EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Links 31/3/2015: New BlackArch Linux, Mozilla Firefox 37.0

Posted in News Roundup at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Writer on Linux philosopy opens up

    My favorite distributions are Fedora for my main workstation, laptop, and netbook. I generally use Centos for servers and firewalls. I have tried other distributions, but I prefer the Red Hat related ones because I started out with Red Hat 17 years ago, and I worked as a trainer for Red Hat for a while. It is what I know best.

    I also use Centos and, to a lesser extent, Fedora for teaching the classes I have written myself for the training portion of my business.

    I use LibreOffice Writer for writing documents like this article and the class lab projects, and I also keep records of the work I do for my customers; sort of a log of my activities. I use LibreOffice Calc for creating invoices, LibreOffice Impress for presentations, and GnuCash for my personal and business accounting needs.

    Thunderbird and Firefox provide for email and Internet browsing, respectively. I have added a few plugins to each to expand their capabilities to better meet my personal and business needs. For example, I use the Lightning calendar extension for Thunderbird and a Google extension to keep my calendar synchronized on multiple devices.

  • Desktop

    • Look Out World! China Is Giving Ubuntu GNU/Linux A Try

      For ages, China has been a world-leader in manufacturing and a tail-end-charlie in adoption of GNU/Linux on the desktop.

    • The Whole World Moves On To GNU/Linux
    • It’s Chrome OS’ turn for the Google Now upgrade

      Google has been increasingly pushing its Google Now virtual assistant and its “cards” convention across its different services and apps. The last one to get card-y was YouTube, where the cards will replace the older popups that relay additional information about videos. Now Google is teasing the next product to get a Google Now makeover, one that is probably long overdue anyway. The beta channel of its Chrome operating system has just gotten a new “Chrome Launcher 2.0″, and the most outstanding feature is the presence of Google Now.

    • Google Chrome OS Set to Get New Launcher

      Google is building a next generation interface for its Chrome OS operating system, which powers Chromebook laptop computers. Google is now offering users in its beta-channel the opportunity to preview features that are currently in development for Chrome OS, including a new launcher and a new look to the overall system.

    • Chromebook pilot tests open source learning resources

      Two teachers in Cumberland County are offering up their classrooms as testing ground for new technology. Students in Sarah Pharris’ seventh-grade language arts students and Jackie Hancock’s seventh-grade math students are using Chromebooks and a variety of Google learning tools to facilitate instruction in their classrooms.

  • Kernel Space

    • PulseAudio 7.0 To Enable LFE Remixing By Default

      Queued up in Git for the next version of PulseAudio, v7.0, is the enabling of LFE remixing by default after some upstream work was done by Canonical developers working on Ubuntu.

    • Linux Kernel 3.14.37 Is One of the Most Advanced LTS Version Available

      The latest version of the stable Linux kernel, 3.14.37, has been released by Greg Kroah-Hartman, making this one of the most advanced long-term support version available for download.

    • Systemd Developers Did NOT Fork The Linux Kernel
    • Community Developments: The systemd Project Forks the Linux Kernel

      The systemd project began as an alternative implementation of init, the software which brings an operating system on-line when a computer boots. Traditionally, Linux distributions have used either the SysV init software or Upstart. While these older init systems had their benefits, systemd developers saw room for improvement and the chance to leverage several underutilized features available to modern Linux distributions. Using systemd, distributions are able to more easily start services in parallel, simplify service dependencies and make easier use of cgroups.

    • Systemd Developers Fork Kernel, Docker Package Management

      A wave of minor myocardial infarctions were reported today as Linux users read the news of a systemd kernel fork. Most were treated and released with only one admitted to the hospital with more severe symptoms. Elsewhere, folks are beginning to discuss the feasibility of Docker replacing Linux package management solutions. But there are several obstacles to container package utopia.

      Systemd continues to be distrusted by many in the Open Source world while others have uncomfortably accepted its presence in their everyday lives. However, when news broke this morning that systemd developers have forked the Linux kernel and plan on developing a whole distribution around it, repercussions were felt community-wide. As Distrowatch.com reporter Jesse Smith said this morning, “It appears as though the systemd developers have found a solution to kernel compatibility problems and a way to extend their philosophy of placing all key operating system components in one repository.” Smith quoted systemd developer Ivan Gotyaovich saying, “There are problems, problems in collaboration, problems with compatibility across versions. Forking the kernel gives us control over these issues, gives us control over almost all key parts of the stack. We will soon have GNU/systemd, [a] much simpler, unified platform.”

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Privacy and Tails 1.3

        Privacy and security are difficult to come by in our progressively connected world. Advertisers track our browsing habits, employers monitor productivity and government agencies monitor our communications. Most operating systems do not take steps to protect our privacy or our identities, two things which are increasingly difficult to guard. Tails is a Linux distribution that is designed to help us stay anonymous on-line and protect our identity. Tails is a Debian-based live disc that we can use to scrub our files of meta data, browse the web with some degree of anonymity and send private messages. According to the project’s website, “Tails is a live operating system, that you can start on almost any computer from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card. It aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity, and helps you to: use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship; all connections to the Internet are forced to go through the Tor network; leave no trace on the computer you are using unless you ask it explicitly; use state-of-the-art cryptographic tools to encrypt your files, emails and instant messaging.”

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • Gentoo Family

    • Arch Family

    • Slackware Family

      • Long Term Support (LTS) for KDE 4

        Some folks asked whether the new KDE4-based packages in my KDE5 repository would also apply to KDE 4.14.3. The answer: no they probably won’t, so you better not try what happens.

    • Red Hat Family

      • SME Server 9.1 Beta 1 Is Now Available for Download, Based on CentOS 6.6

        The Koozali SME Server development team, through Terry Fage, was pleased to announce today, March 30, the immediate availability for download and testing of the SME Server 9.1 Beta 1 computer operating system, which is now based on the upstream CentOS distribution, which in turn is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

      • Red Hat Receives 2014 Global Partner of the Year: Technology Award

        Red Hat Inc(NYSE:RHT) announced that it was honored by Google for Work as the 2014 Global Partner of the Year: Technology. The award was presented to Red Hat at TeamWork 2015, the annual global partner summit of Google for Work, which took place in San Diego. The Technology partner of the year award that was awarded to the company emphasizes on the proven track record of Red Hat Inc(NYSE:RHT) of enabling the product adoption for its customers on Google Cloud Platform.

      • Fedora

        • Review: Lenovo X1 Carbon 3rd generation and Linux

          Considering that the fix for the first issue is widely available in most distributions and the second one is only a modprobe away, I’d say this laptop is pretty darned Linux compatible. I’m currently running Fedora 21 without any problems.

        • Fedora 22 Alpha Now Available For AArch64 & PowerPC64

          The alpha release of Fedora 22 was released a few weeks ago for the primary CPU architectures while finally coming out today is the F22 Alpha for 64-bit ARM and PowerPC architectures.

          Peter Robinson announced this afternoon the Fedora 22 Alpha release for AArch64 and Power64 architectures. These alternative architecture spins of the very promising Fedora 22 are primarily focused on the Server Edition of Fedora Linux.

          AArch64 and Power64 users of Fedora can learn more about this first Fedora 22 development release via the mailing list announcement. Fedora 22 is expected to be officially released in May.

        • Fedora 22 Alpha Is Now Available for the AARCH64 and POWER64 Architectures

          Peter Robinson, on behalf of the Fedora Project, has announced today, March 30, that the recently announced Fedora 22 Alpha Linux kernel-based operating system is now available for the AARCH64 and POWER64 (PPC64/PPC64LE) architectures.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Linux Mint 18 Will Arrive in 2016, Linux Mint 17.2 and LMDE 2 Coming Very Soon

          The Linux Mint developers have announced today, March 30, in their monthly newsletter, that the team works hard these days to release the final version of the LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) 2 (codename Betsy), as well as to implement its awesome new features to the upcoming Linux Mint 17.2 update of the current stable distribution of the project, Rebecca.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition First-Time Boot – Video

            Today we take a quick look at the first time boot and configuration of the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition smartphone. Those of you who watched our unboxing video of the first ever Ubuntu Phone device, would know that it takes some time for the operating system to start when used for first time.

          • Canonical Eyes Telecom, NFV Innovation with Ericsson Cloud Partnership

            Canonical and Ericsson have announced a partner deal that will bring Ubuntu Linux, in conjunction with OpenStack and OPNFV, to a new cloud platform for the telecom market.

          • Creating a Unified Ubuntu Experience

            On it’s own, Ubuntu is a solid desktop Linux experience. It offers ample application choices and it’s easy to use. But one area I would like to see greater focus is mirroring one desktop to another. That is, being able to find the same documents and other files I use on both desktop machines. In this article I’ll explore options I’ve found useful in creating a unified Ubuntu Experience.

          • The big lesson from Ubuntu, Windows and Coca Cola

            Parallels of the New Coke can be drawn with Microsoft’s efforts with Windows 8 and Ubuntu’s Unity desktop. Contrary to what has been said by some so-called technology blogs, both initiatives were not pulled out of the thin air and forced on unwitting users. They were both outcomes of research.

            Unity was a desktop that had previously shipped as part of the Ubuntu Netbook Remix flavor of the Ubuntu operating system for a while before it supplanted GNOME to become Canonical’s default user interface on the Ubuntu Desktop in Ubuntu 11.10. It is important to note that Unity was, just like New Coke, a result of “secret research” in computer user habits and an attempt to better serve the user based on these habits.

          • Here’s How to Create the Perfect Ubuntu Origami Unicorn – Video

            After announcing last week the Ubuntu Origami Unicorn contest, which can bring an awesome new BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition phone to a user that folds the best-looking Unicorn, today Canonical decided that it’s finally time to show the world how to make the perfect origami unicorn.

          • There Are Now More than 1,000 Apps and Scopes for Ubuntu Touch

            The Ubuntu Touch platform is still young and it’s only available “officially” on a single phone, that was made available only sporadically through flash sales, but the number of apps in the store has been increasing on a constant basis, so much so that there are now more than a 1,000 apps available.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Black Lab Linux Wants Ubuntu 10.04 Users to Upgrade to Their Professional Desktop

              Black Lab Software, the creator of the Black Lab Linux series of computer operating systems based on the world’s most popular Linux distribution, Ubuntu, announced earlier today, March 30, on their Twitter account, that they will offer customers who use Ubuntu 10.04 LTS a fully supported upgrade path to their Professional Desktop edition.

            • Cinnamon Developers Working to Improve Loading Times for the Desktop

              The Linux Mint developers are also working on the Cinammon desktop environment, so the distribution is not their entire focus. They are now trying to make it load faster and they say they already had some success.

            • Monthly News – March 2015

              The release candidate for LMDE 2 “Betsy” was announced. Bugs were fixed and we’re now getting ready for a stable release. Working on Betsy was very exciting and it paved the way for some of the work planned for Linux Mint 18 (in 2016). It also highlighted a few areas where things could be improved further, so some of Betsy’s improvements will also find their way into Linux Mint 17.2. I’d like to thank all the people who helped us test Betsy and who sent us their feedback.

            • Linux Mint Needs a Huge, Modern Overhaul, More Artists and Web Developers Are Needed

              We’ve announced earlier today, March 30, that the Linux Mint developers have released their monthly newsletter where they’ve reported the changes implemented in the upcoming releases of the LMDE 2 (Linux Mint Debian Edition), dubbed Betsy, as well as the Linux Mint 17.2 (Rebecca) operating systems.

            • Pre-order Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu 15.04

              You can pre-order your own copy of Ubuntu 15.04 (or Xubuntu, or Lubuntu, or Kubuntu), including Ubuntu 15.04 GNOME and Ubuntu 15.04 MATE right now. It means that a DVD with your favourite OS will be burnt to you as early as possible, and dispatched on the 23rd of April 2015, or soon after. Dispatched to anywhere in the world.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Netflix has more than 50 open source projects

    We’ve released over 50 open source projects, with several more in the pipeline. We also host regular public NetflixOSS meetups in the Bay Area.

  • Will voting systems adopt open source?

    In my recent interview with Brent Turner, from the California Association of Voting Officials (CAVO), we heard about the public interest case for making voting machines open source. In this article, I further explore the unfortunate trend for vendors in this space to “openwash” their offerings; that is, to misrepresent proprietary products as if they were open source, with the intent of making them more appealing.

  • OpenMRS joins Open Source Initiative as Affiliate Member

    The Open Source Initiative ® (OSI), recognized globally for their work in promoting and protecting open source software and development communities, announced today the Affiliate Membership of OpenMRS®, a free and open source health IT platform.

  • Q&A: Ulf Lundgren on how open source is just the ticket

    Transticket provides the ticketing and commerce platforms used by Sweden’s biggest sporting and entertainment events such as the ATP Tennis Tour, the Swedish Hockey League and SkyView, the rail system taking visitors to the top of Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, the world’s largest spherical building.

  • Will open source save the Internet of Things?

    To some degree, open source is already present throughout the Internet of Things value chain. Cloud apps that collect and analyze data are heavily dependent on open source software and standards, for example.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 37.0 Is Now Available for Download

        We’re happy to announced that the final builds of the popular Mozilla Firefox 37.0 web browser were published on Mozilla’s download servers for all supported computer operating systems, including GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Is Hadoop Replacing the Data Warehouse? Survey Says Not So Much

      Snowflake Computing, a cloud data warehousing company that only recently emerged from startup stealth mode, has announced the results of an independent, national survey of more than 315 technology and analytics professionals with responsibility for corporate data initiatives. Conducted by Dimensional Research, the goal of the research was to understand the state of the data warehouse and Big Data initiatives – including experiences, challenges and trends in data warehousing and data analytics.

    • Q&A: StackStorm’s Evan Powell Talks DevOps, Automation and OpenStack

      StackStorm’s toolset is 100 percent open source and used to tie together environments with the aid of a rules engine, workflows, audit and access controls, and more.

    • ​Apache Spark-based ClearStory ramps up its analytics software

      Silicon Valley startup ClearStory Data says the new release of its Apache Spark-based analytics software significantly speeds up complex analyses based on multiple sources.

  • Databases

    • Apple’s FoundationDB Deal Sends Waves of Concern Across Open Source World

      Apple’s recent acquisition of formerly open source FoundationDB has stirred a larger debate. Even before news of the acquisition went public, the startup reportedly turned off software downloads from its website and announced to users that it would no longer provide support for the NoSQL database software, leaving those who were using it and engaged in the open source project in a tight spot. FoundationDB didn’t have many known customers, but the open source world was upset.

  • Business

    • EspoCRM: A lightweight open source customer relationship manager

      Customer relationship management (CRM) tools come in many different flavors, though not every application can meet the need of every customer. Often, large and complicated tools are overkill for smaller businesses, while some smaller tools require customization to meet specific needs. I would like to share with you the open source tool EspoCRM, which is designed to meet the needs of small and medium businesses.


    • Brave GNU world

      WHEN I wrote about free software guru Richard Stallman last week, I didn’t realize I would have the opportunity to hear him speak just a few days later. Fortuitously, I got that chance when I attended the RightsCon Southeast Asia Summit at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria Hotel, where Stallman was a guest speaker.

      The summit, which drew 600 participants from over 50 countries, focused on protecting human rights online and fighting for an open Internet, which seemed to be a good fit for Stallman, who remains an activist at the age of 62.

      His talk, entitled “Brave GNU World,” was a play on the free operating system that became the centerpiece of his free (as in freedom, not as in zero-cost) software movement.

      Stallman began his talk with the four essential freedoms that computer users ought to have: the freedom to run a program; the freedom to study and change it in source code form; the freedom to redistribute exact copies of it; and the freedom to distribute modified versions of the program.

    • Excorporate 0.6.0: Exchange integration for Emacs
  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Use of Open Source Software Is Now Mandatory In Indian Government Offices

      According to a new policy issued by the Indian Government, all employees will have to use open-source software on their computers. The new policy encourages the adoption of open source software across all Indian Government offices, on both desktop and server stations, in order to reduce the costs for acquiring computer software.

  • Licensing

    • How the current intellectual property landscape impacts open source

      Meet Doug Kim. He’s a computer engineer-turned-lawyer who chairs the Intellectual Property Practice Group at McNair Law Firm in Columbia, South Carolina. Doug’s practice includes patent preparation and prosecution, trademark, service mark preparation and prosecution, and securing copyright registrations in areas that include Geographical Information Systems (GIS), software, books, music, product packaging, and distribution. He has expertise in software, method, and mechanical patents as well as open source licensing.

    • The GitHub kids still don’t care about open source

      But rather than eschew the mountains of code being released on GitHub, would-be adopters of GitHub code need to start asking that code be licensed. It may be the only way to change the seemingly permanent shift toward completely open source.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Open Data: Slovakia holds public consultation

        Slovakia has held a public consultation to build its Open Government Partnership’s Action Plan for 2015. The consultation, organized by the Office of the Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Government for the Development of Civil Society (ÚSVROS) and the National Agency for Network and Electronic Services (NASES), was opene to “the public, the business sector, non-profit organizations, public institutions and local government”, the organisers said in a statement. The public consultation is now closed (on March 17th).

  • Programming

    • GitHub Under Sustained DDoS Attack

      Since March 26, GitHub has been under attack, but users are likely not even noticing as the site continues to be highly available.

    • Open Source Github under Chinese attack

      Open source coding site GitHub said it was fending off a days-long DoS attack that had caused intermittent outages for the social coding site.

      China has been identified as the source of the attack and the software being hit is banned behind the bamboo curtain. It would appear that someone is taking pro-active censorship steps by taking down the entire site..

    • Why do web developers choose OS X instead of Linux?

      Apple’s OS X operating system for the Mac seems to be a very popular choice among web developers. But why have so many of them forsaken Linux in favor of OS X? A Linux redditor asked about this and got some interesting answers from fellow redditors.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • COIS, the UK arm of Open Forum Europe distributes ODF toolkit for Document Freedom Day week

      A new toolkit is being launched to target faster public sector adoption of Open Document Format. Released today by the Community for Open Interoperability Standards (the UK arm of Open Forum Europe), the toolkit contains a folder of principles and infographic for Government Technology leaders to use in educating public sector workers on the options and opportunities for ODF use. This publication joins global Document Freedom Day week celebrations of Open Standards, which numbers 58 events in 30 countries this year. The toolkit arrives as UK Government moves to comply with use of ODF 1.2 across departments, following a change in Cabinet Office policy in July last year.

    • “I’d Rather Not Rewrite All the HTTP Stuff Myself”

      Fascinating early posts from the founders of eBay, Amazon, Google, and others.


  • German pro basketball team relegated to lower division due to Windows update

    A second-tier German professional basketball team has been relegated to an even lower tier as a result of being penalized for starting a recent game late—because the Windows laptop that powered the scoreboard required 17 minutes to perform system updates.

  • Science

  • Security

    • “Black Box” brouhaha breaks out over brute forcing of iPhone PIN lock

      A bit of a brouhaha has broken out about a “Black Box” that can brute force your iPhone PIN by trying every possible combination, from 00..00 to 99..99.


      Even if you only set a 4-digit PIN, that gives a crook who steals your phone just a 10 in 10,000 chance, or 0.1%, of guessing your unlock code in time.

      But this Black Box has a trick up its cable.

      Apparently, the device uses a light sensor to work out, from the change in screen intensity, when it has got the right PIN.

    • Security advisories for Monday
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • One dead, two injured in incident outside NSA headquarters

      An unidentified car attempted to ram the entrance gate at the NSA’s Fort Meade headquarters this morning, with shots fired in the wake of the collision. Authorities say one person is dead and two men (a 20-year-old and 44-year-old) have been airlifted to a Baltimore trauma center with serious injuries. CNN is reporting that two assailants were involved in the attack — one killed, the other wounded — citing a federal law enforcement official who had been briefed on the matter.

    • Leading Papers Incite ‘Supreme International Crime’

      Advocating for war is not like advocating for most other policies because, as peace activist David Swanson points out, war is a crime. It was outlawed in 1928 by the Kellogg-Briand Pact, in which the United States, the Soviet Union, China, Britain, Germany, France, Japan and 55 other nations “condemn[ed] recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce[d] it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.”

    • Muslim Terrorism a Result of Western Imperialism

      Corporate media typically portray Muslims as cruel monsters driven by unexplainable hate for the West…

    • US National Security Strategy Confirms Drive for World Domination

      Though widely reported in corporate media, the largely aggressive thrust of the text has been overlooked in most mainstream coverage. The text emphasizes, for example, that the US must continue to remain the world’s preeminent superpower, an ominous assertion particularly in light of the recent standoff with Russia concerning Syria and Ukraine.

    • A look at those involved in Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen

      A Saudi-led coalition is targeting Shiite rebels and their allies in Yemen in a campaign of airstrikes that began last week.

    • Strike on Refugee Camp in Yemen Kills 45

      An air strike killed at least 40 people at a camp for displaced people in north Yemen on Monday, humanitarian workers said, in an attack which apparently targeted a nearby base for Houthi fighters battling President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

      Yemen’s state news agency Saba, which is under the control of the Houthis, said the camp at Haradh was hit by Saudi planes. It said the dead included women and children, and showed the bodies of five children laid out on a blood-streaked floor.

    • Yemen: Saudi-Led Airstrikes Take Civilian Toll

      The airstrikes targeted Ansar Allah, the armed wing of the Zaidi Shia group known as the Houthis, that has controlled much of northern Yemen since September 2014. In January, the group effectively ousted the government of President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi. Human Rights Watch found that on March 26 warplanes struck populated urban neighborhoods in Sanaa and observed Ansar Allah forces who appeared to be firing anti-aircraft weapons from residential neighborhoods.

    • Euro Rights Blog: Defining the Word ‘Terrorism’ – A Classroom Experiment – by Sarah Kay

      Beyond legitimacy, the second most apprehended criterion was fear: inducing fear, manufacturing fear, exploiting and manipulating fear, and this, both present in the intent to commit the terrorist act and into the intended consequences of the terrorist action. The complexity of whether all political violence is terrorism, while all terrorism is political violence, was sometimes exhilarating to debate, sometimes frustrating to unravel. Most of them of European upbringing, the reference to ‘simple terrorism’ – ethno-political terrorism – was fast weighed against the current wave of religious extremism. This was not the only instance of questioning legitimacy of political action.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Pearson, ETS, Houghton Mifflin, and McGraw-Hill Lobby Big and Profit Bigger from School Tests

      School testing corporations have spent at least $20 million on lobbying along with wining and dining or even hiring policymakers in pursuit of big revenues from federal and state testing mandates under “No Child Left Behind” measures and the Common Core curriculum, according to a new analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).

    • The ALEC-Backed War on Local Democracy

      After the town of Denton, Texas passed a ballot initiative banning fracking in November 2014, the oil and gas industry reacted with outrage and swiftly filed suit. Politicians in the state capitol responded with a fusillade of bills to preempt local authority over public health and safety and to subject local ballot initiatives to pre-approval by the state attorney general. There was even a bill to end local home rule altogether.

  • Privacy

    • Smart meters are a ‘costly mistake’ that’ll add BILLIONS to bills

      A report from the Institute of Directors (IoD) warns that the government’s rollout of smart meters “should be ‘halted, altered or scrapped’ to avoid a potentially catastrophic government IT disaster.”

      The report, entitled “Not too clever: will Smart Meters be the next Government IT disaster?” describes the £11bn scheme as “unwanted by consumers, over-engineered and mind-blowingly expensive.”

    • Warning to the Public: Your Smart Televisions are Listening
    • Europe’s law enforcement chief joins in crypto panic

      The director of Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, has warned about the growing use of encryption for online communications. Speaking to BBC Radio, Rob Wainwright said: “It’s become perhaps the biggest problem for the police and the security service authorities in dealing with the threats from terrorism.” Wainwright is just the latest in a string of high-ranking government officials on both sides of the Atlantic that have made similar statements, including FBI Director James Comey, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, the head of London’s Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

      Wainwright told the BBC that the use of encrypted services “changed the very nature of counter-terrorist work from one that has been traditionally reliant on having good monitoring capability of communications to one that essentially doesn’t provide that anymore.” What that overlooks is that the “good monitoring capability” was of very few channels, used sporadically. Today, by contrast, online users engage with many digital services—social media, messaging, e-mail, VoIP—on a constant basis, and often simultaneously. Although the percentage of traffic that can be monitored may be lower, the volume is much higher, which means that, overall, more information is available for counter-terrorism agencies.

    • Digital rights and freedoms: Part 1

      Under the rubric of state security on the one hand and commercial openness on the other, we are being lulled into an online world of fear and control where our every move is monitored in order to more efficiently manage us.

    • Who Knows What Evils Lurk in the Shadows?

      The story of the powerful spy agency most Canadians still don’t know, and the security bill that would expand its resources and reach

    • NSA Tried to Roll Out Its Automated Query Program Between Debates about Killing It

      None of that explains why the NSA wasn’t able to ingest some cell phone production. But it may explain why NSA accepts moving the phone dragnet to the telecoms.

  • Civil Rights

    • Watch A Fox News Anchor Debunk His Network’s Defense Of Indiana’s “Religious Freedom” Law

      Fox News anchor Bret Baier debunked the network’s defense of Indiana’s discriminatory “religious freedom” law, explaining that the law is broader than both federal law and similar measures in other states.

    • Whistleblower panel discussion at Logan Symposium

      Here is a panel discussion I did about whistleblowing at the Logan Symposium in London last November. With me on the panel are Eileen Chubb, a UK health care whistleblower who runs Compassion in Care and is campaigning for Edna’s Law, and Bea Edwards of the US Government Accountability Project. With thanks to @newsPeekers for filming this.

    • Inquiry of Silk Road Website Spurred Agents’ Own Illegal Acts, Officials Say

      On the so-called dark web, drug dealing and other illicit sales have thrived in recent years, the authorities have said, through hidden websites like Silk Road and hard-to-trace digital currencies like Bitcoins.

      On Monday, the government charged that in the shadows of an undercover investigation of Silk Road, a notorious black-market site, two federal agents sought to enrich themselves by exploiting the very secrecy that made the site so difficult for law enforcement officials to penetrate.

    • Spokesman found dead weeks after Missouri auditor Tom Schweich’s suicide

      The tragedy in the office of late Missouri state auditor Tom Schweich has deepened.

      A month after Schweich died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound amid an alleged political smear campaign focused on his faith, a top aide appears to have committed suicide by the same means, police said.

      Robert “Spence” Jackson, who served as Schweich’s media director, was found dead in his bedroom Sunday, Jefferson City police said in a statement. Police have not released any details about the timing of Jackson’s death, but they did say that there were no signs of a struggle or forced entry into the home.

    • Senators Disregard Security Agencies’ Calls to Close Guantanamo, One Says Prisoners Can ‘Rot in Hell’

      At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on policies related to the release of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, a Pentagon official and an intelligence official testified on how closing the prison is a national security imperative. Yet, their expertise did not seem to matter.

      Senators rejected the expertise of military and intelligence agencies preferring to believe that releasing anyone from Guantanamo will endanger Americans and President Barack Obama’s administration is engaged in a conspiracy of mass deception that is putting the United States at great risk.

    • Intercept Reporter Files Suit Against Ferguson Police

      An Intercept reporter is suing the St. Louis County Police Department after he was shot with rubber bullets and arrested while reporting on protests in the suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, over the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown last August.

    • New Canadian Counterterrorism Law Threatens Environmental Groups

      Geraldine Thomas-Flurer, who campaigns for environmental protection on behalf of indigenous First Nations in Canada, wasn’t surprised when, in 2012, she found out that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had been keeping tabs on her. The Toronto Star that year obtained documents showing that federal police had monitored private meetings held between her coalition and local environmental groups.

      Now she just laughs when asked whether she’s comforted by assurances from government officials that new surveillance and policing powers outlined under a proposed Canadian Anti-Terror Law wouldn’t be aimed at peaceful protesters.


Links 30/3/2015: Linux 4.0 RC6, OpenELEC 5.0.7

Posted in News Roundup at 5:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • ARM64 Improvements Piling Up In Coreboot

    While yesterday I was talking about many Intel Broadwell improvements landing in Coreboot, the new Git activity today for Coreboot is about 64-bit ARM.

  • Open Source Mandatory for Indian Government Projects

    I’ve written about the potential for open source in China several times, and the same can be said about India. Here’s some big news on that front, just announced by the Government of India’s Department Of Electronics & Information Technology [.pdf]:

  • India backs open source software for e-governance projects

    India has said it will use open source software in all e-governance projects, though it did not rule out the use of proprietary software to meet specialized requirements.

  • India doubles down on use of Open Source software

    The government on Sunday announced a policy on adoption of open source software, which makes it mandatory for all software applications and services of the government be built using open source software, so that projects under Digital India “ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs”.

  • Facebook Rolls Out 3 Open Source Tools for Mobile Developers

    In a move sure to delight iOS and Android developers, Facebook has launched React-Native, an open source, cross-platform JavaScript framework for building mobile applications. Announced Thursday at the company’s F8 developer conference, the framework is based on React, another open source JavaScript framework Facebook released two years ago to help developers build user interfaces for Web projects.

  • NASA Goddard Releases Open Source Core Flight Software System Application Suite to Public

    The Innovative Technology Partnerships Office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, announced the release of its core Flight System (cFS) Application Suite to the public. The cFS application suite is composed of 12 individual Command and Data Handling (C&DH) flight software applications that together create a reusable library of common C&DH functions.

  • Events

    • Development Tools Tutorial Accepted into 2015 Linux Plumbers Conference

      In a departure from prior Plumbers tradition, we are pleased to announce not a Development Tools Microconference, but rather a set of Development Tools tutorials, including interactive tutorials, demos, and short presentations. Topics include Coccinelle (Julia Lawall), testing and debugging tools (Shuah Khan), issues with copying and pasting Linux kernel code (Michael Godfrey), and LLVM/clang and the Linux kernel (Behan Webster).

    • Open Source Conference Albania 2015

      OSCAL (Open Source Conference Albania) is the first annual international tech conference in Albania organized by the open source community in Albania to promote software freedom, open source software, free culture and open knowledge.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 4.2 Beta 3 Released, Final Version Around the Corner

      Version 4.2 of WordPress, the world’s most popular web software that allows anyone to create beautiful blogs and websites in minutes, is getting closer with the recently released Beta 3 version that brings over 65 changes. The new version is available for download here.

  • BSD

    • Running FreeBSD on the server: a sysadmin speaks

      For years now, Linux has been all the rage. But in recent times, there have been murmurings among some veterans — long-time users — after the introduction of systemd, the init system that seems to overstep its boundaries.

  • Public Services/Government

    • South-Tyrol finances open source eInvoicing tool

      Proxy FatturaPA [1], an eInvoicing software solution co-financed by the Autonomous Province of South-Tyrol (Italy), is made public using the GPLv3 free software licence. The software is developed by Link.it, a IT company based in Pisa.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming


  • Security

  • Finance

    • PayPal agrees to pay $7.7 million for alleged sanctions violations

      On Wednesday afternoon, PayPal reached a settlement with the US Treasury Department, agreeing that it would pay $7.7 million for allegedly processing payments to people in countries under sanction as well as to a man the US has listed as involved in the nuclear weapons black market. The company neither confirmed nor denied the allegations, but it voluntarily handed over its transaction data to the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

    • How “standby” modes on game consoles suck up energy

      The Natural Resources Defense Council recently put out an alarming press release claiming the Xbox One is causing consumers to waste an aggregate of $250 million annually in energy costs. The culprit: the “instant on” mode that draws significant power 24 hours a day, even when the system is supposedly “off.”

      The NRDC put out the release in an effort to convince Microsoft to turn off this “instant on” setting by default, or to at least offer an option to turn it off on the system’s initial setup (as it does in Europe). Until Microsoft takes that step, though, we thought we’d bust out the old Kill A Watt power meter and confirm just how much energy our consoles are wasting when they’re not in use, and offer you some tips on how to avoid that potential waste.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Xinhua, AP presidents discuss cooperation in new media era

      President of the Xinhua News Agency Cai Mingzhao and his Associated Press (AP) counterpart Gary Pruitt discussed cooperation between the two news outlets in the new media era on Friday at the Xinhua head office in Beijing.

      Xinhua and the AP should forge a strategic cooperative relationship, Cai said, expressing the wish that the two news agencies will expand cooperation onto a wider range of areas.

      Xinhua has been turning out omni media products integrating texts, pictures and videos, and reducing costs through application of technologies to meet the new demand of its clients, Cai noted.

  • Censorship

    • Copyright crackdown: Government introduces website-blocking bill

      The government has introduced a bill that will allow copyright holders to apply for court orders forcing ISPs to block access to pirate websites.

      Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull today introduced the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015.

      “Existing copyright law is not adequate to deter a specific type of infringing activity, which is the facilitation of the online infringement of copyright owners’ content… by online operators,” the minister said, introducing the bill into the lower house.

      “There are a number of foreign-based online locations that disseminate large amounts of infringing content to Australian Internet users.”

      If the bill becomes law rights holders will be able to apply to the Federal Court for an injunction that will force an ISP to block a site.

  • Privacy

    • The AP’s Recycled “We Don’t Need a Phone Dragnet” Story Lays the Groundwork for Swapping Section 215 for CISA

      The NSA in no way went “cold turkey” in 2011. Starting in 2009, just before it finally confessed to DOJ it had been violating collection rules for the life of the program, it rolled out the SPCMA program that allowed the government to do precisely the same thing, from precisely the same user interface, with any Internet data accessible through EO 12333. SPCMA was made available to all units within NSA in early 2011, well before NSA “went cold turkey.” And, at the same time, NSA moved some of its Internet dragnet to PRISM production, with the added benefit that it had few of the data sharing limits that the PRTT dragnet did.

      That is, rather than going “cold turkey” the NSA moved the production under different authorities, which came with the added benefits of weaker FISC oversight, application for uses beyond counterterrorism, and far, far more permissive dissemination rules.

      That AP’s sources claimed — and AP credulously reported — that this is about “cold turkey” is a pretty glaring hint that the NSA and FBI are preparing to do something very similar with the phone dragnet. As with the Internet dragnet, SPCMA permits phone chaining for any EO 12333 phone collection, under far looser rules. And under CISA, anyone who “voluntarily” wants to share this data (which always includes AT&T and likely includes other backbone providers) can share promiscuously and with greater secrecy (because it is protected by both Trade Secret and FOIA exemption). Some of this production, done under PRISM, would permit the government to get “connection” chaining information more easily than under a phone dragnet. And as with the Internet dragnet, any move of Section 215 production to CISA production evades existing FISC oversight.

    • Europol chief warns on computer encryption (propaganda against encryption)

      Mr Wainwright said that in most current investigations the use of encrypted communications was found to be central to the way terrorists operated.

    • Hacking the Nazis: The secret story of the women who broke Hitler’s codes

      Of the 10,000-plus staff at the Government Code and Cypher School during World War II, two-thirds were female. Three veteran servicewomen explain what life was like as part of the code-breaking operation during World War II.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Chairman Wheeler Predicts FCC Will Beat Legal Challenge To Net Neutrality

      Now that the FCC is the subject of several lawsuits, and its leader, Chairman Tom Wheeler, was dragged in front of Congress repeatedly to answer the same battery of inanity, it’s worth checking in to see how the agency is feeling. Is it confident that its recent vote to reclassify broadband under Title II of the Telecommunications Act will hold?

    • A Growing Chorus Is Trying To Rewrite The History Of Net Neutrality — And Blame Absolutely Everything On Netflix

      With either an ISP lawsuit or a 2016 party shift the only way to kill our new net neutrality rules, neutrality opponents have some time to kill. As such, they’re in desperate need of somewhere to direct their impotent rage at the foul idea of a healthier Internet free from gatekeeper control. Step one of this catharsis has been to publicly shame the FCC for daring to stand up to broadband ISPs in a series of increasingly absurd and often entirely nonsensical public “fact finding” hearings. Step two is to push forth a series of editorials that tries to rewrite the history of the net neutrality debate — with Netflix as the villainous, Machiavellian centerpiece.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Once You Accept File-Sharing Is Here To Stay, You Can Focus On All The Positive Things

        When I grew up, file-sharing was already rampant. But we didn’t have any Internet. We had a so-called Sneakernet. And it was actually quite comparable in sharing efficiency – not just over large distances.

      • Copyright Bots Kill App Over ‘Potentially Infringing’ Images, Follow This Up By Blocking App For Use Of CC/Public Domain Images

        With bots performing all sorts of intellectual property policing these days, fair use considerations are completely off the table. Nuances that can’t be handled by a bot should theoretically be turned over to a human being in disputed cases. Unfortunately, dispute processes are often handled in an automated fashion, leading to even more problems.

      • MPAA Wanted Less Fair Use In Copyright Curriculum

        The MPAA and RIAA are backing a new copyright curriculum showing kids how to become “Ethical Digital Citizens.” After public pressure the curriculum was edited to include fair use principles, but a leaked MPAA email shows that there’s more fair use in the lesson plans than Hollywood wanted.

      • Block Pirate Bay in 72 Hours, Spanish Court Tells ISPs

        Infamous torrent site The Pirate Bay has a new European block to contend with after a judge in Spain handed down a ruling against the site today. Local ISPs now have 72 hours in which to block the site, the first instruction of its type under the country’s so-called Sinde Law.

      • City of London Police Make Piracy Fight Official

        City of London Police and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations underlined their relationship this week with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. Focusing on IP crime, the agencies collaborate to suspend domains, shut down file-sharing sites, and arrest uploaders.

      • “VPN Friendly” Aussie Pirate Site Blocking Draft Unveiled

        A draft of new legislation aimed at stopping Aussie consumers accessing ‘pirate’ sites has been made available this morning. The amendments, which contain criteria that could see hundreds of sites blocked by ISPs, is believed to have been reworded to ensure that VPN services don’t become caught in the dragnet.


Links 29/3/2015: Red Hat’s Stock Soars, Kodi 14.2 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 11:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Health/Nutrition

    • When you look at the science behind vaccination it all adds up to one conclusion … even at 21

      What did concern the young student was the amount of misinformation available on the internet, most of which he believes is fear-based and inaccurate.

      “For someone that doesn’t have a science background they would have a hard time vaccinating because there’s a lot of scary information. It’s fear mongering, no other way to put it and I’ll believe in vaccination while the weight of evidence is in favour of it, or someone proves otherwise,” he said.

    • CIA and drug running

      Webb reported that tons of cocaine were being shipped into San Francisco by supporters of the CIA backed Contras, then distributed down to LA to a Nicaraguan, who then on sold it to street vendors. He also alleged this epidemic was having a disproportionate affect on African Americans.

      Gary Webb’s career was destroyed as a result of these investigations, and is now the subject of a new DVD called “Kill the Messenger’.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • How to tell if you’ve been hacked

      Worried that you might get compromised by hackers? The bad news is that the rest of the internet might know before you do

    • Cyber Armageddon is a Myth

      Over the past several years mainstream news outlets have conveyed a litany of cyber doomsday scenarios…

    • More Than 1/3 of Americans Leave Phones Unlocked

      It turns out that American smartphone owners are not great at protecting their privacy. In a new report from security firm Lookout, 34 percent of American mobile users who claimed to be the most aware of privacy risks didn’t even set a pin or passcode on their phone. Another 35 percent downloaded apps from unofficial marketplaces, which is a great way to get malware on your phone. The results come from 1,012 U.S. respondents found through an online surve

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • New York Times Accidentally Undermines John Bolton “Bomb Iran” Op-Ed in Own Pages

      U.S. and Israeli politicians often claim that Israel’s bombing of Iraq in 1981 significantly set back an already-existing Iraqi nuclear weapons program. The truth is almost exactly the opposite. Harvard Physics Professor Richard Wilson, who visited the ruins of Osirak in 1982 and followed the issue closely, has said the available evidence “suggests that the bombing did not delay the Iraqi nuclear-weapons program but started it.” This evidence includes the design of the Osirak reactor, which made it unsuitable for weapons production, and statements by Iraqi nuclear scientists that Saddam Hussein ordered them to begin a serious nuclear weapons program in response to the Israeli attack.

    • Fear of Terrorism is Making Us Crazy, Especially in the US

      When I lived in China, there was a story going around about a China Airlines flight in which both the pilot and the co-pilot had left the cockpit and then, on their return, found the door locked. They reportedly got a fire ax, and with the whole planeload of freaked out passengers watching in horror, started wailing in the metal door. The co-pilot then turned, and seeing the panic developing, calmly drew the curtain across the aisle, hiding their work from view. The axe’s bashing continued until they broke the latch and got back to the controls.

    • US to Send Weapons to Kiev if Minsk Agreements Fail – Psaki

      The United States could supply Kiev with ‘not offensive’ weapons if the Minsk agreements on Ukrainian reconciliation fail, US Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki said Wednesday.

    • Brazil’s Weapons Industry – Analysis

      Latin America does not depend solely on exports from extra-regional powers for military equipment. On the contrary, the region boasts its own thriving domestic weapons industry. The crown jewel of Latin America’s defense industries is arguably Brazil’s, which has made a name for itself by domestically producing military equipment for export. Case in point is the Super Tucano, a light military aircraft that can be utilized for either training or combat operations, which is produced by the Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica (EMBRAER) and enjoys significant prominence in the field. According to the latest headlines, the Portuguese-speaking nation is predicted to have a good year in weapon sales, bolstering Brazil and Latin America in terms of capital and relevancy in the global arms market.

    • Immorality of drone warfare

      Almost all wars that are currently under way in the world are targeting Muslims. Just about every bomb, every drone, every prison, every cage, every orange jumpsuit are produced for Muslims. Look around carefully; all the world’s intelligence services target Muslims. Even more, Muslims are driven to war and destruction at the hands of other Muslims.

    • CIA’s Notorious Father of Drone Strikes Strategy Removed From Post
    • Architect of CIA’s drone campaign to leave post

      The head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, who presided over the agency’s drone campaign and directed the hunt for Osama bin Laden, is being removed from his post, officials said, a watershed moment as the CIA turns its focus to a new generation of extremist threats.

    • How Yemen’s US-backed ex-dictator is tearing his country apart

      For years, the Americans saw President Ali Abdullah Saleh a key ally in the fight against al-Qaeda. He allowed his air bases to be used by US drones to strike at the movement’s operatives, and gladly received Western aid in development cash and arms supplies.

      Yet according to claims in a United Nations report last month, one of the first things Mr Saleh did when his three-decade rule was threatened by the 2011 Arab Spring was strike a secret deal to give an entire southern province to al-Qaeda. The more he could portray Yemen as falling into militant hands, he calculated, the more the West want to keep him in office at all costs.

    • How Much Money Is Too Much for the Pentagon?

      General Dempsey and his colleagues may be right. Current levels of Pentagon spending may not be able to support current defense strategy. The answer to this problem is right before our eyes: cut the money and change the strategy. That would be acting in the name of a conception of national security that was truly strategic.

    • Trusting High-Tech Weapons of War

      The U.S. military insists its drones and other high-tech gadgets can kill “bad guys” with an unmatched precision. But these assassination weapons may just be the latest example of putting too much faith in the murderous technology of war, as Andrew Cockburn explains in a new book reviewed by Chuck Spinney.

    • Kill Chain: The Rise of the High Tech Assassins

      Bombs dropped by unmanned remote-controlled drones have become routine forms of warfare, allowing the US to pick off people it deems unworthy of life within a complex and secretive chain of command that has almost no public accountability. The ACLU just sued the Obama Administration to reveal the details of how and why people are targeted by drones. Particularly since some of those people are US citizens.

    • How does it feel to be a Muslim?

      I dread the morning news for it is as sure as the rising sun that the Muslim subject is everywhere: dead, maimed, bombed and bloody. Muslims are keeping the journalistic enterprise afloat by sheer madness of actions committed in the name of Islam. No news day is a good day but these are rare and far between for if it bleeds it leads and daily the Muslim wound is deepening and gushing profusely.

    • How the US Government and US Military Became Murder, Inc.

      The US military no longer does war. It does assassinations, usually of the wrong people. The main victims of the US assassination policy are women, children, village elders, weddings, funerals, and occasionally US soldiers mistaken for Taliban by US surveillance operating with the visual acuity of the definition of legal blindness.

    • ‘Graveyard of Empires’ looks at war by remote control

      It seems like a no-brainer: If we could win a war by having an engineer in the United States simply push a button rather than by putting thousands of troops in harm’s way, we should embrace the new technology, right? But in Elaine Romero’s drama “Graveyard of Empires,” the answer is more complicated than a simple affirmative.

    • Extending the mission into Syria
    • 10 Reasons Why Obama Should NOT Travel to Armenia on April 24
    • License To Kill

      Imagine a future in which a competitor assassinates you via a robotic spider. That’s one way to see new technology’s potential.

    • Will You Be Murdered By a Robot?

      Frightening but never fear-mongering, the information supplied by the authors of The Future of Violence posits a tomorrow full of techno-threats demanding discerning vigilance.

    • Making Enemies by Droning On and On

      Nowhere can I find any article in the corporate news media asking what role the US’s massively unpopular campaign of bombings and drone-fired missile attacks on alleged terrorists — attacks that have killed countless civilians, and that have also included wholly erroneous massacres of innocents such as wedding caravans — has played in the creation of a situation that is likely to become a bloody civil war. This in a country that already endured one such catastrophe lasting from roughly 1964 – 1994. We’re talking about a generation’s worth of bloodletting, both between tribes, and between a north dominated by the US-puppet Saudi monarchy, and a south supported by the Soviet Union and, for many years, its alley, Egypt. The idea that the US would casually take actions that could re-ignite such a horror in a place that had to be seen as a tinderbox is simply appalling.

    • U.S. counterterrorism strategy in Yemen collapses as country descends into chaos

      Once hailed by President Barack Obama as a model for fighting extremism, the U.S. counterterrorism strategy in Yemen has all but collapsed as the country descends into chaos, according to U.S. and Yemeni officials.

    • Chaos in Yemen undercuts US war against AQAP

      Yemen’s descent into chaos has undermined the US campaign against Al-Qaeda there, forcing Washington to abandon a strategy once touted as a model for counter-terrorism efforts.

    • My Lai Revisited: 47 Years Later, Seymour Hersh Travels to Vietnam Site of U.S. Massacre He Exposed

      Fifty years after the U.S. ground invasion of Vietnam began, we look back at the 1968 My Lai massacre, when American troops killed hundreds of civilians. Journalist Seymour Hersh broke the story of the massacre and cover-up, winning a Pulitzer Prize for his work. But Hersh never actually went there — he interviewed soldiers stateside. Forty-seven years later, he recently traveled to My Lai for the first time, which he documents in a new article for The New Yorker, “The Scene of the Crime: A Reporter’s Journey to My Lai and the Secrets of the Past.” Hersh joins us to discuss how he exposed the massacre nearly five decades ago and what it was like to visit My Lai for the first time.

    • Ignorance Is Bliss

      Factual information is out of fashion. American society now devalues it.

    • From Washington to Riyadh, Britain is on bended knee

      Britain became known as America’s poodle.

    • A Liberal Lawyer Gives Up On Preventing Murder

      Rosa Brooks’ article in Foreign Policy is called “There is no such thing as peacetime.” Brooks is a law professor who has testified before Congress to the effect that if a drone war is labeled a proper war then blowing children apart with missiles is legal, but that if it’s not properly a war then the same action is murder.

      Rosa Brooks has apparently come to see the problem with that distinction. How can a secret presidential memo in a drawer somewhere, that she and her colleagues have empowered to determine whether of not an action is part of a war, actually decide on the legitimacy of sending hellfire missiles into houses and restaurants, the behavior of futuristic gangsters on steroids?

    • US to delay troops pullout from Afghanistan to aid drone strikes: NYT

      President Barack Obama’s decision to maintain troop levels in Afghanistan through 2015 is partly to bolster counterterrorism efforts in that war-torn country, including the CIA’s ability to conduct drone strikes, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

    • U.S. Delays Afghan Withdrawal Through Year’s End; Drone War to Continue

      President Obama has again delayed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Obama had vowed to remove half of the 10,000 troops currently in Afghanistan in the coming months. But following a request from visiting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Obama announced he will leave 9,800 soldiers at least through the end of 2015. Obama said the United States will still meet its goal to consolidate forces in Kabul and remove all but 1,000 forces by the end of his term in early 2017.

    • U.S. to Delay Pullout of Troops From Afghanistan to Aid Strikes
    • The war in Yemen and the American drive for global domination
    • Protests decry 12 years of U.S. wars abroad

      Antiwar actions called Spring Rising, focusing on the 12th anniversary of the criminal U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and continued war in Afghanistan, were held in Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis and other cities around the United States. Spring Rising was initiated by Cindy Sheehan, anti-war activist and mother of U.S. Army Specialist Casey Sheehan who was killed in Iraq.

    • Militarism Abroad and Police Violence at Home

      Although most news outlets sanitize it, the United States is, as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in 1967, the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet. This is manifested by drone strikes, which in the last ten years have killed at least 5,000 people, only an estimated 150 of whom were the actual targets; the remainder were ‘collateral damage’; by the bombing of suspected ISIS sites in Iraq; bombing of Syria; financial and military support for the apartheid regime of Israel; continued war against Afghanistan, and several other examples. Nothing has changed in decades; the statement about violence was true when Dr. King said it, it had been true for years before and it remains true today.

    • Home front

      A number of recent studies have questioned the wisdom and effectiveness of drone strikes, yet the targeted bombings remain one of the central tools of the U.S. war on terrorism.

      The U.S. has recently shifted focus towards radical hotspots such as Yemen, but the vast majority of drone strikes have taken place in North Waziristan, a mountainous region on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

      A Stanford University study in 2012 undertook a thorough examination of the effect of drone strikes on the local population and found that, rather than reducing terrorist ranks by taking out top Taliban and al-Qaida leaders, drones tended to serve as a recruitment tool.

      In many cases, it turned neutral citizens into radicals.

      “Before the drone attacks, we didn’t know (anything) about America,” one Waziri told researchers. “Now everybody has come to understand and know about America. … Almost all people hate America.”

    • Stop Smoking the Democrack

      The top risk from war is nuclear holocaust. That danger continues to grow with active U.S. assistance. The second worst thing a U.S. president can do about war is grab more war powers and pass them on to all future presidents. In that regard, President Obama has outdone President Bush. Lying to Congress is now totally routine: Congress and the United Nations can simply be ignored. Secrecy has mushroomed. President Obama picks out men, women, and children to murder from a list on Tuesdays. The public, the Congress, and the courts have no say and often no knowledge. President Obama has dramatically increased U.S. weapons sales abroad — the U.S. being far and away the top supplier of weapons to regions that the U.S. public thinks of as inherently violent.

    • What the Amnesty International Report on Palestinian Violations in Gaza Tells Us

      If Amnesty International is seen as one of the “most prestigious” international NGOs, it is also thought to harbor “a consistent institutionalized bias against Israel.” It is particularly interesting, then, that Amnesty this week released a report blaming Palestinians for a much-publicized incident that resulted in the deaths of Palestinian children and other civilians during last summer’s war between Hamas and Israel.

    • Endless War: As U.S. Strikes Tikrit & Delays Afghan Pullout, “War on Terror” Toll Tops 1.3 Million

      As the United States begins bombing the Iraqi city of Tikrit and again delays a withdrawal from Afghanistan, a new report has found that the Iraq War has killed about one million people. The Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and other groups examined the toll from the so-called war on terror in three countries — Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The investigators found “the war has, directly or indirectly, killed around one million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan. Not included in this figure are further war zones such as Yemen. The figure is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware. … And this is only a conservative estimate.” The true tally, they add, could be more than two million. We are joined by two guests who worked on the report: Hans von Sponeck, former U.N. assistant secretary-general and U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, who in 2000 resigned his post in protest of the U.S.-led sanctions regime; and Dr. Robert Gould, president of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

    • Nobel Prize-Winning NGO: US Wars in Last Decade Killed Estimated 2 Million

      Only days after President Obama announced that troops would remain in Afghanistan through 2015, a new study reveals the massive cost of war. Through its campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, the US may be responsible for the deaths of millions.

    • Saudi bombs in Yemen kill 39 civilians, inflaming tensions

      Arab coalition warplanes bombed rebel camps in Yemen today in a second straight day of strikes led by Saudi Arabia, which accused Iran of “aggression” across the region.

    • The Vicious Circle of U.S. Military Involvement in Africa

      It seems that a day rarely passes without news of a new atrocity committed by an increasingly notorious terrorist group. And, without fail, this news is accompanied by an increase in U.S. military interventions around the world.

    • White House claims Yemen still a ‘template’ for counterterrorism success

      White House spokesman Josh Earnest told the press gaggle yesterday that the administration still considers Yemen a “template” for the success of its counterterrorism efforts.

    • Veteran suicides tell the truth

      Yet chief among the factors must be the mental flashbacks to some ghastly horror, perhaps long ago, and the question arises as to how the individual veterans view their participation in the horror.

    • Paying tribute without creating war narratives

      This is, unfortunately, the very goal of much spin and propaganda. We rightly hold public parades to honour those who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq and to remember the dead and their families but ignore the plight of those who fled our enemies – on whose behalf our troops were supposedly there. Many of the children in detention whose plight was highlighted in the report of the Human Rights Commission, The Forgotten Children, were doubly victimised – once at the hands of our enemies the Taliban and again when they fled to us for safety.

      It should also be remembered that war has its victims on both sides. Whatever we think of the Taliban and their ethics, they suffer and bleed as we do. Afghan mothers will miss their sons and Afghan lovers be torn apart by lives tragically cut short in just the same way as American and Australian ones.

    • Killing With Military Equipment Disguised as Civilian Objects is Perfidy, Part II

      On Friday, I concluded that modifying a civilian-looking vehicle into a military object to attack an adversary could indeed amount to perfidy during an international armed conflict. This question was triggered by Ryan Goodman and Sarah Knuckey’s post on the 2008 killing of Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyah by the US and Israel where, among other things, they ask how using a car bomb differs from certain other means and methods of surprise attacks. I will briefly address them below.

    • U.S. Nerve Gas Hit Our Own Troops in Iraq
    • Can the US figure out which groups to support in Syria? Not easily

      As the US grapples with whether it should pursue a larger role in the Syrian War – and just how much military aid to give Iraqi troops battling the Islamic State – it is also trying to figure out how to avoid one of the most basic and nettlesome blunders of all: inadvertently creating a Frankenstein’s monster in the form of corrupt local power brokers.

    • Book Review – “This Must Be the Place: How the U.S. Waged Germ Warfare in the Korean War and Denied It Ever Since”

      There is no historical controversy as contentious or long-lasting as the North Korean and Chinese charges of U.S. use of biological weapons during the Korean War. For those who believe the charges to be false — and that includes much of American academia, but not all — they must assume the burden of explaining why the North Koreans or Chinese made up any bogus claims to attack the credibility of U.S. forces. Because they had no reason to do that.

      It is a historical fact that the United States carpet-bombed and napalmed North Korea, killing nearly 3 million civilians thereby.

      In other words, massive war crimes are already self-evident, and if there is any mystery, it is how historical amnesia and/or callous disregard for crimes such as those committed by the U.S. and its allies in Korea, or the millions killed by the U.S. in Southeast Asia, can go ignored today.

    • Exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky was murdered because he was about to hand Putin evidence of a coup plot, claims former head of security

      Sergei Sokolov says he doesn’t believe Russian tycoon took his own life

      The 67-year-old was found hanging at ex-wife’s Berkshire home in 2013

      Berezovsky had evidence of plot to topple President Putin, it is alleged

      Sokolov claims Russian tycoon was killed by Western security services

      An outspoken critic of Putin, Berezovsky had sent him ‘repentance’ letter

    • C.I.A. Officers and F.B.I. Agents, Meet Your New Partner: The Analyst

      Call it the revenge of the nerds, Washington-style. The gun-toting F.B.I. agent and the swashbuckling C.I.A. undercover officer are being increasingly called upon to share their clout, their budgets and even their Hollywood glamour with the humble, deskbound intelligence analyst.

    • FBI plays nice with other spooks, but needs to spy smarter – report

      FBI’s cooperation with the CIA and NSA is better than ever, but more is needed to make the Bureau a truly global intelligence and investigative agency, says a newly released US government report on agency’s post-9/11 transformation.

    • Ecuadorian President Says The CIA Is Attempting To Overthrow His Government

      The CIA has a history of contributing to coups in Ecuador. Back in 1963, the CIA led a coup which deposed President Carlos Julio Arosemena because he criticized the United States and supported Fidel Castro’s revolution in Cuba.

    • A CIA Spy’s Fantasy About Kurdistan!

      I don’t believe Kurdistan is a pipedream, but a real-life dream that can come true, and bring freedom to 40 million Kurds—just as the implosion of the Soviet Union ushered in freedom for fifteen nations. The Middle East is now imploding, and the possibility of a free Kurdistan looms even greater—to the chagrin of our well-meaning author, Graham Fuller, and his beloved Turkish friends.

    • CIA Refuses to Share Updated Intelligence on MH17 Crash – US Journalist

      The US Central Intelligence Agency will not release an updated assessment of the Malaysia MH17 flight crash because it would exonerate the Russian government from involvement, US journalist Robert Parry, known for helping expose the Iran-Contra affair, told Sputnik.

    • More on Menendez and the Mideast madmen – and other fun stuff on the nutty neocons

      Wow, they really think you’re stupid.

      I’m talking about all of those bought-and-paid-for radio talkers as well as the neocon nincompoops posing as conservative pundits.

      They’re trying to convince you that for some reason the Saudis – you know, those people who execute apostates and who funded the 9/11 attacks – are now our allies in the fight against the Houthis in Yemen.

      Do you even know who the Houthis are? Do you know where Yemen is?

    • The Irish Brigadista

      In Ireland there is a place called Morley’s Bridge and it is located on the border between County Cork and Kerry. At this remote spot there is a plaque in memory of a local man.

    • Dangers of warped patriotism
    • Once It was Anarchists Throwing Bombs …

      CIA director John Brennan said on March 13 that the US did not want the Assad regime to collapse. Three days later, secretary of state John Kerry called for discussions with Mr Al Assad rather than, as in the past, his resignation. This was anathema until the fanatics of ISIS unleashed their terror on the region. Apart from setting most of the world against it and bringing succour to the regimes in Damascus and Baghdad that ISIS wanted to destroy, ISIS provided a haven for insane youth from much of the world. If ISIS falls, where will they go?

    • Ron Paul: We Need to March Our Troops Home

      “Before the attack I was accused of exaggerating the potential costs of the war when I warned that it could end up costing as much as $100 billion,” Paul writes. Despite that criticism, Paul may have even been lowballing the total cost. Last March, Reuters estimated that the war continues to cost in excess of $1.7 trillion. And that’s not including the War in Afghanistan.

    • US Imperialism in Haiti. Criminality of the Michel Martelly Regime

      Eleven years after the UN mission began in Haiti, it brought dictatorship, a virulent cholera epidemic, tens of thousands of deaths, rapes of women, men and children and more jails than ever before in Haiti’s 200 year old history.

    • Yes There’s a Bush and a Clinton, but the 2016 Elections Represent Something Scary and New

      Have you ever undertaken some task you felt less than qualified for, but knew that someone needed to do? Consider this piece my version of that, and let me put what I do understand about it in a nutshell: based on developments in our post-9/11 world, we could be watching the birth of a new American political system and way of governing for which, as yet, we have no name.

      And here’s what I find strange: the evidence of this, however inchoate, is all around us and yet it’s as if we can’t bear to take it in or make sense of it or even say that it might be so.

    • Israel killed more Palestinians in 2014 than in any other year since 1967

      Israel killed more Palestinian civilians in 2014 than in any other year since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip began in 1967, a UN report has said.

    • Muslim Convert Who Helped Find Bin Laden Leaves Top CIA Terror Job

      The director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, a dark-suited, anonymous figure known as “Roger,” is leaving the post he has held since 2006.


      He led the agency’s signature program, a relentless series of drone strikes against al-Qaida whose occasional imprecision and lack of legal transparency angered many civilians in the Muslim world. But Roger himself is, by all accounts, a practicing convert to Islam, a religion he embraced upon marrying his Muslim wife.

    • Leader of Iranian force fighting Isis is complicating US efforts, says CIA chief

      The role of the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force in directing Iraqi forces against the Islamic State is complicating the US mission against terrorism and contributing to destabilization in Iraq, the director of the CIA said Sunday.

    • A Conversation With CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou

      But a journalist must be careful too, and I wondered if Kiriakou still felt a romantic attachment to the CIA. In a recent interview with Ken Klippenstein, he acknowledged that the war on terror is as much a war of revenge as it is a paramilitary police and espionage action designed to protect Americans from harm. He acknowledged that drone strikes have killed “dozens” of innocent people at wedding celebrations and “do more to help recruitment for groups like al-Qaeda or ISIS than anything they could do.” He even equated the Al Qaeda fighters he captured with the average American prisoner or soldier – functionally illiterate, lacking job skills, propagandized and manipulated. “So these were not hardened terrorists,” he told Klippenstein, “these were just confused young men.”

    • CIA Document Reveals Ecuador Part of Operation Condor

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

    • CIA report demonstrates the falsehoods propounded over Iraq

      AS we wait for the publication of the Chilcott Inquiry into our involvement in the illegal invasion of Iraq it would appear that events in the United States have provided the evidence that George W Bush and Tony Blair made statements to justify the invasion knowing they were false.

    • George W. Bush gets intelligence group award
    • Ecuador’s Correa Refutes AFP on CIA-Opposition Protest Link

      “If the opposition marches had been organized by the CIA, they wouldn’t have been such colossal failures,” Ecuador’s president said.

    • Ecuador’s Government Accuses AFP of Lying Regarding CIA Protest Link

      Ecuadorean government officials charged the AFP with taking President Rafael Correa’s remarks out of context and publishing a story based on lies.

    • Ecuador denies blaming US for ‘attrition campaign’

      Ecuador has denied that leftist president Rafael Correa had accused the United States of trying to destabilise his government by infiltrating it with spies, according to an official statement.

      Correa had said the US Central Intelligence Agency was trying to “wear down the government” and accused it of helping to organise opposition protests.

    • Ecuador’s President accuses the CIA of plotting against him
    • Correa accuses US of bid to destabilise govt
    • US ‘infiltrating’ Ecuador with spies
    • Agent Orange Funding Opens Door To US Militarism And Covert Action In Vietnam

      The use of Agent Orange constitutes a war crime with devastating effects on the people in Vietnam not only during the war but even today. The U.S. military knew that its use of Agent Orange would be damaging, but, as an Air Force scientist wrote to Congress “because the material was to be used on the enemy, none of us were overly concerned.”

      Ecocide was committed when “the U.S. military sprayed 79 million liters of herbicides and defoliants over about one-seventh of the land area of southern Vietnam.” The 2008-2009 President’s Cancer Panel Report found that nearly five million Vietnamese were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in “400,000 deaths and disabilities and a half million children born with birth defects.”

    • Poroshenko Still at Risk? US Could Hedge Bets on Its Choice of Oligarchs

      While the majority of the internet media presume that the US had already made its choice of oligarchs in Ukraine and has opted to support the head of state, Petro Poroshenko, the German online newspaper Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten believes that Washington might still change its mind and shift the balance of power in favor of Ihor Kolomoiskyi.

    • ‘Why Do They Hate Us?’

      We can take this terrible example as a metaphor for the whole “war on terror,” which has created a self-serving political culture that allows us to silently evade our national responsibility while loudly projecting collective blame onto abstract “others.” If we want a better, saner, more just future, then the “war on terror” must come to an end—and for that to happen, we must become more critical and discerning about the full spectrum of horrors that have occurred (and are still taking place) during this war. “It is part of the mechanism of domination to forbid recognition of the suffering it produces,” the German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote. Only when we face up to our delusions and actions and stop torturing others into silence will we be able to keep ourselves out of the darkness.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Federal CIO Council Named ‘Worst’ in Open Government

      The Federal Chief Information Officers Council is taking home this year’s Rosemary Award for giving the “worst open government performance of 2014.”

    • Secrecy And Democracy Are Incompatible

      It is obvious, almost by definition, that excessive governmental secrecy and true democracy are incompatible. If the people of a country have no idea what their government is doing, they cannot possibly have the influence on decisions that the word “democracy” implies.

    • White House least transparent in 50 years – Former CIA analyst

      McGovern was commenting on the Obama administration’s recent decision to cease accepting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, which stands in stark contrast to the progressive platform Obama ran on as a candidate.

    • US Defends Anti-Iran Group in Defamation Suit, Citing State Secrets

      In a bizarre, first-of-its-kind decision, a US court has dismissed a defamation lawsuit between a Greek shipping magnate and an advocacy group against a “Nuclear Iran.” The reason? Despite the fact that the case involves no government agencies, an unknown official convinced the judge that a trial could reveal critical state secrets.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Slight of Slights: US Neocons Try to Rewrite History of WWII

      While NATO puppets in eastern and central Europe are involved in a propaganda war against Russia and its May 9 Victory Day event, three US ex-ambassadors to Ukraine – Steven Pifer, John Herbst, and William Taylor – have demanded that the leaders of the UK, Germany and France should participate in a WWII Victory in Europe ceremony in Kiev, “a city where neo-Nazis and skinhead mercenaries from around Europe enjoy political and military power,” the author stressed.

    • Clinton talks about a new relationship with the media

      Hillary Clinton has always had a tenuous relationship with the media. But that didn’t stop her from headlining a journalism awards ceremony Monday night.

      “Some of you may be a little surprised to see me here tonight,” Clinton acknowledged. “You know my relationship with the press has been at times, shall we say, complicated.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Are Today’s Spy Tools Tomorrow’s Privacy Invaders?

      The newest toy for children from Mattel is called Hello Barbie and it can converse with your child and record the answers in real time via wifi. It saves that information in the cloud.

    • Op-Ed: CIA-linked Haftar will probably sabotage any Libyan peace deal

      UN envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon, proposed a unity government composed of a three-person presidential council but it also would incorporate the House of Representatives of the Tobruk-based internationally recognized government.

    • CIA Releases More Info on Project Corona

      In 1958, at the height of the Cold War and long before satellite photo reconnaissance was thought possible, President Dwight Eisenhower endorsed a project called Corona.

    • Senators raise new concerns about CIA-aided cellphone tracking

      A powerful bipartisan pair of senators is pressing the Obama administration over the development of spy tools that mimic cell towers in order to track people’s cellphones.

    • Senate Panel Concerned Over CIA Role in Domestic Cellphone Scanning

      The top two lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee are pressing the Justice Department with concerns the Central Intelligence Agency helped domestic law enforcement develop technology to scan U.S. cellphones.

    • One Does Not Simply Send An Email

      Getting one from Index On Censorship was different. This is a group people trust. They’re establishing norms for how we should all behave in the increasingly complicated and networked world of free expression. So I took them to task in a one-sided conversation for having such terrible security norms and endangering their users. They ignored me, which didn’t shock me. When you work in internet security you get used to the world ignoring you. But I figured, the least I owe Index On Censorship, and the many other NGO, newsrooms, small companies, freelancers, and people at home is some ideas on how to improve their security practices.

    • Hotel Wi-Fi not only hideously expensive – it’s horribly insecure

      A major security flaw in a network gateway popular among hoteliers can be exploited by hackers to launch attacks against guests by injecting malware into their downloads over unencrypted connections. Compromised gateways can also be used to infiltrate sensitive areas of a hotel’s network, such as its reservation systems, it’s claimed.

    • No Copies of Clinton Emails on Server, Lawyer Says

      An examination of the server that housed the personal email account that Hillary Rodham Clinton used exclusively when she was secretary of state showed that there are no copies of any emails she sent during her time in office, her lawyer told a congressional committee on Friday.

      After her representatives determined which emails were government-related and which were private, a setting on the account was changed to retain only emails sent in the previous 60 days, her lawyer, David Kendall, said. He said the setting was altered after she gave the records to the government.

    • PATRIOT Act axed, NSA spying halted … wake up, Neo, it’s just a dream in the US House of Reps

      A law bill introduced in the US House of Representatives on Tuesday seeks to abolish the Patriot Act, ban Uncle Sam from forcing backdoors into technology, and safeguard whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.

      Ever since Snowden leaked top-secret files detailing the NSA and GCHQ’s global surveillance of innocent people, there have been calls for reforms – which have sparked little more than tinkering at the edges of the laws enabling the blanket snooping.

    • Silicon Valley spars with Obama over ‘backdoor’ surveillance

      One would be installing so-called “backdoors” in encryption — an access point known only to law enforcement agencies. Security experts find this concept abhorrent, since cyber crooks or foreign intelligence agencies would likely exploit it.

    • Tech Giants Call For “Clear, Strong And Effective End” To NSA’s Phone Metadata Surveillance
    • Tech giants demand end to NSA spying, as Patriot Act is set to expire

      A technology coalition headed by Apple, Microsoft, and Google urged President Barack Obama and other government officials to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone call “metadata.” In a letter addressed to the President and other key figures, the coalition, made up of privacy advocates, technology firms, and trade companies, called the NSA program “untenable,” and urged the House to move forward with reforms.

    • “The authorised information available on this building could be published in a single tweet”

      Under a programme called “Prism” they are keeping records of your phone’s geolocation, harvesting your metadata and tracking your browser history. They are filing and documenting your most intimate details, and as we know from whistleblower Edward Snowden, NSA workers routinely share your nude photos with their colleagues (in an office culture apparently closer to fraternity “bros” than intelligence specialists).

    • The Architects of the NSA’s Top Secret Headquarters Have Been Revealed
    • Quit Facebook to prevent NSA snooping, says EU attorney

      The Commission has also conceded before the European Court of Justice that the Harbour framework can’t ensure the data privacy of European citizens.

    • Lawyer at the European Court Say Facebook & NSA Work Together

      The European Commission Attorney Bernhard Schima has told the Court Of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) the US-EU Safe Harbor framework doesn’t work.

    • Don’t Use Facebook If You’re Worried About NSA Snooping

      “You might consider closing your Facebook account, if you have one,” European Commission attorney Bernhard Schima told attorney-general Yves Bot at the CJEU on Tuesday, suggesting that personal data transferred from Europe to the U.S. isn’t necessarily protected under the U.S.-EU pact, even though the Framework should ensure data privacy and security.

    • Quit Facebook to prevent NSA snooping, says EU attorney
    • Why Wikimedia Just Might Win Its Lawsuit Over NSA Surveillance

      Juliet Barbara, the senior communications manager for Wikimedia, agrees.

      “Mass surveillance is a threat to intellectual freedom and a spirit of inquiry, two of the driving forces behind Wikimedia,” she told Truthdig. “Wikipedia is written by people from around the world who often tackle difficult subjects. Very frequently they choose to remain anonymous, or pseudonymous. This allows them to freely create, contribute and discover without fear of reprisal. Surveillance might be used to reveal sensitive information, create a chilling effect to deter participation, or in extreme instances, identify individual users.”

    • This Is How NSA Spying Screws US Businesses

      According to a filing published by the World Trade Organization Thursday, the United States is outraged by China’s proposed restrictions on US-made information technology in the banking sector – by all accounts a reaction to the disclosure of secret documents by former NSA contractor Edwards Snowden.

    • New documents expose New Zealand surveillance of Solomon Islands
    • New Zealand used NSA data to spy on rival trade leader candidates

      Want to understand why far-reaching, poorly scrutinized spying programs are dangerous? Here’s why. The Intercept and the New Zealand Herald have obtained a document showing that New Zealand used the US National Security Agency’s XKeyscore surveillance system to spy on other countries’ candidates for the World Trade Organization’s director general role. The 2013 snooping campaign searched for keywords in communications that referenced New Zealand’s own candidate (Minister of Trade Tim Groser, above), the competition and the WTO itself. Any relevant results were passed on to a “trade team” within the country’s surveillance agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau, which is rather alarming when the leadership run had nothing to do with national security.

    • Texas Action Alert: No Resources for NSA Spying, Support HB3916

      Texas is home to a massive physical NSA facility that relies on the independent Texas power grid to operate. That power is provided by the country’s largest public utility, and Texas can turn it off by passing HB3916. (learn more here) It has been referred to the House State Affairs Committee.

    • Which Apps Expose Your Data to the NSA’s Spying?

      A recent Pew Research Center report found that some Internet users have changed their use of social networking services, apps, email, and even search engines as a result of former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations about the government’s pervasive online surveillance. So how does your smartphone — the device that many of us find indispensable in our day-to-day lives — have the potential to expose your personal data and your online activity to government snooping? How does your mobile device protect your anonymity, and how does it leave your communications vulnerable to interception by the NSA and other intelligence agencies?

    • Rights groups call foul as French snooping bill gives state NSA-like powers

      The new law would give French spy agencies the power to hack into computers and spy on anyone linked to a “terrorist” inquiry – without having to obtain a judicial warrant first.

