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05.24.15

Links 24/5/2015: CrossOver 14.1.3, NTFS-3G Vulnerability

Posted in News Roundup at 6:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

    • 20 First Photos from the History of Photography

      Photography has been a medium of limitless possibilities since it was originally invented in the early 1800s. The use of cameras has allowed us to capture historical moments and reshape the way we see ourselves and the world around us. To celebrate the amazing history of photography and photographic science, we have assembled twenty photographic ‘firsts’ from over the past two centuries.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Fascists Flipping Burgers in Saigon or Stalingrad

      These legends have some fundamental similarities. They are based on deliberate misrepresentations of the war and obfuscation with regard to the interests involved. In order to explain the deceptions behind the Vietnam Syndrome it is necessary to examine the “other war”. Contrary to much official history of US involvement in Indochina—the stuffing of almost all the films made—whether documentary or feature—the war began and ended as a CIA operation. The confusion as to war aims, strategy, tactical and operational effectiveness arise entirely from the fact that more than probably any other war fought with conventional forces—up to that time (except Korea but that war hasn’t ended yet)—the war in Vietnam was initiated, managed, funded, advertised and ultimately waged by the invisible army of US capitalism.

    • Unlike Chavez, Chavistas Appealed To A Powerless US President Who Works For Investors In Genocide!

      Yet, Obama is known to be just another powerless US president serving war industrialized Wall Street and at present dutifully ordering lethal multi nation bombings.

    • Congress must not abdicate its duty to authorize or declare war

      Despite the fact that the US plans on conducting airstrikes on Isis in Iraq and Syria for years, the Chicago Tribune reported on Monday that key members in the House and Senate have resigned themselves to the fact that there’s virtually no chance of Congress agreeing on any sort of bill to constrain or legalize the Obama administration’s bombing campaign in the Middle East.

    • Pentagon sham: Defense Dept altered books in long-awaited audit, reports claim

      The US Defense Department’s watchdog knowingly turned a blind eye to financial irregularities, leading to the Pentagon signing off on an audit. This has led to questions regarding just how transparent the government auditing process actually is.

      A special investigation by Reuters revealed that a senior member of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Inspector General team had colluded with an independent auditing company, Grant Thornton LLP, to falsely keep the US Marine Corps books clean.

    • Inside the fall of an Army Green Beret hero
    • Is the US-UK’s special relationship in decline?

      Is Anglo-America a failed state? In the realm of intelligence and national security, the special relationship is being tested.

      As he spoke to a crowd of Americans, Britain’s defence minister, Michael Fallon, had a US-UK flag pin on his lapel.

      “Just as together we broke the bonds of totalitarianism and tyranny in the Second World War,” he said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in March, “so we faced down the threat of communism in the cold war”.

    • TribuneDrones, jets and sovereignty

      There is no independent identification of the casualties or any explanation as to why they were targeted.

    • Lindsey Graham Literally Says U.S. Drones Should Kill Americans Who Consider Joining ISIS
    • Lindsey Graham’s comments on drones were very blunt

      It’s springtime, and Republicans are feeling hawkish again. See how Sen. Rand Paul’s views on foreign policy have shifted as he’s adopted a more aggressive stance. It wasn’t that long ago when the Kentucky Republican was staging a talking filibuster against the Obama administration’s drone policy, warning the American people that the president might deploy a drone against an American citizen on American soil without judicial process.

    • Lindsey Graham Will Drone You for Thinking About Joining ISIS

      At the Lincoln Day Dinner dinner in Des Moines Saturday night, Senator and probable 2016 candidate Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he would have no problem droning potential ISIS recruits, and was so excited to do so he reckoned he might could skip the whole due process part.

    • Women and children targeted by US drones: Pundit
    • Why Elites Love Drones

      Elites want more violence. They are unconcerned that innocent civilians are killed.

    • Good Kill – American Sniper with Drones
    • Drone strikes take a terrible toll in innocent lives

      The truth is that we can never be certain who is in the target zone of any drone strike. Even though drones spent a week watching this compound, it is obvious that drones cannot see everything in the area.

    • Drone Warfare’s Costs and Benefits

      Lethal drones are President Obama’s weapon of choice in striking at suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists in remote areas, but – as with any weapon of war – there must be a cost-benefit analysis, including whether drone strikes create more enemies than they kill, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

    • US drone complex bureaucratizes murder

      Machinery of lethal strikes enjoys moral and legal impunity – as intended

    • Justice Department issues policy on domestic drone use

      The Justice Department is acknowledging that the FBI, DEA and other federal law enforcement agencies are likely to make increasing use of unmanned aerial drones in the United States.

    • The Future of War

      MALE VOICEOVER (Good Kill, Voltage Pictures): The remotely-piloted aircraft is not the future of war. It is the here and now. Make no mistake about it: this ain’t PlayStation. We are killing people.

    • Why the Drones Keep Firing

      President Obama’s announcement last month that earlier this year a “U.S. counterterrorism operation” had killed two hostages, including an American citizen, has become a fresh occasion for questioning the rationales for continuing attacks from unmanned aerial vehicles aimed at presumed, suspected, or even confirmed terrorists. This questioning is desirable, although not mainly for hostage-related reasons connected to this incident. Sometimes an incident has a sufficient element of controversy to stoke debate even though what most needs to be debated is not an issue specific to the incident itself. More fundamental issues about the entire drone program need more attention than they are getting.

    • Interview: Robotics Professor Noel Sharkey

      TONY JONES, PRESENTER: All this talk of killer drones raises some very profound questions. For instance, are nations more likely to go to war if there’s less risk of their civilians being killed? And what does it mean if you take human decision-making out of the loop? Can a machine tell the difference between a civilian and a combatant?

    • Mission Unstoppable: Why Is the CIA Running America’s Foreign Policy?

      The programs in question involved such activities as the CIA’s efforts to derail Iran’s nuclear program and the agency’s use of drones to kill militants inside Pakistan. Again, the cracks in Blair’s authority were revealed: The DNI, as determined by the 2004 legislation that created the position, was to be the focal point for intelligence support to the president and other senior government leaders, and was allowed some say in budgetary matters, but was not granted command over any covert missions abroad.

    • Why can’t we handle the truth?

      Don’t expect any news you read or watch today or in the future to tell you that. The fact that President George W. Bush knowingly lied us into a disastrous war in Iraq cannot be told. Our media systems even now cannot report this story.

    • Iraq’s phantom army

      These are the choices facing Washington, all stemming from the events of just one weekend. The path of this war has changed, leaving western powers with ever less room for manoeuvre.

    • 9 depressing predictions for the future of America

      Remind me who, even among opponents and critics of the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq, ever imagined that the decision to take out Saddam Hussein’s regime and occupy the country would lead to a terror caliphate in significant parts of Iraq and Syria that would conquer social media and spread like wildfire. And yet, don’t think that the future is completely unpredictable either.

    • Local View: What we knew then

      On top of this evidence, known to the Bush White House but not the general public or Congress, was the public evidence from the international weapons inspectors on the ground in Iraq. They found no WMD, yet the Bush administration insisted the weapons must be there and only by invading Iraq and deposing Saddam Hussein could America be safe.

    • The War In The Shadows

      In which we examine the shadowy death of democracy, where we’ve come from and where we may still go.

    • Rachel Maddow slams Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio’s half-assed Iraq answers: “They weren’t duped by the CIA!”
    • Marco Rubio crashes and burns on Iraq question, says war was “not a mistake”

      So when Jeb Bush gave four answers in four days last week to the same question — “Knowing what we know now, would you have invaded Iraq?” — one would expect that his primary opponents realized that they were about to get asked the same question, and spent all of five minutes coming up with a better answer than “yes.”

      If Marco Rubio’s appearance yesterday on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace is any indication, he did not take those five minutes.

    • Yet plans call for guns-blazing war games on Pagan at least 16 weeks a year. Hundreds of Marines, potentially joined by troops from Japan, Australia and South Korea, would storm ashore in landing craft, firing mortars and small arms, backed by naval bombardments, swarms of helicopters, drones, fighter jets and perhaps B-52s dropping real bombs.

      The plan has sparked an outpouring of resentment toward the U.S. military, fueled by strong sentiment that Pagan’s future should be determined by the people of the islands, not by Washington.

      “We love our island. We don’t want to give it up,” said Jerome Aldan, the 40-year-old elected mayor of the Northern Mariana Islands. “This proposal is going to turn it into a wasteland.”

      Aldan was 6 when the eruption of Mt. Pagan forced the island’s residents — about 100 families in all — to evacuate 200 miles south to Saipan, capital of the Northern Marianas, a U.S. commonwealth territory. The military, he fears, will turn Pagan into a war zone and kill the families’ decades-old dream of returning.

    • US Lacks Transparency on Drone Policy Despite Children’s Deaths – NGO

      Pentagon’s admitted partial responsibility in the death of two children was meant to divert attention from more widespread abuses, critics of the US government’s drone strikes claim.

    • What the accidental drone killing of an American ‘traitor’ says about the power of visual weapons

      This designation, I suggest, was less a reflection of the seriousness of Gadahn’s actions and more an indication of how much they perplexed the state. Gadahn never killed anyone, never blew up a building; the closest he ever came to actual operational significance was when he petitioned bin Laden, offering his services as a media strategist. Ultimately, the real threat was not so much Gadahn as his image. With his undeniable American-ness and (renounced) Jewish heritage, Gadahn confounded prevailing understandings of who “terrorists” are, where they come from and what they look like.

    • German court to hear case brought by relatives of Yemen drone attack victims

      A German court is to hear a case against the government brought by relatives of victims of a US drone attack in Yemen in a groundbreaking action that has the potential to interrupt the American strikes.

    • German court to consider evidence from Yemeni drone victim

      A court in Germany is set to take evidence from a Yemeni victim of the USA’s secret drone programme following revelations that military bases on German soil play a key role in the strikes.

      Faisal bin Ali Jaber, an environmental engineer from Sana’a who lost two relatives to a 2012 drone strike, has won the right to have his evidence heard as part of a constitutional claim filed in Germany.

    • US Drone Program Fails to Reduce Terrorism, Violence

      KnowDrones.com Coordinator Nick Mottern claims that the US Army and Air Force program to use unmanned aerial systems in combat has had catastrophic results because the drones have killed large numbers of civilians, but have not had significant impact on the scale of terrorist activities.

    • Scrutiny of CIA drones necessary

      No miraculous leap of faith is necessary to believe that U.S. officials did not know that the hostages were at the target site. And, still, it raises the question of whether the CIA really knows who it is killing when it launches strikes.

    • Saudi-led coalition pounds Yemen rebels in three cities

      Warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition pounded Shiite rebels across three Yemeni cities today, as Riyadh reported the death of a Saudi child from cross-border fire.

    • Two Saudis killed in rocket attacks launched from Yemen – SPA

      Cross border rocket attacks launched from inside Yemen have killed two people in southern Saudi Arabia over the last 24 hours, Saudi Arabia’s state news agency SPA reported on Friday.

      SPA quoted a Civil Defence official in the southwestern province of Jizan as saying that a child was killed and three other children were wounded on Friday in the al-Tawal region.

    • Whoopi Goldberg mocks ‘dummy’ Lindsey Graham and GOP contenders: They all want to be action heroes

      Whoopi Goldberg lit into Republican presidential candidates on The View on Tuesday for their attempts to sound tough on foreign policy.

      “The Republican candidates are kind of sounding more like action heroes,” Goldberg said. “Chris Christie wants to pump up the military. Marco Rubio says he will find and kill terrorists like Liam Neeson in Taken. You’re too short to be Liam Neeson, find somebody else.”

    • ‘Children died’ in US air strike

      A US air strike on Syria last year probably killed two children, officials say – the first admission of civilian casualties in the campaign.

      “We regret the unintentional loss of lives,” said Lieutenant General James Terry, head of the US-led campaign.

      US Central Command said the strike on 5-6 November, near Harim City, targeted the al-Qaeda-linked Khorasan Group.

    • Six Months Later, Pentagon Admits (Maybe) We Killed Some Kids in Syria

      While notable for admitting the possibility it killed two young children, admission called “too little, too late” by expert who says deathtoll of innocent people far exceeds Pentagon statement.

    • U.S. military and civilians are increasingly divided

      The segregation is so pronounced that it can be traced on a map: Some 49% of the 1.3 million active-duty service members in the U.S. are concentrated in just five states — California, Virginia, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia.

    • Making sense of Hersh’s Bin Laden blockbuster

      The capture and killing of the world’s most wanted man was always going to be an enthralling story, considering how he challenged and punctured the pride of the sole global superpower as well as evade arrest for a decade before being liquidated.

    • How Was Bin Laden Killed?

      Some might argue that knowing exactly how Osama bin Laden was killed really doesn’t matter. Some might even argue that he is still alive, which, if nothing else, would demonstrate the persistence of urban legends relating to conspiracies allegedly involving the U.S. government. JFK’s assassination has the grassy knoll and second gunman, plus Mafia, CIA, and Cuban connections as well as a possible Vietnamese angle. 9/11 had the mystery of the collapse of Building 7. More recently still, the Texas State Guard was mobilized to monitor a military training exercise because it was rumored to be a ploy to impose martial law. Demonizing Washington as one large conspiracy is good business all around.

    • World Bank: Gaza economy on ‘verge of collapse’

      Gaza’s economy is on the “verge of collapse,” a new World Bank report warned Friday, saying the unemployment rate there is now the highest in the world and calling on Israel and international donors to remedy the situation.

    • FO condemns NWA drone strike

      Pakistan has strongly condemned the US drone strike in North Waziristan on May 16, and has called for cessation of such strikes.

      “Such strikes are a clear violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said.

    • 3 EU nations pledge cooperation on developing ‘Euro-drone’

      Germany, France and Italy have pledged cooperation to jointly develop a “Euro-drone” for intelligence-gathering and surveillance of the skies.

    • As Long as the War on Terror Continues, There Will be More Dzhokhar Tsarnaevs

      Last week, just over two years since that note was written, a jury sentenced Tsarnaev to death for his role in the bombing. Speaking to the press outside the John J. Moakley courthouse in Boston, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said, “We are not intimidated by acts of terror, or radical ideals,” and described the marathon bombing as “a political crime, designed to intimidate and coerce the United States.”

    • Freedom and Death

      On May 12, 2015, Ananta Bijoy Das (32), a progressive writer, blogger, editor of science fiction magazine Jukti, and an organizer of Gonojagoron Mancha (People’s Resurgence Platform), was hacked to death, using machetes, by four assailants at Subidbazar Bankolapara residential area of Sylhet city, for writing against religious fundamentalism.

    • Nepal quake death toll becomes highest on record
    • How Seeing Argo Helped Me Uncover a Top Secret Operation to Save My Dad

      In 1979, my father was arrested and tried as a CIA agent in Iran.

    • Morsi’s Death Sentence Reminds Us of Our System

      It would be difficult to find a better example of tyranny than the U.S.-supported military dictatorship that has ruled Egypt for decades. In many ways, it mirrors the brutal U.S.-supported military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile. No legislature. No independent judiciary. No due process of law. And lots of round-ups, kidnappings, torture, and execution of people who protest or who just hold the “wrong” beliefs.

    • Drones best weapon against Al-Qaeda despite collateral damage – ex-CIA deputy

      Drone use against terrorists causes collateral damage, but it remains “the most effective weapon” in the United States’ arsenal, former Deputy Director of the CIA Michael Morell told RT in a wide-ranging interview.

    • Is U.S. Foreign Policy Making Americans Less Safe?

      In summary, the most likely—though not most lethal—terror threats to Americans come from individuals living within the United States who are partially motivated to undertake self-directed attacks based upon their perception that the United States and the West are at war with the Muslim world.

    • Secrets, the C.I.A. and The New York Times

      Since 9/11, the United States’ “war on terror” has become the overarching news story of our time.

      As the nation’s dominant news organization, The Times deserves, and gets, intensive scrutiny for how it has handled that story. The grades, clearly, are mixed. Its role in the run-up to the Iraq War has been rightly and harshly criticized. Its early reporting on surveillance, though delayed, was groundbreaking. Its national-security reporting has been excellent in many ways and, at times, is justifiably slammed for allowing too much cover for government officials who want to get their message out.

      Nearly 14 years after 9/11, a reckoning finally is taking place. The Times’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, has said repeatedly in recent months that he thinks it’s time to toughen up and raise the bar.

    • Matt Taibbi on the Journalist & Politician Cheerleaders for Iraq War, Then & Now

      In this web-only conversation with journalist Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, we turn to Iraq. He recently wrote a piece for Rolling Stone titled “Forget What We Know Now: We Knew Then Iraq War Was a Joke.” Taibbi wrote the piece after Jeb Bush’s infamous interview on Fox News. Megyn Kelly asked Bush “knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?” Bush responded, “I would have.” Jeb Bush later reversed his stance.

    • VIDEO: Former CIA Deputy Director Grilled on Falsehoods That Led to Iraq War

      In a heated 10-minute exchange, MSNBC host Chris Matthews confronts CIA Deputy Director Mike Morrell with the question of why, during the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, he let Vice President Dick Cheney get away with saying Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was building nuclear weapons.

    • Ex-CIA Official, Intel Briefer: Bush Admin Made False Claims on Iraq

      A former top CIA official and intelligence briefer to President George W. Bush before the Iraq War has acknowledged Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney falsely presented information to the public. In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Michael Morell was asked about Cheney’s claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons.

    • Here’s how George W. Bush handled the big question that’s dogging Jeb

      Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) could learn a lesson from his older brother on how to field questions about the Bush family political dynasty.

    • Ex-CIA Leader Endorses Freedom Act and Mass Collection of Email Metadata

      Michael Morell, twice acting director of the CIA and a member of President Barack Obama’s five-member surveillance review panel, said he supports the latest version of the USA Freedom Act, which backers say would end the dragnet collection of domestic call records.

    • The CIA is dropping Burmese bombs on China

      Mystery bombs have fallen twice on China, from Myanmar. The first time, March 13, killed five Chinese and injured eight. On May 14th, another one was dropped, injuring five villagers.

    • Turkey Hires Ex-CIA Director to Lobby US Congress
    • Ex-CIA director hired by Turkey

      Goss registered through Dickstein Shapiro law firm which is his new employer. The company has long-lasting relations with the Turkish government in its turn.

    • Cheney Thought al Qaeda was Bluffing

      So it’s not just that Cheney is cartoonishly evil, it’s that he’s monstrously incompetent; in fact, his monstrous incompetence is a large part of why he’s so cartoonishly evil. He was overwhelmingly powerful, but with no understanding of reality, and so blundered around the world strewing destruction wherever he went.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Ralph Nader on Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Bid & His Unanswered Letters to the White House

      Since independent Senator Bernie Sanders announced his presidential candidacy in April, polls in Iowa show support there for him has increased to 15 percent among Democrats, up from five percent in February. This compares to about 60 percent backing for former secretary of state, senator and first lady Hillary Clinton. Sanders is the longest-serving independent member of Congress in U.S. history, yet he is going to run in the Democratic Party for the Democratic nomination. We discuss Sanders’ plans with former presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, author of the new book, “Return to Sender: Unanswered Letters to the President, 2001-2015.”

    • Murderous spooks drive journalism project to WikiLeaks

      Just two weeks after its launch, Transparency Toolkit’s ICWatch project, which documents more than 100,000 job profiles associated with the US “intelligence community” has been rehoused at WikiLeaks due to death threats and DDoS attacks on its infrastructure.

    • Bernie Sanders has been against the CIA’s role in destroying democracy since his early days

      As Independent Senator Bernie Sanders ramps up his campaign for the presidency, his focus has been on issues like economic inequality, the corrupting influence of money in politics, and stopping global climate change. Yet questions have remained about his views on the realm of policy most relevant to the commander in chief’s job: foreign affairs.

      A televised CSPAN interview Sanders gave in 1989, when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, offers a look into his thinking about the world. At one point, the interviewer asked Sanders about the distinction between socialism in Latin American countries and the authoritarian government of the Soviet Union.

    • Treat leakers like Edward Snowden, David Petraeus equally

      Earlier this month, a federal judge sentenced Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA analyst convicted of leaking information about a secret anti-Iran plot, to three-and-half years in prison. It was a strikingly heavy sentence. If it were part of a serious crackdown on all government employees who violate their oaths, it might be justifiable. Instead, it is something quite different: further evidence of the wildly different ways leakers are treated, depending on who they are.

    • The war on whistleblowers continues

      Even worse, the feds claimed that Sterling, who is black, did it out of resentment over a failed racial discrimination lawsuit against the agency — in effect using Sterling’s willingness to stand up for his rights against him.

    • A case of ‘selective prosecution’?

      There were no Blacks on the jury, and according to Mr. Solomon, “the evidence presented by the prosecution was circumstantial email and phone call metadata without content of any incriminating nature.”

      Despite pledging to be the most transparent presidential administration, Pres. Obama has expanded Bush era surveillance techniques, and has used the Espionage Act more than all previous administrations combined.

    • Louis: Clinton emails — A mix of conflicts?

      The mere fact that Hillary Clinton’s official emails were kept on her personal computer system is turning out to be one of the least important things about them. What matters most about this first batch of messages released by the State Department is that they reveal Clinton, as secretary of state, at the center of a tangled web of connections and conflicts of interest between public and private actors.

    • Clinton’s Benghazi emails show correspondence with adviser

      The messages show the role played by Sidney Blumenthal, who was working for the Clinton family foundation and advising a group of entrepreneurs trying to win business from the Libyan transitional government. Blumenthal repeatedly wrote dispatches about the events in Libya to Clinton, who often forwarded them to her aides at the State Department.

    • Britain hid secret MI6 plan to break up Libya from US, Hillary Clinton told by confidant

      Britain acted deceitfully in Libya and David Cameron authorised an MI6 plan to “break up” the country, a close confidante of Hillary Clinton claimed in a series of secret reports sent to the then-secretary of state.

      Sidney Blumenthal, a long-time friend of the Clintons, emailed Mrs Clinton on her personal account to warn her that Britain was “game playing” in Libya.

      Mr Blumenthal had no formal role in the US State Department and his memos to Mrs Clinton were sourced to his own personal contacts in the Middle East and Europe.

    • Alegedly US Officials Leak Worse Than Whistleblowers

      Unnamed US officials allegedly disclosed very sensitive information in a report on raid in Syria, published by New York Times.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Women and Biodiversity Feed the World, Not Corporations and GMOs

      The two great ecological challenges of our times are biodiversity erosion and climate change. And both are interconnected, in their causes and their solutions.

      Industrial agiculture is the biggest contributor to biodiversity erosion as well as to climate change. According to the United Nations, 93% of all plant variety has disappeared over the last 80 years.

    • Pesticides offer bees a risky allure

      Bees flit from flower to flower dining on nectar. Sometimes that nectar may contain traces of widely used pesticides. Yet the bees are unlikely to know which nectar is tainted. Indeed, they can’t taste these pesticides, a new study finds. However, the pesticides are similar to nicotine. This can encourage the bees to come back for more. And especially troubing: A second new study suggests the pesticides can harm some wild bees.

    • Survivor bees

      “We need that relationship with bees,” says author and beekeeper Crowder. “That’s how we need nature. We can’t live without nature and bees help us recognize that connection.”

    • The CIA Is Shuttering a Secretive Climate Research Program?

      So gushes Mother Jones, adding the enticing word “exclusive” to the story. But – weirdly enough, for a confection of spying and science reporting, both of which are normally so reliable – this appears to be a bit garbled. Firstly, the “climate research programme” looks to be more like the CIA had allowed civilian scientists to access classified data—such as ocean temperature and tidal readings gathered by Navy submarines and topography data collected by spy satellites. So, not CIA research at all: just data sharing. And presumably not CIA data mostly; if this is stuff routinely gathered by Navy subs, its presumably Navy data; which the CIA had been given the job of giving out? Hard to be sure. National Journal seems to support my interpretation.

    • CIA shuts down program using spy satellites to track climate change

      For most of the past two decades, a handful of climate change scientists have had the CIA’s MEDEA (Measurement of Earth Data for Environmental Analysis) program as an ace in the hole: they could draw on classified info from spy satellites and subs to study global warming in extreme detail. However, they’ll now have to make do with alternatives. The agency has shut down MEDEA, saying that its projects to study the security implications of climate change “have been completed.” While the CIA says it’ll still “engage external experts” on the subject, it won’t be providing consistent access to its extremely accurate and rare data.

    • The CIA Is Shutting Down Its Secretive Climate Change Research Project

      The Central Intelligence Agency has announced that it’s closing down MADEA, a decades-old research program that shared classified information with scientists to study how climate change might exacerbate global security risks.

    • CIA ends climate research program after Obama calls climate change a security risk

      Measurements of Earth Data for Environmental Analysis, or Medea, which began in the 1990s, allowed civilian scientists access to classified satellite data. The program was scrapped under former President George W. Bush, but reconstituted in 2010 under president Obama.

    • Britain sends biggest warship for NATO drills on Russian border

      Britain is ramping up its military rhetoric, sending its biggest warship for NATO drills in the Baltic, right off the Russian coast, in this latest show of force. The drills kick off on June 5 and will last for two weeks.

      The helicopter carrier HMS Ocean is expected to reach Russia’s city of Kaliningrad sometime this week, carrying aboard about 80 Royal Marines who are to join other NATO troops in Poland, the Sunday Times reports.

  • Finance

    • Bank of England’s EU exit strategy leaked to national newspaper – by its head of press

      A senior official at the Bank of England “inadvertently” sent research assessing the economic dangers of the UK leaving the European Union to an editor at a national newspaper.

      The Bank was left in an embarrassing situation on Friday after it accidentally emailed details – including how to fend off inquiries related to the report – directly to the Guardian newspaper.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Ira Glass Clarifies That Public Radio Is Ready for the GOOD Kind of Capitalism

      The context was “Hearing Is Believing,” an event sponsored by NPR and member stations WNYC and WBEZ to pitch public radio (and its podcasts) as an advertising vehicle (American Community Radio, 5/12/15).

    • Jeff Bezos’ Paper Assures Us System Isn’t Rigged for Amazon

      Actually, Border Books did close in large part because the economic system is rigged against ordinary Americans. One of the main reasons Amazon has been able to grow as rapidly as it did is that Amazon has not been required to collect the same sales tax as its brick-and-mortar competitors in most states for most of its existence. The savings on sales tax almost certainly exceeded its cumulative profits since it was founded in 1994.

      While there is no policy rationale to exempt businesses from the obligation to collect sales tax because they are internet-based, this exemption has allowed Amazon to become a huge company and made its founder, Jeff Bezos, one of the richest people in the world.

      Oh yeah—Jeff Bezos now owns the Washington Post.

    • War Propaganda. “Planting Stories” in the News Chain

      The most powerful component of the Fear and Disinformation Campaign (FDI) rests with the CIA, which, secretly subsidizes authors, journalists and media critics, through a web of private foundations and CIA sponsored front organizations. The CIA also influences the scope and direction of many Hollywood productions. Since 9/11, one third of Hollywood productions are war movies. “Hollywood stars and scriptwriters are rushing to bolster the new message of patriotism, conferring with the CIA and brainstorming with the military about possible real-life terrorist attacks.” “The Sum of All Fears” directed by Phil Alden Robinson, which depicts the scenario of a nuclear war, received the endorsement and support of both the Pentagon and the CIA.

    • The Infernal Cocktail Party Corruption of Washington’s Elite Media

      In particular, Allen frequently documents how intimately and seamlessly connected the members of the media aristocracy are with other members of Washington’s ruling elite, whether they come from the intelligence community, the super-wealthy, big banks, the lobbying community, or top levels of government.

    • Fox News confused about whether Allah and God are the same
    • The Accidental Operative

      Here is the shocking story of how the niece of former CIA director Richard Helms became an intermediary for the Taliban in Afghanistan and relayed an offer by the Taliban to the US government for the surrender of Osama Bin Laden months before the 9/11 attacks. The offer was refused. This story, written by my friend and Cockburn’s old partner at the Village Voice, James Ridgeway, and Camelia Fard, was published in the Voice on June 12, 2001, and promptly vanished from the cultural memory after 9/11. In the wake of Seymour Hersh’s recent revelations, Ridgeway asked me to re-run the article on CounterPunch. I was very happy to oblige him. It’s an astounding read. –Jeffrey St. Clair

    • The Misinformation Burnout. Media Fatigue with “Islamism” and “Terrorism”

      Every nation must create a bogey man or a group to crucify and persecute, in order to unify the public behind their leaders, help them act out their collective aggression, and dodge the important domestic issues that plague the day.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Here’s how badly we’re getting ripped off by our mobile phone providers

      It is hard to overstate how much I love the British mobile provider Three and how I wish it would come to the United States.

      My fellow Americans, let me (again) re-iterate how badly we’re all getting overcharged: Three offers a 30-day prepaid plan with unlimited data, unlimited texts, and 200 minutes of domestic calling, all for £20 ($31). That’s about one-third less than what I pay right now Stateside.

05.23.15

Links 23/5/2015: Fedora 22 to May 26th, Netflix in SteamOS

Posted in News Roundup at 4:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Wal-Mart’s E-Commerce Group Embraces Open Source
  • Why Do People Contribute to Open Source Projects?

    Open source development is the future of software. It’s great for users like you and me because open source software is usually free (not always) and often safer to use because malicious code is less likely to be implemented.

  • Automatic Goes Open Source to Make an App Store for Your Car
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome 44 Dev Gets Better Page Capture Resolution

        Google developers have released a new development version of the Google Chrome browser, and the latest version is now at 44.0.2403.9. It’s not a big update, but it does bring some interesting changes.

      • Chrome for Android goes almost “entirely open source”

        Launched in September 2008, Google’s Chrome browser is now dominant in its share of the desktop web browser market, with approximately 1 in 4 Internet users interfacing with the web using the browser. What many Chrome users probably don’t know, however, is that it’s actually based off the open source Chromium browser, also developed by Google. Up until today Chrome for Android differed from its desktop counterpart in that it’s codebase wasn’t open source – meaning, the code for the app wasn’t publicly available for other developers to view, modify, and build upon. That changed today.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Tesora’s TroveSpeed Program Aimed at Speeding OpenStack Trove Deployments

      As the OpenStack cloud computing scene evolves, an ecosystem of tools is growing along with it. Tesora, the leading contributor to the OpenStack Trove open source project, cam out a few months ago with what it billed as the first enterprise-ready, commercial implementation of OpenStack Trove database as a service (DBaaS). The company also announced that it had open sourced its Tesora Database Virtualization Engine.

    • IBM Centralizing its Cloud Strategy Around OpenStack

      Concentrating on the hybrid clioud during a time when it is seriously reshaping its whole business around cloud computing, IBM has announced that it will make OpenStack the central platform for its portfolio of cloud services. Dubbed IBM Cloud OpenStack Services, the new program will deliver a collection of OpenStack-based services for hybrid cloud customers.

  • Business

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Malware is not only about viruses – companies preinstall it all the time

      In 1983, when I started the free software movement, malware was so rare that each case was shocking and scandalous. Now it’s normal.

      To be sure, I am not talking about viruses. Malware is the name for a program designed to mistreat its users. Viruses typically are malicious, but software products and software preinstalled in products can also be malicious – and often are, when not free/libre.

      In 1983, the software field had become dominated by proprietary (ie nonfree) programs, and users were forbidden to change or redistribute them. I developed the GNU operating system, which is often called Linux, to escape and end that injustice. But proprietary developers in the 1980s still had some ethical standards: they sincerely tried to make programs serve their users, even while denying users control over how they would be served.

    • Asking Obama to protect encryption, and why that’s not enough

      This week the FSF added our signature to a coalition letter addressed to Barack Obama, calling on him to reject any proposal to systematically undermine the encryption used to secure digital devices and software made in the US.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Dutch seminars on PSI Directive implementation
    • Rust 1.0.0, NASA Software Catalog, and more open source news
    • Open-source plant breeding: new freedom for farmers

      Software developers—and even consumers—are familiar with the open-source movement. Open-source projects, like the popular Firefox web browser, are generally developed in a public, cooperative effort. The copyright holder “opens” the consumer’s right to modify the “source” product and distribute it to others as long as the result is also “open” for others to do the same.

    • OpthalmicDocs Releases Open Source Files for Portable Retinal Scanning Technology

      We hear enough about how so many third world diseases are preventable, but people just lack the resources; preventable diseases can too easily become severely crippling, or even deadly, due to the condition of poverty. We also hear enough good stories about people who are using their medical and technical knowledge to change this fact.

    • Open Data

    • Open Hardware

      • Tessel 2, A $35 Linux Computer That’s Truly Open Source

        We’ve seen the first version of the Tessel a few years ago, and it’s still an interesting board: an ARM Cortex-M3 running at 180MHz, WiFi, 32 Megs of both Flash and RAM, and something that can be programmed entirely in JavaScript or Node.js. Since then, the company behind Tessel, Technical Machines, has started work on the Tessel 2, a board that’s continuing in the long tradition of taking chips from WiFi routers and making a dev board out of them. The Tessel 2 features a MediaTek MT7620 running Linux built on OpenWRT, Ethernet, 802.11bgn WiFi, an Atmel SAMD21 serving as a real-time I/O coprocessor, two USB ports, and everything can still be controlled through JavaScript, Node, with support for Rust and other languages in the works.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • 12 reasons Manchester is better than London
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • BRICS trample US in South America

      It started in April with a rash of deals between Argentina and Russia during President Cristina Kirchner’s visit to Moscow.

      And it continues with a $53 billion investment bang as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits Brazil during the first stop of yet another South American commercial offensive – complete with a sweet metaphor: Li riding on a made in China subway train that will ply a new metro line in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2016 Olympics.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The Trident Whistleblower

      Today it was reported that McNeilly turned himself in to the police at Edinburgh airport and is currently in military custody.

    • Seymour Hersh Stands by His bin Laden Story, and His Sources

      With the Obama administration having prosecuted more national security leakers than any other, anonymous sources are the only way Americans can find out how their government is waging its secret war on terror. That’s why journalist Seymour Hersh deserves congratulations rather than condemnation for his story on the killing of al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden.

      There’s been criticism of Hersh, much of it centering on his use of anonymous sources. But if you read Hersh’s story closely and check what others have written, you’ll see that his account holds up. The report was published in the May 21 edition of the London Review of Books.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • The Guardian view on Theresa May’s censorship plan: pointless and unprincipled

      If Theresa May has a reputation as a safe pair of hands, one has to wonder what she would have to do to lose it. The home secretary invented a human right to a pet cat in a conference speech, and allowed “go home” immigration vans to be wheeled out in diverse communities, before conceding that the vans themselves had to go home to the garage. Now we learn, courtesy of a leaked letter from her cabinet colleague Sajid Javid, about a wild scheme to censor broadcasters.

    • State censorship: Tory minister slams Home Sec’s plan to sanitize UK TV shows

      UK Home Secretary Theresa May has been accused of trying to introduce state censorship of TV broadcasters by a senior Conservative minister in a leaked letter.

    • Cameron slaps down Business Secretary Sajid Javid in Cabinet row with Theresa May over TV censorship
    • Theresa May accused of seeking to introduce state censorship of the media by Cabinet colleague Sajid Javid

      In a letter to David Cameron written before the general election, then Culture Secretary Sajid Javid attacked Ms May’s plan to use regulator Ofcom to vet programmes before they were broadcast in the strongest terms, saying it posed a threat to freedom of speech.

      Mr Javid, now Business Secretary, also said Ofcom would be turned from a regulator into a state “censor” by the proposal and lead to comparisons with “regimes” with dubious human rights records, according to the letter which was leaked to The Guardian newspaper.

    • Theresa May TV censorship plan attacked by Sajid Javid

      Home Secretary Theresa May has been accused of attempting to introduce government censorship of British television programming by one of her Cabinet colleagues, a leaked letter has shown.

    • Why government censorship [in no way at all] carries greater risks than benefits

      The phenomenon of the Streisand Effect, where high-profile attempts to censor or prevent people from seeing something result in massively increased attention for the something, is a brilliant example of psychological reactance, the tendency of people to strongly object when a freedom is being taken from them [even though they weren’t using it] and do whatever they can to restore it [which will get them arrested if they’re not careful].

    • Wikipedia Disturbed Over Fresh China Censorship

      Wikipedia is yet again being censored by China’s Great Firewall.

    • Cuba’s Clandestine Press Thumb Their Noses at Street Censorship

      Español
      On Thursday, May 21, the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU) — an illegal opposition party created in 2011 — uploaded a YouTube video of activists in the southern city of Palma Soriano sharing DVDs filled with news and other hard-to-access information with the public.

    • Jimmy Kimmel Presents ‘The Week In Unnecessary Censorship’

      Uh oh… We’re not sure Taylor Swift said “eff you” on stage at the Billboard Music Awards, a Fox News anchor definitely didn’t talk about the prospect of free “cock” across the nation and we’re pretty sure a little boy didn’t beg his mother to get nasty with a homeless man.

    • When A Benefit Against Censorship Gets Censored

      A New York benefit show for the National Coalition Against Censorship cancelled last week over allegedly offensive material will go on at a new venue — though without the Mohammed-themed play that first started the controversy.

    • Anti-Censorship Event Canceled over Concerns About Muhammad Play

      An anti-censorship benefit event at New York City’s Sheen Center was canceled recently over concerns about some of the scheduled speeches and Neil LaBute‘s play Muhammad Gets a Boner.

    • EFF calls FPB’s new Internet censorship law ‘worst in Africa’

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has proclaimed the Film and Publication Board’s (FPB) Draft Online Regulation Policy “Africa’s worst new Internet censorship law”.

    • Africa’s Worst New Internet Censorship Law Could be Coming to South Africa
    • In this game, censorship does not mean ‘deleting your spiteful internet comments’

      As a woman who writes articles about video games, I hear the word “censorship” a lot these days. To hear certain corners of the internet tell it, “censorship” supposedly means having discussions on the images we see in media, asking people to think about the language they use and the effect it achieves, doing any kind of media criticism, or moderating comments so that nobody can shit them up with frantic sealioning about how other people are being too sensitive to criticism.

    • Kanye West Slams ‘Unwarranted Censorship’ by Billboard Music Awards

      “Kanye West was grossly over-censored at the Billboard Music Awards,” the statement reads. “Non-profane lyrics such as ‘with my leather black jeans on’ were muted for over 30-second intervals. As a result, his voice and performance were seriously misrepresented.

    • Kanye West issues statement about ‘ridiculous’ censorship at Billboard Music Awards

      Kanye West was all ready and amped to close out the 2015 Billboard Music Awards with “All Day” and “Black Skinhead.” But home viewers weren’t able to fully enjoy Yeezy’s performance, as the broadcast heavily muted parts of the show, including words that don’t even anger the FCC or violate its regulations.

    • Writer Prosecuted for Facebook Posts Critical of State Censorship

      Authorities in Iran are prosecuting another writer on national security charges for signing statements and writing posts that criticized state censorship on the Facebook page of the Iranian Writers’ Association.

    • Egypt Court Orders Censorship of Pornographic Websites

      An administrative court in Egypt ordered the prime minster to take the necessary and immediate action to censor pornographic websites on Wednesday. While the court specifically calls for immediate action, the order can still be appealed at the Supreme Administrative Court.

    • Egypt Court Bans Pornography

      An Egyptian court has ordered Egypt’s Prime Minister take immediate action to ban pornography websites in Egypt, reported state media Al-Ahram.

      The decision by Egypt’s Administrative Court on Wednesday contradicts the same court’s decision two years ago in which it decided not to ban pornography websites, stated Ahram Online.

    • Religious Israeli website censors women ministers from cabinet portrait

      Country’s new gender equality minister among those blurred from photograph on grounds that pictures of women offend conservative religious mores

    • Just say no to the censorship of culture in Israel

      When it was announced that Miri Regev was to be the culture and sports minister in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fourth government, some people made jibes about her suitability for the position, based on her reputation as a loud and inflammatory politician who sees the world in clear terms of good and pure (us) and evil and impure (the entire world, including groups in Israel that don’t think “as we do.”)

    • Africa’s Worst New Internet Censorship Law Could be Coming to South Africa

      Only once in a while does an Internet censorship law or regulation come along that is so audacious in its scope, so misguided in its premises, and so poorly thought out in its execution, that you have to check your calendar to make sure April 1 hasn’t come around again. The Draft Online Regulation Policy recently issued by the Film and Publication Board (FPB) of South Africa is such a regulation. It’s as if the fabled prude Mrs. Grundy had been brought forward from the 18th century, stumbled across hustler.com on her first excursion online, and promptly cobbled together a law to shut the Internet down. Yes, it’s that bad.

    • Federal Court of Appeals Blocks Use of Trademark for Censorship

      Today, in an important First Amendment decision, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked an attempt by the NAACP to use trademark as a tool to censor unwanted online criticism—a result we had urged in an amicus brief filed with the court back in October. The Fourth Circuit overruled a federal district court in Virginia, which had previously ruled that the Radiance Foundation’s use of the moniker “NAACP” infringed on the organization’s trademark.

    • Rockstar sues BBC over Grand Theft Auto game violence censorship film

      Rockstar Games and parent company Take-Two Interactive have filed a lawsuit against the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) over the latter’s in-production TV drama film Game Changer (working title).

      The BBC revealed the project last month, confirming earlier reports. The film traces the conflict between Rockstar Games lawyer Jack Thompson over Rockstar’s controversial Grand Theft Auto series, with Bill Paxton playing Thompson and Daniel Radcliffe starring as Rockstar Games co-founder Same Houser.

  • Privacy

    • How we’re fighting back against the UK surveillance state—and winning

      In October 2014, the IPT hearings produced another unexpected admission from the UK government. As Privacy International reported: “Details of previously unknown internal policies, which GCHQ was forced to reveal during legal proceedings challenging their surveillance practices in the wake of the Snowden revelations, reveal that intelligence agencies can gain access to bulk data collected from US cables or through US corporate partnerships without having to obtain a warrant from the Secretary of State.” The safeguards on how this material can be used are minimal: “On the face of the descriptions provided to the claimants, the British intelligence agencies can trawl through foreign intelligence material without meaningful restrictions and can keep such material, which includes both communications content and metadata, for up to two years.”

      In December 2014, the IPT ruled against the Privacy International group of human rights organisations, and “accepted the security services’ position that they may in principle carry out mass surveillance of all fibre optic cables entering or leaving the UK and that vast intelligence sharing with the NSA does not contravene the right to privacy because of the existence of secret policies.”

    • There’s an app for that: How NSA, allies exploit mobile app stores

      In 2011 and 2012, the NSA and the communications intelligence agencies of its “Five Eyes” allies developed and tested a set of add-ons to their shared Internet surveillance capability that could identify and target communications between mobile devices and popular mobile app stores—including those of Google and Samsung. According to an NSA document published by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the targeting capability could have been used to launch “man-in-the-middle” attacks on mobile app downloads, allowing the NSA and other agencies to install code on targeted devices and gather intelligence on their users.

    • Edward Snowden: NSA reform in the US is only the beginning

      Edward Snowden has hailed landmark shifts in Congress and the US courts on NSA surveillance but cautioned that much more needs to be done to restore the balance in favour of privacy.

    • NSA pranksters plant ‘listening’ devices in New York and take snooping abroad

      The conversations are, mainly, pretty mundane: one man at East Village restaurant Cafe Orlin, talks about publishing photographs. A woman at Crunch is talking to her personal trainer about how much she enjoys watching House of Cards. A guy in a cafe is telling a story about getting evicted from an apartment with “a bathtub the size of a racquetball court”.

    • Anti-NSA Pranksters Planted Tape Recorders Across New York and Published Your Conversations
    • ‘We Are Always Listening’ Project Skewers NSA Spying And Will Make You Paranoid About Having A Conversation In Public
    • Are anti-NSA pranksters invading people’s privacy?

      Over the past year, they’ve hidden dozens of mini tape recorders under tables and benches around New York City, secretly taping people’s conversations. This week, they launched a website where they’ve posted some of their recordings. They range from the mundane, like a woman at a gym talking about her plans for the evening, to the intimate, like a man at a restaurant talking about his lover’s fetishes.

    • Top spy admits: We’re ‘dependent’ on NSA

      The head of the German Intelligence Agency (BND) told a special parliamentary committee on Thursday that his agency is ‘dependent on’ the American National Security Agency (NSA).

    • More NSA keywords detected in German spy agency’s computers

      More than 400,000 new keywords have been found in German spy agency BND’s computers, a German media report says. The findings would further undermine the organization, accused of helping the NSA with surveillance.

    • The NSA Plan to Find Bin Laden by Hiding Tracking Devices in Medical Supplies

      The scheme is laid out in a top-secret NSA presentation dated June 2010 and titled “Medical Pattern of Life: Targeting High Value Individual #1,” which was among the files provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

      [...]

      Once the compound was located, the U.S. government also wanted DNA evidence that bin Laden was inside. Not long after the raid, it was reported that the CIA had set up a hepatitis vaccine drive in Abbottabad as a front to obtain DNA samples. The doctor working for the CIA, Shakil Afridi, was arrested by Pakistani intelligence and eventually sentenced to decades in prison — not for allegedly working for the CIA, but on charges of aiding a militant group.

    • Big sales growth nothing to do with NSA fears – Huawei top brass

      Chinese kit-maker Huawei isn’t apportioning swelling sales outside the Middle Kingdom to NSA snooping fears, more that double digit growth in Europe is related to brand recognition a decade after it up shop there.

    • Surveillance diehards in the Senate will do anything to stop NSA reform

      The NSA and its surveillance state supporters in the Senate are making a last ditch effort to prevent Congress from taking away any of the spy agency’s authority to snoop on innocent Americans, despite the fact that there is now broad support for NSA reform in Congress.

    • Fox News Pundit Paid by NSA Contractor Reacts to Rand Paul: “Trust the NSA”
    • Two Senate Republicans Predict Short Extension of NSA Spying

      Two U.S. Senate Republicans predicted Friday that their chamber will have enough votes to pass a short extension of three U.S. spy programs until Congress and the White House can come up with a final plan.

    • Chris Christie accused of ‘political pornography’ over NSA remarks

      “You can’t enjoy your civil liberties if you’re in a coffin,” Christie — a likely presidential candidate — said earlier this week.

    • Bush, Christie defend NSA surveillance programs

      As Congress ponders the fate of the PATRIOT Act — and the counterterrorism surveillance programs it authorizes — two potential Republican presidential candidates stuck up for those programs Friday at a conference of Republican activists.

    • Chris Christie backs NSA snooping in hawkish foreign policy speech
    • NSA Whistleblower: No Real NSA Reforms Being Considered by Senate

      Kirk Wiebe says the Senate is not challenging the authority that allows bulk collection of phone records

    • Russian enterprises unconcerned by NSA network hack allegations

      Russian companies are taking no drastic steps to replace US-made equipment.

    • Death Threat Over Public NSA Database

      The creator of a searchable database of 27,000 National Security Agency (NSA) contractors says his team has received a death threat as well as legal threats.

    • Aiming to Scare Congress into Authorization, NSA Claims Surveillance Program ‘Winding Down’

      The news that the NSA is preparing to begin winding down their bulk surveillance program against Americans would be welcome to the general public, but it’s probably not true, and the claim is certainly not directed at us.

    • The NSA’s mass surveillance program: illegal and opaque

      After Congress passed the PATRIOT Act in the panic following the 9/11 and anthrax attacks, officials described it as a way of breaking down a wall that had kept the CIA and FBI from sharing information. They argued that international terrorism investigators needed the same powerful tools that a grand jury gives law enforcement agents to conduct broad criminal inquiries.

      Section 215 was already law, but it was expanded by the PATRIOT Act to allow federal agents to obtain not only “business records,” but also “any tangible things.”

      Librarians were among the first to sound the alarm, and they were ridiculed for it. Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft accused them of spreading “hysteria” that FBI agents were tracking what people were reading and “how far you have gotten on the latest Tom Clancy novel.”

    • Researchers design new Tor client resistant to NSA attacks

      Internet anonymity has become difficult to procure as the NSA is doing everything in its power to keep tabs on Internet activity. One way that people have been protecting their anonymity is by using the anonymizing network, Tor. It was popularly used to access dark web sites like Silk Road, but it can also be used for good. For example, people in certain countries without free speech protections could be jailed or worse for disparaging online claims against the government; Tor provides a way to prevent those users’ web activity from being tracked. As it turns out, Tor isn’t as safe from the prying eyes of big government surveillance as we once thought.

    • Researchers build new Tor client called ‘Astoria’ to evade NSA snooping

      It has become very hard to keep internet anonymous, as the NSA is doing everything in its ability to keep a check on internet activity. The hackers which have the full force and backing of Beijing, London, and Washington, D.C. are anonymity’s toughest opponents. People have been using the anonymizing network, Tor to protect their anonymity. Tor was generally used to enter dark web sites like Silk Road, but it can also be used for good.

    • NSA data collection divides Republican presidential hopefuls

      This week, Paul tried to recapture that spirit, inveighing for 10.5 hours against the National Security Agency’s data collection program — an effort that also attempted to boost his presidential campaign.

    • One third of Germans feel deceived by Merkel on NSA

      One in three Germans have said their trust in the government is shaken. Regardless of the media outrage over the allegations that German intelligence helped the NSA, Angela Merkel wasn’t rushing to offer an explanation.

    • Angela Merkel under pressure to reveal extent of German help for US spying

      The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, is coming under increasing pressure to divulge a list of targets, including the IP addresses of individual computers, that German intelligence tracked on behalf of the US National Security Agency (NSA).

    • As Future of NSA Surveillance Grows Murky, New Report Shows Section 215 Not Exactly Vital

      Among the many arguments presented in opposition to allowing the federal government collecting mass amounts of data from people who aren’t even suspected of terrorism (besides the Fourth Amendment violations) is that: one, it hasn’t actually helped stop any terrorist plots; and two, we can’t trust a massive federal bureaucracy to subsequently dispose of information it gathers unrelated to any cases its working on.

    • Quiz: Just how Kafkaesque is the court that oversees NSA spying?

      “The court” in Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial is a shadowy tribunal that tries (and executes) Josef K., the story’s protagonist, without informing him of the crime he’s charged with, the witnesses against him, or how he can defend himself. (Worth noting: The FISA court doesn’t “try” anyone. Also, it doesn’t kill people.)

    • NSA: Too Much Data, Not Much Information

      There’s a reason why gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. According to whistleblower former NSA official William Binney, the NSA has too much data to sift through, that it hampers the agency’s effectiveness in detecting threats before they happen with potentially deadly results. Basically, the NSA is no longer as effective in preventing any attacks. What it’s good for now is forensic investigation to trace the perpetrators of any terrorist attack—after it happens. The Boston Marathon gets bombed, the government finds the Tsarnaevs quickly enough, (through a lot of security videos and much later their transmissions) but the agency still failed to prevent the bombing from happening. So all the data the NSA has collected is actually slowing the agency down. Imagine a cop so pumped up with donuts he can’t catch up to a purse snatcher on foot.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Imagine the web without hyperlinks

        Such a plan would affect over 500 million citizens’ ability to use the Internet. Imagine using Twitter and not being able to link to a news article without paying a fee. It would shut down the spread of news. This is just one way copyright is being twisted to censor the Web – but it’s far from the only way. That’s why we are part of a huge network of individuals and organizations committed to stopping these censorship plans, wherever they emerge.

      • Pirate Domain Seizures Are Easy in the United States

        It’s taken more than two years for Swedish authorities to seize two key Pirate Bay domains but over in the United States the process is dramatically quicker. A TV company has just achieved similar aims against 11 ‘pirate’ streaming domains after being granted a comprehensive ex parte restraining order by a Florida court.

05.22.15

The Patents Production ‘Industry’ (Patent Lawyers) Still Fights Hard to Salvage Software Patents

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 1:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Patent monopolies are believed to drive innovation but they actually impede the pace of science and innovation, Stiglitz said. The current “patent thicket,” in which anyone who writes a successful software programme is sued for alleged patent infringement, highlights the current IP system’s failure to encourage innovation, he said.”

IP Watch on Professor Joseph Stiglitz

Summary: A review of recent writings about software patents and patents on business methods in the United States, demonstrating that patent lawyers have gotten very vocal and sneaky (trying to evade the rules)

THE patent landscape in the US is getting a lot better, not because of any reform but because of a SCOTUS ruling in a case widely referred to as Alice. Brian Fung from the trend-setting media says “new patent lawsuits are down for the first time in five years.”

“Patents were deemed invalid and a criteria was established for removal of many software patents, not ‘creation’ of new ones.”Over the past year (since the Alice precedence was set) we have written a great deal about patent lawyers’ fears and their endless attempts to rewrite the rules or cheat the system (which is basically what their job is often about–finding and exploiting loopholes, sometimes misleading judges).

Corporate Counsel, a site of patent lawyers (as its name reveals if not gently indicates), is trying to tell us that “Software Patents Are Still Valuable”. Written by R. Flynt Strean, Michele M. Glessner and Zachary A. Higbee from Corporate Counsel, the article basically tells patent lawyers what they want to hear. Surely it’s music to their ears.

Another lawyers’ site, Law 360, says that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit‘s “Eon Ruling Offers Map For Clear Software Patents”. To quote: “A recent Federal Circuit decision invalidating an interactive TV patent owned by Eon Corp. IP Holdings LLC is the latest ruling by the appeals court stressing the need to make software patents clear by including an algorithm and provides guidance for writing software claims that can withstand scrutiny, attorneys say.”

This is basically the giving of tips on how to patent software, despite many of prospective patents being ineligible.

Watch sites composed by lawyers (National Law Review in this case) ridiculing critics even of patent trolls as if patent lawyers support patent trolls, not just software patents. This one site wrote this about Alice: “Alice did provide, however, that if the subject matter “improves the functioning of the computer itself” or “any other technology”, such subject matter may be patent-eligible. In this way, one can see this as leaving open the possibility of finding computer software patent-eligible.”

They are reversing the actual outcome as positive. Patents were deemed invalid and a criteria was established for removal of many software patents, not ‘creation’ of new ones. The way lawyers like to frame it is a way that generally supports software patents, i.e. the opposite of what SCOTUS actually ruled on. These articles are full of lawyers’ tricks for patenting software despite the highest court’s ruling which serves to bar/limit them.

Watch this other lawyers’ site stating about CBM (covered business method): “As a § 101 analysis under Alice Corp. does not require the time and expense necessary to analyze prior art, swiftly launching a CBM petition that relies either solely or primarily on § 101 challenges presents a cost-effective approach with good potential for success. This is especially true in view of the limited estoppel particular to CBM post-grant reviews, which would allow for subsequent challenges under §§ 102, 103 and 112, at the district court. In addition, a CBM, unlike an inter partes review is not required to be filed within one year after a district court patent infringement suit is initiated. Note, however, that upon a final written decision, § 325(e)(1) estoppel will still bar grounds that the petitioner “raised or reasonably could have been raised” in pending or future PTO proceedings, this is true even if the parties settle.”

“To lawyers, everything that reduces the number of permissible patents is evil.”The pattern here is clear and we have omitted nothing that we’ve come across in our research (this month’s news). Lawyers who profit from patents are working very hard to get around the rules and continue to patent software, showing disregard not just for science but also for the highest court.

Here is one statement which we also found mystifying, under the headline “Patent Laws Are Getting Cloudy”: “While the cloud reduces the barrier to entry for innovation, moving from a hardware to a software model makes getting a technology patent more difficult, he added. He attributed this to biases in U.S. and European patent law.”

What biases? Ones that limit patenting of software? And for good reason? To lawyers, everything that reduces the number of permissible patents is evil. They view everything as a nail because they are hammers. All they care about is money and destruction (in courtrooms, where real products can be embargoed or castrated, companies can be driven to bankruptcy, and ideas come to be squashed). Don’t listen to patent lawyers if you want the facts; we know how they make their money. They create nothing but paperwork and court hearings.

Patents as a Marketing Strategy: USPTO Now Part of the Advertising Industry

Posted in Patents at 12:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The existence of publicity patents, or patents whose sole purpose is to advertise some products, serves to discredit the US patent office, which was originally set up to promote science and technology

IN A COUPLE of recent blog posts from Steph in her rather obscure WordPress blog readers become aware of an old trick where USPTO seals of approval are used as a form of endorsement, even if there is only a patent application (“patent-pending”), which means just about nothing, even in a system where up to 92% of patent applications are "successful" (meaning that approved patents too are almost meaningless or worthless as a measure of innovation). Steph writes: “According to a suit filed in New Jersey, L’Oreal decided that they’d require their IP attorneys to file a certain number of patents each year, not to promote the progress of science and useful arts, but so that customers would be persuaded to buy their products because of a “patent pending” stamp on them…

“To recap,” says another post, ” you’re spending money on IP attorneys and USPTO fees and office action fees and clogging up the patent system for people with real things to patent and getting virtually nothing in return, except for a lawsuit from an attorney who thought the process was so ridiculous he quit doing it?”

“The only good patent is a non-existent or dead patent, not an “open” patent.”That’s what people who buy L’Oreal pay for; they not only pay for the ads that bamboozle them but also for lawyers who exploit the USPTO for marketing purposes. These are ‘trophy patents’, or some kind of medals for potential recognition by the public (at face value).

What does the USPTO intend to do about this? Nothing of course, it’s all business to them. This patent system hardly needs to be publicly discredited when it does so much to discredit itself. This does nothing for science; it’s about consumerism.

Speaking of ‘publicity patents’, how about the nonsense which is “Open Patent Licensing” or claims that giving up on litigation with a patent is “open source” (as Panasonic or Tesla want us to believe). To quote this new report from AOL: “A new trio of open patent licenses can help encourage innovation, discourage patent trolls and help companies attract top engineering talent. These licenses aren’t just for open-source romantics. They are practical legal tools used by software companies like Google, Twitter and Dropbox.”

The only good patent is a non-existent or dead patent, not an “open” patent. As Oracle served to show when it acquired Sun and later used its patents offensively, not even a “good” patent owner makes his/her patent/s benign. Google’s Android is at times defended using patents from IBM, which is itself a patent bully (it famously attacked Sun) and a prominent lobbyist for software patents all around the world.

Microsoft Blackmails and Extorts British Politicians Over Open Standards and Free Software-Leaning Policies

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, OpenDocument at 11:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Westminster Abbey

Summary: Microsoft’s digital imperialism in the UK getting defended using blackmail, reminding a lot of Brits that Microsoft is just as evil as ever before

LARGE nations are moving away from Microsoft for technical reasons. Free software is simply better, not just more ethical. Despite Microsoft’s strong influence in the Indian government, the government of India is one of the latest to put Microsoft behind. Microsoft is already using the Indian corporate media to attack India's decision, sometimes lobbying by proxy. The same has been happening in the UK, whose government probably spends far more money than any other nation in the world on Microsoft software (per capita).

“They can incite against politicians to induce resignations or firings.”One year ago, when an ODF consultation was still ongoing, we warned Cabinet Office (UK) about what now turns out to be true. No country is immune to it, not even a large and powerful nation like India, let alone the UK (which for many years occupied India)

Microsoft already attacked the government just weeks or months after the consultation and did this again later in the year (these are the cases where we found out about it, surely there is more that was never reported on). Microsoft’s FUD attacks on ODF at the time often relied on Microsoft buddies and cooperation from some goons inside the British media. We named and shamed the culprits at the time.

The Inquirer, which is not Microsoft-friendly, says in today’s headline that “Microsoft bullied MPs over government switch to open source standards”. To quote: “As reported at Bloomberg, Steve Hilton, who was the prime minister’s director of strategy until 2012, revealed at an event that Microsoft began lobbying members of parliament after the Conservative Party proposed shifting government computer systems to open standards.”

In the original report from Bloomberg, which is usually quite Microsoft-friendly, the headline says “Microsoft Threatened to Close U.K. Plants, Ex-Cameron Aide Says”. “We just resisted,” the aide is quoted. “You have to be brave.”

Have to be brave? Who is in charge of who? Are corporations from the US now controlling the British government, too? Well, that pretty much sums up Microsoft. They will retaliate and intimidate, as per their usual behaviour. They can incite against politicians to induce resignations or firings. Watch what they did to Peter Quinn, who had been supporting ODF in his state.

The British media is gradually waking up. It is being filled with more and more news reports about Microsoft’s political blackmail over ODF (the modus operandi of Microsoft’s allies at the NSA). This is going to cost them. Here is the most widely-cited (in the UK at least) report which says: “Microsoft executives telephoned Conservative MPs threatening to shut down a facility in their local area because of planned IT reforms, David Cameron’s former strategy chief has claimed.

“Steve Hilton, who worked for Cameron in opposition and for two years in Downing Street, made the allegation as he argued the dominance of corporate lobbying in the UK was leading to bad policy-making.

“Asked how the government should deal with lobbyists, he said: “You just have to fight them off. I can give you specific examples: the thing I mentioned about IT contracts. Maybe there is someone here to confirm this from Microsoft? When we proposed this, Microsoft phoned Conservative MPs with Microsoft R&D facilities in their constituencies and said, ‘we will close them down in your constituency if this goes through’.”

“There are a lot more cases like these, but they are scarcely reported on or never reported on.”Here at Techrights we are not surprised that Microsoft blackmails. It always did. Almost exactly a year ago we foresaw this and warned Cabinet Office staff that this would happen. Microsoft is not a company but a Scientology-like cult, to quote a government delegate with Microsoft experiences. Paolo Vecchi asked rhetorically: “Is anybody shocked about the fact that MS used lobbying, blackmailing and bribing to create & maintain their monopoly?”

Remember that “Microsoft loves Linux” (its CEO says that). Under the leadership of that phony, Nadella (right-hand man of Bill Gates and the real owners of the company), Microsoft is unable to decide whether it supports FOSS (pretending to anyway) or attacks it (usually secretly, in order to support the former illusion).

Surely Microsoft hates not only Linux but also FOSS and open standards, such as ODF. Recall the following older posts:

In summary, watch out for and keep an eye on Microsoft. These are lunatic bullies who are willing to get people out of their job (or make their job deprecated) if these people ‘dare’ to stand in Microsoft’s way, i.e. not fully serve Microsoft’s interests. This was reportedly the case in Bristol (UK), not just in Massachusetts (US). There are a lot more cases like these, but they are scarcely reported on or never reported on. Microsoft does this covertly and quite often indirectly, too.

Free software usage is rapidly growing in public sector in the UK and it’s easy to see why Microsoft has gone off the rails. It must be furious over migrations to FOSS, which have become a frequent occurrence here. Good and honest journalism is key to exposing Microsoft’s real behaviour. Transparency would serve as deterrent against Microsoft’s corruption.

Microsoft Gives Another Bug a Name, This Time Logjam™

Posted in FUD, Marketing, Microsoft at 10:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Any logo/s yet?

Squirrel

Summary: The Microsoft crowd is good only at marketing, even when it comes to small bugs in software

Another brand for a bug, namely “logjam”, was made up by Microsoft et al. Linux sites cover this and add to the panic already. As the Microsoft-friendly BBC put it: “The “LogJam attack” was discovered by researchers at Microsoft and a number of US and French universities.” This “logjam” nonsense already has its own brand and even a dedicated Web site, just like Heartbleed™. As a reminder, Heartbleed™ too was coined by a Microsoft-connected firm, despite the fact that the bug was found by a man from Google.

Just over a week ago a Microsoft-connected firm spread the word VENOM™ as part of a marketing/propaganda campaign, serving to discourage companies from adopting Free/libre software for virtualisation. People remember brands better than they remember numbers (of advisories) or technical details, which may or may not indicate level of severity.

Links 22/5/2015: Fedora 22 Final Release is Near, Canonical IPO Considered

Posted in News Roundup at 10:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • WhyWeFOSS

    I’m likely on the hook for providing a version of my “WhyWeFOSS” as an example, so stay tuned for that post in the near-ish future.

  • Netflix’s Latest Open Security Tool, FIDO, Does Triage, Research and More
  • Nexenta Announces Availability of Open Source Software Defined Storage Platform NexentaEdge

    At the Vancouver OpenStack summit, software-defined storage company Nexenta announced the general availability of its NexentaEdge Block and Object Storage platform, as well as a strategic alliance agreement with Canonical and its Ubuntu OpenStack.

  • Vatican library: open source for long-term preservation

    The combination of open source and open standards ensures long-term preservation of electronic records and prevents IT vendor lock-in, says Luciano Ammenti, head of the IT department at the Vatican Library (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana) in Vatican City.

  • Open source initiatives saving grace for many companies

    If your next software development project is going to be successful, be it a simple Java EE deployment or a full-scale role out of a private cloud initiative based on OpenStack, a tremendous amount of code has to be written. The sad state of affairs enterprise organizations need to reckon with is that there is no way all that code can be written by the internal development team.

    So what’s an organization to do? According to Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, successful organizations reach out to the open source community. “There is too much software to be written for any one organization to write this software on its own,” Zemlin said. “Open source allows businesses to focus on only the most important aspects of their technology stacks; only the things that truly differentiate the organization.”

  • Measuring performance the open source way

    Jim Whitehurst recently wrote about the performance management approach we use at Red Hat for the Harvard Business Review. In his article, Whitehurst details one aspect of the performance management process that differentiates Red Hat from other companies—its flexibility.

    We have a system for tracking performance (called Compass), and we have expectations for when Compass reviews are performed (at least annually, preferably quarterly). But the details and structure of implementation are up to individual managers or teams. I lead a team of more than 100 people at Red Hat, and I’d like to share how I measure and manage performance the open source way.

  • DrumPants 2.0 is open source, still turns your pants into drums

    That crazy DrumPants wearable tech we first saw in ’07 — the same one that raised 75 grand on KickStarter and was featured on Shark Tank in 2014 — is back. Its creators have now turned to Indiegogo to fund the mass production of DrumPants version 2.0, which they claim is faster and stronger than its predecessor. Plus, it’s now open source. The wearable, for those who’ve only just heard of it, isn’t actually a pair of pants with drums (sorry to disappoint). It’s a set of accessories comprised of two elongated drum pads and two foot pedals you can use to play different kinds of instruments, along with a knob that lets you choose between samples and musical scales. You can wear them over your clothes, or under, like the jamming dude in the GIF above.

  • Events

    • Report of Libre Graphics Meeting 2015

      We have been back from Libre Graphics Meeting 2015 in Toronto for 2 weeks now. It is time for a report! :-)

    • DEVit Conf 2015 Impressions

      I’ve started the day with the session called “Crack, Train, Fix, Release” by Chris Heilmann. While it was very interesting for some unknown reason I was expecting a talk more closely related to software testing. Unfortunately at the same time in the other room was a talk called “Integration Testing from the Trenches” by Nicolas Frankel which I missed.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack isn’t just ready for enterprise adoption, it’s already there

      There are not enough OpenStack experts to go around. At OpenStack Summit, there is literally not a single company here that is not looking for more programmers, architects, and engineers.

      But, they’re coming. OpenStack is now backed by more than 200 vendors, including Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Oracle, RackSpace Red Hat, and VMware. Is there any enterprise out there which doesn’t have a working relationship with at least of one of these companies?

      This is making OpenStack deployment easier. If your company doesn’t have the talent it needs to do it in-house, Canonical, Red Hat, and Mirantis, to name but three of the leading OpenStack deployment firms, are all ready to jump in and help you get up and running. In short, you can pay cash today and have a working OpenStack cloud tomorrow.

    • New Surveys Show Rising Interest in the Cloud, Especially OpenStack

      CDW is out with its Cloud 401 report, based on interviews with more than 1,200 IT managers from many industries. The report finds that more than a third of all computing services today are delivered throughthe cloud. It also determined that organizations are actively pursuing new services: Thirty-five percent of respondents say they plan to shift new IT services to the cloud.

    • 75 Open Source Cloud Computing Apps

      In one recent survey, IT managers said that the most important project their teams are working on for 2015 is cloud computing. And IDC predicts that by 2018, the worldwide market for public cloud services will be worth more than $127 billion, accounting for “more than half of worldwide software, server and storage spending growth.”

    • OpenStack Foundation Not Worried about the Death Star [VIDEO]

      “The moment we stop listening to users and it’s just a vendor-to-vendor conversation, or it’s just a developer-to-developer conversation and the user doesn’t have a seat at the table, that would leave us with a vulnerability that could undo all the good work we’ve done,” Collier said. “We just have to keep listening to users and we’ll be ok.”

    • Entrepreneurs Share How to Build an OpenStack-Powered Business

      Building a company from freely available software might not seem like the most logical idea, but it’s one that is working for many vendors in the OpenStack cloud ecosystem. In a panel session at the OpenStack Summit here, the founders of cloud storage vendor SwiftStack, cloud database vendor Tesora, cloud vendor Piston Cloud Computing and cloud service provider Blue Box Cloud as well as the CEO of DreamHost, Simon Anderson, detailed their experiences and challenges in building OpenStack-powered businesses.

    • Cisco Bringing Group Policy to OpenStack [VIDEO]

      David Ward, Development CTO and Chief Architect at Cisco, has been thinking a lot about how networking works in the cloud era, and he shared some of those thoughts at the OpenStack Summit here.

    • OpenStack enables open source shift at Time Warner Cable

      Just a year into their production use of OpenStack for powering their internal cloud, they are leveraging it for everything from video to networking to deploying web applications, all on an in-house OpenStack cloud spread across two data centers. And this rapid change is getting noticed inside the company.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.0 Release Notes

      This is an in-progress scratch-pad of notes to build release notes from as and when we release. Please do not list features that are to be shipped already in the 4.4 release! Please do not add wish-list features that you hope will be implemented, but only what actually is implemented already.

    • LibreOffice Can Now Import Apple Pages & Numbers Files
    • LibreOffice 5.0 Beta 1 Released

      Following yesterday’s LibreOffice 5.0 branching in Git, the first beta for LibreOffice 5.0 is now available for testing.

      The Document Foundation announced on their blog the availability of the first beta for LibreOffice 5.0, which will be officially released around the end of July or early August.

  • Healthcare

    • The radical potential of open source programming in healthcare

      Everyone wants personalized healthcare. From the moment they enter their primary care clinic they have certain expectations that they want met in regards to their personalized medical care.

      Most physicians are adopting a form of electronic healthcare, and patient records are being converted to a digital format. But electronic health records pose interesting problems related to sorting through vast amounts of patient data.

      This is where open source programming languages come in, and they have the ability to radically change the medical landscape.

  • Business

  • Licensing

    • Allwinner Publishes New CedarX Open-Source Code

      For months now Allwinner has been violating the GPL and have attempted to cover it up by obfuscating their code and playing around with their licenses while jerking around the open-source community. At least today they’ve made a positive change in open-sourcing more of their “CedarX” code.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Rig a smarthome and more hacks with TouchBoard

      There was a time when a reporter was called a hack.

    • Open Hardware

      • The future of manufacturing will happen on your desktop

        The Pi-Top is an open source DIY laptop made using the latest in kitchen table manufacturing technology

      • Ragnar Robotics to Release Open Source Educational Deltabot Platform – Details Revealed at RoboUniverse

        Last Monday marked the start of the RoboUniverse Conference and Expo at The Javits Center in New York City. Twelve companies vied for a single cash prize, as well as complimentary investment and legal services. Voxel8 was the winner of the competition, and while all the entrants gave fascinating rapid-fire pitches for their startups, there was one company that stood out for me and has seemingly slipped under the radar in the 3D printing space. The company I’m speaking about is Ragnar Robotics.

      • Open-source Luka EV runs on hub motors (images & video)

        The Luka EV is an all-electric, street legal vehicle designed and built as an open-source experiment. Currently, the vehicle is targeting a single-charge range of around 186 miles, with a top speed of about 81 mph. The Luka’s price should land in the area of $22,445 when all is said and done. The creators are aiming at a design and build time of less than a year, and are using a FRP body based on a Solidworks model of a video game car.

  • Programming

    • Java at 20: How it changed programming forever

      Remembering what the programming world was like in 1995 is no easy task. Object-oriented programming, for one, was an accepted but seldom practiced paradigm, with much of what passed as so-called object-oriented programs being little more than rebranded C code that used >> instead of printf and class instead of struct. The programs we wrote those days routinely dumped core due to pointer arithmetic errors or ran out of memory due to leaks. Source code could barely be ported between different versions of Unix. Running the same binary on different processors and operating systems was crazy talk.

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Cyberattack on University of London Computing Centre causes Moodle chaos

      The University of London’s Computing Centre (ULCC) has recovered from a major cyberattack that cut dozens of UK institutions from the institution’s IT services for five hours this morning.

      The incident appears to have started around 7am and by 9am ULCC said it was looking into a firewall issue. By 10am, engineers had reset its firewalls and core routers but had been unable to solve the issue.

      By mid-day, the assessment had become clearer. “All our services are now up and running again! The networking issue was caused by a cyber attack,” read an update on the institution’s website.

    • How I Got Here: Marcus Ranum

      ​Dennis Fisher talks with security pioneer Marcus Ranum about writing an early Internet firewall at DEC, the security gold-rush era of the 1990s and early 2000s, why he never patented most of the ideas he has come up with and how he found peace of mind.

    • Google Reveals the Problem With Password Security Questions

      Google analyzed hundreds of millions of password security questions and answers, revealing how startlingly easy it is for would-be hackers to get into someone else’s account.

      [...]

      With ten guesses, an attacker would have a near one in four chance of guessing the name of an Arabic speaker’s first teacher. Ten guesses gave cyber criminals a 21 percent chance of guessing the middle name of a Spanish speaker’s father.

    • Security advisories for Thursday
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Iraq War Architect Bill Kristol: Knowing What We Know Now, “We Were Right To Fight In Iraq”

      Bill Kristol, the Weekly Standard editor who predicted in 2003 that proponents of the U.S. invasion of Iraq would be “vindicated” upon the discovery of weapons of mass destruction there, is holding fast to the idea that the deadly and expensive conflict was the right move. Kristol’s justifications for the war, however, have changed dramatically.

      In a May 20 op-ed for USA Today, Kristol argued that U.S. intervention in Iraq was justified in 2003 “to remove Saddam Hussein, and to complete the job we should have finished in 1991.” Kristol added that “we were right to persevere” in Iraq, “even with the absence of caches of weapons of mass destruction.”

  • Finance

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • NSA planned Google Play hack to target Android smartphones

      Global intelligence agencies, including the US National Security Agency, planned to hijack millions of Android smartphones with spyware.

    • NSA Planned to Hijack Google App Store to Hack Smartphones

      The National Security Agency and its closest allies planned to hijack data links to Google and Samsung app stores to infect smartphones with spyware, a top-secret document reveals.

    • Spy agencies target mobile phones, app stores to implant spyware

      Canada and its spying partners exploited weaknesses in one of the world’s most popular mobile browsers and planned to hack into smartphones via links to Google and Samsung app stores, a top secret document obtained by CBC News shows.

    • WSJ Editorial Board So Clueless It Thinks That We’re Now ‘Rushing’ Through A Surveillance Debate That’s Been Going On For Two Years

      As the Senate does its little song and dance today over surveillance reform, kudos to the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board for producing what has to be one of the most ridiculous opinion pieces on this debate to date. It’s called The Anti-Surveillance Rush, and its main argument is that the Senate shouldn’t be “rushing” through this debate, and that it should instead simply do a clean extension of section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to allow for further debate. This is wrong and it’s clueless. The WSJ editorial board can be nutty at times, but the level of cluelenssness displayed here really takes it to another level. Let’s dig in.

    • Tech companies ask Senate to pass NSA reform bill

      Reform Government Surveillance, an organization that represents large technology companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft, on Tuesday pressed the U.S. Senate not to delay reform of National Security Agency surveillance by extending expiring provisions of the Patriot Act.

    • NSA surveillance powers on the brink as pressure mounts on Senate bill – as it happened

      As the deadline ticked closer to the expiration of the NSA’s powers of mass phone record collection, the Senate locked itself into chaotic wrangling over two competing surveillance bills on Thursday.

    • Man Who Deactivated Facebook Account To Dodge Discovery Request Smacked Around By Disgruntled Court

      Social media. So popular. And so very, very incriminating. The less-than-illustrious history of many a criminal who felt obliged to generate inculpatory evidence via social media postings has been well-detailed here. But what if you want to hide your indiscretions and malfeasance? If you’ve posted something on any major social network, chances are it will be found and used against you.

    • Report: FBI’s PATRIOT Act Snooping Goes Beyond Business Records, Subject To Few Restrictions

      A report by the FBI’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on the agency’s use of Section 215 collections has just been released in what can only be termed as “fortuitous” (or “suspicious”) timing. Section 215 is dying. It was up for reauthorization on June 1st, but the Obama administration suddenly pushed that deadline up to the end of this week. Sen. Mitch McConnell took a stab at a clean reauth, but had his attempt scuttled by a court ruling finding the program unauthorized by existing law and the forward momentum of the revamped USA Freedom Act. And, as Section 215′s death clock ticked away, Rand Paul and Ron Wyden engaged in a filibuster to block any last-second attempts to ram a clean reauthorization through Congress.

  • Civil Rights

    • Gyrocopter pilot pleads not guilty

      The Florida mailman indicted for flying his unregistered gyrocopter through restricted airspace and landing on the U.S. Capitol lawn last month pleaded not guilty to six charges on Thursday.

      Doug Hughes appeared in federal court in Washington, D.C., where he entered his plea. He faces nearly a decade in prison if convicted on the two felony counts and four misdemeanors.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Facebook’s Plan To Be The Compuserve Of Developing Nations Faces Mounting Worldwide Criticism

      What began as some squabbling over the definition of net neutrality in India has evolved into a global public relations shit show for Facebook. As we’ve been discussing, India’s government has been trying to define net neutrality ahead of the creation of new neutrality rules. Consumers and content companies have been making it very clear they believe Facebook’s Internet.org initiative violates net neutrality because it offers free, walled-garden access to only some Facebook approved content partners, instead of giving developing nations access to the entire Internet.

      Internet.org partners began dropping out of the initiative, arguing they don’t like any model where Facebook gets to decide which content is accessed for free — and which content remains stuck outside of Internet.org. Facebook so far has responded by trying to claim that if you oppose Internet.org you’re the one hurting the poor, because a walled garden is better than no Internet at all. Of course that’s a false choice; Facebook could simply provide subsidized access to the entire Internet, but that wouldn’t provide them with a coordinated leg-up in the developing nation ad markets of tomorrow.

  • DRM

    • Promote a Libre Movie during the International Day against DRM… and after!

      Digital Right Managements (systems preventing you from copying a movie or a song you bought, print an ebook you paid… and sometimes even read these!) are a real nuisance and we should fight them. But we believe here that fighting only is not enough. We should also propose constructive alternatives, new ways to produce, share and enjoy media and arts.

05.21.15

More Utter Shame Unveiled at Battistelli’s EPO: Intimidation Tactics With Help From ‘Control Risks’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Risks to Battistelli’s control be dismantled?

Benoît Battistelli

Summary: The unaccountable thugs who run the EPO have hired London-based spooks to help silence their opposition and their critics

Benoît Battistelli, whose own staff (not his establishment) dislikes him greatly, can only ever pretend to have learned his lessons about the downsides of tyranny. His Napoleonic complex remains in tact and as a result of this we are going to renew our criticism of the EPO’s crooked management.

Weeks ago, seeing that there was talk about recognition of a staff union and reform (“reform of sick leave and invalidity constitutes another severe attack on both dignity and fundamental rights of EPO staff”), we decided to stay quiet, giving an opportunity of reform a chance. There was later “Union Recognition Working Group – Report on the 1st meeting of 11 May 2015″.

“Surveillance on people who cover EPO corruption (including Techrights) is now a fact, not merely a possibility.”To quote one recent bit: “In its 119th session the Tribunal delivered a total of 77 judgments, of which 24 cases involving the EPO. Of the 24 EPO cases, only one case was won by the complainant. The remaining 23 cases were dismissed, 13 summarily. This paper discusses the cases that have broader relevance and the overall implications.”

Things seemed to have calmed down a bit, but different sources have told us about at least 3 nefarious surveillance and cracking companies that EPO hired (or is said to have hired because there is disagreement on which firm/s the EPO actually hired, with Blue Coat seemingly quite likely).

Surveillance on people who cover EPO corruption (including Techrights) is now a fact, not merely a possibility. Some of these surveillance agencies need to intercept or thwart encryption, so cracking is usually within their toolset. There is now public information in SUEPO’s Web site, which says: “SUEPO understands that the company Control Risks has been commissioned by the European Patent Office to investigate staff members who are elected representatives of the Staff Committee and/or Staff Union.”

The EPO’s surveillance on staff is an intimidation tactic. Deterrence is the goal. Too bad they don’t know how “blowback” works and how contracting abusive companies (military industrial complex-connected) hurts them in the long run, coinciding with other scandals and reinforcing a perception of corruption and lack of ethics, not to mention gross disregard for the law (Battistelli never cared much about the law, he even snubbed a Hague court’s ruling).

Here is the letter which SUEPO sent to Control Risks:

To :
Nick Allan (Regional Director)
Control Risks
Cottons Centre
Cottons Lane
London, SE1 2QG
United Kingdom
enquiries@controlrisks.com

Cc:
Crawford Gillies (Chairman),
Richard Fenning (CEO),

Dear Mr Allan,

We understand that your company has been commissioned by the EPO to investigate staff members who are elected representatives of the Staff Committee and/or Staff Union. You should be aware that the EPO is going through a serious crisis in its social relations, caused largely (in our opinion) by a series of controversial reforms initiated by the current President, Mr Battistelli.

The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) firmly believes that several of the reforms affront fundamental human rights. Indeed, in one case that we have been able to present to a national court, the court agreed with SUEPO (see Annex 1).

In reaction to the crisis, the EPO announced an initiative to renew the “social dialogue” (see Annex 2). This renewed social dialogue was not intended to address any of the controversial reforms, but rather to discuss the formal recognition of a Staff Union that has existed for more than 35 years and to which some 50% of the staff of the EPO are members. Although sceptical about the real intentions of the administration, SUEPO accepted the offer to talk. Yet while these talks are on-going, the Office apparently pursues one or more investigations against its newly found, but not yet formally recognized, “social partner”.

This is not the first time that staff representatives in the EPO have come under fire from Mr Battistelli. Last year several elected staff representatives and experts nominated by the staff representation have been investigated and/or disciplined. The disciplinary measures imposed by the President were significantly more severe than the proportionate measures – if any – recommended by the disciplinary committee.

We understand that Control Risks’ has a Code of Ethics and Human Rights policy. The former states that “If Control Risks has reason to believe that in undertaking an activity it would be complicit in human rights abuses committed by others, it will avoid that activity. ” The latter adds that “our employees are never to be complicit in human rights abuses.” We note that your company also adheres to the widely accepted UN Global Compact’s “ten principles”.

As indicated above, SUEPO is of the opinion that in particular the human resource policies and reforms currently implemented by the Office are repressive and serially offend fundamental human rights. For example, the unlawful restrictions on freedom of association have been confirmed by the Dutch court judgment. The right to engage in collective bargaining has never been recognized by the EPO, nor has the Staff Union been formally recognized, an apparent prerequisite (see “historic” talks) to being treated as a social partner. The list of staff grievances is long (see Annex 3) and ever lengthening.

To provide further context, you will find below further references to a selection of publicly available information about the current EPO “situation”. We cannot provide you with any of the internal material since this would be deemed to offend our EPO internal regulations, which are themselves also confidential. However, the cited documents and further information are available on our website: http://www.suepo.org/public/news

SUEPO is not aware of any wrong doing on our side, so we conclude that any investigation serves no other purpose than to intimidate, harass or simply silence Staff / Union representatives who oppose the present regime at the EPO.

We respectfully ask Control Risks to exercise due diligence by verifying both whether the commission from the EPO is “proper” and whether accepting this commission is fully in line with your company’s code of ethics.

We remain at your disposition should you wish to discuss this situation.

Yours sincerely
SUEPO Central

For information about “Control Risks” see Source Watch and see also WikiSpooks. To quote some relevant bits: “The majority of their clients are large multi-nationals; they state that more than 90 per cent of the FTSE 100 use one or more of their services [...] CRG is a member of the British Association of Private Security Companies and the Private Security Company Association of Iraq.”

There is definitely more coming. We shall keep an eye on this. As we assured at the start, this gross, crude, unethical and potentially illegal behaviour from EPO management is only going to motivate us to write more about EPO abuses, not less.

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