EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

02.24.15

The EFF Back to Tackling Software Patents, Not Just Patent Trolls

Posted in America, Patents at 5:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyers start targeting large companies that exploit patents for intimidation and extortion, not just patent trolling

WE are gratified to learn that, based on numerous reports such as this or that, “EFF Questions Whether Software Patents Should Exist” and the “Electronic Frontier Foundation group claims that the US patent system undermines innovation by allowing big companies to intimidate and punish small start-up firms.”

They are not talking about patent trolls (as some do) but instead they are now talking about the big bullies that want to divert the debate so as to focus on the wrong culprit and merely pass a reform that helps megacorporations. Microsoft is basically a target of EFF activism, Apple too to a degree. We commend the Electronic Frontier Foundation for this change in strategy.

Here is a recent action from EFF’s Nazer: “Nazer and his fellow EFF lawyer Vera Ranieri filed court papers seeking to invalidate a patent on photo competitions. US Patent No. 8,209,618, owned by a little-known video website called Garfum.com, was used to sue four small photo websites last September that dared to ask people about their favorite photos.”

Another new piece by Sid Venkatesan from AOL uses a copyright sign as the leading image for an article about patents, showing a common misunderstanding of the vast disparity between copyrights and patents (they have almost nothing at all to do with each other). Putting aside this nitpicking, the article is titled “Software Patents Are Increasingly Coming Under Fire In Court” and it says: “Last summer, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Alice Corporation v. CLS Bank International in which it directed lower courts to scrutinize computer-implemented abstract methods very closely. Alice’s impact was unclear at the time the decision was issued, but lower courts have since relied on the Supreme Court’s opinion to invalidate a number of software patents in the eight months since the decision.

“This legal trend has altered the cost benefit analysis for companies that are seeking software patent protection, enforcing their existing patents, or defending themselves in litigation.”

Further down Venkatesan says: “Federal trial courts and the Federal Circuit (the court that handles patent appeals) decisions since Alice have invalidated many patents using the two-part Section 101 test applied in Alice. For example, the Federal Circuit invalidated a patent dealing with the storage of device-specific profiles, a patent on a system that provided online purchase guarantees, and a patent involving an online system of delivering content with embedded ads in quick succession.”

This is the kind of stuff that patent lawyers have been trying to hide from the public, choosing to pretend that nothing at all has changed.

In a publication called “Entrepreneur” we saw the other day more of that propaganda which equates patents to innovation — a subject we last covered some weeks ago. “They say imitation is the highest form of flattery,” says the propaganda. “That may be true in fashion, but if you are an inventor, imitation can be bad for business.”

Well, how about collaboration? “As of Dec. 1,” continues the article, “Big Blue had been issued almost 7,000 patents in 2014. After IBM, the company with the second highest number of patents issued was Korean-headquartered technology giant Samsung, with more than 5,000 patents filed. Canon, Sony and Microsoft round out the top five, according to the infographic generated with United States Patent Office data by SmartUp, a legal startup that is building an online platform connecting attorneys and clients.”

“It is abundantly clear who software patents are good for.”So what? This basically shows which companies spend the most time doing paperwork. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are innovative.

Several years ago (if not decades ago) Adobe complained about software patents but now that it is a bigger company it patents software any single day, as Steve Brachmann serves to remind us. Microsoft did the same thing when it was a small company. As Bill Gates famously said: “If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”

It is abundantly clear who software patents are good for. Just watch who is hoarding software patents and creating cartels with them. Here is some nice propaganda which glorifies patents and even makes these cartels and armament with patents seem like a wonderful thing:

Whether they’re coming up with a bright idea themselves, or purchasing smaller companies that have had those bright ideas, all the big guns are active in these two key areas. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung – they’re all at it.

What do these companies have in common? Scale. But Google and Samsung (the two biggest Android players), unlike Apple and Microsoft, are not patent aggressors. They never sue rivals using software patents, they only react to lawsuits, the highest profile of which are from Apple, Microsoft, and their smaller proxies. The EFF will hopefully work to combat this.

Microsoft Wants to Devour the Competition (Linux), Devour People’s Data

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.”

Henry David Thoreau

Summary: Refuting the “new Microsoft” propaganda and some ludicrous concept that Microsoft is now “playing nice”

THE company which kick-started PRISM and works most closely with the NSA pretends to have become “open”. How ridiculous a notion! SoylentNews covered our story [1] and many comments there show that the large majority agrees that Microsoft is just trying to harm openness from the inside. That’s just not what corruptible journalists would have us believe.

“The company which kick-started PRISM and works most closely with the NSA pretends to have become “open”.”Dan Kedmey reminded us the other day that “Microsoft’s New App Will Help You Stalk Your Friends”, right after he had covered this bit of news about Microsoft’s “embrace and extend” at work (recall what Microsoft is doing to infiltrate Android). As Kedmey put it in his own words:

It’s acquiring apps and quickly rebranding them as Microsoft products

[...]

Acompli is the best example of Microsoft’s new playbook: In a matter of weeks, Microsoft took Acompli’s popular email app and rebranded it as Outlook for iOS and Android, to rave reviews from the tech press. Before the Acompli move, Microsoft’s iOS and Android Outlook offering was nothing more than a clunky web portal disguised as an app. It’s a safe bet that Sunrise and similar acquisitions will reappear as Microsoft-branded offerings just as quickly.

For those who deem it “good news” for Android, bear in mind that Microsoft is a surveillance company much worse than Google in many ways, as we have demonstrated over the years. Simon Sharwood said a couple of days ago that “Microsoft [is] to store deleted Exchange Online mails FOREVER”. Is anyone surprised by that? Outlook has already been banned for use by European politicians (the “app” at least is verboten for security reasons), which really says a lot about how Microsoft is viewed by security professionals.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft Loves Linux – or So They Say

    Just when you thought Embrace, Extend, Extinguish was going away, the article explains the multi-prong attack that Microsoft is quietly working in the background. And they are relying heavily on their friends in the press. Microsoft has always had its share of shills in the press, but, with the focus on Google Android and Apple its quietly become less of a Journalist career killer to be openly Pro Microsoft. Schestowitz explains the attack as killing Linux Softly with APIs and the lock-ins they bring as more Microsoft packages and services are ported to Linux, and by getting appointments to key Linux Foundation subcommittees, by slinging dollars and software contributions.

“This anti-trust thing will blow over. We haven’t changed our business practices at all.”

Bill Gates, 1995 (and still managing Microsoft)

Benoît Battistelli Thinks ‘President’ is Above the Law, Decides to Ignore the Court’s Ruling

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli has a Napoleonic interpretation of the word “President”

Benoît Battistelli

Summary: Staff of the EPO is given yet more reasons to protest tomorrow at the British Consulate, for the so-called ‘President’ of the EPO reminds everyone of the very raison d’être for the protest — a vain disregard for the rule of law

“Mr Battistelli issued today a communique in which he states that the Dutch judgement is wrong and announcing that the EPO, i.e. The President, will not follow it.

“From bad to worse,” said this one comment. The context of this comment is a Merpel update that says “Mr Battstelli’s letter comes only 3 days after a judgment by a Dutch court that criticised the EPO for limiting staff’s right to strike and for refusing collective bargaining. Under point 5.3 the Dutch court stated: “It lies in the nature of the activities of a Staff Union like SUEPO that they are allowed to criticise the (representatives of) the employer, also via internal channels.””

Battistelli, or “Batty-man” as some people call him (Batman in his own mind, if not just batty, which means “insane; crazy; eccentric.”), deserves much ridicule because he actually threatens people for exercising their rights. He seems to forget that he is subjected to European rules.

Staff that actually fears these remarks and the general behaviour from Battistelli ought to read this latest flier [PDF]. Battistelli knows he is on his way out, hence the aggression.

A dictator faces a trade-off between repression and building the support he needs. The problem is that the number of unhappy people increases as a function of the number of people being punished or killed, and, as Snyderwine puts it, “The ‘intimidation’ effect reduces the likelihood of a revolution while the ‘unhappiness’ effect increases it.”

”Severe censorship and the construction of firewalls is suggested as a countermeasure to avoid ‘unhappiness’ spreading via social media.”2 A further countermeasure is propaganda; dictators like to disseminate misinformation. They hope that “if censorship is strong and manipulative enough, people might not even know the things they are missing.” But this approach is doomed to fail. People talk to each other, read (foreign) newspapers and consult the internet. Sooner rather than later they will find out. And if people suffer severely enough under a dictator, they will revolt, as history has shown.

“When people lose faith in nearly everything … they are more likely to take the streets.” More [PDF]

Links 24/2/2015: Xfce 4.12 a Week Away, GNOME 3.16 Previewed

Posted in News Roundup at 4:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source switches gain more vendor traction

    The open source movement is making waves in the networking space as more vendors are opting to build open switches and routers in favor of proprietary technology. HP is the latest vendor to join the open source networking movement, and some are speculating that open networking could give Cisco a run for its money.

  • Weather Company CIO: 5 reasons why I believe in open source

    Since The Weather Company has been a major adopter of open source software, I’m often asked why we have chosen this path. Where is the value in taking the open source route to solve your business challenges? I’m a big advocate of open source, so I’m always happy to oblige. Here are my top five reasons:

  • Distributors Play Growing Role In Open Source Space

    If tech distributors want to survive in the market, they’ll have to provide channel partners with more training and enablement on open source and cloud-based solutions. Here’s how distributors have responded.

  • Nginx Gearing Up for HTTP2

    The open-source Nginx web server has been steadily gaining in popularity in recent years to become one of the most widely deployed web servers. To date, Nginx has delivered its traffic over HTTP 1.1, but at some point in the near future it will also enable HTTP/2.

  • HP deal marks milestone for open source networking hardware

    If you still harbored any doubts that the web is now driving the future of IT, last week’s announcement that HP will offer disaggregated products for web-scale data centers via deals with Cumulus and Accton should be enough to convince you.

  • eBay’s new Pulsar framework will analyze your data in real time
  • eBay launches Pulsar, an open-source tool for quickly taming big data

    E-commerce giant eBay needs to deal with new usage data — to personalize content and detect fraud, among other things — within seconds. So engineers went and built something to perfectly meet the company’s needs: Pulsar.

    The company revealed details about the system for the first time today, and eBay is making it available for anyone to use under an open-source license.

  • New open source strategy revelations at IBM Interconnect 2015

    An opportunity for IBM’s individual businesses to come together and demonstrate how they best leverage each other’s technologies and capabilities, IBM InterConnect 2015 will touch on cloud, mobile, DevOps, security, asset management, Internet of Things, application integration, and smarter processes.

  • Getting started with Project Atomic

    I had some concerns about learning Middleman and HAML, but there was a solid ‘fork-and-go’ contribution mindset. I started lurking in the -devel list and the IRC channels to start, and picked a single piece of content that I thought could use an update. I got in touch with one of the project folks on IRC and asked about the best way to go about creating and submitting my first change.

  • Events

    • Protocol Plugfest: opening closed doors to interoperability together

      The “world wide web” has been such an amazing success in large part because it was based on open protocols and formats that anyone can implement and use on a level playing field. This opened the way for interoperability on a grand and global scale, and is why http and HTML succeeded where many others failed previously.

    • SCALE 13x, Day 3: The Finale

      First things first: It’s a safe bet that Ruth Suehle could read the Raleigh phone book and make it sound interesting, with or without accompanying Lowenbrau slides. So it would come as no surprise that of all the great keynotes that have been given at the Southern California Linux Expo, Ruth’s Sunday keynote makes anyone’s SCALE short list as an all-time great.

  • Web Browsers

  • Business

    • HP’s Marten Mickos: Open Source Is Not a Business Model

      “Open source is a production model. In some cases, it is a distribution model … . You need a business model for any business that you build, but open source in itself is not that business model. Just like if you have a manufacturing branch and you use robots or you don’t use robots. That is a production question, but it is not a business model for the business you are in.”

  • Public Services/Government

    • Reuse is key for Danish telemedicine project

      Reuse is one of the main reasons for the development as open source of OpenTele, a Danish e-health telemedicine project. The health sector is crying out for open source ICT solutions, says Mike Kristoffersen, a senior software architect at the Danish Alexandra Institute. “Doctors and hospitals are seriously locked into medical ICT systems, making it difficult to do research, even for small scale projects.”

  • Licensing

    • Samsung, OpenChain Aim to Build Trust With Open Source Compliance

      Samsung is a top-five contributor to the Linux kernel and contributes upstream to more than 25 other open source projects. Yet the public perception that the company doesn’t care about open source has persisted, despite its efforts, said Ibrahim Haddad, head of the Open Source Innovation Group at Samsung in a presentation at Collaboration Summit last week.

    • Buyer Beware: Demystifying Open Source Software Licenses

      Not too long ago, acquiring software was pretty easy: gather requirements, meet with vendors to evaluate products, select the winner. Legal review took place late in the process, and the final terms that both customer and vendor could live with were generally agreed to quickly.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • 3D printers become viable tools in healthcare

      And with desktop 3D printers becoming increasingly affordable and reliable—and open source software such as Cura being versatile, easy to use, and free to update—barriers to further 3D printing innovation are quickly disappearing. What was once only available to well-funded practitioners has now become genuinely accessible to every patient, nurse, doctor, surgeon, hospital, and teaching facility.

    • OpenStack at Walmart, project reform status, and more
    • The Pi Tank – 3D Printed Open Source Smartphone Controlled Raspberry Pi Robot
    • How I upgraded my garden’s ugly drip system with a sexy OpenSprinkler

      After a few hours of work alongside an electrical engineering buddy this week, my home garden drip system became powered by a Raspberry Pi. I can control the entire thing locally from my iPhone and, to be frank, it’s pretty flippin’ cool.

      For some background, I’m a very lazy gardener. When my wife and I bought our house in 2012, our horticultural mission was Hippocratic (do no harm). In other words, we wanted—at the very least—to not kill the plants we inherited from the previous owners. So while some people relax when they do weeding or other green thumb-related activities, we find it tedious and uninspiring. I’m the guy who jumped at the chance to review the Estonian-made Click and Grow.

    • This guy is the Mark Zuckerberg of open-source genetics

      Three years ago, Bastian Greshake spit in a vial and sent it off to personal genomics company 23andMe for analysis. He’d spent years studying the genetics of other organisms, but didn’t know much about his own DNA. He was curious.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Purdue plans to expand open-source online coursework

        A plan to use online open-source curricula for more classes at Purdue University starting this fall could collectively save students up to $1 million.

