Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 12/8/2013: Netrunner 13.06, New Sabayon

GNOME bluefish



  • Finland's Upper Secondary School Exams Going All-Linux
    "The Matriculation Examination Board of Finland has just opened an international hacking contest to find flaws and exploits in Digabi Live — the Live Debian based operating system to be used in the all-digital final exams by the year 2016. The contest ends on 1st of September, and the winners are about to scoop hefty hardware prizes, also available as cash."

  • The state of the Linux community
    What prompted me to write this article were two things. One, the recent donation drive on Tuxmachines. Two, the announcement about the closing of The H, which you may also have known as The H: Open Source, Security and Development. What is common for both these announcement is the obvious difficulty in having a sustainable financial model when running sites dealing in Linux.

  • TLWIR: Developing a GNU/Linux-Based Quality Assurance System
    I write about GNU/Linux for a living. It always frustrates me when I make a mistake that makes it through my review process to the actual published article. Most often, it is a spelling error that I missed during my proofreading process. I recently decided that I had to find a systematic method of identifying errors BEFORE publishing my articles.

    Quality assurance is the most important aspect of any endeavor, whether its is building safety systems into a state-of-the-art hybrid vehicle at Toyota, or writing articles that present accurate information about the GNU/Linux operating system.

  • I quit using Linux because…
    Once in a while, a prominent or not so prominent member of the Linux community makes a switch – for one reason or the other – to another operating system, usually to Mac OS X. The latest is Denis Koryavov, the former GUI Development lead for ROSA Laboratory, a Linux software solutions provider based in Russia and the publisher of ROSA Linux.

  • Desktop

    • GNU/Linux and That Other OS Head-to-Head In Uruguay
      The battle for Freedom continues in Uruguay, a country of more than 3 million in South America. You can see in this chart that every up-tick in adoption corresponds to a down-tick in M$’s OS. This is the only game in town on legacy PCs. GNU/Linux is slowly but surely winning share.

  • Kernel Space

    • Those unexpected regressions...
      A while ago, I read Ken Stark's delicious rant because of a kernel regression.


      Fortunately, my brother had won a set of CDs with a collection of programs that included some free software and demos. In one of them, there was StarOffice, which allowed me to create my presentation. When finished, I saved it both as an .sdd file and a converted .ppt file.

      That was a long time ago. I thought I had lost the presentation forever, but I found an old CD containing only the original .sdd thesis presentation. Logically, I wanted to see it.

      I had seen LibreOffice deal with .sdd files before, so, when I got the dialog asking me for a program to open the ancient presentation, I knew that something was wrong.

      There was simply no way to open it.

    • Linux 3.11-rc5 Celebrates 20 Years Since Windows 3.11
      Twenty years ago today Microsoft released Windows 3.11 while today Linus Torvalds released the Linux 3.11-rc5 kernel. He wished he could have released Linux 3.11 kernel final today, but that didn't happen.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Nouveau Receives Video Improvements
        A set of patches were published this weekend to improve the Nouveau NVIDIA Gallium3D graphics driver's handling of video playback acceleration for certain scenarios.

      • Linux's Common Display Framework Is Still Going
        The Common Display Framework (CDF) proposal for the Linux kernel that started last year is still being worked on. The CDF code is now up to its third revision, but this isn't likely to be the final revision before pushing it for mainline inclusion.

      • X.Org 7.8 Isn't Actively Being Pursued
        While there's an X.Org 7.8 Wiki page that mentions planned features like XWayland integration and video driver hot-plugging, there isn't active work towards putting out the X.Org 7.8 katamari nor specifically on delivering these mentioned features.

      • Precise vBlank Timing Comes For Nouveau NV50
        Precise vBlank timing support has been patched for the Nouveau DRM driver to support the NV50 through NVC0 NVIDIA GPUs (up to and through Fermi but not yet any NVD0 or Kepler hardware).

      • NVIDIA VP3/VP4 Engines Exposed On Nouveau For MPEG-2/VC-1
        The open-source and reverse-engineered Nouveau driver is now able to tap the more recent "VP3" and "VP4" video encode/decode engines on recent NVIDIA GPUs that make up NVIDIA's PureVideo HD technology. With utilizing these VP3/VP4 engines, there can be MPEG-2 and VC-1 acceleration using this hardware.

    • Benchmarks

      • The Top Features Of Phoronix Test Suite 4.8
        The official release of Phoronix Test Suite 4.8 (codenamed "Sokndal") is expected in the next week. With the imminent release of our industry-leading open-source automated benchmarking platform for Linux / BSD / OS X / Solaris, here's a look at some of the top features coming. Aside from just those carrying out the benchmarks, many of the features also benefit those viewing the results -- such as readers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma Media Center 1.1 RC Release

      • Krita Lime (2.8prealpha). New features overview
        Some time have passed since I was talking about new features of the current development version of Krita. But there are lots of them actually! Let me show them to you :)

      • Recalling the days from Akademy 2013 in Bilbao, Spain
        It has been almost 3 weeks since I’ve been back from Akademy 2013 which was held in the splendid city of Bilbao this year, and it would be foolish to not write about my experiences there, since memories however bright they might be, can easily fade away with time.

      • KDE Plasma Media Center 1.1 Up To RC Stage
        The first release candidate for KDE's Plasma Media Center 1.1 release is now available. Plasma Media Center supports viewing photographs, watching movies, and listening to music from one central KDE component.

      • KDE Lock Screen vs. Touch Input
        With respect to touch input, most parts of KDE can be handled very easily. However, one, imho, very important aspect, simply lacks all touch UI support: the lock screen (and also the login screen), right now, do not support touch UIs at all.

      • Release Party in Stuttgart this Friday
        This Friday (16th) there will be a release party in Wirtshaus Troll in Stuttgart starting at 19:00 to celebrate the awesome 4.11 release of the KDE SC. For more information (also about other release parties) check the Wiki

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 3 - Gone in 60 seconds
        I have never reviewed Mageia before and there is a reason for that. Mageia has always been my "Eleanor".

        The "Eleanor" reference comes from the film "Gone in 60 seconds" and refers to the one car that Nicolas Cage cannot steal because something happens when he tries to do so.

        Mageia has always given me that sort of a problem. I tried Mageia 1 and 2 without success and rather than write a bad review I decided to write nothing at all.

        Mageia though appears to be one of the more popular distributions and I can't just go on in this fashion. Therefore I have installed it, tried it and now I am going to tell you about my experience.

      • A proper alpha..
        Some of it is at least, we’ve released the live isos today which you should find on your nearest mirror.

      • Mageia 4 In Alpha, Lots Of Features Planned

    • Gentoo Family

      • Press Release: Sabayon 13.08
        Sabayon 13.08 is a modern and easy to use Linux distribution based on Gentoo, following an extreme, yet reliable, rolling release model. This is a monthly release generated, tested and published to mirrors by our build servers containing the latest and greatest collection of software available in the Entropy repositories. The ChangeLog files related to this release are available on our mirrors. Linux Kernel 3.10.4 with BFQ iosched, updated external ZFS filesystem support, GNOME 3.8.4, KDE 4.10.5, MATE 1.6.2, Xfce 4.10, LibreOffice 4.1, UEFI SecureBoot for 64 bit images (with bundled UEFI shell), systemd as default init system, Plymouth as default splash system and new high-dpi artwork are just some of the things you will find inside the box. Please read on to know where to find the images and their torrent files on our mirrors.

      • Sabayon 13.08 Brings Systemd By Default, UEFI Fixes

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Virtualization: LXC Application Containers
        Linux containers (LXC) is a lightweight virtualization technology build into Linux kernel. Unlike other virtualization technologies, the virtual machines (VM) are driven without any overhead by the kernel already running on the computer. In VM you run only the processes you need, most of the time without even going trough the regular SysV or Linux init. This means that memory is used very conservatively. These lightweight containers are sometimes called application containers, as opposed to distribution containers where you run a full distro starting with SysV/Linux init.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Lowers Ubuntu One Price to Boost Kickstarter
            Electronista reports that Canonical has adjusted its Kickstarter campaign for the Ubuntu Edge smartphone again to generate more high-dollar pledges. The company is now offering the smartphone for $695 instead of its full $830 price as originally set when the Ubuntu Edge Kickstarter project launched on July 22. Currently, there are 12 days left, and Canonical has only managed to generate just under $9.3 million out of the project's $32 million goal.

          • Canonical will win even if Ubuntu Edge doesn't make its $32 million
            It looks less and less likely that Canonical will raise the $32-million it needs for the Ubuntu Edge. So what! It won't matter in the long run.

          • Ubuntu 13.04 Enables Phased Updates – But What Are They?
            Earlier this week ‘Phased Updates’ were enabled for Ubuntu 13.04 – but what are they?

            Worry ye not: we’re here with a quick overview of what this sci-fi-sounding change is and what it will mean to you going forward.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Deepin 12.12.1 Review: Amazingly beautiful and soothing Ubuntu GNOME spin from China!
              I have used Deepin Linux earlier but never got time to actually pen down a review. It is based on Ubuntu but uses the GNOME shell rather than Unity and comes with great support for Chinese language. I am no expert in Chinese and hence, downloaded the 32-bit English version of Linux Deepin for this test.

            • Taking a look at gNewSense
              You might have noticed that posting in this space has been rather non existent for a while. That’s not because I’ve lost interest in FLOSS, nor is it because of a lack of ideas or desire to post. It’s just that things have gotten in the way.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Remotely control your Raspberry Pi
      Take control of your Raspberry Pi from your smartphone, tablet or PC, from anywhere in the world

    • Phones

      • Android

        • What Does “App” Mean?
          I think I’m going to start using the term “app” to mean “all the pieces you need to build to have a deliverable piece of software.” Because three-letter words are good, and anyhow that’s what the actual people out there who use what we build are starting to say.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Forrester: Tablets and 2017
        There it is. The world can and does accept tablets as legitimate PCs capable of doing almost everything and being portable besides.

      • Tablet PC, Tablet PC, Tablet PC
        That’s all gone now. When a retailer like Wal-mart has the temerity to use a term like “Tablet PC”, they are going off-script.

      • Acer to downplay Windows in favor of Android, Chrome OS
        Acer has told investors that it will reduce its emphasis on Windows PCs and laptops over the next few quarters in favor of devices based on operating systems from Microsoft's archrival Google.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google open-sources 2 cool Chrome Web Lab experiments as its year-long London exhibition ends
    Google has turned to GitHub to take two of its most popular Chrome experiments to the Open Source development community.

    If you recall last July, London’s Science Museum entered into a year-long collaboration with Google called Web Lab, a collaborative project featuring a range of interactive Chrome experiments designed to bring the inner workings of the Web to life.

    Visitors to the free exhibition, which will close this Sunday, were given five separate experiments to get involved with.

  • Boffin Makes List of Open Source Youtube Downloader Software Available On Its Website

  • Open source has won, let's look to the future
    My nearly 11 minute keynote at OSCON 2013 this year, felt long enough when I gave it, but in terms of what I have to say about the future of open source, it wasn't even close.

    Here I expand on the lessons I've learned from other people working in open source, new technologies emerging in open source that haven't come of age yet, my passion for open source not being a Zero Sum game, and bringing open source to other parts of society and industry.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • ZTE to sell ZTE Open Firefox OS phone on eBay US and UK

      • ZTE Open Firefox OS Phone to Sell in U.S. and U.K. on eBay
        In another important milestone for Mozilla's Firefox OS mobile phone platform, the ZTE Open Firefox OS phone is set to start selling soon via eBay's stores in the U.S. and U.K. ZTE and Mozilla officials confirmed the news on Monday, noting that unlocked phones will sell for $79.99. Thus far, phones based on Mozilla's open mobile OS have been targeted at emerging markets, including several Latin American, countries. The phones will be orange, as seen here, and users in the U.S. and U.K. will be able to pick their carrier networks.

  • Education

    • How open source took root in one Pennsylvania school district
      I’ve been working in educational technology for more than 17 years and have spent much of my career advocating for open source in schools. For years, open source in education has gotten a bad rap. Superintendents, school boards and teachers frequently misunderstood open source software to be synonymous with dubious code birthed by mad, degenerate "hackers" who spend dark nights scheming to unleash complex and nefarious plots for social disruption.

    • Yet Another School System Thrives on FLOSS
      People still doubt my claims that GNU/Linux and FLOSS thrives in education but my experience in the bush in northern Canada is not unique.

  • Healthcare

  • Project Releases

    • OpenIndiana 151a Finally Sees An Update
      OpenIndiana, the operating system seeking to let Sun Microsystems' OpenSolaris project live on within the open-source community, is finally out with an update. This isn't a stable OpenIndiana release but rather is still a pre-release to 151a.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Google Reader Replacements
    The Google Reader service was launched in 2005 and built up a faithful user base of millions over the years. This aggregator of content served by web feeds offered an undeniably intuitive way for users to access a stream of updates from selected websites, enabling them to easily keep tabs on their favourite websites. Following the announcement in March 2013 that Google was to close the doors to this service - it closed July 2013 - millions of users have had to seek an alternative feed-reading service. How many made the right choice?

  • Science

    • How to: make a microscope from a webcam
      Mark Miodownik, presenter from Dara O Briain's Science Club on BBC Two, reveals how you can perform simple science experiments at home. Try some DIY science and see the microscopic world up close by turning a webcam inside out...

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Farmers in Bicol uproot golden rice
      “We are very concerned as there are news that feed testing will start this year and that the harvest will be used in these feed experiments. In China, the people have protested against the feed trials on children, prompting proponents to compensate the affected families. We do not want our people, especially our children to be used in these experiments.” – Sikwal GMO

    • Filipino farmers destroy genetically modified ‘Golden Rice’ crops
      A group of activist farmers in the Philippines stormed a government research facility and destroyed an area of genetically modified rice crops the size of 10 football fields. According to New Scientist, the farmers say that genetically modified organism (GMO) foods have not been established to be safe for consumption and that the real solution to world hunger isn’t biologically engineered plants, but a reduction in worldwide rates of poverty.

      “The Golden Rice is a poison,” said Willy Marbella to New Scientist. Marbella is a farmer and deputy secretary general of a group of activists known as KMP — Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or Peasant Movement of the Philippines.

    • The Tiniest New Technology Poses Unanswered Safety Questions
      You might use nanotechnology in the sunscreens you squirt or lather on your kids. You might like your lips and taste it in your favorite lip-gloss. You might even eat it in your Jell-O pudding. But is it safe?

      Well, that's a tricky question.

      "Before you can do a risk assessment, you have to be able to do an exposure assessment and a toxicity assessment," says Consumers Union senior scientist Michael Hansen. "And they really can't be done yet with nanoparticles. So it makes doing a risk assessment really hard. And there is increasing evidence that particles at the nanoscale can have more of a toxic effect. And that shouldn't be surprising."

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • West turned blind eye to Israel's involvement in Sabra and Shatila 'slaughter'
      Between 800 and 3,500 people were killed - mostly older men, women and children - by Israeli-backed, far-right Christian Phalangist militias between September 16 and 18, 1982.

      The Israeli army had invaded Lebanon in June of that year in an attempt to remove the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and its leader, Yasser Arafat, and had succeeded in forcing their departure a week earlier.

      Read more: Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | on Facebook

    • The innocents caught under the drones: For fearful Yemenis the US and al-Qa'ida look very similar

      I have encountered two separate Yemens this past week: the one portrayed in Western media outlets and the other reality of living in Sana'a. One was rife with conflict and insecurity, the other associated with the navigation of the capital's gridlocked traffic. Yet the two Yemens collided in a visceral way for most people.

      The al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) plot, described vaguely by President Obama as a "threat stream", and the subsequent US embassy closure in Sana'a were far from the minds of most Yemenis. Most were more preoccupied with the approaching conclusion of Ramadan, the Eid al-Fitr celebrations and the political direction of the nation, most notably the United Nations-backed National Dialogue Conference, which aims at drafting a new constitution before elections in February.

    • Activists groups can be considered terrorists
      To better understand the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and who is considered a threat we must first ask ourselves “What is a terrorist?” By definition, a terrorist is a person or group of people that cause fear and panic in others by their words or actions. The US government would have us believe that “covered persons” refers to “terrorists” such as al-Qaida or the Taliban.

      However, that is not clearly written in the NDAA. The NDAA only mentions “covered persons.” The government, therefore, could effectively use the NDAA with its indefinite detention and lack of due process against anyone it considers a terrorist. This includes peaceful groups such as the Free State Project and the Occupy movement.

    • Q&A: Chilean author on the CIA’s role in the 1973 military coup
      The Santiago Times speaks to Carlos Busso, an investigative journalist, about his new book on the CIA in Chile, why Allende was a threat and the unofficial story of the coup.

    • How drones shatter Yemeni hopes
      Some years ago, a Western journalist described Yemen as “history's last departure lounge.” But nobody even in their wildest imagination would have thought this Arab country would one day become the latest theater of America's drone war and bizarre killings.

      Yes, US missile strikes and civilian casualties coupled with a near total absence of government services and deepening poverty is making Yemen the magnet of the very groups US wants to destroy as part of the war on terror.

    • Putting brakes on use of drones in N.C. right move
      The guidelines for use of drone aircraft by governmental agencies are simple and clear: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”


      The people who wrote the Fourth Amendment could not foresee drones, but they were wise enough to outlaw warrantless searches without specifying how the search would be carried out.

    • Citizens for Legitimate Government: 11 August 2013
      U.S. buying even more hardware for Yemen’s military 09 Aug 2013 U.S. drones have been battering Yemen, killing at least 28 people, and American spy planes watch from overhead. And now, Yemen’s skies are looking to get even more crowded. The U.S. Navy is helping the Yemeni air force buy 12 light spy planes, adding to the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military aid the U.S. has given to the Sana’a regime. The Navy’s Light Observation Aircraft for Yemen program aims to buy 12 small planes — or maybe choppers — equipped with infrared and night vision cameras and the ability to beam the images collected by those cameras back to a ground station.[Gee, looks like arming the murderous regime in Yemen is sequester-proof. Ditto the Syrian rebels aka cannibals. This is *insane.* Start reading.]

      Yemeni Al Qaeda expert casts doubt on terror threat claims 11 Aug 2013 Yemen’s foremost Al Qaeda researcher says recent U.S. drone strikes have failed to kill senior leaders of the organization, and he dismisses claims that a plot to bomb a Canadian-owned oil facility was foiled by Yemeni authorities. Abdulrazzaq al-Jamal, a journalist and researcher who has been given exclusive access to the terrorist group’s Yemen branch, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), said the series of drone strikes in the past 12 days have killed 32 people, including low-level foot soldiers and civilians.

      Yemenis call U.S. drone strikes an overreaction to al Qaida threat 09 Aug 2013 The United States launching of eight drone strikes in Yemen in the span of 13 days has ignited widespread outrage in the country. The anger over the strikes, which came as an al Qaida-related threat shuttered U.S. embassies and consulates in Yemen and 15 other countries, has overwhelmed attention to the threat itself, which many here view skeptically anyway.

    • Imprisoned CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou: Totality of Punishment Is Not Limited to a Prison Sentence
      Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who has served five months of a thirty-month sentence in the federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, has written a fourth letter from the prison.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Kaufman: Why has no banker gone to jail?
      Last week, for the first time, the Securities and Exchange Commission won a case against an individual banker for fraudulent behavior leading to the financial meltdown of 2008-09.

      Hold the applause. The banker was a mid-level executive. It was a civil case; he will face other penalties but will not be going to jail. The U.S. government’s record remains intact. It has sent no one from Wall Street to jail for playing a role in the financial crisis.

    • Americans abroad rejecting US citizenship as tax hikes loom
      The number of Americans who decided to renounce their citizenship in the second quarter of 2013 increased sixfold the same period in 2012, a number the federal government attributes to strict impending financial disclosure rules.

      The United States is the only country out of 34 in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that continues to tax citizens regardless of where they live around the world.

    • Thank You, TSA, NSA, FBI and CIA!

      The secret is that the Federal Reserve can’t really control the economy at all. It can influence it. And the influence it has is all negative; that’s the joke. Setting interest rates at any level other than that chosen by willing borrowers and lenders, the Fed distorts the price of credit. And distorting prices always leads to problems…either shortages or surpluses.

      Also, by fixing rates at ultra-low levels, the Federal Reserve is actually stealing from one group and giving to another. The middle class, savers, and working people lose wealth. Hedge fund managers, bankers, zombies…and, of course, those loveable feds themselves…gain.

    • Donald Trump On ABC's This Week: "I Don't Know, Nobody Knows" If Obama Was Born In The U.S.

    • WSJ's Stephen Moore: Devastating Sequestration Cuts Are A "Success" Free Of "Negative Consequences"
      The Wall Street Journal editorial board's Stephen Moore falsely claimed that the drastic budget cuts known as sequestration have had "none of the anticipated negative consequences," when in reality economists have explained that the cuts have had devastating effects on economic growth, jobs, and programs for low-income Americans.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • LEAKED: Intelligence Agencies Running Mass Number of Propaganda Accounts on Social Media
      If there is one thing we can take away from the news of recent months it is, in the words of the New York Times, that “the modern American surveillance state is not really the stuff of paranoid fantasies; it has arrived.”

      “Surveillance and deception are not just fodder for the next ‘Matrix’ movie, but a real sort of epistemic warfare,” the paper reported.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Op-Ed: Obama on NSA reform — Not giving credit where credit is due
      Without this publicity and consequent public awareness about the program, the president would probably just have let sleeping dogs lie and let the program continue without change. Snowden's revelations and their consequent effects have forced Obama at least to go through the motions of reform to get ahead of the game. This has been combined with a huge increase in warnings of a global terror threat that can be used to convince the public that the surveillance programs are essential to their security. As a recent article put it, Snowden, Greenwald and whistle blowers were winning. A poll showed that most Americans thought of Snowden as a whistle blower rather than a traitor.

    • Indiana University law prof: NSA surveillance violates privacy
      Fred Cate penned a brief with other law professors asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court's order authorizing the government to collect the data. He argues the intelligence court's 2006 order violates the Patriot Act and "and presents a significant risk to the personal privacy of millions."

    • Matt Welch Criticizes NSA Spying, Liberty-for-Security Swaps on Fox News
      On Thursday, Aug. 1, I appeared on Fox News's Your World With Neil Cavuto to talk about the ongoing NSA revelations triggered by Edward Snowden, and where Americans should "draw the line" between liberty and security:

    • Impeach the President, Dismantle the NSA, and Fire the top Echelon of our Military
      Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and Edward Snowden and others understand their obligation as honorable citizens to protect and defend the honor of those who once had the courage to dedicate their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to making truth and integrity a way of life for all peoples starting right here at home. Many lost their fortunes and their lives doing so. We are no longer being led by such people although there are many people living in the United States today who do have the courage, the honor, and the ability to do what our Founders did.

    • Robocalls: A job for NSA
      The state and federal Do-Not-Call programs are a joke.

    • Matt Damon Slams President Obama: WATCH 'Elysium' Actor Discuss NSA, 'Stand Your Ground' Law [VIDEO] Weekend Box Office Results
      Elysium actor Matt Damon has been known as a big supporter of President Obama, especially during his presidential campaign in 2008. However, it seems Damon has soured on the president, judging by a recent interview. During an interview with BET, Damon suggested that it feels like he and the President of the United States have separated. Damon told BET, "He (President Obama) broke up with me."

    • Former adviser Van Jones calls Obama's denial of NSA spying 'ridiculous' (Video)
      Van Jones, a former special adviser to President Barack Obama for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and co-host of CNN's "Crossfire," has described the statement the president made Tuesday on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," that the government does not having a spying program as "ridiculous."

    • Zimmermann’s Law: PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder Phil Zimmermann on the surveillance society
      Phil Zimmermann, creator of PGP, in a wide-ranging interview talks about the corrupting nature of big data, the end of privacy and the rise of the surveillance society. He also shared his thoughts on Moore’s Law and its marriage to public policy, and why Silent Circle shutdown its email-service.


      Given the frenetic nature of the news, I didn’t think I would get a chance to have a measured discussion with Zimmermann. Much to my surprise, he got on the phone and we ended up discussing everything from the rise of the surveillance state; big data and its devastating impact on society; data totalitarianism; the somewhat dubious role of Google and Facebook in our lives; and why as a society we can’t fall victim to the cynicism that is starting to permeate our lives. He also talked at length about the important role of our legislators in pushing back against the unstoppable tide of the “surveillance society.”

    • Loophole Shows That, Yes, NSA Has 'Authority' To Spy On Americans -- Directly In Contrast With Public Statements

    • NSA's Rules Allowing Warrantless Searches On Americans Came THE SAME DAY It Was Told Searches Violated 4th Amendment
      We already wrote about the bombshell revelation from the Guardian that the NSA changed the rules in October of 2011, so that it had permission to do warrantless searches on US persons (contrary to public claims). However, Marcy Wheeler recognized the date of that update is the very same date that the FISA court supposedly smacked down the NSA for violating the 4th Amendment with some searches.

    • FBI suspected of cyber-attack on anonymous web-hosting and email services
      On August 5 malicious software (malware) in the form of a Java Script (JS) attack code was discovered embedded in multiple websites hosted by the anonymous hosting company Freedom Hosting (FH), the largest hosting company on the anonymous Tor network. Initial research into the malware by experts suggests that it originated from and returned private data back to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or other US government agencies.

    • Not only do they spy on us...
      ....but Big Brother also charges us to spy on us.

    • NSA to chop sysadmin numbers by 90 percent – or is it?
      Most likely, these people would be put on other work rather than fired.

    • Obama's NSA 'reforms' won't change anything
      W While I attended President Obama's Friday news conference, which largely dealt with surveillance and security, I couldn't help but wonder whether one man, eight time zones away, was watching: Edward Snowden.

      Having lived in Moscow for many years, I know the Russian capital has many Friday night diversions — but what could been more interesting for Snowden than to watch the president of the United States continue to react to his bombshell revelations? Snowden probably gets a kick out of hearing the president mention his name, too — the ultimate validation of his own importance. Indeed, the president even devalued himself by taunting Snowden. If Snowden is so sure of himself and his views, Obama said, why not return home, get a lawyer, and make his case in court?

    • Don't Insult Our Intelligence, Mr. President: This Debate Wouldn't Be Happening Without Ed Snowden
      One of the more ridiculous claim's during President Obama's press conference on NSA surveillance today was the claim that he had already started this process prior to the Ed Snowden leaks and that it's likely we would end up in the same place. While he admitted that Snowden may have "accelerated" the process, he's also claiming that the leaks put our national security at risk.

    • Obama's Response To NSA Was To Appease The Public, Not Reduce The Spying
      Even more to the point, his comments represent a fundamental misunderstanding of why the public doesn't trust the government. That's because he keeps insisting that the program isn't being abused and that all of this collection is legal. But, really, that's not what the concern is about. Even though we actually know that the NSA has a history of abuse (and other parts of the intelligence community before that), a major concern is that scooping up so much data is considered legal in the first place.

    • Obama says phone spying not abused, will continue
      President Barack Obama made it clear Friday he has no intention of stopping the daily collection of American phone records. And while he offered "appropriate reforms," he blamed government leaks for creating distrust of his domestic spying program.

    • DOJ: There's No Expectation Of Privacy In Your Phone Records Because People Don't Like Terrorists
      Following our post on the NSA's document defending its surveillance programs, let's look more closely at the Justice Department's "white paper" explaining the legal rationale for scooping up all of the metadata on every phone call under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, also known as the "business records" or "tangible things" section. This document just focuses on that one program, rather than the many other programs, and within its 23 pages there are so many ridiculous things. I'm sure we'll come back to many of them in future posts. After going through it a few times, it seems abundantly clear that this was a rush job by the administration to defend this particular program, without realizing just how ridiculous many of its claims are. As Julian Sanchez has noted, the arguments made in this document appear to contradict the DOJ's actions in dozens of ways, and basically invalidates a ton of previous arguments concerning other surveillance programs. And, worse, it more or less opens the door for massive surveillance on a variety of other things. Again from Sanchez, the argument in this paper could easily apply to having a local prosecutor subpoena all city phone records looking for drug dealing. Because safety!

    • Obama's Simply Wrong: Whistleblower Protections Would Not Have Applied To Snowden
      During the Q&A portion of today's President Obama press conference, reporter Chuck Todd asked Obama about Ed Snowden and whether he was a "patriot," after Obama announced some reforms and even directly made clear that those who support civil liberties and greater transparency "love their country" and are "patriots." Except, Obama said that he does not think Snowden is a patriot, in part because he had signed the Whistleblower Protection Act and extended the protections to the intelligence community. This is laughable on a variety of levels, including the Obama administration's actions against other whistleblowers like Thomas Drake and William Binney, who did go through official channels, and then were subject to ridiculous investigations and (with Drake) totally trumped up charges on a bogus unrelated issue.

    • Obama's Response To NSA Surveillance: Some Minor Reforms & Transparency; Still Lacking Justification

    • London's bins are tracking your smartphone

      Smartbins use devices' Wi-Fi connections to log their MAC address and track customer habits

    • Rep. Justin Amash: House Intelligence Committee Withheld NSA Documents From Incoming Congressmen
      Defenders of the NSA's program always point to two things: it's all legal and it's all subject to oversight. Part of the "oversight" is the FISA "thumbs up" system that has approved every request for two years in a row. The other part of the "oversight" is Congress itself.

      Unfortunately, members of Congress have been lied to directly about the extent of the collections occurring under Section 215 (and 702), so that's one strike against the "oversight." Now, it appears that members of Congress are being selectively provided with information about the programs.

    • Assange: Obama 'validates' Snowden
      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says President Obama's plans to make changes in National Security Agency surveillance programs stem from a single source: Edward Snowden.

      Obama "validated Edward Snowden's role as a whistle-blower" with his proposals to revamp NSA programs, Assange said in a written statement Saturday.

      "But rather than thank Edward Snowden, the president laughably attempted to criticize him while claiming that there was a plan all along, 'before Edward Snowden,'" Assange said. "The simple fact is that without Snowden's disclosures, no one would know about the programs and no reforms could take place."

    • Michael Hayden, Former NSA Chief: After A Major Attack, U.S. Likely To Seize More Surveillance Powers

    • Julian Assange: Obama 'validates' Snowden by proposing NSA changes

    • Required reading: The surveillance state
      President Barack Obama says he will work with Congress to review US surveillance programmes and the powers of the National Security Agency (NSA), following the whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s revelations of a programme of mass surveillance of electronic communications, including emails and Skype calls.

    • Snowden's father decries 'political theater' over son's leaks
      The father of Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, complained Sunday about the “political theater” surrounding his son’s disclosures of secret surveillance programs and dismissed President Obama’s proposed reforms as “superficial.”

    • Surveillance debate or immigration reform?
      For President Barack Obama, August was supposed to be the time when a major immigration bill landed on his desk.
    • Obama's NSA review vindicates Snowden, Assange says
    • EU a Key NSA Target
    • Stickonspy: sticker-reminder that the NSA likes to fool around with your webcam
      Stickonspy sells die-cut stickers that go around your laptop's webcam to remind yourself -- and others -- that spooks from western governments have made a practice of using spyware that allows them to covertly switch on laptop and mobile phone cameras and microphones to spy on their owners. $3 for one, $10 for 6.
    • Crypto-currency for NSA leaker: Snowden fund accepts Bitcoin
      US fugitive Edward Snowden’s defense fund, launched recently by WikiLeaks to raise money for the legal protection of the NSA leaker, has announced it now accepts donations in virtual currency Bitcoin.

      The Journalistic Source Protection Defence Fund (JSPD) was set up on August 9 with the goal to provide legal as well as campaign aid to journalistic sources. Snowden, who is behind the biggest intelligence leak in the history of the US National Security Agency (NSA), has been selected the first such source.
    • The NSA Isn't the Only One Spying On You — Your Phone Company is Helping
      A recent federal court ruling that sanctioned the warrantless tracking of American cellular users was deeply troubling. It revealed a disturbing expansion in the scope of power of U.S. executive bodies and has sparked a great distrust among the American people of federal and state authorities.

      In what has become, as the New York Times describes, "a routine tool" for state and federal agents, cell-phone tracking remains a topic many law enforcement officials shy away from discussing. The popularity of the practice has led to its adoption by many local police departments and has become the most prevalent invasive way government officials invade personal privacy.
    • Former NSA chief predicts surveillance programs will expand
      The former head of the National Security Agency said Sunday that not only does ending the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs seems unlikely, but he images those endeavors could expand in scope during the coming years.

    • Want to shoot some guns during recess? Spy agencies court Congress while deceiving it

    • Why won't they tell us the truth about the NSA?
      But we soon discovered that also was not true either. We learned in another Guardian newspaper article last week that the top secret “X-Keyscore” program allows even low-level analysts to “search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals.”

    • Obama Spurns NSA Spying Reform
      Huey Long once said fascism will arrive "wrapped in an American flag." In "Friendly Fascism," Bertram Gross (1912 - 1997) called Ronald Reagan its prototype ruler. Gross didn't know Obama.

      He represents the worst of rogue governance. He advances America's imperium. He heads its police state apparatus. He's waging war on humanity. He's doing it abroad and at home.

      He puts a smiling face on repression. He's hardline. He's ruthless. He's done what supporters thought impossible. He exceeds the worst of George Bush. He says one thing. He does another. He demands it.

      His promises ring hollow. He broke every major one made. He's a serial liar. He's a moral coward. On August 9, he defended the indefensible. He did so disingenuously.

    • The Art of Deception: A Necessary Skill for Intelligence Officials
      As more and more becomes known about blanket spying by the National Security Agency, one thing is becoming increasingly apparent. Government officials are deliberately and repeatedly misleading Congress and the US public in a concerted effort to conceal as much as possible about what the NSA is actually doing.

    • NSA server in Ukraine as part of electronic surveillance program, Snowden revelations suggest
      Details of a top secret U.S. National Security Agency program for culling intelligence from the internet indicate that at least one computer server was or is located in Ukraine, the Guardian wrote on July 31, citing documents provided by former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.

    • In light of NSA revelations, two German companies to automatically encrypt emails
      Two of Germany's biggest Internet service providers said Friday they will start encrypting customers' emails by default in response to user concerns about online snooping after reports that the U.S. National Security Agency monitors international electronic communications.

    • Germany 'mid-level' interest to NSA: Report
      Germany is considered to be of 'mid-level' interest to the US National Security Agency with the European Union a key priority of spying targets, reports weekly Der Spiegel, citing a document leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

    • US Snooping Programme Had One Server Located In India: Report
      A controversial US surveillance programme that sweeps Internet usage data had 700 snooping servers installed at 150 locations around the world, including one in India, according to a report.

      The XKeyscore programme, run by the National Security Agency (NSA), allowed analysts to search through vast databases containing e-mails, online chats and browsing histories of millions of individuals, the Guardian reported, citing documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • NSA Likely Houses Servers in American Embassy, Report Says
      A source in the Russian special services said with "practically 100 percent certainty" that a server supporting the NSA surveillance system XKeyscore is located in the American embassy in Moscow.

    • One of NSA servers used for XKeyscore located in US embassy in Moscow - media

    • National Security Agency Spies on Us and Pays Others to Spy

      Several stories concerning the National Security Agency spying on U.S. citizens surfaced recently.

      British newspaper The Guardian reported on a computer program called XKeyScore. This program allows civilian hackers working for the NSA to fill out a form which gives them access to our email and phone call contents. It can give them recorded files, or real-time email, chat, text or phone-call communications.

    • EU ranked as 'key priority' for NSA monitoring
      The European Union is ranked as a key priority by the NSA for monitoring a German newspaper reported Saturday, citing a document leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Edward Snowden's father gets visa to visit NSA leaker in Russia
      National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden's father has secured documents to visit his son in Russia and plans to discuss how he could fight espionage charges, Lon Snowden and his attorney said Sunday.

    • Snowden's father gets visa to visit NSA leaker son in Russia

    • NSA snooping casts pall over Kerry trip
      Secretary of State John Kerry's trip to Colombia and Brazil this week builds on efforts to deepen relations with Latin America, but he can expect a curt reception from the two U.S. allies after reports that an American spy program widely targeted data in emails and telephone calls across the region.

    • NSA's Spy History Poses Daunting Challenge for President Obama
      For decades, the NSA has routinely monitored the phone calls, and before emails, the telegrams of thousands of Americans. The rationale has always been the same, and Obama has repeatedly said it in defense of the spy program, and that's that the surveillance has done much to protect Americans from foreign threats and attacks. The NSA recently tossed out the figure of 42 terrorist acts that it supposedly nipped in the bud because of the spy program. The problem with that is the agency's history. Its named targets in the past have not been solely alleged Muslim extremists, but Communists, peace activists, black radicals, civil rights leaders, and even drug peddlers.

    • Assange says Obama's NSA reform vindicates Snowden

    • New search engine protects you from NSA
      The website is called and founder Jeffrey Sisk explains it doesn’t retain search history, and also runs on 2048-bit SSL encryption to keep private what Internet users don’t want public.

    • Forget Transparency: Now Is The Time to End the NSA's Surveillance
      On Friday, President Obama delivered a speech meant to answer Americans' concerns about NSA surveillance. Like most 50-minute speeches by major politicians, it amounts to 50 minutes of life we'll never get back, and little substance.

      The take-away from the speech is that President Obama is "comfortable" with the surveillance program exactly as it already exists, and the "reforms," to the extent of which they will happen at all, center on his quote "how do I make the American people more comfortable."

      In effect, this means a PR campaign to convince the public that what the NSA is doing is okay, and it is noteworthy that one of the major "reforms" announced was having the intelligence agencies make a website to sell the programs to the public.

    • King: Obama needs to speak out more in support of NSA
      Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said Obama could have used his "bully pulpit" to allay fears among the public that the National Security Agency was snooping on their private telephone and Internet communications.

      "What I'm very critical of him for is basically he's been silent for the last two months," said King, an outspoken proponent of anti-terrorism intelligence efforts. "He has allowed the Edward Snowdens and the others of the world to dominate the media, and now we have so many people who actually think the NSA is spying on people."

    • GOP lawmakers balk at privacy advocate in FISA Court

    • Clyburn: Obama can't have 'blank check' on NSA surveillance

    • Peter King: Obama 'silent' on NSA

    • Republicans Warn Against NSA Changes
      Some senior Republicans in Congress on Sunday threw cold water on a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s plan to revamp the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs–his proposal to provide a new advocate for privacy concerns.

    • Edward Snowden dodges NSA traps in endless runner iOS and Android game

    • Ways To Reduce The Chances Of Being Spied On By The NSA Or Anyone Else
      One tool is Tor, a free service that is described as “virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet” by providing “the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy.”

      Tor makes it possible to avoid being tracked by web sites use and to use email, chat and other services anonymously. It also allows users to access services that may be blocked by their Internet service provider (in some countries by government order).

      A new iPhonem, Android, Windows and Blackberry app called Seecrypt“allows you to make and receive unlimited, secure voice calls and text messages between Seecrypt Mobile-enabled devices, anywhere in the world.”

    • Former CIA, NSA Chief: Obama Wants Americans to Accept Surveillance
      Former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden addressed President Obama’s promises of more “transparency” for the surveillance programs, saying that his goal is just to make Americans comfortable enough to accept the program.

    • Lon Snowden, NSA Leaker's Father, Claims Russia Has Issued Him A Visa
      National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden's father has secured documents to visit his son in Russia and plans to discuss how he could fight espionage charges, Lon Snowden and his attorney said Sunday.

    • Mega to run ‘cutting-edge’ encrypted email after Lavabit’s ‘privacy seppuku’
      Kim Dotcom’s is working on a highly-secure email service to run on a non-US-based server. It comes as the US squeezes email providers that offer encryption and Mega’s CEO calls Lavabit’s shutdown an “honorable act of Privacy Seppuku.”

