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Links 30/11/2015: Linux 4.4 RC3, Zaragoza Moving to FOSS

Posted in News Roundup at 6:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Historians and detectives keep track of data with open source tool

    Segrada is a piece of open source software that allows historians (and detectives) to keep track of their data. Unlike wikis or archival databases, its focus lies on information and interrelations within it. Pieces of information might represent persons, places, things, or concepts. These “nodes” can be bidirectionally connected with each other to semantically represent friendship, blood relation, whereabouts, authorship, and so on. Hence the term “semantic graph database,” since information can be displayed as a graph of semantically connected nodes.

  • 5 open-source alternatives to Slack

    Here are five full-featured Slack alternatives — tools that go beyond IRC, in other words — that are open-source software, which means you can download it and run it on whatever server you want. That implies that you’re in charge of security, for better or worse, instead of, say, Slack.

  • KTU exams to run on open source software

    All examinations of the A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technological University (KTU) — which run on an online platform — would switch to open source software from the second semester onwards. For the first semester examinations, the KTU would use a proprietary, Microsoft, software.

    In response to demands from student organisations, the KTU has pushed back its first semester examinations by two days. The first of the examinations would now begin on December 4 instead of December 2. The first of the results would be published on December 19.

  • KTU goes ahead with exam outsourcing
  • What is hacker culture?

    Eric Raymond, author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar (an important work describing the effectiveness of open collaboration and development), recently wrote a piece calling for “Social Justice Warriors” to be ejected from the hacker community. The primary thrust of his argument is that by calling for a removal of the “cult of meritocracy”, these SJWs are attacking the central aspect of hacker culture – that the quality of code is all that matters.

  • #HROS project: putting the open source into HR

    The #HROS project was launched in back in May of 2015 to bring the worlds of human resources (HR) and open source (OS) together, hence the name: HROS.

  • 3 reasons open source needs Open Badges

    The Fedora Badges system, which is interoperable with Mozilla’s Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI), lists more than 17,000 contributors who have been issued digital badges. And, at the top of the leaderboard is Kevin, who has been issued 142 badges—less than half of the overall number of badges available! Those badges Kevin has achieved are a mix of Content, Development, Community, Quality, and Event badges, with some easier, and some harder, to obtain.

  • Will Open Source HR Make Life Easier For Companies?
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • IceCat 38.4.0 release

        GNUzilla is the GNU version of the Mozilla suite, and GNU IceCat is the GNU version of the Firefox browser. Its main advantage is an ethical one: it is entirely free software. While the Firefox source code from the Mozilla project is free software, they distribute and recommend non-free software as plug-ins and addons. Also their trademark license restricts distribution in several ways incompatible with freedom 0. https://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Telefonica, Huawei Team on OpenStack-based Cloud Initiative

      Huawei has a new deal with giant Spanish telecom company Telefonica through which the two firms will work on helping enterprises move infrastructure onto Telefonica’s OpenStack-based cloud. It’s yet another indicaton of the global phenomenon that OpenStack has become.

  • CMS

  • Healthcare

    • How I ended up working in open source healthcare

      I am prepared and excited to take on that challenge, and to make sure my chosen FOSS project, with the wind of open source as a dominate model in the world to drive us, tries to change the world of healthcare IT for the better.

      Viva la FOSS!

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • A few thoughts on OpenBSD 5.8

      I’ve been using OpenBSD since way back at release 2.3 in 1998, so I’ve gone through upgrades that took a fair amount of work due to incompatible changes, like the switch from ipf to pf for host firewalling or the change to ELF binaries. The upgrade from 5.7 to 5.8 was a pretty smooth and easy one, for the most part. The two most painful changes for me were the replacement of sudo with doas and the dropping of support in the rc.conf for the pf_rules variable. While sudo is still available as a package, I like the idea of reducing attack surface with a simpler program, so I made the switch. The two things I miss most about sudo are the ability to authenticate for a period of time and the ability to have a single config file across a whole set of servers. The former I’m just living with, the latter I’ve adjusted to by having a single config file that has lines commented out depending on which server it’s on. I did have one moment of concern about the quality of doas when it incorrectly reported the line number on which I had a syntax error in the config file–fortunately, this was just a failure to increment the line count on continuation lines (ending with a “\”) which is fixed in the -current release.


    • GIMP 2.10 Development Started, Will Bring GEGL-Based Tools, OpenEXR Support

      After turning 20 years of activity, the GIMP developers have been happy to announce that the development cycle of the upcoming GIMP 2.10 open-source and cross-platform image editor software has started with the immediate availability of GIMP 2.9.2.

    • GCC 5.2 vs. GCC 6.0 On An Intel Haswell-E Linux System

      With GCC 6 feature development now over I decided to run some benchmarks comparing GCC 5.2.0 against GCC 6.0.0 (the 20151124 snapshot) on an Intel Haswell-E Xeon system running Ubuntu.

    • GIMP 2.9.2 Released With GEGL Technical Preview

      Days after celebrating the project’s 20th birthday, GIMP 2.9.2 has been released as the latest development snapshot towards the GIMP 2.10 image editor.

    • Do You Like What I Do For a Living?

      But software freedom is not merely an ideology for me. I believe the ideology matters because I see the lives of developers and users are better when they have software freedom. I first got a taste of this IRL when I attended the earliest Perl conferences in the late 1990s. My friend James and I stayed in dive motels and even slept in a rental car one night to be able to attend. There was excitement in the Perl community (my first Free Software community). I was exhilarated to meet in person the people I’d seen only as god-like hackers posting on perl5-porters. James was so excited he asked me to take a picture of him jumping as high as he could with his fist in the air in front of the main conference banner. At the time, I complained; I was mortified and felt like a tourist taking that picture. But looking back, I remember that James and I felt that same excitement and just were expressing it differently.

    • FixedMisc [MirOS] for GNU GRUB2
    • The GNU General Public License is not magic pixie dust
    • Software Freedom Conservancy

      Some projects receive support from or are managed by companies or trade associations that benefit from the software the community produces. That is great as long as the community objectives and the company profit motives are aligned. Free Software is a great way for companies to work together. The services that the Conservancy provides allows projects to define their own terms and conditions for the community to work together. And companies can then join on equal terms. Making sure the project and community will work together for the public benefit.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Zaragoza continues its transition to open source

      The Spanish city of Zaragoza continues to expand its use of free and open source software. The city administration now has 1200 of its 3000 PCs running the AZLinux desktop, which is based on Ubuntu Linux. On all workstations, LibreOffice is the default office suite, and the city by default uses the Open Document Format ODF.

    • What’s behind Europe’s love affair with open-source?

      Government IT departments in Europe, over the past several years, have been eager to trumpet their interest in open-source software – and have been backing their interest up with action. Open-source has become a matter of national policy in the U.K., a critical part of the infrastructure at the European Commission, and the standard for the city of Munich.

    • Portugal offers IT training to government workers

      Portugal’s Agency for Administrative Modernisation (AMA) is offering IT training that is open to all public administration staff members. The courses are intended to help modernise public administrations and to speed up the introduction of eGovernment services.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • 3 Open Source Alternatives to Using the Google Maps API

        The rise of data mining, mobile applications and social media, among many others, has dramatically changed the face of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and what they can accomplish. This has led to the creation of tools suited to various use cases. The most obvious place to begin when thinking about GIS is the web maps available through the Google Maps API.

  • Programming

    • GCC Working On ARMv8.1, Clang Working On ARMv8.2 Support

      ARM’s Matthew Wahab posted the new patch series yesterday, “ARMv8.1 includes an extension to ARM which adds two Adv.SIMD instructions, vqrdmlah and vqrdmlsh. This patch set adds support for ARMv8.1 and for the new instructions, enabling the architecture with –march=armv8.1-a. The new instructions are enabled when both ARMv8.1 and a suitable fpu options are set, for instance with -march=armv8.1-a -mfpu=neon-fp-armv8 -mfloat-abi=hard.”

    • Forum PHP in Paris 2015

      First, a huge thanks to AFUP for the organization of this great event, as always, reception was beyond reproach.

    • PHP version 5.6.16

      RPM of PHP version 5.6.16 are available in remi repository for Fedora ≥ 21 and remi-php56 repository for Fedora ≤ 20 and Enterprise Linux (RHEL, CentOS).


  • Hardware

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Researchers poke hole in custom crypto built for Amazon Web Services

      Underscoring just how hard it is to design secure cryptographic software, academic researchers recently uncovered a potentially serious weakness in an early version of the code library protecting Amazon Web Services.

      Ironically, s2n, as Amazon’s transport layer security implementation is called, was intended to be a simpler, more secure way to encrypt and authenticate Web sessions. Where the OpenSSL library requires more than 70,000 lines of code to execute the highly complex TLS standard, s2n—short for signal to noise—has just 6,000 lines. Amazon hailed the brevity as a key security feature when unveiling s2n in June. What’s more, Amazon said the new code had already passed three external security evaluations and penetration tests.

    • Social engineering: hacker tricks that make recipients click

      Social engineering is one of the most powerful tools in the hacker’s arsenal and it generally plays a part in most of the major security breaches we hear about today. However, there is a common misconception around the role social engineering plays in attacks.

    • Judge Gives Preliminary Approval to $8 Million Settlement Over Sony Hack

      Sony agreed to reimburse employees up to $10,000 apiece for identity-theft losses

    • Cyber Monday: it’s the most wonderful time of year for cyber-attackers

      Malicious attacks on shoppers increased 40% on Cyber Monday in 2013 and 2014, according to EnigmaSoftware.com, an anti-malware and spyware company, compared to the average number of attacks on days during the month prior. Other cybersecurity software providers have identified the December holiday shopping season as the most dangerous time of year to make online purchases.

      “The attackers know that there are more people online, so there will be more attacks,” said Christopher Budd, Trend Micro’s global threat communications manager. “Cyber Monday is not a one-day thing, it’s the beginning of a sustained focus on attacks that go after people in the holiday shopping season.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • UK could be prosecuted for war crimes over missiles sold to Saudi Arabia that were used to kill civilians in Yemen

      Britain is at risk of being prosecuted for war crimes because of growing evidence that missiles sold to Saudi Arabia have been used against civilian targets in Yemen’s brutal civil war, Foreign Office lawyers and diplomats have warned.

      Advisers to Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, have stepped up legal warnings that the sale of specialist missiles to the Saudis, deployed throughout nine months of almost daily bombing raids in west Yemen against Houthi rebels, may breach international humanitarian law.

    • Stop The War: Thousands Protest Against Plans To Join Air Strikes Against Islamic State In Syria
    • The Charge of the Blairite Brigade

      Supporting neo-con military attacks in the Middle East is one of two prime articles of faith of a Blairite.

    • Terror Junkies: The West’s Addiction to Funding Radical Groups

      Despite all the grandstanding and rhetoric from the French President and Western leaders, a critical point that needs to be emphasised is that Western governments are complicit in the Paris attacks and any future terror attacks (there will be more). If we put aside for a second the thesis that the Paris attack was a false flag operation or that French intelligence simply allowed it to happen, what can’t be disputed is that Western foreign policy has directly resulted in the rise of terrorism globally, most notably the rise of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.

    • ISIS’ Grip on Libyan City Gives It a Fallback Option

      One manifestation of the shift is a turn toward large-scale terrorist attacks against distant targets, including the massacre in Paris and the bombing of a Russian charter jet over Egypt, Western intelligence officials say. But the group’s leaders are also devoting new resources and attention to far-flung affiliate groups that pledged their loyalty from places like Egypt, Afghanistan, Nigeria and elsewhere. There are at least eight in all, according to Western officials.

    • David Cameron, there aren’t 70,000 moderate fighters in Syria – and whoever heard of a moderate with a Kalashnikov, anyway?

      Not since Hitler ordered General Walther Wenck to send his non-existent 12th Army to rescue him from the Red Army in Berlin has a European leader believed in military fantasies as PR Dave Cameron did last week. Telling the House of Commons about the 70,000 “moderate” fighters deployed in Syria was not just lying in the sense that Tony Blair lied – because Blair persuaded himself to believe in his own dishonesty – but something approaching burlesque. It was whimsy – ridiculous, comic, grotesque, ludicrous. It came close to a unique form of tragic pantomime.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Obama’s War on Truth

      The four USAF military drone operators who recently blew the whistle and exposed the callousness and complete lack of concern for civilian casualties of the US drone assassination programme, (and received very little mainstream media exposure), yesterday found their bank accounts and credit cards all blocked by the US government. The effects of that on daily life are devastating. My source is their lawyer, Jesselyn Radack, through the Sam Adams Associates (of which we are both members).

      No criminal charges have been brought against any of the men, despite numerous written threats of prosecution. Their finances appear to have been frozen by executive action under anti-terrorist legislation. This is yet a further glaring example of the use of “anti-terror” powers against people who are not remotely terrorist.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Beijing residents told to stay inside as smog levels soar

      Beijing’s residents have been advised to stay indoors after air pollution in the Chinese capital reached hazardous levels.

      The warning comes as the governments of more than 190 nations gather in Paris to discuss a possible new global agreement on climate change.

    • EU-US trade deal will unleash oil sands and fatally undermine climate efforts

      The prospects for a meaningful agreement at the UN climate change talks beginning on Monday are bleak. As a result, so too are the prospects for the 100 million more people predicted to be living in poverty by 2030 as a result of global warming.

      Though framed by record high temperatures and an increasing number of extreme weather events, the Paris talks are already beset by the same problems that repeatedly dog climate change negotiations: the richest countries steadfastly refuse to meet legal commitments and shoulder their share of responsibility, preferring to uphold the desires of all-powerful corporate lobbies. Meanwhile, the poorest countries meet or exceed their responsibilities.

    • Ban On Tuna Labeled Dolphin-Safe Shows How TPP Will Crush Consumer Rights

      In the last 25 years, dolphin-safe labeling of tuna managed to reduce unnecessary annual deaths of the mammals from over 100,000 to only 3,000—an astounding 97% reduction—but the World Trade Organization just effectively nullified this critical program.

      In order to placate Mexico as a member nation of the upcoming (and seemingly inevitable) Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the WTO deemed dolphin-safe labeling a “technical barrier to trade”—even though that environmentally-conscious label is voluntary and applies equally to domestic and foreign companies. At issue are fishing methods that exploit the as-yet-unexplained symbiotic relationship between tunas and dolphins.

    • Paris climate activists put under house arrest using emergency laws

      At least 24 climate activists have been put under house arrest by French police, accused of flouting a ban on organising protests during next week’s Paris climate summit, the Guardian has learned.

      One legal adviser to the activists said many officers raided his Paris apartment and occupied three floors and a staircase in his block.

      French authorities did not respond to requests for comment but lawyers said that the warrants were issued under state of emergency laws, imposed after the terror attacks that killed 130 people earlier this month.

    • Prominent climate scientist offers scathing critique of Obama’s Paris plans

      Three days before the beginning of a critical international climate conference in Paris, one of the world’s most famous climate scientists, James Hansen, has written a withering criticism of President Obama’s approach.

      The Paris meeting will be attended by the heads of state of more than 130 countries, including Obama. Heading in, the United States has adopted a policy of calling for each country to set limits on carbon dioxide emissions, and will push for the adoption of technology to capture and store carbon dioxide. That approach, Hansen wrote in a new letter posted on his web site, “is so gross, it is best described as unadulterated 100 percent pure bullshit.”

      In his “communication” published on Friday, Hansen argued that world leaders are eager to avoid the embarrassment of the last major climate meeting in Copenhagen in 2009, which was largely ineffectual. This time, world leaders will reach a deal, Hansen says, and pat themselves on the back. This deal will likely include pledges to cut emissions by 2025. For example, the United States is expected to aim for cuts of 25 percent based on 2005 carbon levels.

    • Suharto’s fires

      During the 1990s, the scale of the burning grew each year as the forestland converted into tree plantations in Sumatra and Kalimantan expanded. Plantation firms and the land-clearance contractors they hired almost exclusively use fire to clear land. Scientists assessing the forest fire damage say that approximately five million hectares of land were burned in 1997. Of this, 20 per cent was estimated to be forest, 50 per cent agricultural land, and 30 per cent non-forest vegetation and grasslands. Putting this in financial terms, scientists working for Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia have calculated that the direct and indirect short-term impacts of 1997/1998 have exceeded US$ 4 billion, equivalent to total annual health spending by both the public and private sectors.

    • Indonesia is burning – but how responsible is the palm oil industry?

      Indonesia’s forests are being ravaged by forest and peatland fires that are sparking a public health and environmental crisis – but how responsible is the palm oil industry?

    • VW knew fuel usage in some cars was too high a year ago: report

      Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) top executives knew a year ago that some of the company’s cars were markedly less fuel efficient than had been officially stated, Sunday paper Bild am Sonntag reported, without specifying its sources.

      VW in early November revealed that it had understated the level of carbon dioxide emissions and fuel usage in around 800,000 cars sold mainly in Europe.

      The scandal, which will likely cost VW billions, initially centered on software on up to 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide that VW admitted was designed to artificially suppress nitrogen oxide emissions in a test setting.

      The Bild am Sonntag report contradicts VW’s assertion, however, that it only uncovered the false CO2 emissions labeling as part of efforts to clear up the diesel emissions scandal, which became public in September.

  • Finance

    • Saru Jayaraman on Outlawing the Tipped Minimum Wage

      This week on CounterSpin: While many folks go to family or friends for Thanksgiving dinner, somewhere around 15 million Americans have that holiday meal at a restaurant, with more millions ordering food to eat at home. What that means is that millions of restaurant workers don’t have a choice about where to have their Thanksgiving. And of course that’s only a small part of the things that make work in that industry difficult and, for many, precarious.

    • HSBC whistleblower given five years’ jail over biggest leak in banking history

      Hervé Falciani sentenced in his absence for financial espionage by federal court for exposing wrongdoing at HSBC’s private Swiss bank

    • TTIP talks: EU alleged to have given ExxonMobil access to confidential strategies

      The EU appears to have given the US oil company ExxonMobil access to confidential negotiating strategies considered too sensitive to be released to the European public during its negotiations with the US on the trade agreement TTIP, documents reveal.

      Officials also asked one oil refinery association for “concrete input” on the text of an energy chapter for the negotiations, as part of the EU’s bid to write unfettered imports of US crude oil and gas into the trade deal.

      The employers’ confederation BusinessEurope was even offered “contact points” with US negotiators in the State Department and Department of Energy, according to the cache of material which was released under access to documents laws.

    • SMEs want a TTIP rethink

      What would drive the boss of a Bavarian mechanical engineering company to launch a business initiative against TTIP? Martina Römmelt-Fella detailed her concerns about it to EurActiv Germany.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Pentagon Must Be Thankful for the Turkey Washington Post Gave Its Readers

      So here we have US claims that Russian airstrikes are killing civilians backed up by statistics from a presumably independent human rights group. Meanwhile, when the US government claims to killed almost no civilians in its air attacks, the Post just takes the Pentagon’s word for it.

    • Sex and Death

      Having been sat the last three hours in a lounge at Stansted, with a Sky News screen in front of me, it has been fascinating to watch them six times cover the Grant Shapps resignation and never mention the word sex. It was all apparently just about “office bullying.” There has also been some pontification about why, over Shapps and Coulson, Cameron is such a bad judge of people.

    • Dylann Roof Is Not a “Terrorist” — But Animal Rights Activists Who Free Minks From Slaughter Are

      The FBI on Friday announced the arrests in Oakland of two animal rights activists, Joseph Buddenberg and Nicole Kissane, and accused the pair of engaging in “domestic terrorism.” This comes less than a month after the FBI director said he does not consider Charleston Church murderer Dylann Roof a “terrorist.” The activists’ alleged crimes: “They released thousands of minks from farms around the country and vandalized various properties.” That’s it. Now they’re being prosecuted and explicitly vilified as “terrorists,” facing 10-year prison terms.

  • Censorship

    • Swedish court: ‘We cannot ban Pirate Bay’

      After considering the case for almost a month, the District Court of Stockholm ruled that copyright holders could not make Swedish ISP Bredbandsbolaget block Pirate Bay.

      The court found that Bredbandsbolaget’s operations do not amount to participation in the copyright infringement offences carried out by some of its ‘pirate’ subscribers.

      Pirate Bay is blocked by many European ISPs but anti-piracy outfits have always hoped that one day the notorious site would be restricted in Sweden.

    • Divya Dutta on Censorship: Director Has Every Right to Express
    • Censorship and Control

      Recent events in Punjab are consistent with the Indian government’s strategy of public silence and local repression.

    • Censorship in the age of social media irrelevant: Divya Dutta

      Actress Divya Dutta feels at a time when everything is easily available online, the relevance of censorship on films in the country is questionable.

      The 38-year-old “Bhaag Milkh Bhaag” actress says she agrees with filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who recently said that censorship should be abolished.

      Divya says the audience today is quite sorted and should have the right to choose what they want to watch.

    • Censor Board Chairman seeks Dr. D’s advice on censorship
    • Snipping the kissing scene in ‘Spectre’ was illogical: Emraan Hashmi

      Bollywood actor Emraan Hashmi has termed the censor board’s move to trim the length of kissing scene in the new James Bond film “Spectre” illogical and “going back to dark ages”.

    • Abolish censorship: Shyam Benegal

      Censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani has been criticised on social media as well as by his colleagues and Bollywood actors after it was revealed that board had shortened the length of kissing scenes in James Bond movie “Spectre”.

    • Can Myanmar leave censorship behind as it enters a new era?

      Following the landslide election result for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) earlier this month, Myanmar appears to be transforming from one of the world’s most repressive regimes to a relatively free country.

      But signs of regression towards old habits by the military over the past year, and their continued presence and power of veto in parliament even after the election result, the future for democratic freedoms – including freedom of expression – is far from guaranteed.

    • Censorship by satellite

      Kissing is also expunged, presumably on the assumption that lip-to-lip congress is a gateway behaviour that, if glimpsed even briefly, will inspire the innocent to fornicate in the streets like frenzied simians. Unobstructed cleavage is likewise a harbinger of civilisation’s demise.

    • Identity and Censorship: A Life of Doing Standup in China

      Speaking of which, we are living in one of the most censored countries. Have you personally, or the club you are part of, ever run into any censorship issues?

      Oh yes, of course. There was a whole series of shows that was banned because one joke was heard by, I don’t know, some censor from the government. But the joke was totally harmless. The thing is they never have a standard, like which line you can not cross. If they think you are not right, and then they can just ban you. Another time we were supposed to have an open mic and a couple of officials from the Cultural Bureau [Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture] said “OK you can have shows here, but we are going to censor you for the whole thing. If you guys are OK, then that will be OK. But if something happens we have to report it.” So we decided not to do the show.

    • China’s latest censorship battlefield is global beauty pageants

      The organizers of a Miss Earth beauty pageant have refused to allow its Taiwanese contestant on stage or to be photographed by the press, after she refused to wear a sash bearing “Chinese Taipei,” according to an online post written by the contestant.

    • Tech Firms and Users Partner Up for Censorship Dance

      At China File, Professor Hu Yong from Peking University’s School of Journalism and Communication looks at China’s censorship of personal media, emphasizing the rise of pre-publication censorship by new media platforms, which in turn encourages self-censorship by users.

    • Chinese Activist Sentenced to 6 Years for Protesting Censorship

      China has sentenced three human rights activists to harsh prison terms for participating in an anti-censorship protest in 2013.

      The attorney for the three, Zhang Lei, told VOA that he is “shocked and angered” by the verdict, which gave a sentence of six years to activist Guo Feixiong.

      Zhang said the court added an extra criminal charge to his client’s case just moments before Friday’s trial started.

    • China Jails Civil Rights Activist Guo Feixiong For 6 Years Over Censorship Protest

      China has jailed a leading civil rights activist for six years on charges of disturbing public order — in part for his role in protests against censorship at a popular liberal newspaper in Guangzhou. A court in southern Guangdong province on Friday passed the sentence on 48-year-old Guo Feixiong in a hearing off-limits to foreign media, his lawyer said. Two other activists were also jailed, in what human rights groups said was a sign of a deepening crackdown on civil liberties in China.

      Guo, a former university lecturer who has campaigned for greater freedoms in China for the past two decades, was detained after taking part in protests in January 2013 outside the offices of the Southern Weekly newspaper in Guangzhou. The protests were a response to the spiking of the paper’s New Year’s editorial, which had called for more thorough implementation of China’s constitution, including its promise of freedom of speech for all.

    • Chinese rights activist jailed for six years

      A prominent Chinese rights activist, Guo Feixiong, was sentenced to six years imprisonment on Friday by a court in southern China, amid a continuing crackdown on human rights advocates across the country, his lawyer said on Friday.

      Two other activists, Liu Yuandong and Sun Desheng, were sentenced to three years and two-and-a-half years respectively, according to Guo’s lawyer, Zhang Lei.

    • Protests in Turkey after reporters arrested for ‘spying’ over arms report

      Hundreds of people demonstrated in Turkey Friday in support of two journalists from a leading newspaper being held on spying charges over a report suggesting Ankara shipped arms to rebels in Syria.

      Over 1,000 demonstrators, including a number of journalists and opposition MPs, gathered outside the Istanbul offices of Cumhuriyet daily shouting slogans such as “Shoulder to shoulder against fascism,” and “Tayyip thief, Tayyip liar, Tayyip killer”, referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    • Third Turkish journalist arrested amid fears of Ankara censorship: reports

      Local media has reported that a third Turkish reporter has been arrested, amid concern Ankara is cracking down on free speech. Yesterday, protesters took to the streets following the arrest of two other journalists.

    • District of North Vancouver harassment policy stokes fears of censorship

      The District of North Vancouver is looking to rein in “inappropriate, offensive, misleading, harassing or threatening” letters and emails sent to district staff and council members.

      The move however has some council watchers crying censorship.

    • Project Censored 2015

      Ten news items the media ignored

    • The Secret Censorship of Online Porn

      As long as credit cards are the dominant way to purchase items online, Visa and MasterCard will still hold this power over the smut peddlers of the world. So unless Bitcoin, or another relatively unregulated digital currency, happens to take off, banks will continue to have the power to silently shape the landscape of porn, enforcing their view of acceptable sex on the rest of us, whether we like it or not.

    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Orders Censorship Of ‘Man In The High Castle’ Ads

      The advertisements for the show wrap seats on New York subways. They feature an American flag with a German eagle and iron cross in place of the stars. There is also a flag with imperial Japanese imagery. The crimes against humanity by the Nazis during World War II were so gruesome that it’s a pretty shocking thing to see upon entering a subway car and Democratic mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio fielded complaints. He called the advertising campaign “irresponsible” and “offensive” and called for their removal.

    • That Was a False Alarm on Millennials and Free Speech

      Last week, I wrote about a new Pew poll that showed that 40 percent of millennials would be in favor of government bans on speech offensive to minority groups. Many people took this as a dire sign that kids these days are Nae Nae–ing themselves straight into an authoritarian future, especially given all the recent talk about young people’s coddling and fragility.

    • Poll: Censorship More Popular Among Millennials

      Forty percent of millennials believe the U.S. government should be able to censor speech that is considered offensive to minority groups, a new poll from Pew Research Center finds.

      The Pew poll identified a notable disparity in opinion between millennials—those ages 18 to 34—and those surveyed from three other age groups.

      The poll found that 27 percent of Generation X, those ages 35 to 50, favor such government censorship, as did 24 percent of baby boomers, ages 51 to 69.

      By comparison, only 12 percent of the so-called Silent Generation, ages 70 to 87, agreed.

    • Filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami’s doors explore censorship at the Aga Khan Museum

      Exhibition highlights celebrated Iranian director’s approach to living and working under censorship.

    • New Zealand police accused of censorship

      The move has been roundly criticized by the country’s academic community and opposition politicians who say it amounts to censorship.

      A New Zealand police spokesman says that the contract was designed to protect the police and the data from misrepresentation by researchers who could potentially “misunderstand” the data they were analyzing.

      Police also justify the agreement by pointing out that requests often involve access to confidential information and personal identifiers.

      “The research agreement which academics are expected to sign with police sets out our expectations, including that research is accurate, balanced and constructive,” said Mark Evans, the police force’s Deputy Chief Executive of Strategy, in a statement.

    • Police censorship of crime research “an outrage”

      The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says.

    • NGOs condemn imprisonment and nationality revocation of photographer

      Award-winning photographer Sayed Ahmed al-Mousawi was sentenced on Monday, 23 November 2015, to 10 years in prison and had his nationality revoked, along with 12 others, after covering a series of demonstrations in early 2014. Security forces detained Al-Mousawi for over a year without trial or official charges, accused him of being a part of a terrorist cell and subjected him to torture. The undersigned NGOs condemn the government’s continued attacks on independent journalism, policy of media censorship and severe restrictions on freedom of expression in Bahrain.

    • TPP allows Internet censorship to favour big corporations, say Pakatan MPs

      PKR’s Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen and Parti Amanah Negara’s (Amanah) Kuala Krai MP Dr Hatta Ramli said that Internet service providers (ISP) would be given the role of “internet police” in the new trade pact when it comes to copyrighted content.

    • MP warns of widespread Internet censorship under TPPA

      The Internet could face widespread censorship under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) as Internet service providers (ISPs) would be free to remove copyrighted online content without having to face the music, warned Amanah lawmaker Mohd Hatta Ramli.

  • Privacy

    • Huge Security Flaw Can Expose VPN Users’ Real IP-Adresses

      A newly discovered vulnerability can expose the real IP-addresses of VPN users with relative ease. The issue, which affects all VPN protocols and operating systems, was uncovered by Perfect Privacy who alerted several affected competitors to the threat before making it public.

    • [Enigmail] Recover GPG password remembered by Thunderbird (passphrase in session)

      For future people, here’s how you can recover your PGP key if stored in your GNOME session.

    • Updated: Green Light or No, Nest Cam Never Stops Running

      In-brief: Alphabet’s Nest Cam continues to run even after users have turned it “off,” the company acknowledged on Tuesday, raising questions about transparency and the potential for privacy abuses using the popular home surveillance device.

    • UK ISP boss points out massive technical flaws in Investigatory Powers Bill

      The head of the UK ISP Andrews & Arnold, Adrian Kennard, has pointed out a number of major technical issues with the proposed Investigatory Powers Bill (aka the Snooper’s Charter). Kennard and other representatives of the UK Internet Service Provider’s Association (ISPA) met with the Home Office on Tuesday, where they presented a number of ethical, technical, and privacy related issues with the incoming new law. These issues, plus some of the Home Office’s responses, can be found in written evidence (PDF) penned by Kennard.

    • NSA to shut down bulk phone surveillance program by Sunday

      The U.S. National Security Agency will end its daily vacuuming of millions of Americans’ phone records by Sunday and replace the practice with more tightly targeted surveillance methods, the Obama administration said on Friday.

      As required by law, the NSA will end its wide-ranging surveillance program by 11:59 p.m. EST Saturday (4:59 a.m. GMT Sunday) and expects to have the new, scaled-back system in place by then, the White House said.

    • Dear ZDNet: Comcast Has Been Sketchily Injecting Messages Into User’s Browsers For Years

      None of that is to say that the privacy and security concerns aren’t very real, of course, and ZDNet does a nice job of discussing those concerns. But it’s not new. Perhaps the better conversation to be had is why anyone in their right minds would think that Comcast deserves anyone’s trust to the level where users’ browsers should be injected with copyright violation notices in a system rife with abuse from pretty much every player involved.

    • Stop the anti-encryption propaganda now

      I paused a TV show last week as one of those lower-third ads promoting the local newscast was displayed. It screamed, “Encryption preventing police from catching criminals, more at 11.” There’s nothing subtle about that, I pointed out to my wife, nothing at all. Clearly, this “encryption” stuff is very dangerous and should be made illegal, right?

      Then the world was scarred by the attacks in Paris a few days later. Before any real news about the attacks made it to the mainstream media, we were already hearing how encryption was the reason these attacks succeeded. The New York Times posted a story to that effect, then pulled it and redirected the link to a completely different article about France’s retaliation. The Wayback Machine still has the original, which states, “The attackers are believed to have communicated using encryption technology.” This is the functional equivalent of stating, “The attackers are believed to have communicated using words or sounds.”

    • Never mind Internet Connection Records, what about Relevant Communications Data?

      It was always a good bet that the draft Investigatory Powers Bill would broaden data retention obligations to cover more categories of communications data. That was at the core of the Communications Data Bill, blocked in 2012 during the Coalition government and vowed after the May 2015 election to be resurrected.

      The draft Bill has duly delivered, accompanied by a blizzard of commentary about the propriety of forcing communications service providers to retain users’ browsing histories.


      Internet connection records and the proposed restrictions on accessing them (clause 47 of the draft Bill) have become a lightning rod for the ensuing discussion: not just the rights and wrongs of requiring browsing data to be retained, but whether internet connection records as defined in the draft Bill can be matched to real categories of data processed by service providers.

      The focus on internet connection records is understandable. The Home Office’s Guide to the powers in the draft Bill focuses on internet connection records. The estimated cost increase in the Data Retention Impact Assessment mentions only internet connection records as a new category of retained data.

    • The NSA’s bulk metadata collection authority just expired. What now?

      The language in the US Justice Department statement is far from inspiring, written in bland legalese, but it still represents an important victory for the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • At 11:59pm tonight, the NSA will stop in-house phone metadata collection

      The Obama administration said on Friday that it would go ahead with the scheduled closure of the National Security Agency’s bulk phone records collection program. The USA Freedom Act, which passed in early June, outlined this weekend’s deadline.

    • NSA will stop collecting bulk phone data by the end of the day

      At 11:59PM ET tonight, the NSA will shut down its systems that collect bulk phone call data from Americans across the US. The move comes as planned, precisely six months after the USA Freedom Act was signed into law.

    • NSA ends bulk phone surveillance programme; replaces it with targeted monitoring
    • The NSA Will Finally Kill Its Metadata Snooping Program This Weekend
    • “Snowden Effect” in Action: NSA Authority to Collect Bulk Phone Metadata Expires
    • The NSA Says It Will Finally Stop Spying On Millions of Americans at Midnight on Saturday
    • At midnight, the NSA will no longer keep bulk records of telephone calls
    • NSA to shut down bulk phone surveillance program =
    • Ex-NSA chief pleads guilty to killing 3-year-old adopted S. Korean son
    • Former NSA division head pleads guilty to beating adopted special-needs son, 3, to death at his Maryland home
    • Former NSA Employee Pleads Guilty in Adopted Son’s Death
    • Former NSA analyst pleads guilty to beating adopted son to death
    • Can the EU beat Big Data and the NSA? An Overview of the Max Schrems saga
    • Federal Judge Rules Against NSA Telephone Surveillance Program
    • Spy court appoints new advisers under NSA reform law
    • US spy court appoints lawyers to panel of advisers
    • NSA bungling deserves scrutiny

      But instead of being rewarded for developing a cutting-edge electronic spy system on the cheap, Binney and his crew were bureaucratically sandbagged by then-NSA Director Michael Hayden and his signals intelligence director, Maureen Baginsky.

      THINTHREAD’S deployment was officially canceled by Baginsky three weeks before the 9/11 attacks. Baginsky instead put American taxpayer money into a far more expensive, and ultimately failed, program named TRAILBLAZER.

    • Could the Third Amendment be used to fight the surveillance state?

      The Third Amendment to the United States Constitution is just 32 words: “No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

      Amongst very nerdy constitutional law circles, the Third Amendment is practically a joke. It’s never been the primary basis of a Supreme Court decision, and it only turns up rarely in legal cases. The reality is that the federal government isn’t going to be sending American soldiers to individual homes anytime soon. Even The Onion tackled the issue in 2007: “Third Amendment Rights Group Celebrates Another Successful Year.”

    • John McAfee: The NSA is running on ‘sheer luck’ — and that’s a travesty

      This past week, a report came out that suggests “sheer luck” was one of the elements an NSA program needed to find useful info in the sea of surveillance data. The info came from an NSA in-house newsletter leaked by Edward Snowden, called SIDtoday. Dated March 23, 2011, it was written by a signals development analyst within the operation. In it, the author says that “by sheer luck, (and a ton of hard work) I discovered an important new access to an existing target and am working with TAO to leverage a new mission capability.” TAO stands for Tailored Access Operations, through which the NSA hacking team had collected 900 usernames and passcodes. The target in question was reportedly PDVSA, a Venezuelan state oil company also known as Petróleos de Venezuela.

    • NSA Spies on Venezuela’s Oil Company

      The U.S. National Security Agency accessed the internal communications of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela and acquired sensitive data it planned to exploit in order to spy on the company’s top officials, according to a highly classified NSA document that reveals the operation was carried out in concert with the U.S. embassy in Caracas.

      The March 2011 document, labeled, “top secret,” and provided by former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden, is being reported on in an exclusive partnership between teleSUR and The Intercept.

    • Venezuela’s State Oil Company to Sue US Over Spying
    • Venezuela Could Pursue Legal Action against US over PDVSA Spying Scandal
    • Venezuela’s Oil Sector Condemns U.S. Espionage
    • NSA shuttered bulk email program in 2011, replaced with similar initiatives

      By the time the National Security Agency (NSA) nixed its email surveillance program in December 2011, other surveillance initiatives that could “satisfy certain foreign intelligence requirements” had taken its place, according to a report in The New York Times.

      The Times caught wind of the alternative programs after obtaining documents through a Freedom of Information Act request. Included in the documents are inspector general reports that say the NSA ended the email program because it could meet requirements through other efforts—three other reasons for the program’s demise were redacted. The Times report said while the agency no longer conducts the bulk collection data from telecom companies, under the replacement initiatives the NSA still analyzes the social links found in email patterns.

    • BND and Merkel enabled NSA to Spy on German and French Companies

      It is difficult to believe that Chancellor Angela Merkel believes her own words because sprouting the international terrorist card and national security, in relation to spying on France, EU targets, and German companies, appears absurd. Indeed, her comments about the role of German intelligence (BND) assisting a non-European Union entity, is truly untrustworthy and irresponsible. After all, why was the BND assisting the US National Security Agency (NSA) in spying on German companies and nations like France?

    • NSA Leaker Thomas Drake Praises Report Showing U.S.’ Failure Toward Whistleblowers

      Whistleblower Thomas Drake, who in 2010 became the first American charged with espionage in almost 40 years and who was a predecessor of Edward Snowden, applauds a new report by the PEN American Center accusing the government of failing to protect whistleblowers.

      The report comes after presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said at last month’s Democratic debate that NSA whistleblower Snowden “could have gotten all the protections of being a whistleblower” instead of leaking materials to the press. PEN’s report shows that Clinton is wrong and that the U.S. government gives employees and contractors little assurance that they won’t be prosecuted, even if they go through sanctioned channels.

    • Oakland Tribune editorial: Electronic snooping by NSA won’t stop ISIS

      It’s increasingly clear since the Paris terrorist attacks that the future of Americans’ privacy is largely in Silicon Valley’s hands.

      Valley leaders such as Apple’s Tim Cook, and Alphabet/Google’s Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Sundar Pichai are going to need the technology community’s full support to ward off political pressure from the FBI and NSA, who want government access to encrypted data on mobile devices.

      The United States needs to aggressively pursue terrorists. But it must not allow emotions of the moment to result in an ill-conceived security policy undermining not only Americans’ privacy but also the success of the nation’s driving industry.

    • Paris terrorist attacks no excuse to roll back civil liberties

      And never mind that the Paris terrorists don’t appear to have relied upon encrypted messages, despite some misleading early reports.

    • Choice between security and liberty a false one

      As our opinion leaders, lawmakers and intelligence community officials reflect on the events leading up to these terrible attacks, and what the appropriate response should be to better detect and thwart terrorist plots in the United States and throughout the world, it is critical that we first step back and take a deep breath.

    • Rolling back mass surveillance

      Under Schneier’s proposed policy, companies could not take away your rights to your data without your explicit permission…

    • Moving Microsoft’s Data Overseas May Not Keep NSA Out

      Earlier this month Microsoft announced the building and expansion of data storage facilities in Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom after an EU court invalidated a key U.S.-EU data transfer agreement in October — a response to mass National Security Agency surveillance programs revealed in the last two years.

      While the move represents the first time a major U.S tech company has admitted it can’t protect user data inside U.S. borders, the question of whether it will allow Microsoft to skirt the U.S. government’s ability to obtain user data is still very much in the air.

      “In terms of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), whether giving the data over to another company would avoid whatever legal obligations they’re under here is a very fact-specific question,” American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney Alex Abdo told InsideSources. “I’m sure that the federal government would argue that so long as Microsoft has effective control over the data, they could still be subpoenaed for it or they could still be ordered or compelled to turn it over.”

      Microsoft has been fighting such a battle with the Justice Department since last year, when the government ordered the Silicon Valley giant to turn over user emails stored in a Microsoft data center in Dublin, Ireland as part of an FBI drug trafficking investigation.

    • Judge Grants Injuction Against NSA Bulk Surveillance Program That Is Ending Anyway

      On June 5, 2013, the Guardian published a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) order from the National Security Agency directing Verizon Business Network Services to provide daily records for a three month period of the “telephony metadata” for all telephone calls on its network. The order was part of thousands of documents stolen by Snowden while employed by a NSA contractor. In the months that followed, the government acknowledged it had been receiving this kind of data since at least 2006.

    • When the spooks get it wrong [Ed: even when they bomb hospital, gun down survivors]

      Washington is awash in intelligence agencies, some of civilians and others of the military services, 17 by one count, and a lot of what they produce is gobbledygook. Like all bureaucracies, the intelligence agencies want to protect their turf first, and writing in words (many coined on the spot) that only a small audience can understand is a way of protecting the turf.

    • The next interface moment in computing could be chip implants

      The next big thing in computing could be a glass-encased chip embedded under the skin of your left hand.

      Think of it as an extension of the wearables that can track your movement, your sleep, your heart and pulse rate now. Chip implants can do so much more.

      In its early stages today, it can store data that can be read by Near Field Communication (NFC) readers. Technically speaking you can open your door, your car just by scanning your hand in the NFC reader. It can serve as your key or access pass to the gym, the library, the office, or wherever is it that requires identification.

    • Paris attacks a wake-up call for US intelligence?

      For example, the Islamic State was using encrypted apps and websites before the NSA’s surveillance operations were uncovered, John Chase, a cybersecurity specialist who has worked with the hacking group Anonymous, told The Washington Times Friday.

    • Israël obtains the release of the spy Jonathan Pollard

      He is said to have transmitted to the Mossad an impressive quantity of US documents, sometimes concerning the Near East, but particularly concerning the surveillance methods used by the US to spy on the Soviet Union. Tel-Aviv later sold some of these documents to Moscow, particularly NSA codes, in exchange for the immigration of a million Soviet citizens who claimed to be Jewish.

    • When Top Feds Cash In, They Lead by Example

      Alexander’s IronNet has stirred allegations that he is profiting from the privileges of his former government post. Fueling the controversy was IronNet’s prospective collaboration with NSA’s Chief Technology Officer, a deal IronNet ultimately scuttled after it came to light last fall. While eyes are on the top brass, little attention has been paid to IronNet’s recruitment of young engineers, an issue that acutely plagued the NSA during Alexander’s tenure.

    • Where’s the Evidence That Mass Surveillance Actually Works?

      Current and former government officials have been pointing to the terror attacks in Paris as justification for mass surveillance programs. Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan accused privacy advocates of “hand-wringing” that has made “our ability collectively internationally to find these terrorists much more challenging.” Former National Security Agency and CIA director Michael Hayden said, “In the wake of Paris, a big stack of metadata doesn’t seem to be the scariest thing in the room.”

      Ultimately, it’s impossible to know just how successful sweeping surveillance has been, since much of the work is secret. But what has been disclosed so far suggests the programs have been of limited value. Here’s a round-up of what we know.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Your ISP Limit Bandwidth? Here Is What You Can Do To Improve Internet Speed

      It is very annoying when our fast Internet connection goes down. Sometimes it is due to some technical error or sometime in case of wired Internet the wires damage causes the Internet completely shutdown. But, it’s all unexpected. We can’t go and fix it. Our ISP (Internet Service Provider) fixes it as soon as possible. But what if your ISP is limit bandwidth and block you to access some sites or the whole Internet world upto a limited speed.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Russian court bans Scientology church due to trademark use

        A Russian court has ordered a Church of Scientology branch in Moscow to close after a dispute over its registered US trademarks.

        The Moscow City Court backed calls from Russia’s Ministry of Justice to close the church after accepting the department’s argument that the church cannot call itself a religious organisation if it owns a registered trademark.

      • Scientology church says Russian trademark ruling is ‘disease’ of justice system

        The Church of Scientology has said it will appeal against a decision by a Russian court to close its Moscow branch, describing the ruling as a “disease of the justice system”.

        In a statement sent to WIPR, the church said it will appeal against the decision to the country’s Supreme Court.

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Industry Still Doesn’t Understand This Fight Isn’t About Money, But Liberty

        With a lot of people streaming music and video from services such as Spotify, Pandora and Netflix, torrenting is less of a visible conflict than ten years ago. But similar fights continue in the shape of net neutrality and privacy, with the same values: it was never about the money.

      • Cox Can’t Describe Rightscorp As “Extortionists” and “Trolls” During Trial

        Internet provider Cox Communications is not allowed to use derogatory terms to describe Rightscorp during their upcoming trial. Terms such as “copyright troll,” “blackmailer,” and “extortionist” are off-limits and the same is true for Rightscorp’s dire financial position.

      • No Copyright Trolls, Your Evidence Isn’t Flawless

        If you get a letter through the post accusing you of Internet piracy, you must be guilty. That’s the message from most copyright trolls and infuriatingly, even some ‘neutral’ lawyers commenting on these cases. But while it might seem daunting, putting up a fight is not only the right thing to do, but can also cause claimants to back off.

      • Pirate forced to make anti-piracy film to avoid being sued

        A 30-YEAR-OLD MAN accused of piracy has had to make a solemn confession mini-movie to avoid being sued.

        The video is bleak at the start, reminiscent of a hostage video or one of those confessions you might have read about in Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is earnest, and perhaps a bit scary, but a storyline soon develops.

        It is not in the English language, which makes the message slightly hard to understand, but ultimately it warns that you do not want to be caught pirating anything. It appears to be a short rags-to-riches story of a man who enjoyed piracy, then met the police, and was sad. Tom Hanks might try for a US remake.

      • It’s illegal to make private copies of music in the UK—again

        The UK’s 2014 private copying exception, which allowed you to make personal copies of your own music, including format-shifted versions, has now been definitively withdrawn, according to The 1709 Blog. As a result, it is once more illegal to make personal backups of your own music, videos or e-books, rip CDs and DVDs to standalone digital files, or upload your music to the cloud.

      • Judge Worries That Piracy Lawsuits Will Flood Courts

        The chief judge of an IP court in Finland has expressed concern that ‘copyright-troll’ piracy lawsuits will cause chaos if a law firm follows through with threats to sue hundreds of Internet users. Using the courts is the ultimate weapon to make alleged pirates settle but experts believe that copyright owners could have an uphill battle.


Links 27/11/2015: KDE Plasma 5.5 Plans, Oracle Linux 7.2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • What I Learned from Blowing An Interview

    Likewise, blogging or writing books about software development is necessarily removed from software development. Patterns, architectures, idioms, and algorithms are potential value. It’s only by applying the ideas that we realize the value. The same goes for creating infrastructure like operating systems, text editors, programming languages, frameworks, and libraries.

  • How Deduplication Has Evolved to Handle the Deluge of Data
  • Hardware

    • More than a billion PCs are over three years old, and there’s little reason to replace them

      And right there is the problem facing the PC industry. You’re replacing a tool with another tool that does the same thing. Much like a light bulb or a hammer. It’s why we’re seeing a proliferation of “smart” devices – smart light bulbs, smart thermostats, smart smoke detectors, smart refrigerators – because without that new “smart” twist people just aren’t replacing their light bulbs, thermostats, smoke detectors, or refrigerators until the day they release the magic smoke and stop working.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • A Winter’s Tale: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

      A Turkish jet shoots down a Russian jet. Parliament votes to send RAF jets into the mix. What could possibly go wrong?

      Unfortunately, things do go wrong. Cameron’s 70,000 “moderate rebels” prove either non-existent or crazed pro-Saudi Wahabbists. Mostly they are the very jihadists Russia is attacking, but we are supporting. In the fog of war, another Russian plane is downed. A Russian pilot downs a British jet. With politicians on all sides afloat on the sea of militarist rhetoric, within 24 hours it has spiralled hopelessly out of control.

    • Cameron Overreaches With “70,000” Claim Nobody Believes

      Cameron is in serious trouble at Westminster after overreaching himself by the claim that there are 70,000 “moderate rebels” willing to take up the ground war with Isis. Quite literally not one single MP believes him. There are those who believe the lie is justified. But even they know it is a lie.

      There is a very interesting parallel here with the claims over Iraqi WMD. The 70,000 figure has again been approved by the Joint Intelligence Committee, with a strong push from MI6. But exactly as with Iraqi WMD, there were strong objections from the less “political” Defence Intelligence, and caveats inserted.

  • Finance

    • China may invest $1 trillion overseas in next 5 years

      Continuing the carrot and stick approach to international trade, Premier Li Keqiang told poorer European nations that China would likely invest in their countries and import their products if they promised to buy Chinese products

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Guardian’s Anti Corbyn Campaign Plumbs New Depths

      Yet astonishingly the Guardian ran three whole articles entirely about the McDonnell gaffe. You could read every single word of these three articles and not learn the basic information provided in each of the three Blue Tory papers above. The utterly disgraceful Jonathan Jones, John Crace and Tom Phillips all managed to produce articles which utterly omit what McDonnell actually said and why he said it, to contrive to give the impression that McDonnell was quoting Mao straight and with approval.


      UPDATE: This is absolutely beyond parody. The Guardian have just published a FOURTH article on this subject, by Roy Greenslade, which still fails to say that McDonnell was referring to Osborne’s disposal of British assets to the Chinese state. Instead Greenslade cuts and pastes the most damning comments he can find in the Tory media. Not of course including any of the Tory media quotes given above which, unlike the Guardian, tell you what McDonnell was saying.

      When do you think the fifth Guardian article is coming?

  • Privacy

    • Teardown shows Nest Cam is “always-on” even when you think it’s off

      It turns out your home security camera may see more of your home than you thought it did. In a teardown of the Nest Cam, a team at ABI Research found that even when “off,” the camera draws nearly the same amount of power as when it’s fully powered on, meaning it’s functional and running even when the indicator light claims otherwise.

    • Tor Project appeals for help to carry on, expand anti-spying network

      The Tor anonymous browsing project has asked for donations to improve the network and invest in educational projects.

      The Tor Project is a non-profit scheme which runs Tor. Otherwise known as The Onion Router, the system allows users to enter areas of the Internet which remain unindexed by common search engines.

      The node-and-relay layout also skewers the original IP of the user, improving anonymity and thwarting surveillance efforts.

    • Glenn Greenwald: Why the CIA is smearing Edward Snowden after the Paris attacks

      Decent people see tragedy and barbarism when viewing a terrorism attack. American politicians and intelligence officials see something else: opportunity.

      Bodies were still lying in the streets of Paris when CIA operatives began exploiting the resulting fear and anger to advance long-standing political agendas. They and their congressional allies instantly attempted to heap blame for the atrocity not on Islamic State but on several preexisting adversaries: Internet encryption, Silicon Valley’s privacy policies and Edward Snowden.


      The CIA’s blame-shifting game, aside from being self-serving, was deceitful in the extreme. To begin with, there still is no evidence that the perpetrators in Paris used the Internet to plot their attacks, let alone used encryption technology.

      CIA officials simply made that up. It is at least equally likely that the attackers formulated their plans in face-to-face meetings. The central premise of the CIA’s campaign — encryption enabled the attackers to evade our detection — is baseless.


Links 26/11/2015: The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, Running Sans Systemd Gets Hard

Posted in News Roundup at 9:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Video: PBS Pro Workload Manager Goes Open Source
  • Turris Omnia: high-security, high-performance, open-source router

    An Indigogo campaign was recently launched for the Turis Omnia, promising backers a high-security, high-performance, open-source router.

    “With powerful hardware, Turris Omnia can handle gigabit traffic and still be able to do much more,” the company said.

    “You can use it as a home server, NAS, printserver, and it even has a virtual server built-in.”

  • IBM SystemML Machine Learning Technology Goes Open-Source
  • PuppetLabs Introduces Application Orchestration

    Everybody loves Puppet! Or at the very least, an awful lot of people USE Puppet and in the IT world, “love” is often best expressed by the opening of one’s wallet. I know, in the FOSS world wallets are unnecessary, and Puppet does indeed have an Open Source version. However, once one gets to enterprise-level computing, a tool designed for enterprise scale is preferable and usually there is a cost associated.

    Puppet was originally started as an open source project by Luke Kanies in 2005, essentially out of frustration with the other configuration management products available at the time. Their first commercial product was released in 2011, and today it is the most widely used configuration management tool in the world with about 30,000 companies running it. According to our own surveys, better than 60% of Linux Journal readers use some form of Puppet already and you must like it too as it regularly finishes at or near the top in Readers’ Choice awards.

  • My Open Source Thanksgiving List: Wine, Netflix, OpenWrt and More

    Running 3.1 miles through my hometown. Consuming unreasonable quantities of simple carbohydrates, fat and sodium. Pretending that the former activity justifies the latter. These are some of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions.

  • Give back and support open source

    Here I am, almost 20 years into my own crazy open source story, and it shows no sign of abating.

  • IBM open-sources machine learning SystemML

    IBM is aiming to popularise its proprietary machine learning programme SystemML through open-source communities.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla contributor creates diabetes project for the masses

        My open source story started in high school as a student. I always considered myself to be a hacker—not the malicious type, but the curious type who liked to tinker with code and hardware. My first encounter with open source was in 2001 when I installed my first Linux distro, Lindows. Of course, I was also an early user of Mozilla Firefox.

      • Mozilla: we’re not getting money from Google any more but we’re doing fine

        For many years, Firefox developer Mozilla generated substantial income from a sponsorship deal with Google; the search and advertising firm paid Mozilla in return for Firefox making Google its default search engine. That deal was ended last year, with Firefox defaulting to Yahoo in the US, Yandex in Russia, and Baidu in China.

      • Best Firefox Add-ons for a Better YouTube Experience

        From blocked videos to annoying ads, there are many things about YouTube we don’t like. These restrictions and distractions only dampen the amazing experience that the video-sharing website is meant to provide. If you are a Firefox user, however, you won’t have to worry about such things. Firefox offers a variety of add-ons that let you fix pretty much any annoyance that YouTube has. Furthermore, they also let you download videos right to your desktop so that you can watch them whenever you want, even without a connection.

      • Mozilla Releases Thunderbird 38.4.0 to Patch High and Critical Security Issues

        Mozilla has announced the release of a new maintenance version of the popular, open-source, and cross-platform Mozilla Thunderbird 38 email and news client for all supported operating systems, including GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.

      • Pale Moon 25.8.0 (Firefox Based Browser) Has Been Released

        As you may know, Pale Moon is an open-source, cross-platform browser based on Mozilla Firefox, being up to 25% faster then the original.

        Palemoon is based on Firefox, has support for the official Firefox extensions, but does not contain all of the Firefox features, including: social API, accessibility features, WebRTC and has some specific customizations and configuration options which are not available on Firefox.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Practical tips for working with OpenStack

      To build your own cloud and take advantage of the power of the open source powered OpenStack project takes dedicated resources and a good bit of learning. Due to the size of the project and the pace of development, keeping up can be difficult. The good news is that there are many resources to help, including the official documentation, a variety of OpenStack training and certification programs, as well as community-authored guides.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Has About 1,200 UI-Related Reported Bugs, Come and Help Fix Them

      LibreOffice might be a great office suite, but the community doesn’t like the fact that the UI still looks kind of dated. The good news is that anyone with some coding skills can try to fix that by working on the project.

    • Improving the Toolbars in LibreOffice

      With the Design team, we are working on improving toolbars in LibreOffice. This is part of our long-term goal, making LibreOffice “simple for beginners and powerful for experts“.

      Toolbars in LibreOffice are currently quite limited: A toolbar can have icons, or custom widgets, in a row. You can switch between icon-only, icon+text or text-only display.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Area51 updates (KDE on FreeBSD)

      The area51 repository continues to update, even as the official ports tree for FreeBSD sticks with KDE4. Since the KDE-FreeBSD team is also responsible for the official ports, that basically means that not everything has been shaken out yet, and that the team doesn’t feel that it can provide a really good Frameworks5 / Plasma5 / Applications installation .. yet. I’ve been playing with ideas for a default desktop wallpaper (the upstream default gives me a headache; I’d really like to combine Flying Konqui by Timothée Giet with bubbles made from the BSD logo.


    • GNU.org Website Says Microsoft’s Software Is Malware

      GNU.org has a category on its website named “Philosophy of the GNU Project,” where the Microsoft software is described as malware, along with Apple and Amazon.

    • Supporting Software Freedom Conservancy

      There are a number of important organizations in the Open Source and Free Software world that do tremendously valuable work. This includes groups such as the Linux Foundation, Free Software Foundation, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Apache Software Foundation, and others.

    • Software Freedom Conservancy Launches 2015 Fundraiser

      Today Software Freedom Conservancy announces a major fundraising effort. Pointing to the difficulty of relying on corporate funding while pursuing important but controversial issues, like GPL compliance, Conservancy has structured its fundraiser to increase individual support. The organization needs at least 750 annual Supporters to continue its basic community services and 2500 to avoid hibernating its enforcement efforts. If Conservancy does not meet its goals, it will be forced to radically restructure and wind down a substantial portion of its operations.

    • GIMP 2.8.16 Has Been Released
    • 20 Years of GIMP Evolution: Step by Step

      GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) – superb open source and free graphics editor. Development began in 1995 as students project of the University of California, Berkeley by Peter Mattis and Spencer Kimball. In 1997 the project was renamed in “GIMP” and became an official part of GNU Project. During these years the GIMP is one of the best graphics editor and platinum holy wars “GIMP vs Photoshop” – one of the most popular.

    • Infinity status

      I’m winding down for a month away from Infinity. The current status is that the language and note format changes for 0.0.2 are all done. Y

  • Licensing

    • Free Router Software Not In The Crosshairs, FCC Clarifies

      FCC will not seek to ban free software from wireless routers, according to a clarification it made earlier this month on a rulemaking related to radio devices. An earlier draft of the official proposal included a specific reference to device manufacturers restricting installation of the open-source project DD-WRT.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • San Francisco sets sights on open source voting by November 2019

      Open-source voting systems bring a greater level of transparency and accountability by allowing the public to have access to the source codes of the system, which is used to tabulate the votes. A system owned by The City could also save taxpayers money.

    • Road testing the community-powered grocery store

      Building a business in an open and collaborative way can be a wonderfully rewarding experience, engaging both the members of the organization as well as the customers in a unique relationship based on common, transparent goals, while growing a sense of community around the venture.

      Last year, Shaun McCance wrote an article for Opensource.com, 4 tips from growing a community grocery store, where he shared his experiences from the initial steps of building a co-operative (co-op) grocery store in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, applying similar practices that many open source software projects use in software development.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Denmark’s Aarhus insists on open IT standards

      Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city, is requiring the use of open IT standards for all of its future IT projects. This way, the city aims to rid itself of IT vendor lock-in. Aarhus is currently ”fenced in by contracts, proprietary software and proprietary standards”, says Camilla Tække, leading the change management project for the city. “This is a change in culture, not just as a technical one.”


  • The Immaculate British

    Coe may be a Tory Lord, but he is a disgrace not fit to lead international athletics. When will the British learn that corruption is not something that just happens abroad? If the standards of British public life were ever higher, we have the living breathing examples of Sebastian Coe and Tony Blair to show us what a sleazy entity Britain has now become.

  • Science

    • Geeks visit Bletchley Park, birthplace of the Turing machine

      What do a few geeks do when they find themselves on the way to Dublin for LinuxCon Europe? They make a side trip to Bletchley Park, of course. Seeing the place where Alan Turing, father of computer science, broke the German Nazi Enigma codes in the second World War was quite an experience. In this article, Jeffrey Osier-Mixon (community manager at the Yocto Project at Intel) and I describe a few of the highlights of our geeky and wonderful side trip.

      Bletchley Park was one of Britain’s best-kept secrets, and for decades after the war, the people who worked there were still sworn to secrecy. The work at Bletchley Park is believed to have saved thousands of lives and shortened the war by about two years, but it wasn’t until 2009 that the people working at Bletchley were publicly recognized for their service. For more about the history, read an in-depth story on the Bletchley Park website.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • ‘They’re Not Americans’: CNN Guest Justifies Massive Attacks on Civilians

      Scheuer’s proudly sociopathic views should come as no surprise. In December 2013, he called for the assassination of President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron…

    • Cultural figures and rights groups call for release of poet facing execution

      Leading international cultural figures have joined human rights campaigners in calling for the release of Ashraf Fayadh, the Palestinian poet and artist facing execution in Saudi Arabia.

      Chris Dercon, the director of Tate Modern, British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, historian Simon Schama, playwright David Hare, and Egyptian novelist and commentator Ahdaf Soueif are among the those calling for the death sentence imposed on Fayadh by a Saudi court last week to be overturned.

      More than a dozen organisations for artists, writers, musicians and freedom of expression from the UK, North America and Africa – including Index on Censorship, literary association PEN International and the International Association of Art Critics – have also signed a joint statement condemning Fayadh’s conviction for renouncing Islam, a charge which he denies.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Feeding ‘Godzilla’: As Indonesia Burns, Its Government Moves To Increase Forest Destruction

      In the midst of its worst fire crisis in living memory, the Indonesian government is taking a leap backward on forest protection. The recently signed Council of Palm Oil Producing Nations between Indonesia and Malaysia, signed at the weekend in Kuala Lumpur, will attempt to wind back palm oil companies’ pledges to end deforestation.

      This is despite Indonesia’s efforts to end fires and palm oil cultivation on peatlands.

      If successful the move will undo recent attempts to end deforestation from palm oil production, and exacerbate the risk of future forest fires.

  • Finance

    • British Values

      That throws a rather lurid light on what could be done with the £175 billion admitted cost of Trident, if we lived in a society with less crazed values.

    • CNN Analyst “Shocked There’s No Violence” During Chicago Protests
    • How the Gates Foundation Reflects the Good and the Bad of “Hacker Philanthropy”

      Despite its impact, few book-length assessments of the foundation’s work have appeared. Now Linsey McGoey, a sociologist at the University of Essex, is seeking to fill the gap. “Just how efficient is Gates’s philanthropic spending?” she asks in No Such Thing as a Free Gift. “Are the billions he has spent on U.S. primary and secondary schools improving education outcomes? Are global health grants directed at the largest health killers? Is the Gates Foundation improving access to affordable medicines, or are patent rights taking priority over human rights?”

      As the title of her book suggests, McGoey answers all of these questions in the negative. The good the foundation has done, she believes, is far outweighed by the harm. In education, she maintains, most of its initiatives have either gone bust or failed to deliver on their promises. The foundation’s first great education initiative focused on creating small schools in place of big ones, on the assumption that doing so would allow students to receive more individualized attention. From 2000 to 2008, it spent $2 billion to establish 2,602 schools across the United States, affecting a total of nearly 800,000 students. Unfortunately, the experiment failed to improve college acceptance rates to the degree that the Gateses had hoped, and so they abruptly terminated it.

      Instead, the foundation channeled its resources into a host of other initiatives — increased data collection on teacher effectiveness, the introduction of performance-based teacher pay, more standardized testing for students. The foundation has invested heavily in charter schools and vigorously backed the Common Core, which sets national reading and math standards. These are all key elements of the so-called school reform movement. Arne Duncan, as head of Chicago’s public schools, worked closely with both the Gates and Broad foundations, and as President Obama’s secretary of education he sought to implement many of their ideas.

      McGoey (along with many others) is sharply critical of this movement. She cites studies that show that charter schools have performed no better or worse than traditional public schools, and she notes that the Gates Foundation itself has backed away from its once vocal support for assessing teacher performance on the basis of student test scores. While the willingness of the Gateses to change their minds in the face of evidence is admirable, McGoey writes, the reforms they championed “are now entrenched. For many teachers and students, their recent handwringing over the perils of high-stakes testing has come a little too late.”


      On one point, however, McGoey is convincing — the need for more analysis of this powerful foundation and the man and woman at its head. Bill and Melinda Gates answer to no electorate, board, or shareholders; they are accountable mainly to themselves. What’s more, the many millions of dollars the foundation has bestowed on nonprofits and news organizations has led to a natural reluctance on their part to criticize it. There’s even a name for it: the “Bill Chill” effect.

      That’s not to say that there has been no critical coverage of the foundation’s work. Diane Ravitch has excoriated Gates along with the rest of the school reform movement in her book The Death and Life of the Great American School System, as well as on her blog. The New York Times and other papers have offered occasional close examinations of Gates’ work. And Joanne Barkan, in a 2011 article in Dissent titled, “Got Dough? How Billionaires Rule Our Schools,” offered a thoroughgoing critique of the education work of Gates and its fellow foundations. In another Dissent article on “how big philanthropy undermines democracy,” Barkan complained that “the mainstream media are, for the most part, failing miserably in their watchdog duties. They give big philanthropy excessive deference and little scrutiny.”

      That may be changing. Alessandra Stanley, writing in the Times in late October, offered a skeptical assessment of the outsized claims made by Sean Parker and other Silicon Valley philanthropists. “Tech entrepreneurs believe their charitable giving is bolder, bigger and more data-driven than anywhere else — and in many ways it is,” she observed. “But despite their flair for disruption, these philanthropists are no more interested in radical change than their more conservative predecessors. They don’t lobby for the redistribution of wealth; instead, they see poverty and inequality as an engineering problem, and the solution is their own brain power, not a tithe.”


      We need more probing accounts of this sort. The power of the new barons of philanthropy is only going to grow. The risks they take and the bets they make will no doubt become bolder. If journalists don’t hold them accountable, who will?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Another Court Logically Concludes That Linking To Allegedly Defamatory Content Isn’t Defamation

      Many members of the public believe the internet is subject to a completely different set of laws when it comes to defamation. Fortunately, sanity (mostly) continues to reign when courts apply REAL laws to newfangled message delivery systems. There are exceptions, of course. An Australian court recently declared Google to be the “publisher” of defamatory content posted by other people at other websites, but returned in search results. A Canadian court found a blogger personally liable for republishing defamatory statements made by others.

  • Privacy

    • Dell Compromises Customers’ Security with Pre-Installed Rootkit
    • Dell computers bundled with backdoor that blurts hardware fingerprint to websites

      Dell ships Windows computers with software that lets websites slurp up the machine’s exact specifications, warranty status, and other details without the user knowing.

      This information can be used to build a fingerprint that potentially identifies a person while she browses across the web. It can be abused by phishers and scammers, who can quote the information to trick victims into thinking they’re talking to a legit Dell employee. And, well, it’s just plain rude.

      A website created by a bloke called Slipstream – previously in these pages for exposing security holes in UK school IT software – shows exactly how it can work.

    • Every cloud has an unknown lining

      I don’t go so far as Richard Stallman, who condemns clouds as a proprietary trap to be avoided at all costs. However, if you are going to use commercial clouds, encrypt your data with a key that only you or your company members possess. Better yet, set up a private cloud, and secure it to your satisfaction.

    • Reddit will honor ‘Do Not Track’ requests from visitors

      Reddit has decided to honor ‘Do Not Track,’ a feature that will ensure that it does not download third-party analytics on to browsers that enable the option.

      The DNT option allows users to ask their browser to send websites they access a request or signal to opt-out, for example, from third-party tracking for purposes such as behavioral advertising. But as Reddit points out, websites can interpret the signal however they want and most ignore it.

    • Let’s Encrypt: The FSF beta tests a new Certificate Authority

      Let’s Encrypt is a non-profit Certificate Authority (CA), run by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG), which aims to make the process of getting X.509 certificates for Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption a trivial process, as well as cost-free.

    • Stronger Locks, Better Security

      What if, in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris, or cybersecurity attacks on companies and government agencies, the FBI had come to the American people and said: In order to keep you safe, we need you to remove all the locks on your doors and windows and replace them with weaker ones. It’s because, if you were a terrorist and we needed to get to your house, your locks might slow us down or block us entirely. So Americans, remove your locks! And American companies: stop making good locks!

    • Montana Standard newspaper plans to retroactively unmask anonymous commenters

      I must say that I’m extremely skeptical that it is really technically “impossible,” or even highly impractical, to maintain the anonymity of past comments. If the newspaper really valued its readers’ privacy, and the promise that seems to me to be made in the Privacy Policy (and that is in any event implicitly expected by commenters), I would think that some technical solution would have been eminently possible, even if it would involve some modest expense and hassle. (For instance, I assume the tech people could just replace the real names in all the existing user entries with the screen names, and then block any future posts from those now-fully-anonymous accounts. That would require users to create new real-name-based accounts, but that seems a modest price to pay for maintaining the privacy of the old accounts.)

  • Civil Rights

    • Court Rules Assassination Memo Can Stay Secret

      A MEMO ABOUT HOW the George W. Bush administration interpreted a ban on assassination can be kept secret, along with other legal documents about the drone war, a federal appeals court said in a ruling made public Monday.

      For several years, the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times have been suing to wrench documents from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Council that outline the rationale for killing suspected terrorists. Specifically, they sought the release of the justification for drone strikes that killed three U.S. citizens in Yemen in the fall of 2011: Anwar al Awlaki, his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al Awlaki, and Samir Khan.

    • ‘You Don’t See Big Changes Without Major Scandals’ – CounterSpin interview with Nicholas Kusnetz on state government accountability

      If you want to keep believing that, you should on no account read the latest State Integrity Investigation from the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity. It grades state governments on criteria including electoral oversight, legislation accountability, lobbying disclosure and public access to information, and the results are not good.

    • How the Gambia banned female ​genital ​mutilation

      Female genital mutilation is still practised at a rate of one girl every 11 seconds around the world in 29 countries. At least 130 million women and girls live with the consequences of having their sexual organs forcibly mutilated, with many suffering from fistula, maternal mortality, child mortality, infection from Aids and typhus, and post-traumatic stress.

      Just 10 minutes before Yahya Jammeh, president of the Gambia, announced on Monday night that the controversial surgical intervention would be outlawed in his country, Jaha Dukureh, an anti-FGM campaigner, received a call from the president’s office to let her know that her work had been successful. They told her the president would announce that the Gambia was moving into the 21st century and there was no place for FGM in the modern state.

    • Meditation Helped Me Survive Death Row and 19 Years of Wrongful Imprisonment

      My name is Damien Echols, and in 1993 I was arrested for three counts of capital murder in the town of West Memphis, Arkansas. Nine months later I was sentenced to death, and spent almost 19 years on death row before being released in 2011 when new evidence came to light.

      Prison is a dark and stagnant place. It’s filled with the most cold, horrendous energy you can imagine. It feels like a kind of psychic filth that penetrates into your very soul.

      Much of magick is about is learning to change states of consciousness at will. I learned to use meditation and ritual as shields. They prevented the hellish energy of prison from changing me and making me more like the people all around me—people who had given up on even trying to be human.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Dropped AAAA record from DNS

      I host my blog on small machine somewhere in OVH. As part of package I got IPv6 address for it. Five minutes ago I decided to no longer use it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Bernd Lange accepts perverse incentives in ISDS

      Bernd Lange, chair of the European Parliament international trade committee, has sent a letter to EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström regarding the EU commission’s investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) reform proposal.

      His letter shows that he overlooks many deficiencies in the commission’s proposal, among them perverse incentives. The proposed system lacks integrity and would undermine our values. I will go through his letter line by line.

    • Copyrights

      • YouTube to defend clear examples of fair use, even in court

        YouTube to litigate copyright infringement/fair use actions on behalf of users harassed by subject to inappropriate DMCA takedown requests?

        This is apparently what is going to happen soon, as IP enthusiast Nedim Malovic (Stockholm University) explains.

      • Insurer Refuses to Cover Cox in Massive Piracy Lawsuit

        Trouble continues for one of the largest Internet providers in the United States, with a Lloyds underwriter now suing Cox Communications over an insurance dispute. The insurer is refusing to cover legal fees and potential piracy damages in Cox’s case against BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music.

      • Dear European Commission, could you at least pretend you’re listening to us?

        C4C and several of its signatories co-signed two open letters, one addressed to the European Commission and the other to the European Parliament, in order to share our concerns regarding the European Commission’s current approach on copyright matters in its public consultations.

      • Cayman loses out in Bob Marley copyright dispute

        The English Court of Appeal has ruled that record label Cayman Music does not own the copyright to 13 songs composed by musician Bob Marley, including the hit “No Woman, No Cry”.

        Lord Justice Kitchin was joined by Lady Justice Arden and Lord Justice Lloyd Jones in ruling that the 13 songs were part of a 1992 agreement in which Cayman Music transferred the rights to Island Records.

      • German Publisher Axel Springer Just Can’t Stop Suing Ad Blockers, And Attacking Its Own Readers

        As you hopefully already know, we take a bit of a different view of ad blockers around here on Techdirt, recognizing that many people have very good reasons for using them, and we have no problem if you make use of them. In fact, we give you the option of turning off the ads on Techdirt separately, whether or not you use an ad blocker. And we try to make sure that the ads on Techdirt are not horrible, annoying or dangerous (and sometimes, hopefully, they’re even useful). Most publications, however, continue to take a very antagonistic view towards their very own communities and readers, and have attacked ad blockers, sometimes blocking users from reading content if they have an ad blocker. Perhaps no publication has fought harder against ad blockers than German publishing giant Axel Springer, the same company that frequently blames Google for its own failure to adapt.

      • Axel Springer Goes After iOS 9 Ad Blockers In New Legal Battle

        German media giant Axel Springer, which operates top European newspapers like Bild and Die Welt, and who recently bought a controlling stake in Business Insider for $343 million, has a history of fighting back against ad-blocking software that threatens its publications’ business models. Now, it’s taking that fight to mobile ad blockers, too. According to the makers of the iOS content blocker dubbed “Blockr,” which is one of several new iOS 9 applications that allow users to block ads and other content that slows down web browsing, Axel Springer’s WELTN24 subsidiary took them to court in an attempt to stop the development and distribution of the Blockr software.

      • MPAA Wins $10.5 Million Piracy Damages From MovieTube

        A group of major Hollywood studios have won a default judgment against the operators of MovieTube and several associated websites. The movie studios have been awarded a total of $10.5 million in statutory damages and control over a few dozen MovieTube domains, which were taken offline earlier this year.


Links 25/11/2015: Webconverger 33.1, Netrunner 17 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Snowdrift.coop Joins OSI as Newest Affiliate Member

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), recognized globally for promoting and protecting open source software and development communities, announced today the affiliate membership of Snowdrift.coop. Snowdrift.coop is building a sustainable funding platform for freely-licensed works. Unlike the one-to-one matching used in traditional fundraising, Snowdrift.coop uses a many-to-many matching pledge that creates a network effect (like the internet itself) so that each donation and even projects reinforce one another. A fundamental difference between Snowdrift.coop and one-time fundraising campaigns that help projects get started is that Snowdrift.coop pays out monthly to provide sustainability for ongoing work.

  • Google Kubernetes Is an Open-Source Software Hit

    Google Inc. has an open-source software hit on its hands.

    Google has capitalized on the growing popularity of so-called containers, which are standardized building blocks of code that easily can be moved around the Internet and across a broad range of devices. In June 2014, as containers were taking off in the world of software development, Google open sourced Kubernetes, its technology for managing clusters of containers. Since then, Google has captured about 80% of the market for cluster managers, according to consulting firm Cloud Technology Partners Inc.

  • Non-Linux FOSS: Install Windows? Yeah, Open Source Can Do That.

    For my day job, I occasionally have to demonstrate concepts in a Windows environment. The most time-consuming part of the process is almost always the installation. Don’t get me wrong; Linux takes a long time to install, but in order to set up a multi-system lab of Windows computers, it can take days!

  • Black Duck Survey: Open Source More Popular than Ever for Companies

    Open source is now companies’ “default approach” to software, and open source’s presence within the business world and the use of open source has nearly doubled since 2010. That’s according to the latest “Annual Future of Open Source” report from Black Duck Software.

  • Awfully pleased to meet you: survey finds open source needs more formal policies
  • 5 open source security tools to protect your firm

    Cyber security solutions can be expensive, often for good reason. However, there are also some very powerful open source offerings that can help keep you and company safe.

  • IBM Turns Up Heat Under Competition in Artificial Intelligence
  • Apache Incubator accepts IBM’s SystemML for open source development
  • IBM Machine Learning Algorithm Generator Becomes Open Source Apache Project
  • IBM open-sources its SystemML machine learning tech
  • IBM’s Machine Learning Technology Accepted as Apache Open Source Project
  • Indian Telcos Start Exploring SDN & NFV

    Spectrum limitations combined with growing demand for bandwidth are pushing Indian telcos to explore technologies like SDN and NFV, which have the potential to help them to maximize resource utilization.

  • Alcatel-Lucent joins the ONOS project partnership

    ON.Lab has announced that Alcatel-Lucent has joined the ONOS project, the Open source SDN Network Operating System (ONOS) for service providers and mission critical networks and a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project.

    ONOS is a carrier-grade SDN network operating system architected to provide high availability, scalability, performance, and rich northbound and southbound abstractions. Alcatel-Lucent will join service providers, vendors, collaborators and individual contributors to accelerate SDN/NFV adoption and drive open innovation.

  • How Might Open Source Fail?
  • Events

    • The Linux Foundation Becomes Steward of the Open Networking Summit

      If you’re able to get to the Silicon Valley area in March, there is a big open networking conference taking shape, with some very talented participants. The Linux Foundation is announcing that the Open Networking Summit (ONS) is becoming a Linux Foundation event, and ONS 2016 will take place March 14-17, 2016 in Santa Clara, Calif.

    • Visualize astrophysics data with Blender

      The Blender Conference has become a fantastic showcase not just of attractive art and animation, but also unconventional uses of Blender and open source software.

    • SDN/NFV DevRoom at FOSDEM: Deadline approaching!

      We extended the deadline for the SDN/NFV DevRoom at FOSDEM to Wednesday, November 25th recently – and we now have the makings of a great line-up!

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • MongoDB success stories

      The open source MongoDB NoSQL database is powering an increasing number of websites and services. Here are nine examples of organizations transforming their business with MongoDB.

  • CMS

    • Drupal Hub to spur on the growth of North East’s open source development community

      Drupal Hub will hold regular day time drop-in sessions as well as playing host to established Drupal events, thereby bringing people together to collaborate and contribute to the software.

      Other plans are in place for Drupal training days, Drupal user group meets, Drupal sprints and the Drupal Academy, which provides intensive training for users of all abilities.

    • Drupal-based farmOS manages food, farmers, and community

      FarmOS is a Drupal-based software project aimed at easing the day-to-day management of a farm. It allows different roles to be assigned to managers, workers, and viewers. Managers can monitor how things are going with access to the whole system, workers can use the record-keeping tools, and viewers have read-only access to, for example, certify the farm’s records.

    • Drupal 8 Released

      After years of development and a few delays, the open source Drupal 8 content management system (CMS) is now generally and freely available. Among the most popular and widely deployed CMS technologies in use today, Drupal counts whitehouse.gov and the Federal Communications Commission among its notable users.

  • Education

  • Apple

  • BSD

    • Hackfest OpenBSD presentations
    • Interview: Renato Westphal (renato@)

      My history with OpenBSD started around 2011 when I was still an undergrad student working part-time on an University-Industry partnership program. In this job I was assigned the task of implementing a full (!) MPLS solution for Linux and that task encompassed having a working implementation of the LDP protocol, among several other things. I started then looking for an open source implementation of LDP and found out that OpenBSD had a daemon called ldpd(8). I decided to check it out and it was love at the first sight when I saw its code: it was beautiful! I started then porting this daemon to Linux and on top of that fixed quite a few bugs. Two years later I decided that it would be fair to contribute my fixes back to the original implementation, it was when claudio@ invited me to join the OpenBSD team. Around that time I didn’t know much about OpenBSD and was surprised with the invitation. Theo de Raadt sent me a couple of emails and I had no clue about who he was. Nevertheless, I was excited with the invitation and started to follow the mailing lists and even bought a book about OpenBSD. Within a couple days I was hooked on it and OpenBSD became my OS of choice.

    • DragonFlyBSD Switches To Gold Linker By Default

      DragonFlyBSD has switched to using the Gold Linker by default rather than GNU ld.

      The GNU Gold linker for ELF files is designed to be faster and much more modern than the GNU linker. DragonFlyBSD has traditionally used GNU ld, but now Gold is ready for primetime use by default on this BSD distribution.

    • Clasp 0.4 — Lisp Over LLVM — Generates Code 200x Faster

      Clasp is a Common Lisp compiler based on LLVM that also provies seamless interoperation with C++ libraries.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Bulgarian ‘Future is Code’ school project ongoing

      Bulgaria’s ‘Future is Code’ initiative – where volunteers visit schools to introduce students and teachers to software development – which started in April, is continuing at least until the end of this month. The project has already introduced a handful of schools to open source. The volunteer-led project is supported by Bulgaria’s Ministry of Education.

  • Licensing

    • Why viral licensing is a ghost

      According to an historical and widely shared distinction, present on Wikipedia and generally supported by too many free software advocates including some lawyers, “Strong copyleft” (sometimes renamed “viral licensing”) refers to licences governing a copyrighted work to the extent that their copyleft provisions can be efficiently imposed on all kinds of derived works, including linked works: the same copyleft licence becomes applicable to the combination. At the contrary, “Weak copyleft” would refer to licenses (that are generally used for the creation of software libraries) where not all derived works inherit the copyleft license, depending on the manner in which it was derived: copies and changes to the covered software itself become subject to the copyleft provisions of such a license, but not the software that links to it. This allows programs covered by any license (even proprietary) to be compiled and linked against copylefted libraries such as glibc (the GNU project’s implementation of the C standard library), and then redistributed without any re-licensing required.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • DVCS and Git Usage in 2015

      Git unsurprisingly is the big winner, CVS the equally unsurprising loser. Nor has any of the data collected suggested material gains for non-Git platforms. DVCS in general has gained considerably, and is now close to parity and Git is overwhelmingly the most popular choice in that segment.

    • GitHub Bugzilla Hook

      Last month I’ve created a tool which adds comments to Bugzilla when a commit message references a bug number. It was done as a proof of concept and didn’t receive much attention at the time. Today I’m happy to announce the existence of GitHub Bugzilla Hook.

    • One truly massive Git — GitLab Enterprise Edition

      Open-source GitLab is being used for collaboration across over 100,000 organisations to help large distributed teams of developers to work together and control features that allow users to build apps with both accountability and enterprise-grade support.

    • GitLab Introduces New Version of Enterprise Edition for Git
    • The Current State Of Pyston As An Open-Source, High Performance Python

      A status update concerning the Dropbox-sponsored Pyston project was presented earlier this month.

      A status update on the open-source Python high-performance JIT project was shared at a Pyston meet-up two weeks ago. For those interested, the Pyston blog shared today that this interesting video has now been uploaded.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Fires and Other Problems in Indonesia

      Every year about 110,000 people die and others suffer from acute respiratory illnesses because of the fires started by the palm oil and timber corporations in Indonesia. In addition, much of its wildlife is affected and CO2 levels increase drastically. Contributing to the problem is the traditional slash/burn cultivation of Indonesian peasant farmers which is supposed to be illegal under Indonesian law..

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • UK to buy 9 Boeing patrol planes in £12 billion defence budget boost

      As part of a set of defense decisions that British Prime Minister David Cameron described as delighting President Barack Obama, the British government announced plans to purchase nine P-8 Poseidon long-range patrol planes from Boeing through a foreign military sale approved by the US government. The Poseidon, the aircraft built by Boeing to replace the US Navy’s aging Lockheed P-3 Orion antisubmarine warfare patrol aircraft, will fill the gap left by the retirement of the Royal Air Force’s Hawker Sidley Nimrod fleet over four years ago, and the cancellation of the UK’s own follow-on aircraft. It means about $1.5 billion more in business for Boeing and its partners; the Poseidon currently has a “flyaway” cost of $171.5 million per aircraft.

    • Was Russian aircraft shot down because its satellite navigation was wrong?

      Was a Russian Su-24 strike bomber over Turkish airspace earlier today when it was shot down by a Turkish F-16 fighter, as the Turkish government claimed? Or did it, as the Russians have claimed, fly in Syrian airspace and never cross the Turkish border? The Turkish and Russian governments have published conflicting evidence on the plane’s location as accusations fly between the two sides. But it’s entirely possible both sides are right—based on different data sources.

      With precision satellite navigation and radar systems available to both sides, one might think that it would be relatively simple to both know where the border was and avoid it or know for certain which side of the border the plane was on when it was shot down. But the Russians have published their own version of navigational tracking data that shows the Su-24 flying south of a part of the Turkish border that juts southward into Syria. The Turks claim that the jet, while clearly not mounting an attack against Turkey, was over a mile into Turkish airspace and had been repeatedly warned that it was on a course that would cross the border.

    • Downed Russian Su-24 Jet Located in Syrian Airspace – Kremlin

      The Russian Su-24 jet downed over Syria was located in Syrian airspace, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

    • Turkey shoots down Russian war plane on Syria border

      NATO member Turkey on Tuesday shot down a Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border, threatening a major spike in tensions between two key protagonists in the four-year Syria civil war.

      The Turkish presidency said in a statement that the plane was a Russian Su-24 fighter jet, while Turkish media said one pilot had been captured by rebel forces in Syria.

    • Turkey’s attack provocation to split int’l anti-terrorist coalition — French politician

      “The Turkish government is playing really foul games,” he wrote in his account in the web. “What was the Russian plane doing? It was delivering air strikes against the Islamic State. Did it pose any threat to Turkey? No. It means that it was another Turkey’s provocation seeking to set the international coalition which is currently being formed at odds. It is a well-staged shot in the back.”

    • The Russian Plane Made Two Ten Second Transits of Turkish Territory

      This is the official Turkish radar track of the Russian aircraft they shot down, in red. It briefly transited a tiny neck of Turkish land – less than two miles across where the Russian jet passed – twice. I calculate that each “incursion” over Turkish territory would have lasted about 10 seconds, assuming the plane was flying slowly at 600mph. That Turkey shot down the plane for this is madness, and absolutely indefensible. It is fairly obvious from the track that the plane was operating against Turkish sponsored Turkmen rebels inside Syria, and that is why the Turks shot it down.

    • Legal Does Not Mean Wise

      Even John Simpson on the BBC yesterday admitted that many innocent civilians had been killed in recent bombings of the ISIS occupied city of Raqqa. Though being the BBC, while reporting correctly that the United States, France and Russia are all bombing Raqqa, they contrived only to mention civilian deaths in a sentence about Russian bombing. That bombing creates terrorist blowback has been proven beyond any rational dispute. So if ending terrorism is truly the aim, it is a curiously counter-productive means of going about it.

    • Once Again, Media Terrorize the Public for the Terrorists

      Another devastating terror spectacle and another media panic playing right into the script: spreading fear and sowing Islamophobia. Better writers than I have documented the latter, but not as much attention has been paid to the former—how in the wake of the Paris attacks 10 days ago, much of the media have needlessly stoked fears and acted, entirely predictably, as the PR wing for terrorists.

    • Rohan Silva: David Cameron must curb the Saudi cash fuelling Islamic State ideology

      It’s been 10 days since the appalling terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, and the focus is rightly on how to hit back. The Prime Minister has promised a “comprehensive plan”, including military action in Syria and increased funding for our security services.

      But if the Government’s response is to be truly “comprehensive”, it must also look at how we tackle the fundamentalist ideology behind the murder of innocent people worldwide, as well as the sexual slavery and rape of women in Islamic State-occupied territories.

    • The Anonymous Assault On ISIS Is Hurting More Than It’s Helping

      Except there’s a major problem with the latest Anonymous campaign. A large number of the accounts they’re suspending have absolutely nothing to do with ISIS. A review of the banned accounts by Ars Technica found that large number of the accounts were banned simply for using Arabic, with many ordinary Palestinian, Chechan and Kurdish users caught in the crossfire.

    • Frances Barber is right – Islamic extremism is changing London beyond recognition

      On Sunday evening, after the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, that excellent actress Frances Barber summoned an Uber car. When the taxi arrived, Barber observed pleasantly that it was a cold night and the driver replied that she shouldn’t be out alone at that time and that she was “disgustingly dressed”. Barber tweeted that she was so angry, she got out, slammed the door and yelled.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • What can technology do about climate change?

      Frustrated by a sense of global mispriorities, I blurted out some snarky and mildly regrettable tweets on the lack of attention to climate change in the tech industry (Twitter being a sublime medium for the snarky and regrettable). Climate change is the problem of our time, it’s everyone’s problem, and most of our problem-solvers are assuming that someone else will solve it.

  • Finance

    • Will Qora solve Bitcoin’s biggest problems?

      Marc Andreesen calls it an invention as profound as “computers in 1975″ and “the Internet in 1993.” Fred Wilson thinks it’s the future of social media. Kim Dotcom wants to build a new global network on it.

      And the team behind Qora wants to bring it directly to you—the open source way, of course.

      Qora is one of many so-called “second generation” cryptocurrencies emerging in the wake of Bitcoin’s unignorable popularity. But Qora is more than a currency. Simply put, it’s a peer-to-peer transaction technology; it allows people to exchange digital assets without an intermediary (and in relative privacy).

      To do this, it leverages the blockchain. Sure, the blockchain is the beating heart of Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. But Qora developers believe it can power so much more.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • O’Reilly Claims He’s Never Seen Racism From Donald Trump, Then Highlights His Racist Tweet

      Fox host Bill O’Reilly defended Donald Trump, claiming he’s never seen the GOP presidential hopeful show any racism, while correcting Trump’s insensitive and wildly inaccurate tweet that falsely claimed that African-Americans are responsible for more than 80 percent of murders against whites. FBI crime data shows that the majority of murders are committed by members of the same race.

    • New Study Shows Why Media Need To Disclose Funding Behind Fossil Fuel Front Groups

      A new study found that organizations funded by ExxonMobil and the oil billionaire Koch brothers may have played a key role in sowing doubt in the U.S. about climate change. These findings reveal how important it is for media to disclose the industry ties behind front groups that consistently misinform the public.

    • A Day in the Quality of Life at the Manhattan Institute

      Ah, so the media homeless hysteria in fact preceded the public’s opinion swing, helping to shape it. That makes a lot of sense. A few straight days of front pages might convince people that there’s a problem. If “menace” can be measured through New York Post covers, then Siegel was right. And if the question of there being a breakdown of the city’s quality of life, the theme of the panel, was primarily media-made, then the Manhattan Institute was smart to stay ahead of that narrative by hosting writers and journalists at events that take MI’s own claims as self-evident.

  • Censorship

    • In Wake of Paris, FCC Seeks Power to Monitor, Shutter Websites

      Citing possible links between terror-related websites and online communications and Friday’s attacks on Paris, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler suggested Tuesday Congress give the agency more authority to use ‘big data’ to monitor and act on potential threats.

      Appearing at a hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Federal Communications Commission chairman told lawmakers that updating a 1994 law could give the agency more power to assist law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the surveillance of terror suspects online.

    • Phuc Dat Bich admits hoax in Facebook name battle

      An Australian calling himself Phuc Dat Bich who made global headlines after saying he was fighting to use his real name on Facebook admits it was hoax.

      “Mr Bich” said on Facebook his real name was “Joe Carr” (or perhaps joker).

      He said what had started as a joke between friends “became a prank that made a fool out of the media”.

      But he said it also brought out the best in people and gave encouragement to people with “truly interesting and idiosyncratic names”.

      Facebook have not responded to BBC requests for comment.

  • Privacy

    • Hardwiring Freedom

      A day in Stockholm where we discuss how to protect privacy and push back against draconian surveillance and security laws.

    • After Dropbox finds a child porn collector, a chess club stops his knife attack

      This is not particularly difficult to do. In 2009, Microsoft built a tool called PhotoDNA that automates the scanning and matching process, converting incoming images to grayscale and chopping them up into tiny squares. Each piece of image data then passes through a one-way hashing function which generates a unique number based on the square’s shading pattern. Taken together, these hashes make up the “PhotoDNA signature” of an image; any future picture that generates the same signature is almost certain to be a copy of the original image. Microsoft claims that its multi-hashing system is powerful enough to detect illegal images even after basic tweaks such as re-cropping or watermarking.

    • For a Parliamentary Investigation Committee on the Recent Attacks and Surveillance Laws

      The killings committed in Paris and Saint-Denis on the evening of 13 November have been absolutely shocking. After the sorrow and mourning, we all try to make sense of the terrible violence of these attacks, a reminder of the current state of the world.

    • Privacy class action suit against Facebook reaches Austrian Supreme Court

      An attempt to bring a class action suit against Facebook for alleged privacy violations has reached the Austrian Supreme Court. This follows a decision by the Vienna Court of Appeals that the plaintiff, the Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, could file his own claim in the local court, even though Facebook’s international headquarters are in Ireland. However, the same court also ruled that similar claims by other Facebook users cannot be combined into a class action.

      The Austrian Supreme Court is being asked by Facebook to dismiss the entire lawsuit, while Schrems hopes to be given permission to start a class action by combining his “model case” with those of others.

    • Two Dell laptop models are shipping with a Superfish-style certificate hack
    • How to Baffle Web Trackers by Obfuscating Your Movements Online

      Online ad networks and search engines love it when you surf around. Everything you do—every page you load, every query you type—helps them build a profile of you, the better to sell ads targeting your interests. Spy agencies are probably also happy to track your online moves.

    • Is the Web better without JavaScript?

      JavaScript has been a mixed blessing for the Web. It has helped provide some useful features, but it has also contributed to bloated, insecure and downright messy Web pages. One writer at Wired turned off JavaScript and shared his experience of a cleaner and lighter Web.

    • I Turned Off JavaScript for a Whole Week and It Was Glorious

      There’s another web out there, a better web hiding just below the surface of the one we surf from our phones and tablets and laptops every day. A web with no ads, no endlessly scrolling pages, and no annoying modal windows begging you to share the site on social media or sign up for a newsletter. The best part is that you don’t need a special browser extension or an invite-only app to access this alternate reality. All you need to do is change one little setting in your browser of choice. Just un-tick the checkbox that enables “JavaScript” and away you go, to a simpler, cleaner web.

    • California Police Used Illegal Wiretap Warrants In Hundreds Of Drug Prosecutions

      Earlier this month, Brad Heath and Brett Kelman of USA Today reported that the DEA was running a massive amount of wiretap applications through a single judge in Riverside County, California. Judge Helios Hernandez has signed off on five times as many wiretap warrants as any other judge in the United States.

    • NSA Collected Americans’ E-mails Even After it Stopped Collecting Americans’ E-mails

      In 2001, the Bush administration authorized — almost certainly illegally — the NSA to conduct bulk electronic surveillance on Americans: phone calls, e-mails, financial information, and so on. We learned a lot about the bulk phone metadata collection program from the documents provided by Edward Snowden, and it was the focus of debate surrounding the USA FREEDOM Act. E-mail metadata surveillance, however, wasn’t part of that law. We learned the name of the program — STELLAR WIND — when it was leaked in 2004. But supposedly the NSA stopped collecting that data in 2011, because it wasn’t cost-effective.

  • Civil Rights

    • Two dozen Disney IT workers prepare to sue over foreign replacements

      These employees are making discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, citing in part “hostile treatment in forcing the Americans to train their replacements.”

      At least 23 former Disney IT workers have filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over the loss of their jobs to foreign replacements. This federal filing is a first step to filing a lawsuit alleging discrimination.

    • The Sorry Tale of the PECB, Pakistan’s Terrible Electronic Crime Bill

      It is a truth universally acknowledged that a government, in the wake of a national security crisis—or hostage to the perceived threat of one—will pursue and in many cases enact legislation that is claimed to protect its citizens from danger, actual or otherwise. These security laws often include wide-ranging provisions that do anything but protect their citizens’ rights or their safety. We have seen this happen time and time again, from the America’s PATRIOT Act to Canada’s C-51. The latest wave of statements by politicians after the Paris bombing implies we will see more of the same very soon.

    • Missing Minutes From Security Video Raises Questions

      Chicago police officers deleted footage from a security camera at a Burger King restaurant located fewer than 100 yards from where 17-year old Laquan McDonald was shot and killed, according to a Chicago-area district manager for the food chain.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast Tests Net Neutrality By Letting Its Own Streaming Service Bypass Usage Caps

      By now, Comcast’s strategy for fighting internet video competition is very clear. For one, the company is slowly but surely expanding usage caps into dozens of new markets. In these ever-expanding areas, Comcast imposes a 300 GB usage cap, then charges users $10 for every 50 GB of extra data they consume. Comcast’s also now testing a new wrinkle wherein users have the option of paying another $30 to $35 if they want unlimited data. In short, the option to have the same unlimited connection they had yesterday will cost these users significantly more.

      But recently, Comcast’s other spoke in this strategy started to reveal itself. The company is slowly but surely expanding a creatively named streaming video service named Stream. Stream provides Comcast broadband-only users a $15 service that includes live TV, video on demand, and HBO, and it’s Comcast’s way of trying to keep would-be cord cutters in house.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Should intellectual property be abolished?

      The Economist has recently popularised the notion that patents are bad for innovation. Is this right? In my view, this assessment results from too high an expectation of what should be achieved by patents or other intellectual property.

      Critics of intellectual property rights seem to think that they should be tested by whether they actually increase creativity. Similarly, in the field of competition law, commentators suppose that it is necessary to balance the innovation promoted by intellectual property against the competition safeguarded by competition law.

    • EFF Joins Broad Coalition of Groups to Protest the TPP in Washington D.C.

      We were out on the streets this week to march against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in the U.S. Capitol. We were there to demonstrate the beginning of a unified movement of diverse organizations calling on officials to review and reject the deal based on its substance, which we can finally read and dissect now that the final text is officially released.

    • Key Flaws in the European Commission’s Proposals for Foreign Investor Protection in TTIP

      In November 2015, the European Commission released a proposed text on foreign investor protection in the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). In this paper, I outline key flaws in this proposal, including language buried in the text that significantly undermines the EC’s proposed provisions on the “investment court system” (ICS) and on the right to regulate.

    • IP-rimer: A Basic Explanation of Intellectual Property

      What Is Intellectual Property?

      A thing you own that isn’t a physical thing.

    • Copyrights

      • Dotcom’s Extradition Hearing ‘Ambushed’ With New Evidence

        After being scheduled for no more than a month, Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing has dragged on for almost 10 weeks. Expected to wrap up during the next two days, there’s yet more uncertainty after the prosecution attempted to introduce new evidence at the 11th hour.

      • Kim Dotcom Slams U.S. “Bullies” as Extradition Hearing Ends

        Kim Dotcom says he retains hope as his all-important extradition hearing wrapped up in New Zealand today. The fate of the Megaupload founder, who just slammed the U.S. as “bullies”, now lies in the hands of the judge who gave him bail almost four years ago.

      • Cox Has No DMCA Safe Harbor Protection, Judge Rules

        Internet provider Cox Communications may be held liable for the copyright infringements of its subscribers, a Virginia District Court has ruled. According to the court, Cox failed to properly implement a repeat infringer policy and is not entitled to DMCA safe-harbor protection.

      • CDs should come with download codes

        There’s a Vinyl resurgence going on, with vinyl record sales growing year-on-year. Many of the people buying records don’t have record players. Many records are sold including a download code, granting the owner an (often one-time) opportunity to download a digital copy of the album they just bought.

        Some may be tempted to look down upon those buying vinyl records, especially those who don’t have a means to play them. The record itself is, now more than ever, a physical totem rather than a media for the music. But is this really that different to how we’ve treated audio CDs this century?


Links 24/11/2015: Asus Chromebit CS10, Second Linux 4.4 RC

Posted in News Roundup at 8:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Making an Open Source Project Bloom

    During the first 2 months, it was like a dream: you develop and give life to all the ideas you have in mind. It is pure bliss.

    This phase is what I call the preliminaries. Like in a love affair, that is the best period, just before taking it into more serious territory, where complications can happen.

  • Google open-sources a tool for exporting Thunderbird emails to Gmail
  • 5 open source project management tools to help you collaborate

    This is an open source equivalent of Microsoft Project, in a similar way to how LibreOffice was an open source version of Microsoft Office. It says it has been downloaded 1,750,000 in over 210 countries and is used by major firms such as Cisco, Accenture and Boeing.

  • How GitHub Is Conquering the Coding World

    Open-source coding platform GitHub made it onto this year’s list of unicorns, thanks to impressive fundraising. But can it maintain its strong lead?

  • Analyze, collaborate, and share research with open source tools

    The most powerful free and open source (FOSS) statistics program, though, is R. Originally a FOSS version of the statistics language S, R has shown explosive growth over the last few years, with some 7,000 add-on packages available to handle nearly any statistical requirement and an increasing number of books, courses, and blogs (e.g. R-bloggers) focusing on practical usage. Some websites concentrate specifically on how to use R for psychological research—an example is William Revelle’s Personality Project, which also offers an R package called psych, a toolbox for personality, psychometrics, and experimental psychology.

  • Spiraling head first into open source

    A little while back, Rikki, Jen, and company at Opensource.com told me that they were asking people to share their open source stories about how they got interested in open source and started contributing.

    Well, for the bored among you, here is my story. As usual, share your feedback in the comments. I am curious to hear your mockery of my life choices back then.

  • 10 products that big tech companies have open-sourced recently

    In a very general and somewhat nebulous way, open-source software is on the rise. Acknowledging the importance of its large and growing role in enterprise computing has become an increasingly common activity, thanks to the prominence of open-source technology in everything from containerization to the cloud. A possible consequence of this is that major tech companies have been making more frequent gifts of code to the open-source community of late. Take a look at 10 of the most noteworthy.

  • Open Source Developers Are ‘Too White And Too Male’

    Bowen, who himself grew up in Kenya then later moved to the US, said: “I would like to see far more diversity. I would like to see far fewer projects that are ‘white men’. I would like to see more Africans involved in our projects.

  • How is open source impacting NFV and SDN deployments?

    Open source continues to be a growing influence on the rollout of software deployments across the telecom space, with a greater focus on using open-source platforms to power network functions virtualization and software-defined networking.

  • Q.Rad Meshes Open Source Software, High Performance Computing and Heat

    Can open source software heat your house? High-performance computing (HCP) provider Qarnot thinks so. The company has produced a Linux-based device called the Q.rad that delivers heat while also crunching numbers in the cloud.

  • Events

    • Open Source Enthusiasts to Converge on Asterisk World at ITEXPO East 2016
    • Desktops DevRoom @ FOSDEM 2016: Have you submitted your talk yet?

      FOSDEM 2016 is going to be great (again!) and you still have the chance to be one of the stars.

      Have you submitted your talk to the Desktops DevRoom yet?

    • OSCON Deadline Nears, Linux in High Places & More…

      While the folks at the Southern California Linux Expo are putting the final touches on the speaker schedule for SCALE 14X, which takes place in January in Pasadena, a little further north in Sebastopol in the San Francisco Bay Area, our friends at O’Reilly are watching the clock wind down to the deadline for their speaker submissions for OSCON. OSCON’s proposal deadline is midnight on Nov. 24 for a conference which takes place in mid-May 2016 in Austin, Texas. This, of course, means that while you’re racing to get that proposal in — and we know you are (and that’s okay) — you’re going to want to keep in mind that it’s still going to have to be relevant in a half-year. Your mantra, then, from here on in is “long shelf life.” And good luck with that proposal.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • ClusterHQ Bringing Storage Smarts to Docker Containers

      VIDEO: ClusterHQ CEO Mark Davis discusses the Docker storage opportunity and how his company’s open-source Flocker technology fits in.

      Mark Davis is no stranger to the world of virtualization storage. From 2007 until 2013, Davis was CEO of storage virtualization vendor Virsto, which he sold to VMware. Now Davis is once again in the storage virtualization space, this time as CEO of Docker storage startup ClusterHQ.

    • Container Security, Management Advances Grab DockerCon EU Spotlight

      Few technologies are as hyped today as is the open-source Docker container ecosystem. At the the DockerCon EU conference in Barcelona, Spain, held Nov. 16-17, developers, users and vendors from around the world gathered to not only learn more about Docker, but to also demonstrate new technologies and talk about what’s next. For Docker Inc., the lead commercial sponsor of Docker, the event was an opportunity to highlight its next big commercial service, the Universal Control Plane, which provides enterprise-grade deployment and management capabilities. Meanwhile, one primary topic of discussion in multiple sessions was security, with new capabilities announced including hardware-based key signing for application images as well as enhanced control of applications through user namespace policies. Docker isn’t just about Docker Inc.—it’s a broad ecosystem of vendors, with IBM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise among the big-name supporters. Users of Docker also were front and center at the event, with gaming vendor Electronic Arts talking about how it uses containers to deliver mobile gaming infrastructure and airline software vendor Amadeus discussing how containers can work in a highly regulated, compliance-driven environment. In this slide show, eWEEK takes a look at some of the highlights of the DockerCon EU event.

    • Mirantis Led FUEL Project Gets Installed Under OpenStack Big Tent

      Mirantis first publicly released the FUEL library as an open-source effort in March of 2013. Now the FUEL effort has been formally approved by the OpenStack Foundation to be included under what is known as the ‘Big Tent’ model.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

  • Education

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD 4.4 Up To RC State, DragonFlyBSD 4.5 In Development

      The DragonFlyBSD operating system continues to move along.

      With the kernel being branched for 4.4 and DragonFlyBSD 4.4 RC being tagged, the latest Git code for the DragonFlyBSD kernel has moved onto DragonFlyBSD 4.5.

    • going full pledge

      Looking at Theo’s status of pledge update there’s a lot of programs on the list, including some which may seem a bit silly. But the effort has turned up some interesting bugs and misfeatures along the way.


    • GCC 5.3 To Be Released Within A Few Weeks

      While GCC 6 is the next major feature release of the GNU Compiler Collection that will come out in 2016, GCC 5.3 will be here in likely about two weeks.

      GCC 5.3 is just the latest point release to GCC 5, per the group’s version handling change that began with the GCC 5 release earlier this year. GCC 5.3 is mainly about bug-fixes and documentation updates.

    • GNU Radio Drives Oscilloscope

      These days we are spoiled with a lot of cheap test equipment. However, you can do a lot of measurements with nothing more than an oscilloscope. Add something like a signal generator and you can do even more. One classic technique for frequency measurement, for example, is using a scope to display a Lissajous pattern. [Franz Schaefer] has a video showing how to generate these useful curves with GNU Radio.

    • Happy 20th Anniversary, The GIMP!

      On November 21, 1995, the announcement that there was a program for image manipulation was made.

      This program, originally named The General Image Manipulation Program and now known as the GNU Image Manipulation Program (The GIMP), in my opinion, is the best software I have ever used to work with images.

    • GnuTLS 3.4.7

      Released GnuTLS 3.3.19 and GnuTLS 3.4.7 which are bug fix releases in the current and next stable branches.

    • October/November GNU Toolchain Update

      The compiler and assembler now have support for the ARC EM/HS and ARC600/700 architectures and the Power9 variant of the PowerPC architecture.

      The GCC mainline sources are now in Stage 3 (bug fixes only) which means that a branch may be happening soon.

      The Binutils sources have branched, getting ready for a 2.26 release soon.

      GDB’s record instruction-history command accepts a new modifier: /s. This behaves exactly like the /m modifier and prints mixed source + disassembly into the history.

    • GNU Parallel 20151122 (‘Bataclan’) released [stable]

      GNU Parallel 20151122 (‘Bataclan’) [stable] has been released. It is available for download at: http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/parallel/

      No new functionality was introduced so this is a good candidate for a stable release.

    • GnuTLS 3.4.x
    • Concurso Universitario de Software Libre 2015-2016
    • Give a talk in GNU Guile’s track at FOSDEM!
    • TPP Article 14.17 & Free Software: No Harm, No Foul

      The first official public release of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (known universally as the TPP) on November 5, 2015 generated much heated speculation. The ideal of “open agreements, openly arrived at” remains regrettably unattainable in international affairs. “Fast track” trade negotiating authority in the US means that parties excluded from the negotiating process have a short time in which to mobilize for or against the treaty as a whole in light of their specific concerns. The premium on speed of response to a very lengthy and complex legal document—and the presence of intense public attention—guarantees that hasty judgment and occasional self-promotion will always outrun professional analysis; this is one of the inherent defects of secret legislation.

      In this context, early commentary on the TPP draft included much speculation that one provision in the draft’s chapter on electronic commerce might have serious negative consequences for free software and open source licensing, distribution, or government acquisition. Some lay readers marched immediately to the conclusion that, in less than 200 words ostensibly about something else, the negotiators had (a) abolished free licensing; (b) prohibited governments from acquiring, supporting or preferring free software; or (c) had interfered with the enforcement of free licenses. Other non-professional readers invented complex demonstrations that one or more of these catastrophes had not occurred.

  • Project Releases

    • HarfBuzz 1.1 Released

      This text shaping library used by Firefox, Chromium, LibreOffice, Qt, Pango, and others is up to version 1.1 as its latest stable release. HarfBuzz 1.1 implements a ‘stch’ stretch feature for supporting the Sryiac Abbreviation Mark, implements shaping of various Unicode space characters, fixes resulting from continous fuzzing, and other bug fixes and optimizations.

    • ​Secure Network Time Protocol goes beta

      Network Time Protocol is a vital part of the Internet that’s recently been used in major DDoS attacks. To keep it from misused in the future, the first secure version of NTP beta has just been released.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source powers South Tyrol eGovernment forms

      The Italian province of South Tyrol is taking into production an eGovernment forms system based on open source software. The province’s form engine is based on Orbeon, running on the CentOS Linux distribution.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • 9 tasty recipes to share, modify, and remix
    • Customize An Open-Source HAL For Your Home

      Engineers Ryan Sipes and Joshua Montgomery wanted their makerspace in Lawrence, Kansas, to be more intuitive. So they borrowed an artificial intelligence system from other makers and used it to do simple tasks, such as controlling the lights or playing music. Then they realized they could create a better one—and sell it.

    • Policy Committee Task Force Unveils Interoperability Suggestions
    • FDA Unveils Open-Source Genomic Data-Sharing Platform

      FDA’s Office of Health Informatics contracted with cloud-based genome informatics and data management company DNAnexus to create the precisionFDA platform.

    • FCC rules for wireless router firmware, open wheelchairs and insulin, and more news
    • Open Source Pharma – An Initiative For The Health Of Poor

      A young boy in some part of India losses both his sisters before their fifth birthday and losses his father before he could complete his 10 year. It all happened because the pharma companies as well as government failed to keep the prices of the drugs under the reach of poor. But one brilliant move can end up this entire situation and may replace the current crippled system and it is named as OPEN SOURCE PHARMA.

      With the advent of social entrepreneurship and propagation of market unsettling ideas, such as open data, open software, and crowd sourcing, it is possible that the Open Source Pharma Conference could be the beginning of the end to generations of pain and suffering that community like us endured. Primarily, we need to stimulate a culture of openness, crowd sourcing and data sharing. Exploiting the input of many and sharing information can truly help get us from A to B as quickly as possible. It can also tell us when we need to stop. The ability to also hold out our data to scrutiny is the only true way to truly validate information. It may also open up new ideas and hypotheses that may subsequently advance the field.

      The basic Vision for Open Source Pharma is “MEDICINE TO ALL”. It can only be achieved by creating a movement that includes existing initiatives and develops an alternative, comprehensive, open source pharmaceutical system driven by principles of openness, patient needs, and affordability.

    • Open Hardware

      • Divide and Conquer

        Well… A few weeks back, I receive a feedback about the main class of the Br-Print project. This main class was friendly called a God Class. The God Class complex is when a class knows too much and does too much. Well, when a problem on this project is shown to me, starts to bug’s me. So I start the Divide and Conquer branch. Breaking the main class in others minor classes, to increase the level of abstraction and make the code more easy to read.

      • Is it time for Open Source Hardware x86 OLinuXino?

        We have been so focused on ARM that somehow we have missed the Intel latest development.

      • MichiganTech Professor, Student Help Bring 3-D Printing to Nicaragua

        With all the technology we have today, there are so many possibilities. The whole world can collaborate and create open-sourced information to help develop thousands of scientific uses for various new technologies like 3-D printing.

      • Michigan Tech and Eric Friesen help bring RepRap open source 3D printing to Nicaragua

        3D printing is quickly becoming a global phenomenon, thanks in large part to open source hardware and software, which enable even those regions seen as resource-poor to freely access the information they need to create functional 3D printing machines and materials. However even with these advances, many developing countries still lack basic access to technology, which can be harmful to their economic development as a whole. One such country is Nicaragua, where the kinds of materials taken for granted in the US are extremely difficult to obtain, slowing the nation’s progress in terms of digital manufacturing at all levels, and particularly for the individual workers and families who could stand to benefit the most. 3D printed tools, repair parts, or even prosthetics could improve people’s work, economic or medical situations—but only if they have access to design and create them themselves.

      • Video: Want to Control Things With Your Mind? Get Some Open Source Hardware

        Anyone with an interest in this futuristic tech can explore it. Open BCI, a collective of engineers and artists, has created affordable open source hardware that allows everyone to experiment with creating an interface between their brain and a computer.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ODF – the state of play – The future of ODF under OASIS, now that the standards war is won.

      ODF – open document format – is an open, XML-based rich document format that has been adopted as the standard for exchanging information in documents (spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents), by many governments and other organisations (see, for example, here), including the UK Government. This is despite strong opposition by Microsoft; but I have seen Microsoft’s proposed “open XML” standard and, frankly, it is huge and horrid (in the word of standards, these go together). If I remember correctly, the early draft I saw even incorporated recognition of early Excel leap-year bugs into the standard.

      ODF is now a pukka ISO standard, maintained by OASIS, under the proud banner: “The future is interoperability”.

      My personal thoughts, below, are prompted by an ODF session at ApacheCon Core titled “Beyond OpenOffice: The State of the ODF Ecosystem” held by Louis Suárez-Potts (community strategist for Age of Peers, his own consultancy, and the Community Manager for OpenOffice.org, from 2000 to 2011), and attended by very few delegates – perhaps a sign of current level of interest in ODF within the Apache community. Nevertheless, and I am talking about the ODF standard here, not Apache Open Office (which is currently my office software of choice) or its Libre Office fork (which seems to be where the excitement, such as it is, is, for now), the standards battle, or one battle, has been won; we have a useful Open Document Format, standardised by a recognised and mature standards organisation, and even Microsoft Office supports it. That’s good.


  • 6 Realities In A Super Religious Family That Wants Me Dead

    Children will make choices in life that baffle or enrage their parents. For most of us, these choices never result in anything worse than a few icy dinners before mom finally accepts that the nose ring is a part of you, dammit. But for some young Muslims, mostly women, the cost of disappointing mom and dad is much, much higher. In fact, it can be deadly. Cracked sat down with Azime (not her real name), who lives in fear that her parents will discover her “secret life” as a normal adult woman and murder her for it.

  • Sepp Blatter says he was close to death after being taken to hospital earlier this month

    Sepp Blatter has said he was “close to dying” upon being hospitalised this month following a health scare.

    The Fifa president, who is facing a multi-year ban from football and is currently serving a 90-day provisional suspension, spent several days being treated for stress before being discharged from hospital a week and a half ago.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Break a dozen secret keys, get a million more for free

      For many years NIST has officially claimed that AES-128 has “comparable strength” to 256-bit ECC, namely 128 “bits of security”. Ten years ago, in a talk “Is 2255−19 big enough?”, I disputed this claim. The underlying attack algorithms had already been known for years, and it’s not hard to see their impact on key-size selection; but somehow NIST hadn’t gotten the memo, and still hasn’t gotten it today.

    • Responsible Disclosure Is Wrong

      Unfortunately, the debate is hampered by poor terminology.


      The term is a bit of a misnomer really — as researchers our responsibility is to users, though often the term is seen as meaning a responsibility to vendors. This is the biggest issue I have with the term, it’s used as focusing on the wrong group in a disclosure. As a security researcher my responsibility is to make the world a safer place, to protect the users, not to protect the name of a vendor.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • On the trail of terror

      There is no prescription here. Only a warning, a feeling I picked up during that ill wind that blew me from the Bekaa Valley to Brussels, via Paris.

      It’s a simple one: Worse lies ahead down the road that world leaders are currently plotting. A Russian-French agreement to work together to punish IS, while necessarily empowering the remnants of the al-Assad regime to expand back into parts of the country where it is feared and reviled, will not stem the refugee flow from Syria. Nor will it convince the country’s Sunni Muslims that we care about their interests. The same applies in Iraq, where we bolster the Kurds and a hated national army against IS there.

      “Why don’t they stay and fight for their country?” is one barb often aimed at the young men fleeing Iraq and Syria.

      The root of the problem is, they don’t have one.

    • Arsenal Discovered as Belgium Capital Enters Lockdown

      A terrorist arsenal has been discovered during overnight searches in a suburb of Brussels.

      Chemicals and explosives were among the items found in the Molenbeek suburb, a rundown neighborhood where Paris attacker Abdelhamid Abaaoud was suspected of operating a terrorist cell.

      The find came as Belgium’s capital entered a security lockdown. The government has warned that there could be a repeat of Paris-style attacks in the country’s capital, prompting the closure of subways in Brussels and the deployment of heavily armed police and soldiers.

    • Inside the surreal world of the Islamic State’s propaganda machine

      The assignments arrive on slips of paper, each bearing the black flag of the Islamic State, the seal of the terrorist group’s media emir, and the site of that day’s shoot.

      “The paper just gives you the location,” never the details, said Abu Hajer al-Maghribi, who spent nearly a year as a cameraman for the Islamic State. Sometimes the job was to film prayers at a mosque, he said, or militants exchanging fire. But, inevitably, a slip would come with the coordinates to an unfolding bloodbath.

    • Former Drone Operators Say They Were “Horrified” By Cruelty of Assassination Program

      U.S. DRONE OPERATORS are inflicting heavy civilian casualties and have developed an institutional culture callous to the death of children and other innocents, four former operators said at a press briefing today in New York.

      The killings, part of the Obama administration’s targeted assassination program, are aiding terrorist recruitment and thus undermining the program’s goal of eliminating such fighters, the veterans added. Drone operators refer to children as “fun-size terrorists” and liken killing them to “cutting the grass before it grows too long,” said one of the operators, Michael Haas, a former senior airman in the Air Force. Haas also described widespread drug and alcohol abuse, further stating that some operators had flown missions while impaired.

      In addition to Haas, the operators are former Air Force Staff Sgt. Brandon Bryant along with former senior airmen Cian Westmoreland and Stephen Lewis. The men have conducted kill missions in many of the major theaters of the post-9/11 war on terror, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      “We have seen the abuse firsthand,” said Bryant, “and we are horrified.”

    • Exclusive: Air Force Whistleblowers Risk Prosecution to Warn Drone War Kills Civilians, Fuels Terror

      Has the U.S. drone war “fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS”? That’s the conclusion of four former Air Force servicemembers who are speaking out together for the first time. They’ve issued a letter to President Obama warning the U.S. drone program is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism. They accuse the administration of lying about the effectiveness of the drone program, saying it is good at killing people—just not the right ones. The four drone war veterans risk prosecution by an administration that has been unprecedented in its targeting of government whistleblowers. In a Democracy Now! exclusive, they join us in their first extended broadcast interview.

    • Hannity Misreads A Pew Study To Claim That “Significant” Numbers Of Muslims Support ISIS

      Radio host and Fox News personality Sean Hannity grossly misrepresented a Pew Research poll detailing views of ISIS in countries with significant Muslim populations to misleadingly claim that there are “significant levels of support for ISIS within the Muslim world.” The survey actually found that Muslim views of ISIS are “overwhelmingly negative.”

    • Shoot to Kill and News Management

      I did not believe the official story of Hasna Ait Buolacehn the moment I saw it. The official line was that she was a suicide bomber who blew herself up when the police stormed the apartment in St Denis where the alleged terrorist ringleader was hiding out. But that story seemed to me completely incompatible with the recordings on which she could plainly be heard screaming “He is not my boyfriend! He is not my boyfriend” immediately before the explosion. She sounded like a terrified woman trying to disassociate herself from the alleged terrorist. It was a strange battle cry for someone who believed themselves on the verge of paradise.


      I have no difficulty with the principle that the police should shoot people who are shooting at them. I outraged many friends on the left for example by not joining in the criticism of the police for killing Mr Duggan. People who choose to carry guns in my view run a legitimate risk of being shot by the police, it is as simple as that. Jean Charles De Menezes was a totally different case and his murder by police completely unjustifiable. In Paris it appears plain that the police were in a situation of confrontation with armed suspects.


      The media could help if they were in any way rational and dispassionate, or ever questioned an official narrative. It is an urgent and irrepressible question as to why the BBC journalist did not ask the French policeman “and why did you not say this 48 hours ago when you were content to allow the story to run that she was a suicide bomber?”

    • Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It

      Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other. This is a mechanism of denial, and denial has a price: preserving the famous strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia at the risk of forgetting that the kingdom also relies on an alliance with a religious clergy that produces, legitimizes, spreads, preaches and defends Wahhabism, the ultra-puritanical form of Islam that Daesh feeds on.

      Wahhabism, a messianic radicalism that arose in the 18th century, hopes to restore a fantasized caliphate centered on a desert, a sacred book, and two holy sites, Mecca and Medina. Born in massacre and blood, it manifests itself in a surreal relationship with women, a prohibition against non-Muslims treading on sacred territory, and ferocious religious laws. That translates into an obsessive hatred of imagery and representation and therefore art, but also of the body, nakedness and freedom. Saudi Arabia is a Daesh that has made it.

    • Relevance of international laws in Geneva process

      If The Island report is correct, the Sri Lanka HRC has concluded that that the conflict was NOT an Armed Conflict as defined by Protocol 3. The impact on Sri Lanka as a result of the position taken by the Sri Lanka HRC would be to categorize acts such as No-Fire Zones, Shelling of hospitals, shortfalls in delivery of food, medicine and other humanitarian aid to the civilians and post-conflict treatment of combatants and non-combatants as Human Rights violations, whereas all of them could be explained and found acceptable under provisions of International Humanitarian Law applicable to Non-International Armed Conflict. Therefore, without arbitrarily declaring that the Geneva process should be based on Human Rights Law, the task for Dr. Udagama and the HRC is to first establish grounds for rejecting the UNHRC’s categorization that the conflict in Sri Lanka was a Non-International Armed Conflict.

    • A Saudi Court orders a Sri Lankan woman be stoned to death

      A Saudi Arabian Court has ordered a Sri Lankan housemaid to be stoned to death for having a clandestine affair with another Sri Lankan man working in Saudi Arabia.

      Sri Lankan Foreign Employment Bureau stated that the Saudi Court has ordered that the man, a bachelor be whipped as punishment.

      However a Ministry official said that the Sri Lankan Embassy in Saudi Arabia has contacted the Saudi Authorities to ascertain whether there would be a possibility of reconsidering the verdict.

    • Policy of Intervention Leads to Paris-Style Massacres – Ron Paul

      The Paris attacks have prompted American war-hawks to advocate even more US intervention in the Middle East; unfortunately, none of them have ever tried to understand the genuine motivation of the attackers, former Republican congressman Ron Paul underscores.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Sanders: ‘To hell with the fossil fuel industry’

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Saturday called for Republicans to abandon the corrupting influence of the Koch brothers and other wealthy energy magnates.

      “This is a party that rejects science and refuses to understand that climate change is real,” he said of GOP during the annual Blue Jamboree in North Charleston, S.C.

      “I understand if you stand up to the Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry, that you’ll lose your campaign contributions,” the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate added.


      “When you have people like the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil today spending huge amounts of money trying to deny that reality, it slows up the entire world from aggressively addressing what is an international crisis,” he said late last month. “This is serious stuff.”

    • El Nino-Fueled Drought May Cause More Destructive Wildfires to Ignite Across Indonesia During Winter

      Despite recent rain, the effects of the fires that have been ravaging Indonesia since July have left much of the country in an ecological disaster.

      The fires have taken a toll on the environment with 5.1 million acres scorched. They are also responsible for, “21 deaths, more than half a million people sickened with respiratory problems and $9 billion in economic losses, from damaged crops to hundreds of cancelled flights,” The Associated Press said.

    • [Around the Globe] Tales of Indonesia’s Fire and Haze

      Late last month, authorities raised the alarm after the thick haze has spread and covered many parts of Indonesia and neighboring countries like Malaysia, Singapore and southern part of the Philippines. The haze enveloped the atmosphere, turning the skies into a toxic sepia-color.

      Torrential rains have helped doused the fires but there the Indonesian government said it needed at least three years to tackle the haze problem.

      More than half a million people are affected by the choking smoke. Thousands of Indonesians have inhaled the fumes and are now suffering from respiratory diseases. Six provinces in Indonesia already declared state of emergency. Schools were closed down and there were also flight cancellations in Singapore and Malaysia and even in the Philippines.

  • Finance

    • Hillary is in too deep: Why she’ll never be able to extricate herself from Wall Street

      The highlight of Saturday night’s Democratic debate was when former Secretary Clinton invoked the September 11 attacks to try to defend her courting of Wall Street donors. The awkward defense of her political ties even spawned a rare New York Times editorial criticizing Clinton.

      The fact is, there is no way that Hillary Clinton can pretend she doesn’t have a cozy relationship with an industry that personally enriched her family, formed the basis of political support for her career and is doing everything it can to make her president.

    • Sanders outlines pro-capitalist, pro-war positions in speech on “democratic socialism”

      In a speech Thursday afternoon at Georgetown University, Senator Bernie Sanders made it clear that what he calls “democratic socialism” has nothing to do with either socialism or the defense of democratic rights.

      The candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination explicitly rejected any connection with socialism as a movement of the international working class to put an end to capitalism and establish a society based on collective ownership of the means of production.

    • ‘You Cannot Build a Strong Economy on a Falling Wage Floor’

      Janine Jackson: Whether the federal minimum wage should be raised was the first question of the recent Republican presidential candidates’ debate. Unsurprisingly, the responses ranged from no to hell no, but given a media environment in which some pundits claim that there is no wage too low to pay someone, it’s significant that the question even came up.

      When you think of the fight to raise the minimum wage, you might think of fast food workers who’ve been at the forefront of the Fight for $15 movement that’s put a higher wage on the agenda in places like Seattle and Los Angeles and here in New York. You don’t, most likely, think of business owners, as media’s standard presentation often pits business owners, with their eyes supposedly on profits, against workers looking to earn enough to live on.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Google Counsel Sees Problems With ‘Take Down, Stay Down’

      When content is taken down in response to a DMCA notice, should service providers be required to stop the same content from reappearing? Major copyright holders believe they should but the issue is complex. Speaking at a copyright conference this week a Google counsel outlined several problems, concluding that the system “just won’t work.”

    • Unintended Consequences, European-Style: How the New EU Data Protection Regulation will be Misused to Censor Speech

      Europe is very close to the finishing line of an extraordinary project: the adoption of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a single, comprehensive replacement for the 28 different laws that implement Europe’s existing 1995 Data Protection Directive. More than any other instrument, the original Directive has created a high global standard for personal data protection, and led many other countries to follow Europe’s approach. Over the years, Europe has grown ever more committed to the idea of data protection as a core value. In the Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, legally binding on all the EU states since 2009, lists the “right to the protection of personal data” as a separate and equal right to privacy. The GDPR is intended to update and maintain that high standard of protection, while modernising and streamlining its enforcement.

    • GOP lawmaker calls on FCC to ban social media, other sites

      At an FCC hearing today, Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) asked the FCC if it could take action to shut down social media sites in order to hamper and block terrorist communications. The entire episode seems at least partly sparked by erroneous reports that the Paris terrorists used PS4 games to communicate and coordinate their attacks (those reports have been retracted).

    • War Correspondent and Veteran Michael Yon Calls Out Facebook Censorship
    • Facebook censorship: Had a post removed and don’t know why?

      Another case is the controversial 2012 anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims, which was uploaded to YouTube but then blocked in a number of countries after it sparked riots.

      People who want to report blocked content can answer a series of questions on the Online Censorship website.

      “We will use that data to present more detail about how companies are censoring content,” according to Jillian.

    • What Facebook and Twitter ban: New tool tracks social media censorship
    • Censorship in India always a problem: Sudhir Mishra

      As the CBFC continues to face ire of the society for its extreme censorship policies, filmmaker Sudhir Mishra says censorship in India was always a problem.

    • EFF’s new website keeps an eye on social media censorship

      Facebook, Instagram and other social media websites had been in hot water many, many times in the past for purging content other users deem inappropriate. In order to pinpoint the exact reasons for those takedowns and to determine trends in content removals, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a website that tracks censorship across social media outlets. The EFF has built the platform called Online Censorship along with data-driven design company Visualizing Impact. It has resources, such as articles that talk about unjust removal of posts, but it relies on user reports to gather the data it needs.

    • EFF’s Onlinecensorship.org to tackle Twitter and Facebook takedowns
    • Tracking Content Takedowns by Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Sites

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Visualizing Impact launched Onlinecensorship.org today, a new platform to document the who, what, and why of content takedowns on social media sites. The project, made possible by a 2014 Knight News Challenge award, will address how social media sites moderate user-generated content and how free expression is affected across the globe.

    • Why college student protesters are battling free speech, in 1 graph
    • Free Speech Poll: 40% Of Millennials Think Government Should Censor Speech Offensive To Minorities
    • Millennials More Likely to Support Censorship of Offensive Speech Than Older Americans

      While two-thirds of Americans correctly believe the U.S. government should not prohibit speech that offends minorities, a shockingly high number of millennials—40 percent—support such censorship. Young people, it turns out, are more likely to favor suppression of offensive speech than older Americans.

    • Why has Jennifer Lawrence been removed from Hunger Games posters in Israel?

      Posters for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 have reportedly been censored in two Jewish cities, Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, with star Jennifer Lawrence removed to leave only the flaming “mockingjay” background.

      Examples of the Lawrence-free poster, seen below, have been shared by the Israeli newspaper Ynet and on Twitter.

    • Critics of Malaysian Government Cite Censorship Pressure

      Malaysia’s government is raising pressure on journalists and opposition figures who criticize the prime minister’s administration or allege wrongdoing over a development fund he created that is now under investigation, say activists and people affected by the moves.

    • Awesome Stuff: Let’s Bore The Censors
    • Watching paint dry: epic crowfunded troll of the UK film censorship board

      You can’t release a film in the UK without a certificate from the British Board of Film Certification, a censorship authority that’s been rating and banning movies since it was established in 1912 to prevent ‘indecorous dancing,’ ‘references to controversial politics’ and ‘men and women in bed together.”

      It costs £7.09/minute to get your movie rated by the BBFC — about £1000 per movie, out of the budget of many indie filmmaker. But the censors have to sit through whatever you pay them to rate.

    • The Issue of Campus Censorship

      Is the right to free speech truly exercised at University, with students fearful of the repercussions if they do turn to activism and is this fair? Jay Harris comments.

    • Classroom Censorship Does Not Protect Against Real World Experiences

      The idea that educators should attempt to anticipate — and palliate — every variety of subjective response their teaching might elicit is both absurd and unrealistic. It’s also self-deluding. But maybe that’s what Mr. Eosphoros is really proposing: that we redefine education as a comforting mode of self-delusion. Perhaps the new motto would read: “I feel safe, therefore I am safe.”

    • Smith College student group decries ‘censorship’ of campus Black Lives Matter demonstration

      Theresa Meyer, chair of the student group Smith Bipartisan Coalition, said the minorities in this case are not students of color at a largely white campus, but those students who hold opinions that do not march lockstep with those of a liberal majority.

    • China tightens online broadcasting censorship
    • Censorship, Double-Standards, and China’s Hard Sell on Counterterrorism

      Beijing maintains strict control over the narrative surrounding violence in the troubled Xinjiang region.

    • Director at Center of Censorship Scandal Might Head to Seoul Art Museum
    • South Korea’s Art Community Protests Top Candidate for Museum Directorship After Censorship Fiasco

      Those opposing Marí’s candidacy are especially concerned because the South Korean government has increasingly imposed “censorship and bureaucratic restrictions on artistic freedom,” as the Petition 4 Art statement puts it. The group cites allegations against Arts Council Korea (ARKO) of censoring plays; government funding cuts for this year’s Busan International Film Festival, a decision some suspect stems from the screening of a documentary critical of the Sewol passenger ferry‘s sinking; and last year’s sudden removal of South Korean artist Hong Sung-dam’s caricature of the country’s president from the Gwangju Biennale. The group also describes many cultural organizations that seem to value institutional needs over creativity and artistic freedom, claiming instances of “biased financial support and self-censorship” at an array of public art organizations — one of them being MMCA itself.

    • What Indians Think About Religious Freedom in Their Country – Report
    • What’s Behind Facebook’s Censoring Of Atheists In India

      A few days ago a petition popped up on the website Change.org urging Mark Zuckerberg to “support freedom of expression in India” by unblocking an atheist Facebook group there with over 13,000 members.

      Facebook, the petition said, had not given any reason for the blockade. One day users in India who tried to visit the site were simply hit with a message that the content was “unavailable.” This was not the first time a Facebook page for atheists had been censored in the secular state. In June, another atheist Facebook group was reportedly labeled “unsafe” and its members were unable to share its content.

    • Twitter Has Censored Gory Images of the Paris Attacks

      Over the past three days, Twitter has been preventing its users in France from viewing certain images and keywords related to the Paris attacks. The censorship, first reported today by the French newspaper Le Monde, applies to a keyword used by supporters of the Islamic State, tweets advocating terrorism, and, more controversially, graphic photographs taken inside the Bataclan after the terrorist attacks there left dozens dead.

    • Net Neutrality Puts Political Websites in the Crosshairs of Censorship

      When Net Neutrality was sold to the American people, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler promised there would be no regulation of content. No censorship. The rules would allow the FCC to regulate content, but they would “forbear” and leave things alone. Now where have we heard that before? It sounds too much like, “If you like your Internet, you can keep your Internet.” Now, like with Obamacare, the truth is coming forward as lawmakers and experts warn of a coming political censorship of the Internet.

      After having failed twice to enforce Net Neutrality, Wheeler’s most recent attempt began with an op-ed piece written for Wired. The February 4 article was his attempt to make the case for the necessity of government regulation of the Internet. In it he claimed that regulation of ISPs was needed to save the Internet. He also claimed that regulation of “edge providers” — companies that provide content to the Internet — would not be regulated, saying, “My proposal assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want.”

    • Comment: The government’s censorship of Humanism must be challenged in court

      Last week, three parents and their children took the government to court. They asked a judge to affirm that in refusing to allow for the detailed study of non-religious beliefs in the new Religious Studies GCSE, the government improperly marginalised those beliefs, discriminated against those who hold them, and, as a result, failed to treat them equal to their religious fellow-citizens.

    • PEER Sues USDA to End Scientific Censorship

      Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Agriculture.

      PEER says that the USSDA should stop censoring scientific findings for political reasons and significantly strengthen its Scientific Integrity Policy.

      The suit targets official restraints on USDA scientists publishing or speaking about their findings in peer-reviewed journals, before professional societies, and in other unofficial settings.

      This March, PEER filed a formal rulemaking petition pressing USDA to end censorship policies and to bolster its extremely weak Scientific Integrity Policy adopted in 2013.

      The petition asked USDA to adopt “best practices” from other federal agencies’ integrity policies and to end politically driven suppression or alteration of studies.

      In a letter dated June 11, 2015, USDA Chief Scientist Catherine Wotecki wrote that the agency refused to consider the substance of the petition because scientific integrity only affected its “internal personnel rules and practices” and was therefore exempt from the public notice and comment process normally required of agency rules.

    • Poland Censors Commercial Radio Station That Airs Sputnik

      The Polish government has begun censoring independent media in the country. The first one to fall is the Polish commercial radio station Radio Hobby.

      The Polish National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) canceled the broadcasting license of Radio Hobby, which airs Radio Sputnik Polska.

    • Do Black Voices Matter To Instagram?

      We demand answers as to why our voices are silenced and others are not.

    • 40% of Millennials OK with limiting speech offensive to minorities
    • You can’t ban racism

      The truth is, proclaiming your white guilt or censoring social media won’t stop racism or help minorities. Instead, we must promote moral strength, fortitude and personal autonomy, while expressing solidarity with, and support for, victims. No doubt this is not fair. But – here’s the hard part – life isn’t always fair.

    • Censorship: Turkey’s tangled relationship with social media

      On Saturday, a sudden ban on the social media network Reddit in Turkey was reported by The Verge, causing many to wonder what could have sparked this latest move by authorities to crack down on the Internet. At the time, the site was said to have been blocked on the DNS level, meaning that it was possible to circumvent the ban with a simple foreign DNS service.

    • Media freedom in Northern Cyprus: The Sener Levent case

      Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika reported on 30 August 2015 that the Turkish military forces in Cyprus had accused the paper of being against “the army and the flag”. Afrika’s articles had allegedly offended Turkish forces and made “people alienated from the army”, according to the case.

      Editor-in-chief Sener Levent and writer Mahmut Anayasa, both of whom had shared an Afrika article from July on social media, were called to the prosecutor’s office for questioning. According to Costas Mavridis, a Greek Cypriot Member of the European Parliament, this is not the first time Levent has faced accusations. Both were later released.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Officials Consider Creating European Equivalent of CIA After Paris Attacks
    • EU considers ‘European CIA’ following Paris attacks
    • Paris attacks: EU ministers consider Europe-wide CIA-style intelligence agency and increased border security checks
    • Speaking of Obama administration lawlessness, what about NSA data collection and drone strikes on American citizens?

      It’s no surprise that most criticism of Obama administration lawlessness has come from the right — political opponents of a president have more of an incentive to highlight bad things the administration has been doing, and supporters, in turn, tend to play down, ignore or even defend such things.

      Back in the 1980s, when I was younger and much more naive, I was astounded that so many conservative Republicans defended the Reagan administration’s insane arms-for-hostages deal with Iran. “Iran-contra,” as the scandal came to be known, was not just an embarrassing negation of America’s stated policy of not negotiating with terrorists, but also represented a clumsy but willful attempt to circumvent a duly enacted law that prohibited providing the Nicaraguan contras with weapons.

      Today, I’m hardly shocked by such partisanship. The most common defense of the Obama administration acting through executive order when there is minimal to nonexistent legal authority to do so is that President Obama simply must do so, because Congress is so obstructionist. There is no “Congress won’t act, so the president’s power is expanded” clause of the Constitution, and I’m willing to bet that almost no one making this argument made a similar argument during any of the last three Republican administrations, nor would they make it in a Bush III, Rubio or Cruz administration if a future Republican president found his policies blocked by Congress.

    • Corporate reputation is a pressure point in the fight for digital human rights

      Internet giants Google, Twitter and Facebook were recently subjected to a compliance test by the Open Technology Institute’s Ranking Digital Rights initiative. Cynics will not be surprised to hear that these companies all received failing grades when evaluated on user privacy and data security practices. In a world that has absorbed Edward Snowden’s revelations on the NSA’s snooping on private communications, with the alleged collaboration of the largest internet platforms, we can expect such cynics to be many.

      What’s really surprising here is how little we have come to expect from these companies who once positioned themselves as champions of a “…more open and connected world”, to cite Facebook’s mission statement. One might also wonder how these brands feel about such repeated slights to their image. When it comes to helping or hindering human rights across the world, does reputation still matter to the leading social networks? Or have they, perhaps, simply grown too big to care?

    • Police State Europe

      Churchill once said: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” More recently, former Obama White House chief of staff/current Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said earlier: “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

    • Paris Attacks Bring Domestic Surveillance Into Presidential Race
    • Will Europe Have A Patriot Act? Security May Trump Privacy Rights After Paris Attacks

      Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Congress passed a sweeping overhaul of policies that allowed extensive electronic surveillance. A source of controversy ever since, the Patriot Act has been both lauded for thwarting attacks in their planning stages and criticized for allowing the National Security Agency to collect Americans’ call records. Now, following the attacks in Paris on Friday, it seems that the EU and France may pass Patriot Act-like surveillance laws, bringing the debate between security and personal privacy to a head in Europe.

    • Questions of the Week: Are games being used by terrorists? ["Despite the hype there does not seem to be any evidence jihadists use online games"]

      The headlines were sensational. Fox News: “Joystick Jihad.” The Daily Express: “Did Isis terrorists use a PlayStation 4 to plot Paris massacre in the streets?”

      They all seemed to suggest that a games console had played an integral part in planning the Paris terror attacks. Fuelling this were comments made by Belgium’s deputy prime minister, Jan Jambon, about potential tactics of Islamic State and reports that a PS4 console had been recovered from the apartment of one of the suspected attackers.

      PS4 is, according to Jambon, harder to keep track of than popular messaging service Whatsapp.

      Suddenly, there were articles quoting experts talking about how attackers could use all sorts of ways to communicate in games without ever uttering a word: spelling out plans in a hail of bullets was one suggestion.

    • Syrian Refugees & Domestic Spying: How Do You Like Your Red Herring Served?

      This is much like the anti-Semitic arguments against letting Jews into America during the Holocaust. “Well, they are different, and some of them could be communists.” True enough. I know my, now deceased, communist relatives blew up nothing and killed no one. Although you could make the case that some of the more ideological ones might have bored some folks to death. When measured against certain death, the threat posed by a very few should have meant next to nothing.

    • Edward Snowden Addresses Queen’s University in Online Keynote

      “This isn’t about Surveillance, It’s About Democracy”

    • After Paris Attacks, We Must Not Abandon Our Values

      Attacks that shook Paris and Beirut last week make us feel compassion for the survivors, empathy for those who lost loved ones and, yes, fear for our own safety. Political terrorism aims to strike fear in the hearts of millions — and it’s a disturbingly effective tactic.

      So, perhaps it’s not surprising that Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and dozens of other elected officials responded to the Paris attacks with fear, including a call to halt U.S. plans to provide a safe harbor for Syrian refugees.

    • NBC’s Chuck Todd Explains How Only A Dozen Of 785,000 Refugees Admitted To The U.S. Since 9/11 Were Removed Because Of Terrorism Concerns
    • The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America’s Secret Government

      Peter and Mickey spend the hour with David Talbot, author of “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America’s Secret Government.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Why you should understand (a little) about TCP

      A little background: NSQ is a queue that you send to messages to. The way you publish a message is to make an HTTP request on localhost. It really should not take 40 milliseconds to send a HTTP request to localhost. Something was terribly wrong. The NSQ daemon wasn’t under high CPU load, it wasn’t using a lot of memory, it didn’t seem to be a garbage collection pause. Help.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Digital files “property”, says court in “female patronage” case
    • Trademarks

      • ‘Je suis Paris’ and ‘Pray for Paris’ TM applications rejected

        France’s intellectual property office has rejected a number of trademark applications for the terms ‘Je suis Paris’ and ‘Pray for Paris’.

        In a statement published on Friday, November 20, the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) said it has rejected the applications on the grounds that they are contrary to ordre public and the terms cannot be used commercially considering the recent events in Paris.

        ‘Je suis Paris’ and ‘Pray for Paris’ became popular rallying cries for Twitter users following the shootings and bombings in Paris on November 13.

    • Copyrights

      • When words mean what they say: Bob Marley copyrights stay where they are

        It appears that, like a number of reggae artists at the time, Bob Marley may not have been fairly compensated by certain parties for his work, which included (he contended) not receiving royalties under two publishing agreements. As a result, in order to gain control of the copyrights and/or revenue streams, Marley deliberately misattributed songs to various associates. Reportedly, the songwriting credits for “No Woman, No Cry” for example, were given to a friend to use the subsequent royalties to run a soup kitchen in Trenchtown, Jamaica, where Marley grew up.

      • Google Asked to Remove 1,500 “Pirate Links” Per Minute

        Google is facing a never-ending flood of takedown requests from copyright holders, breaking record after record. The company currently processes a record breaking 1,500 links to “pirate” pages from its search results every minute, which is a 100% increase compared to last year.


Links 21/11/2015: Community Appreciation Day, Jolla’s Problems

Posted in News Roundup at 7:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 20/11/2015:

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Being Thankful for Open Source (But Why Do Companies Do It?)

    It’s Thanksgiving time, and I’m surely thankful for the free open source software I use. But going open source always seemed counter-intuitive to me. Why would a company invest time, money and development resources to create valuable intellectual property and then throw it out to everyone to use for free as they see fit?

  • Improving accessibility for 8 open source projects

    I’ve been involved in open source ever since I made the switch to Linux four years ago, sometimes as a code contributor, sometimes just filing bugs and improving documentation. And, as some of you may already know, I’m visually impaired.

    As such, most of the open source projects I’m involved in revolve around accessibility. These are the 8 open source projects I use and work on as part of the open source accessibility community.

  • Is Open Source Making Strides to Become More Diverse?

    The lack of women in the computer science field is not a new development. In fact, only 30 percent of the 707 students studying computer science at Stanford University are female. But the tide may be turning as women are beginning to make their presence known in the open source world.

  • Google Open Sources Tools for Importing Mail into Gmail

    Remember when Gmail was new? It was back in 2004 that Google offered a beta of its now very widely used email platform. Still, lots of people get their email on other platforms, and with that in mind, Google has open sourced two projects that make it very easy to import mail into Gmail.

    “We have two new open-source projects to help people import their existing email into Gmail using the Gmail API,” notes a Google post: mail-importer and import-mailbox-to-gmail.

  • Nmap 7 Released

    The Nmap Project is pleased to announce the immediate, free availability of the Nmap Security Scanner version 7.00 from https://nmap.org/. It is the product of three and a half years of work, nearly 3200 code commits, and more than a dozen point releases since the big Nmap 6 release in May 2012. Nmap turned 18 years old in September this year and celebrates its birthday with 171 new NSE scripts, expanded IPv6 support, world-class SSL/TLS analysis, and more user-requested features than ever. We recommend that all current users upgrade.

  • CAM Editor v3.2.2 for XML, JSON, SQL and UML with UI forms now available

    CAM combines all this elegantly in one template along with the content and business rules. Allowing designers and developers to work coherently together. This can shave weeks of manual effort off the typical development life cycle and guarantee consistent results.

  • Events

    • FOSDEM ’16 — Call for Participation

      FOSDEM 2016 (the free and open source developer’s meeting in Brussels, Europe) will feature a new track on Containers and Process isolation. Therefore, we invite developers and users from the containers community to join us for this track and present your talks or demos.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome Extensions – AKA Total Absence of Privacy

        Google, claiming that Chrome is the safest web browser out there, is actually making it very simple for extensions to hide how aggressively they are tracking their users. We have also discovered exactly how intrusive this sort of tracking actually is and how these tracking companies actually do a lot of things trying to hide it. Due to the fact that the gathering of data is made inside an extension, all other extensions created to prevent tracking (such as Ghostery) are completely bypassed.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Better polygon rendering in LibreOffice’s Gtk3 Support

      Above is how LibreOffice’s “svp” backend rendered rotated text outlines in chart where the text is represented by polygon paths. Because the gtk3 backend is based on that svp backend that’s what you got with the gtk3 support enabled.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • It’s NotABug …

      As Gitorious recently faded away, we have been searching for a Git Hosting solution for our FSFE Localgroup Zurich. We have evaluated several options including self-hosting. The latter has been tested with a software called GitBucket but it seems that a lot of recourses are required for that. At least it does not work well on my Atom-based Server.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • The force is with us!(So Close!)

        Here we have a lot of long runs *(prints with more than 4 hours) hope that you enjoy it ! The material used is ABS provided by our sponsor, “Filamentos 3D Brasil“, thanks a lot fot the stuff and support guys!

  • Programming

    • Camel in a Hat: perl-CryptX package

      I’m going to package CryptX Perl module [1] soon.

    • rough code and working consensus

      On their better days, standards groups follow a principle of rough consensus and working code. Somebody builds something, announces it to some friends and maybe a few competitors, and says, hey, if you build something similar, it’s possible for our implementations to interoperate. Everyone’s a winner. Sometimes the design isn’t perfect, but the fact that at least one person/group has built an implementation is an existence proof that it can be built. Valuable knowledge to have.


  • No UI is the New UI
  • No UI is some UI

    He’s talking here about “invisible apps”: Magic and Operator and to some extent Google Now and Siri; apps that aren’t on a screen. Voice or messaging or text control. And he’s wholly right. Point and click has benefits — it’s a lot easier to find a thing you want to do, if you don’t know what it’s called — but it throws away all the nuance and skill of language and reduces us to cavemen jabbing a finger at a fire and grunting. We’ve spent thousands of years refining words as a way to do things; they are good at communicating intent1. On balance, they’re better than pictures, although obviously some sort of harmony of the two is better still. Ikea do a reasonable job of providing build instructions for Billy bookcases without using any words at all, but I don’t think I’d like to see their drawings of what “honour” is, or how to run a conference.

  • Science

    • Moon landing tapes got erased, NASA admits

      The original recordings of the first humans landing on the moon 40 years ago were erased and re-used, but newly restored copies of the original broadcast look even better, NASA officials said on Thursday.

      NASA released the first glimpses of a complete digital make-over of the original landing footage that clarifies the blurry and grainy images of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the surface of the moon.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Antibiotic resistance: World on cusp of ‘post-antibiotic era’

      The world is on the cusp of a “post-antibiotic era”, scientists have warned after finding bacteria resistant to drugs used when all other treatments have failed.

      They identified bacteria able to shrug off the drug of last resort – colistin – in patients and livestock in China.

      They said that resistance would spread around the world and raised the spectre of untreatable infections.

      It is likely resistance emerged after colistin was overused in farm animals.

    • Gene that makes bacteria immune to last-resort antibiotic can spread

      A newly identified gene that renders bacteria resistant to polymyxin antibiotics—drugs often used as the last line of defense against infections—has the potential to be shared between different types of bacteria. The finding raises concern that the transferable gene could make its way into infectious bacteria that are already highly resistant to drugs, thereby creating strains of bacteria immune to every drug in doctors’ arsenal.

    • UK running public consultation on NHS England mandate 2016-2020

      Every year, the Secretary of State must publish a mandate to ensure that NHS England’s objectives remain up to date. The mandate sets the objectives of NHS England as well as its budget. The latter will be determined after the Spending Review will be concluded on 25 November.

      This year, every government department is producing a plan setting out its objectives to 2020 and how achieve them. The mandate to NHS England is part of the Department of Health’s plan and will take effect from April 2016.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • I was held hostage by Isis. They fear our unity more than our airstrikes

      As a proud Frenchman I am as distressed as anyone about the events in Paris. But I am not shocked or incredulous. I know Islamic State. I spent 10 months as an Isis hostage, and I know for sure that our pain, our grief, our hopes, our lives do not touch them. Theirs is a world apart.

      Most people only know them from their propaganda material, but I have seen behind that. In my time as their captive, I met perhaps a dozen of them, including Mohammed Emwazi: Jihadi John was one of my jailers. He nicknamed me “Baldy”.

      Even now I sometimes chat with them on social media, and can tell you that much of what you think of them results from their brand of marketing and public relations. They present themselves to the public as superheroes, but away from the camera are a bit pathetic in many ways: street kids drunk on ideology and power. In France we have a saying – stupid and evil. I found them more stupid than evil. That is not to understate the murderous potential of stupidity.

    • The left has an Islam problem: If liberals won’t come to terms with religious extremism, the xenophobic right will carry the day

      There’s a persistent taboo on the Left which demands that every incident of terror be attributed to American foreign policy. Terrorism is a hydra-headed problem, and it’s not reducible to a single cause – religion and politics and economics and foreign policy and institutional corruption are critical variables. Does America’s history of looting and corruption in the Middle East matter? Absolutely. Is the world and the region currently paying the price for the West’s self-interested partitioning of the Middle East after World War I? Without question. But Islamists aren’t killing cartoonists because the U.S. invaded Iraq. And ISIS isn’t exterminating the Yazidis because of America’s sordid relationship with Saudi Arabia.


      Their hatred of infidels and their belief in martyrdom and armed Jihad have a scriptural basis, and it’s dishonest to pretend otherwise. And their brand of Islam isn’t radically different from the Wahhabism practiced in Saudi Arabia. Most Muslims aren’t Wahhabists and don’t share this vision of life, just as most Christians aren’t stoning adulterers, even though there are biblical injunctions to do so. But it’s disingenuous to say ISIS has no connection to Islamic tradition.

    • The Peaceful Muslim Majority Is “Irrelevant,” Says Brigitte Gabriel [see comment]

      After 80%, expect daily intimidation and violent jihad, some State-run ethnic cleansing, and even some genocide, as these nations drive out the infidels, and move toward 100% Muslim, such as has been experienced and in some ways is on-going in:

      Bangladesh — Muslim 83%
      Egypt — Muslim 90%
      Gaza — Muslim 98.7%
      Indonesia — Muslim 86.1%
      Iran — Muslim 98%
      Iraq — Muslim 97%
      Jordan — Muslim 92%
      Morocco — Muslim 98.7%
      Pakistan — Muslim 97%
      Palestine — Muslim 99%
      Syria — Muslim 90%
      Tajikistan — Muslim 90%
      Turkey — Muslim 99.8%
      United Arab Emirates — Muslim 96%

      100% will usher in the peace of ‘Dar-es-Salaam’ — the Islamic House of Peace. Here there’s supposed to be peace, because everybody is a Muslim, the Madrasses are the only schools, and the Koran is the only word, such as in:

      Afghanistan — Muslim 100%
      Saudi Arabia — Muslim 100%
      Somalia — Muslim 100%
      Yemen — Muslim 100%

    • Turkey soccer fans boo moment of silence for Paris attacks

      Before today’s Greece vs. Turkey friendly match in Istanbul both teams shared a moment of silence to honor the victims of the Paris attacks.

    • Turkey could cut off Islamic State’s supply lines. So why doesn’t it?

      In the wake of the murderous attacks in Paris, we can expect western heads of state to do what they always do in such circumstances: declare total and unremitting war on those who brought it about. They don’t actually mean it. They’ve had the means to uproot and destroy Islamic State within their hands for over a year now. They’ve simply refused to make use of it. In fact, as the world watched leaders making statements of implacable resolve at the G20 summit in Antalaya, these same leaders are hobnobbing with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a man whose tacit political, economic, and even military support contributed to Isis’s ability to perpetrate the atrocities in Paris, not to mention an endless stream of atrocities inside the Middle East.

    • Mass graves of women ‘too old to be Isil sex slaves’ – this is what we’re up against

      In the desert dust of Sinjar, in north west Iraq, a walking stick lies on the ground.

      Strewn casually alongside it are a couple of pairs of scissors, some household keys and a shoe. Bank notes flutter in the dirt.

      But, if you look a little closer, the scene becomes a horror show. Clumps of hair and fragments of bone poke grotesquely out of the ditch. It is estimated that almost 80 women are buried in this mass grave, aged between 40 and 80-years-old. The bodies are of Yazidi women, murdered by Islamic State butchers.

    • CIA Chief: Terrorists Harder to Find, Because of Leaks, Reforms

      On Monday at the Center for Strategic & International Studies’ Global Security Forum, John Brennan, Director of the US’ Central Intelligence Agency, spoke about the recent bombings in Paris. In what many commentators took as a reference to Edward Snowden, but could instead refer to the Church Committee, Brennan predicted that finding the attackers will be more difficult than it would have been, had intelligence services been left unchecked…

    • Jewish teacher stabbed in Marseilles by purported ISIS supporters

      A teacher at a Jewish school in the southern French city of Marseilles was stabbed on Wednesday by three people professing support for Islamic State, but his life was not in danger, prosecutors said.

      The victim was identified as Tziyon Saadon who is in his fifties.

      The three men who attacked the teacher uttered anti-Semitic remarks during the incident, AFP reported.

    • Saudi Wahhabi dilemma in spotlight after Paris attack

      Saudi Arabia’s harsh religious tradition is seen by many outsiders – and some Saudi liberals – as a root cause of the international jihadist threat that has inflamed the Middle East for years and struck in Paris last week.

      However, while Riyadh has cracked down hard on jihadists at home, jailing thousands, stopping hundreds from traveling to fight abroad and cutting militant finance streams, its approach to religion has raised a dilemma.

    • Islam Is a Religion of Violence

      Can the wave of violence sweeping the Islamic world be traced back to the religion’s core teachings? An FP debate about the roots of extremism.

    • Sadiq Khan: Muslims are growing up in this country without ever ‘knowing anyone from a different background’

      Muslims are growing up in this country without ever “knowing anyone from a different background”, one of Britain’ most senior Muslim politicians has warned.

      Sadiq Khan, Labour’s London Mayoral contender, said the wake of the Paris attacks British Muslims had a “special role” to play in tackling extremism.

      Mr Khan said: “Too many British Muslims grow up without really knowing anyone from a different background. Without understanding or empathising with the lives and beliefs of others.”

    • Saudi court sentences poet to death for renouncing Islam

      A Palestinian poet and leading member of Saudi Arabia’s nascent contemporary art scene has been sentenced to death for renouncing Islam.

      A Saudi court on Tuesday ordered the execution of Ashraf Fayadh, who has curated art shows in Jeddah and at the Venice Biennale. The poet, who said he did not have legal representation, was given 30 days to appeal against the ruling.

      Fayadh, 35, a key member of the British-Saudi art organisation Edge of Arabia, was originally sentenced to four years in prison and 800 lashes by the general court in Abha, a city in the south-west of the ultraconservative kingdom, in May 2014.

    • Syria secretly sentenced free software developer Bassel Khartabil to death

      Khartabil has been imprisoned in a Syria’s Adra Prison since 2012, though as of October, he has been transferred to an undisclosed location. The free software/open culture activist was the lead for Creative Commons Syria and has contributed to Wikipedia, Firefox and many other projects.

      He was arrested on the first anniversary of the Syrian uprising, and was tortured for five days by Syria’s Military Branch 215 and was tried, without access to counsel, on charges of “harming state security.” His arrest and detention have been widely decried; the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has called for his immediate release.

      Noura Ghazi, Khartabil’s wife, a human rights lawyer, reports that he has been secretly sentenced to death by a military tribunal.

    • At least 27 dead as gunmen seize more than 100 at Mali hotel

      Suspected Islamist gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Mali’s capital Friday, firing automatic weapons and seizing more than 100 guests and staff in a hostage-taking that left at least 27 people dead.

      Special forces staged a dramatic floor-by-floor rescue at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, according to local television and security sources, to end the nine-hour siege.

      The assault, which France has said was likely masterminded by notorious Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, added to fears over the global jihadist threat a week after the Paris massacre that left 130 people dead.

      Malian television broadcast chaotic scenes from inside the hotel as police and other security personnel ushered bewildered guests along corridors and across the main lobby.

    • UN Confirms 29 People Killed in Mali Siege, Including 2 Attackers
    • Mali Hotel Attack Leaves at Least 21 Dead, Including an American

      Assailants with guns blazing on Friday attacked a hotel hosting diplomats and others in Mali’s capital, leaving at least 21 people dead and trapping dozens in the building for hours, officials in the West African Nation said.

      Malian and U.N. security forces launched a counterattack at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako and escorted guests out. By late afternoon, no hostages were believed to remain in the building, army Col. Mamadou Coulibaly told reporters.

    • NJ native Anita Datar killed in hostage attack in Mali

      A woman with ties to New Jersey is among the victims killed in an attack on a hotel in Mali. At least 20 people were killed when terrorists took hostages at a Radison hotel in Bamako Friday.

      The State Department has not released the name, but family has identified her as Anita Datar.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • World Trade Organization Puts Dolphins At Risk

      Today, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled against the dolphin-saving U.S. labeling program for tuna, calling it a “technical barrier to trade.” Mexico brought the case against the U.S.

      Since 1990, the United States has maintained a “dolphin-safe” labeling program for tuna that allows consumers to choose to purchase tuna caught in a manner that does not kill dolphins. The “dolphin-safe” label has contributed to a 97-percent reduction in dolphin deaths since the 1980s in Pacific waters where dolphins and tuna cohabitate.

    • Palm Farmers’ Group: Indonesia’s Action on Haze Won’t Stop Burning

      Forest fires in Indonesia that have caused choking smoke across much of Southeast Asia will flare up again next year because government action to tackle the crisis is ineffective, a palm farmers group said.

      Indonesia and the wider Southeast Asian region have been suffering for weeks from smoke caused by smoldering forest and peatland fires, largely in Sumatra and Borneo islands that authorities have struggled to contain.

    • Indonesia Is Burning, And The World Hasn’t Noticed

      Indonesia is burning. More than 3,000 miles of burning forest and peat have already emitted more carbon dioxide in the past few months than the annual emissions of Germany. It’s the worst set of fires the country has seen since 1997, a year in which 15,000 children under the age of three died from air pollution. More than 500,000 respiratory tract infections have been reported since July 1, and Indonesia’s 43 million people have been inhaling toxic fumes for months. Some children have already died from complications, while others have been evacuated out of the country on emergency warships. Blame the Indonesia fire’s slow burn, or global short attention spans for a lack of coverage, but this story has been building for months without much of an audience — and it’s not just an Indonesian problem.


      As for all the smoke, it’s not coming from Indonesia’s living plants, but the layers of peat underneath them. This makes the problem that much worse: the peat smolders and keeps fires burning for months while releasing 10 times more methane (which is 21 times more potent of a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) than a normal fire. In the worst hit areas of Sumatra and Kalimantan, the Pollutant Standard Index has put pollution levels around 2,000 (anything above 300 is considered hazardous). The toxic haze is also affecting other countries as it drifts over Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

    • Indonesia’s “Land Mafia” Sets Forests Ablaze

      The seriousness of the Indonesian forest fires can no longer be ignored.

      As 40 million people gasp for breath and tens of thousands of hectares of forest are on fire in Indonesia, the world continues to revolve like nothing dangerous happens. When more than 500,000 people suffer from acute respiratory infection and wildlife habitat are exposed to damage, people across the globe have barely responded.

      For the past two months, the sky of the Borneo and Sumatra islands has been blurred in smoke, just as hazy as the huge capitalism game behind this structured, man-made eco-disaster.

      What makes matters worse is that mass media appear to be gradually slipping away even though, as George Monbiot said, it’s almost definitely the 21st century’s greatest environmental disaster to date.

    • Indonesia bans peatlands destruction after fires hospitalised 500,000

      The president of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, has ordered the restoration of burned peatlands and banned their clearance after disastrous fires caused severe pollution and hospitalised roughly 500,000 people in recent weeks.

      The ruling is in response to recent fires that polluted skies across Southeast Asia, and released about 1.7 billion tonnes of carbon.

      Widodo has banned the clearance and conversion of carbon-dense peatlands across Indonesia through a series of presidential and ministerial instructions issued over the last two-and-a-half weeks.

    • Will the “Tobacco Strategy” Work Against Big Oil?

      According to InsideClimate News, the office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had been investigating ExxonMobil for a year before it issued a recent subpoena for “documents on what Exxon knew about climate change and what it told shareholders and the public.” The subpoena compelled ExxonMobil to hand over scientific research and communications about climate change dating back to 1977. (Exxon and Mobil merged to become a single corporation in 1999.) The investigation is based on New York State’s consumer-protection and general-business laws and, crucially, the state’s Martin Act, InsideClimate News reported. That statute prohibits fraud or misrepresentation in the sale of securities and commodities, and gives the Attorney General extraordinary power to fight financial fraud.

    • Peat fires: emissions likely to worsen

      The horrific haze from Indonesia’s forest and peatland fires, started deliberately to clear land for planting and made worse by drought, has become a global crisis. Indonesia’s government could stop this annual catastrophe, but it so far seems to lack the political will to do so.

    • Indonesia’s forest fires will happen again

      The enormous forest fires that continue to rage in Indonesia are a tragedy for the environment, the economy, and for public health. And if regulatory steps aren’t taken, Brendan May argues, history will repeat itself. Here’s why.

    • Nasa releases carbon map that shows which countries are polluting the world

      As carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere steadily rise, Nasa is warning that the capacity of Earth’s oceans, forests and land ecosystems to absorb human-generated carbon dioxide could one day dramatically weaken.

      Currently, the planet ‘breathes’ – forests, rainforests and oceans all absorb carbon dioxide, taking up about half of all human-emitted carbon.

    • State Newspapers Highlight Dangers Of Green-Lighting Offshore Drilling In The Atlantic Ocean

      In its draft leasing plan that will set the boundaries for oil development in federal waters from 2017 to 2022, the Obama Administration proposed allowing offshore drilling along the Atlantic Coast between Virginia and Georgia. Newspapers in the states that would be impacted by this plan have published articles and editorials highlighting local opposition and describing the economic and environmental risks associated with offshore drilling. As the administration approaches a final decision on offshore drilling, these concerns identified by state media outlets should inform national media coverage in the days and weeks ahead.

  • Finance

    • Trans-Pacific Partnership: Obama Offers Helping Hand, Companies Give Cash To Support Democrats Backing Trade Pact

      After voting to give President Barack Obama the authority to strike new trade deals in the summer, House Democrats have enjoyed the warm, friendly embrace of the chief executive and a steady flow of cold, hard cash from the companies that are backing a massive agreement with Asia-Pacific nations. Obama, in a display of political acumen that often has eluded him in dealing with Congress, never stopped wooing members who supported him as he eyeballed the prize — ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — by the time he leaves office.

      Air Force One? At your service, congressman. Help on veterans’ issues? Done. A visit from a cabinet secretary? Of course. Financial support from business allies? Easy.

    • [Old but just re-edited] No to ACTA – Paris

      Jérémie Zimmermann from La Quadrature du Net gave a speech and urged people to contact their legal representatives, in addition to protesting in the street…

    • David Brooks’ ‘$120,000 Vacation’ Is No Joke

      So at a time when 92 million Americans are out of the labor force, the highest number in four decades, 14.8 percent of the population live below the poverty line, which is $24, 250 for a family of four, when global inequality is skyrocketing such that just 80 billionaires now control the same wealth as 3.5 billion people, the fact that a supposedly “serious” columnist at the country’s “paper of record” thinks it’s cute to talk about how “sometimes it is the structure of things that you shall be pampered and you have no choice but to sit back and accept that fact” seems pretty darn unfunny.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Do the Kochs Have Their Own Spy Network?

      Five years ago, when The New Yorker published my piece “Covert Operations,” about the ambitious and secretive political network underwritten by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, the Koch brothers complained mightily about the story’s title, protesting that there was nothing at all covert about their political activities. Since then, the two have embarked on an impressive public-relations campaign meant to demonstrate their transparency and openness. But today, the Politico reporter Kenneth Vogel came out with a blockbuster scoop suggesting that the brothers, whose organization has vowed to spend an unprecedented eight hundred and eighty-nine million dollars in the 2016 election cycle, are more involved in covert operations than even their own partners have known.

      After culling through the latest legally required disclosures, Vogel unearthed a new front group within the Kochs’ expanding network of affiliated nonprofit organizations—a high-tech surveillance and intelligence-gathering outfit devoted to stealthily tracking liberal and Democratic groups which Politico calls the “Koch Intelligence Agency.” The sleuthing operation reportedly includes twenty-five employees, one of whom formerly worked as an analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, and follows opponents by harvesting high-tech geodata from their social-media posts.

    • Obnoxious Neo-Con Plagiarist Robert Webb Quits the Labour Party

      A genuinely unpleasant person. I confess to a personal grudge against Webb, but it is a justified one. he was deeply involved in plagiarising my memoir, Murder in Samarkand for the BBC Comedy The Ambassador. The production company involved, Big Talk, had actually invited me to their offices for a meeting to ask me to sell them the rights to Murder in Samarkand. I attended the meeting but I refused to sell them the rights. They went ahead and made the series anyway.

    • Jim Naureckas on ISIS Attacks, Janet Redman on Climate Conference Activism

      We talk about the differing ways corporate media report terrorist violence with FAIR’s own Jim Naureckas.

  • Censorship

    • France Responds To Paris Attacks By Rushing Through Internet Censorship Law

      The attacks in Paris were a horrible and tragic event — and you can understand why people are angry and scared about it. But, as always, when politicians are angry and scared following a high-profile tragedy, they tend to legislate in dangerous ways. It appears that France is no exception. It has pushed through some kneejerk legislation that includes a plan to censor the internet. Specifically the Minister of the Interior will be given the power to block any website that is deemed to be “promoting terrorism or inciting terrorist acts.” Of course, this seems ridiculous on many levels.

    • Iran arrests cartoonist as crackdown on free expression goes on

      Iranian authorities have arrested a cartoonist and sent him to prison to complete a suspended jail sentence, his lawyer said on Tuesday, joining a growing list of journalists, artists and activists detained on security charges.

    • The Right to Be Forgotten: Why a New Artist’s Biggest Battle Is Finding a Way to Delete Their Past

      Remember Britannia High? 2008 UK’s answer to Fame? The just-before-primetime ITV song-and-dance debacle that was axed after one series? They were great days. The show, of course, was a complete disaster, both on a creative, commercial, in fact, every possible level.

      But if you examine audition footage of Britannia High on YouTube maybe you’ll start to wonder if the whole thing could have been rescued, had the show only made different casting decisions. Here, for instance, is a great singer who didn’t make the cut.

    • Judge Mocks Public Interest Concerns About Kicking People Off Internet, Tells Cox It’s Not Protected By The DMCA

      Judge Liam O’Grady — the same guy who helped the US government take all of Kim Dotcom’s stuff, is the judge handling the wacky Rightscorp-by-proxy lawsuit against Cox Communications. The key issue: Righscorp, on behalf of BMG and Round Hill Music flooded Cox Communications with infringement notices, trying to shake loose IP addresses as part of its shake down. Cox wasn’t very happy about cooperating, and in response BMG and Round Hill sued Cox, claiming that 512(i) of the DMCA requires ISPs to kick people off the internet if they’re found to be “repeat infringers.” Historically, it has long been believed that 512(i) does not apply to internet access/broadband providers like Cox, but rather to online service providers who are providing a direct service on the internet (like YouTube or Medium or whatever). However, the RIAA and its friends have hinted for a while that they’d like a court to interpret 512(i) to apply to internet access providers, creating a defacto “three strikes and you lose all internet access” policy. Rightscorp (with help from BMG and Round Hill Music) have decided to put that to the test.

    • For a few truly bad DMCA takedowns, YouTube offers to cover legal costs

      Four video creators will come under YouTube’s legal protection now, under a program unveiled today in a company blog post.

      “We are offering legal support to a handful of videos that we believe represent clear fair uses which have been subject to DMCA takedowns,” writes YouTube copyright lawyer Fred Von Lohmann. “With approval of the video creators, we’ll keep the videos live on YouTube in the U.S., feature them in the YouTube Copyright Center as strong examples of fair use, and cover the cost of any copyright lawsuits brought against them.”

    • Reuters Issues a Worldwide Ban on RAW Photos

      Reuters has implemented a new worldwide policy for freelance photographers that bans photos that were processed from RAW files. Photographers must now only send photos that were originally saved to their cameras as JPEGs.

    • Gmail Takes A Sledgehammer To The Techdirt Daily Newsletter When Not Even A Scalpel Is Needed

      Of course, being a collection of the previous day’s Techdirt posts, the Techdirt Daily email contains many, many links. Also, as it is something of a Techdirt policy to not spread malware to our readers, our writers are generally careful about the sites they link to in their posts. So, trying to track down which link might be to a site Google deems suspicious seemed daunting. But it turns out we didn’t have to look any further than the third post to figure out what happened, the title of which conveniently contains the word “malware.” Within that post, Tim Cushing included the domain name of a site that has been known in the past to distribute malware (in addition to squatting on a domain using the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s name). It appears Google took that unlinked mention of the domain name as Techdirt carelessly endangering the digital lives of our newsletter subscribers, and stepped in to protect those subscribed via Gmail by throwing up the scary red warning banner and squashing every link in the email (even the unsubscribe link!).

  • Privacy

    • After Paris: Liberté demands unlimited encryption

      The neocons are at it again: After the tragedies of the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday (and Beirut the day before), they’re arguing that governments need to be able to access all communications from everyone, purportedly to protect us from future terrorist attacks. They’re making their case in leading newspapers and TV networks. Now they want to be able to break into encrypted communications on demand, over such services as Telegram or Apple Messages.

      Using the Paris attacks as a pretext to create an Orwellian police state is morally perverse, and we should not let fear stampede us to living in a police state.

    • Future iPhones could contain eye-tracking software

      The next generation of iPhones could contain software designed to track the path of your gaze, and only display notifications when your eyes are focused on a certain part of the display, a new patent has revealed.

      Filed by Apple in September 2012, the newly-granted patent outlines how a gaze detection device could delay the automated autocorrect of a misspelled word if it knew the user’s eye weren’t focused on the word, which it claims would be “more intuitive”.

      This could apply more widely to notifications, it suggests, delaying the delivery of a message notification until the user is paying attention to the display, minimising the risk of missing the message altogether.

    • Is There Any Evidence In The World That Would Convince Intelligence Community That More Surveillance Isn’t The Answer?

      We’ve already discussed how the usual surveillance state defenders quickly rushed into action following the Paris attacks to demand more surveillance — and also noted that the two attacks in Paris in the past year happened despite that country expanding its own surveillance laws twice in the past year (once right before the Charlie Hebdo attack and once soon after). And all of that raises a simple question in my mind:

      If the intelligence community and its supporters will call for greater surveillance and less encryption even after the surveillance capabilities have been shown not to work at all — is there any evidence at all that will convince them that maybe this is not the right idea? It’s a strange kind of argument that repeatedly points to its own failures… and follows it up with “well, that proves we need more of that!”

      Such an argument, by itself, seems self-refuting, because there is no other side. If things are working okay, call for more surveillance. If the surveillance doesn’t work, just call for more surveillance. It’s the default answer to anything, and thus these calls should be ignored. The fact that the surveillance community wants more power is not news and it’s not surprising. It’s not because of the Paris attacks — they’re always asking for this and they’ve mostly gotten it. And it didn’t work.

    • Why Is Facebook Inspecting Your Private Videos?

      In general, Facebook has some pretty decent copyright policies. If you upload content to Facebook and it’s removed because of a bogus takedown request, you can file a counter-notice via a form on Facebook’s website. If the claimant doesn’t take action against you in a federal court in 14 days, your content is restored. That’s how it’s supposed to work, and Facebook usually does it right. Unlike some platforms, it also doesn’t ding users as “repeat offenders” based on multiple phony claims.

    • A Major Shareholder Dumps His Facebook Stock, Should You?

      As far as financials go, the company has grown from $5 billion in revenue and an EPS of $0.01 at the beginning of this timeframe to a company analysts expect to report $17.5 billion and an EPS of $2.16 in the current fiscal year. All in all, it seems Facebook is moving from strength to strength.

    • Post-Snowden Cryptography

      Since June 2013 the world, and in particular the security world, has been shaken by the Snowden revelations. Bullrun is a programme by the NSA which includes as part of the Sigint Enabling Project to “Insert vulnerabilities into commercial encryption systems”, to “influence policies, standards and specification for commercial public key technologies” and to “shape the worldwide commercial cryptography marketplace to make it more tractable to advanced cryptanalytic capabilities being developed by NSA/CSS”. These are strong threats against cryptography in general and in particular against cryptography developed outside the US.

    • Baseless Calls to Expand Surveillance Fit Familiar, Cynical Pattern

      Like clockwork, cynical calls to expand mass surveillance practices—by continuing the domestic telephone records collection and restricting access to strong encryption—came immediately following the Paris attacks. These calls came before the smoke had even cleared, much less before a serious investigation completed. They came from high places too, including CIA head John Brennan and New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

    • [Older] UN privacy chief: UK surveillance bill is ‘worse than scary’

      The UK government’s proposed surveillance legislation is “worse than scary”, the United Nations privacy chief has said.

      Joseph Cannataci, the UN’s special rapporteur on privacy, attacked the government’s draft Investigatory Powers Bill, saying he had never seen evidence that mass surveillance works. He also accused MPs of leading an “absolute offensive” and an “orchestrated” media campaign to distort the debate and take hold of new powers.

    • Founder of app used by ISIS once said ‘We shouldn’t feel guilty.’ On Wednesday he banned their accounts.

      Pavel Durov knew that terrorists might be using his app to communicate. And he decided it was something he could live with.

      “I think that privacy, ultimately, and our right for privacy is more important than our fear of bad things happening, like terrorism,” the founder of Telegram, a highly secure messaging app, said at a TechCrunch panel in September when asked if he “slept well at night” knowing his technology was used for violence.

    • From Paris to Boston, Terrorists Were Already Known to Authorities

      WHENEVER A TERRORIST ATTACK OCCURS, it never takes long for politicians to begin calling for more surveillance powers. The horrendous attacks in Paris last week, which left more than 120 people dead, are no exception to this rule. In recent days, officials in the United Kingdom and the United States have been among those arguing that more surveillance of Internet communications is necessary to prevent further atrocities.

      The case for expanded surveillance of communications, however, is complicated by an analysis of recent terrorist attacks. The Intercept has reviewed 10 high-profile jihadi attacks carried out in Western countries between 2013 and 2015 (see below), and in each case some or all of the perpetrators were already known to the authorities before they executed their plot. In other words, most of the terrorists involved were not ghost operatives who sprang from nowhere to commit their crimes; they were already viewed as a potential threat, yet were not subjected to sufficient scrutiny by authorities under existing counterterrorism powers. Some of those involved in last week’s Paris massacre, for instance, were already known to authorities; at least three of the men appear to have been flagged at different times as having been radicalized, but warning signs were ignored.

    • Your Phone Is Listening—Literally Listening—to Your TV

      The TV is on in the background, and you’re replying to a quick email on your phone nearby. You don’t know it, but the devices are communicating. During a commercial, the TV emits an inaudible tone and your phone, which was listening for it, picks it up. Somewhere far away, a server makes a note: Both devices probably belong to you.

      This information about which devices belong to whom is immensely valuable to advertisers hoping to target ads specifically to you. In a simpler time, targeted marketing was easy. Most people had a computer at work and maybe another at home. If you sent an email about your new cat, ads for cat food started cropping up. If you searched for Thanksgiving recipes, Safeway coupons for turkeys appeared in your Facebook newsfeed.

    • NSA: Remember that mass email slurping we stopped? Well…

      Newly revealed documents (not from Snowden this time) show that the NSA has continued to collect Americans’ email traffic using overseas offices to get around curbs introduced domestically.

      Shortly after the September 11 attacks, President Bush authorized the NSA to collect bulk metadata on emails sent by Americans (although not the content) to help The War Against Terror (TWAT). The surveillance was authorized by the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which mostly rubberstamped such requests.

      But the collection was stopped in 2011, the NSA said, although it still monitored emails from Americans to people outside the nation’s borders. However, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit started by The New York Times against the NSA’s Inspector General has uncovered documents showing that the NSA carried on collecting domestic data.

      To get around the restrictions on operating in the USA, the NSA simply started using its overseas offices to do the collection. Stations like RAF Menwith Hill in Yorkshire were tasked with collecting the metadata and feeding it back to the NSA headquarters in Maryland.

    • Don’t Blame Edward Snowden for the Paris Attacks

      Soon after John Brennan, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, took the stage on Wednesday, at the annual conference of the Overseas Security Advisory Council, in Washington, D.C., he suggested that members of the audience might be aware of certain remarks he’d made in the aftermath of ISIS’s assault on Paris last Friday. But he also thought that they might have figured him wrong: “I invite you to look at what I said as opposed to what has been unfortunately misrepresented in some quarters, by my friends in the fourth estate.”

      What had been reported was that Brennan had blamed Edward Snowden, at least in part, for the terrorist attack in Paris. What he said came in response to Josh Rogin, of Bloomberg View, who, on Monday, at a forum held by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, had asked about the blame for the attack. It was, of course, “primarily at the feet of the terrorists,” but nonetheless Rogin asked, “How was this allowed to happen? . . . What went wrong?” Brennan replied, “In the past several years, because of a number of unauthorized disclosures and a lot of hand-wringing over the government’s role in the effort to try to uncover these terrorists, there have been some policy and legal and other actions that are taken that make our ability collectively, internationally, to find these terrorists much more challenging.” It is hard to tell the difference between that sentiment and the headline assessment that he had blamed Snowden—Brennan was not being particularly coy in his reference to “unauthorized disclosures.” As the Times wrote in an editorial, on Wednesday, “What he calls ‘hand-wringing’ was the sustained national outrage following the 2013 revelations by Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, that the agency was using provisions of the Patriot Act to secretly collect information on millions of Americans’ phone records.” James Woolsey, Brennan’s predecessor, was even more intemperate after the Paris attacks, saying that Snowden had “blood on his hands.” On Thursday, Woolsey added that Snowden should be “hanged.”

    • Encryption is not the enemy

      The terrorist attacks in Paris last week left people angry and fearful. But rather than listen to the age-old advice to never make decisions when you’re mad, too many American politicians and security officials have rushed to propose measures that further erode individual freedoms and, yes, security.

      In place of reasoned proposals that might actually improve security, knee-jerk reactions have centered on two areas: increasing government surveillance powers and banning encryption because terrorists use it to communicate.

    • Supporter Newsletter: November 2015

      But over the last couple of days, we’ve heard politicians call for the IPB to be fast tracked through Parliament and we’ve been asked what we think of this. We understand that people are rightly concerned about surveillance powers in the UK, but this is not the time to rush through legislation.

    • UK cops allegedly snooped on journalists to hunt down police whistleblower

      The UK’s Police Federation has written to the Independent Police Complaints Commission about the alleged use of the UK’s main surveillance law by Cleveland Police to snoop on three journalists, with the hope of using that surveillance to identify a whistleblower among its own ranks.

      The Federation, which is the staff association for all police constables, sergeants, and inspectors, claims that the phone records of a serving police officer, three journalists on The Northern Echo, a solicitor, and Police Federation representatives, were all targeted using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). As The Northern Echo writes, the alleged request to obtain phone data “was in part made to track down the source of a front-page story The Northern Echo ran in 2012, when it revealed an internal report at Cleveland Police had uncovered elements of institutional racism.”

      What makes the case particularly noteworthy is that the surveillance law allegedly used by Cleveland Police was not used to investigate a serious crime, but to winkle out a public-spirited whistleblower revealing possible problems in the same force. Arguably, Cleveland Police should have been pursuing those causing the problems instead.

  • Civil Rights

    • Stephen Colbert’s horrifying warning: Get used to President Trump

      For the first time ever, Donald Trump has captured 42 percent of Republican primary voters according to the latest poll that Stephen Colbert quoted on Tuesday night’s “Late Show.” If that freaks you out, you’re not alone. Colbert says that this has the Republican establishment shaking in their wingtips.

    • “The most heinous thing I have ever heard”: One Kansas woman’s ordeal over the use of medical marijuana

      You don’t want to be a medical marijuana patient in Kansas. You could face, arrest, prosecution, imprisonment, and the loss of your children. Just ask Shona Banda, who endured the latest chapter of her ordeal Monday.

      The Garden City mother faces five marijuana-related charges, including three felonies, and had her 11-year-old son taken away by the state after the boy piped up during an anti-drug class at school to say that his mom “smokes a lot.”

    • TSA Protester Needs Your Help

      In 2012 John Brennan protested the TSA by stripping nude in an Oregon airport, his actions were ruled a fully legal protest under Oregon law. Despite that ruling, the TSA insists on fining him $500.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • So This Is How Net Neutrality Dies

      Ever since the Federal Communication Commission’s net neutrality rules went into effect earlier this year, we’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop. The telecom industry and major internet service providers put considerable lobbying weight into stopping the FCC’s new rules—anyone paying attention knew that the industry’s initial loss wouldn’t be the end of this saga.

    • Comcast May Have Found a Major Net Neutrality Loophole

      Comcast may have found a major loophole in the Federal Communication Commission’s network neutrality regulations.

      Earlier this month the company launched a new streaming video service for Comcast broadband customers called Stream TV. The service, which is only available in the greater Boston and Chicago areas so far, allows you to watch HBO as well as live local television stations on your computer, tablet or laptop. The catch is that the service will only work from your home.

  • DRM

    • Apple boss says finding music online is too ‘difficult’ for women. Seriously

      It’s a problem we ladies just can’t wrap our silly little heads round – how on earth do we go about finding music online? You know, those things called songs to listen to when we’re with our girlfriends sobbing over having our fragile hearts broken by cruel boys.

      Well, fear not womankind – the answer is here. At least, according to Apple Music boss Jimmy Iovine it is. He went on CBS This Morning to helpfully explain how the product was inspired by his realisation that women needed help locating tunes on the actual real-life internet.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Is There Hope For Better WIPO Administration-Staff Relations?

      It is typical for the staff association at international organisations to vent complaints, but at the annual WIPO General Assembly held from 5-14 October, the WIPO association president used particularly strong language to describe the situation at the agency.

      “WIPO continues to go through some very difficult years,” the association president, Brett Fitzgerald, an American, said in a prepared statement [pdf] to the WIPO Coordination Committee in a closed session. The Coordination Committee is an important body of more than 80 out of the 188 members of WIPO.

    • EFF, Public Knowledge File Comments to Help Fix the Patent Office

      EFF and Public Knowledge filed comments today at the United States Patent and Trademark Office discussing proposed changes to Patent Office trials. Our comments focus on making the process more fair and accessible for small entities that need to challenge bad patents.

    • Copyrights

      • Movie Studio Will Interrogate Suspected Popcorn Time Users

        The makers of the Adam Sandler movie The Cobbler are allowed to interrogate Internet subscribers whose connections were used to pirate the film, a federal court has ruled. The filmmakers requested the depositions in order to discover the true identities of several Popcorn Time pirates.

      • State Board Moves to Sanction Prenda Lawyer

        John Steele and Paul Hansmeier formed a law firm which concentrated on copyright matters, which is to say, they sued John Does and sometimes individuals for allegedly downloading or sharing copyrighted pornographic videos. Steele Hansmeier became Prenda Law, which was succeeded by Hansmeier’s Alpha Law Firm. More recently, Paul Hansmeier’s law firm Class Justice has been suing small businesses for allegedly illegally discriminating against disabled people.

      • Rightscorp Burns $4 For Every Dollar Pirates Pay in Fines

        Piracy monetization firm Rightscorp has just turned in another set of disappointing results for the third quarter of 2015. After losing $424K during the three months ended September 30, the company has recorded a net loss of $3.1m for 2015 thus far. That means that for every dollar it receives in fines, the company loses $4.

      • Republican candidate hit with ‘Eye of the Tiger’ copyright lawsuit

        The author of the hit song “Eye of the Tiger” has sued Republican presidential candidate hopeful Mike Huckabee for the alleged unauthorised use of the track at a rally against gay marriage.

        Frank Sullivan co-authored the song in his time with the band Survivor and established music label Rude Music, the plaintiff in the copyright claim.


Links 20/11/2015: DockerCon EU, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Organize your cooking with an open source recipe manager

    Take the time to weigh your options, and answer some basic questions. Which device is easiest for me to access in the kitchen? How is the system I store them on backed up? What features are a dealbreaker? Whatever you decide, here are a few open source software solutions to recipe management you might want to consider.

  • Changing Tack: Evolving Attitudes to Open Source

    What does it mean when an organization that saw software as an asset worth protecting commits to open source? Or one that viewed software as the ends rather than the means and had tens of billions of dollars worth of evidence supporting this conclusion? The short answer is that it means that open source is being viewed more rationally and dispassionately than we’ve seen since the first days of the SHARE user group.

  • Ekinops demos DWDM with Onos open source SDN controller

    The interoperability assessment was done on a mesh network consisting of several Ekinops 360 Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexer (ROADM) nodes. To perform this live demonstration, 100 Gbps second wavelength routes were created via the Onos controller and automatically routed within the mesh network.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Storm in a teacup: Wileyfox does Android cheapie, British style

        Review Wileyfox is the first new British phone brand in over a decade, and it’s hoping to cash in on the Shenzhen economic miracle.

        Not so long ago, cheap Android phones were synonymous with “Landfill”. There was usually something lacking. But rapid advances in component manufacturing and packaging have seen companies enter the market offering extraordinary value for money. The upstarts offer near high spec devices for a fraction of the cost of a top brand flagship, benefiting from huge economies of scale gained by selling into India and China, and some novel (for hardware) low or zero margin business models. These are dubbed “flagship killers” or “super midrange” devices. So if Chinese startups can do it, why can’t we?

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • CMS

    • Why I chose WordPress for my college football blog

      At this point, I started making WordPress websites—taking a theme and customizing it to create a branded site for companies. I definitely felt empowered. WordPress is open source, and I am grateful for this, as it has become the very core of many successful businesses across the globe. It is the core of what I do every day, whether writing, consulting, or developing a website.

  • Healthcare

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Netflix and skill: Web vid giant open sources Spinnaker cloud tool

      Netflix has released Spinnaker, an open-source tool for testing and rolling out software updates in the cloud.

      The Apache 2.0-licensed code provides continuous delivery of applications, including managing and monitoring their deployment. Netflix said Spinnaker will replace its Asgard project.


    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: November 20th
    • Service composition in GuixSD

      GuixSD is not like your parents’ distro. Instead of fiddling with configuration files all around, or running commands that do so as a side effect, the system administrator declares what the system will be like. This takes the form of an operating-system declaration, which specifies all the details: file systems, user accounts, locale, timezone, system services, etc.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Bulgaria to start open source repository

      The government of Bulgaria has proposed to start a repository for open source software. The government also wants to make it mandatory to use the web based code revision and code management system for all future government software development projects.

    • Editable version UK’s ODF guidance

      A free software advocate has created an editable version of the UK government’s Open Document Format manuals, the “ODF Guidance”. Making the texts available on the Github software development repository facilitates others to edit, update and translate the texts, explains Paolo Dongilli, uploaded the documents to Github on 28 October.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • How to hack your tea

      Of all the beverages out there, one stands out among the rest. Tea.

    • Open Hardware

      • Meet HU-GO, the Open Source DIY Low-Cost Wheelchair with 3D Printed Parts

        Most able-bodied people don’t really understand exactly how expensive it is to be disabled in a world built for people who are not. I have heard several people, after reading an article about e-NABLE, comment about how shocked that they are at the cost of traditional prostheses. I would imagine that the same sticker shock would apply to those who have never had to purchase a wheelchair. On the low end, wheelchairs still cost several hundred dollars, but they can reach costs up into the thousands. And electric powered chairs are even more expensive, with prices often doubling the cost of their manual counterparts. That is hard for most people to afford in a developed country like the United States, but would be nearly impossible for a poor person in developing countries.

  • Programming

    • Work Set on Open Source Compiler

      The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and its three national labs have reached an agreement with NVIDIA’s PGI® software to create an open source Fortran compiler designed for integration with the widely used LLVM compiler infrastructure.

      LLVM (formerly Low Level Virtual Machine), a collection of reusable compiler and tool chain technologies with a modular design, facilitates support for a wide variety of programming languages and processor architectures. The Fortran front-end module created through this project will be derived from NVIDIA’s PGI Fortran compiler.


  • The 5 Most Infamous Software Bugs in History

    In the digital era, computer bugs can affect our lives, the economy of a nation and even the well-functioning of society in general. As the internet of things gradually invades all aspects of our environment, the importance of identifying and preventing computer bugs grows exponentially.

  • Security

    • How were Linux kernel servers rooted four years ago?

      Moen added that in sharp contrast, when the servers of the Debian GNU/Linux project were broken into in 2007, developer Wichert Akkerman posted what he (Moen) described as “an excellent report” about what had happened. Moen added that when the servers of the Apache web server were compromised, the Apache Foundation did not hold back on detailing what had taken place.

      And when the Debian project released a version of OpenSSL with a serious vulnerability unwittingly created by one of its own developers, it made no bones about it and made a full public confession.

    • Web Stores Held Hostage

      Last week has seen an explosion of e-commerce sites infected with the Linux.Encoder.1 ransomware. For those not familiar with the term, ransomware is a particularly vicious type of malware that aims to extort money from the owners of compromised systems.

    • Ransomware Encrypting Files Proliferating Rapidly on Linux, warn security Researchers
    • The danger of ‘exceptional access’

      In the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris on Friday, there have been renewed calls to find some way to allow the government to read encrypted communications. And on the surface, it sounds simple and obvious — why wouldn’t we want the government to be able to monitor terrorists? But the reality is that it’s a very bad idea, not only because it won’t work, but because it will hurt Internet security more broadly.

      Of course, at this point, we don’t even know if the Paris attackers used encryption. There’s speculation they did, because reports suggest that no intelligence agency has found any traffic by them. But right now it’s just that: speculation.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Death-Squad Organizer Is NYT’s Source on Ben Carson’s Lack of Foreign Policy Smarts

      In its effort to vet one of the leading GOP presidential candidates, Dr. Ben Carson, the New York Times didn’t properly vet its primary source in this vetting, former CIA officer Duane Clarridge—an indicted liar and overseer of Contra death squads in Central America.

    • Coverage of Russian Plane Bombing Shows What a Difference an Enemy Makes

      Before it was determined that a bomb caused the crash, Associated Press‘s Jim Heintz (11/7/15) wrote a speculative piece that began, “No matter what caused the fatal crash of a Russian airliner in Egypt, the answer will almost certainly hit Russia hard—but not President Vladimir Putin.” Whether it was terrorism or mechanical failure, Heintz wrote, “Either answer could challenge Russia’s new self-confidence—but could also be used by Putin to advance his aims and reinforce his power.”

      Needless to say, we’re not seeing a lot of coverage of how France’s François Hollande could use the Paris attacks “to advance his aims and reinforce his power.”

      While US outlets were circumspect to the point of being unintelligible in drawing a connection between France’s war against ISIS in Syria/Iraq and the Paris attacks, AP had no trouble making it clear that Russia had been targeted not because of its values or symbols but because of its military attacks against a violent adversary: “A faction of the militant Islamic State group claimed it had downed the airliner in retaliation for Russia launching airstrikes on IS positions in Syria a month earlier.”

    • ISIS Killed More Americans in Beirut Than in Paris–but Only Their Hometown Papers Noticed

      The debates continue over whether last week’s ISIS terror bombing in Beirut was undercovered by the media or just unappreciated by an uninterested public — even though, as Jim Naureckas pointed out on Tuesday, US news outlets overwhelmingly skewed their coverage toward the next day’s mass killings in Paris, in quantity, placement and level of sympathy for the victims, not just in number of Facebook shares. (As of this morning, the New York Times had run 130 stories mentioning Paris and terror attacks since November 13, versus 20 mentioning Beirut — with much of the Paris coverage being front-page news, while Beirut was mostly relegated to brief mentions deep within the paper—often in articles that were primarily about the Paris violence.)

    • Syrian-American Survivor Of Paris Attacks: Telling Syrian Refugees “That They Are The Problem … Is Very Upsetting”

      Dina Jaber: “I’m Sure If You Were To Hear What They Have Been Through, You Wouldn’t Think That They Were A Threat To You”

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • A Change of Political Climate

      I just watched a recording of Westminster yesterday where Tory Minister Amber Rudd announced the government was rapidly dropping the subsidy for solar energy down to zero. Yet the government has just agreed to pay to the nuclear industry a subsidy that will dwarf, in real terms, all the subsidies ever given to the coal and renewable industries combined, and what is more will be paid to the Chinese and the French. I am lost for words.

      Nor am I in any way pleased to be proved instantly correct, that Western governments view terrorist incidents like that in Paris primarily as a means to enhance their power and social control.

    • Koch Spy Agency Led by Voter Fraud Huckster

      The Kochs have been complaining about a “lack of civility in politics” as they seek to boost their public image–but one of their top operatives helped propel perhaps the most egregious case of race-baiting voter fraud hucksterism in recent years.

    • CMD Submits Evidence of Exxon Mobil Funding ALEC’s Climate Change Denial to New York Attorney General

      The Center for Media and Democracy, a national watchdog group exposing corporate influence on democracy, has submitted evidence to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman showing how Exxon Mobil has promoted climate change denial through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). CMD believes this information is relevant to the landmark investigation into whether Exxon Mobil deceived its shareholders and the public about the impact that burning fossil fuels has on climate change.

    • Kochs’ Freedom Partners Spent $129M in 2014, Invested Massively in Voter Data Lists

      The Koch network’s secret bank, “Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce,” spent big during the 2014 midterm elections, including doubling its investment in voter data collection efforts and secretly backing U.S. Senate candidates associated with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

    • Brussels, big energy, and revolving doors: a hothouse for climate change

      As environment and energy ministers prepare to meet in Paris for the COP 21 climate change talks, CEO takes a look at how the revolving door ensures that the EU institutions remain close to Big Energy.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • The Paris Attacks And The Encryption/Surveillance Bogeyman: The Story So Far

      All of this is no surprise, as just a couple of months ago the intelligence community’s top lawyer flat-out admitted that he and his friends planned to wait for the next terrorist attack to push their agenda.

    • Using Paris Attacks as Excuse to Expand Domestic Spying

      It’s no surprise that Friday’s Paris attacks are already being used to push for both more and continued surveillance here in the U.S.

      FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler was on Capitol Hill on Tuesday speaking before a House subcommittee, making the case for expanding the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) which compelled telecom companies, Internet providers and some VoIP services to make their networks easier for law enforcement to access. Wheeler would like Congress to consider expanding the scope of the law to include devices such as gaming platforms, which now have capabilities that go beyond mere gaming.

    • Carnegie Mellon: We Didn’t Get $1M to Hack Tor

      Carnegie Mellon University this week denied reports it was paid by the FBI to help identify criminal suspects on the Dark Web.

  • Civil Rights

    • Anti-Syrian Muslim Refugee Rhetoric Mirrors Calls to Reject Jews During Nazi Era

      During the 1930s and early 1940s, the United States resisted accepting large numbers of Jewish refugees escaping the Nazi terror sweeping Europe, in large part because of fearmongering by a small but vocal crowd.

      They claimed that the refugees were communist or anarchist infiltrators intent on spreading revolution; that refugees were part of a global Jewish-capitalist conspiracy to take control of the United States from the inside; that the refugees were either Nazis in disguise or under the influence of Nazi agents sent to commit acts of sabotage; and that Jewish refugees were out to steal American jobs.

      Many rejected Jews simply because they weren’t Christian.

    • Thrashing Not Swimming

      David Cameron relies on the complicity of mainstream media and the gullibility and disinterest of the British public to get away with an extraordinary switch. Two years ago he was strongly urging military action in Syria against the forces of President Assad. Now he urges military action against the enemies of President Assad. That includes against groups and individuals who were initially armed and financed by western intelligence agencies, and are still being financed by our Saudi “allies”.

    • George Osborne’s National Spider Plan
    • A Police State to Avoid Any Critical Evaluation?

      Today the French National Assembly adopted the bill on the state of emergency. This text was adopted in great urgency in an unprecedented one-upmanship autoritarian atmosphere. La Quadrature du Net expresses its concerns about several measures found in the bill, especially regarding police searches of electronic devices, Internet censorship and freedom of association. Rather than enganging in any thorough consideration of the causes that led to the killings and of the way to solve this complex situation, the entire French political class betrays itself by responding to this unprecedented attack on our liberties with a broad restriction of our civil liberties.

    • Two questions about “something must be done” following the Paris attacks

      But each such demand raises two issues: one of practicality, and one of principle. That is: would the proposal actually help, and does the proposal conflict with the supposed principles, and way of life, we are presumably seeking to defend.

      In terms of practice: just doing “something” does not mean you are doing the right thing. It may make no difference, or it may make things worse. In terms of dealing with terrorism, one false move can cause problems for a generation. The history of dealing with the terrorist problems in Northern Ireland is packed with examples of things being “done” which just caused greater difficulties later on.

    • ‘We Are in a Whole New Struggle Over the Right to Vote Now’

      The 2016 election will be the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. Joining us now to discuss the significance of that is Ari Berman. He’s a senior contributing writer for The Nation magazine and an investigative fellow at the Nation Institute. He’s author of, most recently, Give Us the Ballot: the Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America. Welcome to CounterSpin, Ari Berman.

    • The damning Commons justice committee report on the criminal courts charge

      One of the most illiberal and misconceived measures adopted by the Ministry of Justice – perhaps by any government department in recent years – was the criminal courts charge.

    • Independence By 2018

      The people of Scotland thus have multiple citizenships. They are citizens of Scotland, and of two over-arching bodies, of the United Kingdom and of the European Union. Both UK and EU citizenship are very real, with EU citizenship in particular conferring a wide range of individual rights to the citizen enshrined in numerous international treaties. This dual citizenship is reflected on your passport. On both the cover and the inside page, it says European Union above United Kingdom.

  • Intellectual Monopolies


Links 19/11/2015: Linux Kernel 3.2.73 LTS, DockerCon EU

Posted in News Roundup at 2:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 14 amazing open source gifts for the holidays

    Here it is the annual Opensource.com holiday gift guide. Our collection of gifts is sure to get kids, adults, and hobbyists geared up and ready for hours of fun coding and creating. We’ve got 3D printers, Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, gadgets, robotics, and more!

  • Plotly to open source its dataviz code

    Data visualization platform Plotly is open-sourcing its powerful JavaScript library, which supports three dozen different types of graphics including maps, box plots and density plots as well as more common offerings like as bar and line charts. The code is scheduled to be posted on GitHub at https://github.com/plotly/plotly.js today.

  • Hiring Open Source Maintainers is Key to Stable Software Supply Chain

    Samsung is on a multi-year journey to become both a better consumer of open source, and a better contributor and leader in the projects that end up in our products. The reasons for doing so are quite clear to us: While it’s easy to use code that’s made freely available, it’s risky and potentially quite expensive to rely upon it long-term, unless you are proactively working within the community.

    The reason it’s potentially risky is actually the flip side of two of the biggest benefits of open source: development moves extremely fast, and a vibrant developer community leads to more diverse contributions. The result of this combination is that the APIs and the features you depend upon today could be entirely different tomorrow, depending upon the will of the contributor community.

  • Open source projects rely on donated time—what motivates participants?

    The study’s authors collected data from approximately a thousand R contributors who responded to a questionnaire distributed via e-mail. The respondents were asked about what drove them to participate in the project, with possible answers including taking pleasure in applying their skills and feeling a sense of responsibility toward the scientific community. They were also asked about extrinsic motivators, such as the potential that their work could help with academic advancement. Additionally, the surveys included questions about the characteristics of the software development work (e.g. repetitive, technical, social) and the demographics of participants.

  • Implementing open source requires tough staffing, IT calls
  • Import old email archives into Gmail using these open source tools from Google

    If you want to try these open source tools yourself, you can download them at Github (mail-importer and import-mailbox-to-gmail). Unfortunately, mail-importer appears to only support Thunderbird at this time. If you used a different client, you will need to wait for a future update. If you are savvy enough, maybe you can tweak the source to make it work. I have a large Lotus Notes archive saved — I won’t hold my breath on that one being anyone’s priority.

  • Celebrate GIS Day 2015 with 3 open source alternatives to Google Maps API

    If you’re looking to get started with web mapping, here are three libraries which are worth checking out.

  • Stickers

    Basically, stickers are a great way to promote open source projects. Also – fun! For more “Rules of sticker club” go HERE.

  • Events

    • LinuxCon Europe – Day 1

      The conference was opened by the LinuxFoundation’s Executive Jim Zemlin. He thanked the FSF for their 30 years of work. I was a little surprised to hear that, given the differences between OpenSource and Free Software. He continued by mentioning the 5 Billion Dollar report which calculates how much “value” the projects hosted at Linux Foundation have generated over the last five years. He said that a typical product contains 80%, 90%, or even more Free and Open Source Software. He also extended the list of projects by the Real Time Collaborative project which, as far as I understood, effectively means to hire Thomas Gleisxner to work on the Real Time Linux patches.

  • Databases

  • CMS

    • Setting up a Digital Ocean remotely hosted WordPress blog

      After considering our options, we decided to try using a Digital Ocean “Droplet” to host a WordPress blog. Here, I want to tell you how that went, and give a few pointers. This might be a good idea for some of you. And, I’ll explain what the heck Digital Ocean is in case you don’t know.

  • Education

    • RoboTutor team using open source tools to address short supply of teachers, schools

      Where were these Carnegie Mellon University researchers when Sister Thomas Catherine was frightening me and other good little Catholic school 3rd graders back in the day?

      CMU today informed us that a team of its researchers is taking aim at the $10 million grand prize of the $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE competition, the goal of which is to empower children to take control of their own learning via tablet computers, software and the like. The competition was announced about a year ago.

  • BSD

    • LLVM’s Clang Lands More CUDA Improvements

      Just days after writing about GPUCC as Google’s open-source CUDA compiler built atop LLVM and how to compile CUDA code with LLVM, more improvements have landed.

      There’s now support for CUDA compilation by default as one of the most prominent changes today. “Currently clang requires several additional command line options in order to enable new features needed during CUDA compilation. This patch makes these options default.” That change was done by Artem Belevich at Google.


    • GCC 5.2 Compiler Benchmarks With ARM Cortex-A57 A Mixed Bag

      In this article are some benchmarks using the Jetson TX1 when running open-source tests using the stock GCC 4.8.4 compiler and then trying out GCC 4.9.3 and GCC 5.2.1. The same compiler flags were used each time when building the benchmarks under each of the different compilers using the automated Phoronix Test Suite. GCC 4.9 and GCC 5.2 were obtained from the Ubuntu Toolchain PPA. All tests are built on the Jetson TX1 without any cross-compilation or other steps.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Farmers need better software

      The Open Food Network is a free, open source, scalable e-commerce marketplace and logistics platform that enables communities and producers to connect, trade, and coordinate the movement of food. It was founded by Serenity Hill and Kirsten Larsen, and besides being a network of consumers and producers, Open Food Network is built on free and open source software and released under AGPL license. Plus, anyone can contribute to the project on GitHub.

    • These Biohackers Are Creating Open-Source Insulin

      The 370 million people worldwide with diabetes rely on injections of insulin to regulate the amount of sugar in their blood, since their bodies can’t make the hormone themselves. Since there are no generic versions available in the United States, insulin is very expensive—that cost was likely a large proportion of the $176 billion in medical expenditures incurred by diabetes patients in 2012 alone. Now a team of biohackers with Counter Culture Labs, a community lab in Oakland, California, wants to pave the way towards generic insulin, and they’ve started a crowdfunding page for their project.

    • OpenCar wants to open source in-vehicle infotainment

      The OpenCar suite of offerings come together to work in a way similar to the software developer kits (SDK) offered for various tech and platforms. Everything from Web-based applications like WordPress to gadgets like the Apple Watch have developer kits associated with them so that third-party programmers can build software to work with them. In many ways, what OpenCar is offering is the platform for an SDK for in-car infotainment. Automakers still have to sign on and make their software compatible, but in return they can open their vehicle infotainment to outside developers without compromising its integrity or their control of the experience, branding, and legalities.

    • How will the children of the future learn about science?

      As our understanding of the world expands, it is important to ensure that that knowledge is equally accessible by all members of our society. This is vital to the progress of humanity. This philosophy, which is shared by the open source software movement, is not new; it has been around since the 1600s when the first academic journals were published for public reading. The Jupyter Notebook hints at what the academic journals of tomorrow will look like and paints a promising picture. They will be interactive, visualization-focused, user-friendly, and include code and data as first-class citizens. I believe that these unique characteristics will go a long way toward bridging the gap of understanding between the scientific community and the general public through both narrative and code—a gap that, when bridged, will have a significant impact on our society.

    • Open Data

      • EC brings pan-European open data together on European Data Portal

        On November 16, the European Commission launched the European Data Portal, which will serve as a central gateway to data published by administrations in countries across Europe, from the EU and beyond. Currently over 240,000 datasets from 34 European countries can be accessed through thirteen different categories and a multi-language search function.

      • Greek geodata project extends open data platform

        The Greek government’s open geodata platform (geodata.gov.gr) is making available as open source several tools and extensions to CKAN, a commonly used data management system. The development of reusable tools to help publish and discover open geospatial data is one of the goals of the PublicaMundi project that built Greece’s geodata platform.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • You might want to hug this book: a review of ‘Git for Teams’

      Git has a bit of a reputation as being difficult to learn and even more difficult to master. Because it’s such a powerful and flexible tool, it is easy for users to make hard-to-correct mistakes. When working with others, it becomes even easier to get out of sorts. Git for Teams aims to solve that problem by not only teaching the reader how to use Git, but how to use teams.


  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • 2015 shatters the temperature record as global warming speeds back up

      With just a month and a half left in 2015, it’s clear this year will be by far the hottest on record, easily beating the previous record set just last year. The temporary slowdown in the warming of global surface temperatures (also misnamed the “pause”) has ended, as each of the past four years has been hotter than the one before.

      El Niño is one reason 2015 has been such an incredibly hot year. During El Niño events, hot water is transported from the deep ocean layers to the surface. Over the past 15 years, we’ve experienced more La Niñas than El Niños, which helped temporarily slow the warming of global surface temperatures.

    • I’m a nuclear armageddon survivor: Ask me anything

      Press events are usually decadent affairs of food, drink, and well-dressed executives in up-market hotels. Not this one. A small number of journalists including your correspondent were dumped at dusk in a wet field in the Essex countryside, given blue boilersuits and a small knapsack containing bottle-tops and leaflets, and told to await developments. As most press events don’t ask for disclosure of any medical conditions, nor involve signing a waiver against accidents, those developments were unlikely to be pleasant.

    • The Koch intelligence agency

      The political network helmed by Charles and David Koch has quietly built a secretive operation that conducts surveillance and intelligence gathering on its liberal opponents, viewing it as a key strategic tool in its efforts to reshape American public life.

      The operation, which is little-known even within the Koch network, gathers what Koch insiders refer to as “competitive intelligence” that is used to try to thwart liberal groups and activists, and to identify potential threats to the expansive network.

      Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/the-koch-brothers-intelligence-agency-215943#ixzz3rrzL8oiR

  • Finance

    • House Democrats call TPP ‘too big’ to pass Congress

      A half dozen House Democrats asserted on Wednesday that opposition is growing for a sweeping Asia-Pacific trade agreement as the White House ramps up efforts to build support for the deal.

      The six Democrats — Reps. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), Louise Slaughter (N.Y.), Marcy Kaptur (Ohio), Nydia Velázquez (N.Y.), Mark Pocan (Wis.) and Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) — said the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal is “too big” to pass Congress and must be scrapped.

      The Democrats, who have long opposed the expansive deal, said the more than 5,000-page agreement, which they carted out in front of the Capitol by hand truck for a press conference, is a big giveaway to multi-national corporations and will have devastating effects on the U.S. economy, jobs and wages.

  • Privacy

    • Don’t Blame Encryption for ISIS Attacks

      Let’s start with what we don’t know. No firm details have been released about how the perpetrators of the attacks in Paris last Friday communicated.

      All the same, some media outlets, politicians, and security leaders in Europe and the U.S. are now suggesting that the tragic events show how encryption technology has lately made it easier for terrorists to evade the authorities.

      Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan complained about that at an event at the Center for Strategic & International Studies on Monday. “There are a lot of technological capabilities that are available right now that make it exceptionally difficult, both technically as well as legally, for intelligence security services to have insight that they need,” he said.

      There is also much chatter about the possibility that the Paris attackers used Sony’s Playstation gaming network to communicate because it offers a very high level of protection against eavesdropping. This is based on a false assertion—now retracted—that a Playstation 4 console was among the items seized in a series of raids this weekend in France and Belgium. (Belgium’s interior minister did say last week that it was “very, very difficult” for intelligence agencies to “decrypt” communications made through Playstations, but he didn’t back up his claim.)

    • EU centre-right group using Paris tragedy to try to kill data protection directive

      Since the Paris attacks politicians, police and intelligence agencies have pushed for more mass surveillance. And now, it seems they are also trying to undermine the new EU framework for data protection.

      The EU data protection directive has been under massive fire from special interests and member states in the council. But the European Parliament has been firm in insisting on a clear and meaningful framework to protect citizens private data.

    • FBI Paid Carnegie Mellon $1M to Crack User IDs, Claims Tor

      The Tor Project last week claimed the FBI paid Carnegie Mellon University $1 million to crack the anonymity of Tor users.

    • U.S. Mass Surveillance Has No Record of Thwarting Large Terror Attacks, Regardless of Snowden Leaks

      Despite the intelligence community’s attempts to blame NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for the tragic attacks in Paris on Friday, the NSA’s mass surveillance programs do not have a track record — before or after Snowden — of identifying or thwarting actual large-scale terrorist plots.

      CIA Director John Brennan asserted on Monday that “many of these terrorist operations are uncovered and thwarted before they’re able to be carried out,” and lamented the post-Snowden “handwringing” that has made that job more difficult.

      But the reason there haven’t been any large-scale terror attacks by ISIS in the U.S. is not because they were averted by the intelligence community, but because — with the possible exception of one that was foiled by local police — none were actually planned.

    • Study finds no increase in jihadists’ use of encryption since Snowden leaks

      Is Edward Snowden to blame, even indirectly, for the Paris attacks that left 129 dead and hundreds others injured?

      Ask surveillance hawks, and you’ll likely get an emphatic “Yes!” The rising popularity of encrypted communications following Snowden’s 2013 leak of gigabytes of secret NSA documents has made terrorists far more difficult to identify, they say. Without Snowden, the attackers would still be out in the open.

    • Syrian passports found at Paris attacks scene were fakes made in Turkey

      EU commission chief says EU does not need to review migration policy in light of fears that militants posing as refugees launched attacks

    • NYT Quietly Pulls Article Blaming Encryption in Paris Attacks

      Questions about how the terrorists behind Friday’s attacks in Paris managed to evade electronic surveillance have fueled worrisome speculation in Europe and in the U.S. from intelligence experts, lawmakers and the press — including the New York Times, which on Sunday quietly pulled from its website a story alleging the attackers used encrypted technology.

      On Sunday, the Times published a story citing unidentified “European officials” who told the outlet the attackers coordinated their assault on the French capital via unspecified “encryption technology.”

      “The attackers are believed to have communicated using encryption technology, according to European officials who had been briefed on the investigation but were not authorized to speak publicly,” the article, which has since been removed, stated.

    • After Endless Demonization Of Encryption, Police Find Paris Attackers Coordinated Via Unencrypted SMS

      In the wake of the tragic events in Paris last week encryption has continued to be a useful bogeyman for those with a voracious appetite for surveillance expansion. Like clockwork, numerous reports were quickly circulated suggesting that the terrorists used incredibly sophisticated encryption techniques, despite no evidence by investigators that this was the case. These reports varied in the amount of hallucination involved, the New York Times even having to pull one such report offline. Other claims the attackers had used encrypted Playstation 4 communications also wound up being bunk.

      Yet pushed by their sources in the government, the media quickly became a sound wall of noise suggesting that encryption was hampering the government’s ability to stop these kinds of attacks. NBC was particularly breathless this week over the idea that ISIS was now running a 24 hour help desk aimed at helping its less technically proficient members understand encryption (even cults help each other use technology, who knew?). All of the reports had one central, underlying drum beat implication: Edward Snowden and encryption have made us less safe, and if you disagree the blood is on your hands.

  • Civil Rights

    • What Americans thought of Jewish refugees on the eve of World War II

      The results of the poll illustrated above by the useful Twitter account @HistOpinion were published in the pages of Fortune magazine in July 1938. Fewer than 5 percent of Americans surveyed at the time believed that the United States should raise its immigration quotas or encourage political refugees fleeing fascist states in Europe — the vast majority of whom were Jewish — to voyage across the Atlantic. Two-thirds of the respondents agreed with the proposition that “we should try to keep them out.”

    • ​’Offensive and hysterical’: Obama lashes Republicans over Syrian refugees

      President says Congress lawmakers and state governors are doing Islamic State’s work…

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Elsevier Says Downloading And Content-Mining Licensed Copies Of Research Papers ‘Could Be Considered’ Stealing

        Elsevier has pretty much established itself as the most hated company in the world of academic publishing, a fact demonstrated most recently when all the editors and editorial board resigned from one of its top journals to set up their own, open access rival. A blog post by the statistician Chris H.J. Hartgerink shows that Elsevier is still an innovator when it comes to making life hard for academics. Hartgerink’s work at Tilburg University in the Netherlands concerns detecting potentially problematic research that might involve data fabrication — obviously an important issue for the academic world.

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