01.21.15

Links 21/1/2015: Andrew Tridgell, Torvalds Being Baited

Posted in News Roundup at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Linux Foundation Announces Lineup for Vault Open Source Storage Event

      Open source storage now has a convention all its own in the form of Vault. Organized by the Linux Foundation, this event will take place for the first time in March with speakers and sessions focused on distributed storage, the Btrfs and Ext4 file systems, memory management and much more. Read on for details.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Thunderbird 31.4.0 Lands in Ubuntu Repos

        Canonical published details about a number of Thunderbird vulnerabilities in its Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS operating systems, which means that a new version is now available.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Names Leon Panetta to the Board of Directors

      The Oracle Board of Directors today announced that it has unanimously elected the Honorable Leon Panetta, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to the company’s Board of Directors. The election is effective as of January 19, 2015 and increases the size of the Board to 12 directors.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Finnish open source map service platform

      A public competition has been launched to boost the development of Oskari – a collection of map tools made available as open source by National Land Survey of Finland. Interested software developers have until the end of this month to submit proposals for applications using Oskari or for improvements to the existing tools. National Land Survey of Finland will award EUR 3,000 to the best application and EUR 1,000 for the best concept. Two more prices, EUR 1,000 each, will go to the next best projects.

    • Peterborough City Council wants to drop ‘expensive’ Microsoft for open source and collaborative tools

      Peterborough City Council is looking to drop Microsoft and its “expensive” user agreements in favour of other, more open source applications and collaborative tools.
      That’s what Richard Godfrey, ICT, strategy, infrastructure and programme manager for Peterborough Council, revealed to Computing in a recent interview.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Tim Berners-Lee applauds UK government for ‘open data transparency’

      NON-WRESTLING ORGANISATION the World Wide Web Foundation (WWWF) has published its latest Open Data Barometer and awarded the UK government the ‘most open’ crown.

      However, Tim Berners-Lee, head of the WWWF, said that it is a shallow win, and does not mean that the UK government is really open, just more open than others.

      Openness, in these instances, relates to the way in which governments make official data available and usable.

Leftovers

  • No more Page Three: The Sun newspaper drops topless pics after 44 years

    Page Three has split opinion in recent years. A ‘No more Page Three’ campaign, started in 2012 by Lucy-Ann Holmes and featuring the tagline “boobs aren’t news,” has attracted more than 200,000 signatures. It’s also been backed by MPs and anti-sexism charities.

  • 14 nightmare clients — and how to defang them

    Here are 14 nightmare clients you may very well encounter on your quest for success as an independent software developer. May you have strength in recognizing, avoiding, and neutralizing them, when possible. Please feel free to add your own in the comments below.

  • Questions Raised about Apple Software Quality

    Jean-Louis Gassée writes in Monday Note that the painful gestation of OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) with its damaged iWork apps, the chaotic iOS 8 launch, iCloud glitches, and the trouble with Continuity, have raised concerns about the quality of Apple software. “It Just Works”, the company’s pleasant-sounding motto, has became an easy target, giving rise to jibes of “it just needs more work”.

  • Apple Software Quality Questions

    For the past six months or so, I’ve become increasingly concerned about the quality of Apple software. From the painful gestation of OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) with its damaged iWork apps, to the chaotic iOS 8 launch, iCloud glitches, and the trouble with Continuity, I’ve gotten a bad feeling about Apple’s software quality management. “It Just Works”, the company’s pleasant-sounding motto, became an easy target, giving rise to jibes of “it just needs more work”.

  • Will the Mac dump Intel for the same chip as the iPad?

    The rise of iPad apps such as Microsoft Office would make the transition easier than you might expect, but it’s still no slam-dunk

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Contagious Courage; Countering the Banality of Evil

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (2012) predicted this banality of evil in the digital age, alerting us to how the internet has been transformed into a “threat to human civilization” (p. 1). In his recent book When Google Met WikiLeaks (2014), Assange exposed Google’s part in the hijacking of large swaths of the Internet for surveillance in collusion with the U.S. government. He pointed out how by getting close to Washington halls of power, this Silicon Valley tech giant lost the “language to see, much less to express, the titanic centralizing evil they are constructing” (p. 60).

  • Finance

    • Bank of Canada shocks markets with cut in key interest rate

      The Bank of Canada surprised markets today by cutting its key overnight lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point, citing the economic threat posed by plunging oil prices.

      Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz will hold a news conference at 11:15 a.m. ET Wednesday from Ottawa to comment on the bank’s rate cut as well as the lowered growth outlook. CBC is livestreaming his remarks.

    • Bitcoin ‘Could Be Helping Terrorists’, Says Major Banking Group

      The British Bankers Association (BBA), which represents organisations including Barclays, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland, has written to the Chancellor warning that his push to make Britain a haven for virtual currencies could be putting the country at risk.

    • Richest 1% wealthier than the rest of the world combined

      By 2016 the richest 1% of people in the world will own over 50% of its wealth, according to a study by Oxfam.

      The latest calculation shows an increase on the 48% of wealth owned by the wealthiest 1% in 2014.

    • 1,700 Private Jets Descend on Davos For World Economic Forum

      Billionaires, world leaders and pop stars are clogging up the skies with their private jets as they descend on the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to liaise over issues such as terrorism, the central banks and growing economic inequality.

      Over the course of this week, approximately 1,700 private jets are expected to fly into the region, resulting airport traffic increasing by 10% which means that landing spots are in short supply.

    • Switzerland: Whistleblower Found Guilty of Giving Offshore Banking Docs to WikiLeaks

      In Switzerland, a whistleblower has been found guilty of violating bank secrecy laws by giving information on offshore accounts to WikiLeaks. Rudolf Elmer headed the Cayman Islands office of the bank Julius Baer until his firing in 2002. In 2011, he publicly handed compact discs containing information on offshore account holders to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a bid to reveal what he called the “damaging” impact of hiding money offshore. Elmer’s attorney has vowed to appeal the guilty verdict, which comes with a suspended fine, but no prison time.

    • Rudolf Elmer, former Swiss banker, fined $20,000 for giving Wikileaks tax data

      A former private banker found has been found guilty in Switzerland of breaking the country’s strict secrecy laws by passing confidential client data to WikiLeaks in 2007.

      Rudolf Elmer claims he was trying to expose rich tax evaders banking with his former employer, Julius Baer, which fired him in 2002.

      Elmer’s lawyer, Ganden Tethong, says Zurich’s district court also found her client guilty of forging a document purporting to be a letter from the bank to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Paris mayor: I’m suing Fox News over false report on Muslim ‘no-go’ zones

      The mayor of Paris plans to sue Fox News for its reporting on the city in the wake of the attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

      “When we’re insulted, and when we’ve had an image, then I think we’ll have to sue, I think we’ll have to go to court, in order to have these words removed,” Mayor Anne Hidalgo told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday. “The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced.”

  • Censorship

    • Default censorship is wrong and unfair to Sky’s customers

      Sky Broadband have announced they will force web-filters on all customers, starting this week, unless the account-holder opts out.

      [...]

      All ISPs promised David Cameron they would make all customers choose whether to use filters or not. Sky is not offering a choice however – they are imposing filtering unless customers opt out – an approach that the government rejected after running their own consultation. In addition, most households do not contain children so, Sky’s default-on approach seems over-reaching.

      Could Sky Broadband be seeking to increase adoption of web filters through “nudge” tactics in order to avoid Government criticism for a lack of uptake? Public interest in activating filters has been low since the Government started pressuring ISPs to introduce them in summer 2013. Ofcom said in July 2014 that just 8% of Sky Broadband subscribers had switched them on. The same report showed a 34% adoption-rate for competitor TalkTalk, who promote filters aggressively, and have made them the default option for new subscribers for a long time. Nudge tactics rely on the principle that most people don’t bother changing defaults.

    • Sky will soon switch on adult broadband filters for indecisive customers

      As part of David Cameron’s plan to protect young internet users, broadband providers have been forced to offer an “unavoidable choice.” This impels new subscribers to decide whether they want to enable or disable blocks on adult content. However, UK consumers have already highlighted their dislike for such filters, with only one in every seven customers letting the big four UK ISPs guard them from porn and the darker parts of the internet. One of those major providers, Sky, saw just eight percent of customers enable the option before July 2013, but that statistic could change drastically as part of new measures announced today.

  • Privacy

    • Crypto Won’t Save You Either

      “cryptography is bypassed, not penetrated”

    • Microsoft Outlook hacked following Gmail block in China

      Microsoft’s Outlook email service was subject to a cyberattack over the weekend, just weeks after Google’s Gmail service was blocked in China.

      On Monday, online censorship watchdog Greatfire.org said the organization received reports that Outlook was subject to a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack in China. A MITM attack intrudes on online connections in order to monitor and control a channel, and may also be used to push connections into other areas — for example, turning a user towards a malicious rather than legitimate website.

    • The Whole Haystack

      The N.S.A. claims it needs access to all our phone records. But is that the best way to catch a terrorist?

    • You’ll Never Guess Who’s Trying to Hack Your iPhone

      The FBI wants to search through your electronic life. You may think it’s a given that the government is in the business of collecting everyone’s personal data — Big Brother run amok in defiance of the Constitution. But under the limits of the Fourth Amendment, nothing it finds can be used to prosecute its targets. Now the FBI is taking steps to carry out broad searches and data collection under the color of authority, making all of us more vulnerable to “fishing expeditions.”

    • The never-ending quest to dethrone email

      Inbox has the right idea, in that the protocol and API set it has devised are open source (GNU Affero GPL licensed), and the project is designed to appeal most directly to developers of email applications building on mobile platforms. A similar project both in its approach and its design is JMAP, a protocol proposed by FastMail. JMAP uses JSON to encompass and package all the possible requests and responses used for email: sending and receiving, calendaring, contacts, and so on.

    • New police radars can ‘see’ inside homes

      At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.

    • Palantir CEO Alex Karp To Become A Billionaire As Data-Mining Company Raises Millions

      In the past, Alexander Karp, the CEO of data analytics firm Palantir, has called wealth “culturally corrosive.” A former money manager for high-net-worth individuals, the cofounder of the CIA-backed data analytics firm has maintained that personal riches were of little importance to him, despite associating with some of the world’s wealthiest to raise funds for his company.

  • Civil Rights

    • Don’t Believe What the Government Says About Barrett Brown

      On January 22, jailed American journalist Barrett Brown will finally learn his sentence. This had been expected to happen last month, on December 16, but the government unleashed a torrent of exhibits, supposedly to demonstrate “relevant conduct”, and wasted the day with testimony from an FBI agent, eventually leading the judge, Sam A. Lindsay, to decide that he needed more time to make his decision.

      Judge Lindsay should sentence Mr. Brown to time served. The man has been in jail for 28 months now, and I’ve been advocating for him at each step of the way. By now, many people have heard his name, and much has been written about him. The popular perception of Mr. Brown is based on his work with Anonymous and his crowd-sourced research outfit Project PM. He’s noted as an activist who made an impact to exact greater transparency: helping to overthrow Middle Eastern dictatorships, and investigating private intelligence firms.

      Not a spokesperson for the group, but one who thoroughly understood its potential for collaboration and effecting change, Brown holds some Anonymous operations closest to his heart: OpTunisia, OpBahrain, the hack of HBGary’s Aaron Barr and the investigation that followed, which was termed OpMetalGear. He focused on the secret surveillance regime at a time when it was regarded as a paranoid conspiracy, as in before Snowden. Because of his activist brand of journalism, people messed with him – starting with security contractors and confidential informants, and rising to the FBI. This is all true and known information.

    • GCHQ captured emails of journalists from top international media

      GCHQ’s bulk surveillance of electronic communications has scooped up emails to and from journalists working for some of the US and UK’s largest media organisations, analysis of documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.

      Emails from the BBC, Reuters, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, the Sun, NBC and the Washington Post were saved by GCHQ and shared on the agency’s intranet as part of a test exercise by the signals intelligence agency.

    • Man says police probing Biden shooting ‘accosted’ him

      A Hockessin man arrested about 30 minutes after multiple gunshots were fired near Vice President Joe Biden’s Greenville home says he was “accosted” during an altercation with New Castle County Police.

      Rock Peters, 57, was not charged in connection with the shooting incident, The News Journal has learned. But he faces reckless endangering and resisting arrest charges after fleeing from an officer near the Biden estate and scuffling with two others just before 9 p.m., according to a police affidavit.

      “They’re lying through their teeth,” Peters said Monday night during an interview at his Hockessin home, saying the officers were the aggressors.

    • Why the CIA Is So Eager to Demolish Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling

      Midway through the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, one comment stands out. “A criminal case,” defense attorney Edward MacMahon told the jury at the outset, “is not a place where the CIA goes to get its reputation back.” But that’s where the CIA went with this trial in its first week — sending to the witness stand a procession of officials who attested to the agency’s virtues and fervently decried anyone who might provide a journalist with classified information.

    • Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab sentenced to 6 months in prison for a tweet

      In another tweet, the activist explained that he has to pay 200 BHD (£350) bail if he wants to stay out of prison until the appeal.

      Rajab, who is president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) was freed in May 2014 after serving two years in prison for his role in the pro-democracy uprising. He was arrested again last October and charged with publicly “insulting a public institution” on the microblogging site.

      The Bahraini ministry of interior said they summoned Rajab “to interview him regarding tweets posted on his Twitter account that denigrated government institutions”.

    • Government Pioneers Hairdresser Venue-Shopping in Jeffrey Sterling Case

      “There is no hairdresser privilege,” the judge presiding over the case, Leonie Brinkema, ruled.

    • Why the CIA Is So Eager to Demolish Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling
    • CIA’s Small World at the Jeffrey Sterling Trial: Racial Profiling and Leaked Identities

      While the jury will likely neither note nor learn of them, there were details from last week’s testimony in the Jeffrey Sterling trial that resonated with two other notable cases involving the CIA: the New York Police Department’s spying on Muslims and the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity.

    • First Published Book by a Guantanamo Prisoner Vividly Recounts Torture & Rendition

      The 466-page handwritten manuscript was written in his single cell at Camp Echo in 2005. The Guardian and Canongate Books worked together to publish a declassified version. It still was censored by the United States government, and 2,500 black bars appear throughout the text accentuating the criminality described vividly by Slahi.

    • Guantánamo Diary exposes brutality of US rendition and torture

      Memoir serialised by Guardian tells how Mohamedou Ould Slahi endured savage beatings, death threats and sexual humiliation

    • Dutch Court Blocks Extradition to US Over Torture Concerns

      A Dutch court on Tuesday blocked the extradition of a man accused of having fought against U.S. troops in Afghanistan, saying it could not be ruled out that the CIA had been involved in his torture after his arrest in Pakistan.

      Dutch court documents showed the suspect, a Dutch-Pakistani dual citizen named Sabir Khan, was tortured after his arrest by Pakistan’s ISI security service.

      He faces charges in New York of conspiracy to commit murder and of supporting al-Qaida.

      The court said the Netherlands could not transfer him because Dutch and international law prohibits the extradition of torture victims to countries that played a role in abuse.

    • Prison Dispatches from the War on Terror: Ex-CIA Officer John Kiriakou Speaks

      John Kiriakou is the only CIA employee to go to prison in connection with the agency’s torture program. Not because he tortured anyone, but because he revealed information on torture to a reporter.

      Kiriakou is the Central Intelligence Agency officer who told ABC News in 2007 that the CIA waterboarded suspected al-Qaeda prisoners after the September 11 attacks, namely Abu Zubaydah, thought to be a key al Qaeda official. Although he felt at the time that waterboarding probably saved lives, Kiriakou nevertheless came to view the practice as torture and later claimed he unwittingly understated how many times Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding.

    • John Conyers, who first proposed an MLK holiday, marks 50 years in Congress

      Four days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., a junior member of Congress introduced a bill to establish a federal holiday to honor the slain civil rights leader.

      Five decades later, the holiday is on the calendar, and that lawmaker, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), is now the longest-serving member of Congress.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Which of UK’s major ISPs will let you have exotic p0rn? NONE OF THEM

      Virgin Media, Vodafone and EE have promised to be more upfront with their subscribers about traffic management policies two and half years after rival, big name UK ISPs signed up to the voluntary “Open Internet Code”.

      The telcos have also vowed not to choke the services of competitors, such as over-the-top players – Microsoft’s Skype for example, and the BBC’s iPlayer.

      However, the code has long made it clear that it is perfectly acceptable for ISPs to throttle traffic to “manage” congestion or block sites and services based on a court order to, for example, cut off access to pirated material or to prevent illegal child abuse images from being served up on broadband networks.

      BT, Sky, EE, KCOM, giffgaff, O2, Plusnet, TalkTalk, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Media and Vodafone are signatories of the code, trade body the Broadband Stakeholders Group said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Failed MPAA / Xunlei Anti-Piracy Deal is Shocking

        After signing an anti-piracy deal with Xunlei last year the MPAA is already suing the Chinese file-sharing giant. What went wrong is unclear but documents obtained by TorrentFreak reveal the toughest and most shocking set of anti-piracy demands to be found anywhere on the planet.

      • Pirate MEP Proposes Major Reform of EU Copyright

        Julia Reda, a politician for the German Pirate Party and member of the European Parliament, has this morning released her draft report for the overhaul of EU copyright. In her role as rapporteur, Reda says that EU copyright rules are “maladapted” to the increase of cross-border cultural exchange facilitated by the Internet.

      • Reform Agenda for Overhaul and Updating of EU Copyright

        It would be something of an understatement to say that European copyright is a mess, with different rules applying in each of the 28 Member States, making cross-border cultural exchange and business hard to the point of impossibility. But worse than that inconsistency is the fact that European copyright is simply not fit for the digital age. There is now a huge gulf between what copyright allows, and what the public would like to do – and, in many cases, is already doing online, irrespective of the law. That was revealed in the results of the European Commission’s consultation on copyright last year – shown most dramatically in this interesting visual representation of the widely-differing views on various aspects.

        [...]

        As that small sample makes clear, this is pretty heady stuff. The copyright industries will doubtless fight very hard against practically everything here, as is their wont when any change to copyright in favour of the public is proposed.

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