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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 50 min ago

Links 26/11/2014: Docker Patched, New DragonFlyBSD

Wednesday 26th of November 2014 11:27:28 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • About Linux Weekly News – 24th November 2014
  • Desktop
    • Expensive “Free/Libre Software Laptop” Uses A NVIDIA GPU

      While there’s been an ongoing discussion this week about delivering a $500 “open to the core” laptop that runs Ubuntu Linux and would be comprised of open-source software down to the firmware and Coreboot, announced last week was a high-end laptop that also aims to promote free/libre software. Though don’t get out your wallets quite yet.

  • Server
    • Docker Update Fixes Pair of Critical Security flaws

      The open-source Docker container virtualization technology has emerged as one of the hottest and most hyped technologies of the year. Docker, however, isn’t immune from security vulnerabilities, as a pair of recent updates illustrate.

    • AMD & PathScale Join OpenACC Group

      Up to now the OpenACC parallel programming standard has mostly been perceived as a NVIDIA affair along with backing from the likes of Cray and PGI. Now, however, AMD and PathScale are joining the OpenACC Standards Group so hopefully we’ll see greater, multi-vendor adoption of it going forward.

  • Kernel Space
    • Graphics Stack
      • PowerVR SGX Driver Code Gets Leaked
      • Valve’s VOGL Is Finally Back To Having New Commits, OS X Support

        While Valve’s VOGL open-source OpenGL debugger was off to a great start when announced at the start of the year, recently it fell into a bit of a dry period when it didn’t see any new work for more than a month. Fortunately, that dry spell is over and there’s new commits flowing back into VOGL.

      • Nouveau Might Have A Logo

        A designer, Valeria Aguilera, has been working to make a Nouveau logo. Last night she posted her first draft of the proposed Nouveau logo, “I would like to highlight that the logo incorporates a penguin corresponding to the linux kernel components used to create this open source driver. The 3D cube/shape represents the 2D and 3D acceleration capability. The ‘n’ simply stands for the first letter in Nouveau and the green colour was chosen because the driver is for NVIDIA video cards.”

      • Mesa 10.4 RC1 Is Here, Lands Direct3D 9 State Tracker

        Emil Velikov has announced the first release candidate for the upcoming Mesa 10.4 release.

      • Freedreno MSM Driver Has Big Changes For Linux 3.19 Kernel

        Most notable for this MSM DRM driver that’s associated with the Freedreno driver project is the support for the Qualcomm Adreno A4xx series. The Qualcomm Innovation Center added the A4xx hardware support to the open-source DRM/KMS driver as a surprise move. Meanwhile, Rob Clark of Red Hat took to writing the Gallium3D support that’s now in Mesa Git master following the recent Mesa 10.4 branching.

      • NEMO-UX Shell Is A Futuristic, Multi-User Wayland Experience

        Demonstrated at the ACM Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (ACM ITS) event in Dresden, Germany the past few deays was the “NEMOSHELL” that looks like a futuristic user experience supported by Wayland.

    • Benchmarks
      • Apple OS X 10.10 vs. Ubuntu 14.10 Performance

        While I delivered some OS X 10.10 Yosemite preview benchmarks back in August, here’s my first tests of the official release of Apple OS X 10.10.1 compared to Ubuntu 14.10 Linux. Tests were done of OS X 10.9.5 and OS X 10.10.1 against Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn when running the benchmarks under both GCC and LLVM Clang compilers.

      • AMD Radeon Gallium3D Is Catching Up & Sometimes Beating Catalyst On Linux

        Last week I shared some preview benchmarks from Steam on Linux showing Radeon Gallium3D starting to beat Catalyst. In this article are the full results from comparing the open and closed-source AMD Linux graphics cards with sixteen Radeon graphics cards while testing Team Fortress 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on Linux. The results yield a very close race!

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Colorpick

        Colorpick is a color picker and contrast checker. I originally wrote it to help me check and fix the background and foreground colors of the Oxygen palette to ensure text was readable. Since then I have been using it to steal colors from various places and as a magnifier to inspect tiny details.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
  • Distributions
    • Rescatux Is a Useful Tool to Fix Grub and Promote Windows Users to Admin

      Rescatux, a Linux distribution that allows users to perform all kinds of rescue operations with the help of an easy-to-use wizard called Rescapp, has been upgraded to version 0.32 Beta 3, and the developer has made a number of important fixes.

    • Ready to give Linux a try? These are the 5 distros you need to consider

      There are so many Linux distributions that choosing one can be overwhelming for a new user. One might be too intimidating for a user to even try, while another might be too simplified, blocking that user from knowing how Linux systems actually function.

      I have been using Linux as my primary OS since 2005 and have tried all major (and quite a lot of minor) distributions. I have learned that not every distribution is for everyone. Since I also assist people in migrating to Linux, I have chosen the 5 distros that I recommend to new users based on their level of comfort and desire to learn (or not learn) more about Linux.

    • New Releases
    • Red Hat Family
      • Fedora
        • Fedora Linux: The Safest Operating System on the Planet
        • Open Seat on the Fedora Server Working Group

          This past week, David Strauss chose to step down from his position on the Fedora Server Working Group, citing a lack of alignment with his current work usage. The Fedora Server SIG would like to thank David for his contributions up to this point and wish him well.

          This means that there is currently a vacancy in the Fedora Server Working Group. The Working Group is the nine-person volunteer body that oversees the development, testing, release, documentation, marketing and evangelism of the Fedora Server. Membership on this Working Group is a moderate commitment requiring a participation of a minimum of two hours a week, one hour of which being the (usually) weekly meeting.

        • Fedora Good, Bad, & Ugly and Debian’s Rise

          Pádraig Brady today offered up his assessment of Fedora 21 in comparison to Fedora 16 from which he upgraded. Bruce Byfield is back with a look at the “rise of Debian technology” and Softpedia is reporting that CentOS was used to make the black hole in hit movie Interstellar. Gunnar Hellekson refutes the assertions in a recent GCN article declaring Open Source poorly designed and, finally today, Linux powered submersible says polar caps thicker than estimated.

        • Fedora 21 Innovates in Docker Cloud Virtualization with Project Atomic

          Docker, OpenStack, EC2 and “Project Atomic” are among the leading buzzwords for Fedora Linux 21, the upcoming release of the community-developed open source operating system that serves as the basis for Red Hat’s enterprise Linux platforms. Due out next month, the release is now receiving its final tweaks from developers, who have revealed further details on the cloud and virtualization innovations in the new version.

        • Important Fedora vote concludes today!
        • Fedora Council Election Results
        • Fedora Will Begin Upgrading The X.Org Server As A Distribution Update

          While Fedora is working to migrate over to Wayland by default, the X.Org Server won’t disappear anytime soon for legacy X11 application support and other purposes. With Fedora 21 and going forward, Fedora is likely to be getting in-place X.Org Server updates upon new releases.

    • Debian Family
      • The rise of Debian technology

        Out of 285 active distributions on Distrowatch, 132 are based on Debian and 67 on Ubuntu. This predominance is not only unrivalled in a field as diverse as Linux distros, but has been true now for several years. I’ve cited it several times, but until now, I haven’t addressed the question this observation also raises: how did this state of affairs come about?

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Bq Introduces More Android Devices, But Still No Ubuntu Phones

            Bq held a media event today where many were hoping the first Ubuntu Phone would be officially unveiled, but that was not the case with Ubuntu receiving no mentions during the event.

            Bq is one of Canonical’s first two Ubuntu Phone partners and they had plans to ship the first Ubuntu Phone by the end of 2014. The other phone partner, Meizu, has previously said the MX4 with Ubuntu Touch would come in December.

          • Canonical Is Still Considering Turning the Phone into a Mini-PC

            Canonical is working to complete their idea of convergence with the launch of Ubuntu Touch, a new operating system for mobile devices. The desktop flavor of Ubuntu will eventually share the same code with the mobile one, and their plans go even further than that.

          • Tiny quad-core ARM mini-PC runs Ubuntu with Cinnamon

            A startup is pitching a $129-$199 “Imp” mini-PC on Indiegogo based on a quad-core Odroid-U3 SBC, with HDMI streaming and an Ubuntu/Cinnamon Linux desktop.

            A day after reporting on one Israeli-based, non-Android ARM mini-PC — SolidRun’s $100 CuBoxTV with OpenElec Linux — here comes another. Aside from the usual hyperbole found on crowdfunding pages — are we really “democratizing the digital home experience” or just buying an embedded ARM computer? — the Ubuntu-based Imp mini-PC looks like a pretty good deal.

          • Flavours and Variants
  • Devices/Embedded
    • Quad-core media player runs Kodi/XBMC on OpenElec Linux

      SolidRun’s tiny, $100 “CuBoxTV” media player runs OpenElec Linux and Kodi (formerly XBMC) on a quad-core i.MX6 SoC, and offers 100Mbps+ video decoding.

      The CuBoxTV is the first Freescale i.MX6 based media player to run the Kodi (formerly XBMC) multimedia distribution, says Israel-based SolidRun. CuBoxTV is closely based on the company’s latest i.MX6 based CuBox mini-PC, which now sells for $80 to $140, depending on the number of Cortex-A9 i.MX6 cores and other features. The CuBoxTV, which is available only with the quad-core i.MX6 SoC, goes for a sale price of $100.

    • CuBoxTV: Tiny $100 Linux-based XBMC media center

      SolidRun’s CuBox line of tiny desktop computers are cubes that measure just 2 inches across. But the little boxes sport Ethernet jacks, optical audio output, 2 USB ports and a micro USB port.

    • Linux-based AUV maps Antarctic sea ice thickness

      Woods Hole Oceanographic used a Linux-based “SeaBED” AUV to build the first 3D map of Antarctic sea ice — and found it’s thicker than had been estimated.

      Every now and then we see some good news about climate change sprinkled in with all the increasingly dire warnings. Yesterday, the New York Times reported that solar and wind energy are starting to become competitive with natural gas. On the same day, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), based in Massachusetts, announced it had published a paper in Nature Geoscience on experiments run by an autonomous, Linux-based submarine called the SeaBED. The underwater survey indicated that Antarctic sea ice was thicker than had been previously estimated.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets
Free Software/Open Source
  • Hey, here’s some face-tracking tech from Samsung you probably won’t find creepy at all

    Samsung says it’ll release the source code to software that allows physically disabled people to move a mouse pointer with their eyes.

  • Samsung ‘eye mouse’ helps the paralyzed use PCs, will be made open-source

    From his adjustable bed, Shin made the words appear on the computer screen using Eyecan+, an eye-tracking device developed by Samsung Electronics.

    “I’m happy that eye mouse is developed in Korea,” he continued. “The eye mouse is not just an IT product, but limbs for the disabled. Hope this kind of research will continue.”

  • Assembly Helps Developers Find, Monetize Open Source Contributions
  • An open source Christmas with Kano

    So this season, what every open sourc-erer wants might just be Kano, a computer kit that comes will all the functions needed to build it and learn to code afterwards.

  • Mapping the world with open source

    In the world of geospatial technology, closed source solutions have been the norm for decades. But the tides are slowly turning as open source GIS software is gaining increasing prominence. Paul Ramsey, senior strategist at the open source company Boundless, is one of the people trying to change that.

    Ramsey has been working with geospatial software for over ten years, as programmer and consultant. He founded the PostGIS spatial database project in 2001, and is currently an active developer and member of the project steering committee. Ramsey serves as an evangelist for OpenGeo Suite, works with the Boundless business development team to share about their collection of offerigns, and speaks and teaches regularly at conferences around the world.

  • Google Brings Open Source Security Gifts

    ‘Tis the season for giving, and search giant Google wants to give security researchers and end-users some new tools. Over the past few weeks Google has released multiple security tools and open source efforts to help end-users and organizations defend themselves from modern threats.

  • OPNFV Does Telecom/Open Source ‘Mind Meld’

    The Open Platform for NFV Project Inc. is growing rapidly — ZTE joined just last week and more new members will be announced in December — while trying to meet an aggressive schedule of new software releases every six months, beginning in the first half of 2015. (See Open NFV Group Uncloaks Its Platform Plan and Will Carriers Step Up to Open Challenge?)

  • Particulate sensor developed using open source approach

    A New York based start up company has used an open source approach, as well as funding from Kickstarter, to develop AirBeam – a handheld sensor which determines the concentration of particles in the air measuring 2.5µm or less.

    [...]

    The AirCasting app and website code is available on GitHub as open source, along with the AirBeam firmware and electronic schematics. The STL files for 3D printing the AirBeam and LiteBeam enclosures can be downloaded from www.shapeways.com.

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Google will kill Microsoft Silverlight in Chrome by disabling NPAPI plug-in

        GOOGLE IS MOVING ahead with plans to kill off support for Microsoft Silverlight in its Chrome browser.

        The Microsoft runtime depends on an ageing plug-in protocol called Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI), for which Google is currently phasing out support in its browser.

      • What’s the Difference Between Chromium and Chrome?

        Chromium is the open-source project that forms the basis for Google Chrome. Because it’s completely open source, Chromium is available in many Linux distributions’ software repositories for easier installation.

    • Mozilla
      • Review of the new Firefox browser built for developers

        Mozilla recently announced a new browser version for developers on the 10th anniversary of the Firefox browser. The Usersnap team and I took a look at whether it works well for the web development process, offers developers a variety of possible applications, and if it keeps up with the Google Chrome dev tools.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • First Beta Version of LibreOffice 4.4 Is Now Ready for Testing

      The work for LibreOffice never stops and this is actually one of the perks of being open source software. The application is constantly improved and the users can easily see what is being done in this regard. Usually, new major updates for a new branch will have several devel versions before the stable one is released, and that means we are still pretty far away from that milestone.

    • VirtualBox 4.3.20 Arrives, Still No Sign Of VirtualBox 4.4

      VirtualBox 4.3 was released in October of 2013 and since then VirtualBox from an external look appears to be largely in maintenance mode. The 20th point release was put out today with just stability and regression fixes. There’s not yet any public development releases of VirtualBox 4.4 or any other next-generation series to this virtualization software born during the Sun Microsystems days. Thankfully, during this time, KVM and Xen along with components like Virt-Manager and QEMU continue advancing in a steadfast manner for those interested in open-source virtualization.

  • CMS
  • Business
  • Funding
    • Open-Source Chat Platform Scrollback Raises $400,000 Seed Round

      Scrollback, a free open-source chat platform for online communities, has raised $500,000 Singaporean dollars (about $400,000) led by Jungle Ventures, with participation from Singapore’s National Research Foundation, Crystal Horse Investments, Singapore Angel Network, Roland Turner, and other angel investors.

  • BSD
    • DragonFlyBSD 4.0 Drops i386 Support, Improves Graphics

      The much anticipated release of DragonFlyBSD 4.0 is now available.

      The biggest “big ticket item” of DragonFlyBSD 4.0 include improving graphics support with the Linux-ported Intel DRM driver now handling Intel “Haswell” graphics complete with OpenGL support, well more than one year after it’s been optimized for Linux users. DragonFlyBSD 4.0 is also significant in that it drops 32-bit i386 support in making it 64-bit only for x86 systems. While the DRM driver porting takes a while across all BSD distributions right now, at least DragonFlyBSD developers can take a stand for pushing forward and focusing on 64-bit support rather than 32-bit.

    • DragonFly 4.0.1 released

      Version 4 of DragonFly brings Haswell graphics support, 3D acceleration, and improved performance in extremely high-traffic networks. DragonFly now supports up to 256 CPUs, Haswell graphics (i915), concurrent pf operation, and a variety of other devices. Check the full release notes for details, and visit the mirrors page for download links.

    • 64-bit ARM FreeBSD Support Is Taking Shape

      While Linux/Android on AArch64 is what’s usually talked about, FreeBSD developers continue making progress on porting their kernel to 64-bit ARM.

    • A review of PC-BSD 10.1
    • Google Now Uses Clang As Their Production Compiler For Chrome Linux Builds

      For just over one month Google’s Chrome/Chromium team has been using Clang as their production compiler on Linux in place of GCC.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • The FSF is hiring: Seeking a full-time outreach and communication coordinator

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF), a Boston-based 501(c)(3) charity with a world wide mission to protect freedoms critical to the computer-using public, seeks a motivated and organized tech-friendly Boston-based individual to be its full-time outreach and communication coordinator.

    • GNU Guix 0.8 Has A New Visual UI In Emacs

      The GNU Guix functional package manager has been updated to version 0.8 and incorporates four months of changes.

      GNU Guix 0.8 features a new visual user interface in Emacs, a variety of new Guix sub-commands, improved reporting of package upgrades, and various improvements to the Linux-libre distribution portion of Guix.

  • Project Releases
  • Public Services/Government
    • Finland’s Innovillage spurs open development of e-gov services

      Finlands Innovillage – an online collaborative platform for the development and implementation of new government service models and practices – shows that innovation demands an open process that involves users, professionals, managers, experts and policy-makers. “Fundamentally, e-government innovation needs to be open and allow participation”, says Pasi Pohjola, coordinator of Finland’s Development Programme for Social Welfare and Healthcare.

    • Glitch takes down DOD’s open source IT collaboration environment

      “On Sunday, 23 Nov, our hosting provider executed an automated script that inadvertently corrupted all Forge.mil systems,” DISA said in an email notification obtained by FedScoop. “We’ve been working with their SysAdmins since then to bring Forge.mil back into service. We were expecting all systems back up Monday afternoon but problems with recovering from our backup systems have prevented that. We continue to work with our hosting provider to escalate issues and apply necessary resources to achieve resolution until all systems are back up and available.”

  • Openness/Sharing
    • Free the Seed – The Open Source Seed Initiative

      With the slogan, “Free the Seed”, a group of plant breeders, academics, among others, have formed an Open Source Seeds Initiative to prevent the down stream restrictions to germ plasm, genetic material, breeding and seeds in general. Based in the open software philosophy, the initiative seeks to create a common pool of seeds. Like open source software, these seeds are expected to be free for all kinds of use and distribution.

    • Dinner can be like open source too
    • Startup to Open Source Parallel CPU

      A startup founded by two teenagers is designing a parallel processor that it hopes delivers a 10x leap in performance per watt for high-end systems. Rex Computing will make open source its instruction set architecture in hopes of rallying supporters around it.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • Berners-Lee: new HTML5 ‘open web’ milestones

      The Computer Weekly Open Source Insider blog noted on January 1 2013 that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) made note that a stable specification of the HTML5 web markup language has been laid down for web application developers to now focus on.

    • ZigBee Announces New Internet of Things Standard

      The ZigBee Alliance, has announced the unification of its wireless standards to a single standard named ZigBee 3.0, which will provide interoperability among the widest range of smart devices, providing consumers and businesses access to innovative products and services.

    • OpenCL & SYCL Updated For Heterogeneous Parallel Programming

      The Khronos Group has released updated versions of the OpenCL and SYCL specifications from the Super Computing 2014 conference in New Orleans.

Leftovers
  • Science
    • US Department of Defense Militarizes Social Science

      In 2008, the US Department of Defense founded the Minerva Initiative, a “social science research initiative” which focused on regions of “strategic importance to US national security policy.” The initiative focuses on results that can be used in the field (that are “warfighter relevant,” in the words of the Minerva Initiative website). The DoD is issuing $17 million to fund twelve new projects for 2014-17. As Nafeez Ahmed reports in the Guardian, the DoD funding social science is a conflict of interest and certain proposed projects raise questions about how the social science might be used in warzones.

  • Security
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • Video Analysis of Fatal West Bank Shooting Said to Implicate Israeli Officer

      One day after Israel charged an officer from its border police force with manslaughter in the shooting of a Palestinian teenager at a protest in the West Bank last May, the boy’s father and an Israeli architect who helped reconstruct the killing based on video evidence argued that the officer should be indicted on a murder charge instead.

  • Finance
    • HOTEL 22: The Dark Side Of Silicon Valley

      Jimmy hands $2 worth of dimes to the conductor and finds a seat at the back of the bus.

      He settles himself in for what is going to be a long night – taking off his scuffed leather shoes and resting his head against a window opaque with condensation.

      Jimmy, 47, has had the same routine for the last three years since losing his job as a chef at Microsoft.

    • Save the Fatcats

      CEO Justin Forsyth £139,950
      COO Anabel Hoult £139,950
      COO / CFO & Strategic Initiatives Rachel Parr £131,970
      Global Programmes Director Fergus Drake £113,300
      Fundraising Director Tanya Steele £112,2001

      [...]

      StC has just given Tony Blair its “Global Legacy” award. What kind of people like Tony Blair? People who earn over 100,000. I am not sure that if you put money in a tin, or bought from their charity shop, you thought you were paying that many fat salaries. There are also gold plated pensions and other benefits. Justin Forsyth, the CEO, of course worked in Tony Blair’s neo-con policy unit.

    • NYT Columnist’s Faulty Attack on Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Rage’

      New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin has earned a reputation over the years for being friendly with the Wall Street giants he covers. If you read his bizarre rant against Senator Elizabeth Warren, it’s not hard to see why.

    • Millions in Poverty Get Less Media Coverage than 482 Billionaires

      In June 2014, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) published a study showing that ABC World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News give more media coverage to the 482 billionaires in the U.S. than to the 50 million people in poverty, airing almost four times as many stories that include the term “billionaire” as stories including terms such as “homeless” or “welfare.” According to the report, an average of only 2.7 seconds per 22-minute nightly news program were devoted to covering stories where poverty was mentioned.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
  • Censorship
    • Google Asked to Censor Three Million Pirate Bay URLs

      The Pirate Bay reached a questionable milestone today when copyright holders asked Google to remove the three millionth Pirate Bay URL from search results. While most requests are valid, Google also removed several non-infringing pages.

  • Privacy
    • Want to avoid government malware? Ask a former NSA hacker

      A young British company called Darktrace, whose technology was spawned in the classrooms and bedrooms of Cambridge University, can now boast a covey of former spies among their executive ranks. Jim Penrose, who spent 17 years at the NSA and was involved in the much-feared Tailored Access Operations group (TAO), is one of Darktrace’s latest hires.

    • UK Pirate Party slams government plans for IP address identification

      THE UK PIRATE PARTY has slammed government plans which could see IP addresses linked to individuals in the same way as phone numbers.

      Loz Kaye, outspoken leader of the party, said: “It’s extraordinary that the Home Office did not consult [the] industry about these plans.

      “To me it shows they don’t care whether they will work or not. They are just interested in headlines.”

      He went on to criticise the Liberal Democrats, which had earlier welcomed the move, saying it provides proof that there will be no return to snooping in this Parliament.

    • Slack now letting employers tap workers’ private chats

      Slack, whose chat app aims to help workers get stuff done, might now have them running scared, knowing the boss could access their chats.

      The company’s upcoming paid Plus plan will include an optional feature called Compliance Exports, announced Monday, which will let administrators access their team’s communications, encompassing public and private messages.

    • Most people have heard of Snowden, few have changed habits as a result

      New worldwide survey results conducted by a Canadian think tank show that most people around the world (60 percent) have heard of Edward Snowden, but just over a third “have taken steps to protect their online privacy and security as a result of his revelations.”

    • Thinking of buying a security camera? Read this first

      Most security cameras and their software aren’t built with computer security in mind. None of the vendors could provide me with a clear understanding of code reviews and penetration testing. In fact, most of my security inquiries were met with befuddlement. Often I was called back by someone days later who either did not know the answers to my questions or said yes to everything I asked so often, you knew they were not telling the truth.

    • Truly private surfing

      In my previous post i recommended to use two firefox plugins to truly surf through Internet whoes pages are “infected” with social network embedded widgets that only report about our presense in those pages and if we are lucky, only that, but i also identifies us because the propagation of cookies.

      In this post i will give some recommendations about how to stop Firefox from surfing the web without us knowing it, yes, in the background. The other day i was analyzing what happens in the background in the network with Firefox open, and i was worried for a minute or two because i saw connections going out of my computer but i was not surfing anything… i had one page open, so i closed it incase that that page had some javascript with a loop doing some connections without me knowing…. but the connections kept being done.

    • Report On UK Terrorist Murder: MI5 Absolved, Facebook Guilty

      Of course, that would mean finding some way to win support for an intrusive Communications Data Bill, which provoked such a strong reaction the last time it was discussed. So it’s interesting coincidence that the day after that place-marker by the Home Secretary, a new report (pdf, and embedded below) has been published on a particularly brutal terrorist attack that took place on the streets of London last year. The report comes from the UK’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), which was roundly condemned by a Parliamentary committee earlier this year for being out of touch and ineffectual. It was asked to examine what lessons could be learned from the failure to stop the attack, given that both the two men convicted of murdering the British soldier Fusilier Rigby were known to the UK intelligence service.

      [...]

      Well, that’s because they are communications companies: they provide ways to communicate, just like phone companies or the post system. There’s no more reason they should be monitoring every piece of content on their systems than telephone companies should monitor the content of calls, or post offices the content of letters. It’s not their job, and would in any case be an extraordinary invasion of privacy.

      [...]

      That the ISC’s report into the attack turns out to be a whitewash is no surprise. Earlier this month, the UK’s leading human rights groups decided to boycott another inquiry that it would be conducting, since they had “lost all trust in the committee’s ability to uncover the truth.” And just before the ISC report was published, it was claimed that the committee had “failed to speak to witnesses who say the plot’s leader was repeatedly contacted by the security services before the attack”…

      [...]

      So who gave that information to GCHQ? The statement above makes it clear it wasn’t Facebook itself but a “third party”. Who else had access to such private messages? Someone at the company? Maybe, although that seems very unlikely given the company’s awareness of how big an issue this would be.

      Another obvious candidate is the NSA. Snowden has told us that it accesses and stores vast quantities of messages as they flow across the Internet; given the nature of the conversation, and the keywords it contains, it seems quite likely that it was added to a database somewhere, “just in case”. Perhaps it was dug out at the request of GCHQ, which then passed it on to the company concerned — in order to land it in hot water, and get MI5 off the hook. Just another benefit of being part of the Five Eyes club.

    • Lee Rigby: inquiry into murder of fusilier ‘failed to seek out witnesses’

      The official inquiry into the jihadi-inspired murder of Lee Rigby in 2013 is poised to clear the security services of major criticisms but is facing claims that it failed to speak to witnesses who say the plot’s leader was repeatedly contacted by the security services before the attack.

    • Survey: Public Clouds, File Syncing and Data Privacy Dangers

      Lots of employees use public cloud services, like Dropbox and Box, to sync and share files even if they contain sensitive data. That’s not too surprising, but what is is the finding that more than half of organizations don’t have policies in place to keep important data out of the public cloud, at least according to their employees. So says M-Files, which has released interesting survey results on this topic.

    • The Coming War on Encryption, Tor, and VPNs

      And that, of course, will not go down well with the world’s spy agencies. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, there is a clear move to demonise strong encryption using a crude “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”-type argument: only bad people could possibly want to hide their communications. I predict that things will only get worse – not just because of Let’s Encrypt, but also following the Home Secretary’s announcement this week of yet more counter-terrorism measures.

      One of them claims to address the fictional “capabilities gap the authorities face when it comes to communications data.” There is no such gap, because the volume of communications data has grown so hugely that any *percentage* loss of capabilities is more than made up for by the greater total quantity of information now available. For example, even if the authorities were only able to access a half of all communications data, say, that would still represent hundreds of times more raw information than previously because overall traffic has probably increased many thousands of times thanks to the rise of the Internet (those figures are plucked from the air, but the point remains valid.)

      [...]

      But it is, of course, trivial to avoid this surveillance using Tor or a VPN. And so inevitably the next stage of this assault on online digital liberties will be to attack those too, even though both have perfectly legitimate uses, especially the latter. Indeed, now would be a good time for businesses to make it known to the UK government that they require VPNs to function properly in the online world, just as they require strong encryption; and that trying to outlaw any of these, or to restrict or weaken them in the name of “counter-terrorism” would be yet another deeply disproportionate response with serious adverse consequences for the economy and society.

    • How to Encrypt the Entire Web for Free
    • Secret Malware in European Union Attack Linked to U.S. and British Intelligence

      Complex malware known as Regin is the suspected technology behind sophisticated cyberattacks conducted by U.S. and British intelligence agencies on the European Union and a Belgian telecommunications company, according to security industry sources and technical analysis conducted by The Intercept.

    • NSA privacy director defends agency’s surveillance

      The U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance programs are legal and under close scrutiny by other parts of the government, the agency’s internal privacy watchdog said Monday in an online Q&A.

    • EC-Council President Warns Global Leaders of Cyber Pandemic at World Internet Conference

      In a rousing speech made to a packed audience at the World Internet Conference held November 19th – 21st in the historic city of Wuzhen in Zhejiang Province, Jay Bavisi, President and Founder of EC-Council, pushed for emphasis on solving cybersecurity threats by focusing on secure coding, the creation of a global legal framework, and better education initiatives. The theme of the event, “Interconnected World, Shared and Governed By All” resonates on the information security industry as cyber crime is a global problem in need of global solutions. Top executives from Chinese tech firms, including Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, as well as representatives from Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, LinkedIn, and non-profit organization ICANN attended the conference.

    • Regin Spyware Likely Made by NSA, UK
    • NSA, GCHQ or both behind Stuxnet-like Regin malware?
    • Sophisticated Regin Malware Could be the Child of GCHQ or NSA
    • NSA, GCHQ or both behind Stuxnet-like Regin malware?
    • Sophisticated Malware Regin Linked To NSA, British Intelligence
    • ‘Elegant’ Regin Malware Linked to Brits, NSA

      A sophisticated malware program called “Regin” has been used in systematic spying campaigns against a range of international targets since at least 2008, Symantec reported on Sunday.

    • Patriot Act Deadline Threatens to Splinter NSA Reformers

      Privacy advocates, facing an uphill battle in a Republican-controlled Congress next year, will have to make a difficult choice.

      Some argue that their best shot to curb the National Security Agency’s powers will be to kill core provisions of the USA Patriot Act altogether. But other reformers aren’t ready to take the post-9/11 law hostage.

    • NSA Reform Could Pit GOP Hawks Against Party’s Libertarian Wing

      Efforts to curb the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of American phone metadata were dealt a blow with the defeat of the USA Freedom Act on Nov. 18. With a 58-42 vote, the bill failed to attract the 60 votes necessary to clear the Senate filibuster.

    • Cryptocurrency News: NSA ‘Outlined Bitcoin-Like System’ and 70% of Bitcoins Unspent

      Most other major cryptocurrencies have seen a similar upturn in fortunes, with litecoin, dogecoin, peercoin and darkcoin all rising in price by between 3% and 6%.

    • “Big Data Ethics” Sound Great, But They Won’t Stop The NSA—Or Facebook

      It was worth a shot. At the recent Strata Conference in Barcelona, Hadoop founder Doug Cutting took to the stage to argue for a new era of Big Data ethics.

      “It’s time for us to reflect as we enter this new data age on how we want it to work,” Cutting declared. “This is the time when the practices and policies we want will be set for the coming decades.”

    • Edward Snowden Receives Stuttgart Peace Prize 2014

      Edward Snowden has been awarded Stuttgart Peace Prize 2014, but could not attend the ceremony and sent a message via a video, urging to fight for the observation of human rights.

    • NSA leaker Snowden feted in Stuttgart

      NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden accepted the Stuttgart Peace Prize and called on the public to keep fighting for peace in a speech via video uplink on Sunday.

    • Utah is considering shutting off water to the NSA

      What happens when a US state government directly opposes the operations of one of the most powerful agencies in the country? Utah might be about to find out, with a bill going forward early next year proposing Utah shuts off water to the NSA’s massive data collection center in Bluffdale.

      Republican Marc Roberts proposed the bill, which states municipalities in Utah must “refuse support to any federal agency which collects electronic data within this state.”

    • NSA Spies Recruit Teenage Kids: We Can Stop It

      As if the creepy spy-guy wandering around your kid’s college campus trying to recruit her into the NSA wasn’t bad enough, now you can find him wandering the halls of your local high school and middle school as well.

      According to a recent article in the Intercept, the NSA recently established cybersecurity camps for middle school and high school students, and hopes to eventually have a presence in schools in all 50 states.

    • NSA ‘privacy director’ went on Tumblr to convince people ‘this is a real job’

      The NSA’s “Civil Liberties and Privacy Director” Rebecca Richards did a Tumblr Q&A Monday, answering a number of questions about her job and the agency’s privacy practices.

      Someone cut right to the chase and asked what we were all thinking: “Is ‘NSA Civil Liberties and Privacy Director’ a real position or is this all a joke?”

    • Memo to NSA: Stop Saying You Apply the FIPPs

      The intelligence community has no set of general principles for judging the privacy impact of their programs. Some privacy scholars believe that the Fair Information Protection Principles (FIPPs) serve this purpose and can apply to intelligence programs as they do to myriad other government programs. The NSA itself said in a recent report on collection under Executive Order 12333 that it was applying the FIPPs for the first time. But however appealing it may seem to apply generally applicable privacy principles to intelligence programs, it is simply impossible for the intelligence community to apply the FIPPs literally.

    • Ex-NSA and GCHQ spooks showcase Intel platform

      Darktrace, a cybersecurity company comprised of ex-spooks from NSA and GCHQ, has revealed details of its new behavioural analytics software.

    • Insight into the mind of a former NSA programmer/hacker

      Many cybersecurity specialists working for the NSA and GCHQ tend to get burned out, and then head to the private sector. It provides a unique opportunity to hear more about some of the efforts the US government have employed to conduct organized cyberespionage against foreign governments.

    • Wyden pledges to pursue NSA reform

      Legislation that would have ended the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection program stalled in the Senate last week, falling two votes short of the 60 needed to advance.

      Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a proponent of reining in what he views as the NSA’s overly broad surveillance powers, was undeterred by the setback. He was disappointed that senators were unable to debate the bill’s merits, because Republicans filibustered a motion to proceed, but pledged to return to the issue.

    • Viewpoint: Silicon Valley must step up privacy fight

      It’s unlikely the valley will be able to innovate itself out of this mess. The right to privacy is one of the nation’s most treasured principles. Silicon Valley needs to take a more active role in protecting Americans’ privacy and restoring public trust in its products.

    • UN calls digital spying ‘highly intrusive’ and a violation of human rights

      The UN has expressed deep concerns about online spying – particularly on a mass scale – as it violates people’s rights to privacy

    • Massive surveillance operations possible with explicit help from telecom companies

      U.S. and U.K. spy agencies including the NSA and GCHQ, respectively, have performed a variety of sophisticated spy operations, collecting massive amounts of personal data, as many Edward Snowden leaks revealed in the past year. German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung has published a new report that reveals that as far back as 2009 the GCHQ, and thus also the NSA, had massive access to submarine cable links around the globe with help from now Vodafone-owned Cable & Wireless.

    • GCHQ Paid Millions to Spy on UK Submarine Data Cables, Edward Snowden Reveals

      New documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal Cable & Wireless, a UK company which is now part of Vodafone, was paid millions of pounds by the British government’s spy agency GCHQ to tap into its undersea communications cables.

    • Five-eyes partners dilute UN resolution criticising metadata collection

      The “five eyes” surveillance partners – the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – have joined forces to nobble a UN General Assembly committee’s statements on digital privacy.

      While the General Assembly’s human rights committee has adopted a non-binding resolution saying that “unlawful or arbitrary” mass surveillance, interception and data collection are “highly intrusive acts” and a violation of the right to privacy.

    • UN human rights panel passes resolution to protect privacy

      A landmark resolution demanding privacy protection in the digital age and urging governments to offer redress to citizens targeted by mass surveillance has been approved by the UN general assembly’s human rights committee, the Guardian reports.

      The resolution, which was adopted Tuesday, Nov 25, in the face of attempts by the U.S. and others to water it down and which comes at a time when the UK government is calling for increased surveillance powers, had been put forward by Brazil and Germany in the wake of revelations by U.S. intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden about large-scale U.S. surveillance.

    • Should Schools Monitor Students’ Social Media Use?

      The electronic devices that give students instant access to the world for educational purposes are also their conduit to social media, and that presents a host of problems for school administrators.

    • Lee Rigby report expected Facebook to break US law

      Yesterday saw the publication of the Intelligence and Security Committee report into the events leading up to the murder of Lee Rigby. On reading it, one gets a sense of naivety from the members of the committee on how the Internet works, particularly when it comes to international jurisdictions. (Communications data is p139 onwards)

    • The US should not be allowed to run the internet

      A VACUUM HAS emerged over exactly who should manage and maintain the internet.

      A poll by CIGI and Ipsos showed that only 57 percent of respondents would be happy with ‘a combined body of technology companies, engineers, non-governmental organisations and institutions that represent the interests and will of ordinary citizens and governments to play an important role in running the internet’.

      Even fewer are willing to let the geeks inherit the Earth, as only 54 percent approved of ‘an international body of engineers and technical experts’.

      But the worst score of all was for the US government. Just 36 percent liked the idea of letting the nation run the show unilaterally.

    • UN Resolution Warns of ‘Intrusive’ Digital Spying

      Privacy concerns highlighted by UN Committee in wake of mass surveillance and data interception revelations

      A committee at the United Nations has expressed its deep concern over digital spying and surveillance, in the wake of the NSA revelations by Edward Snowden.

    • Lee Rigby murder should not be used as excuse for an increase in state power

      Yesterday, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) issued its report into the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich. Despite cataloguing a number of failures, the report claims that the security services couldn’t have prevented Lee Rigby’s killing, while appearing to claim that Facebook could have.

    • Open Rights Group response to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill

      ORG has also pointed out that parts of the legislation aimed at preventing extremism in educational and other institutions, “are so open-ended that they could easily lead to work-place surveillance, where employers would be obliged by guidelines to check their employees’ email and web history.”

  • Civil Rights
    • Amnesty International USA: Ferguson, the World is Watching

      Nearly 24 hours after the grand jury decision was announced, and after an initial night which included peaceful protests as well as widespread incidents of looting, arson and vandalism, Amnesty International USA Executive Director Steven W. Hawkins issued the following statement:

      “This has to be made clear – the burden to keep protests peaceful is shared. Armored vehicles, tear gas and smoke bombs used large-scale against largely peaceful protesters in order to quell acts of violence by a minority only serves to escalate and exacerbate an already incredibly tense environment.

      “Law enforcement officers have a right to defend themselves and a duty to protect the safety of the public, but this role should be carried out in a way that ensures full respect for the right to life, liberty and security of all persons, including those suspected of crime. Even when confronting violence, they must work within the law and in conformity with international standards governing the use of force.

      “The eyes of the world continue to watch the events in Ferguson as a measure of the United States’ capacity to respect the fundamental human right to assemble. Our right to protest peacefully should be bolstered by law enforcement, not inhibited through intimidation.”

    • Two More ‘Police Incidents,’ Shrouded in Media Euphemism

      The policies, practices and attitudes that lead to so many black people being killed by law enforcement have to be confronted. There are some things euphemism can’t cover up.

    • Mexico: Revolution Day Protests End in Violent Police Repression; Protesters Charged with Terrorism

      Día de la Revolución 2014 (Revolution Day) was a national holiday that Mexican citizens will not soon forget. People in more than 16 Mexican states protested on November 20th including Campeche, Chiapas, Morelos, Michoacán, Sonora, Veracruz, Nuevo León, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Nayarit and Jalisco. Activists in Mexico tell us they estimate half a million people participated in peaceful protests on November 20 demanding justice for the 43 missing normalista students from Ayotzinapa. The largest protests in Mexico City ended in a very violent police repression and arbitrary arrests by granaderos and 11 protesters are now charged with terrorism.

    • Oops: After Threatening Hacker With 440 Years, Prosecutors Settle for a Misdemeanor

      Thanks in part to America’s ill-defined hacking laws, prosecutors have enormous discretion to determine a hacker defendant’s fate. But in one young Texan’s case in particular, the Department of Justice stretched prosecutorial overreach to a new extreme: about 440 years too far.

    • New Security Bill will force online service providers to keep log of users’ activity

      Major online service providers, such as Google, will be legally obliged to retain a log of users and the mobile phones or computers they have accessed in case police and security agencies later need the information to help them locate criminals. This measure will be included in the Counter-terrorism and Security Bill that is being introduced in the wake of Isis’s beheadings of prisoners, including British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, this year

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Global coalition from 19 countries launches Thisisnetneutrality.org website

      Anyone who thinks that net neutrality is a boring technical issue for computer geeks needs to look outside the U.S. Netizens around the world aren’t fooled by the confusing misdirection of industry lobbyists—they’re championing the cause of an open internet by pushing for laws and policies that protect the features that made the internet what it is today. And they are just as fired up as President Obama himself was just this month, when he gave his full support for the open net. Net neutrality is not an American issue, or a European issue, or an African issue. It is increasingly a global human rights issue.

    • Letter to the Council of the European Union: “Don’t Turn Your Backs on Net Neutrality!”

      Tomorrow on Thursday November 27th, the “Transport, Telecommunications and Energy” (TTE) Council will meet in Brussels to discuss the general approach on Telecom Single Market the Italian Presidency sent to the delegations of the Member States on November 14th. This text, which aims at protecting Net Neutrality and therefore the freedom of our communications, unfortunately lost the innovative and revolutionary features of the resolution voted by the European Parliament on April 3rd. The Italian Presidency, in fact, gives way to the industrial lobbies’ interests and ignores the massive citizen mobilization which has taken place in the spring of 2014. Jeopardizing Net Neutrality means infringing the fundamental rights and freedoms of every single European citizen; for this reason and to remind our representatives their responsibilities, La Quadrature du Net and its European partners sent a letter to the Council of the European Union in order to call its ministers to reject the text under discussion and come back to a real protection of everyone’s indicidual rights and freedoms.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Senator Uses Piracy Report to Pressure Visa, Mastercard

        Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has sent letters to Visa and MasterCard on the topic of online piracy. Citing a report from Netnames detailing the activities of the world’s top cyberlockers, Leahy urges the services to stop doing business with all ‘pirate’ sites.

      • How an eBay bookseller defeated a publishing giant at the Supreme Court

        Sometimes all it takes to alter the course of history is one pissed-off person. Supap Kirtsaeng wasn’t a crusader or lone nut; he was just an eBay trader who got backed into a legal corner and refused to give up.

        To help pay for grad school at USC, he sold textbooks online—legitimate copies that he’d purchased overseas. But academic publishing behemoth John Wiley & Sons sued Supap, claiming that his trade in Wiley’s foreign-market textbooks constituted copyright infringement.

        The implications were enormous. If publishers had the right to control resale of books that they printed and sold overseas, then it stood to reason that manufacturers could restrain trade in countless products—especially tech goods, most of which are made in Asia and contain copyrightable elements such as embedded software.

      • UK music industry seeks review of law allowing fans to copy music

        The UK music industry is seeking a judicial review of new legislation allowing music fans to make copies of legally-purchased music, arguing that musicians must be compensated as a result of lost sales.

        The Musicians’ Union, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and industry body UK Music are taking legal action over the government’s new copyright legislation, which came into force on 1 October.

      • BT Starts Blocking Private Torrent Sites

        UK Internet provider BT blocked two dozen torrent sites this past weekend, including IPTorrents and TorrentDay, two of the largest private trackers. This is the first time that a UK ISP has blocked private torrent sites, and there doesn’t appear to be a court order underlying their decision.

      • White House Admits That It Still Supports Parts Of SOPA: Wants To Make Streaming A Felony

        Last week, we wrote that Senator (and still for the next few weeks, Majority Leader) Harry Reid was looking for ways to push for a piece of SOPA, making streaming a felony, into law. The story we’d heard from multiple sources was that he was looking to attach it to the USA Freedom Act. His office came out and denied that claim vehemently. Still, multiple sources insisted not only that it was true, but that Reid was still looking for other vehicles to push that through. And… just days later, the White House responded to some (somewhat pointless) White House “We The People” petitions by… announcing that it, too, wanted to turn unauthorized streaming into a felony. This was in response to two separate petitions, Stop SOPA 2013 and Stop SOPA 2014. Neither petition made much sense, as SOPA has been long dead since early 2012. There was never any specific bill in either 2013 or 2014. And yet, Alex Niejelow, the chief of staff to the IP Czar (a position that is in limbo, as the new czar has been nominated, but not yet approved), used those petitions as an opportunity to reiterate that the White House, like Reid, supports making unauthorized streaming a felony.

      • Kim Dotcom: I Regret Not Taking Threat of Copyright Law and MPAA More Seriously

        Kim Dotcom has spoken out about his long battle over copyright with the US government and his regrets about the events that have led to his arrest ahead of his bail breach hearing on Thursday that could see him return to jail in New Zealand.

        “Would I have done things differently? Of course. My biggest regret is I didn’t take the threat of the copyright law and the MPAA seriously enough,” Dotcom said via live video link from his mansion in Auckland, New Zealand at the Unbound Digital conference in London on Tuesday.

Message to the Corporate Media: Bill Gates is Not an Ebola Expert

Wednesday 26th of November 2014 01:44:01 PM

Summary: Brainwash in the corporate media, including media that the Gates Foundation bribes in exchange for sheer bias, paints the super-rich as the solution rather than the problem

OVER THE PAST few months there has been something rather appalling going on (other than Ebola itself). Partisan politics and self-serving authoritarian Turf Wars exploited Ebola, racists used it to prop up antiquated shades of xenophobia, and class war made use of it as well. Much of the Western media reports (if not misreports) about Ebola in Africa without speaking to a single African (or a black person for that matter) and much of the gratitude goes out to foreign plutocrats who own the media rather than medics on the ground who risk their lives t save others’. The number of examples that spin Ebola in favour of Bill Gates is jaw-dropping. Some go as far as quoting this college drop-out with no qualifications in medicine (except monetising it through patent monopolies) as though he needs to be lecturing all of us on the topic, even our elected officials. This top-down approach is gross and insulting. The main thing Gates has done about Ebola is that he posed for photos with African children (for the media) — the same children whom he monetises with clinical trials for companies he invests in.

Realising that Microsoft is on its way down, Gates continues to exit the company, but he is rapidly increasing his wealth (not giving it away as his media would have us believe) and expanding to other monopolies, as we showed here many times before. Does Pfizer think it will garner much positive publicity (except from the corporate media) for openly promoting eugenics with Bill Gates? Recent articles about contraceptives and birth reduction by the Gates Foundation sure have drawn a lot of criticism. Earlier this month we saw Pfizer boasting about ‘free’ prevention of reproduction in Africa, “thanks to the efforts of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” (to quote one article). They are killing the poor rather than work to end poverty, e.g. by working to distribute wealth more fairly. They perpetuate dependency and then glorify themselves when the dependants beg for help.

Over at the Bill Gates-bribed Guardian there was a Bill Gates advertisement at the beginning of this month. In it, Bill Gates has managed to promote himself (and GMO) as saviour of Africa (no disclosure in this article about the Gates bribes). This propaganda is getting quite crude and it is easy to see why Gates deems it necessary. The 85 richest people now have as much money as the poorest 3.5 billion, which means that to them it’s just very easy to buy the media and brainwash the masses, preventing the vast majority from rebelling against the real looters (the poorer the person, the more likely s/he is to rebel as there is less to lose and more to be angry about). The corporate media is full of this systematic bias and the above, for example, is more of an ad for Bill Gates by USA Today (plutocrats-owned for decades now). Here is another example of Gates spin from NewsWeek, trying to portray the looters as poor, troubled people worthy of sympathy. Here are the opening paragraphs:

Once the concern of idealistic do-gooders and obscure academics penning scary equations with squiggly symbols, the growing difference between the super-rich and what the World Bank estimates is 2 billion people living on less than $2 a day is increasingly grabbing the attention of those once likely to ignore it.

Wall Street banks, at least one financial-ratings agency, the Federal Reserve and American and European economic policymakers aren’t interested in the wealth gap for moral or ethical reasons: amid a tepid economic comeback from the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, the hotly disputed question is whether income and wealth inequality exacerbate financial crashes and impede economic recovery.

Whenever one reads these propaganda pieces one should recall a famous saying. “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing,” said Malcolm X, a community leader of many African-Americans.

US Government Finally Probes Microsoft Over Financial Fraud, Microsoft Then Bullies the Government With a Lawsuit

Wednesday 26th of November 2014 08:20:49 AM

How DARE the government investigate us?

Summary: Microsoft is finally being investigated — perhaps properly too — for its well-known tax abuses that have so far proved that Microsoft is “too big to jail”; Microsoft is suing the investigator, exerting its abusive power to discourage further investigation

MICROSOFT’S track record of dirty tricks [1, 2, 3, 4] is not the same as its track record of crime because one thing should have executives put in prison, whereas the other one cannot. Laws and ethics often intersect, but not always.

Microsoft with its above-the-law and criminal-minded attitude continues to surprise nobody. It turns out that it is suing the government of the US, like that banker in Spain who sued a judge for ruling against him for his crimes.

Microsoft’s tax abuses are well documented and many. Now that the IRS is finally going after a huge criminal, Microsoft, the monopolist responds with a defensive lawsuit — a strategy which often gets used to obscure the burden of guilt.

The Register deserves credit for this report that says: “The US Internal Revenue Service has been digging into Microsoft’s tax records from 2004 through 2009, and Redmond has filed a lawsuit against the government to find out why.” As Robert Pogson put it, Microsoft is “used to extorting money from users with audits [and] is now being probed by IRS for the way it shifts money around the globe to dodge taxes. It would be a big hit if IRS could prove the money was earned in Redmond, WA and they were due a decade of triple income-tax.”

It’s quite obvious why there is a probe to those of us who have watched and covered Microsoft for a number of years. We wrote dozens of articles on this very topic. IRS is merely doing its job in this case — not political witch-hunts but going after corporations with a bad track record. Microsoft was caught engaging in financial fraud, whereupon it bribed those who reported it to make the trouble go away, back in the 1990s. Nothing has changed since then, except perhaps the fact that many Microsoft executives entered the government (around the time of antitrust action).

Gagging Critics: Micro Focus-Run SUSE Bribes Journalists in Exchange for Positive Coverage

Wednesday 26th of November 2014 07:51:28 AM

Summary: Amid the takeover by Micro Focus, SUSE pays journalists (especially critics) who in turn become some kind of advertisements feed of Novell

RECENTLY we saw a longtime Novell critic, Sam Varghese, describing himself as "guest" of SUSE, having been approached on numerous occasions in the past (by Novell) to write some reviews and reports about SUSE or issue some face-saving PR. There was no consistency, except when it came to Mono.

The Microsoft-focused Micro Focus reminds us of Microsoft in many ways, putting aside the fact that Micro Focus, the new owner of SUSE, was Microsoft’s “Partner of the Year”.

Staff of Micro Focus has been trying to connect to me in LinkedIn as if to befriend me despite not knowing me at all. This is typical of Microsoft staff; they too have been doing this. The company habitually refers to this as "schmoozing".

The interesting thing we found out about the SUSE coverage (coming from very few journalists but in large quantities) is that Micro Focus paid for it. Eventually we would like to have list of journalists whom SUSE/Attachment (and the new owner, Micro Focus) paid to ‘plant’ such positive coverage in the media. We still see some such coverage [1,2], but we don’t know exactly who was ‘invited’ (paid) for the gesture. This is unethical at the very least. It is hard to forget how Microsoft paid for people to fly half way across the world to manufacture pro-OOXML (or ODF-hostile) coverage. Very shamelessly — and consistently — this has been done on other occasions too. Microsoft is not even shy to admit that it is bribing journalists, albeit it uses other words to describe its bribes (not just to journalists but also university professors). As Will Hill put it last night: “Wow, it’s Sam Varghese. … look at his iTwire stream. He’s cranking out Ballnix propaganda. “How to keep data safe in the cloud”, “SUSE expects storage solution to take industry by storm”, “Another Debian technical panel member quits”, “Chasing the Z/Linux market: A SUSECon attendee’s tale”, “A lesser-known star of openSUSE”. In the last four days, there are all those SuSE love stories and three Debian drama stories. That’s not what I remember Sam for. I have to admire his work volume, but what he’s saying is an odd surprise.” He said that prior to knowing about the payments made by SUSE. The day before that he wrote: “What a bizarre puff piece. Does the Microsoft press want me to be suspicious?”

“The ultimate goal is to shape the press coverage; it’s subversive.”Remember when Novell contacted many FOSS leaders prior to announcing the renewed deal with Microsoft? Several of them, such as Aaron Seigo (from KDE, now in Kolab), publicly complained about it, having criticised the Novell/Microsoft deal beforehand (we covered this extensively several years ago). He wasn’t alone. Novell just sought to pro-actively gag its critics, alleging that criticism of the Microsoft deal was not about facts but about perception and was due to bad communication (the excuse commonly used by the Gates Foundation when it gets exposed for its abuses). The ultimate goal is to shape the press coverage; it’s subversive.

Micro Focus — like Novell — sure likes to target its biggest critics and even pay them in exchange for positive coverage. Evidence of this now comes from Jack Wallen, one of the loud critics of the Novell-Microsoft deal, who now reveals that SUSE and its patrons actually paid his various expenses including travel (i.e. soft bribes) to essentially buy coverage (some self-serving coverage). To quote Wallen: “Thanks to SUSE for sponsoring travel expenses to cover this conference.” Over the years Novell partners tried to invite me to to their events, presumably as part of some efforts to change my mind.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. SUSE gets live patching

    That’s Linux. It doesn’t tend to break down, and you usually don’t need to reboot it when you patch it. Usually.

  2. Linux distributor SUSE delves into software-defined storage

    Suse logoSOFTWARE-DEFINED STORAGE (SDS) is the latest buzzphrase in the sector, and in recognition of this Linux distributor SUSE has announced a pre-release programme for SUSE Storage.

Links 25/11/2014: Tizen News, Jolla Tablet Past Million

Tuesday 25th of November 2014 10:14:36 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Wormhole in Interstellar Movie Designed with a Linux OS – Gallery

    The Interstellar movie has been released not long ago and it was an instant success, despite some of the criticism that has been expressed by a number of physicists. To make thinks even more interesting, at least for Linux users, it looks like the production team used Linux to built the black hole in the movie.

  • ‘Less’ means more to malware authors targeting Linux users

    Using the “less” Linux command to view the contents of files downloaded from the Internet is a dangerous operation that can lead to remote code execution, according to a security researcher.

    At first glance, less appears to be a harmless command that outputs a file’s content to a terminal window and allows the users to navigate forward and backward through it. Less does not allow file editing, which is a job for file editors like the widely used vi, but has the benefit of displaying data on the fly without needing to load an entire file into memory. This is useful when dealing with large files.

  • Antarctic ice might be thicker than previously thought, reveals Linux powered underwater robot seaBED

    SeaBED, a submersible robot powered by Linux, was recently used to scan the huge frozen ice sheets across Antarctica. That has helped scientists get detailed and high-resolution 3-D maps of the frozen continent for the first time. Researchers at the British Antarctic Survey will now be able to know more regions which had earlier been difficult to access because of the hostile conditions prevailing in the area.

  • Desktop
    • Dirt-cheap laptops might be this year’s stocking stuffer

      Chromebooks, the low-cost compute devices that run Google’s Chrome OS, haven’t necessarily been showcased in Black Friday circulars, but they’re making an impression nonetheless. Although prices vary, Chromebooks generally range from $200 to $350 or so, and now come loaded with up to 1TB of Google Drive storage, too.

    • System76 Sable Touch: The state of touch support in Linux

      Based on specs alone, this is a pretty sweet rig. The all-in-one form factor makes for a sexy package. And like every System76 machine I’ve ever used, the performance and aesthetic element seriously impress. Having Linux with touch screen support is like a child at Christmas. Sure, we’ve had touch screens for a long, long time — but the first time you use Linux with such a machine of this caliber, you feel something akin to that first time you used Linux. And Ubuntu Unity really shines in the touch screen environment. Out of nowhere, you realize just what Canonical was going for when they re-invented that wheel.

    • Black Friday deals from Acer: Laptops and Chromebook

      Chromebook 11 — This Chromebook is normally priced modestly at $199, but on 11/28 Best Buy will make it even lower at $149. That’s a good deal for a laptop with 11.6-inch screen, Intel Celeron processor, and 2GB of memory.

    • DisplaySearch: Global notebook PC market grew 10 percent

      Chromebooks, which are forecast to reach 5 percent (8 million units) of total global notebook PC shipments…

  • Server
    • Linux admins: It’s time to relearn the art of compiling apps

      It used to be that open source software was released only as source code and had to be compiled wherever it was needed. Obviously, that’s changed. Today, some will even tell you that compiling source is an improper and problematic way to install software. Tomorrow, it may become more standard than they think.

      While compiling source is still the basis of many BSDs (though you can get binary packages easily enough), package management came to Linux early on with RPM and branched out everywhere ever since. Package support on Debian and Ubuntu is simply massive. Fedora has a huge number of packages, as do RHEL and CentOS, though the packages available for the latter are generally far older for legacy and stability reasons.

    • Cray to Evaluate ARM Chips in Its Supercomputers

      ARM partners Cavium, Applied Micro and PathScale also make news at SC14 as ARM continues its push into the HPC space.

  • Audiocasts/Shows
  • Kernel Space
    • Top 10 Linux Holiday Gifts for 2014 (Slideshow)

      In 2012, the Top 10 Linux Gift Guide set the upper limit at $500, and last year it dropped to $400. This year, the cut-off dips to $350, reflecting the ongoing price reductions in consumer electronics, as well as my not entirely successful attempt to live up to Mr. Money Moustache’s guidelines for living on the cheap. (Click the Gallery link below to see a slide show and descriptions of the Top 10 Linux gifts.)

    • How the Linux Foundation’s CII Is Securing the Internet

      The Heartbleed flaw that was first publicly disclosed in April of this year, was in some respects a black eye on the open-source community. Heartbleed is a flaw in the open-source OpenSSL cryptographic library that had wide ranging impact across the infrastructure of the Internet. In the aftermath of Heartbleed, a new effort emerged called the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) to help fund developers wanting to improve security across critical open-source infrastructure technologies.

    • Four ways Linux is headed for no-downtime kernel patching

      Nobody loves a reboot, especially not if it involves a late-breaking patch for a kernel-level issue that has to be applied stat.

      To that end, three projects are in the works to provide a mechanism for upgrading the kernel in a running Linux instance without having to reboot anything.

    • Unikernels and Immutable Infrastructure

      I believe Docker is 2 steps forward for the world of DevOps and that the principles it promotes are forward-thinking and largely on-target for the future of a more secure, performant, and easy-to-manage cloud future. However, an alternative approach leveraging unikernels and immutable servers will result in smaller, easier to manage, more secure containers that will be simpler to adopt by existing enterprises.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • In memory of Razor-qt

      The most parts of LXQt are actually built on top of razor-qt, a lightweight Qt-based DE with the same philosophy as LXDE. We reorganized the source code of razor-qt and removed unused pieces. Then we ported several LXDE components to Qt and also developed some new ones. Hence it’s more the merge of developers than the merge of the actual source code. That’s why they have slightly different feature sets. Without the work of razor-qt project, we can’t have LXQt now. Its developers deserved the credit. Since the story is too long for the tiny “About” dialog, I wrote the blog post here to thank their contributions.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • SoK : UPnP Support in PMC progress report

        Well, it’s been a great experience working on an awesome project Plasma Media Center. Till now I have learnt a lot

        As PMC is being ported to Plasma 5, it would be worthless merging it in qt4 based branch of PMC. So, I am making standalone app based on Qt5 and would merge it later on once it gets ported completely.

      • Cutelyst 0.5.0

        A bit more than one year after the initial commit, Cutelyst makes it’s 5th release.

        It’s now powering 3 commercial applications, the last one recently got into production and is the most complex of them, making heavy use of Grantlee and Cutelyst capabilities.

      • Qt on Android Episode 5

        In this article we’ve learned the basics of the JNI, in the next article(s) we’re going to learn how to use this knowledge to correctly extend Qt on Android apps. We’ll talk more about Qt on Android apps architecture, how to extend the Java part of your application and we’ll take a real life example to show how to correctly do safe calls from Qt thread to Android UI thread and vice-versa.

      • There’s New In-Fighting Over The Future Of Compiz

        Unless you’re a user of Ubuntu with Unity 7, you probably haven’t heard much about Compiz in quite some time. However, some developers are looking to further revive its development but not everyone is in agreement.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Cinnamon 2.4.4 Arrives with Various Refinements

        Cinnamon, a Linux desktop environment developed by the same team that is also building Linux Mint, has been updated yet again, although this time it’s a rather small progression.

      • GTK+ INSPECTOR UPDATE

        GTK+ Inspector is a debugging tool that is built directly into GTK+ and is available in every GTK+ application by using of the shortcuts Ctrl-Shift-d or Ctrl-Shift-i.

  • Distributions
    • New Linux OS That Respects Google’s Material Design Is in the Works

      Google’s new Material Design approach proved to be a real success and now Linux developers are looking to make a new distribution that is capable of adhering to those guidelines, which is actually something new in the ecosystem.

    • Reviews
      • We have a winner! Fresh Linux Mint 17.1 – hands down the best

        Linux Mint 17.1 is the first example of what the Mint project team can do when they’re focused on their own system rather than on making the latest Ubuntu work with Mint.

        That’s because Mint 17.1 sticks with the Ubuntu released earlier this year – the first time this desktop Linux has not gone with the more recent Ubuntu.

      • Mint’s the Best, Less Malware, and Debian vs Ubuntu

        The Register’s Scott Gilbertson today said that Linux Mint 17.1 was the best distribution “hands down.” Elsewhere, Bruce Byfield compares and contrasts Debian and Ubuntu to see which is right for you and Lucian Constantin reports on a new vulnerability found in less programs. There were several reviews in the feeds and Katherine Noyes tallies FOSS Thanksgivings. Linux.com has Linux gift ideas and Serdar Yegulalp summarizes rebootless kernel patching.

      • Observing Scientific Linux 7.0

        Scientific Linux is an operating system sponsored by Fermilab and built using the source code from Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The distribution is lightly customized, making it similar to RHEL in most respects, but with different artwork. The current release of Scientific is available for the 64-bit x86 CPU architecture only. There are several editions to choose from, including a regular installation DVD (3.9 GB), an “Everything” double-sided installation DVD (6.2 GB), a net-install minimal CD (394 MB), a live CD (690 MB), a GNOME-flavoured live DVD (1.1 GB) and a KDE-flavoured live DVD (1.2 GB). I opted to download the live KDE disc.

      • Netrunner Rolling 2014.04 – This time, we need the goats

        Netrunner Rolling distro release is a very interesting concepts, on many level. It’s a KDE desktop, based on Arch and Manjaro, the latter also being partially based on Arch itself, plus it comes with a rolling update model. A far cry from the typical asterisk-buntu philosophy that pervades most of the market.

        In the canonical notation, Netrunner Rolling is actually an Arch-Arch-Manjaro distro, and this actually sounds like Ice Ice Baby, only geekier. Arch, Arch, Manjaro. Tam dam dam da da dam dam. Sort of. Anyhow, we have a new edition out there. 2014.09. So let’s see if it’s any good. The previous one surprised, immensely.

      • Ubuntu Mate 14.10 Review: For GNOME 2 lovers and offers awesome performance

        I am not sure if Ubuntu Mate 14.10 is an official release from Canonical yet. It is still to be listed in distrowatch. But, never-the-less I came across this distro as a reference from a couple of readers from my blog. I used the distro for a week and I am writing down my experience with the distro. It has the same specifics as Ubuntu 14.10 – the desktop environment is different here: Mate 1.8.1, with it’s typical GNOME 2 looks.

    • New Releases
      • Pear OS Linux Concept Revived as Pearl Linux 1.0 – Screenshot Tour

        Pear OS Linux was a very successful Linux distribution based on Ubuntu that wanted to provide an experience similar to Mac OS X. That operating system is gone now, but Pearl Linux wants to replace it.
        Pear OS Linux managed to have quite an impact on the community, despite the fact that it was offering an almost identical experience to the Mac OS X desktop.

    • Screenshots
    • Arch Family
    • Red Hat Family
      • Call for Proposals Now Open for Red Hat Summit 2015
      • Red Hat, Chilean government hold talks on open source initiative

        The head of Chilean regulator Pedro Huichalaf agreed to pass information regarding the benefits of open source software to the ministerial committee for digital development

      • Red Hat spiffs up FeedHenry with better collaboration tools

        The new FeedHenry 3 promises to let distributed teams — both those inside a company and outside contractors — work together simultaneously on client apps, cloud apps and services. And it has applied role-based access for developers that applies from the beginning of app design and throughout the coding and testing and deployment process. Authorized admins can look into all projects and stages. And, more granular access controls let the project manager lock down aspects of the app to a select individual developer or developers.

      • Not just token: Red Hat’s Women in Open Source Awards

        DeLisa Alexander would like to make one thing clear about Red Hat’s Women in Open Source Awards (WIOSA): They’re not just a token gesture towards diversity. Instead, she describes them as one step in a larger, more varied strategy to increase women’s participation in open source.

        “It’s one key,” says Alexander, executive vice-president and chief people officer at Red Hat. “But it’s an important part of the puzzle to help tech and open source attract more talent.” According to Alexander, the idea was first generated several years ago, but the company “waited until we had a larger sense of the puzzle.”

      • Fedora
        • Upgrading to Fedora 21

          Upgrade from Fedora 20 to Fedora 21 via ‘fedup‘ was fast on my SSD disk, and there were no blockers after the reboot – minimal downtime!

        • Paratype PT Serif and PT Mono fonts are now available in Fedora

          Paratype has a set of nice Latin/pan-Cyrillic typefaces including sans-serif, serif and monospace fonts. The sans-serif typeface, PT Sans, released in 2010 has been part of Fedora for a long time and it is the default font for Cyrillic/Russian. It is a nice font for display in desktop, documents and web.

        • Fedora 21 weekend upgrading

          So, at least for me, Fedora 21 upgrades were as easy as they have always been.

        • Fedora 21 review

          It’s been a while since my last upgrade and there has also been a gap to the latest Fedora 21 release, so now seemed like a good time. I upgraded my laptop by installing over the existing root partition but leaving the /home partition in place to maintain all my settings and files. I wasn’t able to even attempt this in the Fedora 16 installer, but it was easy enough in the Fedora 21 installer and it worked surprisingly well. Downtime was only 20 minutes or so for the installation, though a couple of hours was needed to investigate various new settings etc.

        • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Debian Family
      • I GIve Up On Systemd

        After many hours of reading/fiddling/reconfiguring I’ve given up on Systemd.

      • Some Debris In The Systemd Debate

        GNU/Linux shipped on more than 5% of PCs in the last year. Whole governments are preferring GNU/Linux or adopting it or introducing it to students on national scales. That kind of movement is still growing, in Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, and USA.

      • Debian vs Ubuntu: Which is Best for You?

        Debian and Ubuntu are the most influential Linux distributions ever. Of the 285 active distributions listed on Distrowatch, 132 are derived from Debian, including Ubuntu, and another 67 are derived directly from Ubuntu — just under 70%. Yet the experience of using them differs in just about every aspect. Consequently, choosing between them is no easy matter.

        Asked to explain the difference between the two distributions, most users would describe Debian as an expert’s distribution, and Ubuntu as a beginner’s. These characterizations are partly true, but exaggerated. Debian’s reputation rests on its state over a decade ago, and today allows as much hands-on control as each user chooses.

        Similarly, Ubuntu is really its design team’s conception of easy. Should your work habits not be compatible with that concept, you may disagree strongly that it is easy to use.

      • Derivatives
        • Release notes for siduction 2014.1

          We are very happy to present to you the final release of siduction 2014.1 – Indian Summer. siduction is a distribution based on Debian’s unstable branch and we try to release a few new snapshots over the course of each year. For 2014 it will be just this final release. We did a lot of stabilizing work in the past year, besides working on further integrating systemd and working on dev releases. We know it is not ideal to have an install medium that is older than six months, so please accept our apologies for that, we will try to release more often.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu Governance Reboot: Five Proposals

            A little while back I wrote a blog post that seemed to inspire some people and ruffle the feathers of some others. It was designed as a conversation-starter for how we can re-energize leadership in Ubuntu.

            When I kicked off the blog post, Elizabeth quite rightly gave me a bit of a kick in the spuds about not providing a place to have a discussion, so I amended the blog post to a link to this thread where I encourage your feedback and participation.

            Rather unsurprisingly, there was some good feedback, before much of it started wandering off the point a little bit.

          • FFmpeg Will Be Added (Again) To The Default Repositories Of Ubuntu, Starting With Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet

            Hello Linunx Geeksters. Starting with Ubuntu 14.04 and Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu has stopped shipping with the FFmpeg libraries and used Libav for handling multimedia content, but the developers have announced that FFmpeg will be available by default again, starting with Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet.

          • Imp ARM-based Ubuntu Mini PC Unveiled for $150

            A new Ubuntu Mini PC has been unveiled this week in the form of the Imp, a small form factor desktop PC, that is equipped with an ARM-based processor supported by 2GB of RAM and comes complete with open source software.

          • Meizu and Canonical Reach Agreement to Release Ubuntu-Powered Meizu Handsets

            Meizu is on a roll lately. The company has announced their newest flagship handset, Meizu MX4 Pro only two and a half months after they released the original MX4. This upgrade wasn’t actually needed, but Meizu saw an opportunity and decided to take it, they released a beastly handset and made it available at a rather affordable price point, which is a great thing. This handset improves upon MX4 in many aspects, bigger and higher-res screen is here, as well as more RAM, a more powerful processor and even a fingerprint scanner below the display. Meizu won’t stop there, rumors have been pointing towards further Meizu launches before the end of the years. According to reports, this Chinese manufacturer will launch 2 additional devices before the end of 2014.

          • Ubuntu powered Meizu MX4 to hit market early 2015
  • Devices/Embedded
    • Weaved Hauls Your Raspberry Pi Projects Online

      Playing with Raspberry Pi is a lot of fun, but what happens when you want to get some real work done? While it’s not difficult to make a RaspPi board do cool stuff, getting it to communicate with the wider world is a bit of a challenge. That’s why Ryo Koyama, Mike Johnson, and Doug Olekin made Weaved.

    • Is the ASRock Q1900DC-ITX Intel Motherboard a Good ARM SBC Alternative?

      In the recent series on ARM single board computers I have covered the BeagleBone Black, MaRS, TI’s OMAP5432 Board, the Radxa, a few of the ODroid ARM machines, and many more. On the Intel desktop side I’ve covered the NUC and MinnowBoard. I’ve learned that outright performance is faster on the Intel NUC than any ARM machine reviewed so far — the tradeoff, of course, is cost. This time around we’ll see whether the ASRock Q1900DC-ITX motherboard retains the high performance characteristic of an Intel board but also dips down to the low cost and lower power draw of the ARM world.

    • Tizen India Portathon Challenge 2014
    • Phones
      • Tizen
      • Android
        • Android drone tracks you by computer vision

          Kickstarter is showing an $899, Android-based “Mind4″ follow-me drone that tracks you entirely by computer vision, and interprets full-body gestures.

        • Android game console runs on quad-core Cortex-A17

          Ugoos announced a “micro game console” spin-off of its Android-based quad-core Cortex-A17 UT3 media player, and released an Ubuntu 14.10 build for the UT3.

        • Five Android 5.0 Lollipop annoyances Google should fix immediately

          In Android 4.4 and earlier, the menu you got when holding the power menu had a few options including toggling airplane mode, ringer modes, and of course, turning the device off. Some manufacturers even added reboot commands and additional settings. In Android 5.0 Google has gone backward and this menu now only includes “Power Off.”

        • Android 5.0 Lollipop embraces the enterprise

          Finally, Google has included EMM/MDM APIs to allow a standard approach to the management and security of Android mobile devices. No longer will EMM vendors like MobileIron have to make different versions for the devices of different OEMs. (Of course they will need to continue to do so for as long as they support pre-Lollipop Android devices.)

          Google has also moved to harden the base operating system, strengthen data security by default, improve the security update process and authentication and much more. There are thousands of new APIs, many of which help enterprises.

          Of course there are Lollipop features, such as Material Design, which is intended to make user interfaces more consistent, and Battery Saver, which benefit enterprises as much as anyone, but they are not enterprise-specific.

        • You Can Get Android Lollipop’s Best Feature on Older Android Phones
        • Get Android 5.0′s trusted places feature on any Android phone

          Locking your phone with a password or PIN code is a necessity when you’re out and about, but when you’re in the safety of your own home or office, it can be a real pain to unlock the thing every time you look at it. As noted by my colleague Vlad, Android 5.0 Lollipop has a super useful feature to address this: you can set your home or office as a “trusted place” and Android will automatically disable your lock screen when you are there, reactivating it when you leave.

        • Android Auto is great, but automakers are holding it back

          At the LA Auto Show this week, I spent time with a recent pre-release build of Android Auto using a Nexus 5 connected to a 2015 Hyundai Sonata. It’s mostly the same as the version we were shown at Google I/O in June, apart from some minor refinements. For instance, the green, circular “a” logo that appears on the phone when it’s jacked into the car now reads “Android Auto,” and voice-based searches no longer cause a full-screen “listening” window to pop up — you just get a little pulsing “g” in the corner. The underlying concept, though, is unchanged: it’s Material Design-infused Android for your dashboard, boiled down to the basics with copious use of speech output and voice recognition so that driver distraction is kept to a bare minimum. You’re also locked out of using your actual phone when Android Auto is in use, another stab at limiting distraction by keeping eyes off screens and on the road.

        • Fire OS 4.1.1 rolls out: Solid update (hands on)

          I should emphasize how much faster the system feels overall. There are no lags, no delays, and even third-party apps that haven’t been optimized run fast and smoothly.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets
      • [Older] Jolla enters tablet market with instant crowdfunded hit
      • Jolla’s open-source tablet might actually stay the course

        The Jolla Tablet, an open-source device that promises privacy, ease of use and comparable hardware to late-model Android tablets and iPads, has demolished its funding goals on IndieGoGo in just the first few days of its campaign.

        The project page shows a little over $1.2 million raised as of noon on Monday – well over triple Jolla’s initial goal of $380,000.

      • Jolla Tablet Runs Android Apps, Gathers Crowdfunds

        A Finnish mobile technology startup company with an open source operating system called Sailfish OS has gathered more than $1.1 million in crowdsourced funding in an Indiegogo campaign.

      • Jolla Sailfish 2.0 Tablet: ‘Open-Source iPad’ Crowdfunded Within Hours

        Finnish designer and mobile device developer Jolla is using crowdfunding site Indiegogo to develop its Jolla Tablet, the world’s “first people powered tablet,” which will run Sailfish OS 2.0. The campaign launched on Wednesday and reached its goal of $380,000 within hours. The project had raised more than $740,000 as of mid-afternoon.

      • Jolla’s Open Source iPad Alternative Raises More Than $1M In Two Days’ Crowdfunding

        Late last week Finnish mobile startup Jolla launched a crowdfunding campaign for a tablet running its open source Sailfish OS, smashing past its initial funding goal of $380,000 in a couple of hours. It has since pushed past the $1 million mark, with around $1.18M now pledged from more than 7,370 backers of the Indiegogo campaign.

        Speaking in an interview with TechCrunch prior to the campaign kicking off Jolla co-founder Marc Dillon was bullish. “I think we’re going to sell out,” he said. “I believe that we will quickly see the small initial targets, we will put up some stretch goals. I think that we’re going to sell a lot of tablets.”

      • Intel decides to keep tablet subsidies, say sources

        Intel has reportedly decided to continue subsidizing its mobile device processor platform after a series of evaluations recently and will even expand the product coverage from 10-inch and below devices to 12-inch and below ones, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

      • wIntel Decides to Keep Tablet Subsidies
Free Software/Open Source
  • Thoughts of Thanksgiving for All That Is FOSS

    Well Thanksgiving week is upon us here in the land of stars and stripes, and in anticipation of all the social events soon to besiege us, more than a few Linux bloggers have been practicing keeping their favorite barstools warm down at the blogosphere’s Punchy Penguin Saloon.

    How chilly would those stools get if we were all flitting here and there from this party to that? It would be truly unkind. Much better to stay put and keep to ourselves in a comfortable place where inane small talk is frowned upon.

  • How Google Inbox shares 70% of its code across Android, iOS, and the Web

    Launching a new app in the mobile age is hard. If you want to reach a wide audience, you usually have to make your client three times at minimum: once for Android, once for iOS, and once more for the Web. Building an app on three different platforms means three times the work, with three times as many bugs to squish. To make matters more complicated, these clients all use different programming languages: Objective-C and/or Swift for iOS, Java for Android, and JavaScript/CSS/HTML5 for the Web.

  • 6 tips for adopting open source

    Open source code drives collaborative innovation from a larger pool of developers at a lower cost, which is why federal agencies are adopting the “open source first” model. In fact Sonny Hashmi, CIO of the General Services Administration, recently announced that implementing open source software is among his top priorities this year.

  • Network Functions Virtualization Tries Its Hand at Open Source

    To save money, accelerate time to market and provide flexibility, many businesses are deciding to embrace network functions virtualization (NFV), the process in which server-based network operations—like intrusion detection, firewalls, Domain Name Service (DNS) and others—are virtualized.

  • The Netflix cloud team loves OSS — and would love to stop building it

    Netflix is in known in some (albeit geeky) circles as much for its advanced Amazon Web Services architecture and open source software as for its streaming video service. But some members of cloud team would love the company to stop building its own tools and start using commercially available services from AWS.

  • Netflix Open Sources Sophisticated Messaging Tool

    Open cloud computing platforms are on all kinds of radars these days, including leading open source platforms such as OpenStack, but if you ask many folks which companies have top-notch expertise in the open cloud, you won’t often hear Netflix mentioned. The company actually has an admirable history of open sourcing many of its most useful cloud tools and accompanying security tools–and it is a sophisticated user of cloud services.

  • PayrollHero to release code publicly to help build open source culture in Singapore

    In line with this, PayrollHero is marking their official launch in Singapore with a gift for the local Ruby community – going open source with their Singapore Payroll Gems. The startup has a history of giving back to its local community in the Philippines. They’re now bringing that practice to the island-state – starting with their CPF calculator. Not surprisingly, this was suggested by their engineers, according to co-founder Stephen Jagger.

  • How AAP is shaping an open source newsroom system

    Australian Associated Press (AAP) is collaborating with open source software developer Sourcefabric to test and build a newsroom management system better suited to the digital age.

    One of Superdesk’s main aims is to remove repetitive technical tasks such as tagging stories and multimedia elements from a journalist’s workload.

  • 7 great open source monitoring tools

    Network and system monitoring is a broad category. There are solutions that monitor for the proper operation of servers, network gear, and applications, and there are solutions that track the performance of those systems and devices, providing trends and analysis.

  • Cisco hands over security analytics framework to open source development

    Cisco is opening up development of the OpenSOC framework by making the tool open source.

  • Cisco Releases Security Analytics Framework to Open Source
  • Google embraces open source with free Android game

    Google has embraced open source in an effort to highlight multiplayer-gaming on Android TV. How? Well, the search giant has released a free open source game called “Pie Noon,” which is available now in the Google Play Store.

  • Google releases free open source game to highlight Android TV multiplayer gaming
  • Google Releases Open Source Tool for Testing Web App Security Scanners
  • ZTE Joins Open-Source NFV Effort

    The Chinese tech company is the latest member of the OPNFV project, which wants to build an open-source reference architecture for NFV deployments.

  • Open source beats proprietary software in control and continuity
  • IT Pros Warm Up to Open Source Collaboration Software

    Respondents in a Ponemon Institute study released this week are generally positive about commercial open source applications, especially because of the assurance of continuity. However, despite those benefits, companies are slow to adopt, Ponemon found.

  • Surveys Show Continuing Interest in the Cloud, Confidence in Open Source
  • Survey: 70 percent of IT pros prefer open source to proprietary software

    An overwhelming majority of IT professionals favor open source software over proprietary alternatives, according to a new study from the Ponemon Institute conducted on behalf of Zimbra Inc., the enterprise collaboration provider. That mirrors a similar pattern among enterprise developers, over 80 percent of whom share that sentiment according to an earlier Forrester Research report.

  • Survey: Control, not cost savings, drives IT’s love for open source

    The Ponemon Institute polled nearly 1,400 IT professionals in the U.S. and in 18 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa about their perceptions of open source software versus proprietary programs. Nearly three-quarters of U.S. respondents (74 percent) said open source applications allow for better control and continuity with an organization’s overall IT practices.

  • IT Pros Prefer Open Source for Continuity, Control
  • Most IT pros prefer open source to proprietary software
  • IT teams are choosing open source – but not just for the cost savings

    IT decision makers are increasingly turning to open source over proprietary software because they believe it offers them better business continuity and control

  • NSA partners with Apache to release open-source data traffic program

    In partnership with the Apache Software Foundation, the NSA announced on Tuesday it is releasing the source code for Niagarafiles (Nifi). The spy agency said Nifi “automates data flows among multiple computer networks, even when data formats and protocols differ.”

  • Why open source runs the world

    GNU/Linux as an operating system and open source as a movement have become phenomenal driving forces in the technology world. Without it the internet wouldn’t exist as the free and open resource we enjoy today.

  • EOFS and OpenSFS Obtain Lustre Assets from Seagate

    This news follows Seagate’s recent announcement to make its Ethernet Drive interface specification and T-Card development adapter available to the Open Compute Project in January of this year.

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Google’s Chrome to pull plug on plugins next September

        Google is moving ahead with its plan to end support for Netscape plugins in its Chrome browser – and has set next September as the date for when they will stop working altogether.

      • The Final Countdown for NPAPI

        Last September we announced our plan to remove NPAPI support from Chrome, a change that will improve Chrome’s security, speed, and stability as well as reduce complexity in the code base. Since our last update, NPAPI usage has continued its decline. Given this usage data, we will continue with our deprecation plan.

      • Fair Warning: Chrome Team Starts Final Countdown for NPAPI Extensions

        As we’ve reported several times, Google is introducing big changes in its Chrome browser, especially when it comes to how the browser handles extensions. If you’ve regularly used either or both of the most popular open source Internet browsers–Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox–then you’re probably familiar with the performance and security problems that some extensions for them can cause.

  • SaaS/Big Data
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
  • CMS
    • Four-year-old comment security bug affects 86 percent of WordPress sites

      A Finnish IT company has uncovered a bug in WordPress 3 sites that could be used to launch a wide variety of malicious script-based attacks on site visitors’ browsers. Based on current WordPress usage statistics, the vulnerability could affect up to 86 percent of existing WordPress-powered sites.

  • Business
    • Facebook’s Open Source Virtual Machine HHVM Stabilized

      Open source virtual machine project HHVM (HipHop Virtual Machine) has made a breakthrough. Facebook and WP Engine, which provides a WordPress-based content management platform, have enabled HHVM and PHP to run side by side, making HHVM more feasible for production. While the news will be of interest to developers, HHVM’s maturity is something the industry at large should take into account.

  • Funding
    • It Ain’t Easy Making Money in Open Source: Thoughts on the Hortonworks S-1

      While Hadoop and big data are unarguably huge trends driving the industry and while the future of Hadoop looks very bright indeed, on reading the Hortonworks S-1, the reader is drawn to the inexorable conclusion that it’s hard to make money in open source, or more crassly, it’s hard to make money when you give the shit away.

  • BSD
    • PC-BSD 10.1 review

      The last PC-BSD release I reviewed was the 9.1 edition, and that was back in December 2012 (see PC-BSD 9.1 preview). That’s almost two years ago, But that’s because I’ve been very disappointed with subsequent releases after that, so I never bothered to write another review, though I was each testing each release privately.

    • A Go Front-End Could Soon Be Landing In LLVM

      The “llgo” Go front-end to LLVM could soon be accepted as a new sub-project. This Go front-end is written in the Go language itself.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Purism hopes to crowdfund a high-end, open source laptop

      Want a laptop that runs free and open source software, and only open source software? The folks behind the Purism Librem 15 want to build one… and sell it to you.

    • Librem 15 High End Open Source Laptop Launches On Crowd Supply (video)

      Anyone in the market for an open source laptop might be interested in giving the new Librem 15 more investigation over on the Crowd Supply crowd funding website with pledges starting from $1,449.

    • Librem 15 wants to be a free, open source laptop that doesn’t suck

      Supporters of software freedom and open source have plenty of choices when it comes to apps. When it comes to hardware? Not so much. The Librem 15 laptop is hoping to change that.

    • Problems with Emacs 24.4

      This is, essentially, a call for help, as I don’t really know which program is at a fault here.

      Given that Emacs’s upstream converted their repository from bzr to git, all the commits in mirror repositories became “invalid” in relation to the official repository.

      What does this mean in practical terms, in my case? Well, bear with me while I try to report my steps.

  • Public Services/Government
    • NGA’s belief in open source, crowdsourcing heating up

      The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency is in many ways taking a leap of faith that many in the intelligence community wouldn’t dare to endeavor.

      NGA is taking advantage of open source and crowdsourcing through the GitHub platform to help it develop apps across 16 different topics ranging from an anti-piracy to a request for information generator for geospatial analysts. GitHub is an open source platform that provides registered users the opportunity to suggest changes to software in a collaborative process.

  • Openness/Sharing
  • Programming
  • Standards/Consortia
    • HTML5 vs native: Harry Coder and the mudblood mobile app princes

      HTML5 has offered salvation from the tyranny of apps for years, yet most mobile developers resolutely refuse to embrace the web. Despite HTML’s familiarity and promise of cross-device compatibility, native’s superior tooling and performance have convinced a generation of developers to go all in on native.

    • Samsung, LG Forge IoT Standard Alliance to Lead Global Market

      The competition between IT companies at home and abroad for Internet of Things (IoT) standards to dominate the global market is swinging into high gear. In this environment, Samsung and LG Electronics have agreed to unify IoT standards. The deal is expected to become a bridgehead for local companies to set IoT standards.

    • ODFAutoTests gearing up towards the 10th ODF Plugfest in London

      In two weeks time, users and developers of OpenDocument Format software will meet up for a two day ODF plugfest in London. In preparation of the plugfest, I have spent last weekend, refreshing ODFAutoTests. ODFAutoTests is a tool for creating test documents for ODF software and running these documents through the different implementations. If you want to help out with improving OpenDocument Format, please come to the plugfest, or participate online. Writing tests with ODFAutoTests is a great way to help make the 10th ODF Plugfest a success.

Leftovers
  • Study: US attracting fewer educated, highly skilled migrants

    But a new study of the worldwide migration of professionals to the U.S. shows a sharp drop-off in its proportional share of those workers – raising the question of whether the nation will remain competitive in attracting top talent in an increasingly globalized economy.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Monsanto Sues Maui for Direct Democracy, Launches New PR Campaign

      Residents of Maui County, Hawai’i voted on November 4 to ban the growing of genetically modified (GMO) crops on the islands of Maui, Lanai, and Molokai until scientific studies are conducted on their safety and benefits. Monsanto and Dow Chemical’s unit Mycogen Seeds have sued the county in federal court to stop the law passed by the people.

      In Vermont, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA, of which Monsanto and Dow were recently listed as members) has sued the state over its law requiring GMO labels. And Monsanto has a history of suing to prevent consumer labeling regarding its products. The company sued a number of dairies in the 1990s and 2000s for labeling milk free from recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), which Monsanto developed and marketed as Posilac® (sold to Eli Lilly in 2008), the only commercially approved form. Vermont itself is no stranger to such suits. The International Dairy Foods Association sued Vermont for passing a law requiring labeling of milk containing rBGH (Monsanto wrote an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff, and GMA was a plaintiff-appellant) — and it won in federal court.

  • Security
    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • 183 Million Accounts Compromised In Q3 2014

      Large scale attacks against financial firms, retail companies, and consumers’ personal identities and online accounts are dominant trends

    • 2014: Year of open source miracles

      We open with the recent unpleasantness at the Drupal project. The SQL injection vulnerability, while serious, isn’t unusual. It’s actually the most common vulnerability in the world. What made the exploit newsworthy was the very short amount of time between disclosure and widespread exploitation: “if timely patches weren’t applied, then the Drupal security team outlined a lengthy process required to restore a website to health.” Basically, you had seven hours to fix it before evil robots descended on your servers.

      This isn’t an open source problem, it’s a software management problem.

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Sony Pictures computer system hacked in online attack

      Sony Pictures Entertainment has been targeted by computer hackers in an attack which reports say forced it shut down its systems on Monday.

    • Encrypt Everything: How to encrypt the disk to protect the data

      Recently, at BrowserStack.com, some of our services got compromised. We use Amazon Web Services extensively. The person (or group) who attacked us mounted one of our backups and managed to steal some of the data. We could have prevented this simply by ensuring that we use encrypted disks which would have made this attack useless. Learning from our mistakes, we have recently started encrypting everything and I am going to show you how to do that. One point worth noting here is that Amazon AWS does provide encryption support for the EBS volumes but that is transparent and would not help in case of the account getting compromised. I am going to use dm-crypt which is supported by Linux kernel so the steps are quite generic and would work on any kind of disk, on any kind of environment, including Amazon AWS, Google Compute Engine, physical disks in your datacenter.

    • How secure is Docker? If you’re not running version 1.3.2, NOT VERY
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • NBC’s Energy Debate: Oil Exec Vs. Oil Industry Adviser

      Well, that’s certainly a broad debate: a guy who advises energy companies (that’s Yergin’s day job) and a former Shell CEO? On the question of oversight, both agreed there was plenty of it. Yergin explained that “the oil and gas industry is pretty highly regulated,” while Hofmeister declared that “the industry wants regulation.”

  • Finance
    • Black Friday Strike, Greens Join Labor to Take on Walmart

      With Black Friday now days away, Walmart workers and their allies are gearing up for what they predict will be the largest strike in the retailer’s history.

      Among the tens of thousands of people and hundreds of organizations that have vowed to support Walmart’s low-wage workers are a growing number of voices from the climate justice movement, calling for broad resistance to the corporation’s violations of workers’ rights and the environment.

  • Privacy
    • ‘Snoopers’ Charter IS DEAD’, Lib Dems claim as party waves through IP address-matching

      IP address-matching powers for police and spooks are to be pushed through Parliament with the blessing of the junior member of the UK’s Coalition government, after the Liberal Democrats claimed today that the Snoopers’ Charter was “dead”.

    • iPhone ban during Russian military service claim false – Defense Ministry

      The Russian Defense Ministry says it doesn’t ban iPhones during mandatory military service. Izvestia newspaper reported that the devices are not allowed in the army over concerns its closed operating system might contain spying backdoors.

    • Researchers Uncover Government Spy Tool Used to Hack Telecoms and Belgian Cryptographer

      It was the spring of 2011 when the European Commission discovered it had been hacked. The intrusion into the EU’s legislative body was sophisticated and widespread and used a zero-day exploit to get in. Once the attackers established a stronghold on the network, they were in for the long haul. They scouted the network architecture for additional victims and covered their tracks well. Eventually, they infected numerous systems belonging to the European Commission and the European Council before being discovered.

    • EFF Spearheads Safer Web Initiative

      Let’s Encrypt is an ambitious plan to convert the Internet to HTTPS, a protocol that uses encryption to secure websites. Internet-wide encryption is necessary, because otherwise “all of our browsing is vulnerable to account hijacking, surveillance by companies and governments, hackers on the network, content modification, malware injection and targeted censorship,” said the EFF’s Peter Eckersley.

    • Lollipop’s Encryption Takes a Hefty Toll

      The new full-disk encryption feature that’s enabled by default in Android 5.0 Lollipop comes at a hefty price in terms of performance, according to a recent benchmark report.

      In fact, when full-disk encryption is enabled, random read performance drops by 62.9 percent, while random write performance falls by 50.5 percent, AnandTech reported late last week. Sequential read performance, meanwhile, drops by a whopping 80.7 percent.

    • Facebook info sharing created Zoosk.com dating profile for married woman

      Online privacy advocates say current legislation fails to protect Canadians’ privacy online

    • Thanks To Namecheap For Sponsoring Techdirt’s Switch To SSL

      As some of you know, Techdirt recently completed the process of protecting all Techdirt traffic with full SSL encryption — something we believe every internet company should do. Part of this process involved seeking a sponsor to help us offset the money and time spent getting everything switched over, and today we’re happy to announce that Namecheap has stepped up to that role.

    • Click Here to See If You’re Under Surveillance

      The free, downloadable software, called Detekt, searches computers for the presence of malicious programs that have been built to evade detection. The spyware ranges from government-grade products used by intelligence and police agencies to hacker staples known as RATs—remote administration tools. Detekt, which was developed by security researcher Claudio Guarnieri, is being released in a partnership with advocacy groups Amnesty International, Digitale Gesellschaft, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Privacy International.

    • WhatsApp rolls out end-to-end encryption using TextSecure code

      The most recent update to WhatsApp’s Android app includes a surprising feature: strong end-to-end encryption, enabled by default. It’s the strongest security any major texting app has offered, even compared with similar tools from giants like Google, Microsoft, and Apple. WhatsApp partnered with Open Whisper Systems for the launch, using open source code to build in the new features. It’s unclear when the features will come to iOS, but just reaching WhatsApp’s Android users represents a huge step forward for everyday encryption use.

    • EFF: Let’s Encrypt
    • Blanket data retention does not come in “good” and “bad” forms

      Yesterday’s announcement that mobile phone providers will be obliged to keep records of their customers IP addresses (and port numbers) came as no surprise. But what we need to remember is that all data retention should be subject to the same principles, conveniently outlined by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

  • Civil Rights
    • New high school course: ‘How to deal with cops’

      The principal of East Side Community HS invited the New York Civil Liberties Union to give a two-day training session last week on interacting with police.

      The 450 kids were coached on staying calm during NYPD encounters and given a “What To Do If You’re Stopped By The Police” pamphlet.

      NYCLU representatives told kids to be polite and to keep their hands out of their pockets. But they also told students they don’t have to show ID or consent to searches, that it’s best to remain silent, and how to file a complaint against an officer.

    • Woman claims officer offered to fix ticket for sex

      A city parking enforcement officer has been arrested and suspended without pay after police said he offered to “fix” a parking ticket in exchange for sexual favors.

      Mario Carpenito Jr., 61, of Thornwood, was arrested Friday after an investigation. He’s charged with third-degree receiving a bribery, a felony, and official misconduct, a misdemeanor.

    • Craig Murray, Criminal

      I was witness to an extraordinary example of the use of “anti-terrorist” laws to deny democracy. The whole of Parliament Square, College Green and Canning Green were closed off with high Harris fencing, as were other spaces nearby. These were protected by a huge police presence. I counted 37 police vans. All this to counter eighty “Occupy Democracy” protestors wishing to highlight the alienation of the political class from the rest of us. That MPs feel the need to make Westminster look like the Somme 1917, to defend themselves against a few ordinary people, is proof that the concept of “democracy” is now alien to the Westminster system.

    • CBS Finds Ferguson ‘Pipe Bombs’

      But the more dramatic bombing angle seemed to vanish; the CBS story changed from “explosives” to “firearms.” Reports can resonate, especially when they are repeated by other outlets; on NBC’s Today show (11/22/14), viewers heard this: “Now there’s word that two men arrested with weapons charges are also suspected of trying to bring pipe bombs, possibly, here to Ferguson.”

      Media have been known to stoke panic about violent and disorderly protests. Ahead of the 2004 protests at the Republican National Convention in New York City, media hyped the threat of protester violence.

    • No charges for officer in Ferguson shooting

      A Missouri grand jury has decided not to charge police officer Darren Wilson in the racially charged shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

      Robert McCulloch, the St. Louis County prosecutor, announced Monday night that the jury had found no probable cause to file a cause of indictment against Wilson.

      The jury had considered five charges against Wilson, ranging up to first-degree murder.

      McCulloch said that the grand jury met for 25 sessions over the course of three months, and that their deliberations took two days.

    • ABC and Darren Wilson’s ‘Serious Injury’

      Will ABC tell viewers that it spread an unfounded rumor that there was photographic evidence that Darren Wilson was seriously hurt? Or do they consider the photo above as confirmation of what they reported?

    • NRA’s Ted Nugent Goes On Racially Charged Ferguson Rant Targeting “Black Klansmen”

      National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent reacted to the decision of a Missouri grand jury to not indict police officer Darren Wilson by attacking “black klansmen” and claiming “millions” of African-Americans “slaughter” each other “every day.”

    • City Of Baltimore To Create Publicly-Accessible Police Brutality Lawsuit Database

      There’s not much information symmetry when it comes to the public and their public servants. The public is routinely required to turn over all sorts of personal information, but their governments are rarely willing to return the favor. In particular, police departments tend to be very tight-lipped when it comes to details of officer misconduct or abuse. Most departments are more than willing to provide in-depth crime stats detailing wrongdoing by citizens, but when asked to turn the magnifying glass on themselves, the details provided are, at best, questionable.

    • May hem

      Now Theresa May is going to make doubly sure no student ever hears anything interesting or inspirational…

    • ISC report into Lee Rigby’s murder is misleading

      Reacting to today’s ISC report, the Open Rights Group said that their report into Lee Rigby’s murder is misleading. Executive Director Jim Killock said:

      “When the intelligence services are gathering data about every one of us but failing to act on intelligence about individuals, they need to get back to basics, and look at the way they conduct targeted investigations.

      “The committee should not use the appalling murder of Fusilier Rigby as an excuse to justify the further surveillance and monitoring of the entire UK population. To pass the blame to internet companies is to use Fusilier Rigby’s murder to make cheap political points.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • The sharks move in; lobbyists pushing forward on TPP agreements

      The latest leaked draft of the TPP reveals that the countries involved in the negotiations are coming closer to acceptance of a whole host of problematic agreements.

      On October 16th, WikiLeaks released an updated draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Strategic Partnership Agreement chapter on copyright, patent and other proprietary interests. A previous draft had been released last year. If you aren’t familiar with TPP, it is a multinational trade-agreement that is being developed through a series of secret negotiations that when enacted will have a vast effect on civil liberties, including the ability of users all around the world to enjoy software freedom.

    • Trademarks
      • Small Open Source Nonprofit Defeats Groupon in Trademark Fight

        In May, Groupon created a tablet to help merchants process and serve Groupon customers. They called it Gnome. The hitch? GNOME was already trademarked as a worldwide, open source computer operating system. The GNOME foundation and its thousands of supporters mobilized to protect its name. Thanks to crowdfunding and social media, Groupon backed down and will develop a new name.

    • Copyrights

Links 24/11/2014: Linux 3.18-rc6, Qualcomm Eyes GNU/Linux Servers

Monday 24th of November 2014 10:06:17 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Open Source Code Contains Fewer Defects, But There’s a Catch

    Research suggests that software developed using open source code contains fewer defects than that built with proprietary code. The catch is that open source code rarely benefits from security teams specifically tasked with looking for bugs.

  • With Assembly, anyone can contribute to open-source software and actually get paid

    The open-source movement has produced some of the most widely utilized software in the world, a huge economic value driven by a widely dispersed community who believe contributing good work is often its own reward. Outside of the world of computer science, however, these strategies are still relatively niche. A San Francisco startup called Assembly is trying to change all that, by evolving the open-source model to easily incorporate disciplines outside coding and to include a shared profit motive as well. Today the company is announcing a $2.9 million round of funding it will use to help expand its platform.

  • Events
    • Next improved release of Lohit Devanagari 2.95.0 with Latin and ttfautohinted.

      Last release of Lohit Devanagari we did in Feb 19, 2014. During the time number of improvements happened in Lohit Devanagari. Today releasing its next version with all the improvements. [1]

    • NetSurf Developer workshop IV

      Over the weekend the NetSurf developers met to make a concentrated effort on improving the browser. This time we were kindly hosted by Codethink in their Manchester office in a pleasant environment with plenty of refreshments.

    • Awesome BSP in München

      An awesome BSP just took place in München where teams from Kubuntu, Kolab, KDE PIM, Debian and LibreOffice came and planned the future and fixed bugs.

  • Web Browsers
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Norway phases out Java for tax, school and business eID

      The new BankID uses HTML5, CSS and Javascript, supported by all modern web browsers. For the time being, DIFI will support the use of older web browsers that cannot handle the new version of BankID.

    • Another Racket Run By M$

      The folly? Instead of beating a path to LibreOffice ASAP, they meekly paid for a new set of licences thus increasing their lock-in and delaying progress. This still exposes them to further audits, further rounds of licence-upgrading, and the longer they use M$’s stuff the harder it will become to escape. Already it’s tough because many of their other applications depend on M$’s office suite. You don’t solve a problem you created by continuing to make the same mistakes. They do have the future possibility of migrating to FLOSS like LibreOffice in the future but this is a missed opportunity and will raise the cost of future migrations to FLOSS.

  • CMS
  • Business
    • Semi-Open Source
      • Clearing up muddied waters in the ‘Data Lakes’

        Four years ago when Pentaho first released Hadoop support, Dixon coined the term ‘Data Lake’ to describe a vessel for holding data from a single source. When selecting it, he thought very carefully about its suitability as both an analogy and a metaphor.

  • Funding
    • A price to pay – the Free Software column

      Open source is everywhere, but the term is often applied loosely. Free and open source software is attractive to hardware and software companies because it seems to be the cheap and efficient option and gives access to communities of users and developers who bring cost reductions and opportunities for high quality input from a variety of sources. Corporate involvement in open source software development works for developers as it pays their wages and, if properly managed, allows them the freedom to work on the code. But open source’s success is not without its drawbacks.

  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Project Releases
    • Upcoming Pulp Releases

      Since the version 2.4.0 release, Pulp is working to adhere to semantic versioning. Semantic versioning is important so that users can upgrade to a given version and have a correct expectation about what is in that new version ie: bugfix, features, or backwards incompatible changes. There are new features that are ready to be included in a release, so the next release planned will be 2.6.0.

    • HandBrake 0.10 Brings H.265 & VP8 Encoders

      Version 0.10 of the HandBrake open-source video transcoder has been released.

  • Openness/Sharing
    • Introducing AcousticBrainz

      MusicBrainz, the not-for-profit project that maintains an assortment of “open content” music metadata databases, has announced a new effort named AcousticBrainz. AcousticBrainz is designed to be an open, crowd-sourced database cataloging various “audio features” of music, including “low-level spectral information such as tempo, and additional high level descriptors for genres, moods, keys, scales and much more.”

  • Standards/Consortia
    • EU Boosts Open Data; Open Contracting Data Standard Out

      As you will probably have noticed, open data is pretty hot these days. The EU has noticed, too, and is making some serious funds available for this area, as announced by the UK’s Open Data Institute:

    • Europe Commission approves Tradeshift data format for goverment purchasing

      A product of OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, UBL was developed in a transparent standards-setting process over a period of 13 years by hundreds of leading business experts. OASIS is the same organization that created ODF, the Open Document Format (ISO/IEC 26300), a widely used International Standard for word processing.

    • French, German, Dutch and Italian hackathons fuel UK ODF plugfest

      Hackathons in Toulouse (France), Munich (Germany), Woerden (the Netherlands) and Bologna (Italy) involving software developers and public administrations, are providing input for the ODF Plugfest taking place in London on 8 and 9 December. The first four meetings involve developers working on the Open Document Format ODF and the LibreOffice suite of office productivity tools. The ODF Plugfest brings together multiple implementers and stakeholders of this document standard. The plugfest is aimed at increasing interoperability, tests implementations and discuss new features.

Leftovers
  • Apple stops calling free apps ‘Free’

    SOFTWARE AND DESIGN COMPANY Apple has made a change to the way it displays applications on the App Store and is no longer labelling items as Free.

  • Immigration target unlikely to be met, says Theresa May

    The UK is “unlikely” to meet its target for reducing immigration, Home Secretary Theresa May has said.

    EU migration has “blown us off course” from cutting net migration to the tens of thousands before the general election, Mrs May told the Andrew Marr show.

    Mrs May said Britain’s strengthening economy had continued to attract people from across Europe.

  • My boys love 1986 computing

    Yesterday, Jacob (age 8) asked to help me put together a 30-year-old computer from parts in my basement. Meanwhile, Oliver (age 5) asked Laura to help him learn cursive. Somehow, this doesn’t seem odd for a Saturday at our place.

  • Hardware
    • Supercharge your PC’s storage with a RAID setup: Everything you need to know

      First off, storage performance tends to be one of the main bottlenecks in a typical PC, although the situation has vastly improved with the advent of solid state drives. (Yes, it’s probably your hard drive holding back your high-end PC from even greater glory.) Second, drive failure can lead to the loss of valuable data, and no one wants that.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Plague kills 40 people in Madagascar

      An outbreak of the plague has killed 40 people out of 119 confirmed cases in Madagascar since late August and there is a risk of the disease spreading rapidly in the capital, the World Health Organisation has said.

    • Rick Ross, the Ex-Drug Kingpin, Says CIA Behind Hip Hop’s Love Affair With Drugs

      The CIA is behind rap’s obsession with drugs. Rick Ross says so. No, not the rapper, but the actual cocaine kingpin whose artist name and persona was hijacked by Rick Ross the rapper. He should know.

      “They were the guys who were behind me when I was selling drugs,” Ross said of the CIA. “And now they’re behind hip hop and rock ‘n’ roll.”

      The CIA has been documented making enormous profits from the international drug trade, including the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s.

      Take the trade of opium for instance. The drug that is used to make heroin was almost nonexistent in Afghanistan before the U.S. invaded it in 2001. By 2006 the country’s opium trade had increased 3200% and was supplying 92% of the world’s supply according to www.globalresearch.ca.

    • Monsanto Is Using Big Data to Take Over the World

      That’s right: Monsanto is making a big move into big data. At stake is an opportunity to adapt to climate change by using computer science alongside the controversial genetic science that has been the company’s signature for a generation. Data stands to benefit Monsanto’s bottom line, too: In its 2013 annual report, the company blamed lost profits on knowledge gaps about both the climate and its customers’ farming practices. And information services could even help Monsanto get its foot (and its seeds) in the door of untapped global markets from Africa to South America.

  • Security
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • Benghazi Is Over, But the Mainstream Media Just Yawns

      Still, this is a report endorsed by top Republicans that basically rebuts practically every Republican bit of hysteria over Benghazi spanning the past two years. Is it really good news judgment for editors to treat this the same way they would a dull study on the aging of America from the Brookings Institution?

    • Cops Decide Running Surprise School Shooter Drill During Class At A Middle School Is A Great Idea

      We’re going to have to go over this again: if your drills to prevent school tragedy actually leave school children traumatized, then don’t do those damned drills. What began with terrorism drills on school buses and then devolved into unannounced school-shooting drills is getting to be so full-on crazy that I sort of can’t believe that anyone thinks any of this is a good idea. The latest story involves police running an unannounced “active shooter drill” at a local middle school while classes were in session. As a part of this insane exercise, police officers went around bursting into classrooms filled with terrified students, weapons out, as they acted out their fun little thespian experience of horror. And, to add insult to injury, school officials notified parents of the drill long after unknowing students were informing their parents that an actual shooting was taking place at the school.

    • CIA Should Send Lethal Military Aid to Ukraine: Former Bush Advisor

      Former US President George W. Bush’s National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley said stated that US should provide lethal military assistance to the Ukrainian government.

    • Drone Strikes Never Kill ‘Humans’

      News organizations should stop reporting that “militants” were killed when they can confirm no such thing.

    • ON MEDIA OUTLETS THAT CONTINUE TO DESCRIBE UNKNOWN DRONE VICTIMS AS “MILITANTS”

      But what bothered even some intelligence officials at the agency carrying out the strikes seemed of no concern whatsoever to most major media outlets. As I documented days after the Times article, most large western media outlets continued to describe completely unknown victims of U.S. drone attacks as “militants”—even though they (a) had no idea who those victims were or what they had done and (b) were well-aware by that point that the term had been “re-defined” by the Obama administration into Alice in Wonderland-level nonsense.

    • We don’t need a more efficient killing machine

      A number of ideas have been put forward to mediate the amount of innocent victims. Technology philosopher Christine Boshuijzen cites technologically impaired military officials as a reason for civilian deaths. Doctoral student Dieuwertje Kuijpers calls for more democratic accountability for the CIA. Artificial intelligence professor Gustzi Eiben wants to improve drones’ face recognition and tracking software. Computer scientist Arnoud Visser claims the remedy is to fully automate the whole killing process by programming drones with algorithms governing the acceptable margins of error. These changes might very well reduce innocent deaths. Drone warfare would be far more efficient. But is efficiency really the goal?

    • US Airstrikes Kill 18 in Afghanistan

      Washington says the targets of the drones are “terrorists,” however locals and some international agencies report that civilians are the main victims of these raids.

    • Op-Ed: U.S. launches 500th drone strike in over a decade of the Third War
    • America Just Launched Its 500th Drone Strike
    • America’s 500th Drone Strike
    • Post 9/11 Stat You Should Know: America has now Conducted 500 Targeted Killings

      The most consistent and era-defining tactic of America’s post-9/11 counterterrorism strategies has been the targeted killing of suspected terrorists and militants outside of defined battlefields. As one senior Bush administration official explained in October 2001, “The president has given the [CIA] the green light to do whatever is necessary. Lethal operations that were unthinkable pre-September 11 are now underway.” Shortly thereafter, a former CIA official told the New Yorker, “There are five hundred guys out there you have to kill.” It is quaint to recall that such a position was considered extremist and even morally unthinkable. Today, these strikes are broadly popular with the public and totally uncontroversial in Washington, both within the executive branch and on Capitol Hill. Therefore, it is easy to forget that this tactic, envisioned to be rare and used exclusively for senior al-Qaeda leaders thirteen years ago, has become a completely accepted and routine foreign policy activity.

    • America’s 500th Drone Strike
    • Redefining “Imminent”

      How the U.S. Department of Justice Makes Murder Respectable, Kills the Innocent and Jails their Defenders

    • ‘Western policy of destroying ISIS completely unsuccessful’

      The US anti-ISIS policy only helps them recruit more people, while the only way to fight ISIS is to secure borders and re-examine immigration policies both in America and Europe, retired US Army Colonel Douglas MacGregor told RT.

    • Red Mist Rising: Inside the World’s Most Powerful Terrorist Organization

      Glenn Greenwald notes the blizzard of bellicose propaganda pieces pouring from the High Media lately concerning the Peace Laureate’s latest flurry of drone killings. In story after story, headline after headline, we hear of “militants” slaughtered by the dead-eyed machinery that floats above the distant villages of the “recalcitrant tribes” who bedevil the Empire with their disobedience — or, in the case of the drone campaign, which overwhelmingly kills innocent civilians, with their mere existence.

      [...]

      That’s nice, isn’t it? Noble, worthy, honorable, isn’t it? Again, these are the mafia thug values being embraced, lauded, supported and reinforced at every turn by the most respectable figures throughout American politics and media, including of course the popular media, where TV shows and movies abound with tough guys “doing whatever it takes” to kill the dehumanized “enemy” and “keep us safe.” …

    • Author takes issue with assumption that religions cause war

      In modern Western society, says Karen Armstrong, “the idea that religion is inherently violent is now taken for granted.” As a writer and speaker on religion, she says that she constantly hears from a wide swath of society that “Religion has been the cause of all the major wars in history.”

    • CIA Director John Brennan considering sweeping organizational changes
    • US Used Al-Qaeda in Yemen to Blackmail Sanaa: President’s Adviser

      Yemeni president’s adviser Saleh Samad stated that US used the presence of al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist cells in Yemen to blackmail the government in Sanaa.

    • Rescue reunion: Cuban-American CIA team meets Congo hostages in Kendall

      The hostage rescue was just one chapter, albeit the most dramatic, of a little-known five-year CIA effort to shore up the pro-Western government of the country now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was under attack by guerrilla movements backed by China and the Soviet Union.

    • Israeli drone pilot admits to making some ‘wrong calls’ when dropping bombs in Gaza, but says: ‘You’ll see no smiling faces where kids are killed’

      A spy drone commander from Israel has admitted he had made some ‘wrong calls’ when it came to dropping bombs on targets in Gaza.

      Major Yair, one of the country’s most experienced unmanned drones commanders, said he had made mistakes but had ‘learnt to live’ with them.

    • Early Predator Drone Pilot: I Had Bin Laden in My Crosshairs

      A year before he was the first pilot to ever unleash a Hellfire missile from a Predator drone in combat, airman Scott Swanson said he was at the controls of another Predator back in 2000 when a man believed to be Osama bin Laden was directly in his crosshairs.

  • Transparency Reporting
    • Julian Assange: Swedish court rejects appeal to lift arrest warrant

      Stockholm’s appeal court has rejected a demand by Julian Assange’s lawyers to lift the arrest warrant against him, leaving the WikiLeaks founder still facing extradition to Sweden should he renounce his asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy.

      “In making this assessment, account must be taken of the fact that Julian Assange is suspected of crimes of a relatively serious nature,” the court said in a statement on Thursday. A Swedish prosecutor first sought Assange’s arrest four years ago following sexual assault and rape allegations, which he denies.

    • Swedish Court Upholds Order for Arrest of Julian Assange
    • Court rejects Assange arrest warrant appeal

      A Stockholm court has upheld an arrest order for Julian Assange who is wanted for questioning over alleged sex crimes in Sweden. His lawyer has told The Local that he now plans to take the case to Sweden’s Supreme Court.

    • The siege of Julian Assange is a farce – an investigation by John Pilger

      The siege of Knightsbridge is a farce. For two years, an exaggerated, costly police presence around the Ecuadorean embassy in London has served no purpose other than to flaunt the power of the state.

      Their quarry is an Australian charged with no crime, a refugee from gross injustice whose only security is the room given him by a brave South American country. His true crime is to have initiated a wave of truth-telling in an era of lies, cynicism and war.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • Handbook for fighting climate-denialism

      From 2011, Skeptical Science’s excellent Debunking Handbook, a short guide for having discussions about climate change denial that tries to signpost the common errors that advocates of the reality of anthropogenic global warming make when talking to people who disbelieve.

    • On Fox, Pundit From Oil-Funded Group Says Climate Scientists Are The Profiteers

      Fox News provided American Enterprise Institute (AEI) fellow Jonah Goldberg a platform to attack climate scientists as profiteers who are “financially incentivized” to advocate climate change action, without disclosing AEI’s own financial incentive to undercut action on climate change. AEI has taken over $3 million from ExxonMobil, and once offered money to scientists to write articles criticizing a UN climate change report.

  • Finance
    • Swarmops Approaching Launch. Want To Be Part Of It? Fund It Maybe?

      Swarmops is approaching launch. This is the back-end software that allowed the Swedish Pirate Party to beat its competition using less than one percent of their budget, but now generalized for any organization’s use – business or nonprofit. It’s also the only software in existence to do bitcoin-native automated accounting and cashflow.

    • Banking turns people into rotten cheats

      They are among the least trusted professions in the world and with good reason, according to new research. It seems people working for banks are more dishonest than employees from other sectors – though, to be fair, only when they are reminded whom they working for. The findings lend weight to arguments that the culture at the heart of the financial industry is rotten and needs to be drastically overhauled.

    • RBS prepares to be fined tens of millions pounds over IT breakdown

      Royal Bank of Scotland faces a fine of tens of millions of pounds as early as this week over the collapse of its IT systems that locked millions of customers out of their accounts for days.

    • System Change, or There and Back Again: Capitalism, Socialism, Fascism

      In the United States, a new kind of socialism may also be emerging. It is based on an insistence that the macro-dimensions of traditional socialism – an emphasis on ownership of the means of production and economic planning – be grounded on and interdependent with a micro-level reorganization of enterprises. Enterprises are to be democratized, ending the typical top-down hierarchical capitalist organization (major shareholders select the board of directors that hires the managers and mass of laborers and makes all the key enterprise decisions). Workers self-directed enterprises (WSDEs) would become the mass social and economic base where wealth is generated and revenues are provided to the state. Conjointly with democratically organized residential communities that are interdependent with the WSDEs, local decisions would be co-determined and all state actions held accountable. The state would facilitate economic, political and cultural coordination among WSDEs and residential communities, but the state power arising from that facilitation function would be ultimately determined by, accountable to and balanced by the economic and political power organized horizontally at the base of society.

  • Censorship
    • Lessons on censorship from Syria’s internet filter machines

      Norwegian writer Mette Newth once wrote that: “censorship has followed the free expressions of men and women like a shadow throughout history.” As we develop new means to gather and create information, new means to control, erase and censor that information evolve alongside it. Today that means access to information through the internet, which motivates us to study internet censorship.

    • What 600 gigs of Syrian censorship logs can teach us about digital freedom

      Norwegian writer Mette Newth once wrote that: “censorship has followed the free expressions of men and women like a shadow throughout history.” As we develop new means to gather and create information, new means to control, erase and censor that information evolve alongside it. Today that means access to information through the internet, which motivates us to study internet censorship.

    • China steps up web censorship and blocks HSBC

      China has blocked access to HSBC’s banking portal and possibly thousands of other websites in what appears to be a new censorship campaign days before it hosts a major internet industry conference.

    • Hashtag hate campaigns are leading us into the trap of censorship

      Last week, Jessica Ennis-Hill took the brave step of saying she would have her name removed from a stand at Bramall Lane if Sheffield United re-signed convicted rapist Ched Evans. The inevitable consequence was a blurt of rape threats from members of Evans’ fanbase. One prize specimen, @RickieLambert07, replied to criticism by saying: “Freedom of speech mate… I’ll say what I want when I want!” I cannot say for sure that @RickieLambert07 isn’t a lawyer but he certainly has a shaky grasp of Article 10 of the Human Rights Act.

    • Peter Sellars: ‘The United States is coming close to censorship’
    • Tony Abbott leads ‘a government of censorship’, Bill Shorten tells ABC rally

      The Coalition’s cuts to the ABC and SBS are “ripping at the heart” of vital public institutions, federal opposition leader, Bill Shorten, says.

      He also told a Save Our ABC rally at Melbourne’s Federation Square on Sunday that Australians are rightly angered by the budget cuts in breach of Tony Abbott’s pre-election promise.

    • China Says Internet Censorship Is Necessary to Fight Terrorism

      China laid out its reasons for controlling online content at the first government-sponsored Internet conference, saying it is crucial to thwart terrorist attacks in the country.

    • World Internet Conference: Has China overcome paranoia?
    • Not Fit to Print: An Insider Account of Pakistani Censorship

      The senior editorial staff, myself included, reluctantly agreed to the orders, which came from the CEO, because our jobs were on the line. Media groups in Pakistan are family-owned and make all decisions unilaterally — regardless of whether they concern marketing and finance or editorial content and policy — advancing their personal agendas through the influential mainstream outlets at their disposal. A majority of the CEOs and media house owners are businessmen, with no background (or interest) in the ethics of journalism. The owners and publishers make it very clear to their newsrooms and staff — including the editor — that any tilt or gloss they proscribe is non-negotiable. As a result, serious concerns persist about violence against and the intimidation of members of the media. In fact, Pakistan ranks 158 out of 180 countries in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index.

    • Dartmouth student: America must ‘fix free speech’ with censorship

      An Ivy League student says that America “has gone too far in allowing people to say whatever they want,” and asserts that the country needs to censor free speech.

    • Ecuador: Why are critics being shutdown on Twitter?

      A Spanish company — Ares Rights — has been targeting the social media accounts of critics of the Ecuadorean government.

  • Privacy
    • Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age

      One of the many bits of technology that attracts paranoia in a post-Snowden era is random number generation, and a New Zealand developer hopes to help solve that with an all-open entropy generator.

    • Glenn Greenwald: NSA-proofing your product is good for business

      Just because Congress can’t even pass minimal NSA reform, it doesn’t mean that privacy is dead: American tech companies are NSA-proofing their services because customers are demanding it.

      Glenn Greenwald’s editorial in The Intercept cites Whatsapp’s integration of Textsecure’s end-to-end crypto, Apple’s move to encrypt Ios devices by default, and Google’s similar moves for Android as a counter to the farcical deference of Congress to America’s spy-services, and the absurd “debate” that Congress engages in on the subject, in which elected officials basically just repeat “ISIS” and “terrorism” and “9/11″ until they run out of time.

    • Republicans block overhaul of NSA surveillance reform

      A bill to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephone records failed on a procedural vote in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday after senior Republicans said it would benefit enemies of the United States, including Islamic State militants.

    • DID THE NSA OUTLINE BITCOIN IN 1996?

      The NSA was one of the first organizations to describe a Bitcoin-like system. About twelve years before Satoshi Nakamoto published his legendary white paper to the Metzdowd.com cryptography mailing list, a group of NSA information security researchers published a paper entitled How to Make a Mint: the Cryptography of Anonymous Electronic Cash in two prominent places, the first being an MIT mailing list and the second being much more prominent, The American Law Review (Vol. 46, Issue 4 ).

    • Utah Considers Cutting Off Water to the NSA’s Monster Data Center

      Lawmakers are considering a bill that would shut off the water spigot to the massive data center operated by the National Security Agency in Bluffdale, Utah.

    • Utah may cut off NSA’s water in protest of mass surveillance
    • Utah lawmaker concerned over NSA spying on American citizens proposes cutting off the water supply to agency facility

      A Utah lawmaker concerned about government spying on its citizens wants to cut the water supply to a National Security Agency data storage facility outside Salt Lake City.

    • Utah Lawmakers Consider Bill That Would Cut Water To NSA Data Collection Center

      Utah lawmakers are considering a bill that would shut off the water supply to the National Security Agency’s data collection center in Bluffdale, Utah.

    • NSA reform advocates vow to fight on after Senate rejects USA Freedom Act

      Stunned and dejected by the death of a bill to restrain National Security Agency surveillance, civil libertarian groups vowed to return to the daunting effort in the next Congress.

    • NSA director: No changes in telephone record collection coming
    • On Keystone and the N.S.A., Clinton Remains Quiet

      On Friday, Ready for Hillary, a super PAC that has been described as “a make-work program for former Clinton hands,” and that is busy building a database of donors and volunteers that the group will eventually sell or rent to an official Clinton campaign, held an all-day meeting at the Sheraton on Fifty-third Street, in New York.

    • Automakers Like TOTALLY Promise Not To Abuse The Ocean Of Location Data Their Cars Now Collect

      Hoping to assuage growing fears that vehicle data won’t be abused, nineteen automakers recently got together and agreed to a set of voluntary principles they insist will protect consumer privacy in the new smart car age. Automakers promise that the principles, delivered in a letter to the FTC (pdf), require that they “implement reasonable measures” to protect collected consumer data, both now and as the industry works toward car-to-car communications. The principles “demonstrate the industry’s commitment to its customers” and “reflect a major step in protecting consumer information” insists the industry.

    • Snowden Docs.: UK Telecom Conspired to Turn over millions of our Emails to British Intelligence
    • Who’s watching your webcam?

      The Daily Mail has revealed that people could be being watched in their own homes or at work as hackers are targeting webcams and uploading the live footage to the internet. The warning comes from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which is urging people to upgrade their passwords from the default setting.

    • EFF Joins the Call for a NIST We Can Trust

      It’s looking like we might be on the brink of another crypto war. The first one, in the 90s, was a misguided attempt to limit the public’s access to strong, secure cryptography. And since then, the reasons we need the good security provided by strong crypto have only multiplied. That’s why EFF has joined 20 civil society organizations and companies in sending a letter to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to “re-emphasize the importance of creating a process for establishing secure and resilient encryption standards, free from back doors or other known vulnerabilities.”

    • Reaction to the Home Secretary’s Proposals to introduce IP address matching powers

      Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “It is perfectly reasonable that powers to provide the police with the ability to match an IP address to the person using that service is investigated. However, if such a power is required, then it should be subject to the widespread consultation and comprehensive scrutiny that has been sorely lacking to date with industry, civil society and the wider public when it comes to introducing new surveillance powers.

    • Home Secretary announces plans to introduce IP address matching powers

      When the Communications Data Bill was scrapped in 2013, one of the issues that appeared to have full political consensus was the ‘resolution of IP addresses’ – particularly where mobile phone operators may have millions of customers using just a few hundred IP addresses.

    • NSA Reform Blocked by Paranoid Republican Senators

      “God forbid we wake up tomorrow and [Islamic State] is in the United States,” Sen. Marco Rubio said as the USA Freedom Act, considered a “gift to terrorists” by critics, was rejected by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday. Despite the fact that the mass collection of Americans’ phone data that the bill attempted to restrict has likely not prevented a single terrorist attack, somehow terrorism is still being used as a justification for the National Security Agency’s violation of U.S. citizens’ privacy rights.

    • Ejecting the NSA from our private space

      The National Security Agency (NSA) has destroyed the right to be let alone —the most cherished right among civilized people.

    • Rand Paul takes heat for NSA vote

      Civil liberties advocates who usually view Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) as an ally are frustrated with his vote Tuesday against an intelligence reform bill.

      Paul voted against a procedural motion for the USA Freedom Act, which would have enacted the most sweeping changes to American intelligence agencies in more than a decade, on the grounds that it reauthorized some portions of the Patriot Act.

    • Keeping the Backdoor open… how the NSA’s collection of 0-day exploits hurts us all

      The world lives in fear of zero-day exploits although the average person does not even know it. A zero-day exploit is a bug or a flaw that has not been discovered by the developers yet, but is known to someone outside. This can be good guys, bad guys or other, but it is still a flaw that can be used to do harm to a computer system and no one has a patch for it yet. When the good guys (security researchers) know about them they work with companies to patch them. When the bad guys know about these things get very ugly indeed. But what happens if someone knows about one (or a bunch of them) and does not tell anyone at all?

    • AT&T wants the NSA to have a warrant when asking for location data
    • NSA scandals caused rift with U.S. allies

      No single issue has caused greater damage to the trust between the United States and its allies than the sweeping revelations of the National Security Agency’s global surveillance programs. This story continues to fuel the perception that we no longer care to uphold our values at home or abroad. Our credibility has suffered by failing to sufficiently justify our actions even to ourselves. It is finally time to undo the damage.

      Recent presidential and congressional measures concerning espionage and data privacy have the potential to bolster our credibility, counter these misperceptions and restore trust with our allies. Congress failed to vote on the USA Freedom Act last week, but the bill itself demonstrates our resolve to protect the privacy of all U.S. citizens and end bulk data collection. The NSA is also taking unprecedented steps to protect the rights of those at home and abroad. It is imperative that we explain and advance these evolving norms, particularly with our allies across the Atlantic.

    • Some NSA Officials Warned Agency of Surveillance Backlash in 2009

      In 2009, a major debate was going on behind the scenes at the NSA. A number of officials, including an unnamed top member of the agency, were warning that if the truth about their mass surveillance went public, it could cause a major backlash.

    • Senate shamefully gives NSA green light on phone records spying

      The Senate charade this week allowing the National Security Agency to continue spying on Americans’ phone records would be laughable if it didn’t have such dangerous implications for both the tech industry and consumer privacy.

    • Why did NSA reform and the Keystone pipeline fail in the Senate?

      It has been a week since the lame duck Congress reconvened in Washington, and two major bills have already seen defeat.

      Senate Republicans flexed their muscles Tuesday, voting not to advance the USA Freedom Act, which would have scaled back the reach of surveillance by the National Security Agency and the FBI.

    • EX-NSA AND GCHQ SPOOKS SHOWCASE INTEL PLATFORM

      Darktrace, a cybersecurity company comprised of ex-spooks from NSA and GCHQ, has revealed details of its new behavioural analytics software.

    • A Terrified Nation Gets the NSA Debate It Deserves

      The worst, most specious, most dishonest piece of poorly constructed propaganda in this particular bill’s debate, though, came in the form of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal op-ed by twin terror titans Michael Hayden and Michael Mukasey entitled—prepare yourself for this—”NSA Reform That Only ISIS Could Love.” How indicative of the sober, journalistic quality of discussion surrounding this issue!

    • Wish You Had NSA’s Cool Spying Toys? Now You Can — As Low-Cost Open Hardware

      Alongside the disturbing revelations of indiscriminate, global surveillance carried out by the NSA and its Five Eyes friends, leaked documents have shown another side of modern spying: the high-tech gadgets created for the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations group, discussed by Techdirt at the end of last year. As its name suggests, these are targeted operations, and with many of the serious concerns about the use of blanket surveillance removed, it is hard not to be impressed by the ingenuity of the devices. Of course, a natural question is: could the rest of us have them too? According to a detailed and fascinating article in Vice’s Motherboard, the answer turns out to be “yes”.

    • This Legal Loophole Could Let NSA Spy On Americans Long After The Patriot Act Expires

      After the defeat of NSA reform in the Senate Tuesday, expectation for a change in government surveillance powers shifted to next year when the PATRIOT Act expires, taking bulk spying authority with it unless the Obama administration exploits a legal loophole that could expand the collection of Americans’ phone records far into the future.

    • NSA Phone Data Collection Could Go On, Even if a Law Expires
    • The Failed NSA Reform Bill Was a Sham Anyway

      “Data handshakes,” call records, and the NSA’s back door into telecom companies reveal that the Senate’s plan to protect Americans’ privacy would have done no such thing.

    • NSA reform: Not dead yet

      What happened on the Senate floor On Tuesday night is what often happens on the Senate floor: Senate surveillance hawks rounded up just enough votes to procedurally kill a bill that should have been brought up under a genuinely open process. As my Cato colleague Julian Sanchez noted, the bill–if it had been enacted in its current form–really wouldn’t have changed much as far as how the National Security Agency (NSA) operates its signals intelligence (SIGINT) programs. Therein lies both the problem and the opportunity.

    • Uber scandal: Worried about NSA spying? It’s Silicon Valley billionaires you need to watch

      Have you complained about Uber? Ever done anything shady? Then there’s a good chance that an Uber executive thinks it’s a good idea to go after you and your family, with “fair game” practices straight out of the Scientology playbook.

    • Rival steps into Uber row with ‘NSA’ accusation
    • Flywheel raises $12 million to take on Uber’s ‘army of mini assh*les’
    • What Does The NSA Think Of Cryptographers?

      A recently declassified NSA house magazine, CryptoLog, reveals some interesting attitudes between the redactions. What is the NSA take on cryptography?

      The fact that a 1994 issue of CryptoLog, an NSA internal newsletter, existed as a declassified document has come to light. Intially it reached the attnetion of specialists Shtetl-Optimized, the blog of everyone’s favourite quantum computer expert, Scott Aaronson. But it is too good not to publicise more widely.

    • AP Exclusive: Some in NSA warned of a backlash

      Dissenters within the National Security Agency, led by a senior agency executive, warned in 2009 that the program to secretly collect American phone records wasn’t providing enough intelligence to justify the backlash it would cause if revealed, current and former intelligence officials say.

      The NSA took the concerns seriously, and many senior officials shared them. But after an internal debate that has not been previously reported, NSA leaders, White House officials and key lawmakers opted to continue the collection and storage of American calling records, a domestic surveillance program without parallel in the agency’s recent history.

    • Yet more NSA officials whisper of an internal revolt over US spying. And yet it still goes on

      The NSA’s snooping programs aren’t just controversial to the public, it seems: we’re reminded other staff at the US agency also objected to prying into Americans’ phone records.

    • The good news about the ‘death’ of NSA reform: surveillance supporters may have dug their own grave

      Snowden haters may have blocked the USA Freedom Act, but the clock is ticking before the law that justifies vacuuming your phone records blows up in the face of newly conservative Washington

    • American Surveillance Now Threatens American Business

      A new study finds that a vast majority of Americans trust neither the government nor tech companies with their personal data.

    • Local judge unseals hundreds of highly secret cell tracking court records

      Stingray docs unsealed by North Carolina judge could prompt wave of new appeals.

  • Civil Rights
  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Dear Senator Ted Cruz
    • 4 Stupid Conservative Arguments Against Net Neutrality, Debunked

      The comparison, so stupid on so many levels that it isn’t worth debunking, is not just an isolated example of partisan idiocy. In recent weeks, Republican operatives have trotted out a steaming heap of similar malarkey in an effort to ward off a popular revolt against the cable industry, which wants to charge big companies such as Google or Netflix for faster internet service while slowing it down for the rest of us. Here are four other ludicrous conservative arguments for why the Federal Communications Commission shouldn’t prevent this from happening:

    • FCC chief proposes hiking schools’ Internet subsidy by 62 percent

      U.S. communications regulators are expected to vote Dec. 11 on whether to boost funding for the largest U.S. educational technology subsidy program, E-Rate, by 62 percent to help connect more schools and libraries to high-speed Internet.

    • EU to water down net neutrality rules

      European Union governments are considering less stringent rules on how internet service providers manage traffic on their networks, according to a draft seen by Reuters, a move that could be welcomed by Europe’s large telecoms operators.

    • Leaked documents show net neutrality may be in danger!

      On 14 November 2014, the Italian Presidency presented amendments to the Telecommunications package for comment by the Member State delegations. We are hereby making the document and its annexes publicly available (Note and addendum). These documents show that the Italian Presidency is now back-pedalling on meaningful net neutrality protections – having previously made some much more meaningful and positive suggestions. It presented a “principles-based approach” to the Member States “in order not to inhibit innovation and to avoid” having an outdated regulation in the future. In reality, all the text would do is add confusion for freedom of communication and online innovation.

    • This Infographic Shows The Enemies Of An Open And Free Internet
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • When the Time Comes We’ll Need to Step Up the Fight Against TPP’s Secret, Anti-User Agenda

      If you missed our live teach-in yesterday on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and its restrictive, anti-user provisions, you can still check out the video of our discussion. It’s embedded below. We invited experts from digital rights groups from several TPP countries—all members of the Fair Deal Coalition—and we discussed the various ways this massive, secret trade deal threatens our rights on the Internet and over our digital devices.

    • TTIP Update XLIII

      The problem of data flows, and why CETA’s ISDS is a disaster

    • Copyrights
      • The creative class is not screwed: Here’s how the Internet helps artists make a living

        The fundamental problem that “traditional media” is having is that its business was structured around expensive, resource-intensive undertakings and paying large dividends to investors. Newspapers bought purpose-built buildings in central New York and Tokyo; radio networks took over enormous towers next door to them; record labels built multimillion-dollar studios and employed titanic numbers of administrators, talent scouts, managers, and so forth.

        The net makes it possible to do things more cheaply. For one thing, the actual production costs for media have fallen drastically. It’s not easy to do professional typesetting, but if you know how to do it, you can make it happen with the computer under your arm, and you can pocket the difference between the cost of a computer you already own and the cost of a huge typesetting shop full of specialized equipment that cost a million dollars twenty years ago. The hyperexpensive shots that George Lucas stuck into “Star Wars” in 1977 can be rendered cheerfully and without complaint by a used PC that your local high school is throwing away. That doesn’t mean you, personally, know how to make it produce something as cool or lucrative as Lucas did, of course—but if you can, you have a lot more options than Lucas did back then for making money from it, because the cost is so low.

      • U.S. Government Seeks to Keep Megaupload Money Because Kim Dotcom Is a ‘Fugitive’

        On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice told a Virginia federal judge that Kim Dotcom and cohorts have no business challenging the seizure of an estimated $67 million in assets because the Megaupload founder is evading prosecution.

      • U.S. Brands Kim Dotcom a Fugitive, ‘Spies’ on Others

        The U.S. Government is trying to get its hands on the assets of Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants through a civil lawsuit, with the DoJ branding them fugitives and asking the court to dismiss their claims . The new filing further reveals that law enforcement continued to tap conversations of some defendants months after the raids.

      • U.S. Copyright Alert System Security Could Be Improved, Review Finds

        This week the Center for Copyright Information released a new external review of its evidence gathering procedures. Overall the six-strikes Copyright Alert System gets a positive evaluation. However, more can be done to prevent false positives and protect the collected evidence from internal threats such as rogue employees.

      • Swedes Prepare Record File-Sharing Prosecution

        Swedish authorities say a case they are preparing against a so-called piracy ‘scene’ member will be their biggest prosecution to date. The man is accused of infringing copyright on more than 2,200 mainly Hollywood movies, with each carrying potential damages of up to $2.69m per movie.

      • Torrents Good For a Third of all Internet Traffic in Asia-Pacific

        New data published by the Canadian broadband management company Sandvine reveals that BitTorrent can be credited for one-third of all Internet traffic in the Asia-Pacific region during peak hours. That’s an increase of more than 50% compared to the previous year.

      • Artists and Labels Now Sue Chrysler Over CD-Ripping Cars

        The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies has launched a new lawsuit targeting Chrysler for allowing car owners to rip CDs without paying royalties. The lawsuit follows a similar class action suit against Ford and General Motors, which is still ongoing.

      • If Illegal Sites Get Blocked Accidentally, Hard Luck Says Court

        In a case before the High Court, UK ISPs have raised concerns that ‘innocent’ sites might be taken offline due to them sharing IP addresses with other sites detailed in blocking orders. While sites will get a chance to complain, those operating illegally will get no sympathy from the High Court.

Boycotting Micro Focus International

Sunday 23rd of November 2014 05:24:12 PM

Summary: Microsoft’s “Partner of the Year” is taking over the patron of SUSE and all of Novell’s remains, except the patents (Microsoft has already grabbed those)

EIGHT YEARS AGO this site was born. This was motivated by the Microsoft-Novell deal. The deal heralded the beginning of Microsoft’s patent assault on GNU/Linux and Free software — an assault that continues unabated to this date.

Novell’s virtual assets are now being passed to a new entity called Micro Focus, which is Microsoft's "Partner of the Year". This has just been finalised [1] and there is press coverage about it [2,3], including some interviews [4,5,6,7], reviews [8,9], and analysis from the OSI’s President [10,11] amid SUSECon 2014 [12] that showcased and emitted some technical announcements [13-16] (not many, mostly one that’s actually significant).

SUSE has certainly received a lot of coverage over the past week (while my wife and I moved between homes), but one must remember that SUSE is not free from Microsoft; if anything, now it is more Microsoft-tied than before. People must continue to boycott SUSE, not just Novell (or what’s left of it). Attachmate did not give SUSE full independence, only symbolic. Just look who manages SUSE. It’s not independence. With Microsoft’s “Partner of the Year” in charge of SUSE we can expect to see the same pro-Microsoft agenda and sickening relationships inside SUSE (OOXML, Hyper-V, Mono and so on). It’s about Microsoft controlling and profiting from GNU/Linux, hoping to put Red Hat or Debian at peril.

For those who are still in denial over Micro Focus’s role in SUSE, read [17]. Microsoft’s “Partner of the Year” is now in charge.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Micro Focus International Completes Merger with the Attachmate Group
  2. Free as in Beer, SUSE News, and 7 Years Uptime

    The SUSE parent company Attachmate and Micro Focus merger is now complete and Sam Varghese has several interviews from SUSECon today.

  3. Wake Up Lil SUSE, Minty Goodness, and Caine Mutiny
  4. Lock-in a danger to open source, says SUSE official

    If there is one aspect in the open source world that can prove detrimental, it is companies that indulge in lock-in to the extent possible, according to Gerald Pfeifer, senior director of product management at SUSE.

    Speaking to iTWire on the sidelines of SUSECon 2014, the third annual conference of the Germany-based SUSE Linux, which is being held in Orlando, Florida this week, Pfeifer (lictured above) did not mention any companies by name, though he did make a passing reference to Oracle.

  5. Enterprise desktop has its own niche, says SUSE project head

    One aspect of GNU/Linux that does not figure much in discussion when commercial Linux is the topic, is the desktop. SUSE Linux is no exception.

  6. A brilliant mind: SUSE’s kernel guru speaks

    The man who in every sense sits at the nerve centre of SUSE Linux has no airs about him. At 38, Vojtěch Pavlík is disarmingly frank and often seems a bit embarrassed to talk about his achievements, which are many and varied.

    He is every bit a nerd, but can be candid, though precise. As director of SUSE Labs, it would be no exaggeration to call him the company’s kernel guru. Both recent innovations that have come from SUSE – patching a live kernel, technology called kGraft, and creating a means for booting openSUSE on machines locked down with secure boot, have been his babies.

  7. Chasing the Z/Linux market: A SUSECon attendee’s tale

    When Roger Williams wanted to increase the market for ShadowDisk/Z, a product made by the little Gainesville-based company he works for, he headed to meet the experts, those at SUSE Linux which has something like three-quarters of the market for all Z/Linux customers.

  8. OpenSUSE 13.2 review – Back in the game!

    Finally. After three and a half years of sucking, openSUSE is a top performance once again. This is an excellent all-around distribution, and it comes with some neat solutions both over and underneath the hood. You can’t deny its amazing looks, and with the 13.2 release, performance, functionality and stability are back.

    Now, openSUSE 13.2 has its problems. The screenshot thingie, subvolume handling, missing Samba printing option, plus that one inexplicable crash, which is probably the most serious item. And because of it, the final grade shall be lower. But all combined, the woes pale against the quality and general goodness radiating from this edition. Really, if you ignore the initial setup, and the one time freeze, there’s very little not to like about openSUSE 13.2. I’m pleased. And feeling somewhat fanboyish. But this is good.

    Anyhow, if you’re looking for a non-Ubuntu family release that can offer you a great blend and balance between looks, modernity, functionality, stability, and performance, then you have several worthy candidates to consider. CentOS is one of them, and now openSUSE has returned, mighty and strong, and sanity has been restored into the distro world, where for many years, there’s been an almost total dominance by Mint and Ubuntu, with everyone else lagging behind. OpenSUSE 13.2 is definitely worth testing and exploring. Final grade, something like 9/10, and this is with a whole 0.5 point taken off. So it’s good. Do it.

  9. Meeting the green lizard of openSUSE 13.2

    In the first week of November the openSUSE team launched the latest version of its operating system. The project’s release announcement highlights such new features as faster boot times, KDE 4.14, GNOME 3.14 and a technical preview of KDE’s Plasma 5.1 desktop. The new version of openSUSE has undergone some visual changes and presents us with new artwork and a more streamlined system installer. The distribution also offers updated versions of Linux containers and Docker. The project’s configuration panel, YaST, underwent a major re-write last year and should now be faster. The project claims better integration with systemd too. Prior to installing or upgrading to openSUSE 13.2 I recommend reading the project’s release notes where we can find a list of known problems and workarounds.

  10. Suse jumps into software-defined storage

    As its steady post-Novell recovery continues, Suse moves into enterprise software-defined storage

  11. Little Suse wakes up, Linux shakes up
  12. SUSECon 2014: Day One Highlights

    SUSECon 2014 kicked off in Orlando this week, with the company stressing an air of open communication and transparency with its partners befitting its commitment to the Linux open source platform.

  13. SUSE Linux Enterprise Live Patching Now Available

    “In addition to increasing service availability by updating critical kernel patches without rebooting, and reducing the need for planned downtime by patching frequently, SUSE Linux Enterprise Live Patching preserves security and stability by applying up-to-date patches,” said Matthias Eckermann, senior product manager for SUSE. “It’s a fully open source solution that features zero-interruption interaction with the system and a familiar deployment method. It’s ideal for mission-critical systems, in-memory databases, extended simulations or quick fixes in a large server farm.”

  14. Ceph-starter Suse to enter software-defined storage market
  15. SUSE Brings Live Patching and Ceph Storage to Its Enterprise Linux

    Enterprise Linux vendor SUSE today made a series of announcements at its annual SUSEcon event, providing users with new patching, storage and cloud capabilities.

  16. Philae Space Probe Landed on the Comet with the Help of SUSE

    The human race has sent a small probe called Philae to land on a comet and got it right the first time it tried. As expected, a Linux operating system has been involved in the success of the mission.

  17. SUSE’s new owner does not see much change ahead

    The new owner of SUSE Linux does not intend to move the company from Nuremberg or change its method of operation in any substantial way, the chief executive told iTWire on Tuesday.

    [...]

    The deal has been ratified and is expected to be sealed on Thursday, 20 November.

Vesna Stilin’s Remarks on Željko Topić: Part XI

Sunday 23rd of November 2014 04:43:51 PM

Summary: Vesna Stilin speaks about her confrontation with EPO Vice-President Željko Topić, who has criminal lawsuits against him in Croatia

THE Croatian link in the EPO is causing some serious problems for the EPO, based on E-mails that we have received and will say more about in the future. The corporate media has joined the campaign to reform the EPO (potentially by letting heads roll) and people who are the victims of Željko Topić, the man faces criminal charges in Croatia, also speak out. This is important because he is the EPO Vice-President and simultaneously he is in the midst of very serious abuses that can potentially land him in prison.

Writing to IP Watch under the heading “Right of Reply”, Vesna Stilin, a famous victim of Topić, published the following item. To quote IP Watch and to give Stilin a voice that she deserves:

I refer to the article “EPO Internal Strife Spills Over Into European Parliament, Human Rights Court”, published by Intellectual Property Watch on 15 May 2014 (IPW, European Policy, 15 May 2014) and hereby request to exercise my right of reply by way of publication of the following statement:

Although the article is to be commended for giving a useful overview of the controversy surrounding Mr. Topić’s appointment as Vice-President of the EPO, several of the statements attributed to Mr. Batistelli and to Mr. Topić contain factually incorrect and/or misleading information. Moreover, in at least some cases it appears to me that these statements are damaging to my reputation and good name.

The claim attributed to Mr. Batistelli and Mr. Topić in the published article to the effect that the allegations which I have raised about Mr. Topić amount to a “smear campaign” is incorrect. My efforts in this regard represent a legitimate attempt to obtain legal redress, inter alia by means of judicial review, with respect to matters concerning my statutory rights as a citizen and as a former employee of the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). The legal actions which I have initiated in this regard have been widely reported on in the Croatian media in recent years and as far as can be determined, Mr. Topić has not made any request for a correction of the aforementioned Croatian media reports which he would clearly have been entitled to do under Croatian law if the allegations contained in these reports amounted to nothing more than a baseless and unfounded “smear campaign”.

The statement attributed to Mr. Topić according to which “Vesna Stilin was dismissed by the government of Croatia, not by me, from her position as my assistant at SIPO” is formally correct in so far as the power of appointment and dismissal of Assistant Directors of the SIPO lied with the Croatian Government. However, the statement is grossly misleading insofar as it obscures the key role which Mr. Topić played in the process of my dismissal from the SIPO. The fact of the matter is that the Government took its decision to dismiss me from my position based on Mr. Topić’s recommendation as set forth in two letters which he wrote to the former Croatian Prime Minister, Mr. Ivo Sanader: one of which was placed on the official record (abolishing Copyright and Related Rights Department, without any explanation, with less employees which has been contrary to the recommendation made by independent EU experts in field of Copyright and Related Rights and contrary of Topic’s statement in CARDS program No. 96022 and No. 60343 ) and a further version which was treated as “strictly confidential” with the evident aim of preventing disclosure of its contents to me (contrary to the Law on Access to Information) and which led to me filing a lawsuit for criminal defamation against Mr. Topić.

The statement attributed to Mr. Topić concerning my unsuccessful candidacy for the position of Director-General of the SIPO and his comments concerning the legal proceedings which I subsequently initiated in relation to this matter, including the remarks referring to “absurd complaints” with the ECtHR, amount to an unacceptable misrepresentation and trivialization of the facts of the matter which may be summarized as follows:

I applied for the position of Director-General of the SIPO in 2008. My application was submitted after Mr. Topić had unilaterally, contrary to the legal procedure, abolished the SIPO’s Copyright and Related Rights Department and thus my post as Assistant Director in charge of that Department. If Mr. Topić had not engineered the abolition of my previous post – which was used to justify my dismissal from the SIPO – I would have had no reason to apply for the position of Director-General.

In the decision Us-4201/2008-6 from September 24th 2008, the Administrative Court rejected my complaint against Mr. Topić’s re-appointment as Director General stating inter alia that I could not apply for the position because there had been no public vacancy notice. In subsequent proceedings concerning the same matter before the Constitutional Court, I submitted evidence that the lack of a public vacancy notice, in concrete situation was contrary to the applicable statutory requirements and the practice followed by the previous Government.

In the same complaint filed with the Administrative Court (Us-4201/08 from April 21th 2008), I pointed out inter alia that, at the time of Mr. Topić’s re-appointment, the Government had not been properly informed about certain actions on the part of Mr. Topić which prima facie appeared to constitute criminal acts under Croatian law, including a covert agreement with the former Minister of Science (in charge of inspection under SIPO, who suggests appointment/dismissal of Director General of SIPO to the Government), for whose benefit Mr. Topić had apparently arranged provision of an Audi 6 vehicle at the expense of the SIPO.

Following the various allegations which I raised in this regard, the Government demanded an official inspection of the SIPO in January 2009. However, this official inspection was never carried out as has since been confirmed in writing by the competent Ministry of Economy and Enterprise to which supervisory responsibility for the SIPO had been transferred. In an official Memorandum of February 3th 2012 which was signed by Mr. Topić himself, the nonexistence of the inspection of SIPO since 2008 was confirmed. In the absence of a proper independent official inspection into these matters by the competent Government Ministry, the assertion attributed to Mr. Topić according to which the allegations which I raised “have been rejected after examination as entirely unfounded” does not stand up to scrutiny.

Following the dismissal of my complaint by the Croatian Constitutional Court, which is the final domestic instance, I proceeded to submit an application to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (filed August 20th 2011) in accordance with my statutory entitlement as a citizen of a signatory state to the European Convention on Human Rights. This action is still pending before the European Court of Human Rights.

The article also contains a statement attributed to the EPO President Mr. Battistelli according to which neither the AC nor Battistelli knew of the allegations against Topić at the time of his appointment “but since the charges have been made public they have all been cleared” and a further statement attributed to Mr. Topić according to which “There are no civil proceedings or criminal charges against Topić in Croatia, and he has provided a required certificate showing no criminal record”. These statements are misleading because prior to Mr. Topic’s appointment to the EPO a second criminal lawsuit against Mr. Topic was pending in Zagreb. The evidence relating to this fact was communicated to the President of the EPO and the Administrative Council by the end of 2013 (Minutes of proceedings before the Criminal Court of Zagreb, May 4th 2010, No. K 163/09). This second criminal lawsuit against Mr. Topic was mentioned in two judicial decisions before the Criminal Court of Zagreb (May 31th 2010 No.K-163/09 and May 23th 2011 No.K-238/10) concerning the “defamation” version of my dismissal. Furthermore I also communicated the evidence of further criminal charges against Mr. Topić filed with the Croatian Public Prosecutor (January 9th 2013) to the President of the EPO and the Administrative Council. Under Croatian law, a criminal record is not registered until after a final court judgment has been made. As the aforementioned cases against Mr. Topić are still pending and have not yet reached that stage, this is the reason why he was in a position to provide the EPO with a certificate showing no criminal record.

The statement attributed to Mr. Topić according to which a private lawsuit which I initiated against him for alleged slander was dismissed with an order that I should pay all costs and legal fees is incorrect because suggests the issues underlying this lawsuit have been finally resolved before the Croatian courts which is not the case. The fact of the matter is that although the lawsuit in question was dismissed by the Appeal Court after being two times remitted back to the first instance from the Appeal Court, the decision of the Appeal Court forms the subject of a pending complaint which I submitted to the Croatian Constitutional Court on April 14th 2014. I have also lodged an appeal concerning the matter of costs which is likewise pending. Finally, there is a pending criminal complaint in which I challenged the veracity of the testimony provided by a witness who gave evidence in Mr. Topić’s favour and on which the impugned judgment relied. From these facts it should be evident that legal proceedings in relation to the above lawsuit are still ongoing before the Croatian courts and have not yet been resolved in a final manner contrary to what is implied by the above-mentioned statement of Mr. Topić.

I would be grateful if you could arrange for my response to be published in a suitable format and linked to the original article.

Stilin’s letter is framed as a rebuttal, but it actually serves to reinforce some of the other things published in the original article. Stilin preceded her article with the following words: “this letter is published under the legal right of reply of an individual referenced in a previous article published in Intellectual Property Watch. It is published upon her request.”

Being a statement from Stilin herself, we deem it quite an accurate representation of the Željko Topić affair. In the coming weeks we are going to publish more material highlighting what happened in SIPO and the role played by Željko Topić.

Links 22/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1, Ubuntu MATE

Saturday 22nd of November 2014 10:38:51 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Adobe Brings Open Source Veteran on Board to Lead Mobile
  • OPNFV Adds Chinese Telecom to Open Source NFV/SDN Partnership

    The Linux Foundation’s OPNFV project won a significant endorsement this week from China-based ZTE Corporation, which stands to increase the global reach of the open source network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) initiative.

    Based in Shenzen, China, ZTE is a major manufacturer of telecom…

  • Elasticsearch Uses Power of Community for Open Source Analytics [VIDEO]

    How has the ELK stack emerged to become a leading open source data analysis platform?

  • Google’s Kubernetes Project May Have One Giant Beneficiary: Google

    Recently, I covered the news that Google has released Kubernetes under an open-source license, which is essentially a version of Borg, which harnesses computing power from data centers into a powerful virtual machine. It can make a difference for many cloud computing deployments, and optimizes usage of container technology. You can find the source code for Kubernetes on GitHub.

  • Events
    • Weighing in on SCALE & More…

      Get those proposals in: The Call for Papers for the 13th annual Southern California Linux Expo — SCALE 13x, for those of you keeping score at home — ends in less than three weeks from today. Specifically, the CFP ends at midnight Pacific Standard Time on Dec. 10, but it doesn’t mean you have to wait until Dec. 9 to submit (even though many of you will…).

  • SaaS/Big Data
  • Databases
    • Splice Machine Debuts Relational Database for Big Data Storage

      Splice Machine, which is building a scale-out database storage system for Hadoop that it said dwarfs traditional SQL database performance yet runs on commodity hardware, has now released version 1.0 of its relational database platform for big data.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
  • CMS
    • WordPress 4.0.1 Updates Millions of Sites for 8 Flaws

      Millions of open-source WordPress site owners received email notifications over the last 24 hours advising them of a site update. The new WordPress 4.0.1 update provides multiple security fixes and data-hardening improvements to help secure WordPress sites. The WordPress 4.0.1 update is the first incremental update for WordPress since the 4.0 release in September. The 4.0.1 update provides 23 bug fixes and an additional 8 security vulnerability fixes.

  • BSD
    • systemd to Stay, FreeBSD Millionaires, and Fedora Love Letter

      Today was another busy day in Linuxville. The results of the Debian general resolution on decoupling systemd are in and Phoronix.com is reporting that FreeBSD just received a million dollar donation. Joe Casad says TOR isn’t as anonymous as users think and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols comments on the latest Top500 supercomputer list. Ubuntu 15.04 gets a projected release date and Sam Varghese interviews new SUSE owner head. Danny Stieben explains the differences between Unix and Linux and Jamie Watson test drives KaOS Linux.

    • Updated! – FreeBSD Foundation Announces Generous Donation and Fundraising Milestone

      The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce it has received a $1,000,000 donation from Jan Koum, CEO and Co-Founder of WhatsApp. This marks the largest single donation to the Foundation since its inception almost 15 years ago, and serves as another example of someone using FreeBSD to great success and then giving back to the community. Find out more about Jan’s reasons for donating below.

    • FreeBSD Receives A Million Dollar Donation

      The FreeBSD has received their largest ever single donation: $1,000,000 USD.

      The FreeBSD Foundation received the million dollar gift from Jan Koum, the CEO and co-founder of the WhatsApp messaging application that was acquired by Facebook earlier this year.

    • FreeBSD Foundation Receives $1 Million from WhatsApp CEO

      The FreeBSD project has received a massive $1 million (€800,000) donation from one of the WhatsApp co-founders, Jan Koum, and the developers are more than thrilled at the fact that they have secured their future, at least for a while.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Openness/Sharing
  • Programming
    • Python explained

      There’s a lot of focus on Python for programming on the Raspberry Pi. Is this because it’s the only way to program the Raspberry Pi?

Leftovers
  • Security
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • The Trident Test

      The Greens, Plaid Cymru and the SNP have female leaders and are anti-Trident, a symbol of their broad radicalism.

    • War Works–So Why Isn’t It Working?

      What makes a seemingly innocuous question like that noteworthy is the assumption that airstrikes are supposed to “work” in the first place.

    • Palestinian Shot by Israeli Troops at Gaza Border

      Now, very few people read the full text of every story in any newspaper, so as an editor you have to ask yourself what a headline conveys on its own. I expect that most people who only read that headline assumed that the Palestinian referenced was an adult–and likely had a different reaction to the story as a result.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • More Than 300 A Year: New Analysis Shows Devastating Impact of Pipeline Spills

      ‘There’s no way to get around the fact that oil and gas pipelines are dangerous and have exacted a devastating toll on people and wildlife,’ attorney says

    • Elephants are being wiped out, but not enough people seem to care

      I asked a senior environmental journalist the other week what he thought was the single most under-reported environmental issue. He replied, unhesitatingly, wildlife poaching. “It’s as if the wildlife is just being hoovered out of Africa,” he said. “In the 1960s people campaigned around whales and wildlife. The Daily Mail actually put rhino poaching on their front page. But now there just doesn’t seem to be the same level of interest.” Dr Paula Kahumbu, a wildlife campaigner based in Kenya, echoes his sentiment, but adds that the UK public is still more active than most areas of the world. “Not a single African leader has spoken out on this,” says Kahumbu. “The silence is deafening.”

  • Finance
    • Amid Wall Street’s ‘Dazzling Successes,’ Workers Left in ‘Dark Corners’

      Though the claim is ubiquitous in business reporting, many readers still probably marvel that the financial crisis is long over, given that their own crisis is not–stagnant wages and reduced benefits being some of the ways the economy has been “reshaped.”

      But it’s easy to feel that the Times’ David Gelles thinks a rise in “mega-mergers” means just what his most prominent source, Mark Zandi from Moody’s, says it does: “It reflects the economy, and it also portends better times ahead. Deals don’t get done unless people feel pretty good about the future.”

      Ah, but which people, exactly? Does the fact that “CEOs are feeling pretty good about things” mean that the majority of US households–which rely on paychecks–should feel good too?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
  • Privacy
    • TOR Network Isn’t So Anonymous

      A recent research project claims it is possible for a well-funded and powerful entity such as a nation-state to identify up to 81% of people using the so-called TOR anonymity network. The technique relies on traffic analysis and depends on injecting a traffic pattern, such as an HTML file, then monitoring traffic at the exit node.

    • 90 Percent Of The World Will Have A Mobile Phone By 2020, Ericsson Predicts

      Ericsson Mobility Report finds no hiding place for technophobes, with 2.7bn mobile phones currently active

    • US Senate falls two votes short of shutting down NSA phone spying

      The US Senate voted against reining in the NSA’s spying powers tonight, shooting down a proposal that was supported not just by intelligence reform groups, but by the director of the NSA himself.

    • ACLU of California’s Smart About Surveillance Report: A Smart Way to Fight Local Spying

      Think you know how your local cops are spying on you? The ACLU of California’s “Making Smart Decisions About Surveillance: A Guide for Communities” is a new resource that can help you figure out what surveillance technology is being deployed in your community—and what you can do about it. And as we’ve pointed out, while we hope everyone continues to let Congress know that it’s time for real changes to spying by federal agencies, the use of surveillance techniques and technology by local law enforcement is an area ripe for grassroots organizing.

    • USA Freedom Act Fails To Move Forward… For Incredibly Stupid Reasons

      So, this evening the USA Freedom Act failed to get the 60 votes it needed for cloture to “advance” to a full floor vote. It ended up at 58 to 42. There was a short debate prior to the vote, and the debate was… stupid. Yes, there are some legitimate concerns with the USA Freedom Act, mostly in that it doesn’t go far enough. But that’s not what the debate was about at all. You had a bunch of bizarrely clueless Senators, many of whom insisted they were against the act because it would take the bulk collection out of the hands of the NSA and put it into the hands of the telcos — with the claim being that the NSA could keep that data safer. Senators Susan Collins and Saxby Chambliss kept harping on that point. But it’s flat out wrong. Because the whole point of this is that the telcos already have this data. The debate is between “telcos have the data” and “telcos and NSA have the data.” Arguing that telcos-only is inherently more likely to lead to a privacy violation makes no sense at all.

  • Civil Rights
    • What Rightwing Media Gets Wrong about the Reagan and Bush Immigration Orders

      Republicans and right-wing media are in panic mode. They’ve spent weeks describing President Obama as an “emperor” or a “monarch” for using his executive authority to grant a reprieve to some undocumented immigrants — and are now faced with evidence that Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush did the same thing.

    • Nurses Urge Leniency Over Refusal to Force-Feed at Guantánamo Bay

      The case of a Navy medical officer who refused to force-feed prisoners on a hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay prompted the country’s largest nursing organization on Wednesday to petition the Defense Department for leniency, citing professional ethical guidelines that support the officer’s decision.

    • Uber Executive Suggests Digging Up Dirt On Journalists

      A senior executive at Uber suggested that the company should consider hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on its critics in the media — and specifically to spread details of the personal life of a female journalist who has criticized the company.

    • Fmr. deputy Tom Fallis arrested on murder charge nearly three years after shooting death of wife

      Former Weld County sheriff’s deputy Tom Fallis was arrested on Tuesday on a charge that he allegedly murdered his wife on New Year’s Day 2012.

    • [Old] Evans detective accused of covering up evidence to hide murder as suicide

      The Evans Police Department has reopened an investigation into the death of a 28-year-old woman after FOX31 Denver found evidence an Evans police detective misstated or omitted key evidence to disguise a murder as a suicide.

    • Lollie Sues Cops, City For St. Paul Skyway Arrest

      Three St. Paul police officers involved in the January arrest of a man — who recorded the incident and claimed he was being targeted because he was black — have been cleared of allegations that they used excessive force, police announced Friday.

      But Christopher Lollie’s still angry, and he’s now suing the city and the three officers for stopping and arresting him without probable cause, for false imprisonment and for using excessive force.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • A crowd funded Lantern will bring Internet to ‘dark’ places

      There first consumer device is the Lantern, it acts as a receiver that is sent data from a satellite and the content is stored on it so you can access the information from you computers, similar to how a NAS device works. Websites that will be accessible from the device will be Project Gutenberg which hosts public domain book, Open Source Ecology which hosts designs for various items ranging from tractors to 3D printers, and Wikipedia. In addition to those will be news sites include Deutsche Welle.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Watch out, Uni of NSW students – pirate at Uni and you’ll get fined!

        If you’re a University of NSW student pirating stuff over uni Wi-Fi, and you’re not taking precautions like SSL or a VPN or something to hide your activities, the uni will fine you up to $1000 – ouch!

      • Why Hollywood Director Lexi Alexander Sides With “Pirates”

        Lexi Alexander is one of a few Hollywood directors to have come out in support of file-sharers. While her opinions may not help her career, she believes that certain four letter acronyms are a bigger threat to the movie industry than the young brights minds previously jailed for file-sharing. Today we ask her why she decided to get involved in this heated discussion.

Links 21/11/2014: Problems at Debian, Jolla Tablet

Friday 21st of November 2014 12:58:38 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Security considerations for Enterprise Linux

    To maintain an application infrastructure that meets continually expanding business demands, organizations need more than a maintenance and support contract. Organizations need a proven, scalable, reliable, and secure enterprise platform.

  • About Linux Weekly News – 17th November 2014

    This week’s news is a tale of two stories.

    During the week Groupon tried to take the name from under the toadstool of the GNOME desktop and Microsoft became Linux friendly.

    Groupon provides low price coupons and deals for goods and services such as meals at restaurants, haircuts, hotel stays and spa days.

  • Linux Vs Unix: The Crucial Differences That Matter To Linux Professionals

    Lately, we hear a lot about Linux — how it’s dominating on servers, how it makes up a large chunk of the smartphone market, and how it’s becoming a highly viable option on the desktop. But Linux didn’t appear out of thin air; before the creation of Linux, and before the rise of Windows, the computing world was dominated by Unix. And for those who don’t know, Linux is very similar to Unix. Since we’ve already looked at the differences between Linux and Windows, what exactly is the difference between Linux and Unix?

  • Desktop
    • Purism seeks funding for 15-inch free software Linux laptop
    • Librem 15: Sexy Open Source Laptop Wants Your Money

      That free software refers to the fact that you have the liberty to change the laptop’s operating system. The Librem 15′s OS is based on the GNU operating system, which, with the relevant know-how, you can modify the code of to make it work however you want. Clearly, this notebook is for the tinker/programming enthusiast who wants a lot of control over the way their computers work.

    • Purism Librem 15 Linux laptop blends high-end hardware with totally free software

      We don’t normally cover crowdfunding campaigns on PCWorld, but sometimes one comes along that’s just begging for a deeper look. The Purism Librem 15 notebook is one of those.

      Purism, which launched a drive on Crowd Supply on Wednesday, is seeking at least $250,000 to make a high-end Linux laptop that only runs free, or open-source, software. This means no annoying closed-source drivers—or “binary blobs”—necessary to make the hardware work. Make no mistake—this is a serious, slick Linux notebook, not a bit of kit for hobbyist hackers.

    • LISA’14 – Are We Making Linux Too Easy?

      OpenLMI is designed to support this. The LMI CLI is task oriented, simple, and easy to use. All you really need to use the LMI CLI is “LMI help”. The LMIShell scripts are designed to do useful work, to be easy to read, and to be modified for specific tasks.

  • Server
  • Audiocasts/Shows
    • Linux Outlaws Ride Into the Sunset

      Now, Lynch and Scherschel — Dan and Fab to their relatives, friends, and a wide listener base — are at the crossroads. Recently, with the episodes well into the 360s in number, they decided to finish out the year with Linux Outlaws and ride off into the sunset.

  • Kernel Space
    • In praise of Linux Software Raid

      It may interest some of you to know that we in Fedora Infrastructure use Linux Software Raid (mdraid) on all our servers local disks.

    • Introducing 300,000 People to Linux

      We’ve focused a lot of attention in recent years on making Linux learning materials more accessible to more people. This year, for example, together with our partner edX, we were able to offer our Intro to Linux course for free to nearly 300,000 people from all over the world. While the United States ranks first in the number of students taking Intro to Linux, it only represents about 30 percent of all class participants. The top geographies include the U.S., India, United Kingdom, Brazil and Spain. Linux attracted more people with this one course than the number of people who attended all seven games of the recent World Series combined.

    • Predicting the Future of Training for Linux, Open Source Software

      How much demand is there for Linux training? Enough to make the Linux Foundation’s inaugural MOOC online training course, “Introduction to Linux,” the most popular offering on the edX platform. So the open source advocacy group has pointed out in a memo that reveals much about the present and future of open source education.

    • Thoughts on Systemd

      Some folks say that systemd is the svchost.exe of Linux, saying it is essentially making
      Linux more like Microsoft Windows. It is a monolithic entity that hides what’s happening
      behind the scenes. It stomps on the Unix Philosophy (again) of doing one thing and
      doing it well. With systemd we have one large Swiss army knife of a tool that isn’t
      very good at anything in particular.

    • Kernel prepatch 3.18-rc5
    • Automotive Grade Linux Adds Industry Partners for Open Source Cars

      Cars may still not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Linux and open source, but the Linux Foundation’s Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) project continues to expand. This week, it announced three new members, bringing the total number of industry partners and academic collaborators to 46.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Is The Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Fast Enough For Steam On Linux Gaming?

        While I generally don’t recommend Nouveau for Linux gaming systems due to the re-clocking still being a huge work-in-progress to allow the graphics cards to effectively operate at their designated clock frequencies / performance states, I decided to run some fresh tests using the Linux 3.18 kernel and Mesa 10.4-devel to see where things stand today. For the tested Kepler graphics cards that support re-clocking, I tested them at their maximum obtained re-clocked frequencies where the system was stable — generally still below their rated core/memory frequencies.

      • More Radeon Driver Changes Queued For Linux 3.19

        Just one week after the bulk of the Radeon DRM changes for Linux 3.19, another round of updates were submitted for DRM-Next.

    • Benchmarks
      • Ubuntu 14.10 vs Kubuntu 14.10 vs Xubuntu 14.10 vs Lubuntu 14.10 vs Ubuntu GNOME 14.10: A Comparison

        So, in nutshell, I found Lubuntu 14.10 to be the best in performance among the Ubuntu distros. It offered me trouble free experience throughout my usage and I found it to be really stable. Anyone looking for a really really efficient distro and those with low powered machines can safely bet on Lubuntu 14.10

        Based on my experience, I found Ubuntu GNOME to be the second best offering very decent performance with a very refined desktop environment. I thought Xubuntu would occupy this position but unfortunately, a bit of instability in the distro marred my experience. I would safely recommend Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 to users with modern laptop with or without touchscreen over the rest of the four distros.

        As usual Kubuntu is the slowest of the lot and consumes the most power. You can expect the least battery life from Kubuntu. However, the desktop environment (specially the Plasma 5 upgrade) is mind blowing! Those with powerful modern machines and less usage of battery power can safely choose Kubuntu as it seemed to be the most exciting of the lot.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Kubuntu 14.10 review

        KDE has improved in may respects since my last review of Kubuntu, so it’s fair to say that Kubuntu itself has improved. Muon Discover has improved too, so kudos to the developer. However, Kubuntu is not the best KDE-using distribution around. ROSA Desktop, for example, offers many more features than most KDE-using desktops. That said, Kubuntu 14.10 should be good enough for most users. If you would like to take it for a spin on your computer, installation images are available for download from here.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 8th June 2014
      • Kubuntu CI: the replacement for Project Neon

        Many years ago Ubuntu had a plan for Grumpy Groundhog, a version of Ubuntu which was made from daily packages of free software development versions. This never happened but Kubuntu has long provided Project Neon (and later Project Neon 5) which used launchpad to build all of KDE Software Compilation and make weekly installable images. This is great for developers who want to check their software works in a final distribution or want to develop against the latest libraries without having to compile them, but it didn’t help us packagers much because the packaging was monolithic and unrelated to the packages we use in Kubuntu real.

      • KDE Applications 14.12 Beta 3 Is Now Ready for Testing

        The KDE Project developers have announced that the 14.12 Beta 3 version of KDE Applications has been released and is now ready for download and testing.

        Now that this particular branch of the KDE project is getting closer to the release, some distributions and developers have added the packages to some repositories. Before trying to test it you should check if it’s already available in the local repos.

        “Today KDE released the beta of the new versions of KDE Applications. With dependency and feature freezes in place, the KDE team’s focus is now on fixing bugs and further polishing. With various applications being based on KDE Frameworks 5, the KDE Applications 14.12 releases need a thorough testing in order to maintain and improve the quality and user experience,” wrote the developers on the official website.

  • Distributions
    • The Case Against Rolling Release Linux Distros

      Over the past year, I’ve spent more time than ever using rolling release Linux distributions. My experiences have been positive and negative, depending on the distribution and system updates applied.

      Having tried a number of different rolling release distros, I’ll be speaking frankly in this article about a solid case against rolling release distributions. But before you jump to any conclusions, it’s worth reading the entire piece to better understand where I’m going with this.

    • Reviews
      • Kubuntu 14.10 review

        KDE has improved in may respects since my last review of Kubuntu, so it’s fair to say that Kubuntu itself has improved. Muon Discover has improved too, so kudos to the developer. However, Kubuntu is not the best KDE-using distribution around. ROSA Desktop, for example, offers many more features than most KDE-using desktops. That said, Kubuntu 14.10 should be good enough for most users. If you would like to take it for a spin on your computer, installation images are available for download from here.

      • Cinnamon Desktop Spices Up Makulu Linux

        The Makulu Cinnamon Debian Edition 1.1 marks a new path for Makulu. This latest release has numerous new features that could make it a top competitor against the Linux Mint Cinnamon edition.

      • Hands-On: New KaOS Linux Release

        I wrote about KaOS Linux some time ago, when the 2014.06 release came out. I had it installed on a couple of my laptops, and I have been using it occasionally since then. It is a rolling release distribution, so if you already have it installed, you don’t need to get these new ISO images and install them, you just have to make sure that you are current with all the latest patches and updates.

      • Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 “Utopic Unicorn” Review: Fantastic performance and upgradable to GNOME 3.14

        I must say, GNOME 3 has come up a long way from being really unintuitive desktop environment to a more intuitive and efficient one. I really like what I see in Ubuntu GNOME 14.10. It is aesthetically very refined, intuitive, supports multi-touch (with GNOME 3.14 upgrade) and is very efficient. Plus, the customization options are good and you don’t need to be a techno wizard to make those changes.

        Though the distro has a support period of 9 months, you can safely try it out. I bet you’ll definitely enjoy it. Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 is definitely recommended from my side with the 2nd highest score I gave to any GNOME or GNOME forked (Cinnamon, Mate, Unity, etc.) distro that I reviewed during 2013-14.

    • New Releases
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
    • Arch Family
    • Slackware Family
    • Red Hat Family
      • Red Hat Sets New 12-Month High at $63.33 (RHT)
      • Red Hat play bets big on earnings

        Somebody’s putting all their chips on Red Hat’s next quarterly report.

      • Red Hat play bets big on earnings
      • Scientific Linux 7 – Poorly executed

        Apart from CentOS, another distro I have really been waiting to explore is Scientific Linux. With its solid RedHat base plus extra software, it could be an excellent contender for the ultimate desktop distro. And so our quest continues.

        What will amaze you even more is my decision to try the Gnome edition. Yup, after some three years of ignoring Gnome due to its stupidity, I decided to give it another try, just for fun, to see what gives. Maybe it can redeem itself, or be redeemed by Scientific Linux. Either way, it’s an interesting test.

      • Cue The SmackTalk–Red Hat And Mirantis Face Off

        Red Hat, that long time central hub of all things good and true and open source is appearing more and more to live up to its reputation of being, as one industry commentator put it, the Oracle ORCL -0.82% of open source. And that didn’t refer to buying islands and sponsoring yacht races either. The company has had something of a recent history of, if not playing dirty, at least being a little aggressive in its commercial activities. A recently regular target of its attacks has been Mirantis, itself no stranger to controversy and storms.

      • Red Hat Calls CloudFoundry the Unix of the Cloud

        In the world of cloud Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) technologies, there are now two primary open-source competitors, the Red Hat backed OpenShift and the Pivotal backed CloudFoundry.

        The CloudFoundry PaaS project was officially launched by VMware back in 2011. In 2012, then VMware CTO stated that his vision was for CloudFoundry to be, “the Linux of the cloud.”

      • Red Hat’s FeedHenry Gets A Dose Of Collaboration

        The idea of cross-team collaboration is spreading its tentacles to almost every part of the enterprise. The latest area to get a dose of the collaboration goodness is development and, in particular (at least this week) mobile development. A couple of days ago it was Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) vendor Kinvey announcing teams functionality and today it is the turn of FeedHenry, the formerly independent MBaaS vendor that is now a part of Red Hat RHT -0.44%. Red Hat is announcing a new version of FeedHenry that includes functionality aimed at helping development teams collaborate over their projects.

      • Fedora
        • The State of the Cloud Working Group and Fedora 21 Cloud

          As Fedora 21 approaches, let’s take a bit to examine the state of the Cloud Working Group (WG) — or, more importantly, the releases that are coming your way very soon! With Fedora 21 you’ll have two distinct Fedora “flavors” from the Cloud WG: ready to run images for public and private clouds, and Fedora 21 Atomic Host. And, to pique the buzzword crowd’s interest, here’s a spoiler – we’ll be talking about Docker.

        • Fedora 21 Is Doing Its Final Freeze Tomorrow
        • The Fedora Developers Plan To Switch Firefox With Epiphany, Somewhere Between The Releases Of Fedora 23 And Fedora 25
        • Fedora Infrastructure Freeze for Fedora 21

          Yesterday, Fedora Infrastructure went into “freeze”. This happens at the same time in the Fedora release cycle as the development freezes.

          First, what is a ‘freeze’? We mark all our hosts (with ansible variables) as either freezing or non freezing. Hosts are assumed to freeze unless they specifically are marked non freezing. If a host is non freezing, there’s no change for it. We could update it’s configuration in puppet or ansible, reinstall it, apply updates, reboot it, whatever we normally would like to do with it. However, if the host is frozen, we have to follow a new process to make any changes on it: A patch or description of the change has to be mailed to the fedora infrastructure list and get two people to approve it that are in the sysadmin-main or releng groups.

        • A response to Infoworld’s confusing article about Fedora

          The article dives into the productization of Fedora 21 that hopes to deliver a better experience for workstation, server, and cloud users. The article suggests that Red Hat drove Fedora development and that the goals of Red Hat and Fedora are closely aligned.

        • OPW Fedora Badges Intern… A Year Later!

          I can’t believe that my internship started almost a year ago! I participated in the seventh session of the Outreach Program for Women working on Fedora Badges. Time has gone by so quickly! Since my internship ended in March I have continued to stay active on the Fedora Badges project, creating more badge designs and helping others design their own. To date I have designed or collaborated on 97 badge designs in the Fedora Badges system.

        • There is no Substitute for #1. Fedora 21 Workstation. Linux Done Right.
        • Fedora Council Elections Start Today
    • Debian Family
  • Devices/Embedded
    • Intel’s MICA fashion bracelet features Linux and 3G data

      Intel and Opening Ceremony unveiled a $495, Linux-based “MICA” smart bracelet with 3G data, Facebook notifications, navigation, and “intelligent reminders.”

      Intel teased its MICA (My Intelligent Communication Accessory) bracelet at the launch of the Edison module in September. Yet, while it is similarly based on Linux, the MICA appears to be too small to house the Edison. The MICA is co-designed by fashion design house Opening Ceremony, which along with Barneys, will begin selling the smart bracelet in early December for $495 via their retail and online venues.

    • 3 amazing Raspberry Pi gadgets we can’t wait to get our hands on

      There are some seriously cool Raspberry Pi-powered products on the way. Here are 3 that make us want to throw money at our screens…

    • Eben Upton: Google’s Eric Schmidt helped inspire Raspberry Pi Model A+ price cut

      While the Raspberry Pi has always been cheap, the Foundation didn’t rest on their laurels with the Model A+ price. In fact, Google’s Eric Schmidt had a hand in making it cheaper…

    • Phones
      • Tizen
      • Android
        • Google’s Massive New Android Update Just Launched, But Some Users Are Already Reporting A Big Problem

          Some users are reporting that there’s an issue with Google’s new Android 5.0 Lollipop update that prevents them from sending text messages, according to a thread in Google’s official forum for tracking bugs in Android (via Phone Arena).

          In the original complaint, one user says he or she is unable to send SMS text messages. The message would appear to be sent, but the receiver would never actually get the text.

        • Run Linux on Android – part1

          If you can’t wait for the launch of the official Ubuntu smartphones (the first models are supposedly due later this year), don’t want to shell out for a new phone anyhow, or would prefer to use a different version of Linux on a portable device, there is an alternative. It’s possible to run a variety of popular Linux distros on a standard Android smartphone or tablet – everything from a simple BusyBox toolset right up to a full distribution with a desktop environment. You don’t even need to root your phone for some of the methods that we explore in this feature.

        • Run Linux on Android – part 2
        • After Divorcing Microsoft, Nokia Reveals The N1, An Android Tablet Hitting China First

          “They said Nokia is dead,” Nokia’s head of devices Sebastian Nyström, pictured below, said as he started out his presentation today. “I say, they couldn’t be more wrong.” After the N1, there will be more products to come.

        • Free of the Phone Business, Nokia Delivers a Slick Android Tablet

          What ended up happening, though, was that Nokia sold its handset business to Microsoft and has been pursuing its own Android-focused initiatives, including delivering a brand new $250 Android tablet. It’s dubbed the N1 and is seen here.

        • 15 Android Apps That Will Make Your iPhone Friends Jealous

          One of the best things about Android is that apps have a lot more freedom compared to those found on iPhones.

          Today, most apps launch on both Android and iOS, but the most interesting Android apps are exclusive to Android because they do something Apple wouldn’t allow.

        • Gallery: Android 5.0 Lollipop, before and after

          Android 5.0 Lollipop—and the app updates that were released with it—changed the look of Android quite a bit. Google’s new design style, called “Material Design,” makes the OS more colorful, more consistent, and even more of a “light OS” than before. While we covered the OS in detail in our Lollipop review, we thought it would be fun to take a look at how the apps have changed during the journey from KitKat to Lollipop. In the above gallery, we’ve rounded up before-and-after shots of the major changes.

        • 16 Things You Can Do In Android Lollipop That You Couldn’t Do In KitKat

          After what feels like a long time since we saw the L Preview first appear, Google is now rolling out the final version of Android 5.0 Lollipop to its existing Nexus devices, and it also appears on the brand new Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 gadgets. Get to know the best version of Android yet by working through this selection of tips and tricks, covering all of the new features, major and minor, that are built into the operating system.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets
      • Jolla Tablet running open-source Sailfish OS based on Linux is already a smashing hit

        The Jolla Tablet is different from any slate currently on the market, and what makes it stand out is its operating system. More specifically, Jolla aims to take on Android and iOS with its own Sailfish OS, which is an open-source platform based on Linux.

      • Can the Linux-based Jolla Tablet take on Android and iOS?

        The Jolla Tablet runs Sailfish OS. Oddly enough, Sailfish OS can apparently run Android applications too, which might make it more appealing to current Android tablet owners who want to switch to a different mobile operating system without entering the Apple ecosystem.

      • This is The Linux-based Tablet You’ve Been Dreaming Of

        Like the Ubuntu Edge campaign that spectacularly failed/spectacularly smashed funding records, Jolla has turned to the crowdfunding site IndieGoGo to help make their Android-rivalling slate a bona fide reality.

        In barely a few hours Jolla has already surpassed its $380,000 target. And while that goal may sound cheap when compared to the $32 million Canonical sought to raise, the hardware the Fins are offering is anything but:

      • Finnish Sailfish/Android tablet rivalry heats up

        Jolla quickly hit the Indiegogo goal for its first Sailfish-based tablet, with a quad-core Intel SoC, while Nokia tipped a similar Atom-based Android slate.

      • Linux Tablet Developer Crowdfunds Mobile App Tools for Ubuntu, Android, iOS

        An outfit called the Demski Group has launched a Kickstarter campaign to support development of MAGE, a platform for building mobile apps without having to write code. On its own, that would not be interesting news—there’s plenty of similar stuff out there already—but what makes it noteworthy is Demski Group is the same company is behind the UT One, the Ubuntu Linux-based tablet whose release could come as early as next month.

      • Jolla’s Open Source Tablet Gets Crazy Crowd Love

        Jolla, the company set up by former Nokia executives to keep the Meego operating system alive, raised more than US$841,000 on Wednesday, the first day of its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

Free Software/Open Source
  • 5 open source projects making the world better you should know

    One of the strengths of the open source community has been its ability to bring concentrated effort to bear on big problems. When tragedy strikes, or a pressing need arises, there are groups of people who gather together to attempt to solve the problems as a community.

  • How SanDisk is Becoming an Open Source Player

    Earlier this year SanDisk committed to becoming an open source player, created an open source strategy office and joined the Linux Foundation. Since then, the flash storage company has begun contributing to open source projects in the three main areas of its business: mobile, enterprise and hyperscale computing, and consumer products, said Nithya Ruff, director of the open source strategy office at SanDisk in an online presentation yesterday.

  • ClusterHQ Unveils Data Storage Tools for Docker Virtualization

    ClusterHQ says it has taken a major step toward making Docker, the open source, container-based virtualization platform, viable for enterprise production use in major public clouds including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Rackspace (RAX), thanks to integration of its Flocker data-storage tool with Docker Fig.

  • Google Leverages Old Technique with New Open Source Tool

    With what is being heralded as a look back to 1960s approaches to surveys and statistics, Google has announced a new open source project that seeks to collect data about users’ computers without invading their privacy. Dubbed RAPPOR, it is available on GitHub, and has been announced at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, which is often a venue for announcements of new technologies.

  • Twitter emoji: 5 lessons for effective open source

    An emoji library may seem an unlikely source of best practices for open source. But Twitter’s careful work provides an excellent guide

  • Events
    • Join Us at Vault: The Linux Storage and Filesystem Conference

      We’re currently accepting submissions for Vault, The Linux Foundation’s Linux storage and filesystem conference, happening this March 11 and 12 in Boston, MA. The call for proposals will remain open until December 1. Submit a session proposal and register to get your space.

  • Web Browsers
    • 5 Best Open Source Web Browser Security Apps

      The Web browser acts as the gateway for myriad online services these days. Computer security problems are far from solved, and technology advances provide new ways for malware to infect our devices and enter our business networks. For example, smartphones and tablets offer fresh new fields for malware—and its malicious cousin, “malvertising”—to exploit.

    • Cisco open sources security

      Cisco this week announced the availability of an open source security framework designed to harness big data analytics to combat data loss.

    • Chrome
  • SaaS/Big Data
  • Databases
    • Dwight Merriman Part III: Vendor Lock, Forks & Desktop FOSS

      MongoDB’s Dwight Merriman and I were about thirty minutes into our conversation at All Things Open. Lunch time was approaching and I was definitely hungry. Merriman was getting a little antsy, ready to wrap it up, but there were a few more things I wanted to talk about first.

  • CMS
    • WordPress 4.1 Beta 1

      This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site just to play with the new version. To test WordPress 4.1, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”). Or you can download the beta here (zip).

  • Education
    • Software engineering in schools

      In iterative development, the process of designing, coding, testing and evaluating becomes a cycle rather than once and for all. Most modern software development fits into this pattern or a variant of it, hence new versions of software are regularly released which fix bugs that only became apparent once the software was released, or implement new features, in response to customer suggestions, technical innovations or market pressures. Often developers will release an early ‘beta’ version of their software, perhaps to a limited number or quite openly, to get help with testing and evaluating the software before committing to an official final release. This is common practice in open source development, where the users of the software are positively encouraged to help with fixing as well as finding bugs or adding code for new features themselves.

    • The digital open source library of tomorrow

      Too many people ask, “What is the future of libraries?” and not, “What should the future be?” A book that we must read is: Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries For Today’s Complex World. If we don’t expect more of libraries, we’re not going to see libraries change. We have to change the frame of mind that libraries belong the directors—they actually belong to the people and they should be serving the people.

  • Business
    • Semi-Open Source
      • Enterprise adoption of open source is on the rise

        It is no surprise that reducing operational IT expenditures, while simultaneously increasing the level of security and software capabilities, is a top priority for most enterprises.

        Open source software, which uses an open development process, is proliferating across the globe given the advantages it offers over traditional forms of software. Open source solutions can be modified and adapted to fit the needs of various companies – something that’s often not possible with proprietary software.

  • Funding
  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GNU Guix 0.8 released

      We are pleased to announce the next alpha release of GNU Guix, version 0.8.

      The release comes both with a source tarball, which allows you to install it on top a running GNU/Linux system, and a USB installation image to install the standalone operating system.

    • Free Software, Free as in Beer

      Conversely, for all the talk of political freedom, the usual free cost has also encouraged the spread of free software. Corporate startups, developing nations, the impoverished, the handicapped — all have gravitated towards free software despite their doubts, because the free price was the definitive argument.

  • Licensing
    • Dispelling the myths of open source licences

      Misconceptions surrounding the rights and obligations provided by open source software in the enterprise have fueled the spread of fear, uncertainty and doubt. A better understanding of the role open source licensing will help organizations realist the full potential of open source investments.

  • Openness/Sharing
    • How to channel the spirit of farming into your open food code

      In the local food movement, open source principles are very much like the open pollinated seeds that farmers keep to grow next year’s crops. When farmers use their own seeds, they are in control of breeding and conserving for the future. In contrast, closed source and software as a service (SaaS) providers are more like the companies with patented seeds who exert control over farmers by requiring them to purchase new seeds each year, sometimes even controlling the sale of the harvested crops.

    • How do you envision better food in your neighborhood?

      As a society, we are far removed from our food sources and even further from understanding how they work. Most of us interact with the food system as unconscious consumers, wandering supermarket aisles or restaurant menus with little thought about where the food comes from, how it will affect us, or the consequences of how it was raised or produced. As such, we are in no position to make change for the better.

    • 4,100 new jobs through wildly successful NC farm grant program
  • Programming
  • Standards/Consortia
    • Interview with OpenStand Advocate Tim Berners-Lee: The Internet Turns 25

      From the beginning, the Internet was built on a set of open development principles, that are now recognized as the OpenStand Principles. As the Internet turns 25 this year, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, sat down to reflect back on the first days of its existence. In the below video, he discusses how far web information has come, and how much more ground there is left to cover.

    • Too many IoT standards, or too few?

      Interoperability and the easy exchange of data is a major concern in the buildup of the Internet of Things (IoT). To ensure those attributes, a set of commonly accepted standards will be needed. So, do we need to create those standards, or do we already have enough standards and simply need to pick and choose?

Leftovers
  • Security
    • Security advisories for Thursday
    • Let’s Encrypt Effort Aims to Improve Internet Security

      Cisco, Akamai, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla and others join together in a new effort to expand cryptography use on the Web.
      In the quest for improved user security on the Internet, encryption is a key tool, though it hasn’t always been easy to use and deploy. Today, a group of organizations—including Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai, Electronic Frontier Foundation, IdenTrust and researchers at the University of Michigan—joined with the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) to announce the Let’s Encrypt initiative.

    • Synchronize Your Life with ownCloud

      Like most families these days, our family is extremely busy. We have four boys who have activities and appointments. My wife and I both have our own businesses as well as outside activities. For years, we’ve been using eGroupware to help coordinate our schedules and manage contacts. The eGroupware system has served us well for a long time. However, it is starting to show its age. As a Web-based groupware system, it’s pretty well polished, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Kontact or Thunderbird. Also, my wife finds that she needs to access her calendar from her Android phone, and eGroupware just isn’t very mobile-friendly. Sure, we can set up calendar synchronization, but eGroupware seems to have added synchronization as an afterthought, and it really doesn’t work as well as we’d like.

    • Lock Down Network Security with Newly Open Sourced Tools

      In recent months, without a lot of fanfare, major technology firms have been open sourcing extremely sophisticated security tools. A number of these are flying under the radar, but they are worth knowing about. Here are some of most useful tools to be open sourced recently by Google, Facebook and Netflix.

    • Manage own CA with Debian
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • No Debate on War
    • The Weight of a Death

      At least 28 people have been killed in US drone strikes in Afghanistan in November so far. Several of those were involved in tribal fighting against the Afghan government, but at least five were small children and total non-combatants were probably in double figures. These deaths do not go reported at all in western media. Cameron and Miliband both started at Prime Minister’s Questions today by condemning the killings in Jerusalem. No chance they will ever mention the ongoing US murders in Afghanistan, let alone the three Palestinians killed by Israelis lately, including a taxi driver lynched by Israeli illegal settlers.

    • PBS to Treasury Official: ‘Why Can’t You Just Bomb Them?’

      pbs-warner-isisPBS NewsHour correspondent Margaret Warner (11/18/14) had on the US Treasury official, David Cohen, who’s in charge of trying to counter ISIS by cutting off its finances. But it seems like it’s hard to talk to an elite media host for very long before they start fantasizing about blowing things up.

    • Right-Wing Media Falsely Claim That Museums Need To Give Up Their Guns

      Conservative media outlets are misleadingly promoting the report that a Washington state museum will return some firearms on display to their owners following the passage of a new background check initiative, while ignoring statements from law enforcement that there is no legal reason to remove the guns.

      On November 4, a majority of Washington voters passed Initiative 594, a proposal to require a background check on nearly all gun sales in the state, with some exceptions for temporary transfers and transfers between family members.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • Edelman TransCanada Leak: Aggressive PR for Keystone Alt

      Leaked documents expose a plan by Edelman for TransCanada to launch an “aggressive” American-style policy/politics PR campaign to persuade Canadians to support a Canada-based alternative to the stalled Keystone XL pipeline to get controversial tar sands oil to refineries in eastern Canada for export.

    • No, Tar Sands Oil Isn’t Inevitable

      With the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline heating up, pundits and editorial pages are finding it hard to figure out why on earth anyone would be opposed to a massive new fossil fuel extraction project. Keystone opponents are the “tea party of the left,” according to Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank (11/17/14).

  • Finance
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • Billionaires Push ALEC Agenda in Minneapolis School Board Election

      Calling for a “reboot” of public education in Minnesota, hundreds of thousands of dollars flowed into the Minneapolis school board elections this November to try ousting an incumbent and to usher in an education agenda that resembles that of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

  • Privacy
  • Civil Rights
    • Ferguson Protests And Fox News’ Contempt For Free Speech

      Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on Monday issued a state of emergency and activated the National Guard in anticipation of the grand jury announcement about whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson will be charged with the August 9 shooting of Michael Brown.

      The unarmed teen’s controversial death sparked weeks worth of protests, many of which were met with overwhelming police force. The killing also inspired a national debate about police shootings and law enforcement’s relationship with black Americans. (The Department of Justice is currently investigating the Ferguson police department.)

    • Should Obama Use Executive Action on Immigration? Ask Ronald Reagan

      Yet, the Reagan administration nonetheless declared it would exercise its “discretion by allowing minor children to remain in the United States even though they do not qualify on their own, but whose parents (or single parent in the case of divorce or death of spouse) have qualified” for legalization under the law.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Does Commissioner Oettinger Want to Discard Net Neutrality?

      Günther Oettinger, Digital Commissioner made his first post on his blog in which he clearly introduces garanteeing internet access in rural zones as justification to give in to the demands of the Telcos to consolidate or increase their unwarranted earnings. Although the author has tried to avoid mentioning Net Neutrality, this blog post reveals his intended strategy regarding this principle.

    • Is the EU Giving Up on Net Neutrality?

      After EU Commissioner Oettinger’s outrageous blog post, the bad news keeps on coming from the front of Net Neutrality. The principle, strongly defended by the Members of the European Parliament on April 3rd is worryingly jeopardized by an agreement currently discussed within the Council of the European Union. Governments are about to give in to the demands of big telecom operators by creating Internet fast-lanes whose access will be sold to dominant online services like YouTube or Netflix. Such unacceptable move, amounting to discriminating communications of all EU citizens, must be denounced by our representatives at the EU Parliament!

    • Net Neutrality in EU Under Attack *Again*

      This gratuitous element has the fingerprints of lobbyists all over it. It looks like yet another demonstration of how destructive and selfish the copyright industry is. As we’ve seen time and again – with the UK’s Digital Economy Act, for example – it cares little what collateral damage it causes to anyone else in its blinkered obsession with protecting outdated and broken business models. The latest bad news on net neutrality is a further reason why thoroughgoing European copyright reform is urgently required, and needs to be radical enough to minimise the malign influence of the music and publishing industries in the future.

Links 18/11/2014: Linux 3.18 RC 5, New DigiKam

Tuesday 18th of November 2014 05:29:53 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Server
    • 4 ways Docker is remaking Linux

      When containers first appeared in Linux, the natural assumption was that it would be yet another of many technologies that Linux has assimilated.

      But then came Docker, a novel use of containers to make apps portable and self-contained. It’s set Linux vendors scrambling, both to to rethink the way containers are implemented in Linux and to see how Linux can be reworked around Docker’s application-centric model.

      Here’s how four major enterprise Linux distributions are readying themselves for a Docker-ized future.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 3.18-rc5

      Hmm. We had a very calm -rc4, and I wish I could say that things
      continued to calm down, but… Yeah, rc5 is clearly bigger than rc4
      was. Oh well.

      It’s not like it’s entirely out of line, though – rc4 was unusually
      small. And the changes aren’t particularly odd or scary: about 55%
      drivers (networking, gpu, cypto, thermal, sound), 15% arch updates
      (xtensa, x86, arm[64], parsic, sparc), and the rest is a mostly a mix
      of netwoorking, filesystem, VM, documentation and tracing updates.
      The changes tend to be fairly small and clear, and about a third are
      marked for stable.

      So we still have a few pending issues, but things look fairly normal.
      We’ve still got a few weeks to go before final, and the more you can
      test, the better off we’ll be.

      Linus

    • Linux 3.18-rc5 Is A Bit Heavy On Changes
    • Linux Kernel 3.18 RC5 Is Out, Bigger than Linus Torvalds Expected

      A fresh Release Candidate for Linux kernel 3.18 has been announced by Linus Torvalds and it looks like it’s a little bit bigger than expected. In any case, things are on track and the development powers on.

    • Linux extremists owe Debian systemd maintainer an apology

      I’ve been aware of the systemd nastiness for quite a while, but I must admit that I was shocked to read about his resignation this morning. He has apparently been a long-time Debian developer and for him to be forced to this resignation by vicious attacks is really just beyond the pale. Fortunately, he is not leaving Debian altogether but is simply resigning as a systemd maintainer.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • digiKam Software Collection 4.5.0 released…

        The digiKam Team is proud to announce the release of digiKam Software Collection 4.5.0. This release includes bugs fixes and switch as optional some dependencies as libkipi, libkface, libkgeomap dedicated respectively to support Kipi plugins, Face management, and Geo-location maps. By this way we will be able to port digiKam to KF5/Qt5 step by step.

  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • Release Notes for Grml 2014.11

        This Grml release provides fresh software packages from Debian testing (AKA jessie). As usual it also incorporates up2date hardware support and fixes known bugs from the previous Grml release.

      • Black Lab Professional Desktop 6.0 Service Release 2 Available Now

        Today we are announcing the immediate availability of Black Lab Professional Desktop 6.0 SR2. SR2 (Service Release 2) is a collection of all security updates for October and November 2014.

    • Screenshots
    • Debian Family
      • Debian Developer Resigns From The Systemd Maintainership Team
      • Resignation from the pkg-systemd maintainer team

        I hereby resign from the systemd maintainer team in Debian. Please remove me from Uploaders on the next upload. You’ve been an awesome team to work with, but the load of the continued attacks is just becoming too much.

      • on leaving

        I left Debian. I don’t really have a lot to say about why, but I do want to clear one thing up right away. It’s not about systemd.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • LoCo stands for Local Community

            LoCo is for Local CommunityThe other day there was a trivial blog post that came across Planet Ubuntu which proclaimed that a certain LoCo in the Ubuntu Community was no longer going to use the LoCo term because they felt it was offensive in spanish.

          • Developer Creates Gorgeous New Radial Menu for Ubuntu Touch – Video

            Most of the work done by third-party developers for the Ubuntu Touch platform consists of new apps and scopes and very few tackle stuff that is much deeper embedded in the operating system, but that has now changed.

          • Ubuntu Kylin 14.10 Utopic Unicorn : Video Overview and Screenshot Tours

            Ubuntu Kylin 14.10 Utopic Unicorn is latest release of Ubuntu Kylin based on ubuntu 14.10 that used Unity desktop environment. As official ubuntu flavors it released brings with improved stability along with newly added features which provides better user experience.

            According to Official announcement of Ubuntu Kylin 14.10. In this release, Ubuntu Kylin team has improve the system stability and add more new features, which provide you a better user experience. The Linux Kernel is updated to Ubuntu Kernel 3.16.0-17.23 based on 3.16.3 upstream version and Unity is 7.3.1. This release upgrades Ubuntu Kylin Software Center to 1.1.3, Youker Assistant 1.3.1, Youker Weather 2.1.2, Youker Calendar 1.0.0, Youker Fcitx 1.0.0, Sogou IM 1.1.0, Kuaipan 2.0.0 and Wiznote 2.1.12. Meanwhile, we have done lots of optimization and enhancement for you, with new slideshow and new wallpapers from 14.10 Wallpaper Contest!

          • Ubuntu 32-Bit ISO Images Are Not Going Away Anytime Soon

            Numerous Linux distributions have stopped providing 32-bit images for their users, but most of those OSes don’t have large user bases. It’s easy to say that you don’t support 32-bit apps and that you won’t build 32-bit images when there are not too many users for your operating system, but things change when that distro is Ubuntu.

          • UbuTricks 14.11.17 Released with Support for 6 New Apps, 20 Updated Apps

            This new version adds support for six new applications and 20 apps with updated versions. The new applications are Exaile, Yarock, GNOME Commander (Trusty), SimpleAudioPlayer, Kid3 and Fotoxx (DEB).

          • Ubuntu Server 14.10 Utopic Unicorn : Released with OpenStack 2014.1
          • Flavours and Variants
            • The Ultimate Ubuntu MATE Installation Guide

              In all truth this guide will show you how to install Ubuntu MATE on a computer with a standard BIOS. If you are looking to install on an EFI based system then a future guide will cover that.

            • Ubuntu MATE VS Lubuntu On An Old Netbook

              Up until last week the netbook was running Lubuntu 14.04 and before that it was running Lubuntu 13.10 and before that Lubuntu 13.04. I have tried a number of different distributions on this netbook over the years but Lubuntu has been the go to distribution because of its performance.

              I was preparing to write about the latest Lubuntu 14.10 release but instead decided to give the new Ubuntu MATE edition a go after seeing it in action as a live distribution on my far more powerful Toshiba Satellite Pro.

            • Linux Mint 17.1 with Cinnamon 2.4 Looks Beautiful [Overview, Screenshots, What's New]

              The next Linux Mint Cinnamon edition is knocking on the door and a Release Candidate was put out yesterday. This release will bear the version number 17.1, and it is codenamed “Rebecca”. In this overview I will look at the release candidate for Mint 17.1, focusing on the main new features in Cinnamon, which ships the latest bleeding edge version in Rebecca, and will accompany it with screenshots for the desktop and the new changes that went into it.

            • Linux Mint 17 RC “Rebecca” MATE Is Out and Features Full Compiz Support – Screenshot Tour

              Linux Mint 17 RC “Rebecca” MATE has been officially announced and the ISOs have been made available for download. It’s a big improvement over the previous 17 version and it will be a very interesting update.

            • Linux Mint 17.1 RC “Rebecca” Cinnamon Officially Released – Screenshot Tour

              Clement Lefebvre has launched the first Release Candidate for Linux Mint 17.1. “Rebecca” Cinnamon is now available for download and comes accompanied by a major update for the desktop environment.

            • An Unofficial Lubuntu 14.10 Image Using LXQt Has Been Released

              As you may know, the LXDE developers have started porting their desktop environment to Qt, under the name of LXQt. It uses PCManFM-Qt, a version of PCManFM, re-written in Qt, as the default file manager and Openbox as window manager and has support for Wayland, a new display server developed by Red Hat.

              Recently, a Lubuntu image using LXQt as default has been released, to allow the users to test the new desktop environment.

  • Devices/Embedded
    • Phones
      • Tizen
        • Samsung Gear S now on Amazon India for Rs 27,900

          As we wait for the first Tizen based Smartphone to be released in india, the Samsung SM-Z130H, it seems like that is not the only Tizen based device to make a splash in the Indian subcontinent. The Samsung Gear S has gone on sale on Amazon India for Rs 27,200 which is about $452 USD. It is felt that this is quite a steep price for the average Indian to pay, but generally speaking this is not the cheapest of devices and is at the current cutting edge of technology.

      • Android
        • Review: Android’s ‘Lollipop’ upgrade is sweet

          Android’s sweet new “Lollipop” flavor brings security improvements and easier ways to view and respond to notifications. The new Google software for mobile devices even lets you lend out your phone without worrying about a friend circulating your naked selfies on Facebook.

          I tested Lollipop on Google’s new Nexus 6 phone, released this week. I can only hope that as other phones get the upgrade over time, it will be as good as what you get on the Nexus.

          It’s a shame many phone manufacturers that use Android believe they have to tweak it extensively to make the software theirs and not Google’s. Mucking around with it only confuses customers and steers app developers toward working on iPhone versions first, where there is more uniformity — and thus incentive to incorporate the latest features.

          Assuming your phone maker is running Lollipop in its purest form, here’s what you’ll get:

        • How to Build Awesome Android Apps

          Over the years, Android has grown from a simple mobile operating system to a highly profitable ecosystem. Among the people to benefit from this growth are Google, gadget manufacturers (Samsung, HTC, Motorola), and millions of app developers from around the world. With multiple ways to monetize applications, Android has been responsible for turning many small-time developers into the “rich geeks” who have made quite a following for themselves in the pop culture.

        • Lollipop OTAs Have Started For The Nexus 5, 6, 7 (2012 And 2013), 9, And 10

          Can you feel it? It’s in the air. Of course I’m referring to the impending arrival of Android 5.0 on Nexus devices. It’s starting now with a full jump to Lollipop for devices that are currently on KitKat, and a small bug fix update for new devices like the Nexus 9.

Free Software/Open Source
  • 14 fabulous open source gifts for the holidays

    Firefox OS for mobile runs as the backbone of the Alcatel One Touch Fire and the ZTE Open smartphone. They are the first of their kind based entirely on open web standards. Emily Price for Mashable tells us, “That means everything on the phone is running in a web browser… Mozilla is not going after the type of customers who are obsessed with the screen size and type or processing power of their device. It’s targeting customers who just need to communicate with the world around them, and it’s giving them a much more feature-rich way to do so.”

  • Can India break the pattern and do open source right?

    The government of India has recently announced a big push into open source as a part of its Digital Initiative. For a country of more than a billion people and thousands of government organizations, I see this as a long overdue move that will hopefully boost the faltering free and open source software communities in India.

    On the face of it, this initiative should not be written off as yet another bureaucratic exercise into nothingness, because the program seems to be headed by an able administrator, RS Sharma, who was a part of the massive Universal ID (UID) project executed by the government of India. That project has issued bio-metric based IDs to around 700 million Indians. Mr. Sharma and has also managed to build an impressive and tasteful attendance application based on the UID infrastructure.

    From my experience in the free and open source software industry, I think if public money could be used to either build a public or private asset, it should be used to create public assets.

  • FLOSS And Government In India

    FLOSS is the right way to do IT for everyone. Governments may feel FLOSS is unnecessary/different/unusual at their peril.

  • Web Browsers
  • SaaS/Big Data
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Licence fine forces town to drop move to alternative office tools

      The Dutch city of Arnhem has, for now, given up searching for alternatives for its office productivity tools, after settling a claim with a dominant software vendor for unlicensed use of its office software. To compensate for not having adequately licensed the software used by the town’s civil servant’s who were working from home, Arnhem has paid 600,000 euro for new licences. These allow the use of the ubiquitous proprietary office software for the next three years, says the city’s CIO, Simon Does.

  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Openness/Sharing
    • Linux for lettuce

      What infuriates Myers, though, is that patents such as the one Seminis is seeking don’t just impede sharing; they deter others from using their own germplasm. As the examiner noted, Seminis’s patent application claims essentially all broccoli with an exserted head of a commercial size. If Myers’s plants are too similar to those grown by Seminis, he won’t be able to release his own variety for fear of patent infringement. Even if he did, no farmer or seed company would use it lest they be sued for the same violation.

    • Open Data
      • Finding the sweet spot for data between privacy and open

        Every municipality should have an open data champion. The City of Raleigh, the capital city of North Carolina, is fortunate to have Jason Hare, an open data program manager and an open data consultant. Last year, Hare lead the effort to deploy a beta version of the first open data portal for Raleigh that went live earlier this year after another iteration with even more data available to the public.

  • Standards/Consortia
Leftovers
  • Science
    • Dr Matt Taylor’s shirt made me cry, too – with rage at his abusers

      Except, of course, that he wasn’t crying with relief. He wasn’t weeping with sheer excitement at this interstellar rendezvous. I am afraid he was crying because he felt he had sinned. He was overcome with guilt and shame for wearing what some people decided was an “inappropriate” shirt on television. “I have made a big mistake,” he said brokenly. “I have offended people and I am sorry about this.”

      I watched that clip of Dr Taylor’s apology – at the moment of his supreme professional triumph – and I felt the red mist come down. It was like something from the show trials of Stalin, or from the sobbing testimony of the enemies of Kim Il-sung, before they were taken away and shot. It was like a scene from Mao’s cultural revolution when weeping intellectuals were forced to confess their crimes against the people.

      Why was he forced into this humiliation? Because he was subjected to an unrelenting tweetstorm of abuse. He was bombarded across the internet with a hurtling dustcloud of hate, orchestrated by lobby groups and politically correct media organisations.

      [...]

      It’s the hypocrisy of it all that irritates me. Here is Kim Kardashian – a heroine and idol to some members of my family – deciding to bust out all over the place, and good for her. No one seeks to engulf her in a tweetstorm of rage. But why is she held to be noble and pure, while Dr Taylor is attacked for being vulgar and tasteless?

  • Hardware
    • Anti-Competitive Apple Disables Trim Support On 3rd Party SSDs In OS X

      One of the disadvantages to buying an Apple system is that it generally means less upgradeability and flexibility than a system from a traditional PC OEM. Over the last few years, Apple has introduced features and adopted standards that made upgrading or using third-party hardware progressively more difficult. Now, with OS X 10.10 Yosemite, the company has taken another step down the path towards total vendor lock-in and effectively disabled support for third-party SSDs.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • An Embattled ALEC, Buoyed by Election Results, Lays Blueprint for 2015

      The midterm elections may have given the embattled American Legislative Exchange Council a new lease on life. ALEC has been bleeding corporate members, but with Republicans now in control of 68 out of 98 state legislative bodies, there are fewer impediments to the enactment of the corporate-friendly legislation that ALEC peddles — and in early December, ALEC and the corporations that still fund it will likely lay out the legislative blueprint for 2015 at the ALEC States & Nation Policy Summit in Washington, DC.

    • Will Bob Schieffer Move Toward the Center?

      All of this on a show that is regularly stocked full of Republican and right-leaning guests, the most popular in the show’s history being John McCain.

    • No, NPR Did Not Ask Cosby About Rape Accusations

      Now, Cosby surely knew what Simon was referring to–as did media writers who reported on the interview. But you know who likely didn’t know what Simon was talking about? Most of his audience, given that the rape allegations have received remarkably little coverage since they first emerged almost a decade ago.

  • Censorship
    • Does Twitter have a secret weapon for silencing trolls?

      In recent months, Twitter has come under fire for the proliferation of harassment on its platform—in particular, gendered harassment. (According to the Pew Center, women online are more at risk from extreme forms of harassment like “physical threats, stalking, and sexual abuse.”) Twitter first implemented the ability to report abuse in 2013, in response to the flood of harassment received by feminist activist Caroline Criado-Perez. The recent surge in harassment has again resulted in calls for Twitter to “fix” its harassment problem, whether by reducing anonymity, or by creating better blocking tools that could mass-block harassing accounts or pre-emptively block recently created accounts that tweet at you. (The Blockbot, Block Together, and GG Autoblocker are all instances of third party attempts to achieve the latter.) Last week, the nonprofit Women, Action, & the Media announced a partnership with Twitter to specifically track and address gendered harassment.

    • Twitter Testing Secret Filter To Stop Abuse: Is That A Good Thing Or An Attack On Free Speech?
    • Roca Labs Issues Bogus DMCA Takedown Notices To Google To Try To Hide PissedConsumer Reviews

      Yes, we’re back again with another Roca Labs story already. Lawyer Ron Coleman alerts us to the latest ridiculous legal strategy by Roca Labs: send a DMCA notice to Google to try to hide the negative reviews of Roca Labs on PissedConsumer.com. As you know, Roca Labs is suing PissedConsumer because it hosts some negative reviews of Roca’s product (a claimed “alternative” to gastric bypass surgery). The DMCA notice in question claims that thumbnails used on the PissedConsumer reviews violate its copyright, and further, that PissedConsumer violates Roca Labs trademarks by using Roca Labs in the URL for the Roca Labs reviews.

    • Will the Great Firewall of Australia block pirate websites?

      The slippery slope to Australia becoming an authoritarian capitalist state with restricted Internet access like China is looming with the excuse being that pirate sites need blocking, even though VPNs can easily get around government enforced restrictions.

  • Privacy
    • Documents Obtained By The ACLU Show NSA’s Inability To Prevent Collection Of US Persons’ Data And Communications

      The ACLU has freed up more NSA documents — again as the result of a FOIA lawsuit. Some of what’s been obtained provides a few more details on the NSA’s reliance on Executive Order 12333 to perform its data and communications harvesting. This Executive Order is, and always has been, the go-to authority for the NSA. This allows it to bypass nearly every form of oversight. There’s no FISA court involvement or input from Congressional oversight committees. The NSA relies almost exclusively on the good graces of the Executive Branch — something that has worked out in its favor for the past two presidencies.

    • ORG calls for political parties to state their position on surveillance

      At their annual conference, ORGCon14, Open Rights Group (ORG) have called on politicians to address surveillance by the police and security services in their manifestos for May’s General Election. The digital campaigners believe that a big increase in ORG’s membership over the last year and a half shows that surveillance is becoming a key issue for voters. They are calling on political parties to state their policies so that the electorate can make an informed choice about who will protect their rights to privacy and free speech.

    • University lacks policy for preserving public records

      Of the many grievances voiced against former Athletic Director Dave Brandon before his departure Oct. 31, lack of transparency was at the forefront. Brandon’s consistent response to requests for his public records, however, was in line with University policy.

    • BND to hire hackers to check shopping carts

      Germany’s foreign intelligence agency plans to spend millions to penetrate the secure connection technologies used by social networks, banks and online shops.

    • German Spy Agency Wants To Buy Zero-Day Vulnerabilities In Order To Undermine SSL Security
    • Senator Harry Reid Going To Try To Push Through USA Freedom Act Before GOP Takes Over Senate

      There were some rumors that, with the GOP about to take over the Senate, the Democratic leadership might try to finally move forward with the USA Freedom Act. The Senate bill has been languishing, despite it being considered a “compromise” bill that was widely acceptable to both intelligence community folks and many in the civil liberties community. Over the last few months, civil liberties and consumer activists groups have been growing less pleased with the bill, as the deeper they’ve explored it, the more worried they’ve become about some of how it might be abused. However, it’s still considered by many to be a good start, if not (in any way) a perfect bill.

    • Ontario Police Inspector Says He Wants A ‘Driver’s License For The Internet’

      Naylor obviously realizes his idea will be unpopular, hence the “child sexual exploitation” lead-in. That makes his assertion binary. Either you’re for an internet driver’s license or you’re for child molestation: which is it? This is a common law enforcement affliction — seeing anything that makes the job slightly more difficult as a barrier to be eliminated.

    • Russian Law Demanding User Data Remain On Russian Soil Could Turn Into A Ban On Apple Products

      A law outlawing the use of offshore servers to store Russian internet users’ data and content goes into effect at the beginning of 2015. That means popular products like Apple’s iPhone and iPad will all be technically violating Russian law with their automatic iCloud syncing.

    • Russia to ban iCloud.. to PROTECT iPhone fiddlers’ pics ‘n’ sh*t

      Anti-data-offshoring laws will come into force on New Year’s Day 2015 that require all data generated within Russia to be stored within its borders.

    • EVERYTHING needs crypto says Internet Architecture Board

      The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) has called for encryption to become the norm for all internet traffic.

      Last Friday, the IAB issued a statement saying that since there is no single place in the Internet protocol stack that offers the chance to protect “all kinds of communication”, encryption must be adopted throughout the protocol stack.

    • Open Rights Group presses political parties on privacy policies

      UK PEOPLE BACKER the Open Rights Group (ORG) has called on the main political parties to clarify their views on privacy and surveillance, and let the electorate know how they intend to treat personal information.

    • Sir Tim Berners-Lee: we need more MPs who know how to code

      More politicians need to be able to code if they are to legislate effectively on technology, Sir Tim Berners-Lee said on Saturday.

      Berners-Lee, who invented the world wide web in 1989, said it is crucial that politicians appreciate the technical capabilities of computers and that a knowledge of coding is key.

      Speaking at the Every Second Counts Forum, the renowned computer scientist said: “Being able to code means that you understand what people can do with a computer. You need to be able to understand what people can do with a computer to make laws about it.

    • Encryption should be the norm, says internet overlord

      ENCRYPTION SHOULD BE a matter of priority and used by default. That’s the message from the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the worldwide body in charge of the internet’s technology infrastructure.

  • Civil Rights
    • Chicago School Zone Speed Cams Tag Drivers Even In The Summer, Because Chicago

      Well, this is fun. We just recently wrote about how Chicago’s speed cameras, ostensibly all to do with safety, failed to bring in as much money as Mayor Rahm Emanuel had suggested in his budget plan. Yes, tickets based on speed cameras were worked into the budget numbers, which is a strange thing to do if they’re supposed to be about safety and not money. Safe driving, in other words, should not trigger a budget crisis. But it turns out the ticketing revenue might still be inflated, even at the crisis number, as a bunch of speeding tickets were generated by cameras within school zones flagging drivers for driving over the school zone limit in the summertime.

    • A tiny town in Michigan will sell you a police badge and gun permit

      Oakley, Mi. is barely a town at 300 people, only one streetlight and, until recently, one police officer. The one cop was good at his job, reports Vocativ’s M.L. Nestel, until he was forced to step down after getting caught stalking a teenage girl.

      In 2008, new chief Robert Reznick made some changes: he hired 12 full-time officers and started an enormous volunteer officer program which allowed lawyers, doctors and football players (from other towns) to work toward upholding the law.

      One qualifies for this prestigious program simply by paying $1,200 to the police department. In return, you’ll get a uniform, bullet-proof vest and gun. For an additional donation, you’ll get a police badge and the right to carry your gun basically anywhere in the state, including stadiums, bars and daycares.

    • The FBI Is Offended That It Isn’t Allowed To Control How The Press Portrays Its Deceptive Activities

      The last few weeks have revealed a bunch of deceptive practices by law enforcement — mainly the FBI. First, there was the revelation that the FBI had impersonated an online news story to install malware in trying to track a high school bomb threat. Then, there was a story from a couple of weeks ago about the FBI turning off internet access at some luxury villas in Las Vegas, and then acting as repair technicians to get inside and search the place (while filming everything). That was a story we had hoped to cover, but hadn’t yet gotten to it. However, after the NY Times editorial board slammed that operation, FBI Director James Comey wrote a reply defending the FBI’s “use of deception.”

    • Part Of CIA Torture Report May Finally Be Released Next Week, As More Details Leak
    • The Senate Report on CIA Interrogation Is About to Reignite Debate Over the Killing of Osama Bin Laden

      “It’s irrelevant whether torture ‘worked,’” said Zeke Johnson, a spokesman for Amnesty International. “We don’t ask about the efficacy, for example, of genocide or rape. Torture is immoral and always illegal. The US government must disclose the full truth about the torture program, ensure justice for victims, and end impunity.”

    • It Is Racist To Be Worried About Immigration

      The wealthy right-winger Yvette Cooper has just been on television intoning Labour’s new mantra “It isn’t racist to be worried about immigration.” This should be challenged robustly at all times. Above all, it is very, very racist for politicians to go around saying “It isn’t racist to be worried about immigration” when they are using it nakedly and cynically to bid for the votes of racists.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Comcast Supports The President’s Net Neutrality Plan, Except For The Only Part That Does Anything Meaningful

      Most of the industry’s biggest ISPs have spent the last week either threatening to sue over the President’s surprising support of Title II, or in the case of AT&T, pouting like a child and making empty threats. Most of the biggest ISPs also spent the week insisting that the FCC should simply back away from meaningful consumer protections, leaving such heady tasks to a broken, bickering Congress awash in telecom lobbying cash.

    • Republicans And Democrats Alike Overwhelmingly Support Net Neutrality; Why Don’t GOP Officials In Congress Recognize This?

      Within hours of President Obama’s surprise call for true net neutrality rules under Title II, Republicans in Congress were in a full-fledged freakout. Beyond the nutty comparisons to Obamacare or suggesting that this will lead to greater oppression in Russia, China and Iran (no, really, that claim was made), a bunch of elected Republicans in Congress sent a letter to the FCC strongly opposing Title II, insisting that it would be “beyond the scope of the FCC’s authority.”

    • Tom Wheeler Still Wants To ‘Split The Baby’; Forgetting That The Point Of That Story Was Not To Actually Split The Baby

      The Washington Post put up an article last night claiming that FCC boss Tom Wheeler is telling tech companies that he isn’t going to follow President Obama’s net neutrality plan, following the President’s surprise announcement on Monday of his support for real net neutrality rules under Title II. We’ve heard from a few people who were at that meeting who claim that the Washington Post article isn’t entirely accurate. It is true that Wheeler is still very interested in a potential hybrid plan that almost no one likes, but that much of Wheeler’s statements at the meeting were actually more focused on delaying an official decision by the FCC, which many had expected to come in a December FCC meeting. Wheeler, it appears, wants more time to study the different options. Another FCC commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel (who seems more likely to support a plan including Title II reclassification), has apparently been pushing for the FCC to stick to the existing schedule and to make a decision “without delay.”

    • Colorado Residents Wake Up, Vote To Bypass Protectionist State Broadband Laws

      As we’ve noticed in the past, if there’s a place to start fixing U.S. broadband competition, it’s the nearly two-dozen state protectionist broadband laws written and passed by the nation’s incumbent ISPs. Said laws either hinder or outright ban towns and cities from building and/or improving their own broadband networks, even in cases where local private companies refuse to. In several instances, the laws even prohibit government collaboration with private companies in any way.

    • Net neutrality is as simple as freedom vs. monopoly

      As information services, the court ruled, ISPs were exempt from the FCC’s regulations. No sooner had the FCC’s Net neutrality rules lost their teeth, then the big ISPs began playing fast and loose with their interconnects to artificially constrain their networks in order to extort money from Netflix. In short order, the worst of my predictions quickly became reality. One prediction I definitely didn’t make: We’d be faced with the threat of Comcast and Time Warner Cable merging to form the worst company that ever existed.

    • Seven Design Firms Give ‘Net Neutrality’ a Makeover

      Net neutrality is making friends and influencing people these days: President Obama, plucky tech startups, 81 percent (PDF) of the U.S. public, even corporate giants far from Silicon Valley. Imagine how much more attractive the policy would be if it weren’t saddled with the vague and unlovable name “net neutrality.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Lawsuit Filed Against European Commission In EU’s Highest Court For Refusing To Allow Official TAFTA/TTIP Petition

      This really goes to the heart of the problem not just with TAFTA/TTIP, but also with TPP and the new TISA. The public is told that it cannot comment while the negotiations are being conducted, but that it should wait to see the final document. At that point, it is then told that there is no point in commenting, since nothing can be changed, and so the agreement must simply be accepted.

    • European Commission taken to court for ‘stifling dissent’ over EU-US trade deal
    • Copyrights
      • Giganews Not Liable for Pirating Usenet Customers, Court Rules

        A federal court in California has ruled that Usenet service provider Giganews is not guilty of copyright infringement, nor can it be held responsible for customers who do pirate content. The case in question was brought by adult magazine publisher Perfect 10 which previously lodged similar complaints against Amazon, Google and RapidShare.

      • Consumer Organizations And Internet Companies Mount Legal Challenge To Italy’s Extreme Copyright Enforcement Regulations

        Techdirt has been following for a while the saga of Italy giving its Authority for Communications Guarantees (AGCOM), which regulates broadcasting and telecommunications, wide-ranging new powers to police online copyright infringement too. That culminated in the first instances of Web sites being blocked without any kind of judicial review earlier this year. Since then, there has been an important development as civil organizations and Internet companies have mounted a legal challenge to the new regulations.

      • The Copyright Monopoly Wars Are About To Repeat, But Much Worse

        The copyright monopoly war wasn’t the war, it was the tutorial mission. The internet generation is using technology to assert its values and its place in society, and the old industrial generation is pushing back hard against irrelevance. Things are about to get much worse.

      • Dotcom Faces Jail Following Application to Revoke Bail

        Kim Dotcom’s predicament worsened today when a prosecutor revealed that a bail revocation application is underway which could put back behind bars as early as next week. In the meantime Dotcom is being restricted on land, sea and air.

      • €40k brothel bill ‘work-related’: copyright boss

        A former executive with Spain’s main copyright organization has been sentenced to prison for spending €40,000 ($50,000) in brothels using a corporate credit card, with a judge describing as “nonsense” the man’s claims that the visits were work-related.

      • Spain Copyright Executive Claims $50k Brothel Bill Was For Work-Related Activities

        When you write about as many different people, groups and organizations as we do here at Techdirt, you occasionally forget to check in on some places and people occasionally. Take SGAE, for instance. It’s the Spanish music collection group that has made a name for itself chiefly stealing money from artists, epitomizing corruption, and generally behaving like pain-in-the-butt asshats whenever given the opportunity. We haven’t checked on SGAE in about three years or so, so I assume the group has completely turned itself around and are now a shining example of above-board behavior?

Special Report: Many Criminal Charges Against EPO Vice-President Željko Topić

Monday 17th of November 2014 12:09:57 AM

Summary: The abuses of Željko Topić, who has gained notoriety in his home country, are rapidly becoming public knowledge across all of Europe

THE trend changes for the better as blind support for the EPO is ending. People now realise just how rotten the EPO has become and there are various actions being taken by the public and even EPO staff (more on that in the coming weeks). Quite importantly, evidence is now coming to light so as to bolster the stories we have broken over the past few months.

The latest Croatian press article on this topic (of Topić), published by tjedno.hr on the 18th of October 2014, says quite a mouthful. Our sources have been working on getting an English translation which we now have. The photo in the article shows Topić on his way to attend a recent hearing at the Municipal Criminal Court in Zagreb and the last paragraph contains a mention of “articles published on Internet portals across Europe during the last month,” which our sources understand to be a reference to the recent series of publications by Techrights.

For readers’ information we finally have an English translation of this most recent article from tjedno.hr [PDF]. Here it is in full, as plain text with rudimentary formatting:

ŽELJKO TOPIĆ AND HIS LIES IN MUNICH

Date: 18 October 2014

Six criminal lawsuits are pending in Croatia against the EPO Vice-President

Text: Portal Tjedno Research Team
Photography: Markus Wolf

According to publicly available information, “Master” Željko Topić, was appointed as Vice-President in charge of the EPO’s General Administration Department on 28 March 2012 with the vigorous support of the EPO President, Benoît Battistelli. At the time of his appointment, it is claimed that neither the EPO’s Administrative Council nor its President Battistelli were informed about certain interesting facts which have emerged in relation to Mr. Topić.

Nevertheless, according to an official statement by the EPO President, after the charges had become publicly known they were all clarified. Judging by the published photograph of Željko Topić accompanied by his lawyer from the Zagreb law firm Gajski – Prka – Saucha & Partners Ltd. which was taken in front of the Municipal Criminal Court in Zagreb on the morning of 29 September 2014, it would appear that things are not quite so clear.

A COURT APPEARANCE IN ZAGREB

In one of his recent public statements, published in May 2014 by a Geneva-based Internet portal specializing in intellectual property matters (www.ip-watch.org), “Master” Topić officially declared that there were no legal proceedings or criminal charges pending against him in Croatia. At the same time he claimed that he had presented the EPO with the required certificate of good conduct confirming there are no criminal convictions against him. Mr. Topić’s statements are, however, misleading for his employer. From the foregoing, it can be concluded that for whatever reason Željko Topić has grossly deceived his European employer in Munich by knowingly giving false information designed to obscure the truth.

We do not know how Željko Topić justified his absence from his workplace at the EPO in Munich on the day when he was caught by the photographic lens in Zagreb. We can only speculate as to whether he decided to take annual leave, sick leave or whether he may even have misled his employer perhaps by deliberately submitting a duty travel request for an official business trip to a meeting in Zagreb financed by EPO, knowing full well that his attendance was required at the Municipal Criminal Court. Judging by his publicly expressed claims that he is not subject to any criminal proceedings in Croatia, it is difficult to avoid the impression that he may have been economical with the truth concerning the real reasons for spending time in Zagreb on the Monday in question. Or, perhaps, he relied on the concept and plot of the movie “When Father Was Away on Business” by the famous director Emir Kusturica.

AT LEAST SIX CRIMINAL OFFENCES

For the time being we have no idea what the Municipal State Attorney General in Zagreb, Željka Pokupec, thinks about all this as she has been busy dealing with another matter falling under her jurisdiction, namely bringing a final indictment for the illegal procurement of a VW Touareg V6 against the person directly responsible for the supervision of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), Mr. Dragan Primorac, one of Ministers in the then Government of Mr. Sanader. In connection with criminal charges filed with Office of the State Attorney, a reasonable suspicion was expressed in the criminal complaint to the Bureau for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime (USKOK) in Zagreb that Željko Topić may have bribed the former Minister Primorac with an Audi A6 vehicle in order to secure the renewal of his mandate as Director of the SIPO. In the course of this state-funded “re-parking” of official cars, Željko Topić “re-parked” a Mercedes for his own personal use as has been previously reported on by many media. The aforementioned and third pending criminal charge against Topić in the Mercedes case, has been gathering dust for several years on the desk of Željka Pokupec’s deputy, Sunčica Blažević.

The fourth known criminal charge against “Master” Topic which has been filed with the District Attorney’s Office in Zagreb has proceeded from the stage of “pickling” into the “fermentation” phase and is currently in the hands of Sineva Vukušić. The criminal charges filed with the District Attorney’s Office in Zagreb relate to the matter of allegedly unlawful changes to the structure of the state administration in the field of Copyright and Related Rights. Under the Criminal Code of the Republic of Croatia, the charges against Željko Topić in this particular case carry a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison.

According to the latest information from the state administration of the Republic of Croatia, a preliminary investigation has been conducted into another potentially very serious criminal case dating from 2005 which concerns the “disappearance” of a significant amount of financial assets and which involves a feasibility study from a Swedish* foundation relating to the strengthening of institutions entitled “A Feasibility Study for Restructuring the SIPO as a Self-Financing Organization”. We have learnt unofficially that this appears to have been an attempt at project financing for the private advantage of the former SIPO Director with the ultimate aim of separating this institution from the Treasury of the State Administration and attaching it directly to the financial “udder” provided by the WIPO and EPO. All those who have seen the document referring to the planned privatization of the SIPO under the direction of Željko Topić have noted its similarity to the HDS-ZAMP scheme of President Ivo Josipović. This document is currently being withheld by four Ministries of the Republic of Croatia which are said to be ignoring written requests for its release [under the Freedom of Information Act].

[* Translator’s Note: The reference to a “Swedish foundation” seems to be incorrect because reliable sources have indicated that the document referred to is in fact a feasibility study carried out by the Danish Patent and Trademark Office in the context of an EU twinning project.]

Thus, along with two further criminal charges against Topić by private plaintiffs, there are at least six criminal proceedings pending against him in Croatia as our portal has already reported. However, according to other sources, the number of criminal charges which have been filed against “Master” Topić may in fact be significantly higher.

THE OUTCRY AT THE EPO IS GETTING LOUDER

As we learned from our sources in Munich, Topić’s suitability for the office of Vice-President is “a fairly contentious issue” within the EPO. Taking into account various outstanding allegations and apparently uncontested newspaper reports, the general opinion of EPO staff is that there are many unanswered questions about Topic’s appointment. As we learned unofficially, EPO employees are also extremely frustrated about the situation because they feel that there is no adequate official response and they believe that “some kind of independent investigation” is required.

The EPO’s Administrative Council has remained completely silent until now and has taken no official position with regard to Topić’s case, which is very strange because it carries direct responsibility for the appointment and it is also the sole official EPO body which is competent to carry out investigations and disciplinary proceedings against the President and Vice-Presidents.

In addition, the relationship between staff and senior management of the European Patent Office (EPO) which has already been badly strained due to conflict with the President Benoît Battstelli, has been further complicated by the continuing presence of Vice-President Topić in Munich. In the meantime the controversy about Topić’s suitability for his current position has also reached the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg and the Croatian NGO Juris Protecta (Association for the Promotion of the Rule of Law) has filed a petition with the European Parliament in Brussels.

Furthermore, it has emerged that when his first term of office as SIPO Director was due to expire in 2008, Topić had allegedly been involved in a number of unlawful actions leading to the expectation that his mandate would not be renewed.

Professional experts close to the case claim that Željko Topić should not have been reappointed because of previously observed “irregularities” in his management of the SIPO. However, the relevant information appears to have been suppressed and was not properly taken into account, because if it had been, it would have resulted in him being deemed ineligible for public office in the Republic of Croatia and beyond. Allegedly unlawful actions during his two terms of office as Director of the SIPO in Zagreb have never been fully and transparently investigated, and the Croatian Government appears not to have been duly informed in accordance with the statutory requirements. His penultimate term of office at the SIPO was renewed by the former “anti-corruption” Prime Minister of Croatia, Ms. Jadranka Kosor, despite the fact that before signing the decision of her Government to re-appoint “Master” Topić she had been warned about his allegedly corrupt practices.

Moreover, during the term of office of the convicted former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, Jadranka Kosor had served as the Minister in charge of the government department responsible for supervising the SIPO and its former Director, Željko Topić.

WAS MINISTER JOVANOVIĆ SACKED BECAUSE OF TOPIĆ?

Using the same corrupt templates as Sanader’s government, the final disputed re-appointment of “Master” Topić as Director of the SIPO was approved by the Government of Zoran Milanović [in 2012] on the recommendation of the then competent Minister, Željko Jovanović. Moreover, the official procedure relating to his final re-appointment as Director of the SIPO was tainted by a series of deliberate legal deficiencies and unlawful acts and a lack of proper institutional supervision. Based on the limited information available from government circles, there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the “Topić Affair” may have been one of the factors which contributed to the recent dismissal of the outspoken Minister Željko Jovanović. It can be concluded from the above that the HDZ and SDP have been playing the same long-standing personnel game in the civil service using the same deck of previously “marked” cards.

Whether by coincidence or not, the chef de cabinet of the Croatian Prime Minister – Tomislav Saucha – is the husband of one of the attorneys from the law firm of Gajski – Prka – Saucha and Partners Ltd. which represents Željko Topić in the pending criminal lawsuits in which he is involved. In addition to this detail, it is worth noting that an official of the Croatian Government – Mr. Milan Sentić, adviser to the Prime Minister for Co-operation with the Public – comes under the direct remit of Tomislav Saucha. Mr. Sentić would hardly have merited any attention here if it hadn’t been recently discovered that, instead of having been duly forwarded to the Prime Minister Milanović, citizens’ complaints concerning the case of Željko Topić have remained buried somewhere in the filing cabinet of this government advisor. It seems that the only person competent to determine whether or not the petitions against “Master” Željko Topić were hidden by Mr. Sentić on the orders of Tomislav Saucha (perhaps in response to verbal instructions coming from his wife – a lawyer on the team of legal “avengers” which represents the Munich-based “Master”) is the Prime Minister Zoran Milanović himself.

To conclude, the actions of Željko Topić referred to above appear to fulfil the definition of criminal acts under Croatian law. Who – and for what motive – has been successfully preventing his prosecution in Croatia for many years now? Answers to these serious and unresolved questions will hopefully be provided in the near future by some of the high-level EU institutions as has been suggested by numerous articles published on Internet portals across Europe during the last month.

Shortly after the above article we were contacted by Zagreb-based (Croatia) people who are familiar with this saga and sent us further information and some photos. These people were mentioned here before in a somewhat different context but a similar subject and they claim to be “an independent association called “No Corruption” [that] perform[s] monitoring of Croatian journalism.” These are real people with real names and they have shared their information with selected European groups, the European Commission, and journalism watchdogs. “Tracing your posts on the website techrights.org,” they said, “we are submitting you the following link [as above] from the Croatian Internet portal that talks about the same topic. However, what is more interesting than the text itself is the cover photo. On it, there is the incriminated person from your texts along with his lawyer who is from Zagreb. Why is this photo interesting? Let’s analyze this in the following order…

“Last year (2013) in June, the journalist Zeljko Peratovic published an article in English about Zeljko Topic entitled “A wrong man sitting at the EPO?” But the article has disappeared in March/April 2014 from the 45lines.com Web site.”

The reason, according to “No Corruption”, is that “Journalist Zeljko Peratović and corrupted Željko Topić was represented by attorney Mr. Janjko Grlic.

“There is a serious doubt that Mr. Željko Topić by the means of his lawyer Mr. Janjko Grlic had influence on his other client, journalist Zeljko Peratovic to delete (remove) the previously published article from the portal he is editing. There also remains a doubt with a very clear closed circle of indications that for the job of removing the article from the portal he received money, or a service of some kind in the form of past or future legal services by Mr. Janjko Grlic which were paid for by Mr. Zeljko Topic. The above-described actions can be considered corruptive, meaning it is a criminal offense.

“Given that this mentioned member of the Croatian Journalists’ Association is also a member of other international journalists’ associations, we are sending this letter to them as well because we believe that he should be dismissed from the ranks of professional journalists. At the same time we will ask for the whole of the EU and worldwide journalistic profession to be informed about this. It is interesting that Mr. Zeljko Peratovic in his work as a journalist presents himself as a great fighter for human rights and as an anti-corruption activist!?

“To conclude, the actions of Željko Topić referred to above appear to fulfil the definition of criminal acts under Croatian law.”“In addition, it is suspected that journalist Zeljko Peratovic by the means of the same lawyer for the purposes of corrupt Mr. Željko Topić “briefed”, meaning gave professional advice, on how to sue his colleague Mrs. Slavica Lukic at the Croatian Journalists’ Association Court. She is a journalist (“Jutarnji list”) who wrote very critically about Mr. Željko Topić’s criminal activity. The lawsuit was dismissed. It was observed also that on two occasions that journalist Zeljko Peratovic on his portal www.45lines.com, in a twisted and questionable manner, criticizes journalist Mrs Slavica Lukic. This negative writing by the mentioned journalist about Mrs. Slavica Lukic has a political background, and is the act of shallow and see-through retaliation against her husband, Mr. Milorad Pupovac.

“Finally, we wish to inform you about the perfidious way in which Mr. Željko Topić corrupts parts of the Croatian Justice (Commercial and High Commercial Court in Zagreb) where there are trials of high financial value within the scope of the rights of commercial property. We are enclosing photos with the names of judges. The photos were shot during the last year’s conference in EPO in Munchen. The invitation to the conference was sent by Mr. Željko Topić by means of EPO. The names of judges from the photos are associated with several lawyers and make up a sophisticated network of corruption in Croatia.

“Based on this, we believe that any further comment is superfluous.”

All the photographs are presented below for readers’ assessment.

Links 16/11/2014: Xfdesktop 4.10.3, GNU Hello 2.10

Sunday 16th of November 2014 10:26:44 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Science
    • Japan: Train fans experience super-fast maglev speed

      One hundred passengers whizzed along a 42.8km (27 mile) route between the cities of Uenohara and Fuefuki, reaching speeds of up to 500km/h (311mph), The Asahi Shimbun website reports. The Central Japan Railway Company is running eight days of testing for the experimental maglev Shinkansen train on its test track in Yamanashi Prefecture. In total, 2,400 people will take part in the tests after winning tickets in a raffle. They represent a lucky minority – there had been more than 100 times that number of applications, the report says. “I applied for my nephew who is a big railway fan, but now I am more excited than he is,” one passenger, who was travelling with his parents and two young nephews, tells the website.

    • Stunning fossil shows pregnant mare and fetus

      Forty-seven million years ago, a pregnant mare and its unborn foal lost their lives, perhaps chased into a lake, where they drowned. Where they died, however, was a stroke of luck for 21st century paleontologists. Their fossilized remains were discovered in the Messel Pit, a former coal and oil shale mine near Frankfurt, Germany, that is famous for its exquisitely preserved fossils. The mare and her fetus are now giving scientists an unprecedented glimpse into the anatomy and reproduction of this early horse species, Eurohippus messelensis. Like other early horses, the mare was small, only about the size of a fox terrier, says Jens Franzen, a paleontologist at the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Frankfurt, who presented the prepared fossil for the first time yesterday at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology annual meeting here.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Dutch authorities identify highly contagious bird flu strain

      Dutch authorities said on Sunday they had found a highly contagious strain of bird flu at a poultry farm in the central Netherlands and set about destroying 150,000 chickens.

      The strain, H5N8, has never been detected in humans, but an outbreak in South Korea meant millions of farm birds had to be slaughtered to contain the outbreak. Cases have also been reported in China and Japan, although the strain was first reported in Europe, on a German farm, in early November.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • Massachusetts School Installs Military-Style Shooter-Detection System

      A technology adapted from a U.S. military “smoke alarm for gunfire” was installed recently in a Massachusetts school, a protective measure implemented weeks after a deadly high school shooting in Washington State.

    • Selling Fear: The First US School Installs A Shooting Detection System

      Congratulations, America. A defense contractor tried to sell you on the idea that our schools are war zones and you bit like a musky on a minnow. The manufacturer’s website, along with most of the accompanying news articles, are filled with statistics all about how school and mass shootings are on the rise. Obviously this serves as evidence that such shooter detection systems are needed. That way, the $100k per school systems can alert authorities when these increasingly common shootings occur. The most common figure you’ll hear from these contractors and in the news is the same one authorities used in buying this detection system: there have been 88 school shootings in America since the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012. The claim comes from Everytown.org, an organization dedicated to gun control and safety. And if that statistic sounds shocking to you, there’s a very good reason for that: it’s complete bullshit.

    • Obama administration considering ramping up CIA’s role in training Syria rebel fighters: report

      The CIA currently vets and trains about 400 fighters a month, the same number expected to be trained by the Pentagon when its program reaches capacity by late next year, The Post reported.

    • Present at the creation: ‘America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East’

      The period in question is the end of World War II until the Kennedy administration was, to say the least, formative and what happened then is clearly relevant to the circumstances in which the United States finds itself now.

      Current tensions foreshadowed in the 1950’s include the U.S. approach to the Israeli-Palestinian imbroglio, unrest in cornerstone Egypt, monarchic rule in Saudi Arabia, and perhaps most important of all, the role of Persian, Shiite Muslim Iran in the region.

    • Could relationship between CIA, military be at risk?

      He said the CIA and military started working together after 9/11. Before that, there was little partnership between the two. Because of budget cuts, both are at risk of losing the progress they have made, said Oakley (pictured), who is working on his doctorate in security studies from Kansas State University.

    • The CIA Won the Midterms

      Incoming intel committee chair Richard Burr will end any hope of holding out of control spy agencies accountable.

    • Ex-US officials criticise Obama ‘micromanagement’

      He compared the Obama administration to that of Lyndon Johnson, who personally chose military targets in the Vietnam war. “It was the micromanagement that drove me crazy,” Gates said. The former defence chief said that Obama’s administration stands in contrast to both Bush administrations, where once a decision was made, there was no micromanagement.

    • Germany regrets diplomat’s expulsion from Moscow

      A German diplomat working in Moscow has been expelled, a German government official said, shortly after a Russian diplomat working in Bonn was expelled amid media reports he was a spy.

      “We regret this unjustified action and expressed that to the Russian government,” a German official said in a statement late on Saturday after Der Spiegel magazine reported the German was expelled in retaliation for the Russian’s explusion.

    • Former navy Seal says public has right to know how he killed Osama bin Laden

      After helicoptering to the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, assaulting the house and killing three men and a woman, some of the Seals reached the third floor, where a CIA analyst had told O’Neill that Bin Laden would be. O’Neill followed an unnamed point man into Bin Laden’s bedroom, he told the AP, and the point man tackled two women, believing they had a bomb, in what O’Neill calls an incredibly selfless act.

    • Contras and drugs, three decades later

      …Reagan administration had illegally aided a stateless army known as the Contras in Central America.

    • Historic photos of dead Che Guevara resurface in Spain

      Hunted by the CIA, he was captured by the military in Bolivia on October 8, 1967, and executed the following day.

    • Looming US Ground Wars in Iraq and Syria

      Thirteen years post-9/11, out-of-control violence replaced regional stability. Prospects ahead look worse, not better.

    • THE WORLD GETS THE WARS AMERICANS DESERVE

      But the primary thing the U.S. government does is wage wars, and it wages them against other people who had no say in the matter. Of course I don’t want wars waged against Americans either, but the general impression one gets from traveling around and speaking and answering questions at public events in the United States is not so much that people are indifferent to the destruction of the globe as long as they don’t miss their favorite television show, as that people are unclear on what destruction means and can’t identify a globe when it’s placed in a lineup with six watermelons.

    • Obama Has No Good Options for Ending the War in Syria

      The US has also faced criticism from Turkey and Gulf states because of its focus on fighting Islamist militias rather than Assad.

    • What Dick Cheney’s lies on 9/11 has cost the US and impacted the world

      In a documentary The World According to Dick Cheney,” Dick Cheney then Vice-President of the USA admits that it was he and not President Bush who ordered the shooting down of the plane that fell into a field in Pennsylvania in September 2001. He also admits that he falsely linked Iraq with 9/11 and influenced Justice Department to legalize torture. He admits too that he used 9/11 to enable spying on Americans, start the Afghan and Iraq war and the ‘war on terror’ which were all planned before 9/11 which in other words has to leave us to deduce that 9/11 itself was pre-planned as well!

    • Delimiting presidential war powers

      The Constitution strongly disfavors war except in self-defense because it bloats executive power, cripples liberty, celebrates secrecy and risks blowback. Mr. Obama’s current war against IS is many things, but it is not self-defense. The tighter the limits of any new AUMF, the less the U.S. Constitution will be wrenched and challenged.

  • Transparency Reporting
    • The Siege of Julian Assange is a Farce

      The persecution of Julian Assange must end. Even the British government clearly believes it must end. On 28 October, the deputy foreign minister, Hugo Swire, told Parliament he would “actively welcome” the Swedish prosecutor in London and “we would do absolutely everything to facilitate that.” The tone was impatient.

    • A guy walks into the Ecuadorian embassy … Assange inspires new BBC comedy
    • Novak in Assange-inspired comedy

      The BBC4 show, called Asylum, is described as “a satirical comedy about a government whistle-blower and a millionaire internet entrepreneur trapped together in a London embassy”.

    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange inspires new comedy show

      The comedy is one of a string of shows created to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta which was one of the first attempts to limit the powers of the monarchy and develop a functioning legal system and parliamentary democracy.

    • Russell Brand, PJ Harvey, Susan Sarandon & dozens of A-listers support Snowden, Manning

      Dozens of celebrities, including musicians, filmmakers, actors and intellectuals have signed their names to a statement of support published Monday to show solidarity for Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Jeremy Hammond.

    • Brand and Žižek lead celebrity call for greater whistleblower protections

      It also comes at a moment where the US government is perceived to be taking a particularly aggressive approach to official leakers. Including Snowden and Manning, there have been a total of eight prosecutions by the Obama administration relating to leaks under the 1917 Espionage Act – more than those that were brought by all previous presidents combined.

      [...]

      The list of those who have backed the whistleblower statement also includes movie directors Alfonso Cuarón, Terry Gilliam and Ken Loach; musicians Robbie Charter of the Avalanches, PJ Harvey and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth; and writers Roddy Doyle and Hanif Kureishi.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • Shale fail

      ON NOVEMBER 25th, fracking experts from across the continent will convene in Warsaw for the Shale Gas World Europe conference. The gathering is a reminder of the heady days, just a few years back, when the Polish government promised to wean the country from dependence on Russian fossil fuels by imitating America’s successful exploitation of shale. Poland would become “a second Norway”, as Radek Sikorski, the former foreign minister, put it in 2010. All that was needed was to open the country to foreign drilling firms, set up a regulatory and profit-sharing structure, open the taps, and watch the methane (and the dollars) flow.

      [...]

      Perversely, Moscow may now hold the key to galvanising the Polish shale industry. While Russian gas continues to flow cheaply, exploring for Polish shale gas is risky and expensive. But with the risk of renewed military conflict in Ukraine rising, the situation could change. “There is certainly gas in Poland, but is the current system able to extract it? I don’t think so.” says Grzegorz Pytel, an energy expert with the Sobieski Institute, a think tank. “However, if Russia cuts off gas exports that would revive shale. The hope is in Moscow.” Shale enthusiasts who once hoped to free Poland from Russian gas have been reduced to hoping that Russia will turn off the gas, or raise prices sharply, to make Polish shale viable.

  • Finance
  • Censorship
    • ISPs criticised over deal to filter extremist material online

      British internet service providers have been accused of rushing into an ill-thought-out attempt to block political material online, after agreeing with the government on a system of filters for websites espousing extremist views.

      The four largest ISPs have independently agreed with the government to implement a system of blocks, similar to that used to keep child abuse material off the net. But civil liberties campaigners expressed fears that the move opened up a risk of political censorship.

      Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, said: “We need transparency whenever political content is blocked, even when we are talking about websites that espouse extremist views. The government must be clear about what sites they think should be blocked, why they are blocking them and whether there will be redress for site owners who believe that their website has been blocked incorrectly.”

  • Privacy
    • Justice Department Admits It Lied To Appeals Court Concerning Companies’ Ability To Talk About National Security Letters

      Back in October, we wrote about the appeal on the legality of National Security Letters (NSLs), which are secretive filings from law enforcement demanding information with a perpetual gag order. In 2013, a district court had declared that NSLs were unconstitutional, but stayed that decision pending appeal. While the appeals court judges seemed skeptical, it still wasn’t clear how they would rule. So it’s interesting to see that the Justice Department has just admitted that it misled the court on some rather important points during the oral arguments.

    • Unsealed Filing Shows DOJ Misled Appeals Court About National Security Letter Gag Orders

      A court filing unsealed late Wednesday shows that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) made a highly misleading argument to an appeals court in October during a hearing on the constitutionality of National Security Letters (NSLs).

    • Major hurdles await NSA reform bid

      Yet Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) — the two leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee — have both expressed reservations, worrying that it would go too far.

    • Data retention: Divining the metadata of the Govt’s true intention

      Data retention is a hot topic, so much so that the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has included several pages examining the proposed legislation in its fifteenth report of the 44th Parliament. Suggestions put forward are that TIA Amendment Data Retention bill invades privacy, doesn’t properly define data, goes too far and needs further amendment.

    • Facebook: You post it, we can see it, and that’s that

      Facebook lets its users control whether other people can see the information they post, but when it comes to controlling what Facebook itself gets to see, privacy-conscious users are out of luck.

    • British Spying Is Our Problem, Too

      We learned last week that GCHQ – the U.K. equivalent of the NSA – permits its employees to target the communications of journalists and lawyers. That revelation has serious implications for the work of both groups.

    • The sci-fi future of lamp-posts

      Street lighting has always been a form of social control. As ‘smart’ lamp-posts start to adapt to our needs, are we entering a brave new world of big city lights?

    • UN to investigate claims that UK spies infiltrated climate talks

      Reports that GCHQ snooped on other countries at two climate summits will be investigated, says UN secretary general

    • Ambassador thrown out of Ecuador after WikiLeaks scandal will talk about her life and times at Kirtland event

      The fascinating background of being the only U.S. ambassador expelled during the global WikiLeaks scandal will be a large part of her presentation to the Nov. 16 Millennium Salon set for East Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Kirtland. The salon, part of the church’s social justice committee, presents topics that examine various issues and discuss their impact on society.

    • Phone and web data plan under fire for interfering with privacy

      Human rights committee finds the plan to retain data for two years could have a ‘chilling effect’ on journalists

    • USPS Bemoans Massive Data Breach But Continues Surveillance Program

      While such data breaches are lamentable, it is a bit ironic that an agency that has been carrying out an extensive secret surveillance operation for years would be so vigorous in its vendetta against the alleged hackers who exposed sensitive data of employees and customers.

    • Consciousness in the Age of Digital Dystopia

      It’s Monday morning and you’re preparing your first cup of coffee when the tanks roll into your neighborhood. Phone lines are cut, curfew is activated and doors are broken down.

      You sigh. It’s another “cleanout day” in the not-too-distant future.

      The War on Terror has infiltrated every layer of society. Internet sites track the spread of extremism like the CDC tracks a lethal virus. The threat is pandemic and online news sources agree: In order to keep you safe, weekly cleanout campaigns must ramp up all across the nation – yet again.

      Today you just happen to be in the red zone.

      The main annoyance about being in a red zone is usually the loss of your phone signal. But today is different.

    • AT&T stops adding Web tracking codes on cellphones, Verizon says it still uses ‘super cookies’

      AT&T Mobility, the nation’s second-largest cellular provider, says it’s no longer attaching hidden Internet tracking codes to data transmitted from its users’ smartphones. The practice made it nearly impossible to shield its subscribers’ identities online.

    • Amnesia: A mad Aussie dash through history, hacking and the CIA

      Never has the long shadow of America across the world been so ominous and so ephemeral as it is in the wake of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations and Wikileaks. Data surveillance and the huge US presence in the tech and internet worlds have contributed to a sense of America as the omnipresent, unseen superpower in a way that no world leading country has ever been before.

      This ownership of the web is what lets the US suggest, with no apparent sense of irony, that people like Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, are “traitors”, though what patriotism or loyalty they owe a country they have nothing to do with is unclear.

      It is this long shadow that Peter Carey takes to task in his hacker conspiracy thriller Amnesia.

    • First Snowden. Then tracking you on wheels. Now spies on a plane. Yes, surveillance is everywhere

      US government-owned airplanes that can cover most of the continental United States are covertly flying around the country, spying on tens of thousands of innocent people’s cellphones. It sounds like a movie plot, but in a remarkable report published on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal exposed that these spy planes are part of an actual mass surveillance program overseen by the Justice Department (DOJ). And it’s been kept secret from the public for years.

    • U.S. government set to use airplanes to collect information
    • Mobile Phones Data Intercepted by U.S. Marshals
  • Civil Rights
  • Internet/Net Neutrality
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Hey UK: Jailing File-Sharers for Years is Shameful

        Admins and uploaders know the risks, but when otherwise good citizens go to jail for sharing files it’s a horrible moment for all involved. This week two young men from the UK were locked up for years, one for his acts as a teenager several years ago. What a complete and utter waste of life.

      • Mega Terminates Kim Dotcom’s Account For Repeat Infringements

        Dotcom has been using Mega to share his first music album “Good Times” with everyone who wants to give it a spin. While he holds all the rights, several prominent music labels kept informing Mega that the album was “infringing.”

        A few weeks ago we learned that the takedown requests were all inaccurate, and triggered by a prankster. However, that apparently didn’t stop them from coming in and as a result Dotcom has now had his Mega account terminated for repeatedly violating the terms of service.

      • Anti-Piracy Firm Rightscorp On The Brink of Bankruptcy?

        Rightscorp, a prominent piracy monitoring firm that sends settlement requests for Warner Bros. and other copyright holders, may soon go out of business. The publicly listed company is losing millions of dollars per year and says it desperately needs a fresh cash injection to survive.

Microsoft is Going Into the Anti-Whistleblowing Business, Dodges Criticism Over 19-Year Bug Door in Windows

Sunday 16th of November 2014 11:47:04 AM

Summary: With Aorato acquisition Microsoft helps protect the criminals (from whistleblowers) and with lies about .NET Microsoft distracts from a bug that has facilitated remote access into Windows (by those in the know) for nearly two decades

MICROSOFT IS A company of liars, centred around media manipulation. This is why not enough people know about the company’s sheer levels of malice, crimes, and disregard for people.

Microsoft keeps throwing money around for favourable publicity, so not enough criticism is published where it’s well overdue. Today we’ll tackle several stories that deserve more attention from an appropriate angle, not a promotional (marketing) angle.

A few days ago Microsoft decided to buy a military-connected (IDF/Israel) anti-whistleblowing ‘software’ company. What a lot of shallow coverage failed to mention was the real purpose of the software (not often marketed as such). To quote one report: ‘“Snowden reportedly used colleagues’ passwords to access sensitive docs,” he told me. “Even if the user activity seems legitimate, the same account would actually present suspicious or abnormal behavior behind the scenes which Aorato would detect.”’

Actually, to keep the facts in tact, the NSA leaks were made possible by GNU WGet on the leakers’ side (same as Bradley/Chelsea Manning) and that horrible Microsoft SharePoint on the leaked side (NSA). It means that Microsoft itself was the problem which it claims to be trying to solve. We mentioned the role of SharePoint several times before. The acquisition by Microsoft seems to be geared towards stopping whistleblowing and hence defending corruption (so that Microsoft, for instance, can defend the NSA). How ethical a move, eh? So much for a ‘champion’ of privacy as it purports to be.

Anyway, there is a 19-year bug door in Microsoft Windows (almost no version is exempted from remotely-invoked full capture), but the press hardly covers it. We must give some credit to the BBC for covering it (for a change) and "calling out Windows". Other British press covered other inherent issues in Windows (compromising Tor) [1] and it looks like Dan Goodin is finally covering some security problems in proprietary software [2] rather than always picking on FOSS, then hyping it up with ugly imagery and exaggeration.

A reader of ours suspects that the .NET announcement was designed to distract from horrible security-related news. The .NET announcement is nonsense because it’s false (we wrote two posts about the .NET PR nonsense) and it also predicts future events like Visual Studio going cross-platform although the latest version of Visual Studio (proprietary) already runs under GNU/Linux using Wine, i.e. the Windows build works under GNU/Linux as it’s fully compatible anyway, for those foolish enough to want it. This is not news and the same goes for Office and other well-known Microsoft software. Xamarin staff keeps trying hard to infect GNU/Linux with .NET (that’s what they do) and as this very stupid article about .NET shows, the .NET nonsense did indeed help bury the news about the bug door. This disgusting article even gives credit to Microsoft for having fixed massive 19-year-old bug (only after IBM had found it). When bash or openssl have a bug, then FOSS is all bad, apparently. When Microsoft has a bug door for 19 years, the media says well done to Microsoft (for fixing it after another company forced it to). One has to wonder if this flaw (voluntary or involuntary) is part of Microsoft’s collaboration with the NSA, which made Stuxnet and has made yet another piece of Windows malware together with Israel. Here is a new article from The Intercept:

The Digital Hunt for Duqu, a Dangerous and Cunning U.S.-Israeli Spy Virus

Boldizsár Bencsáth took a bite from his sandwich and stared at his computer screen. The software he was trying to install on his machine was taking forever to load, and he still had a dozen things to do before the Fall 2011 semester began at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, where he taught computer science. Despite the long to-do list, however, he was feeling happy and relaxed. It was the first day of September and was one of those perfect, late-summer afternoons when the warm air and clear skies made you forget that cold autumn weather was lurking around the corner.

Bencsáth, known to his friends as Boldi, was sitting at his desk in the university’s Laboratory of Cryptography and System Security, a.k.a. CrySyS Lab, when the telephone interrupted his lunch. It was Jóska Bartos, CEO of a company for which the lab sometimes did consulting work (“Jóska Bartos” is a pseudonym).

“Boldi, do you have time to do something for us?” Bartos asked.

“Is this related to what we talked about before?” Bencsáth said, referring to a previous discussion they’d had about testing new services the company planned to offer customers.

“No, something else,” Bartos said. “Can you come now? It’s important. But don’t tell anyone where you’re going.”

Bencsáth wolfed down the rest of his lunch and told his colleagues in the lab that he had a “red alert” and had to go. “Don’t ask,” he said as he ran out the door.

A while later, he was at Bartos’ office, where a triage team had been assembled to address the problem they wanted to discuss. “We think we’ve been hacked,” Bartos said.

They found a suspicious file on a developer’s machine that had been created late at night when no one was working. The file was encrypted and compressed so they had no idea what was inside, but they suspected it was data the attackers had copied from the machine and planned to retrieve later. A search of the company’s network found a few more machines that had been infected as well. The triage team felt confident they had contained the attack but wanted Bencsáth’s help determining how the intruders had broken in and what they were after. The company had all the right protections in place—firewalls, antivirus, intrusion-detection and -prevention systems—and still the attackers got in.

The ability to keep people’s rights away and keep the population down depends on passivity and conformity, including the use of Windows. Avoiding Microsoft Windows is imperative for those not wishing to be controlled remotely. As Microsoft’s collaborations with the NSA serve to show, mass surveillance on the whole world is practically contingent upon not just innovation but sabotage and social engineering with corporate buddies. Eradication of Microsoft software isn’t about competition only; it’s about justice.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Advanced persistent threats found in the TOR network

    There are suggestions that the malware code has been around for a while, and has predecessors, and F-Secure warned internet users, anonymous or otherwise, to tread carefully when they download.

    “However, it would seem that the OnionDuke family is much older, based on older compilation timestamps and on the fact that some of the embedded configuration data makes reference to an apparent version number of four, suggesting that at least three earlier versions of the family exist,” the firm added.

    “In any case, although much is still shrouded in mystery and speculation, one thing is certain: while using Tor may help you stay anonymous, it does at the same time paint a huge target on your back.

    “It’s never a good idea to download binaries via Tor (or anything else) without encryption.”

  2. For a year, gang operating rogue Tor node infected Windows executables

    Three weeks ago, a security researcher uncovered a Tor exit node that added malware to uncompressed Windows executables passing through it. Officials with the privacy service promptly shut down the Russia-based node, but according to new research, the group behind the node had likely been infecting files for more than a year by that time, causing careless users to install a backdoor that gave attackers full control of their systems.

Reaffirming Microsoft’s Long-Known Hostility Towards Net Neutrality, Microsoft Crashed Juniper

Sunday 16th of November 2014 11:07:34 AM

Summary: Steve Ballmer is ranting against net neutrality and Juniper’s business is in trouble after a lot of executives from Microsoft took over most top positions there

Microsoft is once again shown publicly for what it really is; it can be easily seen as anti-net neutrality, thanks for the most part to its longtime CEO (who is now replaced for PR purposes). Microsoft’s record of hostility towards net neutrality must not to be forgotten as we covered it several times before and provided examples.

Well, speaking of networking, a reader tells us that the person who replaced the Microsoft veteran who had run Juniper for years has just resigned. “He joined from Barclays Plc,” told us this reader, “but I have yet to find out what kind of ‘technology’ he was involved with there.

“How much ongoing damage has been caused by the influx of softers like now-gone Kevin Johnson and how many people and their legacy are still there that he brought in? Softers would not be a good match for the core technologies the company brings in its money with” because it contributed to BSD.

“The incoming CEO, Rami Rahim,” adds the reader, “has been with Juniper 17 years, so that is promising since they use FOSS (OSS) in-house at least in the devices they sell. However, that is just an uniformed guess, who knows the internal politics. The CRN article (not linked to) blathers about being on-message and sales teams rather than technology and function.

“Then there’s this:

Juniper’s decline has been linked by some industry-watchers to the management changes that have taken place in recent years, including the influx of staff who previously worked at Microsoft, but Brooks – himself a former employee with the software {sic} giant

This one has a lot of links. One thing to remember is that these boxes are going to be tap points for surveillance.”

The same has been revealed to be the case last week when it comes to Cisco routers (used against anonymity). We shared links about that yesterday.

In addition, what would be the impact of having Juniper filled with executives from a net neutrality-hostile company?

Another Massive Step Towards Elimination of Software Patents as Even CAFC Rules Against Them

Sunday 16th of November 2014 10:50:39 AM

CAFC may finally be seen as regaining some sanity

Summary: After SCOTUS gets involved in the Ultramercial case, the CAFC finally decides to actually serve justice rather than dogma

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) has been by far the most zealously pro-software patents court, perhaps in the entire world. It’s where software patents originally came from.

Dennis Crouch, who is himself somewhat of a patents booster, sees the significance of a new ruling from CAFC. See his article titled “Federal Circuit: Novelty in Implementation of an Abstract Idea Insufficient to Overcome Alice”. This actually relates to a ruling from SCOTUS then (‘Alice’ to be specific), overriding a previous ruling from CAFC.

This is potentially a to-be-widely-cited decision that can be huge for software patents (or against them rather). There is lots of coverage in the press about it [1, 2, 3]. Here is one introduction to the case:

In tech, patent trolls do not settle for small victories; they tend to go big, claiming that their one vague patent gives them the rights over gigantic swaths of the digital world. One troll insists that it owns the patent that covers all podcasting. Another claims it can lord over the maker of any app that asks users to submit data. And a particularly bold troll has spent years claiming it owns the rights to the very concept of playing advertisements before a free online videos—and it has tried shaking down YouTube and Hulu for royalty payments.

As the EFF put it:

On September 9, 2009, a patent troll called Ultramercial sued a bunch of Internet companies alleging infringement of U.S. Patent 7,346,545. This patent claims a method for allowing Internet users to view copyrighted material free of charge in exchange for watching certain advertisements. Yes, you read that correctly. Ultramercial believed that it owned the idea of showing an ad before content on the Internet.

TechDirt did the best kind of coverage by being bluntly honest. “It looks like the Ultramercial saga may finally be ending,” it said. “As we’ve been covering for many years, Ultramercial held a patent (7,346,545) on watching an ad to get access to content, and it sued lots of companies. While a lower court rejected the patent, CAFC (the appeals court for the Federal Circuit, which handles all patent cases) overturned that ruling. The key issue: is something patentable if you take a common idea and just add “on the internet.” CAFC said yes. The Supreme Court asked CAFC to try again following its own ruling in the Mayo case (which said you couldn’t patent medical diagnostics). But CAFC still found the patent to be valid. Finally, earlier this year, following the Alice ruling, the Supreme Court gave CAFC a third try to get it right.”

It’s actually SCOTUS which deserves some credit here. The Ultramercial-friendly CAFC has ultimately wasted so much money of innocent people and businesses, showing the great harm of software patents. It’s only when Ultramercial faced the wrath of SCOTUS that the CAFC had to rule based on actual law, which to CAFC would be the exception (it is a very corrupt court in general, with plenty to show for it).

The GOP’s Patent Reform Plan Not Effective Enough to Stop Massive Patent Trolls Like Microsoft/Nokia

Sunday 16th of November 2014 10:35:04 AM

Summary: The corporations-serving GOP says that it wants a patent reform, but another reminder is needed of the futility of the suggested changes

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, a GOP-leaning News Corp-owned paper, says that “Leading GOP Senator Says More Patent Reform on the Horizon”, but as we explained before, this is not an effective reform. Being on the GOP’s agenda, one can expect it to serve large corporations rather than public interests (which GOP is neither sympathetic nor apathetic towards because public interests often conflict with business/rich people’s interests). “The bill,” says the paper, “will likely add new responsibilities on plaintiffs filing patent-infringement suits. Among the possible additions: a provision requiring plaintiffs who lose their infringement lawsuits to pay the defendants’ litigation costs.”

This would be effective in preventing poor people or small businesses from suing, irrespective of their nature (e.g. trolls, startups, individuals). It hardly deters large corporations with a large budget; for them, legal costs are typically slush funds.

“It hardly deters large corporations with a large budget; for them, legal costs are typically slush funds.”This is of course better than no amendments to existing laws, but does it go far enough? It might not be enough to discourage big trolls like Nokia, which the paper above indicates is likely to use software patents for profit (article behind paywall). Nokia is already patent-trolling, with Microsoft’s help, by proxy, e.g. through MOSAID (now renamed “Conversant” because of its bad reputation). The European authorities have already been made aware of this and they warned Nokia.

Nokia seems to be following the footsteps of companies like Qualcomm, which got the attention of some pro-software patents the other day.

How the EPO’s Executive Branch (Battistelli and Topić) Banned Scrutiny and Created Authoritarian Model of Control: Part X

Sunday 16th of November 2014 09:49:48 AM

Summary: A look at highly dubious moves by EPO President Battistelli and his right-hand man Topić, whose abuses are becoming hard to oversee or even report

EARLIER this month we asked European readers lodge complaints about EPO management that continues a long tradition of abuse. Some new sources have since come forward and provided us with more information about corruption, so this series will go on and on, lasting until next year. We welcome more whistle-blowers and informed sources to come forward if they know something that we have not yet covered and we, in return, promise anonymity.

Staff that has been involved in rogue practices would obviously like to prevent colleagues (and the public) from finding out about it. Today we would like to present Topić’s letter regarding data protection [PDF] and the accompanying body of text [PDF], signed by Benoît Battistelli, who himself has a lot to hide (for reasons we covered beforein numerous parts). An annotated document [PDF] is added, with highlighted text that reveals how Topić and Battistelli worked to prevent investigation of the EPO, essentially banning people from speaking to the press, conducting an audit, investigation, etc. Clearly, the Data Protection Guidelines at the EPO are of interest if one wishes to understand the lack of scrutiny and the lack of communication with the press. The corporate media largely abstained from covering very serious issues that are known but nobody really wishes to talk about. The EPO is corrupt. It’s a secretive institute, by design. Staff are actively discouraged from informing the public. Now, let’s dig a little deeper.

First of all a little bit of legal background.

Under Article 33(2)(b) EPC, the legislative competence to amend the EPO Service Regulations (i.e. the set of rules governing conditions of employment etc.) lies with the Administrative Council (AC). To quote The European Patent Convention: “The Administrative Council shall be competent, in conformity with this Convention, to adopt or amend: [...] (b)the Service Regulations for permanent employees and the conditions of employment of other employees of the European Patent Office, the salary scales of the said permanent and other employees, and also the nature of any supplementary benefits and the rules for granting them”

In plain English, this means that any changes to the Service Regulations are supposed to be subject to the oversight and scrutiny of the AC.

What Battistelli has done during his presidency is an introduction of certain wide-ranging internal measures by means of “Circulars” which are basically unilaterally-enacted Presidential decrees that have never been subject to any scrutiny or oversight by the AC. Not surprisingly, Battistelli is again imposing an authoritarian code of conduct inside the EPO.

One of these measures was Circular No. 342, the so-called “Investigation Guidelines” which effectively give the EPO President dictatorial powers to unilaterally initiate so-called “investigative processes”. He can even initiate “investigative processes” against senior EPO employees who have been appointed by the AC under Article 11 EPC.

Refer to the European Patent Convention which covers this in more details. In such cases he doesn’t even have to inform the individual concerned or the appointing authority (i.e. the AC) that an investigation has been initiated.

Circular 342 was never presented to the AC for approval. It was unilaterally enacted by Battistelli. This is again the hallmark of authoritarian reign. Of course this action on his part is completely illegal or “ultra vires” to use the appropriate legal jargon. The fact of the matter is that the AC no longer exercises any effective oversight over the President.

Whether this is due to stupidity or corruption, or maybe a combination of both, is an open question which we will not attempt to answer. Furthermore, challenges to these measures by EPO staff have to go to the ILOAT in Geneva which is completely clogged up. The current time required to process a case at the ILOAT has been estimated as 12-15 years. So staff can complain all they like about what Battistelli does but there is no longer any effective legal redress available to challenge unlawful acts by the EPO President.

The system of legal redress has become completely dysfunctional.

This state of affairs has led to some national courts starting to call the EPO’s jurisdictional immunity into question.

New DPGs at the EPO

Now let’s get back to the DPGs.

The most recent amendment of the EPO DPGs was announced by Mr. Topić on 2 April 2014 (see the PDF above). By a curious twist of irony, these Guidelines entered into force on 1 April 2014.

Although the EPO DGs pay lip-service to EU Data Protection Regulations, they are in fact much weaker. Under the EPO DPGs, all power is ultimately concentrated in the hands of the President.

For example look at Article 8, “Transmission to recipients outside the European Patent Organisation”. According to Article 8(4): “In cases of doubt, the President decides on the adequacy of the protection afforded by the relevant country or international organisation.”

According to the DPGs there is a Data Protection Officer (DPO) who enjoys “independence”. But this “independence is only nominal, i.e. it only exists on paper, because the DPO is a normal member of EPO staff appointed by the President and thus de facto under the control of the President.

There is no independent supervisory entity such as the European Data Protection Supervisor which exists under the EU Data Protection framework.

But there is an even more sinister aspect to the new DPGs which doesn’t get any mention in Topić’s announcement.

The new DPGs include a number of clauses which state that they do not apply in the case of “investigative processes”.

What this means in practice is the following:

  1. The President can at any time – unilaterally and subject to no oversight whatsoever – launch an “investigative process”.
  2. The practical effect of this is to override the DPGs.

In other words, the DPGs are subordinate to the “Investigation Guidelines”.

We think that this doesn’t require further comment or explanation on our part.

Credit: anonymous source.

Links 15/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1 Release Candidate, Popcorn Time 0.3.5

Sunday 16th of November 2014 12:05:49 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Continental Drift Continues

      While there are many hotspots in the GNU/Linux landscape, usage of GNU/Linux on the desktop is still spotty around the world. There are millions of GNU/Linux desktops but they are in clusters rather than widely spread.

  • Server
    • Docker-based Multi-Container Applications Run on AWS Cloud with Introduction of the EC2 Container Service

      It was great to have Werner Vogels up on stage talking about “why developers love containers.” That was a wonderful lead in to my Docker presentation in front of the 13,500+ person audience at AWS re:Invent listening to Werner’s keynote. That kind of visibility is inspiring, but the thing I’m most excited about today is what great news there is for Docker and AWS customers with the launch of the Amazon EC2 Container Service.

  • Kernel Space
    • Stable kernel updates

      Greg Kroah-Hartman has released three stable kernels; 3.17.3, 3.14.24, and 3.10.60. All of them contain lots of important fixes throughout the tree.

    • Why prominent ‘hobbyist’ operating systems face an existential crisis

      Do you think Linux is an alternative, hobbyist operating system? Ha! Linux is mainstream. If you’re looking for the next niche OS, you’ll need to dive deep into the cracks and crevices: passion projects worked on by a handful of developers in their spare time.

    • NVIDIA Adds “Nyan Blaze” To Coreboot

      NVIDIA has committed a new “nyan_blaze” motherboard for Coreboot.

    • Over-Volting Your GPU With The New NVIDIA Linux Driver

      Unlike the frequency overclocking done through the NVIDIA Settings GUI, the over-volting can only be done via the command-line interface. It’s not clear yet if this is just a temporary limitation if NVIDIA didn’t get around to exposing it via the GTK interface or they will keep it CLI-only in trying to discourage novice users from accidentally over-volting their system and causing potential damage, etc.

    • AMD’s “AMDKFD” HSA Driver Is Ready For Pulling In Linux 3.19

      Oded Gabbay of AMD sent out the pull request to David Airlie for trying to land the AMDKFD driver in Linux 3.19. The difference between this driver and AMDGPU is that it’s already been public for a while where we’re still waiting for the AMDGPU graphics driver to be published that’s the new DRM driver to be shared with the Catalyst Linux user-space for supporting the AMD Radeon R9 285 and newer GPUs.

      While the AMDKFD driver hasn’t yet been pulled by Airlie at the time of writing, this driver has already undergone review from upstream developers and in fact revised six times through the public process. Given that the drm-next merge window is still open for a few more days, this driver stands good chances of being merged then as a new Linux 3.19 driver. Friday’s sixth version contains just minor changes to the driver compared to last week.

    • Graphics Stack
    • Benchmarks
      • GeForce GTX 970/980 Linux Benchmarks With NVIDIA 346.16 Driver

        This week NVIDIA introduced the 346 Linux driver beta with a huge amount of changes and new features — from GPU over-volting to NVENC and VP8 support. Curiosity got the best of me so I’ve now ran some GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980 Linux benchmarks to see if the performance of these new, high-end Maxwell GPUs have changed at all with this latest proprietary driver release.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • Running XFCE on Chrome OS

      I know what you are thinking. Big deal. Folks have been running Crouton, Chrubuntu, and even Xubuntu for some time now on their Chromebooks. Yes, but what about running XFCE straight from the cloud itself. A webapp, if you may, without an offline mode.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • OpenGL Support Is Looking Good For GTK+ 3.16, But Help Is Needed

        For a few weeks now within mainline GTK+ has been native OpenGL support and as part of that a new GtkGLArea widget for allowing OpenGL drawing within GTK applications. Since that initial work landed, there’s been more GTK+ OpenGL code progressing that right now primarily benefits Linux X11 and Wayland users.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Trisquel 7.0 LTS Belenos

        I was very pleased with Trisquel 7.0 while I was using it. I found it to be incredibly stable and also very fast while I was opening and using applications. I did not experience any crashes or other overt indications of stability problems.

        For me Trisquel 7.0 is pretty much what a desktop Linux distribution should be in terms of usability, software selection and stability. I had pretty much everything I needed right after my install was completed. And I had the satisfaction of knowing that I was using free software the entire time I used Trisquel 7.0.

        I highly recommend that you check out Trisquel 7.0, even if you’re not a free software aficionado. It’s well worth a download. And once you get a taste of it, it may end up being your preferred desktop distribution.

      • CAINE Provides Sturdy Support for Forensic Specialists

        Eye candy and fancy screen effects have little place in the strictly business routine of forensic techs and IT pros. The CAINE and MATE combination contribute to the smooth interface and straightforward desktop. The default setting for full panel bar transparency blends it right into the desktop’s background. This further extends the uncluttered appearance of the desktop.

    • Screenshots
    • Gentoo Family
      • Gentoo Monthly Newsletter: October 2014

        The council addressed a number of issues this month. The change with the biggest long-term significance was clearing the way to proceed with the git migration once infra is ready. This included removing changelogs from future git commits, removing cvs headers, and simplifying our news repository format. The infra and git migration projects will coordinate the actual migration hopefully in the not-so-distant future.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Fedora
        • Fedora 21 Workstation Prerelease. Pure Awesomeness. Zero Exploitation.

          Why pay for recycled software bits when you can get it for free, every version release? That’s Zero Exploitation. Fedora continually refines its software technology as part of Red Hat’s R&D process and becomes part of Red Hat Enterprise Linux when mature.

        • Council Elections, Flock, Workstation Focus, Atomic, and Improving the Join Process

          We are in the “campaign season” (okay, “campaign week”) for the first general election for representatives for the new Fedora Council. (If you haven’t been following, see the Council charter on the Fedora Wiki. The “Coda” in that document should answer most of your questions, and if you have others, please feel free to ask them.)

        • FUDCon Managua 2014 Clousure

          Last day of FUDCon I tries to approach as many contributors to ask: What do you think was accomplished in this FUDCon? I used their input as part of the closure speech at the end of the convention. I improvised with a hand write notes. Here you have a more digested summary.

    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu Governance: Empower It

            I was really saddened to see Jono Bacon’s post today because it really seems like he still doesn’t get the Ubuntu Community that he managed for years. In fact, the things he is talking about are problems that the Community Council and Governance Boards really have no influence over because Canonical and Mark Shuttleworth limit the Community’s ability to participate in those kind of issues.

            [...]

            Honestly, if this is the way Jono felt then I think he should have been going to bat for the Community and Ubuntu Governance when he was Community Manager because right now the Community and Governance cannot be inspirational leaders because Canonical controls the future of Ubuntu and the Community Council, Governance Boards and Ubuntu Members have very little say in the direction of the project.

          • Flavours and Variants
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 4.3.4

      The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 4.3.4, the fourth minor release of LibreOffice 4.3 “fresh” family, which is a stable release of the more advanced version of the software, and is targeted to users focusing on features. LibreOffice 4.3.4 contains over 60 bug fixes.

  • Project Releases
  • Licensing
    • Pigs Flying, Popular Licenses, and LibreOffice 4.3.4

      Steve O’Grady today blogged about today’s popular Open Source licenses and how this has changed over time. According to his graphs borrowed from Black Duck, the various versions of GNU GPL is the most popular today. But O’Grady said Apache and MIT licenses have gained the most ground in the last five years because they are more permissive. He said, “What will be interesting to observe moving forward is whether these trends continue, or whether further corrections are in store.”

  • Openness/Sharing
    • Oculus VR’s mobile SDK, women in gaming, and more

      Hello, open gaming fans! In this week’s edition, we take a look at Gamebuino’s Arduino console, Oculus VR’s SDK for mobile release, women in gaming, and more!

    • The Open Science Peer Review Oath

      Open access is about making academic research more widely available, particularly when it is publicly funded. But there is a broader open science movement that seeks to make the entire scientific process — from initial experiments to the final dissemination of results — transparent, and thus reproducible. One crucial aspect of that complete process is peer review, whereby experts in a field provide advice about the quality of new research, either to editors prior to a paper being published in a journal, or more directly, by reviewing work publicly online.

  • Programming
    • The 15 Best JavaScript Charting Libraries

      It is practically impossible to imagine any dashboard without graphs and charts. They present complex statistics quickly and effectively. Additionally, a good graph also enhances the overall design of your website.

      In this article, I will show you some of the best JavaScript libraries for graphs / charts. These libraries will help you create beautiful and customisable charts for your future projects.

      While most of the libraries are free and open source, some of them provide a paid version with additional features.

    • DevAssistant 0.10.0 Released

      Dear friends of all things free software, DevAssistant is back with a new release! It has been over two months, and such a time would make you think that something big has been in the works. It has.

Leftovers
  • Boris Johnson’s Winston Churchill Looks an Awful Lot Like Boris Johnson

    Boris Johnson, as the subtitle of this book proclaims, is a firm believer in the “great man” theory of history. Not for him the subtleties of the complex interplay of historical forces and individual personalities. Subtlety is not Boris’s strong point. Winston Churchill alone, he writes, “saved our civilisation.” He “invented the RAF and the tank.” He founded the welfare state (although Boris gives David Lloyd George a bit of credit for this, as well). All of this, he argues, confounds what he sees as the fashion of the past few decades to write off “so-called great men and women” as “meretricious bubbles on the vast tides of social history.” The story of Winston Churchill “is a pretty withering retort to all that malarkey. He, and he alone, made the difference.”

  • Five-year-old passes Microsoft exam

    A boy from Coventry has become the youngest computer specialist in the world.

    Ayan Qureshi is now a Microsoft Certified Professional after passing the tech giant’s exam when he was just five years old.

    Ayan, now six, whose father is an IT consultant, has set up his own computer network at home.

  • Science
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • US mulls more CIA aid for Syrian rebels

      CIA buildup would expand a clandestine mission that has grown substantially over the past year

    • U.S. weighs expanded CIA training, arming of Syrian allies struggling against Assad
    • Obama Plans CIA Expansion On Anti-ISIS Covert Operations

      The Obama administration has been mulling plans to increase the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) involvement in providing support to moderate rebels in Syria, in an effort to boost U.S. anti-Islamic State operations, even as the Pentagon prepares to set up additional training facilities.

    • The Neocon Plan for War and More War

      A major test for President Obama is whether he will – in the face of the Republican midterm victories – submit to neocon demands for more wars in the Middle East and a costly Cold War with Russia or finally earn the Nobel Peace Prize that he got at the start of his presidency.

    • An Uprising Remembered: CIA Daughter on Anti-junta Polytechnic Anniversary

      On the occasion of the Athens Polytechnic Uprising against the Greek Junta, Leslie Absher, the daughter of a CIA operative stationed in Greece during the military dictatorship, remembers the events that brought down the regime forty one years ago Monday. Leslie arrived in Athens as a baby before the coup, brought there by her father, a young spy on his first mission. “There is much I’ll never know about his work in Greece but my love for him and Greece calls me to never forget this historic day,” she wrote to Greek Reporter describing her complicated relationship with Greece and her CIA dad.

    • Living in the shadow of the “angels of death”

      Last year a bomb dropped by an American drone hit the Rashid family’s pick-up truck in the eastern Afghan province of Kunar. Fourteen occupants, most of them women and children, were killed in the attack. Only four-year-old Aisha survived, losing a hand and sustaining severe injuries to her lower body, while nothing at all was left of her nose or eyes.

      When Aisha’s relatives learned of the attack, they rushed to the site – and found her there. A nearby hospital in Asadabad could however not do much for her. Aisha had lost not only her family, but also her face. At the time, NATO announced that only Taliban militants had been killed in the drone attack in Kunar. No mention was made of Aisha or her family.

      Civilian casualties branded as extremist perpetrators

      NATO’s statement came as no surprise. “Civilian casualties in remote areas of Afghanistan are not uncommonly described by the occupying forces as Taliban fighters. Incidents are often quickly forgotten,” says the Afghan journalist and political analyst Waheed Mozhdah.

      Ismael Zadran, an Afghan living in Germany, had to find this out the hard way. A few years ago his cousin Sadiq Rahim Jan, 21 years old at the time, was killed by a drone in the Afghan province of Paktia. Not only NATO, but also some Afghan mainstream media reported only a slain Taliban commander.

    • US drone strike kills 5 militants in Kunar province

      At least five militants were killed following a US drone strike in eastern Kunar province on Friday, local security officials said Saturday.

    • Can the World Avert a New Cold War?

      The West is charging off into a new Cold War with Russia under banners of hypocrisy, from charges of “expansionism” to complaints about disrespect for individual rights. This lack of balance could have grave consequences for the world, says former British intelligence officer Annie Machon.

    • War and Peace: Western Leaders Terrorizing the Mankind

      A “war of religion” is unfolding, with a view to justifying a global military crusade.

    • The Bases of War in the Middle East

      In the Persian Gulf alone, the U.S. has major bases…

    • Caught in conflict: women in Pakistan

      ‘We nearly died getting this story,” Alixandra Fazzina tells me calmly. The war artist turned award-winning photographer is flicking through the haunting images she took during her five years in Pakistan. Despite covering countries such as Somalia and Yemen – and being held hostage for four days by militiamen in Liberia – Fazzina says Pakistan is the most difficult place she has worked. And it is only now she has left that she can safely reveal many of the stories people told her.

    • In Rome’s Riots, Cries for Mussolini and Attacks on Refugees

      In Tor Sapienza, frustrated Italians are turning to urban warfare, attacking immigrants and police to push out the thousands of refugees streaming into their crumbling neighborhood.

    • Thailand’s refugees

      The Syrian crisis has taken crucial attention and resources from the Asia Pacific region, even as the number of unprotected refugees continues to grow.

    • Going to war: Not legal without Congress, but few seem to mind

      Few members of Congress seem to care that their own legal authority has been ignored. One who does, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) argues that President Obama must come to Congress to start a war and that he acted against ISIS without “true constitutional authority” since the country was not under attack at the time. ”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • There’s No Good Reason to Build Keystone XL

      No lasting jobs, no cheaper gas, and a chance to kill off one-fourth of U.S. farmland and maybe the planet. Why are both parties going all out to get such a crappy deal?

    • Climate change can’t be put on ice

      Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s assertion that he is “focusing on what we’re doing now and we’re not talking, we’re acting” on growth and jobs, seems to play down the US-China agreement to take decisive action on CO₂ emissions warming the globe (“Climate: Abbott digs in”, November 14). That agreement clearly shows the Australian government is way, way short of what it has done so far and or proposes to do in the foreseeable future, with its piddling 5 per cent reduction of the 2000 CO₂ emission levels.

    • 7.1 quake hits Indonesia, causes small tsunami

      A strong undersea earthquake hit eastern Indonesia on Saturday, triggering a small tsunami and some panic but no casualties or major damage.

      The 7.1 quake occurred west of Halmahera island, which is about four hours’ flight from the capital, Jakarta.

  • Finance
  • Censorship
    • Appeals Court Finally Agrees To Rehear Horrible Ruling Over Actress’ Supposed Copyright In ‘Innocence Of Muslims’

      It’s been a while since we’d heard anything from the 9th Circuit appeals court concerning Garcia v. Google, the case in which actress Cindy Lee Garcia successfully went after Google for hosting the controversial Innocence of Muslims video on YouTube. Garcia is one of the actresses who claims she was tricked into appearing in the film, leading to death threats. Without doubt, her situation is not a great one to be in, but it doesn’t change the basics of copyright law, in which it has long been established that actors do not have a copyright interest in video and film projects they appear in… until Judge Alex Kozinski in the 9th Circuit appeals court suddenly reinterpreted decades of settled copyright law. Back in March, an unnamed judge on the court asked the court to reconsider the case, holding an “en banc” rehearing of the case with a full slate of judges (in most appeals courts en banc would be all judges, but the 9th circuit has so many judges that they limit it to Chief Judge Kozinski and 10 others). Back in April a bunch of folks — including us at Techdirt — filed amicus briefs asking the court to rehear.

    • China’s Porn Crackdown: No Extramarital Affairs or One-Night Stands

      The latest rules about pornographic content covers a bewildering array of sexual categories

    • Anti-Censorship Groups Tell Senate to Stop the ‘Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation’ Act

      A coalition of civil liberties, publishing, and online commerce groups are asking Congress to oppose a piece of anti-speech, anti-sex work legislation known as as the “Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation” (SAVE) Act. The bill is allegedly aimed at thwarting human trafficking but in reality would create harsh new criminal liabilities for websites and publishers, allow federal agents to censor online ads, make it harder for adult sex workers of all sorts to safely connect with clients, drive traffickers further underground, and potentially expose anyone advertising online to new privacy infringements.

    • Iran to have internet ‘smart filtering’

      Tehran already blocks access to popular websites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

    • As Indian govt plans a web filter, let’s see how Internet censorship works in Iran, China and Cuba

      The Internet censorship debate in India has been going on for some time now. But according to a latest report by Medianama, the Indian government is contemplating on using web filters to control the internet. One of the main triggers of this discussion on web filters is ban of pornographic websites and those sites which carry ‘objectionable’ content – a term which is open to interpretation.

    • Rubbing Out Internet Porn Won’t Be Easy for the Indian Government
  • Privacy
    • David Chavchavadze, CIA spy with Romanov roots, dies at 90

      He did much of his work in Berlin in the years after World War II and at the start of the Cold War. His assignments included recruitment of Soviet agents.

    • New NSA director rips critics, calls for ‘less simplistic’ national conversation about surveillance
    • Congress to tackle NSA reforms, government funding in waning days

      Although the GOP-controlled House and Senate elected earlier this month in the midterms is waiting in the wings, the 113th Congress is back from recess and still has the floor. The Republican-led House and Democratic-led Senate will move on some critical agenda items and take up hot-button issues before it adjourns in December.

    • Rand Paul to oppose NSA reform bill

      Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) won’t support an upcoming bill to reform the National Security Agency (NSA) without changes to strengthen it, an aide told The Hill on Friday.

    • Rand Paul Gives Thumbs Down to Weaker NSA Reform Bill

      Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) gave a strong signal today that he intends to try to keep surveillance and National Security Agency (NSA) reform in the news. His office has told beltway media that Paul will not support the Senate version of the USA Freedom Act, a legislative effort to scale back the massive expansion of surveillance against American citizens exposed by Edward Snowden. The problem is that the proposals have been watered down too much.

    • Rand Paul to oppose NSA surveillance reform bill
    • Cruz reiterates support for NSA reform bill

      Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Friday reiterated his support for a National Security Agency reform bill slated to hit the Senate floor next week.

      Cruz is one of three Republican co-sponsors of the USA Freedom Act, which would end the government’s bulk collection of phone records. He called the legislation essential to rein in what he described as the Obama administration’s “extreme” position on U.S. privacy.

    • LA Times pushes NSA reform

      The Los Angeles Times is telling lawmakers in the Senate to get on board with the USA Freedom Act.

    • Freedom Act’s Advance Threatens NSA Court Cases

      Legal experts say passage of the bill, which would end the automatic bulk collection and in-house retention of phone records, may short-circuit lawsuits that claim the collection is illegal. That would deprive citizens not only the satisfaction of possible rulings that Obama and President George W. Bush ordered violations of their constitutional rights, but also head off Supreme Court review of a 35-year-old precedent the government says allows it to collect huge amounts of data provided by ordinary Americans to businesses.

    • 81% of Tor users can be de-anonymised by analysing router information, research indicates

      Research undertaken between 2008 and 2014 suggests that more than 81% of Tor clients can be ‘de-anonymised’ – their originating IP addresses revealed – by exploiting the ‘Netflow’ technology that Cisco has built into its router protocols, and similar traffic analysis software running by default in the hardware of other manufacturers.

    • AT&T stops adding Web tracking codes on cellphones

      AT&T Mobility, the nation’s second-largest cellular provider, said Friday it’s no longer attaching hidden Internet tracking codes to data transmitted from its users’ smartphones. The practice made it nearly impossible to shield its subscribers’ identities online.
      The change by AT&T essentially removes a hidden string of letters and numbers that are passed along to websites that a consumer visits. It can be used to track subscribers across the Internet, a lucrative data-mining opportunity for advertisers that could still reveal users’ identities based on their browsing habits.

    • First ruling on interception of legally privileged material awaited

      Following last week’s revelations at the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) that intelligence agencies are intercepting the privileged communications between lawyer and client, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) is now considering whether intercepted legally privileged material has had a bearing on a sensitive and long-running case.

    • Make 2016 About Surveillance

      A lot has changed since Edward Snowden lifted the veil on the surveillance of millions of Americans. The NSA no longer enjoys an existence in the shadows, reform has been proposed in both houses of Congress, and public opinion overwhelmingly reflects a growing mistrust of the US government’s justifications for spying on its own citizens.

    • Privacy experts want UK national security boss to be honest, open

      “Given everything we’ve learned in the past 18 months, he chose not to address at all the very serious things that GCHQ stand accused of: blanket surveillance of the UK population with public knowledge and without parliamentary knowledge, [and] receiving warrantless bulk intercepts from the NSA on US and people around the world,” said Annie Machon, former MI5 intelligence officer and whistleblower.

    • Experts call for ‘return to human intelligence’ after Snowden

      The UK’s national security boss, Robert Hannigan, should come clean on surveillance and stop attacking technology companies, privacy experts have said.

      Intelligence agencies must use the debate sparked by Edward Snowden’s surveillance revelations to overhaul their attitude to privacy and oversight, said the group speaking at Dublin’s Web Summit in November.

    • NY Times Urges News Sites To Embrace HTTPS/SSL… In An Article That Can’t Be Read Via HTTPS

      Earlier this year, Techdirt announced that it had gone over to HTTPS as a default to better protect everyone’s privacy on this site. As the Freedom of the Press Foundation recently pointed out, it appears that we’re one of only three media properties that do so, along with Muckrock and the Intercept. A few others have SSL, but not by default. But most don’t even have HTTPS at all.

    • The Snowden Effect on Privacy Attitudes

      More than 90 percent of the people who took part in the survey agree consumers have no control over their online information, and 88 percent understand it would be difficult to remove inaccurate information about them from the Internet. Eight out 10, the survey said, are aware of and concerned about advertisers and businesses taking advantage of what’s shared over social media.

    • Pierre Omidyar’s Weird Hiring Practices

      “To this day,” Glenn Greenwald told New York magazine recently, “I’ve never met Pierre in person.”

    • All Cameras Are Police Cameras

      The Sixth Wall will be made of intelligent dust which settles in the folds of your clothes and communicates your position and heart rate to orbiting satellites. London’s citizens will dream, and the images of their dreams will dance on the telescreens of Piccadilly Circus, and be found wanting.

  • Civil Rights
    • Ex-officer going to prison: ‘I’m the boogeyman’

      Darrell Beavers went to church with David Schofield, served on the Cincinnati Police Department and worked off-duty security jobs with him. Officer Beavers also patrolled the neighborhood where Schofield lives.

    • Sexual Relationship With A Minor, Theft Of Services And Destruction Of Evidence Nets Police Officer One-Year Prison Sentence
    • Cop Who Obtained Warrant To Take Photo Of Teen’s Erect Penis For Sexting Case Sues Teen’s Lawyer For Defamation

      One of the more remarkable intersections of law enforcement and sexting this year involved the Manassas City (VA) police department and a 17-year-old boy’s erect penis.

      Briefly: two teens — a 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy — exchanged nude photos. Apparently, the boy went further, sending a nude video to the 15-year-old. The parents of the girl brought this to the police, who then sought to charge the 17-year-old with “possession of child pornography and manufacturing child pornography,” mainly because the law remains mostly “a ass” when it comes to teens sexting.

    • Mark Udall’s Open To Releasing CIA Torture Report Himself If Agreement Isn’t Reached Over Redactions

      As we were worried might happen, Senator Mark Udall lost his re-election campaign in Colorado, meaning that one of the few Senators who vocally pushed back against the surveillance state is about to leave the Senate. However, Trevor Timm pointed out that, now that there was effectively “nothing to lose,” Udall could go out with a bang and release the Senate Intelligence Committee’s CIA torture report. The release of some of that report (a redacted version of the 400+ page “executive summary” — the full report is well over 6,000 pages) has been in limbo for months since the Senate Intelligence Committee agreed to declassify it months ago. The CIA and the White House have been dragging out the process hoping to redact some of the most relevant info — perhaps hoping that a new, Republican-controlled Senate would just bury the report.

    • Doubt cast over US torture investigation as more CIA detainees come forward

      Lawyers for men allegedly tortured by the CIA say their clients were never interviewed as part of a major criminal investigation concluded in 2012

    • Sen. Mark Udall Contemplates Revealing CIA Torture Report
    • Los Angeles police using CIA software to track criminals, ex-cons

      New software used by the Los Angeles Police Department shows not only where crime is most likely to happen, but also tracks ex-cons and others likely to commit crimes. Civil rights groups are concerned over its use for entrapment and data collection.

    • LAPD’s CIA-developed computer fights crime, but not everybody’s happy about it

      Los Angeles police are increasingly relying on technology that not only tells patrol officers where crime is most likely to occur but also identifies and keeps track of ex-cons and other bad guys they believe are most likely to commit them.

      Police say the effort has already helped reduce crime in one of the city’s most notorious and historically gang-ridden neighborhoods.

    • FROSTED GLASS FALCONS AND OTHER GIFTS FOR YOUR FAVORITE CIA EMPLOYEE

      Qatar is the U.S.’ favorite rich relative, doling out 32 gifts worth a total of $100,568, mostly to the Air Force and the Defense Department. China gave 24 presents but it’s obviously cheap crap, adding up to just a measly $23,438. Afghanistan comes in third with 22, of which 16 are rugs. Iraq only gave the U.S. 8 things. Ingrates.

    • Is the U.S. really against torture? It can be hard to tell

      President Barack Obama brought the U.S. commitment against torture into sharper focus on Wednesday. For a president who prohibited torture as one of his first official acts, this shouldn’t be news. But it is.

      At issue is Washington’s interpretation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture. Seeking to exempt American abuse of detainees overseas, President George W. Bush had broken with his predecessors and claimed that the treaty didn’t apply outside the United States. This strained reading flew in the face of American values, the rule of law and the text of the 1987 treaty.

    • The US Says It Will Stop Using Torture … Mostly

      The Obama administration indicated on Wednesday that it will back away from a position held by the previous administration that claimed the United States is not obligated to abide by the UN Treaty Against Torture when operating on foreign soil. That’s the good news.

    • Philip Hammond: ‘UK could leave EU’ over renegotiations

      The UK must be ready to “stand up… and walk away” if it is unhappy with talks over its relationship with the European Union, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said.

      He told the Daily Telegraph agreement was possible on such issues as curbing EU migrant numbers into the UK.

    • Why the FBI’s Suicide Note to MLK Still Matters

      The more we learn about the government these days, the less we can trust it. Forget about the simple incompetence that used to fire up libertarian critics of an expansive government—that’s a complaint that seems almost quaint given recent and ongoing revelations about official fraud and deception. It’s looking more and more like the government tends toward evil and mean-spiritedness, and it’s going to take real change to reverse eroding faith among citizens.

    • Hit and run is a crime in Florida — unless you’re a Florida State football player

      P. J. Williams totaled two cars and fled the scene. Cops gave him two tickets and didn’t ask if he’d been drinking

    • UK’s Home Secretary Says Terrorists Will Be The Real Winners If Country’s Cell Coverage Dead Zones Are Fixed

      The UK’s culture secretary wants to eradicate the nation’s patchy cell phone coverage. UK cell phone users aren’t able to switch towers on the fly — something residents of other EU countries (as well as the US) enjoy — but are forced to connect only with their provider’s towers.

    • Mexico: General Strike on November 20 for Missing Students

      The strike is scheduled to coincide with the national holiday commemorating the start of the Mexican Revolution.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing: Comcast Kisses-Up To Obama, Agrees With His Stance On Net Neutrality

      Comcast is one of two companies to have earned Consumerist’s “Worst Company in America” title on more than one occasion (once in 2010 and again this year, 2014), and it looks like the company is lobbying for a third title. That is, unless there’s another explanation as to how the cable giant can claim (seemingly with straight face) that it’s in agreement with President Barack Obama for a free and open Internet.

      [...]

      Earlier this year, Netflix begrudgingly inked a multi-year deal with Comcast in which the streaming service agreed to pay a toll to ensure faster delivery into the homes of Comcast subscribers, who prior to the deal had been complaining of frequent buffering and video degradation when watching content on Netflix.

    • Behind Closed Doors, Ford, UPS, and Visa Push for Net Neutrality

      The corporate battle lines over the new federal rules for the Internet have been well established. Vocal technology startups have been leading the charge for muscular regulations for broadband access, and Internet service providers including Comcast (CMCSA) and Verizon (VZ) have been arguing loudly for more flexibility. Blue chip companies without obvious tech interests have kept a lower profile.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Perfect 10 Loses Yet Another Copyright Lawsuit, Once Again Losing To Giganews

        As we’ve noted in the past, Perfect 10 appears to be a company who’s entire reason for being is to set good precedents in copyright law, by filing ridiculous lawsuits and losing. So many important copyright precedents have come out of Perfect 10 cases, including ones on fair use and secondary liability. Some have argued (with fairly detailed explanations) how Perfect 10 is not a porn publisher at all, but rather a pure copyright troll that makes a living off of suing. While it seems to always lose in court, the problem is that some companies just pay up rather than fight. Back in 2011, we noted that Perfect 10 had sued Usenet provider Giganews. Earlier this year, the court smacked down Perfect 10 on a number of issues. And now, the court has done so again, handing a complete and total victory to Giganews.

IRC Proceedings: October 26th, 2014 – November 8th, 2014

Saturday 15th of November 2014 10:33:44 PM

IRC Proceedings: October 26th – November 1st, 2014

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: November 2nd – November 8th, 2014

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

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