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11.28.14

Mozilla Will Relay Firefox User Input (Even Keystrokes) to Microsoft and the NSA Through Yahoo in the US

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft, Search at 7:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The fall of the Gecko (Mozilla)

Gecko

Summary: Mozilla is letting Microsoft manage users’ data in Firefox, including keystrokes in the address bar

TECHRIGHTS has published plenty of pro-Mozilla and pro-Firefox articles over the years. Speaking for myself, I have posted literally thousands of pro-Firefox links over the past decade as I viewed Firefox as the software that rescued the Web from Microsoft’s monopoly and iron grip. It was Firefox that had Web developers cease their Internet Explorer-only mentality (or dogma). It is with deep regrets that I have to revoke my support for Firefox, not just because of its treatment of Eich, the company’s pro-DRM apologists, the ads, and now the privacy compromises. This post is an accumulation of a fortnight of sad news about Mozilla. The saddest thing is that Mozilla does not view this as sad news, or at least doesn’t want the public to view it that way.

Let us agree that the relationship between surveillance and ads is a close one, but one must not be treated as interchangeable with the other. This post is not a rant about ads, which to be realistic is truly a growing business model, especially on the Web. That alone is not the problem. This post is also not provocation or trolling but the expression of genuine concern for a project and a company I have loved and wish to still love (if they rectify their act, despite the seemingly irrevocable nature of some recent moves).

The Ads

Ads are not the main problem with Mozilla, even though it sure helps discredit Free software projects like Fedora, so Fedora is planning to dump Firefox (except if one installs it from the repositories). Free software does not go well with ads (Linux Mint received flak for a controversial approach to such a business model), so it is not too shocking that Fedorans are unhappy with the move. This serves to show that Mozilla’s appeal to advertisers is in fact backfiring. They’re losing market share that way. As Internet News put it, “Fedora Linux [is] Set to Abandon Firefox over Advertising Issue”. Not everyone has a problem with ads, especially when these can be blocked. As one pro-GNU/Linux and BSD site put it: “That Sponsored Tiles program from Mozilla, which I first wrote about in Mozilla to sell ads in Firefox browser via the Directory Tiles program, has gone live.”

One might have to download a cutting-edge build to see it. Again, it’s not the ads that we’re worried about.

The NSA

Putting aside the fact that spies use ads for surveillance (a good example might be something along the lines of Angry Birds), the NSA sure works very closely with Microsoft. It’s a strong relationship that goes back to the 1990s. A lot of people, perhaps influenced by Microsoft’s massive (multi-million) anti-Google PR campaign, look the other way and accuse only Google of privacy violations in search, E-mail etc. There is news right now that says Google allows privacy for a fee (or at least removal of privacy-infringing ads). It’s a substitute for the ads business model. To quote the Romania-based SoftPedia: “Google is always looking to diversify its online advertising policy and you might think that there is little left to do in this regard. It appears that Google has found yet another way to monetize ads, both for itself and for the website, but this time the power rests in the users’ hands.”

That is actually a good thing, no matter how Microsoft’s anti-Google PR tries to spin it.

Then comes the news about Mozilla breaking up with Google despite the fact that “Mozilla gets more than 90 percent of its revenues from Google” (which was a good thing, as it helped fund Free software).

One longtime Firefox observer wrote that “Firefox maker remains ‘utterly confident’ as revenue growth sputters”. What are they so confident about? Firefox has been Google-reliant for quite some time; it’s no secret. To remove that reliance one needs to find hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue (or otherwise shrink considerably). What other than selling out to the “devil we don’t know” (or the devil we do know in the case of Microsoft) can possibly achieve that? Thunderbird already sold its users out in that horrible way by linking to Microsoft (“Bing”) just before Mozilla abandoned Thunderbird development. Firefox is now going down a similar route, putting aside attempts to raise donations (now in Bitcoin form, too). According to this article, Mozilla was really loaded with money up until now. A reader of ours asked us: “What is the money spent on? Not Thunderbird or Firefox, obviously.”

Marketing, or perhaps even face-saving projects, used up much of the budget, not important projects (with PGP support) such as Thunderbird. As Mozilla had hundreds of millions of dollars coming in, the old excuses about not maintaining Thunderbird because people use GMail (PRISM) are utter nonsense. Yes, when Mozilla stopped Thunderbird development (with easy-to-use PGP support through Enigmail) it said people were moving to to hosted mail (PRISM/NSA), naming GMail by name. Guess who bankrolled Mozilla at the time…

Either way, the problem with the move away from Google is that Mozilla now actively helps a sworn enemy of FOSS and GNU/Linux (ignore the PR nonsense about Microsoft “loving” Linux and other such self-serving lies that we debunked last month and earlier this month). In addition there’s the privacy factor, but it’s not the main point. “Why Mozilla is scared of Google” was one headline of interest and the respective article said: “For the last 10 years, Google has had that business almost entirely to itself. Every time you make a search through that bar, Google makes a little bit of money from ads and passes a piece of that money on to the browser through AdSense’s revenue sharing deal. That adds up to hundreds of millions of dollars for companies like Mozilla, but the money can produce some strange incentives. Google’s making a browser too, and it may not want to support Chrome’s competitors forever. Suddenly, the short-term money starts to look like a long-term liability.”

But Microsoft makes a Web browser too. There’s no point using “Chrome” as a reason for Mozilla to fear Google but not Microsoft, which makes the much worse and standards-hostile Internet Explorer that Windows imposes on PC buyers. Chrome is at least based on Free software (which Chormium is), whereas Internet Explorer is purely proprietary. Firefox can reuse code from Chrome.

According to this article, things are getting worse with the shift to Microsoft because Mozilla now lets Microsoft log keystrokes in the address bar (see the screenshot). How ridiculous is that (even if that behaviour can be disabled)? Very sad.

One pundit says that “despite losing Google as its cash cow, Mozilla isn’t dead yet”, noting: “Its Google advertising contract was coming to an end. With 90 percent of Mozilla’s income coming from Google, it was far from good news. With the contract ending in November, and no reason for Google to renew the deal with its Chrome Web browser success, things were looking dark as an overcast, moonless night for Mozilla.”

So what? Moving to Microsoft (through Yahoo) is not independence, it’s even worse than before. Mozilla cannot assert independence by becoming dependent on Microsoft and the NSA through Yahoo. Microsoft is not “Choice and Innovation” (as Mozilla tries to frame it), it’s espionage and blackmail (with patents). The company’s head said: “In evaluating our search partnerships, our primary consideration was to ensure our strategy aligned with our values of choice and independence”

Microsoft?

Choice?

Independence?

That’s a joke, right?

Yahoo is now just a front end of “Bing” (in the US, where the Mozilla deal was signed for), so we might as well just speak about Microsoft here, not Yahoo (the covert façade). If Mozilla continues to sell out its users, now by diverting users’ searches to Microsoft (via Yahoo) like Canonical tried several years ago, then we as users need to speak out. The boosters of the monopolist, people like Microsoft Peter, sure love this deal. It is good for Microsoft.

It’s Not About Yahoo, It’s Microsoft

Mozilla has clearly learned nothing about Ubuntu’s mistake with Yahoo — a mistake that was realised later and the plan undone. As Lirodon put it in our IRC channels, “Microsoft’s Yahoo-branded front-end of Bing is going to be Firefox’s new default search engine,” but we do not see enough people willing to chastise Mozilla over this. Microsoft only (by default) is not “multiple-search-partner” as LWN put it, and this should be rather clear. Putting aside the DRM, the ads and other controversies and scandals, this is quite serious and merely the latest step. It is just one among other misguided decisions that turned a once-awesome company into a one that compromises and even abandons principles, hopelessly thinking it would help it gain market share rather than the very opposite.

Sam Dean wrote about this deal and recalled that Mozilla “has historically gotten more than 90 percent of its revenues from Google, to the tune of $300 million recently, in exchange for search placement in the Firefox browser. That has completely changed, and now Mozilla has struck a similar five-year deal with Yahoo.”

5 years being stuck with Microsoft. And they probably cannot even revoke this deal. It’s similar to the 5-year (since 2006) Microsoft-Novell deal (also irrevocable, despite huge amounts of criticism). Some years ago Mozilla put some pressure on Google by flirting with the idea of a Microsoft deal. Can Google perhaps still save Mozilla from this horrible dependency? Press reports make that seem unlikely and few articles even point out that Yahoo is a relay for Microsoft (US searches done purely by Microsoft, meaning that Yahoo search is essentially just “Bing” in the US), after a corruptions parade and a corporate coup. Those who are implying that Google is in Yahoo because of the CEO (see the sneaky remarks about the CEO) must not have followed recent events closely enough. To quote one take on this:

It had been reported that Google and Mozilla were still negotiating on renewing their deal, but apparently that has failed (in the U.S) at least. No word (yet) on how much the Yahoo deal is worth to Mozilla, but it’s likely a good deal for Yahoo.

No, for Microsoft. Yahoo searches in the US are Microsoft’s business.

Christine Hall wrote:

There’s just one teeny-tiny little problem. For the last several years, Yahoo has been obtaining its search results from Bing, owned by Microsoft, with no indication this will change. I’m not exactly sure how the Microsoft/Yahoo deal works, but you can be sure that some money goes to Redmond each and every time a search is done via the web portal, something that many FOSS supporters might find unacceptable.

She is right. If only more people got this story right, perhaps there would be an uproar big enough and Mozilla would cancel the Microsoft (through Yahoo!) deal. Tell Mozilla what you think; get this mess undone before it’s too late and even incorporated into new stable releases.

Microsoft Found to Have Broken the Law in China (Tax Evasion), Just Like Practically Everywhere

Posted in Asia, Finance, Fraud, Microsoft at 5:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Things must be grim when China is upholding the law whereas the West refuses to

HK, China

Summary: China is reportedly taking action against Microsoft’s notorious habit of tax evasion and fining the company well over $100 million

NOW THAT Microsoft has been found to be evading tax (a crime, but not one that executives of large corporations often go to jail for) and fined for it in a nation as large as China (just like in India half a decade ago, as well as in other places) is the US going to follow suit? Last week we showed that the IRS was on this case, so Microsoft began bullying the IRS (the vanity of corporations that control their government).

“”Remember when Microsoft China offices were raided (just earlier this year on numerous occasions and its patent extortion plot was targeted by the Chinese authorities? Well, it sure seems like China enforcing the law against massive criminals like Microsoft, setting a good precedent that US and Europe should follow. To quote the new report: “Microsoft has reportedly been issued with a charge for £87 million in back-taxes following an investigation into alleged tax evasion by the Chinese authorities.”

For those who still associate Microsoft with something other than crime and corruption, the news report above can serve as a valuable wake-up call.

11.26.14

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

Posted in News Roundup at 6:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • About Linux Weekly News – 24th November 2014
  • Desktop

    • Expensive “Free/Libre Software Laptop” Uses A NVIDIA GPU

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

  • Server

    • Docker Update Fixes Pair of Critical Security flaws

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

    • AMD & PathScale Join OpenACC Group

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

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

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

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

      • Nouveau Might Have A Logo

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

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

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

      • Freedreno MSM Driver Has Big Changes For Linux 3.19 Kernel

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

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

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

    • Benchmarks

      • Apple OS X 10.10 vs. Ubuntu 14.10 Performance

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

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

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

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Colorpick

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

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Rescatux Is a Useful Tool to Fix Grub and Promote Windows Users to Admin

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

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

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

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

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Linux: The Safest Operating System on the Planet
        • Open Seat on the Fedora Server Working Group

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

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

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

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

        • Fedora 21 Innovates in Docker Cloud Virtualization with Project Atomic

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

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

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

    • Debian Family

      • The rise of Debian technology

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

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Quad-core media player runs Kodi/XBMC on OpenElec Linux

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

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

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

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

    • Linux-based AUV maps Antarctic sea ice thickness

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

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

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Hey, here’s some face-tracking tech from Samsung you probably won’t find creepy at all

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Mapping the world with open source

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

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

  • Google Brings Open Source Security Gifts

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

  • OPNFV Does Telecom/Open Source ‘Mind Meld’

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

  • Particulate sensor developed using open source approach

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

    [...]

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

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

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

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

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

      • What’s the Difference Between Chromium and Chrome?

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

    • Mozilla

      • Review of the new Firefox browser built for developers

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

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

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

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

    • VirtualBox 4.3.20 Arrives, Still No Sign Of VirtualBox 4.4

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

  • CMS

  • Business

  • Funding

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

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

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD 4.0 Drops i386 Support, Improves Graphics

      The much anticipated release of DragonFlyBSD 4.0 is now available.

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

    • DragonFly 4.0.1 released

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

    • 64-bit ARM FreeBSD Support Is Taking Shape

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

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

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

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • The FSF is hiring: Seeking a full-time outreach and communication coordinator

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

    • GNU Guix 0.8 Has A New Visual UI In Emacs

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

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

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Finland’s Innovillage spurs open development of e-gov services

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

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

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

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Free the Seed – The Open Source Seed Initiative

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

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

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

  • Standards/Consortia

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

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

    • ZigBee Announces New Internet of Things Standard

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

    • OpenCL & SYCL Updated For Heterogeneous Parallel Programming

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

Leftovers

  • Science

    • US Department of Defense Militarizes Social Science

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

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Video Analysis of Fatal West Bank Shooting Said to Implicate Israeli Officer

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

  • Finance

    • HOTEL 22: The Dark Side Of Silicon Valley

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

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

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

    • Save the Fatcats

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

      [...]

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

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

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

    • Millions in Poverty Get Less Media Coverage than 482 Billionaires

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

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Google Asked to Censor Three Million Pirate Bay URLs

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

  • Privacy

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

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

    • UK Pirate Party slams government plans for IP address identification

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

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

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

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

    • Slack now letting employers tap workers’ private chats

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

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

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

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

    • Thinking of buying a security camera? Read this first

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

    • Truly private surfing

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

      [...]

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Coming War on Encryption, Tor, and VPNs

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

    • NSA privacy director defends agency’s surveillance

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

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

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

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

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

    • Patriot Act Deadline Threatens to Splinter NSA Reformers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Edward Snowden Receives Stuttgart Peace Prize 2014

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

    • NSA leaker Snowden feted in Stuttgart

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

    • Utah is considering shutting off water to the NSA

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

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

    • NSA Spies Recruit Teenage Kids: We Can Stop It

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

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

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

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

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

    • Memo to NSA: Stop Saying You Apply the FIPPs

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

    • Ex-NSA and GCHQ spooks showcase Intel platform

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

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

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

    • Wyden pledges to pursue NSA reform

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

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

    • Viewpoint: Silicon Valley must step up privacy fight

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

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

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

    • Massive surveillance operations possible with explicit help from telecom companies

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

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

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

    • Five-eyes partners dilute UN resolution criticising metadata collection

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

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

    • UN human rights panel passes resolution to protect privacy

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

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

    • Should Schools Monitor Students’ Social Media Use?

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

    • Lee Rigby report expected Facebook to break US law

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

    • The US should not be allowed to run the internet

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

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

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

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

    • UN Resolution Warns of ‘Intrusive’ Digital Spying

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Civil Rights

    • Amnesty International USA: Ferguson, the World is Watching

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Global coalition from 19 countries launches Thisisnetneutrality.org website

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

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

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

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Senator Uses Piracy Report to Pressure Visa, Mastercard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • BT Starts Blocking Private Torrent Sites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception at 8:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Fraud, Microsoft at 3:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

How DARE the government investigate us?

Law badge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Novell at 2:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. SUSE gets live patching

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

  2. Linux distributor SUSE delves into software-defined storage

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

11.25.14

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

Posted in News Roundup at 5:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Desktop

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

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

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

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

    • Black Friday deals from Acer: Laptops and Chromebook

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

    • DisplaySearch: Global notebook PC market grew 10 percent

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

  • Server

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

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

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

    • Cray to Evaluate ARM Chips in Its Supercomputers

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

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Top 10 Linux Holiday Gifts for 2014 (Slideshow)

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Unikernels and Immutable Infrastructure

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

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • In memory of Razor-qt

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

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • SoK : UPnP Support in PMC progress report

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

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

      • Cutelyst 0.5.0

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

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

      • Qt on Android Episode 5

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

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

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

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Cinnamon 2.4.4 Arrives with Various Refinements

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

      • GTK+ INSPECTOR UPDATE

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

  • Distributions

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

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

    • Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

      • Observing Scientific Linux 7.0

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • New Releases

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

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

    • Screenshots

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

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

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

      • Red Hat spiffs up FeedHenry with better collaboration tools

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

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

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

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

      • Fedora

        • Upgrading to Fedora 21

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

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

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

        • Fedora 21 weekend upgrading

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

        • Fedora 21 review

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

        • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Debian Family

      • I GIve Up On Systemd

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

      • Some Debris In The Systemd Debate

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

      • Debian vs Ubuntu: Which is Best for You?

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

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

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

      • Derivatives

        • Release notes for siduction 2014.1

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

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Governance Reboot: Five Proposals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Ubuntu powered Meizu MX4 to hit market early 2015
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Weaved Hauls Your Raspberry Pi Projects Online

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

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

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

    • Tizen India Portathon Challenge 2014
    • Phones

      • Tizen

      • Android

        • Android drone tracks you by computer vision

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

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

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

        • Five Android 5.0 Lollipop annoyances Google should fix immediately

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

        • Android 5.0 Lollipop embraces the enterprise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

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

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

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

      • Jolla Tablet Runs Android Apps, Gathers Crowdfunds

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Intel decides to keep tablet subsidies, say sources

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

      • wIntel Decides to Keep Tablet Subsidies

Free Software/Open Source

  • Thoughts of Thanksgiving for All That Is FOSS

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

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

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

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

  • 6 tips for adopting open source

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

  • Network Functions Virtualization Tries Its Hand at Open Source

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

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

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

  • Netflix Open Sources Sophisticated Messaging Tool

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

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

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

  • How AAP is shaping an open source newsroom system

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

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

  • 7 great open source monitoring tools

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

  • Cisco hands over security analytics framework to open source development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Why open source runs the world

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

  • EOFS and OpenSFS Obtain Lustre Assets from Seagate

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

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

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

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

      • The Final Countdown for NPAPI

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

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

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

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Four-year-old comment security bug affects 86 percent of WordPress sites

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

  • Business

    • Facebook’s Open Source Virtual Machine HHVM Stabilized

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

  • Funding

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

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

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 10.1 review

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

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

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

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Purism hopes to crowdfund a high-end, open source laptop

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

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

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

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

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

    • Problems with Emacs 24.4

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

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

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

  • Public Services/Government

    • NGA’s belief in open source, crowdsourcing heating up

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

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

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML5 vs native: Harry Coder and the mudblood mobile app princes

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

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

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

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

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

Leftovers

  • Study: US attracting fewer educated, highly skilled migrants

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

  • Health/Nutrition

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

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

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

  • Security

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

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

    • 2014: Year of open source miracles

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • How secure is Docker? If you’re not running version 1.3.2, NOT VERY
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • NBC’s Energy Debate: Oil Exec Vs. Oil Industry Adviser

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

  • Finance

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

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

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

  • Privacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • EFF Spearheads Safer Web Initiative

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

    • Lollipop’s Encryption Takes a Hefty Toll

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Click Here to See If You’re Under Surveillance

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

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

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

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

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

  • Civil Rights

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

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

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

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

    • Woman claims officer offered to fix ticket for sex

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

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

    • Craig Murray, Criminal

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

    • CBS Finds Ferguson ‘Pipe Bombs’

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

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

    • No charges for officer in Ferguson shooting

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

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

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

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

    • ABC and Darren Wilson’s ‘Serious Injury’

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

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

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

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

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

    • May hem

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

    • ISC report into Lee Rigby’s murder is misleading

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

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

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

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The sharks move in; lobbyists pushing forward on TPP agreements

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

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

    • Trademarks

      • Small Open Source Nonprofit Defeats Groupon in Trademark Fight

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

    • Copyrights

11.24.14

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

Posted in News Roundup at 5:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Code Contains Fewer Defects, But There’s a Catch

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

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

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

  • Events

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

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

    • NetSurf Developer workshop IV

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

    • Awesome BSP in München

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

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Norway phases out Java for tax, school and business eID

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

    • Another Racket Run By M$

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

  • CMS

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Clearing up muddied waters in the ‘Data Lakes’

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

  • Funding

    • A price to pay – the Free Software column

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

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • Upcoming Pulp Releases

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

    • HandBrake 0.10 Brings H.265 & VP8 Encoders

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

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Introducing AcousticBrainz

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

  • Standards/Consortia

    • EU Boosts Open Data; Open Contracting Data Standard Out

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

    • Europe Commission approves Tradeshift data format for goverment purchasing

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

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

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

Leftovers

  • Apple stops calling free apps ‘Free’

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

  • Immigration target unlikely to be met, says Theresa May

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

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

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

  • My boys love 1986 computing

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

  • Hardware

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

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

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Plague kills 40 people in Madagascar

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Monsanto Is Using Big Data to Take Over the World

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

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Benghazi Is Over, But the Mainstream Media Just Yawns

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

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

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

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

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

    • Drone Strikes Never Kill ‘Humans’

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

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

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

    • We don’t need a more efficient killing machine

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

    • US Airstrikes Kill 18 in Afghanistan

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

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

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

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

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

    • ‘Western policy of destroying ISIS completely unsuccessful’

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

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

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

      [...]

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

    • Author takes issue with assumption that religions cause war

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Transparency Reporting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Handbook for fighting climate-denialism

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

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

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

  • Finance

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

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

    • Banking turns people into rotten cheats

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

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

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

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

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

  • Censorship

    • Lessons on censorship from Syria’s internet filter machines

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

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

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

    • China steps up web censorship and blocks HSBC

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • China Says Internet Censorship Is Necessary to Fight Terrorism

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

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

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

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

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

    • Ecuador: Why are critics being shutdown on Twitter?

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

  • Privacy

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

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

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

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

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

    • Republicans block overhaul of NSA surveillance reform

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

    • DID THE NSA OUTLINE BITCOIN IN 1996?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • EFF Joins the Call for a NIST We Can Trust

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

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

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

    • Home Secretary announces plans to introduce IP address matching powers

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

    • NSA Reform Blocked by Paranoid Republican Senators

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

    • Ejecting the NSA from our private space

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

    • Rand Paul takes heat for NSA vote

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Some NSA Officials Warned Agency of Surveillance Backlash in 2009

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

    • Senate shamefully gives NSA green light on phone records spying

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

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

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

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

    • EX-NSA AND GCHQ SPOOKS SHOWCASE INTEL PLATFORM

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

    • A Terrified Nation Gets the NSA Debate It Deserves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • NSA reform: Not dead yet

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • AP Exclusive: Some in NSA warned of a backlash

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • American Surveillance Now Threatens American Business

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

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

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

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Dear Senator Ted Cruz
    • 4 Stupid Conservative Arguments Against Net Neutrality, Debunked

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

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

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

    • EU to water down net neutrality rules

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

    • Leaked documents show net neutrality may be in danger!

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

    • This Infographic Shows The Enemies Of An Open And Free Internet
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • When the Time Comes We’ll Need to Step Up the Fight Against TPP’s Secret, Anti-User Agenda

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

    • TTIP Update XLIII

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

    • Copyrights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Swedes Prepare Record File-Sharing Prosecution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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