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04.17.14

Links 17/4/2014: Android RDP, New Ubuntu, RHEL 7 Milestone

Posted in News Roundup at 4:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Witnesses Report a ‘Loud Noise’ Before Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast

    It’s not clear what caused the multi-story vessel to list and sink, but witnesses reported an impact and loud noise just before the ship began to roll over in the water.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • UN Report Says Small-Scale Organic Farming Only Way to Feed the World

      Transformative changes are needed in our food, agriculture and trade systems in order to increase diversity on farms, reduce our use of fertilizer and other inputs, support small-scale farmers and create strong local food systems. That’s the conclusion of a remarkable new publication from the U.N. Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Donetsk leaflet: Jews must register or face deportation

      Fear replaced communal atmosphere in Donetsk’s Jewish community as armed men handed out a leaflet Passover eve calling on Jews register their religion and property with the interim pro-Russian government or face deportation and loss of citizenship.

    • “We Are Not Beginning a New Cold War, We are Well into It”: Stephen Cohen on Russia-Ukraine Crisis

      As negotiations over the crisis in Ukraine begin in Geneva, tension is rising in the Ukrainian east after security forces killed three pro-Russian protesters, wounded 13 and took 63 captive in the city of Mariupol. Ukrainian officials said the pro-Russian separatists had attempted to storm a military base. The killings came just after the unraveling of a Ukrainian operation to retake government buildings from pro-Russian separatists. Earlier today, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the authorities in Kiev of plunging the country into an “abyss” and refused to rule out sending forces into Ukraine. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has announced a series of steps to reinforce its presence in eastern Europe. “We will have more planes in the air, more ships on the water and more readiness on the land,” Rasmussen said. We are joined by Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. “We are not at the beginning of a new Cold War, we are well into it,” Cohen says, “which alerts us to the fact ‘hot war’ is imaginable now. It’s unlikely, but it’s conceivable — and if it’s conceivable, something has to be done about it.”

    • Putin reveals NATO chief secretly recorded their talk, leaked it to media

      Vladimir Putin says that current NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen secretly recorded and leaked a private conversation with him, when he was the head of the Danish government.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Thousands of China workers on strike

      Labour disputes pop up regularly in China, but one strike in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan is attracting attention because of its size.

    • The Neoliberal Theory of Society: The Ideological Foundations of Neo-liberalism

      Neoliberalism presents itself as a doctrine based on the inexorable truths of modern economics. However, despite its scientific trappings, modern economics is not a scientific discipline but the rigorous elaboration of a very specific social theory, which has become so deeply embedded in western thought as to have established itself as no more than common sense, despite the fact that its fundamental assumptions are patently absurd. The foundations of modern economics, and of the ideology of neoliberalism, go back to Adam Smith and his great work, The Wealth of Nations. Over the past two centuries Smith’s arguments have been formalised and developed with greater analytical rigour, but the fundamental assumptions underpinning neoliberalism remain those proposed by Adam Smith.

    • Markets Are the Problem (Not the Solution)

      As might be expected, underlying this monument to excess is an army of laborers from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. These desperate souls arrive heavily indebted to recruiters and those who pay their passage, only to be brutally exploited by sponsoring employers, who confiscate their passports. It is a system of semi-slave labor; workers are not free to leave, even if they have not been paid.

    • Nearly one million people relying on food handouts in UK

      One of Britain’s largest food charities says that more than 900,000 people visited its food banks last year. The Wednesday report comes as 600 religious leaders urge the government to take action against the country’s growing hunger problem.

      The new information shows the shocking number of people reliant on food handouts in the UK, largely because of harsh new benefits sanctions.

      According to The Trussell Trust, Britain’s largest food bank charity, 913,138 people received emergency food aid from the organization in 2013-2014, compared to just 346,992 in 2012-2013 – marking an increase of 163 percent.

  • Censorship

    • Did You Retweet The USAir Pornographic Tweet? You May Have Violated New Jersey’s Revenge Porn Law

      We’ve pointed out for a while how the various attempts at creating revenge porn bills will have serious unintended consequences and raise serious First Amendment issues. This is not to minimize the problems of revenge porn (or to absolve the sick and depraved individuals who put together, submit to or regularly visit such sites). However, it’s to point out that pretty much any way you try to legislate such actions as criminal likely will create other problems. For example, I’m sure many of you heard the story recently about US Airways… um… unfortunate pornographic tweet. It was the story of the internet a few days ago, in which a United Air social media employee did a very unfortunate cut and paste error, tweeting out a very graphic image that involved a naked woman and a plane where it… doesn’t quite belong (for slightly lighter fare, I highly recommend reading some of the of the funny replies to that tweet). For what it’s worth, US Air has said that it was an honest mistake and it’s not even firing the person responsible.

    • US Airways Tweeted An Extreme Pornographic Image And Left It Up For A Long Time

      The photo shows a completely nude woman on her back with a plane inserted into her vagina.

  • Privacy

    • Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked with glue mould

      The fingerprint sensor on Samsung’s Galaxy S5 handset has been hacked less than a week after the device went on sale.

      Berlin-based Security Research Labs fooled the equipment using a mould it had previously created to spoof the sensor on Apple’s iPhone 5S.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Racing to 1984: Mass Surveillance, Cracking, ‘Targeted’ Assassinations, and Illegal Torture

Posted in News Roundup at 10:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pulitzer

  • Exposing the NSA: A Public Service Worthy of a Pulitzer Prize

    Earlier this week, journalism’s most prestigious award, the Pulitzer Prize for public serice, was given to two newspapers for their exposés of mass surveillance by the U.S. government. The award citation praised the Washington Post for “its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.” The Guardian was recognized for “aggressive reporting” that helped “to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.”

  • Pulitzer Prize Winners 2014: Edward Snowden NSA Leaks, Boston Marathon Coverage Win Awards

Cracking

Lavaboom and Lavabit

  • Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches

    Lavaboom, a German-based and supposedly NSA-proof email service, will go into private beta this week. Its mission is to spread the Edward Snowden gospel by making encrypted email accessible to all.

  • ‘Zero knowledge privacy’: NSA-proof email service goes online

    A new email service that protects its users from the prying eyes of the NSA and other spy agencies has gone online. The service’s creators say it will make encrypted messaging accessible to all and curtail internet snooping.

    Germany-based Lavaboom was inspired by Lavabit, the encrypted email service that was believed to have been used by whistleblower Edward Snowden before it shut down its operations in August last year. The service pioneers a new system called “zero-knowledge privacy”, which allows users to personally encrypt and decrypt their mail from their browsers using JavaScript codes.

  • Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over Edward Snowden encryption keys

    Court ruled against Lavabit for refusing to hand over encryption keys to government investigation into NSA whistleblower

  • Edward Snowden Email Firm Loses Appeal On Contempt Charge
  • Here’s the software that helps Edward Snowden avoid the NSA

    Edward Snowden hasn’t escaped the NSA’s watchful eyes purely by exploiting lax security — he also uses the right software. He communicates with the media using Tails, a customized version of Linux that makes it easy to use Tor’s anonymity network and other tools that keep data private. The software loads from external drives and doesn’t store anything locally, so it’s relatively trivial for Snowden and his contacts to discuss leaks without leaving a trace.

Europe

US

  • NSA whistleblowers to speak at WCU

    Bill Binney and Thomas Drake, both former executives with that agency, plan to discuss their views on the collection of personal data by the NSA as well as the risk taken by those who expose wrongdoings and violations of the law, according to a release from the university.

  • NSA has ‘piggybacked’ on corporate surveillance efforts

    As online providers thrive on offering free products and services in exchange for marketing data, government has started piggybacking on these surveillance mechanisms.

  • The IRS is Taking a Page From the NSA’s Playbook and Snooping on Social Media

    According to Marketplace the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which loses an estimated $300 billion due to tax evasion every year, is using data from social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in order to investigate those who don’t file taxes or file suspicious returns.

  • Is the NSA out of control?

    An attorney and specialist on Constitutional Law, Shahid Buttar, was the third panel member. He is the Executive Director of the “Bill of Rights Defense Committee.” Buttar traced the history of government-sanctioned spying and warned that the NSA’s egregious conduct has currently reached Orwellian proportions and is a serious threat to “Freedom of Thought”

Drones

Militarism

  • U.S. Efforts to Arm Jihadis in Syria: The Scandal Behind the Benghazi Undercover CIA Facility

    In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up.

  • America’s Great Leap towards Global Tyranny

    Not only is there a quantitative difference now, there is a new qualitative difference. After the holocaust of Vietnam (3 million dead Vietnamese justify the term), the United States military realized that it could no longer depend upon citizen-soldiers in its colonial wars. It also realized that that it could no longer tolerate even a moderately free press nosing around its battlegrounds, thus was born the idea of an imbedded press in a professional army. Of course, in the intervening years, America’s press itself changed, becoming an intensely concentrated corporate industry whose editorial policies are invariably in lock-step over colonial wars and interventions and coups, almost as though it were an unofficial department of government. In addition, this corporatized press has abandoned traditional responsibilities of explaining even modestly world affairs, reportage resources having been slashed by merged corporate interests as well as by new economic pressures on advertising revenue, the result of changing technologies.

  • Why isn’t the K.C. shooting suspect a ‘terrorist?’

    Frazier Glenn Cross is a former KKK leader with political ambitions accused of killing three people outside Jewish centers. The shooting seems to fit the Justice Department’s definition of terrorism: 1) premeditated, 2) political, 3) aimed at civilians, 4) and not carried out by another nation. And yet, this has been classified as a hate crime.

  • US Air Strike Kills Three Civilians in Eastern Afghanistan

    An overnight US air strike against the Khost Province in eastern Afghanistan has killed three civilians, a woman and her two children. It also injured the father of the children.

  • Militias and mayhem: The truth about American military assistance in Libya

    Is the U.S. secretly training Libyan militiamen in the Canary Islands? And if not, are they planning to?

    That’s what I asked a spokesman for U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). “I am surprised by your mentioning the Canary Islands,” he responded by email. “I have not heard this before, and wonder where you heard this.”

    As it happens, mention of this shadowy mission on the Spanish archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa was revealed in an official briefing prepared for AFRICOM chief General David Rodriguez in the fall of 2013. In the months since, the plan may have been permanently shelved in favor of a training mission carried out entirely in Bulgaria. The document nonetheless highlights the U.S. military’s penchant for simple solutions to complex problems — with a well-documented potential for blowback in Africa and beyond. It also raises serious questions about the recurring methods employed by the U.S. to stop the violence its actions helped spark in the first place.

  • Too High A Price

    Why we need to #movethemoney out of the military and into healing people and the planet

  • Putin Jokes on Possible Reunification of Alaska with Russia: Who Needs It?

    Russian President Vladimir Putin jokingly commented on a suggestion of unifying Alaska with Russia the same way as with Crimea.
    Alaska was part of Russia until 1867 and was sold to the United States for $7.2 million in gold.

  • Why CIA Director Brennan Visited Kiev: In Ukraine The Covert War Has Begun

    Ukraine is on the brink of civil war, Vladimir Putin has said, and he should know because the country is already in the midst of a covert intelligence war. Over the weekend, CIA director John Brennan travelled to Kiev, nobody knows exactly why, but some speculate that he intends to open US intelligence resources to Ukrainian leaders about real-time Russian military maneuvers. The US has, thus far, refrained from sharing such knowledge because Moscow is believed to have penetrated much of Ukraine’s communications systems – and Washington isn’t about to hand over its surveillance secrets to the Russians.

  • CIA Directs Kiev Proxy Regime to Launch Military Assault against Rebels in Eastern Ukraine
  • CIA director in Kiev searching for missing mercenaries

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov revealed that CIA director John Brennan was in Kiev last weekend. One of his advisors told the newspaper Vzgliad that Brennan had not come to oversee the “anti-terrorist” operations conducted by the Ukrainian authorities, but to seek information and rescue twenty Greystone Ltd mercenaries of whom there has been no news.

  • CIA presence in Ukraine gives the wrong impression, senator warns

    CIA Director John Brennan visited Kiev this weekend as pro-Russian militants seized control of a police station in eastern Ukraine. The reason for Brennan’s visit is still unknown.

Torture

04.16.14

More Microsoft Subsidies to Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Patents at 3:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent sharks still collaborate

Bill and Nathan

Summary: Microsoft hands money to Bill Gates’ close friend who is the world’s largest patent troll

WE recently explained that Apple and Microsoft were helping trolls and preventing patent reform in the United State. Intellectual Ventures, the world’s largest patent troll (funded in part by Microsoft and Bill Gates) was having financial difficulties, so guess who’s stepping in to the rescue, essentially subsidising trolling? Intellectual Ventures is said to have “persuaded Microsoft and Sony to invest in its latest acquisition fund” (of patents). Once again, as in Rockstar, Microsoft and Sony align in patent agenda and as Masnick puts it, “while many of the companies have indeed avoided giving IV any more money, it appears that Microsoft and Sony were quite happy to dump a lot more cash into IV, which has now ramped up its patent buying efforts again (as well as its lobbying and political contributions in an effort to kill off patent reform). Microsoft, of course, has always been close to IV, seeing as it was started by the company’s former CTO, Nathan Myhrvold, who is also a close friend of Bill Gates (who has directly helped IV get some patents). Similarly, Microsoft has become one of the most aggressive patent abusers over the last decade, increasingly relying on its stock of patents to make money from other people’s innovations, rather than innovating on its own.”

“This is racketeering by proxy.”Masnick correctly concludes that “via Intellectual Ventures and its own patent holdings, Microsoft seems to be trying to make sure Gates’ prediction is a reality. It all fits in to the same paradigm we’ve observed for years. When you’re young, you innovate. When you’re old, you litigate. Microsoft appears to have given up on innovation, but is ramping up on litigation, and re-investing in patent trolling via Intellectual Ventures is merely the latest step.”

This is racketeering by proxy. It’s part of the patent-stacking strategy which includes even Nokia and Apple. Bill Gates, which is a close partner of the world’s largest troll, has a lot to do with it. In a system where billionaires enjoy zero accountability jails are reserved only for petty ‘crimes’.

Aiding Microsoft Under the Disguise of ‘Pro-FOSS’

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Mono at 2:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Not everything which is FOSS necessary becomes, by virtue of existence, a positive contribution, as we are constantly reminded by projects that help proprietary software and/or restrictions get a strong grip on FOSS

THE word is out that Mono booster Seif Lotfy has just joined the Microsoft Trojan horse best known as Ximian/Novell/Xamarin — the company where Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza uses financial support from Microsoft to infect everything (not just FOSS) with .NET. This is yet another recruitment which helps reinforce our suspicions about the goals of Xamarin.

Meanwhile, suggests this post from a UEFI ‘secure’ boot apologist, “a significant proportion of existing systems can probably have their Secure Boot implementation circumvented.”

So why support them in the first place? We have already shown several ways of breaking ‘secure’ boot and even remotely vendalising entire motherboards using ‘secure’ boot. Both Mono and ‘secure’ boot deserve to be dropped into the digital wastebasket. Their outcome is harm to FOSS and to computing in general.

Links 16/4/2014: Red Hat PR, Ubuntu LTS Imminent

Posted in News Roundup at 2:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Code Has Fewer Defects Than Proprietary Software

    The latest Coverity Scan Open Source Report suggests that the quality of programming in free C and C++ projects is improving

  • Coverity finds open source software quality better than proprietary code
  • Web Browsers

    • Tor Browser: An Ultimate Web Browser for Anonymous Web Browsing in Linux

      Most of us give a considerable time of ours to Internet. The primary Application we require to perform our internet activity is a browser, a web browser to be more perfect. Over Internet most of our’s activity is logged to Server/Client machine which includes IP address, Geographical Location, search/activity trends and a whole lots of Information which can potentially be very harmful, if used intentionally the other way.

    • Mozilla

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • IBM Debuts New Big Data Software-Defined Storage Platform for the Cloud

      Big Data is placing new storage demands on enterprises, and IBM is aiming to address their needs with a new software-defined storage platform for the cloud called SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center (VSC).

    • Dell and Red Hat’s OpenStack Partnership Deepens

      Dell has unveiled a series of upgrades and announcements focused on the datacenter this week, and is deepening its cloud computing ties with Red Hat, as the firms focus on OpenStack. Dell and Red Hat recently announced that Dell will effectively become an OEM for Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform by selling systems that run the platform. Dell has also joined the Red Hat OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure Partner Network as an Alliance Partner.

    • Giving rise to the cloud with OpenStack Heat

      Setting up an application server in the cloud isn’t that hard if you’re familiar with the tools and your application’s requirements. But what if you needed to do it dozens or hundreds of times, maybe even in one day? Enter Heat, the OpenStack Orchestration project. Heat provides a templating system for rolling out infrastructure within OpenStack to automate the process and attach the right resources to each new instance of your application.

    • Leading Linux Players Rapidly Shift Their Emphasis to the Cloud

      This week, not only is Red Hat touting its success at getting a number of notable enterprises to choose its Linux platform and OpenStack offering for deployments, but Canonical is rolling out Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and highlighting it as the best way to build out an OpenStack cloud environment. These efforts underscore that leading Linux platforms and cloud computing are going to be joined at the hip going forward, and the players behind them will need to offer top-notch support and compatibility. .

  • Education

  • Business

    • Open Source Big Data Vendor Talend Adds SaaS Analytics Partner

      Talend and Blue Yonder have partnered on a new solution for streamlining Big Data analytics using SaaS and open source software.

    • Box launches Box Open Source

      In a tweet, chief Executive Aaron Levie announced the project. “Box couldn’t exist without open source projects. We’re announcing Box Open Source to now give back our own,” he said. The firm also detailed the project in a blog post.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 4.9.0 release candidate available

      GCC 4.9.0 Release Candidate available from gcc.gnu.org

    • Financial transparency: where your money goes with MediaGoblin

      Okay! Now that’s a bit easier to read. From the chart it’s easy to see that the vast majority of money went toward development itself. Actually, if you combine this with travel (ie, reimbursement for myself and another contributor speaking about MediaGoblin or participating in MediaGoblin hackfests), that’s over 80% of the budget right there directly to the most important part of the project… developing the project itself! (We’ll come back to the development section in a moment… but first let’s get the smaller slices of the chart out of the way.)

  • Public Services/Government

    • EU countries ‘prefer open specifications’

      The EU member states that are working on interoperability and alignment of e-government services say open specifications are crucial to building European public services. Open specifications allow the EU’s public administrations to align their approaches to interoperability, according to an analysis of the interoperability programmes in 19 member states. The study flags the need to monitor the use of open technical specification and standards.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Open data hackathon tackles cultural preservation

        More and more galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs) are digitizing their collections to make them accessible online and to preserve our heritage for future generations. By January 2014, over 30 million objects have been made available via Europeana—among which over 4.5 million records were contributed from German institutions.

  • Programming

    • April 2014 Project of the Month, Free Pascal

      For our April Community Choice Project of the Month, our community has selected Free Pascal, an advanced open source compiler for Pascal and Object Pascal. The project founder, Florian Klaempfl, tells us about the project’s history, purpose, and direction.

    • Lightweight Virtual Environments in Python 3.4

      Customizing Python’s virtual environments for projects with conflicting library requirements or different Python versions is now easy in Python 3.3 and 3.4.

Leftovers

  • These Abandoned, Half-Demolished Towers Look Too Pretty to Destroy

    This colorful scene isn’t a view of a new luxury loft. It’s Rabot Towers, an abandoned public housing project in Ghent, Belgium. When the first stage of demolition removed the building’s exterior walls, the former blight became an unexpected beauty, captured here by photographer Pieter Lozie.

  • Hardware

    • Wintel Sinks Further

      As expected, Intel has raised prices in an attempt to maintain profits as long as possible rather than trusting the market to yield them a reasonable living. This will hasten the demise of Wintel as consumers see greater advantages to switching to */Linux on ARM.

  • Security

    • Akamai Admits Its Heartbleed Patch Was Faulty, Has To Reissue All SSL Certs And Keys

      The web is a dangerous place these days. Akamai, which many large companies rely on for hosting as a CDN, has admitted that its Heartbleed patch was faulty, meaning that it was possible that the SSL keys “could have been exposed to an adversary exploiting the Heartbleed vulnerability.” Akamai had already noted that it was more protected against Heartbleed than others, because of custom code it had used for its own OpenSSL deployment. However, as researchers looked through that custom code, they found some significant defects in it. Some people have been arguing that the Heartbleed bug highlights a weakness in open source software — but that’s not necessarily true. Pretty much all software has vulnerabilities. And, sometimes, by open sourcing stuff you can find those vulnerabilities faster.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Attack on Russia is Mounting

      Washington’s plan to grab Ukraine overlooked that the Russian and Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine were not likely to go along with their insertion into the EU and NATO while submitting to the persecution of Russian speaking peoples. Washington has lost Crimea, from which Washington intended to eject Russia from its Black Sea naval base. Instead of admitting that its plan for grabbing Ukraine has gone amiss, Washington is unable to admit a mistake and, therefore, is pushing the crisis to more dangerous levels.

      If Ukraine dissolves into secession with the former Russian territories reverting to Russia, Washington will be embarrassed that the result of its coup in Kiev was to restore the Russian provinces of Ukraine to Russia. To avoid this embarrassment, Washington is pushing the crisis toward war.

    • How Native Americans were crucial to defeat the Nazis and Japan in WW2
  • Finance

    • Mt. Gox Files for Liquidation

      Mt. Gox’s website, on Feb 26, posted a statement showing that the company had gone offline.

    • Why No Sustained Protests (Yet)?

      True, little is gained from sterile debates over whether program or organization is the “more” important object for activists. The point is that disorganization is now a major weakness. The United States left fell victim to recurring repressive demonizations of programs, individuals and especially organizations with anti-business and anti-capitalist objectives. To revive left protest on a scale comparable to the 1930s would require rebuilding the multiple, complex layers of connection among diverse components of the left (including those with such objectives).

    • This is Not an ‘Economic Recovery’, This is Plunder

      Everything you need to know about Cameron’s idea of economic recovery was summed up by the front page the Mirror this morning. 1 million food parcels have been handed out to hungry Britons, in the world’s sixth largest economy, and at a time that the economy is growing. What price economic ‘recovery’?

    • Toronto Star hiring 8 digital journalists at “market-based salaries”

      The Toronto Star announced it will hire eight digital journalists who will be paid less than other journalists in the newsroom and it is considering another round of editorial buyouts. The newspaper also laid off 11 full-time page editors and eight staff in the circulation department.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Quiz your MEP candidates on digital rights

      Europe makes many of the laws that are shaping privacy and restricting surveillance. Data Protection, for instance, should guarantee that interception is lawful, rather than arbitrary.

    • Help us to re-start the debate about internet filters

      At times the campaign to prevent default internet filters has bordered on the surreal, such as when the Deputy Children’s Commissioner Sue Berelowitz said, ‘no one should be panicking – but why should there not be a moral panic?’ Or the time when Helen Goodman MP thought parents weren’t capable of switching in filters themselves because, ‘the minute you talk about downloading software, my brain goes bzzzz’. And who can forget Claire Perry MP dismissing overblocking as, ‘a load of cock’?

    • Free speech victory as Wonga backs down on parody copyright claim

      The Streisand effect occurs when an attempt to remove or cover up information leads to it gaining significantly more attention than it would have done otherwise.

    • Twitter bows to Turkey’s demands to silence accounts

      After weeks of political tussle, Twitter has agreed to close some accounts the Turkish government considers harmful and implement a system for investigating those accounts Turkish courts flag up in the future, a report in Reuters has said.

  • Privacy

    • FBI’s nationwide facial recognition system to have 52 million photos by 2015

      We first heard about the FBI’s national facial recognition system in 2012. The high-tech Next Generation Identification (NGI) program, as part of which surveillance images are checked out with photos of known criminals, is primarily aimed at transforming how the organization fights crime. The Bureau should be able to achieve a fully operational facial recognition database (including mug shots, iris scans, DNA analysis and voice identification) this summer, says an EFF report.

    • Google may favor encrypted sites in its search ranking: Report

      Google is mulling over boosting search rank of websites that use encryption. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Google distinguished engineer Matt Cutts “hinted” at the possibility at a recently held conference.

    • La Quadrature Joins the Legal Struggle Against Mass Surveillance

      In October 2013, Big Brother Watch, Open Rights Group, English Pen and Constanze Kurz launched a legal challenge1 to the UK’s internet surveillance activities before the European Court of Human Rights arguing that the unchecked surveillance through programmes such as PRISM and TEMPORA is a breach of our Right to Privacy. La Quadrature du Net joined a coalition formed to support this legal challenge.

    • Snowden’s Email Provider Loses Appeal Over Encryption Keys

      A federal appeals court has upheld a contempt citation against the founder of the defunct secure e-mail company Lavabit, finding that the weighty internet privacy issues he raised on appeal should have been brought up earlier in the legal process.

    • NETmundial: let’s get to work

      I will soon be travelling to Sao Paulo to attend NETmundial, the Multi-stakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance. The purpose of NETmundial is to develop principles of Internet governance and a roadmap for the future development of this ecosystem.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Most Bizarre Response To The Pulitzers Yet, From The Guy Who Authorized CIA Torture

      So, the Guardian and the Washington Post won the Pulitzer for “public service” for their coverage of the NSA’s surveillance activities. We mentioned how this should really end the debate over whether or not Ed Snowden was a whistleblower or not, but knew that would never happen. We’d already covered Rep. Peter King’s incensed response, but an even more amusing response has to be the one from John Yoo. You may recall Yoo as the guy in the George W. Bush administration who basically shredded the Constitution in “authorizing” the CIA’s torture program. He’s weighed in a few times about the NSA stuff, arguing that the NSA shouldn’t have to obey the Constitution because it takes too long and insists that the courts have no role in determining if something violates the 4th Amendment.

    • Countries Where Journalists’ Killers Go Free

      Syria isn’t just the most deadly country for journalists — it’s also one of the countries where journalists’ murders are most likely to go unpunished, according to the Committee To Protect Journalists’ new study.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Apple, Samsung and Microsoft commit to anti-theft smartphone kill switch

      TECHNOLOGY GIANTS Apple, Samsung and Microsoft, among others, have committed to introducing anti-thief kill switches on smartphone devices, enabling users to easily lock and wipe a handset if it gets stolen.

      Starting in July 2015, all smartphones made by the companies onboard with the initiative – a list that also includes Google, Nokia, HTC and Huawei – will come with free anti-theft tools preloaded on the devices or ready to be downloaded, wireless association CTIA announced on Tuesday.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • High Court: Kim Dotcom Can Have His Cars, Millions in Cash Returned

        The High Court in New Zealand today ruled that police may not keep possession of assets seized in a 2012 raid on Kim Dotcom’s mansion. This means that a potential appeal aside, Dotcom may soon be reunited with millions of dollars in cash, his luxury car collection, artwork, and other assets seized by the authorities.

04.15.14

Links 15/4/2014: Lots of PCLinuxOS Releases, Ukraine Updates

Posted in News Roundup at 4:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open platforms to reveal secrets of the human mind

    For the next ten years, scientists will be probing the human brain in software form. It could revolutionise mental health research and lead to machines learning like us…

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla in the Eye of the Storm

        Mozilla has begun putting the pieces together with the appointment of CMO Chris Beard to its board and to take the helm as interim CEO…

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Dell unloads slew of datacenter upgrades, teams with Red Hat on OpenStack

      Dell is bolstering its cloud and datacenter portfolios, first and foremost through a series of collaborative efforts with Red Hat.

      Announced amid the Dell Enterprise Forum EMEA in Frankfurt, Germany and the Red Hat Summit in San Francisco this week, the tech giants are working off the venerable open source cloud platform OpenStack, aiming to serve IT priorities around non-business critical apps. That includes better support of developer test environments for mobile, social, and analytics apps.c

    • More evidence that the Linux wars have moved to OpenStack

      It’s sort of funny that the press release announcing the new Ubuntu Linux 14.04 LTS release seems as focused on Ubuntu OpenStack as on Linux per se. It’s studded with partner testimonials from Cisco, Mellanox, NTT Software, Brocade lauding Ubuntu OpenStack. But then again, that makes sense given that the vendor battlefield has shifted from core operating system to core cloud infrastructure, where Canonical OpenStack has gained traction with Hewlett Packard and other big cloud providers.

  • Education

    • Open source library system Evergreen rewards the community

      As a systems librarian at an academic institution, I am a conduit between those who want to access the resources our library offers and my colleagues who describe the resources on behalf of researchers. I direct our limited development resources so that our systems can best meet the needs of all of our users. In their paper, Schwarz and Takhteyev claim that software freedom makes “it possible for the modifications to be done by those actors who have the best information about their value [and] are best equipped to carry them out.”

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • wdiff 1.2.2 released

      Over a year after ist predecessor, this release updates the build system. One may hope that this will help building wdiff on more recent architectures.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Google Releases An AutoFDO Converter For Perf In LLVM

      AutoFDO is short for the Automatic Feedback Directed Optimizer that uses the Linux kernel’s perf to collect sample profiles and to then pass that translated profile data back into the compiler so it’s able to better optimize code generation of the targeted perf’ed binary to yield better performance. AutoFDO was originally written for GCC and can be found via gcc.gnu.org.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Marijuana Vending Machine Unveiled In Colorado

      An automated pot-selling machine was unveiled at an event held at an Avon, Colo., restaurant Saturday, promising a potential new era of selling marijuana and pot-infused snacks from vending machines directly to customers.

      Its creators say the machine, called the ZaZZZ, uses biometrics to verify a customer’s age. The machine is climate-controlled to keep its product fresh.

  • Security

    • Forward Secrecy Encryption for Apache

      The basic need to encrypt digital communication seems to be becoming common sense lately. It probably results from increased public awareness about the number of parties involved in providing the systems required (ISPs, backbone providers, carriers, sysadmins) and the number of parties these days taking an interest in digital communications and activities (advertisers, criminals, state authorities, voyeurs, …). How much to encrypt and to what extend seems to be harder to grasp though.

    • TrueCrypt audit finds “no evidence of backdoors” or malicious code

      Since September 2013, a handful of cryptographers have been discussing new problems and alternatives to the popular security application. By February 2014, the Open Crypto Audit Project—a new organization based in North Carolina that seeks formal 501(c)3 non-profit status—raised around $80,000 towards this goal on various online fundraising sites.

      “[The results] don’t panic me,” Matthew Green, a Johns Hopkins cryptography professor who has been one of the people leading this effort, told Ars. “I think the code quality is not as high as it should be, but on the other hand, nothing terrible is in there, so that’s reassuring”

    • Would you be on Project Insight kill list from ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’?

      There were decent indicators of the flick’s themes after directors Joe and Anthony Russo were interviewed by the Washington Post. When asked if they knew how timely the movie’s theme would be, Anthony Russo replied:

      The Edward Snowden thing did happen while we were shooting, but that was sort of the tip of the iceberg. All the stuff was in the ether before that. I remember right before we started our first pass on the script with the writers that’s when the New York Times article broke about the “kill list.” And it was just, wow, a Democratic president of the United States sits down with his advisers on a Tuesday morning and goes through a “kill list” and decides who they’re going to kill; then they strike that person with drones, and sometimes they kill their family, too. It’s just like, “Whoa, that’s the good guy in this world.” That was very much a very jumping off point for the moral complexity about where we are, with what the relationship between security and freedom is, where the line is drawn.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US Press once again Declines to Call White Terrorism in Kansas, Nevada, White Terrorism

      If the person accused of the shootings at Jewish facilities is guilty, he was certainly trying to intimidate a civilian population! And the Nevada cattle grazing extremists, if their behavior is being accurately described in the press, are trying to affect the conduct of government with threatened violence.

    • Media, education the next victims in the U.S.-Russian political face-off

      The U.S.-Russia relationship is facing another setback as Russia has turned off the Voice of America and the American Councils, a U.S. education NGO, has been ordered to suspend its activity in Russia.

    • I’m confused, can anyone help me?

      I’m confused. A few weeks ago we were told in the West that people occupying government buildings in Ukraine was a very good thing. These people, we were told by our political leaders and elite media commentators, were ‘pro-democracy protestors’.

    • Russia wants explanation of report CIA chief visited Kiev

      Moscow: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday said Moscow would like Washington to explain reports in the Russian media that CIA director John Brennan visited the Ukrainian capital at the weekend.

    • U.S. Sent CIA Director as Ambassador to Tehran After CIA Overthrew Iran’s Democratic Government

      The decision of the Obama administration and the resolution passed by Congress barring entry to Iran’s designated ambassador to the United Nations has angered Tehran and provoked demonstrations in Iran. Hamid Aboutalebi has served as ambassador to several European countries. He is accused by Washington politicians of having participated in the taking of US diplomats hostage in 1979-81. Aboutalebi says that he was not among the militants who took the hostages, but rather later on agreed to serve as a translator for the group.

      The hostage-taking in revolutionary Iran is a deeply distasteful episode that contravened international law as well as Shiite Islamic law (which recognizes the immunity of diplomats). I have friends among the surviving diplomats, and don’t forgive the criminals who terrorized them.

    • White House confirms CIA director visited Ukraine over weekend

      Previously, deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich accused Brennan of ordering a crackdown on pro-Russian activists in the east of the country.

    • Vilifying Putin’s Russia

      The media coverage of Russian integration with Crimea has been shameful, irresponsible and misleading.

    • Associated Press: Yanukovych puts blame on CIA

      Ukraine’s ousted president has accused the CIA of being behind the new Ukrainian government’s decision to deploy armed forces to quash an increasingly brazen pro-Russian insurgency. Speaking late Sunday on Russian state television, Viktor Yanukovych claimed that CIA director John Brennan had met with Ukraine’s new leadership and “in fact sanctioned the use of weapons and provoked bloodshed.”

    • CIA director in Ukraine as Washington steps up threats against Russia
    • ANALYSIS: US sent CIA to Ukraine to initiate protest suppression campaign

      CIA Director John Brennan was sent to Ukraine over the weekend to launch a military suppression of pro-federalization protests in the southeastern part of the country, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.

      “The CIA director was sent to Kiev to launch a military suppression [campaign] in eastern and southern Ukraine, former Russian territories for the most part that were foolishly attached to Ukraine in the early years of Soviet rule,” Roberts said.

    • Ukraine Started Armed Suppression Operation After CIA ‘Go-Ahead’
    • Washington Drives The World To War. CIA Intervention in Eastern Ukraine

      Washington’s plan to grab Ukraine overlooked that the Russian and Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine were not likely to go along with their insertion into the EU and NATO while submitting to the persecution of Russian speaking peoples. Washington has lost Crimea, from which Washington intended to eject Russia from its Black Sea naval base. Instead of admitting that its plan for grabbing Ukraine has gone amiss, Washington is unable to admit a mistake and, therefore, is pushing the crisis to more dangerous levels.

    • US considers offering military help to Ukraine – Kerry advisor

      An advisor to Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the United States may decide to send arms to eastern Ukraine as tensions continue to worsen there between pro-Russian protesters and supporters of the country’s interim government.

      Reuters reported on Monday that US State Department Counselor Thomas Shannon — a senior diplomat and member of Sec. Kerry’s inner circle — said the possibility of providing arms to Ukrainian forces is indeed currently on the table.

    • White House confirms CIA director’s trip to Kiev
    • CIA Involvement in Repressive Ukraine Operation Denounced
    • CIA chief visits Kiev as Ukraine threatens force against protests
    • What’s the Matter with John Kerry?

      After all, Kerry personally experienced the horrors of a war fought on false pretenses as a young Navy officer patrolling the rivers of South Vietnam. After winning the Silver Star, he returned home from the war and spoke eloquently against it, making his first significant mark as a public figure.

    • Drone Pilots Say the CIA Has the Air Force Doing Its Dirty Work

      That’s according to multiple former drone pilots featured in a new Norwegian documentary, aptly titled Drone, which cites both on- and off-the-record interviews with one-time operators of the Pentagon’s Predator and Reaper drone. In the film, the whistleblowers allege that regular Air Force pilots, not the CIA proper, are doing the heavy lifting in the CIA’s shadow wars over Pakistan.

    • Aussies killed in US drone strike in Yemen

      TWO Australian citizens have been killed in a US airstrike in Yemen in what is the first known example of Australian extremists dying as a result of Washington’s highly controversial use of predator drones.

    • Death From Above: How American Drone Strikes Are Devastating Yemen

      On the ground in a country where unmanned missile attacks are a terrifyingly regular occurrence

    • Feds can hide rationale for killing U.S. citizen, judge rules

      A Bay Area federal judge says the Obama administration can keep secret a memo spelling out the legal rationale for a 2011 drone attack in Yemen that killed a U.S. citizen and alleged terrorist mastermind.

    • US Air Force flew killer drone missions in Pakistan: Report

      The film identifies the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron as the unit which has been conducting CIA-led strikes in the tribal areas. They operate from a secure compound in a corner of Creech air force base, 45 miles from Las Vegas in the Mojave Desert.

    • CIA’s Pakistan drone strikes carried out by regular US air force personnel

      A regular US air force unit based in the Nevada desert is responsible for flying the CIA’s drone strike programme in Pakistan, according to a new documentary to be released on Tuesday.

    • US airstrike kills woman, two children in E. Afghanistan

      Local Afghan officials say at least three civilians– including a woman and two children — have been killed in a US-led airstrike in the country’s troubled east.

    • Pay your Taxes, Go to Gitmo?

      Title 18′s Article 2339B further states that: “whoever knowingly provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 15 years or both, and, if the death of any person results, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life.”

      Any act “intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian” — that stands as a perfectly legitimate definition of terrorism. President Barack Obama offered an equally straightforward definition of terrorism on the eve of the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings when he stated: “Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror.”

      My concern is that my government has a long and abiding history of engaging in acts that clearly meet all-of-the-above definitions of terrorism.

    • Ind. group protests use of military drones

      Fort Wayne for Peace organized an event at Headwaters Park Sunday afternoon focused on the use of military drones in the Middle East.

      Dozens of people of all ages showed up to the “Fly Kites, Not Drones” event in an effort to raise awareness towards U.S. foreign policy practices as well as fly kites with a message. Kite flying is a popular tradition in Afghanistan, but the pastime was banned during the Taliban reign.

    • Fort Wayne For Peace Protest Use Of Drones

      Fort Wayne for Peace, as part of April Days of Action Against Drones, hosted an event Sunday afternoon at Headwaters Park, called, “Fly Kites, Not Drones.”

    • Military drones cause unnecessary casualties

      Something seems all-around perverse to me when innocent people are killed. I understand that accidents happen and innocent people die for no apparent reason sometimes, especially in war, yet when planned attacks are carried out to eradicate whole families due to the suspicion that they might be harboring a terrorist, something is downright wrong. It is absolutely reprehensible that families are being wiped out with a single missile—a missile whose total cost to build and deploy is more than what that family has or will ever earn in their entire lifetime. Can you seriously see soldiers earning medals for valor, courage, and honor for conducting such video game-like warfare? There is no honor in drone warfare.

    • On Dirty Wars, NSA Spying, and Independent Media: A Conversation with Jeremy Scahill
    • The Obama Administration Is Setting a Dangerous Precedent about Due Process

      But in reaching that conclusion, the court also found it “plausible” that Awlaki’s Fifth Amendment due-process rights were violated. Ultimately, the judge decided, there was no remedy available, so the lawsuit was dismissed. But this sets a dangerous precedent for the targeted-killing program. And the problem began with the Obama administration itself – several key members of which are defendants in this case — which argued several years ago that the determination to target Awlaki complied with due process.

    • CIA, MI6 and Turkey’s rogue game in Syria: New claims say Ankara worked with the US and Britain to smuggle Gaddafi’s guns to rebel groups

      The US’s Secretary of State John Kerry and its UN ambassador, Samantha Power have been pushing for more assistance to be given to the Syrian rebels.

    • U.S. Efforts to Arm Jihadis in Syria: The Scandal Behind the Benghazi Undercover CIA Facility

      In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up.

    • Rebel videos show first US-made rockets in Syria

      Online videos show Syrian rebels using what appear to be US anti-tank rockets, weapons experts say, the first significant American-built armaments in the country’s civil war.

      They would signal a further internationalisation of the conflict, with new rockets suspected from Russia and drones from Iran also spotted in the forces of President Bashar Al Assad. None of that equipment, however, is seen as enough to turn the tide of battle in a now broadly stalemated war, with Al Assad dominant in Syria’s central cities and along the Mediterranean coast and the rebels in the interior north and east.

    • Washington Fights Fire With Fire in Libya: How Not to End Violence in a War-Torn Land

      Is the U.S. secretly training Libyan militiamen in the Canary Islands? And if not, are they planning to?

    • Fury at school ‘anti-terror’ probe

      The Education Secretary announced that Peter Clarke, who served as head of the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism unit, is to become education commissioner, with responsibility to investigate the allegations.

    • Two Nations, Related by Fear

      Since the “war on terror” began, various policies have been adopted on both sides of the Atlantic that have played on, or exacerbated, our fear of the “Islamic extremist.” Perhaps none has been more pernicious than the recent British practice of stripping citizenship from dozens of people who were considered possible terrorism suspects, as soon as they traveled abroad — which then made it less politically complicated for American agents to hunt them down as dangers.

    • Torture is Mainstream Now

      Fifteen years ago, it was possible to pretend the U.S. government opposed torture. Then it became widely known that the government tortured. And it was believed (with whatever accuracy) that officials had tried to keep the torturing secret. Next it became clear that nobody would be punished, that, in fact, top officials responsible for torture would be permitted to openly defend what they had done as good and noble.

    • More leaked from CIA torture report
    • Comment of the day: CIA torturers are the moral equivalent of the North Vietnamese jailkeepers who tortured American pilots
    • Senators Urge Partial Declassification of CIA Torture Report, Keep Vast Majority Secret

      It’s hard for me to pin down just when “admitting wrongdoing and learning from mistakes” was a “practice” in American government, but I digress. Ever since the completion of this report, its authors in the Senate intelligence committee have urged its release. But after Feinstein went to the Senate floor last month to accuse the CIA of illegally trying to stonewall the investigation and block its release, Feinstein seemed to have changed her mind. Now the demand is not to have all 6,300+ pages released to the public, but to have approximately 500 pages of an executive summary submitted for declassification review.

    • CIA may have enlisted member of defense team at Guantanamo

      A military tribunal trail was thrown into confusion when it was revealed that a member of a defense team may have had a contract with the CIA.

    • CIA “black site” outed in British press reports

      A human rights group is demanding the United Kingdom to “come clean” over allegations that it gave permission for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to run a “black site” detention facility on British soil.

    • Pressure mounts on UK over CIA’s ‘black site’ jail in Indian Ocean

      A human rights group is urging Britain’s Foreign office to “come clean” over claims that a British-administered island in the Indian Ocean, Diego Garcia, was used as a secret “black site” detention center by the CIA.

    • Public should see the report on shameful CIA abuses

      President Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus during the Civil War. President Franklin Roosevelt interned Japanese Americans following Pearl Harbor.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Is the WikiLeaks model being threatened by subsumption into the culture industry?

      The appropriation of culture into the so-called culture industry – the mass production of cultural products – brought forth the homogenization of human expression, and a new control over human knowledge, a topic explored by Adorno and Horkheimer, of enlightenment as the deception of the masses. “The step from the telephone to the radio,” they write “has clearly distinguished the roles. The former still allowed the subscriber to play the role of subject, and was liberal. The latter is democratic: it turns all participants into listeners and authoritatively subjects them to broadcast programs which are all exactly the same” (pp.121, 122). The television was the continuation and perfection of the same idea, and at the time, no mention was made “of the fact that the basis on which technology acquires power over society is the power of those whose economic hold over society is greatest” (p. 121). The mass deception is achieved by the control and vetting of knowledge within this new technological context of enlightenment, and so it becomes an ideological machine of tremendous power. “Tragedy is reduced to the threat to destroy anyone who does not cooperate, whereas its paradoxical significance once lay in a hopeless resistance to mythic destiny. Tragic fate becomes just punishment, which is what bourgeois aesthetics always tried to turn it into. The morality of mass culture is the cheap form of yesterday’s children’s books” (p. 152) Then came the Internet, and from it was constructed a model of industrial culture as well as an appropriation of the knowledge of the Internet using individuals; mass surveillance. It is not a coincidence that the motto of the Information Awareness Office was also “scientia est potentia” – knowledge is power. Then came WikiLeaks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Mega-polluter posts net profit of $765 million

      Poisons from the chimneys kill nature in the borderland to Norway, but Russia’s Norilsk-Nickel is a river of cash flow for its owners.

    • If you were watching “Game of Thrones” last night, you missed Neil Tyson’s solution to global warming

      Plants, after all, are the reigning global masters of clean energy. They use 100-percent solar power: The chloroplast, the so-called “powerhouse” of a plant cell, is a “3-billion-year-old solar energy collector” and a “submicroscopic solar battery,” as Tyson put it. Basically, chloroplasts use sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water to store energy in sugars, and give off oxygen as a byproduct. And without this fundamental green energy technology, life on this planet as we know it wouldn’t exist.

    • In Small Canadian Town Democracy Wins, Tar Sands Loses

      In a vote cheered as a victory for democracy, one community in British Columbia has given a flat rejection to a proposed tar sands pipeline.

      Over 58 percent of voters who headed to the polls in the North Coast municipality of Kitimat on Saturday said “no” to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project.

    • Canadian Corporation Plans Tar Sands Strip Mining in Trinidad and Tobago

      ‘Mining tar sand will destroy Govt’ read the headline in April of 2012. The statement was made to Trinidad and Tobago’s Express newspaper by well-known environmental campaigner Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh to the news that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had made statements about working with Canada’s Harper Government to start development of tar sands for oil in Trinidad’s southwest peninsula. If anyone could make such a bold statement stick in Trinidad and Tobago, it would be Kublalsingh, a veteran of multiple struggles against what he and community members believe to be ill-advised industrial projects.

  • Finance

    • EU “has the power” to put in place a universal basic income

      From Martin Luther King to Erich Fromm, the universal – or unconditional – basic income (UBI) has always had its supporters. The idea is not new. But the economic crisis has brought it back to the forefront “as a solution” to the most pressing issues facing the EU today.

    • Privacy

      • Encrypting Your Cat Photos

        The truth is, I really don’t have anything on my hard drive that I would be upset over someone seeing. I have some cat photos. I have a few text files with ideas for future books and/or short stories, and a couple half-written starts to NaNoWriMo novels. It would be easy to say that there’s no point encrypting my hard drive, because I have nothing to hide. The problem is, we wrongly correlate a “desire for privacy” with “having something to hide”. I think where I live, in America, we’ve taken our rights to privacy for granted. Rather than the traditional “he must be hiding porn or bombs”, think about something a little more mundane.

      • Google outlines email scanning practices

        Google has updated its terms of service, informing users that their emails are scanned by software to deliver targeted advertising.

        The new terms explicitly state that “automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customised search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection”.

      • Google Hints it May Begin Favoring Encrypted Sites in Searches

        The search giant is considering giving a boost to encrypted sites in its results, one of its top engineers has hinted. The move is to encourage better security across the web in the wake of the Heartbleed bug causing widespread concern among Netizens

      • There’ll be no escape from the FBI’s new facial recognition system

        If you thought that the NSA wanted too much personal information, just wait a few months. The EFF is reporting that the FBI’s new facial recognition database, containing data for almost a third of the US population, will be ready to launch this summer. Codenamed NGI, the system combines the bureau’s 100 million-strong fingerprint database with palm prints, iris scans and mugshots. Naturally, this has alarmed privacy advocates, since it’s not just felons whose images are added, but anyone who has supplied a photo ID for a government job or background check. According to the EFF’s documents, the system will be capable of adding 55,000 images per day, and could have the facial data for anything up to 52 million people by next year. Let’s just hope that no-one tells the Feds about Facebook, or we’re all in serious trouble.

      • British spy agency’s hometown gets tagged with Banksy-style mural

        GCHQ: “This is the first time we have ever been asked to comment on art.”

      • Guardian and Washington Post win Pulitzer prize for NSA revelations
      • The Guardian takes a Pulitzer prize, Britain’s first, for Snowden NSA story

        The Guardian is the first British paper to win one of America’s famed Pulitzer prizes, albeit for its American edition as papers outside the US technically can’t win.

      • Pakistan mulls cyber security bill to keep NSA at bay

        Pakistan’s Upper House this week began debating a new bill seeking to establish a National Cyber Security Council, an agency the nation feels is needed in the wake of Edward Snowden’s myriad revelations about NSA surveillance.

      • Dropbox users are angry that NSA-loving Condoleezza Rice has been appointed to its board

        The former US secretary of state, who supported the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping programme, is seen as a terrible choice to sit on the board of the cloud storage company.

      • Laura Poitras wins 2014 Pulitzer Prize for NSA coverage

        Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras (pictured) is among the team of reporters to win the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism.

      • Greenwald, Poitras, Gellman, MacAskill: key in NSA coverage
      • AT&T collaborating with NSA disappointing: Kurt Opsahl

        US-based civil society organisation Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) took US telecom AT&T to court for willingly sharing material with the NSA to help its surveillance regime. The case forced the Bush administration to pass a law to give retroactive protection to the telecom companies for cooperating with the NSA.

      • Former NSA head to speak at Norwich commencement
      • Controversial Former NSA Director To Speak At Norwich Commencement
      • Goofing on the NSA

        Should private citizens be permitted to make fun of an agency of the federal government? You bet they should! But when the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security found themselves the butts of such humor, they tried to shut down the jokester and those selling his merchandise.

      • What the Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn’t Do

        Ten months after Edward Snowden’s first disclosures, three main legislative proposals have emerged for surveillance reform: one from President Obama, one from the House Intelligence Committee, and one proposal favored by civil libertarians.

    • Civil Rights

      • Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave

        A man facing deportation from Sweden has been granted a temporary reprieve after fellow passengers aboard his flight to Iran prevented it from taking off by refusing to fasten their seat belts.

        A Kurd fearing persecution in his home country of Iran, Ghader Ghalamere fled the country years ago and now has two young children with his wife Fatemeh, a Swedish resident.

        As a result he qualifies for a residence permit himself – yet because of a quirk in immigration laws he is required to apply for it from outside Sweden.

    • DRM

      • Square Enix: DRM Boosts Profits and It’s Here to Stay

        One of the world’s largest games companies says that DRM is a necessary part of doing business and isn’t going away anytime soon. Speaking with TorrentFreak, Square Enix says that while it understands that DRM shouldn’t interfere with gaming and there is currently no perfect solution, profit dictates that the controversial practice remains.

    • Intellectual Monopolies

      • Clinical trials and tribulations: a role for Europe

        One instance of this conflict is the pharma companies’ vice-like grip, via patents, on the production of newly-developed drugs. This can put heavy financial pressure on health services, particularly in developing countries. Another conflict, which is the focus of this article, involves the publication of clinical trial data. Clinical trials are carried out on a massive scale as part of the process of bringing a new drug onto the market: the trials are meant to determine whether the drug is effective and safe, and whether patients would benefit from being prescribed it.

Apple and Microsoft Actively Lobbying Against Patent Reform in the US

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 10:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Apple and Microsoft are reportedly intervening/interfering with US law in order to ensure that the law is Free/libre software-hostile

HALF A DECADE after the Bilski case, where SCOTUS helped legitimise software patents by not striking them out, SCOTUS gets another chance to kill software patents in their country of origin.

The SFLC wrote about its role a few days ago, noting: “In each Supreme Court brief that SFLC has filed over the years we have included a little note on the first page declaring that the brief was made using only free software. This point was particularly important in our most recent brief, for a case named Alice Corporation v. CLS Bank, which was argued in front of the court last week. Our use of free software was particularly important this time because we argue in our brief that free software has been responsible for the major software innovations of the modern era. In partial support of that claim I want to show you our document creation process and tell you about the free software we use to take text from an email and turn it into a camera-ready Supreme Court brief, then a website, then an eBook.”

Watch how Microsoft and Apple work to eliminate the possibility that software patents or even patent trolls will be eliminated. As TechDirt put it some days ago: “Back in December, we noted that the House Judiciary Committee had approved an unfortunately watered-down, anti-patent troll bill. It was better than nothing, but we hoped that the Senate would approve a much stronger version. For a while it seemed like that was likely to happen, but… those who abuse patents are pretty damn powerful. Even those who have been hit by patent trolls in the past, like Apple and Microsoft, have decided to join forces in lobbying against meaningful patent reform. They’ve been pushing to water down the Senate’s bill, taking out nearly everything that would make the bill useful — and it appears that they’re succeeding.”

Lawsuit by Microsoft Shareholder Targets Fine for Crimes Rather Than the Crimes Themselves

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, Courtroom, Microsoft at 10:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A new lawsuit by a Microsoft shareholder shows everything that’s wrong with today’s model of accountability, where those who are responsible for crimes are accused of not avoiding fines rather than committing the crimes

THE MENTALITY OF greedy investors, and more so investors who put their money in a criminal enterprise, is worth noting. Microsoft has a long history of crime and the investors occasionally sue not because the act of committing crime is bad but because Microsoft fails to dodge the fines (i.e. there is conviction for the crimes).

Here we have a new example of an investor in a criminal company complaining about the wrong thing. To quote the Indian press: “The lawsuit, brought by shareholder Kim Barovic in federal court in Seattle on Friday, charges that directors and executives, including founder Bill Gates and former chief executive officer Steve Ballmer, failed to manage the company properly and that the board’s investigation was insufficient into how the miscue occurred.”

The problem is not that they “failed to manage the company properly”; as we saw in court documents, the crimes go all the way to the top and include instructions from Bill Gates, who chose to break competition laws. This “Supreme Villain” is now spending his wealth on PR (distracting from his crimes), in order to gain yet more wealth while paying virtually nothing in tax.

Here is a new article about protests against Bill Gates profiteering from private prisons.

Criminals rarely change their spots, they just change how the public perceives them. Gates was personally responsible for many of Microsoft’s crimes (and we have the documents to prove it), but nowadays he is busy bribing much of the press and even blogs in order to paint a different picture while he keeps hoarding a lot more money (at everyone else’s expense). Historically there were people like Gates who used the same tactics to alter public opinion. What’s truly shameful is that the biggest (more expensive) crimes still lead to no jail sentence, especially when the government is funded and run by corporations.

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