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Links 23/7/2013: Linux Mint 15 “Olivia” KDE, Ubuntu Edge

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Project Aims to Invent the Photographic Light of the Future

  • Choices for Open Source Music Making Software Now Available in SoftwareReviewBoffin.Com
    Software review site Boffin, reveals its top free music making software for the year. Innovation, feature range and accessibility among the factors that determine Boffin’s choices.

  • The coming push for open source everything
    Frankly, I can't say I was surprised when I read that RIM's BlackBerry 10 transmits user email account credentials to RIM servers, which then log into the account. Obviously someone at RIM thought this would be a good idea, but anyone who does anything that requires keeping email private -- say, an executive discussing sensitive negotiation strategies with colleagues, or a doctor or other health care worker, or, well, just about everyone -- should be appalled that RIM covertly collects their username and password, then logs into the account.

  • NuPIC Open Source Project and Community Established at has been created as the home for the NuPIC (Numenta Platform for Intelligent Computing) open source project and community. The project was announced today in a keynote address at the OSCON open source conference.

  • Your Creative, Open Hackathon Is Ripe for Legal Challenges
    NASA’s Space Apps Challenge recently became the world’s largest open hackathon, with over 8,000 participants spanning 44 countries. Meanwhile, many of the features many of us use every day — sometimes more than once a day — such as Facebook’s Like button and Timeline, debuted at closed (internal, employee-only) hackathon events.

  • Universal Language – The Open Source Column
    NASA has ditched Windows on the International Space Station. But why was it ever there in the first place, wonders Simon?

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla moves Firefox OS to rapid release schedule
        SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Mozilla has announced that it will release updates to Firefox OS every three months, with security updates scheduled every six weeks.

      • Mozilla Unveils Highly "Aggressive" Release Schedule for Firefox OS
        Mozilla is busy aligning its entire company around its new Firefox OS mobile platform, which will even soon include embracing a new CEO focused on it. In its pursuit of the perfect cadence for new releases of Firefox OS, Mozilla has announced an aggressive rapid release cycle for improving the operating system. Specifically, it will make feature releases available to partners each quarter and deliver security updates for the most recent two feature releases every six weeks.

      • Top Mozillans dream of quarterly Firefox OS updates ... and users, too
        Mozilla hopes to pump out a new version of its smartphone Firefox OS every three months - and wants to lock mobile networks to this roadmap of updates.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Reality Check: OpenStack is Not the Next Linux
      Linux is wildly successful, free and open source software and represents the future of operating systems.

      OpenStack is wildly successful, free and open source software and represents the future of cloud computing.

      Therefore, OpenStack is like Linux.

      As much as it would be nice to wrap up the OpenStack cloud computing platform in a neat little bow and offer it up to the great gods of allegory, there are key differences in the basic origin stories of OpenStack and Linux that make the comparison a little strained.

    • Cloudant Merges BigCouch Database into Open Source Apache CouchDB
      In a move that promises to advance the development of open source Big Data and distributed storage technology, database-as-a-service (DaaS) provider Cloudant has announced the merging of its distributed database platform into the Apache Foundation's CouchDB project. The decision is a good example of convergence within the open source world, and could have an especially important impact on open source clustering technology.

    • We few, we happy few: Big boys dominate early stage OpenStack
      The large numbers of you who watched our recent Regcast All about OpenStack (catch it in the on-demand version if you missed it) show how much interest there is in the project. But no one pretends that OpenStack is anywhere near mature. It is a work in progress and in the short term it will mostly be visible in the service provider community.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Linux Gains Momentum
      In addition to those customers, Oracle's Engineered Systems, including Exadata Database Machine, Exalogic Elastic Cloud, Oracle Big Data Appliance, Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine, and Oracle Database Appliance, all run Oracle Linux.

      During Oracle's most recent fiscal quarter, Ellison reported that the Exa-class systems had their best quarter ever in terms of sales. Over 1,200 engineered systems were sold in the fourth quarter alone, in a year in which Oracle sold over 3,000 engineered systems in total.

      Coekaerts added that Oracle customers purchasing standard Oracle x86 servers have support for Oracle Linux included. Additionally, Oracle deploys many customers on Oracle Linux in Oracle Cloud and Oracle Managed Cloud Services.

  • Funding

    • T&M Turns to Open-Source, Kickstarter
      The field of test and measurement is set to benefit from open-source software applications if a Kickstarter fundraising project is successful.

    • Are donations effective for open source projects?
      The other day I came across a new initiative for funding open source development called the Bitcoin Grant. While interesting at first sight, I was wondering: How is this better than the traditional donation button most open source projects have? The Bitcoin Grant then seems to limit who can donate and how you can use those donations (you can’t pay rent with bitcoins just yet).

  • BSD

    • Interesting Features For FreeBSD 10
      While FreeBSD 9.2 is expected in about one month for release, further out in the pipeline is FreeBSD 10.0 and with it will come many new end-user features.

