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Links 28/8/2013: OpenBEL and Linux Foundation, 30-Year GNU Anniversary Planned

Posted in News Roundup at 3:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Has Apache lost its way?

    Complaints of stricture over structure, signs of technical prowess on the wane — the best days of the Apache Software Foundation may be behind

  • In defense of Apache

    Apache is great for many things, not so for others. Its proponents misunderstand its weaknesses, and its detractors misunderstand its strengths

  • Why not change the world?

    I have always been interested in science, technology and (most of all) computers. These are things that I always loved, even though they were sometimes difficult. I loved math and science class in school; I read science-fiction and fantasy novels in all of my spare time. I was the nerdy kid at school that was bullied and mocked. It would have been so easy to just give in and be “like everyone else”. I could have stopped reading. I could have played more sports.


    This is the sentiment that drove me into my open source career.

  • What open source means for the Average Joe or Jodi

    Ask just about any person you meet whether they are using open source software (OSS) and the chances are good you will be met by a blank stare. Yet, people might be surprised when you tell them that they are either using it on the mobile device they own or on their social media platform of choice.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Conference: Join us in Milano!

      This year the LibreOffice Conference will take place in Milano, Italy. Come and join us for this excepional event from the 25th to the 27th of September 2013. Learn about migrations to LibreOffice, LibreOffice existing deployments, writing extensions and much more. Participate in hacking sessions and community workshops and most of all, meet the LibreOffice community face to face for a few days of exchange and fun!

  • Education

    • Internet is future of higher education says University of the People

      Shai Reshef dreams of making quality education affordable and accessible to everyone, and he sees the Internet as the road to get there. Reshef is the founder of University of the People (UoPeople), which bills itself as the world’s first tuition-free, degree-granting, non-profit online university.


  • Project Releases

    • Cairo 1.12.16 Takes Care A Whole Lot Of Bugs

      Beyond making a whole lot of Intel X.Org driver changes and some recent yet-to-be-merged performance improvements, Chris Wilson has put out a new release of the Cairo graphics library.

    • Calligra 2.7.2 Released

      The Calligra team has released version 2.7.2, the first of the bugfix releases of the Calligra Suite, and Calligra Active in the 2.7 series. This release contains a few important bug fixes to 2.7.1 and we recommend everybody to update.

    • Calibre reaches 1.0 after nearly 7 years of development

      I am fully occupied this week and the next with training my new helpdesk team, so it took me a bit by surprise when Willy Sudiarto Raharjo tweeted that there was a version 1.0 of Calibre since this morning. Kovid Goyal, developer of Calibre, published the news in a blog post. It’s nearly seven years since Kovid started with Calibre – this was the time when the first E-ink based ereader device, SONY PRS-500, hit the market. At first, Calibre was merely a library which was able to convert e-book formats into Sony’s LRF format. It got ‘upgraded’ with a graphical user interface to manage Kovid’s growing ebook library.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The promise of the Commons: an interview with David Bollier

      David Bollier is no stranger to politics. The author, activist and independent commons scholar worked for Ralph Nader in the late-’70s and early-’80s, he’s a policy strategist and he has participated in or founded numerous public interest projects. But, over the years, he found himself increasingly disillusioned with political activism.

  • Programming

    • A Look at PHP’s Continuing Evolution

      PHP is not a young language. As of 2013, it’s 18 years old; that’s old enough to vote. Many upstart languages have appeared over the years to try and unseat PHP as the “lingua franca” of web applications but it still commands over 80% of the web market. One reason for PHP’s popularity is no doubt the ease with which new developers can get started with it, but just as important is the fact that PHP has been evolving for all those 18 years.

    • History of the UI of Server Install GUI
    • Lack of referrers on github is an annoyance

      Github is a nice site, and I routinely monitor a couple of projects there.



Links 26/8/2013: GNU SIP Witch Updates, Pro-War Propaganda Debunked

Posted in News Roundup at 11:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • ProcessMaker 2.5: Open source workflow made faster, simpler

    Latest rev of Colosa’s Web-based BPM offering has something for developers, admins, and users

  • The open source alternative

    In a recent conversation with an uncle of mine, he asked me to find him a license key for Microsoft Office. I replied “why do you need that when you can use a free open source alternative?” His answer was simply “It is what I know”. This response struck me as fascinating because it was not the first time I had heard that exact statement with regards to computers and software. In this day and age people still opt to use illegal or unlicensed copies of software instead of using free open source solutions because that is what they learnt in school or were taught at work. It seems a lot of people especially in developing countries would still opt to use illegal copies of Windows & Office than use the free and I must add impressive alternatives such as Ubuntu and Open Office.

  • 3D Photo Maker by DVDVideoSoft Goes Open Source

    DVDVideoSoft has announced the launch of its first open-source project: 3D Photo Maker, a unique program for three-dimensional image creation, is released in a new form, with an open source code.

  • 3D Photo Maker by DVDVideoSoft Goes Open Source
  • Bolivian open-source software company gets senate approval

    The Bolivian senate has approved a proposal for the creation of a national open-source software company in Sucre, according to a senate press release.

  • Open source culture thrives in Chattanooga

    Last week I had a chance to visit Chattanooga for several days and received an up close look at the maker and entrepreneurial culture of the city. Chattanooga is home to a municipal gigabit fiber installation, which reaches every home and business in a 600 square mile area. The city is positioning itself as a hub of digital innovation, and from where I sit they’re doing quite a good job of that. Some of the smartest minds from other parts of the country are moving to Chattanooga because of the quality of life combined with structural community support for innovators.

  • Open Source Meets Textbook Publishing – Much Cash Freed Up

    What do you get when you take the open source approach and apply it to textbook publishing? Answer: a whole lot of happy students, thrilled at the chance to save a whole lot of cash. “There’s over $1 trillion in student debt here, and textbooks cost $200 to $300 a pop,” said David Harris, editor-in-chief of OpenStax College. “There’s a great need to help students.”

  • ProcessMaker 2.5: Open source workflow made faster, simpler
  • Automate your common tasks on Linux with AutoKey
  • 5 Key Considerations When Choosing Open Source Statistics Software

    Type “free statistical software” into Google, and it’s not difficult to discover websites listing free and open source statistics packages available at zero cost. Just download them, and run.

  • Open Source Disk Partition Software List Published In Boffin’s Official Site
  • New glossary helps break down common open source related terms

    A couple of months ago, I wrote the first draft of “A Free, Libre and Open Glossary.” I am often frustrated by people using terms like “open source” and “free software” loosely, even though they have fixed and clear definitions. There is a web of terms, many of them using ambiguous terms like “open” or “crowd,” that frequently confuse and blur the issue.

  • Boffin Makes List Of Open Source Network Management Software Public
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome for Android getting more gesture controls

        Mobile browsers are getting quite some love, why not the mobile traffic is increasing manifold. Yesterday we covered how Firefox is revamping its Start Page and Awesonescreen, now Google just announced that they are bringing more gesture based control to the Chrome for Android.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox gets biggest design changes for Android

        The open source browser Firefox is getting the biggest UI changes for its Android browser. Lucas Rocha of Mozilla calls it the “biggest UI change in Firefox for Android since our first native release back in June last year. It took us about 3 months, 147 fixed bugs, and 250 changesets.”

      • Firefox 24: The Road to Australis
      • Mozilla’s Plug-n-Hack Can Integrate Security Tools with Browsers

        “Configuring a browser to work with a security tool can be a non-trivial process, and this can discourage people with less experience from using such tools,” said Mozilla’s Simon Bennett. “Without integration between security tools and browsers, a user must often switch between the tool and their browser several times to perform a simple task, such as intercepting an HTTP(S) request.”

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Cloud Foundry Event Showcases Open Source PaaS

      Developer interest in cloud-based application delivery platforms is expected to heighten over the next few weeks in the lead up to Cloud Foundry’s Platform industry event. Cloud Foundry, managed by Pivotal and used as a component of IBM’s open cloud architecture, provides an open source, cloud-based platform on which developers can release their applications.

    • Pivotal Boosts Cloud Foundry PaaS with Help from Piston OpenStack

      Piston Cloud, focused on the OpenStack cloud computing platform, has announced that it will donate hardware and developer resources to the Cloud Foundry community, as the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) company joins itself more closely with VMware-spinoff Pivotal. Also, Joshua McKenty, CTO and co-founder of Piston, will join the Cloud Foundry Advisory Board. This partnership between Piston Cloud and Pivotal could have a big impact on the IaaS, PaaS and OpenStack cloud scene.

    • Pivotal Extends Cloud Foundry PaaS With Piston OpenStack

      The open-source Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service is embracing the open-source OpenStack platform to provide infrastructure-as-a-service for its users.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Valencia region government completes switch to LibreOffice

      The administration of the Spanish autonomous region of Valencia has completed its switch to LibreOffice, a free and open source suite of office productivity applications. Last week Friday the region’s ICT department announced that the office suite is installed on all of the 120,000 desktop PCs of the administration, including schools and courts. The migration will save the government some 1.5 million euro per year on proprietary software licences.

    • Apache OpenOffice Templates New Site
    • LibreOffice 4.1.1 RC2 Gets New Features on All Platforms

      The Document Foundation has announced that the second Release Candidate version for LibreOffice 4.1.1 is now available for the Linux platform, bringing a lot of bug fixes and improvements.

    • New LibreOffice Update Released

      The Document Foundation yesterday announced the release of LibreOffice 4.0.5, the latest update to the acclaimed 4.0 branch. This is a bug fix update, but it does address 100 bugs and several annoying regressions. All users of the 3.6 and 4.0 branches are encouraged to upgrade.

  • Education

    • Mistakes Being Corrected In IT In Swiss Schools
    • /ch/open: ‘Swiss schools should switch to using open source’

      The Swiss Open Systems User Group /ch/open is calling on schools to switch to using open source, now that these can no longer use a discount contract to purchase proprietary software licences. Their volume licence deal was cancelled earlier this spring, in connection with an ongoing investigation into possible fraud. “Open source is a convenient and practical alternative, promoted also by Educa, the country’s national coordination platform for ICT in education.”

  • Healthcare

    • Why open source is the future of clinical trials

      Clinovo is a Clinical Research Organization (CRO) that partners with life science companies to streamline their clinical trials. Their CTO Marc Desgrousilliers is managing the development of ClinCapture, their open source Electronic Data Capture (EDC) system. In this interview, he tells us more about why healthcare needs open source and why it is the future of clinical trials.

  • Funding

  • BSD


  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Ireland agency helps local governments beat open source fear

      Public administrations in Ireland are losing their fear of open source, trying it out in a test environment offered by the country’s Local Government Management Agency (LGMA). In July, the agency publicly announced its so-called Sandbox, a standalone network infrastructure offering a safe, controlled environment. Already in place for a while now, the sandbox helped convince local administrations to implement customer relation management tool SugarCRM and content management system Drupal.

    • Turkmenistan, Champion of Free Software

      One thing I don’t like about StatCounter, besides their numbers, is that many countries list only 7 operating systems, conveniently lumping either GNU/Linux or Android/Linux in with “Other”. Turkmenistan is one that shows both…

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Student programming with Scratch and The Finch

      The growing shortage of qualified programmers, computer scientists and software engineers is gathering significant attention in the media and popular press. Recent efforts from the non-profit organization Code.org have helped shine light on the problem—software is the defining industry of the 21st Century and the pool of skilled talent is slim. Conversely, for students who pursue software development the opportunity for employment is colossal: By the year 2020, it is estimated that there will be one million more programming jobs than available students.


  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Zombies Needed for Drone Terror

      Even with All the Pro-War Propaganda, The Air Force Can’t Find Enough Drone Pilots

    • Decades Of Failures: Why The CIA Keeps Blowing It

      Every failure has been rewarded with more money — and weakened America’s standing around the world

    • CIA Files Show U.S. Was Involved In Saddam Hussein’s Iranian Gas Attacks, Foreign Policy Reports

      The U.S. government may be considering military action in response to chemical strikes near Damascus. But a generation ago, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has seen, Foreign Policy has learned.

    • The NYPD Division of Un-American Activities

      After 9/11, the NYPD built in effect its own CIA—and its Demographics Unit delved deeper into the lives of citizens than did the NSA.

    • Educators prepare the next generation of law enforcement, CIA

      Worldwide Counterterrorism Center is also offering people a look inside the CIA.

    • Snipers shoot at UN chemical inspectors in Syria – UN spokesman
    • Syria Presents More Evidence on Mercenaries” Use of Chemical Weapons

      The Syrian Government continues presenting evidence showing that armed opposition groups use chemical weapons, as it seeks to dismantle a media campaign aimed at unleashing a military invasion.

    • US gave Saddam blessing to use toxins against Iranians

      As Washington ponders over whether to hammer Damascus over unidentified use of toxic agents in Syria, declassified CIA documents reveal that 25 years ago the US actually indulged ruthless Saddam Hussein to use chemical warfare gases in war with Iran.

    • The BBC: A Criminal Instrument in the War on Syria

      Evidently, the BBC was not satisfied with the propaganda pieces I referred to in yesterday’s article, so it’s come out with another, equally audacious piece of fiction that reiterates, again without any proof, the same drivel it peddled to us yesterday (and the day before). But what ‘UN’s Angela Kane in Syria urges chemical weapons probe‘ (24/8/13) does is communicate a sense that it (the BBC’s) wishes might yet come true; that the Empire would once again unleash the dogs of war this time on poor, destroyed Syria.

    • What did the Cia Know?

      Fifty years after JFK was assassinated, many files remain secret. Experts believe they will show the CIA knew a lot about Lee Harvey Oswald before he became an assassin, and may have even used him to infiltrate a pro-Castro group

    • Amazon.com lawsuit criticizes handling of CIA contract

      Amazon Web Services’ battle with IBM over a $600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency has largely played out behind the closed doors of law offices and conference rooms.

    • Report: War Looms: Hundreds of American Troops and CIA Operatives Have Entered Syria

      This is all speculation, of course, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that the US financial system is potentially on the brink of a massive re-collapse, while the Obama administration is actively engaging Syria in what we can only conclude will lead to a broader conflict in the middle east.

    • Was Gilmore the victim of a CIA plot?

      Campaign has made Labour leader look like an opportunist and a back-stabber, writes Gene Kerrigan1

    • Hail Obama, America’s Hypocrite-in-Chief!

      Psychologist Kevin Dutton in his book, The Wisdom of Psychopaths, notes that society generally admires and rewards many of the qualities of psychopaths – fearlessness, emotional sterility, supreme confidence, ruthlessness, lack of remorse, refusal to take responsibility, narcissism and delusions of grandeur.

    • Pennsylvania Action Alert: Pass SB999, Help Stop “Indefinite Detention”

      The NDAA of 2012 allows the Federal Government to detain U.S. citizens without due process rights right here in Pennsylvania.

      Citizens suspected of a “crime” without a warrant, a judge, jury or trial.

      Think of Guantanomo Bay right here. They can lock you up and forget about you.

    • The Permanent ‘War on Terror’

      Under these circumstances, anyone who accepts at face value the assurance of government lawyers that laws such as the Patriot Act and NDAA will conform to the Constitution and not walk all over one’s civil rights should, as the old saying goes, have their head examined.

      What we have in the Hedges v. Obama case is yet another very bad precedent. As Judge Forrest had pointed out, “Courts must safeguard core constitutional rights.” The Second Circuit Court of Appeals, clearly not applying the principle of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) to this situation, has sold out that obligation for a handful of dubious promises.

    • The BBC’s Syrian Chemical Weapons Coverage: An Exercise in Imperial Deception By William Bowles (updated)

      Now you have to ask why the BBC feels it necessary to propagandise on behalf of the UKUS governments? What’s in it for the BBC? Well if it was an independent organisation, there could be no justification for promoting an allegation as fact even when its main UK advocate, Hague himself, can only offer his “belief”. But given as the BBC is the de facto mouthpiece for the UK state, it clearly has to peddle the ‘party line’.


      Well at least now the man is admitting that he doesn’t actually know what really happened, and it makes a nonsense of the BBC’s title. But just how compelling the propaganda assault has been (it reminds me somewhat of the media’s coverage of the Boston Bombing), is that ‘progressive’ media outlet, Democracy Now! has just published a piece that’s pretty much in step with the BBC’s coverage, though it does at least entertain the idea that if the Syrian government had done it it had shot itself in the foot and opened the door to direct (as opposed to indirect) foreign intervention, which is what Hague is proposing we do.

    • Beware the US military presence: academic

      WITH US forces in military bases dotted all over the north of the country, Australia is now hard-wired into the American military system, with potentially dangerous consequences, a political studies academic says.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Venezuela to sell oil at ‘fair price’ to Palestinian Authority

      Chavez, who often inveighed against US “imperialism,” also cultivated close relations with Washington’s foes, including Iran and Syria.

    • Canada’s oil pipelines will not build a nation – they are a great swindle

      The only nation-building that is occurring appears to be a coast-to-coast movement of opposition against planned pipelines

    • What if the Ocean Dies?

      The ocean (1) creates more than half of our oxygen; (2) it drives weather systems; (3) it modulates the atmosphere, and (4) it provides vital resources. As it happens, the ocean transcends national borders to maintain life everywhere on Earth. Yet, lamentably, the ocean is used and abused like a local trash dump on the edge of town, circa 1950s. And, connecting the dots of (1) ocean health or (2) ocean degradation and (3) survival of humanity is an exercise easily accomplished because the dots seamlessly connect all the way around the planet.

      In the words of Philippe Cousteau: “The effects of climate change, pollution and over-fishing should be making headlines because the ocean and all of us – and I literally mean all humankind – who depend on its resources are facing the very real prospect of the catastrophic collapse of ocean ecosystems if we continue on our current course.”

    • Cattle—not climate change—killing the Great Barrier Reef

      The Great Barrier Reef is considered one of the great wonders of the world and was granted World Heritage status in 1981. It’s the largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi). The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.


Links 21/8/2013: Diversity on the Desktop, Android as Distro

Posted in News Roundup at 5:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Brackets, The Open Source Editor Created By Adobe Is Now Available For Linux Systems

    Brackets, the open-source editor created by Adobe is now available for Linux systems. It is very usefull for web designers and developers, because it has support for HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

  • Open Source CAD Software List Now Published, Boffin Announces
  • How NOT to organize a FOSS workshop

    This “Open Source” organization did a lot of cool projects along the time, I participated myself in a few and reported positively about them, one such project was a summer program with many workshops (mostly about development) at a local university. So I gladly accepted when I was invited as a guest at the ‘graphics design and editing’ workshop, which as the title says, it didn’t went that smooth…

  • List of Open Source Data Back-Up Software Published by Boffin
  • Mailpile Is A Pro-Privacy, Open Source Webmail Project That’s Raised ~$100,000 On Indiegogo

    Mailpile is a relatively rare thing: a software project that looks certain to achieve its crowdfunding goal. The Mailpile Indiegogo campaign is less than $5,000 away from its $100,000 target, still with 22 days left to run, so it’s clearly struck a chord with its close to 2,000 backers. Still, it’s not hugely surprising — given how timely this pro-privacy project is.

  • Install an Open Source Dropbox Alternative on Linux in 10 Steps

    Dropbox has made its mark as an integral productivity tool. Simple file sharing and syncing makes it easy to keep all your important documents and files on hand, wherever you are.

    If you’re anything like me, you’ve hit the space limit of your free Dropbox account, and wondered if the Open Source world has any alternatives. Good news! Sparkleshare has you covered. Combined with a Bitbucket account and a little effort, you can have practically unlimited storage, for free!

    What would you not use Sparkleshare for? Git is not designed for large files. Bitbucket will not allow you to upload a file bigger than a 100MB, and you may see a significant performance impact for files over 10MB. Sparkleshare may not be the best choice if you’re sharing your MP3 collection, or other sizeable files.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Which Web browser crashes the most?

      When it comes to crashing, just like with speed, Sauce Labs finds that not all Web browsers are created equally.

    • Chrome

      • Google updates Chrome for Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux

        SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Google has released the latest version of its Chrome web browser for the Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems with security fixes and improvements.

        A blog post from Google project manager Jason Kersey said that there are 25 security fixes and that a number of them came from the reporting community.

        Also fresh are improved Omnibox suggestions, and Google said that these will be based more closely on previous searches. The Omnibox, by the way, is what Google calls the Chrome search box or website address field.

      • Google Releases Chrome 29 Stable for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows

        Google was proud to announce a few minutes ago, August 20, the promotion of the Google Chrome 29 web browser to the stable channel, supporting the Linux, Mac OS X, Windows and Chrome Frame platforms.

    • Mozilla

      • North America Mozilla Reps Meetup

        This past weekend myself and reps from across North America spent the weekend working from Mozilla’s San Francisco office to collaborate on a plan for North America. During these two days, we built a plan that will help us grow the contributor community in North America and focus on areas we feel are priorities.

      • Firefox takes top marks in browser stability tests

        Web app testing-as-a-service company Sauce Labs has released its latest browser crash data, and remarkably enough, the least stable web browser today probably isn’t the one you think it is.

      • Mozilla Firefox launches in Tamil

        A group of over 10 volunteers have completed a near full translation of the free opensource Internet browser after more than a year’s work.

      • How to Re-Enable the Blink Effect in Mozilla Firefox 23

        The following tutorial will teach all Mozilla Firefox users how to re-enable the Blink Tag (also known as the blink element) and the blink effect from the text-decoration: blink; CSS property on the latest stable version of the Mozilla Firefox web browser.

      • Chrome 29 Improves the Omnibox, Adds a Browser Reset Option

        The Google Chrome browser is out in a new version 29 and it includes fixes for at least 25 vulnerabilities in addition to a few cool new features. Most significantly, Goole has improved omnibox suggestions for what you may be searching for or interested in based on your recent activity. There is also a nearly instant way to reset the browser back to original settings, which can be useful if extensions or any other components are presenting problems.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Tokutek’s John Partridge: Open Source Is Vested in Big Data

      “One problem about Big Data is that people want to deal with a bunch of data that is not neatly structured into columns with fields that hold a person’s first name, last name, etc. That structured data works well for information that does not change very often. In the world of Big Data, a lot of the data comes from server logs or the navigation history of a particular visitor to your website.”

    • Morphlabs Gets $10 Million to Expand its OpenStack Push in Asia

      Morphlabs, which has focused on enabling Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) functions through public and private OpenStack cloud deployments, has announced a new new $10 million Series D investment that will help it expand its OpenStack efforts in Asia. The company had already been offering training services for OpenStack in both the U.S. and Asia, and is also working in partnership with NEC on OpenStack public cloud services for Asia.

  • Databases

    • HP’s Brian Aker: Open Cloud Gains Importance Post-PRISM

      Since the National Security Agency’s PRISM surveillence program was leaked to the press in June, the public and corporate backlash has some analysts estimating billions of dollars in losses for the IT services industry. In this context, developing an open source alternative to commercial cloud platforms becomes even more important, argues Brian Aker, a fellow in the HP cloud services division.

    • SPIDER in MariaDB
    • Use MySQL Utilities for better MySQL administration

      Oracle, the company behind MySQL, provides MySQL Utilities, a collection of command-line scripts for accomplishing some common database administration tasks. We put the utilities through their paces on CentOS 6 and MySQL 5.6.

    • FoundationDB ACID-lovers price up NoSQL database

      NoSQL database startup FoundationDB has made its ACID-compliant tech generally available, after an extended beta that has seen over 2,000 people try out the company’s unorthodox database.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Development Howto

      Questions about LibreOffice development efforts or how to implement specific improvements are among the most frequent requests we see at Lanedo. As a result, this LibreOffice development howto summarizes steps and tips to allow everyone interested to easily get involved.

  • CMS

  • Education

    • Open Source Education Projects

      As of this writing, there are only 28 hours left in the indiegogo campaign to build the Ubuntu Edge phone, and the campaign looks to be $20 million short of the goal. On the bright side, this also means that there were 10,760 people willing to pay a good chunk of money for a phone that they most likely didn’t need. For the past month, Larry the Free Software Guy has been posting a list of worthy projects that are in need of funds every time he mentions Ubuntu Edge. If you are disappointed in the fund raising campaign this list might be worth a look.

  • Healthcare

  • BSD


  • Project Releases

    • VLC 2.1 Rincewind about to enter the arena

      For quite a long time now, I have been compiling VLC packages in the 2.0 series (nicknamed “Twoflower”). My standard way of working is to prepare tarballs with pre-compiled code for the internally used libraries (the “contribs” in VideoLAN terms – stuff like ffmpeg, matroska, dvdcss etcetera) and then leave those precompiled tarballs relatively unchanged while I update the VLC version between builds. That way I can kind of guarantee that the internal encoding and decoding capabilities do not break all of a sudden – new bugs are usually easily tracked down to VLC bugs.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Talking open source sense in the public sector

      Open source evangelists are arguing that the government should pursue wholesale open source adoption as soon as possible. Is this approach the best route to take for sustained, long term government use of open source?

