Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 11/4/2015: elementary OS Freya, Mageia 5 on the Way

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Coreboot Ported To A ~$30 AMD AM1 Motherboard
    For those searching for a low-cost system/motherboard for experimenting with Coreboot, there's another new AMD motherboard that now works with Coreboot's upstream Git code. The board costs only about $30 USD and works with all modern AMD AM1 processors.

  • New Google Boards Added To Coreboot
    The newest additions to Coreboot are the Veyron_Mighty and Veyron_Jerry. The Veyron series has been part of the Chromium OS repository since last year. These codenames are for devices powered by a Rockchip ARM SoC.

  • 5 Things To Know About The Rise Of Open Source
    The definition of open source can get complicated (especially when you start talking about licensing). Essentially open source software makes the source code freely available for use and/or modification, free of charge.

    This could give the impression that open source is for hobbyists and amateurs, but you will probably recognize the names of some major open source users: The Emmys, The Grammy Foundation, NBC, CBS and Sony, all use ​Metal Toad Media to develop their websites with open source tools.

  • New Open-source Encryption Software is Practically Uncrackable
    With the rise of mass surveillance efforts being carried out by intelligence agencies, researchers and industry professionals are currently working together to look for solutions that will enable them to protect sensitive information from being breached.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla disables new Firefox features to address critical security flaw
        On March 31, Mozilla released the latest version of Firefox, 37.0 — but the foundation has already issued a significant patch for that update, after discovering a critical security bug that broke HTTPS encryption in a way that was invisible to the end user. Ironically, one of the original points of the Firefox 37 update was to add security through the use of a feature known as opportunistic encryption.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The Document Liberation, one year after
      The Document Liberation is a project of The Document Foundation, announced in early April 2014 to host the different libraries handling proprietary and legacy document formats within LibreOffice. The idea was to provide a single repository for other software projects willing to deploy the same libraries, in order to simplify the integration. The project is led by Fridrich Strba and David Tardon, two long time LibreOffice contributors.

    • Happy birthday, Document Liberation Project!
      The Document Liberation Project was officially announced at LGM in Leipzig on April 2 2014, a year ago. We (the founding members) gave a talk about the project later on the same day.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Obama and Castro shake hands, begin new chapter in US-Cuba relations
    With a cordial evening handshake, President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro moved Friday toward a groundbreaking meeting on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas in what would be a remarkable display of reconciliation between two nations.

    The powerful symbolism of a substantial exchange Saturday between the leaders with the leadership of the Western Hemisphere gathered around them could signal progress. Both sides are still working through nettlesome issues that would lead to the opening of embassies in Washington and Havana, the first stage in a new diplomatic relationship.

  • The growing childishness of American adults: Mallick
    A new daycare for adults in Brooklyn, N.Y. is just the latest symbol of the infantilism of American grown-ups.

  • Science

    • Smartphone data to give early warning of earthquakes
      One day last August, in the early hours of the morning, a 6.0-magnitude earthquake rocked Napa Valley, waking people all around California's famed wine region. Many were wearing fitness trackers. Once the quake was over, tracker company Jawbone gathered the data in a public graphic, using it to detail the differences in disturbance for lifeloggers in Berkeley, Oakland and San Jose.

  • Security

    • Friday's security updates

    • Deterring Cyberattacks With Sanctions?
      But deterrence is useless if you can’t figure out who attacked you. Malware isn’t like an ICBM that leaves a clear trail going from point-A to point-B. Thanks to Ed Snowden it’s public knowledge Five-Eyes Intelligence agencies have invested heavily in developing anonymity technology and conducting deception operations that aim to conceal the origins of their clandestine attacks. It would be naïve to believe that other countries aren’t doing the same.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Fight Imperialism with Unity, Says Morales
      U.S. imperialism is being challenged by regional organizations like CELAC, according to Bolivia’s president.

    • Hecklers Try To Veto University Screening Of 'American Sniper;' May Find Themselves Watching 'Paddington Bear' Instead
      "Harmed" how? By offering a movie no one on campus was obligated to watch? It wasn't a mandatory event and those offended by the movie had several options available, most of which didn't involve ensuring no one on campus could see the movie.

      In what would appear to be a dig at the "victims" infantilization-by-proxy of the entire student body, but is more likely due to a limited selection of last-minute offerings (guaranteed not to result in a swift petitioning), the CCI decided to screen "Paddington Bear" instead. For a student body composed of 18-23 year olds.

    • Graphic New Veteran-Sponsored Ads Are Asking Drone Pilots Not to Fly
      A group of anti-drone US military veterans want to put an end to American's campaign of drone strikes in foreign countries, and they're now taking the fight to prime time by directly calling on Air Force pilots to stop the destruction through a series of graphic television spots.

    • Commercials urge drone pilots to refuse to fly missions
      Anti-drone groups are airing cable television commercials near Beale Air Force Base, California, urging remotely piloted aircraft pilots to refuse to carry out missions.

      "The reason that we felt we had to start running these ads is the president and the Congress have been irresponsible and – we believe – operating illegally and immorally to let these drone attacks continue," said Nick Mottern, of the group KnowDrones, the lead group behind the effort. "We felt that we had to speak directly to the people who were being ordered to do the killing because, at this point, it seems they're the only ones who can put a stop to this."

    • Campaign against killer drones launched in USA
      The goal of the campaign is to appeal to those who receive orders to kill. Those people should listen to the call of their conscience before they launch another drone, campaign organizers believe.

    • These Human Rights Activists Want To Ban ‘Killer Robots’
      If a human soldier commits a war crime, he has to face the consequences (at least in theory). The same goes for human operators of drones (again, in theory). But if a fully autonomous war machine with no human operator goes rogue and kills a whole bunch of innocent people, who would be responsible? Its programmers? The manufacturers? Finding someone to blame would be hard enough, and proving it in a court of law would be nearly impossible.

    • US-backed airstrikes on Yemen kill civilians – and hopes for peace
      You can’t bomb a country into existence, however much America seems determined to try.

      In the last week, 164 Yemeni civilians have lost their lives in the Saudi bombardment of my country. In media reports – full of geopolitical talk of “proxy wars” and “regional interests” – the names of the dead are absent. As always, it is ordinary Yemeni families who are left grieving, and forgotten.

    • The Yemen choice
      The Middle East imbroglio demonstrates the complexity of the post-9/11 world in which Obama’s foreign policy has managed to upset America’s traditional Arab allies while strengthening the position of its adversary, Iran.

      President Obama’s preferred approach to US foreign policy largely flows from the strategies of retrenchment, ie reducing but not completely avoiding American military and financial commitments abroad, and offshore balancing, that is: using regional allies to check the rise of potential hostile powers.

      Retrenchment has so far backfired in Iraq and a positive outcome in Afghanistan is yet to emerge. Offshore balancing is useful in regions where great powers have minimal engagements. In places like the Middle East the strategy is bound to spawn contradictions and Obama’s foreign policy therefore rests on inherent– and deliberate– ambiguity.

    • Manhunters Inc.: How the Predator Became Washington’s Calling Card

    • Hunting Humans by Remote Control
      Drones seemed to come out of nowhere, sexy as the latest iPhones and armed to kill. They were all-seeing eyes in the sky (“a constant stare,” as drone promoters liked to say) and surgically precise in their ability to deliver death to evildoers. Above all, without pilots in their cockpits, they were, in terms of the human price of war (at least when it came to the lives that mattered to us), cost free. They transformed battle into a video-game experience, leaving the “warriors” – from pilots to generals – staring at screens. What could possibly go wrong?

    • How Drones Turned American Wars Into Manhunts and Humans Into Prey
      In the immediate aftermath of September 11th, George W. Bush had predicted that the United States would embark upon a new kind of warfare, “a war that requires us to be on an international manhunt.” Something that initially sounded like nothing more than a catchy Texas cowboy slogan has since been converted into state doctrine, complete with experts, plans, and weapons. A single decade has seen the establishment of an unconventional form of state violence that combines the disparate characteristics of warfare and policing without really corresponding to either, finding conceptual and practical unity in the notion of a militarized manhunt.

    • Yemen: We did it again.
      The US has unleashed a great deal of blood upon the world, with its willingness to use "bombs" as our first reaction to any situation. We killed over one million in Iraq, and we have lost the ability to solve problems diplomatically; rather, we resort to the only tool in our tool bag, bombs. Such a policy has caused incredible death and destruction in Iraq, but also in Libya, Syria, and now Yemen, and much of current Yemeni blood is on our hands.

    • Somalia issues bounties for top Shebab leaders
      Somalia's government has issued bounties for 11 top leaders of the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab militants, with $250,000 offered for the extremist's chief, Ahmad Umar.
    • Obama's excessive drone strikes in Somalia intensifies hate against Christians and the U.S.
      President Obama and White House officials are defending the United States' "low-investment, light-footprint approach to counterterrorism." As war and death plague places like Somalia and Yemen every day, President Obama continues to issue airstrikes with drones.

    • Why Al-Shabaab Kills
      The whole world knows of the horrors inflicted on Kenyan civilians by Somalia’s Al-Shabaab. But, the “corporate media tells Americans little if anything about Somalia’s road to ruin,” paved by the United States and its Ethiopian and Kenyan allies. “If there were true justice in this world the United States and its puppets would not only have to leave that country but make restitution as well.”

    • Controversy Swirls Around NYU Law Professor Involved in Obama’s Drone Program
      Harold Koh, the former legal adviser to the U.S. Department of State, is getting a chilly reception from some law students and alumni of New York University Law School, where he is currently a visiting scholar.

    • ‘Schizophrenia’ Of US Drone Programme Gets Cinema Treatment
      ”We’ve never asked a soldier to go and fight the Taliban for 12 hours and then go and pick up the kids from school,” he says.

    • Pakistani judge wants CIA official tried for murder

    • Pakistan judge orders charges against ex–CIA officials over drone deaths

    • Pakistan judge orders charges against ex–CIA officials over drone deaths

    • Ex-CIA Officials Face Police Inquiry Over Pakistan Drone Deaths
      A court in Pakistan has ordered police to investigate two former CIA officials over the deaths of two people in a drone strike.
    • Pakistani Court Orders Charges Against CIA Officials for 2009 Drone Strike
      A high court in Pakistan has ordered criminal charges against two CIA officials for a deadly drone strike in 2009. John Rizzo, the CIA’s former acting counsel, and Jonathan Bank, the agency’s ex-station chief, would face charges including murder, terrorism and conspiracy.

    • IHC orders registration of FIR against former CIA station chief
    • Pakistan Issues Murder Warrant for CIA Station Chief and Lawyer who Oversaw Drone Program

    • Do You Have to be a Muslim to be a Terrorist?
      Would a Muslim receive tougher terrorism sentencing than anybody else?

      The question might seem outlandish but the differing court verdicts of terrorism cases, between a Muslim and those of other beliefs, emphasize the inconsistencies in legal judgements.

      This kind of double standard has angered the British Muslim community. It’s now holding credible weight. The Lufthansa’s Germanwings airliner tragedy being a case in point. The investigation’s prosecutor, Brice Robin, dismissed the notion of terrorism, quoting: ‘There is no indication of any kind of terrorist background’. In other words, when a person’s background ticks all the boxes is it terrorism.

      This logic is deeply flawed. The co-pilot Andreas Lubitz’s suicide mission that killed him and the rest of the 150 passengers shared the same intent as the 9/11 killings, yet the media stopped short of reporting terrorism. No doubt, a Muslim name would have swung it.

    • NY Times Covers Up Washington’s Monstrous Evil
      The NY Times on Monday ran a lengthy piece (“One Woman’s Mission to Free Laos from Millions of Unexploded Bombs”) on Channapha Khamvongas, a 42-year-old Laotian-American woman on a mission to get the US to help Laos clean up the countless unexploded anti-personnel “bombis” that it dropped, which are still killing peasants — especially children — half a century after the so-called “Secret War” by the US against Laos ended.

      The article explained that Khamvongas, as a young adult in Virginia, had read a book by anti-war activist Fred Branfman, Voices from the Plain of Jars: Life Under an Air War (originally published in 1972 and reissued in 2013), which featured accounts and hand drawings by refugees from that war of the deadly US aerial attacks and bombings of their farms and villages. It was a book that sparked revulsion in the US over the saturation bombing of Southeast Asia’s smallest and least developed country — a nation of under six million people.

    • Congress of War
      It is very bewildering, albeit horrifyingly fascinating, to watch American politicians jockey and posture for war with Iran. With the announcement last week that years of negotiations have yielded a framework agreement that will arrest any Iranian nuclear weapons program, not that one actually exists, while starting the much needed process of bringing Iran back into the world community, many members of Congress seem not just reluctant, but hostile, to the prospects of averting a war with Iran.

    • US-Created Violence and Chaos in Yemen
      Yemen is one of many examples of what happens following lawless US intervention.

    • Russia and Red Cross appeal for "humanitarian pause" in Yemen

    • Failure of Obama doctrine
      To suggest that the US policies in Yemen were a “failure” is an understatement. It implies that the US had at least attempted to succeed. But “succeed” at what? The US drone war had no other objective aside from celebration the elimination of whomever the US hit list designates as terrorist.

    • The Life and Death of Vietnam War Veteran Jack Wheeler: A Good Man in an Evil World
      As an Army officer, Jack wrote the US Department of Defense manual urging abstinence toward all use of chemical and biological warfare banned under the 1925 post-World War I Geneva Protocol and again reinforced in 1972 and 1993. Yet that’s rarely stopped hypocritical rogue states in their arrogance of exceptionalism like the US and Israel as the world’s most notorious violators from breaking international law at will, most recently using flesh burning white phosphorus in Fallujah, Iraq and tear gas on our own citizens exercising their First Amendment rights to peaceful assembly and free speech during the Occupy Wall Street movement and frequent public demonstrations right up to the present. Of course Israel has used poison nerve gas on Palestinians on numerous occasions with impunity. Recall that it was during the 1980’s Reagan administration that sent US made chemical weapons to then ally Saddam Hussein while he waged war against neighboring Iran, knowing Hussein would use it on his own people the Kurds as well as on Iran’s military that US intelligence provided Hussein with enemy troop movement.

    • Yemen crisis reignites fear of al-Qaeda global threat
      But the drone strikes have also killed many Yemeni civilians and they have been hugely resented by local tribes.

    • Saudi actions backfire
      Saudi Arabia bears the greatest responsibility for the triumphant advance of the Houthi militia in Yemen, says Birgit Svensson: the leading Sunni power in the Gulf simply stood by while a Shia counterbalance emerged virtually on its doorstep, thereby creating an opportunity for Tehran

    • Hiding under the cloak of 'collateral' damage is unacceptable
      War is ravaging Yemen and civilians, including infants, are getting killed. The situation is catastrophic.

      As we have seen before with the US-led invasion of Iraq, no matter how much the missile-shooter, bomb-droppers and drone-attackers would have you believe about perfection of their war machines, gadgets and equipment, they simply have not perfected their deadly science. They are never precise, which leads to unintended consequences, what are conveniently dumped as the 'collateral damages'. Thus, we witnessed the cold-blooded murder of nearly a million Iraqis, old and young, and another quarter million or so in Afghanistan who had nothing to do with the WMD and 9/11.

    • Lucknow Police To Use Pepper-Spraying Drones For Crowd Control; A First for India
      Capital of Uttar Pradesh and India’s 8th most populous city: Lucknow has become the first city in India to use to drones for crowd control. Police chief of Lucknow, Yashasvi Yadav has announced that they have purchased 5 high powered drones, costing Rs 6,00,000 each, which will be used for monitoring and controlling unruly mob.

