Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 3/11/2012: Fedora as Rolling-Release Distribution Amid Delays?





GNOME bluefish

Contents





GNU/Linux



Free Software/Open Source



Leftovers

  • Progressives: Defeat Romney/Ryan in Swing States
    I agree with nearly everything Jill Stein of the Greens and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party say: except when they say “vote for me” in swing states.


  • Privatization of Public Services and Natural Resources
    The privatization of public goods and services turns basic human needs into products to buy and sell. That’s more than a joke, it’s an insult, it’s a perversion. It generally benefits only a privileged group of businesspeople and their companies while increasing inequality and undermining the common good.


  • Can You Take Fact Checking Too Far?


  • Health/Nutrition



  • Defence/Police/Aggression



    • Libya mission was CIA operation: report
      THE US mission in Benghazi that came under attack by militants on September 11 was mainly a secret CIA operation, the Wall Street Journal reports, shedding new light on the deadly assault.


    • On the run with Murdoch's pirates
      What happens when one of the biggest media groups in the world sets up its own private security force? What happens when part of this operation goes rogue? Fairfax reporter Neil Chenoweth’s new book, Murdoch’s Pirates, investigates News Corporation’s links to worldwide piracy. Here is an extract from the book.


    • Spy Stories From The Murdoch Empire: News Corp Fights With Itself In Grand Game Of Espionage
      The story is complex, but I'll attempt to summarize. In the late 90s, NDS (the branch of News Corp that deals with private security and anti-piracy activities) sent top hacker Oliver Kömmerling undercover to Toronto, under the pseudonym Alex, with a mission: pose as a satellite pirate and infiltrate the rings selling hacked DirecTV smartcards. Oliver was also one of the hackers directly involved in the hacking of competitors' smart cards, but in this case he was being put to work defending News Corp's own satellite operation. But NDS made one big mistake: they never told DirecTV, which had its own security/anti-hacking division led by a former FBI agent, and they believed Oliver was still a bonafide satellite pirate at large. They had no idea he was now working for NDS—and one of the Canadian hackers Oliver met with turned out to be working for DirecTV, and ratted him out to them. Moreover, no matter NDS or Oliver's intentions, he was breaking the law by hacking and selling smart cards to track down the "real" hackers—so he ended up facing potential arrest or detainment at the border.




  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife





  • Finance

    • Effective Economic Policies Neither Candidate Advocates
      Neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama even mentions six alternative economic policies that, deployed together, would reduce unemployment, increase workers' real earnings and decrease the federal deficit.


    • World Bank’s Anti-Labor Analysis Is a Dirty Business


    • Greek editor Kostas Vaxevanis acquitted over Swiss bank list
      Kostas Vaxevanis hates being the centre of attention. On Thursday moments before taking the stand in one of the most sensational trials to grip Greece in modern times, the journalist said he was not in the business of making news. "My job is simply to tell the news and tell it straight," he averred. "My job is to tell the truth."

      Truth in the case of Vaxevanis has been a rollercoaster that has catapulted the 46-year-old from relative obscurity to global stardom in a matter of days. But , after a hearing that lasted almost 12 hours – with a three-member panel of judges sitting stony-faced throughout, he was vindicated: the court found him not guilty of breaking data privacy laws by publishing the names in Hot Doc, the weekly magazine he edits, of some 2,059 Greeks believed to have bank accounts in Switzerland.



    • Israel's greatest fear - its diamond trade exposed
      The stakes couldn't be higher for the $60 billion global diamond industry, and Israel's burgeoning diamond industry in particular, as the dynamic forces of economics, human rights, and politics careen towards a major showdown in Washington. The fallout is likely to blow the lid on a cozy cartel that has kept the scandal of cut and polished blood diamonds hidden from public scrutiny.

      In November members of the Kimberley Process (KP) diamond-regulatory system, ostensibly set up to end the trade in blood diamonds, will come under severe pressure to adopt a US proposal, rejected last June, which would slightly broaden of the definition of a "conflict diamond" to include rough diamonds linked to violence by government forces associated with diamond mining.




  • Censorship

    • Bahrain activist gets prison term for Twitter posts critical of king
      A civil court has sentenced an online activist to six months in prison on charges of insulting the Gulf nation’s king in Twitter posts, the official news agency said Thursday.


    • Kuwaitis protest after activist held for insulting emir
      Kuwaiti police used teargas and smoke bombs on Wednesday to disperse thousands of protesters marching on a prison where an opposition leader is being held on charges of insulting the emir, witnesses said.


    • IAC volunteer tweets himself into trouble, faces three years in jail
      Does a tweet on reports of corruption, sent out to 16 followers, deserve a possible penalty of three years of imprisonment? The answer seems to be yes, at least according to Congress leader and Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti, who filed a complaint against small-time Puducherry businessman Ravi Srinivasan, and the Puducherry police which charged Mr. Srinivasan under Section 66-A of the Information Technology Act, 2008.

      Section 66-A deals with messages sent via computer or communication devices which may be “grossly offensive,” have “menacing character,” or even cause “annoyance or inconvenience.” For offences under the section, a person can be fined and jailed up to three years.


    • Russia launches internet blacklist to protect the kiddies
      The Russian government has opened a blacklist of websites that will be blocked from domestic internet users to avoid them harming themselves with too much information.

      The new rules mean that ISPs will automatically block websites that the courts have deemed inappropriate. The law was introduced with the usual caveats about it being to protect children from online predators and to stop drug distribution, but political websites that criticize Tsar President Putin have already been blocked by the courts.


    • Amazon Removes Reviews
      I've been buried in a book deadline for all of October, and haven't been paying much attention to anything else. When I finally took some time to catch up reading email, I noticed I had many authors (more than twenty) contacting me because their Amazon reviews were disappearing. Some were the ones they wrote. Some were for their books. One author told me that reviews her fans had written--fans that were completely unknown to her--had been deleted.

      I took a look at the reviews I'd written, and saw more than fifty of them had been removed, namely reviews I did of my peers. I don't read reviews people give me, but I do keep track of numbers and averages, and I've also lost a fair amount of reviews.


    • Amazon Freaks Out About Sock Puppet Reviews And Deletes A Bunch Of Real Reviews




  • Privacy

    • Facebook admits error in censoring anti-Obama message
      Larry Ward will concede that he “poked the bear.” As president of the D.C.-based Political Media Inc., Ward administers the Facebook page of a group called Special Operations Speaks (SOS), an anti-Obama group consisting of “veterans, legatees, and supporters of the Special Operations communities of all the Armed Forces.” Essentially hard guys who want the president out of office. “These are the toughest sons of a guns out there and they say what they mean,” says Ward.




  • Civil Rights

    • ORG is ready for legal action
      Today ORG have launched a new campaign to fund a legal project which will allow us to create new case law and lead on bringing digital rights issues to the courts.


    • A Bit Of 1984: Biometrics Used In Argentina Today
      When I read and translated that post, I immediately thought of what happened and is happening in my home country, Argentina. I was about to start my vacations in Europe and I thought that particular trip would help me write this. I was not wrong.

      We Argies are not new to biometric data. One of the existing fingerprint-recording systems was invented in Buenos Aires and used as a tool during the military dictatorships the country suffered (particularly during the last). In fact, thanks to a law enacted during one of those dictatorships, every citizen must have a government-issued ID, consisting of his/her name, last name, address, date of birth, sex, fingerprint and photograph.


    • Is it Time to Police the Police?
      Every week, somewhere in the US, there’s a story of some kind of police activity that leads people scratching their head, or saying ‘That isn’t right’. It’s an issue that’s been around as long as police officers have and has become a cliche, accepted without question. The problem is that it’s a problem that’s only getting worse, not better, and it’s a problem that’s not being addressed.


    • Iran: Female detainees begin hunger strike after degrading treatment
      The Iranian authorities must protect all detainees and prisoners from harassment and degrading treatment, Amnesty International said today, after nine female political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, started a hunger strike in response to alleged abuse by prison guards.

      The women, who are all held in Tehran’s Evin Prison include activists and journalists. They say they were subjected to humiliating and degrading body searches by female guards from the Prison Security Section who subsequently confiscated some of their personal belongings on Tuesday


    • Israeli Authorities Must Release Palestinian Prisoner of Conscience in West Bank




  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • EFF Reminds Us That Open WiFi Isn't A Bad Thing... And Should Actually Be Encouraged
      We've had plenty of stories concerning open WiFi, and there seems to be a general opinion among some that open WiFi is "a bad thing." Some have even tried (and failed) to argue that having an open WiFi network makes you negligent. In some areas, law enforcement has even gone around telling people to lock up their WiFi. Those who argue against open WiFi are generally conflating different issues. It is true that if you use an open WiFi network without securing yourself you do open up yourself to snooping from others. Similarly, if others are using your open WiFi, it it could lead to at least an investigation if your access point is used for nefarious purposes. But combining those to claim that open WiFi itself is bad or illegal is a mistake. It is entirely possible to secure your own activities, and to set up an open WiFi network in a reasonable manner that minimizes any such threat.




  • Intellectual Monopolies



    • Trademarks



    • Copyrights

      • Any Hint Of Evidence Based Copyright In The UK Seen As Nefarous Plot By Parliamentary Copyright Maximalists
        The laws governing intellectual monopolies in the UK are in a state of flux at the moment. After the previous government in its dying hours rammed through the shoddy piece of work known as the Digital Economy Act, the present coalition government took a more rational approach by commissioning the Hargreaves Review into the impact of digital technologies on this area. One of its key proposals was that policy should be based on evidence, not "lobbynomics"; the fact that this even needs to be mentioned says much about the way laws have been framed until now.

        As a result, the UK's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has been trying to gather evidence in order to help politicians draw up new policies that correspond to the data, not just dogma. Not surprisingly, perhaps, those that have done well under the previous evidence-free approach have been mounting a rearguard action against the changes.


      • LeakID And The DMCA Takedown Notice Farce
        The third party DMCA patrolbot featured today first made its name known by claiming malware uploaded by a computer security researcher as its own, resulting in a shutdown of the researcher's Mediafire account. LeakID, the "company" (and we'll explore those scare quotes in a moment) behind the takedown practices what many other sketchy content enforcers do -- bulk keyword searches. This results in false positives that get swept up with all the actual infringement, such as in the case linked above. LeakID also ordered a Microsoft Office patch (freely available at Microsoft's website) be removed from this user's account.


      • BitTorrent Pirate Ordered to Pay $1.5 Million Damages For Sharing 10 Movies
        A federal court in Illinois has handed down the largest ever damages award in a BitTorrent case. In a default judgment defendant Kywan Fisher from Hampton, Virginia is ordered to pay $1,500,000 to adult entertainment company Flava Works for sharing 10 of their movies on BitTorrent. The huge total was reached through penalties of $150,000 per movie, the maximum possible statutory damages under U.S. copyright law. It’s expected that the verdict will be used to motivate other BitTorrent defendants to settle their cases.


      • No Copyrights on APIs: Help Us Make The Case
        Earlier this year, we applauded District Court Judge Alsup for getting it right and holding that, as a matter of law, one could not copyright APIs. The case, Oracle v. Google, is now on appeal to the Federal Circuit, where a three-judge panel is going to revisit Judge Alsup’s ruling.









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