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Links 13/6/2015: IPFire 2.17 is Out, OpenMandriva Plans

Posted in News Roundup at 5:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Top 5 Open Source Alternatives to Microsoft Exchange

    Choosing an open source messaging server can save you money and admin time without losing out on features. Take a look at what our favorite alternatives to Microsoft Exchange have to offer.

  • Enterprises Flocking to Open Source Software

    Open source software is not a trend; it is here to stay. Debating the value of open source software (OSS) on technical considerations is a moving target. Determining the costs of implementing and using open source makes for a more stable argument. The initial software may be free, but learning, implementing, improving, connecting to, and operating it is not free. When you acquire OSS you will have more responsibilities than if you acquired closed product software from a vendor.

  • We Is Us — OPNFV & ETSI Accelerate NFV Adoption

    One question increasingly raised throughout the SDN/NFV community is, “Why are there so many groups associated with NFV/SDN?” While the answer is subject to debate, no one should be surprised that NFV and SDN are far too pervasive for any single organization and/or industry body to control.

  • How OPNFV and ETSI NFV are Advancing NFV Adoption

    ETSI was the birthplace of the NFV concept in 2012, and OPNFV was launched just two years later with many of the same members to help bring NFV from specs to reality using open source methodologies. Marc Cohn, who is an active participant in many open communities including OPNFV, OpenDaylight and the Open Networking Foundation, recently published an article for SDxCentral about how OPNFV and ETSI continue to work in tandem to accelerate NFV adoption.

  • LinkedIn Open Sources “Pinot” for Powerful Data Analytics

    When it comes to new open source tools that can make a difference, it’s wise to look to some of the tech companies that regularly open source their own in-house platforms and tools. Just witness Netflix, which has open sourced troves of useful cloud utilities. Facebook and Google have release a lot of useful tools as well.

  • Los Angeles County voting to shift from inkblots to open source

    Los Angeles County is home to a burgeoning technology industry. It boasts a roster of high-profile companies including Hulu, Snapchat, and Tinder. As of 2013, it offered more high-tech jobs than other major markets in the country, including Silicon Valley and New York City. Come election time, however, its residents cast their votes by marking inkblots on ballots that resemble Scantron forms.

  • Events

    • CFP Jam & LinuxFest Northwest Goes Hollywood

      Linux and FOSS make cameo appearances throughout the TV and film world, and lately we’ve been treated to the GNOME vs. KDE tête-à-tête in the USA Network’s pilot of a show called “Mr. Robot.” This scene piqued my interest enough to watch the pilot, which was a mix of downright scary and mildly interesting portrayals of tech types at various levels in the overt and covert tech-company hierarchy, wrapped in painfully mediocre dialog (why can’t Aaron Sorkin just write everything? Is that too much to ask?). SPOILER ALERT: The subtext of a psychologically wrecked, socially castrated hacker protagonist — the one using GNOME — is grating enough, but this stereotype is far and away eclipsed by the world domination seemingly at the fingertips of the suit using KDE, which he displayed at the end of the pilot. And we though it was Redmond seeking to take over the world when it’s really…KDE?

    • In Search of SELF in the Queen City

      Right away I ran across Brian Proffitt, whom many of you will remember from his days covering Linux and FOSS for news sites or from the time he spent at Linux Today. These days he’s all but given up journalism for real work, at Red Hat. However, the presentation he’s giving on Sunday here at SELF has a writerly ring to the title: “It’s Metaphors All the Way Down.”

      I also had a chance to talk with Deb Nicholson with the Open Invention Network, who’ll be giving a talk on Saturday about software patent litigation. Funny thing, patents were hardly mentioned in our conversation. Mainly we talked about tech corporations under the headings: the good, the bad and the pure evil. If anyone sees Clint Eastwood, tell him I have a movie idea…

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • My Frustration with Mozilla

        I recently decided to stop using Firefox as my main Browser. I’m not alone there. While browser statistics are notoriously difficult to track and hotly debated, all sources seem to point toward a downward trend for Firefox. At LQ, they actually aren’t doing too badly. In 2010 Firefox had a roughly 57% market share and so far this year they’re at 37%. LQ is a highly technical site, however, and the broader numbers don’t look quite so good. Over a similar period, for example, Wikipedia has Firefox dropping from over 30% to just over 15%. At the current rate NetMarketShare is tracking, Firefox will be in the single digits some time this year. You get the idea. So what’s going on , and what does that mean for Mozilla? And why did I choose now to make a switch personally?

      • Get bug squashing, Mozilla increases bounty payments: Linux Wrap

        Mozilla have decided to shake up the way they make payments with regard to bug squashing, in the statement they said “The bounty for valid potentially exploitable critical and high security rated client security vulnerabilities will be between $3000 and $7500 (USD) cash reward. The bounty program encourages the earliest possible reporting of these potentially exploitable bugs. A bounty may be paid for some moderate rated client security bugs at the discretion of the Bug Bounty Committee. If a bounty is paid for a moderate rated security issue, the amount will be between $500 and $2000 (US), depending on the severity of impact for the issue as determined by Bug Bounty Committee.”

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Building a platform

      From the very beginning ownCloud has had bigger ambitions then just being a file sync and share tool. This is apparent from the name ownCloud. Today, we have more than our documents and photos online. Our social networks and shared thoughts, our appointments and shopping lists, audio and video conversations all happen and are stored somehwere ‘in the cloud’, all connected. You can comment on a song you like for others to see or share an appointment with co workers. ownCloud means to give you a chance to bring all that back under your control!

  • Databases

    • Oracle’s rising open source problem

      While a number of factors are at play in Oracle’s stumbles, one of the most persistent is the rise of open-source databases, both relational and non-relational (NoSQL), as a recent Bloomberg article posits. As Powa Technologies CEO says, “They scale and operate extremely well, and they don’t cost anything.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

    • Securing OpenBSD From Us To You

      I’m going to talk today about signify, a tool I wrote for the OpenBSD project that cryptographically signs and verifies. This allows us to ensure that the releases we ship arrive on your computer in their original, intended form, without tampering.

    • Smallwall 1.8.2 Released To Let Monowall Live On

      This past February, Monowall announced the end of development as one of the most popular FreeBSD-based network/firewall focused distributions. For those still searching for a new replacement, Smallwall 1.8.2 has been released as the successor to Monowall 1.8.1.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Swift 2.0 is open source, ApacheCon: Big Data, and more open source news
    • 3DPrinterOS Goes Open Source for Their Cloud Client

      If you’re that kind of development monster, you can now find the source code for the cloud client here on GitHub.

      This cloud client already sports support for the majority of desktop 3D printers, and through the GNU Affero General Public License, it’s being shared.

    • Create a ‘soft’ 3D printer with the open source Circular Knitic

      While the uses for additive manufacturing at home seem to be increasing on a seemingly daily basis, there are still some items in the home that haven’t been able to be created due to the lack of suitable technologies. Among others is the ability to fabricate soft objects using digital fabrication tools.

    • Bristol creatives create an open source, portable, WiFi-enabled Kinect
    • Ouya’s potential acquisition, Steam’s Summer Sale, and more open gaming news
    • Open Data

      • The Citadel reveals open data findings

        The United Nations has proactively researched and promoted open government data across the globe for close to five years now. The Open Data Institute maintains that open data can help “unlock supply, generate demand, and create and disseminate knowledge to address local and global issues.” McKinsey & Company report that “seven sectors alone could generate more than $3 trillion a year in additional value as a result of open data.”

        There is no doubt that open data is an important public policy area—one that is here to stay. Yet, for all the grand promises, scratch beneath the surface and one finds a remarkable paucity of hard empirical facts about what is and isn’t happening on the ground—in the real world of cities where most of us increasingly live and work.

      • “Dutch government hampers re-use of Chamber of Commerce data”

        The Dutch government has prepared a new Trade Register Law that will effectively forbid free re-use of the register data of its Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel, KvK). In response to an internet consultation, Stefan de Konink, open data proponent and founder of the OpenGeo Foundation, wrote an open letter to the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Security and Justice, asking the Dutch government to reconsider its new policy.

  • Programming


  • Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo to step down

    Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo is to step down after coming under pressure following lacklustre results.

    Mr Costolo will remain on the social network’s board after the move on July 1, the company said on Thursday night.

    Twitter’s shares jumped 7.8pc in after-hours trading following the announcement, after closing flat at $35.84 during the day.

    Mr Costolo will be replaced in the interim by co-founder Jack Dorsey, chairman of Twitter and chief executive of Square, the mobile payments company he founded in 2009. He will also continue in both those roles.

  • Twitter’s Strategy Remains Unclear Even After CEO Resigns

    Investors applauded Twitter CEO Dick Costolo’s resignation. But did they jump the gun?

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Monsanto and the Subjugation of India

      After a study of GMOs over a four-year plus period, India’s multi-party Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture recommended a ban on GM food crops stating they had no role in a country of small farmers. The Supreme Court appointed a technical expert committee (TEC), which recommended an indefinite moratorium on the field trials of GM crops until the government devised a proper regulatory and safety mechanism. As yet, no such mechanism exists, but open field trials are being given the go ahead. GMO crops approved for field trials include rice, maize, chickpea, sugarcane, and brinjal.

  • Security

    • OpenSSL Patches Logjam Flaw to Foil NSA Snoopers
    • OpenSSL releases seven patches for seven vulns
    • Who’s afraid of DNS? Nominet’s new ‘turing’ tool visualises hidden security threats

      UK domain registry Nominet has shown off a striking new visualisation tool called ‘turing’ that large organisations can use to peer into their DNS traffic to trace latency issues and spot previously invisible botnets and malware.

    • “Don’t Hack Me! That’s a Bad Idea,” Says Eugene Kaspersky to APT Groups
    • Russian Software Security Lab Hacked, Indirectly Links Attack To NSA
    • Israel, NSA May Have Hacked Antivirus Firm Kaspersky Lab

      Moscow-based antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab, famous for uncovering state-sponsored cyberattacks, today dropped its biggest bombshell yet: Its own computer networks were hit by state-sponsored hackers, probably working for Israeli intelligence or the U.S. National Security Agency. The same malware also attacked hotels that hosted ongoing top-level negotiations to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

    • The Massive Hack on US Personnel Agency is Worse Than Everyone Thought

      Last week, the human resources arm of the US government, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) admitted that it had been victim of a massive data breach, where hackers stole personal data belonging to as many as 4 million government workers.

    • Feds Who Didn’t Even Discover The OPM Hack Themselves, Still Say We Should Give Them Cybersecurity Powers

      We already described how the recent hack into the US federal government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) appears to be much more serious than was initially reported. The hack, likely by Chinese state hackers, appear to have obtained basically detailed personal info on all current and many former federal government employees.

    • China-linked hackers get data on CIA, NSA personnel with security-clearance: report

      China-linked hackers appear to have gained access to sensitive background information submitted by US intelligence and military personnel for security clearances that could potentially expose them to blackmail, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

      In a report citing several US officials, the news agency said that data on nearly all of the millions of US security-clearance holders, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA) and military special operations personnel, were potentially exposed in the attack on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

    • Second OPM Hack Revealed: Even Worse Than The First

      And yet… this is the same federal government telling us that it wants more access to everyone else’s data to “protect” us from “cybersecurity threats” — and that encryption is bad? Yikes.

    • Dossiers on US spies, military snatched in ‘SECOND govt data leak’

      A second data breach at the US Office of Personnel Management has compromised even more sensitive information about government employees than the first breach that was revealed earlier this week, sources claim. It’s possible at least 14 million Americans have chapter and verse on their lives leaked, we’re told.

      The Associated Press reports that hackers with close ties to China are believed to have obtained extensive background information on intelligence-linked government staffers – from CIA agents and NSA spies to military special ops – who have applied for security clearances.

      Among the records believed to have leaked from a compromised database are copies of Standard Form 86 [PDF], a questionnaire that is given to anyone who applies for a national security position, and is typically verified via interviews and background checks.

    • Officials: Second hack exposed military and intel data
    • Senate Quickly Says ‘No Way’ To Mitch McConnell’s Cynical Ploy To Add Bogus Cybersecurity Bill To NDAA

      Earlier this week, we noted that Senator Mitch McConnell, hot off of his huge flop in trying to preserve the NSA’s surveillance powers, had promised to insert the dangerous “cybersecurity” bill CISA directly into the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act). As we discussed, while many have long suspected that CISA (and CISPA before it) were surveillance bills draped in “cybersecurity” clothing, the recent Snowden revelations that the NSA is using Section 702 “upstream” collection for “cybersecurity” issues revealed how CISA would massively expand the NSA’s ability to warrantlessly wiretap Americans’ communications.

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Protocols of the Hackers of Zion?

      When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Google chairman Eric Schmidt on Tuesday afternoon, he boasted about Israel’s “robust hi-tech and cyber industries.” According to The Jerusalem Post, “Netanyahu also noted that ‘Israel was making great efforts to diversify the markets with which it is trading in the technological field.’”

      Just how diversified and developed Israeli hi-tech innovation has become was revealed the very next morning, when the Russian cyber-security firm Kaspersky Labs, which claims more than 400 million users internationally, announced that sophisticated spyware with the hallmarks of Israeli origin (although no country was explicitly identified) had targeted three European hotels that had been venues for negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

      Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, one of the first news sources to break the story, reported that Kaspersky itself had been hacked by malware whose code was remarkably similar to that of a virus attributed to Israel. Code-named “Duqu” because it used the letters DQ in the names of the files it created, the malware had first been detected in 2011. On Thursday, Symantec, another cyber-security firm, announced it too had discovered Duqu 2 on its global network, striking undisclosed telecommunication sites in Europe, North Africa, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia. It said that Duqu 2 is much more difficult to detect that its predecessor because it lives exclusively in the memory of the computers it infects, rather than writing files to a drive or disk.

    • US wronging of China for cyber breaches harm mutual trust

      Out of ulterior motives, some US media and politicians have developed a habit of scapegoating China for any alleged cyber attack on the United States. Such groundless accusations would surely harm mutual trust between the two big powers of today’s world.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • WaPo Thinks if You Knew What You Wanted, You’d Want Lindsey Graham

      In a column headlined “The most interesting presidential candidate you’re not paying any attention to,” Cillizza bemoans the fact that “Graham is an asterisk—or close to it—in polling in every early state (except for his home state of South Carolina) and nationally.” Graham, he writes, is “generally regarded as a cause candidate, with that cause being to represent the most hawkish views on foreign policy and national security against attacks by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.”

    • Germans conflicted about the Bush brand

      Jeb Bush, kicking off a six-day European tour, will pay tribute on Tuesday to America’s alliance with Western Europe, calling it “as relevant as the day it was founded” and arguing that our long-time allies want a more engaged United States.

      Only here in Germany, that is not exactly so.

      Germans are conflicted about the Bush brand. While Jeb’s father is still lionized for helping to unify the country after the Cold War, his brother remains tremendously unpopular due to the Iraq War, viewed by most here as a singly American disaster.

      But more than that, Germany is increasingly indifferent to the United States as a whole; uncertain whether these two world powers have much in common any more or even still really need one another.

    • Report: CIA Director Secretly Briefed Israeli Intelligence Officials on Iran Nuclear Deal

      Relations between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been increasingly chilly, with Netanyahu appearing in March before Congress in Washington D.C. to denounce U.S. negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Making tiny earthquakes to understand fracking-driven quakes

      In some places, notably Ohio and Oklahoma, the injection of used fracking fluid in deep disposal wells appears to have produced a significant uptick in earthquake activity. The earthquakes are mostly much too small to be felt at the surface, but a magnitude 5.6 quake in Oklahoma was large enough to cause some damage in 2011.

      This has made lots of news because of its scale, but it’s not our first experience with injection-triggered earthquakes. It’s a concern for geothermal power designs that inject water to depths where it can turn to turbine-driving steam, for example. And in the future, it could be a concern for efforts to store carbon dioxide in underground reservoirs.

    • California drought: Largest water cuts in state’s history ordered by state regulators

      California state regulators have ordered farmers and others to reduce their water consumption, with the largest cuts in the state’s history.

      The State Water Resources Control Board ordered over 100 water rights holders to stop all pumping from three major waterways in one of the country’s prime farm regions.

      Economists and agriculture experts say that the cuts are expected to have little immediate impact on food prices, with the growing of some crops to shift to regions with more water in the short-term.

  • Finance

    • Why Does Obama Want This Trade Deal So Badly?

      The political battle over the enormous, twelve-nation trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership keeps getting stranger. President Obama has made the completion of the deal the number-one legislative priority of his second term. Indeed, Republican opponents of the T.P.P., in an effort to rally the red-state troops, have begun calling it Obamatrade. And yet most of the plan’s opponents are not Republicans; they’re Democrats.

      Obama’s chief allies in his vote-by-vote fight in the House of Representatives to win “fast-track authority” to negotiate this and other trade deals are Speaker John Boehner and Representative Paul Ryan—not his usual foxhole companions. The vote may come as soon as Friday. The House Republican leaders tell their dubious members that they are supporting Obama only in order to “constrain” him. Meanwhile, Obama is lobbying members of the Black Congressional Caucus, whose support he can normally count on, tirelessly and, for the most part, fruitlessly. “The president’s done everything except let me fly Air Force One,” Representative Cedric Richmond, Democrat of Louisiana, told the Christian Science Monitor this week. Nonetheless, Richmond said, “I’m leaning no.”

    • What Big Pharma wants from the big trade deal

      On Wednesday, a few pages from the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement were published by Wikileaks and reported on by the New York Times. They seemed to indicate changes that go against the wishes of the pharmaceutical industry, eliminating language that sought to guarantee drug companies “competitive market-derived prices” when they sell overseas.

      But the pharmaceutical industry has been lobbying lawmakers on the TPP since the beginning, and shaping far more than this one section of the agreement, according to Lee Drutman, senior fellow at the New America foundation and author of “The Business of America Is Lobbying.”

    • Revealed: The true scale of Tony Blair’s global business empire

      The scale of Tony Blair’s globe-trotting is exposed for the first time in secret documents that suggest the taxpayer is paying up to £16,000 a week to help the former prime minister build his business empire.

      Documents seen by The Telegraph contain details of Mr Blair’s travels around the world, accompanied by a squad of police bodyguards, flying on private jets and staying in five-star hotels.

      The files suggest Mr Blair has used identical trips to carry out both private business meetings and talks in his capacity as Quartet Representative to the Middle East – leaving him open to accusations of a potential conflict of interest.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Murdochs’ Generational Culture Of Corruption

      In announcing that his sons James and Lachlan will be largely taking control of his sprawling media company, press baron Rupert Murdoch did what observers always knew he wanted to do: pass on to his children the worldwide conglomerate that he’s built over the last five decades. In the United Sates, of course, that means handing over to his sons one of most important and influential voices in right-wing media and far-right politics, Fox News.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Israel exonerates itself over Gaza beach killings of four children last year

      Israeli investigation says missile attack that killed boys aged between nine and 11 was ‘tragic accident’ in findings contradictory to journalists’ reports from scene

    • The Killing of Children

      This denial of the truth and claim of victimhood extends to the accusation of anti-Semitism trumpeted at every critic, including this one, despite the fact that I have the highest respect for the immense cultural and scientific achievements of the Jewish people. Israel is a different question entirely.

      It is this absolute divorce of propaganda from reality that makes Tony Blair an ideal figurehead. Blair has now become head of a Council of Europe (loosely) linked body which claims to exist to promote tolerance, but in fact exists entirely to promote extreme Islamophobia and to shut down criticism of Israel. And it is a further sign of the estrangement from reality of the influential Israelis behind Blair’s appointment that they believe Tony Blair will influence public opinion positively in their favour. A remarkable example of confirmation bias.

    • Criminally Yours: Safety, But At What Cost?

      For years, just being a young African-American or Hispanic male in New York meant getting stopped randomly. Most of the people stopped not only had committed no crime to justify the stop, but, once frisked, had no contraband, weapons, drugs, etc. A few fish may have been caught in this over-inclusive net, but (to extend the metaphor), of the ones thrown back, how many were affected by the intrusion? My guess — all of them.

      Getting stopped by police for no reason hurts. Not only your time, but your sense of security. Bad feelings well up, suspiciousness of cops, a sense of insecurity when you walk down the street, a feeling that anything can happen at any time by the people posted there to protect you.

    • Trouble Not Over for Florida Parents of 11-Year-Old Taken in CPS Dispute

      Yesterday I ran an interview with the Florida mom whose children were removed from their home for a month after a neighbor reported the family to Child Protective Services because their 11-year-old son was left outside by himself for 90 minutes.

    • Court: Iowa Residents Have Right to Be Drunk on Front Porch

      The right to be drunk on the front porch of a private home was endorsed Friday by the Iowa Supreme Court, which said a woman can’t be convicted of public intoxication while standing on her front steps.

      Patience Paye, 29, of Waterloo based the appeal of her 2013 case on the contention that her front steps are not a public place so she can’t be charged with public intoxication.

    • Fast Track

      I am delighted that a judge yesterday ruled that the Fast Track asylum appeals system is illegal. It is the most appalling abuse, specifically designed to limit the capacity of individuals in life threatening circumstances to properly develop and present their legal case and put it before a judge. The system of putting law-abiding people, often families, into detention harsher than our harshest maximum security prisons, allowed just one hour a day out of a tiny cell for exercise, is a minor inconvenience compared to the fundamental denial of proper right to justice. The recent unjust deportation of Majid Ali was just the latest of a series of fast track cases I have encountered. Nadira has finished the script of a short film about a tragic couple, based on substantial research of true stories of fast track detention, and is developing the production.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Court Denies Requests to Keep New Net Neutrality Rules From Taking Effect on Friday

      In the months since the Federal Communications Commission voted to regulate the Internet like a public utility, opponents of the new rules have clamored to keep them from taking effect this Friday.

      On Thursday, those opponents were disappointed as a federal judge denied their requests to stay the rules while litigation proceeds against them. The court did grant an expedited hearing of the case, meaning it could be argued as soon as the fall or early winter.

    • Sneak attack! Congress’ plan to kill Net neutrality

      The FCC’s Net neutrality rules are slated to go into effect today, but the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday launched a sneak attack that could strip the agency of its ability to actually enforce the regulations that protect an open Internet.

      The rules approved by the FCC in February and published to the Federal Register in April reclassify broadband as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act and prohibit ISPs from throttling content or implementing paid prioritization schemes that would create Internet fast lanes.

    • Facebook will favor posts in News Feed based on time friends spend looking at them

      Facebook is about to get a much better idea of what you do and don’t like in your News Feed — even if you don’t click the like button. The company is about to start measuring how long you look posts, photos, and comments in your feed. The thinking is, if you linger on a status update and read a couple of comments, you probably are interested in that content. And if you’re interested in that update, your friends would probably like to see it as well.


Links 11/6/2015: Linux in DARPA Robotics Challenge, Fedora 22 Scientific

Posted in News Roundup at 7:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux vs GNU/Linux – A Reader’s Response

    What’s in a name? I think it is bigger than a name. Whatever the name might or might not be, I for one am very grateful to everyone involved. One small plea, I get an impression that not enough people make donations to software producers. I suspect even small donations would be appreciated from time to time. Whatever the name it is a remarkable movement.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • StackIQ Has New Open Source Linux Server Provisioning Tool

      StackIQ is now offering an open source version of Stacki (short for “Stack Installer”), a Linux server provisioning tool. StackIQ initiated the open source project with the goal of providing systems administrators with a tool to install Linux at high speed. Stacki is a streamlined version of the base installer from StackIQ’s flagship product StackIQ Boss.Z

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • FLOSS Weekly 340: VeraCrypt

      Randal and Aaron are joined by Mounir Idrassi to talk about VeraCrypt. VeraCrypt is a free disk encryption software brought to you by IDRIX and is based on TrueCrypt 7.1a.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Call For Translators: coala!

        coala is a code analysis framework designed to ease the task of static code analysis for both users and developers. In the last months the coala community has been growing more and more active so we’re able to get even better code out to the world of free software.

      • Outreachy week 2 – personas

        I am honored to work with Gina this cycle on usability testing, as part of Outreachy and GNOME. We are off to a great start. I wanted to share Gina’s excellent description of personas, and how they are used in usability testing.

  • Distributions

    • Calamares 1.1-RC1 Distribution Installer Released

      Version 1.1-RC1 of the Calamares Linux distribution installer framework is now available. This distribution-independent installer has garnered the interest of Manjaro, Kubuntu, and others seeking to make a more unified, better Linux installer. With Calamares 1.1, more features are coming.

    • New Releases

      • Calculating the Test Drive

        I’ve been thinking of looking around for a new distribution, not that Mint hasn’t been a wonderful and stable system. Sabayon 15.06 was released last week and looked attractive in Jeremy Garcia’s screencast and screenshots. Neil Rickert tempted me with his notes on Tumbleweed 20150608 and the IgnorantGuru made OpenBSD sound doable. But I think I’ll check out Calculate Linux.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • My install for June

        I have been doing monthly installs of Tumbleweed, mainly to test out the installer. For June, I installed the 20150608 snapshot. I used the DVD installer (written to a USB), and this was for the 64-bit version.

    • Red Hat Family

      • CEO: Red Hat could outgrow Red Hat Tower in two years

        “It’s been fast,” says CEO Jim Whitehurst, adding that, at this pace, Red Hat Tower will be at capacity in two years. “We thought it would take a lot longer than that.”

      • CentOS 7 Linux 64-bit Vagrant Box Available Now

        Karanbir Singh had the great pleasure of announcing the immediate availability for download of 64-bit (x86_64) images for the Vagrant open-source and cross-platform virtual development environment creation software.

      • Red Hat Updates JBoss Enterprise App Platform for Faster, Simpler DevOps and Hybrid Cloud Projects

        To help companies get the most from their cloud adoption, the latest upgrade to Red Hat’s JBoss Enterprise Application Platform adds features across the lifecycle to make it far easier to bring Java apps – and Java skillsets – to the world of hybrid clouds.

        The release of the latest edition of JBoss EAP (version 6.4) comes as the cloud is triggering big changes in how Red Hat’s customers are developing and deploying applications, Mike Piech, Red Hat’s vice president for middleware told IDN.

      • Red Hat: Beware of scary OpenStack support

        A SENIOR MANAGER at Red Hat has warned the community of the importance of ensuring that OpenStack users have sufficient, qualified support for their infrastructure.

        Alessandro Perilli, general manager for cloud management strategy at Red Hat, made the point in a blog post this week entitled Beware scary OpenStack support.

      • The hidden costs of embargoes

        It’s 2015 and it’s pretty clear the Open Source way has largely won as a development model for large and small projects. But when it comes to security we still practice a less-than-open model of embargoes with minimal or, in some cases, no community involvement. With the transition to more open development tools, such as Gitorious and GitHub, it is now time for the security process to change and become more open.

      • Red Hat Summit, syslog-ng, Docker containers

        Based on user feedback and website stats a large part of syslog-ng users are running it on the Red Hat family of operating systems: Fedora, RHEL, CentOS and other RHEL derivatives. This is true both for the syslog-ng Open Source Edition and the syslog-ng Premium Edition. This is only one of the reasons that this year BalaBit is a sponsor of the Red Hat Summit and will be present with a booth. You will be able to ask BalaBit engineers about syslog-ng or any other software from our IT security portfolio: Shell Control Box, our privileged activity monitoring software and even our upcoming user behavior analytics software, Blindspotter. There are several interesting new features in syslog-ng to discuss: language bindings to Java and Python are coming to syslog-ng OSE 3.7, while Perl and Lua will stay in the syslog-ng incubator. The new, Java-based Elasticsearch destination helps to create a high performance Elasticsearch syslog-ng Kibana (ESK) stack. Kafka support is also coming, which is a high-performance distributed messaging system. It is gaining popularity as a centralized interface because it can consolidate a wide range of enterprise log data for downstream processing.

      • Change is brutal, even in an open organization

        Change management is one of the most popular topics in business literature, and something I first encountered during my evening MBA studies while I was working at Red Hat. The most surprising thing that I learned in business school, which I continue to think of often, is the fact that so many organizational change initiatives fail (some say more than 70%; my professor said 90%), despite the fact that we have a well documented and proven formula for their success. Do 70% of leaders of change initiatives forget to read the book?

      • Notable Session Mover: Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)

        A notable mover in today’s trading session is Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) as the stock opened the most recent session at 78.82 and at the time of writing the last Bid was at 78.30. In the current trading session the stock reached as high as 78.97 and dipped down to 78.11. Red Hat, Inc. Common Stock, a NYQ listed company, has a current market cap of 14.35B and on average over the past 3 months has seen 1358910 shares trade hands on a daily basis.

      • Red Hat: Don’t Cloud Over the Importance of Support

        A few months ago when Nebula folded, and then again this month when tech titans IBM and Cisco announced high-profile purchases of OpenStack-focused companies, we drove home the point that the OpenStack scene is starting to consolidate. Eventually, there will only be a few players of any significance, and I’ve made the point before that support will be the big differentiator as enterprises increasingly deploy OpenStack.

      • Fedora

        • HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.15.6 Adds Support for Fedora 22

          HP was happy to announce earlier today, June 10, the immediate availability for download of the sixth maintenance release of its HPLIP (HP Linux Imaging and Printing) 3.15 software.

        • Fedora 22 Scientific

          As you can see, the new home for Fedora Scientific looks amazing. The “Featured Applications” section features the most important and useful tools in Fedora Scientific. I think that is a great idea. Everyone associated with it, thank you very much.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian-branded USB keys

        I’ve had some 8GB USB keys made, with the Debian swirl and text. By buying a reasonable number, I’ve got what I think is a good price for nice high-quality keys (metal body with a solid loop for attaching to a keyring). I’m now selling these for 7 pounds each, and I’m planning on bringing some to DebConf 15 too, where they’ll be 10 EUR.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) Is Now Rebased on Linux Kernel 4.0.5

            Canonical, through Joseph Salisbury, has announced the summary of the Ubuntu Kernel Team meeting that took place on June 9, 2015, which concerns their activity on the Linux kernel packages for the upcoming Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) operating system.

          • Canonical Patches Five Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

            After releasing kernel updates for the Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) operating systems, Canonical announced on June 10 the immediate availability of a new kernel update of its Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) distro.

          • Ubuntu’s MAAS (Metal as a Service) 1.7 Update to Arrive Soon with Many New Features

            Canonical, through Andres Rodriguez, has recently announced that the 1.7 version of their MAAS (Metal as a Service) software that brings the language of the cloud to physical servers will arrive soon with multiple new features.

          • New Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities Patched in Ubuntu 15.04, 14.10, and 14.04 LTS

            After having announced the immediate availability of a new and important kernel update for the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) operating system, Canonical has announced that the Ubuntu 15.04, 14.10, and 14.04 LTS distros have also received new kernel updates.

          • First Snappy Ubuntu Core 15.04 Stable Version Is Out

            Snappy Ubuntu Core is a new version of Ubuntu, designed to work with transactional updates and aimed at clouds and embedded devices at least for now. A stable version, this new OS has been released by Canonical and joins the other flavors in the 15.04 cycle.

          • Unity 8 to Correct the Online Search Features from Unity 7

            The search in Unity has been the source of serious debates in the past few years, but that should change dramatically with the new Unity 8, which no longer needs the current privacy tab that is available in the options.

          • Ubuntu 15.10 Is Now Based on Kernel 4.0.5, But the System’s Final Version Will Use Kernel 4.1

            Canonical’s Joseph Salisbury has recently announced that Kernel 4.0.5 has been made the default kernel of Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf, being already used on the daily images.

          • Vimix Icons Another Great Lightweight Icon Set for Ubuntu/Linux Mint

            Vimix icon set is elegant, modern, lightweight designed for Linux desktop. It offers flat type style with a minimal use of shadows for depth. This icon theme is based on two icon sets are Numix Circle and Paper icons by snwh. Since this icon theme based on two icon sets, the creator recommends that install those icons as well to get enhanced and greater experience. Vimix icons offers two panel theme so if you are using dark theme then you can select Vimix dark and if you are using light theme then you can select light version. It is compatible with most of the Linux desktop environments such as Unity, Gnome, Cinnamon, Mate, Lxde, and others. For this icon theme most of the application icons available, still if you found any missing icon or bug in this set then report it. Ambiance Blackout Colors theme used in following screenshots. You can use Unity Tweak Tool, Gnome-tweak-tool or Ubuntu-Tweak to change themes/icons.

          • System76 unveils hardcore Serval WS laptop running Ubuntu Linux

            If you are a Linux user looking to buy a computer, System76 is one of the best manufacturers to target. Rather than buy a Windows machine and formatting the drive to install your favorite distro, the company’s machines come pre-loaded with Ubuntu. Even cooler, its laptops do not have the Windows logo on the super key, instead having the Ubuntu logo. Even if you are a fan of a different distro such as Fedora, supporting a Linux-focused seller is good for the overall community.

          • WIN! The Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition

            The Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition’s slim design and 4.5 inch screen are perfect to experience Ubuntu’s edge interactions and Scopes.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux powers DARPA Robotics Challenge winner

      A Xenomai Linux based robot from Korea’s Team KAIST called the DRC-Hubo won the $2 million DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, one of only three bots to complete the course on time.

      Judging by Silicon Valley’s reigning “Failure rocks!” mantra, this week’s DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals held earlier this week in Pomona, California, was a resounding success. Of the 23 teams that entered the event, which simulated a disaster response scenario, only three accomplished all eight major tasks in the allotted eight hours. The pit crews were kept busy with a field littered with falling robots.

    • Logic Supply Announces Linux-Compatible Fanless PC with Unparalleled Features

      Logic Supply, a renown industrial and embedded computer manufacturer, which you might remember from an article we wrote last week that the company sells Ubuntu-powered industrial and embedded systems, has announced recently that they will release a new series of ventless and fanless PCs with unmatched mix of performance, reliability, and I/O.

    • Raspberry Pi stays sky high in 2015 Hacker SBC Survey

      Last month, LinuxGizmos.com and the Linux Foundation’s Linux.com community website sponsored a 10-day SurveyMonkey survey that asked readers of both sites to choose their favorite three Linux- or Android-based open-spec single-board computers. This year, 1,721 respondents — more than twice the number from the 2014 survey — selected their favorites from a list of 53 SBCs, compared to last year’s 32.

    • DRC-HUBO Run Linux and It Just Won the DARPA Robotics Challenge

      The DARPA Robotics Challenge is now over, and the competition has been won by a team from South Korea with a robot called DRC-HUBO. It’s not hard to imagine that the robot is actually running a modified Linux distribution.

    • Top 10 Linux and Android Hacker SBCs of 2015
    • Top 10 Best Hacker SBC Boards of 2015
    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Corporate Russia to have a Secure Tizen Smartphone by the end of 2015

          The Tizen Smartphone has been released in India, Bangladesh and soon Sri Lanka, but there is another country that has firm Interest in Tizen, Russia. The federation has a historical mis-trust of Google & Apple and could find a new alternative to BlackBerry for its secure Corporate needs.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • DT Exec Pressures Vendors on Open Source

    One of Deutsche Telekom’s virtualization experts has said operators must pressure vendors into adopting open source practices or face the risk of depending on a single supplier for critical infrastructure.

  • SourceForge Not Making A Graceful Exit

    If SourceForge were a person and I were the New York Times, I’d make certain I had an obituary on file right about now. It’s obvious that the once essential code repository for open source projects is terminally ill, although it’s just as obvious that Dice Holdings, which took over ownership of the site nearly three years ago, has no plans of letting SourceForge go gently into the good night, so we’ll probably see more kicking and noise-making until the lights are inevitably extinguished.

  • SourceForge under fire again for Nmap page [Ed: SourceForge says that's not the case]
  • Open Sourcing Pinot: Scaling the Wall of Real-Time Analytics

    Last fall we introduced Pinot, LinkedIn’s real-time analytics infrastructure, that we built to allow us to slice and dice across billions of rows in real-time across a wide variety of products. Today we are happy to announce that we have open sourced Pinot. We’ve had a lot of interest in Pinot and are excited to see how it is adopted by the open source community.

  • Facebook open sourcing mobile bug analyzer Infer

    Among the apps within Facebook’s portfolio already using Infer include the standard Facebook apps for Android and iOS, Facebook Messenger and Instagram.

  • Facebook Open-Sources Infer To Help Developers Identify Bugs Before They’re Shipped

    Facebook today announced that it is open sourcing Infer, a static program analyzer the company uses to find bugs in mobile code before it’s shipped. Internally, the company uses this tool to analyze the Facebook apps for Android and iOS, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and others.

  • Open Source Groups Release SDN and NFV Software

    Things are moving smartly forward in the world of upstart, disruptive networking technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV), as open source stewards in both camps have come out with new software releases.

  • Events

    • How TYPO3 meetups help improve the technology, community, and business

      Peer-production is one of the strengths of open source projects. TYPO3, a self-organized project without corporate backing, always lived from the spirit of sharing ideas, work, and values. It’s not by accident that one of our core values is, “Inspire people to share.” Over the years, as a result of the massive success of TYPO3 as a product, core team members became increasingly decoupled from the work with clients. Instead, they focused on the core development. On one hand, this transition was great because it means a lot of people have contributed their time and passion into the product. But on the other hand, the change brought disadvantages.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • ownCloud 8.0.4 Brings Better Support for Internet Explorer 8 and 9

      ownCloud had the pleasure of informing us about the immediate availability for download of the fourth maintenance release of the ownCloud 8.0 DIY (Do It Yourself) open-source self-hosting cloud storage solution.

    • Bright Computing Offers Guided Private OpenStack Deployment Solution

      Are you looking for an automated, guided way to deploy OpenStack? Some people feel daunted relying on nothing but documentation, and want a wizard-style approach to a new software installation. That’s exactly what the folks at Bright Computing are banking on. At the recent OpenStack Summit, they showed off Bright OpenStack, billed as a complete, standalone OpenStack private cloud solution. It even features a wizard to guide you through installation.

  • Databases

    • Dutch land registry opens up to Postgresql

      The Dutch Kadaster (Cadastre, Land Registry and Mapping Agency) has switched to using Postgresql for four of its major business solutions. “Open source allows us to deliver services at lower costs”, says Paul Schluck, one of the database administrators at the land registry.

    • Postgresql to detect nuclear explosions

      France’s nuclear energy and defence research institute CEA is looking for help with maintenance of Postgresql, an open source relational database management system. The institute this week published a call for tender, aiming to design a seismic, infrasound, hydroacoustic and radionuclide monitoring system, as part of its task to monitor compliance to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

    • The NoSQL and Hadoop disruptive open source dividend

      Beyond the LAMP stack, open source technology for development of enterprise class applications has arguably become mainstream, especially in modern databases like NoSQL and Hadoop based systems. They are unlocking huge value.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Enables GTK3 VCL Plug-In Building By Default

      With the newest LibreOffice Git code, the GTK3 support code compiling is enabled by default. However, this is just building for the GTK3 VCL plug-in. At run-time, the GTK3 usage is still disabled by default. A –disable-gtk3 option is available for those not wanting to build with the GTK3 support.

  • Business

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD As A Linux Desktop Replacement

      I recently tried out OpenBSD as a possible answer to recent Linux engineering. I thought I’d share my notes here on my results, from a beginner’s and Linux user’s perspective. (I tried FreeBSD briefly before as well.) If you’ve used OpenBSD more extensively on the desktop, your feedback on any of this is welcome too – I’d like to know what you think of my opinions, you being a longer-term user.


  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • European Union’s 5-year roadmap for IT and open source

      While the DSM does not explicitly state it, to achieve a lot of these objectives, open standards will be essential. While many parts of the strategy are explicit in their proposed actions, this section has been written in broad strokes. For this reason, open source/open standards proponents must stay engaged both to help steer the DSM toward a positive outcome and for fear that the DSM may instead seek to secure the “free flow of data” via mandating contractual requirements and cumbersome and problematic data ownership definitions.

  • Licensing

    • Wayland’s MIT License To Be Updated/Corrected

      Bryce Harrington sent out the patches today for the in-tree license text to be updated. He clarified the situation a few weeks after the matter was brought to the attention of Wayland developers with the FAQ and license text not matching.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Google Made Its Secret Blueprint Public to Boost Its Cloud

      Craig McLuckie took the idea to Urs Hölzle, the man who oversees Google’s global network of computer data centers, and Hölzle didn’t like it.

      Together with two other engineers in Google’s Seattle office, McLuckie wanted to recreate Borg as an open source project. Borg is the sweeping software tool that drives everything from Google Search to Gmail to Google Maps, letting the company carefully parcel computing tasks across that global network. For years, it was one of the company’s best kept secrets. And McLuckie wanted to share its blueprint—or at least some of it—with the rest of the internet.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C Adopts new Software and Document License

      W3C today adopted a new Software and Document License, an update to the W3C Software License, as the default permissive license in cases such as relicensing of unfinished specs where W3C has decided to use a permissive license. The Software and Document License, compatible with the GPL, permits copying and modification with attribution (by inclusion of a reference to the original W3C document), and can be used in W3C Community Groups, among other venues. All work that W3C has previously made available under the prior W3C Software License is also made available under the new Software and Document License.


  • Mesosphere Datacenter OS available on AWS, coming to Azure soon

    DCOS is designed to help enterprises unlock the next generation of scale, efficiency and automation. The Mesosphere DCOS pools datacenter and compute resources, givesIT operators a much simple administration model, and improves developer velocity with more modern abstractions and APIs for writing distributed system.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • VIDEO: Making Polluters Pay Us Is Step 9 to Save the Economy

      Instead of investing in dirty fuels, let’s start charging polluters for poisoning our skies – and then invest the revenue so that it benefits everyone.

      Each ton of carbon that’s released into the atmosphere costs our nation between $40 and $100, and we release millions tons of it every year.

      Businesses don’t pay that cost. They pass it along to the rest of us—in the form of more extreme weather and all the costs to our economy and health resulting from it.

      We’ve actually invested more than $6 trillion in fossil fuels since 2007. The money has been laundered through our savings and tax dollars.

  • Finance

    • ‘Say Anything’ Time to Pass Fast Track

      Yes, folks, it’s desperation time for the supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). To get this sucker through, they will say anything, because, hey, making stuff up for the cause always sells in official Washington.

    • Thoughts on Greece

      I have witnessed IMF prescriptions in developing countries which have had abysmal results. Forcing African countries to break up their electricity utilities between producers and distributors in order to favour private electricity producers, has been an absolute disaster. It has simply meant that disproportionate percentages of electricity revenue – and effective tax subsidy of electricity prices for the majority population – has been diverted into the capacious pockets of international financiers and bankers. I have no doubt the result has been less electricity generated. I don’t even want to discuss the IMF’s immoral insistence that in Africa the very poor have to pay for clean drinking water.

    • As currency dies, Zimbabweans will get $5 for 175 quadrillion local dollars

      Zimbabweans will start exchanging ‘quadrillions’ of local dollars for a few U.S. dollars next week, as President Robert Mugabe’s government discards its virtually worthless national currency, the central bank said on Thursday.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Rupert Murdoch Reportedly Stepping Down As 21st Century Fox CEO

      Rupert Murdoch is preparing to step down as the CEO of 21st Century Fox, according to CNBC, planning to hand control of the media conglomerate to his son, James.

      CNBC, citing unnamed sources in the mogul’s family, said the announcement will come soon though it’s not clear when Murdoch would step aside.

    • James Murdoch Reportedly Taking Over As CEO Of Fox News’ Parent Company

      Rupert Murdoch is reportedly planning to step down as CEO of Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox “and hand that title to his son James,” according to CNBC. James Murdoch previously resigned his role as the head of News International — which published several tabloids and newspapers abroad — amid the widespread scandal over phone hacking at News of the World, a since-shuttered UK tabloid he oversaw. As part of the fallout from that scandal, Murdoch also resigned his position as chairman of UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

    • Rupert Murdoch preparing to step down as Fox CEO: reports

      Rupert Murdoch, the 84-year-old chief executive of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, is preparing to step down and name his son James as successor, CNBC reported on Thursday, citing sources close to the Murdoch family.

  • Censorship

    • Reddit censorship results in mass exodus to Voat.co

      Reddit, which has long billed itself as “the front page of the Internet” is facing a massive revolt by its members due to perceived censorship. The folks running Reddit have removed a number of subreddits and that’s what sparked the revolt and the mass exodus to Voat.co.

    • Will Reddit Revolt Against Ellen Pao?

      There are early indications that the Reddit admins may have finally crossed the Rubicon on the road to alienating their user base. User activity on their main competitor, Voat.co had been rising steadily since social media censorship became an issue during the #GamerGate controversy, but in the past few hours their figures have skyrocketed. At the time of writing, there are over 3,700 active users on Voat’s alternative to /r/fatpeoplehate —almost double its number of subscribers.

  • Privacy

    • UK intelligence agencies should keep mass surveillance powers, report says

      UK intelligence agencies should be allowed to retain controversial intrusive powers to gather bulk communications data but ministers should be stripped of their powers to authorise surveillance warrants, according to a major report on British data law.

      The 373-page report published on Thursday – A Question of Trust, by David Anderson QC – calls for government to adopt “a clean-slate” approach in legislating later this year on surveillance and interception by GCHQ and other intelligence agencies.

      However, Downing Street hinted that David Cameron was unlikely to accept one of his key recommendations: shifting the power to agree to warrants from home and foreign secretaries to a proposed new judicial commissioner.

      The prime minister’s spokeswoman said the authorities needed to be able “to respond quickly and effectively to threats of national security or serious crime”, which appears to suggest ministers are better positioned to do this than judges.

    • Fake mobile phone towers found to be ‘actively listening in’ on calls in UK

      More than 20 “intrusive” fake mobile phone towers that eavesdrop on public conversations have been found active in the UK, the first time the technology has been detected in the country.

      The IMSI catchers, also known as Stingrays, have been found to be operating in London, but the Metropolitan Police have refused to say who is controlling them or what is being done with the information they are gathering.

    • Fake mobile phone towers discovered in London: Stingrays come to the UK

      Fake mobile phone masts that can be used to eavesdrop on telephone conversations without users being aware have been discovered in London by Sky News. IMSI catchers, also known as “stingrays” after a US company that makes such devices, have been widely used in the US for years. They work by sending out a signal that tricks a mobile phone into connecting with the stingray, rather than a legitimate base station, allowing information to be gathered about the device and its conversations by carrying out a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack.

    • Anderson review: “It is time for a clean slate”

      The UK’s Independent Review of Terrorism Legislation has said, “it is time for a clean slate” when it comes to surveillance law in the UK. In his report published today, David Anderson QC condemned the current legislative framework as, “fragmented, obscure, under constant challenge and variable in the protections that it affords the innocent”.

    • Study: Surveillance will cost US tech sector more than $35B by 2016

      A new study says that the U.S. tech industry is likely to lose more than $35 billion from foreign customers by 2016 because of concerns over government surveillance.