      It's not yet been determined when FreeBSD 10.0 will be released, but given their past release cadence, this next major FreeBSD operating system should arrive in 2014. Among the features so far include:

    • NAS4Free


  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • There Isn't Much To Show For The Open64 Compiler
      Over the weekend I heard from a frustrated developer that AMD has reportedly conceded in their support for Open64. AMD has been a big backer to Open64 in years prior as an alternative to using the GNU Compiler Collection. AMD has their own Open64 fork where they have support for the latest AMD CPU features. The most recent release of AMD's x86 Open64 compiler is version and this series introduced AMD "Piledriver" Family 15h support, AVX/XOP/FMA3/FMA4/BMI/TBM/F16C intrincs, improved performance, and was updated against trunk.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Khronos Publishes OpenGL 4.4 Specification
      Khronos unveiled today the OpenGL 4.4 specification as the latest industry-standard graphics API. OpenGL 4.4 delivers on buffer placement control, efficient asynchronous queries, shader variable layout, efficient multiple object binding, and a streamlined process for porting of Direct3D applications.


  • Fire Sale: Pope Francis Trades Indulgences For Twitter Followers
    For those of you who weren't raised Catholic (like me), or who don't have a sort of morbid fascination with religion in general (like me), perhaps I should explain what indulgences are. See, in the Catholic faith, there's a transitional period (not a place) called Purgatory, where the mildly-sinful undertake purification or punishment before admittance to Heaven. Should you commit no mortal sins, but some lesser sins, you go through this process which you can primarily complete only if enough people on Earth pray for your soul. So you better be nice to those around you, or you could be stuck experiencing the purification of inner-fire for quite a while. But, if you're not the kind of soul that enjoys such penance-flames, you can obtain indulgences. Indulgences are offered by the Church and they are essentially giant time-erasers for the period you're supposed to spend in Purgatory. You get them, according to Pope John Paul II, through "only the most important prayers and good works of piety, charity and penance."

  • New Gmail layout spawns targeted ads that look like emails
    Gmail's new layout doesn't just keep your inbox organized, it also gives Google the perfect opportunity to send you unsolicited email ads. These sponsored missives appear as highlighted entries under the Promotions tab, where you can also find deals and updates from online services you subscribe to.

  • 12 Silly Things People Believe About Computers
    Also, please note that when I talk about users I don’t mean folks who don’t know much about computers because they don’t use them all that much. For example if your work does not involve editing electronic files and using office suite and email then I wouldn’t expect you to be an expert. On the other hand, if you have been using Microsoft Word and Outlook on every week day from 9am till 5pm for the last 15 years the I’d at least expect you to know how to double space a document or set up an email signature. If you can’t do these things, and you have to call the help desk on average once or twice a week so that they can remote-in and do it for you, then perhaps you shouldn’t be in this line of work…

  • Every newborn deserves the royal treatment
    Having very recently become a parent, I finally have something in common with William and Kate apart from my British nationality. It was not an ‘easy’ birth, if there is such a thing. In short, our little girl got stuck and needed to be wrested out using a suction pump. Her head was temporarily cone shaped as a result which made her look like a comedy alien.

  • The inspiring moment Japanese commuters pulled together to push 32-TON train away from platform to free woman who fell on the tracks

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • ‘We become the SIM card’: 750 million mobile phones could be hacked in one minute
      Up to 750 million mobile phones around the world carry SIM cards that contain a programming flaw that could leave their owners vulnerable to fraud. The bug allows a hacker to remotely access personal data and authorise illegal transactions within minutes.

      The UN’s International Telecommunications Union is to send an alert to all mobile phone operators after being presented with “hugely significant” evidence of a design flaw by renowned German code-breaker Karsten Nohl.

    • Apple developer site targeted in security attack, still down
      Apple says its developer site was targeted in an attack, and that any information that was taken was encrypted. The site remains down

    • Exploiting Security Devices? Oh, the Irony

      Enterprises spend millions every year on security appliances intended to secure their networks. Yet many of those devices are themselves not secure.

    • Marshals Lose Track of Encrypted Radios Worth Millions
      The U.S. Marshals Service has lost track of at least 2,000 encrypted two-way radios and other communication devices valued at millions of dollars, according to internal agency documents, creating what some within the agency view as a security risk for federal judges, endangered witnesses and others.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Ex-MI6 boss threatens to expose secrets from Iraq ‘dodgy dossier’
      The former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, said he’s going to reveal new details behind the ‘dodgy dossier’ if he disagrees with the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry into UK’s role in the Iraq War.

      Dearlove provided intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) that was allegedly exaggerated and “sexed-up” by Tony Blair's government.

      The 68-year-old intelligence veteran has spent the last year writing a detailed account of events leading up to the Iraq War, which started in 2003. Initially, he intended to make his work available to historians after his death but Sir Richard told the Daily Mail that he could well change.

    • Ending the unmanned war: PM asked to drop plans to seek US drone tech
      As the government looks for alternatives to convince the US to call off its drone campaign in the tribal areas, the foreign ministry has asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to drop his plan to ask Washington for the transfer of drone technology from his list of options citing ‘legal implications’.

    • Snowden's Laptops May Hold 'Extremely Sensitive' Details About NSA-CIA 'Black Bag Jobs'
      Matthew Aid of Foreign Policy has published an excellent report detailing the secret intelligence gathering partnership between the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

    • Hacker targets Julian Assange and any country offering Edward Snowden asylum
      A hacktivist who calls himself "The Jester" (styled "th3j35t3r") has targeted NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and anybody who offers to help him.

    • How the NSA Is Using Cell Phone Data to Drone Civilians (In Pakistan)
      In late 2001, a National Security Agency analyst was asked to do something unusual. Instead of locating a target's cell phone to eavesdrop on his conversation, the analyst was asked for the phone's location in real-time. It was apparently the beginning of the NSA's role in the CIA's drone operations that, a new report compiled by Pakistan suggests, had killed nearly 200 civilians by 2009.

    • NSA uses phone signals for finding drone targets: Report
      The US National Security Agency (NSA) is using phone signals to track locations of militant targets in real time, a technology that has helped Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) locate targets for drone attacks, Washington Post reported.

      “The foreign signals that NSA collects are invaluable to national security,” the agency said in a statement released Friday to The Post.

      According to current and former counterterrorism officials and experts, NSA has become the single most important intelligence agency in finding al Qaeda and other enemy overseas after Septermber 2011 attacks in Washington.

    • Top U.S. officer outlines options for military force in Syria
      The top U.S. military officer said in a letter released on Monday that American forces could undertake a range of missions to help Syrian rebels if asked by the White House, from providing training to establishing no-fly zones or conducting limited attacks on military targets.

    • Former UK spy chief threatens to release "time-bomb" if Tony Blair's Iraq lies are not exposed
      Sir Richard Dearlove is considering releasing his own version of events if the Chilcot Inquiry does not reveal the lies Tony Blair used to take Britain into the illegal Iraq war.

    • TSA opening up PreCheck program to let more fliers speed through lines

    • Pakistan registers strong protest against drone strikes
      Pakistan on Wednesday lodged a strong protest against the recent drone strikes in North Waziristan that killed 18 persons, and demanded to end them on immediate basis, Geo News reported Wednesday.

    • Cornel West: Obama’s Response to Trayvon Martin Case Belies Failure to Challenge "New Jim Crow"
      For a response to President Obama’s comments on the acquittal of George Zimmerman and racism in the United States, we’re joined by Dr. Cornel West, professor at Union Theological Seminary and author of numerous books. On Obama’s remarks comparing himself to Trayvon Martin, West says: "Will that identification hide and conceal the fact there’s a criminal justice system in place that has nearly destroyed two generations of precious, poor black and brown brothers? [Obama] hasn’t said a word until now — five years in office and can’t say a word about a 'new Jim Crow.' … Obama and [Attorney General Eric] Holder — will they come through at the federal level for Trayvon Martin? We hope so — [but] don’t hold your breath. There’s going to be many people who say, 'We see this president is not serious about the criminalizing of poor people.'"

    • former Reagan administration official
      Amid recent American efforts to expand military presence within US borders, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was quick to describe the Obama administration as a routine violator of the U.S. Constitution. Dr. Roberts, who served as assistant secretary of the treasury in the Reagan administration and played a significant role in creating the economic system that became known as Reaganomics, cited the NSA spying scandal, the drone program and the assassination of American citizens as examples that the government continues to violate the will of the American people. The Voice of Russia contacted Dr. Roberts to inquire about his rather harsh critique of the US government. Read more:

    • At least 1 in 5 drone strike victims a confirmed civilian – leaked Pakistani records
      Leaked internal data produced by Pakistani officials documenting drone strikes on the ground reveal a high civilian death toll, countering US claims that the targeted assassination campaign results in “exceedingly rare” fatalities.

    • Leaked Pakistani Document Exposes Civilian, Child Casaulties Of Drone War
      The 12-page dossier was compiled for the the authorities in the tribal areas, the Bureau notes, and investigates 75 CIA drone strikes and five attacks by NATO in the region conducted between 2006 and 2009. According to the document, 746 people were killed in the strategic attacks. At least 147 of the victims were civilians, and 94 were children.

    • Cornel West on drone strikes: U.S is the George Zimmerman of the world
      “I was glad to see him bring it in,” West replied. “He said we must never rationalize killing innocent people in the name of self-defense, and then I thought about our drone policy, which makes us the George Zimmerman of the world in terms of killing innocent folk in the name of self-defense.”

    • How The CIA Can Send A Drone After Any Mobile Phone

      New revelations from the CIA's killer UAV program show how the agency is able to lock Predator drones on targets through their mobile phones--even after they have turned their phones off.

    • Exclusive: Leaked Pakistani report confirms high civilian death toll in CIA drone strikes
      A secret document obtained by the Bureau reveals for the first time the Pakistan government’s internal assessment of dozens of drone strikes, and shows scores of civilian casualties.

      The United States has consistently claimed only a tiny number of non-combatants have been killed in drone attacks in Pakistan – despite research by the Bureau and others suggesting that over 400 civilians may have died in the nine-year campaign.

      The internal document shows Pakistani officials too found that CIA drone strikes were killing a significant number of civilians – and have been aware of those deaths for many years.

      Of 746 people listed as killed in the drone strikes outlined in the document, at least 147 of the dead are clearly stated to be civilian victims, 94 of those are said to be children.

    • CIA to arm, train Syrian rebels: US Congressional panels
      The US House and Senate intelligence committees have approved CIA weapons shipments to opposition fighters in Syria, allowing the Obama administration to move ahead on the stalled program, senior congressional and administration officials said Monday, according to a report by the Washington Post.

    • Imprisoned CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Highlights ‘Dealing with the Stress of a Hostile System’
      Kiriakou was the first member of the CIA to publicly acknowledge that torture was official US policy under the administration of President George W. Bush. He was convicted in October of last year of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) when he provided the name of an officer involved in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program to a reporter and sentenced in January of this year. He reported to prison on February 28 (which was also the day that Pfc. Bradley Manning pled guilty to some offenses and read a statement in military court at Fort Meade).

    • Szczytno-Szymany airport in Poland - CIA and Polish nightmare
      Some international tourists to Szczytno are on the hunt of CIA torture traces in this town in north-eastern Poland with 27,970 inhabitants. Szczytno is situated in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodship, but was previously in Olsztyn Voivodship.

    • Open source software firm inks geospatial deal with CIA client
      Pioneering what is commonly being referred to as the “geospatial web or web GIS,” open source geospatial software firm OpenGeo has entered into an investment and technology development agreement with In-Q-Tel, Inc., a nonprofit investment firm that identifies commercial technology applications for the CIA and the broader U.S. intelligence community.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Obama Administration Stands Firm on ‘Dolphin-Safe’ Tuna Labels; Will the WTO Authorize Trade Sanctions?
      In a creative response to a 2012 World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued a new regulation supported by Public Citizen that strengthens the criteria for dolphin-safe labeling. Mexico, which challenged the policy, sought a rollback of the labeling program and has indicated that it may challenge the new regulation and seek WTO authorization to impose trade sanctions against the United States.

    • This Is What Fracking Really Looks Like

      Photographer Nina Berman had just started focusing on climate and environmental issues when she read an article about fracking and its connection to the possible contamination of New York City’s drinking water. Berman resides in New York and knew very little about how the controversial process of drilling for natural gas via hydraulic fracturing worked and decided to head to Pennsylvania for Gov. Thomas Corbett’s inauguration in 2011.

    • China can teach the West about tackling climate change
      China has become a popular target of environmental ire, drawing criticism for its soaring carbon emissions and perceived intransigence during climate negotiations.

    • A Norse Town Has Built an Artificial Sun to Light Up Its 5-Month Night
      The extreme far north (or south) isn't the only place on Earth that spends the winter locked in perpetual darkness. Beginning in September and ending in March, the Norwegian town of Rjukan is cast into a perpetual shadow. But no longer: This month, engineers are completing The Mirror Project, a system that will shed winter light on Rjukan for the first time ever.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Americans Finally Have Access to American Propaganda
      A law went into effect this month that ends the ban on U.S. government-made propaganda from being broadcast to Americans. In a remarkably creative spin, the supporters of this law say that allowing Americans to see American propaganda is actually a victory for transparency.

    • Monsanto hires infamous mercenary firm Blackwater to track activists around the world
      Remember the private mercenary army Blackwater that caused such a stir in Iraq during an unprovoked attack in 2007? Apparently, Monsanto and the controversial security firm are in bed together, described by blogger Randy Ananda as "a death-tech firm weds a hit squad." At this point, you might be wondering what in the world the GM seed giant needs with the services of a 'shadow army'? It appears as though the corporation found it necessary to contract with Blackwater in order to collect intelligence on anti-Monsanto activists as well infiltrate their ranks.

    • Group Focused on Goverment Ethics Puts Scott Walker on List of “Worst Governors in America”
      This week, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a non-profit government watchdog group, released a report – “The Worst Governors in America”, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker came in sixth in the top category. The report has an amusing circus theme and dubs Walker a "Ringmaster," but it is heavily documented and footnoted to reliable sources and primary documents. The criteria CREW used when assessing the nation’s governors were the following: corruption, transparency, partisan politics, pressuring public officials, cronyism, self-enrichment, scandal and mismanagement.

  • Censorship

    • David Cameron’s King Canute moment
      ...belief that he can clean up the web with technology is misguided and even dangerous...

    • David Cameron is issuing bad advice to parents
      Moving onto filtering today, David Cameron has created a very unfortunate debate about what he expects from Internet Service Providers.

    • Porn to be Blocked in the UK – “What’s new?” Say Pirate Bay Users
      Today prime minister David Cameron will announce that in future UK Internet subscribers will be required to opt-in if they want to be able to watch adult content online. The theory is that somehow Internet service providers will be able to stop such material having a ‘corroding influence’ on the nation’s children. But can the ISPs pull it off without collateral damage, and can we trust the government to stop there?

    • Online porn block: Legit sites to suffer from David Cameron's ignorance

      THE UK GOVERNMENT decision to impose automatic online pornography filtering via UK ISPs today could cause a multiplicity of issues, such as loss of trade for online retailers and a decline in trust from web users.

      UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced in a speech earlier today that after months of negotiation the UK government has been working with four UK ISPs - Virgin Media, Talktalk, Sky and BT - to roll out of an opt-in pornography blocking system in which people will have to choose whether their internet connection will be able to access adult content.

      "By the end of this year, when someone sets up a new broadband account the settings to install family friendly filters will be automatically selected," Cameron said. "If you just click 'next' or 'enter', then the filters are automatically on."

    • Cameron tells web companies to block child sexual abuse searches

    • Copyright As Censorship: NBC Pulls YouTube Clip From Senator Elizabeth Warren's Account
      In yet another story of copyright being used as censorship, a clip of Senator Elizabeth Warren responding forcefully to some dubious claims made by some CNBC hosts has been pulled from Warren's own YouTube account:

    • Pippa Middleton Takes Legal Action Against Parody Twitter Account
      You know from reading IT-Lex that in Britain, online defamation is no laughing matter. Over the weekend, the Independent posted news of a new, developing legal skirmish involving something that was said on Twitter. Perhaps you remember Pippa Middleton, whose sudden rise to fame threatened to overshadow her sister’s (royal) wedding. Last year, Pippa released a book of cooking and entertaining tips, entitled “Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends”. Why? Who knows – but it’s a question that was asked by The Telegraph. Reviews were savage, and apparently sales weren’t too strong either. Not surprisingly, this book opened Pippa up to some internet mockery, and that’s where the current issues arise.

