Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 14/8/2013: Debian Turns 20, New Derivatives

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • things i would want to know about erlang
    Earlier this year I spent a few weeks playing with Erlang. I wanted to make something out of it, but despite an encouraging start I found it too frustrating to use.

    I got excited about Erlang because a lot of interesting things have been done in Erlang. Like CouchDB, RabbitMQ, Riak and so forth. Besides that, Erlang is a dynamic language and I generally find those quite nice to use.

  • Open-Source Apache Web Server Hits Ignominious Milestone
    Since the dawn of the Web era, one technology has steadfastly dominated as the world's most popular Web server. That technology is the open-source Apache Web Server, commonly referred to simply as "Apache."

    Internet research and security services firm Netcraft is now reporting that across the nearly 717 million Websites it has surveyed this month, Apache serves 46.96 percent of them. That is the first time that Apache's share has fallen below 50 percent since December of 2009. At its height—in November of 2005—Apache held a 71 percent market share.

  • “IBM Will Continue To Invest In Open Source Technology Projects”
    IBM is one of those companies that banks big on open source technology. Those at the helm know this is where the future of technology lies. Diksha P Gupta from Open Source For You spoke to Dipankar Sarma, distinguished engineer, Systems & Technology Labs, IBM India, to discuss the increasing demand for open source professionals and the opportunities that IBM offers them. Excerpts...

  • Second Round of Our Best Personal Linux or FOSS Blog Competition
    The good news is, we found plenty of great new blogs and we’ve now reached the second round in our vote. We’ve ended up with ten additional blogs to consider, in addition to the nine that were already on our list. That means voters now have a field of 19 blogs from which to choose. As with the first qualifying round, you can vote for one or two blogs. Because this is an elimination round and not a qualifying round, however, there is no longer any way to add a new blog for consideration. As Flip Wilson’s Geraldine used to say, “What you see is what you get.”

  • Xen Project User Summit 2013 Sessions Announced

  • Open Source Options Reduce VMware Cloud Market Share: Analyst
    While open source platforms CloudStack and OpenStack have gained in popularity, VMware’s traditional position atop the market has been trending downwards

  • List of Open Source Site Management Software Published by Boffin Today

  • Events

    • Latest Cloud and Open Source Talks
      Last month I was fortunate enough to give a couple of talks at OSCON. I was particularly pleased with the reception my keynote received on Creating Communities of Inclusion, which touched on some topics beyond the typical licensing and community around open source software. I was was also asked to expand on these topics at Here are the abstracts and links to the presentations and article.

    • Migrating from UNIX to Linux Webinar Sept 5th

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Firefox To Remain Default Browser in Ubuntu 13.10
        Chromium, the open-source frills-free version of Google Chrome, was put forward as a Firefox replacement for the 13.10 release back in May. The debate on which was better suited continued into June. At that time developers said they were ‘leaning towards Chromium as default’.

      • Google Dramatically Raises Bounties for Finding Chrome Bugs
        Bug bounties--cash prizes offered by developers to anyone who finds key software bugs--have been steadily on the rise for several years now, with Google and Mozilla increasing their bug bounty programs. In fact, Google has been setting new records with the bounties it offers for meaningful bugs and confirmed earlier this year that it paid out more than $31,000 to a single security researcher who identified three Gooble Chrome bugs.

        Now, in a new post, Google has confirmed that bugs previously rewarded at the $1,000 level will now be considered for rewards of up to $5,000.

      • Ubuntu Will Stick With Firefox Over Chromium For Now
        While Canonical engineers keep raising discussions about swapping Mozilla Firefox for Google's Chromium as the default web-browser for Ubuntu Linux, the 13.10 release will continue using Firefox by default.

    • Mozilla

      • Unlocked $80 Firefox OS phone to hit eBay soon
        ZTE says it will soon begin sales of an unlocked version of its Firefox OS-based ZTE Open handset on eBay US and UK for $80, following its launch in Spain, Venezuela, and Colombia. In related news, Samsung is once again rumored to be slowing Tizen OS development, and Mozilla released a new version of the Firefox for Android Beta with WebRTC real-time communications support.

      • ZTE Firefox OS smartphone available globally for $80
        In an attempted preemptive strike on other would be number three smartphone OS makers, Firefox and ZTE has partnered up to bring an $80 Firefox OS, unlocked smartphone to all users everywhere via eBay.

      • ZTE Will Soon Start Sales of Firefox OS Phones on eBay

      • Firefox phone available on eBay for $80
        The smartphone landscape is dominated by Android and iOS with the rest struggling for the distant 3rd spot. Canonical, the parent company of the most popular GNULinux based operating system Ubuntu, is also trying their hands at the mobile phones.

      • Internet Advertising Bureau Turns to Full-Page Ads in Mozilla Kerfuffle
        The Internet Advertising Bureau is not letting up as it fires off screed after screed against Mozilla for its plans to block advertising cookies in the Firefox browser. If you're like most of us, you get annoyed by how advertising cookies in your browser seem to know what your interests are and serve up creepy ads that hit a little too close to home. That's why Mozilla has worked with Stanford’s Center for Internet Society which has a new Cookie Clearinghouse that will oversee easy-to-use “allow lists” and “block lists” to help Internet users protect their privacy. Mozilla has worked on its own on methods for suppressing cookies, too.

      • Did You Know that Mozilla is Hijacking the Internet?
        A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the incredible spectacle of the European arm of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) attacking Mozilla on the grounds that the latter had "lost its values" because it insisted on defending the users' rights to control how cookies were used on their systems.

      • Firefox 24 Set to Update Browser Console, Android Features
        Mozilla's open-source browser will receive new developer-friendly capabilities on the desktop and user-facing features on Android.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Coraid's Suda Srinivasan: Public Cloud vs. Private vs. Having It All
      "If a customer wants a particular performance set with unique parameters, most public cloud providers do not provide that kind of service. They only have one or two flavors. So the big question is, how do you take that ease of use and that simplicity from Amazon or another public cloud, and marry that with customizability and the ability to specify different parameters for your storage?"

  • Databases

    • Oracle Gives MySQL Workbench a New Look
      IDG News Service (New York Bureau) — Oracle has revamped the user interface for its MySQL Workbench administration software, streamlining a number of routine operations and adding some new time-saving features as well.

    • Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL Partners Must Master NoSQL
      Traditional relational databases like Microsoft (MSFT) SQL Server, Oracle (ORCL) and MySQL continue to gain popularity. But channel partners would be wise to check out NoSQL (Not only SQL) alternatives, which are catching on for big data, analytics and real-time cloud computing applications.

  • CMS

  • Funding


  • Openness/Sharing

    • Wikihouse: open source, citizen-led urban development model
      In his TED Talk architect Alstair Parvin shared a fascinating view of how open source thinking can transform architecture and multiply its benefits to society at large.

    • Africa: Open-Source Opens Up Architecture for the Poor
      Architects and community leaders are combining forces to lead the way in creating many types of innovative housing in developing nations as part of an open-source collaboration.

    • Open source amphibious tsunami-resistant houses
      There aren't many times when we confuse the building and construction of physical buildings with the building and construction of software applications.

      Thanks in part to a high energy keynote rant from Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, even non-techies seem to have an idea that developers, developers, developers means software application developers -- and not the guys in the yellow hard hats.

      When we talk about open source architecture we are once again, mostly talking about the "architecting" of software applications and their modelling, construction and later development, debugging and refinement.

    • NREL releases free, open-source energy analysis tool
      The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed Energy DataBus, an open-source application for monitoring, storing and analyzing energy-related data for optimizing energy use and detecting energy "leaks."

    • GreenQloud Announces QloudSync: A New Clean Powered Open Source Cloud Storage Syncing Client at GROW 2013

    • Open Access/Content

      • First 100 Pages of Aaron Swartz’s Secret Service File Released

        “On 1/11/13, Aaron Swartz was found dead in his apartment in Brooklyn, as a result of an apparent suicide,” reads a January 17, 2013 Secret Service memo. “A suppression hearing in this had been scheduled for 1/25/13 with a trial date of 4/1/13, in U.S. District Court of the District of Massachusetts.”

        In January 2011, Swartz was caught using MIT’s public network to bulk-download 4 million academic articles from the JSTOR archive. MIT had a subscription to the archive that made it free to use from MIT’s campus. The Secret Service was brought into the case early on, and federal prosecutors ultimately charged Swartz with wire fraud and computer hacking.

      • First 104 pages of Aaron Swartz Secret Service File Released - Who is the female on page 97? ~pj
        Kevin Poulsen at Wired reports that the first 104 pages of Aaron Swartz's Secret Service files are available now, with a lot more to come, as a result of court ordered release. There are apparently 14,500 more pages to come.

        Look at page 97. It's redacted so the identity of the woman is kept confidential, but it appears from the notation that a woman was in contact with authorities and informing them of conversations between her and Swartz.

  • Programming

    • Announcing SDL 2.0.0
      After many years in development, SDL 2.0.0 has finally been released!

    • SDL 2.0 WIll Finally Be Released This Week!

    • Post open source software, licensing and GitHub
      Few would deny that the rise of GitHub as a popular hosting service for software projects is one of the most significant developments to affect open source during the past five years. GitHub's extraordinary success is necessary context for understanding the criticism leveled at it during the past year from some within or close to the open source world. This criticism has focused on licensing, or rather the lack of it: it is claimed that GitHub hosts an enormous amount of code with no explicit software license. Some critics have suggested that this situation results from a combination of the ignorance of younger developers about legal matters and willful inaction by GitHub's management. In a followup article I will discuss the measures recently taken by GitHub to address these concerns; this article explores aspects of the complaint itself.

    • Twitter buys tech boot camp firm to whip engineers into shape
      With the buy of Marakana, the social network's engineers will get crash courses in open-source technologies like Python and Android.

    • Twitter acquires open source educator Marakana for internal 'university'

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google, Nvidia Sign Onto IBM OpenPOWER Consortium
      IBM has recruited several top tech firms, including Google and Nvidia, to join its newly founded OpenPOWER Consortium, an industry alliance formed to promote IBM's flagging Power microprocessor architecture for back-end systems in an effort to better compete with Intel and ARM.

      As part of the effort, IBM is following ARM's lead and opening up its proprietary Power-based hardware and software technologies to outside developers for the first time and will offer licenses for parties wishing to use Power IP in their own products, the company said this week.


  • Powerful Beijing doctor's illegal structure tops them all
    When it comes to illegal structures, a rooftop villa built by an eccentric Beijing resident on top of a 26-storey residential building puts Henry Tang’s wine cellar to shame.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • U.S. and Monsanto Dominate Global Market for GM Seeds
      For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Millions Against Monsanto page and our Genetic Engineering page.

      One glance at the statistics and it’s clear: The U.S. and Monsanto dominate the global market for genetically engineered crops. Forty percent of the world’s genetically modified (GM) crops are grown in the U.S., where Monsanto controls 80 percent of the GM corn market, and 93 percent of the GM soy market.

    • Taking pills for unhappiness reinforces the idea that being sad is not human
      If you have a terrible job or home life, being unhappy is hardly inappropriate. Pathologising it can only make everything worse

    • "Pandora's Lunchbox" -- Ingredients in Processed Food Products May Surprise You
      "The vitamin D in your milk . . . is almost surely a derivative -- after many chemical stages -- from lanolin from Australian sheep wool, concocted in a factory in China. . . . Vitamin A, is often synthesized from acetone, a principal ingredient in nail polish remover," notes George Kenney based on his interview with Melanie Warner, a former writer for the New York Times.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Vietnam: A War on Civilians
      Many humanitarian-minded lawyers will bristle at this, but why not admit that the law is on the side of the B-52s, not that of the civilians below? Who do you think wrote the law in the first place? We urgently need to see how the laws of war work in practice, given that so many hawks of both left and right insist that law and lawyers are a viable means of fashioning military force into a precise, therapeutic instrument. But as this book suggests throughout, the primary function of the Rules of Engagement and military law in general is not to restrain lethal force but to authorize it. In Vietnam, the overriding principle of International Humanitarian Law, the current preferred euphemism for the laws of war, turned out to be the Mere Gook Rule.

    • Who Dies in Yemen Drone Strikes?
      ...White House policy "in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants."

    • Defining Drone Deaths in Yemen
      Given that the administration had previously defined militants as military-age males in the vicinity of a target (Salon, 5/29/12), one would hope reporters would take official claims--from U.S. or Yemeni officials--with a grain of salt.

    • Yemenis call U.S. drone strikes an overreaction to al Qaida threat
      While Western news reports have cast casualties of the next strike, on Aug. 1, as militants, locals in the area of Hadramawt where it took place have claimed that the dead had no links to the al Qaida group and included a child.

    • CIA Claims Syria Is Top ‘Threat,’ And US Policy Is Making It Worse
      Outgoing CIA Deputy Leader Michael Morrell raised more than a few eyebrows this weekend when in an interview he declared Syria to be the “top current threat to US national security,” a spot usually reserved for someplace the US is directly militarily involved in.

    • CIA tries to fool the world
      Last week, the CIA’s second-in-command, Michael Morell told WSJ that toppling the Syrian regime could pose a threat to the national security of the US. Morell’s admission came as a shock and the American media did its best to ignore it.


      We’ve asked Peter Koenig, a former World Bank economist and a proficient analyst of the tactics used by the media manipulators, to comment on the "stunning admissions" made by the CIA official:

      "Putting this 'admission' into context reveals the falsehood of the statement. The CIA is secretly controlling and managing the world’s largest gun-running operation out of Benghazi, Libya, supplying the "Syrian opposition" with state of the art weapons via Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf States. This includes weapons from countries other than the US, so as to disguise the source of supply and funding", he told the Voice of Russia.

    • CIA admits it has drone documents, but refuses to publish them
      The US Central Intelligence Agency has finally come forward and admitted it does have documents about US drone strikes, but says it can't share them with the public because doing so would pose a massive security risk to the country. As the CIA stated in a document filed in federal district court in Washington, DC last week (and made public today): "The details of those records, including the number and nature of responsive documents, remain currently and properly classified facts exempt from disclosure."

    • CIA refuses to release drone documents
      Despite ruling that agency can't ignore FOIAs on drone program, CIA files brief to keep documents secret

    • Drones In Yemen: Does the U.S. Pay Families When Strikes Kill Innocent Yemenis?
      There have been nine drone strikes reported in Yemen in the past two weeks – an uptick apparently connected to the Al Qaeda threat that shut down U.S. embassies across the Middle East and Africa. As many as six civilian deaths have also been reported.

    • Drone strikes: Does U.S. pay families when drones kill innocent Yemenis?

    • Who Are US Drones Killing in Yemen — and Why?
      President Obama at his pre-vacation press conference Friday promised more “transparency” on U.S. government surveillance programs. But he made no mention of the need for more information about who our government is secretly killing abroad. And while U.S. government officials have happily reported intercepting an alleged phone conversationamong al Qaeda leaders (the details of which keep changing) that prompted the embassy closures and evacuations, they’ve provided no information on who the United States has killed in retaliation with its latest drone strikes, or why.

      That’s no small omission.

    • CIA Refuses to Acknowledge Drone Targeted Killings
      Months after a federal appeals court reinstated a lawsuit seeking Central Intelligence Agency documents outlining the government’s drone targeted killing program, the President Barack Obama administration is again claiming that acknowledging if it has such paperwork could disclose classified secrets concerning whether it even carries out targeted killings.

    • UN chief urges legal drone use in Pakistan visit
      UN chief Ban Ki-moon waded into the controversy surrounding US drone strikes during a visit to Pakistan Tuesday, insisting they must operate within international law.

    • It's Looking More and More Like the Benghazi Conspiracy Theories Were Actually the Truth
      New information about circumstances surrounding the attack on the U.S. consulate on Sept. 11, 2012 raises concern about the U.S.'s involvement in Libya and Syria. According to Joe DiGenova, an attorney for whistleblower Thompson, the State Department's deputy coordinator of operations, 400 U.S. missiles were sent to Libya covertly and have since been stolen by an unidentified group. The night this fatal assault occurred, 35 CIA operatives were said to have been working in an "annex near the consulate on a project to supply missiles from Libyan armories to Syrian rebels." Since then, the CIA has undergone incredible lengths to suppress information about the incident from leaking out. This suppression of information indicates that the CIA has something to hide. It is crucial that an open investigation be conducted to figure out the missile's whereabouts, as leaving this mystery unresolved could result in the weapons landing in the wrong hands.

    • Ex-CIA analyst: US pays lip service to Mideast ‘peace talks’
      A former CIA analyst has accused the US government of saying much and doing less about illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

    • How A 'Deviant' Philosopher Built Palantir, A CIA-Funded Data-Mining Juggernaut
      “They’re in a scary business,” says Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Lee Tien. ACLU analyst Jay Stanley has written that Palantir’s software could enable a “true totalitarian nightmare, monitoring the activities of innocent Americans on a mass scale.”

    • Meet The Venture Arm Of The CIA

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Bradley Manning’s Nobel Peace Prize nomination backed by 100k petition-signing supporters
      The Nobel Prize committee has received a petition that endorses awarding the peace prize to US Army Private Bradley Manning, who is convicted of espionage and facing up to 90 years behind bars for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks.

    • The courage of Bradley Manning will inspire others to seize their moment of truth
      The critical moment in the political trial of the century was on 28 February when Bradley Manning stood and explained why he had risked his life to leak tens of thousands of official files. It was a statement of morality, conscience and truth: the very qualities that distinguish human beings. This was not deemed mainstream news in America; and were it not for Alexa O'Brien, an independent freelance journalist, Manning's voice would have been silenced. Working through the night, she transcribed and released his every word. It is a rare, revealing document.

      Describing the attack by an Apache helicopter crew who filmed civilians as they murdered and wounded them in Baghdad in 2007, Manning said: "The most alarming aspect of the video to me was the seemingly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have. They seemed not to value human life by referring to them as 'dead bastards' and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers. At one point in the video there is an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety [who] is seriously wounded... For me, this seems similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass." He hoped "the public would be as alarmed as me" about a crime which, as his subsequent leaks revealed, was not an aberration.

    • Sentencing Phase in Bradley Manning’s Trial, Day 10 (Live Updates)
      Yesterday’s witnesses were called to the stand to testify on whether the Army had been under pressure to deploy Manning to Iraq. It came out that his unit was at least a third “under strength” when it came to intelligence analysts. This raises the question of how much officers ignored any mental health or behavioral problems Manning may have had prior to deployment.

      Defense attorney, David Coombs, also focused on the lack of leadership in Manning’s unit from superior officers and whether officers had taken proper disciplinary action when Manning had outbursts while stationed at Forward Operating Base Hammer in Baghdad.

      And, before proceedings were over yesterday, the judge issued a ruling granting a government motion for the court to force the defense to turn over a sanity board report minus Pfc. Bradley Manning’s statements, which had been put together when reviewing whether Manning was mentally fit to stand trial.

      Coombs argued prosecutors were not entitled to the report because Manning’s mental condition had not been raised in court prior to the judge’s verdict. But the judge agreed with the government that, since the defense is going to call a witness who is a psychology expert to testify on Manning, the government was entitled to the report.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Photographer Captures Waves of Trash in Indonesia
      Waves for days. Trash for eternity. That’s what photographer Zak Noyle discovered on a recent trip to Java, Indonesia. The waves of Java, always known for being pristine and barreling, were now rolling swells of disgusting trash and debris.

      Noyle was shooting Indonesian surfer Dede Surinaya in a remote bay when he and Surinaya discovered the water to be covered in garbage, according to GrindTV. The bay was miles from any town, yet strong currents had carried the trash of the world’s most populated island, Java, to its once pure waters.

    • Why the World Bank Is Taking On Climate Change
      The organization believes that increased drought, extreme storms, and rising sea levels are significant threats to economies worldwide.

    • A Texan tragedy: Plenty of oil, but no water
      Beverly McGuire saw the warning signs before the town well went dry: sand in the toilet bowl, the sputter of air in the tap, a pump working overtime to no effect. But it still did not prepare her for the night last month when she turned on the tap and discovered the tiny town where she had made her home for 35 years was out of water.

  • Finance

  • Privacy

    • USA vs. NSA: Legislative Efforts to Curtail Spying

    • Communication in the Post-PRISM World

      Linux users didn’t need the recent NSA eavesdropping scandal to convince them that securing communication was a good idea. For years, free software developers have been creating secure tools that offer similar functionalities to all of those popular but very leaky services with ridiculous names.

    • Obama appoints intelligence boss to run 'independent' review of NSA
      President Obama has appointed James Clapper, the US Director of National Intelligence who was recently caught misleading Congress about the extent of NSA surveillance, as the head of the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies that will investigate the agency.

    • Obama's NSA Reforms Off to a Bad Start
      On Monday, one devilish detail emerged when the White House instructed James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, to form the "high-level group of outside experts," that President Obama had promised to Americans on Friday.

    • The absurd honesty of Clapper’s NSA review group
      James "least untruthful" Clapper will review his own agency to promote "trust" not shift policy

    • Confessed Liar To Congress, James Clapper, Gets To Set Up The 'Independent' Review Over NSA Surveillance

    • Would You Vote for Someone Who Kept Quiet About NSA Spying?
      Whether he passes reforms or not, President Obama’s mass surveillance program has made him the closest thing we have to Big Brother. Will his top lieutenants, Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, take that funk with them into the next election?

    • How NSA surveillance endangers the Fourth Amendment

    • Obama Plan to Revamp NSA Faces Obstacles

    • Guess Who Obama Put in Charge of Investigating the NSA?

    • Obama’s white paper on NSA spying
      The Obama administration released a “white paper” on Friday that purports to provide a legal justification for one of its telephone surveillance programs. Under conditions of growing public concern over revelations by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, the document was clearly prepared for public relations purposes. Its release was timed to coincide with Friday’s press conference, at which Obama attempted to put a friendly face on police state spying.

    • White House Says Intelligence Director Will Not Lead NSA Review Group

    • NSA review led by intel chief who lied about NSA domestic surveillance

    • The Man 'Who Lied to Congress About NSA Spying' Will Be In Charge of Independent Review Board

    • Op-Ed: Clapper to head Obama blue ribbon whitewash review of NSA
      In his press conference on Friday President Obama offered several measures meant to reassure people about NSA surveillance programs. His fourth measure involved setting up an outside and independent board to review the programs.

    • White House: Clapper’s Involvement in NSA Investigation ‘Limited’

    • White House says intelligence chief James Clapper won't lead NSA review
      James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, will not be involved in selecting or leading members of a group reviewing the NSA's surveillance methods. On August 12th, President Barack Obama issued a memo telling Clapper to "establish a review group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies," responsible for determining whether the US surveillance system was both advancing American interests and behaving in a way that would "maintain the public trust." Now, though, a White House spokesperson tells both us and The Hill that Clapper won't be a part of the process.

    • Larry Ellison: Google is ABSOLUTELY EVIL, but NSA is ESSENTIAL
      If there was one topic about which Ellison was unflinchingly enthusiastic, however, it was NSA surveillance, some details of which were revealed by former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden, now a fugitive enjoying asylum in Russia.

      "It's great," Ellison said of the domestic spying. "It's great, it's essential. President Obama thinks it's essential. It's essential if we want to minimize the kind of strikes that we just had in Boston. It's absolutely essential."

    • Kerry visit to Brazil overshadowed by NSA spying controversy
      The United States pledged on Tuesday that Brazil and other allies will get answers about American communications surveillance aimed at thwarting terrorism, but gave no indication it would change the way it gathers such information.

    • Delivery of US jets: NSA scandal threatened Armor deal with Brazil / Latin America News

    • Brazil May Be Losing Faith in the U.S. Due to NSA Leaks
      The South American country was planning to spend $4 billion on 36 fighter jets for its air force in a contract promised to the U.S. Now that Edward Snowden has revealed that the National Security Agency had been mining information on Brazil’s commercial, military and energy intelligence, President Dilma Rousseff seems to be having second thoughts. A source told Reuters that the Brazilian government “cannot talk about the fighters now. ... You cannot give such a contract to a country that you do not trust.”

    • Kerry, on visit to Brazil, gets earful over NSA spying

    • NSA-proof email encryption? Cobblers, sniff German hackers
      German hackers have poured scorn on Deutsche Telekom's plan to offer "secure email", describing it as little more than a marketing gimmick.

      Deutsche Telekom and partner United Internet are rolling out SSL-encrypted connections between users’ computers and the companies' mail servers as part of the “Email made in Germany” offer.

    • NSA backlash undermines ‘Star Wars’ US web defence
      Plan to screen internet traffic against cyber attacks unlikely to progress, officials say

    • Laura Poitras, the NSA, Snowden and a Rubik’s Cube
      The filmmaker who helped Snowden publish NSA revelations shares her story with the New York Times

    • NSA & MI5 - hand in glove. Are you really surprised?

      The level of surveillance across the US and the UK should not come as a shock to their citizens. To what extent is the nature of these actions rooted in history? Would even the most benevolent of governments be able to stop the constant monitoring of its citizens?

    • Despite NSA and giant 'golf balls,' mystery of Menwith Hill doesn't trouble locals
      Lately, installations such as Menwith Hill have come under scrutiny and criticism, following disclosures made by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden that the U.S. was using NSA surveillance programs to secretly gather information about phone calls and Internet communications worldwide.

    • Congress denied access to classified document prior to NSA vote
      In May 2011, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) took the floor of the Senate to warn his colleagues that Americans would one day be outraged to learn that the U.S. Government was actively engaged in surveillance activities that most citizens would consider outright criminal.

    • How Congress Overlooked NSA Spying
      Edward Snowden’s leaks about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs might have been avoided if more members of Congress had done their duty to stay informed about these classified activities, rather than get distracted by the fluff of politics, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • ‘Lawful Interception Recovery Fee,’ The NSA’S Bill To Spy On Us? [Video]
      The “Lawful Interception Recovery Fee” many phone users are reportedly spotting on AT&T bills is giving rise to a bit of frustrating and just-like-those-government-bozos speculation… that the controversial NSA spying program has resulted in a charge tacked on to our cell phone bills. Have you ever in your life?

    • Investigating the investigators at the NSA
      The short answer to whether the US National Security Agency's (NSA) programs for reviewing emails and telephone calls as well as metadata (pieces of information about communications like when and from where an email was sent) arising from them is legal would appear to be: yes.

      Unlike some past controversies about the balance between protecting the nation's security and privacy rights, no one is saying that the executive branch went out completely secretly on its own (though the scope of the program has shocked many even in Congress) with the new far-reaching checks into people's personal lives.

    • Edward Snowden: It’s Not Just The NSA Reading Your Email
      Again, this isn’t really a surprise, per se. Like we said, as bad as America is in some respects, other countries are worse. And it’s safe to assume that 99% of what you’re doing goes unread because there’s little if anything that, say, Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service or the Canadian Security Intelligence Service cares about.

    • How the Government Created Someone Paranoid Enough to Report the NSA Leaks
      The New York Times Magazine cover story by Peter Maass detailing how Edward Snowden reached out to the two reporters that broke the NSA surveillance story isn't about that surveillance. It's only sort of about journalism. Instead, it's largely a story about how close to the boundaries of civilization you must get — literally and figuratively — to be assured that you can protect your privacy. And it's about how the United States government pushes people there.

    • NSA secrets leaked to 'fearless' journos
      US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden said in an interview released on Tuesday he chose to divulge details of a vast US surveillance effort to journalists who reported "fearlessly" on controversial subjects.

      Snowden, in the interview released by The New York Times, said he chose documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras and Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald because they were not cowed by the US government.

    • Snowden: NSA targeted journalists critical of government after 9/11
      Leaker Edward Snowden accused the National Security Agency of targeting reporters who wrote critically about the government after the 9/11 attacks and warned it was “unforgivably reckless” for journalists to use unencrypted email messages when discussing sensitive matters.

    • Voters mad about NSA spying face uphill battle
      Charlotte Scot isn't one to take things lying down — like the time President George W. Bush was re-elected and she moved to Canada in protest.

    • Snowden, NSA Leaks Introduce New Viewers To Old YouTube Video

      Back in 2010, social media had finally grown out of colleges and into mainstream awareness. Twitter rolled out a new design that allowed pictures within feeds, and Facebook crossed the 500 million user threshold shortly before the release of "The Social Network," the David Fincher film about Facebook's founding. A newcomer, Foursquare, allowed users to “check-in” to physical locations with their smartphones and was quickly growing in popularity.


      ...images taken with a smartphone could be used to track the physical location of the person in the photo.

    • NSA Might Be Behind Tor Malware Attack as per Experts
      Malware lodged on the web-servers of Freedom Hosting -- the renowned "hidden service" web hoster on the 'Tor' anonymized network shut down during the first week of August 2013- might have de-anonymized visitors to the websites on that server. This could send information regarding identity of visitors to an IP address which was coded into a malware script and injected into browsers. Apparently, the IP addresses under discussion belong to the NSA or National Security Agency, note security researchers, reported on August 5, 2013.

    • Fix NSA mess -- or else
      They should do so, and they should do so immediately, dramatically and very publicly. Because the real danger of these covert surveillance programs is that once they are no longer completely covert, their existence undermines everyone's trust in the government.

    • NSA Strategy and Core Values

    • Spain demands 'clarification and information' on NSA surveillance
      On Monday, Spain's Foreign Ministry demanded “clarification and information” concerning a report published in Der Spiegel which said Spain was a target of secret surveillance by the NSA.

      The report published in Der Spiegel explains how German intelligence services cooperate closely with the NSA, but also states that Germany for its own part is a target of US surveillance. But there is more to this story within the European Union.

    • Mailpile: crowdfunding a secure, private email client/cloud service
      Mailpile is an Iceland-based free/open source email service that's privacy oriented, integrating easy-to-use encryption and scalable searching. The idea is to produce something that'll run well as a cloud-based service or on your own desktop. They want to ship their first milestone in January 2014, and are looking to raise $100K on Indi-egogo to pay for the developer hours to see the project through. With the Mozilla foundation abandoning support for my beloved (but creaky) Thunderbird, I'm very interested in seeing what they come up with, and I've put my money where my mouth is, with a $128 donation. I'm especially impressed by their determination to integrate easy-to-use mail crypto -- the holy grail of email for decades now.

    • Intelligence committee urged to explain if they withheld crucial NSA document
      Critics demands answers from chairman Mike Rogers after claims that committee failed to share document before key vote

    • The NSA Is Hiring! And Following A Pittsburgh Car Dealership On Its Twitter Account?
      The hiring team for the NSA doesn't have it easy these days. Their advance scouts got absolutely slammed by some college students during a meet-and-greet at a Wisconsin university. And just recently, the agency cut a ton of potential Snowdens loose by unceremoniously announcing plans to fire 90% of its systems administrators. With the agency swiftly being voted "least popular" by many Americans (and around the world), the HR division has its hands full keeping the agency staffed.

    • NSA's New Surveillance Plan and Other News You Need to Know
      he NSA has plans for a new online surveillance system...

    • Language makes Obama’s NSA stance problematic
      ...contradicted by two revelations at the end of last week.

    • 14/08/2013Is Germany a victim of the NSA, or an accomplice?
      Discussions aimed at banning espionage between the two countries in the future are scheduled at the end of August between Gerhard Schindler, the head of the German Foreign Intelligence Service (BND), and his US counterparts.

    • NSA FISA Surveillance: Experts Poke Holes In Administration's Legal Justification For Phone Records Program
      No sooner had the Obama administration released a white paper laying out the legal justification for its mass phone data collection program than legal experts began to poke holes in it.

    • Yes, The NSA Is Tracking You. Get Over It
      A German writer is fed up with the hypocrisy of an exhibitionist society outraged by the limits of privacy. Yes, you are being monitored. Now get back to your celebrity Twitter feed.

    • Stackfield – the data encryption site that’s profiting from the NSA revelations
      Thanks to Edward Snowden, the question of internet security is one currently raised across the globe. While US-based online platforms are facing a significant amount of users leaving their services, the NSA scandal has also been a godsend for some providers, who have seen a rush of new customers.

    • NSA Snooping? What About the FBI Bugging My Bedroom?
      In one haunting piece, Stew recalled meeting the great folk singer Victor Jara during an early-‘70s visit to Chile with Phil Ochs and Jerry Rubin. Not long after that, Jara, only 27, had been tortured—his fingers cut off--and killed by Pinochet’s thugs following the coup that deposed of democratically elected Salvador Allende. (Phil Ochs, in probably the final major act of his tortured life, later organized a tribute to Jara in New York that I attended, featuring a surprise guest appearance by Bob Dylan.)

    • Gwynne Dyer: NSA surveillance and changes to the Internet
      Edward Snowden is safe from American “justice” for the moment, and he will certainly go down as the most effective whistle-blower in history. His revelations are going to cause a wholesale restructuring of the world’s most important communications system, the Internet. And that, rather than his whereabouts and fate, is now the real story.

    • NSA Spying in the Courts
      The National Security Agency’s collection of every American’s telephone dialing information is hotly contested in the court of public opinion and in Congress. It is now seeing its first test in the courts since its existence was revealed.

    • A window to a more secure Web
      Email has come a long way in the last decade. Much of this has to do with the rise of centralised services offered by the likes of Google,

      Microsoft and Yahoo. But, the fact that user data rests physically on their servers, located mostly within the legal jurisdiction of the U.S.

      State, raises serious questions about how user data is vulnerable to the snooping eyes of the State. The abrupt shutdown of Lavabit and Silent Mail, two services that offered robust encryption at the server-end to protect user privacy, has highlighted the need to explore alternative services and approaches to mail storage.

    • You Might Have an Invisible Facebook Account Even if You Never Signed Up
      Previously we covered how to protect your privacy by preventing people from tagging your photos in both Facebook and Picasa. Consider this a follow-up as it looks like Facebook is a bit more involved in privacy intrusions than anyone had previously thought.

    • The Surveillance Speech: A Low Point in Barack Obama's Presidency
      Jon Stewart once reacted to a Barack Obama speech by marveling that "at 11 o'clock on a Tuesday, a prominent politician spoke to Americans about race as though they were adults."

    • US National Security Agency 'is surveillance leviathan'
      But Mr Bowden said the figures were "utterly meaningless" since the memorandum is vague about where the data is taken from.

      He adds: "After subtracting video media and spam, which accounts for most data by volume, 1.6% is an admission the NSA has become a surveillance leviathan."

      Mr Bowden also said there was "no privacy restraint or restriction" in the way that the NSA can access the communications of foreigners.

    • Intelligence committee withheld key file before critical NSA vote, Amash claims
      Republican who led Congress revolt against surveillance insists members did not see document before 2011 Patriot Act vote

    • Germany denies phone data sent to NSA used in drone attacks
      German intelligence agency criticised for sending large quantities of mobile phone metadata to the NSA and GCHQ

    • Deutsche Telekom launches 'NSA-busting' encrypted email service
      Deutsche Telekom and United Internet have launched a super-secure German email service that they claim defeats the data-sniffing shenanigans of the likes of the NSA.

    • The NSA Turned Spying into a Video Game for Analysts
      Spying must get boring sometimes. Identifying targets. Wiretapping unsuspecting citizens. Sifting through all that private data. It must get old. Maybe that's why the NSA introduced gamification elements into its software to encourage a little bit of healthy competition between analysts.

    • NSA analysts earned 'skilz' points by training for XKeyscore surveillance, says new report
      In Europe, Germany has been a nexus of debate over American surveillance: it's allegedly both one of the most-watched countries in western Europe and a close partner of the NSA. It's said to be central to the XKeyscore information-gathering program — and, according to new documents reviewed by Der Spiegel, its analysts have the maddest skilz in the business.

    • To learn spying software, NSA analysts “unlock achievements” to win “skilz”

    • Kerry: NSA Spying a 'Very Small' Part of Talks in Colombia
      U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance program was a "very small" part of his talks in Colombia.

    • Kerry Travels to Brazil as NSA Spying Controversy Lingers

    • N.S.A Scandal and High-Tech Espionage on Brazil
      Is the U.S. ready to embrace the notion that Brazil has finally arrived on the world stage? Judging from the recent National Security Agency (N.S.A.) scandal, Washington is very skittish about the up and coming South American player. According to journalist Glen Greenwald, N.S.A. intercepts of Brazilian transmissions, including phone calls and internet communications, have been massive. Indeed, within the wider Americas region, N.S.A. snooping on the South American nation is second only to the U.S. in terms of overall scope. Writing in O Globo newspaper, Greenwald adds that the N.S.A. spied on the Brazilian Embassy in Washington and the South American nation's mission at the United Nations in New York.

    • NSA Domestic Spying Enabled By Legal Loophole

    • Bob Schieffer Roasted For Unbalanced NSA Panel
      "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer drew fire Monday for hosting what critics said was a deeply unbalanced forum on the National Security Agency's surveillance activities.

      Schieffer, who has been vocally critical of leaker Edward Snowden, brought together three people who supported the NSA: its former director, Michael Hayden, Peter King, a Republican congressman, and Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat.

    • Why "stop and frisk" is worse than NSA surveillance
      My black friends in New York, particularly those who don't live in the fancier precincts of Manhattan, have been harassed by the NYPD in a way that I, as a white guy, will never experience.

      They've been stopped and frisked, for reasons known only to the officers. Almost every young black male I know has a story to tell.

    • Bob Schieffer's NSA Farce
      His performance was an embarrassment to journalism.

    • NSA scandal splits government and opposition
      The opposition Social Democrats have slammed German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government over its handling of the NSA spying affair. Meanwhile, Chancellery Minister Ronald Pofalla is testifying again in parliament.

    • The NSA Is Commandeering the Internet
      It turns out that the NSA's domestic and world-wide surveillance apparatus is even more extensive than we thought. Bluntly: The government has commandeered the Internet. Most of the largest Internet companies provide information to the NSA, betraying their users. Some, as we've learned, fight and lose. Others cooperate, either out of patriotism or because they believe it's easier that way.

    • Robinson: What NSA reforms?
      The modest reforms Obama proposed do not begin to address the fundamental question of whether we want the National Security Agency to log all of our phone calls and read at least some of our emails, relying on secret judicial orders from a secret court for permission. The president indicated he is willing to discuss how all this is done -- but not whether.

    • Bin snooping? We’ve been here before
      Longstanding BBW supporters may remember that I was once Director of this parish. For the past two years, I’ve been a Common Councilman in the City of London, aka the Square Mile. These two things crossed over significantly this week, with the news (broken by Quartz) that a company named Renew, which had installed bins in the Square Mile, was using a data collection capacity installed in those bins to collect information about mobile telephone usage amongst passers-by.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay's 10th birthday is a milestone for internet freedom
        An internet milestone has just been reached: Pirate Bay has passed its 10th anniversary. The iconic/notorious site (pick your adjective) celebrated with a party just outside Stockholm. Who knows, perhaps entertainment bosses were simultaneously weeping into their champagne and plotting new action against their favourite enemy. The filesharing hub is arguably the most famous of all sites providing access to torrent files and magnet links to allow peer-to-peer sharing. If that means nothing to you, it's like being able to swap those tapes you made of Radio 1 chart shows with anyone in the world.

Recent Techrights' Posts

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