    • Key Democrat: Congress Won’t Tackle NSA Reform Before Cybersecurity

      “High-level” discussions on surveillance overhaul aren’t taking place, Rep. Adam Schiff said.

    • NSA and British Intelligence Squad Monitor Cell Phones for Data Hacking

      Of late, American and British hackers have maximized crime by encroaching to hack database of the largest SIM card selling company. They have collected million tons of data from these SIM cards and they distorted the facts. It is a well fabricated crime and it is also heinous. On the other hand, NSA and GCHQ agencies have upgraded an encrypted key to break the privacy of people. They collected the configuration of privacy codes used by Gemalto to upgrade the chips of mobile phones. So it is now easier for NSA to steal valuable information from people.

    • Austrian Lawmakers ‘Terminate Silence’ Over NSA Spying (Der Standard, Austria)

      “NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden warned of how U.S. intelligence works with a number of E.U. countries that filter out traffic belonging to their own citizens. However, because of the number of collaborating countries, the U.S. is ultimately able to obtain data on all E.U. citizens. … Parliament members are in broad agreement that it is unacceptable for foreign intelligence services to conduct legally baseless large-scale interception, storage and monitoring of the communications data of Austrian and European citizens. To prevent this from continuing, all legal and diplomatic measures will be taken.”

    • UN To Establish Rapporteur Role To Monitor Privacy Concerns In Wake Of Edward Snowden Leaks

      The United Nations human rights council said it will establish a special rapporteur position to cover privacy-related issues, a move that comes in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass surveillance programs by U.S. and U.K. agencies. The resolution, which was passed by the Geneva-based council on Thursday, was championed by Germany and Brazil, two of the countries that were allegedly most aggressively monitored by foreign espionage services.

    • UN sets up privacy watchdog

      The United Nations has agreed to set up a privacy watchdog in response to the growing concerns of the effects of digital technology on human rights.

      In a debate yesterday, the Human Rights Council adopted four resolutions to create the mandate for a special reporter for the next three year, as well as calling on all members of the UN to support the initiative and comply with requests for information and visits.

    • Cisco’s postal service needs some work

      Exact details about how this works in practice are thin on the ground, but we’re assuming Cisco briefs its customers about its delivery plans beforehand. At least you’d hope.

      It’s also not clear if other tech firms are following Cisco’s lead on this, but we have a sneaky suspicion Royal Mail might be, given how haphazard their deliveries seem to be these days.

    • Metadata and Privacy: Are We Letting the Terrorists Win?

      It is often argued that data retention is necessary to combat terrorism. However, data retention cannot prevent any terrorist attacks. At best it may, as its proponents claim, assist the police to find the culprits and their accomplices after an attack has already taken place.

    • Australia passes controversial new metadata law

      Australia has passed a controversial security law that will require its internet and mobile phone providers to store customer data for two years.

    • Not so simple to protect secret sources under data retention laws
    • Keen to evade data retention? Here’s how to choose a VPN
    • Your guide to the data retention debate: what it is and why it’s bad

      Crikey has been covering data retention for several years, and we’ve written tens of thousands of words in that time explaining what it is, why it’s important and the threat it poses to Australians. We know that a lot of people, especially in the media, have only started to focus on the issue in recent days, so we’ve further expanded this Q&A we prepared last year to take into account recent developments and give you a one-stop document for what will be Australia’s biggest ever mass surveillance regime.

    • Spookception: US spied on Israel spying on US-Iran nuke talks

      Israel spied on the recent US-Iran nuclear talks, alleges America. And the US knows enough about it to say it publicly because the NSA is spying on Israel, along with everyone else.

    • Allies spy on allies all the time. Did Israel do something worse?

      On some level, the reports that Israel spied on Iran-U.S. nuclear talks don’t come as a shock. Just last year, German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported that Israel had eavesdropped on Secretary of State John Kerry during Middle East peace talks. Jonathan Pollard, who was arrested in November 1985 after passing secret documents to Israel while working as a civilian analyst for the U.S. Navy, has become a cause celebre among some Israelis.

    • Security Conundrum lecture series to end with view from Congress and the courts

      Former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall gained notoriety for his vocal opposition to National Security Agency surveillance programs in the wake of the Edward Snowden disclosures of June 2013.

    • Privacy Critics Go 0-2 With Congress’ Cybersecurity Bills

      Over the last month, privacy advocates have slammed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, arguing that it’s surveillance legislation hidden in a security bill’s clothing. But those protests didn’t stop a Senate committee from passing the bill by a vote of 14-1. And now they haven’t stopped the House’s intelligence committee from following in the Senate’s surveillance-friendly footsteps.

    • Why Doesn’t the Intelligence Community Care Whether Its Surveillance Programs Work?

      The House and Senate Intelligence Committee just passed a cybersecurity bill that critics argue isn’t likely to improve cybersecurity. In fact, because it undermines the privacy of electronic communications by encouraging companies to broadly share private data with the government and each other, it may actually damage cybersecurity.

    • Documents Reveal Canada’s Secret Hacking Tactics

      Canada’s electronic surveillance agency has secretly developed an arsenal of cyberweapons capable of stealing data and destroying adversaries’ infrastructure, according to newly revealed classified documents.

      Communications Security Establishment, or CSE, has also covertly hacked into computers across the world to gather intelligence, breaking into networks in Europe, Mexico, the Middle East and North Africa, the documents show.

    • Snowden dump details Canadian spies running false flag ops online

      While the NSA headlines most of Ed Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance, the latest leaked documents reveal the Canadians are a dab hand at cyber-stuff, both defensive and offensive.

      Top-secret files, published by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and The Intercept, show that Canuck intelligence has developed its own technology to keep government servers secure. The EONBLUE system uses a mix of malware signatures and heuristics to identify network threats and maintain communications security.


      Using its own infrastructure, the CSE claims it has the ability to process 125GB of internet communications metadata per hour for intelligence, and store 300TB at a time. In 2009 it collected an average of 112,794 blobs of interesting network traffic every day, in association with “allied sources.”

    • Sharing secrets: Britain & Israel launch £1.2mn cybersecurity project

      A group of British and Israeli academics are set to participate in a £1.2 million cyber security research venture as part of the government’s “long-term economic plan,” the Cabinet Office announced on Tuesday.

      The bilateral project will consist of three cross-border partnerships linking Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv with the University of Bristol and University College London, and Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology with the University of Kent.

    • NSA Phone Surveillance to End Unless Congress Acts
    • FBI Pleads For Crypto Subversion in Congressional Budget Hearing

      In a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing this morning on the FBI budget for the upcoming fiscal year, FBI Director James Comey was again critical of new encryption features from Apple and Google that he claims would make it impossible for law enforcement to access the contents of mobile device communications.

    • FBI told its cyber surveillance programs have actually not gone far enough

      An in-house review of the FBI has found the agency failing to go far enough in its expansion of physical and cyber surveillance programs, urging the bureau to recruit deeper networks of informants and bring its technological abilities up to pace with other intelligence agencies.

    • US Invites Brazil President to Reschedule Cancelled Visit

      Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s office says she has again been invited to make a state visit to Washington, two years after she declined a similar invitation to protest an American spy program.

    • Obama and Rousseff look to improved relations with a visit to the White House

      Rousseff had originally been scheduled to make a state visit, which involves a black-tie dinner at the White House and is considered the strongest expression of friendly ties between allies, in October 2013.

    • EXPOSED: Google, Obama caught doing it once a week

      Google and the White House manage to hook up more than the majority of married couples, having met up once a week for the past five years.

    • The State Is Spying On You Right Now. Where’s The Outrage?

      When Hillary Clinton learned that a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives had subpoenaed her emails as secretary of state and she promptly destroyed half of them—about 33,000—how did she know she could get away with it? Destruction of evidence, particularly government records, constitutes the crime of obstruction of justice.

    • Snowden under siege

      Citizenfour is a portrait of a one person who has chosen to resist the strong arm of the state

    • Robert Unger: Watch ‘Citizenfour’

      Being in the latter part of my life, I surmise that the consequences of my views will be minimally felt if at all. I worry, however, for the future of my two sons, both in their late 20s, as technology employed by the NSA and other government agencies tightens the grip on their every thought and action. As we know from history, increasing monitoring of its citizens (under the banner of security) is virtually always prelude to the establishment of a totalitarian state.

    • In Washington, the Real Power Lies With the Spooks, Eavesdroppers and Assassins

      There are two governments — a double government — operating today in the realm of national security. There’s the one the voting public thinks they control when they go to the polls — what Glennon refers to as the “Madisonian institutions.” Congress, the courts and the presidency.

      And there’s the “Trumanite network,” the labyrinthine national security apparatus that encompasses the military, intelligence and law enforcement communities that Pres. Harry Truman created when he signed the National Security Act of 1947.

    • NZ ambassador hauled before Brazilian foreign minister

      New Zealand’s ambassador to Brazil, Caroline Bilkey, has been called upon to explain leaked documents showing New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) spied on rival candidates for the top job at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

    • Brazil demands an explanation from NZ

      Brazil has demanded an explanation from New Zealand after reports New Zealand’s foreign intelligence agency the GCSB spied on its campaign to get Brazilian diplomat Roberto Azevedo elected as Secretary General of the World Trade Organisation in 2013 – successfully.

      Brazil media have reported that New Zealand’s ambassador in Sao Paulo, Caroline Bilkey, was summoned by the Secretary General of Brazil’s foreign ministry (MRE), Sergio Danese, to explain.

    • Korean Media Uninterested in New Zealand Spying Revelations

      On Tuesday, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key wrapped up a three-day visit to South Korea during which he signed a free trade agreement. As might be expected, the South Korean media covered the visit, focusing mainly on the removal of tariffs and New Zealand’s cooperation in denuclearizing North Korea.

    • ‘We The People Have A Lot Of Work To Do’ Says Schneier In A Must-Read Book On Security And Privacy

      An expert on computer security, Schneier has written over a dozen books in the last 20 years on the subject, some highly technical, but this one is a call to action addressed to a mainstream audience. The impetus for writing such a book, it seems, were the 2013 revelations of the NSA mass surveillance. Schneier worked with The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, helping in the analysis of some of the more technical documents that were leaked by Edward Snowden.

    • From Big Brother to lots of Little Brothers

      Today the bigger threat is from lots of “Little Brothers,” a multitude of corporations, companies, and online mechanisms that want to track your every move.

    • Human rights left out of sight in UK’s new surveillance guidelines

      On Friday, Access and a coalition of civil society organizations, including the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and New America’s Open Technology Institute, called on the Home Office of the United Kingdom to address questions about the lack of human rights protections found in its surveillance authorities.

    • To protect our privacy, make the FISA court act like a real court

      When it comes to the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, however, the FISA court is not acting like a court at all. Originally created to provide a check on the executive branch, the court today behaves more like an adjunct to the intelligence establishment, giving its blanket blessing to mammoth covert programs. The court’s changed role undermines its constitutional underpinnings and raises questions about its ability to exercise meaningful oversight.

    • Cisco small business phones open to remote eavesdropping, calling

      You don’t need to be the NSA to tap calls on Cisco’s SPA 300 and 500 IP phones: An authentication flaw allows potential attackers to do that by default.

      An unpatched vulnerability in the firmware of the SPA 300 and 500 series IP phones, typically used by small businesses, could allow eavesdropping on calls.

    • Edward Snowden’s Smashed Laptop Displayed at the V&A

      Edward Snowden’s laptop and hard drive were destroyed by Guardian editors under pressure from the UK government’s secret services GCHQ

    • US Policies Divorced From Reality Since 9/11 – Edward Snowden
    • US spies feel ‘comfortable’ in Switzerland, afraid of nothing – Snowden

      US spies operate in Switzerland without much fear of being unmasked, because Swiss intelligence, though knowledgeable and very professional, poses no threat to them, former NSA contributor Edward Snowden told Swiss TV.

    • Snowden attorney warns of loss of privacy as law lags

      Wizner said the growth of technology has outpaced the creation of laws to regulate how the government protects the privacy of citizens. He said people don’t realize how much data they create each day when they send text messages, make phone calls, read news online or shop online.

    • ‘US threats’ either typical bullying or Berlin’s excuse not to give Snowden asylum

      Washington’s threat to stop sharing intelligence with Berlin if it offers asylum to Snowden is either US bullying, or a convenient excuse on Berlin’s part to shift the blame for not allowing him to go onto the US, believes former MI5 agent Annie Machon.

    • Snowden Urges Cloud Providers to Take Action Against Mass Surveillance

      If you attended the WHD.global 2015 keynote with former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden on Wednesday morning, it is very likely that you were being watched.

      “Unfortunately in many ways I am the X,” Snowden told the packed conference room at WHD.global. “I expect and accept that at this point I’m going to be scrutinized by every government and every bad actor in the world.”

    • Prince William makes secret trip to GCHQ spy base amid hacking fears

      The second in line to the throne was flown by helicopter to the headquarters of Britain’s elite spy agency for a secret visit amid fears members of the royal family could have their emails and social media hacked by spies.

    • As the Snowden leaks began, there was “fear and panic” in Congress
    • Welcome To Privacy Hell, Also Known As The Internet Of Things

      “There are more devices and more types of devices, so this just gives you more ways for people to track you or hurt you,” Corman, a long-time security expert and cofounder of I Am The Cavalry, says. “What we’ve done is blindly assume that [adding software and connectivity] is always good. And we’re making really horrible, horrible choices.”

    • HP near deal to sell 51% of Chinese networking unit

      HP (NYSE:HPQ) is close to selling a 51% stake in its H3C Technologies Chinese networking hardware unit to state-backed Tsinghua Unigroup, the WSJ reports. Echoing an October report about HP’s sale efforts, the paper states H3C is “worth roughly $5 billion in total.”

    • The Precise (and Narrow) Limits On U.S. Economic Espionage

      The United States’ limits itself in one very narrow context. After acknowledging that the United States engages in economic espionage, DNI Clapper said in 2013: “What we do not do . . . is use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of – or give intelligence we collect to – US companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line.” This very carefully worded statement is the only admitted U.S. limit on economic espionage. Note what it permits. It permits economic espionage of foreign governments and institutions. It even permits theft of trade secrets from foreign firms. It just doesn’t allow such theft “on behalf of” U.S. firms, and it doesn’t permit the government to give the stolen information to U.S. firms.

    • Is the GCSB ‘trade team’ spying on NZ’s TPPA ‘partners’?

      ‘The latest revelations about the GCSB pose a stark question: is the GCSB’s “trade team” spying on governments with whom New Zealand is negotiating international deals, especially th
      e Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)?’, asked University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey.

    • New Zealanders part of global opposition to USA big brother mass surveillance

      The United States’ mass surveillance of internet and phone use flies in the face of global public opinion, says Amnesty International as it published a major poll to launch its worldwide #UnfollowMecampaign.

      The poll, which questioned 15,000 people from 13 countries across every continent, including New Zealand, found that 71% of respondents were strongly opposed to the United States monitoring their internet use.

    • Can the U.S. – EU Safe Harbor Weather the Storm?

      On 24 March, the Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) heard argument on a case that could significantly impact, if not invalidate altogether, the Safe Harbor framework that facilitates the flow of personal data from the European Union (EU) to the US.

  • Civil Rights

    • Guantánamo’s Charade of Justice

      About 85 percent of the 779 men ever held at Guantánamo are no longer there. Most left during the Bush administration. While the number of transfers has been much smaller under the Obama administration, the pace accelerated in the latter part of 2014.

    • Exclusive: TSA’s Secret Behavior Checklist to Spot Terrorists

      Fidgeting, whistling, sweaty palms. Add one point each. Arrogance, a cold penetrating stare, and rigid posture, two points.

      These are just a few of the suspicious signs that the Transportation Security Administration directs its officers to look out for — and score — in airport travelers, according to a confidential TSA document obtained exclusively by The Intercept.

    • Digital Citizenship: from liberal privilege to democratic emancipation

      Enshrined in both national constitutions and international treaties, these democratic precepts ensure that individual citizens can express their views and campaign for causes without fear of persecution or discrimination. Yet, when they were first codified during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries’ modernising revolutions which overthrew aristocratic and priestly despotism in western Europe and North America, these fundamental freedoms were initially restricted to a minority of the population: white male property-owners.


      The recent revelations by Edward Snowden and other whistle-blowers about the American empire’s megalomaniac scheme to spy upon every inhabitant of the planet have discredited ‘the West’s’ self-identification as the global champion of human rights.

    • Whistleblowers and the prosecution loophole

      According to media reports Petraeus plead guilty to one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material for which he may face up to a year in prison. His paltry sentence is a far cry from the many years of prison time that many whistleblowers face when they disclose protected information in an attempt to further the public interest. Petraeus claimed no such motive. He seems only to have wanted to help his mistress and biographer, and Panetta and Vickers shared it with a producer from Hollywood – the common thread between the three stories is that these men both leaked information for purely personal gain and each received little more than a slap on the wrist.

    • Whistleblowers and the Press Heavyweights

      Following the late January guilty verdicts in the espionage trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, more proof emerged — if any more were needed — that many elite mainstream journalists abhor whistleblowers and think they should go to prison when they divulge classified information.

    • Are Leaked Docs Safe With Canadian Reporters?

      Thousands of people in Canada have access to top secret government documents, but if any of them are considering following in the footsteps of Edward Snowden and leaking records to journalists, they will find comparatively few reporters in this country who are capable of protecting them.

      Snowden, an NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower, leaked a massive trove of documents that revealed potentially illegal surveillance programs throughout the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Intelligence agencies in these countries not only monitor the communications of terrorists and foreign states, they also collect private and potentially compromising information from journalists and the public at large.

      However, since the Snowden leaks were made public, only a handful of reporters in Canada have taken steps to secure themselves and their sources. Many investigative reporters and even some national security reporters in Canada are not equipped with email encryption.

    • Beyond Homan Square: US History Is Steeped in Torture

      The fatal shooting of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown at the hands of White police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, not only sparked a nationwide social movement challenging police brutality, but it also amplified media scrutiny of the US legal system. One example is the recent Guardian investigation of a detention facility in Chicago’s Homan Square, where police take people for harsh, off-the-book interrogations without reading them their rights and denying access to attorneys. The facility is deemed “the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site” since suspects are effectively “disappeared.” While this is the first time Homan Square has been discussed in the mainstream press, it hardly represents anything new or unique in Chicago, or in the United States as a whole. If anything, Homan Square reflects a norm rather than a deviation from US legal and national security policy.

    • N.J. First State to Ban Police Militarization Without Local OK

      Last week New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into a law a bill (passed unanimously by both houses) that made his state the first to require local approval before any local law-enforcement agency can accept military equipment from the U.S. government. It won’t be the last.

      Even stronger bills banning the practice, under the so-called “1033 Program” of local law-enforcement agencies dealing directly with the Department of Defense for free military equipment, are pending in Montana, Massachusetts, and Minnesota.

    • The Frank Church Committee: A Fading Legacy

      The Church Committee’s investigation revealed more about the secret, sometimes illegal, work of the nation’s top intelligence agencies than any comparable effort before or since. And it led to reforms meant to rein in the agencies and protect civil liberties, though many of those reforms were weakened in the years following the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

    • A Look at What’s Been Lost to History

      In June 2005, a federal judge ordered the Bush administration to safeguard “all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay.” Five months later, the CIA destroyed hundreds of hours of interrogation videos of suspected terrorists Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who were being held overseas in a network of secret CIA prisons. By the time President George W. Bush acknowledged the existence of those prisons and the prisoners were transferred to Guantanamo, the tapes were long gone.

    • Amy Goodman on Moving from Assessment to Accountability for “The Bush Doctrine” on Terrorism

      “If we really care about national security and being a model for the world of justice,” Goodman says of the George W. Bush administration’s actions after 9/11, we have “to move from assessment to an accounting and to accountability.” She also elicits responses from her fellow forum participants Porter Goss, former CIA director, and John Negroponte, former director of national intelligence, about the U.S.-led Iraq War, and its use of torture.

    • France should fully investigate Guantánamo torture claims

      On March 5, the New York–based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) urged a French Appeals Court to fully investigate claims by three French nationals that they were sexually and physically tortured during their detention at the Guantánamo Bay prison in 2002. But a lack of cooperation from U.S. authorities has stymied the French investigation.

    • Cuba: Not a Terrorist Threat

      As the Obama administration and Cuban negotiators examine the 54-year-old unilateral embargo (or “blockade” as the Cubans refer to it), one obstacle—particularly painful for Cubans and extremely important to American interests—must be addressed: Cuba’s continued presence on the U.S. State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

    • Remembering a Tragic Anniversary: Viola Liuzzo

      Fifty years ago tonight, following the end of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Voting Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, Viola Liuzzo, a 39-year-old Detroit homemaker and mother of five, was shot and killed by a carload of Ku Klux Klansmen. She was the only white woman to lose her life working for the civil rights movement. Her murder helped accelerate passage of the historic Voting Rights Act.

    • Where will anti-terrorism bill lead Canada?

      In the March 2015 edition of Harper’s, a U.S. magazine, Adam Hochschild reviews a book by Karen M. Pate in which she presents her research into the CIA’s secret infiltration of the National Student Association during the 1960s and ’70s.

      Hochschild, a staff writer with Ramparts at the time, became somewhat involved and confirms in his review Pate’s allegations of CIA’s involvement in the National Student Association.

    • Barack Obama to meet with Iraqi prime minister in April

      President Barack Obama will meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at the White House on April 14, the administration announced Monday.

      Al-Abadi has expressed frustration in what he called “slowness” of the U.S.-led international coalition in providing military support against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

    • How crashing drones are exposing secrets about U.S. war operations

      A surveillance mission was exposed last week when a Predator drone crashed in northwest Syria while spying on the home turf of President Bashar al-Assad. U.S. officials believe the drone was shot down, but they haven’t ruled out mechanical failure. Regardless, the wreckage offered the first hard evidence of a U.S. confrontation with Assad’s forces.

    • Some Disturbingly Relevant Legacies of Anticommunism

      The impact of Cold War anticommunism on our national life has been so profound that we no longer recognize how much we’ve lost.

    • Obama to welcome Japanese prime minister for state visit

      The leaders will celebrate the relationship between the nations developed during the 70 years since the end of World War II, according to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

    • U.S. offers Lebanon security training, equipment: Machnouk

      The U.S. is ready to provide Lebanese security services with equipment and training to help them fight terrorism, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said after holding talks with CIA director John O. Brennan.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • CIA director neither confirms nor denies U.S. role in N. Korea’s Internet outage

      CIA Director John Brennan declined Sunday to confirm or deny reports that the United States disrupted North Korea’s Internet system in December in retaliation for Pyongyang’s hack on Sony Entertainment.

      North Korea’s Internet connections suffered outages for a few days in late December after U.S. President Barack Obama blamed the communist nation for the massive hack on Sony and promised a “proportional response.”


Links 28/3/2015: FoundationDB FOSS Shut Down by Apple, European Commission Support for Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 6:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 28/3/2015: FoundationDB OSS Shut Down by Apple, European Commission Support for Free Software

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • The state of open source security

    If there’s a poster child for the challenges facing open source security, it may be Werner Koch, the German developer who wrote and for the last 18 years has toiled to maintain Gnu Privacy Guard (GnuPG), a pillar of the open source software ecosystem.

    Since its first production release in 1999, GnuPG has become one of the most widely used open source security tools in the world, protecting the email communication of everyone from government officials to Edward Snowden.

  • A Data-Driven Look at the Open Source E-Commerce Market

    Compared to Q4 2013, last quarter’s US online sales rose 14.6 percent to a staggering $79.6 billion dollars. This accounted for 6.7 percent of the total US retail sales market. Major trends fueling this growth include the proliferation of mobile devices, faster online checkout flows and improved fulfillment practices.

  • Apple Acquires FoundationDB

    Allegedly, Apple has recently acquired FoundationDB, a company specialized in fast and cost-effective database software.

  • Don’t Let Apple Scare You Away From Open Source

    Earlier this week, Ben Kepes reported here on Forbes that Apple acquired enterprise database startup FoundationDB. As often happens in these situations, FoundationDB stopped accepting new customers for its paid services. But the company’s code repository was also emptied or made private, leaving third party developers dependent upon open source code associated with this database with no official place to get it. Some have been quick to suggest this is a good reason not to build products or services that rely upon open source software. It would be a mistake to believe them.

  • What Happens When Apple Buys a Company You Depend On

    Travis Jeffery is a software developer who’s been using a database system called FoundationDB for a project at his startup. Earlier this week, he noticed that the software had been pulled from the web. He soon received a terse email confirming that the software had been taken down intentionally, but little else. “We have made the decision to evolve our company mission,” it read. “And as of today, we will no longer offer downloads.”

  • The dark side of commercial open source

    Apple’s acquisition of FoundationDB is a warning to all: contribute to the open-source projects you love, or risk losing them.

  • Bazel: Google Build Tool is now Open Source

    Bazel, the tool that Google uses to build the majority of its software has been partially open sourced. According to Google, Bazel is aimed to build “code quickly and reliably” and is “critical to Google’s ability to continue to scale its software development practices as the company grows.”

  • Events

    • Qt Developer Days Videos and passing the torch

      For the past three years, KDAB has had the honor and pleasure to bring you the European Qt Developer Days Conference in Berlin.

    • Linux Seeks Security, Unity

      Linux is expanding its reach, promising to play a significant role in the Internet of Things. But the open source software needs more attention to interoperability, security and its kernel, according to experts at the Embedded Linux Conference here.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Calling Out OkCupid

        Anyways, to the point, I hate to open a can of worms but when I heard this news I thought back to this same time last year and remembered how gung ho OkCupid was over Mozilla’s appointment of Brendan Eich because of his personal beliefs and that they ultimately decided to block all Firefox users.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Red Hat’s Bet on OpenStack, OpenShift Shows Progress

      Yesterday, I reported on Red Hat delivering its fourth quarter and year-end financial results, which were strong. There were some interesting forces driving the numbers, though. In particular, Red Hat is now a couple of years into a strategic shift toward facilitating OpenStack cloud computing for enterprises, and CEO Jim Whitehurst pointed to that fork in the road as beginning to pay off. Here are some more detailed glimpses into Red Hat’s increasingly significant cloud business.

    • OpenStack Kilo Now at Feature Freeze

      We’re now in the stretch run for the OpenStack Kilo platform release.

    • Hadoop Security Still Evolving

      When it comes to security, what does it take to make Hadoop “enterprise ready?”

    • Open Source Cloud Firm GreenQloud to Stop Offering IaaS

      Icelandic cloud provider GreenQloud, which has been a major open source cloud supporter, has informed customers it is closing its public cloud service. The company will go on focusing on selling Apache CloudStack cloud called QStack to be managed by others. The public compute and and storage services are ending in October 2015.

  • Databases

    • Q&A: Databases, Open Source & Virtualisation with CEO Vinay Joosery

      Adding PostgreSQL coverage to the solution has enabled IT operators to manage the three most popular open source databases – MySQL, MongoDB and PostgreSQL – from one ClusterControl platform. The upgrade also boosts increased monitoring capabilities and encryption between MySQL and MariaDB to protect costumers from losing sensitive data.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • 4 keys to success for LibreOffice as a service

      The announcement of LibreOffice Online this week came as welcome news to many people concerned about the paucity of online options for those who want software freedom with their online document solutions. But can open source SaaS succeed?

      The open source community needs a truly open alternative to current mainstream online document collaboration solutions, all of which are compromised by lock-in. LibreOffice Online will offer the full flexibility to deploy in-house or hosted cloud instances while using true open standards for its documents.

    • What will it take to merge LibreOffice and OpenOffice?

      Ordinarily, I’m all for diversity in free software projects. However, I make an exception in the case of LibreOffice and OpenOffice. The sooner they become a single project, the better.

      In other cases, I’m slow to accept arguments against duplication of projects. Combining projects does not automatically make for greater efficiency or quicker development; especially in the beginning, personalities can sabotage or even reverse any gains.


    • Free Software’s Fifth Freedom

      So the next time you’re trying to convince someone of the important of free and open software, and they chime in with the fact that don’t want to change it, try pointing out that by using proprietary code they’re limiting their options for getting it fixed when it inevitably breaks.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Govt wants Open Source Software in all its departments

      The Government of India is soon coming out with an “Open software policy” according to Union Minister for Telecommunications and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad. Speaking at the 3rd Web Ratna Awards ceremony, the Minister mentioned that under the new policy, all proposals for e-governance projects will include a mandatory clause for considering open source software as a preferred option.

    • Microsoft and Oracle are ‘not your trusted friends’, public sector bods

      Software providers such as Microsoft and Oracle are aggressively targeting public sector customers with licence “audit reviews” in a bid to plug falling subscription revenue, according to research.

      Over one-third of the 436 councils surveyed across the UK have been subject to at least one software licence review in the last 20 months, according to a report from software licensing costs advice company Cerno.

    • eGoverment in the Netherlands

      Just a few days ago it was anounced publicly that not only is the Pleio community is hard at work on improving the platform to raise the bar yet again, but that Kolab will be a part of that. A joint development project has been agreed to and is now underway as part of a new Pleio pilot project.

    • EC to create level playing field for open source

      The European Commission will create a level playing field for open source software when procuring new software solutions, it announced on 27 March. Evaluation of open source and proprietary software will take into account their total cost of ownership and exit costs.

    • European Commission Open Source Software Strategy 2014-2017

      Equal treatment in procurement

      Contribution to communities

      Clarification of legal aspects

      Open-source and interoperable Commission-developed software

      Transparency and better communication

    • NHS rolls out Vendor Neutral Archive initiative to open source records

      NHS ENGLAND HAS been talking about the latest strand of its move toward open digital solutions to provide interoperability between the myriad departmental systems that are proprietary, incompatible or just plain disparate.

      The organisation is to adopt Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) as a standard format to store everything from X-rays to scanned letters and patient notes, in order to avoid lock-in with proprietary systems and allow easy sharing of data across the NHS.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Prosecutors: Germanwings co-pilot hid illness from employers before crashing passenger flight

    Investigators didn’t find a suicide note or claim of responsibility at the home of Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, but they did find a torn-up sick note from the day of the plane crash, German authorities said Friday.

  • Andreas Lubitz: Evidence He ‘Hid Illness From His Employer’ In Germanwings Co-Pilot’s Dusseldorf Flat

    The object will now be tested to see if it will illuminate why Lubitz locked the captain out of the cockpit and engaged and reset the autopilot to take the doomed plane from 38,000 feet to just 100ft.

  • Science

    • Silicon Valley gender gap is widening

      Najla Bulous wants to change the face of Silicon Valley.

      The daughter of immigrants from Mexico and Egypt, Bulous is a Harvey Mudd College-trained software engineer. After graduation in May, she’s starting a new job at a Silicon Valley technology giant.

      Bulous knows she isn’t the stereotypical Silicon Valley geek. She didn’t study computer science until college and never intended to major in it. But after just one introductory course, Bulous was hooked on the challenge of mastering problems with lines of code.

      Now this 21-year-old is not just planning a career in technology. She wants a hand in re-engineering the culture of Silicon Valley to be more inclusive of women and people from underrepresented groups.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Confused about the Middle East? So Is the United States

      Since the Arab Spring, many Middle Eastern countries have fallen into political chaos like dominoes. This week’s explosion of conflict in Yemen is just the most recent example. Though many of these conflicts are based on local grievances, they are being exacerbated by the involvement of the region’s larger states, and by the United States.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • What Have Whistleblowers Done for Elite Journalists Lately?

      This attitude is documented and questioned in a piece by John Hanrahan, a former Washington Post reporter who later headed the Fund for Investigative Journalism, that appeared on the pro-whistleblower Expose Facts site (3/24/15) and was reposted as “Journalists Who Hate Whistleblowers” by Consortium News (3/25/15).

  • Privacy

    • Tech Companies, Privacy Advocates Call for NSA Reform

      A group of technology companies, non-profits and privacy and human rights organizations have sent a letter to President Barack Obama, the director of national intelligence and a wide range of Congressional leaders, calling for an end to the bulk collection of phone metadata under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act.

    • Bankrupt RadioShack wants to sell off user data. But the bigger risk is if a Facebook or Google goes bust.

      The demise of RadioShack left techies with one less place to congregate and buy obscure batteries and soldering equipment. And if that wasn’t bad enough, now the bankrupt company is trying to sell off the devotees’ data.

    • New data world order: government can read every Australian like an open book

      The story of your life in metadata is an open book. It paints a picture of where you went, who you spoke with, how long you were there for. What were you doing talking on the phone to the sexually transmitted infections clinic? What were you doing on the street corner where the man was murdered last night?

    • Washington is coming for your personal data

      Little-noticed change to judicial rules gives the FBI greater powers to conduct remote searches, and the ‘zombie bill’ CISA is on the fast track to a Senate vote

    • This Newsletter Was Paranoid About the NSA in 1996, and It Was Eerily Correct

      ​Ever since Edward Snowden leaked thousands of top secret documents to journalists laying bare its most guarded secrets, the NSA, a government agency that was once known as the No Such ​Agency for its love for secrecy, has been thrown in the media limelight.

    • FBI director urges Congress to crack down on encryption

      Speaking before the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey urged Congress to pass legislation requiring tech companies to install backdoors in their encryption programs. These backdoors would allow government agencies to easily intercept the electronic communications of American citizens, the District Sentinel reports.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Radical Humaneness of Norway’s Halden Prison

      The goal of the Norwegian penal system is to get inmates out of it.

    • Why Should Bergdahl Suffer More Than Generals Who Did Far Worse?

      What punishment should Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl receive for allegedly deserting his post in Afghanistan? The answer comes by asking another question: What punishment has been handed out to American generals and politicians whose incompetence caused far more bloodshed and grief than anything Bergdahl did?

      A key thing about justice is that it should be fair — people should be punished no matter their rank or title. The problem with the bloodlust for more action against Bergdahl — beyond his five years of horrific suffering as a Taliban prisoner — is that inept generals, rather than being court-martialed or demoted or reprimanded, have been rewarded and celebrated despite their dereliction in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Leaked Private Emails Reveal Ex-Clinton Aide’s Secret Spy Network

      Starting weeks before Islamic militants attacked the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, longtime Clinton family confidante Sidney Blumenthal supplied intelligence to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gathered by a secret network that included a former CIA clandestine service officer, according to hacked emails from Blumenthal’s account.

    • The Government’s Fixation on Spying and Lying

      When Hillary Clinton learned that a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives had subpoenaed her emails as secretary of state and she promptly destroyed half of them – about 33,000 – how did she know she could get away with it? Destruction of evidence, particularly government records, constitutes the crime of obstruction of justice.

    • Government secrecy in the Obama White House

      As a candidate for president, Barack Obama promised that his would be the most “transparent” administration in American history. It hasn’t worked out that way. Instead, it may be the most secretive, threatening the very fabric of representative democracy, which depends upon the American people and their elected representatives in Congress knowing exactly what government is doingin our name and with our taxpayer dollars.

    • State Department Now Just Making It Up to Explain Away Clinton’s Excesses

      State Department spokesdrone Jen Psaki is now just straight out making things up to explain away the questions surrounding Clinton and her email, and the State Department’s complicity.

      Her “misstatements” can now be debunked with a click of a mouse, which we will do in a moment.

      The devil is in the details on these things, as no one expects to find a notarized document that reads “Yes, I did it all to hide embarrassing stuff from the Freedom of Information Act because dammit it is my turn to be president, signed, Hillary”).

      So let’s drill down.

    • Report: US troops exposed to chemical agents in Iraq are dying — and the Pentagon is covering it up
    • US troops fighting war on drugs got away with raping dozens of Colombian girls: report

      According to an independent report commissioned by the Colombian government and FARC rebels, United States soldiers and military contractors are responsible for sexually abusing at least 54 children between 2003 and 2007 — but they were not prosecuted because of immunity clauses in the American diplomatic treaties with the government.

    • FBI’s Preventative Role: Hygiene for Corporations, Spies for Muslims

      For what it’s worth, Muslim communities increasingly agree that the FBI — and the federal government generally — should not be in the business of CVE. But that’s largely because the government approaches it with the same view Comey does: by thinking immediately of his analysts thinking dark thoughts at Quantico. So if some agency that had credibility — if some agency had credibility — at diverting youth (of all faiths) who might otherwise get caught in an FBI sting, I could support it moving someplace else, but I’m skeptical DHS or any other existing federal agency is that agency right now.

      While the Review doesn’t say explicitly in this section what it wants the FBI to be doing instead of CVE, elsewhere it emphasizes that it wants the FBI to do more racial profiling (AKA “domain awareness”) and run more informants. Thus, I think it fair to argue that the Ed Meese-led panel thinks the FBI should spy on Muslims, not reach out to them. Occupation-style federal intelligence gathering, not community based.

    • Investigator: Inmates forced like gladiators to fight as deputies took bets

      At just 150 pounds, it was hardly fair to pit Ricardo Palikiko Garcia against an opponent well over twice his size. But Garcia had to fight him — or else he’d allegedly face torture.

      Running away was not an option for the inmate locked inside a San Francisco jail.

      Like the gladiators of old, Garcia and others were forced into pugilistic matches, local authorities said. Four sheriff’s deputies then placed bets on their bouts.


Links 27/3/2015: Ubuntu 15.04 Second Beta, Dart 1.9

Posted in News Roundup at 6:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • When SCO Was Cool

    SCO started out here in my neighborhood, essentially, in Santa Cruz, California. It was called The Santa Cruz Operation (hence, SCO). That manifestation of SCO was founded in 1979 by Larry and Doug Michels, a father and son, as a Unix porting and consulting company which, over time, developed its own brand of Unix. In his book “The Art of Unix Programming,” Eric Raymond calls SCO the “first Unix company.”

    As the story goes, the first SCO was sold to Caldera, a Linux company, in 2001 and rebranded The SCO Group, which moved it to Utah and made it a litigation company, and we pretty much know the rest of the story from there.


    So pre-sale SCO –- the original SCO –- wasn’t the evil entity it is now, and by no means is this recollection an endorsement of what the current manifestation is doing in the courts. It just serves as a reminder that sometimes things –- good things –- can go south very quickly and become the complete opposite of what the original folks had in mind.

  • Germanwings: Andreas Lubitz breakdown six years ago offers clue

    In Andreas Lubitz’s home town in western Germany, the sense of disbelief was palpable. Everyone who had encountered the 27-year-old, who grew up dreaming of becoming a pilot, described him as quiet, polite and “normal”.

    Yet, in what German Chancellor Angela Merkel described as a “new, simply incomprehensible” dimension to the Germanwings air disaster, it appeared that Lubitz was responsible for the deaths of 149 people.

  • Hardware

    • Samsung Rumored to Be Eyeing AMD Acquisition

      Samsung may be interested in buying Advanced Micro Devices as it looks to boost its position against such chip-making rivals as Intel and Qualcomm, according to reports coming out of South Korea.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The US is Pushing The World Towards Nuclear War

      NATO countries are to all intents and purposes at war with Russia. The US knows it and Russia knows it too. Unfortunately, most of those living in NATO countries remain blissfully ignorant of this fact.

      The US initiated economic sanctions against Russia, has attacked its currency and has manipulated oil prices to devastate the Russian economy. It was behind the coup in Ukraine and is now escalating tensions by placing troops in Europe and supporting a bunch of neo-fascists that it brought to power. Yet the bought and paid for corporate media in the West keeps the majority of the Western public in ignorance by depicting Russia as the aggressor.

    • A Few Words on the Least Surprising Op-Ed of 2015
    • Sensitive Military Gear Ended up on EBay, Craiglist

      The Pentagon lost track of sensitive equipment from a $750 million program to help U.S. soldiers spot roadside bombs — and some of it wound up for sale on eBay, Craigslist and other websites, according to a Navy intelligence document obtained by The Intercept.

    • Why Won’t the Post Name CIA Counterterrorism Chief Michael D’Andrea?

      The Washington Post reported this morning that, pursuant to CIA Director John Brennan’s vaunted re-organization plans, the chief of the agency’s counterterrorism center has been unceremoniously reassigned. The newspaper declined to report this name, however: Michael D’Andrea.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Court Accepts DOJ’s ‘State Secrets’ Claim to Protect Shadowy Neocons: a New Low

      A truly stunning debasement of the U.S. justice system just occurred through the joint efforts of the Obama Justice Department and a meek and frightened Obama-appointed federal judge, Edgardo Ramos, all in order to protect an extremist neocon front group from scrutiny and accountability. The details are crucial for understanding the magnitude of the abuse here.

  • Finance

    • Despite Leak Of TPP Text, Obama Officials Say Trade Deal Will Not Let Companies Overturn US Laws

      Less than three weeks after a classified draft of its proposed 12-nation trade pact included provisions that critics say empower foreign companies to overturn domestic regulations, the Obama administration explicitly declared that the deal would not permit such actions. The declaration came in an email challenging the veracity of a report about earlier leaks of language in the proposed agreement.

      The email challenged an International Business Times report noting the details of a 2013 draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That draft proposed to let foreign companies file lawsuits in international tribunals seeking payments for financial losses incurred by domestic laws — a power that critics say could ultimately compel governments to overturn those laws, for fear of facing even more lawsuits and damage payments.

    • TPP ISDS is rigged to advantage U.S.

      Wikileaks has released the “Investment Chapter” from the secret negotiations of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement. It contains the highly controversial investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS), which makes it possible for multinational to sue states for international tribunals.

    • Corporate Sovereignty Provisions Of TPP Agreement Leaked Via Wikileaks: Would Massively Undermine Government Sovereignty

      For years now, we’ve been warning about the problematic “ISDS” — “investor state dispute settlement” mechanisms that are a large part of the big trade agreements that countries have been negotiating. As we’ve noted, the ISDS name is designed to be boring, in an effort to hide the true impact — but the reality is that these provisions provide corporate sovereignty, elevating the power of corporations to put them above the power of local governments. If you thought “corporate personhood” was a problem, corporate sovereignty takes things to a whole new level — letting companies take foreign governments to special private “tribunals” if they think that regulations passed in those countries are somehow unfair. Existing corporate sovereignty provisions have led to things like Big Tobacco threatening to sue small countries for considering anti-smoking legislation and pharma giant Eli Lilly demanding $500 million from Canada, because Canada dared to reject some of its patents noting (correctly) that the drugs didn’t appear to be any improvement over existing drugs.

    • CREDO: Leaked TPP chapter confirms our worst fears about disastrous trade agreement
    • Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Suits Against U.S.

      An ambitious 12-nation trade accord pushed by President Obama would allow foreign corporations to sue the United States government for actions that undermine their investment “expectations” and hurt their business, according to a classified document.

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership — a cornerstone of Mr. Obama’s remaining economic agenda — would grant broad powers to multinational companies operating in North America, South America and Asia. Under the accord, still under negotiation but nearing completion, companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations.

    • The Trans-Pacific Partnership clause everyone should oppose

      The United States is in the final stages of negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive free-trade agreement with Mexico, Canada, Japan, Singapore and seven other countries. Who will benefit from the TPP? American workers? Consumers? Small businesses? Taxpayers? Or the biggest multinational corporations in the world?

    • WikiLeaks Reveals TPP Proposal Allowing Corporations to Sue Nations
    • How The Leaked TPP ISDS Chapter Threatens Intellectual Property Limitations and Exceptions
    • New TPPA Investment Leak Confirms NZ Surrender to US

      The controversial investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) has just been posted by Wikileaks, along with an analysis by Washington-based Public Citizen. Dated 20 January 2015, at the start of the negotiating round in New York, it clearly shows the governments has capitulated to US demands.

      ‘We haven’t seen a text since 2012’, said Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey. ‘Today’s leaked text confirms all our worst fears.’

    • WikiLeaks reveals local health and environment rules under threat

      Australian health, environment and public welfare regulation, including plain tobacco packaging legislation, will be open for challenge from largely US-based corporations, if a new deal that is part of the Trans Pacific Partnership goes through.

      WikiLeaks has revealed that the Australian government is close to agreement on a wide-ranging trade deal that could allow multinational corporations to challenge these regulations as well as local food safety standards. The new TPP free trade agreement will cover approximately 40 per cent of the world economy.

      Intellectual property law expert, Australian National University Associate Professor Matthew Rimmer says the WikiLeaks publication is “a bombshell” that will “galvanise resistance and opposition to fast-tracking of this mega trade deal”.

    • Govt must be more transparent on investor state clauses

      The Government must be more transparent around the draft investor state dispute settlements in the TPPA, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson.

      “Labour is pro trade, and is proud of the FTA we negotiated with China, which includes well drafted ISDS provisions. We also support the FTA with South Korea.

    • TPP: Australia pushes against ISDS in trade agreement, WikiLeaks reveals

      Australia appears to be the lone holdout – for now – to a key section of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that details how multinational companies could take legal actions against governments over decisions they consider detrimental to their interests.

      WikiLeaks today revealed the controversial investment chapter of the TPP, which shows the intent of negotiating parties, led by the US, to create a supra-national court where foreign firms could sue states using investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses and overrule their national court systems.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • RT vs. MSM Propaganda in the New Cold War

      US government officials are calling to overhaul the state funded media apparatus and focus on counter-propaganda against hostile nations, according to a report seen by Reuters.

      The study was written by two former Western state funded news employees, Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) governor and Radio France Europe/Radio Liberty vice president, who declared the US is losing the information war to adversaries. Despite its annual $730 million budget, the BBG is asking Congress for an additional $15 million to combat Russian media specifically.

  • Privacy

    • Bryce Edwards: The ramifications of the spying scandal

      How much longer can the GCSB spying scandal run? Nicky Hager recently told the radio station bFM that “in some respects we’re only just at the beginning of what people are going to find out”. This continued drip-feeding of information about what our spies have really been up to will not bring down the Government or lose National the Northland by-election, but the ongoing revelations might still seriously tarnish New Zealand’s international reputation, as well as erode the public’s faith in its surveillance institutions.

    • Govt accused of spying for political purposes

      Opposition parties have used Parliament’s question time to accuse the Government of using the country’s spy agencies for its own political purposes.

    • Inquiry into electronic surveillance agency launched

      An inquiry into the activities of New Zealand’s electronic surveillance agency has been launched by the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security.

    • GCSB will be investigated over claims New Zealanders spied on in Pacific
    • New Zealand spooks face South Pacific dragnet probe

      New Zealand’s inspector-general of intelligence and security is launching an inquiry into allegations that the Government Communications Security Bureau intercepted the communications of New Zealanders in the South Pacific.

    • Inquiry Launched into New Zealand Mass Surveillance

      New Zealand’s spy agency watchdog is launching an investigation into the scope of the country’s secret surveillance operations following a series of reports from The Intercept and its partners.

      On Thursday, Cheryl Gwyn, New Zealand’s inspector-general of intelligence and security, announced that she would be opening an inquiry after receiving complaints about spying being conducted in the South Pacific by eavesdropping agency Government Communications Security Bureau, or GCSB.

      In a press release, Gwyn’s office said: “The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data.”

      This month, The Intercept has shined a light on the GCSB’s surveillance with investigative reports produced in partnership with the New Zealand Herald, Herald on Sunday, and Sunday-Star-Times.

    • New Zealand’s XKEYSCORE Use

      For a while, I have believed that there are at least three leakers inside the Five Eyes intelligence community, plus another CIA leaker. What I have called Leaker #2 has previously revealed XKEYSCORE rules. Whether this new disclosure is from Leaker #2 or a new Leaker #5, I have no idea. I hope someone is keeping a list.

    • FBI director urges Congress to crack down on encryption

      Speaking before the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey urged Congress to pass legislation requiring tech companies to install backdoors in their encryption programs. These backdoors would allow government agencies to easily intercept the electronic communications of American citizens, the District Sentinel reports.

    • Big Vulnerability in Hotel Wi-Fi Router Puts Guests at Risk

      Guests at hundreds of hotels around the world are susceptible to serious hacks because of routers that many hotel chains depend on for their Wi-Fi networks. Researchers have discovered a vulnerability in the systems, which would allow an attacker to distribute malware to guests, monitor and record data sent over the network, and even possibly gain access to the hotel’s reservation and keycard systems.

    • Special ops troops using flawed intel software

      Special operations troops heading to war zones are asking for commercial intelligence analysis software they say will help their missions. But their requests are languishing, and they are being ordered to use a flawed, in-house system preferred by the Pentagon, according to government records and interviews.

      Over the last four months, six Army special operations units about to be deployed into Afghanistan, Iraq and other hostile environments have requested intelligence software made by Palantir, a Silicon Valley company that has synthesized data for the CIA, the Navy SEALs and the country’s largest banks, among other government and private entities.

    • Passphrases That You Can Memorize — But That Even the NSA Can’t Guess

      It’s getting easier to secure your digital privacy. iPhones now encrypt a great deal of personal information; hard drives on Mac and Windows 8.1 computers are now automatically locked down; even Facebook, which made a fortune on open sharing, is providing end-to-end encryption in the chat tool WhatsApp. But none of this technology offers as much protection as you may think if you don’t know how to come up with a good passphrase.

    • Australia outlaws warrant canaries

      The exceptionally broad new surveillance bill lets the government do nearly unlimited warrantless mass surveillance, even of lawyer-client privileged communications, and bans warrant canaries, making it an offense to “disclose information about the existence or non-existence” of a warrant to spy on journalists.

    • NSA Doesn’t Need to Spy on Your Calls to Learn Your Secrets

      Governments and corporations gather, store, and analyze the tremendous amount of data we chuff out as we move through our digitized lives. Often this is without our knowledge, and typically without our consent. Based on this data, they draw conclusions about us that we might disagree with or object to, and that can impact our lives in profound ways. We may not like to admit it, but we are under mass surveillance.

    • Police continued spying on Labour activists after their election as MPs

      Police conducted spying operations on a string of Labour politicians during the 1990s, covertly monitoring them even after they had been elected to the House of Commons, a whistleblower has revealed.

      Peter Francis, a former undercover police officer, said he read secret files on 10 MPs during his 11 years working for the Metropolitan police’s special branch. They include Labour’s current deputy leader, Harriet Harman, the former cabinet minister Peter Hain and the former home secretary Jack Straw.

    • As crypto wars begin, FBI silently removes sensible advice to encrypt your devices

      The FBI used to publish excellent advice about encrypting your devices to keep your data secure when your stuff is lost or stolen; this advice has been silently dropped now that FBI Director James Comey is trying to stop manufacturers from using crypto by default.

      The FBI has joined with others, like UK Prime Minister David Cameron in calls to end the use of effective cryptography because it makes it harder to spy on people.

    • Italy drops measure allowing remote computer searches

      The measure would have made Italy “the first European country that explicitly and broadly legalised and authorised the state to conduct remote computer searches and use spyware,” said lawmaker Stefano Quintarelli, a member of a small centrist party that supports the governing coalition.

  • Civil Rights

    • Ron Wyden, the Internet’s senator

      When Ron Wyden arrived in the U.S. Senate in 1996, he was determined to focus on more than just trees.

      In the mid-1990s, Oregon, Wyden’s home state, was best known for environmental industries, like forestry. But Wyden, a Democrat who had just won a special Senate election after serving eight terms in the House, wanted to expand his portfolio.

      “I said, ‘I am gonna be a fierce advocate for Oregon’s resource-dependent communities and jobs in forestry,’” Wyden told the Daily Dot during a recent interview, “and I made the judgment that we had to get into some additional areas.”

    • Student cleared of London terror charge after partially secret trial

      A man who faced accusations that he was plotting to mount an Islamic State-inspired gun or bomb attack on the streets of London has been acquitted after a highly secretive Old Bailey trial.

      Erol Incedal, 27, was cleared of preparation of acts of terrorism after a four-week retrial in which large parts of the evidence were heard inside a locked courtroom.

      Incedal broke down and wept as the jury returned a majority verdict after 27 hours of deliberation.

    • Report: DEA agents had ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes hired by drug cartels

      Drug Enforcement Administration agents allegedly had “sex parties” with prostitutes hired by local drug cartels overseas over a period of several years, according to a report released Thursday by the Justice Department’s watchdog.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Convention on online advertising: increased circumvention of the law in the name of fighting piracy

        The Minister of Culture announced yesterday a plan of action for the fight against piracy and an agreement (fr) on online advertising negotiated between advertisers, advertising agencies and rightsholders under the supervision of the government. This agreement confirms the fears La Quadrature du Net has expressed over the last several months about the growing threat of repressive online policy (fr). It organises a system in which identifying “massively infringing sites” is relegated to advertising companies while circumventing the law, which alone should be authorised to decide about this in order to adequately guarantee freedom of expression and the right to information. This new development marks a step towards the creation of a private police force in the name of intellectual property rights.


Links 26/3/2015: GNOME 3.16 Officially Released

Posted in News Roundup at 1:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Poll: Linux Use by Software Developers & Researchers
  • Yes, Using That Other OS Can Hurt Your Business

    A game was delayed because the computer used to run the scoreboard insisted on updating that other OS instead of getting on with business. Something that would take mere seconds with GNU/Linux took minutes, delaying the game.

  • Desktop

    • Hands-On: Linux UEFI multi-boot, part two

      I’m going to start this post by saying something that a lot of people will find surprising.

      There are a lot of things that I like about UEFI firmware and the UEFI boot process.

      I think it is an improvement over the old MBR boot system in some very useful and practical ways. Unfortunately Microsoft has turned it into yet another way to make things significantly more difficult for those who want to boot any non-Microsoft operating system.

  • Server

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.16 is out!

        What happened since 3.14? Quite a bit, and a number of unfinished projects will hopefully come to fruition in the coming months.

      • GNOME 3.16 Released

        The GNOME Project is proud to announce the release of GNOME 3.16 today, the result of six months work, which includes 33,525 changes by 1043 authors. GNOME 3.16 brings a brand new notification system in response to the feedback of enthusiastic GNOME users. GNOME 3’s visuals have also received a refresh, and its application suite has been updated, with improvements to Files, Music, Photos, Maps and more.

      • GNOME 3.16 released
      • GNOME 3.16 released
      • GNOME 3.16 Has Been Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

        The highly anticipated GNOME 3.16 update has just been announced today, March 25, on the official website of the acclaimed open-source desktop environment used in numerous GNU/Linux operating systems. This is a major release that includes countless new features, updated components, and dozens of bug fixes.

      • Introducing GNOME 3.16, the Best GNOME Release Yet – Video


      • GNOME 3.16 is here — the best Linux desktop environment gets better

        Linux-based operating systems are a staple in my computing life. With that said, as much as I love the kernel and associated distributions, my true love is the GNOME 3 desktop environment. While version 3 has historically been a rather polarizing desktop, its subsequent point releases have greatly improved its reputation.

      • GNOME 3.16 Released With New Notification System, Updated Visuals [Video, Screenshots]

        GNOME 3.16 was released today and it includes some important changes, like a new notification system, updated visuals, 3 new preview applications and much more. Read on to find out what’s new!

  • Distributions

    • Neptune 4.3.1 Linux Distro Released to Fix an Installation Issue with EXT4 Partitions

      Only four days after announcing the release of Neptune 4.3 Linux operating system for computers, its developer published a new ISO image for the distribution, which has been updated to version 4.3.1, as users reported that they were unable to install the distribution on EXT4 partitions.

    • Hands-on learning with “Linux From Scratch”

      Almost ten years ago, I used a computer for the first time. I mean I had heard a lot and seen computers in action in movies but I had never touched, let alone, used one before then. I will never forget that late summer morning when I switched on a computer for the first time. A deep hunger was ignited within me and ever since that day I have had an insatiable hunger to learn more about ICT gadgets.

      A year later when I was introduced to computers one of the first things I Googled, inspired by Angelina Jolie’s Hackers movie, was how to be a hacker.

    • Zorin OS: Can I keep it, please?

      As it happened, I had just been testing Zorin OS 8 on a USB stick, on my own laptop. I loved the way Zorin Look Changer can make your computer look like what you might be used to at work, or on your own machine – XP, 2000, 7 (and even OS X, if you use the Ultimate version). The range of software that is included is amazing, too – games, office stuff, apps that let you edit photographs and even video. There are heaps more, but the list would be too long to include here.

    • An introduction of library operating system for Linux
    • Reviews

      • Deepin 2014.2 review

        Deepin 2014 was a major release of Deepin (formerly Linux Deepin), a desktop distribution developed by some good folks in China. Though based on Ubuntu Desktop, the distribution features a custom desktop environment instead of the Unity Desktop of its parent distribution.

        That desktop environment, which is called Deepin Desktop Environment, is what gives the distribution a very unique look and feel.

        This is a cursory review of Deepin 2014.2, which is a point update to Deepin 2014. for a more detailed review of the 2014 releases, see Deepin 2014 review.

    • Screenshots

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Hewlett-Packard Platinum Sponsor of DebConf15

        With this additional commitment as Platinum Sponsor, HP contributes to make possible our annual conference, and directly supports the progress of Debian and Free Software, helping to strengthen the community who continue to collaborate on their Debian projects throughout the rest of the year.

      • Working towards a child-friendly DebConf

        The Debian Project will celebrate its 22nd birthday during DebConf15 in Heidelberg in August 2015. At this age, it’s unsurprising that children of Debian contributors have attended our developer conference for several years.

      • Derivatives

        • New SteamOS Beta Arrives with Updated Nvidia Video Drivers, Uses Linux Kernel 3.10.5

          Valve has announced earlier today, March 25, the immediate availability for download and testing of a new Beta version for its awesome SteamOS Linux operating system for gamers. SteamOS Update 157 has been pushed to the Alchemist Beta channel a few hours ago and the ISO images are now available for download.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • New Ubuntu Phone Flash Sale Confirmed for March 26

            Canonical confirmed a few minutes ago on their Twitter and Facebook accounts that a new flash sale of the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition smartphone will take place tomorrow morning, on March 26, starting 9 AM CET (Central European Time). BQ already started shipping the Ubuntu phones to users from the European Union, so it should arrive quickly this time.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) Final Beta Freeze Is Now in Effect, Will Be Released on March 26

            Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) is getting closer and closer to a final release, which will be unveiled by Canonical next month, on April 23, 2015. The Final Beta will arrive tomorrow, March 26, for all editions, including Ubuntu itself, which did not had an Alpha or Beta release until now.

          • Win an Ubuntu Phone, Here Are the Details

            Canonical has announced earlier today, on their website and Twitter account, that they’re giving away an Ubuntu Phone device to the winner of an origami contest related to the Ubuntu 14.10 mascot, the Utopic Unicorn.

          • Ubuntu And Ericsson Partner To Helps Telcos Achieve Flexibility

            Ericsson is a monster in the telecommunications industry. The company, which provides products and services upon which telcos themselves build their businesses, has a network spread that sees 40 percent of the world’s mobile traffic, and some 2.5 billion mobile subscribers globally pass through its equipment. Quite simply, in the telco market, what Ericsson does matter greatly. So in this vein, and given Ericsson’s investments in the cloud space, it is interesting to hear of a partnership between Canonical, the open source company best known for the Ubuntu operating system, and Ericsson.

          • BQ Is Cleaning Up Their Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Kernel

            Last week we relayed the article by Carsten Munk of Jolla about the kernel of the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Phone being a mess. Since then, it looks like BQ and Ubuntu developers have taken to cleaning up the kernel source tree.

          • BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition Unboxing – Video

            We are extremely happy to report that the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition smartphone, which will be known forever as the first Ubuntu Phone device made, has just arrived today at our headquarters in the European Union, so we’ve decided to make a short unboxing video to show you guys what’s in the box.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Blueberry: LinuxMint’s Brand New Bluetooth Configuration Tool

              Clement Lefebvre, the Founder and lead developer of LinuxMint, has introduced the brand new bluetooth setup and configuration tool called “Blueberry”. It is a front-end for Gnome-bluetooth-3.14, and it shows a systray icon in your panel and doesn’t annoy you if you don’t have a Bluetooth adapter. It works on any Desktop environment, including MATE, Cinnamon, GNOME, XFCE, and Unity. And ofcourse, it should work on any distribution as long as gnome-bluetooth 3.14 is installed.

            • Bodacious Bodhi Broadens Linux Desktop

              Bodhi Linux is based on Ubuntu 12.04 and Enlightenment 17.04. It uses a modular structure that provides a high level of customization and selections of themes. Bodhi’s philosophy is built around minimalism and user choice, aiming to strike a balance between providing nothing but a command-line interface, and including everything plus the kitchen sink.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Building a SNES emulator with a Raspberry Pi and a PS3 gamepad

      It’s been a while since I did this, but I got some people asking me lately about how exactly I did it and I thought it could be nice to write a post answering that question. Actually, it would be a nice thing for me to have anyway at least as “documentation”, so here it is.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

      • Android

        • Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 Update Rumors Emerge

          Samsung is still rolling out Android 5.0.1 and Android 5.0.2 Lollipop updates and rumors suggest that it hasn’t begun work on Galaxy Android 5.1 updates. That said, a new round of Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 Lollipop update rumors reveals some potential Galaxy Android 5.1 update details for some of Samsung’s biggest names.

        • Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Release: 10 Things to Expect
        • Run this Installer Hijacking Scanner app to see if your older Android phone is at risk
        • How to enable one of the best security features in Android Lollipop
        • Android 5.0 Lollipop beginning to roll out for the AT&T Galaxy Note 3

          Following in the Galaxy Note 4’s footsteps from earlier today, Android 5.0 Lollipop is now beginning to roll out to the AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note 3. The update comes in at a hefty 1.2GB and carries build number N900AUCUEOC1.

        • This is probably the best collection of Material Design apps you’ll ever find

          There is plenty to like in Google’s latest major Android release, Lollipop. It’s faster, lighter and more battery efficient than ever before. The biggest in-your-face change found in Android 5.0 was the new look of the operating system, which Google calls “Material Design.”

        • The four best podcast apps for Android phones

          Podcasts remain a lively and popular forum for online broadcasting, even with a name that calls back to the era of the iPod.

          As an Android user you’ve probably long broken free of the Apple ecosystem, so there will be no searching through iTunes to sync up podcasts with an iPhone. No, you want your podcasts your way, quickly and conveniently on your Android phone.

        • Open source security tool indicates Android app vulnerability spike
        • Five essential must-have apps for Android Wear

          The whole smartwatch shebang is still a rather confusing mini-mess, where manufacturers are not very certain on how to position their gizmos, while users are not entirely sure that a glorified timepiece with the ability to vibrate when you get an email is worth shelling out $300 for. Well, at least that was the case until the recent few months, when smartdevice makers realised that people wouldn’t mind paying a premium price for a watch, as long as it doesn’t look like a fitness tracker with a glowing screen, but actually resembles a timepiece you wouldn’t mind being seen in public with. Nowadays, we have the Moto 360 (which still doesn’t appeal to many, due to simple looks and the infamous cut-off at the bottom of its circular screen), the Asus ZenWatch, and the upcoming LG Watch Urbane, which will surely attract more eyes to the wearable tech market (and we are not even mentioning the amount of traction the Apple Watch will bring along as well).

        • Pioneer’s NEX Series of Android Auto Head Units are Now Available, Range From $700 to $1400

          Pioneer’s line of in-dash multimedia receivers, which were previewed at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, are now available for all through select retailers and online at Pioneer’s website. These units run Android Auto, Google’s OS for vehicles, but also come with Apple CarPlay compatibility built-in, allowing for complete flexibility for a family that runs multiple platforms.

        • Google Maps for Android just got a great new feature iPhone users will be jealous of

          Google Maps for Android and Google Maps for the iPhone may never have true feature parity. This is due in part to the limitations Apple puts in place on third-party application developers, but Google also seems to reserve some features and design elements solely for users of its own mobile platform.

        • Android Wear smartwatches: The benefits for professionals

          With smartwatches and wearables in general, it can be hard see real usefulness through the current hype. Here’s how professionals can leverage Android Wear devices to make their lives easier.

        • A review of Android for Work: Dual-persona support comes to Android

          If you work in an office environment, you probably know a few people—maybe a lot of people—with two smartphones. One is a personal phone full of pictures of the family, games, social networking, and sports stuff, and the other is a company-issued smartphone full of e-mail, appointments, contacts, and documents. With two phones, your IT department has full control over your work data and can remotely wipe it, and they never get to see your personal pictures or other information. It’s a workable setup, but the downside is all the duplication—you have two phones, two chargers, and almost no free pocket space. The other alternative is BYOD—Bring Your Own Device—in which the IT department takes over and installs a bunch of company software to your personal phone.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Using Spark DataFrames for large scale data science

    When we first open sourced Spark, we aimed to provide a simple API for distributed data processing in general-purpose programming languages (Java, Python, Scala). Spark enabled distributed data processing through functional transformations on distributed collections of data (RDDs). This was an incredibly powerful API—tasks that used to take thousands of lines of code to express could be reduced to dozens.

  • Events

    • Checkpoint/Restart Microconference Accepted into 2015 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Checkpoint/restart technology is the basis for live migration as well as its traditional use to take a snapshot of a long-running job. This microconference will focus on the C/R project called CRIU and will bring together people from Canonical, CloudLinux, Georgia Institute of Technology, Google, Parallels, and Qualcomm to discuss CRIU integration with the various containers projects, its use on Android, performance and testing issues and, of course, to show some live demoes. See the Checkpoint/Restart wiki for more information.

    • Energy-Aware Scheduling and CPU Power Management Microconference Accepted into 2015 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Energy efficiency has received considerable attention, for example, the microconference at last year’s Plumbers. However, despite another year’s worth of vigorous efforts, there is still quite a bit left to be desired in Linux’s power management and in its energy-aware scheduling in particular, hence this year’s microconference.

    • Containers Microconference Accepted into 2015 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Over the past year, the advent of Docker has further increased the level of Containers excitement. Additional points of Containers interest include the LXC 1.1 release (which includes CRUI checkpoint/restore, in-container systemd support, and feature-set compatibility across systemd, sysvinit, and upstart), the recently announced merger of OpenVZ and Cloud server, and progress in the kernel namespace and cgroups infrastructure.

    • Chemnitzer Linux-Tage 2015

      Last weekend there was Chemnitzer Linux-Tage, after the dead of LinuxTag in Berlin, Germany’s largest event around Linux and Open Source. I got to this event since the begin and it was like always a lot of visitors, even it was a little bit lsser this year as the years before. I had this year als only one talk, together with Robert Scheck.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox OS ported to MIPS on Ingenic tablet

        Imagination is hosting a raffle for a 9.7-inch, MIPS-based Ingenic tablet that runs a MIPS port of Firefox OS, which will also support its Creator C120 SBC.

        An “experimental” version of Firefox OS has been ported to the MIPS architecture in the form of an unnamed Ingenic reference tablet announced by Imagination Technologies. Imagination designs the IP for the MIPS32 cores and PowerVR SGX540 GPU incorporated in the tablet’s Ingenic XBurst SoC. There are five days left to sign up for an Imagination raffle of 15 of the tablets, which are loaded with Firefox OS, but also support Android 4.4

      • Mozilla cares for community with educational resources

        I love the opportunity and inspiration of open source participation—the chance to tinker with and influence new innovation and social change. Seeing my contributions become part of something bigger continues to be both an empowering and humbling experience.

  • Databases

    • A Cautionary Open Source Tale, Apple Buys And Shutters FoundationDB

      So far so good. Except that almost immediately FoundationDB seemingly excised its very existence from GitHub, the repository where the code for open source projects like this is stored. The FoundationDB repository was devoid of any content after the move. This is in contrast to the day before when the repository was a typical bustling ecosystem of contributors and code.


      There was no warning for this move and while commercial Apple watchers would expect that from a company not well known for its altruism, it’s a very unusual move in the open source world. As Jack Clark from Bloomberg pointed out, this move looks set to incense many…

    • Apple May Have Just Killed An Open Source Project
    • InfluxDB has taken its open-source business to Silicon Valley

      Paul Dix is holding on to his Williamsburg apartment. The CEO and cofounder of InfluxDB has strong personal ties to Brooklyn and it’s unlikely that he’ll totally vacate the place any time soon. However, his investors wanted his time series database company on the West Coast, where they believed it could find the right talent to grow.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • The benefits of decoupling your CMS

      A common disease of software development is the “not-invented-here” syndrome, a tendency to write new implementations instead of leveraging existing solutions. We then just write it as part of the application we’re currently building, thinking it’s a small thing. Over time, such helper or utility classes grow as new things are added, but usually stay tightly coupled to the application.

      This disease also applies to content management applications. By choosing a CMS, you need to accept not only the language it’s written in, but also its editing and administration interface, templating system, databases it supports, and so on. The decoupled content management movement aims to improve this situation.


    • GCC 5 and AutoFDO

      This comes from Google, with some more information at this git repository and the GCC wiki, as far as I can tell. The basic idea is that you can do feedback-directed optimization by low-overhead sampling of your regular binaries instead of a specially instrumented one. It is somewhat less effective (you get approx. half the benefit of full FDO, it seems), but it means you don’t need to write automated, representative benchmarks—you can just sample real use and feed that into the next build.

  • Project Releases

    • glibmm 2.44.0 and gtkmm 3.16.0

      I’ve just done the stable glibmm 2.44.0 and gtkmm 3.16.0 releases with the usual bunch of API additions and deprecations to keep track of the glib and gtkmm API. Thanks to Kjell Ahlstedt in particular for his many well thought-out contributions.

    • Pulp 2.6.0 is available!

      The Pulp team is very happy to announce the release of Pulp 2.6.0!

    • SCAP Workbench 1.1.0

      The new SCAP Workbench is out! This is the biggest release to date. We focused on improving the typical use-case of tailoring and remote scanning. This is also the first release to have Windows and MacOS X support!

    • Keeping up with noisy blog aggregators using PlanetFilter

      I follow a few blog aggregators (or “planets”) and it’s always a struggle to keep up with the amount of posts that some of these get. The best strategy I have found so far to is to filter them so that I remove the blogs I am not interested in, which is why I wrote PlanetFilter.

  • Public Services/Government

    • EP IT department: ‘We should give openness example’

      The European Parliament should give the example for the openness of its software solutions, says Giancarlo Vilella, Director General for DG ITEC, the EP’s IT department, speaking at the Document Freedom Day workshop organised on 25 March by the EP’s Greens and the European Free Alliance. “ICT is a strong tool for democracy”, the Director General says. “We aim to be the avant garde of political institutions.”

    • Centre formulates policy on adoption of open source software

      The IT Ministry has unveiled a ‘Policy on Adoption of Open Source Software for Government of India’ that will encourage the formal adoption and use of Open Source Software (OSS) in government organisations.

      Formulated by the Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY), the policy will enable freedom of use and re-use of ICT assets along with availability of strong OSS community support.

    • European Parliament Leans Towards Free Software

      Of course, there are many more reasons to use FLOSS. “openness” certainly raises the level of confidence one can have in the software but it also increases the reliability and efficiency of the software, things that matter and affect the bottom line. With non-Free software, there are motives to include inefficient code, to do the work of others rather than the users of the software. It also costs less to produce FLOSS since authours can use the works of others to build FLOSS, a great efficiency. Instead of every product needing to re-invent the wheel or pay to use a copy, every product can largely consist of re-used code. This also allows authours to put their full energy into the innovative parts of a product instead of trying to comply with endless restrictive software licences.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Creative Commons for Developer Docs

      Over the last few years, we’ve seen more and more open source projects transition to a Creative Commons license for their documentation. Specifically, most projects tend to use some version of CC-BY-SA. There are some projects that use a permissive code license like Apache or MIT for documentation, and certainly still some that use the GFDL. But for the most part, the trend has been toward CC-BY-SA.

    • It’s now possible to open source your body for medical science

      Medical advancements don’t just happen by themselves. Each new treatment and drug is the result of tireless work by researchers, often working with health data provided by volunteers. However, study participation rates have dropped in recent years, and what data is collected isn’t usually widely available. An initiative called the Open Humans Network hopes to change that by making health data more open and public. It basically offers you a way to donate your body to science without that unpleasant “death” aspect.

    • Open Hardware

      • Leap Motion Faceplate Lets OSVR Head Talk to the Hand

        Open Source Virtual Reality, a platform that aims to unify virtual reality input devices, games and output, and Leap Motion, a company that has established itself in the development of motion-tracking hardware, on Wednesday announced what may be a compelling way to control movements in a virtual reality environment.

      • Leap Motion’s Open Source Virtual Reality support gets real

        Right up front – attached at the faceplate – that’s where you’ll find the Leap Motion tracker on the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit later this year. An announcement has been made by the Open Source Virtual Reality group that suggests Leap Motion is fully onboard – supporting the initiative and preparing their motion tracking equipment to ship with the first developer-aimed hardware later this year. This would make the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit the first VR headset to ship with Leap Motion attached – supposing Oculus VR doesn’t get there first.

      • Razer’s handing open-source VR kits to more than 20 education labs
  • Programming

    • Saving code

      As you probably know by now, Gitorious is shutting down. A lot of history sits on that site, and much of the code is no longer maintained. Browsing around, I ran into the maemo-tools that has not been touched since 2013. There are still some useful stuff there, so I decided to save it. All tool repositories has been cloned to the maemo-tools-old organization on github.

    • PHP 7.0 as Software Collection

      RPM of upcoming major version of PHP 7.0, are available in remi repository for Fedora 20, 21, 22 and Enterprise Linux 6, 7 (RHEL, CentOS, …) in a fresh new Software Collection (php70) allowing its installation beside the system version.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Dump JavaScript for faster Web loading? Let the debate begin

      Can Web pages load faster if they’re not bogged down by slow JavaScript response times? A Web developer in the online publishing space believes this could be the case and has offered a plan for this purpose, but a co-author of the popular Angular.js JavaScript framework has his doubts.

      A proposal entitled “HTML6 proposal for single-page Web apps without JavaScript” has been circulating on a World Wide Web Consortium mailing list and GitHub. “The overall purpose is to reduce response times when loading Web pages,” said Web developer Bobby Mozumder, editor in chief of FutureClaw magazine, who authored the proposal.

    • EC updates overview of standardisation activities

      The European Commission on 24 March published an update to its ‘EU Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation’, the first update in two years. The document provides an overview of the needs for preliminary or complementary ICT standardisation activities in support of EU policy activities. The report covers policy making across different Directorates-General of the European Commission.


  • Germanwings Pilot Was Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash in France

    As officials struggled Wednesday to explain why a jet with 150 people on board crashed in relatively clear skies, an investigator said evidence from a cockpit voice recorder indicated one pilot left the cockpit before the plane’s descent and was unable to get back in.

    A senior military official involved in the investigation described “very smooth, very cool” conversation between the pilots during the early part of the flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf. Then the audio indicated that one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not re-enter.

    “The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer,” the investigator said. “And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer.”

  • French prosecutor says pilot deliberately crashed plane

    The co-pilot of a Germanwings flight that slammed into an Alpine mountainside “intentionally” sent the plane into its doomed descent, a French prosecutor has said.

    Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said on Thursday that the commander left the cockpit, presumably to go to the lavatory, and then was unable to regain access.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • We’re treating soil like dirt. It’s a fatal mistake, as our lives depend on it

      The issue hasn’t changed, but we have. Landowners around the world are now engaged in an orgy of soil destruction so intense that, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, the world on average has just 60 more years of growing crops. Even in Britain, which is spared the tropical downpours that so quickly strip exposed soil from the land, Farmers Weekly reports, we have “only 100 harvests left”.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Architect of CIA’s drone campaign to leave post in watershed moment

      As the architect of that campaign, the CTC chief came to be regarded as an Ahab-like figure known for dark suits and a darker demeanor. He could be merciless toward subordinates but was also revered for his knowledge of terrorist networks and his ability to run an organization that became almost an agency unto itself. He embodied a killing-centric approach to counter­terrorism that enraged many Muslims, even though he is a convert to Islam.

    • Yemen President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi Flees Home As Rebels Close In

      The departure of the close U.S. ally and the imminent fall of the southern port of Aden pushed Yemen further toward a violent collapse. It also threatened to turn the impoverished but strategic country into another proxy battle between the Middle East’s Sunni powers and Shiite-led Iran.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Journalists Who Hate Whistleblowers

      A disturbing trend in mainstream U.S. media is how many “star” journalists side with the government in its persecution of whistleblowers – and even disdain fellow reporters who expose secret wrongdoing, an attitude that is destroying what’s left of American democracy, as John Hanrahan explains.

    • Supreme court clears way for release of secret Prince Charles letters

      The UK supreme court has cleared the way for the publication of secret letters written by Prince Charles to British government ministers, declaring that an attempt by the state to keep them concealed was unlawful.

    • Accidentally Revealed FTC Document Details Some Questionable Google Practices, But Not The Ones Most People Focused On

      Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an article detailing how one part of the FTC, the competition bureau, wanted to go after Google for antitrust violations, claiming it was eventually “overruled” by the FTC’s commissioners who sided with the economic bureau that felt there was no real antitrust violations in Google’s practices. The WSJ got its hands on part of the internal report by accident — saying that the FTC inadvertently handed it over as a response to a different FOIA request, but that it was only part of the internal report. Late yesterday, the WSJ released the document it received (which you can see here in PDF form). Somewhat bizarrely, it’s every other page of the report, suggesting some sort of weird screwup inside the FTC.

  • Finance

    • The Case Against Raising Interest Rates Is Simple, Despite WaPo’s Efforts to Confuse It

      We yelled as loudly as we possibly could that there was a huge housing bubble that would sink the economy when it burst. Of course, papers like the Washington Post did not pay attention to us, because it did not fit their story that the Fed was an economic superman. Such nonsense was the conventional wisdom at the time, and the paper did not want to give those who challenged the claim a voice. Now it wants to pretend that people who understood the basic economics of the housing bubble, and the stock bubble before it, did not exist.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Manipulating Wikipedia to Promote a Bogus Business School

      No idea what “ArbCom” is? You’re not the only one. It’s the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee, the highest court in Wikipedia land. And Wifione was a Wikipedia “administrator” account, run by persons unknown, that was accused of manipulating the Wikipedia site of an unaccredited business school in India by deleting links to numerous media reports alleging it scammed students into paying hefty sums for worthless degrees.

    • New York Times Turns Ads Off On ‘Sensitive’ Stories

      There are no Google results for the tag, so it looks like it hasn’t been documented, but it seems like a pretty low-tech way to keep possibly insensitive ads off a very sensitive story—an admirable effort. It’s interesting in part because it’s almost an acknowledgement that ads are invasive and uncomfortable. They cross over into the intolerable range when we’re emotionally vulnerable from a tragic story. Advertisers know this too, and the New York Times might stipulate in contracts they’ll try to keep ads off sensitive pages.

    • Fox Claims That FBI Report That Doesn’t Cover Mass Shootings Falsified Mass Shooting Data

      Fox News relied on claims from discredited gun researcher John Lott to falsely suggest that an FBI report inflated the occurrence of mass shootings, possibly for political reasons. In fact, the report in question covered only “active shooter situations” and explicitly noted in its introduction, “This is not a study of mass killings or mass shootings.”

  • Censorship

    • UK Blocking More Than 100 Pirate Sites After New Court Order

      Major UK Internet providers must now block more than 100 piracy related websites after a new High Court order. The latest blocking round was issued on behalf of the major record labels and targets several MP3 download sites such as stafaband.info, rnbxclusive.se and plixid.com, as well as a search engine for the cloud hosting service Mega.co.nz.

    • How The Copyright Industry Wants To Undermine Anonymity & Free Speech: ‘True Origin’ Bills

      The way they work is pretty simple: they outlaw anonymity on the internet if your website distributes any kind of audiovisual work. The point of this is twofold: one, for those who “register” and reveal their name and address, it makes it easier for the RIAAs and MPAAs of the world to sue a site for copyright infringement. And, for those who don’t reveal their names, the RIAA and MPAA can ask the states to prosecute the site owners for failing to reveal their names.

    • Palestinian Journalists Under Fire

      Bashar Nazzal, a 36-year-old Palestine TV cameraman from Qalqiliya, had covered the Kafr Qaddum village demonstrations for the past four years. The demonstrations, held every Friday, protest the closure of the main road between the village and its closest neighbor, Nablus, as a result of Israeli expansion of the Kedumim settlement. The shooting occurred only minutes into the demonstration when Nazzal, who noted that he was easily identified as a member of the press, was filming a group of five armed Israeli soldiers. Despite an operation on his shattered shin, the injury has interfered with his ability to work. “Palestinian journalists claim there has been an increase in direct military assaults against them in the last year,” and many journalists interpret these assaults as a message from the IDF to stop covering Palestinian demonstrations.

    • Colombian Report on US Military’s Child Rapes Not Newsworthy to US News Outlets

      An 800-page independent report commissioned by the US-friendly Colombian government and the radical left rebel group FARC found that US military soldiers and contractors had sexually abused at least 54 children in Colombia between 2003 and 2007 and, in all cases, the rapists were never punished–either in Colombia or stateside–due to American military personnel being immune from prosecution under diplomatic immunity agreements between the two countries.

  • Privacy

    • All Austrian Parties in Parliament Back Measures Against NSA, GCHQ Spying

      At least that’s the case in Austria, where every single political party in the Austrian parliament – and there are six – signed on to a motion against illegal surveillance, citing their concerns about the US and others using their spy agencies such as the super-secret National Security Agency to eavesdrop on people abroad.

      There in fact was an uproar not too long when documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden showed that the US had been listening in to German chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone calls.

    • Netanyahu’s Spying Denials Contradicted by Secret NSA Documents

      Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday vehemently denied a Wall Street Journal report, leaked by the Obama White House, that Israel spied on U.S. negotiations with Iran and then fed the intelligence to Congressional Republicans. His office’s denial was categorical and absolute, extending beyond this specific story to U.S.-targeted spying generally, claiming: “The state of Israel does not conduct espionage against the United States or Israel’s other allies.”

    • Apple Patent Tips Real-Time Route Tracking

      We’ve all received text messages from friends that say they are “almost there” or “five minutes away.” Apple, however, is working on technology that might help you track your tardy friend’s journey.

    • Music Group Wants ISPs to Spy on Customers to Stop Piracy

      In a response to the draft code tabled to deal with the Australian online-piracy problem, some of the world’s largest music publishers have presented a set of draconian measures. ISPs should not only use technology to spy on their own customers, but also to proactively block access to infringing content and websites.

    • We know where you’ve been: Ars acquires 4.6M license plate scans from the cops

      If you have driven in Oakland any time in the last few years, chances are good that the cops know where you’ve been, thanks to their 33 automated license plate readers (LPRs).

      Now Ars knows too.

      In response to a public records request, we obtained the entire LPR dataset of the Oakland Police Department (OPD), including more than 4.6 million reads of over 1.1 million unique plates between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The dataset is likely one of the largest ever publicly released in the United States—perhaps in the world.

    • Despite privacy policy, RadioShack customer data up for sale in auction

      RadioShack is trying to auction off its customer data on some 117 million customers as part of its court-supervised bankruptcy.

      The data in question, according to a legal challenge (PDF) launched by Texas regulators on Friday and joined by the state of Tennessee on Monday, includes “consumer names, phone numbers, mailing addresses, e-mail addresses, and, where allowed, activity data.”

      The states say the sale breaches the 94-year-old chain’s promises to its in-store and online customers that it would not sell their personal identifying information (PII) data.

    • Google’s New CFO Underscores Deep Ties Between Silicon Valley and Wall Street

      Google’s recruitment of Ruth Porat from Morgan Stanley to be chief financial officer is the latest example of Wall Street executives being lured to Silicon Valley to join the technology boom.

    • Facebook May Host News Sites’ Content
    • EU: Don’t use Facebook if you want to keep the NSA away from your data

      In a key case before the European Union’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the European Commission admitted yesterday that the US-EU Safe Harbor framework for transatlantic data transfers does not adequately protect EU citizens’ data from US spying. The European Commission’s attorney Bernhard Schima told the CJEU’s attorney general: “You might consider closing your Facebook account if you have one,” euobserver reports.

    • French Intelligence Bill: Everyone Under Surveillance

      While presenting the Intelligence bill adopted during the 19 March 2015 Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister proudly asserted that it contained “legal means of action but neither exceptional means nor the generalised surveillance of citizens”!

  • Civil Rights

    • Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – Investment Chapter

      WikiLeaks releases today the “Investment Chapter” from the secret negotiations of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement. The document adds to the previous WikiLeaks publications of the chapters for Intellectual Property Rights (November 2013) and the Environment (January 2014).

      The TPP Investment Chapter, published today, is dated 20 January 2015. The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations.

    • More MPs criticise TTIP on transparency and ISDS

      Many people are concerned that Governments could be discouraged from passing new legislation due to ISDS.

    • Whistleblowers and the Press Heavyweights

      Sterling, who has never admitted leaking any classified information, nevertheless with his conviction joined the ranks of those whistleblowers and conduits for whistleblowers who have come under fire from prominent journalists for disclosing classified information to the press – e.g., Wikileaks, Julian Assange, Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, Edward Snowden, John Kiriakou, and others.

    • Council of Europe (COE) Committee Calls for U.S. to Allow Snowden to Return Without Fear of Criminal Prosecution Under Certain Conditions

      The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights called for COE and European Union member states to enact whistleblower protection laws that also cover national security and intelligence community employees. In a particularly significant development, the Committee’s draft resolution urged member states to grant asylum to whistleblowers threatened by retaliation.

      The resolution is based on a detailed report by the Committee that draws significantly on the experience of GAP client and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Indeed, the resolution calls for the U.S. to allow Snowden to return without fear of criminal prosecution under laws that prevent a public interest defense, like the Espionage Act. This marks the first time that any inter-governmental body has called on the U.S. not to prosecute Snowden unless he is afforded the opportunity to raise a public interest defense, according to Sandra Coliver of the Open Society Foundation.

    • Rebranding McCain and Romney as Moderates to Facilitate a Sharp Right Turn

      Republicans have a similar media trope, but theirs works a little differently: GOP candidates run as rightists and lose as centrists.

    • It’s OK to leak government secrets – as long as it benefits politicians

      When it comes to classified information, some leaks are more equal than others. If you are a whistleblower like Edward Snowden, who tells the press about illegal, immoral or embarrassing government actions, you will face jail time. But it’s often another story for US government officials leaking information for their own political benefit.

    • After years in Guantanamo, ex-detainees find little solace in Uruguay

      Dhiab is a Syrian, and he spent 12 years in Guantanamo. Now he lives in Montevideo with three other Syrians, a Palestinian and a Tunisian, all former prisoners at the U.S. detention facility in Cuba. In a week’s worth of long and candid conversations, he acknowledged that the transition to life in a Latin American capital has not been easy.

    • “Help! My boys were stopped three times by police for being outside unsupervised”

      Another mom grows incensed by a parenting culture gone mad, but we have to turn frustration into connection

    • Federal court rejects Third Amendment claim against police officers

      Back in 2013, a lot of attention focused on a Third Amendment claim against Henderson, Nevada police officers. I wrote about the case here. The Third Amendment, which forbids the “quartering” of “soldiers” in private homes without the owner’s consent, is often the butt of jokes because it is so rarely litigated. But in this case, a Nevada family claimed that local police had violated the Amendment by forcibly occupying their home in order to gain a “tactical advantage” against suspected criminals in the neighboring house.

    • Senator Wants To Know Why The US Marshals Asset Forfeiture Division Is Blowing Money On $10,000 Tables

      Asset forfeiture — both at state and national levels — is receiving some intense scrutiny, thanks to unflattering coverage in major news outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post. Attorney General Eric Holder made some minor cuts to the DOJ’s participation in states’ forfeiture programs. Meanwhile, at the state level, legislators have introduced bills targeting these programs’ perverted incentives — namely, that the agency performing the asset seizure usually benefits directly from the “forfeited” wealth.

    • Speaker election: Tearful Charles Walker clapped by MPs

      An MP has claimed he has been “played like a fool” by government ministers over a bid to change the way the Speaker is elected to the House of Commons after the general election.

    • Suicide Rates Among US Adults Rise Dramatically

      A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine has found that the rate of suicide for adults between 40 and 64 years of age has risen by close to 40% since 1999. Since 2007 the increase has been especially striking. Analysis factoring in potential motivation for the act suggests a linkage to the 2007-2009 economic crisis and its impact on the financial wherewithal of millions around the world.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Latest Assault on Net Neutrality Launched at Telecom Industry-Funded Think Tank

      Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., last week addressed the Free State Foundation to announce his new plan to undermine recently enacted net neutrality rules by going after the funding of the Federal Communications Commission, the agency behind the decision.

      The FCC’s approach to net neutrality represents “potential untenable rules and regulatory overreach that will hurt consumers,” said Walden, the chair of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, speaking at the foundation’s annual Telecom Policy Conference. Walden outlined a plan to limit FCC appropriations, cap its other revenue sources, and change the hiring process for the FCC’s inspector general.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • IOC Forces School To Remove Rings From Crest For Some Reason

        Have you thought about the Olympics lately? No? Then I guess you didn’t drive past any of the tiny little schools in this itty bitty school district in the Poconos in Pennsylvania that serves a population of almost twenty-five thousand whole people, because, if you had, the International Olympic Committee is quite certain you would have been all, “Oh, look, that must be a school run by the Olympics for some reason.” Otherwise, the IOC’s pressuring the district to re-draw this district crest would make no sense.

    • Copyrights

      • Netflix Wants to Make VPN Piracy Obsolete

        In recent months Hollywood has pushed Netflix to ensure that VPN users can’t access their services. Netflix honors these requests, but according to CEO Reed Hastings there’s a better way to deal with the issue. The company would like to get rid of Hollywood’s geographical restrictions entirely and render ‘VPN piracy’ obsolete.

      • Open Letter To Key EU Copyright Working Group Calls For ‘Balanced Representation Of Views’

        Back in January, we wrote about the report from the Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda, which made a number of bold but sensible proposals for reforming the EU’s 2001 copyright directive. Not surprisingly, the lobbyists have been hard at work, and no less than 556 amendments to the report have been proposed (pdf), many of them clearly aiming to undermine some of Reda’s ideas completely — for example, those seeking to rein in DRM.

      • U.S. Government Wins Dozens of Millions From Kim Dotcom

        The U.S. Government has won its civil forfeiture case against Megaupload and Kim Dotcom. As a result, the U.S. now owns Kim Dotcom’s bank accounts, cars, art and other property worth dozens of millions of dollars. Megaupload’s founder describes the ruling as unjust and says his team will file an appeal at a higher court.


Links 25/3/2015: India Moving to Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 12:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source and DevOps aren’t mandatory, but neither is survival

    I can’t recall the exact time I learned about open source software, but I can certainly narrow down the place. I quickly realized how transformative it could be. In 1996, I was sitting in the tech support department of a large ISP that provided hosting and connectivity to the Fortune 1000. Most of our servers ran Solaris, floppy disks arrived via snail mail, and we applied security updates manually adhering to a regime of updates and invoices prescribed by Sun Microsystems. It was a huge change from my university career of dumb terminals and mainframes.

  • How open source can improve your software’s security

    Let’s be blunt: your code is full of security holes. Just as bad, your employees are careless with passwords and other ways of cracking into your data.

    Hence, while we may wring our hands over security breaches at Target, Morgan Stanley, or dozens of other breaches, the reality is that the only reason your company has yet to be cracked is that hackers haven’t bothered to try. Yet.

  • Govt formulates policy on adoption of open source software

    The Government on Wednesday formulated a ‘Policy on Adoption of Open Source Software for Government of India’ that would encourage the formal adoption and use of Open Source Software (OSS) in Government organisations.

    Currently most eGovernance solutions are developed using Closed Source Software (CSS), which is licensed under the exclusive legal right of the copyright holder. In that the users’ right to make modifications, sharing, studying, redistribution or reverse engineering is limited.

  • What the New York Times CIO asks when evaluating open source software

    In this interview, New York Times CIO Marc Frons explains how his teams evaluate whether to use open source or proprietary software and the simple question that helps guide the conversation.

  • Why Amnesty International uses Booktype 2.0 for report publishing

    Human rights NGO Amnesty International, a movement of more than seven million people, released its Annual Report for 2014-15 at the end of February. This 500+ page print book is published simultaneously in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic, and translated into 12 other languages by local teams. It is composed of 160 detailed chapters written by regional experts on the human rights situation in most of the countries of the world.

  • Action Launcher 3.3 released with new open-source Live Wallpaper API
  • Events

    • Two microconferences accepted for the Linux Plumbers Conference

      The Checkpoint/Restart and Energy-aware scheduling and CPU power management microconferences will be held at LPC.

    • Shevirah Set to Break Into Mobile Penetration Testing Market

      Weidman, no stranger to the world of mobile security, was the recipient of a Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) Cyber Fast Track grant in 2012 for her open-source Smartphone Pentest Framework project. In 2015, Weidman has been accepted into the Mach37 Cybersecurity accelerator program, which invests in security startups and provides tools and training to launch companies.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Scaling

      ownCloud runs on small Raspberry Pi’s for your friends and family at home but also on huge clusters of web servers where it can serve over hundreds of thousands of users and petabytes of data. The current Raspberry Pi doesn’t deliver blazing fast performance but it works and the new raspberry pi 2 announced last month should be great hardware for small ownCloud deployments. Big deployments like the one in Germany or at CERN are usually ‘spread out’ over multiple servers, which brings us to the secret sauce that makes scalable software possible.

    • MapR Notes Big Demand for Free Hadoop Training Offerings

      Recently, MapR Technologies, focused on Hadoop, has been out with some interesting announcements that we covered. We also interviewed the company’s Tomer Shiran (shown), who noted that there is a serious lack of job candidates with advanced Hadoop and data analytics skills. He added that MapR is providing free online training for Hadoop. Now, there is some evidence of how popular the free training has been, with the training program enrolling more than 10,000 registrants worldwide in its first 30 days.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Healthcare

    • Why open source is key to mHealth data standards

      Open source software that allows for sharing and integration of mHealth data poses tremendous benefit for diagnosing, treating and preventing disease as well as the development of a more tailored patient healthcare strategy, according to Ida Sim, Ph.D, professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco.


    • GCC 5 Compiler will be released soon

      And the developers expect to have the final version ready probably at the end of April, this year.

    • LibrePlanet 2015 brings free software luminaries to MIT

      The 2015 LibrePlanet free software conference drew nearly 350 activists from around the world to discuss issues of freedom, privacy, and security in computing. Free Software Foundation founder and president Richard Stallman delivered the opening keynote, “Free software, free hardware, and other things” before a packed room at MIT’s Stata Center, with hundreds of remote participants tuning in online.

    • GNU Manifesto Published Thirty Years Ago

      It was in March 1985 that Richard Stallman first set out his belief in the ideal of Free Software with the publication of the GNU Manifesto.


      If you have always referred to Linux as just “Linux” then you might be surprised to know that the FSF claims that it really should always be called “GNU/Linux”. There is also now a modified GNU/Linux system that has all proprietary and non-free code removed – Linux-libre.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Intro to Grace: an open source educational programming language

      When it comes to picking a programming language to use when teaching people how to program, there are many, many options. Scratch is a good choice when teaching the basics because of its drag and drop building block method of programming. Python or Ruby are also good choices—both languages have a straight-forward syntax, are used in major real-world projects, and have excellent communities and supplemental projects built around them. Or there is Java, Objective-C, and C#, which are solid programming languages and marketable job skills. Honestly, they are all good choices, but when it comes to teaching programming in an academic setting, are they really the best way to go about doing it?


  • Germanwings to Cancel More Flights as Crew Members Refuse to Fly

    Germanwings will have to cancel more flights today as some crew members refuse to fly, a day after an Airbus A320 operated by the budget arm of Lufthansa crashed in the French Alps.

    “There will be irregularities… There are crew members who do not want to fly in the current situation, which we understand,” a spokeswoman for Germanwings said.

  • Germanwings Is An Example Of European Carriers Trying To Compete In The Budget Airline Game

    Germanwings, the airline operating Flight 9525 that crashed in the French Alps Tuesday, may not be well known outside Europe. But the low-cost carrier owned by Lufthansa Group is emblematic of a trend many flag carriers in Europe are embracing: launching their own budget airlines for short-haul flights to compete with wildly successful low-cost carriers that have snatched 26 percent of market share in Europe.

  • Security

    • Google Hit Again by Unauthorized SSL/TLS Certificates

      The purpose of an SSL/TLS digital certificate is to provide a degree of authenticity and integrity to an encrypted connection. The SSL/TLS certificate helps users positively identify sites, but what happens when a certificate is wrongly issued? Just ask Google, which has more experience than most in dealing with this issue.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • New York Times: Nuclear Establishment Tool

      The New York Times’ longtime nuclear power reporter, Matthew Wald, has announced that he’s been hired as the senior director of policy analysis and strategic planning for the Nuclear Energy Institute, the chief lobbying arm of the nuclear industry. Investigative reporter Karl Grossman wrote a piece a few years ago on the ties between the Times and the nuclear power establishment that go back to the dawn of the Atomic Age.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Jeb Bush Returns to the Washington Fund-Raising Well

      Mr. Bush, the former Florida governor, has sounded that theme regularly in his fledgling presidential campaign. But even as he positions himself as a Washington outsider, he seems to have mastered a skill that is crucial in this city: tapping into the money-raising clout of the K Street lobbyists, political operatives, superlawyers and business leaders in Washington’s permanent class.

    • Information Warfare: Automated Propaganda and Social Media Bots

      NATO has announced that it is launching an “information war” against Russia.

      The UK publicly announced a battalion of keyboard warriors to spread disinformation.

      It’s well-documented that the West has long used false propaganda to sway public opinion.

      Western military and intelligence services manipulate social media to counter criticism of Western policies.

  • Privacy

    • Britain’s Surveillance State

      Edward Snowden exposed the extent of mass surveillance conducted not just by the United States but also by allies like Britain. Now, a committee of the British Parliament has proposed legal reforms to Britain’s intelligence agencies that are mostly cosmetic and would do little to protect individual privacy.

    • On CISA the Surveillance Bill

      After the Senate Intelligence Committee passed CISA, its sole opponent, Ron Wyden, said, “If information-sharing legislation does not include adequate privacy protections then that’s not a cybersecurity bill – it’s a surveillance bill by another name.” Robert Graham, an expert on intrusion-prevention, argues, “This is a bad police-state thing. It will do little to prevent attacks, but do a lot to increase mass surveillance.”

  • Civil Rights

    • White House chief of staff: 50 years of Israeli occupation must end

      White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough made it clear Monday that the crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations over the issue of a Palestinian state has not dissipated, despite efforts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to clarify remarks he made late in the election campaign that no such state would be established on his watch.

    • The $450 an Hour Terror Industry Echo Chamber

      Matthew Levitt, a prominent figure in the Terror Industry, has been testifying in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial. He’s one of a number of noted figures who gets presented as experts at trials who doesn’t speak Arabic, who hasn’t bothered to learn Arabic over the course of years of this work.

      Yesterday, Levitt spent several hours explaining how the explanation Dzhokhar wrote on a boat in Watertown had to have come from Anwar al-Awlaki’s propaganda.

      Just before Levitt testified yesterday, he RTed an article describing him as the expert that would testify at Dzhokhar’s trial. As soon as he got done, he RTed several more articles about his own testimony, describing himself as an “expert” “decoding” the boat. And then, for good measure, he RTed a livetweet from his own testimony.

      Today, on cross, it became clear the Awlaki propaganda on Dzhokhar’s computer was all Levitt got from prosectors. He didn’t know how long it had been on Dzhokhar’s computer. Nor did he know what else Dzhokhar has read. He also doesn’t know much about Chechnya, except in the context of Jihad. And though Levitt testified yesterday that there always must be a “radicalizer,” he did not know, nor was he asked, to identify the “radicalizer” in Dzhokhar’s life.

    • In Defense of Doing Wrong

      I want to say that it’s the wrong answer to the wrong question. It’s the wrong answer because we all have a lot to hide. We all talk and behave scandalously, and if all that [information] were available to everybody, it would cause no end of grief. It’s the wrong question because, as you’ve heard from all three of my fellow panelists tonight, privacy isn’t fundamentally about secrecy. It’s about things like autonomy—we’ve heard dignity, liberty, power, control, and maybe we’ll talk about that later. – See more at: http://thepointmag.com/2015/politics/in-defense-of-doing-wrong#sthash.fQbKXkkE.dpuf

    • The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Prison
    • A Prosecutor Seeks Redemption. Can We Allow Prisoners the Same?

      BY NOW MANY have read and been moved by the extraordinary mea culpa published in the Shreveport Times by a man named Marty Stroud III, who more than thirty years ago sent Glenn Ford to die for a crime he did not commit.

    • NYT Reported Japanese Internment as ‘Pioneering Chapter in US History’

      Reporter Lawrence E. Davies described the first internees as “weary but gripped with the spirit of adventure over a new pioneering chapter in American history.” This rah-rah treatment continued throughout the article: The internees were said to have begun “assembling long before daylight near the Pasadena Rose Bowl, scene of many a great football game.” Their destination was “a new reception center rising as if by magic at the foot of snow-capped peaks.”

      Only two internees are quoted in the article. One, Arthur Hirano, a former New York City chef, says: “This is a wonderful place. We didn’t expect such fine treatment.” Another, Mike Nishida, who is scheduled to join the US military, says, “I’m going up there to do any job they put me on in the meantime.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality


Links 24/3/2015: WebKitGTK+ 2.8.0, Black Lab Linux 6.5

Posted in News Roundup at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Can your code survive crappy 2G? This open-source traffic controller will test it

    A two-year project inside Facebook has culminated in the release of software to test how well applications and servers work under degraded network conditions – all the way down to rickety 2G.

    The idea behind Augmented Traffic Control, open-sourced on GitHub, is to improve the delivery of material on under-performing networks.

  • Open Source Sirius Creates IPA Opportunities For Channel

    The creation of an open source computing system users control via voice command could generate new opportunities for service providers seeking to differentiate their offerings or develop new custom solutions.

  • New version of SecureDrop, open-source whistleblower submission system originally created by Aaron Swartz

    At Freedom of the Press Foundation, we’re excited to announce the release of a brand new version of SecureDrop, our open source whistleblower system which media organizations can use to communicate and receive documents from sources.

    Version 0.3 has been over a year in the making, and is the result of extensive feedback from both news organizations who already have SecureDrop—like the New Yorker and The Intercept—and from a security audit done by iSec Partners. In addition, we have a new website for SecureDrop, SecureDrop.org, which will serve as a hub for all the news organizations that have installed their own instances, and where you can find all the information you need to use it yourself.

  • Facebook open-sources Augmented Traffic Control, a Wi-Fi tool for simulating 2G, Edge, 3G, and LTE networks

    Facebook today open-sourced Augmented Traffic Control (ATC), a Wi-Fi tool for testing how mobile phones and their apps handle networks of varying strength, over on GitHub. ATC simulates 2G, Edge, 3G, and LTE networks, and allows engineers to switch quickly between various simulated network connections.

  • 4 reasons why people should stop associating open source with a lack of security

    Today, the open source model is much better understood, and organisations are considering it as vital to the future of digital business and government services. A recent survey found that more than 50% of respondents are moving into the open source space.

  • Events

    • [EuroBSDcon] Call for Papers

      EuroBSDcon is the European technical conference for users and developers of BSD-based systems. The conference will take place in Stockholm, Sweden. Tutorials will be held on Thursday and Friday in the main conference hotel, while the shorter talks and papers program is on Saturday and Sunday in the University of Stockholm.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • CMS


    • A Trip Down (Computer) Memory Lane

      The world of free software seems constantly fresh and exciting, so it always comes as a shock – to me, at least – to remember that it has been around for more than 30 years now. Richard Stallman announced the GNU project back in 1983, but this month, there’s another important anniversary: the publication of the GNU Manifesto.

    • Software freedom

      Richard Stallman, a 27-year-old programmer at the time with MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, wanted to modify the software that drove the new Xerox 9700 laser printer to get it to send out an electronic alert over the network every time the paper jammed so that somebody could walk over to it and fix the problem. When he was denied access to the source code, Stallman recalls, this set him thinking about how software should be shared freely so that users could modify it to suit their needs.

    • Stallman joins the Internet, talks net neutrality, patents and more

      According to Richard Stallman, godfather of the free software movement, Facebook is a “monstrous surveillance engine,” tech companies working for patent reform aren’t going nearly far enough, and parents must lobby their children’s schools to keep data private and provide free software alternatives.

      The free software guru touched on a host of topics in his keynote Saturday at the LibrePlanet conference, a Free Software Foundation gathering at the Scala Center at MIT. Excoriating a “plutocratic” corporate culture and warning of severe threats to freedom and privacy around the world, he nevertheless said his own positions on the technology issues of the day had evolved.

    • Extracting the abstract syntax tree from GCC [older, but without paywall now]

      Richard Stallman recently revived a nearly year-old thread in the emacs-devel mailing list, but the underlying issue has been around a lot longer than that. It took many years before the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) changed its runtime library exemption in a way that allowed for GCC plugins, largely because of fears that companies might distribute proprietary, closed-source plugins. But efforts to use the plugin API to add features to another GNU project mainstay, Emacs, seem to be running aground on that same fear—though there has never been any real evidence that there is much interest in circumventing the runtime library exception to provide proprietary backends to GCC.

    • GNU Nano 2.4.0 Brings Complete Undo System, Linter Support & More

      GNU Nano 2.4.0 was released this morning as the first stable update to this open-source CLI text editor in a number of years.

    • GNU Nano Editor 2.4 Comes with Full Undo Support [Install in Ubuntu/Mint]
    • LibrePlanet 2015: Day one roundup
    • LibrePlanet 2015: Highlights and what comes next
    • Reglue & Sébastien Jodogne Receive FSF Awards

      Ken Starks put another well deserved feather in his cap on Saturday when he accepted an award for Reglue from the Free Software Foundation (FSF) at the LibrePlanet conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Saturday. Reglue was announced as this year’s winner of the Project of Social Benefit Award by FSF executive director John Sullivan, who also announced that Sébastien Jodogne had won this year’s award for Advancement of Free Software. The event took place on the MIT campus.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Meet the White House’s new open source-happy IT director

      The White House has plucked 28-year-old David Recordon, engineering director at Facebook, as its first IT Director. A strong open source advocate with a decidedly non-button-down appearance, Recordon will be charged with modernizing the White House’s technology. Here’s a closer look at one of our newest public servants…

    • Federal open source software activities are growing

      Patricia M. Loui-Smicker of Hawaii was confirmed by the Senate, just the other day, as a director of the Export-Import bank. Not the kind of routine confirmation that makes the news. Gilberto de Jesus of Maryland withdrew his nomination to be chief counsel for advocacy at the Small Business Administration. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs reported favorably on a bill “to reduce the operation and maintenance costs associated with the Federal fleet by encouraging use of remanufactured parts.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Apple’s ResearchKit: Is Open Source Good for Your and Apple’s Health?

      Apple’s website defines it as “an open source software framework that makes it easy for researchers and developers to create apps that could revolutionize medical studies, potentially transforming medicine forever.”

    • OGP: 36 Action Plans submitted in 2014

      In total, 29 countries have submitted their second Open Government Partnership (OGP) Action Plans in 2014, according to the 2014 report of the Open Government Partnership. This number indicates “a strong desire to continue participating in OGP”, the report said. The report also mentions that seven countries submitted their first national Action Plan last year. In total, 36 countries “submitted new Action Plans containing over 900 commitments“.

    • ‘Open Humans Network’ seeks to open-source your body

      People eager to share personal information beyond what’s on their Facebook profile have another outlet: an online platform launching on Tuesday will let them give scientists information about their genomes, gut bacteria and other biological data.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source Virtual Reality gets massive with Unity and Unreal Engine

        Plugins for both Unity 5 and Unreal Engine 4 have been released to the public for OSVR, the Open Source Virtual Reality program. This system was first initiated by the folks at Razer, appearing at CES 2015 with a brand new OSVR Dev Kit virtual reality headset. In the very short time between then and now, they’ve racked up quite a few heavy-hitting partners. This system also works with Vuzix technology and has racked up partners like Ubisoft, Seven Hill Games, Homido, and castAR.

  • Programming


  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • FDA Deems GM Apples, Potatoes Safe

      The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed genetically modified (GM), non-browning “Arctic” apples—approved last month by the Department of Agriculture—and bruise-resistant “Innate” potatoes “as safe and nutritious as their conventional counterparts,” according to The New York Times.

      Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the British Columbia-based firm that produces the GM apples, and J.R. Simplot of Idaho, which grows the GM potatoes, both consulted with the FDA to assess the safety and nutrition of their foods.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Washington’s War on Russia

      “In order to survive and preserve its leading role on the international stage, the US desperately needs to plunge Eurasia into chaos, (and) to cut economic ties between Europe and Asia-Pacific Region … Russia is the only (country) within this potential zone of instability that is capable of resistance. It is the only state that is ready to confront the Americans. Undermining Russia’s political will for resistance… is a vitally important task for America.”

    • Israel Supported Hamas to Divide Palestine’s Resistance – Assange

      Israel supported the Palestinian Islamic organization Hamas’s growth in order to drive a wedge in the Palestinian resistance movement, according to WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • California’s About to Run Out of Water. We Have to Act Now

      California is now heading into its fourth year of record-breaking drought, with no liquid relief in sight. High temperatures, little precipitation, and historically low snowpack have left the state with dwindling water reserves. The situation is so bad, as NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti wrote in an LA Times op-ed last week, that California has only a year of water left in its reservoirs.

  • Finance

    • The world’s next credit crunch could make 2008 look like a hiccup

      For the time being, the markets remain sanguine, expecting, for example, a gentle increase in the Bank of England’s main interest rate to just 1.5pc by the end of the decade. And, who knows, maybe the markets are right.

      But maybe it’s too quiet. Last week, Ray Dalio, the founder of the $165bn (£110bn) hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, wrote a widely-circulated note warning his clients that the US Federal Reserve risked setting off a 1937-style crash when it starts raising interest rates again.

    • From Right-to-Work to the Servant Economy

      Two Mondays ago, Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin and a fast-rising Republican star, signed a “right-to-work” bill into law in his state, calling it “one more tool that will help grow good-paying, family-supporting jobs here in the state of Wisconsin.”

      In fact, if experience from other right-to-work states is any indicator, it’s likely to do just the opposite. It may, indeed, attract more jobs, but most of them won’t pay enough to support a family.

      The decline of America’s middle class in the past four decades is attributable to many factors, one of them being the decline in union membership; right-to-work depresses union membership further. It will decrease dues payments that unions tend to spend on candidates who support unions, most of whom are not Republicans.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • BP Dumps ALEC; Tally at 102

      BP announced Monday that it was cutting ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, the controversial corporate bill mill. It is the third major fossil fuel company to sever ties with ALEC, after Occidental Petroleum in 2014. ExxonMobil remains on the ALEC private sector board.

      “We continually assess our engagements with policy and advocacy organizations and based on our most recent assessment, we have determined that we can effectively pursue policy matters of current interest to BP without renewing our membership in ALEC,” the spokesman told the National Review.

  • Privacy

    • Communication Security Establishment’s cyberwarfare toolbox revealed

      Top-secret documents obtained by the CBC show Canada’s electronic spy agency has developed a vast arsenal of cyberwarfare tools alongside its U.S. and British counterparts to hack into computers and phones in many parts of the world, including in friendly trade countries like Mexico and hotspots like the Middle East.

    • Amazon Still Won’t Talk About Government Requests For User Data

      In the wake of the Snowden leaks, more and more tech companies are providing their users with transparency reports that detail (to the extent they’re allowed) government requests for user data. Amazon — home to vast amounts of cloud storage — isn’t one of them.

    • CISA Security Bill: An F for Security But an A+ for Spying

      When the Senate Intelligence Committee passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act by a vote of 14 to 1, committee chairman Senator Richard Burr argued that it successfully balanced security and privacy. Fifteen new amendments to the bill, he said, were designed to protect internet users’ personal information while enabling new ways for companies and federal agencies to coordinate responses to cyberattacks. But critics within the security and privacy communities still have two fundamental problems with the legislation: First, they say, the proposed cybersecurity act won’t actually boost security. And second, the “information sharing” it describes sounds more than ever like a backchannel for surveillance.

    • John Key hits back at Nicky Hager over GCSB claims

      Prime Minister John Key believes the latest spying allegations were timed to coincide with his visit to South Korea.

      “Of course they were, it’s all part of a particular agenda by Nicky Hager and some others,” he told reporters in Seoul.

      “There’s no question there’s an anti-government, anti-American agenda.”

    • Former diplomat, minister shocked by WTO spy claims

      Spying by the GCSB on those competing against National Government minister Tim Groser for the World Trade Organisation’s top job has appalled a former foreign affairs and trade minister and astonished one of the country’s most experienced diplomats.

      An inquiry is likely into the actions of the GCSB after Labour leader Andrew Little said he would ask the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security to investigate today.

      The Herald and US news site the Intercept yesterday revealed a top secret GCSB document showing the electronic surveillance agency had been searching for email communications which mentioned Mr Groser, the Trade Minister, in association with names of candidates competing against him. The news broke as Prime Minister John Key and Mr Groser prepared to sign a Free Trade Agreement in South Korea, whose former trade minister was among the surveillance targets vying for the $700,000 WTO job.

    • BIOS Hacking

      The NSA has a term for vulnerabilities it think are exclusive to it: NOBUS, for “nobody but us.” Turns out that NOBUS is a flawed concept. As I keep saying: “Today’s top-secret programs become tomorrow’s PhD theses and the next day’s hacker tools.” By continuing to exploit these vulnerabilities rather than fixing them, the NSA is keeping us all vulnerable.

    • Facebook wants to save you a click by hosting other sites’ content

      As if Facebook couldn’t get any bigger, it’s looking like The Social Network wants to start natively hosting content from news organizations. As The New York Times’ sources tell it, Zuckerberg and Co. have been in talks with at least six media companies about publishing their content directly on the site — no link-clicking required. The initial round of publications apparently includes The New York Times, Buzzfeed, National Geographic and our sister publication The Huffington Post. The reason? Websites take too long to load, and Facebook says that on mobile, the average eight-second page-load is too much. Of course, the outfit has a vested interest in mobile, hence it stepping in.

  • Civil Rights

    • 5 signs America is devolving into a plutocracy

      One-percent elections. Congressional gridlock. An increasingly demobilized public. Our democracy is on life support

    • The DOJ Isn’t Interested In Protecting FBI Whistleblowers From Retaliation

      You don’t hear much about FBI whistleblowers. Many other agencies have had wrongdoing exposed by employees (and the government has often seen fit to slap the whistles out of their mouths with harsh prosecution), but the FBI isn’t one of them. Forty-three years ago, whistleblowers broke into the FBI and retrieved damning documents, but no one’s really broken out of the FBI to do the same. In fact, the FBI would rather not talk about whistleblowing at all.

    • Voter ID Will Take Effect in Wisconsin–Here’s What that Means

      The ruling is regarded as a victory for Governor Scott Walker, who championed the law in Wisconsin and has boasted about the state’s voting restrictions as he makes the case for a presidential run. Walker defended voter ID during the 2014 gubernatorial race, declaring that “it doesn’t matter” if there is only one incident of voter fraud in each election, even though as many as 300,000 Wisconsinites don’t have the forms of ID required under the law.

    • Journalism as Subversion

      The assault of global capitalism is not only an economic and political assault. It is a cultural and historical assault. Global capitalism seeks to erase our stories and our histories. Its systems of mass communication, which peddle a fake intimacy with manufactured celebrities and a false sense of belonging within a mercenary consumer culture, shut out our voices, hopes and dreams. Salacious gossip about the elites and entertainers, lurid tales of violence and inane trivia replace in national discourse the actual and the real. The goal is a vast historical amnesia.

      The traditions, rituals and struggles of the poor and workingmen and workingwomen are replaced with the vapid homogenization of mass culture. Life’s complexities are reduced to simplistic stereotypes. Common experiences center around what we have been fed by television and mass media. We become atomized and alienated. Solidarity and empathy are crushed. The cult of the self becomes paramount. And once the cult of the self is supreme we are captives to the corporate monolith.

      As the mass media, now uniformly in the hands of large corporations, turn news into the ridiculous chronicling of pseudo-events and pseudo-controversy we become ever more invisible as individuals. Any reporting of the truth—the truth about what the powerful are doing to us and how we are struggling to endure and retain our dignity and self-respect—would fracture and divide a global population that must be molded into compliant consumers and obedient corporate subjects. This has made journalism, real journalism, subversive. And it has made P. Sainath—who has spent more than two decades making his way from rural Indian village to rural Indian village to make sure the voices of the country’s poor are heard, recorded and honored—one of the most subversive journalists on the subcontinent. He doggedly documented the some 300,000 suicides of desperate Indian farmers—happening for the last 19 years at the rate of one every half hour—in his book “Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories From India’s Poorest Districts.” And in December, after leaving The Hindu newspaper, where he was the rural affairs editor, he created the People’s Archive of Rural India. He works for no pay. He relies on a small army of volunteers. He says his archive deals with “the everyday lives of everyday people.” And, because it is a platform for mixed media, encompassing print, still photographs, audio and film, as well as an online research library, it is a model for those who seek to tell the stories that global capitalism attempts to blot out.

    • Greece’s Golden Dawn: Fascists at the Gate

      When some 70 members of the neo-Nazi organization Golden Dawn go on trial sometime this spring, there will be more than street thugs and fascist ideologues in the docket, but a tangled web of influence that is likely to engulf Greece’s police, national security agency, wealthy oligarchs, and mainstream political parties. While Golden Dawn—with its holocaust denial, its swastikas, and Hitler salutes—makes it look like it inhabits the fringe, in fact the organization has roots deep in the heart of Greece’s political culture

    • ‘Nazi Hideout’ Found in Argentine Nature Reserve

      Investigators discovered German coins dating back to World War II in the deserted rubble.

      Ruined buildings in an Argentine nature reserve could have been built as a Nazi hideout, archeologists believe. Investigators found German coins dating back to World War II in the deserted rubble.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Digital Freedoms

      As of April 2014 figures from uSwitch showed, only 15% of Britain is using broadband of 30 Mbps or higher – the speed classified by the EU as “superfast”. Looking inward, compared with the rest of the UK, Wales has some of the slowest Internet speeds. Wales itself contains the slowest broadband speed street in the entire UK, Erw Fawr in Henryd, North Wales had an average download speed of 0.60 megabits per second. That is 30 times slower than the UK national average.

    • First Legal Challenges To FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules Filed

      As we noted a week and a half ago when the FCC released its full net neutrality rules, it seemed like the legal challenges wouldn’t start for a little while — because the rules had to formally be published in the Federal Register, which would then set off the countdown clock for filing a lawsuit against the rules. However, some believe that parts of the new rules fall under a different legal regime, and thus there is a 10 day limit from the date the rules were released to file an appeal. And thus, we have USTelecom, a trade association of broadband providers and Alamo Broadband, a small Texas-based ISP, who have both filed legal challenges over the FCC’s rules. Specifically, they’re both asking appeals courts to “review” the rules. Alamo is asking the Fifth Circuit court of appeals, while USTelecom is focusing on the DC Circuit (which is where the last challenge to FCC rules happened). The reasoning in both is fairly similar.

    • Ted Cruz’s New Presidential Campaignx Donation Website Shares Security Certificate With Nigerian-Prince.com

      A few hours after this was first noticed, the Cruz campaign appears to have removed nigerian-prince.com from its certificate, but it still raises some questions about just who he has hired to build his websites. I guess that’s what happens when even the technologists in your own party openly mock Ted Cruz’s ignorance when it comes to technology issues like net neutrality.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Celebrities race to beat trolls to internet domains

      Taylor Swift knew they were trouble. So too did Microsoft. And the pop phenomenon and the software giant both had the means and motive to do something about it.

      From 1 June there will be an unprecedented web free-for-all. In a bid to allow easier searches for doctors, businesses and places, a raft of new top-level domain (TLD) names – the last bit of a web address – will become available to buy, including “.healthcare” and “.deals”, but also “.porn”, “.sucks” and “.adult”.

    • Commissioner Malmström defends rigged ISDS in CETA

      Today EU commissioner Malmström gave a speech in the European Parliament trade committee on investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS). ISDS gives foreign investors the right to use arbitration against states, instead of using local courts.

      Malmström made clear that she does not want to change the trade agreement with Canada (CETA), which contains a highly controversial ISDS section. The CETA text was used for the ISDS consultation.

    • Copyrights

      • U.S. Court Extends Global Shutdown of DVD Ripping Software

        A federal court in New York has issued a paralyzing verdict against the Chinese-based DVD ripping company DVDFab. Ruling in favor of AACS, the licensing outfit founded by Warner Bros, Disney, Microsoft, Intel and others, the court has issued an updated injunction granting the seizure of several domain names belonging to the software vendor.

      • US judge orders seizure of foreign domains owned by Chinese company

        A federal judge in New York has ordered dozens of global domains owned by the Chinese company Fengtao Software to be seized, for its social media accounts to be blocked, and for payment processors to cut off their services to the company.

        As TorrentFreak reports, this is the result of legal action by the decryption licensing body AACS, founded by companies such as Microsoft and Walt Disney. Last year AACS won a preliminary injunction against Fengtao Software, which sells the popular DVD-ripping software DVDFab. Initially, Fengtao failed to respond to the court, which caused the injunction to be granted by default. Later, the Chinese company asked for the decision to be reviewed, arguing that the order was too broad because it affected the company globally, while the relevant copyright law applied by the judge was US-specific.

« Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts