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03.26.14

More Economic Injustices and New Bitcoin FUD

Posted in Finance at 4:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Forex

UK

  • Six More Years of Tory Rule

    The raison d’etre of the Tories is to ensure the state runs smoothly in the interest of the 1% of the population who own 70% of the wealth. Blair made sure New Labour had the same objective, the only purpose of the party structures now being as career ladders for the likes of Blair to join the 1%.

  • DWP plans to ditch ridiculed jobs website

    Universal Jobmatch set to be jettisoned after it was found to be carrying a series of fake, repeat or fraudulent jobs ads

  • Councils using controversial lie detector tests to catch benefit fraudsters

    ‘Voice risk analysis’ being used by 24 English authorities at a cost of millions – despite scientists’ claims that it ‘does nothing’

  • Figures show huge rise in zero-hours contracts

    The scale of the use of zero-hours contracts has been revealed after a revision of official figures showed that nearly 583,000 employees – more than double the government’s estimate – were forced to sign up to the controversial conditions last year.

    A “rising tide of insecurity” in the job market since the last election was allowing employers to turn a “once marginal and niche element of the labour market” into the norm, Labour claimed on Sunday evening.

  • Age UK sounds alarm over cuts to care for older people
  • Report reveals little evidence foreign migrants put British workers out of jobs

    Conservatives insist official study, previously blocked by Downing St, supports their policy of reducing net immigration

  • London’s Laundry Business

    The city has changed. The buses are still dirty, the people are still passive-aggressive, but something about London has changed. You can see signs of it everywhere. The townhouses in the capital’s poshest districts are empty; they have been sold to Russian oligarchs and Qatari princes.

    [..]

    But Britain has already undermined any unified action by putting bankers’ profits first.

Europe

  • Profiting from crisis – How corporations and lawyers are scavenging profits from Europe’s crisis countries

    Since the economic crisis hit Europe, international investors have begun suing EU countries struggling under austerity and recession for a loss of expected profits, using international trade and investment agreements. This is revealed by a new report released today by the Transnational Institute and Corporate Europe Observatory. The investors – and the lawyers involved – are scavenging for profits amidst crisis-hit nations, providing a salutary warning of the potential high costsof the proposed trade deal between the US and the EU, which start its fourth round of negotiations today in Brussels.

US

  • WOW! Look at 10 Years of Fast Food Price Inflation!
  • Wealth Over Work
  • Who Needs a Boss?

    Arizmendi and its five sister bakeries in the Bay Area are worker-owned cooperatives, an age-old business model that has lately attracted renewed interest as a possible antidote to some of our most persistent economic ills. Most co-ops in the U.S. are smaller than Arizmendi, with around a dozen employees, but the largest, Cooperative Home Care Associates in the Bronx, has about 2,000. That’s hardly the organizational structure’s upper limit. In fact, Arizmendi was named for a Spanish priest and labor organizer in Basque country, José María Arizmendiarrieta. He founded what eventually became the Mondragon Corporation, now one of the region’s biggest employers, with more than 60,000 members and 14 billion euro in revenue. And it’s still a co-op.

  • What I learned from a shoeless Mark Cuban at SXSW

    To join EO, your company must be raking in at least $1 million in revenue, so I suddenly found myself surrounded by well-dressed, well-connected go-getters in fancy shoes, mingling and networking while waiting to pick the brain of one of America’s most charismatic billionaires. I rolled up in a hotel shuttle van, wearing dirty, fake-leather boots and a giant backpack of phone chargers and miscellaneous swag—the only person wearing a SXSW badge, my event nametag handwritten with Sharpie instead of laser-printed, my thrifted jacket soggy with the rain that had pelted downtown’s festival grounds all morning.

  • Regulator’s 10% spending rule set to ‘take the crowd out of crowdfunding’

    Financial Conduct Authority wants to prevent ordinary investors using more than 10% of their savings buying shares in peer-to-peer funded companies

  • Box IPO papers reveal it’s losing money in a big way

    Box has capitalized on the growing popularity among businesses of storing data in the cloud, where it can be accessed from a variety of devices including smartphones and tablets, giving employees more flexibility.

Bitcoin

Law No Longer Matters When it Comes to Copyrights, as the Copyright Monopoly is Above the Law, Uses Anti-Terrorism Instruments

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Law at 4:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Counterterrorism becomes terrorism

Apache raid

Summary: More new examples of the draconian and unthinkable state of copyright law and especially its enforcement, which now co-opts anti-terror laws

A READER has diverted our attention to “secret evidence in NZ courts,” in reference to [1] and [2]. Read [3] (a news site not blocked by default by some British ISPs, unlike [1,2]). It’s amazing. Here we have not just SWAP-type raiders being used by the copyright monopoly (Hollywood) but also secrecy laws, clearly confusing/conflating terrorism with copyright allegations. What have we come to?! Copyright allegations are now equated not just with “piracy” (misnomer) but with “terrorism”. Also see [4] for ransom/bounty examples; monetary rewards are put on the heads of alleged copyright infringers. If some of these alleged copyright infringers are suitable to run for European Parliament [5], then surely they are not as bad as pirates or terrorists. A “European Pirate Party” may well be on its way [6] as reforms for copyright law are sought. Groups like Chilling Effects [7] and the British Open Rights Group also join such efforts [8-10], boosted to some degree by some recent court cases [11], including the billion-dollar YouTube lawsuit against Google [12,13]. Just watch how copyright continues to induce censorship inside Google [14]; and it’s spiraling out of control (“Google Takedown Notices Surge 711,887 Percent in Four Years”). Does anyone think this really makes sense?

When copyright infringement (or allegation thereof) is treated as an offence as serious as terrorism it should be rather clear that the law is broken and needs fixing.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Sssh! Dotcom’s Use of Twitter Problematic, Court Told

    Days after the Supreme Court denied Kim Dotcom access to evidence held by the FBI, the Megaupload founder’s legal team were back in court seeking other documents in connection with a compensation claim. During the hearing, however, a Crown lawyer took the opportunity to complain about Dotcom’s use of Twitter.

  2. Supreme Court Denies Kim Dotcom Access to U.S. Evidence

    Kim Dotcom and his alleged Megaupload co-conspirators have been denied access to the evidence gathered by U.S. authorities against them. Megaupload’s legal team argued that this information is essential to mount a solid defense, but the Supreme Court ruled that full disclosure is not required under New Zealand law.

  3. Kim Dotcom loses key evidence ruling at NZ Supreme Court

    Dotcom and his lawyers have lost a bid to force the United States to show them the evidence they plan to use in making their argument that he should be extradited. The Supreme Court of New Zealand published a 123-page ruling today, detailing their decision that the US isn’t required to hand over to Dotcom and his lawyers copies of the documents it refers to in its arguments.

  4. WWE Lawyer Offers Gifts to Obtain Streaming Pirate’s Home Address

    World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) “apologized” last week to a streaming links site owner for wrongfully taking down his Facebook page on copyright grounds. On offer was a compensatory WWE gift bag, but it quickly became clear that nicely wrapped presents were probably the last thing the wrestling outfit had in mind.

  5. Pirate Bay Founder Gets Ready to Run for European Parliament

    In two months time citizens of all European Union member states will vote on who can represent them in the European Parliament. Pirate Parties will join the election race In several countries, with Finland having the most prominent candidate in Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde, who is also picked by the European Pirate Party as candidate for the European Commission presidency.

  6. My Address To The European Pirates

    This weekend, hundreds of pirates from all over Europe gathered in the European Parliament to formally found the European Pirate Party. It was an amazing gathering of determined activists, many of which were absolutely electrified at realizing the sheer scale of this movement, seeing 400 of Europe’s brightest activists gathering for the occasion. I had the honor of giving one of the opening keynotes (below).

  7. Copyright Alliance Attacks ChillingEffects.org As ‘Repugnant,’ Wants DMCA System With No Public Accountability

    Sandra Aistars of the Copyright Alliance issued a statement during the recent DMCA-related hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee. As was noted earlier, a bunch of effort was made to turn the “notice and takedown” system into a “notice and stay down” system, and weirdly, the word “free” was thrown about as if it was synonymous with “infringement.”

  8. Will ‘voluntary’ copyright enforcement protect users’ rights?

    It is approaching four years since the Digital Economy Act was passed, and still measures within it to deal with individuals alleged to have infringed copyright have not been implemented. It’s an Act that was so poorly conceived, planned and written that it has proven almost impossible to implement in practice.

  9. Why UK copyright reform is needed

    It is fitting that last week heralded the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Web. It is also 25 years since the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act received Royal Assent. Since 1989, the Internet and other types of new technology have changed the world dramatically. The copyright framework needs to reflect these changes and fit with the digital world so that information is preserved, respect for the law is regained and opportunities are not lost to competitor countries who have more flexible frameworks.

  10. Bingo and beer spoofs show that our copyright laws are a joke

    Unlike Germany, France, the Netherlands, Australia and the USA, the UK does not have an exception from copyright law for parody. This means that thousands of us are engaging in illegal activity everyday. Upload a film of you singing Adele’s Someone Like You, create a Downfall spoof or make a meme based on a well-known advert, and you’re infringing copyright law.

  11. Judge Highlights Bogus Collusion By ASCAP, Publishers In Rejecting Their Attempt To Jack Up Pandora’s Rates

    Last month, we wrote about the rate court fight between ASCAP and Pandora as ASCAP attempted to massively increase Pandora’s rates through moves that were quite clearly collusive. ASCAP had already lost an earlier ruling showing that it had violated its consent decree by letting publishers selectively remove certain works in order to force Pandora into paying much, much higher rates. However, the details of ASCAP and the publishers’ deception became much clearer during the rate court battle. Last week, the judge handed ASCAP a huge loss, keeping the rate where it had been, at 1.85%, rather than jacking it up to ASCAP’s requested 3%.

  12. Billion-Dollar YouTube Suit Ends With a Whimper
  13. Viacom, Google settle long-running YouTube copyright lawsuit

    Ending a long-running legal battle, search giant Google has settled a landmark copyright lawsuit in which Viacom, the parent company of such television networks as MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon, accused the former of posting its films and television shows on YouTube without permission.

  14. Google Takedown Notices Surge 711,887 Percent in Four Years

Public Services in Europe Are Increasingly Free Software-Based

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 4:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Seagulls

Summary: News about European public sector bodies which are embracing Free software, open standards, and sometimes even GNU/Linux

EUROPE is changing. Some governments have already moved to GNU/Linux (on the desktops, not just the servers) and based on some news from the Canary Islands [1,2] and elsewhere in Europe [3], it is becoming common for public-facing systems to be Free software. Owing to Edward Snowden’s leaks, even the European Parliament may soon move to GNU/Linux [4], following baby steps of local governments and national governments [5] (yes, even the British government is slowly moving towards Free software). We are going through a phase where Free software isn’t just departing from “underdog” status; it is growing to be “dominant”. All that proprietary software giants like Microsoft can do now is sue, lie, blackmail, and bribe. But that too is a failed strategy as it leads to more backlash than benefit.

Microsoft is starting to look like a small/rookie shop that’s delivering/shipping just dozens of products out to individual clients. It’s close to the truth and Microsoft therefore makes simple errors (which mass production is robust to). Remember the type of KIN issues that buyers reported (reportedly just hundreds of buyers existed)? Well, Microsoft can’t even ship products with the correct processor. Yes, it has to be read to be believed. Tablets from Microsoft are a niche market so small that wrong processors are being put inside them! It’s worse than incompetence and in a sense it’s hilarious.

Microsoft is in a state of disarray/mess with many managers leaving, no central coordination, and instead just litigation, FUD campaigns like “Scroogled”, and perhaps even GNU/Linux security FUD campaigns, motivated by looming mass migrations to GNU/Linux, e.g. in highly security-sensitive areas.

Based on inside knowledge, some British businesses and parts of the public sector are quietly moving to GNU/Linux, even on the desktops. Microsoft must already be aware of that because it is reading people's private E-mails.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Canary Islands make Postgres default database

    Postgresql, an open source relational database management system, is now the default RDBMS for Spain’s Canary Islands, it was decided last Friday. Public administrations on the islands will also switch to OpenOffice, an open source suite of office productivity tools. Moving away from proprietary software solutions is in the public administration’s interest, the Canary Islands government’s High Commission for Information Technology explained in a statement.

  2. Canary Islands Goes Free

    The GNU Public Licence and variations cover a lot of FLOSS, like GNU/Linux operating systems. Then there is the database, PostgreSQL. It comes with its own FLOSS licence, allowing, “Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software and its documentation for any purpose, without fee, and without a written agreement is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph and the following two paragraphs appear in all copies.” Piece of cake, eh? This is the way to do IT.

  3. Open source gets ‘major role in Future Internet’

    Open source software solutions will play a major role in Internet development research projects that are funded by the European Commission, says Federico Facca a computer scientist involved in the EC’s XIFI project, preparing large-scale test infrastructures for a next generation Internet and smart-cities. “XIFI is committed to open source.”

  4. The Trials and Tribulations of Secure Free Software for the European Parliament

    After months of hearing about their own vulnerability at the hands of intelligence agencies like the NSA and GCHQ, next Wednesday, European Parliamentarians and their staff will have an opportunity to learn about defending Internet communications using strong encryption and trusted hardware and software. Unfortunately, unless the Parliament’s own IT department shifts ground, it will be a theoretical discussion, rather than the practical first steps to a secure European Parliament that its organizers had hoped.

    DebianParl is a version of the popular free software Linux distribution Debian, intended for use in parliaments around the world. It is intended to be bundled with tools to deal with tracking legislation, manage constituent correspondence, and most importantly allow lawmakers to use strong encryption to communicate securely with each other and with external parties.

  5. Should Governments switch to open source?

    Two months ago, the UK Government revealed that some £200 million (US$ 300 million) has been spent on Microsoft’s Office suite alone since 2010. Cabinet Minister Francis Maude believes this figure could have been significantly reduced by switching to open source software.

03.25.14

Microsoft Partners/Allies Are Attacking Net Neutrality

Posted in Apple, DRM, Microsoft at 3:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Transmitting DRM-emcumbered and proprietary software-bound packets first

Vintage TV

Summary: Those who advocate DRM and proprietary software dislike net neutrality, as demonstrated by Apple’s and Netflix’s opposition to the principle of packet delivery without discrimination

Microsoft has, for a long time in fact, been an opponent of net neutrality, based on its actions (we covered those). No company wants to be seen as anti-net neutrality, so they all pretend to be for it while their actions speak for themselves.

Netflix is clearly against net neutrality based on its actions and a reader sent us this article about Netflix’s CEO, noting that “ISPs are already getting paid for both ends of the connection. What ISPs are trying to get now is paying twice at both ends, that is to say collecting four ways for the same connection.”

The corporate press recently ran the story “Netflix Just Opened the Door to Paying ISPs More Access Fees” [1]. Disregard the spin and PR from the CEO of Netflix [2,3], who is basically claiming that he is against what he is doing. Also ignore the nonsense from AT&T [4] and other cable companies [5]; they just fear client alienation, so they tell to the public (existing or prospective customers) what the public wants to hear while doing exactly the opposite.

Apple, being Apple, is a lot more arrogant and selfish, hardly ever trying to hide its real agenda. Apple not only helps Microsoft [6] but it also helps cable companies kill net neutrality [7,8]. Apple is following the lead of Netflix in this case, ending what we once knew as a network which treats packets equally.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Netflix Just Opened the Door to Paying ISPs More Access Fees

    Netflix (NFLX) Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings is seeking your help to keep Internet service providers from charging higher fees to stream all the video its customers watch. In the process, he may have just opened his wallet to any Cox, Time Warner Cable (TWC), Verizon Communications (VZ), or AT&T (T) across the nation.

  2. Netflix CEO lashes out against ISPs like Comcast that do not follow ‘net neutrality’
  3. Netflix CEO Slams US ISPs Over Net Neutrality

    Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says it reluctantly pays US ISPs for interconnection fees, but argues providers shouldn’t be allowed to abuse their position

  4. AT&T promises to lower your Internet bill if FCC kills net neutrality

    If the Federal Communications Commission lets Internet service providers charge Web companies like Netflix for faster delivery of content to consumers, AT&T will lower its customers’ Internet bills. That’s what AT&T said Friday in a filing in the FCC’s “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet” proceeding.

  5. Level 3 and Cogent ask FCC for protection against ISP “tolls”

    Network operators Level 3 and Cogent Communications today urged the Federal Communications Commission to prevent Internet service providers from charging what they deem to be excessive fees for interconnection.

  6. Windows 8 picks up an unlikely ally in Apple

    Windows 8 picks up an unlikely ally in Apple

    Apple is dropping Windows 7 support in Boot Camp — and Mac-based Windows users won’t like the reasons why

  7. Apple courts Comcast for net neutrality-evading TV service

    GADGET MAKER Apple and ISP Comcast are planning a joint venture for streaming TV service, in a move that might ramp up the net neutrality debate.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, the companies are in talks to create a service that will provide the Apple TV with a direct connection to a new video on demand (VOD) channel, bypassing internet congestion that could otherwise cause buffering or pixelation to customers.

  8. Apple in talks with Comcast for priority services for its set-top box

    We recently reported Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings talk about the essence of net neutrality saying that ISPs such as AT&T and Comcast should not restrict, influence, or otherwise meddle with the choices consumers make. If reports are to be believed, Apple is talking to Comcast to get priority services for its set-top box that will bypass any congestion created by internet traffic.

More Links: Human Rights, Intervention, Surveillance, Wikileaks

Posted in News Roundup at 2:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Human Rights

Intervention

  • From Turkey’s Covert War on Syria to the “Crimea Connection”
  • Interview with Ex-CIA Collaborator: “The CIA’s Plans in Venezuela Are Far Advanced”

    Raúl Capote is a Cuban. But not just any Cuban. In his youth, he was caught up by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). They offered him an infinite amount of money to conspire in Cuba. But then something unexpected for the US happened. Capote, in reality, was working for Cuban national security. From then on, he served as a double agent.

  • The New York Times manufactures ignorance: More half-truths about Ukraine

    Something else must be added instantly. It is no good thinking that the vote was somehow forced by the barrels of Russian rifles. The imagery is familiar, time-tested Cold War stuff with obvious truth in a lot of cases. And scarcely would Putin be above intimidation. But it does not hold up this time, if only because there was no need of intimidation.

    The plain reality is that Putin knew well how the referendum would turn out and played the card with confidence. Washington and the European capitals knew, too, and this is why they were so unseemly and shamelessly hypocritical in their desperation to cover the world’s ears as Crimeans spoke.

    This raises the legality question. There is blur, certainly, but the legal grounding is clear: International law carefully avoids prohibiting unilateral declarations of independence. In any case, to stand on the law, especially Ukraine’s since the coup against President Viktor Yanukovych last month, is a weak case in the face of Crimeans’ expression of their will.

    There was a splendid image published in Wednesday’s New York Times. Take a look. You have a lady in Simferopol, the Crimean capital, on her way to something, probably work. Well-dressed, properly groomed, she navigates the sidewalk indifferently between a soldier and a tank.

CIA

  • The CIA Doesn’t Want You to Know How Badly It Botched Torture

    The hotel bar TVs were all flashing clips of Senate intelligence committee chair Dianne Feinstein denouncing the CIA for spying on her staff, when I met an agency operative for drinks last week. He flashed a wan smile, gestured at the TV and volunteered that he’d narrowly escaped being assigned to interrogate Al-Qaida suspects at a secret site years ago.

  • Democrats have Votes to Release CIA Report on Secret Prisons and Interrogation Techniques

    The Senate Intelligence Committee is poised to send a long-awaited report on the CIA’s interrogation practices to President Barack Obama’s desk for his approval — or redaction.

    Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) says she has the votes on the narrowly divided panel to publicly reveal the executive summary and key conclusions of a 6,300-page report on Bush-era interrogation tactics, a move sure to fuel the Senate’s intense dispute with the CIA over how the panel pieced together the study. That vote is likely to happen sometime this week.

  • NSA, CIA, FBI & DIA Sued Over Withholding of Records on Capture & Surveillance of Mandela
  • Obama, the CIA, Congress, and the Constitution

    The President of the United States has one overriding obligation: to uphold the Constitution and to enforce the laws of the land. That is the oath he swears on Inauguration Day. Failure to meet fully that obligation breaks the contract between him and the citizenry from whom he derives his authority and on whose behalf he acts. The consequence is to jeopardize the well-being of the Republic.

  • Local Police in Florida Acting Like They’re the CIA (But They’re Not)

    The City of Sunrise, Florida, tried to take a page from the CIA’s anti-transparency playbook last week when it responded to an ACLU public records request about its use of powerful cell phone location tracking gear by refusing to confirm or deny the existence of any relevant documents. And the state police are trying to get in on the act as well. We have written about the federal government’s abuse of this tactic—called a “Glomar” response—before, but local law enforcement’s adoption of the ploy reaches a new level of absurdity. In this case, the response is not only a violation of Florida law, but is also fatally undermined by records the Sunrise Police Department has already posted online.

  • US President to Decide on Report About CIA Secret Jails

    This topic is the center of a serious debate between the president of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein and the CIA, especially about spionage on the employers of the panel and about if they acceded to non-authorized information.

  • Crimea crisis puts US spying in new spotlight
  • Wyden on CIA, NSA, FISA, electronic surveillance

    Last week, Senator Ron Wyden spoke to an audience of about 700 in downtown Portland on the current state of our national surveilliance and national security system.

    Over the weekend, I finally found the time to listen to it — and man, you should listen to his speech. It is both a high-level overview of everything that’s going on, as well as a specific rundown of Wyden’s concerns about the challenges posed to our civil liberties.
    - See more at: http://www.blueoregon.com/2014/03/wyden-cia-fisa-electronic-surveillance/#sthash.vtncHcUG.dpuf

  • Editorial: Lifting the lid on the scope of snooping

    In a remarkable about-face, the Central Intelligence Agency recently came under attack from one of the Senate’s staunchest defenders of national surveillance in the name of national security. On the Senate floor, Dianne Feinstein dramatically made public her accusation that the CIA spied on her committee’s staff in Congress’ lengthy investigation of U.S. interrogation methods.

  • U.S. ignores human rights abroad

    Among the reporter-columnists whose bylines I never miss, Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage of The New York Times is at the top of the list. He is penetratingly factual and stays on stories that are often surprising.

    At the bottom of page 12 of the March 14 Times — in what should have been on the front page, garnering Savage another Pulitzer — was this: “U.S., Rebuffing U.N., Maintains Stance That Rights Treaty Does Not Apply Abroad.”

    This treaty, signed by our Senate in 1992, is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which, Savage notes, “bans arbitrary killings, torture, unfair trials and imprisonments without judicial review” (The New York Times, March 14).

    This treaty jumped into the news, thanks to Savage, because, as he states in his opening paragraph: “The Obama administration declared … that a global Bill of Rights-style treaty imposes no human rights obligations on American military and intelligence forces when they operate abroad.”

Wikileaks

Privacy

  • Admit It, You Don’t Care About Digital Privacy

    When former NSA analyst Edward Snowden revealed the U.S. government’s near-limitless ability to hoard and monitor private communications, it created shockwaves of indignation and forever changed the way we all conduct our digital business.

  • Mass Surveillance: French Spooks and Telcos Hand in Hand

    Since May 2013, consecutive revelations have increasingly exposed the extent and severity of the extralegal surveillance activities conducted by French authorities. It is time for the French government to break its deafening silence on this issue and allow for an open and democratic debate on the extent of its surveillance practices. This is all the more important following the “Loi de programmation militaire” and these recent revelations regarding the cooperation of network operator Orange with French intelligence services. France must make it a priority to revise its current legislation in order to respect international law on privacy.

  • Chris Hedges at Oxford University: Is Edward Snowden a Hero?

    An Oxford debate in late February posed the question: Is Edward Snowden a hero? In an impassioned defense of a patriotism that courageously stands against the abuse of state power, Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges said yes, and by a vote of the those present, won the contest.

  • Glenn Greenwald: Obama’s NSA Proposals Are A Vindication Of Our Reporting

    Glenn Greenwald wrote on Tuesday that President Obama’s new proposals to overhaul the NSA’s bulk collection of phone data are a vindication of Edward Snowden and the journalists who have been reporting on the revelations contained in the documents he provided.

As Mozilla CEO, Brendan Eich Can Put an End to Mono and Intrusive Ads in Firefox

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 2:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

He can also bring back Thunderbird and bake encryption into it

Brendan Eich
Photo by Darcy Padilla

Summary: Mozilla has new leadership — one that can change course and keep the most popular Mozilla projects focused on what really matters

MOZILLA has a new CEO [1,2], who is a very technical guy that cares about the values of Free software. One FOSS proponent/journalist explained “Why Mozilla’s Brendan Eich Is the Right Choice for CEO” [3], but other journalists, who are not so familiar with the area (this one does not know that Android has Linux in it) try to start distracting conversations because Mr. Eich, like many Free software people, is opinionated and is exercising free speech [4] (a common vector for demonising people like Stallman, by littering their profile with irrelevant non-technical stances). The real issues we have right now are not the semi-political/idealogical views of staff like Eich but things like privacy issues in future versions of Firefox, Mono creeping into Firefox (more on that in last week’s news [5,6]. Mind the fact that Unity is infected by Mono, as noted before, and it does not work properly under GNU/Linux [7]), and security issues which all browsers [8,9], especially under Windows, habitually have (Chrome is no exception but it’s patched very quickly [10]). As Firefox 28 is released and Firefox 29 starts being worked on [11-16] we get to discover that Firefox can become a gaming platform with Unreal Engine, not requiring Mono at all [17]. This is the direction Mozilla should aim for. In addition, Mozilla ought to resume Thunderbird development and make encryption part of the core, especially now that NSA and GCHQ are exposed as serious, international privacy offenders. Back in the days when Mozilla tried to reason about abandoning Thunderbird development its chief said that people were heading toward what we now know to be PRISM, including corporate surveillance like Microsoft's. People should self-host and encrypt, but they could use Mozilla to make it user-friendly and quick.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Mozilla hires new CEO who will focus on Firefox OS

    Mozilla, the company behind the popular Firefox Web browser, has been searching for a new CEO since Gary Kovacs, who came on-board in 2010, decided to leave almost a year ago. Mozilla has finally picked a new leader, former CTO Brendan Eich. With him comes change. Mozilla’s job number one will not be its Web browser, but its mobile operating system: Firefox OS.

  2. JavaScript Guru Brendan Eich Takes the Reins at Mozilla
  3. Why Mozilla’s Brendan Eich Is the Right Choice for CEO

    Today, Mozilla officially announced that Brendan Eich will be the new CEO of the open-source organization that produces the Firefox Web browser and the FirefoxOS mobile operating system. Eich is no stranger to the world of Mozilla; he’s been with Mozilla since its inception at Netscape. Eich is also famous for being the inventor of the JavaScript programming language.

  4. New Mozilla CEO is allegedly anti-gay marriage — Firefox developers boycott
  5. Mozilla Working To Port Unity Game Engine For The Web
  6. Mozilla and Unity Take Unity Game Engine to WebGL
  7. Unity 5 Announced With WebGL Exporting, Will They Fix Linux Mouse Woes?
  8. Mozilla Patches Firefox 28 Pwn2Own Flaws, Adds Gamepad API Support
  9. Mozilla patches 20 Firefox flaws, plugs Pwn2Own holes
  10. Chrome OS security holes found, patched

    Linux is very secure. Google’s Linux-based Chrome OS, with its auto-updating and security sandboxing, is even more secure. But, neither is perfect. At Google’s own Pwnium hacking contest and HP Zero Day Initiative’s (ZDI) annual Pwn2Own hacking contest, three new sets of security problems were found in Chrome OS… and then immediately patched.

  11. Firefox 29 to Get New Look, Improved Browser Synchronization
  12. Mozilla is testing out a revamped look, syncing, and more with the Firefox 29 beta
  13. Mozilla updates Firefox Beta for version 29; brings revamped Firefox Sync, customization mode
  14. Mozilla releases Firefox 29 beta for Mac, Windows, Linux and Android
  15. Firefox 28 released: Windows 8 Metro version removed at the last moment because it only had 1,000 users

    Firefox 28 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android has been released.

  16. Firefox 28 arrives with VP9 video decoding, Web notifications on OS X, HTML5 video and audio volume controls

    Mozilla today officially launched Firefox 28 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Additions include VP9 video decoding, Web notifications on OS X, and volume controls for HTML5 video and audio.

  17. Firefox Becomes Gaming Platform With Unreal Engine Support

    You’ll soon be able to stream and play highly realistic three-dimensional video games from within the Mozilla Firefox browser. Mozilla recently announced that the most recent version of its Firefox browser can run games developed with the Unreal Engine by Epic Games, which forms the backbone of many major 3D video games.

Digitised Oppression: Censorship, Surveillance, Cracking, Drones, and More

Posted in News Roundup at 11:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Censorship

Jimmy Carter

IBM

Phone Surveillance

Smears

China

Privacy

  • Los Angeles Cops Argue All Cars in LA Are Under Investigation
  • Who or what can stop the NSA?

    Snowden’s latest revelations show that the National Security Agency has the capacity to store 100 percent of a given nation’s phone calls and store them for a month. Is there no other way of preventing terrorist attacks?

  • This Man Is Suing The NSA, FBI And DIA For Answers In Decades-Old Mandela Mystery

    A Ph.D. candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is suing three government agencies to get answers about America’s role in Nelson Mandela’s infamous 1962 arrest.

    In a lawsuit filed Tuesday morning, Ryan Shapiro targets the National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Defense Intelligence Agency for their failure to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests he has filed (read the full complaint below).

  • Why NSA spying is breaking UK law

    The show is over. The fat lady has finally sung. The fat lady, in this case, is a former White House lawyer, Rajesh De, now the senior legal counsel for the US National Security Agency (NSA).

    Last week, De told a statutory body of the US government, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), that the so-called Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa) corporations – a collection of US companies that were made subject to secret court orders to spy on their customers outside the US – had indeed done just that.

  • Local Law Enforcement Act Like CIA, Abuse Public Records Laws to Conceal ‘Stingray’ Surveillance

    More and more local law enforcement agencies in the United States are manipulating or abusing public records request laws in order to conceal whether they are using “Stingray” surveillance technology to collect data for law enforcement activities, even going so far as to pretend that records do not even exist.

    A “Stingray” surveillance device is, according to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a device “that can triangulate the source of a cellular signal by acting like a fake cellphone tower and measuring the signal strength of an identified device from several locations.” Such technology has been in use in some form by the FBI since 1995.

    The American Civil Liberties Union considers the technology to be the “electronic equivalent of dragnet ‘general searches’ prohibited by the Fourth Amendment.” It maintains that “no statutes or regulations” currently exist to address “under what circumstances ‘Stingrays’ can be used.” There is very little case law to properly limit law enforcement use.

  • The NSA is burning down the web, but what if we rebuilt a spy-proof internet?

    What will life be like after the internet? Thanks to the mass surveillance undertaken by the National Security Agency and the general creepiness of companies like Google and Facebook, I’ve found myself considering this question. I mean, nothing lasts forever, right?

  • Yahoo UK Moves To Dublin To Escape Surveillance; UK Asks It To Stay… For The Spies

    Yahoo discovered, as many tech companies did last year, that they had been opted-in to broad surveillance programs operated by the NSA and GCHQ. While these companies had always responded to official requests coming through official channels (the sort of thing detailed in their transparency reports), they were unaware that these agencies were also pulling data and communications right off the internet backbone and tech company servers.

  • Illicit activities of Royal Dutch Shell snared in NSA surveillance programs?

    Reaching back into the relatively recent past, the US Dept. of Defense also confirmed that Shell was or had been under investigation for allegedly conspiring to violate US espionage laws by targeting classified technologies.

Drones

CIA

  • CIA horrors
  • CIA Moved Tons of Cocaine Under Mayan Jaguar Court Documents Reveal

    The National Transportation and Safety Board, NTSB, is still conducting continuing research into a jet crash in Mexico in the autumn of 2007. The jet was carrying 3.7 tons of powdered coke and is just one of several cases that point to deep corruption within the American bureaucracy.

    The jet, a Gulfstream II, that crashed was one aircraft that was affiliated with an ongoing US covert operation called Mayan Jaguar. Recently released court records reveal that the jet was just one of tens of aircraft sold to Latin American cartel organizations. Narco News reported recently that several of the jets sold through Mayan Jaguar have been used to move cocaine into Europe, via Africa. The aircraft were being observed and traced by US law enforcement and intelligent agencies that were responsible for Mayan Jaguar.

  • John Pilger: CIA role in Australia’s forgotten coup

    Washington’s role in the fascist putsch against an elected government in Ukraine will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore the historical record. Since 1945, dozens of governments, many of them democracies, have met a similar fate, usually with bloodshed.

    Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries on earth with fewer people than Wales, yet under the reformist Sandinistas in the 1980s it was regarded in Washington as a “strategic threat”. The logic was simple; if the weakest slipped the leash, setting an example, who else would try their luck?

    The great game of dominance offers no immunity for even the most loyal US “ally”. This is demonstrated by perhaps the least known of Washington’s coups — in Australia. The story of this forgotten coup is a salutary lesson for those governments that believe a “Ukraine” or a “Chile” could never happen to them.

  • The serious costs of weak CIA oversight

    This meant developing policy outside of FISA and keeping most of Congress in the dark.

  • Constitutional Conflict Escalates between US Senate and CIA

    In twin letters sent Wednesday to the Justice Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid renewed charges of unconstitutional CIA spying on the Senate, first made in a speech March 11 by the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein.

  • Marcus: CIA making enemies of friends

    Watching Dianne Feinstein tear into the Central Intelligence Agency on the Senate floor the other day brought to mind a 1970s-era television commercial about a margarine supposedly indistinguishable from butter.

    “Chiffon’s so delicious, it fooled even you, Mother Nature,” says the narrator.

    “Oh, it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature,” she replies, her voice becoming steely as she raises her arms to summon thunder and lightning.

  • History of CIA torture after 9/11 must be confronted or risks being repeated

    Nearly a decade after the CIA ended its clandestine programme of kidnaps and torture in the wake of September 11, there has still not been a full reckoning of what happened.

PR Strategy

My Disagreement With the FSF Over UEFI ‘Secure Boot’

Posted in FSF, Kernel at 8:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

UEFI logo with monopoly

Summary: The FSF gives an award for work on embracing ‘secure boot’, whereas the better option — in my own personal opinion — is to altogether boycott UEFI, for a variety of separate reasons

IT IS NOT often that I get to say this, but I disagree with the FSF’s decision to grant Matthew Garrett an award for work on UEFI. Not only has he acted as a Microsoft apologist (like Miguel de Icaza, who had also received an FSF award) but he also smeared Linux developers whom he did not agree with. Not only has he made Microsoft’s case (and Intel’s patents) stronger but he also made regulatory actions against UEFI 'secure boot' more complicated.

A world with UEFI ‘secure boot’ is a world less secure. We need to shun, boycott and altogether avoid UEFI, not find ways to embrace it. People who help popularise or lead us to acceptance of ‘secure boot’ are doing a disservice — not a service — to the principle of people controlling their own computing. That last point is what distinguishes my personal position from the FSF’s (collectively).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Matthew Garrett, GNOME Foundation’s Outreach Program for Women are Free Software Award winners
  2. Matthew Garett, Outreach Program for Women awarded Free Software Awards 2014

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