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09.06.14

Links 6/9/2014: Core OS at DigitalOcean, Women in Xorg

Posted in News Roundup, Site News at 11:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-source player-tracking project kicks off

    “Coming from a scientific background, where transparency is a key part of doing repeatable research, makes me very skeptical of anything proprietary,” he said. “How can you trust the analysis if you can’t see the raw data?”

  • Open Xchange Launches Simple Email Encryption

    German developer of open source productivity software, Open Xchange, has launched an email encryption product that can secure messages with a single click.

    Called OX Guard, the new tool is an integral part of the OX App Suite – a carrier-grade cloud platform that includes OX Text, OX Spreadsheet and OX Drive, as well as email server, calendar and social network feeds.

    Open Xchange CEO Rafael Laguna told TechWeek that one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of wider adoption of encryption is complexity, so OX Guard was designed to be as simple to use as possible – users just need to click the padlock icon, set the password and their messages will be protected by AES encryption.

  • Events

    • Call for organizers: 2015 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Each year, the Linux Foundation’s Technical Advisory Board seeks an organizing committee for the annual Linux Plumbers Conference. That process has now begun for the 2015 event, which will be held during the week of August 17-21 in Seattle, Washington, alongside the LinuxCon North America event. This is your chance to put your stamp on one of our community’s most important gatherings.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • HP offers OpenStack services offerings

      So, you think OpenStack is perfect for your company’s cloud-needs, but you just discovered that finding OpenStack-savvy architects, designers, or even just administrators is like looking for the perfect New York style pizza… in San Diego.

  • CMS

    • What’s New in September for Open Source CMS

      There are plenty of free and open source content management systems (CMS). But no platform is as big or as common as WordPress. WordPress powers more than 12.7 million websites — an astounding 47.38 percent of the World Wide Web, according to BuiltWith, which monitors such things.

  • BSD

Leftovers

  • Suburban Express Wants Round 4: Re-Files Lawsuits It Had Previously Dropped

    Jeremy Leval, the Redditor who got this whole saga started after being sued and harrassed by Toeppen simply for sticking up for a foreign exchange student who a bus driver was mocking, is of course among those Toeppen is re-re-filing against. One begins to get the impression that Toeppen and Suburban Express are masochistic, getting some kind of perverse joy out of getting blasted in the media and online. I’m at a loss as to what other forces could be at work here. Though, judging by some of the other customers’ stories from those being attacked legally by Suburban Express, the simple answer may be that Toeppen is simply a jerk.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Three more to be charged for Victor Jara’s murder

      MARTYRED Chilean communist folk singer Victor Jara’s widow Joan Jara welcomed the announcement yesterday that three more people have been charged over his murder during the country’s 1973 CIA-backed military coup.

    • The Other 9/11

      Ten days after the Salvador Allende government was overthrown in a Sept. 11, 1973, coup in Chile, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jack Kubisch told the House Subcommittee on Inter-American Affairs: “Gentlemen, I wish to state as flatly and as categorically as I possibly can that we did not have advance knowledge of the coup.”

      [...]

      “Make the economy scream…”

      When the 1970 Chilean presidential election rolled around, Salvador Allende was still a major player and, despite another wave of U.S.-funded propaganda, he was elected president of South America’s longest functioning democracy on Sept. 4, 1970.

      However, he had a new and powerful enemy: Dr. Henry Kissinger.

      The 40 Committee was formed with Kissinger as chair. The goal was not only to save Chile from its irresponsible populace but to yet again stave off the Red Tide™.

      “Chile is a fairly big place, with a lot of natural resources,” explains Noam Chomsky, “but the United States wasn’t going to collapse if Chile became independent. Why were we so concerned about it? According to Kissinger, Chile was a ‘virus’ that would ‘infect’ the region.”

      At a Sept. 15, 1970, meeting called to halt the spread of infection, Kissinger and President Nixon told CIA Director Richard Helms it would be necessary to “make the [Chilean] economy scream.” While allocating at least $10 million to assist in sabotaging Allende’s presidency, outright assassination was also considered a serious and welcome option.

      The respect held by the Chilean military for the democratic process led Kissinger to pick as his first assassination target not Allende himself, but General Rene Schneider, head of the Chilean Armed Forces. Schneider, it seems, had long believed that politics and the military should remain discrete. Despite warnings from Helms that a coup might not be possible in such a stable democracy, Kissinger urged the plan to proceed.

      When the killing of Schneider only served to solidify Allende’s support, a CIA-sponsored media blitz similar to that of 1964 commenced. Citizens were faced with daily “reports” of Marxist atrocities and Soviet bases supposedly being built in Chile. U.S. threats to sever economic and military aid were also used to help cultivate a “coup climate” among those in the military. These two approaches represented the hard and soft lines outlined by Nixon and Kissinger.

    • Ethan Hawke’s ‘Good Kill’: A Searing Indictment of America’s Drone Warfare Obsession

      In Andrew Niccol’s devastating character study, Hawke plays a drone pilot who’s ordered by the CIA to off terrorists—as well as civilians—in a series of targeted strikes.

    • Irresponsibly Blaming Russia for US-Led Western Crimes

      Washington is public enemy No. 1. It’s the real evil empire. It’s a longstanding serial aggressor. Rogue Western partners share blame.

      On September 2, Wall Street Journal editors echoed the same narrative. They headlined “Deterring a European War.”

      They called this week’s NATO summit meeting “one of the most important in its 65-year

      Southeastern Ukraine’s conflict is Obama’s war. Behind the scenes US manipulation controls things. Kiev is infested with CIA and FBI operatives. Blackwater USA (now Academi) type mercenaries operate in Southeastern Ukraine. Perhaps alongside covert US special forces.

      Since conflict erupted in April, Russia went all-out for diplomatic resolution. It has no ongoing military campaign.

      It didn’t invade Ukraine. It’s not shelling cross-border. Or from inside Ukrainian territory.

      Its troops aren’t involved in fighting. It’s not out to seize Ukrainian territory. Western sources lie claiming otherwise.

    • CIA-linked Libyan General Haftar’s helicopters bomb Benghazi

      Several mysterious night bombings attacks were launched on Islamist positions in Libya while they were in the process of defeating Haftar allies there and driving them out of the city.

      Haftar claimed these attacks were joint operations with the international community.

    • Fox Changes Meaning Of “Stand Down” Order To Keep The Benghazi Hoax Alive

      After multiple investigations concluded that no “stand down” order was given to security personnel responding to the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Fox News alleged that the delay security personnel took to enlist support amounted to a “stand down” order.

      On the September 5 edition of Special Report, host Bret Baier once again hyped the asked-and-answered question from his Fox News special, “13 Hours at Benghazi,” based on the accounts of three CIA security personnel who alleged they were delayed in responding to the diplomatic facility under attack in Benghazi, Libya. Baier criticized the “semantics” used by deputy State Department spokesperson Marie Harf, who during a press briefing explained that “there was no stand-down order” but there was a short delay “for very good security reasons to get additional backup and additional weapons” for the security personnel before responding to the attack.

    • Fox’s Latest Benghazi Hoax Used As Justification For Wasteful Select Committee
    • Selling Fear and Lies to Control the Public

      The media is selling fear of beheadings to the public.

    • The Imperial Rot of Armchair Warriors

      An occasional misconception of history is the contention that geo-political outcomes are the result of rational calculation. Or put differently, local rationalities don’t always, or even most of the time, aggregate to global rationalities. The Obama administration used the CIA to organize a neo-nazi putsch in Ukraine after NATO spent the last twenty years squeezing (heavily) nuclear-armed Russia and immediately involved the IMF and Western oil company executives in Ukrainian ‘government’ affairs? At about the same time part of the Syrian ‘opposition’ that the U.S. had armed and financed morphed into IS (Islamic State) and promptly marched into Iraq to confiscate and use the weapons the U.S. had supplied leading Mr. Obama to once again bomb the country while re-committing combat troops. Given that there is no conceivable ‘good’ outcome to any of this, just what local ‘rationalities’ could be driving the serial disasters of U.S. foreign policy?

    • ISIS Atrocities and US Imperialism

      The murder, following that of James Foley last month, is a further demonstration of both the reactionary character of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the terrible consequences of a half-century of intervention in the Middle East by US imperialism.

    • How to Decode the New York Times

      So what, then, is the “more nuanced picture”? Kershner writes that the legal documents “depict the plot as more of a family affair, a local initiative organized and carried out by members of a clan in Hebron.” That was what many analysts had been saying all along, offering a very different interpretation than the one being put forth by Israel–though it was the Israeli line, not the one offered by independent analysts, that made its way into US media (FAIR Blog, 7/2/14, 7/28/14). Kershner speaks to one Israeli source who, she reports, still thinks it “was fair to blame Hamas, as an organization, for the kidnappings.” The source added that “it is still possible that we will find evidence of a direct connection.”

    • When Fox News Didn’t Blame The (GOP) President For Beheadings

      After terrorists kidnapped and beheaded two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, while releasing gruesome videos of the act, Fox News focused much of its ire on President Obama, portraying him as a source of troubling weakness.

    • Have You Watched This Airstrike in Iraq?

      CENTCOM has been helpfully posting declassified footage to YouTube for the past three weeks.

    • NZ director’s attack of the drones at Venice

      Don’t be fooled. Unmanned aerial vehicles have changed the way wars are fought, turning some forms of combat into a computer game with flesh-and-blood victims.

    • Legal basis for Iraq troop deployment called into question as days wear on

      The legal basis for the recent introduction of more than 1,000 US ground troops in Iraq was called into question on Friday, after the White House confirmed that it does not consider itself bound by time limits that usually constrain such deployments.

    • First Controversial Drone Movie Strikes, Questions U.S. Policy

      The first movie examining the morality of drone warfare has arrived and it’s sure to add fuel to the debate over the growing use of the controversial technology by the Obama administration and the concern that too many innocent civilians are being killed.

      Andrew Niccol’s Good Kill, starring Ethan Hawke as a troubled U.S. Air Force pilot grappling with the ethical consequences of attacking from afar, makes its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival Sept. 5 before playing at the Toronto Film Festival Sept. 9.

    • Epiphanies From Teju Cole

      The Nigerian-American novelist discusses the pitfalls of hashtag activism, the destructiveness of U.S. foreign policy, and that time he dreamed about meeting Obama at a Brooklyn house party.

    • The warrior and moral injury

      -One effect of the rise of remote-controlled warfare will be that moral injury will assume an increased share of war’s psychological injuries. Remote-control warriors do not suffer life-threatening duress in combat, and they don’t vicariously experience extreme stress via the experiences of individuals they know and love (such as their witnessing a fellow platoon member being shot and killed). This means they’re immune from most forms of PTSD, as this condition is currently defined. They’re also immune from Traumatic Brain Injury (unless they spill their coffee and slip on it). They’re not immune, however, from moral injury. The potential for moral injury in combat veterans will only grow as sensors on “drones” and other remote-controlled machines improve. Soon, there will be little subjective difference between a WWI infantryman bayoneting an enemy soldier and what a drone pilot/sensor operator experiences when they kill someone.

    • The Fatal Flaw in American Foreign Policy

      The American definition of “murder” in the midst of war now seems to depend upon the technical methodology for the homicide, not the deliberate intentions of the killers. Beheading is barbaric. High-tech bombing picking off individual “bad guys” is okay. In fact, US leaders claim to be conscientiously selective, though the innocent bystanders killed by drones are dismissed as “collateral damage.”

    • All God’s Children Got Drones

      The Convention’s other goal is nonproliferation. The danger here is that a “Geneva Convention” for drones may turn drone proliferation into a distraction. Yes, drone proliferation is real. We’ve already remarked that some 80 countries now have drones. And according to Medea Benjamin of CODE PINK, 10 to 15 countries are working to produce drones that can kill. Naturally, we should be concerned about this. But shouldn’t our first concern be states which already possess killer drones? Medea Benjamin writes that there have been 350 lethal drone strikes on Pakistan since 2004 which have killed from 2,500 to 3,500 people. Those strikes weren’t launched by Burundi.

    • ‘Good Kill’ meant to start debate, director says

      Ethan Hawke stars as a drone pilot near Las Vegas who has a mental breakdown while killing targets 7,000 miles away (11,000 km) in “Good Kill,” a Venice Film Festival entry shown yesterday and meant to spark debate.

    • Open thread for night owls: Los Angeles Times reporter cleared stories about CIA with the CIA
    • Emails: L.A. Times Reporter Cleared Stories with CIA, Promised Positive Coverage
    • CIA Emails Expose Access Journalist at Work
    • LA Times reporter Ken Dilanian worked with CIA to cover up drone program casualties

      A prominent national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

      The reporter, Ken Dilanian, appears to compromise any honest representation in the stories, even submitting revised drafts to appease the CIA.

    • Ken Dilanian sent CIA drafts of stories
    • National security reporter shared drafts with CIA press office, emails reveal
    • LA Times Says It’s ‘Disappointed’ In Former Reporter Who Shared Stories With CIA
    • L.A. Times Disowns Reporter Outed as a CIA Collaborator

      Recently released emails indicate that prominent national security reporter Ken Dilanian — formerly with the Los Angeles Times, currently with the Associated Press (and from 1997-2007 the Philadelphia Inquirer) — shared stories prior to publication with CIA press office seeking their approval, according to a story up on The Intercept. Now, it is not uncommon for national security reporters to vet facts with government functionaries, but the emails indicate Dilanian went much further than that, not only sharing stories prior to publication (a big no-no in almost every newsroom) but he also entered into discussions about how the CIA could bend public opinion of drone strikes their way.

    • Ex-Tribune reporter said to have ‘collaborative’ relationship with CIA

      A website cofounded by journalist Glenn Greenwald has published emails suggesting that a former Tribune Washington bureau national security reporter submitted some of his work to CIA officials prior to publication, a practice banned by many media outlets, including Tribune.

    • Former LA Times Reporter Submitted Drafts For Approval By CIA
    • NatSec Reporter Allegedly Had ‘Closely Collaborative Relationship’ with CIA
    • The CIA’s Mop-Up Man: L.A. Times Reporter Cleared Stories With Agency Before Publication

      Email exchanges between CIA public affairs officers and Ken Dilanian, now an Associated Press intelligence reporter who previously covered the CIA for the Times, show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication. In at least one instance, the CIA’s reaction appears to have led to significant changes in the story that was eventually published in the Times.

    • Roboski Villagers Condemn US Hand, but Still Hold Turkey Responsible

      For the people of Roboski it does not matter that the deadly 2011 Turkish air attack may have been due to bad US intelligence. It still does not absolve the Turkish government, whose planes killed the 34 Kurdish villagers, they said.

      “The United States shares responsibility in the massacre, but we also hold Turkey responsible because in the end it was they who bombed us,” said Ferhat Encu, who lost his 15-year-old brother in the attack.

    • Rand Paul’s Strategic Slipperiness on Foreign Policy

      As Senior Editor Jacob Sullum notes below, there has been a lot of chatter this week about the apparent flip-floppery, or at least slipperiness, of Sen. Rand Paul’s ideas about what the United States should do to the Islamic State. (In addition to Sullum’s strong critique, see Leon H. Wolf, Steve Benen, and the indefatigable Jennifer Rubin, as well as the senator himself.)

    • Anti-Interventionism and Its Discontents

      Polls showing Rand Paul as the frontrunner in the GOP presidential sweepstakes have the neocons in a lather, with their online media phalanx frantically attacking him at every opportunity. It’s kind of funny to watch: the first fusillades were aimed at labeling him an “isolationist,” while more recently they’ve pointed out how he deviates from his father’s more angular policy positions. If you can’t smear and marginalize, then there’s always the strategy of cutting him off from his base.

    • Hamas Emerges Buoyant Despite Bloodshed and Devastation in Gaza

      Ismail Haniya, the top Hamas leader in Gaza, worked the crowd in what used to be the Boura neighborhood of this battered northern border town, kissing the cheeks of elders and the foreheads of masked fighters. He waved at the women standing in front of makeshift huts next to the homes flattened in Israeli attacks, as children watched from atop concrete piles where green Hamas flags were planted as though on conquered lands.

    • Ukraine Retracts Ceasefire Claim; U.N. Says Displaced Top 1 Million

      Ukraine has retracted an earlier claim to have reached a ceasefire with Russia. The office of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko initially said he agreed with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on steps toward a ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. But the Kremlin then denied a ceasefire agreement, saying it is not in a position to make a deal because it’s not a party to the fighting. Ukraine has accused Russia of direct involvement in the violence amidst a recent escalation. The confusion comes as President Obama visits the former Soviet Republic of Estonia ahead of a major NATO summit in Wales. More than 2,600 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine since April, the majority by Ukrainian forces. The United Nations says more than one million people have been displaced, over a quarter of them internally.

    • Inside Jobs and Israeli Stooges: Why Is the Muslim World in Thrall to Conspiracy Theories?

      Did you know that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Isis, was trained by Mossad and the CIA? Were you aware that his real name isn’t Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai but Simon Elliot? Or that he’s a Jewish actor who was recruited by the Israelis to play the part of the world’s most wanted terrorist?

      If the messages in my email in-box and my Twitter timeline and on my Facebook page are anything to go by, plenty of Muslims are not only willing to believe this nonsensical drivel but are super-keen to share it with their friends. The bizarre claim that NSA documents released by Edward Snowden “prove” the US and Israel are behind al-Baghdadi’s actions has gone viral.

      There’s only one problem. “It’s utter BS,” Glenn Greenwald, the investigative journalist who helped break the NSA story, told me. “Snowden never said anything like that and no [NSA] documents suggest it.” Snowden’s lawyer, Ben Wizner, has called the story a hoax.

    • US Boots in Iraq and Baltics, Authorization to Attack Syria…and US Troops in Ukraine!

      The peace president is clearly on war footing. US bombs are also going off in Africa and Pakistan. No one at home is talking about NSA spying anymore. NATO has a new mission.

  • Finance

    • How to screw tech workers and get away with it

      It wasn’t only eBay that got off scandalously light for such anticompetitive collusion. In a separate class-action suit against Adobe, Apple, Google, and Intel, the four companies agreed to a collective settlement of $324 million.

      That might sound like a reasonable numbers until you do a little math. The class-action suit represented 64,000 workers, which means each would receive the munificent sum of $5,062; subtracting lawyers’ fees shrinks that amount further. Plaintiffs had sought $3 billion in damages in lost wages, which under antitrust laws could have tripled to a $9 billion reward had they won in court — $140,625 each, or about $102,780 after the lawyers’ cut.

    • Koch Operative: Raise the Wage, Totalitarianism and Terrorism Follow?

      Leaked audio from the latest Koch summit shows Charles Koch’s “intellectual sounding board,” Richard Fink, drawing a direct line between increasing the minimum wage and the rise of fascism, totalitarianism, and terrorist suicide bombers.

    • One in Four Americans With College Degrees Shouldn’t Have Bothered

      Roughly 25% of those with bachelor’s degrees in the US derive no economic benefit from their diplomas.

    • Fast food workers stage national sit-ins and walk-outs

      Fast food workers across the U.S. went on strike Thursday, staging sit-ins and walk-outs to bring attention to a years-long campaign to raise industry wages to $15 an hour and allow workers to join unions. The demonstrations spurred several arrests and the disruption of business at fast food restaurants in many major cities. Ashley Westerman reports from Washington, D.C.

    • Over 400 Arrested in National Fast-Food Workers’ Strike for Living Wage, Unionization

      More than 400 fast-food workers and their supporters have been arrested in a national day of action for a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Workers staged a one-day strike in 150 cities across the country Thursday, from Las Vegas to Chicago and Detroit, to Little Rock, Arkansas, and here in New York City.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Huffington Post And The View From Bogustan: Standing Behind Blatantly False Claims Isn’t Journalism

      Ayyadurai has waged an incredibly bizarre public relations campaign, and the more you look at it, the more bizarre it becomes. However, anyone who looks over any of the primary documentation (much of which we’ve linked to in our previous posts) can only conclude that while Ayyadurai may have independently come up with some ideas, he most certainly did not invent email. It was widely in use. The key arguments in his claim are obviously false, and prey on (1) a misunderstanding or misrepresetation of copyright law and (2) an almost fraudulent misquoting of Dave Crocker, a guy who really was heavily involved in early email efforts. Again, all of that is discussed in the earlier posts.

      What I still cannot fathom is how the Huffington Post can stand behind this “reporting.” I’ve now heard from three different HuffPost reporters on the news side who all say that they’re horrified that no one at the company has done anything about this. The only official response I got stood by the stories, but actual reporters at the company recognize that their own credibility has been absolutely destroyed by this. It’s been pointed out that the five part series is on HuffPo’s “blogging” side — which gives a platform to PR folks with no editorial oversight.

    • Huffington Post Finally Responds, Stands By Its Completely Bogus, Totally Debunked ‘History Of Email’ Series
  • Censorship

    • Harrop: Stopping the ‘spiral of silence’

      The “spiral of silence” is a theory that people hesitate to say things they believe others in their group won’t agree with. It predates the Internet age.

      Let me add that the “spiral of silence” disproportionately affects the shy, the thoughtful and the female.

      Social media were supposed to free these cooped-up opinions by offering new venues for speaking one’s piece. But this high-minded promise of a vast online town hall for pensive argument has fallen flat, according to a new report by Pew Research Center and Rutgers University.

    • Automattic Rejects Series Of Bogus Janet Jackson Takedown Attempts By Using Janet Jackson Song Titles

      As you can clearly see that’s using a photo of Jackson’s famous “wardrobe malfunction” from the Superbowl many years ago, and applying the Things Tim Howard Could Save meme to it. Marginally funny. But not copyright infringement. Not only does Jackson not hold the copyright on that image, it’s obvious fair use for whoever does hold the copyright.

    • UN holds Internet Governance Forum in a country known for digital censorship
    • ‘Hypocrite’ Turkey Holds Internet Governance Forum While Twitter Users Face Trial
    • Internet Governance Forum: A missed opportunity for human rights
    • Protecting the open internet: the Internet Governance Forum in Turkey

      Let me be clear, while Turkey has made good progress in some areas of digital development and education, and done more in recent years to integrate the Kurdish community and language into the Turkish nation, there are still too many worrying steps with regard to freedom of speech. That freedom must exist equally online and offline. Not only are around 51,000 websites blocked at the moment, but dozens of journalists are in jail or on trial: one female journalist I met, Fusun Erdogan, was sentenced to 789 years in jail!

    • Forbes Praises YouTube Censoring Steven Sotloff Beheading Video

      Following the horrific actions of ISIS/ISIL, in which the group beheaded American journalist James Foley and plastered the video in online forums like Twitter and YouTube, I argued that it is important that the American Public be given the chance to repudiate the aim of the video: paralyzing us with fear. Adding to that thought, Glenn Greenwald argued that the reason one must fight against censorship in the most egregious of speech cases is that such cases are often where the limitation of speech is legitimized. While this may not be a First Amendment consideration, since those sites are not affiliated with the government, it would be a mistake to suggest that free speech is limited as a concept to that narrow legal definition. Free and open speech is an ideal, one that is codified into law in some places, and one which enjoys a more relaxed but important status within societal norms.

    • Austrian ISPs Sued For Actually Wanting A Court Order Rather Than Just Blocking Websites Based On Entertainment Industry’s Requests

      Furthermore, the industry seems to believe that everyone else has a legal responsibility to carry out its wishes once it declares a site as bad. It thinks hosts should take down sites, search engines should stop linking to them, advertisers should block ads, registrars should pull domain names and ISPs should block access. You’d think that maybe actually adapting to new technologies and giving people more of what they want might be a more compelling strategy, but the legacy entertainment industry prefers demanding that everyone else go out of their way to protect the legacy industry’s obsolete business model, without the industry itself doing anything more than pointing at sites (often incorrectly).

    • Record Labels Issue Takedown To Take Kim Dotcom’s Album Down From His Own Site

      We’ve heard some folks claim that all these bogus takedown notices we write about are just “anomalies” rather than a pattern of abuse of the law for the purpose of censorship. And yet, there are more and more examples every day. The latest one is particularly bizarre. IFPI (the international version of the RIAA) has apparently been issuing a series of bogus takedown notices to get Kim Dotcom’s album “Good Times” taken down off of his own site, Mega. That’s… quite incredible. This does not appear to be a strange attempt to hide Dotcom’s music, but it looks to just be pure sloppiness on the part of the IFPI issuing misguided takedowns. That is, the IFPI takedown notice lists a totally different song (and it turns out this is the second time this has happened to Dotcom’s album in the past month). As short-sighted as the IFPI is, it would take an other wordly level of stupidity to directly target Dotcom’s music with a bogus takedown. Even the IFPI must know that that would backfire badly. The story that it’s an “accident” makes much more sense.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Ferguson Police Department tactics will be focus of federal investigation

      The U.S. Justice Department is getting ready to launch an investigation into the practices and training of the Ferguson, Missouri, police department, a Missouri official and a federal official told CNN.

    • Meeting at University of Michigan connects police violence to imperialist war

      Dozens of students, workers, and youth attended a meeting at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor Thursday night to discuss the significance of the August 9 police killing and subsequent repression of protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

      Titled “Military-police violence in Ferguson, Missouri: The war comes home” and hosted by the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE), the meeting took up the interconnections between increasing police brutality and attacks on living conditions and democratic rights in the US and the escalating geopolitical tensions and military predations of American imperialism internationally.

    • The Miraculous Works Of The Criminal Justice System

      So, apparently White, with his hands cuffed behind him, shot himself in the chest.

    • Authorities claim handcuffed man shot himself in the chest, ruled ‘suicide’

      Authorities claim that a man committed suicide via gunshot while handcuffed and unattended in the back of a police cruiser. However, an autopsy report states that the man — who had his handcuffed behind his back, and was already searched for weapons — was shot in the chest.

    • Ferguson Police Chief Lied About Why He Released Alleged Michael Brown Robbery Tape: Report

      Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson lied when he said he had received “many” specific requests for the videotape that allegedly shows Michael Brown robbing a convenience store, according to a new report.

      “All I did — what I did was — was release the videotape to you, because I had to,” Jackson told reporters on Aug. 15 when asked why he released the robbery footage. “I’d been sitting on it, but I — too many people put in a [Freedom of Information Act] request for that thing, and I had to release that tape to you.”

      Writing for The Blot, Matthew Keys reports that the police department did not receive any specific requests for the videotape.

      “A review of open records requests sent to the Ferguson Police Department found that no news organization, reporter or individual specifically sought the release of the surveillance tape before police distributed it on Aug. 15,” Keys writes.

    • Guy Blouin ID’d as cyclist run over by Quebec City police car

      Witness says he saw cruiser run over man twice; bicycle and police car moved from scene by officers

    • This Week in Transparency: Shenanigans at the CIA, open-source FOIA reform, and more
    • CIA Redacted ‘Off The Record, No Comment’ From Released Documents

      Over at The Intercept, there’s an article claiming that the AP’s national security reporter Ken Dilanian had a too cozy relationship with the CIA while he was at the Tribune Company. It’s an interesting read, based on pages upon pages of emails between reporters and the CIA that were released under a FOIA request. However, what caught my attention, more than the full story, was something in all of those emails, spotted by Katherine Hawkins. And it’s that, on page 363, it seems clear that the CIA, when releasing these emails, redacted the line “Off the record, no comment.” It’s rather obvious, because Dilanian immediately repeats that line right back, somewhat angrily at the ridiculousness of it.

    • Militarization, Surveillance, and Profit: How Grassroots Groups are Fighting Urban Shield

      In the San Francisco Bay Area, the answer is yes. A coalition of community groups has come together to call attention to Urban Shield, a four-day long “preparedness” exercise for law enforcement and other agencies that will take place from September 4-8. They’ve organized a week of education, including a march and demonstration outside of the event on Friday, September 5. To these community groups, Urban Shield represents state violence and political repression, not public safety.

    • You Can’t Say Something Like That And Not Do Something About It

      Amnesty International also calls attention to how wrong Obama was to characterize torture as an understandable error of judgment in the immediate wake of 9/11, by people who meant well. (“He even called us patriots!” John Rizzo, former CIA acting general counsel, kvelled afterwards.)

      By contrast, the extensive paper trail that has emerged over the years is clear: The Bush/Cheney torture regime was “a chillingly detailed, planned and resourced operation incorporating systematic unlawful and criminal conduct stretching over years.”

      If Obama really wants to prevent this from happening again some other time, Amnesty says, he needs to start by releasing the full Senate intelligence committee report on torture — not just the executive summary, but the whole thing, and without the redactions the White House proposed in early August.

      As I wrote on Wednesday, Senate intelligence committee chair Dianne Feinstein expects that she will be able to release the approximately 500-page executive summary of the 6,000-plus page report within two to four weeks — redacted, but not so redacted it isn’t “readable and understandable.”

    • New York’s Shield Law Protects Reporter From Subpoena

      Risen fought the subpoena all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the justices declined to review a lower court’s ruling affirming the subpoena’s legality. Having exhausted his options, Risen’s day of judgment may be coming soon, forcing him either to be jailed for his convictions or to tell the government what it wants to hear.

    • Holder: No Jail for NYT Reporter

      During a press conference to announce a broadened probe of the Ferguson, Mo. police department, Holder was asked whether he stood by statements he has reportedly made in private meetings insisting that Risen is not at risk of being jailed for contempt despite prosecutors’ success in defeating his legal effort to avoid testifying against his alleged source, Jeffrey Sterling.

    • Up to 2,100 Photos of US Soldiers Abusing Prisoners May Soon Be Released

      Would the release of 10-year-old detainee abuse photographs, such as one depicting US soldiers pointing a broom handle at a hooded detainee’s rectum, incite terrorist organizations and threaten national security?

      That’s a question government attorneys will have to answer next week when they explain to a federal court judge why as many as 2,100 unclassified photos of US soldiers abusing Iraqi and Afghan captives should continue to be concealed from the public.

    • UK records undermine Government’s claims over damaged CIA rendition documents

      Last month, FCO Minister Mark Simmonds told MPs that records of flights passing through Diego Garcia had suffered “water damage” as a result of “extremely heavy weather in June 2014.”

      However, weather records for Diego Garcia obtained from the FCO under Freedom of Information have cast doubt on this explanation: official logs for the island show that the total rainfall for June 2014 was just 3.25 inches (83mm). This is a low figure, considering the average annual rainfall is 102 inches (2591mm) – or 8.5 inches (216mm) per month.

      Ministers have previously admitted that Diego Garcia, part of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), was used by CIA planes carrying detainees as part of the ‘extraordinary rendition’ programme, which saw prisoners flown to countries where they could be subjected to torture. However, the UK Government has so far refused to make documents relating to such flights public.

    • Diego Garcia: Heavy Rain That ‘Destroyed’ Flight Logs in CIA Rendition Row Wasn’t So Heavy
    • Compare North Korea’s Judicial System to Gitmo

      The inmates at Guantanamo are treated no differently from the way suspects are treated in North Korea. As most everyone knows, some of the prisoners at Gitmo have been there for 12 years, without charges, trials, or even the semblance of due process of law. If they were ever to be given trials, the proceedings would be kangaroo in nature, in that the outcomes of the trials would be preordained by the president and Pentagon officials. Much of the trials would be in secret and evidence acquired by torture and hearsay evidence could be used to buttress the preordained verdict, just like in North Korea. Meanwhile, prisoners at Gitmo have been brutally tortured and have no hope of ever securing justice. It’s not surprising that many of them have gone on hunger strikes in the hopes of killing themselves.

    • What the CIA is attempting to keep under wraps
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC’s Tom Wheeler Admits There Isn’t Really Broadband Competition

      The big broadband providers have all been spinning a yarn for a while now pretending that there’s widespread competition. A key partner in this has been the FCC, which for years has helped spread this myth by pushing out totally bogus broadband data. If you want a good laugh, go over to BroadbandMap.gov and type in your address — and discover a bunch of bogus claims about broadband which you really don’t have. The speeds are inflated. The services are inflated. It includes mobile data broadband, despite it being priced much, much higher and with very low caps and limits — and speeds that no one truly considers to be broadband but, that doesn’t stop the big broadband players from using that bogus data to claim there’s tons of competition.

    • The Neutered Net: Why the FCC Can’t Save the Internet

      There’s no question that Net Neutrality has been this year’s most hotly debated and passionately defended political issue regarding the internet. It has often been painted as the next no-brainer that every internet user should hop on the bandwagon in support of—the next SOPA, PIPA, or NSA scandal. Opposition to shocking revelations such to these controversies sent a shockwave through the status quo of corporate government power. It was a signpost that the millennial generation can and will rise up to resist the oppression of personal liberties—at least when the fabric of their daily lives are at risk.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Corporate Sovereignty Debate Heats Up In Australia

      As Techdirt has reported, so far corporate sovereignty has emerged as the most contentious issue in the TTIP/TAFTA negotiations. In response to the growing public concern in Europe, the European Commission held a consultation on Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), although that proved largely a sham, with the desired outcome clearly signalled by the choice of questions and how they were framed. Indeed, Karel De Gucht, the EU Commissioner with overall responsibility for TTIP, even went so far as to call the unprecedented 150,000 public responses an “outright attack” — which is an interesting way to characterize democracy in action.

    • Copyrights

      • How Canada Shaped the Copyright Rules in the EU Trade Deal

        In late December 2009, Wikileaks, the website that publishes secret government information, posted a copy of the draft intellectual property chapter of the Canada – European Trade Agreement (CETA). The CETA deal was still years from completion, but the leaked document revealed that the European Union envisioned using the agreement to mandate a massive overhaul of Canadian law.

      • Leak Of Complete CETA Text Shows Canada Fought Off EU Demands For More Extreme Copyright Rules

        As we wrote back in July, it seems that the trade agreement between Canada and the EU, generally known as CETA, is finally nearing completion, after premature claims to that effect. One reason why we might believe so is that thanks to some public-spirited whistleblower(s), we now have both CETA’s main text (pdf) and the annexes (zip). This has permitted Michael Geist to perform an analysis of how the copyright provisions in CETA have evolved since the first leak of the chapter covering intellectual monopolies, posted by Wikileaks back in 2009.

      • U.S. Government Wants Kim Dotcom’s Cash and Cars

        The U.S. Government is going after Kim Dotcom’s bank accounts, cars, art and other property. In a complaint filed at a Virginia federal court the Department of Justice argues that the property of the Megaupload and its founder should be forfeited as it was obtained through criminal means.

08.16.14

Links 16/8/2014: Microsoft Linux, US Government Turns to Free Software

Posted in News Roundup, Site News at 11:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • How to crack an open source community

    This can be hard for developers new to a project, because “many would-be devs are intimidated by the perception of an existing ‘in-crowd’ dev group, even though it may not really be true,” ActiveState vice president Bernard Golden told me. Developer Tony Li echoes this, suggesting, “There is often a intimidation factor when thinking about submitting code to the maintainers (even though it is not on purpose).”

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • The why and how of becoming a cloud architect

      It’s certainly not news. We’ve talked before about how learning OpenStack is a great way to kickstart an IT career. But just how valuable is it? And if you want to make the transition from doing traditional IT infrastructure administration to becoming a cloud architect, how do you get there?

    • Running Hadoop as a Cloud Service is on the Rise

      For a while there, working with Big Data–sorting and sifting large data sets with new tools in pursuit of surfacing meaningful angles on stored information–meant leveraging the open source Hadoop platform in on-premise fashion. Typically, enterprises deployed Hadoop in-house as a platform tool.

    • Deciding on the Right Cloud for Your Organization
    • Scott Sanchez on OpenStack: Shifting a Mindset

      “I often stand in front of audiences filled with people who use storage servers. I ask them if they still name their servers. Inevitably, two-thirds of the people raise their hands. Their servers have names. … It is definitely a mindset. … You are not yet building quality applications. All of the innovation in the world is not going to solve that from an infrastructure perspective.”

    • Could fundamental open cloud freedom die?

      Balkan claims he is working to create independent technologies that protect our fundamental freedoms & democracy.

      Trust in the cloud forms the cornerstone of the Summit agenda with topics covered including:

      • the surveillance state,
      • the encryption economy,
      • honest business models and,
      • keeping trust amongst customers.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Organs of democracy

      Oh, yes, creation of human organs no longer requires divine oration, just a walk to the laboratory.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Gaza Strip Crisis: Melbourne Palestine Action Group Shuts Down Israeli Arms Factory

      Sam Castro, spokesperson for the Melbourne Palestine Activist Group, claims drones produced in the factory are being used in the current conflict in Gaza.

      She said: “By importing and exporting arms to Israel and facilitating the development of Israeli military technology, governments are effectively sending a clear message of approval for Israel’s military aggression, including its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.”

    • U.S. arms for Iraq’s Kurds could backfire, as similar aid has in the past

      The U.S. decision to arm Iraqi Kurds shows a dangerous and deplorable disregard for the lessons of history. The move is understandably tempting, given the threat Islamist extremists pose to civilians and the integrity of the Iraqi state, especially when the redeployment of U.S. troops is all but off the table.

    • Iraq crisis: US launches fresh drone strikes

      Fresh airstrikes have been launched by US drones against Isis forces close to a village where there were reports that dozens of civilians had been massacred.

    • Anger Over Missouri Police Shooting Resonates Across Bay Area and Nation
    • To Draw A Line

      There have been other disquieting trends too in recent times. Osama bin Laden was, of course, a Saudi and 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. We have it on testimony by ex-CIA director James Woolsey that Saudi Wahabism is “the soil in which Al Qaeda and its sister terrorist organisations are flourishing”.

    • With Friends Like These: NATO and the Afghan Leadership

      On 12th June 2011 Ahmed Wali Karzai (AWK), a key ally of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s mission in Afghanistan was assassinated. His fate was sealed by his own security chief of many years Mohmad Sardar, who shot him at point-blank range in his own home. Recent years in the conflict have seen a rise in such attacks by inside men, usually members of the Afghan National Army and police forces. It is rarer that that such a high level figure is killed at the behest of the Taliban in this way, since these attacks are usually carried out to create fear in the ranks of these forces. It is rarer still that the victim is none other than the President’s half brother. As if to add insult to injury, the Taliban detonated a suicide bomb at AWK’s funeral.

    • Americans can expect escalation of Iraq airstrikes

      The president’s authorization was confined to protecting American personnel and preventing the genocide of the Yazidis religious group. But it also suggested increased military involvement if the Iraqi government replaced Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, a Shiite widely seen as responsible for implementing sectarian policies that have severely alienated Sunni Iraqis. Al-Maliki resigned this week in favor of another Shiite, and Americans can expect to see an escalation of the airstrikes.

    • Elite commandos train for mission

      The men included Green Berets from the 10th Special Forces Group headquartered at Fort Carson, Colo., and an unidentified Navy crew who are training together for a classified mission somewhere in Africa.

    • US, NATO And The Destruction Of Libya: The Western Front Of A Widening War – OpEd

      NATO claimed that its intervention in Libya was a historic success. But three years later, Libya is in complete chaos. Some 1700 militias have a combined total of 250,000 men under arms. Another external intervention seems necessary to stabilize the country. But the US and NATO must never be involved

    • Libya’s new parliament asks for UN intervention
    • The Clintons, Duvalier, Martelly and Haiti

      If you vote and you live in the USA, you should try to become educated about the multiple recent and ongoing misdeeds of the Clintons in Haiti.

      So far, they’ve managed to hide their hands cleverly using the puppets (Martelly, Duvalier, Lamothe…) they have imposed upon the people of Haiti.

    • Nepal must be Stand against the CIA & EU’s Conspiracies

      Since 2006, due to the traitors’ regime, Nepalese society is suffering due to inflation, shortage, insecurity and indefinite pain. The leaders of Nepal only listen to foreign powers and do what they are told. That is why Nepal is facing such dire consequences. Anarchy prevailed in the country after Hindu status and royal institution were removed forcibly. The leaders of NC and UML are hostage to indecision. Most of the intellectuals of the country can be bought for money. Maoist leader Mohan Vaidya led group have not abandoned Leninism that is 88 years old date expired formula. A man unable to swim will drown. We must show commitment for progress of Nepal. To save our nation we must get rid of prejudice and support constitutional monarchy and Hindu and Buddhist status of the country.

    • Top 10 Fidel Castro assassination attempts
    • CIA Records: They Wanted to Kill, Using Chemical, Biological Substances

      By analyzing CIA documents from earlier days, we can understand the programs of the Agency and its government cousins.

      Given the fact that the CIA’s umbrella research program, MKULTRA, went completely dark in 1962, and given the technological advances that have been made in the intervening years, we can draw inferences about present-day covert ops.

    • Washington Staged Egypt’s “Arab Spring” Revolution, U.S. Knew About 9/11 Warning, Former Egypt Interior Minister Reveals

      One of these claims was that the United States was behind the 2011 Egyptian revolution which overthrew Hosni Mubarak. The other, however, was that the Egyptian intelligence agencies and Interior Ministry received information regarding a developing terrorist operation against the United States in September, 2001 and that the Egyptians warned the United States twice ahead of time. According to El-Adly, these warnings were completely ignored.

    • Nixon believed CIA involved in Kennedy assassination

      A new book, to be released Sept. 2, discloses a previously unknown connection between Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, John F. Kennedy and the CIA. In fact, author Roger Stone, a former Nixon aide, asserts that Nixon “knew the CIA was involved in JFK’s assassination” and was so pesky in his attempts to get them to disclose all their records that the CIA contemplated the assassination of Nixon as well. Nixon believed CIA involved in Kennedy assassination

    • Top 10 Fidel Castro assassination attempts

      Cuba celebrated Castro’s 88th birthday yesterday and he famously survived 638 assassination attempts – the Americans tried so many ways that they had to get creative. Here are his top 10 assassination attempts

    • Washington: Plans against Cuba lay bare

      The most recent leaks about Cuba reveal the hiring of young Costa Ricans, Peruvians, and Venezuelans whose goals were to recruit possible dissidents in Cuban universities. These activists would later play the role of organizers of a “velvet” revolution. The AP has released the names of their top agents. When this project is linked to the mission of USAID contractor Alan Gross, currently serving a prison sentence in Cuba, and the so-called Zunzuneo, and Piramideo —Twitter-like social networks to unite thousands of Cuban people to carry out destabilization actions— it takes shape a very-well orchestrated plan to boost up a future rebellion in Cuba.

    • ISI, CIA aiding northeast Indian militants: Tripura CM

      Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has alleged that Pakistani intelligence agency ISI and America’s CIA are in constant touch with anti-India militants, a section of whom are still using Bangladesh to operate.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • More Trans-Pacific Partnership details leaked

      The United States and other countries in the Americas and Asia are involved in secretly negotiating a Free Trade Agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, much of the news about the deal comes from leaks as none of the details are publicly published. In the latest leak, activists reveal Certification which allows the US to withhold the the final steps that are necessary to bring a trade and investment treaty into force until the other party has changed it’s relevant laws to meet US expectations.

  • Finance

  • Censorship

    • Anonymity and Censorship

      How far can government go in forcing people to reveal their identities, or protecting people from being forced to reveal their identities? The issues of anonymity, free speech, and privacy are once again central topics of debate, made so by the refusal of the police department in Ferguson, Missouri to reveal the identity of the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager Saturday night, based on fears for the officer’s safety. The decision to keep his identity secret has been a factor in the violent protests in the St. Louis suburb.

    • Google: We must reverse the new tide of censorship sweeping Europe

      You may have heard of the DA-Notice. This is a formal request, from the government of the day to the editors of newspapers such as this, to kill a story on the grounds of national security. The DA-Notice system is voluntary, and it works because it is not deployed as a method of censorship. Tiny numbers of DA-Notices are issued. Tiny numbers of stories are killed. But, in our internet age, in which communication is supposed to be easier, and freer, than ever before, that is changing, and not for the better. Welcome to the world of the G-notice.

    • The problem with censorship in social media

      When it comes to social media, and the Internet in general, censorship is a sensitive topic. You probably didn’t read the small print when you signed up to Facebook or Twitter but all your favourite sites have rules, and with so many users posting so much content daily it can be difficult to police them – especially without pissing people off. Free speech is pretty popular after all.

    • Crowdfunding Lantern, a P2P anti-censorship tool
    • CIA security luminary: ‘Right to be forgotten is not enough’

      The EU’s so-called “right to be forgotten” laws have not gone far enough to protect citizens’ privacy, according to Dan Geer, one of the world’s best-known security experts.

    • Essay: Censorship, police intimidation at missile defense conference

      Upon exiting the room he was immediately surrounded by four to six armed police officers in uniform, two of whom identified themselves as members of the Huntsville Police Department.

    • Bulgaria: Disputed sections of “bank censorship” proposal axed

      Bulgarian journalists covering the financial beat can breathe freely as the most controversial parts of the so-called “bank censorship” amendment to the criminal code have been removed by the legal committee of the national assembly.

    • Draw the Line: Do wars justify censorship?

      The British government established the War Office Press Bureau 100 years ago this month to censor reports from the British Army before they were issued to the press. Colonel Ernest Swinton, the first man to be appointed the Army’s official journalist, wrote later: “The principle which guided me in my work was above all to avoid helping the enemy… I essayed to tell as much of the truth as was compatible with safety, to guard against depression and pessimism, and to check unjustified optimism which might lead to a relaxation of effort.”

    • Erdoğan brought censorship, chilling effects on journalism

      Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is preparing to assume the office of president on Aug. 28 following his election to the state’s top post on Aug. 10, has left a legacy on journalism which is filled with confrontation and rebuke of journalists, attempts at censorship, prosecution and even deportation of critical journalists.

  • Privacy

    • Blogging History: NSA audit shows 1000s of privacy violations; RECAP for US law launches; Wiretapping the Web
    • Hillary Clinton’s phone ‘hacked by German intelligence’

      Hillary Clinton’s phone was hacked during her time as US Secretary of State, German media reports. Allegations are set to question US-German relations just months after Merkel hacking scandal.

    • German secret service ‘spied on Hillary Clinton’as NSA spied on Merkel
    • Pro Hackers Could Be Spying On You Through YouTube

      Morgan Marquis-Boire, a celebrated hacker turned security researcher, just published a lengthy and rather scary paper on so-called “network injection appliances”. The NSA-calibre hacking tool is sold by companies like Hacking Team and FinFisher for as little as $US1 million and can crack into your hard drive any time unencrypted data is exchanged with a server. YouTube videos, by the way, are not encrypted.

    • You Can Get Hacked Just By Watching This Cat Video on YouTube
    • Former NSA Director Doesn’t Remember Taking A Photo With Edward Snowden

      Former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden says a picture of him with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in the September issue of Wired magazine wasn’t a memorable experience because he doesn’t remember taking the photo.

    • Your Cellphone’s Tiny Motion Sensor Could Be Eavesdropping on You

      Researchers just found yet another reason to be paranoid: Even if hackers or the NSA are locked out of your cellphone’s microphone, camera and data, they might still be able to snoop on you through the tiny chip that tracks the device’s orientation. Gyroscopes in modern phones, unlike the spinning gyroscopes of old, work by a method that also allows it to detect vibrations in the air at certain frequencies — including some that overlap with the human voice. And worse still, Android apps don’t have to alert the user that they’re accessing the gyro, meaning practically any game or website could be listening in on you (neither do iPhone apps, but the technique doesn’t work as well on iOS).

    • Gyroscope In Your Phone Acts As A Microphone
    • A chance to limit spying on Americans

      When Congress returns from its August recess, surveillance reform will be high on the agenda. In May, the House passed the USA Freedom Act, a measure aimed at ending bulk collection of Americans’ phone records under the Patriot Act. And in July, a much stronger version of the bill was introduced in the Senate.

    • How US Government Surveillance Threatens Attorney-Client Privilege

      Documents leaked to the press over the past year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden reveal that the US government is sweeping up vast amounts of private data and communications, including confidential information related to ongoing legal matters and privileged communications between attorneys and their clients.

    • Russia Denies Asking Snowden About Intelligence Secrets
    • ICYMI: Data breach disclosure, European privacy & internet outages

      Data breach disclosure is a legal necessity in the US and will soon be in the EU too, what with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (still awaiting legislative approval) stipulating that breaches must be reported within 72 hours of the initial incident.

      This is – by and large – being actively encouraged in an era of escalating data breaches and post-NSA transparency. Simply hiding the bad news can no longer be tolerated and has too many business repercussions (legal fines, brand damage) anyway.

    • Questioning Edward Snowden’s Cure-All

      Such a mindset no doubt serves the interests of an entrepreneur like Pierre Omidyar, a billionaire who plans to generate income by peddling security products. Products that will address the very scandals that his new media venture unearths.4 Isn’t that convenient? To be able to present a problem with one hand and then proffer a solution with the other? Problem-Reaction-Solution; also known as the Hegelian dialectic. By the way this tactic has also been employed, to the hilt, by a Pentagon carpetbagger named Keith Alexander.5

    • Cybersecurity’s History Provides Lessons for the Future

      In 2003-2004, deploying wireless networks was hot. Government IT executives were eager to offer wireless Internet access in conference rooms, but I was against it. Armed with white papers from three-letter agencies in D.C. and scary headlines describing “war driving” with breaches, I declared, “No wireless!”

    • FBI Snooping on Attorneys for 9/11 Suspects Has ‘Sown Chaos,’ Team Says

      The lead counsel for the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks claimed Thursday that an FBI investigation of the defense attorneys has “sown chaos” in the proceedings, as another week of pretrial hearings drew to a close.

    • The FBI Spied on the Wrong People Because of Typos

      The FBI unintentionally spied on the communications data of some Americans who were not targets of investigations because of typographical errors, according to a government watchdog.

    • Government Invokes ‘Privacy’ Exemption To Conceal Secrets

      When the National Security Agency wanted to block the public release of former contractor Edward Snowden’s emails, it found an unlikely ally: His privacy.

      The government cited a federal law protecting privacy rights to deny journalist Matthew Keys’ request for Snowden’s messages. Experts said Snowden is far from an exception. From Osama bin Laden to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, “privacy” claims are the government’s latest excuse to keep its secrets secret.

      “For an agency whose core mission is the violation of our privacy, privacy is an especially Orwellian rationale for the NSA to invoke in justifying its non-compliance” with the Freedom of Information Act, said Ryan Shapiro, an MIT graduate student who frequently files public records requests with the NSA and other agencies. “That it’s Edward Snowden’s privacy the NSA now claims to defend only heightens the irony.”

    • Meet the Man Who’s Gauging the Damage From Snowden

      Tapped in May 2014 by James Clapper, director of the Office of National Intelligence, Evanina is now immersed in coordinating multi-agency efforts to mitigate the risk of foreign infiltration, assess damage from intelligence leaks and tighten the security clearance process.

    • The surveillance debate, continued: Another response to the ACLU

      In a nutshell, I argued that the bill contained some problematic language that could actually allow more access to data by NSA; Rottman agreed that scrutiny was warranted but suggested the situation was not so bad — and certainly better than the status quo; Wheeler suggested the ACLU was too optimistic and pointed to other parts of the bill as potentially open to abuse.

    • New “TCP Stealth” tool aims to help sysadmins block spies from exploiting their systems

      The draft, authored by Tor’s Jacob Appelbaum and others, aims to standardize a technique called TCP Stealth, for keeping servers safe from mass port-scanning tools like GCHQ’s HACIENDA.

    • FTC Urged To Crack Down On Tech Firms’ Privacy Violations
    • New From 500-Year-Old Deutsche Post: Self-Destructing Encrypted Chats

      Deutsche Post offers the messenger, also available for Android phones, in eight languages and is targeting the global market, according to Mr. Edenhofer.

    • Apple slings fanbois’ data at Chinese servers in China Telecom deal

      In an effort to woo buyers in China, Apple has inked a deal to store Chinese customer data in Chinese servers for the first time.

    • Apple using China Telecom servers to store iCloud data
    • Understanding the Implications of Tor’s latest hack

      The security world got itself worked up in late July about an attack on the Tor network. The exploit, which ran from January to July, enabled the attackers to identify users looking for hidden services on Tor. Hidden services are typically web sites operated anonymously using Tor.

    • US must remedy NSA’s 2012 Syrian internet shutdown

      In this case, however, it turns out that the Syrian government was not to blame. Rather, the NSA caused the disruption by destroying a key router connecting the country to international networks.

      According to Snowden, the NSA’s aim was to spy on all Syrians. In the course of attempting to hack into the router for surveillance purposes, the NSA broke the equipment; rather than violating privacy, the NSA directly violated international law and policy on freedom of expression. Syrians lost the ability to communicate during a time when users at risk most needed access to accurate information, open media, and social networks.

  • Civil Rights

    • LAPD Officers Fatally Beat Father During Traffic Stop a Week Before Ezell Ford Shooting, Family Says

      Omar Abrego, a 37-year-old father of three, was driving home in an Amtrak truck in his work uniform on Aug. 2 when he was pulled over by officers right in front of his house in the 6900 block of South Main Street (map), which is just four blocks from where Ford was shot and killed by Los Angeles Police Department officers nine days later.

      Two sergeants from the Newton Division, which was also involved in the Ford shooting, pulled over Abrego because he was allegedly driving erratically, speeding and had almost hit a pedestrian, according to LAPD officials. When they attempted to pull him over, he kept going.

    • Has the Right Really Shifted on Police Militarization and Abuse?

      It would be a great thing if politicians were more critical of the obvious trend towards militarization of police forces. And there’s no doubt that some voices have been more critical of overzealous police practices than one might expect. But is it actually a widespread trend?

    • DoJ Memo Justifies Killing Anwar al-Awlaki by Citing US Law Enforcement’s Right to Use Deadly Force

      As a result of Freedom of Information Act lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times, President Barack Obama’s administration has released the first memo authored by federal appeals court judge and former Office of Legal Counsel lawyer David Barron to justify the killing of US citizen and terrorism suspect Anwar al-Awlaki.

      The Justice Department memo is dated February 19, 2010, a few months after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to bomb a Detroit-bound plane on December 25, 2009. This memo was later superseded by a second memo that addressed issues the administration had overlooked, according to the Times.

    • The Secret US Drone Program that Killed JFK’s Eldest Brother

      Everything it seems. Over the course of 15 mission flown between August 4, 1944 and January 1, 1945 Operation Aphrodite managed to kill four American crewmen, including Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.—eldest son of the politically powerful Kennedy family and older brother to the future-35th president—while failing to damage any of their intended targets and, in most cases failing to even reach their target. Most were shot down, ran out of fuel, or just randomly fell out of the sky in a fiery ball of wreckage.

    • The Militarization of Law Enforcement in America: Blowback in Ferguson

      This is a short call from informing the mainstream media that the country has been living under pseudo martial law for decades.

    • More than 100 Cities Join Moment of Silence for Michael Brown
    • Blowback in Ferguson

      The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager and the ensuing protests in Ferguson, Missouri has rocked America. Even the mainstream media with its aversion to the truth has been forced to address the militarization of the police in America – albeit years too late.

      This is a short call from informing the mainstream media that the country has been living under pseudo martial law for decades.

      On April 13, 2013, the ACLU (Shasta Chapter) invited me to be their keynote speaker to talk about government secrecy, drones, and the militarization of America. The Ferguson shooting and its coverage it the media prompted me to highlight some of the points made during that talk as they relate to today’s events.

    • Anger Over Missouri Police Shooting Resonates Across Bay Area and Nation

      To many observers in Oakland, the scenes in Ferguson of militarized police officers and clouds of tear gas are reminiscent of local clashes, including skirmishes between police and Occupy protesters and the protests that followed the 2009 BART police killing of Oscar Grant.

    • From Boston to Ferguson: Have We Reached a Tipping Point in the Police State?

      As journalist Benjamin Carlson points out, “In today’s Mayberry, Andy Griffith and Barney Fife could be using grenade launchers and a tank to keep the peace.”

      This is largely owing to the increasing arsenal of weapons available to police units, the changing image of the police within communities, and the growing idea that the police can and should use any means necessary to maintain order.

      To our detriment, local police – clad in jackboots, helmets and shields and wielding batons, pepper-spray, stun guns, and assault rifles – have increasingly come to resemble occupying forces in our communities. “Today,” notes Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, “17,000 local police forces are equipped with such military equipment as Blackhawk helicopters, machine guns, grenade launchers, battering rams, explosives, chemical sprays, body armor, night vision, rappelling gear and armored vehicles. Some have tanks. ”

      Unfortunately, whatever the threat to so-called security – whether it’s rumored weapons of mass destruction, school shootings, or alleged acts of terrorism – it doesn’t take much for the American people to march in lockstep with the government’s dictates, even if it means submitting to martial law, having their homes searched, and being stripped of one’s constitutional rights at a moment’s notice.

    • There’s no punishment for lying to Americans?

      Last April at a Senate hearing, National Security Agency Director James Clapper was asked by Sen. Ron Wyden whether the NSA was spying on the American people. He said no, but he admitted later that it was a lie.

      This lie is a felony offense.

    • Pop Music Needs to Be More Political. Here’s Why.

      By the beginning of the 1990s, that kind of opinionated, black-power-inspired hip-hop had morphed into gangster rap. Of course, it was easier for media and government to represent the likes of Tupac as a danger to society, indoctrinating America’s youth, black and white, with violent fantasies, flaunting the thug life as something to aspire to.

    • CHAPMAN: Fast facts on John Brennan

      A diplomat was once defined as someone whose job is to lie for his country. That’s apparently what makes them different from intelligence officers, whose function is to lie to their country.

    • Disappearing People and Disappearing the Evidence: The Deeper Significance of the SSCI Report

      When the executive summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s (SSCI) report on the CIA’s torture program is finally released, it is likely to discredit a story that defenders of “enhanced interrogation” have been telling for years. The narrative first appeared in the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memos that authorized the CIA program. President Bush repeated it in his September 2006 speech acknowledging the existence of CIA prisons, and in 2008 when he vetoed a bill outlawing waterboarding. Slightly different versions appear in Bush’s memoirs, and defenses of the CIA program by George Tenet, Michael Hayden, Michael Mukasey, Jose Rodriguez, John Yoo, Dick Cheney, and others.

    • CIA director should be fired
    • Media advocates hand Justice Dep’t. a petition supporting subpoenaed New York Times reporter
    • NY Times reporter honoured for fight to protect source
    • Reporter for New York Times honored for source protection
    • Petitioners Call on US to Stop Legal Action against James Risen
    • James Risen: ‘Happy to carry on the fight’
    • US reporter vows to ‘keep fighting’ to protect source
    • Press Freedom Groups Ramp Up Campaign For James Risen

      Press freedom organizations submitted a petition with more than 100,000 signatures to the US Department of Justice Thursday in support of New York Times reporter James Risen.

      The petition demanded that the government stop all legal action against Risen, who has been involved in a six-year battle for press freedom, McClatchy DC reported Friday.

    • 100,000 sign up to support New York Times reporter facing jail
    • 100,000-petition urges US to drop legal action vs Pulitzer-winning journalist
    • Is President Obama About to Send a ‘New York Times’ Reporter to Jail?
    • The CIA’s shameful secrets
    • Guest: CIA spying on Senate is the constitutional equivalent of Watergate
    • It’s logical to say torture doesn’t work

      Contrary to the claims of Debra Saunders in “DiFi’s tortured logic on interrogations” (Insight, Aug. 12), it is not illogical to think that torture is ineffective. It is instead, the consensus of interrogation experts at the FBI and British Intelligence, and has been for decades. The issue is not that torture victims don’t talk, but rather that they will say anything they think will make the pain stop, regardless of its accuracy.

    • America’s Real Patriots Fought to Expose and End Torture
    • Telecom petition calls on Obama to fire Brennan

      A telecom company and tens of thousands of supporters are calling on President Obama to fire CIA Director John Brennan over a report that showed his agency hacked into Senate computers.

    • Americans Should Be Ashamed Of Torture And CIA Cover-Up

      As a person of faith and as an American, the United States committing torture in my name and the subsequent CIA actions around torture are especially disturbing. It is against the very core of who I am as a Catholic and as a human being and is the antithesis as to who we are as a nation.

    • 5 Muslim Americans File Lawsuit over Terrorist Watchlist

      Five Muslim Americans have filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the U.S. government of unjustly placing them on the terrorist watchlist. One plaintiff in the suit, Yaseen Kadura, says a federal official tried to pressure him into becoming a government informant in Libya, using removal from the no-fly list as an incentive. The Intercept news site revealed last month the Obama administration has expanded the watchlist system by approving broad guidelines over who can be targeted. Hundreds of thousands of watchlisted individuals are recognized as having no ties to terrorist groups.

    • My Turn: Torture is a crime, so why don’t we treat it like one

      President Obama has now acknowledged America’s use of torture. “We tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.” Obama went on to try and place the use of torture in context. Recalling the desperation of law enforcement to prevent further attacks post-9/11, Obama said, “It’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job those folks had.”

      Although I am glad Obama acknowledged the fact of torture and did not try to call it a phony euphemism, I am disappointed in his response. Torture is a crime. It is not a public relations embarrassment that needs to be managed.

    • FBI Urged to Purge Anti-Muslim Material

      US civil rights and religious groups have voiced their concerns over federal agencies of anti-Muslim training material, demanding an urgent audit of federal law enforcement training material.

      “The use of anti-Muslim trainers and materials is not only highly offensive, disparaging the faith of millions of Americans, but leads to biased policing that targets individuals and communities based on religion, not evidence of wrongdoing,” a letter signed by 75 groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Auburn Seminary and the NAACP, reads, Religion News Services reported on Thursday, August 14.

    • Come clean on torture by the military and CIA

      Ten years ago, the infamous photos from Abu Ghraib thrust the issue of torture onto the front page. While some tried to employ the few-bad-apples defense, it was clear then and it is even clearer now that the horror at Abu Ghraib grew out of problems at the top. Torture by U.S. military personnel and intelligence officers was, at its core, a failure of leadership.

    • New York Oath Keepers claim accusations by state intelligence agency to be false

      Is NYSIC suggesting that it is extreme and threatening to encourage our officials to honor their oath and refuse to obey unconstitutional orders?

08.11.14

Another Depressing Look at the Patent Systems in the US and in Europe

Posted in America, Europe, Patents, Site News at 12:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EU too is besieged by corporations

EU

Summary: A roundup of news about patent monopolies and in particular the immense power wielded by giant multi-national corporations that steer the debate and acquire trans-Atlantic monopolies on ideas, always against citizens’ interests

Some well-meaning people still focus on patent trolls, not on software patents. The world’s largest corporations engage in a coup or an occupation against policy-makers and it shows. This includes some who purport to be supporting FOSS, fair competition, etc. Melanie Chernoff, the Public Policy Manager for Red Hat, says that “North Carolina says ‘no’ to patent trolls”. To quote the article published this afternoon:

North Carolina became the latest state to take a stand against patent trolls when NC Governor Pat McCrory signed a new law last week aimed at preventing bad faith assertions of patent infringement. Patent trolls (more officially called “patent assertion entities” or “non-practicing entities”) are known for sending very vague letters, with often meritless claims, to other businesses in the hopes of extorting a settlement to avoid the nuisance of a lawsuit.

But this is not the thing to strive for. The real (core) issue is patent scope and even those who spend all their time diverting attention and/or arguing about “trolls” (front groups CCIA with its lawyers who are funded by giant corporations) increasingly — however rarely — recognise the issue of scope while still trying to shift attention to “trolls”.

The other day The Economist, widely recognised for its pro-Big Business agenda, published this article titled “Patents that kill”. To quote some of the relevant parts:

IN 1742 Benjamin Franklin invented a new type of stove, for which he was offered a patent. Franklin refused it, arguing in his autobiography that because “we enjoy[ed] great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours.”

[...]

The pharmaceutical industry makes the best case for patents (and makes the most of patents when they are approved). Medical research and development (R&D) is costly. Moreover, although a patent application must be filed straight after a drug discovery, clinical trials necessary for drug approval may take several years. This shortens the effective life of the patent. As three economists argue in a recent paper this causes problems. In order to prove the efficacy of a drug, pharmaceuticals have to match the length of a clinical trial to the expected survival time of the patients. A clinical trial for patients with metastatic prostate cancer lasts only three years compared to an 18-year-long trial for those suffering from a milder, localised prostate cancer. Since a typical patent is in force for 20 years, firms only have two years of effective patent length left to commercialise a new drug against localised prostate cancer.

Here we deal with an issue that has nothing to do with patent trolls but with patent scope.

Dealing with the issue of European approach towards software patents, Glyn Moody put the words of some British patent lawyers in a frame of mind that assures us Europe is assimilating to the US (and USPTO), not the other way around. To quote Glyn Moody: “It would be easy to assume that the European Patent Office (EPO) stands in the same relationship to the European Union as the USPTO does to the United States, but that’s actually wide of the mark.”

There is corporate control of the USPTO, which is operating against the interests of US citizens (except the top 1% perhaps). The lawyers’ blog has apparently produced “a great piece, but its gentle humor exposes a serious point about the EPO: it is literally above the law.

“That emphasizes once more that the unitary patent system has been decoupled from the normal legislative and democratic processes of the European Union, and thus will be under no obligation to take heed of the economic interests of the European citizens.”

We are soon going expose corruption at the EPO, based leaks from a source which is pursuing encryption at the moment.

Moody continues: “There is no precedent in the political history of modern democracies where important property issues affecting the economic sustainability and development of a country, and the proprietary rights and business prospects of its people, were conclusively and exclusively taken by a judicial body at supranational level. A democratic policy-making process for the determination of patents as objects of property exists, of course, in all countries of the world, including the US, whose system the UPC tries to imitate. The difference is that the US unified patent system does not escape democratic control, and the economic policies that it serves are widely debated by legislators, judges, economists, lawyers and industry players, all of whom are residents of the same country.”

Finally, says Moody: “It’s still early days for the unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court, so it’s not yet clear how the new system will work, and how serious the problems will be. The danger is that Eponia might turn out to be not so much a quaint oddity in the European political landscape as a dangerous rogue state with serious negative consequences for the region’s businesses and citizens.”

The system is out of control at the moment. It gets worse as patents expand in terms of scope (especially in Europe but also in other continent) while the US merely makes baby-steps in the opposite direction, while much of the effort is being diverted towards “trolls” (small abusers), of course at the behest of large corporations, as usual in US politics as per the modus operandi.

08.08.14

Microsoft’s Android Lawsuit Against Samsung Shows That Windows is Dead Beef

Posted in Site News at 4:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft resorts to AstroTurfing, lawsuits, vapourware, and attack ads, revealing that it is a feeble aggressor whose only remaining hope for revival is destruction of rivals

Samsung sells computers with Windows, but Microsoft is now suing Samsung. This is very revealing.

Now that Microsoft takes its Android-hostile patents to court we might finally see them defanged, or as SJVN put it, this “could be the beginning of a war over the validity of Microsoft’s Android patents.”

“The Apple vs. Samsung case recently suffered a setback after Samsung had used the SCOTUS ruling against ‘abstract’ patents.”There is no such thing as Android patents, just as there is no such thing as FOSS patents. This is the wording style of the aggressor. The Apple vs. Samsung case recently suffered a setback after Samsung had used the SCOTUS ruling against 'abstract' patents. Additionally, China told us which patents Microsoft is using against Android, so there too lies an opportunity for a final smackdown (prior art can be brought forth).

All this lawsuits talk ought to remind us that Microsoft really hates Linux and FOSS. It only pretends otherwise because it needs to (Slashdot gives some help to Microsoft’s “open” proxy/PR/charm offensive), as many businesses/people who use Windows also use GNU, Linux, Android, Firefox etc. We quite enjoyed this new analysis from Jim Lynch, who correctly said:

Microsoft has never been a…er…fan of Linux, to say the least. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer even likened Linux to cancer back in 2001. Now Microsoft has an unintentionally hilarious comparison of its server products and Linux on a site called Why Microsoft.

[...]

I hadn’t heard of this site before, but I bumped into it via a Reddit thread. Talk about a one-sided comparison bathed in “marketing-speak!” I particularly enjoyed the ridiculous bit about security threats where Microsoft just says this: “Persistent threats and dedicated attackers can slow your projects and put your IT environment at risk with Linux projects.”

It was a fun read this morning while I finished my first cup of coffee. I was fortunate not to snort coffee through my nose while reading through it. Thanks for the laughs, Microsoft.

[...]

Feel free to put me in the cynic category when it comes to Microsoft and open source. I think the Why Microsoft site is a much clearer indication of where Microsoft’s thinking is at than the speculation in this Dev Ops article. In other words, I’ll believe that Microsoft is actually embracing the open source community when it actually happens.

Windows is in trouble, so Microsoft’s lawsuit against a massive partner (Samsung) is not entirely shocking. Windows is in so much trouble that releases of it get altogether cancelled and Microsoft started using vapourware tactics (talking about versions of Windows that do not even exist). To quote the British press:

Microsoft has at last revealed the date when its second major update to Windows 8.1 will ship to customers: never.

Vista 8 has been an utter disaster (worse than Vista). No wonder Microsoft goes to court in a desperate attempt/attack to tax the Android leader. No wonder Microsoft uses vapourware tactics as well (all links to examples are omitted as we don’t wish to feed fiction, fantasy, and marketing).

Microsoft will mostly likely continue its attack ads against Google, even though Microsoft reads your mail [1] while repeatedly accusing Google of doing that.

Windows is a passing fad. We don’t expect it to be widely used 5 years from now. Other Microsoft products heavily rely on Windows’ inertia, so they too will gradually perish and be shut down (while more staff gets laid off by the tens of thousands).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft tip leads to child porn arrest in Pennsylvania

07.20.14

Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

Posted in Site News at 4:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Matt Levy works for CCIA (occasionally a Microsoft proxy) now

Matthew Levy

Summary: Matthew (‘Matt’) Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)

WE ARE excited to see that after the USPTO had begun rejecting software patents and CAFC had ruled against 'abstract' software patents (owing to SCOTUS) there was impact by extrapolation. As TechDirt puts it, “Latest CAFC Ruling Suggests A Whole Lot Of Software Patents Are Likely Invalid”. Another patents expert (especially expert in patent trolls) puts it like this: “The most litigious “patent troll” in the US has lost a major case after the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found its patent was too abstract.”

We continue to be disappointed by the site Patent Progress (notice which controversial entities its writers are affiliated with). The name is misleading and it’s a dot-org too, despite corporate connections. We wrote about this in the past, before we knew that Matt Levy, its main writer, “joined the CCIA in 2013″ (see our Wiki page about CCIA).

Levy continues to favour the IBM-style OIN-esque aggregation of patents. From his latest post: “A coalition of tech companies (Google, Canon, SAP, Newegg, Dropbox and Asana) recently announced a new private initiative to disarm patent trolls: the License on Transfer Network (LOT). This is essentially an extension of Google’s Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge (OPN) that I wrote about in my very first Patent Progress post last year.”

We recently saw several links (e.g. in Twitter) pointing at our older (and sceptical) analysis of Patent Progress. It seems that not only us have noticed the change of agenda, or lack of coherent agenda. Not a word has been said in Patent Progress about the above news, which is massive! Is Patent Progress becoming as credible as ‘Consumer’ Watchdog’? To ‘Consumer’ Watchdog’, only Google is a problem (it seems like an extension of Microsoft’s “Scroogled” PR) and to Patent Progress, the only problem is patent trolls, not patent scope.

07.15.14

Interest in Free Software Coverage and 9 Months With Tux Machines

Posted in Site News at 2:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Building

Summary: Thoughts about the level of interest in Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and growth of at least some sites that focus on GNU/Linux

About nine months ago my wife and I decided that we had what it takes to keep Tux Machines going and growing. The site had been my favourite source of news for over half a decade (the editorial picks were simply better than the competition’s) and I was saddened to see it slowing down, due to positive developments in its founder’s life (a wedding).

News sites about GNU/Linux seems to be growing fewer, with some widening scope beyond GNU/Linux and FOSS and some not keeping up a regular stream of news. No need to name them, as that might only offend them (Phoronix actually does a great job keeping up the flow of news). Paradoxically, interest in Free software seems to be growing, especially now that large nations adopt it. They probably favour news in Mandarin, Russian, Korean and so on, but still, one would expect them to read some news in English too.

Tux Machines recently reached high levels of traffic that resemble the traffic of this site (stressing and sometimes overstressing even four cores with Varnish and CMS cache). This tells us that interest in Free software is not necessarily declining, even if the amount of coverage definitely declined in recent years.

07.07.14

Microsoft’s Propaganda Machine Tries to Shift Security Debate Amid Serious Catastrophes

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Security, Site News at 5:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Observations and analysis of some recent deception in corporate news sites (like Condé Nasty), trying to pretend that Microsoft is secure, that Microsoft is pursuing security, and that FOSS and Android security or privacy are inherently poor

THE KARMA (or blowback) that Microsoft is meeting right now is a result of it sucking up (for government subsidies) to the NSA et al. for a decade and a half. Putting back doors in one’s software is not a safe bet for a business.

As longtime Internet saboteur (most recently Microsoft broke No-IP and offered no real apology, knowing perhaps it would fuel lawsuits by admission) Microsoft should never be trusted for anything Web-based. This is perhaps why China has put Microsoft’s latest Office push on the blacklist. “Yesterday,” said one article “Microsoft convinced a judge to let it take over No-IP’s DNS service, shutting down name service for many websites, in order to stop a malware attack. Today, the company fake-pologized.”

Never mind the fact that, as we explained before, the malware was partly Microsoft’s fault, for making a piece of software that’s insecure by design (and with back doors). “Microsoft’s PR mailout says that “some customers” experienced “temporary” loss of service but that everything was fine now; shortly after, the company’s PR emailed journalists again to say that things were still massively screwed up. It blamed the whole mess on a “technical error,” but when you look at what the judge believed about No-IP when the order came down, it’s clear that the “technical error” was a gross overstatement of both No-IP’s involvement in Microsoft’s woes, and the best way to sort them out.”

Notice how Microsoft is rallying so-called journalists. It is a company of liars and cover-ups. Why would anyone believe a single word?

The very fact that Microsoft was able to shut down millions of legitimate services shows just how much Microsoft corrupted its government. It used the Court for powers like hijacking a whole network. The No-IP story turned out to be far more outrageous than most people realised, as the press had been deceiving them at Microsoft’s behest. People should be fuming and Microsoft sued out of existence, but we just don’t know if this is actually going to happen. If Tux Machines was still on No-IP (as it had been for year, until recently), then it would have been one among millions of victims, potentially down for days.

Now, watch the audacity of Microsoft. With help from Gates’ fan press it pretends to be “against the NSA” and “transparent”. A lie bigger than that is hard to imagine, but this is marketing. This is part of a propaganda campaign which is going on at the moment (in many countries) and would have the gullible believe that Microsoft ‘fights back’ against the NSA, or something along those lines. One piece of propaganda was titled “Microsoft mocks NSA” and another doubts that it is “NSA-proof” (it is not, as with PRISM Microsoft can provide direct access, never mind NSLs).

Corporate media is meanwhile trying hard to push FOSS as “insecure” back into the debate. Gates’ fan press recently did this (citing familiar FOSS-hostile firms) and ‘Information’ Age conflates “proprietary” with “enterprise”, insinuating that FOSS is inherently not for enterprises (this is another type of FUD). Apparently, in addition to all that, a few lines of code (one bug) are the beginning of a new world. It’s that “Heartbleed” nonsense — a word coined by a Microsoft-linked firm for greater impact in an already-FOSS-hostile media (here is Adrian Bridgwater’s cheeky attacks on FOSS, using/exploiting news from 3 months ago, and here is another example). What corporate press rarely tells reader about “Heartbleed” is the insidious connection to Microsoft. There are those who look for bugs in old versions of Android which can leak location data because of the Wi-Fi stack, but these are not critical. “Android phones running 3.1 and newer versions of Google’s mobile operating system are leaking Wi-Fi connection histories, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has discovered,” says one source. Furthermore, says The Mukt, “Android seems to be the center of attention when it comes to mobile security concerns. In the latest, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has made claims that if you are an Android smartphones user, there is a high risk that your location history is being broadcasted to those within your Wi-Fi range.”

So basically, when it comes to FOSS there is nothing to really complain about except privacy bugs and some security bug from three months ago. As Ryan pointed out some days ago in IRC (citing IDG): “UPDATE: IBM on Monday corrected its report to say that the problem is not as widespread as originally thought. “The vulnerability affects Android 4.3 only. Thanks for the Android Security Team for correcting our advisory,” IBM said. About 10.3 percent of Android devices run Android 4.3.”

“That’s some sloppy reporting,” Ryan wrote. “First they reported that 86% of Android devices were affected by a critical security hole. Then they issued a correction, that it was only one version of Android that represents 10% of devices, and not even the latest version. We also don’t know that all Android 4.3 devices are affected, because OEMs can backport patches to their current firmware even when they don’t want to do a major Android upgrade at the moment. Archos kept backporting patches to Android 4.0 for a long time.

The original report, as far as we can tell, came from Android and Linux basher Dan Goodin. He led the way for writers, including in his former employer, to hide up an Android vulnerability. “It’s hard to exploit,” said his former employer, but in Condé Nasty it is called “serious”. This, in our view, is part of the hype which seeks to paint FOSS as ” insecure”, never mind the many back doors we now know of in proprietary software like Microsoft’s.

Just remember that Condé Nasty, and especially its writer Dan Goodin, has been on some kind of villainous Jihad against GNU/Linux for months now, distorting facts to make it seem as thought FOSS cannot be trusted.

To us it seems clear why all this FUD is being disseminated. Citing security concerns, large governments are moving away from pricey proprietary software with back doors, notably Microsoft’s. Watch Microsoft lying to governments of the world:

No backdoors in our code: Microsoft bid to convince governments

[...]

In yet another sign that the revelations about blanket NSA spying are biting into business revenue, Microsoft is offering to open up its source code to governments so they can satisfy themselves that there are no backdoors implanted.

[...]

There appears to be a fear among technology companies that if Microsoft is forced to do the government’s bidding, then American cloud businesses which operate in other countries could stand to lose a lot of business.

Snowden’s revelations have led to a drop in overseas business for at least two technology firms – Cisco and IBM. Additionally, the Boeing company lost an order from Brazil, which opted to go with Sweden’s Saab for $US4.5 billion worth of aircraft.

These are lies and Snowden’s revelations provided enough hard evidence to prove this. Expect many more attacks on FOSS from a security angle. Microsoft will try to save its cash cows, using a new ‘flavour’ of disinformation, as usual.

06.21.14

Links 21/6/2014: Russia Dumps x86/Wintel, Steam Summer Sale is On

Posted in News Roundup, Site News at 10:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-Source Tool Aimed At Propelling Honeypots Into the Mainstream

    Researchers have built a free open-source honeypot software program aimed at propelling the hacker decoys into security weapons for everyday organizations.

  • Google investing $50 million to get girls to code

    Google conducted research to determine why girls are opting out of learning how to code? As a result Google found that most girls decide before they even enter college whether they want to learn to code—so the Tech-world must win them over them at a young age. They also found that there were four major factors that determined whether girls opted into computer science: social encouragement, self-perception, academic exposure and career perception. According to recent studies less than 1 percent of high school girls express interest in majoring in computer science.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla working on a WordPress, Disqus competitor?
      • ​How to Try Firefox OS Apps on Android

        Android: Mozilla is best known for its web browser, but the company also produces Firefox OS for a limited number of handsets. With a little sideways thinking, though, you can try some of its apps in Android.

        Much like Google Chrome, Firefox supports webapps—the OS and apps are built with the same technology—and this is how you can bring Firefox OS to Android. Apps work like browser extensions, so they take up very little room making them ideal for older devices or those with limited storage. Download a copy of Firefox for Android from the Google Play Store, or update your existing copy to 29 or above.

        Fire up Firefox and visit the Firefox Marketplace, the Firefox version of Google Play or the Chrome Web Store. Take a browse through the Marketplace and tap an app that takes your fancy. Just as with regular Android apps, Firefox OS apps let you know about the permissions they need, and you have to accept this before you install anything.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • It’s time to stop the open-on-open violence in cloud computing

      A Structure conference panel discussing the state of open source cloud computing agreed that open source clouds need to get easier to use, but not on much else.

    • LeaseWeb Offers CloudStack-based Flat-Fee Private Cloud Service
    • Why I Built OwnCloud and Made It Open Source

      There I was, 4 years ago (this past January) at CampKDE in San Diego, giving a talk on data privacy, warning the audience about the risks to their privacy from cloud vendors – in particular, Dropbox. So, build it yourself they said. Sure, I’ve built things in the past, so sure, I’ll do it. And there is where I started my odyssey, first, to protect myself, my friends and my colleagues from the snooping of governments, and other bad guys, and later – as I saw the worldwide interest grow – to build a real and successful project.

      I had to decide a few things before I got started of course, including what it is I wanted ownCloud to do, what development platform to use, how I wanted to structure ownCloud, and of course, to name it ownCloud.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.3 RC1 Get Multiple DOCX Improvements
    • LibreOffice 4.2.5 Released with Fixes from 800 Contributors

      The Document Foundation has announced that the final version for LibreOffice 4.2.5 has been released for all the available platforms, including Linux.

      This is just a maintenance release for the 4.2.x branch, but users of this particular version should consider upgrading nonetheless. The developers have squashed numerous bugs for this release and that can be easily observed from the changelog,

      LibreOffice 4.2.5 is now the most advanced build available from The Document Foundation, but the developers maintain a number of other branches as well. Users will be able to find the 4.1.6, 4.2.3, and 4.2.4 downloads on the official website…

  • BSD

Leftovers

  • After Forty-Seven Years, Computerworld, Tech Publishing’s Elder Statesman, is a Print Publication No More

    The news comes three months after the passing of Pat McGovern, who started IDG in 1964 as a research firm and put out Computerworld with a tiny staff in its earliest days. It’s sad to think of IDG losing its founder and flagship print publication so close together, but in a way, it’s also fitting.

  • Maybe it’s time to consider a Gross Domestic Happiness Index

    Just for fun, I checked to see which countries are the wealthiest in the world, based on a ranking of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. According to the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA’s) World Factbook, the crown goes to energy-rich Qatar, where GDP per capita last year stood at more than $102,000 US.

    Rounding out the list of top-10 richest nations are Liechenstein, Macau, Bermuda, Monaco, Luxembourg, Singapore, Jersey, Norway, and the Falkland Islands.

    Paraguay ranked a lowly 143rd, with a GDP per capita of just $6,800 per person in 2013. In fact, most of the happiest countries according to the Gallup poll results failed to crack the top-100 list of the world’s wealthiest nations, based on the CIA’s data.

  • Hardware

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Reflections on Fascism

      Iraq is back, as in blowback: this replaces Ukraine for the moment, America always on the lookout for a situation which can be turned, because of US policy in the first place, into a source of provocation. Iraq, our intervention guaranteed internal civil war, here, with the gains of ISIS, a chance to return in some form, concentrated drone attacks, rather than so-called “boots on the ground,” possibly to inflame the entire region, itself destabilized for obvious reasons (protection of Israel and the continued plight of the Palestinians). As Spinney and Polk wrote in CounterPunch, contradiction plagues American policy, in this case, turning to Iran for help against ISIS while threatening Iran for some time with severe military and economic punishment. How Obama and Kerry can keep straight faces is one for the annals of war.

    • The Redrawing of the Map of the Middle East Begins with the Destruction of Iraq

      The US is playing all sides of this exploding conflict, towards larger US/NATO objectives.

      The invading force, ISIS, is a creation of the US CIA and oil-soaked US allies Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.It is an Al-Qaeda front. Al-Qaeda has been the military-intelligence arm of the CIA since the Cold War. ISIS is the Anglo-American empire’s leading military-intelligence army in its ongoing war against Syria.

    • Amerika’s “Third Crusade” In Iraq Is Having Trouble …

      Back in the early 2004, comedian Dave Chappelle produced a masterpiece entitled “Black Bush” – a comedic mockumentary of the events leading up to (and immediately following) the United States’ “second crusade” in Iraq, led by former president George W. Bush.

      [...]

      Now they’re our allies or something … sort of like al-Qaeda (who we were supporting in Syria) is now our enemy in Iraq.

    • Is Obama’s new Iraq strategy just a cover for expanding his secret war?

      At the White House on Thursday afternoon, the American president outlined an everything-but-the-war strategy that was classic Barack Obama: his press briefing offered perhaps a telling signal about his own expansive version of the Global War on Terror, while still managing to be subtly evasive about what he might actually do in Iraq.

      The US military will be increasing surveillance, Obama said, preparing to send military “advisers” to Iraq and urging, not so subtly, for a political shift away from Nouri al-Maliki’s government. He did not, of course, answer the question on everyone’s minds about how America plans to deal with the Iraq crisis: Will Obama engage in fighting to stabilize the country?

    • Pakistan condemns drone strike in North Waziristan

      Six suspected militants were killed in a drone strike in Miranshah Tehsil in North Waziristan, Pakistan, local tribesmen and Pakistani intelligence sources not authorized to speak to media told CNN on Wednesday.

      The drone struck a house and a pickup truck in the Daraga Mandi area of Miranshah, they said.

    • More than 400 US military drones lost in crashes: report
    • Dick Cheney Should be Rotting in The Hague, Not Writing Editorials

      This should be obvious to pretty everyone by now, but apparently the Wall Street Journal didn’t get the message. Today, the paper published an editorial by Cheney and his daughter Liz in which the former Vice President blasts the “collapsing Obama doctrine” of foreign policy.”

    • The U.N. Says 257 civilians Have Been Killed in East Ukraine but Refuses to Condemn the Ongoing Bombardment

      According to a recent report by the U.N. 356 people have been killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Of these 257 were civilians, 86 were Ukrainian military. If these numbers are accurate it would mean that only 13 separatists have been killed so far (I find that hard to believe). The real death toll is likely higher than this.

    • CNN Brings Back Those Who Were Wrong on Iraq

      TV coverage of the current Iraq crisis looks a lot like 2003, when pro-war pundits, former generals and hawkish politicians dominated the debate. CNN’s Situation Room, hosted by Wolf Blitzer, illustrates how TV has returned to that narrow, pro-government discussion of Iraq.

    • Bertrand Russell Society Calls for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and Supports Lawsuit

      The Bertrand Russell Society held its 41st annual conference at the University of Windsor in Windsor, Ontario on June 13-15, 2014. Dozens of academics, students, and Russell admirers from five countries and eight US states attended the conference, which featured presentations on various aspects of Russell’s diverse interests and works, including his work in logic and philosophy, and his political writing and activism. Bertrand Russell was one of the twentieth century’s most important and influential philosophers and public intellectuals. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950, and he was a founder and early leader of the nuclear disarmament movement.

    • Obama Prepares for Drone War in Iraq

      President Barack Obama announced on Thursday that he will send 300 Green Beret Army special operations soldiers to Iraq. They will be detailed to Iraqi National Army Headquarters and brigade HQs and their primary task will apparently be intelligence-gathering and helping with the Iraqi National Army response to the advances of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL). Likely the intelligence-gathering in turn is intended to allow the deployment in Iraq of American drones. At the moment, the US has no good intelligence on the basis of which to fly the drones.

    • Iraq strategy: Obama, Congress leaders meeting

      Obama has ruled out returning combat troops to Iraq in order to quell the insurgency. However, he has notified Congress that up to 275 armed U.S. forces are being positioned in and around Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. interests.

    • Best Case Against Attacking Iraq? The Last Attack On Iraq

      As the latest reporting from both Baghdad and Washington, D.C. reveal diplomatic machinations paving the way for possible U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, increasing numbers of people are asking President Obama—and the American people—to look at the repeated and failed policy of military intervention in the region as the best argument against making the same mistake yet again.

    • Local Christians unite to protest for peace

      Critics claim these drone strikes have killed thousands of innocent civilians, including children.

    • Pentagon crashed more than 400 military drones
    • 400 drones crashed since 2001, six in Pakistan

      More than 400 large US military drones have crashed in major accidents around the world since 2001, a record of calamity that exposes the potential dangers of throwing open American skies to drone traffic, according to a year-long Washington Post investigation.

    • Military drones fall from the sky

      The unmanned military planes have slammed into homes, farms, runways and a transport plane in midair.

    • Drones crash with alarming frequency

      Commercial drone flights are set to become a widespread reality in the United States, starting next year, under a 2012 law passed by Congress. Drone flights by law enforcement agencies and the military, which occur on a limited basis, are projected to surge.

    • Report: Over 400 Military Drones Have Crashed Since 2001
  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Criminal Justice Media’s ‘Twisted’ Coverage

      Khan strayed from most media coverage around New York’s “biggest gang raid ever” by writing about the people living in the housing projects at the heart of the early-morning 400+ officer raid (complete with helicopters and riot gear), and by including voices of residents critical of it. The initial New York Times story (6/4/14) included only official accounts. The Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post (6/4/14) printed Facebook quotes of some of the teenagers indicted (an apparent attempt to prove their guilt in the court of public opinion–a guilt assumed by the headline’s flat assertion about “Rival Gangs Arrested”), as well as quotes from the Manhattan district attorney and residents offering comments supportive of the end to alleged violence–if not the raid itself.

      [...]

      It’s of course this type of media objectivity that allows for authorities to dominate public discourse through the virtual invisibility of criticism. Their heightened voice, made possible by the media’s willingness to become echo chambers for them, point to a relationship where the line between media and the state is blurred.

  • Censorship

    • Laziness Is Censoring the Internet

      Every time a government attempts to censor the Internet and block access to websites, advocates of Web freedom ritually respond that the effort is useless: Technology will beat police action every time. It’s true — but only to the extent that people are interested in resisting. Most aren’t, which is why governments have not stopped messing with site blockages and other Web restrictions.

      A few days ago, Iraq blocked the social networks, as beleaguered governments sometimes do, believing it would cut off activists from each other and stop them from organizing. Immediately, traffic to Tor, the anonymous network supported by volunteers throughout the world, rocketed…

    • Twitter ends censorship of ‘blasphemous’ tweets after #TwitterTheocracy campaign
    • Government of [CENSORED] censors cyberbullying docs

      The Star has obtained documents related to the Conservatives’ controversial Internet surveillance bill that have been heavily censored — even blocking out the “Canada” in “Government of Canada.”

  • Privacy

    • Don’t panic about Facebook outages, the NSA has your back

      Yet they don’t seem to think about what they lose when Facebook hands that personal data over to the NSA, or to any other security or intelligence authorities, such as GCHQ in the UK.

    • EU judgement on Facebook to take over a year

      Any EU-level judgement on a case filed against Facebook for its alleged involvement in helping the Americans snoop on millions of people is likely to take over a year.

    • The case that might cripple FacebookThe case that might cripple Facebook
    • Top 10 Reasons Why Corporate Social Media is Not Your Friend, and Dark Social Media Is

      Facebook currently limits the number of your “friends” who can see your posts to about 7 or 8%. What? You thought that “friends” list was yours? It’s not. It’s theirs. And think about it, if you had a thousand friends, and 25 of them, that’s 2.5% posted 3 or 4 times a day, another 25 posted once a day, and a hundred posted once a week, that would be at least 150 daily posts for you to comb through, leaving little room for Facebook to insert ads and promoted content which customers have paid for into your news feed.

    • The German Government has reportedly tightened tender rules for sensitive public IT contracts

      The German Government has reportedly tightened the rules for awarding sensitive public IT contracts, following whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations regarding the US National Security Agency’s (“NSA”) mass surveillance activities.

    • Opinion: Where is Europe’s outrage?

      One year ago, Europeans were livid when Edward Snowden revealed NSA mass surveillance of European citizens. Now that new documents show most EU countries are in cahoots with the NSA, the public remains mostly mum.

    • House votes 293-123 to cut funding for NSA spying on Americans
    • EU states let NSA tap data cables, Danish media say
    • Danes tapped Norway data for NSA: Information

      Denmark’s Defence Intelligence Service (DDIS) is intercepting data sent through fibre cables from Norway, according to newly published documents leaked from the US’s National Security Agency (NSA)

    • NSA Working With Denmark, Germany To Access ‘Three Terabits Of Data Per Second’ From Overseas Cables

      Another set of leaked NSA documents has been posted in a team effort by The Intercept and Danish newspaper Dagbladet. This one deals with the NSA’s RAMPART-A program, a surveillance effort that depends on the cooperation of involved countries to be successful. As the NSA has always made an effort to point out, its interception of foreign communications is both completely legal and the sort of thing people would expect a national security agency to be doing.

    • NSA uses 33 countries to intercept web traffic – Snowden Files
    • UK urged to give Germany access to RAF base that ‘helped spy on Merkel’

      The UK needs to grant Germany access to RAF Croughton military base which reportedly hosts a joint CIA/NSA unit, a Labor MP told British PM David Cameron, urging him to help the German federal investigation of the phone tapping of Angela Merkel.

    • Scenes of the NSA Are Watching Over the London Underground

      Paglen’s latest work, a site-specific piece for the London Underground stop, is a huge photographic panorama that depicts the area surrounding Menwith Hill, an RAF base used by the NSA. At first glance, the landscape is idyllic and unmistakably British, with luscious green fields and a smattering of stone cottages. But lurking on the horizon are a series of white bubbles; a rare but tell-tale physical sign of the secretive surveillance conducted by the security agency.

    • ZOMG! The FBI commissioned this WTF list of netspeak
    • British gov’t reportedly intercepting conversations from Facebook, Twitter, and Google

      The British government is reportedly intercepting communications from social networks, emails and text messages even when there is no suspicion of wrongdoing. According to a report from Privacy International, British spy agencies have been monitoring the Facebook and Twitter activity of every Internet user in the country. Authorities are also said to be collecting data on people’s web searches and emails.

    • How did ‘don’t mess with the money’ become the NSA’s motto?

      So why doesn’t the NSA start watching Wall Street’s agents of financial terror? Why don’t its snoops look into every nook and cranny of our economy where investment bankers, hedge fund managers, private equity kingpins, and derivative wheeler-dealers are trading inside information and rigging markets, milking mergers and nuking jobs, all the while stuffing multiple millions (or billions) in their pockets?

    • House Votes to Defund NSA ‘Backdoor’ Searches
    • House unexpectedly votes to stop warrantless NSA searches

      In what’s being billed as a momentum boost for anti-surveillance advocates, the US House of Representative on Thursday approved an amendment that significantly reigns in warrantless searches on Americans’ communication records.

    • Here’s how the NSA snoops on India

      According to these documents, India is an “Approved SIGINT partner” with the NSA. SIGINT is a common term used in intelligence circles that stands for signals Intelligence, and refers to capturing of communication between two people. Decrypting of messages, traffic analysis etc are also part of SIGINT. The agency then taps these SIGINT partnerships for creating two major programs called RAMPART-A and WINDSTOP for collecting data in transit between the source and the servers, as opposed to collecting data from each Internet company (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo) separately. Considering WINDSTOP only partners with second parties, primarily the UK, to access communications into and out of Europe and Middle East, third-party partner like India should fall under RAMPART-A.

    • Can you spy on a phone when it is turned off?

      Whether you consider Edward Snowden a traitor or a patriot, before he hit the news most people didn’t give much thought to government spying on everyday citizens. During a recent interview, he said that the NSA has the ability to spy on your smartphone, even if it’s turned off.

    • Spook Rebuke

      Keep in mind what the NSA is up to. This goes well beyond a sniffer program scanning Karachi-bound text messages for “Death to the Great Satan! Allahu Akbar!” The NSA has been intercepting laptop computers being shipped to customers in order to install software bugs in them, redirecting Web traffic to install malware on computers, installing agents in video games, and generally behaving like an implausible villain in a Robert Ludlum novel. It is using the flimsiest rationales to extend its surveillance to domestic targets. The toothless USA Freedom Bill passed by the House last month was intended to curtail some of this, but would have relatively little practical effect even if it were to become law, its enforcement protocols being remarkably loosey-goosey. The bipartisan amendment put forth by Kentucky’s Thomas Massie (R.) and California’s Zoe Lofgren (D.) passed 293 to 123, and would impose funding restrictions as well as implement a specific ban on any agency effort “to mandate or request that a person redesign its product or service to facilitate” surveillance.

    • NSA helps foreign governments conduct mass surveillance at home

      A new release of Snowden’s leaked NSA docs detail RAMPART-A, through which the NSA gives foreign governments the ability to conduct mass surveillance against their own populations in exchange for NSA access to their communications. RAMPART-A, is spread across 13 sites, accesses three terabytes/second from 70 cables and networks. It cost US taxpayers $170M between 2011 and 2013, allocated through the NSA’s “black budget.”

    • Senator Wyden Congratulates House on Bipartisan Vote to Ban Backdoor Searches
    • House backs limits on government spying
    • New leaks show Germany’s collusion with NSA

      Several new Snowden-leaked documents show how closely Germany’s intelligence agencies work with the NSA. But did the German government deliberately soften laws protecting privacy to make life easier for them?

    • Even The NSA Likes Final Fantasy

      Documents published earlier this week by German magazine Der Spiegel reveal that one of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs in Germany was named “WILDCHOCOBO.”

    • WILDCHOCOBO: Evidence of Final Fantasy fans at the NSA?
    • Germany opens criminal probe into spying operations by NSA

      Germany’s lead federal prosecutor has opened a criminal probe into espionage operations by the National Security Agency (NSA) of the nation’s leadership; especially the allegation of NSA’s spying against German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    • House passes measure aimed at NSA snooping

      The House on Friday passed a defense spending bill with an amendment that would bar the National Security Agency from conducting warrantless searches of its databases for Americans’ communications records.

    • Court Approves NSA Gathering of Phone Metadata for Three More Months

      U.S. intelligence officials disclosed late Friday that the Obama administration has received approval from a special federal court to continue the National Security Agency’s collection of telephone metadata for another three months.

    • US lawmakers pass bill to curb NSA
    • House votes to expand protections against NSA
    • European Union’s Highest Court To Consider PRISM’s Impact On EU Data Protection Laws
    • Edward Snowden won’t meet with German officials in Moscow
    • Edward Snowden rejects German plans for meeting in Moscow
    • Digital Rights Activist Hails House Vote on Bill Limiting NSA Surveillance

      In an unusual show of bipartisan unity, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a funding bill Friday with an amendment, co-sponsored by San Jose Democrat Zoe Lofgren, that would limit the surveillance powers of the National Security Agency.

    • “Politically Explosive” Docs Show How NSA Wiretaps Earth
    • Fisa court grants extension of licence for bulk collection of US phone records
    • Macedonia gave permission to NSA to spy on citizens?

      The United States has made top-secret deals with more than 30 third-party countries so that the National Security Agency can tap into fiber optic cables carrying internet data in those parts of the world, new leaks reveal.

    • U.S. Government at War With Itself Over Civil Liberties

      Over the past year, the United States government has been in the news a lot for its efforts to undermine the Internet’s basic privacy and security protocols.

      There were the Edward Snowden revelations about the National Security Agency sweeping up metadata, paying contractors to embed backdoors into their security technologies, hacking various private accounts of network administrators and developing malware to infect computers.

    • Another US spying problem in Latin America: The DEA

      Rousseff summed it all up rather succinctly in a blunt speech at the United Nations last September, denouncing “a situation of grave violation of human rights and of civil liberties; of invasion and capture of confidential information concerning corporate activities, and especially of disrespect to national sovereignty.”

    • Canadians Don’t Trust the Harper Government’s New Cyberbullying Bill

      Canadians were largely unmoved by the Edward Snowden leaks and the disclosure of mass surveillance programs like PRISM, with few showing any serious worries about domestic government surveillance in a poll by Abacus Data in June 2013. But now a new poll by Forum Research suggests Canadians are growing suspicious of the latest Conservative cyberbullying bill C-13, with most rejecting a piece of legislation many think is more about beefing up government surveillance powers than protecting teens from bullies.

    • Cops hid use of phone tracking tech in court documents at feds’ request

      ACLU uncovers e-mails regarding Stingray devices borrowed from US Marshals Service.

    • Stingray Documents Show Law Enforcement Using ‘Terrorism’ To Obtain Equipment To Fight Regular Crime

      Scott Ainslie at MuckRock has pried loose a few more Stingray documents with a FOIA request. What was requested were contractual documents, which seem to be something law enforcement agencies feel more comfortable with releasing. Anything pertaining to the actual use of Stingray devices still remains heavily shrouded, thanks in no small part to the intercession of the federal government.

    • Lawyers, locals react to WPD’s surveillance device

      The Wilmington Police Department has surveillance equipment called Stingray. It turns your phone into a tracking device, giving law enforcement crucial information on where you are. But it might violate your rights.

    • Glenn Greenwald On Why Privacy Is Vital, Even If You ‘Have Nothing To Hide’

      Journalist Glenn Greenwald defended the value of digital privacy and slammed those who dismiss its importance during a stop on his national book tour Thursday.

      “We all need places where we can go to explore without the judgmental eyes of other people being cast upon us,” he said. “Only in a realm where we’re not being watched can we really test the limits of who we want to be. It’s really in the private realm where dissent, creativity and personal exploration lie.”

      He said that people who downplay the importance of privacy typically say, “I have nothing to hide.” But, he added, those people aren’t willing to publish their social media and email passwords.

    • US House Votes To Cut Funding For NSA Spying On American Citizens

      Even when the government conducts secret activities, those ventures have to be funded, and a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives last night took a swipe at the NSA’s domestic spying practices by cutting some of its funding.

    • Tell a lie, remove the gear: How the NSA covers up when cable taps are found

      On March 14, 2013, an SSO weekly briefing included a note regarding such a discovery. The unit had been informed two days earlier that “the access point for WHARPDRIVE was discovered by commercial consortium personnel. Witting partner personnel have removed the evidence and a plausible cover story was provided. All collection has ceased.”

      According to Der Spiegel, Wharpdrive was a fiber-optic cable tap (underseas fiber is often laid by consortia of companies, so it’s possible this took place at an onshore landing point for such a cable). Employees from one of the companies involved—though not the company that had a relationship with NSA and the German intelligence agency BND—apparently noticed some unusual gear and commented on it. In response, the company involved with the NSA (“witting partner personnel”) removed the tap and made up a story to explain what the gear in question had been doing.

    • The NSA in Germany: Snowden’s Documents Available for Download

      In Edward Snowden’s archive on NSA spying activities around the world, there are numerous documents pertaining to the agency’s operations in Germany and its cooperation with German agencies. SPIEGEL is publishing 53 of them, available as PDF files.

    • Interview with Ex-Stasi Agent: ‘The Scope of NSA Surveillance Surprised Me’

      During the Cold War, West Germany’s foreign intelligence service cooperated closely with the NSA. Klaus Eichner, an agent with the East German Stasi, monitored it at the time, and now he tells SPIEGEL what he knew about the collaboration.

    • Watchdog urges EU leaders to shield citizens from snooping

      European Union countries need stricter controls to protect citizens from spying, a top data protection official said on Thursday, a warning that may rekindle a debate about snooping before an EU summit next week.

    • NSA Reform Gathers Momentum In Congress After Late-Night Vote

      After a somewhat desultory year of little to no change, reform of the United States surveillance state appears to have finally found momentum.

      Recently the USA FREEDOM Act was gutted and rammed through the House, and two funding amendments that would have cut monies for forced backdoors and certain government searches failed.

      Last night, however, the House passed a single amendment to the military funding bill that did what the two failed amendments had attempted. At once, a large House majority had taken an unambiguous stand against certain parts of the government’s surveillance activities.

    • Congress wants NSA reform after all. Obama and the Senate need to pass it

      An overwhelming House vote to cut funds for back doors into your private life sets up a summer surveillance fight: will the Senate stand up before the White House shuts it down?

    • Reps. Goodlatte And Ruppersberger Admit That NSA Is Warrantlessly Spying On Americans’ Communications

      We’ve already written about the surprising, but encouraging, vote late last night to defund backdoor searches by the NSA. But it’s worth looking at some of the floor debate on the amendment last night — in particular the push against the amendment from Reps. Goodlatte and Ruppersberger, who both appear to flat out admit that the NSA does warrantless spying on Americans’ communications, in direct contrast to earlier claims. The reasons for these two to argue against the amendment are clear. Goodlatte was the guy who negotiated the “deal” with the White House and the House Intelligence Committee to completely water down the USA Freedom Act, and he knows that this amendment puts some of the substance that he stripped out right back in. Ruppersberger, of course, represents the district where the NSA is headquartered, and is the ranking member for the House Intelligence Committee. His loyalty to the NSA over the American public has always been clear. But to have them basically admit that the NSA does warrantless spying on Americans is quite impressive.

    • 38 Civil Liberties and Public Interest Organizations Call on Congress to Pass Real NSA Reform

      A bipartisan coalition of 38 civil liberties and public interest organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sent a letter to Congress yesterday that draws a line in the sand on NSA reform. The coalition made it clear that it cannot support the watered-down version of the USA FREEDOM Act passed in the House of Representatives without significant changes to the legislation, and outlined clear steps that Congress can take to address problems with the bill.

    • Amash spokesman: ‘Congress is clued in’ on NSA spying programs with passage of bipartisan proposal
    • House Votes To Defund Warrantless Communications Searches

      The House voted 293 to 123 late Thursday to approve amendments to a Defense appropriations bill (HR 4670) that would defund warrantless seraches of NSA-collected communications and prevent the NSA and CIA from requiring products have “back doors” that allow them to more easily conduct searches.

    • More Than $116K Has Been Raised in 3 Days for NSA-Proof Encrypted Email

      Roughly three days ago, an Indiegogo surfaced promising “to protect people around the world from the mass surveillance that is currently being perpetrated by governments and corporations around the world.” More than $116,000 has already been raised, and that’s without the viral guidance of media attention.

    • Inflation? Only If You Look At Food, Water, Gas, Electricity And Everything Else

      Anyone that has to regularly pay for food, water, gas, electricity or anything else knows that inflation is too high. In fact, if inflation was calculated the same way that it was back in 1980, the inflation rate would be close to 10 percent right now.

    • The Supreme Court is about to decide what police can do with your phone

      Within the next week, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to decide on a pair of cases that will have major implications for the over 91 percent of Americans who carry a cellphone. At issue is the question of whether police officers are legally allowed to search through the contents of someone’s phone—that is to say, much of a person’s private life—without first obtaining a warrant.

    • The NSA’s big problem, explained by the NSA

      Amongst the new trove of classified documents released by Der Speigel is a rather academic discussion, in the NSA’s own foreign affairs journal, about the differences between American signals intelligence collection and German signals intelligence collection.

      One passage in particular stands out, as it highlights how the Germans give far more weight to privacy than the NSA does.

    • How to Keep Public Support for Spying

      A poll suggests intelligence agencies could benefit from some controlled leaks.

    • Senators should take Snowden’s lead, shine light on NSA

      Former federal government contract worker Edward Snowden’s disclosures of virtually limitless surveillance of American citizens by the National Security Agency corroborated the late Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’ wisdom that sunshine is said to be the best of disinfectants.

  • Civil Rights

    • New Meme: Liberty Movement More Dangerous Than Al-Qaida

      Is the liberty movement more dangerous than al-Qaida? CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen thinks so.

    • How many Palestinians will die in the search for missing Israeli youths?

      Mustafa Aslan died on Friday afternoon after being shot in the head by an Israeli soldier at Qalandiya refugee camp near Ramallah a few hours previously. He was 22-years-old.

      Mustafa is the third Palestinian victim of the Israeli authorities’ ‘search’ for three teenagers – two Israeli and one US-Israeli – who went missing on 12 June after leaving the illegal Israeli settlement bloc of Gush Etzion near Hebron.

    • Japan Brought an End to Gun Violence by Doing What The U.S. Won’t

      Let’s say it all together now: The United States has a problem with guns.

      Since the horrifying Sandy Hook tragedy of 2012, there have been 74 school shootings and 17,042 gun deaths.

      To the frustration of many Americans, a stalled debate stands in the way of solving our gun violence problem, even though the solution is staring us in the face. The Onion captured this feeling perfectly with one of its headlines last month: “‘No Way to Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”

    • Supreme Court Sides With Whistleblower In Retaliation Case

      In a case over retaliation against a public employee who was fired after testifying about corruption, the Supreme Court says the man gave testimony as a concerned citizen and should not have been punished. The decision was unanimous, overturning lower courts.

    • Let’s have a day off from ‘joy’ of technology

      TECHNOLOGY saves stress. Except when it adds stress. Supermarket self-checkout machines may look inviting enough, but were, in fact, inspired by medieval devices of torture.

    • Flying drones, quad-copters in SA: legal or illegal?

      The issue of whether it is legal or illegal to fly radio-controlled and unmanned aircraft in South Africa is a complex one involving three different organisations.

      As things stand today, the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has no regulations to govern what it calls Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS’s), which means it is illegal to fly unmanned drones in South Africa.

    • EXISTENCE OR NONEXISTENCE: CIA’s Linguistic Somersault Takes to the Sky

      This past Memorial Day weekend, New Yorkers who happened to look up may have seen the words EXISTENCE OR NONEXISTENCE appear across the skyline in synchronized bursts of white smoke.

      The seemingly spontaneous event was a project of mine called Severe Clear. It was inspired by a letter the CIA sent the ACLU rejecting their Freedom of Information Act request for documents relating to the U.S. government’s classified drone program. The letter reiterates the now familiar Glomar response, stating that the agency can “neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence” of records responsive to the request.

    • G.I. Joe creator made Osama bin Laden action figure for CIA
    • CIA, G.I. Joe inventor made ‘demon’ bin Laden dolls
    • CIA Created ‘Demonic’ Osama Bin Laden Toy to Scare Afghan Children

      The CIA secretly developed a “demonic” Osama bin Laden action figure to scare Pakistani and Afghan children and undermine public support for the al-Qaida figurehead, it has emerged.

    • The State of the Fourth State in the State

      What the journalists’ body asked for from other newspapers was a form of censorship: self-censorship. George Orwell has written about the damages of self-censorship in any democratic society. The first priority of journalists is to unearth the truth and if they start exercising self censorship than truth is going to be the first casualty.

    • David Usborne: President, press and prejudice: it’s America

      At a conference in New York in March, Risen said the Obama administration has shown itself to be “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation”. By then his case had reached the Supreme Court, where the Justices declined to intervene.

    • Another View: Journalist shield law critical to democracy

      The letter was sent to Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a few days after the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of James Risen, a New York Times reporter who has been contesting a subpoena requiring him to testify at the upcoming trial of a former CIA agent.

      The agent, Jeffrey Sterling, is accused of revealing classified information about a failed CIA plan to compromise Iran’s nuclear program, an operation described in a book by Risen.

    • Media seeks Guantanamo force-feeding videos
    • Status of CIA Detention and Interrogation Program Declassification (updated)

      In the meantime, Senator Feinstein, Chair of the SSCI, has stated that the Director of National Intelligence has assured her that the declassification of the SSCI’s executive summary and findings and conclusions will be completed by early next month, ideally before July 4. If this is still the case, it is not necessarily inconsistent with the CIA’s status reports filed today. Presumably the Executive branch will be finished with its declassification review of the SSCI’s documents before it turns to the two ancillary documents (the CIA response and the Panetta Report), and will then deliver the declassified versions of the executive summary and findings and conclusions to the SSCI, which could decide to publish them before August 29. The period between early July and August 29 would also give the SSCI and the Executive branch eight weeks or so to negotiate over any possible disagreements about the scope of the declassification.

    • Here Are Some Of The Most Bizarre Ideas From The CIA

      In the 1950s, the CIA produced a pornographic film starring an actor made up to resemble Indonesian President Sukarno. The idea was to discredit Sukarno in the eyes of his countrymen, according to the 1976 memoir of a CIA officer, Joseph Burkholder Smith, as the Indonesian leader was viewed as insufficiently pro-West at the time.

    • America Is Also “Ripe For Regime Change”

      There’s been a lot of talk coming out of Washington, D.C. lately about the need for “regime change” in Iraq – which is particularly ironic when you consider the current regime was hand-picked by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during an American military invasion that cost trillions of dollars and thousands of lives.

    • Why The World Should Care About The War Against Guatemalan Women

      Biden’s visit, though, only serves to highlight the historical role the U.S. has played in prompting some of the problems seen today in Guatemala. In 1954, the C.I.A. helped organize a coup to oust a popular leader and install a right-wing dictator who plunged the country into a 36-year civil war. Effects of the war, which Amnesty International and many other groups label a genocide of the Mayan people, are still felt today and contribute greatly to Guatemala’s current problems.

    • The assassin’s guide to Western ‘democracy’

      We live in an age now where the Western media has been virtually subsumed by banking and military interests. If “our side’s” dirty deeds are kept out of the news, and the latest “bogeyman” kept in, then today’s war profiteers can get away with whatever they want. “Defensive” NATO with its proxy armies and “deniable” private military contractors sponsoring butchery across the globe has become a Napoleon with nukes, bringing the day ever closer when these wonder-weapons might again be used in anger.

    • Pentagon Funds “Cold War-Style” Science Study to Track Political Protest in America

      The controversial program called Project Camelot had been operational nearly a decade into the Vietnam war, as the Special Operations Research Office (SORO) located at American University had received millions in funding from the US Army to conduct a six country study on civil unrest. The current social science program directed by Minerva and the Department of Defense (DoD), appears to have also partnered with some of the most well-known universities in the United States by studying the behavior of peaceful activism and how political ideology shapes protest movements in the world at large.

    • Did CIA Smear a Former Operative to Cover Up a Bad Firing?

      And now a former CIA operative may get a day in court to add to that peculiar lore. On Friday a federal trial judge in Washington, D.C. could rule on a discovery motion by “Peter B.,” a former CIA officer who contends that the spy agency fired him without due process and then badmouthed him, scuttling his chances for a job with a CIA contractor.

    • Is it right to jail someone for being offensive on Facebook or Twitter?

      Jake Newsome was jailed last week for posting offensive comments online. His is the latest in a string of cases that have led to prison terms, raising concern that free speech may be under threat from over-zealous prosecutors

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The Senate Is Officially Considering a CISPA Clone

        The Senate Intelligence Committee is moving forward with its Cybersecurity Information Protection Act—a problematic, potentially civil liberties-killing piece of legislation that looks just like the CISPA bill the internet fought so hard to kill last year—and the year before that.

        CIPA, written by Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) will be considered by the committee next week, according to Feinstein.

      • The German war against the link

        Half the major publishers in Germany have started a process of arbitration — which, no doubt, will lead to suits — to demand that Google pay them for quoting from and thus linking to their content. And now we know how much they think they deserve: 11% of Google’s revenue related to their snippets. From their government filing, they want a cut of “gross sales, including foreign sales” that come “directly and indirectly from making excerpts from online newspapers and magazines public.” [All these links are in German.]

      • That Story You’ve Read About YouTube ‘Blocking’ Indie Artists… Yeah, That’s Not Accurate

        As you may have heard, there’s been some hubbub this week about claims that YouTube is going to remove some videos from indie musicians/labels who don’t agree to the contract terms for YouTube’s upcoming music subscription service. Ellen Huet, over at Forbes, has a good article explaining how this isn’t as dire as some are making it out to be, but the more I’m digging into it, it seems even less than that. There’s no doubt that this is a royalty dispute, with some indie labels upset about the basic terms that Google is offering, but, if you haven’t noticed, the complaints seem to be coming from the same folks who complain about the royalty rates of every single online music service. There are some people who will just never be satisfied. Furthermore, the deeper you dig into this, it becomes quite clear that any artist who wants to have their videos on YouTube can continue to do that.

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