Links 7/1/2015: Unity 8 and Mir, Sony’s LinuxWalkman

Posted in News Roundup at 9:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Intel Compute Stick runs Windows and Linux, fits in your pocket

    A few months back, I got a breathless email from an Intel PR rep due to some confusion over a little Chinese-made HDMI PC. Now we know why: Intel was stealthily getting ready to launch one of their own.

    This tiny black stick emblazoned with the “Intel inside” logo is Intel’s Compute Stick. This device isn’t like the Dell Cloud Connect dongle that they took to CES last year, nor is it a copy of Microsoft’s Wireless Display Adapter. It’s a full PC, capable of running both Linux and Windows, and it’s set to go on sale in the very near future.

  • Server

    • 3 Ways Enterprise IT Will Change in 2015

      Much the way the end of a year invites reflection upon what changed over the preceding 12 months, there’s nothing like the start of a new one for looking ahead and predicting what’s to come. So it is in enterprise IT, where market researchers have been busy studying their proverbial crystal balls for that very purpose.

      Late last month, for instance, IDC released not just one but three new prediction-filled reports focusing on three key areas of enterprise technology. Bottom line? Things will look pretty different a year or two from now.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Linux Foundation Extends the AllSeen Alliance, Sets Summit Speaker Agenda

      The Linux Foundation is out with a slew of announcements this week to kick off 2015. The AllSeen Alliance, which operates as a Linux Foundation Collaboration project, has announced a number of new initiatives. Most notably, it is expanding its platform framework with an AllJoyn Gateway Agent that extends the Internet of Things footprint beyond any user’s local environment, over to the cloud.

    • ​CES 2015: AllSeen Alliance to bring order to the Internet of Things

      Lost among the 4K TVs, 3D printers, and smart baby-bottles at CES, the AllSeen Alliance, a cross-industry group advancing the Internet of Everything (IoT) via the AllJoyn open-source software project, announced the first release of the AllJoyn Gateway Agent. That’s a pity, because this announcement may be the most important one of the show.

    • Linux Foundation Adds SDN, Storage and Managed Hosting Members

      The Linux Foundation’s membership continues to expand. This week, three new companies joined the open source consortium, bringing strengths in software-defined networking, storage and managed hosting to the organization.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Part Two Of KDAB’s Qt3D 2.0 Overview
      • Overview of Qt3D 2.0 – Part 2

        In the previous article we learned about the requirements and high-level architecture of Qt3D 2.0. In order to put some of this into context and to give you a concrete example of how it looks to draw something in Qt3D using the QML API, we will now briefly show the important parts of one of the simple examples that will ship with Qt3D. We will start off simple and just draw a single entity (a trefoil knot) but to make it slightly more interesting we will use a custom set of shaders to implement a single-pass wireframe rendering method. This is what we will draw:

      • GCompris is now released on Android

        One year ago I took the hard decision to fully rewrite GCompris in Qt Quick in order to address tablet users while keeping PC compatibility. As you imagine it’s a daunting task and something for sure I could not do alone. Thanks to the help of the many contributors who joined the project we have been able to port 86 activities of the 140 of the legacy version in a year. You can look at this page to see the status of the port. We can hope to complete the port in one more year. The new version is far from perfect and we continue to polish it everyday but we already provide a better user experience than the legacy version.

      • Thinking about working on KDE 5 again (frameworks, plasma, applications)

        In my “preview” of KDE 5, I was able to offer the KDE 5 packages as co-installable to KDE 4 because it was not yet more than Frameworks and Plasma packages – it needed the presence of KDE 4.x in order to provide a meaningfull Plasma 5 workspace. That meant, you could install KDE 5, play around with it for a bit, and then un-install the packages if you had seen enough, without this process touching or destroying the configuration of your KDE 4 environment. That was a good thing, because Plasma 5 was quite unstable at that time, and the whole exercise was not meant to probide an actual day-to-day work environment.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • D-Link floats a raft of Linux-based home automation gizmos

      D-Link expanded its home automation line with a wireless hub, water leak sensor, siren, security cameras, and 802.11ac routers, all running embedded Linux.

    • Raspberry Pi B+ gets its Grove on

      Raspberry Pi’s are great little Linux devices but they have plenty of limitations when it comes to comes to wiring up to the analog world or just behaving like a micro-controller. There’s been various attempts to weld Pi and Arduino together (I have some) like the Dexter Industries’ BrickPi that plugs you into the Lego bricosystem or their Arduberry which brings Arduino shield connectors out the top of the board.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Take two ‘medtech’ apps & call me in the morning

          We want medtech on open platforms of course — and so now we have the free Medelinked app available for Android smartphones and tablets in the Android Market on Google Play.

        • Sony’s $1200 Walkman ZX2 runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

          Remember Sony’s Walkman from back in the 80s? Sony never stopped making them but they were eclipsed in later years first by iPods then by mobile phones. Now it looks like the Walkman is about to be reborn in a big and rather expensive way. Sony showed off its new Walkman ZX2 at CES 2015, and it’s going to cost $1200.

        • Fuhu’s behemoth Android tablet has a 65-inch, 4K display

          In its suite here, Fuhu mounted the display on the wall, like a television, but also embedded it inside a wooden table, as well as a poker table. Fuhu senior vice-president Lisa Lee said the company plans to sell furniture designed around the larger tablets, so they can serve as electronic play spaces.

        • ​Samsung releases mid-range Galaxy E5 and E7 with Android KitKat

          Samsung has released two new mid-tier members of the Galaxy family, the Galaxy E5 and Galaxy E7. The duo will make their debut in India alongside the full-metal-bodied Galaxy A3 and Galaxy A5.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Panasonic’s smart TVs go open-source with Firefox OS

        One of the buzzier and least-understood technology announcements made at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show deals with smart televisions. A smart television is a good-old-fashioned television set that comes with a built-in Wi-Fi connection and an operating system that allows the consumer to not only view over-the-air, cable, and satellite programming, but also connect to the Internet to increase their programming options.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • 12 highlights from the OpenStack roadmap

      OpenStack, due to its sheer size and complexity, can be difficult to keep track of. Each constituent part is managed and developed separately, and sometimes there’s just too much going on to be up on everything. Combine the distributed nature of the project with a fast release cycle and even seasoned cloud operators can have trouble keeping up with features and components as they move through the development process.

    • Enterprises, and the Market, Love Big Data for 2015

      As we’ve been reporting, several barometers, including a new KPGM study on cloud computing trends at enterprises shows that executives are very focused on extracting business metrics from their cloud computing and data analytics platforms. These baromters suggest that we’re going to continue to see the cloud and the Big Data trend evolve together this year. In fact, Big Data is now a big market force.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Open Source Databases Keep Chipping Away at Oracle’s Empire

      The three fastest growing databases of 2014 were all open source, according to a new report from DB-Engines, a site that tracks popularity in the rapidly changing database marketplace.

      The ever popular new-age database MongoDB topped the list again this year, with Redis, a tool for managing data, and ElasticSearch, which provides the foundations for building your own search engine, as runners up.

  • Healthcare

    • NHS refused to pull ‘unfit for purpose’ Care.data leaflet

      The mishandling of the controversial Care.data scheme – intended to extract data from GP records and effectively share it with world+dog – was in part due to the refusal of NHS England to recall an ill-informed public leaflet from the printers, an independent oversight body has revealed.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Crowdsourcing a new edition of a Bach masterpiece

      New works of art usually enter the public domain through a process involving death and patience. It is a rarer occasion that living people set about to make a resource public domain, and even rarer so when that effort involves thousands of people collaborating and pooling their time, energy, and money. That’s what’s happening on MuseScore.com with the first public review of the Open Well-Tempered Clavier score, a new edition of J.S. Bach’s musical masterpiece (BWV 846-869).

  • Programming

    • How GitHub uses GitHub to document GitHub

      Providing well-written documentation helps people understand, make use of, and contribute back to your project, but it’s only half of the documentation equation. The underlying system used to serve documentation can make life easier for the people writing it—whether that’s just you or the team you work with.


  • Haiku OS Mail Support Significantly Reworked

    For fans of the Haiku operating system inspired by BeOS, its mail service has been reworked.

  • Security

    • Attributing the Sony Attack

      No one has admitted taking down North Korea’s Internet. It could have been an act of retaliation by the US government, but it could just as well have been an ordinary DDoS attack. The follow-on attack against Sony PlayStation definitely seems to be the work of hackers unaffiliated with a government.

    • Jon Stewart Mocks The US Response To North Korea After ‘The Interview’ Fiasco

      “But I guess our anger is no surprise, these hackers violated our privacy. They read our emails, what kind of a country does that?” Stewart said sarcastically before showing news clips about Edward Snowden’s revelation that the NSA can read emails, chats and personal conversations.

    • Jon Stewart mocks Sony hack: NSA doesn’t leak ‘mean sh*t’ about Angelina Jolie
    • US Social Surveillance Abuse Puts Civil Liberties in Jeopardy

      The NSA’s secret project codenamed Boundless Informant seeks to establish control over “information space.” According to The Guardian it has been able to collect the data on 97 billion phone calls worldwide since March 2013.

    • The Government Must Show Us the Evidence That North Korea Attacked Sony

      American history is littered with examples of classified information pointing us towards aggression against other countries—think WMDs—only to later learn that the evidence was wrong

    • FBI Director: Sony’s ‘Sloppy’ North Korean Hackers Revealed Their IP Addresses

      The Obama administration has been tightlipped about its controversial naming of the North Korean government as the definitive source of the hack that eviscerated Sony Pictures Entertainment late last year. But FBI director James Comey is standing by the bureau’s conclusion, and has offered up a few tiny breadcrumbs of the evidence that led to it. Those crumbs include the claim that Sony hackers sometimes failed to use the proxy servers that masked the origin of their attack, revealing IP addresses that the FBI says were used exclusively by North Korea.


      Comey’s brief and cryptic remarks—with no opportunity for followup questions from reporters—respond to skepticism and calls for more evidence from cybersecurity experts unsatisfied with the FBI’s vague statements tying the hack to North Korean government. In a previous public announcement the FBI had said only that it found “similarities in specific lines of code, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods, and compromised networks,” as well as IP addresses that matched prior attacks it knows to have originated in North Korea. At that time, the FBI also said it had further evidence matching the tools used in the attack to a North Korean hacking attack that hit South Korean banks and media outlets.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • In shift, U.S. military says it is investigating credible civilian casualty reports in Iraq and Syria

      The U.S. military is investigating credible reports of civilian casualties in its campaign against Islamic State militants, the Pentagon press secretary said Tuesday, a shift after months in which defense officials said they were aware of none.

    • The real American Sniper was a hate-filled killer. Why are simplistic patriots treating him as a hero?

      I have to confess: I was suckered by the trailer for American Sniper. It’s a masterpiece of short-form tension – a confluence of sound and image so viscerally evocative it feels almost domineering. You cannot resist. You will be stressed out. You will feel. Or, as I believe I put it in a blog about the trailer, “Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper trailer will ruin your pants.”

      But however effective it is as a piece of cinema, even a cursory look into the film’s backstory – and particularly the public reaction to its release – raises disturbing questions about which stories we choose to codify into truth, and whose, and why, and the messy social costs of transmogrifying real life into entertainment.

    • NSA agent: Israel attacked USS Liberty to hide the truth from Washington

      However, according to a former signals intelligence analyst of the US National Security Agency (NSA), the Israeli combined air and sea attack on the USS Liberty, which took place on 8 June 1967, was a premeditated act carried out because the Israelis “didn’t want the US to know what they were up to in the Sinai before they invaded Egypt”.

    • Abolishing Nuclear Weapons – Useful and Not-So-Useful First Steps

      Also in December, the Marshall Islands, subjected to 67 nuclear tests by the United States in the 1940s and 1950s, put forward written arguments in the World Court, taking the eight declared nuclear weapon states – and Israel – to task. The Pacific state (with a population of less than 70,000) wants the World Court to order the nuclear weapon state signatories to the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to live up to their promise in the NPT to end the arms race ‘at an early date’ and to negotiate a treaty on ‘complete disarmament’.

      In December, India marked two major developments in its ground-based nuclear weapons capability, with the first successful test of the 2,500-mile-range Agni-IV, the first Indian ballistic missile able to deliver nuclear warheads deep inside China; and testing of the delivery platform for the Agni-V, with its range of up to 3,400 miles, bringing the whole of China within range. (In 2016, as well as deploying the Agni-V, India plans to bring its first nuclear missile-carrying submarines into service, completing its nuclear air-land-sea ‘triad’.)

      As is well-known, India has fought several wars with its neighbours (Pakistan and China) since its birth as an independent nation in 1947, and war with Pakistan remains an ever-present threat.

    • Obama Has Killed More People with Drones than Died On 9/11
    • Somali Militants Execute Alleged U.S. Intelligence Agency Spy

      Somalia Islamist militant group al-Shabaab said a man accused of working with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to kill a senior rebel commander for a $1 million reward was one of four people it executed for spying.

    • JFK Nephew Claims CIA Worked to Prevent Normalization with Cuba

      Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the nephew of the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy, claims that the CIA actively worked to obstruct President Kennedy’s effort to reconcile relations with Cuba, saying the countries would have eventually reconciled if not for the 1963 assassination of the former president.

    • It’s time for full disclosure of CIA records on JFK’s assassination

      It is ironic that two events coincide at this time, with the opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba by President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate debating the need for increased oversight of the CIA given its out-of-control torture of individuals at Guantanamo.

    • Why Jeffrey Sterling Deserves Support as a CIA Whistleblower
    • In Defense of a CIA Whistleblower

      The mainstream U.S. news media sometimes rallies to the defense of a reporter who is pressured to reveal a source but not so much for the brave whistleblower who is the target of government retaliation. Such is the case for ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, writes Norman Solomon.

    • CIA Whistleblower Faces Decades in Prison for Exposing Botched CIA Plan

      Norman Solomon, co-founder of RootsAction.org, says Jeffrey Sterling and other whistleblowers have leaked classified information against the interests of the ruling elite, but in the interest of democracy

    • NYT reporter refuses to reveal sources on failed CIA effort against Ira

      James Risen refuses to answer prosecutor’s questions in case against former CIA agent, charged with leaking information about CIA operation against Iran’s nuclear program.

    • Burr: No intention to rewrite CIA torture report

      Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, the incoming chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday that he won’t try to rewrite the report issued last month cataloging brutal interrogation tactics used by the CIA operatives on suspected terrorists although he strongly disputes portions of the report.

    • Bolivian President Alleges CIA Interference

      President Evo Morales suspects the U.S. is working to sow disunity within his political party.

    • Idea of CIA ‘secret’ war illogical

      If we have already had a “secret” war and the Register’s headline writers know about it, it isn’t a secret anymore.

      If it is still secret, then no one knows about it, so we cannot have a “next.”

      If the Register’s headline writers believe that the CIA can declare war against some hapless nation all by itself, I submit that the headline writers have watched too many “Get Smart” TV sitcoms to have come to that conclusion.

      I don’t think the CIA operates this way.

    • Obama 2015 Pakistan drone strikes

      The events detailed here occurred in 2015. These have been reported by US or Pakistani government, military and intelligence officials, and by credible media, academic and other sources, including on occasion Bureau researchers. Below is a summary of CIA drone strikes and casualty estimates for 2015. Please note that our data changes according to our current understanding of particular strikes. Below represents our present best estimate.

    • North Korean defector kills four people after crossing into China

      Beijing has lodged a formal diplomatic complaint with Pyongyang after a fleeing North Korean soldier killed four people when he crossed the border into China.

    • After “Charlie Hebdo” Attack in Paris, Senators Rush to Undermine Defense Reforms

      American lawmakers took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to express sympathy with the victims of the grisly attack on a satirical Parisian publication. But some rushed to use the “Charlie Hebdo” tragedy to criticize efforts to reform draconian national security policies. .

      “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, the families, and the French people in the wake of this horrendous attack,” said Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) in the first of a series of tweets on the issue. “Here at home, we must use this horrific attack as an opportunity to reevaluate our own national security posture,” he pivoted.

      Graham eventually took aim at efforts to reform the National Security Agency.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Republicans to Push Keystone XL Pipeline as New Congress Convenes

      The new U.S. Congress convenes today with Republicans in control of both houses for the first time in eight years. Republicans now have 246 seats in the House, their largest majority in nearly 70 years. The new Congress is also more diverse than ever before, with a record 104 women, including Utah Representative-elect Mia Love, the first black Republican woman in Congress. Women still make up only 20 percent of lawmakers, while people of color make up only about 18 percent. At the top of the Republican agenda is a push to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, with lawmakers in both houses expected to file measures in favor of the project today.

    • Chicago Tribune Lets CEO Push Business Interests Without Disclosure

      The Chicago Tribune published an op-ed by the CEO of Caterpillar, a manufacturer of large construction equipment, which advocated for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline but failed to disclose Caterpillar’s significant financial stake in the pipeline’s construction.

  • Finance

    • New GOP Congress Fires Shot At Social Security On Day One

      With a little-noticed proposal, Republicans took aim at Social Security on the very first day of the 114th Congress.

      The incoming GOP majority approved late Tuesday a new rule that experts say could provoke an unprecedented crisis that conservatives could use as leverage in upcoming debates over entitlement reform.

    • How The Media Is Carrying Water For GOP’s “Jobs” Agenda

      Media outlets have uncritically promoted House Speaker John Boehner’s latest attempt to frame the Republican Congress’ harmful agenda as a set of “jobs bills.” But the Republican plan offers negligible hiring incentives, will cost over a million workers their health care coverage, and will increase the budget deficit by billions.

    • CIA financial threat adviser: US facing a 25-year ‘Great Depression’

      The Apocalypse-like scenario painted by “Currency Wars” best-selling author James Rickards about the US facing the prospect of a 25-year Great Depression is certainly depressing for many people. According to Rickards, who calls himself an “economic historian” and is a financial threat adviser to the CIA and the Pentagon, America’s “dangerous level of debt” and the Federal Reserve’s reckless printing of trillions of dollars should serve as bright red signals that a major financial crash is coming.

      Known as an investment banker and hedge fund manager who reportedly helped uncover terrorist insider trading after the 9/11 tragedy, Rickards says a key signal is the way the Fed has reportedly been changing Misery Index calculations to hide the true state of the US economy. The Misery Index is an economic indicator wherein figures are arrived at by adding the true unemployment rate with the true inflation rate.

    • The Growth Projections for the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact Are a Joke

      Bob Kuttner has a column in the Huffington Post warning of the dangers of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP). Kuttner correctly points out that the deal is not really about reducing trade barriers, which are already minimal, but rather about locking in place a business-friendly structure of regulation (wrongly described as “deregulation”).

    • Cutting Subsidies and Closing Loopholes in the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Coal Program

      In 2002, the Powder River Basin, or PRB, in Wyoming and Montana surged past the Appalachian coalfields that stretch from Pennsylvania to Tennessee to become the nation’s largest coal-producing region. Today, the PRB occupies a 40 percent share of the U.S. coal market. Although market forces, mechanization, and technological changes help explain some of the coal industry’s decision to shift more production from privately owned lands in the East to federal lands in the American West, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s, or DOI’s, coal policies have played an equally important—though largely unnoticed—role in this transition.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Hollywood’s idealized view of CIA officers is no substitute for reality

      Among the many compelling aspects of “Zero Dark Thirty,” the 2013 film about the capture of Osama bin Laden, was the notion (much touted by the film’s creators) that its characters were based on real people. This included the heroine, a brilliant and tenacious red-haired CIA analyst named Maya, played by Jessica Chastain.

    • Former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers joins CNN as National Security Commentator

      Former U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI) joins CNN as a national security commentator offering expert analysis on a wide range of political, counterterrorism, and national security topics. Rogers was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000 and served seven terms representing Michigan’s 8th District. During his last two terms in office he was Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. Rogers’ career began with service as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army; later he was a Special Agent with the FBI. In addition to his new role at CNN, Rogers is also a host of the daily Westwood One radio talk segments, Something to Think About with Mike Rogers.

  • Censorship

    • AP pulls ‘Piss Christ’ after Paris attack

      The Associated Press has removed an image of Andres Serrano’s 1987 photograph “Piss Christ” from its image library following Wednesday’s attack against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

      “It’s been our policy for years that we refrain from moving deliberately provocative images. It is fair to say we have revised and reviewed our policies since 1989,” AP spokesperson Erin Madigan told POLITICO, referring to the year the AP first posted the photograph.

    • Terrorists Can’t Kill Charlie Hebdo’s Ideas
    • News Outlets Are Censoring Images of Cartoons That May Have Incited Charlie Hebdo Attack

      The French magazine Charlie Hebdo was attacked this morning by gunmen, possibly al-Qaida members, who were apparently upset by its history of printing cartoons mocking radical Islam. While much of the response to the attack has celebrated the notion of freedom of speech and freedom of the press, some news outlets have chosen to self-censor images of controversial Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

    • Terror does not kill freedom

      The terrorist has already lost if you stand up for your freedom and for the truth.

    • Some Outlets Are Censoring Charlie Hebdo’s Satirical Cartoons After Attack

      News organizations around the world are facing a dilemma about how to portray cartoons of Muhammad by the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo after a deadly attack on its offices Wednesday — and some are choosing to respond by censoring or cropping out photos of the cartoons themselves.

    • Charlie Hebdo: The media doesn’t have to publish their most controversial cartoons to show its support

      Today’s terrorist atrocity in Paris was, at its most basic level, an attack on innocent men and women designed to cause widespread panic and fear. Yet it appears also to have been motivated by a desire to defy Europe’s entrenched media freedoms and to denounce, in the most bloody way, one of the central tenets of western liberalism – the right to offend.

