Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 11/6/2015: Linux in DARPA Robotics Challenge, Fedora 22 Scientific

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux vs GNU/Linux - A Reader's Response
    What's in a name? I think it is bigger than a name. Whatever the name might or might not be, I for one am very grateful to everyone involved. One small plea, I get an impression that not enough people make donations to software producers. I suspect even small donations would be appreciated from time to time. Whatever the name it is a remarkable movement.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • StackIQ Has New Open Source Linux Server Provisioning Tool
      StackIQ is now offering an open source version of Stacki (short for “Stack Installer”), a Linux server provisioning tool. StackIQ initiated the open source project with the goal of providing systems administrators with a tool to install Linux at high speed. Stacki is a streamlined version of the base installer from StackIQ’s flagship product StackIQ Boss.Z

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • FLOSS Weekly 340: VeraCrypt
      Randal and Aaron are joined by Mounir Idrassi to talk about VeraCrypt. VeraCrypt is a free disk encryption software brought to you by IDRIX and is based on TrueCrypt 7.1a.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Call For Translators: coala!
        coala is a code analysis framework designed to ease the task of static code analysis for both users and developers. In the last months the coala community has been growing more and more active so we’re able to get even better code out to the world of free software.

      • Outreachy week 2 - personas
        I am honored to work with Gina this cycle on usability testing, as part of Outreachy and GNOME. We are off to a great start. I wanted to share Gina's excellent description of personas, and how they are used in usability testing.

  • Distributions

    • Calamares 1.1-RC1 Distribution Installer Released
      Version 1.1-RC1 of the Calamares Linux distribution installer framework is now available. This distribution-independent installer has garnered the interest of Manjaro, Kubuntu, and others seeking to make a more unified, better Linux installer. With Calamares 1.1, more features are coming.

    • New Releases

      • Calculating the Test Drive
        I've been thinking of looking around for a new distribution, not that Mint hasn't been a wonderful and stable system. Sabayon 15.06 was released last week and looked attractive in Jeremy Garcia's screencast and screenshots. Neil Rickert tempted me with his notes on Tumbleweed 20150608 and the IgnorantGuru made OpenBSD sound doable. But I think I'll check out Calculate Linux.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • My install for June
        I have been doing monthly installs of Tumbleweed, mainly to test out the installer. For June, I installed the 20150608 snapshot. I used the DVD installer (written to a USB), and this was for the 64-bit version.

    • Red Hat Family

      • CEO: Red Hat could outgrow Red Hat Tower in two years
        “It’s been fast,” says CEO Jim Whitehurst, adding that, at this pace, Red Hat Tower will be at capacity in two years. “We thought it would take a lot longer than that.”

      • CentOS 7 Linux 64-bit Vagrant Box Available Now
        Karanbir Singh had the great pleasure of announcing the immediate availability for download of 64-bit (x86_64) images for the Vagrant open-source and cross-platform virtual development environment creation software.

      • Red Hat Updates JBoss Enterprise App Platform for Faster, Simpler DevOps and Hybrid Cloud Projects
        To help companies get the most from their cloud adoption, the latest upgrade to Red Hat’s JBoss Enterprise Application Platform adds features across the lifecycle to make it far easier to bring Java apps – and Java skillsets – to the world of hybrid clouds.

        The release of the latest edition of JBoss EAP (version 6.4) comes as the cloud is triggering big changes in how Red Hat’s customers are developing and deploying applications, Mike Piech, Red Hat’s vice president for middleware told IDN.

      • Red Hat: Beware of scary OpenStack support
        A SENIOR MANAGER at Red Hat has warned the community of the importance of ensuring that OpenStack users have sufficient, qualified support for their infrastructure.

        Alessandro Perilli, general manager for cloud management strategy at Red Hat, made the point in a blog post this week entitled Beware scary OpenStack support.

      • The hidden costs of embargoes
        It’s 2015 and it’s pretty clear the Open Source way has largely won as a development model for large and small projects. But when it comes to security we still practice a less-than-open model of embargoes with minimal or, in some cases, no community involvement. With the transition to more open development tools, such as Gitorious and GitHub, it is now time for the security process to change and become more open.

      • Red Hat Summit, syslog-ng, Docker containers
        Based on user feedback and website stats a large part of syslog-ng users are running it on the Red Hat family of operating systems: Fedora, RHEL, CentOS and other RHEL derivatives. This is true both for the syslog-ng Open Source Edition and the syslog-ng Premium Edition. This is only one of the reasons that this year BalaBit is a sponsor of the Red Hat Summit and will be present with a booth. You will be able to ask BalaBit engineers about syslog-ng or any other software from our IT security portfolio: Shell Control Box, our privileged activity monitoring software and even our upcoming user behavior analytics software, Blindspotter. There are several interesting new features in syslog-ng to discuss: language bindings to Java and Python are coming to syslog-ng OSE 3.7, while Perl and Lua will stay in the syslog-ng incubator. The new, Java-based Elasticsearch destination helps to create a high performance Elasticsearch syslog-ng Kibana (ESK) stack. Kafka support is also coming, which is a high-performance distributed messaging system. It is gaining popularity as a centralized interface because it can consolidate a wide range of enterprise log data for downstream processing.

      • Change is brutal, even in an open organization
        Change management is one of the most popular topics in business literature, and something I first encountered during my evening MBA studies while I was working at Red Hat. The most surprising thing that I learned in business school, which I continue to think of often, is the fact that so many organizational change initiatives fail (some say more than 70%; my professor said 90%), despite the fact that we have a well documented and proven formula for their success. Do 70% of leaders of change initiatives forget to read the book?

      • Notable Session Mover: Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)
        A notable mover in today’s trading session is Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) as the stock opened the most recent session at 78.82 and at the time of writing the last Bid was at 78.30. In the current trading session the stock reached as high as 78.97 and dipped down to 78.11. Red Hat, Inc. Common Stock, a NYQ listed company, has a current market cap of 14.35B and on average over the past 3 months has seen 1358910 shares trade hands on a daily basis.

      • Red Hat: Don't Cloud Over the Importance of Support
        A few months ago when Nebula folded, and then again this month when tech titans IBM and Cisco announced high-profile purchases of OpenStack-focused companies, we drove home the point that the OpenStack scene is starting to consolidate. Eventually, there will only be a few players of any significance, and I've made the point before that support will be the big differentiator as enterprises increasingly deploy OpenStack.

      • Fedora

        • HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.15.6 Adds Support for Fedora 22
          HP was happy to announce earlier today, June 10, the immediate availability for download of the sixth maintenance release of its HPLIP (HP Linux Imaging and Printing) 3.15 software.

        • Fedora 22 Scientific
          As you can see, the new home for Fedora Scientific looks amazing. The "Featured Applications" section features the most important and useful tools in Fedora Scientific. I think that is a great idea. Everyone associated with it, thank you very much.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian-branded USB keys
        I've had some 8GB USB keys made, with the Debian swirl and text. By buying a reasonable number, I've got what I think is a good price for nice high-quality keys (metal body with a solid loop for attaching to a keyring). I'm now selling these for 7 pounds each, and I'm planning on bringing some to DebConf 15 too, where they'll be 10 EUR.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) Is Now Rebased on Linux Kernel 4.0.5
            Canonical, through Joseph Salisbury, has announced the summary of the Ubuntu Kernel Team meeting that took place on June 9, 2015, which concerns their activity on the Linux kernel packages for the upcoming Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) operating system.

          • Canonical Patches Five Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
            After releasing kernel updates for the Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) operating systems, Canonical announced on June 10 the immediate availability of a new kernel update of its Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) distro.

          • Ubuntu's MAAS (Metal as a Service) 1.7 Update to Arrive Soon with Many New Features
            Canonical, through Andres Rodriguez, has recently announced that the 1.7 version of their MAAS (Metal as a Service) software that brings the language of the cloud to physical servers will arrive soon with multiple new features.

          • New Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities Patched in Ubuntu 15.04, 14.10, and 14.04 LTS
            After having announced the immediate availability of a new and important kernel update for the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) operating system, Canonical has announced that the Ubuntu 15.04, 14.10, and 14.04 LTS distros have also received new kernel updates.

          • First Snappy Ubuntu Core 15.04 Stable Version Is Out
            Snappy Ubuntu Core is a new version of Ubuntu, designed to work with transactional updates and aimed at clouds and embedded devices at least for now. A stable version, this new OS has been released by Canonical and joins the other flavors in the 15.04 cycle.

          • Unity 8 to Correct the Online Search Features from Unity 7
            The search in Unity has been the source of serious debates in the past few years, but that should change dramatically with the new Unity 8, which no longer needs the current privacy tab that is available in the options.

          • Ubuntu 15.10 Is Now Based on Kernel 4.0.5, But the System’s Final Version Will Use Kernel 4.1
            Canonical’s Joseph Salisbury has recently announced that Kernel 4.0.5 has been made the default kernel of Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf, being already used on the daily images.

          • Vimix Icons Another Great Lightweight Icon Set for Ubuntu/Linux Mint
            Vimix icon set is elegant, modern, lightweight designed for Linux desktop. It offers flat type style with a minimal use of shadows for depth. This icon theme is based on two icon sets are Numix Circle and Paper icons by snwh. Since this icon theme based on two icon sets, the creator recommends that install those icons as well to get enhanced and greater experience. Vimix icons offers two panel theme so if you are using dark theme then you can select Vimix dark and if you are using light theme then you can select light version. It is compatible with most of the Linux desktop environments such as Unity, Gnome, Cinnamon, Mate, Lxde, and others. For this icon theme most of the application icons available, still if you found any missing icon or bug in this set then report it. Ambiance Blackout Colors theme used in following screenshots. You can use Unity Tweak Tool, Gnome-tweak-tool or Ubuntu-Tweak to change themes/icons.

          • System76 unveils hardcore Serval WS laptop running Ubuntu Linux
            If you are a Linux user looking to buy a computer, System76 is one of the best manufacturers to target. Rather than buy a Windows machine and formatting the drive to install your favorite distro, the company's machines come pre-loaded with Ubuntu. Even cooler, its laptops do not have the Windows logo on the super key, instead having the Ubuntu logo. Even if you are a fan of a different distro such as Fedora, supporting a Linux-focused seller is good for the overall community.

          • WIN! The Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition
            The Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition's slim design and 4.5 inch screen are perfect to experience Ubuntu's edge interactions and Scopes.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux powers DARPA Robotics Challenge winner
      A Xenomai Linux based robot from Korea’s Team KAIST called the DRC-Hubo won the $2 million DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals, one of only three bots to complete the course on time.

      Judging by Silicon Valley’s reigning “Failure rocks!” mantra, this week’s DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals held earlier this week in Pomona, California, was a resounding success. Of the 23 teams that entered the event, which simulated a disaster response scenario, only three accomplished all eight major tasks in the allotted eight hours. The pit crews were kept busy with a field littered with falling robots.

    • Logic Supply Announces Linux-Compatible Fanless PC with Unparalleled Features
      Logic Supply, a renown industrial and embedded computer manufacturer, which you might remember from an article we wrote last week that the company sells Ubuntu-powered industrial and embedded systems, has announced recently that they will release a new series of ventless and fanless PCs with unmatched mix of performance, reliability, and I/O.

    • Raspberry Pi stays sky high in 2015 Hacker SBC Survey
      Last month, and the Linux Foundation’s community website sponsored a 10-day SurveyMonkey survey that asked readers of both sites to choose their favorite three Linux- or Android-based open-spec single-board computers. This year, 1,721 respondents — more than twice the number from the 2014 survey — selected their favorites from a list of 53 SBCs, compared to last year’s 32.

    • DRC-HUBO Run Linux and It Just Won the DARPA Robotics Challenge
      The DARPA Robotics Challenge is now over, and the competition has been won by a team from South Korea with a robot called DRC-HUBO. It's not hard to imagine that the robot is actually running a modified Linux distribution.

    • Top 10 Linux and Android Hacker SBCs of 2015
    • Top 10 Best Hacker SBC Boards of 2015

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • DT Exec Pressures Vendors on Open Source
    One of Deutsche Telekom's virtualization experts has said operators must pressure vendors into adopting open source practices or face the risk of depending on a single supplier for critical infrastructure.

  • SourceForge Not Making A Graceful Exit
    If SourceForge were a person and I were the New York Times, I’d make certain I had an obituary on file right about now. It’s obvious that the once essential code repository for open source projects is terminally ill, although it’s just as obvious that Dice Holdings, which took over ownership of the site nearly three years ago, has no plans of letting SourceForge go gently into the good night, so we’ll probably see more kicking and noise-making until the lights are inevitably extinguished.

  • SourceForge under fire again for Nmap page [Ed: SourceForge says that's not the case]

  • Open Sourcing Pinot: Scaling the Wall of Real-Time Analytics
    Last fall we introduced Pinot, LinkedIn’s real-time analytics infrastructure, that we built to allow us to slice and dice across billions of rows in real-time across a wide variety of products. Today we are happy to announce that we have open sourced Pinot. We’ve had a lot of interest in Pinot and are excited to see how it is adopted by the open source community.

  • Facebook open sourcing mobile bug analyzer Infer
    Among the apps within Facebook's portfolio already using Infer include the standard Facebook apps for Android and iOS, Facebook Messenger and Instagram.

  • Facebook Open-Sources Infer To Help Developers Identify Bugs Before They’re Shipped
    Facebook today announced that it is open sourcing Infer, a static program analyzer the company uses to find bugs in mobile code before it’s shipped. Internally, the company uses this tool to analyze the Facebook apps for Android and iOS, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and others.

  • Open Source Groups Release SDN and NFV Software
    Things are moving smartly forward in the world of upstart, disruptive networking technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV), as open source stewards in both camps have come out with new software releases.

  • Events

    • How TYPO3 meetups help improve the technology, community, and business
      Peer-production is one of the strengths of open source projects. TYPO3, a self-organized project without corporate backing, always lived from the spirit of sharing ideas, work, and values. It’s not by accident that one of our core values is, "Inspire people to share." Over the years, as a result of the massive success of TYPO3 as a product, core team members became increasingly decoupled from the work with clients. Instead, they focused on the core development. On one hand, this transition was great because it means a lot of people have contributed their time and passion into the product. But on the other hand, the change brought disadvantages.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • ownCloud 8.0.4 Brings Better Support for Internet Explorer 8 and 9
      ownCloud had the pleasure of informing us about the immediate availability for download of the fourth maintenance release of the ownCloud 8.0 DIY (Do It Yourself) open-source self-hosting cloud storage solution.

    • Bright Computing Offers Guided Private OpenStack Deployment Solution
      Are you looking for an automated, guided way to deploy OpenStack? Some people feel daunted relying on nothing but documentation, and want a wizard-style approach to a new software installation. That's exactly what the folks at Bright Computing are banking on. At the recent OpenStack Summit, they showed off Bright OpenStack, billed as a complete, standalone OpenStack private cloud solution. It even features a wizard to guide you through installation.

  • Databases

    • Dutch land registry opens up to Postgresql
      The Dutch Kadaster (Cadastre, Land Registry and Mapping Agency) has switched to using Postgresql for four of its major business solutions. “Open source allows us to deliver services at lower costs”, says Paul Schluck, one of the database administrators at the land registry.

    • Postgresql to detect nuclear explosions
      France’s nuclear energy and defence research institute CEA is looking for help with maintenance of Postgresql, an open source relational database management system. The institute this week published a call for tender, aiming to design a seismic, infrasound, hydroacoustic and radionuclide monitoring system, as part of its task to monitor compliance to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

    • The NoSQL and Hadoop disruptive open source dividend
      Beyond the LAMP stack, open source technology for development of enterprise class applications has arguably become mainstream, especially in modern databases like NoSQL and Hadoop based systems. They are unlocking huge value.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Enables GTK3 VCL Plug-In Building By Default
      With the newest LibreOffice Git code, the GTK3 support code compiling is enabled by default. However, this is just building for the GTK3 VCL plug-in. At run-time, the GTK3 usage is still disabled by default. A --disable-gtk3 option is available for those not wanting to build with the GTK3 support.

  • Business

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD As A Linux Desktop Replacement
      I recently tried out OpenBSD as a possible answer to recent Linux engineering. I thought I’d share my notes here on my results, from a beginner’s and Linux user’s perspective. (I tried FreeBSD briefly before as well.) If you’ve used OpenBSD more extensively on the desktop, your feedback on any of this is welcome too – I’d like to know what you think of my opinions, you being a longer-term user.


  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • European Union's 5-year roadmap for IT and open source
      While the DSM does not explicitly state it, to achieve a lot of these objectives, open standards will be essential. While many parts of the strategy are explicit in their proposed actions, this section has been written in broad strokes. For this reason, open source/open standards proponents must stay engaged both to help steer the DSM toward a positive outcome and for fear that the DSM may instead seek to secure the "free flow of data" via mandating contractual requirements and cumbersome and problematic data ownership definitions.

  • Licensing

    • Wayland's MIT License To Be Updated/Corrected
      Bryce Harrington sent out the patches today for the in-tree license text to be updated. He clarified the situation a few weeks after the matter was brought to the attention of Wayland developers with the FAQ and license text not matching.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Google Made Its Secret Blueprint Public to Boost Its Cloud
      Craig McLuckie took the idea to Urs Hölzle, the man who oversees Google’s global network of computer data centers, and Hölzle didn’t like it.

      Together with two other engineers in Google’s Seattle office, McLuckie wanted to recreate Borg as an open source project. Borg is the sweeping software tool that drives everything from Google Search to Gmail to Google Maps, letting the company carefully parcel computing tasks across that global network. For years, it was one of the company’s best kept secrets. And McLuckie wanted to share its blueprint—or at least some of it—with the rest of the internet.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C Adopts new Software and Document License

      W3C today adopted a new Software and Document License, an update to the W3C Software License, as the default permissive license in cases such as relicensing of unfinished specs where W3C has decided to use a permissive license. The Software and Document License, compatible with the GPL, permits copying and modification with attribution (by inclusion of a reference to the original W3C document), and can be used in W3C Community Groups, among other venues. All work that W3C has previously made available under the prior W3C Software License is also made available under the new Software and Document License.


  • Mesosphere Datacenter OS available on AWS, coming to Azure soon
    DCOS is designed to help enterprises unlock the next generation of scale, efficiency and automation. The Mesosphere DCOS pools datacenter and compute resources, givesIT operators a much simple administration model, and improves developer velocity with more modern abstractions and APIs for writing distributed system.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Where's the Beef From?
      House votes to repeal meat labeling law under threat of retaliation from Canada and Mexico.

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • VIDEO: Making Polluters Pay Us Is Step 9 to Save the Economy
      Instead of investing in dirty fuels, let’s start charging polluters for poisoning our skies – and then invest the revenue so that it benefits everyone.

      Each ton of carbon that’s released into the atmosphere costs our nation between $40 and $100, and we release millions tons of it every year.

      Businesses don’t pay that cost. They pass it along to the rest of us—in the form of more extreme weather and all the costs to our economy and health resulting from it.

      We’ve actually invested more than $6 trillion in fossil fuels since 2007. The money has been laundered through our savings and tax dollars.

  • Finance

    • ‘Say Anything’ Time to Pass Fast Track
      Yes, folks, it’s desperation time for the supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). To get this sucker through, they will say anything, because, hey, making stuff up for the cause always sells in official Washington.

    • Thoughts on Greece
      I have witnessed IMF prescriptions in developing countries which have had abysmal results. Forcing African countries to break up their electricity utilities between producers and distributors in order to favour private electricity producers, has been an absolute disaster. It has simply meant that disproportionate percentages of electricity revenue – and effective tax subsidy of electricity prices for the majority population – has been diverted into the capacious pockets of international financiers and bankers. I have no doubt the result has been less electricity generated. I don’t even want to discuss the IMF’s immoral insistence that in Africa the very poor have to pay for clean drinking water.

    • As currency dies, Zimbabweans will get $5 for 175 quadrillion local dollars
      Zimbabweans will start exchanging 'quadrillions' of local dollars for a few U.S. dollars next week, as President Robert Mugabe's government discards its virtually worthless national currency, the central bank said on Thursday.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Rupert Murdoch Reportedly Stepping Down As 21st Century Fox CEO
      Rupert Murdoch is preparing to step down as the CEO of 21st Century Fox, according to CNBC, planning to hand control of the media conglomerate to his son, James.

      CNBC, citing unnamed sources in the mogul’s family, said the announcement will come soon though it’s not clear when Murdoch would step aside.

    • James Murdoch Reportedly Taking Over As CEO Of Fox News' Parent Company
      Rupert Murdoch is reportedly planning to step down as CEO of Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox "and hand that title to his son James," according to CNBC. James Murdoch previously resigned his role as the head of News International -- which published several tabloids and newspapers abroad -- amid the widespread scandal over phone hacking at News of the World, a since-shuttered UK tabloid he oversaw. As part of the fallout from that scandal, Murdoch also resigned his position as chairman of UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

    • Rupert Murdoch preparing to step down as Fox CEO: reports
      Rupert Murdoch, the 84-year-old chief executive of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, is preparing to step down and name his son James as successor, CNBC reported on Thursday, citing sources close to the Murdoch family.

  • Censorship

    • Reddit censorship results in mass exodus to
      Reddit, which has long billed itself as "the front page of the Internet" is facing a massive revolt by its members due to perceived censorship. The folks running Reddit have removed a number of subreddits and that's what sparked the revolt and the mass exodus to

    • Will Reddit Revolt Against Ellen Pao?
      There are early indications that the Reddit admins may have finally crossed the Rubicon on the road to alienating their user base. User activity on their main competitor, had been rising steadily since social media censorship became an issue during the #GamerGate controversy, but in the past few hours their figures have skyrocketed. At the time of writing, there are over 3,700 active users on Voat’s alternative to /r/fatpeoplehate —almost double its number of subscribers.

  • Privacy

    • UK intelligence agencies should keep mass surveillance powers, report says
      UK intelligence agencies should be allowed to retain controversial intrusive powers to gather bulk communications data but ministers should be stripped of their powers to authorise surveillance warrants, according to a major report on British data law.

      The 373-page report published on Thursday – A Question of Trust, by David Anderson QC – calls for government to adopt “a clean-slate” approach in legislating later this year on surveillance and interception by GCHQ and other intelligence agencies.

      However, Downing Street hinted that David Cameron was unlikely to accept one of his key recommendations: shifting the power to agree to warrants from home and foreign secretaries to a proposed new judicial commissioner.

      The prime minister’s spokeswoman said the authorities needed to be able “to respond quickly and effectively to threats of national security or serious crime”, which appears to suggest ministers are better positioned to do this than judges.

    • Fake mobile phone towers found to be ‘actively listening in’ on calls in UK
      More than 20 “intrusive” fake mobile phone towers that eavesdrop on public conversations have been found active in the UK, the first time the technology has been detected in the country.

      The IMSI catchers, also known as Stingrays, have been found to be operating in London, but the Metropolitan Police have refused to say who is controlling them or what is being done with the information they are gathering.

    • Fake mobile phone towers discovered in London: Stingrays come to the UK
      Fake mobile phone masts that can be used to eavesdrop on telephone conversations without users being aware have been discovered in London by Sky News. IMSI catchers, also known as "stingrays" after a US company that makes such devices, have been widely used in the US for years. They work by sending out a signal that tricks a mobile phone into connecting with the stingray, rather than a legitimate base station, allowing information to be gathered about the device and its conversations by carrying out a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack.

    • Anderson review: "It is time for a clean slate"
      The UK's Independent Review of Terrorism Legislation has said, “it is time for a clean slate” when it comes to surveillance law in the UK. In his report published today, David Anderson QC condemned the current legislative framework as, “fragmented, obscure, under constant challenge and variable in the protections that it affords the innocent”.

    • Study: Surveillance will cost US tech sector more than $35B by 2016
      A new study says that the U.S. tech industry is likely to lose more than $35 billion from foreign customers by 2016 because of concerns over government surveillance.

      “In short, foreign customers are shunning U.S. companies,” the authors of a new study from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation write.
    • Exclusive: U.S. tech industry appeals to Obama to keep hands off encryption
      As Washington weighs new cybersecurity steps amid a public backlash over mass surveillance, U.S. tech companies warned President Barack Obama not to weaken increasingly sophisticated encryption systems designed to protect consumers' privacy.

      In a strongly worded letter to Obama on Monday, two industry associations for major software and hardware companies said, "We are opposed to any policy actions or measures that would undermine encryption as an available and effective tool."

      The Information Technology Industry Council and the Software and Information Industry Association, representing tech giants, including Apple Inc, Google Inc, Facebook Inc, IBM and Microsoft Corp, fired the latest salvo in what is shaping up to be a long fight over government access into smart phones and other digital devices.

    • The Computers Are Listening: NSA Won’t Say If It Automatically Transcribes American Phone Calls in Bulk
      When it comes to the National Security Agency’s recently disclosed use of automated speech recognition technology to search, index and transcribe voice communications, people in the United States may well be asking: But are they transcribing my phone calls?

      The answer is maybe.

      A clear-cut answer is elusive because documents in the Snowden archive describe the capability to turn speech into text, but not the extent of its use — and the U.S. intelligence community refuses to answer even the most basic questions on the topic.

      Asked about the application of speech-to-text to conversations including Americans, Robert Litt, general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said at a Capitol Hill event in May that the NSA has “all sorts of technical capabilities” and that they are all used in a lawful manner.

      “I’m not specifically acknowledging or denying the existence of any particular capability,” he said. “I’m only saying that the focus needs to be on what are the authorities the NSA is using, and what are the protections around the execution of those authorities?”

      So what are those authorities? And what are the protections around their execution?

  • Civil Rights

    • Veteran police officer in Des Moines, Iowa, shoots unarmed Ryan Bolinger through car window

      A police officer in Des Moines, Iowa, shot an unarmed man dead on Tuesday evening, after he got out his vehicle and started "walking with a purpose" towards her car.

      Police officer Vanessa Miller, who has seven years' experience, shot 28-year-old Ryan Keith Bolinger, after he led her and Ian Lawler, another senior officer, on a slow chase through the city streets.

    • Concocting a Crime-Ageddon to Promote Police Power
      The New York Post, the notorious right-wing tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch, inspired a media stampede of stories highlighting increases in New York City’s crime statistics. The hysterical headline “You’re 45% More Likely to Be Murdered in de Blasio’s Manhattan” (5/26/15) served as a springboard for other local media outlets to question if the city was suddenly a crime-ridden hellhole under Mayor Bill de Blasio–presented by the Post as a liberal on policing.

    • Tolerance and Tim Hunt
      You can’t tolerate that which to you is inoffensive. Toleration necessarily implies putting up with people who hold views or exhibit behaviour which you do not like. The hounding of Professor Tim Hunt from his University position is an exhibition of extreme intolerance.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • House Tries To Use Appropriations Bill To Kill Neutrality Rules, Strip FCC Authority And Funding
      For most of the last few months the House has been holding a series of "investigative" hearings into the FCC's passage of net neutrality rules. On the surface, the hearings claim to be aimed at ensuring the FCC is operating transparently and within the confines of its authority, but in reality the hearings have been about one thing: publicly shaming the FCC for standing up to deep-pocketed campaign contributors like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast. Of course this never-ending "fact finding mission" has accomplished absolutely nothing in relation to finding notable facts, but it has proven useful in riling up a base utterly convinced that net neutrality rules destroy the Internet. All on the taxpayer dime, no less.


      Obviously these lawsuits could go on for several years, and well into the term of a new Administration, one many House members hope would then strike the rules from the books. Of course much like the never-ending hearings shaming the FCC, this is largely a partisan patty cake show pony, since it won't be signed by the President. Still, it's very sweet of the House to be so incredibly worried about consumers and the health of the Internet that they'll work tirelessly to protect ISPs' god-given right to abuse the lack of last mile broadband competition.

    • Net neutrality rules to go into effect after court rejects bid to block them
      In what FCC chairman Tom Wheeler calls ‘a huge victory,’ the rules will go into effect Friday despite a handful of lawsuits challenging them

  • DRM

    • EC opens antitrust probe into Amazon's iffy e-book agreements
      THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (EC) has opened yet another investigation into Amazon and is this time probing the company's allegedly questionable e-book distribution agreements.

    • Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into Amazon's e-book distribution arrangements
      The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation into certain business practices by Amazon in the distribution of electronic books ("e-books"). The Commission will in particular investigate certain clauses included in Amazon's contracts with publishers. These clauses require publishers to inform Amazon about more favourable or alternative terms offered to Amazon’s competitors and/or offer Amazon similarterms and conditions than to its competitors, or through other means ensure that Amazon is offered terms at least as good as those for its competitors.

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