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Links 13/8/2014: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 Beta, Tizen in Watches





GNOME bluefish

Contents





GNU/Linux



  • Want a fulfilling IT career? Learn Linux
    How can understanding Linux enhance a career? This question is interesting because there are two drastically different answers. The first is the obvious answer that you can find through websites and studies everywhere, but the second is a little more subtle. And a lot more awesome.


  • How learning Linux can help your IT career


  • Desktop



    • Low Cost Chromebooks Force Microsoft's Hand in the Portables Market
      Chromebooks, low-cost portable computers that run Google's Chrome operating system, are quickly becoming market movers as sales are poised to reach almost 15 million units in 2017. That's the forecast from Gartner researchers, which also reproted that sales will hit 5.2 million units this year, up 70 percent from sales in 2013. Gartner has also reported that the U.S. education sector is playing a big part in this, noting that it accounted for 85 percent of Chromebook sales in 2013.

      There are strong signs that Microsoft is taking this trend seriously, and we may see unprecedented prices on new Windows portables designed to compete with Chromebooks.


    • Acer Chromebook 13 has NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor inside
      Chromebook 13 is the latest Chromebook from Acer. It is powered by the NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor and is the first Tegra K1-powered Chromebook.

      The Tegra K1 is a mobile processor built atop NVIDIA’s Keplerâ„¢ architecture that features a 4-Plus-1â„¢ quad-core ARM€® Cortexâ„¢-A15 CPU. It is the same processor inside the NVIDIA Shield Tablet.




  • Server



    • Supercomputer speed
      It wasn’t always that way. Whizz back to 1998 when Linux was still clawing its way out of the primordial binary ooze and just a single supercomputer ran it. Jump forward six years and that figure had exploded to 291 of the top-500 supercomputers and Linux never looked back. Now, I’m no expert (we could probably stop the sentence there) in supercomputers, but the benefits of a GNU/Linux OS apply as much to your home user as they do to supercomputer manufacturers. There’s no per-core licence to worry about – which becomes a big worry if you have 3.1 million processors to power.






  • Kernel Space



    • Scholarships Help Increase Access to Linux Education
      What does a file system engineer living in Minnesota have in common with a woman from Uganda working on maintaining Linux systems and a research and computing scientist working at a medical university? They were among the five Linux Training Scholarship winners in 2013.

      Now in its fourth year, the Linux training scholarships from The Linux Foundation have become highly-sought honors by many of the most talented up-and-coming Linux pro's in the world. With nearly 700 submissions received last year we're very excited to review this year's applicants in September (the submission deadline is Sept 2).


    • XFS Introduces A Sysfs Interface With Linux 3.17
      The latest noteworthy pull request worth covering for the Linux 3.17 kernel merge window is of the XFS file-system updates.


    • UEFI Forum Officially Announces ACPI 5.1
      While Linux kernel developers have already been working on ACPI 5.1 support since it brings ACPI on ARM, and there's partial support in the Linux 3.17 kernel, the UEFI Forum today finally announced the official release of the ACPI 5.1 specification.


    • The Linux Plumbers Conference is almost full
      The 2014 Linux Plumbers Conference (October 15-17, Düsseldorf, Germany) has sent out an advisory that the registration limit is about to be reached. "We are very rapidly approaching our attendance limit, this year faster than in any past editions of the conference. We expect that the conference general registration will be sold out soon, possibly even within a few days. If you have a vested interest in participating in the discussions, please register now, to guarantee that you will obtain a ticket for the conference."


    • Graphics Stack



      • AMD's Radeon DDX Enables Hawaii Acceleration By Default
        We've long been monitoring the AMD Hawaii Linux support situation. AMD did provide same-day Catalyst Linux support for the R9 290 but took a while to get cleaned up. However, on the open-source side, it wasn't until recently that the R9 290 open-source support got into shape with working 2D/3D hardware acceleration.


      • BPTC Texture Compression Support Lands In Mesa
        Last month we reported on Intel working out patches for BPTC texture compression support with their open-source 3D driver and as of today that support has been mainlined to Mesa.






  • Applications



  • Desktop Environments/WMs



    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt



      • Phonon + GStreamer + VLC 4.8 Beta


      • KDE Applications and Development Platform 4.13.3
        Packages for the release of KDE SC 4.13.3 are available for Kubuntu 14.04LTS. You will recieve them from the regular update channel.


      • First Bugfix Update to Plasma 5
        KDE is now getting into the swing of releases numbered 5. Today we add Plasma 5's first bugfix update. The release features KDE's flagship desktop project as well as the base software needed to keep your computer running. Plasma will have feature releases every three months and bugfix releases in the months in between.


      • Kig on Frameworks!
        But the port to KDE Frameworks 5 is not the only exciting thing happening in Kig: the Google Summer of Code coding period is almost over and Aniket’s project about Geogebra support is in good shape, so you will soon see this integrated into the code; although we still need to decide about the right strategy to make this available to our user base. Keep tuned for more Kig info!


      • Monday Report: Old Style In New Form
        The basis of this theme is the old oxygen style, so he was able to reuse most of the code. Below are some screenshots of his work (without the Breeze window decoration).


      • KDE Frameworks Book Sprint at the Randa Meeting 2014




    • GNOME Desktop/GTK



      • GTK+ 3.13.6 Updated To Work With Newer Wayland
        The GTK+ tool-kit is out with a new release this week that offers a lot of bug fixes but also several new improvements.