    • Open Source in the UK: Sharing the Fire

      As even a cursory glance at articles on Open Enterprise over the last few years will indicate, open source is a massive success in practically every market. Except, unfortunately, on the desktop (famously) and more, generally, for consumers. And as Aral Balkan points out in an important post from a few weeks ago, that’s a real problem….


      A company based around open source and privacy, inspired by Snowden’s leaks and GCHQ’s massive surveillance programme? That’s pretty remarkable, and on its own would make the endeavour worth supporting. But there’s another hugely important reason why we should get behind this idea: this is a British project, based in Brighton.

      Silicon Roundabout is all very well, but it’s largely driven by giant US companies and their agendas. What the UK’s computing industry needs is a vision and a platform that is suitable for a wide variety of startups offering both local and global products. It’s hard to tell from the rather scant details we have, but the premise of Codename Prometheus is certainly promising, since it would allow new entrants to use open source to address the mainstream consumer market – something that has been hard to do so far.

  • Licensing

    • Busted for Dodging Linux License, Samsung Makes Nice With Free Code

      Samsung has released software that could help a brand new class of storage devices work with Linux-based smartphones and computers.

      Made late last week, the code release is the result of a mini-saga involving Samsung and the open source software community. It might never have happened — at least not officially — if not for an anonymous hacker who calls herself “rxrz.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Can there be open source music?

      We have seen this happen in the world of creative content with Creative Commons. Larry Lessig, following a straightforward reading of the US Constitution and building on many of the insights published years earlier by Lewis Hyde in the book The Gift, realized that while there was nothing wrong with commercializing content per se, there was something very wrong about treating cultural resources as private, alienable property forever. Lessig believed, and I agree, that there is a benefit to giving the public some agency over the content that defines their culture, just as open source gives other developers—even users—agency over the software they have. Look at how the public has used that agency to create Wikipedia, a phenomenal collection of one of our most valuable cultural artifacts: human knowledge.

    • Heart failure breakthrough may come from “open source” cancer drug development: Discoveries

      Dr. James Bradner and Jun Qi work together in a lab at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. They have been using “crowd-sourcing” – asking for ideas from scientists everywhere – in developing JQ1, a new cancer drug named for Qi. Bradner’s lab worked with Dr. Saptarsi Haldar at Case to publish his recent results using JQ1 to treat mice with heart failure. (Sam Ogden, Dana-Farber)

    • Open civic dialogue with text messaging

      Last year, our team of Code for America Fellows received a call to action. Our partners at the City of Philadelphia needed a way to reach out to citizens left out of traditional public engagement. So we built a tool that used the simple power of text messaging to help government and citizens connect. We called it Textizen.

    • Open Access/Content

      • City of Boston teams up with edX to create BostonX

        The City of Boston has teamed with edX to create BostonX. It will offer free online college courses throughout the city. And it will make MOOCs (massive open online courses) available at community colleges and libraries throughout the city.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Open-Source PHP Gets Updates for Stability, Security

      The open-source PHP language is one of the most widely deployed technologies on the Web today, powering millions of Websites (including eWEEK). This past week, two important updates were issued for PHP, providing both security and bug fixes. Like many things in the open-source world (and technology in general), there isn’t just one version of PHP that is currently in use—in fact, there are now at least three main stable releases, including PHP 5.5, 5.4 and 5.3. The new security updates are for the 5.5 and 5.4 branches.

    • A viable way of building decentralized web apps

      Despite all the programming languages, the thousands of libraries, and the millions (or so it seems) of JavaScript libraries in the web ecosystem, there is still one path to building modern web applications: store everything on a server and when users open up their web browser, the “client”—the code running inside the browser—displays the data and receives user input that is sent back to the server.

    • The Eventual Evolution of Build Systems

      Build systems are deeply siloed by development language and primarily rely on the ’80s model of spelling out targets and instructions. But new tools, such as Gradle, that cater to polyglot apps and the needs of continuous delivery are finally emerging.


  • The Entire History of the World—Really, All of It—Distilled Into a Single Gorgeous Chart

    This giant, ambitious chart fit neatly with a trend in nonfiction book publishing of the 1920s and 1930s: the “outline,” in which large subjects (the history of the world! every school of philosophy! all of modern physics!) were distilled into a form comprehensible to the most uneducated layman.

  • USENIX 2013 Flame Award

    I wonder if it is good tiding NOW not to restrict singular contribution celebrated by Advanced Computing Systems Association to UNIX but to return to older and simpler computing design principles, like the FORTH dimension , empowering individual programmers across all social domains?

  • Italian skipper says Cup champ Oracle cheated

    Oracle Team USA is owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle Corp.

  • Athletes’ Rainbow Nails Will Not Be Tolerated At The Olympics, Sweden Warns

    Paint your nails rainbow colors and face disqualification, the Swedish Olympic Committee warned athletes Tuesday.

    Officials are taking a strong stance on Olympic attire after two Swedish athletes sported rainbow nails to support gay rights during the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Moscow last week.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Richard Engel and U.S. Aid to Egypt

      It’s not that journalists shouldn’t have opinions–they inevitably do, and they reveal them in numerous ways. But weighing in like this seems especially permissible when a journalist is taking a position that supports existing U.S. policy. It’s only opposing such policies that’s considered “advocacy.”

    • Stepped-up US drone strikes in Yemen spark massive protests

      Thousands have taken to the streets of Yemen to protest deadly US drone strikes which killed dozens of people over the last two weeks, Iranian media reported. Critics say Washington’s secretive policy is only pushing Yemenis to favor radical groups.

    • The Case Against Drone Strikes on People Who Only ‘Act’ Like Terrorists
    • Senator: Obama Administration Secretly Suspended Military Aid to Egypt

      The White House has quietly placed military aid to Egypt on hold, despite not saying publicly whether the Egyptian military takeover was a coup, Josh Rogin reports exclusively.

    • Obama Administration Secretly Suspends Military Aid To Egypt, Patrick Leahy Says
    • US soldier behind Afghanistan massacre laughs at murder charges

      Sgt. Robert Bales and his wife laughed at the charges brought against him for the murder of 16 Afghan civilians in a phone conversation. Prosecutors say they have a recording of the exchange which they will use to demonstrate Bales’ lack of remorse.

    • Frisking Bill Kristol

      Kristol soon enough weighed in on the the politics of New York police department’s stop-and-frisk program, which had just been declared unconstitutional and amounted to, in the words of federal judge Shira Scheindlin, a “policy of indirect racial profiling.”

    • The Permanent ‘War on Terror’

      In January 2012, former war correspondent Christopher Hedges and others, including Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg, filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and specifically the Act’s Section 1021(b)(2), which allows for indefinite detention by the US military of people “who are part of or substantially support Al Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces engaged in hostilities against the United States.”

      This detention denies those held of the ability to “contest the allegations against them because they have no right to be notified of the specific charges against them,” according to the complaint. The particular issue in question was the vagueness of the terms “substantially support” and “associated forces.”

    • Drone warfare: a new generation of deadly unmanned weapons

      Business is booming at the vast base in Nevada, where tomorrow’s Top Guns are learning to target terrorists from afar

    • The Perpetual Drone War in Yemen

      “The use of drones is heavily constrained,” said President Obama during his May speech about national security matters, held in response to growing criticism of the U.S. drone program. “Before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured.” Obama went on to promise to repeal some of his own war powers, saying that he intends to “engage Congress about the existing Authorization to Use Military Force, or AUMF, to determine how we can continue to fight terrorism without keeping America on a perpetual wartime footing.”

    • Drone-ing on in Yemen counter-productive

      Somewhere in Yemen are about two dozen individuals whom the United States is looking to capture or kill. These are al-Qaida’s senior operational leaders, the men administration officials think are plotting to attack the U.S. and its interests abroad.

    • Teaneck Peace Vigil Calls for End to ‘Cowardly’ Drone Strikes

      Group brings mock drone aircraft to National Guard Armory

    • Drone Murders: Geography and Justice

      Murder is murder.

    • Palace defends use of US drones in PH

      Valte deferred to the defense officials to respond to questions on whether Philippine laws are clear on the operation of drones in the archipelago.

    • Drones and the law

      More often than not, the United Nations secretariat is perceived to be pliable to American pressures – but not always, at least not on the question in relation to legality of armed drone strikes. And that we learnt first-hand on Tuesday when Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was urged to comment on the frequent use of drones by the CIA against targets in Pakistan’s restive tribal areas. “I have often said, the use of armed drones, like any other weapon, should be subject to long-standing rules of international law including humanitarian law,” he said, and added “This is a very clear position of the United Nations. Every effort should be made to avoid mistakes and civilian casualties”. Of course, he was not as categorical as another UN official who was here sometime back to investigate the impact of drone attacks, Ben Emerson, that the drone strikes ‘contravene international law because they violate Pakistan’s sovereignty’. Not that UN’s rejection is absolute; it does have a role for it and that’s that it is a ‘flying camera’ and that it would shortly put into use unarmed surveillance drones in eastern Congo that is beset with war for the last 20 years or so. But beyond that parallelism, if you please, there is nothing common between what the UN thinks of drones and how the CIA operates them against targets in Pakistan. The US is not at war with Pakistan, nor do its drone operations carry the UN mandate. As to who gets killed there is no accountability; even the CIA is blank about who the drones kill in Pakistan.

    • Obama Seems Unable To Limit the Counterproductive U.S. War on Terror

      A true cynic would question the timing of Middle East-wide U.S. embassy closings and a barrage of drone attacks in Yemen when the Obama administration is defending its intrusive spying on Americans after exposure by an intelligence agency contractor. Although in May, President Obama told us that he would wind down the war against Al Qaeda and its affiliates, perhaps his newly “outed” unconstitutional domestic spying programs required a threat refresher to justify them. Yet one doesn’t even have to be that cynical to question Obama’s recently reinvigorated war on terrorism.

    • 5 myths used to justify drone assassinations

      Only 2 percent of drone strikes have killed “high value targets,” former counter-terror adviser to David Petraeus, David Kilcullen, notoriously remarked in a New York Times column early in the Obama presidency, where he said that 50 civilians were killed for every “high-value target” assassinated. That means that 98 percent of drone-caused deaths have been a mix of low-level militants, civilians, or another dubious Pentagon classification called “unknown militants.”

    • Angela Merkel ignites furious political row by becoming first post-war German leader to visit former Nazi concentration camp at Dachau

      Chancellor Angela Merkel has ignited a furious political row by becoming the first post-war German leader to visit the former Nazi concentration camp at Dachau and then went on to address a campaign rally for her conservative party in a noisy beer tent at a nearby fair.

      Ms Merkel, who faces a general election on 22 September, had been invited to speak at a Bavarian conservative rally in the town of Dachau outside Munich. She agreed to spend an hour at the site of the town’s infamous Nazi concentration camp where 41,500 people were murdered, before her campaign appearance.

    • The Lessons of Classified Information: From Mossadegh to Snowden

      As for us, there are least two lessons to draw. First, we should pay more attention to history. In watching the events convulsing the Middle East, and thinking about how to react to them, it is essential to be aware of how we got to this juncture. Second, the official version of history is often very different from what really happened. During the Cold War, as now, the reality of what the U.S. government was doing was often hidden in classified documents. In the case of the coup against Mossadegh, it’s taken sixty years for the full truth to emerge. Doubtless, it will take almost as long for us to learn everything about the spying agencies’ electronic prosecution of the “War on Terror.” But thanks to Edward Snowden and journalists like Glenn Greenwald, we’ve at least had an advance briefing.

    • Iran, Egypt, the CIA and the consequences of our actions

      What is happening today in Egypt has many parallels to the events of 1953 in Iran.

    • Amazon legal filing flames IBM’s ‘materially deficient’ CIA cloud

      There’s a war going on for the future CPU cycles of the US Central Intelligence Agency, and behind closed doors and under fluorescent lights, representatives of IBM and Amazon are spitting blood at each other as they vie for the contract.

    • Guantanamo defense lawyers ask to restrict CIA’s use of information in 9/11 case

      Virtually every secrecy debate in the 9/11 case involves the CIA and the overseas prisons where it held and interrogated the five alleged al Qaeda conspirators for three or four years before they were sent to the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba in 2006.

      The government maintains everything about that now-defunct program is top secret and that disclosure could jeopardize national security, although some details have leaked or been disclosed by the CIA itself.

    • Thanks, CIA

      When the Russians moved into Afghanistan, the United States saw that war was an opportunity to mobilize the Muslim world against communism. So the CIA recruited Mujahdeen like Osama bin Laden from all over the Muslin world and they came from Algeria, the Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine.

      These fighters were given an ideology and told that the armed struggle is a virtuous thing to do and the notion of jihad as an Islamic terrorist movement was born.

      They were trained and armed by the CIA in Afghanistan. And America has been reaping the harvest of war that the CIA planted.

    • Judicial Watch Asks Supreme Court to Review Lawsuit Against CIA and DOD to Force Release of bin Laden Death Images

      Judicial Watch announced that it has filed a certiorari petition with the Supreme Court of the United States to review a 2013 Appeals Court ruling against the Judicial Watch lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Dept. of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency (No. 12-5137)). The suit seeks to force the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to release more than 50 photographs and video recordings of Osama bin Laden taken during and after the U.S. raid upon the terrorist leader’s compound in Pakistan on May 1, 2011.

    • CIA was involved with alleged assassin of John F Kennedy

      Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, and five decades later the US government and the CIA have yet to disclose the documents pertaining to the incident.

      Jefferson Morley, a former Washington Post reporter, is currently suing the CIA to release a file containing about 300 pages on Joannides, whom he thinks may have had contact with Oswald prior to the assassination.

    • Declassified CIA documents

      The concept of Remote Viewing is so bizarre that I can’t comprehend what it is or how it is done. In fact, I think that it embraces forces that we don’t understand. I liken it to playing with radioactive materials. At best, it may be fascinating, but the effects can be long-lasting and harmful.

    • Mapped: The 7 Governments the U.S. Has Overthrown
    • US shows no remorse for drone attack

      On Tuesday, Medea Benjamin led a dozen protesters outside the Walter E. Convention Center in Washington D. C. against the United States’ use of drones. Inside, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, including manufacturers who made the drones, was meeting with participants from all over the world.

    • The Many Contradictions at the Heart of America’s Drone Policy
    • Yemen drone strikes ‘counterproductive’

      Yemen has seen a major surge in drone strikes in the past two weeks, as the US hunts for al Qaeda-affiliated insurgents. But the secretive and indiscriminate attacks are terrorizing and radicalizing Yemenis, say critics.

    • Feeding the Flame

      If one can understand that President Obama’s administration has sought to avert yet another “Benghazi” debacle—an incident like the death of US ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and several others at the hands of militants in 2012—by pulling out its staff and ordering an unparalleled military mobilization in Yemen, one cannot shy away from acknowledging the danger of a “trigger-happy” strategy in a country as fragile and geo-strategically important as Yemen. Both the Netherlands’ and German intelligence services have disputed the US’s perceived over-reaction at what they viewed as a diffuse threat from Yemen.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • ALEC in Chicago: 10 Photographs that Tell the Story

      Some of the banners read: “ALEC Makes For-Profit Prisons,” “Moral Monday: No To ALEC,” and “ALEC Attacks All Workers.” The Chicago Moral Monday Coalition partners include: local clergy and laypeople, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), National Nurses United (NNU), US Uncut, Chicago Youth Climate Coalition, Chicago Fracking Working Group, Communities United Against Foreclosures and Evictions, Young People’s Assembly on Violence and Youth Services Project, Southside Together Organizing for Power.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • First they came for the hard drives …

      As long as a journalist doesn’t report anything other than official government propaganda, they’ll be just fine.

    • School District Ends Policy Of Forcing Students To Kneel Down For Dismissal
    • Miranda’s Rights: How Europe Can Learn from Latin America’s Independence

      It is clear that Miranda was not suspected of any connection to terrorism. To detain and rob Miranda on this pretext is no more legal than to have done so on trumped-up allegations that he was transporting cocaine. The White House has admitted that Washington had advance knowledge of the crime, and so we can infer approval – if not active collaboration.

      It is interesting, too, because the UK government had previously kept a relatively low public profile on the Snowden case, despite the fact that Snowden had leaked files from its own intelligence-gathering and not just the NSA’s. Until Sunday, it looked as though the British authorities had learned at least a little bit about public relations after their international embarrassment last year, when they threatened to invade Ecuador’s embassy in order to capture Julian Assange. Nevertheless, they are still keeping Assange trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, illegally, and presumably at the behest of you-know-who.

    • UK ordered Guardian to destroy hard drives in effort to stop Snowden revelations

      UK authorities reportedly raided the Guardian’s office in London to destroy hard drives in an effort to stop future publications of leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The action is unlikely to prevent new materials coming out.

      Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger revealed in a Monday article posted on the British newspaper’s website that intelligence officials from the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) told him that he would either have to hand over all the classified documents or have the newspaper’s hard drives destroyed.

      After more talks, two “security experts” from GCHQ – the British version of the National Security Agency – visited the Guardian’s London offices.

      Rusbridger wrote that the government officials then watched as computers, which contained classified information passed on by Snowden, were physically destroyed in one of the newspaper building’s basements.

    • Federal judge grants California permission to force-feed inmates on hunger strike

      A US federal judge ruled that state and federal prison officials in California will be allowed to start force-feeding inmates participating in a nearly two-month-long hunger strike, if the prisoners appear to be approaching their death.

    • How the NDAA Suspends Habeas Corpus

      Tom Eddlem, writer for The New American magazine, talks about the National Defense Authorization Act and how it specifically infringes upon American citizens’ rights.

    • The Terrorism Act 2000, David Miranda and the rule of law.

      Further details continue to emerge about the case of David Miranda. There are those who think that it is acceptable to use the Terrorism Act 2000 to pursue someone carrying information that may or may not be sensitive to the UK.

      However, even if David Miranda was carrying documents to Glenn Greenwald, on a ticket paid for by the Guardian, it doesn’t change the fundamental facts.

    • Greenwald partner sues Home Office as UK defends ‘Miranda op’

      he UK Home Office says it has “to protect the public”, but Miranda has accused Britain of a “total abuse of power” and has said he will take legal action against the Home Office. The Guardian is “supportive” of his action.

      David Miranda, the partner of US journalist Glenn Greenwald, who published documents about the NSA and GCHQ spying activities leaked by Edward Snowden, in Britain’s Guardian newspaper was questioned for nine hours in London’s Heathrow airport on Sunday under Schedule 7 of the UK’s anti-terrorism law.

      Miranda’s lawyer, Gwendolen Morgan, said her client was seeking a judicial review of the legal basis for his detention and wanted assurances that the property seized from him by police would not be examined.

    • UK must account for its actions to repress Guardian reporting on surveillance
    • When the State Attacks Journalism

      None of these tactics would appear to discourage the journalists who are being targeted. But the stories, taken together, represent a direct attack on news gathering. This should outrage every single journalist, and anyone who believes in freedom of expression.

    • Groklaw Shuts Down, Cites Government Surveillance
    • Groklaw shuts down rather than risk feds snooping through e-mail

      PJ plans to “get off the Internet to the degree it’s possible.”

    • Groklaw shutting down due to government surveillance

      The award-winning and much respectable website Groklaw which covers legal news around free and open source software and provides critical information in complex cases is shutting down.

      Groklaw played a very pivotal role during the SCO-Linux case, Micorosft’s lawsuite in Europe, Micrsoft’s OOXML standardization and then it’s once again providing users with better understanding of the Android – Oracle lawsuit. The site plays a very important role to fight FUD spreading Microsoft backed blogs like FOSSPatents.

    • District Court Holds That Intentionally Circumventing IP Address Ban Is “Access Without Authorization” Under the CFAA

      During the debate over the Aaron Swartz case, one of the legal issues was whether Swartz had committed an unauthorized access under the CFAA when he changed his IP address to circumvent IP address blocking imposed by system administrators trying to keep Swartz off the network. There was significantly more to the CFAA charges than that, to be clear, including circumventing a subsequent MAC address block and (most significantly) entering an MIT storage closet to install his computer directly. But changing IP addresses to get around IP address blocking was at least one of the possible grounds of unauthorized access. On Friday, Judge Breyer of the Northern District of California handed down the first decision directly addressing the issue. Judge Breyer ruled that changing IP addresses to get around a block is an unauthorized access in violation of the CFAA. The decision is here: Craigslist v. 3taps, Inc..

    • Changing IP address to access public website ruled violation of US law
    • The Strange Case of Barrett Brown Just Got Stranger

      The prosecution made a motion for a “Gag Order” (a motion to disallow media) in the case of Barrett Brown. Brown is one of the subjects of my film, The Reality Wars, which is about the targeting of hacktivists, activists and journalists by the US government. Brown is both a journalist and a hacktivitst. He does not possess technical hacking skills though he does promote the public’s right to information. He is facing 105 years in federal prison primarily for doing his job as a journalist.

      Brown’s counsel, Ahmed Ghappour and Charles Swift, moved to continue (postpone trial date), explaining that more time is required in order to prepare his defense. There are two terabytes of electronic evidence to be reviewed. The government opposed on August 8, 2013, and, in its opposition, surprisingly requested a Gag Order. The Gag Order is for all parties to refrain from talking to members of any television, radio, newspaper, magazine, website (including bloggers), or other media organization about this case, other than in matters of public record.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Russia Prepares To Block Tor And Anonymizing Proxies

      As more and more countries start introducing Web blocks, some people console themselves with the “at least there’s always Tor” argument. Politicians may be slow, but they are not all completely stupid, and they are beginning to get the message that Tor and other anonymous services potentially render their Web blocks moot.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Troll Ran Pirate Bay Honeypot, Comcast Confirms

        Evidence is stacking up that Prenda Law has been operating a honeypot in order to lure Internet users into downloading copyrighted material. A subpoena just returned by Comcast confirms that a Pirate Bay user called “Sharkmp4″ is directly linked to the infamous anti-piracy law firm. The case is controversial in many ways, not least because The Pirate Bay actively helped to expose the copyright troll in question.

      • White House IP Chief Victoria Espinel Steps Down

        President Barack Obama’s chief intellectual property adviser has stepped down from her post after more than three years on the job.


        Espinel could be one of the top candidates to head BSA

      • Comcast says its attempt to shut down TorrentFreak by claiming copyright on court filing was “error”

        This morning, I posted about a series of legal threats sent to TorrentFreak by Comcast’s (creepy) enforcers Cyveillance. At the time I posted, TorrentFreak had less than 24 hours to resolve the issue before being booted off its webhost, and was unable to get anyone at Cyveillance or Comcast to answer its repeated emails.


Links 19/8/2013: Linux Foundation on ‘Hobbyists’, Heathrow Row Over Miranda

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • The Success of Firefox OS Will Depend on the Success of Apps for It

        Mozilla continues to move rapidly ahead with its Firefox OS mobile operating system, which is arriving on phones in many markets around the world. In fact, the OS is gaining enough traction that many observers see it as eventually being competitive with iOS and Android phones, but If Firefox OS is to be a resounding success, it’s going to need a very healthy ecosystem of apps to attract users.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice


    • Denemo – News: Release 1.0.6 is now available

      Import MusicXML
      Direct import of music XML.
      Improved Rhythm Entry
      Dotted rhythms in two keypresses

    • August 2013 GNU Toolchain update

      This feature causes runtime data structures to be built at program start up which are used for verifying the vtable pointers. The options std and preinit control the timing of when these data structures are built. In both cases the data structures are built before execution reaches ‘main’. Using std causes these data structure to be built after the shared libraries have been loaded and initialized. Using preinit causes them to be built before the shared libraries have been loaded and initialized.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • OpenDesk.cc Is Like Ikea For Open Source Zealots

        Furniture is probably the last thing on the mind of most open source proponents but now it doesn’t have to be. OpenDesk is a free, open source line of furniture that you can make yourself or order unassembled from a maker with a CNC machine. Not only is the furniture cheap – free if you have the wood and hardware – it’s actually cool-looking.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open Standards show and tell

      Last year, we established our definition of an open standard for software interoperability, data and document formats, and the Open Standards Principles that explain our rationale for putting them into government IT.

      Now we are working on identifying the specific open standards that will most benefit users of government technology and services. That process depends on suggestions and recommendations from experts on the field — many of whom are outside of government. We need your help.


  • 40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Are American Drones Al Qaeda’s Strongest Weapon in Yemen?

      Things are getting really messy in Yemen at the moment. With soldiers being murdered in their sleep and embassies closing en masse in fear of an imminent wave of attacks and multiple drone strikes, the country seems to be the latest sandbox full of blood in our war on terror.

      Not that this warz one is all that new. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have had a presence in the area for years, their membership rose from around 300 in 2009 up to an estimated 1,000 today. In an attempt to combat this rise in manpower, the US has escalated its infamous drone program, allegedly targeting high-ranking AQAP members. Although, according to reports, they’ve yet to actually kill any of them.

      Is this hit-and-hope policy really the best way to fight al Qaeda in Yemen? Or are these drone strikes, which have a habit of killing civilians, exactly the PR ammo al Qaeda need to lure new recruits in a country that is already as politically stable as a gang of jihadists on a bouncy castle?

    • Obama has not delivered on May’s promise of transparency on drones

      An escalation of drone strikes in Yemen highlights the fact that the US public is still in the dark about this use of lethal force

    • CIA admits role in 1953 Iran coup: report

      Today, on the 60th anniversary of the coup against Iran’s Mohammed Mossadegh, Foreign Policy Magazine (FPM) reported that the National Security Archive website — an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington DC — has published a document in which the CIA openly acknowledges its involvement in the overthrow of the man who was elected as Iran’s prime minister.

    • Ex-CIA official to ask Italy for pardon over rendition – lawyer

      Lady was among 23 Americans sentenced at an Italian trial in
      2009, the first time U.S. nationals had been convicted over the
      programme, operated by the administration of former U.S.
      President George W. Bush during the so-called war on terror.

    • CIA Admits It Was Behind Iran Coup

      Mossadeq was a democratically elected prime minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953, when his government was overthrown through the coup. His successor, said to have been chosen by Britain’s MI6 and the CIA, was Fazlollah Zahedi, an Iranian general. General Zahedi had resigned as minister of interior in 1951 because of the criticism he received in handling a demonstration, according to the CIA history.

    • Zahid Sarfraz labels Musharraf as CIA agent

      Former Interior Minister and former leader of APML Mian Zahid Sarfaraz has claimed that Osama bin Laden was not killed during 2nd May, 2011 Abbottabad action by the US Seals and he was arrested in injured condition.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Michael Grunwald and the Assange Precedent Problem

      People say reckless things on Twitter, as Grunwald’s defenders pointed out and as some of his more extreme critics, who posted that they couldn’t wait to write a similar defense regarding the drone strike that hit him and other gruesome things, demonstrated. If dumbness were the only issue we’d be done. But this one deserves being talked about a bit more, less because Grunwald still seems a bit oblivious as to what was wrong with what he said (though there’s that) than because it encapsulated something hazardous about the current moment, for journalists, for anyone who cares about civil liberties, and for the political culture more generally. And there’s the issue of the lack of civility on Twitter—but we already knew that one.

    • Wikileaks Just Released A Massive ‘Insurance’ File That No One Can Open

      The group, which has been assisting ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden after he leaked top-secret documents to the media, posted links for about 400 gigabytes of files on their Facebook page Saturday, and asked their fans to download and mirror them elsewhere.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • How To Avoid Data Surveillance Programs
    • Capitol Hill Republicans disagree on future of NSA spying, King attacks Paul

      Two of congressional Republicans’ most outspoken members on the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs on Sunday highlighted the sharp divide within the party on the issue.

    • Paranoid Browsing: anti-profiling plugin seeks feedback
    • The NSA Makes 600,000-Plus Database Queries Every Single Day

      Holy crap. They perform 20 million surveillance queries per month? On the bright side, if you assume that their internal auditing really does catch every “incident,” it means they have a violation rate of about 0.001 percent. On the less bright side, they perform 20 million surveillance queries per month.

      That’s genuinely hard to fathom. Is some of that automated? Or is that truly 600,000-plus human queries each and every day? The mind boggles.

    • N.S.A. Calls Violations of Privacy ‘Minuscule’
    • EFF Supports Human Rights Case Against Cisco for Selling Surveillance Technologies to China

      EFF filed an amicus brief in an important case known as Du v. Cisco, where Chinese human rights activists have sued the US tech giant Cisco in Maryland federal court. The case alleges that Cisco knowingly customized, marketed, sold, and provided continued support and service for technologies used by the Chinese government to facilitate human rights abuses.

      The case arises in part from the publication several years ago of a presentation in which Cisco confirms that the Golden Shield is helpful to the Chinese government to “Combat Falun Gong Evil Religion and Other Hostilities.” This shocking statement indicated not only that Cisco knew of the Chinese government’s strategy of repression of dissident groups, but that it was marketing and customizing its Golden Shield technologies to meet those goals. Shortly after this case was filed in August 2011, China detained the lead plaintiff, Du Daobin, and interrogated him about his involvement in the case. EFF called on Cisco to intervene to help protect the plaintiffs.

    • Climate Skeptic Asks NSA For Access To Former EPA Director’s Emails

      An attorney best known for his prodding environmental regulators over their email usage has turned to a new potential ally in the war against climate science: the National Security Agency.

      While the NSA has been getting flack in recent months after reports on its secret surveillence programs, Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, he’s so pleased with the practice that he’s using it to further his pursuit of emails and other documents from former Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson. Horner first revealed in June what many conservatives decried as a “secret email account” that Jackson utilized in her time at the EPA.

    • EPA critic to NSA: Hey, want to share?

      A conservative gadfly who has made a crusade of uncovering embarrassing emails at the Environmental Protection Agency wants to tap a new potential evidence trove: the National Security Agency’s electronic snooping program.

    • NSA-dodging mail service explains why email can never truly be private and secure
    • Among the NSA’s Own Tips for Securing Computers: Remove the Webcam

      Seems like everything gets hacked these days. Baby monitors. White House employees’ personal email. Toilets.

    • Let Non-Secret Courts Decide if NSA Surveillance Is Constitutional

      Deputy NSA Director John Inglis recently told Congress that analysts “try to be judicious” in analyzing telephone metadata so as not to waste their name studying phone records from “the pizza delivery man.” But there are other groups of American citizens whose telephone records likely interest the intelligence community far more than takeout restaurants: attorneys who represent Guantanamo detainees. Journalists. Whistleblowers. Human rights researchers.

    • EU privacy watchdogs seek details on NSA spying

      Europe’s privacy watchdogs are demanding details on the extent of U.S. surveillance efforts in the wake of NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations about the PRISM spying program.

      The National Security Agency’s PRISM operation compels major Internet firms to hand over detailed contents of communications such as emails, video chats and more.

    • Rand Paul Wants Supreme Court to Review Constitutionality of NSA’s Surveillance Programs

      Arguing that congressional hearings and new safeguards recently announced by President Barack Obama might not be enough to ensure privacy rights, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called for the Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

    • Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Abolish The NSA And Give Snowden A Parade

      There was a showing of the new documentary, Terms and Conditions May Apply late last week in Washington DC, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich stopped by and made some very pointed remarks while discussing the NSA’s surveillance activities. The (well-timed) documentary, of course, looks at how companies and the government use and abuse everyone’s digital data. Kucinich’s remarks are well worth listening to, as he suggests that Congress should abolish the NSA, while also saying that Ed Snowden deserves a ticker-tape parade.

    • NSA Violations ‘Just the Tip of a Larger Iceberg,’ Say Wyden, Udall
    • How to Keep the NSA Out of Your Computer

      Sick of government spying, corporate monitoring, and overpriced ISPs? There’s a cure for that.

    • Outrage at Violations Adds Fuel to NSA Opposition

      Amash Seeks New Vote on Ending Surveillance

  • Civil Rights

    • NSA journo’s partner ‘detained’

      The partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, who revealed mass surveillance by US and British security agencies, has been detained under the Terrorism Act, the Guardian reports. He was reportedly stopped at Heathrow Airport but has since been released.

    • Glenn Greenwald’s partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours

      David Miranda, partner of Guardian interviewer of whistleblower Edward Snowden, questioned under Terrorism Act

    • Detaining my partner: a failed attempt at intimidation

      The detention of my partner, David Miranda, by UK authorities will have the opposite effect of the one intended

    • Investigating Acts of Journalism Under ‘Terrorism’ Laws Is A Hallmark of Authoritarian Regimes

      In an outrageous and unacceptable attack on press freedom, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, was detained for almost nine hours at Heathrow airport in London earlier today under section 7 of the UK’s pernicious Terrorism Act. Miranda was returning to his home in Brazil after a week-long visit with documentarian Laura Poitras. Miranda, whose flights were paid for by the Guardian, was reportedly bringing important documents back to Greenwald on USB thumbdrives.


      It is unclear what the UK government was trying to accomplish by detaining Miranda. Likely, it was meant as some form of intimidation. But surely, it will backfire. Investigating acts of journalism under “terrorism” laws and detaining family members of reporters are hallmarks of authoritarian regimes.


      Take, for example, this report from Human Rights Watch from a year ago: “The Iranian government has been intimidating and detaining relatives and friends of foreign-based Persian-language journalists to obtain information or silence them.”

      And until UK government takes swift action to rectify this injustice, other journalists — and their loved ones — should be on alert. Not only was Miranda detained, but Greenwald’s journalistic work-product was seized. As Andrew Sullivan wrote, “So any journalist passing through London’s Heathrow has now been warned: do not take any documents with you. Britain is now a police state when it comes to journalists, just like Russia is.”


      Ironically, this incident comes the same day as a long profile in New York Times Magazine of Poitras, who has shamefully been the subject of similar harassment at the border by the US for years, solely because she produces journalism that the United States government apparently does not like. It’s unknown whether the US had any involvement in the detention of Miranda but questions should be asked as to what they knew and when.

    • How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets

      The stranger responded with instructions for creating an even more secure system to protect their exchanges. Promising sensitive information, the stranger told Poitras to select long pass phrases that could withstand a brute-force attack by networked computers. “Assume that your adversary is capable of a trillion guesses per second,” the stranger wrote.

    • Next Time, Pay Attention.

      On a few occasions, I stood outside in a protest of Arab registration in America where a still unknown number of men went into DHS offices, and never came home. We all watched the surveillance and intimidation of Muslim and Arab communities in America, the UK and Europe and said to those governments, it’s ok, because those communities have extremists.

      Now the extra-judicial harassment of journalists has begun. And a bunch of folks are saying “How could this happen?”

    • Detention of Guardian journalist’s partner ‘extraordinary’, says Keith Vaz

      Senior MP to seek explanation from police after detention of Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, at Heathrow airport

    • Press comment: David Miranda arrest

      Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: “This is a direct attack on freedom of the press and a chilling reminder that our anti-terror laws are in desperate need of reform. Whoever took the decision to have David Miranda arrested and detained should be named and held publicly accountable for this flagrant abuse of anti-terrorism laws.

    • Miranda’s detention is a direct attack on freedom of the press

      Today’s detention of David Miranda, the partner of The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald who interviewed whistleblower Edward Snowden, is a direct attack on freedom of the press and a chilling reminder that our anti-terror laws are in desperate need of reform. Whoever took the decision to have Miranda arrested and detained should be named and held publicly accountable for this flagrant abuse of anti-terrorism laws.

      The law Miranda was detained under provides powers to deal with those suspected of involvement with acts of terrorism, not a license to interrogate those with knowledge of the activity of journalists. If a foreign government detained the partner of a British journalist we would rightly be up in arms.

    • NSA Scandal: UK Condemned for ‘Unlawful, Petty’ Treatment of Glenn Greenwald’s Partner David Miranda

      The British government has received international condemnation after the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald was questioned for nine hours over Edward Snowden’s NSA and GCHQ leaks.

      Brazilian national David Miranda, who was in Heathrow airport en route to Rio de Janeiro, was held under the 2000 Terrorism Act – although Greenwald claims the interrogation had nothing to do with terrorism.

    • Britain Detains Partner Of Journalist Who Exposed NSA Spying. Are They Crazy Or Stupid?

      The partner of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who published classified information on U.S. government surveillance, was detained for 9 hours in London’s Heathrow Airport. On Sunday morning, David Miranda was detained for the maximum allowable time under British Law; his property was confiscated and has yet to be returned, according to Greenwald.

    • Partner of reporter who broke NSA stories detained

      The domestic partner of the journalist who broke a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programs by the U.S. National Security Agency was held for almost nine hours Sunday by British authorities at London’s Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro.

    • Partner of NSA leaks reporter held in UK, MP seeks explanation

      London: British police have detained the live-in partner of a Guardian journalist responsible for leaking reports on US surveillance programme for nine hours under terror laws, prompting Indian-origin lawmaker Keith Vaz to seek an explanation from Scotland Yard on the issue.


      “It is an extraordinary twist to a very complicated story,” Vaz told BBC today. “I will write to the police to ask for the justification of the use of terrorism legislation they may have a perfectly reasonable explanation.”

      Greenwald has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programmes by the US National Security Agency.

    • NSA spy-program reporter slams U.K. detention
    • Brazil ‘concerned’ over NSA journalist’s partner’s 9-hour detention at UK airport under Terrorism Act
    • NDAA Nullification Bill Headed to Floor of California State Senate

      On August 12 the California Senate Appropriations Committee sent to the floor a bill making it more difficult for residents of the Golden State to be indefinitely detained under provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • The Internet: We’re Doing It Wrong

      This week Facebook’s ban-bot went berserk; Github went down; and all Google services collapsed for a few minutes, taking 40% of the Internet with them. Just another week on the Internet, then. We love our centralized services, until they let us down.


Links 18/8/2013: Amarok 2.8, Linux Fund-raising Record

Posted in News Roundup at 3:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Free software for free markets

    Co-inciding with the first DebConf in Switzerland, one of the world’s leading financial centers, the first official packaging of open messaging and market data distribution framework OpenMAMA for a Linux distribution has just been uploaded. The packages, along with the Avis low-latency event-router middleware/transport were uploaded to the Debian unstable catalog this week and will soon be available conveniently to install with apt-get.

  • PLVision’s Open Source Solution for Enabling OpenWRT-Routers with SDN Functionality

    For the past years, PLVision has been working on technologies in the Networking domain, namely Software Defined Networks. Apart from assimilating already existing solutions, the company has developed its own Open vSwitch package for OpenWrt which considerably extends router functionality and adaptability, and is completely free.

  • The big challenge with open source: Workflow, not code quality
  • 10 Most Popular Open Source Software Ever!

    Open Source software are never the less one of the biggest innovations in the history of technology. Simply buy an all new computer device and install any software you want without spending a single penny (except the internet datacharges). It offers you everything from a free word processor, free image editor, media player, sound editor, file archiver, PDF creator and what not.

    Although a few of these software might not stand parallel to its commercial rivals in terms of functionality, there are many that stand far beyond of everything else on the market in terms of features and capabilities.

  • VMware’s Love-Hate Relationship With OpenStack

    VMware, perhaps more-so than any other vendor on the planet, is responsible for helping enterprises move to more agile and efficient virtualized server infrastructure. Simply put, VMware is the vendor to beat in the enterprise virtualized server space.

    When it comes to the cloud though, VMware’s dominance is not a foregone conclusion, with Amazon and perhaps more importantly OpenStack, leading the charge. OpenStack is an open-source multi-stakeholder effort that is building an open-cloud platform solution.

  • Questions to ask before choosing an open source hypervisor
  • Open-source project Pixy aims to give vision to hobbyists’ robots

    An open-source project aims to give a rudimentary eye to robots with the help of a camera that can detect, identify and track the movement of specific objects.

  • Open source code management: How to safely use open source libraries
  • No-Cost Transfer of Files is Possible With the Boffin Open Source iPod Software List
  • Open Source Data Recovery Software List Released By Boffin Reviewers
  • Boffin Now Provides An Open Source Email Marketing Software List
  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Do cloud right: Four critical steps to selecting the provider for you

      When Edward Snowden leaked intelligence files, a storm was triggered in the cloud, leaving a path of destruction. Snowden’s email provider Lavabit shut down. So has the email offering of Silent Circle. The Guardian ran a story declaring: Lavabit’s closure marks the death of secure cloud computing in the U.S. And the EU is not entirely unaffected either. Be it by the Tempora program in the UK or the U.S. National Security Agency facilities that reportedly reside in Germany.

    • ownCloud Client 1.4.0 beta 2
  • Databases

    • Where Are NoSQL Database Partner Programs?

      As NoSQL databases catch on for Big Data applications, where are the NoSQL partner programs for resellers, integrators and VARs? So far, 10gen seems to be the only company shouting an answer.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Battle of the Office Suites
    • Battle of the Office Suites: Microsoft Office and LibreOffice Compared

      For a long time, Microsoft Office has been the reigning champ of office suites, but that doesn’t mean the free alternative, LibreOffice, isn’t worth considering. Let’s take a look at how the two compare, and if it’s finally possible to ditch the paid option for the free one.

    • Microsoft Uses DMCA To Block Many Links To Competing Open Office

      Another day, another example of excessive DMCA takedown actions. The latest is that Microsoft has been issuing DMCA takedowns to Google directing the search engine to remove links to Open Office.

    • Microsoft Continues Its Anti-competitive Behaviour

      It’s to be expected. M$ is still run by the same people who thought up every dirty trick they could over the decades to prevent having to compete on price/performance. The latest deed covers demanding removal of links to downloads of OpenOffice.org under the DMCA nonsense. “Office” is in the name, right? Grounds for banning it… What’s next? Banning downloads of */Linux because there’s an “X” in the name? Nope. This is grounds for further anti-trust action. US Department of inJustice, Are you paying attention?

  • Funding

  • BSD

  • Project Releases

    • QEMU 1.6 Brings A Whole Lot Of Changes

      QEMU 1.6.0 has been released and with this open-source processor emulator commonly used with Linux KVM are a whole lot of new features and capabilities.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Source Collaboration in Museum Exhibit Design

      In the last few years, audience participation and collaboration has been an increasingly discussed topic among museum professionals worldwide. Emerging technologies and the open source movement provide an opportunity for new forms of collaboration, namely collaboration among individuals with different areas of expertise using an online platform. In this blog post, I briefly describe two open source initiatives that focus on collaboration in Museum Exhibit Design, and share my conversation with Bob Ketner, an independent curator and an expert on open source collaboration methods, who was actively involved in both initiatives.

    • Open Access/Content

      • IIMs should start open-source class-ware …

        India graduates nearly 400,000 to 500,000 MBAs annually from some 3300-odd business schools. Based on an extensive study, The Wall Street Journal (December 2012) estimated that only 10% of Indian management graduates are employable! Given that a larger proportion of the ‘employable’ graduates must understandably be from the IIMs and other handful of high-rated business schools, the large majority of lower ranked business schools must be adding little value to the MBA graduates.

  • Programming

    • Free and Inexpensive Ways to Pick Up Open Source Tech Skills

      This week Twitter was in the news for buying San Francisco-based company Marakana, which has focused on tech training, including training many people to use open source technology platforms and tools. As ZDNet reported, “Twitter is in the process of building its own engineering education program, dubbed Twitter University.” Marakana’s team will help build out this effort and the company will no longer train any individuals or organizations who want training.

    • Even more curry for C++11
    • SDL2 Plans With Wayland, SDL3 Already On The Mind

      While SDL 2.0 was finally released this week after being in development for years, future SDL 2.x features and changes are already being plotted and even some early thoughts concerning SDL 3.x for game developers and other cross-platform developers relying upon this important Simple DirectMedia Layer library.


  • Crowd asked to fund a colossal statue of Steve Jobs

    APPLE GADGET FANS can kick in to pay for the construction of a gigantic statue of Steve Jobs through the Indiegogo crowdfunding website.

    Jobs passed away from cancer in 2011, but since then his influence has still been seen in Apple’s designs, so much so that the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S have been credited to him. Some people want to make sure that he will always be remembered and would like to erect a huge – think Statue of Liberty proportions – statue of the late Apple co-founder.

  • Google engineers insist 20% time is not dead—it’s just turned into 120% time

    A lively debate among current and former Google engineers is raging on Hacker News about Quartz’s piece on the death of 20% time at Google—that formerly hallowed portion of an engineer’s week set aside for his or her own projects, which brought us innovations such as Gmail and Adsense.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Beekeeping dog in ‘astronaut’ suit detects infected hives by smell

      Bees are extremely important. We’ve been writing about for years about the various threats that they face (Margaret has a great timeline of bee articles between 2005 and 2013), and about various ways to protect them. But this story from Australia might be the most original yet, or at the very least the cutest.

  • Finance

    • Every Important Person In Bitcoin Just Got Subpoenaed By New York’s Financial Regulator

      Things are getting serious for Bitcoin this month: a federal judge declared it real money, Bloomberg gave it an experimental ticker (XBT), and New York’s financial regulator announced an interest in regulating it. Declaring Bitcoin “a virtual Wild West for narcotraffickers and other criminals,” the New York State Department of Financial Services is stepping into the sheriff’s boots.

    • NYT Sees Shift in Global Economy–by Using a Lot of Imagination

      We learn that “the gross domestic product of the 17-nation euro zone grew at an annualized rate of about 1.2 percent in the second quarter,” and that Brazil has gone from a 7.6 percent growth rate two years ago to a projected 2.3 percent rate this year–though the alert reader will notice that 2.3 percent for a year is better than 1.2 percent for a quarter.

    • Was ‘The New York Times’ Hacked?

      There are many different kinds of Web attacks today. The one that The New York Times admitted to in January was an infiltration by attackers going after usernames and passwords for email accounts. That type of attack is about information gathering and isn’t about taking a site offline.

      There are also distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, where hundreds of millions of data packets slam into a service in order to render it inaccessible. In my experience in a DDoS attack, Web browsers simply time out and no response comes back from the given site.

    • Judge Rules Against Icahn’s Efforts to Reschedule Dell Meeting

      A Delaware judge on Friday denied a request by Carl Icahn to reschedule Dell Inc.’s annual meeting, dealing a blow to the activist investor’s fight against a buyout offer led by the company’s founder, Michael S. Dell.

    • Rajiv Sethi: The Spider and the Fly

      Aleynikov was hired by Goldman to help improve its relatively weak position in what is rather euphemistically called the market-making business. In principle, this is the business of offering quotes on both sides of an asset market in order that investors wishing to buy or sell will find willing counterparties. It was once a protected oligopoly in which specialists and dealers made money on substantial spreads between bid and ask prices, in return for which they provided some measure of price continuity.

    • Taken

      Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • CMD Fights Back Against ALEC’s Effort to Evade Open Records Law in Texas

      The Center for Media and Democracy filed a letter with the Texas Attorney General on Thursday refuting efforts by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to declare itself immune from the state’s open records law. Texas is the first known state where ALEC has formally asked an Attorney General for an exemption from sunshine-in-government laws, and it marks a new low in the organization’s attempts to advance its legislative agenda in secret and avoid public accountability for facilitating special interest influence.

    • What Do You Call Edward Snowden?

      By highlighting this comment, CBS is suggesting that Snowden made some kind of important admission with his use of the word “spies.” Couple that with Pelley referencing the “collaboration” with an unnamed journalist–presumably Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian–and you can put the pieces together: Snowden, now “being harbored by Russia,” was acting as a spy when he “spilled” those secrets, with Greenwald his collaborator.

      Sure, it’s not as alarming as, say, NBC’s David Gregory musing about whether or not Greenwald should be arrested, but it’s striking language nonetheless.

    • Twitter joins Washington’s influence economy, forms PAC

      Twitter on Friday became an official member of Washington’s influence economy, with the formation of a political action committee and the appointment of its first registered lobbyist.

  • Censorship

    • Download the Pirate Bay’s free Pirate Browser to circumvent censorship

      Here’s the official description of the Pirate browser:

      “PirateBrowser is a bundle package of the Tor client (Vidalia), FireFox Portable browser (with foxyproxy addon) and some custom configs that allows you to circumvent censorship that certain countries such as Iran, North Korea, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Italy and Ireland impose onto their citizens.”

    • Wikipedia Co-Founder Refuses to Comply With China’s Censorship

      Wikipedia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales said he would rather have no Wikipedia in China than comply with any form of censorship.

      In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong, Mr. Wales said the company will always refuse to comply with government requests to restrict information, calling access to knowledge and education a human right.

    • The Pirate Bay Releases Censorship-Busting ‘PirateBrowser’

      If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to circumvent any filters or blocks that your ISP (or country) has put into place on your Web browsing, The Pirate Bay might have a solution for you. As part of the commemoration around the site’s ten-year anniversary, which it officially celebrated yesterday, The Pirate Bay has officially released its own web browser. Sort-of.

  • Privacy

    • The NSA’s technical fouls

      If the leak of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order requiring Verizon to provide the FBI and NSA with millions of call records was the most important in advancing the debate about privacy and surveillance, Barton Gellman’s report in the Washington Post about NSA’s internal compliance audits should count as a close second.

    • Lawmakers Demand More NSA Oversight Amid Privacy Concerns

      National Security Agency spy programs need better oversight to prevent excesses in collecting Americans’ voice and data communications, lawmakers said after the disclosure of an audit showing privacy rules were broken thousands of times.

    • NSA Leaker Charged Under 96-Year-Old Law

      Former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden is now living in exile in Russia, fearful that if he returns to the United States he’ll be arrested on espionage charges.

      The irony is that the charges against Snowden, who was a computer expert at the high-tech National Security Agency, come from a law that dates back to before most Americans could listen to the radio, much less watch TV or surf the web.

    • Court: Ability to police U.S. spying program limited

      The leader of the secret court that is supposed to provide critical oversight of the government’s vast spying programs said that its ability do so is limited and that it must trust the government to report when it improperly spies on Americans.

    • China to investigate IBM, EMC and Oracle over NSA security fears

      Tables are turned as China raises security concerns about US IT firms following reports of mass surveillance by the NSA

    • China mulls probe into IBM, Oracle, EMC after NSA hack claims – report
    • Snowden downloaded NSA secrets while working for Dell, sources say

      Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden began downloading documents describing the U.S. government’s electronic spying programs while he was working for Dell Inc in April 2012, almost a year earlier than previously reported, according to U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the matter.

    • NSA Spying: The Three Pillars of Government Trust Have Fallen

      With each recent revelation about the NSA’s spying programs government officials have tried to reassure the American people that all three branches of government—the Executive branch, the Judiciary branch, and the Congress—knowingly approved these programs and exercised rigorous oversight over them. President Obama recited this talking point just last week, saying: “as President, I’ve taken steps to make sure they have strong oversight by all three branches of government and clear safeguards to prevent abuse and protect the rights of the American people.” With these three pillars of oversight in place, the argument goes, how could the activities possibly be illegal or invasive of our privacy?

    • NSA Lies

      In the modern art wing, we have Obama’s brilliantly nonsensical, Dadaist argument that Snowden isn’t a patriot because, among other equally schizophrenic reasons, “he is convicted of three felonies.” This is a leitmotif pervading Obama’s work: equating illegal with immoral. He notably employed this technique when asked about Bradley Manning, saying that “He broke the law.” (Scholars are trying to reconcile this technique with Obama’s professed admiration of MLK, Jr., who famously remarked that “I disobeyed an unjust law.”)

    • The NSA Oversteps Its Legal Authority and the Court Can’t Stop It

      The Washington Post dropped two reports that exposes the recklessness of the NSA’s spying program. The first report is insane: the NSA has “broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority” thousands of times a year and the second report explains the insanity: the FISC court that’s supposed to be in charge of government spying programs has said that “its ability do so is limited and that it must trust the government” to report when the government has screwed up.

    • Things the Authorities Say to Mislead You About NSA Surveillance

      When government officials can’t directly answer a question with a secret definition, officials will often answer a different question than they were asked. For example, if asked, “can you readAmericans’ email without a warrant,” officials will answer: “we cannot target Americans’ email without a warrant.” As we explained last week, the NSA’s warped definition of word “target” is full of so many holes that it allows the NSA to reach into untold number of Americans’ emails, some which can be purely domestic.

    • Wyden considered disclosing National Security Agency secrets on Senate floor

      Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a longtime critic of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance programs, told Rolling Stone that he considered disclosing classified information on the Senate floor prior to the leaks by former contractor Edward Snowden.

    • How Ron Wyden nearly became an NSA leaker

      One of the intelligence community’s most outspoken critics says he considered talking about the National Security Agency’s bulk surveillance program on the Senate floor.

    • Snowden’s dad reaches out to son despite danger

      Lon Snowden, the father of fugitive U.S. National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, has reached out to his son via the Internet, officials said.

      The older Snowden communicated with his son through a protected Internet channel using encrypted messages, RIA Novosti reported Thursday.

    • An Educated Guess About How the NSA Is Structured

      NUCLEON: Global telephone content database

    • NSA domestic spying “built on lies”

      Reuters broke another report about the way the government lies to us entitled, “U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans.” From the report: “‘I have never heard of anything like this at all,’ said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

    • NSA hopes that people do not do the maths

      However it turns out that dime is still 29.21 petabytes of data a day. That means NSA is “touching” more data than Google processes every day. Google only has 20 petabytes. Also the packet analyzer gear at the front-end of XKeyscore (can pick out a very small fraction of the actual packets sent over the wire while still extracting a great deal of information (or metadata) about who is sending what to who.

    • Heidi Boghosian on ‘Spying on Democracy,’ Laura Gottesdiener on Foreclosures

      This week on CounterSpin: Edward Snowden’s NSA’s surveillance disclosures have sparked a debate over privacy, spying and civil liberties. A new book tells the history of those issues, and warns about the threat to democracy posed by snooping government agencies and corporations. We’ll talk to author Heidi Boghosian about her book ‘Spying on Democracy.’

    • NSA spied on thousands of Americans
    • China mulls probe into IBM, Oracle, EMC after NSA hack claims – report
    • Feds Threaten To Arrest Lavabit Founder For Shutting Down His Service

      The saga of Lavabit founder Ladar Levison is getting even more ridiculous, as he explains that the government has threatened him with criminal charges for his decision to shut down the business, rather than agree to some mysterious court order.

    • Lavabit.com owner: ‘I could be arrested’ for resisting surveillance order

      The owner of an encrypted email service used by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden said he has been threatened with criminal charges for refusing to comply with a secret surveillance order to turn over information about his customers.

    • Hacker posts Facebook bug report on Zuckerberg’s wall

      Just minutes after the post, Khalil says he received a response from a Facebook engineer requesting all the details about the vulnerability. His account was blocked while the security team rushed to close the loophole.

      After receiving the third bug report, a Facebook security engineer finally admitted the vulnerability but said that Khalil won’t be paid for reporting it because his actions violated the website’s security terms of service.

      Although Facebook’s White Hat security feedback program sets no reward cap for the most “severe” and “creative” bugs, it sets a number of rules that security analysts should follow in order to be eligible for a cash reward. Facebook did not specify which of the rules Khalil had broken.

    • Institutionalized US Spying: More Than NSA Involved

      Washington has 16 known US spy agencies. NSA and CIA are best known. Perhaps few Americans know much about the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

      It calls itself “first in all-source defense intelligence to prevent strategic surprise and deliver a decision advantage to warfighters, defense planners, and policymakers.”

      “DIA deploys globally alongside warfighters and interagency partners to defend America’s national security interests.”

    • The NSA Thinks It’s Above the Law — and the Obama Administration Knew It

      Thursday night, The Washington Post published an internal audit of the NSA surveillance programs leaked by Edward Snowden, which show that the NSA has violated the privacy rules in place to protect Americans’ communications 2,776 times in one year. The infringements relate to the restrictions enacted by executive orders, which supposedly prevent the surveillance of American individuals without legal authorization. It has been determined that the majority of mistakes have been made by intelligence operators and computers.

    • NSA revelations galvanize Congress

      Allegations of chronic violations renew calls for serious change

    • NSA breached privacy rules, despite Obama’s promises

      President Barack Obama’s promises to protect Americans from domestic spying came under fresh scrutiny Friday after an internal audit showed the National Security Agency had repeatedly violated privacy rules in its electronic surveillance.

      The revelations appeared to challenge Obama’s reassurances that strict oversight of NSA snooping had prevented abuses.

      The Washington Post, citing NSA documents and the audit, reported that the eavesdropping service had breached privacy restrictions thousands of times and in some cases withheld details from other government departments.

    • Google introduces encryption to Google Cloud Storage – but NSA will still have easy access

      The server-side encryption means that the data will seamlessly be encrypted without the users having to do anything.

      However, while that encryption will make the data held in Google’s cloud more secure from attack, the keys will still be held by Google. That means that the US National Security Agency (NSA) will still be able to access customers’ data with a simple order approved by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

      For that, Barth recommends that customers encrypt their data before uploading it to the Google Cloud.

    • WaPo: NSA Broke Privacy Rules Thousands Of Times, Harms Uncertain

      According to documents obtained by The Washington Post, the National Security Agency broke its own privacy rules thousands of times per year. Many of the violations seem like unintentional infractions, such as a typo while searching telephone area codes, which results in a swath of phone records that shouldn’t have otherwise been scanned. It is unclear whether any of the wrongly obtained information was used for illegal or illicit purposes.

    • US NSA defends surveillance programs as lawful

      Under increasing pressure to justify electronic surveillance programs that at times capture communications of American citizens, the U.S. National Security Agency went to unusual lengths on Friday to insist its activities are lawful and any mistakes largely unintentional.

    • NSA revelations of privacy breaches ‘the tip of the iceberg’ – Senate duo

      Leading critics of NSA Ron Wyden and Mark Udall say ‘public deserves to know more about violations of secret court orders’

    • Cloud market destined to change following NSA leaks

      “The reason I say this is unrealistic is because in order for this $180 billion to play out, then companies need to aggressively start pulling back from using outsourcers, using [hosting firms], using cloud providers,” Staten told CSOonlineA’A on Friday. “And frankly, we don’t see any evidence that suggests they’re going to start doing that.”

    • Chinese Spring Festival tourists targeted by NSA

      An internal audit carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA) and leaked to the Washington Post reveals that Chinese Spring Festival tourists were targeted while on holiday in the US.

    • NSA under renewed fire after report finds it violated its own privacy rules

      Revelations that NSA collected records it was not permitted to acquire pile further pressure on intelligence chief James Clapper

    • LA Church Joins Lawsuit Against NSA Over Surveillance Programs

      The church says this type of surveillance is reminiscent of that felt by the congregation during the McCarthy era

    • Inhofe wants to investigate NSA, following new report about surveillance

      Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, says new revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance program suggest the Obama administration has “abused the authority granted to them by Congress” and that he will investigate the matter.

    • White House Denials of NSA Privacy Violations Prompt Legislative Furor

      Reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) routinely breaks the law and violates court orders and the Constitution in order to collect private data of hundreds of millions of Americans has prompted some federal lawmakers to finally exercise a little oversight.

    • I asked the NSA for its file on me, and here’s what I got back

      Though it took two and a half pages to do so, the NSA denied my application. “[Y]our request is denied because the fact of the existence or non-existence of responsive records is a currently and properly classified matter,” it wrote.

      Oh. Thanks anyway, NSA.

    • Paul: NSA practices are unconstitutional, should be subject of hearing

      An internal audit from leaker Edward Snowden — now enjoying asylum in Russia — also revealed that the agency intercepted phone calls and emails from U.S. citizens during that time, and often did not report the intrusion.

    • Lawmakers: NSA reform needed

      Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan said Sunday he’s hopeful the House will have another chance to vote on a measure that would curb the National Security Agency.

    • Obama’s post-vacation blues: Egypt and NSA spying on Americans
    • NSA blames 3,000 leaked privacy violations on ‘employee mistakes’

      Nearly 3,000 violations of Americans’ privacy, mentioned in the National Security Agency’s internal audit recently leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden, weren’t “willful” and are results of mistakes by employees, the agency claimed.

    • New NSA Leak Should Prompt Even More Distrust of Government

      Because the NSA’s activities are largely classified, we can never truly know what we’re paying.

    • James Fields: Protect online, mobile conversations

      Snowden. PRISM. XKey­score. It seems that you can’t turn around these days without reading another story about government surveillance.


      If as a society we don’t start fighting government snooping laws, they are only going to become more restrictive. For example, recently, the Obama administration pushed to make it a felony to stream copyrighted material over the Internet, which was a key part of the tabled Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) of last year. SOPA targeted user-generated content sites like Tumblr and YouTube and Internet startups in the social and online search space.

    • Lavabit chief predicts ‘long fight’ with feds (Q&A)

      Ladar Levison, who shuttered the Web mail service he founded — and his only e-mail account — when the U.S. government demanded access to his company’s servers, tells CNET he created Lavabit because of the Patriot Act.

    • Will PayPal’s Face Verification System Kick Off the Future of Payment Technology?

      Ever been standing in a checkout line only to realize that you’re unable to pay because you’ve left your wallet, cash, or credit card elsewhere? Or perhaps you’re like the 83% of respondents to a recent PayPal survey who said you’d rather not carry a wallet at all. If PayPal’s latest technology using face recognition to facilitate payment transactions is successful, wallets may soon become a relic of the past.

    • Q. & A.: Edward Snowden Speaks to Peter Maass

      Edward Snowden: After 9/11, many of the most important news outlets in America abdicated their role as a check to power — the journalistic responsibility to challenge the excesses of government — for fear of being seen as unpatriotic and punished in the market during a period of heightened nationalism. From a business perspective, this was the obvious strategy, but what benefited the institutions ended up costing the public dearly. The major outlets are still only beginning to recover from this cold period.

      Laura and Glenn are among the few who reported fearlessly on controversial topics throughout this period, even in the face of withering personal criticism, and resulted in Laura specifically becoming targeted by the very programs involved in the recent disclosures. She had demonstrated the courage, personal experience and skill needed to handle what is probably the most dangerous assignment any journalist can be given — reporting on the secret misdeeds of the most powerful government in the world — making her an obvious choice.

  • Civil Rights

    • Detainee Challenges Constitutionality of NDAA Transfer Restrictions

      Ajam’s case takes a new approach to Guantanamo habeas litigation: Ajam challenges Section 1028 of the National Defense Authorization Act—the section which imposes detainee transfer restrictions on the President—as an unconstitutional Congressional intrusion into plenary Presidential foreign policy power.

    • Indefinite detention is definitely wrong

      When the government gives itself the power to deny a person his or her constitutional rights, it is alarming, to say the least. When the government prevents the people it governs from being able to do anything about it, it is truly frightening.

    • In the Matter of Hedges v. Obama

      What we have in the Hedges v. Obama case is yet another very bad precedent. As Judge Forrest had pointed out, “Courts must safeguard core constitutional rights.” The 2nd Circuit Appeals Court, clearly not applying the principle of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) to this situation, has sold out that obligation for a handful of dubious promises. Recent history provides no confidence that such promises are given in good faith. No, it is bad faith we are witnessing here. The government lawyers should hang their heads in shame for obviously undermining the Constitution they are sworn to uphold. It just goes to show there are always those, be they soldiers, police, or lawyers who will simply follow orders no matter what the consequences.

    • America No Longer the Land of the Free

      The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states that the government may not take the life, liberty or property of any person without due process.

    • The Most Powerful Dissent in American History

      A smart new book reveals precisely how and why Oliver Wendell Holmes changed his mind about the first amendment.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Prenda parties ordered to pay more than $63K to Doe Defendants in Minnesota

        Remember Guava LLC v. Merkel? A collusive Prenda’s lawsuit filed in Hennepin County court in Minneapolis? I thought that this lawsuit was over, and I was gladly surprised to learn (hat tip to Jason Sweet) that yesterday Judge Tanya M. Bransford ordered Prenda parties (Guava LLC, Michael Dugas and Paul Hansmeier’s Alpha Law Firm) to jointly and severally pay $63,367.02 in attorney fees.


Links 16/8/2013: Tropico 5 for GNU/Linux, KDE 4.11 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Boxee: Streaming Media Goes Open Source

    As the rest of the world is catching on to the wonder that is streaming media we’re seeing more options for the serious HTPC die-hards. Boxee is the latest, an open source platform, endlessly customizable but only for experienced Mac or Linux users. If you’re interested, it begins Alpha testing next week.

  • Open source tools worth bookmarking

    One of my favorite workshops to give is the one that introduces librarians and their staff to open source software. After defining open source to them and debunking all the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) out there, I focus my talk on a list of open source tools that can be useful to libraries.

  • Survey Says: Use of Open-Source Will Increase in 2013

    The open-source movement continues to gain traction in 2013 among core groups, according to a survey released by electronics distributor Newark element14. The results conclude that more professional engineers, hobbyists, and students will all use open-source software and hardware for one or more design projects this year.

  • Open Source Web Design Utilities Listed and Live On SoftwareReviewBoffin.Com Now
  • Basho integrates open-source cloud storage with OpenStack

    Basho Technologies has integrated its cloud-storage software Riak CS with OpenStack, the popular open-source cloud architecture.

  • Google Unveils Open-Source Gumbo HTML Parser Tool

    Google is adding another open-source tool for developers with the release of its Gumbo HTML parser, which is a C implementation of the HTML5 parsing algorithm.

  • Adobe Starts Brackets From Scratch As A Web Tool For GNU/Linux

    Perhaps the ubiquity of GNU/Linux on web servers that convinced Adobe to go this way or perhaps it’s the rapid growth of GNU/Linux on the client side but it’s a better move late than never.

  • Open-Source Adobe Brackets Web Development Comes to Linux

    When it comes to Web development, Adobe’s Dreamweaver (originally from Macromedia) is a well-known and widely deployed tool. Like most of Adobe’s commercial tools, it doesn’t run on Linux. While historically Adobe’s tools haven’t been widely available for Linux users, a new era seems to be starting.

  • Our Latest Collection of Worthwhile and Offbeat Open Source Applications

    While there are lots of open source projects that are now household names, many truly good ones don’t get much attention. We’ve delved into little-known but very useful open source projects before here on OStatic. In this post, you’ll find an updated collection of interesting, free applications that you might not currently use.

  • Hobbyist coder 2.0 spreads open source in 2013

    There’s an old expression in marketing and public relations: when you’ve got no news at all and nothing product or customer related to say, try doing a survey.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Developers: Give us sane and sensible default system and application settings

        You know, why stuff that’s supposed to work out of the box, don’t and why some of the better features of the desktop environments and applications are buried or not enabled by default.

        Sometimes I think it has to do with the adoption of a certain ideology by the developers. For example, the developers of Chakra Linux adopted the KISS (keep it simple, s..) principle, which roughly translates into, we give you a bare system, you customize it the way you want. Freedom, they

      • Firefox To Remain Default…. Very Nice!

        Jason Warner who leads the Ubuntu Desktop Team announced today that Firefox will continue to be the default browser for Ubuntu 13.10 although he suggested the proposal which was unpopular would be re-visited at the next vUDS when plans for Ubuntu 14.04 are discussed.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Where does OpenStack go from here?

      Businesses love OpenStack. After only three years, OpenStack corporate backers and users now include Cisco, Red Hat, Rackspace, IBM, Intel, HP, etc., etc. You get the idea. That’s all very nice and well, but where does OpenStack go from here?

    • Open Cloud Gains Big in Past Year, Still Gauged by AWS

      There are few better occasions than a recurring yearly event to reflect and take stock of where things stand. In the personal sphere, birthdays and anniversaries are good examples of such events, of course, offering as they do a clear opportunity to assess the changes time has wrought since the last one. Here in the world of technology, annual conferences can serve a similar purpose. Case in point: CloudOpen.

    • VMware: OpenStack an opportunity for us
    • VMware Continues Campaign Against OpenStack and the Open Cloud

      Sometimes when you hear questionable comments from corporate executives, it helps to take a historical look back and see if the comments are part of a structured and strategic PR campaign. The bread crumbs tell the story. As a case in point, first consider VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger’s cloud computing comments in a current Network World interview, where he says: “Where is OpenStack, we believe, going to be adopted? We don’t see it having great success coming into the enterprise because it’s a framework for constructing clouds.”

    • 10 NoSQL, Big Data Partner Questions: 10gen Channel Chief Matt Asay

      As 10gen’s VP of business development and strategy, Matt Asay oversees the NoSQL and Big Data company’s partner initiatives. Translation: Asay, a veteran of Alfresco, Canonical, Novell and others — essentially is 10gen’s channel chief. So what are the partner opportunities for those that want to work with the MongoDB database provider? Here are 10 key questions for Asay.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Must-have software for college students

      For college students, the old “reading, writing, and ’rithmetic” morphs into writing papers, doing basic stats, and creating presentations (and yes, still lots of reading). No matter what you’re studying or where, you’re going to have to perform these tasks from time to time. Even with student discounts, Microsoft Office Suite can cost anywhere between $80 and $140. But if you think there’s no alternative, you have a little research to do.

  • Education


    • GUPnP 0.20.4 Makes the User-Agent ASCII-Only

      The developers behind the GUPnP project, an object-oriented and elegant open source framework for creating UPnP devices and control points, released version 0.20.4 with various improvements and fixes.

    • Glibc 2.18 Supports New Optimizations, New Archs

      The official glibc 2.18 announcement has yet to surface, but the 2.18 release has been tagged in Git (and glibc 2.19 development now open), and packages of it can be downloaded. Fortunately, in looking at the Git tree we can already talk about the goodies of glibc 2.18 without the official release announcement.

  • Project Releases

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Overcoming HTML5′s Limitations

      HMTL5 is such a low-cost and portable alternative to native app development that it makes sense to explore solutions that address its limitations.


  • IBM wins largest federal cloud contract to date: U.S. Dept. of Interior

    IBM has won its largest federal cloud contract to date. Big Blue has signed on to be the primary cloud vendor for the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI).

    The 10-year contract is worth approximately $1 billion, consisting of IBM’s cloud computing technologies, services and hosting as the home of the National Park Service begins to deploy a new cloud infrastructure.

  • Rackspace survey suggests the hybrid cloud model has won the game
  • Why PRISM’s potential impact on cloud industry is under-valued and over-rated

    Forrester estimates the US cloud computing industry could lose up to $180 billion by 2016 thanks to the NSA’s PRISM project – but only if you believe that concerns about government spying trump the business benefits of going cloud.

  • Security

    • New York Times Website goes down

      Officially, according to the NYT twitter account, all the paper has to say is that “The New York Times Web site is experiencing technical difficulties. We expect to be back up shortly.” And, then a follow-up,a few minutes, later saying “There are technical difficulties at http://nyti.ms/w0c0wo that we hope to resolve soon. ”

      It’s not just the NYT Web site. According to sources at the paper, the nytimes.com e-mail servers are also down.

    • Remote File Inclusions Pose Threat to Web Server Security

      New research rings the alarm bell on the risks of Remote File Inclusions, which could be a more pervasive threat to Web server security than even SQL injection.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Icahn says bigger buybacks can drive Apple shares to $700
    • Investigation Of Banks’ Role In Price Rigging Escalates With New Subpoenas

      Last week’s CFTC subpoena targeted one unnamed warehousing firm, and specifically focused on documents related to the London Metal Exchange (LME), which is the primary global platform for trading based on metals. The LME sets rules for how the metal industry operates, including limits on how much of a given metal may be moved out of a given warehouse on a given day – the rule which warehouse owners like Goldman Sachs are allegedly abusing for profit. The LME also takes a one percent commission off of the rent that warehouses charge to store metals. With the total global value of metals traded through the exchange measured in the trillions of dollars, changing the system that’s allowed financial firms to inflate prices would cost the LME vast sums.

    • Fannie Mae Hires an Officer it Alleges Defrauded it – and Finance Cheers

      Three Bloomberg reporters have done the Nation a service by ferreting out a scandal of moderate magnitude but emblematic importance. Dakin Campbell, Jody Shenn and Phil Mattingly broke the story on August 14, 2013 that Adam Glassner, recently described, but not named, in the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) fraud suit against Bank of America (B of A), and named as a defendant by Fannie Mae’s in its fraud suit against B of A and several officers, was hired by two companies (Ally and Fannie) bailed out by Treasury.

    • The Rule of Law in the Financial System

      Felix Salmon has a depressing blog post about the Fab Tourre verdict and a criminal conviction in another Goldman Sachs-related case. Felix concludes, “I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that America’s system of jurisprudence simply isn’t up to the task of holding banks and bankers accountable for their actions.”

    • Cisco Plans to Cut 4,000 Jobs, as It Posts Profit Gain
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • What’s the Message of Clinton’s Noncampaign for the Office She Might Run for in Three Years?

      Hillary Clinton hasn’t announced that she’s running for president in 2016, and launched a campaign yet. But the Washington Post is already complaining that her nonexistent campaign for an office she may or may not seek lacks a clear message.


      But thank you, Dan Balz and Richard Cohen, for this glimpse into the kind of campaign coverage we can look forward to for the next three years.

    • Koch-Funded Franklin Center “Watchdogs” Infiltrate State Capitols

      As newsrooms across the country have cut staff reporters — due in part to slipping ad revenue and corporate media conglomeration — the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity has rushed to fill the gap, as the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has documented. The Franklin Center has 40 state news websites, with reporters in 34 states so far. Its reporters have received state house press credentials and its stories appear as news in mainstream print newspapers in each state without alerting readers to the heavy right-wing bias of the Franklin-related publications.

    • More Corporations Drop Off ALEC’s Conference Brochure

      An examination of the promotional brochure for the Chicago meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) reveals that the meeting — where corporate lobbyists secretly vote as equals with legislators on model bills at ALEC task force meetings — has fewer corporate sponsors willing to tell the public they bankroll ALEC’s operations. This news comes in the aftermath of 48 corporations and six non-profits leaving ALEC after the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) connected the dots between “Stand Your Ground” legislation and ALEC, and coalition of organizations pressed for corporations to stop funding ALEC.

    • ALECexposed: List of Corporations and Special Interests that Underwrote ALEC’s 40th Anniversary Meeting

      Based on the sponsorship rates ALEC promoted earlier this year, the organization took in approximately $910,000 from firms specifically designated as “President” to “Trustee” level sponsors for its 40th Anniversary meeting compared with estimated revenue of approximately $1.2 million for the same level of sponsorships at last year’s meeting in Salt Lake City.