      “In short, foreign customers are shunning U.S. companies,” the authors of a new study from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation write.

    • Exclusive: U.S. tech industry appeals to Obama to keep hands off encryption

      As Washington weighs new cybersecurity steps amid a public backlash over mass surveillance, U.S. tech companies warned President Barack Obama not to weaken increasingly sophisticated encryption systems designed to protect consumers’ privacy.

      In a strongly worded letter to Obama on Monday, two industry associations for major software and hardware companies said, “We are opposed to any policy actions or measures that would undermine encryption as an available and effective tool.”

      The Information Technology Industry Council and the Software and Information Industry Association, representing tech giants, including Apple Inc, Google Inc, Facebook Inc, IBM and Microsoft Corp, fired the latest salvo in what is shaping up to be a long fight over government access into smart phones and other digital devices.

    • The Computers Are Listening: NSA Won’t Say If It Automatically Transcribes American Phone Calls in Bulk

      When it comes to the National Security Agency’s recently disclosed use of automated speech recognition technology to search, index and transcribe voice communications, people in the United States may well be asking: But are they transcribing my phone calls?

      The answer is maybe.

      A clear-cut answer is elusive because documents in the Snowden archive describe the capability to turn speech into text, but not the extent of its use — and the U.S. intelligence community refuses to answer even the most basic questions on the topic.

      Asked about the application of speech-to-text to conversations including Americans, Robert Litt, general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said at a Capitol Hill event in May that the NSA has “all sorts of technical capabilities” and that they are all used in a lawful manner.

      “I’m not specifically acknowledging or denying the existence of any particular capability,” he said. “I’m only saying that the focus needs to be on what are the authorities the NSA is using, and what are the protections around the execution of those authorities?”

      So what are those authorities? And what are the protections around their execution?

  • Civil Rights

    • Veteran police officer in Des Moines, Iowa, shoots unarmed Ryan Bolinger through car window

      A police officer in Des Moines, Iowa, shot an unarmed man dead on Tuesday evening, after he got out his vehicle and started “walking with a purpose” towards her car.

      Police officer Vanessa Miller, who has seven years’ experience, shot 28-year-old Ryan Keith Bolinger, after he led her and Ian Lawler, another senior officer, on a slow chase through the city streets.

    • Concocting a Crime-Ageddon to Promote Police Power

      The New York Post, the notorious right-wing tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch, inspired a media stampede of stories highlighting increases in New York City’s crime statistics. The hysterical headline “You’re 45% More Likely to Be Murdered in de Blasio’s Manhattan” (5/26/15) served as a springboard for other local media outlets to question if the city was suddenly a crime-ridden hellhole under Mayor Bill de Blasio–presented by the Post as a liberal on policing.

    • Tolerance and Tim Hunt

      You can’t tolerate that which to you is inoffensive. Toleration necessarily implies putting up with people who hold views or exhibit behaviour which you do not like. The hounding of Professor Tim Hunt from his University position is an exhibition of extreme intolerance.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • House Tries To Use Appropriations Bill To Kill Neutrality Rules, Strip FCC Authority And Funding

      For most of the last few months the House has been holding a series of “investigative” hearings into the FCC’s passage of net neutrality rules. On the surface, the hearings claim to be aimed at ensuring the FCC is operating transparently and within the confines of its authority, but in reality the hearings have been about one thing: publicly shaming the FCC for standing up to deep-pocketed campaign contributors like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast. Of course this never-ending “fact finding mission” has accomplished absolutely nothing in relation to finding notable facts, but it has proven useful in riling up a base utterly convinced that net neutrality rules destroy the Internet. All on the taxpayer dime, no less.


      Obviously these lawsuits could go on for several years, and well into the term of a new Administration, one many House members hope would then strike the rules from the books. Of course much like the never-ending hearings shaming the FCC, this is largely a partisan patty cake show pony, since it won’t be signed by the President. Still, it’s very sweet of the House to be so incredibly worried about consumers and the health of the Internet that they’ll work tirelessly to protect ISPs’ god-given right to abuse the lack of last mile broadband competition.

    • Net neutrality rules to go into effect after court rejects bid to block them

      In what FCC chairman Tom Wheeler calls ‘a huge victory,’ the rules will go into effect Friday despite a handful of lawsuits challenging them

  • DRM

    • EC opens antitrust probe into Amazon’s iffy e-book agreements

      THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (EC) has opened yet another investigation into Amazon and is this time probing the company’s allegedly questionable e-book distribution agreements.

    • Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into Amazon’s e-book distribution arrangements

      The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation into certain business practices by Amazon in the distribution of electronic books (“e-books”). The Commission will in particular investigate certain clauses included in Amazon’s contracts with publishers. These clauses require publishers to inform Amazon about more favourable or alternative terms offered to Amazon’s competitors and/or offer Amazon similarterms and conditions than to its competitors, or through other means ensure that Amazon is offered terms at least as good as those for its competitors.


Links 10/6/2015: New Krita/Calligra and Clonezilla

Posted in News Roundup at 4:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Blockstream to Release First Open Source Code for Sidechains

    Blockstream has announced it will release an open source codebase and testing environment for its signature sidechains project.

  • Huawei Certified to Offer Apache Spark Open Source Big Data Processing Framework

    Huawei, this week announced that it has become the first global ICT vendor to obtain certification by Databricks for distribution of the Apache Spark open source big data processing framework. Databricks, a company founded by the creators of Spark, has developed the “Certified Spark Distribution” program to highlight and recognize third party vendors distributing Spark. Leveraging the high-performance big data computing architecture and the complete ecosystem of Spark, the Huawei-Spark platform is designed to help customers realize the full potential of data assets to drive agile operation and business innovation.

  • Teradata to Advance Big Data Analytics with Support for Presto Open Source SQL Query Engine

    To help users extract insights from data lakes,Teradata has made a multi-year commitment to contribute to Presto’s open source development. Based on a three-part roadmap, Teradata’s says its contributions will be 100% open source under the Apache license and will advance Presto’s code base, scalability, iterative querying, and ability to query multiple data repositories.

  • Why an open web is important for India

    Priyanka Nag is a technical writer for Red Hat and Mozilla Rep from India. Priyanka has been contributing to open source projects for the past four years. She started by editing Wikipedia pages, and then was introduced to Mozilla during an event at her college. She says that Mozilla was love at first sight, and soon after she became a Mozillian, she was hooked on the project. Now Priyanka is also a regular speaker at community events in India. I recently caught up with Priyanka to learn more about her work in the Mozilla Community and her thoughts on the importance of the open web in India.

  • What TODO means for open source community

    Open source software is not just meant for still-struggling start-ups that can’t afford to pay the licensing fees for proprietary software, and budget-conscious, modest small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMEs) hoping to cut down on IT costs. This was proven in late September when several major companies – running the gamut from technology, right through to retail and media – came together to form the TODO project.

  • 8 excellent open source data visualization tools

    Data visualization is the mechanism of taking tabular or spatial data and conveying it in a human-friendly and visual way. There are several open source tools that can help you create useful, informative graphs. In this post we will take a look at eight open source, data visualization tools.

  • Wine Will Migrate Away from SourceForge

    If you’re reading the news lately, you might know that the SourceForge project hosting website has been accused of hijacking open-source software that have been abandoned by their maintainers or did not have some activity for an extended period of time.

  • The Cloud vs. Open Source

    For years, Linux and free software were perceived as threatened by cloud computing, the online storage of data. However, over the last few years, something ironic happened — free software became a major player in cloud computing.

  • Events

    • Graphics Microconference Accepted into 2015 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Although the Year of the Linux Desktop has yet to arrive, a surprising number of Linux users nevertheless need graphics support. This is because there have been a number of years of the Linux smartphone, the Linux television, the Linux digital sign/display/billboard, the Linux automobile, and more. This microconference will cover a number of topics including atomic modesetting in KMS, buffer allocation, verified-secure graphics pipelines, fencing and synchronisation, Wayland, and more.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla responds to Firefox user backlash over Pocket integration

        Pocket is a service for managing a reading list of online articles (it allows you to save stories, videos, and websites to check out later). Pocket is already offered as a Firefox add-on, and although Mozilla was developing a homegrown Reading List feature for the browser, the company decided to simply integrate Pocket directly into Firefox.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Cisco, IBM Bet Big on OpenStack

      Cisco and IBM are doubling down on OpenStack, hoping “the result lets them develop a solution that will scale. Neither company is yet willing to abandon OpenStack, and both feel there’s still a solution in it someplace,” said tech analyst Rob Enderle. By acquiring Piston Cloud Computing and Blue Box Cloud, they “may correct some of the problems with OpenStack, which should improve penetration.”

  • Business

  • Funding

    • Rancher Labs is the Latest to Cash in on Container Technology

      Container technology remains red hot and VC money is flowing toward it. Rancher Labs, a startup developing Docker infrastructure software, has announced $10 million in Series A funding from Mayfield and Nexus Venture Partners. “With the rapid adoption of container technology, the company’s open source software has grown in popularity by allowing organizations to run containers in production, across any cloud,” Rancher Labs’ leaders have stated.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Dutch government agency switches core services to open source

      Public administrations that switch to open source regain financial scalability, says Jan-Taeke Schuilenga, IT architect at DUO, the Dutch government agency managing the financing of the country’s educational institutions. “We had reached the limit of proprietary licence possibilities. Switching to open source gave us freedom of choice.”

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Licensing Standards that Include Code: Heads or Tails?

      Once upon a time, standards were standards and open source software was open source software (OSS), and the only thing people worried about was whether the copyright and patent rules relating to the standards would prevent them from being implemented in OSS. Actually, that was complicated enough, but it seems simple in comparison now that OSS is being included in the standards themselves. Now what?

      If this sounds unusual and exotic, it isn’t. In fact, code has been creeping into standards for years, often without the keepers of the intellectual property rights (IPR) Policies governing the standards even being aware of it.


  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Republicans Trashed Democracy in Michigan. Now They Want To Trash It in Your State, Too.

      One city neglected to inform its residents that its water supply was laced with cancerous chemicals. Another dissolved its public school district and replaced it with a charter school system, only to witness the for-profit management company it hired flee the scene after determining it couldn’t turn a profit. Numerous cities and school districts in the state are now run by single, state-appointed technocrats, as permitted under an emergency financial manager law pushed through by Rick Snyder, Michigan’s austerity-promoting governor. This legislation not only strips residents of their local voting rights, but gives Snyder’s appointee the power to do just about anything, including dissolving the city itself—all (no matter how disastrous) in the name of “fiscal responsibility.”

    • 5 Ways Powerful People Trick You Into Hating Protesters

      Let’s say that tomorrow you are elected Secret Ruler of the USA, a position that gives you total power over the government, economy, and the culture at large — everything that hippies refer to as “the system.” Now, your first job is to not get beheaded by rioting peasants, which means your first job is really to maintain “stability” (i.e., “keeping things mostly the way they are”).

      Immediately you’ll find that you’re facing a never-ending stream of protests from disgruntled groups who say they’re being treated unfairly or otherwise getting left out — this group over here is upset that somebody got abused by the police; this other bunch is demanding better wages or something. How do you handle it? Sure, you could crush their movements with an iron fist, using violence to kill, intimidate or arrest their most vocal members. But that can backfire, often turning them into martyrs and proving them right in the process — you’ve seen Star Wars; somebody always finds the exhaust port.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Why Did It Take the Pentagon a Month to Figure Out Its Files Were Compromised?

      Edward Snowden’s leaks exposed a federal government unable to protect its most sensitive secrets.

    • Feds Must Encrypt Government Websites by Dec. 2016

      The White House now requires all publicly accessible federal websites and services to use a secure HTTPS connection.

      Government agencies have until Dec. 31, 2016 to comply with the new HTTPS-Only Standard directive.

      Unencrypted HTTP connections “create a vulnerability and expose potentially sensitive information about users,” U.S. Chief Information Officer Tony Scott said in this week’s announcement. That includes data like browser identity, website content, search terms, and other user-submitted details.

    • Obama lawyers asked secret court to ignore public court’s decision on spying

      The Obama administration has asked a secret surveillance court to ignore a federal court that found bulk surveillance illegal and to once again grant the National Security Agency the power to collect the phone records of millions of Americans for six months.

      The legal request, filed nearly four hours after Barack Obama vowed to sign a new law banning precisely the bulk collection he asks the secret court to approve, also suggests that the administration may not necessarily comply with any potential court order demanding that the collection stop.

    • French Surveillance Bill: Public Liberties Abandoned as Senators Cast Disastrous Vote

      The Surveillance Bill was adopted today by the French Senate with 251 votes for, 68 against and 26 abstentions. This bill was fast tracked and discussed under the pressure of a government wielding the argument of an extreme terrorist risk to impose massive spying of the French population with expansive purposes. It will put France under a surveillance all at once diffuse, intrusive, indiscriminate and without effective control. La Quadrature du Net bitterly regrets the blindness of the French Parliamentarians and calls on citizens not to give up on their liberties.

  • Civil Rights

    • Six lies they told me about the anti-Israel boycott

      The bulk of recent incidents concerning the anti-Israel boycott, which are mainly symbolic for now, could have served as a warning sign. But a mixture of nationalistic and false statements is blinding the Israeli public and preventing a real discussion of the issue. Here are a few examples.

    • British tourist Eleanor Hawkins arrested for naked photo on top of Malaysian mountain

      A British woman arrested in Malaysia for posing naked on top of a sacred mountain has been named as Eleanor Hawkins.

      The 24-year-old Southampton University graduate from Derby was detained on Tuesday at Tawau airport, as she was flying out from the island of Borneo to the capital, Kuala Lumpur.

    • Theresa May Condemns Majid Ali and Defies Scotland

      Despite numerous representations and an Early Day Motion signed by the large majority of Scotland’s MPs, Theresa May has ordered that Majid Ali, a Glasgow City College student, be deported back to almost certain torture and probable death in Pakistan in just twenty minutes from now. I attended the demonstration on his behalf yesterday at the Scottish Office.

      Majid is a member of the much persecuted Baloch minority. Two of his immediate family have been “disappeared” by the Pakistani military since his asylum application was submitted. There is no doubt that given the numerous MP’s who have raised his case, and the well-supported early day motion, civil servants will have put the decision to May personally. She was however not even prepared to grant a delay for a look at the evidence. May is very likely not merely pandering to the racist UKIP voting electorate – she is on the far right of politics herself. The callous sacrifice of Majid Ali is proof, if any more were needed, that this Conservative administration is nothing to do with Cameron’s purported “compassionate conservatism.” They are the nasty party indeed.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • EU Commission Tries to Rip Citizens Off Net Neutrality

      The European Commission attacks Net Neutrality again, by introducing a “compromise document” that refuses to enshrine a definition of this crucial principle into the law. A strong coalition including the EU Council, the European Commission and a handful of MEPs is working against the general interest by including loopholes that will be used by the telecom lobby to circumvent the proposed protections against discrimination, thereby undermining fundamental rights and innovation.

    • EU digi-chief to meet ministers and sort out the net neutrality thing

      Gaffe-prone Gunther H-dot, Europe’s digital chief, has waded into the net neutrality debate once again, but has vowed to sort everything out in a meeting with national ministers next Friday.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • EU vice-president: Copyright legislation is “pushing people to steal”

        Andrus Ansip, the European Commission’s Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, has admitted that EU copyright law is “pushing people to steal,” because they seek out illegal copies of works that are not available to them legally because of the widespread use of geoblocking in Europe.

      • Elsevier Cracks Down on Pirated Scientific Articles

        Academic publishing company Elsevier has filed a complaint at a New York District Court, hoping to shut down the Library Genesis project and the SciHub.org search engine. The sites, which are particularly popular in developing nations where access to academic works is relatively expensive, are accused of pirating millions of scientific articles.

      • Kim Dotcom’s MegaNet Preps Jan 2016 Crowdfunding Campaign

        Kim Dotcom’s dream of a people-powered, censorship-resistant Internet will rely on the goodwill of supporters to get off the ground. In an announcement this morning, the entrepreneur confirmed that his MegaNet project will seek equity via a crowd-funding campaign set to launch on the January 2016 anniversary of the raid on Megaupload.


Links 10/6/2015: BQ’s Second Ubuntu Phone on Sale, Desura and Bankruptcy

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Warning: Don’t Download Software From SourceForge If You Can Help It

    “SourceForge are (sic) abusing the trust that we and our users had put into their service in the past,” according to the GIMP project. Since 2013, SourceForge has been bundling junkware along with their installers — sometimes without a developer’s permission.

    Don’t download software from SourceForge if you can help it. Many open-source projects now host their installers elsewhere, and the versions on SourceForge may include junkware. If you absolutely have to download something from SourceForge, be extra careful.

  • SourceForge: The end can’t come too soon

    Fifteen years ago, the deep tech side of the Internet was a vastly different place. Geek news aggregator Slashdot was the place to go for all the latest IT and open source news and discussion, and SourceForge was the spot for open source project hosting and distribution. Much like MySpace, it seemed that these two stalwarts of the open source community would reign forever.

    Much like MySpace today, these two sites now live mainly on the margins, and at least in the case of SourceForge, that’s been of its own doing.

  • SourceForge Tries to Win Back Trust of Open-Source Developers

    After drawing the ire of the open-source community over the past couple of weeks, SourceForge published a blog post today explaining how it will generate ad revenue going forward.

    The online software repository landed itself in hot water after it was found to be bundling adware with free and open-source software downloads, most notably the Windows version of the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP).

  • 10 Open Source Docker Tools You Should Be Using

    You may have heard of this thing called Docker. You know, the one which has fostered over 20,000 open source projects (including orchestration tools and management frameworks) and over 85,000 Dockerized applications?

  • Apple to tailor Swift into a fully open-source language – for Linux, too
  • Apple may regret its choice of a permissive open source license for the Swift programming language

    The whole Oracle v. Google Android-Java copyright infringement litigation would never have happened if Google had adopted Java under the GPL (the license under which Sun Microsystems already made Java code available before being acquired by Oracle), but it feared that copyleft would prevent its device makers from differentiating through proprietary add-ons.

  • Apple To Open-Source & Support Linux With Its Swift Programming Language
  • Apple to open source Swift programming language

    Apple brought out the big guns, from CEO Tim Cook to musical performer Drake, but perhaps the loudest reaction at the company’s Worldwide Developers’ Conference Monday in San Francisco resulted from news that the Swift programming language is being open sourced.

  • Apple Announces Swift 2, Open Source for iOS, OS X and Linux

    Apple today announced Swift 2, the latest version of its programming language for iOS, OS X and watchOS with all-new Whole Module Optimization technology. Apple executive Craig Federighi also announced that Swift will be open source and made available for Linux later this year.

  • ​Docker certification program eyes long-term partnerships

    Docker has dominated the container business since it first exploded on the scene. Now, with its new certification program, Ecosystem Technology Partner (ETP), it’s trying to turn its current momentum into long-term partnerships.

  • Proof of Concept: Dell OPNFV Infrastructure-as-a-Service
  • It Is Rocket Science! NASA Releases Abundance of Free Code

    This week, NASA released its second annual Software Catalog, a giant compendium of over 1,000 programs available for free to industry, government agencies, and the general public. The Software Catalog contains the actual advanced engineering and aeronautics codes NASA engineers purpose-built for their daily work.

  • Events

    • Announcing Apache: Big Data and ApacheCon: Core

      A year and a half ago, we forged a partnership with the Apache Software Foundation to become the producer of their official ASF events. The ASF has long blazed a trail of innovation in open source and our work with them has yielded results in successful developer collaboration and events. It’s been a great partnership, in our opinion, led on our side by my colleague Angela Brown.

    • Mautic Association Extends Global Reach with Open Source Initiative Affiliate Membership

      The Mautic Association provides resources and a network for people to connect and grow both personally and professionally through collaboration and co-creation.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • New Fixes Released For PostgreSQL Open Source Database

      Every once in a while, a software developer releases a long-awaited update to much fanfare and user enthusiasm…and then it bombs miserably. We’re not saying that’s what happened with PostgreSQL, but just in case you didn’t love the way it runs after you updated it last, the publisher has released a new update that addresses most of the necessary bug fixes from the last update.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Why the Ubuntu developer portal moved to DjangoCMS

      Canonical has used a variety of content management systems throughout the years, including Drupal and Zope, and a large number of our websites have run on WordPress; in fact, many still do. Our developer portal was one of these standard WordPress instances, which worked well enough for a simple website that didn’t get very heavy traffic, but we began to outgrow it. The launch of the Ubuntu phone project, and its accompanying SDK for app development, meant that this site was going to start getting a lot more attention—from a very different audience—and it needed to do a lot more than it currently did.

  • Funding

    • Rancher Labs Raises $10 Million for Docker Container Cloud Tech

      Virtualization startup Rancher Labs today announced that it has raised a $10 million Series A round of funding from Mayfield and Nexus Venture Partners. Rancher Labs’ founders are well-known in the cloud industry as the founders of cloud.com, which was sold to Citrix and evolved to become the Apache CloudStack cloud platform.

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD Now Supports Parallelized Kernel Module Building

      Matthew Dillon’s latest addition to DragonFlyBSD will help those that build out the full kernel themselves: parallelized kernel module builds. This change for developers allows the the kernel build process to be multiple times faster when doing a full kernel build.


    • Pragmatism in the History of GNU, Linux and Free/Open Source Software

      If you ask a lot of people why Linus Torvalds and the Linux kernel that he wrote became one of the most prominent open source projects of all time, while Richard Stallman’s GNU project has received much less attention beyond hacker circles, they’ll tell you the difference has to do with Stallman’s excessive commitment to an uncompromising ideology. Is that really accurate?

    • Historical Permission Notice and Disclaimer added to license list

      We recently updated our list of various licenses and comments about them to include the Historical Permission Notice and Disclaimer(HPND). The HPND is a simple permissive license, compatible with all versions of the GPL. The HPND is actually more of a template, allowing developers to select a few options, such as whether to include a disclaimer.

  • Licensing

    • 5 Practical Ways for Legal Counsel to Advise Developers on Open Source

      As an essential member of an open source compliance program’s advisory board, legal counsel provides numerous services to ensure a company’s products comply with open source copyright and licenses. They provide approval around the use of FOSS in products, for example, advise on licensing conflicts, and advise on IP issues associated with the use of FOSS. (See the previous article, 5 Essential Duties of Legal Counsel in an Open Source Compliance Program.)

  • Programming

    • HHVM Is Now Running Even Faster, Beating PHP7 By Wider Margins

      The Facebook team working on the HHVM project for being a faster PHP interpreter and powering their Hack language have just come out of a two-week, open-source performance lockdown. Over the past two weeks they focused on making strides to make HHVM’s compelling performance even better.

    • BFP Proposed To Become A First-Class Backend In LLVM

      When it comes to taking advantage of the Linux kernel’s (e)BPF in-kernel virtual machine, LLVM has served as the compiler of choice for targeting this virtual machine

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Dutch MP wants sanctions to enforce open standards

      Public administrations that continue to ignore the policy to implement open standards in their ICT solutions should be fined, says Dutch MP Astrid Oosenbrug. “Public administrations should come to grips with open data, open standards and open source. With all their talk about regaining the trust of their citizens and creating a participatory society, public administrations should take a cue from open source communities.”

    • Sweden refines specifications of open standards

      Sweden’s governmental procurement specialists at Statens inköpscentral are fine-tuning the list of ICT standards that public authorities may use as mandatory requirements when procuring software and ICT services. The procurement agency is working with standardisation specialists at the University of Skövde, to check which ICT standards are truly open.


