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Links 2/5/2015: Robolinux 7.9.1, LibreOffice Numbering

Posted in News Roundup at 7:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • HashiCorp Debuts Open-Source Vault Project for Crypto Key Management

    HashiCorp, the vendor behind popular Vagrant developer tool, makes a big jump into security with the open-source Vault project.

    Open-source software vendor HashiCorp is getting into the security business with the initial release of the Vault project. HashiCorp is best known for its DevOps tools, particularly its widely used open-source Vagrant application that enables developers to reproduce developer environments easily.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice


    • Now available from GNU Press, the NeuG True Random Number Generator

      This week I had a chance to add a NeuG, a True Random Number Generator, to the Free Software Foundation network. The NeuG exclusively uses free software and was developed in Japan by NIIBE Yutaka. A random number generator (RNG) is a device used to generate random numbers for computers. Without getting into a philosophical argument, we humans tend to take the concept of entropy (randomness) for granted. If we wish to produce random data, we simply do so. Computers, on the other hand, do as we tell them to do. They follow a set of instructions provided by a programmer and follow each instruction precisely. So there is no way to ask a computer to give us a random number because we would have to tell the computer in advance what the number is. There are some ways around this. For example, we could use a system’s current timestamp as a seed, or starting point, for producing random-seeming numbers by using an algorithm. This approach will create the illusion of entropy, but if someone else knows both the timestamp used for the seed and the algorithm used to generate the random numbers, the sequence of the random number generator can be calculated and predicted.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C India – A Road Ahead

      On 22nd of April 2015, I got an opportunity to attend W3C India Community Meet-up held in the CDAC office based in Mumbai. People from all over India and of different domains came Mumbai to participate in the event. Organised by W3C India, the event was of interactive in nature. The whole day event was divided in two parts – the first one was concentrated on ‘Digital Publishing in India – Next Steps’. ‘Web Payments landscape in India’ was the topic for second session. In the CDAC’s Juhu based beautiful office, the event was very much engaging and interactive.


  • Science

    • MIT paints grim picture for future of U.S. tech research

      In addition to the well-known challenge in supercomputing — China’s Tianhe-2 supercomputer has won top ranking for three years running — MIT researchers looked at 15 different fields and highlighted the potential benefits of increased federal support for research in each area. “Investing in basic research has always paid off over time,” Kastner said. “And even if the future payoffs are not as large, there is no doubt that we will suffer if we do not keep up with those nations that are now making bigger investments than we are.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • ‘Endangered Okinawa dugong’s habitat to be bulldozed for the sake of US military base’

      If the US military base in Okinawa is relocated to Henoko, the habitat of the endangered Okinawa dugong sea mammal, will be wiped off the map, said Peter Galvin of the Center for Biological diversity. The species is already down to a few dozen, he added.

    • AP: Americans Strongly Support Different, Imaginary Drone Program

      The headline on the Associated Press story is unambiguous: “AP Poll: Americans approve of drone strikes on terrorists.” And that’s true! According to the AP’s poll, 60 percent of Americans support the use of drones to “target and kill people belonging to terrorist groups like al-Qaida.”

      The problem is the U.S. drone program does much more than kill members of al-Qaida: it also kills a significant number of civilians, and drone operators often don’t even know exactly whom they’re targeting. So the AP’s own poll doesn’t show, as the story claims, “broad support among the U.S. public for a targeted killing program begun under President George W. Bush and expanded dramatically under Obama.” What it does show is broad support for a drone program that doesn’t exist.

    • The Drawbacks of Drones

      The shroud of government secrecy prevents meaningful congressional oversight over the executive branch and military. In addition, the secrecy associated with drones also prevents public discussion. Because of the lack of “boots on the ground,” the American public isn’t invested in drone strikes; the average American doesn’t know that the United States kills people everywhere from Pakistan to Yemen. Few Americans mention the “Pakistani War” — although the implications of American violence is just as important in Pakistan as it was in Iraq and Afghanistan. Drones let the United States kill people without the American public caring.

    • Warren Weinstein’s death by drone is a wake-up call for America

      That makes eight American citizens who have been killed by drone strike during the Obama presidency. Weinstein isn’t even the first innocent killed by mistake — that was the 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, son of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American al Qaeda propagandist and the only one of the eight who was killed deliberately. Obama did not even address Abdulrahman’s extrajudicial killing, though former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs suggested he “should have had a more responsible father.”

    • Who are the 8 Americans Killed by Drone Strikes?

      Since drones have been employed to kill terror suspects overseas, at least eight Americans have died in such attacks, seven during the Obama administration. Only one was specifically targeted, according to the U.S. government.

    • Double Standards and Drones

      American politicians and pundits genuflect to the theory of exceptionalism, which holds that the U.S. can do pretty much whatever it wants, but this lawlessness – best exemplified by drones raining down death on “terrorists” and civilians alike – makes more enemies than it kills, writes Marjorie Cohn.

    • Debating drones

      If Americans were still under the impression that drone warfare doesn’t pose risks to our national security, new revelations about the accidental killing of U.S. citizen and aid worker Warren Weinstein in a January drone strike over Pakistan should quickly end those delusions.

      President Obama properly has said that he accepts full responsibility for the death of Mr. Weinstein — a hostage of al-Qaeda — and that Americans deserve to know why he was mistakenly killed. But taking responsibility should mean more than apologizing for civilian deaths, American and foreign, after the fact.

    • Pakistanis accuse Obama of double standards on civilians killed by drones

      People in Pakistan who live under the threat of U.S. drone strikes see a double standard at work in Washington.

      Last week, President Barack Obama took the unusual step of acknowledging and apologizing for a highly secret US drone strike that accidentally killed an American and an Italian aid worker held captive by al Qaeda in Pakistan. The US government said their families would be compensated.

    • Letter: Oppose drones programmed to kill

      When Hamas sends a rocket into an Israeli city, it’s labeled terrorism and deplored by all. A terrorist bomber in Boston receives a huge press following when he goes to trial for killing people during the Boston Marathon. That’s terrorism. When President Obama orders “Team CIA” to take out a target, it’s also terrorism. Historically, there has never been a drone strike where innocents were not killed. Maybe the administration feels that some lives are of little importance since they live in the Third World.

    • Obama’s Drone War: Indiscriminate Killing And Selective Apology

      Last week President Obama publicly apologized for the deaths of two Western hostages – one American and one Italian – killed accidentally by a U.S. drone attack on an al Qaeda camp in mid-January, somewhere in Pakistan. The widely publicized apology was heartening and disappointing at the same time. While American drones have so far killed thousands of innocent civilians and a handful of terrorists since 2004, the apology was disappointingly selective.

    • A Drone Killed My Friend, Warren Weinstein

      Instead of using drones to combat men who kidnap aid workers, let’s support local movements that seek to prevent the men from taking such actions in the first place.

    • CIA’s torture experts and the secret drones programme

      The controversy over the CIA’s secret drone programme went from bad to worse last week. We now know that many of those running it are the same people who headed the CIA’s torture programme, the spy agency can bomb people unilaterally without the US president’s explicit approval and that the government is keeping the entire programme classified explicitly to prevent a federal court from ruling it illegal. And worst of all, Congress is perfectly fine with it .

    • CIA’s torture experts now use their skills in secret drones program
    • ‘My grandmother wasn’t a militant’

      Last week, US President Barack Obama acknowledged and apologised for a highly secretive drone strike that accidentally killed an American and Italian aid worker held captive by al Qaeda in Pakistan.

    • Here’s why one former Taliban captive is calling for a halt to US ‘signature’ drone strikes

      Earlier this year, American drones equipped with heat sensors spent hundreds of hours scrutinizing a house in Pakistan’s remote tribal areas. But despite the technology and time, the unmanned aircraft could only “see” so much before one finally attacked the house in January.

      “They thought there were four militants in the house, and the heat sensors only showed four militants,” says Reuters investigative reporter David Rohde. “After the strike occurred, they watched the house, and I guess the CIA operators were stunned to see them pull out six bodies.”

      The two unexpected bodies were those of American aid worker Warren Weinstein and his fellow captive, Italian Giovanni Lo Porto. Both were being held by al-Qaeda, and analysts now think the two captives might have been hidden in a basement or some sort of underground tunnel.

    • Your View: Brian Glyn Williams — CIA “Signature drone strikes” and the accidental killing of an American hostage

      The recent announcement by President Obama that the Central Intelligence Agency accidentally killed two hostages, an American and an Italian, in a drone strike carried out in mid-January on a Taliban compound in Pakistan’s remote tribal region where they were being held captive has caused a firestorm of controversy vis a vis the CIA’s murky drone campaign. Critics have cited the fact that the CIA fired on the compound where the hostages were being held, seemingly without knowing exactly who was inside it, as evidence that the program is indiscriminate and creates widespread “collateral damage” among civilian bystanders. Lost in the furor is an objective analysis of who is actually being killed in the covert drone campaign and what sort of intelligence and tactics/weapons are being deployed by the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command in drone operations. Instead, anti-drone voices seem to dominate the debate with wild claims that the majority of those who are killed by the drones are innocent civilian bystanders.

    • Guest Opinion: The illegality of high tech war

      Why has a Pakistani judge recently filed criminal charges against a former top CIA lawyer who oversaw its drone program and a former station chief in Islamabad over a 2009 strike that killed two people? The Islamabad High Court ruled CIA officials must face charges including murder, conspiracy, waging war against Pakistan and terrorism.

    • Smaller, Deadlier Drones Being Launched Despite Killing Innocents

      Despite admitting to killing three American citizens, at least one of whom was absolutely innocent and the victim of a drone strike, President Obama has no intention of dialing back on the deadly attacks that are the prime tactic in the “War on Terror.”

    • Death From Above

      There’s a reason for the recent dearth of news about drone strikes: There are far fewer of them now.

    • Other views: Drone policy must be scrutinized

      America is waging a war. And, for the most part, Americans are in the dark about it. We hear about it only on rare occasions, usually when the government chooses to let us know of a spectacular victory or when a tragic error forces authorities to break their silence.

      That happened when President Obama expressed regrets for the killings of two aid workers, one an American and the other an Italian. They were killed in Pakistan in January when a missile from a CIA drone came crashing through the roof. Warren Weinstein, the American, and Giovanni Lo Port, the Italian, were al Qaeda hostages. The CIA did not know they were in the building. President Obama told reporters, “I profoundly regret what happened. On behalf of the United States government I offer our deepest apologies to their families.”

    • The case against predator drones

      The program is secret, lawless, and unaccountable to Congress, the Supreme Court, and the American people.

    • Dangerous conditions at Djibouti base threatens US military pilots – Washington Post

      Conditions at an African base used by U.S. military pilots flying missions over Yemen and Somalia have become chronically dangerous, with fliers relying on local air-traffic controllers who sleep on the job and commit frequent errors, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

    • Report: Djibouti Skies Dangerous for US Planes, Drones

      A published report says aircraft at the U.S. military base in Djibouti are often placed in danger because of hostile or lax civilian air traffic controllers who oversee the camp’s runways.

    • Could German court halt White House’s ‘illegal’ drone war? An exclusive extract from Chris Woods’ new book Sudden Justice

      The debate over America’s use of drones to kill its own citizens has never been as intense. Last week in an unprecedented announcement, President Barack Obama admitted that CIA drones had killed three Americans in Pakistan in January, including al Qaeda hostage and aid worker Warren Weinstein.

      It is not just Americans who have been killed. As new research by the Bureau shows, Weinstein is one of at least 38 Westerners to have been killed in the US’s covert drone war on terror. Citizens of some of America’s closest allies – the UK, Germany, Australia and Canada among them – are among the dead.

    • Drones, Cops, and the Unaccountable Machinery of Death

      From signature strikes in Pakistan to police violence in Baltimore, the state is seemingly uninterested in even counting how many people it kills.

    • The Judge: Death Of Freddie Gray Was The Tipping Point For Baltimore

      They then moved on to the drone strikes and how Judge Napolitano thinks all Presidents of the United States should be charged with war crimes if an American is killed by a drone strike.

    • Andrew Napolitano Speaks On Unjustifiable Killings Of Americans In Baltimore And Overseas – OpEd
    • Due Process Shot Down by Drones

      Thomas Cromwell was the principal behind-the-scenes fixer for much of the reign of King Henry VIII. He engineered the interrogations, convictions, and executions of many whom Henry needed out of the way, including his two predecessors as fixer and even the king’s second wife, Queen Anne.

    • Drone Operators, Not American Snipers, Rack Up the Biggest Body Count

      For all the macho posturing of the late Chris Kyle, gunned down at a shooting range by a PTSD-afflicted veteran, his prolific killing has nothing on the death and destruction rained from above by those who carry out US drone strikes in the Middle East. For all intents and purposes, former drone operator Brandon Bryant has Kyle beat by a long shot. According to Bryant, over 1,600 deaths were dealt by him through the technological terror that patrolled the skies of the Middle East for the past decade. Unlike Kyle, though, Bryant isn’t flaunting his skill as a State-sanctioned murderer: he regrets it. For six years, he flew the missions on orders from on high. Now he’s retired from it and is speaking out. Bryant was diagnosed with PTSD shortly after leaving the program, odd only because normal diagnoses involve situations of prolonged mortal terror. Air Force psychologists have referred to conditions similar to Bryant’s as “existential conflict”, or “moral injury”.

    • Drones’ Use and Misuse

      Militarily, killing people in foreign nations without Congress’ declaration of war or authorization of force violates the Constitution and Law of Nations. Using drones makes matters worse for diplomacy considering the secretive and distant approach to such unlawful intrusions. Controlling this, however, is difficult because the people have virtually no power in these matters. Perhaps Congress can – not a promising thought.

    • Reality check: Drones aren’t precision weapons [pro-drones]

      Every weapons system, from the bow and arrow to the intercontinental ballistic missile, sometimes kills the wrong people. So why has the revelation that a U.S. drone strike accidentally killed two al-Qaida hostages — a U.S. citizen and an Italian aid worker — created such a storm of drone “rethinking”?

      Part of the answer is that liberal critics of drone strikes, who’ve questioned their legality, are using the opportunity to repeat and reframe their criticisms. I’ve joined in some of that criticism in the past and stand by it.

    • Why We Need Persistent Questioning About Civilian Deaths by Drones

      According to a 2013 study, while most Americans approve drone strikes targeting high-level terrorist targets, they disapprove that recourse when there is the possibility of civilian deaths. In short, most Americans would disapprove the current use of drones if it were ever properly aired.

    • What the United States Owes Warren Weinstein

      The American hostage died in a “signature” drone strike. Those strikes should end.

    • Eugene Robinson: Strikes against morality

      Drone strikes, by their nature, are bound to kill innocent civilians. It is all too easy to ignore this ugly fact – and the dubious morality of the whole enterprise – until the unfortunate victims happen to be Westerners.

    • Critics blast Obama as new drone strike accidentally kills hostages

      The hostages were aid workers who had been kidnapped several years ago, one of them a 72-year-old man from Maryland who was working as a contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development and had been captured in 2011, and the other being a 39-year-old Italian man who was captured in 2012, according to a McClatchy report.


      The paper pointed out that of nine Americans that have been killed by drone strikes since 2002, only one was actually a target. Although no hostages have ever been killed by a drone strike until now, unintended victims are not a new phenomenon, the paper wrote.

    • Calculating U.S. Bomb Tonnages Dropped on Laos and Cambodia, and Weighing Their Implications

      In 2013 David Rohde of Reuters reported that “Drone strikes do kill senior militants at times, but using them excessively and keeping them secret sows anti-Americanism that jihadists use as a recruiting tool.” As discussion continued over “How Drones Create More Terrorists,” Hassan Abbas remarked that in targeted areas, “Public outrage against drone strikes circuitously empowers terrorists.”

    • Ralph Nader on Bernie Sanders, Corporate Control of the White House & the U.S. Drone War

      As independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont announces his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, we continue our conversation with former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, author of the new book, “Return to Sender: Unanswered Letters to the President, 2001-2015.”

    • America is at War With Its Conscience

      In these early stages of the 2016 presidential election cycle in the United States, the race to proclaim America’s place at the zenith of “exceptionalism” among the nations of the world has only just begun.

    • Did drone strikes lose Yemen?

      At this point, the U.S. continues to refuse to recognize the impact of its drone program on civilian populations. But, at the very least, it should not export to other countries the secretive and possibly illegal model of drone warfare that it is using in Yemen.

    • ‘Decapitation strikes’ on terrorist groups may bolster attacks against civilians: study

      But what if the basic premise behind so-called “decapitation programs” (attacks that target the leaders of an organization) is wrong? What if drone attacks or other forms of targeted assassination using special operations hit teams leads to more terror attacks on civilians?

    • Autonomy Whether You Like It or Not

      Whether opponents realize it or not, weapon autonomy — to include the choice to kill — will win, and in some cases has already won, the drone debate. The false wall in the public’s understanding between “drones” and existing weapons is publicly cracking. Before long, military necessity will take over. In fact, it already has.

    • Why the US Should Support Damascus

      Before 2001 the U.S. had long pursued policies that supported a range of unpopular Middle East dictatorships.The spectrum ran from the Saudi Monarchy with its fanatical fundamentalist worldview to more secular dictatorships such as the one in Egypt. This practice identified us in the popular mind with bad people and bad governments and made us the enemy of those seeking liberty and democracy. In addition, we supported the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians and that made us unpopular with, among others, almost every Muslim on the planet. None of this was in the America’s genuine national interest but it certainly was in the interest of special interests such as Zionists, oil companies and arms manufacturers.

    • Challenging American Exceptionalism

      American exceptionalism reflects the belief that Americans are somehow better than everyone else. This view reared its head after the 2013 leak of a Department of Justice White Paper that describes circumstances under which the President can order the targeted killing of U.S. citizens. There had been little public concern in this country about drone strikes that killed people in other countries. But when it was revealed that U.S. citizens could be targeted, Americans were outraged. This motivated Senator Rand Paul to launch his 13-hour filibuster of John Brennan’s nomination for CIA director.

    • Our anger at executions should extend to deeper outrages

      The question is not why people are outraged by the killing of Chan and Sukumaran, but why aren’t people outraged more often about other injustices and unjustified killings?

    • The Bali Nine, Indonesia and state-sanctioned violence

      Many Australians are understandably appalled by the brutal and pointless executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. The death penalty looks anachronistic and ineffective at the best of times, but to kill two people who had clearly made the most of their long periods of incarceration to transform themselves and make amends for their actions looks gratuitous and cruel.

    • The Bali Nine, Indonesia and state-sanctioned violence
    • Kenya’s sorrow: the U.S. connection
    • Tom Hayden on 40th Anniv. of Fall of Saigon: We Are Meeting the Pentagon on Battlefield of Memory

      It was 40 years ago today, April 30, 1975, that the Vietnam War ended with the fall of Saigon, today known as Ho Chi Minh City. North Vietnamese tanks smashed through the gates of the presidential palace in the South Vietnamese capital, and Communist soldiers hoisted their flag atop the building. Meanwhile, March marked the 50th anniversary of the first teach-in against the Vietnam War called “End the War Against the Planet.” The 1965 event brought together professors and activists at the University of Michigan to discuss what they called the truths and mistruths of the U.S. government’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Our guest, Tom Hayden, was there and brought with him a long history of antiwar activism. He was one of the founders of Students for a Democratic Society, and in 1962 he was the principal author of the Port Huron Statement, considered a seminal document of the New Left. As many of this year’s events marking the end of the Vietnam War are being organized by the Pentagon, this Friday and Saturday Hayden other longtime antiwar activists will join youth organizers for a conference in Washington, D.C., called “Vietnam: The Power of Protest. Telling the Truth. Learning the Lessons.”

    • 40 Years After End of Vietnam War, Let’s Not Forget Who Helped Stop It and the Vietnamese Who Still Suffer

      After decades of struggle against French and U.S. intervention, Vietnam was finally independent and at peace.

    • The Kingpin Strategy

      As the war on terror nears its 14th anniversary — a war we seem to be losing, given jihadist advances in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen — the U.S. sticks stolidly to its strategy of “high-value targeting,” our preferred euphemism for assassination. Secretary of State John Kerry has proudly cited the elimination of “fifty percent” of the Islamic State’s “top commanders” as a recent indication of progress. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi himself, “Caliph” of the Islamic State, was reportedly seriously wounded in a March airstrike and thereby removed from day-to-day control of the organization. In January, as the White House belatedly admitted, a strike targeting al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan also managed to kill an American, Warren Weinstein, and his fellow hostage, Giovanni Lo Porto.

    • How Assassination Sold Drugs and Promoted Terrorism

      No one can claim that plotting assassination is new to Washington or that, in the past, American leaders and the CIA didn’t aim high: the Congo’s Patrice Lumumba, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, the Dominican Republic’s Rafael Trujillo. The difference was that, in those days, the idea of assassinating a foreign leader, or anyone abroad, had a certain element of the taboo attached to it. Whatever they knew, presidents preferred not to be officially involved. The phrase of the era was “plausible deniability.” Top officials, including presidents, might approve assassination plots, but they didn’t brag about them.

    • Proof the U.S. is rotten to the core

      Story 2: David Petraeus, former hotshot media-darling general of the Bush and early Obama years, received a slap on the wrist — probation plus a $100,000 fine — for improperly passing on classified military documents to unauthorized people and lying about it to federal agents when they questioned him about it.

      Here we go again: more proof that, in the American justice system some people fly first-class while the rest of us go coach.

    • Hot Docs 2015 Interview: DRONE, Tonje Hessen Schei Talks Gamers And Geopolitics
    • Drone [Hot Docs 2015]

      The simply named Norwegian documentary Drone takes a serious and unflinching look at one of the things that truly changed the face of warfare: unmanned aerial devices, or, as they’re more commonly known, drones. It should go without saying that director Tonje Hessen Schei isn’t a fan. Ask the average person about drones, and you’ll probably get some mixed feelings on their use and the morality of using machines to rain fire on people by pilots who are safely ensconced in bunkers several thousand miles away. Schei wants to make the case that not only is drone warfare immoral, but it’s another example of how we’re letting technology outpace the legal and ethical framework to govern their use.

    • Weekly War Protest Enters Year 10

      When the U.S. invaded Iraq, a group of concerned Chelsea residents gathered at the corner of Eighth Ave. and W. 24th St. to protest the military action. Ten years later, Chelsea Neighbors United to End the War continues their weekly protest. Known as Chelsea Stands Up Against the War, it takes place every Tues. from 6–7 p.m. as the group holds banners, hands out newsletters and tells passers-by why war is ruining our country.