    • Police Drones against Protesters: the “Machine Imperative”
      Innovation, Edmund Burke reminds us in “A Letter to a Noble Lord,” does not necessarily imply reform. While the peaceful uses of drones are often treated as the benign effects of the security industrial complex, the spill over into more violent deployments has proven unavoidable. What is done in Waziristan against Taliban militants will eventually be done to US citizens on a smaller yet significant scale – the civilian cloaking there becomes as irrelevant in tribal foothills as it does on the streets of Chicago.

      The drone monitors have gotten excited by an announcement that Indian police forces will be making use of drones to deploy pepper spray against protesters. Trials were conducted on Tuesday in Lucknow, with the city’s police force anticipating using five such vehicles later this month. “The results,” claimed the jubilant police chief Yashasvi Yadav, “were brilliant. We have managed to work out how to use it to precisely target the mob in winds and congested areas.”[1]

      The language used by Yadav serves an important purpose. Drones are weapons of use against that dark, primordial “mob,” difficult to control, unruly of purpose. From the perspective of many state authorities, any protesting group constitutes an unruly “mob”. The idea of a peaceful protest is nowhere to be seen, the greatest of unnatural phenomena. But Yadav insists that, “Pepper is non-lethal but very effective in mob control. We can spray from different heights to have maximum results.”

    • Sunday Extra: Obama has brought little hope, almost no change to war policy
      Many Americans are unaware that President Obama is:

      — Making war in eight countries around the world — Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and the Philippines — in violation of the U.N. Charter, which forbids "the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state" without the authorization of the U.N. Security Council.

    • No justice for drone attack victims
      A single bench comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui will hear the case. The IHC had ordered for the registration of murder case in respect of two persons killed in drone attack at South Waziristan in 2010.

      The petitioner sought contempt of court proceedings against the SHO Secretariat police for not registering a murder case of two persons killed in drone attack.

    • DOJ chief: Nothing illegal with US role in Exodus
      There was nothing illegal about the participation of the US in Operation Plan Exodus in Mamasapano last Jan. 25 that resulted in the killing of international wanted terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, as well as the death of 44 police commandos, at least 17 Moro fighters and five civilians, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said yesterday.

      De Lima said the involvement of US forces in the planning and execution of the operation did not violate the Constitution or any law.

    • Americans have yet to grasp the horrific magnitude of the ‘war on terror’
      The report estimates that at least 1.3 million people have been killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan from direct and indirect consequences of the U.S. “war on terrorism.” One million people perished in Iraq alone, a shocking 5 percent of the country’s population. The staggering civilian toll and the hostility it has engendered erodes the myth that the sprawling “war on terrorism” made the U.S. safer and upheld human rights, all at an acceptable cost.

    • Face Off: The Coming War between Armenia and Azerbaijan
      Diplomacy is barely keeping the lid on a conventional war in Ukraine; from Nigeria to the Fertile Crescent war is about as common as peace.

    • The National Interest: strategic advantage on Karabakh's side

    • The National Interest: Strategic advantage and favorable defensible terrain in Nagorno Karabakh are under Armenian control
      The author highlights that the Azerbaijani side has significantly increased its military spending over the recent years, and this trend has not abated, despite the global decline of oil prices. Israel has been one of Azerbaijan’s strongest defense partners for several years now, and as a result of this relationship, the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan have acquired Israeli drones.

    • Iran claims to have killed 'terrorist team' run by foreign intel agencies
      Iran has accused Israel and its allies in the West of assassinating its nuclear scientists and attacking its nuclear sites with computer viruses.

      Israel has always declined comment on such accusations, saying that it does not comment on foreign reports.

    • U.S. Army May Investigate Colombia Child Rape Claims
      The U.S. Army may investigate accusations of sexual assault against its soldiers and contractors in Colombia, a spokesman said Friday, the military’s first response to claims published by a joint project of Colombia’s government and the guerrillas of the FARC.

      Army investigators are working with Colombia’s government to decide whether to launch a formal investigation into any of the claims that at least 54 Colombian girls and women were assaulted by U.S. troops and contractors between 2004 and 2007. A probe into a previous assault claim was inconclusive, although the alleged victim declined to cooperate with investigators, the spokesman told USA Today.

      The claims originated from a joint project of the ongoing peace talks between Colombia’s government and the leftist guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Historical researchers said in a report that they found evidence that 53 girls were raped by U.S. contractors operating out of Colombia’s Tolemaida military base near the village of Melgar in the central state of Tolima. Their independent report was aimed at addressing the rights of more than 7 million victims of Colombia’s 50-year internal conflict.

    • Red Tory, Blue Tory
      I should however like to see clarification from the SNP. Labour and Tory can of course combine to vote Trident replacement through. If that happens with Labour in office, the SNP should make plain that would mean the withdrawal of support for that government. For the SNP to allow Labour to push Trident through with Tory support, and then the SNP revert to supporting the Labour government in office, would be a betrayal of the Scottish people. To me, there has not been absolute clarity in our response on this issue. It must be given.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • 47% Of Spain’s Electricity Made By Renewables In March
      Almost half of Spain’s electricity in March was generated by renewable sources — mostly wind and hydroelectric. About 22.5% was from wind and 17.5% from hydro, with the rest produced by solar PV, solar thermal, and thermal renewables.

  • Finance

    • Chaos and Hegemony
      The irony of history: Albeit the U.S. has lost the ability to steer the oil price – one of its central political leverages –, it has in another way been able to drastically strengthen its hegemony via the new prices set by the global market. For the high oil prices have multiplied the percentage share of oil trade within global trade, which caused massively higher demand for dollars and U.S. government bonds. As a result, for the foreseeable future the U.S. dollar will thereby remain the indisputable reserve currency.

      It is precisely here that we can identify the actual basis for U.S. dominance: By way of an unlimited creation of the dollar as the globe’s reserve currency, the U.S. constitutes the only economy in the world that can finance several mega-projects at once – such as the bailing-out of banks and gigantic defense spending – through public debt and the issuing of government bonds.

    • How Wall Street captured Washington’s effort to rein in banks
      Intense lobbying of regulators, many of them veterans of the industry themselves, helped ensure that practices the Dodd-Frank law was meant to stop would remain in place.

    • With Looming Financial War, Bitcoin Ushers in Peaceful Insurrection
      Britain, France, Germany and Italy recently announced that they would be joining the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), just as the BRICS nations are shifting away from US dollar world reserve hegemony. This is another blow to the US led financial order, deepening a loss of confidence in its leadership among its European allies. In a recent interview on the Keiser report, former Goldman Sachs director and author of All the President’s Bankers, Nomi Prins pointed out how the recent US conflict with Russia is a manufactured aggression all about trying to maintain its financial supremacy in the face of inevitable decline. Prins described this as a crisis of the world order established after World War II and pointed to how a new cold war is brewing.

    • The 'Netflix tax' - Honest Joe and the big tax lie

      With corporate tax minimisation in the news, the Government is considering ways to claw back at least some money from easy targets. And it is taking us for fools in the process.

      The Government is considering a range of measures in next month’s budget which it says will restore integrity to the tax system and ensure billions of dollars in extra revenue. A key measure will be to ensure that the 10% GST is charged on video downloads and streaming – a so-called ‘Netflix tax’.

      Treasurer Joe Hockey has been meeting with state treasurers in Canberra in an unsuccessful attempt to come to new arrangements on how the GST – which goes to the states – should be shared. Everyone, unsurprisingly, wants a bigger share of the pie, so it seems like the only answer is to increase the size of that pie.


