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


Links 15/1/2015: KDE Releases, Ubuntu Phone Delays

Posted in News Roundup at 4:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Tag heats up mobile games tools market with open source ChilliSource engine

    Best known for its game development work with the like of BBC (Doctor Who), Ubisoft (Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes) and Mindy Candy (Moshi Monsters Village), Dundee studio Tag Games is now getting into the tools business.

  • Three Interesting Open Source Projects for 2015

    Maybe you’re looking for new open source tools that your business can use to take it to the next level. Or maybe you’ve made use of countless solutions over the years and feel as though it’s time to give back.

  • Events

    • Regional Technology Partnership Presents “Mandatory Considerations before using Open Source Code”

      Join the Regional Technology Partnership at 5:30 pm on January 28 for our event located at the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce, 25071 Chamber of Commerce Dr., Bonita Springs. “Mandatory Considerations before using Open Source Code” is sponsored by The McDonough Law Office, P.L., and the featured presenter will be William McDonough. This event is free for RTP Members and $25.00 for future members. Registration, sponsorship opportunities and additional details are available at www.swfrtp.org.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • A cloud management tool for simple deployments

      For the past few years, cloud has been one of the biggest buzzwords among technology enthusiasts. Whether you want data accessibility across devices or need computation power for your business or even develop applications—cloud can help you.

      With growing adoption for cloud computing, almost everyone from individuals to large corporations are leveraging it. For example CERN, the famous European nuclear lab, uses OpenStack to manage their IT infrastructure. Several open source projects related to cloud computing have also come up in last few years, prominent among them are ownCloud, OpenStack etc.

    • Google Opens Up Cloud Monitoring Service to Developers

      Featuring full integration of the technology from Google’s acquisition of Stackdriver last year, Google Cloud Monitoring has arrived. It’s a tool that developers can leverage to monitor the performance of application components. If you’re a Google Cloud Platform customer you can try it out for free beginning immediately. Here are more details.

    • Leverage MapR’s Resources for Getting Big Data Right

      As the Big Data trend marches forward in enterprises and as Hadoop becomes a true open source star driving the trend, MapR Technologies doesn’t get quite as much attention as some other players. However, the company offers a slew of informative and helpful posts, videos and educational offerings that can help any enterprise get smart about leveraging Big Data tools, including many free, open source applications.

  • Databases

    • ​Why MariaDB says MaxScale will make life easier for developers and admins

      MariaDB says its newly-released MaxScale software, which acts as a gateway between databases and apps, will transform life for admins and developers.

      MaxScale, available for MySQL as well as the MariaDB fork, is an open-source proxy that allows databases and apps to be fully decoupled, enabling admin processes to run without affecting apps and for apps to evolve without hampering underlying databases.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

  • Funding


    • The GNU Radical

      It seems like all those arguments (about Twitter, about implementing support for proprietary systems on Free Software, and others) are ultimately about reaching users that would otherwise remain ignorant of the Free Software philosophy. And how can someone have counter-arguments for this? It is impossible to argue that we do not need to take the Free Software message to everybody, because when someone does not use Free Software, she is doing harm to her community (thus, we want more people using Free Software, of course). When the Free Software Foundation makes use of Twitter to bring more people to the movement, and when I see that despite talking to people all around me I can hardly convince them to try GNU/Linux, who am I to criticize the FSF?

    • Radicals And FLOSS

      The word, “radical”, has been in the news a lot lately. Often it’s associated with some bad news like problems caused by radical this that or the other.

    • GNUnet Dev Mumble

      we are happy to announce today’s GNUnet developer mumble taking place

  • Public Services/Government

    • NGA goes open source with a public geospatial tool kit

      Financial pressures have pushed the intelligence community (IC) to relinquish control of some of its data to cloud based services provided by the private sector. And along with trying to tie its 17 agencies together on a single platform, the IC has been forced to adapt to emerging technology trends as well as growing realities.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Open source tool trawls Github repositories for sensitive data

      Michael Henriksen, a member of the SoundCloud security team, has been recently tasked with creating a system that will constantly check the company’s GitHub organizations (i.e. repositories) for unintentionally leaked sensitive information.

    • C Framework For OpenCL Now Supports Device Fission & Native Kernels

      The C Framework For OpenCL has reached version 2.0. CF4OCL allows the rapid development of OpenCL host programs in C/C++ while making it easier to provide OpenCL, simplify the analysis of OpenCL environments, etc.

    • Weblate UI polishing

      After releasing Weblate 2.0 with Bootstrap based UI, there was still lot of things to improve. Weblate 2.1 brought more consistency in using buttons with colors and icons. Weblate 2.2 will bring some improvements in other graphics elements.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • OIC Releases Software Framework for IoT Standard

      The group on Jan. 14 unveiled the preview release of IoTivity, an open spec designed to make it easier for the growing number of sensors and devices that will make up the Internet of things (IoT) to connect to each other and exchange data. IoTivity is now an open-source project under the auspices of the Linux Foundation.


  • Videos: UNIX and Linux Ancient History

    I’m a sucker for history videos… and I enjoyed the trip back in time that these were. While I was aware of the feuds that existed in UNIX-land and UNIX-GUI-land back from the early days I didn’t witness it personally… so the first two expose some of that. The third video shows what moving from Windows 95 to Windows 98 was like… including the Linux alternative with an interview with Linus himself. Enjoy!

  • Science

    • Pitcher plants ‘switch off’ traps to capture more ants

      A worker ant collects sweet nectar from the trap of an insect-eating Nepenthes pitcher plant. Research from the University of Bristol, UK, has found that, by ‘switching off’ its traps for part of the day, the plant ensures ‘scout’ ants survive and are able to lead large numbers of followers to the trap. When the trap gets wet, it suddenly becomes super-slippery and captures all visitors in one sweep. Credit: Dr. Ulrike Bauer, University of Bristol, UK

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Russian Empire

      I am working very hard on getting Sikunder Burnes into shape for publication. Just ten weeks left to achieve that. Still hacking a lot of draft material out of the text. This passage on the Russian Empire was written before the tragic events in Ukraine.

    • Conservative and ‘Liberal’ Islamophobia Find Common Ground

      USA Today has a feature called “Common Ground,” which is a back-and-forth involving Cal Thomas, “a conservative columnist,” and Bob Beckel, billed as “a liberal Democratic strategist” but more accurately described as a Fox News Democrat with a lucrative sideline as a corporate lobbyist.

    • The FBI Considered Recruiting an American Blogger Later Killed in a Drone Strike

      Before Samir Khan was killed in a CIA drone strike in Yemen in 2011, the FBI had hoped to capture and prosecute the blogger on terrorism charges. But Khan, a US citizen who wrote about violent jihad and was the founding editor of al Qaeda’s glossy English-language magazine Inspire, somehow slipped out of the United States in 2009 and eluded capture.

      The new revelations about the government’s investigation into Khan were detailed in heavily redacted FBI files obtained by VICE News under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Previous documents revealed that the FBI launched an investigation of Khan in 2006 after the bureau discovered his incendiary blog, Inshallahshaheed, an Arabic phrase that means “Martyr, God willing.” Less than a year later, according to the set of records, the FBI’s “primary goal” was to determine if Khan “Is influencing/did influence anyone to commit an act of terror.”

    • A Terrorist Massacre The News Barely Covered

      A brutal attack on a Nigerian town by the militant group Boko Haram that killed as many as 2,000 people has been given relatively little attention by the U.S. media.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Censorship

    • Pope on Charlie Hebdo: There Are Limits to Free Expression

      Francis spoke about the Paris terror attacks while en route to the Philippines, defending free speech as not only a fundamental human right but a duty to speak one’s mind for the sake of the common good.

    • The biggest threat to French free speech isn’t terrorism. It’s the government.

      Within an hour of the massacre at the headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, thousands of Parisians spontaneously gathered at the Place de la Republique. Rallying beneath the monumental statues representing Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, they chanted “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) and “Charlie! Liberty!” It was a rare moment of French unity that was touching and genuine.

    • France Arrests a Comedian For His Facebook Comments, Showing the Sham of the West’s “Free Speech” Celebration

      Forty-eight hours after hosting a massive march under the banner of free expression, France opened a criminal investigation of a controversial French comedian for a Facebook post he wrote about the Charlie Hebdo attack, and then this morning, arrested him for that post on charges of “defending terrorism.” The comedian, Dieudonné (above), previously sought elective office in France on what he called an “anti-Zionist” platform, has had his show banned by numerous government officials in cities throughout France, and has been criminally prosecuted several times before for expressing ideas banned in that country.

  • Privacy

    • Software Insecurity: The Problem with the White House Cybersecurity Proposals

      The White House has announced a new proposal to fix cybersecurity. Unfortunately, the positive effects will be minor at best; the real issue is not addressed. This is a serious missed opportunity by the Obama adminstration; it will expend a lot of political capital, to no real effect. (There may also be privacy issues; while those are very important, I won’t discuss them in this post.) The proposals focus on two things: improvements to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and provisions intended to encourage information sharing. At most, these will help at the margins; they’ll do little to fix the underlying problems.

    • David Cameron’s Plan to Ban Encryption in the UK

      This is similar to FBI director James Comey’s remarks from last year. And it’s equally stupid.

    • Hilarious: Activists Turn Tables On Political Surveillance Hawks, Wiretap Them With Honeypot Open Wi-Fi At Security Conference

      Activists from the Pirate Party’s youth wing have wiretapped high-level political surveillance hawks at Sweden’s top security conference. They set up an open wi-fi access point at the conference and labeled it “Open Guest”, and then just logged the traffic of about a hundred high-ranking surveillance hawks who argue for more wiretapping, and who connected through the activists’ unencrypted access point. They presented their findings in an op-ed in Swedish this Tuesday.

    • Zombie Cookie: The Tracking Cookie That You Can’t Kill

      An online ad company called Turn is using tracking cookies that come back to life after Verizon users have deleted them. Turn’s services are used by everyone from Google to Facebook.

    • David Cameron seeks cooperation of US president over encryption crackdown

      David Cameron is to urge Barack Obama to pressure internet firms such as Twitter and Facebook to do more to cooperate with Britain’s intelligence agencies as they seek to track the online activities of Islamist extremists.

    • Washington DC’s Public Library Will Teach People How to Avoid the NSA

      Later this month, the Washington DC Public Library will teach residents how to use the internet anonymization tool Tor as part of a 10 day series designed to shed light on government surveillance, transparency, and personal privacy.

      A series called “Orwellian America,” held by a publicly funded entity mere minutes from a Congress and administration that ​allowed the NSA’s surveillance programs to spin wildly out of control certainly seems subversive. But the library says it wasn’t really intended that way.

    • Facebook at Work pilot debuts on the web, Android, and iOS

      Facebook today debuted Facebook at Work, a new pilot program the company is testing to try its hand at social networking in the business world. The product is only available to select partners on the web, as well as Android and iOS apps available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

    • Denmark mulls new EU-defying session-logging law

      Danish authorities look set to bring back mandatory internet session logging despite an EU ruling last year that blanket data retention is illegal.

      Last May the European Court of Justice (ECJ) concluded that the EU Data Retention Directive was “a particularly serious interference with fundamental rights”, meaning countries across the EU were forced to re-evaluate their national laws on data retention.

    • The All-Women Hacker Collective Making Art About the Post-Snowden Age

      “There is something about the internet that isn’t working anymore,” is the line that opens filmmaker Jonathan Minard’s short documentary on Deep Lab—a group of women hackers, artists, and theorists who gathered at Carnegie Mellon University in December to answer the question of what, exactly, that disquieting “something” is. The film premieres on Motherboard today.

    • Hopefully the last post I’ll ever write on Dual EC DRBG

      I’ve been working on some other blog posts, including a conclusion of (or at least an installment in) this exciting series on zero knowledge proofs. That’s coming soon, but first I wanted to take a minute to, well, rant.

      The subject of my rant is this fascinating letter authored by NSA cryptologist Michael Wertheimer in February’s Notices of the American Mathematical Society. Dr. Wertheimer is currently the Director of Research at NSA, and formerly held the position of Assistant Deputy Director and CTO of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for Analysis

  • Civil Rights

    • Saudi blogger faces next 50 lashes as government ignores global protests

      Raif Badawi, the Saudi liberal convicted of publishing a blog, has been told he will again be flogged 50 times on Friday – the second part of his 1,000-lash sentence which also includes a 10-year jail term.

    • Saudi Arabia’s history of hypocrisy we choose to ignore

      Sir William Hunter was a senior British civil servant and in 1871 published a book which warned of “fanatic swarms” of Sunni Muslims who had “murdered our subjects”, financed by “men of ample fortune”, while a majority of Muslims were being forced to decide “once and for all, whether [they] should play the part of a devoted follower of Islam” or a “peaceable subject”.

    • At Silk Road trial, federal agent explains how he trapped Ulbricht

      More people were using the mail to get high, and Jared Der-Yeghiayan knew it.

      “We hadn’t seen ecstasy being seized in letter-class like that in a long time,” said the Homeland Security special agent. “Since I’d been at O’Hare.”

      Der-Yeghiayan was speaking on Wednesday from the stand in a Manhattan federal courtroom, where 30-year-old Ross Ulbricht stands accused of being the mastermind in the most successful drug-dealing website of all time, the Silk Road.

    • Judge Not Too Concerned That 68-Year-Old Woman’s House Was Raided Because Someone Used Her Open WiFi To Post A Threat

      We’ve written before about faulty legal activities based on nothing stronger than an IP address. An IP address is not a person, but many entities have decided it’s “close enough.” Fortunately, the judicial system has (occasionally) stepped in to correct this assumption, usually in the context of copyright infringement lawsuits.

      There are those in the law enforcement arena that know an IP address can’t be used as an identifier. Careless statements get made about the “danger” of open WiFi connections, or it’s suggested that accessing open networks should be illegal. This doesn’t have much to do with keeping citizens safe, but it does have everything to do with easing law enforcement’s investigative workload.

    • Los Angeles Cops Unimpressed With Pranksters’ YouTube ‘Coke’ Sale

      The Los Angeles Police Department isn’t laughing about a videotaped prank involving a “coke” sale that they say misused police resources, was misleading and potentially dangerous.

      The video, titled “Coke Prank on Cops,” was posted to YouTube on Monday with the caption, “officer we have some coke in our trunk.” By 3 a.m. ET Thursday the video had been watched more than 440,000 times.

    • The Paris Mystery: Were the Shooters Part of a Global Terrorist Conspiracy?

      On Friday, shortly after the gunmen were killed by French forces in a raid on a printing plant outside of Paris, a source from within al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) provided The Intercept with a series of messages and statements taking responsibility for the attacks, asserting that AQAP’s leadership “directed” the raid on the magazine to avenge the honor of the Prophet Mohammed.

    • Neo-Nazis in American Politics: Follow the Money

      According to public records, at least 58 U.S. politicians have accepted campaign contributions from David Duke supporters. This includes candidates for federal office, current and former Members of Congress, and one former president. Oh, and one Democrat. This information is all accessible in public records and we’ve presented it here at the bottom of this article.

    • Record 346 inmates die, dozens of guards fired in Florida prisons

      The United States has a prison crisis of epic proportions. With just five percent of the world population, but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, the United States has, far and away, the highest incarceration rate, the largest number of prisoners, and the largest percentage of citizens with a criminal record of any country in the world.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality debate reaches India as telcos look to charge extra for VoIP

      Most eyes have been on the US arrangements, due to be announced at the end of February, but quite a storm has emerged on the Indian sub-continent almost overnight, forcing one of the world’s fastest growing economies to face up to decisions on the future of the internet on its own soil, reports Techdirt.

    • Net Neutrality Under Threat In India

      We recently reported on extraordinarily wide-ranging censorship imposed on Internet users in India. That’s rather obscured another story that’s been playing out there: an attempt to undermine net neutrality in the country.


      That’s a clear attack on the principle that all IP packets should be treated equally, and prompted the creation of the site Net Neutrality India to raise awareness of what’s at stake, as well as vague promises from the Indian government to “look into it.”

    • President Obama Gets It: Net Neutrality Begins at Home

      We’ve been saying for months that while the FCC may have a role to play in promoting and protecting an open Internet, Internet users shouldn’t rely entirely on the FCC. That’s because, at root, the “neutrality” problem is a competition problem. Internet access providers, especially certain very large ones, have done a pretty good job of divvying up the nation to leave most Americans with only one or two choices for decent high-speed Internet access. If there’s no competition, customers can’t vote with their wallets when ISPs behave badly. Oligopolies also have little incentive to invest, not only in decent customer service, but also in building out world-class Internet infrastructure so that U.S. innovators can continue to compete internationally. Even in cities like San Francisco and New York, we pay more for slower connections than people in many Asian and European cities.

    • Broadband Needs Obama’s Help

      The U.S. broadband market has failed. It’s time for the people to step in.

    • Marriot hotels do U-turn over wi-fi hotspot blocks

      Hotel group Marriott International has announced it will stop blocking guests from using personal wi-fi kits.

      The firm was fined $600,000 (£395,000) last year by a US watchdog after a complaint that it had jammed mobile hotspots at a hotel in Nashville.

    • Marriott Abandons Quest to Block Personal Wi-Fi Hot Spots
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Links Online Piracy to Obama’s Cybersecurity Plan

        Hoping to deter and stop the ongoing threat of ‘cyber’ attacks President Obama unveiled new cybersecurity plans yesterday. While the plans don’t reference copyright infringement, the MPAA notes that Congress should keep online piracy in mind as it drafts its new cybersecurity bill.


Links 15/1/2015: KDE Plasma 5.2 Beta, Elive 2.5.2 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 6:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Popular Open Source CSS Frameworks for Developers

    Whether you’re a CSS rookie or frontend virtuoso, frameworks can be used effectively during the early stages of development. Crafting a website from scratch is sometimes useful and oftentimes necessary. But it’s not the only solution in this wacky open source wonderland.

  • A Deeper Dive Into the Shark Tank: How Open Source Technology Enables Agile Business Growth

    ABC’s Shark Tank is a US television show and a favorite among American entrepreneurs. Each week, business owners offer up a piece of their equity in exchange for cash from savvy and respected investors. It’s exciting to see entrepreneurs get their dreams funded — but what do these contestants have in common? And although a majority are using WordPress, what other platforms and CMSs are these businesses running on?

  • Lumicall: big steps forward, help needed

    Lumicall, the free, open source and secure alternative to Viber and Skype.

  • Under the hood of I2P, the Tor alternative that reloaded Silk Road

    Tor is apparently no longer a safe place to run a marketplace for illegal goods and services. With the alleged operator of the original Silk Road marketplace, Ross Ulbricht, now going to trial, the arrest of his alleged successor and a number of others in a joint US-European law enforcement operation, and the seizure of dozens of servers that hosted “hidden services” on the anonymizing network, the operators of the latest iteration of Silk Road have packed their tents and moved to a new territory: the previously low-profile I2P anonymizing network.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome Stable Updated with New Flash Version, but Not for Linux

        The Google developers have been keeping themselves busy and they’ve released a new stable version of the Google Chrome browser that comes with an updated Flash (not for Linux) and a few other changes and fixes.

      • Chrome, Contributing Made Easy, and Linux Kills

        Today in Linux news Jim Mendenhall discusses whether Chrome OS is a Linux distribution. In other news, Konrad Zapałowicz said contributing to the Linux kernel is easier that one might imagine and another Linus quote is making headlines. Elsewhere, Danny Stieben compares Linux to BSD and OpenSource.com is wondering which distro you use.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 35 Is Officially Released

        Mozilla has announced that a new version of the Firefox browser, 35.0, has been released and is now available for download. As usual, the new release is full of interesting changes and improvements, although it’s not all that exciting.

      • Support Collab House Indiegogo Campaign

        who has been a contributor for many years. Vineel is raising money for Collab House, a Collaborative Community Space in India which has been used for many Mozilla India events and other open source projects.

      • Fresh Player Plugin Sees New Release (Pepper Flash Wrapper For Firefox)

        The Adobe Flash Player plugin that’s bundled with Google Chrome is in the form of a PPAPI (or Pepper Plugin API) plugin and Mozilla isn’t interested in adding support for it. Because of this, Rinat Ibragimov has developed Fresh Player Plugin, a wrapper that allows Linux users to use Pepper Flash from Google Chrome in Firefox and other NPAPI-compatible browsers.

      • Firefox says Hello! on PCLinuxOS and OpenMandriva

        The new update to Firefox 35 is available on PCLinuxOS and OpenMandriva.

        I have been expecting this update because it includes Hello, the new video-call feature from Mozilla.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Go vote on OpenStack Foundation bylaws

      When open source projects grow, their governance models must evolve to support them. We’ve written on the governance of the OpenStack project before, but an important event taking place this week is to make some modifications that might make a big difference.

  • Funding

    • NoSQL Pioneer Basho Scores $25M To Attempt A Comeback

      Basho was once a rising star in the NoSQL space, but over time other vendors began to move in, and it lost a step or two — then came a big turnover of key personnel last year. With the company ready to start anew, CEO Adam Wray says a new $25M cash infusion should help get Basho moving.

  • BSD

    • Linux vs. BSD: Which Should You Use?

      At MakeUseOf, we cover Linux quite a bit as the “alternative” to Windows and Mac OS X. However, those aren’t the only three operating systems out there — there’s also the BSD family of Unix-like operating systems, which are technically speaking different from Linux.

      In the name of fair competition, it’s time that we gave BSD operating systems some recognition as well. And there’s no better way to do that than to compare them against Linux. What’s different about BSD operating systems, and should you be running it instead of Linux? How does Linux and the best BSD desktop OS, PC-BSD, compare on the desktop?

    • DragonFlyBSD Pushes Big Sound System Update, Borrowed From FreeBSD

      Users of DragonFlyBSD on the desktop (or otherwise using sound on this popular BSD platform) will benefit from the next major update of the operating system.

      DragonFlyBSD has pulled in the sound system from the FreeBSD 11 development code and it offers a huge improvement over the previous code, which was from FreeBSD 6.x.

      With this new sound system update there’s smarter volume controls, improved HDMI/DisplayPort audio, an easy way to switch the default sound device, and HTML5/YouTube videos should now play with sound out-of-the-box. There’s also new hardware support with this new sound update.

    • BatMon.app OpenBSD ACPI support

    • These pictures are worth 1,024 words

      These beautiful badges come in four different styles, each with three color schemes to pick from. They’re perfect for sharing on social media or embedding on your Web site or blog, and we’ve provided embed code that links back to pages that will help new people get acquainted with free software.

    • Norwegian Bokmål subtitles for the FSF video User Liberation

      A few days ago, the Free Software Foundation announced a new video explaining Free software in simple terms. The video named User Liberation is 3 minutes long, and I recommend showing it to everyone you know as a way to explain what Free Software is all about. Unfortunately several of the people I know do not understand English and Spanish, so it did not make sense to show it to them.

  • Project Releases

    • RcppGSL 0.2.3

      A new version of RcppGSL is now on CRAN today. This package provides an interface from R to the GNU GSL using our Rcpp.

    • Lua 5.3 Brings Support For Integers & UTF-8 Support

      Lua 5.3 was released today with a variety of new features for this lightweight scripting language.

      The big ticket items for Lua 5.3 is support for integers, official support for 32-bit numbers, bitwise operators, basic UTF-8 support, and functions to pack/unpack values.

  • Licensing

    • Allwinner Accused of Breaking Linux License Rules

      Fabless processor company Allwinner Technology Co. Ltd. (Zhuhai, China) has been accused of violating the GNU General Public License (GPL) under which Linux is distributed.

      The alleged violations are within the software development kits that support the writing of software for some of Allwinner’s 32-bit system-chips, according to Linux-Sunxi, a community of open-source developers that has formed around the Allwinner SoCs. The Linux kernel is at the heart of the Android operating system, and therefore a significant factor in the tablet computer market which has been a key part of Allwinner’s business to date.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Crowdfunded Open-Source Dildo? Crowdfunded Open-Source Dildo.

      A startup called Comingle is trying to raise $50,000 to launch The Mod, a “multivibrating open-source dildo.” OK, you’ve got my attention.

    • Open Data

      • OpenStreetMap: Help us #MapLesotho

        You are invited to participate in a mapping event with OpenStreetMap (OSM) that will kick off on January 16, 2015 called #MapLesotho Mapathon! Last year, we had 5 out of 50,000 American OSM users participate. By contrast Germany had over 200 and Poland over 40. Let’s show the world that America can map with OSM!

  • Programming

    • What is a good IDE for C/C++ on Linux

      “A real coder doesn’t use an IDE, a real coder uses [insert a text editor name here] with such and such plugins.” We all heard that somewhere. Yet, as much as one can agree with that statement, an IDE remains quite useful. An IDE is easy to set up and use out of the box. Hence there is no better way to start coding a project from scratch. So for this post, let me present you with my list of good IDEs for C/C++ on Linux. Why is C/C++ specifically? Because C is my favorite language, and we need to start somewhere. Also note that there are in general a lot of ways to code in C, so in order to trim down the list, I only selected “real out-of-the-box IDE”, not text editors like Gedit or Vim pumped with plugins. Not that this alternative is bad in any way, just that the list will go on forever if I include text editors.

    • The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: January 2015


  • Oxford Junior Dictionary’s replacement of ‘natural’ words with 21st-century terms sparks outcry

    Margaret Atwood and Andrew Motion among authors protesting at dropping definitions of words like ‘acorn’ and ‘buttercup’ in favour of ‘broadband’ and ‘cut and paste’

  • Same Performance, Better Grades

    Academic achievement hasn’t improved much, so why are college-goers getting higher GPAs than ever before?

  • The Clever Way Amazon Gets Away With Not Always Offering The Lowest Prices

    The average shopper likely thinks Amazon has the lowest prices anywhere on the web.

    That’s not always true. In fact, Amazon will tweak its prices many times per hour (equaling millions of individual price changes per day), taking advantage of the psychology of price perception.

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • You can’t stop crypto, Mr. Cameron

      I am COO of a London-based startup, Eris Industries, that specialises in distributed computing. Hence, cryptography is involved. If the UK bans proper E2E encryption we are going to pack our bags for more liberal climes such as Germany, the U.S., the People’s Republic of China, Zimbabwe, or Iraq.

    • Security Tests – SCAP Content

      While the SCAP technologies are interesting, they have limited value without security content – the actual set of security tests run by SCAP. Fortunately there is a good set of content available that can be used as a starting point.

    • Cyberattack Results In Physical Damage To German Steel Mill’s Blast Furnance

      A report [pdf link] recently released by Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) details only the second known cyberattack that has resulted in physical damage. According to the report, hackers accessed a steel mill’s production network via the corporate network, following a spear-phishing attack. This then allowed them access to a variety of production controls, culminating in the attackers’ control of a blast furnace, which prevented it from being shut down in a “regulated manner.” The end result? “Massive damage to the system.”

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Letter to Senate crossbenchers in relation to Julian Assange

      Please do not be distracted by the array of reputational attacks – including that he is everything from a rapist, megalomaniac and a traitor – that have been made on Mr Assange. The claims are entirely irrelevant and have no bearing on his fundamental human rights or the right to the presumption of innocence. Indeed Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Murdoch Press Redundant as Liberals Attack Wikileaks and Others

      Julian Assange, the head of Wikileaks, has been trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for two and a half years. He has not been charged with any crime. Wikileaks has extensively exposed the US military’s crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, including its killing of journalists – and the USA’s ongoing efforts to oust democratic governments. The Swedes have used sexual assault allegations against Assange which are based on ridiculously flimsy evidence as a pretext to do the USA’s dirty work. Highlighting Sweden’s gross hypocrisy and its true motives in the Assange case, in 2001, US agents sexually assaulted two “rendition” victims in Stokholm in the presence of Swedish officials. Nobody has been prosecuted for it. One positive outcome of Assange having challenged Sweden’s efforts to extradite him for questioning is that it forced the UK High Court to describe the allegations against him. I strongly encourage people to read the court’s account (paragraphs 74-76 and 93 in particular). Under normal circumstances (i.e. when US “security interests” are not involved) allegations based on such weak evidence would get tossed by a legal system with any respect for the accused’s presumption of innocence. The only credible reason Swedish prosecutors have not dismissed them (as they initially did) is to punish Assange for his work with Wikileaks. There is even less excuse for Sweden’s refusal to question Assange via Skype or by travelling to the UK. Swedish authorities recently questioned a professional hockey player via Skype regarding assault allegations so that he wouldn’t miss a game. I learned about that from the Wikileaks Twitter account many UK liberals would like everyone to ignore.

    • NY Times Reporter Blasts Fox News’ “Political Attempt To Make [Obama] Look Like He Is Soft” On Terror Following Paris Attacks
  • Privacy

    • Letters to the editor: Mass surveillance is not needed
    • Could Cameron Be So Stupid as to Undermine Encryption?

      Taken at face value, his words imply much, much more. As well as those chat apps, encrypted email would be affected. The UK government might be able to use warrants to twist the arm of big companies like Google and Microsoft to hand over encryption keys for specific users, but it won’t be able to do anything about users of smaller services that have been set up specifically to avoid that eventuality. And what about PGP, Tor and OpenVPN? Even HTTPS could be a problem, since soon many sites will be using certificates provided by the Let’s Encrypt project, and unlike companies providing such services, it will doubtless be unwilling to hand over anything to British government.

    • Can the government ban encryption?

      But in an era when communication takes many forms, and with the added problem that much of this communication is encrypted, how easy is it to turn this sound bite into reality?


      “Encryption is mathematics, not technology. It can’t be suppressed by law,” Mr Bloch told the BBC.

      Whatever route the government elected in the UK in May decides to go, Prof Woodward hopes that it will listen carefully to the technology industry.

      “The government will need to take a lot of wide-ranging advice as this has the potential to go spectacularly wrong.”

      It is also worth noting, he added, that the men involved in the Paris shootings were known to the authorities and had been under surveillance until it was deemed that the threat from them had lessened.

      “The security forces need better resources not more powers.”

    • What does David Cameron want?

      Of course, that is impossible. You cannot ‘always’ be able to open, read, or find a record of a communication. Nor should it be compulsory for you and I to record every time time we talk to someone, online or offline. But we should take a moment to consider what Cameron might actually be proposing.

    • UK declares war on privacy under the facade of “national security”
    • ORG responds to Cameron’s call for legal powers to break encryption
    • Cameron wants to ban encryption – he can say goodbye to digital Britain

      On Monday David Cameron managed a rare political treble: he proposed a policy that is draconian, stupid and economically destructive.

      The prime minister made comments widely interpreted as proposing a ban on end-to-end encryption in messages – the technology that protects online communications, shopping, banking, personal data and more.

      “[I]n our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read?”, the prime minister asked rhetorically.

    • ‘David Cameron hates your privacy’

      Sorry, but that’s not a system, it’s a bit of red tape. A pathetic formality lies between the government and access to the most sensitive personal communications data ever amassed. The content — not just the metadata — of your phone and email conversations, your instant messaging and literally anything else you can think of. It’s all fair game in Cameron’s eyes. Strong encryption may well face some sort of ban or prohibition. The intimate details of your internet activity could be watched over at will.

    • Exclusive: Edward Snowden on Cyber Warfare

      It’s the new NSA director saying that the alleged damage from the leaks was way overblown.

    • Attack in France shouldn’t blunt drive for NSA surveillance reform

      Politicians and Beltway commentators are today consumed in a debate over whether President Obama, in failing to attend the march in Paris, failed to show solidarity with the victims of the terror attack and the cause of free speech in general.

    • A Summary of the Snoopers’ Charter

      It was almost inevitable that the Communications Data Bill, aka the Snoopers’ Charter, would be called for once again in the aftermath of the attacks in Paris. Having regenerated a number of times since the powers were first mooted in 2007 under a Labour Government, the powers have proved to continuously be controversial due to their un-targeted nature.

    • How To Safeguard Surveillance Laws

      I watch with alarm as, in the wake of the barbaric murders in France, politicians seek increased surveillance powers for the security services.

    • Letters from ORG’s Advisory Council members: Mass surveillance is not needed

      It is not just libertarians who are dismayed by the growing calls for the return of the Snooper’s Charter in response to events in Paris, but anyone who has studied the reality of recent terrorist atrocities and the role of intelligence and surveillance.

      The Charlie Hebdo shooters — just like the murderers of Lee Rigby and the Boston bombing suspects — were known to the authorities, and had been for years, linked with known groups.

  • Civil Rights

    • Times Reporter Will Not Be Called to Testify in Leak Case

      James Risen, a New York Times reporter, will not be called to testify at a leak trial scheduled to begin this week, lawyers said Monday, ending a seven-year legal fight over whether he could be forced to identify his confidential sources.

      The Justice Department wanted Mr. Risen to testify at the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former C.I.A. officer charged with providing him details about a botched operation in Iran that was intended to disrupt that country’s nuclear program. Mr. Sterling had raised concerns inside the government about the program, and prosecutors suspect he took those concerns to Mr. Risen, who described the program in his 2006 book, “State of War.”

    • Trial Begins for Former C.I.A. Official Accused of Breaching National Security

      Twelve jurors and two alternates, an even mix of men and women, will hear the case in a trial that is expected to last three weeks. Prosecutors released a witness list that includes Condoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser, as well as several C.I.A. operatives who will testify behind screens and reveal only their first names and last initials.

    • DOJ, Which Once Claimed James Risen’s Testimony Was Necessary, Now Tries To Block Other Side From Using Him

      The James Risen saga is basically over, but ended in a bizarre way. As you hopefully recall, this case goes back many years, and involves the DOJ trying to convict Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA official, of leaking info to Risen. However, Risen has made the compelling case that the DOJ’s desire to involve him was an attempt to punish him for earlier work he’d done exposing questionable practices by the intelligence community — and specifically to force Risen to give up a source, so that future whistleblowers can’t trust him. This backfired massively, as Risen fought this entirely, promising never to give up his source, even as the issue went up the Supreme Court (which refused to hear the case), but technically ended with a court saying Risen had to give up his source. Risen still insisted that he would not, and he’d go to jail if he had to. This put Attorney General Eric Holder in a bit of a bind, as he’d promised not to put reporters in jail. Thus, last month, Holder blinked, saying the DOJ would not force Risen to give up his source. However, he was still supposed to testify, just not on that.

    • “There are indeed consequences”: The case against Gen. David Petraeus

      The Espionage Act is a bad law — but here’s why the former CIA director needs to be prosecuted for violating it

    • Obama Calls For New Hacking And Privacy Laws, Hackers Keep Hacking

      While the hacks on Monday appeared relatively superficial and limited to CENTCOM’s presence on third-party social media sites, the proposals from Obama targeted incidents where digital intruders access the inner workings of a company’s computer systems and steal personal data. When companies get hacked like this, executives, employees, law enforcement, and contractors can often find out about the incident long before the customers whose data has been breached.

      Obama today called for a single federal standard on notifying customers that their data has been breached, within 30 days of the hack.

    • Charlie Hebdo, “Free Speech” and the Hypocrisy of Pencils in Western Media

      To be fair, he wasn’t wholly responsible. If it wasn’t for all the lunacy that preceded him, I probably would have dismissed his cartoon as just another Herald Sun atrocity, more a piece of Murdoch-madness to be mocked rather than trigger for outrage.

      But context is everything. And after days of sanctimonious blather about freedom of speech and the Enlightenment values of Western civilisation, his was one pencil-warfare cartoon too many.

      The cartoon in question depicts two men – masked and armed Arab terrorists (is there any other kind of Arab?) – with a hail of bomb-like objects raining down on their heads. Only the bombs aren’t bombs. They are pens, pencils and quills.

      Get it? In the face of a medieval ideology that only understands the language of the gun, the West – the heroic, Enlightenment-inspired West – responds by reaffirming its commitment to resist barbarism with the weapons of ideas and freedom of expression.

      It is a stirring narrative repeated ad nauseam in newspapers across the globe. They have been filled with depictions of broken pencils re-sharpened to fight another day, or editorials declaring that we will defeat terrorism by our refusal to stop mocking Islam.

    • Feinstein’s Uphill Battle To Permanently Ban the Use of Torture

      “Never again.” This was the vow of many lawmakers and government officials when the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its long-awaited so-called “torture report” examining the “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by the CIA under the Bush administration.

    • Suspensions Voided for Two Ted Stevens Prosecutors

      Top U.S. Department of Justice officials violated policy in suspending two prosecutors involved in the botched case against the late Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, a federal board ruled this month in declaring the discipline invalid.

    • Letter From an Army Ranger: Here’s Why You Should Think Twice About Joining the Military

      Make no mistake: whatever the news may say about the changing cast of characters the US is fighting and the changing motivations behind the changing names of our military “operations” around the world, you and I will have fought in the same war. It’s hard to believe that you will be taking us into the 14th year of the Global War on Terror (whatever they may be calling it now). I wonder which one of the 668 US military bases worldwide you’ll be sent to.


      The number of non-combatants killed since 9/11 across the Greater Middle East in our ongoing war has been breathtaking and horrifying. Be prepared, when you fight, to take out more civilians than actual gun-toting or bomb-wielding “militants.” At the least, an estimated 174,000 civilians died violent deaths as a result of US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan between 2001 and April 2014. In Iraq, over 70% of those who died are estimated to have been civilians. So get ready to contend with needless deaths and think about all those who have lost friends and family members in these wars, and themselves are now scarred for life. A lot of people who once would never have thought about fighting any type of war or attacking Americans now entertain the idea. In other words, you will be perpetuating war, handing it off to the future.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Obama calls for end to 19 state laws that harm community broadband

      President Obama today called for an end to state laws that restrict the rights of cities and towns to build their own broadband networks.

      In a report titled, “Community-based broadband solutions: The benefits of competition and choice for community development and highspeed Internet access,” the White House said it wants to “end laws that harm broadband service competition.”

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • We Need to Stop the White House From Putting TPP and TTIP on the Fast Track To Ratification

      Senators are now working around the clock to re-introduce a bill that would put trade agreements on the fast track to passage in the US after those deals are finalized. Deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have been negotiated in almost complete secrecy, except for private industry advocates serving on trade advisory committees who can read and comment on these texts. That has enabled these agreements to include extreme copyright and other digital policy provisions that would bind all signatory nations to draconian rules that would hinder free speech, privacy, and access to knowledge. Under fast track, also referred to as Trade Promotion Authority, lawmakers would only have a small window of time to conduct hearings over binding trade provisions and give an up-or-down vote on ratification of the agreement without any ability to amend it before they bind the United States to its terms.

    • Please Write to Your MP to Ask for Parliamentary Scrutiny of TTIP

      One of the many big problems with TTIP is the lack of democracy: it is being negotiated behind closed doors, with virtually no input from the public. The texts will be made available once the negotiations are complete, at which point it will not be possible to make changes. Even the national parliaments will be limited to a simple yes or no vote.

    • Copyrights

      • Record Labels Try to Force ISP to Disconnect Pirates

        A long running legal battle between the world’s largest record labels and an Irish-based ISP has resumed today. Sony, Universal and Warner want UPC to warn and disconnect subscribers found sharing infringing content online but the ISP doesn’t want to foot the bill.

      • Piracy Notices Boost Demand For Anonymous VPNs in Canada

        The mandatory piracy notifications that were implemented to deter copyright infringement in Canada have boosted the interest in anonymous file-sharing tools. Data from Google reveals a massive increase in searches for VPNs over the past two weeks, while VPN providers see a surge in traffic and sales.


Links 13/1/2015: Galaxy A7, Linux Mint 17.1 Reviews

Posted in News Roundup at 6:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source software platform released by Lockheed Martin

    Lockheed Martin software engineers have created a platform for easing big data analysis for developers and non-developers and are open sourcing the project on GitHub, a well-known web-based hosting service.

  • 6 excellent open source network monitoring tools

    There are tools that notify users when problems occur as well as when problems have been solved. And others are very good at spotting just about anything out of the ordinary or providing analysis of trends.

  • Three Pillars Of Open Source Governance

    Open source software has morphed from its underground DIY roots to become a common tool that runs essential parts of many businesses. In turn, commercial companies have sprung up around open source projects. These companies make money offering updates, support, and services.

    The intersection of open source and commercial interests raises questions about authority, authenticity, and culture.

    Is the project driven by the commercial sponsor or outside contributors? Will commercial interests trump the wishes of the community? How and where do you draw lines between a commercial entity and the open source community?

  • Top 5 open source project management tools in 2015

    Last year, I covered five of the best open source project management tools, like ProjectLibre and OpenProject. The article struck a chord with readers and continues to prove valuable. So, this year I revisited the tools mentioned in last year’s article, taking into account comments and suggestions from readers, and provided an update on where they are today. Next, I share five new open source project management tools for 2015. All in all, this article will give you a good look at 11 of the top open source project management tools out there.

  • Events

    • Free embedded computing conference posts agenda

      “Tomorrow’s Internet of Things will be built as an orchestration of hardware and software platforms, many of which will be built on Linux,” states the RTC Group in its RTECC event announcement. Attendees will have the opportunity to grab a copy of the most recent free RTC Magazine, featuring a cover that asks: “Linux: Can it run everywhere?”

    • Consumer Electronics Show 2015: Open source highlights

      The 48th annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has come and gone, bringing with it some exciting new open source platforms and products. While it’s difficult to capture every open source announcement and unveiling that happened last week, let’s take a look at a few of the highlights:

    • Linux.Conf.Au 2015 Kicks Off In Auckland

      This year’s LCA 2015 keynotes include Linus Torvalds, Bob Young, and Eben Moglen. For those not down under attending the conference, at least there’s usually top-notch videos of the keynotes and various sessions that are available in the weeks ahead. I’ll also be monitoring for the slides and other presentation assets to analyze and share on Phoronix.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Announcing the Mozilla Science Lab Fellowship Program

        With generous support from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, we are excited to announce the Mozilla Science Lab’s first Open Science fellowship program. The grant is one of the first investments by the Trust’s new funding program dedicated to collaboration, reproducibility, and infrastructure in biomedical sciences.

      • Firefox 35 Is Ready For Release, Available For Download Now

        In usual Mozilla fashion, Firefox 35.0 is scheduled to be released tomorrow but if you’re so tempted to upgrade to the latest release of this open-source web-browser you can do so tonight.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Project Releases

    • rfoaas 0.1.1

      A brand new and shiny version of rfoaas is now on CRAN. The rfoaas package provides an interface for R to the most excellent FOAAS service–which provides a modern, scalable and RESTful web service for the frequent need to tell someone to f$#@ off.

    • Early Preview Release Of Git 2.3

      Beyond announcing Git v2.2.2 on Monday with various bug-fixes, Junio Hamano announced the release of Git 2.3.0-rc0 as a preview release towards Git 2.3.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Meet the open access dinosaurs of the year

        As we enter 2015, it’s a good time to reflect on the state of paleontology and the state of open access. Because I’m a dinosaur paleontologist (my apologies to the other 99% of life that ever lived), this post will of course address that clade in particular!

        Thirty-eight new genera or species of dinosaur were announced in 2014 (according to my count based on a list at Wikipedia and the dinosaur genera list), spanning everything from sauropods to tyrannosaurs to horned dinosaurs. Seventeen of these were published in open access or free-to-read journals. This works out to around 45%.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source Hardware Advances Science,Technology

        On June 12, 2014 Elon Musk caused a stir by announcing Tesla’s decision to open its patents. To many, Tesla’s bold move signaled the beginning of an era and an open call for open source.


  • Hardware

    • making it work

      Linus recently noted that many-core (1000+ core) computing will never happen because software doesn’t work with it. Fortunately for us, Linus is a man of limited vision and is wrong about the inevitability of that outcome because he makes a flawed assumption: we will continue writing software the way we currently do. He is right that if we keep writing software the way we do, many-core will not happen. Even multi-system will run into limits, particularly on the client side. However, we don’t need to keep writing software the way we do.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Fall in life expectancy raises alarm amid fears that cuts and pressure on NHS may be to blame for earlier deaths

      Health officials are investigating a “statistically significant, sustained” decline in life expectancy among elderly people in some parts of England, amid warnings that cuts to social care and pressures on the NHS may be contributing to earlier deaths.

    • EU lawmakers pass controversial GMO food law

      EU lawmakers on Tuesday approved controversial legislation to allow EU member states to decide for themselves whether to allow cultivation of Genetically Modified foods after years of bitter dispute.

      “This agreement will ensure more flexibility for member states who wish to restrict the cultivation of the GMOs in their territory,” said Liberal Democrat MEP Frederique Ries who steered the legislation through the assembly.

      For some of the 28 European Union nations such as France, GMO foods are a potential threat to public health and the reputation and integrity of its famed agricultural produce.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Centcom ‘hack’ that wasn’t

      Hackers claiming links to the Islamic State have hijacked several social media accounts belonging to U.S. military’s Central Command. The hacking group, which calls itself “CyberCaliphate,” is tweeting out what the group claims are U.S. military PowerPoints and data on retired Army personnel — seemingly sensitive files that have no business being publicly aired. The images are meant to show that the hackers have penetrated the Pentagon’s network. But the chances of this actually having happened appear rather slim. Here’s why.

    • Manipulation of Terror

      Nationalists are spreading hate, fanatics are attacking Muslims, governments are capitalizing on this tragedy.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • WikiLeaks: not perfect, but more important than ever for free speech

      The secret CIA files appeared just before Christmas. One detailed how CIA operatives could maintain cover, using fake IDs, when travelling through foreign airports. Israel’s Ben Gurion airport was said to be one of the hardest to trick.

      The other document, from 2009, was an assessment of the CIA’s assassination program. It raised doubts about the effectiveness of the program in reducing terrorism. Likewise with Israel’s killing of Palestinians.

      In Afghanistan, the CIA discovered that murdering Taliban leaders could radicalise the militants, allowing even more extreme actors to enter the battlefield. The Obama administration ignored this advice and unleashed “targeted killings” in the country. Unsurprisingly, the insurgency is thriving.

  • Privacy

    • David Cameron’s internet surveillance plans rival Syria, Russia and Iran

      What David Cameron thinks he’s saying is: “We will command all the software creators we can reach to introduce back doors into their tools for us.” There are enormous problems with this: there’s no back door that only lets good guys go through it. If your WhatsApp or Google Hangouts has a deliberately introduced flaw in it, then foreign spies, criminals, crooked police (such as those who fed sensitive information to the tabloids who were implicated in the phone-hacking scandal – and like the high-level police who secretly worked for organised crime for years) and criminals will eventually discover this vulnerability. They – and not just the security services – will be able to use it to intercept all of our communications, from the pictures of your kids in your bath you send to your parents to the trade secrets you send to co-workers.

    • WhatsApp and iMessage could be banned under new surveillance plans

      David Cameron could block WhatsApp and Snapchat if he wins the next election, as part of his plans for new surveillance powers announced in the wake of the shootings in Paris.

    • UK government could ban encrypted communications with new surveillance powers

      Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, is calling for new surveillance powers in the wake of the recent shootings in Paris. Speaking at a public event in the UK this morning, Cameron outlined the government’s stance on secure communications that can’t be read by police or government agencies. “In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which […] we cannot read?” he asked, comparing letters and phone conversations to encrypted communications used online, adding that “we must not” allow a means of communication where individuals can communicate in secret over the internet.

    • David Cameron Should Worry You

      It should have come as a surprise to nobody that leaders around the world are jumping on the Charlie Hedbo attacks in Paris as a means to justify increased warrantless surveillance.

      What you should take away from his statement is that he’s willing to encroach on the civil liberties of millions of British people in a misguided attempt to increase national security. We know from leaked NSA slides (see left) that this has always been the desire of the surveillance arms of the UK and US governments. Now, they’re using the fear that Paris generated to pass legislation.

    • Max Hastings embraces ‘der Deutsche Blick’

      It is concerning that, in the midst of citing the “coherent doctrine[s]” of Nazism and the Eastern Bloc, Hastings advocates their “everything about everyone” methods of domestic surveillance. The NSA’s term is “collect it all”. Apparently, Hastings is blind to the danger of history repeating, a history that includes MI5 finding itself with “very little to do” by the early 1970s, and turning (in the 1980s) on the people it was supposed to protect (see: DS19, and F branch) – surveilling for the first time with data banks and networks. By the 1990s, whistleblowers were reporting that Hastings’ “few mavericks, [...] who abuse such power” were a majority within positions of power, and broadly ignoring the Act of Parliament (1989) meant to curtail the agency’s excesses. Without oversight, institutions are as likely to devolve as reform, and Hastings’ outdated deference creates the space for further abuses.

    • U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron Proposes Banning End-to-End Encryption
    • What David Cameron just proposed would endanger every Briton and destroy the IT industry

      What David Cameron thinks he’s saying is, “We will command all the software creators we can reach to introduce back-doors into their tools for us.” There are enormous problems with this: there’s no back door that only lets good guys go through it. If your Whatsapp or Google Hangouts has a deliberately introduced flaw in it, then foreign spies, criminals, crooked police (like those who fed sensitive information to the tabloids who were implicated in the hacking scandal — and like the high-level police who secretly worked for organised crime for years), and criminals will eventually discover this vulnerability. They — and not just the security services — will be able to use it to intercept all of our communications. That includes things like the pictures of your kids in your bath that you send to your parents to the trade secrets you send to your co-workers.


      Cameron is not alone here. The regime he proposes is already in place in countries like Syria, Russia, and Iran (for the record, none of these countries have had much luck with it). There are two means by which authoritarian governments have attempted to restrict the use of secure technology: by network filtering and by technology mandates.

    • Why MI5 does not need more surveillance powers after the Paris attacks

      Soon after the attacks in Paris last week, the director general of MI5, Andrew Parker, said of the jihadi threat: “Whenever we lose visibility of what they are saying to each other, so our ability to understand and mitigate the threat they pose is reduced.”

      Few would disagree with this sentiment, or in any way underestimate the enormous responsibility counter-terrorist agencies face after the killings, but the coded suggestion that MI5 needs further sweeping surveillance powers to track down terrorists is more controversial, because it doesn’t take into account the facts.

    • George Brandis still struggling with metadata

      While it is perhaps unsurprising, the Attorney-General’s latest attempt to use the Sydney siege and recent events in France as justifications for the government’s mandatory data retention laws is as distasteful as it is misleading.

    • What new snooping powers do PM and MI5 want – and what are the concerns?
    • In wake of Paris attacks, French surveillance gets a closer look

      French President Francois Hollande chaired an emergency meeting Monday morning with key cabinet ministers and heads of police and security services to discuss how persons known to the country’s intelligence community were still able to coordinate violent raids in Paris. But just days before the attacks on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo left 12 dead and wounded another 11, a controversial new law, broadly expanding the French government’s surveillance powers, went into effect.

    • MI6 forced to show how it may snoop on privileged lawyer-client exchanges

      MI6 has been forced to reveal documents detailing how it may access legally privileged communications between solicitors and their clients, even if the lawyers are suing the government.

      Policy guidance handed over to the civil liberties organisation Reprieve shows how the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) is attempting to regulate its mass surveillance practices and demonstrate compliance with the law.

      The revelations have emerged from a case brought by lawyers for two Libyans, Abdel-Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi, who, along with their families, were abducted in a joint MI6-CIA operation and sent back to Tripoli to be tortured by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2004.

      Their complaint about illegal monitoring is being heard before the investigatory powers tribunal and a full trial of the issues is expected this spring.

      Exchanges between lawyers and their clients enjoy a special protected status under UK law. Following exposure of widespread monitoring by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013, Belhaj’s lawyers feared that their exchanges with their clients could have been compromised by GCHQ’s interception of phone conversations and emails.

    • After Paris: More Intelligence, not More Surveillance

      This is the extraordinary thing about mass surveillance. Every time it fails, its supporters use it as evidence that we must have more (even though blanket surveillance is no longer possible in the EU.) If something doesn’t work, you shouldn’t do more of it, but something different and more effective. One of the striking things to emerge from the report on intelligence matters relating to the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby, which I wrote about back in November, was that the UK intelligence services simply didn’t have enough people to follow up all the leads they had. So the idea that we need *more* surveillance data, more false positives, more leads to follow up, is clearly folly.

    • What you ‘like’ on Facebook gives away your personality

      Be careful what you “like” on Facebook. You’re opening a small window on your soul.

      A machine-learning algorithm can now predict human personality types using nothing but what people like on the Facebook social media site. A team at Stanford University in California and the University of Cambridge used data from a questionnaire filled out by 86,000 people that identified their “big five” personality traits. The results were correlated with their Facebook activity.

      On the basis of between 100 and 150 Facebook likes, the team’s algorithm could determine someone’s personality more accurately than could their friends and family, and nearly as well as their spouse.

    • Ever liked a film on Facebook? You’ve given the security services a key to your soul

      Why on earth does David Cameron feel the need to call for new digital powers for the security services when they are only beginning to use the ones they already have? Suppose you wanted personality profiles of a quarter of the population of England? Turns out you can mine them from Facebook with publicly published algorithms. About half the adult population of England uses Facebook at least once a month. About a quarter of us have “liked” more than 250 things there. So it’s really disconcerting to discover that completely banal acts on Facebook can add up to a quite detailed psychological profile.

  • Civil Rights

    • Risen finally off hook in leak trial

      New York Times reporter James Risen won’t be called to the witness stand at a leak trial for one of his alleged sources, but jurors may hear some of the words he uttered at a pre-trial hearing last week, according to lawyers and the judge overseeing the case.

    • Feds want Risen out of leak trial

      Federal prosecutors who have decided after a seven-year legal battle not to call New York Times reporter James Risen in the leak trial of one of his alleged sources are now intent on making sure the defense in the case can’t call Risen either—or even talk about the government’s decision not to call him.

    • Psychologists provided legal cover for US torture programs in exchange for status and power, book shows

      James Risen’s new book “Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War” spells out how the American Psychological Association and the US security apparatus worked together, towards mutually beneficial aims, to cloak the government’s torture programs in a mask of legality. Essentially, the APA gave the military what it wanted—claims that the torture programs were medically sound—in exchange for power and prestige.

      The story is simultaneously pathetic and horrifying.

      Risen describes how in 2002, the APA changed its ethical guidelines to allow members to do things that violate the APA code of ethics, as long as the psychologists were following the law or what they called “governing legal authority.” As long as the US government said it was ok, the APA’s members could engage in torture—its own ethics rules be damned. As Risen observes, the “change introduced the Nuremberg defense into American psychology—following lawful orders was an acceptable reason to violate professional ethics.” Always a bad sign when one begins to take legal cues from Nazis.

    • “Insider Threat” Program Lags Behind Schedule

      Currently, the anticipated achievement of an Initial Operating Capability for insider threat detection by January 2017 is “at risk,” according to a new quarterly progress report. Meanwhile, the date for achieving a Full Operating Capability cannot even be projected. See “Insider Threat and Security Clearance Reform, FY2014, Quarter 4.”

    • The Corrupt Philanderer Who Built the CIA’s Black Sites

      Democratic deliberation rests on the premise that ideas, once exposed to the public—unfolded, challenged, tested, and disputed—will stand or fall on their own merit. The bureaucratic drive for secrecy rests, in many cases, on a need to keep information out of the hands of individuals who could use it to harm the bureaucracy. The bureaucrat will invariably say that an enemy could use the information to harm the country, but more often than not the real concern originates with the bureaucrat personally or the office where he or she works.

    • America’s over-policing bombshell: How new data proves “stop & frisk” critics were right all along

      People are talking about the police a lot these days. The killing of unarmed residents. The killing of cops. Disputes between New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and rank-and-file officers over issues of respect. And yet, a policing issue that totally consumed and divided New York and the nation in recent years now garners little mention: the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy.

      One big reason, of course, is that the tactic is used much less now. But another is that, while few have announced it, the debate over the once hotly divisive practice is effectively over. As new data this week confirmed, when it comes to whether a city can reduce crime without stopping-and-frisking enormous numbers of its residents of color, one side was right and one was wrong.

    • The VICE News Interview: Joseph Hickman

      According to the US government, three detainees — all imprisoned as part of the global war on terror — hung themselves in their cells that night. But Army Staff Sergeant Joseph Hickman, who was on guard that night at Camp Delta, came to believe something very different: that the three men were murdered in a secret CIA black site at Guantanamo.

    • Hotter Than Lava

      Every day, cops toss dangerous military-style grenades during raids, with little oversight and horrifying results.

    • Politicians apply double standard in support of David Petraeus amid FBI leaks inquiry

      Though under investigation by the FBI for unauthorized disclosure of classified information related to an affair with his biographer, David Petraeus counts among his defenders a host of prominent politicians who typically denounce security leaks.

      The former US army general and CIA director has deep ties to a bipartisan host of political heavyweights, from potential Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to former Republican presidential nominee John McCain, and a well of media support stemming from his stewardship of the 2007-08 Iraq troop surge. Many have raced to support Petraeus in the days since word emerged that the most acclaimed military officer of his generation might face felony charges.

    • Obama & Counterterror: The Ignored Record

      Torture, paradoxically, has been the area where Obama’s policy has been both the firmest and the most qualified. By all available evidence, use of the “enhanced interrogation techniques” has stopped. Obama also prohibited further use of secret detention facilities where suspects had “disappeared” in CIA custody for torture. (To be fair, Bush by the end of his presidency seemed to have ended both too.)

    • Guantanamo Bay: A ‘Battle Lab’ Where Personnel Experimented on Prisoners to Develop Torture Techniques

      On the thirteenth anniversary of the first prisoners brought to Guantanamo Bay, a report from the Seton Hall Law Center for Policy and Research examines how the United States government used the facility as a “battle laboratory.”

      Prisoners were treated like “test subjects” as personnel, including medical officers, engaged in experiments to develop new interrogation techniques. Numerous detainees were drugged upon arrival to help interrogators break them. One prisoner, Mohammed al-Qahtani, was treated like a “lab rat” and monitored closely by medical personnel to determine if his body could continue to be tortured.

    • “Circus of Hypocrisy”: Jeremy Scahill on How World Leaders at Paris March Oppose Press Freedom

      An estimated 3.7 million people rallied across France on Sunday in response to the Charlie Hebdo shootings and ensuing attacks that left 17 people dead. More than a million people marched in Paris, making it the largest demonstration in French history. More than 40 world leaders traveled to Paris to help lead the march. “What we saw on display on the one hand was very heartening, to see so many people come into the streets,” says Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept. “But on the other hand, this is a sort of circus of hypocrisy when it comes to all of those world leaders who were marching at the front of it. Every single one of those heads of state or representatives of governments there have waged their own wars against journalists.”

    • The Intercept Found Serial’s Elusive Jay, but Can It Find a Profitable Future? [UPDATED]
    • Consent of the Governed

      Recent polling data confirms that a majority of Americans — in some cases a vast majority — have very low levels of trust in our ruling institutions. Only about a fifth of the population has a lot or great deal of trust in big business. Americans have an all-time historic low level of trust for the US Congress — a minuscule 7 percent — and distrust in the government as a whole is at an historic high: 81 percent. Though these numbers are abysmal, the troubling aspect of the reporting is that the numbers continue to trend in the wrong direction. Meaning, it will likely get worse without corrective action. This condition is more serious than some realize.

    • I Helped Create Gitmo. Now I Want It Shut Down.

      Thirteen years ago this month, I arrived in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as the commander, Joint Task Force 160, charged with constructing and operating a detention facility to hold Taliban and al Qaeda detainees. Today the detention facility at Guantanamo is a blight on our history, and it should be closed.

    • Nigeria’s Horror in Paris’s Shadow

      Why a 10-year-old suicide bomber isn’t front-page news

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies


Links 12/1/2015: Linux Mint 17.1 Xfce, Linux 3.19 RC4

Posted in News Roundup at 7:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • AllSeen Alliance Launches Open Source AllJoyn IoT Gateway Agent

    The AllSeen Alliance, a cross-industry collaboration created to advance the Internet of Everything (IoT) through the AllJoyn open source software project, has released the AllJoyn Gateway Agent, an extension of the AllJoyn framework that delivers remote access, device management and fine-grained security and privacy control.

  • How the rise of open source could improve software security
  • Ori: Another Open-Source Distributed File-System

    Ori is a project out of Stanford and its features include peer-to-peer support, the ability to work offline, secure data transfers over SSH, and instant access with background synchronization.

  • Open Source History, Or Why Sharing Trumps Proprietary Society

    Is history open source? Not always, it seems, as Jonathan Band recently pointed out in an essay about copyright and legal issues surrounding the reproduction of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches for the film “Selma,” which parallels the key debates about open vs. closed software.

    Writing on Techdirt, Band observed that the producers of the film did not obtain the rights to King’s original Civil Rights-era speeches. Consequently, the speeches King is portrayed as giving in the movie are not those he actually delivered in the 1960s.

  • Events

    • Do You Work in the Data Center? Here Are Three Open Source Projects You Need to Know About

      For years, open source solutions have gained steam as programmers and decision makers began to see firsthand how they could benefit from the technology.

      From a coder’s point of view, open source solutions provide a foundation upon which new pieces of software can be built rather than starting from scratch. From a business manager’s perspective, open source tools will likely cost the company considerably less than proprietary solutions while at the same time providing a high level of security and functionality.

    • Boybanders ONE DIRECTION launch DoS attack on open-source bods

      One Direction has launched a denial of service attack on an open source coding conference in Cardiff, with the band maliciously pinging tens-of-thousands of its teenage fans at the city on the same day as DjangoCon 2015.

    • Lockheed Martin introduces open source software platform

      Simpler real-time analytics processing and analysis possible on web-based hosting service.

    • Announcing the Community Leadership Summit 2015!

      For those of you who are unfamiliar with the CLS, it is an entirely free event designed to bring together community leaders and managers and the projects and organizations that are interested in growing and empowering a strong community. The event provides an unconference-style schedule in which attendees can discuss, debate and explore topics. This is augmented with a range of scheduled talks, panel discussions, networking opportunities and more.

    • Drones, IoT, Containers and Cloud: CollabSummit 2015
  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Playing With Solaris In 2015

      This weekend when deciding what extra benchmarks to run and planning more tests for the week ahead, I decided to explore doing some fresh Oracle Solaris benchmarks since my most recent Solaris benchmarks were back in 2012. I also haven’t had much (any?) Solaris news to relay recently so wanted to see if there was anything new within the ex-Sun camp.

    • German City of Munich To Help Shape Future of LibreOffice

      Germany’s third largest city has a long history of using open-source software, much of it well documented.

      More than 16,000 PCs of public employees run the open-source “LiMux” Linux operating system, and the city makes heavy use of LibreOffice and its open file formats.

      The city will be represented on the board by Florian Haftmann, whose appointment swells the ranks to 17 members, among them Google, Intel, RedHat, and MIMO (‘Inter-Ministry Mutualisation for an Open Productivity Suite’ and made up of various French governmental departments).

    • LibreOffice 4.4 RC2 Is Now Ready for Testing

      The Document Foundation has just announced that the second Release Candidate for the new LibreOffice 4.4 branch has been made available and is now ready for testing.

  • BSD


  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

    • Top 10 FOSS legal developments of 2014

      The litigation surrounding Android continued this year, with significant developments in the patent litigation between Apple Computer, Inc. (Apple) and Samsung Electronics, Inc. (Samsung) and the copyright litigation over the Java APIs between Oracle Corporation (Oracle) and Google, Inc. (Google). Apple and Samsung have agreed to end patent disputes in nine countries, but they will continue the litigation in the US. As I stated last year, the Rockstar Consortium was a wild card in this dispute. However, the Rockstar Consortium settled its litigation with Google this year and sold off its patents, so it will no longer be a risk to the Android ecosystem.

      The copyright litigation regarding the copyrightability of the Java APIs was brought back to life by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) decision which overturned the District Court decision. The District Court had found that Google was not liable for copyright infringement for its admitted copying of the Java APIs: the court found that the Java APIs were either not copyrightable or their use by Google was protected by various defenses to copyright. The CAFC overturned both the decision and the analysis and remanded the case to the District Court for a review of the fair use defense raised by Google. Subsequently, Google filed an appeal to the Supreme Court. The impact of a finding that Google was liable for copyright infringement in this case would have a dramatic effect on Android and, depending on the reasoning, would have a ripple effect across the interpretation of the scope of the “copyleft” terms of the GPL family of licenses which use APIs.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Go 1.5 Is Still Working Towards Being Written In Go

      The plan for the upcoming release of Google’s Go 1.5 language is to have its tool-chain be written in Go. In order to bootstrap the new Go compiler tool-chain, they’ll depend on Go 1.4 to compile the new code.


  • Scottish storms: Power supplies still not restored to hundreds of homes

    About 600 homes are still without power after the storms which have swept Scotland, according to Scottish Hydro.

    Its power distribution division, SHEPD, said it had restored electricity to more than 120,000 customers since gale force winds hit power lines on Friday.

    Areas where power has yet to be fully restored include the Western Isles and rural areas around Dingwall and Wick.

  • Security

    • Thoughts – Not All Encryption Methods Live Up to Their Promises

      One example is the encryption featured in Skype, a program used by some 300 million users to conduct Internet video chat that is touted as secure.(3) It isn’t really. “Sustained Skype collection began in Feb 2011,” reads a National Security Agency (NSA) training document from the Edward Snowden archive.(4) Less than half a year later, in the fall, the code crackers declared their mission accomplished.(5) Since then, data from Skype has been accessible to the NSA snoops.(6) Software giant Microsoft, which acquired Skype in 2011, said in a statement: “We will not provide governments with direct or unfettered access to customer data or encryption keys.”(7) The NSA had been monitoring Skype even before that, but since February 2011 the service has been under order from the secret U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), to not only supply information to the NSA but also to make itself accessible as a source of data for the agency.(8)

    • Security is a Concern for The Internet of Things

      The Internet of Things (IoT) was big news at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and many of the biggest tech companies had related announcements. Apple wan’t demonstrating, but partners had the first set of devices that are HomeKit certified, which is Apple’s protocol for allowing smart home devices to work with the iOS platform. And, Google announced 15 new partners in “Work With Nest,” its developer program for adding third-party devices to Nest devices and networks.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Police Arrest Four People During Drone Protests at Airfield in UK

      The protesters have hung banners on the perimeter fence of the Royal Air Force in Waddington, calling to stop launch and use of drones from the air base. They have pointed out civilian casualties caused by UAVs during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • Peace activists protest ‘brutal UK drone warfare’ at RAF base, 4 arrests

      Four peace activists were arrested at a Royal Air Force (RAF) base in Lincolnshire, northern England, on Monday while protesting against Britain’s use of armed drones. The site hosts the control center for UK drones abroad.

    • With Call To ‘End The Drone Wars,’ Activists Cut Their Way Into UK Air Force Base

      Four demonstrators opposed to Britain’s prolonged participation in foreign wars and use of armed drones were arrested on Monday after cutting through a fence at the Waddington Royal Air Force base near Lincolnshire, UK.

      According to the Guardian, RAF Waddington has been the growing focus of recent protests over Britain’s operation of unmanned aerial vehicles, which are controlled from the base.

      “Behind the rebranding, war is as brutal and deadly as it has always been with civilians killed, communities destroyed, and the next generation traumatized. And so we have come to RAF Waddington, the home of drone warfare here in the UK to say clearly and simply ‘End the Drone War’.”

    • Four peace campaigners arrested at drone protest

      The group: ‘ End The Drone Wars’ were Pax Christi executive member Chris Cole, 51, from Oxford, Katharina Karcher, 30, from Coventry, Gary Eagling, 52, from Nottingham and Penny Walker, 64, from Leicester. They are currently in police custody.

    • Drone protesters arrested at RAF base in Lincolnshire

      Four people campaigning against Britain’s use of armed drones have been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass.

      Lincolnshire police said two men in their early 50s and two women aged 30 and 64 were detained at RAF Waddington on Monday.

    • CIA Behind France Attacks, Says Ex White House Official

      Attacks carried out by alleged Islamic gunmen in France last week that left 17 dead were the work of the CIA, “designed to shore up France’s vassal status to Washington,” a former White House official has claimed.

      Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and editor of the Wall Street Journal, Paul Craig Roberts, wrote on his blog Thursday that the atrocities were a “false flag” operation, similar to those carried out after World War II to frame communists.

      “Muslims are going to be framed for an inside job designed to pull France firmly back under Washington’s thumb,” he wrote.

      The tragedy began when two heavily armed brothers burst into the Paris office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo Wednesday, killing 12. The drama continued with the murder of a policewoman, and two concurrent sieges, one in a kosher supermarket.

    • Raif Badawi and Saudi Arabia’s intolerance

      One would be to create a mechanism to fully expose the situation. Some kind of international commission of inquiry, similar to the one that investigated North Korea, would be a good place to start. It could take testimony and build a record about the kingdom’s repression of dissent and the absence of rights for women. Just the discussion would signal to the Saudi leaders that, despite their storied relationship with the United States, abuses of human rights will not be forgotten, or ignored, as they have been for too long.

    • Terrorist acts not cartoons provoke Islamophobia

      In response to the appalling attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the cry of Je suis Charlie (I am Charlie) has gone up in France, the rest of Europe and around the world.

      The idea, of course, was been to express complete solidarity, to the point of total identification, with the slain journalists and their right to publish provocative and even offensive material. However, almost immediately a dissenting voice also emerged in western discourse, condemning some of the material and refusing to identify with it.

    • Charlie Hebdo Attack Investigator Commits Suicide: Reports

      Helric Fredou, 45, suffered from depression and experienced burn out. Shortly before committing suicide, he met with the family of a victim of the Charlie Hebdo attack and killed himself preparing the report.

    • NY Times (Again) Carries Water for Government’s Post Hoc Drone Assassination Justifications

      American Anwar al-Awlaki has been dead for over four years now, but The New York Times is still giving substantial ink to the U.S. government’s self-serving meme that Awlaki was an “operational” terrorist,” even though we still don’t know whether ISIS or AQAP is responsible for the recent attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.

      I called out New York Times reporter Scott Shane for carrying the government’s water by pimping the “Awlaki was operational” narrative last year. Yesterday, Shane penned another lengthy article rehashing the U.S. government’s post hoc justification for targeting and assassinating Awlaki without due process.

    • Some European Bloodbaths Are More Interesting Than Others

      On July 24, 2011, two days after Anders Breivik slaughtered 77 people, mostly teenagers, in Norway to call attention to his view that Muslim immigration was a bad thing, NBC’s Meet the Press didn’t mention the words “Breivik” or “Norway.” Nor did CBS’s Face the Nation.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • 72 Percent of Republican Senators Are Climate Deniers

      On Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) offered a simple amendment to the controversial bill that would authorize construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Sanders’ measure, which he proposed to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, would have declared it the “sense of Congress” that climate change is real; that it is caused by humans; that it has already caused significant problems; and that the United States needs to shift its economy away from fossil fuels.

  • Finance

    • Study: Students often clueless about how much they owe

      Terrance Mitchell knows. Rebecca Williams doesn’t. Eric Simon isn’t sure, but he thinks he might.

      Mitchell, a junior at the University of Michigan, owes $13,500 in federal student loans. Williams, a sophomore at Eastern Michigan University, has no clue how much she owes. Simon, a senior at Wayne State University, thinks he owes about $20,000, but isn’t real sure.

      That range of knowledge about student loans is common, a new study has found.

      The study, conducted by the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings, found that about half of all students in the U.S. underestimate how much debt they have and less than a third can come within a few thousand dollars of the correct total. About a quarter overestimate their level of federal debt.


      A little more than 14% of Michigan students who started paying off their student loans in 2011 are already in default, just three years after they left college. That’s more than 25,000 borrowers who haven’t made a payment in at least 270 days. The national default rate for the class of 2011 is 13.7%, down from 14.7% for 2010.

    • Ivy League’s meritocracy lie: How Harvard and Yale cook the books for the 1 percent

      A special lottery is to be held to select the student who will live in the only deluxe room in a dormitory. There are 100 seniors, 150 juniors, and 200 sophomores who applied. Each senior’s name is placed in the lottery 3 times; each junior’s name, 2 times; and each sophomore’s name, 1 time. What is the probability that a senior’s name will be chosen?

    • Trial resumes for Swiss ex-banker charged with giving data to Wikileaks

      A former Julius Baer banker acknowledged that he passed confidential client data to WikiLeaks but argued his actions were not illegal, as his trial resumed on charges of breaching Swiss banking secrecy law.

      The trial of Rudolf Elmer, a self-described “Gandhi of Swiss tax law”, comes as banking secrecy in Switzerland is crumbling under international pressure from countries trying to recoup lost tax revenue.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • For Fox News’ Steve Emerson, Factchecking Seems to Be a No-Go Zone

      Birmingham is Britain’s second-largest city; needless to say, non-Muslims go there all the time, given that only 20 percent of the city’s residents are Muslim (Guardian, 1/12/15).

    • Fox News ‘terror expert’ says everyone in Birmingham is a Muslim

      An American “terrorism expert” on the right-wing Fox News channel has declared that Birmingham is “a totally Muslim” city “where non-Muslims just simply don’t go”.

      Steve Emerson made the claim, which may come as a surprise to the hundreds of thousands of non-Muslim residents of Britain’s second-largest city, during a television discussion about no-go zones in Europe where Muslims are apparently in complete control.

    • Fox News pundit claims that Birmingham is ‘totally Muslim’ city

      Non-Muslims do not go to the British city of Birmingham, which has become a “totally Muslim” city, it has been claimed. Speaking on US news channel Fox News, Steven Emerson – who claims to be a “terrorism expert” – also said that gangs of religious police in parts of London beat up people who are not wearing Islamic clothes.

    • Enforcing with a smile

      Enforcers of China’s one-child policy are trying a new, gentler approach

  • Censorship

    • No, Mark Zuckerberg you do not stand with Charlie Hebdo

      You started out your entire narrative by outlining a Pakistani fanatic that wanted you dead for an offensive video. However, within Pakistan alone you censored over 1,773 pieces of progressive content. During the last half of 2013 and the first half of 2014, censorship on Facebook saw a 19% hike. Why is this relevant? Because the content you’re censoring in this country comes from left-wing liberal pages targeting extremism and oppressive state policies. On the other hand, pages with actual hate speech targeting both Muslim minorities and non-Muslims continue to push out their displaceable [perhaps you meant despicable] content with complete freedom and ease.

      Pakistan desperately needs a counter narrative to tackle issues relating to extremism and terrorism. This is a country that feeds on conspiracy theories and not facts. When the murders in Paris first took place people began analyzing images to see how fake they could be, because everything is a conspiracy against religion, it causes no trouble or damage on its own. Do you see what we are living with?

    • Je Suis Facebook? Mark Zuckerberg’s Post Raises Free Speech Questions

      It also includes Jillian York, director for international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

      “When Mark Zuckerberg says that, he doesn’t mean it,” York told NBC News from Berlin. “I don’t think Facebook stands for free speech at all.”

      She pointed specifically to Pakistan.

      As a result of government requests, Facebook removed 1,773 pieces of content in Pakistan in the first half of 2014, according to the company’s most recent transparency report. That trails only India and Turkey, where 4,960 and 1,893 pieces of content were removed, respectively, in the same time period.

    • Israel to demand apology for ‘anti-Semitic’ Netanyahu cartoon

      Israel is planning to demand an apology for a controversial cartoon that appeared in the British Sunday Times, Israel’s ambassador to London said Monday, while one minister mulled steps against the paper.

    • On Charlie Hebdo: A letter to my British friends

      Of course, freedom of speech has its limits. I was astonished to read from one of you that UK, as opposed to France, had laws forbidding incitement to racial hatred. Was it Charlie’s cartoons that convinced him that France had no such laws? Be reassured: it does. Only we do not conflate religion and race. We are the country of Voltaire and Diderot: religion is fair game. Atheists can point out its ridicules, and believers have to learn to take a joke and a pun. They are welcome to drown us in return with sermons about the superficiality of our materialistic, hedonistic lifestyles. I like it that way. Of course, the day when everybody confuses “Arab” with “Muslim” and “Muslim” with “fundamentalist”, then any criticism of the latter will backfire on the former. That is why we must keep the distinctions clear.

    • Legendary Cartoonist Robert Crumb on the Massacre in Paris

      You don’t have journalists over there anymore, what they have is public relations people. That’s what they have over in America now.

    • ‘We vomit’ on Charlie’s sudden friends: staff cartoonist

      A prominent Dutch cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo heaped scorn on the French satirical weekly’s “new friends” since the massacre at its Paris offices on Wednesday.

      “We have a lot of new friends, like the pope, Queen Elizabeth and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. It really makes me laugh,” Bernard Holtrop, whose pen name is Willem, told the Dutch centre-left daily Volkskrant in an interview published Saturday.

      France’s far-right National Front leader “Marine Le Pen is delighted when the Islamists start shooting all over the place,” said Willem, 73, a longtime Paris resident who also draws for the French leftist daily Liberation.

      He added: “We vomit on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends.”

      Commenting on the global outpouring of support for the weekly, Willem scoffed: “They’ve never seen Charlie Hebdo.”

    • Death threats follow publication of cartoon in Israeli newspaper

      In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris last week Haaretz published a daring cartoon juxtaposing journalists* killed in Gaza by Israel during the brutal summer slaughter with the journalists killed at the office of the satirical magazine in Paris. This set off a chain reaction which ultimately led to calls for murdering Haaretz journalists after Ronen Shoval, founder of the neo-Zionist and proto-fascist Im Tirtzu movement, called for an investigation of the newspaper’s editors. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/01/journalists-publication-newspaper#sthash.qjHQxhhJ.dpuf

  • Privacy

    • David Cameron says new online data laws needed

      David Cameron has promised a “comprehensive piece of legislation” to close the “safe spaces” used by suspected terrorists to communicate online with each other.

    • UK’s Cameron won’t “allow” strong encryption of communications

      The British prime minister David Cameron has suggested that if his Conservative Party wins the upcoming general election, it will not allow encrypted communications that cannot be read by the security services.

      On Sunday, Cameron told ITV News: “I think we cannot allow modern forms of communication to be exempt from the ability, in extremis, with a warrant signed by the home secretary, to be exempt from being listened to. That is my very clear view and if I am prime minister after the next election I will make sure we legislate accordingly.” He repeated the sentiment again on Monday (video embedded below.)

    • Response to renewed calls for the Snoopers Charter
    • EU’s Tusk to push for airline data sharing after attack

      European Council President Donald Tusk will press EU lawmakers next week to drop their objections to states sharing airline passenger data as part of efforts to tighten security after the attack on Paris newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

      Speaking in Latvia on Friday, the former Polish prime minister who now chairs meetings of EU leaders, said he had discussed the response to the attack with French President Francois Hollande and would put the matter on the agenda of the next scheduled summit in Brussels on Feb. 12.

    • F.B.I. Is Broadening Surveillance Role, Report Shows

      Although the government’s warrantless surveillance program is associated with the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has gradually become a significant player in administering it, a newly declassified report shows.

      In 2008, according to the report, the F.B.I. assumed the power to review email accounts the N.S.A. wanted to collect through the “Prism” system, which collects emails of foreigners from providers like Yahoo and Google. The bureau’s top lawyer, Valerie E. Caproni, who is now a Federal District Court judge, developed procedures to make sure no such accounts belonged to Americans.

    • Edward Snowden’s Father Speaks

      Lon Snowden on his son, on the courage of John and Bonnie Raines, and the price activists pay for exposing national secrets.

    • Charlie Hebdo: And Out Come The Surveillance Services Demanding More Budget, Powers

      Following the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, everybody and their brother have come out in support of freedom of speech. The problem is, they don’t even know what it is when asked. Meanwhile, the surveillance services waste no time in trying to use the attack to claim more powers.

    • EU legal advisers cast doubt on data retention legality

      The European Parliament’s legal advisors have issued a report into the repercussions of last year’s ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, in which the CJEU struck down the E.U. Data Retention Directive. And the lawyers’ opinions suggest that surviving national data retention laws are on shaky ground.

    • EU response to free speech killings? More internet censorship

      In the wake of this week’s terrorist attacks in Paris, which began with the killing of 12 people at the offices of satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, the interior ministers of 12 EU countries have called for a limited increase in internet censorship.

    • Obama to Call for Laws Covering Data Hacking and Student Privacy

      President Obama on Monday called for federal legislation intended to force American companies to be more forthcoming when credit card data and other consumer information are lost in an online breach like the kind that hit Sony, Target and Home Depot last year.

    • Obama: Hackers pose a ‘direct threat’ to families

      President Obama on Monday unveiled a series of new bills designed to ratchet up cybersecurity protections in the wake of a massive data breach at Sony Pictures, warning the growing problem of online attacks “costs us billions of dollars.”

    • Why Your Websites And Email Newsletters Will Always Beat Facebook Pages

      Where should you focus your online marketing efforts during 2015? In previous year’s campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites would have been high up on the priority list. Thanks to new policies and a need to maximise their own revenue, everyone should be wary of handing over control of the conversations to the likes of Facebook and Twitter. This year should be the year you take back control of the conversation.


      Imagine if the marketing budgets for the Facebook Pages had been spent on bringing the audience to a property that was under the complete control of a brand. It might seem old-fashioned in a world of social media and user-created content indexes, but if these consumers had signed up to an email newsletter a year ago, the brand would still have that direct one-to-one relationship today, there would be no reliance on a mysterious traffic algorithm showing the content, and no extra budget would have to be spent to promote the message to try to get it read.

      I personally use Facebook, but many of the posts that I make are actually mirrors of the posts I make on my personal blog. With years of links, comments, and thoughts, my personal blog belongs to me, is under my control, and I have all the data of the posts, and the readers eyeballs, for my own use.

    • Motorola Moto E modifications

      The Motorola Moto E (model: XT1021 and related devices) is an affordable modern Android cellphone. It may be purchased in cash at your local MediaMarkt for around 100 Euros. It is easy to modify for your everyday surveillance detection, counter-surveillance and anti-surveillance needs. This phone is popular as it is compatible with SnoopSnitch. Nearly full information about the chips used on the phone are available. A high resolution tear-down image of the mainboard is floating around as well.

    • Any Revolution Can Be Repurposed

      The July Revolution comprised three days of fighting in Paris, primarily on free speech grounds against state censorship. Charles X, France’s last hereditary monarch, had imposed the death penalty for blasphemy against Christianity. He also suspended the liberty of the press and dissolved the newly elected Chamber of Deputies.

      Today, the column is used as a platform for surveillance cameras. We must be on our guard against similar repurposing today.

    • BBW reaction to the JCHR report into the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill
    • JCHR Report into the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill

      The Joint Committee on Human Rights has today published a report providing legislative scrutiny of the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill. In November last year we provided a breakdown of what was going to be contained in the Bill and our initial analysis.

  • Civil Rights

    • Watch ‘The Internet’s Own Boy’ on the 2-Year Anniversary of Aaron Swartz’s Death

      January 11, 2015 marks the two-year anniversary of Aaron Swartz’s death. The Reddit co-founder took his life at age 26, at a time he was ensnared in a legal battle that could have cost him $1 million and up to 35 years in prison if convicted.

    • A Saudi Whipping

      Badawi, who is thirty, ran a Web site called Saudi Liberal Network, which dared to discuss the country’s rigid Islamic restrictions on culture. One post mocked the prohibition against observing Valentine’s Day, which, like all non-Muslim holidays, is banned in Saudi Arabia. (Even foreigners aren’t allowed to buy trees for Christmas.) Religious police, known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, have reportedly patrolled flower shops and chocolate shops to warn against selling items that commemorate an infidel celebration. The Web site scoffed, “Congratulations to us for the Commission on the Promotion of Virtue for teaching us virtue and for its eagerness to insure that all members of the Saudi public are among the people of paradise.”

    • Saudi Arabia blogger flogged 50 times out of 1,000 for ‘insulting Islam’, to be continued weekly

      Saudi blogger Raif Badawi has received the first 50 lashes of public flogging out of 1,000 for “insulting Islam” via an online forum that he launched. Jailed for ten years in prison, he faces over $200,000 fine.

    • France asked Netanyahu not to attend Paris march: Report

      Hollande conveyed a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend asking him not to come to Paris to take part in the march against terror on Sunday

    • One Tweet from J.K. Rowling Perfectly Shuts Down Rupert Murdoch’s Anti-Muslim Rhetoric

      While it should be blatantly obvious that the attackers’ actions in no way represent a religion of roughly 1.6 billion people, Murdoch’s 140 character analysis clearly failed to grasp even the basic idea that an entire religion cannot be blamed for these attacks.

    • Exposing the ‘Unidentified Queen of Torture’ | Interview with Ray Nowosielski
    • The rights of whistleblowers vs. the Federal Government

      When information about the danger cigarettes posed to health began to circulate, tobacco companies did everything possible to suppress the information.

    • The War On Dodd-Frank Whistleblowers — How Wall Street Gags, Intimidates And Fights The Fraud Fighters

      Fearing the power and effectiveness of the Dodd-Frank whistleblower programs, big business has stepped up offensive tactics to prevent employees from exposing misconduct to federal regulators.

    • Egyptian student gets 3 years in jail for coming out as atheist on FB

      An Egyptian court has sentenced a 21-year-old student to three years in jail for insulting Islam after police discovered he declared his atheism on Facebook. The young man had been harassed for his atheist views and had his own father testify against him.

      Karim Ashraf Mohammed Al-Banna was tried in Idku city in northern Egypt. The student was arrested last November when he came to police to file a harassment complaint. It was revealed that Al-Banna was harassed in public for announcing he was an atheist online.

    • NY Times (Again) Carries Water for Government’s Post Hoc Drone Assassination Justifications
    • Hicks officially innocent, Pentagon admits

      The government lie that claimed David Hicks committed any crime is now done and dusted, officially.

      Hicks was, and is, innocent of any crime he has been charged with.

      The lie that he was a terrorist who had committed a crime was promoted by the Howard government, notably Prime Minister John Howard and Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, and by the Pentagon and US Administration. It has been perpetuated by the Abbott government, notably by AG George Brandis. But all their claims have now been officially admitted to be false and wrong in law.

    • Paris attacks: David Cameron to discuss greater spying powers with UK security chiefs as calls to revive ‘snooper’s charter’ grow

      David Cameron is to meet with UK security chiefs on Monday to discuss whether Britain will give greater powers to its police and spies in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.

      The Prime Minister said there were “things to learn” from the wave of violence that saw 17 killed across northern France from Wednesday to Friday – and he has faced pressure to revive the so-called “snooper’s charter” that would make it easier for GCHQ to monitor online communications.

    • Far too many Western Muslims speak of freedom as a sin

      Ill with flu last week, I watched the events unfolding in Paris with dread, rage and disbelief – feelings that surge every time there is an Islamicist atrocity. To kill so many over line drawings or as an expression of religious zeal? What drives these fanatics? In normal circumstances, I would have been on TV and radio channels providing immediate responses, soundbite explanations. Bedbound, I had time to reflect more deeply on this carnage and the question of freedom: what it means, how precious it is and how fragile. That fundamental human impulse and right has now become one of the most volatile and divisive concepts in the world today.

    • Lacey photographer refuses to turn over camera, gets arrested

      A freelance journalist for a local online news site was arrested Thursday while covering a motor vehicle crash, after he refused to turn over his camera to a detective from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

      Andrew P. Flinchbaugh, 23, of Lacey, working for The Lacey Reporter, was charged with obstructing administration of law, which is a disorderly persons offense. He was taken into custody after he was repeatedly ordered by a detective to turn over the camera so whatever pictures or video Flinchbaugh had captured could be reviewed as potential evidence in the crash investigation.

    • Man arrested after refusing to give camera to police at crash scene

      “This is not a negotiation. Do I sound like I’m negotiating with you?”

      When you hear those words spoken by a police officer, their intention seems unmistakable. They mean: “Do what I tell you or I’ll arrest you.”

      This, indeed, is what happened when 23-year-old Andrew Flinchbaugh filmed the aftermath of a single-vehicle accident in Ocean County, N.J.

      Flinchbaugh, who has contributed in the past to a local news Web site, claims he was given permission to film by those first on the scene. However, one police officer seems to have taken exception to Flinchbaugh’s presence.

    • Careless Stereotyping

      So when we in the west who are not adherents to Islam speak of “Muslims”, who are we talking about? We are doing the same thing my acquaintance in the Levant did; taking countless unfamiliar people who we consider “different” and tagging them with a word that doesn’t mean much to us but does allow the application of a stereotype.

      More than that, it’s a bad stereotype. Just like calling everyone in the western world “Christian”, I have a problem with the attribution of any motive or collective responsibility to the 1.6 billion people who actually are Muslims, or of a unified strategy by the 49 countries where they are the majority, let alone to the others caught up in the stereotype’s dragnet (many of whom are in fact Christians, as well as other religions).

    • Dianne Feinstein, Strong Advocate of Leak Prosecutions, Demands Immunity For David Petraeus

      When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange released his latest document trove—more than 250,000 secret State Department cables—he intentionally harmed the U.S. government. The release of these documents damages our national interests and puts innocent lives at risk. He should be vigorously prosecuted for espionage.

  • DRM


Links 11/1/2015: Forgetting Munich, Firefox KDE Wallet

Posted in News Roundup at 12:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • ‘Linux Advocates’ Throws in the Towel

    Under Schmitz, the site was nothing if not eccentric. Although it lost its “mainstream” appeal (as much as a site focusing on FOSS can be said to be mainstream), it seemed to have gained a following of readers who appreciated Schmitz’s often confrontational style.

  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org Is Formally Invited To Become An SPI Project

        Following last month’s failed vote due to not having a quorum, SPI on Thursday voted to officially invite the X.Org Foundation to become an SPI associated project. X.Org would live under the SPI umbrella and let the organization take care of its managerial tasks so the X.Org Foundation board and members could focus more on the actual development.

      • The GTX 970/980 Maxwell GPUs Light Up With Nouveau On Linux 3.19

        This weekend I got around to trying out the GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980 “Maxwell” graphics cards with the Linux 3.19 kernel now that there’s initial support for these new GPUs via the open-source Nouveau DRM driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Firefox KDE Wallet for KF5

        I have a good news for Firefox and Plasma 5 users: I ported KDE Wallet password integration extension to KDE Frameworks 5!

        It seems to me that this plugin is unmaintained because both the released version and the SVN one do not support Firefox 33 or newer. So, as first step I took Guillermo’s code and bumped the Firefox version.

      • KDE Version Of Linux Mint 17.1 Released

        In late November was when the MATE and Cinnamon editions of Linux Mint 17.1 were released while today finally marks the official availability of the KDE spin of Linux Mint 17.1 Rebecca.

      • Using Krita for ARC comics

        First off we want to thank all the work put in by developers to maintain Krita, and the community that helps to fund and push Krita. At the risk of sounding really cliché, you all help to make our dreams, and many others’dreams, come true!

      • Curses! … I mean, Cursors!

        In the upcoming release of Plasma we’ve done some work on the humble cursor; we’ve added a few missing states, and there will also be a brand new “snow” version, along with minor tweaks to the existing Breeze cursors. But me being lazy and the merge window having closed, there are a great many more cursors which haven’t made it into this release, so I’m putting them here for everyone to use and redistribute.

      • Foursquare checkins via KDE tools

        This post was inspired by another article written by Damián Nohales. During his GSoC work at the GNOME project in the previous year he integrated the Foursquare service into this environment so users can make checkins from their laptop or PC.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.1 & Plasma 2.1 – First Impressions

        Today I took the plunge into the next-generation KDE desktop, performing a dirty upgrade from Kubuntu 14.04 to 14.10 before installing the plasma-5-desktop package; and this is my first impression of KF5.x and Plasma 5. This is also a bit of a primer, because when Plasma 5.2 enters the stage I’m interested to see the comparison and do a second write-up, using my experience in both 5.1 and 4.x as points-of-reference.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • FreeBSD Finishes Switching Over To GNOME 3.x

        FreeBSD GNOME developers have had various GNOME 3.x components in the FreeBSD Ports repository for months, and with GNOME 2.x now being decommissioned by this BSD operating system, the GNOME3 X11 desktop has replaced GNOME2 on the DVD install media script.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro Linux – Works For Me!

        Enter Manjaro Linux. This was one of the last distros I’d tried during my hopping days that I really thought had some potential. Based on Arch, which has a lot going for it to begin with, and with extremely well written and maintained documentation and helpful forums, Manjaro is an attractive option, maybe even for the Linux neophyte. I liken it to what Mint does for Ubuntu, in that it polishes things up nicely, adds some useful software out of the box, and makes the installation a breeze. Arch itself can be a scary install requiring lots of reading and step by step, piece by piece building of your system. Manjaro does most of the dirty work for you, especially if you know which desktop you want from the get-go. I knew I wanted KDE, so I grabbed that and was off to the races.


    • Science

      • Hard landing scutters intended reusable rocket

        The Falcon rocket landed too heavily on the barge and broke apart, according to SpaceX founder Elon Musk, while the unmanned Dragon cargo capsule went into orbit.


        “Rocket made it to drone spaceport ship but landed hard,” he wrote on Twitter, adding “no cigar this time,” so that the 14-story rocket could be reused unscathed for future launches.


        NASA has generally had to rely on Russia’s Soyuz capsules to ferry astronauts to the ISS since retiring its aging shuttle fleet in 2011.

        Last month, the agency successfully tests a version of its next-generation, long-distance Orion spaceship on a short flight.

        On board ISS is a crew of three Russians, two Americans and an Italian.

      • ‘Close, But No Cigar’: SpaceX Rocket Lifts Off and Lands With a Crash

        SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket that successfully put a Dragon cargo capsule in orbit on Saturday, but its unprecedented attempt to land the uncrewed rocket’s first stage at sea ended with a crash.

    • Security

    • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

      • France’s most wanted woman, Hayat Boumeddiene ‘on the run’ in Syria: Reports

        The mugshot provided by the police shows a sleepy-eyed young woman, her face and brown hair showing, whom they had questioned in 2010 about Coulibaly.

        She is suspected of being Coulibaly`s accomplice in the murder of a policewoman in southern Paris on Thursday, during a massive manhunt for two brothers who a day earlier massacred 12 people at the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

        Police also suspect she might have been involved in Coulibaly`s supermarket hostage-taking, though she was not identified among the dead or wounded.

      • George Zimmerman Arrested, Allegedly Threw Wine Bottle at Girlfriend

        Florida authorities say George Zimmerman, whose acquittal of murdering an unarmed black teen sparked a national debate on race and self-defense laws, has been arrested for allegedly throwing a wine bottle at his girlfriend.

        The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office says the 31-year-old Zimmerman was arrested for aggravated assault in Lake Mary about 10 p.m. Friday and is being held at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility.

        Zimmerman was released on a $5,000 bond Saturday afternoon. At a court appearance earlier Saturday, he was ordered to avoid contact with the woman, who was not identified.

      • The Day CIA Failed to Un-beard Castro in His Own Den

        But, as art imitates life from a bygone era, the plan to kill the North Korean leader harkens back to the days in the late 1960s and 1970s when scores of attempts were made by U.S. intelligence services to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro, including by hired Sicilian Mafia hitmen.

        The hilarious plots included an attempt to smuggle poisoned cigars into Castro’s household and also plant soluble thallium sulphate inside Castro’s shoes so that his beard will fall off and make him “the laughing stock of the socialist world.”

      • President Obama’s New Policy on Cuba Could Be a Good Start

        In 1992 Miami Herald commentator Andrés Oppenheimer won a Pulitzer Prize for his book Castro’s Final Hour, thus giving “new meaning to the words final and hour,” as the late filmmaker and writer Saul Landau would wryly remark many years later. Fidel Castro would survive 11 U.S. presidents, at least eight [PDF] CIA plots to assassinate him, and a few premature obituaries, and live to see world’s most powerful country finally give in and recognize — in principle, at least — Cuba’s right to national self-determination.

      • When the United States Government Broke Relations with Cuba

        From December 1959, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) worked on numerous projects to assassinate Fidel Castro, even before Eisenhower approved a military invasion. By early February 1960, the United States government had given the CIA the green light to organize an invasion force to be trained in Guatemala and Nicaragua, then ruled by two brutal right-wing dictatorships. Meanwhile, counterrevolutionaries inside the island received training and resources such as incendiary bombs from the CIA to stage terrorist attacks in Havana and other urban areas while fast boats and airplanes engaged in constant sabotage of economic and coastal facilities from bases in south Florida. The Cuban authorities continuously denounced the incursions, the plots and the policy of violence and harassment.

      • Conservative Hypocrisy on the Cuban Embargo

        We are witnessing classic conservative hypocrisy with their predictable opposition to the lifting of the 54-year-old U.S. embargo against Cuba. That includes many Latin American conservatives who have come to view the U.S. government as their “papasito” and who are now lamenting that the U.S. government might no longer be intervening on their behalf in Cuba.

      • Former Commander of Army Special Operations Moves to CIA

        A former commander of Army Special Operations and the officer who led the first Green Berets on the ground in Afghanistan has joined the CIA.

        Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland Jr. is the new associate director for military affairs at the nation’s top intelligence agency, the CIA announced in a statement from Director John Brennan.

      • America needs to blow up its entire intelligence infrastructure and rebuild from scratch

        We have the Windows 95 of intelligence. We need Linux.

      • US Drones, Pakistani Warplanes Kill Dozens in Tribal Areas

        The ones killed in the US strike were reportedly ethnic Uzbeks, while the ones killed in the Pakistani campaign were apparently local tribesmen. As usual, no names were provided for the slain.

        This is standard operating procedure for both Pakistan and the US in strikes in the area, as they offer little more than a vague assurance of suspicion in their killings, and never follow through except on the rare occasions when they managed to kill someone they’ve heard of.

      • The Year in Drones

        In October, the US celebrated (if that is the word) its 400th drone strike on Pakistan.

      • Drone Rules in Afghanistan Go Unchanged, And Other Reasons the War Isn’t Really Over

        Though many Americans may not have realized it, December 28th marked what the U.S. government called the official end of the war in Afghanistan. That war has been the longest in U.S. history – but despite the new announcement that the formal conflict is over, America’s war there is far from finished. In fact, the Obama administration still considers the Afghan theater an area of active hostilities, according to an email from a senior administration official – and therefore exempts it from the stricter drone and targeted killing guidelines the president announced at a major speech at the National Defense University in 2013.

      • ‘Good Kill’ Trailer: Ethan Hawke Controls Drones In New War Drama [WATCH]
      • Ethan Hawke Pilots Drones in Andrew Niccol’s First ‘Good Kill’ Trailer

        Early this year, the time travel thriller Predestination with Ethan Hawke hits theaters, but it looks like we might get a double dose of the Boyhood star because the drone pilot drama Good Kill just released an international trailer. Hit or miss sci-fi director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, In Time) is at the helm of this film that follows Hawke as a fighter pilot who has adapted with technology and become a drone pilot. However, the task of piloting a drone for 12 hours a day and carrying out targeted kills from thousands of miles away just doesn’t feel right for the Air Force veteran. It looks like we might get some provocative political commentary on drones, not unlike what Niccol delivered with Lord of War before.

      • Pentagon Doesn’t Know How Many People It’s Killed in the ISIS War

        The American military may have launched hundreds of airstrikes on Iraq and Syria. But it’s not so sure who was on the receiving end of those bombs.

      • U.S. drone strikes continue in several countries in 2014

        The Bureau of Investigative Journalism claims that 2,379 people were killed by the strikes. The Bureau also says that only 12 percent of the victims actually identified have been linked to any militant organizations. The victims are routinely described as suspected militants.

        In October of last year Rafiq ur Rehman, a school teacher and his two young children testified before the US Congress about the death of his 67 year old mother as she gathered okra in her garden a year earlier when she was killed by a drone strike. Only five members of Congress bothered to show up.

      • Wrapping the world in war

        President Obama promised to end our ‘forever war,’ but he could leave office having wrapped the entire world in war.

        The Obama administration has adopted the view that the United States should use deadly force against its enemies wherever they are. That’s the terrifying and all-encompassing characteristic of America’s war. If enemies of the United States go to Pakistan, or Morocco, or the Philippines, the war can follow them.

      • US drone war: 2014 in numbers

        While there have been more strikes in the past six years, the casualty rate has been lower under Obama than under his predecessor. The CIA killed eight people, on average, per strike during the Bush years. Under Obama, it is less than six. The civilian casualty rate is lower too – more than three civilians were reported killed per strike during the past presidency. Under Obama, less than one.

      • Shrinking targets: Drone hits declined by 32%, says report

        The number of drone strikes carried out in Pakistan by the United States dropped by more than 32 per cent in 2014 as compared with the previous year, according to the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies’ (PIPS) Pakistan Security Report 2014. A total of 21 strikes were reported last year, killing an estimated 144 and wounding 29 over a period of six months.

      • New book eyes drone impact

        Cohn said many people don’t realize that attacks authorized by President Obama have “killed more people with drones than died on 9/11,” and that only “a tiny percentage” were al-Qaeda or Taliban leaders.

      • Opinion: Shine a light on U.S. policy of drone warfare

        An estimated 3,500 people – hundreds of them children – have been killed by drones. While some of those killed were undoubtedly violent terrorists, fewer than 50 (2 percent) were confirmed to be high-level targets, according to a study undertaken by Stanford Law School and New York School of Law. There are numerous allegations, some confirmed by reliable news sources, of entire wedding parties and extended families killed by U.S. drones.

        Also troubling is the blowback these strikes create. They may in fact produce more terrorists, more angry young people who see their families and their countries torn apart by U.S. violence. We can’t help but wonder if U.S. policy may contribute to destabilization and recruitment of terrorists.

      • Will the US Drone War End?

        With the formal conclusion of US-led hostilities in Afghanistan, new attention has been focused on the role the US will play as trainers and advisers to the Afghan National Security Forces. Specifically, what the US counterterror (CT) mission against terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and the Taliban will look like. President Obama has already increased the residual force for 2015 adding 1,000 extra troops to the previously stated 9,800. Interestingly, commentators have been examining how the US will continue its CT campaign, which relies heavily on controversial drone strikes against known terrorist actors and their positions.

      • Drone Guidelines to Protect Civilians Do Not Apply to Afghanistan: White House Official

        Despite the December 28th “official” end of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, a new Rolling Stone article provides more proof that armed combat is nowhere near over: the Obama administration still considers the country to be an “area of active hostilities” and therefore does not impose more stringent standards aimed at limiting civilian deaths in drone strikes.

        At issue are the Presidential Policy Guidelines (pdf), passed in May 2013 in response to widespread concerns about the killing and wounding of non-combatants by U.S. drone strikes. The new guidelines impose the requirement that “before lethal action may be taken,” U.S. forces are required to attain “near certainty that non-combatants will not be injured or killed.” It is impossible to verify the impact of this reform on civilian deaths and injuries, because U.S. drone attacks are shrouded in near total secrecy.

    • Finance

    • Privacy

    • Civil Rights

    • Intellectual Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Chilling Effects DMCA Archive Censors Itself

          The much-praised Chilling Effects DMCA archive has taken an unprecedented step by censoring its own website. Facing criticism from copyright holders, the organization decided to wipe its presence from all popular search engines. A telling example of how pressure from rightsholders causes a chilling effect on free speech.


Links 10/1/2015: Mirantis OpenStack 6.0, Linux Mint 17.1 KDE, Linux Leap Second

Posted in News Roundup at 11:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Science

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Censorship

    • In Solidarity With a Free Press: Some More Blasphemous Cartoons

      Defending free speech and free press rights, which typically means defending the right to disseminate the very ideas society finds most repellent, has been one of my principal passions for the last 20 years: previously as a lawyer and now as a journalist. So I consider it positive when large numbers of people loudly invoke this principle, as has been happening over the last 48 hours in response to the horrific attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

    • Who’s Afraid of Wikileaks? Missed Opportunities in Political Science Research

      Leaked information, such as WikiLeaks’ Cablegate, constitutes a unique and valuable data source for researchers interested in a wide variety of policy-oriented topics. Yet political scientists have avoided using leaked information in their research. This article argues that we can and should use leaked information as a data source in scholarly research. First, I consider the methodological, ethical, and legal challenges related to the use of leaked information in research, concluding that none of these present serious obstacles. Second, I show how political scientists can use leaked information to generate novel and unique insights about political phenomena using a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods. Specifically, I demonstrate how leaked documents reveal important details about the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, and how leaked diplomatic cables highlight a significant disparity between the U.S. government’s public attitude towards traditional knowledge and its private behavior.

    • Unmournable Bodies

      Rather than posit that the Paris attacks are the moment of crisis in free speech—as so many commentators have done—it is necessary to understand that free speech and other expressions of liberté are already in crisis in Western societies; the crisis was not precipitated by three deranged gunmen. The U.S., for example, has consolidated its traditional monopoly on extreme violence, and, in the era of big data, has also hoarded information about its deployment of that violence. There are harsh consequences for those who interrogate this monopoly. The only person in prison for the C.I.A.’s abominable torture regime is John Kiriakou, the whistle-blower. Edward Snowden is a hunted man for divulging information about mass surveillance. Chelsea Manning is serving a thirty-five-year sentence for her role in WikiLeaks. They, too, are blasphemers, but they have not been universally valorized, as have the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo.

    • Another Day, Another Bogus Set Of DMCA Takedowns Based Solely On Keywords (This Time Hiding Legit GitHub Projects)

      For many years we’ve seen DMCA takedowns that were clearly based on little more than quick keyword searches. There are so many of these cases that it’s difficult to keep track of them, but a few examples: Fox demanded a takedown of an article on the SF Chronicle’s website… because Fox owns the rights to the movie Chronicle. Some companies, like LeakID seemed to specialize in sketchy takedowns based on just keywords and not actually looking at the content. A story getting attention on Headline News (with followup from TorrentFreak) details just the latest example.

    • We Are Not All Charlie

      The police are evacuating the Gare du Nord station in Paris as my train from Brussels arrives; a suspicious package, I learned later. The rain is coming down quite hard. I resist the urge to interview my taxi driver about the current mood.


      I wish President Obama had not said this, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the Holocaust is an historical fact, and church desecrations are physical crimes against property; neither vandalism nor the denial of historical reality compare to the mocking of unprovable religious beliefs. (And yes, I find attacks on the principles of my faith painful, but I would defend the right of people to make such attacks; I’m opposed, for instance, to the criminalization of Holocaust denial.)

      Mainly, Obama’s statement is troubling because it should be the role of the president of the United States, who swears an oath to defend the Constitution, to explain to the world the principle that free speech is sacred—painful, sometimes, but sacred. If the future does not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam—in other words, to people who speak freely and offensively—then it belongs to those who would suppress by force any criticism of religion. This is not an American idea, and it certainly isn’t Charlie.

    • Every geek is Charlie

      Terrorism isn’t just performing a terrifying act. It’s provoking society’s immune system into attacking itself, making its defense systems attack the values and people they are supposed to be defending. Terrorism is like an autoimmune disorder of democracy. When we focus on the violence instead of the subtlety of the infection, it is easy to succumb as it seeks to provoke us into destroying ourselves.

    • Danish mosque doubles down on Isis support

      In a newly-aired documentary, leaders of the Grimhøj Mosque said that they want to see Isis win, that a Danish suicide bomber is a hero and that they do not believe in democracy.

    • Saudi Arabia: Free Speech Doesn’t Apply Here

      Just two days after issuing a condemnation of the terror attack on the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris, the government of Saudi Arabia began carrying out a public flogging against blogger Raif Badawi, who in May was sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam.

    • Charlie Hebdo – Defending Freedom of Speech

      The horrifying murders of cartoonists at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris have been a grim start to the new year. In our connected world we hear of atrocities all the time. But the thought that people are willing to deliberately target freedom of speech has been particularly chilling. This is at the heart of our society – the freedom to debate, criticise, laugh, disagree, be angry, fall out and make up again.


      To me if the attack was about destroying freedom of speech our response has to be really acting to protect it. Stop default web blocking. Encourage democratic debate. Question regimes that oppose freedom even if they happen to be allies like Saudi Arabia. Stop casual police monitoring of social media. Resist knee jerk reactions to tabloid fear headlines.

  • Privacy

    • Spanish Judge Says Use Of ‘Extreme Security Measures’ For Email Is Evidence Of Terrorism

      After a series of moves that include introducing copyright laws that threaten the digital commons and open access, as well as criminalizing online calls for street demonstrations, Spain is fast emerging as a serious rival to Russia when it comes to grinding down the digital world. Unfortunately, it seems that lack of understanding extends to the judiciary too, as shown by recent events reported by Rise Up, an “autonomous body based in Seattle”, which aims to provide secure and private email accounts for “people and groups working on liberatory social change”.

    • UK Intelligence Boss: We Had All This Info And Totally Failed To Prevent Charlie Hebdo Attack… So Give Us More Info

      What’s especially sickening about this is that this argument “works” for surveillance state opportunists whether they succeed or fail. If they actually do stop terrorist threats (and in the same speech Parker claims they have stopped a few planned attacks in “recent months” but fails to provide any details), they use that to claim that the surveillance works and they need to do more. Yet when they fail to stop an attack — as in the Charlie Hebdo case — they don’t say it’s because the surveillance failed, instead, it’s because they didn’t have enough data or enough powers to collect more data. In other words, succeed or fail, the argument is always the same: give us more access to more private data.

    • PEN America: “The Harm Caused by Surveillance…is Unmistakable”

      PEN America published a report this week summarizing the findings from a recent survey of 772 writers around the world on questions of surveillance and self-censorship. The report, entitled “Global Chilling: The Impact of Mass Surveillance on International Writers,” builds upon a late 2013 survey of more than 500 US-based writers conducted by the organization.

    • Media Matters staff: Fox Guest Suggests A “Muhammad Law,” Similar To Megan’s Law, To Monitor Muslims Who Support Sharia
    • Cloud App Policy Violations Are a Growing Concern

      The January 2015 Netskope Cloud Report shows an increasing use of cloud applications by enterprises.

      The race to the cloud is continuing to accelerate, with more cloud apps than ever now being used by enterprises, according to the January 2015 Netskope Cloud Report.

    • A sober Snowden deems life in Russia ‘great’

      “They talk about Russia like it’s the worst place on earth. Russia’s great,” the former NSA contractor told journalist James Bamford during an interview in Moscow for the PBS program “NOVA,” which released a transcript of the conversation Thursday.

    • At CES, privacy is a growing business

      Whenever I say the word “privacy” to many of the presenters at International CES, there’s a little sigh before they answer. The thing to get excited about at this year’s show, after all, is the connection of everything to the internet, so you can track how much energy your lightbulbs use or how you hold your toothbrush.

  • Civil Rights

    • How Did TV News Talk About Torture in Coverage of the Torture Report?

      Indeed, as the study explains, “Representatives of human rights groups and experts on international law were notable for their absence.” Out of the 104 guests surveyed in the study, only two lawyers who represented torture victims–Joseph Margulies (12/9/14) and Meg Satterthwaite (12/14/14)–appeared as part of the torture discussion. This was perhaps the closest the media got to emphasizing human rights.

    • Responding to terrorism

      This was without doubt intended as an act of terrorism. But I refuse to be terrorised and decline the opportunity to hate. What does that mean practically? Terrorism is like a pernicious auto-immune disease to which it is easy to succumb. It seeks to provoke us into destroying ourselves.

    • White House Responds To Petition About Aaron Swartz By Saying Absolutely Nothing

      Soon after the unfortunate suicide of Aaron Swartz, a lot of anger was directed at Carmen Ortiz, the US Attorney who was the key figure behind the ridiculous prosecution of Swartz for daring to download too many documents (that he had legal access to, as did anyone connecting to MIT’s network). Ortiz showed no concern at all that either she or her office had done anything improper in threatening Swartz with over 30 years in jail for downloading (legally) some academic papers. As a result some people set up one of those “We the People” White House petitions, asking the Obama administration to remove Ortiz from her job.

    • Non-lethal force is still abuse: Police officers tackle, cuff Tamir Rice’s sister in her moment of grief

      Cleveland city officials have released a video showing police officers tackling the 14-year-old sister of Tamir Rice in the moments after officer Timothy Loehmann fatally shot her 12-year-old brother. In the footage, Rice’s sister can be seen running to the scene. As she approaches, an officer forcefully brings her to the ground. Another officer approaches and continues to hold her down. She’s handcuffed and put into the back seat of the patrol car. Loehmann, meanwhile, stands idly nearby Rice’s bleeding, dying body.

    • No to Securitarian Instrumentalisation

      Without even waiting for the end of investigations on the despicable attack against Charlie Hebdo on January 7th, the government is set on increasing counter-terrorist arsenal, first by notifying Brussels the decree implementing “terrorists” or child pornography websites blockade but also by announcing new counter-terrorism measures. La Quadrature du Net calls on citizens to reject this absurd escalation and show determination in defending the freedom of expression and information.

    • Obama & Counterterror: The Ignored Record

      As he has in matters of environmental protection, immigration reform, and normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba, Obama can take significant steps under his executive authority, without the need for legislation. These would include allowing criminal investigation of the officials who authorized the CIA’s torture, shutting Guantánamo, ending the military commissions, announcing clear rules for drone use, and embracing effective limits on intrusions into privacy by electronic surveillance. With his legacy at stake, it is still not too late for Obama to demonstrate that our security indeed does not depend on abandoning our rights.

    • Government wants to know potential Sterling jurors’ opinions about whistleblowers

      “Do you have any positive or negative beliefs or opinions regarding the term ‘whistleblower’ or individuals who act in the role of a ‘whistleblower’?” the government wants to have Judge Leonie Brinkema ask potential jurors in CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling’s trial next week. “Do you have any opinion, favorable or unfavorable, about organizations or individuals who release to the public government documents and information without authorization, including the news media, government employees, or private persons?” the government offered as another proposed question for jurors.

      Sterling, meanwhile, is more interested in what potential jurors think of Condoleezza Rice. As National Security Adviser, she convinced the New York Times not to publish James Risen’s story on Operation Merlin, the dubious plot to deal Iran flawed nuclear blueprints. Prosecutors had wanted to submit the talking points she used to do so, without calling her to testify, but Judge Brinkema ruled that Rice would have to take the stand to enter those talking points. The government objects to questions specifically directed to opinions about Rice, finding it “inflammatory.”

    • Markings of a Citizen

      I saw the gravity of the whole situation. The huge amount of trust that Edward had to make towards Glenn Greenwald and Laura to be able to get the information out in a right way by adhering to the CHARACTERS that Mr. Greenwald and Ms. Poitras have consistently portrayed with immense integrity. More so the fact that Glenn and Laura had no idea who Mr. Snowden was or if he was even telling the truth. In typical spy-novel fashion, Ed could have been the bait to trap some journalists being thorns in somebody’s side.

    • James Clapper’s Dystopian Novel about North Korea’s Hack

      I noted the other day how centrally James Clapper foregrounded his recent trip to North Korea in his discussion of the alleged North Korean hack of Sony. Now that the transcript is up, I see the trip was even more central in his discussion than reports had indicated. After noting that Jim Comey (whom he called “the senior expert on the investigative side of cybersecurity”) and Admiral Mike Rogers (whom he called “the senior expert on how cybersecurity ops actually happen”) would say more in following speeches, Clapper launched into a description of his trip, as if it were central to the discussion of the hack.

    • Australian special forces work with Iraqi security group accused of killing prisoners, torture

      Australian Special Forces in Iraq are working with an elite Iraqi security force accused of killing prisoners and other human rights violations.

      Prime Minister Tony Abbott has confirmed that the 200-strong Australian Special Operations Task Group in Iraq has begun providing “training and assistance” for the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) in its battle against Islamic State.

      Military experts regard the service as the most capable and resilient element of the Iraqi security forces. However, former Australian defence intelligence officers say the service has “unquestionably been responsible for major war crimes and unnecessary civilian casualties”.

    • China uses long-range intimidation of U.S. reporter to suppress Xinjiang coverage

      The Chinese government has imprisoned the three brothers of a Washington-based reporter for Radio Free Asia, apparently intensifying its suppression of free speech and coverage of the troubled province of Xinjiang.

      Ethnic Uighur journalist Shohret Hoshur left China in 1994, after he ran into trouble with the authorities for his reporting. He has since become a U.S. citizen and a mainstay of Radio Free Asia’s coverage of Xinjiang, offering one of the only independent sources of information about events in the province.

    • Feds won’t call Risen at leak trial

      Federal prosecutors won’t call New York Times reporter James Risen as a witness at a leak trial set to get underway next week for one of his alleged confidential sources, several people close to the situation said.

      The decision appears to bring to an end a six-year battle to get him to provide testimony against former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who is facing ten felony charges in connection with alleged disclosures to Risen about an operation aimed at undermining Iran’s nuclear program.

    • Mexican Students Didn’t Just ‘Disappear’

      The forced disappearance of 43 students from a rural teachers college in Mexico has catapulted the security crisis that the US’s southern neighbors are living into northern headlines. However, the majority of English-language news accounts have failed to provide a deeper context concerning the failed war on drugs and the use of forced disappearances as a repressive state tactic, and employ language that often criminalizes the disappeared students.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • New year brings new hope for Net neutrality supporters

      FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler reverses course, makes a strong statement in support of Title II regulation and against fast lanes

    • Only 25Mbps and up will qualify as broadband under new FCC definition

      FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler today is proposing to raise the definition of broadband from 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream to 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up.

      As part of the Annual Broadband Progress Report mandated by Congress, the Federal Communications Commission has to determine whether broadband “is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” The FCC’s latest report, circulated by Wheeler in draft form to fellow commissioners, “finds that broadband is not being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion, especially in rural areas, on Tribal lands, and in US Territories,” according to a fact sheet the FCC provided to Ars.

    • Hey Everyone, CISPA Is Back… Because Of The Sony Hack, Which It Wouldn’t Have Prevented

      This isn’t a huge surprise, but Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the NSA’s personal Rep in Congress (NSA HQ is in his district), has announced that he’s bringing back CISPA, the cybersecurity bill designed to make it easier for the NSA to access data from tech companies (that’s not how the bill’s supporters frame it, but that’s the core issue in the bill). In the past, Ruppersberger had a teammate in this effort, Rep. Mike Rogers, but Rogers has moved onto his new career as a radio and TV pundit (CNN just proudly announced hiring him), so Ruppersberger is going it alone this time around.

    • The Switchboard: A controversial cybersecurity bill, CISPA, is back

      House Dem revives major cyber bill. The Hill reports: “The measure — known as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) — has been a top legislative priority for industry groups and intelligence officials, who argue the country cannot properly defend critical infrastructure without it.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TTIP Update XLVII

      As long-suffering readers of this column will have noticed, the dominant theme of the discussions around TTIP so far has been the investor-state dispute settlement provisions (ISDS). We are still waiting for the European Commission’s analysis of the massive response to its consultation on the subject – it will be fascinating to see how it tries to put a positive spin on the overwhelming public refusal of ISDS in TTIP.

      The issue that crops up most often after ISDS is probably transparency – or rather the almost complete lack of it. Yes, it’s true that there have been some token releases of documents: initial position papers in 2013, and some more in 2014; but these don’t really tell us much that we didn’t already know, or could guess. The main obstacle to greater openness was Karel De Gucht, the European Commissioner for Trade when TTIP was launched. As he showed time and again during the ACTA fiasco, he had little but contempt for the European public and its unconscionable desire to know what the politicians whose salaries it pays are up to in Brussels. That made his retirement at the end of last year an important opportunity to bring more openness to trade negotiations.

    • Copyrights

      • Authors Guild Gives Up Trying To Sue Libraries For Digitally Scanning Book Collection

        Back in June we wrote about how the Second Circuit appeals court totally demolished the Authors Guild’s arguments against a bunch of university libraries for scanning their book collections digitally, in order to enable better searching of the contents. The lawsuit was against Hathitrust, an organization set up to manage the book scanning program for a group of university libraries. In 2012, a district court said that what the libraries/Hathitrust were doing was obviously fair use and the appeals court re-enforced that strongly. The Authors Guild is basically giving up in this case, saying that should the libraries change their practices, it may want to revisit the issue. But for now, it’s giving up the case while “reserving” its position.


Links 9/1/2015: Firefox OS in TVs, Manjaro Linux 0.8.11

Posted in News Roundup at 11:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linuxy Hopes and Dreams for an Inferno-Free 2015

    In 2015, “I predict that an avalanche of governments using FLOSS and GNU/Linux will take place in Europe,” said blogger Robert Pogson. “FLOSS is widely accepted there, and with adoption of ODF becoming widespread, FLOSS and GNU/Linux are poised for a breakthrough.” China, India and Russia, meanwhile, will “make major moves to adopt GNU/Linux for general governmental purposes including education.”

  • Server

    • Inside HP’s NFV Strategy [VIDEO]

      HP is active in many areas where NFV will fit, including the OpenStack cloud and the Linux Foundation’s OPNFV effort. In a video interview with Enterprise Networking Planet, Gillai explains how the various pieces of HP’s NFV strategy fit together.

    • The power of Docker and open source ecosystems

      Reading through the latest list of top 10 open source projects on Opensource.com has been a reminder of what a great year 2014 has been for open source. Established projects like OpenStack and Mongo have continued to break new records in adoption and usage. We’ve seen incredible momentum from newer projects like Apache Mesos, Kubernetes, and Deis. And we’ve also seen that open source companies like Cloudera, Hortonworks, and Ceph can reach meaningful business milestones while remaining true to their open source roots. Virtually everywhere you look in the IT stack—from storage to networking, compute, mobile, and virtualization—the most exciting innovations are being led by open source.

    • Is Rocket Strictly a Competitor to Docker?

      Container technology was major news last year, and if you bring up the container arena to most people, Docker is what they think of. OStatic has highlighted some of Docker’s instabilities, though, and, as noted in this post, significant competition is coming in Docker’s direction.

  • Kernel Space

    • Microchip Backs AGL’s Connected Car Plan with Linux Driver
    • Linux Foundation Adds SDN, Storage and Managed Hosting Members

      The Linux Foundation’s membership continues to expand. This week, three new companies joined the open source consortium, bringing strengths in software-defined networking, storage and managed hosting to the organization.

    • diff -u: What’s New in Kernel Development

      Given the ongoing controversy within the Capsicum developer community and the corresponding lack of specification of key features, and given the existence of capabilities that already perform a similar function in the kernel and the invasiveness of Capsicum patches, Eric was opposed to David implementing Capsicum in Linux.

    • The Companies That Support Linux: IIX Inc.

      2015 will be the year that software-defined networking goes mainstream, according to Network World. And new Linux Foundation corporate member IIX is helping data centers, Internet service providers and telecommunications companies through that transition with its Linux-based software-defined interconnection (SDI) platform.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Locking the screen before system suspends

        Our Plasma workspace has offered the feature to lock the screen when resuming from suspend for a long time. Ideally the screen gets locked right before the system goes to suspend to ensure that the screen is properly locked when the system wakes up.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Streams API in WebKit at the Web Engines Hackfest

        First of course I would like to thank Igalia for allowing me to use the company time to attend the hackfest and meeting such a group of amazing programmers! It was quite intense and I tried to give my best though for different reasons (coordination, personal and so on) I missed some session.

  • Distributions

    • Test Your Linux Savvy

      Our top story on this bit of a slow new day is the closing of one of our Linux blogs. In other news Phoronix.com has noted the latest Fedora changes and Jon Gold has posted a name-the-distro quiz. And finally today, Intel showed off a new computer-on-a-stick at CES that comes in a Linux version.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • ROSA Desktop Fresh R5 KDE Offers a Different and Cool KDE Experience

        The ROSA OS doesn’t have too many releases in a year, but this is the second major version in the space of just a few months. The developers have been making a lot of changes and improvements to it, and they’ve done a number of refinements to the KDE desktop that really sets it apart from everything else.

    • Arch Family

      • Hands-on with Manjaro Linux 0.8.11

        I have heard a lot of good things about Manjaro Linux, most importantly that it is one of the easiest Arch Linux derivatives to install, so I decided to give that a try.

        If you are not familiar with Manjaro Linux (or Arch Linux), there are a couple of things you need to understand before we go on. Arch Linux is well known in the Linux community, with a reputation of being compact, fast, flexible, and very well maintained and supported by a dedicated community.

      • Manjaro GNOME Community Edition Arrives with GNOME 3.14 Vanilla Desktop – Gallery

        Manjaro GNOME Community Edition, a Linux distribution based on Arch Linux and fully compatible with the Arch repositories, has reached version 0.8.11 and is now ready for download.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • SUSECon 14 report

        It’s been a big year for SUSE. Last year at SUSECon 13 the team announced new development versions of SUSE Cloud and a service pack for SUSE Linux Enterprise 11. Since then they’ve turned SUSE Cloud into a real product and SLE 12 has finally been released. New technology and new products were the items SUSE went into the convention with, leading with a theme of ‘Always Open’ to remind everyone that even though SUSE are developing new tech, it’s always open source.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Certification Caps Big SDN Year for Big Switch Networks

        Big Switch Networks Inc. capped off a big year in the software-defined networking (SDN) industry by announcing its flagship networking fabric was awarded certification for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 5, laying the groundwork for OpenStack cloud computing implementations.

        Big Switch is a leader in the “bare-metal” SDN arena, targeting its Big Cloud Fabric for building out new datacenter pods with low-cost networking devices controlled by open source software in a disaggregated approach that moves network “intelligence” from expensive, proprietary equipment to the software management layer.

      • The role of Linux in data centre modernisation
      • Fedora

        • Speech compressor and limiter for your headset in Fedora

          Last couple of months I’ve been using Google Hangouts and Bluejeans conferencing technologies more than my VoIP phone. I got used to crisp and clear voice from my Polycom and Platronics headset so I had a question.

        • continuity of various projects

          The biggest change of all.

          I’m just not going to have to maintain packages, read mail etc for Fedora, so those all got orphaned yesterday.

          Josh & Justin pretty much handled all of the Fedora kernel work for the last year or so, so me walking away is not going to make a huge difference there.

          I might still occasionally take a peek at Fedora bugzilla to see if there’s anything similar to a particular bug, but don’t expect to be doing triage work.

          I’ll still keep a Fedora box or two at home for a while, but work-wise, I’m expecting a lot more Debian in my life. It’s been over a decade since I last used it seriously. That should prove to be fun.

        • rpm packages of vmod-ipcast
    • Debian Family

      • Marvell donation accelerates Debian ARM package builds

        Starting in April, several Debian ARM port builder machines have been upgraded to substantially faster Marvell Armada XP based servers. Marvell has donated eight Marvell MV78460 SoC development boards using Marvell Armada 370/XP CPUs running at 1.6GHz.

        “Debian’s distributed build cluster requires high performance and high reliability from the machines used.” Explains Riku Voipio, Debian ARM port maintainer “We are confident the new machines will serve us as well as the previous Marvell Discovery Innovation-based builders which have been operating 24/7 since 2009″.

      • Derivatives

        • Is SteamOS Ready for the Possible Steam Machines Launch in March?

          Valve has been working on its Steam Machines console for more than a year, but things have been very silent in the past few months. Rumors are now saying that in fact the Steam Machines will launch in 2015, but is SteamOS ready?

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu to add multi-touch to Linux touchscreen laptops and desktops

            Imagine multi-touch on touchscreen laptops and even desktop PCs. True multi-touch is coming to Linux devices in Ubuntu 10.10 (code name Maverick Meerkat), according to Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical. But what about Linux on tablets?

          • Unity 8 And Mir Have Received Interesting Updates

            In the last month, Canonical has updated both Unity 8 and Mir a lot, the final scope being to achieve a full mobile-desktop convergence (to make an unique system for both the computers and mobile devices, with an intelligent “responsive” interface).

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Good news, Some Samsung 2014 TVs to be upgradeable to Tizen

      Samsung’s new 2015 lineup of TVs will run Tizen and the company does not have any plans to make any Google Android TVs, which is great news for the OS and its ecosystem as its far better to focus all your resources in one direction, and Tizen is a good direction for that. Tizen TV brings some great features to users including the ability to watch live TV on their mobile devices whilst connected to their home network, even if the TV if OFF.

    • Wearing LG’s webOS smartwatch made me happy

      I don’t know what to say. What I just experienced was inexplicable. After Android Central revealed the news that Audi’s car-unlocking smartwatch (built by LG) runs webOS, I made an immediate dash to the nearby stand of TTs and asked the friendly German demo dude if I could borrow his watch for a moment. More surprising than his consent was the actual software running on this watch: it’s webOS with a level of maturity and polish that betrays the fact LG has been working on the UI for quite a while. The animations are smooth and fast, and the look is tailored to fit a round watch face.

    • 3D printer dev kit runs Linux on new Marvell ARMv7 SoC

      Marvell announced the first Linux-based hardware/software development kit for 3D printers, built around a new, 533MHz “88PA6120″ ARMv7 SoC.

      Marvell’s 3D Printer SoC Solution, also known as the Marvell 88PA6120 3D Printer Development Kit, provides a complete reference kit for turnkey development of 3D printers, says Marvell. The hardware platform is built around a new Marvell 88PA6120 SoC clocked to 533MHz. The company did not offer processor details, but said it is an ARMv7 compatible processor.

    • Intel’s HDMI Compute Stick slaps Windows or Linux on your TV
    • CES 2015: Intel announces $149 Compute Stick which runs Windows and Linux
    • Intel Compute Stick will run Linux
    • Intel’s “Compute Stick” is a full Windows or Linux PC in an HDMI dongle
    • Intel HDMI stick runs Linux or Windows on quad-core Bay Trail
    • CES: Smart TVs on Linux; SCALE prep underway

      First things first: Thanks to Christine Hall for standing in for me last Friday for the weekly wrap-up. As some of you know, I was pretty much in the dark for the first five days of the year after a fire in my building (nowhere near me) early on New Year’s Day morning caused the power to be shut down.

      As we start 2015, with the Consumer Electronic Show in full swing in Lost Wages (more on this in a bit), let’s take a look at some of the happenings in the FOSS realm.

    • Harman brings Linux based IVI to entry-level cars

      Harman’s Linux-based IVI system for entry-level cars integrates Aha Analytics, and supports Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and MirrorLink connectivity.

    • LG May Be Dropping Google’s Android For Its Next Generation Of Smartwatches

      The Wall Street Journal is reporting that LG is planning on dropping Android Wear–Google’s operating system for smartwatches–in favor of WebOS, its own operating systems found in its smart TVs. According to an anonymous source speaking to the Journal, WebOS will be used in a new line of LG smartwatches released sometime in early 2016. LG already has two smartwatches operating on Android Wear: G Watch and G Watch R.

    • Linux Shines at CES with Smart TVs and Home Automation Gizmos

      Each year, as I search through CES product launches to see which run Linux, I get the feeling I’m looking at an iceberg. There are probably a lot more tuxified devices out there than I’ll ever have time to track down. At this year’s Internet of Things-laden show, the list of potentially Linux based gizmos has grown even larger.

      Certainly, there are plenty of vendors that openly proclaim their products’ Linux roots (see farther below), but more often vendors keep mum, implying they created the secret sauce all by themselves. Even when you ask, they often don’t tell. It’s easier to identify technology using the Linux-based Android, but now that Android’s cool factor has waned due to its overwhelming success, some vendors even obscure their Android foundations.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • The powerful Saygus V2 supports up to 256GB of external storage

          You may not be familiar with the company behind the V2 phone, and that is no surprise as Saygus is hardly a household brand. However, their new multimedia phone may just put them on your radar, with up to 320GB of internal storage and all the right specs to make a splash in the market.

          Saygus is showing off their V2 Android powered smartphone at CES 2015, and we are on site to check it out. Stay tuned for a full video rundown to see how we feel about this 5-inch device.

        • Razer Cortex Lets You Stream PC Games to any Android Microconsole

          Plus, those without an Android device can pick up the new $99 quad-core Razer Forge TV microconsole.

        • How to get married with Android Auto

          It’s been a year since the launch of the Open Automotive Alliance, which happened here in Las Vegas at CES 2014. Now, 12 months later, Android Auto is real. It’s not out, exactly — you can’t buy any cars or head units that have it installed quite yet — but it’s coming in a matter of weeks, and that means that Google partners are out in force showing Android Auto devices you’ll be able to own in 2015.

        • Volunteers add mobile to Norway’s FixMyStreet

          Norway’s Unix User Group (NUUG) has updated FiksGataMi, a localised version of the FixMyStreet website. The new site is tailored for mobile computing devices, and there also is a custom app for Android devices.

        • ​Android Lollipop is out, but almost no one is using it

          Android 5.0 Lollipop has had its troubles. First, it stumbled out of the gate. It was briefly available over-the-air (OTA) for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (both first and second generation), and Nexus 10 in early November, but then Google pulled the upgrade for two weeks. Today, almost two months after the re-release on Google Nexus 5, 10, and Nexus 7 Wi-Fi devices, as well as Moto X and G phones, Lollipop still has only a handful of users, never mind a mass audience.

        • Sony’s $1200 Walkman ZX2 runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

          Remember Sony’s Walkman from back in the 80s? Sony never stopped making them but they were eclipsed in later years first by iPods then by mobile phones. Now it looks like the Walkman is about to be reborn in a big and rather expensive way. Sony showed off its new Walkman ZX2 at CES 2015, and it’s going to cost $1200.

        • HTC One M8 Android 5.0 Update Release Rumored

          In November following the global release date of Android 5.0 Lollipop by Google, HTC and many manufacturers promised quick Android 5.0 Lollipop update for many key smartphones. Among those promises was the HTC One M8 Android 5.0 update within 90 days of November 3rd.

        • HTC One M8 owners get ready – Android 5.0 will arrive in next two weeks
        • Nexus 9 ssh on the go

          The Nexus 9 is an odd, compromised tablet, and way too expensive, but combined with the folio keyboard & pocketwifi it makes a nice ssh terminal for use on the road.

          Various ssh apps like ConnectBot have terrible external keyboard support. So I compiled a static dropbear binary and static busybox, and I’m using those with Android Terminal Emulator.

        • CyanogenMod Adds Official Support For Android One, Nexus 6, International LG G3 (D855)

          Just a day after pushing Lollipop nightlies to over 30 devices for the first time, CyanogenMod has now added more devices to the fray: the gambit of Android One phones, the LG G3 D855 (international), and the Nexus 6. Android One devices, owing to the control over software and hardware that Google has in that program, share a single ROM under codename “sprout.”

        • CES 2015: BlackBerry announces BBM for Android Wear

          BlackBerry continues to try to get non-BlackBerry users hooked on BBM. Today they announced that BBM for Android Wear is coming soon.

        • CES 2015: An Android smartphone with 320GB storage

          At the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 tech expo, little-known brand Saygus announced a smartphone that will blow the competition out of the water.

        • This Microsoft Surface lookalike runs a productive version of Android instead

          At first glance on the CES show floor, the Remix Ultra-Tablet seems like a cheap Surface knock-off. It has a two-stage kickstand similar to that of the Surface Pro 2—albeit one that feels flimsier than Microsoft’s model—and a magnetic keyboard cover with traveling keys and a felt material over the trackpad.

        • Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 Lollipop Update: 10 Things We Expect

          With a Samsung Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 Lollipop release ongoing and new details swirling, we’ve been taking a look at Samsung’s first Lollipop update. Yesterday, we broke down what we currently know and today, we want to take look at what we expect as Samsung moves forward with its Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 Lollipop release in the United States and elsewhere.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Pono Is Here, High Def Open Source Codec (Sort of) & All

    Neil Young’s long promised high def music device, Pono, is out and I am jammed. Not that I’m ever going to be able to buy one, mind you. But if I were entrenched middle class, the type of person who can shell out 500 bucks for a new Coach purse, I’d have one of these babies in a Texas heartbeat, which should be quicker than a regular heartbeat given the Lone Star State’s rate of high blook pressure and all. The latest news is that they’ll be available in your not-so-friendly neighborhood electronics store on Monday for $399. The Pono Music Store already went online a few days back.

  • Open Source Is Data Science’s Missing Ingredient
  • Cheap cloud + open source = a great time for startups

    While the rest of the world binges on IoT goodies from CES 2015, we thought we’d focus on (what else?) enterprise-grade infrastructure. This week’s guest, Steve Herrod was formerly CTO of VMware, and so knows a little something, something about that topic. Now he’s managing director of General Catalyst where he’s looking for the next VMwares of the world.

  • OSSmosis at Infosys

    I had to end my involvement in a hurry after that since I had to return to the airport in time for my return flight. As it turned out, Spicejet decided it was in no hurry and delayed by flight by over an hour; I guess I am lucky that it did not get cancelled. However, despite that, it felt worthwhile to attend the event and see a serious effort by one of the major driving forces in IT in India to encourage adoption of Open Source technologies and more importantly to encourage contribution to Open Source within its organization.

  • How to explain open source to the in-laws

    No, I said, though some community people can and will do that. My job is to make it easier for people to use the software (how to read the book best) and write the software (by helping with getting procedures and tools together to write books more efficiently). Because there needs to be some sort of organization about the creation of the software. So, I get people with an interest in building the software well together with people who have an interest in running the software. And, because there is commercial interest in the software, someone pays me to do this.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox OS to fuel Panasonic TVs, Chromecast-like devices

        Panasonic will embed Firefox OS in its 2015 smart TVs, and Matchstick announced a Chromecast-like Firefox OS platform, to be used by Philips/AOC and TCL.

      • A Device Blind Users Will Love

        In Firefox OS we have a suite of core apps called Gaia that is the foundation for Firefox OS’s user interface. It is really one giant web app, perhaps one of the biggest out there. Since our mission dictates that we make our products accessible, we have embarked on that journey, we created a screen reader for Firefox OS, and we got to work in making Gaia screen-reader friendly. It has been a long and sisyphean process, where we would arrive at one module in gaia, learn the code, fix some issues, and move on to the next module. It feels something like this:

      • Scale13x and Mozilla
  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • Metanautix Promises Data-Agnostic SQL Queries with Quest

      Making SQL, NoSQL, Hadoop and other big data frameworks play nicely with one another is a major challenge that vendors are only now beginning to overcome. But a startup named Metanautix is taking data-agnosticism even further through a new platform that can turn any kind of data—even images—into SQL tables.

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Community-developed Open Source solutions in a corporate environment

        To deliver a value, every infrastructure needs applications. If you review the Open Source business solutions market, community-developed Open Source solutions are often among the very best solutions. Examples are Redmine (project and process management), WordPress (publishing and blogging), DokuWiki (wiki), Subversion & Git (version control), Discourse (forum) and many more. Also, some renown companies like SugarCRM, NetSuite, and Suse have grown out of community-developed Open Source projects.

  • BSD


    • FreeIPMI 1.4.8 Released
    • PRICE 1.3.0

      This version improve Mac support quite a bit, Apple made several changes since 10.6 which caused malfunctions and weird symptoms (and which fix occasional stuff on 10.4 too). Both PowerPC and x86 work fine!

    • GNU Guix ported to ARM and other niceties of the new year

      A new port of GNU Guix to ARM using the “hard float” ABI has just landed, thanks to the hard work of Mark H Weaver and John Darrington. This makes it the fourth supported architecture after x86_64, i686, and mips64el. We are looking for ARM hardware donations that would allow us to add this architecture to our continuous integration build farm; your help is welcome!

  • Public Services/Government

    • France’s environmental agency deployed Pydio to increase collaboration

      France’s Environment and Energy Management ADEME (Agence de l’Environnement et de la maîtrise de l’énergie), has deployed the open source file sharing solution Pydio (Put Your Data in Orbit ) for its one thousand employees. Implemented in March 2013, the solution now serves as a basis of the Partage ADEME Portal. The agency is also contributing to the project some of the specific developments that were made for integrating Pydio to the existing agency’s system.


  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • FBI Director Comey’s Single Point Of Failure on Sony

      However the easiest way to compromise a node on North Korea’s Internet is to go through its ISP – Star Joint Venture. Star JV is a joint venture between North Korea Post and Telecommunications Corporation and another joint venture – Loxley Pacific (Loxpac). Loxpac is a joint venture with Charring Thai Wire Beta, Loxley, Teltech (Finland), and Jarungthai (Taiwan).

      I explored the Loxley connection as soon as this story broke, knowing that the FBI and the NSA was most likely relying on the myth of a “closed” North Korean Internet to base their attribution findings upon. Loxley is owned by one of Thailand’s most well-connected families and just 4 kilometers away is the five star St. Regis hotel where one of the hackers first dumped Sony’s files over the hotel’s WiFi. It would be a simple matter to gain access to Loxley’s or Loxpac’s network via an insider or through a spear phishing attack and then browse through NK’s intranet with trusted Loxpac credentials.

      Once there, how hard would it be to compromise a server? According to HP’s North Korea Security Briefing (August 2014) it would be like stealing candy from a baby. HP scanned the IP blocks involved in the Dark Seoul attacks (175.45.178.xx and 175.45.179.xx) and detected “dated technology that is potentially susceptible to multiple vulnerabilities and consistently showed the same open ports and active devices on scanned hosts.” Apparently the North Korean government worries more about controlling Internet access among its population then it does about hardening its Internet-facing systems. Did the FBI’s Red Team rule that out? Did they even consider it?

    • North Korea and Sony: James Clapper Describes His Trip

      I’m still not convinced that North Korea did the hack. But if they did, then there’s more of a backstory, precisely where Clapper is pointing to it: in his trip to North Korea just weeks before the hack.

      Alternately, Clapper’s fixation on his trip may suggest his meeting with Kin Youn(g) Chol has influenced analysis of the hack, leading Clapper’s subordinates to ascribe more importance to heated meetings while their boss was in North Korea than they logically should.

      Either way, Clapper’s giving a very partial description of that trip. But now that he has returned to doing so, it ought to be a much more significant focus for reporting on the alleged North Korea hack.

    • Thursday’s security updates
    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Stealthy ‘XOR.DDoS’ trojan infects Linux systems, installs rootkit

      The new threat, XOR.DDoS, alters its installation depending on the victim’s Linux environment and then later runs a rootkit to avoid detection. Although a similar trojan has been spotted in Windows systems, Peter Kálnai, malware analyst at Avast, said in a Wednesday interview with SCMagazine.com that this trojan ventures into relatively untapped territory by targeting Linux systems.

    • World’s first (known) bootkit for OS X can permanently backdoor Macs

      Securing Macs against stealthy malware infections could get more complicated thanks to a new proof-of-concept exploit that allows attackers with brief physical access to covertly replace the firmware of most machines built since 2011.

    • Religion is a “medieval form of unreason”: Salman Rushdie responds to Paris attacks

      In the statement, published on the website for English PEN, an organization that promotes freedom of speech, Rushdie not only condemns the shooting, but religion as a whole.

      “Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms,” he wrote. “This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today.”

      Rushdie expresses his support for the publication and calls for the defense of satire, “which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity.”

    • Helpful, low-FUD information security sites, mailing lists, and blogs

      Keeping current with the latest trends and technologies in the realm of information security is critical and there are many options to choose from. However, as with any content on the internet, it takes some effort to find sites with a good signal-to-noise ratio. Information security is a heavily FUD-laden industry and I’ve taken some time to compile a list of helpful sites.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Terrorism and Nuance

      In fact the only terrorist in the last year convicted in the UK, who possessed an actual bomb – a very viable explosive device indeed, was not charged with terrorism. He was a fascist named Ryan McGee who had a swastika on his wall and hated Muslims. Hundreds of Muslims with no weapons are locked up for terrorism. A fanatical anti-Muslim with a bomb is by definition not a terrorist.

    • Shooters in Paris terror attack still free as ties to Syria fighting probed

      Europe has been on high alert as anti-terror experts voiced alarm at the thousands of Europeans who’ve gone to Syria and Iraq to fight on behalf of the Islamic State and other terror organizations, and who security experts warned would return to their home countries trained and radicalized.

    • Remembering Victims of Terror–and Forgetting Some Others

      So apparently Morell doesn’t remember the bloodbath in Norway in July 2011, when Anders Breivik killed eight people by bombing government buildings in Oslo and then murdered 59 others, mostly teenagers, at a youth camp associated with the Labour Party. This was actually a deadlier attack then the London bombings, which killed 56.

    • Fox Host Brian Kilmeade On Xenophobic Element To Anti-Islamic Movement In Germany: “So What?”
    • Fox Host: How Do We Spot ‘Bad Guys’ If We Don’t Know ‘Tone Of Their Skin’?
    • After Paris Attack, Fox Anchor Suggests Skin Color Can Help Identify “Typical Bad Guys”

      Fox News anchor and Supreme Court correspondent Shannon Bream reacted to a Paris terror attack by suggesting certain skin tones are more typical of “bad guys” than others.

    • Police officer killed as France hunts Charlie Hebdo killers

      A woman police officer was killed and a street cleaner wounded on the edge of Paris this morning in an attack by a man who was reported to have fired an assault rifle of the kind used in yesterday’s murder of 12 people at Charlie Hebdo magazine.

    • Grenades Thrown at Mosque in France, Day After Charlie Hebdo Attack: Officials

      A day after deadly attack at a French satirical magazine in Paris, a mosque was attacked in Le Mans, west of the French capital.

      Three blank grenades were thrown at the mosque shortly after midnight in the city of Le Mans, west of Paris; shots were also fired in the direction of a Muslim prayer hall shortly after evening prayers in the Port-la-Nouvelle district near Narbonne in southern France.

    • Charlie Hebdo: Google France Displays Black Ribbon On Home Page As Country Mourns 12 Killed

      Google France has marked its home page with a small black ribbon as a tribute to the 12 people killed in the brutal shooting attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine.

    • Dispatches: An Overshadowed Atrocity

      In the capital of Yemen, Sanaa, at least 37 people were killed and 66 others injured by a bomb blast outside a police academy that was clearly targeting prospective cadets who had lined up in readiness to enroll. As yet, no one has claimed responsibility for the Sanaa attack but it bears the hallmarks of many others that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has carried out in Yemen in recent years.

    • Pentagon Misfires in Stealth Jet Scandal

      The Pentagon and the world’s biggest arms-dealer are hitting back at criticisms of their $400 billion stealth jet, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

      On Tuesday, Lockheed Martin, and the military’s F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) condemned two Daily Beast reports highlighting issues with the jet’s currently inoperable 25mm cannon and sensor package—while confirming many of those stories’ central assertions.

    • US to close major airbase in Britain – Pentagon

      The Pentagon has decided to end operations at an airbase in Britain and 14 other sites in Europe in a bid to save $500 million annually due to tight budgets and a shrinking military.

      The US said on Thursday that it would end operations at RAF Mildenhall, located northeast of London. The base is home to tanker, reconnaissance, and special operations aircraft.

      RAF Mildenhall was used as a transport hub for US troops. The US will withdraw 3,200 military personnel and their families over the next few years. The net loss of US troops in Britain will be around 2,000, the Pentagon said.

      Its 352nd special operations group will reportedly move to Germany, while RC-135 reconnaissance planes will stay in the UK.

    • Paris Attack Suspects Said to Take Hostage; 2nd Hostage-Taking Also Reported

      Hundreds of French security forces have converged on an industrial park in a town northeast of Paris where two suspects in Wednesday’s terrorist attack in central Paris appear to be barricaded with at least one hostage at a printing business, the authorities said. A police official said the suspects told negotiators they intended to “die as martyrs.”

      As that drama was playing out about 30 miles northeast of Paris, the police responded in force to reports of a shooting and possible hostage-taking at a kosher supermarket near the Porte de Vincennes, on the eastern edge of Paris.

    • Charlie Hebdo attack: shooting at Paris kosher grocery

      A SECOND shootout is happening at a kosher grocery in eastern Paris with reports suggesting that a gunman has as many as five hostages.

      The gunman is reportedly the same man who shot and killed police officer Clarissa Jean-Philippe, 27, who was killed when she was on patrol in the suburb of Montrouge following the Charlie Hebdo attack.

    • Charlie Hebdo manhunt: LIVE REPORT

      Police have released photos of a man and a woman wanted in connection with the fatal shooting Thursday at Montrouge.

    • Police surround kosher Paris supermarket

      Police in France have surrounded a kosher supermarket in south-east Paris amid reports of a shooting.

      A gunman, believed to be the killer of a policewoman in the capital on Thursday, has taken a hostage at the store, a source told France’s AFP news agency.

    • BREAKING NEWS: Third shooting in Paris as two dead & ‘at least five people’ taken hostage

      An armed gunman is with the hostages in the Jewish grocery store in Vincennes in the east of Paris and there are unconfirmed reports that two people have died.

      He has been named as Amedy Coulibaly, 32, the man who shot and killed cop Clarissa Jean-Philippe, 27, yesterday, just one day after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

    • French Police Are Dealing With Two Linked Hostage Situations

      Authorities in northern France are closing in on two brothers who allegedly carried out an attack against a satirical magazine in Paris on Wednesday.

      Simultaneously, a man thought to be connected to the suspects has taken hostages in eastern Paris.

      In eastern Paris, there has been a shootout at a kosher supermarket involving a man suspected of killing a policewoman on Thursday.

    • This Facebook Page Appears To Belong To One Of The Charlie Hebdo Suspects

      BuzzFeed News has found a Facebook page that appears to have belonged to the elder Kouachi brother. BuzzFeed could not independently verify that the page did belong to the same Said Kouachi, the individual wanted in the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

    • Gunman threatens to kill hostages at Paris market if suspects in Charlie Hebdo shooting are attacked

      A gunman holding at least five hostages in a Paris kosher market has threatened to kill them if French authorities launch an assault on two cornered al-Qaida-linked brothers suspected in a newspaper massacre, a police official said Friday.

      Terrorists linked to each other seized hostages at two locations around Paris on Friday, facing off against thousands of French security forces as the city shut down a famed Jewish neighborhood and scrambled to protect residents and tourists from further attacks.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Guarding Assange has cost British taxpayers almost £10mn

      British taxpayers have spent almost £10 million safeguarding WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange because Swedish officials refuse to interview him on UK soil.

      The besieged Ecuadorian embassy, where Assange currently resides, has been surrounded by police 24/7 for over two years.

  • Finance

    • Saxby Chambliss Transforms From Senator To Lobbyist In Less Than A Week

      It’s good to know that Saxby won’t have to worry about trying to survive on that six-figure Senate pension.

    • Obama to propose free community college

      President Obama will unveil a new proposal to make the first two years of community college free for students during an event Friday in Tennessee previewing his State of the Union address.

      But White House officials aren’t saying how much the program — which one aide described as “significant” in scope — will cost. Nor has the administration shared details of the initiative with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who would be necessary to approve the estimated billions of dollars necessary to provide free tuition.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • How Clint Eastwood Ignores History in ‘American Sniper’

      They should know better. In 2012, “Zero Dark Thirty,” about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, was lavishly praised by most reviewers, and it wasn’t until criticism emerged from political reporters like Jane Mayer and others (I wrote about it too) that the tide turned against the pro-torture fantasy at its core. The backlash, coming after the film made “best of the year” lists, was probably responsible for it (fortunately) being all but shut out of the Academy Awards. Hopefully the praise-and-reconsider scenario will recur with “American Sniper.”

    • Fox News Gives Paris Massacre the Benghazi Treatment

      On Wednesday afternoon, Fox News’s Gretchen Carlson focused on portraying the Obama administration as weak-kneed and out of touch in its response to the massacre in Paris. After interviewing pundit Ari Fleischer, who served as a principal spokesman for President George W. Bush’s global war on terror, Carlson went with a familiar script:

      “It is what it is. It, meaning terrorism. Terrorism is what it is,” Carlson said. “So why does the administration continue to have such a problem telling the American people and the rest of the world just that? Is that a disservice to all of us? In some way giving us a false sense of security? That since our own leaders don’t see any of these attacks as terrorism right away, neither should we?”