      These totals reflect the highest profile sponsorship levels promoted at the meeting, but ALEC obtained an additional amount of revenue from other event sponsorship opportunities for corporations and special interest groups, in addition to registration fees, booth fees for its convention, and other income sources. So its total revenue from this year’s meeting is certainly greater than $1 million, and it is not known if some corporations funded ALEC’s meeting at various sponsorship levels but chose not to have their names listed as sponsors in ALEC’s brochure, or not.

  • Censorship

    • To be, or not to be, blocked, that is the question

      n the latest development of over-zealous internet filtering, the British Library has blocked access to Shakespeare’s Hamlet because of its “violent content”.

    • Virgin and Sky blindly blocking innocent sites

      As reported by PC Pro, the systems implemented by both Virgin and Sky to stop access to websites blocked by the courts appear to be blocking innocent third-party sites with apparently little or no human oversight. For example the website http://radiotimes.com was reported to have been blocked.

  • Privacy

    • Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board Cleaned Out Ahead of NSA Scandal

      Except not so much. In the months leading up to the scandals, President Obama has slashed the panel’s membership to virtually nothing. Usually a panel of 14-16 people, and 14 even last year, the PIAB now stands at just four members.

    • NSA leaks trigger steep rise in ad/third-party-cookie blocking

      An Annalect study of the public’s attitudes towards surveillance found that Internet users are becoming more concerned about privacy in the wake of Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks. They conclude that this will impact on online advertising, as more and more users adjust their browser settings to block third-party cookies and ads, and make use of privacy technologies in general. In support of the thesis, they cite strong growth in the percentage of users who have adjusted their browsers’ privacy settings. These users are still a minority, though the percentage has increased from 22 to 38 in less than a year.

    • Washington Post Slaps Back White House Over NSA Privacy Quotes

      The Post went to the NSA and the White House for comment before the article’s publication, as it does with almost any sensitive national security story. “The government was made aware of The Post’s intention to publish the documents that accompany this article online,” the article stated.

      But, in a separate post, the paper revealed that, after the Post refused to let the White House edit quotes from an on-the-record conversation Gellman had conducted with John DeLong, the NSA’s director of compliance, the administration tried to substitute the quotes with a prepared statement.

    • NSA repeatedly violated surveillance rules: report
    • How the NSA Is Hurting the Tech Sector
    • NSA broke privacy rules ‘thousands of times each year,’ report says

      The NSA broke privacy rules “thousands of times each year” since 2008, The Washington Post reported Thursday, citing an internal audit and other documents.

      Material was provided to the newspaper this summer by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

    • The NSA’s Data Haul Is Bigger Than You Can Possibly Imagine
    • Snowden handed NSA information in Dell’s employ: Reports

      Reports have surfaced claiming that Edward Snowden began his intelligence collection in 2012.

    • Edward Snowden documents show NSA broke privacy rules

      The US National Security Agency (NSA) broke privacy rules and overstepped its legal authority thousands of times in the past two years, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

    • NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year – report

      The U.S. National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since 2008, the Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing an internal audit and other top-secret documents.

    • NSA spying ‘broke privacy rules’
    • Meet The Man Behind Palantir, The CIA’s Shifty Data-Mining Contractor

      Over at Forbes, Andy Greenberg has penned a fascinating profile of Alex Karp, the CEO of the CIA-funded data mining company Palantir. Palantir applies Silicon Valley data-gathering expertise to the tremendous amount of secret data that intelligence agencies and the military generate. Palantir then takes all the data and makes it useful, tagging the information and analyzing patterns to, for example, predict attacks in Iraq or track down cartel members. The company is moving into the private sector, away from just defense contracting, and bringing lessons from the battlefield to banks looking to stop identity theft and cyberattacks.

    • How to Encrypt Your Email

      First download Mozilla “thunderbird.” It’s a free email service that you can use with your current email address. Next download a free program called “GNU privacy guard.”

    • Keeping Abreast of Privacy Issues

      In this post-PRISM world, we need to take indi­vidual respons­ib­il­ity to pro­tect our pri­vacy and ensure we have free media. At least then we can freely read, write, speak, and meet with our fel­low cit­izens. We need this pri­vacy to be the new res­ist­ance to the creep­ing total­it­ari­an­ism of the global elites.

    • The NSA and the cloud – dispatches from the front line

      The NSA PRISM scandal rumbles on with the prospect of damage to the US cloud industry still top of the agenda as the German government called this week for greater support to create favorable European alternatives to US providers.

    • NSA establishes $60 million data analytics lab at N.C. State

      N.C. State University will join with the National Security Agency to analyze massive amounts of data at a new lab to be created at Centennial Campus, the university announced Thursday.

      The Laboratory for Analytic Sciences, funded with $60.75 million by the federal NSA, is the largest research grant in NCSU’s history, but details about the facility are top secret. Those who work in the lab will be required to have security clearance from the U.S. government.

    • Q&A: Senator Ron Wyden on NSA Surveillance and Government Transparency

      ‘If we don’t recognize that this is a truly unique moment in America’s constitutional history, our generation’s going to regret it forever.’

    • Let’s Give Every NSA Employee an Anonymous Whistleblowing Opportunity

      A reform that would protect classified information even as it helped tip off Congress and the public to surveillance abuses

    • Oracle’s Larry Ellison enthusiastically applauds NSA spying

      Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has given his enthusiastic support for the National Security Agency’s global surveillance of the internet and everyone on it.

    • Decoding NSA doublespeak

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Trevor Timm has a handy guide to decoding NSA doublespeak. The spookocracy has a pathetically transparent way of lying their way out of direct questions, but the press (and, more importantly, Congress) seems incapable of detecting the low-grade BS emanating from the smoke-filled rooms. For example, when you ask the NSA if they can read Americans’ email without a warrant, they reply “we cannot target Americans’ email without a warrant.” The amazing thing about this stuff isn’t that the NSA tries it on, but that its nominal supervision doesn’t notice it. My five year old is better at this than they are.

    • Ex-CIA whistleblower Snowden contacted by father against legal advice

      The Russian lawyer for Edward Snowden revealed on Thursday that the father of the US intelligence leaker had contacted his son for the first time via the Internet in defiance of legal advice. Meanwhile a new poll shows most Russians think he is a hero for outing the secret services.

    • Lavabit founder, under gag order, speaks out about shutdown decision

      Ladar Levison took 10 years to build his company—and he’s 32, making that most of his adult life. So when he shut down his encrypted e-mail service, Lavabit, without warning last week, it was like “putting a beloved pet to sleep.”

    • How To Encrypt Your Email And Keep Your Conversations Private

      Between constant password breaches and government agencies trying to look in on everything you do, your privacy has probably been on your mind lately. If you’re looking for a little personal privacy in your communications with friends and loved ones, or you just want to trust that the documents you email to your accountant aren’t being intercepted and read, you’ll need to encrypt those messages. Thankfully, it’s easy to do. Here’s how.

    • House Intelligence Committee chairman says growing criticism of NSA, CIA is ‘dangerous trend’

      The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday night that “there’s plenty of oversight” given American intelligence agencies like the NSA and CIA and that “we need them to be at the top of their game” in a dangerous world.

    • Political Scene: Can the N.S.A. Be Reformed?

      On this week’s Political Scene podcast, Hendrik Hertzberg and John Cassidy join host Amy Davidson to talk about President Obama’s proposals to make the National Security Administration’s surveillance programs more transparent and more sensitive to civil liberties. The President’s plan includes appointing an independent lawyer to argue against the government before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court and reforming the Patriot Act to strengthen safeguards against the government listening in to citizens’ phone calls. “The steps he outlined,” Hertzberg says, “were gestures in the right direction, but they were really kind of feeble.” What’s more, as Cassidy says, the politics of security and counterterrorism may stand in the way of any substantial policy changes. “The political incentive for Obama and everybody in the White House is to act as tough as possible on all this national-security stuff, including this N.S.A. thing,” he says. “Even though there’s going to be a big brouhaha over this, the policies are basically going to continue.” After all, as he notes, no President wants to risk opening the doors to another terrorist attack.

    • Brazil rejects Kerry explanation on NSA surveillance

      But this tension may become more intense in coming weeks and months. According to Glenn Greenwald, the American journalist involved in the publication of leaks provided by Mr. Snowden, more revelations would be made public soon. Testifying before the Brazilian Senate foreign relations committee last Tuesday, Mr. Greenwald said, “The stories we have published are a small portion. There will certainly be more revelations on the espionage activities of the U.S. government and allied governments…on how they have penetrated the communications systems of Brazil and Latin America.”

    • The NSA Is, Like, Super Desperate: Using Twitter and Made Up Words to Hire People

      So, the NSA has had a hard time of things recently. Since everyone kind of hates them now, it has made hiring anyone a little more difficult than anticipated, because in addition to being reprimanded by college students, they’ve started tweeting job listings that may or may not use accepted English words.

    • German Backlash to NSA Spying Gets Stronger

      The German government said Wednesday that it plans to build up the European IT sector to provide stronger alternatives to American companies that are subject to surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency.

    • US and Germany enter no-spying agreement in wake of NSA leaks

      The EU and the US should also accelerate data protection agreement talks, German Chancellor Merkel says

    • White House Knew That Mike Rogers Withheld Details Of NSA Surveillance From Others In Congress

      In the last week or so it’s come out that Rep. Mike Rogers, the head of the House Intelligence Committee has actively blocked requests from members of Congress to review details of the NSA’s surveillance program — showing that the claim that everyone in Congress was informed about these programs isn’t just a lie but a duplicitous one. And then it got worse. Rep. Justin Amash pointed out that Rogers’ committee actually withheld key information from all incoming Representatives in the class of 2010, who had to vote on the Patriot Act’s reauthorization, which renewed the program to collect data on all Americans in bulk.

    • There Is No Such Thing As NSA-Proof Email
    • Why can’t Face the Nation face dissent on NSA spying?

      The CBS Sunday morning show Face the Nation featured a discussion of NSA surveillance with the former head of the agency and two politicians who vigorously defend the agency’s mass surveillance programs.

  • Civil Rights

    • CIA Admits Spying on Noam Chomsky

      Though the file is from decades ago, the system of COINTELPRO and other intelligence activities were prologue to our current surveillance state. Only in those days they did not have the kinds of surveillance technologies that exist today.

    • CIA ‘admits’ to having file on Chomsky, might have destroyed it
    • CIA’s Chomsky file did exist

      But FBI memo reveals records were destroyed

    • CIA Cops To Spying On Noam Chomsky [Report]

      The Central Intelligence Agency denied that it had a secret file on the MIT professor for years, but finally copped to keeping tabs on the famous dissident since the 1970′s, at the height of his anti-war activities.

    • Renowned investigative journalist Michael Hastings was working on story about CIA Chief John Brennan at the time of his mysterious death
    • Journalist Michael Hastings reportedly working on story about CIA chief before death

      San Diego 6 News reports that Hastings had focused his latest project on Brennan, the former White House counterterrorism adviser and current CIA director.

    • Michael Hastings was working on a story about the CIA when he died

      Immediately after Michael Hastings died in a car crash in Los Angeles back in June, the conspiracy theories started flying. And this time it wasn’t all tin-foil hat nonsense—there was a lot to feel queasy about.

    • CIA Compiled Information on Noam Chomsky during Vietnam War
    • Barrett Brown Awaits Trial on Spurious Charges in Texas

      An astute critic of institutions, Barrett began his career criticizing the church, moved on to the corporate media and political pundits, focused on various companies in the private intelligence contracting industry, and finally took aim at the FBI and the Justice Department. Holding fast to his principles and instincts, his exemplary work always advanced the public interest and the interests of the common people. On a mission to expose corruption and abuse, he acted in the best traditions of the Constitution and muckraking journalism. His writing bleeds with his knowledge of the libertarian and anarchist schools of thought and a revolutionary sentiment. It’s no surprise that he now finds himself the target of a political prosecution which has already stolen his freedom for nearly a year and threatens to put him away for life.

    • America’s Descent Into Madness

      America is descending into madness. The stories it now tells are filled with cruelty, deceit, lies, and legitimate all manner of corruption and mayhem. The mainstream media spins stories that are largely racist, violent, and irresponsible —stories that celebrate power and demonize victims, all the while camouflaging its pedagogical influence under the cheap veneer of entertainment. Unethical grammars of violence now offer the only currency with any enduring value for mediating relationships, addressing problems, and offering instant pleasure. A predatory culture celebrates a narcissistic hyper-individualism that radiates a near sociopathic lack of interest in or compassion and responsibility for others. Anti-public intellectuals dominate the screen and aural cultures urging us to shop more, indulge more, and make a virtue out of the pursuit of personal gain, all the while promoting a depoliticizing culture of consumerism. Undermining life-affirming social solidarities and any viable notion of the public good, right-wing politicians trade in forms of idiocy and superstition that mesmerize the illiterate and render the thoughtful cynical and disengaged. Military forces armed with the latest weapons from Afghanistan play out their hyper-militarized fantasies on the home front by forming robo SWAT teams who willfully beat youthful protesters and raid neighborhood poker games. Congressional lobbyists for the big corporations and defense contractors create conditions in which war zones abroad can be recreated at home in order to provide endless consumer products, such as high tech weapons and surveillance tools for gated communities and for prisons alike.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyright Lawyers vs Patent Lawyers Smackdown: And The Winner Is…

      As we noted last year, in a surprising move, the USPTO had already thrown its weight behind the idea that copies of scientific articles submitted as part of the patent application were indeed fair use.

    • Copyrights

      • Court Forbids IsoHunt From Indexing Dead Torrent Sites

        A California District Court has updated and clarified the permanent injunction the MPAA won against the BitTorrent search engine isoHunt. The torrent site has to keep filtering movie and TV show-related titles and terms on its site. The new order further prohibits isoHunt from indexing or linking to The Pirate Bay and the late BTJunkie and TorrentSpy. This is the first time that a U.S. court has forbidden a site from linking to other sites that have been dead for years.


Links 14/8/2013: Debian Turns 20, New Derivatives

Posted in News Roundup at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • things i would want to know about erlang

    Earlier this year I spent a few weeks playing with Erlang. I wanted to make something out of it, but despite an encouraging start I found it too frustrating to use.

    I got excited about Erlang because a lot of interesting things have been done in Erlang. Like CouchDB, RabbitMQ, Riak and so forth. Besides that, Erlang is a dynamic language and I generally find those quite nice to use.

  • Open-Source Apache Web Server Hits Ignominious Milestone

    Since the dawn of the Web era, one technology has steadfastly dominated as the world’s most popular Web server. That technology is the open-source Apache Web Server, commonly referred to simply as “Apache.”

    Internet research and security services firm Netcraft is now reporting that across the nearly 717 million Websites it has surveyed this month, Apache serves 46.96 percent of them. That is the first time that Apache’s share has fallen below 50 percent since December of 2009. At its height—in November of 2005—Apache held a 71 percent market share.

  • “IBM Will Continue To Invest In Open Source Technology Projects”

    IBM is one of those companies that banks big on open source technology. Those at the helm know this is where the future of technology lies. Diksha P Gupta from Open Source For You spoke to Dipankar Sarma, distinguished engineer, Systems & Technology Labs, IBM India, to discuss the increasing demand for open source professionals and the opportunities that IBM offers them. Excerpts…

  • Second Round of Our Best Personal Linux or FOSS Blog Competition

    The good news is, we found plenty of great new blogs and we’ve now reached the second round in our vote. We’ve ended up with ten additional blogs to consider, in addition to the nine that were already on our list. That means voters now have a field of 19 blogs from which to choose. As with the first qualifying round, you can vote for one or two blogs. Because this is an elimination round and not a qualifying round, however, there is no longer any way to add a new blog for consideration. As Flip Wilson’s Geraldine used to say, “What you see is what you get.”

  • Xen Project User Summit 2013 Sessions Announced
  • Open Source Options Reduce VMware Cloud Market Share: Analyst

    While open source platforms CloudStack and OpenStack have gained in popularity, VMware’s traditional position atop the market has been trending downwards

  • List of Open Source Site Management Software Published by Boffin Today
  • Events

    • Latest Cloud and Open Source Talks

      Last month I was fortunate enough to give a couple of talks at OSCON. I was particularly pleased with the reception my keynote received on Creating Communities of Inclusion, which touched on some topics beyond the typical licensing and community around open source software. I was was also asked to expand on these topics at OpenSource.com. Here are the abstracts and links to the presentations and article.

    • Migrating from UNIX to Linux Webinar Sept 5th
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Firefox To Remain Default Browser in Ubuntu 13.10

        Chromium, the open-source frills-free version of Google Chrome, was put forward as a Firefox replacement for the 13.10 release back in May. The debate on which was better suited continued into June. At that time developers said they were ‘leaning towards Chromium as default’.

      • Google Dramatically Raises Bounties for Finding Chrome Bugs

        Bug bounties–cash prizes offered by developers to anyone who finds key software bugs–have been steadily on the rise for several years now, with Google and Mozilla increasing their bug bounty programs. In fact, Google has been setting new records with the bounties it offers for meaningful bugs and confirmed earlier this year that it paid out more than $31,000 to a single security researcher who identified three Gooble Chrome bugs.

        Now, in a new post, Google has confirmed that bugs previously rewarded at the $1,000 level will now be considered for rewards of up to $5,000.

      • Ubuntu Will Stick With Firefox Over Chromium For Now

        While Canonical engineers keep raising discussions about swapping Mozilla Firefox for Google’s Chromium as the default web-browser for Ubuntu Linux, the 13.10 release will continue using Firefox by default.

    • Mozilla

      • Unlocked $80 Firefox OS phone to hit eBay soon

        ZTE says it will soon begin sales of an unlocked version of its Firefox OS-based ZTE Open handset on eBay US and UK for $80, following its launch in Spain, Venezuela, and Colombia. In related news, Samsung is once again rumored to be slowing Tizen OS development, and Mozilla released a new version of the Firefox for Android Beta with WebRTC real-time communications support.

      • ZTE Firefox OS smartphone available globally for $80

        In an attempted preemptive strike on other would be number three smartphone OS makers, Firefox and ZTE has partnered up to bring an $80 Firefox OS, unlocked smartphone to all users everywhere via eBay.

      • ZTE Will Soon Start Sales of Firefox OS Phones on eBay
      • Firefox phone available on eBay for $80

        The smartphone landscape is dominated by Android and iOS with the rest struggling for the distant 3rd spot. Canonical, the parent company of the most popular GNULinux based operating system Ubuntu, is also trying their hands at the mobile phones.

      • Internet Advertising Bureau Turns to Full-Page Ads in Mozilla Kerfuffle

        The Internet Advertising Bureau is not letting up as it fires off screed after screed against Mozilla for its plans to block advertising cookies in the Firefox browser. If you’re like most of us, you get annoyed by how advertising cookies in your browser seem to know what your interests are and serve up creepy ads that hit a little too close to home. That’s why Mozilla has worked with Stanford’s Center for Internet Society which has a new Cookie Clearinghouse that will oversee easy-to-use “allow lists” and “block lists” to help Internet users protect their privacy. Mozilla has worked on its own on methods for suppressing cookies, too.

      • Did You Know that Mozilla is Hijacking the Internet?

        A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the incredible spectacle of the European arm of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) attacking Mozilla on the grounds that the latter had “lost its values” because it insisted on defending the users’ rights to control how cookies were used on their systems.

      • Firefox 24 Set to Update Browser Console, Android Features

        Mozilla’s open-source browser will receive new developer-friendly capabilities on the desktop and user-facing features on Android.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Coraid’s Suda Srinivasan: Public Cloud vs. Private vs. Having It All

      “If a customer wants a particular performance set with unique parameters, most public cloud providers do not provide that kind of service. They only have one or two flavors. So the big question is, how do you take that ease of use and that simplicity from Amazon or another public cloud, and marry that with customizability and the ability to specify different parameters for your storage?”

  • Databases

    • Oracle Gives MySQL Workbench a New Look

      IDG News Service (New York Bureau) — Oracle has revamped the user interface for its MySQL Workbench administration software, streamlining a number of routine operations and adding some new time-saving features as well.

    • Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL Partners Must Master NoSQL

      Traditional relational databases like Microsoft (MSFT) SQL Server, Oracle (ORCL) and MySQL continue to gain popularity. But channel partners would be wise to check out NoSQL (Not only SQL) alternatives, which are catching on for big data, analytics and real-time cloud computing applications.

  • CMS

  • Funding


  • Openness/Sharing

    • Wikihouse: open source, citizen-led urban development model

      In his TED Talk architect Alstair Parvin shared a fascinating view of how open source thinking can transform architecture and multiply its benefits to society at large.

    • Africa: Open-Source Opens Up Architecture for the Poor

      Architects and community leaders are combining forces to lead the way in creating many types of innovative housing in developing nations as part of an open-source collaboration.

    • Open source amphibious tsunami-resistant houses

      There aren’t many times when we confuse the building and construction of physical buildings with the building and construction of software applications.

      Thanks in part to a high energy keynote rant from Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, even non-techies seem to have an idea that developers, developers, developers means software application developers — and not the guys in the yellow hard hats.

      When we talk about open source architecture we are once again, mostly talking about the “architecting” of software applications and their modelling, construction and later development, debugging and refinement.

    • NREL releases free, open-source energy analysis tool

      The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed Energy DataBus, an open-source application for monitoring, storing and analyzing energy-related data for optimizing energy use and detecting energy “leaks.”

    • GreenQloud Announces QloudSync: A New Clean Powered Open Source Cloud Storage Syncing Client at GROW 2013
    • Open Access/Content

      • First 100 Pages of Aaron Swartz’s Secret Service File Released

        “On 1/11/13, Aaron Swartz was found dead in his apartment in Brooklyn, as a result of an apparent suicide,” reads a January 17, 2013 Secret Service memo. “A suppression hearing in this had been scheduled for 1/25/13 with a trial date of 4/1/13, in U.S. District Court of the District of Massachusetts.”

        In January 2011, Swartz was caught using MIT’s public network to bulk-download 4 million academic articles from the JSTOR archive. MIT had a subscription to the archive that made it free to use from MIT’s campus. The Secret Service was brought into the case early on, and federal prosecutors ultimately charged Swartz with wire fraud and computer hacking.

      • First 104 pages of Aaron Swartz Secret Service File Released – Who is the female on page 97? ~pj

        Kevin Poulsen at Wired reports that the first 104 pages of Aaron Swartz’s Secret Service files are available now, with a lot more to come, as a result of court ordered release. There are apparently 14,500 more pages to come.

        Look at page 97. It’s redacted so the identity of the woman is kept confidential, but it appears from the notation that a woman was in contact with authorities and informing them of conversations between her and Swartz.

  • Programming

    • Announcing SDL 2.0.0

      After many years in development, SDL 2.0.0 has finally been released!

    • SDL 2.0 WIll Finally Be Released This Week!
    • Post open source software, licensing and GitHub

      Few would deny that the rise of GitHub as a popular hosting service for software projects is one of the most significant developments to affect open source during the past five years. GitHub’s extraordinary success is necessary context for understanding the criticism leveled at it during the past year from some within or close to the open source world. This criticism has focused on licensing, or rather the lack of it: it is claimed that GitHub hosts an enormous amount of code with no explicit software license. Some critics have suggested that this situation results from a combination of the ignorance of younger developers about legal matters and willful inaction by GitHub’s management. In a followup article I will discuss the measures recently taken by GitHub to address these concerns; this article explores aspects of the complaint itself.

    • Twitter buys tech boot camp firm to whip engineers into shape

      With the buy of Marakana, the social network’s engineers will get crash courses in open-source technologies like Python and Android.

    • Twitter acquires open source educator Marakana for internal ‘university’
  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google, Nvidia Sign Onto IBM OpenPOWER Consortium

      IBM has recruited several top tech firms, including Google and Nvidia, to join its newly founded OpenPOWER Consortium, an industry alliance formed to promote IBM’s flagging Power microprocessor architecture for back-end systems in an effort to better compete with Intel and ARM.

      As part of the effort, IBM is following ARM’s lead and opening up its proprietary Power-based hardware and software technologies to outside developers for the first time and will offer licenses for parties wishing to use Power IP in their own products, the company said this week.


  • Powerful Beijing doctor’s illegal structure tops them all

    When it comes to illegal structures, a rooftop villa built by an eccentric Beijing resident on top of a 26-storey residential building puts Henry Tang’s wine cellar to shame.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • U.S. and Monsanto Dominate Global Market for GM Seeds

      For related articles and more information, please visit OCA’s Millions Against Monsanto page and our Genetic Engineering page.

      One glance at the statistics and it’s clear: The U.S. and Monsanto dominate the global market for genetically engineered crops. Forty percent of the world’s genetically modified (GM) crops are grown in the U.S., where Monsanto controls 80 percent of the GM corn market, and 93 percent of the GM soy market.

    • Taking pills for unhappiness reinforces the idea that being sad is not human

      If you have a terrible job or home life, being unhappy is hardly inappropriate. Pathologising it can only make everything worse

    • “Pandora’s Lunchbox” — Ingredients in Processed Food Products May Surprise You

      “The vitamin D in your milk . . . is almost surely a derivative — after many chemical stages — from lanolin from Australian sheep wool, concocted in a factory in China. . . . Vitamin A, is often synthesized from acetone, a principal ingredient in nail polish remover,” notes George Kenney based on his interview with Melanie Warner, a former writer for the New York Times.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Vietnam: A War on Civilians

      Many humanitarian-minded lawyers will bristle at this, but why not admit that the law is on the side of the B-52s, not that of the civilians below? Who do you think wrote the law in the first place? We urgently need to see how the laws of war work in practice, given that so many hawks of both left and right insist that law and lawyers are a viable means of fashioning military force into a precise, therapeutic instrument. But as this book suggests throughout, the primary function of the Rules of Engagement and military law in general is not to restrain lethal force but to authorize it. In Vietnam, the overriding principle of International Humanitarian Law, the current preferred euphemism for the laws of war, turned out to be the Mere Gook Rule.

    • Who Dies in Yemen Drone Strikes?

      …White House policy “in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants.”

    • Defining Drone Deaths in Yemen

      Given that the administration had previously defined militants as military-age males in the vicinity of a target (Salon, 5/29/12), one would hope reporters would take official claims–from U.S. or Yemeni officials–with a grain of salt.

    • Yemenis call U.S. drone strikes an overreaction to al Qaida threat

      While Western news reports have cast casualties of the next strike, on Aug. 1, as militants, locals in the area of Hadramawt where it took place have claimed that the dead had no links to the al Qaida group and included a child.

    • CIA Claims Syria Is Top ‘Threat,’ And US Policy Is Making It Worse

      Outgoing CIA Deputy Leader Michael Morrell raised more than a few eyebrows this weekend when in an interview he declared Syria to be the “top current threat to US national security,” a spot usually reserved for someplace the US is directly militarily involved in.

    • CIA tries to fool the world

      Last week, the CIA’s second-in-command, Michael Morell told WSJ that toppling the Syrian regime could pose a threat to the national security of the US. Morell’s admission came as a shock and the American media did its best to ignore it.


      We’ve asked Peter Koenig, a former World Bank economist and a proficient analyst of the tactics used by the media manipulators, to comment on the “stunning admissions” made by the CIA official:

      “Putting this ‘admission’ into context reveals the falsehood of the statement. The CIA is secretly controlling and managing the world’s largest gun-running operation out of Benghazi, Libya, supplying the “Syrian opposition” with state of the art weapons via Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf States. This includes weapons from countries other than the US, so as to disguise the source of supply and funding”, he told the Voice of Russia.

    • CIA admits it has drone documents, but refuses to publish them

      The US Central Intelligence Agency has finally come forward and admitted it does have documents about US drone strikes, but says it can’t share them with the public because doing so would pose a massive security risk to the country. As the CIA stated in a document filed in federal district court in Washington, DC last week (and made public today): “The details of those records, including the number and nature of responsive documents, remain currently and properly classified facts exempt from disclosure.”

    • CIA refuses to release drone documents

      Despite ruling that agency can’t ignore FOIAs on drone program, CIA files brief to keep documents secret

    • Drones In Yemen: Does the U.S. Pay Families When Strikes Kill Innocent Yemenis?

      There have been nine drone strikes reported in Yemen in the past two weeks – an uptick apparently connected to the Al Qaeda threat that shut down U.S. embassies across the Middle East and Africa. As many as six civilian deaths have also been reported.

    • Drone strikes: Does U.S. pay families when drones kill innocent Yemenis?
    • Who Are US Drones Killing in Yemen — and Why?

      President Obama at his pre-vacation press conference Friday promised more “transparency” on U.S. government surveillance programs. But he made no mention of the need for more information about who our government is secretly killing abroad. And while U.S. government officials have happily reported intercepting an alleged phone conversationamong al Qaeda leaders (the details of which keep changing) that prompted the embassy closures and evacuations, they’ve provided no information on who the United States has killed in retaliation with its latest drone strikes, or why.

      That’s no small omission.

    • CIA Refuses to Acknowledge Drone Targeted Killings

      Months after a federal appeals court reinstated a lawsuit seeking Central Intelligence Agency documents outlining the government’s drone targeted killing program, the President Barack Obama administration is again claiming that acknowledging if it has such paperwork could disclose classified secrets concerning whether it even carries out targeted killings.

    • UN chief urges legal drone use in Pakistan visit

      UN chief Ban Ki-moon waded into the controversy surrounding US drone strikes during a visit to Pakistan Tuesday, insisting they must operate within international law.

    • It’s Looking More and More Like the Benghazi Conspiracy Theories Were Actually the Truth

      New information about circumstances surrounding the attack on the U.S. consulate on Sept. 11, 2012 raises concern about the U.S.’s involvement in Libya and Syria. According to Joe DiGenova, an attorney for whistleblower Thompson, the State Department’s deputy coordinator of operations, 400 U.S. missiles were sent to Libya covertly and have since been stolen by an unidentified group. The night this fatal assault occurred, 35 CIA operatives were said to have been working in an “annex near the consulate on a project to supply missiles from Libyan armories to Syrian rebels.” Since then, the CIA has undergone incredible lengths to suppress information about the incident from leaking out. This suppression of information indicates that the CIA has something to hide. It is crucial that an open investigation be conducted to figure out the missile’s whereabouts, as leaving this mystery unresolved could result in the weapons landing in the wrong hands.

    • Ex-CIA analyst: US pays lip service to Mideast ‘peace talks’

      A former CIA analyst has accused the US government of saying much and doing less about illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

    • How A ‘Deviant’ Philosopher Built Palantir, A CIA-Funded Data-Mining Juggernaut

      “They’re in a scary business,” says Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Lee Tien. ACLU analyst Jay Stanley has written that Palantir’s software could enable a “true totalitarian nightmare, monitoring the activities of innocent Americans on a mass scale.”

    • Meet The Venture Arm Of The CIA
  • Transparency Reporting

    • Bradley Manning’s Nobel Peace Prize nomination backed by 100k petition-signing supporters

      The Nobel Prize committee has received a petition that endorses awarding the peace prize to US Army Private Bradley Manning, who is convicted of espionage and facing up to 90 years behind bars for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks.

    • The courage of Bradley Manning will inspire others to seize their moment of truth

      The critical moment in the political trial of the century was on 28 February when Bradley Manning stood and explained why he had risked his life to leak tens of thousands of official files. It was a statement of morality, conscience and truth: the very qualities that distinguish human beings. This was not deemed mainstream news in America; and were it not for Alexa O’Brien, an independent freelance journalist, Manning’s voice would have been silenced. Working through the night, she transcribed and released his every word. It is a rare, revealing document.

      Describing the attack by an Apache helicopter crew who filmed civilians as they murdered and wounded them in Baghdad in 2007, Manning said: “The most alarming aspect of the video to me was the seemingly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have. They seemed not to value human life by referring to them as ‘dead bastards’ and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers. At one point in the video there is an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety [who] is seriously wounded… For me, this seems similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.” He hoped “the public would be as alarmed as me” about a crime which, as his subsequent leaks revealed, was not an aberration.

    • Sentencing Phase in Bradley Manning’s Trial, Day 10 (Live Updates)

      Yesterday’s witnesses were called to the stand to testify on whether the Army had been under pressure to deploy Manning to Iraq. It came out that his unit was at least a third “under strength” when it came to intelligence analysts. This raises the question of how much officers ignored any mental health or behavioral problems Manning may have had prior to deployment.

      Defense attorney, David Coombs, also focused on the lack of leadership in Manning’s unit from superior officers and whether officers had taken proper disciplinary action when Manning had outbursts while stationed at Forward Operating Base Hammer in Baghdad.

      And, before proceedings were over yesterday, the judge issued a ruling granting a government motion for the court to force the defense to turn over a sanity board report minus Pfc. Bradley Manning’s statements, which had been put together when reviewing whether Manning was mentally fit to stand trial.

      Coombs argued prosecutors were not entitled to the report because Manning’s mental condition had not been raised in court prior to the judge’s verdict. But the judge agreed with the government that, since the defense is going to call a witness who is a psychology expert to testify on Manning, the government was entitled to the report.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Photographer Captures Waves of Trash in Indonesia

      Waves for days. Trash for eternity. That’s what photographer Zak Noyle discovered on a recent trip to Java, Indonesia. The waves of Java, always known for being pristine and barreling, were now rolling swells of disgusting trash and debris.

      Noyle was shooting Indonesian surfer Dede Surinaya in a remote bay when he and Surinaya discovered the water to be covered in garbage, according to GrindTV. The bay was miles from any town, yet strong currents had carried the trash of the world’s most populated island, Java, to its once pure waters.

    • Why the World Bank Is Taking On Climate Change

      The organization believes that increased drought, extreme storms, and rising sea levels are significant threats to economies worldwide.

    • A Texan tragedy: Plenty of oil, but no water

      Beverly McGuire saw the warning signs before the town well went dry: sand in the toilet bowl, the sputter of air in the tap, a pump working overtime to no effect. But it still did not prepare her for the night last month when she turned on the tap and discovered the tiny town where she had made her home for 35 years was out of water.

  • Finance

  • Privacy

    • USA vs. NSA: Legislative Efforts to Curtail Spying
    • Communication in the Post-PRISM World

      Linux users didn’t need the recent NSA eavesdropping scandal to convince them that securing communication was a good idea. For years, free software developers have been creating secure tools that offer similar functionalities to all of those popular but very leaky services with ridiculous names.

    • Obama appoints intelligence boss to run ‘independent’ review of NSA

      President Obama has appointed James Clapper, the US Director of National Intelligence who was recently caught misleading Congress about the extent of NSA surveillance, as the head of the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies that will investigate the agency.

    • Obama’s NSA Reforms Off to a Bad Start

      On Monday, one devilish detail emerged when the White House instructed James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, to form the “high-level group of outside experts,” that President Obama had promised to Americans on Friday.

    • The absurd honesty of Clapper’s NSA review group

      James “least untruthful” Clapper will review his own agency to promote “trust” not shift policy

    • Confessed Liar To Congress, James Clapper, Gets To Set Up The ‘Independent’ Review Over NSA Surveillance
    • Would You Vote for Someone Who Kept Quiet About NSA Spying?

      Whether he passes reforms or not, President Obama’s mass surveillance program has made him the closest thing we have to Big Brother. Will his top lieutenants, Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, take that funk with them into the next election?

    • How NSA surveillance endangers the Fourth Amendment
    • Obama Plan to Revamp NSA Faces Obstacles
    • Guess Who Obama Put in Charge of Investigating the NSA?
    • Obama’s white paper on NSA spying

      The Obama administration released a “white paper” on Friday that purports to provide a legal justification for one of its telephone surveillance programs. Under conditions of growing public concern over revelations by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, the document was clearly prepared for public relations purposes. Its release was timed to coincide with Friday’s press conference, at which Obama attempted to put a friendly face on police state spying.

    • White House Says Intelligence Director Will Not Lead NSA Review Group
    • NSA review led by intel chief who lied about NSA domestic surveillance
    • The Man ‘Who Lied to Congress About NSA Spying’ Will Be In Charge of Independent Review Board
    • Op-Ed: Clapper to head Obama blue ribbon whitewash review of NSA

      In his press conference on Friday President Obama offered several measures meant to reassure people about NSA surveillance programs. His fourth measure involved setting up an outside and independent board to review the programs.

    • White House: Clapper’s Involvement in NSA Investigation ‘Limited’
    • White House says intelligence chief James Clapper won’t lead NSA review

      James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, will not be involved in selecting or leading members of a group reviewing the NSA’s surveillance methods. On August 12th, President Barack Obama issued a memo telling Clapper to “establish a review group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies,” responsible for determining whether the US surveillance system was both advancing American interests and behaving in a way that would “maintain the public trust.” Now, though, a White House spokesperson tells both us and The Hill that Clapper won’t be a part of the process.

    • Larry Ellison: Google is ABSOLUTELY EVIL, but NSA is ESSENTIAL

      If there was one topic about which Ellison was unflinchingly enthusiastic, however, it was NSA surveillance, some details of which were revealed by former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, now a fugitive enjoying asylum in Russia.

      “It’s great,” Ellison said of the domestic spying. “It’s great, it’s essential. President Obama thinks it’s essential. It’s essential if we want to minimize the kind of strikes that we just had in Boston. It’s absolutely essential.”

    • Kerry visit to Brazil overshadowed by NSA spying controversy

      The United States pledged on Tuesday that Brazil and other allies will get answers about American communications surveillance aimed at thwarting terrorism, but gave no indication it would change the way it gathers such information.

    • Delivery of US jets: NSA scandal threatened Armor deal with Brazil / Latin America News
    • Brazil May Be Losing Faith in the U.S. Due to NSA Leaks

      The South American country was planning to spend $4 billion on 36 fighter jets for its air force in a contract promised to the U.S. Now that Edward Snowden has revealed that the National Security Agency had been mining information on Brazil’s commercial, military and energy intelligence, President Dilma Rousseff seems to be having second thoughts. A source told Reuters that the Brazilian government “cannot talk about the fighters now. … You cannot give such a contract to a country that you do not trust.”

    • Kerry, on visit to Brazil, gets earful over NSA spying
    • NSA-proof email encryption? Cobblers, sniff German hackers

      German hackers have poured scorn on Deutsche Telekom’s plan to offer “secure email”, describing it as little more than a marketing gimmick.

      Deutsche Telekom and partner United Internet are rolling out SSL-encrypted connections between users’ computers and the companies’ mail servers as part of the “Email made in Germany” offer.

    • NSA backlash undermines ‘Star Wars’ US web defence

      Plan to screen internet traffic against cyber attacks unlikely to progress, officials say

    • Laura Poitras, the NSA, Snowden and a Rubik’s Cube

      The filmmaker who helped Snowden publish NSA revelations shares her story with the New York Times

    • NSA & MI5 – hand in glove. Are you really surprised?

      The level of surveillance across the US and the UK should not come as a shock to their citizens. To what extent is the nature of these actions rooted in history? Would even the most benevolent of governments be able to stop the constant monitoring of its citizens?

    • Despite NSA and giant ‘golf balls,’ mystery of Menwith Hill doesn’t trouble locals

      Lately, installations such as Menwith Hill have come under scrutiny and criticism, following disclosures made by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden that the U.S. was using NSA surveillance programs to secretly gather information about phone calls and Internet communications worldwide.

    • Congress denied access to classified document prior to NSA vote

      In May 2011, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) took the floor of the Senate to warn his colleagues that Americans would one day be outraged to learn that the U.S. Government was actively engaged in surveillance activities that most citizens would consider outright criminal.

    • How Congress Overlooked NSA Spying

      Edward Snowden’s leaks about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs might have been avoided if more members of Congress had done their duty to stay informed about these classified activities, rather than get distracted by the fluff of politics, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • ‘Lawful Interception Recovery Fee,’ The NSA’S Bill To Spy On Us? [Video]

      The “Lawful Interception Recovery Fee” many phone users are reportedly spotting on AT&T bills is giving rise to a bit of frustrating and just-like-those-government-bozos speculation… that the controversial NSA spying program has resulted in a charge tacked on to our cell phone bills. Have you ever in your life?

    • Investigating the investigators at the NSA

      The short answer to whether the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) programs for reviewing emails and telephone calls as well as metadata (pieces of information about communications like when and from where an email was sent) arising from them is legal would appear to be: yes.

      Unlike some past controversies about the balance between protecting the nation’s security and privacy rights, no one is saying that the executive branch went out completely secretly on its own (though the scope of the program has shocked many even in Congress) with the new far-reaching checks into people’s personal lives.

    • Edward Snowden: It’s Not Just The NSA Reading Your Email

      Again, this isn’t really a surprise, per se. Like we said, as bad as America is in some respects, other countries are worse. And it’s safe to assume that 99% of what you’re doing goes unread because there’s little if anything that, say, Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service or the Canadian Security Intelligence Service cares about.

    • How the Government Created Someone Paranoid Enough to Report the NSA Leaks

      The New York Times Magazine cover story by Peter Maass detailing how Edward Snowden reached out to the two reporters that broke the NSA surveillance story isn’t about that surveillance. It’s only sort of about journalism. Instead, it’s largely a story about how close to the boundaries of civilization you must get — literally and figuratively — to be assured that you can protect your privacy. And it’s about how the United States government pushes people there.

    • NSA secrets leaked to ‘fearless’ journos

      US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden said in an interview released on Tuesday he chose to divulge details of a vast US surveillance effort to journalists who reported “fearlessly” on controversial subjects.

      Snowden, in the interview released by The New York Times, said he chose documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras and Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald because they were not cowed by the US government.

    • Snowden: NSA targeted journalists critical of government after 9/11

      Leaker Edward Snowden accused the National Security Agency of targeting reporters who wrote critically about the government after the 9/11 attacks and warned it was “unforgivably reckless” for journalists to use unencrypted email messages when discussing sensitive matters.

    • Voters mad about NSA spying face uphill battle

      Charlotte Scot isn’t one to take things lying down — like the time President George W. Bush was re-elected and she moved to Canada in protest.

    • Snowden, NSA Leaks Introduce New Viewers To Old YouTube Video

      Back in 2010, social media had finally grown out of colleges and into mainstream awareness. Twitter rolled out a new design that allowed pictures within feeds, and Facebook crossed the 500 million user threshold shortly before the release of “The Social Network,” the David Fincher film about Facebook’s founding. A newcomer, Foursquare, allowed users to “check-in” to physical locations with their smartphones and was quickly growing in popularity.


      …images taken with a smartphone could be used to track the physical location of the person in the photo.

    • NSA Might Be Behind Tor Malware Attack as per Experts

      Malware lodged on the web-servers of Freedom Hosting — the renowned “hidden service” web hoster on the ‘Tor’ anonymized network shut down during the first week of August 2013- might have de-anonymized visitors to the websites on that server. This could send information regarding identity of visitors to an IP address which was coded into a malware script and injected into browsers. Apparently, the IP addresses under discussion belong to the NSA or National Security Agency, note security researchers, reported arstechnica.com on August 5, 2013.

    • Fix NSA mess — or else

      They should do so, and they should do so immediately, dramatically and very publicly. Because the real danger of these covert surveillance programs is that once they are no longer completely covert, their existence undermines everyone’s trust in the government.

    • NSA Strategy and Core Values
    • Spain demands ‘clarification and information’ on NSA surveillance

      On Monday, Spain’s Foreign Ministry demanded “clarification and information” concerning a report published in Der Spiegel which said Spain was a target of secret surveillance by the NSA.

      The report published in Der Spiegel explains how German intelligence services cooperate closely with the NSA, but also states that Germany for its own part is a target of US surveillance. But there is more to this story within the European Union.

    • Mailpile: crowdfunding a secure, private email client/cloud service

      Mailpile is an Iceland-based free/open source email service that’s privacy oriented, integrating easy-to-use encryption and scalable searching. The idea is to produce something that’ll run well as a cloud-based service or on your own desktop. They want to ship their first milestone in January 2014, and are looking to raise $100K on Indi-egogo to pay for the developer hours to see the project through. With the Mozilla foundation abandoning support for my beloved (but creaky) Thunderbird, I’m very interested in seeing what they come up with, and I’ve put my money where my mouth is, with a $128 donation. I’m especially impressed by their determination to integrate easy-to-use mail crypto — the holy grail of email for decades now.

    • Intelligence committee urged to explain if they withheld crucial NSA document

      Critics demands answers from chairman Mike Rogers after claims that committee failed to share document before key vote

    • The NSA Is Hiring! And Following A Pittsburgh Car Dealership On Its Twitter Account?

      The hiring team for the NSA doesn’t have it easy these days. Their advance scouts got absolutely slammed by some college students during a meet-and-greet at a Wisconsin university. And just recently, the agency cut a ton of potential Snowdens loose by unceremoniously announcing plans to fire 90% of its systems administrators. With the agency swiftly being voted “least popular” by many Americans (and around the world), the HR division has its hands full keeping the agency staffed.

    • NSA’s New Surveillance Plan and Other News You Need to Know

      he NSA has plans for a new online surveillance system…

    • Language makes Obama’s NSA stance problematic

      …contradicted by two revelations at the end of last week.

    • 14/08/2013Is Germany a victim of the NSA, or an accomplice?

      Discussions aimed at banning espionage between the two countries in the future are scheduled at the end of August between Gerhard Schindler, the head of the German Foreign Intelligence Service (BND), and his US counterparts.

    • NSA FISA Surveillance: Experts Poke Holes In Administration’s Legal Justification For Phone Records Program

      No sooner had the Obama administration released a white paper laying out the legal justification for its mass phone data collection program than legal experts began to poke holes in it.

    • Yes, The NSA Is Tracking You. Get Over It

      A German writer is fed up with the hypocrisy of an exhibitionist society outraged by the limits of privacy. Yes, you are being monitored. Now get back to your celebrity Twitter feed.

    • Stackfield – the data encryption site that’s profiting from the NSA revelations

      Thanks to Edward Snowden, the question of internet security is one currently raised across the globe. While US-based online platforms are facing a significant amount of users leaving their services, the NSA scandal has also been a godsend for some providers, who have seen a rush of new customers.

    • NSA Snooping? What About the FBI Bugging My Bedroom?

      In one haunting piece, Stew recalled meeting the great folk singer Victor Jara during an early-‘70s visit to Chile with Phil Ochs and Jerry Rubin. Not long after that, Jara, only 27, had been tortured—his fingers cut off–and killed by Pinochet’s thugs following the coup that deposed of democratically elected Salvador Allende. (Phil Ochs, in probably the final major act of his tortured life, later organized a tribute to Jara in New York that I attended, featuring a surprise guest appearance by Bob Dylan.)

    • Gwynne Dyer: NSA surveillance and changes to the Internet

      Edward Snowden is safe from American “justice” for the moment, and he will certainly go down as the most effective whistle-blower in history. His revelations are going to cause a wholesale restructuring of the world’s most important communications system, the Internet. And that, rather than his whereabouts and fate, is now the real story.

    • NSA Spying in the Courts

      The National Security Agency’s collection of every American’s telephone dialing information is hotly contested in the court of public opinion and in Congress. It is now seeing its first test in the courts since its existence was revealed.

    • A window to a more secure Web

      Email has come a long way in the last decade. Much of this has to do with the rise of centralised services offered by the likes of Google,

      Microsoft and Yahoo. But, the fact that user data rests physically on their servers, located mostly within the legal jurisdiction of the U.S.

      State, raises serious questions about how user data is vulnerable to the snooping eyes of the State. The abrupt shutdown of Lavabit and Silent Mail, two services that offered robust encryption at the server-end to protect user privacy, has highlighted the need to explore alternative services and approaches to mail storage.

    • You Might Have an Invisible Facebook Account Even if You Never Signed Up

      Previously we covered how to protect your privacy by preventing people from tagging your photos in both Facebook and Picasa. Consider this a follow-up as it looks like Facebook is a bit more involved in privacy intrusions than anyone had previously thought.

    • The Surveillance Speech: A Low Point in Barack Obama’s Presidency

      Jon Stewart once reacted to a Barack Obama speech by marveling that “at 11 o’clock on a Tuesday, a prominent politician spoke to Americans about race as though they were adults.”

    • US National Security Agency ‘is surveillance leviathan’

      But Mr Bowden said the figures were “utterly meaningless” since the memorandum is vague about where the data is taken from.

      He adds: “After subtracting video media and spam, which accounts for most data by volume, 1.6% is an admission the NSA has become a surveillance leviathan.”

      Mr Bowden also said there was “no privacy restraint or restriction” in the way that the NSA can access the communications of foreigners.

    • Intelligence committee withheld key file before critical NSA vote, Amash claims

      Republican who led Congress revolt against surveillance insists members did not see document before 2011 Patriot Act vote

    • Germany denies phone data sent to NSA used in drone attacks

      German intelligence agency criticised for sending large quantities of mobile phone metadata to the NSA and GCHQ

    • Deutsche Telekom launches ‘NSA-busting’ encrypted email service

      Deutsche Telekom and United Internet have launched a super-secure German email service that they claim defeats the data-sniffing shenanigans of the likes of the NSA.

    • The NSA Turned Spying into a Video Game for Analysts

      Spying must get boring sometimes. Identifying targets. Wiretapping unsuspecting citizens. Sifting through all that private data. It must get old. Maybe that’s why the NSA introduced gamification elements into its software to encourage a little bit of healthy competition between analysts.

    • NSA analysts earned ‘skilz’ points by training for XKeyscore surveillance, says new report

      In Europe, Germany has been a nexus of debate over American surveillance: it’s allegedly both one of the most-watched countries in western Europe and a close partner of the NSA. It’s said to be central to the XKeyscore information-gathering program — and, according to new documents reviewed by Der Spiegel, its analysts have the maddest skilz in the business.

    • To learn spying software, NSA analysts “unlock achievements” to win “skilz”
    • Kerry: NSA Spying a ‘Very Small’ Part of Talks in Colombia

      U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the National Security Agency’s controversial surveillance program was a “very small” part of his talks in Colombia.

    • Kerry Travels to Brazil as NSA Spying Controversy Lingers
    • N.S.A Scandal and High-Tech Espionage on Brazil

      Is the U.S. ready to embrace the notion that Brazil has finally arrived on the world stage? Judging from the recent National Security Agency (N.S.A.) scandal, Washington is very skittish about the up and coming South American player. According to journalist Glen Greenwald, N.S.A. intercepts of Brazilian transmissions, including phone calls and internet communications, have been massive. Indeed, within the wider Americas region, N.S.A. snooping on the South American nation is second only to the U.S. in terms of overall scope. Writing in O Globo newspaper, Greenwald adds that the N.S.A. spied on the Brazilian Embassy in Washington and the South American nation’s mission at the United Nations in New York.

    • NSA Domestic Spying Enabled By Legal Loophole
    • Bob Schieffer Roasted For Unbalanced NSA Panel

      “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer drew fire Monday for hosting what critics said was a deeply unbalanced forum on the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities.

      Schieffer, who has been vocally critical of leaker Edward Snowden, brought together three people who supported the NSA: its former director, Michael Hayden, Peter King, a Republican congressman, and Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat.

    • Why “stop and frisk” is worse than NSA surveillance

      My black friends in New York, particularly those who don’t live in the fancier precincts of Manhattan, have been harassed by the NYPD in a way that I, as a white guy, will never experience.

      They’ve been stopped and frisked, for reasons known only to the officers. Almost every young black male I know has a story to tell.

    • Bob Schieffer’s NSA Farce

      His performance was an embarrassment to journalism.

    • NSA scandal splits government and opposition

      The opposition Social Democrats have slammed German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government over its handling of the NSA spying affair. Meanwhile, Chancellery Minister Ronald Pofalla is testifying again in parliament.

    • The NSA Is Commandeering the Internet

      It turns out that the NSA’s domestic and world-wide surveillance apparatus is even more extensive than we thought. Bluntly: The government has commandeered the Internet. Most of the largest Internet companies provide information to the NSA, betraying their users. Some, as we’ve learned, fight and lose. Others cooperate, either out of patriotism or because they believe it’s easier that way.

    • Robinson: What NSA reforms?

      The modest reforms Obama proposed do not begin to address the fundamental question of whether we want the National Security Agency to log all of our phone calls and read at least some of our emails, relying on secret judicial orders from a secret court for permission. The president indicated he is willing to discuss how all this is done — but not whether.

    • Bin snooping? We’ve been here before

      Longstanding BBW supporters may remember that I was once Director of this parish. For the past two years, I’ve been a Common Councilman in the City of London, aka the Square Mile. These two things crossed over significantly this week, with the news (broken by Quartz) that a company named Renew, which had installed bins in the Square Mile, was using a data collection capacity installed in those bins to collect information about mobile telephone usage amongst passers-by.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay’s 10th birthday is a milestone for internet freedom

        An internet milestone has just been reached: Pirate Bay has passed its 10th anniversary. The iconic/notorious site (pick your adjective) celebrated with a party just outside Stockholm. Who knows, perhaps entertainment bosses were simultaneously weeping into their champagne and plotting new action against their favourite enemy. The filesharing hub is arguably the most famous of all sites providing access to torrent files and magnet links to allow peer-to-peer sharing. If that means nothing to you, it’s like being able to swap those tapes you made of Radio 1 chart shows with anyone in the world.


Links 12/8/2013: Netrunner 13.06, New Sabayon

Posted in News Roundup at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Finland’s Upper Secondary School Exams Going All-Linux

    “The Matriculation Examination Board of Finland has just opened an international hacking contest to find flaws and exploits in Digabi Live — the Live Debian based operating system to be used in the all-digital final exams by the year 2016. The contest ends on 1st of September, and the winners are about to scoop hefty hardware prizes, also available as cash.”

  • The state of the Linux community

    What prompted me to write this article were two things. One, the recent donation drive on Tuxmachines. Two, the announcement about the closing of The H, which you may also have known as The H: Open Source, Security and Development. What is common for both these announcement is the obvious difficulty in having a sustainable financial model when running sites dealing in Linux.

  • TLWIR: Developing a GNU/Linux-Based Quality Assurance System

    I write about GNU/Linux for a living. It always frustrates me when I make a mistake that makes it through my review process to the actual published article. Most often, it is a spelling error that I missed during my proofreading process. I recently decided that I had to find a systematic method of identifying errors BEFORE publishing my articles.

    Quality assurance is the most important aspect of any endeavor, whether its is building safety systems into a state-of-the-art hybrid vehicle at Toyota, or writing articles that present accurate information about the GNU/Linux operating system.

  • I quit using Linux because…

    Once in a while, a prominent or not so prominent member of the Linux community makes a switch – for one reason or the other – to another operating system, usually to Mac OS X. The latest is Denis Koryavov, the former GUI Development lead for ROSA Laboratory, a Linux software solutions provider based in Russia and the publisher of ROSA Linux.

  • Desktop

    • GNU/Linux and That Other OS Head-to-Head In Uruguay

      The battle for Freedom continues in Uruguay, a country of more than 3 million in South America. You can see in this chart that every up-tick in adoption corresponds to a down-tick in M$’s OS. This is the only game in town on legacy PCs. GNU/Linux is slowly but surely winning share.

  • Kernel Space

    • Those unexpected regressions…

      A while ago, I read Ken Stark’s delicious rant because of a kernel regression.


      Fortunately, my brother had won a set of CDs with a collection of programs that included some free software and demos. In one of them, there was StarOffice, which allowed me to create my presentation. When finished, I saved it both as an .sdd file and a converted .ppt file.

      That was a long time ago. I thought I had lost the presentation forever, but I found an old CD containing only the original .sdd thesis presentation. Logically, I wanted to see it.

      I had seen LibreOffice deal with .sdd files before, so, when I got the dialog asking me for a program to open the ancient presentation, I knew that something was wrong.

      There was simply no way to open it.

    • Linux 3.11-rc5 Celebrates 20 Years Since Windows 3.11

      Twenty years ago today Microsoft released Windows 3.11 while today Linus Torvalds released the Linux 3.11-rc5 kernel. He wished he could have released Linux 3.11 kernel final today, but that didn’t happen.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Nouveau Receives Video Improvements

        A set of patches were published this weekend to improve the Nouveau NVIDIA Gallium3D graphics driver’s handling of video playback acceleration for certain scenarios.

      • Linux’s Common Display Framework Is Still Going

        The Common Display Framework (CDF) proposal for the Linux kernel that started last year is still being worked on. The CDF code is now up to its third revision, but this isn’t likely to be the final revision before pushing it for mainline inclusion.

      • X.Org 7.8 Isn’t Actively Being Pursued

        While there’s an X.Org 7.8 Wiki page that mentions planned features like XWayland integration and video driver hot-plugging, there isn’t active work towards putting out the X.Org 7.8 katamari nor specifically on delivering these mentioned features.

      • Precise vBlank Timing Comes For Nouveau NV50

        Precise vBlank timing support has been patched for the Nouveau DRM driver to support the NV50 through NVC0 NVIDIA GPUs (up to and through Fermi but not yet any NVD0 or Kepler hardware).

      • NVIDIA VP3/VP4 Engines Exposed On Nouveau For MPEG-2/VC-1

        The open-source and reverse-engineered Nouveau driver is now able to tap the more recent “VP3″ and “VP4″ video encode/decode engines on recent NVIDIA GPUs that make up NVIDIA’s PureVideo HD technology. With utilizing these VP3/VP4 engines, there can be MPEG-2 and VC-1 acceleration using this hardware.

    • Benchmarks

      • The Top Features Of Phoronix Test Suite 4.8

        The official release of Phoronix Test Suite 4.8 (codenamed “Sokndal”) is expected in the next week. With the imminent release of our industry-leading open-source automated benchmarking platform for Linux / BSD / OS X / Solaris, here’s a look at some of the top features coming. Aside from just those carrying out the benchmarks, many of the features also benefit those viewing the results — such as Phoronix.com readers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma Media Center 1.1 RC Release
      • Krita Lime (2.8prealpha). New features overview

        Some time have passed since I was talking about new features of the current development version of Krita. But there are lots of them actually! Let me show them to you :)

      • Recalling the days from Akademy 2013 in Bilbao, Spain

        It has been almost 3 weeks since I’ve been back from Akademy 2013 which was held in the splendid city of Bilbao this year, and it would be foolish to not write about my experiences there, since memories however bright they might be, can easily fade away with time.

      • KDE Plasma Media Center 1.1 Up To RC Stage

        The first release candidate for KDE’s Plasma Media Center 1.1 release is now available. Plasma Media Center supports viewing photographs, watching movies, and listening to music from one central KDE component.

      • KDE Lock Screen vs. Touch Input

        With respect to touch input, most parts of KDE can be handled very easily. However, one, imho, very important aspect, simply lacks all touch UI support: the lock screen (and also the login screen), right now, do not support touch UIs at all.

      • Release Party in Stuttgart this Friday

        This Friday (16th) there will be a release party in Wirtshaus Troll in Stuttgart starting at 19:00 to celebrate the awesome 4.11 release of the KDE SC. For more information (also about other release parties) check the Wiki

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 3 – Gone in 60 seconds

        I have never reviewed Mageia before and there is a reason for that. Mageia has always been my “Eleanor”.

        The “Eleanor” reference comes from the film “Gone in 60 seconds” and refers to the one car that Nicolas Cage cannot steal because something happens when he tries to do so.

        Mageia has always given me that sort of a problem. I tried Mageia 1 and 2 without success and rather than write a bad review I decided to write nothing at all.

        Mageia though appears to be one of the more popular distributions and I can’t just go on in this fashion. Therefore I have installed it, tried it and now I am going to tell you about my experience.

      • A proper alpha..

        Some of it is at least, we’ve released the live isos today which you should find on your nearest mirror.

      • Mageia 4 In Alpha, Lots Of Features Planned
    • Gentoo Family

      • Press Release: Sabayon 13.08

        Sabayon 13.08 is a modern and easy to use Linux distribution based on Gentoo, following an extreme, yet reliable, rolling release model. This is a monthly release generated, tested and published to mirrors by our build servers containing the latest and greatest collection of software available in the Entropy repositories. The ChangeLog files related to this release are available on our mirrors. Linux Kernel 3.10.4 with BFQ iosched, updated external ZFS filesystem support, GNOME 3.8.4, KDE 4.10.5, MATE 1.6.2, Xfce 4.10, LibreOffice 4.1, UEFI SecureBoot for 64 bit images (with bundled UEFI shell), systemd as default init system, Plymouth as default splash system and new high-dpi artwork are just some of the things you will find inside the box. Please read on to know where to find the images and their torrent files on our mirrors.

      • Sabayon 13.08 Brings Systemd By Default, UEFI Fixes
    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Virtualization: LXC Application Containers

        Linux containers (LXC) is a lightweight virtualization technology build into Linux kernel. Unlike other virtualization technologies, the virtual machines (VM) are driven without any overhead by the kernel already running on the computer. In VM you run only the processes you need, most of the time without even going trough the regular SysV or Linux init. This means that memory is used very conservatively. These lightweight containers are sometimes called application containers, as opposed to distribution containers where you run a full distro starting with SysV/Linux init.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Lowers Ubuntu One Price to Boost Kickstarter

            Electronista reports that Canonical has adjusted its Kickstarter campaign for the Ubuntu Edge smartphone again to generate more high-dollar pledges. The company is now offering the smartphone for $695 instead of its full $830 price as originally set when the Ubuntu Edge Kickstarter project launched on July 22. Currently, there are 12 days left, and Canonical has only managed to generate just under $9.3 million out of the project’s $32 million goal.

          • Canonical will win even if Ubuntu Edge doesn’t make its $32 million

            It looks less and less likely that Canonical will raise the $32-million it needs for the Ubuntu Edge. So what! It won’t matter in the long run.

          • Ubuntu 13.04 Enables Phased Updates – But What Are They?

            Earlier this week ‘Phased Updates’ were enabled for Ubuntu 13.04 – but what are they?

            Worry ye not: we’re here with a quick overview of what this sci-fi-sounding change is and what it will mean to you going forward.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Deepin 12.12.1 Review: Amazingly beautiful and soothing Ubuntu GNOME spin from China!

              I have used Deepin Linux earlier but never got time to actually pen down a review. It is based on Ubuntu but uses the GNOME shell rather than Unity and comes with great support for Chinese language. I am no expert in Chinese and hence, downloaded the 32-bit English version of Linux Deepin for this test.

            • Taking a look at gNewSense

              You might have noticed that posting in this space has been rather non existent for a while. That’s not because I’ve lost interest in FLOSS, nor is it because of a lack of ideas or desire to post. It’s just that things have gotten in the way.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Remotely control your Raspberry Pi

      Take control of your Raspberry Pi from your smartphone, tablet or PC, from anywhere in the world

    • Phones

      • Android

        • What Does “App” Mean?

          I think I’m going to start using the term “app” to mean “all the pieces you need to build to have a deliverable piece of software.” Because three-letter words are good, and anyhow that’s what the actual people out there who use what we build are starting to say.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Forrester: Tablets and 2017

        There it is. The world can and does accept tablets as legitimate PCs capable of doing almost everything and being portable besides.

      • Tablet PC, Tablet PC, Tablet PC

        That’s all gone now. When a retailer like Wal-mart has the temerity to use a term like “Tablet PC”, they are going off-script.

      • Acer to downplay Windows in favor of Android, Chrome OS

        Acer has told investors that it will reduce its emphasis on Windows PCs and laptops over the next few quarters in favor of devices based on operating systems from Microsoft’s archrival Google.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google open-sources 2 cool Chrome Web Lab experiments as its year-long London exhibition ends

    Google has turned to GitHub to take two of its most popular Chrome experiments to the Open Source development community.

    If you recall last July, London’s Science Museum entered into a year-long collaboration with Google called Web Lab, a collaborative project featuring a range of interactive Chrome experiments designed to bring the inner workings of the Web to life.

    Visitors to the free exhibition, which will close this Sunday, were given five separate experiments to get involved with.

  • Boffin Makes List of Open Source Youtube Downloader Software Available On Its Website
  • Open source has won, let’s look to the future

    My nearly 11 minute keynote at OSCON 2013 this year, felt long enough when I gave it, but in terms of what I have to say about the future of open source, it wasn’t even close.

    Here I expand on the lessons I’ve learned from other people working in open source, new technologies emerging in open source that haven’t come of age yet, my passion for open source not being a Zero Sum game, and bringing open source to other parts of society and industry.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • ZTE to sell ZTE Open Firefox OS phone on eBay US and UK
      • ZTE Open Firefox OS Phone to Sell in U.S. and U.K. on eBay

        In another important milestone for Mozilla’s Firefox OS mobile phone platform, the ZTE Open Firefox OS phone is set to start selling soon via eBay’s stores in the U.S. and U.K. ZTE and Mozilla officials confirmed the news on Monday, noting that unlocked phones will sell for $79.99. Thus far, phones based on Mozilla’s open mobile OS have been targeted at emerging markets, including several Latin American, countries. The phones will be orange, as seen here, and users in the U.S. and U.K. will be able to pick their carrier networks.

  • Education

    • How open source took root in one Pennsylvania school district

      I’ve been working in educational technology for more than 17 years and have spent much of my career advocating for open source in schools. For years, open source in education has gotten a bad rap. Superintendents, school boards and teachers frequently misunderstood open source software to be synonymous with dubious code birthed by mad, degenerate “hackers” who spend dark nights scheming to unleash complex and nefarious plots for social disruption.

    • Yet Another School System Thrives on FLOSS

      People still doubt my claims that GNU/Linux and FLOSS thrives in education but my experience in the bush in northern Canada is not unique.

  • Healthcare

  • Project Releases

    • OpenIndiana 151a Finally Sees An Update

      OpenIndiana, the operating system seeking to let Sun Microsystems’ OpenSolaris project live on within the open-source community, is finally out with an update. This isn’t a stable OpenIndiana release but rather is still a pre-release to 151a.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Google Reader Replacements

    The Google Reader service was launched in 2005 and built up a faithful user base of millions over the years. This aggregator of content served by web feeds offered an undeniably intuitive way for users to access a stream of updates from selected websites, enabling them to easily keep tabs on their favourite websites. Following the announcement in March 2013 that Google was to close the doors to this service – it closed July 2013 – millions of users have had to seek an alternative feed-reading service. How many made the right choice?

  • Science

    • How to: make a microscope from a webcam

      Mark Miodownik, presenter from Dara O Briain’s Science Club on BBC Two, reveals how you can perform simple science experiments at home. Try some DIY science and see the microscopic world up close by turning a webcam inside out…

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Farmers in Bicol uproot golden rice

      “We are very concerned as there are news that feed testing will start this year and that the harvest will be used in these feed experiments. In China, the people have protested against the feed trials on children, prompting proponents to compensate the affected families. We do not want our people, especially our children to be used in these experiments.” – Sikwal GMO

    • Filipino farmers destroy genetically modified ‘Golden Rice’ crops

      A group of activist farmers in the Philippines stormed a government research facility and destroyed an area of genetically modified rice crops the size of 10 football fields. According to New Scientist, the farmers say that genetically modified organism (GMO) foods have not been established to be safe for consumption and that the real solution to world hunger isn’t biologically engineered plants, but a reduction in worldwide rates of poverty.

      “The Golden Rice is a poison,” said Willy Marbella to New Scientist. Marbella is a farmer and deputy secretary general of a group of activists known as KMP — Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or Peasant Movement of the Philippines.

    • The Tiniest New Technology Poses Unanswered Safety Questions

      You might use nanotechnology in the sunscreens you squirt or lather on your kids. You might like your lips and taste it in your favorite lip-gloss. You might even eat it in your Jell-O pudding. But is it safe?

      Well, that’s a tricky question.

      “Before you can do a risk assessment, you have to be able to do an exposure assessment and a toxicity assessment,” says Consumers Union senior scientist Michael Hansen. “And they really can’t be done yet with nanoparticles. So it makes doing a risk assessment really hard. And there is increasing evidence that particles at the nanoscale can have more of a toxic effect. And that shouldn’t be surprising.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • West turned blind eye to Israel’s involvement in Sabra and Shatila ‘slaughter’

      Between 800 and 3,500 people were killed – mostly older men, women and children – by Israeli-backed, far-right Christian Phalangist militias between September 16 and 18, 1982.

      The Israeli army had invaded Lebanon in June of that year in an attempt to remove the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and its leader, Yasser Arafat, and had succeeded in forcing their departure a week earlier.

      Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/west-turned-blind-eye-to-israels-involvement-in-sabra-and-shatila-slaughter#ixzz2bhbGe8SR
      Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | thenational.ae on Facebook

    • The innocents caught under the drones: For fearful Yemenis the US and al-Qa’ida look very similar

      I have encountered two separate Yemens this past week: the one portrayed in Western media outlets and the other reality of living in Sana’a. One was rife with conflict and insecurity, the other associated with the navigation of the capital’s gridlocked traffic. Yet the two Yemens collided in a visceral way for most people.

      The al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) plot, described vaguely by President Obama as a “threat stream”, and the subsequent US embassy closure in Sana’a were far from the minds of most Yemenis. Most were more preoccupied with the approaching conclusion of Ramadan, the Eid al-Fitr celebrations and the political direction of the nation, most notably the United Nations-backed National Dialogue Conference, which aims at drafting a new constitution before elections in February.

    • Activists groups can be considered terrorists

      To better understand the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and who is considered a threat we must first ask ourselves “What is a terrorist?” By definition, a terrorist is a person or group of people that cause fear and panic in others by their words or actions. The US government would have us believe that “covered persons” refers to “terrorists” such as al-Qaida or the Taliban.

      However, that is not clearly written in the NDAA. The NDAA only mentions “covered persons.” The government, therefore, could effectively use the NDAA with its indefinite detention and lack of due process against anyone it considers a terrorist. This includes peaceful groups such as the Free State Project and the Occupy movement.

    • Q&A: Chilean author on the CIA’s role in the 1973 military coup

      The Santiago Times speaks to Carlos Busso, an investigative journalist, about his new book on the CIA in Chile, why Allende was a threat and the unofficial story of the coup.

    • How drones shatter Yemeni hopes

      Some years ago, a Western journalist described Yemen as “history’s last departure lounge.” But nobody even in their wildest imagination would have thought this Arab country would one day become the latest theater of America’s drone war and bizarre killings.

      Yes, US missile strikes and civilian casualties coupled with a near total absence of government services and deepening poverty is making Yemen the magnet of the very groups US wants to destroy as part of the war on terror.

    • Putting brakes on use of drones in N.C. right move

      The guidelines for use of drone aircraft by governmental agencies are simple and clear: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”


      The people who wrote the Fourth Amendment could not foresee drones, but they were wise enough to outlaw warrantless searches without specifying how the search would be carried out.

    • Citizens for Legitimate Government: 11 August 2013

      U.S. buying even more hardware for Yemen’s military 09 Aug 2013 U.S. drones have been battering Yemen, killing at least 28 people, and American spy planes watch from overhead. And now, Yemen’s skies are looking to get even more crowded. The U.S. Navy is helping the Yemeni air force buy 12 light spy planes, adding to the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military aid the U.S. has given to the Sana’a regime. The Navy’s Light Observation Aircraft for Yemen program aims to buy 12 small planes — or maybe choppers — equipped with infrared and night vision cameras and the ability to beam the images collected by those cameras back to a ground station.[Gee, looks like arming the murderous regime in Yemen is sequester-proof. Ditto the Syrian rebels aka cannibals. This is *insane.* Start reading.]

      Yemeni Al Qaeda expert casts doubt on terror threat claims 11 Aug 2013 Yemen’s foremost Al Qaeda researcher says recent U.S. drone strikes have failed to kill senior leaders of the organization, and he dismisses claims that a plot to bomb a Canadian-owned oil facility was foiled by Yemeni authorities. Abdulrazzaq al-Jamal, a journalist and researcher who has been given exclusive access to the terrorist group’s Yemen branch, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), said the series of drone strikes in the past 12 days have killed 32 people, including low-level foot soldiers and civilians.

      Yemenis call U.S. drone strikes an overreaction to al Qaida threat 09 Aug 2013 The United States launching of eight drone strikes in Yemen in the span of 13 days has ignited widespread outrage in the country. The anger over the strikes, which came as an al Qaida-related threat shuttered U.S. embassies and consulates in Yemen and 15 other countries, has overwhelmed attention to the threat itself, which many here view skeptically anyway.

    • Imprisoned CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou: Totality of Punishment Is Not Limited to a Prison Sentence

      Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who has served five months of a thirty-month sentence in the federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, has written a fourth letter from the prison.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Kaufman: Why has no banker gone to jail?

      Last week, for the first time, the Securities and Exchange Commission won a case against an individual banker for fraudulent behavior leading to the financial meltdown of 2008-09.

      Hold the applause. The banker was a mid-level executive. It was a civil case; he will face other penalties but will not be going to jail. The U.S. government’s record remains intact. It has sent no one from Wall Street to jail for playing a role in the financial crisis.

    • Americans abroad rejecting US citizenship as tax hikes loom

      The number of Americans who decided to renounce their citizenship in the second quarter of 2013 increased sixfold the same period in 2012, a number the federal government attributes to strict impending financial disclosure rules.

      The United States is the only country out of 34 in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that continues to tax citizens regardless of where they live around the world.

    • Thank You, TSA, NSA, FBI and CIA!

      The secret is that the Federal Reserve can’t really control the economy at all. It can influence it. And the influence it has is all negative; that’s the joke. Setting interest rates at any level other than that chosen by willing borrowers and lenders, the Fed distorts the price of credit. And distorting prices always leads to problems…either shortages or surpluses.

      Also, by fixing rates at ultra-low levels, the Federal Reserve is actually stealing from one group and giving to another. The middle class, savers, and working people lose wealth. Hedge fund managers, bankers, zombies…and, of course, those loveable feds themselves…gain.

    • Donald Trump On ABC’s This Week: “I Don’t Know, Nobody Knows” If Obama Was Born In The U.S.
    • WSJ’s Stephen Moore: Devastating Sequestration Cuts Are A “Success” Free Of “Negative Consequences”

      The Wall Street Journal editorial board’s Stephen Moore falsely claimed that the drastic budget cuts known as sequestration have had “none of the anticipated negative consequences,” when in reality economists have explained that the cuts have had devastating effects on economic growth, jobs, and programs for low-income Americans.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • LEAKED: Intelligence Agencies Running Mass Number of Propaganda Accounts on Social Media

      If there is one thing we can take away from the news of recent months it is, in the words of the New York Times, that “the modern American surveillance state is not really the stuff of paranoid fantasies; it has arrived.”

      “Surveillance and deception are not just fodder for the next ‘Matrix’ movie, but a real sort of epistemic warfare,” the paper reported.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Op-Ed: Obama on NSA reform — Not giving credit where credit is due

      Without this publicity and consequent public awareness about the program, the president would probably just have let sleeping dogs lie and let the program continue without change. Snowden’s revelations and their consequent effects have forced Obama at least to go through the motions of reform to get ahead of the game. This has been combined with a huge increase in warnings of a global terror threat that can be used to convince the public that the surveillance programs are essential to their security. As a recent article put it, Snowden, Greenwald and whistle blowers were winning. A poll showed that most Americans thought of Snowden as a whistle blower rather than a traitor.

    • Indiana University law prof: NSA surveillance violates privacy

      Fred Cate penned a brief with other law professors asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s order authorizing the government to collect the data. He argues the intelligence court’s 2006 order violates the Patriot Act and “and presents a significant risk to the personal privacy of millions.”

    • Matt Welch Criticizes NSA Spying, Liberty-for-Security Swaps on Fox News

      On Thursday, Aug. 1, I appeared on Fox News’s Your World With Neil Cavuto to talk about the ongoing NSA revelations triggered by Edward Snowden, and where Americans should “draw the line” between liberty and security:

    • Impeach the President, Dismantle the NSA, and Fire the top Echelon of our Military

      Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and Edward Snowden and others understand their obligation as honorable citizens to protect and defend the honor of those who once had the courage to dedicate their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to making truth and integrity a way of life for all peoples starting right here at home. Many lost their fortunes and their lives doing so. We are no longer being led by such people although there are many people living in the United States today who do have the courage, the honor, and the ability to do what our Founders did.

    • Robocalls: A job for NSA

      The state and federal Do-Not-Call programs are a joke.

    • Matt Damon Slams President Obama: WATCH ‘Elysium’ Actor Discuss NSA, ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law [VIDEO] Weekend Box Office Results

      Elysium actor Matt Damon has been known as a big supporter of President Obama, especially during his presidential campaign in 2008. However, it seems Damon has soured on the president, judging by a recent interview. During an interview with BET, Damon suggested that it feels like he and the President of the United States have separated. Damon told BET, “He (President Obama) broke up with me.”

    • Former adviser Van Jones calls Obama’s denial of NSA spying ‘ridiculous’ (Video)

      Van Jones, a former special adviser to President Barack Obama for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and co-host of CNN’s “Crossfire,” has described the statement the president made Tuesday on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” that the government does not having a spying program as “ridiculous.”

    • Zimmermann’s Law: PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder Phil Zimmermann on the surveillance society

      Phil Zimmermann, creator of PGP, in a wide-ranging interview talks about the corrupting nature of big data, the end of privacy and the rise of the surveillance society. He also shared his thoughts on Moore’s Law and its marriage to public policy, and why Silent Circle shutdown its email-service.


      Given the frenetic nature of the news, I didn’t think I would get a chance to have a measured discussion with Zimmermann. Much to my surprise, he got on the phone and we ended up discussing everything from the rise of the surveillance state; big data and its devastating impact on society; data totalitarianism; the somewhat dubious role of Google and Facebook in our lives; and why as a society we can’t fall victim to the cynicism that is starting to permeate our lives. He also talked at length about the important role of our legislators in pushing back against the unstoppable tide of the “surveillance society.”

    • Loophole Shows That, Yes, NSA Has ‘Authority’ To Spy On Americans — Directly In Contrast With Public Statements
    • NSA’s Rules Allowing Warrantless Searches On Americans Came THE SAME DAY It Was Told Searches Violated 4th Amendment

      We already wrote about the bombshell revelation from the Guardian that the NSA changed the rules in October of 2011, so that it had permission to do warrantless searches on US persons (contrary to public claims). However, Marcy Wheeler recognized the date of that update is the very same date that the FISA court supposedly smacked down the NSA for violating the 4th Amendment with some searches.

    • FBI suspected of cyber-attack on anonymous web-hosting and email services

      On August 5 malicious software (malware) in the form of a Java Script (JS) attack code was discovered embedded in multiple websites hosted by the anonymous hosting company Freedom Hosting (FH), the largest hosting company on the anonymous Tor network. Initial research into the malware by experts suggests that it originated from and returned private data back to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or other US government agencies.

    • Not only do they spy on us…

      ….but Big Brother also charges us to spy on us.

    • NSA to chop sysadmin numbers by 90 percent – or is it?

      Most likely, these people would be put on other work rather than fired.

    • Obama’s NSA ‘reforms’ won’t change anything

      While I attended President Obama’s Friday news conference, which largely dealt with surveillance and security, I couldn’t help but wonder whether one man, eight time zones away, was watching: Edward Snowden.

      Having lived in Moscow for many years, I know the Russian capital has many Friday night diversions — but what could been more interesting for Snowden than to watch the president of the United States continue to react to his bombshell revelations? Snowden probably gets a kick out of hearing the president mention his name, too — the ultimate validation of his own importance. Indeed, the president even devalued himself by taunting Snowden. If Snowden is so sure of himself and his views, Obama said, why not return home, get a lawyer, and make his case in court?

    • Don’t Insult Our Intelligence, Mr. President: This Debate Wouldn’t Be Happening Without Ed Snowden

      One of the more ridiculous claim’s during President Obama’s press conference on NSA surveillance today was the claim that he had already started this process prior to the Ed Snowden leaks and that it’s likely we would end up in the same place. While he admitted that Snowden may have “accelerated” the process, he’s also claiming that the leaks put our national security at risk.

    • Obama’s Response To NSA Was To Appease The Public, Not Reduce The Spying

      Even more to the point, his comments represent a fundamental misunderstanding of why the public doesn’t trust the government. That’s because he keeps insisting that the program isn’t being abused and that all of this collection is legal. But, really, that’s not what the concern is about. Even though we actually know that the NSA has a history of abuse (and other parts of the intelligence community before that), a major concern is that scooping up so much data is considered legal in the first place.

    • Obama says phone spying not abused, will continue

      President Barack Obama made it clear Friday he has no intention of stopping the daily collection of American phone records. And while he offered “appropriate reforms,” he blamed government leaks for creating distrust of his domestic spying program.

    • DOJ: There’s No Expectation Of Privacy In Your Phone Records Because People Don’t Like Terrorists

      Following our post on the NSA’s document defending its surveillance programs, let’s look more closely at the Justice Department’s “white paper” explaining the legal rationale for scooping up all of the metadata on every phone call under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, also known as the “business records” or “tangible things” section. This document just focuses on that one program, rather than the many other programs, and within its 23 pages there are so many ridiculous things. I’m sure we’ll come back to many of them in future posts. After going through it a few times, it seems abundantly clear that this was a rush job by the administration to defend this particular program, without realizing just how ridiculous many of its claims are. As Julian Sanchez has noted, the arguments made in this document appear to contradict the DOJ’s actions in dozens of ways, and basically invalidates a ton of previous arguments concerning other surveillance programs. And, worse, it more or less opens the door for massive surveillance on a variety of other things. Again from Sanchez, the argument in this paper could easily apply to having a local prosecutor subpoena all city phone records looking for drug dealing. Because safety!

    • Obama’s Simply Wrong: Whistleblower Protections Would Not Have Applied To Snowden

      During the Q&A portion of today’s President Obama press conference, reporter Chuck Todd asked Obama about Ed Snowden and whether he was a “patriot,” after Obama announced some reforms and even directly made clear that those who support civil liberties and greater transparency “love their country” and are “patriots.” Except, Obama said that he does not think Snowden is a patriot, in part because he had signed the Whistleblower Protection Act and extended the protections to the intelligence community. This is laughable on a variety of levels, including the Obama administration’s actions against other whistleblowers like Thomas Drake and William Binney, who did go through official channels, and then were subject to ridiculous investigations and (with Drake) totally trumped up charges on a bogus unrelated issue.

    • Obama’s Response To NSA Surveillance: Some Minor Reforms & Transparency; Still Lacking Justification
    • London’s bins are tracking your smartphone

      Smartbins use devices’ Wi-Fi connections to log their MAC address and track customer habits

    • Rep. Justin Amash: House Intelligence Committee Withheld NSA Documents From Incoming Congressmen

      Defenders of the NSA’s program always point to two things: it’s all legal and it’s all subject to oversight. Part of the “oversight” is the FISA “thumbs up” system that has approved every request for two years in a row. The other part of the “oversight” is Congress itself.

      Unfortunately, members of Congress have been lied to directly about the extent of the collections occurring under Section 215 (and 702), so that’s one strike against the “oversight.” Now, it appears that members of Congress are being selectively provided with information about the programs.

    • Assange: Obama ‘validates’ Snowden

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says President Obama’s plans to make changes in National Security Agency surveillance programs stem from a single source: Edward Snowden.

      Obama “validated Edward Snowden’s role as a whistle-blower” with his proposals to revamp NSA programs, Assange said in a written statement Saturday.

      “But rather than thank Edward Snowden, the president laughably attempted to criticize him while claiming that there was a plan all along, ‘before Edward Snowden,’” Assange said. “The simple fact is that without Snowden’s disclosures, no one would know about the programs and no reforms could take place.”

    • Michael Hayden, Former NSA Chief: After A Major Attack, U.S. Likely To Seize More Surveillance Powers
    • Julian Assange: Obama ‘validates’ Snowden by proposing NSA changes
    • Required reading: The surveillance state

      President Barack Obama says he will work with Congress to review US surveillance programmes and the powers of the National Security Agency (NSA), following the whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s revelations of a programme of mass surveillance of electronic communications, including emails and Skype calls.

    • Snowden’s father decries ‘political theater’ over son’s leaks

      The father of Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, complained Sunday about the “political theater” surrounding his son’s disclosures of secret surveillance programs and dismissed President Obama’s proposed reforms as “superficial.”

    • Surveillance debate or immigration reform?

      For President Barack Obama, August was supposed to be the time when a major immigration bill landed on his desk.

    • Obama’s NSA review vindicates Snowden, Assange says
    • EU a Key NSA Target
    • Stickonspy: sticker-reminder that the NSA likes to fool around with your webcam

      Stickonspy sells die-cut stickers that go around your laptop’s webcam to remind yourself — and others — that spooks from western governments have made a practice of using spyware that allows them to covertly switch on laptop and mobile phone cameras and microphones to spy on their owners. $3 for one, $10 for 6.

    • Crypto-currency for NSA leaker: Snowden fund accepts Bitcoin

      US fugitive Edward Snowden’s defense fund, launched recently by WikiLeaks to raise money for the legal protection of the NSA leaker, has announced it now accepts donations in virtual currency Bitcoin.

      The Journalistic Source Protection Defence Fund (JSPD) was set up on August 9 with the goal to provide legal as well as campaign aid to journalistic sources. Snowden, who is behind the biggest intelligence leak in the history of the US National Security Agency (NSA), has been selected the first such source.

    • The NSA Isn’t the Only One Spying On You — Your Phone Company is Helping

      A recent federal court ruling that sanctioned the warrantless tracking of American cellular users was deeply troubling. It revealed a disturbing expansion in the scope of power of U.S. executive bodies and has sparked a great distrust among the American people of federal and state authorities.

      In what has become, as the New York Times describes, “a routine tool” for state and federal agents, cell-phone tracking remains a topic many law enforcement officials shy away from discussing. The popularity of the practice has led to its adoption by many local police departments and has become the most prevalent invasive way government officials invade personal privacy.

    • Former NSA chief predicts surveillance programs will expand

      The former head of the National Security Agency said Sunday that not only does ending the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs seems unlikely, but he images those endeavors could expand in scope during the coming years.

    • Want to shoot some guns during recess? Spy agencies court Congress while deceiving it
    • Why won’t they tell us the truth about the NSA?

      But we soon discovered that also was not true either. We learned in another Guardian newspaper article last week that the top secret “X-Keyscore” program allows even low-level analysts to “search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals.”

    • Obama Spurns NSA Spying Reform

      Huey Long once said fascism will arrive “wrapped in an American flag.” In “Friendly Fascism,” Bertram Gross (1912 – 1997) called Ronald Reagan its prototype ruler. Gross didn’t know Obama.

      He represents the worst of rogue governance. He advances America’s imperium. He heads its police state apparatus. He’s waging war on humanity. He’s doing it abroad and at home.

      He puts a smiling face on repression. He’s hardline. He’s ruthless. He’s done what supporters thought impossible. He exceeds the worst of George Bush. He says one thing. He does another. He demands it.

      His promises ring hollow. He broke every major one made. He’s a serial liar. He’s a moral coward. On August 9, he defended the indefensible. He did so disingenuously.

    • The Art of Deception: A Necessary Skill for Intelligence Officials

      As more and more becomes known about blanket spying by the National Security Agency, one thing is becoming increasingly apparent. Government officials are deliberately and repeatedly misleading Congress and the US public in a concerted effort to conceal as much as possible about what the NSA is actually doing.

    • NSA server in Ukraine as part of electronic surveillance program, Snowden revelations suggest

      Details of a top secret U.S. National Security Agency program for culling intelligence from the internet indicate that at least one computer server was or is located in Ukraine, the Guardian wrote on July 31, citing documents provided by former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.

    • In light of NSA revelations, two German companies to automatically encrypt emails

      Two of Germany’s biggest Internet service providers said Friday they will start encrypting customers’ emails by default in response to user concerns about online snooping after reports that the U.S. National Security Agency monitors international electronic communications.

    • Germany ‘mid-level’ interest to NSA: Report

      Germany is considered to be of ‘mid-level’ interest to the US National Security Agency with the European Union a key priority of spying targets, reports weekly Der Spiegel, citing a document leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

    • US Snooping Programme Had One Server Located In India: Report

      A controversial US surveillance programme that sweeps Internet usage data had 700 snooping servers installed at 150 locations around the world, including one in India, according to a report.

      The XKeyscore programme, run by the National Security Agency (NSA), allowed analysts to search through vast databases containing e-mails, online chats and browsing histories of millions of individuals, the Guardian reported, citing documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • NSA Likely Houses Servers in American Embassy, Report Says

      A source in the Russian special services said with “practically 100 percent certainty” that a server supporting the NSA surveillance system XKeyscore is located in the American embassy in Moscow.

    • One of NSA servers used for XKeyscore located in US embassy in Moscow – media
    • National Security Agency Spies on Us and Pays Others to Spy

      Several stories concerning the National Security Agency spying on U.S. citizens surfaced recently.

      British newspaper The Guardian reported on a computer program called XKeyScore. This program allows civilian hackers working for the NSA to fill out a form which gives them access to our email and phone call contents. It can give them recorded files, or real-time email, chat, text or phone-call communications.

    • EU ranked as ‘key priority’ for NSA monitoring

      The European Union is ranked as a key priority by the NSA for monitoring a German newspaper reported Saturday, citing a document leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Edward Snowden’s father gets visa to visit NSA leaker in Russia

      National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden’s father has secured documents to visit his son in Russia and plans to discuss how he could fight espionage charges, Lon Snowden and his attorney said Sunday.

    • Snowden’s father gets visa to visit NSA leaker son in Russia
    • NSA snooping casts pall over Kerry trip

      Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Colombia and Brazil this week builds on efforts to deepen relations with Latin America, but he can expect a curt reception from the two U.S. allies after reports that an American spy program widely targeted data in emails and telephone calls across the region.

    • NSA’s Spy History Poses Daunting Challenge for President Obama

      For decades, the NSA has routinely monitored the phone calls, and before emails, the telegrams of thousands of Americans. The rationale has always been the same, and Obama has repeatedly said it in defense of the spy program, and that’s that the surveillance has done much to protect Americans from foreign threats and attacks. The NSA recently tossed out the figure of 42 terrorist acts that it supposedly nipped in the bud because of the spy program. The problem with that is the agency’s history. Its named targets in the past have not been solely alleged Muslim extremists, but Communists, peace activists, black radicals, civil rights leaders, and even drug peddlers.

    • Assange says Obama’s NSA reform vindicates Snowden
    • New search engine protects you from NSA

      The website is called Zeekly.com and founder Jeffrey Sisk explains it doesn’t retain search history, and also runs on 2048-bit SSL encryption to keep private what Internet users don’t want public.

    • Forget Transparency: Now Is The Time to End the NSA’s Surveillance

      On Friday, President Obama delivered a speech meant to answer Americans’ concerns about NSA surveillance. Like most 50-minute speeches by major politicians, it amounts to 50 minutes of life we’ll never get back, and little substance.

      The take-away from the speech is that President Obama is “comfortable” with the surveillance program exactly as it already exists, and the “reforms,” to the extent of which they will happen at all, center on his quote “how do I make the American people more comfortable.”

      In effect, this means a PR campaign to convince the public that what the NSA is doing is okay, and it is noteworthy that one of the major “reforms” announced was having the intelligence agencies make a website to sell the programs to the public.

    • King: Obama needs to speak out more in support of NSA

      Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said Obama could have used his “bully pulpit” to allay fears among the public that the National Security Agency was snooping on their private telephone and Internet communications.

      “What I’m very critical of him for is basically he’s been silent for the last two months,” said King, an outspoken proponent of anti-terrorism intelligence efforts. “He has allowed the Edward Snowdens and the others of the world to dominate the media, and now we have so many people who actually think the NSA is spying on people.”

    • GOP lawmakers balk at privacy advocate in FISA Court
    • Clyburn: Obama can’t have ‘blank check’ on NSA surveillance
    • Peter King: Obama ‘silent’ on NSA
    • Republicans Warn Against NSA Changes

      Some senior Republicans in Congress on Sunday threw cold water on a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s plan to revamp the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs–his proposal to provide a new advocate for privacy concerns.

    • Edward Snowden dodges NSA traps in endless runner iOS and Android game
    • Ways To Reduce The Chances Of Being Spied On By The NSA Or Anyone Else

      One tool is Tor, a free service that is described as “virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet” by providing “the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy.”

      Tor makes it possible to avoid being tracked by web sites use and to use email, chat and other services anonymously. It also allows users to access services that may be blocked by their Internet service provider (in some countries by government order).

      A new iPhonem, Android, Windows and Blackberry app called Seecrypt“allows you to make and receive unlimited, secure voice calls and text messages between Seecrypt Mobile-enabled devices, anywhere in the world.”

    • Former CIA, NSA Chief: Obama Wants Americans to Accept Surveillance

      Former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden addressed President Obama’s promises of more “transparency” for the surveillance programs, saying that his goal is just to make Americans comfortable enough to accept the program.

    • Lon Snowden, NSA Leaker’s Father, Claims Russia Has Issued Him A Visa

      National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden’s father has secured documents to visit his son in Russia and plans to discuss how he could fight espionage charges, Lon Snowden and his attorney said Sunday.

    • Mega to run ‘cutting-edge’ encrypted email after Lavabit’s ‘privacy seppuku’

      Kim Dotcom’s Mega.co.nz is working on a highly-secure email service to run on a non-US-based server. It comes as the US squeezes email providers that offer encryption and Mega’s CEO calls Lavabit’s shutdown an “honorable act of Privacy Seppuku.”

      Mega’s Chief Executive Vikram Kumar, who is heading the development of the company’s own end-to-end encryption technology to protect the privacy of the future email’s users, has reacted to the Lavabit founder’s decision to suspend his service’s operations – an act, which was shortly followed by voluntary closing down of another secure email service, Silent Circle.

    • New Rule: Congressmen Who Thought Iraq Had WMDs Can’t Talk About NSA Effectiveness

      Senator Saxby Chambliss is either a blind war hawk or is deliberately misleading the public. Last week, after the National Security Agency had intercepted an al-Qaida conference call plotting attacks against U.S. embassies, Chambliss claimed it was proof that mass surveillance programs were effective. But the AP reports that the NSA’s controversial phone and Internet monitoring programs “played no part in detecting the initial tip.”

      The press should have known — and reported on — the fact that Chambliss had a history of hawkish interpretations of intelligence reports after he voted for the Iraq War in 2002. Indeed, the most ardent defenders of the NSA are exactly those members of Congress who wrongly believed we needed to invade Iraq after believing that there was an imminent threat from Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    • The NSA is turning the internet into a total surveillance system

      Now we know all Americans’ international email is searched and saved, we can see how far the ‘collect it all’ mission has gone

    • Lawmakers tasked with overseeing NSA surveillance programs feel “inadequate”

      In the wake of the Obama Administration’s nod towards greater transparency for its surveillance programs, some members of Congressional intelligence and judiciary committees now say that they have not had the proper opportunity to understand, much less challenge these programs.

      “In terms of the oversight function, I feel inadequate most of the time,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a member of the House Intelligence Committee. She spoke with The Washington Post on Saturday evening, admitting that while the programs were “approved” by Congress—”Was it approved by a fully knowing Congress? That is not the case.”

    • Russia among countries atop NSA surveillance priority list

      Russia, alongside the EU, China and Iran, are on top of the NSA’s spying priority list, according to a document leaked by fugitive Edward Snowden and published by Der Spiegel weekly.

      In the classified document, dated April 2013, countries are assigned levels of interest for NSA surveillance from 1 (the highest) to 5 (the lowest).

      Among the top surveillance targets are China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and Afghanistan. The EU, as a whole is also ranking high, though individually its 28 member-states are of lesser importance to the US intelligence, with Germany and France representing mid-level interest, while countries like Finland, Croatia and Denmark are denoted as almost irrelevant in data gathering.

    • Peter King Defends NSA Against ‘Slanders’: ‘Drives Me Crazy’ To Hear ‘Snooping And Spying’

      On this Sunday’s Face the Nation, New York Congressman Peter King denounced the beating the NSA’s reputation has taken as a result of Edward Snowden’s revelations of the organization’s surveillance programs, arguing that “loose words” like “spying” and “snooping” unfairly diminished the patriotism of NSA staff and officials.

    • Snowden details how NSA can search e-mails, calls without warrant
    • Iran, Russia, China, EU atop NSA Piority List

      Russia, alongside the EU, China and Iran, are on top of the NSA’s spying priority list, according to a document leaked by fugitive Edward Snowden and published by Der Spiegel weekly.

    • Obama’s assurances miss core concerns over NSA surveillance programme

      The US president, Barack Obama, sought to reassure his country, as well as his allies, with a public review and additional oversight of US national security surveillance programmes, but observers said the steps do little to address the core issues at the heart of public concern over the practices.

    • US Govt. Employee Bravely Calls for the Total Abolition of NSA

      These programs have only one objective, and they cannot be reformed or “controlled” or otherwise fixed. Their objective is to reduce the people of the whole Earth under absolute tyranny.

    • On NSA Surveillance, Congressional Oversight Fell Short

      Much of President Obama’s defense of the NSA surveillance program yesterday came down to it being under the oversight of all three branches of the federal government, himself, the Congress, and the secret judges that signed off on the warrants.

    • Lavabit’s Ladar Levison: ‘If You Knew What I Know About Email, You Might Not Use It’

      Ladar Levison, 32, has spent ten years building encrypted email service Lavabit, attracting over 410,000 users. When NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was revealed to be one of those users in July, Dallas-based Lavabit got a surge of new customers: $12,000 worth of paid subscribers, triple his usual monthly sign-up. On Thursday, though, Levison pulled the plug on his company, posting a cryptic message about a government investigation that would force him to “become complicit in crimes against the American people” were he to stay in business. Many people have speculated that the investigation concerned the government trying to get access to the email of Edward Snowden, who has been charged with espionage. There are legal restrictions which prevent Levison from being more specific about a protest of government methods that has forced him to shutter his company, an unprecedented move.

  • Civil Rights

    • New CCTV Code of Practice comes into force

      The code is a step in the right direction towards bringing proper oversight to the millions of cameras that capture our movements every day. However, with only a small fraction of cameras covered and without any penalties for breaking the code, we hope that this is only the beginning of the process and that further steps will be taken in the future to protect people’s privacy from unjustified or excessive surveillance.

    • TSA, change the airport security mindset
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright owners group tears apart law review process

        Australia’s home entertainment industry lobby has slammed the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) over its handling of a review of the country’s copyright regime.

      • Australian Copyright Industry Says Proposal To Bring In Fair Use Is ‘Solution For Problem That Doesn’t Exist’

        A couple of months back, Techdirt wrote about Australia’s proposals to shift from the current fair dealing approach to fair use as part of wide-ranging reform of copyright there. When something similar was mooted in the UK as part of what became the Hargreaves Review, it was shouted down by the copyright maximalists on the grounds that it would lead to widespread litigation. As Mike pointed out at the time, that’s nonsense: the existence of a large body of US case law dealing with this area makes it much easier to bring in fair use without the need for its contours to be defined in the courts.

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