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10.25.14

Links 25/10/2014: KDE Mockups, Update on GNOME Outreach Program for Women

Posted in News Roundup at 6:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Pondering FOSS foundations

      In the case of the Document Foundation, the LibreOffice project needed an independent, solid and meritocratic entity dedicated to support it. In other terms, the OpenOffice.org community wanted to be its own boss and stop relying on corporate – or even third party – good will. If you attend the Community Track on the 31st you will be able to learn more about the Document Foundation and the other entities, but my message here is that while there is no silver bullet in these matters, forcing a community be hosted or to bend to a software vendor never works. It bends if it wants to; it goes whereever it wishes to go. In the case of the Document Foundation, independence and community rule prevailed over convenience; today the results do not need to be proven anymore. But it does not mean we hold the truth more than anybody else: we just ensured the community was in charge.

  • BSD/UNIX

    • Using Older Software and Hardware

      Others will argue that as the feature set of an operating system increases it is inevitable that its size will also increase. That is true but I can’t help wonder exactly why libc.a has to be almost 3 megabytes in size. There has been work done to make a leaner libc with the MUSL project. MUSL libc.a is a mere 1.6 megabytes which is significantly smaller.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • VFX Coder Proposes MOX, a Crowdfunded Open-Source Movie File Format

      Can a crowdfunded open-source project bring the industry together behind a QuickTime killer? Brendan Bolles, a veteran of The Orphanage and an experienced programmer of VFX plug-ins, thinks so. He’s asking the industry to contribute money supporting his development of a specification and open-source software library for MOX, a new cross-platform, patent-free professional movie format combining audio and video in an MXF container.

Leftovers

  • Graffiti artwork from Banksy, ‘The Guerrilla Artist’
  • Health/Nutrition

    • DNA Sequence Analysis Shows Ebola Outbreak Naturally Ocurring, Not Engineered Virus

      I had really hoped I wasn’t going to have to write this post. Yesterday, Marcy emailed me a link to a Washington’sBlog post that breathlessly asks us “Was Ebola Accidentally Released from a Bioweapons Lab In West Africa?” Sadly, that post relies on an interview with Francis Boyle, whom I admire greatly for his work as a legal scholar on bioweapons. My copy of his book is very well-thumbed. But Boyle and WashingtonsBlog are just wrong here, and it takes only seconds to prove them wrong.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Mexico: Crude Oil Leak Reaches Cazones River in Veracruz

      Due to the leak, the state civil authorities confirmed that 150 people needed to be evacuated from the El Chote, Troncones, and other communities near the Cocineros River.

    • Bill Gates gobbling up Florida farmland

      The investment company that manages the wealth of the world’s richest man, Bill Gates, has been acquiring gobs of farmland in north Florida the past two years, real estate records show.
      Lakeland Sands Florida, a subsidiary of Cascade Investments LLC, which oversees the Gates fortune, recently bought more than 4,500 acres in Suwanee County near McAlpin, an unincorporated community just south of here.
      The price: $27,961,144.69, according to court records.
      The farm land was sold by Seldom Rest Inc., an agriculture and forestry company based in Donaldsonville, Ga. John S. Bailey, the company’s vice president, declined to comment on the transaction.

    • Here’s What Actually Scares Americans About the Future

      For starters, 35.9 percent of Americans find it either ‘Very Likely’ or ‘Fairly Likely’ that the biblical Armageddon will come to pass. That’s far fewer than the number of people who fear that we’re going to run out of oil—56.9 percent of us think we’re going to “exhaust the Earth’s oil supply.”

  • Finance

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Vodafone’s written evidence to the UK Investigatory Powers Review

      On the 10th July 2014, the UK Government announced, in light of the diverse and emerging threats faced by the UK and the need to uphold civil liberties, a review of the capabilities and powers required by law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies, and the regulatory framework within which those capabilities and powers would be exercised.

    • Keith Alexander Now Being Vetted By Everybody For Everything After Leaving The Protective Shelter Of The NSA

      Former NSA head Keith Alexander continues to draw the sort of attention he probably hoped he had left behind by resigning his post. His questionable business venture — a private banking security firm seemingly dependent on patents and methods polished during his tenure at the NSA — has drawn pointed questions from legislators and a second glance from the internal ethics apparatus of the intelligence agency.

      Alexander apparently thought it would be fine for him to use the talents of the NSA’s current Chief Technology Officer, Patrick Dowd, for his new private venture. You see, Alexander didn’t want the country to lose a bright spy mind, but didn’t really want his own IronNet Security firm to go without Dowd’s talents either. So he compromised. The country could have Dowd full-time as long as he could spend 20 hours a week securing banks with Chief Keith.

    • US former NSA chief suspected of insider trading with Chinese, Russian stocks

      Keith Alexander, former director of the US National Security Agency, is suspected of insider trading during his term in office, according to US-based bimonthly magazine Foreign Policy.

    • Where Is the Investigation Into Financial Corruption at the NSA?

      Earlier this year, when Keith Alexander resigned as head of the National Security Agency, he began trying to cash in on expertise he’d gained while in government, pitching himself as a security consultant who could protect Wall Street banks and other large corporations from cyber-attacks by hackers or foreign governments. Early reports focused on the eye-popping price tag for his services: He reportedly asked for $1 million a month, later decreasing his rate to $600,000.

    • Why was America’s top spy also a fertilizer day-trader?

      Fertilizer is a strategic commodity, and that’s no load of manure.
      In fact, it’s potash—a mineral salt mined from the ground to add nitrogen to industrial fertilizer production. In the past several years, the production of this valued commodity has been shaken up: In 2013, an informal cartel between two companies in Belarus and Russia that had dominated the industry was shattered—probably by Chinese pressure—and the Russian company’s CEO was held hostage by the government in Belarus, at least until Russian oligarch (and NBA franchise-owner) Mikhail Prokhorov bought his freedom.

    • ALL THE NSA WILL SAY ABOUT ITS ALARMINGLY ENTREPRENEURIAL TOP SPY IS THAT SHE’S RESIGNING

      Teresa O’Shea used to be the National Security Agency’s director of signals intelligence, plus the wife of an executive in the business of selling things to agencies like hers, plus the host of a home-based signals intelligence business, plus the owner, via yet another business, of a six-seat airplane and resort-town condo.

    • Tech giants use Patriot Act anniversary to push NSA reform

      Leading tech companies are using Sunday’s 13th anniversary of the Patriot Act to push Congress to pass legislation reining in the National Security Agency (NSA).

    • Colorado Senate Candidates Both Back NSA Reform

      Supporters of Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., say his possible re-election loss to Republican Rep. Cory Gardner would be a significant setback for privacy and mass surveillance reform.

      The Hill reported Sunday that Udall’s potential defeat has some civil liberties activists worried, and the libertarian publication Reason warned Monday his loss would “further dim the prospects of real reform to America’s burgeoning surveillance state.”

      Gardner says that’s not true.

    • Letter: Gardner will carry water for traditional GOP

      Cory Gardner’s voting record follows the obstructionist Republican representatives Sen. Ted Cruz, who shut down the government (cost $20 billion), blocked immigration reform and brought the United States close to default on its debt.

      [...]

      He still wastes time on Benghazi and IRS red herrings. He would not have the courage to oppose his base on the next war vote. His vote on the next Supreme Court Justice would give the reactionary court another member who favors wealth over community, and repeal of Roe vs Wade. Republicans campaign on tax reduction then, once elected, switch to voter restriction, suppression of abortion rights and revocation of collective bargaining. Gardner will do the same.

    • European Privacy in the Age of Snowden: We Need a Debate About What Intelligence Agencies Are Doing
    • European Privacy in the Age of Snowden

      A look at look at the impact of Edward Snowden’s leaks on the debate over online privacy in Europe: The Austrian newspaper Der Standard reports the NSA has accessed nearly 70 percent of telecommunications in Vienna, home to thousands of diplomats from around the world. Earlier this year, Germany ordered the removal of a top U.S. intelligence official in the country after leaks from Snowden showed the United States was monitoring the communications of millions of Germans and tapping Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone. In a victory for digital privacy, the European Court of Justice struck down a rule that required telecommunication companies to store the communications data of European Union citizens for up to two years. The ruling happened on the same day Snowden addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from Moscow.

    • Whatever You Think Of Edward Snowden, Go See Citizenfour Now
    • Snowden filmmaker: Lawmakers ‘failed the public’

      Filmmaker Laura Poitras has harsh words for members of Congress she thinks have sat idly on the sidelines while intelligence agencies stretch the limits of the law.

      “Our elected officials have failed the public,” Poitras, whose reporting based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden won a Pulitzer Prize earlier this year, told The Hill in an interview on Friday.

    • ‘Citizenfour’ documents Edward Snowden leaking NSA material

      Imagine if Bob Woodward’s clandestine meetings in a Washington D.C., parking garage with Deep Throat had been documented — or, better yet, filmed by Woodward, himself.

      The analogy isn’t perfect, but that’s about the closest equivalent to Laura Poitras’ one-of-a-kind documentary “Citizenfour,” which captures former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden during his leak of NSA documents to Poitras (a documentarian and reporter) and journalist Glenn Greenwald.

    • Citizenfour Review: Quiet Moments in a Hong Kong Hotel Room as Edward Snowden, Journalists Fight to Save Democracy

      Hong Kong has been ground zero this year in the fight for freedom, with students and Occupy leaders battling police for control of the streets in a desperate campaign to maintain the Chinese territory’s relative autonomy from erosion by the central Beijing government.

    • Citizenfour Review
    • Laura Poitras on Her Edward Snowden Documentary: “I Was a Participant As Much As a Documentarian”
    • Avast Used SafePrice To Spy On Anti-Virus Users

      Avast, one of the leaders in anti-virus software, has been called out over its rather intrusive Avast SafePrice toolbar, after online tech magazine HowToGeek spotted the service sending back information about the user to its own servers.

    • Canadian And American Politicians Use Ottawa Shootings As Excuses To Demand More Surveillance, Greater Policing Powers
    • Leahy: Ottawa shooting no reason to stop NSA reform

      This week’s shooting at Canada’s parliament building should not give lawmakers a reason to halt work on reforming the National Security Agency (NSA), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said on Friday.

      The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman has been making a strong push to get the Senate to pass his USA Freedom Act this year, and rejected the notion that terrorist attacks like the one in the Canadian capital should give lawmakers pause.

    • Snead: NSA Revelations Have Chilling Effect on Cloud Growth in U.S.

      Data center customers are beginning to avoid the U.S. and place their infrastructure elsewhere because of data sovereignty concerns caused by revelations about NSA surveillance, according to David Snead, founder of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition (I2C).

    • Snowden filmmaker Laura Poitras: ‘Facebook is a gift to intelligence agencies’

      Poitras, who received a Pulitzer Prize for her work with The Washington Post and the Guardian covering the revelations, sat down with the Switch to discuss the film and how technical advances may make it easier for us to keep our online lives private. This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

    • ‘Yep, we spied illegally’

      The US government spied on electronic communications between Americans with no links to terror suspects until a judge ruled it illegal in 2011, officials acknowledged Wednesday.

      The unlawful program, which involved tens of thousands of emails, was revealed in declassified documents from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which reviews the legality of eavesdropping programs.

      The court’s opinions are usually kept secret but the government chose to release the documents amid a firestorm over sweeping surveillance operations, following bombshell leaks from a former US intelligence contractor, Edward Snowden.

    • Snowden’s Motivation: What the Internet Was Like Before It Was Being Watched, and How We Can Get There Again

      Laura Poitras’ riveting new documentary about mass surveillance gives an intimate look into the motivations that guided Edward Snowden, who sacrificed his career and risked his freedom to expose mass surveillance by the NSA. CITIZENFOUR, which debuts on Friday, has many scenes that explore the depths of government surveillance gone awry and the high-tension unfolding of Snowden’s rendezvous with journalists in Hong Kong. One of the most powerful scenes in the film comes when Snowden discusses his motivation for the disclosures and points to his fundamental belief in the power and promise of the Internet:

    • CIA Snooping No Big Deal, Key Republican Senator Suggests

      The Republican who may chair the Senate Intelligence Committee if his party wins control of the chamber in next month’s election isn’t too worried about CIA snooping on Congress, or about the agency’s combative director.

      Relations between CIA Director John Brennan and Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have been chilly since she revealed that the agency spied on Senate staffers who were working on a report about CIA torture tactics under former President George W. Bush. Some Democrats have called on Brennan to resign.

      But Sen. Richard Burr — a North Carolina Republican who could become intelligence chairman in a GOP-led Senate — is much cheerier about the CIA and its leader.

    • American Companies Are Getting Way Too Cozy With the National Security Agency

      Newly disclosed National Security Agency documents suggest a closer relationship between American companies and the spy agency than has been previously disclosed.

      The documents, published by the Intercept, describe “contractual relationships” between the NSA and U.S. companies, as well as the fact that the NSA has “under cover” spies working at or with some U.S. companies.

    • NSW Privacy Commissioner ‘disappointed’ by slow rate of progress

      In the Information and Privacy Commission’s latest annual report, Coombs said she was not happy with the rate of progress towards privacy reforms and the development of agency guidance, calling it “a missed opportunity to assist NSW public sector agencies and members of the public”.

    • Opinion: Merkel’s cellphone was a wake-up call

      Exactly one year ago it was revealed that the NSA had tapped the German chancellor’s cellphone. The government is now finally starting to address the spying issue – but Marcel Fürstenau believes more should be done.

    • Can a Germany-based data center ease privacy concerns?

      While it will take more than a Germany-based cloud computing center to relieve the tension between Berlin and the U.S. regarding the NSA’s persistent data-culling practices, it’s an important step on Amazon’s part to recognize the privacy concerns of Germans. It might be a band aid, but it’s a significant one.

    • Lone lawyer sues Obama, alleging illegality of surveillance programs

      Justice Department lawyers have asked a federal court in Pittsburgh to dismiss a sweeping lawsuit brought earlier this year by a local lawyer against President Barack Obama and other top intelligence officials.

    • Lawyer Goes After Obama Administration, Sues Over Illegal NSA Spying

      Elliot Schuchardt from Pittsburgh filed a complaint last month citing Executive Order 12333, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act, and Section 215 of the Patriot Act, as stepping beyond the bounds of legality.

    • Citizenfour’s Escape to Freedom in Russia

      In early September in Russia, National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden told me about a documentary entitled Citizenfour, named after the alias he used when he asked filmmaker Laura Poitras to help him warn Americans about how deeply the NSA had carved away their freedoms.

    • Clueless FBI sabotages its own anti-encryption campaign

      FBI Director James Comey continues to bang the drum about the evils of smartphone encryption and the harm it will do to U.S. law enforcement efforts. Fortunately, few people are persuaded, possibly because Comey himself seems of two minds — and baffled by technology to boot.

      Comey has been on a media tear denouncing the default smartphone encryption provided by Apple, with its recently released iOS 8, and Google, with its next-generation Lollipop Android OS. No one without the passcode — not even Apple or Google — can break the encryption, which leaves law enforcement “struggling to keep up” with criminals, Comey said in a speech to the Brookings Institution.

      [...]

      But in an interview with “60 Minutes” this month, Comey led off by saying, “I believe that Americans should be deeply skeptical of government power. You cannot trust people in power.” He then illustrated this by sidestepping the question of whether the FBI gathers electronic surveillance and passes it to the NSA, and insisting (incorrectly) that the FBI can never read your email without a court order.

      [...]

      A Washington Post editorial is one of the few voices to support Comey and call for a “compromise” on smartphone encryption. While granting that “a police ‘back door’ for all smartphones is undesirable,” the Post said surely “a kind of secure golden key” that could only be used by people with an approved court warrant could be invented.

    • Why Isn’t Silicon Valley Donating to Pro-Internet Privacy Candidates?

      Silicon Valley is a relatively new player in the Wild West world that is political spending. So maybe that can cut them slack for failing to give money to the candidates with big techs best interests at heart.

    • Russia and China Edge Out US With Proposed Cyber Security Pact
    • Russia, China to cooperate on cybersecurity amid tensions with U.S.
    • Canadian Government Seizes on Ottawa Shooting to Promote Militarist, Anti-democratic Agenda

      Speaking in parliament Thursday—the day after a gunman fatally shot a soldier at Ottawa’s National War Memorial, then entered the main block of the national parliament—Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed to greatly strengthen Canada’s national security apparatus.

      “Our law and police powers,” declared Harper, “need to be strengthened in the area of surveillance, detention and arrest.” He continued, “I assure you that work—which is already underway—will be expedited.”

    • Pulitzer winner Glenn Greenwald to speak on surveillance and privacy Saturday in Ottawa
    • Annie Machon, former partner of David Shayler, reflects on impact of Snowden revelations at Playful conference

      The former partner of an MI6 whistleblower has described the “dangerous moral slide” of the UK’s intelligence services, comparing a 1996 assassination plot against then Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to his treatment during the 2011 uprising.

    • UK Foreign Minister: Bulk Data Collection Is Not Mass Surveillance

      British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has told the United Kingdom Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee that bulk data collection did not amount to mass surveillance.

      In public remarks, he said, “Mass surveillance is illegal. There are strict rules in place to make sure data collected is not used in any way. I think the immediate discarding of 99.9 per cent of the data does not give rise to intrusion.”

    • The End of Privacy

      Everyone loves a story about a small group of outsiders challenging the power structure and successfully rattling the cage of the 600-pound gorilla. We love it all the more when the group’s size totals less than the fingers on one hand and the gorilla is the national security apparatus of the largest military power in the history of the human race. In real life, these stories rarely end well for the little guys.

    • Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

      Mark Udall, US Senator for Colorado, looks almost born into the job. He has the rangy cowboy build – his jeans’ back pockets reveal a pair of shades and a water bottle – and on the stump he hits every progressive policy button you think would tickle the state’s high plains and mountain voters. Climate change is real, fracking is tricky.

    • Wyden pushes back on criticism over NSA

      Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) suggested he could have been expelled from Congress if he revealed classified information — pushing back on criticism that he did not do enough to expose National Security Agency surveillance programs.

    • THE SURVEILLANCE STATE AND YOU

      In the words of that wise Twitter account, Infosec Taylor Swift, “Mass surveillance is the elegant oppression, a panopticon without bars. Its cage is… behind the eyes—in the mind.” Under authority’s gaze, many people become smaller, more obedient, less daring.

      Surveillance leaves scars.

      Privacy activists rightly denounce the blanket surveillance of “innocent Americans.” But what about those who, because of skin color or faith, power has marked as guilty? If you’re not a “person of interest” technologies like PGP, Tor, and Jabber OTR can be enough to keep your most of your communications out of the NSA’s dragnet. If you’re a member of a marginalized group, the stakes are higher. Pockets of privacy become more scarce.The government’s gaze is not only fixed on your laptop. You’re watched by the CCTV camera, the neighborhood informer, the cop loitering on the corner. Surveillance bleeds into your life, online and off.

    • Belgacom says alleged GCHQ APT attack cost firm £12 million

      In September 2013, Belgacom was hit by a suspected Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attack which, according to leaked documents from NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden which were published by German newspaper Der Spiegel, was the work of the NSA and UK’s own GCHQ.

    • Laura Poitras: “I knew this was going to piss off the most powerful people in the world”

      The Pulitzer-winning filmmaker talks about shooting those history-shaping Snowden-Greenwald meetings in Hong Kong

    • Another Attorney-Client Conversation Spied On

      Last month, I laid out the several attorney client conversations to which Raez Qadir Khan was party that the government wiretapped. Among the 7 privileged conversations wiretapped by the government was a January 2010 conversation he had with his immigration attorney after being told by the FBI he could not travel to see his family.

    • Julian Assange: Google’s Basic Business Model ‘Same as the NSA’s’

      In a conversation with “Imaginary Lines” host Chris Spannos, WikiLeaks founder and Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange discussed his new book, “When Google Met WikiLeaks,” which is based on a conversation Assange had with Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.

    • How NSA Spying, Google and Chlorinated Chickens Are Pitting Germans Against Americans — And What to Do About It

      I see an increased nervousness in my country about America. Even though both our countries have an eagle on their coat of arms, people currently are focused on a different bird: the chicken. And not just any old chicken, but the “Chlorhuhn” chicken. Perhaps I should translate it for you: The “Chlorhuhn” is a chicken that has been disinfected in a bath of chlorine — as American food companies do it.

