08.06.15

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Links 6/8/2015: DebConf15, LibreOffice 5

Posted in News Roundup at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security advisories
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • bad robot

      The best part of running your own server is definitely reviewing the logs.

    • MVEL as an attack vector

      Java-based expression languages provide significant flexibility when using middleware products such as Business Rules Management System (BRMS). This flexibility comes at a price as there are significant security concerns in their use. In this article MVEL is used in JBoss BRMS to demonstrate some of the problems. Other products might be exposed to the same risk.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Brookings Institute Plan to Liquidate Syria

      Here’s your US foreign policy puzzler for the day: When is regime change not regime change?

      When the regime stays in power but loses its ability to rule. This is the current objective of US policy in Syria, to undermine Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s ability to govern the country without physically removing him from office. The idea is simple: Deploy US-backed “jihadi” proxies to capture-and-hold vast sections of the country thereby making it impossible for the central government to control the state. This is how the Obama administration plans to deal with Assad, by making him irrelevant. The strategy is explained in great detail in a piece by Michael E. O’Hanlon at the Brookings Institute titled “Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war”.

    • Imperialist powers prepare another military intervention in Libya

      A joint US-European mission to Libya involving soldiers from six countries is being hatched under the pretext of combating Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and with the aim of establishing a pliant pro-Western government and “stabilising” the country.

    • Jeremy Corbyn: Tony Blair could face war crimes trial over ‘illegal Iraq invasion’

      Tony Blair could be made to stand trial for war crimes, according to the current Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn.

      The veteran left winger said the former prime minister was reaching the point when he was going to have to deal with the consequences of his actions with the coming Chilcot inquiry report.

      “I think it was an illegal war,” he said in an interview with BBC2′s Newsnight adding that former UN secretary general had confirmed that. “Therefore he (Blair) has to explain that,” Corbyn said.

    • MH370: Reunion debris is from missing plane

      Part of the aircraft wing found on Reunion Island is from the missing MH370 plane, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has confirmed.

      Mr Najib said international experts examining the debris in France had “conclusively confirmed” it was from the aircraft.

      The Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 239 people veered off course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Bombshell Study Reveals Methane Emissions Hugely Underestimated

      In a paper published at Energy & Science Engineering, expert and gas industry consultant Touché Howard argues that a much-heralded 2013 study by the University of Texas relied on a faulty measurement instrument, the Bacharach Hi-Flow Sampler (BHFS), causing its findings to low-ball actual emission rates “by factors of three to five.”

  • Finance

    • How much will the London Tube strike cost the economy?

      The unions did not make themselves popular with business leaders in the capital when they announced 24-hour action starting on Wednesday from 6.30pm. The move follows a previous 24-hour stoppage in July.

    • 4 Reasons it’s Kicking Off on the London Underground

      The four unions organising on London Underground – RMT, TSSA, ASLEF, and Unite – have balloted their members for strikes. ASLEF’s ballot has been returned with a 98% majority in favour of strikes on an 81% turnout, and the union has scheduled a 24 hour strike over 8/9 July. The three other unions have their ballots due back on 30 June, and are almost certain to coordinate with ASLEF’s date if they receive majorities in favour of strike action. Coordinated action by all four Tube unions is almost unprecedented.

    • Tube strike: how to get underground whinging off Facebook, Twitter and rest of social media

      You can’t do anything about the strikes, but you can banish the complaints from your social networks.

      With some tweaks to your settings and a couple of browser extensions, you can easily get rid of the most annoying posts.

    • #TubeStrike: Why I’ll be striking over compulsory all-night shifts

      I’m a ticket officer and station assistant on London Underground, and I’ll be taking 24 hour strike action this evening alongside members of my union, TSSA, and unions representing other tube staff, ASLEF, RMT and Unite. We’re in dispute over the move to all-night running at weekends, starting in September.

      That’s not because we oppose all night trains at weekends. They’re a great idea, and will give London a real boost. What we oppose is the way this is being rushed in to meet political aims, without thought for tube workers’ family lives, and without the negotiation that could help find a fairer way.

      I currently work 35 to 40 hours a week, doing shifts of 7 1/2 hours. Currently they start as early as 5am, and finish as late as 1am. The changes London Underground Ltd wants won’t mean me working more hours, but they will alter my shift patterns, making me work more unsocial hours to cover the new all-night shifts, some of which would be 12 hours long.

    • Against the Tube strike? Then try spending 15 years as a train driver like I have

      Since 2001 my hours have become less social, my breaks shorter, and my weekends are about to become almost non-existent

    • Tube strike: Six misconceptions about the Underground workers’ action debunked

      As London gears up to weather another Tube strike, misconceptions about the strikers – and their industrial action – are gaining pace.

      A spokesperson for Unite, one of the four unions taking part in the strike across London, explained why their members were striking and what the action really meant.

    • How Closely Connected are the Most Powerful Corporations in America?

      Conspiracy theorists allege that the world’s most rich and powerful people have secret meetings at places like Bilderberg or Bohemian Grove, or that one can find rooms on Wall Street or in DC where world-changing deals go down amidst a cloud of cigar smoke.

      While there is still debate as to the true extent of the above claims, even the most skeptical of us can agree that the most powerful executives between Wall Street and the biggest corporations in America are intimately connected. Government officials are also in that web, but that’s a project for another day.

      The above visualization looks at the directors of 30 of America’s largest publicly traded corporations on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Of this group, there are a grand total of three companies that do not share board members with other companies in the index.

  • Privacy

    • Want To Know Why DHS Is Opposing CISA? Because It’s All A Surveillance Turf War

      This has led to some surprise among people who don’t follow this that closely, that “even Homeland Security” doesn’t like the bill. But that’s really ignoring history and what this fight has always been about. Going back many, many years we’ve been highlighting that the truth behind all of these “cybersecurity” bills is that it’s little more than a bureaucratic turf war over who gets to control the purse strings for the massive, multi-billion dollar budget that will be lavished on government contractors for “cybersecurity solutions.” That the bill might also boost surveillance capabilities is little more than a nice side benefit.

      The key players in this turf war? The NSA and Homeland Security (with the Justice Department occasionally waving its hand frantically in the corner shouting “don’t forget us!”). From the beginning, one of the key questions people have asked is “who gets the data?” Obviously, “none of the above” is probably the best answer, but of the remaining options, Homeland Security tends to be the least worst option out of a list of three really bad options. And, so far, the White House has repeatedly pushed to put DHS in charge, giving it more power over the budget. However, CISA does not put DHS in charge.

    • Coalition Announces New ‘Do Not Track’ Standard for Web Browsing

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), privacy company Disconnect and a coalition of Internet companies have announced a stronger “Do Not Track” (DNT) setting for Web browsing—a new policy standard that, coupled with privacy software, will better protect users from sites that try to secretly follow and record their Internet activity, and incentivize advertisers and data collection companies to respect a user’s choice not to be tracked online.

    • Spyware demo shows how spooks hack mobile phones

      Intelligence agencies’ secretive techniques for spying on mobile phones are seldom made public.

      But a UK security firm has shown the BBC how one tool, sold around the world to spooks, actually works.

      It allows spies to take secret pictures with a phone’s camera and record conversations with the microphone, without the phone owner knowing.

      Hacking Team’s software was recently stolen from the company by hackers and published on the web.

      Almost any data on a phone, tablet or PC can be accessed by the tool and it is fascinating how much it can do.

    • Comment: Genetic privacy, as explained by mystery poopers

      According to Nature, this was the first GINA case to go to trial since the law was enacted in 2008. Atlas tried to argue that the law didn’t apply in this case, because it wasn’t seeking medical information about its employees, just trying to find out who was pooping by the produce. Leaving aside that the mere fact someone is deliberately defecating outside a bathroom may signal some mental health issues, GINA says that it is “an unlawful employment practice for an employer to request, require, or purchase genetic information with respect to an employee.” (“Genetic information,” according to the statute, includes “genetic tests,” not necessarily limited just to ones that reveal medical information.)

    • Germany’s top prosecutor fired over treason probe

      A treason investigation against two German journalists claimed its first casualty Tuesday — the country’s top prosecutor who ordered the probe.

      Justice Minister Heiko Maas announced he was seeking the dismissal of Harald Range hours after the chief federal prosecutor accused the government of interfering in his investigation.

      Maas said he made the decision in consultation with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office, indicating that the sacking was approved at the highest level.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • “The Dream Of Internet Freedom Is Dying”

      So says Jennifer Granick, Director of Civil Liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, who gave the keynote address at the (somewhat infamous) Black Hat security conference today. Once, techno-utopians could say things like “The Internet treats censorship as damag e and routes around it” with a straight face. Today, though, the ongoing centralization of the Internet in the name of security and convenience “increasingly facilitates surveillance, censorship, and control,” to quote Granick again.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TPP Leaks Shows US Stands Firm That Companies Should Be Free To Abuse Patents & Copyrights

      Last week, as you might have heard, negotiators on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement gathered in Maui to try to finalize the agreement. Many believed that negotiators would more or less finish things up in that meeting. Earlier reports had suggested that everyone was “weeks away” from finishing, and many had said that the only thing holding back a final agreement was fast track authority (officially “trade promotion authority”) from the US government to make sure that the USTR could negotiate an agreement without further interference from Congress. And, as you’ll recall, Congress voted in favor of fast track after a long fight.

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Troll Asks Court to Ban the Term ‘Copyright Troll’

        Adult movie studio Malibu Media has asked the Indiana federal court to ban negative terms during an upcoming trial against an alleged BitTorrent pirate. According to the copyright troll, descriptions such as “copyright troll,” “pornographer” and “porn purveyor” could influence the jury.

      • RIAA Asks BitTorrent Inc. to Block Infringing Content

        The RIAA has asked uTorrent creator BitTorrent Inc. to come up with ways to stop infringement of its members’ copyrighted content. In a letter sent to BitTorrent Inc’s CEO, the RIAA’s Executive Vice President of Anti-Piracy points to BitTorrent’s DHT system and asks the San Francisco-based company to live up to its claim of not endorsing piracy.

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