      “After the invasion of Iraq, a few of us said, ‘This is awful, we need to do something to speak out,’ ” recalled longtime member Bob Martin. “We got together for coffee at Paradise, and that’s when the idea of our weekly ‘stand-up’ started.”

    • Drone warfare

      The botched drone strike resulting in the death of two foreign hostages has once again brought the controversial nature of this tactic to the forefront. It is very sad that the death of two US men in a drone attack made headlines but other civilian deaths were swept under the carpet by describing them as collateral damage. The US does not realize the cost of these drone strikes and the resultant civilian causalities. These drone attacks are fueling the fire of radicalism in the Muslim world. Washington on and off expresses concern over the growing anti-America sentiments in the Muslim world but fails to identify the factors that lead to such a situation.

    • Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Launches Campaign to Stop Killer Robots After Winning Ban on Landmines

      In 1997 Jody Williams won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. In 2013 she helped launch the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. “Who is accountable? Is it the man who programmed it? Is it Lockheed Martin, who built it?” Williams asks in an interview at The Hague, where she has joined 1,000 female peace activists gathered to mark the founding of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Williams notes how some “spider-like” robots that spray tear gas are now used for crowd control, but could be stopped before they become widespread. She recalls how she was previously able to “force the governments of the world to come together and discuss [landmines]. They thought they would fly under the radar … A small group of people can and do change the world.”

    • The C.I.A. Does Not Want Us to Know How Many Civilians Our Drones Kill

      When President Barack Obama issued a public apology Thursday to the families of Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto after a U.S drone strike accidentally killed the two al-Qaeda hostages in January, it provided a rare opportunity for the American public to see the faces of civilians who are killed in such incidents.

    • CIA’s efforts stem scrutiny of strikes
    • Friends of Italian hostage killed by US drone strike plead for return of his body

      Friends of Giovanni Lo Porto, the Italian hostage killed in a US drone strike in January that targeted an al-Qaida compound, are pleading for his remains to be returned to Italy and demanding information about his death.

    • Our View: The upcoming U.S. policy review of hostage situations will be timely

      The recently revealed deaths of two al-Qaida-held hostages killed by an American drone strike were a terrible tragedy. The hearts of Americans go out to the victims’ families.

    • Obama’s drone war: too many mistakes, too little contrition

      An American citizen was among the victims of a US drone strike abroad. President Barack Obama did not take to the podium, did not give a laudatory obituary for the dead American, did not express his regret. In fact, the Obama administration took almost two years to even acknowledge its role in the death, but without any explanation other than to suggest, in anonymous comments to the press, that the American was collateral damage in a legitimate attack.

    • When CIA Drone Strikes Kill Innocent Westerners

      Obama, McCain, Feinstein, and Boehner all know that U.S. drone strikes have killed many hundreds of innocent people, often in circumstances far less defensible than this.

    • FBI Helped Facilitate Ransom for U.S. Hostage Killed in Drone Strike

      The FBI’s previously undisclosed role reveals a contradiction in the U.S.’s longstanding position against paying ransoms for hostages. While the White House sharply criticizes the practice in public and private, new details about the Weinstein case show how the FBI provides some families with guidance towards that end.

    • Dem proposes new ‘hostage czar’ after U.S. drone killed an American held by Al Qaeda

      Sen. John Delaney (D-Md.) is planning to introduce legislation that would create a new “hostage czar” position in the federal government, in an effort to try harder to locate and recover American hostages.

    • Maryland congressman proposes ‘hostage czar’
    • Democrat Calls For ‘Hostage Czar’ After Drone Strike Kills Aid Worker

      On Thursday, Barack Obama announced that a U.S. drone strike accidentally killed two hostages, prompting a congressional democrat to call for a “hostage czar,” a single point person who can coordinate with various agencies on hostage issues. Obama’s press secretary wouldn’t rule out the possibility.

    • $250,000 Ransom Paid To Al Qaeda For Warren Weinstein, Hostage Killed In Drone Strike
    • Family of US hostage gave Al Qaeda $250G before deadly drone strike, report says
    • Sen. Burr deflects questions about calling for drone killing

      Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, declined on Wednesday to discuss whether during a closed-door hearing he called for a suspected terrorist to be killed.

    • Humanitarian Groups Say It Is Time For Obama to Acknowledge More Civilian Deaths in Drone Strikes

      Mamana Bibi was picking produce from her garden in North Waziristan, a remote, tribal corner of Pakistan, when her family says they watched a drone strike kill their 68 year-old grandmother.

    • Are All Innocents Killed by Drones Equal?

      While all death is tragic, one of the greatest tragedies is the killing of people who are completely innocent, so it was with much soul searching and question that we ponder the deaths of two innocent Americans killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan. The President has said he assumes all responsibility, but families have been shattered, lives have ended, and questions are being raised, as well they should. News stories indicate no individual was targeted in this strike; it was the specific building that drew the interest of the drone strike. This means we have no idea of who, or how many individuals were in the building, nor was it important; it is the building that was targeted and apparently everything else was irrelevant. Recently it was also disclosed that cell phones are frequently targeted by drones. Certain cell phones are targeted and we have no idea who is using the phone at the time of death. If an innocent somehow is using the targeted phone, he or she, is simply vaporized and blown to tiny bits. Every time an innocent person dies there should be in inquiry, investigation, and someone should be held accountable and punished. Mr Obama took full responsibility for the two dead Americans, so how can he not be responsible for the thousands of dead innocents that occur from drone strikes he ordered? The latest drone strike that killed two Americans demonstrates the complete hypocrisy of the American people and the President, for their total lack of empathy for any lost lives of innocents, be they children or women, except Americans.

    • Obama’s Drone Warfare: Assassination Made Routine

      But there was no challenge to the basic premise of the drone missile program: that the CIA and Pentagon have the right to kill any individual, in any country, on the mere say-so of the president. Drone murder by the US government has become routine and is accepted as normal and legitimate by the official shapers of public opinion.

    • Obama rallies intelligence staff after botched drone strike which killed hostages

      A day after revealing that the United States killed two Western hostages in a botched operation against al Qaeda, a mournful President Barack Obama assembled intelligence staff to pay tribute to their work and patriotism.

      “There may be those outside who question or challenge what we do,” a resolute Obama told officials at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as he addressed the deaths of 73-year-old American Warren Weinstein and 39-year-old Italian Giovanni Lo Porto.

    • Do Drones Degrade al Qa’ida?

      In fact, drones may have led to an expansion of terrorism activity domestically and abroad.

    • View from the courtroom: Killing of US national brings drone strikes in the spotlight

      The killing of an American aid worker Warren Weinstein and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto, who were held hostage by Al Qaeda in Pakistani tribal area, in an American drone strike in January this year has again brought to limelight the issues related to such attacks. It has given birth to several questions regarding the legality of drone strikes in tribal areas as well as the intelligence gathering involved in it. An Al Qaeda leader, Ahmad Farouq, was also killed in that strike on Jan 15.

    • Obama-Authorized Murder by Drones

      Obama-authorized drone killings are cold-blooded murder by any standard – mostly affecting noncombatant civilians, innocent men, women and children in harm’s way.

      Former Obama White House press secretary Jay Carney lied calling drone strikes “precise, lawful and effective.”

    • When drone strikes go wrong, not all civilian lives are equal

      The unusual announcement by President Barack Obama last week that a U.S. strike on an al-Qaida compound in Pakistan inadvertently had killed two hostages — one a U.S. citizen, the other Italian — came with an apology and the speedy pledge of monetary compensation for the families.

    • When US strikes go wrong, not all civilian lives are equal
    • When drone warfare is accepted as normal

      But there was no challenge to the basic premise of the drone missile program: that the CIA and Pentagon have the right to kill any individual, in any country, on the mere say-so of the president. Drone murder by the US government has become routine and is accepted as normal and legitimate by the official shapers of public opinion.

    • Blurry Covert Lines Limit Chances Of Drone Program Changes

      Covert actions, by definition, are not allowed to violate U.S. law or the Constitution, though the agency’s post-9/11 torture program — which functioned under secret legal memos justifying techniques that were later qualified as torture — illustrated the delicate legal tap dances that can skirt those requirements.

    • Life and Death of an Al Qaeda Spokesman
    • Obama gave CIA more flexibility to strike drones in Pakistan: US Officials

      President Barack Obama tightened rules for the U.S. drone program in 2013, but he secretly approved a waiver giving the Central Intelligence Agency more flexibility in Pakistan than anywhere else to strike suspected militants, according to current and former U.S. officials.

      The rules were designed to reduce the risk of civilian casualties. Mr. Obama also required that proposed targets pose an imminent threat to the U.S.—but the waiver exempted the CIA from this standard in Pakistan.

    • Anti-Flag Post New Lyric Video Addressing Drone Strikes, Comment on Unrest in Baltimore

      Anti-Flag have just released a lyric video for their song “Sky Is Falling” off their upcoming album American Spring, out May 26 on Spinefarm Records. The leftist Pittsburgh punk quartet posted the video to express its concerns over the killing of civilians by drone strikes ordered by the Obama administration.

    • Australia Needs to Be Transparent on Drones

      The Australian government should come clean on its role in the U.S. drone program, before buying its own.

    • Did Obama pledge to stop using ‘signature strikes’?

      But the continued use of signature strikes goes against what President Barack Obama said he was going to do, said ABC News security consultant Richard Clarke, who spent 30 years working in government, including 10 years in the White House, before leaving in 2003.

    • Israel used Gaza as arms testing factory

      Sales figures in November 2014 showed that Britain approved an arms sales trade with Israel worth £7 million in the six months before its offensive on Gaza last summer, including drone parts, combat aircraft and helicopters.

    • Israel’s Gaza Onslaught Targeted Children And UN Shelters

      As Israel faces mounting criticism over its killings of at least 44 Palestinians in six UN shelters and 547 children overall last summer, 100,000 in Gaza remain displaced as “not a single destroyed home has been rebuilt.”

    • Carter: Obama’s Orwellian language on drone strikes

      There is an eerie Orwellian cost to the Obama administration’s refusal to use the term “War on Terror” to describe its … war on terror. In his briefing after the White House’s admission that two hostages — one American, one Italian — were killed in a U.S. “operation,” press secretary Josh Earnest struggled mightily to avoid the word “war” to describe exactly what the U.S.is up to. Finally he gave in and stated that under the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, the nation is “at war” with al- Qaida.

    • A top fundraiser for Obama turns from Wall Street to drones

      In one camp are those who argue that drones are much more cost-effective than putting boots on the ground and are in general accurate and effective. The opposite camp maintains that the whole counterterrorism program needs to be revamped in favor of a “root causes of terrorism” method. Instead of spending billions of dollars on fighting terrorism, this camp argues that fighting the root causes of radicalization would be much more effective and cost-efficient.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Azerbaijan-Armenia violence escalates, putting pipelines at risk

      Hostilities between Azerbaijan and Armenia are mounting 21 years after a cease-fire froze a conflict that flared in the dying days of the Soviet Union. During the relative calm, companies including BP poured billions of dollars into producing oil and gas in Azerbaijan and building pipelines to link the country with Turkey, Italy and the rest of Europe.

  • Censorship

    • CPJ report says self-censorship a new way to stifle Turkish media

      According to the CPJ’s report published in December of 2014, seven journalists remain behind bars. Since then, STV network executive Hidayet Karaca and Taraf journalist Mehmet Baransu have been locked up for critical reporting, drawing international condemnation.

    • Self-censorship a new way to stifle Turkish media, CPJ says

      In its annual assessment of the media freedom worldwide, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has argued that Turkish authorities now consider declaring critical journalists as “unwanted” is a more efficient, cunning method of stifling the free press, rather than jailing them for their reporting, as daily Today’s Zaman reports. “Erdogan seems to have realized that he no longer needs to resort to jailing journalists,” the report entitled “Attacks on the Press” said, referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to the CPJ’s latest report, there are seven journalists remain behind the bars. The Turkey section of the CPJ report, said the Turkish media has fallen into “full compliance with the structures of power,” most notably those of Erdogan in the past five years.

    • CPJ underlines growing fear and self-censorship in Turkey’s media
    • 2015 Jefferson Muzzles released, take aim at censorship

      The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Monday released its annual rogue’s gallery of those who sought to snuff speech over the past year. The center said many violent attempts to still speech happened on the global stage, including the bloody attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris and violent threats against the opening of the movie parody “The Interview.”

    • CPJ Says Censorship In Azerbaijan, Iran Among World’s Worst

      Eritrea and North Korea were named as the first and second most censored countries.

    • Cuba among 10 Countries with Most Censorship, CPJ Says

      Cuba, Iran and China are among the 10 countries with the greatest censorship, according to a list prepared by the Committee to Protect Journalists, where Eritrea, North Korea and Saudi Arabia occupy the three top spots.

      The study was prepared by the New York-headquartered organization based on research into tactics that range from imprisonment and repressive laws governing reporting to harassment of journalists and restrictions on Internet access.

    • Growing opposition to censorship of SEP (Australia) anti-war meeting

      Workers, students, academics, and young people from across Australia and internationally have sent letters of protest to Sydney University and Burwood Council, opposing the attempts by both institutions to block an anti-war meeting called by the Socialist Equality Party (SEP).

    • Australian Copyright Censorship Bill Could Block VPNs and Circumvention Information

      The steamroller that is the copyright enforcement machine continues to trundle along around the world, flattening obstacles such as fair use, privacy and freedom of expression in its path. One of its latest stops has been in Australia, where that country’s copyright site-blocking laws, first seriously mooted last year, were introduced into the Australian Federal Parliament last month. A public comment period on the legislation, the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015, closed two weeks ago, and EFF was amongst 49 experts, organizations and government departments who submitted comments.

    • This Chart Explains Everything You Need to Know About Chinese Internet Censorship

      What goes through a Chinese web user’s head the moment before he or she hits the “publish” button? Pundits, scholars, and everyday netizens have spent years trying to parse the (ever-shifting) rules of the Chinese Internet. Although Chinese authorities have been putting ever more Internet rules and regulations on the books — one famously creates criminal liability for a “harmful” rumor shared more than 500 times — the line between what’s allowed and what isn’t, and the consequences that flow from the latter, remains strategically fuzzy. And that’s just how Chinese authorities like it.

    • Scaling the firewall: Ways around government censorship online

      As countries such as Turkey, China, Ethiopia, and Bahrain block online content, people are discovering ways to get around Internet censors. Their methods depend on the kind of censorship they face and what they are doing online.

    • Censorship at Britain’s Southampton University

      Here is the situation: the threat of aggressive public protests against those assembling to critically discuss the behaviour of Israel has become an excuse to shut down such gatherings. The latest example of this tactic, which is really a form of blackmail to impose censorship, took place last week at the University of Southampton in the UK.

      An international conference entitled “International law and the state of Israel: Legitimacy, responsibility and exceptionalism” was scheduled for 17-19 April 2015 at the University of Southampton. It was to bring together lawyers and scholars to examine the legal basis for the establishment of the state of Israel and the rationales (or lack thereof) for its historical treatment of the Palestinian people. The standard by which these issues were to be judged was international law. The conference would also have examined the issue of exceptionalism when it came to the inadequate legal and diplomatic response to Israeli policies and behaviour. Conference participants were to include both those critical of Israel and those who would present a defence of Israeli practices.

    • BBC denies censorship claims over Andrew Turner footage

      CLAIMS of censorship, levelled against the BBC after it asked for footage of Tory election candidate Andrew Turner to be taken off YouTube, have been rejected by the broadcaster.

    • The Facebook Bug that Many Feared Was Censorship

      The whole thing began very quickly to look and feel like censorship, and people said as much. But was it actually limited to stories about Baltimore, or are stories about Baltimore just what many of us are sharing on Facebook right now? Some others soon chimed in with reports of being unable to post pictures of their kids, wedding photographs, and “completely unrelated science articles.” Social media company SocialFlow tweeted: “Facebook confirmed API issue starting at 5:15 EST. Looks like it’s now resolved and publishing is going back to normal. We are monitoring.” So, it wasn’t censorship after all — just Facebook being extremely glitchy. And lo and behold, by the time I finished writing this, my post with #BaltimoreUprising had been restored to my page.

    • Censorship has got worse: Patwardhan

      The session Free the Word, that began at 10.30am, saw filmmaker Anand Patwardhan and writers/journalists Manu Joseph, CP Surendran and Naresh Fernandes discuss the changing dynamics of the published word, freedom of expression and the increasing prevalence of censorship.

    • Censorship means book is a ‘waste of effort’

      A “wonderful” book for teenagers is going to waste due to censorship, a former teacher says.

      Betty Robb, 76, borrowed Into the River by Ted Dawes from Glenfield Library in Auckland and was told by staff it was restricted to readers aged over 14.

      Betty says the librarian then added insult to injury by telling her she was not allowed to lend it to anyone under 14.

      “It is probably easier to steal a car and go for a joy ride than borrow a restricted book.”

      Into the River is a coming-of-age novel that sees a 14-year-old Maori boy struggling to find his own way while battling with his cultural identity.

      He moves from small-town rural New Zealand to a prestigious boarding school in Auckland after winning a scholarship.

    • New film censorship board planned

      A new Cayman Islands film censorship board, with responsibility for rating movies to be shown in the territory, is being set up.

      The board will principally be responsible for censoring independent unrated movies, but also has the power to ban films and to reclassify mainstream movies already rated by international censors.

    • Canadian Pro-Lifers Tell Ontario: Stop Censoring Pro-Life People on Abortion
    • Pro-lifers launch Charter challenge against ‘anti-democratic’ Ontario law withholding abortion data
    • World Press Freedom Day: Tracking Censorship in Canada
    • Twitter begins heavy-handed censorship — will force users to delete tweets

      Luckily, one such social media site, Twitter, has been putting a strong focus on curtailing bullying and offensive tweets. Today, the company is stepping up its efforts, but it seems to be going too far. What can only be described as heavy-handed censorship, Twitter will be deciding what is offensive and even forcing users to delete tweets. In other words, the company is attempting to unring a bell, by making users erase language that has already been communicated.

    • Twitter’s new anti-abuse filter hides harassing tweets from your mentions

      The move comes after leaked internal memos from CEO Dick Costolo back in February showed the social network thought it should be doing more to reduce trolling on the service.

    • Would Malaysia really censor the Internet?

      Malaysia’s elder statesman, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, used a speech at a social media conference to advocate outright censorship of the Internet, a call that may worry investors as the country’s economy falters.

    • Now Dr M backs internet censorship to combat pornography, subversive elements

      Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today called for internet censorship in the country, claiming that the freedom that was granted has not been used to create “beautiful things”.

      The former prime minister, who made a pledge to never censor the internet during his 22-year tenure, said there are too many avenues where internet freedom can be abused to access “filth” such as pornography or learn how to build bombs and the like.

    • How PBS Censorship of Ben Affleck’s Slave-Owning Ancestors Could Damage the Network

      The publicly-funded PBS network is suffering harsh criticism over the revelation that it censored Ben Affleck‘s past in a show about ancestral roots.

    • Ben Affleck Reveals Slave-Owning Ancestor As PBS Investigates Possible Censorship
    • Portuguese media uproar over ‘censorship’ law proposal

      It comes at an awkward time as Saturday marks the 41st anniversary of the country’s revolution, which overthrew a regime that regularly censored the press.

    • Exhibit B ‘human zoo’ sparks art and censorship controversy

      According to the artist, “Exhibit B” is meant as a nod to the so-called “Human Zoos” which are an actual artifact of colonial history. But in the present day, “Exhibit B” has drawn a huge amount of protest. When a London institution, the Barbican, planned to show it last year, it ended up canceling because of protests.

    • University reconsidering decision to cancel Charlie Hebdo conference

      Queen’s University Belfast issues statement suggesting possibility of conference going ahead, after accusations of curbing academic freedom

    • Je Suis Charlie? Self-Censorship Symposium Censors Itself Over Security Concerns

      Queen’s University in Belfast has cancelled a symposium on Charlie Hebdo and free speech because of the security risk and concern for the university’s reputation.

      One of the main topics of discussion, which was titled “Understanding Charlie: New perspectives on contemporary citizenship after Charlie Hebdo”, was to be self-censorship after the attacks on the French magazine in January.

    • Censorship: the real Islamophobia on campus

      After coming under intense scrutiny, Queen’s University Belfast has reneged on its decision to cancel an upcoming conference entitled ‘Understanding Charlie: New Perspectives on Contemporary Citizenship After Charlie Hebdo’. The university called off the conference last week, citing security concerns. The original decision to cancel the conference was met with widespread condemnation, with philosopher Brian Klug, one of the prospective delegates, saying he was ‘baffled’ and ‘dismayed’ by the decision.

    • Queen’s Charlie Hebdo conference ‘approved’

      The university cancelled the event stating a risk assessment of the symposium had not been completed to allow it to proceed.

    • Charlie Hebdo event WILL go ahead at Queen’s University after risk assessment carried out

      A conference on the Charlie Hebdo massacre will take place in Belfast after a U-turn by Queen’s University.

      The university cancelled the symposium last month stating a risk assessment had not been completed to allow it to proceed.

      The move sparked widespread criticism.

  • Privacy

    • Govt ‘lied’ to parliament about NSA spying

      The government has been accused of lying to the Bundestag (German parliament) after it emerged last week that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office knew German spies were conducting economic espionage on behalf of the Americans.

    • Airbus to sue NSA, German spies accused of swiping tech secrets

      European aerospace giant Airbus is promising legal action over claims its top blueprints were stolen by German spies and given to America’s intelligence agencies.

      “We are aware that as a large company in the sector, we are a target and subject of espionage,” the company said in a statement to the AFP newswire.

      “However, in this case we are alarmed because there is concrete suspicion of industrial espionage. We will now file a criminal complaint against persons unknown on suspicion of industrial espionage.”

    • Coverup claims over revelation that Germany spied on EU partners for US

      Germany has been spying and eavesdropping on its closest partners in the EU and passing the information to the US for more than a decade, a parliamentary inquiry in Berlin has found, triggering allegations of lying and coverups reaching to the very top of Angela Merkel’s administration.

    • German Government Is Accused of Spying on European Allies for NSA

      Accusations that Germany’s intelligence service helped the U.S. spy on European allies have rekindled German outrage over American snooping and ensnared Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government in an espionage scandal.

    • Airbus to press charges on NSA/BND spying claims

      Airbus is not taking the latest NSA allegations lightly. The European aviation giant has requested information from the German government and plans to press industrial espionage charges against unknown persons.

    • German govt accused of lying to parliament about NSA spying

      Angela Merkel’s government has been accused of lying to the country’s parliament after it was alleged that it knew German spies were conducting economic espionage for the NSA. Revelations show that some spooks were even spying on German companies.

    • The NSA’s greatest hiring strength is students, but resistance is growing

      For years the NSA has used the incentive of paid tuition to lure talented teens into employment with the agency. But in light of the Snowden leaks, students are organizing against what they see as just another invasion of their privacy rights

    • A Top-Secret NSA Site Draws Swipes, Shrugs

      The government built the giant facility known simply as the “Utah Data Center” on property controlled and secured by the Utah National Guard, which means the public has no access.


      The city’s mayor, Derk Timothy, who helped negotiate a contract last year to sell the Utah Data Center 56 million gallons of water for $300,000, has spent more than a year defending the agency’s presence with locals, saying the NSA has brought in jobs and helped develop the rural area’s infrastructure. He said he has no idea what goes on there, but he thinks that is for a reason.

    • NSA-restraining US law edges closer to reality, leaves just 6.81 billion under mass surveillance

      A law bill to mildly curb the NSA’s blanket surveillance of innocent Americans has taken an important step toward being passed.

      On Thursday, the US House of Representatives’ justice committee voted 25 to two in favor of a revised version of the USA Freedom Act – the original was killed last year in the Senate.

    • ACLU: NSA phone dragnet should be killed not amended

      The U.S. Congress should kill the section of the Patriot Act that has allowed the National Security Agency to collect millions of phone records from the nation’s residents, instead of trying to amend it, a civil liberties advocate said Friday.

      Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows the NSA to collect phone records, business records and any other “tangible things” related to an anti-terrorism investigation, expires in June, and lawmakers should let it die, said Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

    • NSA snooping program on last legs after anti-Patriot Act vote

      The House Judiciary Committee put the NSA’s phone-snooping program on the path to being scrapped Thursday when a bipartisan majority voted for major reforms to the Patriot Act.

    • Bill reforming NSA collection of phone data advances in US House

      After falling two votes shy of earning a floor vote in the US Senate last year, lawmakers are once again trying to pass a bill that reforms the way the National Security Agency gathers the phone records of American citizens.

    • NSA reform bill imperilled as it competes with alternative effort in the Senate

      Final push in the House for USA Freedom Act is welcomed by White House but opponents push to retain sweeping surveillance powers of pre-Snowden era


      More directly related to the Section 215 debate, the USA Freedom Act will extend the Patriot Act powers until 2019.

    • Germany’s BND ‘helped’ NSA to snoop on European firms and politicians

      Germany’s intelligence arm, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), allegedly helped the US National Security Agency (NSA) in spying on hundreds of European companies, regional entities and politicians.

    • Germany’s BND ‘helped’ NSA to snoop on European firms and politicians
    • Why the N.S.A. Isn’t Howling Over Restrictions

      For years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, even as the National Security Agency fiercely defended its secret efforts to sweep up domestic telephone data, there were doubters inside the agency who considered the program wildly expensive with few successes to show for it.

      So as Congress moves to take the government out of the business of indiscriminate bulk collection of domestic calling data, the agency is hardly resisting. Former intelligence officials, in fact, said Friday that the idea to store the data with telecommunications companies rather than the government was suggested to President Obama in 2013 by Gen. Keith B. Alexander, then the N.S.A. director, who saw the change as a way for the president to respond to criticism without losing programs the N.S.A. deemed more vital.

    • Secret law is a ‘direct threat’ to Americans’ privacy, says NSA whistleblower

      It’s not often you walk out after having lunch with a polite and intelligent retiree and know that you’re probably now on a government watchlist.

      On Wednesday, I spoke with William Binney, a former National Security Agency official turned whistleblower, at a lunch event hosted by Contrast Security founder Jeff Williams.

      Binney, who spent more than three decades at the shadowy intelligence agency, left a month after the September 11 attacks in 2001 when he saw that the foreign intelligence gathering program he helped develop was being turned domestically. After blowing the whistle to Congress, his house was raided by the FBI, though he was never charged with a crime. Binney remains one of the foremost thinkers in the agency’s modern history. Edward Snowden said he was inspired in part by previous leakers and whistleblowers, a list that includes Binney.

    • NSA is so overwhelmed with data, it’s no longer effective, says whistleblower

      A former National Security Agency official turned whistleblower has spent almost a decade and a half in civilian life. And he says he’s still “pissed” by what he’s seen leak in the past two years.


      That, he said, can — and has — led to terrorist attacks succeeding.

    • US states take aim at NSA over warrantless surveillance

      The particular target of his ire is the Texas Cryptologic Center, an NSA facility located near San Antonio. He has proposed a state law cutting off the building’s access to public utilities – water and electricity – until the agency ceases what he says is unconstitutional warrantless data collection.

    • RSA: Panel calls NSA access to encryption keys a bad idea

      Some of the world’s best known cryptographers – veterans of the crypto wars of the 1990s – say government access to encryption keys is still a bad idea, but is an issue that will never go away because it’s something intelligence agencies crave.

    • NSA Surveillance on U.S. Citizens Just as Bad If Not Worse Since Snowden, Survey Says

      The RSA Conference is one of the largest cybersecurity business events in the world. The conference just wrapped up on Friday in San Francisco, where it brought together a collage of industry experts, programmers, industry developers, hackers and investors, in one spot to discuss the current and future atmosphere of 21st century security. Washington, D.C.-based cybersecurity startup Thycotic was one of those companies in attendance — and they came away with a host of new answers. According to a survey conducted by Thycotic at RSA 2015, 94 percent of participants believed that citizen-targeted NSA surveillance had increased or at least remained the same since the Snowden revelations of June 2013.

    • RSA 2015 survey: 48 percent believe NSA surveillance has increased

      At RSA Conference 2015, a group of more than 200 attendees were surveyed regarding their thoughts about government surveillance in the wake of Edward Snowden leaks. Among the participants, nearly half, just over 48 percent, believed that the National Security Agency (NSA) had increased its surveillance of U.S. citizens, while around 45 percent felt NSA’s surveillance efforts remained the same since June 2013, when the whistleblower Snowden began leaking classified information.

    • SEC Boss Can’t Keep Her Story Straight On Whether Or Not SEC Snoops Through Your Emails Without A Warrant

      For many years now, we’ve been writing about the need for ECPA reform. ECPA is the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, written in the mid-1980s, which has some frankly bizarre definitions and rules concerning the privacy of electronic information. There are a lot of weird ones but the one we talk about most is that ECPA defines electronic communications that have been on a server for 180 days or more as “abandoned,” allowing them to be examined without a warrant and without probable cause as required under the 4th Amendment. That may have made sense in the 1980s when electronic communications tended to be downloaded to local machines (and deleted), but make little sense in an era of cloud computing when the majority of people store their email forever on servers. For the past few years, Congress has proposed reforming ECPA to require an actual warrant for such emails, and there’s tremendous Congressional support for this.

    • Congress, Crypto and Craziness

      Crazy is never in short supply in Washington. Through lean times and boom times, regardless of who is in the White House or which party controls the Congress, the one resource that’s reliably renewable is nuttery.

      This is never more true than when that venerable and voluble body takes up a topic with some technical nuance to it. The appearance of words such as “Internet”, “computers” or “technology” in the title of a committee hearing strike fear into the hearts of all who use such things. This is the legislative body, after all, that counted among its members the late Sen. Ted Stevens, who so eloquently described the Internet as a “series of tubes.”

    • What would it cost to store all phone calls in Norway?

      This is the cost of buying the storage. Maintenance need to be taken into account too, but calculating that is left as an exercise for the reader. But it is obvious to me from those numbers that recording the sound of all phone calls in Norway is not going to be stopped because it is too expensive. I wonder if someone already is collecting the data?

    • 2 members of Supreme Court ‘targeted by U.S. spies’

      U.S. intelligence agencies have “harvested” the personal and private data of “hundreds of federal officials and judges, including Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg,” charges a legal brief filed by Larry Klayman, the attorney who has come to be known as “the NSA slayer” for his successful legal battles against the National Security Agency.

    • Missouri House Committee Holds Hearing on Bill to Ban Resources to Mass NSA Spying

      Last week, a Missouri House committee held a public hearing on a bill that would ban “material support or resources” from the state to warrantless federal spy programs.

      Rep. Keith Frederick (R-Rolla) sponsors House Bill 264 (HB264). The Missouri Fourth Amendment Protection Act would ban the state and its political subdivisions from assisting, participating with, or providing material support or resources “to enable or facilitate a federal agency in the collection or use of a person’s electronic data or metadata without such person’s informed consent, or without a warrant, based upon probable cause that particularly describes the person, place, or thing to be searched or seized, or without acting in accordance with a legally-recognized exception to the warrant requirements.”

    • Former NSA director, whistle-blower to keynote ITWeb’s Security Summit in Johannesburg
    • ITWeb Security Summit features former NSA director, turned whistle-blower

      Bill Binney, a former director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and whistle-blower, will be the opening keynote speaker at the ITWeb Security Summit 2015, taking place at Vodacom World from 26 to 28 May 2015.

    • President Bernie Sanders Would Dismantle NSA Spying

      Bernie Sanders is running for president for many reasons, and you’re going to hear about a lot of them on the campaign trail.

      Income inequality. Campaign finance reform. Universal health care and climate change.

      But quietly—at least relative to his wonk-laden sermons on economic populism—Sanders has for years also been one of the Senate’s fiercest critics of the National Security Agency’s secretive surveillance operations. And, unlike Hillary Clinton, he’s been remarkably clear about where he stands.

    • Declassified report points to flaws in post-9/11 NSA wiretapping

      Stellar Wind not so stellar? Say it ain’t so! Good heavens, are you saying that infringing on people’s constitutional rights may not only be unconstitutional but also ineffective???

    • Report shows U.S. officials struggled to assess usefulness of post-9/11 warrantless surveillance
    • NSA’s Stellar Wind Program Was Almost Completely Useless, Hidden From FISA Court By NSA And FBI

      A huge report (747 pages) on the NSA’s Stellar Wind program has been turned over to Charlie Savage of the New York Times after a successful FOIA lawsuit. Stellar Wind has its basis in an order issued by George W. Bush shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Not an executive order, per se, but Bush basically telling the NSA that it was OK to start collecting email and phone metadata, as well as warrantlessly tap international calls into and out of the United States.

    • Secrecy, Legal Questions Hurt NSA’s Stellar Wind Spy Program: US Watchdogs

      Top U.S. intelligence officials struggled to determine whether one of the National Security Agency’s most treasured surveillance programs actually stopped any terrorist attacks, according to a newly unsealed report prepared by five of the highest-ranking inspectors general in the government half a dozen years ago. The officials were divided over the legality and usefulness of the program, dubbed Stellar Wind, in part because it was shrouded in secrecy.

    • The NSA, Surveillance, And What CIOs Need To Know

      As Opsahl puts it, “After 9/11, President Bush unleashed the full powers of the dark side.” A mix of existing laws to monitor foreign communications and new powers given under the Patriot Act allowed for a vast expansion of the power for the NSA to collect and store communications data.

    • US Freedom Act to Reform ‘Secret’ NSA Oversight Court -Digital Rights Group

      The new version of the US Freedom Act will reform the process by which a secret court authorizes the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) spying activities, a digital rights watchdog organization said in a press release on Thursday.

    • U.S. Avoids Trial On Ex-Qwest CEO’s NSA Claims With $18 Million Tax Refund Deal

      Significantly, with its stipulation, the government has avoided a trial in which the 65-year-old former executive planned to air what he says was his refusal, in 2001, to allow Qwest to participate in a National Security Agency program he believed was illegal. That trial might have attracted some media attention, given revelations over the past two years about the NSA’s illegal collection of metadata on U.S. phone calls and its other once secret programs—disclosures based on documents taken by NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden, now living in Russia. Nacchio contends he was prosecuted only because he refused to go along with the NSA and that his criminal trial was unfairly influenced by his inability to introduce certain classified information. As the combative, Brooklyn born ex-con put it in a CNBC special on white collar criminals that aired this week: “My crime was a political crime. It dealt with saying `no’ to an intelligence agency doing illegal surveillance.”

    • NSA, NGA lead in clearance rejection

      The National Security Agency rejected the largest number of initial applications for security clearances, while the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency led the Intelligence Community in revoking already-issued clearances, according to a new report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

    • Whistleblowers Back “Surveillance State Repeal Act”

      There is no sign of an end to the erosion of Constitutional liberties that began under George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks and continues under Barack Obama, a group of seven national security whistleblowers said Monday.

      “The government chose in great secrecy to unchain itself,” said Thomas Drake, who was working at the National Security Agency in 2001 and said he saw lawlessness spread under the name of “exigent conditions” during the Bush presidency.

    • A Call to End War on Whistleblowers

      Seven prominent national security whistleblowers on Monday called for a number of wide-ranging reforms — including passage of the “Surveillance State Repeal Act,” which would repeal the USA Patriot Act — in an effort to restore the Constitutionally guaranteed Fourth Amendment right to be free from government spying.

    • Why the N.S.A. Isn’t Howling Over Restrictions

      “If this bill passes, the N.S.A. will continue unaddressed surveillance programs and will secretly torture the English language to devise novel justifications for spying on Americans,” said David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress, a group that has fought for more civil liberties. “We won’t even know the details until a new whistle-blower comes forward a decade or two from now.”

    • Paranoid about the NSA? The case for dumping cloud’s Big 3

      Internet Service Providers (ISPs) may be the most important public cloud providers of the next decade. Hosting your data with an ISP has a number of advantages over choosing the dominant American cloud providers: advantages that run the gamut from technical to political.

      ISPs have been in the co-location business practically since the internet began. Many have offered hosted services (typically e-mail and web server space) for at least as long as the World Wide Web (and the browsers required to interpret it) have been around.

    • The big boys made us do it: US used German spooks to snoop on EU defence industry

      Germany’s BND spy agency spied on European politicians and enterprises at the behest of the NSA for over a decade.

    • Germany spied on France for US’s NSA, reports

      Germany’s BND secret services spied on French and other European companies and officials for the US’s National Security Agency (NSA), German newspapers have reported, sparking a scandal in Berlin but no official reaction in Paris.

    • The NSA made a coloring book for kids

      Last week we met Dunk, the NSA’s captivatingly weird Earth Day mascot, and now it looks like he’s not the only anthropomorphic creature in the NSA family. Dan Raile at Pando Daily went to the RSA security conference last week, and returned with a prize: an NSA-themed coloring book.

    • Spying is cool? CryptoKids appeal to children in NSA coloring book
    • NSA Gadget Transfer Program Turning Local Cops into Spies

      With the media spotlight shining on police militarization, most Americans know something about the federal 1033 transfer program that enables police departments to get military equipment like armored vehicles, high power weapons, grenade launchers, and even bayonets. But most Americans don’t realize that local law enforcement agencies can also acquire spy gear from the feds.

      The NSA transfers electronic gadgets to a variety of agencies including local law enforcement, and it is as simple as catalog shopping.

      This is yet another example of the tangled web of cooperation between state and local law enforcement, and the feds – a phenomenon quickly devolving America into one massive interconnected surveillance state.

      These transfer programs have largely gone unnoticed. However, the most recent NSA tech catalog was recently released and sheds some light on the program.

    • Allow full debate on NSA spying bill

      Back in January, when this Congress was brand new and Mitch McConnell was taking the reins as majority leader of the Senate, he pledged “to get committees working again.”

      It’s surprising, then, that, in late April, McConnell moved to bypass the committee process to fast-track a five-year extension of the government’s authority to conduct mass surveillance of U.S. citizens’ phone calls.

      McConnell’s move, which seems to violate his pledge to pass bills through committee, also is a blow to a bipartisan effort in both chambers to enact some curbs on the collection of phone records.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom Avoids U.S. Clutches For Three More Months

        Kim Dotcom’s upcoming extradition hearing has been delayed by three months. The procedure was set to go ahead in just four weeks but the High Court says that would give the entrepreneur insufficient time to prepare his case. It will now take place no earlier than September 1, 2015.

      • Torrents Are Good for a Quarter of All Encrypted Traffic

        Encrypted Internet traffic is surging according to data published by Canadian broadband management company Sandvine. A new report reveals that 25 percent of the encrypted downstream traffic in North America is consumed by BitTorrent transfers, second only to YouTube.


Links 1/5/2015: HP Ubuntu Laptops, Arch Linux 2015.05.01

Posted in News Roundup at 7:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • May 2015 Issue of Linux Journal: Cool Projects
  • 6 Ways to Futureproof Your Linux Infrastructure

    Future-proofing isn’t just about investing in the latest hardware and buying into the latest technology to keep your IT team happy. There are sound business reasons to do it and sensible, cost effective strategies.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • 5 must-watch Docker videos

      When you’re interested in learning a new technology, sometimes the best way is to watch it in action—or at the very least, to have someone explain it one-on-one. Unfortunately, we don’t all have a personal technology coach for every new thing out there, so we turn to the next best thing: a great video.

    • Univention Corporate Server for everyone

      This week saw the official launch of the new Core Edition of Univention Corporate Server. With this move, we are now making it possible to employ our successful Open Source system for server and IT management free of charge in companies too.

    • Using ARM chips and Linux, Barcelona center dreams of being ‘Airbus of supercomputing’

      In the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), big data isn’t a new or revolutionary concept. The center, located on the campus of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, has been managing huge volumes of data for companies from fields as diverse as energy and pharmaceuticals since 2005, helping them cut costs and boost returns.

  • Kernel Space

    • Btrfs RAID Testing Begins With Linux 4.0

      This time around I’m doing the Btrfs RAID benchmarks on four traditional HDDs (though separately also been working on Linux RAID tests on a 6 SAS drive server). For this testing I picked up for WD Green 1TB 3.5-inch, SATA 6Gb/s, 64MB Cache WD10EZRX drives. At Amazon they cost only $52 USD a piece and should be interesting to test in a four-disk RAID array.

    • Lucid Sleep Support Is Being Worked On For The Upstream Linux Kernel

      Chrome OS supports “Lucid Sleep”, which is a mode of allowing the system to carry out various tasks while the system is in a low-power mode or even suspended, and similar to Microsoft InstantGo. This feature, which allows for tasks like checking of new emails or instant messages while the system is suspended, is being worked on for (hopeful) eventual upstreaming into the mainline Linux kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Is Xfce Still a Lightweight Distribution?

      In February 2015, Xfce 4.12 was released. The first Xfce release in nearly three years, it was greeted with enthusiasm. Yet at the same time, a few users questioned whether the new version was as light on memory as earlier releases.

      It’s a good question — and by that comment, I mean, as people usually do, that it has no clear answer. Some indicators suggest that Xfce remains as efficient as ever, while others suggest Xfce is not much different from other popular desktop environments, such as KDE.


      KDE Plasma 4.14 has only 1 megabyte unallocated, which means that, until recently, Xfce really did use less RAM. Nor has that greatly changed, since Plasma 5.2 has 8 unallocated megabytes. Despite KDE’s recent efforts to reduce memory requirements, it trails the new release of Xfce. Running free – m with watch confirms that, as applications are opened and closed, Xfce 4.12 consistently uses less memory.

      However, these results tell only part of the story. The fact that KDE Plasma 5.2 opens with 371 megabytes of buffered and cache memory compared to Xfce’s 4.12 suggests that Plasma should open applications faster than Xfce — and that does seem to be the case. For instance, while Xfce 4.12 takes six seconds apiece to open Firefox and LibreOffice, Plasma 5.2 takes just over four seconds apiece. Apparently, what matters is not just the amount of free memory, but how the allocated memory is used.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • digiKam Recipes 4.7.1 Released

        A new release of digiKam Recipes is ready for your reading pleasure. This version features completely rewritten material on using digiKam to emulate various photographic effects (including the new recipe on how to create a faded vintage look). The book features two new recipes: Geotag Photos with Geofix and Update the LensFun Database. As always, the new release includes minor updates, fixes and tweaks.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Exton|OS 64 bit with Mate and kernel 3.19.0-14-exton :: build 150428

        Exton|OS build 150428 is based on Ubuntu 15.04 64 bit (released April 23, 2015) and Debian Jessie (Debian 8). Exton|OS’s ISO file is a ISO-hybrid, which means that it can very easily be transferred (copied) to a USB pen drive. You can then even run Exton|OS from the USB stick and save all your system changes on the stick. I.e. you will enjoy persistence! I’ve found two scripts which make the installation to USB very simple. The scripts are quite ingenious. My tests show that they work flawlessly on USB installations of all normal Ubuntu systems. Read my INSTRUCTION how to use the scripts.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • PHP version 5.5.25RC1 and 5.6.9RC1

        RPM of PHP version 5.6.9RC1 as SCL are available in remi-test repository for Fedora 19-22 and Enterprise Linux 6-7.

        RPM of PHP version 5.5.25RC1 as SCL are available in remi-test repository for Fedora 21-22 and Enterprise Linux 6-7.

      • Red Hat Director Sells $5,370,579.20 in Stock (RHT)
      • Fedora

        • Fedora Store, University initiative, GSoC, and Fedora conferences

          Clearly an item which deserves top billing! The first batch of Fedora t-shirts sold out quickly in most sizes, and there was a little bit of trouble reordering — but now they’re back in stock in unisex and also in women’s cut. Also, since the actual store provider’s URL isn’t very memorable, we’ve created the shortcut http://store.fedoraproject.org/ — just click that and you’ll go straight to the Fedora swag.

    • Debian Family

      • New Debian leader wants to improve communications

        Back in 2013, Lucas Nussbaum was hardly a month old in the job when Wheezy was released. And this month, Neil McGovern took over on 17 April and saw version 8.0, otherwise known as Jessie, released eight days later.

      • Debian GNU/Hurd 2015 released!
      • When Official Debian Support Ends, Who Will Save You?

        With a new version of Debian recently released, it’s an exciting time for users who long for newer applications and cutting-edge features. But for some users, the new release is a cause for concern. A new release means their current installation is reaching the end of its lifecycle, and for one reason or another, they can’t make the switch. And, this leaves them at risk from a variety of security risks and crippling bugs, but there is hope in the shape of an independent project.

      • Debian 8: Linux’s most reliable distro makes its biggest change since 1993

        Debian 8—nicknamed “Jessie” after the cowgirl character in Toy Story 2 and 3—debuted last week, but it feels overdue. The release was in development within the Testing channel for quite a while, and, if you recall, Debian Linux consists of three major development branches: Stable, Testing, and Unstable. In order for a new iteration of Debian to officially go public, work must progress through each stage (starting in Unstable, ending in Stable). But it wasn’t until the official feature freeze for this release in November 2014 that the contents of Testing really became what you’ll actually find in Debian 8 today.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) Reached End of Life on April 30, 2015

            On April 30, Canonical, through Adam Conrad, sent an email to all Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) users notifying them that the operating system is no longer supported starting with May 1, 2015.

          • New Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities Patched in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

            Canonical announced today, April 30, that new kernel updates are available for its Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) operating systems.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet Review

            By the time we had a chance to review Ubuntu 15.04, the final release date had passed and it had already shipped. But it’s important to point out that our final review is based on a Beta release. However, the tasks that we threw at the latest iteration of Ubuntu, were easily completed without any major issues.

            The boot process of Ubuntu 15.04 was great. Even when running the operating system in Live mode, it is so responsive that you could be forgiven for thinking that it was physically installed on real metal. Read below, for a bit more of an in-depth glance at what we think of Ubuntu 15.04.

          • Canonical unveils AMD-based HP Ubuntu laptops for XP laggards

            Canonical has partnered with AMD, HP and Ebuyer.com to launch three Ubuntu laptops designed for business buyers.

            The £200 HP Probook 255, £250 Probook 355 and £300 ProBook 455 will be made available for pre-order on Ebuyer.com at the end of May.

          • HP has another go at low-cost Linux laptops
          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linksys WRT1200AC: A fast, full-featured, open-source-friendly router

      Sometimes, less is truly more. When it comes to the Linksys WRT1200AC, the little brother to the WRT1900AC router introduced last year, it might be best to say less is just enough.

      The 1200AC is a slimmed-down version of the 1900AC, with two fewer antennas and around $100 knocked off the list price. Despite these reductions, it’s no less versatile or powerful. All of the good aspects of the 1900AC — the expandable hardware, the feature-packed firmware, the convenient setup process — are still here.

    • Linux-ready i.MX6 SBC is loaded with wireless options

      Forlinx launched an SBC that runs Linux or Android on a quad-core i.MX6, and offers extras like WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, 3G, and an image sensor interface.

      China-based Forlinx Embedded Technology first appeared on LinuxGizmos last October when it released an OK335xS-II SBC with a TI Sitara AM3354 SoC. Like the OK335xS-II, the new i.MX6-based, sandwich-style SBC embeds a soldered COM, which appears to be available separately. The COM is slightly larger than the previous model, at 60mm square, and the baseboard is a sizable 190 x 130mm.

    • ARM widens the appeal of its IoT OS with mbed client that runs on Linux

      The race for the hearts and minds of IoT developers is in full swing and ARM has been positioning itself as the defacto standard for IoT devices. Based on its hardware alone that isn’t an unreasonable proposition, but to sweeten the deal ARM has been working hard on its software offering.

    • Pico-ITX SBC runs Linux on Bay Trail, expands modularly

      Advantech has launched a Pico-ITX SBC that runs Linux on an Atom E3825 or Celeron J1900, and offers modular expansion and optional -40 to 85°C operation.

      Like Advantech’s MIO-2262, which offered the old Atom N2000 “Cedarview” processors, the new MIO-2263 uses the company’s MI/O-Ultra modular expansion format, which it also refers to as MIOe. The MIOe expansion interface expands upon the coastline and onboard interfaces with additional I/O including PCIe and DisplayPort.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Samsung’s Tizen app aspirations go global as it expands to 182 countries

          Depending on the country you live in, you may not have seen or heard about Samsung’s Tizen app store. That’s about to change. The company — which just regained the smartphone sales crown from Apple — is expanding the Tizen store from two to 182 countries around the world.

        • Understanding Tizen Programming

          Tizen have been in development for several years now and we are proud to have products in the market place in the form of Smart watches, a Smart Phone, Smart TV and Smart Cameras. This is a great opportunity for application and game developers to explore a new ecosystem.

      • Android

        • Sony’s Xperia Z3 returns to T-Mobile, but Android Lollipop update could be ‘months’ away

          The peculiar case of the Sony Xperia Z3 in the United States continues with a fresh twist: T-Mobile has gotten fresh stock of the handset and is resuming sales online and, by the end of this week, in stores. It was roughly a month ago that the Z3 made an unannounced disappearance from T-Mobile’s retail outlets, seemingly having been discontinued due to lack of consumer interest. At the time, T-Mobile tweeted in response to a disappointed customer with the simple statement that “the Z3 is no longer available.”

        • Asus ZenFone 5 LTE Starts Receiving Android 5.0 Lollipop Update
        • Google Posts Android 5.1.1 Factory Images for Nexus 7 WiFi (2012 & 2013) and Nexus 10

          More Android 5.1.1 factory images are being released by Google, this time for the Nexus 7 WiFi (2012 and 2013), plus the Nexus 10. Each are receiving build LMY47V, which is the latest available.

          Android 5.1.1, at least from what we have researched, is mostly bug fixes for Android 5.1. Users should not expect to see anything too crazy once updated.

        • You Can Now Use Shazam, Instacart, And Other Android Apps With “Okay Google” Commands

          You’ve been able to use your voice (“Ok Google”) to do all sorts of stuff on Android for a while now. But said stuff has almost entirely been built-in by Google itself; third-party developers haven’t really been able to tap into that functionality.

        • ["OK, Google, Listen To NPR"] Custom Voice Actions Launch On Android, Allow You To Control Selected 3rd Party Apps

          Over on the Android Developer’s Google+ page an awesome new feature for Google’s voice search was just announced. A small selection of applications will now open directly when using certain voice commands. For example, you can now say “Ok Google, find houses near me on Zillow” and Google will automatically start the Zillow app, showing a map of properties near your current location (this also works with the applications for Trulia and Realtor.com). Previously a query like this would have directed you to Zillow’s mobile site and given you a link to download Zillow’s app.

        • Verizon Releases Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop Update, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular Next

          The Android 5.0 Lollipop update has been officially released to owners of the Samsung Galaxy S4. Users on the Verizon network are now receiving the update, leaving Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular to follow.

        • How to Watch the 2015 NFL Draft Live on Android or iPhone

          The smokescreens are starting to settle and all 32 teams are making the final preparations for the 2015 NFL Draft, which is just a few hours away, and here we’ll explain how to watch the draft live from Android, iPhone, or online. Will the Titans use that second round pick, or trade it away? We’ll have to wait and see, and here’s how you can catch all the action live from any device.

        • Seek Thermal – Android Infrared Camera Review

          The costs associated with thermal imaging systems have restricted their usage and kept it out of reach of the average consumer / impulse-buy territory. However, there have been some recent advancements in this field that have made the prices of such system more palatable to the non-professional users. Thanks to the advent of smart mobile devices, the costs associated with the storage, control and user-interface for these systems could be taken out for most markets. One of the first forays into this space was the $250 FLIR ONE personal thermal imager from FLIR Systems. Unfortunately, by restricting the hardware design to work only with the Apple iPhone 5 and 5s, they lost out on widespread market appeal. Seek Thermal entered the market with a splash by launching their first smartphone-attached infrared camera for just $199. Two distinct models carrying the same features and capabilities were launched, only differing in the connector – one with a microUSB interface for Android devices and another with a Lightning connector for iOS devices. Before talking in detail about the Android version of the camera and the associated mobile app, let us take a moment to understand how thermal imaging works – particularly since this is not something we have covered on our site before.

Free Software/Open Source

  • My Open Source Recording Studio

    One of the ways I pay my bills is through content production for a trading card game called Magic: the Gathering. In addition to creating written content, I also produce video content in a series called “Crash Test”. Today I am going to talk about the hardware and open source software I use to produce these videos.

  • Google’s open source addressing system could replace longitude and latitude

    Google often decides to go about things in its own way, and is frequently found approaching common problems from a unique angle. The latest candidate to receive the Google treatment is the humble address. Not web addresses or email addresses, but regular postal addresses. So what’s the deal?

  • Events

    • Is Collaborative Software Development the Next Big Thing?

      The industry has had large collaboratively developed projects for some time, of course: Linux is the most obvious example. But to a large extent, projects such as Linux or more recently Cloud Foundry and OpenStack have been the exception that proved the rule. They were notable outliers of cross-organizational projects in a sea of proprietary, single entity initiatives. For commercial software organizations, Linux was a commodity or standard, and the higher margin revenue opportunities lay above that commonly-held, owned-by-no-one substrate. In other words, software vendors were and are content to collaborate on one project if it meant they could introduce multiple proprietary products to run on top of the open source base.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla: Deprecating Non-Secure HTTP

        Today we are announcing our intent to phase out non-secure HTTP.

        There’s pretty broad agreement that HTTPS is the way forward for the web. In recent months, there have been statements from IETF, IAB (even the other IAB), W3C, and the US Government calling for universal use of encryption by Internet applications, which in the case of the web means HTTPS.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Numbers & Names

      LibreOffice started with the 3.3 release; it then added micro releases with a third number next to the first two digits. As time went forward, so did the releases: 3.4.0, 3.4.1, 3.5.0, 3.5.1, onwards to the 3.6 branch, the last one to carry the number 3 as its major release number, and to the 4.0 and the 4.x.x based releases. This summer we will be releasing the 5.0, and you will hear a lot more about the changes and improvements that are being put into it. But when you think about it, we started our version numbering exactly based on the one of OpenOffice.org . In 2010, it meant something technically and something for the community and more broadly the users of OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice. Fast forward to 2015: does anybody really know what a “4.3” release mean? What message does this numbering scheme convey?

  • CMS

    • How containers will shape the Drupal ecosystem

      I recently had the opportunity to interview David Strauss about how Pantheon uses containers to isolate many Drupal applications from development to production environments. His upcoming DrupalCon talk, PHP Containers at Scale: 5K Containers per Server, will give us an idea of the techniques for defining and configuring containers to get the most out of our infrastructure resources.

      Having recently dove into the container realm myself, I wanted to learn from the experts about the challenges of managing containers in a production environment. Running millions of production containers related to Drupal, David is certainly an expert resource to ask about this subject. I look forward to learning more details at DrupalCon!

    • WordPress promises patch for zero-day “within hours”

      WordPress statement hints at no prior notice on disclosure, contrary to researcher claims

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD 5.7

      This is a partial list of new features and systems included in OpenBSD 5.7. For a comprehensive list, see the changelog leading to 5.7.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • After OpenStreetMap – OpenSeaMap

      As I’ve noted a number of times before, one of the most exciting aspects of the world of openness is the way in which ideas are not only shared within a given domain – amongst free software hackers, for example – but across completely different domains too. Thus the GNU project inspired first Nupedia, and then Wikipedia. Wikipedia, in its turn, inspired OpenStreetMap. And now OpenStreetMap has given rise to OpenSeaMap:

      OpenSeaMap is an open source, worldwide project to create a free nautical chart. There is a great need for freely accessible maps for navigation purposes, so in 2009, OpenSeaMap came into life. The goal of OpenSeaMap is to record interesting and useful nautical information for the sailor which is then incorporated into a free map of the world. This includes beacons, buoys and other navigation aids as well as port information, repair shops and chandlerys. OpenSeaMap is a subproject of OpenStreetMap and uses its database.

    • Help map Nepal, OpenMRS for Ebola, Apache Mesos for Apple, and more open source news
    • Revolutionizing content management, finances, LDAP, and more


  • Hidden cameras reveal airport workers stealing from luggage

    Inside a plane at Miami International Airport, baggage handlers are going on a shopping spree with passengers’ bags.

    What they don’t know is that they are being recorded on a hidden camera. The Miami-Dade Police Department set up the camera as part of an ongoing police investigation into luggage thefts by the very airport workers who are supposed to get bags safely onto planes.

  • Security

    • Linux / BSD Servers Pwned by Mumblehard Trojan

      WeLiveSecurity said victims should look for “unsolicited cronjob entries for all the users on their servers.” The backdoor will probably be found in /tmp or /var/tmp. “Mounting the tmp directory with the noexec option prevents the backdoor from starting in the first place.”

    • Human Error Still the Largest Security Concern

      If one listens to the mainstream media, these are the biggest cyber security threats facing American businesses. When hackers from these regions make any move against western businesses and governments, the news is magnified ten-fold in comparison to the actual source of the attacks: human error on the part of the victim organizations.

    • Report: six anti-virus solutions pass annual Linux test

      2015 will yet again not be the ‘Year of the Linux Desktop’, yet behind the scenes’ Linux plays an important role in many organisations by running the servers on which files are stored centrally.

    • OpenSSL Past, Present and Future

      The OpenSSL Audit, sponsored by the Core Infrastructure Initiative, is under way and the first set of results could trickle in by early summer. Like TrueCrypt, OpenSSL developers are curious to see the vulnerabilities dredged up during the inspection, and like its file encryption cousin, have fingers crossed that a backdoor isn’t lurking.

  • Finance

    • Tom Friedman: If We Don’t Sign The TPP Agreement, The World Will Be Overtaken By ISIS, Anarchy And China

      Famed NY Times columnist Tom Friedman is pretty widely mocked for his ridiculous platitudes that are designed to sound smart (or, more directly, to make readers think that Tom Friedman is smarter than you). But, outside of corporate boardrooms and elite politicians, it seems plenty of people recognize that Friedman’s musings don’t make much sense. There’s even a Thomas Friedman OpEd Generator that does a pretty good job, showing how formulaic his articles are.

      The key element in a Tom Friedman piece is to take some basic, simplified conventional wisdom, and try to gussy it up so that it sounds really profound. Often, this means ignoring all of the nuances and complexity behind the simple idea. A decade ago, he turned this into a whole book, The World is Flat, about globalization and how it was changing the world. He wasn’t wrong, but his insights weren’t particularly insightful or useful. Furthermore, he’s so wedded to his thesis, that he still fails to realize that he was focused on a very exaggerated view of things, without understanding all of the related forces and consequences of what he was selling.

    • NYT Warns Greece Away From Argentina’s Seven-Year Boom

      There is no doubt that 2002 was worse for the people of Argentina as a result of the default, but by the second half of the year, the economy returned to growth and grew strongly for the next seven years. (There are serious issues about the accuracy of the Argentine data, but this is primarily a question for more recent years, not the initial recovery.) By the end of 2003, Argentina had made up all of the ground loss due to the default, and was clearly far ahead of its stay-the-course path.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • GOP Prosecutor Defends Scott Walker Criminal Probe, Says “Let’s Get the Truth Out”

      The current criminal investigation into Walker involves serious allegations that the governor and his campaign disregarded the state’s campaign finance laws during the 2012 recall elections.

      Indeed, when Republican and Democratic District Attorneys petitioned for the investigation, Walker was already the highest-profile politician in modern Wisconsin history and a likely presidential contender. Launching a criminal investigation into the most powerful political figure in the state could not have been an easy choice: these career politicians initiated the probe because they believed there was a strong legal and evidentiary basis for doing so under Wisconsin’s long-standing campaign finance laws.

      Republican prosecutors gathered evidence of Walker secretly raising millions of dollars for the supposedly “independent” nonprofit Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG), with the express purpose of bypassing campaign finance disclosure laws. Talking points prepared for the governor advised him to “stress that donations to WiCFG are not disclosed,” to call the group “his 501c4,” and to tell donors “that you can accept corporate contributions and it is not reported.”

  • Privacy

    • Encryption won’t work if it has a back door only the ‘good guys’ have keys to

      David Cameron has made some headline-grabbing election promises, but none so technically implausible as his vow to eliminate communications tools that “we cannot read” earlier this year. He’s not alone in proposing a ban on effective cryptographic tools. The FBI wants the same thing, and their zeal to protect the state from citizens’ secrecy has even prompted it to alter its exemplary security advice. The suggestion that Americans should encrypt their devices so as to protect their data when they inevitably lose them, have them stolen or throw them away without securely erasing them has been expunged from the FBI’s site.

      It’s impossible to overstate how bonkers the idea of sabotaging cryptography is to people who understand information security. If you want to secure your sensitive data either at rest – on your hard drive, in the cloud, on that phone you left on the train last week and never saw again – or on the wire, when you’re sending it to your doctor or your bank or to your work colleagues, you have to use good cryptography. Use deliberately compromised cryptography, that has a back door that only the “good guys” are supposed to have the keys to, and you have effectively no security. You might as well skywrite it as encrypt it with pre-broken, sabotaged encryption.

    • How can I delete my Facebook account?

      Facebook has a help page: How do I permanently delete my account? This advises you to download a copy of your Facebook data, because you will lose it if you do delete your account. You can also do this by logging into Facebook, clicking the down arrow, and selecting Settings. Click the bottom entry that says “Download a copy of your Facebook data”.

      If you really, really want to delete your Facebook account, log on, go to the Delete my account page and click the button that says “Delete my account”. After that, no one will be able to see your Facebook info, though it may take a few months for your posts and photos to be removed from Facebook’s servers. However, note that any messages or emails you have sent to other people will not be removed. These are in the recipients’ accounts, not in yours.

    • Cabinet minister accepted donation from corporate spy

      A cabinet minister has accepted a donation from a corporate investigator with a history of spying on political campaigners.

      The education secretary, Nicky Morgan, who received £3,220 from Paul Mercer, is fighting to be re-elected in her marginal seat of Loughborough in Leicestershire. Mercer, who has lived in the area for many years, is taking an active part in promoting her campaign.

      His covert work monitoring campaigners was exposed in 2007 when legal papers revealed that he was paid £2,500 a month by the security department of the arms manufacturer BAE.

  • Civil Rights

    • Irate Congressman gives cops easy rule: “just follow the damn Constitution”

      Despite the best efforts of law enforcement to convince a Congressional subcommittee that technology firms actually need to weaken encryption in order to serve the public interest, lawmakers were not having it.

      Daniel Conley, the district attorney in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, testified Wednesday before the committee that companies like Apple and Google were helping criminals by hardening encryption on their smartphones. He echoed previous statements by the recently-departed Attorney General, Eric Holder.


Links 30/4/2015: Plasma 4.4 in the Making

Posted in News Roundup at 7:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Is Watson Health Healthcare’s ‘Linux Moment’?

      One of those landmarks in the technology industry was IBM’s announcement in 2000 that it was throwing its corporate weight behind the open source Linux operating system. Up to that point, open source software had been viewed as the product of a plucky but overall irrelevant cadre of cranks, crackpots, and cheapskates. It may have been fine for a network of gamers who never left their geek caves, but “mission-critical” enterprise platforms? Please.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Wrap: Bitdefender joins the Linux Foundation

      Today, Bitdefender and Fox Technologies, Inc. said they be joining the Linux Foundation. “Backed by a global community of developers who deliver timely security fixes and regular kernel updates, Linux is the platform of choice for a growing number of security-conscious data center operators and cloud providers. From antivirus software to access management technology, today’s new members are increasing their Linux investment to address a range of security challenges.”

    • The Companies That Support Linux: Fox Technologies

      Linux has long been regarded as a stable and secure platform for enterprise applications. And the recent explosion of container technology presents yet another way for developers to build securely on top of Linux, says Mark Lambiase, CTO of Fox Technologies, Inc.

      The Linux container model “will provide for the opportunity to separate and segment applications from a shared OS model, which can provide both security and performance/configuration advantages,” Lambiase said.

      Fox Technologies, which helps companies manage and maintain Unix and Linux systems with its BoKS ServerControl application, is contributing to such growth and innovation in the Linux ecosystem, in part, by becoming new corporate members of the Linux Foundation.

    • As Moore’s Law Turns 50, Processor Market Keeps On Innovating

      The bottom line, according to TI is that the 66AK2L06 can do almost everything FPGAs can do in data acquisition, but can do it in a way that is cheaper, faster, and more power efficient. The SoC is also claimed to be easier to work with than using FPGAs.

    • Graphics Stack

      • EGL Sync Extensions Come To Gallium3D

        The EGL_KHR_fence_sync, EGL_KHR_wait_sync, and EGL_KHR_cl_event2 extensions are now available in the Gallium3D world. Initially these extensions are hooked up for the R600, RadeonSI, NVC0, NV50, and Freedreno drivers. Marek also tackled the GL_OES_EGL_sync extension for all Mesa drivers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5.4 Kicked Off

        Plasma 5.4 is scheduled for August, it’ll be a great addition to Kubuntu 15.10.

      • Plasma 5.3 for Fedora

        Plasma 5.3, new feature release of KDE workspace, has been released on Tuesday and you can get it now on Fedora.

        Plasma 5.3 brings new features, improvements and almost 400 bug fixes for basically all of its components ranging from power management to various applets.

      • KDE 5_15.04 for Slackware-current: back to work

        An update to my KDE 5 packages was overdue. Ever since the “big upgrade” in Slackware-current a week ago on 21 April 2015, there have been some stability issues in the Plasma 5 desktop. The instability was caused by the version bumps of various libraries that the KDE software is depending on – you can not dynamically link to a software library that’s no longer there because it has been replaced with a library bearing a new version number. I felt I had to recompile everything just to be sure there was no hidden “breakage” left, and so I took the opportunity to wait for the newest Plasna release and present you wilth all-new packages.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Ballnux/SUSE

    • Debian Family

      • What’s what in Debian Jessie

        Debian is arguably the most important Linux distribution. From it springs such popular Linux distributions as Mint and Ubuntu. Outside Linux’s inner circles, it’s not that well known because it’s purely a community operating system. There is no company behind it, as there is with Red Hat and CentOS, Fedora, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Without fanfare, Debian is more than just the foundation for other better known Linux distros, it is a powerful desktop and server Linux in its own right.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) End of Life reached on April 30, 2015

            This is a follow-up to the End of Life warning sent last month to confirm that as of today (April 30, 2015), Ubuntu 10.04 is no longer supported. No more package updates will be accepted to 10.04, and it will be archived to old-releases.ubuntu.com in the coming weeks.

          • Taking Ubuntu’s Monkey for a Ride

            That seems to be the response from desktop users and reviewers of Ubuntu’s latest and greatest, 15.04 or Vivid Vervet. The server and cloud crowd are all abuzz, tearing this baby down to see what it can do. But for the desktop folks — not so much. About all you read is that the new desktop is mainly cosmetic changes: that Unity’s color scheme is now purple, which isn’t quite true — to my eyes, there’s some orange in there too — and that a few things have been moved back to where they used to be. Other than that, everyone complains that this vervet is nothing more than lipstick on a unicorn, as Utopic Unicorn was Ubuntu’s last release.

            What this means, of course, is absolutely nothing. The folks at Ubuntu have made it clear that this is mostly a server/cloud release, so it’s not surprising that it offers desktop users little reason to upgrade. Besides, except for those few users who insist on living on the bleeding edge, most desktop users should be using 14.04, Trusty Tahr, anyway, because it’ll be supported until 2019, and our vervet friend will only see support through January.

          • Ubuntu Ditches Upstart

            Ubuntu is not the first distro to use systemd. Debian (Ubuntu’s daddy) recently made the switch too. Other distros have experienced bugs as a result of the switch. For instance, service managers, which configure the boot config files, must be changed to work with the new init system.

            Ubuntu cleverly sidestepped this problem by keeping its old init config file formats in place alongside the new format used by systemd. The version of systemd used in Ubuntu can read both. So old tools that work with the Upstart config settings still work.

            systemd does provide a boost in boot performance over Upstart, but some members of the community are concerned that the way systemd handles messages to services will reduce performance and even open the door to denial-of-service attacks.

            Clearly, Canonical must have a lot of faith in systemd to abandon Upstart (its own project) in its favor. As time passes, we will see whether this was a wise decision.

          • Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicon) Gets Linux Kernel Update

            Canonical has announced that a few vulnerabilities were found in the Linux kernel packages, affecting the kernel for Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicon) operating system, and they have been corrected.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • µQseven COM aims Allwinner A31 SoC at industrial apps

      Theobroma’s Allwinner A31 based µQseven COM offers a re-engineered Linux/Android BSP, and adds a security module, SATA, GbE, CAN, eMMC, a USB hub, and more.

      Austrian engineering design firm Theobroma Systems has begun selling a “A31 µQ7″ module that expands upon the quad-core, Cortex-A7 Allwinner A31 system-on-chip using a half-size µQseven form-factor. The 70 x 40mm module supports Linux and Android, and offers optional -20 to 70ºC extended temperature support.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Turn your Android tablet into a Windows-like desktop with this cool app

          The Android user interface isn’t for everyone, but what if you could turn your Android display into something that looked more like a Windows desktop? With Andromium OS, a recently released app on Google Play, you can do exactly that.

        • Get an early look at new Chrome features on Android as Google releases the developer version to all

          Fancy a sneak peek at Google’s new mobile browser? All you have to do is download Chrome Dev from the Play Store onto your Android device and voilà.

        • Google makes Chrome’s bleeding edge developer version available on Android

          Google is letting hardcore Android users get their hands on the roughest, rawest, most advanced version of Chrome available, making the Dev channel for Chrome on Android available to download via the Play Store. This lets experienced users and developers try out the browser’s newest features on Google’s mobile OS before they hit the mainstream. Casual users should be warned however, this is the equivalent of riding in a supercar before the manufacturers have checked the brakes: it might look fun, but you’re going to crash. Although the Dev channel is already available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and ChromeOS, this is the first time it’s been released for Android as well.

        • Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Update: 5 Things to Know Now

          As April comes to a close, Google’s Android 5.1 Lollipop update is still on the minds of many Nexus 4 users. With Android 5.1 problems plaguing some owners and with a new Android 5.1.1 update seemingly on the way, we want to take a look at what Nexus 4 users need to know as we push into the month of May.

        • Android’s built-in texting app lets you reply from notifications

          Hangouts may be Android’s star messaging app at the moment, but Google is still willing to show its original Messenger client a little TLC. The company has updated its basic Android texting app with support for quick replies from notifications. While the feature isn’t quite as slick as what you get in iOS’ Messages (where the notification itself has a reply box), it’ll save you from constantly switching apps when you’re juggling a rapid-fire conversation alongside your usual phone tasks. Grab the upgrade today if you want some of Google’s latest bells and whistles without having to use Hangouts as your SMS software of choice.

        • Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 Update: 5 Things to Know in April

          Google’s Android 5.1 update continues to pick up steam and it appears headed for top devices like the HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy S6 and more. With Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 release details heating up, we want to take a look at what Samsung smartphone and tablet users need to know about the Android 5.1 update as we push into May.

        • Lucky T-Mobile Galaxy S6 Edge Owner Gets Android 5.1.1 Update

          Last week, as we were telling you to expect Android 5.1.1 at any moment, we weren’t exactly including those of you who just picked up a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge in the conversation. No offense, but phones with OEM skins aren’t usually leading the pack when it comes to updates that feature the newest versions of Android. As it turns out, maybe we should have.

        • Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Update: 5 Things to Know Now

          It’s been more than a month since its release and Google’s Android 5.1 Lollipop update is still on the minds of many Nexus 7 users. With Android 5.1 problems plaguing Nexus 7 users and with a Nexus 7 Android 5.1.1 update seemingly on the way, we want to take a look at what Nexus 7 users need to know as we push into the month of May.

        • Waiting For Apple CarPlay And Android Auto? We Hope You Brought A Book

          In 2013, Apple introduced something called “iOS in the Car”, an infotainment system that could run on dashboards, mimicking the screens of our beloved iPhones. Early last year — nearly 14 months ago — Apple renamed the product CarPlay and said that it would become available on Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo models within days.

        • Nexus 5 Android 5.1 Update: 5 Things to Know Now

          As April comes to a close, Google’s Android 5.1 Lollipop update is still on the minds of many Nexus 5 users. With Android 5.1 problems continuing to plague many Nexus 5 users and with an Android 5.1.1 update seemingly on the way, we want to take a look at what Nexus 5 users need to know as we push into the month of May.

        • Top 10 Best Android Smartphones Buyers Guide: May 2015 Edition

          Things are starting to get more exciting in the Android smartphone world these days. LG have just launched the new G4 and while it won’t be featured in this list until it hits shelves, it’ll certainly make an impact later this year. As for May however, well there are still some excellent options out there no matter what sort of Android smartphone you’re looking for, and the flagships of 2015 are here, ready and waiting for you to pick them up at your local carrier store or from Amazon. This list is of the device available in North America right now, and next month’s list should be very interesting, indeed.

        • Upcoming Galaxy S6 and S6 edge Android 5.1 update to bring missing Android feature

          Samsung will update some of its devices to Android 5.1 Lollipop in the near future, starting with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge flagships. According to SamMobile, the update will bring a major Android feature that’s currently unavailable on the phones, even though other Lollipop devices from the competition have it.

        • The $1,400 Android Wear Watch, and Other Tech News You Missed

          With the arrival of the Apple Watch, and more specifically the fancy gold edition, luxury smartwatches are officially a thing. And Android Wear is going to try its luck. According to Bloomberg, the long-rumored Tag Heuer Android Wear smartwatch finally has a pricetag. How does $1,400 sound?

        • Android Powered Smartwatch To Be Available In May

          The LG Watch Urbane is compatible with any Android 4.3 or higher smart phone and is the fist Android Wear smartwatch enabled with Wi-Fi which allows users to disconnect from their smart phone.

Free Software/Open Source

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • BSD

    • vBSDcon 2015: September 11-13

      Please join us September 11-13, 2015 at the Sheraton in Reston, Virginia for the second biennial vBSDCon event. This exciting weekend will bring together members of the BSD community for a series of roundtable discussions, educational sessions, best practice conversations, and exclusive networking opportunities. Registration will open in July.

    • The Tor BSD Diversity Project (TDP)

      The Tor-BSD Diversity Project is an initiative that seeks to extend the use of the BSD Unix operating systems in the Tor public anonymity network.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • fattelo! presents noctambula, an open-source milk carton lamp

        fattelo! is an italian design studio focused on re-purposing household waste materials for unexpected uses. the ‘noctambula’ lamp is no different. created by fattelo! designers federico trucchia and mireia gordi vila, the LED light is switch-operated, battery-powered built with only a few standard components and one milk carton. no wiring, no soldering, and no big price tag. like their debut 01lamp, the design will be released under a creative commons license and freely available on fattelo!’s site.


  • Security

    • Spam-blasting malware infects thousands of Linux and FreeBSD servers [Ed: Eset says that thousands of bsd and linux servers had malware installed on them by admins. Unlike with Windows--remotely exploited.]

      The Eset researchers still aren’t certain how Mumblehard is installed. Based on their analysis of the infected server, they suspect the malware may take hold by exploiting vulnerabilities in the Joomla and WordPress content management systems. Their other theory is that the infections are the result of installing pirated versions of the DirecMailer program.

    • Thursday’s security updates
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • 40 years later, Vietnam still deeply divided over war

      Forty years after it won the war, the Communist Party still rules Vietnam with an iron fist. But with crony capitalism, corruption and inequality now rife, many claim its victory was a hollow one.

    • The U.S. and Vietnam: 40 Years After the Fall of Saigon

      Forty years ago today, the United States lost its first war. And for the vast numbers of Americans who were deeply affected by the Vietnam debacle – including the military personnel who served there, the families of the nearly 60,000 Americans soldiers who died in Southeast Asia, and the citizens who lost faith in their country because of the events that unfolded – the conflict will remain a defining point in their lives.

  • Finance

    • Some bitcoin mempool data: first look

      Previously I discussed the use of IBLTs (on the pettycoin blog). Kalle and I got some interesting, but slightly different results; before I revisited them I wanted some real data to play with.

  • Privacy

    • Much of NSA bulk surveillance as you’ve known it may soon end

      Don’t look now, but much of the National Security Agency bulk metadata collection that stirred so much controversy in the wake of the Edwards Snowden revelations might — just might — be about to come to an end. While civil libertarians still worry about various aspects of the program continuing, this would be no small achievement.

    • Robbery suspect pulls guilty plea after stingray disclosure, case dropped

      A woman accused of being a getaway driver in a series of robberies in St. Louis has changed her plea from guilty to not guilty after finding out that a stingray was used in her case.

      Wilqueda Lillard was originally set to testify against her three other co-defendants, whose charges were also dropped earlier this month. As a result of changing her plea, the local prosecutor dropped the charges against her on Monday.

    • UK Tribunal Rules GCHQ Conducted Illegal Surveillance And Must Destroy Legally Privileged Documents

      A couple of months ago, we reported on a surprising admission by the UK government that GCHQ has been carrying out illegal surveillance by monitoring privileged conversations between lawyers and their clients. As we noted at the time, the reason for this sudden access of conscience was simply that it knew it was going to lose an imminent case before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), the body that considers complaints about UK government surveillance. And that, indeed, is what has just happened. As the human rights organization Reprieve, which helped bring the legal action, explains, not only has GCHQ been found guilty of illegal spying, it has also been ordered to destroy the materials it collected as a result…

  • Civil Rights

    • Michael Moore: Disarm police, free nonviolent criminals

      Filmmaker Michael Moore is stirring up debate today with a series of tweets on race and police brutality in America.

      In his tweets, the Michigan native demanded that all African Americans incarcerated for drug crimes or nonviolent offenses be released from prison today.

      He also called for all police to be disarmed.

    • Media’s Baltimore ‘Teen Purge’ Narrative Falling Apart

      Had the Baltimore Sun sought out and published the actual social media sources, instead of cutting and pasting a screengrab from a friend on Facebook with “word” of a panic, they could have demonstrated whether the flier was being spread more in support or in disgust. Alas, in rushing to justify the police crackdown and to prop up the “both sides” parity our corporate media pathologically seek, they made assumptions about a viral orgy of violence and pinned the mid-afternoon clash entirely on the students and a barely readable “purge” flier of unknown origin.

    • Watch A Baltimore Resident Confront Geraldo Rivera Over Fox News’ Irresponsible Coverage

      Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera was confronted by a Baltimore resident frustrated by the network’s history of biased and incendiary coverage of racial issues. Rivera responded by retreating before going live on-air where he described the young black man as a “vandal,” yelling at him, “you’re making a fool of yourself!”

Links 30/4/2015: Debian GNU/Hurd 2015, Microsoft Copies Ubuntu

Posted in News Roundup at 7:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Dire Straits

      Vessels have the right of freedom of navigation through straits, on “innocent passage” under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. As it sounds, that amounts to a right to pass straight through on normal business. Territorial waters do not affect innocent passage. The coastal state has the right to establish sea lanes for maritime safety purposes.

      So whether the Marshall Islands flagged Maersk Tigris was in Iranian territorial waters is not relevant to its right to pass through. If, as Iranian sources have indicated, it really was impounded for commercial debt, then that would have to be in territorial waters. But for that the crew could not be detained, and the debt would have to be immediately stated and the ship released if paid. Iran is not acting as though this really is for debt.


      I was sorry for the two American hostages who were killdied in a drone strike, but sickened that given all the hundreds of innocent women and children he has murdered in drone strikes, Obama finally got all sackcloth and ashes over two American men.

  • Censorship

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • BT finally admits its Home Hub router scuppers some VPN connections

      BT has coughed to a crappy glitch with its Home Hub 3A router that is blocking some VPN connections.

      However, the one-time state monopoly appears to have taken a long time to acknowledge customer gripes, which have been piling up for weeks.

      BT said it had taken a while to respond to individual complaints because it was essentially compiling a dossier so it could pinpoint the technical blunder.


Links 28/4/2015: Plasma 5.3, Cutelyst 0.8.0

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

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Citrix Delivers Linux Virtual Desktop Offering

      Citrix is out with some interesting moves in the Linux virtual desktop arena. The company has a new kit called the “Linux Virtual Desktop Tech Preview” which is available here for XenApp or XenDesktop customers with active Subscription Advantage accounts. Citrix Partners can get it as well.

    • Chrome OS will get Lucid sleep mode

      François Beaufort, a Google developer, writes on his Google+ page that Chrome OS is receiving the ability to perform some Wifi functions while the device is sleeping.

    • VXL Launches Gio 6 Linux OS for its Suite of Thin, Cloud and Zero Client Desktop

      VXL Instruments has developed and designed exclusively in-house, VXL’s new, industry-leading Gio 6 Linux operating system features a new look, user-friendly design together with greater flexibility, connectivity, security and multimedia capabilities.

  • Server

    • Linux vendor Cumulus rolls out management pack

      Linux network operating system developer Cumulus Networks this week at Interop rolled out a management platform that provides a common interface and operational process for data center racks.

      The Cumulus Rack Management Platform is based on the company’s Cumulus Linux network operating system code base. Out-of-band management switches running Cumulus RMP may be managed by the same Linux toolsets as both servers and data-plane switches running Cumulus Linux, the company says.

    • VMware Draws on Open Source to Manage Cloud Micro Services

      VMware last week released details about two new open source projects that aim to bridge the divide between the company’s virtualization software and other vendors’ containers. Both projects integrate into VMware’s unified platform for the hybrid cloud, allowing the company to create a consistent environment for cloud-native and traditional applications.

  • Kernel Space

    • A Brief Update On Fwupd For Linux Firmware Updating Of Devices

      One of the latest focuses of prolific free software developer Richard Hughes has been on fwupd, an open-source and easy way to update device firmware.

      Fwupd is part of the initiative to make updating of UEFI/BIOS easily from the Linux desktop and fwupd can be used for updating the firmware of peripheral devices like Richard Hughes’ ColorHug device.

    • Updating OpenHardware Firmware

      One of the use-cases I’ve got for fwupd is for updating firmware on small OpenHardware projects. It doesn’t make sense for each of the projects to write a GUI firmware flash program when most of them are using a simple HID or DFU bootloader to do basically the same thing. We can abstract out the details, and just require the upstream project to provide metadata about what is fixed in each update that we can all share.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Radeon R9 290 OpenGL On Ubuntu 15.04: Catalyst vs. RadeonSI Gallium3D

        While I’ve posted some new AMD OpenGL benchmarks on Ubuntu 15.04 since last week’s release of the Vivid Vervet, the Radeon R9 290 wasn’t tested since at that time this Hawaii graphics card was busy on other Phoronix test systems. However, due to the interest level in seeing some fresh Ubuntu 15.04 numbers for the Radeon R9 290 series, here’s some numbers.

      • Nouveau NVC0 Gallium3D Driver Now Exposes GLSL 4.10

        While there’s still more work to be done before advertising OpenGL 4.0~4.1 compliance, the Nouveau NVC0 Gallium3D driver is now advertising support for GLSL 410 (4.10), the GL Shading Language version to match OpenGL 4.1.

      • GTX 750 Maxwell Acceleration Starts Working On Nouveau With Linux 4.1

        While the Nouveau developers remain blocked by NVIDIA on bringing up accelerated support for the GeForce GTX 900 series, with the forthcoming Linux 4.1 kernel there is initial GeForce GTX 750 “Maxwell” accelerated support out-of-the-box.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • BackBox Linux 4.2 Is a Complete Penetration Testing Distro Based on Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS [corrected URL]

      BackBox Linux, a distribution based on Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS, developed perform penetration tests and security assessments has just received a new update and is now ready for download.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • CUDA enabled programs

          There is a new repository available with CUDA enabled programs in package format. This contains programs that have been linked to CUDA libraries or have CUDA support enabled. At the moment this is available only on Fedora 21, if there is sufficient feedback I will enable it also for other distributions.

        • Making It Easier To Deploy CUDA On Fedora

          While Fedora 21 ships with decent OpenCL support, if you’re running the binary NVIDIA graphics driver on Fedora Linux and wishing to use CUDA-accelerated programs, it’s a little bit easier today thanks to a new third-party package repository.

        • FLISOL Panama 2015 Report

          Panama Fedora team participated in Festival Latinoamericano de Instalación de Software Libre (FLISOL) given on Saturday, April 25th at Universidad del Istmo, main campus.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 8.0 Jessie Debuts After Two Years of Effort

        New Debian releases don’t occur every day, or even every year. This past week, Debian 8.0 codenamed Jessie was released after nearly two years of development effort. Debian is the first major milestone update for the GNU/Linux distribution since Wheezy was released in 2013.

      • why not trying to package Hadoop in Debian?

        OpenStack Sahara already provides the reproducible deployment system which you seem to wish. We “only” need Hadoop itself.

      • Backporting and git-buildpackage

        For working with Debian packages, one method of maintaining them is to put them in git and use git-buildpackage to build them right out of the git repository. There are a few pitfalls with it, notably around if you forget to import the upstream you get this strange treeish related error which still throws me at first when I see it.

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Arrow Electronics Joins Open-Source Software Pioneer Linaro to Help Bring Innovative New Boards to Market
    • Compact embedded PC runs Linux on Bay Trail

      Aaeon’s ruggedized, 158 x 95 x 20mm “Boxer-6403″ PC offers Celeron or Atom SoCs, plus four USB ports and double helpings of GbE, serial, and mini-PCIe I/O.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Learn more about the Tizen Web Application Development Process

          Tizen is a new Linux based HTML5 centric Operating System that will offer developers a great opportunity for developers to bring their existing or new apps to a brand new ecosystem, where they actually have a chance of being discovered, and better still stand a chance of generating some real cash revenue.

        • Samsung’s 4K SUHD Smart Tizen TV

          The Samsung Smart TV revolution is upon us, and Samsung promises to redefine your viewing experience with television. We now have curved screens that feel more natural to watch as we see the world in a non-linear way, so why should we watch TV on a flat screen?

          Samsung Tizen TV offers some great image quality and promises to be able to become the Smart hub of your Smart home, allowing you to control peripheral devices from the comfort of your armchair.

      • Android

        • Android could ignite the Nokia of old

          For an entire generation, the name Nokia will stir up a lot of emotion. From the iconic 3210 to the symbolic N95, the pre-smartphone years were Nokia’s heyday and a large majority of current smartphone users will be able to recall using a Nokia handset in their past.

        • Disney’s Infinity Digital Toys Finally Come To Android With The Toy Box 2.0 App

          If you’re not familiar with Disney Infinity, it’s basically the media giant’s answer to digital toys like Skylanders, Angry Birds Telepods, and Nintendo Amiibo. The gist is that you buy your kids RFID-enabled collectible statues, they stick ‘em on a base station, and then they can use digital versions of those characters inside the Disney Infinity game. Is there a technical reason that a completely digital character needs a $15 hunk of physical plastic to unlock? Why certainly, so long as “technical reason” includes “making Disney a boatload of money.”

        • Google blushes over Google Maps showing Android icon urinating on Apple icon

          As of Monday, all was well in Pakistan’s Ayub National Park, at least as far as Google Maps was concerned, which was showing it as a verdant green swath of pixels.

          It was a nice change from the image of Google’s Android icon peeing on an Apple logo: an image that a map prankster uploaded to Google Maps and which had stayed up for an undetermined time.

        • Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition to get Android 5.1 Lollipop

          The Galaxy S4 may be more than two years old now, but it’s still very much a part of Samsung’s Lollipop upgrade plans. The device has already received an Android 5.0 upgrade, and according to a new report, Google Play Edition variants will get Android 5.1, too.

        • Will This Android Wear Update Fend Off the Apple Watch?

          Meanwhile, Google has kept the ability to customize Android Wear low compared to Android for smartphones and tablets, which has caused several manufacturers to experiment with homegrown solutions. These updates keep Android Wear’s feature set compelling enough to keep most OEMs from venturing out on their own.

        • The Livescribe 3 smartpen finally works with Android devices

          Livescribe has been in the business of merging physical content you generate — things like hand-written notes and voice recordings — with the digital world for years now. The Livescribe 3 “smartpen,” which launched in the fall of 2013, was certainly its most successful attempt to date. The combo of the Livescribe 3 pen alongside specially designed notebooks meant that you could take traditional notes, make drawings, do calculations, or anything else you do with a pen and paper and have them synced to your phone, tablet, or computer. That’s assuming you were an iOS user, of course — the Livescribe 3 only supported Apple’s mobile devices.

        • Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 Release Details Arrive

          While the Android 5.1 update probably won’t be hitting the Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S5 or Galaxy Note 4 anytime soon, it does appear that the rumored Galaxy Android 5.1 Lollipop update will be hitting at least one device in the near future.

Free Software/Open Source


  • Security

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • ‘All Weather Is Part of Actual Climate’
    • Climate change could drive air conditioning to boost carbon emissions

      The climate is full of feedback loops. When a warming climate melts sea ice, the water that’s left behind reflects far less sunlight, leading to a further warming. Now, some researchers at the University of California Berkeley have looked at a human feedback loop: the relation between climate change and air conditioning. Using Mexico as an example, they find that the rising use of air conditioning may boost the country’s electricity use and carbon emissions by 80 percent before the century is over—but only if economic growth continues at a pace that allows people to buy air conditioners.

  • Finance

    • The End of a Job as We Know It

      The concept of a job, as we know it, is starting to go away.

    • Wall Street Halts Twitter Trading Following Earnings Leak (Liveblog)

      Wall Street briefly halted trading for Twitter stock Tuesday afternoon after the company’s Q1 earnings were leaked early.

      Twitter missed analyst’s revenue projections, and the market reacted as Twitter stock quickly dipped almost 6 percent before trading was halted. Trading then resumed, and the stock finished the day down more than 18 percent.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Vouchers on the Move: Return to School Segregation?

      Twenty-five years ago, Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson signed the nation’s first school voucher bill into law. Pitched as social mobility tickets for minority students, Wisconsin vouchers allow children to attend private, and sometimes religious, schools on the taxpayers’ dime.

  • Censorship

    • Salman Rushdie: The authors boycotting event awarding Charlie Hebdo a prize for free speech are ‘pussies’

      Salman Rushdie has accused fellow authors, including Peter Carey and Michael Ondaatje, of being “pussies” for boycotting an event organised by the free-speech organisation PEN at which the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is to be given an award.

    • Rieder: Why ‘Charlie Hebdo’ deserves free speech award

      A debate has erupted over the decision by PEN American Center to give its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

      It was at the offices of Charlie Hebdo that an assault by Muslim extremists in January left 12 people dead, including the publication’s top editor and a number of prominent cartoonists.

    • Demonoid Blocks Adblock Users – Fair or Fail?

      Demonoid, once one of the Internet’s most popular torrent sites, is now barring users who try to visit the site with advert blocking software Adblock installed. The move raises some interesting questions, not least the value of revenue to torrent sites and the intricacies of whether or not content really should be ‘free’.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

Links 28/4/2015: More on Debian 8 “Jessie”, Fedora 22 Beta Walkthrough

Posted in News Roundup at 7:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 2016 might just be the year of Linux on the (virtual) desktop

    Come November, some “pundit” will declare that next year is the year of Linux on the desktop. This November, expect a twist on that prediction, as 2016 could just perhaps conceivably be the year of virtual Linux desktops now that Citrix has taken kit capable of delivering it into Beta.

    That kit is called the “Linux Virtual Desktop Tech Preview” and can be had here if you’re a XenApp or XenDesktop customer with an active Subscription Advantage account. Citrix Partners can get it too.

  • Desktop

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Anti-Systemd People

      For some reason the men in the Linux community who hate women the most seem to have taken a dislike to systemd. I understand that being “conservative” might mean not wanting changes to software as well as not wanting changes to inequality in society but even so this surprised me. My last blog post about systemd has probably set a personal record for the amount of misogynistic and homophobic abuse I received in the comments. More gender and sexuality related abuse than I usually receive when posting about the issues of gender and sexuality in the context of the FOSS community! For the record this doesn’t bother me, when I get such abuse I’m just going to write more about the topic in question.

    • Unix and Personal Computers: Reinterpreting the Origins of Linux

      So, to sum up: What Linus Torvalds, along with plenty of other hackers in the 1980s and early 1990s, wanted was a Unix-like operating system that was free to use on the affordable personal computers they owned. Access to source code was not the issue, because that was already available—through platforms such as Minix or, if they really had cash to shell out, by obtaining a source license for AT&T Unix. Therefore, the notion that early Linux programmers were motivated primarily by the ideology that software source code should be open because that is a better way to write it, or because it is simply the right thing to do, is false.

    • Linus Torvalds Announces Linux Kernel 4.1 RC1 with Initial ACPI Support for ARM64

      Linus Torvalds announced a few minutes ago, April 27, the immediate availability for download and testing of the first Release Candidate version of the upcoming Linux 4.1 kernel, due for release later this year.

    • Reducing power consumption on Haswell and Broadwell systems

      Haswell and Broadwell (Intel’s previous and current generations of x86) both introduced a range of new power saving states that promised significant improvements in battery life. Unfortunately, the typical experience on Linux was an increase in power consumption. The reasons why are kind of complicated and distinctly unfortunate, and I’m at something of a loss as to why none of the companies who get paid to care about this kind of thing seemed to actually be caring until I got a Broadwell and looked unhappy, but here we are so let’s make things better.

    • Intel Haswell/Broadwell Power Use On Linux Still Moving Lower

      The latest work of Matthew Garrett is on further lowering the power consumption of modern x86 systems powered by Intel’s Haswell and Broadwell processors.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Gallium3D’s HUD Gets New Customization Options

        For the past two years there has been an optional Gallium3D HUD to display various performance-related metrics as an overlay while running OpenGL applications with the Gallium3D drivers. With the latest Mesa Git code, the heads-up display can be a bit more customized.

      • Intel Is Making Some Progress With Compute Shaders

        One of the big extensions of OpenGL 4.3 and also a requirement of OpenGL ES 3.1 is support for compute shaders. While the work isn’t complete yet, Intel’s open-source developers are making progress on GL_ARB_compute_shader support.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Radeon GPUs With Linux 4.0 + Mesa 10.6-devel

        For at least the few graphics cards tested, the results of Linux 4.0 + Mesa 10.6-devel didn’t end up being much more interesting than the stock Ubuntu 15.04 numbers with Linux 3.19 and Mesa 10.5. However, for those interested, I’ve enclosed the results in this article. Though the Radeon HD 6870 numbers are missing as with Linux 4.0 stable the graphics card could no longer properly mode-set on this system: the HD 6450, HD 6570, HD 7850, and R9 270X all were fine in this situation.

      • GCC 4.9.2 vs. GCC 5 Benchmarks On An Intel Xeon Haswell

        For those craving some more GCC 5 compiler benchmark numbers following last week’s release of GCC 5.1, here’s some new comparison numbers between GCC 4.9.2 stable and the near-final release candidate of GCC 5.1.

        Pardon for this light article due to still finishing up work on migrating to the new Phoronix web server while separately working to take care of thermal issues coming about in the new Linux benchmarking server room.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KActivities powered recent media in Plasma Media Center

        As you may have already read the blog post from Eike Hein about Building on new pillars: Activities and KPeople in Plasma 5.3, activities can provide the useful information about the recent applications and resources used by them.

      • kreenshot-editor is incubating

        Now, kreenshot-editor is a new Qt-based project that was inspired by Greenshot’s image editor. It is hosted on KDE playground. It focuses on the image editing task, can be invoked from command line and should also provide a resuable editor component which could be integrated into other screencapture tools. The current code is already separated into an image editor widget and the main application.

      • Spring break for the KDE system monitor
      • Kubuntu 15.04 With Plasma 5.3 – A Totally Different Kubuntu

        The latest version of Kubuntu, 15.04, aka Vivid Vervet was released last week and it’s available for free download. With this release it has become the first major distro to ship Plasma 5 as the default desktop environment.

        There are chances that some users may still have bad memories of Kubuntu. It’s true. Back in 2011 when Ubuntu made a switch to Unity, I started looking for alternatives as their desktop environment was not suited for me. I started trying KDE-based distros and Kubuntu was among the top choices. However my experience with the distro was mixed. It was buggy, bloated and GTK apps would look ugly in it. That’s when I found openSUSE and settled down with it.

      • Google Summer of Code 2015

        The list of students accepted to the 2015 edition of Google’s Summer of code has just been published. We’ve got two students this working on Krita: Jouni and Wolthera. Wolthera has been a Krita developer for quite some time, working on color selectors perspective assistants and more, while Jouni has contributed with bug fixes for 2.9.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • A brief glimpse into usability testing

        This provides the description and results of my 1-person usability test for GNOME version 3.14.2. I set up the test environment on a virtual machine running Debian Jessie, and conducted the usability test with only one participant on February 21, 2015.

        When doing usability testing, I strongly believe that understanding the participants is a very important point that we shouldn’t ignore. Here, the tester was a 23 year old female student in computer science, who self-reported a medium level of computer expertise.

  • Distributions

    • BackBox Linux 4.2 Is a Complete Penetration Testing Distro Based on Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS

      BackBox Linux, a distribution based on Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS, developed perform penetration tests and security assessments has just received a new update and is now ready for download.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 5 Release Candidate Includes the LXQt Desktop, Supports Intel Broadwell

        After several delays, the Mageia development team, through Rémi Verschelde, announced the immediate availability for download and testing of the Release Candidate version of the upcoming Mageia 5 Linux operating system, due for release sometime in May 2015.

      • Debian 8 and Mageia 5 RC Released Over the Weekend

        What an exciting weekend that just passed. First up, the long-awaited Debian GNU/Linux 8.0 “Jessie” was released in live and traditional installation media. Elsewhere, Mageia 5 Release Candidate was released with UEFI support and other installation improvements. In addition, LibreOffice 4.3.7 was released Saturday as well.

      • All things come to those who wait

        While you wait for the download to complete, all restless and eager that you are to try this new release, let’s talk a bit about this release candidate: what can you expect of it, and why did it take so long?

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 8 Jessie released

        For the first time since 2013 the Debian team have released a major upgrade of Debian, bumping it up to version 8. The new version has gone under the moniker ‘Jessie’, a continuation of the Toy Story themed names.

      • Debian Edu 8.0 Beta 1 Is Now Available for Testing, Based on Debian 8 Jessie

        The Debian Edu / Skolelinux project, through Holger Levsen, announced the general availability for download and testing of the first Beta release of the upcoming Debian Edu 8.0 distribution.

      • Debian 8.0 ‘Jessie’ arrives following Ubuntu 15.04 release

        The DEBIAN OPERATING SYSTEM has reached version 8.0 as the company announces the latest edition of the popular Linux distro.

        The Debian ‘Jessie’ release information says: “After almost 24 months of constant development the Debian project is proud to present its new stable version 8 (codename Jessie), which will be supported for the next five years thanks to the combined work of the Debian Security team and the Debian Long Term Support team.”

      • Debian 8 ‘Jessie’ Released: The Road To systemd Is Complete

        Following nearly two years of “constant development”, Debian 8 ‘Jessie’ hit the Web this past weekend. As with Ubuntu 15.04 and its derivatives, all released last week, Debian 8’s most notable feature is the adoption of systemd. With this move, Gentoo becomes the final major distro that doesn’t ship with systemd as default.

      • Debian 8 “Jessie” the GNU/Linux-based operating system released

        After being for almost two years in development, Debian 8 “Jessie” version is now released for download. Debian is a Unix-like computer operating system and a Linux distribution that is composed entirely of free and open-source software, most of which is under the GNU General Public License, and packaged by a group of individuals known as the Debian project.

      • Debian 8 released
      • Debian ships new ‘Jessie’ release with systemd AND sysvinit

        The Debian project is touting new ports for ARM and POWER architectures, a bunch of software updates, an upgraded Gnome desktop and better security in its just-unleashed Jessie release.

        However, El Reg fully expects that the switch to systemd as the default init system will divert at least some attention from the release.

      • Updates tothe Debian sources editor

        If your browser performs automatic updates of the extensions (the default), you should soon be upgraded to version 0.0.10 or later, bringing all those changes to your browser.

        Want to see more? multi-file editing? emacs and vim editing modes? in-browser storage of the modified files? that and more can be done, so feel free to join me and contribute to the Debian sources editor!

      • Debian 8 Linux moves to systemd by default and drops Itanium and Sparc

        Debian, one of the most widely used Linux distributions, has been updated with the release of Debian 8 ‘Jessie’, which now uses systemd to initialise the system and ships with updated versions of the Gnome desktop and numerous other enhancements.

      • These Are Good Days

        I decided to use the last hour of my day to install Debian GNU/Linux 8, Jessie, again, this time with defaults from “tasksel”: Debian desktop XFCE and “base utilities”. I did this in a virtual machine while grooving to a stream of my local “oldies” radio-station, checking the weather on the web, blogging, browsing the web and Beast’s CPU is barely above idling speed, and I’m nowhere near out of RAM. It’s all surreal compared to the work we had to do in the old days: downloading multiple .iso files, burning CDs, checking them for defects…, having the installation fail to boot or not start X, and the old systems ground away for an hour or more. Heck, Beast doesn’t even have a CD-drive these days.

      • GLT15: Slides of my “Debian 8 aka jessie, what’s new” talk

        I wasn’t sure whether I would make it to Linuxdays Graz (GLT15) this year so I didn’t participate in its call for lectures. But when meeting folks on the evening before the main event I came up with the idea of giving a lightning talk as special kind of celebrating the Debian jessie release.

      • virt-builder Debian 8 (Jessie) image
      • Derivatives

        • Debian-Based Distribution Updated With KDE 3.5 Forked Desktop

          Q4OS 1.2 “Orion” is the new release that is re-based on Debian Jessie, focused on shipping its own desktop utilities and customizations, and designed to run on both old and new hardware.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Is Ubuntu moving away from .deb packages? Here is the complete story

            Canonical loves to shake things up. After introducing Unity, HUD, Mir, Click and Snappy the sponsor of Ubuntu is now contemplating moving away from just .deb based desktop and adopting its own Snappy.

          • My Ubuntu Phone is here!

            The BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition comes in a nice, fancy package, with the right dose of orange color. Inside the box, you will find a phone that’s neither too big nor too slim. It’s more like what the mainstream market used to offer a couple of years ago, which makes far more sense than the ultra-slippery models today. Aquaris reminds me of iPhone 4, not that I’m a great connoisseur of phones and what they should be like, but that’s how it is.

          • First impressions of Ubuntu 15.04

            Canonical’s Ubuntu operating system is probably the most widely used Linux distribution in the world. Ubuntu is made available in several editions, including desktop builds, server builds and there is a branch of Ubuntu for mobile phones. Ubuntu provides installation images for the x86, ARM and Power PC architectures, allowing the distribution to run on a wide variety of hardware. The most recent release of Ubuntu, version 15.04, includes a fairly short list of changes compared to last year’s Ubuntu 14.10, however some of the changes are significant. Some small changes include an upgrade of the kernel to Linux 3.19 and placing application menus inside the application window by default. A potentially larger change is the switch from Canonical’s Upstart init software to systemd.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • New gst-rpicamsrc features

      These bring the GStreamer element up to date with new features added to raspivid since I first started the project, such as adding text annotations to the video, support for the 2nd camera on the compute module, intra-refresh and others.

    • The most recent project hits a Yak-shaving milestone…

      …so that’s sucked me into the world of spectrometers, reverse engineering the protocols to use them on Linux (oh, yeah, I need to publish that), binning leds by hand with a makeshift integration chamber…

    • 64-bit STB SoC supports 4K video and Android TV

      Marvell announced an “Ultra” version of its Android-focused Armada 1500 STB SoC that advances to a 64-bit, quad-core Cortex-A53 foundation for 4K delivery.

      The Armada 1500 Ultra (88DE3218) is designed to “enable PayTV operators and set-top box (STB) manufacturers to cost-effectively deliver small form factor devices with feature-rich 4K entertainment and gaming services,” says Armada. As with earlier Armada 1500 system-on-chips, it’s primarily focused on Android, with specific support for Android TV

    • Interview: Eben Upton

      The founder and CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation talks about the Pi Model 2, and how Google’s Eric Schmidt convinced him to knock down the price.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Tizen DevLab coming to Bangalore and Mumbai in India for May 2015

          Following on from the successful Tizen DevLabs in London and Paris, we have some great news for developers as the Tizen DevLab Series is coming to India, well specifically to Bangalore and Mumbai. If your a you’re a novice or an expert, a programmer or an innovator then you are welcome to come along, you could even find yourself winning a Samsung Z1.

        • [Game] Angry Birds comes to the Tizen Store and the Samsung Z1

          The hugely successful game Angry Birds is now available for the Tizen based Samsung Z1 Smartphone. The game is an Android App (equivalent to Android Angry Birds version 5.0.2.) that is running on the Z1 thanks to OpenMobile’s ACL technology.

          Angry Birds is an iconic game for MeeGo and Tizen as this one of the big games to be shown running on developer devices at Tizen developer events. The original game supports In-App purchases, but this doesn’t seem to be working with the Tizen Store, most likely a compatability issue. The gameplay is pretty good and any slowness can be attributed to the modest hardware of the Z1.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • File a bug!

    Sadly, these are often just empty words. “Patches welcome” can be a seemingly-polite way of saying “your problem is not important to me. Go solve it yourself and I’ll accept your solution.” And telling a user to go file a bug can be equally dismissive, especially if the bug-filing process is unpleasant.

  • Bazel, Google’s Open Source Build System

    One of the most important, yet unsung, applications in a software developer’s life is the Make utility, or its equivalent. Make first appeared in 1977 and has been with us ever since. There are a very large number of build utilities, some based on Make, others completely different. The principle remains the same. The build system has a set of rules that tell it how to build an application from source files, usually fetched from a version control system. The Make utility reads the rules, then runs the compilers and linkers to do the build. The really good ones will run tests, as well.

  • Linux Freedom vs. Convenience

    One of my favorite websites that illustrate this point is WhyLinuxIsBetter.net. As the page loads, you’re immediately presented with clear, easy to understand reasons why Linux is better than proprietary operating systems. Now granted, the website is a bit dated. But the overall message is timeless and positive. What this site does well is show its readers exactly why Linux on the desktop is awesome. From its features to its built-in safety, everything is clearly illustrated and easy to understand.

  • Events

    • PyCon 2015 conference report & video roundup
    • [Event Report] April Python Pune Meetup 26th April, 2015
    • [Event Report] Docker Pune Meetup #5
    • Open Source Conference in Oslo – May 8 – 10

      In just a few days we’ll have an open source conference in Oslo. I’m happy that we’ll have a Qt and KDE track, so I’d like to invite everyone to join for the weekend May 8-10 at the University of Oslo.

    • LinuxFest Northwest in the Books for 2015

      Feast or famine: This is the typical modus operandi for FOSS shows, where Saturdays (or the “first days,” whatever they are) are a literal beehive of activity on the expo floor while talks are standing-room only. Sundays (or “second days”) — ah, those second days — the activity drops off a bit.


      With Sunday being more low-key, I got to catch up with LibreOffice’s Robinson Tryon, who said that the show was a hit for the project. Without the cacophony of multiple conversations going on at the same time, like on Saturday, we got to talk about advances LibreOffice is making in Android, which is going faster than expected, and various aspects of document freedom, not the least of which is the successful growth of Document Freedom Day. Heady days are in store for LibreOffice.

    • KVM and Xen to Hold Joint Hackathon for Open Source Virtualization

      That’s right. The teams behind Xen Project Developer Summit and KVM Forum recently announced plans to co-host a hackathon and social event on August 18, 2015, at the close of the Xen Project Developer Summit and on the eve of KVM Forum. Virtualization is one of the most important technologies in IT today, so it makes perfect sense for the two best hypervisor projects to collaborate and socialize at an event that celebrates their similarities and bridges that gap between all things KVM and Xen.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • Microsoft & Education: The Song Remains the Same

      One of our hardware donors emailed me and asked if I would come to Austin and pick up a dozen Optiplex 745s with 17 inch monitors and accompanying keyboards. These Dells already had scrubbed drives and had either 4 or 8 GB of RAM, depending on what they were originally assigned to do. I said I most certainly would and arranged a time to be there. This donor has been especially generous to us, and not with just decent hardware. They also present us an annual Christmas cash donation of $1000. On the years they do employee matching, it is more than that — a lot more.

  • Healthcare

  • Funding

    • EUR 38 million EU funds for ICT in Malta

      Over the next seven years, the EU is funding ICT programmes in Malta with some EUR 38 million, the government of Malta announced in March. The funds are part of a EUR 400 million package earmarked to finance socio-economic development in the country. ICT is seen as one of the main ‘enablers’ for development and innovation in Malta.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Can funding open source bug bounties save Europe from mass-surveillance?

      The report also suggests promoting open-source software as a way to build resilience to surveillance, which could be achieved by funding audits of important open-source software. Among several products it highlights is disk encryption software, TrueCrypt, which was recently subjected to a crowd-funded audit that was able to rule out the existence of NSA backdoors in the product.

      “TrueCrypt is a typical example of a problem of the commons: worldwide use of software package was probably dependent on two or three developers,” the study notes to highlight why funding open source projects may be valuable.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • C++ Daddy Bjarne Stroustrup outlines directions for v17

      Calm yourselves, readers. The Spring 2015 C++ Standards Committee Meeting takes place next week in Lenexa, Kansas. And at that meeting much of the discussion is expected to consider C++ 17, a major revision of the programming language due in 2017.

    • Atom Shell is now Electron

      Atom Shell is now called Electron. You can learn more about Electron and what people are building with it at its new home electron.atom.io.


  • UK Elections

    • Clegg Hoist With Own Petard

      Indeed if the total number of votes cast in the UK for Tories plus Lib Dems is equal to the total number of votes cast in the UK for Labour plus Scot Nats (which is more or less what the polls are showing), then Labour plus the Scot Nats will win approximately 35 more seats than the rival bloc for the same total votes, entirely because of the Lib Dem veto on the Boundary Commission proposals.

    • General Election 2015: What do MPs think about mass surveillance?

      Like the British public, the vast majority of MPs had no idea about the extent of bulk data collection by the security services when whistleblower Edward Snowden spoke out. With the election pending, what do parliamentary candidates think there needs to be done about mass surveillance?

    • BBC Mock Balance

      Whereas the “equal time” allowed the SNP candidate included BBC commentary giving direct personal criticism of her, there was no critical note in the Alexander side of the coverage. An interesting example of how the state propaganda system works.

  • Security

  • Finance

  • Censorship

    • Dan Bull’s ‘Death To ACTA’ Video Silenced After Claim From Rapper Who Used The Same Sample

      Back in 2010 we wrote about rapper Dan Bull’s excellent “Death to ACTA” song and video, which is a parody of Jay-Z’s “Death of Autotune.” In 2011, we further wrote about the MP3 of that song (which Bull distributes willingly on file sharing platforms) being taken down from Mediafire due to a questionable takedown request. Now, years later (well after ACTA is pretty much long dead), Dan’s discovered that his video on YouTube was just silenced due to copyright claims.

  • Privacy

    • Facebook denies fresh allegation that it DOES collect the text you decided against posting

      Ever written out a status update or comment but decided against posting it? One techie has claimed Facebook collects this content, despite the company’s claims to the contrary

    • Encrypting Your Laptop Like You Mean It

      Unlike in Windows and Mac OS X, you can only encrypt your disk when you first install Linux. If you already have Linux installed without disk encryption, you’re going to need to backup your data and reinstall Linux. While there’s a huge variety of Linux distributions, I’m going to use Ubuntu as an example, but setting up disk encryption in all major distributions is similar.

    • Facebook Messenger Gets Video Calling on iOS, Android

      Move over Skype, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime. Facebook wants to host your next mobile video chat.

    • Senior Police Officer Suggests Companies Allowing People To Use Strong Crypto Are ‘Friendly To Terrorists’

      The technology is not being “exploited” by terrorists, it’s being used by them, just as they use telephones or microwaves or washing machines. That’s what those devices are there for. The idea that trying to make broken internet technologies should be “front and center” of technology companies’ thinking bespeaks a complete contempt for their users.

      This constant refrain about how awful strong crypto is, and how we must break it, is simply the intelligence services implicitly admitting that they find the idea of doing their job in a free society, where people are able to keep some messages private, too hard, so they would be really grateful if technology companies could just fall in line and make life easier by destroying privacy for everyone.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Treaties

      • As resistance grows, TTIP is increasingly in trouble.

        It’s been a couple of months since my last TTIP update. That hiatus reflects the talks themselves, which feel strangely suspended. That’s not to say nothing is happening: indeed, there’s an air of desperate busy-ness beginning to creep into the proceedings as even the most fervid supporter of the agreement realises that TTIP is not going to be finished by the end of 2015, and people rush around vainly trying to do something about it. That’s pretty astonishing when you remember that the original plan was to finish it by the end of 2014:

      • President Obama Demands Critics Tell Him What’s Wrong With TPP; Of Course We Can’t Do That Because He Won’t Show Us The Agreement

        President Obama is apparently quite annoyed by the fact that his own party is basically pushing against his “big trade deals” (that are not really about trade). Senator Elizabeth Warren has been pretty aggressive in trashing the TPP agreement, highlighting the fact that the agreement is still secret (other than the bits leaked by Wikileaks). In response, President Obama came out swinging against the critics of TPP arguing that “they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

      • NYT Lets Economic Pundit Disappear TPP’s Economist Critics

        So all economists are for TPP because TPP is a “free trade” bill and all economists are for “free trade.” Simple, right? The only reason Congress wouldn’t pass fast track, Mankiw suggests, is if politicians listened to voters who were “worse than ignorant about the principles of good policy.”


Links 27/4/2015: Debian 9 Named, Linux 4.1 Reaches RC

Posted in News Roundup at 7:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • What is open source? Licensing, history, and more

    Another example of open source: You wouldn’t buy a car with the hood welded shut, so why do we buy proprietary software? If you can’t see what’s going on and see what’s happening under the hood then you’re stuck with the car exactly the way it is and that might not be so great. While some people are fine with that, computer geeks shouldn’t be. We should want to get in there and tinker with it.

  • AMD FP3 Motherboard Ported To Coreboot

    Another AMD motherboard has been ported to work under Coreboot.

    Sage Electronic Engineering, a company that does a lot of Coreboot work for AMD and other firms, has ported the AMD Lamar reference board for Coreboot. AMD Lamar is a consumer reference board used for AMD Kaveri APUs of the FP3 socket.

  • Events

    • A Rousing Start for LinuxFest Northwest

      With around 2,000 registrants, this year’s LFNW seems to be the largest in its history. This not only bodes well for the widespread popularity and acceptance of FOSS in general, but it also bodes well for one of the longest-running FOSS shows here in the Pacific Northwest.

  • CMS

    • An open source, e-commerce friendly CMS

      Developers Peter Ivanov, Alex Raikov, and I came up with the idea for Microweber about five years ago, when we were all having problems building sites with the existing solutions.



  • Poll: SNP increase lead over Labour
  • Security

    • Google Provides Detailed Analysis of GitHub Attack Traffic

      It wasn’t until March 26 that the attackers actually began targeting two separate resources on GitHub, one of which housed content from GreatFire.org, a censorship monitoring organization in China. The other resource was Chinese language content from the New York Times. The attack on those resources lasted until April 7 and Provos said that the attack wouldn’t have been possible if all of the Web’s links were encrypted.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • University offering free online course to demolish climate denial

      The course coordinator is John Cook, University of Queensland Global Change Institute climate communication fellow, and founder of the climate science myth debunking website Skeptical Science. Cook’s research has primarily focused on the psychology of climate science denial.

  • Finance

    • Charles Gladden: Homeless man employed at US Senate building earns just $360 a week

      Like many of the people who work in menial jobs in the US Senate, Charles Gladden works long, hard hours for very modest pay. Unlike probably everyone else, Mr Gladden is homeless.

      The 63-year-old sweeps and mops, cleans dishes and carries laundry, for take-home pay of around $360 a week. He says he gives most to his children and grandchildren and spends most of his nights at the McPherson Square Metro Station, less than half-a-mile from the White House.

  • Privacy

    • Here’s how you can see and delete your entire Google search history

      The list does not stop at Google’s search engine function. It also includes documentation of searches within users’ email accounts and addresses that may have been typed into Google Maps. The range of personal information available has given rise to concerns over the databases’ potential vulnerability.

      Google has said the company is aware of the dangers associated with storing an extensive amount of personal information on home computers and warns users with a message before they download their entire search archive, asking users to “please read this carefully, it’s not the usual yada yada,” normally seen in warning messages.


      But just because a user deletes his or her search history, that does not mean that it disappears completely.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Gordon and Dougie Show

      Douglas Alexander not only facilitated the use of Diego Garcia for torture and extraordinary rendition, in an act of extreme hypocrisy the evil little shit also declared a “marine conservation area” around it. In the 1960’s Britain forcibly deported the entire population of the islands to make way for the US Air Base. Faced with a continual political and legal fight for them to return, Alexander sought to make it impossible with his “marine conservation area”. There is nobody who better represents Scottish Labour’s loss of its soul than Alexander. If Mhairi beats him I shall be extremely happy.

    • 7 whistle-blowers facing more jail time than David Petraeus

      The administration of President Barack Obama once promised to be “the most transparent administration” of all time. Instead, Obama’s Department of Justice has led the most targeted campaign against whistleblowers of any president ever, charging more government employees under the Espionage Act than all previous presidents combined—almost all of whom sit in prison serving sentences up to 30 years.

  • Intellectual Monopolies


Links 26/4/2015: Debian 8, OpenMandriva Lx 3 Alpha, Mageia 5 RC

Posted in News Roundup at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • The Open Source Community Support System

      Whether you’re a novice Web developer or seasoned CIO, at some point you will require technical support with either a new IT development, task or project. What type of support will you want? With open source software, the flexibility and choice is yours.

  • Databases

    • Deep Engine Brings Enterprise-Level Performance to MySQL Databases

      Deep Information Sciences has launched Deep Engine, a plug-and-play storage engine that brings scale and performance to MySQL databases, without the need for recoding or redeploying applications that use MySQL as a data source. What’s more, Deep Engine is installed as a simple 10M-byte plug-in, which can run alongside other storage engines or replace them entirely. Deep Engine brings hybrid transactional and analytical processing (HTAP) capabilities to MySQL, making it suitable for big data and other data-intensive projects that require billions of rows of information in both structured and unstructured record formats. Substantial performance improvements and exponentially greater levels of scale are offered, thanks to compression technology, as well as machine learning routines that leverage intelligent heuristics to better organize queries and storage elements. Taken altogether, Deep Engine can potentially delay or prevent the need to transition to more expensive server and database platforms to handle big data or other data-intensive projects.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Hilarious random startup website generator is pretty damn realistic

    A pair of Georgia Tech computer science students have created a Random Startup Website Generator that spits out a different jargon-laden startup website every time you click on the URL.

  • Science

    • The huge flaw in Moore’s Law? It’s NOT a law after all

      Critics have had half a century to pick apart and predict the end of Moore’s Law, which marked its Big Five Zero birthday this week.

      It’s unlikely that Gordon Earle Moore, the former electrical engineer who authored the eponymous law for a 1965 article, and who two-years later co-founded Intel, has any doubts over its value.

  • Security

    • IoT ‘Security Hopscotch’ Is No Game: Chris Roberts

      Chris Roberts has been in the news a lot this week, for all the wrong reasons. Roberts was banned from United Airlines after tweeting on a flight about his theoretical ability to hack into a plane’s WiFi system. FBI agents detained him for an interview after his flight, and there is now a federal advisory alerting airline staff to look for passengers trying to hack into airplane WiFi.

    • Home router security 2015 – 9 settings that will keep the bad guys out
    • 6 Most Dangerous New Attack Techniques in 2015

      Experts with the SANS Institute convened at RSA Conference for their annual threats panel, this time dishing on the six most dangerous new attack techniques. Led by SANS Director John Pescatore, the panel featured Ed Skoudis, SANS faculty fellow and CEO of CounterHack Challenges, Johannes Ullrich, dean of research for SANS, and Michael Assante, SANS project lead for Industrial Control System (ICS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) security. Each offered up thoughts on how they’ve seen threats evolving and which techniques they expect to gain steam over the next year.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Miliband Goes the Full Henry Jackson

      Full on neo-con philosophy underpinned Miliband’s “speech” to the Royal Institute of International Affairs yesterday. Miliband acknowledged that our bombing of Libya back to the stone age was the root cause of the boat people crisis.

    • Bishop says Britain has a moral duty to accept refugees from its wars

      Rt Rev David Walker, bishop of Manchester, says it is ‘unworthy’ for politicians to label displaced migrants as criminals, and country should take in ‘fair share’

    • Migrant boat crisis: the story of the Greek hero on the beach

      It was an image that came to symbolise desperation and valour: the desperation of those who will take on the sea – and the men who ferry human cargo across it – to flee the ills that cannot keep them in their own countries. And the valour of those on Europe’s southern shores who rush to save them when tragedy strikes.

      Last week on the island of Rhodes, war, repression, dictatorship in distant Eritrea were far from the mind of army sergeant Antonis Deligiorgis. The world inhabited by Wegasi Nebiat, a 24-year-old Eritrean in the cabin of a yacht sailing towards the isle, was still far away.

    • ‘The more civilians US drones kill in the Mideast, the more radicals they create’

      American drone-strike strategy in the Middle East is counterproductive because killing civilians, even if it’s accidentally, breeds more al-Qaeda or other radical militants, defense analyst Ivan Eland told RT.

    • Warren Weinstein Death Puts U.S. Drone Strikes in Uncomfortable Spotlight

      The U.S. government’s use of drone strikes came under mounting pressure on Friday, as Pakistan joined a chorus of criticism over the policy following the accidental killings of two al Qaeda hostages.

      The White House said it was conducting “a thorough independent review to understand fully what happened and how we can prevent this type of tragic incident in the future” after it emerged that U.S. aid worker Warren Weinstein and Italian national Giovanni Lo Porto were killed by a CIA drone strike near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

    • A Drone Program That Has Killed Hundreds Of Civilians Finally Killed Some That The White House Regrets

      This morning, the White House disclosed that a January 2015 drone strike, conducted in Pakistan by the CIA with the intention of taking out an al Qaeda compound, resulted in the deaths of two al Qaeda hostages who were not known to have been in the line of fire at the time of the attack. “The killing of American development expert Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto is the first known instance in which the U.S. has accidentally killed a hostage in a drone strike,” Wall Street Journal’s Adam Entous reported Thursday.

    • Killing of Americans Deepens Debate Over Use of Drone Strikes

      The Obama administration said Thursday that two American Qaeda operatives killed in Pakistan in January had not been “specifically targeted,” and officials added that the Central Intelligence Agency had no idea the two men were hiding in compounds under surveillance by armed drones when orders were given to carry out the strikes.

    • Obama: US was not ‘cavalier’ over hostage drone killings

      Barack Obama has insisted the US was not “cavalier” in its assessment of the risks to civilians as the accidental deaths of two hostages in a drone strike against al-Qaida overshadowed a planned pep talk for intelligence chiefs.

    • American, Italian Hostages Killed in CIA Drone Strike in January

      A U.S. drone killed an American and an Italian held hostage in a January attack on an al Qaeda compound in Pakistan, sparking new questions about the use of the controversial and still-evolving weapon.

      The intelligence that underpinned the drone strike turned out to have been tragically incomplete, U.S. officials and lawmakers said Thursday. As a result, American development expert Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto lost their lives after years as captives of the militants.

    • Obama regrets drone strike that killed hostages but hails US for transparency

      The White House was forced to concede on Thursday that it killed two innocent hostages – one American, one Italian – in a drone strike that targeted an al-Qaida compound despite officials not knowing precisely who was in the vicinity.

    • Drones Kill Innocent People All the Time

      But now the White House can’t deny it

    • CIA Drones Kill Two Hostages
    • Drone Strikes Reveal Uncomfortable Truth: U.S. Is Often Unsure About Who Will Die

      Barack Obama inherited two ugly, intractable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan when he became president and set to work to end them. But a third, more covert war he made his own, escalating drone strikes in Pakistan and expanding them to Yemen and Somalia.

      The drone’s vaunted capability for pinpoint killing appealed to a president intrigued by a new technology and determined to try to keep the United States out of new quagmires. Aides said Mr. Obama liked the idea of picking off dangerous terrorists a few at a time, without endangering American lives or risking the yearslong bloodshed of conventional war.

    • The U.S. Is Still Dropping Bombs Without Knowing Who Is Under Them

      For those who took seriously President Obama’s stated goals of restoring accountability and legal legitimacy to U.S. counterterrorism operations, the 2013 speech at the National Defense University was one of the most significant watersheds of his presidency. In retrospect, though, it was one of the biggest disappointments.

    • Washington yawns at an American atrocity: Why the latest drone fiasco won’t change anything

      You would have thought yesterday, upon hearing President Obama’s admission that a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan killed an American held hostage by al-Qaida, would rank among the most serious (and legitimate) scandals of his presidency. A disaster of this nature was bound to happen, given the White House’s loose standards for green-lighting drone strikes.

      Yet the reaction was fairly ho-hum. Media coverage of the event and statements from members of Congress, allies and critics of the president alike, were basically, Well isn’t that sad. Also: It’s al-Qaida’s fault. Is al-Qaida in control of the United States’ drones? There are some pretty good hackers out there, but they haven’t mastered that capability yet.

    • Deep Support in Washington for C.I.A.’s Drone Missions

      About once a month, staff members of the congressional intelligence committees drive across the Potomac River to C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Va., and watch videos of people being blown up.

    • GOP strongly backs drone strikes, despite accident

      Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said it would be “crazy” to curtail drone usage because of the two deaths, though he urged significant review of this particular incident.

    • The ‘kill/capture’ approach ain’t working for us: Narratives do better than drones
    • US drone kills own citizen, Italian national

      The White House on Thursday broke its silence after four months and admitted to have accidentally killed its elderly national Dr Warren Weinstein and Italian citizen Giovanni Lo Porto in January this year in the tribal areas straddling the Pak-Afghan border in pursuit of senior al-Qaeda leaders.

    • The Word That Cannot Be Uttered (It’s Drones)

      President Obama has chosen to operate his drone war in such unprecedented, absurd and arguably illegal secrecy that even in a rare burst of compelled transparency yesterday, neither he nor his press secretary could actually bring themselves to say the word “drone.”

    • Drones Are Illegal Beyond the Battlefield
    • The United States Does Not Know Who It’s Killing
    • Existential Meets Exponential

      This is one of the ugly realities of the war on terror. By using drones to kill members and leaders of some of the most evil organizations the world has ever known, innocent bystanders, children and woman are blown to bits along with the targeted foe. And I wish I had an answer, or even an alternative to this carnage. Do nothing and let these terrorists operate unmolested? Is it any of our business? Allies ask for our help; sometimes we’re bound by treaties. Should we send in our special forces and take these monsters out one at a time, surgically? Do we have that many SEALS and Green Berets? For every soulless, bloodthirsty terrorist we kill with a drone strike, we create hundreds more. And another issue, when do drones show up in the terrorist arsenal? More than one American drone has been shot down and captured by terrorist organizations. What happens when one of those Muslim countries with the technological capability steals our technology and manufactures their own drones on a large scale and send them to attack our friends such as Israel. What I know for sure is World War III is getting off to a fine start and so far there’s no end in sight. As in all wars I’ve lived through, I have more questions than answers, and I wish I could solve the problems, but I’m just an observer. I have one more question; is all this killing of innocents worth it? Oh, and one more question. How do we know when it’s over?

    • Obama’s Orwellian language on drones

      There is an eerie Orwellian cost to the Obama administration’s refusal to use the term “War on Terror” to describe its … war on terror. In his briefing after the White House’s admission that two hostages – one American, one Italian – were killed in a U.S. “operation,” press secretary Josh Earnest struggled mightily to avoid the word “war” to describe exactly what the U.S.is up to. Finally he gave in and stated that under the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, the nation is “at war” with al Qaeda.

      Why do the words matter? Because the inevitability of civilian casualties, even in the most justified of wars, is accepted both in international law and in the ethics of war. Civilian casualties are never good. They are a tragedy, a terrible cost that must be avoided whenever possible. But in wars, they happen.

    • The Art of War: Sculpting God, Guns and Drones

      Dominic Sansone is a cast and industrial-fabrication sculptor concerned about militarized and cultural violence.

    • Nasir Shansab: Drone Strikes Manifest Afghans’ Hatred of US

      American Drone strikes that inadvertently kill civilians are breeding distrust and even hatred for the United States in Afghanistan, according to Nasir Shansab, a former Afghan industrialist forced to flee his country.

      “They believe that civilians are suffering more by drone attacks than real fighters do,” he said during an appearance Friday on Newsmax TV’s “America’s Forum.”

    • US drone strikes have traumatised a generation of Yemenis and will push them towards militancy

      A year ago today, Hussein Ahmed Saleh Abu Bakr, a labourer, was travelling to work in Al-Bayda, central Yemen, with 11 colleagues including family members when a drone struck the car. When the attack was over, Hussein emerged from where he had taken cover to look for the other passengers and found his father, 65, slumped in the road with shrapnel injuries to his head and chest. The bodies of the other passengers were scattered around the area, with some injuries so severe, Hussein was only able to identify them from their clothing. Four of the passengers were killed: Sanad Nasser Hussein Al-Khushm, Abdullah Nasser Abu Bakr Al-Khushm, Yasser Ali Abed Rabbo Al-Azzani and Ahmed Saleh Abu Bakr.

    • Drone warfare

      The botched drone strike resulting in the death of two foreign hostages has once again brought the controversial nature of this tactic to the forefront. It is very sad that the death of two US men in a drone attack made headlines but other civilian deaths were swept under the carpet by describing them as collateral damage. The US does not realize the cost of these drone strikes and the resultant civilian causalities. These drone attacks are fueling the fire of radicalism in the Muslim world. Washington on and off expresses concern over the growing anti-America sentiments in the Muslim world but fails to identify the factors that lead to such a situation.

    • From the Left: Eugene Robinson — Strikes against morality

      Drone strikes, by their nature, are bound to kill innocent civilians. It is all too easy to ignore this ugly fact — and the dubious morality of the whole enterprise — until the unfortunate victims happen to be Westerners.

    • Rise of robotic killing machines has a cautious world talking

      They’re called lethal autonomous weapons, or LAWs, and their military mission would be to seek out, identify and kill a human target independent of human control. Human decision would not be in the loop, and the only button a military commander would push would be the “on” button. In military terms, it’s called “fire and forget.”

    • Understanding the Suffering War Brings

      Now, it’s hard to separate deaths due to disease and starvation, from the direct effects of warfare, with warfare creating refugee crises and destroying farms and so forth. It’s also true that the financial resources to address human needs could be found in another place other than war, namely in the pockets of the greediest 400 people in the United States. Their hoarding of wealth, even those of them not principally funded by the war machine, can certainly be blamed as well when a child starves to death anywhere on earth. But blame is not a finite quantity. You can blame plutocracy or militarism, and niether one exculpates the other. Military spending could end starvation for the price of a small rounding error and is therefore culpable.

    • Hillary the Hawk

      Announcing her latest campaign for the presidency, Hillary Clinton declared she was entering the race to be the champion for “everyday Americans.” As a lawmaker and diplomat, however, Clinton has long championed military campaigns that have killed scores of “everyday” people abroad, from Iraq to Yemen. As commander-in-chief, there’s no reason to believe she’d be any less a hawk than she was as the senator who backed George W. Bush’s war in Iraq, or the Secretary of State who encouraged Barack Obama to escalate the war in Afghanistan. If her nomination is as sure a thing as people say, then antiwar organizing needs to start right away.

    • When Hillary Clinton Pitched The Iraq War To CodePink – OpEd
    • Bring back the drone debate, Sen. Paul

      When Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) declared his candidacy for the presidency, I will admit to having a certain excitement. In part, this feeling is based on the opportunity he offered to literally blanket myself in the Constitution. Another is the opportunity to read a political comic book — but the real reason is that he clearly embraces his willingness to be a voice of concern about American use of drones. In other words, Paul’s campaign offers the most likely possibility that discussion and debate around the U.S. counterterrorism, military and diplomatic use of drones will reemerge. Despite the fact that the drone debate has quieted dramatically in the recent past, there are several reasons why the American populace needs to reengage with this important policy space prior to choosing our next president.

    • Waging Electoral Warfare – Analysis

      Democracies do not go to war with each other – or so it has been argued since 1795. But what if politics is, as Michel Foucault once claimed, the continuation of war by other means? And what if the boundaries between “violence” and “legitimate force” are blurred as they are in the German word Gewalt? That might enable us to imagine a “peaceful war” involving several aspects of the modern state, including elections. Whenever states engage in a “bloodless military confrontation” over elections, they are actually waging electoral warfare (EW). Indeed, the ‘existence’ of EW also suggests that international relations possess an electoral dimension that must be acknowledged and analyzed without prejudice.

    • The Decline and Fall of the United States

      After a speech I gave this past weekend, a young woman asked me whether a failure by the United States to properly surround and intimidate China might result in instability. I explained why I thought the opposite was true. Imagine if China had military bases along the Canadian and Mexican borders with the United States and ships in Bermuda and the Bahamas, Nova Scotia and Vancouver. Would you feel stabilized? Or might you feel something else?

    • Encouraging Arabs and other Muslims to Kill each other is Good for U.S. Weapons Industry

      The Saudi Arabia-led Sunni coalition versus the Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) versus ISIS in Syria. Qatar arming Islamist militias in Libya and rebels in Syria to battle government forces. It’s all good in the eyes of American merchants of war.

      The raging conflicts in the Middle East have involved all kinds of U.S. weaponry built by and sold by defense contractors. They’ve made millions of dollars off weapons sales to the oil-rich Persian Gulf states, and they’re likely to make even more as these governments seek to replenish or upgrade their arsenals.

      Saudi Arabia’s attacks on Yemeni rebels were made possible by F-15 fighter jets purchased from Boeing, while the UAE air force has hit ISIS in Syria using F-16s made by Lockheed Martin. The UAE also wants General Atomics’ Predator drones “to run spying missions in their neighborhood,” according to The New York Times.

    • With Obama Under Heat, New York Times Defends Drone Strikes

      The cover of Saturday’s New York Times featured the article discussed below with an updated headline, “Despite Errors, Drones Decimate Weakened Al Qaeda,” which adds in its sub-headline that the al Qaeda “leadership is ‘in tatters.’”

      Also published on Saturday was the opinion of the editorial board that “it was important to see candor and remorse from President Obama in his apology” for the strikes that killed hostages. The editorial board, however, called for more than just an apology, urging the administration to release more information about how many civilians have been killed in Obama’s drone-based counterterrorism campaign.

    • US Drone Killed Two Hostages: Reprieve Comment

      “It’s right that the White House has come clean and admitted its tragic mistake in killing these hostages, and our hearts go out to their families.

      “It’s worth remembering, however, that Dr. Weinstein and Mr Lo Porto are far from the first innocents to die by our drones, and in no other case has the US apologized for its mistake.

    • Obama Should Hand Back Peace Prize as Civilians Killed by US Drones

      The reaction came a day after President Obama announced that two innocent hostages had been killed in a US counter-terrorism operation using lethal drones to target an al-Qaeda compound in Pakistan in January.

    • Hostages’ death in drone attack shocking: FO

      The Foreign Office expressed on Friday shock at the death of two western hostages in a US drone attack in tribal areas in January and recalled its criticism of the US drone war for causing collateral damage.

    • Three Quick Thoughts on the Drone Strike in Pakistan That Killed Two Innocent Civilians

      Why the sudden transparency about the American and Italian civilian victims but not the many non-Western civilians killed in US operations?

    • 1,600 US bombs dropped in Syria and Iraq during March cost $8.5m a day

      Obama’s foreign policy has come under fire as it was revealed that the US dropped 1,600 bombs in Syria and Iraq last month alone at a cost of $8.5m (£5.6m) a day, according to the Times newspaper.

    • US Should Make Public Number of Civilian Deaths Caused by Drone Strikes

      US Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Dianne Feinstein said that an annual report on the number of deaths, both combatant and civilian, from US airstrikes should be public.

    • US Should Make Public Number of Civilian Deaths Caused by Drone Strikes

      The United States should review counterterrorism procedures and develop an annual report on the number of terrorist and civilian deaths as a result of drone strikes, US Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Dianne Feinstein stated on Thursday.

      “To the greatest extent possible, more information on US counterterrorism operations should be made public,” Feinstein said. “I believe this should include an annual report on the number of deaths — both combatant and civilian — from US strikes.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • New Russian Anti-Piracy Law Could Block Sites “Forever”

      People who run ‘pirate’ sites out of Russia have been given a final warning by the government. Amendments to local copyright law that come into force May 1 not only protect more content than ever before, but also contain provisions to permanently block sites that continually make unauthorized content available.

  • Privacy

    • White House releases report on NSA surveillance six years later

      With debate gearing up over the coming expiration of the Patriot Act surveillance law, the Obama administration on Saturday unveiled a six-year-old report examining the once-secret programme to collect information on Americans’ calls and emails.

      The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) publicly released the redacted report following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the New York Times. The basics of the National Security Agency (NSA) programme already had been declassified, but the lengthy report includes some new details about the secrecy surrounding it.

    • House Passes Cybersecurity Bill Despite Privacy Protests

      Congress is hellbent on passing a cybersecurity bill that can stop the wave of hacker breaches hitting American corporations. And they’re not letting the protests of a few dozen privacy and civil liberties organizations get in their way.

    • DHS Opening Office In Silicon Valley To More Efficiently Complain To Tech Companies About Encryption

      “Let me be clear: I understand the importance of what doors bring to privacy. But, imagine the problems if, well after humanity moved out of caves, the warrant authority of the government to investigate crime had only extended to dwellings without doors.”

      Bullshit. The DHS, along with other law enforcement agencies — is seeking is the path of least resistance. It can get warrants to search encrypted devices. It just may not be able to immediately crack them open and feast on the innards. It may also get court orders to compel decryption. This is far less assured and risks dragging the Fifth Amendment down to the Fourth’s level, but it’s still an option.

    • You Should Google Everyone, Even Your Therapist

      When I first met my shrink, I wasn’t so sure about him. He’s handsome, fit, not much taller than me, reticent. I couldn’t tell if his reticence was disapproval and judgment or if he was just doing his job: staying quiet, staying neutral. I’m new to therapy, and, frankly, had wanted a woman therapist, but here I was with this silent, unreadable man and I didn’t know how to feel comfy about it.

      So I Googled him. I found his Facebook page, saw that he might be a band geek (like me), that he seems generally empathetic and that he has a cute dog that sometimes wears clothes.

      That’s how I got comfortable.

      A couple of weeks ago, Anna Fels wrote for the New York Times about patients Googling their therapists. Written from the perspective of a Googled therapist, the piece cautions against the ways in which knowing about your doctor’s personal life can affect the experience of therapy. She also acknowledged it happens in the other direction, too: ER nurses, for instance, are Googling their patients to find out if they’re criminals, or if they’re famous, or just if they’re anything interesting at all.

    • The CIA couldn’t properly use a mass surveillance program for years

      Whatever you think about the morality of using mass surveillance to catch evildoers, the technology only works if people can use it — just ask the CIA. The New York Times has obtained a declassified report revealing that that the agency was largely kept in the dark about the President’s Surveillance Program (aka Stellarwind), which allows for bulk data collection, until at least 2009. Only the highest-ranking officials could use PSP as a general rule, and those few agents that did have access often didn’t know enough to use it properly, faced “competing priorities” or had other tools at their disposal. To boot, there wasn’t documentation showing how effective the program was in fighting terrorism.

    • CIA couldn’t fully use NSA spy program as most analysts didn’t know about it

      A newly-released document from the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) own internal watchdog found that the government’s controversial warrantless surveillance and bulk data collection program was so secretive that the agency was unable to make “full use” of its capabilities even several years after the September 11 attacks. Initially, only top-level CIA officials were cleared on its use, rather than rank-and-file “CIA analysts and targeting officers.”

    • When the Schmidt hits The Man: Look what the NSA made Google do

      In an interview at the BoxDEV developer event in San Francisco today, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said end-to-end encryption for services like Google’s is the solution to mass online government surveillance.

      “What do you think of the state of cyber security in the USA today?” Box CEO Aaron Levie asked Schmidt during an onstage talk at BoxDEV on Wednesday.

    • Google is Keeping the NSA Out of Your Data, Eric Schmidt Brags

      Google (GOOGL) Chairman Eric Schmidt boasted on Wednesday about how improving the encryption of Google’s products has successfully shut out warrantless surveillance by the NSA and other law enforcement. Schmidt talked about the encryption advances, and how former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks prompted them, at BoxDev, a yearly developers conference for Box.

    • Surveillance reform bill returns with concessions to NSA on data collection

      Modifications made on behalf of the National Security Agency have paved the way for the return of a major piece of surveillance reform legislation, the Guardian has learned.

    • New bill proposes 5-year extension of Patriot Act and permission for NSA data collection
    • Former NSA head Alexander asks agency to review patents

      Former National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander has asked the U.S. intelligence agency to review patent filings by his company to make sure that they do not reveal any secrets or misappropriate any government work.

    • NSA surveillance needed to prevent Isis attack, claims former intelligence chair

      Mike Rogers, former chairman of the House intelligence committee, says the NSA needs to preserve its wide powers in case of an attack on US homeland

    • Declassified Report Shows Doubts About Value of N.S.A.’s Warrantless Spying

      The secrecy surrounding the National Security Agency’s post-9/11 warrantless surveillance and bulk data collection program hampered its effectiveness, and many members of the intelligence community later struggled to identify any specific terrorist attacks it thwarted, a newly declassified document shows.

    • It Started With a Hack: How an NSA Director Became a Four-Star General

      “Someone hacked into the Department of Defense [DoD] network,” he said.

    • Bush-Era Documents Show Official Misled Congress About NSA Spying

      Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales downplayed a dispute between the White House and Justice Department over the program’s legality, previously classified documents say.

    • NSA spied on EU politicians and companies with help from German intelligence

      Germany’s intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has been helping the NSA spy on European politicians and companies for years, according to the German news magazine Der Spiegel. The NSA has been sending lists of “selectors”—identifying telephone numbers, e-mail and IP addresses—to the BND, which then provides related information that it holds in its surveillance databases. According to the German newspaper Die Zeit, the NSA sent selector lists several times a day, and altogether 800,000 selectors have been requested.

    • The big boys made us do it: US used German spooks to snoop on EU defence industry
    • German parliament may limit intelligence agency communications with the NSA

      Germany was in an uproar when news broke that the National Security Agency (NSA) had been monitoring Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone calls and communications. Now it turns out that German intelligence agency BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst) was passing select information — including phone numbers and IP addresses — to the NSA on politicians and defense contractors in Europe, reports Der Spiegel.

    • German Intelligence Agency Helped NSA Spy on EU Targets

      The German intelligence agency has found itself in the middle of another scandal following the 2014 revelations that the NSA had tapped the German chancellor’s cellphone.

    • Infosec bods can now sniff out the NSA’s Quantum Insert hacks

      Security researchers have developed a method for detecting NSA Quantum Insert-style hacks.

      Fox-IT has published free open-source tools to detect duplicate sequence numbers of HTTP packets, with different data sizes, that are the hallmarks of Quantum Insert.

      The utilities developed by Fox-IT are capable of exposing fiddling with HTTP packets but are no by no means perfect and might themselves be circumvented, as a blog post by Fox-IT explains.

    • Fox-IT releases answer to NSA’s ‘Quantum Insert’ attack
    • How to Detect Sneaky NSA ‘Quantum Insert’ Attacks

      Among all of the NSA hacking operations exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden over the last two years, one in particular has stood out for its sophistication and stealthiness. Known as Quantum Insert, the man-on-the-side hacking technique has been used to great effect since 2005 by the NSA and its partner spy agency, Britain’s GCHQ, to hack into high-value, hard-to-reach systems and implant malware.

    • Rootpipe exploit still an issue in Mac OS X, security expert finds
    • OS X Yosemite still open to Rootpipe hijacking, says ex-NSA bod

      Apple hasn’t patched admin privilege backdoor in 10.10.3, it’s claimed

    • OS X 10.10.3 update failed to fix Rootpipe vulnerability, says former NSA staffer

      A former NSA staffer says that the OS X 10.10.3 update which Apple claims fixed a significant security vulnerability has failed to do so, reports Forbes. Patrick Wardle, who now heads up research at security firm Synack, demonstrated the vulnerability in a video (without revealing exactly how it was done) to allow Apple time to issue a further fix.

    • Jeb Bush praises Obama over NSA spying

      Jeb Bush, a likely presidential contender, said Tuesday that President Obama’s greatest accomplishment was keeping in place controversial spying programs at the National Security Agency.

      “I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs,” Bush said in an interview on the Michael Medved radio show.

    • Jeb Bush Praises Obama’s Expansion of NSA Surveillance

      One of the most glaring myths propagated by Washington — especially the two parties’ media loyalists — is that bipartisanship is basically impossible, that the two parties agree on so little, that they are constantly at each other’s throats over everything. As is so often the case for Washington partisan propaganda, the reality is exactly the opposite: from trade deals to Wall Street bailouts to a massive National Security and Penal State, the two parties are in full agreement on the bulk of the most significant D.C. policies (which is why the leading candidates of the two parties (from America’s two ruling royal families) will have the same funding base). But because policies that command the agreement of the two parties’ establishments are largely ignored by the D.C. press in favor of the issues where they have some disagreements, the illusion is created that they agree on nothing.

    • Rand Paul targets Obama, Jeb Bush in NSA rant

      Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says the National Security Agency’s domestic spying program is “one of the worst parts of the Obama administration,” a jab not only at the current president but also fellow Republican Jeb Bush.

    • Rand Paul on NSA: ‘Our Founding Fathers would be mortified’
    • Privacy advocates urge more transparency about how NSA keeps an eye on people

      As Congress considers whether to extend the life of a program that sweeps up American phone records, privacy advocates and civil liberties groups say too much about government surveillance remains secret for the public to fully evaluate its reach or effectiveness.

    • Hello Barbie, Amazon win big in Germany’s “Big Brother” awards for privacy abuses

      Germans by and large are wary of surveillance in all its forms, and nowhere is that more apparent than at the Big Brother Awards, which awards “prizes” to organizations and individuals around the world making especially egregious use of Germans’ private personal data.

    • Hello Barbie, NSA Win Big in Germany’s ‘Big Brother’ Awards for Privacy Abuses

      Germans by and large are wary of surveillance in all its forms, and nowhere is that more apparent than at the Big Brother Awards, which awards “prizes” to organizations and individuals around the world making especially egregious use of Germans’ private personal data.

    • Senate’s NSA skirmish stalling cyber bill

      A Senate skirmish over National Security Agency (NSA) reform has stalled the upper chamber’s plan to move a major cyber bill.

    • House Passes Major Cybersecurity Bill Despite Fears It Will Bolster NSA Spying

      The House on Wednesday passed major legislation intended to improve the nation’s defenses against cyberattacks, Congress’s first significant step toward attempting to limit the kind of debilitating hacks that brought Sony Pictures to its knees five months ago.

    • Congressional Battle Brews Over Bill To Extend NSA Data Collection
    • Key Republican Is Not on Board With NSA Reform
    • Congress Doesn’t Seem Totally Sure Who Should Deal With NSA Reform
    • Rubio: NSA spying concerns are overblown
    • Citizenfour: A must see for U.S. activists
    • Millennials worldwide show broad support of Edward Snowden – poll
    • Pirate Bay’s Peter Sunde Kills NSA-Proof Messenger App

      After promising so much the highly anticipated encrypted chat project Hemlis has come to an end. The software was left with too many obstacles to overcome, not least the absence of former Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde who was arrested and taken away to serve his jail sentence for copyright infringement last summer.

    • Snowden docs: NSA, New Zealand plotted to hack Chinese

      The National Security Agency (NSA) collaborated with New Zealand on a plan to digitally monitor Chinese diplomats, according to documents obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

      The operation centered on breaking into a data link between two Chinese diplomatic offices in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.

      While it is unclear whether the break-in ever took place, Snowden’s documents reveal that the NSA and New Zealand were “formally coordinating” on the plan in 2013.

    • NSA Spying Scandal Sparks a New European Smart Home Platform to Protect Privacy

      In Germany, a country considering broad new regulations to prevent citizens’ data from being passed through U.S.-based servers, a new consortium is promising a home automation platform that will keep its customers’ data within European borders.

    • Top 3 Apps to prevent your smartphone from being snooped.

      Ultimate privacy Apps : Top three Apps to prevent NSA and cyber criminals snooping on you

    • The NSA’s Split-Key Encryption Proposal is Not Serious

      The US Government has been busy on the encryption front in both positive and negative ways. On the positive front, there is a major effort underway to move all government websites to HTTPS; I’ll discuss that in a future post. But on the problematic and negative side of the ledger, we once again turn to the NSA.

    • Chinese Spies With Poor Grammar Tried Hacking NSA Historian

      Over the last four months, hackers traced back to the Chinese regime have been trying to breach the computers of NSA historian Matthew Aid. He recently detected two attempted breaches, one on April 2 and another on April 11, which he documented Monday on his blog.

    • Beijing Demands NSA Stop Trying to Hack Chinese Consulate

      The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Monday that they were “seriously concerned” by reports that New Zealand spies collaborated with the US National Security Agency to spy on Chinese diplomats.

    • U.S. Secretary Of Homeland Security Warns About The Dangers Of Pervasive Encryption

      In a speech at cybersecurity conference RSA, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson outlined the government’s discomfort with increasing implementation of encryption by technology companies, and what impact the shift might have on national security.

    • How NATO Kills Africans in the Club Med

      Humanitarian imperialism as applied to what the Pentagon loves to define as MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) has led, according to Amnesty International, “to the largest refugee disaster since the Second World War.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Latest on Baltimore police-custody death: Protests wind down
    • POGO Adds its Voice to Calls for Secret Law Oversight

      We urge you to end mass surveillance of Americans. Among us are civil liberties organizations from across the political spectrum that speak for millions of people, businesses, whistleblowers, and experts. The impending expiration of three USA PATRIOT Act provisions on June 1 is a golden opportunity to end mass surveillance and enact additional reforms.

    • We must disband the police: Body cameras aren’t enough — only radical change will stop cops who kill

      After Michael Slager gunned down Walter Scott in a North Charleston park, a deafening chorus of voices has emerged, insisting that “the system worked.” And they are right. The system did work, just not in the way that they mean.

      The system didn’t only begin to work when the video of the shooting emerged days later: it went into motion immediately. The system began to work when Slager cuffed a dying man and then ran (ran!) back to grab his alibi, the Taser he would then plant near Scott’s failing body (as some have noticed, Slager did so in an eminently practiced way).

    • The Key War on Terror Propaganda Tool: Only Western Victims Are Acknowledged

      The British-Yemeni journalist Abubakr Al-Shamahi put it succinctly: “It makes me angry that non-Western civilian victims of drone strikes are not given the same recognition by the US administration.” The independent journalist Naheed Mustafa said she was “hugely irritated by the ‘drone strikes have killed good Westerners so now we know there are issues with drones’ stories.” The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson this morning observed: “It is all too easy to ignore … the dubious morality of the whole enterprise — until the unfortunate victims happen to be Westerners. Only then does ‘collateral damage’ become big news and an occasion for public sorrow.”

    • New Zealand Prime Minister John Key Apologizes for Pulling Waitress’s Hair

      New Zealand Prime Minister John Key apologized on Wednesday for pulling the ponytail of a waitress who accused him of bullying, media reported.

      The unnamed waitress in an Auckland cafe said on a blog site that Key had pulled her hair over several months and initially she thought he was being “playful and jolly.” However, she said Key kept pulling her hair when he visited the cafe over a six-month period and she became increasingly annoyed.

    • Woman who hit Venezuelan president with mango rewarded with house

      Marleny Olivo scrawled a note on the fruit and hurled it at the head of the passing Nicolás Maduro – and has now been promised a place to live

    • Licence to chill: Ex-CIA spyboss Petraeus gets probation for leaking US secrets to his mistress

      General David Petraeus – the former head of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and briefly the head of the CIA – has been sentenced to two years’ probation and fined $100,000 after admitting leaking America’s secrets to his lover.

      Married Petraeus, 62, handed over military logs containing classified material to his official biographer, and mistress, Paula Broadwell. He also lied to FBI agents during their investigating into the case, and faced charges that could have put him behind bars for up to five years.

    • Former CIA Director David Petraeus escapes jail for leaking military secrets to his mistress
    • Ex-CIA head David Petraeus sentenced over military leak

      David Petraeus, a retired US four-star general and former CIA director, has been put on probation and fined for leaking material to his mistress.

    • Petraeus Gets Leniency for Leaking — And Risen’s CIA Source Should Too, His Lawyers Say

      Lawyers for Jeffrey Sterling, convicted earlier this year of leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen, urged today that Sterling “not receive a different form of justice” than David Petraeus, the former general and CIA director who has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for leaking classified information to his biographer.

    • Ford Foundation and its alleged CIA connections

      The US based Ford Foundation is not new to controversies. Many call it a front for the American external spying agency CIA. There have been thousands of articles and research papers on Ford Foundation’s CIA links. Even in India, the Ford Foundation is accused of funding the NGOs and movements which actually work against India’s socio, political and economic interests.

    • Obama Admin. Seeks “Severe Sentence” for Ex-CIA Officer Convicted of Leaking
    • Federal prosecutors urge ‘severe’ sentence for ex-CIA officer in leak case
    • CIA Worked With China To Attack Russia

      On Thursday, the U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter admitted that Russian hackers had infiltrated into Pentagon’s computer network earlier this year. It was the latest high-profile hack of the U.S. government networks by Russian hackers. Over the past few months, Washington has also accused China of hacking the U.S. satellite network, weather systems, and the U.S. Postal Service network.

    • Spy shocker: CIA cooperated with Chinese intelligence to target Russia
    • PACE President welcomes former Romanian President’s CIA secret prison admission

      President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Anne Brasseur, welcomed in a press release on Friday the admission of former Romanian President Ion Iliescu of his knowledge of a secret CIA (United States Central Intelligence Agency) prison in Romania.

    • Ion Iliescu for Der Spiegel: I approved CIA request for location in Romania

      Ion Iliescu said, in an interview granted to Der Spiegel, that he approved “in principle” over 2002-2003, a request made by the USA to set up a CIA center in Romania, but he did not know it was a unit meant for detention. Details of the project were established by Ioan Talpes, the head of the presidential Administration, Der Spiegel writes.

    • CIA Interrogator Convicted For Torture Speaks Out

      In the long debate over torture, there remains only one instance when a CIA interrogator ever faced trial for torture – and he was convicted. That CIA contractor, David Passaro, is now speaking out in a new Retro Report documentary.

    • Sheriff Joe Arpaio was concerned about CIA wiretaps on MCSO phones

      A bizarre twist came during the fourth day of testimony in the civil contempt trial against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and four of his top deputies.

      Speaking on the stand and taking questions from the judge, MCSO chief deputy Jerry Sheridan said the department was working with a man named Dennis Montgomery who was identified as a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency.

      Montgomery was a confidential informant, or CI for the sheriff’s office. While living in Seattle, he purportedly gave information to MCSO about a CIA operation that was secretly gathering personal information on United States citizens, according to Sheridan.

    • Ex-CIA officer Ray McGovern: V-E Day celebration spoiled by Washington’s support for Ukrainian revolution

      The controversy over alleged Russian “aggression” in Ukraine is already raining on the Kremlin parade with which Russia will mark the 70th anniversary of the Allies’ victory over Adolf Hitler and the Nazis on May 9. U.S. President Barack Obama set the tone by turning down the Kremlin’s invitation to take part in the celebration, and allies in Western Europe have been equally uncouth in saying No.

    • CIA Daughter On the Anniversary of the Coup Her Dad Helped

      Today is the forty eighth anniversary of the military coup.

    • Was Putin Right About Internet As CIA Project?

      “The Internet is not a CIA creation,” Tim Berners-Lee, a London-born computer scientist who invented the Web in 1989 – the year that the Berlin Wall collapsed – told media when asked about Putin’s CIA comment.

      Berners-Lee said the Internet was invented with the help of U.S. state funding, but was spread by academics.

      “It was the academic community who wired up their universities so it was put together by smart, well-meaning people who thought it was a good idea,” he said.

      Berners-Lee has previously scolded the United States and Britain for undermining the Internet’s foundations with their surveillance program. He has also called on China to tear down the “great firewall” that limits its people’s access to the Internet.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Liberals furious with Obama’s trade comments

      The already bitter fight between the White House and the progressive base over trade policy has turned ugly after President Obama said his critics on the left “don’t know what they’re talking about” and compared their arguments to conspiracy theories about “death panels.”

      Progressives trade critics are up in arms over the comments, made Thursday night to a gathering of Organizing for Action, the grassroots group that spun off of Obama’s presidential campaign, at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C.

    • Copyrights

      • BitTorrent Inc. Lays Off Close to a Third of its Workforce

        BitTorrent Inc., the company behind the popular uTorrent file-sharing client, has laid off close to a third of its U.S. workforce. Speaking with TorrentFreak a source close to the company says that up to 45 workers had their contracts terminated Thursday, “gutting” the company’s advertising team and pushing more work to its offices in Minsk, Belarus.

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