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08.18.14

Links 18/8/2014: Linux 3.17 RC1, Escalation in Ferguson

Posted in News Roundup at 6:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Coreboot Now Has Native Graphics Initialization For Intel’s GM45

    Vladimir Serbinenko has managed to get working native VGA initialization for the GM45 graphics that’s hard-coded into Coreboot as an alternative to using the hardware’s video BIOS for starting up the GMA graphics.

  • Linux training courses to be offered at Camp Shelby

    Camp Shelby will soon offer some high-tech computer training that will set itself apart from other military facilities in the country.

  • The Time to Recommend Linux & FOSS Is Now

    When I first started using Linux twelve years ago, no one I knew, other than folks on the local LUG, were interested in giving Linux or FOSS a try whatsoever. Don’t get me wrong; my friends were nice. They supported my enthusiasm for this Linux thing I’d discovered, but were politely uninterested when I suggested they might want to give Linux a try too. That didn’t surprise me at all. Hell, I’d been trying to get people to give Star Office a try since the turn of the millennium and they wouldn’t go for that either, even though they were paying through the nose for MS Office.

  • Real People Now Ready To Accept A Real OS

    When I first taught in the North, no one I met had heard much about GNU/Linux and no one had tried GNU/Linux on a desktop, even myself. After a few years of using GNU/Linux in schools, everything changed. I met students, parents and members of the community who had used GNU/Linux before I arrived and I travelled to a new community almost every year. Students and community members also travel and several in each community had previously installed GNU/Linux or attended a school that used GNU/Linux much as I did. That was before Android/Linux and ChromeOS took off…

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.17-rc1

      I’m going to be on a plane much of tomorrow, and am not really supportive of last-minute pull requests during the merge window anyway, so I’m closing the merge window one day early, and 3.17-rc1 is out there now. Well, it’s been out for a while now, but the network was bad enough where I’m traveling that I couldn’t get this *announcement* out.

    • Linux 3.17 Will Detect If Your Toshiba Laptop Is Falling Down

      The new “Toshiba HDD Active Protection Sensor” driver is for the accelerometer found in recent Toshiba laptops (HID TOS620A). The driver receives an ACPI notify event when the sensor detects a sudden movement or harsh vibration and then another ACPI event when the movement/vibration has passed.

    • Linus Torvalds Releases Linux Kernel 3.17 RC1
    • Linux 3.17-rc1 Kernel Released
    • The New Features Of The Linux 3.17 Kernel

      Now that the merge window has passed and Linux 3.17-rc1 released, here’s a rundown of the new features for the Linux 3.17 kernel.

    • BFS Scheduler Update Brings SMT Nice Support

      Con Kolivas released a new version of his BFS scheduler and besides porting it for Linux 3.16 compatibility it also contains a big new feature.

      BFS CPU scheduler v0.450 made a Saturday morning premiere and it offers support for Linux 3.16, offers various bug-fixes, and brings configurable SMT nice support.

    • Keeping Open Source Safe

      In a recent thread on lkml.org Theodore Ts’o pointed out that Krause has tried to insert non-working code into the ext4, btrfs, scsi, and usb subsystems and tried to come up with an explanation for his behavior. Among the suggestions is one from Airlie that Krause is trying to write a University Thesis on trolling the kernel development process. Other theories are that he’s a badly written AI chatbot, or just a clueless high school student with more tenacity than one usually expects at that age. Or maybe he’s trying to win a bet, or is trying to get extra credit or to complete some course assignment by getting a patch into the kernel.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel’s Idle Driver Supports Broadwell With Linux 3.17

        The native hardware cpuidle driver for Intel CPUs now supports the upcoming Broadwell processors with Linux 3.17.

        Len Brown of Intel sent in a few basic tweaks for the idle drivers at the end of the Linux 3.17 merge window. One commit disables Bay Trail’s Core and Module C6 auto-demotion while the other main patch adds Broadwell support to the intel_idle driver.

      • Intel Starts Sending In Graphics Patches For Linux 3.18

        While Linux 3.17-rc1 isn’t even out yet, the merge window is coming to an end and Intel OTC is already starting to send in pull requests to the drm-next branch for merging into the next cycle, Linux 3.18.

        Daniel Vetter as the Intel i915 DRM maintainer sent in his first pull request to David Airlie for getting the DRM driver changes queued up early for the next cycle. More pull requests are expected for the Intel driver in Linux 3.18 with this just being the changes that are queued and ready for further testing by the community.

      • Nouveau Works On Maxwell Fan Management

        Nouveau developer Martin Peres has published a set of ten Nouveau DRM patches working towards proper fan/power management support for NVIDIA’s latest “Maxwell” GPUs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5—For those Linux users undecided on the kernel’s future

        KDE’s Plasma 5 release lacks the attention-grabbing, paradigm-shifting changes that keep Unity and GNOME in the spotlight. Instead, the KDE project has been focused on improving its core desktop experience. Plasma 5 is not perfect by any means, but, unlike Unity and GNOME, it’s easy to change the things you don’t like.

      • what is “the desktop”: convergence will not happen

        Plasma was the first big free software project to work, and deliver, on the idea of GUIs that adapt at runtime to the form factor they are run on. People were skeptical about the possibility of this, but since then this idea has been picked up by others. In the process, the concept was “tweaked” and given the buzzworthy tag of “convergence”.

        Convergence literally means the act of coming together from different directions as so to eventually meet. As it has been popular used recently, it means that different kinds of devices (e.g. a phone and a desktop; a tablet and a laptop) will “converge” into a single piece of hardware that can be used in different modes so that sometimes it has a “phone” style UI and sometimes a “desktop” one (for example).

      • Akademy 2014 needs *you*

        Akademy 2014 is just 3 weeks away.

      • KDE’s Konqueror Is In Need Of A New Maintainer
      • Konqueror is looking for a maintainer

        For quite some time now (OK, many years…) I haven’t had time for Konqueror.
        KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt 5 have kept me quite busy.

        It’s time to face the facts: Konqueror needs a new maintainer.

        This is a good time to publish the thoughts we had many years ago about a possible new GUI for Konqueror.

        Kévin Ottens, Nuno Pinheiro and myself had a meeting (at some Akademy, many years ago) where we thought about how Konqueror’s GUI could be improved to be cleaner and more intuitive, while keeping the idea of Konqueror being the universal navigator, i.e. the swiss-army knife that includes file management, web browsing, document viewing, and more. This is what makes it different from rekonq and dolphin, for instance.

      • The KDE Randa Meeting 2014 in retrospective

        Leaving Randa after spending a week there at the KDE Randa Meeting 2014 raises mixed feelings. I am really looking forward to coming home and seeing my family, but at the same time the week was so full of action, great collaboration and awesome people that it passed by in an instant and was over so soon. Carving a work week out of the schedule for a hackfest is not an easy feat, especially during summer school break, so the expectations were high. And they have been exceeded in all aspects. A lot of the credit for that goes to the organizer, Mario Fux, and his team of local supporters. The rest goes to the awesome family of KDE contributors that make spending a week on contributing to Free Software so much fun. And of course to the sponsors of the event.

      • Krita booth at Siggraph 2014
      • One place to collect all Qt-based libraries

        We were thinking of something like CPAN for Qt back then. Since then there was a little bit of progress here and there, but my goal for the Hack Week was to complete the data to cover all relevant Qt-based libraries out there.

      • Beautiful KDE Plasma 5 Desktop Received Its First Update

        The KDE Community has announced that the first bugfix release for Plasma 5 has been released and that it’s now available for download

        The first bugfix release for KDE Frameworks 5 has been dubbed 5.0.1, and, as the name suggests, it’s chock full of fixes for a variety of problems.

        “Today KDE releases the first bugfix update to Plasma 5. Plasma 5 was released a month ago with many feature refinements and streamlining the existing codebase of KDE’s popular desktop for developers to work on for the years to come. This release, versioned 5.0.1, adds a month’s worth of new translations and fixes from KDE’s contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important such as fixing text which couldn’t be translated, using the correct icons and fixing overlapping files with KDELibs 4 software,” reads the announcement.

      • Randa Report: Hacking on KDE and meeting friends

        I’m already back home and now like to you let you know what I’ve been doing the last week during the Randa Sprint in the Swiss Alps.

      • … and they pop up on your desktop

        If you like to keep your project-related files on your desktop for easy access, you might have kept links to them in different folders which you placed in a folder view.

      • Prominent KDE Developer Says Convergence Will Not Happen

        The idea of convergence has been floating around for quite some time and companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Canonical are already working towards this goal. On the other hand, there are some voices that say it will never happen. KDE developer Aaron Seigo is one of those voices.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • m23 rock 14.2 is released!
      • Release: SymphonyOS 14.1 Now Available

        We are happy to announce the release of SymphonyOS 14.1, the second release in the Phoenix series. This release includes several bugfixes over the 14.0 developer preview from earlier this year including. Update to an Ubuntu 14.04 base system Improved handling of menu generation and proper updating of the menu system when system changes occur Improvements to the logout functionality Replacement of Slim DM with LightDM Security updates to the local httpd Fixes to installation from DVD While this new release still receives a beta title and should not be considered stable it is a large step forward and we hope…

      • Robolinux Xfce 7.6.1 Will “Blow Windows Users’ Minds” – Gallery

        The Robolinux developer doesn’t hide the fact that he’s interested in the Windows audience and he is targeting those particular users with this Linux distribution. Sure enough, regular Linux users can also take advantage of the distro, but the OS features a few options that should only prove interesting if you are already running a Microsoft product.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Musings on identity management

        I’m over three months into my new gig on the identity management team at Red Hat now, so I would like to share a few thoughts about what I’ve learned about identity management.

        I was excited to come into this role because of my innate interest in security and cryptography. I had little practical experience with PKI and security protocols beyond basic X.509/TLS and OpenPGP, so I have been relishing the opportunity to broaden my knowledge and experience and solve problems in this domain.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • AppStream/DEP-11 Debian progress

        DEP-11 is Debian’s implementation of AppStream, as well as an effort to enhance the metadata available about software in Debian. While initially, AppStream was only about applications, DEP-11 was designed with a larger scope, to collect data about libraries, binaries and things like Python modules. Now, since AppStream 0.6, DEP-11 and AppStream have essentially the same scope, with the difference of DEP-11 metadata being described in YAML, while official AppStream data is XML. That was due to a request by our ftpmasters team, which doesn’t like XML (which is also not used anywhere in Debian, as opposed to YAML). But this doesn’t mean that people will have to deal with the YAML file format: The libappstream library will just take DEP-11 data as another data source for it’s Xapian database, allowing anything using libappstream to access that data just like the XML stuff. Richards libappstream-glib will also receive support for the DEP-11 format soon, filling it’s in-memory data cache and enabling the use of GNOME-Software on Debian.

      • Debian turns 21!

        Today is Debian’s 21st anniversary. Plenty of cities are celebrating Debian Day. If you are not close to any of those cities, there’s still time for you to organize a little celebration!

      • Happy 21st Birthday, Debian!

        The Debian project has just celebrated it’s 21st birthday, making it one of the oldest open source projects in existence.

        Debian is one of the most used Linux distributions in the world, even if it might not seem like it. It’s not the friendliest operating system out there, but it’s good and stable enough and many other projects use it as their base.

      • Happy 21st Birthday Debian!

        On this day August 16th, 1993 The Debian Project was officially born from its creator Ian Murdock. The Debian Project went on to become one of the highest standards in open source software, and it managed to maintain this status until even today.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch RTM Version to get Released Soon by Canonical

            Mark Shuttleworth has said on a number of occasions that the first Ubuntu-powered smartphones should be arriving this Autumn, but unfortunately, the developers yet aren’t available to ship a stable version so soon. Now, a separate branch of Ubuntu Touch that will get RTM status, and will mainly be focused on bug fixes and stability issues.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Retailer accidently leaks Samsung Note 4 specs

          Erafone, a reputable Indonesian retailer uploaded the specs of the Note 4 to a corresponding product page which seems to have gone live without the retailer realizing. There are no confirmation as of yet that the specs are correct. However as the device is expected to be launched for sale on September 3rd it is not uncommon for retailers to have the information earlier. This allows them to prepare the device pages ready for immediate sale once released. As such it is possible these really are the specs for the newest addition to the Note family.

        • Samsung To Buy IoT Startup SmartThings

          The 2-year-old SmartThings is creating an open platform for the IoT that already supports more than 1,000 devices and 8,000 apps.

          Samsung is making a stronger push into the burgeoning Internet of things space with the planned acquisition of SmartThings, a 2-year-old startup that has created an open platform for the smart home.

        • Retailer accidently leaks Samsung Note 4 specs

          Erafone, a reputable Indonesian retailer uploaded the specs of the Note 4 to a corresponding product page which seems to have gone live without the retailer realizing. There are no confirmation as of yet that the specs are correct. However as the device is expected to be launched for sale on September 3rd it is not uncommon for retailers to have the information earlier. This allows them to prepare the device pages ready for immediate sale once released. As such it is possible these really are the specs for the newest addition to the Note family.

        • Recent reports of three-sided Note 4 unlikely to be true

          Here at themukt we want to make sure are sources are credible and information passed on to you is real. With this in mind, as far as we are concerned these rumors are extremely unlikely to be true and should generally be ignored…at least for now.

      • Android

        • Moto 360 VERY likely to be shipping September 8th

          With each day that passes we are receiving more and more information about the upcoming fall releases and today is no different.

          It has only been two days since we announced Motorola had sent animated invites to their Moto Launch Experience. The event is scheduled for September 4th and we reported it was highly likely this will be when the Moto 360 is officially released.

        • Google I/O Attendees, Check Your Inboxes – Moto 360 Distribution Emails Are Out

          At this year’s Google I/O, the company behind the search engine with the most o’s promised attendees not one, but two Android Wear devices. The first was either an LG G Watch or a Samsung Gear Live. The second, a Moto 360. We haven’t heard much about the latter since then, but emails are now going out. The time has come for I/O goers to check their inboxes.

        • Adobe Flash Player Android: The Typical Software with Best Features

          Adobe was been widely known by millions ad the leading manufacturer of prestigious products, which brought the existence of the Flash Player. Adobe’s finest has truly made a mark in the global market. It can also be utilized as a browser plug in or even on mobile devices that can support the system. It is made for professional web developers and the average Joe. It is also being supported on quite a number of mobile tablets and devices that range from Samsung to Blackberry, to Sony, HTC and Dell among others.

        • Android development with Java

          Developers seeking to create apps for Google’s popular smartphone operating system needn’t bother themselves with learning complex and often obscure custom versions of C++ like the one used by the once-famous Symbian OS. Instead, Android applications tend to be written in Java, with native modules added in for convenience and speed.

        • Android Circuit: The Samsung Galaxy Alpha Challenges The iPhone 6, Asus Challenges Android Wear, and Xiaomi Challenges Everybody Else

          Taking a look back at the week in news across the Android world, this week’s Android Circuit highlights a number of stories, including Samsung presenting their challenger to the iPhone 6, Motorola’s potential champion waiting in the wings, IDC’s market share numbers are good news for Android, HTC announcing their Creative Lab for creating software that will run on any Android device, Asus preparing to launch an Android Wear smartwatch, Facebook’s Android permissions, and the success of Xiaomi’s Mi3 handset in India.

        • OnePlus One unboxed – What you get and what you don’t get

          Finally received a OnePlus One a few days ago and as this is still an invite only product thought it may be worth providing readers with a bit of info on what you actually get…and don’t get.

        • Moto 360 to cost $250, Best Buy accidently released details

          What a week it has been in terms of leaks and rumors. With September rolling round and the expecting release of the Moto 360, Note 4, Moto X and Moto G we have seen a number of leaks involving product specs, leaked images and release dates.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Apple’s MacBook (2,1) Now Can Boot With Coreboot

    After the Lenovo X200 support the latest laptop supporting Coreboot is Apple’s second-generation MacBook.

  • Why Your Company Needs To Write More Open Source Software
  • Alternative Open Source Hosting Control Panels

    Free and open source control panels can be just as powerful and feature-rich as proprietary ones. What they generally lack, however, is commercial support or any kind of warranty. Some developers offer additional paid commercial support, while others offers support through community forums and discussion groups.

  • Look inside building an open source map app

    Imagine yourself walking down the middle of a crowded street in a complex city like Cairo. Suddenly a protest builds ahead. A mass of people, cutting off the road. You try to evade, but then violence breaks out in mere seconds. You need help. Someone else, a car to get you out. A phone call might suffice, but wouldn’t it be easier to notify all your friends that this place is dangerous and that you need their assistance? This is where a map-based social network could come into play.

  • Events

    • LibreOffice Conference 2014 to be held in Bern this September

      LibreOffice is arguably the most popular open source office suite available today. The success has come doe to the hard work and contributions from several dedicated developers as well as contributors from community memebrs. The key to develop and grow this ecosystem is constant collaboration and having a solid strategy regarding the future of the software. The LibreOffice conference is a stage that provides this opportunity to the contributors and enthusiasts to take part in planning the future roadmap.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Adventures in Mozillaland #4

        One and Done is a brilliant idea to help people contribute to the QA Mozilla teams.
        It’s a website proposing the user a series of tasks of different difficulty and on different topics to contribute to Mozilla. Each task is self-contained and can last few minutes or be a bit more challenging. The team has worked hard on developing it and they have definitely done an awesome job! :)

      • I was at Guadec

        I was at Guadec in Strasbourg – thanks to all the volunteers who helped making this event possible.. For those who don’t know Guadec is the annual Gnome User And Developer European Conference. I hadn’t attended since 2008 — such is life — but I reconnected with people I hadn’t seen in a while, as well as met awesome people that joined the project since. Attending this year made me regain a lot of motivation on why a Free Software desktop and why Gnome are really necessary. This is even more important as to why at Mozilla I use Fedora Linux rather than MacOS X like most of my team mates —*hint* at least on Fedora I don’t have code signing break existing apps, and I have a real full screen browser to use to do presentation based on web technologies or even the risk that one day third party browser be barred like they are on iOS — and it is important to keep the alternatives alive.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • One interface, many truths

      Today I’d like to discuss a topic that is constantly recurring about LibreOffice: the overhaul of its interface. I am aware the matter has some real trolling potential, but at least if one wants to troll it is important to get some things straight first.

      Is LibreOffice’s interface outdated? It depends who you ask the question. The problem is that some part of the answer is really a matter of taste; another part of it is really about the kind of interface we could have; and yet another side of the matter is the perception of what its interface should be like. Let’s address the three issues separately.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 4.0 Beta 4 is out, time to test

      A major update for WordPress is due this month and fourth beta, which I assume would be the last beta has been released for testing and bug hunting. I installed it on a test machine and the changes are impressive. Since we used Drupal earlier for Muktware and then migrated to WordPress in September last year, I can say from personal experience WordPress is a more suitable choice for writing focused sites like TheMukt.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • AMD Compiler Optimization Benchmarks With GCC 4.10 (GCC 5.0)

      As a continuation to yesterday’s brief GCC 4.9 vs. GCC 4.10 (GCC 5.0) comparison with the AMD A10 A-Series “Kaveri” APU, here’s some benchmarks when using the GCC 4.10 development snapshot and trying a variety of CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS to see the current impact on their performance for a variety of Linux benchmarks.

    • GNU lightning 2.0.5 released!

      GNU lightning is a library to aid in making portable programs that compile assembly code at run time.

  • Public Services/Government

    • DemocracyOS promotes civic engagement on both sides

      Using DemocracyOS represents a challenge for any institution used to make decisions in the traditional way. It is designed for governments to open themselves up to citizen engagement, but power is usually conservative. But the biggest challenge is probably to fight against the presumption that citizens are naturally apathetic and shun commitment. Our challenge is cultural, not technological.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Git 2.1 Released

      Version 2.1 of the Git revision control system is available this weekend.

    • [ANNOUNCE] Git v2.1.0

      The following public repositories all have a copy of the ‘v2.1.0′ tag and the ‘master’ branch that the tag points at…

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Software that prevents cyber attacks

      “TCP Stealth is a free software that requires particular system and computer expertise, for example, use of the GNU/Linux operating system. In order to make broader usage possible in the future, the software will need further development,” said scientists from the Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM) in Germany.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • ISI, CIA aiding NE militants: Tripura CM

      Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar has alleged that Pakistani intelligence agency (ISI) and America’s (CIA) are in constant touch with anti-India militants, a section of whom are still using Bangladesh to operate.

    • US blocks Chinese-Russian backed back on weapons in space

      War is not nice and it’s understandable that countries would seek to ban weapons in space to attempt to keep conflict confined to the Earth, for this reason Russia and China have been attempting to draft a joint treaty for the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space since 2008. Since then, the United States have been repeatedly blocking consensus in the UN’s Conference on Disarmament to prevent countries moving forward on negotiating a treaty to ban weapons in space claiming that the proposal was ‘a diplomatic ploy by the two nations to gain a military advantage’.

    • Suspected al-Qaida militants killed in Yemen drone and air strikes
    • Drone Strikes In Yemen Kill 7 Suspected Al Qaeda Militants: Official

      Two separate airstrikes in Yemen’s south killed seven suspected militants Saturday, a Yemeni security official said.

    • U.S. drone strikes kill ten militants in Yemen
    • Mindless drones

      Drones have killed thousands of people in places such as Pakistan and Yemen, countries against which we have not declared war.

    • Lady Gaza comes to Melbourne

      The Melbourne Palestine Action Group, a group consisting of Whistle Blowers Australian Citizens Alliance (WACA) and Renegade Activists, locked down Elbit Systems in the suburb of Port Melbourne and occupied the building’s roof for a few hours.

    • More Scots firms linked to the manufacture of parts for Israel’s Gaza bombs
    • U.S. unilateral military action is not solution to the Iraqi crisis

      I wish to condemn, in the strongest terms, the attacks by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) against Christian and other religious minorities in Iraq. Christian friends who migrated a long time ago from Iraq to the United States called my family, and were informed that our hearts were bleeding to see how the situation was worsening in Iraq.

    • Three Afghan policemen killed by US airstrike

      At least three Afghan policemen have been killed when US-led foreign forces launched an airstrike in Afghanistan’s northern province of Parwan.

      Afghan authorities said the airborne attack took place in the Ghorband district of the province, situated about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the capital, Kabul, on Friday and targeted local police forces. A fourth police officer was wounded in the raid.

    • In the West Respect for Truth No Longer Exists

      The conclusive evidence is the media story of the armored Russian column that crossed into Ukraine and was destroyed by Ukraine’s rag-tag forces that ISIS would eliminate in a few minutes. British reporters fabricated this story or were handed it by a CIA operative working to build a war narrative. The no longer reputable BBC hyped the story without investigating. The German media, including Die Welt, blared the story throughout Germany without concern at the absence of any evidence. Reuters news agency, also with no investigation, spread the story. Readers tell me that CNN has been broadcasting the fake story 24/7. Although I cannot stand to watch it, I suspect Fox “news” has also been riding this lame horse hard. Readers tell me that my former newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, which has fallen so low as to be unreadable, also spread the false story. I hope they are wrong. One hates to see the complete despoliation of one’s former habitat.

    • Cha-Ching! Tony Blair’s Wife Lands Lucrative Gig in Kazakhstan—British Paper

      At first blush, it seems Kazakhstan’s strongman President Nursultan Nazarbayev likes to keep business in the family. A daughter heads his party in the rubber-stamp parliament; his sons-in-law held various official positions and became fabulously wealthy. So why is it not surprising that Kazakhstan is paying the wife of Nazarbayev’s most distinguished advisor, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, hundreds of thousands of pounds for her legal services?

    • How Cherie Blair earns £1,000 an hour from the Kazakh taxpayer
    • Handmaiden to Africa’s Generals

      Security is a core concern of the American government’s Africa policy. This was made clear in May when President Obama proposed a $5 billion Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund to supplement programs the Pentagon already has in 35 countries. And it was made clear again at the recent U.S.-Africa summit in Washington, when Mr. Obama announced $110 million a year for an African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership, a program to train and equip six African armies for peacekeeping operations.

      Because Mr. Obama is committed to scaling back the deployment of United States troops to combat terrorism, America’s security strategy in Africa translates largely into training and equipping African armies. Although this approach rightly gives African governments the lead in tackling their own security problems, it is misguided nonetheless. It is, in effect, providing foreign tutelage to the militarization of Africa’s politics, which undermines peace and democracy throughout the continent. America’s diplomacy is becoming a handmaiden to Africa’s generals.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Julian Assange has had his human rights violated, says Ecuador foreign minister

      Ricardo Patino says British government has no will to find a solution to stalemate that has confined WikiLeaks founder to London’s Ecuadorian embassy for more than two years

    • Julian Assange ‘to leave’ Ecuador embassy

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange says he will leave London’s Ecuadorean embassy “soon” after two years.

    • Two years on, Julian Assange is still a prisoner of process

      Ecuador is committed to protecting persons subject to political persecution. Two years ago, after a profound investigation and review of our legal obligations, we decided to give political asylum to Julian Assange.

      This decision followed a dramatic change in our global understanding of privacy, telecommunications and diplomacy over the past few years. Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass surveillance have uncovered grave security threats for states, violations of human rights, and have shown that the future of the internet is in danger. The millions of documents published by Wikileaks about the political, economic and military manoeuvres of powerful interests also magnified delicate matters of sovereignty and abuse of power.

      All states have secrets. And all states have the right to defend themselves. But this must not whitewash the grave violations of human rights, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, of which we have learned.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Drillers illegally using diesel fuel to frack, report says

      A new report charges that several oil and gas companies have been illegally using diesel fuel in their hydraulic fracturing operations, and then doctoring records to hide violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

      The report, published this week by the Environmental Integrity Project, found that between 2010 and July 2014 at least 351 wells were fracked by 33 different companies using diesel fuels without a permit. The Integrity Project, an environmental organization based in Washington, D.C., said it used the industry-backed database, FracFocus, to identify violations and to determine the records had been retroactively amended by the companies to erase the evidence.

  • Finance

    • Paul Ryan Shuns Conservative Media’s “Makers And Takers” Rhetoric, But His Policies Still Rely On Those Myths

      In the same Wall Street Journal opinion piece that distanced himself from the “makers and takers” phrase, Ryan went on to explain his anti-poverty plan, which in part proposes that individuals would have to sign “contracts” in order to remain eligible for social safety net benefits, such as food stamps.

    • BitXBay: The First Open Source, P2P Online Trading Platform

      Charly Clinton, the creator of BitXBay, a decentralized and anonymous Bitcoin marketplace, claims to have created the first open source, peer-to-peer online platform for trade.

    • Joe Hockey may be sorry, but that doesn’t mean he gets it

      He was a 64-year-old from somewhere near Bathurst who had been forced to give up his lifelong job as a truck driver in 2013 after a serious heart attack. He could no longer work, even casually, and was living on a disability support pension. After he had paid rent and power he had $135 a week – which also had to cover around $40 a week in medical prescription costs.

      The man had sought financial counselling and had tried to save money in many ways but he still couldn’t make ends meet and was forced to ask for help from Vinnies several times before deciding to move to a shack on a small bush block he owned, without power or running water.

    • Germany’s World Cup triumph fails to net economic rewards

      Brewers feel flat and Adidas shares fall as optimism and confidence dips in Germany amid tensions with Russia

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Hypocrisy In Action: Stingray Maker, Who Relies On Secret No Bid Contracts, Whines About Motorola Getting A No Bid Contract

      Harris Corporation, the stealthy, mostly-silent company behind the cell tower spoofer known as the Stingray, is making a few louder noises now that its financial toes are being stepped on. The company muffles law enforcement agencies with restrictive terms and conditions that include broad non-disclosure clauses and a general admonishment that as much information as possible should be withheld from the public at all times. These tactics have worked out for its core business — tower spoofers — allowing Harris to make a whole lot of money without having to deal with FOIA fallout and citizen backlash.

    • Australian Officials Pushing For Data Retention Had No Idea What A VPN Is

      If you haven’t yet, you really should watch the video we pointed to recently of Australian Attorney General George Brandis trying to explain his internet data retention plan when it’s clear he has no idea how the internet works. It’s the one where he’s asked if it will track the web pages you visit, and Brandis vehemently insists that it will not, but that it will track the web addresses you visit. Some people have said that perhaps he meant it won’t record the actual content on the pages, but just the URL (which might matter if it’s dynamic pages), but later in the conversation, he also implies (almost clearly incorrectly) that he means it will just track the top level domains, not the full URLs.

    • Centre to shield India from cyber attacks proposed

      The Narendra Modi government is preparing to set up a Rs. 950-crore cyber security centre following a rise in virtual world attacks and recent revelations that the US National Security Agency had spied on the BJP and sensitive establishments.The Narendra Modi government is preparing to set up a Rs. 950-crore cyber security centre following a rise in virtual world attacks and recent revelations that the US National Security Agency had spied on the BJP and sensitive establishments.

    • Did a U.S. defense contractor help create the next generation of spyware weapons?

      The Washington Post relates a fascinating little cloak-and-dagger story that ends with a heck of a punchline: a U.S. defense contractor was apparently working with foreign companies that create spyware and virus programs to develop new tools for spying on people, potentially both foreign and domestic.

    • U.S. firm helped the spyware industry build a potent digital weapon for sale overseas

      CloudShield Technologies, a California defense contractor, dispatched a senior engineer to Munich in the early fall of 2009. His instructions were unusually opaque.

    • Germany tapped John Kerry’s phone, spied on Turkey for years – report

      Germany’s foreign intelligence agency eavesdropped at least one telephone conversation of US Secretary of State John Kerry and spied on NATO ally Turkey since 2009, Der Spiegel newspaper revealed on Saturday.

      Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) picked up the phone call “by accident” in 2013, the weekly newspaper reported in a pre-publication citing unnamed sources. Kerry was discussing the Middle East tensions between Israelis, Palestinians and Arab states in a satellite link, according to Der Spiegel.

    • Germany Spied On Kerry and Clinton Says Der Spiegel, But It’s Not As Awkward As It Sounds

      In what many are calling a pot-and-kettle situation, German magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday that German intelligence spied on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, allegedly listening into and recording their private phone calls. Though the revelations are potentially unsurprising (doesn’t it feel like everyone is spying on everyone at this point?), they still might have been embarrassing for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has publicly criticized the U.S. for its spying practices. Instead, though, the report only highlights how badly the U.S. behaved.

    • Germany intelligence spied on Kofi Annan
    • Spiegel: BND focus on Turkey nets Kerry, Clinton
    • Knocking down the HACIENDA

      “Knocking down the HACIENDA” by Julian Kirsch, produced by GNU, the GNUnet team and edited on short notice by Carlo von Lynx from #youbroketheinternet is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivatives 3.0 Unported License. We thank the CCC for hosting this on their CDN.

    • UK spies have scanned the internet connections of entire countries

      You may know that the UK’s GCHQ intelligence agency pokes its nose into people’s internet service accounts, but it’s now clear that the spy outfit is mapping the internet connections of whole nations, too. Heise has obtained documents showing that a GCHQ system, Hacienda, can scan every internet address in a given country to see both the connection types in use (such as web servers) as well as any associated apps. The scanning platform is looking for relevant targets and any exploitable security holes; if a target is running software with known vulnerabilities, it’s relatively easy for agents to break in and either swipe data or set up malicious websites that trick suspects into compromising their PCs. Poring over this much data would normally be time-consuming, but there’s a companion system (Olympia) that makes it easy to find useful information within minutes.

    • It’s time to delete mandatory data retention once and for all

      After five years of debate, it is time for all sides of politics to acknowledge that the Australian public will not stand for a mandatory data retention policy keeping track of every aspect of their lives. It is time to kill the mandatory data retention policy once and for all.

    • Sen. Wyden: Your data’s yours no matter on whose server it lives

      At the TechFestNW event in Portland on Friday, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden called for legal reforms that embrace an understanding that the mere act of handing over digital data doesn’t mean giving way a user’s right to privacy.

    • The Internet’s Original Sin

      The fiasco I want to talk about is the World Wide Web, specifically, the advertising-supported, “free as in beer” constellation of social networks, services, and content that represents so much of the present day web industry. I’ve been thinking of this world, one I’ve worked in for over 20 years, as a fiasco since reading a lecture by Maciej Cegłowski, delivered at the Beyond Tellerrand web design conference. Cegłowski is an important and influential programmer and an enviably talented writer. His talk is a patient explanation of how we’ve ended up with surveillance as the default, if not sole, internet business model.

    • Gyroscopes in your phone could be spying on you

      Researchers have developed software that uses a devices gyroscopes, not microphone, to listen in to your conversations. They found that the gyroscopes were so sensitive that they could be used as makeshift microphones.

    • Github tracks you by email.

      That’s right. Github tracks you by email. Each Github notification email contains in the HTML part a beacon. Beacons are usually one pixel images with a unique URL to know who did view the email or not – triggered by the HTML rendered downloading the image to display.

    • Attacking NPR As A Shill For Government Intelligence

      After doing my own research, I strongly agree with the critics that the story committed a fundamental failure in not noting that both the company, Recorded Future, and a second company that aided it, ReversingLabs, have ties to the United States intelligence community. Temple-Raston and her editor, Bruce Auster, agree, too, and say that what happened was an oversight on deadline.

    • CIA spy program actually called ‘Hydra’? Not cool.

      You know, the US government does a lot of shady and, frankly, stupid stuff in the name of “keeping us safe” from “terrorists.” They also do some smart things and completely morally unambiguous stuff. This is not one of those.

      In documents leaked to The Intercept (a site devoted to analyzing documents leaked, first and foremost, by Edward Snowden) it appears the CIA has created a monster. One of their data-collection programs is literally named “Hydra.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Patriots don’t torture: Why excusing it is an American catastrophe

      About a week ago, for the first time ever, the U.S. government, through the comments of its chief executive no less, confirmed that “folks were tortured.” Simultaneously, he observed that there ”was little need for sanctimony” given the heightened fears of the American public in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the enormous pressure that law enforcement officials were under to prevent future attacks.

    • Watchdog groups putting pressure on CIA director
    • Shane Todd’s family says noose and towel used in U.S. engineer’s hanging death DESTROYED by police

      Police in Singapore destroyed two pieces of evidence tied to the death of Shane Todd, whose body was found in his apartment there in June 2012, according to the American engineer’s family.

      The 31-year-old’s parents, Rick and Mary Todd, have for months been demanding the Singapore government return the hand-made noose and towel around their son’s neck when his body was discovered by his girlfriend hanging from his bathroom door.

    • Shane Todd’s death: AGC denies towel and noose destroyed to block DNA test
    • Singapore gov’t destroyed evidence in US engineer’s death
    • Israeli court allows protesters to picket Palestinian-Jewish wedding

      A Palestinian man and his Jewish bride-to-be are facing hostile protests in the Israeli town of Rishon Letzion after Israel’s high court refused their application to ban demonstrations outside their wedding reception.

      Mahmoud Mansour, 26, a Palestinian from Jaffa, has had to hire dozens of security guards after an anti-Arab group, Lehava, published details of his wedding reception online and called for Israelis to come and picket the wedding hall.

      The group, which campaigns against assimilation between Jews and Arabs in Israel, is angry that Mansour’s bride-to-be, Moral Malka, 23, is Jewish, although local media reported that she has already converted to Islam and the couple have had an Islamic wedding.

    • Cell Phone Guide For US Protesters, Updated 2014 Edition

      With major protests in the news again, we decided it’s time to update our cell phone guide for protestors. A lot has changed since we last published this report in 2011, for better and for worse. On the one hand, we’ve learned more about the massive volume of law enforcement requests for cell phone—ranging from location information to actual content—and widespread use of dedicated cell phone surveillance technologies. On the other hand, strong Supreme Court opinions have eliminated any ambiguity about the unconstitutionality of warrantless searches of phones incident to arrest, and a growing national consensus says location data, too, is private.

    • Petition Asks DOJ to Halt Action Against New York Times Reporter

      “The main thing that gets to me is that I realize I don’t deserve all this,” Risen said.

    • Where’s the Justice at Justice?
    • Channeling Orwell from Oval Office

      The Justice Department is trying to scuttle the reporters’ privilege — ignoring the chilling effect that is having on truth emerging in a jittery post-9/11 world prone to egregious government excesses.

    • Nixon believed CIA involved in Kennedy Assassination

      A new book, which will be released September 2, discloses a previously unknown connection between Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, John F. Kennedy and the CIA.

      In fact, author Roger Stone, a former Nixon aide, asserts that Nixon “knew the CIA was involved in JFK’s assassination” and was so pesky in his attempts to get them to disclose all their records that the CIA contemplated the assassination of Nixon as well.

      The book, “Nixon’s Secrets: The Rise, Fall, and Untold Truth about the President, Watergate, and the Pardon”, demonstrates a definitely unfriendly relationship between himself and then CIA Director Richard Helms.

    • UK ambassador ‘lobbied senators to hide Diego Garcia role in rendition’

      Logs released under the Freedom of Information Act have reinforced claims that the UK lobbied to keep its role in the CIA’s torture and interrogation programme out of what is expected to be a damning Senate report.

      They show that the UK ambassador to the US met members of the Senate select committee on intelligence 11 times between 2012 and 2014 – as they were investigating the CIA’s rendition programme. This included two meetings with the committee’s chair, Diane Feinstein, which took place as crucial decisions were being made regarding how much of its report into the programme should be made public.

    • Do police need grenade launchers, other military weapons? Officers say yes

      …under a federal program that allows police to obtain surplus gear free from the U.S. military…Local agencies must return items they don’t use.

    • Ferguson protests: National Guard sent to Missouri unrest

      The US state of Missouri is sending the National Guard to the town of Ferguson as protests escalate over the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

    • Ferguson’s Police Got Free Military Gear Straight From The Pentagon

      The images coming out of Ferguson could be critical in instigating the debate. Dansky and others have noted that police militarization dates back to the 1980s. But the prevalence of social media and its ability to share the kind of images that caused TPM’s Josh Marshall to ask “Ferguson or Fallujah” have made the issue more difficult to ignore.

    • Ferguson Attacks And Web Censorship Are Parts Of Same Story

      A lot of this week in civil liberties has been about the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, USA. Police troops fired tear gas on a television crew. This mirrors the ongoing web censorship efforts.

      The governments around the world are reacting the exact same way today as they did when the printing press arrived 500 years ago. There isn’t really anything new under the sun.

    • In Ferguson, Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery gives account of his arrest

      Multiple officers grabbed me. I tried to turn my back to them to assist them in arresting me. I dropped the things from my hands.

      “My hands are behind my back,” I said. “I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.” At which point one officer said: “You’re resisting. Stop resisting.”

      That was when I was most afraid — more afraid than of the tear gas and rubber bullets.

      As they took me into custody, the officers slammed me into a soda machine, at one point setting off the Coke dispenser. They put plastic cuffs on me, then they led me out the door.

      I could see Ryan still talking to an officer. I said: “Ryan, tweet that they’re arresting me, tweet that they’re arresting me.”

      He didn’t have an opportunity, because he was arrested as well.

      The officers led us outside to a police van. Inside, there was a large man sitting on the floor between the two benches. He began screaming: “I can’t breathe! Call a paramedic! Call a paramedic!”

    • Militarized Terror Policing

      Now our police have become an occupying army in our cities.

    • Cops or Soldiers? Pentagon, DHS Helped Arm Police in Ferguson with Equipment Used in War
    • 7 Pages to Drone Kill an American Citizen
    • NUSOJ Calls for the Release of Journalists detained for the Second day without Charge

      The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) calls for the Federal Government of Somalia to release the media workers and the journalists detained in Mogadishu for second day without charges following raid of Radio Shabelle and SKY FM stations.

    • TV crews hit by bean bags, tear gas
    • Michael Brown’s death was no anomaly. We cannot stay silent
    • Turns Out When Police Act Cordial, Rather Than As An Oppressive Military Force, Things Work Out Better

      After covering the militarized police fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri the past few days, including highlighting Anil Dash’s rather simple point that the way to deal with angry protestors isn’t to make them angrier, it appears that someone finally got the message. Missouri’s governor kicked out the St. Louis County police, who were responsible for much of the previous escalation, and sent in the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who almost immediately set a very different tone — one that involved a much smaller police presence, and one that was a lot friendlier. It even involved talking with (not just to) protestors in a cordial manner. The most striking image — a complete reversal of the day before — has to be Captain Ron Johnson, who was put in charge, walking with the protestors (in ordinary police garb) rather than having militarized police aiming high powered weaponry at them.

    • Creating Controversy: No, An Upcoming EA Game About Militarized Police Doesn’t Need To React To Ferguson, MO

      As the Ferguson, MO saga continues to unfold, there are certainly lessons to be learned. An overly-militarized police force coupled with the oppression of free speech and the press aren’t good ways for managing an angry population, for instance. Conversely, a police force that actually connects and serves with the community they’re tasked with policing produces far better results. And, of course, we’re all forced to have yet another discussion about race-relations in this ostensibly free and equal country of ours. These are good conversations to have.

    • Ferguson looks like Iraq. Statements from politicians like me won’t fix that
    • California Cops Seize Recordings Of Questionable Arrest, Claim They Have The ‘Right’ To Do So
    • Police In Ferguson Back To Threatening And Arresting Reporters: Tells Them To ‘Get The Fuck Out Of Here’

      A live stream from the local radio station KARG (Argus Radio — which is a local volunteer run radio station that has been doing amazing work) caught police screaming, “Get the fuck out of here or you’re going to get shelled with this” while pointing a gun at the reporter. Many reports claimed that he was saying, “You’re going to get shot,” but it’s pretty clearly “shelled.” Not sure it really makes a huge difference.

    • Northern California Cops Beat Mentally Ill Man, Seize Phones, Claim it’s their Right

      Police in Northern California beat and tased a mentally ill man before siccing a dog on him, then turning on citizens who recorded the incident, confiscating cell phones and in one case, ordering a witness to delete his footage.

      But one video survived anyway, slightly longer than two minutes, where a cop from the Antioch Police Department can be heard saying he wants cameras confiscated right before the video stops.

    • Live From the Streets of Ferguson, Missouri
    • Israel bans national service with rights group B’Tselem in Gaza row

      Young barred from serving in organisation as alternative to military service after it is accused of ‘incitement against IDF’

    • New light on black sites

      Foreign courts crack down on US-led human rights abuses

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • How Verizon lets its copper network decay to force phone customers onto fiber

      The shift from copper landlines to fiber-based voice networks is continuing apace, and no one wants it to happen faster than Verizon.

    • NY Times Says FCC Should Reclassify Broadband Under Title II
    • FCC, Writers Guild push for public feedback on net neutrality issue

      The Writers Guild of America is calling on the Federal Communications Commission to hold public hearings regarding net neutrality before it rules on changes to the Open Internet Order.

      Michael Winship, the president of the Writers Guild, highlighted the multitude of public comments that were made during an open comments period regarding net neutrality when he wrote to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

    • FCC Extends Net Neutrality Comment Period

      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced Friday it would extend the net neutrality reply comment period from September 10 to September 15.

    • Redditors Propose Setting Up A ‘Consumers’ Union’ To Fight Back Against Broadband Giants

      A random factoid about my past that some people don’t know is that I have a degree in “industrial and labor relations,” which involved an awful lot of learning about the history of unions, collective bargaining and the like. While I firmly believe that most unions today are counterproductive (frequently holding back innovation and flexibility), the idea certainly made quite a lot of sense in the early days, in which you had parties (giant employers) with near total market power over employees who had absolutely no market power. Basically, many companies were market abusers, and they abused freely. Organizing workers for collective bargaining was a way to even the playing field slightly. That it later resulted in vast amounts of corruption and cronyism, let alone hindering the way in which companies could innovate and adapt, are certainly big issues to be concerned about — but there were reasons why that happened as well (driven by leadership on both sides).

    • Data Analysis Of FCC Comments Reveals Almost No Anti-Net Neutrality Comments
    • A Fascinating Look Inside Those 1.1 Million Open-Internet Comments

      So what’s in those nearly 1.1 million public comments? A lot of mentions of , according to a TechCrunch analysis. But now, we have a fuller picture. The San Francisco data analysis firm Quid looked beyond keywords to find the sentiment and arguments in those public comments.

  • DRM

    • When the Police Can Brick Your Phone

      In this age of militarized police forces, anyone who thinks the police will hesitate to use such capabilities to quell dissent and to hide their illegal behavior is in denial about political reality. The kill switch will not protect a phone from thieves much, if at all, but it will help governments work in darkness.

    • Microsoft Silent On Xbox One Sales as PlayStation 4 Wins July

      Sony says the PlayStation 4 is the fastest selling PlayStation in history, as July retail game sales turn up another net-positive month.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TTIP Update XXXV

      According to the publication “Inside US Trade”, which tends to be pretty good when it comes to sourcing its information, the next round of TTIP talks won’t take place until the end of September – obviously the negotiators felt they needed a holiday after all the excitement of the last year. But even if TTIP news is thin on the ground, there have been a couple of big developments recently that have important implications for the negotiations.

      [...]

      The resistance to TTIP is growing, and it may be that the whole thing – not just ISDS – collapses as people become aware of the reality of what is being planned. But what this valuable new site from Kelsey makes clear is that even if we manage to keep out the worst demands of the US side from the “final” text, it may not actually be final. Assuming certification is required for TTIP as for TPP, it would give one last chance for the US to try to bully the EU into accepting its demands – and one last chance for the European Commission to capitulate.

    • Copyrights

      • WWE Asked Google to Hit Live Piracy…From the Future

        An anti-piracy company working on behalf of World Wrestling Entertainment has sent a rather unusual DMCA notice to Google. The takedown requested the removal of dozens of URLs related to a live event scheduled for two days after the notice. Which means, of course, it hadn’t even aired yet.

      • ANTI-PIRACY OUTFIT WANTS TO HIJACK BROWSERS UNTIL FINE PAID

        Piracy monetization service Rightscorp has provided investors with details of its end game with cooperative ISPs. Initially service providers are asked to forward notices to subscribers with requests for $20.00 settlements, but the eventual plan is to hijack the browsers of alleged pirates until they’ve actually paid up.

      • English Premier League Apparently Wants Fans To Hate It Even More: Threatens To Pull Down Vines And Animated GIFs

        Actually, no, you don’t “have to protect” your intellectual property. In fact, if it’s stupid to do so — pissing off fans and angering the very people who pay the bills, it seems like a bad idea. But the Premier League doesn’t seem to care about that at all. It’s just taking the “we must protect our IP” view of it all. Because.

      • I Visited Pirate Bay’s Peter Sunde in Prison, Here’s What he Had to Say

        He tells me that this is par for the course in prison. “If you don’t constantly insist upon your rights, you will be denied them”. Repeatedly, he had to remind the guards that they’re not allowed to open confidential mail he receives from journalists. His alleged right to an education or occupation during his jail time in practice amounted to being given a beginners’ Spanish book.

        [...]

        Facebook alone has turned into its own little walled-garden version of the Internet that a lot of users would be content using without access to the wider Net. At the same time, services from Google to Wikipedia are working on distribution deals that make their services available to people without real Internet access.

      • Premier League to Clamp Down on GIFs and Vines

        On the eve of the new season, the UK’s Premier League has been putting fans on notice that it will no longer tolerate the unauthorized distribution of its copyright works. In addition to going after those who live stream full matches, the football giant says it now intends to tackle individuals who post short clips online.

Gartner Group Advocates Using Defective Software With Back Doors

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Despite strong evidence that Microsoft has been complicit in illegal surveillance, Gartner continues to recommend the use of Windows and other espionage-ready Microsoft software

One might think that the Gartner Group paid attention to revelations about Microsoft complicity and active collaboration with the NSA’s crimes. Apparently, however, being a rogue marketing operation (disguised PR), Gartner is seemingly unable to learn what a lot of the public (and CIOs, CTOs etc.) already know. Let’s face it. Bill Gates’ ‘investments’ in Gartner and Microsoft’s payments to this marketing (‘analyst’) firm did not fail to cloud its judgment. In world of Gartner, even though Vista 8 is a total disaster and the future of Windows is quite uncertain, the only choice one has is between versions of Windows, not between operating systems. To Gartner, anything other than Windows is not even an option. Back doors are here to stay and defects too are “necessary evil”, apparently.

Why is it that so many people continue to treat Gartner with respect? Any morsel of credibility should have been long gone, even by checking who subsidises this firm. It’s like a think tank or a collective lobbying group (for its corporate client who seek to sell, not to buy); that’s not what analysts are supposed to do.

John C. Dvorak published this column the other day, highlighting the fact that Windows is defective and remains defective even decades down the line. He wrote: “You would think that after 30 years of Windows, many of the obvious and consistent flaws would be fixed. Are they unfixable? Or are the people at Microsoft who can fix them uninterested?

“There is a belief within the tech community that Microsoft lost control of Windows years ago as the company turned over personnel—including the programmers who actually knew the base code of Windows itself. It has long since become what people call spaghetti code—a tangle impossible to unravel. Every patch has to be run through a regimen of tests to see if anything breaks. One thing is fixed and soon something else does not work right.”

Incidentally, see this new report about Microsoft bricking Windows with the latest patches. To quote:

Since Patch Tuesday this past week, Microsoft has been receiving reports of severe system errors caused by one or more of the updates.

Yes, that’s Microsoft ‘quality’. This spaghetti code is impossible to manage, apparently. Simon Phipps, the OSI’s President, also wrote quite recently for “Linux Voice. He wrote about Microsoft’s inherently defective software, inadvertently echoing some of Dvorak’s observations:

The action law enforcement services have taken against the GameOver-Zeus malware syndicate is great news for a change. In the UK, this was communicated with typical tabloid alarmism, framed as “two weeks to save the world” instead of “unusually effective action by law enforcement”. As a result, UK publications have been posting self-preservation information for their readers.

This is a Windows-only issue and since Microsoft does facilitate back doors (bug doors to be precise), Microsoft deserves at least some of the blame here. As Phipps concludes:

So actually it’s somewhat appropriate to blame Windows versions prior to Windows 8 for being vulnerable to many viruses which exploited bugs in this way. The existence of the vulnerability was a conscious choice and a marketing decision; in OS/2, which had no legacy to accommodate, the ring 0 separation was enforced.

Yes, Windows also offers a larger attack “surface” because of its wide adoption, and yes, there are other exploit mechanisms. But this tolerated technical vulnerability is the root cause of a large number of exploits. So while it’s true that malware authors are directly to blame for malware, there’s also a culpability for Microsoft that can’t be ignored.

For Gartner to be advocating the use of such rubbish spaghetti code (in binary form) is worse than incompetent; it’s utterly irresponsible. Why will any serious CIO or CTO ever listen to Gartner again?

Based on publicly-available evidence, even BIOS cracks require Windows. To give “BULLDOZER” as an example: “The technique supports any desktop PC system that contains at least one PCI connector (slot) and uses Microsoft Windows 9x, 2000, 2003 server, XP, or Vista. The PCI slot is required for the BULLDOZER hardware implant installation.”

To give “DEITYBOUNCE” as an example: “DEITYBOUNCE supports multiprocessor systems with RAID hardware and Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, and 2003 Server.”

No wonder China and Russia are banning x86 and/or Microsoft Windows. It’s not because they’re “anti-American” but because Microsoft Windows and some US-made hardware are anti-users. In Germany, for example, ‘secure’ boot was banned for similar reasons. Perhaps they have not been taking Garner’s advice then. In Munich, Gartner notably tried to derail (with words) the migration to GNU/Linux, as we demonstrated some years ago.

08.17.14

The Microsoft Patent Trolls: Android Extortion, Vringo Versus Google, and Intellectual Ventures

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 5:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Roundup of news about patent aggression by Microsoft and some of its proxies

A NEW article by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols talks about patents. “Patent trolls under attack, but not dead yet” is the article’s headline. It does not necessarily speak about small trolls but also a corporation, Microsoft, which created several patent trolls, armed several patent trolls (to harass Microsoft’s competition), and is engaging in racketeering against successful producing companies, just like all patent trolls do. One glaring error in the article from Vaughan-Nichols is this bunch of numbers which are not substantiated (no link, citation, or even a source). He says: “It’s not just the trolls seeking to make a fast buck from honest companies that are abusing the broken American patent system. Microsoft has used its “Android” patents to profit from Android OEMs since 2010. Indeed, Microsoft’s most profitable mobile operating system, to the tune of approximately $3.4 billion, was Android, not Windows Phone 8.”

Where does this number come from? This may be completely bogus.

“Now,” he adds, “thanks to China, we finally know what’s in Microsoft’s Android patent portfolio. And it appears that Samsung, at least, is saying, “Wait a minute!” about paying Microsoft for these patents.

“Slowly, way too slowly, the Supreme Court is starting to rein in patent abuse. In Nautilus v. Biosig, the Court ruled that for a patent to be valid, its creators had to describe its essential elements of their invention clearly enough that an expert in in the field could understand it with “reasonable certainty.”

“Yes, that’s right, before this decision, even if an expert couldn’t figure out how the heck a patent was supposed to work, you could still patent an idea.”

Vaughan-Nichols then mentions other landmark cases and the apparent gradual-but-undeniable demise of software patents.

But where does that leave us? Even if Microsoft did not engage in all this FUD and extortion, it would still be able to do it by proxy. Vaughan-Nichols mentions SCO at the start of the article; Microsoft still uses such a strategy. In order to eliminate the threat as a whole we need to eliminate the patents.

Well, in prior years we showed how Microsoft had armed Vringo with patents which it then used against Google. According to this news, after wasting much time and money, Google is found innocent of infringement: “Google Inc. (GOOG:US) won its bid to overturn a $30.5 million patent-infringement verdict, a reversal that sent shares of Vringo Inc. (VRNG:US) down 72 percent.

“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington determined that the Vringo patents in the case were invalid, according to an opinion on the court’s website toda”

Here is how a patent trolls expert put it:

Vringo’s win over Google was one of the biggest and most public jury wins for a “patent troll” in recent years. It won $30 million from a jury verdict in 2012, far less than the half-billion-dollar verdict it was seeking.

But last year, the judge overseeing the case revived Vringo’s hopes, ordering Google to pay a running royalty amounting to 1.36 percent of US AdWords sales. Those additional payments could have been more than $200 million annually, pushing Vringo investors toward the billion-dollar payday they were pining for.

These articles should outline more clearly Microsoft’s role in the lawsuit. This was, as alleged by numerous sources (not just us), somewhat of a proxy war by Microsoft. It’s reminiscent of the SCO case, which Microsoft helped fund.

Then there are the trolls who funded and armed by Bill Gates. One of these, Monsanto, is mentioned in this article about counter-action:

Today, just three companies – Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta – account for about half of all commercial seed sales. More and more, agricultural patents are used to increase the control these and similar companies wield over access to the seeds with which farmers feed the world and – especially in the Global South – themselves and their families.

Bill Gates has profited by monopolising seeds. He lobbied for the seeds monopolies while investing in them (for profit). His good friend Nathan, the world’s biggest patent trolls (who was bankrolled by Gates), has also done this for profit along with Gates, especially when it comes to the energy sector. They are profiting by lobbying politicians to adopt energy methodologies from which they would profit. There is new right now about Intellectual Ventures (Gates-backed) hoarding patents on wind power:

Analysis: Patent trolls target wind power

One of the biggest “patent trolls” is moving into American wind technology for the first time. Intellectual Ventures (IV) of Bellevue, Washington has quietly applied for at least five high-quality and widely applicable patents for reducing noise and birds strikes at utility-scale wind projects.

A response has been posted about this in TechDirt:

Wind Power Monthly (I had no idea such a thing existed) has an article about how Intellectual Ventures is apparently targeting its patent trollery towards wind power, having filed a bunch of patents on very broad and basic concepts related to wind power. Of course, IV is trying to hide its involvement here by using one of its many shell companies. For reasons that are beyond me, Wind Power Monthly declines to name the shell companies. It’s not clear why it does this — even withholding the name after it got IV to confirm that it’s an IV shell. There seems to be no journalistic reason for withholding the name, but Wind Power Monthly still does it.

The Microsoft-funded CCIA is meanwhile focusing a lot of its efforts going after trolls, urging the government to launch subpoenas. The CCIA’s Levy writes: “We’re also looking forward to seeing what the FTC learns about patent privateering. The study could be our first real chance to expose the tactics of companies who have been quietly using patent trolls to do their dirty work.

“There’s no time to waste. Patent trolls won’t stop on their own, and we need all the ammunition we can get.

“Launch subpoenas!”

Several years ago there was pressure on the FTC. It seemed too reluctant to do anything about patent trolls such as Intellectual Ventures, which had heavily lobbied the government along with Bill Gates. Hopefully things are about to change.

The bottom line is, the resolution lies within patent scope. But it’s also important to comprehend how Microsoft attacks Linux by proxy, not just in secrecy by means of extortion.

08.16.14

Links 16/8/2014: Microsoft Linux, US Government Turns to Free Software

Posted in News Roundup, Site News at 11:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • How to crack an open source community

    This can be hard for developers new to a project, because “many would-be devs are intimidated by the perception of an existing ‘in-crowd’ dev group, even though it may not really be true,” ActiveState vice president Bernard Golden told me. Developer Tony Li echoes this, suggesting, “There is often a intimidation factor when thinking about submitting code to the maintainers (even though it is not on purpose).”

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • The why and how of becoming a cloud architect

      It’s certainly not news. We’ve talked before about how learning OpenStack is a great way to kickstart an IT career. But just how valuable is it? And if you want to make the transition from doing traditional IT infrastructure administration to becoming a cloud architect, how do you get there?

    • Running Hadoop as a Cloud Service is on the Rise

      For a while there, working with Big Data–sorting and sifting large data sets with new tools in pursuit of surfacing meaningful angles on stored information–meant leveraging the open source Hadoop platform in on-premise fashion. Typically, enterprises deployed Hadoop in-house as a platform tool.

    • Deciding on the Right Cloud for Your Organization
    • Scott Sanchez on OpenStack: Shifting a Mindset

      “I often stand in front of audiences filled with people who use storage servers. I ask them if they still name their servers. Inevitably, two-thirds of the people raise their hands. Their servers have names. … It is definitely a mindset. … You are not yet building quality applications. All of the innovation in the world is not going to solve that from an infrastructure perspective.”

    • Could fundamental open cloud freedom die?

      Balkan claims he is working to create independent technologies that protect our fundamental freedoms & democracy.

      Trust in the cloud forms the cornerstone of the Summit agenda with topics covered including:

      • the surveillance state,
      • the encryption economy,
      • honest business models and,
      • keeping trust amongst customers.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Organs of democracy

      Oh, yes, creation of human organs no longer requires divine oration, just a walk to the laboratory.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Gaza Strip Crisis: Melbourne Palestine Action Group Shuts Down Israeli Arms Factory

      Sam Castro, spokesperson for the Melbourne Palestine Activist Group, claims drones produced in the factory are being used in the current conflict in Gaza.

      She said: “By importing and exporting arms to Israel and facilitating the development of Israeli military technology, governments are effectively sending a clear message of approval for Israel’s military aggression, including its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.”

    • U.S. arms for Iraq’s Kurds could backfire, as similar aid has in the past

      The U.S. decision to arm Iraqi Kurds shows a dangerous and deplorable disregard for the lessons of history. The move is understandably tempting, given the threat Islamist extremists pose to civilians and the integrity of the Iraqi state, especially when the redeployment of U.S. troops is all but off the table.

    • Iraq crisis: US launches fresh drone strikes

      Fresh airstrikes have been launched by US drones against Isis forces close to a village where there were reports that dozens of civilians had been massacred.

    • Anger Over Missouri Police Shooting Resonates Across Bay Area and Nation
    • To Draw A Line

      There have been other disquieting trends too in recent times. Osama bin Laden was, of course, a Saudi and 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. We have it on testimony by ex-CIA director James Woolsey that Saudi Wahabism is “the soil in which Al Qaeda and its sister terrorist organisations are flourishing”.

    • With Friends Like These: NATO and the Afghan Leadership

      On 12th June 2011 Ahmed Wali Karzai (AWK), a key ally of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s mission in Afghanistan was assassinated. His fate was sealed by his own security chief of many years Mohmad Sardar, who shot him at point-blank range in his own home. Recent years in the conflict have seen a rise in such attacks by inside men, usually members of the Afghan National Army and police forces. It is rarer that that such a high level figure is killed at the behest of the Taliban in this way, since these attacks are usually carried out to create fear in the ranks of these forces. It is rarer still that the victim is none other than the President’s half brother. As if to add insult to injury, the Taliban detonated a suicide bomb at AWK’s funeral.

    • Americans can expect escalation of Iraq airstrikes

      The president’s authorization was confined to protecting American personnel and preventing the genocide of the Yazidis religious group. But it also suggested increased military involvement if the Iraqi government replaced Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, a Shiite widely seen as responsible for implementing sectarian policies that have severely alienated Sunni Iraqis. Al-Maliki resigned this week in favor of another Shiite, and Americans can expect to see an escalation of the airstrikes.

    • Elite commandos train for mission

      The men included Green Berets from the 10th Special Forces Group headquartered at Fort Carson, Colo., and an unidentified Navy crew who are training together for a classified mission somewhere in Africa.

    • US, NATO And The Destruction Of Libya: The Western Front Of A Widening War – OpEd

      NATO claimed that its intervention in Libya was a historic success. But three years later, Libya is in complete chaos. Some 1700 militias have a combined total of 250,000 men under arms. Another external intervention seems necessary to stabilize the country. But the US and NATO must never be involved

    • Libya’s new parliament asks for UN intervention
    • The Clintons, Duvalier, Martelly and Haiti

      If you vote and you live in the USA, you should try to become educated about the multiple recent and ongoing misdeeds of the Clintons in Haiti.

      So far, they’ve managed to hide their hands cleverly using the puppets (Martelly, Duvalier, Lamothe…) they have imposed upon the people of Haiti.

    • Nepal must be Stand against the CIA & EU’s Conspiracies

      Since 2006, due to the traitors’ regime, Nepalese society is suffering due to inflation, shortage, insecurity and indefinite pain. The leaders of Nepal only listen to foreign powers and do what they are told. That is why Nepal is facing such dire consequences. Anarchy prevailed in the country after Hindu status and royal institution were removed forcibly. The leaders of NC and UML are hostage to indecision. Most of the intellectuals of the country can be bought for money. Maoist leader Mohan Vaidya led group have not abandoned Leninism that is 88 years old date expired formula. A man unable to swim will drown. We must show commitment for progress of Nepal. To save our nation we must get rid of prejudice and support constitutional monarchy and Hindu and Buddhist status of the country.

    • Top 10 Fidel Castro assassination attempts
    • CIA Records: They Wanted to Kill, Using Chemical, Biological Substances

      By analyzing CIA documents from earlier days, we can understand the programs of the Agency and its government cousins.

      Given the fact that the CIA’s umbrella research program, MKULTRA, went completely dark in 1962, and given the technological advances that have been made in the intervening years, we can draw inferences about present-day covert ops.

    • Washington Staged Egypt’s “Arab Spring” Revolution, U.S. Knew About 9/11 Warning, Former Egypt Interior Minister Reveals

      One of these claims was that the United States was behind the 2011 Egyptian revolution which overthrew Hosni Mubarak. The other, however, was that the Egyptian intelligence agencies and Interior Ministry received information regarding a developing terrorist operation against the United States in September, 2001 and that the Egyptians warned the United States twice ahead of time. According to El-Adly, these warnings were completely ignored.

    • Nixon believed CIA involved in Kennedy assassination

      A new book, to be released Sept. 2, discloses a previously unknown connection between Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, John F. Kennedy and the CIA. In fact, author Roger Stone, a former Nixon aide, asserts that Nixon “knew the CIA was involved in JFK’s assassination” and was so pesky in his attempts to get them to disclose all their records that the CIA contemplated the assassination of Nixon as well. Nixon believed CIA involved in Kennedy assassination

    • Top 10 Fidel Castro assassination attempts

      Cuba celebrated Castro’s 88th birthday yesterday and he famously survived 638 assassination attempts – the Americans tried so many ways that they had to get creative. Here are his top 10 assassination attempts

    • Washington: Plans against Cuba lay bare

      The most recent leaks about Cuba reveal the hiring of young Costa Ricans, Peruvians, and Venezuelans whose goals were to recruit possible dissidents in Cuban universities. These activists would later play the role of organizers of a “velvet” revolution. The AP has released the names of their top agents. When this project is linked to the mission of USAID contractor Alan Gross, currently serving a prison sentence in Cuba, and the so-called Zunzuneo, and Piramideo —Twitter-like social networks to unite thousands of Cuban people to carry out destabilization actions— it takes shape a very-well orchestrated plan to boost up a future rebellion in Cuba.

    • ISI, CIA aiding northeast Indian militants: Tripura CM

      Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has alleged that Pakistani intelligence agency ISI and America’s CIA are in constant touch with anti-India militants, a section of whom are still using Bangladesh to operate.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • More Trans-Pacific Partnership details leaked

      The United States and other countries in the Americas and Asia are involved in secretly negotiating a Free Trade Agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, much of the news about the deal comes from leaks as none of the details are publicly published. In the latest leak, activists reveal Certification which allows the US to withhold the the final steps that are necessary to bring a trade and investment treaty into force until the other party has changed it’s relevant laws to meet US expectations.

  • Finance

  • Censorship

    • Anonymity and Censorship

      How far can government go in forcing people to reveal their identities, or protecting people from being forced to reveal their identities? The issues of anonymity, free speech, and privacy are once again central topics of debate, made so by the refusal of the police department in Ferguson, Missouri to reveal the identity of the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager Saturday night, based on fears for the officer’s safety. The decision to keep his identity secret has been a factor in the violent protests in the St. Louis suburb.

    • Google: We must reverse the new tide of censorship sweeping Europe

      You may have heard of the DA-Notice. This is a formal request, from the government of the day to the editors of newspapers such as this, to kill a story on the grounds of national security. The DA-Notice system is voluntary, and it works because it is not deployed as a method of censorship. Tiny numbers of DA-Notices are issued. Tiny numbers of stories are killed. But, in our internet age, in which communication is supposed to be easier, and freer, than ever before, that is changing, and not for the better. Welcome to the world of the G-notice.

    • The problem with censorship in social media

      When it comes to social media, and the Internet in general, censorship is a sensitive topic. You probably didn’t read the small print when you signed up to Facebook or Twitter but all your favourite sites have rules, and with so many users posting so much content daily it can be difficult to police them – especially without pissing people off. Free speech is pretty popular after all.

    • Crowdfunding Lantern, a P2P anti-censorship tool
    • CIA security luminary: ‘Right to be forgotten is not enough’

      The EU’s so-called “right to be forgotten” laws have not gone far enough to protect citizens’ privacy, according to Dan Geer, one of the world’s best-known security experts.

    • Essay: Censorship, police intimidation at missile defense conference

      Upon exiting the room he was immediately surrounded by four to six armed police officers in uniform, two of whom identified themselves as members of the Huntsville Police Department.

    • Bulgaria: Disputed sections of “bank censorship” proposal axed

      Bulgarian journalists covering the financial beat can breathe freely as the most controversial parts of the so-called “bank censorship” amendment to the criminal code have been removed by the legal committee of the national assembly.

    • Draw the Line: Do wars justify censorship?

      The British government established the War Office Press Bureau 100 years ago this month to censor reports from the British Army before they were issued to the press. Colonel Ernest Swinton, the first man to be appointed the Army’s official journalist, wrote later: “The principle which guided me in my work was above all to avoid helping the enemy… I essayed to tell as much of the truth as was compatible with safety, to guard against depression and pessimism, and to check unjustified optimism which might lead to a relaxation of effort.”

    • Erdoğan brought censorship, chilling effects on journalism

      Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is preparing to assume the office of president on Aug. 28 following his election to the state’s top post on Aug. 10, has left a legacy on journalism which is filled with confrontation and rebuke of journalists, attempts at censorship, prosecution and even deportation of critical journalists.

  • Privacy

    • Blogging History: NSA audit shows 1000s of privacy violations; RECAP for US law launches; Wiretapping the Web
    • Hillary Clinton’s phone ‘hacked by German intelligence’

      Hillary Clinton’s phone was hacked during her time as US Secretary of State, German media reports. Allegations are set to question US-German relations just months after Merkel hacking scandal.

    • German secret service ‘spied on Hillary Clinton’as NSA spied on Merkel
    • Pro Hackers Could Be Spying On You Through YouTube

      Morgan Marquis-Boire, a celebrated hacker turned security researcher, just published a lengthy and rather scary paper on so-called “network injection appliances”. The NSA-calibre hacking tool is sold by companies like Hacking Team and FinFisher for as little as $US1 million and can crack into your hard drive any time unencrypted data is exchanged with a server. YouTube videos, by the way, are not encrypted.

    • You Can Get Hacked Just By Watching This Cat Video on YouTube
    • Former NSA Director Doesn’t Remember Taking A Photo With Edward Snowden

      Former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden says a picture of him with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in the September issue of Wired magazine wasn’t a memorable experience because he doesn’t remember taking the photo.

    • Your Cellphone’s Tiny Motion Sensor Could Be Eavesdropping on You

      Researchers just found yet another reason to be paranoid: Even if hackers or the NSA are locked out of your cellphone’s microphone, camera and data, they might still be able to snoop on you through the tiny chip that tracks the device’s orientation. Gyroscopes in modern phones, unlike the spinning gyroscopes of old, work by a method that also allows it to detect vibrations in the air at certain frequencies — including some that overlap with the human voice. And worse still, Android apps don’t have to alert the user that they’re accessing the gyro, meaning practically any game or website could be listening in on you (neither do iPhone apps, but the technique doesn’t work as well on iOS).

    • Gyroscope In Your Phone Acts As A Microphone
    • A chance to limit spying on Americans

      When Congress returns from its August recess, surveillance reform will be high on the agenda. In May, the House passed the USA Freedom Act, a measure aimed at ending bulk collection of Americans’ phone records under the Patriot Act. And in July, a much stronger version of the bill was introduced in the Senate.

    • How US Government Surveillance Threatens Attorney-Client Privilege

      Documents leaked to the press over the past year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden reveal that the US government is sweeping up vast amounts of private data and communications, including confidential information related to ongoing legal matters and privileged communications between attorneys and their clients.

    • Russia Denies Asking Snowden About Intelligence Secrets
    • ICYMI: Data breach disclosure, European privacy & internet outages

      Data breach disclosure is a legal necessity in the US and will soon be in the EU too, what with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (still awaiting legislative approval) stipulating that breaches must be reported within 72 hours of the initial incident.

      This is – by and large – being actively encouraged in an era of escalating data breaches and post-NSA transparency. Simply hiding the bad news can no longer be tolerated and has too many business repercussions (legal fines, brand damage) anyway.

    • Questioning Edward Snowden’s Cure-All

      Such a mindset no doubt serves the interests of an entrepreneur like Pierre Omidyar, a billionaire who plans to generate income by peddling security products. Products that will address the very scandals that his new media venture unearths.4 Isn’t that convenient? To be able to present a problem with one hand and then proffer a solution with the other? Problem-Reaction-Solution; also known as the Hegelian dialectic. By the way this tactic has also been employed, to the hilt, by a Pentagon carpetbagger named Keith Alexander.5

    • Cybersecurity’s History Provides Lessons for the Future

      In 2003-2004, deploying wireless networks was hot. Government IT executives were eager to offer wireless Internet access in conference rooms, but I was against it. Armed with white papers from three-letter agencies in D.C. and scary headlines describing “war driving” with breaches, I declared, “No wireless!”

    • FBI Snooping on Attorneys for 9/11 Suspects Has ‘Sown Chaos,’ Team Says

      The lead counsel for the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks claimed Thursday that an FBI investigation of the defense attorneys has “sown chaos” in the proceedings, as another week of pretrial hearings drew to a close.

    • The FBI Spied on the Wrong People Because of Typos

      The FBI unintentionally spied on the communications data of some Americans who were not targets of investigations because of typographical errors, according to a government watchdog.

    • Government Invokes ‘Privacy’ Exemption To Conceal Secrets

      When the National Security Agency wanted to block the public release of former contractor Edward Snowden’s emails, it found an unlikely ally: His privacy.

      The government cited a federal law protecting privacy rights to deny journalist Matthew Keys’ request for Snowden’s messages. Experts said Snowden is far from an exception. From Osama bin Laden to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, “privacy” claims are the government’s latest excuse to keep its secrets secret.

      “For an agency whose core mission is the violation of our privacy, privacy is an especially Orwellian rationale for the NSA to invoke in justifying its non-compliance” with the Freedom of Information Act, said Ryan Shapiro, an MIT graduate student who frequently files public records requests with the NSA and other agencies. “That it’s Edward Snowden’s privacy the NSA now claims to defend only heightens the irony.”

    • Meet the Man Who’s Gauging the Damage From Snowden

      Tapped in May 2014 by James Clapper, director of the Office of National Intelligence, Evanina is now immersed in coordinating multi-agency efforts to mitigate the risk of foreign infiltration, assess damage from intelligence leaks and tighten the security clearance process.

    • The surveillance debate, continued: Another response to the ACLU

      In a nutshell, I argued that the bill contained some problematic language that could actually allow more access to data by NSA; Rottman agreed that scrutiny was warranted but suggested the situation was not so bad — and certainly better than the status quo; Wheeler suggested the ACLU was too optimistic and pointed to other parts of the bill as potentially open to abuse.

    • New “TCP Stealth” tool aims to help sysadmins block spies from exploiting their systems

      The draft, authored by Tor’s Jacob Appelbaum and others, aims to standardize a technique called TCP Stealth, for keeping servers safe from mass port-scanning tools like GCHQ’s HACIENDA.

    • FTC Urged To Crack Down On Tech Firms’ Privacy Violations
    • New From 500-Year-Old Deutsche Post: Self-Destructing Encrypted Chats

      Deutsche Post offers the messenger, also available for Android phones, in eight languages and is targeting the global market, according to Mr. Edenhofer.

    • Apple slings fanbois’ data at Chinese servers in China Telecom deal

      In an effort to woo buyers in China, Apple has inked a deal to store Chinese customer data in Chinese servers for the first time.

    • Apple using China Telecom servers to store iCloud data
    • Understanding the Implications of Tor’s latest hack

      The security world got itself worked up in late July about an attack on the Tor network. The exploit, which ran from January to July, enabled the attackers to identify users looking for hidden services on Tor. Hidden services are typically web sites operated anonymously using Tor.

    • US must remedy NSA’s 2012 Syrian internet shutdown

      In this case, however, it turns out that the Syrian government was not to blame. Rather, the NSA caused the disruption by destroying a key router connecting the country to international networks.

      According to Snowden, the NSA’s aim was to spy on all Syrians. In the course of attempting to hack into the router for surveillance purposes, the NSA broke the equipment; rather than violating privacy, the NSA directly violated international law and policy on freedom of expression. Syrians lost the ability to communicate during a time when users at risk most needed access to accurate information, open media, and social networks.

  • Civil Rights

    • LAPD Officers Fatally Beat Father During Traffic Stop a Week Before Ezell Ford Shooting, Family Says

      Omar Abrego, a 37-year-old father of three, was driving home in an Amtrak truck in his work uniform on Aug. 2 when he was pulled over by officers right in front of his house in the 6900 block of South Main Street (map), which is just four blocks from where Ford was shot and killed by Los Angeles Police Department officers nine days later.

      Two sergeants from the Newton Division, which was also involved in the Ford shooting, pulled over Abrego because he was allegedly driving erratically, speeding and had almost hit a pedestrian, according to LAPD officials. When they attempted to pull him over, he kept going.

    • Has the Right Really Shifted on Police Militarization and Abuse?

      It would be a great thing if politicians were more critical of the obvious trend towards militarization of police forces. And there’s no doubt that some voices have been more critical of overzealous police practices than one might expect. But is it actually a widespread trend?

    • DoJ Memo Justifies Killing Anwar al-Awlaki by Citing US Law Enforcement’s Right to Use Deadly Force

      As a result of Freedom of Information Act lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times, President Barack Obama’s administration has released the first memo authored by federal appeals court judge and former Office of Legal Counsel lawyer David Barron to justify the killing of US citizen and terrorism suspect Anwar al-Awlaki.

      The Justice Department memo is dated February 19, 2010, a few months after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to bomb a Detroit-bound plane on December 25, 2009. This memo was later superseded by a second memo that addressed issues the administration had overlooked, according to the Times.

    • The Secret US Drone Program that Killed JFK’s Eldest Brother

      Everything it seems. Over the course of 15 mission flown between August 4, 1944 and January 1, 1945 Operation Aphrodite managed to kill four American crewmen, including Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.—eldest son of the politically powerful Kennedy family and older brother to the future-35th president—while failing to damage any of their intended targets and, in most cases failing to even reach their target. Most were shot down, ran out of fuel, or just randomly fell out of the sky in a fiery ball of wreckage.

    • The Militarization of Law Enforcement in America: Blowback in Ferguson

      This is a short call from informing the mainstream media that the country has been living under pseudo martial law for decades.

    • More than 100 Cities Join Moment of Silence for Michael Brown
    • Blowback in Ferguson

      The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager and the ensuing protests in Ferguson, Missouri has rocked America. Even the mainstream media with its aversion to the truth has been forced to address the militarization of the police in America – albeit years too late.

      This is a short call from informing the mainstream media that the country has been living under pseudo martial law for decades.

      On April 13, 2013, the ACLU (Shasta Chapter) invited me to be their keynote speaker to talk about government secrecy, drones, and the militarization of America. The Ferguson shooting and its coverage it the media prompted me to highlight some of the points made during that talk as they relate to today’s events.

    • Anger Over Missouri Police Shooting Resonates Across Bay Area and Nation

      To many observers in Oakland, the scenes in Ferguson of militarized police officers and clouds of tear gas are reminiscent of local clashes, including skirmishes between police and Occupy protesters and the protests that followed the 2009 BART police killing of Oscar Grant.

    • From Boston to Ferguson: Have We Reached a Tipping Point in the Police State?

      As journalist Benjamin Carlson points out, “In today’s Mayberry, Andy Griffith and Barney Fife could be using grenade launchers and a tank to keep the peace.”

      This is largely owing to the increasing arsenal of weapons available to police units, the changing image of the police within communities, and the growing idea that the police can and should use any means necessary to maintain order.

      To our detriment, local police – clad in jackboots, helmets and shields and wielding batons, pepper-spray, stun guns, and assault rifles – have increasingly come to resemble occupying forces in our communities. “Today,” notes Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, “17,000 local police forces are equipped with such military equipment as Blackhawk helicopters, machine guns, grenade launchers, battering rams, explosives, chemical sprays, body armor, night vision, rappelling gear and armored vehicles. Some have tanks. ”

      Unfortunately, whatever the threat to so-called security – whether it’s rumored weapons of mass destruction, school shootings, or alleged acts of terrorism – it doesn’t take much for the American people to march in lockstep with the government’s dictates, even if it means submitting to martial law, having their homes searched, and being stripped of one’s constitutional rights at a moment’s notice.

    • There’s no punishment for lying to Americans?

      Last April at a Senate hearing, National Security Agency Director James Clapper was asked by Sen. Ron Wyden whether the NSA was spying on the American people. He said no, but he admitted later that it was a lie.

      This lie is a felony offense.

    • Pop Music Needs to Be More Political. Here’s Why.

      By the beginning of the 1990s, that kind of opinionated, black-power-inspired hip-hop had morphed into gangster rap. Of course, it was easier for media and government to represent the likes of Tupac as a danger to society, indoctrinating America’s youth, black and white, with violent fantasies, flaunting the thug life as something to aspire to.

    • CHAPMAN: Fast facts on John Brennan

      A diplomat was once defined as someone whose job is to lie for his country. That’s apparently what makes them different from intelligence officers, whose function is to lie to their country.

    • Disappearing People and Disappearing the Evidence: The Deeper Significance of the SSCI Report

      When the executive summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s (SSCI) report on the CIA’s torture program is finally released, it is likely to discredit a story that defenders of “enhanced interrogation” have been telling for years. The narrative first appeared in the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memos that authorized the CIA program. President Bush repeated it in his September 2006 speech acknowledging the existence of CIA prisons, and in 2008 when he vetoed a bill outlawing waterboarding. Slightly different versions appear in Bush’s memoirs, and defenses of the CIA program by George Tenet, Michael Hayden, Michael Mukasey, Jose Rodriguez, John Yoo, Dick Cheney, and others.

    • CIA director should be fired
    • Media advocates hand Justice Dep’t. a petition supporting subpoenaed New York Times reporter
    • NY Times reporter honoured for fight to protect source
    • Reporter for New York Times honored for source protection
    • Petitioners Call on US to Stop Legal Action against James Risen
    • James Risen: ‘Happy to carry on the fight’
    • US reporter vows to ‘keep fighting’ to protect source
    • Press Freedom Groups Ramp Up Campaign For James Risen

      Press freedom organizations submitted a petition with more than 100,000 signatures to the US Department of Justice Thursday in support of New York Times reporter James Risen.

      The petition demanded that the government stop all legal action against Risen, who has been involved in a six-year battle for press freedom, McClatchy DC reported Friday.

    • 100,000 sign up to support New York Times reporter facing jail
    • 100,000-petition urges US to drop legal action vs Pulitzer-winning journalist
    • Is President Obama About to Send a ‘New York Times’ Reporter to Jail?
    • The CIA’s shameful secrets
    • Guest: CIA spying on Senate is the constitutional equivalent of Watergate
    • It’s logical to say torture doesn’t work

      Contrary to the claims of Debra Saunders in “DiFi’s tortured logic on interrogations” (Insight, Aug. 12), it is not illogical to think that torture is ineffective. It is instead, the consensus of interrogation experts at the FBI and British Intelligence, and has been for decades. The issue is not that torture victims don’t talk, but rather that they will say anything they think will make the pain stop, regardless of its accuracy.

    • America’s Real Patriots Fought to Expose and End Torture
    • Telecom petition calls on Obama to fire Brennan

      A telecom company and tens of thousands of supporters are calling on President Obama to fire CIA Director John Brennan over a report that showed his agency hacked into Senate computers.

    • Americans Should Be Ashamed Of Torture And CIA Cover-Up

      As a person of faith and as an American, the United States committing torture in my name and the subsequent CIA actions around torture are especially disturbing. It is against the very core of who I am as a Catholic and as a human being and is the antithesis as to who we are as a nation.

    • 5 Muslim Americans File Lawsuit over Terrorist Watchlist

      Five Muslim Americans have filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the U.S. government of unjustly placing them on the terrorist watchlist. One plaintiff in the suit, Yaseen Kadura, says a federal official tried to pressure him into becoming a government informant in Libya, using removal from the no-fly list as an incentive. The Intercept news site revealed last month the Obama administration has expanded the watchlist system by approving broad guidelines over who can be targeted. Hundreds of thousands of watchlisted individuals are recognized as having no ties to terrorist groups.

    • My Turn: Torture is a crime, so why don’t we treat it like one

      President Obama has now acknowledged America’s use of torture. “We tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.” Obama went on to try and place the use of torture in context. Recalling the desperation of law enforcement to prevent further attacks post-9/11, Obama said, “It’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job those folks had.”

      Although I am glad Obama acknowledged the fact of torture and did not try to call it a phony euphemism, I am disappointed in his response. Torture is a crime. It is not a public relations embarrassment that needs to be managed.

    • FBI Urged to Purge Anti-Muslim Material

      US civil rights and religious groups have voiced their concerns over federal agencies of anti-Muslim training material, demanding an urgent audit of federal law enforcement training material.

      “The use of anti-Muslim trainers and materials is not only highly offensive, disparaging the faith of millions of Americans, but leads to biased policing that targets individuals and communities based on religion, not evidence of wrongdoing,” a letter signed by 75 groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Auburn Seminary and the NAACP, reads, Religion News Services reported on Thursday, August 14.

    • Come clean on torture by the military and CIA

      Ten years ago, the infamous photos from Abu Ghraib thrust the issue of torture onto the front page. While some tried to employ the few-bad-apples defense, it was clear then and it is even clearer now that the horror at Abu Ghraib grew out of problems at the top. Torture by U.S. military personnel and intelligence officers was, at its core, a failure of leadership.

    • New York Oath Keepers claim accusations by state intelligence agency to be false

      Is NYSIC suggesting that it is extreme and threatening to encourage our officials to honor their oath and refuse to obey unconstitutional orders?

08.15.14

Links 15/8/2014: Reiser4 in Headlines Again, GNOME and KDE Events Finish

Posted in News Roundup at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Calling All Teachers! Google Classroom Arrives as a Preview

    Classroom is, of course, a free and open platform that will improve over time, and Google has the opportunity to add many of its open source tools to the Classroom ecosystem.

  • ClusterHQ floats Flocker open source container data manager for Docker

    Those working with Docker containers can now try out the Flocker open-source, data-focused Docker management framework from ClusterHQ.

  • ClusterHQ Brings Docker Virtualization to Data Storage

    ClusterHQ’s Flocker leverages the ZFS file system to tackle the container storage challenge.

  • Building trust and security through open source governance

    Adoption of open source software in the enterprise continues to grow, with research suggesting the two largest factors fueling this growth are security and quality. Surprising, perhaps, given revelations of the much-publicised Heartbleed vulnerability discovered in a widely used open source cryptography library earlier this year.

  • WhoaVerse for social communities, built on open source

    When a WhoaVerse user deletes their account, all voting history is deleted from the database. Any comments that the user has made and their author tag get overwritten with the keyword “deleted,” as well as all of their text and link submissions.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • SUSE’s Latest OpenStack Icehouse Distribution Joins a Crowded Field

      While we’re eventually going to see a lot of consolidation on the OpenStack scene, for now, the number of competitors remains large. Witness SUSE’s newest OpenStack distribution, SUSE Cloud 4, which is out now and targeted at building Infrastructure-as-a-Service private clouds.

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Leaflet provides open source map solution

        Like anything related to Web development these days, there are a number of options available for including map features to your applications. What you decide to use often comes down to personal preferences – one of my requirements is simplicity and Leaflet does not disappoint. As its documentation states, it works across all major desktop and mobile platforms. Leaflet utilizes HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript for modern platforms while remaining accessible and usable on older platforms.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Geometry Shaders / OpenGL 3.2 Finally Comes To Intel Sandy Bridge

      Those still using Intel Sandy Bridge hardware on Linux will be ecstatic to learn this morning that geometry shaders support has been implemented in Mesa by a new patch-set for this older Intel hardware and thereby allowing OpenGL 3.2 support to be exposed for this “Gen6″ hardware.

Leftovers

  • Security

    • German researchers develop defense software: Potential protection against the “Hacienda” intelligence program

      Grothoff and his students at TUM have developed the “TCP Stealth” defense software, which can inhibit the identification of systems through both Hacienda and similar cyberattack software and, as a result, the undirected and massive takeover of computers worldwide, as Grothoff explains. “TCP Stealth” is free software that has as its prerequisites particular system requirements and computer expertise, for example, use of the GNU/Linux operating system. In order to make broader usage possible in the future, the software will need further development.

    • Security advisories for Thursday
    • Who needs hackers? ‘Password1′ opens a third of business’ doors

      Hundreds of thousands of hashed corporate passwords have been cracked within minutes by penetration testers using graphics processing units.

      The 626,718 passwords were harvested during penetration tests over the last two years conducted across corporate America by Trustwave infosec geeks.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Former DARPA Chief Broke Ethics Rules, Watchdog Finds

      Fifteen months after its completion, the Pentagon inspector general on Wednesday released a report that found the former head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency violated ethics laws by endorsing a product she developed while in the private sector.

      Regina Dugan, now an executive with Google, ran DARPA from July 2009 to March 2012. Prior to that she founded and served as president and CEO of RedXDefense, which received DARPA funding.

    • Killing Programs Record Index Will Come to Light

      The Department of Justice must release a previously classified index of withheld records related to the government’s targeted-killing programs, the 2nd Circuit ruled.

    • Pro-Palestine activists arrested over Israeli arms protest in Melbourne

      Victoria police said officers were deployed to monitor about 20 protesters in total, with the seven people on the roof arrested and then released with a court summons for trespass.

    • Australia: Anti-war activists raid Israeli drone factory

      Anti-war activists stormed a factory in Port Melbourne this morning to protest against the Australian government’s support for Israeli’s war in Gaza. They raided the manufacturing compound which, they said, supplies arms and drones for Israel.

    • From Gaza to Brazil: Stop Financing Drones That Kill Our Children

      This isn’t a war between Israel and Hamas. I am a secular university professor who remembers the time before Israel hermetically locked all the entrances and exits to Gaza. The 398 children that have been killed were not Hamas fighters, the three UN schools that Israel bombed were not Hamas facilities. This isn’t even a war against the population of Gaza, for the majority of those living in Gaza are refugees displaced by Israel in 1948. This isn’t even against the Palestinian people, this is a war against humanity itself.

    • Israel Braces for War Crimes Inquiries on Gaza

      The fighting is barely over in the latest Gaza war, with a five-day cease-fire taking hold on Thursday, but attention has already shifted to the legal battlefield as Israel gears up to defend itself against international allegations of possible war crimes in the monthlong conflict.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Oil Industry Threatens to Take Its Underwater Air Guns and Go Home

      A game of chicken is shaping up over the Obama administration’s decision to let the oil industry collect fresh data on energy supplies off the Atlantic Coast.

      The Interior Department, over the protests of environmentalists, said in July that it would allow the oil industry to use seismic air cannons to search for oil and gas underneath federal waters in the Atlantic.

    • One Company Is Really Psyched About EPA’s Big Climate-Change Rule

      Several big industry groups have come out with guns blazing against the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft plan to slash carbon emissions from the nation’s coal-fired power plants.

      But some companies see opportunity in the regulation at the center of the White House climate-change agenda. Case in point: Opower, the software and data company that works with utilities to help customers save energy.

  • Finance

    • Culture as a cause of poverty has been wilfully misinterpreted

      When the term “culture of poverty” was first used by the anthropologist Oscar Lewis in 1959, it was seized upon as “evidence” that poverty is not caused primarily by an absence of material resources. This was never Lewis’s intention. In a 1966 essay for Scientific American, he wrote: “A culture of poverty is not just a matter of deprivation or disorganisation – a term signifying the absence of something. It is a culture in the traditional anthropological sense in that it provides human beings with a design for living, a ready-made set of solutions for human problems, and so serves a significant adaptive function.”

      This was wilfully misinterpreted by those who believed poverty could not be abated by throwing money at it (that sole remedy for all other social ills); it was absorbed into an ancient moral critique of the poor; identified in modern industrial society with chaotic, disorganised lives, absence of parental ambition for children, aversion to hard labour and a tendency to addiction.

    • Apple battered by furious shareholder lawsuit over illegal employee poaching deal

      Apple shareholders have joined forces and filed a class-action lawsuit, suing Steve Jobs’ estate over claims that Apple eroded its own value by striking an illegal recruitment agreement with its rivals.

      The case has been filed by R. Andre Klein, an Apple shareholder, on behalf of all the other shareholders in the Cupertino-based company.

  • Privacy

    • Newly Released Documents Show NSA Abused Its Discontinued Internet Metadata Program Just Like It Abused Everything Else

      James Clapper’s office (ODNI) has released a large batch of declassified documents, most of which deal with the NSA’s discontinued Section 402 program. What this program did was re-read pen register/trap and trace (PR/TT) statutes to cover internet metadata, including sender/receiver information contained in email and instant messages. (Not to be confused with the Section 702 program, which is still active and harvests internet communications.)

    • Snuffing Out The Magistrate’s Revolt: DC District Court Judge Roberts Grants Another Rejected Warrant Application

      As we’ve been covering for the past few months, there seems to be an emboldened set of magistrate judges willing to push back against broad electronic search requests by the government. While it would be nice to see a stronger pushback originate somewhere closer to the top, it is (or was, it seems…) refreshing to see those on the lower rungs defend citizens’ rights by rejecting what can only be termed “general warrants,” the very thing that prompted the Fourth Amendment in the first place.

    • Judge Blesses Justice Department Email Searches

      Magistrate Judge John Facciola had denied the warrant application, which sought the information from Apple Inc., the suspect’s email provider, on grounds that it was too broad and would allow the Justice Department access to heaps of irrelevant, private information. The details of the underlying investigation remain secret, though public court records show it involves potential kickbacks and a defense contractor.

    • New York State Keeps Government Emails Out Of The Public’s Hands With Its 90-Day Retention Limit

      New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office continues to do everything it can to prevent its emails from being accessed by FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) requests.

    • Why is the Cuomo Administration Automatically Deleting State Employees’ Emails?

      New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration — which the governor pledged would be the most transparent in state history — has quietly adopted policies that allow it to purge the emails of tens of thousands of state employees, cutting off a key avenue for understanding and investigating state government.

    • Where you’re most likely to be wiretapped

      According to Pew Research Center, which analyzed recently released data in a 2013 wiretap report from the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, Nevada had 38 wiretaps authorized for every 500,000 people — the most-wiretapped state by a large margin. Colorado and New York follow with around 12 each. The most wiretaps requested in Nevada were in the home of Las Vegas, Clark County, which only has a population of around 2 million.

    • EU legislation and US bullying put cloud users between a rock and a hard place

      Google Glass Alastair StevensonGovernment departments and regulatory bodies have been espousing the benefits of cloud computing for years now, and for good reason. The benefits of cloud computing are huge and have the potential not only to streamline most businesses’ existing work processes, but fundamentally to change the way we do commerce.

    • Eavesdrop using a smart phone without a battery possible: Researchers

      Then I came across another story in Wired that Stanford University researchers and Israel’s defense research group Rafael plan to present a technique at a conference next week for using a smartphone’s gyroscope to eavesdrop on nearby conversations in a room. In case you don’t know the gyroscope are sensors that tell the phone whether its in horizontal or vertical position.

    • Spy agency computer taps face oversight deficiency

      The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has said it will need additional resources to oversee new powers planned for Australian intelligence agencies to access computers and networks during investigations.

    • Edward Snowden: James Clapper’s lies to Congress pushed me over the edge

      Edward Snowden says dishonest comments to Congress by the US intelligence chief were the final straw that prompted him to flee the country and reveal a trove of national security documents.

    • The Switchboard: Twitter vows to improve policies after online abuse drives Robin Williams’s daughter away from service

      Twitter vows to “improve our policies” after Robin Williams’ daughter is bullied off the network. “Internet trolls bullied Robin Williams’s daughter off of Twitter and Instagram just days after her father’s death,” the Switch’s Hayley Tsukayama reports. Now Twitter has vowed to take abuse on its service more seriously — but Zelda Williams is far from the only person who has faced serious levels of vitriol on the platform.

    • Twitter vows to “improve our policies” after Robin Williams’ daughter is bullied off the network
    • They think I still have smoking gun: Snowden on US government’s fears

      Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who exposed mass cybersurveillance by American and British spy agencies, says the US government fears the most damaging leaks are yet to come.

    • Edward Snowden on Booz Allen: Here’s what we’ve learned from his Wired profile

      It was about a month ago that Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. CEO Ralph Shrader talked to me about Edward Snowden. And this week we found out what Edward Snowden had to say about Booz Allen.

    • ​‘NSA – the greatest enemy of American communications and computing security’

      NSA has done more to undermine US banking, commercial communications and computer products than any foreign power could ever have dreamed of, Robert Steele, former CIA case officer and co-founder of the US Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, told RT.

    • PORTAL router puts hassle-free TOR privacy in your pocket

      They say good things come in small packages. In this case, the good thing is a healthy layer of Internet privacy protection. The package is a TP-Link pocket router flashed with open source firmware from the PORTAL project.

      The project itself isn’t new — the code has been available on GitHub for more than a year. What’s different now is that Cloudflare’s Ryan Lackey and Lookout Security’s Marc Rogers went on stage at DefCon to announce plans to make PORTAL more accessible. They want to make it much, much easier for “ordinary” Internet users to take a page from the OPSEC handbook.

    • Proposed surveillance reforms are weaker than the ACLU suggests

      The terms of the debate over NSA reform between Dickinson College professor H.L. Pohlman and the ACLU’s Gabe Rottman are too limited. Pohlman claims the version of the USA Freedom Act sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) still permits the government to collect call-detail records prospectively (he suggests, but does not specifically say, that it permits the government to do so in bulk). Rottman claims that new language limiting the specific selection terms used in queries and mandating minimization procedures would limit that.

      Both men miss the one thing in Leahy’s bill that should limit bulk call-detail records: prohibitions on using the name of an electronic communications service provider as a specific selection term (unless that provider is the target of an investigation). Thus, whereas now the government uses “Verizon” as a selection term, it shouldn’t be able to do this going forward. The government will surely still be able to collect more limited sets of call-detail records — targeting, for example, everyone within 2 degrees of Julian Assange as part of a counterintelligence investigation — and even do so prospectively. That’s bulky collection, but not bulk.

    • Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO): Terminates 8% Of Workforce While Buying Back $1.5 Billion In Stock
    • Cisco CEO Chambers Defends Plan for Job Cuts

      Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers defended his plan to cut 6,000 jobs, calling it a necessary response to a changing market for networking gear and shifting demands in markets around the world.

      In an interview with Re/code following the company’s quarterly earnings report Wednesday, Chambers said he expects Cisco’s total head count to be about the same at this time next year as it is now — about 74,000 — despite the cuts. And though the cuts will be painful for those who lose their jobs, they’re necessary, he says, if Cisco is to exploit new, faster-growing markets like cloud computing, security and software while keepings its costs about where they are now.

    • Consumer group asks FTC to investigate tech firms and data brokers over Safe Harbor violations

      The Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), a U.S. group campaigning for digital consumer rights, has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate 30 companies for non-compliance with the Safe Harbor agreement between the U.S. and the European Union. The companies include Salesforce.com, AOL and Adobe, as well as a bunch of data brokers like Acxiom and Datalogix.

    • John Schindler Out At Naval War College After Sexting Scandal

      Would you want Dr. Dick Pic and those like him having access to all your private personal information?

    • How To Turn Off Smartphone Apps That Track You In The Background

      A growing number of smartphone apps are tracking your location — even when they’re not being used. Foursquare released a revamped app last Wednesday that joins a list of those tracking location persistently, including Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), Google, and a number of shopping apps that access location data all the time, even when they’re off.

      Apps use location information to enhance their service to users. Foursquare, for example, sends helpful tips based on where you happen to be. REI’s app sends deals when you happen to be near a store. The tracking is opt-in, but that doesn’t mean the data is safe. The Target breach is one example of how a large-scale corporation could be susceptible to outside security threats. Meanwhile, tech companies like Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Facebook are sometimes forced to hand information over to government agencies like the NSA.

    • U.S. Tech’s Pain Is Non-U.S. Tech’s Gain

      American tech companies could end up losing tens of billions of dollars in foreign sales stemming from the NSA spying scandal. Then there’s the potential revenue hit from Russia, which is pushing to reduce its reliance on some of the same companies amid heightened tensions with the U.S.

    • China’s cloud grows with a little help from U.S. tech

      U.S. technology companies have dominated the global cloud computing scene, particularly cloud giants like Amazon Web Services and Google. But China’s cloud computing market is slowly building momentum, and Chinese tech giants are making headway into a market that they have the power to significantly change.

    • It’s time for PGP to die, says … no, not the NSA – a US crypto prof

      A senior cryptographer has sparked debate after calling time on PGP – the gold standard for email and document encryption.

      Matthew Green is an assistant research professor who lectures in computer science and cryptography at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, US. This week, on his personal blog, he argued that it’s “time for PGP to die”, describing it as “downright unpleasant”.

    • An unlimited appetite for data

      Which is why the release in the U.S. of newly declassified court documents are so interesting. It’s a decision by Judge John Bates of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a closed-door court that has no Canadian equivalent for approving electronic surveillance for any communications involving a U.S. resident and foreign powers.

      The decision “offers a scathing assessment of the NSA (National Security Agency) ability to manage its own top-secret electronic surveillance of Internet metadata—a program the NSA scrapped after a 2011 review found it wasn’t fulfilling its mission,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

    • Best Alternatives to Tor: 12 Programs to Use Since NSA, Hackers Compromised Tor Project

      Tor May Have Been Compromised, Linux Based OS’s Like Tails Offer The Best Supplement

    • Will Facebook, Google Delete My Personal Info?

      Deleting Facebook, Twitter accounts leaves old conversations in their place

    • Schneier: Cyber-retaliation like that exposed by Snowden report a bad idea

      The NSA program dubbed MonsterMind is dangerous in that it would enable automated retaliation against machines that launch cyber attacks with no human intervention, meaning that such counterattacks could hit innocent parties.

      MonsterMind came to light through a Wired magazine interview with former NSA sysadmin Edward Snowden, who stole and publicly released thousands of NSA documents.

    • What happens in Europe, doesn’t stay in Europe: US giants accused of breaking EU privacy pact

      More than 30 big US tech firms are breaking international agreed-upon US-EU Safe Harbor commitments to safeguard Europeans’ data, according to a complaint filed with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday.

    • VPNs Integral Part of the Net

      In these days of NSA spying, net neutrality, and internet companies messing with streaming services, a virtual private network, or a VPN, has become an integral part of many people’s internet experience. Though VPNs are becoming more mainstream, there are still people who do not know what a VPN is, or how one is used or what they do.

    • SpiderOak says you’ll know it’s secure because a little bird told you

      Edward Snowden–endorsed cloud storage provider SpiderOak has added an additional safeguard to ensure that its users’ data doesn’t fall into the hands of law enforcement without their knowledge, in the form of a “warrant canary.”

    • Snowden-endorsed file-sharing service SpiderOak to set up ‘warrant canary’
  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Sharks are biting Google’s expensive cables

      Google has had to reinforce its fragile undersea cables with Kevlar – the same material used in bulletproof vests – in order to protect against shark attacks

    • Parallel Conduct: How ISPs Make The Consolidated Internet Service Market Even Worse

      What Crawford is describing is parallel conduct, which is when companies that would otherwise compete create a monopoly-like setting without having to merge or coordinate operations. Parallel conduct in the broadband industry is not hypothetical. In 2011, Comcast and Time-Warner Cable sold parts of the wireless spectrum they owned in exchange for an agreement that Verizon would stop expanding its fiber optic network. Essentially, Comcast and Time-Warner Cable paid Verizon to stop offering new high-speed broadband service. (As part of the deal, Comcast and Time-Warner Cable also further divided up the United States geographically, foreshadowing the merger between the two companies.)

  • DRM

    • Orwell chap snaps in Amazon paperback claptrap yap rap

      Amazon is under fire from George Orwell’s estate for referencing the Nineteen Eighty-Four author in its legal battle with publishers.

      The web bazaar, while mired in a war of words with Hachette over book prices, invoked Orwell’s name and cited comments made by the author at the dawn of paperback books.

      According to Amazon, Orwell had suggested in the 1940s that publishers should collude in order to suppress the sale of the less expensive paperbacks. This, Amazon said, was a sentiment now repeated by Hachette – which is accused of unfairly inflating e-book prices.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

08.14.14

Links 14/8/2014: Kernel Summit Coming, KMix on KDE Frameworks 5

Posted in News Roundup at 11:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Linux

    Linux. It’s been around since the mid ‘90s, and has since reached a user-base that spans industries and continents.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Thanks KDE

        It’s more than year of my encounter with source code of some real life application.(Thanks to KDE) I had never before seen such huge source code. The guidelines on techbase were so comprehensive that I didn’t even realize that I had started fixing imperative bugs. The best part was that KDE had all types of applications, under various categories like multimedia, education, games etc. So I could try my hand on many different applications and recognize my interest. I enjoyed hacking source code of Kstars the most. And I compiled the code with the help of instruction on techbase and KDE’s cool developers at IRC, who are always eager to help. I used to get fascinated on running those awesome application on my plasma desktop. I used to wonder how they work. The secret was revealed then. I sent mail in KDE developer’s mailing list that I want to contribute and how do I start even though answer was there on techbase. And reply came that I can search though bugs related to application of my interest on bugzilla and try to fix it. I did it. It was really so easy.

      • Plugins for KAMD and system settings module

        All plugins from the old activity manager are ported to the new version.

        This means that one of the most requested features is coming back – you will be able to set custom keyboard shortcuts for individual activities as soon as Plasma 5.1 comes out.

      • Volume Configuration
      • what is “the desktop”?

        We all know that the ‘D’ in KDE originally stood for “desktop..

      • Randa: Meeting many people and working together
      • Randa meeting 2014
      • Understanding Icons: Participate in survey no. 2
      • Plasma 5 gets first update

        The first update for Plasma 5 has arrived. 5.0.1, adds a month’s worth of new translations and fixes from KDE’s contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important such as fixing text which couldn’t be translated, using the correct icons and fixing overlapping files with KDELibs 4 software.

      • KMix on KDE Frameworks 5

        KMix is now ported to KDE Frameworks 5. After a one day long porting effort, the basic functionality of KMix is available: Main Window, Systray, Volume Key Shortcuts, Sound Menu, volume save and restore. More sophisticated parts require more efforts and are currently missing, like the On-Screen-Display (OSD), which requires a port to Plasma 2.

  • Distributions

    • Slackware Family

      • On LKML: an open letter to the Linux World

        What relation does Christopher’s rant have to Slackware? After all, it’s Debian that got the flak, and in the comments section people indicate they intend to switch to Gentoo… forgetting that Slackware is a good systemd-free alternative (but hey! this automatic dependency resolution thingie that makes life so comfortable in Gentoo is not part of Slackware either).

        Last week I asked the SDDM developers to reconsider their decision no longer to support ConsoleKit because Slackware does not have systemd or logind and thus we need to keep using ConsoleKit. The answer could be expected: “answer is no because ConsoleKit is deprecated and is not maintained anymore” and therefore I had to patch it in myself.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Ansible, an open source startup with Red Hat roots, doubles down on Durham

        Ansible, a Durham-based IT automation startup with Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) roots, is doubling down on Bull City.

        That’s according to CEO Saïd Ziouani, who tells me the 30-employee shop will cross the 100 mark next year.

        “Our goal is to continue to grow aggressively in the Durham area,” he says, adding that all facets of the business can happen from Durham.

      • Oracle Linux 7 Now Available

        Oracle Linux is now generally available today. According to the company, the release builds on its approach to providing support for emerging technologies, such as OpenStack, while delivering new Linux innovations, tools, and features.

        “Oracle Linux continues to provide the most flexible options for customers and partners, allowing them to easily innovate, collaborate, and create enterprise-grade solutions,” said Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president of Linux and Virtualization Engineering, Oracle. “With Oracle Linux 7, users have more freedom to choose the technologies and solutions that best meet their business objectives. Oracle Linux allows users to benefit from an open approach for emerging technologies, like OpenStack, and allows them to meet the performance and reliability requirements of the modern data center.”

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Installer Images Now In Beta For 8.0 Jessie

        Debian has yet to issue an announcement concerning these beta images for the Debian Installer for Jessie, but a sharp-eyed Phoronix reader pointed them out to us this evening, which can be found via Debian.org. Images are available in the plethora of architectures supported by Debian.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Review: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

            Canonical is pushing hard to expand Ubuntu into new consumer markets. In the past year, we’ve seen shiny prototypes of Ubuntu-based mobile phones and tablets, and the company hasn’t given up on its 2012 vision of getting Ubuntu onto TVs either. What’s more, serious work is underway on converging all of these roles into a single chameleonic OS, something even Microsoft hasn’t tried to tackle.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sandwich-style ARM9 SBC ships with Linux

      MYIR announced a sandwich-style single board computer that runs Linux on a Freescale i.MX28x SoC and features -40 to 85°C operation and a CAN bus interface.

      MYIR specializes in low-power ARM single board computers (SBCs) and computer-on-modules (COMs), with the latter including the MYC-SAM9X5-V2 (using Atmel’s ARM9-based AT91SAM9X5) and MYC-AM335X (using TI’s Cortex-A8 based Sitara AM335x). With the new MYC-IMX28X COM and associated MYD-IMX28X development board, the company is mining the Freescale i.MX28x, a 454MHz, ARM9 system-on-chip that has been used in many embedded Linux boards, most recently including Technologic’s TS-7400-V2.

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Hands on: LG G3 Android smartphone

          So what’s the verdict? If you’re chasing screen real estate and resolution above all else then the LG G3 is certainly going to catch your eye. A larger screen without much extra bulk is an impressive achievement, although there are few situations where you can put all those pixels to good use. The combination of the removable battery, microSD slot and wireless charging will also seal the deal for some Android fans. LG’s G3 sits somewhere between the elegant HTC M8 and the brash Samsung Galaxy S5, perhaps offering the best of both worlds.

        • Galaxy Alpha: Samsung Puts Pedal to Metal

          Android 4.4.4 (KitKat) runs the device, which comes with 2 GB RAM, 32 GB internal memory and a 1,860-mAh battery. It also has real-time high-dynamic-range imaging, as well as an ultra-power-saving mode, private mode, the S Health app, and connectivity with the latest Samsung Gear Fit, Gear Live and Gear 2 wearables.

          The Galaxy Alpha will be available in early September; depending on the market, color choices will include charcoal black, dazzling white, frosted gold, sleek silver and scuba blue. Pricing has not yet been disclosed.

        • Samsung new Galaxy Alpha is more metal

          Samsung have today officially unveiled the newest addition to their Galaxy smartphone range. The Galaxy Alpha has been expected for some time with details filtering through news agencies at a steady stream. However today was the first time we have actually had the images and details released by Samsung.

        • Is the Samsung Galaxy Alpha just another clone of Apple’s iPhone?

          The rivalry between Apple and Samsung in the mobile phone arena has been bitter and hard fought, with each side battling the other in court as well as in the smartphone market itself. Now Samsung has released the Galaxy Alpha phone and some think it bears a suspicious resemblance to Apple’s iPhone.

      • Android

        • Motorola’s ‘Shamu’ the rumored Nexus 6 surfaces

          A couple of weeks ago we reported rumors were circulating that Motorola was building the next Nexus (6). Now we can add a little more speculation to the Nexus rumor mill for your enjoyment.

          There has been wide speculation that a device ‘Codename Shamu’ is the Nexus 6 although this has not been confirmed by either Google or Motorola. However Shamu suddenly appeared on the GFX Benchmark Database fuelling suggesting that the Nexus is getting nearer and nearer.

Free Software/Open Source

  • CenturyLink Thinks ‘Dockerized’ Multi-Container Apps Shouldn’t Be a Pain in the Rear
  • CenturyLink Debuts Panamax for Docker Virtualization Management
  • CenturyLink rolls out Panamax, using Docker even gets easier
  • Upgrading libraries to open source Koha system

    I am constantly looking for ways to make my life easier whether it’s keeping track of my kid’s school activity schedule or not loosing my grocery list. For this, I often look for open source solutions. Why? Because most of the time the open source solution is simple and doesn’t have unnecessary bells and whistles that I don’t need, and even if I need those extra bells and whistles, I know that someone else out there also needs it and most likely has coded it already.

  • Librarian Council, NITDA Train Professionals in Open Source Software Application

    Librarians Registration Council of Nigeria (LRCN) in collaboration with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has organized a skill gap workshop in information and communication technologies for librarians.

    According to the organizers, the joint workshop with special focus on application of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in library operations was aimed at equipping librarians with skills to measure up new challenges in the ICT sector and be able to deploy and apply the knowledge to improve the lot of all information seekers.

  • LRCN, NITDA Train Librarians In Open Source Software Application
  • Why Umbrella Company techies should brush up on open source software skills

    Umbrella Company Employees specialising in IT contracting would do well to acquire skills in open source technology, according to a poll of 300 IT professionals by CWJobs.co.uk.

    Nearly half (48%) of the respondents believe that more open source jobs and contracts are available today than a year ago, and 71% are confident that it will be widely required in the future. Currently, however, 62% of those surveyed believe that businesses are missing out on open source’s potential.

  • Going Open Source and How Simple Machine Hopes to Inspire Others

    At the time Kurt Bieg, CEO of Simple Machine, explained their reasoning in doing so: “we believe ownership is becoming obsolete, this is our way of inspiring young and old people to read, learn, and ultimately manipulate code that came from a studio known for taking chances and innovating puzzle games.”

  • Exploring open source and the cloud

    Collaboration is at the heart of the open source movement, and when the biggest names in the technology sphere join forces, massive steps forward can be made. The world certainly witnessed this in July this year, when Red Hat worked together with none other than Google on a high-profile project.

  • An open source approach to fraud prevention

    In the end, the move to an open source architecture makes iovation a more nimble, scalable, and better performing service provider. The upgrade is ultimately an investment in the company’s future and a commitment to providing world class services to customers.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

    • Small banks turn to open source solutions to cut costs

      As of March, only a third of 1,589 urban co-operative banks that have been told by the central bank to migrate to a core banking system have done so. The rest of the market is up for grabs.

      “Open source-based products, which could bring down the total cost of ownership, have become a credible alternative for decision makers,” said Aniruddha Paul, CIO of ING Vysya.

      The bank which has over 500 branches in the country started upgrading its core banking platform last year and completed the project in February.

    • GlassCode first official partner of Openbravo open source ERP in SA
  • Project Releases

    • Anand Release Candidate

      Things have been rolling along here at the ManageIQ community, and we’re proud to announce that the first release candidate is now ready. The first release for ManageIQ is called “Anand”, named after world champion chess player Viswanathan Anand.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source in the NHS: With choice comes responsibility

      Just because a trust has taken an open source approach, it does not mean you have to take all that work, control, ownership immediately – you can take as much as time as you want to develop those abilities. Also, with a community interest company in place to support the management of the code, there will be a structure in place for clinicians to really have some input into the way the system is developed, whilst maintaining the integrity of the code for better patient experience and outcomes.

    • NDI Launches Open Source DemTools for International Development

      Yesterday the National Democratic Institute launched a suite of web-based applications created for their partner organizations, mostly pro-democracy groups and political parties around the world. These “DemTools,” which are ready-to-use but can also be customized, will give organizations in developing countries some of the capabilities that political activists and parties in the United States have had for years. Moreover, since the National Democratic Institute (NDI) is making the promise to host partner organization’s applications in the cloud essentially forever, they hope these applications will help usher in a period of more sustainable tech.

    • Why isn’t all government software open source?

      The federal government is the single largest purchaser of code in the world. So why is this code—taxpayer-funded and integral to the day-to-day working of our democracy—so often hidden from public view? There are two sides to answering that question: Why does the government so often build on closed platforms, and once built, why isn’t the code released to the public?

  • Licensing

    • Why Ximpleware may establish new rules in the open source world

      The case is complicated and likely will undergo much procedural maneuvering before the court will get to the substance of the case. However, a key question that the courts will likely look at is whether a violation of GPLv2 gives a plaintiff a right to a contractual remedy or a claim for copyright infringement.

    • The Gentle Art of Muddying the Licensing Waters

      I’ve been writing about free software for nearly 20 years, and about Microsoft for over 30 years. Observing the latter deal with the former has been fascinating. At first, the US software giant simply dismissed free software as unworthy even of its attention, but by the early years of this millennium, that was clearly no longer a viable position.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • OpenGL 4.5 Announced, Work Started On Next Generation OpenGL

      The Khronos Group who oversee OpenGL development have announced not only OpenGL 4.5, but they are also encouraging others to come forward to join them in building the next generation of OpenGL.

      It’s been a turbulent time for graphics API development with AMD announcing Mantle, and even Apple bringing their own API to the table called Metal. We have then had lots of back and forth between developers putting up blog posts discussing the good and bad for OpenGL itself. Now we are here for the future of OpenGL and it’s all good news.

    • OpenROAD: Showing Off All The Khronos APIs

      The Khronos Group released OpenROAD today at SIGGRAPH 2014 showing off all of their cross-platform, industry-standard APIs.

      OpenROAD is an animated video featuring all of the royalty-free APIs out of Khronos working together in an “open ecosystem”. There’s OpenCL, OpenCL, OpenSL ES, OpenMAX, OpenVX, WebGL, and WebCL.

Leftovers

Shameless Microsoft Spin is Blaming China for Microsoft’s Misconduct and Back Doors While Justifying Massive Losses in Hardware (Made in China)

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates speaking about China

Summary: A new look at how Microsoft-friendly media takes negative Microsoft news and turns that news into some kind of scandals where Microsoft is the victim

Following the well-overdue Microsoft raid which targeted Microsoft for its abuses (allegedly back doors, but perhaps also racketeering, tax evasion, conspiracy against users and bribes to officials) there was yet another raid. Microsoft is laying off many people in China (they are protesting as some used to work for Nokia) and as Pedro Hernandez put it:

With a new round of raids that have ensnared Microsoft partner Accenture, the Chinese government takes a closer look into the software giant’s dealings in the country.

Chinese government officials returned to Microsoft this week in an antitrust probe that has spread to the company’s partner Accenture, a technology services and consulting firm.

On July 28, China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) announced that the agency’s anti-monopoly investigators had seized computers, documents, emails and files from Microsoft’s offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. The SAIC is looking into allegations of anti-competitive behavior by Microsoft.

Accenture is a disgusting company that we wrote about before. It acts as somewhat of a Microsoft proxy and it is a patent shark.

Well, the Microsoft media is trying to distract from it either by smearing China or changing the subject. This is typical and we have noted this before.

Microsoft is undeniably facing some serious problems and this includes losses in many areas, not just bans of Windows and Office (the online version) in the biggest market. According to this analysis, Microsoft is losing billions in tablets:

Even the most diehard of Microsoft fans will admit its old Surface RT tablet was an unmitigated disaster. From lackluster sales to massive inventory write-offs, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s efforts to make a splash in mobile devices and services didn’t exactly start off with a bang. And catching tablet sales leader Apple with the Surface RT? Not even close.

Apple is not the leader, Android (collectively) is. Watch the Microsoft booster Lance Whitney trying to incite against Android by citing the frivolous complaint from Microsoft and its proxies (like Nokia). The Microsoft booster writes:

Still finishing up its antitrust probe of Google’s search practices, the EU is now looking into allegations regarding the company’s control over Android apps, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The author is poor on disclosures. He is still reliant on Microsoft as by his own admission (must click to view) he wrote for “Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, “Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time,” was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.”

Being CBS (parent of ZDNet), this bias is typical. It is very pro-NSA, pro-CIA, and pro-Microsoft (top NSA partner). Many writers there came from Microsoft and continue to serve Microsoft, often by smearing Microsoft’s rivals. Vista 8 boosting is quite common from the man above and his colleagues who came from Microsoft do this too.

Here in Reuters is some “naked PC” propaganda (“naked PC” is a propaganda term from Microsoft and its allies) trying to shift public opinion against China, pretending it is indebted to Microsoft. Towards the end it dares to admit that alternatives to Microsoft do exist in China: [via]

The result is that up to 60 percent of PCs shipped in the emerging markets of Asia, says IDC research manager Handoko Andi, have no Windows operating system pre-installed – so-called ‘naked PCs’, which usually instead carry some free, open source operating system like Linux. That compares with about 25 percent in the region’s developed markets like Japan and Australia.

Reuters is at least writing “so-called ‘naked PCs’”, implying that the term itself is dubious. It’s intended to make PCs without Microsoft software tightly bundled onto them seem socially inadequate, inherently incomplete, and gross/rude. It is actually very trivial to install one’s GNU/Linux distribution of choice. It’s a lot easier than doing that with Windows these days.

“Reuters is at least writing “so-called ‘naked PCs’”, implying that the term itself is dubious.”Microsoft fails not only when it comes to software sales but also hardware (made in China, which Microsoft is heavily reliant on). Based on some new Xbox numbers, “Microsoft’s Xbox One Is Failing” with hundreds of millions in losses incurred by lacklustre sales. As one author put it: “Microsoft has reported that its next-gen console, the Xbox One, has lost the company over $400 / €298 million, since it was released in November last year.”

This will only lead to yet more layoffs (maybe Xbox manufacturers in China), but cover-up from Microsoft- and Gates-leaning media calls it “Perfectly Fine”.

That’s yielded a collection of startled headlines about how Microsoft has dropped the ball with their new console by losing $400M already.

Then comes the usual spin. This is a pattern we see a lot of; Microsoft-friendly media would bend backwards to put a positives spin on something which is inarguably bad.

Microsoft had lost billions on Xbox 360 before it chose to make yet another Xbox incarnation. The money continues to go down the drain; Windows and Office (the main cash cows) won’t be able to make up for it for much longer.

Microsoft depends on China in many ways. China does not depend on Microsoft unless China continues to fall into Bill Gates’ trap by using Windows.

Microsoft Spin in the Media Evokes ‘New Microsoft’ and New Back Doors

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 5:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft embedded in the press

Tony Bradley

Summary: Some new examples of Microsoft boosters rewriting history, characterising Microsoft as a FOSS champion, and generally weak/shallow reporting on Microsoft’s audio/video surveillance software

Microsoft is in serious trouble and it is aware of this (just ask Microsoft employees). It is seeking an identity change and a longtime Microsoft booster, Todd Bishop, releases his latest spamvertisement with which to openwash Microsoft. He is not alone though. Microsoft’s booster and business partner Tony Bradley (pictured above) runs a similar spamvertisement with the goal of openwashing Microsoft. Watch the propaganda banner at the top. Bradley must be afraid that Microsoft’s death would doom his personal business. That’s why he keeps attacking real FOSS and trying to portray Microsoft as a FOSS company.

Another leading booster of Microsoft (who receives gifts from Microsoft), Ed Bott, releases some more of his spamvertisements to pretend Nadella will change much. It’s quite common to see Nadella’s image used for openwashing, based on nothing of substance. The management at the back room is still the same; this is just reputation laundering. ZDNet plays a role in it, but given its strong connection to Microsoft people — including Microsoft staff as ‘journalists’ — none of it should be shocking. These are not journalists but marketing people with a platform that calls itself ‘news’. There is another new example that a reader told us about. It was published by AOL some days ago and our reader called it “spam and possible revisionism.”

“It’s quite common to see Nadella’s image used for openwashing, based on nothing of substance.”He explained that “MSIE wasn’t released until later to fight Netscape. NCSA Mosaic what the browser in use in 1994.”

The last example we have does not mention surveillance aspects of Skype (as confirmed by Snowden’s leaks about Microsoft) and does not mention FOSS or surveillance-free alternatives. It is this article about forced Skype ‘upgrades’ with new back doors (or bug doors). The article says: “The downside of this for Microsoft/Skype is that they can’t get people to use all their new services – or see their new ads – if there are so many older versions.

“Similarly, they can’t move to new technical architectures that may provide better service when they have to also support a long history of past releases. (For example, their move away from the peer-to-peer architecture that was their original highlight to more of a centralized “cloud” architecture to provide better support for mobile clients.)”

Interestingly, as pointed out here, Microsoft is essentially deserting Vista Phone 7 useds [sic.], which leads to heckling. To quote: “We are permanently retiring all Skype apps for Windows Phone 7. As a result, within the next few weeks, you’ll no longer be able to sign in and use Skype on any Windows Phone 7 device” (repeating the original source).

You know Microsoft is in serious trouble when it abandons even its own clients. It’s not as though many use Vista Phone 7. It was an utter failure.

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