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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 1 hour 22 min ago

Links 22/4/2015: Calculate Linux 14.16, SparkyLinux 4.0 RC KDE

3 hours 19 min ago

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Server
  • Kernel Space
    • Linux Kernel 3.10.75 LTS Is a Small Update that Brings New and Updated Drivers

      After announcing the fifth maintenance release of Linux kernel 3.19, Greg Kroah-Hartman also published details about the seventy-five point release of the Linux 3.10 kernel, urging users of the 3.10 kernel series to upgrade as soon as the packages become available in the official software repositories of their Linux distributions.

    • LLDB Is Getting Into Shape For Linux 64-bit Debugging

      From Valve’s interest in the LLDB debugger to many other firms also being interested in LLVM’s debugger as an alternative to GDB on Linux, LLDB is getting into very usable shape for 64-bit Linux systems.

    • Linux Kernel 3.14.39 LTS Is Now Available for Download

      After releasing the Linux kernels 3.19.5 and 3.10.75 LTS, Greg Kroah-Hartman had the pleasure of announcing the immediate availability of Linux kernel 3.14.39, an LTS (Long Term Support) version that is currently maintained for a couple of years with security patches, drivers updates, and bugfixes.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Intel’s Windows Driver Now Supports OpenGL 4.4, Linux Driver Still With OpenGL 3.3

        The Intel Windows driver is up to supporting the OpenGL 4.4 specification while the company’s open-source Linux graphics driver still doesn’t yet fully support OpenGL 4.0.

      • AMD Open-Sources “Addrlib” From Catalyst

        As part of AMD finally releasing the AMDGPU kernel driver yesterday along with initial Iceland/Carrizo/Tonga support in Gallium3D, they also open-sourced a component formerly within the Catalyst proprietary driver.

      • AMD Releases New “AMDGPU” Linux Kernel Driver & Mesa Support

        At long last the source code to the new AMDGPU driver has been released! This is the new driver needed to support the Radeon R9 285 graphics card along with future GPUs/APUs like Carrizo. Compared to the existing Radeon DRM driver, the new AMDGPU code is needed for AMD’s new unified Linux driver strategy whereby the new Catalyst driver will be isolated to being a user-space binary blob with both the full open-source driver and the Catalyst driver using this common AMDGPU kernel driver.

    • Benchmarks
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • 72 Applications ported to Kde Frameworks 5 (KDE Applications 15.04)

        Great news for Kde fanatics since this is a month full of great releases. In fact, after the stable release of KDE Frameworks 5.9 and the up-and-coming beta of Plasma 5.3 there’s another important step for the Kde development: KDE Applications 15.04.

        With this new release of KDE Applications 15.04 we have the full porting of 72 applications to KDE Frameworks 5 and consequently to Qt5.

  • Distributions
    • What’s in a name?

      Hello all, from the first post on our new domain!

      Firstly we’d like to apologise for the downtime, confusion and general inconvenience of late. In short we’ve been involved in a naming dispute for the previously named “Evolve OS” project. On April 1st (yep, really) we were contacted regarding a naming dispute over the use of ‘OS‘. In the past the Evolve OS project had applied for a trademark in the name of “Evolve OS”, which was going through a 2 month period in which those opposing the mark can file their objection.

    • New Releases
    • Screenshots/Screencasts
    • Gentoo Family
      • Trials & Tribulations: Installing Gentoo Linux With GNOME & Systemd

        Despite going four years without using GNOME 3 to any real degree, it felt familiar from the get-go, almost as if it was just mere months since I last used it. As I’ve had to do with Ubuntu’s Unity, I needed to find a tweaking tool for GNOME, stat, as many of its defaults don’t suit me very well. After figuring out via Web search that it was gnome-tweak-tool I was looking for, I was rather surprised to see that Gentoo had included it in that monolithic ‘gnome’ install. It’s really easy to see why.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Fedora
        • Fedora’s Christian Schaller Asks ‘What Can We Do?’

          Today in Linux news Fedora developer asks the community what can we do to get you to switch to Fedora? Elsewhere, the number of Debian 8 release blockers remains steady despite looming release date and Rob Williams shares his “trials and tribulations” installing Gentoo with GNOME and systemd. The former Evolve OS has a projected release date of the release of their newly renamed Linux and Simon Phipps reports on the latest Open Invention Network members.

        • Fedora Workstation: More than the sum of its parts

          Anyway, I thought this could be a good opportunity to actually ask the wider community a question, especially if you are using GNOME on another distribution than Fedora, what are we still missing at this point for you to consider making a switch to Fedora Workstation? I know that for some of you the answer might be as simple as ‘worn in shoes fits the best’, but anything you might have beyond that would be great to hear.

          I can’t promise that we will be able to implement every suggestion you add to this blog post, but I do promise that we will review and consider every suggestion you provide and try to see how it can fit into development plans going forward.

    • Debian Family
  • Devices/Embedded
    • CamJam EduKit

      When the Raspberry Pi launched in 2012 it was clear that it would rise or fall on the strength of the supporting material. And so it has proved; there are more powerful and cheaper devices out there, but the Pi has grown a huge community providing how-tos and projects, and several third-parties have popped up selling add-on equipment.

    • Phones
      • Tizen
      • Android
        • 10 Android for Work Features Sure to Appeal to Enterprises

          There’s a new enterprise mobile platform for companies that are prepared to invest in Android. Google has introduced its long-awaited mobile device management (MDM) platform Android for Work. Android for Work gives IT departments and companies a more secure way for employees to access corporate data and applications with their Android mobile devices. It’s the Android equivalent of platforms such as Apple’s own MDM platform and others from Good Technology and BlackBerry. One advantage Android for Work has that all those others don’t, however, is that it can be used on more than a billion Android devices that are in users’ hands around the world. In other words, it’s an MDM system that’s destined to be adopted on a massive scale worldwide. But what in Android for Work will make it an effective management tool for the millions of workers who want to not only bring their Android mobile devices to work but use them productively for business? This slide show looks at the features that could make Android for Work an effective MDM platform for enterprises.

        • Android Wear’s biggest update ever takes aim at the Apple Watch
        • Android Wear’s Second Big Update Is Coming: Gestures, WiFi, And Better UI In The Next Few Weeks

          Word around the rumor mill was that Android Wear was about to get a pretty big update — and sure enough, such an update is officially on the way.

        • Android Wear adds WiFi support, always-on apps, emojis

          Google released a major update to Android Wear that adds always-on apps, WiFi support, a wrist-flipping gesture for scrolling, and emoji drawing support.

          Google just released a major Android 5.1.1 update for its Android Wear smartwatch platform, and considering the huge pre-sales for the Apple Watch, it’s not a moment too soon. Even with a nine month head start over the new Apple Watch, Google’s Android Wear hardware partners sold only 70,000 watches by the end of 2014, according to an early February estimate from Canalys.

        • I’m tired of getting excited about Nokia Android phones, but I can’t help it

          For years, I waited for Nokia to change its mind and start making the gorgeous Android handsets many fans wanted from the company. Instead Nokia steered clear of a path that may have brought it some success, and eventually succumbed to iOS and Android. Yet, Re/code has learned that Nokia is once again working on Android smartphones, something that was previously rumored as well, and I can’t help but get excited all over again.

        • Nokia phones expected in 2016: Android or something else?

          Nokia is planning a return to the smartphone market in 2016, after it sold off its handset business to Microsoft in 2013, sources tell Re/code. The timing is right: Based on the Microsoft deal, Nokia can’t sell phones with the Nokia brand until next year.

        • Sony’s Android-powered 4K TVs and new soundbars are coming in May

          After first showcasing its 2015 lineup of 4K TVs at CES earlier this year, Sony has now revealed pricing and release dates for most of the sets. All of them run Android TV, which replaces Sony’s previous, clunky software for a richer experience deeply tied to Google’s own software and third-party streaming apps. Most of Sony’s lineup is on the larger side when it comes to display size. Though you’ll find a few options available in the 43- to 55-inch range, Sony is putting the most effort into models that will dominate most home theater setups at 65 or 75 inches. It’s here you’ll find the flagship XBR-75X940C, a $7,999 TV that features full-array local dimming, 4K resolution, and support for HDR video output, which Sony will deliver through a firmware update sometime this summer.

        • Best new Android widgets (April 2015) #2
        • Android Lollipop OS update live for Sprint Spark-driven Samsung Galaxy S4 tri-band LTE users in US: What’s new

          After rolling out the Android 5.0 (Lollipop) OS update to Samsung Galaxy Note 3 users who have subscribed to its wireless network services in the US, Sprint is now seeding the much expected OS update to Galaxy S4 owners using its Sprint Spark service in the country.

        • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop almost ready for Nexus 9, WiFi Nexus 7

          You may be excited that your device is finally getting the Android 5.0 Lollipop update but others are already getting Android 5.0.1 (Moto E, and Moto 4 with 4G LTE, Galaxy Note 4, Note Edge, Galaxy S5, Galaxy S4) and Android 5.0.2 (LG G2 from T-Mobile and AT&T, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, Nexus 7, original Moto X). Several mobile devices have even received Android 5.1 already like the Nexus 5, Nexus Player, HTC One (M7), Moto G GPE, LG G Pad 8.3 GPE, and the Sony Z Ultra GPE. And to further burst your bubble, sorry, but Android 5.1.1 is almost ready.

        • 8 great Google Maps tips for Android and iOS
        • ZTE’s Spro 2 Android-powered ‘smart projector’ will hit AT&T for $399.99

          How would you like a 120-inch screen you can toss into your backpack or purse? Yes, please!

          First announced at CES 2015, ZTE’s Android-powered smart projector Spro 2 is finally launching in the U.S. The 1.2-pound portable projector that measures 5.28 x 5.16 x 1.22 inches will be available on April 24 from AT&T.

        • Your favorite websites can now send notifications to Chrome on Android

          Support for push notifications was the most important feature in last week’s Chrome 42 release — and starting today you’ll begin to see why. Today, several websites including eBay, Facebook, Pinterest, Vice News, and Product Hunt will begin to offer Chrome push notifications on both desktop and Android. It’s that last platform that’s a big deal: websites that support Chrome push notifications can send out updates that look and feel like regular app updates even if the Chrome browser isn’t currently active on an Android device.

        • Google just unveiled a hugely ambitious Android Wear update – here are the 3 coolest features

          With all the hype surrounding the Apple Watch, you may have forgotten that Google has a smartwatch software platform of its own called Android Wear. To remind us of this, Google on Monday took the wraps off a hugely ambitious Android Wear update that adds three important features that the platform had been sorely missing.

        • Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge Receiving Android 5.1 Lollipop Software Update
        • Australia’s first Android TV device arrives with Google Nexus Player

          The player, which runs the Android TV platform, was released in the U.S. in October 2014. It will be sold at JB Hi-Fi and Dick Smith from Tuesday for A$129. The device sits in the same market as Apple TV, and is the first device to offer Android TV locally.

        • Improve your game with the best golf Apps for Android

          These days, technology is just as much a part of golf as a good swing. Both professional and amateur players are constantly seeking an edge from the best equipment and engineering breakthroughs.

        • Nexus 5 & 7 Still Facing The Same Issues After Android 5.1 Update

          Usually with updates to software, developers try to address any bugs or issues that were present in the previous version. Unfortunately it seems that in the case of Android 5.1, Google has yet to address some problems that are still plaguing handsets like the Nexus 5 and the Nexus 7 which are no doubt rather annoying for its users.

          The issues in question are related to memory leaks in which after prolonged periods of use, the devices start to feel sluggish due to the amount of free RAM remaining which is less than ideal. This is an issue that Google had acknowledged back in Android 5.0.1 and was actually reported back in 2014.

        • Chrome’s push notifications reach your Android phone

          Chrome’s website push notifications are no longer confined to your desktop — they now surface on your phone, too. Grab Chrome 42 for Android and you can opt into alerts from websites that show up no matter what you’re doing. You won’t have to worry about missing out on breaking news, even if your favorite sites don’t have dedicated apps. You’ll also have an easier time adding home screen shortcuts for those sites if you always want them close at hand. It’ll be a while before many of the sites you frequent can deliver notifications (eBay, Facebook and Pinterest are some of the early adopters), but it’s worth upgrading now to get ready.

Free Software/Open Source
  • A Gigabyte Sandy/Ivy Bridge Motherboard Now Handled By Coreboot
  • Myth Busting the Open-Source Cloud Part 1

    On the contrary, open-source cloud computing products are designed from the outset with security in mind. For example, there are features such as identity management to monitor who has access to content, and data encryption to safeguard information while it’s at rest or in transit.

    Furthermore, open-source cloud software is peer-reviewed by community participants, leading to continuous improvements in the quality of security features and mechanisms. This community also monitors and rapidly discloses vulnerabilities and issues, and provides security updates to address them.

  • Why the Open Source Stars Must Align

    Open source projects like OpenStack, Docker, OPNFV and OpenDaylight are more supported and better funded than ever before. They mark a broader trend of large, active and well-resourced open source projects that are among the leaders in Big Data, cloud computing, operating systems and development practices. Open source has come a long way in 30 years – and its success marks a new era for the overall OSS community.

    But success does not come without potential pitfalls. One of the greatest obstacles to project success isn’t the proprietary competition – it’s the lack of communication between large open source projects like OpenStack and Docker.

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Google Shuts Off NPAPI in Chrome

        With the release of Chrome 42 this week, Google fixed more than 40 vulnerabilities. But the most significant security change in the new browser is Google’s decision to disable the NPAPI, essentially turning off plugins such as Java and Silverlight by default.

    • Mozilla
  • Project Releases
  • Public Services/Government
    • German Greens want increased support for open source

      The Greens in the German parliament want the government to shore up support for open source, but are not sure how. The politicians are working with the Free Software Foundation Europe, to figure out the most convincing arguments and how to increase pressure on the federal government.

    • Germany’s Foreign Ministry Questioned Over Use of Proprietary Software

      Germany has been in the news many times with its open source policy, usually at the local level, but now the Parliament is getting involved, and it’s making some serious accusations towards its Foreign Ministry.

  • Openness/Sharing
Leftovers
  • Security
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • Sony CEO Michael Lynton Slams Middle East Peace Talks In Leaked Emails: ‘Let Them All Kill Each Other!’ PLUS Secret Chats With State Department

      Assange posted a massive collection of hacked Sony emails on Thursday, he explained that they show the workings of a corporation “at the centre of a geo-political conflict.” Indeed, RadarOnline.com can exclusively report that the leaked emails reveal extensive communication between SONY CEO Michael Lynton and the US State Department. And it wasn’t just business: Lynton was not shy about sharing his political beliefs via his work email. In one communication, Lynton bashes the Middle Eastern peace process and sniffs, “Let them all kill each other!”

      The disturbing email came as a response to an October 2014 article by Fareed Zakaria in The Washington Post regarding President Barack Obama‘s foreign policy in Syria. A relative had forwarded it to Lynton with the comment, “Brilliant.”

  • Censorship
  • Civil Rights
    • Guest Post: Undermining Attorney – Client Privilege Weakens Rule of Law

      The systems of surveillance that Edward Snowden revealed in both the UK and US depend on law for their justification, and are facing legal challenges in both countries’ legislatures. This might give the impression that, whatever the merits of these controversies, they will be sorted out through well-established, neutral principles of law. But a case in the UK has raised concerns about whether the impartial protections of the legal system are themselves being undermined.

    • Michael Eric Dyson’s Hatchet Eulogy for Cornel West

      In most respects, it’s very much a by-the-numbers smear, which credits West’s increasingly vocal antipathy to Obama to personal and professional decline, and the usual array of pathologies and character defects that prevent public figures from staying within the boundaries of permissible dissent: grandiosity, selfishness, envy, political calculation, hypocrisy and grudges. Y’know, Ralph Nader syndrome.

  • DRM
    • Apple and Sony emails on Wikileaks

      The leaks included Apple’s agreements to distribute Sony videos through the iTunes Store. This includes the original agreement between the companies covering TV shows such as Charlie’s Angels and Who’s The Boss that was signed in 2007 with term extensions, high-definition amendments, and “Virtual Storage Locker” – the service that we now know as iTunes in the Cloud.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights and Sony
      • The Sony hacking scandal

        The threat came from a group of hackers that had already caused havoc with a cyber-attack on Sony Pictures, and leaked reams of the studio’s confidential information. Washington was quick to blame the hack on North Korea and many in the US media could not wait to do the same.

        [...]

        Pyongyang’s official response to the film – that releasing it would amount to an act of war – also struck people as a reach, but when you consider the way the country is depicted by Hollywood and take a closer look at what was actually revealed in the hack-job on Sony Pictures, you may reconsider.

      • Wikileaks reveals that David Cameron met with Sony before the Scottish Independence referendum to discuss the release date of Outlander

        I have no real time for conspiracy theories as people reading these blogs will know. Sure, some are fun but mainly they’re there to be dismissed so when before the Scottish Independence referendum there were people saying that the UK government had ‘blocked’ the broadcast of Outlander, a SF series set in 18th century Scotland I just treated these people pushing that idea with the contempt they deserved.

      • Leaked Sony email speaks of political ‘importance’ of Outlander to independence debate

        The Outlander TV series and its possible impact on the Independence Referendum were raised by Sony executives before a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron last year.

      • Sony Once Again Ridiculously Warns The Media Not To Report On Leaked Emails

        Back in December, when the Sony emails first leaked, we wrote about how Sony hired super-high-powered lawyer David Boies to send off ridiculously misinformed letters to media outlets warning them that they should not write anything based on information in the leaks. Boies took it a ridiculous step further, threatening to sue Twitter for not blocking screenshots of the emails. Both threats had no real legal basis.

        Of course, now that the emails are in the news again, thanks to Wikileaks posting the archive online and making it searchable, Sony is apparently shelling out more big bucks to Boies to send around another version of the letter. You can see the letter here or at the bottom of the post.

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

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

      • WikiLeaks reveals new Springsteen contract, with release plans

        The document goes into a lot of economical details (higher royalty rates, a $31-million advance, a contract extension until June 2027, etc), including details of the benefits the 2005 contract brought to Columbia ($73-million on top of the $101-million paid to Springsteen)

      • WikiLeaks: What is written about BiH and Sarajevo in hacked Mails of SONY

        Three days ago, WikiLeaks released thousands of documents and e-mails which they reached after the company Sony has been hacked last year. Our country is mentioned as well in the published content.

        Among more than 170.000 e-mails, there are ones of the author Jennifer Rawlings who filmed a documentary in 2008 that investigates lives of several women that survived the war in BiH. Author of the movie “Forgotten voices: Women in Bosnia“, has frequently been visiting war zones, including BiH after the war.

Links 21/4/2015: Project Photon, Ubuntu Touch Buzz

Tuesday 21st of April 2015 12:00:28 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • The best free, open-source software for everyday PC users

    Finding new software is a breeze for Linux users. The Linux desktop offers powerful, easy-to-use open-source applications for everything you need, just a few clicks away in your Linux distribution’s package manager. The programs are free, too—and you don’t have to dodge the installer crapware you do on Windows.

    But which of those programs are right for you? We have answers. The applications highlighted here are the pick of the litter for the average Linux user looking to stock up on software. Heck, these particular applications are so good that almost all of them are available on other platforms and are popular even among Windows users.

    Say what you want about the Linux desktop—it’s a much more capable, mature environment than the WinRT environment in Windows 8. Chrome OS and its Chrome apps still can’t match Linux’s power, either.

  • What does an adult look like in an open source community?

    Communities can be as simple as a person having a campfire and someone else joining them. If you’re a commerce-minded campfire owner, it’s about what other people need to trade to sit beside it. If you’re a government-minded campfire owner, it’s about when you need to implement a firewood tax so that you can maintain the fire. And social structures manifest in very straightforward ways. Every village has its idiot. Every playground has its bully.

  • Solving the Free Software Liability Conundrum

    As you may have noticed, a lot of software has a lot of bugs. Even open source code has them, but the main damage tends to come from certain well-known, widely-used proprietary programs – not forgetting well-known, widely-used open source programs with proprietary layers like Android. In fact, some estimates put the annual damage caused by serious software flaws in the hundreds of billions of pounds range, which probably means that many trillions of pounds’ value has been destroyed thanks to buggy, flawed software over the years.

  • Ten lessons from Open Source Open Society 2015

    There’s a dark underside to open source culture. Chris Kelly from GitHub says because anyone can take part in open source, the door is open to assholes (he’s American, I’d prefer to say arseholes). That includes bullying white men with a sense of entitlement. Things often end up argumentative.

    He says this culture can frighten off outsiders, only a few women coders work in open source and the movement is missing out on the benefits of diversity. There’s a clear need to deal with this and to improve communications between people working in open source.

  • The future of Audacity, interview with the team

    We’re working on ways to make the code smaller, less work to bug fix, and related things to keep the project fun.

  • Events
    • POSSCON Successfully Reboots

      Last week in Columbia, South Carolina, the developers’ conference POSSCON went through something of a reboot. Last year the conference was cancelled to allow It-oLogy, the organization behind the event, to put its energy behind launching the Great Wide Open conference in Atlanta. This year, with last year’s successful premiere of the Hotlanta event under its belt, IT-oLogy pulled-out all the stops to reestablish POSSCON.

    • Libre Graphics Meeting 2015 for free and open source design

      This conference is open to the public, and registration is free. Libre Graphics Meeting is four days of talks, workshops, and hack sessions about free/libre and open source software for software developers, artists, designers, users, and other contributors. This year, the conference will be held in Toronto from April 29 to May 2.

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Chrome 43 Beta: Web MIDI and upgrading legacy sites to HTTPS

        The newest Chrome Beta channel release includes Web MIDI support, new features to improve security and compatibility and a number of small changes to enable developers to build more powerful web applications. Unless otherwise noted, changes described below apply to Chrome for Android, Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS.

  • SaaS/Big Data
    • Big Data Titans Align Around Open Data Platform, Open Tools

      Big data leaders are really converging around the Open Data Platform, recently announced by Pivotal, which we covered here. Hortonworks, IBM and Pivotal have announced that they are essentially harmonizing their Hadoop and data analytics strategies.

  • Databases
    • How real time data supply has changed

      RethinkDB is an open-source scalable database for what its makers call “the real time web”, but what does real time data supply mean in terms of the way web-centric applications function today?

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • April 2015 GNU Toolchain Update
    • Gnuastro webpage is activated

      The Gnuastro webpage ( http://www.gnu.org/software/gnuastro/ ) was activated and the documentation is now available. There is still a lot of work to do until it is ready for release though.

    • 30 Years On, HURD Lives: GNU Updates Open Source Unix Kernel

      The latest version of GNU HURD is out. If you’re asking, “What is GNU HURD?” you’re probably in good company. But as the open source kernel that was supposed to do what Linux ended up doing—provide the core for a cross-platform, Unix-like operating system whose code would be freely shared—the HURD is important. That it is still being actively developed three decades after its launch is worth remarking.

  • Programming
Leftovers
  • L.A. School District Terminates iPad Program and Seeks Refund From Apple

    As the Los Angeles Times reports, the Unified School District Board of Education told its attorneys that they should consider litigation against Apple and Pearson. (Pearson developed the iPad curriculum as an Apple contractor.) District counsel David Holmquist said that Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines “made the decision that he wanted to put them on notice, Pearson in particular, that he’s dissatisfied with their product.” In a letter to Apple, the school district wrote that it won’t continue to pay for the Pearson curriculum or services. And board members are calling for a refund.

  • ‘Help! Fire!’ Talking parrots cause house fire confusion

    Emergency crews responded to a structure fire in Canyon County Friday night that caused some confusion.

  • Report: Scientology spy pretending to be a Time reporter tries to interview Paul Haggis

    Paul Haggis, the filmmaker and prominent ex-Scientologist whose story formed the backbone of Alex Gibney’s Scientology expose “Going Clear,” has alleged that a spy from the church pretended to be a Time reporter in order to get an interview with him.

    According to Haggis, on April 7th he received an email from someone named Mark Webber, who claimed to be a Time magazine reporter seeking to interview Haggis for a piece about the “golden age of film.”

  • We all risk losing our most previous memories: Mobiles mean we’re taking more pictures than ever, but RAY CONNOLLY has a warning

    Surely only a modern-day Luddite would disagree. Well, maybe not. Because it seems to me that the march of progress doesn’t always keep everything in step.

    While many things are gained by any great leap forward, other things are lost. When the CD was introduced in 1985, music fans were in raptures.

    Albums would never again get scratched, and CDs were so much better to play in the car than those cassettes on which the tape was liable to stretch or snap. What’s more, CDs were easier to store than those large pancakes of vinyl we used to love.

    But 30 years on, as Record Store Day showed at the weekend, those pancakes are making a comeback, with two million expected to be sold in Britain this year. Apparently, while CDs may be handier, the good old LP offers a warmer sound than the compressed noise we get on digital.

  • Science
  • Security
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • New Saudi-Led Airstrike Kills At Least 26 Civilians in Yemen

      At least 26 people were killed by a Saudi-led bombing in Yemen’s capital, including a journalist at a nearby television station headquarters.

    • Oxfam Condemns Coalition Bombing of a Warehouse Containing Vital Humanitarian Aid

      Oxfam has vehemently condemned yesterday’s Coalition airstrike on one of its storage facilities in Saada Governorate in northern Yemen.

      Grace Ommer, Oxfam’s country director in Yemen said: “This is an absolute outrage particularly when one considers that we have shared detailed information with the Coalition on the locations of our offices and storage facilities. The contents of the warehouse had no military value. It only contained humanitarian supplies associated with our previous work in Saada, bringing clean water to thousands of households. Thankfully, no one was killed in this particular airstrike although conservative estimates put the death toll in the country as a whole, since the conflict began, at around 760 – the majority of which are civilians.”

    • Explosion Rips Through Homes in Yemen’s Capital After Airstrike

      Dozens of people were feared dead after an airstrike on Monday morning by a Saudi-led military coalition set off a huge explosion that flattened homes in the Yemeni capital, according to witnesses.

      The explosion shattered windows and shook buildings miles from the site of the attack, in the Faj Attan area of the capital, Sana. The wounded were taken to a nearby hospital in a stream of ambulances and trucks, and medical workers called for blood donations.

    • Saudi King Salman receives former UK Quartet envoy Tony Blair

      Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz received Britain’s special envoy for the Middle East quartet and former Prime Minister Tony Blair in his palace in Riyadh on Sunday, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

    • US Military Spending Still Up 45% Over Pre-9/11 Levels; More Than Next 7 Countries Combined

      Despite a decline in military spending since 2010, U.S. defense expenditures are still 45 percent higher than they were before the 9/11 terror attacks put the country on a seemingly permanent war footing.

      And despite massive regional buildups spurred by conflict in the Ukraine and the Middle East, the U.S. spends more on its military than the next seven top-spending countries combined, according to new figures compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

  • Transparency Reporting
    • Keeping Track of the US Intelligence Community’s Leakers

      Harvard Law School professor Yochai Benkler has written an excellent law-review article on the need for a whistleblower defense. And there’s this excellent article by David Pozen on why government leaks are, in general, a good thing. I wrote about the value of whistleblowers in Data and Goliath.

      Way back in June 2013, Glenn Greenwald said that “courage is contagious.” He seems to be correct.

    • The Right Way to Share Information and Improve Cybersecurity

      This year is turning out to be a banner one for flawed proposals that would allow businesses to share information about Americans’ online activity with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the name of cybersecurity. First came the White House plan in January, then the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) — which passed the Senate Intelligence Committee on a 14-1 vote earlier this month — and on Tuesday, the House introduced the Protecting Cyber Networks Act.

    • Official Leaks: “These Senior People Do Whatever They Want”

      When asked whether he would have supported working with the producers of Zero Dark Thirty, Department of Defense’s Director of Entertainment Media said he would not have recommended working with screenwriter Mark Boal and director Katherine Bigelow, because he was not happy with the way their movie Hurt Locker had presented the military. But he was not given a choice. “These senior people do whatever they want,” the Director told DOD’s Inspector General, according to a draft of the IG’s report on the leaks of classified information to Boal and Bigelow.

      The Project on Government Oversight released the draft this week.

      The Director’s comments are all the more telling given how much more centrally this draft of the report — as compared to another POGO obtained and released — point to the role of then CIA Director Leon Panetta and his Chief of Staff, Jeremy Bash, in leading the government to cooperate on the movie.

    • Assange: How ‘The Guardian’ Milked Edward Snowden’s Story

      In recent years, we have seen The Guardian consult itself into cinematic history—in the Jason Bourne films and others—as a hip, ultra-modern, intensely British newspaper with a progressive edge, a charmingly befuddled giant of investigative journalism with a cast-iron spine.

      The Snowden Files positions The Guardian as central to the Edward Snowden affair, elbowing out more significant players like Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras for Guardian stablemates, often with remarkably bad grace.

      “Disputatious gay” Glenn Greenwald’s distress at the U.K.’s detention of his husband, David Miranda, is described as “emotional” and “over-the-top.” My WikiLeaks colleague Sarah Harrison—who helped rescue Snowden from Hong Kong—is dismissed as a “would-be journalist.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
  • Finance
    • The Big Business of Being Sergey Brin

      Running Sergey Brin’s family affairs is a full-time job—and it takes dozens of people. The Google co-founder, who’s worth about $30 billion, has ex-bankers and philanthropy experts working at his family office, Bayshore Global Management. Brin also has employed a former Navy SEAL for security, a yacht captain, a fitness coordinator, a photographer, and an archivist, according to profiles on LinkedIn.

    • Who Subsidizes Restaurant Workers’ Pitiful Wages? You Do

      For Americans who like to eat out occasionally, the full-service restaurant industry is full of relatively affordable options—think Olive Garden, Applebees, or Chili’s. But these spots aren’t exactly a bargain once a hefty hidden cost is factored in: The amount of taxpayer assistance that goes to workers earning little pay.

      Food service workers have more than twice the poverty rate of the overall workforce, and thus more often seek out public benefits. A new report published last week by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC), a restaurant workers’ advocacy and assistance group, calculated the tab and found that from 2009 to 2013, regular Americans subsidized the industry’s low wages with nearly $9.5 billion in tax money each year. That number includes spending from roughly 10 different assistance programs, including Medicaid, food stamps, and low-income housing programs like Section 8.

    • Migrants are not stealing our jobs; we have stolen theirs, even their lives

      So now we have deserving and undeserving migrants. Police in Sicily arrested 15 Muslim boat people rescued from a leaky rubber dinghy after other survivors accused them of having thrown 12 Christian passengers overboard in a dispute about religion. Perhaps this new moral category may help ease European consciences over the 22,000 desperate people who have died crossing the Mediterranean from Africa since the year 2000. We now have innocent migrants to contrast with guilty ones, good migrants and bad, or perhaps we should say bad migrants and worse migrants.

      We can add that to our existing hierarchy of moral culpability. Refugees are somehow accorded an ethical superiority over economic migrants because they are escaping persecution, rather than merely wanting a better life. Yet, in Africa, the migrant is celebrated as a contemporary hero, the daring risk-taker.

    • How to get into Harvard

      WikiLeaks has published all the Sony emails that had been hacked last November, and made them searchable by keyword. In 2014, a senior executive emailed an Ivy League vice-president of philanthropy: he’d like to endow a scholarship, anonymously, ‘at the $1mm level’. In another email, he tells a development officer that his daughter is applying to the college as her first choice. It’s all very decorous. The development staff arrange a ‘customised’ campus tour for his daughter and a meeting with the university’s president; but he asks for no favours and nothing is promised. An email from the president says that his daughter’s application will be looked at ‘very closely’. She gets in. He writes to his sister: ‘David… called me. he is obsessed with getting his eldest in Harvard next year.’ She replies: ‘If David wants to get his daughter in he should obviously start giving money.’ Obviously.

  • Censorship
    • The Miami Herald, the CIA, and the Bay of Pigs scoop that didn’t run

      There were a lot of bad days during the Cold War, but 54 years ago this weekend was one of the worst, at least for the United States. President John F. Kennedy sent an army of anti-Castro exiles backed by the CIA onto the beach at Cuba’s Bay of Pigs to suffer bloody, catastrophic defeat. It was “the beating of our lives,” the despondent Kennedy would say a few days later as he wondered aloud why nobody had talked him out of it.

      One of the piquant questions of Cold War history is, could the Miami Herald have done that — talked him out of it? In a little-known collision of journalism and national security, the Herald, seven months before the Bay of Pigs, had prepared a news story saying that the United States was planning to launch a military operation against Cuba. But the paper’s top management killed the story after CIA Director Allen Dulles said publishing it would hurt national security.

  • Privacy
    • GitHub’s 2014 Transparency Report

      Like most online services, GitHub occasionally receives legal requests relating to user accounts and content, such as subpoenas or takedown notices. You may wonder how often we receive such requests or how we respond to them, and how they could potentially impact your projects. Transparency and trust are essential to GitHub and the open-source community, and we want to do more than just tell you how we respond to legal notices. In that spirit, here is our first transparency report on the user-related legal requests we received in 2014.

    • ACCAN: Gov’t should remove ambiguity around VPNs

      Holy moly, ACCAN has issued a submission on the Copyright Amendment Bill 2015 regarding VPNs, website blocking, whack-a-mole and more.

      ACCAN, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, has made a 10-page submission on the Copyright Amendment (Online Infrigement) Bill 2015.

    • HBO Cracks Down on Paying VPN “Pirates”

      HBO has started to crack down on paying customers who access the HBO Now service from outside the United States. Subscribers from countries including Canada, the UK, Germany and Australia who use VPNs and other unblocking tools are now being threatened with account terminations.

    • The NSA’s Earth Day Mascot Is So Freaking Creepy

      The National Security Agency had released a mascot (?) for Earth Day (??) and it’s an anthropomorphized and oddly buff recycling bin named Dunk (???).

      Earth Day is this Wednesday, and the NSA apparently forged Dunk from the ether of our collective nightmares as part of its STEM education partnership with Maryland schools.

  • Civil Rights
    • Germany defies Turkey, calls Armenian massacre ‘genocide’

      The German government backed away on Monday from a steadfast refusal to use the term “genocide” to describe the massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces 100 years ago after rebellious members of parliament forced its hand.

      In a major reversal in Turkey’s top trading partner in the European Union and home to millions of Turks, Germany joins other nations and institutions including France, the European parliament and Pope Francis in using the term condemned by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Geneva Internet Platform

      The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (EDA) and the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) have initiated the Geneva Internet Platform (GIP), which fulfils the mission of an observatory, a capacity building centre (online and in situ), and a centre for discussion. The GIP is hosted by DiploFoundation.

    • Letter to MEPs: Do not give up Net Neutrality!

      On 3rd March 2015, the Council of the European Union voted a text endangering Net Neutrality in Europe, despite European Parliment’s position adopted a year ago. Negotiations between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union (trialogue) started on 11 March in order to settle an agreement on the final version. It is crucial that the European Parliament remains firm on the preservation of Net Neutrality, that ensure equal treatment on the data network and on prices. Infringing Net Neutrality means infringing fundamental rights and liberties of any European citizen. This is why, in order to remind our representatives their responsabilities, La Quadrature du Net sends a letter to Members of European Parliament calling them to reject Council’s propositions and to come back to a real protection of everyone’s rights and liberties.

    • Internet.org: delivering poor Internet to poor people

      Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet.org project bribes corrupt, non-neutral carriers in poor countries to exempt Facebook and other services of its choosing from their data-caps, giving the world’s poorest an Internet that’s been radically pruned to a sliver of what the rest of the world gets for free.

      Internet.org characterizes its goals as charitable and development-oriented. In their framework, poor people either face severe data-caps that limit their access to the Internet to almost nothing, or they get unlimited access to some of the Internet, thanks to Internet.org’s largesse.

    • ‘Sky wouldn’t let me leave until I had discussed my account for 90 minutes’

      Sky customers are continuing to report difficulties cancelling their contracts despite a crackdown by the regulator and a promise from Sky’s senior management last year that it would make it easier for customers to leave.

    • Net neutrality: What The Top People in Industry Have to Say

      Net neutrality has become a raging issue in the country and over the last one month everybody has been talking about it. Net neutrality is the concept that makes it mandatory for all service providers to offer access to consumers to all content on the internet including websites and applications, irrespective of the source and no special favors or blocking of any applications or websites.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Hundreds in Poland protest TTIP

      As many as 300 protesters took to the streets of Warsaw to voice their disapproval of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

    • Sony Emails Show Industry Execs Pushing for Trade Deal

      Broadcast media has not devoted much air time to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, an agreement that will greatly impact 40 percent of the global economy. But hacked emails from Sony reveal that media industry executives have been engaged in active discussions about the agreement behind closed doors.

    • MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough Pleads “Guilty” on Failing to Cover TPP Trade Pact

      MSNBC TV personality Joe Scarborough pled “guilty” to not giving the major Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal enough coverage when I spoke to him about the issue over the weekend.

      I caught up with the Morning Joe cohost at the First in the Nation conference in Nashua, New Hampshire, a gathering of potential Republican presidential candidates and local activists. Scarborough spoke onstage about the importance of media diversity, encouraging his audience to listen to all sides of the ideological spectrum.

    • Copyrights
      • Sony Lawyer David Boies Warns Media Not To Publish Information On New WikiLeaks Database

        An attorney for Sony Pictures Entertainment is demanding media outlets ignore a new WikiLeaks database of internal documents obtained during a high-profile hack last year. The searchable archive, published Thursday, contains more than 200,000 documents and emails from a cyberattack that created a public relations nightmare for the studio, and which the U.S. government linked to North Korea.

        Lawyer David Boies sent a warning letter regarding use of the database to news outlets on Friday. The Hollywood Reporter said that it received the letter, and Bloomberg News reported it had reviewed the letter as well.

      • WikiLeaks Docs: Sony Chiefs Met With Cameron Ahead of Scottish Referendum

        British Prime Minister David Cameron met with representatives from Sony Pictures just ten weeks before the Scottish independence referendum to discuss the release of a TV show based on Scotland’s repression under British rule, documents released by WikiLeaks have revealed.

      • Leaked emails reveal Hollywood execs at work for Israel

        Top Hollywood bosses enjoy a strong relationship with the Israeli government and various pro-Israel lobbying groups across the United States, according to a cache of Sony internal emails leaked to Wikileaks and published for the first time last week.

        The emails reveal a dinner between Sony executives and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; the presenter of American X-Factor chiding actress Natalie Portman aggressively for her views on Israel; meetings between top entertainment chiefs and the Israeli consulate-general; close ties between Sony’s Co-Chairperson and various pro-Israel lobbying groups; and film chiefs planning, in detail, a new documentary about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, about which the emails also reflect rising concern.

      • New WikiLeaks documents reveal the inner workings of the Dr. Oz Show

        Dr. Mehmet Oz often appears on his popular show to promote new health products and devices. Most viewers are likely under the impression that he’s doing this because he’s closely considered their merits and decided the products are widely beneficial.

        But newly leaked emails suggest that business considerations — not health or science — can be a driving factor in which products Oz decides to promote.

Embrace, Extend, Extinguish: How Microsoft Plans to Get Rid of Linux/Android

Monday 20th of April 2015 12:04:37 PM



Image from Android Beat

Summary: Microsoft’s sheer abuse against Android is laying bare for everyone to see now that Microsoft has paralysed Google’s legal department with potential antitrust action in Europe

WHAT can we say? Cyanogen's latest move is very troublesome. We have warned about this for a very long time, but much of the press played along with Microsoft’s plot (covering Office for Android), propping up Cyanogen etc.

So, what do we do now? Microsoft has nothing to fear but an informed public (or truth itself). The sooner people realise what Microsoft is up to, the sooner they will reject Cyanogen and stop buying from Samsung (we called for a Samsung boycott way back in 2007, right after Samsung had signed its first Microsoft patent deal covering Linux).

“If Microsoft bought Cyanogen, as some people had speculated, it would harm its ability to pretend ‘independence’.”Several readers have sent us links about Cyanogen. My wife says Cyanogen’s interest is “just making money, they don’t care about privacy or people’s concerns.” Richard Stallman asked me today for more information (having read my previous articles) and the better familiar we are with this circumstance and the underlying facts, the more effectively we can challenge this “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” (EEE) manoeuvre from Microsoft.

A Microsoft-linked site weighed in on Friday, explaining to readers how Cyanogen is essentially a Microsoft proxy. The article titled “3 Companies Are Helping Microsoft Corporation Steal Android From Google Inc.” It also names Samsung and Amazon (many executives from Microsoft moved there, including those who manage the Linux efforts, such as Kindle, and ended up paying Microsoft for Linux). The section about Cyanogen is titled “Making Android-powered Windows Phones”. That’s a good description of Microsoft’s goal.

As a kind of FUD advisory, one ought to know that Microsoft has gone “full frontal assault” mode on Android. It’s usually done through proxies, e.g. biased publications with Microsoft boosters who are shamelessly misleading audiences. Here for example is some Microsoft propaganda from Microsoft’s booster Matt Rosoff (yes, he is still around). It was published yesterday. It used deception/false charts, big lies, shameless PR, and ultimately sought to mislead Google, mischaracterise Google, and incite readers. It’s disguised as analysis, but being from Rosoff (a loyal Microsoft 'analyst'), one oughtn’t expect it to be honest.

“Deceptive charts,” called it iophk, “using ‘shipments’ rather than activations. Microsoft market share gets the illusion of being more than double that way. In reality it is less than 2% and shrinking.”

What Rosoff provides is not advice for Google (the headline says “It’s time for Google to throw ‘open’ Android under the bus”), Rosoff has been a Microsoft propagandist for many years and his words should be treated accordingly. Rosoff is offering a trap, misguided ‘ideas’ that would essentially help his friends at Microsoft and get Google in a lot of trouble (e.g. in China, where promises have been made).

The anti-Android propaganda (not just the above) is all in sync; in Europe there’s talk of antitrust (after Microsoft lobbying and pressure through proxies like Nokia) and then there’s the bribe for Cyanogen to sell out (official announcement here). They want to pretend that ‘evil’ Google must be destroyed and Microsoft will be our ‘saviour’. All of this happened almost on the same day, so there is probably no coincidence in timing. It looks like a strategic alignment of announcements that exploit people’s emotions and put forth a misleading storyline; while Microsoft lobbyists are misleading regulators Microsoft is proposed as the ‘solution’ by Cyanogen and while regulators slam Google over many things (some legitimate, e.g. privacy) Cyanogen steps forth to ‘help’. Microsoft is trying to pressure OEMs — using threats of litigation or bribes — to preinstall Microsoft (and thus drop Google), all whilst EU press (and by extension the international media; see the New York Times article “Microsoft, Once an Antitrust Target, Is Now Google’s Regulatory Scold” further down in this post) attacks Google for being so unbelievably evil (even compared to Microsoft). Microsoft is about as evil as ever, if not worse. The fact that it hides this behind a grin and massive PR efforts (lies) won’t change that.

We already see some large media sites helping Cyanogen (explaining to people how to replace Android with ‘Microsoft Android’) and promoting Microsoft’s narrative. We, in response, ought to work hard to make sure Cyanogen has not a single partner and that people don’t ever install it. We called for a boycott quite some time ago and shortly afterwards OnePlus dumped Cyanogen ([cref 82427 there is more to be done by OnePlus and its users).

Over at the Microsoft-friendly ZDNet one does not get the full story. Microsoft’s Mouth at ZDNet/CBS, Mary Jo Foley, downplays the evilness of this move. As one site reminded readers: “There were rumors before of a potential synergy between both companies especially when Cyanogen initiated its funding round. Although at that time Microsoft did not invest, but rumor mill announced a potential team up between the two, which has now been realized.”

Wired shamelessly labelled Microsoft spyware ‘choice’, saying that “[t]he partnership, as detailed by Cyanogen yesterday, will allow the budding mobile OS to integrate Microsoft apps like Outlook, Office, Skype, Bing, OneDrive, and OneNote. The subtext here is that these apps can act as a replacement for the ones that Google appends to its Android releases, such as Gmail, Maps, Hangouts, and more.”

Further down it says: “That’s a lot of upside with not much to lose, especially given the recent cross-platform push. And an arrangement like this makes more sense than the $70 million investment Microsoft was rumored to make back in January. Cyanogen doesn’t have to feel beholden to one software suite, and Microsoft limits its financial exposure and Windows Phone conflicts.”

That’s untrue. Cyanogen is imposing or at least pushing Microsoft software, it is not offering choice.

In response to this article from Wired (titled “Microsoft Just Took Android’s Future Out of Google’s Hands”) one person published a post titled “No, Microsoft isn’t taking Android’s future out of Google’s hands — here’s why”. To quote the conclusion: “Microsoft isn’t taking Android’s future out of Google’s hands, it is likely taking Cyanogen’s future out of Cyanogen’s hands.”

Exactly!

Cyanogen is now a proxy of Microsoft. If Microsoft bought Cyanogen, as some people had speculated, it would harm its ability to pretend ‘independence’.

What Microsoft does here with Cyanogen is similar to what Microsoft did to Yahoo! (Yahoo! shows signs of regaining some independence now). All that Microsoft can do right now is try hard to bamboozle politicians, developers and users, pretending it is all about “choice” rather than destroying competition, much as it did when it took over (before shattering) Novell, Corel, and Nokia. Microsoft does not need to complete an acquisition in order to destroy the competition. Microsoft’s proxy war on Android is very much similar to other Microsoft plots to “knife the baby”, to use Microsoft’s own words (in reference to Linux). And for anyone still gullible enough (or amnesic) to believe that Microsoft no longer hates GNU/Linux, revisit the following series:

We urge readers to keep track of where many people who run Cyanogen are from; many come from Microsoft’s back yard in Seattle. “The startup that wants to take Android ‘away from Google’ just struck a deal with Microsoft” is a new report that helps put it in perspective. “The move,” says the report, “comes months after The Wall Street Journal and The Information reported that Microsoft had considered investing in Cyanogen, but the company opted to strike a partnership with the company instead.”

Wall Street Journal‘s owner Rupert Murdoch (a close friend and business partner of Bill Gates) gave the money instead and Microsoft is then making the investment ‘worthwhile’. Clever accounting tricks are likely to be at hand. Microsoft potentially reassures “return on investment” by making promises of deal before some third parties funnel money into Cyanogen. Larry Goldfarb from BayStar, a key investor in SCO, once said that Microsoft’s “Mr. Emerson and I discussed a variety of investment structures wherein Microsoft would ‘backstop,’ or guarantee in some way, BayStar’s investment…. Microsoft assured me that it would in some way guarantee BayStar’s investment in SCO.”

Learn from SCO history.

“Microsoft has kept its coffers full for the fight,” says the New York Times on the same day as the Cyanogen deal, “spending more on lobbying here than any European company.”

The timing cannot be a coincidence. The report from the New York Times is titled “Microsoft, Once an Antitrust Target, Is Now Google’s Regulatory Scold” and it serves to demonise Google at a very strategic time. It says “Microsoft has founded or funded a cottage industry of splinter groups. The most prominent, the Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace, or Icomp, has waged a relentless public relations campaign promoting grievances against Google. Icomp hosts webinars, panel discussions and news conferences. It conducted a study that suggested changes made by Google to appease regulators were largely window dressing.”

Microsoft is still using lots of proxies, some of which we wrote about before, and it is giving politicians the wrong impression that Android (Free software) is ‘abuse’. This is clearly a proxy fight which blends with the “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” (EEE) manoeuvre that Microsoft has made famous. Fight back or be extinguished.

Yahoo’s Current CEO (Mayer, Formerly of Google) is Trying to End Yahoo! Status as Microsoft Proxy

Monday 20th of April 2015 10:52:37 AM

Summary: There are signs of relinquishing Microsoft’s control over Yahoo! after Marissa Mayer worked to end the company’s suicidal/abusive relationship with Steve Ballmer’s Microsoft

Firefox and other bits of software have become tools of spying by Microsoft because Yahoo! had essentially turned into a Microsoft proxy when it comes to search in several countries (I recently saw that happen in the UK, not just the US). We chronicled Microsoft’s hijack of Yahoo for many years. It was entryism.

“Microsoft can try all it wants to pretend it’s about “choice” after destroying Yahoo as a search contender.”Several years ago it seemed like Microsoft was destroying Yahoo! altogether (reducing the number of options for searchers while it was falsely described as ‘choice’ because of Google’s dominance), but with Mayer entering Yahoo! there are some signs of hope. According to this new report, Yahoo’s “Mayer had reportedly plotted to end the relationship [with Microsoft] as recently as February.”

Microsoft’s booster Peter seems to suggest that Yahoo is distancing itself from Ballmer’s gang, whereas a more objective source says that the latest development “means that Yahoo could, for example, augment the results with those of Duck Duck Go or Wolfram Alpha.”

In conclusion it says: “It now appears that Yahoo is looking to make itself distinct from Bing by having the freedom to sell its own advertising and make searches more its own.

Microsoft can try all it wants to pretend it’s about “choice” after destroying Yahoo! as a search contender. If Yahoo! ever manages to become independent from Microsoft again, that would really be something.

Repeating Microsoft’s Lies Without Any Journalistic Assessment

Monday 20th of April 2015 10:33:20 AM

Humans do lie, press should do better


Marion Jones lied repeatedly

Summary: Poor fact-checking by relatively large media/news sites results in Microsoft’s patently false claims being repeated uncritically

IT is widely known by now that Microsoft works closely with intelligence agencies that conduct mass surveillance and Microsoft's top privacy chief, Caspar Bowden, got fired by Microsoft for suggesting that Microsoft should protest itself and users of Microsoft software from such mass surveillance. Only a fool would actually believe that Microsoft is interested in privacy.

Nevertheless, some utterly poor reporting, if not complete nonsense, was published the other day, relaying a lie from Microsoft’s “chief security officer” (the fake one, not the one they fired). He tried to frame NSA leaks as a blessing to Microsoft despite the fact that Microsoft repeatedly said that it had hurt Microsoft’s business (and rightly so).

What kind of authors (or ‘journalists’) are they if all they do is quote officials and won’t do the most basic fact-checking?

The other day we wrote about Microsoft’s boosters (propagandists masquerading as journalists) framing the shutdown of Microsoft's defunct proxy "Open Tech" as something else, much like framing layoffs as “reorg”. Darryl K. Taft, another occasional Microsoft booster, repeated these talking points, but we were more surprised to see Michael Larabel doing more or less the same thing. He wrote: “The latest open-source play at Microsoft under Satya Nadella’s leadership is bringing the MS Open Tech subsidiary formally back within the organization, establish a Microsoft Open Technology Programs Office, and other efforts to make Microsoft more open and engage in open standards.”

Why is Phoronix acting like a marketing avenue or a parrot? Microsoft does not engage in open standards, it promotes OOXML and it was attacking ODF as recently as last year. It is adding spyware to Android, it is attacking GNU/Linux on many fronts and the list goes on and on. Here is a reminder of how Microsoft attacks GNU/Linux and Free software:

Some older posts about this ‘unit’ (malicious proxy and Trojan horse which Microsoft called “Open Tech” in an Orwellian fashion) include:

Writers should at least make an attempt to objectively assess Microsoft’s statements, not just reprint them as if Microsoft always says the truth. Such negligent writing leads to a lot of bad things, albeit some writers (like Microsoft’s boosters) make a career out of it.

Links 19/4/2015: New KaOS (2015.04), Manjaro Linux 0.8.13 Pre1

Sunday 19th of April 2015 10:43:14 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Linux-Powered Endless Computer Raises $100k+ In A Few Days

    Launched this week on Kickstarters was Endless Computers, a $169 Linux PC for the developing world. Quite quickly the project has already surpassed its $100k USD goal.

  • Desktop
    • Congratulations to Endless Computer

      For everyone else out there I strongly recommend getting in on their kickstarter, not only do you get a cool looking computer with a really nice Linux desktop, you are helping a company forward that has the potential to take the linux dektop to the next level.

    • OMG! Desktop GNU/Linux in Bahrain Goes Critical

      According to the ITU, they are among the top countries in ICT development. Good for them. Despite being fabulously wealthy, they appear to be doing IT the right way with lots of FLOSS.

  • Audiocasts/Shows
    • WikiLeaks Release: US Recruits Hollywood to Boost ‘Anti-Russian Messaging’

      The latest documents released by Wikileaks reveal some uncomfortable – yet unsurprising – truths about the relationship between Hollywood and the US Government. In its propaganda efforts against Russia, the US State Department may have pressured Sony – and some of the biggest stars – into cooperating.

      The latest Wikileaks release includes thousands of documents which reveal ties between the White House and Sony pictures. It’s taking journalists a long time to comb through the weeds, but some troubling details are emerging.

  • Kernel Space
    • EXT4 In Linux 4.1 Adds File-System Level Encryption

      The EXT4 file-system updates for the Linux 4.1 kernel have been sent in and it features the file-system-level encryption support.

      Earlier this month we wrote about the newly-published patches for EXT4 encryption support coming out of Google and intended to land in the next major release of Android. Those patches for file-system-level encryption will now be landing upstream with the Linux 4.1 kernel update.

      Besides this native encryption support for EXT4, the rest of the updates for this merge window pull request equate to mainly fixes. More details via the pull request itself.

    • F2FS For Linux 4.1 Has New Features & Fixes

      New F2FS file-system features for this next kernel release include an in-memory extent_cache, an fs_shutdown feature to test power-off recovery, now uses inline_data to store a symlink path, F2FS is now shown as a non-misc file-system.

    • The Strained Relationship Between Systemd and Syslog

      World-renowned Unix master Chris Siebenmann has written an article entitled ‘I wish systemd would get over its thing about syslog’. It addresses the strained relationship between the systemd init system and the traditional syslog approach to logging used on many Linux systems.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • ChromeOS 42.0.2311.87 (Official Build) (64-bit) – A brief look

        ChromeOS is a crafty devil. If you are not paying attention you can miss the fact that you’ve received an update. Its a little like a dog near to a buffet table, turn away and it will have a cake off there and carry on as normal without you being any the wiser.

        I decided to pen a few thoughts on the latest build which has found its way through the interwebs and landed on my HP 14″. When I say land, the image I’d like to convey is not so much a smooth journey opening up a wealth of treats but more of a thump and an exercise in wasting my time.

        These are the things I’ve noticed within the first few hours of the update. There will be more.

    • New Releases
      • Tanglu 3.0 Alpha Out Now Based on Debian 8 Jessie, Offers GNOME 3.16 and KDE Plasma 5

        Matthias Klumpp announced today, April 18, the immediate availability for download and testing of the first Alpha version of the upcoming Tanglu 3 Linux operating system.

      • KaOS 2015.04 is here — Download the KDE-focused Linux distro now!

        There are too many Linux distributions nowadays. Choice and variety is wonderful, but in this case, it spreads resources very thin. Linux-based operating systems might be further along by now if more developers came together to work on projects. For someone new to Linux, finding a distro can be a daunting task. Many of the releases are simply noise, making it hard to find the quality operating systems.

        KaOS is one of those quality operating systems. It is a wonderful Linux distribution that focuses on KDE. Quite frankly, if you are a KDE purist, this should be on your radar. To cerebrate the two-year anniversary of the distro, the team releases 2015.04. Whether you are a Linux noob, or even an an expert, you should give it a try.

      • 4MRescueKit 12.0 BETA released.

        4MRescueKit provides its users with software for antivirus protection, data backup, disk partitioning, and data recovery. It is distributed in the form of a multiboot CD, which includes four (extremely small) operating systems.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts
    • Arch Family
    • Debian Family
      • skx-www upgraded to jessie

        Today I upgraded my main web-host to the Jessie release of Debian GNU/Linux.

      • Ardour 4 on Debian Jessie
      • Debian 8.0 Installer RC3 “Jessie” Officially Released

        Debian Installer, the official installation system for the Debian distribution since the Sarge release, developed the Debian Installer Team, has been upgraded to version 8.0 RC3 and is now available for download and testing.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Flavours and Variants
            • Elementary OS Freya 0.3 review

              Elementary OS is a Linux desktop distribution that’s being primed as a “fast and open replacement for Windows and OS X.”

              It’s safe to say that that’s the goal of every Linux distribution. Some distributions have, to a large extent, succeeded, while some are partially or completely misguided. Elementary OS, even though it’s still just at version 0.3, belongs to the first group.

              Some of the design decisions make it slightly painful to use, but as a unit, the distribution is moving in the right direction. Will it ever get to the point where it replaces Windows and OS X for all users? No, because there’ll always be those that love Windows and Mac OS X no matter what. And there are still applications that have no real alternatives in Linux.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • What Your CIO Needs to Know About Open Source

    Today’s businesses are becoming increasingly familiar with the many benefits of open source software. In fact, 74 percent of IT professionals, in the U.S. alone, agree that the software offers better quality of continuity and control than that of proprietary. However, some CIOs are still skeptical about adopting open source software into their IT infrastructure as they’ve grown accustomed to their proprietary software vendors.

  • How open source grew up

    When I was writing daily about Linux, the operating system and open source apps were already hard at work in data centres, on servers and on high-end workstations.

    The IT market was still moving away from a model where servers came with an expensive to buy and expensive to support operating system linked to the hardware maker.

    Some of those OSes were fully proprietary. Others were versions of Unix although they often had proprietary branding and non-open components.

  • Six months selfhosting: my userop experiences

    Debian brings peace of mind (for me)

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
  • Project Releases
  • Licensing
    • GitHub: Now Supporting Open Source License Compliance

      Ask any developer where to turn for access to the latest software code for open source projects, and you’ll likely be directed to GitHub—one of the largest providers of open source code online.

      While GitHub has always been a great site for developers to come together, network and share code, up until a few years ago, the website had a problem. Though it was easy for developers to share code, finding the right software license to go along with it was much harder. The majority of downloads on GitHub, therefore, were taking place without the critical software license component.

  • Standards/Consortia
Leftovers
  • Kansas senator’s ‘Frozen’ ring tone interrupts hearing, goes viral

    Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas became an Internet sensation on Thursday when his cell phone went off in the middle of a senate finance committee hearing, filling the somber room with the first few bars of a song from Disney’s “Frozen.”

  • This incredible interactive graphic shows the second most common language in every country
  • The Independence Vote

    Nicola Sturgeon is to be congratulated for refusing to back off from the goal of independence, and the right of the Scottish people to self-determination, under pressure from Andrew Marr today.

  • I saw up close how an establishment closed ranks over the Janner affair

    A little over 24 years ago, as a young freelance journalist on the Independent on Sunday, I telephoned the Leicester office of Raymonds News Agency and arranged for a reporter to cover an imminent pre-trial hearing at the city’s magistrates court. It was the sort of mundane hearing that would not normally trouble the media. A few days before, in a Leicester pub, I had met a solicitor’s clerk, to whom I had been introduced by a source on a previous story. The clerk told me that at the hearing a former children’s home manager called Frank Beck, who stood charged of sexually abusing the children in his care, would claim the man responsible for the offences was actually Leicester West’s long-standing MP, Greville, now Lord, Janner.

    Events played out exactly as I had been told they would. At the hearing’s conclusion, Beck shouted out his claims and was duly wrestled to the floor by the clerk of the court, before being taken back to the cells. Rumours about Janner that had circulated in the city for some years were now recorded by the journalist I had placed there and thus out in the public domain.

    Last week, the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, announced that the now 86-year-old Janner would not be facing any charges on the grounds that he was suffering from dementia and therefore unfit to stand trial. It required the CPS to add that “this decision does not mean or imply that… Janner is guilty of any offence”. In turn, Janner’s family issued their own statement praising the man’s “integrity” before adding: “He is entirely innocent of any wrongdoing.”

  • The Remarkably Unobservant Baron Carlile

    Rayner states “The establishment, in the shape of his fellow MPs, men such as Labour’s Keith Vaz, Tory David Ashby and the then Lib Dem MP now Lord Carlile, closed ranks.” In the 1991 House of Commons debate deploring accusations against Janner, Carlile played a prominent part, describing Janner as a man of “integrity” and “determination”. Carlile should have known Janner fairly well. They were both MPs, both QCs, both members of Friends of Israel, both patrons of UK lawyers for Israel. The appear still to both be patrons of the Friends of Israel Educational Foundation. They were regulars on the same parliamentary committees dealing with legal affairs. They were both to leave the Commons at the same time and both to join the Lords only slightly apart.

  • Science
    • The Nanda Devi mystery

      Fifty years after deadly plutonium was lost on India’s second highest mountain, the enigma continues

    • How the Computer Got Its Revenge on the Soviet Union

      In 1950, with the Cold War in full swing, Soviet journalists were looking desperately for something to help them fill their anti-American propaganda quota. In January of that year, a Time Magazine cover appeared that seemed to provide just the thing. It showed an early electromechanical computer called the Harvard Mark III, and boasted the cover line, “Can Man Build a Superman?”

    • We’re teaching our kids wrong: Steve Jobs and Bill Gates do not have the answers

      Money has infiltrated our schools through another portal as well. Bankers and businesspeople have decided that they are the ones to improve our schools. In 2010 the educational historian Diane Ravitch did a dramatic about-face regarding educational testing and the promise of charter schools. Having been a loud and influential proponent of both (among other things, she worked in the administration of George H.W. Bush), in recent years she began to see that the national obsession with tests was in fact corrupting rather than improving the process of education in our schools. She also began to think that charter schools were sucking the lifeblood out of the public school system as well as allowing business interests to shape what was happening in classrooms. In her book “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” she documents some of the ways that people in business and finance have been wielding their influence and sidelining the input of parents and teachers. The signs of this influence are not always subtle or ephemeral either. They can be seen and heard within the halls and classrooms of schools all over the country.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • US to Blame for Spike in Opium Production in Afghanistan

      The production of opium increased 40-fold in the 13 years of the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan and thanks to CIA covert aid.

    • Suspicion slows dangerous work to eradicate polio in Pakistan

      The Pakistani branch of the Taliban, the TTP, has seized on evidence that the vaccination campaign was used as cover by the CIA to gather intelligence. The US government said last year that the practice had stopped and the CIA director had instructed the agency “to make no operational use of vaccination programmes, which include vaccination workers”.

    • Fear of doctors, vaccines in California and around the world

      Modern society deeply depends on doctors. Which is why recent international reactions against doctors – from mistrust to outright attack – represent a disturbing trend that can not only lead to an immediate threat to global health workers but also precipitate that all-feared outbreak of an uncontrollable epidemic.

    • U.S. Blocked Declaration of “Right to Health Care”, Says Bolivia’s President at OAS Summit

      Said Mr. Morales: “One point (in the drafted declaration) was important: health as a human right, and the U.S. government did not accept that health should be considered a human right … President Obama did not accept” that concept.

      The 8-point draft had resulted from four months of negotiations between the participating countries prior to the Summit in Panama, which was held on April 10-11. There was such strong sentiment for declaring health care to be a right, so that this provision was included in the draft despite Obama’s opposition to it.

      A report from the Latin American television network Telesur (majority-owned by the Venezuelan government, which Obama unsuccessfully tried to overthrow via an aborted February 2015 coup, announced at the start of the conference, that, “The Seventh Summit of the Americas begins Friday in Panama without a final declaration because the US Government has expressed its disagreement with some of the clauses, which blocked agreement.” Furthermore, this was personally done by U.S. President Obama: “This information was confirmed by Foreign Minister of Argentina, Hector Timerman, who described the event as ‘a debate among presidents.’” That’s how personal, and top-level, the ideological disagreement here was.

  • Security
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • The shroud of secrecy around US drone strikes abroad must be lifted

      It’s been over two years since President Obama promised new transparency and accountability rules when it comes to drone strikes, yet it’s become increasingly clear virtually no progress has been made. The criteria for who gets added to the unaccountable ‘kill list’ is still shrouded in secrecy – even when the US government is targeting its own citizens.

    • ‘Civilization has no place for drones’
    • Should human-killing robots be allowed to exist? The UN is deciding once and for all

      They’re terrifying machines – capable of operating without human control and built with a vicious streak that could steal the lives of thousands of humans in a split second.
      As artificial intelligence develops and improves, who’s to say the killer robots we put together with our own hands won’t one day cause serious devastation to the human race and maybe even turn against us?

    • Still No Accountability for US Drone Kills

      If the US wanted Rizzo and Banks prosecuted we could do it ourselves. We have the means. US drone strikes in Pakistan are unsanctioned by international humanitarian law because the United States is not engaged in an armed conflict with Pakistan; drones do not distinguish between civilians and combatants; and the staggering number of civilian deaths is vastly disproportionate in relation to the numbers of Taliban and Al-Qaeda killed. This qualifies drone strikes as “grave breaches” of the Geneva Conventions punishable under the US War Crimes Act. Since the US has decided not to prosecute Banks and Rizzo why should anyone believe the US will allow Pakistan to prosecute them?

    • Do Drones Really Reduce Civilian Casualties?

      Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as “drones” have been the subject of heated debate in recent years. Without a doubt, the number of strikes has increased at an astonishing rate. Consider that between Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, the U.S. government has launched over 1,500 known drone strikes since 2008. (This visualization of strikes in Pakistan is particularly illustrative)

    • The real significance of our drone war, and why you’ll hear little about it in Campaign 2016

      Nothing shows the decay of the Republic like our drone wars, almost mindless killing — now including execution of Americans by Presidential decree.

    • Obama Says He’d Rather Capture Terrorists Than Kill Them. Then Why Doesn’t He Do That?

      On Jan. 23, 2013, after an afternoon of hanging out with friends and chewing qat at a marketplace a few miles outside of the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, Saleem al-Qaweli, a 27-year-old university student, was approached by a group of six men who asked for a ride back to their nearby village in his truck. Saleem agreed, and asked his cousin Ali Saleh al-Qaweli, a 32-year-old schoolteacher, to come along. A little after 7:30 p.m., as the pickup passed through the village of al-Masna’ah, a U.S. drone fired four missiles into Saleem’s vehicle, obliterating it. Investigators on the scene would find bone fragments 150 meters away from the car.

    • Is Use Of Drones A War Crime According To International Criminal Court?

      The issue of drones or Unarmed Aerial Vehicles provides an intriguing legal debate as drones are increasingly being used in warfare and counter-terrorism. There are divergent views and opinions as to their legality in international law. Some argue that the use of armed drones by the U.S military for example in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries is illegal under international law, while some argue that drones are an acceptable tool of war. The use of drones raises many questions. But for purposes of this article, the main question is whether their use amounts to a war crime.

    • Chemical Weapons Used by Saudi Arabia in Yemen Kill Scores of Civilians

      Civilians who were injured during the attacks said they have been suffering from suffocation, nausea and diarrhea since the start of the attacks.

    • U.S. drones keep Obama’s struggling war in Yemen alive

      When U.S. special operations forces exited Yemen last month, it was seen as a severe blow to the fight against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which President Barack Obama had previously held up as a success in the global effort against terrorism.

    • How Washington Adds to Yemen’s Nightmare

      Joining a growing list of U.S. foreign policy failures in the Middle East, including Iraq, Syria and Libya, Yemen is fast becoming a humanitarian disaster. Its indigenous conflict, cruelly fueled by Washington and Saudi Arabia, has killed hundreds of people, wounded more than 2,000, and displaced more than a quarter million people, according to the United Nations. All this at a time when 16 million of its desperately poor inhabitants are critically short of food, water and fuel.

    • Yemen needs all-out political process: OIC sec-gen

      An all-out political process is needed as soon as possible to ensure long-lasting peace in Yemen, says Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Tan Sri Iyad Ameen Madani.

    • Yemenis displaced, forced from homes as conflict worsens

      Street battles and air raids are driving more and more Yemenis from their homes, the United Nations said Tuesday as the worsening conflict forced the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country’s liquefied natural gas company to shut down production.

    • UN chief for immediate truce in Yemen

      UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for an “immediate cease-fire” in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is conducting airstrikes against Houthi rebels, saying the impoverished country was “in flames”.

    • The Ineffective Campaign in Yemen

      Almost a month ago, on March 25, the Saudis launched what they called Operation Decisive Storm to stop the onslaught of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen. It turns out that, to no one’s surprise, Decisive Storm isn’t actually decisive.

      The Saudis have been bombing rather freely, killing by UN estimates more than 600 people, at least half of them civilians. On March 31, for example, Saudi bombs hit a dairy factory killing 31 civilians, the kind of mistake that would be greeted with global outrage if it were committed by the Israeli Air Force but it is met with polite silence when it’s the Saudis.

    • Drone Strikes in Yemen Said to Set a Dangerous Precedent

      An investigation of American drone strikes in Yemen concludes that the Obama administration has not followed its own rules to avoid civilian casualties and is setting a dangerous example for other countries that want to use unmanned aircraft against terrorists.

      The study, by the Open Society Justice Initiative, a legal advocacy group based in New York, was released on Monday at a time when Yemen has been engulfed in violence and American drone strikes have been slowed or halted. But its observations about the performance of American counterterrorism strikes from 2012 to 2014 remain relevant for assessing a novel weapons system that the United States has used in several countries and has now approved for export to a limited number of allies.

    • Open Society Justice Initiative Issues New Report on U.S. Drone Strikes in Yemen
    • Impunity, Death, and Blowback: Report Exposes Illegal US Drone War in Yemen

      The brother of a drone strike victim told researchers, “We had hoped that America would come to the region with educational and development projects and services, but it came instead with aircrafts to kill our children.” (Image via Open Society Justice Foundation/ Mwatana Organization for Human Rights)

    • Report documents carnage of US drone war in Yemen

      The first known airstrikes carried out by the Obama administration came on December 17, 2009, when a cruise missile loaded with clusters bombs slammed into the village of Al Majala in Abyan province. While purportedly targeted at an AQAP training camp, it killed at least 44 civilians, including five pregnant women and 21 children. A separate strike the same day killed four people in Arhab.

      Since then, there have been at least 121 drone and other airstrikes that have taken the lives of as many as 1,100 people, most of them officially classified as combatants. As a means of limiting the official civilian casualty count in any particular attack, President Obama approved the redefinition of a “combatant” as any male of military service age killed or injured by a drone strike.

    • Unmanned ‘Killer Robots’: A New Weapon in the US Navy’s Future Arsenal?

      The report further points out that real problems will arise holding people accountable for wrongful actions of autonomous weapon systems (e.g., striking the wrong target) – an “accountability gap” as the study calls it. Thus, technological problems may perhaps be only one obstacle to overcome before the future use of autonomous “killer robots” in the U.S. military.

    • Boston, Blowback, and Barack Obama

      Obama is a skilled murderer in a wide range of places. While his “cowboy” predecessor George W. Bush has him beat by far on total body count (thanks to “the American-led war in Iraq”), Obama takes the prize when it comes to geographical scope. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism last January, “At least 2,464 people have now been killed by US drone strikes outside the country’s declared war zones [Iraq and Afghanistan] since President Barack Obama’s inauguration six years ago.” The Nobel champion’s drones, bombs, missiles, and Special Forces have wreaked havoc in many more Muslim nations than were invaded by Bush’s troops, something that has helped Washington spread and intensify Salafist jihad across a much broader territory (including Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Syria) in the Age of Obama

    • Obama Approved Illegal Drone Killings
    • Can the President Legally Kill Americans?

      Obama’s secret execution approval process denies citizens due process.

    • America’s New ‘Lend-Lease’ for Drones

      Lawmakers are pushing Obama take a page out of the World War II playbook—and let Jordan borrow Predator drones to keep the terror group at bay.

    • American violence from Ferguson to Fallujah

      It is the same professional methodical coldness with which the drone operator kills. In his book, Chamayou argues that assassination, combat, and law enforcement have become jumbled together in US counterinsurgency programs. He wants to re-separate them. He points out that the Obama administration has defended drone strikes as justified by both the laws of war and the norms of law enforcement, even though the legal frameworks regulating war and policing are quite different, indeed often opposed. Under the laws of war, combatants are excused from the usual prohibition against killing, but on condition that they kill in carefully circumscribed ways. The killing is of and by combatants, and must take place in a declared war zone, within which soldiers are free to kill their enemy counterparts at will, even shooting them in the back, unless the target is trying to surrender. Those engaged in law enforcement, on the other hand, can hunt criminals more freely across space, but killing them is considered a last resort, justified only by exceptional circumstances. Quoting UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, Chamayou writes that in law enforcement, “the use of lethal force should remain the exception … it is permissible only if it is the sole available means in the face of a threat that is ‘instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.’”

    • U.S. Law Students Criticize Architect of Obama’s Illegal Targeted Killing Program, Law Professors Defend Him, Repress and Intimidate Students

      The gravity of targeted killings via drones and the factual basis upon which we built our petition warranted this expression of disaffection. Academic institutions, after all, are supposed to be places for honest and critical debates. At times, we have known NYU Law to be such a place—that is, a setting where compassionate and thoughtful people confront, rather than dismiss uncomfortable facts.

    • ‘Kill Chain’ Author Andrew Cockburn LIVE

      Journalist Andrew Cockburn joins Alyona to discuss his new book, “Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins,” and the evolution of technology in warfare.

    • Former US Drone Operator – Brandon Bryant

      Brandon Bryant’s story provides a rare glimpse into a secret world and raises questions about the nature of 21st Century warfare.

    • The Guardian view on robots as weapons: the human factor

      Drone wars signal a future in which weapons may think for themselves.

    • The Navy is Preparing To Launch Swarm Bots Out of Cannons

      The U.S. Navy will launch up to 30 synchronized drones within one minute, possibly from a single cannon-like device, in what marks a significant advance in robot autonomy. The drones, when airborne, will then unfold their wings and conduct a series of maneuvers and simulated missions with very little human guidance over the course of 90 minutes.

    • US Navy’s drone cannon

      The US Navy says its system will be able to launch a 30 drone ‘swarm’ in under a minute. They will then be able to fly together to carry out missions. The US Navy says the drones are a ‘new era in autonomy and unmanned systems for naval operations’.

    • I Just Asked Erik Prince To Stop Bribing Politicians

      “It’s bad enough to be creating more profit incentive for war,” I told former head of Blackwater Erik Prince, “but you recycle part of the profits as bribes for more war in the form of so-called campaign contributions. You yourself have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to political parties and candidates. The three of you,” I said, referring to Prince, another guest, and the host of a television show that had just finished filming and was taking questions from the audience, “you seem to agree that we need either mercenaries or a draft, ignoring the option of not having these wars, which kill so many people, make us less safe, drain the economy, destroy the natural environment, and erode our civil liberties, with no upside. But this systemic pressure has been created for more war. Will you, Erik Prince, commit to not spending war profits on elections?”

    • The US and Israel: Diverging interests

      It is often alleged that the basis for US-Israeli relations lies in “shared concerns and interests”. However, what really holds the relationship together is a systemic aspect of American politics: the system of special interest lobbying and the money that underlies it. That practice is just about as old as the country itself, and the Zionist lobby is a past-master at exploiting this system. With the Supreme Court rulings telling us that political spending and donations are forms of free speech, this rather perverse aspect of US politics is not going to change in the foreseeable future.

    • Here’s what would really happen if the US bombed Iran

      Last week, Republican Senator Tom Cotton criticized President Obama’s nuclear deal framework with Iran, saying Obama was refusing to admit that airstrikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities would only take “several days” and wouldn’t require any longer-term military commitment to be effective. Obama, he said, was offering a “false choice” between the deal and war.

    • Congress to Have Say in Iran Deal After Obama Backs Down
    • Culture and war

      The lead editorial in today’s New York Times titled “Iraq’s cycles of Revenge,” reminds me of my thoughts about sword-rattling in America before we invaded Iraq in 2003. It was clear that President Bush and his advisers were considering an invasion of Iraq, which I felt would be a grave mistake. Even in my wildest flights of the mind, however, I didn’t begin to imagine the damage that the American invasion of Iraq would cause. Even though I didn’t imagine the destruction that our invasion of Iraq would bring about I was right on one essential point. I understood that by intervening in Iraq we were exposing ourselves to the terrible risks of waging war in a part of the world where revenge is a main part of, if not the driving force within ,the overall culture.

    • The next US president could be dangerously clueless about foreign policy

      It’s already election season in the United States, and that means it’s time to start hearing from people who believe they’re uniquely qualified to run America’s wars, drones, nuclear deals, trade partnerships, and everything else.

      There are already a handful of front-runners. And when it comes to foreign policy, unfortunately for us all, they’ve each said things that are — to put it gently — a little out of touch with reality.

      Hopefully they’ll brush up on world affairs before really hitting the campaign trail. Until then, here are a few of the clueless things that they’ve said about the rest of the world.

    • War: It’s Human Nature only if Collective Suicide is Natural

      Now, we all know that resentment and blame are tools of war propaganda. So, in Mary’s defense and mine: neither of us called anybody a name in the presence of that person or proposed to harm any person or armed ourselves with massive machinery of death in preparation for books going missing or a basketball team losing. I didn’t put any Michigan State fans on a kill list and blow them and everyone near them to bits with hellfire missiles. Neither of us launched any invasions.

    • Peace: More Normal and Wonderful Than We Think

      If we want war to end, we are going to have to work to end it. Even if you think war is lessening – by no means an uncontroversial claim – it won’t continue doing so without work. And as long as there is any war, there is a significant danger of widespread war. Wars are notoriously hard to control once begun. With nuclear weapons in the world (and with nuclear plants as potential targets), any war-making carries a risk of apocalypse. War-making and war preparations are destroying our natural environment and diverting resources from a possible rescue effort that would preserve a habitable climate. As a matter of survival, war and preparations for war must be completely abolished, and abolished quickly, by replacing the war system with a peace system.

    • ‘Americans used plane, not drone in Mamasapano’
    • PNP officials face more grilling at House

      Rep. Luz Ilagan of Gabriela said the executive session is important because she will be able to get answers to her questions related to the alleged involvement of the US in the Mamasapano operation.

      “The resource persons were very cagey . . . We can extract this info. Unfortunately it may not be shared with the public and the media,” Ilagan said.

      While matters discussed in the executive session cannot be divulged publicly, Pagdilao said these will have a bearing in the evaluation and result of the House inquiry.

      He added that the report should be finished by the time the ad hoc panel tasked to review the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will resume its hearings.

      Over 60 people were killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao including 44 members of the SAF who were in an operation to capture Marwan and his protégé Abdulbasit Usman. Members of the MILF and civilians were also among the casualties.

      The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has confirmed that the police commandos were able to kill Marwan.

    • Podcast: Tell us the whole truth about your drone killing program, ACLU chief warns White House

      The US government’s tactic of releasing details about its targeted killing programme in only a piecemeal way is “very dangerous”, the American Civil Liberties Union warns in this week’s Drone News.

      Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU’s deputy legal director, tells the Bureau’s Owen Bennett-Jones that for the sake of accountability it is vital to understand the reasons why targets are selected for execution – and this can only come through the fullest transparency.

    • Australian citizen on US drone “kill list”

      A front-page article in last Friday’s Australian reported that, for the first time, an Australian citizen—Mostafa Farag—had been placed on the Obama administration’s “kill list” for assassination by drone attack. The lack of any response, let alone criticism, from any section of the Australian political and media establishment underscores not only its support for Washington’s criminal actions but its contempt for democratic rights at home.

    • Drone Strike Kills al-Qaeda Cleric in Yemen—But are clerics lawful military targets?

      The initial reports of the death of al-Rubaysh do not state whether he was the target of the alleged U.S. drone strike. If he was, a key legal and moral question that major media outlets (AP, NYT, etc.) are not asking: is a cleric like al-Rubaysh a legitimate military target?

    • SC dismisses petition seeking halt to drone strikes

      The Supreme Court rejected on Monday petition filed against the federal government to put an end to the drone program launched by the United States in the tribal areas, Express News reported.

    • SC rejects petition seeking stoppage of drone attack

      The Supreme Court Monday dismissed a petition that sought direction to the federal government to stop drone attacks, which had killed hundreds of people in the Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
      A three-member bench headed by Justice Saqib Nisar, hearing the petition filed by Syed Muhammad Iqtidar remarked that the court could not issue a war order to stop the drone attacks, adding the petition did not fall under the jurisdiction of Article 184 (3).

    • Op-Ed: CIA-linked Libyan armed forces head General Haftar is untouchable

      There is ample evidence to show that General Khalifa Haftar is untouchable no matter what he does to directly snub his nose at the UN-supported peace talks promoted by the U.S. and other countries.

    • Military strikes not answer to Libya

      U.S. President Barack Obama and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Friday urged a political solution to the conflict in Libya, saying foreign military operations were unlikely to solve the crisis there.

    • Libya stability key to migrant crisis: Renzi

      Restoring stability in Libya is the only way to solve the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Friday, as President Barack Obama warned re-establishing peace could not be achieved by military force.

    • Up to 700 feared dead after migrant boat sinks off Libya

      Twenty eight people were rescued in the incident, which happened in an area just off Libyan waters, 120 miles south of the southern Italian island of Lampedusa

    • Gunfire and explosions heard in Libyan capital

      Clashes broke out in a district and a suburb of Libya’s capital on Saturday, home to groups opposing an alternative government controlling Tripoli and parts of western Libya, residents said.

    • Turkish consulate comes under molotov attack in Greece

      The Turkish Consulate General building in the Greek city of Thessaloniki was struck by Molotov cocktails several times during a demonstration against high-security prisons Friday night, consulate sources told the Anadolu Agency.

    • Sale of U.S. Arms Fuels the Wars of Arab States

      To wage war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is using F-15 fighter jets bought from Boeing. Pilots from the United Arab Emirates are flying Lockheed Martin’s F-16 to bomb both Yemen and Syria. Soon, the Emirates are expected to complete a deal with General Atomics for a fleet of Predator drones to run spying missions in their neighborhood.

    • Pakistani Court Rejects Petition to Stop US Drone Strikes
    • Pakistan top court denies petition challenging US drone strikes
    • Pakistan Could End Up Charging CIA Officials With Murder Over Drone Strikes

      A landmark case may open the door for a possible multibillion-dollar class-action lawsuit launched by relatives of the alleged 960 civilian victims of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan

    • Americans with illegal Iraq War souvenirs go unprosecuted

      As the elected Iraqi government seeks diplomatic respect and struggles to save its ancient sites from the rampages of the Islamic State group, American military members, contractors and others caught with culturally significant artifacts they brought home from the war there are going largely unprosecuted.

      Years after the war, swords, artifacts and other items looted from Saddam Hussein’s palaces are still turning up for sale online and at auctions, and in some cases U.S. agents have traced them to American government employees, who took them as souvenirs or war trophies.

    • China, Taiwan, Japan and The U.S. In the West Pacific

      The pictures also show that China is building similar infrastructure in two other places, Johnson South Reef and Gaven Reefs. This naturally put the U.S. at extreme unease. The U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence has just published its first report on the Chinese navy since 2009, and says that China “appears to be building much larger facilities that could eventually support both maritime law enforcement and naval operations.”

    • Neocon ‘Chaos Promotion’ in the Mideast
    • The Kremlin and the Neocons

      According to Clark, Wolfowitz said: “We should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein. The truth is, one thing we did learn is that we can use our military in the Middle East and the Soviets won’t stop us. We’ve got about five or 10 years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes – Syria, Iran (sic), Iraq – before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.”

      It’s now been more than 10 years, of course. But do not be deceived into thinking Wolfowitz and his neocon colleagues believe they have failed in any major way. The unrest they initiated keeps mounting – in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Lebanon – not to mention fresh violence now in full swing in Yemen and the crisis in Ukraine. Yet, the Teflon coating painted on the neocons continues to cover and protect them in the “mainstream media.”

      [...]

      A week after it became clear that the neocons were not going to get their war in Syria, I found myself at the main CNN studio in Washington together with Paul Wolfowitz and former Sen. Joe Lieberman, another important neocon. As I reported in “How War on Syria Lost Its Way,” the scene was surreal – funereal, even, with both Wolfowitz and Lieberman very much down-in-the-mouth, behaving as though they had just watched their favorite team lose the Super Bowl.

    • Ask Hillary and the GOP: Why Are We the Country of War?

      In 1952, the British government asked the U.S administration for assistance in removing the democratically-elected Prime Minster Mosaddeq. The CIA then covertly helped the MI6 take Mosaddeq out of power and funneled money to General Fazlollah Zahedi’s regime. Afterwords, the U.S and Britain put a pro-west leader, who they called the Shah, into power. Over the course of his regime, the Shah ruled brutally and implemented pro-western policies that caused disdain for his leadership.

      Then, in 1979, the Iranian people, fed up with the Shah, violently revolted against him in what is know as the Iranian Revolution. After the revolution, the Iranian people replaced the Shah with an Islamic Republic under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Soon afterwords, the U.S helped prop up Saddam Hussein and sold chemical weapons to him in order to fight Iran and their new Islamic Republic. This all escalated to what is now known as the Gulf War and the Iraq War.

      The last example is referred to as Operation Cyclone. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union tried to expand its control into Afghanistan. In order to prevent expansion, the CIA supplied and trained Islamic militant groups to fight the Soviet Union upon expansion. The most prominent group was called the Mujahideen. Operation Cyclone was one of the longest and most expensive CIA operations ever undertaken.

    • Reining In Soldiers of Fortune

      But fewer people remember the Haditha massacre of 2005, when a squad of United States Marines murdered 24 innocent Iraqis in a revenge killing spree. It started when one of their Humvees hit an improvised mine, killing one and injuring two more. The squad immediately killed five people in the street. They then went house to house, and killed 19 more civilians, ranging in age from 3 to 76. Many were shot multiple times at close range, some still in their pajamas. One was in a wheelchair.

    • The Nasty Blowback from America’s Wars
    • ‘Mission Accomplished’ (Yet Again)

      Today, we know that those combat operations had barely begun. Almost 12 years later, with the Obama administration pursuing a bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State, they have yet to end. On only one thing was President Bush right: with the invasion of Iraq, a new era had indeed been launched. His top officials and their neoconservative allies imagined the moment as the coronation of a new order in the Middle East, the guarantee of another American half-century or more of domination. Iraq, that crucial state in the oil heartlands of the planet, was to be garrisoned for decades (on the “Korea model”); the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad was to be brought to heel; and above all, fundamentalist Iran was to be crushed. That country’s rulers were to find themselves in an ever-tightening geopolitical vise, with American Iraq on one side and American Afghanistan on the other. (A quip of the moment caught the mood of Washington and its high-flown hopes perfectly: “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran.”) The Bush administration would ensure that the great blemish on the American half-century in the region, the reversal of the CIA’s coup by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 and the humiliation of having American diplomats taken hostage for 444 days in Tehran — would be wiped away. The regime of the Ayatollahs was soon to be history.

      Of course, it all turned out so unimaginably otherwise, leaving us today knee-deep in the chaos of that “new era.” Shock and awe, indeed! The American half-century has been swept away as definitively as was the Soviet Cold-War version of the same before it. Someday, the disastrous invasion of Iraq will have its historian and we’ll understand more fully just what that moment really launched, what forces already building in the region it let devastatingly loose. It certainly blew a hole in the heart of the Middle East in ways we have yet to come to grips with and prepared the ground, as dynamite does a construction site, for the disintegration of both the European and the American versions of “order” in the region, as well as for the building of we know not what… yet.

    • Why extremists hate us

      But both terrorists themselves and those who study them present a dramatically different explanation. Osama bin Laden himself, for example, said the 9/11 attack reflected his deep anger at America’s Middle East policies. He was appalled by the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children who died from lack of food and medicine due to American sanctions and resented the deployment of American forces throughout the Gulf states, particularly in his own homeland, Saudi Arabia. He repeated such sentiments many times.

      American authorities did not consider them mere propaganda. Michael Scheur, the CIA’s top Middle East specialist, accepted that Mr. bin Laden “has been precise in telling America the reasons he is waging war on us. None of the reasons have anything to do with our freedom, liberty, and democracy, but have everything to do with U.S. policies and actions in the Muslim world.”

    • Rand Paul In 2011 Book: U.S. Intervention Increased Threat Of Islamic Terrorism
    • US Drone Strike Kills Four in North Waziristan

      Slaying anonymous tribesmen has been mostly without consequence for the US drone program, apart from growing anti-US sentiment in the area. One exception was a 2009 strike which killed three civilians, and which has led to murder charges against a former CIA station chief.

    • Former chief of staff to Powell: U.S. involvement in Iraq disturbed “balance of power,” Iran key to region’s stability

      Two days before he’d tell the United Nations that Iraq was training al-Qaida operatives to use chemical weapons, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell dragged his chief of staff into a private room at Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va.

    • American spies could have ordered Yemen airstrikes killing dozens of innocent civilians

      American spooks may have been partly to blame for horrific civilian casualties in Yemen, human rights campaigners claimed.

      Dozens of non-military Yemenis were slaughtered and at least 11 injured in Saudi Arabia’s air-strikes on local factories last month.

      But it is suspected that US special forces and CIA officers on the ground may have helped call in the strikes last month by Saudi warplanes.

    • Euromaidan Was Special Operation by US, Poland – Polish MEP

      A European MP and leader of Poland’s conservative KORWiN party said that the 2014 Euromaidan riots in Kiev were organized by the CIA and also by Polish spooks.

    • From Utah to the ‘darkest corners of the world’: the militarisation of raid and rescue

      The evocative imagery used in militant activism fails to address the historical underpinnings of trafficking and slavery while reinforcing neo-colonial representations of the ‘saviour’ and the ‘saved.’

    • ISLAM, A FORGOTTEN HOLOCAUST, AND AMERICAN HISTORICAL AMNESIA

      In a September 2014 address to the nation, President Obama attacked ISIL (or ISIS) as “terrorists… unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children.”1 But of course such terrorism in the last half-century is hardly “unique.” Nor is it unprecedented. Still less is it confined to America’s foes. In fact the first major Muslim extermination campaign against civilians killed without trial for their “Westernness,” occurred a half century ago, on a far, far vaster scale, and with active American support and encouragement.

    • US ‘handed Cambodia to butcher’, ambassador recalls

      Twelve helicopters, bristling with guns and US Marines, breached the morning horizon and began a daring descent toward Cambodia’s besieged capital. Residents believed the Americans were rushing in to save them, but at the US Embassy, in a bleeding city about to die, the ambassador wept.

      Forty years later, John Gunther Dean recalls one of the most tragic days of his life — April 12, 1975, the day the United States “abandoned Cambodia and handed it over to the butcher.”

    • Today in history, and birthdays
    • Vietnam in the Battlefield of Memory

      On the war’s 50th anniversary, peace activists will be challenging the Pentagon’s whitewashed history.

    • Forty Years Ago: Victory In Vietnam! History and Reflections

      Over four million were killed in Washington’s aggressive war upon a very poor largely peasant society beginning in the mid-1950s when the U.S. took over from the defeated French colonialist armies. France had occupied and oppressed Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (Indochina) for over 100 years, then it became America’s turn. U.S. bombings killed at least a million more people in Laos and Cambodia.

    • Rory Kennedy’s Oscar-Nominated ‘Last Days in Vietnam’ Finds Some Nobility Amid the Ruins

      It is one of the iconic images of the Vietnam war: a line of desperate citizens climbing to the top of a building to board one of the last American helicopters leaving before the North Vietnamese invade Saigon. Though most remember it as a photograph of the U.S. Embassy, it was actually a neighboring building, and most of the men and women were CIA station personnel, not civilians, “but it indicated to what extent chaos had descended on this entire operation,” says Frank Snepp, a CIA analyst who was there that day. Even our shared memories of the Vietnam War are wrong.

    • Ward Just Looks Back at Writing Career Full of Secrets

      “There was a certain amount of lying going on,” he says. “But what I thought much more interesting was the wishful thinking … people who looked into the maw and said “it’s gonna be alright,” just out of sheer belief,” he says.

    • Journalist Richard Engel’s 2012 kidnapping account was part of drive to war with Syria

      In December 2012, NBC chief correspondent Richard Engel and five other members of a news team were allegedly kidnapped in Syria near the Turkish border. According to Engel, the gunmen claimed to be Shiite supporters of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. After five days, the NBC newsman said at the time, the news team was rescued by anti-Assad Sunni rebels in a gun battle.

    • Time for Washington to be held accountable for war crimes in Iraq – Sponeck

      The term “regime change,” widely used among the United States’ policy-makers has no basis in international law; US-organized “regime change” operations have never solved international conflicts but have only led to incessant civil wars and fierce internal strife, Hans von Sponeck, former UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, noted, according to Sputnik.

      “Following years of clandestine co-operation between US spies and Iraqi opposition groups, the US Congress came out into the open by approving the Iraq Liberation Act, which stated that US policy should seek to ‘support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein’.”

      Curiously enough, the Act was signed by US President Clinton on October 31, 1998, and five years later a full-scale military campaign was launched by George W. Bush under an utterly false pretext.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • Five years after spill, Gulf Coast waits for fine money

      Five years after the massive BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Gulf Coast communities are still waiting for the billions promised to help them recover from the nation’s worst environmental disaster.

      Local officials and environmentalists from the five affected states — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas — have taken steps to identify which projects would be financed with fine money paid by BP.

    • The Drought Isn’t California’s Only Water Problem

      In 1997, this little fish was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. It made an easy target: dry faucets, fallow fields, and dessicated lawns all to save a fish the size of a newborn’s pecker. Don’t judge. These farmers and cities have been worried about California’s water situation for a lot longer than you’ve been wringing your hands over almonds. Actually, you know what? Delta smelt is the almond of endangered species.

    • OPEC Global Oil Wars Threat to US Energy Advantage and Security

      The Organization of Petroleum Export Countries (OPEC) increased oil output strategy was a direct retaliatory strike at the massive U.S. oil boom not seen since the 1970s. The main feature of the war is about political dominance, relevance and survival. But while one side sees this was war the other sees it as a private matter. By flooding the market, OPEC cut international prices in half from $115 last June to $57 per barrel as of today.

    • Drought is not just a California problem

      With all the attention focused on California’s water woes, an observer might conclude that the Golden State’s drought is the exception. It isn’t. Forty states expect to see water shortages in at least some areas in the next decade, according to a government watchdog agency.

  • Finance
    • America’s political system is broken

      I have been arguing for years that the American political system is broken. Not in the way that everyone else says it is — the Democrats and Republicans unable to compromise or get anything done. Given what happens when the two major parties cooperate — “free trade” agreements that send American jobs overseas and cut wages for those that remain, wars we have no chance of winning, and tax “reform” that only benefits the extremely wealthy and the corporations they control — we could use a lot more Washington gridlock.

    • Meet The Woman Who Attacked Mario Draghi: In Her Own Words

      The biggest star of today’s ECB’s press conference was not Mario Draghi but 21-year-old German feminist, Josephine Witt, an ex-Femen activist who jumped on Draghi’s desk wearing an “ECB Dick-tatorship”, a slogan she repeatedly screamed as she was led away by security guards. She threw paper copies of her demands at Mr Draghi, while showering him with confetti that were created from her finely chopped up manifesto.

    • WikiLeaks’ emails show Cuomo’s fundraising push at Sony

      The emails drew criticism because New York offers the most generous film-tax breaks in the nation, and Cuomo reportedly took in $900,000 from Hollywood for his political campaign since taking office in 2011.

      In one email dated Jan. 6, 2014, a Sony executive urged CEO Michael Lynton to have the company raise $50,000 by July for Cuomo’s re-election bid.

    • Thousands March Against TTIP in Germany

      The mobilization day organized by alterglobalization movement Attac found great success in Germany. Over 200 German cities held protests Saturday against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States.

    • Obama nominates Szubin as Treasury undersecretary for terrorism, financial crimes

      Szubin has been director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence since 2006, where he played a key role in devising U.S. economic sanctions against Iran and Russia.

    • Obama taps Adam Szubin as sanctions czar

      Szubin, nominated Thursday to be undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes, would if confirmed by the US Senate be the third Jewish undersecretary in the role.

    • Raul Castro’s Photo-Op With a War Monger

      Obama speaks with his usual florid lexicon about “an historic turning point”. But the fact is that the US still maintains its economic stranglehold on Cuba. This American boot on Cuba’s neck has been condemned around the world in the forum of the United Nations General Assembly and among Latin American nations. Yet still the American boot remains firmly in place. Obama will be long out of White House and the gung-ho US Congress will ensure that the strangulation of Cuba will continue.

    • Obama’s «Diplomacy» Masks His Bullying at Jamaica and Panama Summits
    • Ben Bernanke is going to advise one of Wall St.’s biggest hedge funds

      As Fortune predicted (tongue-in-cheek), it looks like blogging alone isn’t going to pay Ben Bernanke’s bills for long.

    • On welfare in Kansas? These are taboo

      Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill Thursday instructing poor families about what they can’t spend their state cash assistance on.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • US revives MSM propaganda arm in ‘big way’ against Russia

      The US media industry has been the arm of the government for decades, but now the Cold War tool is being resurrected in a “big way” to tackle any Russian influence on the information flow, foreign affairs expert Richard Becker told RT.

    • 10 Shocking Conspiracy Theories Which Were Actually True

      A lot of theories are written off as conspiracy by the public because they are just too wild to believe, or if they were to be true, they are too shameful and shocking to comprehend. Sometimes these theories spread like wildfire because they sound so crazy, but a recent study by political scientists Eric Oliver and Thomas Wood showed that 50% of Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory. Though they may seem unreal, some of these conspiracy theories end up being true, and test the limits of possibility. Here are ten of those theories that, as it turns out, weren’t just a figment of someone’s imagination.

    • Tell Us No Lies

      John Pilger, an Australian based journalist and filmmaker in London, has been subjected to persistent abuse, in Britain and his native Australia, for his reportage that spreads over last 50 years across Vietnam, Cambodia, East Timor, Burma and Palestine. One of his books ‘Tell Me No Lies’, is an anthology of write-ups from diverse people like Edward Said, Seymour Hersh, James Cameron and some committed reporters. The book ranges across many of the critical events, scandals and struggles of the past, exposing the lies perpetuated through media by the people in power.

    • Fresh Air Remembers Historian Stanley Kutler

      We’re going to remember historian Stanley Kutler. He died Tuesday at the age of 80. Kutler helped uncover some of the dark secrets of the Nixon administration. Some of Nixon’s secretly recorded White House tapes were released in April 1974. Nixon resigned that August.Nixon tried to prevent the release of the remaining tapes, but in 1992 Kutler and the advocacy group Public Citizen sued the National Archives which led to the 1996 release of about 200 more hours of Nixon White House tapes. Those recordings detail how the Nixon administration tried to destroy Daniel Ellsberg who leaked the Pentagon papers and how the group of former CIA agents known as the Plumbers broke into the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist looking for incriminating information.

  • Censorship
    • Prof. Andrew Pessin is latest victim of anti-Israel thought police

      Every time I learn about the latest antics of the anti-Israel thought police on university campuses, I find myself offering silent thanks that they are, for the moment, just thought police. Because if these kids and their faculty supporters ran a real police force, the pro-Israel students and academics they didn’t manage to arrest would be driven underground.

    • Censorship has got worse: Patwardhan

      Sunday saw the city host the second edition of Litmus Festival, and the weighty speakers ensured that Bengalureans went home intellectually satiated.

    • BuzzFeed’s censorship problem

      Earlier this week, Gawker broke the news that BuzzFeed Beauty Editor Arabelle Sicardi has resigned from the site. She wrote a piece last week criticizing a Dove soap advertising campaign that BuzzFeed deleted and later republished at the direction of Editor in Chief Ben Smith. Her resignation is the latest chapter in the evolving “DoveGate” scandal.

    • 15 Feminist Artists Respond To The Censorship Of Women’s Bodies Online

      In March, artist and poet Rupi Kaur uploaded an image to Instagram, depicting Kaur curled up on the bed in sweats and a t-shirt. She’s also on her period, and the blood has dripped through her pants onto the sheets. The image was flagged and removed from Instagram — twice.

    • Climate censorship gains popularity in states

      Various people in Florida and Wisconsin might find climate censorship as humorous but other states have not been seen laughing over it. Contrastingly political and environmental experts have asked this news to be used as a model.

      Florida Gov. Rick Scott became the leader of this potential trend last month when news emerged that he had ordered environmental staffers not to use the terms “climate change” or “global warming” in communications or reports. Wisconsin established a similar policy this month, voting to ban staffers who manage thousands of acres of forests from working on or talking about global warming.

    • A Poster Child for Misguided Censorship

      Two weeks ago, a group of Harvard College students launched Renegade, a magazine that seeks to provide an outlet for students of color on Harvard’s campus. This past week, the Crimson reported that several posters parodying the publication had been posted in Pforzheimer House. The House Masters subsequently issued a statement condemning the fake posters, while also indicating their intention to remove the satirical posters

  • Privacy
    • SEC Boss Can’t Keep Her Story Straight On Whether Or Not SEC Snoops Through Your Emails Without A Warrant

      For many years now, we’ve been writing about the need for ECPA reform. ECPA is the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, written in the mid-1980s, which has some frankly bizarre definitions and rules concerning the privacy of electronic information. There are a lot of weird ones but the one we talk about most is that ECPA defines electronic communications that have been on a server for 180 days or more as “abandoned,” allowing them to be examined without a warrant and without probable cause as required under the 4th Amendment. That may have made sense in the 1980s when electronic communications tended to be downloaded to local machines (and deleted), but make little sense in an era of cloud computing when the majority of people store their email forever on servers. For the past few years, Congress has proposed reforming ECPA to require an actual warrant for such emails, and there’s tremendous Congressional support for this.

    • A CIA-backed company may be scanning all your Facebook chats

      If you thought your Facebook chats are safe from prying eyes, you’re apparently wrong. Bosnadev says that Facebook’s chats are being scanned by a CIA-funded company, a discovery Bosnadev made after looking into some unusual activity on a website triggered by a link present in a Facebook chat.

    • Facebook Chats Are Safe? New Reports Reveal It’s Monitored By CIA-Funded Firm

      According to the post, the group built an app that was never published and posted its link in Facebook through a private chat box. They then noticed some unusual activity after keeping track of any attempt to access the link.

      “During the testing of an application we’ve set up in a non-published area we have noticed some unusual activity,” said Bosnadev. “The link for the app was sent via Facebook chat and afterwards comes the interesting part.”

    • Your Facebook Chats Are Being Monitored By CIA-Funded Agencies

      Recorded Future is an American-Swedish firm which identifies real-time online risks through web-based source collecting and analyzing. These include analyzing links that have never been published anywhere else.

    • Recorded Future Explains Why People Thought It Was Crawling Your Facebook Chats

      The public site Recorded Future is referencing is Pastebin. A commenter on the original post laid out what happened: Some time after the URL was published, it was posted to Pastebin, which is a public text repository, like imgur. There, it was crawled by Recorded Future.

    • Recorded Future Has Raised $12M for Its Cyber-Threat Web Crawling Service
    • Mass surveillance can never prevent terrorism fully: Snowden

      “Even the most extensive monitoring system would never be able to make us perfectly safe from terrorism,” Snowden said, while taking part in a debate via video link, which was broadcasted by Ansa News agency.

      “Yet, mass surveillance is often used by intelligence agencies to spy on citizens regardless if a crime is being committed or not,” he added.

    • Burner promotion shows how much phone numbers reveal

      It can be unsettling to watch a computer spit out your personal information before it even knows your name. Especially when the information appears in a terminal font, superimposed over a map of your area.

      That’s probably what you’ll see if you take the Burner Challenge, which uses your phone number to show you just how much information those digits can reveal – everything from names of acquaintances, to lists of old employers, to your current and previous addresses. And it’s all gleaned from public sources.

    • Groups push to end NSA spying before June

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

    • Congress May Scrap Patriot Act’s Data Collection Program
  • Civil Rights
    • Is This Justice? Charging an Eighth Grader with a Felony for “Hacking”

      A 14-year-old eighth grader in Florida, Domanik Green, has been charged with a felony for “hacking” his teacher’s computer. The “hacking” in this instance was using a widely known password to change the desktop background of his teacher’s computer with an image of two men kissing. The outrage of being charged with a felony for what essentially amounts to a misguided prank should be familiar to those who follow how computer crimes are handled by our justice system.

    • When Bolivia Tried to Murder a US Folk Legend

      Uruguay was polarized between between revolutionaries and a militaristic right wing. Nueva Cancion performers and other musicians rooted in the working-class struggle were heavily repressed alongside political activists and suspected guerrillas. The members of Camerata and Daniel Viglietti were arrested, and singer Mercedes Sosa was banned from the country entirely. Singer Braulio Lopez was arrested and tortured there before being sent to prison for a year in Argentina.

    • Sen. Dianne Feinstein Urges Pentagon To End ‘Unnecessary’ Force-Feeding At Guantánamo

      Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the vice-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, recently sent a letter to Ashton Carter, the new defense secretary, urging him to “end the unnecessary force-feedings of detainees at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility.”

    • Why Failure Doesn’t Daunt the National Security State

      Years ago, Chalmers Johnson took a term of CIA tradecraft, “blowback,” and put it into our language. Originally, it was meant to describe CIA operations so secret that, when they blew back on this country, Americans would be incapable of tracing the connection or grasping that the U.S. had anything to do with what hit us. The word now stands in more broadly for any American act or policy that rebounds on us. There is, however, another phenomenon with, as yet, no name that deserves some attention. I’ve come to think of it as “blowforward.”

    • Newman/My Turn: Fiction that rings too true

      The Chicago police, America has learned, operate a secret interrogation facility in a nondescript warehouse called Homan Square. Prisoners — both adults and juveniles, some as young as 15 — are disappeared there, often shackled for endless hours, denied their right to counsel, and beaten. At least one man, found unresponsive in an interview room, later was pronounced dead.

    • Chicago offers $5.5 million to police torture victims

      Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and several Chicago aldermen are offering a $5.5 million reparations package for people who were tortured during the tenure of former police commander John Burge.

    • How Chicago Is Finally Coming To Grips With Its Dark History Of Police Torture

      More than 30 years after he was brutally tortured by Chicago detectives, Darrell Cannon may finally see what he calls a “measure of justice.”

    • Prison Labor Company Features Promo Video Touting “Best-Kept Secret in Outsourcing”

      Searching for the “best kept secret in outsourcing,” one that can “provide you with all the advantages” of domestic workers, but with “offshore prices”? Try prison labor!

      That’s the message of Unicor, also known as Federal Prison Industries, a government-owned corporation that employs federal workers for as little as 23 cents an hour to manufacture military uniforms, furniture, electronics and other products.

      Though FPI markets itself as an opportunity for inmates to obtain skills training, critics have attacked the program as exploitative. Small business owners have also complained that FPI’s incredibly low wages make it impossible to compete.

    • I Spent Seven Years Locked in a Human Warehouse

      I was found not guilty of the charges against me, by reason of insanity. But with the way our society operates, I may have been better off had I been motivated by evil, anger, greed or malice and been found guilty. Society understands malice. We understand retribution. But we do not understand mental illness and are often unable to see the humanity in those with mental illness. Thus, instead of being locked in a prison for three years, I was locked in a mental hospital for seven years. And I am one of the lucky ones. I know many others who have recovered from their illness but still have spent decades, even their whole lives, locked inside mental hospitals, simply because we choose to fear rather than understand mental illness. It is just so much easier and more convenient to throw people away. Many people with mental illness would love to have the rights that are given to convicted criminals.

    • Assange Calls on Obama to Revoke Executive Order on Venezuela

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has added his name to a growing list of Australian journalists, academics, politicians, trade unionists and solidarity activists calling on U.S. president Barack Obama to revoke his executive order against Venezuelan . On March 9, Obama issued the order which imposed sanctions on a number of Venezuelan state officials and deemed Venezuela to be an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

    • Affleck demanded PBS program hide his slave-owning ancestor

      Ben Affleck insisted on censoring the fact that one of his ancestors owned slaves from PBS show “Finding Your Roots,” the Sony email hack has revealed.

      In a hacked Sony email from July 22, 2014, now available on WikiLeaks, the show’s host, Henry Louis Gates Jr., writes to Sony USA chief Michael Lynton asking for advice: “One of our guests has asked us to edit out something about one of his ancestors–the fact that he owned slaves. Now, four or five of our guests this season descend from slave owners, including Ken Burns. We’ve never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found. He’s a megastar. What do we do?”

      Lynton’s advice was to take Affleck’s family secret out of the show, as long as nobody would find out. The Sony chairman and CEO writes, “On the doc the big question is who knows that the material is in the doc and is being taken out. I would take it out if no one knows, but if it gets out that you are editing the material based on this kind of sensitivity then it gets tricky.”

    • Ben Affleck Pressured PBS to Edit Out Slave-Owning Grandfather in Ancestry Doc
    • Ben Affleck Demanded PBS Suppress His Slave-Owning Ancestry
    • Batman star Ben Affleck hid his family’s slave-owning past in TV documentary
    • Ben Affleck Reportedly Asked PBS To Censor His Slave-Owning Ancestor
    • Ben Affleck asked PBS not to reveal ancestor owned slaves – hacked emails
    • Ben Affleck ‘wanted details of slave-owning ancestors removed from documentary’ claims leaked Sony emails
    • PBS Defends Ben Affleck’s Finding Your Roots Episode, Refutes Claims That They Censored Slave-Owner Ancestry
    • Leonardo DiCaprio the ‘eco warrior’ flew on a private jet from NY to LA SIX times in SIX weeks, Sony hack documents reveal
    • Former FBI Agent Speaks Out: ‘I Was Not Protected’

      Robyn Gritz spent 16 years at the FBI, where she investigated a series of major national security threats. But she says she got crosswise with her supervisors, who pushed her out and yanked her security clearance.

      For the first time, she’s speaking out about her situation, warning about how the bureau treats women and the effects of a decade of fighting terrorism.

    • FBI can’t cut Internet and pose as cable guy to search property, judge says

      A federal judge issued a stern rebuke Friday to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s method for breaking up an illegal online betting ring. The Las Vegas court frowned on the FBI’s ruse of disconnecting Internet access to $25,000-per-night villas at Caesar’s Palace Hotel and Casino. FBI agents posed as the cable guy and secretly searched the premises.

      The government claimed the search was legal because the suspects invited the agents into the room to fix the Internet. US District Judge Andrew P. Gordon wasn’t buying it. He ruled that if the government could get away with such tactics like those they used to nab gambling kingpin Paul Phua and some of his associates, then the government would have carte blanche power to search just about any property.

    • The Future Of International Law

      We need a sense of the unity of all mankind to save the future, a new global ethic for a united world. We need politeness and kindness to save the future, politeness and kindness not only within nations but also between nations. To save the future, we need a just and democratic system of international law; for with law shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.

    • British judge: Respect women’s right to wear veil in court

      Supreme Court president Lord Neuberger said judges must have “an understanding of different cultural and social habits,” as part of their duty to show fairness and impartiality in trials.

      [...]

      His speech comes after nearly a year after the European Court of Human Rights upheld the April 2011 ban on niqab in British courts.

    • FBI overstated forensic hair matches in nearly all trials before 2000

      The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.

    • Rendition expert fears police were too quick to clear CIA over torture flights landing in Scotland

      DR SAM RAPHAEL wants to know if the flights which landed at Prestwick and Glasgow Airports violated Scottish law and if Holyrood or Westminster was aware of what was going on on board.

    • Police find no evidence Scots airports used for CIA torture flights

      A Police Scotland probe into CIA flights is yet to find any evidence Scots airports were used to transport terror suspects.

    • Dying CIA Agent Claims He Assassinated Marilyn Monroe

      Dying CIA officer Normand Hodges claims he assassinated 37 people, including Marilyn Monroe. The 78-year-old said he worked for the CIA for 41 years as an operative. He also admitted to acting as a hitman for the governmental agency.

    • Dying 78 Year Old CIA Agent Admits To Killing Marilyn Monroe

      When people are on their deathbed, they have nothing to lose and nothing to gain. One of the most awe inspiring stories from the entertainment industry is that of Marilyn Monroe and the 78 year old retired CIA officer, Norman Hodges, who made some of the most ground breaking confessions ever noted from an ex CIA officer.

    • In 1960, CIA stopped Miami Herald scoop about Bay of Pigs invasion

      There were a lot of bad days during the Cold War, but 54 years ago this weekend was one of the worst, at least for the United States. President John F. Kennedy sent an army of anti-Castro exiles backed by the CIA onto the beach at Cuba’s Bay of Pigs to suffer bloody, catastrophic defeat. It was “the beating of our lives,” the despondent Kennedy would say a few days later as he wondered aloud why nobody had talked him out of it.

    • ‘Some good men’: Alabama airmen killed at Bay of Pigs to be honored today at Forest Hills Cemetery

      Four Alabama airmen killed during the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba will be honored by the Alabama Air National Guard in a ceremony at Forest Hills Cemetery today at 3:30 p.m., according to a news release from the Guard’s 117th Air Refueling Wing.

    • The CIA in Hollywood: How the Agency Shapes Film and Television by Tricia Jenkins

      Though everyone would surely prefer otherwise, public relations crises are part of the CIA’s ordinary business. The fact that so much of its work is classified puts the Agency in one of those tricky, plumber-like governmental roles: when it does its job right, no one should notice. But when it screws up, there’s a mess, and things smell awful.

      The nature of any covert enterprise is rigged against popularity: the Agency can’t ordinarily brag about its hard-won successes or even update Americans with news of general competence. The FBI, by contrast, gets to issue press releases detailing high-profile arrests and convictions. But with rare exceptions, the CIA hits the front page only when something has gone badly sideways.

      This asymmetry naturally gives rise to an image problem, so the CIA needs a way of loopholing if it wants to shape public perception. Fiction about the Agency—particularly television and movies, the most potent and culture-shaping mediums—has turned out to be that loophole. But it has its risks.

    • CIA Declassifies 99 Documents On Dr. Zhivago’s Publication

      The CIA just released 99 documents which laid out its plan to publish “Doctor Zhivago” in Russian for the first time in 1958, which experts believe might have been part of an agency plot to reveal the shortcomings of Soviet life.

    • US, UN Fight To Keep Rape Allegations Against Them Quiet

      As violators of human rights move to issue stronger guidelines for selective recourse and expect victims to comply, reports on past human rights violations offer invaluable testimony on the link between power and abuse. At the helm of various forms of abuse, including sexual violence, are U.S. military personnel and United Nations-affiliated personnel involved in peacekeeping operations.

      Even in instances in which it’s not been directly involved in acts of sexual violence, the United States has certainly ensured the backing of dictatorships that have committed severe sex crimes. A prime example of this is Chile under the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet from 1973 to 1990.

    • Claims of Dalai Lama’s ties to CIA reincarnated by Xinhua

      A white paper published by the Chinese government on Wednesday accused the Dalai Lama of receiving armed support from the CIA and urged the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader to relinquish his attempt to divide China and achieve independence for Tibet, reports the state propaganda service Xinhua.

    • From diplomacy to disillusion with the Dalai Lama’s big brother

      Perhaps of greatest interest to Tibet-watchers is his account of his early involvement with the CIA, and the agency’s encouragement, sponsorship and eventual abandonment of anti-Chinese resistance inside Tibet.

    • Dalai group has got armed support from CIA: white paper

      The Dalai Lama group has got armed support from the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), says a white paper issued on Wednesday.

    • Xinhua Insight: China issues white paper on Tibet, denouncing Dalai Lama’s “middle way”

      The Chinese government on Wednesday issued a white paper on southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, lauding its development path and denouncing the “middle way” advocated by the Dalai Lama.

      The white paper, “Tibet’s Path of Development Is Driven by an Irresistible Historical Tide”, holds that Tibet’s current development path is correct.

    • China issues white paper on Tibet, denouncing Dalai Lama’s ‘middle way’

      According to the report, during the armed rebellion in Tibet in the late 1950s, the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) not only sent agents to help the 14th Dalai Lama flee Tibet but also trained militants to support his forces and airdropped a large quantity of weaponry.

    • Pakistan’s first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated by America

      Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan’s first Prime Minister, was assassinated on October 16, 1951 while addressing a public meeting in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. His assassin, later identified as Saad Akbar Babrak was shot dead on the spot. Saad Akbar Babrak was an Afghan national and a professional assassin. For more than 63 years controversy continued about the motives and perpetrators after the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan. Conspiracy theories abounded with little to substantiate. However, the controversy is now coming to end as declassified documents of the US State Department disclosed that Americans murdered the first elected prime minister of Pakistan through the Afghan government.

      The US documents, released several years ago but highlighted recently by the Pakistani media and social media.

      A leading English newspaper of Pakistan, the Nation and also the Express News reported on April 17: The United States wanted to get contracts of oil resources in Iran. Pakistan and Iran enjoyed cordial ties and Afghanistan used to be the enemy of Pakistan during 1950-51. The neighboring Afghanistan was the only country that didn’t accept Pakistan at that time.

    • Focus: Why the International Criminal Court Remains Silent [on torture]?
    • ‘Any reader of Orwell would be perfectly familiar’ with US maneuvers – Chomsky to RT

      Major American media organizations diligently parrot what US officials want the public to know about global affairs, historian Noam Chomsky told RT. To US leaders, any news outlet that “does not repeat the US propaganda system is intolerable,” he said.

    • Revisionist history

      Jeffrey, in a somewhat ingenious tactic but meretricious strategy terminated his discourse by concluding “a strategy much wider in scope had to be developed for alliance alone could not bring down the PPP.” Tucked away at the beginning 14 lines earlier his analysis did identify 1961 as the year in point, artfully omitting that in 1964 a post-electoral alliance, stage-managed by the USA/UK via the Governor of British Guiana did oust the PPP from government. This fact is made clear in a stunningly researched publication, US intervention in British Guiana: a Cold War story by Stephen G Rabe, Professor of History at the University of Texas, authographed and presented to me in 2009 by a former Senior Vice-President in the Burnham government, a Guyanese of rare erudition and universal recognition.

    • Deindustrialization, NATO-Style

      NATO’s bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999 was the deliberate targeting of factories and manufacturing plants.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Net neutrality to aid Digital India drive: DoT

      After telecom and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad backed an open internet three days ago, a note prepared by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for a meeting of the committee on net neutrality said the concept may help the government’s Digital India programme and ensure equitable and inclusive development.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Can’t Have It Both Ways on Net Neutrality

      Mark Zuckerberg says Internet.org and net neutrality “can and must coexist,” despite a backlash against his organization, which aims to bring free internet access to the developing world.

      It can’t, at least not from where users sit.

      The trouble started this week when several Indian publishers decided to remove their services from the Internet.org app, claiming the app violates the basic tenets of net neutrality. The app offers users in developing countries access to a select group of services, like Facebook, news sites, and health information, without paying data charges. That’s possible because, in the countries where Internet.org operates, the group has negotiated these terms with local carriers. The Indian publishers took issue with this setup, often referred to as “zero-rating,” arguing that giving away some services puts those services that aren’t available on the app at a disadvantage.

    • COAI calls for a debate on Net neutrality

      The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), whose members have been at the receiving end of the Net neutrality campaign, on Sunday called for a debate on the issue from an Indian perspective.

      “The association urges all stakeholders to have a comprehensive and informed debate on the subject of Net neutrality keeping in mind the requirements of India and its citizens,” a statement said. A subject as important and complex as Net neutrality should “not be left to the opinion of a few.”

  • DRM
    • Bill Introduced To Fix Broken DMCA Anti-Circumvention Rules

      It’s no secret that the DMCA’s section 1201 is extremely problematic. It’s the “anti-circumvention” part of the law, that makes it illegal to circumvent “technological protection measures” even if it’s for non-infringing purposes. This is a mess — especially in an age of DRM trying to lock up everything. Try to get around it, and it’s a violation of the law — even if you’re not trying to infringe on the underlying material. This is why Cory Doctorow is running a new effort to eradicate DRM with a target placed firmly on Section 1201.

    • Hacked Sony emails reveal that Sony had pirated books about hacking

      Sony doesn’t like pirates—except, perhaps, when Sony feels like pirating.

      Hacked Sony Pictures Entertainment emails, published in full on Thursday by WikiLeaks, reveal that Sony had pirated ebooks on its servers. This is particularly notable because Sony has engaged in aggressive and even illegal anti-piracy actions in the past.

    • Leaked: The MPAA’s iPad Piracy Potential Analysis

      It’s been five years since the launch of Apple’s iPad but how was the device initially received by the Hollywood studios? A leaked analysis reveals the MPAA’s hopes and fears for the ground-breaking tablet, with a few spot on predictions and a notable shift in the piracy landscape it simply didn’t envisage.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Links 18/4/2015: ExTiX 15.2, RaspArch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

    • Saban hints: Clinton opposes the Iran deal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Cuba Being Removed From State Sponsors of Terrorism List

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Are Soldiers Happy? Unhappy? Compared to What?

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

  • Transparency Reporting
    • Judges slammed for Assange stance

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

  • Finance
    • Finally some privacy – for multinational tax dodgers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Privacy
    • How Wiretapping Is Used In Iceland

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

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

    • Editorial: Denial of spy role needed

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

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

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

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

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

    • How NZ and US agents plotted to spy on China

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

    • New Zealand Plotted Hack on China With NSA

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The NSA’s Fight To Keep Its Best Hackers

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

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

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

    • Tech Groups Pressure Congress To End NSA Bulk Data Collection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Groups push to end NSA spying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • NSA declares war on general purpose computers

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

    • A Tidbit From an Old NSA Document (2000)

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

    • Iceland for Snowden, Where NSA Whistleblower Could Get Citizenship

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

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

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

    • Snowden Coming Closer To Icelandic Citizenship

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

    • Google Maps hack shows Edward Snowden at the White House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Guest speaker at Drake sheds light on NSA surveillance

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

    • Jesse Kline: Slamming the door on the snoopers

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

    • Support HR 1466

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

    • Viewpoint: A critical debate on Snowden and the NSA

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

    • Snowden scandal not so black and white

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Senate Intelligence Committee Kicks Off Budget Season

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

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

    • Who is Responsible for Protecting Your Personal Data Online?

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

    • Congress cannot be taken seriously on cybersecurity

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

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

    • OSCE Representative Urges Governments to Ensure Privacy Amid Surveillance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • GitHub issues first transparency report; 40 accounts affected

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

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

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

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

    • New Pentagon Chief Carter to Court Silicon Valley

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

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

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

    • U.S. shining light on self

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

      Secretly, of course.

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

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

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

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

    • Excessive federal surveillance an abuse of power

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

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

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

    • The 7 safest apps to send private and secure messages

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

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

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

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

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

    • Delaware’s Fusion Center poses threat to liberty

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

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

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

    • Ever wondered what your password says about you?

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

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

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

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

    • Princeton University to feature live video talk with Edward Snowden

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

    • Americans Should Defend Their Digital Privacy

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

    • Amnesty International takes Gov to court over spying

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

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

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

    • Trade Bill Takes Aim at Foreign Governments’ Data Protections

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

    • Tell Obama: Say no to cyber surveillance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • How do we build encryption backdoors?

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

    • Cybersecurity pros slam threat information-sharing bills

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

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

    • Big data makes NSA dysfunctional

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Abolish the TSA

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

    • TSA Trained Disney, SeaWorld to SPOT Terrorists

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

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

    • AcTVism film trailer

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

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

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

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

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

    • Whistleblowers: Little UN Protection for Exposing Wrongdoing

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

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

    • For one VA whistleblower, getting fired was too much

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • When the Student Movement Was a CIA Front

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

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

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

    • ‘French Snowdens’ to get protection under law

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

    • Many Government Tiplines Not Encrypted

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

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

    • Guerrilla Artists Demand Return of Edward Snowden Bust from NYPD

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

    • Artists demand NY police return Snowden bust

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

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

    • Legal experts pan US for disappointing human rights record

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Beware the Banana Republic Postal Ballot

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

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

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

    • Death of the whistleblower

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

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

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

      [...]

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

    • Demand Washington stop laying ground work for police state

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

      [...]

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

    • Technology for Foreign Enemies is Eventually Brought Home

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

    • Letters to the Editor: Abolish death penalty in Delaware

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • WikiLeaks: Hollywood working with local anti-piracy groups

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

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

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

      • Sony execs lobbied Netflix to stop VPN users

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

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

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

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

      • WikiLeaks Posts Sony Pictures Documents, Angering the Studio

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

      • Sony Studio Renews Warning After WikiLeaks Posts Stolen Data

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • WikiLeaks publishes huge archive of hacked Sony documents

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

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

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

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


Satya Ballmer

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

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

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

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

There’s nothing new except worsening levels of aggression.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Translations of French Article About the EPO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Veyron Danger & Brain Motherboards Now In Coreboot

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

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

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

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

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

  • When to choose closed or open source

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

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

  • AT&T Makes Case for Open Source Sharing

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

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

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

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

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

      • Chrome 43 Beta Brings Web MIDI & Permissions API

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • CMS
    • How and why BackBee CMS went open source

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

    • govCMS to release its own Drupal distribution

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

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

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

  • Education
    • Higher Education Sees The Light

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

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

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

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

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

    • Latest TPP leak shows systemic threat to software freedom

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

    • GNU Hurd 0.6 Released Brings Clean-Ups & Fixes

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

  • Project Releases
    • Wine Announcement

      The Wine development release 1.7.41 is now available.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Standards/Consortia
    • ODF Plus Ten Years

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

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

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

  • Science
    • TechCrunch Speaker Combines Every Possible Startup Cliche

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

  • Hardware
    • ARM Dives into Low-Power IoT Communications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • LOCUST: Autonomous, Swarming UAVs Fly into the Future

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

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

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

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

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

    • Saudi Coalition Preventing Food Ships From Reaching Yemen

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

    • The Killing Initiative

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

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

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

    • Kill > Capture

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Lies Still Killing Gulf War Vets

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Blackwater’s Legacy Goes Beyond Public View

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Agency Overseeing Obama Trade Deals Filled With Former Trade Lobbyists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Booz Allen Wolves Offer Advice on Protecting NSA Henhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Assange to discuss spying and privacy at key Glasgow conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Unacceptable Surveillance of French Citizens soon to be Adopted!

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

    • Getting out of Facebook like trying to escape from Alcatraz

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

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

    • TV Companies Will Sue VPN Providers “In Days”

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

    • Surveillance in the General Election Manifestos

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

    • New Zealand Spy Data Shared With Bangladeshi Human Rights Abusers

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

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

  • Civil Rights
    • The Public Interest to Protect Powerful Paedophiles

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

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

    • Lord Janner will not face trial over abuse claims

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

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

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

    • Werritty’s Chum Matthew Gould Took Janner to Kindergarten

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Lord Gill the Flouncing Fool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Net Neutrality and the Death of Distance

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

  • DRM
    • Netflix Sets Pricing Based on Local Piracy Rates

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

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

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

      • Sony

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

      • The US Government Asked Sony to Help Counter ISIS Propaganda

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

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

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

      • Hollywood recruited to help fight IS, hacked emails show

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

      • WikiLeaks Publishes Over 30,000 Documents From Sony Hack

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

      • Sony Pictures Blindsided by WikiLeaks Document Dump

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

      • WikiLeaks republishes all documents from Sony hacking scandal

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

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

      • WikiLeaks Publishes Sony Documents

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

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

      • WikiLeaks Creates Online Archive of Hacked Sony Documents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Halogenics bets on Javascript, open source

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

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

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

  • How to embrace the open source workforce

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

  • 3 steps to writing an open source project case study

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

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

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

  • 3 steps to writing an open source project case study

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

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

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

  • Events
    • Flisol David, Chiriqui 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Is Apache Spark Enterprise Ready?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leftovers
  • Box adds depth through Verold 3D modelling acquisition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Labs: Securing Your Home Fences

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

    • Metal Detectors at Sports Stadiums

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • Assange on Scotland

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

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

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

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

    • Intelligence Bill: Mass Opposition to Mass Surveillance!

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

    • No encryption? How very rude.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Cop who shot fleeing suspect not eligible for lethal injection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contents GNU/Linux
  • 5 Linux Laptops for Small Business

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

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

  • Desktop
    • The Last 80 Days In Malta

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

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

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

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

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

      • Windows Lookalike Q4OS Is Almost at Version 1.0

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

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

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

      • Hanthana Linux 21 (Sinharaja) released

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

      • Semplice 7.0.1 bugfix release

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • RDO OpenStack Simplifies Deployment and Stays Humble

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

      • Fedora
        • ABRT and virtualization Test Days this week!

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

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

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

        • The Linux Setup – Kevin Fenzi, Fedora Infrastructure Leader

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Shuttleworth: Linux 4.0 coming to Canonical Ubuntu in October

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Nuance Clinical Documentation Tool Florence for Samsung Gear S

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

        • Game of Games for the Tizen Samsung Z1

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

        • ShareNote for Samsung Z1 Tizen SmartPhone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • LG G2 Android 5.0 Lollipop Update Problems & Fixes

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

    • Maine Police Pay Ransomware Demand in Bitcoin [Windows]

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

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

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

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

    • Prosecutors: Evidence indicates lottery vendor employee tampered with equipment

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

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

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

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

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

    • Tribes say no to Keystone

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

      [...]

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

    • Scott Walker’s Supreme Court Coup

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

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

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

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

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

    • Music Industry Wants Cross Border Pirate Site Blocks

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

  • Privacy
    • Confronting the surveillance state

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

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

    • No Fly List: Govt Offers New Redress Procedures

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

    • An unlikely hack lands Edward Snowden in The White House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Todd Bishop meets his maker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

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

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

Microsoft gets a free pass for insecurity


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Desktop Linux Made Easy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Some Skrooge news

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

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

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

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

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Exploring SuperX 3.0

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

      • Linux Mint Debian Edition 2 Cinnamon review

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

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

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

    • Gentoo Family
      • Review: Sabayon 15.02 KDE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • LG G4 leaks: ‘Gorgeous’ Android flagship in real leather (and fake carbon fiber)

          If you’re waiting to see what the next LG flagship phone looks like, wait no longer. Here’s the LG G4, in all its leather-clad glory. It’s no clone.

          The secret site the images were snarfed from didn’t give much of a clue about the hardware specs — what was there were clearly placeholders — but if you like stitched leather, you’ll love the G4.

        • 4 ways your Android device is tracking you (and how to stop it)

          So there I was, poking around some of the more arcane settings on my Moto G, when I stumbled across something that took me aback: an archive of every voice command I’d ever spoken to my phone.

          Turns out that each time you say something to the Google Now search box, Android saves a copy of what you said in your “Voice & Audio” history. Your voice history can go back months or even years, and it includes a transcript of what you said plus a playback button, so you can relive the moment.

        • Motorola’s 5-incher finds the G-spot: Moto G 4G budget Android smartie

          Back in December 2013, I hailed the first generation Motorola Moto G as the best affordable smartphone on the market. If you want a reasonably compact 4.5-inch device, then, arguably, it still is the best, thanks to a midlife facelift that added a microSD slot and 4G reception.

        • Sony delivers Android 5.0 to Xperia Z3 Dual, Z1 and more

          Android 5.0 Lollipop is ready to roll on half a dozen Sony smartphones.

        • Deal alert: Get $100 off one of the world’s best Android Wear watches
        • Buy an Android smartphone and Moto 360 from Best Buy, get $100 off the total purchase

          Even though the successor to Motorola’s Android Wear smartwatch, the Moto 360, seems to be right around the corner, the original is still considered one of the better smartwatches currently available. Through Best Buy’s newest promotion, that purchase just became much more easygoing on your wallet.

        • Nexus 5 Android 5.1 Update: Is It Worth Installing Right Now?

          We’ve been using the Nexus 5 Android 5.1 Lollipop update for a number of weeks. And now that the update is rolling out in full force, Nexus 5 users are faced with a decision about whether to install Google’s latest firmware. With some experience under our belts, we want to help with your decision. This is our Nexus 5 Android 5.1 review at the three week mark.

        • Best new apps for Android and iOS (April 7th – April 13th 2015)

          Hey there, app hunters! As we do each week, we’ve combed through the Android and iOS stores once again to look for something interesting for you to download and play around with. Keeping track of the new apps that come out for the lighthearted, so should you desire to have a look at some fresh offerings each week, yet feel daunted by the heap of information you’d have to dig through, feel free to check back regularly.

        • Watch HBO Now on Android and Roku right now

          Think an iDevice is the only way to get HBO’s new streaming service? Think again. For $9.99 you can sling it just about anywhere — for three months.

        • 5 Things to Know About the Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Update

          Google’s Android 5.1 Lollipop update is missing for a number of Nexus devices though it looks like we can finally take the Nexus 4 Android 5.1 update off of the list. With an OTA in sight, we take a look at what users need to know, right now, about the Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Lollipop update.

        • These E3 Android Wear Watch Bands are Really, Really Nice

          Last week, Google announced a set of official partnerships with a handful of companies willing to make watch bands for Android Wear devices. One of those companies is E3 Motocycles, a shop out of Brooklyn, NY, who specializes in hand-made products that use quality materials like Horween leather. Out of the group that was announced by Google, the E3 watch bands were the closest to our personal tastes in watch bands, so we picked a few up. Man, these are incredible.

        • Android 5.0.2 pushed out for Sony Xperia Z1, Xperia Z1 Compact and Xperia Z Ultra

          Android 5.0.2 is now reaching the Sony Xperia Z1, Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. The update is being disseminated to certain regions only, and offers build number 14.5.A.0.242. The update includes the new Material Design, Lock Screen notifications, the new 64-bit ART runtime compiler that will open apps faster, new “Recent Apps” screen, Project Volta for extended battery life, and more.

        • Some Nexus 5 Owners Afflicted By Camera Crashes Following Android 5.1 Update

          Updates get us excited, especially when they involve making the leap to the latest version of Android. But for some Nexus 5 users, the transition has come at the expense of their camera. Following the release of Android 5.1, they’ve been unable to reliably activate the camera without getting hit by crashes.

        • No, not that Cloud: Final Fantasy XIII now streaming to iOS, Android devices

          Square Enix games are hardly missing from mobile devices, but most of what you’ll see from the company are ports of its older games. Dragon Quest VIII, which originally launched on the PlayStation 2, was about as recent as it gets. At least it was until now.

        • Android 5.1 Lollipop OTA now available for the Nexus 4

          When Google announced Android 5.1 Lollipop last month, the new version of Android quickly began rolling out to multiple Nexus family devices. There are still a few Nexus handsets that have yet to see the update, but today we can check one more off the list – the Nexus 4. The OTA, which is available now, weighs in at only 174MB and will bring your device from build number LRX22C to LMY47O.

        • HTC One M8 Will Skip Android 5.0.2 And Go Straight To Android 5.1, HTC One M7 May Get 5.1 Too

          A new report indicates that HTC will skip Android 5.0.2 for the HTC One M8, which will go straight to 5.1 Lollipop at some time in the future. The older HTC One M7 may get 5.1 as well, despite a recent announcement that it will not.

        • Opera Launches Redesigned Opera Mini For Android

          Opera Mini, the little brother to Opera’s regular mobile browser, is getting a major makeover on Android today. The company says the new design, which is pretty much in line with the regular Opera mobile browser, is meant to give the browser a more native look and feel.

        • Samsung Galaxy S6 Review: The Best Android Phone Of All Time

          There has been something very surprising about the levels of interest I’ve seen with the S6 and S6 Edge, namely that the interest seems to be focused now, as the phone goes on sale, on the S6 instead of the Edge.

          This is the reverse of what I noticed when I published my initial hands-on reviews of the device from a pre-brief held in London ahead of their launch at Mobile World Congress. And indeed, I was at MWC – I was a guest of Samsung, covering the show for one of my British publishers – and the buzz there was all about the Edge.

Free Software/Open Source
  • Pivotal Open-Sources In-Memory Database Geode

    Geode and GemFire compete directly and indirectly in the market with SAP HANA, Teradata and Oracle products.

    Pivotal, EMC’s big data development platform-as-a-service (PaaS) division, on April 13 released Geode, a distributed in-memory database, to the open-source community as a key part of the eventual release of its entire big data platform to the community.

  • Pivotal Gets Open Sourcier

    You can’t help but wonder if EMC Federation boss Joe Tucci is reaching for his stress ball today. His company’s spawn, Pivotal Software, is open sourcing the core of GemFire, its distributed in-memory database.

    We asked Tucci to comment, but he hasn’t gotten back to us yet. And though his press spokesperson told us “we’re for it,” when it comes to open source, we suspect that it might feel a bit like watching your teenager turn your mansion into a commune.

  • PARCC Selects Open Source Platform for Non-Summative Assessments

    “Open source was a key requirement of the PARCC non-summative assessment tools delivery system because it allows us to more easily integrate the platform with other partners and opportunities in the future, as well as leverage the collective open source community contributions to the platform development,” said Jeff Cuff, director of technology at Parcc Inc., the nonprofit organization that manages the assessment system on behalf of the PARCC states, in a prepared statement. “Even more importantly, it is a highly economical approach for the states participating in the consortium, providing significant savings for maintenance compared to other options.”

  • Curoverse Begins Trial Run for Open Source Genomics Tool

    The move is the latest step for Curoverse, a startup that emerged from George Church’s Personal Genome Project at Harvard. The PGP was a plan led by Church to sequence more than 100,000 genomes in the U.S. and link them to individuals’ health information. (The same kind of aggregation, but of 1 million people’s genomic and other health information, is a goal of the Obama administration’s Precision Medicine Initiative.) Church needed a massive database to house all that information, and that’s what led to the creation of Arvados. It’s a database capable of storing giant amounts of genomic information, it’s shareable, it can run on both public and private cloud services, and it’s an open source platform, so anyone can use or modify the source code.

  • Hello Geode: Pivotal GemFire is now open source

    Making good on its promise from earlier in the year, Pivotal has released as open source the distributed in-memory database that powers GemFire, a featured part of Pivotal’s Big Data Suite Hadoop product.

    It’s another step on Pivotal’s road toward building an open source base for its Big Data Suite rather than keeping them on a proprietary leash. However, Pivotal still sees ways it could monetize its Hadoop products — even as advances in open source squeeze companies with proprietary offerings.

  • The Culture of Freedom: Free Software, Free Speech

    For the concluding part of may talk, I explored how this open source methodology manifested itself in the world of open publishing. The fact that it is net-based is hugely important, because it means that the barrier to publishing has been lowered almost to the point of disappearing. That matters, because as A. J. Liebling famously said: “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one”. Today, thanks to the Internet, we have all the advantages of owning a press without any of the massive costs or organisational issues.

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla Start Drafting Plans To Deprecate Insecure HTTP

        Barnes is hoping for more people to move to HTTPS by limiting new browser features from becoming available over insecure HTTP, in the name of security. He wrote in a mailing list post, “In order to encourage web developers to move from HTTP to HTTPS, I would like to propose establishing a deprecation plan for HTTP without security. Broadly speaking, this plan would entail limiting new features to secure contexts, followed by gradually removing legacy features from insecure contexts. Having an overall program for HTTP deprecation makes a clear statement to the web community that the time for plaintext is over — it tells the world that the new web uses HTTPS, so if you want to use new things, you need to provide security.”

  • SaaS/Big Data
    • HP: We’re not leaving the public cloud

      Several days after HP seemed to announce that it was going to stop offering public cloud services, the company is now stating that it will continue to offer its OpenStack-powered Helion public cloud.

    • Comcast has contributed 36K lines of code to a massive open source project called OpenStack

      Philly became the center of the action for those who use a massive open source project called OpenStack last month.

      Comcast hosted one of the OpenStack community’s regular meetups, drawing more than 150 developers from companies like Rackspace, Time Warner and Red Hat to The Hub in Rittenhouse Square for the two-day event.

  • CMS
  • BSD
  • Openness/Sharing
    • An Open Source Pinewood Derby Track

      There are a lot of reasons to consider reproducing. Tax breaks are near the top of the list, and a bizarre obligation to ensure the survival of the species following closely behind. The pinewood derby, though… Where else are you going to get a chance to spend hours polishing axles and weighing down bits of wood so they can roll faster?

    • The makerspace is the next open source frontier

      In this brave new world of heterogeneous projects that combine hardware, software, printed, cloud, and other pieces, we are going to see an cacophony of different tools for building these different parts of an idea and project. We have GitHub for collaborating around code, Thingiverse for 3D models, Trello for project management and coordination, Moqups and Balsamiq for user interface design, specific toolkits for building drivers and integrating with sensors, and more.

    • Open-source streetlamps from old soda bottles are making streets safer for women

      In the tiny barrio of San Luis, perched precipitously on the hills above Bogotá, a hundred university students are hard at work. Split into 10 groups, they glue, drill and screw things together to make 50 low-cost street lights.

      The lights’ beauty lies in their simplicity: A 3-watt LED lamp is connected to a controller and a battery pack, which is powered by a small solar panel. The light fixture’s protective casing is an old plastic soda bottle. Each lamp costs around 176,000 Colombian pesos ($70) to build, and nothing to run. Parts are sourced locally and the battery can power the lamp for three consecutive nights without charging. Once completed, the students install the lights throughout the neighbourhood, brightening dimly lit alleyways and dark clearings.

    • Open Data
  • Programming
    • Git Success Stories and Tips from Ceph Creator Sage Weil

      Git has changed the way that software is built — including the Ceph open source distributed storage platform, says Ceph Creator Sage Weil. Ceph has used the Git revision control system for seven years, since it switched from SVN. It has changed the project’s work flow and how they think about code.

      “Instead of thinking in files and lines, you think in flow of changes. Instead of having a single repository that everyone feeds from and into, everyone now has their own repository, their own branches. The meaning of branch changed,” said Weil, Ceph principal architect at Red Hat. “Everything just fell in place, as if the people who designed it really knew software development at scale.”

Leftovers
  • Hardware
    • 32-Bit Integers and Why Old Computers Matter

      The number 256 is what broke the original arcade version of Pac-Man. As a game with no proper exit condition, Pac-Man relied on faith that players would eventually get tired of it before the 256th level. This was reasonable given that every single level after the 20th was just a repeat of level 20. But video games lend themselves to obsession like few things, even in 1980, so of course some players took it as a challenge—a test of endurance and concentration. Those that made it to 256 were in for a strange sight, what computer scientists would call “undefined behavior.” This was the result: ​

  • Security
    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Dear Apple: Your upgrade policy sucks

      While changes in technology are generally a mark of progress, they are not always immediately for the better. Certain hardware and software vendors would do well to understand that reality — Apple, for instance.

      Apple has long enjoyed a unique position in the marketplace in that it controls both the hardware and software running on its various platforms. This tight integration has allowed the company to produce some of the most stable and functional computer hardware ever made. This has also allowed Apple to make dramatic changes in both hardware and software without appearing to care a whit for its users, often condemning them to vast frustrations for no logical reason.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • In the Middle East, Bet on a Winner (Iran!)

      Think of it as the American half-century in the Middle East: from August 17, 1953, when a CIA oil coup brought down democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed the Shah as Washington’s man in Tehran, to May 1, 2003, when George W. Bush landed on the USS Abraham Lincoln off the coast of southern California. (The planes from that aircraft carrier had only recently dropped 1.6 million pounds of ordnance on Iraq.) There, standing under a White House-produced banner that read “Mission Accomplished,” the president dramatically announced that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended” and hailed “the arrival of a new era.”

    • Emails Reveal Discord Over Blackwater Charges

      WASHINGTON — As prosecutors put the finishing touches on the 2008 indictment of Blackwater security contractors for a deadly shooting in Iraq, the F.B.I. agents leading the investigation became convinced that political appointees in the Justice Department were intentionally undermining the case, internal emails show.

    • Former Blackwater guards sentenced in ‘staggering’ massacre of unarmed Iraqis

      Three former employees of the US private military contractor once known as Blackwater were sentenced to 30 years in prison on Monday and a fourth received a life sentence, closing a sordid chapter of the Iraq conflict relating to the 2007 Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad.

    • Ex-Blackwater Guards Sentenced to Long Prison Terms in 2007 Killings of Iraqi Civilians

      One by one, four former Blackwater security contractors wearing blue jumpsuits and leg irons stood before a federal judge on Monday and spoke publicly for the first time since a deadly 2007 shooting in Iraq.

    • Florida Ex-Senator Pursues Claims of Saudi Ties to Sept. 11 Attacks

      The episode could have been a chapter from the thriller written by former Senator Bob Graham of Florida about a shadowy Saudi role in the Sept. 11 attacks.

      A top F.B.I. official unexpectedly arranges a meeting at Dulles International Airport outside Washington with Mr. Graham, the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, after he has pressed for information on a bureau terrorism inquiry. Mr. Graham, a Democrat, is then hustled off to a clandestine location, where he hopes for a breakthrough in his long pursuit of ties between leading Saudis and the Sept. 11 hijackers.

    • Frustrated with US meddling, Latin America seeks its own path

      President Obama is in Panama this weekend for the Summit of the Americas, where he’ll meet with regional leaders who have grown increasingly determined to assert autonomy from the US.

    • Why the details of the Iran deal don’t matter

      At heart, this is a fight over what to do about Iran’s challenge to U.S. leadership in the Middle East and the threat that Iranian geopolitical ambitions pose to U.S. allies, particularly Israel and Saudi Arabia.

    • Terrorism Case Renews Debate Over Drone Hits

      A Texas-born man suspected of being an operative for Al Qaeda stood before a federal judge in Brooklyn this month. Two years earlier, his government debated whether he should be killed by a drone strike in Pakistan.

      The denouement in the hunt for the man, Mohanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, who was arrested last year in Pakistan based on intelligence provided by the United States, came after a yearslong debate inside the government about whether to kill an American citizen overseas without trial — an extraordinary step taken only once before, when the Central Intelligence Agency killed the radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen in 2011.

    • The world of threats to the US is an illusion

      When Americans look out at the world, we see a swarm of threats. China seems resurgent and ambitious. Russia is aggressive. Iran menaces our allies. Middle East nations we once relied on are collapsing in flames. Latin American leaders sound steadily more anti-Yankee. Terror groups capture territory and commit horrific atrocities. We fight Ebola with one hand while fending off Central American children with the other.

      In fact, this world of threats is an illusion. The United States has no potent enemies. We are not only safe, but safer than any big power has been in all of modern history.

      Geography is our greatest protector. Wide oceans separate us from potential aggressors. Our vast homeland is rich and productive. No other power on earth is blessed with this security.

    • Drone Victims Take Germany to Court for Abetting U.S. Murders

      Andreas Schüller is an attorney on the staff of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. He is the lead attorney on a suit being brought by ECCHR and Reprieve against the German government on behalf of three Yemeni survivors of a U.S. drone strike. The case will be heard May 27th in Cologne.

      Their suit argues that it is illegal under German law for the German government to allow the U.S. air base at Ramstein to be used for drone murders abroad. The suit comes after the passage of a resolution in the European Parliament in February 2014 urging European nations to “oppose and ban the practice of extrajudicial targeted killings” and to “ensure that the Member States, in conformity with their legal obligations, do not perpetrate unlawful targeted killings or facilitate such killings by other states.”

      I’ve always thought of drone murders as illegal under the laws of the countries where the murders happen, as well as under the UN Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact. I asked Schüller: Is your suit seeking prosecution for murder where (or in one of the places where) the act is committed from a distance?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • A Lot Of Bottled Water Comes From Drought-Stricken California

      California’s in the middle of an epic drought — but that hasn’t stopped bottled water production in the state. Even as residents face mandatory cutbacks and fields lie fallow, companies continue pumping hundreds of millions of gallons of water every year into plastic bottles — sometimes straight from a municipal water supply.

    • Watch: Amid Drought, California Water Virtually Draining Away

      In California, alfalfa production has been scrutinized at a time when both exports of the crop and public awareness of the drought are growing. The expanding global dairy industry, particularly in China, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates, is driving demand for alfalfa as animal feed. Much of the alfalfa that the U.S. exports is grown in water-scarce western states.

  • Finance
    • Occupation at University of Amsterdam Challenges the Logic of Market-Driven Education

      When students kicked in the door of the main administrative building, the Maagdenuis, at the University of Amsterdam on February 25, the “New University” – or “De Nieuwe Universiteit” – movement introduced a new aesthetic dimension of protest.

      The Maagdenhuis occupation, a protest against the financialization of higher education and against the concentration of decision-making power at the university, disrupted the everyday flow of doing, changing the normal organization of human sense experience on campus. By taking a building and reorganizing human activity inside, with emphasis on dialogue, deliberation and shared decision-making, occupiers created new aesthetic conditions necessary for a new politics, as philosopher Jacques Rancière, who recently visited the Maagdenhuis to show solidarity with UvA students, suggests.

  • Privacy
    • Even if the Patriot Act expires, the worst surveillance will carry on
    • Amnesty International takes UK government to European Court of Human Rights over mass surveillance

      Amnesty International, Liberty and Privacy International have announced today they are taking the UK Government to the European Court of Human Rights over its indiscriminate mass surveillance practices.

    • A New Era at the Tor Project

      Andrew Lewman, our current Executive Director, is leaving The Tor Project to take a position at an Internet services company. While at Tor, Andrew was passionate about using our tools to help people from diverse backgrounds and points of view benefit from online privacy. We thank Andrew for his contributions and wish him well.

    • Police want to keep surveillance tech secret

      Time for law enforcement to come clean on how stingrays spy on Americans’ cellphones

    • Forget spying, now the NSA wants your password list

      The NSA isn’t interested in a sneaky back door into your smartphone or computer any more, it just wants you to leave the front door wide open. While arguments continue around just what the National Security Agency can and can’t get access to – dragging more than one big tech name into the controversy – the spy organization’s chief is suggesting a far more blunt approach: in effect, handing over the keys to encryption upfront.

    • CISPA Is Back With A Vengeance

      First introduced in the House of Representatives in 2011, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is once again back in play and is being considered for legislative action this month. Much of the same concerns that accompanied its introduction in 2011 remain specifically that it is a blank check for cybersurveillance dressed up as a bill to promote cybersecurity.

      The earlier version of both SOPA and CISPA were defeated due in part to staunch opposition from numerous corners of the internet. CISPA initially contained language that included intellectual property issues as falling under the act making it essentially SOPA-light.

  • Civil Rights
    • The Power of Lies

      Lincoln did not think blacks were the equals of whites.

    • The Boston Marathon Show Trial

      Tsarnaev’s attorney knew that evidence would play no role in the case and focused on trying to save Dzhokhar from a death sentence by blaming the older brother who was killed by police. Perhaps Dzhokhar’s attorney remembered what happened to attorney Lynne Stewart who was sentenced to prison for representing a client for whom the government only wanted a pro forma representation.

    • The Nasty Blowback from America’s Wars

      Rowley warned Mueller that launching unjustified war would prove counterproductive in various ways. One blowback she highlighted was that the rationale being applied to allow preemptive strikes abroad could migrate back home, “fostering a more permissive attitude toward shootings by law enforcement officers in this country.” Tragically, the recent spate of murders by police has proved Rowley right.

    • My Labia Will Send Logan Airport TSA Thug Melendy A Postcard

      TSA thug Melendy got all up the side between my thigh and my labia — four times.

    • Autistic 11-year-old arrested for leaving class early: “He slammed me down, and then he handcuffed me”s

      An autistic sixth grader in Lynchburg, Virginia was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, PRI’s Susan Ferriss reports.

    • The Real Arab Spring Is Happening in Israel

      The success of the Joint List is an example for the wider Arab world, says Ayman Odeh, its leader. Odeh, a 40-year-old lawyer from Haifa, is now one of the country’s best-known politicians. He won widespread accolades for his calm, reasoned response to being verbally abused on television by Avigdor Lieberman, a former foreign minister. “We live in the Middle East, in an era when people are being killed because they have a different ethnicity, religion or ideology. We have a different message: to accept differences, and work side by side to achieve our goals. We hope our example will affect all the Arab world,” he said.

      [...]

      The model is Martin Luther King, says Odeh. King and his supporters marched to Washington in 1963, demanding jobs and freedom. Odeh has prepared a 10-year plan to close the civic and economic gap between Israel’s Jewish and Arab population. “We intend to march to Jerusalem, to raise awareness for our 10-year plan and to demand democracy and justice for all.”

    • Why Does WaPo Protect Identities of Cops Who Tased a Shackled, Mentally Ill Woman Until She Died?

      The Washington Post knows who gave Natasha McKenna repeated high-voltage shocks just before she suffered a fatal heart attack–but it isn’t telling its readers.

      The Washington Post (4/11/15) ran a troubling story about an African-American woman who died after Fairfax County, Virginia, sheriff’s deputies repeatedly used a taser on her while she was already in shackles. The deputies administered four 50,000-volt shocks to Natasha McKenna, a prisoner at the Fairfax County jail who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, in an effort to force her into a chair for transport; minutes later, her heart stopped.

    • UAE Gave $1 Million to NYC Police Foundation; Money Aided ‘Investigations’

      The New York City Police Foundation received a $1 million donation from the government of the United Arab Emirates, according to 2012 tax records, the same amount the foundation transferred to the NYPD Intelligence Division’s International Liaison Program that year, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

      A 2012 Schedule A document filed by the New York City Police Foundation showed a list of its largest donors, which included several major financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase and Barclays Capital — but also a line item for the “Embassy of the United Arab Emirates.” The Intercept obtained a copy of the Schedule A document, which is not intended for public disclosure and only shows donors above the threshold of donating $1 million over four years.

    • John Legend launches campaign to end mass incarceration

      John Legend has launched a campaign to end mass incarceration.

      The Grammy-winning singer announced the multiyear initiative, FREE AMERICA, on Monday. He will visit and perform at a correctional facility on Thursday in Austin, Texas, where he also will be part of a press conference with state legislators to discuss Texas’ criminal justice system.

    • The Abuse of Satire

      My career—I guess I can officially call it that now—was not my idea. When my editor, Jim Andrews, recruited me out during my junior year in college and gave me the job I still hold, it wasn’t clear to me what he was up to. Inexplicably, he didn’t seem concerned that I was short on the technical skills normally associated with creating a comic strip—it was my perspective he was interested in, my generational identity. He saw the sloppy draftsmanship as a kind of cartoon vérité, dispatches from the front, raw and subversive.

      Why were they so subversive? Well, mostly because I didn’t know any better. My years in college had given me the completely false impression that there were no constraints, that it was safe for an artist to comment on volatile cultural and political issues in public. In college, there’s no down side. In the real world, there is, but in the euphoria of being recognized for anything, you don’t notice it at first. Indeed, one of the nicer things about youthful cluelessness is that it’s so frequently confused with courage.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Legal Responses May Be Imminent in Net Neutrality Face-off

      Back in March, the FCC’s 400-page net neutrality order arrived, and made waves because of the agency’s vote to reclassify broadband as a regulated telecommunications service. The FCC argued that it created “clear and enforceable rules” to protect consumers, but broadband providers and others bristled at the regulation proposals.

      Over this past weekend, the net neutrality rule was published in the Federal Register, the daily journal of U.S. government initiatives, and legal action from those opposing it could be imminent.

    • FCC fires the starting gun on net neutrality legal tussles

      The move follows the historic decision by the FCC to impose more stringent net neutrality rules than anyone had expected in a vote at the end of February which saw the motion pass by three votes to two.

    • Hollywood Seeks Net Neutrality Exceptions to Block Pirates

      The Motion Picture Association has written to Brazil’s Justice Minister seeking exceptions to the country’s fledgling “Internet Constitution”. In a submission to the government the MPA says that the Marco Civil’s current wording on net neutrality deprives courts of the opportunity to order the blocking of ‘pirate’ sites.

    • 6 Stupid Reasons Actual People Are Scared Of Net Neutrality

      According to the most popular British talk show host on American premium cable, net neutrality is one of the most important regulations for the future of telecommunications (and, by extension, all of humanity under the age of 50). Net neutrality is about making sure your ISP can’t control what you view on the Internet and how fast you view it — or, as the aforementioned talk show host put it, “Preventing Cable Company Fuckery.” How could anyone possibly be against something as basic as that? The answer, as the following reactions to net neutrality prove, is “by being hilariously stupid.”

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

Leftovers: Gaming

Android Leftovers

  • 10 Android for Work Features Sure to Appeal to Enterprises
    There's a new enterprise mobile platform for companies that are prepared to invest in Android. Google has introduced its long-awaited mobile device management (MDM) platform Android for Work. Android for Work gives IT departments and companies a more secure way for employees to access corporate data and applications with their Android mobile devices. It's the Android equivalent of platforms such as Apple's own MDM platform and others from Good Technology and BlackBerry. One advantage Android for Work has that all those others don't, however, is that it can be used on more than a billion Android devices that are in users' hands around the world. In other words, it's an MDM system that's destined to be adopted on a massive scale worldwide. But what in Android for Work will make it an effective management tool for the millions of workers who want to not only bring their Android mobile devices to work but use them productively for business? This slide show looks at the features that could make Android for Work an effective MDM platform for enterprises.
  • Android Wear’s biggest update ever takes aim at the Apple Watch
  • Android Wear’s Second Big Update Is Coming: Gestures, WiFi, And Better UI In The Next Few Weeks
    Word around the rumor mill was that Android Wear was about to get a pretty big update — and sure enough, such an update is officially on the way.
  • Android Wear adds WiFi support, always-on apps, emojis
    Google released a major update to Android Wear that adds always-on apps, WiFi support, a wrist-flipping gesture for scrolling, and emoji drawing support. Google just released a major Android 5.1.1 update for its Android Wear smartwatch platform, and considering the huge pre-sales for the Apple Watch, it’s not a moment too soon. Even with a nine month head start over the new Apple Watch, Google’s Android Wear hardware partners sold only 70,000 watches by the end of 2014, according to an early February estimate from Canalys.
  • I’m tired of getting excited about Nokia Android phones, but I can’t help it
    For years, I waited for Nokia to change its mind and start making the gorgeous Android handsets many fans wanted from the company. Instead Nokia steered clear of a path that may have brought it some success, and eventually succumbed to iOS and Android. Yet, Re/code has learned that Nokia is once again working on Android smartphones, something that was previously rumored as well, and I can’t help but get excited all over again.
  • Nokia phones expected in 2016: Android or something else?
    Nokia is planning a return to the smartphone market in 2016, after it sold off its handset business to Microsoft in 2013, sources tell Re/code. The timing is right: Based on the Microsoft deal, Nokia can't sell phones with the Nokia brand until next year.
  • Sony's Android-powered 4K TVs and new soundbars are coming in May
    After first showcasing its 2015 lineup of 4K TVs at CES earlier this year, Sony has now revealed pricing and release dates for most of the sets. All of them run Android TV, which replaces Sony's previous, clunky software for a richer experience deeply tied to Google's own software and third-party streaming apps. Most of Sony's lineup is on the larger side when it comes to display size. Though you'll find a few options available in the 43- to 55-inch range, Sony is putting the most effort into models that will dominate most home theater setups at 65 or 75 inches. It's here you'll find the flagship XBR-75X940C, a $7,999 TV that features full-array local dimming, 4K resolution, and support for HDR video output, which Sony will deliver through a firmware update sometime this summer.
  • Best new Android widgets (April 2015) #2
  • Android Lollipop OS update live for Sprint Spark-driven Samsung Galaxy S4 tri-band LTE users in US: What's new
    After rolling out the Android 5.0 (Lollipop) OS update to Samsung Galaxy Note 3 users who have subscribed to its wireless network services in the US, Sprint is now seeding the much expected OS update to Galaxy S4 owners using its Sprint Spark service in the country.
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop almost ready for Nexus 9, WiFi Nexus 7
    You may be excited that your device is finally getting the Android 5.0 Lollipop update but others are already getting Android 5.0.1 (Moto E, and Moto 4 with 4G LTE, Galaxy Note 4, Note Edge, Galaxy S5, Galaxy S4) and Android 5.0.2 (LG G2 from T-Mobile and AT&T, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, Nexus 7, original Moto X). Several mobile devices have even received Android 5.1 already like the Nexus 5, Nexus Player, HTC One (M7), Moto G GPE, LG G Pad 8.3 GPE, and the Sony Z Ultra GPE. And to further burst your bubble, sorry, but Android 5.1.1 is almost ready.
  • 8 great Google Maps tips for Android and iOS
  • ZTE's Spro 2 Android-powered 'smart projector' will hit AT&T for $399.99
    How would you like a 120-inch screen you can toss into your backpack or purse? Yes, please! First announced at CES 2015, ZTE's Android-powered smart projector Spro 2 is finally launching in the U.S. The 1.2-pound portable projector that measures 5.28 x 5.16 x 1.22 inches will be available on April 24 from AT&T.
  • Your favorite websites can now send notifications to Chrome on Android
    Support for push notifications was the most important feature in last week's Chrome 42 release — and starting today you'll begin to see why. Today, several websites including eBay, Facebook, Pinterest, Vice News, and Product Hunt will begin to offer Chrome push notifications on both desktop and Android. It's that last platform that's a big deal: websites that support Chrome push notifications can send out updates that look and feel like regular app updates even if the Chrome browser isn't currently active on an Android device.
  • Google just unveiled a hugely ambitious Android Wear update – here are the 3 coolest features
    With all the hype surrounding the Apple Watch, you may have forgotten that Google has a smartwatch software platform of its own called Android Wear. To remind us of this, Google on Monday took the wraps off a hugely ambitious Android Wear update that adds three important features that the platform had been sorely missing.
  • Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge Receiving Android 5.1 Lollipop Software Update
  • Australia's first Android TV device arrives with Google Nexus Player
    The player, which runs the Android TV platform, was released in the U.S. in October 2014. It will be sold at JB Hi-Fi and Dick Smith from Tuesday for A$129. The device sits in the same market as Apple TV, and is the first device to offer Android TV locally.
  • Improve your game with the best golf Apps for Android
    These days, technology is just as much a part of golf as a good swing. Both professional and amateur players are constantly seeking an edge from the best equipment and engineering breakthroughs.
  • Nexus 5 & 7 Still Facing The Same Issues After Android 5.1 Update
    Usually with updates to software, developers try to address any bugs or issues that were present in the previous version. Unfortunately it seems that in the case of Android 5.1, Google has yet to address some problems that are still plaguing handsets like the Nexus 5 and the Nexus 7 which are no doubt rather annoying for its users. The issues in question are related to memory leaks in which after prolonged periods of use, the devices start to feel sluggish due to the amount of free RAM remaining which is less than ideal. This is an issue that Google had acknowledged back in Android 5.0.1 and was actually reported back in 2014.
  • Chrome's push notifications reach your Android phone
    Chrome's website push notifications are no longer confined to your desktop -- they now surface on your phone, too. Grab Chrome 42 for Android and you can opt into alerts from websites that show up no matter what you're doing. You won't have to worry about missing out on breaking news, even if your favorite sites don't have dedicated apps. You'll also have an easier time adding home screen shortcuts for those sites if you always want them close at hand. It'll be a while before many of the sites you frequent can deliver notifications (eBay, Facebook and Pinterest are some of the early adopters), but it's worth upgrading now to get ready.

Daily Builds Of Wayland & Weston For Ubuntu Linux

While Canonical may be set on making Mir the default display server across all Ubuntu platforms by this time next year, this isn't stopping others from using Ubuntu for Wayland development and using it as an alternative to Mir or the X.Org Server. Read more Also: Ubuntu Online Summit 15.05 to Start in May