03.12.15

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Links 12/3/2015: Two-week Catchup

Posted in News Roundup at 5:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Apple’s watch is just another data-gathering device

    Whether Apple’s watch fails or not — and that is a relative question — it matters not one whit to the company. This is just another device which will help to boost the company’s data gathering.

  • Nine reasons only a tool would buy the Apple Watch
  • Apple Watch May Be DOA As Cook Admits Battery Life As Low As 3 Hours

    The Apple Watch may be pretty… but you are going to need up to 8 of them to make it through a full day. While Tim Cook proclaimed 18 hours of “all-day battery-life” – itself not particularly impressive compared to competing products, hidden deep in Apple Watch’s product page is a little admission that battery life (in use) could be as low as 3 hours…

  • Apple Watch battery lasts as little as three hours

    Using new device that costs up to £12,000 for phone conversations means it will die after three hours, Apple admits in post buried deep on its product page

  • Pioneering tech blog Gigaom shuts down after running out of money

    Gigaom, the influential technology website founded by Om Malik nearly a decade ago, is no more. Although Monday saw a lot of new content on the site, including a flood of news and analysis from Apple’s event, the site’s management ended the day at 5.57PM PT by posting a message notifying readers that “all operations have ceased” as a result of the company becoming unable to pay its creditors.

  • Gigaom shuts down as it runs out of money

    One of the oldest and most prominent technology blogs Gigaom has shut down after running out of money.

  • Disney’s $1 Billion Bet on a Magical Wristband

    If you want to imagine how the world will look in just a few years, once our cell phones become the keepers of both our money and identity, skip Silicon Valley and book a ticket to Orlando. Go to Disney World. Then, reserve a meal at a restaurant called Be Our Guest, using the Disney World app to order your food in advance.

  • Noam Chomsky on Life & Love: Still Going at 86, Renowned Dissident is Newly Married

    NOAM CHOMSKY: I’m a very private person. I’ve never talked about my own life much. But, you know, I’ve—personally, I’ve been very fortunate in my life, with—there have been tragedies. There have been wonderful things. And Valeria’s sudden appearance is one of those wonderful things.

    AARON MATÉ: You said, after your first wife, Carol, died, that life without love is empty—something along those lines. Can you talk about that?

    NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, I could produce some clichés, which have the merit of being true. Life without love is a pretty empty affair.

    AARON MATÉ: And your own tireless schedule, keeping up with your lectures, writing extensive articles, and still tirelessly answering the emails, from correspondence from people around the world—when I was in college, I remember I wrote you several times and got back these long, detailed answers on complex questions. And there’s people across the globe who could attest to a similar experience. Do you feel a certain obligation to respond to people? Because nobody would fault you, at the age of 86 now, if you took more time for yourself.

    NOAM CHOMSKY: I don’t know if it’s an obligation exactly. It’s a privilege, really. These are the important people in the world. I remember a wonderful comment by Howard Zinn about the countless number of unknown people who are the driving force in history and in progress. And that’s people like—I didn’t know you, but people like you writing from college. These are people that deserve respect, encouragement. They’re the hope for the future. They’re an inspiration for me personally.

  • Hardware

    • How Intel and PC makers prevent you from modifying your laptop’s firmware

      Modern UEFI firmware is a closed-source, proprietary blob of software baked into your PC’s hardware. This binary blob even includes remote management and monitoring features, which make it a potential security and privacy threat.

    • Easy Way to Get Coreboot

      Replacing the proprietary BIOS firmware on most computers is a process that often can be frustrating. It’s possible that your computer could be rendered unuseable in the process. Back in 2010 I managed to get coreboot working on the Gigabyte GA-6BCX motherboard and although the process went fairly smoothly it did consume a fair bit of time. Fortunately we now have an inexpensive way of obtaining a ready to go coreboot computer.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Venezuelan Parliament Passes Law to Confront US Aggression

      President Nicolas Maduro said the country’s National Assembly elections must go on “whether the empire wants it or not.”

      The Venezuelan National Asembly passed the enabling law that allows the country’s president to act to protect the peace against recent threats made by the United States government of Barack Obama.

      The bill, which received 99 percent of votes from the Great Patriotic Pole alliance – the largest voting bloc in the assembly, will now move to a second reading for final approval. The move follows a statement by the United States government Monday that declared Venezuela a “threat to the national security” and calling a national emergency.

    • The Possibility of Escape

      During my four stints in U.S. federal prisons, I’ve witnessed long-term inmates’ unconquerably humane response when a newcomer arrives. An unscripted choreography occurs and the new prisoner finds that other women will help her through the trauma of adjustment to being locked up for many months or years. Halfway through a three-month sentence myself, I’m saddened to realize that I’ll very likely adapt to an outside world for which these women, and prisoners throughout the U.S. prison system, are often completely invisible.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Associated Press sues State Dept. over Hillary Clinton’s emails

      “The Associated Press filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the State Department to force the release of email correspondence and government documents from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.”

      Good for the AP. If only more news organizations would do more of this.

      “The legal action comes after repeated requests filed under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act have gone unfulfilled. They include one request AP made five years ago and others pending since the summer of 2013.’

    • Trade Secrets: We Must Act To Protect Whistleblowers!

      In late April 2015, the “trade secrets” directive will be discussed in the European Parliament. Having already given in to the pressure of journalists to remove the article on trade secrets in the French Macron Bill, La Quadrature du Net, Pila and a number of other organisations now call on president François Hollande and European representatives to defend whistleblowers, to define and protect their status and to ensure the necessary means are provided for judiciary follow-up on the crimes and offences that are revealed. The situation of whistleblowers, such as Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning, is often dramatic and they must be protected and their safety guaranteed in order to safeguard fundamental freedoms.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • Romanian spy chief warns of ‘threat for EU from Hungary’

      Eduard Hellvig, currently a conservative MEP who has been chosen by President Klaus Iohannis to be the next chief of the Romanian foreign intelligence service, has published an article in which he warns of the “threat for the EU” from the rapprochement of Hungary with Moscow.

    • Can the NSA Break Microsoft’s BitLocker?

      The Intercept has a new story on the CIA’s — yes, the CIA, not the NSA — efforts to break encryption. These are from the Snowden documents, and talk about a conference called the Trusted Computing Base Jamboree. There are some interesting documents associated with the article, but not a lot of hard information.

    • The CIA Campaign to Steal Apple’s Secrets
    • Quebec resident Alain Philippon to fight charge for not giving up phone password at airport

      A Quebec man charged with obstructing border officials by refusing to give up his smartphone password says he will fight the charge.

      The case has raised a new legal question in Canada, a law professor says.

      Alain Philippon, 38, of Ste-Anne-des-Plaines, Que., refused to divulge his cellphone password to Canada Border Services Agency during a customs search Monday night at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

    • America’s real secret revealed: Clinton, Petraeus & how elites protect their legacies

      That’s one of the conclusions American citizens might draw from two stories that broke this week: that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had conducted official State Department business using emails run through her own server, and that former CIA Director David Petraeus had kept 8 notebooks of unbelievably sensitive secrets in a rucksack in his home and, when she asked, had shared them with his mistress, Paula Broadwell.

    • Canadian Spies Collect Domestic Emails in Secret Security Sweep

      Canada’s electronic surveillance agency is covertly monitoring vast amounts of Canadians’ emails as part of a sweeping domestic cybersecurity operation, according to top-secret documents.

    • Snowden Calls for Disobedience Against the U.S. Government
    • DOJ Inspector General Complains About FBI Foot-dragging

      Late last week, the Inspector General (IG) for the Justice Department sent a letter to Congress complaining of the FBI’s refusal to set a timeline for turning over documents related to an IG investigation of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s use of subpoenas to gain access to and use certain bulk data collections.

    • FBI Now Holding Up Michael Horowitz’ Investigation into the DEA

      Man, at some point Congress is going to have to declare the FBI legally contemptuous and throw them in jail.

      They continue to refuse to cooperate with DOJ’s Inspector General, as they have been for basically 5 years. But in Michael Horowitz’ latest complaint to Congress, he adds a new spin: FBI is not only obstructing his investigation of the FBI’s management impaired surveillance, now FBI is obstructing his investigation of DEA’s management impaired surveillance.

    • NZ Prime Minister: ‘I’ll Resign If GCSB Did Mass Surveillance’; GCSB: ‘We Did Mass Surveillance’; NZPM: ‘Uh…’

      Back in the summer of 2013 as the various “Five Eyes” countries were still reeling from the initial Snowden disclosures, New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key promised to resign if it was ever proven that the GCSB (New Zealand’s equivalent to the NSA) had engaged in mass surveillance of New Zealanders — but with some caveats. He later said that he meant if it was proven that there was illegal surveillance going on. But of course, what’s legal can vary based on who’s in charge. Either way, late last year there were Snowden documents that proved GCSB regularly scooped up data on New Zealanders, and Key reacted to it by calling Glenn Greenwald “a loser.” Not quite the resignation you might have expected.

    • UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says it’s time to ‘move on’ from Snowden

      The documents revealed today show how New Zealand’s spy agencies hacked into government-linked mobile phones in Asia to install malicious software to route data to the NSA.

      The disclosure shows how an “Asean target”, or member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, was targeted by the GCSB in March 2013.

    • U.K. Parliament says banning Tor is unacceptable and impossible

      Just months after U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said he wants to ban encryption and online anonymity, the country’s parliament today released a briefing saying that the such an act is neither acceptable nor technically feasible.

      The briefing, issued by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, specifically referenced the Tor anonymity network and its notorious ability to slide right around such censorship schemes.

    • Germany pushes for widespread end-to-end email encryption

      The De-Mail initiative dates back to 2011, when the German government decided to push for trusted email both as an e-government tool and as a way to cut down on official and corporate paper mail. De-Mail addresses are provided by the likes of Deutsche Telekom and United Internet’s Web.de, and those signing up for them need to show a form of official identification to do so. Receiving emails on a De-Mail address is free but sending them costs money.

    • Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales slams federal government data retention laws

      Wikipedia co-founder and influential technology entrepreneur Jimmy Wales has slammed the federal government’s plan to make telcos store the metadata of every phone and internet user as a “human rights violation” and is considering the launch of his new mobile service in Australia.

    • Photo’s from mass surveillance, liberty & activism talk
    • Privacy, digital rights and social equality.

      Something that doesn’t really get aired very often is that dragnet surveillance can – and should – be flagged as a social issue, with serious implications for social mobility. The tools that are available to circumvent this kind of surveillance are overwhelmingly out of reach of poor, marginalised groups; the ability to buy in to specialist encryption like PGP is, sadly, still overwhelmingly out of reach for many people. Reliable encryption remains firmly in the realm of the IT savvy: people with a certain level of education, money and, to use a hot-button word: privilege (sorry).

    • Wikipedia Sues NSA Over Dragnet Internet Surveillance

      The lawsuit argues that this broad surveillance, revealed in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, violates the First Amendment by chilling speech and the open exchange of information, and that it also runs up against Fourth Amendment privacy protections.

    • CIA ‘tried to crack security of Apple devices’

      The CIA led sophisticated intelligence agency efforts to undermine the encryption used in Apple phones, as well as insert secret surveillance back doors into apps, top-secret documents published by the Intercept online news site have revealed.

    • You Can Watch ‘Citizenfour’ Online Right Now For Free
    • THE “SNOWDEN IS READY TO COME HOME!” STORY: A CASE STUDY IN TYPICAL MEDIA DECEIT

      Most sentient people rationally accept that the U.S. media routinely disseminates misleading stories and outright falsehoods in the most authoritative tones. But it’s nonetheless valuable to examine particularly egregious case studies to see how that works. In that spirit, let’s take yesterday’s numerous, breathless reports trumpeting the “BREAKING” news that “Edward Snowden now wants to come home!” and is “now negotiating the terms of his return!”

      Ever since Snowden revealed himself to the public 20 months ago, he has repeatedly said the same exact thing when asked about his returning to the U.S.: I would love to come home, and would do so if I could get a fair trial, but right now, I can’t.

      His primary rationale for this argument has long been that under the Espionage Act, the 1917 statute under which he has been charged, he would be barred by U.S. courts from even raising his key defense: that the information he revealed to journalists should never have been concealed in the first place and he was thus justified in disclosing it to journalists. In other words, when U.S. political and media figures say Snowden should “man up,” come home and argue to a court that he did nothing wrong, they are deceiving the public, since they have made certain that whistleblowers charged with “espionage” are legally barred from even raising that defense.

      [...]

      CNN’s “expert” is apparently unaware that the DOJ very frequently — almost always, in fact — negotiates with people charged with very serious felonies over plea agreements. He’s also apparently unaware of this thing called “asylum,” which the U.S. routinely grants to people charged by other countries with crimes on the ground that they’d be persecuted with imprisonment if they returned home.

    • Edward Snowden archive aims to ‘piece together the bigger picture’

      A Canadian team has created a searchable database of all the publicly released classified documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in hopes it’ll help citizens better understand the complex files trickling out around the world.

      The Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the Politics of Surveillance Project at University of Toronto’s faculty of information revealed the archive on Wednesday before hosting a live Q&A with Snowden, the U.S. whistleblower and subject of the Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour.

      “What we’re hoping this database can do is start to piece together the bigger picture,” said Laura Tribe, CJFE’s national and digital programs lead.

    • EFF, ACLU, Other NGOs Urging U.N. to Create Privacy Watchdog

      A coalition of 63 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world are calling on national governments to support the establishment of a special rapporteur on the right to privacy within the United Nations.

  • Civil Rights

    • Michigan Attorney General Slaps Reporter With Bogus Subpoenas For Doing Her Job

      That makes no sense at all. Defending the state from lawsuits should never involve sending reporters subpoenas demanding all of their notes. It’s a clear intimidation technique that violates all basic concepts of a free and open press.

    • Porn and the patrol car—one cop’s 2 hour-a-day habit

      Pornography, though prevalent in the modern world, still isn’t the sort of thing one expects to see while waiting in traffic behind a cop car. That’s especially true at the busiest downtown intersection of a wealthy Chicago suburb like Wheaton, Illinois, best known for being the home of an evangelical Christian college once attended by Billy Graham.

      But pornography is exactly what an irate Wheaton resident named Robin said he witnessed. On the morning of September 18, 2013, while sitting in his conversion van and waiting for a stoplight to change, Robin found himself directly behind Wheaton Police squad car 359. The height of his seat gave him a perfect view through the rear windshield of the squad car, and he could see the car’s mobile data computer displaying “scrolling pictures of completely naked women.”

    • AG backs off subpoenas over inmates’ allegations

      Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office ordered and then withdrew three subpoenas of journalists reporting on a juvenile prisoner abuse lawsuit against the state, including one seeking a reporter’s notes from interviewing inmates inside two state prisons.

    • Michigan AG withdraws subpoenas against Michigan Radio, Huffington Post

      Michigan’s Attorney General’s office has decided to withdraw subpoenas it served on news media outlets, including Michigan Radio.

    • Man who posed for his driver’s licence with a PASTA STRAINER on his head is told he must have his photo retaken… but he claims it’s just discrimination against the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

      A follower of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster claims he was discriminated against when he was told he may no longer wear a colander on his head in a driver’s licence photo.

      Last year, Preshalin Moodley, 20, was issued a provisional driver’s licence by staff at Service NSW Parramatta, in Sydney’s west.

      He was photographed for the licence wearing the spaghetti strainer on his head after asking staff whether it was OK to wear a religious symbol.

    • Jeff Bezos relies on lowly grunts like me: Life as a cog in the Amazon machine

      In my father’s capitalism, employees were nurtured by their company and encouraged to learn new skills. Today’s major corporations hire disposable temp workers to do the work of a full-time employee, without the obligation of providing benefits. Temp workers are familiar with dead ends: They are hired with a predetermined exit date. The moment they feel comfortable in a role, the contract expires and it’s on to the next job.

    • Tony Robinson Killing Highlights Wisconsin’s Racial Inequities

      Soon after becoming governor in 2011, Scott Walker eliminated funding for the state’s first program to track and remedy Wisconsin’s worst-in-the-country rate of racial disparities. The program, aimed at monitoring racial profiling during traffic stops, had only taken effect one month earlier, and Walker declared that the repeal “allows law enforcement agencies to focus on doing their jobs.”

    • How Thatcher’s Government Covered Up a VIP Pedophile Ring

      A newspaper editor was handed startling evidence that Britain’s top law enforcement official knew there was a VIP pedophile network in Westminster, at the heart of the British government. What happened next in the summer of 1984 helps to explain how shocking allegations of rape and murder against some of the country’s most powerful men went unchecked for decades.

    • Atheist Group Blasts ‘Absurd’ Decision to Censor Its Easter Billboards

      The group American Atheists addressed the controversy surrounding its billboards in Nashville, Tennessee by pointing out that it’s hypocritical of the company to censor the group’s advertising when Christian groups routinely promote antigay, pro-religion messages in their own publicity materials.

      In an interview with Raw Story, American Atheists’ Danielle Muscato said, “This is just absurd. It’s just because we’re atheists. It’s discriminatory.”

    • Ferguson police report: Most shocking parts

      Summer of 2012. A 32-year-old African-American was cooling off in his car after a basketball game in a public park.

      What comes next is a series of civil rights violations described in the Justice Department report that resulted in the man losing his job as a federal contractor.

      A Ferguson police officer demands the man’s Social Security number and identification before accusing him of being a pedophile and ordering the man out of his car.

      When the officer asked to search the man’s car, the 32-year-old refused, invoking his constitutional right.

      The response? The officer arrested the man at gunpoint, slapped him with eight charges, including for not wearing a seat belt, despite the fact that he was sitting in a parked car. The officer also cited him for “making a false declaration” because he gave his name as ‘Mike’ instead of ‘Michael.’

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC approves net neutrality rules, reclassifies broadband as a utility

      It’s a good day for proponents of an open internet: The Federal Communications Commission just approved its long-awaited network neutrality plan, which reclassifies broadband internet as a Title II public utility and gives the agency more regulatory power in the process. And unlike the FCC’s last stab at net neutrality in 2010, today’s new rules also apply to mobile broadband. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler laid out the basic gist of the plan earlier this month — it’ll ban things like paid prioritization, a tactic some ISPs used to get additional fees from bandwidth-heavy companies like Netflix, as well as the slowdown of “lawful content.” But now Wheeler’s vision is more than just rhetoric; it’s something the FCC can actively enforce.

    • FCC votes to protect the internet with Title II regulation

      Net neutrality has won at the FCC. In a 3-to-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission today established a new Open Internet Order that implements strict net neutrality rules, including prohibitions on site and app blocking, speed throttling, and paid fast lanes.

    • Net neutrality is only the beginning of an open internet

      Net neutrality is the principle of making sure that your internet service provider doesn’t make it easier for you to access one service over another – the Guardian over the Telegraph, say – or otherwise distorting your use of internet services just because someone dropped a few extra quid in their pocket.

    • Latest Net Neutrality proposal in the EU: a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • How Corporate Sovereignty In Trade Agreements Can Force National Laws To Be Changed

      As we noted recently, one of the most worrying aspects of corporate sovereignty chapters in trade agreements is the chilling effect that they can have on future legislation. That’s something that the supporters of this investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism never talk about. What they do say, though, is that corporate sovereignty cannot force governments to change existing laws.

    • TTIP Updates – The Glyn Moody blogs
    • Copyrights

      • Copyright In Brussels: Two Reports, More Than Meets the Eye

        Just as the Julia Reda report (GREEN/EFA – DE MEP) on copyright reform was being discussed this week in the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI), another report was examined today by the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT). The latter concerns the reinforcement of the “Intellectual Property” rights, and contains a number of disturbing points regarding repression and enforcement that bring back to mind highly contested provisions from the ACTA agreement, and encourages an extra-legislative approach to fighting “commercial scale counterfeiting”. Citizens should get ready to mobilise on a large scale, both to support the positive evolutions of the Reda report, and to denounce the dangerous proposals pushed by the European Commission and some Member States, among which France.

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DecorWhat Else is New


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  5. On the 'Peak Hacker' Series

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  6. Links 23/1/2022: First RC of Linux 5.17 and Sway 1.7 Released

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  7. Peak Code — Part III: After Code

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  9. Links 23/1/2022: MongoDB 5.2, BuddyPress 10.0.0, and GNU Parallel 20220122

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  10. A Parade of Fake News About the UPC Does Not Change the General Consensus or the Simple Facts

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  13. Links 22/1/2022: Skrooge 2.27.0 and Ray-Tracing Stuff

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  14. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 21, 2022

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  15. Peak Code — Part II: Lost Source

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  19. Links 21/1/2022: RISC-V Development Board and Rust 1.58.1

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  20. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 20, 2022

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  24. Links 20/1/2022: 'Pluton' Pushback and Red Hat Satellite 6.10.2

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  25. The Web is a Corporate Misinformation/Disinformation Platform, Biased Against Communities, Facts, and Science

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  27. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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  28. Links 20/1/2022: Linuxfx 11.1 WxDesktop 11.0.3 and FreeIPMI 1.6.9 Released

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