    • Charlie Hebdo hunt: Police storm siege north of Paris

      Gunshots and explosions have been heard at the site where suspects of the Charlie Hebdo shootings are holding a hostage north of Paris.

  • Censorship

    • Mumbai Police blocks over 650 social media posts featuring Charlie Hebdo cartoons

      Mumbai Police has blocked over 650 posts and pages “on a popular social networking site” for allegedly uploading the controversial cartoons featured in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, reports The Hindustan Times. Mumbai police spokesperson Dhananjay Kulkarni told the publication that they are blocking every controversial post that “they come across”.

    • ‘Hacktivist’ group Anonymous says it will avenge Charlie Hebdo attacks by shutting down jihadist websites

      Hacker group Anonymous have released a video and a statement via Twitter condemning the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 people, including eight journalists, were murdered.

      The video description says that it is “a message for al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and other terrorists”, and was uploaded to the group’s Belgian account.

    • Saudi Arabia: online activist to be flogged in a public square tomorrow

      Badawi was sentenced to ten years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a fine of one million Saudi Arabian riyals (approximately £175,000) last year for creating an online forum for public debate as well as accusations that he insulted Islam. According to information obtained by Amnesty, Badawi will receive up to 50 lashes tomorrow, while the rest of the 1,000 lashes will be carried out over a period of 20 weeks.

    • Monitoring and Criminalizing Online Speech and Social Media
    • Charlie Hebdo survivors defiant in the face of terror

      In the aftermath of the fatal terrorist attack on the Paris offices of satirical newspaper ‘Charlie Hebdo’, Hélène Hofman spoke to former employee Caroline Fourest. The award-winning French journalist remained defiant, and promised that the next issue of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ will still be published next week, writes Alex McClintock.

    • Stephen Fry: We have to make a stand over Charlie Hebdo

      Stephen Fry has told ITV News why he thinks it’s important for the media and individuals to publish cartoons by Charlie Hebdo, explaining that he holds freedom of expression “sacred”.

    • Swede calls for more controversial cartoons

      Despite Wednesday’s deadly attack on a Paris magazine that published controversial pictures of the prophet Mohammed, Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks argues that European media should not censor satirical pictures in the future.

    • “Ur head will be cut”: The story of the porn star who is getting death threats for performing in hijab

      After only a couple of months in the adult industry, 21-year-old Lebanese-American Mia Khalifa took the crown for most-searched-for star on PornHub from the legendary Lisa Ann of “Nailin’ Paylin” fame. It was a surprise win for the newcomer, who took to Instagram to humbly celebrate with a blushing emoji and caption reading, “nothing but respect for the almighty queen, though!”

    • A Close Call on Publication of Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

      Was The Times cowardly and lacking in journalistic solidarity when it decided not to publish the images from the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that precipitated the execution of French journalists?

      Some readers I’ve heard from certainly think so. Evan Levine of New York City wrote: “I just wanted to register my extreme disappointment at what can only be described as a dereliction of leadership and responsibility by the New York Times in deciding not to publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons after today’s massacre.”

    • The Saudi Role in Sept. 11 and the Hidden 9/11 Report Pages

      Since the early days after the Sept. 11 attacks, when news emerged that most of the airline hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, dark allegations have lingered about official Saudi ties to the terrorists. Fueling the suspicions: 28 still-classified pages in a congressional inquiry on 9/11 that raise questions about Saudi financial support to the hijackers in the United States prior to the attacks.

      Both the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama have refused to declassify the pages on grounds of national security. But critics, including members of Congress who have read the pages in the tightly guarded, underground room in the Capitol where they are held, say national security has nothing to do with it. U.S. officials, they charge, are trying to hide the double game that Saudi Arabia has long played with Washington, as both a close ally and petri dish for the world’s most toxic brand of Islamic extremism.

    • US gag order on EU police agency stirs controversy

      The European Commission on Thursday (8 January) defended a US gag order imposed on the EU’s police agency Europol.

      It means EU lawmakers and most officials are not allowed to scrutinise a document – on implementation of the EU-US Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) – written by Europol’s own internal data protection committee, the joint-supervisory body (JSB).

  • Privacy

    • Browsing in privacy mode? Super Cookies can track you anyway

      For years, Chrome, Firefox, and virtually all other browsers have offered a setting that doesn’t save or refer to website cookies, browsing history, or temporary files. Privacy-conscious people rely on it to help cloak their identities and prevent websites from tracking their previous steps. Now, a software consultant has devised a simple way websites can in many cases bypass these privacy modes unless users take special care.

      Ironically, the chink that allows websites to uniquely track people’s incognito browsing is a much-needed and relatively new security mechanism known as HTTP Strict Transport Security. Websites use it to ensure that an end user interacts with their servers only when using secure HTTPS connections. By appending a flag to the header a browser receives when making a request to a server, HSTS ensures that all later connections to a website are encrypted using one of the widely used HTTPS protocols. By requiring all subsequent connections to be encrypted, HSTS protects users against downgrade attacks, in which hackers convert an encrypted connection back into plain-text HTTP.

    • FBI says it can use fake phone masts to listen in on phone calls without warrant

      The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has argued that it should be able to listen in on phone calls using technology that tricks phones into thinking they’re connecting to normal masts. The tools, called “Stingrays”, allow users to intercepts calls and texts.

    • China police reportedly buy virus to monitor phones

      A screenshot purportedly showing that Chinese police were purchasing viruses for the iPhone and Android in order to monitor calls is stirring controversy in China.

      The image in question was from the official site of the government of Wenzhou, an eastern city, and is dated Dec. 15. It contained a notice saying the local police department had spent around 150,000 yuan ($24,000) on mobile-phone viruses and a device to insert the malware into phones, “specifically against jailbroken iPhones and Android phones for real-time monitoring of calls, text messages and photos.”

    • Privacy is not terrorism

      On Tuesday 16th December, a large police operation took place in the Spanish State. Fourteen houses and social centres were raided in Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa and Madrid; books, leaflets and IT material were seized; and eleven people were arrested and sent to the Audiència Nacional, a special court handling issues of “national interest”, in Madrid. They are accused of incorporation, promotion, management and membership of a terrorist organisation. However, lawyers for the defence denounce a lack of transparency, saying that their clients have had to make statements without knowing what they are accused of [2]. “[They] speak of terrorism without specifying concrete criminal acts, or concrete individualised facts attributed to each of them.” [1] When challenged on this, Judge Bermúdez responded: “I am not investigating specific acts, I am investigating the organization, and the threat they might pose in the future” [1]; making this yet another case of apparently preventative arrests. Four of the detainees have been released, but the remaining seven have been jailed pending trial. The reasons given by the judge for their continued detention include the posession of certain books, “the production of publications and forms of communication”, and the fact that the defendants “used emails with extreme security measures, such as the server RISE UP.”[2]

    • EU Legal Study: All EU Data Retention Laws May be Dodgy

      DRIPA likely to be struck down

    • Lies and revelations: Why mass surveillance is not about catching the “bad guys”

      In response to the Snowden revelations, many governments have argued that we need surveillance to safeguard national security – and this is not a new rhetoric. Ever since 9/11, governments across the globe which have, directly or indirectly, aligned with U.S foreign policy have argued that there is a trade-off between civil liberties and security. This implies that it is acceptable for intelligence agencies to spy on our communications so that they can detect criminals and terrorists – otherwise known as the “bad guys”.

      However, if we look a bit closer at the classified documents leaked by Snowden, it is evident that targeted surveillance is largely used to enhance the political and economic advantage of those in power, while mass surveillance is directed at spying on almost everyone – regardless of whether they have engaged in criminal activity or not.

    • European Parliament Study Likely To Boost Legal Challenges To Blanket Data Retention In Europe

      Back in April last year, we wrote about a surprising and hugely important ruling by Europe’s top court that the framework for data retention in Europe — the Data Retention Directive — was “invalid”. That was largely because it allowed data retention on a scale that was disproportionate. But an interesting question that arises from that decision is: if the Directive itself is invalid, where does that leave all the EU agreements and laws that require data to be retained? What exactly is their legal status now that the Directive has been struck down? Are they invalid too?

    • Finland gets tough on privacy, with new law to give Apple, Facebook messages total security

      On 1 January, the ‘Information Society Code’ passed into law. The Code is a major new umbrella act revising the country’s electronic communications legislation, which has four main goals: simplifying existing rules; improving consumer protection; boosting information security; and creating more equal telecoms markets.

    • The response to the Charlie Hebdo murders is not more untargeted surveillance

      We know that the Hebdo offices were already a target, having been firebombed in 2011, over the publication of a caricature of the prophet Mohammed. We know that the suspects Cherif and Said Kouachi were already known to the security services. We know that France, like the UK has powers to surveill its citizens and, unlike the UK, also has ID cards and an armed police force. But none of this prevented the murder of those 12 people. Despite this, the Head of MI5, Andrew Parker, has indicated that our security services need more powers to prevent similar attacks occuring in the UK.

  • Civil Rights

    • After a long delay, Obama declines to fire U.S. attorneys over Aaron Swartz’s suicide

      The White House is declining to fire two Justice Department officials over their handling of a controversial court case involving Aaron Swartz, an Internet activist who committed suicide in 2013 after being accused of hacking into a university network.

    • MI5 chief seeks new powers after Paris magazine attack

      The head of MI5, Andrew Parker, has called for new powers to help fight Islamist extremism, warning of a dangerous imbalance between increasing numbers of terrorist plots against the UK and a drop in the capabilities of intelligence services to snoop on communications.

    • Britain warned about ‘grave and relentless’ terror threat as French manhunt goes on

      Last night anti-terrorism police and a paramilitary special ops unit were scouring the 50 square miles of woodland near Abbaye de Longpont, Aisne, for Said Kouachi, 34, and his brother Cherif 33.

    • Risen Deflects Queries in Leak-Case Testimony

      After years of pressuring New York Times national security correspondent James Risen to testify in the leak – or “Espionage Act” – case against ex-CIA official Jeffrey Sterling, the prosecutors never directly asked Risen to name Sterling as his source, as Sam Husseini describes.

    • CIA’s Hidden Hand in ‘Democracy’ Groups

      The importance of the CIA and White House secretly arranging private funds was that these supposedly independent voices would then reinforce and validate the administration’s foreign policy arguments with a public that would assume the endorsements were based on the merits of the White House positions, not influenced by money changing hands.

    • NYT Still Pretends No Coup in Ukraine

      The New York Times keeps insisting that last year’s Ukrainian coup wasn’t a coup and anyone who thinks so lives inside “the Russian propaganda bubble.” But a slanted Times “investigation” shows that the newspaper remains lost inside the U.S. government’s “propaganda bubble,” writes Robert Parry.

    • If America wants to make sure it never tortures again, it must choose law over secrecy

      In theory, Obama’s December 2009 executive order on national security classification should prevent the CIA from using secrecy to place itself beyond the rule of law, since the order specifically forbids classifying information to “conceal violations of law”. In practice, though, the prohibition is virtually never enforced. The Obama administration – like the Bush administration before it – takes the position that the CIA’s criminal actions can be legitimately classified if they are “intelligence sources and methods”. And neither Congress, nor the president, nor the courts have imposed any legal limit on what counts as an intelligence source or method. In practice, the phrase has come to mean “anything the intelligence community doesn’t want you to know.” Congress needs to write a legal definition of “intelligence sources and methods” that imposes real limits, and makes clear that it excludes torture and other crimes.

    • It’s Critics of ‘Selma’ Who Are Distorting Civil Rights History

      Johnson is the character most clearly intended for white audience members to identify with; no doubt like many of them, he starts out admiring King but not really understanding him, and over the course of the film he comes to realize on an emotional level why King says he cannot wait for political justice. In other words, he’s a white man who has something to learn from a black man. Fifty years after the events portrayed in Selma, that’s still evidently something some people don’t want to see.

    • Tell the DOJ Whistleblowing Is a Public Service, Not a Crime

      Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling is set to go on trial soon for allegedly giving classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen — about a CIA operation that provided flawed nuclear weapon blueprints to Iran in 2000. Along with CMD, the Nation, the Progressive and Roots Action, you took action in support of Risen, now is the time to come to the aid of whistleblower Sterling.

    • Looking Away From Police Killings

      USA Today (11/24/14) reported on the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy on a Cleveland playground. Tamir Rice, holding a BB gun, was shot twice in the chest by a rookie cop. Police came to the playground in response to a 911 call in which a man said he was reporting someone, “probably a juvenile,” with a gun that was “probably a fake.”

    • Hate Crime Experts Skeptical of Call for Cops to be Covered by Federal Law

      The largest police union is urging Congress to expand hate crime protections to include law enforcement.

    • The War on Drugs Is Burning Out

      The conservative wave of 2014 featured an unlikely, progressive undercurrent: In two states, plus the nation’s capital, Americans voted convincingly to pull the plug on marijuana prohibition. Even more striking were the results in California, where voters overwhelmingly passed one of the broadest sentencing reforms in the nation, de-felonizing possession of hard drugs. One week later, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD announced an end to arrests for marijuana possession. It’s all part of the most significant story in American drug policy since the passage of the 21st Amendment legalized alcohol in 1933: The people of this country are leading a dramatic de-escalation in the War on Drugs.

    • Michel Houellebecq stops promotion of new novel after Charlie Hebdo attack

      The French novelist Michel Houellebecq, whose latest book featured on the cover of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on the day of the massacre at its offices, has stopped its promotion as the victims were being mourned.

    • Norway’s Christians didn’t have to apologise for Anders Breivik, and it’s the same for Muslims now

      When Newcastle gunman Raoul Moat went crazy, I’m sure I remember interviewers, callers on phone-in shows and website forums insisting it was up to so-called moderate Geordies to denounce these atrocities, and X Factor started that week with Louis Walsh saying he wouldn’t take part unless Cheryl Cole condemned this “foul evil act of pure foul evil, carried out by her own people”.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Chairman Moves Toward Real Net Neutrality Protections
    • FCC Chairman Hints at Utility-Style Rules for Internet

      FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler appears poised to propose new rules that would classify Internet service providers as public utilities in a move designed to ensure everyone has the same access to free content online.

      Wheeler strongly indicated Wednesday that he favors the shift to tougher regulations, describing it as “just and reasonable” during an appearance in Las Vegas at the International CES, a technology industry gadget show.

    • Net neutrality vote of 26 February could see Class II after all

      THE US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote on net neutrality legislation at its next meeting on 26 February, it has emerged.


      Meanwhile, just in case Wheeler speak with forked tongue, Democrat senator Al Franken has reintroduced a bill before the Senate which would force the FCC to ban paid-for priority on the internet, regardless of its status.

    • Net Neutrality Might Be a Step Closer to Reality

      The best solution to the problem of net neutrality would be the introduction of genuine competition among ISPs. Your local cable company might still want to discriminate against rivals in the video business—or maybe team up with one of them and degrade the others—but they’d have a hard time doing that if Google was providing great quality for every video service and customers could easily switch if they got tired of poor Netflix streaming. More generally, competition would put a ceiling on all sorts of bad behavior. If your prices are high, or your service is poor, or you have a habit of playing favorites with certain sites, then you’re going to lose customers unless you get your act together. True competition would make heavy regulation of broadband mostly unnecessary.

  • DRM

    • GOG To Remove Archive Protection From Their Windows Installers

      After hearing plenty of heated feedback, GOG.com has now backtracked from their use of encrypted RAR files in their Windows installers, something which has raised concerns about the potential for encroaching DRM on their service as well as causing technical problems for some Linux users.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Canadian Piracy Notices: From Benign to Ridiculous

        Canada’s new piracy warning notice scheme is young but already controversial. With one relatively small ISP sending more than 3,000 notices every day, copyright trolls have quickly jumped on the bandwagon with their own brand of crazy. Other notices are much more benign – and users know it.

      • How Copyright Forced A Filmmaker To Rewrite Martin Luther King’s Historic Words

        Among the most powerful moments of Selma, the new film about the march Martin Luther King, Jr. led in 1965 in support of voting rights for African Americans, are the speeches, sermons, and eulogies King delivered during that tumultuous period. However, the speeches performed by actor David Oyelowo in the film do not contain the actual words spoken by King. This is because the King estate would not license the copyright in the speeches to filmmaker Ava DuVernay. Thus, the King estate’s aggressive stance on copyright has literally forced the re-writing of history.


Links 7/1/2015: Unity 8 and Mir, Sony’s LinuxWalkman

Posted in News Roundup at 9:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Intel Compute Stick runs Windows and Linux, fits in your pocket

    A few months back, I got a breathless email from an Intel PR rep due to some confusion over a little Chinese-made HDMI PC. Now we know why: Intel was stealthily getting ready to launch one of their own.

    This tiny black stick emblazoned with the “Intel inside” logo is Intel’s Compute Stick. This device isn’t like the Dell Cloud Connect dongle that they took to CES last year, nor is it a copy of Microsoft’s Wireless Display Adapter. It’s a full PC, capable of running both Linux and Windows, and it’s set to go on sale in the very near future.

  • Server

    • 3 Ways Enterprise IT Will Change in 2015

      Much the way the end of a year invites reflection upon what changed over the preceding 12 months, there’s nothing like the start of a new one for looking ahead and predicting what’s to come. So it is in enterprise IT, where market researchers have been busy studying their proverbial crystal balls for that very purpose.

      Late last month, for instance, IDC released not just one but three new prediction-filled reports focusing on three key areas of enterprise technology. Bottom line? Things will look pretty different a year or two from now.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Linux Foundation Extends the AllSeen Alliance, Sets Summit Speaker Agenda

      The Linux Foundation is out with a slew of announcements this week to kick off 2015. The AllSeen Alliance, which operates as a Linux Foundation Collaboration project, has announced a number of new initiatives. Most notably, it is expanding its platform framework with an AllJoyn Gateway Agent that extends the Internet of Things footprint beyond any user’s local environment, over to the cloud.

    • ​CES 2015: AllSeen Alliance to bring order to the Internet of Things

      Lost among the 4K TVs, 3D printers, and smart baby-bottles at CES, the AllSeen Alliance, a cross-industry group advancing the Internet of Everything (IoT) via the AllJoyn open-source software project, announced the first release of the AllJoyn Gateway Agent. That’s a pity, because this announcement may be the most important one of the show.

    • Linux Foundation Adds SDN, Storage and Managed Hosting Members

      The Linux Foundation’s membership continues to expand. This week, three new companies joined the open source consortium, bringing strengths in software-defined networking, storage and managed hosting to the organization.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Part Two Of KDAB’s Qt3D 2.0 Overview
      • Overview of Qt3D 2.0 – Part 2

        In the previous article we learned about the requirements and high-level architecture of Qt3D 2.0. In order to put some of this into context and to give you a concrete example of how it looks to draw something in Qt3D using the QML API, we will now briefly show the important parts of one of the simple examples that will ship with Qt3D. We will start off simple and just draw a single entity (a trefoil knot) but to make it slightly more interesting we will use a custom set of shaders to implement a single-pass wireframe rendering method. This is what we will draw:

      • GCompris is now released on Android

        One year ago I took the hard decision to fully rewrite GCompris in Qt Quick in order to address tablet users while keeping PC compatibility. As you imagine it’s a daunting task and something for sure I could not do alone. Thanks to the help of the many contributors who joined the project we have been able to port 86 activities of the 140 of the legacy version in a year. You can look at this page to see the status of the port. We can hope to complete the port in one more year. The new version is far from perfect and we continue to polish it everyday but we already provide a better user experience than the legacy version.

      • Thinking about working on KDE 5 again (frameworks, plasma, applications)

        In my “preview” of KDE 5, I was able to offer the KDE 5 packages as co-installable to KDE 4 because it was not yet more than Frameworks and Plasma packages – it needed the presence of KDE 4.x in order to provide a meaningfull Plasma 5 workspace. That meant, you could install KDE 5, play around with it for a bit, and then un-install the packages if you had seen enough, without this process touching or destroying the configuration of your KDE 4 environment. That was a good thing, because Plasma 5 was quite unstable at that time, and the whole exercise was not meant to probide an actual day-to-day work environment.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • D-Link floats a raft of Linux-based home automation gizmos

      D-Link expanded its home automation line with a wireless hub, water leak sensor, siren, security cameras, and 802.11ac routers, all running embedded Linux.

    • Raspberry Pi B+ gets its Grove on

      Raspberry Pi’s are great little Linux devices but they have plenty of limitations when it comes to comes to wiring up to the analog world or just behaving like a micro-controller. There’s been various attempts to weld Pi and Arduino together (I have some) like the Dexter Industries’ BrickPi that plugs you into the Lego bricosystem or their Arduberry which brings Arduino shield connectors out the top of the board.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Take two ‘medtech’ apps & call me in the morning

          We want medtech on open platforms of course — and so now we have the free Medelinked app available for Android smartphones and tablets in the Android Market on Google Play.

        • Sony’s $1200 Walkman ZX2 runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

          Remember Sony’s Walkman from back in the 80s? Sony never stopped making them but they were eclipsed in later years first by iPods then by mobile phones. Now it looks like the Walkman is about to be reborn in a big and rather expensive way. Sony showed off its new Walkman ZX2 at CES 2015, and it’s going to cost $1200.

        • Fuhu’s behemoth Android tablet has a 65-inch, 4K display

          In its suite here, Fuhu mounted the display on the wall, like a television, but also embedded it inside a wooden table, as well as a poker table. Fuhu senior vice-president Lisa Lee said the company plans to sell furniture designed around the larger tablets, so they can serve as electronic play spaces.

        • ​Samsung releases mid-range Galaxy E5 and E7 with Android KitKat

          Samsung has released two new mid-tier members of the Galaxy family, the Galaxy E5 and Galaxy E7. The duo will make their debut in India alongside the full-metal-bodied Galaxy A3 and Galaxy A5.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Panasonic’s smart TVs go open-source with Firefox OS

        One of the buzzier and least-understood technology announcements made at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show deals with smart televisions. A smart television is a good-old-fashioned television set that comes with a built-in Wi-Fi connection and an operating system that allows the consumer to not only view over-the-air, cable, and satellite programming, but also connect to the Internet to increase their programming options.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • 12 highlights from the OpenStack roadmap

      OpenStack, due to its sheer size and complexity, can be difficult to keep track of. Each constituent part is managed and developed separately, and sometimes there’s just too much going on to be up on everything. Combine the distributed nature of the project with a fast release cycle and even seasoned cloud operators can have trouble keeping up with features and components as they move through the development process.

    • Enterprises, and the Market, Love Big Data for 2015

      As we’ve been reporting, several barometers, including a new KPGM study on cloud computing trends at enterprises shows that executives are very focused on extracting business metrics from their cloud computing and data analytics platforms. These baromters suggest that we’re going to continue to see the cloud and the Big Data trend evolve together this year. In fact, Big Data is now a big market force.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Open Source Databases Keep Chipping Away at Oracle’s Empire

      The three fastest growing databases of 2014 were all open source, according to a new report from DB-Engines, a site that tracks popularity in the rapidly changing database marketplace.

      The ever popular new-age database MongoDB topped the list again this year, with Redis, a tool for managing data, and ElasticSearch, which provides the foundations for building your own search engine, as runners up.

  • Healthcare

    • NHS refused to pull ‘unfit for purpose’ Care.data leaflet

      The mishandling of the controversial Care.data scheme – intended to extract data from GP records and effectively share it with world+dog – was in part due to the refusal of NHS England to recall an ill-informed public leaflet from the printers, an independent oversight body has revealed.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Crowdsourcing a new edition of a Bach masterpiece

      New works of art usually enter the public domain through a process involving death and patience. It is a rarer occasion that living people set about to make a resource public domain, and even rarer so when that effort involves thousands of people collaborating and pooling their time, energy, and money. That’s what’s happening on MuseScore.com with the first public review of the Open Well-Tempered Clavier score, a new edition of J.S. Bach’s musical masterpiece (BWV 846-869).

  • Programming

    • How GitHub uses GitHub to document GitHub

      Providing well-written documentation helps people understand, make use of, and contribute back to your project, but it’s only half of the documentation equation. The underlying system used to serve documentation can make life easier for the people writing it—whether that’s just you or the team you work with.


  • Haiku OS Mail Support Significantly Reworked

    For fans of the Haiku operating system inspired by BeOS, its mail service has been reworked.

  • Security

    • Attributing the Sony Attack

      No one has admitted taking down North Korea’s Internet. It could have been an act of retaliation by the US government, but it could just as well have been an ordinary DDoS attack. The follow-on attack against Sony PlayStation definitely seems to be the work of hackers unaffiliated with a government.

    • Jon Stewart Mocks The US Response To North Korea After ‘The Interview’ Fiasco

      “But I guess our anger is no surprise, these hackers violated our privacy. They read our emails, what kind of a country does that?” Stewart said sarcastically before showing news clips about Edward Snowden’s revelation that the NSA can read emails, chats and personal conversations.

    • Jon Stewart mocks Sony hack: NSA doesn’t leak ‘mean sh*t’ about Angelina Jolie
    • US Social Surveillance Abuse Puts Civil Liberties in Jeopardy

      The NSA’s secret project codenamed Boundless Informant seeks to establish control over “information space.” According to The Guardian it has been able to collect the data on 97 billion phone calls worldwide since March 2013.

    • The Government Must Show Us the Evidence That North Korea Attacked Sony

      American history is littered with examples of classified information pointing us towards aggression against other countries—think WMDs—only to later learn that the evidence was wrong

    • FBI Director: Sony’s ‘Sloppy’ North Korean Hackers Revealed Their IP Addresses

      The Obama administration has been tightlipped about its controversial naming of the North Korean government as the definitive source of the hack that eviscerated Sony Pictures Entertainment late last year. But FBI director James Comey is standing by the bureau’s conclusion, and has offered up a few tiny breadcrumbs of the evidence that led to it. Those crumbs include the claim that Sony hackers sometimes failed to use the proxy servers that masked the origin of their attack, revealing IP addresses that the FBI says were used exclusively by North Korea.


      Comey’s brief and cryptic remarks—with no opportunity for followup questions from reporters—respond to skepticism and calls for more evidence from cybersecurity experts unsatisfied with the FBI’s vague statements tying the hack to North Korean government. In a previous public announcement the FBI had said only that it found “similarities in specific lines of code, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods, and compromised networks,” as well as IP addresses that matched prior attacks it knows to have originated in North Korea. At that time, the FBI also said it had further evidence matching the tools used in the attack to a North Korean hacking attack that hit South Korean banks and media outlets.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • In shift, U.S. military says it is investigating credible civilian casualty reports in Iraq and Syria

      The U.S. military is investigating credible reports of civilian casualties in its campaign against Islamic State militants, the Pentagon press secretary said Tuesday, a shift after months in which defense officials said they were aware of none.

    • The real American Sniper was a hate-filled killer. Why are simplistic patriots treating him as a hero?

      I have to confess: I was suckered by the trailer for American Sniper. It’s a masterpiece of short-form tension – a confluence of sound and image so viscerally evocative it feels almost domineering. You cannot resist. You will be stressed out. You will feel. Or, as I believe I put it in a blog about the trailer, “Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper trailer will ruin your pants.”

      But however effective it is as a piece of cinema, even a cursory look into the film’s backstory – and particularly the public reaction to its release – raises disturbing questions about which stories we choose to codify into truth, and whose, and why, and the messy social costs of transmogrifying real life into entertainment.

    • NSA agent: Israel attacked USS Liberty to hide the truth from Washington

      However, according to a former signals intelligence analyst of the US National Security Agency (NSA), the Israeli combined air and sea attack on the USS Liberty, which took place on 8 June 1967, was a premeditated act carried out because the Israelis “didn’t want the US to know what they were up to in the Sinai before they invaded Egypt”.

    • Abolishing Nuclear Weapons – Useful and Not-So-Useful First Steps

      Also in December, the Marshall Islands, subjected to 67 nuclear tests by the United States in the 1940s and 1950s, put forward written arguments in the World Court, taking the eight declared nuclear weapon states – and Israel – to task. The Pacific state (with a population of less than 70,000) wants the World Court to order the nuclear weapon state signatories to the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to live up to their promise in the NPT to end the arms race ‘at an early date’ and to negotiate a treaty on ‘complete disarmament’.

      In December, India marked two major developments in its ground-based nuclear weapons capability, with the first successful test of the 2,500-mile-range Agni-IV, the first Indian ballistic missile able to deliver nuclear warheads deep inside China; and testing of the delivery platform for the Agni-V, with its range of up to 3,400 miles, bringing the whole of China within range. (In 2016, as well as deploying the Agni-V, India plans to bring its first nuclear missile-carrying submarines into service, completing its nuclear air-land-sea ‘triad’.)

      As is well-known, India has fought several wars with its neighbours (Pakistan and China) since its birth as an independent nation in 1947, and war with Pakistan remains an ever-present threat.

    • Obama Has Killed More People with Drones than Died On 9/11
    • Somali Militants Execute Alleged U.S. Intelligence Agency Spy

      Somalia Islamist militant group al-Shabaab said a man accused of working with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to kill a senior rebel commander for a $1 million reward was one of four people it executed for spying.

    • JFK Nephew Claims CIA Worked to Prevent Normalization with Cuba

      Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the nephew of the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy, claims that the CIA actively worked to obstruct President Kennedy’s effort to reconcile relations with Cuba, saying the countries would have eventually reconciled if not for the 1963 assassination of the former president.

    • It’s time for full disclosure of CIA records on JFK’s assassination

      It is ironic that two events coincide at this time, with the opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba by President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate debating the need for increased oversight of the CIA given its out-of-control torture of individuals at Guantanamo.

    • Why Jeffrey Sterling Deserves Support as a CIA Whistleblower
    • In Defense of a CIA Whistleblower

      The mainstream U.S. news media sometimes rallies to the defense of a reporter who is pressured to reveal a source but not so much for the brave whistleblower who is the target of government retaliation. Such is the case for ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, writes Norman Solomon.

    • CIA Whistleblower Faces Decades in Prison for Exposing Botched CIA Plan

      Norman Solomon, co-founder of RootsAction.org, says Jeffrey Sterling and other whistleblowers have leaked classified information against the interests of the ruling elite, but in the interest of democracy

    • NYT reporter refuses to reveal sources on failed CIA effort against Ira

      James Risen refuses to answer prosecutor’s questions in case against former CIA agent, charged with leaking information about CIA operation against Iran’s nuclear program.

    • Burr: No intention to rewrite CIA torture report

      Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, the incoming chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday that he won’t try to rewrite the report issued last month cataloging brutal interrogation tactics used by the CIA operatives on suspected terrorists although he strongly disputes portions of the report.

    • Bolivian President Alleges CIA Interference

      President Evo Morales suspects the U.S. is working to sow disunity within his political party.

    • Idea of CIA ‘secret’ war illogical

      If we have already had a “secret” war and the Register’s headline writers know about it, it isn’t a secret anymore.

      If it is still secret, then no one knows about it, so we cannot have a “next.”

      If the Register’s headline writers believe that the CIA can declare war against some hapless nation all by itself, I submit that the headline writers have watched too many “Get Smart” TV sitcoms to have come to that conclusion.

      I don’t think the CIA operates this way.

    • Obama 2015 Pakistan drone strikes

      The events detailed here occurred in 2015. These have been reported by US or Pakistani government, military and intelligence officials, and by credible media, academic and other sources, including on occasion Bureau researchers. Below is a summary of CIA drone strikes and casualty estimates for 2015. Please note that our data changes according to our current understanding of particular strikes. Below represents our present best estimate.

    • North Korean defector kills four people after crossing into China

      Beijing has lodged a formal diplomatic complaint with Pyongyang after a fleeing North Korean soldier killed four people when he crossed the border into China.

    • After “Charlie Hebdo” Attack in Paris, Senators Rush to Undermine Defense Reforms

      American lawmakers took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to express sympathy with the victims of the grisly attack on a satirical Parisian publication. But some rushed to use the “Charlie Hebdo” tragedy to criticize efforts to reform draconian national security policies. .

      “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, the families, and the French people in the wake of this horrendous attack,” said Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) in the first of a series of tweets on the issue. “Here at home, we must use this horrific attack as an opportunity to reevaluate our own national security posture,” he pivoted.

      Graham eventually took aim at efforts to reform the National Security Agency.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Republicans to Push Keystone XL Pipeline as New Congress Convenes

      The new U.S. Congress convenes today with Republicans in control of both houses for the first time in eight years. Republicans now have 246 seats in the House, their largest majority in nearly 70 years. The new Congress is also more diverse than ever before, with a record 104 women, including Utah Representative-elect Mia Love, the first black Republican woman in Congress. Women still make up only 20 percent of lawmakers, while people of color make up only about 18 percent. At the top of the Republican agenda is a push to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, with lawmakers in both houses expected to file measures in favor of the project today.

    • Chicago Tribune Lets CEO Push Business Interests Without Disclosure

      The Chicago Tribune published an op-ed by the CEO of Caterpillar, a manufacturer of large construction equipment, which advocated for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline but failed to disclose Caterpillar’s significant financial stake in the pipeline’s construction.

  • Finance

    • New GOP Congress Fires Shot At Social Security On Day One

      With a little-noticed proposal, Republicans took aim at Social Security on the very first day of the 114th Congress.

      The incoming GOP majority approved late Tuesday a new rule that experts say could provoke an unprecedented crisis that conservatives could use as leverage in upcoming debates over entitlement reform.

    • How The Media Is Carrying Water For GOP’s “Jobs” Agenda

      Media outlets have uncritically promoted House Speaker John Boehner’s latest attempt to frame the Republican Congress’ harmful agenda as a set of “jobs bills.” But the Republican plan offers negligible hiring incentives, will cost over a million workers their health care coverage, and will increase the budget deficit by billions.

    • CIA financial threat adviser: US facing a 25-year ‘Great Depression’

      The Apocalypse-like scenario painted by “Currency Wars” best-selling author James Rickards about the US facing the prospect of a 25-year Great Depression is certainly depressing for many people. According to Rickards, who calls himself an “economic historian” and is a financial threat adviser to the CIA and the Pentagon, America’s “dangerous level of debt” and the Federal Reserve’s reckless printing of trillions of dollars should serve as bright red signals that a major financial crash is coming.

      Known as an investment banker and hedge fund manager who reportedly helped uncover terrorist insider trading after the 9/11 tragedy, Rickards says a key signal is the way the Fed has reportedly been changing Misery Index calculations to hide the true state of the US economy. The Misery Index is an economic indicator wherein figures are arrived at by adding the true unemployment rate with the true inflation rate.

    • The Growth Projections for the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact Are a Joke

      Bob Kuttner has a column in the Huffington Post warning of the dangers of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP). Kuttner correctly points out that the deal is not really about reducing trade barriers, which are already minimal, but rather about locking in place a business-friendly structure of regulation (wrongly described as “deregulation”).

    • Cutting Subsidies and Closing Loopholes in the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Coal Program

      In 2002, the Powder River Basin, or PRB, in Wyoming and Montana surged past the Appalachian coalfields that stretch from Pennsylvania to Tennessee to become the nation’s largest coal-producing region. Today, the PRB occupies a 40 percent share of the U.S. coal market. Although market forces, mechanization, and technological changes help explain some of the coal industry’s decision to shift more production from privately owned lands in the East to federal lands in the American West, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s, or DOI’s, coal policies have played an equally important—though largely unnoticed—role in this transition.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Hollywood’s idealized view of CIA officers is no substitute for reality

      Among the many compelling aspects of “Zero Dark Thirty,” the 2013 film about the capture of Osama bin Laden, was the notion (much touted by the film’s creators) that its characters were based on real people. This included the heroine, a brilliant and tenacious red-haired CIA analyst named Maya, played by Jessica Chastain.

    • Former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers joins CNN as National Security Commentator

      Former U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI) joins CNN as a national security commentator offering expert analysis on a wide range of political, counterterrorism, and national security topics. Rogers was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000 and served seven terms representing Michigan’s 8th District. During his last two terms in office he was Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. Rogers’ career began with service as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army; later he was a Special Agent with the FBI. In addition to his new role at CNN, Rogers is also a host of the daily Westwood One radio talk segments, Something to Think About with Mike Rogers.

  • Censorship

    • AP pulls ‘Piss Christ’ after Paris attack

      The Associated Press has removed an image of Andres Serrano’s 1987 photograph “Piss Christ” from its image library following Wednesday’s attack against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

      “It’s been our policy for years that we refrain from moving deliberately provocative images. It is fair to say we have revised and reviewed our policies since 1989,” AP spokesperson Erin Madigan told POLITICO, referring to the year the AP first posted the photograph.

    • Terrorists Can’t Kill Charlie Hebdo’s Ideas
    • News Outlets Are Censoring Images of Cartoons That May Have Incited Charlie Hebdo Attack

      The French magazine Charlie Hebdo was attacked this morning by gunmen, possibly al-Qaida members, who were apparently upset by its history of printing cartoons mocking radical Islam. While much of the response to the attack has celebrated the notion of freedom of speech and freedom of the press, some news outlets have chosen to self-censor images of controversial Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

    • Terror does not kill freedom

      The terrorist has already lost if you stand up for your freedom and for the truth.

    • Some Outlets Are Censoring Charlie Hebdo’s Satirical Cartoons After Attack

      News organizations around the world are facing a dilemma about how to portray cartoons of Muhammad by the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo after a deadly attack on its offices Wednesday — and some are choosing to respond by censoring or cropping out photos of the cartoons themselves.

    • Charlie Hebdo: The media doesn’t have to publish their most controversial cartoons to show its support

      Today’s terrorist atrocity in Paris was, at its most basic level, an attack on innocent men and women designed to cause widespread panic and fear. Yet it appears also to have been motivated by a desire to defy Europe’s entrenched media freedoms and to denounce, in the most bloody way, one of the central tenets of western liberalism – the right to offend.

    • 15 powerful responses from cartoonists to the Charlie Hebdo attack

      POLITICAL CARTOONISTS around the world are tweeting powerful cartoons in response to today’s massacre at French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 people were killed.

      Three masked gunmen entered the offices of the publication in Paris this morning – two police officers and ten staff were killed, including three of the magazine’s cartoonists and its editor, Stephane Charbonnier (known as ‘Charb’).

    • Freedom of expression? It’s a thing of the past: Editorial

      Writers the world over are working with the government these days – with the government looking over their shoulders, that is.

      In the contemporary surveillance state, you don’t need to be particularly paranoid to fear that you are being watched. In the contemporary surveillance state, the line between paranoia and reality isn’t always so bold.

    • CIA restores Dokdo in its map of Korea
    • CIA torn between allies Japan and South Korea

      The U.S.’s Central Intelligence Agency has found itself caught up in a row between allies South Korea and Japan over a small group of rocky islands, local media reported Monday.

      South Korea’s foreign ministry is attempting to get the CIA to amend entries in its World Factbook that refer to the islands, known as the Dokdo islands by Koreans and as the Takeshima isles in Japan, national news agency Yonhap said.

    • CIA World Factbook leaves Dokdo Island off Korean version of map

      Speaking of the territorial tensions the CIA World Factbook isn’t helping matters.

    • Seoul seeking to rectify CIA factbook’s deletion of Dokdo

      South Korea said Monday it is making efforts to lead the United States to restore its reference to Seoul’s easternmost islets of Dokdo as the Liancourt Rocks in the World Factbook published by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

    • Reference to Dokdo restored in CIA World Factbook map

      The United States restored a neutral name for South Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo in the CIA’s World Factbook map on Monday, a day after removing its usual reference to the islets in its latest edition.

  • Privacy

    • Spies do ‘happy dance’ after encryption cracked

      When you’re happy and you know it (and you really want to show it) what do you do if you’re a spy at the United States National Security Agency successfully cracking encryption? You draw a stick figure doing a happy dance.

    • NSA efforts to crack VPN encryption are not the end of the world

      Companies such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook also view encryption and VPNs as a way to protect customers, and have worked to encrypt data passing through their systems since the PRISM scandal broke.

      However, Benjamin Ali, a dark web specialist at security firm Centient, noted that the Der Spiegel report does not spell disaster for digital privacy as many newer encryption technologies are not listed as vulnerable.

      “From the report it would appear that not all VPNs are vulnerable to this attack, which seems to apply to PPTP/IPsec and not OpenVPN,” he told V3.

      “OpenVPN uses AES encryption standard which, according to this article, has not been broken. However, as this report is from a while back, this might not be the case now.”

    • Tutanota releases iOS encrypted email app after notifying NSA

      The German encrypted email service Tutanota has released its iOS app, weeks after its Android app came out. The delay in the release of the iOS app was apparently due to the need for those publishing open-source apps of this kind to first notify the NSA and the U.S. Commerce Department of their existence — it seems Apple is more strict about making sure this measure has been taken.

    • Obstacles Loom for States’ Proposed “Fourth Amendment Protection” Laws

      Legislators in several states have proposed bills over the past year intended to hamper the NSA’s efforts to collect signals intelligence. In Utah, the site of a large NSA data center, a proposed bill would prevent the state, its cities, and its agencies from providing “material support or assistance in any form to any federal data collection and surveillance agency.” The bill is plainly targeted at crippling the data center, which currently relies on a contract with a nearby city for its water supply. The bill would allow the continued performance of the ongoing contract, for which the city borrowed substantial funds, but would prohibit the renewal of the contract or any new contracts with the NSA data center. Furthermore, the bill also imposes a penalty on private corporations that provide support to surveillance agencies by precluding such corporations from subsequently contracting with the state or its agencies.

    • Utah governor won’t support proposal that would cut off the NSA’s water supply

      Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signaled his opposition to a proposed bill that would cut off water to the NSA’s facility south of Salt Lake City.

    • Utah Gov. Opposes Cutting Off Water Supply to NSA Facility

      Utah Gov. Gary Herbert told reporters on Tuesday that while he recognizes the “frustration” some have with the activities of the National Security Agency (NSA), he is not likely to support a measure to cut off the water supply to an NSA facility in the state.

    • Zoho email difficult to crack for National Security Agency

      City-based Zoho Corp’s email and chat services are one of the handful of services, which the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has found it difficult to crack under its mass surveillance programme.

      According to a report by German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, NSA has classified the encryption and security-breaking problems it encountered on a scale of 1 to 5, from ‘trivial’ to ‘catastrophic.’ Facebook chat, for example, was considered ‘trivial.’ The report was based on the documents obtained from former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Abolish the Intelligence-Industrial Complex

      The Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency should be abolished. The two spy agencies cause more problems than they solve and have become menaces to our open society. The CIA was created in 1947 at the dawn of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and the NSA was born in 1952 to consolidate code-breaking and electronic communications spying capabilities. Today, thanks to the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden, we now know that the “black budget” requests from America’s 16 different intelligence agencies amounted to $52.6 billion in 2013. Of that sum, the CIA sought $14.7 billion and the NSA wanted $10.5 billion. Total intelligence spending since the 9/11 terror attacks amounts to more than $500 billion.

    • Australian writers increasingly concerned about mass government surveillance

      Novelists, editors, poets and journalists are becoming increasingly concerned about mass surveillance and its impact on freedom of expression in countries like Australia, the United States and Britain, a new survey has found.

      It shows levels of concern among writers about official surveillance are nearly as high in democratic countries as they are in non-democratic countries that have long legacies of state surveillance.

      The human rights organisation PEN International asked more than 770 writers, from 50 countries, about the ways in which government surveillance was influencing their thinking, research and writing.

      The survey ran between August 28 and October 15 last year and followed a similar survey of US writers in 2013.

    • Government Out of Control
    • Slideware is not a good place to start asessing an intelligence program says OMG Cyber! author Thomas Rid

      In conversation with Vulture South, Rid said one reason hype takes over is that journalists are prone to ignoring the complex context in which each document leaked by Snowden exists.

    • Going down the wrong road

      International whistleblower Edward Snowden could have been talking about T&T last week when he warned an Internet conference in Vancouver that “absolutely more revelations are to come. Some of the most important reporting to be done is yet to come”.
      Speaking from his hideout in Russia Snowden urged the world’s “adversarial press to continue to challenge their governments to ignite debates,” but without putting national security at risk.

    • China police inadvertently admit to buying malware to spy on citizens

      Don’t click on links sent by strangers, the police in one Chinese district warned last year, because malware known as Trojan horses use all sort of tricks to burrow into people’s phones and computers.

      “Curiosity hurts,” the Public Security Bureau in the city of Wenzhou in southeastern China posted on its social media account.

      Yet a few months after posting that warning, a lower level police department in Wenzhou was left red-faced when it emerged that officers had spent 149,000 yuan ($24,000) buying a device and software designed to plant Trojans into phones to monitor its own citizens.

    • Developers Say Privacy Network Tor Was Not Compromised During Silk Road Takedown

      In response to these sorts of concerns, which were quite prevalent in 2014, Jacob Appelbaum and Roger Dingledine from the Tor Project decided to dispel some myths at their recent State of the Onion talk at this year’s Chaos Communication Congress, an annual four-day conference “on technology, society and utopia,” sponsored by the association claiming to be Europe’s largest community of hackers, the Chaos Computer Club.

    • Proposed Prince William data center prompts protest letter to Jeff Bezos

      It is widely assumed by residents and elected officials, however, that the user is Amazon.com, which has been quickly expanding its Amazon Web Services cloud computing business in the area in recent years, including a contract with the CIA. One possible hint: This online job posting.

    • The Surveillance State has arrived

      British philosopher Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon placed inmates under surveillance during every moment of time.

      President Obama’s National Security Agency (NSA) is the digital equivalent of the Panopticon but spies on the entire U.S. population.

      The surveillance state in America is a fact. It is no longer a suspicion.

  • Civil Rights

    • David Miranda and the Human-Rights Black Hole

      But one thing Miranda is not is a terrorist. The 29-year-old has never been accused of being a terrorist. He has never been observed associating with terrorists or traveling in terrorist circles. Yet on August 18, 2013, Miranda was detained under Schedule 7 of the United Kingdom’s Terrorism Act 2000, at London Heathrow Airport, and questioned by British authorities for nearly nine hours—the legal limit. Just like a terrorist.

    • If 2014 was a sad year for liberty in Australia, 2015 will be no better

      The Abbott government struggled to gain passage of anything worthwhile in its first full year. Most of its economic reforms were stymied, with higher education the most notable failure. It’s fair to say the deficit problem is still far from resolved.

    • Feinstein presents anti-torture agenda despite GOP opposition

      President Obama has already strictly prohibited torture, but he’s otherwise reluctant to look back at his predecessor’s misdeeds. The Obama White House is satisfied that the United States is now following a just, responsible course, and there’s no need to put the country through prosecutions of officials from the Bush/Cheney administration.

    • Outing Torture Queen Bikowsky

      It’s not easy to be exposed as a war criminal.

    • CIA inspector general David Buckley’s exit ‘unrelated to politics’
    • After Hacking Controversy, CIA Watchdog Resigns

      The CIA’s inspector general will resign this month but U.S. officials said Monday his departure is not related to his finding last year that the spy agency hacked into computers used by Senate aides.

      The agency’s internal watchdog, David Buckley, will be stepping down on January 31, and his move “has been in the works for months,” CIA spokesman Christopher White told Agence France Presse.

    • CIA Watchdog: I Quit

      CIA Inspector General David Buckley will resign at the end of January, the CIA announced Monday. Buckley served as the internal watchdog for the intelligence agency for more than four years, investigating disputes between Congress and the CIA. During his tenure, he oversaw the battle over the agency’s unwillingness to hand over documents on torture and interrogation practices to Congress. The CIA said in a statement that Buckley is leaving to “pursue an opportunity in the private sector.” Neither congressional nor CIA officials say his resignation was politically related, but civil-liberties advocates were irked by his exit. Buckley “raised some serious concerns about the conduct of the CIA in trying to thwart the Senate Intelligence Committee,” said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight. “The lack of repercussions is very troubling and his departure so soon afterward is troublesome.”

    • CIA Inspector General David Buckley to Resign

      Buckley has served as the intelligence agency’s internal watchdog for more than four years

    • CIA General Inspector Resigns Under Intriguing Conditions

      The 31 st of January is the last day at the CIA for general inspector David Buckley, who investigated a disagreement between the CIA and the Congress regarding the handling of the records of the agency’s interrogation and detention procedures. Officials from CIA have mentioned that his departure has nothing to do with politics or any of the cases he investigated.

    • CIA Watchdog to Step Down

      The CIA announced this morning that its top watchdog is stepping down at the end of the month.

      The agency’s Inspector General, David Buckley, will leave to “pursue an opportunity in the private sector,” a CIA spokesman said in a statement.

    • Stalled Probe Into CIA Prisons in Lithuania Needs US Info to Progress

      Investigation into the secret CIA prisons in Lithuania will not make any progress, until the United States provides Lithuania with information, according to Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.

    • Will The Release Of C.I.A. Torture Photos Actually Threaten National Security?

      It’s been nearly a month since a Senate report revealed the gruesome torture techniques used by C.I.A. operatives following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the controversy surrounding whether or not to publish more information continues to stir debate.

      In 2004, the ACLU sued the U.S. government for the release of more than 2,000 photos from Abu Ghraib after some of the disturbing photos were leaked that year. According to Mother Jones, a federal judge forced the Obama administration to release the photos or provide detailed information explaining how the release of each picture could threaten national security. The government chose the second option, and now, a hearing has been set for Jan. 20.

    • British and Dutch researchers develop new form of lie-detector test

      But the invention could soon be defunct. Researchers in Britain and the Netherlands have made a breakthrough, developing a method with a success rate in tests of over 70% that could be in use in police stations around the world within a decade. Rather than relying on facial tics, talking too much or waving of arms – all seen as tell-tale signs of lying – the new method involves monitoring full-body motions to provide an indicator of signs of guilty feelings.

    • Torture Advocates Outnumbered Critics 2-to-1

      A new FAIR study finds that torture defenders outnumbered critics of torture by nearly 2 to 1 in TV news coverage of the Senate Intelligence Committee report released on December 9.

      FAIR surveyed the guests of nine news programs for the week of December 7 to December 14, when discussion of the torture report’s findings was most prominent. The programs included the Sunday talk shows (NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’s Face the Nation, ABC’s This Week, Fox News Sunday and CNN’s State of the Union) along with four weekday news shows (MSNBC’s Hardball, Fox’s Special Report, the first hour of CNN’s Situation Room and the PBS NewsHour).

      Of the 104 guests discussing the topic on these shows, 53 expressed a discernible opinion either for or against the use of torture. Thirty-five of those who took a position, or 66 percent, were supportive of torture. This included a few individuals who claimed to be against “torture,” but defended interrogation methods such as waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” that are recognized as torture under US and international law.

    • Fox News Exploits Tragedy In France To Attack NYC Mayor De Blasio

      Fox’s National Security Expert Blames Attack In Part On France’s “Really Strict Gun Control Policy”

« Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts