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05.28.15

Censorship on Reddit Has Gotten (Condé) Nasty and Silent, Even Actively Silenced

Posted in Deception at 6:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Censoring evidence of the censorship, too

“Bill Gates cites copyright enforcement to justify Chinese censorship. Microsoft executives used to call us communists, but they are now clearly revealed as the ones who support communist-style dictatorship.”

Richard Stallman

Summary: Condé Nast has turned Reddit into a platform of censorship after the acquisition

A FEW years ago we published a reader’s complaint about Facebook censorship. It is widely known that Facebook engages in heavy censorship (usually silently, e.g. by omission), not just in heavy surveillance. Today we have confirmatory evidence that Reddit is also overzealously censoring (deleting), blocking, etc. entire accounts. We have heard about this before, we have actually seen this before, but not much has been said or written about this as far as we can tell. Reddit is trying to hide what it does under Condé Nast’s wing. Aaron Swartz, a Reddit pioneer, never liked Condé Nast when it became his employer (not by choice). It didn’t take him to leave Condé Nast, which generally depressed him and gave him no room for creativity. Being a large corporation headquartered near Wall Street, nobody should expect Condé Nast to have turned Reddit into anything other than adjunct of corporate media, only a shadow of its rebellious (former) self.

Reddit’s policy is somewhat sickening. A lot of people don’t quite realise how many trolls and spam come from Reddit. Censorship there is directed against anyone who is not good to Condé Nast’s business model (they own Reddit), not trolls or spam. Reddit even takes Microsoft money to advertise Microsoft under the guise of Q&A or whatever. The same previously was done with (or for) Bill Gates and pro-Microsoft agenda had run rampant for many years now (including negative comments about sites like Techrights). Condé Nast loves Microsoft and Bill Gates to the point of habitually grooming them, under the guise of ‘journalism’. Last year it was revealed (by a whistleblower’s account) that Microsoft employs AstroTurfers to leave posts favourable to Microsoft products in Reddit. It speaks volumes, does it not?

Our perception of Reddit it far worse than that of Slashdot after Dice took over. Reddit — like Facebook — is where bold ideas come to die rather than be spread. It’s hardly a “social media”, it’s more like corporate media where advertising is embedded.

Today’s story comes from an anonymous reader who has been gagged by Reddit. When he asked about the gagging he was further suppressed by Reddit (hiding evidence of the suppression). He is one of many others who have been treated like this, based on what we have learned over the years, so there needs to be an explanation out there of what Reddit actually does.

“See how Reddit hides messages,” told us the reader, “except to the original poster… very sneaky. As far as I can make out, most of the posts are advertisements disguised as fake personal anecdotes. Adverts for the Credit Card industry under disguise as asking for financial advice, or in this case a free advert for the psycho-pharma industry.”

Now you see the comment:

Reddit thread

Now you don’t (logged out):

Reddit thread

“Well then,” he pleaded, “do a story on it over on techrights.org. Have people open an account and see when and if they become invisible. I think it’s very sneaky making the posts only visible to the logged in user.”

Here are 2 image attachment which show how Reddit deals with accounts. First this:

Reddit user

Now it’s gone…

Reddit user

So it’s virtually banned.

“And apparently the user home page doesn’t exist,” our reader said, “except only for the logged in user. Can you see the message posted on this link?”

Of course we can’t, that’s the intention.

This profile page returns a “page not found” error.

That’s a ban. “And apparently the user home page doesn’t exist,” our reader concluded. He is not an agent of some company and he wasn’t rude, either.

Reddit remains one of several nasty sites which pretend to be “activism” and pose as “community” while in practice doing the very opposite. Remember who owns Reddit.

We are proud to say that in nearly a decade of operation we never deleted a single comment here. All comments were approved, over 30,000 of them in total, even very vulgar ones. That’s what free speech means. Reddit lost its way a long time ago, so free-thinking individual ought to stay out of there.

The Supreme Court of the United States Helps Patent Trolls

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 5:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fly

Summary: In an unforeseen kind of ruling, the same court which slapped down a lot of software patents last year is now legitimising the actions of a patent troll

Joe Mullin wrote about Patent Troll Tracker quite some time before he became a widely-recognised journalist focusing on patent trolls and some other patent-related matters. Patent Troll Tracker was later ousted with a bounty on his head (coming from a patent troll). Patent Troll Tracker was a patent lawyer from Cisco, which had attracted many trolls to it. Based on this new report from Mullin, Cisco has just lost to a troll at SCOTUS level (the highest possible level, which is also expensive). As Mullin put it: “The Supreme Court issued a ruling (PDF) today in Commil USA v. Cisco Systems, one of two patent cases it heard this term. On one key issue, the opinion favors Commil, a “patent troll” that won a $64 million jury verdict against Cisco. But other findings mean that the non-practicing entity won’t be getting a payday any time soon—and a final section of the opinion is wholly dedicated to reminding judges to sanction misbehaving patent plaintiffs, something that didn’t even come up in this case.

“In the Commil USA v. Cisco Systems case, a 6-2 majority of justices held that defendants in patent cases can’t evade claims of “induced infringement” by arguing they had a “good faith belief” the patent was invalid. That overturns an appeals court decision favoring Cisco. Justice Stephen Breyer was recused from the case.”

This is very bad because only one year after the Alice case we are now seeing SCOTUS leaning in favour of patent trolls, not just rubbish patents. SCOTUS is, in some sense, feeding the trolls here.

“Stop Feeding the Patent Trolls,” says the headline of a new article, explaining: “At AngelList, we’ve spent the last several years creating a platform for startups and founders to connect with their peers, secure seed investments and recruit employees. We’re passionate about what we do, which is why it’s all the more upsetting to see fledgling businesses continue to take unnecessary and costly hits from greedy patent trolls.

“What SCOTUS has just done is only going to further legitimise trolls.”“For years, patent litigation has drained small businesses of resources that would otherwise be used for research, investment and job creation. Specifically, flaws and loopholes in the current law allow patent assertion entities (PAEs), also known as patent trolls, to exploit the system and claim rights to patents without ever having made a product or provided a service to any customers. Congress’ inaction has led to billions of dollars spent on frivolous patent suits, needlessly costing the economy and consumers.”

There is then a reference to the PATENT Act, which only tackles small trolls but not big trolls. “The Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship Act of 2015,” says the author, “is sponsored by both sides of the aisle, including Senators Grassley, Leahy, Cornyn, Schumer, Lee, Hatch and Klobuchar.” It is also sponsored by the large corporations that are funding these politicians.

Let it be clear that patent trolls truly are an issue, but they are not the only issue and they benefit from the vast extent of patents on software. Various sites that focus on patent trolls (and patent trolls only) amplify the claims of those famed academics who focus only on trolls, for example Michael Meurer and Bessen. As Matt Levy put the situation, it was “Bessen that estimated that NPEs cost U.S. businesses at least $29 billion dollars in 2011.” Levy previously related a SCOTUS approval of Form 18 abandonment to patent trolls. 9 days ago he wrote: “In a blog post last year, I wrote about about the prolific patent troll eDekka, which filed well over 100 complaints in 2014. Not one of them gave any useful information to the defendants. Most of the complaints were filed in the Eastern District of Texas.”

Eastern District of Texas is where a lot of patent trolls operate from and the environment sure became fertile for their racketeering. What SCOTUS has just done is only going to further legitimise trolls.

IP Troll Tracker (not to be confused with Patent Troll Tracker) recalls one of the most notorious trolls out there, Erich Spangenberg, saying that there is alarming embellishment of what trolls like him are doing. “In another alarming chapter of the “saved from a troll by a troll” play book,” she writes, “Jump Rope misses the rope itself and jumps straight into bed with Erich Spangenberg. Like Ditto before him, Mr. Braxton of Jump Rope found himself in the unfortunate position of having to take investment money from one of the founders of the business model that put his company in jeopardy to begin with.”

Here is Mike Masnick at TechDirt put it: “The story tries to play this out like a “patent troll done good,” but it’s horrifying. It’s one patent troll beating up on a startup, and then allowing a second one to come in and vulture up the leftovers. It’s certainly not good for innovation in any way.”

One might expect patent trolls to be vilified or cracked down on by now, but even the SCOTUS helps them these days. Some of the media paints them as innovators and some as saviors. Actions are now judged by the actor’s size, not the action.

Patent Lawyers Fight Hard for the Future of Software Patents

Posted in Law, Patents at 4:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“People naively say to me, “If your program is innovative, then won’t you get the patent?” This question assumes that one product goes with one patent.” —Richard Stallman

An algorithm

Summary: Media that is dominated by patent lawyers and targets an audience of patent lawyers refuses to accept the post-Alice reality

THE USPTO is a sordid mess. As the previous article served to show, it attracts many opportunists and trolls. However, recent amendment of guidelines used inside the USPTO examination pipeline stopped many software patents, rendering them invalid while citing Alice (a relatively recent SCOTUS ruling). Both the court system and the patent system are now far less favourable or tolerant towards software patents.

“These patents are affecting not only Free software but also proprietary software.”As usual, patent lawyers’ sites are quick to shoot down the message and the messengers. Legal News Line says that a “new study shows first decline in patent litigation in five years”. It of course proceeds to refutation attempts. Other lawyers (McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP in this case) are trying hard to shoot down claims that software patents are being stopped in the US. Here is their abstract: “A recent publication by PricewaterhouseCoopers announced that patent suit filings in 2014 had reduced by 13% from the prior year, and concluded that this “dramatic shift” was “[d]riven by Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, which raised the bar for patentability and enforcement of software patents” (see “2015 Patent Litigation Study: A change in patentee fortunes”). This rather strong attribution has in turn driven a number of news outlets, such as IPLaw 360 and bloggers to pick up the story (see “Patent Lawsuits Took First Dive In Years, Report Says” and “Patent Litigation Study Should Cause Patent Reform Pause”).”

They say that this report “raises questions”, but actually it answers a question and tackles an issue. It’s a step towards the solution.

Another patent lawyers’ site, Managing IP, says that “Rumours of the death of software patents are greatly exaggerated” (well, they sure would hope so) and Gene Quinn (very vocal proponent of software patents, for he is a patent lawyer) asks, “Is there a future for software patents in an age of software innovation?”

What we are hoping to show here, as we did many times before, is that patent lawyers are very concerned about the death of many patents on software, not only at the court level but also, increasingly, at the examination level (where they can make a lot of money at the expense of software developers). These patents are affecting not only Free software but also proprietary software. Even Bitcoin, which strives to reform today’s monetary system, is said to be affected. As this report from the beginning of the month put it: “Bitcoin wallet company BitGo, Inc. is currently being circled by Redditors for its alleged attempts to patent the Bitcoin multisig technology.

“The San Francisco based company had submitted a patent request to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on February 4th last year, a document of which was published yesterday, on April 30th 2015. The document reveals BitGo’s application in which it is seeking a patent for a network device that is “configured to receive public keys, over an electronic network, of two or more second public-private keys,” something that is reportedly identical to the multisig functionality.”

They are patenting cryptological methods now. This is like patenting mathematics. It has got to stop at the examination level, not just at the courts (legal fees are obscenely high).

Fortune Glorifies Patent Troll Jay Walker (Patent Utility)

Posted in Patents at 4:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jay Walker
Photo by Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA

Summary: Jay Walker, a patent troll, creates a Web-based trolling/’licensing’ service and the corporate media helps him

“Big data is key to disrupting the U.S. patent industry,” said last month’s headline from the plutocrats’ media (Fortune). Let’s put aside the term “patent industry”, which equates patenting to production. This article spoke about a patent troll named Jay Walker– a man whom we wrote about before. To quote what it’s about: “The United States Patent Utility is a newly launched web-based licensing platform offered by Parent Properties. Led by Priceline founder Jay Walker, the Utility (as it’s sometimes called) is a public company that will bring together inventors and would-be users, kind of like a match-making service.”

“It’s like an answer in search of a question or a solution in search of a problem, unless the target audience is patent examiners and trolls.”That’s the sort of vision laid out by patent hoarders who litigate rather than create anything. They treat patents as a product to be sold or rented. Notice that they call it “web-based licensing platform” (trolling sounds almost synonymous), nothing like a “match-making service.” There’s no love in it.

Oddly enough, this article completely neglects to mention that Walker is now a patent toll. “The company’s analytics technology,” it says, “searches the two million-plus patents on file with the U.S. Patent Office, as well as its huge volume of pending patents, and matches companies with any concepts that will help them meet their business goals.”

Companies don’t need patents to tell them what to do and they don’t need to look up patents instead of doing what they do. It’s like an answer in search of a question or a solution in search of a problem, unless the target audience is patent examiners and trolls. The world’s patent examiners already have expansive tools for finding prior art and/or existing patents.

The article goes on and states: “The Utility is designed to open up the world of innovation to companies of all sizes, particularly those with limited resources.”

Actually, this sounds more like a patent trolls’ toolbox. It makes it cheaper for trolls to acquire ‘licensing’ deals or acquire patents, without even a lawsuit.

Stealing Android’s Thunder, Making It All About Apple and Microsoft During Google I/O

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 3:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry.”

James Plamondon, Microsoft [PDF]

Summary: Misleading articles and conjoined media/analyst attacks on Android coincide with Google’s event where major Android announcements are being made

ANDROID, which runs Linux at its core, is now the world’s most widely used operating system, not just the most commonly ‘sold’ (if that word is applicable to Free software) operating systems. Microsoft is very annoyed by that. Apple is jealous.

Android is expanding from phones to tablets, watches, and even cars. Right now there’s a lot of talk about ​Android Auto (see our upcoming daily links for more information, as well as various links that we posted about Google I/O before) and this means that the reach of Linux is vast beyond imagination. It’s always growing. Devices now outnumber people, especially with all that “IoT” hype. Many of these devices (probably the majority) run Linux.

“Devices now outnumber people, especially with all that “IoT” hype. Many of these devices (probably the majority) run Linux.”Microsoft seems to be trying to crash the event of Google, making it all about Apple and Microsoft in a potentially strategic (and timely) way. Farhad Manjoo, who promoted Microsoft in Slate (we mentioned it here several times before, especially in the IRC channels), is now doing a piece on Android in the New York Times. While acknowledging “Market Dominance” of Android he goes on to say that there is “A Murky Road Ahead for Android”. We’ve heard it all before, usually from Microsoft- and Apple-friendly media. As this article is composed by an old friend of Microsoft, we consider it more of that same. For the second day in a row it’s IDG (parent company of IDC, but without disclosure to that effect) that uses IDC-produced figures to bash Android’s dominance as well. Mikael Ricknäs has spread through a bunch of IDG-owned sites an article titled “Android stutters while iOS shines in Q1″. Two Microsoft-bribed firms, namely the Gartner Group and IDC, are being quoted so as to bash Android. They do this by gaming numbers, making it seem like Apple enjoys huge growth while actually it’s Android that continues to gain (at the expense of mostly proprietary platforms). IDC is grossly overstating Microsoft’s role in mobile, but given the long-term relationship of IDC and Microsoft, this is hardly surprising. IDC previously had us believe (using bogus predictions) that Windows would be dominant in mobile by now. How wrong were they! Android is dying/doomed/terrible, say Microsoft- and Apple-connected firms, so maybe the real observation to be made here is that Microsoft is really afraid of Android. It’s nervousness and response.

The conflicts of interest at IDG are not news to us. We have written about them for nearly a decade. Here you see Roger Grimes from Microsoft and IDG (yes, at the same time!) giving poor advice about security (he often blames users for security issues that are Microsoft’s). “Better solution,” wrote iophk to us, would be “OpenWRT or DD-WRT” (Linux).

Incidentally, amid all that Android FUD (vastly increased while Google I/O takes place), Tony Bradley, a Microsoft mole and booster (professionally connected to Microsoft but pretending to be journalist in IDG, as well as other Web sites/news networks) says that “Microsoft Has Hijacked Android In A Hostile Takeover” (his headline).

Rogue players, including Microsoft, tried this before, with examples that include Facebook, Nokia, and Amazon. They always failed. It’s just a misguided strategy that weakens Windows in the hope that somehow it’ll pay off or gradually sink the competition.

Watch how IDG covered this latest case of patent extortion/shakedown. Microsoft’s abuse of patents is not mentioned even once! It’s all promotional. The opening sentence says: “Tuesday’s announcement means Microsoft is now working with 31 device manufacturers to pre-load applications on Android tablets.”

Here again we see the artificially- and misleadingly-inflated number which we alluded to the other day.

“Microsoft has made a killer move,” wrote Pavithra Rathinavel about patent racketeering while glorifying it as some kind of ingenious strategy. He also wrote: “Many observers say Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is making the right moves to cater to all the major platforms used by customers across the globe.”

No, Microsoft uses extortion and blackmail using patents in order to force companies to exclude the competition. It’s bundling by force. That is nothing worth commending.

British Government May be a Step Closer to GNU/Linux (on the Desktops, Not Just Servers)

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Windows at 2:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The Justice Department also renewed its request that the court fine Microsoft $1 million a day for contempt…”

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul

Summary: The British government stops paying the criminal company that blackmails its members, thereby increasing the possibility of complete escape from proprietary software

SPENDING around $10,000 per Windows desktop per year in the British government (i.e. around the same as a brand new car per year for one single desktop!) is far from reasonable. It’s theft, it’s embezzlement. It shows why Microsoft is so exceptionally desperate to keep its contracts with the British government — to the point of blackmailing British politicians.

According to this new report which relates to our recent writings, no more will our government waste $10,000 per desktop per year and it is definitely getting closer to altogether dumping Windows.

“The UK government has decided,” says The Register, “as foreshadowed by The Reg, that it can do without extended support for Windows XP.

“The nation signed up for Microsoft’s super-special zombie OS support service – aka a Custom Support Agreement – last year, but a recent meeting of government Technology Leaders decided enough is enough. A post on the Government Technology Blog says the Leaders “took a collective decision to not extend the support arrangement for 2015.”

“A support agreement that ended in April was therefore not renewed.”

Microsoft now uses scare tactics to make the government ‘upgrade’ (rent new versions of Windows, Office, etc.) or ‘buy’ extended — and surely overpriced — ‘support’.

Well, just bin Microsoft already; it is a huge security risk and Free software is capable is serving the public a lot better. It would also create jobs in the UK because people are needed to support these desktops. Surely we can be self-sufficient in the software sense. Britain has got some skilled programmers and it is internationally renowned for its services-based industry.

05.27.15

Microsoft’s Patent Allies LG and Sony Agree to Put Microsoft Inside Android

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 6:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Using blackmail and extortion to ‘bastardise’ Android

Rockstar Consortium

Summary: LG and Sony (of Rockstar Consortium) follow Samsung and Dell in Microsoft’s campaign to turn Android into ‘Microsoft Android’ using patents-induced pressure/leverage

THERE is an effort by Microsoft to hijack Android and turn it into a Microsoft platform. Cyanogen is a key Trojan horse in this effort (an embrace extend and extinguish manoeuvre by a Microsoft proxy), but then there are Microsoft-occupied companies like Dell and patent partners like Samsung (patent extortion and lawsuits played a role in this too) which agree to replace Android software with Microsoft spyware. Samsung is now thinking about a Windows-Android mix [1], having learned nothing from Nokia’s Microsoft-inflicted demise.

Venture Beat has this disturbing news. Having spent several years bragging about the number of companies Microsoft bullied into Android ‘patent deals’, Microsoft now starts bragging about the number of companies Microsoft bullied into Android ‘Microsoft deals’ (which relates to the former because the Taiwanese press says Microsoft offers patent concessions in exchange for installation/bundling of Microsoft spyware). This is extortion, plain and simple. It’s based on patent litigation threats and bribes. As Venture Beat puts it: “The news follows Microsoft’s announcement in March that it had gotten Samsung, Dell, and several regional hardware makers to sell Android devices packed with those same Microsoft apps.”

It’s just Microsoft’s patent ally LG and also Sony, which works together with Microsoft when it comes to patents (recall Rockstar). The rest are mostly obscure ‘partners’. “In total,” says the article, “Microsoft has now partnered with 31 global and local OEMs (11 in March and 20 today) to preinstall its apps onto Android devices throughout this year. Only time will tell if Microsoft’s apps end up actually being used more because of these deals.”

The number, 31, sure sounds high, but in reality, only a handful of these have got significant market share. Microsoft is exaggerating here. It’s marketing or even shameless propaganda. A small payment to some of these small companies (a bribe) would be sufficient towards artificial inflation of the number.

Microsoft, an NSA partner, hopes to turn Android into more of a spying platform than it already was, harvesting audio using Cortana, which Microsoft re-announces this week.

“Having spent several years bragging about the number of companies Microsoft bullied into Android ‘patent deals’, Microsoft now starts bragging about the number of companies Microsoft bullied into Android ‘Microsoft deals’ (which relates to the former because the Taiwanese press says Microsoft offers patent concessions in exchange for installation/bundling of Microsoft spyware).”Incidentally, Richard Stallman very recently warned about Android as well as Windows. They are both “malware” according to him. Well, one learns something new every day. This news site says Stallman created Linux, despite him making it quite clear that it all started with GNU [2] almost a decade earlier. Most sites got it right [3-8], responding to his original article (published in The Guardian a couple of days ago).

The article which dubs Stallman “Linux creator” says “Richard Stallman, known for his instrumental role in the creation of Linux, has written an opinion piece arguing that nearly any operating system you might use today can be considered malware, and that goes for popular mobile platforms as well as desktop operating systems.”

Later on it states: “The solution, he said, is to reject software and web services that snoop or track, to support the development of free software that doesn’t track the user, and to design legislation that would criminalize all of these new forms of “malware.””

Microsoft boosting sites don’t agree with Stallman but at least they give his views a mention [1, 2]. It is getting hard to ignore Google’s own privacy violations and even its patents on privacy-infringing things, such as this latest example from the news [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] (widely referred to as “creepy”). Nevertheless, giving Microsoft control of Android, especially using an obscene bunch of moves and criminal extortion, is not OK.

Microsoft is attacking Android from other angles too, including the FUD angle. A Microsoft-bribed firm, , which said Windows will have become dominant in mobile by 2015, bashes Android again. It also praises Windows. To quote IDG (parent company of IDC reporting on IDC without disclosure): “Windows Phone will remain at about 3.2% market share in 2015, shipping nearly 47 million phones, IDC said. Those numbers will increase to 5.4% in 2019, when Windows Phone will surpass 103 million smartphones shipped, IDC predicted.”

Well, there is a lie there about Windows Phone because it’s actually at around 2%, based on some respectable sources. Any predications of huge Windows growth from IDC were previously laughable and utterly wrong now that we look back. Perhaps it’s not surprising that IDC needs IDG (its parent company) to spread out such nonsensical propaganda.

Microsoft’s attacks on Android are becoming more gross by the day. Defending Android is not a case of defending Google but a matter of defending truth and opposing Microsoft’s criminality.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Samsung proposes an Android phone that transforms into a Windows laptop

    Samsung has been thinking up new ways to transform smartphones into laptops. In a patent application filed last week, first spotted by Patently Mobile, Samsung describes a mobile device that runs Android and is able to switch over to Windows when inserted into a dock. Individually, these ideas aren’t new — dual-OS devices and docking smartphones have been tried a number of times over the past several years — but they haven’t been put together in a particularly straightforward way. Of course, this is only a patent application, so there’s no guarantee that Samsung will actually make it.

  2. Richard Stallman Says He Created GNU, Which Is Called Often Linux

    Richard Stallman is the President of the Free Software Foundation and also the founder of GNU or GNU’s Not Unix! operating system that contains only free software. One of his constant claims is that GNU/Linux is a misnomer and that it shouldn’t be used. In fact, he’s now saying that the GNU operating system is often called Linux.

  3. Windows and OS X are malware, claims Richard Stallman

    ‘Resist gratification’, says super-GNU-man freedom fighter

  4. Linux Creator Says Windows, OS X, iOS and Android Are All Malware
  5. GNU Creator Labels Windows And OS X As Malware, Trashes IoT Movement
  6. Are Windows and OS X malware?
  7. Richard Stallman labels Windows and iOS as malware
  8. Richard Stallman: Windows OS is malware

Yet Another Major Security Deficiency in UEFI

Posted in Microsoft, Security at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Another reason to reject UEFI: system compromise before boot sequence starts (e.g. GNU/Linux)

UEFI

Summary: UEFI is inherently insecure, more so than the alternatives which it strives to replace, including Free/libre ones

INTEL’S UEFI has been marketed as ‘security’ because of “Restricted Boot”, which basically gives a bunch of companies like Microsoft control over one’s computer. Microsoft works closely with the NSA and the NSA already spoke about compromise at boot time. UEFI enables remote bricking of PCs — a subject that we covered here before, e.g. in:

There is a post titled “UEFI backdoor allows root exploit in Linux” which UEFI apologist and developer Matthew Garrettresponded to not exactly with refutation, only the insistence that it is not the “backdoor you are looking for”. To quote: “And that’s what Dmytro has done – he’s written code that sits in that hidden area of RAM and can be triggered to modify the state of the running OS. But he’s modified his own firmware in order to do that, which isn’t something that’s possible without finding an existing vulnerability in either the OS or (or more recently, and) the firmware. It’s an excellent demonstration that what we knew to be theoretically possible is practically possible, but it’s not evidence of such a backdoor being widely deployed.”

Maybe not yet. We’re talking about and dealing with imperialistic espionage agencies that go as far as putting back doors in the firmware of just about every hard drive.

We really need to stop referring to UEFI as a security enhancement. This is far from the first time security issues are found in UEFI, which is complicated, proprietary, patents-encumbered and relatively immature.

Computers with UEFI should be appropriately labeled (warning labels), just like foods with genetically-modified ingredients or packets of cigarettes.

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