        The Journal and Courier reports the plan would be an alternative to online programs that can cost students more than $100 per class to access.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • EZchip Announces 100 Core 64-bit ARM Chip

      An Israeli company known as EZchip has introduced their TILE-Mx processors that ship in up to 100-core 64-bit ARM configurations with up to 200 Gigabit Ethernet throughput.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The End to Industrialized Farming

      In 2013 the United Nations released a report indicating that the world’s food needs could be met through organic, local farms. The United Nations report stated that food security, poverty, gender inequality, and climate change can be addressed with a significant shift towards organic, localized farming. In contrast with industrialized farming, organic and local farms cut down on the energy and pollution that transporting food requires. Another study revealed that organic farming utilized less water than industrialized farming, as well as a general reduction in pollution related to production.

  • Security

    • Lenovo Sued Over Superfish Adware
    • The Venture Capitalists Behind Superfish

      Lots of people are talking about the Superfish malware debacle. People are starting to understand just how bad this situation is.

      [...]

      I’d like to see the tech press dig into this. And the venture capitalists involved, particularly the board members, should talk about what they knew and didn’t know.

    • Laptop Buying Advice?

      My current Lenovo X201 laptop has been with me for over four years. I’ve been looking at new laptop models over the years thinking that I should upgrade. Every time, after checking performance numbers, I’ve always reached the conclusion that it is not worth it. The most performant Intel Broadwell processor is the the Core i7 5600U and it is only about 1.5 times the performance of my current Intel Core i7 620M. Meanwhile disk performance has increased more rapidly, but changing the disk on a laptop is usually simple. Two years ago I upgraded to the Samsung 840 Pro 256GB disk, and this year I swapped that for the Samsung 850 Pro 1TB, and both have been good investments.

    • How to delete Superfish from Lenovo computers permanently
    • Moving On From Superfish

      It’s true, RMS was right. The folks at LinuxBSDos.com are right. The world needs to use Free Software.

    • Lenovo’s Superfish spectacle: ‘Catastrophic’ security failures discovered

      Last week, reports surfaced which claimed that Lenovo Notebooks have been issued to consumers containing a preloaded security flaw. Originally, the Chinese tech giant said the Superfish adware was not a security concern — however, eventually the company realized and admitted that the software was able to install its own self-signing man-in-the-middle (MITM) proxy service which has the potential to hijack SSL and TLS connections — a severe, nasty security vulnerability.

    • SSL-busting code that threatened Lenovo users found in a dozen more apps

      Richard went on to publish the SHA1 cryptographic hashes he used to identify software that contained the Komodia code libraries. He invited fellow researchers to use the hashes to identify still more potentially dangerous software circulating online.

      “We’re publishing this analysis to raise awareness about the scope of local SSL MITM software so that the community can also help protect people and their computers,” he wrote. “We think that shining the light on these practices will help the ecosystem better analyze and respond to similar situations as they occur.”

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Samba vulnerability (CVE-2015-0240)

      Samba is the most commonly used Windows interoperability suite of programs, used by Linux and Unix systems. It uses the SMB/CIFS protocol to provide a secure, stable, and fast file and print services. It can also seamlessly integrate with Active Directory environments and can function as a domain controller as well as a domain member (legacy NT4-style domain controller is supported, but the Active Directory domain controller feature of Samba 4 is not supported yet).

    • Samba 4.1.17 Security Release Now Available for Download

      The Samba development team has announced earlier today, February 23, the immediate availability for download of Samba 4.1.17, a security release that addresses the CVE-2015-0240 security vulnerability related to an unexpected code execution in Samba daemon (smbd).

    • Samb-AAAHH! Scary remote execution vuln spotted in Windows-Linux interop code

      Linux admins were sent scrambling to patch their boxes on Monday after a critical vulnerability was revealed in Samba, the open source Linux-and-Windows-compatibility software.

  • Finance

    • The Real Cost of Walmart’s Low Prices

      Like other large companies with globalized production chains, Walmart exploits workers outside of the United States, but the consequences of these exploitative practices impact everyone. In the U.S., social and economic pressures force Walmart employees to accept low wages.

    • 5 Insane Things You Believe About Money (Thanks to Movies)

      I bet every one of you can remember the first time financial reality smacked you in the face like a Hulk-thrown engine block. (“I work two jobs, shouldn’t I be able to afford to get this festering wisdom tooth taken out?”). That’s because unless your parents were wealthy, you left school knowing jack shit about how money worked. We have a trillion dollars in credit card debt to show for it, along with an upper class who just can’t figure out what the rest of us are bitching about.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • The Scary World That Is Arabic Twitter

      As an independent journalist who contributes to various organizations inside and outside the U.S., Twitter is my virtual newsroom. It is where I get story ideas, connect with sources and engage with my readers. On average I spend at least four hours daily on Twitter. As the Islamic State’s (ISIS) atrocities started to dominate the news cycle during the mid part of last year, most of my Tweets have become very ISIS-focused. I tweet about their latest actions, and the reactions that followed. As an native Arabic speaker, I spend a big chunk of my time following Arabic hashtags, Arabic-speaking influencers, and news organizations, and boy, let me tell you what I found. The world of Arabic Twitter is a scary one. I’m stunned by the amount of support that ISIS enjoys on Twitter, and mostly among Arabic speakers.

  • Privacy

    • Mark Zuckerberg ‘not sure’ about Internet.org advertising

      Advertising is not a “near term” priority for Facebook’s Internet.org initiative to get more people online in the developing world, according to chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

      Facebook launched the scheme in 2013 with fellow technology firms including Samsung, Qualcomm, Ericsson and Nokia as its effort to connect “the next few billion people” to the internet.

      The social network has since worked with mobile operators in countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, Zambia and Kenya to provide free access to basic internet services from their mobile phones.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Q&A: The Full Interview on Connecting the World

      Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has a big, expensive goal: to connect the world to the Internet. He spoke with Emily Chang about his plans, after returning from a trip through Southeast Asia and India last year as part of his Internet.org initiative. The interview airs Feb. 19 on Bloomberg Television’s Studio 1.0. The transcript below has been lightly edited.

    • There’s a massive new leak of confidential spy files from MI6, Mossad and the FSB

      Al-Jazeera has obtained hundreds of confidential “spy cables” from some of the world’s top intelligence agencies, in what the news channel is calling “the largest intelligence leak since Snowden.”

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Here Comes the ACTA Attack – Again

      Three years ago I began a series of articles about ACTA – the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. ACTA was originally about tackling counterfeit goods, but had a completely inappropriate digital chapter added, which tried to ride on the coat-tails of the initial plan by suggesting that digital copies were somehow as dangerous as fake medicines or aircraft parts. After a fierce battle that saw hundreds of thousands of Europeans writing to their MEPs, and even taking to the streets, ACTA was thrown out by the European Parliament.

    • Copyrights

      • The Australian Pirates Leave PPI

        The Pirate Party of Australia has been unhappy with the structure functioning of Pirate Parties International for some time and after the PPAU membership gave their board the power to potentially leave international organisation at their last national conference.

      • Draft copyright code published

        Rights holders and ISPs have published a draft of the Government mandated code intended to combat online copyright infringement.

      • Torrent Site Admin Can Pay Piracy Fine…in 227 Years

        After being chased down by a coalition of mainstream entertainment companies, a French court has just handed a former torrent site operator a six month suspended sentence. ‘Boris P’ must also pay two million euros in damages, an amount he predicts could be cleared in approximately 227 years.

02.23.15

Links 23/2/2015: Ubuntu Kylin 14.04.2 LTS, Cinnamon 2.6 Previews

Posted in News Roundup at 6:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • My Four-Year-Old Daughter Rejected Windows 10

      Eimi, my four year old daughter, has interacted with Linux-powered computers since she was born. I still remember those nights in which I would pace up and down in my office, holding her and rocking her on my arms while the Linux desktop played music.

      Then, Eimi grew and started enjoying her own room and, rather precociously, discovered how to use desktops and laptops. I will never forget her first encounter with PicarOS, the Linux distro for children!

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Xfce 4.12 One Week Away, Xubuntu Technical Lead Says

      According to this blog entry by Sean Davis, Xfce contributor and Xubuntu Technical Lead, Xfce 4.12 is to be released in about one week, this being quite an important announcement, since it comes after almost three years in which no new releases have occurred.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • What’s coming to Green Island: part 2
      • Libinput support added to Touchpad KCM

        As an aftermath of the discussion in Fedora, libinput maintainer Peter Hutter contacted KDE developers, including yours truly who is guilty of porting the kcm-touchpad to KDE Frameworks 5. As I know nothing about input stack or touchpads in general (phew), Peter was kind enough to step up, clone the kcm-touchpad and add support for libinput in addition to (existing) synaptics driver. All I had to do then, is to port it again to Frameworks 5.

      • KDE Touchpad Configuration Now Supports Libinput

        With Libinput support being important not only for Wayland input but also is starting to be used for X11/X.Org input too, the KDE input configuration module now supports configuring libinput devices.

      • Plasma Sprint in Barcelona

        We want to get KInfoCenter out of this “nerdy corner” by augmenting it with rich and beautiful modules and encourage users to check it out. The energy information module is the first step in that direction, other developers have also expressed their interest for that, for instance, it could show much more detailed information about what Baloo is doing at the moment.

      • Kronometer 1.6 released

        Kronometer 1.6 is now available for download. This new release brings an improved UI in the Settings dialog, as well as a couple of annoying bugs fixed.

      • TEA 40.0.0 Released – Qt Text Editor with Many Functions

        TEA is a Qt-based text editor with support for tabs, syntax highlighting, spell-checking, editing support for Wikipedia or LaTex, as well as many configuration options. The latest release, 40.0.0, has been put out earlier today and it represents a major milestone.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME’s Log-In Screen Will Still Work Without Wayland

        With the just-released GNOME 3.16 Beta there’s a switch to use Wayland by default for the GDM log-in screen. For those wondering what this means to those using binary blob graphics drivers on your systems or in cases where Wayland isn’t working, fear not.

      • GNOME Maps App Can Now Display Contacts with Geocodable Addresses

        The first beta of the upcoming GNOME Maps 3.16 app of the GNOME desktop environment has been announced as part of the GNOME 3.16 Beta 1 release of the controversial desktop environment. In this beta, GNOME Maps received several improvements and bug fixes that we’ve detailed below for your general information.

      • GNOME 3.16 Beta Brings Wayland-Based Log-in Screen

        Matthias Clasen has announced the release of GNOME 3.15.90, the GNOME 3.16 Beta, that’s coming out slightly delayed but still in time for some weekend testing.

        The saturday afternoon release of this first beta in the GNOME 3.15 series brings several more “big features” that have been a priority for the GNOME 3.16 development cycle.

      • Cinnamon 2.6 to Be a Massive Update, Panel Support for Multiple Monitors Incoming

        Cinnamon, a Linux desktop environment developed by the same guys who are also responsible for Linux Mint, will be getting some very important new features with the next 2.6 version that will be out soon.

      • Cinnamon 2.6 brings panels to multiple monitors

        Cinnamon is one of my favorite open source projects because it actually listens to what users ‘need’ and then works on features to fulfill those needs.

        Despite being a full time KDE Plasma user, Cinnamon is one DE that I would be very comfortable with. That doesn’t mean I don’t like Gnome or Unity; I do. It’s just that Plasma and Cinnamon are more suited for my needs – they both are extremely customization and allow me to give a personalized touch to my PC.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • AntiX Linux: A Brief Review

        Certain factors like systemd are polarizing the Linux community. It seems that either you like it or you hate it. Some of the Debian developers are getting nervous and so a fork of Debian called Devuan has been announced.

        I’m always looking at other distros that emphasize compactness and the ability to run on old hardware. I was also intrigued by the Debian controversy with systemd so when I saw AntiX 13.2 was based on Debian Wheezy I had to give it a try. AntiX comes on a single CD so installing it was easy enough.

      • Running Bodhi 3.0.0 Legacy on Older Hardware

        There are many reasons why people use Bodhi Linux. Some use it because they really like the Enlightenment desktop, and Bodhi has pioneered the integration of Enlightenment to create a distro that is both beautiful, elegant and functional. Others use it because they want an operating system that stays out of their way. Again, although Enlightenment offers plenty of whistles and bells for those who need or want them, it can also be configured to be highly minimalist and use a very small amount of system resources.

    • New Releases

      • 7.5-TEST-1 Release Notes

        Parsix GNU/Linux 7.5 (code name Rinaldo) brings the latest stable GNOME desktop environment, a new kernel built using our modernized kernel build system, updated installer, a new version of systemd and an upgraded X.Org Server. This version has been synchronized with Debian Wheezy repositories as of February 20, 2015. Thanks to the upgraded X.Org server, there is a noticable desktop performance improvement. Parsix Rinaldo ships with GNOME 3.14 and LibreOffice productivity suit by default. Highlights: GNOME Shell 3.14.3, X.Org 1.16.4, GRUB 2, GNU Iceweasel (Firefox) 35.0.1, GParted 0.12.1, Empathy 3.12.7, LibreOffice 3.5.4, VirtualBox 4.3.18 and a kernel based on Linux 3.14.32 with TuxOnIce 3.3, BFS and other extra patches. Live DVD has been compressed using SquashFS and XZ.

      • Q4OS 0.5.26 version released

        The main purpose of this release is to fix ‘unetbootin’ weighty issue. Some Q4OS USB installation media created with unetbootin utility didn’t correctly extract all the archives and packages. It is now fixed as well as several other bugs. Packages updates and fine tuning of Q4OS Setup utility has been made as well.

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Mir Now Depends Upon C++14

            While many open-source projects are still transitioning over to a C++11 code-base, Ubuntu’s Mir display server is already moving onto C++14.

            C++14 was officially released last December as a small update over C++11. While it’s officially just a few months old, GCC and LLVM/Clang have been working on supporting the C++14 changes for some time.

          • Kadu 2.0 Instant Messenger Client Released with Better Ubuntu Unity Support

            After two alphas, one beta, and three RC (Release Candidate) versions, the final release of the anticipated Kadu 2.0 IM client is now available for download. Kadu is an open-source, user-friendly, flexible, and stable Instant Messenger client that supports the Jabber, XMPP, and Gadu-Gadu protocols. Kadu 2.0 is a major release that brings a number of new features and improvements over previous versions.

          • I wrote some more apps for Ubuntu Phone

            As before, all these apps are GPL 3 licensed and available on Launchpad. What’s new is now you can browse them online due to a great unofficial web appstore made by Brian Douglass. This solves one of my previous gripes about not being able to find new applications.

          • Writing Ubuntu Phone Apps Seem Fairly Easy

            Robert Ancell of Canonical posted a new blog post this morning about writing some more apps for Ubuntu Phone. He shows off a simple dice roller app written in just over 400 lines of QML, a morse sender example in less than 600 lines of code, and a yatzy game in less than 1k lines of code all with QML. He’s put out the source to these example Ubuntu Phone apps under the GNU GPLv3.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 to Get Locally Integrated Menus by Default

            Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) will implement Locally Integrated Menus by default, making this a very important change for Unity and the operating system.

          • Canonical targets IoT for critical infrastructure

            The increase in hacking attacks that are aligned to geo-political issues is on the increase. Over the last decade, conflicts on the ground have often spilled over to groups of hackers, some state sponsored and some claiming to act independent of the state. The majority of these hackers have chosen to deface government websites or launch DDoS style attacks to force websites offline.

          • Canonical announces new partnership
          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • SCALE 13x, Day 2: Knock on Wood

      The day Saturday started with Monty Taylor’s Flying Circus. HP’s Monty Taylor, accompanied by his rubber duck, gave an insightful talk on the direction of Open Source and how media-fabricated one-liners — akin to the misconception that lemmings jump off cliffs — affect the tech industry and, more importantly, what can be done about it.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • OpenStack at Walmart, project reform status, and more
    • Open Data

      • 3 ways open data is revolutionizing product development

        Somewhere between these two factors — what people really need and don’t have on one end, and what technologies can make a meaningful impact on the other — lies the sweet spot where the next breakthrough product is waiting. And as some leading companies have started to discover, open source data can lead you straight to it. Most recently I witnessed this play out with a company in medical device development — although the learnings from their experience are applicable across industries. Here’s why:

Leftovers

  • American Airlines Strands Luggage From Multiple Flights In Miami; Blames ‘Technical Issue’

    MIA may be the airport code for Miami International Airport, but it’s also the state of luggage for hundreds — if not thousands — of passengers flying on American Airlines out of Miami on Friday: missing in action.

    An apparent “technical issue” with its baggage conveyor belts at Miami International Airport prevented American Airlines from loading any planes with checked luggage on Friday. For eight hours, the airline let its flights depart sans bags, but did not notify passengers of the issue. Instead, most passengers discovered when they reached their destinations that their luggage hadn’t.

  • Science

    • Google boss warns of ‘forgotten century’ with email and photos at risk

      Humanity’s first steps into the digital world could be lost to future historians, Vint Cerf told the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in San Jose, California, warning that we faced a “forgotten generation, or even a forgotten century” through what he called “bit rot”, where old computer files become useless junk.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Owen Paterson gets his facts wrong in pro-GMO push

      An emotive press release hypes the visit to South Africa by the discredited former UK environment secretary Owen Paterson. The press release, sent from the right-wing think-tank that Paterson founded, UK2020, accuses the European Union and Greenpeace of “condemning millions of people in developing countries to starvation and death by their stubborn refusal to accept the benefits of genetically modified crops and other potentially life-saving advances in plant sciences.”

  • Security

    • Lenovo: Avoid!

      As for me, I will not be buying a Lenovo computer, ever.

    • A Bit Late, But Lenovo CTO Admits The Company Screwed Up

      We’ve had a bunch of posts today (and yesterday) about the “Superfish” debacle, with a few of them focusing on Lenovo failing to recognize what a problem it was — first denying any serious security problem, and then calling it “theoretical.” It appears that Lenovo has now realized it totally screwed up and is finally saying so.

    • Dear Lenovo, it’s not me, it’s you.

      I’ve been a mostly happy Thinkpad owner for almost 15 years. My first Thinkpad was a 570, followed by an X40, an X61s, and an X220. There might have been one more in there, my archives only go back a decade. Although it’s lately gotten harder to buy Thinkpads at UNB as Dell gets better contracts with our purchasing people, I’ve persevered, mainly because I’m used to the Trackpoint, and I like the availability of hardware service manuals. Overall I’ve been pleased with the engineering of the X series.

    • Superfish means its time to replace your Lenovo computer

      Lenovo is all over the media recently, and not for a good reason. The revelation that it corrupted its computers with the vile Superfish adware has shocked many people in the computing world. It’s almost impossible to believe that a company could be so incredibly stupid and so unbelievably uncaring about the security of its customers.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • What Would Malcolm X Think?

      FIFTY years ago today my father, Malcolm X, was assassinated…

    • Australia rules out Sweden for $39 billion submarine contract

      Australia will not partner with Sweden to build its next-generation submarine fleet, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Friday, narrowing the list of potential partners for the A$50 billion ($39 billion) program to Germany, France and Japan.

      Swedish defense firm Saab, France’s state-controlled naval contractor DCNS and Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems have expressed interest in the project.

    • Pakistan Army increasing cooperation with CIA on drone strikes after Peshawar massacre, expert says

      The Pakistan Army is once again cooperating with the US on drone strikes, a renowned expert on the country’s military tells the Bureau in the latest edition of Drone News.

    • CIA-planted ‘evidence’ may force IAEA review of Iran’s alleged nuke arms program – report

      Doctored blueprints for nuclear weapon components supplied to Iran by the CIA 15 years ago could force the IAEA to review its conclusions on Iran’s atomic program, which was potentially based on misleading intelligence, Bloomberg reports.

      The details of the Central Intelligence Agency operation back in 2000 were made public as part of a judicial hearing into a case involving Jeffrey Sterling, an agent convicted of leaking classified information on CIA spying against Iran.

    • CIA’s Nuclear-Bomb Sting Said to Spur Review in Iran Arms Case

      Details of a 15-year-old Central Intelligence Agency sting emerging from a court case in the U.S. may prompt United Nations monitors to reassess some evidence related to Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons work, two western diplomats said.

      International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors in Vienna will probably review intelligence they received about Iran as a result of the revelations, said the two diplomats who are familiar with the IAEA’s Iran file and asked not to be named because the details are confidential. The CIA passed doctored blueprints for nuclear-weapon components to Iran in February 2000, trial documents have shown.

    • The CIA Once Ran Brothels And Dosed Unsuspecting Customers With LSD

      For ten years during the Cold War, the CIA conducted mind-control experiments on unsuspecting San Franciscans. Dubbed Operation Midnight Climax, the program was packed with salacious details: a power-mad narcotics agent, a brothel equipped with two-way mirrors, and gallons of LSD.

    • Christian War Crimes Prize

      After destroying Hiroshima, President Truman offered thanks to God for the power to kill indiscriminately…

    • The Israeli agent behind enemy lines

      “The Israeli intelligence services paid me to complete certain missions, such as secret missions in Syria under the cover of a reporter. These missions were at times very dangerous, and I risked the worst, including death in the case of failure. I traveled to Damascus a number of time in order to make contact with the local elite, doctors, researchers and others – all of whom wanted to emigrate to the United States. Every time I would get the equivalent to a month’s wage.”

    • David Swanson – Not Very Funny

      More broadly, Jeb pushed the idea that the Middle East is a disaster because it hasn’t been bombed enough, and that the U.S. is disliked because it hasn’t attacked enough countries. There are two problems with this. One, it’s a disgusting and ridiculous lie that has been getting people killed for many years. A Gallup poll early last year of 65 countries found the U.S. to be considered far and away the biggest threat to peace in the world. The nations in the worst shape are the ones the U.S. has bombed. U.S. ambassador to the UN Samantha Powers has actually argued that we should stop paying attention to what bombing Libya did to Libya in order to be sufficiently willing to bomb Iraq and Syria. ISIS actually produced a 60-minute movie begging the United States to go to war against it because recruitment would soar. The U.S. obliged. Recruitment soared. This is how disliked the United States has made itself: organizations are willing to be bombed if it will show them to be the leading opponents of the United States — a country that, by the way, puts over a trillion dollars a year into war when tens of billions could address world hunger, clean water, and other basic needs. For a fraction of war spending, the U.S. could address climate chaos, agriculture, education, etc., and become the most loved government on earth. But would that feel as good as screaming threats at ISIS?

    • Russia Bashing Big Lies Persist

      They report nothing about Washington supplying Kiev with heavy weapons since the conflict began last year.

    • O’Reilly’s “Combat Situation” Reporting Problem Just Got Worse

      Seven of Bill O’Reilly’s former CBS News colleagues who were with the Fox host in Buenos Aires have challenged his account of the riot he has recently come under fire for describing as a “combat situation.” As contradictions to O’Reilly’s account of his 1982 reporting on the Falklands War build, O’Reilly has responded to critics with personal attacks.

    • On CNN’s Reliable Sources, Media Critics Dissect O’Reilly’s Politicization Of Criticism Of His Falklands War Reporting
    • Former CBS News Colleague Contradicts O’Reilly’s Story About Argentina Protest After Falkland Islands War
    • Bill O’Reilly: Former CBS News Correspondent Eric Engberg “Is A Coward” For Criticizing His Falklands War Reporting
    • Turkish Forces Attack Syrian Troops

      Former US ambassador to Syria Robert Ford admits moderates don’t exist in numbers and motivation enough to matter.

    • Argentina charges US interference in crisis over prosecutor’s death

      The political crisis precipitated by the mysterious January 18 death of Alberto Nisman has continued to deepen after a mass march called by fellow prosecutors and backed by the government’s right-wing opponents drew large crowds into the streets of Buenos Aires Wednesday to mark one month since the Argentine federal prosecutor was found with a fatal bullet wound to his head.

    • Failing Tonkin Gulf Test on Ukraine

      For instance, Congress could investigate the role of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt in orchestrating the political crisis that led to a violent coup overthrowing Ukraine’s constitutionally elected President Viktor Yanukovych a year ago.

    • RABBLE ROUSER: Peace activists give food for thought

      He reminded us that in Nazi Germany, many people had to look the other way to allow for the horrendous atrocities while others risked their lives and paid a high price. He also pointed to the historical reality of the FBI illegally spying on both blacks and Peace Groups during the Vietnam era.

    • Gallup: Americans’ Fear of Russia Soars

      Gallup headlined on February 16th, “Americans Increasingly See Russia as Threat, Top U.S. Enemy,” and reported that whereas back in 2011 only 3% of Americans answered “Russia” when asked “What country anywhere in the world do you consider to be the United States’ greatest enemy?” 18% cite “Russia” today, which is 3% more than the #2-cited threat, “North Korea,” cited now by 15% (which had been 16% back in 2011, when the top-cited threat of all was then Iran, at 25%, which is now cited by only 9% of Americans, as being America’s “greatest enemy.”

    • America Threatens to Wage War on Russia: “US public is being Prepped to Hate Russians and to Fear Russia”

      Gallup headlined on February 16th, “Americans Increasingly See Russia as Threat, Top U.S. Enemy,” and reported that whereas back in 2011 only 3% of Americans answered “Russia” when asked “What country anywhere in the world do you consider to be the United States’ greatest enemy?” 18% cite “Russia” today, which is 3% more than the #2-cited threat, “North Korea,” cited now by 15% (which had been 16% back in 2011, when the top-cited threat of all was then Iran, at 25%, which is now cited by only 9% of Americans, as being America’s “greatest enemy.”

    • Swedish migrant aides ‘were Isis recruiters’

      Sweden’s national job agency has sacked its whole network of immigrant resettlement assistants after suspicion that some of them may have tried to recruit newly arrived immigrants to jihadist-style militant groups, such as Isis.

    • US Backing for ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels: Long Reported, Continually Forgotten

      The Guardian story cited the Pentagon in acknowledging that “a small group of US special forces and military planners had been to Jordan during the summer to help…train selected rebel fighters.”

    • America loves its war porn: “American Sniper” and the Hollywood propaganda machine

      In the age of the all-volunteer military and an endless stream of war zone losses and ties, it can be hard to keep Homeland enthusiasm up for perpetual war. After all, you don’t get a 9/11 every year to refresh those images of the barbarians at the airport departure gates. In the meantime, Americans are clearly finding it difficult to remain emotionally roiled up about our confusing wars in Syria and Iraq, the sputtering one in Afghanistan, and various raids, drone attacks, and minor conflicts elsewhere.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • World Bank Refuses to Consider Haitian Communities’ Complaint about New Mining Law

      Last week, the World Bank Inspection Panel refused to consider a complaint from Haitian communities about the Bank’s support for development of the mining sector in Haiti. Communities affected by mining activity and the Justice in Mining Collective, a group of six Haitian civil society organizations, submitted the complaint in early January, alleging violations of their rights to information and participation and threats of human rights abuses and environmental harms. The Inspection Panel—an office established to address complaints from people affected by World Bank-sponsored projects—recognized that the complaint raised “serious and legitimate” concerns and that the mining industry presents significant risks. The office nevertheless denied the complaint on narrow, technical grounds. The complainants expect to receive a copy of the decision in French today.[1]

  • Finance

    • In Remarks on Obama, Rudy Giuliani to the Core

      It has been years since he disclosed his assets, but Mr. Giuliani revealed as a presidential candidate that his personal wealth had ballooned from a modest sum when he left City Hall to more than $30 million in 2007.

    • Straw and Rifkind deny ‘cash for access’ wrongdoing

      Two former foreign secretaries have been secretly filmed apparently offering their services to a private company for thousands of pounds.

    • Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind face ‘cash for access’ allegations

      Two former foreign secretaries are facing accusations of being involved in a new “cash for access” scandal by offering to use their political influence in return for payment.

    • ‘Cash for access’ scandal: How to buy a politician

      The Telegraph looks at how to buy a politician, including Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind

    • Hillary Clinton’s Complex Corporate Ties

      Among recent secretaries of state, Hillary Clinton was one of the most aggressive global cheerleaders for American companies, pushing governments to sign deals and change policies to the advantage of corporate giants such as General Electric Co., Exxon Mobil Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Boeing Co.

    • Hillary, Jeb and $$$$$$

      This was on top of another $4 million that he reportedly netted the previous week in one evening alone at the Manhattan home of a private equity bigwig. After Manhattan came the Washington, D.C., area, where he racked up $1 million at two events, according to Politico. An atlas of cities, an avalanche of dough: It’s what successful campaigns are made of, and his is expected to raise between $50 million and $100 million over a span of three months.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Denying History: Cuba in the German Liberal Press

      The U.S.-Cuban negotiations were extensively discussed in the liberal German press. A closer reading of the news indicated a slant in coverage: Cuba was depicted as a terror state and a nefarious actor. The USA, on the other hand, was described as a benign actor with noble aims such as to bring democracy and reforms to Cuba.

    • Reel life is often significantly different than real life — even for Academy Award winners

      Reel life is often significantly different than real life — even for Academy Award winners. Here are eight movies that got their facts wrong.

    • So who is the Biggest Prevaricator: Brian Williams or Bill O’Reilly?

      According to David Corn’s February 19, 2015 article “Bill O’Reilly Has His Own Brian Williams Problem” in Mother Jones–the Fox News host stands accused of making false claims of stolen valor, similar in nature to those made by NBC News anchor Brian Williams. This despite O’Reilly’s feigned outrage at the hypocrisy of Mr. Williams. The article cited several instances of O’Reilly’s own historic, documented duplicity, but there was another one which went unreported that came from his own words as written within one of O’Reilly’s own books.

    • Erick Erickson Follows Scott Walker In Questioning Obama’s Christianity

      Fox contributor Erick Erickson parroted Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) to cast doubt on President Obama’s Christianity, alleging he is not a Christian “in any meaningful way,” despite the fact that right-wing attempts to call Obama’s faith into question have long been discredited.

    • The Sexist Attacks On Women For Saying The Same Thing As Men

      The National Review’s Ian Tuttle called the two women an incapable “hapless duo” with a “Lucy and Ethel routine” (Harf is blonde, Psaki a red head) who were trying to create a version of the comedy film Legally Blonde at the US Department of State. In a separate piece, the conservative journal of record’s Kevin Williamson called Harf “cretinous” and a “misfit who plays Messy Marvin to Jen Psaki’s feckless Pippi Longstocking.”

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Laura Poitras’ CITIZENFOUR Awarded Oscar for Best Documentary in 2014

      CITIZENFOUR, Laura Poitras’ riveting documentary about Edward Snowden’s efforts to shed light on gross surveillance abuses by the United States government and its partners, just won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Tonight’s Oscar win recognizes not only the incredible cinematography of Poitras, but also her daring work with a high-stakes whistleblower and the journalism that kick-started a worldwide debate about surveillance and government transparency. We suspect this award was also, as the New York Times pointed out, “a way for Academy members to make something of a political statement, without having to put their own reputations on the line.”

    • Citizenfour: Inside Story of NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Captured in New Film by Laura Poitras

      “At this stage I can offer nothing more than my word. I am a senior government employee in the intelligence community. I hope you understand that contacting you is extremely high risk … This will not be a waste of your time.” This was one of the first messages Edward Snowden wrote to filmmaker Laura Poitras beginning an exchange that helped expose the massive surveillance apparatus set up by the National Security Agency. Months later, Poitras would meet Snowden for the first time in a Hong Kong hotel room. Poitras filmed more than 20 hours of footage as Snowden debriefed reporters Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill. That footage — most unseen until now — forms the backbone of Poitras’ new film, “Citizenfour.” She joins us to talk about the film and her own experience with government surveillance. The film is the third installment of her 9/11 trilogy that also includes “My Country, My Country” about the Iraq War and “The Oath” about the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Poitras’ NSA reporting contributed to a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service awarded to The Guardian and The Washington Post. We also speak with Jeremy Scahill, who appears in the film reporting on recent disclosures about NSA surveillance from a new, anonymous government source. Scahill, along with Poitras and Greenwald, founded The Intercept, a new media venture to continue investigating whistleblower leaks.

    • Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald on Government Surveillance

      Laura Poitras, nominated for best documentary for “Citizenfour,” said she had seen some changes as a result of her film, about the whistleblower Edward Snowden and his revelations of government surveillance.

    • Laura Poitras on Her Oscar-Nominated Snowden Doc Citizenfour

      When we sit down in her New York office on the evening of February 14, I wish Laura Poitras a happy Valentine’s Day. “Oh, is that today?” she replies. The filmmaker has ample reasons to be unaware of ordinary reality. It has been two years since, while making a documentary about government surveillance of citizens, she received an encrypted email from a correspondent who identified himself only as “citizenfour.” The anonymous emailer turned out, of course, to be Edward Snowden. Since Citizenfour was released to great acclaim last October, she has been in constant motion, mostly outside the U.S. Two nights before we meet, she and Glenn Greenwald were joined, via satellite link from Moscow, by a smiling, relaxed Snowden for discussions at New York’s IFC Center and the New School. The current week contains two more milestones in the film’s remarkable career: It is the odds-on favorite to win Best Documentary at the Oscars this Sunday; the following night, it will have its first telecast on HBO.

    • Edward Snowden Congratulates Laura Poitras for Winning Best Documentary Oscar for Citizenfour

      The following is a statement from Edward Snowden provided to the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents him…

    • Why Kaspersky was right to reveal NSA secrets

      This means that the NSA likely had help from the corporations that build the hard drives and USB devices in question, because they’d have no access to the source code otherwise, according to Reuters. It opens up the possibility that the NSA used an American company’s cooperation with a foreign company on projects as an invitation to steal the American company’s proprietary information, too, even though U.S. law explicitly prohibits this type of covert operation.

    • Wanda Sykes on Working at the NSA, Coming Out, & Shooing the FLOTUS Away

      Before her career in comedy, Sykes got, as she called it, “a good government job.” She worked for the NSA and, when prompted, confessed that “yes, she learned some things that were surprising.” She did not elaborate, maybe because it was long ago, or maybe because none of us had the proper clearance.

    • Jeb Bush: ‘I don’t understand’ why anyone is upset about the NSA
    • Jeb Bush Backs NSA Powers
    • Find out if the UK used NSA data to spy on you

      While it’s sadly likely that your communications have passed through an intelligence agency at some point, it’s usually difficult to know just who got your data. However, you now have a rare opportunity to find out.

    • Kaspersky Lab Cannot Confirm NSA Behind Espionage Program on 30 Countries

      Ealier this week, the Moscow-based internet security company published a report saying that spying software operated by a hacker group had infected over 500 computers in over 30 countries including Iran, Russia, China and Syria. The revelations triggered media reports about the US NSA being behind the espionage.

    • Hard-drive spy malware linked to NSA

      A powerful cyberspying tool can tap into millions of computers worldwide through secretly installed malware, security researchers say, with many signs pointing to a US-led effort.

    • NSA spied through Seagate, Micron, Western Digital gear, Russian researchers say (Correction)

      The NSA’s spy programs can function in disk drives sold by more than a dozen companies, which means just about every computer on the market vulnerable to eavesdropping. Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based security software maker, discovered that implants could be placed by what it called the “Equation Group,” a reference to the NSA. The finding was confirmed by Reuters via a former NSA employee.

    • Vermont Legislation Goes Head-to-Head with NSA Spying

      A bill filed in the Vermont House last week represents a transpartisan effort taking on the surveillance state. The legislation would not only support efforts to turn off NSA’s water in Utah, but would have practical effects on federal surveillance programs if passed.

      Vermont Rep. Teo Zagar (D-Barnard) introduced H.204 on Feb. 12. His three cosponsors literally span the political spectrum, including a Republican, an Independent and a member of the Progressive Party.

    • FBI surveillance tactics jeopardized by fight over NSA phone snooping program
    • NSA Spy Hacking Undermines US Credibility Over Outlawing Cyberattacks

      The United States is planning to create a new agency dedicated to cybersecurity in light of the growing number of hacking attacks and identity theft in the past year.

    • Fresh Insights into the NSA’s Cyber Capabilities

      It is widely known that the National Security Agency houses an impressive cyber force with the capacity to bypass the digital defenses of private individuals, enterprises, and even foreign governments – a force powerful enough to draw criticism from the American public and American allies. A recent report from Russian researchers has provided more specific information vis-à-vis the technical capabilities of NSA.

    • Citizenfour: meet NSA whistleblower Snowden

      Last year, Attorney-General George Brandis introduced legislation to Parliament which, if passed, would require telecom companies to retain metadata for two years. Last week, in the 100-seat Parliament House theatre located just next door, politicians and journalists gathered to watch an advance screening of documentary Citizenfour. The film follows whistleblower Edward Snowden as he reveals the extent of the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program. It is a must-see: a poignant reminder of the dangers posed to individual privacy and security by data collection.

    • The NSA’s Snooping Reaches Insane New Levels. You Can’t Do A Thing About It.

      Apparently, the United States National Security Agency has been spying on computers used in several countries through software buried within hard drives manufactured by big companies such as Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital.

      Security researchers at Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab discovered personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs. The most infections were found in Iran, along with computers in Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria.

    • Russia Improving Electronic Security in Response to NSA Spyware – Lawmaker

      The remark follows an announcement made on Monday by Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based Internet security software company, on a broad surveillance program that was tracking data on computer hard disks worldwide. The company said a cyberattack team known as the Equation Group had infected the computers of 500 organizations worldwide with spying software, most of them in Iran and Russia.

    • ​Criminally insane irresponsibility led to modern ‘hacker’s paradise’

      The US government has been irresponsible about cyber security for the past 25 years, essentially allowing the NSA to create a ‘hackers paradise’ through numerous infantile backdoors they planted, former US intelligence officer Robert Steele told RT.

    • Find Out if You’ve Been Spied on—and Join the Fight for Privacy

      Want to know if GCHQ spied on you? Now you can find out. Privacy International (PI) has just launched a website that lets anyone find out if their communications were intercepted by the NSA and then shared with GCHQ.

    • Oliver Stone’s Edward Snowden film set for Christmas release

      Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone’s big-screen dramatisation of Edward Snowden’s mass surveillance revelations will be released on 25 December, distributor Open Road Films said on Friday.

      Snowden will star Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the NSA whistleblower who leaked details of US and British surveillance and electronic monitoring programs.

      Filming has begun in Munich and will move to other locations before its expected completion in May.

      Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto and Tom Wilkinson will also star in the film, adapted from two books, The Snowden Files, by Guardian journalist Luke Harding and Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s lawyer.

    • Timothy Olyphant Joins Oliver Stone’s Edward Snowden Movie
    • Oliver Stone’s Edward Snowden biopic to open on Christmas Day

      Stone is also adapting the screenplay with Kieran Fitzgerald, from Luke Harding’s The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man and Anatoly Kucherena’s Time of the Octopus.

    • You can now find out if GCHQ spied on you

      People from around the world can join a campaign to find out if British intelligence agency GCHQ illegally spied on them — and force it to delete the data.

      The move follows a ruling by the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) that GCHQ’s use of data gathered by the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US was unlawful prior to December 2014.

    • Snowden Documentary Earns Ridenhour Film Prize

      The Ridenhour Prizes announced Friday its documentary prize will go to “Citizenfour,” the film about Edward Snowden’s leaks of classified NSA documents, directed by Laura Poitras.

    • Director Laura Poitras accepts the award for best documentary for her film “Citizenfour” at the 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica
    • SA’s securocrats serious about cyberwarfare

      Shortly after 9/11, the South African government introduced measures to fight terrorism in the country, including a bill allowing the monitoring and interception of communications. It became the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (Rica) of 2002. It replaced the Interception and Monitoring Prohibition Act of 1992, which did not deal adequately with technological advances.

    • Loopholes exist in our laws covering interception of communications, and the state is abusing them.

      Shortly after 9/11, the South African government introduced measures to fight terrorism in the country, including a Bill allowing the monitoring and interception of communications. It became the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (Rica) of 2002. It replaced the Interception and Monitoring Prohibition Act of 1992, which did not deal adequately with technological advances.

    • The Spy Cables: A glimpse into the world of espionage

      A digital leak to Al Jazeera of hundreds of secret intelligence documents from the world’s spy agencies has offered an unprecedented insight into operational dealings of the shadowy and highly politicised realm of global espionage.

      Over the coming days, Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit is publishing The Spy Cables, in collaboration with The Guardian newspaper.

      Spanning a period from 2006 until December 2014, they include detailed briefings and internal analyses written by operatives of South Africa’s State Security Agency (SSA). They also reveal the South Africans’ secret correspondence with the US intelligence agency, the CIA, Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad, Russia’s FSB and Iran’s operatives, as well as dozens of other services from Asia to the Middle East and Africa.

      The files unveil details of how, as the post-apartheid South African state grappled with the challenges of forging new security services, the country became vulnerable to foreign espionage and inundated with warnings related to the US “War on Terror”.

    • ‘Overnight, everything I loved was gone’: the internet shaming of Lindsey Stone

      When a friend posted a photograph of charity worker Lindsey Stone on Facebook, she never dreamed she would lose her job and her reputation. Two years on, could she get her life back?

    • Why The USA Hacks

      The U.S. government views cyberspace as just another theater of war akin to air, land and sea…

    • Alleged NSA Computer Hardware Espionage Not Surprising – Former CIA Officer

      A former CIA and State Department counterterrorism expert says a report by Russia-based Kaspersky Lab that the NSA could have infiltrated computer hardware to spy on foreign entities is not surprising.

    • Investigation looks at possible CIA malware plant

      A new report from Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab said its researchers identified a new family of malicious programs or worms that infected computers in multiple countries, primarily overseas. Targets appeared to be specifically selected and included military, Islamic activists, energy companies and other businesses, as well as government personnel.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Infamous Oscar Speech Heard Around the World

      Can we all just agree on that point? I’m not saying we owe Michael Moore an apology for the way he was derided for his speech after winning the Academy Award for Bowling for Columbine, 10 years ago, but on this momentous anniversary, I think we can at least acknowledge that much.

      On March 23, 2003, Moore made the Oscar speech heard around the world, in which he condemned George Bush for going to war in Iraq, which had just begun four days prior. And Moore was booed, stalked and threatened for it. He had to get a security detail to protect him from the death threats (some of which were encouraged by the media), and he claims that Homeland Security scratched up his Oscar at the airport on the way home.

    • Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud during his one meeting with THE General Body

      THE General Body’s website shows they are connecting with other anti-corporatization student groups, such as those at Colgate University and the University of California.

    • Poland to Pay $262,000 to Inmates Held at Secret C.I.A. Prison
    • Poland agrees to pay 2 victims of CIA rendition

      Poland will be the first country to pay damages for participating in the US Central Intelligence Agency’s secret rendition programme after its was found to have hosted a facility used for illegal rendition and interrogation.

    • CIA terror suspects get pay from Poland

      Poland will pay $262,000 in compensation to two terror suspects who say they were tortured at a CIA secret prison that Poland hosted from 2002-2003, a government minister said Wednesday.

      Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna spoke after the European Court of Human Rights in France rejected Poland’s appeal of its earlier ruling.

    • European court rejects Polish appeal in CIA jail case

      The European Court of Human Rights refused on Tuesday to reconsider its ruling that Poland hosted a secret CIA jail, a decision that will now oblige Warsaw to swiftly hold to account Polish officials who allowed the jail to operate.

      The court’s decision will add to pressure on other European countries to end years of secrecy about their involvement in the CIA’s global programme of secret detention after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

    • Poland to Pay €230,000 to Two CIA Detainees Previously Held on Its Soil
    • Will the U.S. prosecute torture?

      When America Tonight approached the Justice Department for this report, its press office responded in an email in bold type: “We are not doing interviews.” But in a statement, the agency said that it reviewed the cases of several detainees “alleged to have been mistreated” back in 2009. In the two criminal investigations that resulted, it said it did not find sufficient evidence to “obtain and sustain” convictions.

    • Did the Torture Report Give the C.I.A. a Bum Rap?

      IN December, when the Senate Intelligence Committee issued its long-awaited report on the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program, it seemed to confirm what I and many human-rights advocates had argued for a decade: The C.I.A. had started and run a fundamentally abusive and counterproductive torture program. What’s more, the report found that the C.I.A. had lied repeatedly about the program’s efficacy, and that it had neither disrupted terror plots nor saved lives.

    • Former CIA officer suing agency for wrongful termination

      A former CIA officer who operated under shadowy “non-official cover” status is suing the spy agency in federal court, claiming he was wrongly fired after a senior manager fabricated allegations of misconduct.

      The officer filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia under a pseudonym, Mack L. Charles. The CIA declined to comment, but did not dispute the plaintiff’s former association with the agency.

    • Fired CIA Worker’s Suit Stymied by State Secrets

      A former CIA operations officer with narcolepsy cannot pursue discrimination charges against the agency because his claims violate state secrets privilege, a federal judge ruled.

      The plaintiff, under the pseudonym Jacob Abilt, claims he divulged his disability to the CIA upon employment when he was hired by the agency in 2008.

      “The parties agreed that as an accommodation of Plaintiff’s disability he could take brief naps at his desk, provided that he make-up the time either by foregoing a lunch break and/or working beyond his scheduled tour of duty,” the complaint says.

    • How the CIA gets away with it: Our democracy is their real enemy

      The inside, untold story of CIA’s efforts to mislead Congress — and the people — about torture will horrify you

    • He blew the whistle on CIA torture, and now he’s finally home from jail — and talking

      After serving almost two years in a federal prison in Pennsylvania, former CIA officer John Kiriakou, the first agency official to publicly confirm and detail the agency’s use of waterboarding, is back at home in Virginia to complete the rest of his sentence under house arrest.

    • CIA Torture Whistleblower: US Government Lacks “the Guts” to Face Its Crimes

      Out of prison and living at home under house arrest for the remainder of a suspended prison sentence, former CIA operative John Kiriakou, convicted and sent to jail for blowing the whistle on agency torture under the Bush administration, has been speaking to major medi outlets this week about the brutal tactics and depraved abuse administered by the U.S. government in the name fighting terrorism as well as his prosecution and conviction under the Espionage Act for speaking out against such crimes.

    • The dark comedy of the Senate torture report

      Nevertheless, civic duty spurred me and a lawyer colleague to write the preface. So I read the report — all 500 or so pages of it — first in English and then in French. To my great surprise I learned that the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture moves right along, with an authorial voice, lots of irony and plenty of gruesome detail that wasn’t in the newspapers. The principal writer, a former FBI analyst named Daniel Jones, renders the story of the CIA’s gratuitous brutality with a rhythmic repetition that approaches literature. Again and again, we’re told, detainees were grabbed by the CIA or its proxies, transported to secret prisons, subjected to ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’, and eventually dropped because they didn’t reveal anything useful, or they invented stories, or, as in the case of the suspected Afghan militant Gul Rahman, died. Then, after ploughing through many pages of CIA boasting about success in foiling terrorist plots, we find out that the agency’s ‘representations were almost entirely inaccurate’ and that torture foiled not a single plot. The former FBI man has fun hanging his CIA rivals with their own words, such as when then CIA director Porter Goss briefs senators about how ‘professionally operated’ CIA detention techniques are compared with the Abu Ghraib variety: ‘We are not talking military, and I’m not talking about anything that a contractor might have done… in a prison somewhere or beat somebody or hit somebody with a stick or something.’ No, we’re talking about chaining a prisoner to the ceiling, making him wear a nappy, and letting him soil himself. After slamming him into a wall.

    • How Britain’s treatment of ‘The Hooded Men’ during the Troubles became the benchmark for US ‘torture’ in the Middle East

      When Amal Clooney flies into Belfast shortly to meet a group of former Irish prisoners known as ‘The Hooded Men’ it will be the latest chapter of an extraordinary story concerning a quest for justice that has lasted almost half a century.

    • Judge who wrote ‘torture memos’ speaks at University of Utah

      One man held a sign reading “Torture Is a War Crime.”

    • Torture, terrorism, and paranoia

      Director Adeara Maurice said Why Torture is Wrong highlights the “fear-based culture” surrounding terrorism and homeland security in post-9/11 America.

    • Selma Director Ava DuVernay on Hollywood’s Lack of Diversity, Oscar Snub and #OscarsSoWhite Hashtag

      Today we spend the hour with Ava DuVernay, the director of the acclaimed new civil rights film “Selma,” which tells the story of the campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to draw the nation’s attention to the struggle for equal voting rights by marching from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in March of 1965. While the film has been nominated for an Oscar for best picture, to the shock of many, DuVernay was not nominated. She would have made history as the first African-American woman nominated for best director. At the Sundance Film Festival, DuVernay joins us to discuss the making of the film and the Academy Award nominations. “The question is why was ‘Selma’ the only film that was in the running with people of color for the award?” she asks.

    • Verdict expected in trial of 25 Egyptian activists, including Alaa Abdel-Fattah

      An Egyptian court is expected to issue a verdict on Monday in a case which leading activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah and 24 others stand a retrial on a variety of charges, including taking part in an unauthorised protest in 2013.

    • David Cole Turns in His Torture Homework Late, Gets a C

      Here, Cole misrepresents the conclusion of the Torture Report, which leads him to a conclusion of limited value. It is not just that CIA lied about whether torture worked.

    • Even as Many Eyes Watch, Brutality at Rikers Island Persists

      The brutal confrontations were among 62 cases identified by The New York Times in which inmates were seriously injured by correction officers between last August and January, a period when city and federal officials had become increasingly focused on reining in violence at Rikers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The World’s Most Idiotic Copyright Complaint

        If you can bear to read it the full notice can be found here. Worryingly Total Wipes Music are currently filing notices almost every day. Google rejects many of them but it’s only a matter of time before some sneak through.

02.22.15

IRC Proceedings: February 8th – February 21st, 2015

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: February 8th – February 14th, 2015

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: February 15th – February 21st, 2015

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

The EPO’s Sham ‘Internal Investigation’ of EPO Vice-President Željko Topić’s Affairs

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benoît Battistelli probing the Topić affair is akin to John Brennan probing CIA abuses

John Brennan

Summary: The EPO never investigated the Željko Topić affair, it only pretends to have investigated it (one small aspect, i.e. cherry-picking) using a Benoît Battistelli-controlled group

OUR ~70 articles about the EPO‘s management have so far shown misconduct and a lot of dark background when it comes to Željko Topić. They have demonstrated that EPO dissent is not to be attributed to few disgruntled employees but the institution as a whole, as well as outsiders, including some of the biggest stakeholders.

The so-called “internal investigation” of the EPO is worse than a sham. It’s a case of the EPO investigating itself, as the CIA has done after its staff had been cracking US Senate PCs — the same PCs used to investigate illegal CIA torture at the time. The EPO shows that it has become as unaccountable as the CIA. The “internal investigation” was more like a coverup and an attack on legitimate critics.

Let’s go back in time and see what this “internal investigation” actually involved. Here is Benoît Battistelli calling it “Defamation Campaign” [PDF] before the investigation even began! Way to go, Battistelli. You had given away your bias even before the “internal investigation” began. Here is what he posted internally:

Defamation Campaign against VP 4

26.02.2013

Note to All Staff

Over the past couple of days an obviously concerted effort has been made to attack the reputation and standing of the Vice-President of DG 4, Mr Topic. This has taken the form of anonymous letters being sent and/or made available to EPO employees.

In the face of this vicious campaign, I wish to make clear that the allegations are without any foundation. They have already been dismissed by the Croatian authorities. Furthermore, Mr Topic engaged legal proceedings some time ago in Zagreb, for criminal slander and defamation as well as for damages against parties who have published the allegations.

I believe that all EPO staff will deplore the events which have occurred and share my shock and sadness that the circumstances surrounding the anonymous letters – the postmarks, the forms of address and so on – clearly point to the involvement of persons with a connection to and precise knowledge of the EPO in Munich.

My duty is to defend every staff members by all legal means if they, through an attack to their dignity and integrity, become victims of harassment. But beyond this general principle, we cannot tolerate the behaviour of those who spread false and malicious rumours with impunity, the content of which clearly bears the mark of entrenched prejudice against our first Vice-President from a new member State.

Should any member of EPO staff be found to have played a role in the cowardly anonymous attacks against Mr Topic, he she or they will be called to account.

Benoît Battistelli
President

It was only 4 months later that there was an update on this, so one might think that a thorough investigation took place, probing Topić’s very notorious background in Croatia. But no. Look what took 4 months. Florian Andres wrote Communique PD 0/6 [PDF], stating:

The investigation demonstrated that all aspects of the allegations pertaining to an alleged falsification of academic credentials are baseless.

That’s it? It does nothing at all to dispel the allegations about the Vice-President and instead deals with just one dubious aspect relating to his academic degree, extrapolating this to imply that he is totally innocent just because he didn’t fabricate his diploma. It’s like a straw man.

Communique No. 29 [PDF] was published on the very same date. Repeating this, Battistelli did a “me too”post:

The investigation concludes that the accusations concerning Mr Topic’s academic qualifications are entirely without foundation.

Ah, all right! Topić is therefore a Saint. As if that was the only accusation against him.

“It’s like a straw man.”This actually goes deeper than this and thanks to an unnamed source we are now in possession of additional [PDF] documents [PDF]. Our source says: “We are informed that Dr. Peter Gauweiler a member of the German Bundestag (Federal Parliament) from the Bavarian CSU submitted a query to the German Ministry of Justice in October 2013.

“According to our information, he received the following response:

«Die gegen Herrn Željko Topić erhobenen Vorwürfe sind dem Bundesministerium der Justiz – aufgrund mehrerer anonymer Schreiben – bekannt. Im Ergebnis ist es dem Bundesministerium der Justiz jedoch nicht möglich zu klären, ob die Vorwürfe letztlich begründet sind. Nach Auskunft des Europäischen Patentamtes hat allerdings in dieser Angelegenheit der Präsident des Europäischen Patentamts interne Ermittlungen aufgenommen und sogar einen Vertreter nach Kroatien entsandt, um unmittelbar vor Ort Nachforschungen zu betreiben. Nach hiesigem Kenntnisstand haben diese Ermittlungen keine Anhaltpunkte für etwaige Verfehlungen ergeben.»

Translation:

“The Federal Ministry of Justice is aware of the allegations which have been raised against Mr. Željko Topić as a result of a number of anonymous letters. Ultimately, however, it is not possible for the Federal Ministry of Justice to determine whether or not there is any substance to these allegations. Nevertheless, according to information provided by the European Patent Office, the President of the EPO initiated internal investigations into the matter and even dispatched a representative to Croatia to carry out enquiries locally. According to the information currently available to us, these investigations did not yield any evidence of possible irregularities.”

But wait, they did nothing to address allegations about corruption by Topić. They cherry-picked just one aspect of many.

Our source’s observations are as follows:

1. The German Ministry of Justice seems to have a surprisingly poor level of geographical knowledge. The EPO investigators were sent to the University of Banja Luka which is actually in Bosnia & Hercegovina, not Croatia! This is because Topić who is apparently an ethnic Croat and pursued a career in the Croatian civil service, was originally born in Banja Luka in Bosnia & Hercegovina prior to the breakup of the former Republic of Yugoslavia. He studied at the University there before moving to Zagreb in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Thus allegations relating to his claim to have an MBA from the University of Banja Luka had to be investigated in Bosnia & Hercegovina – not Croatia.

2. The EPO’s internal investigation was restricted to just one specific aspect of the allegations against Topić, namely allegations concerning irregularities in his claimed academic qualifications. The various other allegations raised against Topić have never been subject to any investigation by the EPO.

3. The EPO’s internal investigation was carried out by the so-called “Internal Audit” department which is directly under Battistelli’s control. Given that Battistelli sponsored Topić’s candidacy as Vice-President, there is a clear conflict of interest here. This investigation cannot realistically be considered as an independent investigation.

4. In fact, in February 2013, Battistelli had already informed EPO staff that all allegations against Topić were completely baseless and without foundation. This claim was made by Battistelli before any internal investigation had been carried out! He also claimed that all of the allegations had been dismissed by the Croatian authorities. This is complete hogwash as a number of the alleged irregularities are the subject of pending court proceedings in Croatia.

5. The EPO’s Administrative Council was informed about Battistelli’s internal investigation at its meeting in June 2013. They apparently accepted these findings at face value and didn’t ask any questions.

The above assertions were made completely independently from Techrights, which, having received copies of these messages some time last year, reached the conclusions in (2) and (4) above, namely that it’s a biased ‘investigation’ with pre-determinded outcome of only one aspect among many. Any person with some knowledge of the Topić affair would have seen this charade for what it is because it is very shallow. Battistelli showed a very low degree of sophistication here; his attempt to whitewash Topić is self-undermining and misguided. It helps show just how corrupt this system of pseudo-oversight has truly become. If only Battistelli can invoke ‘investigation’ of his own cronies, then what kind of investigation can that ever be?

In one of the newly-presented exhibits (above) refer to the documents of “SUMMARY OF DECISIONS of the 136th meeting of the ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL”, specifically item 1.7 (emphasis added):

11. Meeting in restricted composition, without the observers and the staff and Office representatives (apart from the President), the Council

· took note of the results of an investigation recently conducted by the independent [sic] Internal audit. This investigation concerned the Vice-President DG 4, appointed by the Council.

· addressed broad issues pertaining to the social situation and the social dialogue. The Council reiterated its full support to the President in his endeavours to achieve reasonable and balanced measure.

The Internal Audit department is not “independent”, it is directly under the control of the EPO President. These inadequacies in the “internal investigation” carried out by the EPO were subsequently commented on in the Croatian press in an article published in October 2013 [PDF].

Putting aside the summary, see “MINUTES of the 136th meeting of the ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL Munich, 26 and 27 June 2013″ (the other new document) and refer to Item 1.7 on page 8/48 (emphasis added):

41. Meeting in restricted composition, without the observers and staff and Office representatives (apart from the President), the Council

- noted the outcome of a recent independent enquiry by Internal Audit concerning Vice-President DG 4, a Council appointee, and noted with great satisfaction that the enquiry had shown that all allegations against him were unfounded, and expressed every sympathy for him

- addressed various questions relating to the social situation and social dialogue, and reiterated its full support for the President in searching for reasonable and balanced measures.

Observations made by our source are as follows:

1. The minutes of the AC meeting refer to “a recent independent enquiry by Internal Audit”.

This is complete nonsense because, as we mentioned previously, the Internal Audit department is not “independent”. It is directly and exclusively under Battistelli’s control.

The appointment and replacement of the Head of Internal Audit lies completely within Battistelli’s discretion.

2. The AC “noted with great satisfaction that the enquiry had shown that all allegations against him were unfounded”.

More nonsense. The enquiry purported to have established that one specific allegation relating to Topić’s academic qualifications was unfounded. It made no attempt to investigate any other allegations against him.

There has been no further investigation of the matter by the AC since June 2013.

So, the above represents the official EPO position, i.e. an “independent” internal investigation has (allegedly) established that all allegations against Topić are unfounded.

So as far as the AC is concerned, the matter is closed.

The funny thing about all this is that before any investigation was ever carried out, Battistelli had already announced more or less the same result to EPO staff in a note issued on 26 February 2013:

“… I wish to make clear that the allegations are without any foundation. They have already been dismissed by the Croatian authorities.”

Unfortunately Battistelli never bothered to explain which “Croatian authorities” he was relying on for this assertion which appears to be incorrect.

According to in the formation which we have from reliable sources in Zagreb, a number of lawsuits, including both criminal and civil proceedings, are pending against Topić in Croatia.

In conclusion, Battistelli is a tyrant, a liar, and a revisionist. He is eager to deceive his own staff by protecting thugs whom he uses for ‘protection’.

We have a lot more coming about Topić. We received another large heap of documents and half a gigabyte of videos last night.

02.21.15

Links 21/2/2015: GNOME 3.15.90, Google Wins Android Lawsuit

Posted in News Roundup at 8:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Fully sandboxed, cross-distro Linux apps are almost here

      Right now, you get most of your Linux software from your distribution’s software repositories. Those applications have to be packaged specifically for your Linux distribution, and you have to trust them with full access to your Linux user account and all its files.

      But imagine if developers could distribute applications in a standard way so you could install and run them on any Linux distribution, and if those applications ran in a “sandbox” so you could quickly download and run them without the security and privacy risks.

      That’s not just a dream. It’s the goal of the GNOME desktop-affiliated Sandboxed Applications project, and the first fully sandboxed application is already here. A preliminary version of this project is planned to be released in GNOME 3.16, which should be in the next release of Fedora—Fedora 22.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds: Write Linux Kernel Code, ‘Get Hired Really Quickly’

      It’s a brave endeavour to dive into the source code for any project you didn’t program yourself, another entirely when that project happens to be the guts of Linux. Considering the impact the open source operating system has had on the IT world, having some familiarity with its internals is going to take you places — a sentiment Linux creator Linus Torvalds agrees with.

    • New AMD Processors Supported By Coreboot

      While Coreboot support for systems with newer Intel CPUs is tough, Coreboot gained yesterday support for some new AMD CPUs.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Nouveau Gallium3D Now Supports Double-Precision Floating-Point Data Types

        Nouveau (NVC0) Gallium3D now supports the GL_ARB_gpu_shader_fp64 extension. What’s exciting about this enablement is that it’s a feature for OpenGL 4.0 / GLSL 4.00 compliance and this Nouveau driver support is beating out the Intel and Radeon drivers in providing this OpenGL capability.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Xfce 4.12, Raspberry Pi’s Whole Number & More…

      Speaking of Larry, back in December he helped quash a rumor that the popular Xfce desktop had been abandoned. Now we have further evidence that he wasn’t just talking through his hat — as if there was ever any doubt.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Shell Gets a Visual Refresh Based on the Redesigned GTK+ Theme In GNOME 3.16

        As we’ve reported in several GNOME related articles this week, the GNOME development team is hard at work to bring you the anticipated GNOME 3.16 desktop environment, due for release on March 25, 2015. As expected, GNOME Shell will be part of this release and it is the most important component, providing the actual user interface.

      • GNOME 3.15.90

        This is the first beta release of the 3.15 development…

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • pcDuino3B hacker SBC features WiFi, GbE, and Arduino I/O

      LinkSprite launched a gig-Ethernet version of its PCDuino3 SBC, featuring the same dual-core Allwinner A20 SoC, plus SATA, WiFi, and Arduino compatible I/O.

      Like Hardkernel’s Odroid project and a few others, LinkSprite’s pcDuino community has been churning out ARM hacker boards over the last year with generally lower prices and improved features. The newly shipping pcDuino3B barely qualifies for the above description, but it should please pcDuino fans looking for a faster Ethernet connection.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • [Video] Samsung Launch 2015 Tizen Smart TV in Africa

          Samsung Electronics has introduced several of its products to the African market at the sixth annual Africa Forum in Antalya, Turkey which is a three-day forum. The main Interest for us here at Tizen Experts is the Samsung SUHD TVs that is being showcased there, as from 2015 onwards all Samsung TVs will run Tizen which is a HTML5 web standards open source platform.

      • Android

        • US judge dismisses antitrust case against Google over Android apps

          The two consumers who filed the suit failed to show that Google’s allegedly illegal restrictive contracts on manufacturers of Android devices resulted in higher prices on phones, U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman said in a Feb. 20 ruling.

        • Google wins dismissal of U.S. lawsuit over Android app limits

          A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit accusing Google Inc of harming smartphone buyers by forcing handset makers that use its Android operating system to make the search engine company’s own applications the default option.

          Consumers claimed that Google required companies such as Samsung Electronics Co to favor Google apps such as YouTube on Android-powered phones, and restrict rival apps such as Microsoft Corp’s Bing.

          They said this illegally drove smartphone prices higher because rivals could not compete for the “prime screen real estate” that Google’s apps enjoyed.

        • Android Circuit: Sabotaging The Galaxy S6 Story, Xiaomi Defeats Samsung, Sony Abandons Android

          Taking a look back at the week’s news across the Android world, this week’s Android Circuit highlights a number of stories including Samsung’s battery issues and the potential of wireless charging, the story J.K. Shin could tell the press at MWC, Sony abandons Android and its Xperia smartphones, Microsoft invests in Cyanogen, Xiaomi overtakes Samsung, designing for the South Korean company, Pebble picks up Android Wear support, and LoopPay’s Galaxy potential for payments.

        • Top Android news of the week: New trojan, DIY repair site, and Windows app does Android
        • Android malware hijacks power button, empties wallet while you sleep

          Don’t panic, though. So far the outbreak in small and localized: around 10,000 cases have cropped up almost exclusively in China, none of which work on Android 5.0. But code spreads so fast these days and something so useful is bound to be popping in malicious apps from dodgy online stores in the near future.

        • Android Malware Can Spy on You Even After Your Phone Is ‘Shut Off’

          The good news is that this creepy spyware isn’t something that has been, or probably ever will be, found in Google Play apps. Android has gone to great lengths to clamp down on fraudulent and malicious apps in its market, now scanning them both before and after you’ve installed them to your Galaxy, HTC One, Moto X, or whatever. So if you stick with the official Google app store, you should be safe from any of the above scariness.

        • Toggle Android 5.0 device settings with your voice

          Forget third-party widgets, Google’s Search app will now let you use your voice to toggle several settings on Android Lollipop devices.

        • New update for Register Android app

          Android users, update (or download) the Des Moines Register app for a new, improved reading experience.

        • WhatsApp starts rolling out voice calling feature to Android users

          After testing the feature with select users, it appears mobile messaging service WhatsApp is now rolling out the much awaited internet calling functionality to a wider set of people.

        • New BlackBerry Phones Can Now Run Android Apps from Amazon

          Launched on Thursday, BlackBerry 10 OS 10.3.1 provides the usual access to the BlackBerry World app store but also adds entry to the Amazon Appstore, where users can download a variety of Android apps. The latest update has started to roll out for several BlackBerry 10 devices, including the Passport, Z30, Z3, Z10, Q10 and Q5, along with the Porsche Design P’9983 and P’9982 smartphones.

        • Why Amazon’s Fire TV beats the Apple TV

          set top box has been around for quite a while now, but it has never been as much of a priority for Apple as the iPhone, iPad or even Macs. Apple long regarded it as a hobby, and that attitude might have finally caught up with Apple TV. A prominent Apple blog has come out in favor of as a better option than the Apple TV. Yes, a writer at a well known Apple blog has actually opted for the Fire TV instead of the Apple TV.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Confessions of a Recovering Proprietary Programmer, Part XIV

    Similarly, if a patch fixes a difficult and elusive bug, the maintainer might be willing to apply the patch by hand, fix build errors and warnings, fix a few bugs in the patch itself, run a full set of tests, fix and style problems, and even accept the risk that the bug might have unexpected side effects, some of which might result in some sleepless nights. This in fact is one of the reasons for the common advice given to open-source newbies: start by fixing bugs.

  • Creating a Community: Getting Started

    It was a little over four years that I was bitten by the bug for the Enlightenment desktop. It was fast, it was customizable, it was beautiful, but one thing it was not was easily accessible. There were countless directions on the internet of how to manually compile the latest version of the desktop from source repositories, but not only was this process complex – it was tedious.

  • Facebook Releases New Open Source Android Debugging Tool
  • SD Times GitHub Project of the Week: Stetho
  • Events

    • SCALE 13x, Day 1: Oh, the Humanity!

      Attendance for SCALE looks like it may break previous records. Steve Bibayoff, who works the Free Software Foundation booth, asked me Friday evening if his badge number was any indication of how many people have registered so far.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Rust 1.0 Alpha 2 Lands All Major API Changes

        The second alpha release of the forthcoming Rust 1.0 is now available and it marks the landing of all major API revisions for this programming language’s major milestone.

      • Announcing Rust 1.0.0.alpha.2

        We’ve managed to land almost all of the features previously expected for this cycle. The big headline here is that all major API revisions are finished: path and IO reform have landed. At this point, all modules shipping for 1.0 are in what we expect to be their final form, modulo minor tweaks during the alpha2 cycle. See the previous post for more details.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.3.6 Released as TDF Celebrates Three Years

      The Document Foundation today announced the release of LibreOffice 3.4.6, the latest update for the conservative user and supported deployments. This release brings over 100 bug and security fixes as the foundation celebrates three years. TDF released a video as “a testimonial of the activity of many members of the LibreOffice community.”

  • Project Releases

    • RcppAPT 0.0.1

      Over the last few days I put together a new package RcppAPT which interfaces the C++ library behind the awesome apt, apt-get, apt-cache, … commands and their GUI-based brethren.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Science

    • How the Photocopier Changed the Way We Worked—and Played

      Recently I visited Whisk, a Manhattan store that sells kitchen goods, and next to the cash register was a strange, newfangled device: a 3-D printer. The store bought the device—which creates objects by carefully and slowly extruding layers of hot plastic—to print cookie cutters. Any shape you can think of, it can produce from a digital blueprint. There was a cutter in the shape of a thunderbolt, a coat of arms, a racing car.

  • Security

    • Maintaining vendor trust proves tough for Lenovo, Microsoft

      News roundup: Amid hidden add-ons, discontinued services and walled gardens, vendor trust proves elusive for several high-profile tech firms. Plus: Evidence ties North Korea to Sony Pictures hack; card brands boost cybersecurity; and cookies that last 8,000 years.

    • Lenovo redeems itself with open source Superfish removal tool

      What do you do when you are facing scrutiny in the media? Damage control. You see it all the time with celebrities. A famous actor or musician does something wacky or stupid and ends up crying to Oprah, or going to rehab.

      If you are a respected computer manufacturer, what do you do to fix a tarnished image? Open source. Nothing makes computer nerds more giddy than hearing that software is open source and the source code is available to investigate. Today, Lenovo releases an official open source Superfish removal tool under the Mozilla Public License.

    • Superfish – Man-in-the-Middle Adware

      Let’s say that you are looking for a watch and you visit Fred’s Fine Watches. Every time you want to look at a watch, someone grabs the key to the cabinet from Fred, uses a magic key creator to create a new key, opens the cabinet, grabs the watch from Fred, studies the watch, looks for “similar” watches, and jams advertising fliers for these other watches in your face – right in the middle of Fred’s Fine Watches! Even worse, they leave the key in the lock, raising the possibility that others could use it. Further, if you decide to buy a watch from Fred, they grab your credit card, read it, and then hand it to Fred.

      After leaving Fred’s Fine Watches you visit your bank. You stop by your doctor’s office. You visit the DMV for a drivers license renewal. And, since this article is written in February, you visit your accountant about taxes. Someone now has all this information. They claim they aren’t doing anything with it, but there is no particular reason to trust them.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Obama’s Libya Debacle

      On March 17, 2011, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973, spearheaded by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, authorizing military intervention in Libya. The goal, Obama explained, was to save the lives of peaceful, pro-democracy protesters who found themselves the target of a crackdown by Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi. Not only did Qaddafi endanger the momentum of the nascent Arab Spring, which had recently swept away authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, but he also was poised to commit a bloodbath in the Libyan city where the uprising had started, said the president. “We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi—a city nearly the size of Charlotte—could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world,” Obama declared. Two days after the UN authorization, the United States and other NATO countries established a no-fly zone throughout Libya and started bombing Qaddafi’s forces. Seven months later, in October 2011, after an extended military campaign with sustained Western support, rebel forces conquered the country and shot Qaddafi dead.

    • US drone strike kills three in southern Yemen: Witnesses

      Three people were killed Friday in a drone strike on southern Yemen, local residents say.

    • Spreading Terror around the Globe by Selling Drones to “US Allies”

      As an example last October an airdrop of weapons that was purported to go to the Kurds in the besieged town of Kobani in Syria to fight the Islamic State forces ended up in the wrong hands. As recently as last month it was discovered and reported that the US was regularly air dropping arms and supplies to the waiting Islamic State on the ground below in Iraq. Obama’s huff and puff rhetoric about hunting down the Islamic State in Syria in reality is merely another effectively deceptive ploy to commit air strikes on Assad’s Syria that he couldn’t get away with the year before right after the false flag chemical weapons attack committed by US backed rebels (that were later renamed ISIS). So now both Israeli and US military air strikes are taking out infrastructure inside Syria that hurts the Syrian people, destroying oil refineries and food storage silos.

    • Psssst! Wanna buy a lethal drone? US to export unmanned aircraft

      The Obama administration is opening the door for US military drone makers to sell their unmanned killing machines overseas.

      “The new export policy is part of a broader United States UAS [unmanned aircraft system] policy review which includes plans to work with other countries to shape international standards for the sale, transfer, and subsequent use of military UAS,” the State Department said in a statement.

    • Second UK-based Israeli drone factory shut down by protesters

      Instro is owned by Israeli arms company Elbit Systems, who make drones that are used to kill Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Optical and camera systems like those made at the Instro factory are also supplied by Elbit for use in drones flown over Afghanistan, as well as in Israel’s apartheid wall.

    • Those calling for a boycott of Israel are ignoring some painful truths

      This past weekend, 700 British artists had a letter published in the Guardian in which they called on others to boycott Israel until what they term the “colonial occupation” ends. As an Israeli politician who supports the creation of a Palestinian state, it has been a long time since I saw a letter so shallow and lacking in coherence.

    • I Was Born in Israel Many Years before I Realized Israel Was Palestine

      I was born in Israel and it was many years before I realized that Israel was Palestine. I was relatively patriotic. I was looking forward to serving in the army and then I grasped that there was little truth in the Jewish historical narrative. I then gathered that I was living on someone else’s land. At the same time I discovered the saxophone. By the age of 30, I left Israel and never went back.

    • The Front Page Rule

      When U.S. media and U.S. government officials ask, “who are the murderers,” the default answer is enemy soldiers.

    • The World We’re Leaving Our Children

      Dick Cheney and George Bush have no regrets about war. No regrets about torture. They defend waterboarding, mock execution, and rectal feeding. Bush referred to the men and women who conducted this savagery as “patriots”. Commander-in-Chief Obama, with his Kill List, drones, incinerating civilians, inspiring even more hatred of the USA.

    • Hollywood’s Service to Empire

      Many Americans would find it strange to think of their local Cineplex as propaganda sites. But more than six and a half decade ago, the notion of US movies as tools of propaganda was hardly debatable for right-wing McCarthyites determined to eliminate leftists from Hollywood. As US Court of Appeals Justice Bennett C. Clark explained in upholding the conviction of ten Hollywood screenwriters and directors who refused to “confess” current or past Communist Party membership in 1949, US motion pictures play “a critically important role” as “a potent medium of propaganda dissemination” (quoted in Ellen Schrecker, Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America [Boston, 1998], 328).

    • A solo flight for the star of ‘Grounded’

      When she took a look at the script for George Brant’s “Grounded,” a one-woman play about an Air Force fighter pilot coping with the changing landscape of 21st-century warfare, actress Celeste Oliva wasn’t sure it was for her. But director Lee Mikeska Gardner was insistent.

    • Community Roundtable: War authorization vital?

      Military action works only if we target weapon caches and the actual terrorists who commit these atrocities. We also need to understand that killing ISIS members will not stop the fanatical ideology. Only until the people of those nations fully reject the fanatical and distorted version of Islam ISIS has manufactured to suit their violent agendas, military action will do very little to stop them.

    • U.S. must end its immoral drone warfare: Guest commentary

      I have been a minister in the United Church of Christ for more than 40 years. My religious convictions have led to my activism in seeking a more just and peaceful world. Right now, that activism centers on American use of drone warfare as one of the greatest threats to global peace.

    • Drone strike kills 8 rebels in E. Afghanistan

      At least eight Taliban rebels were killed in a United States-led drone strike in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan on Wednesday, said officials.

    • Could Obama’s Drone Sale Spread Robo-Warfare?

      President Barack Obama’s decision to sell missile-carrying drones like the Predator and Reaper to U.S. allies has raised questions over whether this marks another step in the evolution of robo-warfare, or is just a boon to U.S. military contractors already making them.

    • Soon on sale in your country: US armed drones

      The US is to export armed drones to sell to its military allies around the world, a move that has been welcomed by the arms industry but provoked outrage among human rights campaigners.

    • US to allow export of armed military drones

      The State Department said Tuesday the new policy would allow foreign governments that meet certain requirements — and pledge not to use the unmanned aircraft illegally — to buy the vehicles that have played a critical but controversial role in combating terrorism and are increasingly used for other purposes. Recipient countries would be required to sign end-use statements certifying that the drones would not be used for unlawful surveillance or force against domestic populations and would only be used in internationally sanctioned military operations, such as self-defense.

    • 6 arrested at Beale Air Force Base protesting drone deaths

      Six people were arrested at Beale Air Force Base in protest of people killed by government drones.

      Protest organizers said six men and women were taken into custody during an Ash Wednesday service at the Beale gate.

      The participants are accused of trespassing onto federal land, and they were arrested by military police as they spread ashes memorializing those killed by U.S. drones overseas.

    • 6 Arrested At Drone Protest Outside Of Beale AFB

      Six people were arrested at a Northern California air force base in protest of people killed by government drones.

      Protest organizers said six men and women were arrested during an Ash Wednesday service at the gate of Beale Air Force Base.

    • 6 arrested at Beale AFB during drone protest

      Six people were arrested at a Northern California air force base in protest of people killed by government drones.

      Protest organizers said six men and women were arrested during an Ash Wednesday service at the gate of Beale Air Force Base.

    • Yemen’s former leader flees to Aden

      Yemen’s former president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi escaped weeks of house arrest by the Houthi militia at his official residence on Saturday and fled to his home town of Aden, sources close to him said.

    • Former president of Yemen dons disguise and flees home as Houthi Shias take over country

      The former president of Yemen wore a disguise to escape from house arrest today to fly to his home town of Aden, an official has said.

      Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fled his official residence in Yemeni capital Sanaa after weeks of house arrest by the Shia Houthi militia, who looted the property soon after his departure.

    • Hotel suicide attack kills Somali minister, 11 others
    • Washington’s Foolish Foreign Policy: American People Must Say No To More Wars

      American foreign policy is controlled by fools. What else can one conclude from the bipartisan demand that the U.S. intervene everywhere all the time, irrespective of consequence? No matter how disastrous the outcome, the War Lobby insists that the idea was sound. Any problems obviously result from execution, a matter of doing too little: too few troops engaged, too few foreigners killed, too few nations bombed, too few societies transformed, too few countries occupied, too few years involved, too few dollars spent.

    • Islamic State: bring on the drones

      The challenge of jihadism in Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere is reinforcing the United States’s embrace of “remote control” warfare.

      [...]

      American arms companies engaged in armed-drone development and production have often complained at the US government’s restrictions on their exports, which leaves competitors such as Israeli arms companies in a good place to benefit. That official policy may now be coming to an end.

    • Obama to Congress: Rubber-Stamp My “Perpetual War”. “Blank Check to Use US Military Force in Perpetuity”

      As President Barack Obama presented his proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to Congress, he declared, “I do not believe America’s interests are served by endless war, or by remaining on a perpetual war footing.” Yet Obama’s proposal asks Congress to rubber-stamp his endless war against anyone he wants, wherever he wants. Obama has launched 2,300 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since August 8, 2014. In his six years as president, he has killed more people than died on 9/11 with drones and other forms of targeted killing in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia – countries with which the United States is not at war.

    • Obama’s Latest Hokum on Violent Extremism: Arar Retorts

      In his speech this week to his anti-extremism conclave in Washington, President Obama declared that “former extremists have the opportunity to speak out, speak the truth about terrorist groups, and oftentimes they can be powerful messengers in debunking these terrorist ideologies.”

    • Islamophobia is just the latest in a history of US imperialism

      The shooting of three American Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, this month has focused attention on anti-Muslim hatred in the US.

      There are strong reasons for thinking the suspect, Craig Stephen Hicks, was motivated by anti-Muslim animosity to murder Deah Barakat, 23, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and Razan Abu-Salha, 19. The FBI is now investigating the case as a possible hate crime, although initial reports stated the murder may have been about a dispute over parking.

    • Afghan civilian deaths hit record high

      Insurgents, government forces and international troops all contribute to highest total in five years since records began

    • Arab Spring left army in disarray, soldiers sympathetic to rebels – Yemeni minister

      Yemen is grabbing international attention – the government ousted, the president under house arrest and rebels in power. Will the country slide into Syria-style civil war? And with Al-Qaeda in Yemen growing stronger, who will be there to stop it? We ask a leading Yemeni politician, state minister, and former mayor of the capital, Sanaa, Ahmed Al-Kohlani on Sophie&Co.

    • Groups slam Aquino, US troops for violation of Constitution in Mamasapano operations

      “From all indications, the special operation in Mamasapano, Magindanao is a U.S. operation from the start. Of course the Aquino government won’t admit that because if they do, they would inadvertently confirm the US direct intervention.” This is the conclusion Prof. Roland Simbulan of UP Manila shared with the media at Thursday’s press conference of Save the Nation: Aquino Resign Movement.

      Based on Simbulan’s study of what have been revealed by SAF survivors of the incident, the fact that it was a US operation, that it was illegal and the Aquino government and the US are trying to cover it up resulted in the high number of casualties.

    • Senate may send questions to Aquino to wrap up inquiry on Mamasapano clash
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • On Fox, A Train Spilling Oil Is An Argument For Keystone XL, But A Pipeline Spill Isn’t News

      After a massive oil tanker derailed in West Virginia, several members of Fox News claimed that the accident demonstrates the need to build the Keystone XL pipeline because it is supposedly “safer” to transport oil by pipeline than by train. However, pipelines spill even more oil than trains, and when a major pipeline spill recently occurred near Keystone XL’s proposed route, Fox News barely mentioned the spill and didn’t once connect it to legitimate safety concerns about Keystone XL.

    • Niagara on Ice: Falls Freeze Up Photos

      It may have felt too cold on Friday in much of the East to even think of walking outside. But since drones don’t feel cold, why not fly one over a mostly frozen Niagara Falls? That’s exactly what Canadian videographer Brent Foster did on Friday. The results were spectacular.

    • Coming rain threatens to turn snow into ice, weighing down region
    • Future of New York Could Be Wet, Hot and Flooded: Report

      New Yorkers like to complain about the weather, especially in the summer when it can get hot and muggy. Well, they ain’t seen nothing yet. A new report envisions a wet, overheated future for New York City, saying temperatures and sea levels will rise as climate change settles in over the coming decades. The report for 2015 released by the New York City Panel on Climate Change on Tuesday says average temperatures could increase by as much as 5.3 to 8.8 degrees by the 2080s — with sea levels rising a full 18 to 39 inches. At worst, seawaters could rise 6 feet by 2100, researchers project. “These changing climate hazards increase the risks for the people, economy, and infrastructure of New York City,” the report states. The city is also likely to see its annual rainfall increase about 5 to 13 percent by the 2080s. These changes could add up to flood damage beyond what was seen during Hurricane Sandy, affecting wide portions of Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, according to the report.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Wisconsin Introduces Word-for-Word ALEC Right to Work Bill

      Wisconsin Republicans have called a special session to take up a “right to work” measure attacking private sector unions–and the text of the bill, the Center for Media and Democracy has discovered, is taken word-for-word from American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model legislation.

    • Mainstream media’s rational irrationality

      One of the most deceptive and disturbing aspects of America’s political culture is the assumption that by having a free press and a democratic government, our country has erected a bulwark that restrains our leaders from committing the type of atrocities committed by our nation’s enemies.

    • Bill O’Reilly Lies–but Some Lies Matter More Than Others

      Most prominently, Mother Jones’ David Corn (2/19/15) pointed out that despite O’Reilly’s claim (in his book The No-Spin Zone) that “I’ve reported on the ground in active war zones from El Salvador to the Falklands,” in reality he was never on the islands that Argentina and Britain fought a war over in 1982. Nevertheless, O’Reilly has repeatedly boasted of his exploits on the remote South Atlantic islands–telling a detailed anecdote in 2013, for example, of saving his injured photographer “in a war zone in Argentina, in the Falklands.”

  • Censorship

    • Has free speech changed since the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ attack?

      “Charlie Hebdo,” a French satirical newspaper, was used to making headlines for its provocative cartoons – especially those featuring the prophet Mohammad. But that changed in January when two brothers stormed the newspaper and killed the publication’s editor and cartoonists.

  • Privacy

    • Your SIM card is probably hacked by NSA and colonial cousin GCHQ

      In the latest leaks from The Intercept leaked documents show that the NSA and GCHQ used the previously talked about X-KEYSCORE program to stalk employees of SIM maker Gemalto. The agents managed to break in to the email and Facebook accounts of the employees to steal information secretly which they’d go on to use to collect encryption keys for the SIM cards.

    • Green: Another update on the Truecrypt audit

      On his blog, Matthew Green gives an update on the plans to audit the TrueCrypt disk encryption tool. Green led an effort in 2013 to raise money for an audit of the TrueCrypt source code, which sort of ran aground when TrueCrypt abruptly shut down in May 2014.

    • Another update on the Truecrypt audit

      There’s a story on Hacker News asking what the hell is going on with the Truecrypt audit. I think that’s a fair question, since we have been awfully quiet lately. To everyone who donated to the project, first accept my apologies for the slow pace. I want to promise you that we’re not spending your money on tropical vacations (as appealing as that would be). In this post I’d like to offer you some news, including an explanation of why this has moved slowly.

    • Spy agency policies breached rights

      UK intelligence agencies’ policies on handling communications between lawyers and clients breached European human rights law, the government has said.

    • Accused British hacker, wanted for crimes in US, won’t give up crypto keys

      An alleged British hacker who has criminal charges pending in three American federal districts is preparing to petition a Suffolk County, United Kingdom court to compel the National Crime Agency (NCA) to return his encrypted seized computers and storage devices.

      The BBC reported Friday that Lauri Love “will petition Bury St Edmunds magistrates for the return of his property,” adding that “the BBC understands that the NCA has been unable to decrypt some of the files and does not want to return the computers and media devices until Mr Love helps them to decrypt them.”

    • US hacking case: NCA refuses to return Lauri Love’s computer

      Police in the UK, who arrested a man accused of hacking FBI computers in the US, are refusing to return his computer because they cannot decrypt its files.

      Lauri Love, 30, of Stradishall, Suffolk, who is accused of hacking offences in the US, was arrested in Britain in October 2013.

    • ‘Citizenfour’ Will Receive The Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize

      Today The Ridenhour Prizes announced that Academy Award–nominated documentary CITIZENFOUR, directed by Laura Poitras, will receive the 2015 Documentary Film Prize. The Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize is conferred to films of exemplary merit to “encourage those who persevere in acts of truth-telling that protect the public interest, promote social justice, or illuminate a more just vision of society.”

      [...]

      “We’re honored to receive this award, which recognizes a legacy of whistleblowers and adversarial journalism,” said Laura Poitras. “This film and our NSA reporting would not have been possible without the work of the Free Software community that builds free tools to communicate privately. The prize money for the award will be given to the TAILS Free Software project.”

    • US and UK Government SIM Card Hack Threat to Privacy, Infrastructure Security

      Yesterday, The Intercept reported that the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) collaborated to hack the network of the world’s largest SIM card manufacturer and obtained the encryption keys that protect the privacy of cell phone communications. The Center for Technology & Democracy (CDT) released the following statement in response:

    • A close eye on security makes Canadians safer

      The four of us most certainly know the enormity of the responsibility of keeping Canada safe, something always front of mind for a prime minister. We have come together with 18 other Canadians who have served as Supreme Court of Canada justices, ministers of justice and of public safety, solicitors-general, members of the Security and Intelligence Review Committee and commissioners responsible for overseeing the RCMP and upholding privacy laws.

    • Harper sees no need for more oversight of national-security agencies

      As four former prime ministers called for renewed efforts to enhance the oversight of national-security agencies, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday that he prefers the status quo.

    • At the centre of the anti-terror bill: Who’s watching our spies?
    • Hack gave U.S. and British spies access to billions of phones: Intercept

      U.S. and British spies hacked into the world’s biggest maker of phone SIM cards, allowing them to potentially monitor the calls, texts and emails of billions of mobile users around the world, an investigative news website reported.

    • Gemalto Starts Investigating The Degree Of Breach Allegedly Done By NSA, GCHQ

      Gemalto, the Dutch security firm, has opened an investigation looking into the claims that the company’s network was hacked, resulting in leakage of millions of communications worldwide.

    • How Latest Snowden Leak Is Headache for White House

      Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has revealed so much information about government spying in the past two years that little seems shocking. But allegations in his latest leak, published by the Intercept, could upend any chance the White House has of mending relations with Silicon Valley in the near future.

    • European Lawmakers Demand Answers on Phone Key Theft

      European officials are demanding answers and investigations into a joint U.S. and U.K. hack of the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile SIM cards, following a report published by The Intercept Thursday.

      The report, based on leaked documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, revealed the U.S. spy agency and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, hacked the Franco-Dutch digital security giant Gemalto in a sophisticated heist of encrypted cell-phone keys.

    • ‘NSA, GCHQ-ransacked’ SIM maker Gemalto takes a $500m stock hit

      The world’s biggest SIM card manufacturer, Gemalto, revealed yesterday to have been hacked by the NSA and GCHQ, has taken a $470m hit in its stock price.

    • Hellooo, NSA? The US State Department can’t kick hackers out of its networks – report

      Email servers still compromised after THREE months

    • Jeb Bush backs brother’s NSA surveillance program ‘to keep us safe’

      Former Florida governor Jeb Bush delivered a full-throated defense of government surveillance programs on Wednesday, expressing a resounding faith in techniques pioneered by his brother, George W Bush, and staking out a position in sharp contrast with other prospective 2016 presidential candidates.

    • Jeb Bush: NSA Bulk Telephone Records Collection ‘Hugely Important’

      Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is seriously considering a run for the White House in 2016, said Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s program that collects bulk telephone records was “hugely important,” throwing his support behind the practice as Congress debates whether to reauthorize or limit it.

    • NSA Analysis Of Sony Hack Identifies North Korea [distraction tactics]

      The NSA backs FBI conclusion that North Korea was responsible for the damaging hack of Sony Pictures

    • NSA chief says Sony attack traced to North Korea after software analysis [distraction tactics]
    • Gemalto denies knowledge of GCHQ and NSA Sim card hack

      The world’s largest maker of Sim cards, Gemalto, says it cannot verify a report that it was hacked by UK and US spy agencies to steal encryption keys used to protect the privacy of mobile phone communications.

    • The NSA is inside hard drive firmware – now what?

      It’s been almost five years since the discovery of Stuxnet disabused the world of its naivety about nation state malware but since then more attention has been paid to Edward Snowden’s NSA hacking revelations than the occasional technical insights into old-style spying software.

      Kaspersky Lab’s Equation group report, then, has been a bit of a body shaker while helpfully moving the story on a bit. We can now see that Stuxnet was, as everyone suspected, the business end of a far large platform containing eight or nine modules whose genesis goes back as far as 2001, the defining year for so many things that have been going on behind everyone’s backs.

    • NSA & GCHQ teamed up to hack billions of SIM cards

      British and US securities services have hacked into the world’s biggest SIM-card maker and stolen billions of encryption keys, according to the latest leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Gemalto opens investigation into SIM card hack by NSA, GCHQ

      Following a report yesterday that US and UK spies hacked Dutch security firm Gemalto to track mobile phone users across the globe, the company says it has opened an investigation into the claims.

      Allegations of the hack came from the latest documents leaked by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Intercept yesterday.

      According to the documents, the UK’s surveillance agency GCHQ and the US’ NSA teamed up in 2010 and 2011 to penetrate Gemalto’s internal network and steal encryption keys that would allow the organisations to monitor mobile communications without the assistance of telecoms companies.

    • Chip Maker to Investigate Claims of Hacking by N.S.A. and British Spy Agencies

      Gemalto, a French-Dutch digital security company, said on Friday that it was investigating a possible hacking by United States and British intelligence agencies that may have given them access to worldwide mobile phone communications.

    • Gemalto launches probe after report claims NSA, GCHQ hacked its system to steal SIM card encryption keys
    • GCHQ and NSA ‘hacked Dutch company’

      Britain’s electronic spying agency and the US National Security Agency stole codes from a Dutch company allowing them to eavesdrop on mobile phones, documents suggest.

    • Rights groups criticise US and UK spies for ‘disturbing’ sim cards hack

      NSA and GCHQ told to stop pretending that law doesn’t apply to them after revelations that they gained access to Dutch manufacturer Gemalto’s encryption keys

    • Encryption keys of mobile SIM cards powerful spying tool for NSA

      It would be another powerful tool in the arsenal of US and British spy services: the encryption keys for a large share of the SIM cards used for mobile phones.

      A report by the investigative news website The Intercept, citing leaked documents from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, said the US and British agencies “hacked into” the European manufacturer Gemalto to gain these keys.

    • NSA refuse to comment on malware rumours

      Initially Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs. Naming the attacking group “The Equation Group”, it targeted Government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said. However it declined to mention who the Equation Group was.

    • Obama said everyone wants secure mobile communications. But the NSA worked to undermine that.

      Just a week ago, President Obama assured the public that he understood the importance of securing the privacy of mobile phone networks.

      “Ultimately, everybody — and certainly this is true for me and my family — we all want to know that if we’re using a smartphone for transactions, sending messages, having private conversations, that we don’t have a bunch of people compromising that process,” Obama told technology site re/code in an interview. “So there’s no scenario in which we don’t want really strong encryption.”

    • NSA-linked Sqrrl eyes cyber security and lands $7M in funding

      Sqrrl, the big data startup whose founders used to work for the NSA, plans to announce Thursday that it is shifting its focus to cyber security with a new release of its enterprise service. The startup is also taking in a $7 million Series B investment round, bringing its total funding to $14.2 million, said Ely Kahn, a Sqrrl co-founder and vice president of business development.

    • Sqrrl raises $7.1 million for its NSA-rooted security risk detection software

      There are numerous potential threats to Internet security: lone-wolf hackers, state-sponsored cyber attacks, or identity and data theft, for example. But one of the most difficult cybersecurity challenges to identify and prevent are the Edward Snowdens — the players already inside an organization who are looking to steal or share sensitive information.

    • Sqrrl Adds $7M in Another Big-Data Analytics Deal for Boston

      In the second major big-data analytics deal in Boston in two days, Cambridge startup Sqrrl has raised $7 million in Series B funding. The deal comes a day after Cambridge analytics technology startup RapidMiner announced raising a Series B of its own, at $15 million.

    • Is NSA ‘World’s most advanced threat actor’ revealed by Kaspersky?

      There is strong speculation that the so-called Equation Group – which infected the hard drive firmware of Seagate, Maxtor, Toshiba and others, and hit political and commercial targets in over 30 countries in the last 15 to 20 years – is America’s NSA.

    • Latest NSA Revelation Presents a Major Risk to American Tech Companies

      The Week’s Washington correspondent Ryan Cooper rarely has a nice thing to say about the NSA, which is understandable because the NSA is an almost-categorically distrusted agency. If it were a baby, it’d be one of those really ugly babies that would cause people to say, “Darn, only a mother would love that.” Whether the NSA’s shrouded parentage actually approves of it is up for debate. What’s not up for debate is Cooper’s categorical dislike for the government’s surveillance goons.

    • NSA-Linked Spyware Widespread, Impossible to Remove

      The NSA may be attacking foreign governments with a virus that can only be removed by putting a sledgehammer through the hard drive.

      The U.S. National Security Agency has created a trove of spyware that is difficult to detect and almost impossible to remove, cyber security experts warned Monday.

    • GCHQ’s Hacking Of Gemalto Shows The Global Telecoms Industry Is Broken

      If privacy conscious folk aren’t already using encrypted mobile communications apps (I can personally vouch for WhatsApp or TextSecure for texts, and RedPhone or Signal for calls), they should be convinced to do so by the latest Edward Snowden revelations in The Intercept. They outline GCHQ’s “DAPINO GAMMA” attack on the world’s biggest provider of SIM cards, Gemalto , as well as widespread targeting of telecoms industry employees the world over. With the NSA, GCHQ has effectively destroyed any remaining shred of trust people had in use of everyday telecoms services.

    • NSA could have full access to your cellphone

      It’s not just the National Security Agency that’s using hackers to do some scary snooping this time. The U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters and the NSA worked together to hack Gemalto, a Dutch SIM card manufacturer.

      The story originally came from The Intercept, a site that publishes NSA documents originally leaked by Edward Snowden.

    • Creepy, Calculating and Controlling: All the Ways Big Brother Is Watching You

      None of us are perfect. All of us bend the rules occasionally. Even before the age of overcriminalization, when the most upstanding citizen could be counted on to break at least three laws a day without knowing it, most of us have knowingly flouted the law from time to time.

    • All the Ways Big Brother Is Watching You

      Drones, which will begin to take to the skies en masse this year, will be the converging point for all of the weapons and technology already available to law enforcement agencies. This means drones that can listen in on your phone calls, see through the walls of your home, scan your biometrics, photograph you and track your movements, and even corral you with sophisticated weaponry.

  • Civil Rights

    • Holder Rationalizes Obama’s War on Whistleblowers

      Attorney General Eric Holder delivered a luncheon speech on sentencing reform at the National Press Club on February 17. He then answered questions after his speech. One of the questions involved President Barack Obama and his administration’s unprecedented crackdown on leaks.

      “The Obama administration has prosecuted eight alleged whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, more than all previous presidential administrations combined. What justifies this more aggressive posture toward leakers?” a person attending the speech asked.

    • The U.S. and International Law: Q&A with Binoy Kampmark

      It has been appalling. The result is that a particular type of incarcerated figure has come into being: the Guantanamo inmate, one who is neither guilty nor innocent, yet too ‘dangerous’ to release. The result is, effectively, indefinite detention. (The point is also to be found in other countries, for instance, Australia, whose domestic intelligence agency has used assessments to prevent unconvicted, uncharged detainees from being released.)

    • Loretta Lynch Is Eric Holder 2.0—And The Senate Should Block Her

      If President Obama’s nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch, gets appointed, she will continue the practice of her predecessor by expanding presidential power and the federal government, ultimately threatening the liberty of American citizens and the stability of the nation. It is the Senate’s constitutional duty to make sure that doesn’t happen.

    • Terrorism’s collateral damage

      He found himself sent for secondary inspection at American airports, where he was asked if he had ever received combat training. As America prepared to attack Afghanistan, he wrote a piece for an American newspaper about how scared his family were of the coming war.

    • We’re Losing Our Democracy and All Our Freedoms

      Critics of President Obama’s proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force AUMF) against ISIS have been focused upon its deliberately obfuscatory and ambiguous language, which they rightly note would make it essentially a carte blanche from Congress allowing the president to go to war almost anywhere some would-be terrorist or terrorist copycat could be found who claims affinity with ISIS.

    • Signer: Confronting political extremism through debate itself

      Today, our commonwealth and the country at large are being poisoned by a toxic brew of extremism, gridlock and cynicism about leadership itself. Congress is both historically unpopular and unproductive. President Barack Obama has been stymied in his quest to bring hope and unity to a country divided between red and blue. And here in Richmond, many leaders of both parties can barely speak to each other, let alone compromise, on issues ranging from Medicaid expansion to nonpartisan redistricting.

    • Q and A: Lack of international communication path to terrorism

      As the White House prepares for a major summit discussing how the root causes of terrorism and violent extremism, the Daily Lobo talked with Nakhleh about why people become terrorists, and what governments and communities can do to deal with the problem.

      What are the main factors that contribute to a person turning into a terrorist?

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

Further Recent Posts

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts