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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 3 hours 39 min ago

Links 18/4/2015: ExTiX 15.2, RaspArch

Sunday 19th of April 2015 12:01:42 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Science
    • The World’s First Self-Powered Video Camera Can Record Forever

      It makes perfect sense. The sensors that capture images for a digital camera and the sensors that convert light into electricity for a solar cell rely on the same technology. So why not build a device with a sensor that does both, and create a self-powered video camera? Some Columbia University researchers did just that.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Japan’s “Over 65″ Rise To Record 33 Million, More Than Double Number Of Children

      With Abenomics seemingly a total failure (aside from managing to collapse the currency and living standards of the population – worst Misery Index in 33 years) the demographic crisis that Japan faces just got more crisis-er. As NHKWorld reports, Japan’s population continues to fall (4th year in a row) but what is worse, there are now 33 million people over the age of 65 (a record 26%), more than double the number under the age of 14 (16.2 million). The ministry says the population will likely continue declining for some time as fewer babies are born and society ages.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • Why We Must Return to the US-Russian Parity Principle

      When I spoke at this forum nine months ago, in June 2014, I warned that the Ukrainian crisis was the worst US-Russian confrontation in many decades. It had already plunged us into a new (or renewed) Cold War potentially even more perilous than its forty-year US-Soviet predecessor because the epicenter of this one was on Russia’s borders; because it lacked the stabilizing rules developed during the preceding Cold War; and because, unlike before, there was no significant opposition to it in the American political-media establishment. I also warned that we might soon be closer to actual war with Russia than we had been since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

    • Germany is the Tell-Tale Heart of America’s Drone War

      A TOP-SECRET U.S. intelligence document obtained by The Intercept confirms that the sprawling U.S. military base in Ramstein, Germany serves as the high-tech heart of America’s drone program. Ramstein is the site of a satellite relay station that enables drone operators in the American Southwest to communicate with their remote aircraft in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and other targeted countries. The top-secret slide deck, dated July 2012, provides the most detailed blueprint seen to date of the technical architecture used to conduct strikes with Predator and Reaper drones.

      Amid fierce European criticism of America’s targeted killing program, U.S. and German government officials have long downplayed Ramstein’s role in lethal U.S. drone operations and have issued carefully phrased evasions when confronted with direct questions about the base. But the slides show that the facilities at Ramstein perform an essential function in lethal drone strikes conducted by the CIA and the U.S. military in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa.

      [...]

      Former drone sensor operator Brandon Bryant, who conducted operations in Yemen, Afghanistan and Iraq, said that without Ramstein, the U.S. would either need to find another base in the area, with the ability to hit satellites in the Middle East and Africa, or place U.S. personnel much closer to the areas they are targeting. “Instead of being able to be [inside the U.S.] with their operations, they would have to do more line-of-sight stuff, more direct deployments, more people going over there rather than [operating] in the states,” Bryant, who has become an outspoken critic of the drone program, told The Intercept. The U.S. is “doing shady stuff behind the scenes like using satellite and information technologies that, if able to continue being used, are going to just continue to perpetuate the drone war,” he charged.

    • Secret Details of Drone Strike Revealed As Unprecedented Case Goes to German Court

      On Aug. 31, 2012, a top-secret U.S. intelligence report noted that “possible bystanders” had been killed alongside militants from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in a drone strike in eastern Yemen two days earlier. The source of the intelligence, a Yemeni official described in the cable as “reliable,” identified two of the dead as Waleed bin Ali Jaber and Salim bin Ali Jaber, “an imam of a mosque who had reportedly preached a sermon that had insulted AQAP.”

      The source believed that Salim and Waleed “had been lured to the car by the two AQAP militants when the airstrike hit.”

    • Saban hints: Clinton opposes the Iran deal

      Just minutes before Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for the 2016 presidential election, Israeli Channel One News interviewed Haim Saban, an American-Israeli media magnate and long-time Clinton supporter. Noticeably excited, he explained that she had waited to make the announcement until she had carefully prepared the ground for her campaign.

    • Saudi-led Yemen air war’s high civilian toll unsettles U.S. officials

      Concerned about reports of hundreds of civilian casualties, Obama administration officials are increasingly uneasy about the U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led air war against rebel militias in Yemen, opening a potential rift between Washington and its ally in Riyadh.

      Backed by U.S. intelligence, air refueling and other support, Saudi warplanes have conducted widespread bombing of Yemeni villages and towns since March 26 but have failed to dislodge the Houthi rebels who have overrun much of the Arab world’s poorest nation since last fall.

      Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, widely regarded as the terrorist network’s most lethal franchise, has capitalized on the chaos by sharply expanding its reach. Fighters loyal to the group claimed control Thursday of a military base and other key facilities near Mukalla, an Arabian Sea port in southern Yemen.

    • Malvinas Secretary Filmus to talk about Falklands and oil in London

      According to Filmus Facebook, the conference “Militarization and the Illegal exploration for oil in the South Atlantic: the Argentine response” follows on a similar and successful event held in Paris on the sidelines of the Unesco congress on Wednesday.

    • Obama-Castro meeting overshadows anti-US line at summit

      As usual when Latin America’s leftist leaders get together with United States officials, there were plenty of swipes at the US during the seventh Summit of the Americas.

    • How Obama’s Cuba policy can help with other Latin American countries

      The historic handshake with Raul Castro has taken place for the cameras. President Obama has declared that the United States is done meddling in Latin America. There will be rough patches, but this is happening: the relationship with Cuba is on the mend.

      That should remove one very sore spot in Washington’s ties to the region, a policy that often embarrassed even friends of the U.S.

    • Cuba Being Removed From State Sponsors of Terrorism List

      The White House has submitted documentationin support of removing Cuba from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, on which it’s been for more than 33 years, longer than any country but Syria, which was placed on the list in 1979. The other two countries on the State Department’s list, Iran and Sudan, were placed there in 1984 and 1993. Cuba’s placement on the list, like the Cold War era sanctions, have done nothing to improve the situation in Cuba or advance any of the U.S.’s stated goals.

    • Can Latin America and the United States Overcome the Past?
    • U.S. Intervention Most Threatens Mideast Stability

      The Obama administration’s decision to negotiate with Tehran triggered near hysteria among U.S. politicians and pundits who advocate perpetual war in the Middle East. One complaint is that the talks failed to address Iran’s regional role.

    • Senate Heavy Lifting Begins With Education and Iran
    • The long arm of Blackwater

      It’s probably a good time to remember that in its various guises, the company had close ties to influential people in the U.S. government and Republican politics.

      Directors included former Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft, former CIA Counterterrorism Director Cofer Black, former Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat and former NSA Director Bobby Inman.

    • Are Soldiers Happy? Unhappy? Compared to What?

      But what makes the 52 percent number, featured in the story’s subhead (“Army Data Show 52% Pessimistic About the Future”), any more meaningful than 9 percent? Each is an arbitrary cutoff, dividing those who “score poorly” from a “positive result.” Depending on how many pessimism-related questions were asked, you could get virtually any result you wanted by moving that cutoff up or down. And since that number could be anything, it means nothing.

  • Transparency Reporting
    • Judges slammed for Assange stance

      Julian Assange’s lawyer has attacked judges for withdrawing from a legal conference because the WikiLeaks founder was taking part.

  • Finance
    • Finally some privacy – for multinational tax dodgers

      So now we have a situation in which the budget is in deficit, tax receipts from transnational corporations are falling and abuse of tax loopholes is widespread.

      Isn’t it great that someone is looking out for the privacy of oppressed billionaires?

    • The Trans-Pacific Partnership is great for elites. Is it good for anyone else?

      In 2011, Australia enacted a tough new anti-smoking law that requires cigarette companies to distribute their wares in plain green packages. Anti-smoking activists see Australia’s law as a model for the world. They hope that replacing logos with graphic health warnings will make them less appealing to consumers, especially minors.

      Naturally, tobacco companies hated the law. And they found a surprising way to fight back: they persuaded governments in Ukraine and Honduras to file complaints with the World Trade Organization, alleging that the new regulations violated global trade rules.

    • ‘It hurts when Germans call Greece a failed state’

      With the war of words – and cashflows – between Greece and Germany showing no sign of dying down, The Local meets one young Greek who’s come to see what the Germans have to teach about running a country successfully.

      [...]

      …Bonn University, when the professor asked students to name the ‘worst’ country to have joined the EU.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • For the media, traditional values still matter

      But far too often, journalism falls short. Reporters often seem to take what politicians and their handlers say at face value, writing what they hear without ensuring that the facts bear it out. They look for winners and losers at the expense of nuance. They strive to give the appearance of even-handedness by creating a false balance between two sides that do not deserve equal weight. They elevate politics, polls and personality over substance and measured analysis.

    • Newsletter: Shake Off Hypnosis, See Root Causes Of Crises

      An ambitious young journalist who wanted to speak truth to power, Matt Kennard, wrote for the Financial Times. He quickly learned the corporate media was not the place to tell truths that the power structure did not want to hear. Now he has written a new book, “The Racket: A Rogue Reporter Takes on the Masters of the Universe,” which does speak truth to power.

  • Censorship
    • China’s Great Cannon could backfire
    • How startup GitHub survived a massive five-day network attack (Q&A)
    • China develops downtime tool called the Great Cannon
    • Reading This Magazine Could Land You in Jail
    • The New Thought Police
    • To Protect the Most Fundamental Rights of Internet Users, We Must Always Be Skeptical of Any Call for Regulation

      The Internet is the largest knowledge base that has ever existed. Its rapid development became possible greatly due to its unregulated nature at its starting point. The “anarchical” character of the Internet allowed all users to contribute their share of knowledge and make it accessible to other users around the world. The vision of Wikipedia is based on this simple, yet revolutionary, concept of allowing free and unlimited access to the sum of all human knowledge.

      As knowledge is the most fundamental tool to free people from having their rights and freedoms infringed, this vision has become a great source of hope to oppressed people all over the world. At the same time, it has become one of the greatest sources of fear to oppressive regimes. When knowledge is accessible to everyone, it is much harder to control the people by imposing false consciousness of limited choices. When information is quickly communicated on social media platforms with no governmental command, revolutions have better chances to succeed. When the Internet connects the world to a small global village, human rights violations are less likely to hide unnoticed in the dark.

      When considering the issue of regulating the Internet, we must not overlook the possible harmful implications of even seemingly minor regulation. Every governmental intervention carries with it limitation of personal rights, whether its primarily aim is to serve the governments’ interests and control or even where it is limited solely to the legitimate purpose of protecting and serving the citizens themselves.

    • The most concerning element of Facebook’s potential new power

      “Facebook has more power in determining who can speak and who can be heard around the globe than any Supreme Court justice, any king or any president.” Those prescient words came from law professor Jeffrey Rosen way back in 2010. Five years later, the Times is willingly handing its censorship keys over to that king of kings.

    • Sony Pursued Site-Blocking in Norway Because Nobody Could Afford to Challenge Them

      In 2013 when site-blocking was hitting the courts in Norway (again,) Sony’s legal team briefly considered the threat of a challenge from the Norwegian Pirate Party or other groups opposed to filtering the internet. But any fears of a challenge were quickly brushed aside. Why? Because, in all likelihood, no one could take the financial risk of challenging the site-blocks in court.

  • Privacy
    • How Wiretapping Is Used In Iceland

      Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, an MP for the Pirate Party, posed a formal question to the Ministry of the Interior on police wiretapping in 2008. Yesterday, Stundin reports, he shared what he learned with parliament.

      A police warrant to tap someone’s phone is granted in 99.3% of all cases where one was requested. Of the 720 wiretap warrants police have asked for, in only five cases was the request denied.

    • Editorial: Denial of spy role needed

      The latest revelation about New Zealand’s intelligence doings has stirred little interest.

      A report that says Kiwi spies are passing intelligence material on terrorists in Bangladesh to local security forces with a reputation for murder and torture would in previous years have been a major scandal.

      But the story yesterday, which you may well have missed, seems to have left eyebrows unraised across the nation.

    • Kiwi agency ‘shared intel with Dhaka’
    • Kiwis share intelligence with Bangladesh
    • Eavesdropping on Dhaka’s communications
    • New Zealand involved in spying on Bangladesh
    • GCSB dragging NZ into human rights abuses in Bangladesh
    • New Zealand shared intelligence with Bangladesh’s repressive agencies

      Leaked documents show that New Zealand’s intelligence agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), has spent more than a decade collaborating with the US National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on targets in Bangladesh. The agencies passed on information to Bangladeshi security agencies, which are notorious for torture, murder and “disappearances.”

    • How NZ and US agents plotted to spy on China

      On Auckland’s busy Great South Rd in the suburb of Greenlane, the Chinese consulate, a white modern building, is tucked behind a row of bushes and small trees.

    • New Zealand Plotted Hack on China With NSA

      New Zealand spies teamed with National Security Agency hackers to break into a data link in the country’s largest city, Auckland, as part of a secret plan to eavesdrop on Chinese diplomats, documents reveal.

      The covert operation, reported Saturday by New Zealand’s Herald on Sunday in collaboration with The Intercept, highlights the contrast between New Zealand’s public and secret approaches to its relationship with China, its largest and most important trading partner.

    • Leaked papers reveal NZ plan to spy on China for US

      Our spies and America’s top government hackers cooked up a plan to crack into a data link between Chinese Government buildings in Auckland, new Edward Snowden documents reveal.

    • Twitter moves non-US accounts to Ireland away from the NSA

      Twitter has updated its privacy policy, creating a two-lane service that treats US and non-US users differently. If you live in the US, your account is controlled by San Francisco-based Twitter Inc, but if you’re elsewhere in the world (anywhere else) it’s handled by Twitter International Company in Dublin, Ireland. The changes also affect Periscope.

    • The NSA’s Fight To Keep Its Best Hackers

      The National Security Agency is probably among the best-equipped parts of the federal government at recruiting, training and staffing an elite team of cybersecurity professionals.

    • Too little too late? NSA starting to implement ‘Snowden-proof’ cloud storage

      The NSA is implementing a huge migration to custom-designed cloud architecture it says will revolutionize internal security and protect against further leaks by data analysts with unfettered access to classified information.

    • Tech Groups Pressure Congress To End NSA Bulk Data Collection

      A host of technology trade groups are lobbying Congress to end the government’s controversial metadata collection program that was brought to public prominence by Edward Snowden almost two years ago. In a letter sent to intelligence and judiciary leadership yesterday, groups representing a vast array of tech firms, including Google, IBM, Facebook, and Apple, expressed support for fundamental surveillance reform.

    • The Pentagon’s new cyber attack plan: ‘Blunt force trauma’

      The Pentagon wants cyber weapons that can inflict “blunt force trauma.”

    • Why Amazon’s new EU data centres are just as vulnerable to NSA surveillance as their US ones

      On 5 June 2013, Edward Snowden initiated a cascading exposé that would open the eyes of the world to the surreptitious and wholesale surveillance of digital communications by the NSA in the US and GCHQ in the UK.

      The revelations laid bare the activities and programmes that have been intercepting and analysing the vast majority of internet and phone communications at a global level for many years, including programmes that obligated the world’s largest technology corporations to provide access to their networks and data centres through the use of secret court orders that not only forced these corporations to hand over data about their users en masse but also prevented them from disclosing anything about these orders.

    • NSA Spying Is At Stake in This ‘Last-Ditch’ Reform Bill

      Backed up against a rapidly approaching do-or-die deadline, bipartisan lawmakers are poised to introduce legislation next week that would roll back the National Security Agency’s expansive surveillance powers.

    • Weakened surveillance reform bill is ‘yesterday’s news’, civil libertarians say

      The impending USA Freedom Act seeks to stop NSA phone record collection, leaving Section 215 intact, which activists say will only prolong mass surveillance

    • Groups push to end NSA spying

      The National Security Agency’s authority to collect the phone records of millions of people is scheduled to end on June 1, and a bipartisan privacy coalition of 39 organizations wants to make sure it stays that way.

    • FBI, NSA Hoping For More Surveillance Room To Increase Spying Capabilities
    • Lawmakers, Tech Firms Press for NSA Reform

      With key provisions of the Patriot Act set to expire on June 1, a bipartisan group of lawmakers could introduce as soon as next week legislation that would place some limits on the surveillance powers of the National Security Agency (NSA), reports National Journal.

    • Congress to Introduce Last-Ditch Bill to Reform NSA Spying

      With the clock winding down, lawmakers in both chambers are staging one last attempt to rein in the government’s surveillance powers.

    • Senator Wyden: Congress may block government access to encrypted consumer devices
    • ‘Significant’ number of senators backing privacy push, Wyden says
    • On The War On General Purpose Computing

      The powers that be want to control your phones and your drones. And who can blame them? It was inevitable. Of course they’re upset that smartphones are making it hard to catch speeders. Of course manufacturers are hurrying to ensure that drones refuse to fly to certain locations, before they’re forced to do so by law. Those are the instruments of power in today’s and tomorrow’s world.

    • NSA declares war on general purpose computers

      NSA director Michael S Rogers says his agency wants “front doors” to all cryptography used in the USA, so that no one can have secrets it can’t spy on — but what he really means is that he wants to be in charge of which software can run on any general purpose computer.

    • A Tidbit From an Old NSA Document (2000)

      This paragraph was unclassified in the original document, suggesting that the NSA plan to adapt to the new world through tailored access wasn’t at all a secret even back in 2000. Of course, the document in which this paragraph was contained was originally classified Secret (and is now declassified), so having access to this document would not have been easy. Still, it’s interesting to me as an example of refusing to believe that they had lost the crypto wars. And we have since learned that they had the technical capability to be justified in that belief.

    • Iceland for Snowden, Where NSA Whistleblower Could Get Citizenship

      Edward Snowden, famous for leaking classified information about the US government and former NSA contractor, could be looking to Iceland for citizenship status.

    • Snowden could be granted Icelandic citizenship
    • Edward Snowden might get Iceland citizenship

      One of the most controversial figures of the world in the past couple of years, whistle-blower Edward Snowden, might get Islandic citizenship, Forbes reports.

    • Snowden Coming Closer To Icelandic Citizenship

      When I met with Jonsdottir at the Pirate Party’s small office within Iceland’s small parliament building in Reykjavik this week, she kicked off the interview without any prompting by sharing the news that the Academy Award-winning documentary about Snowden, “Citizenfour,” had recently been well received at its Icelandic premiere. I took the opportunity to ask if she was still pursuing Icelandic citizenship for the controversial American after nearly two years of being blocked in the Althingi (Iceland’s parliament).

    • Google Maps hack shows Edward Snowden at the White House

      It seems unlikely that the world’s most infamous whistleblower and scourge of the NSA, Edward Snowden, will be visiting the White House anytime soon. But according to Google Maps, he’s quite literally set up shop on the front lawn.

    • ‘Edwards Snow Den’: Google ‘relocates’ NSA whistleblower to White House
    • Edward Snowden Is in the White House, According to Google Maps
    • ‘Edwards Snow Den’ infiltrates the White House on Google Maps
    • Assange Says Russian Intelligence Played No Part in Snowden Choosing Russia
    • Bolivia Accuses Assange of Inadvertently Putting Evo Morales’ Life at Risk
    • Assange Says China, Russia Not in the Loop about Snowden Flight
    • Assange grassed Snowden to the NSA

      Wikileaks boss Julian Assange complicated Edward Snowden’s escape from Russia by tipping off the NSA with a false rumour about the Bolivian President.

    • Julian Assange WikiLeaks Update: Edward Snowden Rumor Put Bolivian President’s Life In Danger, Bolivia Claims
    • Assange Says Russia ‘Did the Right Thing’ in Granting Refuge to Snowden
    • Attorney to NSA and CIA: Turn over Hillary Clinton documents now

      On the Friday, two days before her expected announcement that she is officially running for President, a public-interest attorney for a government watchdog group threw down his gauntlet and notified the news media that he will not allow presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton and her minions to get away with wiping clean her computer server in a suspected obstruction of justice case.

    • Key Congressional Committee Has “No Confidence” In DEA Head Leonhart

      Fed up with DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart over a long litany of scandals in the drug-fighting agency she heads, 22 members of the House Oversight and Government Reforms Committee issued a statement saying they had “no confidence” in her leadership.

    • DEA Prostitution Scandal: Retired Cops Call For Drug Policy Changes

      The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) came under intense criticism this week in the wake of Congressional hearings highlighting reports that agents in Colombia attended sex parties with prostitutes paid for by criminal gangs, among other allegations. A House Oversight Committee hearing this week led to a no-confidence vote for DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, symbolically refuting her arguments that agent improprieties named in a recent report were due to a few “bad apples.” Hearings on the scandal extended past oversight into a Judiciary Committee subcommittee, where the DEA’s Office of Responsibility Chief defended the botched allegations and echoed Leonhart’s testimony.

    • House Oversight Committee Expresses “No Confidence” in DEA Administrator Leonhart
    • The DEA’s using powerful spyware for surveillance too

      The war on drugs has a surprising soldier amongst its ranks: Italian spying software. As Motherboard’s sources tell it, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s dropped $2.4 million on surveillance tools that are capable of intercepting phone calls, texts, social media messages, and can even take hold of someone’s webcam and microphone. Oh, Remote Control System (as its officially called) can grab passwords, too.

    • Before The NSA, The DEA Used Phone Records To Track Drug Cartels
    • DEA gets sued for spying on Americans’ int’l phone calls
    • Phone data collection crossed line in 1992: Our view

      The Obama administration has repeatedly used the threat of post-9/11 terrorism to justify secretly vacuuming up the telephone records of virtually every American.

      Now it turns out the government was grossly violating innocent citizens’ privacy much earlier and for a more questionable reason.

    • Guest speaker at Drake sheds light on NSA surveillance

      As sympathetic as Stone is to the idea of keeping citizens safe, he believes the collection of phone records was an overreaction.

    • Jesse Kline: Slamming the door on the snoopers

      The first thing revealed by U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden was a government program that collects records of every single phone call made in the United States. That program could soon come to an end, unless both houses of Congress vote to reauthorize Section 215 of the Patriot Act before the June 1 deadline. But given that we now know the U.S. government, and its “Five Eyes” allies (including Canada), have also been vacuuming up just about every piece of information that’s sent over the Internet, allowing Sec. 215 to expire will barely make a dent in the massive surveillance state that Snowden revealed.

    • Support HR 1466

      The bill would legally dismantle the National Security Agency’s most aggressive surveillance programs, including the bulk collection and retention of virtually all Americans’ landline phone records justified under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The repeal of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act would also prevent the agency from tapping the physical infrastructure of the Internet, such as undersea fiber cables, to intercept ‘upstream’ data in bulk, which critics including the ACLU claim the NSA uses to collect data on Americans.

    • Viewpoint: A critical debate on Snowden and the NSA

      While Snowden’s leaks may be old news, the central debate they raise about how much domestic surveillance should be tolerated in a modern age of terrorism has not yet been resolved on a national level.

    • Snowden scandal not so black and white

      Americans are not the only victims of the U.S. intelligence agency; the entire world is being spied on.

    • RT premieres ‘Terminal F’ Snowden documentary in Russia
    • Pre-premiere of new Edward Snowden documentary screened in Moscow

      A documentary screening of Terminal F or Chasing Edward Snowden was launched on 13 April during the inauguration ceremony of Russia Today’s (RT) documentary channel, RTDOC, in Moscow.

    • France’s new intelligence bill, an NSA ‘deja-vu’

      Human rights groups have warned that France’s proposed “anti-terror” bill, which would grant more powers to the intelligence services, puts the country in danger of NSA-style mass surveillance powers, creating an undemocratic state.

      Campaigners have said the proposals will produce a “deja-vu” effect, effectively creating a French version of the NSA, the United States’ intelligence body.

    • France’s new spy bill raises fears of mass surveillance
    • Liberty takes fight against mass surveillance to European Court

      Liberty, the movement for civil liberties and human rights in the UK, has filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights against the Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruling that UK intelligence agencies’ mass surveillance activities are legal.

      Liberty is challenging the Tribunal’s December 2014 judgment that GCHQ’s Tempora programme – which sees the agency intercept and process billions of private communications every day – complies with human rights law.

    • Senate Intelligence Committee Kicks Off Budget Season

      The Senate Intelligence Committee kicked off budget season this week with a slew of appearances from Washington’s top spies. CIA Director John Brennan, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Vincent Stewart all made trips up to the Hill this week to talk budget lines.

      Lawmakers leaving the briefings said the Senate panel’s meetings were fairly broad. The intelligence leaders touched on a variety of issues, they said, but dollar signs were the hearings’ main focus.

    • Who is Responsible for Protecting Your Personal Data Online?

      An overwhelming majority of British adults are now concerned about the online security of their private information, the threats posed by hackers and the possibility of unauthorised access to their data. This was the key finding of recent YouGov research in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks.

    • Congress cannot be taken seriously on cybersecurity

      Members of Congress – most of whom can’t secure their own websites, and some of whom don’t even use email – are trying to force a dangerous “cybersecurity” bill down the public’s throat. Everyone’s privacy is in the hands of people who, by all indications, have no idea what they’re talking about.

      Leaders are expected to bring its much-maligned series of “cybersecurity” bills to the floor sometime in the next couple weeks – bills that we know will do little to help cybersecurity but a lot to help intelligence agencies like the NSA vacuum up even more of Americans’ personal information. The bills’ authors deny that privacy is even an issue, but why we’re trusting Congress at all on this legislation, given their lack of basic knowledge on the subject, is the question everyone should be asking.

    • OSCE Representative Urges Governments to Ensure Privacy Amid Surveillance

      Governments should not neglect the importance of judicial oversight in the implementation of surveillance programs, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic said Friday at the Global Conference on CyberSpace 2015.

    • Troubleshooting feature on Cisco routers is open to data-slurp abuse

      Infiltrate A default feature of Cisco routers can readily be abused to collect data, security researchers warn.

      Embedded Packet Capture (EPC) was designed by Cisco as a troubleshooting and tracing tool. The feature allows network administrators to capture data packets flowing through a Cisco router.

    • As police body cameras catch on, a debate surfaces: Who gets to watch?

      The debate in the nation’s capital and across the country over whether police should wear body cameras has quickly evolved into a new and perhaps more difficult question: Who gets to see the video?

    • The “Language of Privacy” Is Doing Well in Police Body Camera Discussions

      Police body cameras do raise a host of legitimate privacy concerns. But police body cameras are often used to record encounters that occur in public where, given the state of modern technology, none of use can reasonably expect the degree of privacy that, perhaps, we might otherwise like. The police encounters that take place inside private residences and inside hospitals and schools are being considered in ongoing conservations on body cameras, where the language of privacy is often heard.

    • Labour manifesto: ‘High speed’ broadband for all plus strengthened surveillance

      Labour has promised that every property in the UK will be able to get high speed broadband if it wins the general election.

    • GitHub issues first transparency report; 40 accounts affected

      US authorities filed just ten subpoenas with code-sharing site GitHub in the past year.

      The company said in its debut transparency report published Thursday that it complied with just seven of those subpoenas. That means in three cases there was nothing disclosed. In just shy of half of those demands, the company notified the affected account holder.

    • Missouri Action Alert: Help Protect the 4th Amendment, Pass HB264!
    • How Your Future Leader Is Tracking You – Ranking Presidential Candidate Website Privacy

      Over the next 18 months, amidst all the posturing, grandstanding and bitching that will swallow up all the actually important factors in the race to become president, many Americans will head to the websites of Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul (Jeb Bush is having some, erm, trouble with his site). As they follow the candidates, so too they will be followed. It’s just many won’t know it, or will be oblivious to just how their information is used.

    • New Pentagon Chief Carter to Court Silicon Valley

      The Pentagon desperately wants to be more agile and flexible, but decades of cultural bureaucracy often prevent the nation’s largest organization from being that. Now, a tech-savvy physicist is in charge of the military and he is about to ask companies like Google and Facebook for solutions.

    • Secrecy Around ‘Stingray’ Cell Surveillance Persists Despite Growing Transparency Efforts

      The federal government, local police departments and the Harris Corporation are participating in a coordinated effort to keep the public in the dark about the full capabilities of cell site simulator surveillance devices, also known as Stingrays.

    • U.S. shining light on self

      How do you keep tabs on federal agencies amassing mountains of secret data?

      Secretly, of course.

      And, no, that’s not a punch line. Government’s surveillance of the public is no joke.

      Congress is at least trying to get a handle on the endlessly proliferating masses of data that alphabet-soup agencies are collecting on friends and foe alike, at home and abroad.

    • Without ECPA update, Feds will spy on you like it’s 1986

      The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) is the main federal law that governs data stored electronically, including email, business data, your photographs, social media, etc. But ECPA literally predates the Internet, so it predates the widespread use of home computers, email, and social media. It predates cloud storage. Almost any 30 year-old law probably requires updating, but ECPA is so out-of-date that it demands it.

    • Excessive federal surveillance an abuse of power

      Leland Stanford once said that government is founded upon the doctrine of the consent of the governed and the principle that people are endowed with certain inalienable rights.

    • Access to Encryption Software Easier for Hackers to Steal Info – EFF

      Electronic Frontier Foundation Staff Technologist Jeremy Gillula claims that allowing the US government access to bypass encryption software in Americans’ personal technology devices would likely make it easier for hackers to exploit their information.

    • The 7 safest apps to send private and secure messages

      With that in mind, technologists are now building better ways for people to shield their communications from prying eyes.

      The technology driving most of these programs is called “end-to-end encryption,” which means that a message is ciphered before it’s sent and then deciphered after its received. This way, anyone looking to snoop on intermediary servers won’t be tablet to understand what the message says.

      While end-to-end encryption is a known standard, it’s a hard practice for the layperson to adopt into their everyday work. Now developers are figuring out new ways to make message-sending as easy as possible using this kind of encryption.

    • Appointing Democratic Judges to the FISA Court Won’t Solve Its Structural Flaws

      Chief Justice Roberts recently named two new judges to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) — Judge James P. Jones from the Western District of Virginia and Judge Thomas B. Russell from the Western District of Kentucky. Roberts has now appointed three judges to the FISC since the Snowden revelations, and all three were originally nominated to the bench by a Democratic president (Clinton). This marks a stark departure from Roberts’ thirteen pre-Snowden appointments, eleven of whom were appointed by Republican presidents. The question naturally arises: does this change in composition herald a change in the FISC’s approach?

    • Delaware’s Fusion Center poses threat to liberty

      It is bad news for freedom here in Delaware now that the New Castle County police have their own Fusion Center. Virtually every state now has one in operation or formation after more than $1.4 billion dollars of Homeland Security money was spent to create 77 of them nationwide to assist in the overstated war on terror.

    • Change the world, you say? Anti-spying push just can’t hack it despite ‘Citizenfour’
    • Snowden’s ‘Sexy Margaret Thatcher’ Password Isn’t So Secure

      In a YouTube extra from his interview with John Oliver posted late last week, Snowden offered some password security advice: He pans Oliver’s comically awful suggestions like “passwerd,” “onetwothreefour,” and “limpbiscuit4eva,” and instead wisely recommends that computer users switch from passwords to much longer passphrases. He goes on to offer an example: “MargaretThatcheris110%SEXY.”

    • Ever wondered what your password says about you?

      You probably have some variation of sequential numbers (‘123456′ or ‘000000’), a very obvious word (‘password’ or ‘access’) or something right in front of your nose (‘qwerty’).

      These are some of the most common passwords, tech firm SplashData found in last year’s annual report.

      Blue has also been identified as the most popular colour used in passwords, possibly because it is used widely by social media sites like Facebook, Google and Twitter.

      So you may be fixating on whatever is close at hand.

    • Princeton University to feature live video talk with Edward Snowden

      Princeton University will feature a live discussion with Edward Snowden and Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Bart Gellman on May 2.

    • Americans Should Defend Their Digital Privacy

      In addition, the NSA is colluding with the corporations to spy on Americans. According to CNET, this agency asks tech companies to hand over their customers’ data. The NSA also wiretaps on fiber-optic Internet cables to gather data about Americans’ Internet usage. It also tries to justify its mass surveillance as an anti-terrorism effort that has stopped dozens of attacks. However, two U.S. Senators have debunked this claim by stating that the same terrorist plots were instead foiled by standard law enforcement. The NSA’s surveillance eerily resembles that of 1984’s Big Brother, who also claimed to protect people for the price of privacy. As Benjamin Franklin once stated, “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

    • Amnesty International takes Gov to court over spying

      Nick Williams, Amnesty International’s legal counsel said: “The UK government’s surveillance practices have been allowed to continue unabated and on an unprecedented scale, with major consequences for people’s privacy and freedom of expression. No-one is above the law and the European Court of Human Rights now has a chance to make that clear.”

    • Former Homeland Security Secretary: Government ‘Backdoors’ Into iPhones Are Unnecessary

      Michael Chertoff, co-author of the Patriot Act, a set of laws that provided the U.S. government with broad surveillance powers in the wake of 9/11, is unashamedly proud of what he built.

    • Trade Bill Takes Aim at Foreign Governments’ Data Protections

      U.S. technology companies and their trade groups immediately sounded their support for the proposed bill.

    • Tell Obama: Say no to cyber surveillance

      Over the past few weeks, the U.S. Congress has been churning out privacy-threatening cyber surveillance proposals like popcorn at a movie theater. They’re up to five different bills, and none of them are good. Each bill protects companies that share our private data with the government — which often must give it to the NSA and the FBI — instead of protecting users’ privacy.

    • Us ‘Agrees To Stick To Law’ In Use Of Surveillance

      NEARLY one year after it was reported that the United States was intercepting and monitoring Bahamian telephone calls, America has agreed to use the “lawful” authority to obtain surveillance information from this country, according to Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell yesterday.

      Following a wave of backlash over the US spying allegations, it was agreed that information gathering would only be used for interdiction purposes. This includes information that aids in the clamp down of illegal activity, The Tribune understands.

    • US Promises Bahamas to Use ‘Lawful Authority’ to Obtain Surveillance Data on Citizens
    • The Metadata ‘Blackmail Machine’ At The Heart Of Britain’s Digital Policy Deficit

      Politicians, to put it bluntly, don’t understand the internet. And he is palpably correct. This has been a Parliament where the prime minister suggested he might ban Snapchat, where disastrous and ineffective ‘opt-in’ porn legislation was introduced, and where it emerged a Baroness who sits on the Lords technology committee thought Google Maps kept a camera trained on her home address.

      “You have the Home Secretary actually saying things like telephone metadata is just the same as your phone bill,” Davis railed in his Portcullis House office. “I can’t imagine she’s telling fibs, so she plainly doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”

      Davis, 66, blames the glaring lack of any discussion of digital issues at the election by politicians or the media on a “grotesque misunderstanding about it, mostly by people over 40… [they] don’t understand how intrusive the powers are. Most of my colleagues are ignorant of where this is, and where it’s going.”

      One of the most famous examples Davis can give is the knee-jerk pledge by Cameron to ban all kinds of communication that the government cannot access, immediately drawing references to the photo sharing service Snapchat.

    • Social media without the snooping – nice idea but can it really work?

      Mining users’ data to sell to advertisers and brokers is, of course, the primary business model of internet giants that provide a free service, one that has created billionaires from grad students almost overnight. Because it has been such a phenomenally successful money-spinner it should really be no surprise that companies such as Facebook sometimes resort to means which, if not actually illegal, certainly sail pretty close to the wind. Anything to maintain the flow of personal data that feeds the machine.

    • China jails 71-year-old veteran journalist for ‘leaking state secrets’

      Human rights activists accuse Beijing of ‘blatant political persecution’ after the writer Gao Yu is jailed for allegedly leaking a Communist Party memo

    • How do we build encryption backdoors?

      This is not the first time we’ve been here. Back in the 1990s the Federal government went as far as to propose a national standard for ‘escrowed’ telephone encryption called the ‘Clipper’ chip. That effort failed in large part because the technology was terrible, but also because — at least at the time — the idea of ordinary citizens adopting end-to-end encryption was basically science fiction.

    • Cybersecurity pros slam threat information-sharing bills

      More than 65 cybersecurity professionals and academics have come out against a trio of bills moving through Congress that are meant to enable information sharing about digital threats between businesses and the government.

      In a letter sent today to ranking members from both parties of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, they are urging Congress reject the controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act and two similar bills.

    • Big data makes NSA dysfunctional

      A former director of the National Security Agency (NSA) Bill Binney says mass surveillance is a big problem, and covers the entire planet, including Africa and SA, with no exceptions.

      Stories about NSA surveillance programmes have littered the headlines since 2013, following the leaks of secret documents by famous whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

      However, it seems the more we hear, the less clear things are, and questions have been raised as to whether mass surveillance is even relevant to businesses and other organisations in SA. Binney believes it is, and will be presenting at ITWeb Security Summit 2015, to be held at Vodacom World from 26 to 28 May.

    • Thoughts – Is the U.S. Still An Authoritarian National Surveillance State?

      All authoritarian regimes utilize information to try and stifle those people and organizations that seek to speak truth to power. In the U.S. we have the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press. With the U.S. already being an authoritarian national surveillance state that has two sets of laws, a law enforcement and administrative state that supports the parallel track of laws, and utilizes private/public cooperation to engage in these activities; how would the U.S. government look to use administrative law to place limitations on speech through the utilization of information technology? That is the topic of my next research post.

  • Civil Rights
    • Cop Sexually Assaults 19 Year-Old and Only Sentenced on Misdemeanor Charges

      A cop took a deal in relation to charges of sexually assaulting a teenage girl and will not receive a felony conviction, will not have to register as a sex offender, will only serve a year in jail, and still currently has his law enforcement certification.

      The rapist cop used a small amount of marijuana found during a traffic stop to extort a young woman into performing sexual acts. The officer made her boyfriend walk down to a nearby lake and wait for him to finish assaulting the young woman. The former deputy, Cory Cooper, is 31 years old. The victim is 19.

    • Slow violence, cold violence – Teju Cole on East Jerusalem

      Why the viciousness of modern Israeli law directed against Palestinians must be taken as seriously as the cruelties of war

    • Security expert pulled off flight by FBI after exposing airline tech vulnerabilities

      One of the world’s foremost experts on counter-threat intelligence within the cybersecurity industry, who blew the whistle on vulnerabilities in airplane technology systems in a series of recent Fox News reports, has become the target of an FBI investigation himself.

      Chris Roberts of the Colorado-based One World Labs, a security intelligence firm that identifies risks before they’re exploited, said two FBI agents and two uniformed police officers pulled him off a United Airlines Boeing 737-800 commercial flight Wednesday night just after it landed in Syracuse, and spent the next four hours questioning him about cyberhacking of planes.

    • Abolish the TSA

      Apparently, the two screeners, one male and the other female, worked out a system. The female screener operating the body scanner would misidentify attractive men as women on the scanner, so that the machine would flag the extra, uh, bulk in their groin area, which then initiated a pat-down from her partner in lechery.

    • TSA Trained Disney, SeaWorld to SPOT Terrorists

      Going to Disney World this summer? Don’t laugh excessively with widely open staring eyes — because those behavior indicators could identify you as a potential terrorist. Packing a Mickey Mouse costume? Wearing a disguise is another indicator.

      Yes, the Transportation Security Administration’s embattled $900 million behavior detection program, called Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, is not just used at airports. It’s also used at theme parks.

    • AcTVism film trailer

      The AcTVism Munich media collective is releasing a film on 19th April featuring Noam Chomsky, The Real News Network’s Paul Jay and myself.

    • Denied Medication by NYPD, Epileptic Man Has Two Seizures in Custody: Lawsuit

      New York Police Department officers repeatedly denied an epileptic man his medication while detaining him in a holding cell, resulting in two seizures and hospitalizations before he could be taken to Brooklyn central booking more than a day later, a new federal lawsuit alleges. The man was never charged with a crime.

    • If Virginia Elections Weren’t Hacked, It’s Only Because No One Tried

      It’s that bad. The headline grabbing line that many news sites have run with is the unchangeable WEP encryption key used on the machines was “abcde.” Meaning it was crazy easy for people to hack into (even if you didn’t know the password originally, it would not be difficult to figure that out just by monitoring the system).

    • Whistleblowers: Little UN Protection for Exposing Wrongdoing

      High-profile whistleblowers have joined forces for the first time in demanding that the United Nations change a global system they say deters its thousands of staffers from exposing crime, corruption and other wrongdoing.

      In a letter sent to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday, nine current and former U.N. workers say current policies offer “little to no measure of real or meaningful protection” from retaliation that can include firing, harassment and intimidation.

    • For one VA whistleblower, getting fired was too much

      He left a note for the mailman: “Please call 911 — tell them to go to red barn building.”

      There, officers found the body of Christopher Kirkpatrick, a 38-year-old clinical psychologist who had shot himself in the head after being fired from the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

      Kirkpatrick had complained some of his patients were too drugged to treat properly, but like other whistleblowers at the facility, he was ousted and his concerns of wrongdoing were disregarded.

    • Op-ed: Why the entire premise of Tor-enabled routers is ridiculous

      Ars recently reviewed two “Tor routers”, devices that are supposed to improve your privacy by routing all traffic through the Tor anonymity network. Although the initial release of Anonabox proved woefully insecure, the basic premise itself is flawed. Using these instead of the Tor Browser Bundle is bad: less secure and less private than simply not using these “Tor Routers” in the first place. They are, in a word, EPICFAIL.

      There are four possible spies on your traffic when you use these Tor “routers”, those who can both see what you do and potentially attack your communication: your ISP, the websites themselves, the Tor exit routers, and the NSA with its 5EYES buddies.

    • When the Student Movement Was a CIA Front

      With the passage of half a century, it may be difficult to understand why so many political and cultural organizations, led by individuals with a generally liberal or leftist outlook, covertly collaborated with the CIA in the 1950s and first half of the 1960s, before exposés in Ramparts and other publications put an end to most such arrangements. After all, many of the activities of the Agency in that era are among those that we now regard as particularly discreditable. These include the CIA’s cooperation with the British intelligence services in overthrowing the democratically elected government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953; its cooperation with the United Fruit Company in overthrowing the democratically elected government of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz in 1954; and its cooperation with the Republic of the Congo’s former colonial rulers, the Belgians, in overthrowing the country’s newly elected prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, in 1960.

    • France’s National Assembly shows support for legalization of Edward Snowden-style whistleblowing

      If American whistleblower Edward Snowden were French, he would have had a good chance of remaining a free man — despite having leaked thousands of classified intelligence documents.

    • ‘French Snowdens’ to get protection under law

      French MPs have voted through a new amendment to the controversial surveillance bill, which would allow whistleblower spies to be protected by law.

    • Many Government Tiplines Not Encrypted

      If you had plans to anonymously turn over sensitive data to the feds, you might want to think twice.

      That hot tip you’re sending in could be snaking its way through an unencrypted network, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

    • Guerrilla Artists Demand Return of Edward Snowden Bust from NYPD

      A trio of anonymous artists are demanding that the NYPD return a sculpture depicting Edward Snowden, seized after the artists secretly installed it in a public park last week. The artists call the work, depicting the NSA whistle-blower, “a gift to the city.” It was briefly on view in a war memorial in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park (see Guerrilla Artists Celebrate Whistle-Blowers with Edward Snowden Statue).

    • Artists demand NY police return Snowden bust

      Three artists on Tuesday demanded that New York police return a bust of fugitive U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden to public display or threatened legal action.

      Civil rights lawyer Ronald Kuby said the artists would remain anonymous because they feared arrest and prosecution after authorities removed the sculpture from a Brooklyn park last week.

    • Legal experts pan US for disappointing human rights record

      Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, co-director of Human Rights Watch’s U.S. Program, went further, suggesting the U.S. government undermines human rights standards. The U.S. is an active participant in the United Nation’s human rights review process, she explained, but the last set of recommendations resulted in zero domestic reforms. That lack of responsiveness could undermine the review’s credibility going forward, she warned.

      The U.S. is set to undergo its second United Nations review in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 11.

    • Two Denver TSA Agents Fired For Conspiring To Feel Up Good Looking Passengers

      Two TSA agents posted at Denver International Airport have been fired after it was discovered that they had worked out a scheme allowing one of the agents to grope unsuspecting male passengers as they passed through security checkpoints. TSA authorities were first alerted to the situation earlier this year thanks to an anonymous tip. An investigation of the two agents revealed that a clever–though troubling–system where the male agent would identify male passengers he found attractive at which point his female accomplice would flag them to be pulled aside for pat-down inspections.

    • The ‘too difficult’ box: Britain’s pre-election charades sidestep all the key questions

      Is it laziness? Ignorance? Or have Britain’s political parties and the London media conspired to turn Britain’s 2015 general election into a dreary series of rehearsed arguments?

      One thing’s for sure, the straight-talking of traditional hustings, where prospective MPs ran the gamut surrounded by querulous voters in town centers, is history. Nothing original or spontaneous can permeate the squeaky clean studio as party leaders sleepwalk into Britain’s latest US import, the TV election debate.

    • Beware the Banana Republic Postal Ballot

      Yet another election is about to be held under the UK’s dreadfully insecure postal ballot system, which an English judge who presides over electoral fraud cases has said “would disgrace a banana republic”.

    • The Most Important Issue in the 2016 Election That No One Is Talking About

      Given the court’s growing stature as the final arbiter in political battles between Republicans and Democrats, along with its own increasingly partisan nature, their replacements will be imbued with a level of power and authority almost unparalleled in American judicial history. And it is progressively more likely that the person who gets to decide what that future court looks like will be the next president of the United States.

    • Death of the whistleblower

      With the stated aim of protecting the country against terror attacks, the U.S. has since gigantically expanded its surveillance programme allowing it to intercept day to day phone conversations and internet browsing of civilians. The policy of monitoring lives of the public dates back to the days of Cold War when the FBI spied on civilians to track their political leanings as well as to clamp down on Anti-Vietnam War protestors.

      The personal information which is gleaned could thus be misused not only to tarnish reputations of government critics by tracking their browsing history on pornography but also to target peaceful civilians fighting for civil liberties or against unjust policies of the State.

      For example, the FBI conducted raids in the homes of Palestine and Colombia solidarity activists in September 2010 based on a warrant that the activists had provided material support to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and Hizballah, which were considered terrorist organizations by the U.S.

      [...]

      The fallout of hounding of Snowden is that well-intentioned, discerning civilians would refrain from exposing wrongdoings of people in positions of power, especially in the government. If Snowden was to be the last whistleblower, democracy in the U.S., for those who care, would be the casualty.

    • Demand Washington stop laying ground work for police state

      In South Carolina, white police officer Michael Thomas Slager gunned down unarmed black man Walter Scott with eight gunshots to the back as Scott fled. Slager has been fired and charged with murder, and he should be convicted.

      [...]

      Meanwhile in San Bernardino, Calif., police were caught on camera giving suspect Francis Pusok a brutal beating after he had been shocked with a stun gun and surrendered to police. Lying in the prone position with his hands behind his back, Pusok was violently kicked in the genitals and repeatedly struck on the head by multiple police officers. Because Pusok is white, the story will receive almost no coverage.

      If the media can’t help incite racial hatred, like the kind that led to the execution of two police officers in New York City or the shooting of two white police officers in Ferguson, Mo., they are uninterested in reporting police brutality.

      [...]

      American hero Edward Snowden revealed just how criminally out of control our government is in spying on both Americans and victims abroad.

      Meanwhile NSA whistleblower William Binney alerted Americans that the federal government has been bugging nearly every citizen’s phone for years, just like in every other dictatorship.

      With the protests in Ferguson, American people were able to see that after being militarized, today’s police departments look more like a storm-trooper occupying army than our friends and neighbors.

    • Technology for Foreign Enemies is Eventually Brought Home

      In it he states it is essential that the use of drones be restricted to protect the privacy of citizens, as it is likely drones will become a standard law enforcement tool. He also said that Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA surveillance program shows how that power can be abused if not checked.

    • Letters to the Editor: Abolish death penalty in Delaware

      A public execution is a spectacle of official homicide that endorses killing to solve problems, the worst possible example to set for the citizenry, especially children. The death penalty only satisfies a desire for revenge and can never promote social justice or a sense of humanity. An outdated response to violent crime, retribution does not break the cycle of violence. Imagine hanging someone or a botched lethal injection. Now imagine that the person executed was innocent.

    • Despite Changes, US Government Still Unwilling to Provide Meaningful Information to Americans Put on No Fly List

      The United States government will now inform US citizens placed on the No Fly List whether they have, in fact, been put on the No Fly List and possibly some details related to the basis for the listing. But an attorney for an American challenging the government’s No Fly List authority has suggested that the changes are “meaningless.”

      The new procedure comes after a federal court in Oregon ruled in June of last year that US citizens placed on the No Fly List had their rights to “procedural due process” violated and instructed the government to provide a “new process” that satisfied the “constitutional requirements for due process.”

      In a case involving Gulet Mohamed, a US citizen who claims his constitutional rights were violated when he was placed on the No Fly List, the government informed the judge that this new procedure was now available to Mohamed and that the government would no longer refuse to confirm or deny whether Mohamed was listed [PDF].

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Can the internet be saved without harming democracy?

      Citizens of the internet: here is some welcome news. Your downtrodden digital rights might be getting a well-overdue booster shot. But it comes with some warnings.

      This week in the Hague, a high-level group of 29 internet policymakers and influencers – including prominent ex-US and UK security and intelligence officials Michael Chertoff, Joseph Nye, Melissa Hathaway and David Omand – issued a clarion call for the protection and promotion of human rights online. Self-styled the Global Commission on Internet Governance, the group made this call as part of the broader objective of restoring trust and confidence in the internet.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • WikiLeaks releases entire trove of Sony Hack including confidential emails

        Wikileaks has just now released the entire trove from the Sony hack. According to a press release on WikiLeaks, the entire archive which contains 30,287 documents from Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and 173,132 emails, to and from more than 2,200 SPE email addresses has been leaked because “This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation. It is newsworthy and at the centre of a geo-political conflict. It belongs in the public domain. WikiLeaks will ensure it stays there.”

      • It seems Amy Pascal hated Angelina Jolie — there was more to that email than we knew

        Just when you were starting to forget about the Sony email hack scandal, WikiLeaks comes back with a vengeance. Recently, the controversial online whistle-blower website made the more than 170,000 emails as well as 30,000 private documents searchable on their site.

      • Chris Dodd’s Email Reveals What MPAA Really Thinks Of Fair Use: ‘Extremely Controversial’

        Two years ago, we were among those who noted how odd it was to see the MPAA in court arguing in favor of fair use, since the MPAA tends to argue against fair use quite frequently. The legal geniuses at the MPAA felt hurt by our post and some of the other news coverage on the issue, and put out a blog post claiming that the MPAA and its members actually love fair use. According to that post, the MPAA’s members “rely on the fair use doctrine every day” and the idea that it “opposes” fair use is “simply false, a notion that doesn’t survive even a casual encounter with the facts.”

        Now, as you may have heard, Wikileaks has put the leaked Sony emails online for everyone to search through for themselves. I imagine that there will be a variety of new stories coming out of this trove of information, now that it’s widely available, rather than limited to the small group who got the initial email dumps. In digging through the emails, one interesting one popped up. It’s Chris Dodd revealing the MPAA’s true view on “fair use” in an email to Michael Froman, the US Trade Rep in charge of negotiating agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP).

      • WikiLeaks: Hollywood working with local anti-piracy groups

        A powerful Hollywood lobby group has been working hand in glove with one of Australia’s most outspoken voices against online piracy.

        Hacked Sony Pictures emails published by WikiLeaks reveal that CreativeFuture, the US film industry’s main anti-piracy lobby, regards Village Roadshow co-chairman Graham Burke as one of its champions, engaged in a critical fight for the future of the internet.

        In an email sent in September 2014, CreativeFuture chief executive and Hollywood veteran Ruth Vitale wrote to alert US movie studios including Sony Pictures, 21st Century Fox, Disney, Viacom and Warner Brothers to “what is going on in Australia” where Burke “is at the centre” of campaigning against online piracy.

      • Sony execs lobbied Netflix to stop VPN users

        In emails leaked from Sony Pictures following a cyber attack, it has been revealed that Sony Pictures has lobbied Netflix into cancelling customer accounts associated with users accessing the service from places where the streaming video company has not yet launched.

        WikiLeaks published on Thursday a trove of searchable emails and documents believed to have been obtained as a result of a massive cyber attack on the studio in 2014. More than 30,000 documents and 170,000 emails belonging to Sony Pictures were leaked as a result of the attack.

        Sony has slammed the whistleblower website for publishing and indexing the “stolen employee and other private and privileged information”.

        The documents and emails range from financial information to negotiations between the company and its distributors — including Village Roadshow and Foxtel in Australia — and also revealed the company’s delicate relationship with streaming video service Netflix.

      • WikiLeaks Posts Sony Pictures Documents, Angering the Studio

        Sony Pictures Entertainment reacted harshly on Thursday to word that WikiLeaks, a web portal devoted to disclosing confidential information from governments, corporations and other large and powerful entities, had posted a searchable archive of emails and other documents stolen from the studio last year by hackers.

      • Sony Studio Renews Warning After WikiLeaks Posts Stolen Data

        David Boies, a lawyer for Sony Pictures Entertainment, began warning news media outlets on Friday that WikiLeaks’s posting of emails and documents stolen from Sony does not, in the media giant’s view, make them fair game.

        “WikiLeaks is incorrect that this Stolen Information belongs in the public domain, and it is, in many jurisdictions, unlawful to place it there or otherwise access or distribute it,” Mr. Boies wrote in a letter that was prepared for distribution to outlets that post or publish the material.

      • MPAA Wants Private Theaters in U.S. Embassies to Lobby Officials

        Emails from the Sony hack reveal that the MPAA asked its member studios to pay $165,000 each to upgrade the screening rooms of several U.S. embassies. American ambassadors could then utilize these private theaters as indirect lobbying tools by showing off Hollywood content to high level officials.

      • WikiLeaks Release of Stolen Sony Data Is ‘Just Wrong’ – Former NSA Director

        WikiLeaks made the wrong decision in releasing the cache of data hackers obtained from Sony Pictures Entertainment in November 2014, former National Security Agency Director General Keith Alexander said on Friday.

      • WikiLeaks publishes huge archive of hacked Sony documents

        The Sony attack, widely suspected to be the work of North Korea, sent shockwaves through the U.S. entertainment industry when hackers leaked sensitive corporate data. The WikiLeaks archive, which contains 30,287 documents and 173,132 emails, sheds light on Sony Pictures’ relationships with government and industry.

Microsoft Tired of Pretending to be Nice to Free/Open Source Software (FOSS), Microsoft ‘Open’ Technologies Dumped

Saturday 18th of April 2015 10:37:19 AM

“Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches,” Microsoft’s long-serving CEO Steve Ballmer once said. Not much as changed except pretense (face change).


Satya Ballmer

Summary: Microsoft dumps its proxy (misleadingly named ‘Open Tech’) and other attacks on Free software persist from the inside, often through so-called ‘experts’ whose agenda is to sell proprietary software

MICROSOFT’S long-term assault on GNU/Linux is in some ways worse than ever before. Changing Ballmer’s face with another is about as effective as swapping Bush for Obama. Things are only getting worse, even if it’s branded differently. The attacks on users’ rights (DRM, blobs, spying) have exacerbated. It’s just not as visible as before (like the infamous “Get the Facts” marketing campaign), it’s more subtle or altogether covert.

There are concrete sign of Microsoft’s strategy to destroy FOSS from the inside (entryism) not quite succeeding, which leads to a Plan B, like infecting Android with proprietary spyware, controlling GNU/Linux through Azure, etc.

“For Microsoft, “Open Tech” shutting down is somewhat symbolic, even poetic.”“So,” some people ask, “what’s new at the ‘new’ Microsoft?”

There’s nothing new except worsening levels of aggression.

Microsoft’s ‘Open Tech’ proxy is shutting down, anti-Android lawsuits expand (or threats of lawsuits, based on the latest reports from Taiwan), new bribes are reported (e.g. Cyanogen), antitrust by proxy (against Free software) is succeeding… welcome the ‘new’ Microsoft, the Microsoft that’s more aggressive than the Mafia led by Steve Ballmer.

For Microsoft, “Open Tech” shutting down is somewhat symbolic, even poetic. It’s almost as though Microsoft gave up pretending to be “Open”. The Microsoft “Open Tech” proxy (assimilation strategy) is dead, says Microsoft’s Mouth (people have left it for quite some time, even senior people). but Microsoft’s Mouth (the booster Mary Jo Foley) released quite a misleading piece which is essentially hogwash and PR, pretending that shutdown is “rejoining”, like “reorg” meaning layoffs.

Is there no point keeping this Trojan horse in tact? Is Microsoft not interested in “Open”? Or is there no point pretending anymore? Microsoft has been aggressive against Linux as of late, as we wrote in the following series a month ago:

We also wrote about Microsoft ‘Open’ Technologies in the following older articles:

Meanwhile, alas, Microsoft is googlebombing 'Open Source', which helps fool some politicians. As we put it yesterday, Microsoft's plot to associate Windows with 'Open Source' is proving effective, despite being just a Big Lie. Shame on IDG for continuing the googlebombing of “Windows Open Source” in an article by Mac Asay. We are also saddened to see an article from SoftPedia about Black Duck, the Microsoft-linked source of FUD (anti-copyleft). Another publication giving them marketing space is always bad news because it’s anti-FOSS really, disguised as pro-FOSS. It is part of the latest marketing blitz from Black Duck, relying on the so-called “Future of Open Source Survey” [1, 2, 3], which has been annual propaganda for many years. Why do journalists continue to waste time on this? It’s not an analysis, it’s just marketing for Black Duck’s proprietary software.

Speaking of Black Duck, it recently hired a top executive from Veracode and Chris Wysopal, CTO of Veracode, continues the FUD over FOSS security (article from yesteday); he does it after Veracode did the “Heartbleed” recall/birthday in the same site a just over a couple of days beforehand (14th of April), as we noted with concern at the time. IT Pro Portal seems to be thinking that some Microsoft-connected firm giving a name and logo to a FOSS bug is such a major event that we need to celebrate its anniversaries, too. If they wish to see real security problems, then they should speak about Windows in terminals, ATMs, etc. The new report titled “New malware program ‘Punkey’ infecting point-of-sale systems” does not even call out Windows, almost as if this fact is just irrelevant.

These so-called ‘analysts’ are — more often than not, to not risk overgeneralising — little more than frauds, like so-called ‘counter-terrorism experts’ whose goal is to scare people (e.g. through the corporate media or parliamentary avenues) in order for them to sell their ‘services’.

The 451 Research is now using some biased yardstick to help generate favourable press for Microsoft, but that’s another point and another topic, probably worth raising another day. 451 Research staff always refused to tell me whether Microsoft paid them or not (they answered all my other questions) — a denial which in itself spoke volumes.

More Translations of French Article About the EPO

Saturday 18th of April 2015 09:47:25 AM

Summary: German and Dutch translations of the Le Monde article are now available

GERMANY- and Holland-based staff of the EPO (locations of main ‘branches’ with top bureaucrats) can now easily read the article that we mentioned here before (focusing on yet more suicides), shortly ahead of an English translation which was kindly provided to us.

“The EPO’s response to suicides (from the arrogant Battistelli) took some people by surprise; these people include Merpel from IP Kat.”The EPO’s response to suicides (from the arrogant Battistelli) took some people by surprise; these people include Merpel from IP Kat. Merpel wrote that she “has received word of an article published by the major French newspaper Le Monde on 6 April 2015, reporting on the industrial unrest and social tensions within the European Patent Office (EPO). The original article linked appears to require a subscription and is naturally in French, but those good people at SUEPO have published a version with a translation in French and German which you can access on their news page (item of 9 April 2015) here.”

Merpel linked to this page which says: “Le Monde, one of the reference newspapers in France, published an article on the deleterious social climate at the European Patent Office culminating with an authoritarian management style and four suicides since 2012. Translation are available in English, German and Dutch by scrolling through the document” (links on the page).

Even the pro-patents circles are unhappy with the EPO, based on this article (recently cited above), so we expect major changes. In the coming days we will write a lot about patent reform.

Links 17/4/2015: Wipro and the Netherlands Want FOSS

Friday 17th of April 2015 10:39:02 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Opening Up Performance with OpenSpeedShop an Open Source Profiler

    Performance analysis to optimize HPC applications is challenging at many levels, not the least of which is the availability of adequate performance analysis and measurement tools. Underappreciated at best, most organizations rely on vendor-supplied tools included as part of a machine procurement. While generally good for analysis on a single node, such performance analysis tools typically do not provide the capabilities needed to analyze heterogeneous systems containing accelerators and/or distributed applications running across large numbers of nodes. As a result, most programmers are stuck having to guess at performance issues. The patchwork nature and lack of consistency amongst performance tools available across various HPC centers also means that many programmers lack proficiency in using the performance tool(s) provided at a new site or installed on a new machine.

  • Veyron Danger & Brain Motherboards Now In Coreboot

    As a quick update to the initial Veyron motherboards being added to Coreboot, Google has now added more Veyron boards to mainline Coreboot.

  • At Birth, Open Source Was About Saving Money, Not Sharing Code

    A similar line of reasoning predates Raymond’s rise to prominence, and even the introduction of Linux. As far back as the early 1980s, Richard Stallman, the founder of the GNU project and the man some authorities have called the “last true hacker,” declared that the source code of software should be freely shared because “the Golden Rule requires that if I like a program I must share it with other people who like it.”

    So, from an early date, advocates of open source development argued that open code is essential for two reasons: First, it’s simply a superior way to program; and second, there’s a moral imperative to share.

    That all sounds grand. And it’s certainly true that both the functional and moral dimensions of open code are key motivations for many open source programmers today.

  • When to choose closed or open source

    Catalyst IT founder Don Christie says one argument in favour of open source is that coding isn’t difficult.

    Most of the time that means others can quickly replicate closed software. He says: “They are going to replicate it anyway. It can be better to make it open source and get the benefits of better code.”

  • AT&T Makes Case for Open Source Sharing

    In a blog post this week and in an interview with Light Reading, Rice says there are several reasons being an active contributor is beneficial. But he admits with a laugh that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) doesn’t have the same methods to make money on open source as software vendors, who can release a “free” version of their open source software for customers but then sell upgrades or back-end support.

  • Six things that make open source a no-brainer for your company

    So, you’re about to start a new company and you want to make open-source software the driving force behind all technology decisions. Outside of it being an incredibly noble and honorable cause, what are the key data points you need to fully understand before implementing this strategy?

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Google Chrome 42 Brings The Push API & Extras

        Google today announced the Chrome/Chromium 42 web-browser reaching the stable channel and with it comes many improvements.

      • Chrome 43 Beta Brings Web MIDI & Permissions API

        Today’s Chrome 43 Beta release brings Web MIDI support for connecting to MIDI devices like synthesizers, DJ decks, and drum machines from the web browser. Aside from supporting the Web MIDI API, thre’s also now a Permissions API to let developers query permissions for Geolocation, Push, Notification, and Web MIDI APIs.

  • SaaS/Big Data
    • Pepperdata Nabs $15 Million to Scale its Enterprise Hadoop Biz

      This week, immediately following startup company AtScale coming out of stealth mode to show its tools for making data stored in Hadoop’s file system accessible within Business Intelligence (BI) applications, Think Big launched its Dashboard Engine for Hadoop, designed to make it easy for business users to cull insights from Hadoop data stores. And now, Pepperdata, which develops Hadoop cluster optimization software, announced that it has secured more than $15 million in strategic and venture financing to scale to serve enterprises who rely on Hadoop in production.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice 4.5 Bumped To Become LibreOffice 5.0

      While we’ve been looking forward to the new features of LibreOffice 4.5 as the leading open-source office suite, version 4.5 is no more. The next version of LO is now going to be LibreOffice 5.0.

      To some surprise, this morning in Git, the version was bumped to 5.0 (5.0.0.0.alpha0+). There was no branching of LibreOffice 4.5 as it seems LibreOffice 4.5 is itself being renamed to LibreOffice 5.0.

  • CMS
    • How and why BackBee CMS went open source

      Our Parisian web agency and software company, Lp Digital, is open sourcing its content management system, BackBee CMS. In this article, I’ll explain the tools that helped us release BackBee as open source software and measure the results.

    • govCMS to release its own Drupal distribution

      The government’s govCMS project will make its own Drupal distribution publicly available for download, it announced today.

      The distribution will be a fork of the aGov distribution, which was developed by local development shop PreviousNext and is the building block for govCMS sites.

      aGov was released in 2013 after a beta period involving a number of federal and state government agencies. High profile end users include the NSW government’s ‘one stop shop’ for services, Service NSW.

  • Education
    • Higher Education Sees The Light

      This will also pave the way for other FLOSS like GNU/Linux on the desktop instead of That Other OS. Altogether this could save half the cost of desktop IT or permit more/better IT for the same money in Hungarian universities. What about your local university? This is yet another indication that this is the Year of the GNU/Linux Desktop. Hungary as a whole is not doing badly on GNU/Linux desktops (1.48%). It’s time the universities pulled their share up.

  • Business
    • Semi-Open Source
      • Chef aims to create the secret recipe for DevOps success

        Released at the beginning of the month, Chef Delivery is already getting some purchase in the fast growing DevOps market with the help of some blue-chip IT companies like HP. With Chef Delivery, the company says it “has captured success patterns of its most innovative customers and distilled them into a product”.

  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GNU Hurd 0.6 Released

      The GNU Hurd, the free open source replacement for the Unix kernel, has a new release that is still not suitable for production environments. There are also new releases of GNU Mach and GNU Mig, both of which have reached version 1.5.

    • Latest TPP leak shows systemic threat to software freedom

      Key congressional leaders have just agreed on a deal to fast track the fast-tracking of TPP. While the threat of TPP has persisted for years, now is the time to fight back!

    • GNU Hurd 0.6 Released Brings Clean-Ups & Fixes

      Version 0.6 of GNU Hurd was released today. Before getting too excited about GNU Hurd, it’s still bound to x86 32-bit and doesn’t offer any compelling new features.

  • Project Releases
    • Wine Announcement

      The Wine development release 1.7.41 is now available.

      What’s new in this release (see below for details):
      - More Known Folders supported in the shell.
      - Some more support for kernel job objects.
      - More MSI patches improvements.
      - Some theming fixes.
      - Various bug fixes.

    • Wine 1.7.41 Officially Released, Fixes an Adobe Photoshop CS6 Crash

      Alexandre Julliard announced the immediate availability for download and testing of a new maintenance release of Wine 1.7.41, which brings better support for kernel job objects, improves MSI patches, enhanced support for Known Folders in the shell, and fixes theming issues.

  • Public Services/Government
  • Openness/Sharing
    • Would You Open-Source Your Body?

      As you may have noticed, this column is pretty keen on opening things up – whether that’s open source, open access or open government. But what about open-sourcing your body – releasing as open data the most intimate aspects of your physical existence? That’s what the Open Humans Network is asking.

    • Apple’s ResearchKit, npm private modules, and more open source news
    • This Week in Linux News: New Linux-GoPro Drone, Linux 4.0, and More
    • Open Hardware
      • Expanding access to open source hardware

        I didn’t pay anything for the USB keyboard and USB optical mouse that I use with this tiny computer, because they were donated to the public library where I work. Two weeks ago someone dropped of 10 new USB keyboards and 10 new USB mice; they were surplus from a computer upgrade cycle at a nearby office. To be sure, the value of the $35 USD Raspberry Pi 2 computer is extended when free USB keyboards and mice are available. There is a role, then, for schools, libraries, and makerspaces to collect these donated items in order to redistribute them to those who need them.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • ODF Plus Ten Years

      So what’s new? Well, basically one thing: we now have a related standard for formulas in ODF spreadsheets! This is something that obviously occurred 5-10 years too late, but better late than never. The Wikipedia article on OpenFormula is a fairly amusing example of the need to justify and rationalize mistakes that seems to surround the OpenDocument standard.

Leftovers
  • Nigel Farage On BBC Election Debate Is A Good Example Of How Not To Treat An Audience
  • Who won BBC leaders debate according to the data?

    Nicola Sturgeon was ahead of the Labour leader by 7 points in the question of who had the best personality: 30% of the liked her over Nigel Farage (23%), Ed Miliband (21%) and the Leader of Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood (16%).

  • Science
    • TechCrunch Speaker Combines Every Possible Startup Cliche

      Change the world. Power. Influence. Innovation. Hand gestures. Literal self-comparisons to royalty. Slides. Rosenstein’s keynote at this week’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference has it all. There’s a banal, pseudo-do-gooder theme (“Do great things”). There are several venn diagrams. There are repeated tone deaf calls to “have your cake and eat it too,” an exhortation for all techies to embrace their Stanford dropout privilege and remake the world as they desire.

  • Hardware
    • ARM Dives into Low-Power IoT Communications

      ARM, the leading designer of mobile processors, announced the launch of ARM Cordio, a portfolio of low-power wireless communications technologies for the Internet of Things (IoT).

      ARM Cordio is comprised of the intellectual property (IP) from two acquisitions, Sunrise Micro Devices and Wicentric, also announced on April 16. The terms of the deals were not disclosed.

      The Cordio name originates from Sunrise Micro Devices’ sub-volt Bluetooth wireless radio technology. A year ago, Sunrise Micro Devices and Wicentric, a maker of Bluetooth Smart software, announced an alliance to develop software for the Cordio BT4 radio core for IoT sensors and devices.

    • Moore’s Law turns 50: What’s next for this tale of incredible shrinking chips

      When you’re strapping on the latest smart watch or ogling an iPhone, you probably aren’t thinking of Moore’s Law, which for 50 years has been used as a blueprint to make computers smaller, cheaper and faster.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Why Is WalMart Mysteriously Shuttering Stores Nationwide For “Plumbing Issues”?

      Earlier this year, WalMart became one of several corporate heavyweights to lift wages for its meagerly compensated workers, around 500,000 of which are now set to receive at least $9/hour and $10/hour by Q1 2016 (that of course assumes they make it on $9 an hour for another 12 months and don’t seek out other employment by sheer necessity).

  • Security
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • Yes, militaries are working on drone swarms

      That the battlefield of tomorrow will be abuzz with death is clear. Say hi to America’s drone cannons.

    • LOCUST: Autonomous, Swarming UAVs Fly into the Future

      A new era in autonomy and unmanned systems for naval operations is on the horizon, as officials at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced April 14 recent technology demonstrations of swarming unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – part of the Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology (LOCUST) program.

    • ‘Price tag’ settler argues in court that revenge isn’t a crime

      Were people’s lives and livelihoods not at stake, it would have been an almost sublime piece of parody. During the trial of four teenage Israeli settlers who set fire to a Palestinian-owned cafe in the West Bank town of Dura, which concluded on Monday, the defendants’ attorneys – as reported by Ynet – brought forth the claim that because the arson was an act of revenge, their clients were not guilty of breaking the law.

    • Lockheed Hopes Talk of Iran Getting S-300 Will Sell More F-35 Planes

      Earlier this week, Russia announced it was ending its five year ban on selling S-300 defensive missiles to Iran. There’s no indication yet Iran is even going to buy any, but Israel was immediately furious, predicting doom and gloom over the possibility.

    • Saudi Coalition Preventing Food Ships From Reaching Yemen

      One of the first measures taken by Saudi Arabia, when announcing its war against Yemen, was a full-scale naval blockade. For a nation that imports over 90% of its food, that was a devastating move, and one Saudi officials assured wouldn’t keep the food out of the country.

    • The Killing Initiative

      The world of private defence contractors, the modern version of the fabled Condottiere without the flags and the city-state veneration, received a blow with the handing down of stiff sentences on four former Blackwater operatives. Last year, the four in question, part of Blackwater’s Support Team Raven 23, were convicted in the Washington, D.C. federal court for killing 17 Iraqis in Baghdad’s Nisour square in 2007.

    • Religious Fanaticism is a Huge Factor in Americans’ Support for Israel

      Almost half of all Americans want to support Israel even if its interests diverge from the interests of their own country. Only a minority of Americans (47 percent) say that their country should pursue their own interests over supporting Israel’s when the two choices collide. It’s the ultimate violation of George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address warning that “nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded. … The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave.”

    • Kill > Capture

      The Obama administration’s explicit policy is to capture suspected terrorists, not drone them. So why is there so much droning and so little capturing?

    • Father of Blackwater Victim: ‘Too Late’ for Apologies

      More than seven years after his nine-year-old son, Ali, was killed by contractors working for the American security firm Blackwater Worldwide, Mohammed Kinani says he’s finished his mission “to push these people to the law.”

      Four former Blackwater employees were given long sentences yesterday for killing 14 unarmed Iraqis, including Kinani’s son, and wounding many others, when in 2007 they shot at a crowd in Baghdad’s Nisour Square with machine guns and grenade launchers.

    • John Kerry Thanks Russia for Rescuing US Citizens From Yemen Air Strikes

      The US Secretary of State expressed appreciation for Russia’s action in evacuating Americans from Yemen, after the United States refused to engage in evacuation efforts for its citizens.

    • The Lies Still Killing Gulf War Vets

      Some cover-ups are scandalous. Others, like those surrounding the First Gulf War, suggest an official callousness that shocks and awes.

      During and immediately after the war, 200,000 of 700,000 U.S. troops were exposed to nerve gas and other chemical agents. The Department of Defense (DOD), fully aware of the chemical hazards and the troop exposure, deployed a litany of lies. After this, it concocted a cover-up. That cover-up continues to this day.

      Don Riegle, the senator who presided over Senate committee hearings in 1993-1994 about the veterans’ illnesses, recently told me: “Every effort was made for years to hide the truth and deny the medical research needed to fully treat the U.S. troops suffering from Gulf War Syndrome.”

    • NY Times (Again) Carries Water for Government’s Post Hoc Drone Assassination Justifications

      American Anwar al-Awlaki has been dead for over four years now, but The New York Times is still giving substantial ink to the U.S. government’s self-serving meme that Awlaki was an “operational” terrorist,” even though we still don’t know whether ISIS or AQAP is responsible for the recent attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.

      I called out New York Times reporter Scott Shane for carrying the government’s water by pimping the “Awlaki was operational” narrative last year. Yesterday, Shane penned another lengthy article rehashing the U.S. government’s post hoc justification for targeting and assassinating Awlaki without due process.

    • Blackwater’s Legacy Goes Beyond Public View

      By the time four former Blackwater security guards were sentenced this week to long prison terms for the 2007 fatal shooting of 14 civilians in Iraq, the man who sent the contractors there had long since moved on from the country and the company he made notorious.

      Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, a former member of the Navy SEALs and heir to a Michigan auto parts fortune, has spent the last few years searching for new missions, new fields of fire and new customers.

      He has worked in Abu Dhabi and now focuses his efforts on Africa, with ties to the Chinese government, which is eager for access to some of the continent’s natural resources. Mr. Prince’s current firm, Frontier Services Group, provides what it describes as “expeditionary logistics” for mining, oil and natural gas operations in Africa, and has the backing of Citic Group, a large state-owned Chinese investment company.

  • Transparency Reporting
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • Saudi Oil Production Hits All Time High, Surges By ‘Half A Bakken’

      As hopeful US investors buy everything oil-related on the back of a lower than expected crude build this week (after the biggest build in 30 years the week before), The Kingdom has stepped up overnight and ruined the dream of supply-restrained price recovery as it announced a surge in production output in March to yet another record high. The nation boosted crude output by 658,800 barrels a day in March to an average of 10.294 million a day, which as Bloomberg notes, is about half the daily production from the Bakken formation. WTI Crude prices have slipped by around 2% from yesterday’s NYMEX Close ramp highs as it appears Saudi Arabia is not willing to just let this effort to squeeze Shale stall.

    • As Drought Grips California, Networks Come Up Dry on Climate Science

      California is in its fourth year of an unprecedented drought, with no end in sight and water reserves dwindling. It’s exactly the type of scenario climate scientists have warned about, and new research sees global warming’s fingerprints on the drought. But a new FAIR study shows that, rather than investigating this connection, network news is largely ignoring it.

  • Finance and Politics
    • Politicians Bragging About Exports While Ignoring Imports? That’s Just Gross

      That probably should have been the headline of a Politico article (sorry, behind paywall) on a letter signed by 13 former Democratic governors urging Congress to approve fast-track trade authority to facilitate the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP). The most newsworthy aspect of the letter is that the governors apparently do not understand the basic economics of trade.

    • Debate: Hillary Clinton Sounds Populist Tone, But Are Progressives Ready to Back Her in 2016?

      Former secretary of state, senator and first lady Hillary Clinton has formally entered the 2016 race for the White House in a second bid to become the first woman U.S. president. We host a roundtable discussion with four guests: Joe Conason, editor-in-chief of The National Memo, co-editor of The Investigative Fund, and author of “The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton”; Michelle Goldberg, senior contributing writer at The Nation; longtime journalist Robert Scheer, editor of Truthdig.com and author of many books; and Kshama Sawant, a Socialist city councilmember in Seattle and member of Socialist Alternative, a nationwide organization of social and economic justice activists.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street backers: We get it

      It’s “just politics,” said one major Democratic donor on Wall Street, explaining that some of Clinton’s Wall Street supporters doubt she would push hard for closing the carried-interest loophole as president, a policy she promoted when she last ran in 2008.

      “The question is not going to be whether or not hedge fund managers or CEOs make too much money,” said a separate Clinton supporter who manages a hedge fund. “The question is, how do you solve the problem of inequality. Nobody takes it like she is going after them personally.”

      Indeed, many of the financial-sector donors supporting her just-declared presidential campaign say they’ve been expecting all along the moment when Clinton would start calling out hedge fund managers and decrying executive pay — right down to the complaints from critics that such arguments are rich coming from someone who recently made north of $200,000 per speech and who has been close to Wall Street since her days representing it as a senator from New York.

    • Sanders: American people ‘don’t know’ what Hillary is running on

      “Why don’t you tell me what Hillary Clinton is campaigning on, do you know?” he said on MSNBC’s “Live with Thomas Roberts,” when asked if he believed her campaign message that she’s running to represent the “little guy.”

    • [Old] Kshama Sawant: The Most Dangerous Woman in America

      Kshama Sawant, the socialist on the City Council, is up for re-election this year. Since joining the council in January of 2014 she has helped push through a gradual raising of the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Seattle. She has expanded funding for social services and blocked, along with housing advocates, an attempt by the Seattle Housing Authority to allow a rent increase of up to 400 percent. She has successfully lobbied for city money to support tent encampments and is fighting for an excise tax on millionaires. And for this she has become the bête noire of the Establishment, especially the Democratic Party.

    • Jeb Bush’s Administration Steered Florida Pension Money to George W. Bush’s Fundraisers

      Four years before the financial collapse, Goldman Sachs executive George Herbert Walker IV had much to be thankful for. “I’ve been fortunate to be a small part of teams leading U.S. restructurings, European privatizations, global pension management and now hedge fund and private equity investing,” he said in the annual report of a banking colossus that would soon be known as the “great vampire squid” of Wall Street.

      “The world,” said Walker, “just keeps getting more interesting.”

      As the head of Goldman Sachs’ alternative investment unit, Walker’s ebullience was understandable. At the same time he was raising $100,000 for his cousin George W. Bush’s successful presidential re-election effort, the administration of another cousin, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, returned the family favor, delivering $150 million of Florida pension money to an alternative investment fund run by Walker’s firm. Like other executives whose companies received Florida pension money, Walker is now renewing the cycle, reportedly attending in February a high-dollar fundraiser for Jeb Bush’s political committee.

    • Severing ties with foundation won’t insulate Clinton from controversy

      Hillary Clinton’s announcement that she’s stepping down from her family foundation’s board of directors while running for president was well received, but that won’t shield her from the roiling controversy over the foundation’s acceptance of tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments.

      The boards of the Clinton Foundation and the affiliated Clinton Health Access Initiative are scheduled to meet this week to consider additional actions as a result of her candidacy, possibly including new curbs on foreign donations.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • An Article by Any Other Name May Smell Sweeter to Search Engines

      Among the bottomfeeders of the Internet ecosystem are “news scrapers”–websites that automatically harvest posts from actual news sites and repackage them in hopes of snagging some search engine hits and the accompanying online ad revenue.

    • Agency Overseeing Obama Trade Deals Filled With Former Trade Lobbyists

      The Office of the United States Trade Representative, the agency responsible for negotiating two massive upcoming trade deals, is being led by former lobbyists for corporations that stand to benefit from the deals, according to disclosure forms obtained by The Intercept.

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed free trade accord between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim countries; the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a similar agreement between the U.S. and the E.U.

    • NBC’s Conduct in Engel Kidnapping Story is More Troubling than the Brian Williams Scandal

      Throughout 2012, numerous American factions were pushing for U.S. intervention in Syria to bring down the regime of Bashar Assad, who throughout the War on Terror had helped the U.S. in all sorts of ways, including torturing people for them. But by then, Assad was viewed mostly as an ally of Iran, and deposing him would weaken Tehran, the overarching regional strategy of the U.S. and its allies. The prevailing narrative was thus created that those fighting against Assad were “moderate” and even pro-western groups, with the leading one dubbed “the Free Syrian Army.”

      Whether to intervene in Syria in alliance with or on behalf of the “Free Syrian Army” was a major debate in the west through the end of that year. Then-Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry was openly discussing ways for the U.S. to aid the rebels to bring about regime change. Senator Joe Lieberman was saying: “I hope the international community and the U.S. will provide assistance to the Syrian Free Army in the various ways we can.” Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while ruling out direct military intervention, said: “[W]e have to redouble our efforts outside of the United Nations with those allies and partners who support the Syrian people’s right to have a better future.”

    • NBC’s Richard Engel Re-Reporting His Kidnapping In Syria Following Questions Over Captors’ Identity

      NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel is re-reporting a key detail of his December 2012 kidnapping in Syria after new information surfaced suggesting he may have been misled about the identities of his captors, according to sources familiar with the matter.

    • They Have ‘Propaganda,’ US Has ‘Public Diplomacy’–and a Servile Private Sector

      But wait a second–isn’t Voice of America itself a propaganda outlet? Not in the New York Times stylebook, apparently. The piece, by Ron Nixon, describes VOA as “the government agency that is charged with presenting America’s viewpoint to the world.” Later on, the Times refers to what it calls “America’s public diplomacy.”

      The US’s enemies, on the other hand, have “sophisticated propaganda machines that have expanded the influence of countries like China and Russia and terrorist groups like the Islamic State.” The difference between “propaganda machines” and “public diplomacy” is never explained in the article, but the former appears to be what “they” do while the latter is what “we” do.

      The only source quoted in the article who’s not directly connected to the government is Glen Howard, president of the Jamestown Foundation, described as “a Washington think tank.” (“We are getting our butts kicked…. Countries like Russia are running circles around us,” Howard says.) Not mentioned is the fact that Jamestown was founded with the help of then-CIA Director William Casey to provide financial support for the Agency’s spies (Washington Post, 1/10/05).

  • Censorship
    • Copyright claims asserted in viral video of cop shooting fleeing suspect

      The April 4 viral video of a South Carolina police officer shooting a fleeing suspect has cost the cop his job and his freedom. But there’s now another cost attached to the video, perhaps in the $10,000 range or more. A publicist for the man who captured the footage—which led to homicide charges against North Charleston officer Michael Slager— says news outlets must pay a licensing fee to carry the footage.

      Australian publicist Max Markson, the chief executive of celebrity management firm Markson Sparks, told The New York Times that “I think that the people who might be put off by this are the media outlets that had it for free. Now they will have to pay.” Markson did not respond to Ars’ requests for comment.

  • Privacy
    • Open Rights Group files amicus brief in Hungarian data retention case

      Open Rights Group, Privacy International and a group of internationally acknowledged experts have filed amicus curiae briefs with the Hungarian Constitutional Court. The case has been brought by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) against two major service providers, in an attempt to force the Hungarian Constitutional Court to repeal the Hungarian Electronic Communications Act.

    • NSA and FBI fight to retain spy powers as surveillance law nears expiration

      With about 45 days remaining before a major post-9/11 surveillance authorization expires, representatives of the National Security Agency and the FBI are taking to Capitol Hill to convince legislators to preserve their sweeping spy powers.

    • Booz Allen Wolves Offer Advice on Protecting NSA Henhouse

      The report dutifully examines how hard it is for the federal government to hire and keep top cybersecurity talent when the private sector pays so much more.

      Its very sensible recommendations include modernizing the creaky civil service hiring system and making compensation more competitive.

      But in a eye-popping bit of irony — even by Washington standards — the report was written by Booz Allen Hamilton, the giant “Beltway Bandit” government contractor known for regularly raiding the National Security Agency and other government organizations for its best and brightest cyber talents, especially after they’ve gotten valuable government training and security clearances.

    • Yes voters ‘right to suspect MI5 of spying on them’

      WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange believes SNP supporters were not being “paranoid” that their communications were being spied on during the independence referendum.

      Speaking via videolink at the Commonwealth Law Conference in Glasgow on Wednesday, Mr Assange said the “full capacities” of the British intelligence services were deployed during in the run-up to last year’s vote.

    • Assange: Yes Campaign “not paranoid” to think they were spied on during referendum

      The Australian expert in espionage believes independence amounted to a “national security threat” to the UK, justifying the mobilisation of the “full capacities” of the British state’s surveillance network.

    • Assange to discuss spying and privacy at key Glasgow conference

      In a rare public appearance, the Wikileaks founder, who has spent the past 34 months in the building after claiming asylum, will discuss how intelligence gathering abuses privacy in the internet age.

    • Suspicious lawyer finds malware on external hard drive supplied by police lawyer in discovery

      An Arkansas lawyer is seeking sanctions after his computer expert found malware on an external hard drive supplied in response to a discovery request.

      Lawyer Matthew Campbell of North Little Rock says he became suspicious when he received the hard drive by Federal Express in June 2014 from a lawyer for the Fort Smith Police Department, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports. Previous evidence in the police whistleblower case had been provided by email or a cloud-based Internet storage service, or had been shipped through the U.S. Postal Service.

      “I thought, ‘I’m not plugging that into my computer,’ ” Campbell told the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette. “Something didn’t add up in the way they approached it, so I sent it to my software guy first.”

      The technology expert found four Trojans on the hard drive. “These Trojans were designed to steal passwords, install malicious software and give someone else command and control of the infected computer,” Campbell says in a brief supporting his motion for sanctions (PDF).

      The security expert said in an affidavit that the Trojans were in a subfolder rather than the root directory, indicating they were “more likely placed in that folder intentionally with the goal of taking command of Mr. Campbell’s computer while also stealing passwords to his account.”

    • Lawyer representing whistle blowers finds malware on drive supplied by cops

      An Arkansas lawyer representing current and former police officers in a contentious whistle-blower lawsuit is crying foul after finding three distinct pieces of malware on an external hard drive supplied by police department officials.

    • This simple game shows why metadata laws won’t protect whistleblowers

      Australia has passed data retention laws that force telecommunications companies to retain some types of phone and web metadata. This data can be requested by government agencies and has been used to investigate leaks of government information to journalists.

      It now takes a warrant to access a journalist’s metadata to identify a source, but this offers limited protection. Government agencies can still seek data from suspected sources without a warrant. This game shows how a whistleblower can still be identified.

    • Classified Department: We Unveil the New Unit of the German Domestic Secret Service to Extend Internet Surveillance

      The German domestic secret service is setting up a new department to improve and extend its internet surveillance capabilities, investing several million Euros. We hereby publish the secret description for the new unit named „Extended Specialist Support Internet“. More than 75 spies are designated to monitor online chats and Facebook, create movement patterns and social network graphs and covertly „collect hidden information.“

    • Hassanshahi Bids to Undermine the DEA Dragnet … and All Dragnets

      Often forgotten in the new reporting on the DEA dragnet is the story of Shantia Hassanshahi, the Iranian-American accused of sanctions violations who was first IDed using the DEA dragnet. That’s a shame, because his case may present real problems not just for the allegedly defunct DEA dragnet, but for the theory behind dragnets generally.

      As I laid out in December, as Hassanshahi tried to understand the provenance of his arrest, the story the Homeland Security affiant gave about the database(s) he used to discover Hassanshahi’s ties to Iran in the case changed materially, so Hassanshahi challenged the use of the database and everything derivative of it. The government, which had not yet explained what the database was, asked Judge Rudolph Contreras to assume the database was not constitutional, but to upheld its use and the derivative evidence anyway, which he did. At the same time, however, Contreras required the government to submit an explanation of what the database was, which was subsequently unsealed in January.

    • Unacceptable Surveillance of French Citizens soon to be Adopted!

      The examination of French Intelligence Bill ended this Thursday at the National Assembly. After 4 days of debate, very few enhancements were made to a text that was denounced by an incredibly large number of groups for its dangerous, intrusive and liberty-infringing nature and whose control dispositions are totally inadequate. La Quadrature du Net calls on French representatives to listen to the citizens’ demands to reject this text during the final vote on 5 May.

    • Getting out of Facebook like trying to escape from Alcatraz

      Last week, Facebook was forced to admit that it tracked the online activity of people who do not even have an account with the social network, which is a pretty egregious violation of most people’s assumptions of online privacy. After all, the people who are not on Facebook in 2015 have most likely made a very explicit decision not to be on Facebook.

      The admission came in response to a report commissioned by the Belgian data protection authority, which found Facebook in breach of European data privacy laws, but the social networking giant claimed the tracking only happened because of a bug that is now being fixed, while disputing many of the details of the report.

    • TV Companies Will Sue VPN Providers “In Days”

      A pair of Internet providers who defied TV company demands to switch off their VPN services will be sued in the coming days. CallPlus and Bypass Network Services face legal action from media giants including Sky and TVNZ for allowing their customers to use a VPN to buy geo-restricted content.

    • Surveillance in the General Election Manifestos

      Nearly all of the main parties at this General Election have now published their manifestos. Where do the parties’ manifestos stand on surveillance?

    • New Zealand Spy Data Shared With Bangladeshi Human Rights Abusers

      Secret documents reveal New Zealand’s electronic eavesdropping agency shared intelligence with state security agents in Bangladesh, despite authorities in the South Asian nation being implicated in torture, extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses.

      Government Communications Security Bureau, or GCSB, has conducted spying operations in Bangladesh over the past decade, according to the documents. The surveillance has been carried out in support of the U.S. government’s global counterterrorism strategy, primarily from a spy post in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, and apparently facilitated by the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency.

  • Civil Rights
    • The Public Interest to Protect Powerful Paedophiles

      The Director of Public Prosecutions has decided that it would not be in the public interest to prosecute serial paedophile Greville Janner, for many years the leader of the Zionist lobby in the UK. I presume that his convenient senility is the reason for non-prosecution.

      But the facts of Janner’s activities in Leicester care homes have been known for decades, and there was overwhelming evidence in one particular case. The failure of the state to act against Janner when he was a Labour MP and Chairman of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, is another example of the disgraceful impunity of the powerful in this country. In a pattern that has become familiar to us, police investigating the case were in 1989 warned off by their superiors.

    • Lord Janner will not face trial over abuse claims

      CPS says evidence against Labour peer would have warranted trial but the severity of his dementia means he is not fit to take part in any proceedings

    • DPP Labour Lord Janner Should Have Been Prosecuted on 22 Counts

      The Jewish institutions in the UK are acting precisely like the Catholic Church of twenty years ago on this issue. Where is the openness? Where is the angst? Where is the admission? Above all, where is the apology?

    • Werritty’s Chum Matthew Gould Took Janner to Kindergarten

      Adam Werritty’s friend and long term contact, the British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, accompanied Greville Janner to visit a kindergarten in Israel in 2012, which was named in Janner’s honour. I wonder if the government of Israel will now change the name?

    • The FBI Informant Who Mounted a Sting Operation Against the FBI

      Torres isn’t an all-American guy. He’s an FBI informant, one of more than 15,000 domestic spies who make up the largest surveillance network ever created in the United States. During J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO operations, the bureau had just 1,500 informants. The drug war brought that number up to about 6,000. After 9/11, the bureau recruited so many new informants — many of them crooks and convicts, desperate for money or leniency on previous crimes — that the government had to develop software to help agents track their spies.

    • Government May Now Tell You Why You’re On ‘No Fly’ List, But Not Always

      Since the “no fly” list was formalized in 2001, the only way to know if the U.S. government would allow you to get on a plane was to show up at the airport and try to board a flight. The government would generally neither confirm nor deny that you were on the list, let alone tell you why.

      On April 14, the government announced a new procedure for blacklisted travelers to try to clear themselves. Passengers who are denied boarding can lodge a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security, which will provide confirmation of their “No Fly List status,” and an unclassified summary of the reason why — unless providing that information would go against “national security and law enforcement interests.” The passengers can then appeal their status.

    • Lord Gill the Flouncing Fool

      The Lord President of Scotland’s judges, Lord Gill, has made a complete fool of himself by leading British judges in a walk-out from the Commonwealth Law Conference. The action is in protest against Julian Assange’s participation by video-link in a panel discussion on surveillance and the role of the security services.

      The walk-out happened after Julian’s talk, not before it, which rather gives the impression that what Lord Gill and his fellow judges objected to was the content of Assange’s talk, rather than the fact of it. Assange stated among other points that nationalists were right to believe that MI5 were active against them in the referendum campaign.

    • Why confidential tips to the government may not be confidential after all

      Got a hot tip about federal waste, fraud or corruption? You should think twice about using the government’s own online systems for collecting such complaints.

      Many of them promise confidentiality but for years have sent sensitive data – including names, addresses and phone numbers of whistleblowers, as well as the details of their allegations – across the Internet in a way that could be intercepted by hackers or snoops. Or, perhaps worse still, by the agencies named in the complaints.

    • ACLU Study: Federal Agencies Fail to Protect Whistleblower Communications, Terrorist Tip Line

      This week, the ACLU submitted a letter to the U.S. Chief Information Officer at the White House alerting him to serious cybersecurity lapses by numerous federal agencies. We identified dozens of inspectors general, including those at the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, who do not use encryption to protect online whistleblower complaints of waste, fraud, and abuse. The State Department’s “Rewards for Justice” online terrorism tip line also does not use encryption.

    • A Decade After Blowing The Whistle On The FBI, Vindication

      The Justice Department eventually determined that the FBI had retaliated against Kobus for reporting misconduct.

    • Pirate Bay’s Fredrik Neij Can’t Play Nintendo Classics In Prison

      Former Pirate Bay operator Fredrik Neij can’t play games on his Nintendo 8-bit console in prison. The prison denied the request because there’s no way to open the box to check it for concealed items, a decision the Pirate Bay operator is now appealing before the administrative court.

    • Roommates hospitalized after stabbing one another during heated iPhone vs. Android debate

      Local Tulsa station KTUL reports that police responded to reports of an altercation at the Evergreen Apartments complex at 1 a.m. on Friday morning. Police learned that two roommates who lived in one of the apartments had been drinking and arguing over which popular smartphone platform was superior. Eventually they smashed their beer bottles and began stabbing one another with them. One roommate also smashed a beer bottle across the back of the other man’s head.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Net neutrality wars: Telcos battle back

      Why are we still talking about Net neutrality — didn’t that fight end in a victory dance for advocates?

      Perhaps in a parallel universe ISPs graciously conceded defeat and an open Internet was secured for the ages, but in this reality, it’s not over until telecom companies have unleashed a full fury of lawyers. Gear up for another summer sequel, Net Neutrality Wars: The Lawyers Strike Back.

    • Net Neutrality and the Death of Distance

      The advent of smartphones and the mobile Internet has lead to a collision of both these worlds. In a world where bandwidth is abundant and cheap, the concept of metering based on distance will fade away. This is the reason that telcos are mortally scared of services like Skype, Whatsapp and others that take away their voice and SMS revenues. The death of distance is a consumer friendly evolution that the telcos will keep resisting till their last breath.

  • DRM
    • Netflix Sets Pricing Based on Local Piracy Rates

      Netflix says that the company is pushing down piracy in countries where illegal sharing is prevalent. Part of its strategy is to determine the price of its service based on local piracy rates, so it can better compete in places where piracy is rampant.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights/Sony
      • Sony referred to “WIPO treaty for blind as “stalking horse” to “denigrate the rights of copyright owners”

        In the new Wikileaks archives of leaked Sony documents (Link here), there is a memo (https://wikileaks.org/sony/docs/05/docs/DECE/DECE%20CP1%20-%20ss.doc.pdf), which describes Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) concern over the proposed WIPO treaty for copyright exceptions for persons who are blind or have other disabilities.

      • Sony

        Today, 16 April 2015, WikiLeaks publishes an analysis and search system for The Sony Archives: 30,287 documents from Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and 173,132 emails, to and from more than 2,200 SPE email addresses. SPE is a US subsidiary of the Japanese multinational technology and media corporation Sony, handling their film and TV production and distribution operations. It is a multi-billion dollar US business running many popular networks, TV shows and film franchises such as Spider-Man, Men in Black and Resident Evil.

      • The US Government Asked Sony to Help Counter ISIS Propaganda

        Today, WikiLeaks published a new searchable archive containing the leaked email inboxes of top Sony executives. Disturbingly, it shows that months after the hack, we’ve still only just begun investigating the close ties between Sony and the US government.

        “This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation,” WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange said in a statement. “It is newsworthy and at the centre of a geopolitical conflict. It belongs in the public domain. WikiLeaks will ensure it stays there.”

        A search through the WikiLeaks Sony archive for “state.gov” email addresses—WikiLeaks reports that there are nearly 100 government email addresses in the archive—reveals an exceedingly cozy relationship between Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton and US government officials including the State Department, various international ambassadors, and the president.

      • Hollywood recruited to help fight IS, hacked emails show

        Top Hollywood executives including James Murdoch have been recruited to help the United States counter Islamic extremist propaganda, according to hacked Sony Pictures emails published by WikiLeaks.

      • WikiLeaks Publishes Over 30,000 Documents From Sony Hack

        The searchable archive shows employees at the studio discussing new releases and arranging meetings with top politicians

      • Sony Pictures Blindsided by WikiLeaks Document Dump

        Just when Sony Pictures thought it was done with the devastating hacking attack that brought the studio to its knees last winter, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks published thousands of internal documents and correspondence — totally blindsiding the studio and its public relations team early Thursday.

      • WikiLeaks republishes all documents from Sony hacking scandal

        WikiLeaks has republished the Sony data from last year’s hacking scandal, making all the documents and emails “fully searchable” with a Google-style search engine.

        The move provides much easier access to the stolen information. Searching the name of, for example, former Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal, whose controversial comments were revealed by the hack, immediately yields nearly 5,700 results.

      • WikiLeaks Publishes Sony Documents

        WikiLeaks published more than 200,000 internal Sony Pictures Entertainment documents and e-mails, opening a new chapter in the hacking saga that enveloped Sony Corp.’s Hollywood studio late last year.

        The release includes 30,287 documents and 173,132 e-mails, sent from or received by more than 2,200 Sony Pictures e-mail addresses, according to a WikiLeaks statement Thursday. The material is searchable, giving legions of journalists and Sony competitors access to the information that was quickly taken down after it was first posted by hackers tied to North Korea.

      • WikiLeaks Creates Online Archive of Hacked Sony Documents

        Whistleblower site WikiLeaks on Thursday put hundreds of thousands of emails and documents from last year’s crippling cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment into a searchable online archive. It’s the latest blow for the entertainment and technology company struggling to get past the attack, which the company estimates caused millions in damage.

        The website founded by Julian Assange said that its database includes more than 170,000 emails from Sony Pictures and a subsidiary, plus more than 30,000 other documents.

        Sony Pictures blasted WikiLeaks for creating the archive, saying the website was helping the hackers disseminate stolen information.

Microsoft’s Multi-Dimensional Assault on Android/Linux: Extortion, Lobbying of Regulators, and Bribes

Friday 17th of April 2015 12:29:53 PM

Fooled by Microsoft into treating Free/libre software as ‘abuse’

Summary: Microsoft’s vicious war on Linux (and Android in its current incarnation) takes more sophisticated — albeit illegal (as per the RICO Act) — forms

Using all sorts of proxies, such as TurboHercules a few years ago in Europe, Microsoft loves to attack the competition at a regulatory level. It even bribes some journalists (or lobbyists in disguise) to produce complementary dirt with with to bamboozle politicians and regulators. This is not new; this is not surprising. This is same old Microsoft. It’s an extension of AstroTurfing, which culminates in legal actions.

To quote this article from a few years back [hat tip Will Hill]:

Thomas Vinje, the founder of the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS), … “They have learned how to play the game in Europe,” Vinje said of Microsoft, which itself has been the target of antitrust regulators there. Microsoft has invested huge amounts in attacking its rivals, including Oracle and Google as well as IBM, in Brussels in recent years, he said.

A lot of readers must have heard by now about antitrust fire aimed at Google, or more specifically at Android. Google is the wrong target of course; as pointed out in some responses, there are perhaps 1,000 types of Android devices and over “18,000 Android Phone Models in the Wild,” according to Google (not exact quote). There’s no monopoly here and the code is Free software, so it’s not the same as Windows (where only one company controls the source code and controls the end product). As Google can defend itself just fine and we are not some kind of lawyers (having to speak to other non-technical lawyers), we are going to spare the counter arguments for now and instead focus on Microsoft's role in such action (Microsoft loves to hide behind proxies when it attacks Android).

“Using all sorts of proxies, such as TurboHercules a few years ago in Europe, Microsoft loves to attack the competition at a regulatory level.”A few days ago we wrote about a couple of lawyers staging action against Android apps in a lawsuit which they portrayed as a public action. Their goal, based on the article, was to push Microsoft apps into Android. They dropped their action only after Microsoft had managed to use patent extortion against Samsung to put Microsoft spyware inside Galaxy devices (the most widely used Android devices) and based on this new report, “Microsoft royalties dispute was settled in February and was swiftly followed by the bundling of Microsoft apps” (i.e. extortion by Microsoft leading to a ‘compromise’). The Microsoft-friendly The Verge does not tell the whole story. Microsoft is still a deeply criminal company that attacks Android/Linux and Free software using patents; by using threats of litigation it violates the law. This is clearly a crime based on readings of the RICO Act.

“And the EU concentrates anti-trust action on Google,” bemoans Will Hill. This could certainly be used as a timely decoy while Microsoft ‘rescues’ us from ‘evil’ Google. Do not forget how Microsoft actively attacks GNU/Linux, as we noted in the following series a month ago:

More extortion from Microsoft, much as we expected, is now going beyond Samsung, confirming what happened with Samsung in February and proving us right all along. Quoting the British press (yesterday): “A new report claims Microsoft hasn’t been offering Android device vendors any money to bundle its mobile apps on their phones and slabs; rather, it has offered to reduce the tolls it collects from the mobe-makers.

“Citing sources among supply chain players in China and Taiwan, DigiTimes Research says Redmond has offered to cut its patent licensing fees if Android vendors agree to ship their kit with Microsoft apps preinstalled, including OneDrive, OneNote, Skype, and in some cases Office.”

Here is the original report. It says: “According to Digitimes Research’s latest findings from Taiwan’s and China’s smartphone/tablet upstream supply chain, in exchange for hardware players to pre-install its software applications such as Office, OneDrive or Skype onto their Android-based devices, Microsoft is offering them discounts on the patent licensing fees it charges their Android devices.”

In less surprising news, which again proves us right all along, Microsoft and Cyanogen officially join forces. “After many rumors claimed that Microsoft would either buy or invest in Cyanogen,” says BGR, “the two companies on Thursday confirmed that they’ve formed a strategic partnership.” (Cyanogen is confirmed as a Microsoft Trojan horse also elsewhere, so it’s not merely a rumour)

So Cyanogen is now a Microsoft proxy. See our previous analysis of it. We got it 100% right, even months in advance. Microsoft is now advancing to yet more victims.

Rupert Murdoch gave money to Cyanogen and his Android-hostile newspaper is now attacking Android using the European probe, invoked to a large degree by Microsoft’s proxies network, which had lobbied Europe to launch antitrust action against Android for several years now.

To summarise what we have here, first there is blackmail from Microsoft, which says it “loves” (to extort) Linux. Microsoft is apparently so ‘nice’ towards Linux that it now seeks to preinstall Microsoft spyware or will sue those who resist, using software patents which it refuses to even name. “And now install our apps on CM and we will extort you less with software patents,” said Jesse Bufton. At the same time we have Free software facing antitrust charges due to a lot of Microsoft lobbying, as Glyn Moodt noted. “Part of a long predicted attempt to make free software illegal,” wrote Will Hill, “Calling free software cooperation, “dumping”.”

Here are some more articles about it [1, 2, 3]. Someone (maybe FSFE representatives) should explain the European regulators what Free software is and how it works. Currently, Microsoft lobbyists and proxies deceive them into the ludicrous idea of Free software ‘monopoly’.

Android is eating Microsoft’s lunch and getting Microsoft’s money (even in money processing machines), so no wonder Microsoft lobbies/begs so hard for the European authorities to harass Android, or by extension Google. Anybody who still thinks that Microsoft has become kinder is clearly not paying attention. Lawsuits by proxy, regulators misled, patent lawsuits etc. are no kindness.

The Mafia says, “do as we say and our “protection money” demands will vanish/decrease” and in very much the same way Microsoft now deals with Android backers. These are the tricks of a cartel, which under RICO Act rules should be considered a crime. If Google’s motto was “do no evil”, then Microsoft’s motto should be “always be evil”.

Will Hill remarks on the idea that Microsoft will treat more gently companies that put Microsoft spyware inside Android “They simply won’t ruin them today,” he stresses, “with lawsuits and breakage in Windows and other Microsoft properties.”

As long as Microsoft is connected to (and serves) evil monopolistic/imperialistic apparatuses like the NSA don’t expect it to be subjected to laws such as the RICO Act. Microsoft is now just subjected to the law of rule (by surveillance, espionage, back doors etc.), not the rule of law. Microsoft is a political company and like the country it is strongly connected to (staff overlap), it uses blackmail to get its way and always enjoys impunity. Google does not deal with an ordinary company when it competes with Microsoft; antitrust complaints not over privacy but over Free software, and a few other things by extension. This has become a political battle because Microsoft cannot win technical battles.

Microsoft’s Plot to Associate Windows with ‘Open Source’ is Proving Effective, Despite Being Just a Big Lie

Friday 17th of April 2015 11:25:29 AM

“If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” ~Joseph Goebbels

Summary: A look at the latest headlines which can lead to a false perception that Microsoft is now in bed with ‘Open Source’

A couple of days ago we wrote about Microsoft’s successful attempts to associate Windows with "Open Source" (Free/libre software renamed) so as to get chosen by politicians who pursue “Open Source”. Mono has become a key part in the plot to openwash .NET and Windows development (proprietary), whereas something which we called googlebombing has been used to give the impression that Windows is going “Open Source”. Even more than a week later (it started with Condé Nast’s Cade Metz) there are still headlines along those lines. One GNU/Linux proponent says that “Linux is not going anywhere, no matter how progressive Microsoft thinks it will become.” He (Nestor) said, quite correctly in fact, that the “power of the Linux platform doesn’t reside in the fact that it’s open source, although it does play an important part. It’s all about the community of developers who want to make things better, and most of the time they don’t want anything in return, other than recognition for their work. This is not something that you see in the Windows dev community that aims to make money.” The headline is a bit loaded; it says “Why It Doesn’t Matter for Linux If Windows Becomes Open Source” as if there is actually a chance of it happening; this serves Microsoft’s googlebombing strategy. So does Nestor E. Arellano, who ended up reposting the Microsoft openwashing from J. Peter Bruzzese, the Microsoft MVP who recently became IDG staff too (for Microsoft promotion). IDG is openwashing Windows and so do other circles. Without opening up a single line of code Microsoft has now left many people with the impression that Windows is “Open Source” or is going “Open Source”. How cleverly-implemented a propaganda campaign.

“Without opening up a single line of code Microsoft has now left many people with the impression that Windows is “Open Source” or is going “Open Source”.”For those who think that Windows is “Open Source”-friendly, read this new rant from ownCloud. Despite SUSE/Novell roots, the project is dumping Windows. In its own words: “The Windows Server platform has caused a lot of headaches and has required many work-arounds. For one, there is only support for 32bit PHP on Windows Server, so it is not able to reliably deal with files larger than 2 Gigabyte – a pretty fundamental limitation. On top of that, the Windows platform suffers from file name encoding problems that can not be dealt with properly, causing file syncing problems especially with the client and occasional file operation fails, broken user avatars and even issues with the handling of encryption keys – all things that have the potential to lose user data.”

Here is an article about it which said: “On April 15, the development team behind the powerful ownCloud self-hosted cloud server, have announced that the upcoming ownCloud Server 8.1 application will no longer support the Microsoft Windows operating system.”

So, not only is Microsoft Windows not “Open Source”; it is also hostile towards or compatible with “Open Source” applications. The world does not need “Open Source” Windows. It doesn’t need Windows at all.

“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

–Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Microsoft Windows Remotely Crashed, Remotely Hijacked, But Still No Logo and No Branding for the Bugs

Friday 17th of April 2015 11:02:38 AM

Summary: Windows maintains its reputation as a back doors haven, but the media is still not highlighting the severity of this issue, instead focusing on accidental bugs in Free software, even very old (and already fixed) bugs

AS our previous post stated, there is an effort to keep insecurity debates around Free software, even if by going a whole year back to the "Heartbleed" brand. “More branded bug FUD” can be found here, according to a reader of ours. So why are journalists still so stubborn and so eager to keep us talking about Free software as the risk when Microsoft deliberately makes its software insecure as if the priority is to keep remote access (by anyone) in tact (some countries now recognise this)? Why are there no brands for Microsoft's critical bugs these days? Free software is a big threat to the Security State, not to security, so a large number of moles can be suspected or even assumed. How many SSL flaws have already affected Microsoft and how many of them got “branded” in the same way as the OpenSSL bug? Some journalists don’t even name Windows, to spare Microsoft the embarrassment.

“Some journalists don’t even name Windows, to spare Microsoft the embarrassment.”Another back door/bug door in Windows has just been found. As iophk told us yesterday: “No logo or name?” No, it’s Windows. Remote access by anyone is a given any day.

As this article noted the other day, “Microsoft abruptly ended advance notification of security patches in January.”

In other words, Microsoft does not even inform those affected by serious bugs anymore. And in other news (yesterday), “HTTP ‘pings of death’ are spewing across web to kill Windows servers” (not the first of this kind).

To quote the article: “The SANS Institute has warned Windows IIS web server admins to get patching as miscreants are now exploiting a flaw in the software to crash websites.”

“For Microsoft,” says an IDG report, “the vulnerabilities just keep popping up, and appear to be surfacing more quickly than ever before.

“Like last month, Microsoft issued a fairly large number of security bulletins for April Patch Tuesday—11 bulletins addressing 26 vulnerabilities. Last month brought 14 bulletins from Microsoft, covering 43 vulnerabilities.”

Remember that Microsoft does not even report all the vulnerabilities. It games the system by making up bogus numbers (silent patches).

Black Duck’s Latest Self-Promotional Propaganda (for Proprietary Software) Still Fools Journalists

Friday 17th of April 2015 10:41:46 AM

Stop treating Black Duck like a Free/Open Source software (FOSS) expert

Summary: Under the traditionally misleading title “Future of Open Source” Black Duck expresses its desire for proprietary software sales, salivating over fearful managers who may get bamboozled into buying the patents-’protected’ Black Duck ‘product’

THE nasty proprietary software firm called Black Duck is doing it again. Not enough journalists have grasped what this firm is all about.

ECT has just given a platform (again) to this FUD firm and so has SJVN in ZDNet. Do journalists not realise that the so-called “Future of Open Source Survey” (we wrote about this misnomer before [1, 2, 3]) is conducted by a proprietary software company (anti-copyleft)? They should stop pretending they’re a FOSS firm, they are a proprietary software company with software patents. It’s a company that essentially came from Microsoft and continues to serve Microsoft’s agenda in many ways. When Black Duck says many companies use FOSS it’s just basically telling its investors, “look, we have lots of market share to which to sell proprietary software blobs to.”

“These firms don’t produce any Free software, they merely exploit it and spread fear of it, in order for them to make money.”When people like Katherine Noyes write about it in IDG they legitimise Black Duck and have us listen to some proprietary softare company with anti-GPL roots as if we are going to learn about FOSS from its foes. There have been some more coverage of this from Microsoft-friendly and Microsoft-hostile sources. Black Duck writes about FOSS being widespread for the same reason anti-swine flu vaccine manufacturer would tell us swine flu spreads and is a huge/growing risk.

Here is the press release [1, 2] that got it started, preceded by this this shameless self promotion. The Linux Foundation gave spotlight to the former OSDL head who now works for Black Duck. The Linux Foundation did this without disclosing Black Duck payments to the Linux Foundation.

Incidentally, Veracode, which recently had its key staff join Black Duck, keeps shoving “Heartbleed” nonsense (branding for FUD) into headlines again, joining the new chorus that keeps "Heartbleed" in the public's mind.

These firms don’t produce any Free software, they merely exploit it and spread fear of it, in order for them to make money.

Just because a firm has access to source code or talks about source code doesn’t mean it’s a FOSS proponent. Today in New Zealand we see the manager of a proprietary software company, Github (just monetising FOSS/Git), defending proprietary software. One needs to be careful in distinguishing Free software proponents from Free software parasites, especially those whose business model depends on creating fear (or increasing fear) of Free software.

Links 16/4/2015: Opera for 32-bit GNU/Linux, New Chromebook Site

Thursday 16th of April 2015 11:46:30 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • C/C++ dependency manager biicode becomes open-source project

    Biicode plans to progressively release every part of its codebase as part of a comprehensive open-source strategy.

  • Halogenics bets on Javascript, open source

    Melbourne-based software developer Halogenics is hoping within the next few months to have prototype versions of the next-generation of its Genotrack application.

    Genotrack, which helps biomedical research institutions manage animal tracking, breeding and reporting, is currently based on a classic client-server architecture.

    Genotrack 2 will be a Web application built with open source components including MongoDB for the database component and a Node.js-based application server with a Sencha Ext JS interface.

  • How to embrace the open source workforce

    Enterprises learned an important lesson on their way to embracing open source software: they could benefit from work that came from outside of their own rosters of employees. Now businesses are beginning to recognize that open source lessons apply beyond software development, and they are finding new ways to seek out talent beyond their walls.

  • 3 steps to writing an open source project case study

    Case studies about open source project participants and users are a great way to showcase your project and how it works in the real world.

    Such studies will highlight interesting features of your software, demonstrate different (and potentially unique) ways your project is in use, and foster positive communication among members of your community.

    Case studies are also about transparency: while talking to the end user of your software, you can also learn about things that are not necessarily running smoothly in your project. And although no one loves to hear about the things that are going wrong, such feedback can also be invaluable to you and your team.

  • 3 steps to writing an open source project case study

    Case studies about open source project participants and users are a great way to showcase your project and how it works in the real world.

    Such studies will highlight interesting features of your software, demonstrate different (and potentially unique) ways your project is in use, and foster positive communication among members of your community.

    Case studies are also about transparency: while talking to the end user of your software, you can also learn about things that are not necessarily running smoothly in your project. And although no one loves to hear about the things that are going wrong, such feedback can also be invaluable to you and your team.

  • Events
    • Flisol David, Chiriqui 2015

      Event started at 9 with a full house we started talks about free software, Fedora, Firefox OS, Mozilla, Docker and many other topics, we talk with students and teachers who were really into learning about Fedora and Free Software.

    • GNOME.asia 2015
  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Google Chrome 42 Eschews Some Extensions…Java in the Crosshairs

        In 2013, Google decreed that the longstanding Netscape Plug-in API (NPAPI), which extensions have worked with for many years, is the source of many of the problems. And, Google decreed that extensions in the Chrome Web Store would be phasing out NPAPI support. Now, the latest release of the Chrome web browser, version 42, will block Oracle’s Java plugin by default as well as other extensions that use NPAPI. Some analysts are even calling it an effor to “push Java off the web.”

      • Chrome 42 for Android arrives with push notifications and home screen banners

        Want to master the CMO role? Join us for GrowthBeat Summit on June 1-2 in Boston, where we’ll discuss how to merge creativity with technology to drive growth. Space is limited and we’re limiting attendance to CMOs and top marketing execs. Request your personal invitation here!

  • SaaS/Big Data
    • OpenStack: Can the open-source platform still win private cloud?

      “I think that doing open source work in a full committee style is often like pouring 1,000 engineers into a barrel and hoping they’ll produce the works of Shakespeare. The monkeys in the barrel just don’t manage to get it together, everybody wants to be the king and the directions and the priorities change.

      “It’s a very different situation to something like Linux, where you have a benevolent dictator Linus Torvalds controlling everything, or like Docker, where there is a corporate entity ultimately controlling the road map.”

    • Is Apache Spark Enterprise Ready?

      While Apache Spark could supplant Hadoop’s MapReduce engine, it is not yet enterprise ready, some experts say.

      Apache Spark is making headlines as potentially the next big thing in Big Data. Coverage has focused on Spark’s speed and its potential as a replacement for Hadoop’s famously difficult MapReduce engine.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Hungary universities move to EuroOffice and ODF

      The Eötvös University and Szeged University in Hungary are increasing their use of EuroOffice and the Open Document Format (ODF), reports MultiRáció, the Budapest-based ICT firm that develops EuroOffice. Together, the two universities have about 45,000 students. In February the company signed a licence and support contract for 34,000 copies of EuroOffice.

    • LibreOffice 4.3.7 RC1 Arrives with Lots of Fixes for Microsoft Office Formats

      The Document Foundation has just released the first Release Candidate for LibreOffice 4.3.7, which is a stable and established branch of the office suite.

  • CMS
    • Drupageddon: SQL Injection, Database Abstraction and Hundreds of Thousands of Web Sites

      On October 29, 2014, the Drupal Security Team released advisory identifier DRUPAL-PSA-2014-003. This advisory informed administrators of Drupal-based Web sites that all Drupal-based Web sites utilizing vulnerable versions of Drupal should be considered compromised if they were not patched/upgraded before 2300 UTC on October 15, 2014 (seven hours following the initial announcement of the vulnerability in SA-CORE-2014-005).

      In the case of the Drupageddon vulnerability, the database abstraction layer provided by Drupal included a function called expandArguments that was used in order to expand arrays that provide arguments to SQL queries utilized in supporting the Drupal installation. Due to the way this function was written, supplying an array with keys (rather than an array with no keys) as input to the function could be used in order to perform an SQL injection attack.

  • Funding
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GNU Hurd 0.6 released

      To compile the Hurd, you need a toolchain configured to target i?86-gnu; you cannot use a toolchain targeting GNU/Linux. Also note that you cannot run the Hurd “in isolation”: you’ll need to add further components such as the GNU Mach microkernel and the GNU C Library (glibc), to turn it into a runnable system.

      This new release bundles bug fixes and enhancements done since the last release.

  • Public Services/Government
    • Slovakia includes Open Education and Open Justice in its 2nd Action Plan

      Slovakia joined the OGP project in 2011 and then published its first Action Plan for 2012-2013. Since then, the Slovakian government has implemented several measures to fight against corruption and promote transparency and eParticipation in political life: a national Open Data portal (data.gov.sk) and its “Guidelines for the involvement of the public in the creation of public policies” – to promote a participatory approach in ministries. A participatory budget has also been implemented in Bratislava, the Slovakian government said in a statement.

  • Openness/Sharing
  • Programming
    • Radeon LLVM Code Generation Improvements Being Worked On

      It’s been a while since last having any major breakthroughs to talk about for the open-source Radeon Linux graphics driver stack, but steady work continues. Some recent Mesa commits to Git highlight some code generation improvements.

Leftovers
  • Box adds depth through Verold 3D modelling acquisition

    The INQUIRER spoke recently to representatives from the NHS looking to standardise document format and compatibility across systems in the national infrastructure through Vendor Neutral Archiving, while Apple and IBM have also made significant announcements in the tech arena this week.

  • Culture/DRM
    • Music Services Overtake CDs for First Time

      Revenue from digital-music downloads and subscriptions edged out those from CDs for the first time in 2014, holding overall sales steady at about $15 billion globally, a trade group said.

      Sales of CDs and other physical formats declined 8%, to $6.82 billion, while digital revenue grew nearly 7%, to $6.85 billion, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said in a report on Tuesday. Each of those represented 46% of overall music revenue. The other 8% came from sources such as radio airplay and licensing songs for television shows and films.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Here’s the Real Problem With Almonds

      Almonds: crunchy, delicious, and…the center of a nefarious plot to suck California dry? They certainly have used up a lot of ink lately—partly inspired by our reporting over the past year. California’s drought-stricken Central Valley churns out 80 percent of the globe’s almonds, and since each nut takes a gallon of water to produce, they account for close to 10 percent of the state’s annual agricultural water use—or more than what the entire population of Los Angeles and San Francisco use in a year.

  • Security
    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Microsoft Patch Tuesday: The patches just keep coming

      For Microsoft, the vulnerabilities just keep popping up, and appear to be surfacing more quickly than ever before.

      Like last month, Microsoft issued a fairly large number of security bulletins for April Patch Tuesday—11 bulletins addressing 26 vulnerabilities. Last month brought 14 bulletins from Microsoft, covering 43 vulnerabilities.

    • Labs: Securing Your Home Fences

      You don’t have to be an ICT security professional these days to know that your Internet access device at home has not the best security reputation.

    • Metal Detectors at Sports Stadiums

      As a security measure, the new devices are laughable. The ballpark metal detectors are much more lax than the ones at an airport checkpoint. They aren’t very sensitive — people with phones and keys in their pockets are sailing through — and there are no X-ray machines. Bags get the same cursory search they’ve gotten for years. And fans wanting to avoid the detectors can opt for a “light pat-down search” instead.

  • Finance
    • When work isn’t enough to keep you off welfare and food stamps

      We often make assumptions about people on public assistance, about the woman in the checkout line with an EBT card, or the family who lives in public housing. We make assumptions about how they spend their resources (irresponsibly?), how they came to rely on aid (lack of hard work?), how they view their own public dependence (as a free ride rather than a humbling one?).

      We assume, at our most skeptical, that poor people need help above all because they haven’t tried to help themselves — they haven’t bothered to find work.

    • 15 Companies That Paid Zero Income Tax Last Year (Despite $23 Billion In Profits).

      Due to completely messed up U.S. tax policies, some even got a rebate check. Only small businesses pay taxes. Big companies often pay nothing at all.

    • ALDI Is A Growing Menace To America’s Grocery Retailers

      ALDI is hard at work redefining the rules of shopper engagement and, in the process, eating away at the market share of many of America’s most venerable food retailers — and food manufacturers. Through a relentless pursuit of perfecting its own store brands portfolio and unique shopping experience, ALDI has become more than a nuisance — it is a major force that is on the verge of changing the grocery retailing landscape. One should not underestimate ALDI in the U.S. market.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • Assange on Scotland

      Julian Assange has asserted that MI5 are active against Scottish nationalists, as the independence movement is seen as a threat to the UK. Happily, Julian being Julian there is now some traction for this in the corporate media. When I posted on it last week I received nothing from the corporate media except dismissal and abuse over twitter.

  • Privacy
    • Months After Appeals Argued, NSA Cases Twist in the Wind

      Three cases that likely lay the groundwork for a major privacy battle at the U.S. Supreme Court are pending before federal appeals courts, whose judges are taking their time announcing whether they believe the dragnet collection of Americans’ phone records is legal.

      It’s been more than five months since the American Civil Liberties Union argued against the National Security Agency program in New York, three months since legal activist Larry Klayman defended his thus far unprecedented preliminary injunction win in Washington, D.C., and two months since Idaho nurse Anna Smith’s case was heard by appeals judges in Seattle.

    • Intelligence Bill: Mass Opposition to Mass Surveillance!

      The Intelligence Billis currently being debated at a fast pace in the French National Assembly and the debates will continue until Thursday 16 April. However, both the French Government and rapporteur Urvoas refuse to hear the growing opposition pointing out the dangers of this unacceptable text. La Quadrature du Net calls on citizens to act and Members of Parliament to face their responsibilities by opposing this text altogether and mass surveillance in general.

    • No encryption? How very rude.

      It struck me today that when I email a new con­tact I now reflex­ively check to see if they are using PGP encryp­tion. A hap­pily sur­pris­ing num­ber are doing so these days, but most people would prob­ably con­sider my circle of friends and acquaint­ance to be eclectic at the very least, if not down­right eccent­ric, but then that’s prob­ably why I like them.

      There are still alarm­ing num­bers who are not using PGP though, par­tic­u­larly in journ­al­ist circles, and I have to admit that when this hap­pens I do feel a tad miffed, as if some basic mod­ern cour­tesy is being breached.

      It’s not that I even expect every­body to use encryp­tion — yet — it’s just that I prefer to have the option to use it and be able to have the pri­vacy of my own com­mu­nic­a­tions at least con­sidered. After all I am old enough to remem­ber the era of let­ter writ­ing, and I always favoured a sealed envel­ope to a postcard.

      And before you all leap on me with cries of “using only PGP is no guar­an­tee of secur­ity.…” I do know that you need a suite of tools to have a fight­ing chance of real pri­vacy in this NSA-saturated age: open source soft­ware, PGP, TOR, Tails, OTR, old hard­ware, you name it. But I do think the wide-spread adop­tion of PGP sets a good example and gets more people think­ing about these wider issues. Per­haps more of us should insist on it before com­mu­nic­at­ing further.

    • FAA investigating Florida mailman’s landing of gyrocopter on U.S. Capitol lawn

      Doug Hughes, a 61-year-old mailman from Ruskin, told his friends he was going to do it. He was going to fly a gyrocopter through protected airspace and put it down on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol, then try to deliver 535 letters of protest to 535 members of Congress.

      The stunt seemed so outlandish that not even his closest friend thought he would pull it off.

      “My biggest fear was he was going to get killed,” said Mike Shanahan, 65, of Apollo Beach, who works with Hughes for the Postal Service.

    • Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg: I’m bringing free internet to Europe ['free' surveillance]

      Mark Zuckerberg has revealed he will bring Facebook’s free internet project to Europe, saying that the service will be made available to anyone “who needs to be connected” to the web.

    • What is Internet.org and will it really come to Europe?

      Facebook’s CEO suggested in a Q&A yesterday that the company’s Internet.org project could come to Europe, but it is unlikely to happen any time soon

  • Civil Rights
    • Nigel Farage believes in a Britain which doesn’t exist

      At best Ukip believes in a Britain which never really existed. A Britain of bland food and pale faces. A Britain where the roads are all empty, and the voices are all English.

    • Cop who shot fleeing suspect not eligible for lethal injection

      The North Charleston, South Carolina policeman who was filmed April 4 shooting a fleeing suspect in the back is not eligible for the death penalty, prosecutors say.

      Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said there are no so-called “aggravating circumstances” present for the authorities to even consider the ultimate punishment for a shooting death that was viewed millions of times on social media and broadcast and cable television.

    • Lawyer representing whistle blowers finds malware on drive supplied by cops

      An Arkansas lawyer representing current and former police officers in a contentious whistle-blower lawsuit is crying foul after finding three distinct pieces of malware on an external hard drive supplied by police department officials.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • The Attack on Net Neutrality Begins

      The United States Telecom Association has filed a lawsuit to overturn the net neutrality rules set by the Federal Communications Commission this past February. In its Monday morning Press Release USTelecom, who represents Verizon and AT&T among others, said it filed a lawsuit in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia joining a similar law suit filed by Alamo Broadband Inc.

    • Why Not? AT&T Adds Its Name To The Pile Of Lawsuits Against The FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules

      On Monday, the FCC’s net neutrality rules officially went into the Federal Register, which was also known as the starters’ gun for rushing to the courthouse to sue the FCC over those rules. Trade group USTelecom got there first with its filing, while a bunch of other trade groups, representing big cable companies (NCTAA), small cable companies (ACA) and big wireless companies (CTIA — ignoring the claims of its members Sprint and T-Mobile) were right behind them. Not to be left out, AT&T has also formally sued the FCC using the same basic complaint (“arbitrary and capricious, yo!”)

    • AT&T, but not Verizon and Comcast, sue FCC over net neutrality

      Out of the many lawsuits filed this week against the Federal Communications Commission, just one came from a major Internet service provider: AT&T.

      AT&T made no secret of its opposition to the FCC’s net neutrality order, but it was reported last month that trade groups rather than individual ISPs would lead the legal fight against the FCC. That has mostly been the case so far, with AT&T but not other big ISPs like Comcast or Verizon filing suit. Lawsuits have been filed by four consortiums representing cable, wireless, and telecommunications companies. One small provider in Texas called Alamo Broadband sued the FCC as well.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • California Bill Would Require Libraries Post Scary Warning Signs Not To Do Infringy Stuff With 3D Printers

        For a few years now, folks like Michael Weinberg have been pretty vocal about warning the world not to screw up 3D printing by falling for the same copyright/patenting mistakes that are now holding back other creative industries. Trying to lock up good ideas is not a good idea. Just recently we noted how 3D printing was challenging some long held beliefs about copyright, and we shouldn’t simply fall into the old ways of doing things. At our inaugural Copia Institute summit, we had a really fascinating discussion about not letting intellectual property freakouts destroy the potential of 3D printing.

Links 15/4/2015: Plasma 5.3 Beta, Docker’s New Funding

Wednesday 15th of April 2015 09:29:10 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • 5 Linux Laptops for Small Business

    A Linux laptop makes all kinds of sense for a small business. Not only is Linux the most secure computing platform, it’s highly efficient, which means that computing power goes toward doing actual work instead of powering a bloated operating system.

    It’s also very customizable without requiring a computer science degree. You can install and remove software with the click of a button, and Linux vendors don’t lard down their systems with junkware which, as we learned last month in Lenovo’s SuperFish Security Gaffe, delivers little value and big troubles. You just get good software that lets you go about your business.

  • Desktop
    • The Last 80 Days In Malta

      GNU/Linux share of page-views on the desktop are trending upwards thanks to the schools. There’s nothing like reaching the market when it is young.

    • Dell has a Linux version of its sleek XPS 13 laptop

      The nearly bezel-less Dell XPS 13 is one of our highest rated laptops, thanks namely to its compact size, attractive design and fast performance. But if Windows just isn’t your preferred operating system, now there’s another option to choose from: Linux. As part of its commitment to the platform, which took off with the introduction of Project Sputnik, Dell’s announced a Ubuntu-based developer edition of its sleek 13-inch laptop. Naturally, you’ll have a myriad of configurations to choose from, with prices ranging from $949 all the way to $1,849, depending on how specced out you want your Linux machine to be.

  • Kernel Space
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • Toutou SlaXen 6.0 RCX Is Based on Puppy Linux Slacko 5.9.3 and Openbox 3.5.2

        Jean-Marie Josselin informed Softpedia about the immediate availability for download of the final version of his Toutou SlaXen 6.0 RCX computer operationg, a lightweight distribution of Linux based on the upstream Puppy Linux Slacko 5.9.3 distro.

      • Windows Lookalike Q4OS Is Almost at Version 1.0

        Q4OS is a Linux a distribution that’s been developed to provides a close experience as that of a Windows operating systems, which is something that’s not usually done in the open source world. Now a new update has been made available and it looks like developers are finally closing in the final version.

      • Clonezilla Live 2.4.1-6 Now Supports Cloning of Disk Partitions Bigger than 16TB

        Steven Shiau announced on April 14 the immediate availability for download and testing of a new development version of his Clonezilla Live operating system, version 2.4.1-6.

      • Hanthana Linux 21 (Sinharaja) released

        This new release Hanthana Linux 21, is ship with several Desktop Enviroments such as Gnome, KDE, XFCE, Sugar and LXDE. There are several editions in Hanthana 21, for general usage (Hanthana 21 LiveDVD) , educational purpose you can use Hanthana 21 Edu and Hanthana 21 Dev can be use for Software Development purposes. For those who just use Office packages can download either Hanthana 21 Light) or Hanthana 21 Light2. Each of these editions comes with both i686 (32bit) and x86_64 (64bit) architectures and 10 ISO images available for download.

      • Semplice 7.0.1 bugfix release

        It’s my pleasure to announce the immediate release of the first bugfix release of Semplice 7.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Fermilab’s Scientific Linux 7.1 Is Out and Ready for Download

        Scientific Linux 7.1 is a recompiled Red Hat Enterprise Linux put together by various labs and universities around the world, including Fermilab, is finally stable after a couple of RCs.

      • ‘Data scientists are very scarce,’ says Red Hat CIO

        It’s difficult to hire good data scientists as the right candidates are “very scarce” because universities and colleges have failed to adapt to meet the needs of the enterprise.

        That’s according to Lee Congdon, CIO of open source software provider Red Hat, who is attempting to shift the Raleigh, North Carolina-based firm towards a more “data driven” business model.

      • RDO OpenStack Simplifies Deployment and Stays Humble

        In an OpenStack arena where big players like HP and Red Hat itself are seeking to offer distinguished enterprise support for OpenStack, a support-less strategy may not seem promising, but RDO continues to have its fans. Any business with servers running RHEL or a similar platform can take advantage of it.

      • Fedora
        • ABRT and virtualization Test Days this week!

          This week in Fedora QA we have two Test Days! Today (yes, right now!) is ABRT Test Day. There are lots of tests to be run, but don’t let it overwhelm you – no-one has to do all of them! If you can help us run just one or two it’ll be great. A virtual machine running Fedora 22 is the ideal test environment – you can help us with Fedora 22 Beta RC2 validation testing too. All the information is on the Test Day page, and the abrt crew is available in #fedora-test-day on Freenode IRC (no, you darn kids, that’s not a hashtag) right now to help with any questions or feedback you have. If you don’t know how to use IRC, you can read these instructions, or just use WebIRC.

        • FUDCon Pune Planning meeting minutes: 2015-04-14

          We had our regular weekly FUDCon planning meeting today and most of the volunteers were present. We went through all the discussion topics and agendas. As the conference is approaching fast, we spent pretty decent time on travel section and it is high time for people who need sponsorship for travel and/or accommodation, please open a Fedora trac ticket for funding request here.

        • The Linux Setup – Kevin Fenzi, Fedora Infrastructure Leader

          I’m Kevin Fenzi, and I have been using Linux since about 1996 or so (Red Hat Linux 3.0.3 was my first Linux distro). Currently I am employed by Red Hat as Fedora Infrastructure Leader. Basically I maintain (with my team and the community) all the Fedora servers, including the build system, downloads, compose machines, end-user applications and so on. It’s a great place to work and a great community to be involved in. I’m also involved in lots of other places in Fedora.

    • Debian Family
      • Hello Debian Planet and Jessie’s question

        In Jessie we no longer have update-notifier-common which had the /etc/kernel/postinst.d/update-notifier script that allowed us to automatically reboot on a kernel update, I have apt-file searched for something similar but I haven’t found it, so… who is now responsible of echoing to /var/run/reboot-required.pkgs on a kernel upgrade so that the system reboots itself if we have configured unattended-upgrades to do so?

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • ​The five biggest changes in Ubuntu 15.04, Vivid Vervet

            While the new Ubuntu isn’t due out until April 23rd, the second beta is more than mature enough to see what we’ll be getting in the Vivid Vervet. A vervet, for those of you who are wondering, is an East African monkey.

            Based on my work with the beta over the last few days, here are the most important changes in Ubuntu 15.04. I’ve been using Ubuntu since the first version, 2004′s Ubuntu 4.10. These days, I use it on desktops, servers, and cloud. In other words, I know Ubuntu.

          • Shuttleworth: Linux 4.0 coming to Canonical Ubuntu in October

            CANONICAL BOSS Mark Shuttleworth has confirmed that Linux Kernel 4.0 should be making its debut in Ubuntu products before the end of the year.

  • Devices/Embedded
    • Raspberry Pi gains an E-paper display

      A Kickstarter project is pitching a HAT add-on for the Raspberry Pi that provides a 2.7-inch E-paper display, as well as a battery backed real time clock.

      For educators, one of the coolest things about the Raspberry Pi is the HDMI port, which let you easily plug in to a monitor. But for embedded gizmos, a more modest display is often more suitable. It doesn’t get much more modest than Percheron Electronics’s E-Paper HAT Display, a Raspberry Pi add-on board that drives a 2.7-inch, 264 x 176-pixel E-paper display from Pervasive Displays.

    • Phones
      • Tizen
        • Accuweather for Samsung Z1 Tizen Smart Phone

          Most of time we need to refer to the weather, what to wear, where to go, umbrella or no umbrella? This is where a reliable weather app comes in handy.

        • Nuance Clinical Documentation Tool Florence for Samsung Gear S

          Nuance Communications have announced their newest innovations that brings clinical documentation to smart devices, smart watches and the Internet of Things.

        • Game of Games for the Tizen Samsung Z1

          Here is a new game with a new twist. What you have to do is “Look at the image and guess the game”. A simple game that lets you learn and explore a trivia app that promises to cover every classic game!

        • ShareNote for Samsung Z1 Tizen SmartPhone

          ShareNote is an app that lets you easily store all the information that you might need as go by your day-to-day business. anything that comes to mind can be easily stored for future retrival

        • Redbend Provides Over-the-Air Software Management Solutions for Samsung’s Tizen Smartphones

          Redbend, is a company that catalyzes change in the connected world and boasts the ability of keeping more than 2 billion automotive, IoT and mobile devices updated, has announced that it will be providing its Over the Air (OTA) solution to the Tizen based Samsung Z1. Redbend’s OTA updating solutions will enhance the reliability and performance of the platform and software on Samsung Tizen handsets.

      • Android
        • Opera Mini finally behaves like a native Android web browser

          If you’re an Opera fan on Android, you no longer have to choose between Opera Mini’s super-efficient web browsing and the native interface of its full-size sibling. The company has overhauled Mini to finally give it the Android-friendly look and core features of the regular browser, including redesigned Speed Dial shortcuts, a private browsing mode and a customizable design that scales nicely to tablet sizes. There’s also a much-needed, Mini-specific data gauge so that you know how many megabytes you’re saving. Give it a spin if you’re trying to squeeze the most you can out of a capped cellular plan.

        • WhatsApp for Android gets a much-needed Material Design makeover, bringing cleaner layouts and new icons
        • ‘Hearthstone’ Arrives On iOS And Android Phones At Last
        • Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Update Release Continues

          The Nexus Android 5.1 Lollipop update is finally starting to make some moves and today, the Nexus 7 Android 5.1 Lollipop update that’s begun to roll out for another one of Google’s variants. Just not the one that most people were expecting.

        • Google wants Android developers to make more kid-friendly apps

          Amazon has had a hard time keeping up with the sheer breadth of Google Play’s app selection, but it’s done a pretty great job when it comes to putting a spotlight on kid and family content. There’s FreeTime Unlimited, a (cheap) monthly subscription service that gives younger users access to a wide selection of age-appropriate ebooks, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games. And the company puts a worry-free guarantee behind its Fire HD Kids Edition; break the thing at any point over the course of two years, and Amazon will replace it for free.

        • New Android App Unlocks Your Phone At The Sound Of Your Voice

          The Android 5.0 Lollipop already lets you skip the traditional lock screen via Trusted Face, which uses facial recognition to make sure you’re you, or if you’re connected to a Trusted Device, like a specific Bluetooth. Now, Google is adding a new smart lock: Trusted Voice, which uses voice recognition to check your identity.

        • LTE-Equipped Nexus 7 2013 (Razorg) Finally Gets The Android 5.1 Update

          It’s been, what, five weeks since Google announced Android 5.1? In all that time the update has still not arrived on many of Mountain View’s Nexus devices. At least one more is joining the 5.1 club today, and it’s a little unexpected—the LTE Nexus 7 2013. No, the WiFi version still hasn’t popped up.

        • LG G2 Android 5.0 Lollipop Update Problems & Fixes

          Over the past few months LG and its partnering carriers have been busy pushing the LG G2 Android 5.0 Lollipop update out to owners around the globe. And while most of the feedback has been positive, the Android 5.0 Lollipop update is also causing problems for many. The LG G2 in the US received Android 5.0 in February on AT&T, it hit Verizon in late March, and starting today is rolling out to T-Mobile owners.

        • This amazing secret trick will give any Android phone a huge speed boost

          We could spend all day counting all of the things that make Android a great platform, but for real smartphone enthusiasts, the operating system’s tweakability is surely somewhere near the top of the list. If there’s functionality you’re looking for that your Android smartphone doesn’t have out of the box, the odds are pretty good that an app or a tweak is waiting to solve your problem.

        • Brussels to investigate Google’s Android
Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Security
    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Researchers try to hack the economics of zero-day bugs

      If you’re looking to reduce the pool of possible zero-day vulnerabilities that could potentially be used for criminal or state-sponsored breaches of computer and network security, throwing people and money at the problem isn’t necessarily going to solve it. At least, that’s the conclusion from a team of researchers at MIT, Harvard, and the security firm HackerOne (the organization that runs the Internet Bug Bounty program). At next week’s RSA Conference, HackerOne Chief Policy Officer Katie Moussouris and Dr Michael Siegel of MIT’s Sloan School will present a study on the economics of the marketplace for “zero-day” vulnerabilities in software and networks, showcasing a model for how that market behaves. Spoiler: their model isn’t simply driven by supply and demand.

      [...]

      At last year’s Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, Dan Geer—a computer security analyst and chief information security officer of the CIA-backed venture capital firm In-Q-Tel—suggested that the US government should simply corner the market on vulnerabilities, offering “six-figure prices” to compete with the black market for zero-days. Geer also said this approach would only work if vulnerabilities were scarce; if they are plentiful, there would be no amount of money that could possibly buy up all the potential attack vectors.

    • Maine Police Pay Ransomware Demand in Bitcoin [Windows]

      In an effort to keep their computer files from being destroyed, a group of cooperative police departments in Maine paid a $300 ransom demand—in bitcoin.

      According to local news station WCSH-TV, the shared computer system of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and four town police departments was infected with the “megacode” virus.

    • Former Security Director For Lottery Charged With Tampering Equipment Before Secretly Buying $14.3 Million Winning Ticket

      If someone hasn’t already sold the movie rights to the story of Eddie Raymond Tipton, expect it to happen soon. Tipton, an Iowa-based former “security director” for the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), is accused of trying to pull off the perfect plot to allow himself to win the lottery. It didn’t work, but not for the lack of effort. MUSL runs a bunch of the big name lotteries in the US, including Mega Millions and Powerball. It also runs the somewhat smaller Hot Lotto offering, which was what Tipton apparently targeted. When he was arrested back in January, the claims were that it had to do with him just playing and winning the lottery and then trying to hide the winnings. Lottery employees are (for obvious reasons) not allowed to play. However, late last week, prosecutors in Iowa revealed that it was now accusing Tipton of not just that, but also tampering with the lottery equipment right before supposedly winning $14.3 million. Because of these new revelations, Tipton’s trial has been pushed back until July. However, the details of the plot and how it unraveled feel like they come straight out of a Hollywood plot.

    • Prosecutors: Evidence indicates lottery vendor employee tampered with equipment

      Prosecutors believe there is evidence indicating a former information-security director for a lottery vendor in Iowa tampered with lottery equipment before buying a Hot Lotto ticket that would go on to win $14.3 million, according to court documents filed Thursday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • Scrap fossil fuel subsidies now and bring in carbon tax, says World Bank chief

      Poor countries are feeling “the boot of climate change on their neck”, the president of the World Bank has said, as he called for a carbon tax and the immediate scrapping of subsidies for fossil fuels to hold back global warming.

      Jim Yong Kim said awareness of the impact of extreme weather events that have been linked to rising temperatures was more marked in developing nations than in rich western countries, and backed for the adoption of a five-point plan to deliver low-carbon growth.

      Speaking to the Guardian ahead of this week’s half-yearly meeting of the World Bank in Washington DC, Kim said he had been impressed by the energy of the divestment campaigns on university campuses in the US, aimed at persuading investors to remove their funds from fossil fuel companies.

    • Tribes say no to Keystone

      Native Americans are pressuring the Obama administration to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, warning the project could infringe on their water rights, harm sacred land and violate America’s treaty obligations.

      Tribes sent more than 100 pages of letters to the Interior Department earlier this year raising concerns about the project, which would carry oil sands from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • Reporting on Russia’s Troll Army, Western Media Forget West’s Much Bigger, Sophisticated Troll Army

      If this appears to be a coordinated messaging effort on behalf of a US military psychological operation, that’s because it almost certainly is. On cue, despite the anonymous sourcing, and the utter staleness of the “revelation” in question, the media uncritically ran with the US government-backed report. In all these stories, however, the rather glaring fact that the US has a long-documented history of manipulating social media is not mentioned once. In fact, the Pentagon’s efforts alone–to say nothing of other US intelligence agencies or other NATO nation states–spent at least 200 times more than Russia, according to the last available figures (Guardian, 3/17/11)…

      [...]

      Israel has students” “defending” it online. The UK has “warriors” countering “enemy propaganda.” The Kremlin has “trolls” spreading “propaganda.” The general public’s ignorance of how these complicated mechanisms of online infiltration work is heavily shaped by how they’re framed. Notice, for example, the images that go with these reports on Israel vs. Russia paying people en masse to spam comment sections and social media. On one side, you have a daytime shot of patriotic young people waving flags outside Auschwitz…

      [...]

      Reading Western press, however, one would get the distinct impression the US–with a military budget greater than the next 15 countries combined–is really a scrappy underdog looking to catch up to the mass of Kremlin troll hordes. This impression, while making for a neat story, does little to provide proper context or truly explain the informational challenge posed by social media manipulation.

    • Scott Walker’s Supreme Court Coup

      Walker and the Republican controlled legislature set about systematically destroying this clean election structure. They dismantled Wisconsin’s 34-year-old partial public financing system for other statewide and legislative elections. They repealed the Impartial Justice law which provided public financing for state Supreme Court elections. That same year they enacted one of the most extreme and restrictive voter photo ID laws in the nation, which threatens to disenfranchise some 300,000 Wisconsinites, and passed 19 other “model” bills lifted from the American Legislative Exchange Council playbook.

  • Censorship
    • UK Government Can Now Hand Out Two-Year Sentences For Revenge Porn, Online Trolling

      Fortunately, the law contains affirmative defenses, including one for journalistic entities or other disclosures in the public interest. It also appears to keep the burden of proof (mostly) where it should be: on the entity bringing the charges.

      However, this amendment seems to be more borne of social pressure than actual need. Trafficking in revenge porn has been punished successfully under the UK’s harassment laws. This law just feels extraneous — a way to “do something” that increases penalties for violating existing harassment laws. There’s a two-year maximum sentence attached to this amendment, which is far lower than the surprising 18 years handed to revenge porn site operator Kevin Bollaert, but far more than a previous “revenge porn” prosecution under the UK’s already existing laws, which only netted a 12-week sentence.

      The enacted amendments also give UK Justice Secretary Chris Grayling what he wanted: increased penalties for the crime of being a jerk online. The UK has jailed trolls before, but now the government has a new upper limit on sentencing – quadrupling the former 6-month maximum.

    • Music Industry Wants Cross Border Pirate Site Blocks

      Music industry group IFPI released its latest Digital Music Report today. Documenting the latest developments in the ongoing piracy battle, the report suggests that pirate site blockades are hugely effective. According to the music group it’s now time for blocking orders to have a cross border effect.

  • Privacy
    • Confronting the surveillance state

      By Memorial Day weekend, Congress will likely have decided whether the federal government’s mass surveillance programs — exposed first by The New York Times in December 2005 and more broadly by National Security Agency contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 — will be partially reined in or will instead become a dominant, permanent feature of American life.

      The creation of what many refer to as the “American Surveillance State” began in secret, just days after the Sept. 11 attacks. As the wreckage of the Twin Towers smoldered, President Bush and his top national security and intelligence advisers were making decisions that would trigger a constitutional crisis over surveillance programs that the public was told was essential to combating terrorism. The first act in this post-Sept.11 drama began on Capitol Hill.

    • No Fly List: Govt Offers New Redress Procedures

      The government will no longer refuse to confirm or deny that persons who are prevented from boarding commercial aircraft have been placed on the “No Fly List,” and such persons will have new opportunities to challenge the denial of boarding, the Department of Justice announced yesterday in a court filing.

    • An unlikely hack lands Edward Snowden in The White House

      After turning up as a sculpture in Brooklyn Park and making an appearance on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Edward Snowden has finally returned home. In fact, if you look at Google Maps right now, it appears he’s marched all the way to the president’s office, presumably to find out exactly who has copies of his dick pics.

      In its mobile app and on desktop, Google is showing a business listing for a fake shop named “Edwards Snow Den” slap bang in the middle of The White House. Could this be the search giant’s way of suggesting a rapprochement between the US administration and the famed whistle blower? Unfortunately not: the out-of-place Snow Den is simply the result of someone changing the location of a verified business listing after it’s gone live on Google Maps.

  • Civil Rights
    • CBS4 Investigation: TSA Screeners At DIA Manipulated System To Grope Men’s Genitals

      A CBS4 investigation has learned that two Transportation Security Administration screeners at Denver International Airport have been fired after they were discovered manipulating passenger screening systems to allow a male TSA employee to fondle the genital areas of attractive male passengers.

      It happened roughly a dozen times, according to information gathered by CBS4.

      According to law enforcement reports obtained during the CBS4 investigation, a male TSA screener told a female colleague in 2014 that he “gropes” male passengers who come through the screening area at DIA.

      “He related that when a male he finds attractive comes to be screened by the scanning machine he will alert another TSA screener to indicate to the scanning computer that the party being screened is a female. When the screener does this, the scanning machine will indicate an anomaly in the genital area and this allows (the male TSA screener) to conduct a pat-down search of that area.”

      Although the TSA learned of the accusation on Nov. 18, 2014 via an anonymous tip from one of the agency’s own employees, reports show that it would be nearly three months before anything was done.

    • New Mexico Passes Law Saying Law Enforcement Can’t Steal Your Property Without A Criminal Conviction

      We’ve been talking for a while about the ridiculousness of the civil asset forfeiture system in the US, whereby law enforcement can basically steal what they want (and some cops will even admit that, to them, it’s shopping for stuff they want). If you don’t remember, it basically just involves police taking stuff and then insisting that it was ill-gotten goods from some sort of law breaking activity — which would be kept by filing a civil lawsuit against the stuff itself rather than the person. There didn’t need to be any criminal conviction at all. Earlier this year, Eric Holder tried to limit the DOJ’s assistance of such shopping sprees by law enforcement, but police were still open to using the process to take stuff.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Council of The European Union To Kill Net Neutrality : We Must Act!

      On 3 April, the European Parliamant voted a text in favour of Net Neutrality, protecting a free and open Internet, but Member States gathered at the Council of Ministers have come back on the progress made. The legislation process continues in the form of negotiations to lead in an agreement between the European Parliament, European Commission and the Council of the European Union. In order to protect and guarantee all the advances from last year’s vote, a coalition of civil society organisations have launched the campaing website savetheinternet.eu and urge citizens to call their eurodeputy to defend their rights and freedoms

    • Despite Claiming To Want To Negotiate A Net Neutrality ‘Compromise,’ Many Republicans Rush In To Kill New Rules

      It’s getting rather ridiculous to have to keep repeating it at this point, but it’s fairly ridiculous that net neutrality/open internet is a partisan issue at all. The public overwhelmingly supports net neutrality, no matter which party they’re associated with. It’s only the politicians who think this is a red team vs. blue team issue. But, for whatever reason (and much of it appears to do with campaign fundraising), net neutrality has become partisan, with Republicans “against” it and Democrats “for” it. So, with the rules now officially in the Federal Register, not only have the lawsuits begun, but so has the Republican wrangling in Congress to try to kill the laws.

    • Wireless, Cable Industries Show Their Love Of An ‘Open Internet’ By Suing To Overturn Net Neutrality Rules

      Now that the FCC’s net neutrality rules have been published in the Federal Register, the broadband industry has fired its litigation cannons and filed the expected lawsuits via all of the major trade organizations (see suits for the NCTA, ACA and CTIA, pdfs). All of the suits proclaim that the FCC’s new net neutrality rules, and its reclassification of broadband providers as common carriers under Title II are an “arbitrary and capricious” implementation of “outdated utility style regulations” that will harm the greater Internet, sector innovation and industry investment (claims even the industry itself has admitted are bunk, yet never seem to go away).

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Kim Dotcom Megaupload case falters over sharing Canadian data

        More than three years have passed since Canadian police seized 32 Megaupload servers on behalf of U.S. authorities seeking to prosecute company founder Kim Dotcom in one of the world’s largest copyright infringement cases.

        Still, no one — except perhaps officials with the file-sharing company itself — knows what’s on the servers.

        At issue now is how much of this seized Canadian data can be shared with the U.S. Department of Justice, which is very eager to press its case against Dotcom, who is currently fighting extradition from New Zealand, where he’s a permanent resident.

Microsoft is Still Googlebombing the Term Open Source and Fooling Politicians Who Now Think Microsoft is Open Source

Tuesday 14th of April 2015 04:23:27 PM

Pretending to be a journalist, actually a Microsoft ‘asset’


Todd Bishop meets his maker

Summary: Microsoft’s attempt to assimilate (to confuse) bears some fruit and the Microsoft-linked media plays a considerable role in it

SOME READERS of ours, commenting on a recent headline, were not yet familiar with the term Google bomb, which was mentioned here over the weekend. When we say that Microsoft is “Googlebombing” (iophk’s interpretation of it) we mean to say that it is trying to make proprietary software come up (highly ranked) in search results for “open source”. It’s rebranding or reinvention by confusion and ambiguity.

Microsoft’s booster Todd Bishop (we have written a lot about him over the years, including financial support from Microsoft) continues this ugly campaign by openwashing a Windows font (yes, font!). Well, to be accurate, this font isn’t even a part of Windows, but it doesn’t prevent Bishop, who literally meets and chats with the highest-ranked Microsoft officials (like Brad Smith the other day), from spreading these misleading headlines in Microsoft-linked media, only to be repeated by other Microsoft boosting Web sites.

“It’s rebranding or reinvention by confusion and ambiguity.”We have grown rather tired of seeing Microsoft’s reckless and shameless attempts to associate itself with the competition. That’s how Microsoft hopes to devour the competition. We were disappointed to see complicity — not merely a waste of space — in Linux Journal today. It’s about .NET. Linux Journal is labeling it “FOSS” despite the reality which very is different, as explained here repeatedly before. Those who insist that Microsoft .NET is “Open Source” should try to fork it (not possible), then redistribute. Good luck with the patents. Phoronix also helped the openwashing of .NET a day or so ago. Microsoft is using other people’s code to openwash .NET, so Michael Larabel jumped into the trap and made a story out of it. “They also intend to improve LLVM’s support for C#,” he writes. This is more like an “embrace and extend” approach. Microsoft is trying to make Free software merely a client (or tool) of proprietary software. What’s there to celebrate?

Based on what Martin told us yesterday in the IRC channels, Microsoft is now pressuring governments in Europe to adopt proprietary software with data in NSA PRISM (Azure) by pretending it’s Open Source. The “look but don’t touch” interpretation of ‘Open Source’ by Microsoft is, based on sources, now being used to bamboozle governments in Europe. If people who demand Free software (“Open Source” they say) don’t understand what it means — let alone understand technology on general — then they’re easy to fool. The pressure (lobbying) from Microsoft in Europe is capable, combined with enough openwashing and Googlebombing (misleading headlines), surely fools EU politicians. Microsoft is reportedly (the reports are not in English) using back room (closed doors) deals in East Europe to sell back doors (pun intended) to the EU, reminding us that Microsoft is still fighting very hard against Free software and GNU/Linux. Microsoft is also fighting very hard to keep it all secret, bias the media, and so on.

Don’t be Microsoft’s “useful idiot”. Microsoft is not a friend, it’s a predator.

“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

–Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Back Doors/Bug Doors in All Versions of Microsoft Windows Need a Name, a Logo, and Branding Too

Tuesday 14th of April 2015 03:50:28 PM

Microsoft gets a free pass for insecurity


“I don’t want a back door. I want a front door.” — Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), only days ago

Summary: All versions of Microsoft Windows are found to have been insecure since 1997, but the bug responsible for this is not named as candidate for back door access, let alone named (with logo and marketing) like far less severe bugs in Free/libre software such as OpenSSL

WHILE many journalists still refuse to call out Windows (see this new piece from Dan Goodin, who writes about crackers hoarding Windows hosts by the millions — in botnets — while mentioning the word “Windows” only once, very deep inside the article), some have no choice by to acknowledge that not every single computer runs Windows and therefore we should call out Windows when it’s clearly to blame.

“This wouldn’t be the first time it happens; recall how Google had to alert Microsoft for 3 months about a serious flaw while Microsoft did absolutely nothing (as if the intention was to keep Windows insecure, albeit secretly, very much like Apple).”Although there is no “branding” yet (as Microsoft buddies from a a Microsoft-linked firm like to do to Free/libre software bugs), there is a very serious bug in all versions of Windows (even the one still in development) that Microsoft’s allies at the NSA must be very happy about, especially as the bug is 18 years old (meaning that Windows has allowed remote access since 1997, or around the time Microsoft was seeking to appease the US government after it had shamelessly broken many laws).

The bug was found not by Microsoft but by this team (press release), which probably has no access to Windows source code. This wouldn’t be the first time it happens; recall how Google had to alert Microsoft for 3 months about a serious flaw while Microsoft did absolutely nothing (as if the intention was to keep Windows insecure, albeit secretly, very much like Apple).

ISPs should now restrict or ban Windows use, as it poses a huge risk (botnets and DDOS, never mind risk to all data stored on machines running Windows). Here is some early coverage of this [1, 2], some correctly emphasising that it’s a 18-year-old vulnerability [1, 2].

Let’s see if this starts a big debate about the insecurity of proprietary software (as other bugs with “branding” did to Free software, by means of gross generalisation). This “New Security Flaw Spans All Versions Of Windows” (similar wording in this headline). 18 years, eh? It even predates 9/11. It’s older than some readers of this Web site.

Watch this disgraceful piece titled “Will Microsoft’s Security Measures in Windows 10 Tarnish Open-Source Development?”

Yes, it’s more propaganda; The disingenuous openwashing of Windows continues, as we’ll show in our next post.

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

–Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

OnePlus (or OnePlus Customers) Should Wipe CyanogenMod From Existing Devices and Install Something Else

Tuesday 14th of April 2015 03:19:42 PM

Summary: A call for OnePlus to reconsider any future updates from Microsoft’s Trojan horse, Cyanogen

LAST MONTH we wrote about speculations that Microsoft is about to buy Cyanogen. We wrote a lot about Cyanogen prior to this, noting that Microsoft was using Cyanogen to disrupt (as in interfere) with Android using words and actions. OnePlus dumped CyanogenMod very soon afterwards because it had developed and quickly turned to its own version of Android (not a Microsoft proxy) and according to this new article, despite OnePlus moving away from Cyanogen, this Microsoft proxy (CyanogenMod) keeps trying to embed itself in OnePlus phones. Users of OnePlus (or owners of such devices) should be smarter than this. They ought to avoid any of CyanogenMod altogether. Cyanogen became a Microsoft proxy that harms users in many ways as we’ve explained over the past month.

“Remember that Replicant is based on Android, perpetually living in coexistence.”Microsoft does not need to bribe/buy Cyanogen if it can get friends to ‘invest’ in it and then pump money (bundling “deal”) to pay these friends back through Cyanogen. This seems like a clever passage of payments. Cyanogen is inherently destroyed. It’s like Nokia, Yahoo, Novell and so on after their Microsoft deals.

The story of Microsoft and Android/Linux/Free software is very much like that of “The Scorpion and the Tortoise”. The ‘new Microsoft’ — if there was ever such a thing — learned to champion entryism, patent lawsuits by proxy, FUD by proxy, bribery, and lobbying. Do not believe for a second that Microsoft means well or comes in peace. It has become exceedingly obvious that disruption of Free software (Android for example) is the strategy of choice, not creating better products. There is also a lot of incitation, e.g. accusations of monopoly by Google. Microsoft manufactured several lawsuits over the years, aggravating and publicly vilifying Android backers, developers, etc. Android has been wrongly viewed as a destroyer of competing Linux-based mobile environments, but it can be complementary (for desktops too). Inciting GNU/Linux users — not just politicians and proprietary software users — against Android seems to have been one rather clever strategy against a leading platform that eats Microsoft’s lunch (cow cash). AOSP, Alien Dalvik, ARC Welder etc. dispel many villainous myths about Android as “bad” for GNU/Linux, despite it being a step in a good direction (not ideal, but at least good). Remember that Replicant is based on Android, perpetually living in coexistence. As long as Android is doing well, Replicant and F-Droid will be fine.

Links 14/4/2015: 3DR Dronecode, Z1/Z2 Tizen

Tuesday 14th of April 2015 12:50:50 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Dramatic Takeoff of GNU/Linux On The Desktop In Malta

      Malta is one of those places where the small size allows one to see significant migrations to GNU/Linux desktop in their full glory. Notice the ascendance of GNU/Linux in the same week that school started that year.

    • Desktop Linux Made Easy

      Ask any casual Linux enthusiast whether Linux is easy to use and they’ll tell you once installed, it’s very simple to navigate. The problem with the Linux desktop in 2015 isn’t how easy the desktop environment(s) are to work with, but whether the applications provided are easy enough for the average user at a workstation.

  • Server
    • IBM Deepens its Cloud Services Entrenchment with the U.S. Government

      IBM is making further inroads into getting its cloud computing tools and infrastructure solidified with the U.S. government. Big Blue recently announced that the U.S. Army is using IBM Hybrid Cloud to power one of the biggest logistics systems in the federal government. The new hybrid cloud system will be part of an ambitious Army data center designed to connect the IBM Cloud to the Army’s on-premise environment to enable use of data analytics. The Army foresees cost savings of 50 percent over its current cost structure, based on migrations to IBM’s cloud tools.

  • Kernel Space
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • EFL 1.14 Beta Brings Ecore-DRM Improvements

      Just one week after the EFL 1.14 Alpha 1 release marks the availability of Enlightenment Foundation Libraries’ 1.14 Beta 1 debut.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • You can come to the Randa Meetings 2015 – Please register now

        The dates for the sixth edition of the Randa Meetings are set: Sunday, 6th to Sunday 13th of September 2015. The first Sunday will be the day of arrival and the last Sunday accordingly the day of departure.

      • Some Skrooge news

        I’ve been alerted a few weeks ago that the Skrooge web site had been hacked, using some URL Injection. After attempting some enquiry and cleanup, I gave up : I couldn’t find the compromised code, and was not able to fix it. This is how I realized that sysadmin is a real job, and I am not one ! After asking some help on kde-www, Albert quickly prompted me to kde-sysadmins, and Ben Cooksley offered to clean the website and host it on kde servers.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • The 5 best distros for the Gnome desktop

        Gnome 3.16 was released recently and I considered it to be one of the best Gnome releases ever. A few weeks ago we did an extremely popular story on some of the best distros which offer great Plasma experience. So I decided to check out which distros offer a similar kind of Gnome experience.

        I have been using Gnome 3.16 on several machines and I am extremely impressed with the improvements, though I think there is still a lot to be improved. From among all the distros that I used, I picked those that offered the best Gnome experience out of the box.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Exploring SuperX 3.0

        Version 3.0 of SuperX can be downloaded as a 1.6GB ISO file. There are two builds available, one for 32-bit and another for 64-bit machines. Booting from the live media brings up the KDE desktop environment. The desktop’s wallpaper is soft blue. On the desktop we find a single icon for launching the distribution’s system installer. At the bottom of the screen we find the application menu, task switcher and system tray. Clicking the application menu button brings up a full screen application menu with large, colourful icons. I want to talk about the application menu more, but first let’s briefly talk about SuperX’s system installer.

      • Linux Mint Debian Edition 2 Cinnamon review

        Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is a desktop distribution that’s based on Debian. It’s from the same folks responsible for Linux Mint, which is based on Ubuntu Desktop.

        The latest edition, Linux Mint Debian Edition 2 (LMDE 2), code-named Betsy, was released on April 10 (2015). Upgrading from LMDE 1 to 2 is not yet supported, but that should change soon. If you’re using Linux Mint 17, do not attempt to upgrade because the distributions are not compatible.

        Installation images for the Cinnamon and MATE desktop environments were made available for download. This article offers a very cursory review of LMDE 2 Cinnamon.

    • Gentoo Family
      • Review: Sabayon 15.02 KDE

        This weekend has been a little slower than usual for work, so I have a little more time to do a review. Several weeks ago, I downloaded the latest version of Sabayon and kept it for a time (as now) when I’d be free to do a review. Moreover, looking through the archives of this blog, I realized that it’s been almost 3 years since I’ve looked at Sabayon, so a fresh review is long overdue.

    • Arch Family
      • Latest Antergos Live CD Includes GNOME 3.16, Based on Arch Linux

        On April 12, the Antergos development team, through Dustin Falgout, announced the immediate availability for download of an updated installation media for their Antergos Linux distribution based on the upstream Arch Linux operating system and featuring the latest GNOME 3.16 desktop environment.

    • Red Hat Family
      • RDO OpenStack Promises Easy, Free Open Source Cloud Computing

        RDO is a version of OpenStack designed for use on CentOS, a Linux distribution based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Actually, “based on” is a bit of a stretch, because CentOS is basically the RHEL source code recompiled by third parties—which is totally legal and kosher with Red Hat, of course, since the source is open. The only difference between CentOS and RHEL is that the former comes with no enterprise-class support or ecosystem integration.

      • Update: Short Interest of Red Hat, Inc. Drops by -6.6%
      • Fedora
        • Fedora 22 Virt Test Day is Thu Apr 16!

          It’s a great time to make sure your virt workflow is still working correctly with the latest packages in Fedora 22. No requirement to run through test cases on the wiki, just show up and let us know what works (or breaks).

    • Debian Family
  • Devices/Embedded
    • 9 ways Android Wear is better than the Apple Watch

      Right off the bat, you have many more Android Wear options because a bunch of different companies have taken their own shot at an Android-powered smartwatch, including Motorola, LG, Huawei, Samsung, and Sony. There are 8 different designs so far.

    • 3DR’s Solo Drone Boasts Dual Linux Computers Running Dronecode

      3DRobotics today announced its first Linux-based drone, a Solo quadcopter touted as the first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to support full control of GoPro cameras and deliver live-streaming HD video to mobile devices. The ground controller, as well as the drone’s Pixhawk 2 autopilot, integrates a 1GHz Cortex-A9 computer running Linux. The Solo is available for pre-sale at $1,000, or $1,400 with a GoPro gimbal, with units shipping via 2,000 locations starting May 29.

    • Phones
      • Tizen
      • Android
        • Why is Android so different from Linux distros?

          Android is based on Linux, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the same as your average Linux distribution. A redditor wanted to know why Android is so different from the desktop distributions that we all know and love.

        • Verizon’s LG G3 Is Finally Getting Its Android 5.0 Update

          The wait for Android 5.0 to arrive on the LG G3 has varied widely based on carrier—AT&T managed to get it released rather quickly and T-Mobile just rolled it out a week or two ago. Now it’s Verizon’s turn to get the Lollipop update done.

        • ICYMI: You Can Soon Unlock Your Android Phone With Just Your Voice
        • Trusted Voice unlock is rolling out to some Android users

          When the latest version of Google’s Android app arrived last week, there was a hint that a new method for unlocking a device was on the way. Well, it seems the wait is over… for some.

        • LG G4 leaks: ‘Gorgeous’ Android flagship in real leather (and fake carbon fiber)

          If you’re waiting to see what the next LG flagship phone looks like, wait no longer. Here’s the LG G4, in all its leather-clad glory. It’s no clone.

          The secret site the images were snarfed from didn’t give much of a clue about the hardware specs — what was there were clearly placeholders — but if you like stitched leather, you’ll love the G4.

        • 4 ways your Android device is tracking you (and how to stop it)

          So there I was, poking around some of the more arcane settings on my Moto G, when I stumbled across something that took me aback: an archive of every voice command I’d ever spoken to my phone.

          Turns out that each time you say something to the Google Now search box, Android saves a copy of what you said in your “Voice & Audio” history. Your voice history can go back months or even years, and it includes a transcript of what you said plus a playback button, so you can relive the moment.

        • Motorola’s 5-incher finds the G-spot: Moto G 4G budget Android smartie

          Back in December 2013, I hailed the first generation Motorola Moto G as the best affordable smartphone on the market. If you want a reasonably compact 4.5-inch device, then, arguably, it still is the best, thanks to a midlife facelift that added a microSD slot and 4G reception.

        • Sony delivers Android 5.0 to Xperia Z3 Dual, Z1 and more

          Android 5.0 Lollipop is ready to roll on half a dozen Sony smartphones.

        • Deal alert: Get $100 off one of the world’s best Android Wear watches
        • Buy an Android smartphone and Moto 360 from Best Buy, get $100 off the total purchase

          Even though the successor to Motorola’s Android Wear smartwatch, the Moto 360, seems to be right around the corner, the original is still considered one of the better smartwatches currently available. Through Best Buy’s newest promotion, that purchase just became much more easygoing on your wallet.

        • Nexus 5 Android 5.1 Update: Is It Worth Installing Right Now?

          We’ve been using the Nexus 5 Android 5.1 Lollipop update for a number of weeks. And now that the update is rolling out in full force, Nexus 5 users are faced with a decision about whether to install Google’s latest firmware. With some experience under our belts, we want to help with your decision. This is our Nexus 5 Android 5.1 review at the three week mark.

        • Best new apps for Android and iOS (April 7th – April 13th 2015)

          Hey there, app hunters! As we do each week, we’ve combed through the Android and iOS stores once again to look for something interesting for you to download and play around with. Keeping track of the new apps that come out for the lighthearted, so should you desire to have a look at some fresh offerings each week, yet feel daunted by the heap of information you’d have to dig through, feel free to check back regularly.

        • Watch HBO Now on Android and Roku right now

          Think an iDevice is the only way to get HBO’s new streaming service? Think again. For $9.99 you can sling it just about anywhere — for three months.

        • 5 Things to Know About the Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Update

          Google’s Android 5.1 Lollipop update is missing for a number of Nexus devices though it looks like we can finally take the Nexus 4 Android 5.1 update off of the list. With an OTA in sight, we take a look at what users need to know, right now, about the Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Lollipop update.

        • These E3 Android Wear Watch Bands are Really, Really Nice

          Last week, Google announced a set of official partnerships with a handful of companies willing to make watch bands for Android Wear devices. One of those companies is E3 Motocycles, a shop out of Brooklyn, NY, who specializes in hand-made products that use quality materials like Horween leather. Out of the group that was announced by Google, the E3 watch bands were the closest to our personal tastes in watch bands, so we picked a few up. Man, these are incredible.

        • Android 5.0.2 pushed out for Sony Xperia Z1, Xperia Z1 Compact and Xperia Z Ultra

          Android 5.0.2 is now reaching the Sony Xperia Z1, Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. The update is being disseminated to certain regions only, and offers build number 14.5.A.0.242. The update includes the new Material Design, Lock Screen notifications, the new 64-bit ART runtime compiler that will open apps faster, new “Recent Apps” screen, Project Volta for extended battery life, and more.

        • Some Nexus 5 Owners Afflicted By Camera Crashes Following Android 5.1 Update

          Updates get us excited, especially when they involve making the leap to the latest version of Android. But for some Nexus 5 users, the transition has come at the expense of their camera. Following the release of Android 5.1, they’ve been unable to reliably activate the camera without getting hit by crashes.

        • No, not that Cloud: Final Fantasy XIII now streaming to iOS, Android devices

          Square Enix games are hardly missing from mobile devices, but most of what you’ll see from the company are ports of its older games. Dragon Quest VIII, which originally launched on the PlayStation 2, was about as recent as it gets. At least it was until now.

        • Android 5.1 Lollipop OTA now available for the Nexus 4

          When Google announced Android 5.1 Lollipop last month, the new version of Android quickly began rolling out to multiple Nexus family devices. There are still a few Nexus handsets that have yet to see the update, but today we can check one more off the list – the Nexus 4. The OTA, which is available now, weighs in at only 174MB and will bring your device from build number LRX22C to LMY47O.

        • HTC One M8 Will Skip Android 5.0.2 And Go Straight To Android 5.1, HTC One M7 May Get 5.1 Too

          A new report indicates that HTC will skip Android 5.0.2 for the HTC One M8, which will go straight to 5.1 Lollipop at some time in the future. The older HTC One M7 may get 5.1 as well, despite a recent announcement that it will not.

        • Opera Launches Redesigned Opera Mini For Android

          Opera Mini, the little brother to Opera’s regular mobile browser, is getting a major makeover on Android today. The company says the new design, which is pretty much in line with the regular Opera mobile browser, is meant to give the browser a more native look and feel.

        • Samsung Galaxy S6 Review: The Best Android Phone Of All Time

          There has been something very surprising about the levels of interest I’ve seen with the S6 and S6 Edge, namely that the interest seems to be focused now, as the phone goes on sale, on the S6 instead of the Edge.

          This is the reverse of what I noticed when I published my initial hands-on reviews of the device from a pre-brief held in London ahead of their launch at Mobile World Congress. And indeed, I was at MWC – I was a guest of Samsung, covering the show for one of my British publishers – and the buzz there was all about the Edge.

Free Software/Open Source
  • Pivotal Open-Sources In-Memory Database Geode

    Geode and GemFire compete directly and indirectly in the market with SAP HANA, Teradata and Oracle products.

    Pivotal, EMC’s big data development platform-as-a-service (PaaS) division, on April 13 released Geode, a distributed in-memory database, to the open-source community as a key part of the eventual release of its entire big data platform to the community.

  • Pivotal Gets Open Sourcier

    You can’t help but wonder if EMC Federation boss Joe Tucci is reaching for his stress ball today. His company’s spawn, Pivotal Software, is open sourcing the core of GemFire, its distributed in-memory database.

    We asked Tucci to comment, but he hasn’t gotten back to us yet. And though his press spokesperson told us “we’re for it,” when it comes to open source, we suspect that it might feel a bit like watching your teenager turn your mansion into a commune.

  • PARCC Selects Open Source Platform for Non-Summative Assessments

    “Open source was a key requirement of the PARCC non-summative assessment tools delivery system because it allows us to more easily integrate the platform with other partners and opportunities in the future, as well as leverage the collective open source community contributions to the platform development,” said Jeff Cuff, director of technology at Parcc Inc., the nonprofit organization that manages the assessment system on behalf of the PARCC states, in a prepared statement. “Even more importantly, it is a highly economical approach for the states participating in the consortium, providing significant savings for maintenance compared to other options.”

  • Curoverse Begins Trial Run for Open Source Genomics Tool

    The move is the latest step for Curoverse, a startup that emerged from George Church’s Personal Genome Project at Harvard. The PGP was a plan led by Church to sequence more than 100,000 genomes in the U.S. and link them to individuals’ health information. (The same kind of aggregation, but of 1 million people’s genomic and other health information, is a goal of the Obama administration’s Precision Medicine Initiative.) Church needed a massive database to house all that information, and that’s what led to the creation of Arvados. It’s a database capable of storing giant amounts of genomic information, it’s shareable, it can run on both public and private cloud services, and it’s an open source platform, so anyone can use or modify the source code.

  • Hello Geode: Pivotal GemFire is now open source

    Making good on its promise from earlier in the year, Pivotal has released as open source the distributed in-memory database that powers GemFire, a featured part of Pivotal’s Big Data Suite Hadoop product.

    It’s another step on Pivotal’s road toward building an open source base for its Big Data Suite rather than keeping them on a proprietary leash. However, Pivotal still sees ways it could monetize its Hadoop products — even as advances in open source squeeze companies with proprietary offerings.

  • The Culture of Freedom: Free Software, Free Speech

    For the concluding part of may talk, I explored how this open source methodology manifested itself in the world of open publishing. The fact that it is net-based is hugely important, because it means that the barrier to publishing has been lowered almost to the point of disappearing. That matters, because as A. J. Liebling famously said: “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one”. Today, thanks to the Internet, we have all the advantages of owning a press without any of the massive costs or organisational issues.

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla Start Drafting Plans To Deprecate Insecure HTTP

        Barnes is hoping for more people to move to HTTPS by limiting new browser features from becoming available over insecure HTTP, in the name of security. He wrote in a mailing list post, “In order to encourage web developers to move from HTTP to HTTPS, I would like to propose establishing a deprecation plan for HTTP without security. Broadly speaking, this plan would entail limiting new features to secure contexts, followed by gradually removing legacy features from insecure contexts. Having an overall program for HTTP deprecation makes a clear statement to the web community that the time for plaintext is over — it tells the world that the new web uses HTTPS, so if you want to use new things, you need to provide security.”

  • SaaS/Big Data
    • HP: We’re not leaving the public cloud

      Several days after HP seemed to announce that it was going to stop offering public cloud services, the company is now stating that it will continue to offer its OpenStack-powered Helion public cloud.

    • Comcast has contributed 36K lines of code to a massive open source project called OpenStack

      Philly became the center of the action for those who use a massive open source project called OpenStack last month.

      Comcast hosted one of the OpenStack community’s regular meetups, drawing more than 150 developers from companies like Rackspace, Time Warner and Red Hat to The Hub in Rittenhouse Square for the two-day event.

  • CMS
  • BSD
  • Openness/Sharing
    • An Open Source Pinewood Derby Track

      There are a lot of reasons to consider reproducing. Tax breaks are near the top of the list, and a bizarre obligation to ensure the survival of the species following closely behind. The pinewood derby, though… Where else are you going to get a chance to spend hours polishing axles and weighing down bits of wood so they can roll faster?

    • The makerspace is the next open source frontier

      In this brave new world of heterogeneous projects that combine hardware, software, printed, cloud, and other pieces, we are going to see an cacophony of different tools for building these different parts of an idea and project. We have GitHub for collaborating around code, Thingiverse for 3D models, Trello for project management and coordination, Moqups and Balsamiq for user interface design, specific toolkits for building drivers and integrating with sensors, and more.

    • Open-source streetlamps from old soda bottles are making streets safer for women

      In the tiny barrio of San Luis, perched precipitously on the hills above Bogotá, a hundred university students are hard at work. Split into 10 groups, they glue, drill and screw things together to make 50 low-cost street lights.

      The lights’ beauty lies in their simplicity: A 3-watt LED lamp is connected to a controller and a battery pack, which is powered by a small solar panel. The light fixture’s protective casing is an old plastic soda bottle. Each lamp costs around 176,000 Colombian pesos ($70) to build, and nothing to run. Parts are sourced locally and the battery can power the lamp for three consecutive nights without charging. Once completed, the students install the lights throughout the neighbourhood, brightening dimly lit alleyways and dark clearings.

    • Open Data
  • Programming
    • Git Success Stories and Tips from Ceph Creator Sage Weil

      Git has changed the way that software is built — including the Ceph open source distributed storage platform, says Ceph Creator Sage Weil. Ceph has used the Git revision control system for seven years, since it switched from SVN. It has changed the project’s work flow and how they think about code.

      “Instead of thinking in files and lines, you think in flow of changes. Instead of having a single repository that everyone feeds from and into, everyone now has their own repository, their own branches. The meaning of branch changed,” said Weil, Ceph principal architect at Red Hat. “Everything just fell in place, as if the people who designed it really knew software development at scale.”

Leftovers
  • Hardware
    • 32-Bit Integers and Why Old Computers Matter

      The number 256 is what broke the original arcade version of Pac-Man. As a game with no proper exit condition, Pac-Man relied on faith that players would eventually get tired of it before the 256th level. This was reasonable given that every single level after the 20th was just a repeat of level 20. But video games lend themselves to obsession like few things, even in 1980, so of course some players took it as a challenge—a test of endurance and concentration. Those that made it to 256 were in for a strange sight, what computer scientists would call “undefined behavior.” This was the result: ​

  • Security
    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Dear Apple: Your upgrade policy sucks

      While changes in technology are generally a mark of progress, they are not always immediately for the better. Certain hardware and software vendors would do well to understand that reality — Apple, for instance.

      Apple has long enjoyed a unique position in the marketplace in that it controls both the hardware and software running on its various platforms. This tight integration has allowed the company to produce some of the most stable and functional computer hardware ever made. This has also allowed Apple to make dramatic changes in both hardware and software without appearing to care a whit for its users, often condemning them to vast frustrations for no logical reason.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • In the Middle East, Bet on a Winner (Iran!)

      Think of it as the American half-century in the Middle East: from August 17, 1953, when a CIA oil coup brought down democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed the Shah as Washington’s man in Tehran, to May 1, 2003, when George W. Bush landed on the USS Abraham Lincoln off the coast of southern California. (The planes from that aircraft carrier had only recently dropped 1.6 million pounds of ordnance on Iraq.) There, standing under a White House-produced banner that read “Mission Accomplished,” the president dramatically announced that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended” and hailed “the arrival of a new era.”

    • Emails Reveal Discord Over Blackwater Charges

      WASHINGTON — As prosecutors put the finishing touches on the 2008 indictment of Blackwater security contractors for a deadly shooting in Iraq, the F.B.I. agents leading the investigation became convinced that political appointees in the Justice Department were intentionally undermining the case, internal emails show.

    • Former Blackwater guards sentenced in ‘staggering’ massacre of unarmed Iraqis

      Three former employees of the US private military contractor once known as Blackwater were sentenced to 30 years in prison on Monday and a fourth received a life sentence, closing a sordid chapter of the Iraq conflict relating to the 2007 Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad.

    • Ex-Blackwater Guards Sentenced to Long Prison Terms in 2007 Killings of Iraqi Civilians

      One by one, four former Blackwater security contractors wearing blue jumpsuits and leg irons stood before a federal judge on Monday and spoke publicly for the first time since a deadly 2007 shooting in Iraq.

    • Florida Ex-Senator Pursues Claims of Saudi Ties to Sept. 11 Attacks

      The episode could have been a chapter from the thriller written by former Senator Bob Graham of Florida about a shadowy Saudi role in the Sept. 11 attacks.

      A top F.B.I. official unexpectedly arranges a meeting at Dulles International Airport outside Washington with Mr. Graham, the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, after he has pressed for information on a bureau terrorism inquiry. Mr. Graham, a Democrat, is then hustled off to a clandestine location, where he hopes for a breakthrough in his long pursuit of ties between leading Saudis and the Sept. 11 hijackers.

    • Frustrated with US meddling, Latin America seeks its own path

      President Obama is in Panama this weekend for the Summit of the Americas, where he’ll meet with regional leaders who have grown increasingly determined to assert autonomy from the US.

    • Why the details of the Iran deal don’t matter

      At heart, this is a fight over what to do about Iran’s challenge to U.S. leadership in the Middle East and the threat that Iranian geopolitical ambitions pose to U.S. allies, particularly Israel and Saudi Arabia.

    • Terrorism Case Renews Debate Over Drone Hits

      A Texas-born man suspected of being an operative for Al Qaeda stood before a federal judge in Brooklyn this month. Two years earlier, his government debated whether he should be killed by a drone strike in Pakistan.

      The denouement in the hunt for the man, Mohanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, who was arrested last year in Pakistan based on intelligence provided by the United States, came after a yearslong debate inside the government about whether to kill an American citizen overseas without trial — an extraordinary step taken only once before, when the Central Intelligence Agency killed the radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen in 2011.

    • The world of threats to the US is an illusion

      When Americans look out at the world, we see a swarm of threats. China seems resurgent and ambitious. Russia is aggressive. Iran menaces our allies. Middle East nations we once relied on are collapsing in flames. Latin American leaders sound steadily more anti-Yankee. Terror groups capture territory and commit horrific atrocities. We fight Ebola with one hand while fending off Central American children with the other.

      In fact, this world of threats is an illusion. The United States has no potent enemies. We are not only safe, but safer than any big power has been in all of modern history.

      Geography is our greatest protector. Wide oceans separate us from potential aggressors. Our vast homeland is rich and productive. No other power on earth is blessed with this security.

    • Drone Victims Take Germany to Court for Abetting U.S. Murders

      Andreas Schüller is an attorney on the staff of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. He is the lead attorney on a suit being brought by ECCHR and Reprieve against the German government on behalf of three Yemeni survivors of a U.S. drone strike. The case will be heard May 27th in Cologne.

      Their suit argues that it is illegal under German law for the German government to allow the U.S. air base at Ramstein to be used for drone murders abroad. The suit comes after the passage of a resolution in the European Parliament in February 2014 urging European nations to “oppose and ban the practice of extrajudicial targeted killings” and to “ensure that the Member States, in conformity with their legal obligations, do not perpetrate unlawful targeted killings or facilitate such killings by other states.”

      I’ve always thought of drone murders as illegal under the laws of the countries where the murders happen, as well as under the UN Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact. I asked Schüller: Is your suit seeking prosecution for murder where (or in one of the places where) the act is committed from a distance?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • A Lot Of Bottled Water Comes From Drought-Stricken California

      California’s in the middle of an epic drought — but that hasn’t stopped bottled water production in the state. Even as residents face mandatory cutbacks and fields lie fallow, companies continue pumping hundreds of millions of gallons of water every year into plastic bottles — sometimes straight from a municipal water supply.

    • Watch: Amid Drought, California Water Virtually Draining Away

      In California, alfalfa production has been scrutinized at a time when both exports of the crop and public awareness of the drought are growing. The expanding global dairy industry, particularly in China, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates, is driving demand for alfalfa as animal feed. Much of the alfalfa that the U.S. exports is grown in water-scarce western states.

  • Finance
    • Occupation at University of Amsterdam Challenges the Logic of Market-Driven Education

      When students kicked in the door of the main administrative building, the Maagdenuis, at the University of Amsterdam on February 25, the “New University” – or “De Nieuwe Universiteit” – movement introduced a new aesthetic dimension of protest.

      The Maagdenhuis occupation, a protest against the financialization of higher education and against the concentration of decision-making power at the university, disrupted the everyday flow of doing, changing the normal organization of human sense experience on campus. By taking a building and reorganizing human activity inside, with emphasis on dialogue, deliberation and shared decision-making, occupiers created new aesthetic conditions necessary for a new politics, as philosopher Jacques Rancière, who recently visited the Maagdenhuis to show solidarity with UvA students, suggests.

  • Privacy
    • Even if the Patriot Act expires, the worst surveillance will carry on
    • Amnesty International takes UK government to European Court of Human Rights over mass surveillance

      Amnesty International, Liberty and Privacy International have announced today they are taking the UK Government to the European Court of Human Rights over its indiscriminate mass surveillance practices.

    • A New Era at the Tor Project

      Andrew Lewman, our current Executive Director, is leaving The Tor Project to take a position at an Internet services company. While at Tor, Andrew was passionate about using our tools to help people from diverse backgrounds and points of view benefit from online privacy. We thank Andrew for his contributions and wish him well.

    • Police want to keep surveillance tech secret

      Time for law enforcement to come clean on how stingrays spy on Americans’ cellphones

    • Forget spying, now the NSA wants your password list

      The NSA isn’t interested in a sneaky back door into your smartphone or computer any more, it just wants you to leave the front door wide open. While arguments continue around just what the National Security Agency can and can’t get access to – dragging more than one big tech name into the controversy – the spy organization’s chief is suggesting a far more blunt approach: in effect, handing over the keys to encryption upfront.

    • CISPA Is Back With A Vengeance

      First introduced in the House of Representatives in 2011, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is once again back in play and is being considered for legislative action this month. Much of the same concerns that accompanied its introduction in 2011 remain specifically that it is a blank check for cybersurveillance dressed up as a bill to promote cybersecurity.

      The earlier version of both SOPA and CISPA were defeated due in part to staunch opposition from numerous corners of the internet. CISPA initially contained language that included intellectual property issues as falling under the act making it essentially SOPA-light.

  • Civil Rights
    • The Power of Lies

      Lincoln did not think blacks were the equals of whites.

    • The Boston Marathon Show Trial

      Tsarnaev’s attorney knew that evidence would play no role in the case and focused on trying to save Dzhokhar from a death sentence by blaming the older brother who was killed by police. Perhaps Dzhokhar’s attorney remembered what happened to attorney Lynne Stewart who was sentenced to prison for representing a client for whom the government only wanted a pro forma representation.

    • The Nasty Blowback from America’s Wars

      Rowley warned Mueller that launching unjustified war would prove counterproductive in various ways. One blowback she highlighted was that the rationale being applied to allow preemptive strikes abroad could migrate back home, “fostering a more permissive attitude toward shootings by law enforcement officers in this country.” Tragically, the recent spate of murders by police has proved Rowley right.

    • My Labia Will Send Logan Airport TSA Thug Melendy A Postcard

      TSA thug Melendy got all up the side between my thigh and my labia — four times.

    • Autistic 11-year-old arrested for leaving class early: “He slammed me down, and then he handcuffed me”s

      An autistic sixth grader in Lynchburg, Virginia was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, PRI’s Susan Ferriss reports.

    • The Real Arab Spring Is Happening in Israel

      The success of the Joint List is an example for the wider Arab world, says Ayman Odeh, its leader. Odeh, a 40-year-old lawyer from Haifa, is now one of the country’s best-known politicians. He won widespread accolades for his calm, reasoned response to being verbally abused on television by Avigdor Lieberman, a former foreign minister. “We live in the Middle East, in an era when people are being killed because they have a different ethnicity, religion or ideology. We have a different message: to accept differences, and work side by side to achieve our goals. We hope our example will affect all the Arab world,” he said.

      [...]

      The model is Martin Luther King, says Odeh. King and his supporters marched to Washington in 1963, demanding jobs and freedom. Odeh has prepared a 10-year plan to close the civic and economic gap between Israel’s Jewish and Arab population. “We intend to march to Jerusalem, to raise awareness for our 10-year plan and to demand democracy and justice for all.”

    • Why Does WaPo Protect Identities of Cops Who Tased a Shackled, Mentally Ill Woman Until She Died?

      The Washington Post knows who gave Natasha McKenna repeated high-voltage shocks just before she suffered a fatal heart attack–but it isn’t telling its readers.

      The Washington Post (4/11/15) ran a troubling story about an African-American woman who died after Fairfax County, Virginia, sheriff’s deputies repeatedly used a taser on her while she was already in shackles. The deputies administered four 50,000-volt shocks to Natasha McKenna, a prisoner at the Fairfax County jail who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, in an effort to force her into a chair for transport; minutes later, her heart stopped.

    • UAE Gave $1 Million to NYC Police Foundation; Money Aided ‘Investigations’

      The New York City Police Foundation received a $1 million donation from the government of the United Arab Emirates, according to 2012 tax records, the same amount the foundation transferred to the NYPD Intelligence Division’s International Liaison Program that year, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

      A 2012 Schedule A document filed by the New York City Police Foundation showed a list of its largest donors, which included several major financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase and Barclays Capital — but also a line item for the “Embassy of the United Arab Emirates.” The Intercept obtained a copy of the Schedule A document, which is not intended for public disclosure and only shows donors above the threshold of donating $1 million over four years.

    • John Legend launches campaign to end mass incarceration

      John Legend has launched a campaign to end mass incarceration.

      The Grammy-winning singer announced the multiyear initiative, FREE AMERICA, on Monday. He will visit and perform at a correctional facility on Thursday in Austin, Texas, where he also will be part of a press conference with state legislators to discuss Texas’ criminal justice system.

    • The Abuse of Satire

      My career—I guess I can officially call it that now—was not my idea. When my editor, Jim Andrews, recruited me out during my junior year in college and gave me the job I still hold, it wasn’t clear to me what he was up to. Inexplicably, he didn’t seem concerned that I was short on the technical skills normally associated with creating a comic strip—it was my perspective he was interested in, my generational identity. He saw the sloppy draftsmanship as a kind of cartoon vérité, dispatches from the front, raw and subversive.

      Why were they so subversive? Well, mostly because I didn’t know any better. My years in college had given me the completely false impression that there were no constraints, that it was safe for an artist to comment on volatile cultural and political issues in public. In college, there’s no down side. In the real world, there is, but in the euphoria of being recognized for anything, you don’t notice it at first. Indeed, one of the nicer things about youthful cluelessness is that it’s so frequently confused with courage.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Legal Responses May Be Imminent in Net Neutrality Face-off

      Back in March, the FCC’s 400-page net neutrality order arrived, and made waves because of the agency’s vote to reclassify broadband as a regulated telecommunications service. The FCC argued that it created “clear and enforceable rules” to protect consumers, but broadband providers and others bristled at the regulation proposals.

      Over this past weekend, the net neutrality rule was published in the Federal Register, the daily journal of U.S. government initiatives, and legal action from those opposing it could be imminent.

    • FCC fires the starting gun on net neutrality legal tussles

      The move follows the historic decision by the FCC to impose more stringent net neutrality rules than anyone had expected in a vote at the end of February which saw the motion pass by three votes to two.

    • Hollywood Seeks Net Neutrality Exceptions to Block Pirates

      The Motion Picture Association has written to Brazil’s Justice Minister seeking exceptions to the country’s fledgling “Internet Constitution”. In a submission to the government the MPA says that the Marco Civil’s current wording on net neutrality deprives courts of the opportunity to order the blocking of ‘pirate’ sites.

    • 6 Stupid Reasons Actual People Are Scared Of Net Neutrality

      According to the most popular British talk show host on American premium cable, net neutrality is one of the most important regulations for the future of telecommunications (and, by extension, all of humanity under the age of 50). Net neutrality is about making sure your ISP can’t control what you view on the Internet and how fast you view it — or, as the aforementioned talk show host put it, “Preventing Cable Company Fuckery.” How could anyone possibly be against something as basic as that? The answer, as the following reactions to net neutrality prove, is “by being hilariously stupid.”

Links 13/4/2015: Linux 4.0 Released; A Look at Antergos 2015.04.12

Monday 13th of April 2015 04:25:57 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • The Real Reason Open Source Startups Fail

    The recent news around Nebula shutting its doors has stirred speculation that OpenStack startups are struggling because of the state of the OpenStack market. There is even a piece claiming that the OpenStack dream is on “life support.”

    This couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that winning in open source requires a playbook that is drastically different from one that most VCs investing in technology today are used to.

  • 3 best practices for bootstrapping an open source business

    I’ve felt this tension firsthand. My company, PencilBlue, an open source content management system, was instantly dismissed by a well-known venture capitalist because, as he put it, “No website creation tool makes money unless it completely gets rid of the need for developers.” This is someone who made seed investments in multiple household-name tech startups, and he had no clue that more than 70% of all websites are created by developers and that the $21 billion web development industry is ruled by open source platforms.

    That open source startups are hard to find in the investment-first ecosystem is not surprising, because they’re usually started by people who actually build the product. Most of the time, seeking early stage investment for an open source product doesn’t make financial sense. On the other hand, there’s much to be gained from the business and marketing knowledge in local startup communities, so being sequestered from them can put open source developers at a disadvantage.

  • Events
  • CMS
    • Presidential candidate website tech, compared

      Over the next year, political pundits will spend far too much time dissecting the horse race, scandals (real or imagined), the electoral college and more polls than you can shake a stick at. I’m doing none of that. I’m just looking at websites.

  • Business
    • Semi-Open Source
      • Pivotal sets the stage for open-source in-memory computing

        Opening up the code could give enterprise customers more input into what new features are added into future versions. For Pivotal, the move provides an entry to those corporate clients that have adopted policies of using open-source software whenever possible, said Roman Shaposhnik, Pivotal’s director of open source.

        The company also hopes the software, released under the name Project Geode, will find a wider user base, one looking for big data analysis technologies speedier than Hadoop or Spark, Shaposhnik said.

  • Openness/Sharing
  • Programming
    • Git and GitHub for open source documentation

      We use git extensively for documentation in OpenStack so that we can “treat the docs like the code”—and I’m seeing this trend many places especially in the Write the Docs community.

Leftovers
  • Security
    • Hacked French TV network admits “blunder” that exposed YouTube password

      The head of the French TV network that suspended broadcasting following last week’s hack attack has confirmed the service exposed its own passwords during a TV interview, but said the gaffe came only after the breach.

      “We don’t hide the fact that this is a blunder,” the channel’s director general Yves Bigot, told the AFP news service.

      The exposure came during an interview a rival TV service broadcast on the TV5Monde attack. During the questioning, a TV5Monde journalist sat in front of several scraps of paper hanging on a window. One of them showed the password of for the network’s YouTube account. As Ars reported last week, the pass code was “lemotdepassedeyoutube,” which translates in English to “the password of YouTube.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
  • Transparency Reporting
    • From A to Z (Asteroids to Zombies), the British Just Want the Facts

      Government secrecy has long been a hallmark of Britain, where neither laws nor traditions made it easy to obtain the documents and records that are the underpinnings of any bureaucracy. But a decade ago, the doors were swung wide open to allow the sunshine of public scrutiny into agencies, bureaus and councils, and the result has been both gratifying and slightly alarming.

      While Britain’s Freedom of Information law has established itself as a potent tool to scrutinize the work of public authorities and hold those in power accountable, it has also had some expensive consequences — and, in some cases, revealed the absurdity of public whim.

      The hundreds of thousands of requests that have been received at various levels of government in the last decade have not only been time-consuming for agencies and councils, they have also proved extremely costly.

      Such, though, is the side effect of transparency, say the proponents of open government, who also argue that the benefits outweigh the burdens.

      “What people often forget is just how much F.O.I. saves money, because it exposes wasteful and extravagant spending,” said Paul Gibbons, a freedom of information campaigner and blogger. “Just one example: a local council in Scotland was spending thousands every year sending a delegation to Japan for a flower festival. Once F.O.I. came into force, they quickly realized they couldn’t justify doing that.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • Snow-Capped Mountains and Rushing Rivers, but No Water to Drink in Nepal’s Capital

      Despite having among the highest water availability per capita in the world and holding about 2.7 percent of the world’s total fresh water reserves, Nepal suffers from a chronic water shortage.

      Set against a decade of political turbulence, acute mismanagement of water supplies and large in-migration from villages to the capital Kathmandu, the less socio-economically advantaged half of Nepal is increasingly left to fend for itself to gain access to clean water.

      In Kathmandu, the Nepalese government’s Central Bureau of Statistics shows that one out of five households do not have a domestic water source, while two-thirds live with a water supply which most probably would fail the standard for being ‘clean and safe.’

  • Finance
    • Dear Apple, Microsoft and Google, you owe Australia billions!

      As one watched representatives of the three most important IT companies in the world being grilled by an Australian Senate committee on tax avoidance last week, it soon became obvious that the whole show was a farce. The corporations have been fleecing Australia of billions of dollars in tax revenues for years and successive governments have been either powerless or unwilling to do anything.

      In the revenue leeching stakes, Apple is by far the worst offender followed by Microsoft, with Google bringing up the rear only by the virtue of its Australian R&D activities.

      The contempt with which all three companies view the Australian Government and the Australian people was obvious by the personnel they chose to front the Senate committee.

    • Dollar’s buying power plummets in first day of “official” WoW gold trading

      For most of World of Warcraft’s history, the only way to buy in-game gold with real currency was to go through one of many gray market third-party services (which technically goes against Blizzard’s terms of service for the game). That was true until yesterday, when Blizzard introduced a $20 game time token that can be sold for gold at the in-game auction house on North American servers (European servers will get the feature at a later date). While the real-world price of those tokens is fixed at $20, the gold price is “determined dynamically based on supply and demand,” as Blizzard puts it.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • Noam Chomsky on the New York Times’ Media Bias

      A front-page article is devoted to a flawed story about a campus rape in the journal Rolling Stone, exposed in the leading academic journal of media critique. So severe is this departure from journalistic integrity that it is also the subject of the lead story in the business section, with a full inside page devoted to the continuation of the two reports. The shocked reports refer to several past crimes of the press: a few cases of fabrication, quickly exposed, and cases of plagiarism (“too numerous to list”). The specific crime of Rolling Stone is “lack of skepticism,” which is “in many ways the most insidious” of the three categories.

  • Privacy
    • ​Securing the web once and for all: The Let’s Encrypt Project
    • European court challenge to UK surveillance

      Rights groups have asked the European Court of Human Rights to rule on the legality of the UK’s large-scale surveillance regime.

      Amnesty International, Liberty and Privacy International filed a legal complaint with the court today.

      The scale of the surveillance carried out by GCHQ has been revealed by US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Brazil builds undersea internet cable to protect online privacy

      Angered by Edward Snowden’s revelations on the wiretapping habits of tri-lettered American agencies, Brazil is taking the internet into its own hands — and giving Uncle Sam the middle finger. Right now most internet traffic between South America and Europe travels through the overly inquisitive US, but that’s about to change. Next year, Brazil’s Telebrás and Spain’s IslaLink will begin laying £120 million worth of undersea internet cable to span the 5,600km of Atlantic Ocean between Fortaleza, Brazil, and Lisbon, Portugal. The Americans can just follow their allies’ activities on Facebook like everyone else.

    • Facebook admits it tracks non-users, but denies claims it breaches EU privacy law

      Social network claims privacy report commissioned by the Belgian privacy watchdog ‘gets it wrong multiple times’ over what Facebook does with user data

    • NSA dreams of smartphones with “split” crypto keys protecting user data

      The approach is only one of several options being studied by the White House. One alternative under consideration would have a judge direct a company to set up a mirror account so that law enforcement officials conducting a criminal investigation could read text messages shortly after they are sent. To obtain encrypted photos, the judge could order the company to back up the suspect’s data to a server while the phone is turned on and its contents are unencrypted.

  • Civil Rights
    • U.S. Air Force Fires General Who Threatened Airmen With ‘Treason’

      Three months ago, Maj. Gen. James Post — the deputy chief of Air Combat Command — warned airmen that talking to Congress about the A-10 Warthog is an act of “treason.”

      On April 10, the U.S. Air Force announced it had canned Post from his job.

      To be sure, the flying branch doesn’t like the A-10 and is locked in a battle with legislators over the attack plane’s future. But it certainly didn’t like Post making veiled threats. He made the comments during a January gathering of airmen at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

    • Dog Owners Threatened With $750,000 Fine Over Missing Dog Posters

      A D.C. dog owner did what anyone with a missing pet would do. He posted fliers — but then, he says, police threatened him with a $750,000 fine.

    • Access to justice a greater concern than free healthcare – poll

      The public is more concerned about access to justice than free healthcare, according to a poll commissioned by lawyers campaigning to reverse cuts to legal aid.

      The findings from a YouGov poll have been released as the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats vie to pledge more and more funding for the NHS.

    • Deputy who killed man after mistaking gun for Taser is an insurance exec who pays to play cop

      The reserve Tulsa County Sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot and killed a man last week when he thought he had pulled his Taser, is part of a group of wealthy donors who make large contributions to the department for the privilege of playing police officer.

      According to Tulsa World, Robert Bates, 73, who made the fatal mistake that cost a man his life, is a local insurance company executive who has donated multiple vehicles, weapons, and stun guns to the Sheriff’s Office since becoming a reserve deputy in 2008.

    • [Old] Shane Todd’s family says noose and towel used in U.S. engineer’s hanging death DESTROYED by police

      Police in Singapore destroyed two pieces of evidence tied to the death of Shane Todd, whose body was found in his apartment there in June 2012, according to the American engineer’s family.

      The 31-year-old’s parents, Rick and Mary Todd, have for months been demanding the Singapore government return the hand-made noose and towel around their son’s neck when his body was discovered by his girlfriend hanging from his bathroom door.

    • [Old] Experts: Engineer found dead didn’t write suicide notes

      Ever since the body of American engineer was found hanging in his Singapore apartment in June 2012, his mother Mary Todd has maintained that the five typewritten suicide notes found at the scene were not written by her son.

      “My son did not write those suicide notes,” Mary Todd has repeated to anyone who would listen.

    • [Old] Singapore gov’t destroyed evidence in US engineer’s death

      Two pieces of evidence central to the death of 31-year-old American engineer Shane Todd — whose body was found in his Singapore apartment in June, 2012 — have been destroyed by police on the island nation, according to an official letter sent to the Todd family lawyer earlier this month.

    • [Old] Shame In Singapore: If Edward Snowden Betrayed America, America Has Betrayed Shane Todd

      I can’t stop thinking about the strange circumstances surrounding the tragic death of a promising young American electric engineer in Singapore two years ago.

      His name was Shane Todd and his story is a cautionary tale for sanctimonious ideologues like Edward Snowden.

      Unlike Snowden, Todd defended America’s secrets and doing so may have cost him his life.

      While local authorities in Singapore claim that Shane committed suicide, his family is convinced he was murdered. For better or worse, so am I.

      Rather than recapitulating the circumstances surrounding Todd’s death, I would refer readers to an enormously compelling piece that appeared last year in the Financial Times about Todd’s death.

      Ironically, the only evidence I can add is taken from a classified diplomatic cable sent to the Central Intelligence Agency about seven years ago from a federal export controls official in China. The cable, which was made public by Wikileaks, reviews an application from a Chinese company for a license to export the technology that Shane had worked on in Singapore – a metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) epitaxial system for producing epitaxial materials like gallium nitride (GaN), a semiconductor circuit technology that offers disruptive capabilities in efficient microwave power generation.

    • [Old] Murder, international coverup alleged in new book

      “Mom, I might be paranoid, but I have the feeling that they are threatening my life if I don’t stay,” Shane said. “I am so naive. Coming to Singapore was the worst mistake of my life.”

      Just before his planned return to the United States, he was found hanged in his apartment. He already had a job lined up in the United States and had his family postpone celebrating Father’s Day and his brother’s birthday. He was going to be in a wedding in the summer.

      Rick and Mary Todd flew to Singapore, where they met with police. The official account of Shane’s apparent suicide soon unraveled.

    • [Old] 48 Hours: Did a son die protecting American secrets?

      The Singapore police told the Todds that Shane had hanged himself but, almost from the start, they did not believe it. Aside from having a new job, Shane had made summer plans with his brothers and had even asked his grandmother if he could use her car and apartment in the interim before he started his new job. He’d queried his future employer about the company policy regarding vacation time and publishing opportunities, Mary said.

      Even as Rick Todd staggered off the plane in Denver, devastated by the news of his son’s death, Mary and her sons already had hatched a plan to fly to Singapore immediately. There’s no doubt that the Todds had an advantage given that Rick flew for a major airline and the entire family had passports at the ready. Seemingly overnight, they were in Singapore asking pointed questions of police officials.

    • [Old] China, Hacking, And Murder
    • [Old] A Family Battles to Prove Their Son Died an American Hero in 48 HOURS: SPIES, LIES & SECRETS

      Peter Van Sant and 48 Hours return to a family’s quest to prove their son was murdered and did not commit suicide as officials in Singapore say, and they’re determined to clear his name in an updated edition of “Spies, Lies & Secrets,” to be rebroadcast Saturday, August 30 (10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

    • [Old] Did a son die protecting American secrets?
    • [Old] Hard Drive: An American engineer’s death in Singapore raised disturbing questions

      With the sheer determination of a mother on a mission, I made a beeline for Shane’s bathroom. As I looked into the bathroom, I was perplexed and shocked. Nothing I saw matched IO Khal’s description. “Oh my gosh, John, come quickly, you’ve got to see this,” I yelled.

      John ran to me and we both began to exclaim, “Where are the bolts, the ropes, and the pulleys? Why is the toilet not across from the door as Khal described it?” Perplexed, we ran our hands over the marble walls searching for holes that might have been patched, looking for anything that would back up what Khal had told us. Nothing!…

    • [Old] Hard Drive III: Shocking reason we were told Congressional investigation was unlikely

      A week and a half after we returned to Montana, we discovered through various media sources that Minister Shanmugam was still in Washington D.C. and was scheduled to meet with Senator Baucus, Secretary of State John Kerry, Attorney General Eric Holder, and various other government officials, including Arizona Senator John McCain.

      Prior to these meetings, USA Today cited Sen. Baucus, emphasizing that the SPF and Singaporean government “have been less than forthcoming” in the Shane Todd case and that evidence he had seen so far raised “very, very strong questions” and “deep concerns about national security.” …

    • [Old] Family investigates ‘whistleblower’ engineer’s mysterious death

      Mary Todd is coming to New York in her quest for justice.

      The mother of Dr. Shane Truman Todd, the American engineer found hanging in his Singapore apartment two years ago, has co-written a book, “Hard Drive: A Family’s Fight Against Three Countries,” with Shane’s cousin, Dr. Christina Villegas.

      The California women claim Shane was murdered and that authorities ruled his death a suicide for political reasons.

      “He had expressed fear for his life,” Villegas told me. “We don’t know who is responsible for his murder, but all three countries are guilty of destruction of evidence and the coverup.”

      Villegas, who is coming with Todd to New York on Sept. 5, said, “The US State Department is fully aiding the perversion of justice. As soon as John Kerry met with Singapore Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam, the FBI lost all interest in the case.”

EFF Uses Alice v. CLS Bank Case to Pressure USPTO to Halt Software Patenting

Monday 13th of April 2015 08:43:25 AM

Summary: A look at recent patent policies and actions from the EFF, as well as increasing secrecy at the USPTO

THE US patent system, which is the primary source of software patents and by far the biggest facilitator of patent trolls, has not enjoyed much publicity as of late, especially not good publicity. Writers are picking on lawyers who want more patents, including Michelle Lee who is said to be destined to head the USPTO. It’s a system guarded by those who don’t represent the population but rather represent their colleagues and friends. It’s a system of protectionism, empowered by a government that’s heavily influenced by large corporations.

“It’s a system of protectionism, empowered by a government that’s heavily influenced by large corporations.”“The biggest impact on patent quality would be the USPTO injecting certainty into the eligibility debate,” IAM said a while ago. Well, actually, as we pointed out last night, the USPTO has already issued guidance on that (new examination rules), it’s just that patent boosters — like IAM — don’t wish to accept it.

As this other new post points out, the USPTO recently had its 9,000,000th “customer” (patent), for which it is being mocked. “So maybe we shouldn’t be so shocked,” said the author, “that USPTO plays the same game. There’s actual evidence backing it up. Because patents issue at discrete, weekly intervals, the PTO has time generally to group patents of the same “class” together in contiguous blocks of numbers. That’s why you usually don’t see a floor wax patent immediately next to a dessert topping patent. (Unless, of course, it’s for both.)”

That’s quite a bizarre way of numbering patents. But more to the point, there’s a lot of secrecy and anomalies in the USPTO. It’s hard to know how it’s working, which contradicts or conflicts with its function/status as government-run. Recently, the EFF pressured the USPTO and the USPTO then demanded that the EFF censors its comments on patent guidance, as if the rules must be kept secret. Not bad for a ‘public’ office, eh? To quote TechDirt: “As you know, last year the Supreme Court made a very important ruling in the Alice v. CLS Bank case, in which it basically said that merely doing something on a general purpose computer didn’t automatically make it patentable. This has resulted in many courts rejecting patents and the USPTO being less willing to issue patents, based on that guidance. The USPTO sought to push out new “guidance” to its examiners taking the ruling into account. Soon after the Alice ruling, it issued some “Preliminary Examination Instructions.” However, it then issued the so-called 2014 Interim Guidance on Subject Matter Eligibility and sought public comment through March 16 of this year.”

“As you can see by the full filing,” TechDirt adds, “the EFF filing isn’t some sort of improper protest. Rather it is a clear demonstration of how the USPTO does not appear to be living up to what the courts are saying in the wake of the Alice ruling. It is difficult to see what the USPTO was thinking in trying to silence the EFF’s comment. It is beyond ludicrous on multiple levels. First, it suggests a skin so thin at the USPTO that you can see right through it. Second, it suggests that the USPTO doesn’t want people to recognize that its guidance is problematic in light of what actual federal courts are saying. And, finally, it suggests (still) a complete lack of understanding of how the internet and freedom of expression works, thereby guaranteeing that the EFF’s complete dismantling of the USPTO’s guidelines will now get that much more attention…”

The EFF did a fine job showing how unreasonable the USPTO has become. Where does it derive consent from? Only large corporations? It’s now shrouded in secrecy. It’s rogue, a bit like the EPO, which is becoming more alike.

Not too long ago the EFF “Outline[d] [a] Plan to Fix the Broken Patent System,” to use its own words, but Will Hill, citing Jan Wildeboer (Red Hat), said that EFF was not serious about fixing the real issues. To quote Hill: “This is not an issue that deserves debate. Software patents are wrong philosophically and no good has come from them. In the last two years, the community told EFF as much and people have been saying the same things since the US first allowed a software patent 25 years ago. Who does the EFF think they are representing and why would they rather reduce a harm than eliminate it? Shame on them.”

The EFF seems to be having turf wars between opponents of software patents and sponsors who love them because the EFF sometimes speaks out against them (not always). Not too long ago (just earlier this month) we learned that the EFF helped bust an infamous software patent on podcasting, so well done to them. Daniel Nazer from the EFF also used the term “Abstract Software Patents” to describe the kind of patents the EFF wants the USPTO to stop issuing, citing Alice. Here is what Nazer wrote: “The Supreme Court took a major step in cutting back on abstract software patents last June when it issued its landmark ruling in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank. In essence, the court said that abstract ideas implemented by conventional computer process are not eligible for patent protection. Since then, the PTO has attempted to write guidance applying the law to pending patent applications. Unfortunately, the PTO has floundered and continues to grant far too many invalid patents. This week EFF filed public comments asking the Office to do more to ensure its examiners apply the new law.”

Also see the article “EFF: If You Want to Fix Software Patents, Eliminate Software Patents”. It seems abundantly clear that some elements inside the EFF (not all of them) do wish to altogether eliminate software patents and that’s good, it’s definitely progress. As Wired put it: “That is by far the most incendiary proposal the Electronic Frontier Foundation offers in its comprehensive report on overhauling a painfully broken patent system. The report, two years in the making, suggests everything from strengthening the quality of patents to making patent litigation less costly. And there, on page 27 of the 29-page report, is “Abolish software patents.”

“The argument is that software patents may not just be flawed, but utterly unnecessary. This hasn’t always been EFF’s stance on patents, says Adi Kamdar, one of the report’s authors. But as the group compiled the report, it received 16,500 public comments from people in the business, academic, and policy communities. The idea that patents should be eliminated entirely was a common theme.”

Vera Ranieri from the EFF meanwhile (earlier on) suggested that SCOTUS “Shouldn’t Reward Ambiguity”, stating:

EFF submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court yesterday in Commil v. Cisco, a patent case that asks whether having a “good-faith belief” that a patent is invalid means that someone can’t induce infringement of a patent.

The issue of what it means to “induce infringement” is a complex, esoteric area of patent law. Generally, inducement liability is where the person accused of infringement didn’t actually carry out infringing acts herself, but instead encouraged other people to do them. For example, telling someone “hey, use this product to infringe this patent” might be inducement, whereas just making a product without any knowledge of a patent on its use would not be.

In conclusion, the USPTO is out of order as it tries to censor and hide its practices while the EFF, which is not perfect either, is at least pressuring the USPTO to stop issuing software patents. Given the EFF’s history of being soft on software patents (or ambiguous at best), overall this is definitely a step in right direction.

No, Panasonic Did Not Open-Source Anything (Another Example of Openwashing for PR)

Sunday 12th of April 2015 11:34:35 PM

Summary: A dissection of media deception (or media being bamboozled) regarding the act of promising not to sue using patents, which in no way relates to Free/Open Source software

EARLIER today we wrote about Microsoft's googlebombing of the term 'Open Source' — a disgrace that one must fight in order to preserve the value and meaning of Open Source.

A few weeks ago we saw Panasonic (and especially the corporate media) using the term “Open Source” to speak about patents. It is grotesque and misleading. See our clarification regarding Tesla, which did something similar and now enjoys this misleading article titled “Why Tesla gave away all its patents” (the latest among hundreds of such articles about Tesla PR).

“Why Tesla gave away all its patents” an inaccurate and loaded headline. It implies that de-fanging something is the same as giving it away and many articles still wrongly equate that with “Open Source”. Now the same thing is happening in relation to Panasonic. It dilutes the Open Source brand and can definitely confuse a lot of people.

Consider headlines like “Panasonic To Open-Source Some IoT Patents” and other headlines that use the word “open”, “share”, “free”, “open” and “free”, “Open-Source”, “royalty-free”, and “intellectual property”. Nowhere is there anything like that. Here is the press release [1, 2] whose title only uses the “intellectual property” nonsense (propaganda term).

The word “free” has been widely (mis)used [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] not by accident but by design. So was the word “open” [1, 2], unlike some article that used none of these inappropriate labels, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Rather than name journalists here we should just state that if one chooses to call “Open Source” the act of promising not to sue using patents, then a whole lot of companies out there can be openwashed. Seriously now, does anyone genuinely think that Panasonic did something “Open Source” here?

Yes, Software Patents Are Dying, But Media Continues to Be Dominated by Those Denying it For a Salary

Sunday 12th of April 2015 11:10:05 PM

Summary: The debate about software patents in this post-Alice era parallels the Net neutrality debate, where voices of people with vested interests contribute to confusion and meddle with largely-accepted views/consensus

OVER the past month and a half there have been quite a few articles about software patents. We have kept track of them and accumulated what amounts to an alta vista of sorts — a kind of zeitgeist of patent debate trends. Back when this site was born (2006 being the year of establishment, i.e. almost a decade ago) debates about software patents were habitual; later we saw these debates distracted, diluted, and then virtually extinguished, i.e. largely gone. It wasn’t an accident; the debates are controlled by corporate media, which is in turn motivated by the wills and itches of large corporations. Now they love to moan about “patent trolls”, despite the strong correlation between trolls and software patents, let alone the fact that many big corporations act just like trolls. Those who insist that the only problem worth tackling in patents is “patent trolls” are probably just trying to protect multinationals from them; this includes some patent lawyers who perceive trolls as a legitimacy problem (serving to discredit the system they make money from and thus must protect).

Alice Changed Everything

The article ““Ineligible Subject Matter” Patent Litigation Spikes In 2014″ (note date) provided an interesting perspective. “More than 20 lower court rulings since the Alice decision have invalidated software patents,” said this other article about the HP patents (see [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] or this analysis which says one “can help to have these [HP] patents revoked by providing ‘prior art’ examples on Stack Exchange”). Clearly enough there continues to be progress in this area, but the media is largely absent from it. The voices of patent lawyers dominate and they contribute to the illusion that nothing has changed after the Alice decision, or that very little has changed.

“CAFC affirms invalidity of patent on computerized meal planning,” Charles Duan wrote the other day. “Case was so easy they didn’t issue an opinion.”

Now, for CAFC, the most overzealous pro-software patents court to do this must truly count for something.

“Lenovo Says Alice Kills Tranxition Software Patents,” according to this article which states: “Lenovo (United States) Inc. on Tuesday asked an Oregon federal court to find invalid two Tranxition Inc. software patents it is accused of infringing, saying the patents are abstract and unpatentable under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice Corp. decision.”

Also consider reading the article “Future Of Software Patents In Doubt After Supreme Court Decision Last Year”, despite it being a little older.

Vivek Wadhwa, a longtime critic of software patents, weighed in last month and said that “Patents are like nuclear weapons”. “Vivek Wadhwa,” said the introduction, “Indian-American tech entrepreneur and academician is an outspoken advocate of abolishing software patents in the US.” Vivek Wadhwa also published some other pieces in large newspapers, noting that the “Founding Fathers of the United States considered intellectual property so important that they gave it a special place in the Constitution: “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.””

Satish Babu said that the “‘Improve Patent Quality’ campaign Is a distraction & doesn’t lead to elimination of software patents [according to] RMS delivering the keynote at #lp2015″ (recent event).

To quote an article about it, “Big companies that don’t really want to get rid of software patents but do want to get rid of nuisance patents have launched a competing, weak, not-worth-bothering campaign to quote ‘improve patent quality,’ unquote,” Stallman said, presumably in reference to the lobbying group United for Patent Reform, which launched in January.”

Stallman is right. As we’ll explain later, there is one effort to blame it all on “bad patents” and another to blame it all on “trolls”, as CCIA (a front group) likes to do. Uniloc, which is clearly a patent troll, was mentioned here a short while ago because “PTAB Will Review Widely Asserted Uniloc Software Patent”. To quote: “The Patent Trial and Appeal Board agreed Tuesday to conduct an inter partes review of a patent on software registration technology that Uniloc USA Inc. has asserted against dozens of companies over the years, in a win for Sega of America Inc. and other accused infringers.”

Here is another development in the realms of software patents. BreezyPrint dodges a software patents lawsuit in Texas, where the courts are very favourable to plaintiffs. Quoting Law 360: “A Texas federal judge ruled Thursday that BreezyPrint Corp., a small mobile printing company, did not infringe several printing software patents owned by rival PrinterOn Inc., which was recently acquired by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.”

“Software patents at center of abuse problem, report says” is the title of another report. Thankfully, some people do realise/understand the core issue and this issue has already been addressed to a large degree by the highest court in the US. One oughtn’t be surprised to see patent lawyers panic.

Lawyers Distort the Record

So all in all one might assume that we’re moving in the right direction and the world can finally grasp that software is not patentable, not even in the US. Sadly, however, patent lawyers and people in the patent ‘industry’ still flood the channels (news, forums, etc.) and it shows. They are fighting back against this new reality.

A Microsoft-backed pro-software patents lobbying group (BSA) was given the platform right here, promoting software patents of course. This piece of lobbying/propaganda was posted by Dennis Crouch, who is himself very biased.

Crouch gives his platform not just for lobbyists to exploit (for software patents around the world) and to dismiss Alice but also for other pro-software patents voices, usually patent lawyers. Consider this “Guest Commentary” by Robert Stoll and the notoriously pro-software patents Michael Risch (he believes and insists that some software should be patentable).

Other patent lawyers took on other media. An article by James M. Singer (Fox Rothschild LLP) remarks on Alice and Singer again did this when it comes to patent reform. They are pushing forth the interests of patent lawyers. “We’re hearing a lot of claims about the STRONG Act as an “alternative” to patent litigation reform,” wrote the CCIA-backed (and powered) site. “The campaign supporting the bill has been misleading at best.” This CCIA-backed site keeps focusing on trolls, as usual, as it last did even a fortnight ago. It’s not asking for real “Patent Progress” (the name of the site) but a ‘progress’ that its funders (which include Microsoft) want. A patent bill’s acceptability is determined by the paymasters and “trolls” remain the only mentionable issue. “According to Lex Machina’s data,” says Levy (CCIA), “in January this year, there were 442 patent cases filed compared with 334 cases in January 2014. That’s a 32% increase. In February this year, there were 500 patent cases filed compared with 440 cases in February 2014. That’s a 13.6% increase. For the year so far, there are about 22% more patent cases filed in the first two months of 2015 compared with the first two months of 2014.” But that’s not the point; the real issue is not just litigation but the scope of patents. Why not tackle the core issue?

Patent propagandist Gene Quinn published “The Road Forward for Software Patents post-Alice”, one among his many pro-software patents posts (he makes money from these). Gene Quinn derives revenue from this parasitic system, so his torrent of pro-software patents pseudo-patriotism and salesmanship (appeal to emotion with terms like “Problem Child”) should not be shocking.

In another lawyers’ site we find another post-Alice pro-software patents piece. “Given past precedent,” it says, “counsel should not expect the pendulum to stop swinging back-and-forth on software patent eligbility” (it has already swung).

In another lawyers’ site we found more of the same and other lawyers’ sites offer no exception. They are teaching patent lawyers what to do as they are trying to get around the rules and share tricks for doing so. That’s what lawyers do, not just when it comes to patents. They want to keep patenting software, i.e. generate business for themselves. Watch how one firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, selectively covered cases where software patents were upheld by courts. It’s this bias by omission that we covered in prior month.

In conclusion, the world is changing, but don’t expect it to change without aggressive and persistent resistance from the parasites.

Links 12/4/2015: Linux 4.0 Imminent, Semplice 7 Reviewed

Sunday 12th of April 2015 08:55:03 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • The rebirth of Free Software Magazine

    When I started Free Software Magazine, over 10 years ago, it was a very different world. Magazines still mattered, Facebook was a primitive site for university students, Digg was about to become a huge new site (before disappearing a few years later), and… did I mention that Magazines still mattered?

    Fast-forward to 2015: it has been 11 years. While I can say that for the first time I have contributed to an exciting free software project with a few thousands lines of code, Hotplate — and believe me, I’ve been keeping busy — I was forced to put Free Software Magazine in hiatus in order to complete Hotplate.

  • Events
    • ownCloud Meetup to test devices in Berin

      Coming Wednesday, it’s time for the monthly Berlin ownCloud meetup again. Last month, we wanted to play with some little development boards, install ownCloud on them and see what they could do. But we had over a dozen new participants join, turning the meetup mostly in a ‘how to get an ownCloud development environment up and running’ session.

  • Programming
    • Apply agile methodologies to upstream development environments…. if you can.

      In consequence, it would not surprise me if we hear more and more about “corporate development methodologies” (a.k.a. agile) vs. “upstream development methodologies” (a.k.a. FLOSS).

      Scrum, XP, Kanban -ish fans will need to face those challenges and find solutions in order to succeed in open collaboration environments. In the same way, based on the increasing influence that companies are gaining in these ecosystems, FLOSS methodologies in a few years will differ from what we knew 10 years ago.

Leftovers
  • Politics
    • Obama: Clinton would make an ‘excellent president’

      A day before Hillary Clinton is expected to announce her second run for the White House, President Barack Obama said she would make an “excellent president.”

      “She was a formidable candidate in 2008,” Obama said in response to a question at a news conference in Panama. “She was a great supporter of mine in the general election. She was an outstanding secretary of state. She is my friend. I think she would be an excellent president.”

      Obama and Clinton have remained in touch since she left the State Department in 2013 where she served as Obama’s secretary of state in the first term.

      [...]

      “Not only have I run my last election, but I am not in the business of prognosticating future elections,” he said.
      Join The Conversation

      McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what’s in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

    • Rand Paul Is Not a Libertarian. He’s Just Running for President

      Rand Paul has in fact inherited much of his father’s popularity among the grassroots and youth activists of his party. I would tend to agree with most political insiders that he is one of the leading contenders for the Republican nomination. However, I can’t help but wonder just how long and to what effect his disingenuous charade can possibly continue. At what point do his key voting blocs stop and realize what his actions are really designed to accomplish? Which is to trick them into electing an unremarkable first term Republican senator as America’s first “Libertarian” president.

    • How the KCIA was born – in deep shadows

      But my promise wasn’t kept. I stepped down as KCIA director in January 1963. The military government relinquished power to a civilian elected-government. But the KCIA kept its authority to investigate and has been blamed for abusing and politicizing its power many times since. It is still trying to hold onto the authority it promised to hand over. The motto that I drafted has also been damaged. I do feel responsible for its abuse of power and misdeeds as its founder.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Total control: is Monsanto unstoppable?

      Political lobbying, on an international scale, has intensified. There is much to play for. Other biotech giants are involved – Dow, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer, BASF – but Monsanto is at the head of the pack, pushing hard into Europe and Asia and, with the help of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, into Africa too.

  • Security
    • Calls to make software designers liable for security weakness

      In December 2014, Google released information about a vulnerability that researchers working on its Project Zero bug-hunting initiative had discovered in Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 operating system. Google had raised the issue privately with Microsoft three months previously, but Microsoft had failed to address the issue within Project Zero’s 90-day deadline.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • Russian naval ship evacuates over 300 people stranded in Yemen

      The Russian Navy vessel Priazovye has helped to evacuate 308 people from war-torn Yemen. The Russian Defense Ministry stated citizens from 19 countries had been rescued, including Russian, Ukrainian, US and Yemini nationals.

    • CIA: Opponents of Iran’s initial nuclear agreement are being ‘disingenuous’

      Opponents of Iran’s initial agreement to curb its nuclear program are being “disingenuous” when they say the deal could still allow the Middle Eastern state to build nuclear weapons, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency said on Tuesday.

    • CIA director attacks critics of Iran deal as ‘wholly disingenuous’

      CIA Director John Brennan reportedly says the preliminary framework around the nuclear deal with Iran does what had once seemed impossible, calling some critics of the agreement “wholly disingenuous” and expressing surprise at the Iranians’ concessions.

    • CIA Director: We’re Winning the War on Terror, But It Will Never End

      Last night, Director of Central Intelligence John Brennan participated in a question-and-answer session at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics. The first thirty-seven minutes consisted of an unusually probing exchange between Brennan and Harvard professor Graham Allison (full disclosure: Graham is a former boss of mine). Most notably, between 19:07 and 29:25 in the video, Allison pressed Brennan repeatedly about whether the United States is winning the war on terrorism and why the number of al-Qaeda-affiliated groups has only increased since 9/11: “There seem to be more of them than when we started…How are we doing?”

    • CIA Director Says the War on Terror May Never End
    • With a book to promote, Judy Miller succeeds in trolling enemies about Iraq War
    • With a book to promote, Judy Miller succeeds in trolling enemies about Iraq War

      America’s most famous former spy and a fallen-star New York Times writer have started a new round of smacktalk over a topic that has 2003 written all over it: Who’s to blame for the U.S. invasion of Iraq?

      Judy Miller and Valerie Plame Wilson have re-litigated the question of war over the past week in op-ed pages and on Facebook and Twitter. It became personal.

    • With a book to promote, Judy Miller succeeds in trolling enemies about Iraq War

      These revelations come from veteran New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s new book, The Story: A Reporter’s Journey. It tells how special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald rigged the 2007 perjury trial of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, in the Valerie Plame case, and inadvertently condemned thousands of Americans to be killed and maimed needlessly in Iraq.

    • When Journalists Join the Cover-ups

      As embarrassing as the Judith Miller case was for the New York Times, the fiasco underscores a more troubling development that strikes near the heart of American democracy – the press corps’ gradual retreat from the principle of skepticism on national security issues to career-boosting “patriotism.”

    • Judith Miller tries, and ultimately fails, to defend her flawed Iraq reporting

      Then she misused that same influence and prestige. So she doesn’t get to ridicule all those who initially took her Times stories seriously, as the United States launched a war that killed 4,500 U.S. service members and left an Iraqi toll many times higher.

    • Judith Miller’s Blame-Shifting Memoir

      On April 3, former New York Times journalist Judith Miller published an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “The Iraq War and Stubborn Myths: Officials Didn’t Lie, and I Wasn’t Fed a Line.” If this sounds a bit defensive, Miller has tons to be defensive about.

      In the article, Miller claims, “false narratives [about what she did as a New York Times reporter] deserve, at last, to be retired.” The article appears to be the initial salvo in a major attempt at self-rehabilitation and, coincidentally, comes just as her new book, The Story: A Reporter’s Journey, is to be published today.

      In reviewing Miller’s book, her “mainstream media” friends are not likely to mention the stunning conclusion reached recently by the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and other respected groups that the Iraq War, for which she was lead drum majorette, killed one million people. One might think that, in such circumstances – and with bedlam reigning in Iraq and the wider neighborhood – a decent respect for the opinions of mankind, so to speak, might prompt Miller to keep her head down for a while more.

    • Valerie Plame Blasts Ex-NY Times Reporter Judith Miller’s ‘Pathetic’ Iraq War Column

      “You were just cheering from the sidelines,” ex-CIA operative says about Miller’s role in helping build support for the Iraq War

      Former CIA operative Valerie Plame took to social media to criticize former New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s recent column that deflected her role in ginning up support for the Iraq War.

    • Judith Miller Clings to Her Own Stubborn Myths

      Judith Miller recently popped out of the Fox News bubble for a quick jaunt to the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the home base for John Bolton, Max Boot, and other neo-con hawks, to give her forthcoming book a little free advertising. In the process she attempts to whitewash her role as an influential pro-war voice in the lead-up to the Iraq War.