    • 15 powerful responses from cartoonists to the Charlie Hebdo attack

      POLITICAL CARTOONISTS around the world are tweeting powerful cartoons in response to today’s massacre at French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 people were killed.

      Three masked gunmen entered the offices of the publication in Paris this morning – two police officers and ten staff were killed, including three of the magazine’s cartoonists and its editor, Stephane Charbonnier (known as ‘Charb’).

    • Freedom of expression? It’s a thing of the past: Editorial

      Writers the world over are working with the government these days – with the government looking over their shoulders, that is.

      In the contemporary surveillance state, you don’t need to be particularly paranoid to fear that you are being watched. In the contemporary surveillance state, the line between paranoia and reality isn’t always so bold.

    • CIA restores Dokdo in its map of Korea
    • CIA torn between allies Japan and South Korea

      The U.S.’s Central Intelligence Agency has found itself caught up in a row between allies South Korea and Japan over a small group of rocky islands, local media reported Monday.

      South Korea’s foreign ministry is attempting to get the CIA to amend entries in its World Factbook that refer to the islands, known as the Dokdo islands by Koreans and as the Takeshima isles in Japan, national news agency Yonhap said.

    • CIA World Factbook leaves Dokdo Island off Korean version of map

      Speaking of the territorial tensions the CIA World Factbook isn’t helping matters.

    • Seoul seeking to rectify CIA factbook’s deletion of Dokdo

      South Korea said Monday it is making efforts to lead the United States to restore its reference to Seoul’s easternmost islets of Dokdo as the Liancourt Rocks in the World Factbook published by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

    • Reference to Dokdo restored in CIA World Factbook map

      The United States restored a neutral name for South Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo in the CIA’s World Factbook map on Monday, a day after removing its usual reference to the islets in its latest edition.

  • Privacy

    • Spies do ‘happy dance’ after encryption cracked

      When you’re happy and you know it (and you really want to show it) what do you do if you’re a spy at the United States National Security Agency successfully cracking encryption? You draw a stick figure doing a happy dance.

    • NSA efforts to crack VPN encryption are not the end of the world

      Companies such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook also view encryption and VPNs as a way to protect customers, and have worked to encrypt data passing through their systems since the PRISM scandal broke.

      However, Benjamin Ali, a dark web specialist at security firm Centient, noted that the Der Spiegel report does not spell disaster for digital privacy as many newer encryption technologies are not listed as vulnerable.

      “From the report it would appear that not all VPNs are vulnerable to this attack, which seems to apply to PPTP/IPsec and not OpenVPN,” he told V3.

      “OpenVPN uses AES encryption standard which, according to this article, has not been broken. However, as this report is from a while back, this might not be the case now.”

    • Tutanota releases iOS encrypted email app after notifying NSA

      The German encrypted email service Tutanota has released its iOS app, weeks after its Android app came out. The delay in the release of the iOS app was apparently due to the need for those publishing open-source apps of this kind to first notify the NSA and the U.S. Commerce Department of their existence — it seems Apple is more strict about making sure this measure has been taken.

    • Obstacles Loom for States’ Proposed “Fourth Amendment Protection” Laws

      Legislators in several states have proposed bills over the past year intended to hamper the NSA’s efforts to collect signals intelligence. In Utah, the site of a large NSA data center, a proposed bill would prevent the state, its cities, and its agencies from providing “material support or assistance in any form to any federal data collection and surveillance agency.” The bill is plainly targeted at crippling the data center, which currently relies on a contract with a nearby city for its water supply. The bill would allow the continued performance of the ongoing contract, for which the city borrowed substantial funds, but would prohibit the renewal of the contract or any new contracts with the NSA data center. Furthermore, the bill also imposes a penalty on private corporations that provide support to surveillance agencies by precluding such corporations from subsequently contracting with the state or its agencies.

    • Utah governor won’t support proposal that would cut off the NSA’s water supply

      Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signaled his opposition to a proposed bill that would cut off water to the NSA’s facility south of Salt Lake City.

    • Utah Gov. Opposes Cutting Off Water Supply to NSA Facility

      Utah Gov. Gary Herbert told reporters on Tuesday that while he recognizes the “frustration” some have with the activities of the National Security Agency (NSA), he is not likely to support a measure to cut off the water supply to an NSA facility in the state.

    • Zoho email difficult to crack for National Security Agency

      City-based Zoho Corp’s email and chat services are one of the handful of services, which the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has found it difficult to crack under its mass surveillance programme.

      According to a report by German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, NSA has classified the encryption and security-breaking problems it encountered on a scale of 1 to 5, from ‘trivial’ to ‘catastrophic.’ Facebook chat, for example, was considered ‘trivial.’ The report was based on the documents obtained from former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Abolish the Intelligence-Industrial Complex

      The Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency should be abolished. The two spy agencies cause more problems than they solve and have become menaces to our open society. The CIA was created in 1947 at the dawn of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and the NSA was born in 1952 to consolidate code-breaking and electronic communications spying capabilities. Today, thanks to the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden, we now know that the “black budget” requests from America’s 16 different intelligence agencies amounted to $52.6 billion in 2013. Of that sum, the CIA sought $14.7 billion and the NSA wanted $10.5 billion. Total intelligence spending since the 9/11 terror attacks amounts to more than $500 billion.

    • Australian writers increasingly concerned about mass government surveillance

      Novelists, editors, poets and journalists are becoming increasingly concerned about mass surveillance and its impact on freedom of expression in countries like Australia, the United States and Britain, a new survey has found.

      It shows levels of concern among writers about official surveillance are nearly as high in democratic countries as they are in non-democratic countries that have long legacies of state surveillance.

      The human rights organisation PEN International asked more than 770 writers, from 50 countries, about the ways in which government surveillance was influencing their thinking, research and writing.

      The survey ran between August 28 and October 15 last year and followed a similar survey of US writers in 2013.

    • Government Out of Control
    • Slideware is not a good place to start asessing an intelligence program says OMG Cyber! author Thomas Rid

      In conversation with Vulture South, Rid said one reason hype takes over is that journalists are prone to ignoring the complex context in which each document leaked by Snowden exists.

    • Going down the wrong road

      International whistleblower Edward Snowden could have been talking about T&T last week when he warned an Internet conference in Vancouver that “absolutely more revelations are to come. Some of the most important reporting to be done is yet to come”.
      Speaking from his hideout in Russia Snowden urged the world’s “adversarial press to continue to challenge their governments to ignite debates,” but without putting national security at risk.

    • China police inadvertently admit to buying malware to spy on citizens

      Don’t click on links sent by strangers, the police in one Chinese district warned last year, because malware known as Trojan horses use all sort of tricks to burrow into people’s phones and computers.

      “Curiosity hurts,” the Public Security Bureau in the city of Wenzhou in southeastern China posted on its social media account.

      Yet a few months after posting that warning, a lower level police department in Wenzhou was left red-faced when it emerged that officers had spent 149,000 yuan ($24,000) buying a device and software designed to plant Trojans into phones to monitor its own citizens.

    • Developers Say Privacy Network Tor Was Not Compromised During Silk Road Takedown

      In response to these sorts of concerns, which were quite prevalent in 2014, Jacob Appelbaum and Roger Dingledine from the Tor Project decided to dispel some myths at their recent State of the Onion talk at this year’s Chaos Communication Congress, an annual four-day conference “on technology, society and utopia,” sponsored by the association claiming to be Europe’s largest community of hackers, the Chaos Computer Club.

    • Proposed Prince William data center prompts protest letter to Jeff Bezos

      It is widely assumed by residents and elected officials, however, that the user is Amazon.com, which has been quickly expanding its Amazon Web Services cloud computing business in the area in recent years, including a contract with the CIA. One possible hint: This online job posting.

    • The Surveillance State has arrived

      British philosopher Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon placed inmates under surveillance during every moment of time.

      President Obama’s National Security Agency (NSA) is the digital equivalent of the Panopticon but spies on the entire U.S. population.

      The surveillance state in America is a fact. It is no longer a suspicion.

  • Civil Rights

    • David Miranda and the Human-Rights Black Hole

      But one thing Miranda is not is a terrorist. The 29-year-old has never been accused of being a terrorist. He has never been observed associating with terrorists or traveling in terrorist circles. Yet on August 18, 2013, Miranda was detained under Schedule 7 of the United Kingdom’s Terrorism Act 2000, at London Heathrow Airport, and questioned by British authorities for nearly nine hours—the legal limit. Just like a terrorist.

    • If 2014 was a sad year for liberty in Australia, 2015 will be no better

      The Abbott government struggled to gain passage of anything worthwhile in its first full year. Most of its economic reforms were stymied, with higher education the most notable failure. It’s fair to say the deficit problem is still far from resolved.

    • Feinstein presents anti-torture agenda despite GOP opposition

      President Obama has already strictly prohibited torture, but he’s otherwise reluctant to look back at his predecessor’s misdeeds. The Obama White House is satisfied that the United States is now following a just, responsible course, and there’s no need to put the country through prosecutions of officials from the Bush/Cheney administration.

    • Outing Torture Queen Bikowsky

      It’s not easy to be exposed as a war criminal.

    • CIA inspector general David Buckley’s exit ‘unrelated to politics’
    • After Hacking Controversy, CIA Watchdog Resigns

      The CIA’s inspector general will resign this month but U.S. officials said Monday his departure is not related to his finding last year that the spy agency hacked into computers used by Senate aides.

      The agency’s internal watchdog, David Buckley, will be stepping down on January 31, and his move “has been in the works for months,” CIA spokesman Christopher White told Agence France Presse.

    • CIA Watchdog: I Quit

      CIA Inspector General David Buckley will resign at the end of January, the CIA announced Monday. Buckley served as the internal watchdog for the intelligence agency for more than four years, investigating disputes between Congress and the CIA. During his tenure, he oversaw the battle over the agency’s unwillingness to hand over documents on torture and interrogation practices to Congress. The CIA said in a statement that Buckley is leaving to “pursue an opportunity in the private sector.” Neither congressional nor CIA officials say his resignation was politically related, but civil-liberties advocates were irked by his exit. Buckley “raised some serious concerns about the conduct of the CIA in trying to thwart the Senate Intelligence Committee,” said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight. “The lack of repercussions is very troubling and his departure so soon afterward is troublesome.”

    • CIA Inspector General David Buckley to Resign

      Buckley has served as the intelligence agency’s internal watchdog for more than four years

    • CIA General Inspector Resigns Under Intriguing Conditions

      The 31 st of January is the last day at the CIA for general inspector David Buckley, who investigated a disagreement between the CIA and the Congress regarding the handling of the records of the agency’s interrogation and detention procedures. Officials from CIA have mentioned that his departure has nothing to do with politics or any of the cases he investigated.

    • CIA Watchdog to Step Down

      The CIA announced this morning that its top watchdog is stepping down at the end of the month.

      The agency’s Inspector General, David Buckley, will leave to “pursue an opportunity in the private sector,” a CIA spokesman said in a statement.

    • Stalled Probe Into CIA Prisons in Lithuania Needs US Info to Progress

      Investigation into the secret CIA prisons in Lithuania will not make any progress, until the United States provides Lithuania with information, according to Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.

    • Will The Release Of C.I.A. Torture Photos Actually Threaten National Security?

      It’s been nearly a month since a Senate report revealed the gruesome torture techniques used by C.I.A. operatives following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the controversy surrounding whether or not to publish more information continues to stir debate.

      In 2004, the ACLU sued the U.S. government for the release of more than 2,000 photos from Abu Ghraib after some of the disturbing photos were leaked that year. According to Mother Jones, a federal judge forced the Obama administration to release the photos or provide detailed information explaining how the release of each picture could threaten national security. The government chose the second option, and now, a hearing has been set for Jan. 20.

    • British and Dutch researchers develop new form of lie-detector test

      But the invention could soon be defunct. Researchers in Britain and the Netherlands have made a breakthrough, developing a method with a success rate in tests of over 70% that could be in use in police stations around the world within a decade. Rather than relying on facial tics, talking too much or waving of arms – all seen as tell-tale signs of lying – the new method involves monitoring full-body motions to provide an indicator of signs of guilty feelings.

    • Torture Advocates Outnumbered Critics 2-to-1

      A new FAIR study finds that torture defenders outnumbered critics of torture by nearly 2 to 1 in TV news coverage of the Senate Intelligence Committee report released on December 9.

      FAIR surveyed the guests of nine news programs for the week of December 7 to December 14, when discussion of the torture report’s findings was most prominent. The programs included the Sunday talk shows (NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’s Face the Nation, ABC’s This Week, Fox News Sunday and CNN’s State of the Union) along with four weekday news shows (MSNBC’s Hardball, Fox’s Special Report, the first hour of CNN’s Situation Room and the PBS NewsHour).

      Of the 104 guests discussing the topic on these shows, 53 expressed a discernible opinion either for or against the use of torture. Thirty-five of those who took a position, or 66 percent, were supportive of torture. This included a few individuals who claimed to be against “torture,” but defended interrogation methods such as waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” that are recognized as torture under US and international law.

    • Fox News Exploits Tragedy In France To Attack NYC Mayor De Blasio

      Fox’s National Security Expert Blames Attack In Part On France’s “Really Strict Gun Control Policy”

Intellectual Property Judges’ Association (IPJA) Speaks Out Against EPO Tyrant Battistelli

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benoît Battistelli in the crosshairs of European patent professionals

Summary: As the new year starts (first week of the year) Battistelli is already in the firing line of yet more high-level departments/personalities

More criticism of Battistelli, this time from the Intellectual Property Judges’ Association (IPJA), is now reported by Merpel of IP Kat.

Merpel reveals that IPJA, which is the representative association of European National Patent Judges, is getting fed up. “Just in case you missed it,” wrote a source to us, the following letter may be of interest. We copy it below for future reference (Merpel put lots of Microsoft Word cruft in it, hence the poor formatting).

The Rt. Hon. Professor
Sir Robin Jacob
5th January

Jesper Kongstad,
Chairman of the
Administrative Council of the EPO,
European Patent Office,
Bob-van-Bentham-Platz 1
80469 Munich

            I am writing on behalf of the
Intellectual Property Judges’ Association (IPJA) to express the extreme concern
of European Patent Judges to the recent events concerning a Member of the
Boards of Appeal of the EPO. IPJA is the representative association of European
National Patent Judges. This letter has been written after consultation with
the IPJA membership.  It has near
unanimous support and no objection or reservation by anyone.

            As we understand it the Member was,
on the orders of the President acting on his own initiative, physically removed
from his office and possession was taken of his computer. It is not, as far as
we know, suggested that the Member has committed any criminal offence. That, in
any event would be a matter for action by the criminal law enforcement
authority, not the President.

            We do not know what it is that the
Member is alleged to have done wrong. Nor does it matter. What does matter is
that the Member has been treated in a manner we deem to be inconsistent with
the status and position of a Member of the Boards of Appeal as provided for in
the EPC.

Judges we are not in a position to take any concluded view of the legality of
the President’s action – the point could well come up in a real case concerning
the status of Board of Appeal decisions. But we can say that according
to article 23(1) (read in conjunction with articles 10 and 11) of the EPC it
seems clear that it is for the Administrative Council and the Enlarged Board to
take action, not the President, and that the Administrative Council
should have so declared.

            More generally we make one further
observation. The present events seriously threaten the judicial independence of
the Boards of Appeal and by doing that call in question the guarantee of an
independent and impartial review of the European Office’s decisions by a
judicial body. Not tolerating that should be the common interest of all Member
States of the European Patent Organisation.

            A copy of this letter will shortly be
sent to EPLAW, IPKat and Managing IP magazine.
Faculty of Laws, Bentham House, Endsleigh Gardens, London, WC1H 0EG

 +44 (0) 20 7679 5831  rjacob@ucl.ac.uk

“Add this to other letters that we have shown before and sooner or later it becomes clear that Battistelli not only runs out of allies; he runs out of apathetic entities that neither support nor dennounce him.”As Merpel states: “This letter has the support of “all or virtually all” of the main patent judges of Europe and from 11 countries.” Add this to other letters that we have shown before and sooner or later it becomes clear that Battistelli not only runs out of allies; he runs out of apathetic entities that neither support nor dennounce him. The tide is quickly turning, much as we hoped all along. Here is Merpel’s summary of some other recent developments, some of which we covered here before:

On Christmas Eve according to the Gregorian Calendar, Merpel posted a round-up and summary of what has been going on at the EPO. Now that we have come to Christmas Eve according to the Julian Calendar, it seems appropriate to revisit the subject. There have been a large number of developments over the last couple of weeks, and the IPKat and Merpel have received an enormous amount of correspondence. There is actually too much for a single post, so Merpel will start with a round-up of brief news, in particular relating to the UK Parliament and the EU Parliament, together with some other snippets. In her next post, Merpel hopes to delve into the Business Distribution Scheme of the Boards of Appeal, where some interesting facts become apparent, and she will also look a bit more into Board 28.


As reported by the IPKat here, the MP for Cambridge, Dr Julian Huppert tabled a question to ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills:

What steps he is taking to protect the independence of the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office.

[Incidentally, while Merpel congratulates Dr Huppert for tabling this question, it would have been better phrased without the "Enlarged"; fortunately, the response addresses the better formulation.]

Yesterday the IPKat learnt that there has been a response as follows:

Officials in the UK Intellectual Property Office are closely and actively involved in discussions relating to the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO), including the Enlarged Board. It is the UK Government position that the Boards of Appeal should be independent of the executive of the EPO, and be seen to be so. This view is shared by other EPO member states and we expect proposals to make this clearer to be considered by the Administrative Council, the Office’s supervisory body, in March 2015.

Cautious Katpat to Her Majesty’s Government – if there are indeed proposals to make the independence clearer then the IPKat and Merpel applaud the efforts. Thanks to several readers who alerted the IPKat to this.

We too received information regarding that latter item. “There is no doubt that this is a setback for Battistelli,” noted one of our readers. “I think what emerges from this is that at least one significant member state of the AC is breaking from Battistelli’s public position.”

Over the weekend we began preparing some future exclusive posts about the EPO and they will be ready for publication very soon. Right now “we need an increasing drumbeat in the run-up to the next AC,” told us a reader. “It’s a real shame that EP industrial corporations haven’t spoken out yet – if they did he would be a dead duck real quickly.”

Combining some of the recent letters and considering the number of scandals we are about to show, Battistelli will almost definitely be out of office soon (no vacation), and he won’t be alone in leaving. It would be poetic justice if he was just “suspended” out of office, sitting outdoors in winter calling himself "President" repeatedly when all he really became was a thug in a suit, no better than Željko Topić (Topić too is in serious trouble and he knows it).

In other news, which is very sad, “Bernard Marris, economist against software patents, was killed today in Paris,” wrote Benjamin Henrion in Belgium. The articles cited by Henrion are in French. We need to fight for elimination of software patents, especially in Europe. Bernard Marris would have been happy to see that happen. Based on our sources, many in the EPO (science-oriented staff) are against software patents and are not willing to just “follow orders”. To Battistelli, quality of patents does not matter and those who don’t agree with him shall receive the ‘Putin treatment’ (EPO staff privately refers to Topić as “Putin”).

Intel is Lying to the World and the World Cooperates in Lying

Posted in Hardware at 7:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Intel: criminal inside

Summary: How journalists, analysts and even developers carry water for Intel, usually in exchange for some monetary incentives

MANY of Intel‘s crimes have been covered here in Techrights at one point or another. The company has excellent PR operations that help conceal a great level of abuse and corruption. It’s the same with IBM. Watch this disgusting new puff piece from The Verge and this necessary response to it (“Delusional Media Hypes Intel Partnership With Anita Sarkeesian”) which says: “The Verge lies about us all the time. Hell, as I always cite, one of their former workers actually threatened to go GamerGate hunting at Comic Con. Unsurprisingly, he never caught any flack. Anti-GamerGate has gotten away with everything short of the high crimes like murder and rape, but I’m pretty sure the media would turn a blind eye towards that as well. Because after I just saw Intel co-sign Anita Sarkeesian and IGDA, I’m certain that I’m living on a different planet than these people.”

Intel’s role in GamerGate has already caused one of the leading Linux developers, who was clearly the face of UEFI on Linux, to boycott Intel and cease development of anything Intel-related.

“UEFI can be used for remote bricking (hardware sabotage) by the NSA and the likes of it.”Not only people like Anita Sarkeesian are potentially bribed by Intel for positive publicity that fools the public. Once upon a time the Gartner Group was used as marketing for Intel (false prophecies disguised as recommendations) and Gartner is now seeing the Wintel monopoly on the dive. Only a small portions of computers that are shipped are desktops or laptops with x86 chipsets, so Robert Pogson has visualised some numbers:

Crippling Wintel


Gartner has built their business on Wintel and now they see 8% growth for the competition as something hopeful… Meanwhile, smartphones have explosive growth and thin clients are doing well too.

In order to further reinforce the Wintel monopoly Intel has made UEFI restricted boot. UEFI can be used for remote bricking (hardware sabotage) by the NSA and the likes of it [1, 2, 3]. Some involved developers deem it necessary to state that they are now working for the government, perhaps realising how controversial their work is. As one put it last year: “At no point have I been contacted with warrants of any kind, or any similar instrument, or in any way, from governmental or non-governmental entities, about inclusion of any kind of malware or backdoor in Fedora’s signed secure boot binaries, including shim, grub2, the kernel, and pesign, nor have I at any time been approached about disclosure of our signin keys. I am also not aware of anyone else involved in our signing that has been contacted with warrants of any kind, or any similar instrument, or in any way, from governmental or non-governmental entities, about inclusion of any kind of malware or backdoor in Fedora’s signed secure boot binaries, including shim, grub2, the kernel, and pesign, nor have I at any time been approached about disclosure of our signing keys.”

In a better world, this whole idiotic ‘secure’ boot would not exist. People don’t need it and the risk introduced by it (sabotage or prevention of access to one’s own PC) is great. As always, we urge readers to boycott UEFI and, where possible, also avoid Intel.

Microsoft Fired Chief Privacy Officer for Suggesting Real Privacy

Posted in Bill Gates at 7:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Caspar Bowden

Summary: The story of Caspar Bowden retold in the media, noting that he lost his job after he had warned the abusive company about the NSA

Caspar Bowden recommends GNU/Linux. He wasn’t always like that however. He worked for Microsoft, but right now he works hard explaining to people that Microsoft is a sham when it comes to privacy. He should know. He was the company’s Chief Privacy Officer. He warned about Microsoft’s NSA situation almost 4 years ago.

“Caspar Bowden recommends GNU/Linux.”This new article, originally titled “Ex MS privacy head had warned of cloud spying, but lost his job”, shows how the Microsoft cult treats people with morals. The article has been retitled “Former Microsoft privacy head had warned of cloud spying” (no explanation for the headline change) and there is another article like it, concurring with the former article and saying that he was fired. To quote this latter article:

In 2013, when Edward Snowden began leaking information about the massive surveillance program known as PRISM, much of the world was shocked.

But for dozens of high level Microsoft employees, the news may have been old hat.

According to Microsoft’s then-Chief Privacy Advisor, Caspar Bowden, he warned dozens of colleagues in 2011, two full years before Snowden’s National Security Agency disclosures became worldwide news. Specifically, he says, he told dozens of colleagues that increasingly gutted American privacy laws, thanks to the 2008 FISA Amendment Act, meant the NSA could conduct “unlimited surveillance” on cloud computing data sold to foreign countries.

So here we see someone who did care about privacy. What did Microsoft do about him? It fired him. It says a lot about Microsoft.

As we showed numerous times last year, Bill Gates supports the NSA and disregards Edward Snowden. It has been like that since the nineties at the very least. Unlike Richard Stallman, whose interviews with us are being re-encoded right now, Gates openly supports surveillance, bribes newspapers to fool the public about him (glorifying tax exemption loopholes), and based on one of our readers, “Wired continues shilling for Bill”, essentially whitewashing criminals with a new PR piece.

It is sad that people who obey the law and wish to compel a company to obey the law lose their job, whereas the criminals become very affluent and seemingly admired by the journalists whom they bribe for it. In some ways, Caspar Bowden is like John Kiriakou, except he only lost his job rather than go to jail for nearly 3 years (for exposing illegal torture).

Links 7/1/2015: Android Dominant in CES, OSVR in the Press

Posted in News Roundup at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • ​CES 2015: Dell refreshes high-end XPS business laptop line

      If you’re a serious road warrior, and not a Chromebook Pixel fan like I am, you have two real choices: the Lenovo ThinkPad line and the Dell XPS line. Now, Dell has two new SPX versions and they’re looking sweet.

    • Michal Papis, Open Source Developer

      Michal has a very tweaked KDE setup. He discusses his use of Alt+Tab to switch between applications, rather than using virtual desktops, and I’m very glad he does. I too use Alt+Tab compulsively. I’ve experimented with virtual desktops, but Alt+Tab always does the job for me. I’ve always felt guilty that I didn’t do more with virtual desktops but Michal has given me the courage to officially give up on them. And for that, I’ll forever be grateful.

    • North Korea’s Red Star Linux OS: Made in Apple’s Image?

      Most of the recent headlines involving North Korea and computers have centered on whether the former was behind attacks against Sony. Here’s another fact about technology in North Korea that has been subject to less attention: The country has its own, home-grown Linux distribution, called Red Star OS, which happens to look a lot like Apple’s OS X.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation AllSeen Alliance Expands Internet of Things Efforts

      The AllSeen Alliance today announced new initiatives and momentum in its bid to help advance standards for the emerging landscape that is the Internet of Things (IoT).

      The AllSeen Alliance is a multi-stakeholder effort that is operated as a Linux Foundation Collaboration project. The Linux Foundation first announced the AllSeen Alliance effort in December 2013, with the AllJoyn code contribution from Qualcomm serving as the basis. AllJoyn is a framework for enabling secure and seamless connectivity, as well as access, for IoT devices.

      Now the AllSeen Alliance is expanding the framework with the AllJoyn Gateway Agent that expands the footprint of IoT features beyond a user’s local environment, all the way out to the cloud.

    • A Look Inside A Live Linux Kernel

      As web designer, student and open source advocate Shaun Gillies points out, successful industry leaders or project managers in the open source community “frequently employ” peer review techniques as a criteria for quality control in their development cycle.

    • Linux Kernel 3.19 RC3 Is Small and Uneventful and Linus Is Happy About That

      The third RC for the Linux Kernel 3.19 branch has been announced by Linus Torvalds and it’s now available for download and testing. The development cycle continues without interruption and everything is on track.

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org Server 1.17 Should Ship Soon, X.Org Server 1.18 Likely To Be A Quicker Cycle

        Keith Packard of Intel has provided a status update concerning the soon-to-be-out X.Org Server 1.17 and its successor, X.Org Server 1.18.

        Continuing to serve as the de facto xserver release manager, Keith Packard wrote on Sunday that he feels the release of 1.17 is “quite close” but is just waiting to make sure everyone is happy with it before the code ships. For months the 1.17 release has planned to ship around the new year.

      • The Intel Haswell OpenGL Performance Boosting Patch Is Published

        Back in November I wrote about a Major Performance Breakthrough Discovered For Intel’s Mesa Driver due to testing done by LunarG and uncovered with the help of Intel. That performance-boosting patch has been queued up for drm-intel-next thus meaning it will be present with the next major kernel cycle — the Linux 3.20 kernel.

    • Benchmarks

      • Test Driving The New Intel Haswell Linux Performance Patch

        For this quick on-the-spot comparison I ran some benchmarks of Linux 3.19-rc3 compared to the drm-intel nightly kernel state that is Linux 3.19 plus the Intel DRM kernel driver work under development that will ultimately be merged for Linux 3.20. This latest drm-intel code contains the anticipated Haswell specific performance patch.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Fluxbox 1.3.6 Released After Two-Year Wait

      After nearly two years since the previous release, the Fluxbox team has released Fluxbox 1.3.6 (codenamed “It’s about time”) to start off the new year.

      For new Linux users, Fluxbox is a long-standing X window manager derived from Blackbox. Fluxbox is lightweight and very fast yet offers a lot of functionality.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.16 To Have Foursquare Integration, Check-In On GNOME Maps

        Thanks to Damián Nohales’ work last summer on Foursquare support in GNOME via Google Summer of Code 2014, GNOME 3.16 has basic support for this location sharing service now focused on local search.

      • SQLite, VACUUM, and auto_vacuum

        The week before Christmas I hunkered down and took on a nagging issue in Geary I’m almost embarrassed to discuss. The long and short of it is, prior to this commit, Geary never deleted emails from its internal SQLite database, even if they were deleted on the server. It was a classic problem of garbage collection and reference counting. (If you’re interested in the problem and why Geary didn’t simply delete an email when it was not visible in a mail folder, the original ticket is a good place to start.)

      • GNOME MultiWriter and Large Hubs

        Today I released the first version of GNOME MultiWriter, and built it for Rawhide and F21. It’s good enough for a first release, although there are still a few things left to do. The most important now is probably the self-profiling mode so that we know the best number of parallel threads to use for the read and the write. I want this to Just Work without any user interaction, but I’ll have to wait for my shipment of USB drives to arrive before I can add that functionality.

      • GNOME MultiWriter Is an Awesome New App That Writes ISO Files to Multiple Devices

        The GNOME stack is getting all kind of interesting apps and now a new one is in the making, called the GNOME MultiWriter. This app is capable of writing an ISO to multiple devices at once and it’s doing it with a simple and clear interface.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Alpine Linux 3.1.1 released

        The Alpine Linux project is pleased to announce the immediate availability of version 3.1.1 of its Alpine Linux operating system.

        This is a bugfix release of the v3.1 musl based branch. This release is based on the 3.14.27 kernel which has some critical security fixes.

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • “That Other OS”

        PCLinuxOS even does a minimal installation more or less the way I like with most software installation after the first boot but they are not going the way I intend to move sooner rather than later, to ARM. I guess Debian has spoiled me for any other distro. It’s just hard to beat someone with that kind of depth and experience.

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Foresees Sprawling Cloud, Container Specs in 2015

        Meanwhile, as OpenStack and Linux container technologies begin to “collide” in 2015, greater consolidation in areas like workload orchestration (Heat, Kubernetes, Mesos and Yarn) is expected to accelerate. Mark Coggin, Red Hat’s senior director for platform product marketing, said containerization of OpenStack services would help address “the installation complexities of OpenStack, and also facilitate the building of more complex solutions like high availability and fail-over, workload clustering and load balancing, high performance storage infrastructure and application autoscaling.”

      • Ceph for Cinder in TripleO

        A wrap up on the status of TripleO’s Cinder HA spec. First, a link to the cinder-ha blueprint, where you can find even more links, to the actual spec (under review) and the code changes (again, still under review). Intent of the blueprint is for the TripleO deployments to keep Cinder volumes available and Cinder operational in case of failures of any node.

      • Time has come to support some important projects!

        If you read this blog entry it is very likely that you are a direct beneficiary of open source and free software. Like myself you probably have been able to get hold of, use and tinker with software that in the old world of closed source dominance would all together have cost you maybe ten thousand dollars or more. So with the spirit of the Yuletide season fresh in mind it is time to open your wallet and support some important open source fundraising campaigns.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 19 “Schrödinger’s Cat” Reaches EOL and Is Now Definitely Dead

          Fedora 19 “Schrödinger’s Cat” was initially released back in July 2013 and it was alive for a year and a half. Now, the distribution has reached end of file and it’s no longer supported by its developers.

        • Fedora 19 End of Life
        • Fedora 19 Reaches End Of Life State

          If you’re still running Fedora 19 for some reason, you better think about upgrading to Fedora 20/21 as F19 has now reached its end of life.

        • NetworkManager 1.0 released!

          A decade ago seems like a long time in open source. In those days, networking was not easy to configure in Linux systems like Fedora. Networking stacks didn’t play well with each other, and some used frequently today didn’t even exist then. Configuring a laptop for good mobility across networks was difficult, or sometimes impossible.

    • Debian Family

      • Bootstrapping arm64 in Debian

        arm64 is officially a release architecture for Jessie, aka Debian version 8. That’s taken a lot of manual porting and development effort over the last couple of years, and it’s also taken a lot of CPU time – there are ~21,000 source packages in Debian Jessie! As is often the case for a brand new architecture like arm64 (or AArch64, to use ARM’s own terminology), hardware can be really difficult to get hold of. In time this will cease to be an issue as hardware becomes more commoditised, but in Debian we really struggled to get hold of equipment for a very long time during the early part of the port.

      • 64-bit ARM Support Is Moving Along In Debian

        With the upcoming release of Debian 8.0 “Jessie”, AArch64/ARM64 will become an official release architecture.

      • Kodi from Debian

        As of today Kodi from Debian uses the FFmpeg packages instead of the Libav ones which have been used by XBMC from Debian. The reason for the switch was upstream’s decision of dropping the Libav compatibility code and FFmpeg becoming available again packaged in Debian (thanks to Andreas Cadhalpun). It is worth noting that while upstream Kodi 14.0 downloads and builds FFmpeg 2.4.4 by default, Debian ships FFmpeg 2.5.1 already and FFmpeg under Kodi will be updated independently from Kodi thanks to the packaging mechanism.

      • Use Module::Build::Tiny as Debian policy compliant
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Make Adds Google Go Support, Game Category

            Ubuntu Make, formerly known as the Ubuntu Developer Tools Center, is up to version 0.4 and it adds Go language support.

            Ubuntu Make is one of the newer Ubuntu Linux projects for making it easier for developers to quickly and easily setup development environments on the popular distribution. Ubuntu Make 0.4 was released today and it introduces Google Go support along with bringing a new game category. Ubuntu developers can run umake go to deploy the latest version of Google golang along with setting up the proper build environment.

          • Builder Update

            I’ve been really busy during the start of the Builder fundraising campaign trying to round up funds. We still have some larger donations planned that I hope to see land in the not to distant future. We are one week of four complete and have raised nearly 60% of the requested funds!

            This means that I haven’t got to write as much code the last week as I would have liked, but our contributors have picked up the slack.

            For a New Years gift, I put together some tools for those of you that work with HTML. The auto indentation engine now supports HTML, so you wont need to fuss about with alignments anymore. Just hit enter after your opening element and you’ll be properly indented. I also added the basis for what will be the HTML autocompletion engine. It’s not very complete yet, but if someone wants to own it, I’d be happy to hand it off. Longer term, I’d prefer to see it work of the document’s DTD.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • WeMo can now light your smart home from the inside and out

      Following Sunday’s expansion of the WeMo ecosystem with a bevy of sensors, Belkin’s home automation brand is today announcing an expanded lineup of smart lighting devices from Osram Sylvania and TCP (Technical Consumer Products).

    • All of Samsung’s 2015 Smart TVs will be powered by Tizen

      Samsung’s new SUHD TVs announced at CES today will be powered by it’s new Tizen OS.

    • [Developer] Samsung Tizen TV SDK 1.2

      With the launch of the Samsung Tizen TV, we also see the release of the updated Samsung Tizen TV SDK 1.2. This SDK has the tools you need to start developing applications for the Tizen TV Platform. The tools include an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for HTML5, JavaScript, CSS code editing, a light-weight TV Simulator for testing webapps, and a TV Emulator. You also get templates for TV applications

    • Linux Representing at CES

      Linux at CES tops our news coverage for today. In other news OpenSource.com says installing Linux from Scratch can help users learn “the building blocks” of Linux and Softpedia.com says users “are going crazy” for circle icons. Elsewhere Jack Germain spoke to The Document Foundation and Open Source Business Alliance about reaching the goal of universal open document standards.

    • CES 2015: Microchip Technology shows off 30 demos

      Microchip Technology Inc. of Chandler announced Tuesday at CES 2015 that it has joined the Linux Foundation and Automotive Grade Linux to develop software for the connected car.

    • [Video] Samsung Gear S Apps

      This is an Interesting little 1 minute video that I found on the web. It takes you through the advantages of having a Tizen based Samsung Gear S or leaving your Smartphone at home. You have fitness capabilities as well as an App store that you can download applications that are suitable to you and your lifestyle.

    • Tizen TV is Launched with Samsung SUHD Models JS8500, JS9000 and JS9500

      It is with a huge smile that I say Samsung launched their SUHD Lineup of Tizen TVs at the packed Samsung Press Conference at CES 2015. The TVs hold the promise of a superior picture which has 64 times more color expression and will be 2.5 times brighter than conventional TVs. The TV will be running the Tizen OS, which will be optimised for the TV User Interface (UI) making it more responsive compared to previous UIs.

    • CES 2015: Linksys WRT1200AC Router Is a Beast with 512 MB and Official OpenWRT Support

      Linksys has just announced its new WRT1200AC 2×2 Dual Band Wireless AC Router at CES 2015. It might sound like just another router, but this is interesting because it also comes with OpenWrt support by default.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source


  • Apple Slapped With Another Lawsuit
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The greatest trick Obama ever pulled was convincing the world America isn’t still at war

      The holiday headlines blared without a hint of distrust: “End of War” and “Mission Ends” and “U.S. formally ends the war in Afghanistan”, as the US government and Nato celebrated the alleged end of the longest war in American history. Great news! Except, that is, when you read past the first paragraph: “the fighting is as intense as it has ever been since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001,” according to the Wall Street Journal. And about 10,000 troops will remain there for the foreseeable future (more than we had a year after the Afghan war started). Oh, and they’ll continue to engage in combat regularly. But other than that, yeah, the war is definitely over.

    • Open source intelligence (OSINT) iBrabo tracks Syrian tweet location of ISIS suspect

      Reports in the Independent newspaper and elsewhere suggest that the open source intelligence research group iBrabo has helped with information capture technology in the quest to pin down a suspected ISIS militant.

      A New Zealand born individual, Mark John Taylor (who uses the names Mohammad Daniel or Abu Abdul Rahman) is said to have now suspended his Twitter account after inadvertently tweeting his location while in Syria.

    • 12 Dead in Attack on Paris Newspaper; France Goes on Alert

      Masked gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar!” stormed the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing 12 people before escaping. It was France’s deadliest terror attack in at least two decades.

      French President Francois Hollande called the attack on the Charlie Hebdo weekly, which has frequently drawn condemnation from Muslims, “a terrorist attack without a doubt” and said several other attacks have been thwarted in France “in recent weeks.”

    • France says ready to strike Libya militants

      France said Monday its troops south of Libya are ready to strike extremists crossing the border, but the speaker of Libya’s internationally recognized parliament rejected any Western military intervention in his country.

      French President Francois Hollande urged the United Nations to take action to stem growing violence in the North African country and the transit of arms from Libya to militant groups around the Sahel region.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Fracking in Ohio confirmed as cause of rare earthquake strong enough to be felt

      A new study links the March 2014 earthquakes in Poland Township, Ohio, to hydraulic fracturing that activated a previously unknown fault. The induced seismic sequence included a rare felt earthquake of magnitude 3.0, according to new research.

    • As Oil Drops Below $50, Can There Be Too Much of a Good Thing?

      Cheaper oil is still creating more winners than losers. Far more people live in oil-importing countries than live in oil-exporting countries. The U.S., for one, remains a net importer. The well-publicized travails of U.S. shale oil producers are small compared with the gains by American consumers and businesses that are paying less for gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, petrochemicals, and the like. With fuel prices down, people are driving more miles and buying more cars and trucks.

  • Finance

    • USA Today Makes Sure Rich Don’t Get Blamed for Middle-Class Stagnation

      The “Nation’s Newspaper” boasts that most of its “editorials are coupled with an opposing view–a unique USA Today feature.” So you’re getting both sides, is the implication–when in fact what you’re more likely to get is perception management, as the Gannett-owned paper makes clear which opinions are to be taking seriously and which are beyond the pale.


      That’s a good point, as far as it goes. Where doesn’t it go? For one thing, it doesn’t point out that this is not a problem that started in 1999, but at least 25 years earlier: US median household income has grown only 7 percent since 1973, even as per capita GDP has roughly doubled.

      And where has all that income gone? That phrase “for the non-wealthy” conceals it: While most people have seen little or no income growth over the past four decades, the rich have enjoyed a long-term boom. The top 1 percent of households, for example, have seen their real after-tax income rise by 200 percent since 1979.

    • The Coming War on Pensions

      On the Senate’s last day in session in December, it approved the government’s $1.1 trillion budget for coming fiscal year.

      Few people realize how radical the new U.S. budget law was. Budget laws are supposed to decide simply what to fund and what to cut. A budget is not supposed to make new law, or to rewrite the law. But that is what happened, and it was radical.

      Wall Street’s representatives in Congress – the Democratic leadership as well as Republicans – took the opportunity to create an artificial crisis. The press called this “holding the government hostage.” The House – backed by the Senate – said that it would shut the government down at some future date if two basic laws were not changed.

    • Nobel Laureate Stiglitz Blocked From SEC Panel After Faulting High-Speed Traders

      Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate economist who called for a tax on high-frequency trading, has been blocked from a government panel that will advise regulators on issues facing U.S. equity markets, according to people familiar with the matter.

      Stiglitz’s rejection shows the partisan infighting that has bogged down Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White’s plan to set up a panel of experts to advise the agency on topics ranging from rapid-fire stock trading to dark pools.

    • Inequality and the American Child

      Children, it has long been recognized, are a special group. They do not choose their parents, let alone the broader conditions into which they are born. They do not have the same abilities as adults to protect or care for themselves. That is why the League of Nations approved the Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child in 1924, and why the international community adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

    • Authoritarianism, Class Warfare and the Advance of Neoliberal Austerity Policies

      Right-wing calls for austerity suggest more than a market-driven desire to punish the poor, working class and middle class by distributing wealth upwards to the 1%. They also point to a politics of disposability in which the social provisions, public spheres and institutions that nourish democratic values and social relations are being dismantled, including public and higher education. Neoliberal austerity policies embody an ideology that produces both zones of abandonment and forms of social and civil death while also infusing society with a culture of increasing hardship. It also makes clear that the weapons of class warfare do not reside only in oppressive modes of state terrorism such as the militarization of the police, but also in policies that inflict misery, immiseration and suffering on the vast majority of the population.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Inside Putin’s Information War

      There were more than 20 of us sitting around the long conference table: tanned broadcasters in white silk shirts, politics professors with sweaty beards and heavy breath, ad execs in trainers—and me. There were no women. Everyone was smoking. There was so much smoke it made my skin itch.

    • O’Reilly Hosts Former KKK Leader David Duke To Defend GOP Rep. For Speaking To White Supremacist Group

      Bill O’Reilly interviewed former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke about GOP Rep. Steve Scalise’s address to a white supremacist group in a segment Duke turned into a bizarre defense of his reputation.

      Scalise, who has a leadership position in the GOP as the House Majority Whip, has apologized for speaking to a white supremacist conference in 2002. Conservative media are divided on whether Scalise is a victim of the media, or made a mistake serious enough for him to resign his leadership post.

    • Web Journalist Who Broke Scalise Scandal: “I Knew It Was A Bombshell”

      “It was reassuring to me that this story became national and became international. It just demonstrates that America has very little patience for any politician that would associate with white nationalists and would speak in front of their conference,” he said. “What I was really blown away by was the respect the mainstream media afforded me … I thought that was really, for me as an independent journalist, it was really reassuring.”