    • Backlash will render mass surveillance moot

      MASS SURVEILLANCE will inevitably create a backlash of popular evasion and encryption, rendering most of the government intelligence agencies’ communications surveillance efforts largely ineffective and moot.

    • Obama administration mixes signals on user security

      To be clear, Access commends the administration’s new Executive Order. Secure systems, in every layer of the internet, are the key to user privacy, so it’s encouraging that as part of its announcement on Friday, Obama also renewed his push for cybersecurity legislation. However, recently drafted legislation has focused almost exclusively on information sharing for critical infrastructure companies, ignoring the larger picture; the bills were missing initiatives that directly protect users. In a letter to the president earlier this year, Access and a coalition of organizations and experts called for legislation that would incentivize improved digital security and provide resources for cybersecurity education, foster better international dialogue about cybersecurity, and create new transparency obligations. This Executive Order starts to address these gaps.

    • Marc Andreessen Calls Snowden Traitor, Doesn’t Want Democracy

      Though Silicon Valley and the tech industry is generally known as being more liberal than other economic sectors it is worth noting that it too has its share of plutocrat reactionaries. Though venture capitalist Tom Perkins became the face of the faction with his comparison of Occupy Wall Street to Nazis, a more relevant example would be Mark Andreessen who not only stands out as opposing measures to rein in wealth inequality but has trumpeted his support for domestic surveillance programs.

      Andreessen’s claim to fame was starting the early internet browser company Netscape which he essentially privatized without payment from a government sponsored project at a the University of Illinois. Netscape would be ultimately be crushed by Microsoft but Andreessen would stay in the tech world and become a founder and partner at one of the Silicon Valley’s most powerful venture capital firms – Andreessen Horowitz.

    • Edward Snowden: the true story behind his NSA leaks

      Laura Poitras, the director of Citizenfour, tells the Telegraph how the whistle-blower entrusted her with revealing to the world his secrets about American government mass surveillance

      [...]

      It was at that point that Poitras stopped using the telephone in her apartment, bought a new computer for cash and started checking her email account only in public places.

    • You’re Being Watched, And Don’t You Forget It

      Citizenfour addresses these questions in arresting, often chilling fashion. Near the end of the film, Poitras meets again with Snowden, as he and Greenwald review information provided by a new leaker. They can only communicate via written notes for fear of bugging, and most of their writings are not shown to the camera. One of the few notes we do see bears the number of people on an NSA watchlist: more than one million. It’s both a terrifying grace note and a call to action.

  • Civil Rights

    • Lewinsky mistreated by authorities in investigation of Clinton, report says

      Lewinsky’s voice cracked as she recalled the moment in January 1998 when she was first confronted by FBI agents and lawyers working for Kenneth W. Starr’s Office of Independent Counsel, who threatened her and her mother with criminal prosecution if she did not agree to wear a wire against President Bill Clinton.

      Lewinsky, now 41, has long felt that she was mistreated by authorities in the 12-hour marathon session, which began as an ambush at the food court at the Pentagon City mall and then moved to a hotel room at the mall’s adjoining Ritz-Carlton hotel.

    • Local Law Enforcement Chipping Away at the Fourth Amendment

      At the same time, the proliferation of low-cost surveillance devices, such as license plate scanners and Stingray, continue to raise new questions even as a handful of older ones are resolved. The battle against the tyrant King George continues.

    • A Print Magazine for Hackers

      At the same time, 2600 provides an important forum for hackers to discuss the most pressing issues of the day—whether it be surveillance, Internet freedom, or the security of the nation’s nuclear weapons—while sharing new code in languages like Python and C.* For example, the most recent issue of the magazine addresses how the hacking community can approach Snowden’s disclosures. After lampooning one of the leaked N.S.A. PowerPoint slides (“whoever wrote this clearly didn’t know that there are no zombies in ‘1984’ ”) and discussing how U.S. government is eroding civil rights, the piece points out the contradictions that everyone in the hacking community currently faces. “Hackers are the ones who reveal the inconvenient truths, point out security holes, and offer solutions,” it concludes. “And this is why hackers are the enemy in a world where surveillance and the status quo are the keys to power.”

    • Report: Obama Administration Considers Sidestepping U.N. Torture Ban Overseas

      The Obama administration is reportedly considering a move that would continue the Bush-era policy of ignoring the United Nations torture treaty overseas. In 2005, the Bush administration disclosed it had secretly interpreted a U.N. ban on “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” as not applying to any CIA or military prison outside of the United States. President Obama, then a senator, opposed Bush’s policy and proposed legislation to undermine it. The United States now faces a hearing before the Committee Against Torture at the United Nations next month. And according to The New York Times, “President Obama’s legal team is debating whether to back away from his earlier view” and “[reaffirm] the Bush administration’s position that the treaty imposes no legal obligation to bar cruelty outside U.S. borders.”

    • Torturing the Rule of Law

      When elements of the national-security apparatus deceive Congress or the courts, they undermine the very institutions that they protect. The CIA’s attempt to hide its history of torture from congressional oversight is Exhibit A.

    • Shameful side of the War on Terror

      Mr Risen also delves into the human wreckage left behind by the war on terror, portraying the hellish post-Army life of Damien M Corsetti, a soldier who, by Mr Risen’s account, engaged in torture at the Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad. He illustrates what the United States Army should have known before going into Iraq, that torture has two victims: the one who suffers it and the one who inflicts it. Mr Corsetti is shown living in Savannah, Georgia, having kicked an addiction to heroin, but living in a cloud of marijuana smoke with post-traumatic stress disorder. “He is one of the first veterans known to have been given full disability based on PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] suffered while conducting harsh interrogations in the war on terror,” Mr Risen writes.

    • IS PRESIDENT OBAMA PLANNING EXECUTIVE ORDER FOR CLOSURE OF GUANTÁNAMO?

      Last Thursday, out of the blue, Carol E. Lee and Jess Bravin of the Wall Street Journal reported that senior Obama administration officials had told them that the White House was drafting options that would allow President Obama to close the “war on terror” prison established by President Bush at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, through the use of an executive order.

    • Guantanamo’s horrifying irony: How Bush’s shadow looms over shutting it down

      Obama is mulling executive action to close Gitmo — and he may have to trade one ugly Bush legacy for another

    • White House Denies Report That Obama Plans to Close Guantanamo and Transfer Detainees to US
    • Amnesty International Report Faults the Police in Ferguson, Mo.

      The police in Ferguson, Mo., violated the rights of protesters during demonstrations after the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August, according to a report issued by Amnesty International on Friday.

      The human rights group said the Ferguson Police Department should review its standards, practices and training to ensure that they “conform fully to international standards.” And investigations into Mr. Brown’s death should be transparent and concluded as quickly as possible, the 23-page report said.

    • Man Calls a Suicide Prevention Hotline, SWAT Team Shows Up and Kills Him

      A Roy, Utah man, Jose Calzada, 35, placed a call to a suicide prevention hotline at 4:00 a.m. Tuesday morning and threatened to kill himself, seven hour later he was shot and killed by police, according to law enforcement.

      According to ABC 4, neighbors described Calzada as a quiet, friendly man, who was divorced and now lived in the home with his girlfriend and her children.

      The first tragic mistake in this case was made when the Weber County Consolidated Dispatch Center sent officers to the residence rather than some type of crisis response team trained to deal with suicidal individuals.

      From previous cases, such as that of Jason Turk, who was shot twice in the face after a suicide call to 9-1-1 by his wife, or that of Christian Alberto Sierra, who was suffering from depression and had attempted suicide when police showed up and shot him four times, killing him, most know all too well what happens when you send officers to “assist” people threatening suicide.

    • CHP Officer accused of stealing nude photos during suspect’s booking

      Bay Area CHP Officer Sean Harrington is accused of stealing nude cell phone pictures from a DUI suspect’s phone while she was being booked into the County Jail in Martinez. There is now evidence that other officers may also have been involved, and that possible criminal charges may be filed.

      “She’s tremendously distraught,” said Rick Madsen, the attorney for the young woman pulled over by Officer Harrington. He claims his client has been traumatized by this invasion of her privacy.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • A mountain of net neutrality comments, a privacy paradox, ransomware warnings and more

      FCC publishes 2.44 million comments from Open Internet docket

    • Latest In Cable Astroturfing: If You Squint, Twist, Spin And Mislead With Apples To Oranges Comparisons, US Broadband Is Great!

      For the past few months, I’d been pitched a few times from people (often somehow, if in murky ways, connected to the broadband industry) arguing that all those stories about how the US is far behind in broadband is untrue if you just looked at certain states. The basic argument is that since the US is so large, it’s not fair to compare it to, say, South Korea. Instead, they claim, if you just look at a few states in the US, those states compare quite well to this country or that country. Of course, to make a total fruit basket out of mixed metaphors, this is pretty blatant cherry picking apples to compare to oranges. We haven’t written any of those stories, but apparently someone went and created a misleading infographic to try to make the point on a site called “the Connectivist.”

    • Secretive funding fuels ongoing net neutrality astroturfing controversy

      The contentious debate about net neutrality in the U.S. has sparked controversy over a lack of funding transparency for advocacy groups and think tanks, which critics say subverts the political process.

    • How Verizon’s Advertising Header Works

      Over the past couple of days, there’s been an outpouring of concern about Verizon’s advertising practices. Verizon Wireless is injecting a unique identifier into web requests, as data transits the network. On my phone, for example, here’s the extra HTTP header.1

  • DRM

    • Adobe Discovers Encryption, Cuts Back On Its eBook Snooping A Bit

      The whole DRM for ebooks effort is still pretty braindead all around. It’s amazing to me that everyone hasn’t realized what the music industry figured out years ago (after many earlier years of kicking and screaming): DRM doesn’t help the creators or the copyright holders in the slightest. It pisses off end users and tends to help give platform providers a dominant position by creating lock-in with their users. Time and time again we see copyright holders demanding DRM, not realizing that this demand actually gives all the leverage to the platform provider.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Australian ISP iiNet Takes A Stand Against Copyright Trolling By Producers Of Dallas Buyers Club

        We’ve written a number of times about the strong, principled stand of Australian ISP iiNet for the rights of its consumers. iiNet was the ISP that was handpicked by Hollywood and the US State Departmenet to be the target of a “test” legal attack, trying to force ISPs to spy on users and become copyright cops. iiNet was targeted because Hollywood felt that the company wasn’t large enough to fight back, but was big enough to get noticed. Hollywood miscalculated on one-half of that equation: iiNet fought back. And it fought back hard. And it won. And then it won again. And then it won again, in a fight that Hollywood is still licking its wounds over (and trying to undermine with new laws). iiNet has also fought back against data retention rules.

      • Pirate Bay Sends 100,000 New Users to “Free” VPN

        This week The Pirate Bay replaced its frontpage logo to promote a new VPN service, driving 100,000 new customers to the startup. FrootVPN currently offers its services for free, but admits that this may not last forever.

After Infecting Unity — Successfully — Microsoft’s Partner Xamarin Wants to Infect Unreal Engine With .NET

Posted in Microsoft, Mono at 4:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Checkup

Summary: Xamarin continues to spread dependence on Microsoft to more gaming frameworks, not just platforms such as GNU/Linux, Android, and even permanent-state devices

THE COMPANY known as Xamarin more or less acts as a proxy of Microsoft these days. Mono, with Microsoft backing, is now trying to sneak into game frameworks other than Unity. Michael Larabel was one of the very few who helped amplify de Icaza, who wrote:

Today I am happy to introduce Mono for Unreal Engine.

This is a project that allows Unreal Engine users to build their game code in C# or F#.

This is really bad. If Microsoft (through its minions at Xamarin) manages to make games dependent on .NET, then cross-platform is actually put at risk, not aided. What next? Will Xamarin also try to poison Valve’s Steam?

Taking Microsoft Windows Off the Grid for Damage to Businesses, the Internet, and Banking Systems

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 4:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

Summary: Microsoft’s insecure-by-design software is causing massive damages (possibly trillions of dollars in damages to date) and yet the corporate press does not ask the right questions, let alone suggest a ban on Microsoft software

According to the New York Times and other news sites, “Staples Is Latest Retailer Hit by Hackers” because it was using Microsoft Windows. Well, other recent examples included UPS, which basically hurt millions of people because it let crooks have lots of credit card details. The TJ Maxx heist and other credit card heists were also the fault of Microsoft Windows, not GNU Bash or OpenSSL, among other bits of software that dominate the news in the context of security. It sure looks like Microsoft Windows is the target, not FOSS. There are hardly any stories at all about an apocalypse or any great damage caused by bugs in Bash or in OpenSSL. So go figure what the press is doing, in part because the OpenSSL bug has been hyped up by Microsoft partners at a very strategic time (same day as Windows XP support ending).

As Will Hill put it the other day, “Business Week Covers Up for Microsoft In Target Hack and Misses the Big Story”. Mr. Hill adds that “The US government covering up for Microsoft is not too surprising after learning about the HACIENDA program [2]. That’s a massive program where the US government has been cracking servers and ordinary around the world to serve as botnets. If everyone used software that was better then Microsoft’s intentionally weak garbage, GHCQ, NSA and other spooks would not be able to cover their tracks. Because of US government promotion of Microsoft and their combined incompetence, criminals around the world have it easy. NSA spying has put trillions of dollars in commerce at risk.”

Those botnets do even greater damage than what was done at Staples. They are taking down a lot of Web sites and fill the Internet with heaps of SPAM. To quote our reader, complaining about articles like these: “Somehow they manage to omit the key role of Windows yet again.” They must call out Windows.

Another new article was sent to us by a reader. It is titled “Computer users who damage national security could face jail” and it was published by a Bill Gates-sponsored newspaper. This reader of ours asked: “What about those that knowingly deploy Windows on machines connected to the Internet?”

Our sites are still under DDOS attack (for over a month ago). Tux Machines has been offline for several hours now after a DDOS attack from Windows botnets hit it.

Why are ISPs still permitting customers to connect to the Internet with Windows? When will ISPs or users face liability for the damage they cause? Some people have been trying to take down my sites for well over a month now and they have used Microsoft Windows as a weapon. Windows has weaponised back doors, so it should be banned already.

Speaking of takedowns, watch the latest commentary [1,2] about Microsoft breaking the law to take material and sites (or even entire networks) offline, despite them doing nothing illegal.

The corporate media should start directing some tough questions at Microsoft, not just its victims. The company should face massive fines for the damages it causes on the Web. Ultimately, its software should be banned until security — not insecurity (weaponised back doors) — is its goal.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Takedown notices served by Microsoft to videos that ‘DO NOT’ infringe on anything

    Microsoft has gained immense popularity over its never-ending war on software piracy. However, this time, the company appears to have caused a bit of collateral damage. So who are the victims? A handful of prominent and highly acclaimed YouTube video bloggers.

  2. Microsoft Takes Down A Bunch Of Non-Infringing YouTube Videos Over People Posting Product Keys In Comments

    Oh, Microsoft. The company has now admitted that it ended up sending a bunch of DMCA takedown notices on non-infringing videos, all because someone had posted product keys in comments to those videos. To its credit, Microsoft has apologized and said that it has “taken steps to reinstate legitimate video content and are working towards a better solution to targeting stolen IP while respecting legitimate content.” That’s all well and good, but this seems like the kind of thing that they should have done long before issuing obviously bad takedowns. This is the kind of thing that happens when you have a tool like the DMCA notice-and-takedown provision that makes it just so damn easy to censor content. Those issuing the takedowns do little to nothing to make sure the content being removed actually infringes. They just use either automated means or someone rushing through the process with little review, sending off takedowns willy nilly with no real concern about how they might kill off perfectly legal content. It still boggles the mind that a basic notice-and-notice regime couldn’t suffice to handle situations like this. That and making sure that those issuing bogus DMCA notices receive some sort of real punishment to give them the incentive to stop sending bogus takedowns.

City of Berlin Does Not Abandon Free Software, It’s Only Tax Authorities

Posted in Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 3:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Berlin is already a Windows shop and it’s not window-shopping

Window shopping

Summary: A Softpedia report that says the City of Berlin is moving to Microsoft Office is flawed and may be based on a poor translation

Last year we wrote about Berlin's reluctance to follow the lead of Munich, which happily uses Free software and GNU/Linux, despite the FUD from Microsoft (including some of the latest, not just last year's). It has been over a year since a formal investigation was launched into Microsoft’s bribery of officials in many countries. We are not aware of any progress on it, but all we can say is that Microsoft did try ‘soft’ bribes in derailing Munich’s efforts. There is a lot of rogue stuff going on and we covered it in past years.

According to this one report in English, “City of Berlin Going from OpenOffice Back to Microsoft Office”. The problem is, we are not aware of Berlin ever moving to OpenOffice. I spoke to an old friend in Berlin (he works on LibreOffice) as this report continued to seem a little suspicious. I followed through to the source, assuming it either shows that once again Microsoft bribes have paid off or that Microsoft is spreading lies and FUD. As it turns out, a poor translation by Silviu Stahie may be the issue.

“As it turns out, a poor translation by Silviu Stahie may be the issue.”According to this report, Microsoft OOXML is again interfering with adoption of Free software in government. To quote: “It’s difficult to say what the steps that prompted the city officials to make this decision were. It might just as well be the fact that documents created with OpenOffice 3.2 can’t be opened by people with newer or proprietary software, or vice versa.

“The fact of the matter is that LibreOffice, a much newer and modern office suite open source solution, can do all these things. It’s already used in cities around the world, so others don’t seem to have the same problems as Berlin. From what we can gather from the Golem.de report, the switch to Microsoft Office is already happening and it should be finished by the end of 2015.

“A much bigger issue is the lack of intervention from the German government, which has yet to implement or regulate the use of open source formats in its own branches. Things would be much simpler if everyone used a single kind of file format that can be read by both proprietary and open source software.”

The original article (in German) basically says that it’s about the tax authorities, not the City of Berlin. The article also blames it squarely on OOXML, stating at the end (now translating into English) that a requirement that one should use open formats for the government of a state is possible, as shown in the United Kingdom, which established in July of this year PDF and ODF as the standards for documents.

Nadella a Liar in Chief at Microsoft, Pretending That His Anti-Competitive Practices Are Unfortunately Imposed on Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 3:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU/Linux as “piracy” again

Addicted

Summary: The nastiness of Microsoft knows no bounds as even its assault on GNU/Linux and dirty tricks against Free software adoption are characterised as the fault of ‘pirates’

Last week we wrote about Microsoft boosters and Microsoft-friendly sites saying that Microsoft is loving Linux simply because Nadella says so. It is a lie, but if repeated often enough some people might believe it. Nadella is now saying that stuff acquired for free (like Windows) was “forced upon it [Microsoft] by pirates” although it could not be further from the truth.

Nadella got caught lying again or maybe he just doesn’t know Microsoft’s lies and therefore he repeats these lies. Either way, these are lies. Bill Gates once said (in public): “They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not” Microsoft was quoted as saying on another occasion.

As a reader of ours put it the other day: “Microsoft does not make its money off the software, it makes its money off the rents on the software. There’s a big difference. Rents depend on market share, not sales alone.”

As I learned only a couple of days ago at Currys/PC World (apparently to other people’s interest too), Microsoft is essentially forcing all PC buyers to get Windows; there’s hardly any other option and there is punishment for people who remove Windows from their new PC. These “rents”, as our reader called it, are now ending in parts of Europe, but not in the UK. As the FSF stated last night: “The Italian Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione) issued a judgment1 that bans the “Microsoft tax,” a commercial practice that discourages users from converting their PCs to GNU/Linux or other free operating systems by forcing them to pay for a Windows license with their PCs. PC producers in Italy now cannot refuse to refund the price of the license to purchasers that will not run Windows.”

I may soon register a complaint with the British authorities.

Here is Nadella lying in public:

New comments from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella suggest that luring people in with zero-cost products is of great interest to the company. However, while services such as OneDrive are free with premium options by design, Nadella says Microsoft has long had a freemium business model, but one that was forced upon it by pirates.

Over at The Register, which receives money from Microsoft through some deals, the Microsoft booster Gavin Clarke now portrays Steve Ballmer and Microsoft as friendly to competition. This propaganda or revisionism, casting Microsoft as a role model for playing nice with competition, is worse than insulting. It’s a disgrace and a shame to British journalism.

Reuters Writes About the Demise of Software Patents, But Focuses on ‘Trolls’ and Quotes Lawyers

Posted in Law, Patents at 3:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: How the corporate media chooses to cover the invalidity of many software patents and the effect of that

FOR a number of years we have written a great deal about software patents, hoping for change and hoping for acknowledgement of change in the corporate media, which typically just quotes lawyers when it comes to patent matters. Engineers are rarely part of this debate. The corporate media treats them as passive observers that barely count.

“Engineers are rarely part of this debate.”There was a widely
circulated article at Reuters last week and it spoke about positive developments in the area of patents, pulling together some important facts and figures:

For two decades, companies that buy software patents to sue technology giants have been the scourge of Silicon Valley. Reviled as patent trolls, they have attacked everything from Google’s online ads to Apple’s iPhone features, sometimes winning hundreds of millions of dollars.

But now the trolls are in retreat from the tech titans, interviews and data reviewed by Reuters show.

In the wake of several changes in U.S. law, which make it easier to challenge software patents, patent prices are plummeting, the number of court fights is down, and stock prices of many patent-holding companies have fallen. Some tech firms say they are punching up research budgets as legal costs shrink, while support for major patent reform is under fire as trolls get trounced.

“Their entire business model relies on intimidation, and that has lost its edge,” said Efrat Kasznik, president of intellectual property consulting firm Foresight Valuation Group. “If the patents are not enforceable in court anymore… the troll has no legs to stand on.”

With the headline “Big Tech Winning Battle With ‘Patent Trolls’” it’s clear that they take the narrative of big businesses and mostly ignore the relevance of software patents in this case. It’s all about big business!

This is evidence-based as opposed to emotion-based (like analyses from patent lawyers), but it does quote a lot of people who are in the patent business and have a conflict of interest.

10.24.14

Links 24/10/2014: Microsoft Tax Axed in Italy, Google’s Linux (ChromeOS/Android) Leader Promoted

Posted in News Roundup at 6:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

    • oVirt Node: hosted-engine

      oVirt Node 3.5 contain ovirt-node-plugin-hosted-engine available which make possible setup oVirt Node run oVirt Engine as virtual machine with HA (more then one node required).

    • Cumulus Linux 2.5 adds mainstream L2 features to bare-metal switching

      As Cumulus Networks attempts to expand beyond the early adopters of its Cumulus Linux bare-metal switch operating system, it is adding Layer 2 networking features aimed at making it easier for enterprises to make the transition from legacy environments to the IP fabrics that most cloud computing customers operate.

  • Kernel Space

    • MSI X99S SLI PLUS On Linux

      For Intel Core i7 5960X Haswell-E Linux testing I originally bought an MSI X99S SLI PLUS motherboard as it was one of the most interesting, lowest-priced boards available at the time of the Intel X99 chipset debut. While I initially ran into some problems, those issues have now been confirmed to be isolated, and with a replacement X99S SLI PLUS motherboard I have been stressing it constantly for the past few weeks on Fedora and Ubuntu. The X99S SLI PLUS has now proven itself to be a reliable motherboard that’s still among the least expensive X99 ATX motherboards on the market.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • The Linux desktop-a-week review: LXDE

      Over the last two weeks I’ve run nothing but LXDE as my primary Linux Desktop Environment (other than a few excursions into Android land). Been using LXDE. Been enjoying LXDE.

      But I have practically nothing to really say about LXDE. I feel like, after all this time, I should have something interesting to talk about. But I just plain don’t.

      It’s fast, blisteringly fast. And it’s damned lightweight too. After that, things get pretty boring.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Kubuntu Shirts are Back

        Kubuntu T-shirts and Polo Shirts are available again. This time our supplier is HelloTux who are working with the Hungarian Ubuntu LoCo. $3 from each shirt goes to Kubuntu and $1.5 to the Hungarian LoCo team.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Introducing Gthree

        I’ve recently been working on OpenGL support in Gtk+, and last week it landed in master. However, the demos we have are pretty lame and are not very good to show off or even test the OpenGL support. I’ve looked around for some open source demos that used modern GL that we could use, but I didn’t find anything that we could easily use.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Neptune OS 4.2 Features a Refreshing KDE Desktop

        ZevenOS-Neptune 4.x branch is called “It’s all about you” and it was initially made available back in June. This is the second update for the distribution and the devs have refined some of the features and have added some new packages into the mix.

        The system is based on KDE, but don’t expect to find a regular stock version implemented. It’s clear that the devs have put a lot of effort into making the DE experiences unique. Users can immediately recognize what distribution they are looking at just with a glance, and that’s always a good sign.

    • Arch Family

      • Diary of a new Arch user, week two

        So, I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and installed Arch Linux. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. For those of you who haven’t come across this distro before, it’s built on the idea that the user should have full control of their system. This means that the basic install is just the Linux kernel and a few essential utilities. In order to create a fully working system, you need to choose what bits you want to install on top of that yourself. There’s no installer to guide you (but there is a package manager and a wiki to help you).

    • Red Hat Family

      • Video: Getting Ready for systemd (in RHEL7)

        I found the link to this video (Getting Ready for systemd) on the systemd documentation page. It is a Red Hat “Customer Portal Exclusive” and “Not for Distribution” but it is ok for me to provide a picture that links to it… that looks like a video-ready-to-play.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 22 Could Get the Desktop from elementary OS

          The Fedora Linux distro is an operating system with a very rich history and it comes with all sorts of desktop environments. A proposition has been made now to give users a new desktop environment to play with, Pantheon.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Make Your Own Wireless Printer With A Raspberry Pi

      Wireless technology is perhaps the best improvement to home printing for years. Fewer cables, flexibility about where you can put your printer – it’s win-win. Unless you have an older printer.

    • Google’s Nest buys Linux automation firm, adds five partners

      Google’s Nest Labs acquired Revolv, a maker of Linux-based home automation devices, and announced five new Nest-compatible devices. including the Pebble.

      After Google acquired Nest Labs in January $3.2 billion, placing a stake in the fast-growing home automation business, Nest acquired home surveillance camera maker Dropcam in June for $555 million. Now Nest announced it has acquired another major home automation company in its purchase of Revolv. The acquisition, which was announced with no dollar amount, came shortly after the Boulder, Colo. based company announced compatibility with the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect CO/smoke detector.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Tizen Developer Summit Shanghai 2014 #TDS14SH

          At the Tizen Developer Summit shanghai 2014, Brian Warner kicked off the Keynote sessions to a packed Chinese crowd, which was a great sight to see. He drew attention to the fact that there have been releases several Tizen products this year, which hasn’t been the case in recent times.

        • Is the Tizen Samsung Z Alive and running Tizen 2.3 SM-Z910F ? #TDS14SH

          At the Tizen Developer Summit 2014 Shanghai, Samsung were showing off the Gear S, and also the Samsung Z Smartphone. Taking a further glimpse at the settings we can see that it is listed as running Tizen 2.3, which recently saw the release of the Tizen 2.3 Beta SDK. As a recap, the Samsung Z was the Tizen flagship Smartphone that Samsung were due to release at the Tizen developer summit in Russia, but cancelled the launch with only 48 hours to spare.

      • Android

        • How to Get Open Source Android

          Android is an astonishing commercial success, and is often touted as a Linux success. In some ways it is; Google was able to leverage Linux and free/open source software to get Android to market in record time, and to offer a feature set that quickly outstripped the old champion iOS.

          But it’s not Linux as we know it. Most Android devices are locked-down, and we can’t freely download and install whatever operating systems we want like we can with our Linux PCs, or install whatever apps we want without jailbreaking our own devices that we own. We can’t set up a business to sell Google Android devices without jumping through a lot of expensive hoops (see The hidden costs of building an Android device and Secret Ties in Google’s “Open” Android.) We can’t even respin Google Android however we want to and redistribute it, because Google requires bundling a set of Google apps.

        • Another Tor router crowdfunding project nixed by Kickstarter

          Kickstarter is apparently not the place to go if you’re trying to crowdfund privacy hardware. Just days after the Anonabox project, a highly criticized effort to package the Tor privacy protection service into a portable miniature Wi-Fi router, was suspended by the crowdfunding site, another similar project has met its demise—and its founder’s account has been deleted.

        • LG’s first SoC debuts on 5.9-inch G3 Screen phone

          LG announced its first SoC, a Cortex-15 and –A7 octa-core “Nuclun” with LTE-A Cat.6 tech that debuts this week in a Korea-bound LG G3 Screen Android phone.

        • Google CEO Page appoints Sundar Pichai as product boss

          Google Inc. CEO is handing over responsibility for the company’s products to a key lieutenant, Sundar Pichai, putting him in charge of research, search, maps, Google+, commerce, ads and infrastructure, Re/code reported.

Free Software/Open Source

  • LinkedIn and Twitter Contribute Machine Learning Libraries to Open Source

    Twitter’s engineering group, known for various contributions to open source from streaming MapReduce to front-end framework Bootstrap recently announced open sourcing an algorithm that can efficiently recommend content. This is a really important problem for Twitter as it helps promoting the right ads to the right users and recommending which users to follow. The algorithm, named DIMSUM, can pre-process similarity data and feed the actual recommendation algorithm with a subset of users that are calculated to be above a similarity threshold.

  • Why Open Source Is Becoming A Big Developer-Recruiting Tool

    Most companies are just coming around to the idea that open source can help lower costs and boost innovation within their organizations. But Web companies like Netflix, Twitter and Facebook understand that open source can be more: a powerful weapon for recruiting and retaining top engineering talent.

  • SimplyTapp launches open source tokenization project

    “We don’t want to put any hindrance in the way of a bank launching cloud-based payments because they have to buy or rely on another ecosystem player for new technology and so we thought it was a perfect use case for an open source project. Open source allows a perfect line of audit where you can actually see the source code, modify the source code and make updates to the source code for your environment before you’re running it.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • MozFest 2014 begins today

        More than 1,600 participants from countries around the globe will gather at Ravensbourne in East London for a weekend of collaborating, building prototypes, designing innovative web literacy curricula and discussing how the ethos of the open web can contribute to the fields of science, journalism, advocacy and more.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Apache CloudStack Arrives in New Version, Stays Popular

      The Apache CloudStack project has released version 4.4.1, the new version of its private, public and hybrid cloud software. The latest revision of the open source CloudStack platform has “dozens of new features and improvements,” as noted in an Apache Software Foundation release.

    • HP Launches Helion OpenStack Build/Services, to Take on AWS

      HP has steadily been making a lot of noise about its commitment to cloud computing overall, and the OpenStack platform in particular. And, back in May, HP chief Meg Whitman announced the cloud-focused Helion brand, and pledged to commit $1 billion over the next two years on products and services surrounding OpenStack.

  • Databases

    • eBay open sources a big, fast SQL-on-Hadoop database

      eBay has open sourced a database technology, called Kylin, that takes advantage of distributed processing and the HBase data store in order to return faster results for SQL queries over Hadoop data.

    • What you missed in Big Data: Oracle, eBay join Hadoop open-source party

      The past week has seen not one but two technology giants take on a bigger role in the open-source community’s efforts to bring modern analytics within the grasp of the traditional enterprise. Online retail giant eBay Inc. led the charge with the contribution of a homegrown OLAP engine that it said makes querying Hadoop both easier and significantly faster.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Swiss crowdfund pays for signed PDFs LibreOffice

      In just three days, the Swiss open source community Wilhelm Tux reached its crowdfunding target of 10,000 CHF (about 8000 euro) to add support for digital signatures in PDF documents. The feature will be added to LibreOffice, a free and open source suite of office productivity tools. The project is awarded to Collabora, an open source IT service provider, which will deliver the new functionality in April.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Guardian launches open-source data journalism tool

        Collaborative data journalism platform Swarmize has launched today to offer editors and journalists better tools for the use of data, including real-time visualisation.

        Swarmize, now in alpha, won funding through the Knight News Challenge in June, and has been built at the Guardian over the last four months.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • America, The Defensive: Wars, Terrorism And Thirty Years Of Perpetual ‘States Of Emergencies’

      If there’s anything our government can do well, it’s take a word loaded with tension and abuse it to the point of abstraction. First, we had “war.” The word described the hellish events of the First and Second World War, along with armed, bloody conflicts dating back to the rebellious creation of the nation itself. Now, it’s simply a term applied to any conflict with the weight of a self-serving bureaucracy propelling it. A “war” on drugs. A “war” on illiteracy. And so on.

    • Canada’s war on terror: Fear runs high, but evidence often lacking

      Homegrown. Lone wolf. High-risk traveller. These words are now part of the lexicon of a renewed war on terrorism, a vocabulary Ottawa officials use as they grapple with extremism inside Canada’s borders.

    • Canada’s Coverage of the Ottawa Shootings Put American Cable News to Shame

      Anchored by the unflappable Peter Mansbridge, news of the shootings in Ottawa unfolded live on the CBC much like they do here in the United States: lots of sketchy details, conflicting reports, unreliable witnesses, and a thick fog of confusion. All of that was familiar. What was less familiar was how Mansbridge and his team managed that confusion, conveying a concise and fact-based version of fast-moving events to viewers across Canada and the world.

    • Valerie Plame on the New Age of National Security

      In 2002, the CIA asked Plame’s husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, to investigate claims that Iraq was trying to buy uranium ore for weapons of mass destruction. Wilson told the agency that the claims were “highly unlikely.”

      Nevertheless, in his 2003 State of the Union Address, President Bush reiterated the claim that Saddam Hussein was attempting to buy uranium from contacts in Africa. Wilson accused the Bush Administration of lying to the American people to drum up support for the invasion of Iraq.

      A few months later, Plame’s name—and her secret identity as a CIA officer—appeared in a column by Bush supporter Robert Novak. Plame and Wilson believe Novak leaked Plame’s identity in retaliation, though a special prosecutor declined to prosecute federal officials for the crime, apart from charging Lewis Libby with obstruction of justice.

      In an interview with The Takeaway’s John Hockenberry, Plame reflects on the state of Iraq today. “Certainly, if we had not invaded Iraq on intelligence that was clearly manipulated and cherry picked, we would be in a different position today,” she says.

      “There is no question that what we are seeing—the horrible advance of ISIS—goes back, if you will, to the original sin of the invasion of Iraq,” Plame continues. “I think the Bush Administration was bound and determined on regime change, and we will be paying the price of that for some time to come.”

    • Special report: America’s perpetual state of emergency

      The United States is in a perpetual state of national emergency.

      Thirty separate emergencies, in fact.

      An emergency declared by President Jimmy Carter on the 10th day of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979 remains in effect almost 35 years later.

    • Jury returns guilty verdicts for all 4 former Blackwater guards charged in Iraq shootings
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Rick S. Piltz, whistleblower on federal climate policy, dies at 71

      Rick S. Piltz, a longtime climate policy analyst who exposed how top-level George W. Bush administration officials edited scientific reports to minimize the link between human activity and climate change, died Oct. 18 at a hospice center in Washington. He was 71.

  • Finance

    • OMB Director Sets a Low Bar for Deficit Reform

      The national debt, which was about $5.7 trillion when George W. Bush entered office and $11 trillion when he turned the White House over to Barack Obama, is now at just a shade under $18 trillion. And the director of the Office of Management and Budget declares that a “return to fiscal normalcy.” Where is Warren Harding now that we need him?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Big Problem With Time’s Teacher-Bashing Cover Story

      Time reports that Welch and his ilk were able to find “a flood of new academic research on teacher quality ” to back up their hunch that bad teachers are the problem. One research team relied on a “a controversial tool called value-added measures (VAM)” to measure teacher effectiveness, and they “found that replacing a poorly performing teacher with an excellent one could increase students’ lifetime earnings by $250,000 per classroom.”

      So there’s a technique that supposedly measures teacher quality, and you can sue public schools that fail to adopt it. Does anyone have a problem with this approach? Of course. Teachers, for example, and their unions–who are, shockingly, never quoted in Time’s piece.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Support the right for journalists to protect their sources

      Today we have also released a report on how police forces are using ‘directed surveillance’ powers permitted under RIPA, calling on the government to introduce judicial authorisation for all use of surveillance powers, increased transparency around how the powers are being used, and for the right of redress for those who have been spied on.

    • Former NSA Official: Anyone Who ‘Justified’ Snowden’s Leaks Shouldn’t Be Allowed A Gov’t Job

      A few days ago, the FTC announced that it had appointed Ashkan Soltani as its chief technology officer. Soltani is a well-known (and often outspoken) security researcher who has worked at the FTC in the past. Nothing about this appointment should be all that surprising or even remotely controversial. However, recently, Soltani had been doing a lot of journalism work, as a media consultant at the Washington Post helping Barton Gellman and other reporters really understand the technical and security aspects of the Snowden documents. His name has appeared as a byline in a number of stories about the documents, detailing what is really in those documents, and how they can impact your privacy.

    • FTC hires new CTO with deep links to Snowden documents
    • Federal Trade Commission Appoints Ashkan Soltani as Chief Technologist
    • MI5 spied on leading British historians for decades, secret files reveal

      MI5 amassed hundreds of records on Eric Hobsbawm and Christopher Hill, two of Britain’s leading historians who were both once members of the Communist party, secret files have revealed.

      The scholars were subjected to persistent surveillance for decades as MI5 and police special branch officers tapped and recorded their telephone calls, intercepted their private correspondence and monitored their contacts, the files show. Some of the surveillance gave MI5 more details about their targets’ personal lives than any threat to national security.

    • Exclusive: Shakeup At NSA After BuzzFeed News Reports On Potential Conflict Of Interest

      Top National Security Agency official Teresa Shea is leaving her position after BuzzFeed News reported on her and her husband’s financial interests. The move comes as the NSA faces more questions about the business dealings of its former director Keith Alexander, and potential ethics conflicts. This post has been updated to include a response from the NSA.

    • US Government Moves to Dismiss Lawsuit Against ‘Suspicious Activity’ Program Which Keeps Files on Innocent People

      The United States government has moved to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of five US citizens who say they were victims of a domestic surveillance program, which involves the collection of “suspicious activity reports” on individuals.

    • How Congress supports the NSA by doing nothing

      It’s been almost a year and a half since whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk and warrantless surveillance programs were first brought to light. Since then, we’ve learned more disturbing details about the NSA’s programs: The NSA has collected emails and other Internet data directly from companies’ fiber optic cables, built backdoors into encryption software, and partnered with other intelligence services around the world to collect and share private information.

  • Civil Rights

    • Roca Labs Story Gets More Bizarre: Senator Threatens Bogus Defamation Lawsuit, While Nevada Quickly Rejects Bogus Bribery Charge

      If you thought the Roca Labs story couldn’t get any more bizarre, well, then you haven’t been paying much attention, because no matter how bizarre the story was the last time you looked, it seems to get even more bizarre with the next step. We’ve already gone through the Roca gag order, lawsuit against PissedConsumer, lawsuit against unhappy customer, threats against witnesses, and weak attempts to use the fame of Alfonso Ribeiro and Tommy Chong in implied endorsements. Oh, and also the threat against us and the fact that a main “doctor” backing their product was a pediatrician who lost his license due to child porn claims.

    • Homeland Security confiscates Royals underwear in Kansas City

      Peregrine Honig says she just wanted to help celebrate the hometown team when she designed Lucky Royals boyshorts.

      The panties, with “Take the Crown” and “KC” across the bottom, were set to be sold in Honig’s Birdies Panties shop Tuesday. But Homeland Security agents visited the Crossroads store and confiscated the few dozen pairs of underwear, printed in Kansas City by Lindquist Press.

    • DHS Agents Raid Lingerie Shop, Save America From Unlicensed Underwear
    • Attorney General Holder ‘exasperated’ by Ferguson grand jury leaks, source says

      Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has told Justice Department lawyers that he is “exasperated” with leaks emerging from the grand jury involved in investigating the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, according to a Justice official.

    • In a federal trial examining a classified military deal, don’t mention the Navy SEALs

      Witnesses, attorneys and even the judge took special care not to let the phrase “Navy SEALs” pass their lips during a federal criminal trial in Alexandria this week, further cloaking an already mysterious case involving the purchase of hundreds of unmarked rifle silencers for the military.

    • Justice Department Rejects Key Reforms to FBI Whistleblower Regulations

      The Federal Bureau of Investigation is considering an array of new procedures that may modestly improve protections for whistleblowers, however, the Justice Department rejected a number of key reforms that “whistleblower advocates” have urged the agency to adopt.

      Under a presidential policy directive President Barack Obama issued in October 2012, which applied to whistleblowers with “access to classified information,” Attorney General Eric Holder was required to deliver a report within 180 days that assessed the “efficacy” of the FBI’s regulations. But it was not until June 2, 2014, that Holder delivered this report that was long overdue.

    • Senator Blasts CIA for Censoring ‘Torture’ Report

      Sen. Ron Wyden says the CIA is trying to blunt the impact of an upcoming Senate report examining the harsh treatment of al-Qaida detainees by insisting on censoring the pseudonyms used for agency officers mentioned in the document.

      “The intelligence leadership doing everything they can to bury the facts,” said Wyden, D-Ore., a Senate Intelligence Committee member who has been a frequent critic of the spy agency.

      The Senate, the CIA and the White House are negotiating over what should be blacked out for national security reasons in the 600-page summary of the report that is set for public release sometime after the November elections.

      President Barack Obama and other senior officials have said the CIA’s use of waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation and other harsh techniques on some detainees constituted torture. Many current and former CIA officers dispute that.

Links 24/10/2014: GNU/Linux History, Fedora Delay

Posted in News Roundup at 9:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Taiga, a new open source project management tool with focus on usability

    Whether you are a developer, project manager, or a stakeholder of any level—you’d like to have a clear view of where the project is headed. Are the deadlines being continuously achieved? How is the load on developers? How much of the project is complete? What is next for you in the project? And so on.

    A project management tool generally answers all these questions. Ideally, you can just login to the system and check the project status. But as with other things in life—it’s very difficult to achieve an ideal scenario here. People may be too busy (or even just outright lazy) to update their status in a project management tool. So, it’s almost always the case that the project management tool doesn’t reflect the actual project scenario. One solution to this is using a tool that is intuitive and fits alongside the developer’s normal workflow. Additionally, a tool that is quick to update and attracts users to use it.

  • [Mac Asay] Open source has won — let the infighting begin!

    For years, the open source world has taken comfort in a bit of Gandhi wisdom: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Red Hat went so far as to emblazon the phrase on the walls of its lobby, a reminder to open sourcers everywhere to take courage against the proprietary software machine.

  • Brocade Wants to Be Red Hat of OpenDaylight

    Brocade wants to have the same relationship with OpenDaylight as Red Hat has with Linux.

  • broadwell: add new intel SOC
  • Coreboot Now Has Support For Intel Broadwell Hardware

    It appears that Google engineers are getting ready Intel Broadwell support for future Chromebooks/Chromeboxes. Broadwell support is now present within Coreboot.

  • eBay joins open-source community with ultra-fast OLAP engine for Hadoop

    Like arch-rival Amazon.com, the soon-to-split eBay Inc. is something of an oddity in that it hasn’t historically been a big contributor to the open-source community. But the e-commerce pioneer hopes to change that with the release of the source-code for a homegrown online analytics processing (OLAP) engine that promises to speed up Hadoop while also making it more accessible to everyday enterprise users.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack for humanity’s fast moving technology

      OpenStack has presented a huge opportunity for technologists at many levels. Niki Acosta is one of those technologists who strives to pull together all aspects of the OpenStack community for the betterment of everyone.

      Niki is the Director of Cloud Evangelism at Metacloud, now a part of Cisco. Metacloud delivers private infrastructure as a service based on the popular and open source cloud platform, OpenStack. As an active OpenStack participant, tweeter, and blogger, she has become a recognized name in the cloud industry.

    • 2014′s most significant cloud deals have OpenStack at heart

      2014′s slate of cloud deals reflect a few important trends in the market for the open source cloud software. One is that traditional enterprise vendors continue to see potential in OpenStack and they’re willing to shell out the cash to buy the expertise and technology they need to pursue the market.

  • CMS

    • Jeffrey McGuire From Acquia Explains Drupal 8, the GPL, and Much More

      Tux Machines has run using Drupal for nearly a decade (the site is older than a decade) and we recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jeffrey A. “jam” McGuire, Open Source Evangelist at Acquia, the key company behind Drupal (which the founder of Drupal is a part of). The questions and answers below are relevant to many whose Web sites depend on Drupal.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 10.1 RC3 Has ZFS, UDPLite Fixes

      FreeBSD 10.1 RC3 was a few days late but it’s out there this Thursday afternoon. FreeBSD 10.3 takes care of an API incompatibility between 10.0-RELEASE and the earlier 10.1-RC2 state (due to the libopie library) and aside from that this third release candidate has a lot of other fixes.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Quick PHP patch beats slow research reveal

      Patches have been flung out to cover vulnerabilities in PHP that led to remote code execution and buffer overflows.

      The flaws were detailed this week by Swiss researchers High-Tech Bridge in versions 5.4.33, 5.5.17 and 5.6.1 on a machine running Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS and the Radamsa fuzzer.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Unifont 7.0.06 Now Available

      This release adds coverage for the following Supplemental Multilingual Plane scripts: Old Permic, Ornamental Dingbats, Geometric Shapes Extended, and Supplemental Arrows-C. The SMP now contains over 5700 glyphs.

Leftovers

  • Security

    • SecTor: Why DevOps Is the Key to Security

      For many organizations, the typical approach to implementing security is as a bolt-on feature after development. At the SecTor security conference in Toronto, Securosis CEO and analyst Rich Mogull explained why the emerging world of DevOps can radically remake how security is built into the software development and deployment process.

      “The problem is that by nature, security is often reactive,” Mogull said. “We don’t control our destiny and we have to secure new stuff all the time.”

    • SecTor Speaker Shows How Credit Card Thieves Get Caught

      Credit card theft continues to be among the most common and widespread forms of digital crime. Speaking at the SecTor security conference here Oct. 22, Grayson Lenik, principal security consultant at Nuix, outlined how these credit card thieves—known as “carders”—operate and how they eventually get caught.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Pentagon warns the US military of climate change

      Climate change does not respect borders and we must work together to fight its threats. These are not the words of a tree-hugger, but the US Department of Defense.

      A report published on Monday says that extreme weather, rising temperatures, unpredictable rainfall and rising oceans could fuel armed insurgency and heighten the impact of a pandemic, through their effects on political instability, poverty, migration and resource disputes.

  • Finance

    • WSJ Stumbles in Latest Attack on Campaign Finance Law

      The Wall Street Journal editorial board’s crusade against the enforcement of Wisconsin’s campaign finance laws has gone off the rails.

    • Big Money Bankrolls Opposition to Movement to Overturn Citizens United

      An historic vote in the U.S. Senate earlier this year to amend the constitution to reverse Citizens United and stem the flood of money into our elections – expected to top $1 billion this election cycle – has the Koch brothers spooked.

      If passed by Congress and approved by two-thirds of the states, the amendment could put a brake on outside spending from groups like the Koch brothers’ political network, which spent over $400 million on the 2012 elections and is reportedly planning to drop another $300 million on the 2014 midterms.

  • Privacy

    • With Launch of Germany Region, AWS Strives to Quell Privacy Concerns

      Amazon Web Services this morning announced it has launched a new region, this time in Germany, and the company worked hard to assure European businesses that its services are totally secure, even from U.S. government snooping.

    • Off The Record: How the police use surveillance powers

      The research focuses on the use of ‘directed surveillance’ contained in the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) by police forces; a form of covert surveillance conducted in places other than residential premises or private vehicles which is deemed to be non-intrusive, but is still likely to result in personal information about the individual being obtained.

    • GCHQ chief: Internet has become refuge for plotters

      Sir Iain Lobban, the outgoing head of GCHQ, says that the idea the internet doesn’t need policing is a flawed ‘Utopian dream’ as he argues the security services need ‘strong capabilities’ to stop those who want to harm Britain

    • Departing GCHQ Boss Insists GCHQ Isn’t Engaged In Mass Surveillance… If You Define ‘Mass’ And ‘Surveillance’ The Way He Does

      With the UN declaring mass surveillance a violation of human rights, the proper thing for the world’s biggest intelligence agencies — who regularly engage in mass surveillance — to do, might be to cut back on the practice and go back to targeted surveillance projects that most people find acceptable. Or, you know, they can do what the outgoing head of the GCHQ (the UK’s equivalent of the NSA), Sir Iain Lobban, did and just redefine the English language. That’s easier.

    • California woman charged with possessing cellphone spyware and using it to intercept law enforcement communications (UPDATED)

      San Jose — Kristin Nyunt was charged by information today with two counts of illegal wiretapping and the possession of illegal interception devices, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson.

    • Woman Faces Criminal Wiretapping Charges For Deploying Spyware On Her Husband’s Phone

      A woman deploys spyware on her soon-to-be ex-husband’s phone, an act that is probably more common than anyone wants to admit, but one that rarely results in criminal charges. In this case, however, her husband happened to be employed by the Pacific Grove (CA) Police Department. If not for that simple fact, would there have been an investigation, much less charges brought? This story deals with multiple layers of official privilege — the extra attention those labeled “law enforcement” receive as victims of criminal activity, as well as the extra access law enforcement officers have, and how easily it can be abused.

    • Research Shows Mass Surveillance Fails ‘Drastically’ In Striking Balance Between Costs And Benefits To Society

      One of the many problems with the debate on mass surveillance is that it is largely driven by emotions, on both sides. Facts are few and far between — much is secret, for obvious reasons — which makes objective discussion hard. What is needed is some rigorous research into this area. Surprisingly, it turns out the European Union has been funding just such a project, called “Surveille,” a name derived from “Surveillance: Ethical Issues, Legal Limitations, and Efficiency.”

    • FBI Director Says Congress Will Fix Phone Encryption ‘Problem;’ Congress Says ‘Bite Us’

      James Comey’s pleas that something must be done for the [potentially-molested] children of the United States seem to be falling on mostly deaf ears. Mostly. After realizing that there’s nothing in current laws that compels Google and Apple to punch law enforcement-sized holes in their default encryption, Comey has decided to be the change he wishes to force in others.

    • Congress to the FBI: There’s ‘Zero Chance’ We’ll Force Apple to Decrypt Phones
    • People unknowingly add to ever-growing mountain of available personal data

      What do a philosopher, a law school dean, a technologist and a private investigator named Emery Goad all have in common?

      This:

      They say we humans are creating huge databases about our personal information, our tastes, our flirtations, our finances.

      We’re doing this with nearly every phone call, text, keystroke, Facebook posting and store purchase. We’re unwittingly sketching out glimpses of our virtues, vices, sins and souls.

    • Stock Symbol: KILL

      Last year, a propaganda campaign for attacking Syria was evidently stopped in its tracks by an overwhelmingly war-weary U.S. citizenry. But in recent months, the “drums of war” have been beating fiercely yet again. Retired generals, allegedly experts on war “policy,” predictably advocated another military intervention in the Middle East (this time to stop the menacing advance of ISIS, an “enemy” virtually unheard of as recently as several months ago). It is, of course, a well-known but rarely mentioned fact that such retired military generals and admirals generally hold considerable stock in these “defense” behemoths. With new military “engagements,” product-demand is ramped up (the profit-margin already exorbitant on contracts), as Congress invariably approves increases for such costly weapons as Apache attack helicopters, Tomahawk cruise missiles (Raytheon), and Hellfire air-to-ground missiles (Boeing/Martin)—the latter “delivered” by Predator/Reaper drones (General Atomics).

    • The illegal drones flying above London… and the chair of the government’s drones committee who was “horrified” to discover Google Maps

      Drone footage can be breathtaking, capturing aerial views that you just can’t get any other way.

    • More U.S. Citizens Have Been Killed by a Drone Strike Than by Ebola

      It’s an epidemic—killing hundreds of thousands of people and leaving many others hospitalized. It’s present in over 148 countries and has expanded out of control. I’m talking not about Ebola, but the U.S. government. The very entity that many turn to for protection has been responsible for wars, police shootings, withholding of drugs that could save lives, and many other acts of violence and negligence that have resulted in far more deaths than Ebola.

    • Drone protestors make a stand at the air base

      Normally it’s retired military rallying support for the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station drone program but on Thursday veterans joined anti-drone protestors at the base’s entrance to publicize their opposition.

      The air base is the site of the home of the 107th Airlift Wing which is converting from flying C-130 cargo planes to the remotely operated MQ-9 Reaper. No drones will launch from Niagara Falls but pilots who operate them will be stationed at the base.

      [...]

      “When people lose family members to drones,” Ross said, “the blowback is incredible. We are recruiting people for terrorist organization from our use of drones.”

    • Pakistan calls for ban on LAWS

      Pakistan has called for a pre-emptive ban on the development of Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS), also known as the ‘killer robots’ that are capable of making their own combat decisions without human intervention, saying such devices would undermine world peace.

    • Blackwater, torture and US imperialism

      On Wednesday, a jury of eight women and four men in a federal district court in Washington, DC convicted four Blackwater mercenaries for their role in the 2007 Nisour Square massacre. The jurors found one of the contractors guilty of murder and another three guilty of manslaughter for firing hundreds of rounds of ammunition and grenades at Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in a brutal operation that left 17 dead and another 20 wounded.

    • Religious Community Skeptical of Lethal Drones

      For more than a year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace studied the use of drones and targeted killings. In May 2013, Bishop Richard Pates, chair of the International Justice and Peace Committee, wrote to National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, raising moral questions about the use of drones for targeted killings. He asked that the U.S. be more transparent in its policies and exercise leadership in advancing international agreements on their use.

  • Civil Rights

    • Decade of Dissent

      I do not think there is a single person in public life or social media nowadays who would not accept that the FCO were simply lying. Jack Straw was blatantly to lie about it to parliament. But ten years ago the public and media knew much less than they know now. Nobody outside secret circles had ever heard the words extraordinary rendition. It was a year later – May 2005 – before the New York Times revealed the CIA was sending people to Uzbekistan to be tortured, precisely as I had stated.

      [...]

      After going on the Today programme I went on the run, in fear for my life. I am not paranoid, remember David Kelly. I first stayed with my old friend Andy Myles in Edinburgh, then I think Chief Executive of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. He was phoned the next morning by the FCO. When he denied knowledge of my whereabouts, they not only said they knew I was staying with him, they said which bedroom I was sleeping in. Ten years ago today I was hiding in Aviemore in the house of my old friend Dominic.

      That was the start of a decade as a dissident where I have devoted my life to exposing, and trying to counter, the evil of the neo-conservative policy pursued by our political class at the behest of the corporations who fund them. I have suffered a huge loss in money, status and most of the other normal aspirations. But what I have gained is invaluable. I have respect and love, while Blair and Straw will forever be despised.

    • Occupy protesters forced to hand over pizza boxes and tarpaulin

      When is a pizza box a pillow? Or an umbrella a ‘structure’? In Parliament Square Occupy Democracy protesters have spent their seventh night sleeping on the ground on top of piles of newspapers. According to the 2011 Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act, the local authority for the City of Westminster has the power to confiscate items that count as sleeping equipment or a structure, so mattresses and tents are forbidden.

      But protesters say the police are getting creative with their interpretation of the bylaw, confiscating backpacks and pizza boxes, claiming that they count as sleeping equipment. Umbrellas have similarly been confiscated because they count as a structure. Some have been told that sleeping bags are allowed to keep them warm while they’re awake, but not when they’re asleep.

    • Law Enforcement–Related Deaths in the US

      For over a decade and a half, Project Censored researchers at Sonoma State University have been monitoring law enforcement–related deaths in the United States. In the most recent phase of this research, we interviewed members of fourteen families who had lost a loved one in a law enforcement incident. In this study, we let the families tell their stories in their own voices, and we report the commonalities in their trauma and mistreatment by law enforcement and the corpo- rate media after the death of their loved ones.

    • New Blog Details The Unfortunate Experience Of Being On Homeland Security’s Terrorist Watchlist

      Kashmir Hill at Forbes has a great profile of (not-very-anonymous-after-all) blogger Peter Young, who has received the dreaded SSSS designation from the TSA. Ringing up 4 S’s means every TSA agent thinks you’re a terrorist and every visit to the airport means extra patdowns and questioning. Young has been detailing the humdrum existence of your everyday terrorist over at his blog, “Jetsetting Terrorist,” where he notes that his decidedly non-terroristic appearance causes the consternation and confusion at smaller airports where 4-S designations are few and far between. Not that being a jetsetting terrorist doesn’t have its upsides…

    • A Tale of Two Riots: ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Vs. ‘Bring Out The BearCat’

      There was another large riot recently, one that resulted in a large police presence. Maybe you heard something about it. Maybe you didn’t. Maybe the media portrayed this riot as “rowdiness” fueled by alcohol that just “got out of hand.” Maybe it didn’t. The annual Pumpkin Festival in Keene, New Hampshire, somehow devolved into overturned cars, smashed windows and lit fires, but there’s been no extensive handwringing about the police response to that situation — one composed mostly of white, college-age males. [h/t to Techdirt reader WulfTheSaxon for the NBC News link]

    • UN Torture Treaty does not apply to US actions in foreign lands – says US

      Last week, the investigative journalistic world got a severe shock: the United States strongly consider that the United Nations Convention Against Torture which universally ban “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” does not apply to C.I.A. and the U.S. military operations abroad – which includes US-run prisons – and that the Obama administration is considering reaffirming the previous Bush administration’s position that the (UN) treaty imposes no legal obligation on the United States to bar cruelty outside its borders.

    • Charlie Rangel: ISIS Is Not A Threat To Our National Security

      “We are seeing a battle in Kobani. We’re seeing Baghdad being surrounded. We’re seeing threats on the Green Zone in Baghdad by ISIS. What do you think that we as a government should be doing, and are we doing enough?” asked MSNBC host Jose Diaz-Balart Thursday.

    • Law forum tackles Mideast drone strikes

      And stretching those principles, Rogers said, increases the risk that other nations will do likewise. “Other countries can justify the use of force using the same arguments,” he said. “When the United States weakens these principles, other states will use them and it weakens the international order.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Anti-Piracy Police PIPCU Secure Govt. Funding Until 2017

        The City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has received substantial new funding which secures its future until at least 2017. The £3 million cash boost, announced this morning by Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Neville-Rolfe, will come from public funds. It’s being billed as good news for the economy and bad news for pirates.

      • City Of London Police Fail And Censor Their Way To A Lot More UK Taxpayer Money

        We’ve written plenty about the City of London Police and its Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), which despite an official jurisdiction covering a square mile of London, has made it clear that it considers itself Hollywood’s private police force worldwide when it comes to stopping copyright infringement online. PIPCU has basically been a bumbling, censoring mess from the beginning. A year ago, it started ordering domain registrars to kill off websites with no court order and no legal basis — demands that actually violated ICANN’s policies. For registrars that ignored those baseless, bogus censorship demands, PIPCU started sending ridiculous threats claiming that they were engaged in criminal behavior. Of course, PIPCU’s understanding of both the internet and “criminal” laws is suspect. The head of the unit, Adrian Leppard, claims that “the Tor” is “90% of the internet” and “is a risk to society.” Another top officer, Andy Fyfe, somehow believes that if PIPCU isn’t running around censoring sites there would be anarchy online.

      • German Publishers Grant Google A ‘Free License’ Google Never Needed To Post News Snippets

        Remember earlier this year when German newspaper publishers, led by rights management firm VG Media, demanded Google pay them a massive amount of money (11% of all ad revenue on any page linking to their works) for having the gall to send those publishers traffic via Google News? VG Media insisted that Google’s use of “snippets” was illegal. German regulators rejected this demand, but VG Media was still pursuing legal efforts to force Google to pay. Given that, Google did what made the most sense and removed the snippets for VG Media associated publishers. You’d think that this would make VG Media happy. Instead, it claimed that Google was engaged in “blackmail.”

      • German Publishers Cave, Grant Google Free Permission to Use Snippets in Search Results

        Google’s 4-month-long fight with German news publishers over license fees for search result snippets came to a close today when the publishers threw in the towel.

      • Judge: The Supreme Court Has Said Aereo Must Die, So Go Die

        This isn’t a huge surprise, given Judge Alison Nathan’s recent comments during the Aereo hearing, but Judge Nathan has now basically granted the networks what they want — a pretty broad injunction (pdf) against Aereo.

      • Marvel Goes DMCA Crazy Over Leaked Avengers 2 Trailer, Then Puts It On Its Own YouTube Page

        As the saying goes, death and taxes are both certainties — as is the fact that politicians lie. But another near universal certainty is that Marvel will totally freak out whenever it gets the slightest inkling that its intellectual property is threatened. The latest head-scratching example of this was yesterday’s leak of a trailer for The Avengers 2, which Marvel promptly DMCA’d.

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