  • Queen Elizabeth II Will Visit Bergen-Belsen, Former Concentration Camp In Germany

    For the first time, Queen Elizabeth II will travel to a former Nazi concentration camp on her trip to Germany this month, the Associated Press reported Monday. In addition to Bergen-Belsen, where Anne Frank and her older sister, Margot, died, the queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, will visit Berlin and Frankfurt during the June 23-26 trip.

  • Lord Janner claim investigated by Police Scotland

    Police in Scotland are understood to be investigating claims Labour peer Lord Janner abused a boy there in the 1970s.

  • Science

  • Security

    • How secure is your email?
    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Dangerous minds: Are maths teachers Australia’s newest threat?

      Australian academics who teach mathematics may need to run new ideas by the Department of Defence before sharing them or risk imprisonment.

      Some academics are set to become much more familiar with the department’s Defence Export Control Office (DECO), a unit that enforces the Defence Trade Control Act 2012, Australia’s end of a 2007 pact with the US and UK over defence trade.

    • Why the “biggest government hack ever” got past the feds

      In April, federal authorities detected an ongoing remote attack targeting the United States’ Office of Personnel Management (OPM) computer systems. This situation may have gone on for months, possibly even longer, but the White House only made the discovery public last Friday. While the attack was eventually uncovered using the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Einstein—the multibillion-dollar intrusion detection and prevention system that stands guard over much of the federal government’s Internet traffic—it managed to evade this detection entirely until another OPM breach spurred deeper examination.

    • U.S. Army public website compromised

      On Monday afternoon, the site was disabled after it displayed messages including, “YOU’VE BEEN HACKED” and “YOUR COMMANDERS ADMIT THEY ARE TRAINING THE PEOPLE THEY HAVE SENT YOU TO DIE FIGHTING,” according to NBC News.

      The U.S. Army confirmed to CNN the web page had been compromised.

      “Today an element of the Army.mil service provider’s content was compromised. After this came to our attention, the Army took appropriate preventive measures to ensure there was no breach of Army data by taking down the website temporarily,” spokesman Brig. Gen. Malcom B. Frost said in a statement.

  • Finance

  • Privacy

    • Senators Introduce Legislation Calling For Mandatory Data Collection On Police-Involved Shootings

      If you’re looking for the number of citizens killed by police officers, don’t ask the government. It just doesn’t know. The DOJ is nominally in charge of compiling this information, but it has not made anything resembling an honest effort to do so.

      To begin with, it has mostly ignored the federal law ordering the compilation of stats on excessive force by law enforcement officers. And it has ignored this for the last 20 years. To make things worse, it has turned over the duty of collecting data on police-involved shootings to the FBI, which has even less interest in ensuring the comprehensiveness of its “collection.”

    • According To The Government, Clearing Your Browser History Is A Felony

      The “do something” resulting from the Enron scandal was Sarbanes-Oxley. To date, the law has done very little to curb corporate fraud — its intended target. But it has become a handy tool for prosecutors looking to stack charges against defendants far removed from the financial world.

    • Why we need anonymity on the Internet — even if it hurts

      I had a friend once who told me that after being abused by a stranger over the phone, she never picks up from numbers she doesn’t have in her phone. In fact, her phone doesn’t even ring. If somebody who doesn’t know wants to get in touch, she says, they can send her a text. She told me that her life improved dramatically after that decision: no more abuses, telemarketers, unwanted phone calls, ever. It’s an important lesson for me too: if an anonymous person is attacking you, you can always ignore them. What gives them power, is your responses. This way, everybody wins — and the trolls eventually will get bored of being ignored.

    • The encryption ‘access’ debate heats up

      Even as the US government bids adieu to Clipper Chip, an infamous episode that influenced the cryptography debate for years, there is renewed focus in a number of quarters that it should not repeated.

      The most recent evidence comes from a new report from the United Nation’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). A Special Rapporteur, David Kaye, was appointed to look into the use of encryption and anonymity in digital communications. In preparing the report—which will be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council later this month—he drew from research on international and national norms and jurisprudence, and received input from governments and civil society.

  • Civil Rights

    • For AP, Being Shot by a Cop Makes You a Suspect

      No, the “incidents” raising concerns have not involved black “suspects.” Freddie Gray was not a suspect, nor Akai Gurley. Tamir Rice and John Crawford held toy guns, and Ferguson officers evidently “suspected” Michael Brown of nothing more than not walking on the sidewalk. A number of those killed have been “suspected” of being mentally ill and in need of help.

      As a matter of fact, the presumption by law enforcement—and media—that any black person involved in an altercation with police must be a criminal suspect is part of the outrage driving public protest.

      Telling, too, that in its description of police killings in the news over the last several months—including one officer who went free after leaping on top of the car of two unarmed black people and firing dozens of bullets into them, and another who saw all charges dropped for a putting a bullet through the head of a 7-year-old girl sleeping on her living room sofa—the only thing AP sees fit to describe as “violent” are the protests.

    • Ayaan Hirsi Ali vs. Jon Stewart: Islam, liberals, and the media’s dangerous double standard

      Progressive critics enamored of the semantically fraudulent junk label “Islamophobe” are de facto aiding the assassins of free-thinkers, abetting the oppressors of women, and shielding razor-happy butchers slicing off the clitorises of little girls. And at no time do they betray the ideals for which they supposedly stand more than when they call ex-Muslims living in the West “Islamophobe.”

      To understand why, let’s examine the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. No one exposes the faulty thinking, moral incoherence and double standards pervading the Western liberal reaction to Islam better than this Somali-born, self-professed “infidel” and “heretic.” Herself a survivor of female genital mutilation, civil war and forced marriage, and, for more than a decade now, the object of Islamist death threats, Hirsi Ali deserves the respect of all who cherish free speech, equality between the sexes, and the right to profess the religion (or no religion) of one’s choosing.

    • Lawsuit Claims Sheriff’s Dept. Perfectly Fine With Arresting Person 70 Lbs. Lighter And Six Inches Shorter Than Suspect Sought

      Towns is now suing the Clay County Sheriff’s Department for this mix-up, which resulted in some jail time for a crime he didn’t commit. His claim that his ID was stolen is backed up in the court filing, which includes a report made to another sheriff’s department in 2011. That report includes him informing the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Dept. that someone using his name and ID was cited for shoplifting earlier that year. He finally turned himself in to the Clay County Sheriff’s Dept. in 2013, presumably to clear the whole thing up. Obviously, that plan didn’t work.

    • Six inches too short, 70 pounds too light, he’s arrested in Clay County mistaken identity case

      A Jacksonville man and the State Attorney’s Office say that the Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrested the wrong man in a case involving stolen cologne and missed court appearances.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Daniel Ek: Spotify and free music will save the industry, not kill it

        The music streaming pioneer has come under fire from critics such as Taylor Swift for giving away songs. Now he faces a new challenge from Apple

      • Team Prenda Gets Hit Hard With Contempt Sanctions For Lying To Court

        It looks like Team Prenda has been smacked around once again. This is in the Lightspeed case — which is one of the rare earlier cases where they were actually representing a real third party, rather than a made up entity that they really owned themselves. This was the case where they tried to drag Comcast and AT and T into the lawsuit and it all failed terribly. If you don’t recall, in late 2013, the district court smacked them around as judge Patrick Murphy clearly figured out what was going on: “The litigation smacked of bullying pretense.” Yup, you got that right. The defendant, Anthony Sweet, represented by Prenda killers Booth Sweet, asked for attorneys’ fees and got them at the end of 2013, with the court ordering Team Prenda to pay up $261k, saying that Team Prenda “flat-out lied” to the court.

      • Netflix: the crumbling borders of geolocation and the thieves who happily pay for what they “steal”


Links 8/6/2015: Red Hat Upgraded, Debian 8.1 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 4:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Debunking 4 misconceptions about open source software

    Misconceptions range from the belief that open source is not secure enough for businesses, since it is community-based, to misunderstandings about the availability and quality of technical support. While some of them have been propagated since the early days of open source, enterprise-ready offerings today provide the same, if not higher, levels of security, capabilities and reliability as proprietary counterparts.

  • 2/3 Internet Exchange Points use Czech open source router

    Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of Internet Exchange Points are now using BIRD, an open source router solution maintained by the Czech CZ.NIC Association, taking first place from proprietary routers.

  • 3 Financial Companies Innovating With Open Source

    The financial industry is on the verge of an open source breakthrough, say three companies on the cutting edge of the trend. Traditionally very secretive about their technology, banks, hedge funds and other financial services companies have begun in the past few years to talk about how they use open source software in their infrastructure and product development. They have also been steadily increasing their contributions to upstream projects in the form of user feedback and code. And some companies have initiated their own open source projects or released portions of their own code to the open source community.

  • Open-Source NFV Group Launches First Software Release

    The Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) project has rolled out “Arno,” an open-source platform that group officials said will give users and developers a framework for testing NFV efforts, checking out basic NFV uses cases and trying out virtual network functions (VNFs). The growing demand among telecommunications vendors and other organizations for ways to more quickly adopt and implement NFV is driving the OPNFV’s efforts, according to Chris Price, technical steering committee chairman and open-source manager for software-defined networking (SDN), NFV and the cloud for network vendor Ericsson.

  • NASA Releases Source Code for Its Software Tools

    NASA has released the source code for a complete set of software tools that that cover pretty much everything from aeronautics and propulsion, and from system testing and handling.

  • Events

    • SELF 2015: Linux, Guns & Barbecue

      From what I learned talking with Jeremy Sands last Tuesday, everything about the SouthEast LinuxFest (SELF) will be marinated in southern culture. So much so that if this were twenty years ago, I’d be expecting to see geeks with cigarette packs rolled-up in the sleeves of their T shirts. But these days people don’t smoke much anymore, not even in North Carolina, a state built by tobacco money.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Education

    • Open education at the Raspberry Pi Foundation

      When I started working at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we set out to revamp the website and add learning materials for educators. In the mean time, we wanted to get a few resources out in time for Hour of Code week, so we wrote them on GitHub for easy sharing. It’s easy to get started writing with markdown, and it made collaboration straightforward. Despite all being new to GitHub, the education team really liked the way this worked and wanted to stick with the method, so we did.

  • BSD

    • Call for testing: OpenSSH 6.9

      OpenSSH 6.9 is almost ready for release, so we would appreciate testing on as many platforms and systems as possible. This release contains some substantial new features and a number of bugfixes.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Indian government includes open source in RFPs

      The Government of India has implemented a remarkable new policy-level change for open source software (OSS) deployment. The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has asked that open source software-based applications be included in Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for all new procurements. Note there is not a plan at this time to replace existing proprietary systems with open source software.

    • Estonia: A Model for e-Government

      The bold plan is a logical step forward in an unprecedented roll-out of e-government services that began in 2000, when Estonia introduced a public system for electronic tax filing. In 2002, Estonia introduced a universal electronic identification card with digital signatures, which every citizen gets at the age of 15. The ID cards and signatures have become the keys to nearly universal access to government information and services as well as private-sector services in health care, banking and education, and law. In the years since, the Estonian government and industry have put more and more functions online, all connected by a nationwide data backbone called X-Road.

    • New case studies proof competence gvSIG’s GIS tools

      Four case studies published the past weeks by the gvSIG community show the usefulness of this suite of open source Geographic Information Systems. The cases detail the gvSIG use by public administrations in Spain and Italy, to collect, manage and analyse information on gas pipelines, to create hiking trails, examine city commerce, and plan public transport networks.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open-source “MMO for makers” aims to crowdsource manufacturing design

      Software developers have long been able to collaborate through community sites like those based on Git and Apache Allura to contribute code, synchronize software builds, and track issues around a project. And games like Minecraft allow people to collaborate in building virtual environments with embedded behaviors—including “mods” that leverage the games’ simulation capabilities to interact with other objects in a virtual world. Now, an open-source Web platform originally designed with Defense Department funding could let communities collaborate to build more tangible things—like tanks, planes, and consumer appliances.

  • Programming

    • A Heterogeneous Execution Engine Might Make Its Way To LLVM

      An intern from Qualcomm’s Innovation Center has been designing a heterogeneous execution engine for LLVM that he’s hoping to eventually upstream within the LLVM project.

    • C++ at a functional programming event

      In the end, I decided to talk about functional reactive proramming in C++ which will be a thrilling and enticing tale of event-based systems and the power of reactive streams. I’ll also cover some fun new things we are to expect from C++17 that are bringing even more functional programming concepts than we have in the current standard


  • Finance

    • Labour Call Unemployed “The Work-Shy”

      I just read the Guardian’s account of today’s Labour leadership hustings, and they are not Tory Lite, they are Tory High Octane. Supporting Tory benefit cuts, calling the unemployed “the work-shy”, defending £9,000 a year tuition fees, supporting Trident and falling over themselves to reject autonomy for the Scottish accounting unit. But what I find even more astonishing is that the Fabian Society audience were lining up afterwards for selfies with Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham, and according to the Guardian nobody wanted a photo with Jeremy Corbyn, the one decent human being there.

    • Urgent: TTIP Vote – Please Write to Your MEPs before Wednesday

      There is a very important plenary vote in the European Parliament on TTIP this Wednesday…

    • Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans

      My mother could no longer afford the tuition that the student loans weren’t covering.

  • Censorship

    • Lawyer who sued EFF blames Ars readers for hacking, defamation

      Atlanta IP lawyer Sanford Asman isn’t happy that CaseRails CEO Erik Dykema won’t hand his company’s name over to him—in fact, he’s filed a trademark lawsuit over it, just as he said he would last month.

      Asman believes that CaseRails is infringing his trademark rights to CaseWebs and CaseSpace, two websites that house his own litigation-management software. In fact, Asman believes any Web-based legal software with “case” in its name should be under his purview.

  • Privacy

    • The Mass Surveillance of US Public Continues as USA Today Declares It Ended

      And that points to a bigger problem with declaring that the NSA’s data collection has “ended”: The same data will still be collected, only it will be held in phone company computers rather than the NSA’s computers. The NSA will still have access to the data, only having to get an OK from the FISA court–a notorious rubberstamp that operates in secret. As NSA whistleblower J. Kirk Wiebe told FAIR, “It’s more of a psychological maneuver to make us all feel good than a true constraint.”

  • Civil Rights

    • LAPD officer convicted in videotaped beating of handcuffed suspect

      A Los Angeles Police Department officer was convicted Friday in connection to the videotaped beating of a female suspect who was struck in the throat and crotch in a patrol car.

      Officer Mary O’Callaghan, an 18-year veteran, was accused of felony assault under the color of authority in a 2012 incident largely captured on a patrol-car camera. The 35-year-old victim, Alesia Thomas, died later that July evening. Medical examiner officials said cocaine intoxication was a “major factor” in the Los Angeles woman’s death.

    • Save Majid Ali

      Glasgow City College student Majid Ali faces torture and death if returned to Pakistan. Majid Ali’s brother and other members of his immediate family have been taken and I am afraid very probably murdered by the Pakistani authorities as part of their relentless persecution of the Baloch people and desire to wipe out Baloch national identity. The UK Home Office intends to deport Majid. The people of Scotland must defend him.

    • Saudi court upholds blogger’s 10 years and 1,000 lashes

      Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has upheld the sentence of 1,000 lashes and 10 years of imprisonment on blogger Raif Badawi, despite a foreign outcry.

      Speaking from Canada, his wife Ensaf Haidar told the BBC she feared his punishment would start again on Friday.

      Badawi was arrested in 2012 for “insulting Islam through electronic channels”.

    • There is no justice: What cops and courts get wrong about the human brain

      Neuroscience explains why our justice system keeps sending innocent people to prison — and letting guilty ones go

    • Kalief Browder, 1993–2015

      Last fall, I wrote about a young man named Kalief Browder, who spent three years on Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime. He had been arrested in the spring of 2010, at age sixteen, for a robbery he insisted he had not committed. Then he spent more than one thousand days on Rikers waiting for a trial that never happened. During that time, he endured about two years in solitary confinement, where he attempted to end his life several times. Once, in February, 2012, he ripped his bedsheet into strips, tied them together to create a noose, and tried to hang himself from the light fixture in his cell.

      In November of 2013, six months after he left Rikers, Browder attempted suicide again. This time, he tried to hang himself at home, from a bannister, and he was taken to the psychiatric ward at St. Barnabas Hospital, not far from his home in the Bronx. When I met him, in the spring of 2014, he appeared to be more stable.

      Then, late last year, about two months after my story about him appeared, he stopped going to classes at Bronx Community College. During the week of Christmas, he was confined in the psych ward at Harlem Hospital. One day after his release, he was hospitalized again, this time back at St. Barnabas. When I visited him there on January 9th, he did not seem like himself. He was gaunt, restless, and deeply paranoid. He had recently thrown out his brand-new television, he explained, “because it was watching me.”


      Ever since I’d met him, Browder had been telling me stories about having been abused by officers and inmates on Rikers. The stories were disturbing, but I did not fully appreciate what he had experienced until this past April when I obtained surveillance footage of an officer assaulting him and of a large group of inmates pummeling and kicking him. I sat next to Kalief while he watched these videos for the first time. Afterward, we discussed whether they should be published on The New Yorker’s Web site. I told him that it was his decision. He said to put them online.

    • Left Divided as Violence and Protests Derail Mexican Elections

      Mexico’s latest elections are threatened by drug cartel violence, social protests, and the mass resignation of election officials. The left, which in the past has succeeded in rallying a third or more of the nation’s voters for a single party, goes into this election deeply divided, prompting expectations of a win for the ruling party.

    • On Equality

      A good rule of thumb is that if we feel the views of others are offensive, they probably feel our own views are offensive as well, a view they are completely entitled to when they do not act on it to harm us. If we wish to have our freedom to own and express our views protected, we must also actively respect — preferably protect — the rights of others to the same freedom.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • EU Commission Tries to Rip Citizens Off Net Neutrality

      The European Commission attacks Net Neutrality again, by introducing a “compromise document” that refuses to enshrine a definition of this crucial principle into the law. A strong coalition including the EU Council, the European Commission and a handful of MEPs is working against the general interest by including loopholes that will be used by the telecom lobby to circumvent the proposed protections against discrimination, thereby undermining fundamental rights and innovation.

  • DRM

    • Apple Music and the terrible return of DRM

      My Amazon Echo just arrived, months after I pre-ordered it. I’d totally forgotten about it until I got a ship notification the other day, and then it was there, a strange little tube promising yet another peek at a future that never seems fully within grasp.

  • Intellectual Monopolies


Links 7/6/2015: Steam Machines, KDE Applications 15.04.2 in Chakra

Posted in News Roundup at 10:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • LibrePlan manages projects at French research network

    Renater, France’s research and education telecom network, is probably the first public administration outside of Spain to use LibrePlan, an open source project management solution, assumes Jeroen Baten, involved in the tool’s development. The French network connectivity agency started using LibrePlan in early 2014, says Baten.

  • BMJ CTO Sharon Cooper making ‘everything open source’

    In order to build its wide range of products – more than 80 in total – the organisation relies heavily on bespoke development and open source technologies. This offers BMJ greater agility, as well as the cost benefits, said Cooper.

    “Open source has always been really important to us and probably why we have a reasonably big in-house team to manage all of that open source technology and to tie it all together. And I think it will become increasingly important,” she said.

  • Open source offers way into mature markets

    The answer, said Stirman, lies in open source. “The only way to move the needle is with an open-source strategy. First, get massive adoption. Then, figure out how to monetize it.”

    The freemium model has been a good way for companies to build businesses around open-source projects. Offer the community-built software for free, and then offer advanced security, support and tooling as a high-value, commercial edition.

  • HP open source UX project unifies user experience

    Hewlett Packard Enterprise has launched an open source UX that allows IT pros to provide a familiar user experience across different enterprise applications.

  • HP’s new open-source development framework heralds a major shift

    Between the new storage systems and management software announced at its annual customer conference this week, Hewlett-Packard sneaked in a small present for developers that promises to take some of the work out of building complex corporate applications. But what the framework perhaps lacks in disruptive potential it more than makes up for in strategic significance.

  • HP announces Grommet framework, Machine architecture and company split plans
  • How to Make Money from Open Source Platforms, Part 4: The Key to Success

    I’ve been saying for some time now that open source was not about innovation, but rather freedom. It was the freedom to deploy what you want, when you want it that led to the massive global adoption of open source platforms. I get more than a little peeved, then, when I still see references in mainstream media circles about ragtag groups of conscientious hippies who don’t care about money and sing about sharing software. Don’t get me wrong, I *love* singing about sharing free software, but the false implication of this narrative is that there’s no money in free software. This is what Paul Krugman would call a “zombie lie” – an argument that just won’t go away no matter how many times you kill it with facts.

  • BitPay Launches Open Source, Multisig Wallet Copay

    Within a few days after its launch, over 1000 BTC has been stored on Copay already and the open source code on GitHub is being contributed by hundreds of bitcoin developers worldwide, offering improvements in the code and new features that could increase the east of use of the Copay wallet.

  • Capgemini Apollo: An Open Source Microservice and Big Data Platform

    Capgemini are currently working on Apollo, an open source application platform built on top of the Apache Mesos cluster manager, which is designed to power next generation web services, microservices and big data platforms running at scale.

  • New Rockchip Boards Added To Coreboot

    Support for two in-development Rockchip motherboard designs have been added to Coreboot for possible use in Chrome OS devices.

  • HP Discover Day 2: Avatar Partnership, Grommet Open Source Platform

    Day two of HP Discover 2015 kicked off on a fun note, with Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) CEO Meg Whitman announcing the company has signed a five-year agreement with 20th Century Fox and James Cameron-owned production company Lightstorm Entertainment to integrate HP’s technology into the AVATAR movie franchise.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • How Mozilla’s Firefox OS may enlist Android apps to its cause

        The lack of apps are a common problem for operating systems challenging the two dominant mobile platforms, Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. Without crucial software like WhatsApp for text messaging, customers steer clear and head for better supported operating systems from the big two.

      • Mozilla CTO Andreas Gal Leaving for IoT Startup

        Mozilla’s PR cordon have not let me speak with Gal in several years, the last time I had the opportunity to speak with him was in January of 2013 as part of a FirefoxOS consumer push.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • MongoDB Outlines 2015 Ambitions for Open Source Document Database

      At the MongoDB World 2015 conference this week, MongoDB outlined forthcoming additions to the open source document database that cover everything from connectors to business intelligence applications that enable MongoDB to respond to SQL read requests to the ability to join data sets.

    • Scaling Open Source MySQL Database Environments

      One of the primary reasons IT organizations adopt NoSQL databases is because their current relational database can’t scale to meet their existing needs. But that makes the cost of migrating a database substantial. Given an option, most IT organizations would rather put off that expense as long as possible—if not forever.

  • Business

  • BSD


    • IceCat 31.7.0 release

      GNUzilla is the GNU version of the Mozilla suite, and GNU IceCat is the GNU version of the Firefox browser. Its main advantage is an ethical one: it is entirely free software. While the Firefox source code from the Mozilla project is free software, they distribute and recommend non-free software as plug-ins and addons. Also their trademark license restricts distribution in several ways incompatible with freedom 0.

    • One year of encryption with the Email Self-Defense guide

      Two years ago today, Edward Snowden tipped the first domino in a chain that led to a historic international conversation about the role of surveillance in modern life. One year ago today, we launched Email Self-Defense, an infographic and guide to encrypting your email with free software to protect your privacy and resist bulk surveillance.

    • GNU Social: a decentralized answer to Twitter

      In modern times social networking is a double edged sword. While it enables us to spread the word quickly, it also puts way much information on us in hands of companies like Facebook or Twitter. It also enables law enforcement authorities to crack down on activists.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Galicia invites nominations for open source award

      The government of the autonomous region of Galicia (Spain) is inviting the region’s universities to nominate open source projects for its annual Best Project award. The first prize is EUR 1500 and the second EUR 750.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Replace SourceForge with these Better Alternatives

      SourceForge is a long established web-based service that offers source code repository, downloads mirrors, bug tracker and other features. It acts as a centralized location for software developers to control and manage free and open-source software development.

    • OpenCV 3.0 Released: The Most Functional & Fastest Yet

      Version 3.0 of the Open Computer Vision library is now available. The release announcement reads, “With a great pleasure and great relief OpenCV team finally announces OpenCV 3.0 gold release, the most functional and the fastest OpenCV ever. And yet it’s very stable too – all the thousands of tests that we created during the project + many new tests pass successfully on Windows, Linux and Mac, x64 and ARM.”

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Sweden refines specifications of open standards

      Sweden’s governmental procurement specialists at Statens inköpscentral are fine-tuning the list of ICT standards that public authorities may use as mandatory requirements when procuring software and ICT services. The procurement agency is working with standardisation specialists at the University of Skövde, to check which ICT standards are truly open.


  • Alton Towers crash: Merlin closes three more theme park rides

    Four rollercoasters at three theme parks have been closed, following a crash at Alton Towers in which 16 people were injured, four seriously.

    The Smiler, which crashed, and Saw, a similar ride at Thorpe Park, will both be shut “for the foreseeable future”, owner Merlin Entertainment confirmed.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • U.S. Medicine Has Entered the Post-Antibiotic World

      Fighting drug-resistant bacteria is becoming an urgent national public health priority.

    • Review: ‘Every Last Child,’ a Front-Line View of the Polio Crisis in Pakistan

      The film never fully examines the causes of that resentment (though rationales shift). Early in the campaign, Islamist conservatives were rankled that many health workers were women. But the opposition reached its new, murderous level after Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad. In the aftermath, it was reported that the C.I.A. had used a vaccination program (for hepatitis) as a ruse to help locate Bin Laden. Thus, Taliban leaders claimed that all vaccination programs were fronts for Western spying, banning them in their spheres of influence.

  • Security

    • Let’s Encrypt Root and Intermediate Certificates

      Let’s Encrypt will issue certificates to subscribers from its intermediate CAs, allowing us to keep our root CA safely offline. IdenTrust will cross-sign our intermediates. This will allow our end certificates to be accepted by all major browsers while we propagate our own root.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Phishers Going the Long Way Round to Avoid Filtering Systems

      Any human with an email address likely has gotten thousands of spam messages that look like delivery notifications, invoices, or other alleged communications from shipping companies such as UPS or DHL. They typically contain malicious attachments with exploits for a browser or plug-in vulnerability, but a researcher at the University of Cambridge has run across a novel twist on this kind of spam that turns out to be a completely different kind of attack.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Majority Americans say U.S. mission in Afghanistan fails: poll

      A majority of Americans say the U.S. military mission has failed in Afghanistan, and U.S. President Barack Obama’s global war of “targeted killings” by drones has raised deep concern among the U.S. public, a latest poll showed.

      According to a national survey by the Pew Research Center in late May, 56 percent of Americans say the United States has mostly failed in achieving its goals in Afghanistan, while 36 percent say the U.S. mission has mostly succeeded.

    • 149,000 people have died in war in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2001, report says

      War has directly resulted in the deaths of 149,000 people in Afghanistan and Pakistan between 2001 and 2014, according to estimates in a new report released by Costs of War project at Brown University’s Watson Institute. That figure includes U.S. military members, contractors, and opposition fighters – as well as at least 26,270 civilians in Afghanistan, and 21,500 in Pakistan.

    • Why throw money at defense when everything is falling down around us?

      In 2012, the entrance to John Marshall High School in Los Feliz was closed to protect students from falling debris. The gothic tower above the entrance was crumbling, so a wooden platform was built atop a tunnel of scaffolding to catch falling brick and concrete.

      Three years later, the scaffolding is still there. The district earmarked roughly $1 million for the job long ago, and the principal told me last week that she’s hoping it won’t be much longer now.

    • How a handshake in Helsinki helped end the Cold War

      Eight hundred years ago this summer, King John and a group of feudal barons gathered at Runnymede on the banks of the Thames River. There he agreed to the Magna Carta, which for the first time limited the absolute power of the monarch and established a contract between ruler and ruled. The mother of modern treaties and law, the Magna Carta began a global conversation about the responsibility of the powerful toward people under their control.

      A scant four decades ago, also this summer, another gathering in the Finnish capital of Helsinki produced a second series of accords. While far less well known, the signing of the Helsinki Accords was a critical juncture in the long struggle of the individual against state authority. Building on some of the same ideas that undergirded the Magna Carta, the Helsinki Accords codified a broad set of individual liberties, human rights, and state responsibilities, which remain strikingly relevant today, whether the subject is China’s Internet policy, the Islamic State’s latest outrage, or the American “war on terror.” The language of human rights has become the lingua franca for criticizing misbehavior by states or quasi-governments.

    • US combat drone goes down in southern Iraq

      An Iraqi security source says a US unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has crashed in the country’s southern province of Basra as it was supposed to join the US-led air campaign against the so-called ISIL positions in the restive western Iraqi province of Anbar.

    • German Federal Prosecutor investigating US actions on drones base

      The German Federal Prosecutor is reported to have begun investigating a US base in Germany that is used as a ‘hub’ for drone strikes, days after a Yemeni man testified in a Cologne court about the 2012 strike that killed his relatives.

    • War, Imperialism and the People’s Struggle in the Middle East

      Reports of the number of Yemenis killed in the fighting range from 2,000-4,000 with many more injured and displaced. Yemeni-Americans who have been attempting to leave the country since late March have been abandoned by Washington.

    • A dangerous modesty

      America has learnt the hard way that it cannot fix the problems of the Middle East.

    • Here’s What Young Muslims Around the World Really Think of Obama and America

      Six years ago, President Barack Obama gave a historic speech to the Muslim world from Cairo. He called for “a new beginning” and apologized for the injustice and misunderstanding that have stained relations in the past. Though Obama faced skepticism from many corners, the speech was generally well-received, and many Muslims, from the Middle East to Indonesia, hoped that his election would mark a clear departure from the mistrust that characterized the years of the Bush administration.

    • Special Forces officer under investigation by Army called to testify at whistleblower hearing

      A Green Beret officer who raised questions on Capitol Hill about U.S. hostage policy and was placed under criminal investigation by the Army has been called to testify in a Senate hearing examining reprisals that government whistleblowers can face, congressional officials said.

    • Army stops paying war hero amid whistleblower probe
    • Army whistleblower asked to testify on Bergdahl
    • U.S. Army stops paying Green Beret war hero amid whistleblower probe
    • Circle Of Deceit: Hani Mujahid’s Path To Al Jazeera

      Hani Mujahid chose to tell his story to Al Jazeera because he felt trapped: When the al-Qaeda operative-turned Yemeni government informant tried to brief the CIA on his allegations that Yemen had been playing a double game in the fight against al-Qaeda, he found himself detained and badly beaten by Yemeni security personnel.

      No longer able to trust any of the stakeholders, he turned to the media to tell his story. If his allegations prove true, they will be deeply embarrassing to the US.

    • US envoy in talks with Yemen rebels on peace conference

      The United States confirmed that an American envoy has held talks in Oman with Iran-backed Yemeni rebels to convince them to attend a Geneva peace conference in mid-June.

      The news of the talks came with a conference on Yemen having been scrapped just days before it was due to be held on May 28, dealing a blow to UN efforts to broker peace in a country where at least 2,000 people have been killed since March.

    • U.S. has a long history of treating veterans poorly

      May 25 was Memorial Day, when Americans are supposed to remember military veterans, particularly those who made sacrifices — lives, lives, sanity — fighting our wars.

      As usual, rhetoric was abundant. People hung flags. Some placed flowers on military graves. There were parades, including one in which a reporter got hit by a drone. President Barack Obama added an oddly pacifist twist to his annual speech, noting that it was “the first Memorial Day in 14 years that the United States is not engaged in a major ground war.”

      Excuse me while I puke.

      Talk is nice, but veterans need action. Disgusting but true: when it comes to actual help — spending enough money to make sure they can live with dignity — talk is all the U.S. has to offer.

    • The numbers game

      These figures suggest that Daesh-bigots are being killed at the rate of around 50 a day though each mission is responsible for only 2.4 deaths. This latter figure can be explained by the reality that mission planners have been more likely to detect and attack supply vehicles than concentrations of terrorist fighters. There have also been intelligence-led precision bombings on gatherings of the Daesh leadership.

    • Papillon at Abu Ghraib,Bagram & Gitmo

      When one reads Papillon or views the film, one should be ever mindful that what our government is doing to others in our name is actually worse than what the French did to their criminals… and these were actual criminals, tried and convicted in courts of law, unlike the majority of those we kept and still keep in our foreign prisons. Most of them have had no ‘ day in court ‘ with proper legal representation. How sad this empire has become!

    • US Conventional Prompt Strike Potential Implications For The Asia Pacific – Analysis

      The U.S. military continues to explore long-range conventional prompt strike capabilities to strike “time-sensitive” targets across the globe on very short notice. Known as Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS), the programme has not yet translated into operational weapon systems because of technological and political challenges. Yet, it makes sense to start thinking about the possible introduction of conventional prompt strike systems, including intermediate range, into the Asia Pacific theatre.

    • “Combat Proven”: The Booming Business of War in Israel

      The Israel Trade Fairs and Convention Center was bustling with military personnel. Tall, broad-shouldered soldiers donning masks and sunglasses had their guns at the ready, and a mini-drone built at Ariel University, an Israeli school located in the occupied West Bank, went up in the air, flying high as the press snapped photos.

      This was not war, but one of the many demos held at the ISDEF expo, an annual June event that attracts thousands of security officials and professionals interested in weapons. Arms fairs in Israel showcase the latest products the profitable Israeli weapons industry manufactures — and the demos are the perfect place to show those products off.

    • Israel’s Clandestine Alliance with Gulf Arab States is Going Public

      In 2009, a U.S. State Department diplomatic cable gave one of the first glimpses of a burgeoning alliance between Israel and the Arab states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The cable quoted Israeli Foreign Ministry official Yacov Hadas saying, “the Gulf Arabs believe in Israel’s role because of their perception of Israel’s close relationship with the United States,” adding that GCC states “believe Israel can work magic.”

      Israel and the Gulf states also shared an interest in countering what they saw as rising Iranian influence in the Middle East. So while the two sides sparred in public — Israel’s “Cast Lead” military operation had just claimed more than 1,400 lives in the Gaza Strip and was condemned by Saudi Arabia, in a letter to the United Nations, as “fierce aggression” — they enjoyed “good personal relations” behind closed doors, Hadas said, according to one cable. Hadas reportedly added that the Gulf Arabs were still “not ready to do publicly what they say in private.”

    • Former CIA Officer: FBI Surveillance Aircraft Program Unconstitutional

      A former US Central Intelligence Agency officer Larry Johnson claims that a FBI program that deploys small aircraft to carry out video and cellphone surveillance violates the constitutional rights of US citizens.

    • Members of Congress Look to Probe FBI’s Use of Spy Planes

      Members of Congress are demanding that the FBI turn over more information about its use of airplanes to conduct surveillance of Americans.

      The FBI is using at least 50 planes to conduct surveillance operations over U.S. cities and rural areas, the Associated Press reported earlier this week. The planes, registered under fake company names, are equipped with high-tech cameras and, in some circumstances, technology that can track thousands of cell phones below.

    • FBI operating fleet of surveillance aircraft flying over US cities
    • CIA ‘Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ It Has Files Related To John Lennon’s First Wife

      Freedom of Information Act requests to the FBI and CIA for the records of Cynthia Lennon, who died in April after a short battle with cancer, yielded exactly two pages of results, yet still somehow spoke volumes.

      The FBI, which hosted voluminous files on John, replied that it had nothing on Cynthia, and refused to confirm (or deny) if she was on any sort of watch list before she died.

    • Here’s how much of your life the United States has been at war

      Using somewhat subjective definitions of “at war” — Korea counts but Kosovo doesn’t in our analysis, for example — we endeavored to figure out how much of each person’s life has been spent with America at war. We used whole years for both the age and the war, so the brief Gulf War is given a full year, and World War II includes 1941. These are estimates.

    • First on CNN: Pentagon may have received shipment of live anthrax
    • Jihadists in the service of imperialism

      Western governments no longer hide the fact that they’re using jihadists…

    • London Shows Solidarity with Venezuela Against US Intervention

      The rally was attended by several key figures in Britain, including Jeremy Corbyn, a parliamentarian running to lead the U.K’s Labour Party

    • Podcast: ‘Sudden Justice’ author Chris Woods on CIA accountability and the politics of US drone wars

      Transferring control of the US drone programme away from the CIA could paradoxically result in less accountability, author and investigative journalist Chris Woods told this week’s Drone News.

    • SEAL Team 6, the CIA and the secret history of U.S. kill missions in Afghanistan
    • The Secret History of SEAL Team 6: Quiet Killings and Blurred Lines
    • CIA ties to Forest Service smokejumpers documented in new account

      It recounts more than a decade of CIA efforts to support Tibetan resistance movements against the People’s Republic of China during the 1950s and 1960s.

    • “The Hegemony Games”: the United States of America (USA) vs. The People’s Republic of China (PRC)

      This relationship between Washington and Beijing has existed somewhat uneasily since the early 1970s after the PRC broke with the Soviet Union mainly over intense ideological differences within the communist movement. In effect the Communist Party of China (CPC) joined with capitalist America in an informal tacit alliance against Russia. This was a geopolitical triumph for the U.S. but not for China. In the last couple of years Beijing and Moscow have developed a close relationship, largely as a repost to Washington’s expressions of hostility toward both countries.

      China was considered a revolutionary communist country from the 1949 revolution until the deaths of party leader Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai in 1976. The left wing of the CPC was then crushed, and the leadership in 1977 went to “paramount leader” Deng Xiaoping, a long time revolutionary and high government official in many posts who had earlier been purged twice “for taking the capitalist road.”

      Deng set about in 1980 to develop a dynamic capitalist economy under the slogan of “using capitalism to build socialism.” By 1990, after the U.S. and others imposed sanctions against China for the Tiananmen Square confrontation with students seeking certain democratic changes, Deng issued the following instruction to the CPC: “Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership.”

      The Chinese economy after 35 years is one of the wonders of the capitalist world, particularly since it is still maintained by the CPC, as are all other aspects of Chinese society. The PRC’s political system is officially described as being “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” though the socialist aspect has been abridged.

    • CIA list no secret anymore

      Last week, the National Smokejumpers Association released a list of former jumpers who served in the dangerous activities of the CIA in what were once secret U.S. government operations.

    • Iraq War Propaganda Redux: U.S. Claims Syrian Government Supporting ISIS

      In any event, whether or not you believe the West created ISIS, the U.S. is now trying to blame the single most unlikely entity imaginable for ISIS … the Syrian government.

    • The DOJ is worried the CIA’s top watchdog position will be vacant forever

      The Justice Department is worried that the office of the CIA’s top watchdog could be left vacant for a year, or possibly longer.

      The previous inspector general for the CIA resigned in late January after it was revealed that the spy agency hacked into computers used by Senate staffers right under his nose. The position is still empty. “Far too often, the process for selection and appointment of IG candidates takes too long,” complained Michael E. Horowitz, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice, in a statement today to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

      “As of today, there are eight IG positions that remain vacant,” he said, urging senators to confirm presidential appointees faster. “As of the end of this month, all of these IG positions, with the exception of the CIA IG position, will have been vacant for over 1 year.”

    • Problematic case against ex-CIA chief, drones, moved to FATA?

      The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has issued a notice to the federation and summoned all records of the transfer of an investigation against former CIA chief, and drones, was moved to FATA.

    • CIA and Chevron against President of Ecuador

      The President of Ecuador Rafael Correa praised the book The CIA Against Latin America – Special Case – Ecuador. Over 30,000 copies are in circulation. Written by Jaime Galarza Zavala and Francisco Herrera Aráuz the book tells a story about the dirty tricks the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was engaged in during the 1960s in Ecuador. The authors offer interviews with Phillip Agee recorded at different times. Agee was a retired CIA operative who turned against the Agency.

    • Declassified document says Posada Carriles likely planned 1976 bombing of Cuban plane

      A 1976 document declassified Wednesday by the State Department shows concerns about the CIA’s links with extremist groups within the Cuban exile community and points to Luis Posada Carriles as the most likely planner of the bombing attack against a Cubana Airlines plane that year.

      The memorandum was sent to then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger by two high ranking State Department officials who evaluated the accusations made by Fidel Castro on the alleged U.S. involvement in the downing of a Cubana plane traveling out of Barbados on Oct. 6, 1976, in which 73 people were killed.

      “We have now pursued in detail with CIA (1) what we know about responsibility for the sabotage of the Cubana airliner and (2) how any actions by CIA, FBI, or Defense attache´s might relate to the individuals or groups alleged to have responsibility,” states the report.

      The memorandum concludes that the CIA had previous ties to three of the people “supposedly” involved in the downing of a Cuban airliner, “but any role that these people may have had with the demolition took place without the knowledge of the CIA.”

    • The real terrorist

      On May 29, as part of its stated intentions to improve relations with Cuba, the United States formally removed the island nation from its list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism,” even as it maintained its decades-old illegal blockade.

      For most people around the world, the fact that Cuba was on a list that should not even exist represents a high in imperialist arrogance and hypocrisy, coming as it does, from the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world. Over 3,000 Cubans have been killed in U.S.-sponsored terror attacks since 1959, while the perpetrator of a terrorist bombing that brought down a Cuban airliner walks around freely in the United States.

    • US was state sponsor of terror against Cuba

      On May 29, the United States removed Cuba from the list of “state sponsors of terrorism” as one more step toward normalization of relations between the two countries. But, historically, it is the United States that has sponsored terrorism against Cuba.

      The U.S. designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terror dates back to the early 1980s due to Cuban support of guerrilla movements in Central America. The label was ironic, since the United States engaged in a program of extralegal paramilitary operations as part of failed attempts at Cuban regime change all through the early 1960s. These efforts included the Bay of Pigs invasion, scores of assassination attempts against Cuban leaders and years of covert operations.

    • The Truth Teller

      While at the time I vehemently opposed his conclusions that Iraq was free of WMD, some of his arguments resonated.

    • Oops … US Air Force nearly bombed “Friendly” Iraqi Forces instead of ISIS Terrorists, General

      A top US military commander has revealed that the US-led airstrikes nearly targeted Iraqi forces instead of terrorists of the ISIL group.

      Lt. Gen. John Hesterman, the US commander of the air campaign in Iraq, said on Friday that aircraft nearly launched airstrikes 100 times on friendly Iraqi forces because they were indistinguishable from ISIL from the air, Stars and Stripes reported.

    • US drone attack kills 9 terrorists in Pakistan

      The exact identities were not known but initial reports suggested that all those killed were Afghan Taliban rebels.

    • Guantánamo detainees also can’t eat with Red Cross

      Guantánamo prison management has expanded its rule forbidding dining with detainees to include Red Cross meetings and other legal visits, a continuing change in policy that began with a ban on defense lawyers breaking bread with their clients.

    • Hamid Karzai strongly condemns deadly US drone strike in Khost

      The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has strongly condemned a deadly US drone strike in southeastern Khost province of Afghanistan.

    • Hamid Karzai Strongly Condemns Deadly US Drone Strike in Afganistan

      The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has strongly condemned a deadly US drone strike in southeastern Khost province of Afghanistan.

    • Intelligence Agencies Need to Knock Off the Fearmongering

      The U.S. intelligence community needs to take steps to maximize effectiveness and knock off the fearmongering — whether that means eliminating redundant roles or positions, firing and replacing incompetents, re-establishing operational boundaries, or reaffirming priorities that aren’t vulnerable to the media cycle and assorted whims.

      All the hyperventilation does little more than lend credence to Snowden’s claims of misplaced priorities and resources in the intelligence community. Americans deserve to have the quietly confident security services that they’ve paid for, without the endless opportunistic public posturing.

    • US portrays foes stronger than they are because it needs an enemy – political analyst

      If you listened to some of the politicians in the United States, you would think that the country is encircled by enemies. Grave threats emerge regularly, posing danger to everything the US has ever stood for. Islamic State is portrayed as the immediate peril for Washington – and yet, before it, Al-Qaeda was painted the same. However, the United States remain the safest country in the world – and yet, it’s not too eager to cut back on its gigantic military budget. Are the dangers that Washington sees even real, or is the threat coming from White House cabinets? We pose these questions to a professor of political science: Christopher Fettweis is on Sophie&Co today.

    • ‘Killer robots’ mean crimes without accountability

      Such fully autonomous weapons, or “killer robots,” are under development in several countries. But the robots’ use of force would undermine the fundamental legal and moral principle that people should be held responsible for their wrongdoing. Countries and nongovernmental groups around the world have been working for two years now to figure out how to deal with these weapons before they are in production. In April, representatives from 90 countries met at the United Nations in Geneva for their second round of talks on what to do about “lethal autonomous weapons systems.”

    • Local TV Ads Urge Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station Drone Pilots to “Refuse of Fly”

      Fifteen-second television commercials condemning United States drone attacks will begin airing in Niagara Falls and Western New York on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, TWNS, and on YES Network during Yankees games during the month of June.

      The commercials show images from video screens of drone operations; an explosion; and civilians searching through rubble after a drone attack; and states: “Thousands, including women and children, have been murdered by US Drones.”

    • US Drones Attack Afghanistan Funeral, Killing 34 Mourners

      On Friday, US drones attacked a funeral in Afghanistan’s Khost Province, tearing through a crowd of mourners and leaving at least 34 of them dead. The funeral was reportedly for a Taliban fighter, and the Afghan government insisted that by extension, all the mourners must’ve been Taliban too.

    • U.S. drone attack kills at least 34 at Afghan Taliban funeral
    • Afghanistan: US drone strike on funeral kills 34

      At least 34 Taliban insurgents have been killed in Afghanistan’s southeastern Khost province in a U.S. drone attacked a funeral ceremony held for a slain Taliban commander Friday, Afghan authorities said.

    • US drone attack on funeral kills 34 in east Afghanistan
    • US drone operators kill for fun: Analyst
    • Report: Drone Strikes Kill Dozens in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen in May

      American drone strikes killed roughly 50 people in Afghanistan, Pakistan in Yemen in May, according to a Tuesday report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ).

    • Monthly drone report, May 2015: US strikes kill at least 48 in three countries
    • Air Force reacts as Hollywood, Broadway portray drone pilots

      The Air Force has gone on the offensive in an attempt to dispel what it calls myths about the community of remotely piloted aircraft pilots as Hollywood and Broadway both have produced works highlighting the lives of drone pilots.

      With the release of the Ethan Hawke movie “Good Kill” and the recent Anne Hathaway play “Grounded,” the Air Force has sent RPA pilots and commanders into the public to try to tell the real story of the airmen who operate the aircraft.