        First up, the new GTK+ 3.13.6 release has been updated to support newer versions of the Wayland protocol. Beyond that as the only Wayland change for this GTK+ 3.14 development release, there's Adwaita theme improvements, a faster blur implementation for shadows, and a variety of other GTK improvements. There's a total of 37 known bug-fixes in the GTK+ 3.13.6 release.


      • GTK+ 3.13.6 Arrives with More Adwaita Improvements


      • Teachers explain why they’re ditching iPads for ‘much more useful’ Chromebooks
        As popular as the iPad has been for end consumers, schools have also been a major part of the tablet’s success. Ever since Apple launched the iPad in 2010, schools all over the country have experimented with placing them in classrooms or giving them to students to bring home with them. The Atlantic reports that although many institutions were initially satisfied with the results, many are now beginning to see the potential upshot of affordable laptops over expensive tablets.






  • Distributions



  • Devices/Embedded



    • NI CompactRIO controller runs Linux RTOS on Intel Atom
      NI’s latest CompactRIO controller is supported by LabVIEW 2014 and NI Linux real-time for applications in harsh, industrial environments.

      This software-design controller provides data processing, custom timing and triggering, and data transfer from modular C Series I/O.

      The controller has an Intel Atom processor and a Kintex-7 FPGA for implementing complex filtering and control algorithms.


    • Media player dev kits run Ubuntu, Android on Cortex-A9
      Toshiba announced wireless-enabled development kits based on its dual-core Cortex-A9 “TZ5000 ApP Lite” SoC, supporting Ubuntu and Android 4.4, respectively.


    • Raspberry Pi based media player offers 1TB hard drive
      FiveNinjas has launched a “Slice” media player on Kickstarter based on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, with a 1TB HDD and a customized version of XBMC.

      UK-based startup FiveNinjas developed the Slice because the developers found it annoying when their media players became useless when carried beyond an Internet connection. Unlike most media players, the Slice ships with a 1TB hard disk drive for storing plenty of video for offine playback.


    • 12 Linux-Based Home Automation Systems for Under $300
      Home automation hubs have emerged as the tech startup product of choice in 2014, and most run on embedded Linux. The category has been re-energized with the dropping costs of wireless radios and embedded processors, as well as the ubiquity of readymade touchscreen interfaces in the form of Android and iOS devices. This slide show presentation covers 10 Linux-based and two Android-based home automation systems starting at under $300.

      Home automation systems have been around for more than a decade, but were usually affordable only to a few. Early Linux-based products include the circa-2002 CorAccess Companion, as well as later tuxified products from Control4, such as the Control4 Home Controller HC-500. While the HC-500's $1,500 was a price breakthrough back in 2008, Control4's entry level system is now an HC-250 model selling for under $500 plus licensing. You'll find most of the systems listed here starting at under $200, with some hubs selling for as little as $49. Of course, you'll likely spend much more than that on compatible smart devices, and equipping a large home could easily push you over the $1,000 mark.


    • Top 12 Linux-Based Home Automation Systems


    • Phones



      • Ballnux



        • Navigate using your Tizen Samsung Gear 2 / Neo with DMA Navi Watch
          DMA Navi Watch uses Google Navigation notifications from your device and displays them to your wrist. To setup the app you need to enable the notification listener on your Android Smartphone and your good to go, video instructions on how to do this are below. When your not navigating anywhere, the clock face works like a standard Gear 2 clock face. The App is available now to download from Samsung Galaxy Apps (depending on country and network availability).




      • Android



        • Android motorcycle helmet/HUD gains funding
          Skully has achieved Indiegogo funding for an Android 4.4 based motorcycle helmet with a head-up display, GPS navigation, and a 180-degree rearview camera.


        • Project Denver SoC will be the first 64-bit ARM processor for Android
          NVIDIA has revealed architectural details of the 64-bit version of the Tegra K1 System-on-Chip (SoC). Being developed under the Project Denver code name, it will be the first 64-bit ARM SoC for Android.

          The 32-bit version of Tegra K1 already powers several notable mobile devices, including the NVIDIA Shield tablet and the just announced Acer Chromebook 13.


        • Hurry! Aug 17th next closing date for Project Ara development boards
          Yesterday we reported on the upcoming and possible game-changing Project Ara. If you missed the post then follow the link to read our report in full.

          To quickly recap Google’s Project Ara is a completely new take on what a smartphone is. Google next year will launch a Modular phone which consists of small interchangeable modules (MOD’s). Each MOD will have a different purpose i.e. camera, identity, speakers and users will simply be able to change the modules at will and upgrade only the parts they want to upgrade.










Free Software/Open Source



  • How to Overcome Hidden Barriers to Open Source Adoption
    Even when procurement policies don't rule out open source solutions explicitly in this way, they often still have an unintentional bias towards proprietary software, according to Mark Johnson, development manager at OSS Watch, a body that provides advice on open source software.

    "It may be that the way solutions are investigated by organizations actually favors companies that get license fees and are therefore able to offer presales support. Because the business models work differently, you may have to pay a company to come in and do a demonstration of an open source solution," Johnson says.

    "What that means is that companies may need to be aware that they have to be more hands on (with open source software)," he adds. "They can't just expect to sit down and watch a PowerPoint presentation."


  • CenturyLink releases Panamax open-source Docker management platform
    CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) today announced the contribution of Panamax, a Docker management platform, to the open-source community. Ideal for even the most complex Docker architectures, Panamax gives developers a single management platform to easily create, share and deploy any Docker-containerized application.


  • OSI and Conservancy Announce US Tax Exemption Working Group
    Software Freedom Conservancy and the Open Source Initiative are pleased to announce that they are the founding members of a working group focused on tax exemption issues for organizations in the United States.

    Recent activity by the Internal Revenue Service in response to applications for tax exempt status have sparked a lot of interest and discussion amongst free and open source software communities.


  • Events



  • Web Browsers



    • Mozilla



      • UbuConLA: Firefox OS on show in Cartagena
        If you are attending UbuConLA I would strongly encourage you to check out the talks on Firefox OS and Webmaker. In addition to the talks, there will also be a Firefox OS workshop where attendees can go more hands on.

        When the organizers of UbuConLA reached out to me several months ago, I knew we really had to have a Mozilla presence at this event so that Ubuntu Users who are already using Firefox as their browser of choice could learn about other initiatives like Firefox OS and Webmaker.






  • SaaS/Big Data



    • Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos Cozies Up to OpenStack
      All the way back in 2008, before it was a commercial product, OStatic broke the news about an open source project at U.C. Santa Barbara called Eucalyptus, which we described as "for implementing 'cloud computing' on clusters." Of course, fast-forward to today, and Eucalyptus Systems is one of the most discussed companies on the cloud computing scene.


    • New Open-Source Tool Makes it Easy to Tap Into Docker, the Cloud’s Next Big Thing
      Your new app is brilliant; the code you’ve spent six months writing is beautiful. But when you upload it from your laptop to the web server, it just doesn’t work. You know why: your laptop’s is configured slightly differently than the server, and now you’re now going to have to spend hours — maybe days — figuring out what you need to change to make it run properly.




  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice



  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC



  • Openness/Sharing



    • How the Open Source Election Technology Foundation is Remaking the Voter Experience
      "The commissioners and others don't want the recommendations to just sit on the shelf but to get these recommendations into the states to move them along, " John Fortier, director of the Democracy Project, said in an interview with techPresident last week.


    • Open Access/Content



      • Spain's Ill-Conceived 'Google Tax' Law Likely To Cause Immense Damage To Digital Commons And Open Access
        Techdirt recently wrote about Spain's imminent and almost unbelievably foolish new copyright law designed to prop up old and failing business models in the publishing sector. Mike mentioned that it was potentially disastrous for things like fair use, Creative Commons and public domain material -- so broad is the reach of this new law's "inalienable right" for publishers to be paid when snippets of works appear elsewhere.


      • Did Spain just declare war on the commons?
        Two weeks ago the lower chamber of the Spanish parliament approved a number of changes to Spain’s Intellectual Property Law that directly threaten the ability of Spanish internet users to contribute to the commons. The law introduces a number of modifications to copyright law that expand the scope of exclusive rights over areas that were previously outside of the exclusive rights of copyright holders at the expense of users rights and the public domain.






  • Standards/Consortia



    • OpenGL 4.5 update brings desktop like graphics on Mobile
      Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques or SIGGRAPH is the annual event where graphics industry professional comes together to unveil their tricks that they have been working on for the year. This year at SIGGRAPH 2014, as is customary for them, Khronos Group took the stage to reveal their latest version of OpenGL, OpenGL 4.5. The announcement also included updates on their OpenGL ES as well as WebGL, all offshoots and parts of the OpenGL standard.


    • After OpenGL 4.5, The Mesa OpenGL 4 Support Matrix
      Now that OpenGL 4.5 was released yesterday by the Khronos Group, while NVIDIA already has an OpenGL 4.5 driver, it will be a longtime before the open-source Mesa/Gallium3D drivers are able to claim OpenGL 4.5 compliance.






Leftovers



  • JFK's Popularity Endures: John F. Kennedy Remains High in Presidential Polls, Surveys
    Todd J. Gillman of The Dallas Morning News observed that "historians rate Kennedy as a middling president. The public puts him on a pedestal with Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. His loving image has survived tawdry revelations and bookshelves of critical reassessments."


  • Security



  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression



    • Dear Mr Cameron: US and EU politicians had been drumming up the conflict in Ukraine
      The British Prime Minister shows a staggering arrogance and frightening lack of historical perspective in supporting the neo-Nazi regime of the Ukrainian government, and luring the Russian Federation into a conflict with the European Union and the West by blaming it for condoning the shooting down of Flight MH17 on 1 August over the disputed territory of eastern Ukraine.

      Last month, David Cameron published an article in The Sunday Times that, in a series of sweeping accusations, marked a high point in interventions by the West which fuel conflict in Ukraine and, eventually, could drag Russia into a war with the European Union.

      Even before this intervention, US and EU politicians had been drumming up the conflict, first by helping neo-fascists in Ukraine into power, who then committed atrocities against the people of eastern Ukraine.


    • CIA Intervention In Ukraine Has Been Taking Place For Decades
      Of all the aspects of the current crisis over the NATO/Russia standoff in Ukraine, the determined intervention into Ukrainian political affairs by the United States has been the least reported, at least until recently. While new reports have appeared concerning CIA Director John Brennan’s mid-April trip to Kiev, and CIA/FBI sending “dozens” of advisers to the Ukrainian security services, very few reports mention that U.S. intervention in Ukraine affairs goes back to the end of World War II. It has hardly let up since then.


    • Sen. Nelson headed to Ukraine; says U.S. should arm Kiev government
      Sen. Bill Nelson, gearing up for a trip this week that will take him to Ukraine, the Baltic states and Turkey, departed from the Obama administration’s more measured approach and called for providing lethal arms to Ukraine’s military, which is battling Russian-backed rebels and facing down 20,000 Russian troops amassed along the border.


    • How, and maybe why, US contributes to Saudi police state
      On July 6, human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair was sentenced to 15 years in prison in the Saudi Specialized Criminal Court. Al-Khair was convicted of making statements to the news media and issuing tweets criticizing human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. In addition, al-Khair is subject to a 15-year travel ban after his sentence is completed and a fine of 200,000 riyals ($53,327.65 USD).

      The state’s case against al-Khair centered around al-Khair’s establishment of and participation in the “Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia” — a civil rights advocacy group in Saudi Arabia. Al-Khair spoke out internationally against Saudi Arabia’s history of human rights violations and participated in several human rights defense cases — including the case of Samar Badawi, who was accused of disobeying the Saudi male guardianship system.


    • #IfTheyGunnedMeDown protests portrayal of black youth after Michael Brown's death
      Many Twitter users posted pictures of themselves with #IfTheyGunnedMeDown to challenge the way the media portrays African-Americans. The hashtag was a response to coverage of Michael Brown’s death in suburban St. Louis over the weekend.


    • Droning On
      A botched drone mission in Afghanistan kills 13 civilians, mostly women and children. Pilot Darwin Cole, controlling the unmanned aircraft from a bunker in Nevada, watches in horror as his anti-terrorist strike becomes a massacre.

      One year later, Cole is a drunken recluse, ejected from the military with a dishonorable discharge, living in a trailer with “broken windows, [and] bottles in the yard.” He has lost his nerve, his wings, his career, and his wife and kids. He has been unmanned.


    • The Fallacious Human Shield and Collateral Damage Arguments
      If we apply our ethics, as Justitia, we would protect our civilians, children, and infirm, in Phoenix, Arizona, just as we should do everything we can to protect the civilians in rural Afghanistan, Iraq, or in Gaza or Israel. At the very least, we should contribute nothing to hurting those children. All civilians deserve the freedom from being treated like expendables by any military anywhere. Anything short of respecting that freedom makes us all terrorists.


    • Death in Gaza: Some Counts More Controversial than Others
      Determining whether deaths are civilian or military is the heart of the matter. "No other number is as contentious as the ratio of civilians to combatants killed," Rudoren explains. So what is the truth, then?


    • Journalists are complicit in Gaza's suffering by ignoring context
      Reporters seize upon the list of Gaza’s most recent victims, only to parse their death certificates for proof that they, too, did not deserve to die.

      “Journalism,” wrote the Swedish war correspondent Stig Dagerman, “is the art of coming too late as early as possible.” The dictum resounds in Gaza, where an eight-year Israeli siege – which has left this land all but unlivable – went woefully underreported well before Gaza was is in the throes of war. As Palestinian families again count their dead, that journalistic negligence, say human rights workers, leaves much of the reporting here dangerously devoid of context.


    • War Is Our Most Urgent Problem. Let’s Solve It
      Is there a more urgent problem in the world today than war? And when I say “war” in this post, I mean also militarism, the culture of war, the armies, arms, industries, policies, plans, propaganda, prejudices, rationalizations that make lethal group conflict not only possible but also likely.


    • Report: Obama told lawmakers that Syria criticism was 'horse ****'
      President Obama recently told lawmakers that their criticism of his policy in Syria is “horse ****,” according to a report published late Monday.

      A member of Congress told The Daily Beast Obama used the expletive during a July 31 meeting at the White House just before the August recess.


    • Report: Obama Uses Expletive to Lash Mideast Policy Critics
      President Barack Obama did not take kindly to lawmakers from both parties saying the United States might not be facing the problems it is with ISIS had he armed the Syrian rebels years ago, calling the suggestion "horses--t," reports The Daily Beast.


    • McCain Syndrome
      Senator McCain, are you openly advocating the dangerous weapon proliferation to your former deadly enemy?


    • Former CIA Officer: US Should Give Heavy Weapons to Kurds
      Retired United States Air Force intelligence officer and Middle East specialist, Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona has told BasNews that the US government should send heavy weapons to Iraqi Kurds to fight IS Militants.


    • New PM Candidate for Iraq; 247 Killed in Battles, Airstrikes


    • US sends arms to Iraq – to solve problems Washington helped create
      The US is conducting air strikes and supplies weapons to help outgunned Iraqi Kurds fight off the offensive of Islamist militants. The Kurds are battling against extremists armed with American arms and nurtured thanks to America’s policies.

      The airstrikes aimed at positions of the militants from the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS or ISIL, in northern Iraq are not expected to seriously undermine their strength, US generals say.


    • History Repeating Itself? U.S. Bombing Iraq While Jockeying to Oust Leader It Once Favored
      As a U.S. bombing campaign in northern Iraq enters its fifth day, Baghdad is in a state of political crisis. Eight years ago, Nouri al-Maliki rose to prime minister with the help of the United States. Now the United States has helped pick his replacement. But al-Maliki is refusing to go — deploying his forces around Baghdad and accusing critics of staging a coup. The political crisis is worsening as U.S. airstrikes continue on Islamic State militants in the north. President Obama authorized the strikes last week in what he called an effort to halt the militants’ advance on Erbil, where the U.S. has a consulate and military personnel, as well as to prevent a massacre of the Yazidi minority. U.S. officials have confirmed the CIA is also secretly sending arms and ammunition directly to Kurdish forces known as the Peshmerga. We are joined by Spencer Ackerman, national security editor at The Guardian.


    • Bush didn't know anything about Maliki, but put him in charge of Iraq anyway


    • Barack Obama And George Bush: Flashback On Iraq
      “MISSION (NOT) ACCOMPLISHED …”


    • America's past foreign policy blunders still haunt us: Letter
      It's sad to report that "American exceptionalism" is a myth. The CIA sponsored a 1953 coup in Iran against a democratically elected prime minister that led to the Shah of Iran and finally to today's Islamic government.

      How well did that work out for us?

      The George W. Bush war in Iraq against a secular strongman for the oil companies, Saddam Hussein, which led to a Shia-majority "democracy" there aligned with Iran now has tea-party types quaking in their boots over a possible Iraqi "caliphate" led by a radical Islamic group known as ISIS.

      How well has this "democracy at the point of a gun" worked out for us?


    • Former Chief historian of the CIA explains why he nixed a secret history of the Bay of Pigs
      In late 1984, not long before he retired from the CIA, Jack Pfeiffer filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the CIA to release the classified five-volume draft history of the 1961 Bay of Pigs operation that he had begun as a CIA History Staff monograph in 1973. In late 1987 and early 1988, after Pfeiffer had appealed the CIA's denial of this request, the CIA's Office of General Counsel asked me, as chief historian, to prepare a declaration and later a supplement concerning Pfeiffer's appeal for declassification and release of this top secret draft history. A few years later, I recall hearing that the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit had rejected Pfeiffer's FOIA appeal and his entire five-volume draft history remained classified.

      I heard nothing more about the fate of Pfeiffer's draft history until May of this year, when I read a copy of the recent US Court of Appeals denial of the National Security Archive's FOIA appeal for the declassification and release of Volume V of this Bay of Pigs draft history. Although Judge Rogers's dissenting opinion in this case quotes excerpts from my 1980s declarations, I have nothing useful to say now about the continued denial of Volume V. I can, however, provide some explanation for how it was that Jack Pfeiffer produced this massive draft history in the years 1973-1981 and how I came to review that draft in December 1981. I must rely on memory for this account of matters that took place in the 1970s and 1980s, since I am now retired and no longer have access to CIA records concerning Jack Pfeiffer, his history, or my work at the CIA.




  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife



    • Media Ignore Reports Debunking The Keystone XL Talking Point They Trumpeted
      President Obama has stated that he would not approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport tar sands crude from Canada through the United States, if it "significantly exacerbate[s] the problem of carbon pollution." So when the U.S. State Department released its environmental impact statement concluding that the Keystone XL would not have a significant impact on climate change, the media touted State's findings as justification for the contentious pipeline's approval.






  • Finance



    • The Changing Map of Latin America
      Latin America is currently experiencing a brand of neocolonialism based on opening new possibilities for extraction. "Capital needs a reordering of territory - considering this as a type of historical-social construction - in order to continue reproducing itself, as much in terms of materials as in power relations, of accumulation of capital and profits. The ordering enables access on a large scale to certain types of material from the earth," added Ceceña.


    • Is It A Shakedown When The Gov't Does It? SEC Much Less Likely To Prosecute You If You're A Big Campaign Funder
      In the past, we've highlighted some questionable activities by the SEC, which is supposed to be stopping financial fraud, but often seems to be both arbitrary and capricious in its activities. However, reporter David Sirota is highlighting how the SEC is much less likely to prosecute a company if that company happens to be a big political contributor, because, well, duh. This is based on some recent research by Maria Correira at the London Business School on Political Connections and SEC Enforcement, which found that there's a pretty clear correlation.




  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying



  • Censorship



  • Privacy



    • U.S. Government Tried to Alter Transcript in NSA Surveillance Case
      The federal government in June asked to secretly remove information from a high-profile NSA spying case, prompting outrage from privacy experts and attorneys, according to unsealed court documents.

      The documents recently released by the Electronic Frontier Foundation detail a government request to remove information from the transcript of a June 6 hearing in Jewel v. NSA, a case fighting the NSA's surveillance of U.S. Internet and phone records.


    • What are the odds for Europe-v-Facebook's latest challenge over personal data?
      The Austria-based Europe-v-Facebook has begun a class action suit seeking damages from Facebook's European operation. It alleges multiple breaches of European privacy and data protection laws.


    • EU Lawyers Confirm 'General And Blanket Data Retention Is No Longer Possible' In European Union
      As we commented back in June, one of the key questions posed by the important ruling of Europe's highest court that the EU's current data retention requirements were "invalid" is: so what will the EU's Member States do now? Will they simply repeal their national legislation that was passed to implement the EU Directive, or will they claim that broad-based data retention is nonetheless still possible, as the UK has done?


    • Cell Phones Need A Warrant, But Cell Site Location Info Doesn't? Appellants Challenge Government's Assertions
      The Supreme Court's recent finding that warrantless cell phone searches are unconstitutional is already generating some pretty interesting arguments in ongoing cases. The government obviously wishes to mitigate the "damage" done by this decision by still doggedly pursuing data through warrantless methods.


    • Judge Gives DOJ Until The End Of The Month To Submit Declassified Opinion Containing FISA Court's Justifications For The Section 215 Program


    • Did UK Gov't Already Effectively Outlaw Anonymity Online With Its New Defamation Law?
      We just recently wrote about a report by the UK House of Lords that recommends ending anonymity online by requiring that any web services collect real names and information at signup, while then allowing users to use a pseudonym. The thinking, then, is that if there is a criminal act or other violation of the law, it's easier to track down who's responsible. As we noted, there are all sorts of problems with this kind of logic, including both massive chilling effects against free speech, and the simple fact that it's not nearly as hard as some technologically clueless people believe to track down online users, even if they're "anonymous." Either way, this proposal is a big problem, and EFF spoke out against the plan.


    • DEA Paid Amtrak Secretary $850,000 To Hand Over Confidential Passenger Lists For No Reason
      We've already written about the DEA's deep involvement with the intelligence community, including them being trained to lie about getting info from the intelligence community when it uses it to bust drug dealers -- a system known as parallel construction, which is encouraged throughout the agency. We also know that AT&T (and possibly others) have employees embedded at the DEA to provide it with even faster access to any information that the DEA wants. We've also covered how the DEA often gets unchecked access to private information and has been caught circumventing laws to get medical records without a warrant. The DEA is also the force behind the NSA's recording of every phone call in the Bahamas.


    • Hacker finds suspicious programs in Apple’s iOS
      Essentially, Zdziarski is accusing Apple of intentionally adding some services to the iOS firmware that bypass backup encryption and copy personal data that should not come off users’ phones. The hacker stated that to the company’s credit, Apple has made the iPhone 5 and iOS 7 more secure against everyone — except the government and Apple itself.


    • Hackers learn some new tricks at Def Con on avoiding surveillance
      Are you being spied on? That worry is a top focus of discussion at the Def Con 22 hackers conference. High-tech surveillance is a top interest for hackers given the past 18 months of news regarding illegal national surveillance reports tied to the National Security Agency's PRISM surveillance program.
    • VIDEO: Surveillance impact ‘severe’: Jillian York
      Crikey politics editor Bernard Keane and Jillian York, Director for International Freedom of Expression at Electronic Freedom Foundation, discuss data retention and privacy.


    • Federal judge rules that U.S. can keep surveillance court orders secret
    • U.S. Can Keep Secret Phone Companies Helping NSA Spying


    • Judge won't force U.S. to release spying program documents
      Despite public revelations about surveillance of U.S. citizens, a federal judge in Oakland said Monday that she will not force the government to release more documents about its spying program, including court rulings and the names of cooperating telecommunications companies.
    • Snowden critic resigns Naval War College after online penis photo flap
      John Schindler, the former National Security Agency analyst and an outspoken critic of Edward Snowden, resigned Monday from his position as a professor at the US Naval War College months after a picture of his alleged penis surfaced online. The professor of national security affairs announced via Twitter his resignation from the Rhode Island institution, effective August 29.


    • Are Google and Facebook Doing the NSA’s Dirty Work?
      Your Consent to Corporate Spying May Be All the Loophole the State Needs
    • Facebook Messenger App Creates Massive Controversy
      The new Facebook messenger app is creating massive controversy among Facebook users, with people practically coming to virtual blows over the new requirement. The main fight is between people who feel that the new app is a huge privacy violation and those who say the app is no different from those that most people already have loaded onto their phones. Facebook is demanding that users download the new app if they want to be able to read and respond to messages sent through Facebook on mobile devices such as smart phones. Facebook users are still able to get their messages the “old fashioned” way directly through Facebook on a computer.


    • Facebook is Facing Class Action Suit by Max Schrems
      Schrems will claim damage of around $670 per user who files for his support. It may affect 1.1 billion active Facebook users which is more than 84 per cent of its entire users base. So far, 5686 people are verified to join the campaign.


    • NSA Partners With Universities, ‘Model’ Legislation To Block Cooperation Fails
      The National Security Agency, now defined largely by Edward Snowden’s revelations about its pervasive reach into every sphere of digital life, is aiming to put a positive light on its work by growing its educational presence in universities nationwide.

      Five new universities were added to the NSA’s National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations Program. New York University, Towson University, West Point, University of Cincinnati and University of New Orleans qualified to receive the designation for the 2014-2019 academic years, the NSA said last month.
    • US can keep court orders, phone cos secret in NSA spy case
      The US government need not turn over a secret surveillance court's orders or the names of phone companies helping it collect call records, because it might reveal methods needed to protect national security, a federal judge decided on Monday.

      US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California, rejected the Electronic Frontier Foundation's argument that the US Department of Justice should turn over the materials, in the wake of unauthorised disclosures last year by a former National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden.


    • Did the NSA ‘create’ Satoshi Nakamoto?
      But do the CIA Project’s claims have any merit?

      As it stands, their argument is not very compelling. The meaning of Satoshi Nakamoto can be loosely interpreted as something that pertains to a highly organized and intelligent agency, but the name could also have chosen simply because it has a nice ring to it. And would the NSA really have given the creator of its ‘secret project’ such an obvious name? If the NSA really is behind Bitcoin, naming it “Central Intelligence” would not be a very intelligent move.

      Claims that the NSA created Bitcoin have actually been flung around for years. People have questioned why it uses the SHA-256 hash function, which was designed by the NSA and published by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). The fact that the NSA is tied to SHA-256 leads some to assume it’s created a backdoor to the hash function that no one has ever identified, which allows it to spy on Bitcoin users.


    • Op-Ed: No, Bitcoin Was Not Created By The CIA


    • Partial hack of Blackphone unveiled at Def Con
      The privacy-focussed Blackphone has been cracked by a security researcher at the Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas, though the exploits require physical access.

      The privacy-focussed Blackphone has been cracked by a security researcher at the Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas, though the exploits require physical access.


    • Backbytes: Unhackable Blackphone, err, hacked
    • Blackphone rooted in just five minutes at DEF CON. NSA-proof? Forget it.


  • Civil Rights



    • An Even Worse Constitutional Scandal Than Iran-Contra and Watergate
      The latest break in actually may be more serious if the Obama White House didn’t know about it, which is probably the likely scenario. Although Obama declined to investigate the CIA and hold it responsible for its illegal rendition, detention, and torture program during the Bush administration, the Senate Committee report – which has concluded that the CIA’s harsh detention and interrogation techniques yielded little information that couldn’t have been gained by means of legal interrogation methods and that the CIA consistently misled the White House and Congress about the effectiveness of those methods – is more damning to the Bush administration than itself. The Obama administration would probably have little incentive to authorize obstruction and a risky break in of a committee controlled by Democrats to protect material that would mainly be embarrassing to a former Republican administration. In contrast, the CIA would have an institutional incentive to protect the secret history of its illegal and unconstitutional actions. Unlike the CIA’s harsh rendition, detention, and torture programs and the NSA’s phone monitoring program, which had authorization by the White House and/or Congress, an unauthorized CIA break in may mean the CIA is bold enough to go rogue in order to protect itself.
    • World class liars
      The Director of America’s Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, is a liar. He was recently found out in a mega-lie in denying the CIA’s illegal actions in “improperly penetrating a computer network used by the Senate Intelligence Committee in preparing its report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme,” which he had rebutted with his hand lying on the area of his chest that would in most people indicate a heart beneath. But he has no heart beneath his lying hand. And no conscience, either. Which is why he was chosen to head the CIA.


    • The Rear-Guard Defense of Torture
      John Rizzo, the CIA’s former Acting Counsel General, is feeling the heat for his role in blessing what President Barack Obama has now admitted was “torture” during the Bush/Cheney administration. Rizzo went on friendly Fox News to charge that the (still withheld) Senate Intelligence Committee investigation report on torture reflects a “Star Chamber proceeding” and accused some lawmakers of “craven backtracking,” claiming that they had been briefed on the interrogation program years ago.


    • The United States and Torture
      Two of the things that governments tend to cover-up or lie about the most are assassinations and torture, both of which are widely looked upon as exceedingly immoral and unlawful, even uncivilized. Since the end of the Second World War the United States has attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders and has led the world in torture; not only the torture performed directly by Americans upon foreigners, but providing torture equipment, torture manuals, lists of people to be tortured, and in-person guidance and encouragement by American instructors, particularly in Latin America.


    • Guantánamo prisoner to publish 'harrowing' memoirs
      Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian who has been detained in Guantánamo since 2002 despite never having been charged with a crime by the US, is to publish an account of his experiences next year, detailing the multiple forms of torture to which he has been subjected and "shatter[ing]" the secrecy that surrounds the Cuban prison.


    • Mikulski Statement on Delaying the Release of Senate Intelligence Committee Study on CIA Interrogati
      "I strongly support delaying the release of the executive summary of the committee's study examining the CIA's detention and interrogation program until issues over CIA redactions can be properly resolved. The redaction process can be done in a way to protect national security without hiding the fundamental findings and conclusions of the report. To do otherwise is unacceptable. Given that this is such an historic report and oversight effort, I urge the White House to act swiftly to resolve these issues so we can finally share the report with the American people."


    • Liz Cheney’s defense of dad is getting weaker


    • CIA shouldn’t get away with redacting torture report
    • Editorial: The full truth must come out on torture
      President Barack Obama has promised that a long-awaited report on torture during the war on terror will be made public. He has yet to keep that pledge, and the latest signs are discouraging.


    • CIA attempts to censor report into its use, abuse of torture
      The whole Intelligence Committee investigation would never have happened if it was not for the destruction of key evidence. In one key incident that has been revealed, a CIA official destroyed more than 100 video recordings of the interrogations at the centre of the controversy. That agent, Jose Rodriguez, was but one of several to openly defy investigations. The agency’s reluctance to hand over evidence to investigators has been the subject of some controversy. The report may detail exactly how recalcitrant the secretive organisation has been towards its own oversight committee.


    • Editorial: CIA spying on Senate crossed line
      The upcoming release of a Senate report on the CIA's interrogation techniques in the wake 9/11 will not settle the debate over the agency's techniques. Some will say that agency's interrogation techniques, which have been called torturous, saved lives. Others will say the treatment of prisoners gained the United States nothing.


    • Obama Wants to Put Torture Behind Us, But It Still Haunts Guantanamo Every Single Day
      It’s taken over a decade, but the U.S. government is starting to acknowledge the moral and strategic failure of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. In a press conference earlier this month, President Barack Obama conceded that “we tortured some folks”—a deliberate departure from the government’s well-worn euphemism, “enhanced interrogation.” “We crossed a line,” he said. “And we have to, as a country, take responsibility for that.”
    • NYPD Officer Chokes Man To Death; Cops Blame Cellphone Recordings And People 'Feeling They Have More Rights'
      In the wake of Eric Garner's death via cop chokehold, the NYPD is coming under all sorts of additional scrutiny. This is in addition to the appointed oversight ordered by Judge Scheindlin after finding that elements of its infamous stop-and-frisk program were unconstitutional. Scott Greenfield has a very stark recounting of the incident, as well as a recording of Eric Garner's last moments. (Here's additional footage, which includes the officer who applied the lethal chokehold waving at the camera, as well as several officers gamely pretending Garner is simply passed out.)


    • NYPD Denies Request For Open-Source Counterterrorism Reports
      Chalk another one up for secrecy at the New York City Police Department. The NYPD has rejected a HuffPost request to give the public a look at open-source counterterrorism reports the department regularly shares with thousands of private security honchos.

      The department denied HuffPost's public records request for open-source assessments produced by the NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau's Terrorism Threat Analysis Group on the grounds that they could "reveal non-routine techniques and procedures."


    • Outflanking The Murder of Eric Garner
      Those who are inclined to believe police will embrace the narrative that Orta had a gun and, inexplicably, decided to put it into the waistband of a 17-year-old female teenager while the cops were watching. Those who are not so inclined will see this as a set up, payback to Orta, and refuse to credit anything about this bust. In the absence of information, both views are speculative at this point, and reflect only the bias of their holders rather than the facts of what happened.

      But when time comes to introduce the videotape of Eric Garner in court, and Ramsey Orta is called as a witness, you can bet there will be questions aplenty about his being a criminal bent on demonizing the police, as if anything Orta could have done shooting the video had anything whatsoever to do with Pantaleo’s chokehold or Garner’s death.
    • DOJ Report Details The Massive Amount Of Violence Committed By Rikers Island Staff Against Adolescent Inmates
      Late in 2012, two mentally-ill minors were taken from their cells at Rikers and beaten by a shift captain and multiple guards, who took turns punching the two inmates while they were restrained. A jail clinician reported seeing one of them being punched in the head while handcuffed to a gurney. Another clinician said she saw staff striking the other while he screamed for them to stop hurting him. One of the two told consultants he was still spitting up blood "more than a month after the incident."




  • Internet/Net Neutrality



    • A magic place of literary memory
      When tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web in 1999, his proposal – presented the year before – was that “a global hypertext space be created in which any network-accessible information could be referred to by a single ‘universal Document Identifier’”.

      The idea was beautifully simple. On the server side, there were webpages written in a hypertext markup language (HTML) that followed simple conventions and rules. On the client side, there was a browser that was able to translate the HTML code into a readable format. The web of browsable pages was knitted together by hypertext links, which became known as URLs.

      Berners-Lee had an unfashionable vision of “the Web’s potential to foster a global village, not its potential to earn him a villa and a fleet of cars”, but he was not the first to have that vision. He credits his inspiration for the Web to Professor Ted Nelson, the man who coined the term ‘hyperlink’ back in the Sixties and described the whole messy concept in Dream Machines, published in 1974.


    • Andrew Cuomo Trying To Bankrupt Upstart Campaign Against Him From Zephyr Teachout And Tim Wu
      There's been some attention (especially in tech circles) to the upstart primary challenge in NY against Governor Andrew Cuomo (and his preferred Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul), coming from law professors Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu. Both Teachout and Wu have been in and around a variety of tech and internet issues for years, and are pretty well-known in the community.


    • Behind The Veil Part 3: Comcast Rep Confirms That You Should Always Record Customer Service Calls
      As you probably know by now, Comcast has been in the news quite a bit lately for all the wrong reasons. It started with a recorded call of one Comcast customer attempting to cancel his service before being passed over to a "customer retention" representative who had watched entirely too much Boiler Room. Comcast made a great deal of noise about how this wasn't how they told their reps to conduct their business, which, thanks to the Verge's call for input from past and current Comcast employees, was shown pretty conclusively to a complete lie.


    • Comcast, Time Warner Cable Spend Big To 'Honor' FCC Commissioner Overseeing Their Merger Review
      We've written in the past about the idea of "soft corruption," in which the direct exchange of money isn't necessarily obvious, but the very clear appearance of conflicts of interest certainly erode the trust of the public in the policy makers. Even when everything is technically above-board, these actions attack the credibility of the policy process. Witness the latest example. Comcast and Time Warner Cable are each shelling out significant cash to "sponsor" an event which is honoring FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn who, of course, is in the midst of a review over the merger proposal between the two companies. As Politico reports:




  • Intellectual Monopolies



    • Copyrights



      • The Copyright Folly: Making A Living As A Creator Has Always Been Difficult, Stronger Copyright Doesn't Fix It
        Dan Hunter and Nicolas Suzor (two Australian academics) have a great article for The Conversation, which officially is looking at the latest copyright reform proposals in Australia, but makes a much bigger point: Making a living as a content creator has always been massively difficult, and it's foolish to think that stronger copyright will change that. Unfortunately, in a campaign driven by the legacy gatekeepers (who often do benefit from stronger copyrights), many artists (especially independent ones) have been misled into thinking that the internet is the problem and stronger copyright laws will fix things. What's left out is that it's always been difficult, and the internet has actually made it easier to build a successful independent career. That doesn't mean it's easy and many will still fail, but it's not the problem of the internet and copyright laws being too weak.


      • Performance Rights Organizations Again 'Protecting' Artists By Killing Off Revenue Streams
        While attempting to do nothing more "infringing" than listen to (fully licensed) music, I ran into the sort of bizarre, pointless restrictions I thought only German citizens had to deal with.








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