      Mega’s Chief Executive Vikram Kumar, who is heading the development of the company’s own end-to-end encryption technology to protect the privacy of the future email’s users, has reacted to the Lavabit founder’s decision to suspend his service’s operations – an act, which was shortly followed by voluntary closing down of another secure email service, Silent Circle.

    • New Rule: Congressmen Who Thought Iraq Had WMDs Can’t Talk About NSA Effectiveness
      Senator Saxby Chambliss is either a blind war hawk or is deliberately misleading the public. Last week, after the National Security Agency had intercepted an al-Qaida conference call plotting attacks against U.S. embassies, Chambliss claimed it was proof that mass surveillance programs were effective. But the AP reports that the NSA’s controversial phone and Internet monitoring programs “played no part in detecting the initial tip.”

      The press should have known — and reported on — the fact that Chambliss had a history of hawkish interpretations of intelligence reports after he voted for the Iraq War in 2002. Indeed, the most ardent defenders of the NSA are exactly those members of Congress who wrongly believed we needed to invade Iraq after believing that there was an imminent threat from Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    • The NSA is turning the internet into a total surveillance system
      Now we know all Americans' international email is searched and saved, we can see how far the 'collect it all' mission has gone

    • Lawmakers tasked with overseeing NSA surveillance programs feel “inadequate”
      In the wake of the Obama Administration’s nod towards greater transparency for its surveillance programs, some members of Congressional intelligence and judiciary committees now say that they have not had the proper opportunity to understand, much less challenge these programs.

      “In terms of the oversight function, I feel inadequate most of the time,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a member of the House Intelligence Committee. She spoke with The Washington Post on Saturday evening, admitting that while the programs were “approved” by Congress—"Was it approved by a fully knowing Congress? That is not the case."

    • Russia among countries atop NSA surveillance priority list
      Russia, alongside the EU, China and Iran, are on top of the NSA’s spying priority list, according to a document leaked by fugitive Edward Snowden and published by Der Spiegel weekly.

      In the classified document, dated April 2013, countries are assigned levels of interest for NSA surveillance from 1 (the highest) to 5 (the lowest).

      Among the top surveillance targets are China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and Afghanistan. The EU, as a whole is also ranking high, though individually its 28 member-states are of lesser importance to the US intelligence, with Germany and France representing mid-level interest, while countries like Finland, Croatia and Denmark are denoted as almost irrelevant in data gathering.

    • Peter King Defends NSA Against ‘Slanders’: ‘Drives Me Crazy’ To Hear ‘Snooping And Spying’
      On this Sunday’s Face the Nation, New York Congressman Peter King denounced the beating the NSA’s reputation has taken as a result of Edward Snowden’s revelations of the organization’s surveillance programs, arguing that “loose words” like “spying” and “snooping” unfairly diminished the patriotism of NSA staff and officials.

    • Snowden details how NSA can search e-mails, calls without warrant

    • Iran, Russia, China, EU atop NSA Piority List
      Russia, alongside the EU, China and Iran, are on top of the NSA’s spying priority list, according to a document leaked by fugitive Edward Snowden and published by Der Spiegel weekly.

    • Obama's assurances miss core concerns over NSA surveillance programme
      The US president, Barack Obama, sought to reassure his country, as well as his allies, with a public review and additional oversight of US national security surveillance programmes, but observers said the steps do little to address the core issues at the heart of public concern over the practices.

    • US Govt. Employee Bravely Calls for the Total Abolition of NSA
      These programs have only one objective, and they cannot be reformed or "controlled" or otherwise fixed. Their objective is to reduce the people of the whole Earth under absolute tyranny.

    • On NSA Surveillance, Congressional Oversight Fell Short
      Much of President Obama’s defense of the NSA surveillance program yesterday came down to it being under the oversight of all three branches of the federal government, himself, the Congress, and the secret judges that signed off on the warrants.

    • Lavabit's Ladar Levison: 'If You Knew What I Know About Email, You Might Not Use It'
      Ladar Levison, 32, has spent ten years building encrypted email service Lavabit, attracting over 410,000 users. When NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was revealed to be one of those users in July, Dallas-based Lavabit got a surge of new customers: $12,000 worth of paid subscribers, triple his usual monthly sign-up. On Thursday, though, Levison pulled the plug on his company, posting a cryptic message about a government investigation that would force him to “become complicit in crimes against the American people” were he to stay in business. Many people have speculated that the investigation concerned the government trying to get access to the email of Edward Snowden, who has been charged with espionage. There are legal restrictions which prevent Levison from being more specific about a protest of government methods that has forced him to shutter his company, an unprecedented move.

  • Civil Rights

    • New CCTV Code of Practice comes into force
      The code is a step in the right direction towards bringing proper oversight to the millions of cameras that capture our movements every day. However, with only a small fraction of cameras covered and without any penalties for breaking the code, we hope that this is only the beginning of the process and that further steps will be taken in the future to protect people’s privacy from unjustified or excessive surveillance.

    • TSA, change the airport security mindset

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright owners group tears apart law review process
        Australia’s home entertainment industry lobby has slammed the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) over its handling of a review of the country’s copyright regime.

      • Australian Copyright Industry Says Proposal To Bring In Fair Use Is 'Solution For Problem That Doesn't Exist'
        A couple of months back, Techdirt wrote about Australia's proposals to shift from the current fair dealing approach to fair use as part of wide-ranging reform of copyright there. When something similar was mooted in the UK as part of what became the Hargreaves Review, it was shouted down by the copyright maximalists on the grounds that it would lead to widespread litigation. As Mike pointed out at the time, that's nonsense: the existence of a large body of US case law dealing with this area makes it much easier to bring in fair use without the need for its contours to be defined in the courts.

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