      Don’t hold your breath on that one. It’s all bullshit. Google and Apple and Microsoft – and local companies like News Limited and BHP – have been ripping us all off for years with clever international tax minimisation schemes that take advantage of different taxation rates in different companies.

  • Censorship

    • Toronto church says it won’t allow Ukrainian-born pianist to perform

      A Ukrainian-born pianist who has been barred from performing with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra says she’ll be giving a free concert in Toronto Friday night – but now that show appears to be in doubt.

    • Russia's Missing Article: Censorship, Prudence, Or A Win For Moscow's Troll Army?
      MOSCOW -- For three straight days last weekend, the employees of the Novaya Buryatia newspaper in southern Siberia used scissors to remove an article from 50,000 copies of the weekly before it could be distributed.

    • EDITORIAL: School-sponsored censorship isn’t free speech
      If you believe certain kinds of expression must be regulated or prohibited, you don’t support free speech.

      Unfortunately, we live in an era of hypersensitivity, where intolerance reigns under the guise of tolerance, and where the exercise of truly free speech has become an increasingly risky proposition. And you’d be hard pressed to find worse free-speech hypocrisy than what passes for discourse on college campuses.

    • Pakistani University Students Protest Against State Censorship Over Balochistan
      The hashtags were used to share images of students holding up placards and posters, protesting the state’s decision to have the “Unsilencing Balochistan” session cancelled. The posters were emblazoned with slogans such as “talking about a province is not anti-state” and “you don’t believe in freedom of speech if you don’t believe in it for those who disagree with you.”

    • Deafening silence

    • The fastest way to spread extremism is with the censor’s boot
      The Charlie Hebdo killings have prompted a clampdown. But history teaches that openness and debate are the most effective weapons in the battle of ideas

    • Ronnie Screwvala: Censorship Should Not be One Person's View
      Ronnie Screwvala, former filmmaker and the founder of UTV group, believes an interactive dialogue between the industry and the censor board can solve a lot of problems.

    • Are the World's Biggest Internet Companies Under the Turkish President's Thumb?
      Twitter and YouTube were blocked in Turkey once again April 6, sparking plenty of fanfare across social networks.

      This time around, the block was imposed after the mass circulation of photos from a hostage crisis that ended with the death of government prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz and two leftist militants on March 31.

    • Turkey’s Online Censorship
      The Turkish government’s unrelenting crackdown on free speech continues unabated. On Tuesday, Google narrowly avoided being banned in the country after it complied with a court order to remove links to a photograph showing militants holding a gun to the head of a prosecutor.

    • Poland marks 25 years since lifting of censorship
      With the closure of the office came the end of censorship in Poland. Up until then, all forms of public communication were controlled, including press announcements such as obituaries, as well as posters.

    • China Threatens Sina Corp. Over Insufficient Censorship
      China’s top Internet regulator threatened to shut down the news services of one of China’s most popular social media and online news companies if it doesn’t fix problems with inadequate censorship and the spreading of false information.

    • Sina faces suspension over lack of censorship
      Chinese web giant Sina will face suspension of its Internet news services if it fails to improve censorship of illegal content, authorities have warned.

      The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) summoned Sina leaders to a meeting late on Friday over "massive numbers of public complaints about its law violations".

    • Turkey Twitter ban to be lifted after site complies with court ruling
      Twitter has complied with Turkey's request to remove photographs of an Istanbul prosecutor held at gunpoint by far-left militants and a ban on the micro-blogging site will be lifted very shortly, a senior Turkish official has said.

      "Twitter has agreed to shut down accounts and remove images relating to last week's hostage-taking. The web site will reopen to access very shortly," the official told Reuters.

    • ‘Great Cannon’ Is China’s New Weapon That Shoots Down Internet Sites
      That’s according to a report from Citizen Lab — an ICT, security and human rights lab based within the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. Citizen Lab looked into these recent attacks and identified ‘Great Cannon’, a tool built to intercept data and redirect it to specific sites, as the attack system responsible for them.

    • The NSA Uses A Tool Similar To The One That China Used To Take Down GitHub
      The Chinese government’s massive attack on GitHub at the end of March, which directed massive amounts of traffic at its servers in an attempt to overwhelm them, was thought to have been accomplished by simply diverting traffic from what is known as China’s Great Firewall. Now researchers from the academic think tank Citizen Lab have found that China actually intercepted foreign traffic flowing into Chinese tech titan Baidu to attack targeted sites—a weaponized process that the researchers have dramatically termed "the Great Cannon." And it turns out the tech used in this interception technique is startlingly similar to tech already developed by the NSA and its British equivalent, GCHQ.

    • China weaponizes its Great Firewall into the GREAT FIRE CANNON, menaces entire globe
      China has upgraded the website-blocking systems on its borders, dubbed The Great Firewall, so it can blast foreign businesses and orgs off the internet.

      Researchers hailing from the University of Toronto, the International Computer Science Institute, the University of California Berkeley, and Princeton University, have confirmed what we've all suspected: China is hijacking web traffic entering the Middle Kingdom to overpower sites critical of the authoritarian state.

    • Parliament cancels Mohammed cartoonist visit
      The Finnish parliament has cancelled a discussion event where the Swedish artist Lars Vilks, known for his depictions of the prophet Mohammed. The Secretary General of the Finnish parliament said that the cancellation was made on Security Intelligence Police advice.

  • Privacy

    • Congress must end mass NSA surveillance with next Patriot Act vote
      In less than 60 days, Congress - whether they like it or not - will be forced to decide if the NSA’s most notorious mass surveillance program lives or dies. And today, over 30 civil liberties organizations launched a nationwide call-in campaign urging them to kill it.

    • Patriot Act: Civil liberties groups seize chance to end notorious NSA surveillance program
      A campaign has been set up by more than 30 civil liberties organisations in an attempt to bring an end to a controversial section of the Patriot Act that allows the NSA and FBI to conduct suspicionless mass surveillance.

      Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which was first passed through Congress following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, is set to expire on 1 June unless the US Congress votes for it to be reauthorised.

    • New Coalition Site Launches to Amplify Opposition to the NSA’s Mass Surveillance
      A coalition of 34 organizations from across the political spectrum is launching today to help concerned individuals contact lawmakers and demand an end to NSA’s unconstitutional mass surveillance under the Patriot Act.

    • John Oliver presses Edward Snowden on whether he read all leaked NSA material
      Edward Snowden avoided saying whether he had read every NSA document he handed over to journalists in an interview with comedian John Oliver on Sunday, as the HBO host posed uncomfortable questions to the NSA whistleblower in Moscow.

    • NSA holds info over US citizens like loaded gun, but says ‘trust me’ – Snowden
      The National Security Agency has a gun aimed at the head of each and every American, Edward Snowden says in a new interview, and they’re being asked to accept the NSA’s vast surveillance operations in the name of counterterrorism.

    • Phone Surveillance Revelation Should Prompt Reassessment Of NSA Spying
      Does evidence of a decades-old surveillance program throw out the case many public officials have made for the modern surveillance state?

      Since Edward Snowden first leaked documents about secret National Security Agency (NSA) programs, government officials have defended them in the name of September 11 and national security. Again and again, we heard that these programs were built in the wake of that tragic day to “connect the dots” so no event like that would ever occur again. They addressed issues of national security, not day-to-day policing.

    • The DEA collected call metadata way before the NSA did
      Apparently, the NSA's massive surveillance program wasn't a first: it was modeled after a precursor that ran from 1992 until 2013. According to USA Today, that program was called USTO, because it monitored almost every American's calls from the US to other countries. It was a joint initiative by the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration, which began as a way to keep tabs on Colombian drug cartels and their supply routes. Since then, it grew in scope (thanks in part to a powerful computer provided by the Pentagon) to cover all international calls made to around 116 countries worldwide, including Canada, Mexico, parts of Asia and Europe, and most of Central and Southern America. The group was only dissolved after Edward Snowden went public with the NSA's secrets in 2013.

    • New anti-NSA coalition pledges to ‘Fight 215’
    • Website Launched to Fight NSA Data Surveillance
    • The Rand Paul campaign is selling an "NSA Spy Cam Blocker" for your laptop
      Most laptops today have a built-in camera above the display. And most of those have a small light next to them that is supposed to turn on to alert the user when the camera is active. But a couple of years ago, researchers discovered that this doesn't always work; hackers can activate the camera on certain MacBook models (and probably some other laptops) without enabling the light and tipping off the user.

    • Rand Paul sells “NSA spy cam blocker” as presidential bid fundraiser
      Bid announcement video taken off YouTube due to copyright claim over a song.

    • Rand Paul sells ‘NSA spy cam blocker’

    • Would You Care If Your Private Parts Were Seen by the Government?
      Turns out, many Americans don’t really know who former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is, and they seem to know even less about the shadowy government surveillance programs he went to lengths to reveal.

    • offers impressive insight into NSA spying tactics uses Oliver’s interview and revelation that private photos of American genitalia are now available to the government as the nexus around which to inform people about the varying laws, practices, and extralegal maneuvers that would grant access to citizens’ information. It’s a great tongue-in-cheek approach that runs with Oliver’s elaborate dick joke and makes it much easier to understand the prevalence and reach that has been afforded to the intelligence community and its surveillance capabilities.
    • NSA Has Set Aside A Special Room For Watching Porn
      Even though the National Security Agency has taken a lot of flak for its electronic spying programs the agency does play a vital role in the maintenance of national security. It sifts through vast swathes of data of all kinds to find clues about potential terrorist plots. Sometimes those plots could be hidden inside porn and that’s why the National Security Agency has set aside a whole room just for watching porn.

    • NSA analysts are being paid to watch a LOT of porn
      There's been a lot of concern about how intelligence agencies around the world have been covertly snooping on private emails, instant message communications and phone calls, but here's something you may not have realised.
    • As Hillary Announces For President, Four Questions She Should Answer
      But she has also said she would support reforms to ensure that surveillance doesn’t go too far and that the National Security Agency should be “more transparent” about its practices. She has also called for a “full, comprehensive discussion” about the NSA’s spying program. “That’s the discussion that has to happen in a calm atmosphere without people defending everything we’ve done and people absolutely opposing everything we’ve done,” she said in a 2013 appearance. “And we’re not having that conversation yet.”

    • Former NSA Chief Keith Alexander Is Speaking in Seattle Tonight
      1. Keith, why is the NSA collecting our dick pics? Are you collecting our tit pics too?

      2. I would like to collect it all, Keith: all of your personal and family photos! Okay, Keith?

      3. Cool if the government listens in next time you call your wife, Keith?

      4. Still convinced Snowden is a secret Russian spy, not a whistleblower, Keith?

      5. Why should we trust you, Keith, or your successor?

      6. Who was the person, Keith, who you called the most times last year? Who did you call on your birthday, Keith, and at what time of day? How long did each of you speak, Keith? In fact, would you mind sharing with me, Keith, your personal cell phone number, all the numbers you dialed, and the duration of all incoming and outgoing calls?*

    • 72% of Brits concerned about online privacy since Snowden leaks
      New research suggests nearly three quarters of British adults are worried about the distribution of their personal information online, with concerns including hackers and unauthorized access to data.

      The figures, compiled by pollster YouGov, found that 32 percent of respondents would be happy to pay for extra online security to ensure their date was protected. A further 29 percent felt it came down to the individual to take responsibility for protecting their data.

      There has been a huge rise in the level of consumer mistrust in tech firms since NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed in 2013 the UK and US governments were accessing consumer data without permission.
    • A wrong turn at the NSA can bring trouble
      It could have been worse. Authorities believe the two people who were shot by NSA police last week outside the agency's headquarters on Fort Meade got there by mistake.

      The driver, identified by the FBI as 27-year-old Ricky Shawatza Hall of Baltimore, was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger was shot in the chest and taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center; the passenger's identity and condition have not been available.

      Authorities have released few details of the incident, but the FBI was quick to rule out terrorism. Police say Hall and the passenger were traveling in an SUV that was reported stolen from a man at a motel in nearby Elkridge shortly before they arrived at the NSA gate off the Baltimore-Washington Parkway Monday morning.

    • Strengthen privacy rights
      A major piece of business that Congress failed to complete last year was to strengthen the privacy rights of Americans by curtailing government spying on them. It should be at the top of the agenda this year.

      A key argument for the wide latitude allowed the government under current law to seize private records without a court order is that such power is necessary to protect against terrorist activities.
    • Snowden journalist visits U., says goal of the NSA is to ‘eliminate all private communications’
      Why else would someone lock the bedroom or bathroom door? Use passwords to protect their social media accounts? Or why would they tell their spouses or psychiatrists things they wouldn't tell others?

    • Greenwald talks Secrecy and Snowden
    • Glenn Greenwald speaks on government surveillance in a digital age

    • Soapbox: Don't let government monitoring cripple freedom
      When the topic of the disclosures of programs of mass surveillance comes up in conversation, people often proclaim since they are doing nothing wrong, they have nothing to hide. Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the NSA document leak story involving Edward Snowden, declares that people who take this position are "Engaged in an act of self-depreciation." He notes that what they are effectively saying is, "I have agreed to make myself such a harmless, unthreatening and uninteresting person, that I don't fear to have the government know what I'm doing."


      Michel Foucault, a 20th Century French philosopher, realized that the Panopticon could be used in any institution as a means of control: schools, hospitals, factories, work places, etc. Foucault posited that the means of control previously used by societies — punishment, imprisonment, killing dissidents, forced obedience to a particular party — were no longer needed, that mass-surveillance is a much more subtle and effective means of control than brute force. Eventually, Foucault surmised that surveillance is longer even needed, because people begin to police their own behavior.
    • Secrecy, surveillance threaten democracy, says Greenwald
      The university invited the lawyer-turned-journalist, known for his work on an award-winning series in British newspaper The Guardian that detailed global surveillance programs, to speak during a week devoted to exploring surveillance by the U.S. government.

    • Utah data centre critical to help the NSA ‘eliminate all private communications’, says Snowden journalist
      The journalist and ex-lawyer who came to prominence by helping Edward Snowden to disclose the secrets of the National Security Agency has spoken of ‘government inside the government’ and the critical role of the NSA’s ‘Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center’ at a gathering in Utah, describing the plant as having an “ominous role in the surveillance state”.
    • Glenn Greenwald Talks about Government Surveillance in Utah

    • Glenn Greenwald to speak at University of Utah
    • Privacy Board Will Do 'Deep Dive' on NSA, CIA Practices
      In a brisk 30-minute meeting on Wednesday in Washington, members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board read prepared statements about a “work plan” to perform two “deep dives” on agency practices that lean on the order.

    • PCLOB Takes on Executive Order 12333 Surveillance

    • The Investigation into 12333 Begins
      The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) voted 4–1 yesterday to conduct reviews of how Executive Order 12333 is used in counterterrorism investigations by the CIA and NSA. The PCLOB’s plan to investigate two surveillance programs conducted under the wide-ranging executive order will result in three reports — two classified, one public — that it hopes to complete by the end of this year.

    • Usual Suspects Oppose Maine Bill to Take on NSA: Attorney General, Law Enforcement Lobbyists
      The usual suspects came out in opposition of a Maine bill that would turn off support and resources to the NSA in the Pine Tree State during a committee hearing last week.

      Maine Attorney General Janet Mills and law enforcement lobbyists expressed reservations about LD531 during a Senate Committee on Judiciary hearing, saying it could hinder police from catching child pornographers and other dangerous criminals. Their arguments echoed those of law enforcement interests in Montana and Alaska.
    • Our intelligence apparatus, operating in the dark
      At the time, President Obama resisted calls to investigate lawless intelligence practices, insisting that “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.” Unfortunately, we know where the road forward led. The NSA spied on citizens. The CIA spied on Congress. And the American people, as Hayes warned, became further desensitized to the idea of an intelligence apparatus that operates in secret and plays by its own set of rules — or perhaps none at all.

    • Asked How He Would Handle Being Blamed for Terrorist Attacks After Limiting NSA Power, Here’s What Rand Paul Said
      Paul said eliminating the mass collection of data on American citizens doesn’t mean putting an end to our intelligence agencies.
    • Spying on the U.S. Submarine That Spies For the NSA and CIA
      From March to September 2014, the U.S. submarine's 152-man crew cruised the deeps of the Mediterranean, Red Sea and Arabian Gulf, earning a earning a coveted Battle "E" for their efficiency in doing all the fleet had asked of them. Which involved ... what, exactly? They covered 34,000 nautical miles, participated in one multinational exercise, and made port calls in Portugal, Spain, Bahrain, and Gibraltar, according to official Navy reports.

    • Glenn Greenwald in North Texas: NSA Surveillance Program is ‘Antithesis’ of Fourth Amendment
      Glenn Greenwald, the lawyer and journalist who became a left-wing celebrity for his articles helping whistle-blower Edward Snowden expose the NSA’s mass-surveillance program, admits enjoying the reaction when critics discovered he would be in North Texas to appear on Glenn Beck’s right-wing radio show—and then to address the conservative National Center for Policy Analysis.

      Talking Friday to about 250 people at a luncheon meeting of the NCPA, a Dallas think tank that’s headed now by tea party hero Allen West, Greenwald said of the kerfuffle that was particularly created by his Beck appearance: “I love it.” He recalled trading barbs with “people on Twitter who thought it was a terrible thing to do.” But, he added, “I’ve made it a point to find common ground. I find that’s a healthy thing to do.”

    • Talking About Section 215: A Readers’ Guide
      Media coverage of John Oliver’s critique about the lack of discussion surrounding government surveillance programs seems to prove his point. Much, if not most, of the attention given to Sunday night’s episode of Last Week Tonight has focused on Oliver’s interview with Edward Snowden instead of focusing on the fact that the law governing one of the most heavily-criticized surveillance programs is up for potential reauthorization in less than two months. We’re talking about Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the provision allowing the NSA to collect vast quantities of Americans’ phone records.

    • Snapchat releases report showing how many times the government asked for user data
      The report covers requests from Nov. 1, 2014 to Feb. 28, 2015. Over that time, it is said authorities asked for information on Snapchat users 403 times. Of that total, 375 requests were from the U.S. government and 28 were from foreign governments. The United Kingdom requested data the second most.

    • Surveillance Envy Drives France to Intrusive Law of Its Own
      Never a people to let Americans one-up them on anything, French lawmakers are considering a Patriot Act-ish bill that one civil liberties group describes as "a naked expansion of surveillance powers." The measure, which already has preliminary approval, would justify snooping on a variety of grounds far beyond the anti-terrorism concerns driving much of the country's political activity in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Besides security, the proposed Projet de Loi Relatif au Renseignement allows for deep government intrusions into online life to achieve economic, scientific, and international relations goals.
    • Allison: Red herrings and Clinton's emails
      Sunday on Face the Nation, someone made the absurd comparison of Hillary Clinton to Richard Nixon, as if her deleted emails had any similarity to Nixon in cahoots with Kissinger in that secret war of carpet bombing Cambodia.
    • Powerful Prose Examines Powerful Surveillance
      Oklahoma City University’s Powerful Prose series will continue with a presentation on the book “No Place to Hide,” a book written by Glenn Greenwald about accused classified intelligence leaker Edward Snowden. OCU law professor Art LeFrancois will discuss the book at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, April 30.

      The presentation is free to the public and will be held at Full Circle Bookstore, the series co-sponsor, in the 50 Penn Place shopping center at 1900 Northwest Expressway.

    • Original U.S. Phone Record Dragnet Finally Faces Lawsuit
      The Drug Enforcement Administration’s pioneering and purportedly discontinued dragnet pulled records from pliable phone companies for two decades without court review using administrative subpoenas.

    • Human Rights Watch Sues DEA Over Bulk Collection of Americans’ Telephone Records
      Human Rights Watch, a nonpartisan organization that fights human rights abuses across the globe, filed suit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration late Tuesday for illegally collecting records of its telephone calls to certain foreign countries as part of yet another government bulk surveillance program. The group is represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which has launched a series of legal challenges against unconstitutional government surveillance.
    • CISA: New “Cybersecurity” Bill Is About Surveillance, Not Security
      Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) is trumpeting a major Senate cyber bill that he claims is better at protecting privacy. Burr, who is chairman the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, hails this bipartisan measure which was recently approved by his panel, as taking the first step in cracking down on the theft of personal data and intellectual property. Elaborating, he goes on to insist that the bill would create “a cybersecurity information-sharing environment that works much like a neighborhood watch program--allowing all participants to get a better understanding of the current cybersecurity threats that may be used against them.”
    • UK spied on CFK gov’t over Malvinas
      President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s government has vowed to respond to documents that allegedly show how the British government was engaged in surveillance and cyber operations against the Argentine authorities and military officials and attempted to shape public opinion against the country’s sovereignty claims over the Malvinas Islands.

    • Scioli: UK spying is ‘violation of our rights’
      Following Defence Minister Agustín Rossi’s brief comments on Friday, Buenos Aires Governor Daniel Scioli yesterday was the highest-ranking Victory Front (FpV) official to respond to recently released documents that suggest British espionage against Argentine and military officials over the Malvinas Islands, considering them serious and “a violation against the privacy and the rights of our country within the framework of freedom and democracy.”

    • WATCH: John Oliver Employs Brilliant Tactic to Get Edward Snowden to Explain Why NSA Surveillance Matters
      Yeupp, the government can and does collect dick pics.

      This is not a trivial matter. Sunday night, Oliver devoted the entire half hour of his HBO show "Last Week Tonight" to the matter of domestic surveillance, and the upcoming vote in Congress about whether to reauthorize the Patriot Act, including its provision allowing the government to collect our private information.

      The trouble is that Americans seem really ill-informed about the whole matter of domestic surveillance, as Oliver illustrates with on-the-street interviews. They also seem not to know exactly who whistleblower Edward Snowden is.
    • Paul G. Buchanan: Hager and co's bombshells fizzle - not fire
      The slow drip feed of classified NSA material taken by Edward Snowden and published by journalists Glen Greenwald, Nicky Hager, David Fisher and others in outlets such as The Intercept and the New Zealand Herald caused a stir when first published.

      Revelations of mass surveillance and bulk collection of telephone and email data of ordinary citizens in the Five Eyes democracies and detailed accounts of how the NSA and its companion agencies in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK spy on friend and foe alike, including trade partners and the personal telephones of the German prime minister and Indonesian president, caused both popular and diplomatic uproars.
    • US Sheriff’s Office Abuses Stingray Cellphone Spy Technology - Rights Group
      The American Civil Liberties Union said that the Erie County Sheriff’s Office in the US state of New York used invasive cellphone tracking devices called Stingrays to spy on local residents without a search warrant.

    • Baltimore police secretly tracked (at least) 4,300 cellphones

    • New York police caught lying over Stingray use, spying without court oversight
      In the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks of nearly two years ago, the NSA, FBI, and even local police have hammered a consistent drumbeat of trust. Time and time again, at every level of government, local to national, elected officials and appointed commissioners have promised that the cutting-edge tools of mass surveillance used to hoover your personal information are actually tightly controlled and used only under appropriate conditions. Unfortunately, available evidence continues to blow holes in this narrative, most recently in New York State.
    • The Government Has Been Tracking Our Calls Since the Early 1990s
      The bulk collection of phone data goes back to 1992, with a DEA program that inspired the NSA

    • DEA sniffed MASSIVE AMOUNTS of phone records before Snowden's intervention

    • Opinion: The unnoticed expansion of domestic surveillance
      Programs such as PRISM for foreign surveillance and domestic wiretapping drew huge outcry. At the time, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff accused the U.S. on the floor of the United Nations of “a breach of international law and an affront” to national sovereignty. Similar claims were made about domestic programs, especially since the their capabilities, let alone their use, were unknown to the vast majority of Americans.
    • When it Comes Ending Spying, Congress is a Waste of Time
      More and more it appears that focusing on Congress to stop federal spying is a complete waste of time.

      Even if Congress were to pass substantive reforms or allow provisions of the Patriot Act authorizing bulk phone surveillance to expire – and this seems highly unlikely – a recently declassified court order indicates spying would likely continue.

    • Edward Snowden Explains Why You Should Use Passphrases, Not Passwords
      It can’t be overstated how important it is to use strong passwords, given that we still haven’t figured this mess out. And until we do, PSAs like this one stay important. And it could hardly come from a more relevant source. Edward Snowden famously leaked key details about the NSA’s mass surveillance, so he knows a thing or two about what makes a system secure or not.

    • First Step Against the Federal Surveillance State – Texas Bill Would Require Warrant for Location Tracking
      A Texas bill that would prohibit law enforcement from obtaining location data from electronic devices without a warrant in most cases, representing an important first step in addressing the growing federal surveillance state will receive an important House committee hearing this week.
    • Fact: Facebook tracks non-users - says 'fix already underway'
      Facebook says it’s begun fixing a bug that tracks web users even when they’re not registered on the social network. However, it rejected other accusations presented in a report by Belgian scholars questioning the legality of the revised privacy policy.

    • The Feds Want a Back Door Into Your Computer. Again.
      One fine day in 1991, an ambitious senator named Joe Biden introduced legislation declaring that telecommunications companies "shall ensure" that their hardware includes backdoors for government eavesdropping. Biden's proposal was followed by the introduction of the Clipper Chip by the National Security Agency (NSA) and a remarkable bill, approved by a House of Representatives committee in 1997, that would have outlawed encryption without back doors for the feds.
    • New Zealand: Sham inquiry established into spying revelations
      The government’s Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn announced on March 26 that she would investigate complaints made by the Green Party and others “over alleged interception of communications of New Zealanders working or travelling in the South Pacific by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).”

      The aim of the inquiry is to contain the damage to the government and the political establishment more broadly from revelations of the GCSB’s illegal and anti-democratic activities.

    • U.S. Began Bulk Collection of Phone Call Data in 1992
      An explosive new report reveals the federal government secretly tracked billions of U.S. phone calls years before the 9/11 attacks. According to USA Today, the Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration collected bulk data for phone calls in as many as 116 countries deemed to have a connection with drug trafficking. The program began in 1992 under President George H.W. Bush, nine years before his son, George W. Bush, authorized the National Security Agency to gather logs of Americans’ phone calls in 2001. This program served as a blueprint for NSA mass surveillance. We speak with Brad Heath, the USA Today investigative reporter who broke the story.
    • Apple and the Self-Surveillance State
      So, here’s my pathetic version of a grand insight: wearables like the Apple watch actually serve a very different function — indeed, almost the opposite function — from that served by previous mobile devices. A smartphone is useful mainly because it lets you keep track of things; wearables will be useful mainly because they let things keep track of you.
    • Apple preparing for 'major, major' datacenter expansion in Oregon - report
      Apple is set to follow through on expansion plans for its $250 million datacenter in Prineville, Oregon, a Wednesday report suggests, after the Oregon legislature resolved a tax issue that could have tacked millions of dollars onto Apple's bills in the future.

    • Encryption Becomes a Part of Journalists' Toolkit
      When whistleblower Edward Snowden used an email encryption program called PGP to contact documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, only a tiny fraction of journalists used it. The precaution, designed to scramble messages so only the sender and receiver can read them, was essential for Snowden to leak the information.
    • U.S. government monitored phone calls to Canadians in sweeping 1990s surveillance program
      The U.S. government started keeping secret records of Americans’ international telephone calls nearly a decade before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, harvesting billions of calls in a program that provided a blueprint for the far broader National Security Agency surveillance that followed, USA Today newspaper reported today.

    • Baltimore’s transgender community mourns one of their own, slain by police
    • Our say: Hush-hush installation needs better signs
      There's a lot we may never know about the odd incident last week in which two men were shot, one fatally, while allegedly trying to ram the gate at the employees-only entrance to the National Security Agency at Fort George G. Meade. But there does seem to be one contributing factor you'd think authorities could fix quickly – a poorly marked entrance ramp from Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

    • Lobbyists for Spies Appointed To Oversee Spying
      Who’s keeping watch of the National Security Agency? In Congress, the answer in more and more cases is that the job is going to former lobbyists for NSA contractors and other intelligence community insiders.

      A wave of recent appointments has placed intelligence industry insiders into key Congressional roles overseeing intelligence gathering. The influx of insiders is particularly alarming because lawmakers in Washington are set to take up a series of sensitive surveillance and intelligence issues this year, from reform of the Patriot Act to far-reaching “information sharing” legislation.

      After the first revelations of domestic surveillance by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, President Obama defended the spying programs by claiming they were “subject to congressional oversight and congressional reauthorization and congressional debate.” But as Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., and other members of Congress have pointed out, there is essentially a “two-tiered” system for oversight, with lawmakers and staff on specialized committees, such as the House and Senate committees on Intelligence and Homeland Security, controlling the flow of information and routinely excluding other Congress members, even those who have asked for specific information relating to pending legislation.
    • Data privacy: the tide is turning in Europe – but is it too little, too late?
      Amazon Dash – the company’s single purpose internet-connected ordering button – may soon be blackening our skies with drones delivering loo rolls and detergent. And so, the relentless march of technology – not to mention cheap labour, unthinking consumerism and scandalous environmental devastation – goes on.

    • ‘Citizenfour’ keeps government spying right where it should be: In the public spotlight
      Though “Citizenfour” (2014) is not a horror film – rather, it’s a documentary – it ranks among the most frightening films I have ever seen because of its unyielding revelations of the U.S. government’s spying programs and the implications of those reports.
    • Class action privacy lawsuit filed against Facebook in Austria
      Case lead by privacy campaigner Max Schrems sees 25,000 users sue social network for alleged illegal tracking of their data and its involvement in the NSA’s surveillance programme

    • Facebook Sued By 25,000 Users Over Privacy
      Facebook is being sued in Austria over alleged privacy violations and claimed participation in the US National Security Agency's (NSA) PRISM programme.

      An Austrian law graduate called Max Schrems is leading the class action lawsuit on behalf of around 25,000 Facebook users based in Europe and beyond.
    • Facebook preps for class action lawsuit as angry EU mob lawyer up
      A class action against Facebook over alleged breaches of European privacy laws is being heard in a Vienna district court today.

      Austrian law graduate Max Schrems and 25,000 other Facebook users are suing the social network. They allege that Facebook violated European citizens' “fundamental rights” (defined in the European Convention on Human Rights) by transferring their personal data to the US National Security Agency (NSA).

    • Fees After Victory in Cybersecurity FOIA Case
      A nonprofit group is entitled to attorney fees from the government for its efforts to obtain a presidential order on cybersecurity, a federal judge ruled.
    • Congress Returns Next Week With A Tech-Heavy Agenda
      These are all issues Congress has tried and failed to address before. Patent reform died in the Senate last spring, controversial cybersecurity legislation never saw a floor vote last year and a NSA reform bill could not pass a Senate procedural vote last December.