    • Drone strikes equal collateral massacre

      What does drone warfare say about the direction our country is headed in? I believe it’s a broader symptom of how quickly we resort to violence. Someone is a threat? Shoot ’em. Someone looks like they might be a threat? Shoot them, too. It’s no different than how the police in our country deal with black men — use extreme force. Maybe it’s time we wake up, slap ourselves upside the soul, and ask how we can ever hope to achieve a durable peace by sitting at computers and “unintentionally” killing people thousands of miles away with Hellfire missiles.

      We might be destroying our enemies, but the fallout from the “collateral massacre” will impact us for years to come.

    • Drone policy will come back to bite U.S.

      The entire “kingpin strategy” first used during the “drug wars” to kill high value individuals, has backfired. After cartel leaders were eliminated, more ruthless groups took over, competition flourished and drug prices declined. Taking out kingpins actually increased supply. In fact, America’s addiction to illicit drugs increased due to this failed strategy.

    • Near certainty of targeted drone attacks sows death for an apology

      Scenes in which Muslim civilians are deliberately killed in a cold-blooded and ruthless manner, being regarded as “collateral damage,” and in which the order to fire is given directly given by the CIA are particularly striking. CIA administrators collecting intelligence about the location of terrorists in the region are linked up to the military base in Las Vegas from Langley and watch the images sent back by the UAVs in real time. When the image of the target appears, the officers are able to give the order to fire disregarding warnings that ‘women, children or elderly people’ are also present in the terrorists’ location.

    • Dead Syrian Children And Drones On The Wing

      Recently the Pentagon admitted to killing two Syrian children in a drone attack last fall when they bombed a group of al Qaeda fighters in the suburbs of the Syrian city of Aleppo. At the time they claimed this group was a critical target because they were high level operatives associated with Al Qaeda who were planning attacks on the United States mainland.. No one that I know had ever heard of this group, but their name, Khorasan, is the name of a province in Iran, which is an odd choice for an Al Qaeda affiliate. So they bombed this small group of 50 or less foreigners, holed up in a suburb of Aleppo, Syria, in a civilian neighborhood in the middle of a war zone, plotting to kill Americans in America. It is a stretch to to wrap the mind around this rather incredible story.

    • Interfaith Letter Expressing Grave Concerns on Drone Warfare Sent to President Obama and Congress

      Twenty-nine faith leaders from Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh traditions have sent an Interfaith Letter on Drone Warfare to President Barak Obama and the U.S. Congress.

      The signers say it is morally unacceptable that thousands of innocent people have been killed by US lethal drone strikes. The letter also raises concerns that targeted killings by drones lack transparency and accountability. Finally the letter argues that drone strikes do not make Americans safer, but rather aid recruitment by extremist groups.

    • Faith leaders oppose drone attacks

      Roy Medley, general secretary of the American Baptist Churches USA, and Carole Collins, director of finance and operations for the Alliance of Baptists, were among signers of the letter coordinated by the Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare, a group of 150 faith leaders formed at a recent conference on drone warfare at Princeton Theological Seminary.

      Thousands of deaths, both intended and unintended, have resulted from the military use of lethal drones technology, the faith leaders maintained. One, the recent death of Warren Weinstein, a U.S. citizen killed accidently in a counterterrorism operation targeting an al Qaeda compound in Pakistan, they said, illustrated the risk of drone warfare.

      “Despite the prevailing notion that drones are precise, the recent tragedy involving the death of a U.S. citizen demonstrates this is not the case,” the letter said. “Indeed, such tragedies seem to happen frequently.”

      Reports of a secret “kill list” containing potential drone strike targets created and maintained by the Obama administration, the religious leaders said, “are alarming to us, and counter to our notions of human dignity, participatory processes and rule of law.”

      The faith leaders voiced concern about secrecy and lack of accountability surrounding targeted drone strikes and disputed the assumption that drones save American lives.

    • Protestors to Falls air base: stop deadly drone attacks

      A small group of protestors lined up outside the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station on Wednesday. They were speaking out against the use of drones by the U.S. military, flown overseas and used in attacks while operated from domestic sites including the local air base.

      The protestors, nearly ten in all, included a Vietnam Veteran and a clergyman. The veteran was Russell Brown, who served in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967. He said President Obama and Congress won’t stop military actions overseas, so it’s time to reach out to those in control of the drones.

    • The Turf War Launched by America’s First Drone Strike Is Still Raging

      The CIA’s then-secret weapon missed the Taliban’s leader, starting a 14-years-and-counting fight over who controls the U.S. drone program.

    • Man Whose Son Was Killed In Afghanistan Surprises Pro-War Senator

      During a foreign policy talk at John’s Hopkins University Friday, the father of a man killed in Afghanistan railed against Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) for his pro-war posturing.

    • Lindsey Graham is the bluntest candidate for president

      In recent months, he’s suggested that U.S. elections are controlled behind the scenes by a cabal of a few dozen wealthy donors. He’s implied that the president has the authority to kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil using drones without judicial process, and that the military should invade Syria.

    • The age of human rights imperialism

      The timing was surprising because there have hardly been incidents of human rights abuse in Rwanda for a while. Instead the hearing took place against the backdrop of widespread demonstrations in the US against police brutality meted out against African American males.

      Why would the US congress be bothered by human rights in Rwanda, a country 15,000 miles away, when many of its own citizens are being killed by a run-amok police while others are being sent to jail in droves? In the mid-late 1990s and early 2000s, the government of Rwanda used to be highhanded. It relied on the systematic use of force to consolidate power to a significant degree.

    • Kenya fight against Shebab shifts to its own backyard

      “The Somalia theatre is no longer of interest to the Shebab,” a Western security source told AFP.

    • This is the bloodiest conflict no one is talking about

      I came to know Okot years ago when I looked after him and dozens of other kids at a home for orphans in South Sudan. He was hardened by the time we met, thin as one of the papyrus reeds that grows along the Nile River, and smarter than just about anyone else, child or adult, whom I encountered during my first months in one of the poorest places on earth.

    • Roger That: Scientists find link between bomb blasts, aging of soldiers’ brains

      U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs scientists have discovered signs of early aging in the brains of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans exposed to roadside bomb explosions, even among those who felt nothing from the blast, according to a story in USA Today.

    • John Cusack says Obama is worse than Bush. But he’s just a guy with a boombox.

      You can add actor John Cusack to the list of liberals unimpressed by President Obama’s time in office.

      In an interview with the Daily Beast published Thursday, Cusack said Obama is “as bad or worse than Bush” when it comes to “drones, the American Empire, the NSA, civil liberties, attacks on journalism and whistleblowers.”

    • Is Obama Really Worse Than Bush?

      Yet the extensive spying program and invasive military excursions are following the same strategies and policy narratives that have prevailed in the United States for decades. The point is not which president is better or worse than the other, but rather that these same “Big Brother”, imperialist and Wall Street-kissing policies remain the driving status quo in American presidential politics. Obama and Bush are merely figureheads governing a system that caters to corporations, terrified enough by terrorism to strip the American public of their privacy and secure its world power status through unnecessary and exploitative foreign invasions. Obama ran a campaign of change and “hope”, but change cannot happen with one leader, rather when the problems inherent in our system are eradicated, when those underlying systemic forces are reversed, then change within the American political system can finally have freedom to flourish.

    • John Cusack Talks ‘Love & Mercy,’ Drugs & How Obama’s Policies Are ‘Very Similar to Bush’

      “Well, Obama has certainly extended and hardened the cement on a lot of Bush’s post-9/11 Terror Inc. policies, so he’s very similar to Bush in every way that way,” Cusack said. “His domestic policy is a bit different, but when you talk about drones, the American Empire, the NSA, civil liberties, attacks on journalism and whistleblowers, he’s as bad or worse than Bush. He hasn’t started as many wars, but he’s extended the ones we had, and I don’t even think Dick Cheney or Richard Nixon would say the president has the right to unilaterally decide whom he can kill around the world. On Tuesdays, the president can just decide whom he wants to kill, and you know, since 9/11 there are magic words like ‘terror,’ and if you use magic words, you can justify any power grab you want.”

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Wikileaks publishes TiSA: A secret trade pact between US, Europe and others for big biz pals

      Fresh from offering $100,000 to anyone that leaks the still-secret parts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Wikileaks has published large chunks of the related Trade In Services Agreement (TiSA).

    • ‘They don’t work for the CIA’: Union opposes Disney rule mandating ‘character confidentiality’

      A union representing Walt Disney World performers is challenging a policy forbidding them from revealing online or in print media what characters they portray. The company has long discouraged its entertainers from advertising which princesses or animated animals they play in the theme parks.

    • The Deck Is Stacked Against the Public’s Right to Know

      This week, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform devoted two hearings to understand the state of the government’s compliance to the Freedom of Information Act. As originally intended, the act first passed in 1966 was designed to allow U.S. citizens to request government documents in order to understand what their government was doing. Think of any major Washington scandal and most likely you’ll see FOIA as the tool that uncovered that story. It was how Judicial Watch continues to gather information about the 2012 Benghazi attack and the IRS’s decision to target conservative nonprofits. The act, as wielded by journalist Jason “FIOA terrorist” Leopold, pried loose information about the inner workings of Guantanamo Bay and the CIA’s justification for using drones to kill U.S. citizens.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • ‘It’s Not Just Keystone’: Midwest Gears Up for Massive Tar Sands Fight

      A large protest in Minnesota this weekend is designed to show that the resistance to tar sands goes well beyond Keystone XL, as numerous environmental and social justice groups come together with Indigenous communities across the region to make their unified demands clear to all: “keep toxic tar sands out of America’s Heartland, fight for clean water, clean energy, and a safe climate.”

    • A Fossil Fuel Free World is Possible: How to Power a Warming Earth Without Oil, Coal and Nuclear

      Is a 100% renewable energy future possible? According to Stanford professor Mark Jacobson, the answer is yes. Jacobson has developed plans for all 50 states to transform their power infrastructure to rely on wind, water and solar power. This comes as California lawmakers have approved a dozen ambitious environmental and energy bills creating new standards for energy efficiency. Dubbed the California climate leadership package, the 12 bills set high benchmarks for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum use. We speak with Jacobson and Noah Diffenbaugh, Stanford University Associate Professor and a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

    • Gelderland uses ‘neck breaker’ to kill geese at EUR 13.50 a bird

      Gelderland provincial council has given a EUR 22,000 contract to a small pest control company to kill 1,600 geese using a controversial method of breaking the birds’ necks. Despite the cost of EUR 13.75 per bird, no one has seen if or how the method works and the province does not plan to check up on the work or animal welfare issues, the AD reports. The contract has been awarded to a company named V&T, based in Leerdam but details about how the neck breaker will work are sketchy.

  • Finance

    • Distorted facts, blatant lies: business group’s big push to get ISDS through

      Green MEPs Bart Staes and Molly Scott Cato today openly denounced the lobbying tactics of Mr Beyrer, Director-General of leading business advocate group BUSINESSEUROPE, over the contentious Investor-state Dispute System (ISDS) in TTIP. Both got hold of a lobby email sent by Beyrer to Mr Pittella, chairman of the S&D group as well as other S&D-members. The S&D are in expected to reintroduce anti-ISDS language into the final TTIP resolution, having lost the crucial language opposing ISDS in a compromise with the centre-right group the EPP, last week.

    • EU wants to complete talks on TTIP under Obama

      The talks about the EU-U.S. Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) should be completed under U.S. President Barack Obama’s term of office, which ends in January 2017, EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said at a press conference after a meeting with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka in Prague.

    • Daughter says Blatter victim of conspiracy to oust him

      The three British banks were among more than a dozen named in a 164-page indictment by the FBI but there is no allegation of any wrongdoing from the institutions.

      They are, however, understood to be reviewing the transactions as a precaution to make sure they complied with anti-money laundering and “know your customer” rules.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • At CBS, CIA + GOP = ‘All Segments of American Life’

      Hendin did mention two categories of guests that Schieffer showcased who were outside the world of Beltway politics, “sports figures and celebrities,” and mentioned three of these: Bill Cosby, Morgan Fairchild and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. So much for “all segments of American life.” Apparently there are some parts of the nation CBS doesn’t want to face.

    • How Reagan’s Propaganda Succeeded

      The U.S. political/media system is awash in propaganda drowning any rational debate about crucial foreign policy issues. But how did that happen? A key turning point was the Reagan administration’s pushback against public skepticism over Vietnam and CIA scandals of the 1970s, Robert Parry wrote in 2010.

  • Censorship

    • Chinese Censorship of Western Books Is Now Normal. Where’s the Outrage?

      I spent months investigating how Chinese publishers slice out material — and how Western writers respond with a shrug.

    • Facebook Admits ‘Baby Yoga’ Video Is Disturbing, But Resists Censorship

      A video supposedly depicting “baby yoga” started circulating around Facebook recently, causing an internet uproar and calls for the social media site to be more responsible for user content. The company eventually relented, taking down (some) posts, but the debate over social media censorship is still raging.

    • ‘Baby yoga’ video on Facebook sparks internet censorship debate

      A disturbing video of a screaming baby being roughly dunked in a bucket of water is at the centre of a row over internet censorship.

      The two-minute film appeared on Facebook and showed a woman in a kitchen, believed to be in Indonesia, repeatedly plunging a crying young baby into a vat of water while holding the child upside down and spinning it around.

      Facebook refused to take it down and the video spread around the world, with some people claiming it was an example of “baby yoga” – and child protection activists arguing it was straightforward abuse.

    • Is the New Political Correctness Already Dying?
    • Alan Yentob Calls Ofcom Censorship Plans ‘Bonkers’ And Defends The BBC To Boris Johnson

      Plans to empower Ofcom to vet and censor broadcasts for extremist content have been labelled “bonkers” by one of the BBC’s most senior and recognised personalities.

      Alan Yentob, the BBC’s creative director, said the proposal implied broadcasters were “reckless” and went against the tradition of freedom of speech.

    • ACLU threatens lawsuit; Alhambra Unified officials deny censorship over article

      The ACLU has threatened legal action against the Alhambra Unified School District on the heels of student journalists’ concerns that an administrator allegedly censored student journalists’ publication of an article on the dismissal of a popular high school teacher.

    • China tries to censor a disaster

      THE TRAGIC sinking of a cruise ship on the Yangtze River on Monday night produced a reflexive reaction from China’s communist authorities: censorship. Within hours of the disaster, which left more than 440 people dead or missing, authorities were scrubbing the Internet of questions or comments about the Eastern Star and its passengers. News media were ordered not to send journalists to the scene, to recall those already there and to rely on the official state news and television agencies for their information. Instead of providing detailed accounts, those outlets focused their coverage on Premier Li Keqiang, who was portrayed as resolutely leading rescue efforts.

    • Death Toll Up To 65 In China Boat Disaster; Government Orders Censorship

      As expected, the death toll from the capsizing of a cruise ship on China’s Yangtze River began rising dramatically late Wednesday, as Reuters reported that the number of bodies recovered had jumped to 65.

      More than 370 people remain missing from the ship. Rescuers have cut holes in the upturned hull of the ship and are continuing to hunt for survivors in potential air pockets, Reuters reported.

    • The Arab world has a media censorship problem, but so does the West

      As Arab citizens, we have always been surrounded by seemingly uncrossable borders and boundaries. Unless of course you have wasta—that is when you know someone that knows someone (that knows someone) who can help.

    • China cracks down further on VPNs as censorship intensifies

      China’s government is cracking down further on the use of virtual private networks to circumnavigate its Great Firewall, as part of the ongoing game of whack-a-mole between censors and an increasingly tech-savvy population.

      Charlie Smith, co-founder of the censorship in China monitoring site GreatFire.org, said there has been a significant increase in the usage of VPN services over the last year.

    • Imgur’s Sarah Schaaf Responds After NSFW Censorship Rules Are Enforced: What She Said On Twitter

      It would be an understatement to say that Imgur users — also known as “Imgurians”– freaked out when the image-based social network started to enforce censorship guidelines this week. Community manager Sarah Schaaf even received death threats over the rules, but it doesn’t mean she has given up on the Internet.

    • Vladimir Putin’s censorship agenda targets online giants

      The Russian communications oversight authority has put Facebook, Twitter and Google on notice. In May the agency, known by its acronym Roskomnadzor, sent a letter to the companies reminding them that they need to comply with the country’s Internet laws.

    • Boise State University Stops Making Pro-Life groups Post Warning Signs for Their Events

      The university also prohibited the group from distributing fliers outside one of the school’s eight “speech zones,” which together are limited to less than one percent of the entire campus.

    • How to combat hate

      As for Holocaust denial, for all its absurdity and offensiveness, criminal penalties are the wrong way to combat it, as The Economist has always argued. “In civilised countries, the truth is best policed by scholars, not criminal prosecutors,” we wrote when the British writer David Irving was convicted by an Austrian court.

    • Orthodox Academics Minimize Haredi Censorship And Marginalization Of Women
    • Saffron Censorship: Sikh24 Blocked In India As Media Outage Continues

      Indian authorities have blocked Sikh24 social media pages, including Sikh24’s Facebook page on Thursday. Users report that some internet service providers do allow the sites, while most in the north-western states, such as Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir have blocked Sikh24 completely. While still spottily enforced, the blocking has seemed to become stricter following the shooting death of a Sikh who was protesting peacefully.

    • Banned in India: My Censorship Battle

      On March 5, 2015, the Indian Censors declared that the film Unfreedom couldn’t be certified for public viewing in India. In the following satiric piece by the film’s director, Raj Amit Kumar, based on actual statements made by the Indian Censors about his film, he is questioning not just their decision about his film, but the validity of their authority to censor any film.

  • Privacy

    • Lifting the lid on modern day spies

      One thing rarely understood about espionage, as it has come to be in the 21st century, has been the shift out of the field and into the office. There aren’t may British Government employees roaming the world with false identities and licences to kill. Rather, increasingly, the desk-jockeys have been hiring people such as “Steak Knife”, Britain’s top spy inside the IRA. Our government agents are now “spymasters” who recruit or “handle” spies; they are career professionals employed by agencies such as the CIA and Britain’s SIS (also known by its one-time codename, MI6) or Military Intelligence.

    • US government responds to latest hack: give us more power over data collection

      Congressional leaders are warning the latest major government data hack proves the Senate should hand the US government greater cybersecurity powers – even as the stalled legislation to do so would place even more consumer data into the hands of the same government that could not secure its existing information.

      An estimated 4 million federal employees had their personal data compromised after what was reported by authorities on Thursday to be a previously unknown software intrusion, known as a “zero day” attack, accessed networks operated by the Office of Personnel Management, the federal human resources department that houses high-level security clearances and government employee records.

    • Latest Snowden leak: NSA can snoop internet to catch ‘hackers’ – no warrants needed

      The latest documents to be released from the Snowden archive show that the NSA was secretly authorized to carry out warrantless surveillance on US internet traffic in the name of cybersecurity.

      Two memos released by ProPublica in cooperation with The New York Times show that in May 2012, the US Justice Department authorized the NSA to monitor domestic internet traffic as part of investigations into foreign hacking attacks. That authority was later extended to allow monitoring of IP addresses and “cybersignatures.”

    • Private emails, trade secrets vulnerable to expanded NSA Internet spying

      The US government has the power to gather a vast amount of information from American citizens, including those from private emails, after the National Security Agency (NSA) expanded its Internet surveillance efforts in 2012, without public notice or consultations.

    • NSA’s use of ‘back-door searches’ against hackers is reformers’ next target

      Surveillance reformers, fresh off a week of tenuous victories, have vowed to ensure there are further overhauls to the National Security Agency’s vast dragnets after a new report detailed another stretch of legal authority by the US government to stop malicious hackers.

    • Edward Snowden: NSA secretly had spying powers expanded under Obama administration

      New documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden claim the US National Security Agency had its power to spy on US internet connections secretly expanded under the Obama administration.

    • New Snowden Documents Reveal Secret Memos Expanding Spying

      The Obama administration has stepped up the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program on U.S. soil to search for signs of hacking.

    • The NSA is still conducting mass surveillance of the US internet to find cyberattacks
    • New Snowden documents reveal secret memos expanding spying

      Without public notice or debate, the Obama administration has expanded the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance of Americans’ international Internet traffic to search for evidence of malicious computer hacking, according to classified NSA documents.

      In mid-2012, Justice Department lawyers wrote two secret memos permitting the spy agency to begin hunting on Internet cables, without a warrant and on American soil, for data linked to computer intrusions originating abroad—including traffic that flows to suspicious Internet addresses or contains malware, the documents show.

    • Hunting for Hackers, N.S.A. Secretly Expands Internet Spying at U.S. Border
    • NSA surveillance: how librarians have been on the front line to protect privacy

      ‘Librarians were the original search engine’ and long before Edward Snowden, thousands campaigned against the government violating privacy rights

    • Snowden: balance of power has shifted as people defy government surveillance

      A “profound difference” has occurred over the past two years, following the leaking of NSA documents that led to revelations about US surveillance on phone and internet communications, whistleblower Edward Snowden has said.

    • New Snowden leak: NSA uses warrantless Web surveillance to hunt hackers

      According to a joint investigation between the New York Times and Pro Publica, the Justice Department authorized the NSA to hunt for hackers without a warrant, even when those hackers were present on American soil. Initially, the DOJ authorized the NSA to gather only addresses and “cybersignatures” that corresponded to computer intrusions, so that it could tie the efforts to specific foreign governments. The NSA, however, sought permission to push this envelope. These new slides also note, incidentally, that Dropbox was targeted for addition to the PRISM program.

    • Don’t expect major changes to NSA surveillance from Congress

      After the U.S. Congress approved what critics have called modest limits on the National Security Agency’s collection of domestic telephone records, many lawmakers may be reluctant to further change the government’s surveillance programs.

    • NSA reform: USA Freedom Act passes first surveillance reform in decade – as it happened
    • NSA can’t legally surveil Americans’ every phone call, for now. Thanks, Edward Snowden.

      Today is a big day for privacy in the United States: each of us can now call our mom, our best friend, or a pizza delivery service without the NSA automatically keeping a record of who we called, when, and how long the conversation lasts.

    • Edward Snowden: Becoming an ‘international fugitive’ was worth it, claims NSA whistleblower

      Becoming an “international fugitive” was worth it because of the benefits it brought to the public, according to US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      The former National Security Agency (NSA) worker said progress had been made since he released thousands of documents about global surveillance records two years ago.

    • How The NSA’s ‘Cybersecurity’ Surveillance Should Completely Change The Debate On Cybersecurity Bills

      For quite some time now, we’ve been warning about the government’s questionable attempts to pass “cybersecurity” bills that focus on “information sharing” with names like CISA and CISPA. Defenders of these bills insist that they’re “just voluntary” and are necessary because it would enable private companies to share threat information with the US government, so that the US government could help stop attacks. Of course, we’ve been asking for years (1) why, if this is so useful, companies can’t already share this information and (2) what attacks these bills would have actually stopped? No one ever seems to have any answers.

    • With the Passage of NSA Reforms, Telecoms Say the Buck Has Been Passed to Them

      The two-year fight to overhaul the National Security Agency ended this week with President Barack Obama’s signing of the USA Freedom Act. But it will take months of tough negotiations with telecom companies for the White House to actually implement the required reforms, and privacy groups are still smarting over what they consider watered-down changes to how the NSA does business.

    • New conservative legal challenge to NSA phone data program

      Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the tea party-linked Freedom Works Foundation filed a legal motion Friday with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking to stop the government from restarting the program run formerly by the National Security Agency. The previous program expired June 1, along with certain authorities under the Patriot Act.

    • NSA phone data program beset by new legal challenge

      Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the tea party-linked Freedom Works Foundation filed a legal motion Friday with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking to stop the government from restarting the program run formerly by the National Security Agency. The previous program expired Monday, along with certain authorities under the Patriot Act.

    • NSA quietly expanded Internet snooping powers, leaked documents show

      A new joint report from the New York Times and ProPublica that cites classified documents reveals that the Obama administration secretly granted the National Security Agency additional authorities to spy on the international Internet communications of Americans in order to seek out hacking attacks from abroad. The expanded powers, which aimed to help the agency seek out and squelch foreign-born cyber intrusions, had not been previously disclosed to the public.

    • This Shadow Government Agency Is Scarier Than the NSA

      If you have a telephone number that has ever been called by an inmate in a federal prison, registered a change of address with the Postal Service, rented a car from Avis, used a corporate or Sears credit card, applied for nonprofit status with the IRS, or obtained non-driver’s legal identification from a private company, they have you on file.

    • Nosier than the NSA? Shadowy bureau may have your credit card info
    • Shadow branch of US Justice Department more secretive and powerful than NSA

      This agency is called the National Security Analysis Center (NSAC). This is a shadow branch of the US Justice Department. The agency employs more than 400 people, of whom 300 are analysts and has the annual budget of more than $150 million.

    • Locals react to reformed NSA surveillance bill
    • Local Reaction to NSA Surveillance Reform
    • US Officials to Ask Secret Court to Bring Back NSA Spying
    • EFF and ACLU Ask Appeals Court to Rule that Use of NSA’s Warrantless Surveillance in a Criminal Case Is Unconstitutional

      With the passage of the USA Freedom Act, we’ve gained important reforms of the intelligence community, but there’s still a lot to do, including reining in the NSA’s warrantless mass surveillance of Americans’ Internet communications under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA). That’s why EFF yesterday filed an amicus brief along with the ACLU and the ACLU of Oregon in United States v. Mohamud, a criminal case currently on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit involving Section 702 surveillance.

    • Report: NSA Expanded Internet Spying

      Two secret Justice Department memos, written in mid-2012, deemed as legal the search of Internet communications, without warrants and on American soil, for data linked to computer intrusions emanating from abroad, including traffic that flows to suspicious Internet addresses or contains malware, the publications reported on June 4, citing the Snowden documents leaked two years ago.

    • Four million federal employee records hacked. Is the NSA actually capable of preventing cyber-attacks?

      So what did the NSA or any of our other intelligence agencies do to stop any of those attacks?

      It doesn’t look like they actually did anything.

      I suppose one could hypothesize that the NSA did detect some of these attacks but decided not to do anything because it would confirm to the world that the NSA was poking their noses in places that they shouldn’t have been. But the entire world already know the NSA breaks U.S. and international laws on a daily basis so it’s not like it would surprise anyone.

    • Satire: N.S.A. Compensates for Loss of Surveillance Powers by Logging on to Facebook
    • US lawmaker: Next, we stop the NSA from weakening encryption

      Encryption should stay strong, says one privacy-minded member of Congress.

    • NSA spying powers aren’t dead yet, as the Obama administration seeks to revive bulk collection

      Not more than 72-hours after the NSA’s controversial bulk phone records collection program was brought to an end on Sunday night, the Obama administration has confirmed it will seek to temporarily reinstate the operation through a provision found in the USA Freedom Act.

      By exploiting a six-month transitional grace period afforded to the NSA in the freshly-passed Act, the administration says it will petition a secret surveillance court to revive the program while its data and repositories are prepped to transfer from the servers in Fort Meade to the hands of US telecoms.

    • Encryption mobile app ‘can’t be broken by the NSA’

      A smartphone app going live this month claims to be the ‘dark Internet tunnel’ that thwarts snooping on calls and texts.

    • New privacy app takes a page from NSA technology
    • USMobile launches Scrambl3 mobile app that creates ‘Dark Internet Tunnel’
    • Snowden: UK has ‘exploited tragedy’ to justify spying on civilians
    • Martin O’Malley Calls For More Restrictions on NSA Surveillance

      Former Gov. Martin O’Malley said that recent reforms to the Patriot Act did not go far enough in curtailing the National Security Agency, arguing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court should include a public advocate.

    • Edward Snowden looks back, two years after NSA leaks started

      It’s been about two years since we first discussed the NSA plan for “bulk metadata” monitoring of phone calls. At the heart of that information and so many revelations since, is Edward Snowden, the man who leaked documents to Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras about exactly what was being done in the name of national security. Still living in Russia to avoid prosecution for that act, he’s published an op-ed in The New York Times, titled “The World Says No to Surveillance.”

    • Merkel says government didn’t lie about possible US ‘no-spy’ pact
    • Judge probes destruction of evidence in NSA leak prosecution

      A federal judge is investigating allegations that the government may have improperly destroyed documents during the high-profile media leak investigation of National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake.

    • Federal judge probes destruction of evidence in prosecution of NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake

      A federal judge is investigating charges that the United States government may have illegally destroyed possible evidence during the high-profile media leak investigation of National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake.

      McClatchy reports that U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Gallagher launched her inquiry after Drake’s lawyers in April accused the Pentagon inspector general’s office of destroying documents during Drake’s criminal prosecution. The case against Drake ended almost four years ago.

    • Feds Under Investigation for Destroying Evidence in NSA Whistleblower Case

      The United States government is under investigation following allegations that the Pentagon inspector general’s office destroyed documents during the investigation of NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake.

      Lawyers for Drake, including Jesselyn Radack, made the accusation in April. They allege that the government improperly destroyed documents relating to Drake’s work with a group of whistleblowers from 2002-2003, who legally cooperated with congressional and inspector general inquiries relating to NSA programs.

    • Former Pentagon IG Official Probed for Destroying Documents

      Halbrooks did not respond to messages, and the Pentagon IG’s office declined to comment. The Justice Department also gave no comment on the current judicial probe.


      Tom Devine, legal director for the Government Accountability Project, told Government Executive that “Drake and the other NSA surveillance whistleblowers followed all the rules and worked within the system, to a letter. But the Pentagon inspector general responded by violating their rights, referring them for criminal investigations and beginning nightmares that devastated Mr. Drake’s and others’ lives.”

    • Daniel Ellsberg credits Edward Snowden with catalysing US surveillance reform

      NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden should be thanked for sparking the debate that forced Congress to change US surveillance law, Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers, said Monday.

    • NSA spying: Today in America our government keeps us neither free nor safe
    • Neither Freedom nor Safety: Politicians are Lying to You on NSA Spying

      In their continuous efforts to create the impression that the government is doing something to keep Americans safe, politicians in Washington have misled and lied to the public. They have violated their oaths to uphold the Constitution. They have created a false sense of security. And they have dispatched and re-dispatched 60,000 federal agents to intercept the telephone calls, text messages and emails of all Americans all the time.


      The NSA is a military entity that utilizes the services of military computer experts and agents, employs civilians, and hires companies that provide thousands of outside contractors. After nearly 14 years of spying on us — all authorized by a secret court whose judges cannot keep records of what they have ordered or discuss openly what they know — the NSA now has computers and computer personnel physically located in the main switching offices of all telecom and Internet service providers in the United States. It has 24/7 access to the content of everyone’s telephone calls, emails and text messages.

    • How the NSA Tramples Freedom and Undermines Public Safety
    • Obama Administration to Ask Secret Court to Revive NSA Surveillance

      The Guardian on Wednesday reported that the Obama administration “intends to use part of a law banning the bulk collection of US phone records to temporarily restart the bulk collection of US phone records.”

    • Back from the dead: US officials to ask secret court to revive NSA surveillance

      Obama administration sees unconventional legal circumstance as means to temporarily reinstate bulk collection using same law that banned practice

    • Under New Rules, NSA To Again Access Americans’ Phone Records

      The National Security Agency can once again access your phone records. That power lapsed for almost two days. It is back under new rules. Data about calls can only be stored by phone companies, and the government will need a court order to get it. It’s a system laid out in a congressional bill that the House passed weeks ago. The Senate approved it yesterday after days of delay. Here’s NPR’s Ailsa Chang.

    • Analysis: New NSA bill barely touches agency’s vast powers

      The surveillance law enacted this week stands as the most significant curb on the government’s investigative authorities since the 1970s. But it’s practically inconsequential in the universe of the National Security Agency’s vast digital spying operations, a technical overhaul of a marginal counterterrorism program that some NSA officials wanted to jettison anyway.

    • Judge probes claim of evidence destruction in NSA leak prosecution

      A federal judge is investigating allegations that the government may have improperly destroyed documents during the high-profile media leak investigation of National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake.

    • Pentagon may have destroyed evidence in NSA whistleblower case, now under investigation

      A federal judge is investigating allegations that the US government may have destroyed documents during the investigation of National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake, who leaked information about the agency’s surveillance programs.

    • Encrypted email: ‘Indicator for NSA to collect that information’

      It’s established fact at this point in time that the NSA has conspired with a number of the largest providers of social networking to extract information for use in on-going investigations. The real question is we don’t know the extent to which that is happening. What we do know, however, is that buried in this US Freedom Act are several clauses – one of which will pay private companies to collect information about its users, and a second that provides liability protection even if sharing that information is found by a court to have been illegal. So one of the reasons why a lot of companies are right now pushing for the passage of the US Freedom Act is that they get money and they get liability protection if what they are doing actually breaks the law.

    • Don’t expect NSA reform to matter as long as there’s still a war on drugs

      Before the war on terror was born, there was the war on drugs — and despite the recent erosion in punitive drug laws across the US, the federal war on drugs is still expanding. USA Today reports that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conducted 11,681 electronic intercepts in 2014, up from 3,394 just a decade earlier. This sharp increase has been made possible, USA Today reports, because the DEA has circumvented federal judges in favor of state courts that may have less rigorous requirements for obtaining warrants.

    • Needles, Haystacks, and NSA Snooping

      “Section 215 helps us find a needle in the haystack,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last month, referring to the PATRIOT Act provision that the National Security Agency (NSA) says allows it to scoop up everyone’s telephone records. If Congress imposes limits aimed at preventing such mass snooping, the Kentucky Republican warned, “there might not be a haystack at all.”

      For those who wonder how McConnell lost his battle to renew Section 215 without changes, a plausible answer is that he and his allies picked the wrong metaphor. What they meant to say (I think) was that the NSA needs all the help it can get in the challenging task of identifying terrorists before they attack. What the public heard was a defense of indiscriminate and invasive yet ineffective data collection.

    • Solution Providers: New NSA Controls Fall Short Of Restoring Trust In Cloud Services

      While Congress took steps Tuesday to curtail unbridled government surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA), solution providers said the efforts fall short of restoring damaged client trust in cloud services.

      The U.S. Senate voted 67-32 on Tuesday to pass a bill proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives, known as the U.S.A. Freedom Act, that would reinstate surveillance but provided for more controls, such as requiring a warrant for records stored at phone companies such as Verizon or Comcast. The bill is a replacement to the controversial Patriot Act, which expired Monday.

    • An Interview with PH1K3 the #NSA Email #Hacker

      “Alleged” NSA email hacker, that is, although he seems plenty eager to discuss it publicly. On May 15, we brought you the exclusive story of a hack of the NSA’s backup email server, a server maintained, ironically, not by the NSA but by Qwest, an IT services company against which the NSA had previously battled (spoiler: the NSA won). Back then, a softer, gentler age mere months before 9/11, the NSA wanted permission to access your data, and it asked Qwest for that permission. Qwest refused. The NSA pressed the issue, soon armed with the newly-minted Patriot Act. Qwest’s federal contracts began to dry up as it continued to resist the fond embraces of the NSA. Four years later its CEO was sentenced to prison for insider trading, which he considers to be no coincidence.

    • US ‘freezes intelligence cooperation with German troops in Iraq’

      Despite the diplomatic fallout over NSA spying, it has emerged in recent months that Germany’s own BND intelligence service spied on European targets – at the NSA’s request.

    • Bergen: NSA fishing expedition nets a minnow

      The reality is that the NSA’s surveillance has proven far less effective than traditional investigative methods. More than half of the 294 cases that New America examined were initiated by such techniques as reliance on tips from members of a suspect’s community or family, tips from suspicious members of the public, the use of informants, routine law enforcement, intelligence from sources other than the NSA, or followup after a militant made a public statement regarding their extremist beliefs or actions.

    • NSA metadata collection targets innocent people

      US lawmakers are battling over how far its spy agencies can go to collect Americans’ phone records and other data after controversial parts of the Patriot Act expired at midnight on Sunday.


      Opponents of the law seem to have run out of options and the new law is expected to pass sometime this week, though the debate will probably continue as the US heads into a presidential election.

    • Snowden: NSA spies on Cameron; could have ‘backdoor’ into GCHQ

      Whistleblower Edward Snowden has criticized the UK for playing an active role in the worldwide surveillance network set up by the US National Security Agency (NSA), saying the rights and needs of British citizens are being sacrificed.

    • Critic: NSA on a “very ugly path”

      After 30-plus years as an official in the National Security Agency (NSA), William Binney has been speaking out about what he sees as the “very ugly path” his former employer, along with the FBI and CIA, are currently following.

      At a lunch presentation on April 29 in midtown New York, Binney didn’t hold back detailing the extent of the surveillance as well as the workarounds the agencies use to gather data and apply it in prosecutions. And the practices will only get bigger, Binney said, owing to the money flowing into the departments based on lies being told to Congress and an uninformed public.

    • Bernie Sanders Reluctantly Admits He Agrees With Rand Paul On NSA Surveillance

      Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) may be on opposite sides of the aisle, but they do see eye to eye on the issue of government surveillance.

    • Katie Couric to Bernie Sanders: Aren’t You and Rand Paul in ‘Lockstep’ on NSA?
    • Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul agree: The NSA goes too far

      Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul may not have much in common. But there is one thing the Vermont socialist and Kentucky libertarian agree on: the National Security Agency’s surveillance program.

      In an interview with Katie Couric for Yahoo News on Monday, Sanders said “in many respects” he agrees with Paul when it comes to opposing the government’s collection of people’s phone records.

    • Florida Schools Tracking Kids on Social Media NSA-Style

      One thing Orange schools are doing right is being honest about using this program. Orange County might not be the first school system to use this surveillance device, but the software company is unwilling to disclose who else is using it. Certainly, it’s at least better to tell students and their parents up front that social media messages posted at school will be monitored rather than doing it without their knowledge.

    • Former NSA Director: Freedom Act Vote is Approval for Bulk Data Collection

      Former NSA Director Michael Hayden confirmed that the US Congress cast a vote of approval for the National Security Agency’s ability to collect US citizen’s metadata.

    • Former NSA Director: NSA Lost Only Access to US Phone Records on Monday

      Former NSA Director Michael Hayden claims that the NSA bulk data collection authority, which expired on Monday, was the sole mechanism the agency had for accessing US citizens’ phone data.

    • Argentine President met with NSA whistleblower while in Moscow

      Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez held talks with U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden during a visit to Russia in April. The two hour-long meeting took place after intelligence documents provided by Snowden, revealed Britain spied on Argentine military and political leaders from 2006 to 2011.

    • Lawyer: Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez took meeting with Snowden
    • Bruce Plante Cartoon: NSA under control
    • US Telecom Giants Cooperate Eagerly With NSA in Surveillance – Watchdog

      Electronic Frontier Foundation Executive Director Cindy Cohn said that the major American telecommunications companies will continue to cooperate eagerly with the US government and carry out its wishes just as during the past 14 years.

    • Does The NSA Spy On Messaging Apps?

      The surveillance methods under review in Congress only involve phone records. National security expert Richard Clarke, who recently served on President Obama’s task force that recommended changes on NSA surveillance programs, told Here & Now host Jeremy Hobson that messages sent over apps like WhatsApp, iMessage and Facetime cannot be deciphered by the government.

    • UK police outdoes USA’s NSA accessing people’s personal information every two minutes

      As many as 93 percent of such police requests are approved. The number of data requests peaked in 2014 with 250,000 requests in total.

    • FBI’s Flights Monitor Citizens’ Cellphones, Even as NSA Program Debated in Congress

      The Associated Press reports today that the FBI has been operating a small air force all its own on the domestic front, registered under at least 13 fake companies – and hidden from the public.

    • Edward Snowden: The World Says No to Surveillance
    • Berners-Lee Urges Britons To Fight The Snooper’s Charter, But For One UK Tech Company It’s Too Late

      That comes from Aral Balkan, a well-known developer in the UK, who put the Snooper’s Charter as one of four key reasons why he and his team at ind.ie will be seeking another country that still values freedom and privacy. Sadly, it seems more likely that others will be decide to follow their example than that the UK government will heed Berners-Lee’s warning and change direction here.

    • CIA-backed Portland startup Tyfone raises $6.6M for decentralized security platform [Ed: "Cloud" is not security, it is surveillance]

      The 11-year-old company develops a combination of software and hardware security solutions that help clients in industries like finance, healthcare, and government manage data and digital assets in the cloud more securely.

    • Former CIA Officer: Freedom Act ‘Nothing to Do With Freedom’
    • CIA Chief: Cooperation with Israel Still Very Strong

      Speaking on CBS News, Brennan stressed that there is a “very, very strong relationship between United States and Israel on the intelligence, security and military fronts.”

    • Edward Snowden Hits Out at Russia’s Privacy Laws

      He also attacks Canada, France and Australia for expanding their surveillance powers

    • Spy Game In Afghanistan – Analysis

      Cooperation between the intelligence agencies of two countries is nothing new. Even during the Cold War, the CIA and KGB maintained communications. But the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the spy agencies of Afghanistan and Pakistan – for long at loggerheads – is a first.

  • Civil Rights


Links 5/6/2015: Linux on ATMs, TISA Agreement Leak

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source? HP Enterprise will be all-in, post split, says CTO

    Speaking at the HP Discover conference in Las Vegas this week, CTO Martin Fink said open source will be central to how HP’s enterprise incarnation conducts its business.

    “We have taken this very, very seriously and we are all-in on the notion of open source,” Fink said, adding that even game-changing big bets like the Machine will be backed by open source software.


    To prove it, on Wednesday HP announced Grommet, a new user interface framework that’s specifically tailored for enterprise applications and that HP has released under the Apache License.

  • How telecoms can escape vendor lock-in with open source NFV

    The problem: As mobile devices continue to proliferate, the Internet of Things keeps growing immensely, and more users and new data are pushed across telecom networks every day, network operators must invest in expanded facilities. The revenue from mobile applications is tied to number of devices/consumers not amount of data consumed. As time goes on, average revenue per user will remain flat or even decrease as data demand will increase significantly over time.

  • TISA Agreement Might Outlaw Governments From Mandating Open Source Software In Many Situations

    Now, this is nowhere near complete — it is “bracketed text” which is still being negotiated, and Colombia already opposes the text. Also, some may argue that the second bullet point, which says it only applies to “mass market” software and not “critical infrastructure” software solves some of these issues. Finally, some might argue that this is reasonable if looked at from the standpoint of a commercial provider of proprietary software, who doesn’t want to have to cough up its source code to a government just to win a grant.

    But, if that language stays, it seems likely that any government that ratifies the agreement could not then do something like mandate governments use open source office products. And that should be a choice those governments can make, if they feel that open source software is worth promoting and provides better security, reliability and/or cost effectiveness when compared to proprietary software. That seems tremendously problematic, unless you’re Microsoft.

  • Airbnb announces Aerosolve, an open-source machine learning software package

    The new tool, announced at Airbnb’s 2015 OpenAir developer conference in San Francisco, powers new pricing tips for hosts, which was also announced today. Written mostly in the Java and Scala programming languages, Aerosolve can also more intelligently rank and order things like images.

  • HP reveals Grommet open source app development framework

    Martin Fink, HP’s chief technology officer, revealed Grommet in a keynote speech at HP’s Discover conference in Las Vegas, explaining the framework will be available to everyone looking to create consistent user experiences in enterprise apps.

  • Stream processing, for dummies

    DataTorrent will be making it RTS core engine available under the Apache 2.0 open source license.

    The firm is a player in the real-time big data analytics market.

    It is also the creator of a unified ‘stream and batch processing’ platform.

  • Angry redditors rally to stop SourceForge’s mirror service

    SourceForge has been in the news a lot lately, and not for positive reasons. Angry redditors are rallying to encourage the mirror providers of SourceForge to stop supporting the site.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Apache OpenOffice versus LibreOffice

      Following yesterday’s LibreOffice report for 2014, comes another interesting report from Document Foundation members Barend Jonkers and Cor Nouws comparing the features of LibreOffice and OpenOffice. The 60-page report “focuses on areas as feasibility, smart use, quality and improvements, localization and more.” It makes clear that LibreOffice has undergone massive improvements as compared to OpenOffice.

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD Moves Ahead With Updating Their Radeon DRM Graphics Driver

      DragonFlyBSD and other BSD distributions porting the Linux DRM drivers are still several major releases behind the upstream kernel state, but at least they’re making progress for those wishing to use the open-source drivers as an alternative to the prominent BSD display driver: the NVIDIA BSD proprietary driver that’s of high quality and on par with the Windows and Linux NVIDIA drivers.


    • GNU Octave 4.0.0 Released

      The Octave developers are pleased to announce a major new release of GNU Octave, version 4.0.0.

    • MediaGoblin 0.8.0: A Gallery of Fine Creatures

      We’re excited to announce that MediaGoblin 0.8.0, “A Gallery of Fine Creatures”, has been released! The biggest news is that the client to server API (making use of the future federation API) is much improved! That means that users no longer have to depend on a browser to access MediaGoblin.

    • Open Source History: What if GNU and Linux Had Cloned MS-DOS, Not Unix?

      First, let’s run through what actually happened. When Richard Stallman started the GNU project in 1984, he intended from the beginning to write a clone of the Unix operating system. He explicitly rejected the notion that GNU might instead aim to copy an operating system like MS-DOS. As he wrote in the February 1986 GNU newsletter, platforms like DOS, although “more widely used” than Unix, were “very weak systems, designed for tiny machines.”

    • MediaGoblin 0.8.0 Open Source Media Server Released with Initial Python 3 Support

      Deb Nicholson has had the great pleasure of announcing the immediate availability for download of a major new release of the open-source media server software MediaGoblin.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Ministry of Defence to build open source analytics platform

      The Ministry of Defence has launched a competition to build an ‘evolutionary’ new open source analytics platform to help it better understand its data.

    • France to boost uptake of free software in government

      France’s public administrations are encouraged to increase their use of free software, announces DISIC, the inter-ministerial Directorate for IT. Public administrations should become active participants in free software development communities, for example by allowing their software engineers to work on free software.

    • Defence body looks for messy data platform

      The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is dipping its toe into the waters of unstructured data with a competition for the development of prototypes for an open source analytics platform.

    • Embrace open source, says Ministry of Defence CIO

      The Ministry of Defence has launched a competition to build an ‘evolutionary’ new open source analytics platform to help it better understand its data, as CIO Mike Stone announced the MoD needs to drop its cautious approach and embrace open source.

  • Licensing

    • 5 Essential Duties of Legal Counsel in an Open Source Compliance Program

      Establishing an Open Source Review Board is one key way that companies can help ensure compliance with open source licenses, community norms and requirements (see the previous article, Why Companies That Use Open Source Need a Compliance Program, for more details.) In larger companies, a typical board is made of representatives from engineering, product teams and legal resources in addition to a Compliance Officer (sometimes called Director of Open Source).

      While FOSS compliance is more of an operational challenge related to execution and scaling than a legal challenge, legal counsel is an essential component of any review board and compliance program. Companies may choose to use internal legal counsel, or utilize external counsel on a fee basis. Regardless of how it’s achieved, there are five essential duties of an open source lawyer to ensure that a company observes all of the copyright notices and satisfies all the license obligations for the FOSS they use in their commercial products.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Beginning software delivery acceleration with DevOps

      Time and time again, we hear of companies achieving rapid acceleration with DevOps. Companies are touting success with the metric of deploys per day, sharing new baselines of 10, 50, or even 100 deploys a day. In more mature organizations, like LinkedIn, Netflix, Etsy, Facebook, and others, this number is a startling 1,000+ number. But, what does this even mean?


  • Security

    • MS Supports SSH, Keeping Up With the Kubuntus & More…

      Hmmm. Yeah, it’s smirk-inducing to see them finally want to join the rest of the world in the SSH department after all these years. But after reading Christine Hall’s article yesterday about our friends in Redmond and their “fox guarding the henhouse” security teams and their affinity for backdoors, you have to wonder, on a privacy level, if this is a good idea. I guess we’ll just have to see.

    • Thursday’s security alerts
    • Assume your GitHub account is hacked, users with weak crypto keys told

      The keys, which allow authorized users to log into public repository accounts belonging to the likes of Spotify, Yandex, and UK government developers, were generated using a buggy pseudo random number generator originally contained in the Debian distribution of Linux. During a 20-month span from 2006 to 2008, the pool of numbers available was so small that it made cracking the secret keys trivial. Almost seven years after Debian maintainers patched the bug and implored users to revoke old keys and regenerate new ones, London-based developer Ben Cartwright-Cox said he discovered the weakness still resided in a statistically significant number of keys used to gain secure shell (SSH) access to GitHub accounts.

    • Why Longer Passphrases are More Secure than Passwords [VIDEO]
    • This Hacked Kids’ Toy Opens Garage Doors in Seconds

      Nortek didn’t immediately respond to WIRED’s request for comment. Another major brand of garage door opener, Genie, didn’t respond to to a request for comment either, but says on its website that its devices use rolling codes. A spokesperson for Chamberlain, the owner of the Liftmaster brand and one of the biggest sellers of garage door openers, initially told WIRED the company hasn’t sold fixed code doors since 1992. But when Kamkar dug up a 2007 manual for a Liftmaster device that seemed to use fixed codes, Chamberlain marketing executive Corey Sorice added that the company has supported and serviced older garage door openers until much more recently. “To the extent there are still operators in the market begin serviced by replacement parts, part of the objective is to get to safer and more secure products,” he said in a phone interview. “We’d love to see people check the safety and security of their [devices] and move forward.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Jeremy Corbyn

      The media dismiss any argument outwith the bounds of their narrow, manufactured corporate consensus as marginal and irrelevant. For example, never mind the fact that a clear majority in the UK has for years supported renationalisation of the railways. The very fact of its popular support makes it imperative to the BBC and other corporate media that it must not be voiced. Jeremy is very likely to voice it. Watch as he is carefully marginalised, patronised and excluded.

  • Privacy

    • A Misleading Moment of Celebration for a New Surveillance Program

      The morning after final passage of the USA Freedom Act, while some foes of mass surveillance were celebrating, Thomas Drake sounded decidedly glum. The new law, he told me, is “a new spy program.” It restarts some of the worst aspects of the Patriot Act and further codifies systematic violations of Fourth Amendment rights.

      Later on Wednesday, here in Oslo as part of a “Stand Up For Truth” tour, Drake warned at a public forum that “national security” has become “the new state religion.” Meanwhile, his Twitter messages were calling the USA Freedom Act an “itty-bitty step” — and a “stop/restart kabuki shell game” that “starts w/ restarting bulk collection of phone records.”

      That downbeat appraisal of the USA Freedom Act should give pause to its celebrants. Drake is a former senior executive of the National Security Agency — and a whistleblower who endured prosecution and faced decades in prison for daring to speak truthfully about NSA activities. He ran afoul of vindictive authorities because he refused to go along with the NSA’s massive surveillance program after 9/11.

    • U.S. spy agency secretly expands warrantless Internet surveillance: report

      The U.S. government has secretly expanded the National Security Agency’s warrantless Internet surveillance to search for evidence of what it called “malicious cyberactivity,” The New York Times reported Thursday, citing classified documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

      U.S. Justice Department lawyers wrote two secret memos in mid-2012 granting its secret approval for the NSA to begin hunting on Internet cables for data allegedly linked to computer intrusions originating abroad, including traffic that flows to suspicious Internet addresses or contains malware, the report said.

    • FBI anti-terror official calls on tech firms to ‘prevent encryption above all else’

      The FBI has again waded into the debate around encryption, with the bureau’s assistant director of counterterrorism telling the US congress that tech companies should “prevent encryption above all else”.

    • FBI official: Companies should help us ‘prevent encryption above all else’

      The debate over encryption erupted on Capitol Hill again Wednesday, with an FBI official testifying that law enforcement’s challenge is working with tech companies “to build technological solutions to prevent encryption above all else.”

      At first glance the comment from Michael B. Steinbach, assistant director in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, might appear to go further than FBI Director James B. Comey. Encryption, a technology widely used to secure digital information by scrambling data so only authorized users can decode it, is “a good thing,” Comey has said, even if he wants the government to have the ability get around it.

    • Breaking news: “Pyrawebs” rejected for good [Espanol/English]

      This afternoon, the Paraguayan Senate voted against a bill that would have mandated internet service providers (ISPs) to store internet communications metadata for one year, thus rejecting the “Pyrawebs” initiative for good. The House of Representatives in Paraguay previously voted against the bill in March before sending it to the Senate for a final decision.

    • A Machine for Keeping Secrets?

      Like any modern zero-day sold on the black market, the Enigma compromise had value only if it remained secret. The stakes were higher, but the basic template of the game—secret compromise, secret exploitation, doom on discovery—continues to be one basic form of the computer security game to this day. The allies went to extraordinary lengths to conceal their compromise of the Enigma, including traps like Operation Mincemeat (planting false papers on a corpse masquerading as a drowned British military officer). The Snowden revelations and other work has revealed the degree to which this game continues, with many millions of taxpayer dollars being spent keeping illicit access to software compromises available to the NSA, GCHQ and all the rest. The first rule is not to reveal success in breaking your enemy’s security by careless action; the compromise efforts that Snowden revealed had, after all, been running for many years before the public became aware of them.

    • Chris Soghoian Q+A: The Next Chapter of Surveillance Reform

      I recently conducted a wide-ranging Q+A with the ACLU’s chief technologist, Chris Soghoian, on a range of topics, from the “fraudulent” nature of the recent debate over Section 215 of the Patriot Act to the dire need for more technological expertise among those tasked with overseeing the Intelligence Community in the 21st Century. Another part of our conversation was particularly relevant to those who worry that the end of bulk telephony metadata collection is the high-water mark for intelligence reform. Our topic: The lack of attention to the fact that much of the US’s massive surveillance infrastructure is used for top secret purposes only loosely related to national security. While US intelligence agencies portray themselves as using their dark talents against ne’er-do-wells, the reality is far different, argues Soghoian. He took particular issue with the NSA and its foreign partners like Britain’s GCHQ, doing things like snooping on the employees of technology businesses in order to exploit their products for espionage purposes.

    • Leaked trade deal stops countries from saying where your data goes

      There’s been a fair share of leaked trade deals raising hackles in recent memory, but the latest could have some big repercussions for your data privacy. WikiLeaks has slipped out details of the in-progress Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), and one of its clauses would prevent the US, European Union and 23 other nations from controlling both where your data is stored as well as whether or not it’s accessible from outside of the country. Germany, for example, couldn’t demand that Facebook and Google store residents’ account information on local servers.

    • Facebook Messenger now lets you send friends a map with your location
    • First Victory for Citizens against Surveillance: French Military Planning Act before Constitutional Court!

      The French Council of State published today its decision to refer of the Question Prioritaire de Constitutionalité (Prioritary Question of Constitutionality1) brought by the FDN Federation, French Data Network and La Quadrature du Net against the article 20 of the 2014-2019 Military Planning Act voted in 2013. This decision is fundamental in the fight against generalised surveillance and the access to connection data by French intelligence services. It takes an important place in the current debates on the French Intelligence Bill.

  • Civil Rights

    • OPM hack: as China blames US for huge cyberattack, new era of cyberwarfare and internet terrorism arrives

      One of the most damaging and intense attacks on the US government ever took place this year. And nobody, even those that had been hit, knew.

      The US government said last night that it had lost control of data held by the Office of Personal Management, which holds information about all of the staff employed by the US government. Nobody knows why, or who, stole it — but that is the reality of modern warfare.

    • Scott Walker: Men Can Sue if a Woman Gets an Abortion, but Women Can’t Sue for Pay Discrimination

      In 2012, Walker repealed Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which put teeth in the state’s anti- wage discrimination laws by allowing women to seek damages in state court. The law was opposed by business lobbies like the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, and by the state senator who drove the law’s repeal, now-Congressman Glenn Grothman, who said the gender wage gap can be explained because “money is more important for men.”

    • Ludicrous Feminism Against Salmond

      That the Tories and Unionist establishment would attempt to land a sexist smear on Alex Salmond for calling a woman a, err, woman, is unsurprising. That they are joined by a number of ludicrous feminists is unsurprising too.

  • DRM

    • Egregious Nonsense Regarding eBook Standards

      That’s the same strategy Microsoft employed when it knocked WordPerfect and Lotus out of their preferred positions thirty years ago, making it possible to seamlessly import documents created under those programs, but making sure that exporting them back again met with less than perfect results. For the last ten years, Microsoft has fought an ongoing battle against the OpenDocument Format (ODF) to try and keep it that way, something I’ve written hundreds of blog posts about here.

      Also like Microsoft, which dramatically reduced updating Office after it wiped out the competition (as it also did with Internet Explorer, after it wiped out Netscape, until it was once again challenged by Firefox), Amazon continues to provide an extremely mediocre presentation of actual books on devices. Only recently has it announced something as basic as new fonts, many years after the initial release of the Kindle. It has, however innovated vigorously and successfully on its family of Kindle devices, in order to win over as many customers as possible to its proprietary platform.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • My Daughter is a Netflix VPN Thief, Media Boss Confesses

        The new boss of Canadian telecoms giant Bell Media has confessed that her own daughter is a “thief”. Speaking at the Canadian Telecom Summit, Mary Ann Turcke says her 15-year-old was using a VPN to access Netflix’s superior U.S. service but she quickly put a stop to it. Netflix could’ve done so earlier, she added, but chose not to.

      • Pirate Bay Block Doesn’t Boost Sales, Research Shows

        New research from Carnegie Mellon University shows that the UK Pirate Bay blockade had no affect on legal consumption. Instead, visitors switched to alternative sites, Pirate Bay mirrors, or started using VPNs. However, the same research also reveals that blocking several major pirate sites at once does boost the use of paid legal services such as Netflix.


Links 4/6/2015: Sourceforge Hijacks Nmap Account, IBM Acquires BlueBox

Posted in News Roundup at 5:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Black “mirror”: SourceForge has now taken over Nmap audit tool project [Updated]

    SoureForge has sworn off its ways of wrapping “unmaintained” code from open source projects in installers that offer bundled commercial products in the wake of objections raised by some open source communities. But one policy remains in effect—the takeover of project pages SourceForge’s staff decides are inactive, and assignment of ownership of those projects to staff accounts. One of the latest projects grabbed in this way is the Nmap security auditing tool.

  • Sourceforge Hijacks the Nmap Sourceforge Account

    Hi Folks! You may have already read the recent news about Sourceforge.net
    hijacking the GIMP project account to distribute adware/malware.
    Previously GIMP used this Sourceforge account to distribute their Windows
    installer, but they quit after Sourceforge started tricking users with fake
    download buttons which lead to malware rather than GIMP. Then Sourceforge
    took over GIMP’s account and began distributing a trojan installer which
    tries to trick users into installing various malware and adware before
    actually installing GIMP.

  • SourceForge under fire again for seizing Nmap account
  • Advantages entice enterprises to embrace open source

    The state of affairs of enterprise IT is changing quickly. Open source will become a much higher percentage of every IT organization’s environment, given its advantages in terms of cost, control, and innovation. Likewise, open source skills will soon become a critical requirement, both for using open source wisely, but also in attracting the kind of talent necessary to compete in a Third Platform world.

  • Survey: Despite Open Source Community Gripes About Apple, Most Still Use It [132 self-selected respondents who use a particular bit of software, not "Open Source Community"]
  • Mac Asay: Open source vs. Apple: The holy war that wasn’t

    Actually, the very term “open source” suggests a more relaxed view on software sharing, having displaced its GPL-wielding free software cousins years back. Whereas a free sourceror wouldn’t be caught dead using anything other than (GNU) Linux, open sourcerors are happy to use whatever works.

  • Events

    • Being SELF-ish: Linux Comes to the GNU South

      That said, the next stop on the Magical Linux-y Tour will be in North Carolina — you’ll see the link in the upper right of this page — the SouthEast LinuxFest, known more commonly by its acronym SELF (FOSS Force is a Supporting Sponsor), takes place next weekend in Charlotte. For three days, June 12-14 to be precise, Jeremy Sands and the rest of the crew at SELF bring Linux, BSD and FOSS to what has lately become my favorite geographical location, by name: the GNU/South.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Rust commits to 6-week release cycle

        The Rust programming language is an ambitious project in many ways. With the release of Rust 1.0 on May 15, one might ask, “What’s next?” Many words have been written about the technical aspects of how the Rust language achieves its goals of memory safety without garbage collection, but less has been discussed about the project itself and how it is structured. Open source projects are more than just code, and Rust is no exception.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Cisco acquires Piston Cloud Computing, will use to ramp up Intercloud offerings

      Piston gives Cisco more muscle around distributed systems and automated deployment, in addition to adding another level of infrastructure to the Cisco OpenStack private cloud.

    • Does Hadoop Need Governance? Datameer Says Yes

      Datameer, which is billed as a big data insights platform for rapid data discovery, has announced new data governance capabilities for its native Hadoop environment. We’ve been reporting on indications that many enterprises are finding Hadoop, well, very hard to deploy and manage. Datameer acknowledges that Hadoop is complex to deploy and use effectively, and notes that “analysts and administrators alike need an easier way to navigate data pipelines that have been developed by multiple departments and participants, and involve multiple data sources.”

    • IBM Acquires Managed OpenStack Vendor BlueBox
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The LibreOffice Report: 40 Pages of Yippee!

      The Document Foundation today released their annual report outlining their work for the year 2014. It was another banner year for the free office suite from donations to bugs fixed to community outreach. Every year TDF and LibreOffice continue to break previous records. TDF thanked everyone who contributed to their success including those with financial support.

    • LibreOffice/Document Foundation Bonanza

      Next to Linux or Android, LibreOffice is one of the most active FLOSS projects in the world. Arguably, it is one of the keys to liberating the desktop from Wintel as the office suite is one of Wintel’s key lock-ins for business. With moves to create a web-based version and one for Android/Linux, the future is bright however IT diversifies. Anyone considering the cost of IT should look at the office suite. Almost everyone uses one.

  • CMS

    • What’s New for You This June in Open Source CMS

      You can’t talk about open source content management systems without talking about WordPress, the most popular CMS on the planet.

      WordPress powers some of the largest websites in the world including CNN, Time magazine and Ted. According to W3tech, WordPress powers 23 percent of the top 10 million websites in the world.

  • Business

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Nordic countries to cooperate on open government

      Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden have decided to cooperate on their open government strategies and implementations. To begin with, they will share their national OGP work and jointly promote open data.

    • Rewind on Aryeom and Jehan’s Open videos

      The concept was an interactive video included in an HTML canvas. People could upload a photograph and an address (using OpenStreetMap assets), to show their support to Mozilla, and their image would show embedded during video viewing on the right coordinates in the drawn world map. The actual page which won is still up, with the interactive video version.


      This all coupled with more GIMP, Blender, Ardour, Synfig, etc. improvements, we should soon be able to have a very powerful ecosystem on GNU/Linux for any kind of movie making and animation.

    • Open Data

      • New data science major aligns with growing corporate needs

        The University established a new data science major, which will be subsumed under LSA’s Statistics Department and the College of Engineering’s Division of Computer Science and Engineering. The new major will be available in Fall 2015 to both LSA and Engineering students.

    • Open Access/Content

    • Open Hardware

      • Why my doctor prescribed me open hardware

        I recall a senior medical doctor once saying that being a practitioner nowadays is much more difficult than ever before, because when people get diagnosed, they go home to search the web, and often come back with tough questions. Open hardware for physiological computing isn’t making it any easier, but it seems like that’s not a bad thing.


  • Toyota weighs Ford’s open-source CarPlay rival

    It’s not the first time the two companies have collaborated on infotainment. Back in 2011, Ford and Toyota inked a deal that saw them work together on next-gen standards for dashboard tech, including making it not only smarter but safer to use on the move.

  • Ford details SYNC 3’s ambitious roll-out

    Announced back in December, SYNC 3 sees Ford step away from the Microsoft system of older SYNC versions and instead use a QNX-based platform.

  • Hardware

  • Security

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Finance

    • Poor People Can’t Afford Homes–so NYT Calls for Making Them More Expensive

      There are two problems with this complaint. First, it is factually wrong, or at least misleading. The weak price performance of lower-cost homes depends very much on the time window being considered. If homeowners bought near the peak of the bubble, which disproportionately affected lower-income neighborhoods, then their prices would still be depressed; however, if they bought before the bubble, they would be doing quite well.

    • PayPal draws consumer ire over robo-texting rights

      When eBay cuts PayPal loose this summer, users of the new digital money giant will find they’ve agreed to new terms of service that take effect July 1. Those terms include PayPal giving itself the right to robocall or robo-text members at any phone number the firm can find, for just about any reason — from debt collecting to advertisements to opinion polling.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Scott Walker: The First ALEC President?

      Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will address the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in San Diego this July.

    • Friedman Turns Baltimore Uprising Into Commercial for Wife’s Charter School

      Today putative liberal and mustachioed wonker Thomas Friedman (New York Times, 6/3/15) did what he does best: take something vaguely topical and use it as a hook to promote whatever topic he and his billionaire friends want to propagandize that week.

      Whether it’s advocating collective punishment of Ukrainians to push his CEO friend’s “Green Energy” IPO during its quiet period, or unironically floating the idea of arming ISIS to demagogue Iran, it’s a tried and true formula for America’s most tedious Important Person.

  • Censorship

    • Google Takes MPAA to Court Over Secret Censorship Plans

      Hoping to find out more about the secret Internet censorship plans Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood was pushing, Google is now taking the MPAA to court. After several subpoenas remained largely unanswered, the search giant is now asking a New York federal court to ensure that the MPAA other parties hand over the requested information.

  • Privacy

    • Freedom Act: US law limits snooping, just as UK gears up to make its spies far more powerful

      The US has dramatically limited the powers of its spy agencies, just as the UK gears up to hugely increase what its own can do.

      The Senate passed the USA Freedom Act last night, placing new restrictions and oversight on the way that the country’s National Security Agency can spy on citizens, in what was hailed as a victory for privacy campaigners and a direct result of the Snowden leaks.

      But in the UK, lawmakers are getting ready to pass into law the “Snoopers’ Charter” — which among other things imposes that internet service providers must store information on their users so that intelligence agencies can access them. After the majority Conservative government was elected, the Draft Communications Bill could include even more powers, with David Cameron having threatened to ban or reduce the encryption that is used to keep data secure.

    • USA Freedom Act Passes: What We Celebrate, What We Mourn, and Where We Go From Here

      The Senate passed the USA Freedom Act today by 67-32, marking the first time in over thirty years that both houses of Congress have approved a bill placing real restrictions and oversight on the National Security Agency’s surveillance powers. The weakening amendments to the legislation proposed by NSA defender Senate Majority Mitch McConnell were defeated, and we have every reason to believe that President Obama will sign USA Freedom into law. Technology users everywhere should celebrate, knowing that the NSA will be a little more hampered in its surveillance overreach, and both the NSA and the FISA court will be more transparent and accountable than it was before the USA Freedom Act.

    • Don’t Celebrate USA Freedom Act Passage

      Mozilla recently announced it’s support for the USA Freedom Act alongside allies like the EFF, but the EFF also ended up withdrawing its support because of deficiencies in the legislation and a recent opinion from an appeals court.

      I think Mozilla should have withdrawn its support on this still flawed bill because while it did push forward some important reforms it still extended flawed sections of the law that infringe on individual’s civil liberties such as Section 206 “Roving Wiretap” authority program. This program essentially allows the FBI access to any phone line, mobile communications or even internet connections a suspect may be using without ever having to provide a name to anyone. This is clearly not good legislation because it allows overreach and lacks a requirement that communications or accounts being tapped are tied to the subject. While this is just one example there are many other provisions that allow intelligence and law enforcement agencies to continue their spying, just not as broadly as before.

  • Civil Rights

    • Coulson Lying is OK by Judge – to Maintain Sheridan Conviction

      Coulson lied about phone hacking in the Sheridan trial. Coulson has form. “Lord” David Burn also has form. He was part of the Megrahi “defence” team of advocates who failed to ask a score of glaringly obvious questions about the holes in the prosecution case and payment of witnesses in the fit-up of the century. The Scottish legal establishment is a sewer.

    • Obama confident in the TSA despite failure to detect explosives

      President Obama has confidence in the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) despite the ease with which undercover agents were able to smuggle explosives into airports, the White House said Tuesday.

      “The president does continue to have confidence that the officers of the TSA do very important work that continues to protect the American people,” press secretary Josh Earnest said.

    • Obama’s trust-me approach falls flat with Democrats

      President Obama’s argument that Democrats should trust his vision on trade is falling flat on Capitol Hill.

      Democrats — even some of Obama’s closest allies — say it’s not enough for the president to pronounce his trade agenda the most progressive in history.

      The lawmakers want assurances that the agreements under negotiation, particularly a huge deal being finalized with Pacific Rim nations, will protect U.S. jobs — assurances many say they simply haven’t gotten.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net Neutrality: EU Member States Refuse to Hear the Voice of Citizens

      The Council of the European Union has been blocking for weeks the principle of Net Neutrality and its entrenching in the legislation. As the European Parliament refuses for now to give in to pressure from Member States and the powerful telecom lobbies, the negotiations held last night, which brought together delegations from the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission, were therefore unsuccessful. The EU Parliament must keep on refusing any agreement that would undermine a thorough protection of the Net neutrality principle.

  • DRM

    • The quest to save today’s gaming history from being lost forever

      Jason Scott knows what he’s talking about when it comes to the preservation of digital software. At the Internet Archive, he’s collected thousands of classic games, pieces of software, and bits of digital ephemera. His sole goal is making those things widely available through the magic of browser-based emulation.

      Compared to other types of archaeology, this kind of preservation is still relatively easy for now. While the magnetic and optical disks and ROM cartridges that hold classic games and software will eventually be rendered unusable by time, it’s currently pretty simple to copy their digital bits to a form that can be preserved and emulated well into the future.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom Thwarts Huge U.S. Government Asset Grab

        Kim Dotcom has booked a significant victory in his battle against U.S. efforts to seize assets worth millions of dollars. In a decision handed down this morning, Justice Ellis granted Dotcom interim relief from having a $67m forfeiture ordered recognized in New Zealand. Dotcom informs TF that the victory gives his legal team new momentum.

      • Russia Orders ISPs to Block The Pirate Bay

        Following a European trend, the Russian telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor has ordered local ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay. Without a separate court order, two domain names of the popular torrent site have been added to the national blocklist.

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