  • Censorship

    • With Power of Social Media Growing, Police Now Monitoring and Criminalizing Online Speech

      The following day, Ahmed was arrested and “charged with a racially aggravated public order offense.” The police spokesman explained that “he didn’t make his point very well and that is why he has landed himself in bother.” The state proceeded to prosecute him, and in October of that year, he was convicted “of sending a grossly offensive communication,” fined and sentenced to 240 hours of community service.

    • Writers in “free” countries are chilled by government surveillance, study finds

      So says PEN America, which today released the results of a survey conducted in the fall of 2014, asking writers worldwide how their freedom of expression has been impacted by NSA surveillance. Perhaps most significantly, the survey results show that writers in countries designated “free” by the organization Freedom House are at least as worried—and in some cases, more worried—about government surveillance than writers in “non-free” countries. 75% of respondents from “free” countries told PEN they were “very” or “somewhat” concerned about government surveillance.

    • Writers Say They Feel Censored by Surveillance

      A survey of writers around the world by the PEN American Center has found that a significant majority said they were deeply concerned with government surveillance, with many reporting that they have avoided, or have considered avoiding, controversial topics in their work or in personal communications as a result.

    • Intel closes its Russian developer forums to escape Kremlin censorship

      Intel, the latest American tech firm to fall into the Kremlin’s crosshairs, closed the site and redirected users to its sites hosted outside of Russia, along with third-party forums hosting Intel discussions. The news follows a December decision by the Russian government to block GitHub after developers posted politicized code on the site.

  • Privacy

    • Let’s Encrypt (the Entire Web): 2014 in Review

      Last month we were very pleased to announce our work with Mozilla, the University of Michigan, Cisco, Akamai and IdentTust on Let’s Encrypt, a totally free and automated certificate authority that will be launching in summer 2015. In order to let mainstream browsers seamlessly connect securely to your web site, you need a digital certificate. Next year, we’ll provide you with that certificate at no charge, and, if you choose, our software will install it on your server in less than a minute. We’ve been pursuing the ideas that turned into Let’s Encrypt for three years, so it was a great pleasure to be able to share what we’ve been working on with the world.

    • The NSA’s Funny Numbers, Again

      While it appears NSA managed to give IOB (completely redacted) numbers for the files involved, it appears PCLOB never got a clear count of how many were involved. It’s not clear that NSA ever admitted this data may have gotten mixed in with Stellar Wind data. No one seems to care that this was a double violation, because techs are supposed to destroy data when they’re done with it.

      Though, if you ask me, you should wait to figure out why so many records were lying around a tech server before you destroy them all. But I’m kind of touchy that way.

      One thing I realize is consistent between the internal audit and the IOB report. The NSA, probably the owner of the most powerful computing power in the world, consistently uses the term “glitch” to describe software that doesn’t do what it is designed to to keep people out of data they’re not supposed to have access to.

    • The Government Spent a Lot of Time in Court Defending NSA Spying Last Year: 2014 in Review

      EFF continued litigation in our mass spying cases Jewel v. NSA for several spying methods and First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA for the mass telephone records collection. We also joined the legal team in Smith v. Obama when the case went to the Ninth Circuit on appeal, and joined Klayman v. Obama and ACLU v. Clapper as amici. Finally, we sued the Department of Justice for failing to respond to multiple Freedom of Information Act requests.

    • Protesters: The FBI is probably spying on your phone, and no, they didn’t get a warrant for that

      The FBI assures lawmakers that they obtain warrants to use controversial cell-site simulators, otherwise known as stingrays—except when they don’t, which is pretty much always, according to information obtained by Senators Leahy and Grassley.

    • Months later, key details about StingRay non-disclosures yet to be disclosed

      It’s been months since we learned of the seemingly compulsory non-disclosure agreement that the FBI hands police eager to use cell phone tracking equipment. But we still know precious little about which departments nationwide aren’t allowed to tell us what about their StingRays.

    • Writers in ‘Free’ Countries Now Share Surveillance Concerns With ‘Not-Free’ Brethren

      Writers living in liberal democracies are now nearly as worried about the government watching them as their colleagues in countries that have long histories of internal spying, according to an international survey conducted by PEN, a literary and human rights organization.

      Brave writers have historically stood up to even the gravest threats from authoritarian regimes. Conversely, there have always been some who willingly censor themselves.

    • FBI says search warrants not needed to use “stingrays” in public places

      The Federal Bureau of Investigation is taking the position that court warrants are not required when deploying cell-site simulators in public places. Nicknamed “stingrays,” the devices are decoy cell towers that capture locations and identities of mobile phone users and can intercept calls and texts.

      The FBI made its position known during private briefings with staff members of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). In response, the two lawmakers wrote Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson, maintaining they were “concerned about whether the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have adequately considered the privacy interests” of Americans.

    • How Britain Exported Next-Generation Surveillance

      IT WAS A COOL, QUIET MONDAY EVENING in northeast England when the computer first told them about Peter Chapman. The clock read a little after five, and two officers from Cleveland police were cruising in their patrol car. A screen lit up next to them: the on-board computer was flashing an alert from the local police network. The message told them the target was a blue Ford Mondeo and gave them its registration number.

      It was only a few minutes before they came across the car and pulled it over with a sounding of their siren. Inside was Chapman, a 33-year-old convict wanted for questioning in connection with a string of offences, including arson and theft. The officers verified his identity and took him to a station just a few miles away.

      At 5:07 p.m. on October 26, 2009, just 20 minutes before he was arrested, Chapman had driven past an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera stationed next to the road. As his car passed, the camera recorded its registration number, together with the time and location, and sent the information to Cleveland Police’s internal computer network, where it was checked against a hotlist downloaded from Britain’s central police database.

    • Total online privacy

      Protect your privacy and your personal information from advertisers, doxxers and anyone you may feel threatened by

    • Privacy Not Included

      So, to help you navigate your way round this privacy jungle, we have created a simple 10 step guide to the little things you can do to help you stay safe and private. After all there’s no need to spoil a beautiful tech friendship before it’s even begun.

    • New Threat to Openness in the EU: Trade Secrets Directive

      Putting all that together, and it’s hard not to see these moves as part of a concerted, global action to make the protection of trade secrets much stronger, and to create new “rights” for companies, which can be used against openness in all its forms. That’s worrying, and swims against the prevailing historical current for more, not less, openness. We must resist it wherever it appears, lest it starts to roll back some of the hard-won gains of recent years – not just for areas like open data and open science, but even for open source itself.

    • Global Moves To Give Corporations Yet More Legal Weapons By Strengthening Laws Protecting Trade Secrets

      Techdirt often discusses the problems with intellectual monopolies such as copyrights, patents and trademarks. These grant powers to exclude others from using something — creative works, inventions, words and phrases. Increasingly, they create dense thickets of obligatory permissions that make it hard or even impossible for others to build on pre-existing work. That may serve the purposes of the monopolist, but is frequently to the detriment of society. Despite the fact that the enforcement options available to holders of such intellectual monopolies have been repeatedly and disproportionately strengthened in recent years, it seems that too much is never enough: there is now a move to boost another kind of monopoly right, that of trade secrets.

    • EFF: Law enforcement ‘desperately’ trying to hide use of surveillance cell towers

      Law enforcement organizations around the country are desperate to keep the public unaware of the use of Stringrays, a surveillance technology that secretly monitors cell phones, even as courts and lawmakers are starting to fight back.

      That’s the conclusion of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which tallied up a year’s worth of public records requests by American media organizations, as well as court and legislative actions, related to the government’s use of the technology, also known as IMSI catchers.

    • Of Course 23andMe’s Plan Has Been to Sell Your Genetic Data All Along

      Today, 23andMe announced what Forbes reports is only the first of ten deals with big biotech companies: Genentech will pay up to $60 million for access to 23andMe’s data to study Parkinson’s. You think 23andMe was about selling fun DNA spit tests for $99 a pop? Nope, it’s been about selling your data all along.

      Since 23andMe started in 2006, it’s convinced 800,000 customers to hand over their DNA, one vial of spit at a time. Personal DNA reports are the consumer-facing side of the business, and that’s the one we’re most familiar with. It all seems friendly and fun with a candy-colored logo and quirky reports that include the genetic variant for asparagus pee.

    • Court Asked Why There’s No Expectation Of Privacy In Cell Location Data, But An Expectation Of Privacy In The Cellphone Itself

      The government continues to argue that the Third Party Doctrine trumps the Fourth Amendment. Almost any “business record” created intentionally or inadvertently can be had by the government without a warrant. Even if the citizen in question has no ability to control what’s collected by third parties (without forgoing the service entirely) or is completely unaware that it’s happening, the government claims records of this type have no expectation of privacy.

  • Civil Rights

    • White Man Publishes Book! USA Today Mistakes This for News

      A collection of short stories published by entertainment lawyer Kevin Morris makes the front page of USA Today’s Money section (1/4/15). Why? The startling thing about the book, according to USA Today media writer Michael Wolff, is that it deals with “one of the least-popular media subjects, middle-aged white men.”

      Yes, “White Men Have Stories to Tell, Too,” as the headline of Wolff’s column declares.

      You might think that if you wrote about media for a living, you would notice that publishers mostly publish, and newspapers mostly review, books written by white men.

    • Senator Dianne Feinstein Proposes Legislation to Make Torture Extra Illegal

      There are already laws on the books in the US that prohibit the use of torture. But after the Senate Intelligence Committee released a summary last month of its 6,700-page torture report that revealed the CIA subjected some detainees it captured after 9/11 to “rectal rehydration” and “ice water baths,” the outgoing Democratic chairwoman of the committee said she will introduce legislation and call for a series of executive actions to ensure the US government never does it again.

    • Feinstein, after release of CIA report, urges measures to ban ‘abusive’ interrogations

      The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said she will seek to make “abusive” interrogation measures illegal and ban the CIA from holding prisoners under a series of measures shaped by the findings of a report released last month on the agency’s treatment of detainees after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    • The Path to Closing Guantánamo

      The reasons for closing Guantánamo are more compelling than ever. As a high-ranking security official from one of our staunchest allies on counterterrorism (not from Europe) once told me, “The greatest single action the United States can take to fight terrorism is to close Guantánamo.” I have seen firsthand the way in which Guantánamo frays and damages vitally important security relationships with countries around the world. The eye-popping cost — around $3 million per detainee last year, compared with roughly $75,000 at a “supermax” prison in the United States — drains vital resources.

    • Let’s All Do Something Useful Today: Write to Manning and Kiriakou

      Prison sucks. Being in prison because you blew the whistle on our government sucks harder. Getting a letter makes it suck less.

      So if you want to do something good today, write a short letter to one of these guys. It need not be anything more than good wishes, or just introducing yourself as a supporter (if you can’t say anything nice, go post your bile somewhere else).

    • From Drone Strikes to Black Sites, How U.S. Foreign Policy Runs Under a Cloak of Secrecy

      At least nine Pakistanis were killed Sunday in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan, the first reported drone strike of 2015. News accounts of the strike are based on unnamed Pakistani government and security officials. The Obama administration has said nothing so far. For years, the United States did not even publicly acknowledge the existence of the drone strikes. The drone program is just one example of the national security state’s reliance on secret operations. The recent Senate Intelligence Committee report revealed another example: the shadowy network of overseas CIA black sites where the United States held and tortured prisoners. The report also noted the CIA shrouded itself in a cloak of secrecy keeping policymakers largely in the dark about the brutality of its detainee interrogations. The agency reportedly deceived the White House, the National Security Council, the Justice Department and Congress about the efficacy of its controversial interrogation techniques. We are joined by a guest who has closely followed the debate over national security and secrecy: Scott Horton, a human rights attorney and contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine, whose new book is “Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy.”

    • In Defense of a CIA Whistleblower

      The trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, set to begin in mid-January, is shaping up as a major battle in the U.S. government’s siege against whistleblowing. With its use of the Espionage Act to intimidate and prosecute people for leaks in “national security” realms, the Obama administration is determined to keep hiding important facts that the public has a vital right to know.

      After fleeting coverage of Sterling’s indictment four years ago, news media have done little to illuminate his case – while occasionally reporting on the refusal of New York Times reporter James Risen to testify about whether Sterling was a source for his 2006 book State of War.

    • NYT Reporter Questioned at Hearing in CIA Leak Case

      It is not entirely clear how Risen’s stance affects the government’s case. The government possesses email and phone records that show extensive contact between Sterling and Risen. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema has previously suggested the government could rely on those records to establish what it needs without compelling Risen’s testimony.

    • Times Reporter Says He Won’t Testify as CIA Leak Trial Looms

      According to government lawyers, Holder authorized prosecutors to seek Risen’s testimony on three topics: that he has an unbreakable confidentiality agreement with his source for the ninth chapter of his book, that he wrote the chapter and two newspaper articles based on information from the source and that he previously had a non-confidential reporter-source relationship with Sterling.

    • Defiant on Witness Stand, Times Reporter Says Little

      After losing a seven-year legal battle, James Risen, a reporter for The New York Times, reluctantly took the witness stand in federal court here on Monday, but refused to answer any questions that could help the Justice Department identify his confidential sources.

      Mr. Risen said he would not say anything to help prosecutors bolster their case against Jeffrey A. Sterling, a former C.I.A. officer who is set to go on trial soon on charges of providing classified information to Mr. Risen for his 2006 book, “State of War.”


      Judge Brinkema did not indicate how she would respond to such a request, and she said little during Mr. Risen’s testimony. She stepped in, however, when Mr. Risen posed questions of Mr. MacMahon and later Mr. Trump.

      “It doesn’t work that way,” Judge Brinkema said. “You can’t ask him questions. That’s the reporter in you.”

      Mr. Sterling’s trial is scheduled to begin next Monday. Prosecutors gave no indication in court whether, in light of Mr. Risen’s testimony Monday, they planned to call him as a witness.

    • NYT’s James Risen pushes back in hearing on leaks

      The Obama administration’s plan to defuse a First Amendment showdown with a New York Times reporter over his confidential sources was nearly derailed at a court hearing Monday when the journalist rebuffed a series of questions concerning his reporting.

      But he eventually agreed to answer some of the queries, allowing the at-times tense session to get back on track and avoiding for now a major confrontation over press freedom.

    • During Pretrial Hearing, Journalist James Risen Refuses to Help US Government with Leak Case

      New York Times journalist James Risen testified in a federal courtroom in Alexandria, Virginia, during a pretrial hearing in a leak case against former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling. The hearing was held so US District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema could determine what questions Risen would have to answer at trial as a subpoenaed witness.

      The former CIA officer is alleged to have given information to Risen on a classified program that the government claims was “intended to impede Iran’s efforts to acquire or develop nuclear weapons,” which Risen later published in his book, State of War. He is charged with committing ten felonies, seven of which fall under the Espionage Act. A trial is currently scheduled to begin in the middle of this month.

    • Risen Testifies at Sterling Pre-Trial Hearing

      James Risen sat alone in the far corner of the expansive hallway outside the courtroom. It was a fitting beginning for a day in which he seemed alone, even apart from his lawyers.


      However, Risen had made clear before — and repeated today — that he would not reveal who his confidential source or sources were, and in the end no one actually asked that question.

    • Special Prostitution Courts and the Myth of ‘Rescuing’ Sex Workers

      Police took special advantage of sex workers with addiction issues. “If you’re one of those girls who’s begging, crying, and doesn’t want to go to jail,” Love told me, some officers will offer freedom in exchange for sex. But it’s always, said Love, “a deal with the Devil.” Afterward, cops will keep shaking you down—for information, easy arrests, or more sex.

      What would otherwise be called rape at gunpoint is, because the victims are sex workers, given the euphemism “sexual favors.”

    • Antonin Scalia: Torture’s Not Torture Unless He Says It Is

      Perhaps, as Justice Scalia told a Swiss university audience earlier this month, it is indeed “very facile” for Americans to declare that “torture is terrible.” The justice posited to his listeners a classic ticking-time-bomb scenario—this one involving “a person that you know for sure knows the location of a nuclear bomb that has been planted in Los Angeles and will kill millions of people”—and asked, “You think it’s clear that you cannot use extreme measures to get that information out of that person?” Now, I didn’t see that episode of 24, but I have read my Bill of Rights, and I’m far more inclined to align myself here with James Madison than with Jack Bauer—or with Antonin Scalia.

    • Exclusive: CIA says its inspector general is resigning at end of month

      The agency said in a statement that Buckley, who has served as the agency’s internal watchdog for more than four years, was leaving the agency to “pursue an opportunity in the private sector.”

    • No Impunity for Torturers [Updated]

      In a post called “The Torture Report is Only the First Step,” Harold Koh observed on Friday that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s account of the CIA’s interrogation and detention program should be “more than enough to reopen investigations at the Justice Department to see whether prosecutions are warranted.” Ken Roth, who leads Human Rights Watch, made the same point in a piece published by the Washington Post over the weekend.

    • Shifting Politics on the Death Penalty

      In January 1992, Bill Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, left the presidential campaign trail to fly home for the execution of a man named Ricky Ray Rector. Mr. Clinton’s decision not to grant clemency to Mr. Rector, who had been sentenced to death for killing a police officer, was widely seen as an attempt to fend off the familiar charge that Democrats were soft on crime.

      On Dec. 31, Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, whose name has been mentioned among potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidates, commuted the sentences of the last four inmates on the state’s death row.

      Maryland abolished the death penalty in 2013, but only for new sentences. In resentencing the condemned men to life without parole, Mr. O’Malley said that leaving their death sentences in place would “not serve the public good of the people of Maryland — present or future.”

    • Has the US Constitution Been Lost to Military Rule?

      Furthermore, according to Delahunty and Yoo, terrorists operate within the continental United States and “conceal themselves within the domestic society and economy,” which makes it difficult to identify them. By this logic, everyone is now “suspect.” Furthermore, they wrote, 9/11 created a situation “in which the battlefield has occurred, and may occur, at dispersed locations and intervals within the American homeland itself. As a result, efforts to fight terrorism may require not only the usual wartime regulations of domestic affairs, but also military actions that have normally occurred abroad.”

    • It’s time to abolish the CIA

      The CIA should be abolished.

      After a trial run of 67 years, the agency has proven a sorcerer’s apprentice. The director and his subordinates have became insufferably arrogant Platonic Guardians hiding behind secrecy in the belief that the rest of us are too stupid or naive to judge what risks to accept to preserve liberty and the rule of law. The CIA has made Americans less safe.

      Its incorrigible anti-democratic ethos was epitomized by legendary chief of counterintelligence James J. Angleton. He voiced contempt for the Church Committee’s investigation of chronic agency abuses, i.e., the “Family Jewels.” As reported in The New York Times, Angleton likened the CIA to a medieval city occupied by an invading army, i.e., the Congress of the United States. To the same effect, Director William J. Casey told Church Committee investigator Loch K. Johnson that the congressional role was to “stay the [expletive] out of my business.”

    • BAE Releases Social Media, Open Source Analysis Tool to Stop Data Leaks
    • Unarmed Montana Man Told to Raise Hands Before Officer Fired

      An unarmed man killed by a Montana police officer during a traffic stop was told repeatedly to raise his hands before the officer shot him three times, according to video footage shown Tuesday during an inquest into the shooting.

    • Let’s abolish West Point: Military academies serve no one, squander millions of tax dollars

      Many pundits have suggested that the Republicans’ midterm gains were fueled by discontent not merely with the president or with the (improving) state of the economy, but with government in general and the need to fund its programs with taxes. Indeed, the Republican Party of recent decades, inspired by Ronald Reagan’s exhortation to “starve the [government] beast,” has been anti-tax and anti-government. Government programs, as many of their thinkers note, primarily exist to perpetuate their own existence. At the very least, they have to justify that existence.

  • DRM

    • Kindle sales have ‘disappeared’, says UK’s largest book retailer

      Waterstones has admitted that sales of Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader had “disappeared” after seeing higher demand for physical books.

      The UK’s largest book retailing chain, which teamed up with Amazon in 2012 to sell the Kindle in its stores, saw sales of physical books rise 5pc in December, at the expense of the popular e-reader.

      Kindle sales had “disappeared to all intents and purposes”, Waterstones said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Cornish pasty ‘threatened by EU-US trade deal’

      German agriculture minister warns that laws protecting regional foods – such as Germany’s Black Forest Ham – may be at risk under a transatlantic trade agreement

    • Copyrights

      • Arrr: The only Pirate in European Parliament to weigh in on copyright

        As speculation and arguments mount over proposed EU copyright legislation, the Pirate Party MEP will publish her report on the matter on 19 January.

        Julia Reda, currently the only Pirate in the European Parliament, has been made “rapporteur” on the implementation of the previous directive on the so-called 2001 Infosoc Directive.

        Collecting societies, publishers and artists have likened this to putting the wolf in charge of the sheep. If we accept the analogy, it’s probably a lot like asking the wolf’s opinion on how the shepherd has been doing and then taking that into account when telling the shepherd what to do next.

      • Pirate Party: ‘We are literally rewriting EU copyright law’

        Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda is leading the revision of the EU’s Copyright Directive — a significant milestone for the self-described internet-freedom movement.

      • All Of These Works Should Be In The Public Domain, But Aren’t

        Every year for the past few years, the good folks at Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain have put up a list of works that should have gone into the public domain on January 1st had Congress not massively expanded the law. Each year, it’s a depressing look at what works should be in the public domain. As a reminder, when these works were created, the creators knew the terms under which they were created and knew that they would have gone into the public domain by now — and they found that to be more than enough incentive to create those works. Given that, it makes absolutely no sense that these works are not in the public domain. The latest list has many, many examples of classic works that should be in the public domain.

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