10.25.14

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

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Pondering FOSS foundations

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

  • BSD/UNIX

    • Using Older Software and Hardware

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

  • Standards/Consortia

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

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

Leftovers

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

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

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

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Mexico: Crude Oil Leak Reaches Cazones River in Veracruz

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

    • Bill Gates gobbling up Florida farmland

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

    • Here’s What Actually Scares Americans About the Future

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

  • Finance

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Tech giants use Patriot Act anniversary to push NSA reform

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

    • Colorado Senate Candidates Both Back NSA Reform

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

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

      Gardner says that’s not true.

    • Letter: Gardner will carry water for traditional GOP

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • ‘Citizenfour’ documents Edward Snowden leaking NSA material

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • ‘Yep, we spied illegally’

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

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

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

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

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

    • CIA Snooping No Big Deal, Key Republican Senator Suggests

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Lone lawyer sues Obama, alleging illegality of surveillance programs

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

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

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

    • Citizenfour’s Escape to Freedom in Russia

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

    • Clueless FBI sabotages its own anti-encryption campaign

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

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

      [...]

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The End of Privacy

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

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

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

    • Wyden pushes back on criticism over NSA

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

    • THE SURVEILLANCE STATE AND YOU

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

      Surveillance leaves scars.

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

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

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

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

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

    • Another Attorney-Client Conversation Spied On

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

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

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

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

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

    • Backlash will render mass surveillance moot

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

    • Obama administration mixes signals on user security

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

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

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

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

    • Edward Snowden: the true story behind his NSA leaks

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

      [...]

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

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

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

  • Civil Rights

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

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

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

    • Local Law Enforcement Chipping Away at the Fourth Amendment

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

    • A Print Magazine for Hackers

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

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

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

    • Torturing the Rule of Law

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

    • Shameful side of the War on Terror

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

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

      FCC publishes 2.44 million comments from Open Internet docket

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

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

    • Secretive funding fuels ongoing net neutrality astroturfing controversy

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

    • How Verizon’s Advertising Header Works

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

  • DRM

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

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

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

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

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

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

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

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