    • US govt bans Intel from selling chips to China's supercomputer boffins
      The US government has blocked Intel from shipping high-end Xeon processors to China's supercomputer builders – and other American chip giants are banned, too.

      Intel confirmed to The Register last night it was refused permission to sell the chips to the Middle Kingdom's defense labs and other parts of its supercomputing industry.
    • Want to See Domestic Spying’s Future? Follow the Drug War
      The DEA’s newly revealed bulk collection of billions of American phone records on calls to 116 countries preceded the NSA’s similar program by years and may have even helped to inspire it, as reported in USA Today’s story Wednesday. And the program serves as a reminder that most of the legal battles between government surveillance efforts and the Fourth Amendment’s privacy protections over the last decades have played out first on the front lines of America’s War on Drugs. Every surveillance test case in recent history, from beepers to cell phones to GPS tracking to drones—and now the feds’ attempts to puncture the bubble of cryptographic anonymity around Dark Web sites like the Silk Road—began with a narcotics investigation.

    • Report reveals US has carried out domestic electronic espionage on Mexico
      For more than two decades, the U.S. government has carried out domestic electronic espionage that has impacted hundreds of countries including Mexico, the USA Today reported Wednesday.
    • Why it’s so hard to create norms in cyberspace
      There are two plausible reasons. First, as Admiral Michael Rogers, the head of the NSA and Cyber Command has argued, norms create a basic structure for international political relations. If, for example, the U.S. is to deter cyberattack from other countries, and vice versa, all the countries involved need to reach a common agreement on basic questions such as what cyberattacks are, when they are acceptable and when not acceptable, and so on. Creating this kind of common understanding takes a lot of hard work building common norms of acceptable and unacceptable behavior, as Emanuel Adler’s research on arms control during the Cold War demonstrates.

    • To Promote an Open Internet, NSA Should Limit Data Collection
      The benefits of data collection “must be more clearly weighed against the potential damage to the normative commitments to an open and secure Internet,” writes Farrell, who urges intelligence-gathering agencies to “adopt a fundamental change of mind-set.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Australian government spends $4 million on 'stop-the-boats' telemovie
      The federal government has commissioned a $4.1m telemovie designed to dissuade asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat.

      The telemovie, set to be broadcast in refugee hotspots including Syria, Afghanistan and Iran, would include storylines about asylum seekers drowning at sea and feature the Australian navy, the ABC has reported.

    • Arrest Warrant Issued for Justin Bieber in Argentina
      An Argentine judge issued an arrest warrant for Justin Bieber on Friday (April 10), saying the singer failed to respond to summons related to allegations he ordered bodyguards to attack a photographer in 2013

      Judge Alberto Julio Banos ordered the "immediate detention" of Bieber and bodyguards Hugo Alcides Hesny and Terrence Reche Smalls.

    • Danish report: No need for whistleblower law
      Denmark does not need a special whistleblower law for public authorities, an expert committee has concluded.

    • This start-up promised 10,000 people eternal digital life—then it died
      Intellitar was selling its “immortality” service for $25 a month to people who wanted to create a digital doppelgänger that would live on even after their death. Customers uploaded a photo of themselves to Intellitar’s “Virtual Eternity” website, took a personality test, provided a voice sample and then trained their avatars’ “brains”—an artificial-intelligence engine—by feeding it stories, memories and photos. The result, the company said, was an animated avatar that your family, friends, and great-great-grandchildren could talk to, even after you went to the big database in the sky.

    • Spying on Muslims fosters distrust amongst community
      This past January, the U.S. Court of Appeals heard the oral argument for the Hassan v. City of New York case. What makes this case so special is that it has been the first case to ever challenge the New York City Police Department Muslim Surveillance Program. The United States National Security Agency controversy left America reeling — in June 2013, allegations arose that the NSA had been spying on millions of Americans every day through tapping of telecommunications networks (computer networks, telephones, the Internet, etc.) with the help of major companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo and Microsoft. Though this came to light through journalist Glenn Greenwald’s exposé revealing a partnership between Verizon and the NSA, it has been going on for years. It is a common suspicion that the revelation barely scratches the surface of all the surveillance that is likely going on, but Muslims have been sounding off on their loss of constitutional rights — and thereby the loss of every American’s constitutional rights — for years.

    • Philly PD Declares All Drivers To Be 'Under Investigation' While Denying Request For License Plate Reader Data
      More bad news has just arrived on the "We're all not that terrible" PR front: according to Philly's police department, each and every car owner whose vehicle's license plate has had the misfortune of being scanned by the PD's license plate readers is some sort of criminal. Charges TBD.

    • Wanted: Ten million Chinese students to “civilize” the Internet
      China wants to recruit 10 million young people, mostly university students belonging to the Communist Party’s youth wing, to “spread positive energy” on the Internet — in other words, to use social media to praise and defend the government.
    • Man who filmed cop killing fleeing suspect says an officer “told me to stop”
      The 23-year-old South Carolina man who used his phone to videotape a police officer fatally shooting a suspect in the back multiple times said Thursday that another officer who arrived on the scene ordered him to stop recording.

    • 8th Grader Faces Felony Charges For Changing Teacher’s Computer Background
      Eight-grader Domanik Green was arrested on felony charges in Holiday, Fla. Wednesday after breaking into his teacher’s computer to change the background picture to two men kissing.
    • 2009 DHS Document Says Border Patrol Can Search/Copy The Contents Of Your Device Just Because It Wants To
      FOIA clearinghouse MuckRock has scored another revealing document, this time from Customs and Border Protection. As we're well aware, the US border isn't technically considered to be part of the United States, at least not as far as the Constitution is concerned. All bets are off, 4th (and others) Amendment-wise. If you're traveling with anything -- whether its a vehicle, suitcase or laptop -- expect it to be searched.

    • Southern California Deputies Caught on Video Beating Surrendering Man for More Than Two Minutes
      Knowing they were being video recorded by a news helicopter hovering above, Southern California deputies did not let that stop them from repeatedly punching and kicking a man who had already surrendered by lying flat on his stomach after he was tased earlier this afternoon.

      Up to nine San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies can be seen running up to the suspect to kick and punch him, angry at having been forced to chase him through the desert.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Protect Net Neutrality in India
      Internet is a global network, with total freedom. Well, that is soon going to change, unless you act now. While you are reading this, someone is trying to control what you see, read, download, listen or write on the internet by taking control over the sites you can access! Don’t wait for that moment to happen. Act now, and protect Net Neutrality by signing in for the petition.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Judge: IP-Address Doesn’t Identify a Movie Pirate
        The filmmakers behind the action movie "Manny" have filed hundreds of lawsuits against BitTorrent pirates this year, but not all have been successful. In a prominent ruling Florida District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro refused to issue a subpoena, arguing that IP-address evidence is not enough to show who has downloaded a pirated movie.

      • 70% Of Fans Still Can't Watch LA Dodgers Games On TV Thanks To Time Warner Cable
        Last year Time Warner Cable and the Los Angeles Dodgers struck a twenty-five year, $8.35 billion deal giving Time Warner Cable the exclusive broadcast rights to all Dodgers games in Los Angeles via its creatively-named regional sports network, Time Warner Cable SportsNet LA. Time Warner Cable then immediately turned around and demanded massive price hikes (rumored to be around $5 per subscriber) for any other pay TV provider that wanted to offer the channel. All of the regional cable operators (including AT&T, Cox, Dish and DirecTV) balked at the hike, resulting about 70% of fans in Dodgers territory being unable to watch the final six games of last season.

      • EFF Seeks DMCA Exemption to Preserve Abandoned Games
        The EFF and the Entertainment Software Alliance are going head-to-head over the need to preserve functionality in abandoned games. The EFF wants an exemption to the DMCA to keep games alive after its servers are closed down, but the ESA and its allies the MPAA and RIAA are vigorously opposing the digital rights group.

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Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock