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Links 8/7/2015: Kali Linux 2.0, Canonical and Lenovo

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 compelling reasons to consider open source for your enterprise storage needs

    Enterprise needs are a different beast from those of SMBs. Few areas define this as clearly as storage. Instead of storing a few hundred gigabytes, you’re looking at terabytes and maybe even petabytes. Failover, redundancy, security, backups—all essential when it comes to enterprise storage.

    You might think the only viable solutions for such tasks are proprietary solutions. Fortunately, for businesses and those working within them, that assumption is incorrect. Open source has come a long way and now powers the backbone of enterprise computing—and that includes storage. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the following 10 reasons why open source could be the right storage solution for your organization.

  • How designers can contribute to open source

    We all know that open source software isn’t always pretty. Una Kravets, a front end developer at IBM, will be speaking at OSCON this year about getting more designers involved in our projects. While it’s easy for developers to see that working together produces better software, it’s not always that way for designers who are trained to work alone. I had the chance to interview Una about open source, design, and her upcoming talk.

  • Interview with Roberto Galoppini of SourceForge

    I’ve been involved with open source software since 1994. At that time I was working for a solution provider, and a customer asked us to implement a seamless authentication system for mobile users. Neither RADIUS or TACACS met our needs, and we had to build a custom solution. Luckily enough, we didn’t need to start from scratch, as we were able to borrow some open source code.

  • Google Open Sources Deep Learning AI Tool
  • Events

    • Open source event planning is work, fun, and good for business

      In addition to picking up technical skills, networking, and learning about products and services in the expo, OSCON attendees can learn practical community-building tricks. In this interview, Kara Sowles (community initiatives manager at Puppet Labs) and Francesca Krihely give advice for hosting a community event. They’ll be teaching a half-day tutorial on planning and running tech events at OSCON 2015 in Portland.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Education is crucial to building an open web

        Emma Irwin is a participation designer at Mozilla who dedicates a lot of volunteer time to educating and empowering adults and youth on the web through making. She has a background as web developer and lives in a small Vancouver Island town with her husband and three daughters.

      • Firefox 40.0 Beta 1 Brings Linux Specific Improvements

        As you may already know, Firefox is being developed on three separate channels. First, the features are implemented in the developer branch, they reach the beta channel when enough tests have been performed and finally, some of the new features from the betas get included in the stable version of Firefox.

        Recently, Firefox 40.0 Beta 1 has been released, bringing improved scrolling, graphics and video playback performance for Linux. And Mozilla claims that this improvements are Linux specific.

      • Mozilla Plans To Rewrite Its XUL-Written UI In HTML, CSS And JavaScript
      • Big changes are coming to Firefox to win back users and developers

        Firefox is about to undergo some dramatic changes, according to Mozilla. Most notably, it sounds like future versions of Firefox will focus on Firefox-esque features such as Private Browsing Mode, while features that are unpolished or otherwise not very useful will be stripped out of the browser entirely. Furthermore, it looks like Mozilla is finally getting serious about moving Firefox away from XUL and XBL, though it isn’t clear if they will be replaced with open Web technologies (HTML, CSS, JS) or native UI.

      • Will Firefox changes win back users and developers?

        Firefox has gone through a rough time over the last couple of years, with increased competition from Chrome and other browsers. Now the browser’s developers are planning big changes to Firefox. Will these changes win back users and developers who have abandoned Firefox?

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack Meiji 明治 Set to Succeed Liberty

      The next major OpenStack cloud platform release is set to debut in October and is codenamed : Liberty but what follows Liberty? OpenStack Foundation members have voted and the winning name is Meiji.

  • Databases

    • Open-Source Databases Pose a Threat to Oracle’s Dominance

      In June, Bloomberg conducted a survey of 20 startups valued at $1 billion or more, reporting, “None of the companies surveyed indicated they had a large Oracle database deployment for their main services though many used bits of Oracle software to run aspects of their organizations.”


  • Security

    • OpenSSL tells users to prepare for a high severity flaw

      Server admins and developers beware: The OpenSSL Project plans to release security updates Thursday for its widely used cryptographic library that will fix a high severity vulnerability.

      OpenSSL implements multiple cryptographic protocols and algorithms including TLS (Transport Layer Security), which underpins encryption on the Web as part of protocols like HTTPS (HTTP Secure), IMAPS (Internet Message Access Protocol Secure) and SMTPS (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol Secure).

    • The Mob’s IT Department

      A few days earlier, small USB drives had been inserted into the company’s computers. They were programmed to intercept the nine-digit PINs that controlled access to DP World’s shipping containers. Besides fruit, metals, and other legitimate cargo, some of these containers carried millions of euros in heroin and cocaine. To get their drugs out of the port, often traffickers use low-tech methods: They hire runners to jump fences, break open containers, and sprint away before guards can catch them, earning as much as €10,000 ($11,200) a trip. Stealing PIN codes is more elegant and less risky. Whoever has the codes can pull into the terminal, enter the PIN into a keypad, wait as robot-controlled loaders put the container on their truck, and drive off—sometimes minutes ahead of the cargo’s legitimate owner.


      There was only one condition of the release: Van De Moere had to give Okul an intensive training session on Linux, the operating system on which Metasploit, the hacking software, is based. A few weeks later, according to police and interviews, he did so over one weekend at a Holiday Inn in Ghent. In November, Van De Moere returned two antennas and had a couple of beers with Okul. That was the last either man would see of the Turks.

    • Anti Evil Maid 2 Turbo Edition

      Joanna Rutkowska came up with the idea of Anti Evil Maid. This can take two slightly different forms. In both, a secret phrase is generated and encrypted with the TPM. In the first form, this is then stored on a USB stick. If the user suspects that their system has been tampered with, they boot from the USB stick. If the PCR values are good, the secret will be successfully decrypted and printed on the screen. The user verifies that the secret phrase is correct and reboots, satisfied that their system hasn’t been tampered with. The downside to this approach is that most boots will not perform this verification, and so you rely on the user being able to make a reasonable judgement about whether it’s necessary on a specific boot.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Israeli Soldiers Break Their Silence on the Gaza Conflict

      Of all the voices challenging the Israeli military’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories, those of Israeli soldiers stand out as powerful insights from within the military establishment.

      Avner Gvaryahu is director of public outreach for Breaking the Silence, a group of Israeli veterans who are working to dismantle the traditional narrative put forth by their own military establishment. The former soldiers founded the organization in 2004 after realizing they shared deep misgivings about what they had seen and done while serving in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. They felt a moral obligation to present the truth, and over the past decade, they have collected, fact-checked, and published over a thousand testimonies from soldiers of ranks high and low. These testimonies reflect a deterioration of moral standards and worrying shifting of the rules of engagement. Through lectures, reports, and other public events, Breaking the Silence has brought to light what so many try to ignore: the grim reality of what it takes to sustain a military occupation of an entire population.

    • The Spiral of Despair

      We have companies that recruit and control active armies of mercenaries, which are responsible for thousands of deaths overseas. I detest the violence of “ISIS” but it is not morally different from Executive Outcomes machine gunning villages from helicopters in Angola or from Aegis killing random vehicle occupants in Iraq who happened to be near their convoys. Yet Tony Buckingham and Tim Spicer became extremely rich after founding their careers on the latter killings, and now are respected figures in the London establishment. Apparently killing for money is good; only killing for religion is bad.

  • Finance

    • Greek banks prepare plan to raid deposits to avert collapse [scare tactics before the referendum]

      Greek banks are preparing contingency plans for a possible “bail-in” of depositors amid fears the country is heading for financial collapse, bankers and businesspeople with knowledge of the measures said on Friday.

    • Slavoj Žižek on Greece: This is a chance for Europe to awaken

      The unexpectedly strong No in the Greek referendum was a historical vote, cast in a desperate situation. In my work I often use the well-known joke from the last decade of the Soviet Union about Rabinovitch, a Jew who wants to emigrate. The bureaucrat at the emigration office asks him why, and Rabinovitch answers: “There are two reasons why. The first is that I’m afraid that in the Soviet Union the Communists will lose power, and the new power will put all the blame for the Communist crimes on us, Jews – there will again be anti-Jewish pogroms . . .”

    • “A Europe of Equals”: Report from Athens as Greek Voters Seek Alternatives to Austerity

      Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has arrived in Brussels for an emergency eurozone summit two days after Greek voters overwhelmingly turned down the terms of an international bailout in a historic rejection of austerity. On Sunday, Greeks, by a 61-to-39-percent margin, voted against further budget cuts and tax hikes in exchange for a rescue package from European creditors. Tsipras is scrambling to present a new bailout proposal as Greek banks remain shut down. If Greek banks run out of money and the country has to print its own currency, it could mean a state leaving the euro for the first time since it was launched in 1999. Euclid Tsakalotos was sworn in Monday as Greece’s new finance minister, replacing Yanis Varoufakis, who resigned following Sunday’s referendum. Tsakalotos, who has called for a “Europe of equals,” had served as Greece’s main bailout negotiator and has been a member of Syriza for nearly a decade. Like Varoufakis, Tsakalotos has been a vocal opponent of fiscal austerity imposed by the core of the eurozone, saying it has unnecessarily impoverished Greece. We go to Athens to speak with Paul Mason, economics editor at Channel 4 News, and economics professor Richard Wolff.

    • How the media discredit Greek democracy

      The EU elites, referred to as “creditors” but actually representing Europe’s large financial institutions, are repeatedly described as “mainstream”. That is presumably supposed to confer legitimacy on them and suggest they represent Europe and Europeans. But there is nothing “mainstream” about these unaccountable elites trying to bring about “regime change” in Greece by bleeding the country of hope. If they succeed and Syriza goes down, Greece will end up with real extremists – either the neo-Nazis of Golden Dawn or the country’s crony elites who got Greece into this mess, with the aid of the wider European elites, in the first place. What “mainstream” opinion in the rest of Europe thinks about Greece, Syriza or the European project is impossible to gauge because most European countries are too terrified to put such questions to their electorates in the way Syriza has done. – See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2015-07-06/how-the-media-discredit-greek-democracy/#sthash.XwlWGfHp.dpuf

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Lobbying’s ex-files

      Several former commissioners are making the most of their status to gain access to EU policymakers.

  • Censorship

    • Appeals judges hear about Prince’s takedown of “Dancing Baby” YouTube vid

      A long-running copyright fight between the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Universal Music over fair use in the digital age was considered by an appeals court today, a full eight years after the lawsuit began.

      EFF and its client Stephanie Lenz sued Universal Music Group back in 2007, saying that the music giant should have realized Lenz’s home video of her son Holden dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” was clearly fair use. Under EFF’s view of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Universal should have to pay damages for a wrongful takedown.

  • Privacy

    • New Dutch law would allow bulk surveillance, compelled decryption

      The Netherlands has launched a public consultation (in Dutch) on a draft bill (Google Translate) that updates the country’s existing Intelligence & Security Act of 2002. The proposed bill is wide-ranging, covering things like the use of DNA samples and the opening of letters, but a key part concerns the regulation of bulk surveillance online. As Matthijs R. Koot explains in a blog post, under the new law, mandatory cooperation will be required from “not only providers of public electronic communications networks and services, but also providers to closed user groups, including telcos, access providers, hosting providers and website operators.”

      Importantly, domestic interception is explicitly allowed: “The services are authorized to, using a technical aid, wiretap, receive, record and listen to any form of telecommunications or data transfer via an automated work [a computerised system] regardless of location.” However, a new constraint on bulk collection is introduced: all such interceptions must be conducted in a “purpose-oriented manner.” As Koot notes, this aims to “limit the hay stack created using non-specific interception to relevant information,” although it is not yet clear how broad those “purposes” can be.

    • UK and US demands to access encrypted data are ‘unprincipled and unworkable’

      Influential group of international cryptographers and computer scientists says proposals will open door to criminals and malicious nation states

    • Hacking Team Asks Customers to Stop Using Its Software After Hack

      After suffering a massive hack, the controversial surveillance tech company Hacking Team is scrambling to limit the damage as well as trying to figure out exactly how the attackers hacked their systems.

    • Eric Holder: The Justice Department could strike deal with Edward Snowden

      Former Attorney General Eric Holder said today that a “possibility exists” for the Justice Department to cut a deal with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that would allow him to return to the United States from Moscow.

    • Wetware: The Most Important Trend in Malware

      The number of vulnerabilities in the wild is growing. The number of exploits, as well as the speed of those exploits — in the case of Heartbleed, only four hours from the publication of the vulnerability to a circulating exploit — is somewhat disheartening, if not all that surprising.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • The Long Slow Death of IPv4

      Last week my inbox got flooded by PR comments about how the Internet was running out of addresses, as ARIN (American Registry of Internet Numbers) and its public relations people were warning about IPv4 address availability.


Alice Case Beats Microsoft Patent Troll, USPTO Director Michelle Lee Wants Reform

Posted in America, Microsoft, Patents at 6:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

USPTO panel

Summary: Latest developments surrounding software patents and patent trolls in the United States

For somewhat of a change, today we have some good news. Amid complaints about the patent system (see for example “Patent abuse hurts in Lansing, nation”) the USPTO‘s Michelle Lee, whom we wrote about before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], remarks on patent reform at The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Patent Reform Forum. She said that “there are certain changes that only Congress can make via legislation. Which is why I’m pleased that patent litigation reform legislation is currently moving forward.”

“Legacy of software patents may be short-lived if this carries on.”But with or without a reform (Congress involvement), there are changes that are made at the courts. According to patent lawyers and the pro-patents circles (even lawyers’ sites), “the Federal Circuit has affirmed that Intellectual Ventures’ asserted patent claims are invalid for lacking eligible subject matter. Intellectual Ventures v. Capital One (Fed. Cir. 2015) (Patent Nos. 8,083,137, 7,603,382, and 7,260,587).”

This is Microsoft’s patent troll, which also attacks Android/Linux these days. “The Federal Circuit on Monday rejected patent licensing giant Intellectual Ventures Management LLC’s bid to overturn the invalidation of several online banking patents it asserted against Capital One Financial Corp., saying they cover abstract ideas under the standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Alice ruling.”

What we have here is Alice vs. Microsoft’s main troll and the ruler, surprisingly enough, is the court most friendly towards software patents (and their originator). This is pretty big news. Those who celebrate it are on a roll. “Matthew Moore argued three Federal Circuit appeals in a single week in May,” says The Recorder. “He won all three cases.” See page two of the original decision [PDF] to see Moore’s involvement in this case. These people now know how to kill software patents even in the most hostile environment (CAFC). Legacy of software patents may be short-lived if this carries on.

On the other hand, Newegg, which was hit with millions in ‘damages’ due to software patents, finds out that it is unable to appeal. As a trolls expert put it: “Online retailer Newegg has developed a reputation for taking on so-called “patent trolls,” even when that means going through lengthy litigation and unpredictable jury trials.

“The company’s last patent trial concluded in November 2013, when Newegg faced off against a patent troll called TQP Development. TQP used US Patent No. 5,412,730 to make a vast claim to basic Internet encryption technologies, saying that anyone using the common combination of SSL and the RC5 encryption algorithm was infringing. By the time of the trial with Newegg, TQP had sued more than 120 companies and earned $45 million in settlement payments.”

This comes after a 20-month delay, so it basically predates the SCOTUS ruling regarding Alice — a ruling that would have possibly helped Newegg win this case.

Links 7/7/2015: Lenovo ThinkPad With GNU/Linux, More Containers Hype

Posted in News Roundup at 5:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Why we changed our software from proprietary to open source

    Why would a software company choose to change its product from proprietary to open source? It turns out there are many good reasons, says Dan Mihai Dumitriu, CEO and CTO of networking software company Midokura. In this interview with The Enterprisers Project, Dumitriu explains the benefits.

  • Should open source leaders go native?

    Anthropologists who traveled to the jungle to study various tribes would debate (half jokingly) whether to “go native”—that is, whether to adopt the lifestyle of the people they were trying to understand, or to keep their distance (and scientific objectivity). It was a research design choice, but also a fundamental choice about one’s identity as a more-than-interested visitor.

  • Plant volunteers, grow an organization: an interview with Stormy Peters

    Stormy Peters and Avni Khatri will present Grow an organization by planting volunteers at OSCON 2015. Peters is the vice president of technical evangelism at the Cloud Foundry and Khatri is president of Kids on Computers. In this talk, they share their experiences and lessons for growing a healthy garden of volunteers.

  • What is upstream & downstream software?

    This question came up during conversations with Red Hat’s Chris Wright, a Linux kernel developer and a principal software engineer with the company.

    Of course, in non-tech business speak, upstream tends to refer to production processes that involves searching for (and extracting) raw materials — in software, this is not the case.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.0: A Unique Release

      LibreOffice 5.0 is planned for release in early August and today Charles H. Schulz said this is “an unique release.” When it comes to features and styles Schulz said the broad range of changes and improvements will be easily visible to the user. With things like the Breeze iconset, enhancements to the sidebar, and improved menus “this is a very special and exciting release.”

  • CMS

    • ECM Buyers and the Open Source Question

      It sparked a heated debate. At that point, Open Source Software (OSS) wasn’t as widely received in the enterprise as it is today and many thought that its perceived advantage was limited to price (as in “it’s free software”).

  • Business

    • Openwashing

      • SAP’s commitment to open source is paying off

        SAP SE is dedicated to helping businesses respond to market demands around the clock, according to Steve Lucas, president of Platform Solutions at SAP. Its partnership with Red Hat, Inc. is a key part of its strategy. In an interview with theCUBE at RedHat Summit, Lucas explained further.

      • More Big Name Technology Corporations Are Going Open Source

        Recently, Apple released its programming language, Swift 2, to the public. By releasing Swift to the open source community, Apple is giving software developers more access to and control over the programming language. This release opens up a myriad of exciting possibilities for application development, software advancements and increased functionality.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • EC publishes open source code of legislation editor

      The European Commission is about to make available as open source a prototype of LEOS, a software solution for drafting and automatic processing of legal texts. The software currently supports legal texts issued by the EC, yet can be extended to support other legislative processes.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Hardware

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Hillary Clinton: “If I’m President, We Will Attack Iran”

      She endorses using cluster bombs, toxic agents and nuclear weapons in US war theaters. She calls them deterrents that “keep the peace.” She was one of only six Democrat senators opposed to blocking deployment of untested missile defense systems – first-strike weapons entirely for offense.

    • Laos After the Bombs

      From 1964 to 1973, the US dropped two million tons of bombs on Laos. The horrendous effects are still being felt.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Ecuador Fights for Survival – Against its Elites

      It is great news for majority of Ecuadorian citizens – but terrible nightmare for the ‘elites’.

      They no longer feel unique, no longer is this country their huge, private playground and a milking cow. The ‘elites’ still have money and their villas, as well as servants, luxury cars and regular trips to those lands they are faithfully serving – North America and Europe.

      But their status is diminishing. No longer they feel admired, no longer they are feared. Increasingly they are forced to play by rules and to respect local laws. That would be unimaginable just ten years ago. For some, this is the end of the world!

      The rich, the ‘elites’, are sour losers. In fact, they have no idea how to accept defeat. Never before in the history of this country they actually had to. To them this is new reality, this nation ruled by the government, which is working on behalf of the people. The ‘elites’ feel let down, cheated, even humiliated. They have no idea how to respect democracy (rule of the people). They only know how to make decisions, and to give orders, and to loot.

      This could lead to inevitable conflict, and Ecuador is not an exception. To greater or smaller extend, the same is happening in Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and even in Chile. Immediately after people vote a socialist government in, immediately after the government begins working for the majority, the elites start reacting. Their goal is clear and predictable: to discredit the administration and to reverse the course.

    • Varoufakis resigns as Greek finance minister ‘to aid deal’

      After securing a ‘no’ vote at Greek referendum on bailout, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis resigned, saying it would help Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras negotiate a better deal with foreign creditors.

    • After Greece Cuts a Quarter of Its Budget, WaPo Asks if It’s Willing to ‘Trim Spending’

      So from 2010 to 2015, Greece has cut government spending from roughly 13 billion euros to 10 billion euros–a cut of 23 percent. Unsurprisingly, this has had a devastating effect on Greece’s economy, with unemployment stuck above 25 percent since the end of 2012.

      In the Washington Post‘s eyes, though, Greece has not yet demonstrated the willingness to “trim its spending” that would merit a bailout.

    • Bail-Out or Sell-Out?

      I think the lesson from this is that the 21st Century corporate and banking state is beyond amelioration. Any change needs to be a fundamental challenge to the system. It will seem strange to future generations that a system developed whereby middlemen who facilitated real economic transactions by handling currency, came to dominate the world by creating a mathematical nexus of currency that bore no meaningful relationship to real movements of commodities.

  • Censorship

    • Reddit users want CEO Ellen Pao fired

      Reddit has been on a very rocky road lately, and now some of the site’s users are demanding that CEO Ellen Pao be replaced. The petition to remove Pao follows the CEO’s decision to remove popular Reddit employee Victoria Taylor.

    • Reddit CEO Pao Under Fire as Users Protest Removal of Executive

      More than 130,000 people have signed a petition demanding the removal of Ellen Pao, Reddit Inc.’s interim chief executive officer, after she dismissed an executive and was accused of censoring online message boards.

  • Privacy

    • The Shocking Scope of the NSA’s XKEYSCORE Surveillance

      Every time anyone uses a computer to send an e-mail, watch a video, do a Google search, or update a Facebook status, the National Security Agency (NSA) is probably collecting and collating that activity on one of its many servers.

      XKEYSCORE — the codename of the computer code used by the NSA to perform these actions — is massive and more intrusive than most people understand.

    • Hacking Team hacked, attackers claim 400GB in dumped data

      On Sunday, while most of Twitter was watching the Women’s World Cup – an amazing game from start to finish – one of the world’s most notorious security firms was being hacked.

    • Sloppy Cyber Threat Sharing Is Surveillance by Another Name

      Imagine you are the target of a phishing attack: Someone sends you an email attachment containing malware. Your email service provider shares the attachment with the government, so that others can configure their computer systems to spot similar attacks. The next day, your provider gets a call. It’s the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and they’re curious. The malware appears to be from Turkey. Why, DHS wants to know, might someone in Turkey be interested in attacking you? So, would your email company please share all your emails with the government? Knowing more about you, investigators might better understand the attack.

    • Lawmakers want Internet sites to flag ‘terrorist activity’ to law enforcement

      Social media sites such as Twitter and YouTube would be required to report videos and other content posted by suspected terrorists to federal authorities under legislation approved this past week by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

      The measure, contained in the 2016 intelligence authorization, which still has to be voted on by the full Senate, is an effort to help intelligence and law enforcement officials detect threats from the Islamic State and other terrorist groups.

  • Civil Rights

    • Leaked Documents Show FBI, DEA and U.S. Army Buying Italian Spyware

      The FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Army have all bought controversial software that allows users to take remote control of suspects’ computers, recording their calls, emails, keystrokes and even activating their cameras, according to internal documents hacked from the software’s Italian manufacturer.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Loose words sink EU net neutrality bill

      EU officials jubilantly announced a deal on setting internet rules and ending roaming surcharges early Tuesday morning but the details of the deal contain several loose ends.

    • The Privatization Of The Internet

      Remarkably, this buyout of cyberspace has garnered almost no protest or media attention, in contrast to every other development in cyberspace such as the Communications Decency Act, and cyberporn. What hasn’t been discussed is the public’s right to free speech in cyberspace. What is obvious is that speech in cyberspace will not be free if we allow big business to control every square inch of the Net.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Israeli Court Lifts Ineffective Popcorn Time Ban

        Israeli Internet providers are no longer required to block access to Popcorn Time websites. A District Court has lifted a preliminary injunction arguing that access restrictions are ineffective. The decision is a major disappointment for the local anti-piracy outfit ZIRA, which was also ordered to pay the legal fees of one of the ISPs.


There is No ‘New Microsoft’: Under Nadella, Patent Extortion Against Linux/Android Carries on

Posted in Site News at 5:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Kyocera is again being targeted by Microsoft, using patent aggression, with a secret settlement being reached whose negative impact on Android remains to be seen

AS LONGTIME readers may recall, back in 2007 Microsoft picked Kyocera for its anti-Linux patent campaign, leading us to years of research and protests, even when Kyocera adopted Android, only to be sued by Microsoft earlier this year (with ‘partners’ like these, who needs enemies?). Kyocera is not “just peanuts”; despite not being so well known in Western nations, this is a company with 68,185 employees (not much smaller than Microsoft, which is still on the process of shrinking based on what I privately get told by Microsoft staff).

“Kyocera is not allowed to speak about what Microsoft did to it, for that might damage Microsoft’s reputation or harm Microsoft’s future efforts to blackmail other companies using patents.”US News has this new article titled “Microsoft Seeks a Comeback – But Is It Too Late?” The article alleges that Microsoft is falling way behind Google/Android/Linux. No wonder Microsoft is has been in layoffs mode for half a decade or so, with pace of layoffs increasing over time. Microsoft is now relying more and more on patents; Kyocera is a victim again, as this time it actually fought in court (unlike that time in 2007 where it just bent over).

According to Tech Times, there has just been a secret settlement with all details unknown. Kyocera is not allowed to speak about what Microsoft did to it, for that might damage Microsoft’s reputation or harm Microsoft’s future efforts to blackmail other companies using patents.

“A few months ago,” Tech Times wrote, “Microsoft filed a lawsuit against Kyocera, claiming that three Android smartphones from the Japanese company violated seven Microsoft patents. The smartphones in question were the Duraforce (pictured), Brigadier and Hydro. The patents, meanwhile, cover a wide range of mobile technologies that Microsoft alleged the Android devices violated.

“Microsoft has dozens of licensing agreements in place with Android OEMs, including Samsung, but it will not back out of a litigation if it doesn’t reach an amicable agreement. Microsoft went after Kyocera in March, asking a Seattle court for a U.S. sales ban on the three phones that infringed its patents.”

Microsoft is euphemistically calling racketeering “Technology Sharing Agreement” in its short press release. To quote the Microsoft press release: “In addition to strengthening the partnership between the two companies, it also resolves a patent-infringement lawsuit brought earlier this year in U.S. District Court. The remaining details of the agreement are confidential.”

The words “strengthening the partnership” serve to insinuate that Microsoft uses patent pressure (and rising litigation costs) to coerce Kyocera into becoming Microsoft’s vassal, just as Microsoft did to Samsung shortly before suing Kyocera (March 2015).

The Samsung settlement had conditions from Microsoft, essentially turning Samsung’s Android devices into “Microsoft Android” devices (this has actually been confirmed since the settlement, after mere speculations and rumours). So, there is nothing peaceful about it. This is blackmail. The loaded gun of the Mafia in this case is a pile of patents, usually software patents.

Tech Times does not cover any of this, but the report concludes with: “It remains unclear, however, just how much Kyocera will pay to use Microsoft’s patents.”

So it is possible that Microsoft got Kyocera to pay Microsoft for Android and also preinstall Microsoft malware on future Kyocera handsets. How nice of Microsoft… what a peaceful company.

Looking for any additional takes on this, we only found a proponent of software patents (“AmeriKat”) commenting poorly in a lawyers’ blog. Remarking on these attacks on Android, he wrote that “Kyocera follows Barnes and Noble, Foxconn, Invetec and Samsung in the line of companies that have recently settled with Microsoft.”

“It’s about Microsoft forcing companies to turn to Windows or “Microsoft Android”, making malware with surveillance (spyware) mandatory installed apps.”It’s hardly a settlement. It’s extortion. Microsoft essentially killed Barnes and Noble by tilting it in Windows’ direction in exchange for a so-called ‘settlement’ (we wrote a lot about this) and Samsung did this in exchange for becoming courier of Microsoft rather than an Android company. Kyocera may turn out to be just more of the same. It’s about Microsoft forcing companies to turn to Windows or “Microsoft Android”, making malware with surveillance (spyware) mandatory installed apps.

Curiously enough, in China (where many Microsoft bits of software are now officially banned for use by government agencies) Samsung is now facing a lawsuit over installed apps. We may safely assume that since Samsung agreed to preinstall Microsoft malware on many of its devices (after patent extortion) the Chinese government won’t be too happy. To quote the Shanghai Daily, “Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission yesterday formally announced it has taken legal action against manufacturers Samsung and Oppo over their practice of pre-installing apps on their smartphones.

“The Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court said on Wednesday it had accepted separate cases against Tianjin Samsung Telecommunications Technology Co Ltd and Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Co Ltd.

“We may safely assume that since Samsung agreed to preinstall Microsoft malware on many of its devices, the Chinese government won’t be too happy.”“Tao Ailian, secretary-general of the commission, said it filed the public interest lawsuits after investigating complaints from the public about unwanted apps.

“In a study of 20 smartphones, the commission found several that were sold with apps already installed, many of which could not be removed. It also claimed that some phones “stole” cellular data.”

For many users of Galaxy devices, Microsoft malware is clearly “unwanted apps”, so maybe the Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission should also go after Microsoft, both for racketeering, for bundling, and maybe also for mass surveillance, for which it is most notorious (far worse than Google).

Patent Propaganda, Glamourisation, and Erosion of Citizens’ Rights in the Process

Posted in America, Patents at 5:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Taking away from people’s rights to empower corporations

A city

Summary: An overview of recent coverage about patents, demonstrative of inherent bias in the world of patent practitioners and the journalists whom they misinform

Patent propaganda is rampant and increasingly widespread in the corporate media because patents these days mostly serve large corporations. It’s means of protectionism, not for the ‘small guy’ (as the saying goes) but for any large corporation that loathes fair competition (it’s against shareholders’ interests to have competition).

Like in the Germany-Greece standoff, Japan treats people’s rights as inferior to corporations’ (as if corporations are entitled to rights), based on the Japanese corporate/globalist media (Japan Times). It may be considered extremely shocking a piece of news if it weren’t for how highly Japanese society regards corporate power. One site in Japan said that “The House of Councillors on Friday passed into law a bill to revise the patent law to allow companies to obtain patents on inventions by their employees.”

Remember that most people capable of coming up with a patent are employed by one company or another. So this is further centralisation of patent power, almost abolishing the notion of so-called ‘independent inventors’.

Isn’t that great? More corporate power. We now have ‘trade’ deals whose veiled purpose is deregulation, allowing corporations to even sue governments (ISDS) while perpetually expanding the scope of patents. The war is being waged by oligarchs, who apparently feel as though they deserve more power and money and they use law (lobbying to change it) as their weapon. Everything that stands in their way is, over time, being painted an illegal obstacle, not a safeguard.

“The war is being waged by oligarchs, who apparently feel as though they deserve more power and money and they use law (lobbying to change it) as their weapon.”Watch the jingoism and self glory (or myth) from Robert Kuykendal, who says he “has over 15 patents to his name”. “Protect American innovation” is the title of his new article in the corporate media. It’s of course nothing to do with innovation. It’s about patents. The corporate media likes to conflate the two. Kuykendal says “America (he means the US, not American] has been a global leader in innovation since its founding. One thing that protects and fosters that innovation is the U.S. patent system. Without a strong patent system, these advances may never have happened. From the cotton gin to the light bulb and from the telephone to the smartphone, this remarkable progress must be protected, and a patent system that fosters life-changing innovation does just that.”

This is complete nonsense and revisionism. The light bulb, for instance, was created despite patents, not because of them. It’s well documented a fact (hint: Edison did not invent the light bulb). As for smartphones, they are made and improved in the far East, never in America (the US, Canada, Latin America and so on). Kuykendal is so blinded for his love/lust of patents that he just waves a flag and repeats nonsensical myths.

Patents proponent (for a living) Dennis Crouch now remarks on new patent cases that erode patents (not just Alice). “Constitutional Challenges to IPR Continue” was the titled he chose because the Constitution itself serves to protect people’s interests, partly by design. “IPR” is a propaganda term of patent lawyers and this is where Crouch shows his real agenda. “Respect for property rights has always been a core American principle,” he writes.

There is no doubt about it. The American (US) principle of slave ownership is well documented. There is also ownership of houses and the country (by north European feudalists), but the former assumes ownership of people (a gross concept by today’s standards) and the latter ownership of constructs put together by people (sometimes slaves or wave slavery). What Crouch is trying to insinuate here is that ideas are also ownership (patents) and that therefore “America” (meaning US) should defend people’s claims to ownership of ideas. Clever lie.

“That respect generally means that a government grant of a property rights cannot be cancelled or annulled outside of judicial action,” Crouch continues.

Why does Crouch obsesses over the need to compare patents to “property” or “ownership”? These are nonsensical comparisons. It’s like that infamous “corporations are people” statement (echoed by more than just one oligarch over the years).

Anyway, patent lawyers live in another kind of world, where ideas are to be treated the same way as objects, the US is a continent, and innovation depends on patent monopolies rather than bright immigrants from all around the world (people who immigrated to the US after it had gained independence).

The theme of “trolls” is still dominating patent news (see “New Mexico businesses need patent reform | by Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino” and “Patent Trolls and CBM“) meaning that the perceived problem with the patent system is that small actors, not just large corporations, manage to derive money out of it. The latter example says: “For anyone that is interested in becoming a lawyer, or at least thinking about becoming one, may I suggest that you get into patent law…because even in the rough Obama-economy, patent trolls are busy at work and busy is booming.”

Patent lawyers in general would be out of business of this whole concept of monopolising ideas was thrown out the window. “Beware of the patent trolls…the current law doesn’t protect you from them,” wrote David Schachter in the corporate media. What about large patent aggressors such as Apple and Microsoft? Does the law protect from them? Of course not, but we’re supposed to think that it’s fine for large corporations to bully and chase people around because they’re ever so… “innovative”, or “respectable”, or whatever. This status quo is clearly rigged, but not for the reason the corporate media says it is.

More proof that the USPTO is out of touch is this firewall patent example which we cited the other day. The system is surely is out of touch if many years after firewalls were conceived and also implemented, deployed etc. the USPTO hands out a patent on the concept, facilitating litigation by a late-coming opportunist. There is some more coverage of this from a trolls expert right now:

Last month, the EFF faced down a lawsuit claiming that one of its “Stupid Patent of the Month” blog posts illegally defamed the inventor, a patent lawyer named Scott Horstemeyer. Days after the lawsuit became public, it was dropped.

The series hasn’t skipped a beat, though, and the newest edition highlights another serial litigator with a ridiculous patent. Wetro Lan LLC believes that its US Patent No. 6,795,918 covers Internet firewalls, or as it says, a system of “filtering data packets” by “extracting the source, destination, and protocol information” and “dropping the received data packet if the extracted information indicates a request for access to an unauthorized service.”

“This month’s winner is a terrible patent,” writes EFF patent lawyer Daniel Nazer. “But it earns a special place in the Pantheon of stupid patents because it is being wielded in one of most outrageous trolling campaigns we have ever seen.”

There are many problems with the patent system, the least of which is “trolls” or “stupid patents”. The problem is much broader because “trolls” basically means small patent aggressors (leaving aside the bigger aggressors) and “stupid patents” evades the issue of patent scope. The US patent system, more so than other patent systems around the world. permits patents on various domains where patents are demonstrably harming innovation.

Corporate Media Should Stop Grooming Black Duck by Calling it ‘Open Source’ and Repeating Its Lies

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD at 4:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Doug Levin

Summary: Black Duck uses gullible (or easy to manipulate) journalists to spread its marketing talking points, which grossly overstate risks of using Free software

THE Microsoft-connected firm Black Duck was started as an anti-GPL entity, by its very own admission. This firm which keeps openwashing itself at every opportunity is purely proprietary and it holds patents on software. So how can one be fooled into characterising it as “the open source vendor”, as this new article does? ChannelWeb calls it “open source”. That’s like calling a demolition company “builder”. This article is basically a container of typical FUD, not checked for accuracy but just parroted, based on the vendor’s claims (trying to sell its own proprietary software): “He said 80 per cent of enterprises using open source do not know what type of open source code they have, where it is located or if there are any vulnerabilities in it – something his firm’s offering helps with.”

What about vulnerabilities in proprietary software? Many of them cannot be fixed, they are not remediable. What about proprietary software licences? Have they decided to ignore what the BSA does to British businesses?

“Black Duck is just trying to make money by scaring businesses and making them dependent on proprietary snake oil.”ChannelBiz, at the same time (also in the UK) published similar nonsense which may suggest that Black Duck is quite probably pressuring British journalists to print (or reprint) Black Duck nonsense. Here is how the latter put it: “Bland said that while nearly 80 percent of enterprise companies are using open source, a majority acknowledge that they don’t know what open source code they have, where it is located, or if it has known security vulnerabilities. And few, he said, have any open source management processes.”

Taking points again. Not even an independent study.

Black Duck is an ugly parasite that should be shunned by the Free software community. Black Duck is just trying to make money by scaring businesses and making them dependent on proprietary snake oil.

Links 6/7/2015: Linux 4.2-rc1, YotaPhone Picks Sailfish OS

Posted in News Roundup at 3:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Facebook ‘Likes’ Open Source And It’s Not Afraid To Show It

    Most recently, Facebook released the source code for its new static analyzer dubbed “Facebook Infer.”

  • Teaching open source communities about conflict resolution

    At OSCON in Portland this year, Donna Benjamin and Gina Likins are combining forces to talk about a topic that is sometimes easily dismissed: conflict resolution. Given the growing need to address conflict in technology, and that even popular projects like the Linux Kernel adopting codes of conduct, it’s no surprise that conferences feature talks on human interaction.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Open edX: The open source learning management system for corporations and non-profits

      This month marks the third birthday of edX, the online learning platform developed jointly by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In that short time, usage of the edx.org site has exploded. Over 4 million students have taken one of the hundreds of free online courses provided by dozens of prominent universities. Individual courses have had tens of thousands of enrollees in a session.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Austrian GIP information available as open government data

        The Austrian Graph Integration Platform (GIP) has made its national transport graph available to the public for re-use. Although some of this information was already exported for specific applications, the data will now be published in full under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license, allowing for any re-use — even commmercial — as long as the source of the information is specified.

      • Open Data and eParticipation – 2 priorities in the next EU eGovernment Action Plan

        Open Data and citizen participation, two core principles of Open Government, will be priorities in the eGovernment Action Plan 2016 – 2020 of the European Commission.

    • Open Hardware

      • An amazing open source 5-axis 3D printer built By University of Oslo Master’s student

        As he explains to 3ders.org, this unusual idea actually grew out of the ambitions of one of his professors. ‘The idea behind creating the printer was mainly my supervisor’s (Mats Høvin). He wanted a student to build a 5-axis machine with some sort of tool. Together we decided it would be interesting to try creating a 5-axis 3D printer since that had not been done at that time, with the exception of DMG Mori’s Lasertec 65 3D and others 5-axis metal printers,’ Grutle explains.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • France updates its web accessibility guidelines

      France has updated its guidelines on the accessibility of public administration’ websites. The rules now include recommendations on the use of modern web technologies (HTML5) and come with improved tools for testing website accessibility. The website for the guidelines itself has also been revamped, providing easier access to the documentation.

    • The Unicode 8.0: A Song of Praise for Unsung Heroes

      Two weeks ago, I got a call from a reporter who had stumbled on two pieces I wrote in praise of new releases of the Unicode, the first in 2003 (on the occasion of the release of Unicode 4.0, referred to above), and the second in 2006, two releases later. The reason for the call was the release of Unicode version 8.0 by its stewards, the Unicode Consortium.


  • What happens to my late husband’s digital life now he’s gone?

    Since her husband, Iain, died seven months ago, Caroline Twigg has had to face an unexpected problem – what to do with his online legacy

  • Robbert Barons

    • Settlement approved on Bill Gates’ horse poop code case

      Billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates has 30 days to pay $30,600 in Wellington to clear up code violations involving a misplaced manure bin.

    • Bill Gates’ trust just got hit with a $30,000 fine over horse manure

      A trust affiliated with billionaire Bill Gates will pay a $30,000 fine over horse manure in a settlement expected to be approved on Thursday by a special magistrate in the affluent south Florida village of Wellington.

    • Bill Gates Foundation working on “Birth Control Chip”

      Bill Gates and Melinda Foundation is working on a birth control chip that can be remote controlled. The birth control chip can be implanted into people’s body – in hip, inside arms or even beneath the back – and can be used for 16 years. The research on birth control chip was kept a secret until now, before the spokesperson for Bill Gates and Melinda Foundation confirmed that the beta testing for the birth control chip would be starting towards the end of this year and that they need volunteers to assist in real life testing of the chip.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Are we the fascists now?

      The common thread in fascism, past and present, is mass murder. The American invasion of Vietnam had its “free fire zones”, “body counts” and “collateral damage”. In the province of Quang Ngai, where I reported from, many thousands of civilians (“gooks”) were murdered by the US; yet only one massacre, at My Lai, is remembered. In Laos and Cambodia, the greatest aerial bombardment in history produced an epoch of terror marked today by the spectacle of joined-up bomb craters which, from the air, resemble monstrous necklaces. The bombing gave Cambodia its own ISIS, led by Pol Pot.

    • The Government doesn’t understand terrorism — and it’s making things worse

      It has been scarcely five months since the Government last passed legislation designed to combat the terrorist threat – in February’s Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. Yet already, following Seifeddine Rezgui’s bloodletting in Tunisia, David Cameron, Theresa May, and other senior ministers have offered fresh promises to ratchet up measures in the fight against extremism and in preventing ideological radicalisation.

      Moral panic, rather than sober politics, is at work here. Rezgui was not radicalised in Britain, and his attack tells us precisely nothing about whether UK domestic counter-terrorism policies are currently adequate or inadequate. The concrete implications of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act are not even clear yet – universities, for example, are still awaiting guidance on what it requires of them. But elements of the Government’s Prevent strategy, combined with the post-Tunisia rhetoric, hint at a misguided ambition to make universities and schools part of a state-directed ideological campaign against the amorphous spectre of “violent or non-violent extremism”. One Prevent consultation, for example, implied that universities may soon be obliged to censor the activities of university societies, monitor students for any “opposition to fundamental British values”, maintain records of those students who do so, and unequivocally denounce or exclude such views wherever they are expressed.

    • American Exceptionalism

      Medea Benjamin discusses issues from drone warfare to the recent fast track trade vote.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Finance

    • Greece Needs Our Solidarity in Its Struggle Against Austerity

      Not for many years has the issue been posed as clearly as it will be on July 5 in Greece’s referendum: European capitalists, the political leaders whom the capitalists’ money controls, and the austerity they together impose will be judged by the people most savaged by that austerity.

      The Greek people were informed that the financial maneuvers made by Europe’s biggest banks, biggest industrial capitalists, and the usual political elites (shamefully including Greeks and “socialists”) in 2008-2009 would absolutely require massive losses of Greek jobs, incomes, property, and financial security for many years to come. Recycling Margaret Thatcher’s words, they were told “there is no alternative.” Other Europeans (and Americans, etc. too) were told the same although their austerities were less bleak (so far).

    • Greek finance minister accuses creditors of ‘terrorism’

      Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis accused Athens’ creditors of “terrorism” in an interview, a day before Greeks vote in a high-stakes referendum on the conditions of the country’s bailout.

      “What they’re doing with Greece has a name – terrorism,” Varoufakis told the Spanish El Mundo daily on Saturday.

      “What Brussels and the troika want today is for the “Yes” (vote) to win so they could humiliate the Greeks.”

      “Why did they force us to close the banks? To instill fear in people. And spreading fear is called terrorism,” he said, referring to the IMF, European Central Bank and the EU.

      After failing to reach a deal with its creditors last weekend on an extension of its bailout programme Greece’s radical leftist government closed the country’s banks and imposed capital controls until July 6.

    • IMF’s Christine Lagarde: ‘I Don’t Pay Taxes, But You Should’

      Politics can be merciless, and the IMF is political even if it’s not a country. IMF chief Christine Lagarde suggested in an interview with UK’s Guardian that the Greeks should pay their taxes. It turns out Ms. Lagarde—legitimately—doesn’t pay them herself.

      In fact, her IMF salary of $467,940 plus an $83,760 additional allowance is not subject to any taxes. See Christine Lagarde, Scourge of Tax Evaders, Pays No Tax. No taxes is the norm for most United Nations employees covered by a convention on diplomatic relations signed by most nations. If you look at salaries, those working for the IMF, World Bank, and UN can stretch their dollars.

    • Greece’s mass psychology of revolt will survive the financial carpet-bombing

      When Times correspondent George Steer entered the city of Guernica in April 1937, what struck him were the incongruities. He noted precisely the bombing tactics “which may be of interest to students of the new military science”. But his report begins with a long paragraph describing the city’s ceremonial oak tree and its role in the Spanish feudal system.

      Sitting in Athens this week, I began to understand how Steer felt. Sunday’s referendum will take place under a kind of financial warfare not seen in the history of modern states. The Greek government was forced to close its banks after the European Central Bank, whose job is technically to keep them open, refused to do so. The never-taxed and never-registered broadcasters of Greece did the rest, spreading panic, and intensifying it where it had already taken hold.

    • Greece and Global Class War

      Lest this seem too diabolical to be plausible, this is the basic lending model that has been used by Western banks and backed by Western governments and the ‘independent’ institutions they control for some six decades now. The U.S., Germany or France have long lent money for infrastructure projects, agricultural ‘upgrades’ like the Green Revolution and direct purchases of technology and / or munitions. This indebted the citizens-by-degree of both internally and externally organized nation-states while making large profits for the corporations who could sell their wares thanks to the ‘largesse’ of Western states and banks. This practice in some measure explains how corrupt and / or incompetent government officials and plutocrats in Greece managed to line their own pockets while permanently indebting the good citizens of that storied nation.

    • Greek Media Really, Really Wants Yes Vote On Euro-Bailout

      I suppose it’s no surprise that Greece’s corporate class is deeply unthrilled by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s leftist government, and would be happy to see him humiliated and tossed out of office. I assume that they also prefer the devil they know—grinding European-imposed austerity for years—to the devil they don’t—exiting the euro amid chaos and eventually rebuilding their economy with a devalued drachma. After all, they’ll stay rich either way, and sticking with their fellow European moguls probably seems the better bet by far.

    • Greece news media taking sides in coverage of upcoming vote

      The bias toward the “yes” side reflects the fact that many of Greece’s biggest news outlets are owned by corporate titans and other “oligarchs” whose business interests would be directly threatened by a “no” victory and the potential abandonment of the euro in favor of the drachma, Leontopoulos said.

    • Greece is being deliberately humiliated for daring to question austerity, Caroline Lucas says

      European authorities have set out to deliberately humiliate Greece for electing a left-wing anti-austerity Government, the Green Party’s MP has said.

      Speaking at a Greece solidarity rally in London Caroline Lucas argued that the “deluded” policy coming out of the eurogroup was designed to punish the Syriza-led government.

    • Greek conservative opposition chief Samaras resigns

      Greece’s conservative opposition chief Antonis Samaras on Sunday announced his resignation after the country appeared set to reject further austerity cuts in a referendum.

    • Thomas Piketty: “Germany has never repaid.”

      In a forceful interview with German newspaper Die Zeit, the star economist Thomas Piketty calls for a major conference on debt. Germany, in particular, should not withhold help from Greece.

    • Canada Without Poverty charity challenges Harper govt. audits at UN in Geneva

      The head of a small Ottawa-based charity is in Geneva this week to complain to a United Nations committee about the Canada Revenue Agency’s program of political-activity audits.

      Harriett McLachlan, president of Canada Without Poverty, is pleading her case before the UN Human Rights Committee, arguing that a special audit program launched by the tax agency in 2012 violates Canada’s international commitments on human rights.

    • Urgent TTIP Vote: Please Write (Again) to Your MEPs before Wednesday

      There is (another) very important plenary vote in the European Parliament on TTIP this Wednesday, when the European Parliament will vote on a resolution concerning TTIP. The first time around, the vote was pulled for tactical reasons by the pro-ISDS camp, rightly afraid that the European Parliament would reject the inclusion of this anti-democratic idea in TTIP. Now they have cobbled together a “compromise” on ISDS which simply calls it something else, without solving the fundamental problem, which is that it gives corporations unique rights to sue entire nations, with us, the public, footing the bill.

    • Don Quijones: Wikileaks Exposes How TISA Will Gut Financial Regulations All Over the World

      TiSA is arguably the most important – yet least well-known – of the new generation of global trade agreements. According to WikiLeaks, it “is the largest component of the United States’ strategic ‘trade’ treaty triumvirate,” which also includes the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP).

      “Together, the three treaties form not only a new legal order shaped for transnational corporations, but a new economic ‘grand enclosure,’ which excludes China and all other BRICS countries” declared WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in a press statement. If allowed to take universal effect, this new enclosure system will impose on all our governments a rigid framework of international corporate law designed to exclusively protect the interests of corporations, relieving them of financial risk, and social and environmental responsibility.


      But that is just the tip of the iceberg. According to the treaty’s Annex on Financial Services, we now know that TiSA would effectively strip signatory governments of all remaining ability to regulate the financial industry in the interest of depositors, small-time investors, or the public at large.

    • Canadian Neocolonialism in Colombia: Oil, Mining and the Military
  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Wikileaks Reveals New Details of ‘Intensive’ NSA Brazil Spying

      Wikileaks published more damning details of U.S. spying on Brazil’s government Saturday, just days after President Dilma Rousseff said she had faith Washington has rolled back snooping.

      The latest release includes a list of the NSA’s top targets in Brazil, with the agency taking a particular interest in key financial and economic figures in what Wikileaks described as “intensive interception.”


      The list itself includes 29 phone numbers – all linked to high level Brazilian officials. Many of the numbers are identified as being associated with senior figures in Brazil’s finance ministry, along with the head of the country’s central bank.


      Brazilian ambassadors in France, Geneva, Germany and the United States also make the list, indicating their private communications have been monitored by the NSA. The publication comes less than a week after Rousseff said during a visit to the White House that “things had changed” between the United States and Brazil.

    • US spy agency targeted top Brazilian officials: WikiLeaks

      Aside from listening in on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s phone calls, US spies also targeted top political and financial officials, according to new information released by WikiLeaks on Saturday.

      The whistle-blowing website published a National Security Agency list of 29 Brazilian government phone numbers that the American spy group monitored.

    • US spied in Brazil government officials: WikiLeaks

      Whistle-blower Web site WikiLeaks has published the names of more than 29 members of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s administration who were spied on by the US National Security Agency at the start of her first term in office, which began in January 2011.

      The release of the list of phone numbers on Saturday linked to high-level Brazilian officials comes just days after Rousseff, who was reelected to a second term late last year, and US counterpart Barack Obama met in Washington to end bilateral tensions stemming from previous revelations about NSA eavesdropping on Brasilia.

    • WikiLeaks: NSA spied on Brazil’s president

      WikiLeaks disclosed documents Saturday detailing the National Security Agency’s wiretapping of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

      They said the NSA also spied on Rousseff’s secretary, her chief of staff and other top Brazilian government officials, according to USA Today.

    • NSA’s Top Brazilian Political and Financial Targets Revealed by New WikiLeaks Disclosure

      Top secret data from the National Security Agency, shared with The Intercept by WikiLeaks, reveals that the U.S. spy agency targeted the cellphones and other communications devices of more than a dozen top Brazilian political and financial officials, including the country’s president Dilma Rousseff, whose presidential plane’s telephone was on the list. President Rousseff just yesterday returned to Brazil after a trip to the U.S. that included a meeting with President Obama, a visit she had delayed for almost two years in anger over prior revelations of NSA spying on Brazil.

    • Brazil brushes aside latest WikiLeaks release on U.S. spying

      But there was no indication in the list that the spying took place more recently than 2013, and Brazilian officials brushed it aside as old news.

    • Popular VPNs leak data, don’t offer promised privacy and anonymity

      Virtual Private Network (VPN) services can be used for circumventing Internet censorship and accessing blocked content, but researchers warn that you shouldn’t believe the companies’ claims that they offer privacy and anonymity.

    • Cameron calls on web firms to drop encryption for spies’ sake

      Cameron wants security services to read your private chats on social media by getting tech firms to drop encryption. The former leader of the Pirate Party, Loz Kaye, thinks Cameron’s anti-encryption moves are ill-thought out, and could spell disaster.

  • Civil Rights

    • Shakira, Ricky Martin, America Ferrera Blast Donald Trump

      If Donald Trump’s anti-Latino rhetoric was an attempt at gaining electoral ground among U.S. conservatives in recent weeks, the backlash appears to have united the country’s large and diverse Latino population.

      Weeks after Donald Trump labeled U.S.-Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and criminals, Latino leaders and artists in U.S. are standing up to the billionaire showing who, in fact, is boss.

    • EFF Is Turning 25 and We Want to Celebrate With You

      We’re kicking off this milestone in two ways: a membership drive and a party and minicon in San Francisco on July 16. We’re asking people to donate and become members because we fight passionately for the rights of individuals—and in turn, rely deeply on individuals to strengthen our work as we confront threats from powerful institutions and as technology transforms our lives. We’re throwing the party to celebrate 25 years of work in the digital world and imagine what the next 25 years ought to look like. More information on our anniversary activities is below.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • ​The last seconds are ticking off the U.S. IPv4 network clock

      The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), the nonprofit group that manages Internet addresses for Canada, most Caribbean countries, and the United States, announced that it has activated its Unmet Request Policy. What that means is that there are no longer enough IPv4 address blocks available for the demand.

  • DRM

    • Apple Music Could Wreck Your iTunes Library

      Because Apple Music is a cloud based service, adding favourite tracks and playlists in Apple Music will add them to your collection in the cloud. If you don’t turn on Apple Music, you don’t have access to your musical cloud record, and the only way to listen to the music is to stream tracks while online. No offline copies, no playlists, and no bookmarks (just the struggle to remember your favourite albums you’ve recently been listening to).

    • Apple locking down users’ music by adding DRM to it

      Apple’s iCLoud Music Library is apparently causing anger in the Apple community. The iCloud Music Library feature was released just a few days ago with the 12.2 release of iTunes. The paid service which comes part of an Apple Music subscription syncs all of you music to iCloud so you can listen to it on any device, sounds good right? Wrong, it adds DRM to all your music.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Major Streaming Sites Must Be Blocked, Court Rules

        After a prolonged legal battle, last year several leading Austrian ISPs were ordered to block major streaming sites Movie4K.to and Kinox.to. All but one of the ISPs appealed but now the Supreme Court has not only ruled against them, but ordered them to pick up the cost of blocking sites in the future.


Microsoft Windows Unsafe at Any Speed, by Design

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 11:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

Speed limit

Summary: More timely reminders that Windows is simply not designed to be secure, irrespective of version, status of patching, etc.

GIVEN the exceptionally strong ties between Microsoft and the NSA we shouldn’t be so shocked that Microsoft constantly lets the NSA know how to break into computers with Windows installed on them. That’s a fact.

Samsung, perhaps realising that ‘updating’ Windows (or even ‘upgrading’ it) won’t make it more secure decided to altogether abandon Windows Update. As IDG put it:

This week, it’s Samsung, which has been outed as intentionally disabling Windows Update. According to independent researcher Patrick Barker, he was trying to help a customer figure out why a PC kept randomly disabling Windows Update, which caused the system to be dangerously and continuously vulnerable to open security flaws.

Remember that Windows Update can also be used (or misused) to install new back doors at any time. Richard Stallman has repeatedly warned about the danger of any such mechanism. It’s basically a remote control for one’s PC, where the controller is not the user but the software vendor and potentially crackers (like NSA and the GCHQ, as well as non-government entities). When the article above says “vulnerable to open security flaws” it probably means security flaws that are provably known to cyber criminals not affiliated with governments.

“Remember that Windows Update can also be used (or misused) to install new back doors at any time.”According to Microsoft Peter (Peter Bright), writing about how much of a farce Windows ‘security’ really is might be something that a research student cannot do. To quote the booster:

Willcox’s research investigates ways in which Microsoft’s EMET software can be bypassed. EMET is a security tool that includes a variety of mitigation techniques designed to make exploiting common memory corruption flaws harder. In the continuing game of software exploit cat and mouse, EMET raises the bar, making software bugs harder to take advantage of, but does not outright eliminate the problems. Willcox’s paper explored the limitations of the EMET mitigations and looked at ways that malware could bypass them to enable successful exploitation. He also applied these bypass techniques to a number of real exploits.

The laws here have become so ridiculous that merely pointing out that some piece of software is ‘Swiss cheese’ and ‘easy pickings’ would potentially constitute a violation of the law. Microsoft Peter, writing another article about the failing Xbox business (billions in losses), shows how Microsoft secretly tried to deal with manufacturing flaws that may have led to loss of lives (there is a famous case involving a baby who died after an Xbox-induced house fire).

It often seems like Microsoft can get away with just about anything (surveillance by the back door, house fires etc.) as long as it colludes with the state against citizens. Anyone who still believe that Windows can be made secure (intrusions-resistant) clearly is deluded, or at least misinformed.

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