Links 11/2/2013: 800 Million Androids This Year, CISPA is Back

Posted in News Roundup at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Free Software/Open Source

  • Opensource.com announces 2013 community award winners
  • Asylum a new horror game

    Not satisfied with the experience on current forum software packages, Stack Exchange co-founder Jeff Atwood founded Civilized Discourse Construction Kit Inc to come up with a software package to replace them. Its open source Discourse software is built with JavaScript, Ruby on Rails and PostgreSQL and, according to the developers, can be used whenever a mailing list or forum is needed. According to the team: “Discourse is a from-scratch reboot, an attempt to re-imagine what a modern, sustainable, fully open-source Internet discussion platform should be”.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 9.1: LLVM/Clang Battling GCC

      With LLVM/Clang having become the default FreeBSD x86 compiler as of last year and the recent FreeBSD 9.1 release shipping not only LLVM/Clang but also the libc++ library, new benchmarks were carried out of FreeBSD 9.1 looking at its two stock compilers.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • 3D printing an open source electric car

      What excites me about ZWheelz is the potential to improve our education system, environment, energy independence, and economy—all with what I like to call, one “EZ” project.

      It all began when I built a plane from a kit, then saw the documentary, Who Killed The Electric Car?, and decided to build an electric car. Turns out, it functioned really well, and I began wondering: “Why aren’t there more electric vehicles on the road?”

    • Open Access/Content

      • The Eric Holder Memo on the “Reasoned Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion” & the Swartz Affair ~pj

        When Aaron Swartz died, I told you that I’m no expert on criminal law, and I’m not. So I couldn’t really provide a star to guide anyone. But what I could do is research and provide information so you could be fully informed. That’s what journalists are for.

        And now I’ve come across something that I think might be helpful, a May 19, 2010 memo [PDF] by Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. to all federal prosecutors, letting them know that he wanted them to be fair and reasonable in exercising their prosecutorial discretion. He told them that he wanted them to be flexible, too, not necessarily bound by maximum/minimum guidelines, but to look at the individual circumstances of each case, stating that the “reasoned exercise of prosecutorial discretion is essential to the fair, effective, and even-handed administration of the federal criminal laws”. That raises a natural enough question, of course, about whether that policy was followed in the Swartz case, but that isn’t what struck me.

      • Memorials for Aaron Swartz Turn to Discussion of How to Honor His Legacy
      • Software Developer Lobbies For Free Court Documents

        A few years ago, software developer Stephen Schultze helped create a nifty piece of code called “RECAP” that makes some federal court documents free on the Internet.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open-Source Hardware Firewalls

        Open-source hardware firewalls are something of a misnomer. Though these Internet protection appliances are based on open-source operating systems, their programming is often proprietary. Furthermore, security needs have forced many of these product to go beyond mere firewalling to include anti-spam filtering, intrusion protection and more.

  • Programming


  • Sleazy Sugar Daddies offer to pay tuition fees on dating site

    HUNDREDS of cash-strapped Scots students have signed up to an internet dating site to meet wealthy men offering to pay their tuition.

  • Facebook Connect issue wreaks havoc on the Web
  • Facebook error that hijacks thousands of websites isn’t just an ‘inconvenience’

    Thousands of major — and not-so-major — websites found their traffic redirected to a Facebook error page yesterday, a phenomenon that lasted upward of an hour, according to varying accounts. Although the social networking site dismissed the event as the result of a Facebook error that was “quickly repaired,” it would be imprudent to blithely view the event as a glitch or mere inconvenience. It’s downright concerning, both from a business and a privacy perspective.
    First, here’s what happened: Starting at around 4 p.m. Pacific time Thursday, users attempting to visit an array of disparate websites and services — from CNN to The Sydney-Melboure Herald to Pinterest to Reddit to Hulu — were redirected to Facebook and a message reading, “An error occurred. Please try again later.” Sites were affected anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, according to reports.

  • Security

    • Massive search fraud botnet seized by Microsoft and Symantec

      Thakur said that the Bamital malware was initially delivered by a combination of methods, including in packages over peer-to-peer filesharing networks disguised as other content. But the majority of systems infected were the victim of “driveby downloads” from websites configured with malicious software intended to exploit browser security flaws. “We have evidence of [the botnet operators] polluting search engine results for certain search terms with links to servers with exploits,” he said.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Report: Ex-Cop Christopher Dorner Is Now a Target for Drones
    • Police employ Predator drone spy planes on home front
    • Another FBI Patsy Arrested in Fake Bomb Plot to Start a Civil War

      The FBI is at it again, boasting about stopping another contrived terror plot of their own making. This time they nabbed a right-winger working with the Taliban which happen to be an FBI agent provocateur.

    • Julian Assange Bill Maher Interview: WikiLeaks Founder Slams Drones, Targeted Killings
    • Keeping Secrets

      Similarly, when the government’s only chance of keeping an inconvenient truth out of the news media is to warn of a national security threat, it’s amazing how these threats pop up.

      This has turned out to be a powerfully effective tool. News organizations, after all, don’t want to endanger the nation’s safety, or be accused of doing so, so editors often listen to government officials when they make their case for not publishing. And, after listening, editors occasionally consent.


      Keeping the government’s secrets is not the news media’s role, unless there is a clear, direct and life-threatening reason to justify it.

    • Sullivan: More Light Still Needed on Drone Strikes
    • Drone spotted hovering over West Oakland
    • Sovereignty vs. Intervention: A Review of Haiti’s New Dictatorship

      During the build up to and aftermath of the 2004 overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s popular priest-turned-president, the Haitian and international press reported two conflicting narratives. Even in the left-wing media office of ZNet, where Justin Podur was an editor, stories filed from Haiti just “didn’t add up.”

    • Push to Expand U.S. ‘Kill List’
    • What If an Assassination Court Reviewed Placement of US Citizens on the President’s Kill List?

      For months, there have been human rights or civil liberties groups sharply condemning President Barack Obama’s targeted killing program especially because he holds all the power to decide who lives and who dies, however, up until a Justice Department “white paper” on the program was leaked by NBC News, there was little discussion by US news media about the nature of the program.

    • Letters: Targeted death
    • US’ Betrayal of Truth
    • Spying on Law-Abiding Muslims

      He said his handler told him that the department considered “being a religious Muslim a terrorism indicator.”

    • NDAA Lawsuit- Hedges v. Obama -Pt. 5
    • NDAA Lawsuit- Hedges v. Obama -Pt. 6
    • In Search of Monsters

      On 11 January, seemingly out of the blue, François Hollande announced that France would ‘respond to the request of the Malian president’ and send forces to its former colony to fight ‘terrorist elements coming from the north’. ‘Today, the very existence of this friendly nation is at stake,’ he declared. ‘Military operations will last for as long as required … Terrorists must know that France will always be there when it’s a matter not of its fundamental interests but the right of a population … to live in freedom and democracy.’ In France, though ominous warnings did the rounds, the president’s approval ratings soared from a nadir of 40 per cent to 63 per cent. Hitherto seen as weak, Hollande was suddenly perceived as a strong commander-in-chief (linguistically, it’s a small step from chef d’état to chef de guerre). Abroad, despite offers from Western allies of logistical or humanitarian support (France’s plea for military support from its European allies remains unanswered), many suspected that neocolonial ghosts were haunting Paris yet again. La Françafrique, that infamous amalgam of truncated African sovereignty and French interventionism in sub-Saharan Africa, seemed to have returned.

    • Obama’s Drone Attack on Your Due Process

      The biggest problem with the recently disclosed Obama administration white paper defending the drone killing of radical clerk Anwar al-Awlaki isn’t its secrecy or its creative redefinition of the words “imminent threat.” It is the revolutionary and shocking transformation of the meaning of due process.

    • How Obama’s Drone Strike Policy Violates the Original Meaning of the Constitution

      Writing at the Originalism Blog, Michael Ramsey of the University of San Diego Law School examines the Obama administration’s drone policy in light of the original meaning of the Due Process Clause of the 5th Amendment, which forbids the government from depriving any person of “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

    • Nick Turse Describes the Real Vietnam War

      Turse, who devoted 12 years to tracking down the true story of Vietnam, unlocked secret troves of documents, interviewed officials and veterans — including many accused of war atrocities — and traveled throughout the Vietnamese countryside talking with eyewitnesses to create his book, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam.

    • Article II or AUMF? “A High Level Official” (AKA John Brennan) Says CIA Can Murder You
    • Drones and Our National Religion

      The national religion of the United States of America is nationalism. Its god is the flag. Its prayer is the pledge of allegiance.

      The flag’s powers include those of life and death, powers formerly possessed by traditional religions. Its myths are built around the sacrifice of lives to protect against the evils outside the nation. Its heroes are soldiers who make such sacrifices based on unquestioning faith. A “Dream Act” that would give citizenship to those immigrants who kill or die for the flag embodies the deepest dreams of flag worship. Its high priest is the Commander in Chief. Its slaughter of infidels is not protection of a nation otherwise engaged, but an act that in itself completely constitutes the nation as it is understood by its devotees. If the nation stopped killing it would cease to be.

    • Dick Cheney blasts Obama’s ‘second-rate’ national security team
    • They Knew the Evidence against Anwar al-Awlaki Was Weak When They Killed Him

      In case you don’t want to read these two long posts, I want to point to two passages from the white paper that show, on two key points, the government wasn’t even claiming Anwar al-Awlaki was the “senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or associated forces” they keep saying he was when they killed him.

    • Bill Moyers Essay: When We Kill Without Caring
    • CIA’s Kiriakou expresses doubts about agency, Greek terrorism

      John Kiriakou, the Greek-American CIA analyst who was sentenced last month to more than two years in jail for revealing the identity of a covert operative, has revealed to Kathimerini his thoughts about the possible emergence of new terrorist activity in Greece and his concerns about the future of the US intelligence agency.

      Kiriakou told Sunday’s Kathimerini that he would differentiate the activity of urban guerrilla groups in Greece today and the actions of the November 17 terrorist organization.

    • Obama’s legacy of secrecy

      John Brennan’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday was a microcosm of the Obama administration’s approach to counterterrorism: The right assurances, with little transparency.

      Brennan said the United States should publicly disclose when American drone attacks kill civilians. He called waterboarding “reprehensible” and vowed it would never occur under his watch. And he said that countering militancy should be “comprehensive,” not just “kinetic,” and involve diplomatic and development efforts as well.

    • US Air Force Veteran, Finally Allowed to Fly Into US, Now Banned From Flying Back Home

      Secret, unaccountable no-fly lists are one of many weapons the US government uses to extra-judicially punish American Muslims

    • Three billion dollars a year for this boondoggle?

      How low must the number of Muslim-American ‘terror plots’ go before Congress thinks again about giving the FBI an annual $3 billion of our tax dollars –nearly half the FBI’s budget – just for its counterterrorism work?

      And to what lengths is the FBI prepared to go to manufacture plots and suspects in order to keep those dollars flowing?

      In his fourth annual survey of Muslim-American terrorism, Charles Kurzman, of North Carolina’s Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, found that the number of Muslim-Americans indicted as terrorists has been in steady decline over the past three years and no deaths or injuries were caused by their actions.

    • Why a “Drone Court” Won’t Work–But (Nominal) Damages Might
    • Barack Obama is pushing gun control at home, but he’s a killer abroad
    • CIA report must be declassified

      …more than 6,000 pages and 35,000 footnotes…

    • CIA contractor due in court for plea hearing

      A former CIA contractor involved in a fatal shootout in Pakistan is due in court in Colorado on Monday over a fight over a parking space.

      A judge will consider a plea agreement for Raymond Allen Davis, who is charged with felony assault and misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the fight outside a suburban Denver bagel shop.

    • Graham moves to delay defense, CIA confirmations
    • Obama And The CIA Must Come Clean On Drones, Killings

      Secret bases, targeted killings, leaked memos and elaborate cover-ups – the latest developments in an ongoing controversy involving the Obama administration and CIA with a question at its core that has been asked for generations: “How far are we willing to go to protect the citizens of the United States?”

    • The CIA Orchestrates a Pre-Election Campaign in Paraguay

      The marked increase in numbers at the US embassy in Asunción over the past year is being necessitated by the need to maintain control over the Paraguayan government. The pre-election campaign is in full swing and in order to «manage it by hand», the intelligence apparatus operating under the roof of the US embassy need staff reinforcements. Political forces potentially hostile to the interests of the United States must not be allowed to come to power. Federico Franco, the acting president of Paraguay who, in June 2012, ensured the CIA-scripted «constitutional removal» of the legally elected president, Fernando Lugo, has fulfilled his mission. His successor needs to be just as reliable and just as manageable.

    • Moscow hopes for completion of probe into CIA secret prisons

      Moscow hopes that an investigation into the CIA’s secret prisons abroad will be completed and all suspects will be brought to court, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday.

    • Op-ed: The slippery slope of drone warfare

      The release of a Justice Department white paper defending the legality of the targeted killing of U.S. citizens in foreign countries outside areas of active hostilities is an opportunity for every American to reflect on how our government conducts its armed conflict against al-Qaeda and associated forces, especially since the man who is at the center of such targeting decisions, John Brennan, might soon be confirmed as CIA Director.

    • Ajami: Barack Obama and the silence of the U.S. drone war
  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Night Sky Over Asia 1992-2010

      As people are coming to understand, Asian economic growth over the past two decades—despite its great adoption of oil—essentially runs on electricity, most of which is supplied by the burning of coal. Here is the night sky over Asia twenty years ago, as captured in a still photograph from a film loop provided by NOAA’s national geophysical data center.

  • Finance

    • Barclays closes controversial tax avoidance unit
    • As the Sussex Uni occupation shows, Government may see education as a market, but students do not

      The Government’s higher education policy is supposedly about cutting red tape, yet it requires a new army of six-figure-salaried bureaucrats to outsource existing jobs.

    • UK inequality rises sharply in 15 years – report

      The UK’s super-rich, the top 1% of earners, now pocket 10 pence in every pound, while the bottom half have seen their share of the nation’s wealth drop in the last 15 years. Middle earners have also seen their earning power stagnate.

    • HuffPo Attacks, then Partners with, Goldman Sachs
    • Barclays misled shareholders about source of £3bn

      Barclays misled shareholders and the public about one of the biggest investments in the bank’s history, a BBC Panorama investigation has found.

    • Austerity, US Style, Exposed

      Austerity policies include various combinations primarily of government spending cuts and secondarily of general tax increases. Republicans and Democrats have endorsed austerity since 2010. Austerity was the result of their deal on taxes last December 31: increasing the payroll tax on wages and salaries from 4.2 to 6.2 percent. Austerity is what they are negotiating now in regard to federal spending cuts.

    • Democracy Realized

      In worker self-directed enterprises (WSDEs), workers democratically run the affairs of the enterprise. They make the decisions whose consequences shape their lives. Their job descriptions require them to perform some specific tasks within the enterprise’s division of labor, but their job descriptions also obligate their participation in directing the enterprise.

      To perform their specific tasks, workers in WSDEs must learn how to do the required work, must be trained and educated, first in schools before employment and afterwards on the job as well. The same applies to the other part of their job description that concerns participation in directing their WSDE. School curricula must provide everyone with the broad-based, liberal arts education that builds flexibility and the capacity for creative enterprise adjustments to an ever-changing world. In short, establishing an economy based on widespread WSDEs will exert profound and effective pressures for educational changes. Democratizing the workplace will help democratize education.

    • Greenlight’s Einhorn sues Apple, wants bigger payout for investors

      Apple Inc on Thursday confronted its first major challenge from an activist shareholder in years as hedge fund manager David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital filed suit against the company and demanded that it dole out a bigger piece of its $137 billion cash pile to investors.

    • Apple, Big Hedge Fund Stars & The Sell Side/Vaudeville Act To Burn Your Hard Earned Money As A Punchline That’s Just Not Funny

      Einhorn is asking management to sell that call/put option straddle now, and forgo the ability to capitalize on future opportunities while running naked against margin compression at the same time that Apple’s competition has surpassed it in technical ability (product/service wise) while Apple has shown ineptitude in competing in the cloud (see the maps fiasco), the next battle ground for the end user. This option sale will be had for the one time premium of a cash distribution. Wise, eh?

  • Censorship

    • Egypt court orders YouTube blocked for a month

      A Cairo court on Saturday ordered the government to block access to the video-sharing website YouTube for 30 days for carrying an anti-Islam film that caused deadly riots across the world.

      Judge Hassouna Tawfiq ordered YouTube blocked for carrying the film, which he described as “offensive to Islam and the Prophet (Muhammad).” He made the ruling in the Egyptian capital where the first protests against the film erupted last September before spreading to more than 20 countries, killing more than 50 people.

      The ruling however can be appealed, and based on precedent, might not be enforced. A spokeswoman for YouTube’s parent company, Google, said in a statement that the firm had “received nothing from the judge or government related to this matter.”

    • Iran’s Press TV taken off air in N America
    • YouTube banned in Egypt for one month

      This Saturday, a Cairo court ordered to block access to the most popular video-sharing website on the Internet, Youtube, for one month(30 days to be more precise), because on this very website an anti-Islam film was posted, apparently becoming the cause for deadly riots across the globe.

    • Twitter’s dangerous lack of transparency on terrorism
  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Apple warns users against jailbreaking following evasi0n hack

      Although unlocking a phone that’s still tied to a contract was recently deemed illegal in the US, jailbreaking isn’t, according to the latest review of exceptions to the DMCA in October. But that doesn’t mean the practice isn’t frowned upon by the likes of Apple, which has issued a warning in response to the Evasi0n unthethered jailbreak for iOS 6.1 devices.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • In the Future, All Space Marines Will Be Warhammer 40K Space Marines

        To engage a lawyer to defend me from this spurious claim would cost more money than I have, certainly more than the book has ever earned me. Rather than earning money for my family, I’d be taking money from them, when previously my writing income paid for my daughter’s schooling. And I’d have to use the little time I have to write novels to fight a protracted legal battle instead.

    • Copyrights

      • Two Famous Journalism Institutions Shame Themselves By Not Standing Up For Basic Fair Use

        Two of the most respected and forward looking schools for journalism are the Knight Center for Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and the Poynter Institute. I’ve long been a fan of both, but I’m now quite disappointed in both of them too. Last week, we had a few stories concerning a woman named Teri Buhl, who (to put it mildly) had some “unique” (and, by that we mean “totally wrong”) legal theories concerning whether or not someone could quote her public statements on Twitter, as well as basic copyright and fair use rules. By the end of the week, she was threatening to sue us and others as well.

      • Judge denies MPAA attempt to seize profits from copyright infringement

        A high court in the United Kingdom has ruled that a copyright owner does not have the right to claim profits from copyright infringement.
        “A copyright owner does not have a proprietary claim to the fruits of an infringement of copyright. I shall not, therefore, grant proprietary injunctions,” wrote judge Guy Newey of the England and Wales High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, in a ruling published on Tuesday.

      • ‘STELA’: Hollywood’s Next Big Legislative Fight?

        An analyst suggests that the renewal of an obscure satellite-TV law could command the attention of the major broadcasters, big pay-TV distributors and giant tech companies.

      • Copyright vs Freedom of Expression Judgment

        Earlier this month, the Court issued an important judgment, Ashby Donald and others v France (judgment in French), on the tensions between copyright law and the freedom of expression. It is my great pleasure to put online a guest post about this judgment by professor Dirk Voorhoof of Ghent University and Inger Høedt-Rasmussen of Copenhagen Business School. Thanks to both!

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