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Links 27/7/2013: More Android/Linux, Also Coming to TVs Now

Posted in News Roundup at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Open-source project aims to secure cloud storage
  • Is Most of Modern Society Run by Linux?
  • Readers’ Choice Awards 2013 Nomination
  • You err, it stirs…

    What do you get when you put together a processor, some memory, Linux OS, vibration mode, motion sensor and Wi-Fi capabilities? A computer, of course. Now, what happens when you add some ink and a nib to this contraption? You get a digital pen that vibrates when it spots spelling mistakes or illegible writing.

  • kobo aura hd: first impressions

    i now have my very first ebook reader: a kobo aura hd, which arrived yesterday from canada. i ordered brown, since i didn’t want white and black was out of stock. so they sent black. i’m not going to return it; took about two weeks to arrive as it is.

  • Linux Career IT Skills Watch update July 2013

    As promised, here is the latest “IT Skills Watch” update . The current statistics refer to the period between May and June 2013. The biggest drop was made by the LPI certification, which seems to be losing ground in comparison to other major certification providers. The reason for this could be the generic nature of the LPI certification, which does not appear to be very appealing for many employers right now. On the other hand, the biggest gain was made by the Amazon Web Services, which may not be completely surprising and can be explained by the fact that many companies are currently switching or thinking about making a move to cloud technology. From the same reason, knowledge of DNS steadily holds its position and, therefore, some basic understanding of DNS is an absolute must for a system administrator . Additionally, OraclePL/SQL appeared to be a safe bet in the past two months for those already equipped with OraclePL/SQL related skills. If you would like to be updated about the changes in the skills watch subscribe to our newsletter.

  • Server

    • Happy SysAdmin Day! Forty Percent Off LinuxCon/CloudOpen for 24 Hours

      It’s the last Friday of July and that means it’s SysAdmin Day. The Linux Foundation is so pleased to call some of the world’s best SysAdmins its employees and colleagues and we want to thank them as well as the millions of men and women who put up with the rest of us throughout the year.

    • ServerPoint.com Introduces ColossusCloud Generation 3, a New Linux and Windows Cloud VPS Hosting Platform
    • Adapteva ships Kickstarted baby supercomputer boards

      Upstart RISC processor and coprocessor designer Adapteva is shipping the first of its Parallella system boards, which its Epiphany multicore processors with ARM processors to create a spunky and reasonably peppy hybrid compute engine that doesn’t cost much and is very energy efficient for certain kinds of processing.

      It is not cheap to design and fab coprocessors or to make system boards that make use of them, so Adapteva’s cofounder and CEO Andreas Olofsson fired up a project on fund-raising site Kickstarter last fall to raise the money to fab the chips, instead of going the traditional route of raising venture funding and trying to get design wins.

    • OMG! Now We Have Small Cheap Supercomputer Boards

      Adapteva is pre-ordering boards, kits, and connector-packages for October delivery. There is an SDK. It runs GNU/Linux, of course.

    • OEMs Are Seeing The Light

      Services that OEMs can sell this way include file/backup/security/search/web service and anything their imaginations come up with to distinguish them from their competitors. More businesses are using web applications every day and these are easily implemented on the web or in the cloud. Many small businesses may be able to do without servers at all if the OEMs set things up for them reasonably well. That cuts Wintel out of the clients, servers, web applications and cloud services, just about everything in IT. Wintel may be able to “partner” with some OEMs but not all and the OEMs that opt for ARM, */Linux, and FLOSS will have a huge price/performance advantage.

    • Acer, Asustek actively marketing cloud computing solutions

      Acer and Asustek have been pushing forward in marketing hardware/software-integrated cloud computing solutions focusing on educational applications and web storage, respectively, according to the companies.

    • How (and why) to celebrate Sysadmin Day

      It’s only been since 1999 that Sysadmin Day has been celebrated. It’s always set for the last day in July. Like Administrative Professionals Day, its intent is to recognize a lot of tireless work that nearly always goes unnoticed. And, for a lot of systems administrators, the day is still far too low profile for the users they support to think of coming around to say thanks, never mind baking them cakes, crafting trophies for them or taking them to lunch.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • ARM Publishes New DRM Graphics Driver

        Before getting too excited, this isn’t some official Mali open-source GPU driver or something super exciting, but is the PL111 DRM driver. This is an open-source display driver to provide mode-setting support for the pl111 CLCD display controller found on some reference ARM platforms, including their Versatile Express.

      • The Design Of Virgil3D For OpenGL With KVM/QEMU

        Last week the experimental Virgil project was unveiled as a way of exposing 3D/OpenGL guest acceleration support to KVM/QEMU virtualization users and with the drawing calls then being passed onto the host for processing by the GPU. Here’s some more details.

    • Benchmarks

      • Ubuntu 13.10 32-bit vs. 64-bit Performance

        While 64-bit Linux desktop support has been in good shape for years, it seems there’s a surprising number of Intel/AMD Linux desktop users undecided whether to use the 32-bit or 64-bit installation images of their favorite Linux distribution. For the latest perspective on 32-bit versus 64-bit Linux performance, here are said benchmarks from the latest Ubuntu 13.10 development state.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • LXDE waves goodbye to GTK in merge with Razor-qt

      Over the weekend, the Razor-qt project announced that it would be merging with the Qt port of the LXDE project, focusing resources from both projects onto LXDE-Qt.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Gnome 3.8 requiring Systemd on Gentoo

        As you probably have noticed, we are now forcing people to *run* systemd to be able to properly run Gnome 3.8, otherwise power management and multiseat support are lost, also gdm needs the way of taking care of cgroups implemented in systemd to be restarted properly.

      • GNOME Control Center 3.8.4 Fixes Floating Screens

        GNOME Control Center, GNOME’s main interface for configuration of various aspects of your desktop, is now at version 3.8.4.

      • Multimedia tools updates

        Little multimedia tools that successfully make our lives easier by providing the means to do more specialized things under Gnome are constantly updated and improved by their respective developers.

        Both Curlew and mp3splt-gtk remain active as projects and helpful as tools, so it’s time to take another look on their latest versions that where released recently.

      • GUADEC Keynote Speaker: Cathy Malmrose

        Cathy Malmrose discovered Free Software in 2007, when her son showed her Ubuntu. She realized that she could build computers optimized for GNU/Linux, and now runs ZaReason, a company which sells computers preloaded with Linux. Now ZaReason has opened its first shop in Berkley, CA and is poised to launch ZaTab, a Linux tablet.

      • Things I’ve been doing

        Things I’ve been doing:

        Documenting the GNOME Shell notifications design

        Developing the combined system status menu that Jasper is working on (now up to version four!)

        Specifications for a new GTK+ progress spinner

        New Software designs, including updated hi-resolution mockups and a set of wireframes

        Updated Add User designs for Settings

        Updated Search Settings designs

  • Distributions

    • Salix KDE 14.0.1

      Salix KDE 14.0.1 has been released! It is built around KDE 4.8.5 and as always, it is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures.

      One major change since our 13.37 KDE release, that is immediately evident to the user, is that the default browser is now QupZilla, in place of Mozilla Firefox. QupZilla is a Qt-based browser that uses the webkit rendering engine that is fast, feature complete and standards compliant and it fits perfectly inside KDE.

    • PiBang 20130725
    • New Releases

      • Kali 1.0.4
      • SparkyLinux 3.0 is out

        Sparky 3.x is built on the “testing” branch of Debian GNU/Linux “Jessie”.

      • MythTV 0.27 Goes Into Alpha, Has New Features

        It’s been a while since hearing anything out of the once very promising MythTV project. This week though they have issued their MythTV 0.27 release as the code-base goes into a soft-freeze for doing an official release in the months ahead.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • It’s not just Friday..

        They’re overworked and under appreciated. Often never thought of until something goes wrong but always there, protecting, providing and helping us do what we do best!

      • OpenMandriva.org Suffers Outage, Restored Now

        I’d been wondering when some news was going to come out of the OpenMandriva camp, but today’s tidbit wasn’t what I hoped. Instead of a developmental release to test, Anurag Bhandari posted to announce that the OpenMandriva network was back up and running. I didn’t even notice it was down.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux: A Rock Solid Desktop Distribution For Companies

        Not too long ago, I covered CentOS, a free operating system that is rebuilt from packages of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or “RHEL”. This results in a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux that costs you absolutely nothing as you don’t have to pay Red Hat’s prices for their support services for the product.

      • No bees in the support bonnet for Red Hat

        Why is the enterprise industry swinging towards open solutions and models? A fad again?

      • The Indian connection to Red Hat’s growth story
      • Fedora

        • This week in rawhide for 2013-07-24
        • Fedora 19 Schrödinger’s Cat Review – Back in the box

          So the famous Schrödinger’s cat experiment is one of those stories from history that is perceived incorrectly in popular culture. Like King Cnut arrogantly trying to stop the tide, or Bill Gates saying that 640K would be enough for everyone, Erwin Schrödinger’s hypothetical experiment was actually a way of explaining how some interpretations of quantum mechanics were a contradiction of common sense. While this name was voted on for Fedora 19 by, of course, the masses of the internet, it’s sort of indicative of the kind of problems people have been having with the default state of the distro for the last few iterations. GNOME has been moving quickly away from the traditional desktop metaphor for years, with recent updates going against a mouse and keyboard workflow. The anaconda installer update from Fedora 18 limited some options in favour of a more aesthetically pleasing experience. The distro has also not been particularly bug free, with systemd causing headaches for some. Fedora 19 had a much quicker turn around time this cycle, with only a week or so delay throughout the schedule. Have some of these immediate issues been addressed, or are there new ones to throw on the list?

    • Debian Family

      • Kwheezy GNU / Linux

        Kwheezy is a Debian based operating system designed for general purpose desktop computing.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Edge crowdfunding campaign smashes records
          • Ubuntu may do it better, but Canonical head sees merits of Windows 8 efforts

            Canonical is heading into the weekend with about $6.6 million (about £4.29m, AU$7.14m) raised for the Ubuntu Edge, not a shabby number for the superphone’s five-day old Indiegogo campaign.

          • Game Changer: Ubuntu Attempts To Set New Rules For Tech

            Canonical, the company responsible for the highly successful operating system, Ubuntu, is taking an innovative approach to research and development that – if successful – will definitely disrupt the tech industry. Canonical has launched the largest crowd funding effort ever, asking for $32 million on the popular crowd funding resource indiegogo.com to fund their Ubuntu Edge device. While contributors do have a chance to get a version of the phone if this experiment is successful, what’s more important are the implications an experiment like this will have on the tech industry and business overall. That’s because Ubuntu is not interested in creating a really cool boutique device, their intention is to build a platform for innovation. According to techcrunch.com:

          • Ubuntu Phone Seeks To Be Crowd-Funded — for $32 Million
          • Ubuntu Edge Adds Lower Price Points to Meet Crowd-Funding Goal

            If you missed your chance to pre-order the Ubuntu Edge for $600 on Indiegogo and couldn’t bring yourself to shell out the full $830 then you’re in luck. Canonical has added several new price points, offering the handset for $625, $675, $725 and $775. Each deal is limited to 1,250 units with the lowest new price point already sold out again.

            Canonical shocked the tech world earlier this week when it unveiled its plan to manufacture the Ubuntu Edge, a super-powerful smartphone running both Ubuntu OS as well as Android, by crowd-funding $32 million. Excitement over the device is high, with over $5 million already raised, but it looks like pledges quickly began to taper off once the lower price point sold out, with only 10 people claiming a full-priced model.

          • Ubuntu: One OS, one interface, all devices

            Canonical believes that Ubuntu can be one operating system and Unity the one interface you need for your PC, your smartphone, and your tablet. Here’s how they’ll do it.

          • Ubuntu Touch SDK Beta – A New Way To Program Linux

            Canonical has just announced the beta SDK for Ubuntu Touch. While this might look just like another attempt at getting developers to work with yet another mobile operating system – it is much more. In fact you should be interested in this SDK even if you have no interest in mobile.

          • Hands on With the Ubuntu SDK Beta

            The Ubuntu team released the first beta of their integrated development environment for creating applications for desktop, mobile, and, presumably, television today. I downloaded the environment into a clean Ubuntu install in a VM to test it out, and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I was able to get up and running. I ran through two tutorials, one I was able to complete successfully, and the other I was not. There are a few rough edges, and the release is certainly a beta, but it looks promising and gives a positive first impression.

          • At 4 a.m., everything is funny

            After a losing a long bout with insomnia early Thursday morning, I started to looking at different Internet memes and matched them with — how can I put this mildly? — a current annoyance in the FOSS world known as the Indiegogo campaign for Ubuntu Edge.

          • Ubuntu 13.10 Alpha 2 Released, Five Flavours Taking Part
          • Ubuntu Edge: The Road To Making Crowd-Sourcing History

            I also strongly recommend you see Marques Brownlee’s video overview of Ubuntu Edge, which provides a fantastic overview of the campaign:

          • Mark Shuttleworth answers question about Ubuntu Edge on Reddit

            Canonical is conducting a very ambitious Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for Ubuntu Edge smartphone. At the time of writing, the campaign has already raised more than $6 million, with 26 days left to reach the $32million goal. To coninue the momentum of the campaign and keep people talking about it, MarkShuttleworth took the stage on Reddit to interact with the Ubuntu fans, on “Ask-Me-Anything” session.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 15 – An alternative review

              Linux Mint 15 has been out for a while and so there are already a number of good reviews written about it.

              Linux Mint is a very popular distribution and the developers have set out on a different path to Ubuntu in that the emphasis is definitely about evolving the desktop environment as opposed to redefining it completely.

            • Ubuntu 13.10 Derivatives Do Their Alpha 2 Release

              While Ubuntu itself no longer does alpha releases, several of its derivatives are doing their “Saucy Salamander” Alpha 2 releases today.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Rikomagic UK to offer Minix Linux ARM PCs (MK802 III LE, MK802 IV LE)

      It looks like it may be time to stop calling tiny ARM-based devices like the MK802 Android TV sticks and go back to calling them mini PCs. Rikomagic UK has announced it will start shipping Linux Editions of two of its most recent ARM-powered stick-sized computers.

    • World’s cheapest computer gets millions tinkering

      The Raspberry Pi is now powering robots in Japan and warehouse doors in Malawi, photographing astral bodies from the United States and helping to dodge censorship in China.
      “We’re closing in on one and a half million (sales) for something that we thought would sell a thousand,” said Eben Upton, executive director of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
      “It was just supposed to be a little thing to solve a little problem.
      “We’ve sold many more to children than we expected to sell, but even more to adults. They’re using it like Lego to connect things up.”
      The device, which runs the open-source Linux operating system, was designed as an educational tool for children to learn coding.

    • Phones

      • In Pictures: Linux for mobile. A visual history
      • Ballnux

        • LG and MediaTek Join Hands To Produce Tripple SIM 3G Smartphones

          Dual SIM phones are common in the budget price range, especially in emerging markets. LG is however, going one step ahead and trying to introduce world’s first triple-SIM 3G Smartphones. LG has partnered with chip maker MediaTek for producing these phones. Will this thing really take off is yet to be discovered when such devices come to the market.

      • Android

        • Android 4.3 Includes Hidden App Permissions Manager That Could Bolster Privacy & Security
        • NFC ring can control Android devices

          Gadget makers are trying to find out cool ways to take advantage of the NFC technology. NFC stickers or tags didn’t really catch up, but here is an awesome ring with some NFC magic. The NFC ring can be used to unlock your tablets, smartphones and even doors! It can also be used to send contact info, or launch apps on your devices. Apple fan boys are going to be extremely jealous.

        • Update your Nexus device to Android 4.3 manually

          While Nexus users may be happy to know that they will be the first to get Android 4.3 OTA updates, all the users will not be getting them immediately. Even though Google has started rolling out the updates, it will take some time before everyone gets it. However, impatient fellows can just download the factory images of Android 4.3 for Google and flash their devices.

        • Chromecast torn apart, what’s inside?

          Google’s Chromecast is already a blockbuster hit on the box-office. The device is sold out on Amazon so is on Google Play Store. Some lucky users already got their devices to play with and it seems the device is capable of doing much more than it appeared.

        • Chromecast news: Google releases open source code, hackers working on root

          Google’s Chromecast is a $35 device designed to let you stream music, videos, and other content from the internet to your TV.

          That’s all it’s supposed to do at the moment. But the Chromecast has the guts of a cheap Android or Linux computer, and hackers are hard at work trying to teach the new device new tricks.

        • Chromecast can now cast entire desktop to the TV

          Google’s Chromecast is turning out to be much hotter than it looked. This tiny $35 device holds more potential than any other device I have seen recently, excluding Raspberry Pi which is a revolution in itself.

          Google remained modest about what this device can do but as the device is reaching in the hands of users, and most of these early birds are enthusiasts (unfortunately, mine has not shipped yet), they are getting to know more about the device.

        • Sleep as Android Analyzes You In and Out of Soft Slumber

          Sleep as Android is an accelerometer-based sleep cycle tracker app that includes a nice assortment of helpful sleep aids, including lullaby mode, sleep noise recording, lucid dreaming detection audio and a Captcha test to see if you are actually awake. Perhaps even more intriguing is that based on your sleep cycles, it knows just the right time to wake you up.

        • Which OS can beat Android and iOS?

          Are you bored of the fact that almost every phone released and every buying choice is restricted to either Android or iOS? Are you excited about the news that is flooding in about brand new mobile phone operating systems that will take on these two and bring in a breath of fresh air into the
          fairly mundane smartphone market? Well, control that growing ebullience for a while and let’s first get our facts right.

        • Motorola X8 SoC fuels Droid Maxx, Ultra, Mini phones
        • Hot SoCs: Tegra beats PS3, 6-GPU Exynos, 4.5W Haswell

          This week saw a flurry of news about new mobile processor developments that will significantly impact the Android and mobile Linux worlds. Nvidia unveiled Project Logan, a Tegra SoC (system-on-chip) with faster graphics than a PlayStation 3 at a third the power of an iPad; Samsung revealed a new Exynos 5 SoC with six Mali GPUs; and Intel confirmed that a tablet-focused 4.5 Watt version Haswell-based SoC is on the way.

        • Moto X to feature Moto Magic Glass

          The Moto X event is scheduled for August 1, but a healthy dose of new specification details ahead of the official unveiling does no harm. Ex-owner of Android and Me took, Taylor Winberly, to his Google + page to gossip about some features the Moto X will come with, which till now we didn’t know about.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Nexus 7 on sale early, more Android 4.3 features emerge

        Google’s Android 4.3-powered, second-generation Nexus 7 tablet went on sale today at the Google Play Store and also showed up at Best Buy several days ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, new features of Android 4.3 have emerged, including 4K resolution support and a hidden, user-controllable permission manager.

        Google announced the “new Nexus 7″ on July 24 while unveiling the new Android 4.3 build that runs on it, (see farther below). Despite the impressive specs of the next-generation Nexus 7, the show was stolen by a $35 Chromecast HDMI stick device that wirelessly beams content via the a desktop, laptop, or mobile device’s Chrome browser to a TV. The Chromecast quickly sold out.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 secrets to sustainable in open source communities

    Elizabeth Leddy gave the next talk I attended entitled, Wish I Knew How to Quit You: 10 Secrets to Sustainable Open Source Communities. Elizabeth works with Plone but wasn’t really involved in open source until about five years ago. With open source we often start by working at a company that supports a specific open source application and there are two paths we can take. One path is that you start to get annoyed with the way things are going and so you jump to another open source project. Or you can get involved in the open source community so thoroughly that you can move from one related company to another (this is what I have been doing with Koha so I totally understand this path).

  • 10 Free Ways to Create Eye Catching Images
  • Developer Training Platform Pluralsight Acquires PeepCode To Expand Into Open-Source Content

    Pluralsight, the online training resource targeting professional developers that announced its raise of $27.5 million from Insight Venture Partners earlier this year, is now putting that funding to use. The company, whose corporate users include Microsoft, Salesforce, Twitter, Facebook, Dell, HP, Intel, Disney, EMC and others, is acquiring PeepCode, a similar resource providing video tutorials on a range of technologies, such as Ruby, Node.js, JavaScript, Unix, Git, CSS, RSpec, databases and more.

  • Open Source Typing Software List Rolled Out By SoftwareReviewBoffin.Com

    Boffin announces its editors’ picks of free typing software. Quality, reliability and efficiency were the criteria the software were assessed for.

  • Events

    • OSCON 2013: Find a Nonprofit Home for Your Open Source Project

      Several excellent nonprofits exist solely to support open source projects, offering a range of services including everything from basic fiscal sponsorship to business and legal resources, infrastructure and tech support, quality control and project management, community building and more.

    • Open Source Science Fair 2.0
    • Open Source Solves J.K. Rowling Mystery

      As OSCON, a global conference on open source software, got underway in Portland this week, the timing of the recent J.K. Rowling unmasking couldn’t have been better. As my colleague and co-author, Garrett Heath, tweeted from the conference, “Accio Open Source!” For the three people left on the planet who haven’t read a Harry Potter book, that’s a common summoning charm used among Rowling’s fictional wizards.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s Firefox Personalization Scheme Sounds Too Ad-Friendly

        Don’t you get annoyed when advertising cookies in your browser seem to know what your interests are and serve up creepy ads that hit a little too close to home? Would you prefer that your Internet browser does not know exactly where you are at all times? If your answer to these questions is yes and you use Firefox, you may object to a new proposal that Mozilla has put up to purportedly “find relevant content easier while publishers enjoy increased engagement, fewer bounces, and stronger loyalty.” It’s all part of a personalization scheme that sounds fishy.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • IBM joins Pivotal in developing Cloud Foundry’s open source PaaS

      IBM disclosed plans on July 24 to collaborate with the Pivotal Initiative to develop Cloud Foundry, an open source Platform as a Service (PaaS) that allows enterprises to freely choose whatever cloud applications, cloud infrastructure and application programming interfaces (APIs) they want.

    • Open-Source Marathon: Vendors Sign Up for the Race to Zero

      Wednesday saw a flurry of activity in the open-source arena. The day kicked off with a milestone partnership between IBM and EMC-spin off Pivotal to accelerate the development of Cloud Foundry and extend support for third party services.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • A good “second board” for learning

      I had looked at this board when they had their kickstarter going, but as Lucas and I discussed it, and particularly in light of my work with both Linaro (on performance improvements) and Project Caua (on economic computing), I started to get more interested, then excited. By the end of the night I had purchased one of the Zynq 7000 units (there is a unit based on the Zynq-7010 and one on the Zynq-7020), complete with GPIO pins.

  • Funding

    • Inside Bountysource, a Crowdfunding and Challenge Site for Open-Source Software

      The widespread use of open-source software is a testament to the power of crowdsourcing. By leaving software’s underlying source code open for anyone to copy, edit, tweak, and use, far-flung programmers can achieve some incredible things, like the creation of an operating system that today powers most servers and supercomputers. Even the software on your cell phone may be the byproduct of open-source code: Google’s Android OS is built on the Linux kernel.


    • Donate to Replicant and support free software on mobile devices

      Yesterday we launched a fundraising initiative for Replicant, a fully free Android distribution and the first mobile operating system (OS) to run without relying on proprietary system code. Replicant’s small volunteer developer team is focused on improving their OS, while also expanding it to work on more devices. Donations will primarily be used to buy new devices for development and testing — a critical need — but will also help fund infrastructure and promotion for the project.

    • Replicant fully-free Android distro project solicits funds

      The Free Software Foundation has launched a fundraising initiative for Replicant, touted as a “fully free” Android distribution and the first mobile OS to run without relying on proprietary system code. Donations will defray the cost of purchasing smartphones and tablets for development and testing, and will help the team expand its infrastructure and promote the project at industry events.

    • FSF passes collection plate for free Android clone Replicant
    • The GNU/consensus Whistle, Volume I, Issue 0
    • bison-3.0 released [stable]

      The Bison team is very happy to announce the release of Bison 3.0, which introduces many new features. An executive summary would include: (i) deep overhaul/improvements of the diagnostics, (ii) more versatile means to describe semantic value types (including the ability to store genuine C++ objects in C++ parsers), (iii) push-parser interface extended to Java, and (iv) parse-time semantic predicates for GLR parsers.

    • FSF Tries Pushing Blob-Free “Replicant” Android OS
  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Local Sheep Farmers Unveil Open-Source, DIY Tracking System

      Oogie McGuire introduces me to one of her guard dogs at Desert Weyr Farms, just outside of Paonia on Garvin Mesa. She and her husband Ken run Black Welsch Mountain Sheep, a unique breed, a threatened breed in fact, one that’s also part of a USDA research project looking at the animals’ reproductive systems. Since they’re being studied, these sheep have to be closely tracked, and the McGuires need all the data on the animals they can get.

    • How open source software, sensors and 3D printing can create a perfect stick shift driver
    • Dallas Art History Just Went Open-Source: Thanks to a Free, Digital Coffee Table Book

      More interesting still is how we wouldn’t have this technology were it not for Robert Stein, the DMA’s still-newish Deputy Director. The software behind the ePub is the OSCI toolkit, a Getty Grant project that Stein helmed, and served as lead on back at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2011. That project came to light thanks to Stein’s 2009-established IMA Lab, an in-house commercial software consulting arm, whipped-up to develop open-source software for cultural projects like this. Stein says that momentum stayed on track after his departure — it must have, ’cause now we’ve got this handy gadget.

    • Open Data

      • Open Source Map of Seward

        I created a map of Seward attractions to hand out to my customers at my old business, The Seward Information Center. It has on it places to eat and drink, see and do, buy things etc.. We no longer need this map and it did take a lot of work. I would like to donate it to Seward as an open source file for any to use, update and change. The source files are included below. In creating this map I used the latest satellite map of town and overlay the map illustrations. The open source image editor Inkscape can be used to view and update the layers. I used the Wikitravel format and methodology. I hope that this will be useful to business, organizations and individuals here in town.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • GCC Cauldron 2013 Recap

      Videos from the recent GCC Cauldron 2013 that was hosted at the Googleplex earlier this month are now available online. Discussed during this developer event is not only the GCC compiler but also GDB, Address Sanitizer, and other compiler-related technologies.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Value of Open Standards

      overnments need to keep this in mind when they set procurement and other appropriate, standards-related policiesso that basic rights, as well as tax dollars, are properly protected.


  • Fantasies

    I’ve received a number of requests to comment on the post: “Slavoj Žižek Responds to Noam Chomsky: ‘I Don’t Know a Guy Who Was So Often Empirically Wrong’” (http://www.openculture.com/2013/07/slavoj-zizek-responds-to-noam-chomsky.html).

    I had read it, with some interest, hoping to learn something from it, and given the title, to find some errors that should be corrected – of course they exist in virtually anything that reaches print, even technical scholarly monographs, as one can see by reading reviews in the professional journals. And when I find them or am informed about them I correct them.

    But not here. Žižek finds nothing, literally nothing, that is empirically wrong. That’s hardly a surprise. Anyone who claims to find empirical errors, and is minimally serious, will at the very least provide a few particles of evidence – some quotes, references, at least something. But there is nothing here – which, I’m afraid, doesn’t surprise me either. I’ve come across instances of Žižek’s concept of empirical fact and reasoned argument.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • U.S. approves NON-GMO labeling for meats from animals fed NON-GMO diets

      The Agriculture Department has approved a label for meat and liquid egg products that includes a claim about the absence of genetically engineered products.

      It is the first time that the department, which regulates meat and poultry processing, has approved a non-G.M.O. label claim, which attests that meat certified by the Non-GMO Project came from animals that never ate feed containing genetically engineered ingredients like corn, soy and alfalfa.

    • Wounds and scars

      The barbarism that is female genital mutilation

    • Tropicana Faces Class Action Over ‘Natural’ Claims

      Several companies have been earning flack lately for mislabeling their products as “healthy” or “GMO-free” and even orange juice is earning its fair share of criticism.

      Juice-maker Tropicana, a PepsiCo brand, has failed to dismiss a U.S. class action that claims the company falsely labeled its orange juice as “100 percent pure and natural,” despite its use of pasteurization, processing, coloring and flavoring, according to Beverage Daily.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Halliburton admits destroying Gulf oil spill evidence

      Halliburton has admitted destroying evidence in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and will plead guilty to a criminal charge, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

      Under the plea agreement, which requires court approval, Houston-based Halliburton will also face three years’ probation, pay the maximum fine of $200,000 and continue to cooperate in the Justice Department’s criminal investigation of the April 2010 explosion and fire on the drilling platform, which killed 11 rig workers off Louisiana.

    • Militarization of Law Enforcement in Guatemala

      Latin American countries have a long history of using the armed forces to carry out internal security duties. However, these militaries also have a long history of human rights abuses. While progress has been made, many countries in the region continue to deploy their troops to combat crime as they struggle with weak public institutions, pervasive impunity, and high crime rates.

    • Uruguayan Workers Carry Out Marches and Strikes

      PIT-CNT trade union heads today a national demonstration with a four-hour long partial strike mainly affecting the education and health sectors, although emergency services will work normally.
      In addition to the strike, called between 09:00 and 13:00 (local time), a workers’ march from the Republic University up to the Legislative Palace will be staged, and union leaders will demand there wage increases and other benefits.

    • FBI admits to flying drones over US without warrants

      The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says it has used drones for domestic surveillance purposes in the United States at least ten times without obtaining warrants. In three additional cases, drones were authorized but “not actually used.”

      Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday published a letter from FBI Assistant Director Stephen D. Kelly, who admitted that the agency used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) domestically, without gathering any warrants.

    • Egypt has been warned of the violence to come – by General Sisi himself

      The general’s recent speech can only be read as a precursor to a bloody campaign of repression against the Egyptian people

    • Former CIA Officer & Whistleblower Sabrina De Sousa & the ‘Proper Channels’ Myth

      A commonly recited criticism of whistleblowers is that they need to go through proper channels or else they are not whistleblowers deserving protection. If they don’t go through proper channels, they are arrogant self-serving leakers who appointed themselves as decision-makers for what information should and should not be secret.

      This was the criticism levied against former NSA contractor Edward Snowden after it was revealed that he was the one who blew the whistle on secret surveillance programs. Jeffrey Toobin for The New Yorker argued that America’s system “offers legal options to disgruntled government employees and contractors. They can take advantage of federal whistleblower laws; they can bring their complaints to Congress; they can try to protest within the institutions where they work. But Snowden did none of this.”

    • VIDEO: Interview with Sabrina De Sousa, CIA officer, on Osama Mustapha Hassan Nasr’s rendition

      A former CIA officer has broken the U.S. silence around the 2003 abduction of a radical Islamist cleric in Italy, charging that the agency inflated the threat the preacher posed and that the United States then allowed Italy to prosecute her and other Americans to shield President George W. Bush and other U.S. officials from responsibility for approving the operation.

    • Michael Hastings Crash

      Once again, I have something that a lot of people want. It’s a video of Michael Hastings’ fatal car crash. It’s not really mine, like that Sting-Ray was, but I have it. It’s a security video from my girlfriend’s restaurant. And since she said to make it public, I soon will.

    • Civil Disobedience, Non-Violence and Overcoming Hate

      Through the years, Bill Moyers has spoken with many of the world’s leading activists, politicians, revolutionaries and theologians about how they overcame hatred and anger to became forces for positive change in the world. Many say they were inspired by leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Click below to watch six guests make the case for civil disobedience over violence and brotherhood over hatred.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Military Harasses Journalists At Bradley Manning Trial

      Reading through the various tweets, the MPs were specifically trying to stop journalists from using Twitter. Kevin Gosztola was directly told not to use Twitter and was later admonished for having “a window” open on his computer. No joke. The reporters also noted that they had to go through an incredibly detailed TSA-style search before they could enter the courtroom — and that this had not happened previously in their coverage of the trial. Multiple journalists noted how “creepy” it was and how intimidating it is to have military police with guns looking over your shoulder and watching everything you do. Freedom of the press? Not at all.

    • Journalists at Bradley Manning trial report hostile conditions for press

      I visited the trial two weeks ago. While there were many restrictions for attending press that I found surprising (reporters couldn’t work from the courtroom, mobile devices weren’t allowed in the press room), it wasn’t this bad. I was treated respectfully and courteously by Army Public Affairs Officers and military police, and was only grumped at a few times for stretching those (silly) restrictions. I was physically searched only once, when entering the courtroom, and that’s standard for civilian or military trials.

    • U.S. WikiLeaks soldier is whistleblower, not traitor: defense

      The U.S. soldier accused of the biggest leak of classified information in the nation’s history is a whistleblower, and not a traitor as the government claims, Bradley Manning’s defense lawyer said at his court-martial on Friday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Where have all the bees gone?

      Many of you around the world are basking in a delightful heatwave at the moment. Make sure you get out of the office and enjoy the sunshine. One of the best things about summer is sitting outside, enjoying a cool drink with loved ones and watching the bees buzzing around the garden.

    • Halliburton to pay $200k fine for destroying evidence in 2010 Gulf oil spill

      Halliburton Energy Services to pay a maximum $200,000 fine for destroying evidence related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which the Gulf of Mexico is yet to recover from. The company will also donate $55 million towards wildlife protection.

      World’s second-largest oilfield services company has pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge and agreed to be subject to three years of probation – apart from paying $200,000 fine – for destroying internal probe computer simulations into the cementing after the blowout at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Allegedly the probe showed little difference between using six and 21 centralizers while cementing the damaged oil rig well.

  • Finance

    • John Oliver: Monopoly Game Removed ‘Go to Jail’ Option to Reflect America’s Financial System

      Last night on the Daily Show, Oliver brilliantly connected the board game’s change-up to banks’ apparent infallibility — Goldman Sachs price-rigging included.

    • Region in Italy Reaches 30% Coop Economy

      The Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy is one of the richest in Europe, known for its high-end car manufacturing. While Emilia-Romagna is one of the most economically successful regions in Europe, it is also one of the most cooperative regions in the world. Nearly two of every three of its 4.5 million citizens are members of a cooperative. Cooperatives support around 30% of the region’s GDP, making it a stellar example of a large-scale cooperative economy. As with Mondragon Cooperative Corporation in Spain, the cooperative economy is strongly bolstered by networked relationships which also make cooperatives more resilient in economic crises.

    • Michael Hudson Shreds Obama’s Orwellian Speech on Middle Class Prosperity

      Michael Hudson was so incensed by what he called a “Blairesque” speech by Obama on Wednesday that he took it upon himself to comment on its all-too-frequent sleights of hand and outright fabrications. However, you’ll also notice that the speech contained so much bullshit (in the Harry Frankfurter sense of indifference to the truth) that eventually Hudson’s comments thin out a bit.

      The original speech is in black. Hudson’s remarks are in red. You’ll see he took mercy on you and edited the speech down a bit and also bolded some of the, erm, remarkable parts. I’ve added a few observations, in blue. I hope readers in comments will join in the fun by extracting sections or phrases from the speech and explaining what they really mean.

      The worst is that Obama apparently plans a series of Big Lie speeches on his “vision for rebuilding an economy that puts the middle class — and those fighting to join it – front and center.” That’s at best an afterthought, since he’s given the economy over to an at best indifferent and at worst predatory elite that have no interest in giving it back.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • As ALEC Celebrates its 40th Birthday in Chicago, Protesters Prepare to Blow Out the Candles

      The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, the corporate “bill mill” which has advanced a potpourri of extreme anti-worker, anti-environment, and pro-gun legislation, is turning 40 years this year, and will hold its annual meeting in Chicago from August 7-9 in 2013. ALEC will be greeted in the Windy City by a broad coalition of good government groups, labor unions, as well as civil rights and religious groups, who will rally to say that 40 years of ALEC is nothing to celebrate.

    • NC Passes Voter Suppression Measures as DOJ Moves to Protect Voting Rights in TX

      The North Carolina legislature voted Thursday to approve the most restrictive voter suppression measures in the country, making it the first state to pass new laws after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. But the move comes the same day that the Department of Justice announced plans to use other means to protect voting rights.

  • Censorship

    • Who exactly is responsible for ‘nudge censorship’?

      We have no legislation, a contradictory official government policy, and ISPs promising that they will deliver a ‘pre-selected’ censorship approach.

    • UK Porn Filter: Censorship Extends Beyond Pornography, But One ISP Is Fighting Back

      U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron announced Monday that British Internet service providers (ISPs) must install porn filters and require customers to opt-in for adult content. Cameron said the policy is aimed at combating child porn and the “corroding influences” of sexual content in the U.K., but several people are unhappy with the plan. Reports have linked the filters to controversial Chinese company Huawei, and others have found that the filters will block much more than just porn. Some ISPs have publicly refused to force the filters on their users.

    • Porn sites get more internet traffic in UK than social networks or shopping

      8.5% of clicks in June were on legal pornography sites, according to figures released as David Cameron attempts crackdown

    • Shortest Internet censorship debate ever

      In the morning the Minister of Justice has apparently discovered there is porn on the Internet (welcome to the Net, dear Mr Biernacki; wish you’d been here earlier) and has voiced his support for implementing the British “solution” in Poland; already in the evening PM Donald Tusk and Minister of Administration and Digitization Michał Boni categorically denied any such plans.

      In the meantime the NGOs that had been involved in several Internet censorship debates in Poland during the last few years were flooded with media inquiries about the subject — and criticised both the British idea and Minister Biernacki’s statement.

    • The Dangers Of Walled Gardens
    • US Government-Funded Domestic Propaganda Has Officially Hit The Airwaves

      The reform effectively nullifies the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, which was amended in 1985 specifically to prohibit U.S. organizations from using information “to influence public opinion in the United States.”

      The new law enables U.S. government programming such as Voice of America (VoA) — an outlet created in 1942 to promote a positive understanding of the U.S. abroad — t0 broadcast directly to domestic audiences for the first time.

      VoA and other programs are now produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which shares a “strategic communications budget” with the State Department and has an annual budget of more than $700 million.

      Nevertheless, BBG spokeswoman Lynne Weil insisted to FP that the BBG presents “fair and accurate news” and is not a propaganda outlet.

      A former U.S. government source explained that the BBG can now reach local radio stations in the U.S., meaning that the programming can target expat communities such as the significant Somali population in St. Paul, Minnesota.

    • U.S. Repeals Propaganda Ban, Spreads Government-Made News to Americans
  • Privacy

    • So Where Was Everybody’s Righteous Indignation and Outrage Back When NSA Domestic Surveillance Was First Reported in 2008?

      Wait, let’s go back even further to 2005, Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts, says headline. Gee, I can’t imagine how this story wasn’t plastered on the front page of every tech news site back then. And those of us who pay attention remember there was a small blip on the radar in 2006 – the exposure of “Room 641A”, the so-called “black room” where federal surveillance of citizens happened within AT&T’s infrastructure.

    • Point-scoring our web freedom

      We use ratings for all kinds of services, so let’s try scoring the way we use the internet to check on our security and privacy

    • This Week’s Really Bizarre Battle Over Your Privacy Rights Ended In the Worst Way Possible

      The primary struggle of American politics is the struggle to balance liberty and peace, freedom and security.

      With full knowledge that power is often needed to secure peace, and awareness that power is the eternal enemy of liberty, our Founding Fathers sought to construct a political society that could maintain peace and prosperity with both liberty and longevity. To achieve this end, they framed a Constitution that separated specific powers between different branches and with particular limits.

      Now, politicians are actively working to remove these safeguards. By failing on Thursday to pass an amendment to the defense appropriations bill spearheaded by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Congress is once more curtailing the rights of American citizens in the name of security.

    • Rumors of NSA surveillance outpost in Wiesbaden persist

      Is a new building under construction at US Army headquarters in Wiesbaden also designed to house NSA spies? There are rumors, but the army says the facility is strictly for military intelligence units.

    • Kiwis on the march: Thousands turn out against new spy powers in New Zealand

      Thousands of people have protested across New Zealand against the new surveillance bill that would enable the country’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) to spy on its citizens.

    • Edward Snowden’s dad: ‘This story is far from done’

      “There has been a concerted effort by many of these congressmen to demonize my son, to focus the issue on my son and not to talk about the fact that they had a responsibility to ensure that these programs were constitutional. They’ve either been complicit or negligent.”

    • Glenn Greenwald To Testify Before Congress About NSA Surveillance Programs

      Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the story on top-secret NSA surveillance programs earlier this summer, will testify before a congressional committee.

      Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), who is leading the Wednesday congressional hearing that has invited critics of the NSA programs to testify, told The Guardian, “I think that most people simply don’t understand that, despite the news coverage, which my view has been extremely unfocused. There has been far too much discussion of the leaker, and not enough discussion of the leak.”

    • Seven lies about privacy (and how you can debunk them)

      No human right has ever been subjected to as much deception and attack as privacy. I mean, no-one tries to dilute protections against torture by saying “it doesn’t really hurt anyone”. But privacy is open-season for anyone with an interest in killing it off. Here we summarise seven of the most common lies – and how you can counter them.

    • Angela Keaton Explains the Antiwar.com Lawsuit Against the FBI

      Angela gave a concise explanation of the Antiwar.com lawsuit against the FBI to RT America this afternoon…

    • Hacker’s Tiny Spy Computers Aim To Track Targets Around Entire Neighborhoods And Cities

      The National Security Agency, argues Brendan O’Connor, doesn’t have a monopoly on mass surveillance. In fact, he’s developed a cheap system of open-source spy boxes and mapping software that he says will let anyone “track everyone in a neighborhood, suburb, or city from the comfort of their sofa.”

    • Lawmakers Who Upheld NSA Phone Spying Received Double the Defense Industry Cash

      The numbers tell the story — in votes and dollars. On Wednesday, the house voted 217 to 205 not to rein in the NSA’s phone-spying dragnet. It turns out that those 217 “no” voters received twice as much campaign financing from the defense and intelligence industry as the 205 “yes” voters.

      That’s the upshot of a new analysis by MapLight, a Berkeley-based non-profit that performed the inquiry at WIRED’s request. The investigation shows that defense cash was a better predictor of a member’s vote on the Amash amendment than party affiliation. House members who voted to continue the massive phone-call-metadata spy program, on average, raked in 122 percent more money from defense contractors than those who voted Wednesday to dismantle it.

    • Spy agencies ban Lenovo PCs on security concerns

      Computers manufactured by the world’s biggest personal computer maker, Lenovo, have been banned from the “secret” and ‘‘top secret” ­networks of the intelligence and defence services of Australia, the US, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand, because of concerns they are vulnerable to being hacked.

      Multiple intelligence and defence sources in Britain and Australia confirmed there is a written ban on computers made by the Chinese company being used in “classified” networks.

    • Massive anti-NSA protests planned for 39 German cities

      Thousands of Germans are expected to join together Saturday in a massive, multi-city protest against U.S. spying.

      Germans, in particular, have been on edge since former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked a host of classified agency documents in June. Among his revelations are that German citizens are more scrutinized than any other nationality, and that the NSA is “in bed with the Germans.”

      Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended the alliance between the two countries’ intelligence-gathering operations, telling the German paper Der Zeit that “For decades, intelligence services have been working together under certain conditions that are tightly regulated in our country, and this serves our security.

    • The NSA Fight

      The Michigan congressman determined to stop the NSA’s abuses wins a battle against House GOP leaders.

    • ‘Surveillance society’: German writers slam Berlin’s NSA spying involvement

      Demonstrators are gathering across Germany in support of Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, as German writers publish an open letter to Chancellor Merkel demanding explanations over the country’s secret services involvement in the NSA spying program.

    • Critics of NSA spying, including Glenn Greenwald, to testify before Congress
    • Find and Block Who is Tracking You Online

      Whenever we visit a website, we are tracked by our ISP, unknown people(s) and of course, the NSA. They analyze our online activities and share the information to website owner or to some third party companies. These companies will sell products and services according to our online activities such as what we are seeing often, what we are liking mostly and what type of websites we frequently visit etc. The actual problem is that we can’t visually see who’s tracking us and we are not able to find what’s happening behind the scenes.

    • Google Engineer Wins NSA Award, Then Says NSA Should Be “Abolished”

      When Bonneau learned that he has won the award from the NSA, he considered turning it down. However, he ultimately decided upon accepting as a way to potentially bridge academic gaps with the NSA, as a means of opening up at least one avenue into the organization that has been mostly closed.

      That said, the winner of the NSA award wants, like many privacy rights activists and citizens concerned with the government’s Fourth Amendment violations, for the NSA to be reformed by a political process (like the one which narrowly failed in the House yesterday).

  • Civil Rights

    • Why My Parents Just Got Arrested in Madison

      My parents were arrested yesterday. They are 85 and 80 years old. Their crime was singing in the rotunda of the Wisconsin State Capitol without a permit.

      Tom and Joan Kemble moved to Madison two years ago when they realized that the steady march of time meant it would not be long before their physical ability to tend to their 20-acre organic farm they had so lovingly cultivated for three decades would decline.

    • WARNING: Prominent Activists Being Framed With Child Porn

      A disturbing trend is unfolding where some entity is attempting to frame prominent anti-establishment activists and alternative media organizations with child pornography.

      These activists are being sent emails with malicious attachments containing images of child porn in a seeming attempt to discredit them or set them up for arrest.

    • German president says whistleblowers like Snowden merit respect

      Germany’s president, who helped expose the workings of East Germany’s dreaded Stasi secret police, said whistleblowers like U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden deserved respect for defending freedom.

    • Archbishop Tutu ‘would not worship a homophobic God’

      South Africa’s Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu says he will never worship a “homophobic God” and will rather go to hell.

    • Tutu says he cannot worship ‘homophobic’ God
    • Turkey Jails 64 Journalists For Coverage of People’s Protest

      Journalists in Turkey who covered this spring’s Gezi Park protests are living in a “half-open penitentiary,” say critics, as media bosses—under pressure from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government—have sacked dozens of reporters while others face criminal prosecution.

      Sixty-four journalists are currently under arrest and another 123 are facing charges of terrorism, said a report issued by the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Tuesday.

      “Mr. Prime Minister has turned the country into a half-open penitentiary and made it impossible to live for journalists,” said CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu during a press briefing.

    • Calif. State Committee Set to Vote on NDAA Nullification Bill

      …authorize their indefinite detention in violation of habeas corpus.

    • Who does the US call an enemy? Pentagon won’t say

      US President Barack Obama has repeatedly said that Washington is at war with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and its “associated forces.” However, the Pentagon refuses to disclose who those so-called “associated forces” really are.

      At a hearing in May, Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) asked the US Department of Defense to provide him with a list of al-Qaeda affiliates. The Pentagon responded, but Levin’s office later told ProPublica that it wasn’t allowed to share the information it had received from Washington. When asked about the list, Levin’s spokesperson only said that the department’s “answer included the information requested.”

    • Technology and the Ruling Party

      “Power tends to corrupt,” said Lord Acton, “and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

      The sexism needs updating but the sentiment remains true. That’s been all too obvious this week, during which the powers that be did their damnedest to protect their once-secret surveillance programs…while the NSA responded to Freedom Of Information Act requests with the claim “There’s no central method to search [internal NSA emails] at this time.”

    • Senate Moves for Sanctions on Nations ‘Helping’ Snowden

      The Senate Appropriations Committee voted unanimously Thursday to slam sanctions on any country aiding NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, marking a serious escalation in a global manhunt which has stoked almost as much international outrage as the US spying scandal itself.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Redistributing TV Material Without the Ads Is Legal
      • Court says skipping ads doesn’t violate copyright. That’s a big deal.

        In 1984, the Supreme Court rejected Hollywood’s argument that the record button on the Betamax VCR made its manufacturer, Sony, liable for copyright infringement. The high court ruled that consumers were allowed to record television shows by copyright’s fair use doctrine. The decision became a legal foundation of the modern consumer electronics industry.

      • Viacom Files A Second Appeal in Viacom v. YouTube/Google – They’d Like a Trial and a Different Judge ~pj

        Viacom can’t seem to find a judge to agree with them that the DMCA Safe Harbor should be reinterpreted Viacom’s way or that YouTube/Google, specifically, should lose its protection because of its conduct. Their war against Google’s YouTube is into its 7th year, and Viacom still thinks that YouTube and parent Google should be held responsible for what users do on it. Specifically, it wants them to have the editorial burden of preventing copyright infringement from happening in the first place, not acting on it when notified of specific infringement by the copyright owner, and it wants it to have to pay for it all by itself.


Links 26/7/2013: Mozilla/Firefox and Jolla Phones

Posted in News Roundup at 4:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • VARs, Pushing Chromebooks, May Be Key to Google’s Enterprise Aspirations

      Although many people don’t realize it, value added resellers, or VARs, played a huge role in the rise of personal computers during the late 1980s and 1990s. These trusted distributors and advisors were among the early champions of newfangled computers that sat on desktops, early local area networks (LANs), and servers from companies like Compaq and AST.

  • Kernel Space

    • Bloomberg TV: Most of Modern Society Running Linux

      Last week I had the pleasure to appear on Bloomberg West in an interview with Cory Johnson. It’s refreshing to see mainstream broadcast media embrace and understand the Linux story so well. Cory knew what he was talking about.

    • Female dev’s outburst against Torvalds was planned

      Sharp’s directing of this tweet to The Ada Initiative does not sit easily beside her claim in a later post to LKML that “I’m not some crazy feminist ranting about cooties on Google+.” If she did not want to canvass the support of women, why send the tweet to an organisation of this nature?

      Had Sharp wanted to raise this issue without making her gender a factor, she would not have sought the support of an organisation like The Ada Initiative at any time. She would have raised it on the mailing list. And she would not have made it a PR issue.

      A few days after the discussion on the mailing list, Sharp issued what can only be described a gloating tweet. “I’m on to something. 199 retweets. Google plus: +333, 122 reshares. 9 major tech articles. 180 blog comments. People care”. It could be argued that not everything that is popular is also correct, but apparently such arguments are not part of Sharp’s make-up.

  • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Liege creators porting the game to PS4, Vita, Wii U, Linux

        Development on Liege, John Rhee’s modern re-imagining of a classic 16-bit role-playing game, will expand to include PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Linux and Wii U, according to updates on the Kickstarter page.

        Liege is a cross-platform, party-based tactical role-playing game where players explore the lives of ordinary characters placed in extraordinary circumstances. It’s currently planned as a three-story arc, with the first game launching in 2014.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Help porting KWin to Frameworks 5

        With Akademy behind me and the situation about “what is master” in kde-workspace resolved I decided to switch my work away from Wayland towards getting KWin on top of Qt 5 and KDE Frameworks 5. After a few days of hacking the compilation of KWin is re-enabled in the frameworks-scratch branch of the kde-workspace git repository.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Peak+ Firefox OS smartphone goes on pre-sale

        Geeksphone has started taking pre-orders for its first commercial smartphone running Firefox OS. The Peak+ offers double the RAM and offers better battery and graphics performance than the original Peak developers phone, and it runs the latest Firefox OS 1.1 build.

        Spanish online phone seller and Telefonica partner Geeksphone began selling its Peak and Keon developer phones for Firefox OS in April, and quickly sold out. They remained that way until this week when Geeksphone set up a pre-sale promotional price of 149 Euros ($196) for an updated Peak model called the Peak+. Once these are gone, the Peak+ price will rise to an unstated higher price, and will be sold from its online store when the unlocked Peak+ begins shipping in larger numbers mid-September.

      • The Jolla phone picks up MeeGo’s torch

        Nokia’s MeeGo mobile operating system may be a thing of the past but it lives on in the new Jolla smartphone. Created by some of the folks behind the short-lived MeeGo, this handset, and Finnish startup with the same Jolla name, runs unique Sailfish software.

      • Android

        • Chromecast: Has Google stolen the living room from Apple and Microsoft?

          Yesterday Google released the new version of Android (still called Jelly Bean, but the version number moved to 4.3) – sticking to the twice a year upgrade cycle. Just like the last year it is Nexus 7 which introduced the 4.3 experience to the world. Nexus 7 is already one of the hottest selling gadgets around and the latest hardware makes it one of the best tablets in that form factor.

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenDaylight Grows Open Source SDN

    OpenDaylight operates under the auspices of the Linux Foundation, no stranger itself to running large scale collaborative projects. Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, told Enterprise Networking Planet that OpenDaylight is now accelerating at a rapid rate.

  • The open source job market is booming

    Apparently, the notion of free software has not killed off job opportunities in the software space. Open source software is in fact creating numerous job opportunities, if the multitude of companies hiring at this week’s OSCON (O’Reilly Open Source Convention) are any indication.

    A walk through the convention floor in Portland features numerous companies advertising their need for more people. “This conference in two words? ‘We’re hiring,’” said conference attendee Tim Bray, the XML co-inventor who now is a developer advocate at Google. “Everybody’s got a ‘we’re hiring’ booth.” Bray sees it as a symptom of an improved economy and open source becoming mainstream.

  • Boffin Rolls Out Its Latest List Of Open Source Security And Encryption Software

    The top picks of free security and encryption software are revealed today by software review website Boffin. The list was compiled after numerous software were tested for competency, quality and reliability.

  • Open-source project, Crypton, seeks to make encryption easier

    An open-source software project aims to give software developers a simple way to wrap encryption into their applications to thwart online surveillance efforts.

  • Open Source CFD International Conference: Preliminary List of Contributions Announced
  • Kumbaya, Tech Giants : Open Source Makes Friends of Rivals

    While the world of enterprise open source finds its foothold in this highly transitional era within the tech sector, consumer-facing tech giants exceeded many of Wall Street’s expectations for Q2. Both Apple and Facebook, currently facing scrutiny for not innovating quickly enough in the age of mobile, held their ground with an increase in iPhone sales and mobile ad revenue, respectively. Still, Wall Street is anxious for Apple and Facebook to step up their game. Here we explore the future business opportunities for Apple devices and Facebook services in the booming mobile sector.

  • Is Africa open to open source?

    George de Bono, GM General Manager for the Middle East Turkey and Africa (META) region at Red Hat, is one of a growing number of operators in this space excited about Africa’s adoption of open source and growing awareness of the benefits related to this technology.

    Red Hat is a US-based global provider of open source solutions and listed on America’s S&P 500 stock market Index.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • CMS

    • Open Source ImpressPages CMS 3.4 Released

      Open source CMS ImpressPages is up to version 3.4, and the latest release features a new file browser, the ability to build custom layouts, and the development team has committed to monthly updates from here.


    • FSF launches fundraising program for Replicant, the fully free Android-based mobile OS

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today launched a fundraising initiative for Replicant (http://replicant.us), a fully free Android distribution and the first mobile operating system (OS) to run without relying on proprietary system code. Replicant’s small volunteer developer team is focused on improving their OS, while also expanding it to work on more devices. Donations will primarily be used to buy new devices for development and testing — a critical need — but will also help fund infrastructure and promotion for the project.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Government For Which People?

      That was said about Huawei when there was concern about data-leaks and backdoors, but it is currently being said about using M$’s stuff because M$ like many US corporations is in bed with NSA and spying on the world. Obviously, if you don’t want to make things easy for spies, you should not use that other OS.

      Instead use Free/Libre Open Source Software like Debian GNU/Linux. With accessible source-code, it’s harder for the NSA to snoop. This is on top of all the other benefits of FLOSS such as low cost, flexibility, rapidity of development and encouragement of small/local business development and employment. Governments globally should be pumping up their own economies, not USA.

    • Should the government use Microsoft products?

      In what appears to be open-season on the NSA and Tech Companies, Bloomberg has joined in with a report of their own, implicating that Microsoft provides US intelligence agencies with information about bugs in its popular software before it publicly releases a fix. In other words, Microsoft grants special access to the likes of the NSA to poke around in the nearly 1 Billion users of Microsoft software via newly discovered bugs—long before Microsoft report it to the public and eventually patch the bug.

      What this means in practice is that intelligence agencies like the NSA and CIA could potentially be granted near complete access and control to every single machine running Microsoft Windows, including your PC and mine, but also the PCs of nearly every government agency in Malaysia. Potentially, every now and then, the NSA and CIA could be snooping around the data of our local government officials thanks to good ol’ Microsoft, and no one would be none the wiser.

  • Licensing

  • Programming

    • The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: June 2013

      A week away from August, below are our programming language ranking numbers from June, which represent our Q3 snapshot. The attentive may have noticed that we never ran numbers for Q2; this is because little changed. Which is not to imply that a great deal changed between Q1 and Q3, please note, but rather than turn this into an annual exercise snapshots every six months should provide adequate insight into the relevant language developments occuring over a given time period.

    • GitHub CEO backs MIT open source license

      Tom Preston-Werner cites the MIT License for its brevity, compared to the wordy GNU General Public License, and the permissiveness of its terms


  • Why a Train Crash like Spain’s is Unlikely To Happen in the U.S.

    The train that derailed and crashed into a wall as it sped around a curve in northwest Spain Wednesday night is a harrowing reminder of what can go wrong at high speeds. At least 80 people died in the crash, and 178 were injured.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Kitten Nearly Dies On Vegan Diet, Gets Healed With Meat

      It turns out that a diet of potatoes, rice milk and pasta is bad for pussy. Veterinarians in Australia who cared for a violently ill vegan kitten are warning pet owners not to “force ideologies” on their pets, the Herald Sun reports.

  • Security

    • Hackers Reveal Nasty New Car Attacks–With Me Behind The Wheel (Video)

      Stomping on the brakes of a 3,500-pound Ford Escape that refuses to stop–or even slow down–produces a unique feeling of anxiety. In this case it also produces a deep groaning sound, like an angry water buffalo bellowing somewhere under the SUV’s chassis. The more I pound the pedal, the louder the groan gets–along with the delighted cackling of the two hackers sitting behind me in the backseat.

    • Famed Hacker Barnaby Jack Dies Days Before Black Hat Conference

      Jack, a famed white hat hacker, was scheduled to present at the Black Hat security conference next week, and present research on vulnerabilities in implantable medical devices. Conference organizers said Jack’s talk would not be replaced, and that the allotted hour on Thursday would be left vacant to commemorate his life and work.

    • Hacker Barnaby Jack dies in San Francisco aged 35

      The San Francisco medical examiner’s office said Jack, 35, died in the city on Thursday – but did not provide details on the circumstances surrounding his death.

      Jack had exposed a security flaw in insulin pumps that could be made to dispense a fatal dose by a hacker 300ft away, pushing some medical companies to review the security of these devices.

      He was also a popular and respected figure in the information security scene. Within that small scene, reverse engineers are especially close, said Matthieu Suiche, a friend of Jack’s and chief scientist at CloudVolumes Inc in an email. “We pretty much all know each other, or have lots of common friends,” Suiche said. “It’s almost like we all grew up together.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US And Russia Simultaneously Announce Intent To Arm Opposing Sides In Syria

      In an almost palpable irony, Russian and U.S. officials simultaneously announced their intent to move forward with controversial arms transfers to opposing sides in the Syrian civil war Monday.

    • Feel-free fee: TSA will grope you less for $85

      If full-body scanners and TSA pat-downs make you feel uncomfortable, you now have an alternate option – making the agency like you and paying a fee of $85.

      The Transportation Security Administration has launched an expansion to their program that allows members to bypass regular airport pre-flight security checkpoints. Those enrolled in the ‘trusted traveler’ program, called TSA PreCheck, don’t have to remove their shoes, jackets and belts during screening. Members can also keep their laptop computers and approved liquids in their bags.

    • Reality TV Show Catches Detective Lying Under Oath And On Police Reports

      Police officers are usually the heroes in the reality television show “Bait Car,” which follows undercover cops as they catch car thieves. But the show caught one Los Angeles sheriff’s detective lying on arrest reports and in court, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. A district attorney’s investigation found that lead detective Anthony Shapiro deliberately lied about reading suspects their Miranda rights before they made incriminating statements that could later be used against them in court.

    • The Rolling Stone Cover and the ‘New Ideological Threat’

      In the same segment, Fox’s Trace Gallagher said, “The question many are asking is why the magazine is making him look like a teen heartthrob instead of a terrorist and alleged killer?”

      That question raises another: How do you make someone look like “a terrorist and alleged killer”?

    • Role Reversal: How the US Became the USSR

      Today it is Washington that is enamored of tyranny.


      The Obama Regime has destroyed press freedom. A lackey federal appeals court has ruled that NY Times reporter James Risen must testify in the trial of a CIA officer charged with providing Risen with information about CIA plots against Iran. The ruling of this fascist court destroys confidentiality and is intended to end all leaks of the government’s crimes to media.

      What Americans have learned in the 21st century is that the US government lies about everything and breaks every law. Without whistleblowers, Americans will remain in the dark as “their” government enserfs them, destroying every liberty, and impoverishes them with endless wars for Washington’s and Wall Street’s hegemony.

      Snowden harmed no one except the liars and traitors in the US government. Contrast Washington’s animosity against Snowden with the pardon that Bush gave to Dick Cheney aide, Libby, who took the fall for his boss for blowing the cover, a felony, on a covert CIA operative, the spouse of a former government official who exposed the Bush/Cheney/neocon lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

      Whatever serves the tiny clique that rules america is legal; whatever exposes the criminals is illegal.

      That’s all there is to it.

    • “Overwhelming” Evidence of Plot to Assassinate Venezuela’s Maduro

      Head of Venezuela’s National Assembly Diosdado Cabello has stated that he will make public “hard evidence of assassination attempts” targeting himself and President Nicolas Maduro “in due course”.

      “We know who they are, what they are, what they want, and we will find them,” Cabello told legislators during a special session of the assembly in Zulia state on Wednesday.

      The alleged plot was first revealed by Maduro during a street government in Monagas state the day before, when he said that “fascist” groups operating in Venezuela “have crazy plans”.

      “I have appointed Diosdado Cabello as political head of the PSUV to find the truth of how they have prepared for attacks against me for months,” Maduro said.

      Maduro stated that if he or Cabello were targeted for assassination, “the wrath of god and the people would be unstoppable” adding that the political opposition would be crippled.

    • Clashes, helicopters, tear gas as tens of thousands take to streets of Egypt
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Halliburton to plead guilty in 2010 Gulf oil spill, U.S. says

      Oilfield services giant Halliburton will plead guilty to destroying computer test results that had been sought as evidence in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

    • Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought

      As we’ve written before, the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.

  • Finance

    • For Vancouver, housing and income don’t add up

      In Manhattan, the super rich foreign class is driving a boom in luxury condo towers that is widening the gap. Places such as London, and Sydney are feeling the hard pinch of high real estate prices as well. But in those cities, considerable effort has been made to control rising prices and debt and deal with declining ownership.

    • Equitable Life savers ‘risk losing out on compensation’

      A report by MPs says 200,000 pension savers who lost money in the Equitable Life scandal may miss out because of lack of publicity for a compensation scheme.

    • Democracy Now!: Detroit a “Spectacular Failure”
    • Richard Wolff: Detroit a “Spectacular Failure” of System that Redistributes Pay from Bottom to Top | Democracy Now!

      Kicking off a series of speeches about the economy, President Obama told a crowd in Illinois on Wednesday that reversing growing inequality and rejuvenating the middle class “has to be Washington’s highest priority.” During his remarks, Obama failed to mention the bankruptcy filing by Detroit, where thousands of public workers are now fighting to protect their pensions and medical benefits as the city threatens massive cuts to overcome an estimated $18 billion in debt. Detroit’s bankruptcy “is an example of a failed economic system,” says economist Richard Wolff, professor emeritus of economics at University of Massachusetts. “There are so many other cities in Detroit’s situation, that if the courts decide that it is legal to take away the pension that has been promised to and paid for by these workers, you have [legalized] theft. It is class war, redistributing income from the bottom to the top.”

    • Detroit Bankruptcy – American Dream to American Nightmare Shows Redundancy of Capitalism

      The recently declared bankruptcy of Detroit City could serve as an epitome of the rise and fall of not just American capitalism, but the capitalist system generally as an historical mode of production. It is a mode of production that is no longer viable as a way of efficiently organizing and sustaining society in the 21st Century. In fact, the system has become the nemesis of American and other societies across the world.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Sleepwalking into censorship

      The essential detail is that they will assume you want filters enabled across a wide range of content, and unless you un-tick the option, network filters will be enabled. As we’ve said repeatedly, it’s not just about hardcore pornography.

    • UK’s Anti-Pornography Plan Is Scary, Pointless Grandstanding

      The U.K. Prime Minister today proposed a sweeping set of internet filtering–some would say censorship–laws. They will go nowhere.

    • Obama Promise To ‘Protect Whistleblowers’ Just Disappeared From Change.gov
    • Obama Promises Disappear from Web

      Change.gov, the website created by the Obama transition team in 2008, has effectively disappeared sometime over the last month.

      While front splash page for for Change.gov has linked to the main White House website for years, until recently, you could still continue on to see the materials and agenda laid out by the administration. This was a particularly helpful resource for those looking to compare Obama’s performance in office against his vision for reform, laid out in detail on Change.gov.

      According to the Internet Archive, the last time that content (beyond the splash page) was available was June 8th — last month.

    • Chinese firm Huawei controls net filter praised by PM

      The pornography filtering system praised by David Cameron is controlled by the controversial Chinese company Huawei, the BBC has learned.

      UK-based employees at the firm are able to decide which sites TalkTalk’s net filtering service blocks.

      Politicians in both the UK and US have raised concerns about alleged close ties between Huawei and the Chinese government.

    • UK Porn Filter Will Censor Other Content Too, ISPs Reveal

      This week prime minister David Cameron announced further details of his crusade to have adult material censored in the UK. It’s a controversial topic for a number of reasons, with even those unconcerned about losing access to porn wondering what will be censored next. Apparently the government have already thought that through. According to ISPs speaking with the Open Rights Group, the filter will target a range of other content too.

  • Privacy

    • Judge denies government’s bid to delay lawsuit to halt NSA metadata collection

      A federal judge has denied the government’s request to delay what could turn out to be a major landmark case (ACLU v. Clapper) on the legality of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass metadata collection program. In a complaint filed last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked a judge to declare Verizon’s ongoing metadata collection and sharing to the NSA unconstitutional.

    • PRISM: European business should be more concerned with local snoops than NSA

      European businesses should be more concerned about local intelligence agencies’ data-collection campaigns than the US NSA’s PRISM programme, according to ex-Navy Seal and Silent Circle chief executive Mike Janke.

    • NSA critics to decry intelligence ‘lies’ at congressional hearing

      Critics of the National Security Agency’s vast surveillance programs will be provided with a platform to speak out against the spy agency on Wednesday at a congressional hearing.

      Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Florida) told the Guardian on Friday that a bipartisan group of lawmakers have begun organizing a hearing to be held in the middle of next week in order to counter the “constant misleading information” being presented by the United States intelligence community.

    • Feds tell Web firms to turn over user account passwords

      The U.S. government has demanded that major Internet companies divulge users’ stored passwords, according to two industry sources familiar with these orders, which represent an escalation in surveillance techniques that has not previously been disclosed.

      If the government is able to determine a person’s password, which is typically stored in encrypted form, the credential could be used to log in to an account to peruse confidential correspondence or even impersonate the user. Obtaining it also would aid in deciphering encrypted devices in situations where passwords are reused.

    • The NSA damages US tech biz overseas

      The revelations of Edward Snowden have severely damaged the reputation of US technology firms. And now we can start counting the cost in terms of lost euros.

    • Amendment to Curb NSA Snooping Power Fails to Pass US House

      The first legislative challenge to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) cyber-spying program has failed to pass the United States House of Representatives.

    • House vote on NSA amendment: privacy advocates hail near miss – live
    • Democratic establishment unmasked: prime defenders of NSA bulk spying

      NYT: “The Obama administration made common cause with the House Republican leadership”

    • Bad News For Reader Privacy: Google News Doesn’t Index HTTPS Sites

      In the ongoing effort to encrypt the entire web, news sites are an area of special importance. After all, the articles you choose to read can say a lot about you: how close you’re following a political race, for example, can indicate where you stand on sensitive issues, or give clues about personal connections to the people or organizations being covered.

    • USA to NSA leaker Snowden: If you come back, we won’t kill you

      The United States assured Russia today that it would not seek the death penalty for any current or future charges against NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

      In another positive, he also won’t be tortured.

      “The United States would not seek the death penalty for Mr. Snowden should he return to the United States,” attorney general Eric Holder wrote in a letter to Russian authorities. “The charges he faces do not carry that possibility, and the United States would not seek the death penalty even if Mr. Snowden were charged with additional, death penalty-eligible crimes.”

      In the letter, which the Wall Street Journal obtained a copy of, Holder is attempting to convince his Russian counterpart to not provide political asylum to Snowden. Helpfully interpreting Russian law for the Russians, Holder says Snowden’s grounds for requesting asylum “are entirely without merit.”

    • New Congressional Coalition Emerges Against NSA Surveillance

      Amash-Conyers amendment brings together Democrats and Republicans against government overreach

    • Tight NSA spy vote gives hope to program critics
    • America Is Split by the NSA, But Not Along the Usual Partisan Lines

      According to Pew, both parties are sharply divided over the data-mining revelations. But one thing is clear: Libertarian sentiment is growing in each.

    • Massive secret NSA facility much larger than you think

      The project suggests the NSA is planning to expand, not restrict, its data gathering operations.

  • Civil Rights

    • Brazil’s Army Moves To Protect Indigenous Awá Tribe By Halting Illegal Logging (PHOTOS)

      They’re known by some as Earth’s Most Threatened Tribe, but now Brazil’s indigenous Awá population is getting help from a powerful force — the national army.

    • Navalny, Ward, Assange, Snowden and the Attack on Free Speech

      Russia does not have a functioning criminal justice system at all, in the sense of a trial mechanism aimed at determining innocence or guilt. Exactly as in Uzbekistan, the conviction rate in criminal trials is over 99%. If the prosecutors, who are inextricably an arm of the executive government, want to send you to jail, there is absolutely no judicial system to protect you. The judges are purely there for show.

    • Gambia Restricts Press Freedoms to Prevent “Unpatriotic” Behavior

      In early July 2013, Gambia’s parliament made dramatic changes to the nation’s information law, which now states that anyone who uses the Internet to spread “false news” can be punished with 15 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines. The new law specifically targets individuals who use the Internet to make derogatory statements, incite dissatisfaction, or instigate violence against government or public officials.

      The government justifies this by saying it will ensure stability and prevent “unpatriotic behavior.” David Lewis reports that another rationale offered by Gambia’s information minister for the changes is to prevent people, at home and abroad, from engaging in “treacherous” campaigns against Gambians.

    • Blow on the PBS NewsHour

      Now, plans change all the time in broadcast news, for all sorts of reasons. But given that government whistleblowers are by definition people whom the government doesn’t want to tell their story–well, it would be good to hear what the reason was in this case.

    • George Zimmerman Trial Juror B29 Says He ‘Got Away With Murder’

      The only minority on the jury that found George Zimmerman not guilty for fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin sat for an exclusive interview with Robin Roberts for Friday’s “Good Morning America” and revealed very strong feelings about how the 29-year-old fared in his trial.

      “George Zimmerman got away with murder,” she said. “But you can’t get away from God. And at the end of the day, he’s going to have a lot of questions and answers he has to deal with. [But] the law couldn’t prove it.”

    • Activist groups attacked: Desperate attempt to end the fight against the NDAA

      Someone emailed the leaders of various activist groups such as PANDA, Oathkeepers, and We Are Change. An email containing PDF files was sent to Dan Johnson, founder of PANDA, and Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oathkeepers, under the guise of being sent from Luke Rudkowski, founder of We Are Change. Dan Johnson found the email tag suspicious as it was not an email client that is ever used by any of these men or their organizations.

      Johnson did not download or open the files, but sent them to PANDA’s internet security expert, Garrett. Garrett was able to determine that the PDFs contained child pornography, which would have created metadata that could be recovered later by forensics experts even if the original files had been deleted. PANDA, Oathkeepers, and We Are Change are taking this threat seriously, as should other activists and activist organizations.

    • Dearlove Doublethink

      In a sen­sa­tional art­icle in a UK news­pa­per last week­end, the former head of the UK’s for­eign intel­li­gence gath­er­ing agency, MI6, appears to have broken the code of omertà around the fraud­u­lent intel­li­gence case used as the pre­text for the Iraq war in 2003.

    • How We Are Impoverished, Gentrified and Silenced – and What to Do About It

      I have known my postman for more than 20 years. Conscientious and good-humored, he is the embodiment of public service at its best. The other day, I asked him, “Why are you standing in front of each door like a soldier on parade?”

      “New system,” he replied. “I am no longer required simply to post the letters through the door. I have to approach every door in a certain way and put the letters through in a certain way.”


Links 25/7/2013: Richard Fontana in OSI, New Nexus 7

Posted in News Roundup at 6:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Fusion-io + Open Source : Drive New Flash-Aware Marketplace
  • FLOSS Manuals’ Latest Free Guides to Free Software

    Regularly here at OStatic, we compile documentation and guidance resources for popular open source platforms and applications. It’s worth remembering that one of the most common critcisms of open source creations is the lack of official project documentation. One of the best ongoing projects for producing free open source-related documentation is FLOSS Manuals. It’s an ambitious effort to build online guides for open source software. Recently, the site has added much useful documentation for some projects that may interest you, including Firefox and video editing applicaitons.

  • Fusion-io Open Source Contributions Force Flash Storage Issue
  • ource and the Gaming Indu

    RISCOSS, the European project developing open source decision support tools based on risk management methodologies, is showcased on the OW2 booth at OSCON.

  • Boffin Lists Its Recommended Open Source DVD Burning Software Today

    Boffin reviewers carefully evaluated different DVD burning software and have compiled a list of the top choices available now in the market. The much-anticipated list by Boffin includes usual suspects as well as unexpected entries, including DVDStyler and StarBurn Software.

  • Open source car telematics gains traction

    According to the most recent forecast from ABI Research, the number of OEM-installed connected car telematics systems will grow from roughly 78 lakh at the end of last year to 4.68 crore units globally by the end of 2018, with Linux/GENIVI platforms accounting for an increasing percentage of shipments during the period.

  • StrongLoop hopes to do for Node.js what Red Hat did for Linux

    One night in summer 2011, a group of 20 or so programmers were sitting by a fountain on the streets of Cologne, Germany, drinking beer and brainstorming code after a developer conference. They were the core members of the early open source Node.js community, a devout group of uber nerds obsessed with fixing Node in their spare time.

  • Baidu Turns to Open Source to Power Part of Its Empire

    Amazon and Google had to forge their own tools to handle the deluge of web traffic they face. They’ve kept those tools in-house, but others — including Facebook, NASA and Yahoo — have built clones of some of Amazon and Google’s most famous inventions. Now companies have a wide range of open source projects they can use to build clouds in their own data centers.

    The latest to turn to open source is Baidu, the fifth most popular website in the world. A recent presentation describes how the Chinese company is using an open source “platform cloud” called Cloud Foundry to power part of its web empire.

  • Nagmap: An awesome addon for Nagios and Icinga

    Nagios is one of the best open source IT infrastructure monitoring system available in market. The thing that makes it so powerful are the addons that can enhance its capabilities and give it some teeth. One such addon which is awesome in my view and one of the best I have seen recently is the Nagmap addon. It uses map from google map api version 3, and you don’t need a key for it. The installation is easy and you only need to know about latitude and longitude of the places you show up on the map (you can use Google to get those).

  • An elevator pitch for open source

    Every year I attend the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference as an exhibitor. This year’s conference was busier than any I’ve ever been to. So many people had either heard of us (ByWater Solutions) or Koha or just about open source in general. One librarian though approached our booth with caution. She informed me that she was told to come see what we were about by a manager but that she was very nervous. What she actually said was, “Open source scares me.”

  • Pluralsight Embraces Open-Source Community with Acquisition of PeepCode

    Online training platform Pluralsight is making a decisive foray into the open-source coding movement by acquiring Seattle-based PeepCode, the leading training resource for professional open-source developers. Announced today, the acquisition extends Pluralsight’s high-quality training content for Web and IT pros into the open-source domain of hardcore programmers.

  • Met Office shows some open source love for space weather project

    THE UK’S NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE the Met Office is flying the open source flag, favouring it for major projects like the prediction of “space weather”.

    The Met Office’s portfolio technical lead James Tomkins told The INQUIRER that open source software is growing in importance for the weather service. “Open source has become an increasing opportunity for us,” he explained. “The government was looking for a way to try and reduce its bills and that’s something we really embraced over the last couple of years.”

  • Events

    • Endurance International’s Bluehost Uses OSCON Sponsorship to Give Back — Encourages the Open Source Community to Do the Same
    • Wild Goose Chase: Chasing Your Way to LinuxCon Could Win You $500

      In the Linux and opgoose chase useen source software communities, there is something that is worth just as much as the paycheck developers and SysAdmins take home: it’s the reputation they earn among their peers for the quality of their code and their work.

      This summer we invite you to join us in the Great LinuxCon Wild Goose Chase, which could also help build your reputation (we’re not saying what kind of reputation!) among your peers. If you’re one of the winners, you’ll also take home some cash and be invited to share your story in a profile on Linux.com.

    • OSCON 2013 preview

      The 15th year of OSCON (Open Source Convention) kicked off last night with an opening reception at the Expo Hall. This year’s theme is Everything Open. And, the tracks reflect that: business, cloud, geek lifestyle, community, open hardware, tools & techniques, mobile, programming languages like PHP, Python, Perl, Java, and Javascript, and much more.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • The problem with NoSQL databases

      NoSQL databases, whether they are truly “no SQL” or “not only SQL,” defer from relational databases in one major respect; they tend to be easier to work with, and are better suited for use with real-time Web applications.

      That’s why major and minor technology outfits are throwing development effort in the NoSQL field.

      In the Free Software community, most people working with relational databases only have to contend with either MySQL (now increasingly MariaDB) or PostgreSQL or sometimes even SQLite. However, in the NoSQL arena, there are dozens of options to choose from.

    • Document Databases Relying on NoSQL Find an Enterprise Home

      There’s a revolution under way in the way documents are managed. Open-source platforms are rapidly replacing a host of proprietary systems as part of the rise of NoSQL databases in the enterprise.

      Most enterprise IT organizations would generally prefer not to support additional database formats, but developers are demanding it. They need lightweight, hierarchical frameworks that are not nearly as complex or expensive to manage as the traditional SQL databases.

  • Education

    • FLOSS Is A Winner For Education

      You know how it is. You are part of a large hierarchical organization and some boss sends a memo that makes your day…


      Still, schools can and do use FLOSS to get the job done and they save greatly in money and time and get a better system.

  • Project Releases

    • Open source in the era of digital marketing

      When Drupal creator Dries Buytaert addressed the inaugural DrupalCon Sydney conference earlier this year he said the open source project’s community had to move beyond seeing it purely as a content-management system. Drupal can compete with the proprietary Web experience management solutions provided by companies like Adobe and Sitecore, Buytaert said.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Bolivian senator proposes national open-source software company
    • A Peek At What Some Governments Are Doing With FLOSS

      Free/Libre Open Source Software is the right way to do IT. Concrete examples of doing IT the right way can be seen in governments adopting FLOSS. For example, every government of any size needs a way to manage assets. A small organization might do it with index cards. That still works but it doesn’t scale. How many people can access that stack of index cards? IT is the right way to keep track of assets. A web interface to a database and web-applications is the way to go.

    • Three cities, one alpha, one day

      To demonstrate the pace of change in agile teams, we gave ourselves one day to rapidly prototype the service, working here and at offices in Plymouth and Leicester. 8 features were built and deployed on the day, iterated in response to testing with real users.

    • Developing With FLOSS Is All About The Product

      When using non-free software, one is always constrained by the licence. Do we have a copy? Do we have a licence to do this? What will be the ultimate cost of N licences? Do we have a budget? Do we need customization which will take longer?… All that gets in the way of development just as it does with actually using the code. Not so with Free Software that comes as a free download and permission to use, examine, modify and distribute for no extra charge.

    • US homeland security investing in OSS cybersecurity projects

      The Homeland Open Security Technology (HOST) project has begun a seven-week open call for investment applications that support open source software to improve cybersecurity. Applications will be accepted from July 2 to August 14, 2013. Award notifications will be sent out October 1.

  • Licensing

    • OSI Welcomes Member-Elected Director

      OSI recently held its first election for a director selected by its new Individual Membership. From a very strong field of candidates, a clear majority of Individual Members expressed preference for Richard Fontana to be elected as OSI’s newest Director.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Samsung and Other Companies Looking for Open Source, Mobile Skills

      Workers with skills in mobile open source technology and Linux are continuing to be in high demand in the workforce, and large technology companies such as Samsung are increasingly seeking them out. We’ve reported before on how acquiring skills with open source technologies can be an effective differentiator for the tech job seeker. Survey data from The Linux Foundation confirms the trend, and a recent “Linux by the Numbers” report from InfoWorld points to many big companies looking for Linux and open source skillsets.

    • Secure Development Is Much Easier Than You Think
    • GCC 4.9, Clang 3.4 Will Have Better C++14 Support

      We’re still many months out from seeing the release of GCC 4.9 and LLVM Clang 3.4 releases, but with the next major updates to these open-source code compilers will come better support for the C++14 (C++1y) language.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Khronos Releases OpenGL 4.4 Specification

      Anaheim, CA – The Khronos™ Group today announced the immediate release of the OpenGL® 4.4 specification, bringing the very latest graphics functionality to the most advanced and widely adopted cross-platform 2D and 3D graphics API (application programming interface). OpenGL 4.4 unlocks capabilities of today’s leading-edge graphics hardware while maintaining full backwards compatibility, enabling applications to incrementally use new features while portably accessing state-of-the-art graphics processing units (GPUs) across diverse operating systems and platforms. Also, OpenGL 4.4 defines new functionality to streamline the porting of applications and titles from other platforms and APIs. The full specification and reference materials are available for immediate download at http://www.opengl.org/registry.


  • Spanish train crash: seven days of mourning declared for victims

    Scores killed, more than 130 injured after train with 247 people on board derails near Santiago de Compostela

  • Santiago de Compostela train crash: Video footage emerges showing the moment train derails and kills 78, as police interview driver
  • Popehat Signal: Vengeful AIDS Denialist Sues Critic In Texas

    Today I light the signal to ask for help for a blogger who is being sued in federal court in Fort Worth for writing about and criticizing a thoroughly creepy AIDS denialist. By AIDS denialist, I mean someone who promotes the belief that HIV does not cause or lead to AIDS. The lawsuit is contemptible. The defendant needs help. Can you step up?

  • AIDS Denialist Files Defamation Suit In Hopes Of Silencing HIV-Positive Critic

    The bully in question is Clark Baker, former cop and current AIDS denialist (i.e., someone who believes HIV does not cause or lead to AIDS). He and his representation (Mark Weitz of Weitz Morgan PLLC) have filed a lawsuit against J. Todd Deshong, an HIV-positive blogger and activist, for “trademark infringement, defamation, ‘business disparagement,’ and for injunctive relief.”

  • Author Solutions’ Rep: People Complaining About Our Scammy ‘Services’ Are Engaged In ‘Racketeering’

    Before we get into this unintentionally hilarious response from an Author Solutions’ rep (via Nate Hoffelder), we’ll need a little background on the company itself.

  • Science

    • State Attorneys General Want To Sue Innovators ‘For The Children!’

      We warned this was coming last month, but it’s now official as 49 48 47 of the 50 state attorneys general have sent an absolutely ridiculous letter to Congress seeking to obliterate the very important Section 230 of the CDA. As has been discussed, at length, over the years, Section 230 has played a key role in allowing innovation to flourish online. What it does is guarantee that (a) liability is properly placed on the party breaking the law and that (b) internet services and innovators can quickly extricate themselves from bogus costly lawsuits filed by people who try to blame those services for how their users use them.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • No evidence behind British cigarette pack decision

      THE early signs were encouraging. When the current UK government took power, it seemed earnest about the need for rational policy-making. Sadly, the past couple of weeks have exploded that notion when it comes to health.

    • The Hazardous Truth about Factory Farming

      Factory farms are increasingly biohazards—biological breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria and viruses. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)—informally known as “factory farms”—pollute our air, waterways, and bodies. Poultry- and cattle-waste has devastating effects on waterways and often contribute to algae blooms. CAFOs produce “waste lagoons” with high concentrations of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, among other harmful substances. Joseph Mercola reports, “Animals and workers have died or become seriously ill in swine IFAP [Industrial Farm Animal Production] facilities when hydrogen sulfide has risen from agitated manure in pits under the building.”

    • California state senator: Dangerous chemicals being pumped underground without oversight

      California oil and gas regulators have failed to monitor practices used to access shale oil, including the injection of dangerous chemicals underground, a state senator said Thursday, urging passage of her proposed oversight legislation.

  • Security

    • Visualizing The History Of Massive Data Breaches

      Though the ongoing revelations about the NSA have thrust government monitoring into the spotlight, we all know that’s just one of the concerning ways that our data is at risk. For many years, we’ve been tracking the various massive breaches that happen at companies, government agencies and anywhere else sensitive data is stored — no small task considering how frequent such breaches seem to be. A new interactive visualization from Information Is Beautiful puts the history of massive data breaches in perspective, going back nearly 10 years and comparing the scale of different events in terms of both the amount of information stolen and the sensitivity of that information. I’d embed a screenshot of the graphic, but it’s huge and the fun comes from the interactivity, so you should just check out the whole thing.

    • College Student Gets Year in Prison for Wire Fraud in Tampering With Student Election

      A former Cal State San Marcos student was sentenced to a year in prison this week for wire fraud and other charges related to election tampering by using keystroke loggers to grab student credentials and then vote for himself.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • CIA scales back bases in Afghanistan
    • CIA changes from ‘spooks’ to ‘assassins’

      New York Times national security correspondent, Mark Mazzetti, discusses the changing role of the CIA since 9/11 saying it has changed from being a spy agency into an organisation that conducts assassinations, often by using unmanned drones.

    • Mercury News editorial: Risen should not have to testify in CIA case

      Gregory said if the ruling stands, it will be a “serious threat” to investigative journalism. More like a death knell, we’d say. Who would talk to reporters in confidence?

    • Judge says family of bioweapons scientist can’t sue CIA over unsolved death

      Indeed, the exhumation of Olson’s body decades later revealed a blow to his head on par with what the CIA manual suggested, and the official cause of death was later changed from suicide to “unknown.” But even though Boasberg declined to rightfully dismiss the family’s claims, he wrote that the delayed filing coupled with an early settlement left him unable to move the case anymore forward.

    • Ex-CIA official to address government-wary hackers
    • Snowden Disclosures: What’s Behind Hidden CIA Base in Brazil?

      As whistle-blower Edward Snowden releases more and more sensitive National Security Agency (NSA) files, the public is gaining unique insights into Washington’s underhanded foreign policy in South America. It’s no secret that both the Bush and Obama administrations have viewed Venezuela as a threat, but Snowden’s disclosures suggest that Washington has a bead on Brazil, too. For some time I’ve been writing about such rivalry, and recent explosive reports merely confirm what many U.S. diplomats already concede privately: that is to say, Brazil is a force to be reckoned with and the country may even undermine or upset traditional regional U.S. dominance in the not too distant future.

    • CIA cutting down on drone strikes in Pakistan, fearing public outrage
    • The Rise of Fanatic Nationalism in America

      It’s the behavior of people throwing eggs while waving American flags at the funeral home in Worcester, Massachusetts and threatening even today to kill its funeral director Peter Stefan for providing funeral services for Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

      We have come to a time and place in history where it is politically correct to be Patriotic and Un-American if we are not. America, right or wrong, or America love it or leave it are familiar slogans of the fanatic nationalist. But to work we must have something to hate, something that will drive us. Just as in Nazis Germany the Jewish faith was those people causing Germans Fatherland it problems (sounds similar to Homeland-doesn’t it? ), so too today its Islam that is America’s evil enemy. The American response to terrorism is based on nationalism, unilateralism and control. Those that disagree as Orwell wrote are now “Enemies of the State”.

    • Soon, no more obstacles to the new Sykes-Picot

      You’ve probably noticed the change in tone of the atlanticist press on the Syrian issue. The “rebels”, these “champions of Freedom”, have suddenly turned into fanatical terrorists who tear each other apart. For Thierry Meyssan, there is nothing new under the sun: Washington has simply abandoned the idea of ​​overthrowing Assad and is heading to the Geneva II conference. Next step: the loss of French influence in the region.

    • The Birth of a Police State: UK Police to be Granted Sweeping New Powers

      The Bill introduces Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNAS) to replace ABSO’S. Almost no one will be sad to say goodbye to ASBO’s. The orders, designed to allow police to tackle anti-social behaviour, simply became a means of criminalising youthful indiscretion – and eventually a means of criminalising anything people found annoying.

    • First Leaked Pakistani Report on U.S. Drone War Undermines Claims of Low Civilian Toll

      A leaked Pakistani government report has bolstered claims that civilian casualties from U.S. drone strikes are far higher than the Obama administration has been willing to admit. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has released figures from the Pakistani government’s own research into casualties from drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The Pakistani report investigates 75 CIA drone strikes and five operations by NATO between 2006 and 2009. It finds that the attacks left at least 746 people dead, including at least 147 civilians, 94 of them children — a conservative count given the omission of key data. The high number of civilian casualties directly contradicts statements made by senior Obama administration officials and top lawmakers. We go London to speak with Chris Woods, a reporter with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s drones investigation team, which won the Martha Gellhorn Prize for journalism last month.

    • CIA closing down bases in Afghanistan: Report

      The war on terror has transformed CIA from an intelligence agency to a counter terrorism force with its own prison holding facilities, paramilitary teams and predator drones.

    • CIA closing bases in Afghanistan
    • CIA scales back bases in Afghanistan: report

      The Central Intelligence Agency has started scaling back its presence in Afghanistan, closing secret bases as US troops withdraw from the country, the Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing unnamed officials.

    • CIA closing bases in Afghanistan: WP

      The CIA has begun closing clandestine bases in Afghanistan, marking the start of a drawdown from a region that transformed the agency from an intelligence service struggling to emerge from the Cold War to a counterterrorism force with its own prisons, paramilitary teams and armed Predator drones.

    • Former CIA Chief: Snowden’s Leak Is ‘a Little Like the Boston Bombers’

      Michael Hayden likened an ideological preference for transparency to Islamic fundamentalism.

    • Former Supreme Court judge warns against Greens’ metadata Bill

      Former Supreme Court judge turned Police Integrity Commission (PIC) inspector for New South Wales, David Levine QC, has said that a Greens proposal to require law enforcement agencies to obtain warrants to access telecommunications metadata would be a disproportionate response to protecting individual privacy.

      Currently, government agencies can obtain access to the so-called telecommunications metadata — the time, location, and call number — from telecommunications companies through internal authorisation, without requiring the agencies to get a judge to approve the handover.

    • From Turkey with love: Another Israeli attack on Syria?

      Prime Minister Erdogan and his AK Party government have a track record of being deceitful, especially in regards to both Israel and Syria.

    • Debate rages as drone raids continue to kill civilians

      The US policy planners consider drones as a tool which has a significant impact on Washington’s counter-terrorism policy. They advocate their use in Pakistani tribal areas, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan to strike alleged terrorists but in the process many innocent people, including women and children, are killed. The blatant use of armed drones has had a ripple effect that has been observed from Islamabad to Washington. The use of drones is therefore being debated from the common man in Pakistan to the highest policy circles of different governments.

    • U.S. Cuts Back Pakistan Drone Program Amid Growing Criticism Of Deadly Strikes

      The United States has drastically scaled back the number of drone attacks against militants in Pakistan and limited strikes to high-value targets in response to growing criticism of the program in this country.

      Those actions appear to have temporarily appeased Pakistan’s powerful generals, who publicly oppose the covert CIA strikes, U.S. officials said. But some officials are still worried about pushback from Pakistan’s new civilian leaders, who took power in June with a strong stance on ending the attacks altogether.

    • Steps Pakistan can take to stop drone strikes

      Since times immemorial targeted killing has played a dominant role in shaping world history and destiny and while the legends of men and societies’ nomenclature hastily transferred from assassins to freedom fighters to founding fathers, the only change that the march of civilisation impressed upon the methodology was, ‘how to kill more effectively’. From a stone, to a club, to poison, to a blade, to a bullet then a bomb and now drones, the insatiable drive towards achieving objectives through targeted killing and by shedding human blood remains unabated.

    • Did the new RoboCop movie just replace robots with drones?

      The way our movie plays, it’s exactly like that. People become aware that drones are not accountable and so then drones are forbidden in America. So there’s a law in the future that forbids drones from puling the trigger. This drone manufacturer is losing a lot of money. And they circumvent the law by putting a man in the machine, [by which] you give the drone the drone a conscience.

    • Trayvon Martin’s Global Significance, America and the Drone

      Much has been said about the Trayvon Martin case. To me, it represents the normal, average, decent person going about his business and is hunted down with the help of the law and lawmakers. While certainly a racial issue — an issue about which the national discussions following are important for our country to have and keep having. This story goes deeper and is truly global in its significance.


      The gun of Zimmerman is the drone of today. The gun that shot this young man thru the heart as he walked home speaking with his pal and digging the vibes of some loved band is what happens to many innocent young people in Yemen and Pakistan. They are just walking along and get vaporized. Yes, vaporized. Not through the heart but just as sad and painful as it is for the Martins, these innocent folks at the wrong place and wrong time are not different. They too are young, walking along innocently and hoping for a better day. They are heading home too to see their beloved parents, their crazy brothers and sisters and the pets they love.

    • Yemeni Reporter Who Exposed U.S. Drone Strike Freed from Prison After Jailing at Obama’s Request

      Prominent Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye has been released from prison after being held for three years on terrorism-related charges at the request of President Obama. Shaye helped expose the U.S. cruise missile attack on the Yemeni village of al-Majalah that killed 41 people, including 14 women and 21 children in December 2009. Then-Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced his intention to pardon Shaye in 2011, but apparently changed his mind after a phone call from Obama. In a statement, the White House now says it is “concerned and disappointed” by Shaye’s release. “We should let that statement set in: The White House is saying that they are disappointed and concerned that a Yemeni journalist has been released from a Yemeni prison,” says Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for The Nation, who covers Shaye’s case in “Dirty Wars,” his new book and film by the same name. “This is a man who was put in prison because he had the audacity to expose a U.S. cruise missile attack that killed three dozen women and children.” We’re also joined by Rooj Alwazir, a Yemeni-American activist who co-founded the Support Yemen media collective and campaigned for Shaye’s release.

    • Lethal autonomous robots: who’s really in control?

      Anxiety about lethal autonomous robots has some substance. The state of play as currently constituted, however, already provides enough cause for concern. The Terminator scenario Monash associate professor Robert Sparrow evokes in his recent article – in which the machines decide humanity is no longer useful – is a long way from reality.


      As other researchers have pointed out, “it is possible to conceive of agency beyond the human”. The crucial threshold for robots is when they write the code, but that presumes interests or values beyond self-defence. The machines are a long way yet from honour. At the moment states decide, but as Machiavelli pointed out in The Prince, states have their own sense of honour and their own moral code. And no-one is fully in control of them.

    • In vigilantes we trust

      One of the basic elements of a democratic society is that the police have a monopoly on force; any citizen who uses force is subject to a process of punishment carried out by judges, attorneys and prosecutors. This monopoly ensures that any prejudices that exist in the society will be insulated from the use of force. However, domestically, in the United States, there has been a diversion of this monopoly with provincial laws that allow common citizens to “stand their ground” and shoot at a threatening person, rather than calling the police for assistance. Internationally, the US has its own ‘stand your ground’ policy with its unilateral vigilante drone strikes that circumvent the criminal justice process in each country they strike, killing all in their vicinity.

      In perfect scenarios, both policies seem beneficial: whether it’s a citizen who rightfully defends himself or the US droning an extremist to death before he can execute a mission that kills scores of people. However, for the imperfect scenarios, like the George Zimmerman case, one begins to wonder whether the criminal justice process may be preferable to the short-cut vigilante justice that ‘stand your ground’ laws and drone wars facilitate.

    • Killing of civilians in US drone strikes

      THOUGH it is a known fact that civilians are being killed in the drone attacks carried out by the United States yet a classified Pakistani government document has revealed that scores of civilians including children were killed between 2006 and late 2009 in FATA in such attacks. The London Bureau of Investigative Journalism (LBIJ) quoting the document said it contradicts claims by the United States that the number of civilian casualties was not high.

    • Senate Looks At Closing Guantanamo, But Will It Really Happen?

      Durbin, meanwhile, suggested that there was no need to worry about releasing Guantanamo detainees, because the U.S. could always kill them using drones if necessary – as happened earlier this year with Saeed al-Shihri, a top operative in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. It was an unintentionally revealing statement that gave credence to human rights advocates’ belief that Obama and his Congressional allies favor killing terror suspects over detaining them.

    • Veterans share their ‘Coming Home’

      Black and grey drones formed by the words of former drone pilots litter the wall of the gallery’s main installation. One drone reads: “Did we just kill a kid?…Yeah, I guess that was a kid,…Was that a kid?…No. That was a dog,…A dog on two legs?” In the foreground, penguins stand with their young flying what would be kites. But instead, attached to threads of red yarn, they fly drones in the air above. Elsewhere in the gallery, photo transfers of soldiers in desert scenes and Iraqi civilians hang side-by-side, grainy and faint as the memories themselves. A video of American soldiers moving their bodies in expression of the chaos, terror, shock and confusion of their experience overseas plays in the gallery loft. And a collection of books by veterans depict stories like the project former U.S. Marine Ehron Tool started, sending tea cups as peace offerings to United Nations ambassadors such as John Negroponte of the U.S. and Adolfo Aguilar Zinser of Mexico.

    • Tools of War Come Home to America

      Others have written about the rise of warrior cops. Armored military-style vehicles are now part of most big-city police forces, as are military-style weapons. The FBI has admitted to using drones over America. In a 2010 Department of Homeland Security report, the Customs and Border Protection agency suggests arming their fleet of drones to “immobilize TOIs,” or targets of interest.

    • Federal Judge Challenges White House Authority on Drone Killings

      Insisting that the United States is still “a nation of laws,” a federal judge in Washington, D.C., Friday sharply challenged the Obama administration’s claim that the president’s decision to target Americans overseas for killing by drone strikes may not be subject to judicial review.

      “Are you saying that a U.S. citizen targeted by the United States in a foreign country has no constitutional rights?” Judge Rosemary M. Collyer asked Brian Hauck, a deputy assistant attorney general at a hearing in U.S. District Court. “How broadly are you asserting the right of the United States to target an American citizen? Where is the limit to this?”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • North Pole Now a Lake

      Instead of snow and ice whirling on the wind, a foot-deep aquamarine lake now sloshes around a webcam stationed at the North Pole. The meltwater lake started forming July 13, following two weeks of warm weather in the high Arctic. In early July, temperatures were 2 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 3 degrees Celsius) higher than average over much of the Arctic Ocean, according to the National Snow & Ice Data Center.

    • North Pole Melting Leaves Small Lake At The Top Of The World (VIDEO)

      The time-lapse video below comes from a webcam set up by the North Pole Environmental Observatory that has monitored the state of Arctic sea ice since the spring of 2000. Surprisingly, the pole has been melting since at least 2002, according to photos on the project’s website.

      July is usually the warmest month in the area, but temperatures were 1 to 3 degrees Celsius above average this year. The shallow lake you see at the pole is made of meltwater sitting on top of a layer of ice, according to the observatory.

    • ‘Like Butter’: Study Explains Surprising Acceleration of Greenland’s Inland Ice
    • Polar thaw opens shortcut for Russian natural gas
    • More steam rising from Fukushima reactor

      Camera feed shows more steam escaping from Japanese nuclear plant but officials say levels of radioactivity unchanged.

    • New worries for Fukushima workers

      Workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan say they have seen steam rising from one of the damaged reactor buildings, for the second time in less than a week.

      The company that runs the plant – Tokyo Electric Power Company, also known as Tepco, says it has not been able to establish where the steam is coming from.

    • Fukushima crisis rolls on as TEPCO admits radiation leaks
    • Fukushima operator acknowledges plant leaks
    • The Biggest Oil Discovery In 50 Years?

      In a virtually uninhabitable section of South Australia, a discovery has been made which could rock the world. Some are calling it the biggest discovery of oil in 50 years. Earlier this year, a company called Linc Energy announced that tests had revealed that there was a minimum of 3.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent sitting under more than 65,000 square kilometres of land that it owns in the Arckaringa Basin.

    • Huge methane belch in Arctic could cost $60 trillion

      Billions of tonnes of the greenhouse gas methane are trapped just below the surface of the East Siberian Arctic shelf. Melting means the area is poised to deliver a giant gaseous belch at any moment  – one that could bring global warming forward 35 years and cost the equivalent of almost a year’s global GDP.

      These are the conclusions of the first systematic analysis of the economic cost of Arctic melting, which delivers a sobering antidote to other, more upbeat assessments that say melting in this area would improve access to minerals on the ocean bed, increase fishing and create ice-free shipping lanes.

    • Arctic methane ‘time bomb’ could have huge economic costs
    • 20130723 – Hercules Platform Explosion in Gulf of Mexico

      News came to us just as we landed from a picturesque six-hour flight on the Sabine River between Texas and Louisiana tracking endangered swallow-tailed kites: the Hercules Offshore drilling platform #265 located about 100 nm south of New Orleans had experienced a blowout this morning around 10am CDT. Lifeboats were used to evacuate 44 workers, none of whom experienced serious injuries. We flew out there at around 2pm and found only about a mile of very light surface sheen to the east of the platform, which would support public statements that “only” natural gas is leaking at this time.

    • Peru To Provide Free Solar Power To 2 Million Of Its Poorest Residents

      Peru has initiated a new solar panel program that will provide electricity to more than 2 million of its poorest residents, Don Lieber over at Planetsave has reported.

      Currently, only 66% of Peru’s 24 million people has access to electricity, according to the country’s Energy and Mining Minister Jorge Merino. By 2016, the plan is to provide electricity to 95% of residents through The National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program.

    • Dereliction of Duty: Invoking ‘Natural Law’ to Force Our Leaders to do What’s Right

      Last year Nestlé Canada Inc., Ontario’s largest purveyor of bottled water, asked the provincial government to amend one of its licenses to draw water from two wells it owns near Guelph. The license required Nestlé to reduce the amount of water it takes from the well in times of drought. The company sought relief from that constraint. The Ontario government was negotiating a compromise settlement when, in April, the environmental law NGO Ecojustice intervened, asking the province’s Environmental Law Tribunal to ensure that the proposed settlement didn’t weaken the license drought restriction.

  • Finance

    • A Growth Strategy for Post-Bankruptcy Detroit

      Americans are riveted by Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy—the largest in the country’s history. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Detroit emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr are engaged in a historic intervention with serious implications for Detroit’s citizens and businesses, pensioners and creditors. Yet they know that getting Detroit’s fiscal house in order—as difficult as that is—will not be sufficient to renew Detroit. Detroit needs a strong growth strategy to complement the state’s intervention on debt and deficits. Absent an economic revival, the city’s fiscal problems will be recurring and inescapable.

    • The Bankruptcy of Detroit is the Future of America under the GOP

      Today it was announced that Detroit was filing for bankruptcy, making it the largest US city to go belly-up in our history. While it was no surprise that this was something that would eventually happen, the scary thing is that many other cities and even our own country are headed in this same direction. This is not an isolated incident, this is the shape of things to come if we don’t adjust our course very rapidly.

    • Malls Raise Consumer Debt for the “Sheeple”
    • Detroit Red Wings Get New $400 Million Taxpayer-Financed Stadium While the City Goes Bankrupt
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • With Voting Rights Act in Shambles, North Carolina Kicks Voter Suppression Into High Gear

      North Carolina Republicans have introduced a major overhaul of the state’s election system, adding dozens of amendments to a voter ID bill that will authorize voter vigilantes, end election day registration, cut early voting, make it harder to register, and even create loony protections against “zombie voters.”

    • The “Other NRA,” the National Restaurant Association, Pushes Preemption of Paid Sick Days

      Today, the feisty advocates at the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), an organization founded in honor of the 73 employees of the Windows on the World restaurant who died on Sept. 11th, will be paying surprise visits to restaurants across the country that are members of the National Restaurant Association, including Capital Grille, Olive Garden, and Red Lobster. ROC and its allies will be calling on these employers to increase the minimum wage and allow workers to escape poverty.

    • Not Much Diversity Among Media’s ‘Stay-at-Home Dads’

      The media also continue to glorify affluent workers, treating the extremely privileged as typical examples (FAIR Blog, 7/11/13; Extra!, 8/13). For instance, “stay-at-home dad” Tom Stocky, the product manager of Facebook, went on ABC’s Good Morning America (7/10/13) to reflect on the low parenting expectations people had for him when he took the four months of paternity leave offered by Facebook so his wife could return to work as a Google executive.

    • Nate Silver Didn’t Fit In at the New York Times Because He Believed in the Real World

      This is what I like to describe as the difference between objectivity and “objectivity.” Objectivity is the belief that there is a real world out there that’s more or less knowable; the “objectivity” that journalists practice holds that it’s impossible to know what’s real, so all you can do is report the claims made by various (powerful) people. The chief benefit of “objectivity” is that it means you will never have to tell any powerful person that they’re wrong about anything.

    • Maddow Tells the Story of ALEC and Gun Laws–But Leaves Out One Character

      Why on Earth does Comcast want a shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later bill on its legislative agenda? Maybe Maddow could ask here employers that.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • World+Dog hates PRISM: Cloud Security Alliance

      Edward Snowden’s PRISM revelations will soon impact the balance sheets of US cloud vendors, according to the Cloud Security Alliance.

      The group claims the latest survey (PDF) of its 500 members suggests the NSA leaks would make more than half non-US the respondents think twice about hosting their data with American-based providers, and more than 90 percent believe companies should be able to publish transparency-style reports about Patriot Act requests for customer data.

    • House Vote 412 – Rejects Limits on N.S.A. Data Collection
    • House Fails to Repeal NSA’s Dragnet Phone Surveillance Authority

      The House today narrowly defeated an amendment to a defense spending package that would have repealed authorization for the National Security Agency’s dragnet collection of phone-call metadata in the United States.

      The amendment to the roughly $600 billion Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014 would have ended authority for the once-secret spy program the White House insists is necessary to protect national security.

      The amendment (.pdf), one of dozens considered, was proposed by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan). “The government collects the phone records without suspicion of every single American of the United States,” he said during heated debate on the measure.

      Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan), in urging a no vote, said “Passing this amendment takes us back to September 10.”

      The vote was 205-217. Here is the vote count.

      The Obama administration lobbied hard to stop the amendment’s passage.

    • Surveillance detection for journalists in the field

      Much has been made recently about the digital surveillance of journalists–and rightly so–but physical surveillance remains a key tactic of security forces, law enforcement, and private entities. These operatives are monitoring journalists, gathering intelligence on them, and potentially obstructing journalists’ work or putting them at risk.

      Understanding how to detect surveillance can improve your safety in the field and the odds of completing your assignment successfully. As a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Secret Service who now works as a private security analyst and consultant, I’m offering this basic primer on surveillance detection. Be aware, though, that you should speak with your editors and colleagues and seek direct consultation with security experts whenever you believe you are at risk.

    • Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys

      Whether the FBI and NSA have the legal authority to obtain the master keys that companies use for Web encryption remains an open question, but it hasn’t stopped the U.S. government from trying.

    • Feds Trying To Get Master Encryption Keys From Tech Companies
    • Pirate Bay founder plans NSA-proof messaging app

      Peter Sunde evidently knows a thing or two about secrecy.

      The co-founder of the song and film-sharing website The Pirate Bay revealed the venue for an interview for this article by emailing a Google Maps link, which when opened, shows a nondescript Konditori, the Swedish equivalent of an old-fashioned diner.

    • Extremely Compartmentalized Information?

      You guys are funny. Good try, though. The earliest reference I could find to SCI on Cryptogon is from 2003. There might be earlier ones.

    • Attorney denies Snowden has been allowed to leave Moscow airport
    • Washington Post: Russia may grant NSA leaker Edward Snowden formal entry
    • Update: NSA leaker Snowden (not yet) granted entry to Russia
    • Snowden asylum still under review, stays in airport for now

      NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden will have to stay at a Moscow airport for a little longer as his asylum plea is still being reviewed by Russian immigration authorities, according to his lawyer.

    • As Feds Demand the Keys, Preparing for the Death of Public-Key Encryption

      With further confirmation of the longstanding rumor that the U.S. government (and, we can safely assume, other governments around the world) have been pressuring major Internet firms to provide their “master” SSL keys for government surveillance purposes, we are rapidly approaching a critical technological crossroad.

      It is now abundantly clear — as many of us have suspected all along — that governments and surveillance agencies of all stripes — Western, Eastern, democratic, and authoritarian, will pour essentially unlimited funds into efforts to monitor Internet communications.

      This goes far beyond the targeted wiretaps of yesteryear. It is now a fundamental doctrine of surveillance religion — bolstered by anti-terrorism hysteria and opportunism — that it is the purview of government to capture and store virtually all communications, for both real-time and ideally retrospective analysis on demand.

    • These Are The 217 People Who Voted To Preserve NSA Surveillance

      Presenting the full roll call breakdown of the Amash Amendment (as described previously) to shutter the NSA’s surveillance function.

    • NSA: how did each representative vote?
    • The 217 Representatives Who Voted To Keep NSA Spying On All Your Data
    • The NSA Hated Civilian Encrypted Data Way Back in the 1970s

      In the 1970s, civilian researchers at places like IBM, Stanford and MIT were developing encryption to ensure that digital data sent between businesses, academics and private citizens couldn’t be intercepted and understood by a third party. This concerned folks in the U.S. intelligence community who didn’t want to get locked out of potentially eavesdropping on anyone, regardless of their preferred communications method. Despite their most valiant efforts, agencies like the NSA ultimately lost out to commercial interests. But it wasn’t for lack of trying.

    • Edward Snowden latest: NSA whistleblower will stay in Moscow airport, says lawyer
    • Edward Snowden: Obama Urges Congress to Vote against Curbing NSA Snooping Powers [VIDEO]
    • US politicians fail to rein in NSA PRISM snooping

      THE UNITED STATES House of Representatives has voted by a thin majority in favour of letting the US National Security Agency (NSA) continue snooping on the American people without reason.

      The US government has been asked repeatedly to release more information about the NSA PRISM data collection programme, apparently to no avail.

    • What the N.S.A. Wants in Brazil

      But Alexander’s second act of declassification was much more interesting. Hayden pointed to Alexander’s comments about Brazil, and his point about not being interested in the communications of Brazilians. He asked me to think about the geography of Brazil, which bulges out eastward into the Atlantic Ocean. I still didn’t understand. “That’s where the transatlantic cables come ashore,” he finally explained.


      The map on this slide is a less detailed version of the one mentioned above, but it indicates the many submarine cables going to and from Brazil, and explains that the N.S.A. uses these programs for the “collection of communications on fiber cables and infrastructure as data flows past.”

      Finally, Greenwald has reported that Snowden downloaded N.S.A. documents described as the “crown jewels” of the agency. There has been much speculation about what these sensitive documents might be. Three former government officials told me that they likely contain details of our relationships with foreign intelligence agencies, and, if so, that there might be explosive revelations about surveillance practices undertaken by Western allies that violate privacy laws and other statutes within those countries.

    • White House scrambles to stop NSA surveillance ban
    • Germany seeks EU support for online privacy charter after NSA revelations

      Data protection watchdogs in Germany call for suspension of agreement with US amid concern about surveillance

    • House vote reflects growing revolt over NSA surveillance

      Six weeks ago, only a few in Congress were ready to challenge the government on surveillance – but opposition has grown

    • NSA Spying Row in Congress Ushers in Debate Over Big Data

      The clash in Congress over limiting U.S. surveillance powers is spurring a broader public debate over managing the billions of e-mails, telephone calls and texts generated globally every day.

      Lawmaker efforts yesterday to curb the National Security Agency’s collection of telephone records from companies such as Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) marked a step in that larger discussion over the gathering, use and storage of vast amounts of data, say current and former U.S. officials, company representatives and privacy advocates.

    • White House scrambles to shut down imminent vote to defund NSA spying
    • Clapper warns against measure to rein in NSA
    • The Talking Points for NSA’s Dragnet Don’t Hold Up

      A bipartisan group of legislators in the House—spearheaded by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich) and John Conyers (D-Mich)—is bucking both the Obama administration and Republican party leadership to push an appropriations measure defunding the National Security Agency’s dragnet phone records programs. The measure would forbid the government from using any resources to execute a Patriot Act §215 “business records” order unless it is limited to the specific targets of specific investigations—effectively barring use of that authority to vacuum up the phone records of millions of innocent Americans.

    • Bachmann defends NSA spying on Americans
    • NSA snooping will hurt digital trade: US lawmaker

      A US lawmaker said on Wednesday he was worried revelations about US surveillance activity on the Internet could encourage governments to erect new barriers to digital trade just as United States is pushing to tear existing ones down.

      “That should be part of the equation when we’re think how we should balance security and privacy. We should think about (how such surveillance activities affect) public perception in allied countries and … how public perception impacts trade,” said Representative Jared Polis, a Democrat.

    • NSA: Sure We Can Search Your Emails, But Not Ours

      The NSA. They’re the no-such-agency with the time-honored tradition of looking through the metadata we all leave behind, like the scum-trail of a slug. Also, our emails, social media communications, recipe exchanges, and those obituaries we write up for our enemies in nearly-sexual anticipation of their demise (editor’s note: damn it, Timothy, nobody does that but you!). They have the kind of technological hardware and software that would make an IT admin’s pants explode. They can search through approximately all the stuff, ever, anywhere, to root out terrorist plots and reality TV spoilers.

    • The NSA Can’t Search Its Own Employees’ Email
    • Can You Hide Anything from the NSA?

      Efforts to protect your data from prying eyes may actually earn you even more government scrutiny, according to new leaked documents from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

    • NSA Spying on Chinese Citizens? US/China Relations Again in the Spotlight

      From his vantage point at Peking University, Dr. Thorsten Pattberg breaks down the latest developments and what they mean for global geopolitics.

    • Leaked blueprints of NSA data storage facility reveal ‘less capacity than thought’

      Only a small portion of the floor space in the NSA’s new facility will be used for data storage

    • NSA claims inability to search agency’s own emails

      Despite the ability to monitor the Internet and cell phone activities of millions, the National Security Agency says it lacks the technology necessary to sift through its own employees’ personal email accounts, according to a new report.

    • Jackboot dangled over NSA’s throat for US spy dragnet outrage

      What part of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act do you not understand?

    • The Amash Amendment Could Have Ended The Era Of Free Phone Metadata For The NSA

      Metadata does not include the content of calls (which are also collected and stored) but does have the potential to track a person’s movements and associations. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the bulk collection of metadata, and supports Amash’s amendment.

    • Forbes Publishes Blueprints Of NSA’s Massive Datacenter In Utah
    • Congress Challenges the NSA

      The stirrings of rebellion in the House are a welcome sign. Obama has not simply abdicated leadership on civil liberties, but is actively endorsing policies that undermine them. It is up to Congress to stop him.

    • Snowden’s Lawyer: ‘Russia Will Not Hand Him Over’

      Now that Russian authorities have provided him with papers, Edward Snowden will soon be able to leave the transit zone of the Moscow airport, where he has been holed up for weeks. In an interview, his lawyer discusses the whistleblower’s plans and how Russia is testing the US.

    • Tor Hack Day, Munich, Germany

      The agenda and conversations will be determined by you and Tor’s team of developers and researchers – so bring your ideas, questions, projects and technical expertise with you!

    • Court Gives Chevron Access To Nine Years Of Americans’ Email Metadata

      For a few years now, we’ve been following a rather troubling legal fight between people in Ecuador and Chevron — the oil giant that has been in a long-term legal battle with people in Ecuador over some of its actions in that country. A few years ago, we wrote about how Chevron was ordering a documentary filmmaker to turn over cut footage, claiming that it might exonerate the company (the filmmaker tried to hold it back, claiming it was protected under journalist shield rules). However, last fall, we noted something perhaps even more troubling. Chevron had issued subpoenas seeking various email info from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft going back years. As we noted at the time, they weren’t seeking the content of the email, but the were seeking what many more people are now familiar with as “metadata.” But, metadata can be quite revealing.

    • Court: Chevron Can Seize Americans’ Email Data

      Thanks to disclosures made by Edward Snowden, Americans have learned that their email records are not necessarily safe from the National Security Agency—but a new ruling shows that they’re not safe from big oil companies, either.

    • Wyden on NSA Domestic Surveillance at Center for American Progress
    • Senator Wyden: Public Has Been Actively Mislead By Government Officials Over Surveillance
    • National Intelligence Lawyer Wonders Why People Are Fine With Sharing Data On Facebook But Not With The Government
    • The Director of National Intelligence Asks Why People Trust Facebook More Than the Government

      At the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., Robert S. Litt, General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, delivered a speech Friday morning, to discuss the DNI’s stance on PRISM and FISA.

      A veteran of “FISA applications, covert action reviews,” computer security, and national security matters, Litt spent 1993 to 1999 as a Deputy to the Attorney General at the Department of Justice. He, better than most, has a deep legal understanding of how these data collection programs work.

    • Even Powering Down A Cell Phone Can’t Keep The NSA From Tracking Its Location

      We know how much information the NSA can grab in terms of cell phone usage — namely, calls made and received and length of conversations, along with phone and phone card metadata like IMSI and IMEI numbers. It can even grab location data, although for some reason, it claims it never does. (No matter, plenty of law enforcement agencies like gathering location data, so it’s not like that information is going to waste [bleak approximation of laughter]).


      The FBI’s use, in which cell phones’ microphones were remotely activated to record conversations (even with the phones turned off), probably had some bearing on Snowden’s request that journalists power down their phones and place them in the fridge.

      According to Gallagher, the NSA may be using mass updates to infect phones of targets overseas (and presumably, any “non-targets” applying the same faux update). This would be difficult, but not impossible, and considering what we’ve learned about the NSA’s far-reaching surveillance net, certainly not implausible. A couple of details in support of that theory:

      First, two telcos that provide service to millions of cell phone users are known to be overly cooperative with intelligence agencies. You may recall the fact that Verizon and AT&T notably did not sign the collective letter asking the government to allow affected companies to release information on government requests for data. Given this background, it’s not unimaginable that Verizon and AT&T would accommodate the NSA (and FBI) if it wished to use their update systems to push these trojans.

      Add to this the fact that Microsoft and others have allowed intelligence agencies early access to security flaws, allowing them to exploit these for a certain length of time before informing the public and patching the holes. Add these two together and you’ve got the means and the opportunity to serve snooping malware to millions of unsuspecting cell phone users.

    • German Minister Calls Security A ‘Super Fundamental Right’ That Outranks Privacy; German Press Call Him ‘Idiot In Charge’

      One of the striking features of the Snowden story is that there has been no serious attempt to deny the main claims about massive, global spying. Instead, the fall-back position has become: well, yeah, maybe we did some of that, but look how many lives were saved as a result. For example, the day after the first leaks appeared, it was suggested that PRISM was responsible for stopping a plot to bomb the NYC subways. However, further investigation showed that probably wasn’t the case.

    • America’s real subversives: FBI spying then, NSA surveillance now

      As the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington nears, let’s not forget the history of agency overreach and abuse of power

    • NSA amendment’s narrow defeat spurs privacy advocates for surveillance fight

      Democratic congresswoman hails ‘great beginning’ as bipartisan coalition looks to reset balance between liberty and security

    • Justice Department fails in bid to delay landmark case on NSA collection

      ACLU, who brought lawsuit arguing that NSA programme is unconstitional, welcomes judge’s decision to set a court date

    • Under America’s Surveillance Dome

      The Times story shows that President Obama is not about observing “the rule of law,” but about pushing buttons and twisting arms. “And all across the region,” the piece states, “American embassies have communicated Washington’s message that letting Mr. Snowden into Latin America, even if he shows up unexpectedly, would have lasting consequences.” (Ibid)

      “The rule of law?” Tell that to the government and citizens of Pakistan, who have overwhelmingly condemned the United States’ repeated violation of their national sovereignty with its criminal drone warfare. Tell that to the loved ones of all the innocent Pakistani—and Afghan and Yemeni and Somali—victims of the Obama administration’s illegal drone warfare.

    • And You Thought the NSA and CIA Were Secretive…

      A Finance Committee aide said that keeping the submissions confidential for a half century was “standard operating procedure for sensitive materials including investigation materials,” according to The Hill.

      The “blank slate” process illustrates, according to The Hill, “the enormous pressure being brought to bear by K Street lobbyists, who are working furiously to protect their clients and the tax provisions that benefit them.”

    • Texas School District Drops RFID Chips, Will Track Kids With Surveillance Cameras Instead
    • Texas School District Drops Embattled RFID Student IDs; Opts For Tons Of Cameras Instead

      The Northside Independent School District (NISD) of Texas, best known for being sued by a student over its mandatory RFID card policy, is dropping the technology that originally landed it in the courtroom.

    • Architect Of Obama’s War On Whistleblowers: ‘It’s Good To Hang An Admiral Once In A While As An Example’

      Basically, the long term intelligence insiders were sick of leaks — such as the revealing of their warrantless wiretapping — meaning that they actually have to answer to the public for overreaching into everyone’s private lives. Given the combination of those intelligence agencies and Feinstein (who has always parroted whatever the intelligence agencies have to say), President Obama put his first Director of National Intelligence on the job of “solving” this issue of whistleblowers.

    • Why Won’t Cops Share the License Plate Data They Collect?

      A report released this week by the ACLU explores the widespread deployment of automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) scanners by law enforcement across the country. As police tout the advantages of ALPR and seek millions in federal funds to the equipment, many departments insist that license plate and vehicle location information don’t require special protection or oversight.

    • License Plate Data Isn’t ‘Personally Identifiable’ Until The Public Asks Police For Access To It

      Law enforcement agencies display a deliberate cognitive dissonance when it comes to data they claim has no “expectation of privacy.” As was recently detailed here, license plate scanners are in operation across the United States, most with little to no oversight over the use of the location information obtained. Even worse, disposal of “non-hit” data seems to be an afterthought — in some cases, the information is held onto indefinitely. One law enforcement agency was even quoted as saying the use of the data was “limited only by the officers’ imagination.”

  • Ex-CIA/NSA Boss Says Snowden Worse Than Every Spy From Benedict Arnold To The Rosenbergs
  • Civil Rights

    • Yemeni investigative journalist finally free but serious issues remain

      The Yemeni authorities must respond to allegations that an investigative journalist was ill-treated and arbitrarily imprisoned based on his work to reveal the US military’s role in a deadly 2009 attack, Amnesty International said following his release on Tuesday.

      Abdul Ilah Haydar Shayi’ was finally set free following international pressure, but the Yemeni authorities have kept in place a two-year travel ban on the journalist.

      “Abdul Ilah Haydar Shayi’ appeared to be a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for his legitimate work as a journalist. Having released him, the Yemeni authorities must now conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the 2009 attack which he helped expose,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    • Russian court leaves Pussy Riot singer behind bars

      A Russian appeal court decision to refuse parole to Maria Alekhina, one of the Pussy Riot punk group singers jailed for singing a protest song in an Orthodox cathedral is a further travesty of justice, Amnesty International said today.

    • Police use of ANPR in Royston ruled illegal

      Today the Information Commissioner has ruled on a joint complaint from Big Brother Watch, No CCTV and Privacy International, concerning the use of automatic number plate recognition technology in Royston?

    • In Texas guns don’t kill people, tampons do: State troopers confiscating tampons from females in the capitol

      Well this is insulting as hell. Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, speaking from the floor of the Texas Senate this afternoon said, “We have beefed up security today. We will not tolerate any outbursts.” Then State Troopers proceeded to confiscate tampons from females while at the same time guns are allowed.

      In Texas, guns don’t kill people, tampons do. Volunteers were rounding up all the tampons throughout the capitol, asking women to surrender their weapons of mass destruction, because State Troopers were confiscating them. So the volunteers were trying to speed up the process because the search took hours.

    • U.S. reviewing 27 death penalty convictions for FBI forensic testimony errors

      An unprecedented federal review of old criminal cases has uncovered as many as 27 death penalty convictions in which FBI forensic experts may have mistakenly linked defendants to crimes with exaggerated scientific testimony, U.S. officials said.

    • DOJ/FBI Admit They May Have Abused Hair Analysis To Convict Hundreds To Thousands Of Innocent People
    • Tom Diaz on Dangerous Gun Laws

      The death of Trayvon Martin has ignited a debate not just over our justice system, but on laws such as “stand your ground” that contributed to the tragic result. Bill talks with author and gun industry analyst Tom Diaz about how a lethal combination of self-defense laws and concealed carry laws — championed by the NRA and the gun industry — makes us more vulnerable to gun violence. He warns that the genie is out of the bottle and we should be gravely concerned about the unrelenting marketing of guns. Diaz’s latest book is The Last Gun: How Changes in the Gun Industry Are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • “Shut Down The Pirate Bay,” Founder Says

        Currently on a speech tour in Brazil, Tobias Andersson, one of the original founders of The Pirate Bay, says the site should shut down to make room for something better. “The Pirate Bay in its current form must end. It’s not built and meant for what is coming. The future copy fights will need something better, safer, faster,” he says.

      • Wait, I Thought The Next Congressional Copyright Hearing Was Supposed To Be About Hearing From Creators?

        We already pointed out that it appears that the IP Subcommittee in the House Judiciary Committee is taking the exact wrong approach with its next two hearings, in which they are trying to set up a bogus framework of “creators” vs. “technologists” when it comes to copyright reform. The idea was to have one hearing where “creators” talk about how wonderful copyright is and another for technologists to talk about how wonderful innovation is (though that one’s not yet scheduled). As we explained, that’s a ridiculous dichotomy, because it’s not “one side vs the other” here. It’s about what sort of copyright policy benefits the public the most. And content creators and technologists shouldn’t be opposite each other on that front. Great new innovations in technology tend to help content creators, and an overbearing copyright policy can hurt content creators. The right way to do this isn’t to set it up as one vs. the other, but to bring together actual stakeholders and figure out what’s the best overall policy.

      • Court Says Broadcasters Can’t Use Copyright To Block Commercial Skipping

        This morning there was a huge victory for common sense in the Ninth Circuit appeals court ruling in the Fox v. Dish case over Dish’s AutoHopper technology. As you may recall, pretty much all the major broadcasters sued Dish a year ago, claiming that its AutoHopper technology with the PrimeTime Anytime feature — which would record the entire primetime lineup, and allow Dish customers to watch everything (starting the next day) while automatically skipping the commercials — was infringement (and breach of contract). As we noted at the time, the broadcasters’ arguments made very little sense. The basis of the argument was that skipping commercials is a form of copyright infringement. We couldn’t see how skipping commercials violated the copyright in any way at all, and while Fox pretended it won the initial ruling at the district court level, the reality was that Dish won big.

      • Local Newscast Uses DMCA to Erase Air Crash Reporting Blunder

        Local San Francisco television news station KTVU has embarked on a novel use of copyright law to cover up embarrassing footage. It has been issuing takedown notices to YouTube for videos showing its anchor literally reading fake names of pilots involved in the recent airline crash at San Francisco International Airport.

      • TV Station Issues DMCA Takedowns On Videos Of Its Fake Asian Pilot Names Debacle
      • Maybe The Answer To The $200 Million Movie Question Is To Not Focus On $200 Million Movies?

        For almost a decade, we’ve been dealing with variations on the question an executive from NBC Universal once asked me during a panel discussion about copyright: “But how will we keep being able to make $200 million movies?” As we’ve explained over and over in the years since, that’s a ridiculous question. Would anyone in the tech industry ever ask “but how will we continue to make our $5,000 computers?” Of course not, because the focus is on making something profitable that’s good and serves a need. Focusing on the cost is exactly the wrong way to go about things. That doesn’t mean that no movies should cost $200 million. If you can come up with a movie that can make more than that in response, then sure. But Hollywood seems built not around figuring out how to make something profitable, but by following a formula. And part of that formula is “every summer we release some big budget, action-packed ~$200 million films that we call blockbusters” and that’s the focus.

      • More Sanctions Issued Against Team Prenda

        Late last week we noted that Judge Edward Chen was becoming as suspicious of Team Prenda as Judge Wright, and so it didn’t take long for Judge Chen to add to the pile of sanctions against the key players, this time ordering another $22,531.93 in legal fees to Joe Navasca.


Links 24/7/2013: OLPC in Rwanda, $4,165,421 Raised for Ubuntu Edge

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • The increasing value of community management

    “Every year, the art and science of community management is becoming more predictable,” said Jono Bacon, the Community Leadership Summit lead organizer. It’s becoming a renaissance, and over the last few years the practice is starting to be written down and documented. It’s evolving.

  • First Australian open source geospatial laboratory

    The University of Melbourne will be home to Australia’s first open source geospatial laboratory, which will support urban research and educational excellence through the use of geospatial data and tools.

  • 7 Huge Benefits of Free Open Source Software
  • Fusion-io Accelerates Flash Apps With Open Source Contributions

    At the O’Reilly OSCON 2013 this week in Portland, Oregon, Fusion-io made the announcement that its Atomic Writes API contributed for standardization to the T10 SCSCI Storage Interfaces Technical Committee is now in use in mainstream MySQL databases MariaDB 5.5.31 and Percona Server 5.5.31.

  • MulticoreWare releases its x265 project into the open source universe
  • x265: Open-Source H.265/HEVC Video Encoder
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Works on Draft for Web Literacy Standard

        Back in March, Mozilla announced Open Badges 1.0, which it billed as “an exciting new online standard to recognize and verify learning.” Immediately, the program picked up some enthusiastic backing from former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and then, the folks behind Blackboard’s free, hosted CourseSites platform for massive open online courses (MOOCs) backed Open Badges.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Sync Progress Display

      here is something new and eye candy in the ownCloud Client, so let me show a bit of what we have worked on recently.

      Many users of the ownCloud Client were asking for sync progress information, in fact there was none at all until today which is a bit boring. The reason why we hadn’t it was simply that csync, which is the file synchronizer engine we use, did not have an API to hand over progress information of an actual up- or download to higher levels of the application.

      We implemented two callbacks in csync: One that informs about start, end and progress of an up- or download of an individual file. Another one processes the overall progress of the currently running sync run, indicating for example that eight files have to be processed, current is file number four, and x of the overall sum y bytes have been processed already.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Apache OpenOffice 4.0 Has A New Sidebar
    • Apache OpenOffice Extensions New Site Goes Live!

      In parallel with the launch of the new Apache OpenOffice 4.0 release SourceForge has released the new Apache OpenOffice Extensions website.

    • OpenOffice 4.0 arrives

      It may be trailing LibreOffice, but OpenOffice is still alive and kicking — now with better Microsoft Office Open XML support.

    • LibreOffice 4.1 Approacheth

      As Apache announced the release of OpenOffice 4.0 with handy sidebar, The Document Foundation was busy sweeping up the last bug reports for the upcoming LibreOffice 4.1 release. In a post to The Document Foundation blog, Italo Vignoli, founder and board member, acknowledged the contributions made by OpenOffice developers while taking stock of the achievements of the LibreOffice project the last couple of years.

    • Getting Close to LibreOffice 4.1

      I still remember the second I pushed the “send” button of the very first TDF press release, on September 28, 2010. A simple gesture, and a giant leap forward for the free office suite ecosystem.

      On that day, though, the feeling was completely different.

    • Apache OpenOffice now comes with a handy sidebar

      In its first major revision in more than a year, the Apache OpenOffice suite now comes with a sidebar, from which users can launch their favorite tools.

    • Apache launches major revision of OpenOffice suite

      OpenOffice 4.0 comes with a handy sidebar that beats the feature overload issue by devoting room on the side of documents for feature controls

  • CMS

    • Enhancing Drupal’s Reputation As A World-Class, Open-Source ECommerce Platform Through PCI Compliance

      In a rapidly growing eCommerce industry, many agencies are finding it difficult to keep up with ever-changing standards and regulations, but a newly released white paper on Payment Card Industry Digital Security Standard (PCI-DSS) compliance will provide the Drupal community with insight into this essential process. Written and reviewed by experts in the Drupal community, the white paper provides a high-level overview and well-defined next steps to protect businesses accepting credit card payments.

  • Funding

    • In-Q-Tel Backs Open Source Mapping Company

      In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the U.S. intelligence community, has signed a new technology development agreement with OpenGeo, which develops open source geospatial software.

  • BSD

  • Project Releases

    • Blender 2.68 is smoky!
    • [ANNOUNCE] systemd 206

      After introducing all those new concepts in 205 this release fixes a few issues in that new code, and adds pretty much all missing documentation for it. Also, lots of bits and pieces that waited to be merged got merged, so we have some new features as well.


  • Apple Inc. (AAPL) Acquires HopSpot, Cuts Off Windows Phone Users

    Popular public transit navigation app HopSpot dropped support for Windows Phone users this weekend, just a few days after it was acquired by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), reports Daniel Eran Dilger of Apple Insider. The app helps people find the most convenient routes using public transportation information for over 300 major cities.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Measles is back. It had help

      The modern anti-vaccination scare began in the late 1990s, when a British physician named Andrew Wakefield began warning people that the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella) causes autism in children. Medical experts refuted his claims, but parents panicked. Vaccination rates in Britain sank from 92 per cent to 73 per cent. Dr. Wakefield’s research has since been widely condemned as a giant fraud, and many of the current crop of measles victims were never vaccinated because of him.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Bolivian Magazine Denounces US Interference

      US interference in the Bolivian internal affairs and the plans to destabilize the Government of President Evo Morales by agencies of that country were revealed here by the weekly magazine La Epoca.

      A three-page report of the mentioned magazine denounces that three US entities and a European ultra-right party are channelling ideas and resources to support the Bolivian opposition.

    • CIA Blocked Security Team Departure During Benghazi Attack

      The CIA “repeatedly blocked” the departure of a security team that was ready “within minutes” to respond to the Sept. 11, 2012, terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya that claimed the lives of four Americans, according to Rep. Frank Wolf (R., Va.)

      Wolf revealed on the House floor on Monday that “trusted sources have confirmed” to his office “that the security team was ready to respond within minutes after receiving the initial call for help, but the CIA repeatedly blocked their departure for more than 30 minutes.”

    • CIA scales down Afghanistan operations amid troop pullout

      The CIA is seeking to reduce the number of its Afghanistan bases of operation from a dozen to as few as six over two years, going with the overall American withdrawal. But even after 2014 it will maintain a significant footprint.

      The manpower and equipment will be relocated from Afghanistan to other destinations, particularly Yemen and North Africa, places where Al-Qaeda-affiliated forces are presented, reports The Washington Post. CIA operatives would also be needed for operations not involving anti-insurgency, like the planned supplying of weapons to the Syrian armed opposition.

    • Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Alleging CIA Covered Up Murder Of Frank Olson

      A federal judge ruled last week that it’s too late for the family of deceased CIA bioweapons expert Dr. Frank Olson to sue the CIA for his death.

      [...] CIA admitted to spiking his drink as part of the controversial MK-ULTRA program…

    • Americans arming for drone hunt

      Riflemen and the US government are taking aim at each other over surveillance drones. Given the expansion and intensification of government surveillance in recent years, this altercation should not come as a surprise. The Federal Aviation Administration warned on Friday that attempting to shoot down drones is punishable by fine and/or prosecution. The warning was a response to a ordinance under consideration in the small Colorado community of Deer Trail, which would distribute drone hunting permits to encourage defense of the town against unwarranted surveillance. The permits would be applicable to any drone incursion (belonging to the US government, a corporation, terrorists, or anyone else) into the sovereign airspace of the town, defined as reaching an altitude of 1,000 feet.
      Read more: http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_07_24/Americans-arming-for-drone-hunt-3106/

    • US drone strikes in Yemen cast a long shadow over life on the ground

      Tiny, bright-red flashes twinkle in the night sky over Obeiraq, accompanied by a short, sharp detonation then a heavy thud. It shakes the houses and their windows. Smoke rises from the valley below. It makes the women “sick” and they stay indoors, but the menfolk strut around in the streets, flaunting their indifference to the unmanned aircraft. “We’re not afraid of drones,” they say.

    • Pakistan Withdraws Bid for Drones over ‘Legal Implications’

      U.S. drone attacks on in North-East Pakistan, south of the Afghan border, are one of the sour points between Islamabad and Washington. According to the Pakistan’s Tribune Express, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently withdrew a planned request for the transfer of US drone technology to Pakistan. The reason behind this turn was ‘legal implications’, of drone attacks aginst tribal areas in North-east Pakistan.

    • US produced so many drones it will spy on friends and foes alike

      Manufacturers in the US have produced so many drones that now the US government is in search of a place to use all these products, cofounder of globalexchange.org and author Medea Benjamin told RT.

    • DARPA Is Building a Submarine Mothership to Launch Drones From the Sea

      Drones are nuts. After all, they’re robotic war machines that kill on command. But the mad scientists at DARPA are working on something that’s even more nuts: a submarine that can carry an assortment of drones around the sea and launch them into the air. That’s nuts.

    • Germans Play for Time in the Debate on Drones

      “There is a knee-jerk reaction to armed drones in Germany. Germans are against the use of force.”

    • ‘Dronestagram’ filters satellite photos of US drone strikes for your social feeds

      Dronestagram is the latest project from renowned “new aesthetic” pioneer James Bridle, an Instagram feed which posts satellite images corresponding to US drone strikes in the Middle-East and Asia. Much like Josh Begley’s Drones+, the Apple-banned smartphone app which sends alerts whenever drone strikes are reported, Bridle says Dronestagram is a way of “making these locations just a little bit more visible, a little closer. A little more real.”

  • Finance/Plutocrats

    • The babies we don’t care about today

      Of all future subjects of our new infant overlord, none are more scapegoated than teenage single mums. Let’s not forget about them and their children today.

    • The Royal Birth frenzy is a sign of our lack of community, story and self-worth

      Yesterday our frenzied response to Kate Middleton — dubbed “brilliant” for giving birth to a boy — has exposed just how dissatisfied we are with our personal life stories.

      It is not entirely unfathomable that many people would feel a sense of excitement that Kate Middleton has given birth to the third heir to the throne. After all, as social storytelling beings we make meaning of the world, create relationships and derive inspiration from the lives of others. In addition to being perfectly normal — it is healthy and a part of our collective history. Since the beginnings of humankind we’ve sataround fires in the middle of forests, in caves, atop mountains, and at the mouth of rivers sharing stories of great individuals — mostly male monarchs, warriors and magicians — on epic journeys. These stories created wander, helped to explain a mystifying world and engendered a sense of possibility. However, our current preoccupation with the life stories of others — especially rich and famous others like Kate Middleton — has become a social phenomenon.

    • Detroit’s decline is a distinctively capitalist failure

      The automobile-driven economic growth of the 1950s and 1960s made Detroit a globally recognized symbol of successful capitalist renewal after the great depression and the war (1929-1945). High-wage auto industry jobs with real security and exemplary benefits were said to prove capitalism’s ability to generate and sustain a large “middle class”, one that could include African Americans, too. Auto-industry jobs became inspirations and models for what workers across America might seek and acquire – those middle-class components of a modern “American Dream”.


      When those capitalists’ decisions condemn Detroit to 40 years of disastrous decline, what kind of society relieves those capitalists of any responsibility to help rebuild that city?

      The simple answer to these questions: no genuinely democratic economy could or would work that way.

    • Breaking the Set: Bailing Out Detroit
    • Proprietary credit score model now embedded in law

      I’ve blogged before about how I find it outrageous that the credit scoring models are proprietary, considering the impact they have on so many lives.

      The argument given for keeping them secret is that otherwise people would game the models, but that really doesn’t make sense.

      After all, the models that the big banks have to deal with through regulation aren’t secret, and they game those models all the time. It’s one of the main functions of the banks, in fact, to figure out how to game the models. So either we don’t mind gaming or we don’t hold up our banks to the same standards as our citizens.

    • SEC Confirms That Bitcoin Savings & Trust Was A Ponzi Scheme; Files Lawsuit

      A little less than a year ago, an operation called the Bitcoin Savings & Trust (an updated name from what had been the “First Pirate Savings & Trust”) shut down suddenly, right after there was growing evidence that it was a pyramid scheme — or, as some called it, the Bernie Madoff of Bitcoin. The “deal” promised an insane 7% interest weekly. If you know even the slightest thing about compound interest (or can use a calculator for a few rounds), you’d recognize that’s insane and obviously unsustainable in any real world situation.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy


Links 23/7/2013: Linux Mint 15 “Olivia” KDE, Ubuntu Edge

Posted in News Roundup at 11:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Project Aims to Invent the Photographic Light of the Future
  • Choices for Open Source Music Making Software Now Available in SoftwareReviewBoffin.Com

    Software review site Boffin, reveals its top free music making software for the year. Innovation, feature range and accessibility among the factors that determine Boffin’s choices.

  • The coming push for open source everything

    Frankly, I can’t say I was surprised when I read that RIM’s BlackBerry 10 transmits user email account credentials to RIM servers, which then log into the account. Obviously someone at RIM thought this would be a good idea, but anyone who does anything that requires keeping email private — say, an executive discussing sensitive negotiation strategies with colleagues, or a doctor or other health care worker, or, well, just about everyone — should be appalled that RIM covertly collects their username and password, then logs into the account.

  • NuPIC Open Source Project and Community Established at Numenta.org

    Numenta.org has been created as the home for the NuPIC (Numenta Platform for Intelligent Computing) open source project and community. The project was announced today in a keynote address at the OSCON open source conference.

  • Your Creative, Open Hackathon Is Ripe for Legal Challenges

    NASA’s Space Apps Challenge recently became the world’s largest open hackathon, with over 8,000 participants spanning 44 countries. Meanwhile, many of the features many of us use every day — sometimes more than once a day — such as Facebook’s Like button and Timeline, debuted at closed (internal, employee-only) hackathon events.

  • Universal Language – The Open Source Column

    NASA has ditched Windows on the International Space Station. But why was it ever there in the first place, wonders Simon?

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla moves Firefox OS to rapid release schedule

        SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Mozilla has announced that it will release updates to Firefox OS every three months, with security updates scheduled every six weeks.

      • Mozilla Unveils Highly “Aggressive” Release Schedule for Firefox OS

        Mozilla is busy aligning its entire company around its new Firefox OS mobile platform, which will even soon include embracing a new CEO focused on it. In its pursuit of the perfect cadence for new releases of Firefox OS, Mozilla has announced an aggressive rapid release cycle for improving the operating system. Specifically, it will make feature releases available to partners each quarter and deliver security updates for the most recent two feature releases every six weeks.

      • Top Mozillans dream of quarterly Firefox OS updates … and users, too

        Mozilla hopes to pump out a new version of its smartphone Firefox OS every three months – and wants to lock mobile networks to this roadmap of updates.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Reality Check: OpenStack is Not the Next Linux

      Linux is wildly successful, free and open source software and represents the future of operating systems.

      OpenStack is wildly successful, free and open source software and represents the future of cloud computing.

      Therefore, OpenStack is like Linux.

      As much as it would be nice to wrap up the OpenStack cloud computing platform in a neat little bow and offer it up to the great gods of allegory, there are key differences in the basic origin stories of OpenStack and Linux that make the comparison a little strained.

    • Cloudant Merges BigCouch Database into Open Source Apache CouchDB

      In a move that promises to advance the development of open source Big Data and distributed storage technology, database-as-a-service (DaaS) provider Cloudant has announced the merging of its distributed database platform into the Apache Foundation’s CouchDB project. The decision is a good example of convergence within the open source world, and could have an especially important impact on open source clustering technology.

    • We few, we happy few: Big boys dominate early stage OpenStack

      The large numbers of you who watched our recent Regcast All about OpenStack (catch it in the on-demand version if you missed it) show how much interest there is in the project. But no one pretends that OpenStack is anywhere near mature. It is a work in progress and in the short term it will mostly be visible in the service provider community.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Linux Gains Momentum

      In addition to those customers, Oracle’s Engineered Systems, including Exadata Database Machine, Exalogic Elastic Cloud, Oracle Big Data Appliance, Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine, and Oracle Database Appliance, all run Oracle Linux.

      During Oracle’s most recent fiscal quarter, Ellison reported that the Exa-class systems had their best quarter ever in terms of sales. Over 1,200 engineered systems were sold in the fourth quarter alone, in a year in which Oracle sold over 3,000 engineered systems in total.

      Coekaerts added that Oracle customers purchasing standard Oracle x86 servers have support for Oracle Linux included. Additionally, Oracle deploys many customers on Oracle Linux in Oracle Cloud and Oracle Managed Cloud Services.

  • Funding

    • T&M Turns to Open-Source, Kickstarter

      The field of test and measurement is set to benefit from open-source software applications if a Kickstarter fundraising project is successful.

    • Are donations effective for open source projects?

      The other day I came across a new initiative for funding open source development called the Bitcoin Grant. While interesting at first sight, I was wondering: How is this better than the traditional donation button most open source projects have? The Bitcoin Grant then seems to limit who can donate and how you can use those donations (you can’t pay rent with bitcoins just yet).

  • BSD

    • Interesting Features For FreeBSD 10

      While FreeBSD 9.2 is expected in about one month for release, further out in the pipeline is FreeBSD 10.0 and with it will come many new end-user features.

      It’s not yet been determined when FreeBSD 10.0 will be released, but given their past release cadence, this next major FreeBSD operating system should arrive in 2014. Among the features so far include:

    • NAS4Free

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • There Isn’t Much To Show For The Open64 Compiler

      Over the weekend I heard from a frustrated developer that AMD has reportedly conceded in their support for Open64. AMD has been a big backer to Open64 in years prior as an alternative to using the GNU Compiler Collection. AMD has their own Open64 fork where they have support for the latest AMD CPU features. The most recent release of AMD’s x86 Open64 compiler is version and this series introduced AMD “Piledriver” Family 15h support, AVX/XOP/FMA3/FMA4/BMI/TBM/F16C intrincs, improved performance, and was updated against Open64.net trunk.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Khronos Publishes OpenGL 4.4 Specification

      Khronos unveiled today the OpenGL 4.4 specification as the latest industry-standard graphics API. OpenGL 4.4 delivers on buffer placement control, efficient asynchronous queries, shader variable layout, efficient multiple object binding, and a streamlined process for porting of Direct3D applications.


  • Fire Sale: Pope Francis Trades Indulgences For Twitter Followers

    For those of you who weren’t raised Catholic (like me), or who don’t have a sort of morbid fascination with religion in general (like me), perhaps I should explain what indulgences are. See, in the Catholic faith, there’s a transitional period (not a place) called Purgatory, where the mildly-sinful undertake purification or punishment before admittance to Heaven. Should you commit no mortal sins, but some lesser sins, you go through this process which you can primarily complete only if enough people on Earth pray for your soul. So you better be nice to those around you, or you could be stuck experiencing the purification of inner-fire for quite a while. But, if you’re not the kind of soul that enjoys such penance-flames, you can obtain indulgences. Indulgences are offered by the Church and they are essentially giant time-erasers for the period you’re supposed to spend in Purgatory. You get them, according to Pope John Paul II, through “only the most important prayers and good works of piety,
    charity and penance.”

  • New Gmail layout spawns targeted ads that look like emails

    Gmail’s new layout doesn’t just keep your inbox organized, it also gives Google the perfect opportunity to send you unsolicited email ads. These sponsored missives appear as highlighted entries under the Promotions tab, where you can also find deals and updates from online services you subscribe to.

  • 12 Silly Things People Believe About Computers

    Also, please note that when I talk about users I don’t mean folks who don’t know much about computers because they don’t use them all that much. For example if your work does not involve editing electronic files and using office suite and email then I wouldn’t expect you to be an expert. On the other hand, if you have been using Microsoft Word and Outlook on every week day from 9am till 5pm for the last 15 years the I’d at least expect you to know how to double space a document or set up an email signature. If you can’t do these things, and you have to call the help desk on average once or twice a week so that they can remote-in and do it for you, then perhaps you shouldn’t be in this line of work…

  • Every newborn deserves the royal treatment

    Having very recently become a parent, I finally have something in common with William and Kate apart from my British nationality. It was not an ‘easy’ birth, if there is such a thing. In short, our little girl got stuck and needed to be wrested out using a suction pump. Her head was temporarily cone shaped as a result which made her look like a comedy alien.

  • The inspiring moment Japanese commuters pulled together to push 32-TON train away from platform to free woman who fell on the tracks
  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • ‘We become the SIM card’: 750 million mobile phones could be hacked in one minute

      Up to 750 million mobile phones around the world carry SIM cards that contain a programming flaw that could leave their owners vulnerable to fraud. The bug allows a hacker to remotely access personal data and authorise illegal transactions within minutes.

      The UN’s International Telecommunications Union is to send an alert to all mobile phone operators after being presented with “hugely significant” evidence of a design flaw by renowned German code-breaker Karsten Nohl.

    • Apple developer site targeted in security attack, still down

      Apple says its developer site was targeted in an attack, and that any information that was taken was encrypted. The site remains down

    • Exploiting Security Devices? Oh, the Irony

      Enterprises spend millions every year on security appliances intended to secure their networks. Yet many of those devices are themselves not secure.

    • Marshals Lose Track of Encrypted Radios Worth Millions

      The U.S. Marshals Service has lost track of at least 2,000 encrypted two-way radios and other communication devices valued at millions of dollars, according to internal agency documents, creating what some within the agency view as a security risk for federal judges, endangered witnesses and others.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Ex-MI6 boss threatens to expose secrets from Iraq ‘dodgy dossier’

      The former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, said he’s going to reveal new details behind the ‘dodgy dossier’ if he disagrees with the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry into UK’s role in the Iraq War.

      Dearlove provided intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) that was allegedly exaggerated and “sexed-up” by Tony Blair’s government.

      The 68-year-old intelligence veteran has spent the last year writing a detailed account of events leading up to the Iraq War, which started in 2003. Initially, he intended to make his work available to historians after his death but Sir Richard told the Daily Mail that he could well change.

    • Ending the unmanned war: PM asked to drop plans to seek US drone tech

      As the government looks for alternatives to convince the US to call off its drone campaign in the tribal areas, the foreign ministry has asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to drop his plan to ask Washington for the transfer of drone technology from his list of options citing ‘legal implications’.

    • Snowden’s Laptops May Hold ‘Extremely Sensitive’ Details About NSA-CIA ‘Black Bag Jobs’

      Matthew Aid of Foreign Policy has published an excellent report detailing the secret intelligence gathering partnership between the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

    • Hacker targets Julian Assange and any country offering Edward Snowden asylum

      A hacktivist who calls himself “The Jester” (styled “th3j35t3r”) has targeted NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and anybody who offers to help him.

    • How the NSA Is Using Cell Phone Data to Drone Civilians (In Pakistan)

      In late 2001, a National Security Agency analyst was asked to do something unusual. Instead of locating a target’s cell phone to eavesdrop on his conversation, the analyst was asked for the phone’s location in real-time. It was apparently the beginning of the NSA’s role in the CIA’s drone operations that, a new report compiled by Pakistan suggests, had killed nearly 200 civilians by 2009.

    • NSA uses phone signals for finding drone targets: Report

      The US National Security Agency (NSA) is using phone signals to track locations of militant targets in real time, a technology that has helped Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) locate targets for drone attacks, Washington Post reported.

      “The foreign signals that NSA collects are invaluable to national security,” the agency said in a statement released Friday to The Post.

      According to current and former counterterrorism officials and experts, NSA has become the single most important intelligence agency in finding al Qaeda and other enemy overseas after Septermber 2011 attacks in Washington.

    • Top U.S. officer outlines options for military force in Syria

      The top U.S. military officer said in a letter released on Monday that American forces could undertake a range of missions to help Syrian rebels if asked by the White House, from providing training to establishing no-fly zones or conducting limited attacks on military targets.

    • Former UK spy chief threatens to release “time-bomb” if Tony Blair’s Iraq lies are not exposed

      Sir Richard Dearlove is considering releasing his own version of events if the Chilcot Inquiry does not reveal the lies Tony Blair used to take Britain into the illegal Iraq war.

    • TSA opening up PreCheck program to let more fliers speed through lines
    • Pakistan registers strong protest against drone strikes

      Pakistan on Wednesday lodged a strong protest against the recent drone strikes in North Waziristan that killed 18 persons, and demanded to end them on immediate basis, Geo News reported Wednesday.

    • Cornel West: Obama’s Response to Trayvon Martin Case Belies Failure to Challenge “New Jim Crow”

      For a response to President Obama’s comments on the acquittal of George Zimmerman and racism in the United States, we’re joined by Dr. Cornel West, professor at Union Theological Seminary and author of numerous books. On Obama’s remarks comparing himself to Trayvon Martin, West says: “Will that identification hide and conceal the fact there’s a criminal justice system in place that has nearly destroyed two generations of precious, poor black and brown brothers? [Obama] hasn’t said a word until now — five years in office and can’t say a word about a ‘new Jim Crow.’ … Obama and [Attorney General Eric] Holder — will they come through at the federal level for Trayvon Martin? We hope so — [but] don’t hold your breath. There’s going to be many people who say, ‘We see this president is not serious about the criminalizing of poor people.’”

    • former Reagan administration official

      Amid recent American efforts to expand military presence within US borders, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was quick to describe the Obama administration as a routine violator of the U.S. Constitution. Dr. Roberts, who served as assistant secretary of the treasury in the Reagan administration and played a significant role in creating the economic system that became known as Reaganomics, cited the NSA spying scandal, the drone program and the assassination of American citizens as examples that the government continues to violate the will of the American people. The Voice of Russia contacted Dr. Roberts to inquire about his rather harsh critique of the US government.
      Read more: http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_07_23/American-neoconservatives-are-Nazi-to-the-core-Roberts-0118/

    • At least 1 in 5 drone strike victims a confirmed civilian – leaked Pakistani records

      Leaked internal data produced by Pakistani officials documenting drone strikes on the ground reveal a high civilian death toll, countering US claims that the targeted assassination campaign results in “exceedingly rare” fatalities.

    • Leaked Pakistani Document Exposes Civilian, Child Casaulties Of Drone War

      The 12-page dossier was compiled for the the authorities in the tribal areas, the Bureau notes, and investigates 75 CIA drone strikes and five attacks by NATO in the region conducted between 2006 and 2009. According to the document, 746 people were killed in the strategic attacks. At least 147 of the victims were civilians, and 94 were children.

    • Cornel West on drone strikes: U.S is the George Zimmerman of the world

      “I was glad to see him bring it in,” West replied. “He said we must never rationalize killing innocent people in the name of self-defense, and then I thought about our drone policy, which makes us the George Zimmerman of the world in terms of killing innocent folk in the name of self-defense.”

    • How The CIA Can Send A Drone After Any Mobile Phone

      New revelations from the CIA’s killer UAV program show how the agency is able to lock Predator drones on targets through their mobile phones–even after they have turned their phones off.

    • Exclusive: Leaked Pakistani report confirms high civilian death toll in CIA drone strikes

      A secret document obtained by the Bureau reveals for the first time the Pakistan government’s internal assessment of dozens of drone strikes, and shows scores of civilian casualties.

      The United States has consistently claimed only a tiny number of non-combatants have been killed in drone attacks in Pakistan – despite research by the Bureau and others suggesting that over 400 civilians may have died in the nine-year campaign.

      The internal document shows Pakistani officials too found that CIA drone strikes were killing a significant number of civilians – and have been aware of those deaths for many years.

      Of 746 people listed as killed in the drone strikes outlined in the document, at least 147 of the dead are clearly stated to be civilian victims, 94 of those are said to be children.

    • CIA to arm, train Syrian rebels: US Congressional panels

      The US House and Senate intelligence committees have approved CIA weapons shipments to opposition fighters in Syria, allowing the Obama administration to move ahead on the stalled program, senior congressional and administration officials said Monday, according to a report by the Washington Post.

    • Imprisoned CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Highlights ‘Dealing with the Stress of a Hostile System’

      Kiriakou was the first member of the CIA to publicly acknowledge that torture was official US policy under the administration of President George W. Bush. He was convicted in October of last year of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) when he provided the name of an officer involved in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program to a reporter and sentenced in January of this year. He reported to prison on February 28 (which was also the day that Pfc. Bradley Manning pled guilty to some offenses and read a statement in military court at Fort Meade).

    • Szczytno-Szymany airport in Poland – CIA and Polish nightmare

      Some international tourists to Szczytno are on the hunt of CIA torture traces in this town in north-eastern Poland with 27,970 inhabitants. Szczytno is situated in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodship, but was previously in Olsztyn Voivodship.

    • Open source software firm inks geospatial deal with CIA client

      Pioneering what is commonly being referred to as the “geospatial web or web GIS,” open source geospatial software firm OpenGeo has entered into an investment and technology development agreement with In-Q-Tel, Inc., a nonprofit investment firm that identifies commercial technology applications for the CIA and the broader U.S. intelligence community.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Obama Administration Stands Firm on ‘Dolphin-Safe’ Tuna Labels; Will the WTO Authorize Trade Sanctions?

      In a creative response to a 2012 World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued a new regulation supported by Public Citizen that strengthens the criteria for dolphin-safe labeling. Mexico, which challenged the policy, sought a rollback of the labeling program and has indicated that it may challenge the new regulation and seek WTO authorization to impose trade sanctions against the United States.

    • This Is What Fracking Really Looks Like

      Photographer Nina Berman had just started focusing on climate and environmental issues when she read an article about fracking and its connection to the possible contamination of New York City’s drinking water. Berman resides in New York and knew very little about how the controversial process of drilling for natural gas via hydraulic fracturing worked and decided to head to Pennsylvania for Gov. Thomas Corbett’s inauguration in 2011.

    • China can teach the West about tackling climate change

      China has become a popular target of environmental ire, drawing criticism for its soaring carbon emissions and perceived intransigence during climate negotiations.

    • A Norse Town Has Built an Artificial Sun to Light Up Its 5-Month Night

      The extreme far north (or south) isn’t the only place on Earth that spends the winter locked in perpetual darkness. Beginning in September and ending in March, the Norwegian town of Rjukan is cast into a perpetual shadow. But no longer: This month, engineers are completing The Mirror Project, a system that will shed winter light on Rjukan for the first time ever.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Americans Finally Have Access to American Propaganda

      A law went into effect this month that ends the ban on U.S. government-made propaganda from being broadcast to Americans. In a remarkably creative spin, the supporters of this law say that allowing Americans to see American propaganda is actually a victory for transparency.

    • Monsanto hires infamous mercenary firm Blackwater to track activists around the world

      Remember the private mercenary army Blackwater that caused such a stir in Iraq during an unprovoked attack in 2007? Apparently, Monsanto and the controversial security firm are in bed together, described by blogger Randy Ananda as “a death-tech firm weds a hit squad.” At this point, you might be wondering what in the world the GM seed giant needs with the services of a ‘shadow army’? It appears as though the corporation found it necessary to contract with Blackwater in order to collect intelligence on anti-Monsanto activists as well infiltrate their ranks.

    • Group Focused on Goverment Ethics Puts Scott Walker on List of “Worst Governors in America”

      This week, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a non-profit government watchdog group, released a report – “The Worst Governors in America”, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker came in sixth in the top category. The report has an amusing circus theme and dubs Walker a “Ringmaster,” but it is heavily documented and footnoted to reliable sources and primary documents. The criteria CREW used when assessing the nation’s governors were the following: corruption, transparency, partisan politics, pressuring public officials, cronyism, self-enrichment, scandal and mismanagement.

  • Censorship

    • David Cameron’s King Canute moment

      …belief that he can clean up the web with technology is misguided and even dangerous…

    • David Cameron is issuing bad advice to parents

      Moving onto filtering today, David Cameron has created a very unfortunate debate about what he expects from Internet Service Providers.

    • Porn to be Blocked in the UK – “What’s new?” Say Pirate Bay Users

      Today prime minister David Cameron will announce that in future UK Internet subscribers will be required to opt-in if they want to be able to watch adult content online. The theory is that somehow Internet service providers will be able to stop such material having a ‘corroding influence’ on the nation’s children. But can the ISPs pull it off without collateral damage, and can we trust the government to stop there?

    • Online porn block: Legit sites to suffer from David Cameron’s ignorance

      THE UK GOVERNMENT decision to impose automatic online pornography filtering via UK ISPs today could cause a multiplicity of issues, such as loss of trade for online retailers and a decline in trust from web users.

      UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced in a speech earlier today that after months of negotiation the UK government has been working with four UK ISPs – Virgin Media, Talktalk, Sky and BT – to roll out of an opt-in pornography blocking system in which people will have to choose whether their internet connection will be able to access adult content.

      “By the end of this year, when someone sets up a new broadband account the settings to install family friendly filters will be automatically selected,” Cameron said. “If you just click ‘next’ or ‘enter’, then the filters are automatically on.”

    • Cameron tells web companies to block child sexual abuse searches
    • Copyright As Censorship: NBC Pulls YouTube Clip From Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Account

      In yet another story of copyright being used as censorship, a clip of Senator Elizabeth Warren responding forcefully to some dubious claims made by some CNBC hosts has been pulled from Warren’s own YouTube account:

    • Pippa Middleton Takes Legal Action Against Parody Twitter Account

      You know from reading IT-Lex that in Britain, online defamation is no laughing matter. Over the weekend, the Independent posted news of a new, developing legal skirmish involving something that was said on Twitter. Perhaps you remember Pippa Middleton, whose sudden rise to fame threatened to overshadow her sister’s (royal) wedding. Last year, Pippa released a book of cooking and entertaining tips, entitled “Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends”. Why? Who knows – but it’s a question that was asked by The Telegraph. Reviews were savage, and apparently sales weren’t too strong either. Not surprisingly, this book opened Pippa up to some internet mockery, and that’s where the current issues arise.

    • Wham, bam, thank you UK internet porn ban

      UK PRIME MINISTER Dave Cameron is getting ready to announce a UK system for accessing adult content, an opt-in one that will probably be worse than no controls whatsoever.

      We had a whiff of this last week when ISPs were reacting to a letter from the government that asked them to kick in cash for craziness and consider making people think that the system would be default-on rather than an opt-in choice.

      The ISPs confirmed the letter and it was not well received, but the government decided to push on with its plans anyway.

    • David Cameron can’t protect us from child porn because he doesn’t understand the internet

      David Cameron’s quest to clean up the dark corners of the internet continues. As I’ve written before, his policies are ignorant and technically implausible. His latest attack on Google and its competitors is showboating of the most transparent kind. The Prime Minister has scented blood after Google’s public shaming over tax and sees easy poll gains in pursuing the internet giant on the understandably emotive topic of child sexual abuse.

    • UK government to ‘drain the market’ of online child sex abuse
  • Privacy

    • Officials claim Edward Snowden did not gain access to NSA ‘crown jewels’

      The security official said that NSA remains adamant that Snowden’s revelations caused serious damage and believes that it knows the extent of the material that was downloaded.

    • German complicity in NSA PRISM surveillance programme
    • House Takes Up Bipartisan Syria, NSA Amendments
    • Internet rallies behind bill to unplug NSA surveillance funding

      Online activists hope to use Congress’ power of the purse to remove funding from domestic surveillance; they are rallying behind an amendment set for a vote on Tuesday.

    • Federal Services Data hub: mysterious, centralized database will contain tons of your private data

      While many news outlets are discussing the exposure of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, far fewer are discussing the “Federal Data Services Hub,” a database created by the Affordable Care Act.

    • Amash defense bill amendment seeks to defund overbroad NSA surveillance
    • Pols from both parties are all of a sudden demanding more transparency and pushing reforms. Thanks, leaks!
    • NSA locates cell phones even when switched off – report

      Never mind the non-stop collection of metadata and other sneaky surveillance tools being implemented by the US: a new report has revealed the National Security Agency’s spy powers allow the government to grab location data on just about anyone.

    • NSA growth fueled by need to target terrorists

      By September 2004, a new NSA technique enabled the agency to find cellphones even when they were turned off.

    • NSA Still Growing in Wake of 9/11

      The National Security Agency workforce has grown by at least one-third, to about 33,000 employees, since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the agency has expanded its headquarters and operations to rival the size of the Pentagon.

    • NSA North: Why Canadians should be demanding answers about online spying

      Last month’s realisation that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) — by means of a top-secret program codenamed “PRISM,” has been trawling the audio, video, photo, email, and phone records of millions of Americans at home and abroad, serves as a stark reminder to those of us living in supposed “liberal democracies” that we’ve increasingly allowed state-surveillance mechanisms to become normalised and domesticated in a post 9/11 world.

    • NSA leaker Snowden gets Whistleblower Award in Germany

      Fugitive U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has become the winner of this year’s Whistleblower Award established by German human rights organizations, the German branch of Transparency International said in a statement, according to RIA Novosti.

      “This year’s winner of the Whistleblower Award is Edward Snowden,” said the statement posted on TI Germany website on Monday, July 22.

    • Rebelling Against the New Surveillance: Designers Pioneer the Future of Privacy
    • Why the NSA May Be Watching Paltalk

      Paltalk COO and President Wilson Kriegel discusses the company’s growth and the NSA leaker Ed Snowden’s mention of the company with Cory Johnson on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West”

    • The Guardian and Edward Snowden

      Britain’s Guardian newspaper has repeatedly declared its support for whistle-blower Edward Snowden to be put on trial in the United States.

    • An actual prism lets the NSA peek into live internet traffic

      One of the ways that the US National Security Agency taps into internet traffic is by going straight to the major data hubs that international traffic passes through. But secretly gathering that data isn’t so simple: for every tap into the transmissions, some data is lost — and someone monitoring it for intruders is bound to notice.

    • ODNI attorney: ‘Security and privacy are not zero-sum’

      Litt acknowledged that public discussion about these kinds of activities should have been taking place before Snowden leaked data revealing the programs’ existence. Now exposed and with details at least partially disclosed, intelligence community officials are working on declassifying and publicly releasing program information, a plan for which Litt said he is optimistic.

    • NJ Supreme Court Says Cops Need A Warrant To Obtain Cell Phone Location Data
    • The US state vs whistleblowers – why Snowden is not alone

      The former American intelligence operative Edward Snowden is still trapped in transit. A previous NSA whistleblower tells Channel 4 News about the “ruthless” government campaign against him.

    • The Military Industrial Complex: We Know It Just Didn’t Stick — It Was Our Fault

      Decades ago, long before the Reagan and Bushes, the government had already expanded its domestic surveillance activity beyond that of any time in history. Created in 1952, the NSA immediately became the biggest American intelligence agency, with more than 30,000 employees at Ft. Meade, Maryland, and listening posts around the world. Part of the Defense Department, it is the successor to the State Department’s “Black Chamber” and American military eavesdropping and code-breaking operations that date to the early days of telegraph and telephone communications.

    • WikiLeaks Party demands investigation into Telstra’s secret FBI deal

      The WikiLeaks Party has written to Australia’s Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim formally complaining about the recently revealed news that the telco signed a secret agreement a decade ago with US Government agencies such as the FBI and the Department of Justice that provided American law enforcement with access to all of the telco’s traffic passing in and out of the US.

      The text of Telstra’s deal was published last week by independent media outlet Crikey (PDF) and has caused consternation in Australia’s technology community, due to the breadth of the access provided by Telstra. Telstra was one signatory to the deal, which came about due to its joint venture Reach landing submarine telecommunications cable into the US.

    • DuckDuckGo or Startpage?

      Startpage.com is my search engine of choice.

    • What Happens When the NSA Shows Up with Hardware To Monitor Your Data Center

      We’ve covered the NSA revelations and subsequent government petitions at some length, but here’s a new twist to the story of the government’s pervasive monitoring program — a view of the activity from an ISP’s perspective. According to Pete Ashdown, the CEO of XMission, a Utah ISP, the company received its first FISA warrant “request” in 2010. There’s no way to challenge FISA warrants and no legal recourse — so Ashdown had no choice but to install a server, one of the NSA’s own machines, in their data center.

    • CAIR Teams Up with Church to Sue NSA

      The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, apparently aware of the stigma associated with their names, has a new modus operandi: Work through interfaith partners whenever possible. The Council on American-Islamic Relations is using that tactic in its lawsuit against the National Security Agency, letting the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles take the lead.

    • US court renews permission to NSA to collect phone metadata
    • Germany used NSA help to snoop: Report

      Germany’s two main intelligence services used a special surveillance programme of the US to collect vast amounts of communications data, even as the government continued to deny prior knowledge of such operations, a report claimed Sunday.

    • The Issue: Do we still have a right to privacy?

      Revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs made by Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old ex-NSA contractor currently searching for a safe haven so he can escape espionage charges, have rocked not only U.S. residents, but the nation’s allies as well.

    • Maduro: Venezuela will have “zero tolerance” for aggressions of Washington

      Nicolás Maduro reiterated his rejection and condemnation of the statements issued by Samantha Power, the Washington ambassador nominee to the United Nations, on Venezuela. “When she went to Congress, she went crazy and started to attack Venezuela just like that. She started to say that she is going to the UN to monitor and make clear what the repression on political and civil institutions in Venezuela is, and that she will address the lack of democracy in Venezuela”

    • Magazine reveals German government using NSA spying data

      Intelligence agencies in Germany and the US have been collaborating, according to a new report from a German magazine. The German government has been using bulk data collected by the National Security Agency.

    • How CIA Black Ops Teams Are Hacking Into Computers Worldwide

      In a detailed account on Foreign Policy, the Central intelligence Agency, in concert with the National Security Agency, has been demonstrated to conduct what is referred to as “black bag” operations, or the manual hacking of a target’s computer by uploading spyware onto anything ranging from personal laptops to large-scale servers. When a specific target is out of the NSA’s reach, it calls on the CIA to do, in its own parlance, a “surreptitious entry.”

    • CIA and FBI Spied on Americans and Immigrant Refugees as Early as the Late 50s

      Since the early days of the Cold War, the FBI and CIA have bent the law to spy on American citizens, starting with Eastern European refugees who had sought sanctuary in this country, writes Richard Rashke.

    • The $8.2billion Google love rat: How boss, 58, of internet giant resisting online porn crackdown has a string of exotic lovers in his ‘open marriage’… but DOESN’T want you to know about it

      He is the billionaire Google boss under fire for not doing enough to protect children from internet porn.

      Yet today The Mail on Sunday can reveal that 58-year-old Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, does fiercely protect one thing: his own private life, which is as colorful and complex as the ever-changing ‘Google doodle,’ which pops up each time the search engine is launched.

      In the past few years, the unlikely sex symbol with thinning hair and pockmarked skin has embarked on a string of affairs with younger women, including a vivacious television host who dubbed him ‘Dr Strangelove,’ a leggy blonde public relations executive and a sexy Vietnamese concert pianist.

    • Millions Of Gigabytes Collected Daily UNDERWATER By US, England
    • A Letter to Edward Snowden

      I fear for you; I think of you with a heavy heart. I imagine hiding you like Anne Frank. I imagine Hollywood movie magic in which a young lookalike would swap places with you and let you flee to safety—if there is any safety in this world of extreme rendition and extrajudicial execution by the government that you and I were born under and that you, until recently, served. I fear you may pay, if not with your death, with your life—with a life that can have no conventional outcome anytime soon, if ever. “Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped,” you told us, and they are trying to stop you instead.

      Read more: A Letter to Edward Snowden | The Nation http://www.thenation.com/article/175339/letter-edward-snowden#ixzz2Zkz7joBC
      Follow us: @thenation on Twitter | TheNationMagazine on Facebook

    • Germany to probe ties with NSA
    • Germany to Review Spy Service’s Ties With NSA

      Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government on Monday promised a full review of Germany’s intelligence services amid public anger over media reports that they were cooperating with their U.S. counterparts in domestic spying.

    • Germany to probe ties between NSA and its secret services
    • US looks even more like Stasi at news of Berlin cooperating with NSA

      Germans are very protective of their privacy because of the historical experience during the Nazi era and Stasi following the war, Annie Machon a former intelligence officer for MI5 has told RT.

    • Germany to probe secret service ties with NSA

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government on Monday announced a probe into ties between its secret services and US agencies whose sweeping online surveillance was revealed by fugitive intelligence analyst Edward Snowden.

    • The NSA And Big Data: What IT Can Learn

      Whatever your civil liberties stance, the technologies underpinning the National Security Agency’s data collection and analysis programs, such as PRISM, spell opportunity for companies looking to connect a different set of dots — identifying potential customers, spotting fraud or cybercrime in its early stages, or improving products and services.

      The pillars of the NSA’s architecture are big data systems, particularly a distributed data store called Accumulo, machine learning and natural language processing software, and scale-out cloud hardware (we delve into all three in much more depth in our full report).

    • The NSA Crossed A Major Threshold When It Shared Data With A Drone Operator Over Afghanistan
    • The NSA could easily be re-tooled as a business platform: here’s how

      The US’ National Security Agency could be rejigged as a self-funded entity fulfilling its missions while saving taxpayers billions of dollars and also providing them with a host of useful services.

      Its substantial computing platform and its superior security knowledge could jumpstart new jobs and businesses if the agency had a commercial arm.

      The NSA is interested in the tiniest fraction of the data it collects, the bits about finding terrorists. The rest of the data is useless to it but it keeps it anyway. It’s a highly valuable resource to others.

    • NSA Spying – Civilization Means Privacy
    • Small Utah-based ISP forced to install black box that allowed feds to spy

      Pete Ashdown, the CEO of small Utah ISP XMission, says that in 2010 he received a Foreign Intelligence Service Act (FISA) warrant that allowed the federal government to monitor the Internet activity of one of his customers. Ashdown was also given a gag order, preventing him from talking about key details relating to the warrant. In an article on BuzzFeed, he explained how the government “wanted to come in and put in equipment on my network to monitor a single customer.” Federal agents came in and set up a duplicate port that tapped into the customer’s traffic and allowed the government to see everything the person sent and received. The executive noted that the ending result was “a little box in our systems room that was capturing all the traffic to this customer.”

    • Does the NSA Tap That? What We Still Don’t Know About the Agency’s Internet Surveillance

      Among the snooping revelations of recent weeks, there have been tantalizing bits of evidence that the NSA is tapping fiber-optic cables that carry nearly all international phone and Internet data.

      The idea that the NSA is sweeping up vast data streams via cables and other infrastructure — often described as the “backbone of the Internet” — is not new. In late 2005, the New York Times first described the tapping, which began after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. More details emerged in early 2006 when an AT&T whistleblower came forward.

    • NSA revelations reframe digital life for some

      In Louisiana, the wife of a former soldier is scaling back on Facebook posts and considering unfriending old acquaintances, worried an innocuous joke or long-lost associate might one day land her in a government probe. In California, a college student encrypts chats and emails, saying he’s not planning anything sinister but shouldn’t have to sweat snoopers. And in Canada, a lawyer is rethinking the data products he uses to ensure his clients’ privacy.

    • Criminal Document Disclosures & Foreign Asylum: Is Edward Snowden Christoph Meili?
    • Edward Snowden, Michael Meili, And The United States’ Hypocrisy On Whistleblowers

      These actions might be dastardly all on their own, but when you measure them against how the United States has behaved when the shoes were on the other foot, you’re left with a dose of hypocrisy that would kill most lab rats. Take, for instance, the case of Michael Christopher Meili, security guard in Switzerland (chocolate!) for UBS, their mega-bank. He revealed some of UBS’ shady dealings when it came to the banking documents of Jewish clients during the holocaust.

    • Ed Snowden Explains To Former Senator, Who Emailed In Support, That No Foreign Gov’t Can Access His Documents

      While the government and defenders of the NSA surveillance program continue to want to paint Ed Snowden out to be a spy and trying to “aid the enemy,” public opinion continues to side with Snowden and believe that he’s a clear whistleblower, calling attention to government excess. Glenn Greenwald has published a fascinating email exchange between Snowden and former Senator Gordon Humphrey, who apparently sent an unsolicited email to Snowden to thank him for exposing government wrongs.

    • All the Bills in Congress Attacking NSA Mass Spying & Restoring the Fourth Amendment
    • Op-Ed: NSA spying is here to stay

      In one sentence, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) dismisses public outcry over the NSA’s global surveillance program — and reports NSA spying will continue.

    • NSA Surveillance Through the Prism of Political Repression

      July 28th marks the 35th anniversary of the political assassination of two Puerto Rican independence activists, Carlos Soto Arriví and Arnaldo Darío Rosado, in the infamous Cerro Maravillai case. This case, which was widely followed among Puerto Ricans, involved an agent provocateur that led the activists to an ambush that resulted in their brutal murder by paramilitary agents within the colonial police force. The event led to two investigations, the second of which revealed a conspiracy to cover up both the assassination plot as well as the destruction and manipulation of evidence carried out by the colonial police and justice department, and well as the federal justice department and FBI. Cerro Maravilla symbolizes for many the most outstanding recent example of repressive measures, from surveillance to political assassination, unleashed by US imperialism against the anticolonial movement in Puerto Rico.

    • Are You Reading My Emails? Former State Dept. Official Asks the NSA.

      What happens when a former top-level State Department official asks the government to reveal if it’s reading his communications? John Kael Weston on his adventures in our national-security state.

    • Expanding NSA facilities included an underground cellphone tracking team

      In a new report about the rapid expansion of the US National Security Agency, The Washington Post details a cellphone location tracking program whose existence the agency initially seemed to deny following disclosures from whistleblower Edward Snowden. As part of the agency’s considerable post-9/11 growth, the NSA assembled a team in the basement of its headquarters in Fort Meade whose purpose is to track the locations of cellphones in real time, The Post reports.

    • ISP CEO Explains What Happens When The NSA Shows Up At Your Door

      He notes that this particular monitoring experience ended about two years ago, and he wonders if he’ll hear from them for talking about the experience, but he’s willing to face up to that. Of course, there are very, very few ISP owners who are willing to stand up and talk like this. Beyond Ashdown, the short list includes Nicholas Merrill and I’m not sure who else. If more internet companies were willing to speak up, it would help bring more clarity to what’s going on, even if they faced some significant backlash in doing so.

  • Civil Rights

    • Lawsuit: Arizona college suspended student because she wanted English-only classes

      A nursing student at Pima Community College (PCC) has filed a lawsuit claiming that she was illegally suspended after she complained that her classmates were speaking in Spanish and orally translating English to Spanish so excessively that she was failing to learn.

    • The Trouble with Sanctions
    • US Courts Approve Indefinite Detention and Torture

      He can order anyone indefinitely detained. He can throw them in military dungeons. He can deny them due process and judicial fairness.

    • Obama’s Detention Victory

      President Obama was a late convert to the Bush Administration’s antiterror detention policies, but his latter-day position has now been vindicated. A panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals voted 3-0 last week to reject a lower court order that would have limited the ability of Congress to authorize the President to detain enemy combatants and those who aid and abet them.

    • Obama’s War on Whistleblowers

      White is black and down is up. Leaks that favor the president are shoveled out regardless of national security, while national security is twisted to pummel leaks that do not favor him. Watching their boss, bureaucrats act on their own, freelancing the punishment of whistleblowers, knowing their retaliatory actions will be condoned. The United States rains Hellfire missiles down on its enemies, with the president alone sitting in judgment of who will live and who will die by his hand.

    • Fourth Circuit Guts National Security Investigative Journalism Everywhere It Matters

      The Fourth Circuit — which covers CIA, JSOC, and NSA’s territory — just ruled that journalists who are witnesses to alleged crimes (or participants, the opinion ominously notes) must testify in the trial.

    • Valet parked cars searched under TSA regulations

      She says she had no warning that someone was going to search her car after she left to catch her flight. So the woman contacted News10NBC.

      We found out it happened to her because she valet parked her car. Those are the only cars that get inspected.

    • Chris Hedges: ‘The Left Has Been Destroyed’

      “In 2008, in a piece you wrote, ‘Why am I a socialist?’ you wrote this: ‘The inability to articulate a viable socialism has been our gravest mistake,” host Paul Jay says to Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges during the latest installment of an interview on The Real News Network’s “Reality Inserts Itself.” He then asks: “Do you still believe that?”

      Hedges responds: “Yes, because we have allowed ourselves to embrace an ideology which, at its core, states that all governance is about maximizing corporate profit at the expense of the citizenry. For what do we have structures of government, for what do we have institutions of state, if not to hold up all the citizenry, and especially the most vulnerable?”

    • India: Urgent investigation needed as protests continue in Kashmir
    • The US Government Is Metamorphosing Into the Borg

      Two recent news reveal that Homo sapiens aren’t always loyal to a tyrannical regime. Edward Snowden opened the valve so that crude secrets could flow out of NSA’s pipelines—to benefit humanity. And, in protest of America’s “dirty wars,” Brandon Toy publicly resigned last week from his job at the US Defense contractor General Dynamics. In his resignation letter, published on Common Dreams, Toy wrote: “I have always believed that if every foot soldier threw down his rifle war would end. I hereby throw mine down.”

    • NSA ‘phone snoop-op’ helped CIA track militant targets for drone strikes in Pak

      The US led NSA’s ‘phone signal tracking’ program has reportedly helped Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) locate militant targets for drone attacksin Pakistan.

  • DRM

    • Image Comics’ solution to comic book piracy: remove DRM

      Speaking at Image’s annual Image Expo event, Stephenson declared that—effectively immediately—all digital comics sold through the company’s revamped website would be free of digital rights management (DRM) technology. This decision makes Image the first major comic book publisher to sell its digital content without the chains that have frustrated many readers for years.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Another judge has “serious question” about Prenda porn trolls

        The embattled porn-trolling operation known as Prenda Law is in hot water, largely due to a tough sanctions order penned by US District Judge Otis Wright. That order required Prenda to pay $81,000 in sanctions and also referred lawyers connected to the group to criminal investigators.

      • Finland Writes History With Crowdsourced Copyright Law

        Finland is the first country in the world in which Parliament will vote on a “fairer” copyright law that has been crowdsourced by the public. The proposal, which obtained the required 50,000 Finnish votes just a day before the deadline, seeks to decriminalize file-sharing and legalize the copying of items that people already own.

      • Citizens’ initiative: Online copyright law revisions to go to Parliament

        A citizens’ initiative for more reasonable application of copyright law passed the 50,000 signature mark on Monday, meaning it will go to Parliament for debate. Meanwhile, a call for a national referendum on continued EU membership expired without gaining sufficient voter backing.


Links 21/7/2013: Ubuntu Edge Smartphone, Mozilla Expansion

Posted in News Roundup at 5:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Announcing “Wear a Tux Penguin Day”
  • Desktop

    • Updated Beta Channel Release for Chrome OS

      ChromeBook and ChromeBox users on Beta track must immediately check their settings, the Chrome OS Beta channel has been updated to version 29.0.1537.32. The new updated brings with it bug fixes, security patches and several new features and improvements. The update will be rolling out to all the devices over next few days.

  • Kernel Space

    • Haswell Perf Doesn’t Change Much On Linux 3.11

      The Intel Haswell HD Graphics 4600 performance for OpenGL doesn’t change much if trying out the experimental Linux 3.11 kernel.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 9.2 Branched For Release Next Month

        Ian Romanick of Intel went ahead this week and branched the code-base for Mesa 9.2. Feature-development on Mesa 9.2 is now over and it’s a period of bug-fixing ahead of the official Mesa 9.2 release in August.

        As shared earlier when talking about the Mesa release process changes, upstream developers have been planning for an August Mesa 9.2 release and after that point will likely be switching to pushing out new releases every three months rather than six.

      • Enlightenment On Wayland Still Being Done

        A lot of Linux desktop users are looking forward to the full port of the Enlightenment desktop to Wayland.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 3.11 File-System Performance: EXT4, Btrfs, XFS, F2FS

        Coming out today are our first Linux 3.11 kernel file-system benchmarks. Being benchmarked from a higher-end OCZ Vertex 3 SATA 3.0 SSD connected to an Intel Core i7 “Haswell” system are the EXT4, Btrfs, XFS, and F2FS file-systems.

      • Btrfs Mount Option Performance Tuning On Linux 3.11

        To complement the EXT4, XFS, Btrfs, and F2FS benchmark results that were published yesterday from the Linux 3.11 kernel and its predecessors, here are some Btrfs tuning benchmarks on the Linux 3.11 kernel with various performance-sensitive Btrfs mount options being tried.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Razor & LXDE-Qt Desktop Projects To Merge

      Developers behind the lightweight Qt-based Razor-qt and LXDE-Qt desktops met up at KDE’s Akademy 2013 conference. During the annual KDE developer conference, the two lightweight desktops decided to merge their efforts around LXDE-Qt.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • aKademy mola (i.e. rocks)
      • Open Source Dictation: Wrapping up

        The slides and the video of the talk are both already available. If you’ve seen the talk, please consider leaving me some feedback – it’s always appreciated.

      • What’s new in the Akonadi World

        I arrived back home from Akademy just a day ago and I already miss it. I enjoyed every single moment of it and had lots and lots of fun. Thanks everyone for making this such an awesome event, and especially to the local team. They did an incredible job!

      • Akademy 2013 – A Blast!
      • Krita meets 3D-Coat

        Some time ago, VFX artist Paul Geraskin created a video to show off how well Krita and the sculpting application 3D-Coat combined in his workflow:

      • Akademy Impressions

        What a cool time! I am still thrilled, now two days home after Akademy and QtCS, which took place the last week in Bilbao. Several great reports about what happened there and what was discussed can already be found in the net:

  • Distributions

    • ROSA Desktop R1 GNOME preview

      ROSA Desktop R1 GNOME is the edition of the R line of desktop distributions from ROSA Laboratory that uses the GNOME 3 desktop environment. The beta edition that was supposed to be a Release Candidate was made available for download earlier today.

      This article offers a few screen shots from a test installation of this beta edition in a virtual environment. Note that while the GNOME 3 edition of the R series is still in the beta stage of development, stable editions of the KDE and LXDE desktop environments have already been released.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat CEO weighs in on sign debate

        Proving to be as hip as the company he leads, Red Hat (Nasdaq: RHT) CEO Jim Whitehurst says a viral debate over whether the sign atop the company’s tower in downtown Raleigh not only doesn’t bother him, he welcomes it.

      • Fedora

        • This week in Fedora Infrastructure

          We had a meeting on IRC with a general overview and some things we need to sort out with our migration to ansible. You can read the meeting minutes at: http://meetbot.fedoraproject.org/meetbot/fedora-meeting-1/2013-07-17/infrastructure-ansible-meetup.2013-07-17-19.00.html help or comments always welcome. Many of the outstanding questions are things we likely will discuss and finish planning at the upcoming flocktofedora conference. There’s also now a wiki page with this information on it too: https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Infrastructure_ansible_migration

        • Korora 19 review – Bruce

          Unlike the Fedora KDE desktop, which featured a full cast of native KDE applications, including using Konqueror as the default Web browser, Korora 19 KDE shipped with a mix of native KDE and non-native KDE applications. For example, Firefox is the default Web browser, which is a far better Web browser than Konqueror.

    • Debian Family

      • There must be a name for bugs you only find post-release

        This week I made two releases of my mail client. Immediately after both releases I found bugs. Despite having been using the github source tree on my box for reading mail for days.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Posts 15 Mesa Patches To Support Mir

            Canonical is back to trying to get upstream Mesa/Gallium3D to support their Mir Display Server. In their current form, the support comes across 15 patches for bringing up the Mir EGL platform.

          • The Ubuntu PC Case Mod Pt.7 SPONSORSHIP!

            This has been a good week for the build. I’ve got the DVD drives wrapped, more paracord has arrived (enough to do the top), the side windows are ready to cut and I finally got sponsored, thanks to IceModz.com .

            I’ve also got around to planning the mount and door for the ITX board and Mac Mini. They will be mounted sideways, possibly with a mount in the middle, possibly with just zip ties. This will be connected to the bottom 4 5.25″ drive mounts and a front USB panel. I’ll try to add a door too, but i might not be able to.

          • Could this be the Ubuntu Edge smartphone?

            We expect to see the first Ubuntu OS-powered smartphone unveiled later in the year and in the meantime, Canonical is demoing its upcoming platform on a couple of Nexus devices, Nexus 4 and Nexus 10.

          • Is this the Ubuntu Edge smartphone?

            Canonical plans to introduce something next week, and there’s a good chance it’ll be a phone-related announcement about something called Edge. While we’ll have to wait a few days for all the details, some folks did a little sleuthing around the Ubuntu website and found a series of pictures with “Edge” in the name.

          • Ubuntu Edge: The First Ubuntu Smartphone Next Week?

            On the Ubuntu web-site has been a teaser about “the line where two surfaces meet” and a 4-day countdown (ending 22 July). There’s been wild speculation about this countdown and now it appears it will be an announcement of Ubuntu Edge, the first Ubuntu-powered smartphone.

          • Canonical’s Ubuntu Edge smartphone leaked, to be announced in the coming days

            Ubuntu for Android hasn’t turned out to be quite the “wide open” project we’d anticipated. That particular project, which would turn a smartphone and smartdock into a desktop PC, is still having its kinks worked out and deals are still attempting to be made. The future of that is still uncertain, but the folks at Canonical have something else up their sleeves worth showing.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Chinese Firm ZTE Launches 6 New Smartphones For Indian Consumers

          Chinese Multinational Telecom company ZTE has finally entered Indian smartphone market. The world’s fourth largest mobile phone manufacturer has launched 6 new smartphones and 4 3G data cards in India. The smartphones are all priced between Rs 5,000 – Rs15,000. For the distribution of its smartphones, ZTE has signed a strategic partnership with Pune based Calyx Telecommunications.

      • Android

        • New Nexus 7 To Feature Wireless Charging, Android 4.3, Dual Cameras and Slim Port

          Nexus 7 II is perhaps one of the most awaited devices of this year, with rumours and leaks surfacing on the internet every other day. It seems that the internet public won’t stop speculating until there is an official release or confirmation from Google. In keeping with the trend of daily leaks, this time, another picture surfaced, supposedly listing the features of the new Nexus 7 II.

        • ‘Moto X’ To Be Officially Revealed On August 1 At New York

          Motorola has sent invite for an event for August 1st. While event invite didn’t reveal much detail, it clearly has the Words ‘Moto X’ in big letters. The invite image has nothing more than a few people sitting around. However, on closer observation one can see that two of those people are holding Moto X, one in white and the other in black. Below ‘Moto X’, we can only see ‘August 1’, and ‘New York’.

        • Google Expected to Release New Nexus 7 Tablet, Android 4.3 Next Week

          Google’s green robot has something brewing, and signs point to it being an improved Nexus 7 tablet and an updated version of the Android operating system.

        • Pixelknot: Steganography app for Android

          With digital privacy, security and anonymity in the public consciousness, thanks to information revealed by Edward Snowden, any tool or application that can help you communicate securely with your friends is always welcome.

        • Sony Xperia Z Ultra Coming To India On July 31

          The Sony Xperia Z Ultra, the massive, almost tablet, phone from Sony has been confirmed to be launched worldwide recently. Not to be left too far behind, especially since Hong Kong will be getting the same later this month, an online retailer by the name of Saholic has started listing the phone as being available starting from July 31st. The price, however, has not been mentioned. Though given that the Hong Kong version is going to retail for around $799, we can expect it to retail at around Rs. 47,500.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • A Museum Item: the Asus Eee PC 901

        How nostalgic! Today I powered on my wife’s Asus Eee PC 901. That is a tiny 8.9 inch netbook that came with 1Gb RAM, 20Gb SSD, and Linux pre-installed. My wife kept it at her mother’s house, but brought it back two weeks ago.

      • OLPC Changes Course, Again

        OLPC is a non-profit organization but to produce a product for the world it needs revenue and the established markets for IT has that. Since most of the devices in that market are for grown-ups, it makes sense for OLPC to ship units there at market-prices as a source of revenue and also to improve the life of children there. They can then ship units at subsidized prices to the rest of the world. Think about it. That’s not much different than the previous “by two, give one” campaign. Whatever works…

Free Software/Open Source

  • VLC app now available again for iOS

    VLC, one of the most popular media player applications of all-time, is finally available again in the Apple App Store.

  • New Community Manager

    I am pleased to announce that Daniel Hinojosa has rejoined our team as Community Manager.

  • HipHop Virtual Machine 2.1 Is Even Faster

    Facebook’s HipHop VM (HHVM) did a new release last week and now it’s even faster! HHVM 2.1 also supports more language functionality.

  • Boffin Thrills Its Readers With Its New List of Open Source Audio Converter Software

    Software review website Boffin finally announces its top picks for open source audio converter software. The Boffin choices include much-anticipated software along with lesser known newcomers. Professional and high quality audio conversion is today commonly available to consumers. With the ubiquity of technology and financial accessibility of audio converter software, more people have the chance of converting their audio files to formats compatible with their own music devices.

  • Boffin Releases Its Latest List of Recommended Open Source Text to Speech Software
  • Review: VLC returns to iOS after long hiatus, yet still needs refinement

    Following a two-year absence from the iOS App Store, popular media player VLC is back. Version 2.0.1 of VideoLAN’s free open-source player hit the store on Friday, and just like before, it’s an unadorned universal app — compatible with select iPhones, iPod touch devices and iPads — that claims to play pretty much any video file you can throw at it.

  • IBM high-fives Netflix open-source tools

    Netflix, aside from delivering streaming video to consumers, also wants to provide open-source software — Netflix OSS – to tech vendors. Netflix, in its quest to fill gaps in Amazon Web Services has come up with more than a dozen tools — including the popular Chaos Monkey for testing web application resiliency – that are now available on Github to any cloud providers. The goal is to help these third parties make their own cloud infrastructure more robust, flexible and glitch free.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • FireFox 1.1 OS Update Now Available For Geeksphone Users

        If you are not an Apple iOS fanatic, or much impressed with Android either and taking an interest in Mozilla’s Mobile Operating System FireFox OS, you might be happy to hear that Mozilla has released FireFox OS 1.1. Also if you are following Mozilla’s Mobile OS, you might have a Geeksphone in your hand, complementing the geek in you, because it’s the only device known to support FireFox OS for now.

      • Mozilla, maker of Firefox, to open Portland office

        One of the world’s leading open source tech brands has settled on the Brewery Blocks for its Portland outpost.

        Mountain View, Calif.-based Mozilla Corp. said today it will open an office in the Brewery Blocks in the Pearl District this month. It will be Mozilla’s first U.S. office outside of the Bay Area.

      • How does Firefox stack up to Chrome these days?

        Great discussions are par for the course here on Lifehacker. Each day, we highlight a discussion that is particularly helpful or insightful, along with other great discussions and reader questions you may have missed. Check out these discussions and add your own thoughts to make them even more wonderful!

      • Firefox OS Emulator is available for Linux

        Last time I had tried Firefox OS was back in December 2012 (Run Firefox OS in GNOME). At that time Firefox Simulator Extension (through WebBrowser) was only available for Windows (perhaps for Mac too), so for that post I had to install all the development environment to try it. Which was cool anyway!

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Open Source OpenStack Cloud Platform Turns 3

      On July 19th, 2010, the CTO of NASA joined with Rackspace to announce a new effort, known as OpenStack.

    • Valuable Open Source Cloud Management Tools

      Cloud computing is designed to harness the power of networks of computers and communications in a cost effective way. Cloud systems offer cheap access to huge computational, storage, and network resources. These systems offer per-user and per-application isolation and customization via a service interface that is often implemented using high-level language technologies, well-defined Application Programming Interfaces, and web services.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Linux office suite competition

      Let’s say you want to use an office suite on your favorite Linux distribution. All right, which one? This is an interesting question really, and often left without a good answer. Unlike most other categories, where friendly wars are most welcome, the office suite competition takes a back bench in the digital combat. So you know your way around browsers, media players or chat programs. What about office programs?

  • Funding


  • Public Services/Government


  • Science

    • Inside Google HQ: What does the future hold for the company whose visionary plans include implanting a chip in our brains?
    • Surprising Fish Cousins: Tuna & Seahorses

      In the past 100 million years, fish with spiky dorsal and anal fins — an effective anti-predator device — have occupied every nook and cranny of the planet, said Peter Wainwright, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Davis. The group includes more than 90 percent of coral reef fish species and almost everything humans commercially fish, including bass, pollock and tilapia.

    • Happy pi approximation day

      The fraction 22/7 has been used since antiquity as a simple rational approximation of π. The fraction decimal expansion is 3.(142857); since π is about 3.141592653589793, the approximation has three correct digits. Of course we can do much better with computers, and billions of digits are now known: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Approximations_of_π is a nice review also explaining some fast computation methods. For example if you want to obtain a lot of π digits in a short time you may like the series by Ramanujan, yielding very good approximations even with a small number of terms; but that’s not the point now.

  • Hardware

    • Channel retailers see trouble clearing PC inventories

      The retail channel is currently facing serious excessive inventory troubles as most retailers are still unable to finish digesting their Ivy Bridge-based PC inventories and could be working on clearing the inventories for the rest of 2013, according to sources from channel retailers.

    • Digitimes Warns Wintel Of Dismal Future

      Wintel just cannot compete against FLOSS on ARM if M$ and Intel don’t toss their high-priced model. OEMs are fleeing to */Linux on small cheap computers. In my own home Wintel is dead. All of my PCs do run Intel or AMD except for tablets and smartphones but my next purchase may well be an ARMed PC. I have spent more money on a new motherboard and PSU to keep Beast alive than it would cost to get a good ARMed system up and running. For example, I could buy the up-coming descendant of Trimslice, Utilite.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Organophosphates: A Common But Deadly Pesticide

      The pesticides blamed for killing at least 25 children in India are widely used around the world, including in the United States, and health experts have raised safety concerns about this class of chemicals in the past.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Counterterrorism Mission Creep

      One of the assurances I keep hearing about the U.S. government’s spying on American citizens is that it’s only used in cases of terrorism. Terrorism is, of course, an extraordinary crime, and its horrific nature is supposed to justify permitting all sorts of excesses to prevent it. But there’s a problem with this line of reasoning: mission creep. The definitions of “terrorism” and “weapon of mass destruction” are broadening, and these extraordinary powers are being used, and will continue to be used, for crimes other than terrorism.

    • TSA now searching parked cars at the airport

      It can’t be said often enough: the TSA isn’t law enforcement. The TSA isn’t law enforcement.

    • US, Britain push for Syrian military intervention

      The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, has told the Senate that the Obama administration is actively considering the use of military force in Syria.

    • Venezuela ‘ends’ bid to restore diplomatic ties with US

      Venezuela has announced it is ending efforts to improve diplomatic relations with Washington after comments by the woman nominated as the next envoy to the UN vowed to oppose “a crackdown on civil society” in the “repressive” OPEC nation.

      President Nicolas Maduro has responded angrily by demanding an apology from the United States, arguing that they have no moral right to criticise his government.

    • Egypt to reevaluate Syria ties after coup

      Newly-appointed foreign minister says ‘everything will be re-evaluated’ following the ouster of Morsi; in Cairo, security forces raid office of Iranian TV channel.

    • Egyptian security forces raid Iranian TV office in Cairo

      Egyptian security forces on Saturday evening raided the office of Iranian Al Alam TV channel in Cairo and detained its director for questioning, a correspondent of Al Alam told Xinhua.

    • Federal Judge Troubled by Government Argument That US Targeted Killings Not Subject to Court Review

      A year ago, Nasser Al-Awlaki, the father of Anwar Al-Awlaki, along with the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights, sued over the constitutionality of the CIA’s drone program, which they contended had killed Al-Awlaki, his sixteen year old son Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki, and Samir Khan, all US citizens. It wasn’t until this May, however, that the White House, via a letter from Eric Holder to Congress, admitted responsibility for the killings. According to Holder, only the older Al-Awlaki was specifically targeted by the US. The disclosure came only two months after a federal appeals court ruled the CIA could not decline to confirm or deny a drone program that had become secret-in-name-only. And despite President Obama’s occasional lip service to contemplation or discussion, government stonewalling continues.

    • Ex-Pentagon official has ‘heavy heart’ over US teen’s inadvertent killing by drone
    • Pine Gap drives US drone kills

      Central Australia’s Pine Gap spy base has played a key role in the United States’ controversial drone strikes involving the ”targeted killing” of al-Qaeda and Taliban chiefs, Fairfax Media can reveal.

      Former personnel at the Australian-American base have described the facility’s success in locating and tracking al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders – and other insurgent activity in Afghanistan and Pakistan – as ”outstanding”.

    • US drone strikes guided from outback
    • BT accused of aiding US lethal drone attacks

      The UK communications giant, BT, is facing a government investigation for allegedly aiding lethal and illegal US drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia.

      The human rights group, Reprieve, has lodged a formal complaint with the UK Government against the company, arguing that it has breached guidelines on responsible business behaviour drawn up by the 34-country Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

      Reprieve has obtained details of a $23 million deal agreed last September between BT and the US government’s Defense Information Systems Agency to connect the US drone base at Camp Lemonnier in African republic Djibouti by fibre-optic cable to RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, which serves as a major US communications base.

    • In Yemen, drones’ ill effects linger long after dust settles

      Fallout from the airstrikes, locals warn, threatens to doom any attempts at collaboration – the feeling of powerlessness they fuel has bred an atmosphere of distrust that’s left many here leery of even international humanitarian organizations.

    • A ploy to increase Pakistan woes

      Interestingly, citing the justification for this attack, TTP’s spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told journalists that foreigners were targeted to convey message to the world against drone attacks. But the victims belonged to Pakistan’s friendly countries including China which supported the country’s stance against drone attacks on all the international forums. Even Russians, on many occasions, have condemned the brutal use of kinetic actions through drones. Such an action at this stage clearly indicates that TTP in fact was sponsored by hostile agencies to undertake this operation.

    • America’s enemies have rights too

      The lawsuit charges that the killings violated the Constitution, including its most elementary protection against the deprivation of life without due process of law. Seeking to dismiss the lawsuit, the Justice Department has maintained that such killings are immune from judicial review. The administration argues that due process does not require judicial process and that we should trust the executive’s judgment when it takes the lives of its own citizens abroad.

    • It was the CIA that helped Jail Nelson Mandela

      Mandela was labeled a terrorist by the United States. So was the entire ANC. Even as late as 2008 the U.S. State Department had to pass special waivers so that Mandela or any ANC leader could visit the United States because he and the ANC were still on the “terrorist watch list.”

    • The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth

      “The foundations of the secret war were laid by a conservative Republican president and embraced by a liberal Democratic one who became enamored of what he had inherited,” Mazzetti writes at one point. History will have to decide who deserves the harsher judgment.

    • Does World History Repeat? One CIA-Backed Startup Plans To Find Out

      Recorded Future is an American-Swedish startup backed by both Google Ventures and American intelligence agencies. Their goal? To predict the future using bits and pieces of online information.

    • Litvinenko inquiry request refused for fear of alienating Russia, May admits

      Fear of alienating Russia was a factor in the government’s decision to refuse a public inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, the home secretary, Theresa May, has admitted.

      The government said last week that it had decided not to grant a request from a senior judge for an inquiry into the former Russian spy’s apparent murder in 2006, in a decision that Litvinenko’s widow, Marina, said was political.

    • Rise of the Warrior Cop
    • Matthew David Stewart, Suspect In Utah Cop Killing, Found Dead In Cell
    • Judge torn over lawsuit in drone strike that killed Americans

      “There is no ‘Leon Panetta exception’ to the Constitution,” ACLU attorney Hina Shamsi said.

    • Security experts Bruce Schneier and Mikko Hypponen on the NSA, PRISM and why we should be worried

      As Edward Snowden is linked to one country after the next, the media has its eye fixed on where he will next request asylum. (Today, it’s Russia.) Meanwhile, back at US headquarters, as NSA officials speak in a House Judiciary Committee hearing, the agency is still doing what it’s doing. To get more information on exactly what that means, the TED Blog wrote to two security experts, Bruce Schneier (watch his talk) and Mikko Hypponen (see his talk), to ask them about what it is we should be worried about. Turns out, pretty much everything.

    • Judge: Govt position in drone suit ‘disconcerting’

      A federal judge said Friday that she finds “disconcerting” the Obama administration’s position that courts have no role in a lawsuit over the 2011 drone-strike killings of three U.S. citizens in Yemen, including an al-Qaida cleric.

      U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary M. Collyer made the comment at a hearing on a government motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The suit was filed by relatives of the three men killed in the drone strikes, charging that the attacks violated the Constitution. It named as defendants then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, then-CIA Director David Petraeus and two commanders in the military’s Special Operations forces, and seeks unspecified compensatory damages.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The New York Times & Their Coverage of Recent ‘Aiding the Enemy’ Ruling in Bradley Manning’s Trial
    • Court Guts Reporter’s Privilege in One of the Most Significant Press Freedom Cases in Decades
    • IPB awards MacBride Peace Prize 2013 to US whistleblower Bradley Manning

      Manning was arrested in May 2010 after allegedly leaking more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables, 400,000 U.S. Army reports about Iraq and another 90,000 about Afghanistan, as well as the material used in the “Collateral Murder” video produced by WikiLeaks: videos of the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike and the 2009 Garani airstrike in Afghanistan. At the time, it constituted the largest set of restricted documents ever leaked to the public. Much of it was published by WikiLeaks or its media partners between April and November 2010.

    • Math Behind Leak Crackdown: 153 Cases, 4 Years, 0 Indictments
    • Raking Muck: WikiLeaks, Manning, and the Newer Journalism

      The Manning Trial, with all its state-like ghastliness, the prosecution pawing and bruising those who disagree with it into submission, has thrown up a few distinct and disturbing trends. Ecclesiastes 1:9 claims there is nothing new under the sun, and we have been greeted to the predictable prosecution seeking to paint WikiLeaks as the spectre haunting global security. This is backhanded flattery of sorts – the organisation has to be seen by the security establishment as innately wicked and corrosive to state “values” (constipated secrecy, sinister deception, orchestrated dissimulation).

      It is therefore incumbent that every feature of the WikiLeaks’ experiment be attacked: its journalism (qualified or otherwise), its sources, its backers. Army Private first class Bradley Manning is but the important conduit, and this entire enterprise on the part of the U.S. government is an attempt to punish the flow of information all cogs and channels.

    • Wikileaks accused Bradley Manning will face charge of ‘aiding the enemy’
    • Bradley Manning Judge Accepts Osama Bin Laden Claim in WikiLeaks Data Trial

      A US military judge has refused to dismiss a charge that whistleblower Bradley Manning aided the enemy, including Osama bin Laden, by handing classified material to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

      Col Denise Lind ruled out any possibility that the most serious charge facing private Manning at his court martial could be dropped, rejecting a motion put forward by the whistleblower’s lawyer.

    • Bradley Manning may face life in jail as judge views the Wikileaks source may have ‘aided enemy’

      Private first class Bradley Manning, the young American soldier who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, on Thursday edged closer to spending the rest of his life in a military prison cell – with the key thrown away.

    • Wikileaks to begin fundraising for Snowden ‘Flight of Liberty’

      Wikileaks has suggested that it will begin a campaign to fly the fugitive leaker Edward Snowden away from the grasp of the American authorities.

    • Watching the Watchdog: Give the Nobel Prize to Snowden, Assange and Manning

      Governments take information very seriously, believe that even though we pay for it, they own it — and therefore think it right and proper to keep it hidden from us.

      Governments do that because they know that information truly is power. And if governments hold all the significant information, governments hold all the significant power.

    • Will Australia now protect Julian Assange?

      After Julian Assange revealed US war crimes and US politicians called for his assassination, Gillard branded Assange an anarchistic criminal.

    • A Tale of Two Diplomatic Asylums: Julian Assange and Chen Guangcheng

      It is widely believed by members of the international community that Assange’s extradition to Sweden is a vindictive ruse to ultimately thrust him into the legal jurisdiction of the United States to face charges related to WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of State Department documents. Sweden has consistently declined offers to interview Assange in Britain, reinforcing this perception.

    • The PESCI-Theses

      These world developments – and the vacuum left by traditional oppositional left-parties or “anti-imperialist” movements, suggest the need of uniting Libertarian, Let-Liberal, and Pirate-Party movements, and followers of the emergent Whistleblowing movement, in a broad political Human-Rights front. This political effort aiming to enhance political awareness in a world society lamed by government-controlled social-networking and subliminal-implanted consumerism.

    • Obama’s Hawkish Policy on Leaks Was Adopted to Make an Example Out of Someone

      President Barack Obama’s administration has developed a reputation for aggressively prosecuting whistleblowers or individuals responsible for national security leaks. The policy adopted by the administration was influenced by former director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, who requested a “tally of the number of government officials or employees who had been prosecuted for leaking national security secrets,” according to the New York Times.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Missing Money
    • 8 reasons our economy is more dysfunctional than ever

      Self-sacrifice, fear and lowered expectations are the new normal in post-recession America

    • UK Uncut forces closure of HSBC branches in tax protest

      Demonstrators protesting about non-payment of tax by large corporations shut several branches of HSBC across the country on Saturday.

      UK Uncut targeted 13 locations and succeeded in shutting branches in Glasgow, Sheffield, Brixton and Regent Street in London – branches which HSBC initially said would be “open as usual”.

      The group arrived at the Regent Street branch at about noon, 30 minutes after it had been shut “temporarily”, to protest against the government’s welfare cuts by “transforming” it into a food bank.

    • Rajoy there!

      THE Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, is known for wearing down opponents by digging in his heels and biding his time. “Life is about resisting,” he texted Rosalía Iglesias, wife of his Popular Party’s (PP) former treasurer, Luis Bárcenas, as a scandal engulfed him two years ago. Now Mr Bárcenas’s decision to go public in the press and before a magistrate about two decades of illicit PP financing, along with the leaking of text messages, is testing Mr Rajoy’s own capacity for resistance.

      Four years after investigators began unravelling a web of PP corruption, Mr Bárcenas started to sing on July 15th. In an interview with El Mundo, he had already claimed there were systematic cash payments to Mr Rajoy and other bigwigs. On July 17th the paper published 14 pages of secret accounts, which tally with similar ones in its rival, El País. They show donations by construction firms that won big public contracts from PP governments. It is increasingly apparent that Mr Rajoy ran a party in which personal graft and illegal funding were common.

    • A new round of segregation plays out in charter schools

      Charter schools and their proponents argue that charters must take any student who wants to attend– and randomly select students through a lottery if too many apply – and, as such, can’t control who enrolls. Yet some experts are concerned that this trend is an example of the next phase of white flight, following a long history of white families seeking out homogeneous neighborhoods and schools.

      School choice was once seen as a means of helping to diversify schools in spite of residential segregation. But in practice, researchers have found charter schools to be segregated as well. While much attention and research on charter school segregation have focused on predominantly black schools located in cities, pockets of mostly white charters are popping up in diversifying suburbs.

    • The US-EU trade deal: don’t buy the hype

      In reality, this trade agreement is not about promoting prosperity for all, but powerful industry lobbies trying to dodge regulation

  • Censorship

    • David Cameron: Web firms have a ‘moral duty’ to wipe out indecent images

      David Cameron is to warn internet companies that they have a “moral duty” to reduce the accessibility of child pornography, threatening legislation if firms do not act.

    • Cameron demands action on child abuse images

      Today we were expecting an announcement from David Cameron on the Andrew Marr Show previewing a speech on Monday about filters to stop children accessing adult pornography. Instead we have an announcement about paedophiles on the Internet. These are very different issues, needing different policy responses.

    • Zambian press freedom crisis – journalists arrested and websites blocked

      The Zambian government has stepped up its harassment of independent media outlets by arresting journalists and jamming two news websites.

      In a country where the state already exercises control over most media, the authorities have blocked domestic access to Zambian Watchdog, and Zambia Reports.

      Both sites run articles critical of the government led by President Michael Sata. Zambian Watchdog was forced into exile in 2009. Its journalists operate anonymously within Zambia, and the editors live in exile.

      Police arrested freelance journalist Wilson Pondamali on Wednesday (17 July) while he was travelling home from the capital, Lusaka, and accused him of being a contributor to Zambian Watchdog.

    • Cameron’s Bizarre Warning To Google, Bing and Yahoo Over Child Pornography

      There are times when I’m not sure that the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, actually understands this technology stuff. An example is this threat in a TV interview in England today.

    • Tumblr Makes Policy Changes to Restrict Porn Content Searches

      When Yahoo! Inc acquired Tumblr last year, it assured the users that it would not police adult content on the social network. But now, Tumblr has just introduced changes to the way it treats Not Safe for Work (NSFW) content and adult blogs. It may not be considered as censorship yet, but it may impact how content with sensitive themes could be searched within the site.

  • Privacy

    • Greenwald: ‘Explosive’ NSA Spying Reports Are Imminent

      Journalist Glenn Greenwald says new reports from the trove of NSA data supplied by whistleblower Edward Snowden can be expected in the next few days. Speaking on a German talkshow, he said they would be even “more explosive in Germany” than previous reporting.

    • IRS, SEC must respect email privacy: House Appropriations Committee

      The House Appropriations Committee unanimously passed legislation to ensure Americans’ email is private, is covered by the Fourth Amendment and cannot be searched by federal authorities without a warrant.

      The legislation was approved by the committee Wednesday afternoon as an amendment to a must-pass spending bill that funds the Treasury, the White House, the federal judiciary and more than two dozen independent agencies — including the IRS and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

    • OpenMailBox: An alternative to Gmail based on Free Software

      After multiple leaks that have been made of various spy programs as Prism, many users begin to see over their shoulders looking for alternatives to the various services offered by companies that are allegedly involved in these activities. If you are one of those who have undertaken this kind of exodus looking for more reliable service then let me introduce you a substitute for Gmail…

    • NSA Spying Leaves Washington Lonelier Than Ever – Analysis
    • Germany should honour its debt and offer NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum

      When such figures as Albert Einstein fled the Nazis, the US provided a haven. Now it’s time for Berlin to offer asylum to the persecuted

    • Surveillance documents reveal tight partnership between NSA and German government

      Reports that the US National Security Agency is spying on European allies and bugging embassies have been met with strong condemnation in Germany, where chancellor Angela Merkel angrily denounced the agency’s activities earlier this month as “unacceptable.” But new documents obtained by Der Spiegel reportedly show that German intelligence services actually make significant use of a powerful NSA spying program used to monitor internet communications.

    • Ex-NSA agent: US agency transcribes phone calls

      A former US National Security Agency employee says President Barack Obama lies about the spy agency’s interception of personal communications because the NSA has transcribed Americans’ phone calls.

    • Cryptoparties boom following NSA scandal

      How do you go about securing your personal email content? Cryptoparties will teach you. They have been booming in Germany ever since the NSA scandal broke.

    • Android Backups Could Expose Wi-Fi Passwords to NSA

      Google’s “back up my data feature” for Android may be a convenient and easy way to back up files, but it also may put network security at risk by exposing the passwords of encrypted Wi-Fi networks.

    • German spy-spotter attracts unwanted attention for NSA protest walk

      A German who posted a Facebook event calling for an afternoon walk to the US Dagger Complex to “observe NSA spies in action” ended up being spied on himself. The event and the response from authorities has gone viral.

    • Telecom Companies Implicated in NSA Spying Unite to Lobby Congress on Digital Privacy

      The biggest names in telecommunications industry have launched a new lobbying group headed by two Washington insiders to advocate for privacy policies that could affect millions of consumers nationwide.

    • NSA Revelations Could Provide Ideal Cover For Authoritarian Governments
    • U.S. Worries NSA Leaker’s Files Could Be Hacked

      The Russian lawyer for NSA leaker Edward Snowden predicts his client will soon get temporary asylum in Russia

    • Utah ISP owner describes the NSA ‘black box’ that spied on his customers

      There’s been more pushback on privacy from the private sector ever since leaked documents revealed the existence of massive NSA spying programs that tap into consumer services. But the owner of XMission, a small ISP in Utah, has been especially adversarial towards the secret FISA court orders which force companies to give data to the government. After publishing a detailed list of government orders the company has received, CEO Pete Ashdown has offered some clues as to what happens when an internet service provider is forced to comply with a FISA surveillance order.

    • NSA Spokesman Accidentally Admits that the Government Is Spying On Virtually All Americans

      We have long noted that the government is spying on just about everything we do.

      The NSA has pretended that it only spies on a small number of potential terrorists. But NSA Deputy Director John C. Inglis inadvertently admitted that the NSA could spy on just about all Americans.

    • Germany intelligence cooperated with NSA as Merkel denied knowledge – report

      Der Speigel magazine has revealed German intelligence operated one of NSA’s spying programs. Chancellor Angela Merkel had denied any previous knowledge of NSA’s tactics, adding that she first learned about them through the media.

    • Surveillance claims cast cloud over Merkel’s campaign
    • FORMER CIA OFFICER: Edward Snowden Is No Traitor

      Here in the United States, it remains to be seen whether anyone actually cares enough to do something about the illegal activity while being bombarded with the false claims that the out of control surveillance program “has kept us safe.” It is interesting to observe in passing that the revelations derived from Snowden’s whistleblowing strongly suggest that the hippies and other counter-culture types who, back in the 1960s, protested that the government could not be trusted actually had it right all along.

    • Intelligence chiefs would consider NSA data collection changes – top lawyer
    • Jimmy Carter Defends Edward Snowden, Says NSA Spying Has Compromised Nation’s Democracy

      Former President Jimmy Carter announced support for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden this week, saying that his uncovering of the agency’s massive surveillance programs had proven “beneficial.”

      Speaking at a closed-door event in Atlanta covered by German newspaper Der Spiegel, Carter also criticized the NSA’s domestic spying as damaging to the core of the nation’s principles.

    • Germany backs away from claims NSA program thwarted five attacks

      German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich is backing off his earlier assertion that the Obama administration’s NSA monitoring of Internet accounts had prevented five terror attacks in Germany, raising questions about other claims concerning the value of the massive monitoring programs revealed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

    • Bipartisan Backlash Grows Against Domestic Surveillance

      WASHINGTON — The Obama administration faced a growing Congressional backlash against the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance operations on Wednesday, as lawmakers from both parties called for the vast collection of private data on millions of Americans to be scaled back.

    • A hidden world, growing beyond control
    • Protest rally at suspected German NSA site

      Protesters held up fake cameras in what they described as a bid to “spy” on the heavily secured military complex allegedly housing a snooping facility of the National Security Agency.

    • What the Empire Didn’t Hear: US Spying and Resistance in Latin America

      US imperialism spreads across Latin America through military bases and trade deals, corporate exploitation and debt. It also relies on a vast communications surveillance network, the recent uncovering of which laid bare Washington’s reach into the region’s streets and halls of power. Yet more than McDonald’s and bullets, an empire depends on fear, and fear of the empire is lacking these days in Latin America.

      The controversy stirred up by Edward Snowden’s leaked documents reached the region on July 7th, when the first of a series of articles drawing from the leaks were published in the major Brazilian newspaper O Globo. The articles outlined how the US National Security Agency (NSA) had for years been spying on and indiscriminately collecting the emails and telephone records of millions of people in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Argentina, just as it had done in the US, Europe and elsewhere.

    • ‘Prolific Partner’: German Intelligence Used NSA Spy Program

      Angela Merkel and her ministers claim they first learned about the US government’s comprehensive spying programs from press reports. But SPIEGEL has learned that German intelligence services themselves use one of the NSA’s most valuable tools.

    • The Eye of Sauron Is the Modern Surveillance State

      What can literary fiction teach us about recent revelations that the National Security Agency has aggressively been gathering massive amounts of data on American citizens? The novel one usually turns to, of course, is George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, with its terrifying vision of the Thought Police. Even President Obama, in response to questions about the NSA, has been forced to deny that the government has engaged in “Big Brother” tactics. Orwell’s book, however, isn’t the most compelling or accurate literary prediction of modern surveillance. That award goes to a less obvious title: J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

    • Journalist warns of ‘explosive’ news from cache Snowden leaked

      The journalist who published files leaked by fugitive U.S. leaker Edward Snowden says new reports from the data Snowden supplied would be more volatile.


      The newspaper said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua Washington would end all sales of gasoline and other refined-oil products to Venezuela if Snowden is given refuge in that country.

      Kerry made the statements during a phone call a week ago when he told Jaua Washington revoked U.S. visas of Venezuelan government officials and business leaders in retaliation for President Nicolas Maduro’s asylum offer to Snowden last month, the Spanish report said, citing sources familiar with the conversation.

    • Snowden’s NSA Disclosures a Service, ACLU Director Says
    • Calling All Big Data Experts for Amicus Brief in Phone Records Surveillance Cases

      As you may know, both the ACLU and EPIC have brought legal challenges to the NSA’s collection of Americans’ phone records and related traffic data (metadata). We at the Center for Internet and Society are writing an amicus brief on behalf of experts in metadata analysis to educate the Courts about how revealing such information can be. If you are potentially interested in signing on, please email me at jennifer at law dot stanford dot edu by July 25th. Also, if you have pointers to cutting edge research on this topic, please feel free to send the citations to me.

    • Snowden be damned: Government renews US call record order
    • NSA affair: Merkel wants global agreement

      Surveys show Merkel and her conservatives remain frontrunners overall for the September 22 federal election, but two-thirds of German voters are dissatisfied with her government’s efforts to bring clarity to the murky affair.

    • Spying on Americans, Cellphones, Emails: The NSA is on the Line — All of Them
    • App keeps NSA abreast of your phone activity
    • NSA scoffs at Indian Prism, favours cooperation on cyber security

      Underlining the difficulties India faces while dealing with cases of cyber crimes, Mr. Menon has said: “The basic infrastructure for telephony and Internet data (including the root servers and Internet service providers or ISPs) is overwhelmingly U.S.-owned and based.”

    • Muslim Group Sues NSA Over Surveillance
    • NSA Spying Under Fire From Congress, Churches and Tech Companies
    • What Happens When You Go Knocking On The NSA’s Door

      I was curious about the NSA’s massive data processing center, so I went and took a look. That didn’t make the NSA too happy.

    • Tracking watch: NSA chief, from Russia with love, shopping snoops

      Retailers are using a combination of video cameras, WiFi signals from smartphones and apps to track shoppers in their stores. The New York Times reported over the weekend about Nordstrom’s experimentation with this technology, drawing some reactions that what it’s doing is “creepy.” The retailer says it is tracking shoppers who physically browse at its stores just as online retailers track those who click and buy.

  • Civil Rights

    • DHS Memo To Workers: Read About NSA Leaks, Get Fired

      A DHS memo recently sent out to employees warns that workers found reading about the NSA leaks online could lose their job or be otherwise penalized.

    • This week in press freedoms and privacy rights

      The travesty calling itself “the Bradley Manning court-martial”, the kangaroo tribunal calling itself “the FISA court”, and the emptiness of what the Obama DOJ calls “your constitutional rights”

    • Clown Town Children’s Center Called The Police On U.K. Dad For Singing Happy Birthday
    • Aaron’s Law and the Future of CFAA Reform

      Will CFAA reform end with Aaron’s Law? Join TechFreedom and the Electronic Frontier Foundation on July 22 for drinks and a discussion of the future of CFAA reform.

    • Revoke Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize
    • Court Tells Reporter to Testify in Case of Leaked C.I.A. Data

      In a major ruling on press freedoms, a divided federal appeals court on Friday ruled that James Risen, an author and a reporter for The New York Times, must testify in the criminal trial of a former Central Intelligence Agency official charged with providing him with classified information.

    • Is Australia’s new asylum policy the harshest in its history?

      Following Kevin Rudd’s announcement, asylum seekers who arrive in Australian waters by boat will no longer have the chance to be settled in Australia. Three experts react

    • Locking Out the Voices of Dissent

      The security and surveillance state, after crushing the Occupy movement and eradicating its encampments, has mounted a relentless and largely clandestine campaign to deny public space to any group or movement that might spawn another popular uprising. The legal system has been grotesquely deformed in most cities to, in essence, shut public space to protesters, eradicating our right to free speech and peaceful assembly. The goal of the corporate state is to criminalize democratic, popular dissent before there is another popular eruption. The vast state surveillance system, detailed in Edward Snowden’s revelations to the British newspaper The Guardian, at the same time ensures that no action or protest can occur without the advanced knowledge of our internal security apparatus. This foreknowledge has allowed the internal security systems to proactively block activists from public spaces as well as carry out pre-emptive harassment, interrogation, intimidation, detention and arrests before protests can begin. There is a word for this type of political system—tyranny.

    • The 3 Most Absurdly Outdated Internet Laws
    • ‘Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago’, Obama says
    • University President in Indiana Tried to Censor Howard Zinn’s ‘People’s History of the United States’
    • Indiana’s Anti-Howard Zinn Witch-hunt

      Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States, one of the country’s most widely read history books, died on January 27, 2010. Shortly after, then-Governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels got on his computer and fired off an email to the state’s top education officials: “This terrible anti-American academic has finally passed away.”


      We know about Gov. Daniels’ email tantrum thanks to the Associated Press, which obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act request.

      Scott Jenkins, Daniels’ education advisor, wrote back quickly to tell the governor that A People’s History of the United States was used in a class for prospective teachers on social movements at Indiana University.

      Daniels fired back: “This crap should not be accepted for any credit by the state. No student will be better taught because someone sat through this session. Which board has jurisdiction over what counts and what doesn’t?”

      After more back and forth, Daniels approved a statewide “cleanup” of what earns credit for professional development: “Go for it. Disqualify propaganda and highlight (if there is any) the more useful offerings.”

    • US Flouts the Rule of Law While Demanding that Other Countries Follow It

      Ah, the rule of law. How often we hear our government leaders angrily demand that the rest of the world adhere to this sacred stricture, most recently as it demands that countries — even countries with which the US has signed no extradition treaty like Russia or China — honor the US charges leveled against National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and send him to the US for trial.

      But the rule of law, in truth, means little to the US, which routinely thumbs its nose at the whole notion.

    • Outrage over judge allowing Govt to reopen case for baseless slander

      In an extremely rare, last-minute move weeks after the government rested its case, military judge Col. Denise Lind allowed prosecutors to expand their rebuttal case, making way for unsupported accusations against PFC Bradley Manning. The late addition far exceeded the usual limits of a simple rebuttal, once again raising supporters’ and journalists’ suspicions about the validity and fairness of the proceedings.

      In a cynical move, the government prosecution recalled former Specialist Jihrleah Showman, a supervisor against whom Manning had filed an Equal Opportunity complaint. Following Manning’s complaint, Showman was admonished for her use of homophobic language in conversation and workplace signage. In the years since, she has vied for media appearances, augmented by her own vitriolic Tweets, attacking Manning as well as his supporters. Now, at the eleventh hour, she claims to recall a conversation with the 25-year-old army private in which he allegedly shared anti-American opinions.

      According to the defense, Ms. Showman is lending an intentional and inaccurate spin to comments Manning made regarding his refusal to follow any authority blindly as an “automaton” (in Manning’s own words) so that they conform to the prosecution’s characterization of someone disloyal to the United States.

    • Fake Signs On Bay Area Highways Say Drones Looking For Speeders

      Several signs have cropped up on Bay Area highways, telling drivers that drones are enforcing speed limits. The California Highway Patrol told KPIX 5 the signs are fakes and that they do not have drones.

      “As people are driving by and they see something like this, it’s definitely a distraction,” said Officer Andrew Barclay of the California Highway Patrol.

    • Concerns rise about growing use of domestic drones

      If you fret about the possibility that drones soon may be hovering over your neighborhood, you may want to avoid Blue Eye Investigations’ website.

    • What Happened to Michael Hastings?

      For my own benefit and perhaps yours, I’ve done a little research into who Michael Hastings was and what he did that deserves attention. I explore the possibility that his death was no accident. I admit that I have no proof beyond speculation. Hopefully I can give you enough information to make your own judgments. In a world where American Presidents openly arrogate to themselves the right to kill people deemed enemies of the United States, all things suddenly become possible. When the basic right of habeas corpus can be denied to American citizens, based upon unproven allegations of their being threats to this country, isn’t it possible for those with the power to detain and to eliminate individuals, to make decisions as to someone’s existence doing harm to this country? Finally, doesn’t this unconstitutional expansion of powers give individuals with government connections the leeway to take revenge on those who expose them? While I’m not privy to knowledge of the actions of those in power and can claim no inside information, I certainly can speculate based on the experience of my lifetime. This then is my speculation about the death and life of Michael Hastings in the context of current life in these United States.

    • US Courts Approve Indefinite Detention and Torture

      America’s a police state. It’s ruthless. Iron fist authority rules. International law’s quaint and out-of-date. US statute protections aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

      Constitutional rights don’t matter. They never did for most people. It’s truer now than ever. They’re null and void. Executive diktat power rules. Congress and federal courts go along. They’re complicit.

      They support sweeping lawlessness. It’s unprecedented. It affects domestic and geopolitical issues. No one’s safe anywhere.

    • We tell boys not to cry, then wonder about male suicide

      I’m not sure how old I was when I was first instructed that boys don’t cry – at a guess, maybe six or seven. Once it began, it came at me from all angles: family, teachers, friends, the myriad voices of media and culture. Like pretty much all boys, I learned that tears and sobs were markers of failure. Whether facing up to playground beatings, bullies or teachers, the rules of the game were simple: if you cry, you lose. As little boys begin to construct the identities of grown men, the toughest lesson to learn is toughness itself. Never show weakness, never show fragility and above all, never let them see your tears.

    • Chris Hedges: “America is a Tinderbox”

      A Real News Network interview with Chris Hedges precipitated a lively, thoughtful discussion of the mess we are in as a civilization and whether we can pull ourselves out of what looks like a nosedive.

      I thought readers might enjoy continuing the exchange, and the latest release in this Real News Network series should provide ample grist for debate. As much as the readers who saw the segment we posted yesterday, which was mainly on whether we could forestall an ecological crisis, tended to think that Hedges was too apocalyptic, I suspect they’ll have the opposite reaction today, that his take is too positive.

    • Obama Stirs Trayvon Pot to Distract from IRS, NSA, DOJ and Benghazi Scandals

      Last Friday afternoon the president injected himself into the Trayvon/Zimmerman mix again by doing what he excels at, namely, increasing the racial divide, blaming the “white Hispanic,” condemning guns and upbraiding essentially everyone but the stoned and violent truant named, Trayvon.

    • Government Scores Win For Indefinite Detention, But Opponents Say They’ll Press On
    • NDAA Indefinite Detention Without Trial Approved by Appeals Court

      The Section 1021 of the NDAA allows “detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities” for “a person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.” The court is technically correct in stating that the law does not specifically mention U.S. citizens when it uses the term “person,” but like the vaguely worded “supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces,” it appears to be all-encompassing and subject solely to the president’s discretionary whims.

    • Federal court dismisses Stockman-supported challenge to NDAA indefinite detention provision
    • Another Court Rules Against The People And Constitution

      The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the people and Constitution Wednesday when it vacated a permanent injunction barring the enforcement of Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act that allows for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens.

    • Military Detention Law Survives on Appeal

      Without proof that the Obama administration’s military detention law will target them specifically, a group of journalists opposed to it lack standing to sue, the 2nd Circuit ruled.
      Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges filed suit days after President Barack Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which Hedges claims has dangerously vague language that could be used against reporters, activists and human-rights workers.

    • US Courts Approve Indefinite Detention and Torture
    • Journalists Prepare US Supreme Court Fight Against Indefinite Detention

      A group of journalists and activists are preparing to challenge a U.S. court decision upholding the Obama administration’s ability to indefinitely detain individuals. The ruling, plaintiffs say, deals a blow to civil liberties in the name of national security, and could even be used to detain U.S. citizens without due process.

    • Panel to review Guantanamo detainees
    • Growing up Muslim in America
    • Appeals court slammed for removing ban on NDAA

      An anti-war activist criticizes a Federal Appeals Court for overthrowing a ban on National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) statue which allows President Obama to indefinitely detain Americans.

    • Israel to free ‘heavyweight’ Palestinian prisoners

      Release of prisoners who have been in jail for decades comes as part of agreement to enter preliminary peace talks in US

    • Israel to release Palestinian prisoners as talks are revived
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Why has Monsanto “Quit” Europe? The Answer is ISDS in TAFTA/TTIP

      This is very curious. Monsanto may be many things, but it is not a company that gives up. However, there is a clue in the last sentence of the above quotation: “at the moment the firm was unwilling to apply for approval of any GM plants”. That suggests this is only a temporary halt, and that it will be back.

      So why might it do that? Is there anything happening that might have triggered this move?

      Why, yes: TAFTA/TTIP. In fact, the issue of GM crops is likely to be one of the biggest sticking points. The US side is insisting that “Sanitary and Phytosanitary” (SPS) measures must address GM foodstuffs, with the European side adamant that it won’t drop its precautionary principle.

    • Could open-source GMOs bring down Monsanto at last?
    • Copyrights

      • The Pirate Bay “Crowdfunds” Massive 10th Anniversary Festival

        Three weeks from now thousands of Pirate Bay supporters will gather in a festival area located a few kilometers north of Stockholm. At least, if the organizers can get them to pay for a ticket. The Pirate team needs the public to chip in, and they hope to raise 450,000 Swedish kronor ($68,000) through a crowd-funding campaign. The local Pirate Party is in charge of the event and promises visitors live music, food, alcohol and plenty of opportunities to share.

      • Copyright And The End Of Property Rights

        Yes, we’ve had the debate over and over and over again during the years (so much so that I’m not even going to dig up the links) concerning whether or not copyright is like “property.” However, reading an article by Alex Cummings on “the end of ownership,” it really drives home why copyright can often be anti-property rights, in that it takes away the standard types of “rights” that people have in property they’ve purchased. Cummings’ piece focuses on the secondary market for copyright-covered content, and how the content industries have been trying for over a century to stamp such things out, but were long held back by important concepts like the first sale right. However, in an all digital world, they’re having a lot more luck in killing off secondary markets:

      • FACT Raids Hit Release Groups and Torrent Site Admin

        Earlier this year, police and the Federation Against Copyright Theft announced that four individuals connected to movie piracy had been arrested following raids in central England. Little was said about the men but TorrentFreak can now reveal that they included members of two release groups and a former admin of UnleashTheNet, the torrent site run by the busted release group IMAGiNE.


Links 20/7/2013: Ubuntu Hardware Imminent, Russia Extorted Over Snowden

Posted in News Roundup at 9:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Nikon Camera Control: An Open Source App for Remote DSLR Control
  • VLC media player returns to the iOS App Store after 30-month hiatus
  • VLC returns to the App Store as a free, open-source video player compatible with every format

    When VLC for iOS left the App Store in mid-2011 after months of contention between its creators, the real owners of VLC (VideoLAN) and Apple, thousands of users were sorry to see it go. The free app allowed for playback of video files, such as MKVs and other esoteric file formats that Apple’s native player didn’t support and other developers charged up to $10 for.

  • Open Source: Internet Association Website Connects Users, Policymakers
  • Open source virtualization software still trails, despite improvements

    Open source virtualization is still a niche technology, despite the rise of multi-hypervisor infrastructures.

    Recent open source virtualization software releases have packed in new features with impressive specs, and there’s a clear appetite for VMware Inc. alternatives in enterprise data centers.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • A Planetary Nebula That Looks Like the Firefox Logo

        If you’re reading this web page using Chrome or Safari, beware: you are probably angering the universe. There is reason to believe, you see, that the universe — the collection of all the planets, stars, galaxies, matter, and energy that have ever existed, and the sum total of all that we do and will know — is actually partial to Mozilla products. Which means that there is reason to believe that the universe would really prefer, as you browse the web that connects our tiny little world, that you use Firefox.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 3.6.7

      Berlin, July 18, 2013 – The Document Foundation (TDF) announces LibreOffice 3.6.7 for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, which will be the last maintenance release of the leading free office suite’s 3.6 series. All users, from enterprises to individual end users, are encouraged to update to the current and stable 4.0 series, or have a look at the upcoming 4.1 version.

  • Funding

    • The Daily Startup: Firms Launch Open-Source Accelerator

      Austin Ventures, Battery Ventures and a new firm, The Valley Fund–have formed an accelerator called OpenIncubate for open-source startups. It offers joint funding, workspace and help for companies that are using open-source software frameworks to contribute to the emergence of the software-defined data center. Each firm has committed $1 million to the effort, according to The Valley Fund General Partner Steve O’Hara, with investments ranging from $250,000 to $500,000.

    • Top venture firms put out call-to-arms for open source innovators

      The Greater Boston startup scene is beginning to resemble the NICU at Mass. General — incubators everywhere. The latest is OpenIncubate, which launched Thursday, offering funding and workspace to entrepreneurs committed to open-source computing.

    • OpenIncubate launches to supercharge infrastructure startups with open-source cred

      All systems are go for OpenIncubate, a new accelerator seeking startups focused on open IT infrastructure. Austin Ventures, Battery Ventures and The Valley Fund are behind the accelerator, which plans to officially launch Thursday and hopes to shake up staid, proprietary corners of IT.

    • SourceForge’s DevShare Offers Open Source Developers Monetization

      Earlier this month, SourceForge–known as a central hosting and services site for countless open source projects–unveiled a beta version of a service called DevShare. DevShare is an opt-in revenue-sharing program “aimed at giving developers a better way to monetize their projects in a transparent, honest and sustainable way.” The plan presents a way for developers of open source projects to monetize downloads and usage of their creations. After a few weeks of beta testing, some interesting reviews are coming in.


    • Interview with Shiv Shankar Dayal of Kunjika

      The latest installment of our Licensing and Compliance Lab’s series on free software developers who choose GNU licenses for their works.

    • Best IDEs for Octave, Python and R

      Code-wise, I’ve been getting my hands dirty with some digital grease over the past few months, and it’s been fun. Most of the fun has resolved around learning Python, which appears to be the language of choice these days.

      Python is almost a requirement everywhere you turn. Many introductory programming classes use Python as the main or default high-level programming language.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Source EV Home Charger Offered at $99, With Caveats

      Think home electric car charging equipment is too expensive? Well, maybe you heard about The Juicebox, the new 240-volt charger available for a bargain basement price of $99. Sounds great, but expect to face additional costs, possible safety concerns and, like a piece of furniture from Ikea, once you get it home the device must be assembled.

  • Programming

    • Apache Kills Off Its C++ Standard Library

      While not as widely-used as GCC’s libstdc++ or even LLVM’s libc++ for a C++ standard library, since 2005 Apache has backed the stdcxx C++ standard library. The Apache C++ Standard Library has been a free implementation of the ISO/IEC 14882 standard for C++ and came to the Apache Software Foundation after Rogue Wave Software open-sourced their commercial implementation the better part of a decade ago.

    • LLDB Gains Linux 64-bit Core FIle Support

      The LLVM debugger is back to having ELF core file support for 64-bit Linux.

      The LLVM Debugger, LLDB, that is of growing interest to companies and is showing much promise for developers continues to see better Linux support.


  • A Book Is Better Than a Box of Chocolates

    Summer is an ideal season for jolting your mind into action by expanding your reading horizons. So shut off the computer and the television, put away the various gadgets, close your email and pick up a good book. There are plenty of entertaining choices for your reading pleasure, but the following titles are ones that I have enjoyed. They all address the serious pursuit of justice/happiness side of the written word.

  • Tewksbury motel owner lobbying Congress for reform of federal civil-forfeiture laws

    After winning a landmark federal forfeiture case against the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Russell Caswell, owner of the Motel Caswell in Tewksbury, is headed to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to take part in a legislative briefing called “Policing For Profit” on the campaign to reform the federal civil-forfeiture laws.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • New Film Shows U.S.-Backed Indonesian Death Squad Leaders Re-enacting Massacres
    • “The Act of Killing”: New Film Shows U.S.-Backed Indonesian Death Squad Leaders Re-enacting Massacres

      We spend the hour with Joshua Oppenheimer, the director of a groundbreaking new documentary called “The Act of Killing.” The film is set in Indonesia, where, beginning in 1965, military and paramilitary forces slaughtered up to a million Indonesians after overthrowing the democratically elected government. That military was backed by the United States and led by General Suharto, who would rule Indonesia for decades. There has been no truth and reconciliation commission, nor have any of the murderers been brought to justice. As the film reveals, Indonesia is a country where the killers are to this day celebrated as heroes by many. Oppenheimer spent more than eight years interviewing the Indonesian death squad leaders, and in “The Act of Killing,” he works with them to re-enact the real-life killings in the style of American movies in which the men love to watch — this includes classic Hollywood gangster movies and lavish musical numbers. A key figure he follows is Anwar Congo, who killed hundreds,
      if not a thousand people with his own hands and is now revered as a founding father of an active right-wing paramilitary organization. We also ask Oppenheimer to discusses the film’s impact in Indonesia, where he screened it for survivors and journalists who have launched new investigations into the massacres. The film is co-directed by Christine Cynn and an Indonesian co-director who remains anonymous for fear of retribution, as does much of the Indonesian film crew. Its executive producers are Werner Herzog and Errol Morris. “The Act of Killing” opens today in New York City, and comes to Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., on July 26, then to theaters nationwide.

    • You Are a Terrorist If You Film Animal Abuse or Unsanitary Conditions

      In five states of the U.S.—Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Utah, and South Carolina—you are a criminal for exposing public health dangers and animal rights abuses. If a person takes pictures or films at animal facilities, that person can be prosecuted under laws modeled after a document called “Animal and Ecological Terrorism in America.”

      How did such an obscene thing come to be? As we have documented at REALfarmacy, there is a little-known but powerful group known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that introduces model bills across the country on behalf of its corporate members.

    • Multiple NYPD Cars Caught Blasting Star Wars “Imperial March” Theme Song on Patrol

      NYPD Vehicles have been spotted on multiple occasions cruising around the city with their windows down, blaring Darth Vader’s infamous theme song.

    • Explosion in arrivals hall at Beijing airport – media reports

      The blast occurred in the arrivals hall of terminal three, Xinhua news agency reported. The agency gave no immediate details on the cause of the blast or the potential number of casualties.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Bradley Manning Wins Peace Prize

      U.S. whistleblower and international hero Bradley Manning has just been awarded the 2013 Sean MacBride Peace Award by the International Peace Bureau, itself a former recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, for which Manning is a nominee this year

    • US vs. Bradley Manning: defense rests, Manning won’t testify, Wikileaks gets respect

      I traveled to Ft. Meade, Maryland today to observe the trial of Army PFC. Bradley Manning. The 25-year-old Oklahoma native has admitted to providing Wikileaks with more than 700,000 leaked documents, which included battle reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, State Department diplomatic cables, and military videos from combat zones.

  • Finance

    • Thank neoliberalism for our enslavement to capitalism

      The corporations now ruling the world owe their dominance to the application of economist Milton Friedman’s ideas

    • So that’s how H-1B visa fraud is done!

      Reader Mark Surich was looking for a lawyer with Croatian connections to help with a family matter back in the old country. He Googled some candidate lawyers and in one search came up with this federal indictment. It makes very interesting reading and shows one way H-1B visa fraud can be conducted.

      The lawyer under indictment is Marijan Cvjeticanin. Please understand that this is just an indictment, not a conviction. I’m not saying this guy is guilty of anything. My point here is to describe the crime of which he is accused, which I find very interesting. He could be innocent for all I know, but the crime, itself, is I think fairly common and worth understanding.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • What It Takes to Get a Reporter to Correct An Error

      But, as Scahill pointed out, issuing a correction via Twitter for something you said on the air was insufficient. Baldwin apparently agreed, because later on in her show she said, “And earlier we said that he was killed in the same drone strike that killed his father. That was not the case. We regret that mistake.”

      Accuracy, of course, is a big deal in journalism– and thus it’s a big deal for people who want to hold journalism accountable. Baldwin’s initial response was unfortunate, but she eventually made the right call. Would she have made the same decision if there wasn’t such a public effort to get her to correct the record? Probably not.

    • Pest Control: Syngenta’s Secret Campaign to Discredit Atrazine’s Critics

      To protect profits threatened by a lawsuit over its controversial herbicide atrazine, Syngenta Crop Protection launched an aggressive multi-million dollar campaign that included hiring a detective agency to investigate scientists on a federal advisory panel, looking into the personal life of a judge and commissioning a psychological profile of a leading scientist critical of atrazine.

  • Censorship

    • Yahoo’s Sneaky Strike to Tumble Tumblr’s Adult Artifacts

      Exactly two months ago, when we heard that Yahoo was buying Tumblr for over a billion dollars in cash, I posed a somewhat provocative question.

      To wit: What was Yahoo gonna do with all that porn on Tumblr?

    • HBO Asks Google to Take Down “Infringing” VLC Media Player

      It’s no secret that copyright holders are trying to take down as much pirated content as they can, but their targeting of open source software is something new. In an attempt to remove pirated copies of Game of Thrones from the Internet, HBO sent a DMCA takedown to Google, listing a copy of the popular media player VLC as a copyright infringement. An honest mistake, perhaps, but a worrying one.

  • Privacy

    • Former NSA Chief Smears Glenn Greenwald

      newspaper’s Glenn Greenwald,” writes former NSA director Michael Hayden today in a CNN op-ed, is “more deserving of the Justice Department’s characterization of a co-conspirator than Fox’s James Rosen ever was.” Hayden’s smear came in a column in which he argues that Edward Snowden, whose story Greenwald has been telling in the Guardian, “will likely prove to be the most costly leaker of American secrets in the history of the Republic.”

      Those thuggish words are particularly disturbing coming from a figure who is, as CNN’s editor’s note at the top of the column explains, still tied to military and intelligence elites.

    • NSA admits to spying on more people than previously thought

      Testimony elicited during a Wednesday oversight hearing in Washington revealed that the United States intelligence community regularly collects email and telephone metadata from way more persons than previously thought.

    • Amash Forcing the Issue on NSA

      Representative Justin Amash of Michigan is on his way to forcing the first legislative showdown over the National Security Agency’s controversial policy of collecting the phone logs of every American.

    • NSA head admits the agency made “huge set of mistakes” in 2009

      President then established an internal watchdog group within spy agency.

    • NSA Phone Snooping Cannot Be Challenged in Court, Feds Say

      The Obama administration for the first time responded to a Spygate lawsuit, telling a federal judge the wholesale vacuuming up of all phone-call metadata in the United States is in the “public interest,” does not breach the constitutional rights of Americans and cannot be challenged in a court of law.

    • Biden calls Brazil’s Rousseff over NSA spying tensions

      U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Friday to try to smooth tensions caused by allegations that the United States spied on Brazilian Internet communications, Rousseff’s office said.

    • Biden calls Brazil’s Rousseff over NSA spying tensions

      U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Friday to try to smooth tensions caused by allegations that the United States spied on Brazilian Internet communications, Rousseff’s office said.

      Latin America’s largest nation has said Washington’s explanations about the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programs have been unsatisfactory.

      “He lamented the negative repercussions in Brazil and reiterated the U.S. government’s willingness to provide more information on the matter,” Rousseff’s communications minister, Helena Chagas, told reporters after the 25-minute telephone call.

    • NSA surveillance order set to expire Friday

      If the Obama administration elects not to act before Friday evening, the National Security Agency could for the first time in years be unable to collect the phone records of millions of Americans.

      It’s been but six weeks since NSA leaker Edward Snowden first started exposing the surveillance policies used by the United States government, and that month-and-a-half has provided President Barack Obama with a number of opportunities to engage the Congress and citizenry alike with regards to striking a proper balance between privacy and security. But while the recently disclosed surveillance programs could be stopped at any time, Friday allows the administration the opportunity to not renew one of those policies for the first time since the public began to pipe up.

    • Senator to Snowden: ‘You have done the right thing’

      While some current members of Congress continue to rally for the prosecution of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, a long-serving United States senator has sent a letter of support to the NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower.

      According to correspondence published Tuesday by the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, former two-term senator Gordon Humphrey (R-New Hampshire) wrote the exiled Mr. Snowden to say, “you have done the right thing in exposing what I regard as massive violation of the United States Constitution.”

    • “What Is That Box?” — When The NSA Shows Up At Your Internet Company

      When people say the feds are monitoring what people are doing online, what does that mean? How does that work? When, and where, does it start?

      Pete Ashdown, CEO of XMission, an internet service provider in Utah, knows. He received a Foreign Intelligence Service Act (FISA) warrant in 2010 mandating he let the feds monitor one of his customers, through his facility. He also received a broad gag order. In his own words:

      The first thing I do when I get a law enforcement request is look for a court signature on it. Then I pass it to my attorneys and say, “Is this legitimate? Does this qualify as a warrant?” If it does, then we will respond to it. We are very up front that we respond to warrants.

      If it isn’t, then the attorneys write back: “We don’t believe it is in jurisdiction or is constitutional. We are happy to respond if you do get an FBI request in jurisdiction or you get a court order to do so.”

      The FISA request was a tricky one, because it was a warrant through the FISA court — whether you believe that is legitimate or not. I have a hard time with secret courts. I ran it past my attorney and asked, “Is there anyway we can fight this?” and he said “No. It is legitimate.”

    • FISA court renews NSA surveillance program

      The Obama administration has renewed the authority for the National Security Agency to regularly collect the phone records of millions of Americas as allowed under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

    • Fight over NSA Spying Spills into U.S. Courts

      ATLANTA, Georgia, Jul 19 (IPS) – A wide variety of individuals and organisations have filed lawsuits challenging the National Security Agency (NSA) and other federal agencies and officials for conducting a massive, dragnet spying operation on U.S. citizens that was recently confirmed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Secret court lets NSA extend its trawl of Verizon customers’ phone records

      Latest revelation an indication of how Obama administration has opened up hidden world of mass communications surveillance

    • Senators suggest moving G20 summit over NSA leaker

      Two senators urged President Barack Obama on Friday to consider recommending a new site for the September international summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, if Moscow continues to allow National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden to remain in the country.

    • Obama may cancel Moscow trip over NSA leaker

      President Barack Obama may cancel a scheduled trip to Moscow to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin in September as the standoff over the fate of Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor seeking asylum there, takes its toll on already strained relations between the United States and Russia, officials said Thursday.

    • Pressure Builds for Data-Sweep Alternative

      White House and Congress Urge National Security Agency to Rethink Its Approach to Terrorism-Related Surveillance

    • CIA Huawei Spying Claims Denounced, US Told To ‘Put Up Or Shut Up’
    • The Internet Sector calls for Greater Transparency in Requests for User Data

      Mozilla is joining with over 60 leading technology companies, startups, investors, technology trade groups and public interest groups today to call on the US government to allow the release of information pertaining to national security requests for user data.

      Mozilla is one of the organizers behind today’s letter. We gathered the signatures of a broad range of Internet and VC leaders for many of whom this is their first time publicly weighing in on this issue. Mozilla has also been one of the leading groups behind the StopWatching.Us campaign, which has gathered over 550,000 signatures and brought together one of the most diverse coalitions of public interest organizations ever assembled on an Internet policy topic.

    • The Philosophy of NSA Surveillance

      What kind of society do we want to live in? That’s the philosophical question at the heart of the debate about the National Security Agency collecting call logs and Internet content on millions of Americans in the name of finding terrorists. I hang my head in disbelief at the continual framing of the debate in solely practical terms. I instinctively think in philosophical terms.

      When the news broke, I had a visceral reaction. The confirmation of the existence of these sweeping programs was like a punch in the gut for this centrist civil libertarian. Yet people whom I know and many pundits and politicians simply shrugged. They seemed uninterested in taking a stand. Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland said in 1937 that “the saddest epitaph which can be carved in memory of a vanished liberty is that it was lost because its possessors failed to stretch forth a saving hand while yet there was time.”

    • NSA secret data to be protected as nuclear weapon

      The National Security Agency is implementing new security measures because of the disclosures by former NSA employee Edward Snowden, a top defense official said. First among the new procedures is a “two-man rule”, often used in guarding nuclear weapons.

    • Lawsuits against NSA: will any of them bring substantial results?

      A coalition of 19 groups in San Francisco is suing the US National Security Agency. The groups, supporting everything from religion and digital rights to drugs and the environment, demand that a federal judge immediately stop the activity of the “unconstitutional program”. At least 3 federal lawsuits have been previously lodged in the country, challenging the US government’s surveillance programs. Tomas Moore, principal attorney at “The Moore Law Team”. And the plaintiffs attorney in the lawsuit, shares his opinion on the issue with the Voice of Russia.
      Read more: http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_07_19/Lawsuits-against-NSA-will-bring-any-of-them-substantial-results-3271/

    • 5 Companies That Are Watching You More Than the NSA

      In the digital age, it’s difficult to define exactly what is public and when we should reasonably expect privacy. Revelations regarding the surveillance reach of the NSA have many questioning who knows what and how much.

      On a daily basis, your activity is being monitored by companies through one simple device – your cell phone. And they know more about you than the government.

    • FISA Court Secretly Renews NSA Telephone Surveillance
    • A Single NSA Wiretap Could Lead To Snooping On ’2.5 Million Americans’
    • Android app randomly takes photos, tweets them to NSA
    • Facebook Event For ‘NSA Nature Walk’ Leads To Police Visit For German Man

      People outside of the United States have been alarmed by revelations about the degree of NSA access to information held by American technology companies given that foreigners are not granted the same privacy protections as U.S. citizens. Daniel Bangert, a 28-year-old German man, has been following news articles about the Edward Snowden leaks closely. Last month, after discovering that the NSA has a facility near his home in Griesheim, he posted a screed to Facebook lamenting “hav[ing] the NSA spies on my doorstep.”

    • Thanks to a Secret Court the NSA Can Continue Spying on Americas

      On Friday, the secret court that oversees cases related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act renewed the order that enables the NSA to compel telecom companies to hand over records whenever it wants. Translation: No end in sight to the NSA spying on phone records.

    • FISA Court Rubber Stamps Continued Collection Of All Phone Records, While DOJ Insists No One Can Challenge This

      As of this morning, the Feds didn’t want to say if they’d asked the FISA court to renew the order allowing it to collect the data on every single phone call from Verizon (and likely every other major phone carrier, though it’s unclear if the orders for those others also expired today).

    • ACLU warns of mass tracking through license plate scanners

      The American Civil Liberties Union is warning that law enforcement officials are using license plate scanners to amass massive and unregulated databases that can be used to track law-abiding citizens as their go about their daily lives.

    • The NSA Admits It Analyzes More People’s Data Than Previously Revealed
    • The Creepy, Long-Standing Practice of Undersea Cable Tapping

      The newest NSA leaks reveal that governments are probing “the Internet’s backbone.” How does that work?

    • Metadata, the NSA, and the Fourth Amendment: A Constitutional Analysis of Collecting and Querying Call Records Databases

      In his recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, my co-blogger Randy Barnett argues that massive-scale collection of communications metadata by the NSA violates the Fourth Amendment because it is an unreasonable seizure. Randy’s colleague Laura K. Donohue recently argued in the Washington Post that such collection violates the Fourth Amendment as an unreasonable search. Jennifer Granick and Chris Sprigman made a similar argument in the New York Times.

    • The Dangers of Surveillance

      From the Fourth Amendment to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and from the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to films like Minority Report and The Lives of Others, our law and culture are full of warnings about state scrutiny of our lives. These warnings are commonplace, but they are rarely very specific. Other than the vague threat of an Orwellian dystopia, as a society we don’t really know why surveillance is bad and why we should be wary of it. To the extent that the answer has something to do with “privacy,” we lack an understanding of what “privacy” means in this context and why it matters. We’ve been able to live with this state of affairs largely because the threat of constant surveillance has been relegated to the realms of science fiction and failed totalitarian states.

    • NSA comes clean on metadata: Are you within 3 degrees of a target?

      The NSA finally admitted Wednesday why it wants to track your phone’s metadata, like the stats of who you call and when.

      They’re looking to see if you ever call anybody who’s called anybody who’s called anybody who might be of real interest.

    • First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA

      Nineteen organizations including Unitarian church groups, gun ownership advocates, and a broad coalition of membership and political advocacy organizations filed suit against the National Security Agency today for violating their First Amendment right of association by illegally collecting their call records. The coalition is represented by EFF.

  • Civil Rights

    • American justice scandal: FBI could be at fault in 27 death row cases

      Unprecedented federal review rules that the FBI may have exaggerated forensics in case of Willie Jerome Manning – a decision that puts other convictions in doubt

    • Senate and C.I.A. Spar Over Secret Report on Interrogation Program
    • [Old:] Freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association and the internet

      The internet, social networks and mobile phones enhance human freedoms to come together around social, political and economic issues, to build associations and networks, and to assemble online to advocate for and to defend human rights. This has been reflected in demonstrations and protests in the middle-east and North Africa; anti- austerity protests in Greece, Italy and Spain; “Occupy” protests; advocacy and protests against the Stop Online Piracy (SOPA) and PROTECT IP (PIPA) bills in the United States; student protests in Quebec and Chile; and protests against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

    • ICC not fit for purpose?

      The Interception of Communications Commissioner (ICC) 2012 Annual Report has raised serious questions about whether the commissioner’s office is actually fit for purpose. The report has failed to make any mention of Tempora and PRISM whilst at the same time seriously lacks the impression that the ICC has been enforcing serious oversight of the way security agencies acquire and use communications data.

    • Dick Durbin to Hold Senate Hearings on ALEC, the NRA, and “Stand Your Ground”

      Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced Friday that he will hold hearings this fall on the role of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the NRA in spreading “Stand Your Ground” laws across the country, which the Center for Media and Democracy uncovered last year, after launching ALECexposed.org.

    • Journalist James Risen ordered to testify in CIA leaker trial

      A federal appeals court has delivered a blow to investigative journalism in America by ruling that reporters have no first amendment protection that would safeguard the confidentiality of their sources in the event of a criminal trial.

      In a two-to-one ruling from the fourth circuit appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, two judges ruled that a New York Times reporter, James Risen, must give evidence at the criminal trial of a former CIA agent who is being prosecuted for unauthorised leaking of state secrets.

    • EXCLUSIVE: Guantanamo’s Indefinite Prisoners To Have Cases Reviewed

      Eighty-six of the 166 prisoners at Guantanamo have already been cleared for release. In May, President Obama announced a series of steps his administration intended to undertake to release the men, including lifting a moratorium on the transfer of Yemeni prisoners. The reviews of individual cases are another step toward reducing the population of the prison.

    • McDonald’s Employees Walk Out In Protest Of No Air Conditioning After Crew Member Collapses

      A New York City McDonald’s crew walked out Friday, saying they were forced to work without air conditioning amid record-high temperatures. One worker collapsed from the heat.

    • Anti-corruption blogger Navalny sentenced to 5 years behind bars for embezzlement

      Prominent anti-corruption blogger and opposition activist Aleksey Navalny has been found guilty of embezzlement on a large scale, and sentenced to 5 years in jail.


      Navalny was also the man who coined the phrase “party of crooks and thieves,” which became a ubiquitous nickname in opposition circles for the country’s ruling United Russia party.


Links 19/7/2013: Slackware Turns 20, Nexus 7 2 Images Leaked

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

GNOME bluefish



  • The H is closing down

    Although The H has produced many widely read stories, it has not been possible to effectively monetise that traffic to produce a working business model.

    Because of this, after four and a half years as The H and six years online, The H is, sadly, closing its doors. We thank all our readers for their deep interest and engagement. Work is taking place to create an archive to ensure that the content of the site will remain publicly accessible.

  • Desktop

    • Who’s Winning the PC OS War? Who Cares?!

      Henry Blodget in Business Insider: “In the late 1990s, a single technology company became so unfathomably rich and powerful — and so hellbent on dominating not just its own industry but a massive and rapidly growing new one — that the U.S. government dragged the company into court and threatened to break it up over anti-trust violations.


      Now, thanks to the rise of Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, Windows’ global share has been cut in half, to about 30%. More remarkably, Android is now a bigger platform than Windows.

  • Server

    • IBM’s Smart CSL Buy

      If you think provisioning, monitoring, managing and maintaining the virtualized resources on IBM mainframes can be complex, you’d be entirely correct. Yet simplifying those processes and increasing the productivity of mainframe sysadmins have been among CSL International’s primary goals since the company’s founding in 2004. Overall, CSL International should be a perfect fit for IBM.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • All About the Linux Kernel: Bcache

      The 3.10 Linux kernel release late last month brought a raft of new features worth celebrating for Linux developers and sysadmins alike. This release was especially satisfying, though, to kernel developer Kent Overstreet who saw years of hard work pay off with the inclusion of the Bcache patch set in 3.10.

      Bcache allows Linux machines to use flash-based SSDs (solid-state drives) as cache for other, slower and less expensive, hard disk drives. It can be used in servers, workstations, high-end storage arrays, or “anywhere you want IO to be faster, really,” Overstreet said.

    • AMD Talks Up HSA Architecture On Linux ARM

      Greg Stoner of AMD and representing the HSA Foundation talked last week at the Linaro Connect Europe 2013 event about the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) as it concerns ARM.

    • Linus Torvalds Calls For More Linux Kernel Patches

      Linus Torvalds is usually complaining about too many pull requests during the Linux kernel development cycle when past its merge window, but this time around he’s complaining about too few patches this week. He’s also proclaimed himself the Goldilocks of kernel development.

      This week there’s been much drama in the Linux kernel development world over Intel’s Sarah Sharp and others wanting Torvalds and others to be less “verbally abusive” on the Linux kernel mailing list when criticizing kernel patches and other work. There’s been a proposal to discuss the tone of the Linux kernel mailing list at the upcoming Linux Kernel Summit.

      With developers discussing their views on appropriate behaviour for the Linux kernel mailing list, it’s taken away from kernel development time and that’s making Linus less than happy.

    • Why This Hacker Stood Up Against ‘Verbal Abuse’ in Linux Land

      When Sarah Sharp was a 20-year-old university student in Portland, she took on an extra-credit project writing USB driver code for the Linux kernel. She was too young to stay past 10 p.m. in some of the brew pubs where the local Linux-heads met, but she hung in as long as she could, learned a lot about Linux, and embraced the community.

    • Childish names are becoming a real problem for Linux

      Linux creator Linus Torvalds is an interesting fellow. He is notorious for speaking his mind, demeaning developers and using profanity — behavior which is appreciated by some members of the Linux community. On July 14, the RC-1 of Linux Kernel 3.11 was announced. Continuing his quirky behavior, Mr. Torvalds has named it “Linux for Workgroups”.

    • Linus, Linux, Civility and Fighting in Hockey
    • How to Find Best and Fast DNS Servers to Optimize Internet Speed
    • Graphics Stack

      • Virgil: Experimental Virtual 3D Support For QEMU

        David Airlie publicly announced plans today for his new Virgil project, a virtual GPU capable of 3D acceleration for QEMU. Guest OpenGL (and potentially Direct3D) commands from the virtualized KVM/QEMU guest are passed onto the host for hardware acceleration.

      • OpenGL Frame Latency / Jitter Testing On Linux
      • XBMC Now Runs Well On Wayland
      • XBMC Now Runs Well On Wayland

        Sam Spilsbury, the Compiz developer and former Canonical employee, has made progress in being able to run the XBMC media application directly on Wayland.

      • Direct3D 9 Support Released For Linux Via Gallium3D, Running Games

        Linux desktop systems can now have working support for Microsoft’s Direct3D 9 API via a new Gallium3D state tracker. Unlike the earlier Direct3D 10/11 state tracker for Gallium3D on Linux, this new code actually can run D3D9 games and at better performance than what’s offered by Wine.

      • Nouveau VP2 H.264/MPEG2 Decoding Now In Gallium3D

        While Radeon DPM for Linux 3.11 is most of what Linux enthusiasts are talking about, the Nouveau changes in Linux 3.11 include support for H.264 and MPEG2 video decoding. The necessary user-space driver changes have now been made for supporting this accelerated video decode process from Nouveau Gallium3D.

      • R600 Radeon Gallium3D Gets More SB Back-End Work

        Vadim Girlin has merged another set of patches concerning his “SB” shader optimization back-end for the R600 Gallium3D driver, including some code that has the potential to affect the performance.

      • Radeon Power Management Gets More Fixes For 3.11

        Just days after the first release candidate of the Linux 3.11 kernel, additional user testing of the new Radeon dynamic power management support has revealed more bugs in the open-source driver. Fortunately, there’s already another pull request for Linux 3.11 to take care of some more Radeon “DPM” issues.

      • Mesa 9.2 Can Boost Intel Haswell Graphics 30~40% On Linux

        Yesterday I shared open-source Linux graphics benchmarks showing the Intel Ivy Bridge performance improving on Mesa 9.2 over the earlier releases of this important open-source Linux graphics driver component. However, for the latest-generation Intel “Haswell” graphics, Mesa 9.2 is an even more important upgrade. Here’s a look at the performance benefits in moving from Mesa 9.1 to the soon-to-be-released Mesa 9.2.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • ROSA Recruits Fresh GNOME Desktop

        ROSA has primarily been a customized KDE desktop distribution. But today the ROSA folks announced an officially supported GNOME 3 variation of their Fresh R1 release. And, ROSA somehow managed to make GNOME 3 consistent with the look of their ROSA desktop.

  • Distributions

    • Slackware Family

      • Slackware Turns 20

        Slackware Linux turned 20 years old yesterday and no one gave them a party. Even I, who commonly remembered the illustrious distribution’s birthdays in my now former column, had to be reminded by LWN. Well, that won’t do. Let’s look back at some history of Slack.

        As I look back over my history with Slack, I’m struck by how many distributions were once based on Slackware. Most are no longer maintained, but some names may still be familiar. GoblinX was a strange looking but quite stable and fun distribution. It’s biggest issue in adoption is their pay-to-play business model that often fails in Linuxville. Austrumi is a tiny distro from Latvia, a tiny Northern European country most Americans’ education didn’t include. It was fast and stable and looks to be abandoned. Ultima 4 was trying to provide an easy to use Slackware and Mutagenix was a really cool distro that has disappeared off the face of the Earth. But Slackware is still here. There are many more derivative epitaphs, but the oldest surviving Linux distribution is 20 years old and is still very actively and enthusiastically maintained.

      • Happy 20th Anniversary, Slackware!

        Slackware Linux, a complete 32-bit multitasking “UNIX-like” system that is currently based around the 3.2 Linux kernel series, has just reached the venerable age of 20.

      • Happy 20th Birthday, Slackware!!!
    • Red Hat Family

      • Cigna Named 2013 Red Hat Innovator of the Year

        Cigna , a global health service company that offers health, life, accident, dental, and disability insurance, and related health services, and Red Hat, Inc. (NYS: RHT) , the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Cigna has been named the 2013 Red Hat Innovator of the Year. Cigna was recognized during a ceremony at Red Hat Summit for its innovative use of Red Hat technologies to revitalize the company’s IT infrastructure and solidify the company’s position as a leader in the health care industry. Cigna also won an Innovation Award in the “Outstanding Open Source Architecture” category.

      • Down but not out on Red Hat’s sign

        OK, I hear you loud and clear. Disagreement with my view of Red Hat’s sign atop its downtown Raleigh building – “hideously out of place” – has been clear, but polite.

        I thank you for the polite part.

      • Red Hat: People like our “cereal box sign”

        Red Hat’s “cereal box sign,” the red billboard crowning the top of what is now known as Red Hat Tower, may be meeting controversy online, but officials at the open-source software company say they’re hearing nothing but compliments.

      • Red Hat building’s top has some seeing red

        Raleigh’s skyline got a bold new splash of color this month, and it has some people in downtown buzzing.

        Software company Red Hat unveiled a bright red sign atop its Wilmington Street high-rise building. However, the reviews range from great to downright ugly.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Tops Our Community Distro Poll

        The results have been tallied and Debian got the most votes in our Community Distro Poll. We would call them the “winner,” but this wasn’t about winners and losers. It was about trying to reach a consensus on what we mean by the term “community distro.” We asked, “Which GNU/Linux distros do you consider to be legitimate community distros?” Choices weren’t limited to one; voters could choose as many as they wanted and even add more through a text box supplied by choosing “Other.”

      • Derivatives

        • Movin’ on up

          As I’ve said in the past, the DistroWatch.com listing of page hit rankings is a good way to see if one’s distro’s page is being looked at. With folks looking at the pages, one would hope that downloads and actual use of the distro would follow. So while it may not give an accurate description of actual use of the distro, the page hit rankings do give folks an idea which distros are doing well and which may not be.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linaro enhances Linux support for ARM Big.Little

      Linaro has developed a new way for Linux and Android developers to implement ARM’s Big.Little multi-core load balancing architecture, in a manner that optimizes power/performance tradeoffs. In addition to the In-kernel Switcher (IKS) released in May, the new Global Task Scheduler (GTS) offers faster, more granular scheduling control, support for non-symmetrical core combos, and the ability to run all cores simultaneously.

    • Lernstift Linux Smart Pen Vibrates When You Spell Something Wrong

      If you’re particularly bad at spelling, then this pen can help you out. It’s the Lernstift smart pen, and it vibrates gently whenever its user makes a spelling error. It looks like a regular pen on the outside, but it packs some pretty unique and sophisticated tech on the inside. The Lernstift actually has an embedded Linux inside it’s tiny frame, which is equipped with a motion sensor, memory, and processor, along with a WiFi and vibrating module.

    • Meet Lernstift: the Linux-powered ink pen that can spell-check
    • Phones

      • Android

        • Nexus 2 7 Pricing Details Revealed

          All of the netizens, who are somewhat enlightened on the Android scene, have been holding their wallets under immense restraint for the next Nexus pricing to be announced. Now finally there might be concrete evidence suggesting a price point for the upcoming device.

        • Nexus 7 2 Images Leaked Ahead Of Official Reveal

          The Nexus 7 rumours have been floating around the internet for quite a long time. However, like all secrets that end up being leaked, this is the first time that definitive pictures of Nexus 7 have been revealed and leaked over the internet.

        • GlassUp: A Google Glass Competitor for Android Device Users

          If you thought Google Glass was going to march forward without any competition, think again. GlassUp, an Italian startup company, has already collected over $30,000 of seed money on campaign funding site Indiegogo for its GlassUp concept. According to project leaders, the GlassUp device will focus on Android phone users who want to view messages and notifications, in addition to other possible augmented reality information, on glasses via Bluetooth.

          GlassUp has already been shown at CeBIT, and is a receive-only Bluetooth accessory with a monochrome, 320 x 240-pixel augmented reality display. Project leaders note that they will still produce the project even if they don’t reach crowdsourced funding goals, as they have investors. They also note this: “We are in agreements with some of the most famous eyewear brands for the design, so the final ones will be trendier and more varied.”

        • Google’s Android 4.3 leaks ahead of launch

          We reported yesterday that Google is planning an event on the 24th of July where Sundar Pichai will possibly be unveiling the next Nexus 7 and Android 4.3, but today we’ve got word that Android 4.3 for the Nexus has already been leaked.

        • BitTorrent Sync now available for Android, Linux, Mac and Windows
        • Android’s HWComposer Being Toyed With On KMS

          At last week’s Linaro Connect Europe 2013 conference, there was a presentation regarding bringing Android’s HWComposer on Linux KMS.

        • Hacker gives Google Glass facial recognition using his own OS

          Google Glass has been in the hands of developers on Google’s Explorer programme for a while now, but some of those who have got their hands on the high-tech specs have been pushing the boundaries of what Google wants them to do.

          One hacker has successfully managed to get facial recognition technology to run on Glass, despite Google explicitly stating in its developer policy that this isn’t allowed. Stephen Balaban, founder of Lambda Labs in San Francisco, is challenging Google and hoping that others will do the same, actively encouraging people to use the hashtag #ihackglass on Twitter.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • HTC One Mini Officially Revealed

        After all the leaks, rumours and speculations, HTC has finally officially announced the HTC One Mini. HTC had teased the announcement of One Mini on twitter earlier, and now they have finally revealed the first look.

      • The Competition Between Tablets and Notebooks

        Part of the OS wars is definitely the competition between tablets and notebooks. In a recent bit of spam, a retailer sent me these choices:

        * “New! Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Now available! Starting at $199.99″

        * “Save $49 – Acer Gateway 15.6″ notebook for $379.99″

Free Software/Open Source

  • More than 100 free open source apps and games!

    Today in Open Source: Tons of free apps and games. Plus: Linux Mint 15 Xfce install guide, and Ubuntu versus Debian!

  • Boffin Thrills Its Readers With Its New List of Open Source Audio Converter Software

    Its top recommended free audio converter software revealed today by Boffin, after the site reviewers assessed numerous candidates.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Collusion: See who’s tracking you – in real-time

        At a time when your ISP is tracking your online activities, sites you visit are doing the same (even the one you do not visit are able to track you), Google is not to be left out in the game, and the NSA is tracking everybody else, it’s easy to be depressed.

      • Mozilla Comes under Attack – and of Age

        Back in March, I wrote about the odd little attack by the European arm of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) on Mozilla’s plans to put control of cookies firmly in the hands of users. Alas, the IAB seems not to have come to its senses since then, but has instead doubled down, and launched one of the most bizarre assaults on Mozilla and the open Web that I have ever read. I warmly recommend you to read it – I suspect you will find it as entertaining in its utter absurdity as I do.

        It’s entitled “Has Mozilla Lost Its Values?”, which is strange, because what follows is a rambling moan about precisely those values, and Mozilla for daring to adhere to them. As you might expect, Mozilla has not “lost its values”, it’s defending them here just as it has always defended them. Here’s the central argument of the IAB piece.

      • Mozilla’s Firefox Privacy Plans Draw More Objections from Ad Community

        It was only a few weeks ago when the news broke that Mozilla would join forces with Stanford’s Center for Internet Society to support a new Cookie Clearinghouse that will oversee easy-to-use “allow lists” and “block lists” to help Internet users protect their privacy. The privacy scheme could have become a default setup in the Firefox browser, and paved the way for usage in other browsers. As that news broke, it seemed likely that it might draw a caustic reaction from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), which has blasted Mozilla’s attempts to control online ads and cookies before.

      • Is Mozilla anti-business, led by ‘techno-libertarians’?

        The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) blasted Mozilla over its third party cookie blocking plans and said that the non-profit organization has an anti-business bent.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Healthcare

    • Immigrants Put Billions More into Medicare Than They Use

      Conservatives have argued that unchecked immigration contributes to the rising costs of health care because immigrants do not put the same amount of money into healthcare as citizens do. As Seth Freed Wessler of Colorlines reports, a recent study proves otherwise.

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • Mesa Improves Support For OpenBSD

      While the popular kernel DRM drivers are still being ported to OpenBSD, support for the OpenBSD operating system within Mesa is being improved.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Students map their university campus with MapKnitter

      In the fall of 2010, I asked the biology class I teach at Western Carolina University for volunteers to help map the campus. Three years later, dozens of students have participated in learning how to use aerial photography and cartography techniques created by Public Lab.

    • UC Irvine’s new OpenChem project

      I recently spoke with Larry Cooperman, director of OpenCourseWare at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Larry also serves on the boards of the OpenCourseWare Consortium and the African Virtual University. I asked Larry about UC Irvine’s new OpenChem project.

    • Open Access/Content

      • MIT Moves to Intervene in Release of Aaron Swartz’s Secret Service File

        awyers representing MIT are filing a motion to intervene in my FOIA lawsuit over thousands of pages of Secret Service documents about the late activist and coder Aaron Swartz.

        I am the plaintiff in this lawsuit. In February, the Secret Service denied in full my request for any files it held on Swartz, citing a FOIA exemption that covers sensitive law enforcement records that are part of an ongoing proceeding. Other requestors reported receiving the same respons

      • MIT Trying To Block The Release Of Aaron Swartz’s Secret Service File

        We recently noted that Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly had ordered Homeland Security to release the Secret Service file on Aaron Swartz that had been requested by Wired reporter/editor Kevin Poulsen. However, MIT has now stepped into the case trying to block the release of the information. The judge has consented to putting a stay on the initial order until MIT can file its motion.

        MIT’s concern — as it was in a separate legal fight concerning releasing the evidence used against Aaron — is apparently that the released documents will reveal which MIT employees helped with the investigation, and that could lead to unwarranted harassment. However, as Poulsen notes, the documents that have already been released have been redacting those names, so it’s unlikely that these further releases would leave those same names unredacted.

      • Free Courses for a Big Problem

        Free online courses have run into a backlash of late. But a handful of community colleges may have found a way to dial up open-source content to help tackle one of higher education’s thorniest problems: remedial education.

    • Open Hardware

      • Arduino and the (tinker) light workshop

        Last month, Massimo Banzi, co-founder of the Arduino project, held a workshop at the Foundation Achille Castiglioni in Milan called: Arduino and the light.

  • Programming


  • The Slavoj Žižek v Noam Chomsky spat is worth a ringside seat

    Noam Chomsky, the professional contrarian, has accused Slavoj Žižek, the professional heretic, of posturing in the place of theory. This is an accusation often levelled at Žižek from within the Anglo-Saxon empirical tradition. Even those like Chomsky who are on the proto-anarchist left of this tradition like to maintain that their theories are empirically verifiable and rooted in reality.

  • Science

    • When Autonomous Cars Kill Somebody

      As drones, bipedal robots, and algorithm technologies continue to improve, the world of autonomous everything is looming. Perhaps looming isn’t the right word, but I feel compelled to set an ominous tone in order to provide an interesting conclusion. Beyond the iPad, synchronized quad-copters, and even 3D printers, one of the world’s most powerful forms of emerging technology is the ability to make more machines and devices autonomous.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Peru to Provide Free Solar Power to its 2 Million Poorest Citizens

      The country of Peru is looking to provide free electricity to over 2 million of its poorest citizens by harvesting energy from the sun. Energy and Mining Minister Jorge Merino said that the National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program will provide electricity to poor households through the installation of photovoltaic panels.

  • Finance

    • Detroit files for bankruptcy

      Detroit has become the largest city in US history to file for bankruptcy after accumulating spiralling long term debt estimated at $18.5 billion.

    • ‘Is there no limit to what this Government will privatise?’: UK’s blood supply sold to US private equity firm Bain Capital

      The Government was tonight accused of gambling with the UK’s blood supply by selling the state owned NHS plasma supplier to a US private equity firm.

      The Department of Health overlooked several healthcare or pharmaceutical firms and at least one blood plasma specialist before choosing to sell an 80 per cent stake in Plasma Resources UK to Bain Capital, the company co-founded by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in a £230m deal. The Government will retain a 20 per stake and a share of potential future profits.

    • Detroit’s Bankruptcy and America’s Future: Robots, Race, Globalization and the 1%

      The big question is whether Detroit’s bankruptcy and likely further decline is a fluke or whether it tells us something about the dystopia that the United States is becoming. It seems to me that the city’s problems are the difficulties of the country as a whole, especially the issues of deindustrialization, robotification, structural unemployment, the rise of the 1% in gated communities, and the racial divide. The mayor has called on families living in the largely depopulated west of the city to come in toward the center, so that they can be taken care of. It struck me as post-apocalyptic. Sometimes the abandoned neighborhoods accidentally catch fire, and 30 buildings will abruptly go up in smoke.

    • Plan to close international tax loopholes puts Apple, Google, Amazon, and others on notice

      Moscow plays host today to the G20 Finance Ministers’ meeting, the crowning jewel of which is the freshly unveiled Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting. Released under the auspices of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), this document sets out 15 specific recommendations for national governments to implement in order to stem the widespread abuse of tax loopholes by multinational companies.

      At the center of the issue has been the asymmetry between tightly integrated global corporations and the fragmented, piecemeal responses from individual states. One of the best known and most derided examples of this is the practice of setting up shell companies in low-tax jurisdictions like Ireland, which are then used to account for profits from higher-tax nations — something that Google, Facebook, and Starbucks have all been accused of. The new Action Plan tackles this issue head-on, by urging that tax should be paid in the territory where goods or services are sold, not where the company is based. That would thwart Amazon’s practice of booking its Europe-wide profits in Luxembourg, forcing it to compete on the same terms as local retailers.

  • Censorship

    • Immigrants Excluded in News Coverage of Immigration Reform

      Though immigration figured prominently on the national political agenda in February 2013, an analysis by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) of news coverage during that month shows that immigrants themselves are not getting their say. The study examined all ABC, CBS and NBC news programs, the PBS NewsHour, CNN’s Situation Room, Fox News’ Special Report and MSNBC’s Hardball for all of February. It found 54 reports on immigration featuring 157 news sources during that time.

    • ORG asks court for web blocking documents

      Courts have not been forthcoming with access to website blocking orders, citing administrative reasons for refusing to treat them as public documents.

    • ‘High Tech, Low Life’ puts Chinese censorship in spotlight

The second documentary showed in the series was “High tech, low life.” The cameras followed two citizen journalists as they reported what they saw in China, where censorship is prevalent and penalties for those reporting on unfavorable topics can be strict.

    • Questions ISPs must answer about Internet filtering

      Internet Service Providers have agreed to roll out network level filtering to protect children online, following significant political pressure. We have sent them 20 questions on how their Internet filtering systems will work – questions policy makers have failed to ask.

    • Letter to ISPs concerning child protection Internet filtering

      The below letter was sent to TalkTalk, Virgin, BSkyB and BT. We’ve written a blog post about this, which has some more background.

    • ‘The Movie the Koch Brothers Don’t Want You to See’ Launches Kickstarter Campaign

      Tia Lessen and Carl Deal are far from giving up after public television pulled funding for their film “Citizen Koch:” the filmmakers have launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowdsource the funds necessary to release their documentary on money, power and democracy.

    • Yahoo Censors Tumblr Porn: New Policy Makes 10 Percent Of Tumblr Users Invisible

      When Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) purchased Tumblr in May for $1.1 billion in cash, many wondered what changes Yahoo would bring to the hip microblogging service. One of the top questions was what Yahoo would do with the massive amount of pornographic content hosted on Tumblr pages.

  • Privacy

    • Huawei’s Headaches Keep Growing

      The headaches for Huawei Technologies Co. keep growing, fresh after the U.K. government said that it would conduct a review of the Chinese company’s cybersecurity arrangements and a former U.S. intelligence official reportedly accused it of spying for Beijing.

    • Huawei: Ex-CIA Head’s Claims Of Spying for China ‘Unsubstantiated’

      Huawei Technologies Co. strongly denied a former U.S. intelligence official’s reported remarks that accused the telecommunications equipment supplier of spying for the Chinese government, saying that such “unsubstantiated” accusations are distractions from real cybersecurity issues.

    • White House stays silent on renewal of NSA data collection order

      Officials decline to comment on whether they will seek to renew order that permits bulk collection of Americans’ phone records

    • Sysadmins: Keep YOUR data away from NSA spooks

      I love this question simply because it means I’m making progress getting companies up to speed on their IT requirements. What set this encounter apart was the unexpected question that followed: “What about the sovereignty of our data?”

      I have researched data sovereignty issues for my clients since the NSA’s PRISM project first hit the news – and I think I’m about ready to answer this question. So let’s take a look at what I’ve learnt about data sovereignty.

    • Tech firms call for NSA data snooping disclosures

      Dozens of companies, non-profits and trade organisations including Apple, Google and Facebook have written to the US government asking for more disclosures on the government’s national security-related requests for user data.

    • NSA Puts Limits on Systems Staff in Wake of Snowden Leaks
    • Snowden’s NSA Disclosures a Service, ACLU Director Says

      Fugitive security contractor Edward Snowden“did this country a service” by igniting a debate about the reach of the U.S. government’s electronic surveillance programs, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union said today.

    • NSA and GCHQ siphoning huge quantities of data from undersea fiber optic cables

      The plot thickens as the NSA’s data collection net widens. NSA leaks reveal that governments are tapping into “the Internet’s backbone” to siphon off huge quantities of data. That is, government programs in the US and UK are able to gain access to tremendous amounts of data by accessing networks of undersea fiber optic cable, according to a report from The Atlantic.

    • The USA Prism Plus app makes sure the NSA is watching

      If you head over to the Play Store, you can download US Prism Plus and lend a helping hand! The app will take pictures from your mobile device, automatically, and send them to the NSA twitter account. That’s right, all you have to do is download the app and you’re on your way to being a helpful citizen.

    • Furious Europeans Want Snowden and NSA Head to Testify — Yeah Right

      The European Parliament (EP) is calling for the appearance and testimony of Edward Snowden and General Keith Alexander in the incipient investigation into National Security Agency (NSA) information-gathering programs that have affected Europeans. The NSA’s internet surveillance program, PRISM, is of particular interest. These two individuals, for very different reasons, will be very difficult to get a hold of. One is stranded without travel documents in a Russian airport and the other is America’s greatest spymaster. The EP will get its investigation, but it will not get its desired results and likely neither of these two testimonies.

    • The NSA May Be Watching Way More People Than You Think

      The National Security Agency appears to be tracking data from more people—way, way more people—than it had previously admitted, the Atlantic Wire reported. In congressional testimony yesterday, NSA deputy director Chris Inglis “casually” indicated that the agency looks “two to three hops” from terror suspects. That means the agency monitor not only the people terror suspects talk to on the phone, but also who those people talk to—and then who those people talk to.

    • CIA invests in geodata expert OpenGeo

      The world might be fed up with the idea of government surveillance, but that hasn’t quelled the intelligence community’s thirst for more data and better tools to analyze it. The latest example: On Thursday, geospatial data expert OpenGeo announced a investment from In-Q-Tel, an arm of the U.S. intelligence community, originally spun out of the CIA, that makes strategic investments in technologies that could benefit the community’s mission.

      Reading through In-Q-Tel’s list of investments is like reading a who’s who of data startups: 10gen, Cloudera, Narrative Science, Palantir and Platfora are among the companies into which it has put money. When it comes to technologies that can store lots of data or new types of data, or analyze or visualize data in novel ways, In-Q-Tel is interested.

    • When wiretaps won’t do, the CIA’s ‘black bag’ squads get data the old-fashioned way

      There’s been lots of talk about electronic surveillance and government-sponsored hacking lately, but Foreign Policy takes a fascinating look at how the Central Intelligence Agency’s digital “black bag” squads get access the old fashioned way — by breaking into peoples’ houses.

    • It was the CIA that helped jail Nelson Mandela

      Crocodile tears to mask US imperialism’s role as the enemy of African liberation

    • Could This Woman Keep the NSA from Tapping Your Phone Calls?

      A coalition of 19 organizations s formed to file a lawsuit Tuesday (PDF) against the National Security Administration, alleging that the government is supporting “an illegal and unconstitutional program of dragnet electronic surveillance.”

    • Germany’s Merkel urges patience on NSA answers
    • Members of Congress Say NSA Violated U.S. Law
    • Lawmakers: NSA phone records collection violated law

      The U.S. National Security Agency and Department of Justice exceeded their legal authority to conduct surveillance when collecting the telephone records of millions of U.S. residents, several U.S. lawmakers said Wednesday.

    • Need to change definition of privacy in cyberworld: NSA
    • Dear Edward Snowden

      We thought you might be getting a little bored while you’re stuck in the airport, so we sent you some reading material. We don’t know if you like Linux, but given your technical background, we hope it’ll be of interest. It’s just a tiny indication of our gratitude.

    • Everything you need to know about PRISM

      Classified presentation slides detailing aspects of PRISM were leaked by a former NSA contractor. On June 6th, The Guardian and The Washington Post published reports based on the leaked slides, which state that the NSA has “direct access” to the servers of Google, Facebook, and others. In the days since the leak, the implicated companies have vehemently denied knowledge of and participation in PRISM, and have rejected allegations that the US government is able to directly tap into their users’ data.

      Both the companies and the government insist that data is only collected with court approval and for specific targets. As The Washington Post reported, PRISM is said to merely be a streamlined system — varying between companies — that allows them to expedite court-approved data collection requests. Because there are few technical details about how PRISM operates, and because of the fact that the FISA court operates in secret, critics are concerned about the extent of the program and whether it violates the constitutional rights of US citizens.

    • DHS warns employees not to read leaked NSA information

      The Department of Homeland Security has warned its employees that the government may penalize them for opening a Washington Post article containing a classified slide that shows how the National Security Agency eavesdrops on international communications.

    • Former President Jimmy Carter comes out in support of Edward Snowden

      The Obama administration tried to placate Europe’s anger over spying programs. Not as ex-President Jimmy Carter: The Democrat attacked the U.S. intelligence sharp. The disclosure by whistleblowers Snowden was “useful.”

      Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was in the wake of the NSA Scandals criticized the American political system. “America has no functioning democracy,” Carter said Tuesday at a meeting of the “Atlantic Bridge” in Atlanta.

    • ‘Snowden won’t disclose more docs, I have thousands’ – Greenwald

      Edward Snowden is unlikely to make new revelations since “he doesn’t want to end up in a cage like Bradley Manning”, said The Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, adding that he himself decides what to publish from the thousands of leaked documents.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Why the EU Commission’s True Intent is to Kill Net Neutrality

      Since last week, after citizen groups started criticizing the EU Commission over its leaked draft regulation threatening to kill Net neutrality, Commissioner Neelie Kroes and her staff have tried to defend their proposal on Twitter, arguing that these criticisms were “misleading European citizens”. Here is a summary of what was said, not said, and how it reveals that these criticisms are absolutely right.

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