      Her April 3, 2015 statement predictably follows the same party line as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Blair, and George W. Bush. She strongly defends herself against those who claim her reportage in the run-up to the war consciously fanned the flames of pro-war sentiment prior to the start of “shock and awe” on March 19, 2003. She claims she was a victim of faulty intelligence and “everybody” got it wrong about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. So why single her out?

    • Valerie Plame slams Judith Miller’s ‘pathetic and self-serving’ mea culpa: Don’t flatter yourself

      Valerie Plame, who was outed as a CIA agent by members of the Bush administration, fired back at a journalist whose work helped push the U.S. into war with Iraq.

      Former New York Times reporter and current Fox News contributor Judith Miller published an essay last week in the Wall Street Journal claiming responsibility for her eventually discredited reporting on Iraqi’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.

      Plame suggested in a Facebook post that Miller was flattering herself.

      “Dear Judy,” she posted Monday night. “No one is crediting you with starting the Iraq war. We know you were not actually on the team that took us into the biggest, most tragic U.S. foreign policy debacle ever. You were just cheering from the sidelines. Your attempt to re-write history is both pathetic and self-serving.”

    • US plans for anti-Islamic State training drawing skepticism

      The fight against the Islamic State group received a jolt of energy when the United States and Turkey sealed a pact to train and arm Syrian rebels. Two months later, the program faces delays and skepticism — as Turkish officials, Syrian rebels and even former American advisers openly question whether it can ever have any battlefield impact.

    • Armed attack Inside the Jordanian Department of Intelligence, baffles Jordanians

      In an unprecedented violent attack inside Jordan’s most secretive and feared government security agency, The General Intelligence Directorate (GID), also known as the “Mukhabarat” in Arabic, an intelligence officer attacked and stabbed a high ranking senior officer during an alleged armed robbery attempt last week using a stun baton Taser and a knife. The attacker was identified in a statement by the victim’s tribe and reported by the London-based newspaper Al Rai al Youm as Mohamad Abdullah al Odwan. Odwan had allegedly entered the office of intelligence officer, Lt. Colonel Khaled Tawfiq al Utoom and demanded a hundred thousand dinar ( $ 150.000) from a safe the victim had in his office and supposedly contained millions more. Rai al Youm reported that Odwan stabbed and clubbed Utoom with his stun baton after the latter refused to hand over the money to him. Odwan then fled the building after taking large sums of money from the safe, but later was arrested and currently is under investigation.

    • US Wages ”War on Terror” in the Philippines

      The War on Terror provided the US an opportunity to expand its military footprint in the Philippines.

    • Untangling the Mysteries Behind Bowe Bergdahl’s Rescue Mission

      The Haqqanis were a terrorist threat that was well known in Washington and Kabul, and they were a constant source of diplomatic headaches. During the Cold War, Jalaluddin Haqqani was a handsomely paid CIA proxy in the fight against the Soviets, but after 9/11, his family took up arms against the latest infidel invaders. “In Pakistan’s tribal areas of North and South Waziristan, Maulavi [Jalaluddin] Haqqani and his sons run a network of madrasas and training bases and provide protection for foreign fighters and terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda,” The New York Times reported in June 2008.

    • U.S. Soldier Uses Heart Breaking Wikileaks Video To Make His Point

      Below is a very disturbing and well-known Wikileaks video exposing what happened (and is still happening) in the Middle East on a daily basis. It’s called “Collateral Murder,” and the solider you see in the video is Ethan McCord; he is one of many soldiers heard in the Wikileaks video who were deployed in Iraq.

      There is some disturbing footage in it, but it’s a powerful tool to let people know about something that is commonly covered up, leaving the Western world oblivious to the reality of the situation.

      We are made to believe that soldiers are sent over to these countries to fight terror, completely ignoring the fact that innocent people, for no reason, are being killed every day.

    • PATRIOT Act Reauthorization: The Fear Mongering and Disinformation Campaign Begins

      Absent from the Leader’s memo was the fact that PATRIOT Act Sec. 215 data has never stopped a single terrorist threat to the United States, as Obama administration officials were forced to admit in the fall of 2013. Also missing from McCarthy’s memo was that fact that the “shoe bomber”, the “underwear bomber”, the Ft. Hood shooter, and the Boston Marathon bombers were not stopped by NSA’s global surveillance dragnet, as typified by Sec. 215. McCarthy’s troops were also spared the reminder that Obama’s review group on intelligence and communications technologies found the program useless. Given those omissions, it’s also not shocking that Mr. McCarthy didn’t want his members focused on DEA’s own decades-long metadata program, which only raises very uncomfortable questions about how many mass surveillance programs are running that we don’t know about.

    • Iranians Are Much Talked About on Sunday Morning TV, But Never Heard From

      Sunday morning news television is where Washington sets its media agenda for the week and, more importantly, defines its narrow range of conventional, acceptable viewpoints. It’s where the Serious People go to spout their orthodoxies and, through the illusion of “tough questioning,” disseminate DC-approved bipartisan narratives. Other than the New York Times front page, Sunday morning TV was the favorite tool of choice for Bush officials and neocon media stars to propagandize the public about Iraq; Dick Cheney’s media aide, Catherine Martin, noted in a memo that the Tim-Russert-hosted Meet the Press lets Cheney “control message,” and she testified at the Lewis Libby trial that, as a result, “I suggested we put the vice president on Meet the Press, which was a tactic we often used. It’s our best format.”

  • Transparency Reporting
    • Stingray spying: FBI’s secret deal with police hides phone dragnet from courts

      The FBI is taking extraordinary and potentially unconstitutional measures to keep local and state police forces from exposing the use of so-called “Stingray” surveillance technology across the United States, according to documents obtained separately by the Guardian and the American Civil Liberties Union.

      Multiple non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) revealed in Florida, New York and Maryland this week show federal authorities effectively binding local law enforcement from disclosing any information – even to judges – about the cellphone dragnet technology, its collection capabilities or its existence.

      In an arrangement that shocked privacy advocates and local defense attorneys, the secret pact also mandates that police notify the FBI to push for the dismissal of cases if technical specifications of the devices are in danger of being revealed in court.

    • Vilifying WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and Chelsea Manning by Hearsay

      Even a cursory glance at what Dan Ellsberg has been up to recently will show that he obviously considers them all to have made huge, historic and overwhelmingly beneficial contributions to the world. So maybe Penn should listen to what his ‘very informed’ whistleblower (who was, himself, vilified in his own day, of course) has to say on the subject.

    • Probable Cause with Sibel Edmonds: Truth vs. Silent Witnesses & Official Lies

      We are going to discuss official lies, whistleblowers, silent witnesses, and how the majority falls for official fictions and dismisses truth. We will also be discussing another common tactic used by the deep state and its tentacles to promote official-lies and cover up truth: Muddying the facts by bombarding people with conflicting, contradicting, and confusing supplementary lies before moving on to their next officially-narrated official lie.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • Triassic Mass Extinction May Give Clues on How Oceans Will Be Affected by Climate Change

      Just over 200 million years ago, the end-Triassic mass extinction killed off more than half of the species of organisms living on Earth’s land and in the oceans. We are only just beginning to understand how this – and the period of runaway global warming that followed – changed the chemistry of open oceans.

      The end-Triassic mass extinction marked the transition between the Triassic to the Jurassic Period and the rise of the large herbivorous dinosaurs, such as the Diplodocus. The extinction meant that previously abundant species were cleared from ecological niches which allowed dinosaurs to move in with little competition from other animals. The Jurassic lasted another 55 million years until the beginning of the Cretaceous Period.

  • Finance
    • 10 U.S. senators seek investigation into H-1B-driven layoffs

      Ten U.S. senators, representing the political spectrum, are seeking a federal investigation into displacement of IT workers by H-1B-using contractors.

      They are asking the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the Labor Department to investigate the use of the H-1B program “to replace large numbers of American workers” at Southern California Edison (SCE) and other employers.

      This letter is a significant development in this contentious issue. It arrives at the same time that lawmakers are pushing a substantial increase in H-1B visas under the I-Squared bill, legislation that would raise the H-1B cap. Two of the co-sponsors of the I-Squared bill also signed the letter asking for an investigation into H-1B program practices.

    • The 1 percent are parasites: Debunking the lies about free enterprise, trickle-down, capitalism and celebrity entrepreneurs

      ‘When did you last get a job from a poor person?’ So goes my favorite Tea Party slogan. The Americans are good at slogans but the Tea Party specializes in discombobulatingly daft ones. Of course you won’t get a job from a poor person, we wearily concede, but it doesn’t follow that the rich create jobs, as if they have special powers that turn their gains into a gift of jobs to the rest of us. U.S. billionaire Nick Hanauer is refreshingly honest about this: ‘If it was true that lower taxes for the rich and more wealth for the wealthy led to job creation, today we would be drowning in jobs.’ So why hasn’t the spectacular shift in income and financial wealth to the rich over the last four decades led to unprecedented jobs growth?

    • Scapegoat Economics 2015

      As economic crises, declines and dislocations increasingly hurt or threaten people around the globe, they provoke questions. How are we to understand the forces that produced the 2008 crisis, the crisis itself, with its quick bailouts and stimulus programs, and now the debts, austerity policies and deepening economic inequalities that do not go away? Economies this troubled force people to think and react. Some resign themselves to “hard times” as if they were natural events. Some pursue individual strategies trying to escape the troubles. Some mobilize to fight whoever they blame for it all. Many are drawn to scapegoating, usually encouraged by politicians and parties seeking electoral advantages.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
  • Censorship
  • Privacy
    • Facebook: We track non-users, but it’s not intentional

      SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook has admitted that it tracked non-users, but said that this happened only because of a bug.

      Facebook’s remarks come in response to a recent report from Belgium’s data protection authority accusing the firm of multiple violations of EU privacy law.

      These violations include “stalking” people geographically via Facebook mobile apps, and failing to inform users of data collection practices.

    • Facebook claims ‘a bug’ made it track nonusers

      Facebook researchers have found “a bug” that caused it to track people, even if they had never visited its website, the social media giant acknowledged this week.

      The bug caused the company to place cookies — a common way to track people’s browsing habits on the Web — on “some” people’s browsers, even if they had never visited Facebook.com to sign up for an account, the social media website’s European Public Policy Vice President Richard Allan wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.

    • Private Emails Reveal Ex-Clinton Aide’s Secret Spy Network

      Starting weeks before Islamic militants attacked the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, longtime Clinton family confidante Sidney Blumenthal supplied intelligence to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gathered by a secret network that included a former CIA clandestine service officer, according to hacked emails from Blumenthal’s account.

    • PCLOB’s New Work: Examining “Activities” Taking Place in the Loopholes of EO 12333

      On Wednesday, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board met to approve its next project. They are just about completing a general overview of the Intelligence Community’s use of EO 12333 (as part of which they’ve been nagging agencies, notably DEA and Treasury, to comply with requirements imposed by Ronald Reagan). Next, they will move onto a deep dive of two programs conducted under EO 12333, one each for NSA and CIA. PCLOB has now posted materials from Wednesday’s meeting, though this overview is also useful.

      [...]

      Finally, remember that CIA has conducted investigations targeting Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, which suggests it interprets its ability to conduct counterintelligence investigations unbelievably broadly.

    • The DEA’s Bulk Collection Program

      Defenders of the NSA’s notorious bulk telephony program have stressed since it was first disclosed that the massive database of calling information can only be used for national security investigations of foreign terror groups, and is tightly regulated by the FISA Court. This week, however, USA Today confirmed that the Drug Enforcement Administration’s own bulk telephony program, first reported in January, began nearly a decade before the attacks of September 11, 2001—vacuuming up records of Americans’ calls to a whopping 116 foreign countries “linked to drug trafficking” using administrative subpoenas. This is presumably the “massive database of phone records” referenced in a 2013 Reuters story on the shady practice of “parallel construction,” wherein state or local law enforcement agency are fed tips from DEA, then encouraged to “phony up investigations” (in the words of one Harvard law professor) in order to conceal the true origins of the information from courts and criminal investigations.

    • The government hides surveillance programs just because people would freak out

      The justification they were using for the NSA’s program – that it was only being used against dangerous terrorists, not ordinary criminals – just wasn’t true with the DEA. The public would clearly be outraged by the twisted legal justification that radically re-interpreted US law in complete secrecy. “They couldn’t defend both programs”, a former Justice Department official told Heath. The piece also reveals that Attorney General Eric Holder “didn’t think we should have that information” in the first place, which is interesting because Holder was one of the first Justice Department officials to approve the program during the Clinton administration. It’s nice he came to his senses, but if the program never risked going public, would he have felt the same?

      There are many other surveillance programs the government is desperate to keep hidden. Consider Stingray devices, the mini fake cell phone towers that can vacuum up cell phone data of entire neighborhoods at the same time and which are increasingly being used by local cops all around the country. The Associated Press reported this week that the Baltimore police have used these controversial devices thousands of times in the course of ordinary investigations and have tried to hide how the devices are used from judges.

      The lengths to which the FBI will go to keep these devices secret from the public is alarming. As a Guardian investigation detailed on Friday, the FBI makes local police that use them sign non-disclosure agreements, and goes as far as to direct them to dismiss charges against potential criminals if the phone surveillance will be exposed at trial (as is required by due process rights in the Fifth Amendment).

    • A reminder of journalism’s power to do the right thing

      Like others before him — such as Daniel Ellsberg with the Pentagon Papers — Snowden released his findings to the press, and trusted journalists to do their job in exposing government malfeasance and lack of accountability. Also like Ellsberg, Snowden was charged under the Espionage Act of 1917.

    • Sun Investigates: Cellphone surveillance seen years earlier in ‘The Wire’

      The Baltimore Police Department surprised many when it revealed recently that it has used a cellphone surveillance device known as a “stingray” 4,300 times since 2007.

    • NSA thinks it can keep spying without compromising your security

      American police and spies love the idea of back door access to encrypted data that lets them snoop on suspicious types, but many will tell you that they’re wildly optimistic. Even if you don’t mind the implication that the government has a right to spy on anyone, this could easily introduce a flaw that any attacker can use. National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers thinks there’s a happy medium, however. At a recent speech, he called for a “front door” encryption key that would provide access, but would be broken into pieces that prevents any one agency or person from getting in. This theoretically prevents thieves (and less than scrupulous authorities) from grabbing your data, but still lets officials look around when they have permission.

    • The NSA wants tech companies to give it ‘front door’ access to encrypted data

      The National Security Agency is embroiled in a battle with tech companies over access to encrypted data that would allow it to spy (more easily) on millions of Americans and international citizens. Last month, companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple urged the Obama administration to put an end to the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata. The NSA, on the other hand, continues to parade the idea that the government needs access to encrypted data on smartphones and other devices to track and prevent criminal activity. Now, NSA director Michael S. Rogers says he might have a solution.

    • NSA and the Stasi – a cautionary tale on mass surveillance

      Four decades of domination over almost all aspects of life in East Germany came to an abrupt halt 25 years ago on 31 March 1990. One of the most intrusive surveillance organisations in human history, the Ministry for State Security, more infamously known as the Stasi, was dissolved. This is a poignant milestone as a global debate about privacy rages in the wake of revelations of massive US surveillance of internet communications.

  • Civil Rights
    • Virginia Beach Police investigating forceful viral video arrest

      Virginia Beach Police say they are investigating a “Use of Force” incident that occurred during an arrest that was recorded on a cell phone back in January.

      [...]

      Cervera would not say what part of the video he’s uncomfortable with, but did say he is questioning whether an officer stopped the recording and later deleted it.

    • We Do This for Rekia

      Upset about the amount of noise he claimed a group of young people were making in a nearby park, Servin recklessly fired over his shoulder at a crowd while sitting in his car. Rekia Boyd died less than 24 hours after being struck in the head by one of the five rounds Servin fired.

    • A Game of Substitution

      The same people, of course, told you I was lying when I blew the whistle on torture and extraordinary rendition in 2004. The security services and the British Government would never do such a thing, they said. I was insane, they said.

    • The Price of a Life

      What’s the right way to compensate someone for decades of lost freedom?

    • CIA torture flights in Scotland: Detectives claim there is ‘no proof’ terror prisoners were on board when they landed here

      A TWO-YEAR police probe into the so-called rendition flights has failed to unearth evidence that terror suspects were travelling on planes which used Scots airports.

    • Remote Polish Airport With Dark CIA History Gets €30 Mln in EU Funds

      A small remote airport in north-eastern Poland, once used by the CIA as a rendition hub, has already received over €30 million in EU funds for its re-fit, but experts say it is a perfect example of “how-not-to and where-not-to” invest, as its economic feasibility, projected tourist forecasts, and impact on local employment are desperately low.

    • Diego Garcia: UK stalls release of CIA black site ‘torture flight’ records

      The UK government continues to delay the publication of flight records which could prove the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia was used by the CIA for “torture flights,” a human rights NGO has said.

      Reprieve, which advocates for prisoners’ human rights in Guantanamo and elsewhere, said the UK government admitted in 2008 that Diego Garcia, a British territory in the Indian Ocean, was used by two CIA rendition jets carrying prisoners in 2002.

      With the release of the Senate torture report in December, it was revealed that the CIA flew captives to secret prisons, known as black sites, across the globe as part of its rendition program.

    • Diego Garcia: UK Delays Publication of Flight Records Which May Hold Truth About CIA Activities

      The UK Foreign Office (FCO) has further delayed publication of flight records for Diego Garcia, following disclosures by a senior Bush administration official that interrogations took place at a CIA black site on the British island.

      FCO officials are “still assessing the suitability of the full flight records for publication”, nine months after they were first requested from the government by human rights NGO Reprieve.

    • UK stalls publication of CIA rendition flights records

      The UK Government is continuing to delay the publication of flight records which could hold evidence of the use of British territory by CIA ‘torture flights’ – over eight months after it said it was “assessing their suitability for publication.”

      The Government has previously admitted that Diego Garcia, a British territory in the Indian Ocean, was used by two CIA ‘rendition’ jets carrying prisoners in 2002. The rendition programme saw prisoners flown around the world in order to be subjected to torture at secret prisons known as ‘black sites’, says the legal charity Reprieve.

      However, since making the admission in 2008, successive British administrations have failed to publish flight records which could shed further light on the role played in the rendition programme by the island.

    • Obama May Add More Layers of Bureaucracy in CIA Reorganization

      In announcing the reorganization in early March, Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan boasted that after the sweeping reorganization is implemented, the agency will be in the position to cover “the entire universe, regionally and functionally, and so something that’s going on in the world falls into one of those buckets.”

    • John Brennan’s deserving CIA reorganization plan

      We tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing, and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.

    • John Brennan’s makeover of the CIA
    • Re-Opening The Investigation: CIA Black Sites

      They certainly sought to please in those initial dark days when a position at the NATO table was at stake. This was something of a new world order – the attacks after September 11, 2001 did certainly allow Washington to make that spurious case. The stakes were high, and the “need” for pressing intelligence saw a crude clipping of various liberties and protections.

    • ‘We Got the Wrong Guy’: Ex Spy Reveals CIA Syria Torture Error

      According to new accounts from former agent John Kiriakou, several spies warned against the rendition to Syria of Mahrer Arar, where he was tortured.

      A former spy was convinced that the U.S. intelligence agency CIA’s rendition and torture of the Canadian Mahrer Arar amounted to punishment of the wrong man.

      According to new accounts from former agent John Kiriakou, several colleagues warned against the treatment of Arar, which led to a public inquiry in Canada and a US$10 million federal government pay-out.

    • CIA staff tried to stop arrest, torture of Maher Arar, says former spy
    • Former spy: CIA employees tried to stop arrest, torture of Canadian Arar
    • Maher Arar’s arrest, torture almost stopped by CIA, ex-spy says

      A former spy has described the debate within the CIA over the arrest, rendition and torture of Canadian Maher Arar, saying multiple colleagues warned against it because they were convinced they were punishing an innocent man.

      The account from former CIA officer John Kiriakou sheds new light on decade-old events that caused a public inquiry in Canada, a $10 million payout from the federal government, and unsuccessful lawsuits in the U.S.

      It’s a rare peek into discussions within the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency — whose role in the 2002-03 events has never been publicly examined, having remained off-limits in Canada’s inquiry.

    • John Kiriakou, CIA Ex-Spy, On Canada’s Intelligence Safeguards: ‘You’re Kidding Me’

      A former CIA spy’s eyes widen when he hears that, in Canada, the political opposition doesn’t get to see or scrutinize national-security intelligence files.

      “You’re kidding me,” says John Kiriakou, who’s now under house arrest in Virginia after a two-year prison stay for revealing information about his former employer.

    • CIA Officials Knew Rendition Victim Was ‘The Wrong Guy,’ Kiriakou Reveals

      CIA insiders objected to the arrest, rendition, and torture of Syrian-born Canadian Maher Arar, but high-ranking officials ignored concerns that they were punishing an innocent man, according to former spy and whistleblower John Kiriakou in an interview with the Canadian Press.

    • Editorial: U.S. owes Arar an apology

      The United States will never apologize for sending former Ottawa resident Maher Arar off to be tortured in a Syrian prison, nor will the country tell us what led to that awful decision. For all we know, Arar remains on our neighbour’s anti-terror watch list, despite having his name cleared by a public inquiry here and earning a $10 million settlement (and an apology) from the Canadian government for its own shameful role in his extraordinary rendition.

    • Kiriakou: CIA Officials Knew Torture Victim Maher Arar Was Innocent

      CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou has revealed new details about the CIA’s internal debate over the arrest, rendition and torture of Canadian citizen Maher Arar. Kirakou told The Canadian Press news agency numerous colleagues warned against arresting Arar, saying he was innocent. But Kiriakou said an unnamed female officer insisted on pressing ahead, saying Arar had links to al-Qaeda.

    • CIA employees tried to stop arrest, torture of Arar, former spy says

      A former spy has described the debate within the CIA over the arrest, rendition and torture of Maher Arar, saying multiple colleagues warned against it because they were convinced they were punishing an innocent man.

    • Ex CIA member says some agency workers questioned Maher Arar arrest
    • CIA Knew They Tortured the Wrong Man, Whistleblower Kiriakou Says

      John Kiriakou has alleged that CIA insiders protested the arrest and torture of Syrian-born Canadian Maher Arar knowing that he was innocent, but a woman in CIA middle-management, whose identity he will not reveal, insisted upon the man’s arrest.

    • A former CIA agent who led counterterrorism arrests in Pakistan shares tales after two years in jail
    • A torture-denouncing CIA agent speaks after two years in jail
    • A CIA agent’s tales from the federal slammer

      He was jailed for telling journalists a bit too much about his former employer: the CIA. He insists he was punished for blowing the whistle on the use of torture in 2007, not because he tipped off journalists to the identity of a couple of former spy colleagues, which is why he was charged.

      “I’m 100 per cent positive,” Kiriakou says in an interview at home, where he’s completing his sentence under house arrest after two years in jail.

      He’s adamant that he’s being singled out. Lots of names leak out of the agency without consequences, he says. Also, he accuses the FBI of trying to entrap him several times and failing.

      To avoid a return trip to prison, there are limits to what he’ll say in interviews.

      He will describe how former CIA colleagues protested the arrest, transfer, and torture in Syria of Canadian Maher Arar — but he absolutely won’t reveal the name of a woman in CIA middle-management who he says insisted on Arar’s arrest.

    • UK ‘Assessing’ Diego Garcia Flight Records Amid CIA Torture Claims

      The British government has been accused of stalling over the publication of flight records in and out of the British-owned island of Diego Garcia, amid claims the remote Indian Ocean location was used as part of the CIA’s post 9/11 torture and rendition program.

    • Sri Lanka – Another pawn in the CIA/MI6 Gameplan

      During the election campaign the scene was set to overthrow Rajapaksa by ballot or by force.

    • Senior ex-general hints at CIA involvement in Balyoz coup plot case

      Retired Gen. Bilgin Balanlı, who was among the 236 suspects acquitted in the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) coup-plot case, has said the United States or the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) could have had a finger in the coup case.

      The CIA or the U.S.’ “deep state” could have been involved in the case, recalling the testimony of a suspect, who said in 2010 he and a former deputy had picked up a sack full of documents in 2007 to be used in the Balyoz coup plot case from an American senator and a retired Turkish major in Istanbul and taken it to Ankara, according to Balanlı.

    • Television box sets: fact vs fiction

      As female CIA operatives complain about how women spies are portrayed in Homeland, and Ed Miliband says The Thick Of It was “too close to reality”, we take a look at some of the best-loved TV shows – how good were they at capturing real life?

    • Female CIA Agents Speak Out About Their Job, Slam Hollywood Portrayals Of Agency

      Women in the CIA say that depictions of female agents are not accurate and that some of the portrayals are downright offensive. The women in the CIA sisterhood say that Hollywood shows female agents as seductresses who rely on their good looks and charm. However, many CIA agents say that simply isn’t true and that female CIA agents are far from centerfolds.

      The New York Times, at the request of the notoriously tight-lipped CIA organization, spoke with current and former female agents to get a better understanding of exactly what the women agents in the field do. In the movies and on television, female agents are highly sexualized and can be seen sleeping with terrorists, seducing assets, and becoming overly emotional while in the field.

    • Female CIA Agents Fed Up with ‘Hollywood Sensationalism’ of Their Characters
    • ‘We don’t look that way and we don’t act that way’: The real women of the CIA slam ‘crazed and emotional’ portrayals of female agents in TV and movies
    • CIA Reaches Out to LGBT Community
    • Human Rights Watch urging Obama to prosecute Bush-era torture

      An international human rights group has launched a campaign calling on President Barack Obama to ensure that future presidents will not “view torture as a viable policy option.”

      Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights, has drawn up a petition urging the Obama administration to begin a “full criminal investigation” into torture techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) post 9/11 attacks.

    • Obama Faces Latin American Opposition to Venezuela Sanctions as Cuba Joins Summit of the Americas

      President Obama has arrived in Panama to attend the Summit of the Americas along with other leaders from Canada, Central America, South America, the Caribbean — and for the first time, Cuba. On Thursday, Obama announced the State Department has finished its review of whether Cuba should be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. The move would allow the two countries to reopen their embassies and move forward on historic efforts to normalize relations that were announced in December. Meanwhile, the United States faces other tensions at the summit over its recent sanctions against Cuba’s close ally, Venezuela. An executive order signed by President Obama last month used the designation to sanction top Venezuelan officials over alleged human rights abuses and corruption. This week, the United States announced it no longer considers the country a national security threat. Other topics expected to be on the summit’s agenda include trade, security and migration. We speak with two guests: Miguel Tinker Salas, professor of Latin American history at Pomona College and author of the new book, “Venezuela: What Everyone Needs to Know,” and Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and president of Just Foreign Policy. His article in The Hill is headlined “Obama Could Face Disastrous Summit Due to Venezuela Sanctions.”

    • Venezuela Withdraws from OAS Civil Society Forum in Solidarity with Cuba

      Caracas has joined Havana in withdrawing its delegation to the Civil Society Forum at the 7th Summit of the Americas this week, after Cuban delegates broke the news that at least 20 counter-revolutionary Cuban “mercenaries” had also been invited to participate in the event.

      Among the highly controversial figures set to participate in the forum are the radical anti-Cuban government dissidents, Manuel Cuesta Morúa, Elizardo Sánchez and Rosa María Payá, as well as members of the Cuban exile community. All are known to have financial ties to U.S. funding agencies such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and have a history of trying to subvert the Cuban government. Ex-CIA agent, Félix Rodríguez Mendigutía, better known for his role in the assassination of Argentinian revolutionary, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, is also participating in the summit.

    • Che Guevara Murderer Attending Summit of the Americas

      According to some reports, Felix Rodriguez has arrived in Panama to attend the OAS forums.

      According to Yoanislandia, quoting “friends in solidarity with Cuba,” the man who murdered Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Felix Rodriguez, arrived in Panama on Tuesday to attend the Summit of the Americas forums.

    • Che´s Daughter Rejects Presence in Panama of Man that Murdered her Father

      Aleida Guevara, daughter of Cuban-Argentinean revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara, described as shameful the presence in the activities of the Summit of the Americas of Felix Rodriguez Mendigutia, who was directly involved in the assassination of her father, in Bolivia.

      “In was a nonsense decision by whoever admitted him, said Guevara and reiterated that the presence of the former CIA agent is shameful. Felix was a CIA instrument and he offered himself in a mean manner to murder him.”

    • Obama optimistic for Cuba relations, Castro recalls past confrontations with U.S.

      Leaders of the United States and Cuba did something Saturday they hadn’t done since the spring of 1959, all the way back to the Eisenhower administration: Meet diplomatically face-to-face.

      President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro — the brother of longtime ruler Fidel Castro — met at the Summit of the Americas in Panama Saturday, and the visit is the talk of the conference.

    • Boston Marathon Bombings’ Guilty Verdict Exposed as a Gross Travesty of Justice

      The FBI and CIA’s common misuse of paying informants to entrap others globally into joining plots of terrorism was well documented in researcher-author Trevor Aaronson’s book The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism. Between 9/11 and 2011 he confirmed that 508 defendants were recruited by informants paid up to $100,000 in multiple sting operations. In fact, in all but only three high profile cases were the FBI and their informants not involved. Again, this demonstrates that the US government’s calling card around the world reads “Terrorism-R-US,” just another M.O. for squandering hard earned taxpayer dollars to keep its invented “war on terror” very much ongoing and alive forever.

    • Finnish investor banned from Russia after FSB warning

      Russian authorities have denied entry to prominent businessman Seppo Remes and accused him of espionage, the Finnish investor claims. Remes is a board member in several Russian energy companies.

    • Finnish businessman says denied entry into Russia after FSB warning

      Finnish businessman Seppo Remes, co-owner of a Swedish company which invests in Russian electricity assets, said he had been denied entry into Russia for five years after receiving a warning from the Federal Security Service.

    • FSB Detains Opposition Journalist in Latest Crackdown on Crimean Press

      Russia’s Federal Security Service has detained an opposition-minded journalist in Crimea, a colleague said, in the latest in a series of Moscow’s investigations against Crimean reporters and writers who have criticized Moscow’s annexation of the peninsula.

    • Crimean journalist reported abducted by Russia’s FSB
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Anti-Piracy Threats Trigger Massive Surge in VPN Usage

        Piracy is a hot topic around the world and in Australia the issue has made mainstream headlines over the past week. After the announcement of a new anti-piracy scheme and the news of copyright trolls coming Down Under this week, VPN usage has surged to unprecedented levels.

GNU/Linux is Crushing Windows, So Microsoft Leaps Ahead to X+2 Vapourware (Two Versions Ahead Into the Future)

Sunday 12th of April 2015 10:08:17 AM

“In the face of strong competition, Evangelism’s focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: Microsoft continues to pile up bogus claims and empty promises in an effort to stall migrations to GNU/Linux

THE unethical strategy of today’s Microsoft revolves around distortion of truth, targeting in particular the selling points of alternatives, such as GNU/Linux. Microsoft lies about Windows being “free” (gratis), being “Open Source” (libre), and being ‘like’ Linux or lightweight.

Microsoft’s longtime friend and propaganda site Neowin now proceeds to version X+1+1 (or X+2) vapourware marketing. It happened or at least started almost a week ago. Microsoft has a seemingly clever plan. There is even a logo and an image. Not a product. A plan. Logo. Image. Vapourware basically. We expected the media to debate it in the coming days and use it to badmouth GNU/Linux. We stated this publicly at the time and we were soon proven correct. This post will present a comprehensive summary of some of this latest Microsoft propaganda.

Is Microsoft freezing the market? Well, it wants us to wait several more years for a version of Windows that is not even developed yet.

Cade Metz, who was behind the “open source Windows” publicity stunt (as noted earlier this morning), has seemingly been appointed Condé Nast’s Microsoft propagandist (unofficial role). Another stunt right now is titled “Microsoft Is Making a Stripped-Down Windows to Rival Linux”. It was widely spread (very quickly in fact), not only by Microsoft boosters.

In the war against GNU/Linux, Microsoft’s PR network (Microsoft has a vast peripheral army of PR companies that it summons to fool the world and derail the competition) wants us to believe that Windows is free, cheap, open source, etc. All are lies of course, but here again we see the lie about Windows becoming light. In the future. Maybe. That’s what Microsoft promises. As it did before. They even call it “Nano Server” (article by Timothy Prickett Morgan) and misuse the word “containers”, probably making Docker (with Red Hat roots) blink a couple of times.

Ben Kepes, Joab Jackson and a whole large group of Microsoft boosters and Microsoft-connected sites disseminated this nonsense. Mary Jo Foley did her best, joined by Microsoft boosting Web sites and boosters whose only agenda has always been to promote Microsoft. This was not, however, contained (pun intended) within the Microsoft propaganda network and we found it spilling elsewhere [, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14], contributing to that awkward perception that Windows is “light”, much like GNU/Linux servers. Don’t believe the nonsense. Remember all the promises Microsoft previously made in respect to future versions of Windows.

“The purpose of announcing early like this is to freeze the market at the OEM and ISV level. In this respect it is JUST like the original Windows announcement…

“One might worry that this will help Sun because we will just have vaporware, that people will stop buying 486 machines, that we will have endorsed RISC but not delivered… So, Scott, do you really think you can fight that avalanche?”

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft

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