox to win back users and developers

        Firefox is about to undergo some dramatic changes, according to Mozilla. Most notably, it sounds like future versions of Firefox will focus on Firefox-esque features such as Private Browsing Mode, while features that are unpolished or otherwise not very useful will be stripped out of the browser entirely. Furthermore, it looks like Mozilla is finally getting serious about moving Firefox away from XUL and XBL, though it isn’t clear if they will be replaced with open Web technologies (HTML, CSS, JS) or native UI.

      • Will Firefox changes win back users and developers?

        Firefox has gone through a rough time over the last couple of years, with increased competition from Chrome and other browsers. Now the browser’s developers are planning big changes to Firefox. Will these changes win back users and developers who have abandoned Firefox?

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack Meiji 明治 Set to Succeed Liberty

      The next major OpenStack cloud platform release is set to debut in October and is codenamed : Liberty but what follows Liberty? OpenStack Foundation members have voted and the winning name is Meiji.

  • Databases

    • Open-Source Databases Pose a Threat to Oracle’s Dominance

      In June, Bloomberg conducted a survey of 20 startups valued at $1 billion or more, reporting, “None of the companies surveyed indicated they had a large Oracle database deployment for their main services though many used bits of Oracle software to run aspects of their organizations.”

Leftovers

  • Security

    • OpenSSL tells users to prepare for a high severity flaw

      Server admins and developers beware: The OpenSSL Project plans to release security updates Thursday for its widely used cryptographic library that will fix a high severity vulnerability.

      OpenSSL implements multiple cryptographic protocols and algorithms including TLS (Transport Layer Security), which underpins encryption on the Web as part of protocols like HTTPS (HTTP Secure), IMAPS (Internet Message Access Protocol Secure) and SMTPS (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol Secure).

    • The Mob’s IT Department

      A few days earlier, small USB drives had been inserted into the company’s computers. They were programmed to intercept the nine-digit PINs that controlled access to DP World’s shipping containers. Besides fruit, metals, and other legitimate cargo, some of these containers carried millions of euros in heroin and cocaine. To get their drugs out of the port, often traffickers use low-tech methods: They hire runners to jump fences, break open containers, and sprint away before guards can catch them, earning as much as €10,000 ($11,200) a trip. Stealing PIN codes is more elegant and less risky. Whoever has the codes can pull into the terminal, enter the PIN into a keypad, wait as robot-controlled loaders put the container on their truck, and drive off—sometimes minutes ahead of the cargo’s legitimate owner.

      [...]

      There was only one condition of the release: Van De Moere had to give Okul an intensive training session on Linux, the operating system on which Metasploit, the hacking software, is based. A few weeks later, according to police and interviews, he did so over one weekend at a Holiday Inn in Ghent. In November, Van De Moere returned two antennas and had a couple of beers with Okul. That was the last either man would see of the Turks.

    • Anti Evil Maid 2 Turbo Edition

      Joanna Rutkowska came up with the idea of Anti Evil Maid. This can take two slightly different forms. In both, a secret phrase is generated and encrypted with the TPM. In the first form, this is then stored on a USB stick. If the user suspects that their system has been tampered with, they boot from the USB stick. If the PCR values are good, the secret will be successfully decrypted and printed on the screen. The user verifies that the secret phrase is correct and reboots, satisfied that their system hasn’t been tampered with. The downside to this approach is that most boots will not perform this verification, and so you rely on the user being able to make a reasonable judgement about whether it’s necessary on a specific boot.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Israeli Soldiers Break Their Silence on the Gaza Conflict

      Of all the voices challenging the Israeli military’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories, those of Israeli soldiers stand out as powerful insights from within the military establishment.

      Avner Gvaryahu is director of public outreach for Breaking the Silence, a group of Israeli veterans who are working to dismantle the traditional narrative put forth by their own military establishment. The former soldiers founded the organization in 2004 after realizing they shared deep misgivings about what they had seen and done while serving in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. They felt a moral obligation to present the truth, and over the past decade, they have collected, fact-checked, and published over a thousand testimonies from soldiers of ranks high and low. These testimonies reflect a deterioration of moral standards and worrying shifting of the rules of engagement. Through lectures, reports, and other public events, Breaking the Silence has brought to light what so many try to ignore: the grim reality of what it takes to sustain a military occupation of an entire population.

    • The Spiral of Despair

      We have companies that recruit and control active armies of mercenaries, which are responsible for thousands of deaths overseas. I detest the violence of “ISIS” but it is not morally different from Executive Outcomes machine gunning villages from helicopters in Angola or from Aegis killing random vehicle occupants in Iraq who happened to be near their convoys. Yet Tony Buckingham and Tim Spicer became extremely rich after founding their careers on the latter killings, and now are respected figures in the London establishment. Apparently killing for money is good; only killing for religion is bad.

  • Finance

    • Greek banks prepare plan to raid deposits to avert collapse [scare tactics before the referendum]

      Greek banks are preparing contingency plans for a possible “bail-in” of depositors amid fears the country is heading for financial collapse, bankers and businesspeople with knowledge of the measures said on Friday.

    • Slavoj Žižek on Greece: This is a chance for Europe to awaken

      The unexpectedly strong No in the Greek referendum was a historical vote, cast in a desperate situation. In my work I often use the well-known joke from the last decade of the Soviet Union about Rabinovitch, a Jew who wants to emigrate. The bureaucrat at the emigration office asks him why, and Rabinovitch answers: “There are two reasons why. The first is that I’m afraid that in the Soviet Union the Communists will lose power, and the new power will put all the blame for the Communist crimes on us, Jews – there will again be anti-Jewish pogroms . . .”

    • “A Europe of Equals”: Report from Athens as Greek Voters Seek Alternatives to Austerity

      Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has arrived in Brussels for an emergency eurozone summit two days after Greek voters overwhelmingly turned down the terms of an international bailout in a historic rejection of austerity. On Sunday, Greeks, by a 61-to-39-percent margin, voted against further budget cuts and tax hikes in exchange for a rescue package from European creditors. Tsipras is scrambling to present a new bailout proposal as Greek banks remain shut down. If Greek banks run out of money and the country has to print its own currency, it could mean a state leaving the euro for the first time since it was launched in 1999. Euclid Tsakalotos was sworn in Monday as Greece’s new finance minister, replacing Yanis Varoufakis, who resigned following Sunday’s referendum. Tsakalotos, who has called for a “Europe of equals,” had served as Greece’s main bailout negotiator and has been a member of Syriza for nearly a decade. Like Varoufakis, Tsakalotos has been a vocal opponent of fiscal austerity imposed by the core of the eurozone, saying it has unnecessarily impoverished Greece. We go to Athens to speak with Paul Mason, economics editor at Channel 4 News, and economics professor Richard Wolff.

    • How the media discredit Greek democracy

      The EU elites, referred to as “creditors” but actually representing Europe’s large financial institutions, are repeatedly described as “mainstream”. That is presumably supposed to confer legitimacy on them and suggest they represent Europe and Europeans. But there is nothing “mainstream” about these unaccountable elites trying to bring about “regime change” in Greece by bleeding the country of hope. If they succeed and Syriza goes down, Greece will end up with real extremists – either the neo-Nazis of Golden Dawn or the country’s crony elites who got Greece into this mess, with the aid of the wider European elites, in the first place. What “mainstream” opinion in the rest of Europe thinks about Greece, Syriza or the European project is impossible to gauge because most European countries are too terrified to put such questions to their electorates in the way Syriza has done. – See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2015-07-06/how-the-media-discredit-greek-democracy/#sthash.XwlWGfHp.dpuf

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Lobbying’s ex-files

      Several former commissioners are making the most of their status to gain access to EU policymakers.

  • Censorship

    • Appeals judges hear about Prince’s takedown of “Dancing Baby” YouTube vid

      A long-running copyright fight between the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Universal Music over fair use in the digital age was considered by an appeals court today, a full eight years after the lawsuit began.

      EFF and its client Stephanie Lenz sued Universal Music Group back in 2007, saying that the music giant should have realized Lenz’s home video of her son Holden dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” was clearly fair use. Under EFF’s view of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Universal should have to pay damages for a wrongful takedown.

  • Privacy

    • New Dutch law would allow bulk surveillance, compelled decryption

      The Netherlands has launched a public consultation (in Dutch) on a draft bill (Google Translate) that updates the country’s existing Intelligence & Security Act of 2002. The proposed bill is wide-ranging, covering things like the use of DNA samples and the opening of letters, but a key part concerns the regulation of bulk surveillance online. As Matthijs R. Koot explains in a blog post, under the new law, mandatory cooperation will be required from “not only providers of public electronic communications networks and services, but also providers to closed user groups, including telcos, access providers, hosting providers and website operators.”

      Importantly, domestic interception is explicitly allowed: “The services are authorized to, using a technical aid, wiretap, receive, record and listen to any form of telecommunications or data transfer via an automated work [a computerised system] regardless of location.” However, a new constraint on bulk collection is introduced: all such interceptions must be conducted in a “purpose-oriented manner.” As Koot notes, this aims to “limit the hay stack created using non-specific interception to relevant information,” although it is not yet clear how broad those “purposes” can be.

    • UK and US demands to access encrypted data are ‘unprincipled and unworkable’

      Influential group of international cryptographers and computer scientists says proposals will open door to criminals and malicious nation states

    • Hacking Team Asks Customers to Stop Using Its Software After Hack

      After suffering a massive hack, the controversial surveillance tech company Hacking Team is scrambling to limit the damage as well as trying to figure out exactly how the attackers hacked their systems.

    • Eric Holder: The Justice Department could strike deal with Edward Snowden

      Former Attorney General Eric Holder said today that a “possibility exists” for the Justice Department to cut a deal with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that would allow him to return to the United States from Moscow.

    • Wetware: The Most Important Trend in Malware

      The number of vulnerabilities in the wild is growing. The number of exploits, as well as the speed of those exploits — in the case of Heartbleed, only four hours from the publication of the vulnerability to a circulating exploit — is somewhat disheartening, if not all that surprising.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • The Long Slow Death of IPv4

      Last week my inbox got flooded by PR comments about how the Internet was running out of addresses, as ARIN (American Registry of Internet Numbers) and its public relations people were warning about IPv4 address availability.

07.07.15

Links 7/7/2015: Lenovo ThinkPad With GNU/Linux, More Containers Hype

Posted in News Roundup at 5:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why we changed our software from proprietary to open source

    Why would a software company choose to change its product from proprietary to open source? It turns out there are many good reasons, says Dan Mihai Dumitriu, CEO and CTO of networking software company Midokura. In this interview with The Enterprisers Project, Dumitriu explains the benefits.

  • Should open source leaders go native?

    Anthropologists who traveled to the jungle to study various tribes would debate (half jokingly) whether to “go native”—that is, whether to adopt the lifestyle of the people they were trying to understand, or to keep their distance (and scientific objectivity). It was a research design choice, but also a fundamental choice about one’s identity as a more-than-interested visitor.

  • Plant volunteers, grow an organization: an interview with Stormy Peters

    Stormy Peters and Avni Khatri will present Grow an organization by planting volunteers at OSCON 2015. Peters is the vice president of technical evangelism at the Cloud Foundry and Khatri is president of Kids on Computers. In this talk, they share their experiences and lessons for growing a healthy garden of volunteers.

  • What is upstream & downstream software?

    This question came up during conversations with Red Hat’s Chris Wright, a Linux kernel developer and a principal software engineer with the company.

    Of course, in non-tech business speak, upstream tends to refer to production processes that involves searching for (and extracting) raw materials — in software, this is not the case.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.0: A Unique Release

      LibreOffice 5.0 is planned for release in early August and today Charles H. Schulz said this is “an unique release.” When it comes to features and styles Schulz said the broad range of changes and improvements will be easily visible to the user. With things like the Breeze iconset, enhancements to the sidebar, and improved menus “this is a very special and exciting release.”

  • CMS

    • ECM Buyers and the Open Source Question

      It sparked a heated debate. At that point, Open Source Software (OSS) wasn’t as widely received in the enterprise as it is today and many thought that its perceived advantage was limited to price (as in “it’s free software”).

  • Business

    • Openwashing

      • SAP’s commitment to open source is paying off

        SAP SE is dedicated to helping businesses respond to market demands around the clock, according to Steve Lucas, president of Platform Solutions at SAP. Its partnership with Red Hat, Inc. is a key part of its strategy. In an interview with theCUBE at RedHat Summit, Lucas explained further.

      • More Big Name Technology Corporations Are Going Open Source

        Recently, Apple released its programming language, Swift 2, to the public. By releasing Swift to the open source community, Apple is giving software developers more access to and control over the programming language. This release opens up a myriad of exciting possibilities for application development, software advancements and increased functionality.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • EC publishes open source code of legislation editor

      The European Commission is about to make available as open source a prototype of LEOS, a software solution for drafting and automatic processing of legal texts. The software currently supports legal texts issued by the EC, yet can be extended to support other legislative processes.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Hardware

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Hillary Clinton: “If I’m President, We Will Attack Iran”

      She endorses using cluster bombs, toxic agents and nuclear weapons in US war theaters. She calls them deterrents that “keep the peace.” She was one of only six Democrat senators opposed to blocking deployment of untested missile defense systems – first-strike weapons entirely for offense.

    • Laos After the Bombs

      From 1964 to 1973, the US dropped two million tons of bombs on Laos. The horrendous effects are still being felt.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Ecuador Fights for Survival – Against its Elites

      It is great news for majority of Ecuadorian citizens – but terrible nightmare for the ‘elites’.

      They no longer feel unique, no longer is this country their huge, private playground and a milking cow. The ‘elites’ still have money and their villas, as well as servants, luxury cars and regular trips to those lands they are faithfully serving – North America and Europe.

      But their status is diminishing. No longer they feel admired, no longer they are feared. Increasingly they are forced to play by rules and to respect local laws. That would be unimaginable just ten years ago. For some, this is the end of the world!

      The rich, the ‘elites’, are sour losers. In fact, they have no idea how to accept defeat. Never before in the history of this country they actually had to. To them this is new reality, this nation ruled by the government, which is working on behalf of the people. The ‘elites’ feel let down, cheated, even humiliated. They have no idea how to respect democracy (rule of the people). They only know how to make decisions, and to give orders, and to loot.

      This could lead to inevitable conflict, and Ecuador is not an exception. To greater or smaller extend, the same is happening in Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and even in Chile. Immediately after people vote a socialist government in, immediately after the government begins working for the majority, the elites start reacting. Their goal is clear and predictable: to discredit the administration and to reverse the course.

    • Varoufakis resigns as Greek finance minister ‘to aid deal’

      After securing a ‘no’ vote at Greek referendum on bailout, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis resigned, saying it would help Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras negotiate a better deal with foreign creditors.

    • After Greece Cuts a Quarter of Its Budget, WaPo Asks if It’s Willing to ‘Trim Spending’

      So from 2010 to 2015, Greece has cut government spending from roughly 13 billion euros to 10 billion euros–a cut of 23 percent. Unsurprisingly, this has had a devastating effect on Greece’s economy, with unemployment stuck above 25 percent since the end of 2012.

      In the Washington Post‘s eyes, though, Greece has not yet demonstrated the willingness to “trim its spending” that would merit a bailout.

    • Bail-Out or Sell-Out?

      I think the lesson from this is that the 21st Century corporate and banking state is beyond amelioration. Any change needs to be a fundamental challenge to the system. It will seem strange to future generations that a system developed whereby middlemen who facilitated real economic transactions by handling currency, came to dominate the world by creating a mathematical nexus of currency that bore no meaningful relationship to real movements of commodities.

  • Censorship

    • Reddit users want CEO Ellen Pao fired

      Reddit has been on a very rocky road lately, and now some of the site’s users are demanding that CEO Ellen Pao be replaced. The petition to remove Pao follows the CEO’s decision to remove popular Reddit employee Victoria Taylor.

    • Reddit CEO Pao Under Fire as Users Protest Removal of Executive

      More than 130,000 people have signed a petition demanding the removal of Ellen Pao, Reddit Inc.’s interim chief executive officer, after she dismissed an executive and was accused of censoring online message boards.

  • Privacy

    • The Shocking Scope of the NSA’s XKEYSCORE Surveillance

      Every time anyone uses a computer to send an e-mail, watch a video, do a Google search, or update a Facebook status, the National Security Agency (NSA) is probably collecting and collating that activity on one of its many servers.

      XKEYSCORE — the codename of the computer code used by the NSA to perform these actions — is massive and more intrusive than most people understand.

    • Hacking Team hacked, attackers claim 400GB in dumped data

      On Sunday, while most of Twitter was watching the Women’s World Cup – an amazing game from start to finish – one of the world’s most notorious security firms was being hacked.

    • Sloppy Cyber Threat Sharing Is Surveillance by Another Name

      Imagine you are the target of a phishing attack: Someone sends you an email attachment containing malware. Your email service provider shares the attachment with the government, so that others can configure their computer systems to spot similar attacks. The next day, your provider gets a call. It’s the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and they’re curious. The malware appears to be from Turkey. Why, DHS wants to know, might someone in Turkey be interested in attacking you? So, would your email company please share all your emails with the government? Knowing more about you, investigators might better understand the attack.

    • Lawmakers want Internet sites to flag ‘terrorist activity’ to law enforcement

      Social media sites such as Twitter and YouTube would be required to report videos and other content posted by suspected terrorists to federal authorities under legislation approved this past week by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

      The measure, contained in the 2016 intelligence authorization, which still has to be voted on by the full Senate, is an effort to help intelligence and law enforcement officials detect threats from the Islamic State and other terrorist groups.

  • Civil Rights

    • Leaked Documents Show FBI, DEA and U.S. Army Buying Italian Spyware

      The FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Army have all bought controversial software that allows users to take remote control of suspects’ computers, recording their calls, emails, keystrokes and even activating their cameras, according to internal documents hacked from the software’s Italian manufacturer.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Loose words sink EU net neutrality bill

      EU officials jubilantly announced a deal on setting internet rules and ending roaming surcharges early Tuesday morning but the details of the deal contain several loose ends.

    • The Privatization Of The Internet

      Remarkably, this buyout of cyberspace has garnered almost no protest or media attention, in contrast to every other development in cyberspace such as the Communications Decency Act, and cyberporn. What hasn’t been discussed is the public’s right to free speech in cyberspace. What is obvious is that speech in cyberspace will not be free if we allow big business to control every square inch of the Net.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Israeli Court Lifts Ineffective Popcorn Time Ban

        Israeli Internet providers are no longer required to block access to Popcorn Time websites. A District Court has lifted a preliminary injunction arguing that access restrictions are ineffective. The decision is a major disappointment for the local anti-piracy outfit ZIRA, which was also ordered to pay the legal fees of one of the ISPs.

07.06.15

Links 6/7/2015: Linux 4.2-rc1, YotaPhone Picks Sailfish OS

Posted in News Roundup at 3:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Facebook ‘Likes’ Open Source And It’s Not Afraid To Show It

    Most recently, Facebook released the source code for its new static analyzer dubbed “Facebook Infer.”

  • Teaching open source communities about conflict resolution

    At OSCON in Portland this year, Donna Benjamin and Gina Likins are combining forces to talk about a topic that is sometimes easily dismissed: conflict resolution. Given the growing need to address conflict in technology, and that even popular projects like the Linux Kernel adopting codes of conduct, it’s no surprise that conferences feature talks on human interaction.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Open edX: The open source learning management system for corporations and non-profits

      This month marks the third birthday of edX, the online learning platform developed jointly by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In that short time, usage of the edx.org site has exploded. Over 4 million students have taken one of the hundreds of free online courses provided by dozens of prominent universities. Individual courses have had tens of thousands of enrollees in a session.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Austrian GIP information available as open government data

        The Austrian Graph Integration Platform (GIP) has made its national transport graph available to the public for re-use. Although some of this information was already exported for specific applications, the data will now be published in full under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license, allowing for any re-use — even commmercial — as long as the source of the information is specified.

      • Open Data and eParticipation – 2 priorities in the next EU eGovernment Action Plan

        Open Data and citizen participation, two core principles of Open Government, will be priorities in the eGovernment Action Plan 2016 – 2020 of the European Commission.

    • Open Hardware

      • An amazing open source 5-axis 3D printer built By University of Oslo Master’s student

        As he explains to 3ders.org, this unusual idea actually grew out of the ambitions of one of his professors. ‘The idea behind creating the printer was mainly my supervisor’s (Mats Høvin). He wanted a student to build a 5-axis machine with some sort of tool. Together we decided it would be interesting to try creating a 5-axis 3D printer since that had not been done at that time, with the exception of DMG Mori’s Lasertec 65 3D and others 5-axis metal printers,’ Grutle explains.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • France updates its web accessibility guidelines

      France has updated its guidelines on the accessibility of public administration’ websites. The rules now include recommendations on the use of modern web technologies (HTML5) and come with improved tools for testing website accessibility. The website for the guidelines itself has also been revamped, providing easier access to the documentation.

    • The Unicode 8.0: A Song of Praise for Unsung Heroes

      Two weeks ago, I got a call from a reporter who had stumbled on two pieces I wrote in praise of new releases of the Unicode, the first in 2003 (on the occasion of the release of Unicode 4.0, referred to above), and the second in 2006, two releases later. The reason for the call was the release of Unicode version 8.0 by its stewards, the Unicode Consortium.

Leftovers

  • What happens to my late husband’s digital life now he’s gone?

    Since her husband, Iain, died seven months ago, Caroline Twigg has had to face an unexpected problem – what to do with his online legacy

  • Robbert Barons

    • Settlement approved on Bill Gates’ horse poop code case

      Billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates has 30 days to pay $30,600 in Wellington to clear up code violations involving a misplaced manure bin.

    • Bill Gates’ trust just got hit with a $30,000 fine over horse manure

      A trust affiliated with billionaire Bill Gates will pay a $30,000 fine over horse manure in a settlement expected to be approved on Thursday by a special magistrate in the affluent south Florida village of Wellington.

    • Bill Gates Foundation working on “Birth Control Chip”

      Bill Gates and Melinda Foundation is working on a birth control chip that can be remote controlled. The birth control chip can be implanted into people’s body – in hip, inside arms or even beneath the back – and can be used for 16 years. The research on birth control chip was kept a secret until now, before the spokesperson for Bill Gates and Melinda Foundation confirmed that the beta testing for the birth control chip would be starting towards the end of this year and that they need volunteers to assist in real life testing of the chip.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Are we the fascists now?

      The common thread in fascism, past and present, is mass murder. The American invasion of Vietnam had its “free fire zones”, “body counts” and “collateral damage”. In the province of Quang Ngai, where I reported from, many thousands of civilians (“gooks”) were murdered by the US; yet only one massacre, at My Lai, is remembered. In Laos and Cambodia, the greatest aerial bombardment in history produced an epoch of terror marked today by the spectacle of joined-up bomb craters which, from the air, resemble monstrous necklaces. The bombing gave Cambodia its own ISIS, led by Pol Pot.

    • The Government doesn’t understand terrorism — and it’s making things worse

      It has been scarcely five months since the Government last passed legislation designed to combat the terrorist threat – in February’s Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. Yet already, following Seifeddine Rezgui’s bloodletting in Tunisia, David Cameron, Theresa May, and other senior ministers have offered fresh promises to ratchet up measures in the fight against extremism and in preventing ideological radicalisation.

      Moral panic, rather than sober politics, is at work here. Rezgui was not radicalised in Britain, and his attack tells us precisely nothing about whether UK domestic counter-terrorism policies are currently adequate or inadequate. The concrete implications of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act are not even clear yet – universities, for example, are still awaiting guidance on what it requires of them. But elements of the Government’s Prevent strategy, combined with the post-Tunisia rhetoric, hint at a misguided ambition to make universities and schools part of a state-directed ideological campaign against the amorphous spectre of “violent or non-violent extremism”. One Prevent consultation, for example, implied that universities may soon be obliged to censor the activities of university societies, monitor students for any “opposition to fundamental British values”, maintain records of those students who do so, and unequivocally denounce or exclude such views wherever they are expressed.

    • American Exceptionalism

      Medea Benjamin discusses issues from drone warfare to the recent fast track trade vote.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Finance

    • Greece Needs Our Solidarity in Its Struggle Against Austerity

      Not for many years has the issue been posed as clearly as it will be on July 5 in Greece’s referendum: European capitalists, the political leaders whom the capitalists’ money controls, and the austerity they together impose will be judged by the people most savaged by that austerity.

      The Greek people were informed that the financial maneuvers made by Europe’s biggest banks, biggest industrial capitalists, and the usual political elites (shamefully including Greeks and “socialists”) in 2008-2009 would absolutely require massive losses of Greek jobs, incomes, property, and financial security for many years to come. Recycling Margaret Thatcher’s words, they were told “there is no alternative.” Other Europeans (and Americans, etc. too) were told the same although their austerities were less bleak (so far).

    • Greek finance minister accuses creditors of ‘terrorism’

      Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis accused Athens’ creditors of “terrorism” in an interview, a day before Greeks vote in a high-stakes referendum on the conditions of the country’s bailout.

      “What they’re doing with Greece has a name – terrorism,” Varoufakis told the Spanish El Mundo daily on Saturday.

      “What Brussels and the troika want today is for the “Yes” (vote) to win so they could humiliate the Greeks.”

      “Why did they force us to close the banks? To instill fear in people. And spreading fear is called terrorism,” he said, referring to the IMF, European Central Bank and the EU.

      After failing to reach a deal with its creditors last weekend on an extension of its bailout programme Greece’s radical leftist government closed the country’s banks and imposed capital controls until July 6.

    • IMF’s Christine Lagarde: ‘I Don’t Pay Taxes, But You Should’

      Politics can be merciless, and the IMF is political even if it’s not a country. IMF chief Christine Lagarde suggested in an interview with UK’s Guardian that the Greeks should pay their taxes. It turns out Ms. Lagarde—legitimately—doesn’t pay them herself.

      In fact, her IMF salary of $467,940 plus an $83,760 additional allowance is not subject to any taxes. See Christine Lagarde, Scourge of Tax Evaders, Pays No Tax. No taxes is the norm for most United Nations employees covered by a convention on diplomatic relations signed by most nations. If you look at salaries, those working for the IMF, World Bank, and UN can stretch their dollars.

    • Greece’s mass psychology of revolt will survive the financial carpet-bombing

      When Times correspondent George Steer entered the city of Guernica in April 1937, what struck him were the incongruities. He noted precisely the bombing tactics “which may be of interest to students of the new military science”. But his report begins with a long paragraph describing the city’s ceremonial oak tree and its role in the Spanish feudal system.

      Sitting in Athens this week, I began to understand how Steer felt. Sunday’s referendum will take place under a kind of financial warfare not seen in the history of modern states. The Greek government was forced to close its banks after the European Central Bank, whose job is technically to keep them open, refused to do so. The never-taxed and never-registered broadcasters of Greece did the rest, spreading panic, and intensifying it where it had already taken hold.

    • Greece and Global Class War

      Lest this seem too diabolical to be plausible, this is the basic lending model that has been used by Western banks and backed by Western governments and the ‘independent’ institutions they control for some six decades now. The U.S., Germany or France have long lent money for infrastructure projects, agricultural ‘upgrades’ like the Green Revolution and direct purchases of technology and / or munitions. This indebted the citizens-by-degree of both internally and externally organized nation-states while making large profits for the corporations who could sell their wares thanks to the ‘largesse’ of Western states and banks. This practice in some measure explains how corrupt and / or incompetent government officials and plutocrats in Greece managed to line their own pockets while permanently indebting the good citizens of that storied nation.

    • Greek Media Really, Really Wants Yes Vote On Euro-Bailout

      I suppose it’s no surprise that Greece’s corporate class is deeply unthrilled by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s leftist government, and would be happy to see him humiliated and tossed out of office. I assume that they also prefer the devil they know—grinding European-imposed austerity for years—to the devil they don’t—exiting the euro amid chaos and eventually rebuilding their economy with a devalued drachma. After all, they’ll stay rich either way, and sticking with their fellow European moguls probably seems the better bet by far.

    • Greece news media taking sides in coverage of upcoming vote

      The bias toward the “yes” side reflects the fact that many of Greece’s biggest news outlets are owned by corporate titans and other “oligarchs” whose business interests would be directly threatened by a “no” victory and the potential abandonment of the euro in favor of the drachma, Leontopoulos said.

    • Greece is being deliberately humiliated for daring to question austerity, Caroline Lucas says

      European authorities have set out to deliberately humiliate Greece for electing a left-wing anti-austerity Government, the Green Party’s MP has said.

      Speaking at a Greece solidarity rally in London Caroline Lucas argued that the “deluded” policy coming out of the eurogroup was designed to punish the Syriza-led government.

    • Greek conservative opposition chief Samaras resigns

      Greece’s conservative opposition chief Antonis Samaras on Sunday announced his resignation after the country appeared set to reject further austerity cuts in a referendum.

    • Thomas Piketty: “Germany has never repaid.”

      In a forceful interview with German newspaper Die Zeit, the star economist Thomas Piketty calls for a major conference on debt. Germany, in particular, should not withhold help from Greece.

    • Canada Without Poverty charity challenges Harper govt. audits at UN in Geneva

      The head of a small Ottawa-based charity is in Geneva this week to complain to a United Nations committee about the Canada Revenue Agency’s program of political-activity audits.

      Harriett McLachlan, president of Canada Without Poverty, is pleading her case before the UN Human Rights Committee, arguing that a special audit program launched by the tax agency in 2012 violates Canada’s international commitments on human rights.

    • Urgent TTIP Vote: Please Write (Again) to Your MEPs before Wednesday

      There is (another) very important plenary vote in the European Parliament on TTIP this Wednesday, when the European Parliament will vote on a resolution concerning TTIP. The first time around, the vote was pulled for tactical reasons by the pro-ISDS camp, rightly afraid that the European Parliament would reject the inclusion of this anti-democratic idea in TTIP. Now they have cobbled together a “compromise” on ISDS which simply calls it something else, without solving the fundamental problem, which is that it gives corporations unique rights to sue entire nations, with us, the public, footing the bill.

    • Don Quijones: Wikileaks Exposes How TISA Will Gut Financial Regulations All Over the World

      TiSA is arguably the most important – yet least well-known – of the new generation of global trade agreements. According to WikiLeaks, it “is the largest component of the United States’ strategic ‘trade’ treaty triumvirate,” which also includes the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP).

      “Together, the three treaties form not only a new legal order shaped for transnational corporations, but a new economic ‘grand enclosure,’ which excludes China and all other BRICS countries” declared WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in a press statement. If allowed to take universal effect, this new enclosure system will impose on all our governments a rigid framework of international corporate law designed to exclusively protect the interests of corporations, relieving them of financial risk, and social and environmental responsibility.

      [...]

      But that is just the tip of the iceberg. According to the treaty’s Annex on Financial Services, we now know that TiSA would effectively strip signatory governments of all remaining ability to regulate the financial industry in the interest of depositors, small-time investors, or the public at large.

    • Canadian Neocolonialism in Colombia: Oil, Mining and the Military
  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Wikileaks Reveals New Details of ‘Intensive’ NSA Brazil Spying

      Wikileaks published more damning details of U.S. spying on Brazil’s government Saturday, just days after President Dilma Rousseff said she had faith Washington has rolled back snooping.

      The latest release includes a list of the NSA’s top targets in Brazil, with the agency taking a particular interest in key financial and economic figures in what Wikileaks described as “intensive interception.”

      [...]

      The list itself includes 29 phone numbers – all linked to high level Brazilian officials. Many of the numbers are identified as being associated with senior figures in Brazil’s finance ministry, along with the head of the country’s central bank.

      [...]

      Brazilian ambassadors in France, Geneva, Germany and the United States also make the list, indicating their private communications have been monitored by the NSA. The publication comes less than a week after Rousseff said during a visit to the White House that “things had changed” between the United States and Brazil.

    • US spy agency targeted top Brazilian officials: WikiLeaks

      Aside from listening in on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s phone calls, US spies also targeted top political and financial officials, according to new information released by WikiLeaks on Saturday.

      The whistle-blowing website published a National Security Agency list of 29 Brazilian government phone numbers that the American spy group monitored.

    • US spied in Brazil government officials: WikiLeaks

      Whistle-blower Web site WikiLeaks has published the names of more than 29 members of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s administration who were spied on by the US National Security Agency at the start of her first term in office, which began in January 2011.

      The release of the list of phone numbers on Saturday linked to high-level Brazilian officials comes just days after Rousseff, who was reelected to a second term late last year, and US counterpart Barack Obama met in Washington to end bilateral tensions stemming from previous revelations about NSA eavesdropping on Brasilia.

    • WikiLeaks: NSA spied on Brazil’s president

      WikiLeaks disclosed documents Saturday detailing the National Security Agency’s wiretapping of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

      They said the NSA also spied on Rousseff’s secretary, her chief of staff and other top Brazilian government officials, according to USA Today.

    • NSA’s Top Brazilian Political and Financial Targets Revealed by New WikiLeaks Disclosure

      Top secret data from the National Security Agency, shared with The Intercept by WikiLeaks, reveals that the U.S. spy agency targeted the cellphones and other communications devices of more than a dozen top Brazilian political and financial officials, including the country’s president Dilma Rousseff, whose presidential plane’s telephone was on the list. President Rousseff just yesterday returned to Brazil after a trip to the U.S. that included a meeting with President Obama, a visit she had delayed for almost two years in anger over prior revelations of NSA spying on Brazil.

    • Brazil brushes aside latest WikiLeaks release on U.S. spying

      But there was no indication in the list that the spying took place more recently than 2013, and Brazilian officials brushed it aside as old news.

    • Popular VPNs leak data, don’t offer promised privacy and anonymity

      Virtual Private Network (VPN) services can be used for circumventing Internet censorship and accessing blocked content, but researchers warn that you shouldn’t believe the companies’ claims that they offer privacy and anonymity.

    • Cameron calls on web firms to drop encryption for spies’ sake

      Cameron wants security services to read your private chats on social media by getting tech firms to drop encryption. The former leader of the Pirate Party, Loz Kaye, thinks Cameron’s anti-encryption moves are ill-thought out, and could spell disaster.

  • Civil Rights

    • Shakira, Ricky Martin, America Ferrera Blast Donald Trump

      If Donald Trump’s anti-Latino rhetoric was an attempt at gaining electoral ground among U.S. conservatives in recent weeks, the backlash appears to have united the country’s large and diverse Latino population.

      Weeks after Donald Trump labeled U.S.-Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and criminals, Latino leaders and artists in U.S. are standing up to the billionaire showing who, in fact, is boss.

    • EFF Is Turning 25 and We Want to Celebrate With You

      We’re kicking off this milestone in two ways: a membership drive and a party and minicon in San Francisco on July 16. We’re asking people to donate and become members because we fight passionately for the rights of individuals—and in turn, rely deeply on individuals to strengthen our work as we confront threats from powerful institutions and as technology transforms our lives. We’re throwing the party to celebrate 25 years of work in the digital world and imagine what the next 25 years ought to look like. More information on our anniversary activities is below.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • ​The last seconds are ticking off the U.S. IPv4 network clock

      The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), the nonprofit group that manages Internet addresses for Canada, most Caribbean countries, and the United States, announced that it has activated its Unmet Request Policy. What that means is that there are no longer enough IPv4 address blocks available for the demand.

  • DRM

    • Apple Music Could Wreck Your iTunes Library

      Because Apple Music is a cloud based service, adding favourite tracks and playlists in Apple Music will add them to your collection in the cloud. If you don’t turn on Apple Music, you don’t have access to your musical cloud record, and the only way to listen to the music is to stream tracks while online. No offline copies, no playlists, and no bookmarks (just the struggle to remember your favourite albums you’ve recently been listening to).

    • Apple locking down users’ music by adding DRM to it

      Apple’s iCLoud Music Library is apparently causing anger in the Apple community. The iCloud Music Library feature was released just a few days ago with the 12.2 release of iTunes. The paid service which comes part of an Apple Music subscription syncs all of you music to iCloud so you can listen to it on any device, sounds good right? Wrong, it adds DRM to all your music.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Major Streaming Sites Must Be Blocked, Court Rules

        After a prolonged legal battle, last year several leading Austrian ISPs were ordered to block major streaming sites Movie4K.to and Kinox.to. All but one of the ISPs appealed but now the Supreme Court has not only ruled against them, but ordered them to pick up the cost of blocking sites in the future.

07.04.15

Links 4/7/2015: Mostly (Geo)Political Catchup

Posted in News Roundup at 9:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Drones kill any chance of peace in Afghanistan

      The use of unmanned US drones in Afghanistan has stepped up since January. With the launch of the new US counterterrorism mission, Freedom Sentinel, the ongoing and intensifying drone campaign has reportedly killed around 400 people in Afghanistan over the last six months.

    • Two secret US drone bases found in Somalia

      Foreign Policy correspondent Ty McCormick found out that about 120 US military men deployed there strike Al-Shabab terrorists and reportedly cooperate with African Union peacekeepers.

    • US Running Drone Bases In Somalia
    • US Operates Top Secret Drone Bases Inside Somalia

      Already receiving fierce criticism for operating drone bases on foreign soil – sometimes without the host country’s knowledge – the US has begun expanding its operations in Africa. But according to reports, the Pentagon has been running a base in Somalia, completely in secret, to conduct drone missions and train elite Somali forces.

      [...]

      Copying an earlier CIA operation to create an elite Somali commando force, US contractors are currently using Baledogle to train a new squadron known as the Danab, or “Lightning.” The project is being overseen by Bancroft Global Development, according to Foreign Policy, but that company has denied any links with the US government.

      “We have nothing to do with the Americans,” an employee told Foreign Policy. “We’re in charge of training Danab. We have nothing to do with the Americans, and the Americans have nothing to do with us.”

      That’s because, on paper, Bancroft is responsible for training soldiers with the Somali National Army on behalf of the Ugandan government. Uganda is, in turn, reimbursed by Washington, to avoid a direct paper trail.

    • US elite forces operate a secret base in Somalia 24 years after they left the country
    • Exclusive: US Operates Drones From Secret Bases in Somalia
    • Somalia Is Home to Two Secret U.S. Drone Bases – Report
    • Somalia is home to two secret US drone bases – report

      Somali officials have confirmed a secretive US presence in the southern port city of Kismayo, according to Foreign Policy correspondent Ty McCormick. Another base, at the airfield of Baledogle near Mogadishu, is being used for both drone strikes and for contractors training Somali security forces.

    • Drones: A double edge sword in the fight against terrorism

      The U.S. Military has used drones in combat operations and counter-terrorism as early as 2002. Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAV), commonly known as drones, and their operation have been shrouded in secrecy. The U.S. government refused to acknowledge the existence of a drone program until last year. The U.S. government argued that this was a matter of national security. Drones have proven to be a successful tool in eliminating high-value terrorist targets but their impact in combating insurgency and eliminating terrorism remains murky at best.

    • Shedding light on American drone attacks

      I’ve never lived in a place that was attacked in a drone strike. Never seen my parents or children blown to bits or had to collect their scattered, bloody body parts for a proper burial.

    • Drone war report, January – June 2015: controversial ‘signature strikes’ hit Yemen and Pakistan

      US drone and air strikes killed at least 207 people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen so far in 2015, according to data collected by the Bureau.

    • Why People of Faith Oppose Drones

      From a range of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish perspectives, we jointly signed a letter urging the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress to halt its policy of lethal drone strikes. Despite the range of our different belief systems and ideas about warfare, we found that we shared many of the exact same questions and concerns about the drones program that led us to send this letter. Here are a few of those concerns.

    • Bomb Syria, and recruits will be rolling up to join Isis

      Michael Fallon thinks military action should be back on the table. But the past 15 years suggests use of force wouldn’t be just ineffective, it would make things worse

    • Machine ethics: The robot’s dilemma
    • 5 questions (and answers) about robots that kill people

      After sharing a story on Twitter about a robot who killed a man in Germany, Ryan Calo, professor of robotics and cyberlaw at the University of Washington School of Law, replied that it is not that unusual for robots to kill people. Naturally, I had a few questions. Here they are with Calo’s answers, including why robots aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

    • Volkswagen worker crushed to death in robot maintenance accident

      A MAN HAS DIED in Germany after being crushed by an industrial robot. The 22 year-old worker at the Volkswagen factory in Baunatal, north of Frankfurt, was killed while a team of contractors was installing the robot.

    • Obama’s counterterrorism policy facing mounting criticism
    • New report claims F-35 outclassed by 40 year-old F-16, government disagrees

      The report, courtesy of War is Boring, describes a January 15 encounter between a single-seat F-35A in an older configuration and an F-16D Block 40. The Block 40 variant of the F-16 is newer than stock model, but still dates to 1989 — not exactly a spring chicken. The test in question was designed to measure the F-35’s ability to dogfight at high angles of attack and with aggressive maneuvering. The F-35 was flying clean, with no weapons in its bomb bays or mounted on the fuselage, while the F-16 was carrying a pair of external fuel tanks. This significantly impacts drag and limits the airplane’s overall maneuverability.

    • Presidential Follies: Torture and Drones

      My deep belief is that Presidents Obama and George W. Bush have done exactly this to our military. American taxpayer dollars have been used to encourage our intelligence officers to torture free from any risk of judicial or other consequences. If you question this assertion, you must read the Senate Intelligence Report on Torture and read for yourself what your money paid for. And as promised, no high-ranking intelligence officers have gone to prison for violating national and international laws.

    • Talking to terrorists

      Richard Jackson speaks to MEMO: “Once you listen to what their grievances are and try and address them terrorism subsides.”

    • Will your car decide to kill you?

      Imagine a fancy new autonomous luxury car is cruising down an Australian freeway at 110km, carrying a sole occupant playing Candy Crush on her smartphone.

      Meanwhile a beat-up people-mover with mum and six kids onboard blows a tyre, loses control and careers over the median strip into the path of said autonomous car.

    • Toward a Rational US Strategy (Part 1)

      The process of continuous alienation has shaped the world in which today we must live: clans gave rise to tribes; then to cultural and ethnic groups that coalesced into town and cities and in recent centuries merged into nations, of which in our times many have been hammered into states.

    • ‘Not This Clinic’: VA Calls Alleged Mistreatment of Veteran ‘Unacceptable’

      Dorsey then walks away from the counter, saying, “Wonder why 22 veterans kill themselves every day.”

    • War Crimes? Us???

      War is the business of killing the “enemy”, in order to impose your will on them.

      Therefore, “humane war” is an oxymoron.

      War itself is a crime. There are few exceptions. I would exempt the war against Nazi Germany, since it was conducted against a regime of mass murderers, led by a psychopathic dictator, who could not be brought to heel by any other means.

      This being so, the concept of “war crimes” is dubious. The biggest crime is starting the war in the first place. This is not the business of soldiers, but of political leaders. Yet they are rarely indicted.

    • Activists use court hearing to continue drone protest

      Activists cited with trespassing and interfering with traffic earlier this year at Creech Air Force Base used a court appearance today to continue their protest against U.S. armed drone strikes.

      “What do we want? Ground the drones. When do want it? Now,” protesters shouted outside the Regional Justice Center in downtown Las Vegas.

      Thirty-four people were cited March 6 at the base as protesters urged Air Force drone operators to refuse to participate in the overseas strikes.

    • The future of aerial warfare in South Asia

      To complicate matters further, the legality of the US’s aerial offensive is also highly questionable. Since 2004, only 4 per cent of all UAV strikes have resulted in Al Qaeda related casualties, whereas 76 per cent of deaths caused by drone attacks fall into a suspiciously termed legal grey area.

    • On Gaza attack anniversary; UK protesters to shut down Israeli drone factory

      A Staffordshire arms factory making engines for drones exported to Israel will be shut down by protesters on Monday 6 July, to mark the one year anniversary of Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza.

    • Minute’s Silence For Tunisia Shooting Victims Is ‘Bulls**t’ Says Russell Brand

      Russell Brand has described the scheduled minute’s silence for the victims of the Tunisia massacre as “a minute of bullshit”.

      [...]

      A minute’s silence will be held in memory of the victims at noon on Friday, marking a week since the outrage. Flags are expected to be flown at half-mast over Government departments and Buckingham Palace.

      Brand, however, believes the move is: “An empty futile gesture part of a general policy of bullshit that our government can continue selling arms around the world and perpetuating a cycle where its own needs are met at the expense of its own citizens lives.”

      [...]

      Brand aired comments from David Cameron on BBC Radio 4 in the aftermath of the attacks, and accused the Prime Minister of propaganda, criticising him for refusing to link terror attacks with government foreign policy including bombings and drone attacks.

    • Russell Brand criticises ‘futile’ minute of silence for Tunisia shooting victims

      Brand said the source of the problem was British foreign policy, including drone attacks, arms sales to countries that abused human rights and “foreign activity in Muslim countries which obviously provokes this kind of response”.

    • Russell Brand condemns moment of silence for Tunisia attack victims as a ‘minute of bulls**t’

      …many countries had been identified as a threat by David Cameron, yet were still able to buy arms from the UK.

    • Paul Rogers: Don’t mention the war – silence over strikes on IS

      In the days after 52 people were killed in the 7/7 attacks, the Blair government was insistent that the war in Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with the appalling massacre. That argument had to be rolled back eight weeks later when al-Jazeera screened a “martyr video” recorded by one of the bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan.

    • Peace Convergence questions use of Heron drones usage

      THE Rockhampton Peace Convergence has condemned the use of Heron drones by the Australian Defence Force.

    • Delegates oppose drone warfare, debate Israel divestment

      Update: Delegate session leaders announced July 2 that the motion to table the Israel-Palestine divestment resolution for two years passed by a vote of 418 to 336, or 55 percent support.

    • Veterans Urge Drone Operators to Refuse Orders to Fly

      An increasing number of United States military veterans are counseling United States military drone operators to refuse to fly drone surveillance/attack missions – the veterans are even helping sponsor prime time television commercials urging drone operators to “refuse to fly.”

      In a letter released recently by KnowDrones.com, 44 former members of the US Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines whose ranks range from private to colonel and whose military service spans 60 years, “urge United States drone pilots, sensor operators and support teams to refuse to play any role in drone surveillance/assassination missions. These missions profoundly violate domestic and international laws intended to protect individuals’ rights to life, privacy and due process.”

    • On the US ‘Sensitivity’ to Civilian Deaths

      The only thing wrong with the Pentagon checking under its boots to see what and who all has been trod upon is the dishonesty of it. Two words that should not go together are “military” and “sensitivity” when speaking of dead and injured civilians. Sensitivity about the dead is for people who don’t know the victims, who had nothing to do with their demise. Does anyone require sensitivity of mass murderers, especially if they don’t appear to be interested in rehabilitation – that is, not repeating their crimes? How about stop killing people instead of being sensitive when you do?

    • Power Transitions In Saudi Arabia Spell Changes In Middle East – Analysis

      It will be deeply ironic if Yemen is the source of another king’s fall from grace.

    • Human rights in America: claims and reality

      Main concept of human rights is that all human beings have equal rights and these rights apply to everyone without interpretation.

    • Gulf News: United Nations envoy hopeful for pause in fighting despite deadly Aden clashes

      It comes after rebel rocket fire on a residential district of Aden killed 31 civilians on Wednesday and left more than 100 others wounded, according to a medical official.

    • Gulf News: United Nations envoy hopeful for pause in fighting despite deadly Aden clashes

      Rebel fire on a residential district of Yemen’s second city Aden killed more than 30 civilians Wednesday, as the UN declared its highest level humanitarian emergency in the war-torn country.

    • Inside Toronto’s secret Cold War History

      At the height of the Cold War, Toronto was the site of an elaborate game of espionage played between the U.S and the Soviet Union, declassified CIA documents show.

      The records provide new details about how the CIA and the KGB spied on the city’s growing community of eastern European immigrants.

    • The CIA’s Creation of “Islamic Terrorism” on American Soil

      The origin of these compounds for would-be jihadis dates back to 1979, when the Agency sent hundreds of radical Islamic clerics to the United States in an effort to recruit African American Muslims for the holy war against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

    • How a Dogged L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA’s Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena

      In January 1989, Hector Berrellez reported to Los Angeles, handpicked by the head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to get to the bottom of a 4-year-old murder investigation that was a top agency priority. This wasn’t just another killing in the seemingly endless bloodshed in the Mexican drug wars; the victim, like Berrellez, was a DEA agent. Enrique “Kiki” Camarena had been kidnapped, tortured and murdered at the hands of a Mexican drug cartel four years earlier. The identity of the killers was clear enough; two cartel bosses had been convicted of the killings and were imprisoned in Mexico. But the DEA had reason to believe there were many more guilty parties in addition to the two capos behind bars.

    • CIA has paid millions to a consulting firm to help with reorganization

      The CIA has paid more than $10 million to a management consulting firm advising senior U.S. intelligence officials on a broad reorganization that agency Director John O. Brennan began earlier this year, current and former U.S. officials said.

      The agency also is requiring some of its departments to surrender portions of their annual budgets in an effort to collect enough money to cover other costs associated with the restructuring, officials said.

    • What I Signed on to

      We are not winning here — there is not even a promise of victory. Instead, ancestral ghosts are in formation for review. Is this still a beginning, or is it maybe a last hurrah for America? The spirit-soldiers are as stone-faced and grim as the winters at Valley Forge and the mountain fastness of the Wachtung had made them.

    • Guess How Many ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Have Been Trained With Congress-Approved $500 Million?

      As with most foreign policy moves sold by the neocons and interventionists, grandiose promises of success have found themselves at odds with reality. Advocates of the program claimed that it would produce 5,400 US-trained and armed fighters per year. In fact since the money was approved last May, less than 100 are actually being trained and none has yet completed the course.

    • US Training for ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Fails, CIA Can’t Find ‘Moderates’

      A crucial part of the United States’ plan to train moderate Syrian rebels to combat the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group is locating those so-called “moderates.” The problem: those are becoming harder and harder to find.

    • Scott: The CIA can’t be trusted with unchecked power

      And surely it would be completely unreasonable to suggest that unlimited power might tempt our protectors to engage in things like abduction, torture and political assassination. Oh wait — the CIA has already done all those things.

    • Blowing the whistle in a war zone

      Hatley’s 2007 trial drew national attention because he was the highest-ranking service member at the time to be found guilty of premeditated murder. His investigation, arrest and conviction came to define military service for me. In the wake of the accusations, a kind of tribal mentality — “herd mentality” isn’t dynamic enough a phrase — connected many of the soldiers with whom I served. They came out strong in their defense of a leader who can best be described as a cross between legendary college football coach Bear Bryant and the Judge from Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian.” He’s huge, affable, violent, driven, competent and absolutely sure of himself.

    • Video of polygraph exam sought in Green Beret case

      The board deciding whether to remove a Fort Bragg Green Beret from service is attempting to obtain a CIA video of a polygraph exam that apparently details the 2010 killing of an Afghan bomb maker.

    • Panel urges ex-Green Beret hero out of Army with VA benefits

      An Army officer who was accused of tracking down and killing an unarmed bomb-making suspect in Afghanistan is being recommended for an honorable discharge even though a military panel that looked into the case determined his conduct was unbecoming an officer.

      The military panel at Fort Bragg reached the finding late Sunday concerning Maj. Mathew Golsteyn. Army Special Forces Command spokeswoman Maj. Allison Aguilar said Monday that if the decision is upheld by a review board Golsteyn would be discharged under honorable conditions allowing him to keep nearly all veteran’s benefits.

    • Former Russian spy who defected describes what it’s like to be broke and living in Oregon

      “I f—– up because I trusted the FBI,” Neumann told the Guardian about his past decisions. “Do not trust anything to do with the US government because they will lie to you. They promise but they don’t deliver. There is no sense in cooperating.”

    • Absolute Power

      Serving the nation means no more than doing what you’re told.

      God bless America. Flags wave, fireworks burst on the horizon. Aren’t we terrific? But this idea we celebrate — this nation, this principled union of humanity — is just a military bureaucracy, full of dark secrets. The darkest, most highly classified secret of all is that we’re always at war and we always will be. And war is an end in itself. It has no purpose beyond its own perpetuation.

    • Survivor of Israeli Attack on USS Liberty: It Could Not Have Been a Mistake (2/2)

      TRNN speaks to survivor Sgt. Bryce Lockwood and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern about the 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty

    • WATCH: A Brief History of US-Iran Relations
    • Death to America?

      As the deadline for a nuclear deal between Iran and the United States looms, plenty of Americans are understandably skeptical. Many of them have probably watched images of Iranian mobs burning US flags and chants of “Death to America” at mass rallies in Tehran and wondered to themselves: “Why do they hate us?”

      Well, the good news is “they” don’t. According to the Atlantic Monthly, “A 2009 World Public Opinion poll found that 51 percent of Iranians hold a favorable opinion of Americans, a number consistent with other polls, meaning that Americans are more widely liked in Iran than anywhere else in the Middle East.”

    • Both Major U.S. Parties are Plagues on Humanity

      The two corporate parties have collaborated in knocking off countries targeted for invasion and regime change.

    • Review: The Nazis Next Door

      In the main, his book is about the CIA and FBI using and protecting ex-Nazis or former Eastern European collaborators who came to the United States, and the subsequent investigations of those people by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) or the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI). The latter was formed in 1979 specifically to pursue Nazi perpetrators in view of the inadequacy of earlier efforts.

    • Ukrainian Govt. Acknowledges Some of Its Leaders Are Nazis

      On July 3rd, the Ukrainian newspaper Vesti headlined “The Ministry of Justice Acknowledges UNA-UNSO Collaborated with Nazis,” and reported that, “Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice has officially recognized that the members of the Ukrainian nationalist organization UNA-UNSO fought on the side of Nazi Germany during the Great Patriotic War.” It went on to note that, “On May 22 of last year, the State Registration Service renamed the party of UNA-UNSO as the Right Sector Party, which is led by Dmitriy Yarosh.”

    • Pentagon Calls Russia, China, Iran and North Korea Threats to Global Peace

      US military strategy includes “press(ing) forward with the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, placing our most advanced capabilities and greater capacity in that vital theater.” It remains committed to NATO allies and Israel’s security.

      Ashton Carter replacing Chuck Hagel as defense secretary in mid-February signaled more war besides ones America was waging before his appointment.

      Obama’s naked aggression on Yemen followed weeks later. So did greater numbers of US combat troops operating in Iraq, continued bombing of its economic infrastructure on the pretext of attacking ISIS, and the same strategy ongoing in Syria – plus the Pentagon’s latest military strategy signaling endless US-initiated conflicts.

    • Secret CIA Heart Attack Gun Declassified

      As you’ll learn from the video above, the CIA has been using a heart attack gun for years. What you see in the video is a congressional meeting dating back to 1975. In it, politicians discuss the CIA’s use of the secret heart attack gun. Only recently did this information become declassified, and Your News Wire somehow dug up this video all about it.

      The way the gun works is that it shoots a tiny dart that can pierce through clothing and leaves no trace. But it causes a heart attack only seconds later. No, this is real life, not a James Bond flick!

    • Dirty tricks and regime change in nuclear-free Palau

      Thirty years ago today, Haruo Remeliik, the president of the world’s first nuclear-free state Palau, was assassinated. Investigative journalist Ed Rampell asks serious questions about a mysterious reign of terror in the Micronesian nation.

    • The Bushes, dirty tricks and regime change in nuclear-free Palau

      On June 30, 1985, 30 years ago today, Haruo Remeliik, the president of anti-nuclear Palau, had his brains blown out. What – if anything – did former CIA Director George H.W. Bush have to do with this and what does it say about who the Bushes really are?

    • Colombia: Top generals implicated in ‘false positive’ killings

      Declassified United States documents show the CIA knew about the practice since 1994 and was aware the Colombian army worked in coordination with paramilitary forces.

      The report shows that the false positive killings happened while US troops were deployed within Colombia, working together with the Colombian army. HRW demanded Washington explain if US troops knew of the killings.

    • Ecuador Reviews CIA Documents, Death of Late President

      The office of the attorney general in Ecuador is investigating if the death of former President Jaime Roldos was an assassination of Operation Condor.

    • ‘Historic step:’ Obama announces full diplomatic relations with Cuba

      Casting aside more than a half century of hostilities, President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that the United States and Cuba would restore full diplomatic relations and open respective embassies.

      Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, he called the rapprochement “a historic step” in efforts to bring the two countries and their people together. The president said Secretary of State John Kerry would soon travel to Havana to “proudly raise the U.S. flag over our embassy.”

    • Gülen’s lawyer refutes pro-government media claims that FBI, CIA trained him

      Nurullah Albayrak, the lawyer representing Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, in a series of tweets on Wednesday slammed stories in pro-government media reports that claimed Gülen and his followers were trained by the CIA and FBI on how to overthrow the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government.

    • CIA station chief made mark in Indonesia

      Mr. Tovar, a native of Bogata, Colombia, and World War II veteran, became what Stein calls “a measured critic” of U.S. efforts to overthrow foreign governments.”

    • Hugh Tovar, CIA Operative at the Center of Cold War Intrigues, Dies at 92

      But it was Tovar’s tenure in Indonesia in 1965 that has drawn the most scrutiny. At the time, the country’s president, Sukarno, was leading a global “anti-imperialist” movement with the support of the Soviet Union and Communist China. Tovar, who had earlier worked against Communist guerrillas in the Philippines, was the CIA’s Jakarta station chief. In September 1965, a coup attempt by the Indonesian Communist Party, or PKI, failed, and the military unleashed a genocidal campaign against the PKI’s mostly ethnic Chinese followers. With the rebellion crushed and the military-backed Suharto regime now fully in power, the U.S. and other Western powers hailed the outcome as “the West’s best news for years in Asia,” as Time magazine put it.

    • Hidden cameras, invisibility cloaks in Israeli spy expo

      Hidden cameras, invisibility cloaks and mini-drones were among the gadgets on display Tuesday at an exhibition of Israeli surveillance technology, offering a rare peek into the secretive world of Israeli espionage.

    • 9/11 Terrorists Deserve Fair Trial With Evidence Access – HRW

      Human Rights Watch Senior National Security Counsel Laura Pitter claims that the September 11, 2001 terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon deserve a fair trial in which they should have access to the evidence used against them.

    • Anti-Iran Lobby Steps Up Game Before Deadline For P5+1 Talks – OpEd

      The U.S. and Iranian nuclear negotiators have just announced a one week extension of their nuclear talks. If, as expected, there is an agreement next week, it will open a new stage of tension in the process leading to its final formal ratification by all parties. For then, the U.S. Congress will have 30 days to vote the agreement up or down. This vote, forced on an unwilling president by his own party’s Senate members several weeks ago, poses a new threat. For the Israel Lobby, it offers a new opportunity to sabotage the deal.

    • The Iranian George Washington

      On August 19, 1953, the US and UK overthrew Mohammed Mossadegh through an operation codenamed TPAJAX or Boot. Sections declassified in 2013 of the CIA’s internal Iran study admit the agency used false propaganda to undermine Mossadegh, induced the Shah to cooperate and paid demonstrators to ransack Tehran. In his 1954 report, Donald Wilber, the project executor, revealed how Iran’s lukewarm Islamists were galvanised against the PM. According to Wilber, local CIA operatives posing as pro-Mossadegh nationalists threatened the Shia clergy with “savage punishment” if they opposed him and thus fuelled anger in the religious community. The Shah, for his part, had already fled Iran after signing a royal decree dismissing Mossadegh.

    • Gary Borders: Is America the greatest nation? Check the numbers

      And he proceeds to profanely and succinctly enumerate why he thinks so. Rather than rely on fictional television, I decided to search online. I found a site called Ranking America, maintained by a respected academic.

      [...]

      We do rank first in a number of categories. At $619 billion, the United States spends more on defense than the next eight countries combined, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. China ranks second, far behind this country with defense expenditures of $171.4 billion.

    • An Honest Evaluation of the War on Terror

      I have a new piece in Foreign Policy that proposes a The National Commission on the War on Terrorism, which would consist of ten former officials, diplomats, and experts—with no personal or financial interest in the outcome—who would comprehensively review, evaluate, and offer new policy recommendations. Such commissions are rarely meaningful or impactful. However, current government officials and congressional members are too personally and professionally vested to objectively evaluate current strategies, demonstrate strategic learning, or implement any new policies. In short, U.S. counterterrorism strategy is both failing and frozen. The National Commission on the War on Terrorism would cost less than $4 million, and could be included in an authorization bill today. It would then be formed in the fall, with its conclusions and recommendations made publicly available in January 2017, just in time to inform Obama’s successor and the 115th Congress. It is a low-cost initiative to rethink the war on terrorism, and one that this Congress should pursue.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • As Walker Announces, WI GOP Moves to Gut Open Records Law

      On the same day that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announced his run for president, the Wisconsin GOP has proposed a virtual gutting of Wisconsin’s open records law, long considered one of the best in the nation. The drastic changes were proposed in a last-minute, anonymous budget motion, with zero public input on the eve of a holiday weekend. The motion will be rolled into the state’s massive budget bill and voted on in the coming weeks.

    • WikiLeaks founder: A hero for many – asylum request in France rejected

      For many Americans, he is a hero; for the US government, he is a criminal. This is after leaking secret US government documents exposing anything from torture to illegal NSA wiretaps by United States authorities to the public.

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has now asked for political asylum in France. It came after the French government indicated that such asylum may be granted in the wake of revelations of alleged NSA surveillance of senior French officials.

    • Executing Justice: WikiLeaks Unmasks Saudi Arabia

      Saudi Arabia’s status as an oil-fueled U.S. ally is a major reason why the dire human rights situation in the country is of little concern to Washington.

    • Saudis jail Pakistani who allegedly criticized Yemen airstrikes

      A controversial Pakistani commentator has been jailed in Saudi Arabia and reportedly sentenced to receive 1,000 lashes for allegedly criticizing the Saudi government while on a religious pilgrimage.

      Saudi authorities have so far denied consular access to Zaid Hamid, who was arrested last month in the holy city of Medina while traveling with his wife.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Greece has missed a $1.8 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund

      Greece has missed a $1.8 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund as it stands on the brink of a financial meltdown. The deadline coincided with the end of Greece’s international bailout, leaving it without an infusion of the money it needs to meet its obligations. On Tuesday, European creditors rejected a last-minute proposal from Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for a new financial lifeline. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, said a new bailout program could be negotiated, but only if the Greek government backs down from its rejection of austerity demands.

    • A Moment of Great Decisions

      Despite media misinformation and EU blackmail, anti-austerity forces in Greece remain strong ahead of Sunday’s referendum.

    • Newman government acted ‘like the KGB’ in mine bid, say traditional owners

      The former Newman government in Queensland acted “like the KGB, the FBI and the CIA all rolled into one” as it secretly drove a multinational mining bid now subject to a high court challenge, a senior Cape York figure has said.

      The Wik people of Cape York have asked the high court to overturn laws that allowed the former Liberal National government to favour Glencore’s proposal to gain a bauxite mining licence on their traditional land in Aurukun.

    • Rumbles of military coup as Greek workers demand end to EU austerity

      Just 24 hours before anti-austerity demonstrators flooded the streets of central Athens on Friday, a number of retired Greek military officers publicly called for a “yes” vote in Sunday’s referendum on the European Union’s demands, defying Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s call for a “no” vote.

      The contrast between masses of workers denouncing EU austerity and the pronouncements of prominent military figures could not have been starker. Retired General Fragkoulis Fragkos, a former defense minister and one-time head of the Greek army general staff, called for a “loud yes on Sunday.” In 2011, Fragkos was cashiered by then-Prime Minister George Papandreou amid rumors of a coup.

    • As Referendum Looms, Troika Charged with Plotting ‘Regime Change’ in Greece

      On Thursday, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis made the strength of his convictions known by saying he would “prefer to cut off his arm” than sign an agreement without debt relief. Meanwhile, the institutions representing the interests of foreign creditors—the European Commission, the IMF, and the European Central Bank—have indicated a ‘Yes’ victory would likely force Tsipras and Varoufakis to resign and the current government to dissolve.

      Some of the latest polling out on Friday shows that the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ camps are virtually tied going into Sunday’s vote. Both factions also plan to hold large rallies in Athens on Friday night, but the stakes of the vote—whichever way it falls and presuming it takes place as planned—are now seen to reach far beyond the immediate outcome.

      Considering developments in Greece since the financial crisis began in 2008, alongside the behavior of the so-called Troika since the Syriza party came into power earlier this year, analysts suggest that powerful financial interests and elite political forces in Greece are executing a slow-yet-coordinated effort to push a democratically-elected government from power and smash populist opposition to corporate rule and austerity policies that have spread across the continent in recent years.

    • 9 myths about the Greek crisis

      As soon as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced the referendum, François Hollande, David Cameron, Matteo Renzi, and the German Deputy Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told the Greeks that a No vote would amount to Greece leaving the euro. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, went further: he said “No” means leaving the European Union. In fact the Greek government has stated many times that — Yes or No — it is irrevocably committed to the Union and the euro. And legally, according to the treaties, Greece cannot be expelled from either.

    • Why Won’t Greece Take a Deal?

      It may be ugly for a while: Stock markets will slide, Greece will have to re-invent its currency, and the economic depression Greece has endured may last several years longer. But the Greeks will survive, and so will everybody else.

      And despite their pain, the poor will know that their government did this for them. The Greek people will know that they weren’t beholden to the Germans or to the International Monetary Fund.

      It’s not just about the money. It’s about pride.

    • Greece – Risk of False-flagging Greece into Submission and Chaos?

      The weapon is finance; the instruments are the mega-banksters of Europe and Washington. They are like dehumanized missiles. The fight is no-holds-barred – all out, no scruples. The savages of Brussels have the audacity to call for Mr. Tsipras’ resignation in case the Greek referendum rejects the austerity package. – Can you imagine!

    • The Latest: 25,000 supporters of ‘no’ vote rally in Athens

      Greek police used pepper spray Friday evening to deter several dozen anti-establishment protesters…

    • ‘No more looting’: Thousands rally across EU to express solidarity with Greece

      Thousands of people have flooded the streets of EU cities in mass demonstrations expressing solidarity with Greece ahead of this weekend’s referendum on a cash-for-reform deal with its Troika of creditors.

    • South Korea unveils $14.3 billion stimulus package to support economy

      South Korea proposed on Friday a stimulus package worth 16.1 trillion won ($14.31 billion) to jump-start Asia’s fourth-largest economy as it fights to overcome the twin challenges of weak domestic and global demand.

    • South Korea unveils $19.3b stimulus package to support Mers-hit economy

      South Korea proposed on Friday a stimulus package worth 16.1 trillion won (S$19.3 billion) to jump-start Asia’s fourth-largest economy as it fights to overcome the twin challenges of weak domestic and global demand.

    • Famous Rothschild Banking Dynasty Facing Fraud Charges In France

      One of Europe’s wealthiest bankers faces questioning for fraud in France as part of a years-long case that accuses him of defrauding retirees.

      Baron David de Rothschild, one of the wealthy members of the famous Rothschild banking dynasty, was indicted last month over allegations that his company, Rothschild Financial Services Group, offered a fraudulent equity release loan program to about 130 retirees between 2005 and 2008. 20 British retirees living in Spain brought the fraud lawsuit, according to Olive Press, an English-language newspaper published in that country, but it’s taken five years of legal maneuvering to successfully force the Baron into court.

      Rothschild Financial Services Group is accused of falsely advertising the scheme, under which retirees were told they could reduce the value of their French homes in order to reduce the inheritance tax that their descendents would for those properties. According to the report, France’s “Tax Agency ruled that such a scheme constitutes fraud.”

  • Censorship

    • Russian censorship official is censored by Facebook — reports

      Facebook has removed an incendiary status posted by a high-ranking Kremlin official, Russian media has reported.

      According to Lenta.ru, deputy head of Roskomnadzor Maxim Ksenzov’s social media status was taken down over his use of the word ‘crest’ — a pejorative term for ethnic Ukrainians.

      Ksenzov, whose department is tasked with “supervision of telecom, information technologies and mass communications,” complained on his Facebook profile that he had been censored.

    • Wikipedia to battle EU over planned censorship of photos of public places

      Wikipedia, the world’s biggest public and free encyclopaedia, is preparing to challenge Europe over plans to revoke the right to use photographs of public spaces without restriction.

      It estimates that tens of thousands of images embedded in articles about buildings, art and other public places will need to be taken down.

      It is urging the public to act now and contact MEPs by email, phone or visit their constituencies to preserve what is known as the Freedom of Panorama.

  • Privacy

    • Theresa May named internet villain of the year

      The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has been named the UK internet industry’s villain of the year for pursuing “snooper’s charter” legislation without fully consulting the sector.

      The gong, part of the annual ISPA awards, was given for “forging ahead with communications data legislation that would significantly increase capabilities without adequate consultation with industry and civil society”.

      “With an investigatory powers bill due before parliament in the coming months, it is essential that ISPs are consulted,” the Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) added.

    • WikiLeaks docs show NSA’s 10-year economic espionage campaign against France

      Franco-American relations have taken a further hammering on Monday after WikiLeaks revealed new documents showing that the NSA has been collecting the details of commercial deals in the Land of Brie for over a decade and sharing them with its allies.

    • Steinmeier hopes for swift clarity from US on fresh NSA allegations

      Germany’s foreign minister has called on Washington to swiftly clarify what is and is not true regarding the latest NSA snooping allegations. There are reports that it spied on several cabinet ministers.

    • Arthur I. Cyr: U.S. intelligence blunders go on, and on

      Last July, no-nonsense German police searched the home and office of a military employee accused of passing sensitive secrets to the U.S. At about the same time, a member of German BND intelligence was arrested and accused of selling an estimated two hundred documents to the CIA. They reportedly contained details of investigations by a German parliamentary panel into the vast electronic surveillance of European populations by the NSA.

    • WikiLeaks claims NSA targeted German ministers beyond Merkel

      WikiLeaks has published a list of German phone numbers that it claimed showed the US National Security Agency eavesdropped on senior German officials beyond Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    • Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying

      Green Party security expert Konstantin von Notz told The Local on Friday that Chancellor Angela Merkel is failing to restore faith in the German-US partnership following fresh spying revelations.

    • U.S. NSA also spied on several German ministers, media reports say

      The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has spied not only on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but also on numerous high-ranking government members such as the economy and finance ministers, German media reported on Wednesday.

    • Germany summons US ambassador over new spying claims

      Angela Merkel’s chief of staff has summoned the US ambassador to a meeting over allegations that the National Security Agency spied on German ministers.

    • Germany wants quick clarification of new NSA spy allegations

      Germany’s foreign minister said Friday that new allegations of U.S. eavesdropping on senior German government officials’ telephones need to be clarified “as quickly as possible” and that he hoped Washington would be forthcoming with information.

    • NSA’s spying on UN and others detailed in newly published documents

      A cache of documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden details spying targets, including the UN’s general secretary, according to a new report.

    • How the NSA searches the world’s intercepted private communications

      In a thorough, fascinating followup published in the Intercept, Greenwald and colleagues present a detailed look at the system as it stood in 2013, when it consolidated data from 150 field sites. The service uses your Google cookies and cookies from other services to link your activities across multiple sites and forums, making it possible to search for individual users who use different online identities for different purposes.

    • NSA Xkeyscore surveillance tool makes spying on someone as easy as Googling their name

      The US National Security Agency’s (NSA) infamous XKeyscore mass surveillance tool, first brought to light by whistleblower Edward Snowden, makes tracking people as easy as Googling their name, according to newly published documents.

      Details of XKeyscore were published on Wednesday (1 July) by The Intercept in one of the largest releases of NSA documents to date. The 48 top-secret documents relating to XKeyscore detail how around 150 field sites in the US and abroad sweep up people’s internet searches, emails, documents, usernames and passwords, and other private communications.

    • Revealed: The NSA’s tracking database

      If you thought that the National Security Agency needed warrants, proof and reason to look at your online history, you’re mistaken. It might be as easy as entering your name or email into a database much like Google.

    • It turns out the NSA was collecting voice calls, photos, passwords, documents, and much more
    • NSA’s hacking tool is apparently as easy to use as a Google search
    • Privacy Reforms among NSA XKeyscore Spy Chronicles
    • Snowden Documents Reveal New Details of “NSA’s Google”
    • XKEYSCORE global spy system detailed in new Snowden leaks
    • Who Will Watch The Watchmen?

      According to NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a covert program called XKEYSCORE allows the US government to see almost everything you do online.

    • NSA’s Covert Tool for ‘Easy’ Sensitive Data Spying Revealed
    • NSA spied on German press, says report
    • NSA Accused of Spying on German Press
    • Obama administration spied on German media as well as its government
    • Report: NSA spied on German news outlets
    • Germany’s Spiegel weekly says it was spied on by US intelligence

      German news weekly Der Spiegel charged Friday that it was spied on by US secret services and said it had filed a criminal complaint with the country’s chief prosecutor.

    • US government allegedly spied on journalists in Germany

      Der Spiegel has filed a criminal complaint

    • CIA Outed Suspected Leaker to Retaliate Against Journalists

      In the summer of 2011, the CIA station chief in Berlin asked one of the most powerful intelligence officials in Germany to go on a private walk with him, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reports. The American spy had an important message to convey: one of Germany’s own senior officials was leaking information to the press.

      The suspected leaker, Hans Josef Vorbeck, had been in contact with Spiegel, the station chief told the German official, Günter Heiss. Head of Division 6, Heiss is responsible for coordinating Germany’s intelligence services. Vorbeck was his deputy.

    • Our view: Right to know

      Is Congress ready to recognize that protecting reporters’ sources protects the public’s right to know

    • Der Spiegel: US ousted our source in German govt, chancellery hushed up the spying

      In 2011 the US had a top German counterterrorism official sidelined over his contacts with the media, and the German government failed to act in response to illegal surveillance on home turf, Der Spiegel reports.

      The official was Hans Josef Vorbeck, deputy director of Department 6 in the German Chancellery. The department is responsible for coordinating the country’s intelligence services, and Vorbeck was responsible for counterterrorism.

      In summer 2011 Vorbeck’s superior, Günter Heiss, was called to a meeting with the CIA station chief in Berlin, who told him that Vorbeck had been leaking information to Der Spiegel. After the issue was also raised in June 2011, when Heiss visited CIA headquarters in Langley, Vorbeck was quietly transferred, sidelined to work in the archive section dealing with the history of the BND, the German national intelligence agency.

    • US Officials Defend Spying on German Media

      CIA Used Intercepts to Press Germany Over Officials

    • An American Tip to German Spies Points to a More Complex Relationship

      In the summer of 2011, American intelligence agencies spied on a senior German official who they concluded had been the likely source of classified information being leaked to the news media.

      The Obama administration authorized the top American spy in Germany to reveal to the German government the identity of the official, according to German officials and news media reports. The decision was made despite the risk of exposing that the United States was monitoring senior national security aides to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    • Court Revives Defunct NSA Mass Surveillance Program
    • Secret court approves NSA bulk collection one last time: ‘Plus ça change …’
    • ‘Snowden’ Being Released on Christmas Day [Video]

      Snowden, a film by Oliver Stone, will be released Christmas Day 2015. With Stone running the show, the film is likely to be controversial. Open Road Films recently made a trailer available which showed the intensity of the movie. Based on the book, The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man, by Luke Harding, the film follows Edward Snowden from his time in the military to when he joined the CIA two years later.

    • Here’s the First Trailer for Oliver Stone’s Snowden Movie

      The Edward Snowden whistleblowing story has already been covered with the thrilling 2014 documentary Citizenfour, but now Oliver Stone has chose to take a crack at it as well. And all of it is set to a slowed-down cover of a familiar song, because that seems to be the thing to do these days. On that front, mission accomplished.

    • Haunting First ‘Snowden’ Trailer Released

      The sometime conspiracy theorist and master at shining a light on government hypocrisy, tragic irony and media manipulation is the director behind “Snowden,” about former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on the NSA’s wiretapping program and has not been back to the United States since.

    • Project Whale Tale: the story of how the U-2 became an embarked reconnaissance aircraft.

      Still, none of these carrier-capable spyplane ever entered active service, being replaced by cheaper spy satellites.

    • Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s Flip-Flop on NSA Spying

      Two years after she cancelled her state visit to Washington in outrage over revelations that the U.S. had spied on her, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is back in Washington, taking a decidedly more friendly approach to President Barack Obama.

    • Brazilians’ views of U.S. rebound as wounds of NSA scandal heal

      Revelations in September 2013 that the U.S. government had monitored the private communications of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff had strained relations between the two countries. But Rousseff’s arrival in the U.S. this week for a meeting with President Barack Obama comes at a time when public sentiment about the U.S. in Brazil has almost fully returned to the overwhelmingly positive opinions held before the surveillance controversy.

    • Two years after Snowden, NSA revelations still hurting US tech firms in China: report

      Revelations of digital surveillance by American spy agencies could end up costing US firms billions of dollars in lost business and lawmakers in Washington are falling short in their duty to address the issue, a US think tank has said.

      Tech firms, in particular, have underperformed in foreign markets following the leaks by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, according to a paper published by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

    • ACLU to fight FISA court’s OK to NSA bulk data collection

      You thought bulk metadata collection had been quashed? Think again: Despite what looked like a last-minute reprieve, the secret court set up by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has approved the NSA to continue. Judge Michael W. Mosman says things should stay the same, despite the shifting legal landscape.

      So the NSA gets another 180 days to slurp up phone records, and then it becomes the telcos’ job. The American Civil Liberties Union ain’t impressed, to put it midly.

    • US Senator Wyden Blasts ‘Unnecessary Resumption’ Of NSA Phone Records Dragnet

      US Senator Ron Wyden (Democrat-Oregon) criticized this week a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decision allowing the NSA to resume collecting millions of Americans’ phone records.

    • Non-governmental organisations welcome the appointment of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy

      Privacy International and twenty-two other organisations from around the world welcome the appointment of Mr Joseph Cannataci as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy.

      Today, the President of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Mr Cannataci to fill the post that was created by the Council in March 2015 to address the rising concerns about the enjoyment of right to privacy, particularly in the context of new communications technologies.

      Mr Cannataci’s appointment marks a significant step in the strengthening of the protection of the right to privacy at international level. It is also the culmination of a campaign by Privacy International and other NGOs to establish an independent expert on privacy within the UN human rights mechanisms.

    • NIST formally chops NSA-tainted random number generator

      The United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has revised its recommendations for methods used to generate random numbers, and formally removed an algorithm suspected to contain a National Security Agency (NSA) backdoor.

      Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents in 2013 that suggested the NSA wrote the dual elliptic curve deterministic random bit generator (Dual_EC_DRBG) algorithm which became part of a NIST standard in 2006.

      Cryptographers feared that the involvement of the US spy agency in developing the algorithm meant encryption technology using Dual_EC_DRBG could be compromised.

    • NSA data gathering too big to be efficient: ‘Like having to drink ten liters of water at once’

      Bulk data collection has a very limited use and the US intelligence agencies’ problem is that they are gathering too much information to be able to use it effective, says former CIA and State Department official Larry Johnson.

      The US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled that the bulk collection of American citizen’s data could be resumed. Earlier the court passed a bill which ended bulk collections of telephone metadata – the Freedom Act – which also assumed a six month transition period to let the NSA move to the new rules.

    • Germany appoints senior judge to inspect list of NSA targets

      Critics have accused Chancellor Angela Merkel’s staff of giving the German BND foreign intelligence agency the green light to help the NSA spy on European firms and officials, triggering a scandal that has dented Merkel’s popularity.

    • Former judge to see NSA target list

      The Bundestag (German parliament) inquiry into spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA) has chosen a former judge to examine lists of targets given to German spies by the Americans.

    • WikiLeaks says NSA spied on top French companies

      The US wiretapped two of France’s economy ministers and spied on the country’s largest companies, French media reported citing WikiLeaks documents, just days after it emerged the US had spied on three of the country’s leaders.

    • WikiLeaks Says NSA Spied On 2 French Finance Ministers, Top French Companies

      WikiLeaks alleged that François Baroin and Pierre Moscovici, who headed the finance ministry between 2011 and 2014, were targeted by the NSA. Pictured: French President Francois Hollande (R) and Moscovici — then the French Economy, Finance and Foreign Trade Minister — take part in a meeting about economical relations with the Netherlands at the Parliament building in The Hague, on January 20, 2014.

    • Tougher encryption guidelines close a back door for NSA spies

      The US’ National Institute of Standards and Technology is more than a little worried that its encryption guideilnes have been creating back doors for spies, and it’s changing its tune in order to plug those security holes. The agency is no longer recommending an NSA-backed number randomization technique that made it relatively easy to crack and monitor encrypted data. In theory, software developers who heed the new advice won’t have to worry that they’re laying down a welcome mat for government surveillance agents.

    • Think it’s cool Facebook can auto-tag you in pics? So does the government

      State-of-the-art facial recognition technology, which had been the stuff of hypothetical privacy nightmares for years, is becoming a startling reality. It is increasingly being deployed all around the United States by giant tech companies, shady advertisers and the FBI – with few if any rules to stop it.

      In recent weeks, both Facebook and Google launched facial recognition to mine the photos on your phone, with both impressive and disturbing results. Facebook’s Moments app can recognize you even if you cover your face. Google Photos can identify grown adults from decades-old childhood pictures.

      Some people might find it neat when it’s only restricted to photos on their phone. But advertisers, security companies and just plain creepy authority figures have also set up their own systems at music festivals, sporting events and even some churches to monitor attendees, which is bound to disturb even those who don’t give a second thought to issues like the NSA’s mass surveillance programs.

    • Canadian Surveillance Agency Says Snowden Leaks Were Damaging, Because We Say So

      But what’s most interesting about the document is the part where Bossenmaier is advised on how to deal with any questions she might be asked by her overseers, should they request evidence to support her assertions.

      The section is headed: “IF PRESSED ON THIS OR ANY OTHER DISCLOSURE.”

    • 20-Plus Security Vendors On The NSA Target List (And Those Who Weren’t)

      This week, the latest documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed in an Intercept report that the National Security Agency had targeted security vendors, reverse engineering their systems to learn about their capabilities and gain access to user data. According to the report by the Intercept, the documents revealed that, in addition to repeated-target Kaspersky Lab, the agency also targeted more than 20 other anti-virus vendors under Project Camberdada. From there, the agency could possibly learn the vulnerabilities of the solutions included in its “More Targets” list and exploit them for its own use.

    • NSA and GCHQ Exploit Anti-Virus Software to Snoop on Citizens, According to Leak
    • nowden Docs: GCHQ and NSA Hacked Antivirus Software, Spied on Emails
    • NSA’s Betrayal of America’s Oldest Ally (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany)

      France is the oldest ally of the United States; the French provided assistance to the colonists as far back as the Revolutionary War. This has not, over the centuries, led to a relationship similar to the intimate bond Washington maintains with Anglo-Saxon countries like Great Britain or Australia.

    • WikiLeaks: what Australia got from the NSA’s commercial spying
  • Civil Rights

    • Bahrain: Free Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace

      Police arrested Dr Al-Singace for his participation in the peaceful Arab Spring protests in 2011.

    • To Singapore, With Love DVD and streaming available outside Singapore

      Singapore filmmaker Tan Pin Pin’s controversial film about the country’s political exiles, which was given a “not allowed for all ratings” (NAR) classification by the Media Development Authority, is now available outside of Singapore.

      After touring the international festival circuit, the documentary To Singapore, With Love is now available on DVD and through video-sharing website Vimeo to viewers outside the country. Due to the classification, which amounts to a ban, the DVD cannot be sold and the film cannot be streamed in Singapore.

    • How China stopped its bloggers

      For a brief Chinese ‘spring’, the country’s bloggers exposed corruption, cheating and other abuses of power, writes Angus Grigg. Then the Party bosses took back the internet.

    • Singapore activists condemn treatment of anti-Lee teen

      Prominent Singaporean intellectuals, artists and activists Saturday criticised the government’s “harsh” treatment of a teenage boy behind online attacks on the late former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.

      In an open letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the former leader’s son, the 77 signatories said they were “aware of the negative aspects” of 16-year-old Amos Yee s pronouncements in a YouTube video and on his blog.

    • 55 days in remand for S’pore’s youngest prisoner of conscience

      “Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience, held solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression,” the human rights organisation says in a statement released on Friday, 3 July, with regards to the case of Singaporean video-blogger, Amos Yee.

    • Is Singapore becoming a shamelessly hypocritical society?

      The highly opportunistic PAP-run government has repulsively destroyed many vocal critics and opposition members over the decades and it has brazenly used public-funded resources like the People’s Association grassroots network to promote and protect the Party and its MPs.

      Yet they have the audacity to prosecute powerless ordinary citizens and children (including sending teenager Amos Yee to a mental hospital) for defamation and even accuse them of being insincere and opportunistic?

      Click here to read how the lawyer for PM Lee, in the ongoing court case against blogger Roy, has framed his attack by accusing the writer of being an opportunist.

      Our government has launched Character building courses for students purportedly to teach them moral values. Yet the government leaders have time and again shown their own lack of integrity by twisting facts and telling half-truths and even lies just to make themselves look good (One big lie is calling Lee Kuan Yew our country’s Founder when Singapore was founded centuries before he was born).

    • Amos Yee’s Mom’s Heartbreaking Apology: “Sorry Son. Mummy is Wrong.”

      This is Mdm Mary Toh’s Facebook post in full:

      “Sorry Son.
      Sorry for telling you that you are in the safest country. You are feeling so insecure and scared now.
      Sorry for urging you to be a law-abiding citizen. The laws are doing you more harm than good now.
      Sorry for assuring you that you will be well-protected. You are being threatened and ill-treated now.
      Sorry for saying that our government provides us the best welfare. You are not even allowed to sleep at home now.
      Sorry for telling you that home is best. It is where you were arrested from.
      Sorry for encouraging you to be creative and expressive. You are regarded as crazy and rebellious instead.
      Sorry for not teaching you well. You could have been taught otherwise.
      Sorry Son. Mummy is wrong.”

    • Amnesty International calls for “immediate and unconditional” release of Amos Yee

      “Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience, held solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression,” the human rights organisation says in a statement released on Friday, 3 July, with regards to the case of Singaporean video-blogger, Amos Yee.

      “As he is a minor, authorities must also ensure that his treatment is consistent with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Singapore is a State party.”

      Regarding the possibility of the teen being sent to reformative training, which entails a minimum 18-month detention, Amnesty said:

      “According to the Office of the UN Commissioner on Human Rights, reformative training is ‘akin to detention and usually applied to juvenile offenders involved in serious crimes’ and was referred to in a recent Singapore district court decision as ‘incarcerative in nature and should be imposed cautiously’.”

      “Amnesty International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Amos Yee.”

      It added that the authorities in Singapore “must also ensure that Amos Yee is safe from any security threats and is not tortured or otherwise ill-treated.”

    • S’pore authorities unnecessarily harsh with Amos Yee

      Suaram says Yee’s lawyers and family members have said that the teenager is deteriorating both physically and psychologically in Changi Prison.

    • Suaram calls on Singapore government to release Amos Yee

      Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) has called on Singapore authorities to release 16-year-old blogger Amos Yee Pang Sang and drop all charges against him.

      Its executive director Sevan Doraisamy said the blogger was currently being assessed on his suitability for the Reformative Training Centre (RTC) in the island republic.

    • Urgent appeal filed to release Amos Yee on bail, but is unsuccessful

      The Online Citizen (TOC) has learned that an urgent appeal was filed on Friday with the courts to request that Amos Yee be released on bail.

      The appeal was unsuccessful for administrative reason, TOC understands.

      The request was made after the mother of the 16-year old teenager, who is being remanded at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for psychiatric assessment, felt that conditions in the ward had become worrying for her son.

    • Release Singaporean teen blogger Amos Yee, Hong Kong student group Scholarism urges
    • Hong Kong students protest outside Singapore consulate, urge release of Amos Yee

      The 16-year-old was convicted on May 12 for uploading an obscene image in which the faces of Singapore’s late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and former British premier Margaret Thatcher were superimposed. He was also found guilty of deliberately hurting the feeling of Christians in a YouTube video criticising Mr Lee.

      [...]

      On why Hong Kong students were concerned about the issue, he said: “Our core value in Hong Kong is human rights, and we believe in freedom of speech and expression. We have a moral obligation to speak up especially for those who can’t do it themselves.”

      The HKU, along with the Lingnan University student union and the student group Scholarism, had earlier announced the plans for a petition in a Facebook post, saying: “Any act of trampling human rights and manipulating the freedom of thought must be condemned.”

    • Hong Kong students protest near Singapore consulate urging Amos Yee’s release

      University students in Hong Kong protested near the Singapore consulate in Hong Kong today (June 30), urging the Singapore government to release teen blogger Amos Yee.

      According to Hong Kong media reports, about 50 students from the University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, Lingnan and Hong Kong Polytechnic were part of the protest. Singaporean blogger Han Hui Hui was also spotted at the protest.

    • About 60 demonstrate outside S’pore Trade Office in Taipei; call for Amos Yee’s release

      About 60 people demonstrated outside the Singapore Trade Office in Taipei on Friday morning, calling for teenage blogger Amos Yee to be freed.

    • Amos Yee concerned about rape threat made against him

      The mother of 16-year old video blogger, Amos Yee, says she is relieved that her son is eating once again while being held at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).

      The teenager was ordered by the court to undergo a two-week assessment for possibly being within the range of autism spectrum disorder.

      A prior three-week assessment while being held at the Changi Prison saw Amos Yee being assessed as suitable for reformative training. However, the psychiatrist who conducted the assessment, Munidasa Winslow, also said the teen may be suffering from autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

    • Being a leader to bring light to this gloomy situation for Amos Yee

      Amos has succeeded in getting the world’s attention about the darker side of your father, and the more Amos suffers from unjust treatments, the more the government has helped Amos succeed in a more phenomenal way.

    • A Struggle without Borders: Charleston a Uniter or Divider?

      The fact is that according to the FBI, white people, not Black people, kill white people. In 2011, the perpetrators of 83% of white murder victims were Caucasian. An article entitled “9 Facts That Show White-on-White Crime Far Exceeds Black-on-Black Crime and How Media Outlets Conceal It,” said, “At the heart of an increasingly violent society is not a subculture among Blacks, but the violence and criminality of many Americans, and whites in particular.”

    • Plundering Our Freedom with Abandon – Robert Scheer on Reality Asserts Itself (8/10)

      PROF. ROBERT SCHEER, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: But why are they snooping? They’re snooping because they say we have enemies everywhere. And why do we have enemies everywhere? Because we put ourselves up as this nation that can determine everything for everyone. Okay? And we lost sight of the essential wisdom of the American experiment, you know, which was our framers, which is do it here, do it for your own people, and if it’s good, others will follow it. If we have a way of respecting each other, of solving our problems, if we can develop cohesion, right, it’s what everyone who ever came and intelligently observed our society, de Tocqueville most famously, and said, they care about each other or they know how to work with each other.

    • Prisons Without Walls: We’re All Inmates in the American Police State

      Stop and frisk searches are taking place daily across the country. Some of them even involve anal and/or vaginal searches. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has approved strip searches even if you are arrested for a misdemeanor—such as a traffic stop. Just like a prison inmate.

    • Former UK ministers urge Obama to free Shaker Aamer from Guantánamo Bay

      Boris Johnson has placed himself at the head of cross-party group, including a former Tory attorney general and a Labour leadership contender, who are calling on Barack Obama to secure the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident held in Guantánamo Bay.

    • Open letter to Barack Obama requesting the return of Shaker Aamer to the UK

      More than 90 signatories including politicians, celebrities and activists – such as Boris Johnson, Russell Brand and Natalie Bennett – challenge the US president to release last British Guantánamo prisoner

    • Despite White House pledges, Gitmo closure remains long-term goal

      The newly appointed Special Envoy for Guantánamo Closure is “under no illusions” that closing the U.S. prison “is going to be easy.”

      Lee Wolosky is filling a State Department position that has been vacant for the last six months. He served in the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations — working on the National Security Council staff.

      Wolosky understands the difficulty of the task ahead of him. The status of the controversial facility, along with its inhabitants, remains mired in delays, appeals and political dramas that make shutting the prison increasingly difficult to imagine.

    • David Swanson: Human experimentation is a CIA habit

      At Guantanamo, the CIA gave huge doses of the terror-inducing drug mefloquine to prisoners without their consent, as well as the supposed truth serum scopolamine.

    • Despite setbacks, international justice makes headway

      The recent hurried departure of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from South Africa, where African Union heads of state were convening, spared him arrest, for now. But the Pretoria High Court order that he defied, which enforced a warrant from the International Criminal Court charging him with genocide and crimes against humanity, marked a step forward in the fight against impunity.

    • CIA lagging in recruiting, promoting minorities, study finds

      The Central Intelligence Agency is falling behind in recruiting racial and ethnic minorities and promoting them to its highest ranks, according to an internal study the agency released Tuesday.

      Minorities make up less than 24% of the CIA workforce, and only 10.8% of its top Senior Intelligence Service. Among the most experienced employees whose ranks feed into the leadership jobs, known as GS-15s in the parlance of government pay scales, minorities make up 15.2%.

    • ‘The CIA Is Not Committed to Diversity,’ Says the CIA’s Own Diversity Study

      There are too many white people working for the CIA, according to the results of a CIA-commissioned study released Tuesday — and the lack of racial diversity has contributed to past intelligence failures.

    • CIA Lags in Recruiting Diverse Workforce, Reports Finds

      The Central Intelligence Agency’s efforts to bring more minorities into its workforce haven’t been as effective as hoped, according to a new internal report.

    • New Evidence on CIA Medical Torture: Injection “to the Bone” on Former Black Site Prisoner Majid Khan

      Quite recently, U.S. authorities allowed the declassification of notes from Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) attorney Wells Dixon that described what his client, high-value detainee Majid Khan, told him about his torture at the hands of the CIA. Khan, a Pakistan citizen, is currently at Guantanamo, and awaits trial by military commission.

    • Guantánamo Defense Lawyers Ask for Access to 14,000 CIA Photos of Secret Prisons

      Attorneys representing terrorism suspects at Guantánamo Bay have asked judges overseeing the military tribunals for their clients to see an enormous cache of photographs taken of “black sites” operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

      The images, which total about 14,000, show both the interiors and exteriors of CIA secret locations where detainees were held and interrogated last decade. The photographs reportedly do not show detainee interrogations, “including the torture of some suspects who were subjected to waterboarding and other brutal techniques,” according to The Washington Post. But they do include images of detainee cells, bathrooms, naked prisoners at the time of transport, confinement boxes that held detainees for hours at a time, and a waterboard in the “Salt Pit,” the largest CIA detention facility in Afghanistan.

    • CIA photos of ‘black sites’ demanded for 9/11 trials
    • Torture in Our Own Backyard: Chicago’s Story, America’s Dilemma

      As June ushered in rising temperatures, the month also brought about focus to a unique and controversial topic: torture. June was Torture Awareness Month and in light of this, Chicagoland held major events to advocate and encourage an end to its use in any form and on any governmental level. Amnesty International, the world’s largest grassroots human rights organization, hosted a rally on Friday, June 26 at Federal Plaza, which brought together individuals to celebrate recent victories in the fight against torture’s use and created an open space to highlight different narratives of torture, both international and domestic.

    • Embarrassing reputation of US prisons

      Criminals remain unpunished …

      If we look at the statistics provided by “Washington Post”, we can see yet another interesting fact. Forty percent of victims of police violence were unarmed. Criminal proceedings were instituted only in three out of 385 cases. Experts believe that this is a testament to a biased attitude of the US judiciary to the rights of the black population.

      Embarrassing “reputation”

      The fact that the situation in US prisons is far from ideal is understandable. Human rights in US prisons are grossly violated and black inmates are faced with a campaign of prejudice. This results in serious revolts in prisons. One such revolt took place in a Kentucky prison two years ago, as 250 people were injured.

    • Torture ‘not okay’: Former FBI agent

      “Just because somebody murdered, somebody raped, does not mean it is okay to torture that individual,” says ex FBI agent Ali Soufan in an interview with Channel NewsAsia’s Conversation With.

    • There’s No Reason to Hide the Amount of Secret Law

      Whether the government may keep some legal interpretations secret from the public is a debate that is certain to continue for some time. But there is no justification for keeping the public in the dark about how much secrecy exists. After all, we’re no less safe as a nation for knowing that there’s a PPD-29, and we’re able to have an informed discussion about whether too many presidential directives are kept secret. We should be able to have the same informed discussion about OLC memoranda, FISC opinions, and other manifestations of secret law.

  • DRM

    • Some Apple Music Users Report iCloud Music Library Deleted iTunes Content

      Apple Music rollout seems to have been hit by glitches that are causing the deletion of songs and playlists from the iTunes library of several users. The problems seem to occur only when users turn on iCloud Music Library (a feature introduced in iTunes 12.2 and iOS 8.4) with Apple Music, an option that is meant to provide features like offline caching. Other users report problems like the substitution of bad artwork and metadata, apart from the replacement of files with DRM-protected ones.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay founders: FBI has Prenda Law under investigation

        A federal judge referred the lawyers behind the Prenda Law “copyright trolling” scheme to investigators in 2013. Since then, there’s been no indication of what stage an investigation is at, or if it’s happening at all.

        Now, two co-founders of The Pirate Bay have said they have reason to believe that an investigation is underway. Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij each independently told the website TorrentFreak that Swedish authorities questioned them during their recent imprisonment.

      • Police Let Seized ‘Pirate’ Domains Expire, Some Up For Sale

        A range of domains seized from ‘pirate’ sites by the UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit have been released back into the wild. After displaying a banner declaring them criminal operations and racking up millions of hits, many domains are up for grabs once more while others display ads.

      • Rumblefish claims it owns “America the Beautiful” by United States Navy Band?

        Ok, so we posted a video of an Arduino rotating in front of an American flag with the public domain “America the Beautiful” by United States Navy Band as the music. We immediately received this from YouTube.

07.03.15

Links 3/7/2015: KDE Applications 15.04.3, Ubuntu-Flavored Compute Stick

Posted in News Roundup at 3:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Q&A: Zipcar founder Robin Chase on open source and the collaboration economy

    Robin Chase is a transportation entrepreneur known for founding the transportation related companies such as Zipcar, Buzzcar and Veniam. She wears many hats and is an inspiration to women all around the globe. She is also a strong supporter of Open Source and Open Collaborative technologies. She recently authored a book called Peers Inc: How People and Platforms Are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism. Chase will be delivering a keynote at the upcoming LinuxCon event.

  • Exclusive interview with Hans de Raad

    In my daily life (both personal and professional) I use open source for just about anything, from LibreOffice to Drupal, Kolab, Piwik, Apache, KDE, etc.

    Being part of the communities of these projects for me is a very special extra dimension that creates a lot of extra motivation and satisfaction.

    For me, open source isn’t so much of a choice it is simply the standard.

  • 7 stories that make you feel good about open source in 2015 (so far)

    One of the great things about open source is its reach beyond just the software we use. Open source isn’t just about taking principled stands, it’s about making things better for the world around us. It helps spread new ideas by letting anyone with an interest modify and replicate those ideas in their own communities.

    In this collection, let’s take a look back at some of the best articles we’ve shared this year about the ways that open source is making an impact on communities and improving the lives of people across the world.

  • Project Ascension: Reddit-born open source game launcher unveils user interface for ‘better gaming’

    Forget about having multiple game launcher clients slowing down your computer – a community born on Reddit wants to unify all the popular game launchers into one multi-platform launcher.

    Project Ascension started as a community discussion on social bookmarking website Reddit in April, when users complained that they were tired of having many different game launcher ecosystems, such as Steam, Origin, GOG and uPlay.

  • Google makes deep learning AI software open-source
  • Google open-sources its software for making trippy images with deep learning
  • Google opens up Deep Dream software, terrifies world
  • Google Opens Up its Deep Dream Code to Let People Create Hallucinogenic Images
  • Google’s trippy project DeepDream project goes public
  • Open source platform security considerations

    In the enterprise, open source software can be a great benefit for those who take the time to weigh the risks and select the right platform.

  • How Open Source Drives IBM’s Systems Unit

    “Fifteen years ago, we made the decision to bring Linux into the mainframe. In fact, this was the first $1 billion commitment IBM made to Linux back in the year 2000. And I’d like to think, in some small way, we helped bring Linux to the enterprise with that commitment of over 15 years ago,” Balog said.

  • Where are they now? 5 open source projects
  • SourceForge forming Community Panel

    SourceForge has begun outreach to Open Source developers and end-users in an effort to form a Community Panel to help guide future development of our products and policies.

    We expect to have ongoing communications with members of our Community Panel in coming weeks, to be followed by an in-person event at summer’s end on the east coast of the US.

  • Events

    • OSI at OSCON 2015

      Once again the OSI and our Board of Directors will be at OSCON. Just like in years past, the OSI will again be strongly represented with presentations form our Board Directors, Affiliate Members and Individual Members, a booth in the Expo Hall and even a dedicated session on how to use OSI’s resources to change the open source world.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • 5 Best Enterprise Apps and Extensions for Google Chrome

        We have already covered a lot of enterprise applications on our site before. However, one would never expect apps in this genre to exist on a browser like Google Chrome. But, nothing could be further from the real truth. Google’s effort to outsmart even the biggest players in the enterprise market are gradually paying off. Slowly spreading its wings into the business world, Google is venturing into arenas where Microsoft once reigned supreme. While the competition doesn’t concern us much, but what has happened, in effect, is that the rivalry is bringing out the best in both companies.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 39 Arrives After a Three-Day Delay

        Mozilla has finally released the stable version of Firefox 39 after it delayed the launch for a couple of days. It’s not a major release, but it does have a few interesting features and quite a few bug fixes.

      • New Sharing Features in Firefox

        Whichever social network you choose, it’s undeniable that being social is a key part of why you enjoy the Web. Firefox is built to put you in control, including making it easier to share anything you like on the Web’s most popular social networks. Today, we’re announcing that Firefox Share has been integrated into Firefox Hello. We introduced Firefox Share to offer a simple way of sharing Web content across popular services such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Google+ and other social and email services (full list here) to help you share anything on the Web with any or all of your friends.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

  • BSD

    • finding bugs in tarsnap

      Some people were hanging around Michael Lucas’s table at BSDCan, and the topic of conversation turned to Tarsnap. (Lucas has a book about it.) Each person went round the circle and said they were happy to pay Colin for his service, but when it was finally my turn I was forced to admit that while I would pay for Tarsnap, I found a bug and so, thanks to the bounty, it may be more accurate to say I get paid to use it.

    • bsdtalk 254 [Ogg]
    • Pfmatch, a packet filtering language embedded in Lua

      Greets, hackers! I just finished implementing a little embedded language in Lua and wanted to share it with you. First, a bit about the language, then some notes on how it works with Lua to reach the high performance targets of Snabb Switch.

    • OPNsense 15.7 Released As Fork Of Pfsense

      The OPNsense 15.7 release added i386 and NanoBSD support, LibreSSL support, re-based to FreeBSD 10.1, added OpenDNS support, intrusion detection support, new local/remote backlist options, some security fixes, and added many other new features.

    • OPNsense 15.7 ‘Brave Badger’ is Released, The Next Step in Open Source Security
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Teaching Email Self-Defense: Campaigns intern leads a workshop at PorcFest

      My workshop on Email Self-Defense took place at the 12th annual Porcupine Freedom Festival in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Around eight people attended, which was a few more than I expected. Christopher Waid and Bob Call of ThinkPenguin joined me in helping everyone who brought a laptop to set up GnuPG properly. Those who didn’t bring a laptop participated by observing the process on the system most similar to their own and asking questions about particular steps, so as to enable them to achieve the same configuration when they returned home.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Q&A: Why Congress is Jumping on the Open Source Bandwagon

      Members of the House, committees and staff have officially received the green light to obtain open source software for their offices, and to discuss software code and policy with developers, citizens and other legislators in communities such as GitHub, according to the Congressional Data Coalition advocacy group.

      The White House joined open source code repository site GitHub in 2012. But it wasn’t until this May a sitting congressman, Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., first joined the site. Connolly used it to make edits to guidance on implementation of the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Grateful Dead Open Source Business Model One of the Most Successful

      The Dead was one of the first and most successful open source business models. They never felt their albums captured their true sound and musical depth. This could only come through their live performances. And yet, because they were very experimental and bold risk takers, any particular show could fall flat or even spontaneously combust. Thus, it was important to see many shows because magic would inevitably transpire and they wanted all of their fans to know what that was like and have a hunger for more once it had been experienced. A true natural high for anyone that has experienced it. As it’s been said, there is nothing like a Grateful Dead show.

    • Atom 1.0 from GitHub, the new R consortium, and more news
    • Open Hardware

      • Long live ROS: Why the robotics revolution is being driven by open source development

        The 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) wrapped up last month, and while teams from Korea and the U.S. took away $3.5M in prize money, the real winner was the open source robotics movement. Of the 23 teams competing in the DRC, 18 utilized the open-source Robotic Operating System (ROS) and 14 used Gazebo, an open source robot simulator that allows developers to test concepts in robust virtual environments without risking valuable hardware.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Bill Gates’ Temporary Sterilization Microchip In Beta Female Testing By End of Year

      The same developers who are bringing wireless remotely controlled microchip implants are actually focusing on their first flagship product: Gates Foundation-funded birth-control microchip implants. Wireless technology allows the remotely controlled chip to turn a woman’s ability to conceive off or on at will – temporary sterilization.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Bernie Sanders and the Rebirth of Socialism in the US?

      Yes, it may be unlikely that Sanders will win the nomination. In national polls for the primaries Hillary Clinton, the favorite, did not poll less than 50 percent since April. Bernie Sanders has not polled over 25 percent since June 2014. But recent polls seem to suggest growing support for Sanders, particularly in the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary. Regardless of the results, however, Sanders’ bid for the candidacy has led to a discussion around socialism.

    • Beware Greeks Bearing Rifts

      The Euro project will continue to be extremely strong. New money will be funnelled into the pockets of bankers. It is important to recall that 100% of these bailout funds go to bankers, none of it goes to the Greek people and none of it stays in Greece. The same bankers will become the beneficiaries of servicing of new loans provided to vast corporations to buy up Greek public assets, cheap.

    • Europe is heading towards constitutional crisis, with or without Greece

      As Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stands off against the so-called Troika, questions abound about the future of his country.

      But there should also be pressing questions about the future of the European Union. The shaky legal foundations of the EU have been laid bare by this crisis.

    • Lidl has received almost $1bn in public development funding

      Supermarket chain owned by one of Germany’s wealthiest families given money over past decade by World Bank and others as it expands into eastern Europe

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • NPR Ombud Responds on ‘All-Corporate Lobbyist’ Alert – Report not as one-sided as FAIR claimed, Jensen said–but opposition voice would have strengthened it

      NPR ombud Elizabeth Jensen wrote a column (7/1/15) responding to a FAIR Action Alert, “NPR Celebrates Fast-Track Victory With an All-Corporate Lobbyist Segment” (6/27/15).

      Jensen acknowledges that the report in question (Morning Edition, 6/25/15), which featured three executives from business lobbies talking about Congress’s passage of corporate-backed Fast-Track legislation, “would have been stronger and more complete if it had included a voice representing the opponents.”

    • National Plutocrat Radio – Corporate One-Percenters dominate NPR affiliates’ boards

      For a public radio service, NPR is notoriously known for its lack of diversity within its staff, audience and guests invited onto their shows—problems that NPR has itself acknowledged (6/30/14).

      A new FAIR study finds that NPR’s diversity problem also extends into the board of trustees of its most popular member stations: Two out of three board members are male, and nearly three out of four are non-Latino whites. Fully three out of every four trustees of the top NPR affiliates belong to the corporate elite.

    • James Loewen on Racism and US History

      He’s the author of the classic book, Lies My Teacher Told Me, which assesses the textbooks used in US classrooms, turning up falsehoods, elisions and distortions. He explains some of the reasons students say they hate history–and non-white students hate it most of all.

  • Censorship

    • Reddit moderators in revolt, Reddit on lockdown

      Reddit has been in the news a lot in recent months, and not for any positive reasons. Now the site is again making headlines as its moderators go on a strike and put Reddit in a virtual state of lockdown.

    • Reddit rebellion: huge chunks of the site have gone down following a staff member’s departure

      Reddit is in revolt. This week, Victoria Taylor, director of talent and coordinator of the site’s popular “Ask me Anything” (r/IAmA) subreddit, left reddit, apparently against her will. In response, a group of the site’s coordinators have pulled the shades on some of the site’s most popular sections.

    • BEL MOONEY: Why does my alma mater have one rule for hate preachers and another for scientists who make daft jokes?

      People may wonder why this issue has attracted so much attention. After all, a speech made by an eminent scientist — a Nobel Prize-winner, no less — to a small group of journalists in South Korea in a previous age would have received no attention at all.

      But after the 72-year-old Prof’s weak jokes about how ‘girls’ are a distraction in laboratories — which made some listeners titter and others roll their eyes — just three people tweeted shock-horror, and the storm began.

      Sir Tim quickly found his career and reputation, built up over 50 years, all but ruined. Although he apologised for his error, he was still unceremoniously hounded out of honorary positions at UCL, the Royal Society and the European Research Council.

      That response was, in my view, hasty and disgraceful —and out of all proportion to his alleged ‘crime’.

    • David Cameron Promises To Do Away With ‘Safe Spaces’ On The Internet

      Earlier this year, there were some questions raised when it appeared that UK Prime Minister David Cameron was suggesting that he wanted to undermine all encryption on the internet. Later, some suggested he was looking more at undermining end point security. However, after being re-elected, and apparently believing that this gave him the mandate to go full Orwell, Cameron is making it clear that no one should ever have any privacy from government snoops ever.

  • Privacy

    • GCHQ did spy on Amnesty International, secret tribunal admits

      The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which provides oversight for UK intelligence services, admitted yesterday that its judgement made on 22 June wrongly failed to declare that Amnesty International had been subject to unlawful surveillance by GCHQ. The IPT revealed this in an e-mail sent to the ten NGO claimants involved in the earlier legal challenge to UK government surveillance. As Amnesty International explained: “Today’s communication makes clear that it was actually Amnesty International Ltd, and not the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) that was spied on in addition to the Legal Resources Centre in South Africa.”

    • GCHQ did illegally spy on Amnesty International, Investigatory Powers Tribunal admits

      The IPT said in its original judgement that communications by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and the South African non-profit Legal Resources Centre had been illegally retained and examined.

      However, the tribunal made it clear in the email sent on Wednesday that it was Amnesty International and not the Egyptian organisation that had been spied on, as well as the Legal Resources Centre in South Africa.

      The IPT email made no mention of when or why Amnesty International was spied on, or what was done with the information obtained. The organisation is calling for an independent inquiry into how and why a UK intelligence agency has been spying on human rights organisations.

    • Harvard University admits to IT systems data breach

      THE PRESTIGIOUS HARVARD UNIVERSITY has revealed that it was the victim of a security breach in June affecting eight schools and administrative organisations at the university.

      The intrusion in the IT systems of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Central Administration was discovered on 19 June, and is thought to have exposed various log-in credentials, including for Office 365, which were stored on the compromised networks.

      “At this time, we have no indication that research data or personal data managed by Harvard systems (e.g. Social Security numbers) have been exposed,” said the university IT team in an advisory on its website.

    • A Look at the Inner Workings of NSA’s XKEYSCORE

      The sheer quantity of communications that XKEYSCORE processes, filters and queries is stunning. Around the world, when a person gets online to do anything — write an email, post to a social network, browse the web or play a video game — there’s a decent chance that the Internet traffic her device sends and receives is getting collected and processed by one of XKEYSCORE’s hundreds of servers scattered across the globe.

    • XKEYSCORE: NSA’s Google for the World’s Private Communications

      One of the National Security Agency’s most powerful tools of mass surveillance makes tracking someone’s Internet usage as easy as entering an email address, and provides no built-in technology to prevent abuse. Today, The Intercept is publishing 48 top-secret and other classified documents about XKEYSCORE dated up to 2013, which shed new light on the breadth, depth and functionality of this critical spy system — one of the largest releases yet of documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Privacy Is Personal

      Linux would not be here without the Net. Nor would countless other building materials and methods that support networked life and the institutions that rely on networks, which now include approximately everything.

      [...]

      All these things need to be as casual and easily understood as clothing and shelter are in the physical world today. They can’t work only for wizards. Privacy is for muggles too. Without agancy and scale for muggles, the Net will remain the Land of Giants, who regard us all as serfs by default.

  • Civil Rights

    • Amnesty International Responds to U.K. Government Surveillance

      A British tribunal admitted on Wednesday that the U.K. government had spied on Amnesty International and illegally retained some of its communications. Sherif Elsayed-Ali, deputy director of global issues for Amnesty International in London, responds:

      Just after 4 p.m. yesterday, Amnesty International received an email from the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which hears cases related to U.K. intelligence agencies. The message was brief: There had been a mistake in the tribunal’s judgment 10 days earlier in a case brought by 10 human rights organizations against the U.K.’s mass surveillance programs. Contrary to the finding in the original ruling, our communications at Amnesty International had, in fact, been under illegal surveillance by GCHQ, the U.K.’s signals intelligence agency.

    • No Craig Newmark Did Not Donate To EFF; He Helped Make CFAA Worse Instead

      There’s been a bunch of fuss online over the “news” that Craigslist is supposedly donating $1 million to EFF when the money is not actually from Craig. It’s from a startup that Craigslist has sued out of business, under a dangerous interpretation of the CFAA that harms the open internet. Obviously, EFF getting an additional $1 million in resources is really great. But it’s troubling to see so many people congratulate Craigslist and Craig Newmark for “supporting EFF.” Craig himself has contributed to this misleading perception with this tweet implying he’s giving his own money to EFF…

      [...]

      And yet Craigslist sued these companies under a tortured definition of the CFAA, arguing that the mere scraping of its data to provide value on top of it (none of which took away any value from Craigslist) was “unauthorized access.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • IPv4 address stock dwindles as North American database runs dry

      The number of available IPv4 address spaces has fallen so low that the US organisation responsible for handing out addresses has rejected a request because there was not enough stock.

      The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) posted a note on its website confirming the move, although it did not say from where the request had come.

      “ARIN activated the IPv4 Unmet Requests policy this week with the approval of an address request that was larger than the available inventory in the regional IPv4 free pool,” said ARIN chief executive John Curran.

  • DRM/Restriction

    • iOS 8.4 kills Home Sharing for music and people aren’t happy about it

      APPLE QUIETLY KILLED OFF Home Sharing for music in iOS 8.4, and has pissed off its customers in the process.

      Home Sharing for music launched in 2011 as part of iOS 4.3, and allowed iPhone, iPad and iPod users to stream music from a computer running iTunes, as long as the devices were connected to the same WiFi network.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom Appeals to Reclaim ‘Mega Millions’ from U.S.

        In an effort to reclaim an estimated $67 million in assets, Megaupload’s legal team has appealed the forfeiture the U.S. Government won earlier this year. The filing refutes the claim that Kim Dotcom and his former colleagues are fugitives, and warns of the dangerous precedent the District Court ruling will set.

      • The battle to reform 300-year-old copyright law for the digital age

        The Internet is built on copying. That’s true at a purely technical level: as packets of data move around the world, they are copied from network to network, and finally to the end-user’s device. But it’s also true in terms of how people use the Internet: they are constantly sending copies across the network, whether partial snippets or entire works. That’s a big problem, because once a creation is in a fixed form, it is automatically subject to copyright, an intellectual monopoly that gives creators the power to prevent copies being made of their work. Quite simply, this situation ensures that almost everyone using the Internet is also breaking the law multiple times every day.

07.02.15

Links 2/7/2015: KDE Plasma 5.3.2, antiX 15

Posted in News Roundup at 12:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • NHS IT failures mount as GP data system declared unfit for purpose

    The towering scrapheap of NHS IT failures may about to rise further, with the increasingly expensive GP Extraction Service IT system deemed not fit for purpose by the government’s spending watchdog.

    Costs for the GPES IT system, which is supposed to extract data from all GP practices in England, have ballooned from £14m to £40m, with at least £5.5m wasted on write-offs and delay costs, said the National Audit Office.

    The GPES has so far managed to provide data for just one customer – NHS England – who received four years later than originally planned.

    The NAO said the need for the service remains and further public expenditure is required to improve or replace it.

  • Alton Towers apologises for taking up to an hour to evacuate passengers from monorail in searing heat
  • Science

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • What We Call Security Isn’t Really Security

      Well, it’s probably no shock to you that the security industry can’t agree on a definition of security. Imagine if the horse industry couldn’t agree on what is a horse. Yes, it’s like that.

    • UH OH: Windows 10 will share your Wi-Fi key with your friends’ friends

      Those contacts include their Outlook.com (nee Hotmail) contacts, Skype contacts and, with an opt-in, their Facebook friends. There is method in the Microsoft madness – it saves having to shout across the office or house “what’s the Wi-Fi password?” – but ease of use has to be teamed with security. If you wander close to a wireless network, and your friend knows the password, and you both have Wi-Fi Sense, you can now log into that network.

    • Former L0pht man ‘Mudge’ leaves Google for Washington

      L0pht co-founder and CTO of Veracode Chris Wysopal told Security Ledger software remains among “the last products that has no transparency to what the customer is getting, adding that the “pseudo-monopolies” in the industry can simply refuse to co-operate with third-party testers.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Finance

    • Economic Update: Pope Questions Capitalism

      We have fun with why US govt leaving Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York and we celebrate rising UK movement against austerity. Second half of show interviews veteran reporter Bob Hennelly on the Pope’s statement about ecology, environment, and a failing economic system.

    • Socialism Means Abolishing the Distinction Between Bosses and Employees

      Regulated private capitalism. State capitalism. Socialism. These three systems are entirely different from each other. We need to understand the differences between them to move beyond today’s dysfunctional economies. With confidence waning in whether modern private capitalism can truly be fixed, the debate shifts to a choice between two systemic alternatives that we must learn to keep straight: state capitalism and socialism.

  • Privacy

    • WikiLeaks: New intelligence briefs show US spied on German leader

      On Wednesday, WikiLeaks published two new top-secret National Security Agency briefs that detail American and British espionage conducted against German leaders as they were discussing responses to the Greek economic crisis in 2011.

      The organization also published a redacted list of 69 German government telephone numbers that were targeted for snooping. That list includes Oskar Lafontaine, who served as German finance minister from 1998 to 1999, when the German government was still based in Bonn—suggesting that this kind of spying has been going on for over 15 years at least.

    • VPNs are exposing sensitive user data due to IPv6 leakage vulnerability

      A STUDY has found that 11 out of 14 virtual private network (VPN) providers are exposing personal information through a vulnerability known as IPv6 leakage.

      This is damning for such privacy services, many of which have seen increased use since the Edward Snowden PRISM revelations of 2013.

    • Orfox Is The Guardian Project’s Latest App For Bringing The Tor Browser Experience To Android, First Alpha Release Is Available

      The Guardian Project, the group behind previous efforts to bring Tor and other privacy-preserving software to Android, is working on a Tor-friendly browser built on the desktop equivalent’s codebase. This app, named Orfox, will replace its WebView-based predecessor Orweb.

  • Civil Rights

    • TSA Asks America To LOL At Traveler Who Had $75,000 Taken From Him By Federal Agents

      The TSA runs a fairly entertaining Instagram account, if you’re the sort of person who is impressed by pictures of weapons seized from stupid passengers. That would be the extent of its social media prowess. Its blog is pretty much a 50/50 mix of Yet Another Thing You Can’t Take Onboard and Blogger Bob defending the TSA’s latest gaffe.

      One of the TSA’s official Twitter flacks tried to loft a lighthearted “hey, look at this thing we came across!” tweet. She couldn’t have picked a worse “thing” to highlight, considering the ongoing outrage over civil asset forfeiture.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Europe to end mobile roaming charges by June 2017

      Lawmakers agreed a final proposal to scrap roaming charges and introduce rules based on “net neutrality”. Roaming charges are a part of life when you travel abroad and customers are penalised that just have to use their mobile phone for data. The good news now is that nonsense will come to end in June 2017, there will however be the usual fair use policy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • UK police seize thousands of Android streamers modded for piracy

        Set-top boxes help deliver streaming services like Netflix and Now TV into our homes, but they’re also giving rise to less-than legal methods of watching films, TV shows and sport. As manufacturers have embraced the open nature of Android, enterprising users have found ways to install apps that facilitate piracy, which has become a business in its own right. This week, a number of police forces conducted raids on sellers of “pirate” Android streamers, confiscating thousands of units in the process.

      • Supreme Court won’t weigh in on Oracle-Google API copyright battle

        The Supreme Court on Monday rejected Google’s appeal of the Google-Oracle API copyright dispute. The high court’s move lets stand an appellate court’s decision that application programming interfaces (APIs) are subject to copyright protections.

      • Supreme Court Won’t Hear Oracle v. Google Case, Leaving APIs Copyrightable And Innovation At Risk

        This is unfortunate, even if it was somewhat expected: the Supreme Court has now rejected Google’s request to hear its appeal over the appeals court decision that overturned a lower court ruling on the copyrightability of APIs. The lower court decision, by Judge William Alsup (who learned to code Java to understand the issues), noted that APIs were not copyrightable, as they were mere methods, which are not subject to copyright.

07.01.15

Links 1/7/2015: OpenDaylight Lithium, OpenMandriva Lx 2014.2

Posted in News Roundup at 2:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 6 things technical leaders should consider around open-source software

    Many organisations have a wide array of open-source applications and code in use today – whether it be at the infrastructure and application layers, or in development frameworks and GitHub repositories.

    However, the applications developer and infrastructure teams come under increasing pressure as organisations rush to develop new services for customers, comply with growing amounts of industry regulation, or simply strive to meet the needs of the information generation.

  • Navigating through an open-source world
  • Open Source to power financial services innovations
  • AWS security looks to avoid cloud reboots with s2n
  • ​Amazon introduces new open-source TLS implementation ‘s2n’
  • Amazon Web Services Delivers Open Source Cryptographic Tool
  • Amazon Releases S2N TLS Crypto Implementation to Open Source
  • Amazon releases open source cryptographic module

    The software, s2n, is a new implementation of Transport Layer Security (TLS), a protocol for encrypting data. TLS is the successor of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), both of which AWS uses to secure most of its services.

  • Engineers at Etsy play by their own rules

    Etsy, the leading marketplace for handmade goods, has grown by leaps and bounds over the past five years. During that time they’ve iterated on their model, their strategy, and their mission. One thing that’s driven the success of those changes is their open workplace culture.

    I talked to senior engineering manager John Goulah about what it means to fail faster at Etsy, and he shared with me some interesting insights into the communication techniques Etsy uses to empower their associates and improve the experience of buyers and sellers on the site.

  • Altera, Brain4Net and CertusNet Join the OPNFV Project to Accelerate Open Source NFV
  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • NoSQL and the next generation of big data

      Ingo is a senior solutions architect at MongoDB. He is active in many open source projects, and is the author of Open Life: The Philosophy of Open Source, a book on open source community ethics and business models.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.4.4 Released

      The Document Foundation today announced LibreOffice 4.4.4, the latest update to the 4.4 branch. Today’s release brings 74 bug fixes including several crashes and import/export bugs. The announcement today also brought news of version 5.0 as well as reminders for the LibreOffice Conference in September.

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 10.2 Gets Ready For Release, 11.0-CURRENT For Testing

      The PC-BSD development team today announced their 10.2 pre-release, which continues to be derived from FreeBSD. Additionally they’ve also announced new 11.0-CURRENT images for those wishing to get a look ahead at FreeBSD/PC-BSD 11.0.

      The PC-BSD 10.2 pre-release / 11.0 current announcement didn’t offer many details about all of the changes in store, but once PC-BSD 10.2 and PC-BSD/FreeBSD 11.0 are officially out, you can expect lengthy write-ups on Phoronix.

      More details via the PCBSD.org blog.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • It’s 2015 And Congress Is Now, Finally, Allowed To Use Open Source Technologies

      First, the good news: members of the House of Representatives in the US Congress are now allowed to use open source technology in their offices, rather than the very limited list of proprietary offerings they were given in the past. Second, the bad news: how the hell is it 2015 and this is only becoming an option now? I guess we can’t change the past, and so let’s celebrate the House of Reps finally getting to this point — which just happens to coincide with the upcoming launch of the House Open Source Caucus (led by Reps. Blake Farenthold and Jared Polis).

    • The House opens up to open source

      Traditionally, members of the House of Representatives have been presented with a limited plate of options when choosing technology to run their offices and manage their web presences. Members that wanted to take advantage of open source solutions — which are restriction-free, reusable and frequently more cost-effective — faced significant uncertainty and were pushed towards a small selection of proprietary options.

    • Extremadura schoolboard’s software deal protested

      Advocates of free software are protesting a tender by the school board of the Spanish region of Extremadura requesting proprietary software licences. The advocacy group, Extremadura Focus Initiative, is supported by the new, incoming government of the region and by several of Extremadura’s school teachers.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • The Problem With Putting All the World’s Code in GitHub

      The ancient Library of Alexandria may have been the largest collection of human knowledge in its time, and scholars still mourn its destruction. The risk of so devastating a loss diminished somewhat with the advent of the printing press and further still with the rise of the Internet. Yet centralized repositories of specialized information remain, as does the threat of a catastrophic loss.

    • R, Matey: Hoisting the Sails for a Programming Language

      So what is R? The R programming language is a free and open source programming language for statistical computing and provides an interactive environment for data analysis, modeling and visualization. The language is used by statisticians, analysts and data scientists to unlock value from data.

    • A Code Boot Camp for Underprivileged Kids

      A science center in Johannesburg, South Africa, has opened the doors to a five-month course in Linux-based Web apps and entrepreneurial skills. The training is available free of charge to underprivileged students from nearby townships; if it’s successful, it will be rolled out nationwide.

    • MIT develops donor ‘transplants’ for buggy code without access to the source

      A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have come up with a way to use ‘donor’ programs to improve the functionality and reduce system errors and flaws in open-source programs.

      Outlined in a paper dubbed “Automatic error elimination by horizontal code transfer across multiple applications,” MIT researchers describe the Code Phage system, which automatically transfers code from donor programs to other applications which have buggy code and errors.

    • PHP for Non-Developers
    • PHP SIG – Autoloader

      The Fedora PHP SIG (Special Interest Group) is back / working.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Op-ed: Safari is the new Internet Explorer

      Last weekend I attended EdgeConf, a conference populated by many of the leading lights in the Web industry. It featured panel talks and breakout sessions with a focus on technologies that are just now starting to emerge in browsers, so there was a lot of lively discussion around Service Worker, Web Components, Shadow DOM, Web Manifests, and more.

      EdgeConf’s hundred-odd attendees were truly the heavy hitters of the Web community. The average Twitter follower count in any given room was probably in the thousands, and all the major browser vendors were represented—Google, Mozilla, Microsoft, Opera. We had lots of fun peppering them with questions about when they might release such-and-such API.

Leftovers

  • Walmart Apologizes for Making ISIS Cake for Man Denied Confederate Flag Design

    A man in Louisiana is asking for an explanation from Walmart after his request for a Confederate flag cake at one of its bakeries was rejected, but a design with the ISIS flag was accepted.

    Chuck Netzhammer said he ordered the image of the Confederate flag on a cake with the words, “Heritage Not Hate,” on Thursday at a Walmart in Slidell, Louisiana. But the bakery denied his request, he said. At some point later, he ordered the image of the ISIS flag that represents the terrorist group.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Everyone Gets Cosmetic Procedures, Says Time–and by ‘Everyone,’ They Mean Almost No One

      Even by the standards of newsweekly hyperbole, this is ridiculous. In the piece, Stein writes that “in the US, doctors performed over 15 million cosmetic procedures in 2014, a 13 percent increase from 2011 and more than twice as many as in 2000.”

      The population of the United States is now 319 million, so 15 million is about 5 percent per capita.

      Even that overstates how big “everyone” is, since most of those procedures are injections like Botox–a muscle relaxant that has to be readministered as often as four times a year. Coupled with the fact that Botox can be used on multiple parts of the body—each of which may be considered a different “procedure”—the “everyone” who “gets work done” turns out to be a tiny fraction of the population.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Kirsty’s Story

      I knew with certainty that the BBC and official line of a lone gunman being responsible for the Tunisian attacks was a lie, because one of the victims of one of the “other” gunmen was my dear niece Kirsty.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Greeks are rushing to Bitcoin

      With bank doors slammed shut, frantic Greeks are turning to online trading platforms to see if the digital money Bitcoin is a better bet than the euro.

    • Confusing Lending and Spending at the New York Times

      In fact, central banks have not spent this money, they have lent this money, mostly by buying government bonds. This matters hugely, because lending is a much more indirect way to boost the economy than spending.

      Lending by central banks is supposed to boost growth by lowering interest rates. This encourages borrowing in the public and private sectors. This helps to explain the growth in debt in recent years: Rather than indicating a troubling situation, this was actually the point of the policy.

      Rather than focus on the amount of debt countries, companies and individuals have incurred, it would be more reasonable to examine their interest burdens. These are mostly quite low.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Feds Awarded Colorado Charter Schools $46 Million because of “Hiring and Firing” Rules

      Between 2010 and 2015, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) awarded Colorado $46 million under the Charter Schools Program. Part of the reason the state landed the competitive grant was that charters are free to hire unlicensed teachers and then fire them at will, documents reviewed by CMD show.

      Designed to create and expand “high-quality” charter schools, the quarter-billion-dollar-a-year program has been repeatedly criticized by the watchdogs at the department’s Office of the Inspector General watchdog for suspected waste and poor financial controls.

    • Jeb Bush dogged by decades of questions about business deals

      In early 1989, seven weeks after his father moved into the White House, Jeb Bush took a trip to Nigeria.

      Nearly 100,000 Nigerians turned out to see him over four days as he accompanied the executives of a Florida company called Moving Water Industries, which had just retained Bush to market the firm’s pumps. Escorted by the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, Bush met with the nation’s political and religious leaders as part of an MWI effort to land a deal that would be worth $80 million.

    • STUDY: How The Media Is Covering Presidential Candidates’ Climate Science Denial

      43 Percent Of Newspaper Coverage Failed To Note That Candidates’ Climate Statements Conflict With Scientific Consensus. From March 23 — when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) became the first candidate to announce his presidential bid — to June 22 of this year, newspapers and wire services surveyed by Media Matters published 54 news stories (in print and online) that included a presidential candidate denying either that climate change is occurring or that human activity is largely responsible for it. But the newspapers and wires failed to indicate that the candidate’s position conflicts with the scientific consensus in 23 of those stories, or 43 percent of the coverage.

  • Censorship

    • Banned Books Week Celebrates Young Adult Books in 2015

      Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read by encouraging read-outs, displays, and community activities that raise awareness of the ongoing threat of censorship. Last year, tens of thousands of people participated in Banned Books Week online. More than 500 videos were posted in a virtual read-out, and thousands participated in hundreds of events in bookstores, libraries, and schools and universities across the country.

  • Privacy

    • If You Can’t Beat ’Em: France, Up In Arms Over NSA Spying, Passes New Surveillance Law

      Yet also today, the lower house of France’s legislature, the National Assembly, passed a sweeping surveillance law. The law provides a new framework for the country’s intelligence agencies to expand their surveillance activities. Opponents of the law were quick to mock the government for vigorously protesting being surveilled by one of the country’s closest allies while passing a law that gives its own intelligence services vast powers with what its opponents regard as little oversight. But for those who support the new law, the new revelations of NSA spying showed the urgent need to update the tools available to France’s spies.

    • Surveillance Court Rules That N.S.A. Can Resume Bulk Data Collection

      The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled late Monday that the National Security Agency may temporarily resume its once-secret program that systematically collects records of Americans’ domestic phone calls in bulk.

    • Secret US court allows resumption of bulk phone metadata spying

      A secret US tribunal ruled late Monday that the National Security Agency is free to continue its bulk telephone metadata surveillance program—the same spying that Congress voted to terminate weeks ago.

      Congress disavowed the program NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed when passing the USA Freedom Act, which President Barack Obama signed June 2. The act, however, allowed for the program to be extended for six months to allow “for an orderly transition” to a less-invasive telephone metadata spying program.

    • Cloudflare Reveals Pirate Site Locations in an Instant

      According to an announcement from the site, Rights Alliance lawyer Henrik Pontén recently approached Cloudflare in an effort to uncover Sparvar’s email address and the true location of its servers. The discussions between Rights Alliance and Cloudflare were seen by Sparvar, which set alarm bells ringing.

    • Snoopers’ Charter: Lobby your MP in Parliament

      The Government’s planning to publish a draft of a new law that’s likely to extend the surveillance powers of the police and GCHQ in early autumn.

  • Civil Rights

    • Fox News vs. Fox News Latino: NBC Dumps Trump Edition

      Fox News Latino’s coverage of NBC’s decision to sever ties with Donald Trump differed dramatically from Fox News’ rush to defend the presidential candidate’s incendiary remarks about Mexican immigrants. While Fox hosts praised Trump’s stance and reticence to apologize, Fox News Latino characterized NBC’s move as a victory for Latino media advocacy leaders.

      NBCUniversal announced Monday that it would sever ties with Trump after he characterized Mexican immigrants as criminals and “rapists,” explaining in a statement: “At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values. Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.”

    • O’Reilly Gives Donald Trump A Platform To Continue Calling Latin American Immigrants Rapists And Criminals
    • Judge Orders Lying, Cheating Government To Return $167,000 To The Man They Stole It From

      A federal judge has just ordered the government to return $167,000 it took from a man passing through Nevada on his way to visit his girlfriend in California. The officers really wanted that money, too. They used two consecutive stops to jerry-rig some probable cause… even though at that point they thought they were only dealing with $2000. From the original stop forward, the entire situation was deplorable, indisputably showing that everyone involved was more interested in taking (and keeping) a bunch of cash than enforcing laws or pursuing justice.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Cisco to buy cybersecurity firm OpenDNS in $635m deal

      Announced on Tuesday, the tech giant said the move will accelerate the development of the Cisco Cloud Delivered Security Portfolio, and OpenDNS will prove a boost to advanced threat protection services for Cisco clients.

    • EU plans to destroy net neutrality by allowing Internet fast lanes

      A two-tier Internet will be created in Europe as the result of a late-night “compromise” between the European Commission, European Parliament and the EU Council. The so-called “trilogue” meeting to reconcile the different positions of the three main EU institutions saw telecom companies gaining the right to offer “specialised services” on the Internet. These premium services will create a fast lane on the Internet and thus destroy net neutrality, which requires that equivalent traffic is treated in the same way.

    • Net Neutrality: Trialogue betrayed European Parliament’s vote

      After months of negotiations behind closed doors between the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament (trialogue), the very positive text on Net Neutrality adopted by the European Parliament in April 2014 has become more ambiguous and weaker. Net Neutrality deserves more guarantees and La Quadrature du Net is regretting a third-rate agreement.

    • Court sets schedule for net neutrality case

      A federal court has set a schedule for the legal case over the Federal Communications Commission’s controversial net neutrality rules.

      The telecom companies, trade groups and individuals suing the FCC must submit briefs to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia by July 30. Their supporters have until August 6 to submit their own filings.

    • Net Neutrality: Europe Slips Into Reverse

      Following a mammoth negotiating session that ended in the early hours of this morning, the European Union (EU) has released their long awaited rules on Net Neutrality.

      The EU Commissioner’s tweet and an accompanying press release proclaimed the rules as strong protection for net neutrality, but we’re not so sure. In fact, our initial response is one of disappointment. As others have pointed out, the proposals are unclear. At best they will lead to disputes and confusion, and at worst they could see the creation of a two-tier Internet. If enacted, these rules would place European companies and citizens at a disadvantage when compared to countries such as Chile and the USA.

    • The EU Could Kill Net Neutrality With a Loophole

      It seems the European Union has learned little from the hard-won fight in the United States to preserve net neutrality. Today, the European Commission announced an agreement between the European Parliament and EU Council that—on the surface—claims to promise to protect net neutrality, while simultaneously allowing for exceptions that would threaten its very existence.

    • Data roaming charges to be phased out within EU by 2017

      Data roaming charges associated with using your mobile phone while travelling abroad within the 28 member countries of the European Union will be a thing of the past as soon as June 2017. After that, consumers will pay the same price for calls, text messages and internet surfing throughout the EU.

      [...]

      The commission said it would also reserve the right to control traffic if it was in the public interest, for example, to combat child pornography or a terrorist attack.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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