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02.21.15

Microsoft AstroTurfing War on GNU/Linux is Still Going On, But Hidden Better, Uses API as Instrument of Lock-in

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The strength of this platform [C#] and the innovation around it is the key element in preventing commodization by Linux, our installed base and Network Appliance vendors.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

Summary: The corruptible press continues to describe blatant attacks (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish) against GNU/Linux and Free software as Microsoft ‘embracing’ Open Source

MICROSOFT has been relying on a great deal of AstroTurfing as an instrument of domination. To quote Microsoft’s internal documents [PDF], “[t]o control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft now directs its instrument of deception towards GNU/Linux users. AstroTurfing of this kind necessitates influence from the inside. It is no longer just Novell’s money that makes the Linux Foundation unable (without risk) to antagonise Microsoft. By becoming financially dependent on Microsoft partners like Nokia and Intel (Wintel) the Linux Foundation lost its ability to antagonise rivals and it might not be long before the Linux Foundation silently tells Torvalds not to denounce Microsoft because of his new senior colleagues from there and because “Microsoft loves Linux”, according to Microsoft. As we have shown before, several Linux Foundation sub-committees are having heads appointed to them from Microsoft (Neela, Ramji and more). It is like a coup in slow motion as we are gradually witnessing more of its impact. It is even endemic in the media.

Microsoft used OOXML to shut out OpenOffice.org and to screw up not just migrations away from Office but also from Windows. This proved to be an effective sabotage-centric strategy in Europe, where some migrations to GNU/Linux were notably impeded because of OOXML. Office suites are not being made compatible, as they can never be made compatible, as per Microsoft’s deliberate design. As Bobby Moss put it to me the other day (about OOXML): “Here’s our ISO-approved standard, but we’re going to use a ‘transitional’ version instead. Good luck suckers ;)”

There is a nasty strategy going on right now and as Microsoft’s own partners now admit, Microsoft is trying to do to GNU/Linux with ‘cloud’ APIs what it did using OOXML. Microsoft loves Linux like Eric Holder loves free speech and like Obama loves peace. It’s nonsense (albeit endlessly repeated) of the highest order, but enough people who are not keeping up with the news might actually fall for this nonsense and even pass it on.

The other day we saw this article about one of the latest attack vectors against Android. This attack is partly Microsoft-funded and there is a good explanation of how Microsoft attacks Android/Linux right now. it’s titled “Microsoft’s Trojan Horse To Undermine Android”. A journalist specialising in Android over at Forbes noted: “Forbes’ Gordon Kelly has provided a high-level review of Nadella’s operation that brings the jigsaw of ‘Cloud first mobile first’ into focus. But I want to take a look at one of the moves that Redmond has made at the very edge of the mobile space… specifically the investment by Microsoft in the alternative mobile operating system company Cyanogen.

“According to reports from the Wall Street Journal (and others), Microsoft is a minority partner in the latest funding round of Cyanogen (the company behind the custom Android ROM that is CyanogenMod). The round is believed to be for $70 million in total, valuing the company in “the high hundreds of millions of dollars”.

“What is Microsoft playing at here?

“I seriously doubt that Microsoft is in it to make a profit. There are far better ways of investing its money if it wants a financial return. So where is the value in Microsoft in becoming involved with Cyanogen?

“Let’s start with the easiest one. While Cyanogen isn’t exactly the enemy of Google (it still relies heavily on the Android Open Source Project as well as the goodwill of Google and the other manufacturers to allow devices to have the ROM installed easily and smoothly), the old adage of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ should apply. Anything Microsoft can do to destabilise Google and force it to expend more effort on areas where Microsoft is fighting Mountain View is a strategic win, no matter how small it is.”

To skip to a point further down in this article, “Microsoft is looking at opportunities beyond the mobile operating system as a platform. Instead it is looking to leveraging any operating system so that it talks to the Microsoft cloud.”

He concludes as follows: “I’m sure Microsoft would be more than happy to load up CyanogenMod with Outlook, Office, and the rest of the app suite. I’m pretty sure it would help out with some engineering time as well if there was a need for such a thing.”

This article is far from perfect. As Will Hill put it: “There’s nothing potent about Microsoft’s “cloud”. Bing, Skype, Outlook are miserable failures like everything else Microsoft touches. Idiot news sources like Forbes said the same kinds of silly things when Microsoft subjugated Yahoo, but it went no where. Microsoft’s corruption of Cyanogenmod is one or two orders of magnitude less important than that.”

Also see the new article titled “Cyanogen versus Google: Biting the Android that feeds”. To quote parts of it: “Considering how much Android has benefited the Cyanogen developers, one might think the company would owe Google a debt of gratitude; without Android, there is no CM. However, not only has Cyanogen publicly railed against the platform’s licensing terms, its CEO, Kirt McMaster, actually began a recent speech (at The Information’s “Next Phase of Android” event) by stating that “we’re attempting to take Android away from Google.””

This Microsoft-funded effort to derail Android is further crticised as follows: “An old aphorism goes something like, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” By maligning Google so vehemently, and seemingly ignoring the larger corporation’s work in building up the popularity of Android — not to mention creating the basis for its ecosystem — Cyanogen is playing a dangerous game that seems born in arrogance: its perceived success, and apparent high valuation, may have given its principals the notion that they can do no wrong.”

Microsoft is now doing to Samsung something similar, based on some reports. It is the latest of many Microsoft-backed attempts to disrupt Android using another party. As a Red Hat-run site serves to remind us, “OnePlus ditches CyanogenMod” around the same time Microsoft funding was revealed and following Microsoft’s hijack of Yahoo the company continues its rapid collapse (it has become a proxy for Microsoft’s search efforts, even in the UK, not just in the US).

What saddens us the most is that Canonical is seemingly fine with Microsoft’s abuses as long as Microsoft pays some money. It’s a bit like Novell, but not quite as insidious.

It is not hard to see what Microsoft is really up to here. Watch an article titled “Microsoft’s Trojan horse strategy to rule the world”, written by Microsoft partner and propagandist Tony Bradley (we wrote about him many times before because of his anti-GNU/Linux articles which exempt disclosures of his ties to Microsoft). The way he put it the other day is quite revealing. He is no ordinary writer, he has been a Microsoft mouthpiece for quite a few years and Microsoft works with him. “Brilliant strategy” he called the Trojan horse strategy (see subheading), noting that “By integrating cloud services and expanding the availability and influence of Office, Microsoft is (not so) secretly extending its dominance to rival platforms.”

The “Trojan horse” part says: “The world where Microsoft has a monopoly or pseudo-monopoly on any platform or technology has all but disappeared. The new reality is a multi-device, multi-platform world. Any attempt to paint customers into a corner and lock them into a specific platform or device is essentially suicidal.

“Microsoft’s new strategy takes a sort of “Trojan horse” approach to ruling the world once again. It can’t make everyone use Windows PCs, and Windows Phone smartphones have claimed only a negligible slice of the mobile device market. By freeing customers to use Microsoft tools on other platforms and devices, though, Microsoft will continue to be a dominant force — even on rival platforms like Android and iOS.”

Fernando Cassia, former journalist with The Inquirer (UK), told us in Twitter (using hastags) that #TheCloudIsTheAPI #FogComputing (our made-up term for “cloud”).

Microsoft does not “love Linux”, Microsoft hopes to “engulf Linux” while a sufficient number of drooling observers believe PR pieces from Microsoft and its friends in the media.

We have been patiently waiting for the whole “Microsoft loves Linux” nonsense (in the Microsoft-leaning media) to end so that we can write a most comprehensive rebuttal to these latest veiled attacks. It is basically an attack on Android disguised as being about search, choice, competition, etc. Watch what ECT (“Linux Insider”) did the other day. Richard Adhikari, who produces many Android-hostile pieces for a number of years now, is still a propagandist without tact. He often quotes anti-Android factions regarding perceived security issues and now he asks Microsoft’s mouthpiece Rob Enderle for ‘analysis’ of Google. He should be slammed for having ECT (which paid Rob Enderle) give Enderle a platform again, with which to bash Microsoft’s competition (nothing in the article says that Microsoft paid him). Tabloid ‘journalism’ at its best? Making matters worse, ECT does not disclose that Rob Enderle used to work for them, regularly bashing Linux/FOSS for a salary!

This is basically just another noteworthy pattern of the attack on Linux and its backers, pushing the pro-Microsoft line and pushing the anti-Google angle. But there’s another angle to it — an angle which flooded the media this past week. There are many puff pieces (similar to press releases) like this one about Azure. Slashdot plays a role in it, propping up the narrative of “Microsoft loves Linux” and IDG, in the mean time, characterises PRISM surveillance and lock-in as ‘free’.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols once again gives Microsoft a soft treatment because Canonical is helping the Trojan horse in exchange for money. This has been covered by some GNU/Linux proponents, who wrote: “Canonical, through John Zannos, VP Cloud Alliances, has proudly announced today, February 19, that the first ever Microsoft Azure hosted service will be powered by Linux, Ubuntu more specifically” (all about self interest, as in Novell’s case, to the exclusion of externalities).

“Is Microsoft now providing journalists handouts to spread the lie that Microsoft loves Linux, FOSS, etc.?”The British and American media were quick to help Microsoft spread this misleading narrative, which made us wonder; Is Microsoft now providing journalists handouts to spread the lie that Microsoft loves Linux, FOSS, etc.? It smacks of that.

Here is one quote from the articles named here: “Bill Gates once chose the word “cancer” to describe the operating system, which competes with Windows.) But in the past year, especially since Satya Nadella became Microsoft’s chief executive, the company has taken several steps demonstrating a commitment to the open-source development model or its own tools and open-source tools assembled outside of Microsoft.”

No, hardly so. It has been a strategy of embrace and extend, before extinguish comes. Watch what things were selectively made “open source”. Microsoft is constantly attacking FOSS while trying to control it and take control of its direction, tying it to Microsoft’s proprietary software maze (Windows, Office, and so on).

GigaOm, which was paid by Microsoft for secret (undisclosed, embedded in article content) ads, continues to openwash the company with this widely-cited article. We asked Om Malik, “how much does Nadella bribe you now?” He did not respond (it has been days since we asked).

“Microsoft says 20 percent of all VMs running on Azure run Linux,” according to the article, but is that actually good news? No, it’s not. Remember that Microsoft treats GNU/Linux as patent infringement. Here is another article about it. Microsoft is now controlling, putting under surveillance and already taxing GNU/Linux. Microsoft propagandists and “MVPs” like Rod Trent won’t bother pointing that out and neither will Microsoft propaganda sites with strong connections to Microsoft, e.g. [1, 2]. They are openwashing this nasty thing called Azure as though they’re under orders to coordinate a PR campaign in the media. See Mary Jo Foley doing her thing along with Microsoft networks [1, 2], Microsoft-funded sites, Microsoft boosters like Adrian Bridgwater, and Microsoft-funded networks such as UBM and IDG [1, 2]. This misinformation war managed to even ‘leak’ out of Microsoft’s controlled press, e.g. this one from Forbes and some lesser Microsoft-friendly sites such as AOL, etc. etc. etc.

The latest openwashing of Microsoft often cites acquisition of two proprietary software companies that will be used versus FOSS — companies such as Revolution Analytics and Cyanogen (partial ownership). This openwashing of Microsoft requires a high degree of gullibility or intentional (malicious) desire to mislead.

The other day we spotted Microsoft booster Darryl K. Taft propping up the Microsoft-connected Black Duck. He wrote this:

The Black Duck Open Source Rookies of the Year are selected irrespective of commercial motivations.

No, Black Duck is selecting partners that paid money, Microsoft for example.

Weeks ago we wrote that the openwashing of Microsoft is now threatening to eliminate the identity of Free software. Never mind the high cost of proprietary lock-in and back doors (see the new reports titled “Microsoft to double price of XP’s post-retirement support” and “Microsoft prepares for summer price hike”). Never mind the high costs passed to the taxpayers, as the story of the BBC serves to show (Microsoft infiltrated it). The BBC is still leeching off taxpayers to pay Microsoft, so it’s quite a relief to learn from the BBC that “Windows Media [is] becoming too expensive to operate, Mr Scott said.”

If Microsoft is now an “Open Source company” and a company that “loves Linux” as some of the press wishes us to believe, then how come none of the company’s big products became Open Source? How come the only things that are being openwashed are mechanisms for selling proprietary software?

02.20.15

Lenovo’s Superfish Scandal is Spyware on Top of Spyware (Microsoft Windows), the Problem is Inherently Proprietary Software

Posted in Microsoft, Security at 8:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Shifting focus to the root problem, which is neither Lenovo nor its laptops but the non-free programs installed on hardware

WHEN it was revealed that governments had constructed Stuxnet to sabotage computers almost all reporters refused to call out Windows, despite Stuxnet being exclusive to Windows. The same is happening right now in relation to Superfish. We posted links to a lot of articles about it (see our daily links for about a dozen) and none of them bothered reporting the fact that only clients of Microsoft (the NSA’s ally) were affected. Having watched dozens of articles about it we can say that almost not a single article emphasised that it only affects Windows. Lenovo says it didn’t know about it and given the shadowy background of Superfish (its CEO came from the surveillance complex) it’s possible that Lenovo was tricked or bribed into installing this back door.

“Lenovo’s ThinkPads, which originally came from IBM, are famously GNU/Linux-friendly.”The CBS-owned ZDNet has Microsoft booster Mary Branscombe spinning that Superfish scandal to even imply that people should “love Windows”. Well, at least she points out that it’s a Windows issue, albeit that’s not her intention (she is just a Microsoft mouthpiece seeking to divert blame).

Robert Pogson responded to Branscombe by stating:

I recommend everyone switch to GNU/Linux. It’s easy. Demand your local retailers sell them. Shop online for a GNU/Linux PC. Heck, install it yourself. Heck, you can even get that other OS to start the process. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux, software that works for you, not some corporation with the morality of a snake. The beauty of it is that the licence you get with the downloads includes the right to examine, modify and distribute the software, so you can cut out all that third-party crapware, if there were any. Debian doesn’t bother attaching crapware to PCs it doesn’t sell…

It’s not just that. Windows, with or without crapware, has back doors. GNU/Linux hasn’t. Free software is essential for those who pursue real computer security, as opposed to so-called ‘national security’.

Here is the statement that the FSF has just made about it (hours ago):

Security experts have discovered a highly threatening vulnerability in software preinstalled on some Windows computers manufactured by Lenovo through January 2015. Extreme negligence on the part of Lenovo and unscrupulous programming by its adware partner Superfish seem to have caused the vulnerability.

The FSF does point out that it’s a “Windows computers” issue. Well, there is no such thing as “Windows computers”, as such computers can have Windows wiped and GNU/Linux installed instead. Lenovo’s ThinkPads, which originally came from IBM, are famously GNU/Linux-friendly.

Benoît Battistelli Once Again Threatens EPO Staff That ‘Dares’ to Protest, Battistelli Exploits Terror Attacks to Pretend to Respect Free Speech

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Terrorising his own staff

Benoit Battistelli

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) President, Benoît Battistelli, reportedly started threatening — as before — staff that decides to exercise the right to assemble and protest against abuses, including the abuses of President Battistelli himself

AS just about everyone in the EPO ought know by now, the British Consulate is about to find itself besieged by EPO staff (potentially thousands of staff) who will be there to protest an attack by non-scientists on the great scientists who work as examiners for the most part [1, 2]. These people are highly skilled (many have doctorate degrees and a long track record in their field), so they shouldn’t be taken for fools or radicals. Au contraire — these people can very easily recognise tyranny and injustice. They are eager to react to that even at personal cost or high risk. Greed does not motivate them to the degree that it motivates empty suits like Battistelli, who now surrounds himself in a crowd of bodyguards and other 'protection'/thugs (this so-called ‘security’ is costing taxpayers a lot of money and speaks volumes about paranoia or megalomania). Battistelli acts like a politician, not a manager. He leads by wielding fear and censorship, not charisma. It’s no wonder given his right-hand man. No wonder top staff is leaving over time. It is a long charade of embarrassments that only gets worse as time goes by, whilst managers get labeled “Putin” because they show arrogance and run a witch-hunt against staff, not vice versa.

“It is a long charade of embarrassments that only gets worse as time goes by, whilst managers get labeled “Putin” because they show arrogance and run a witch-hunt against staff, not vice versa.”According to some of these latest comments, Battistelli “had just issued a letter/threat to staff, directed at SUEPO Munich committee, that if there is a march to the British consulate next week, the organisers will be disciplined. So much for free speech. Is this his response to the Dutch court?”

This is a reference to the Dutch court's decision that we covered a couple of days ago. Quote from the message: “Those who take an active role in its organisation must know they ate infringing the standards of conduct expected from international civil servants. Should the planned demo actually take place, this would constitute a breach of the applicable legal framework and those concerned will be held liable for the beach of their obligations under the EPC and the Service Regulations.”

Actually, the rights of workers include the right to protest. In the face of tyranny, as in this case, protest is very much necessary. The rules imposed by Battistelli are seen as illegitimate at this stage. They’re designed to sustain his power, nothing else. It’s essential to demonstrate for justice and democracy — of which Battistelli is a sworn opponents, based on both actions and vain words.

“Well,” said one anonymous person, “I had been pondering whether or not to participate in the demonstration on 25 February, midday. BB [Benoît Battistelli] has just made up my mind for me: I’ll definitely be there to exercise my democratic rights (even in the unlikely event that I should be the only one there!)”

Another quote-worthy comment: “BB announces that any employee involved in organising a demonstration outside the UK Consulate in Munich will be “disciplined”. Do I see it right, that it is the act of organising that requires discipline (rather than the act of demonstrating)?

“I recall another regime that began its reign of discipline by going after union organisers. I wonder, how long is the AC going to continue to sit on its hands.”

Benoît Battistelli is digging himself deeper in the thin ice, to reuse a metaphor which was used the other day.

Battistelli has become a horrible pretender because only days ago, following the protest against an outpost of Denmark in Munich (targeting the AC, headed by Battistelli's mate) [1, 2, 3, 4], Battistelli published this in the EPO Web site:

Last week-end was marked by yet another tragic event in Europe as Denmark has been the victim of terrorist attacks in the centre of Copenhagen.

I am joined by the staff of the European Patent Office in expressing full solidarity with the Danish people. Europe is based on values among which freedom of expression and liberty are the most essential.

We must not be afraid, assume our responsibilities and stay united to reject these attempts against the basis of our plural society.

Benoît Battistelli

Well, what an unbelievable hypocrite, attacking free speech while claiming to defend it and squeezing terror attacks for his own spin.

“If 1000 staff members show up for that demonstration,” writes one person, “it will be very difficult to apply diciplinary [sic] actions. This situation is not sustainable, Examiners get on the baricades [sic] and walk for a more democratic organisation.”

Another person writes: “There must be a huge turnout at the GB consulate. As many staff, and Munich based attorneys, as possible. Strength in numbers. Enough with this authoritarian rubbish.”

Finally, said another person several hours ago: “I don’t live in Munich but this attempt to stop a fully democratic demonstration is so mind-bogglingly unacceptable that I think I shall take the day off and travel to Munich to be at the demo. Time for a strong signal, methinks.”

The more people attend to protest, the more trouble the tyrant will be in, not the staff. It’s collective strength.

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman amid 2008 EPO protests

Links 20/2/2015: Android Studio v1.1, GDB 7.9

Posted in News Roundup at 8:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux-based desktops work despite Windows app prevalence

    With so many devices already based on Linux — Android devices and Chromebooks, to name a few — it makes sense for some companies to consider virtual and cloud-hosted Linux desktops. Windows applications are a hurdle, however.

  • Desktop

    • Desktop */Linux Trends In Canada

      Now that we’ve pretty well figured out that the huge “Unkown” thing in StatCounter‘s “desktop” OS category is closely related to Android/Linux, this graph makes sense. Some people in Canada are hooking up Android/Linux systems to big screens. GNU/Linux is growing pretty well, not explosively, but definitely breaking out of the ~1% doldrums. ChromeOS is on a plateau, probably because schools just buy once or twice per annum. It’s all good. The grand total? 2.6%. It’s not wonderful but a far sight better than a year ago and this time GNU/Linux seems to be going places steadily. We have product/salesmen/promoters doing the job, finally. The growth in share is small, but this is a measure of a considerable rate of change of shipments/units/migrations on top of a huge installed base of PCs.

    • Why you should consider cloud-hosted Linux desktops

      With all the licensing troubles that can come with hosting Windows desktops in the cloud, some companies — and vendors — are looking to Linux operating systems instead.

      VMware plans to offer a Horizon View client for Linux, and Horizon DaaS, formerly Desktone, has had a hosted Linux option for years. Citrix is planning a similar strategy for XenDesktop and XenApp with Linux Virtual Apps and Desktops. These two big-name virtualization vendors putting attention on Linux shines a spotlight on the OS.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Demand for Linux developers on the rise

      The demand for Linux developers has jumped seven percent in comparison to last year, a study has shown.

      The 2014 Linux Jobs Report shows that hiring managers at tech-powered companies are focusing more attention on Linux talent, and that’s reverberating in the market, with stronger than average salary increases to those working with the OS.

      Dice and The Linux Foundation surveyed both hiring managers and Linux talent to gain a 360-degree view of the thriving jobs landscape, and here’s what they found.

    • Intel Quark SoC x86 Platform Support For Linux 3.20/4.0?

      Ingo Molnar has asked Linus Torvalds to pull the x86 platform support for Intel Quark SoC systems for the Linux 3.20/4.0 kernel.

    • Code Merged This Week For Linux 3.20/4.0 Is Just As Exciting As Last Week

      Last weekend I covered the changes so far for the next kernel release, which will be called either Linux 3.20 or Linux 4.0 depending upon Linus Torvalds’ end decision. This week more exciting code has landed.

    • Why All Linux (Security) Bugs Aren’t Shallow

      Zemlin quoted the oft-repeated Linus’ law, which states that given enough eyes all bugs are shallow. That “law” essentially promises that many eyes provide a measure of quality and control and security to open source code. So if Linus’ law is true, Zemlin asked, why are damaging security issues being found now in open source code?

    • Linux clockpocalypse in 2038 is looming and there’s no ‘serious plan’

      The year 2038 is still more than two decades away, but LWN.net editor and longtime Linux kernel chronicler Jon Corbet believes software developers should be thinking about that date now, particularly in the Linux world.

      Corbet raised the issue at his annual “Kernel Report” talk at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in Santa Rosa, California this week. “Time to start worrying,” he said.

      The issue is similar to the dreaded Y2K bug, in that a longstanding deficiency in the way some computers record time values is due to wreak havoc in all manner of software, this time in 2038.

    • Graphics Stack

      • It Could Be A While Before Seeing The Tamil GPU Driver Code

        While the Tamil driver is moving along for open-source ARM Mali T-Series graphics support, it could be a while before seeing the actual source code.

        Luc Verhaegen presented at FOSDEM a few weeks back about his work on Tamil, the Lima driver project’s work on supporting the newer ARM Mali T-Series GPUs found on various SoCs. While Luc showed off some demos and is working towards a Tamil Mesa driver, the code hasn’t yet been opened up.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Xfce 4.12 Should Be Released in One Week, at the End of February

      After several emails between Xfce developers and numerous delays, it appears that the highly anticipated Xfce 4.12 desktop environment will finally be released at the end of February 2015, in the last weekend, most probably on March 1, if nothing goes wrong.

    • Xfce 4.12 Is Still Planned For Release In One Week

      Earlier this week we wrote about plans for Xfce 4.12 to finally be released and that it was being targeted for the end of February. Unlike failed Xfce 4.12 plans of the past few years, it looks like this release will actually pan out in one week’s time.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Using play/pause buttons in Chrome with GNOME 3

        I wrote a post last summer about preventing Chrome from stealing the media buttons (like play, pause, previous track and next track) from OS X. Now that I’m using Linux regularly and I fell in love with Google Play Music All Access, I found that GNOME was stealing the media keys from Chrome.

        The fix is quite simple. Press the SUPER key (Windows key or Mac Command key), type settings, and press enter. Click on Keyboard and then on the Shortcuts tab. You should now see something like this.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Bodhi Linux 3.0.0 Released – Detailed Review and Installation Instructions

        Bodhi GNU/Linux is a Ubuntu-based distribution designed especially for Desktop computing and is best known for its elegant and lightweight nature. The Distribution philosophy is to provide a minimal base system that can be populated with the applications as per user’s choice. The base System only include those applications which are essentially required viz., ‘Etecad‘ File Manager, ‘Midori‘ web browser, ‘Terminology‘ terminal emulator, ePhoto and ePad. Apt or AppCenter can be used to download and install lightweight applications in one go.

    • New Releases

      • LinHES 8.3 Finally Makes the Switch to Kodi, Includes MythTV 0.27.4

        Cecil Watson, the developer of the LinHES (formerly KnoppMyth) GNU/Linux Live operating system designed especially to be used as a home entertainment system, proudly announced the immediate availability for download of LinHES 8.3 (Lorne Malvo), a release that introduces a new Linux kernel, as well as updated Nvidia drivers and core components.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat: Open Source ARM Platform Gets Closer to Prime Time

        Red Hat’s (RHT) investment in ARM hardware is heating up. This week, the company announced that more than 35 hardware and software companies have joined its ARM Partner Early Access Program, and that it expects its partners to begin delivering ARM software and drivers to the open source community starting now.

      • Fedora

        • New features in Fedora 22 Workstation.

          Matthias Clasen recently posted some updates on the Fedora development list about new features in Fedora 22 Workstation. As you may know, we’re getting ready to issue an Alpha, so it’s a great time to try out these changes.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS Arrives with Linux Kernel 3.16

            Canonical announced that Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS (Trusty Tahr), the second point release for the latest LTS branch, has been released and is now available for download.

          • Locally Integrated Menus (LIM) Set As Default In Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet

            After getting an option to always show the menus as well as global menu (Appmenu) support for Java Swing applications, yet another menu-related change has landed in Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet: locally integrated menu (LIM) is now the default menu.

          • Wayland/Weston 1.7.0 Make It For Ubuntu 15.04

            While Canonical remains committed to Mir as the future display server technology for Ubuntu Linux both on the desktop and for mobile devices, the upcoming Ubuntu 15.04 release does have the latest Wayland/Weston 1.7 support too.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Kubuntu 14.04 LTS Update Out

              The second update to our LTS release 14.04 is out now. This contains all the bug fixes added to 14.04 since its first release in April. Users of 14.04 can run the normal update procedure to get these bug fixes.

            • Kubuntu 14.04.2 LTS Officially Released, Users Can No Longer Upgrade to Plasma 5

              Kubuntu 14.04.2 LTS (Trusty Tahr), a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu that uses the KDE desktop environment, has been released and is now available for download.

            • Edubuntu 14.04.2 LTS Has Been Officially Released

              Along with the release of Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS (Trusty Tahr) GNU/Linux computer operating system, as announced by Adam Conrad on behalf of Canonical, the Edubuntu team was also proud to announce earlier today, February 20, the immediate availability for download of Edubuntu 14.04.2 LTS, a release that includes new kernel and graphics stacks.

            • Elementary OS 0.3 Freya Beta 2 : Video Overview and Screenshot Tours

              Elementary OS 0.3 Freya Beta 2 has been released by Elementary OS Team, based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and featuring with pantheon desktop environment, it comes with various User Interface improvements, UEFI/SecureBoot support, better and more discoverable multitasking, updated 3rd party apps (including Geary, Simple Scan, Document Viewer & more), Updated development libraries (including Gtk 3.14), Security and Stability improvements, tons of stylesheet and icon changes and fixes along with other interesting changes as well as almost 600 bug fixes.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Raspberry Pi, oh my: From classrooms to the space station

      Well, this is starting to look sort of like “Jamie’s Mostly Raspberry Pi Stuff”, but that’s not intentional. There are just a lot of interesting things going on with the RPi at the moment, so that’s where I seem to be spending a lot of my time right now.

      The big news, of course, was the announcement and immediate availability of the Raspberry Pi 2 hardware two weeks ago. The new hardware needs updated software to really make the most of its capabilities, so there was also a new Raspbian and NOOBS release (1.3.12) made at the same time.

    • GDB 7.9 released

      Release 7.9 of GDB, the GNU Debugger, is now available via anonymous FTP. GDB is a source-level debugger for Ada, C, C++, Objective-C, Pascal and many other languages. GDB can target (i.e., debug programs running on) more than a dozen different processor architectures, and GDB itself can run on most popular GNU/Linux, Unix and Microsoft Windows variants.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • Facebook benefits from formalising management of open source

    Facebook is now contributing more to external open source projects and keeping closer tabs on its own open source efforts

  • Facebook Picking Up the Pace on Its Open-Source Code Journey
  • Bind Exploit Closed in Ubuntu 14.10

    Canonical has announced that a Bind vulnerability has been found and fixed for Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS operating systems.

  • Pivotal pivots to open source and Hortonworks

    A few days ago Pivotal made three major announcements: the creation of a Big Data Product Suite, a partnership with Hortonworks and the launch of an ‘Open Data Platform’.

  • INTERVIEW: TIM O’REILLY

    There are many memorable quotes attributed to Tim O’Reilly. Which isn’t surprising. He’s been talking for decades about open data, the internet and the direction technology is taking us. Like Arthur C Clarke, much of what he’s predicted, talked about and written has proven incredibly judicious. He popularised the ideas behind ‘Web 2.0’, as well as the incoming wave and impact of social media. He believes in an open government and that the internet will become a global brain of networks and things.

  • Enterprise Software Giants Live In An Open Source World

    A decade ago now, I was recruited by ZDNet to launch a blog about open source software.

    At the time, the concept was controversial. Proprietary giants like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and IBM (NYSE:IBM) argued that open source was insecure, that the business model would not work, that it would destroy the enterprise software space, that they couldn’t make money with it.

    One decade on and it’s clear what has happened. Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android dominates the consumer space, and those who advocate proprietary models would claim it proves their point. Android OEMs don’t make money, while Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), with its proprietary model, is making a fortune.

  • Pivotal Open Sources Their Big Data Suite
  • Untangling the intense politics behind Node.js

    The news that broke at the Node Summit last week — that Joyent and others are proposing to create a Node.js Foundation — came as no surprise to anyone who has been watching the controversy around everyone’s favorite server-side JavaScript platform. It’s been clear for a while that Node.js has outgrown its roots and become an important structural tool for the software industry.

    Node.js’s hosts at Joyent didn’t plan for this — the code had been an employee project rather than a strategic investment. While Node.js is an important part of Joyent’s operations, it’s not a key product for the company, which has certainly spent far more to host it than it has received in business value as a pioneer of container-based cloud deployment. Joyent deserves credit for acting responsibly and maintaining its commitment as steward, despite the intense interest — and fierce political intrigue — in which it found itself.

  • Node.js fork JXcore goes open source, aims for mobile developers

    With all the noise surrounding the Io.js variant of Node.js, it’s easy to forget about another Node fork that’s been quietly percolating: JXcore. Last year it added multithreading (sort of) and the ability to turn Node apps into stand-alone executables — but at the cost of JXcore being a closed source project.

  • ONF launches open source community to bolster SDN software development

    The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) has announced the launch of an open source software community and code repository aimed at consolidating and accelerating development efforts around software and solutions that take advantage of software defined networking.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 36 Will Bring Support for HTTP/2

        This just got in: Mozilla Firefox 36.0 will bring support for the brand-new HTTP/2 protocol, according to the official release notes from the last Beta version of the web browser. HTTP/2 will enable a faster, more responsive, and more scalable Web.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • PLUMGrid Offers Virtual SDN Sandbox for Testing OpenStack Concepts

      There are lots of IT adminstrators out there wrestling with sticky issues as they pursue OpenStack deployments, and many of them say that they simply need to experiment with security and stabiity before rolling out mission-critical applications. Enterprises simply don’t want to trust a cloud platform and move apps and data to the cloud without having full platform confidence.

    • Q&A: MapR Technologies’ Tomer Shiran on Hadoop, Myriad, Apache Drill, and Data Analytics

      Recently, MapR Technologies, focused on Hadoop and Big Data analytics, has been out with some interesting announcements that we covered. We wrote about Myriad, an open source project focused on consolidating big data with other workloads in the datacenter, in this post. And we covered the latest release of the MapR Distribution including Hadoop in this post.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.3.6 “Still” Is Out with 110 Fixes

      The Document Foundation announced the release of LibreOffice 4.3.6, which is a new maintenance version in this branch of the famous office suite.

    • Creating Forms for Easy LibreOffice Database Entry on Linux

      The LibreOffice suite of tools includes a very powerful database application ─ one that happens to be incredibly user-friendly. These databases can be managed/edited by any user and data can be entered by anyone using a LibreOffice-generated form. These forms are very simple to create and can be attached to existing databases or you can create both a database and a form in one fell swoop.

  • Business

    • Pentaho’s Open Source Background Keeps It Flexible in a Changing Marketplace

      Enabling customers to ride the waves of tech trends is a big part of Pentaho Corporation’s business approach, said the tech company’s Vice President of Product and Solutions Marketing, Donna Prlich, during a live interview on theCUBE. With a new technology emerging every day, Prlich explained, it’s essential for customers to be flexible without sacrificing their ability to “get value from Big Data.”

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GDB 7.9 Brings Improvements To The Python Scripting API

      Today’s release of GDB 7.9 brings many improvements to the Python scripting API, compilation and injection of source code into the inferior with GCC 5.0+, resume improvements, hardware watchpoint support on GNU Hurd x86, MIPS SDE target, and a number of new commands.

    • Tell Lenovo: respect user freedom and prevent future Superfishes

      Security experts have discovered a highly threatening vulnerability in software preinstalled on some Windows computers manufactured by Lenovo through January 2015. Extreme negligence on the part of Lenovo and unscrupulous programming by its adware partner Superfish seem to have caused the vulnerability.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Visegrad countries and Bulgaria compare eGovernment practices

      Best practices in the implementation of eGovernment services by public administrations in Bulgaria will be compared with those in the Visegrad countries – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, at a workshop in Sofia on 26 February. According to a press announcement, Bulgaria’s coalition government is making the modernisation and increase of eGovernment services one of its priorities.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • This electrical engineer built an open-source headlamp for doctors in developing countries

      That’s what Amanda DelCore learned through the work of Dr. Laura Stachel, who designed a portable light kit when she saw that doctors and nurses in developing countries had to postpone treatment when their lights would go out. The doctors and nurses were especially excited about the headlamps included in Stachel’s kit because they were hands-free.

    • What do off-patent GM soybeans say about possibilities of open source biotech?

      March of 2015 marks the beginning of a new era in genetically modified foods. It’s the first year farmers can plant a generic version of glyphosate-resistant soybeans—the first GMO to be patented by Monsanto in 1996. There are some caveats to this, but it’s also a case that no longer fits the anti-GMO meme denouncing large agribusiness for holding intellectual property rights over seeds.

    • Open Data

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Sources: Marissa Mayer is firing people at Yahoo (YHOO)
  • Adobe Photoshop: changing your perception of reality for 25 years

    On the 25th anniversary of the launch of Adobe Photoshop, Sophie Curtis examines why the software program has become a cultural phenomenon

  • Metrolink delays after ANOTHER driver ends up on tram tracks on new Manchester Aiport line

    Since November 25, at least 12 drivers have ended up on the tram tracks – half of those on the new Manchester Airport line.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Top 10 Bogus ISIS Stories

      ISIS’s violent bona fides are not in doubt to anyone paying attention. They’ve targeted religious minorities, beheaded aid workers, sold women into sex slavery and have been all-around devastating for those under their rule. But as America debates the possibility of a full-scale ground invasion of ISIS-controlled territory, it’s important to note that much of the ISIS threat — namely that which targets the West — has been habitually overstated by an uncritical media.

    • Veteran War Reporters: O’Reilly’s Falklands Fibs Violate “Journalism 101″

      Revelations that Bill O’Reilly may have misled viewers about his reporting from the Falklands War back in 1982 are drawing fire from veteran war correspondents who contend apparent embellishments like O’Reilly’s hurt the credibility of all combat journalists.

    • How Fox News Responded To Bill O’Reilly’s Falklands Fibs

      Fox News has gone to war with Mother Jones after the liberal magazine published a story raising questions about the credibility of host Bill O’Reilly’s past statements about his experience as a war correspondent.

    • Who Killed the Argentine Prosecutor? More Than 400,000 March for Justice in Buenos Aires as Controversy Grows

      As many as 400,000 people marched through the pouring rain in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires on Wednesday demanding an independent judiciary. The march came one month after the mysterious death of special prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who had accused Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, of helping to cover up Iran’s role in the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people and injured hundreds in Buenos Aires. On January 18, Nisman was found dead in his apartment of a gunshot wound to the head. His body was discovered just a day before he was due to testify before lawmakers on his findings on the 1994 attack. Just four days before his death, Nisman appeared on television and outlined his allegations against the president and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman. Investigators initially said Nisman’s death appeared to be a suicide, but no gunpowder residue was found on his hands. If it was not a suicide, who killed him? That question has gripped Argentina for the past month. We make sense of this unfolding story with Sebastian Rotella, senior reporter for the investigative news website ProPublica. He first covered the investigation into the 1994 bombing as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times based in Buenos Aires.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • CNRL’s Steve Laut Says Oilsands Face ‘Death Spiral’ If They Don’t Cut Costs

      As the world’s oil glut continues to build, wiping out hopes of a price recovery, the head of one of Canada’s largest oilsands operators is warning the industry faces a “death spiral” if it doesn’t figure out how to cut costs.

      Speaking before the Chamber of Commerce in Fort McMurray, Steve Laut, president of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL), said oilsands companies can still return to health, but only if they aggressively begin to cut costs.

      Costs have risen so far, so fast that oil producers were making three times as much profit in 2004, when oil was at $40 a barrel, than they were a few years ago when oil was at $100 a barrel, Laut said, as quoted at the Globe and Mail.

  • Privacy

    • UK Surveillance: The Fightback Begins – Please Join

      It’s one of the longest, most-detailed stories that The Intercept has published so far, and is well-worth reading in its entirety. What it shows is that GCHQ and the NSA really do want access to everything, and that they are prepared to do more or less anything to get that. Put together with all the other Snowden revelations, plus the news from earlier this week about infected hard drive firmware – almost certainly another NSA project – and things might seem utterly desperate.

      And yet there are some glimmers of hope. A couple of weeks ago, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which reviews complaints about surveillance in the UK, decided that British intelligence services acted unlawfully in accessing millions of people’s personal communications collected by the NSA – the first time it has ever ruled against the intelligence and security services in its 15-year history. It’s true that the ruling was unsatisfactory in many ways, but it still sets an important precedent. And then just this week, the UK government was forced to make a humiliating admission that it was unlawful for intelligence agencies to have monitored privileged conversations between lawyers and their clients for the past five years.

    • NSA’s Stealing Keys To Mobile Phone Encryption Shows Why Mandatory Backdoors To Encryption Is A Horrible Idea

      Over the last few months, ever since both Apple and Google announced plans to encrypt data on iOS and Android devices by default, there’s been a ridiculous amount of hand-wringing from the law enforcement community about requiring backdoors, golden keys and magic fairy dust that will allow law enforcement to decrypt the information on your phone… or children will die, even though they actually won’t.

      [...]

      It would be nice to see that the revelation of the NSA undermining one use of encryption led people to realize the stupidity of undermining other forms of encryption, but somehow, it seems likely that our law enforcement community won’t quite comprehend that message.

Links 20/2/2015: Bloomberg Joins Linux Foundation, ClearOS Community 6.6.0

Posted in News Roundup at 12:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 ethical open source hacking tools for business

    Many businesses routinely employ “ethical” hackers as a means of testing whether their systems are secure, paying the tech-savvy to break into their computers in what is known as penetration testing, or pen testing.

  • ONF launches open source community to bolster SDN software development
  • Graylog 1.0 Eliminates Cost Barriers to Unlocking Big Data

    HOUSTON — Graylog, Inc., the company behind the popular Graylog open source log analysis platform, today announced that it has released v1.0 of its Open Source Graylog product. This enterprise-grade platform enables organizations to store, search and analyze machine data collected from their IT infrastructures to quickly pinpoint and address the root cause of operational problems. Graylog is providing paid services/support to make it even easier for enterprises to deploy this affordable alternative to expensive log analysis tools such as Splunk.

  • Events

    • SCALE 13x Day 0: Exceeding expectations

      It was a first for the Southern California Linux Expo — a midweek start on Thursday for SCALE 13x, and those of us on the SCALE Team did not know what to expect. The day was composed of a variety of sessions — an all-day Intro to Chef, Puppet Labs held its separate-registration Puppet Camp LA, openSUSE held its mini-summit, PostgreSQL held the first of its two-day PostgreSQL days, Fedora held its Fedora Activity Day, and an all-day Apache session.

    • Collaboration Summit 2015 Keynote Speakers

      The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit 2015 took place Feb. 18-20 in Santa Rosa, Calif.

  • CMS

    • 4 tips for how to migrate to Drupal

      Well, to jump from your current CMS (or lack thereof) and make the transition to Drupal, you want to know much it costs and exacting what that migration entails. First, there are several factors that have to be taken into an account before any Drupal development company can give you a quote. But, while there isn’t an exact price range for migrating to Drupal, you can do some in-house work to keep your migration costs down and prepare your team for the migration, keeping headaches down too.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Facebook Announces The Hack Specification

      Last year Facebook launched Hack, a new programming language derived from PHP and powered by their HHVM software. The Hack specification serves as official documentation for those wanting to come out with their own Hack implementation rather than relying upon HHVM. The Hack specification complements the existing Hack programming documentation.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • I gave up social media for Lent

    Could getting off Twitter be a religious experience?

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • U.S. officials, in blunt language, say Israel is distorting reality of Iran talks

      The Obama administration on Wednesday accused the Israeli government of misleading the public over the Iran nuclear negotiations, using unusually blunt and terse language that once again highlighted the rift between the two sides.

      In briefings with reporters, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki and White House spokesman Josh Earnest suggested Israeli officials were not being truthful about how the United States is handling the secretive talks.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • How a Snowdenista Kept the NSA Leaker Hidden in a Moscow Airport

      Since spiriting NSA leaker Edward Snowden to safety in Russia two years ago, activist and WikiLeaks editor Sarah Harrison has lived quietly in Berlin. Sara Corbett meets the woman some regard as a political heroine—others as an accomplice to treason.

      Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport is, like so many international airports, a sprawling and bland place. It has six terminals, four Burger Kings, a sweep of shops selling duty-free caviar, and a rivering flow of anonymous travelers—all of them headed out or headed in or, in any event, never planning to stay long. But for nearly six weeks in the summer of 2013, the airport also housed two fugitives: Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who had just off-loaded an explosive trove of top-secret U.S. government documents to journalists, and a 31-year-old British woman named Sarah Harrison, described as a legal researcher who worked for the online organization WikiLeaks.

    • A Stronger Freedom of Information Act

      Congress came tantalizingly close last year to passing a bill to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act, which allows journalists and the public to access federal government records. The legislation, which would have brought more transparency, was blocked in December when the House speaker, John Boehner, refused to hold a vote on the Senate bill with no explanation. Two months later, lawmakers have a second chance.

  • Finance

    • NYT Hopes India Can Avoid China’s Plight: a High-Paid, Well-Educated Workforce

      There aren’t a lot of numbers in the Times piece, so it’s useful to pause here and note that according to the IMF database, China’s per capita GDP (measured in terms of purchasing power) grew by 8.6 percent last year, vs. 6.0 percent for India. So any stumbling, slowing or faltering seen in China’s economy is based on forecasts of future growth–which are notoriously unreliable, though often given great credence in articles like these.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Op-Ed on Venezuela Slips Past NYT Factcheckers

      Krauze begins by claiming that the Venezuelan government, first under President Hugo Chávez and then his successor Nicolás Maduro, has taken control over the media. Chávez “accumulated control over the organs of government and over much of the information media: radio, television and the press,” we are told, and then Maduro “took over the rest of Venezuelan television.”

      A simple factcheck shows this to be false. The majority of media outlets in Venezuela–including television–continue to be privately owned; further, the private TV audience dwarfs the number of viewers watching state TV.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Lenovo caught installing adware on new computers

      It looks like Lenovo has been installing adware onto new consumer computers from the company that activates when taken out of the box for the first time.

    • Law enforcement divided over releasing StingRay docs

      State and local law enforcement agencies that use StingRays must weigh their obligations under public records statutes against nondisclosure agreements with the FBI and the device’s manufacturer. While some police departments have ruled that they cannot share any documents whatsoever, a handful of key disclosures in recent weeks — including the cleanest version of the NDA released to date — together shed new light on the FBI’s involvement in cell-site simulator deployments nationwide.

    • How to Remove Superfish Adware From Your Lenovo Computer

      We recently learned that PC manufacturer Lenovo is selling computers preinstalled with a dangerous piece of software, called Superfish, that uses a man-in-the-middle attack to break Windows’ encrypted Web connections for the sake of advertising. (Here’s a list of affected products.) Research from EFF’s Decentralized SSL Observatory has seen many thousands of Superfish certificates that have all been signed with the same root certificate, showing that HTTPS security for at least Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari for Windows, on all of these Lenovo laptops, is now broken. Firefox users also have the problem, because Superfish also inserts its certificate into the Firefox root store.

    • Lenovo In Denial: Insists There’s No Security Problem With Superfish — Which Is Very, Very Wrong.

      Late last night, people started buzzing on Twitter about the fact that Lenovo, makers of the famous Thinkpad laptops, had been installing a really nasty form of adware on those machines called Superfish. Many news stories started popping up about this, again, focusing on the adware. But putting adware on a computer, while ethically questionable and a general pain in the ass, is not the real problem here. The problem is that the adware in question, Superfish, has an astoundingly stupid way of working that effectively allows for a very easy man in the middle attack on any computer with the software installed, making it a massive security hole that is insanely dangerous.

    • Lenovo accused of compromising user security by installing adware on new PCs

      The information extracted by Graham can now be used to break the security on every compromised Lenovo computer. This leaves infected users essentially open to any eavesdropping if they are using the net on a public Wi-Fi account, and also enables future malware authors to convince Lenovo owners that their software is produced by a trusted vendor, such as Microsoft.

    • Russian Researchers Uncover Sophisticated NSA Malware

      Over the weekend Russian IT security vendor Kaspersky Lab released a report about a new family of malware dubbed “The Equation Family”. The software appears, from Kaspersky’s description, to be some of the most advanced malware ever seen. It is composed of several different pieces of software, which Kaspersky Lab reports work together and have been infecting computer users around the world for over a decade. It appears that specific techniques and exploits developed by the Equation Group were later used by the authors of Stuxnet, Flame, and Regin. The report alleges that the malware has significant commonalities with other programs that have been attributed to Western intelligence agencies; Reuters subsequently released an article about the report in which an anonymous former NSA employee claims that the malware was directly developed by the NSA.

    • US and UK accused of hacking Sim card firm to steal codes

      US and British intelligence agencies illegally hacked into a major manufacturer of Sim cards to steal codes and facilitate eavesdropping on mobiles, a US news website says.

    • Snowden’s Revenge: New Mega-Spying Project Revealed

      A giant cellphone surveillance program is just one of the dark NSA secrets being dragged out into the light, thanks to a certain whistleblower and a Russian cybersecurity firm.

    • NSA, British spies hack Gemalto to tap mobile calls – Intercept

      Digital security company Gemalto NV was hacked by American and British spies to steal encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications, news website Intercept reported, citing documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Sim card database hack gave US and UK spies access to billions of cellphones

      International row likely after revelations of breach that could have given NSA and GCHQ the power to monitor a large portion of world’s cellular communications

    • Edward Snowden reveals that NSA and GCHQ hacked SIM card manufacturer Gemalto: reports

      British and American spies stole the encryption keys from the largest SIM card manufacturer in the world, according to a government document handed to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • How to paint yourself into a corner (Lenovo edition)
    • Superfish: A History Of Malware Complaints And International Surveillance

      Superfish, a little-known “visual search” and ad tech provider from Palo Alto whose CEO was once part of the surveillance industrial complex, is about to learn what it feels like to face the unwavering wrath of the privacy and security industries. Lenovo will take much of the blame for potentially placing users at risk by contracting Superfish to effectively carry out man-in-the-middle attacks on users to intercept their traffic just to get the firm’s “visual” ads up during customers’ web searches.

    • Your Mobile Privacy is Under Threat Because of US and UK Spies

      One of the “biggest Snowden stories yet” has arrived today, according to journalist Glenn Greenwald.

      Spies from the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) and the United Kingdom’s Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) “hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe.” The information was obtained from top-secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

  • Civil Rights

    • Proposed Florida Body Camera Law Riddled With Exceptions At Behest Of Police Union

      Florida’s legislators are pushing through bills mandating body camera use by the state’s law enforcement officers. So far, so good, except for the fact that law enforcement officers aren’t really looking for greater transparency or accountability, at least not according to Florida Police Benevolent Association chief Gary Bradford.

    • Why a Reporter’s ‘Epic Rant’ on Twitter Gets No Argument Here

      Mr. Risen, an investigative reporter for The Times, was writing in response to Mr. Holder’s statements in a National Press Club speech Tuesday defending the Obama administration’s record on press rights. Mr. Risen, who narrowly escaped jail time as he insisted on protecting a confidential source, begged to differ – in no uncertain terms.

      Referring to the Obama administration as “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation,” Mr. Risen called the attorney general “the nation’s top censorship officer.”

      Although the wording of the Risen tweets was outside the tacitly accepted norm for Times reporters on social media, The Times declined to criticize them and issued a statement in his support.

      I followed up in a conversation with the standards editor, Philip Corbett, and some email correspondence with Mr. Risen.

    • Did the US Prison Boom Lead to the Crime Drop? New Study Says No

      Louisiana — a state whose motto is Union, Justice and Confidence — is known for many things. The Bayou State is the birthplace of jazz, Creole, and Cajun food, and New Orleans is the site of the country’s largest annual Mardi Gras Carnival. But as the Times-Picayune found in a major series years ago, Louisiana is also “the world’s prison capital,” with an incarceration rate that is “nearly five times Iran’s, 13 times China’s and 20 times Germany’s.”

    • FBI Flouts Obama Directive to Limit Gag Orders on National Security Letters

      Despite the post-Snowden spotlight on mass surveillance, the intelligence community’s easiest end-run around the Fourth Amendment since 2001 has been something called a National Security Letter.

    • Yes, Eric Holder Does Do the Intelligence Community’s Bidding in Leak Prosecutions

      The second-to-last witness in the government’s case against Jeffrey Sterling, FBI Special Agent Ashley Hunt, introduced a number of things she had collected over the course of her 7.5 year investigation into James Risen’s chapter on Operation Merlin. That included a few things — most notably two lines from Risen’s credit card records from 2004 — that in no conceivable way incriminated Sterling.

    • Hacker Claims Feds Hit Him With 44 Felonies When He Refused to Be an FBI Spy

      A year ago, the Department of Justice threatened to put Fidel Salinas in prison for the rest of his life for hacking crimes. But before the federal government brought those charges against him, Salinas now says, it tried a different tactic: recruiting him.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality: UK Lords call for internet to be reclassified as a utility

      THE HOUSE OF LORDS IS BACKING the idea of a free and gloriously open internet that is available to all, and is – rather less exciting sounding – reclassified as a utility.

      The plans come on the heels of similar noises from the US where Title II reclassification is a hot and contentious topic.

      Here we have the Lords releasing a report advocating that the government takes the internet and makes it a ;utility service’ much like it is in Estonia where it is considered a human right, and much as people like Tim Berners-Lee would appreciate.

    • Former FCC Boss Turned Top Cable Lobbyist Michael Powell Blames Everyone But Himself For Current Net Neutrality Mess

      You might recall that top cable industry lobbyist Michael Powell, formerly head of the FCC, got much of the current Title II debate rolling back in 2002 when he reclassified cable broadband as an “information service.” This effectively opened the door to a massive era of broadband deregulation Powell and friends at the time insisted would usher forth an immense new wave of broadband competition. If you’ve checked your broadband bill or oh, stepped outside lately, you may have noticed that this utopian broadband landscape never materialized.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Cerf Warns Of A ‘Lost Century’ Caused By Bit Rot; Patents And Copyright Largely To Blame

      The main obstacles to creating software that can run old programs, read old file formats, or preserve old webpages, are patents and copyright. Patents stop people creating emulators, because clean-room implementations that avoid legal problems are just too difficult and expensive to carry out for academic archives to contemplate. At least patents expire relatively quickly, freeing up obsolete technology for reimplementation. Copyright, by contrast, keeps getting extended around the world, which means that libraries would probably be unwilling to make backup copies of digital artefacts unless the law was quite clear that they could — and in many countries, it isn’t.

02.19.15

The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys Slams the European Patent Office for Structural Failings

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

All modern dictators fall – the question is when

The modern dictator walks on thin ice. And the ice is likely to get thinner and thinner as time passes. The dictator’s dilemma will usually lead to his downfall, which can be provoked either by a massive uprising when unhappiness becomes unbearable, or by the pressure exerted by external parties. Or both.

Suppressed people learn how to apply measures everyone can take, to chip away at the dictator’s authority and credibility: for example public demonstrations, strikes, caricatures, leaflets, boycotts, contributions to online debates, discussing with like-minded affected people, and sharing best practice one spots.

Knowing that every one of the dictator’s mistakes accelerates his fall, his opponents will try to create situations where the dictator fails. They will, for example, ensure that their dictator does not meet his objectives. Of course, a good dictator will always try to blame others when things go wrong. Perhaps one of his partners is at fault, perhaps an opposition leader, or a whistleblower. Or he just invents someone. In the end, though, he won’t get away with it:

“That is the problem for authoritarian leaders everywhere. Eventually, you run out of scapegoats.”

From the latest EPO-FLIER (#14) [PDF]

Summary: An important letter which we overlooked while writing yesterday’s 4 articles about the European Patent Office (EPO); yet another key stakeholder complains

THURSDAY was quite a heck (or hack) of a day for Techrights, which published three very important articles about very important developments.

“The European Patent Lawyers Association (EPLAW) has repeatedly complained as well, so this is part of a pattern”One very important item which we missed on that exceptionally busy Thursday was this letter.

Protest in the British Consulate over patent scope and Board 28 is planned for next week, as we first noted last week, but here is the new letter that should have been sent to Mr. Dennehey, not just Mr. Kongstad of the European Patent Office (the AC is more or less an inseparable part of it now). It comes from the UK-centric CIPA and it states:

6th February 2015  

Dear Mr. Kongstad,  

re: Independence of the Boards of Appeal 

On behalf of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys I submit the following
comments on this matter of great importance.
The EPC set up a system with a rough separation of powers between:- 

  • a legislative/oversight body (the Administrative Council); 
  • an executive body (the Office through the President); 
  • a judiciary (the Boards of Appeal). 

The separation of the judiciary from the Office was intended to be ensured by disciplinary powers over the members of the Board of Appeal being with the Administrative Council (legislature) rather than with the President (executive). While not a complete separation of powers, this was thought by many to be sufficient to ensure the independence of the Boards of Appeal. [Indeed, some have complained that the members of the Boards of Appeal are too independent, in the sense that different strands of opinion are evident within the Boards, and references to the Enlarged Board of Appeal take place only when a Board decides or on a reference by the President.] 

The subject of judicial independence of the Boards of Appeal has been put into sharp focus by recent events, and in particular by: 

  • the exclusion of a member of the Boards of Appeal from the premises of the EPO pending investigation of alleged disciplinary offences; 
  • the decision R19/12 and its effect on the role of VP3.

The confusion that has resulted implies that the balances built into the EPC appear not to be functioning, and that strengthening of the separation of powers may be necessary.
There have been previous proposals to change the institutional framework of the Boards of Appeal to ensure their judicial independence. [For example see CA/46/04 and CA/103/03] These proposals, which would have required a diplomatic conference to amend the EPC to make the Boards of Appeal a clearly separate arm of the European Patent Organisation, were not carried through, even though they attracted wide support in principle (although not necessarily in detail). [NB CIPA does not necessarily support all aspects of that proposal, in particular the prospect of lifetime tenure without adequate safeguards for removing erratic members of the Boards of Appeal, and the determination of promotion in the hands of one person.]  

Given the experience with ratification of EPC2000, amendment to the EPC will take too long to deal with the immediate problem, but should not be ruled out, particularly given that the Article 4a EPC conference of ministers is long overdue and the above mentioned proposal for autonomy was made over 10 years ago. [A conference under Article 4a EPC to discuss “issues pertaining to the Organisation and to the European patent system” would appear particularly opportune given the imminent arrival of the unitary patent.]  

Amendment to the EPC Rules is within the competence of the Administrative Council and can be done relatively quickly.  

The EPC is explicit that disciplinary power concerning senior officials and the members of the Boards of Appeal shall lie with the AC. [Article 11(4) EPC; Article 23 EPC]  However, the recent events have highlighted a gap, in that the AC is not in a position to take immediate action if it appears necessary, and the President’s authority to intervene is controversial (CIPA take no position on the specific case in question).  

Complete financial independence is not necessary for judicial independence. Courts in most European countries are supported by the state, and court fees do not necessarily cover full costs. What is necessary is security of finance for the courts and the judiciary, which must be visibly independent from interference by the executive, so that the decisions in any case are based on the case itself and not on extraneous pressures.

 The European Patent Office does not have the resources of a state and is reliant on income from users and so users will suffer if costs are not appropriately controlled.
Establishing an independent judiciary does not necessitate a separate body, nor does it necessitate establishing a separate fee structure, building, and administration. All of the physical infrastructure requirements for an independent Board of Appeal are present in the current arrangements: what is missing is an appropriate reporting structure and assumption by the Administrative Council of its disciplinary role. It has been suggested that a degree of physical separation between the Boards of Appeal and the Office might assist in the appearance of independence: however this appearance would only be gained at considerable expense and loss of efficiency. 

To provide at least an interim solution to maintaining the independence of the Boards of Appeal it is suggested that some rule changes may assist while a long-term solution is sought, desirably through amendment to the EPC. Suggested rule changes include:  

A.    Amendment to Rule 9(1) EPC to place direction of the Boards of Appeal and Enlarged Boards of Appeal with a Director of the Boards of Appeal, who would not be a Vice President of the Office. He/she would have budgetary responsibilities and would report directly to the Administrative Council. This avoids the current blend of responsibilities to the executive and judiciary that led to R19/12. He/she might also be Chairman of the Enlarged Board;  

B.    The President’s supervisory authority over BoA members (Article 10(2)(f) EPC) to be delegated to the Director under Article 10(2)(i) EPC. This fills the gap highlighted by the recent events. If urgent action to exclude a BoA member appears necessary, pending disciplinary proceedings by the AC, then it can be taken by the Director. This is to the benefit of the President since there would be no reason why he need become mired in controversy.  

C.   Amendment to Rule 12(1) EPC by replacing reference to the VP with reference to the Director of Boards of Appeal.  

D.    Provision for the Director to be appointed by the AC on a proposal of the Enlarged Board (or for an extremely independent approach – by election from the Boards of Appeal subject to approval by the AC);  

E.    Introduction of Rules under Article 11(3) EPC concerning how and under what criteria the President will propose BoA members, in particular relating the number of Board members to demand and backlogs, and indicating how people may put their names forward;  

F.    Provision for a separate Chapter in the EPO budget relating to the Boards of Appeal to provide transparency as to costs; 

G.    If they do not exist, the AC to introduce and publish disciplinary rules for Board of
Appeal members and for others over whom it has disciplinary authority [The institutional secrecy of the EPO is damaging to its reputation and allows rumours to spread unchecked. The damage done is evident from recent events.];  

H.    Introduction of Rules or guidelines concerning under what circumstances (e.g. health, safety, public order), and for what duration, the President may temporarily exclude members of the Board of Appeal from the premises of the EPO without prior agreement of the Director of Boards of Appeal.

The above proposals only represent interim measures. CIPA is of the view that amendment to the EPC is necessary to give a secure guarantee of independence. When the EPC is next
amended CIPA will be ready to contribute to the debate on what specific changes are necessary.   

Yours sincerely,

J. C. Boff, Chairman of CIPA Patents Committee

There are plenty of anonymous comments there and here are some of Merpel’s own remarks:

The current ongoing controversy over the (mis)governance of the European Patent Office (EPO) Boards of Appeal is due to come before the Administrative Council (AC) when it next meets on 25 March. As this moggy recently reported, some groundwork has been done in advance of that meeting, with proposals apparently having been drafted by the members of the AC’s inner sanctum, Board 28. Jesper Kongstad, who chairs the AC, met with members of the Boards of Appeal, without sharing the details of the proposed reforms, but the topic will undoubtedly come before Board 28 when it convenes again on March 10.

[...]

Merpel thinks that the AC could do worse than take the template set out by CIPA below, and use this as a starting point for their reforms. It seems to deal with all the majors gaps in governance that have emerged in the last three months, and to suggest practical ways of plugging those gaps until the EPC is eventually amended (something that won’t happen during the tenure of Mr Battistelli, bets Merpel). In addition to the legal reforms required to separate powers, Merpel is interested to see that CIPA is also proposing fiscal changes, to give the Boards their own budget and financial independence.

The European Patent Lawyers Association (EPLAW) has repeatedly complained as well, so this is part of a pattern. Not only EPO staff complaint but stakeholders too.

We don’t expect the EPO to last in its current state for much longer.

Links 19/2/2015: Hewlett-Packard on Cumulus Linux, Previews of GNOME 3.16 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 8:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • A developer’s guide to getting into open source

    Want to contribute to an open source project, but don’t know where to start? Finding the first problem to fix in an unfamiliar codebase can seem pretty difficult—and even more so if it counts millions of lines of code—but it’s usually much easier than it looks. This article should give you a few tips and ideas on how to get started.

  • Open source Graylog puts Splunk on notice

    Splunk, the log analysis system that’s evolved into a full-blown, machine-generated data processing platform (also described as “Google for visual analytics”), faces competition from a rising wave of open source competitors. One of the most prominent, Graylog, has unveiled its formal 1.0 release. Graylog’s success won’t be in meeting or exceeding Splunk’s feature set or performance, though; it’ll be in capturing or re-creating Splunk’s existing ecosystem of users and applications.

  • Events

    • Getting Things Started at SCALE 13x

      As midnight Wednesday becomes Thursday morning, SCALE Team members continue to put in hours, doing everything from wiring the rooms to stuffing swag bags, getting ready for 8 a.m. Thursday morning, when registration opens. Once that happens, the show is on the clock and all the work that those on the SCALE Team have put in so far — the long hours of work prior to, and leading up to, the show — and the work that the team puts in during the course of the show becomes the cornucopia enjoyed by the attendees.

      Reunions are quick — those who keep in touch through emails or social media over the course of the year meet face-to-face for the first time since last February. Security is called at times (just kidding, right Phillip Ballew?) and quick hellos give way to pitching in with what’s left to be done before the show opens in around eight hours.

    • 10 Great Quotes on PaaS and Containers from Collab Summit 2015

      A panel of Platform as a Service and container experts at Collaboration Summit Monday didn’t agree on many things – including the relative importance of PaaS and containers, which is more useful for developers, and how the ecosystem will evolve. But they all agreed that the PaaS ecosystem relies on open source to remain relevant and useful.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Emilia-Romagna completes switch to OpenOffice

      The administration of the Italian region Emilia-Romagna will complete its switch to Apache OpenOffice next month, says Giovanni Grazia, an IT project manager for the region. Emilia-Romagna is making the Open Document Format ODF the default on all 4200 workstations, across 10 departments and 5 agencies.

      Emilia-Romagna is adding several tools to the OpenOffice suite, “improving the user experience”, says Grazia. Three of these are publicly available OpenOffice extensions, but others are being developed especially for the region. The latter will be made available as open source within the next few weeks, Grazia says.

      The first of the official OpenOffice extensions used in the region is Alba, which makes it easy to insert in a document one or more pages with a different orientation. The second is Pagination, which improves the insertion of page numbers. Third is PDFImport, which allows the import of PDFs into OpenOffice.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 4.1.1 Maintenance Release

      WordPress 4.1.1 is now available. This maintenance release fixes 21 bugs in version 4.1.

      Some of you may have been waiting to update to the latest version until now, but there just wasn’t much to address. WordPress 4.1 was a smooth-sailing release and has seen more than 14 million downloads in the last two months.

  • BSD

    • Lumina Desktop 0.8.2 Released!

      The next version of the Lumina desktop environment has just been released! Version 0.8.2 is mainly a “spit-and-polish” release: focusing on bugfixes, overall appearances, and interface layout/design. The FreeBSD port has already been updated to the new version, and the PC-BSD “Edge” repository will be making the new version available within the next day or two (packages building now). If you are creating/distributing your own packages, you can find the source code for this release in the “qt5/0.8.2″ branch in the Lumina repository on GitHub.

      The major difference that people will notice is that the themes/colors distributed with the desktop have been greatly improved, and I have included a few examples below. The full details about the changes in this release are listed at the bottom of the announcement.

      Reminder: The Lumina desktop environment is still considered to be “beta-quality”, so if you find things that either don’t work or don’t work well, please report them on the PC-BSD bug tracker so that they can get fixed as soon as possible.

    • PC-BSD Releases Lumina Desktop 0.8.2

      The PC-BSD developers behind the original Lumina Desktop Environment have put out a new “spit and polish” release of Lumina.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Does your open hardware project need a license?

        The last part is in place, you can still smell the solder in the room. Your open hardware project is complete. So, what comes next? The hard part: do you need a license?

        The first step is to determine if you have anything to license. For those of us coming from the software world, this step may seem odd.

        Michael Weinberg, Vice President at Public Knowledge and a board member of the Open Source Hardware Association, tells us, “Software is protected by copyright (and protected automatically), so you can safely assume that you have something to license when you write software.”

  • Standards/Consortia

    • What is HTTP/2 and is it going to speed up the web?

      The web is about to get faster thanks to a new version of HTTP – the biggest change since 1999 to the protocol that underpins the world wide web as we know it today.

      Hypertext Transfer Protocol is familiar to most as the http:// at the beginning of a web address. It governs the connections between a user’s browser and the server hosting a website, invented by the father of the web Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

Leftovers

  • Should publishers try to block ad blockers?

    Ad blockers have always been controversial among publishers. Many web publishers resent the use of ad blockers and feel that they are being cheated out of their rightful ad revenue. Some have even started to block access to their content when they detect an ad blocker in a reader’s browser.

    [...]

    Readers don’t use ad blockers because they want to cheat publishers out of revenue or act in an otherwise aggressive or nasty way. They use them because some web advertising has become incredibly obnoxious or intrusive.

  • Hardware

    • Qualcomm Announces Four New Snapdragon Processors

      Qualcomm announced yesterday the introduction of four new Snapdragon processors that the company says will “take 4G LTE and multimedia to new heights”. These new processors are the Snapdragon 620, 618, 425, and 415.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Measles makes its mark all over again: One of humanity’s oldest foes is back on the increase

      Abu Bakr Mohammad Ibn Zakariya al-Razi – the great Persian physician often described as the grandfather of pediatric medicine – was a meticulous man. Before the age of 30, he discovered ethanol, thanks to the careful application of the then new art of distillation.

      When overseeing the building of a new hospital in Baghdad, al-Razi hung raw meat around the city and broke ground where the meat putrefied most slowly. And, in one of the 200 or so books that he wrote, he created the first and most extraordinarily detailed account of one of the most infectious diseases ever known.

  • Security

  • Privacy

    • In France, La Quadrature du Net Brings Legal Challenge Against Mass Surveillance

      Together with FFDN, a federation of community-driven non-profit ISPs, La Quadrature du Net is bringing a legal action before the French Council of State against a decree on administrative access to online communications metadata. Through this decree, it is a whole pillar of the legal basis for Internet surveillance that is being challenged. This appeal, which builds on the European Union Court of Justice’s recent decision on data retention, comes as the French government is instrumentalizing last month’s tragic events to further its securitarian agenda, with an upcoming bill on intelligence services.

    • Lenovo’s bundled adware also comes with a worrying security hole

      We reported earlier today on Lenovo bundling adware with some of its newer computers, but over the last few hours it’s emerged that the situation is worse than originally thought.

      The software, named Superfish, was pre-installed by Lenovo on some consumer computers. The software injects unwanted advertising into users’ browsers in search results and on third-party websites.

    • Lenovo Is Breaking HTTPS Security on its Recent Laptops

      News broke last night that Lenovo has been shipping laptops with a horrifically dangerous piece of software called Superfish, which tampers with Windows’ cryptographic security to perform man-in-the-middle attacks against the user’s browsing. This is done in order to inject advertising into secure HTTPS pages, a feature most users don’t want implemented in the most insecure possible way.1

    • Lenovo honestly thought you’d enjoy that Superfish HTTPS spyware

      Imagine that you are a major global seller of laptop computers and that you were just caught preloading those machines with ultra-invasive adware that hijacks even fully encrypted Web sessions by using a self-signed root HTTPS certificate from a company called Superfish. How do you explain why you did it?

    • Lenovo installs adware on its computers that could let hackers steal private data
    • It has been 0 days since the last significant security failure. It always will be.

      Lenovo deserve criticism. The level of incompetence involved here is so staggering that it wouldn’t be a gross injustice for the company to go under as a result[1]. But let’s not pretend that this is some sort of isolated incident. As an industry, we don’t care about user security. We will gladly ship products with known security failings and no plans to update them. We will produce devices that are locked down such that it’s impossible for anybody else to fix our failures. We will hide behind vague denials, we will obfuscate the impact of flaws and we will deflect criticisms with announcements of new and shinier products that will make everything better.

    • How Spies Stole the Keys to the Encryption Castle

      AMERICAN AND BRITISH spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      The hack was perpetrated by a joint unit consisting of operatives from the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. The breach, detailed in a secret 2010 GCHQ document, gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, including both voice and data.

    • Alleged hack of encypted sim-card producer Gemalto by NSA and GCHQ

      With reference to writing to the Commission (dated 9/9/2013) on alleged hacks into the Dutch based SWIFT-server and Written Questions on the alleged infiltration of the Belgium based Belgacom servers and the Commission systems with the use of REGIN-malware (E-010269-14 of 5/12/2014);

Techrights Under Attack Again, Shortly After Important EPO Articles

Posted in Site News at 11:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benoit Battistelli

Summary: Techrights highlights a pattern that is months old; Site faces availability issues shortly after reports about the European Patent Office and its abuses

TODAY we published three very important articles regarding the EPO. It didn’t take more than an hour for the site to become inaccessible. Cracking attempts against Techrights sharply rose to a pace of ~1 per second (it’s usually quite bad, but not that bad) and Techrights was down due to exhausted resources, as is so often the case (for 6 months now) after writing major reports about EPO scandals. Investigation ensued (we still study the damage and the cause) and we are back online. Risk of brute-force SSH attacks on Techrights had already been mitigated by restriction to key-only authorisation, but that did not protect from DDOS attacks with large enough IP addresses pool. There is a reason and motivation, but we don’t know whose. Correlations (in timing and more) have inspired mere guesses over the past 6 months. We have been taking comprehensive site backups specifically before publishing key (exclusive) articles about the EPO; we didn’t do this in our entire history as a public site (which is almost a decade old). With mass protests, ugly coverups, violations of the law and resignations already happening there is a lot at stake here. DDOS attacks against us started around the same time the series about the EPO began, lasting months and sometimes persevering for weeks at a time (causing downtime or limited availability). I lost many nights of sleep over it. So has my wife.

“The EPO is already being sued by staff, which forced it (in The Hague) to stop censoring (essentially attacking) the voice of staff.”We already have it confirmed that EPO is in such as sordid mess that there are censorship attacks (by the EPO's management) on EPO staff. This is the same management which is misusing taxpayers' money, paying for fake coverage to glorify EPO management in respected publications such as the New Scientist. The decision from the EPO to plant ‘articles’/’testimonies’ (for a fee!) will backfire badly on Benoît Battistelli. As one IPKat comment put it: “As we read the various comments from the anonymice, keep in mind, dear Reader, that a comment that gives every appearance of coming from an EPO Examiner might in fact be disinformation coming from a crony of the President. And vice versa, of course.”

The EPO is already being sued by staff, which forced it (in The Hague) to stop censoring (essentially attacking) the voice of staff. This never prevented staff from accessing information from home (after work). “I think that’s the begining [sic.] of the end of Battistelli reign,” says a comment from the past hour, “it will create a scandal bigger that the Edith Cresson scandal” (context here).

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