    • Wham, bam, thank you UK internet porn ban
      UK PRIME MINISTER Dave Cameron is getting ready to announce a UK system for accessing adult content, an opt-in one that will probably be worse than no controls whatsoever.

      We had a whiff of this last week when ISPs were reacting to a letter from the government that asked them to kick in cash for craziness and consider making people think that the system would be default-on rather than an opt-in choice.

      The ISPs confirmed the letter and it was not well received, but the government decided to push on with its plans anyway.

    • David Cameron can't protect us from child porn because he doesn't understand the internet
      David Cameron's quest to clean up the dark corners of the internet continues. As I’ve written before, his policies are ignorant and technically implausible. His latest attack on Google and its competitors is showboating of the most transparent kind. The Prime Minister has scented blood after Google’s public shaming over tax and sees easy poll gains in pursuing the internet giant on the understandably emotive topic of child sexual abuse.

    • UK government to 'drain the market' of online child sex abuse

  • Privacy

    • Officials claim Edward Snowden did not gain access to NSA 'crown jewels'

      The security official said that NSA remains adamant that Snowden's revelations caused serious damage and believes that it knows the extent of the material that was downloaded.

    • German complicity in NSA PRISM surveillance programme

    • House Takes Up Bipartisan Syria, NSA Amendments

    • Internet rallies behind bill to unplug NSA surveillance funding
      Online activists hope to use Congress’ power of the purse to remove funding from domestic surveillance; they are rallying behind an amendment set for a vote on Tuesday.

    • Federal Services Data hub: mysterious, centralized database will contain tons of your private data
      While many news outlets are discussing the exposure of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, far fewer are discussing the “Federal Data Services Hub,” a database created by the Affordable Care Act.

    • Amash defense bill amendment seeks to defund overbroad NSA surveillance

    • Pols from both parties are all of a sudden demanding more transparency and pushing reforms. Thanks, leaks!

    • NSA locates cell phones even when switched off – report
      Never mind the non-stop collection of metadata and other sneaky surveillance tools being implemented by the US: a new report has revealed the National Security Agency’s spy powers allow the government to grab location data on just about anyone.

    • NSA growth fueled by need to target terrorists
      By September 2004, a new NSA technique enabled the agency to find cellphones even when they were turned off.

    • NSA Still Growing in Wake of 9/11
      The National Security Agency workforce has grown by at least one-third, to about 33,000 employees, since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the agency has expanded its headquarters and operations to rival the size of the Pentagon.

    • NSA North: Why Canadians should be demanding answers about online spying
      Last month's realisation that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) -- by means of a top-secret program codenamed "PRISM," has been trawling the audio, video, photo, email, and phone records of millions of Americans at home and abroad, serves as a stark reminder to those of us living in supposed "liberal democracies" that we've increasingly allowed state-surveillance mechanisms to become normalised and domesticated in a post 9/11 world.
    • NSA leaker Snowden gets Whistleblower Award in Germany
      Fugitive U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has become the winner of this year’s Whistleblower Award established by German human rights organizations, the German branch of Transparency International said in a statement, according to RIA Novosti.

      “This year’s winner of the Whistleblower Award is Edward Snowden,” said the statement posted on TI Germany website on Monday, July 22.

    • Rebelling Against the New Surveillance: Designers Pioneer the Future of Privacy

    • Why the NSA May Be Watching Paltalk
      Paltalk COO and President Wilson Kriegel discusses the company's growth and the NSA leaker Ed Snowden's mention of the company with Cory Johnson on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West"

    • The Guardian and Edward Snowden
      Britain’s Guardian newspaper has repeatedly declared its support for whistle-blower Edward Snowden to be put on trial in the United States.

    • An actual prism lets the NSA peek into live internet traffic
      One of the ways that the US National Security Agency taps into internet traffic is by going straight to the major data hubs that international traffic passes through. But secretly gathering that data isn't so simple: for every tap into the transmissions, some data is lost — and someone monitoring it for intruders is bound to notice.

    • ODNI attorney: 'Security and privacy are not zero-sum'
      Litt acknowledged that public discussion about these kinds of activities should have been taking place before Snowden leaked data revealing the programs' existence. Now exposed and with details at least partially disclosed, intelligence community officials are working on declassifying and publicly releasing program information, a plan for which Litt said he is optimistic.

    • NJ Supreme Court Says Cops Need A Warrant To Obtain Cell Phone Location Data

    • The US state vs whistleblowers - why Snowden is not alone
      The former American intelligence operative Edward Snowden is still trapped in transit. A previous NSA whistleblower tells Channel 4 News about the "ruthless" government campaign against him.

    • The Military Industrial Complex: We Know It Just Didn't Stick -- It Was Our Fault
      Decades ago, long before the Reagan and Bushes, the government had already expanded its domestic surveillance activity beyond that of any time in history. Created in 1952, the NSA immediately became the biggest American intelligence agency, with more than 30,000 employees at Ft. Meade, Maryland, and listening posts around the world. Part of the Defense Department, it is the successor to the State Department's "Black Chamber" and American military eavesdropping and code-breaking operations that date to the early days of telegraph and telephone communications.

    • WikiLeaks Party demands investigation into Telstra’s secret FBI deal
      The WikiLeaks Party has written to Australia’s Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim formally complaining about the recently revealed news that the telco signed a secret agreement a decade ago with US Government agencies such as the FBI and the Department of Justice that provided American law enforcement with access to all of the telco’s traffic passing in and out of the US.

      The text of Telstra’s deal was published last week by independent media outlet Crikey (PDF) and has caused consternation in Australia’s technology community, due to the breadth of the access provided by Telstra. Telstra was one signatory to the deal, which came about due to its joint venture Reach landing submarine telecommunications cable into the US.

    • DuckDuckGo or Startpage? is my search engine of choice.

    • What Happens When the NSA Shows Up with Hardware To Monitor Your Data Center
      We've covered the NSA revelations and subsequent government petitions at some length, but here's a new twist to the story of the government's pervasive monitoring program -- a view of the activity from an ISP's perspective. According to Pete Ashdown, the CEO of XMission, a Utah ISP, the company received its first FISA warrant "request" in 2010. There's no way to challenge FISA warrants and no legal recourse -- so Ashdown had no choice but to install a server, one of the NSA's own machines, in their data center.

    • CAIR Teams Up with Church to Sue NSA
      The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, apparently aware of the stigma associated with their names, has a new modus operandi: Work through interfaith partners whenever possible. The Council on American-Islamic Relations is using that tactic in its lawsuit against the National Security Agency, letting the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles take the lead.

    • US court renews permission to NSA to collect phone metadata

    • Germany used NSA help to snoop: Report
      Germany's two main intelligence services used a special surveillance programme of the US to collect vast amounts of communications data, even as the government continued to deny prior knowledge of such operations, a report claimed Sunday.

    • The Issue: Do we still have a right to privacy?
      Revelations about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs made by Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old ex-NSA contractor currently searching for a safe haven so he can escape espionage charges, have rocked not only U.S. residents, but the nation's allies as well.

    • Maduro: Venezuela will have "zero tolerance" for aggressions of Washington
      Nicolás Maduro reiterated his rejection and condemnation of the statements issued by Samantha Power, the Washington ambassador nominee to the United Nations, on Venezuela. "When she went to Congress, she went crazy and started to attack Venezuela just like that. She started to say that she is going to the UN to monitor and make clear what the repression on political and civil institutions in Venezuela is, and that she will address the lack of democracy in Venezuela"

    • Magazine reveals German government using NSA spying data
      Intelligence agencies in Germany and the US have been collaborating, according to a new report from a German magazine. The German government has been using bulk data collected by the National Security Agency.

    • How CIA Black Ops Teams Are Hacking Into Computers Worldwide
      In a detailed account on Foreign Policy, the Central intelligence Agency, in concert with the National Security Agency, has been demonstrated to conduct what is referred to as "black bag" operations, or the manual hacking of a target's computer by uploading spyware onto anything ranging from personal laptops to large-scale servers. When a specific target is out of the NSA's reach, it calls on the CIA to do, in its own parlance, a "surreptitious entry."

    • CIA and FBI Spied on Americans and Immigrant Refugees as Early as the Late 50s
      Since the early days of the Cold War, the FBI and CIA have bent the law to spy on American citizens, starting with Eastern European refugees who had sought sanctuary in this country, writes Richard Rashke.

    • The $8.2billion Google love rat: How boss, 58, of internet giant resisting online porn crackdown has a string of exotic lovers in his 'open marriage'... but DOESN'T want you to know about it
      He is the billionaire Google boss under fire for not doing enough to protect children from internet porn.

      Yet today The Mail on Sunday can reveal that 58-year-old Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, does fiercely protect one thing: his own private life, which is as colorful and complex as the ever-changing ‘Google doodle,’ which pops up each time the search engine is launched.

      In the past few years, the unlikely sex symbol with thinning hair and pockmarked skin has embarked on a string of affairs with younger women, including a vivacious television host who dubbed him ‘Dr Strangelove,' a leggy blonde public relations executive and a sexy Vietnamese concert pianist.

    • Millions Of Gigabytes Collected Daily UNDERWATER By US, England

    • A Letter to Edward Snowden
      I fear for you; I think of you with a heavy heart. I imagine hiding you like Anne Frank. I imagine Hollywood movie magic in which a young lookalike would swap places with you and let you flee to safety—if there is any safety in this world of extreme rendition and extrajudicial execution by the government that you and I were born under and that you, until recently, served. I fear you may pay, if not with your death, with your life—with a life that can have no conventional outcome anytime soon, if ever. “Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped,” you told us, and they are trying to stop you instead.

      Read more: A Letter to Edward Snowden | The Nation Follow us: @thenation on Twitter | TheNationMagazine on Facebook

    • Germany to probe ties with NSA

    • Germany to Review Spy Service's Ties With NSA
      Chancellor Angela Merkel's government on Monday promised a full review of Germany's intelligence services amid public anger over media reports that they were cooperating with their U.S. counterparts in domestic spying.
    • Germany to probe ties between NSA and its secret services

    • US looks even more like Stasi at news of Berlin cooperating with NSA
      Germans are very protective of their privacy because of the historical experience during the Nazi era and Stasi following the war, Annie Machon a former intelligence officer for MI5 has told RT.

    • Germany to probe secret service ties with NSA
      German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government on Monday announced a probe into ties between its secret services and US agencies whose sweeping online surveillance was revealed by fugitive intelligence analyst Edward Snowden.

    • The NSA And Big Data: What IT Can Learn
      Whatever your civil liberties stance, the technologies underpinning the National Security Agency's data collection and analysis programs, such as PRISM, spell opportunity for companies looking to connect a different set of dots -- identifying potential customers, spotting fraud or cybercrime in its early stages, or improving products and services.

      The pillars of the NSA's architecture are big data systems, particularly a distributed data store called Accumulo, machine learning and natural language processing software, and scale-out cloud hardware (we delve into all three in much more depth in our full report).

    • The NSA Crossed A Major Threshold When It Shared Data With A Drone Operator Over Afghanistan

    • The NSA could easily be re-tooled as a business platform: here’s how
      The US’ National Security Agency could be rejigged as a self-funded entity fulfilling its missions while saving taxpayers billions of dollars and also providing them with a host of useful services.

      Its substantial computing platform and its superior security knowledge could jumpstart new jobs and businesses if the agency had a commercial arm.

      The NSA is interested in the tiniest fraction of the data it collects, the bits about finding terrorists. The rest of the data is useless to it but it keeps it anyway. It’s a highly valuable resource to others.

    • NSA Spying - Civilization Means Privacy

    • Small Utah-based ISP forced to install black box that allowed feds to spy
      Pete Ashdown, the CEO of small Utah ISP XMission, says that in 2010 he received a Foreign Intelligence Service Act (FISA) warrant that allowed the federal government to monitor the Internet activity of one of his customers. Ashdown was also given a gag order, preventing him from talking about key details relating to the warrant. In an article on BuzzFeed, he explained how the government “wanted to come in and put in equipment on my network to monitor a single customer.” Federal agents came in and set up a duplicate port that tapped into the customer’s traffic and allowed the government to see everything the person sent and received. The executive noted that the ending result was “a little box in our systems room that was capturing all the traffic to this customer.”

    • Does the NSA Tap That? What We Still Don’t Know About the Agency’s Internet Surveillance
      Among the snooping revelations of recent weeks, there have been tantalizing bits of evidence that the NSA is tapping fiber-optic cables that carry nearly all international phone and Internet data.

      The idea that the NSA is sweeping up vast data streams via cables and other infrastructure — often described as the “backbone of the Internet” — is not new. In late 2005, the New York Times first described the tapping, which began after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. More details emerged in early 2006 when an AT&T whistleblower came forward.

    • NSA revelations reframe digital life for some
      In Louisiana, the wife of a former soldier is scaling back on Facebook posts and considering unfriending old acquaintances, worried an innocuous joke or long-lost associate might one day land her in a government probe. In California, a college student encrypts chats and emails, saying he’s not planning anything sinister but shouldn’t have to sweat snoopers. And in Canada, a lawyer is rethinking the data products he uses to ensure his clients’ privacy.

    • Criminal Document Disclosures & Foreign Asylum: Is Edward Snowden Christoph Meili?

    • Edward Snowden, Michael Meili, And The United States' Hypocrisy On Whistleblowers
      These actions might be dastardly all on their own, but when you measure them against how the United States has behaved when the shoes were on the other foot, you're left with a dose of hypocrisy that would kill most lab rats. Take, for instance, the case of Michael Christopher Meili, security guard in Switzerland (chocolate!) for UBS, their mega-bank. He revealed some of UBS' shady dealings when it came to the banking documents of Jewish clients during the holocaust.

    • Ed Snowden Explains To Former Senator, Who Emailed In Support, That No Foreign Gov't Can Access His Documents
      While the government and defenders of the NSA surveillance program continue to want to paint Ed Snowden out to be a spy and trying to "aid the enemy," public opinion continues to side with Snowden and believe that he's a clear whistleblower, calling attention to government excess. Glenn Greenwald has published a fascinating email exchange between Snowden and former Senator Gordon Humphrey, who apparently sent an unsolicited email to Snowden to thank him for exposing government wrongs.

    • All the Bills in Congress Attacking NSA Mass Spying & Restoring the Fourth Amendment

    • Op-Ed: NSA spying is here to stay
      In one sentence, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) dismisses public outcry over the NSA's global surveillance program — and reports NSA spying will continue.

    • NSA Surveillance Through the Prism of Political Repression
      July 28th marks the 35th anniversary of the political assassination of two Puerto Rican independence activists, Carlos Soto Arriví and Arnaldo Darío Rosado, in the infamous Cerro Maravillai case. This case, which was widely followed among Puerto Ricans, involved an agent provocateur that led the activists to an ambush that resulted in their brutal murder by paramilitary agents within the colonial police force. The event led to two investigations, the second of which revealed a conspiracy to cover up both the assassination plot as well as the destruction and manipulation of evidence carried out by the colonial police and justice department, and well as the federal justice department and FBI. Cerro Maravilla symbolizes for many the most outstanding recent example of repressive measures, from surveillance to political assassination, unleashed by US imperialism against the anticolonial movement in Puerto Rico.

    • Are You Reading My Emails? Former State Dept. Official Asks the NSA.
      What happens when a former top-level State Department official asks the government to reveal if it’s reading his communications? John Kael Weston on his adventures in our national-security state.

    • Expanding NSA facilities included an underground cellphone tracking team
      In a new report about the rapid expansion of the US National Security Agency, The Washington Post details a cellphone location tracking program whose existence the agency initially seemed to deny following disclosures from whistleblower Edward Snowden. As part of the agency's considerable post-9/11 growth, the NSA assembled a team in the basement of its headquarters in Fort Meade whose purpose is to track the locations of cellphones in real time, The Post reports.

    • ISP CEO Explains What Happens When The NSA Shows Up At Your Door
      He notes that this particular monitoring experience ended about two years ago, and he wonders if he'll hear from them for talking about the experience, but he's willing to face up to that. Of course, there are very, very few ISP owners who are willing to stand up and talk like this. Beyond Ashdown, the short list includes Nicholas Merrill and I'm not sure who else. If more internet companies were willing to speak up, it would help bring more clarity to what's going on, even if they faced some significant backlash in doing so.

  • Civil Rights

    • Lawsuit: Arizona college suspended student because she wanted English-only classes
      A nursing student at Pima Community College (PCC) has filed a lawsuit claiming that she was illegally suspended after she complained that her classmates were speaking in Spanish and orally translating English to Spanish so excessively that she was failing to learn.

    • The Trouble with Sanctions

    • US Courts Approve Indefinite Detention and Torture
      He can order anyone indefinitely detained. He can throw them in military dungeons. He can deny them due process and judicial fairness.

    • Obama's Detention Victory
      President Obama was a late convert to the Bush Administration's antiterror detention policies, but his latter-day position has now been vindicated. A panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals voted 3-0 last week to reject a lower court order that would have limited the ability of Congress to authorize the President to detain enemy combatants and those who aid and abet them.

    • Obama's War on Whistleblowers
      White is black and down is up. Leaks that favor the president are shoveled out regardless of national security, while national security is twisted to pummel leaks that do not favor him. Watching their boss, bureaucrats act on their own, freelancing the punishment of whistleblowers, knowing their retaliatory actions will be condoned. The United States rains Hellfire missiles down on its enemies, with the president alone sitting in judgment of who will live and who will die by his hand.

    • Fourth Circuit Guts National Security Investigative Journalism Everywhere It Matters
      The Fourth Circuit — which covers CIA, JSOC, and NSA’s territory — just ruled that journalists who are witnesses to alleged crimes (or participants, the opinion ominously notes) must testify in the trial.

    • Valet parked cars searched under TSA regulations
      She says she had no warning that someone was going to search her car after she left to catch her flight. So the woman contacted News10NBC.

      We found out it happened to her because she valet parked her car. Those are the only cars that get inspected.

    • Chris Hedges: ‘The Left Has Been Destroyed’
      “In 2008, in a piece you wrote, ‘Why am I a socialist?’ you wrote this: ‘The inability to articulate a viable socialism has been our gravest mistake,” host Paul Jay says to Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges during the latest installment of an interview on The Real News Network’s “Reality Inserts Itself.” He then asks: “Do you still believe that?”

      Hedges responds: “Yes, because we have allowed ourselves to embrace an ideology which, at its core, states that all governance is about maximizing corporate profit at the expense of the citizenry. For what do we have structures of government, for what do we have institutions of state, if not to hold up all the citizenry, and especially the most vulnerable?”

    • India: Urgent investigation needed as protests continue in Kashmir

    • The US Government Is Metamorphosing Into the Borg
      Two recent news reveal that Homo sapiens aren’t always loyal to a tyrannical regime. Edward Snowden opened the valve so that crude secrets could flow out of NSA’s pipelines—to benefit humanity. And, in protest of America’s “dirty wars,” Brandon Toy publicly resigned last week from his job at the US Defense contractor General Dynamics. In his resignation letter, published on Common Dreams, Toy wrote: “I have always believed that if every foot soldier threw down his rifle war would end. I hereby throw mine down.”

    • NSA 'phone snoop-op' helped CIA track militant targets for drone strikes in Pak
      The US led NSA's 'phone signal tracking' program has reportedly helped Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) locate militant targets for drone attacksin Pakistan.

  • DRM

    • Image Comics' solution to comic book piracy: remove DRM
      Speaking at Image’s annual Image Expo event, Stephenson declared that—effectively immediately—all digital comics sold through the company’s revamped website would be free of digital rights management (DRM) technology. This decision makes Image the first major comic book publisher to sell its digital content without the chains that have frustrated many readers for years.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Another judge has “serious question” about Prenda porn trolls
        The embattled porn-trolling operation known as Prenda Law is in hot water, largely due to a tough sanctions order penned by US District Judge Otis Wright. That order required Prenda to pay $81,000 in sanctions and also referred lawyers connected to the group to criminal investigators.

      • Finland Writes History With Crowdsourced Copyright Law
        Finland is the first country in the world in which Parliament will vote on a “fairer” copyright law that has been crowdsourced by the public. The proposal, which obtained the required 50,000 Finnish votes just a day before the deadline, seeks to decriminalize file-sharing and legalize the copying of items that people already own.

      • Citizens' initiative: Online copyright law revisions to go to Parliament
        A citizens' initiative for more reasonable application of copyright law passed the 50,000 signature mark on Monday, meaning it will go to Parliament for debate. Meanwhile, a call for a national referendum on continued EU membership expired without gaining sufficient voter backing.

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