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03.28.15

Links 28/3/2015: FoundationDB FOSS Shut Down by Apple, European Commission Support for Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 6:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 28/3/2015: FoundationDB OSS Shut Down by Apple, European Commission Support for Free Software

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • The state of open source security

    If there’s a poster child for the challenges facing open source security, it may be Werner Koch, the German developer who wrote and for the last 18 years has toiled to maintain Gnu Privacy Guard (GnuPG), a pillar of the open source software ecosystem.

    Since its first production release in 1999, GnuPG has become one of the most widely used open source security tools in the world, protecting the email communication of everyone from government officials to Edward Snowden.

  • A Data-Driven Look at the Open Source E-Commerce Market

    Compared to Q4 2013, last quarter’s US online sales rose 14.6 percent to a staggering $79.6 billion dollars. This accounted for 6.7 percent of the total US retail sales market. Major trends fueling this growth include the proliferation of mobile devices, faster online checkout flows and improved fulfillment practices.

  • Apple Acquires FoundationDB

    Allegedly, Apple has recently acquired FoundationDB, a company specialized in fast and cost-effective database software.

  • Don’t Let Apple Scare You Away From Open Source

    Earlier this week, Ben Kepes reported here on Forbes that Apple acquired enterprise database startup FoundationDB. As often happens in these situations, FoundationDB stopped accepting new customers for its paid services. But the company’s code repository was also emptied or made private, leaving third party developers dependent upon open source code associated with this database with no official place to get it. Some have been quick to suggest this is a good reason not to build products or services that rely upon open source software. It would be a mistake to believe them.

  • What Happens When Apple Buys a Company You Depend On

    Travis Jeffery is a software developer who’s been using a database system called FoundationDB for a project at his startup. Earlier this week, he noticed that the software had been pulled from the web. He soon received a terse email confirming that the software had been taken down intentionally, but little else. “We have made the decision to evolve our company mission,” it read. “And as of today, we will no longer offer downloads.”

  • The dark side of commercial open source

    Apple’s acquisition of FoundationDB is a warning to all: contribute to the open-source projects you love, or risk losing them.

  • Bazel: Google Build Tool is now Open Source

    Bazel, the tool that Google uses to build the majority of its software has been partially open sourced. According to Google, Bazel is aimed to build “code quickly and reliably” and is “critical to Google’s ability to continue to scale its software development practices as the company grows.”

  • Events

    • Qt Developer Days Videos and passing the torch

      For the past three years, KDAB has had the honor and pleasure to bring you the European Qt Developer Days Conference in Berlin.

    • Linux Seeks Security, Unity

      Linux is expanding its reach, promising to play a significant role in the Internet of Things. But the open source software needs more attention to interoperability, security and its kernel, according to experts at the Embedded Linux Conference here.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Calling Out OkCupid

        Anyways, to the point, I hate to open a can of worms but when I heard this news I thought back to this same time last year and remembered how gung ho OkCupid was over Mozilla’s appointment of Brendan Eich because of his personal beliefs and that they ultimately decided to block all Firefox users.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Red Hat’s Bet on OpenStack, OpenShift Shows Progress

      Yesterday, I reported on Red Hat delivering its fourth quarter and year-end financial results, which were strong. There were some interesting forces driving the numbers, though. In particular, Red Hat is now a couple of years into a strategic shift toward facilitating OpenStack cloud computing for enterprises, and CEO Jim Whitehurst pointed to that fork in the road as beginning to pay off. Here are some more detailed glimpses into Red Hat’s increasingly significant cloud business.

    • OpenStack Kilo Now at Feature Freeze

      We’re now in the stretch run for the OpenStack Kilo platform release.

    • Hadoop Security Still Evolving

      When it comes to security, what does it take to make Hadoop “enterprise ready?”

    • Open Source Cloud Firm GreenQloud to Stop Offering IaaS

      Icelandic cloud provider GreenQloud, which has been a major open source cloud supporter, has informed customers it is closing its public cloud service. The company will go on focusing on selling Apache CloudStack cloud called QStack to be managed by others. The public compute and and storage services are ending in October 2015.

  • Databases

    • Q&A: Databases, Open Source & Virtualisation with CEO Vinay Joosery

      Adding PostgreSQL coverage to the solution has enabled IT operators to manage the three most popular open source databases – MySQL, MongoDB and PostgreSQL – from one ClusterControl platform. The upgrade also boosts increased monitoring capabilities and encryption between MySQL and MariaDB to protect costumers from losing sensitive data.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • 4 keys to success for LibreOffice as a service

      The announcement of LibreOffice Online this week came as welcome news to many people concerned about the paucity of online options for those who want software freedom with their online document solutions. But can open source SaaS succeed?

      The open source community needs a truly open alternative to current mainstream online document collaboration solutions, all of which are compromised by lock-in. LibreOffice Online will offer the full flexibility to deploy in-house or hosted cloud instances while using true open standards for its documents.

    • What will it take to merge LibreOffice and OpenOffice?

      Ordinarily, I’m all for diversity in free software projects. However, I make an exception in the case of LibreOffice and OpenOffice. The sooner they become a single project, the better.

      In other cases, I’m slow to accept arguments against duplication of projects. Combining projects does not automatically make for greater efficiency or quicker development; especially in the beginning, personalities can sabotage or even reverse any gains.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Free Software’s Fifth Freedom

      So the next time you’re trying to convince someone of the important of free and open software, and they chime in with the fact that don’t want to change it, try pointing out that by using proprietary code they’re limiting their options for getting it fixed when it inevitably breaks.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Govt wants Open Source Software in all its departments

      The Government of India is soon coming out with an “Open software policy” according to Union Minister for Telecommunications and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad. Speaking at the 3rd Web Ratna Awards ceremony, the Minister mentioned that under the new policy, all proposals for e-governance projects will include a mandatory clause for considering open source software as a preferred option.

    • Microsoft and Oracle are ‘not your trusted friends’, public sector bods

      Software providers such as Microsoft and Oracle are aggressively targeting public sector customers with licence “audit reviews” in a bid to plug falling subscription revenue, according to research.

      Over one-third of the 436 councils surveyed across the UK have been subject to at least one software licence review in the last 20 months, according to a report from software licensing costs advice company Cerno.

    • eGoverment in the Netherlands

      Just a few days ago it was anounced publicly that not only is the Pleio community is hard at work on improving the platform to raise the bar yet again, but that Kolab will be a part of that. A joint development project has been agreed to and is now underway as part of a new Pleio pilot project.

    • EC to create level playing field for open source

      The European Commission will create a level playing field for open source software when procuring new software solutions, it announced on 27 March. Evaluation of open source and proprietary software will take into account their total cost of ownership and exit costs.

    • European Commission Open Source Software Strategy 2014-2017

      Equal treatment in procurement

      Contribution to communities

      Clarification of legal aspects

      Open-source and interoperable Commission-developed software

      Transparency and better communication

    • NHS rolls out Vendor Neutral Archive initiative to open source records

      NHS ENGLAND HAS been talking about the latest strand of its move toward open digital solutions to provide interoperability between the myriad departmental systems that are proprietary, incompatible or just plain disparate.

      The organisation is to adopt Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) as a standard format to store everything from X-rays to scanned letters and patient notes, in order to avoid lock-in with proprietary systems and allow easy sharing of data across the NHS.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Prosecutors: Germanwings co-pilot hid illness from employers before crashing passenger flight

    Investigators didn’t find a suicide note or claim of responsibility at the home of Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, but they did find a torn-up sick note from the day of the plane crash, German authorities said Friday.

  • Andreas Lubitz: Evidence He ‘Hid Illness From His Employer’ In Germanwings Co-Pilot’s Dusseldorf Flat

    The object will now be tested to see if it will illuminate why Lubitz locked the captain out of the cockpit and engaged and reset the autopilot to take the doomed plane from 38,000 feet to just 100ft.

  • Science

    • Silicon Valley gender gap is widening

      Najla Bulous wants to change the face of Silicon Valley.

      The daughter of immigrants from Mexico and Egypt, Bulous is a Harvey Mudd College-trained software engineer. After graduation in May, she’s starting a new job at a Silicon Valley technology giant.

      Bulous knows she isn’t the stereotypical Silicon Valley geek. She didn’t study computer science until college and never intended to major in it. But after just one introductory course, Bulous was hooked on the challenge of mastering problems with lines of code.

      Now this 21-year-old is not just planning a career in technology. She wants a hand in re-engineering the culture of Silicon Valley to be more inclusive of women and people from underrepresented groups.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Confused about the Middle East? So Is the United States

      Since the Arab Spring, many Middle Eastern countries have fallen into political chaos like dominoes. This week’s explosion of conflict in Yemen is just the most recent example. Though many of these conflicts are based on local grievances, they are being exacerbated by the involvement of the region’s larger states, and by the United States.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • What Have Whistleblowers Done for Elite Journalists Lately?

      This attitude is documented and questioned in a piece by John Hanrahan, a former Washington Post reporter who later headed the Fund for Investigative Journalism, that appeared on the pro-whistleblower Expose Facts site (3/24/15) and was reposted as “Journalists Who Hate Whistleblowers” by Consortium News (3/25/15).

  • Privacy

    • Tech Companies, Privacy Advocates Call for NSA Reform

      A group of technology companies, non-profits and privacy and human rights organizations have sent a letter to President Barack Obama, the director of national intelligence and a wide range of Congressional leaders, calling for an end to the bulk collection of phone metadata under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act.

    • Bankrupt RadioShack wants to sell off user data. But the bigger risk is if a Facebook or Google goes bust.

      The demise of RadioShack left techies with one less place to congregate and buy obscure batteries and soldering equipment. And if that wasn’t bad enough, now the bankrupt company is trying to sell off the devotees’ data.

    • New data world order: government can read every Australian like an open book

      The story of your life in metadata is an open book. It paints a picture of where you went, who you spoke with, how long you were there for. What were you doing talking on the phone to the sexually transmitted infections clinic? What were you doing on the street corner where the man was murdered last night?

    • Washington is coming for your personal data

      Little-noticed change to judicial rules gives the FBI greater powers to conduct remote searches, and the ‘zombie bill’ CISA is on the fast track to a Senate vote

    • This Newsletter Was Paranoid About the NSA in 1996, and It Was Eerily Correct

      ​Ever since Edward Snowden leaked thousands of top secret documents to journalists laying bare its most guarded secrets, the NSA, a government agency that was once known as the No Such ​Agency for its love for secrecy, has been thrown in the media limelight.

    • FBI director urges Congress to crack down on encryption

      Speaking before the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey urged Congress to pass legislation requiring tech companies to install backdoors in their encryption programs. These backdoors would allow government agencies to easily intercept the electronic communications of American citizens, the District Sentinel reports.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Radical Humaneness of Norway’s Halden Prison

      The goal of the Norwegian penal system is to get inmates out of it.

    • Why Should Bergdahl Suffer More Than Generals Who Did Far Worse?

      What punishment should Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl receive for allegedly deserting his post in Afghanistan? The answer comes by asking another question: What punishment has been handed out to American generals and politicians whose incompetence caused far more bloodshed and grief than anything Bergdahl did?

      A key thing about justice is that it should be fair — people should be punished no matter their rank or title. The problem with the bloodlust for more action against Bergdahl — beyond his five years of horrific suffering as a Taliban prisoner — is that inept generals, rather than being court-martialed or demoted or reprimanded, have been rewarded and celebrated despite their dereliction in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Leaked Private Emails Reveal Ex-Clinton Aide’s Secret Spy Network

      Starting weeks before Islamic militants attacked the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, longtime Clinton family confidante Sidney Blumenthal supplied intelligence to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gathered by a secret network that included a former CIA clandestine service officer, according to hacked emails from Blumenthal’s account.

    • The Government’s Fixation on Spying and Lying

      When Hillary Clinton learned that a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives had subpoenaed her emails as secretary of state and she promptly destroyed half of them – about 33,000 – how did she know she could get away with it? Destruction of evidence, particularly government records, constitutes the crime of obstruction of justice.

    • Government secrecy in the Obama White House

      As a candidate for president, Barack Obama promised that his would be the most “transparent” administration in American history. It hasn’t worked out that way. Instead, it may be the most secretive, threatening the very fabric of representative democracy, which depends upon the American people and their elected representatives in Congress knowing exactly what government is doingin our name and with our taxpayer dollars.

    • State Department Now Just Making It Up to Explain Away Clinton’s Excesses

      State Department spokesdrone Jen Psaki is now just straight out making things up to explain away the questions surrounding Clinton and her email, and the State Department’s complicity.

      Her “misstatements” can now be debunked with a click of a mouse, which we will do in a moment.

      The devil is in the details on these things, as no one expects to find a notarized document that reads “Yes, I did it all to hide embarrassing stuff from the Freedom of Information Act because dammit it is my turn to be president, signed, Hillary”).

      So let’s drill down.

    • Report: US troops exposed to chemical agents in Iraq are dying — and the Pentagon is covering it up
    • US troops fighting war on drugs got away with raping dozens of Colombian girls: report

      According to an independent report commissioned by the Colombian government and FARC rebels, United States soldiers and military contractors are responsible for sexually abusing at least 54 children between 2003 and 2007 — but they were not prosecuted because of immunity clauses in the American diplomatic treaties with the government.

    • FBI’s Preventative Role: Hygiene for Corporations, Spies for Muslims

      For what it’s worth, Muslim communities increasingly agree that the FBI — and the federal government generally — should not be in the business of CVE. But that’s largely because the government approaches it with the same view Comey does: by thinking immediately of his analysts thinking dark thoughts at Quantico. So if some agency that had credibility — if some agency had credibility — at diverting youth (of all faiths) who might otherwise get caught in an FBI sting, I could support it moving someplace else, but I’m skeptical DHS or any other existing federal agency is that agency right now.

      While the Review doesn’t say explicitly in this section what it wants the FBI to be doing instead of CVE, elsewhere it emphasizes that it wants the FBI to do more racial profiling (AKA “domain awareness”) and run more informants. Thus, I think it fair to argue that the Ed Meese-led panel thinks the FBI should spy on Muslims, not reach out to them. Occupation-style federal intelligence gathering, not community based.

    • Investigator: Inmates forced like gladiators to fight as deputies took bets

      At just 150 pounds, it was hardly fair to pit Ricardo Palikiko Garcia against an opponent well over twice his size. But Garcia had to fight him — or else he’d allegedly face torture.

      Running away was not an option for the inmate locked inside a San Francisco jail.

      Like the gladiators of old, Garcia and others were forced into pugilistic matches, local authorities said. Four sheriff’s deputies then placed bets on their bouts.

03.27.15

Links 27/3/2015: Ubuntu 15.04 Second Beta, Dart 1.9

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • When SCO Was Cool

    SCO started out here in my neighborhood, essentially, in Santa Cruz, California. It was called The Santa Cruz Operation (hence, SCO). That manifestation of SCO was founded in 1979 by Larry and Doug Michels, a father and son, as a Unix porting and consulting company which, over time, developed its own brand of Unix. In his book “The Art of Unix Programming,” Eric Raymond calls SCO the “first Unix company.”

    As the story goes, the first SCO was sold to Caldera, a Linux company, in 2001 and rebranded The SCO Group, which moved it to Utah and made it a litigation company, and we pretty much know the rest of the story from there.

    [...]

    So pre-sale SCO –- the original SCO –- wasn’t the evil entity it is now, and by no means is this recollection an endorsement of what the current manifestation is doing in the courts. It just serves as a reminder that sometimes things –- good things –- can go south very quickly and become the complete opposite of what the original folks had in mind.

  • Germanwings: Andreas Lubitz breakdown six years ago offers clue

    In Andreas Lubitz’s home town in western Germany, the sense of disbelief was palpable. Everyone who had encountered the 27-year-old, who grew up dreaming of becoming a pilot, described him as quiet, polite and “normal”.

    Yet, in what German Chancellor Angela Merkel described as a “new, simply incomprehensible” dimension to the Germanwings air disaster, it appeared that Lubitz was responsible for the deaths of 149 people.

  • Hardware

    • Samsung Rumored to Be Eyeing AMD Acquisition

      Samsung may be interested in buying Advanced Micro Devices as it looks to boost its position against such chip-making rivals as Intel and Qualcomm, according to reports coming out of South Korea.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The US is Pushing The World Towards Nuclear War

      NATO countries are to all intents and purposes at war with Russia. The US knows it and Russia knows it too. Unfortunately, most of those living in NATO countries remain blissfully ignorant of this fact.

      The US initiated economic sanctions against Russia, has attacked its currency and has manipulated oil prices to devastate the Russian economy. It was behind the coup in Ukraine and is now escalating tensions by placing troops in Europe and supporting a bunch of neo-fascists that it brought to power. Yet the bought and paid for corporate media in the West keeps the majority of the Western public in ignorance by depicting Russia as the aggressor.

    • A Few Words on the Least Surprising Op-Ed of 2015
    • Sensitive Military Gear Ended up on EBay, Craiglist

      The Pentagon lost track of sensitive equipment from a $750 million program to help U.S. soldiers spot roadside bombs — and some of it wound up for sale on eBay, Craigslist and other websites, according to a Navy intelligence document obtained by The Intercept.

    • Why Won’t the Post Name CIA Counterterrorism Chief Michael D’Andrea?

      The Washington Post reported this morning that, pursuant to CIA Director John Brennan’s vaunted re-organization plans, the chief of the agency’s counterterrorism center has been unceremoniously reassigned. The newspaper declined to report this name, however: Michael D’Andrea.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Court Accepts DOJ’s ‘State Secrets’ Claim to Protect Shadowy Neocons: a New Low

      A truly stunning debasement of the U.S. justice system just occurred through the joint efforts of the Obama Justice Department and a meek and frightened Obama-appointed federal judge, Edgardo Ramos, all in order to protect an extremist neocon front group from scrutiny and accountability. The details are crucial for understanding the magnitude of the abuse here.

  • Finance

    • Despite Leak Of TPP Text, Obama Officials Say Trade Deal Will Not Let Companies Overturn US Laws

      Less than three weeks after a classified draft of its proposed 12-nation trade pact included provisions that critics say empower foreign companies to overturn domestic regulations, the Obama administration explicitly declared that the deal would not permit such actions. The declaration came in an email challenging the veracity of a report about earlier leaks of language in the proposed agreement.

      The email challenged an International Business Times report noting the details of a 2013 draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That draft proposed to let foreign companies file lawsuits in international tribunals seeking payments for financial losses incurred by domestic laws — a power that critics say could ultimately compel governments to overturn those laws, for fear of facing even more lawsuits and damage payments.

    • TPP ISDS is rigged to advantage U.S.

      Wikileaks has released the “Investment Chapter” from the secret negotiations of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement. It contains the highly controversial investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS), which makes it possible for multinational to sue states for international tribunals.

    • Corporate Sovereignty Provisions Of TPP Agreement Leaked Via Wikileaks: Would Massively Undermine Government Sovereignty

      For years now, we’ve been warning about the problematic “ISDS” — “investor state dispute settlement” mechanisms that are a large part of the big trade agreements that countries have been negotiating. As we’ve noted, the ISDS name is designed to be boring, in an effort to hide the true impact — but the reality is that these provisions provide corporate sovereignty, elevating the power of corporations to put them above the power of local governments. If you thought “corporate personhood” was a problem, corporate sovereignty takes things to a whole new level — letting companies take foreign governments to special private “tribunals” if they think that regulations passed in those countries are somehow unfair. Existing corporate sovereignty provisions have led to things like Big Tobacco threatening to sue small countries for considering anti-smoking legislation and pharma giant Eli Lilly demanding $500 million from Canada, because Canada dared to reject some of its patents noting (correctly) that the drugs didn’t appear to be any improvement over existing drugs.

    • CREDO: Leaked TPP chapter confirms our worst fears about disastrous trade agreement
    • Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Suits Against U.S.

      An ambitious 12-nation trade accord pushed by President Obama would allow foreign corporations to sue the United States government for actions that undermine their investment “expectations” and hurt their business, according to a classified document.

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership — a cornerstone of Mr. Obama’s remaining economic agenda — would grant broad powers to multinational companies operating in North America, South America and Asia. Under the accord, still under negotiation but nearing completion, companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations.

    • The Trans-Pacific Partnership clause everyone should oppose

      The United States is in the final stages of negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive free-trade agreement with Mexico, Canada, Japan, Singapore and seven other countries. Who will benefit from the TPP? American workers? Consumers? Small businesses? Taxpayers? Or the biggest multinational corporations in the world?

    • WikiLeaks Reveals TPP Proposal Allowing Corporations to Sue Nations
    • How The Leaked TPP ISDS Chapter Threatens Intellectual Property Limitations and Exceptions
    • New TPPA Investment Leak Confirms NZ Surrender to US

      The controversial investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) has just been posted by Wikileaks, along with an analysis by Washington-based Public Citizen. Dated 20 January 2015, at the start of the negotiating round in New York, it clearly shows the governments has capitulated to US demands.

      ‘We haven’t seen a text since 2012’, said Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey. ‘Today’s leaked text confirms all our worst fears.’

    • WikiLeaks reveals local health and environment rules under threat

      Australian health, environment and public welfare regulation, including plain tobacco packaging legislation, will be open for challenge from largely US-based corporations, if a new deal that is part of the Trans Pacific Partnership goes through.

      WikiLeaks has revealed that the Australian government is close to agreement on a wide-ranging trade deal that could allow multinational corporations to challenge these regulations as well as local food safety standards. The new TPP free trade agreement will cover approximately 40 per cent of the world economy.

      Intellectual property law expert, Australian National University Associate Professor Matthew Rimmer says the WikiLeaks publication is “a bombshell” that will “galvanise resistance and opposition to fast-tracking of this mega trade deal”.

    • Govt must be more transparent on investor state clauses

      The Government must be more transparent around the draft investor state dispute settlements in the TPPA, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson.

      “Labour is pro trade, and is proud of the FTA we negotiated with China, which includes well drafted ISDS provisions. We also support the FTA with South Korea.

    • TPP: Australia pushes against ISDS in trade agreement, WikiLeaks reveals

      Australia appears to be the lone holdout – for now – to a key section of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that details how multinational companies could take legal actions against governments over decisions they consider detrimental to their interests.

      WikiLeaks today revealed the controversial investment chapter of the TPP, which shows the intent of negotiating parties, led by the US, to create a supra-national court where foreign firms could sue states using investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses and overrule their national court systems.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • RT vs. MSM Propaganda in the New Cold War

      US government officials are calling to overhaul the state funded media apparatus and focus on counter-propaganda against hostile nations, according to a report seen by Reuters.

      The study was written by two former Western state funded news employees, Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) governor and Radio France Europe/Radio Liberty vice president, who declared the US is losing the information war to adversaries. Despite its annual $730 million budget, the BBG is asking Congress for an additional $15 million to combat Russian media specifically.

  • Privacy

    • Bryce Edwards: The ramifications of the spying scandal

      How much longer can the GCSB spying scandal run? Nicky Hager recently told the radio station bFM that “in some respects we’re only just at the beginning of what people are going to find out”. This continued drip-feeding of information about what our spies have really been up to will not bring down the Government or lose National the Northland by-election, but the ongoing revelations might still seriously tarnish New Zealand’s international reputation, as well as erode the public’s faith in its surveillance institutions.

    • Govt accused of spying for political purposes

      Opposition parties have used Parliament’s question time to accuse the Government of using the country’s spy agencies for its own political purposes.

    • Inquiry into electronic surveillance agency launched

      An inquiry into the activities of New Zealand’s electronic surveillance agency has been launched by the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security.

    • GCSB will be investigated over claims New Zealanders spied on in Pacific
    • New Zealand spooks face South Pacific dragnet probe

      New Zealand’s inspector-general of intelligence and security is launching an inquiry into allegations that the Government Communications Security Bureau intercepted the communications of New Zealanders in the South Pacific.

    • Inquiry Launched into New Zealand Mass Surveillance

      New Zealand’s spy agency watchdog is launching an investigation into the scope of the country’s secret surveillance operations following a series of reports from The Intercept and its partners.

      On Thursday, Cheryl Gwyn, New Zealand’s inspector-general of intelligence and security, announced that she would be opening an inquiry after receiving complaints about spying being conducted in the South Pacific by eavesdropping agency Government Communications Security Bureau, or GCSB.

      In a press release, Gwyn’s office said: “The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data.”

      This month, The Intercept has shined a light on the GCSB’s surveillance with investigative reports produced in partnership with the New Zealand Herald, Herald on Sunday, and Sunday-Star-Times.

    • New Zealand’s XKEYSCORE Use

      For a while, I have believed that there are at least three leakers inside the Five Eyes intelligence community, plus another CIA leaker. What I have called Leaker #2 has previously revealed XKEYSCORE rules. Whether this new disclosure is from Leaker #2 or a new Leaker #5, I have no idea. I hope someone is keeping a list.

    • FBI director urges Congress to crack down on encryption

      Speaking before the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey urged Congress to pass legislation requiring tech companies to install backdoors in their encryption programs. These backdoors would allow government agencies to easily intercept the electronic communications of American citizens, the District Sentinel reports.

    • Big Vulnerability in Hotel Wi-Fi Router Puts Guests at Risk

      Guests at hundreds of hotels around the world are susceptible to serious hacks because of routers that many hotel chains depend on for their Wi-Fi networks. Researchers have discovered a vulnerability in the systems, which would allow an attacker to distribute malware to guests, monitor and record data sent over the network, and even possibly gain access to the hotel’s reservation and keycard systems.

    • Special ops troops using flawed intel software

      Special operations troops heading to war zones are asking for commercial intelligence analysis software they say will help their missions. But their requests are languishing, and they are being ordered to use a flawed, in-house system preferred by the Pentagon, according to government records and interviews.

      Over the last four months, six Army special operations units about to be deployed into Afghanistan, Iraq and other hostile environments have requested intelligence software made by Palantir, a Silicon Valley company that has synthesized data for the CIA, the Navy SEALs and the country’s largest banks, among other government and private entities.

    • Passphrases That You Can Memorize — But That Even the NSA Can’t Guess

      It’s getting easier to secure your digital privacy. iPhones now encrypt a great deal of personal information; hard drives on Mac and Windows 8.1 computers are now automatically locked down; even Facebook, which made a fortune on open sharing, is providing end-to-end encryption in the chat tool WhatsApp. But none of this technology offers as much protection as you may think if you don’t know how to come up with a good passphrase.

    • Australia outlaws warrant canaries

      The exceptionally broad new surveillance bill lets the government do nearly unlimited warrantless mass surveillance, even of lawyer-client privileged communications, and bans warrant canaries, making it an offense to “disclose information about the existence or non-existence” of a warrant to spy on journalists.

    • NSA Doesn’t Need to Spy on Your Calls to Learn Your Secrets

      Governments and corporations gather, store, and analyze the tremendous amount of data we chuff out as we move through our digitized lives. Often this is without our knowledge, and typically without our consent. Based on this data, they draw conclusions about us that we might disagree with or object to, and that can impact our lives in profound ways. We may not like to admit it, but we are under mass surveillance.

    • Police continued spying on Labour activists after their election as MPs

      Police conducted spying operations on a string of Labour politicians during the 1990s, covertly monitoring them even after they had been elected to the House of Commons, a whistleblower has revealed.

      Peter Francis, a former undercover police officer, said he read secret files on 10 MPs during his 11 years working for the Metropolitan police’s special branch. They include Labour’s current deputy leader, Harriet Harman, the former cabinet minister Peter Hain and the former home secretary Jack Straw.

    • As crypto wars begin, FBI silently removes sensible advice to encrypt your devices

      The FBI used to publish excellent advice about encrypting your devices to keep your data secure when your stuff is lost or stolen; this advice has been silently dropped now that FBI Director James Comey is trying to stop manufacturers from using crypto by default.

      The FBI has joined with others, like UK Prime Minister David Cameron in calls to end the use of effective cryptography because it makes it harder to spy on people.

    • Italy drops measure allowing remote computer searches

      The measure would have made Italy “the first European country that explicitly and broadly legalised and authorised the state to conduct remote computer searches and use spyware,” said lawmaker Stefano Quintarelli, a member of a small centrist party that supports the governing coalition.

  • Civil Rights

    • Ron Wyden, the Internet’s senator

      When Ron Wyden arrived in the U.S. Senate in 1996, he was determined to focus on more than just trees.

      In the mid-1990s, Oregon, Wyden’s home state, was best known for environmental industries, like forestry. But Wyden, a Democrat who had just won a special Senate election after serving eight terms in the House, wanted to expand his portfolio.

      “I said, ‘I am gonna be a fierce advocate for Oregon’s resource-dependent communities and jobs in forestry,’” Wyden told the Daily Dot during a recent interview, “and I made the judgment that we had to get into some additional areas.”

    • Student cleared of London terror charge after partially secret trial

      A man who faced accusations that he was plotting to mount an Islamic State-inspired gun or bomb attack on the streets of London has been acquitted after a highly secretive Old Bailey trial.

      Erol Incedal, 27, was cleared of preparation of acts of terrorism after a four-week retrial in which large parts of the evidence were heard inside a locked courtroom.

      Incedal broke down and wept as the jury returned a majority verdict after 27 hours of deliberation.

    • Report: DEA agents had ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes hired by drug cartels

      Drug Enforcement Administration agents allegedly had “sex parties” with prostitutes hired by local drug cartels overseas over a period of several years, according to a report released Thursday by the Justice Department’s watchdog.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Convention on online advertising: increased circumvention of the law in the name of fighting piracy

        The Minister of Culture announced yesterday a plan of action for the fight against piracy and an agreement (fr) on online advertising negotiated between advertisers, advertising agencies and rightsholders under the supervision of the government. This agreement confirms the fears La Quadrature du Net has expressed over the last several months about the growing threat of repressive online policy (fr). It organises a system in which identifying “massively infringing sites” is relegated to advertising companies while circumventing the law, which alone should be authorised to decide about this in order to adequately guarantee freedom of expression and the right to information. This new development marks a step towards the creation of a private police force in the name of intellectual property rights.

03.26.15

Links 26/3/2015: GNOME 3.16 Officially Released

Posted in News Roundup at 1:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Poll: Linux Use by Software Developers & Researchers
  • Yes, Using That Other OS Can Hurt Your Business

    A game was delayed because the computer used to run the scoreboard insisted on updating that other OS instead of getting on with business. Something that would take mere seconds with GNU/Linux took minutes, delaying the game.

  • Desktop

    • Hands-On: Linux UEFI multi-boot, part two

      I’m going to start this post by saying something that a lot of people will find surprising.

      There are a lot of things that I like about UEFI firmware and the UEFI boot process.

      I think it is an improvement over the old MBR boot system in some very useful and practical ways. Unfortunately Microsoft has turned it into yet another way to make things significantly more difficult for those who want to boot any non-Microsoft operating system.

  • Server

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.16 is out!

        What happened since 3.14? Quite a bit, and a number of unfinished projects will hopefully come to fruition in the coming months.

      • GNOME 3.16 Released

        The GNOME Project is proud to announce the release of GNOME 3.16 today, the result of six months work, which includes 33,525 changes by 1043 authors. GNOME 3.16 brings a brand new notification system in response to the feedback of enthusiastic GNOME users. GNOME 3’s visuals have also received a refresh, and its application suite has been updated, with improvements to Files, Music, Photos, Maps and more.

      • GNOME 3.16 released
      • GNOME 3.16 released
      • GNOME 3.16 Has Been Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

        The highly anticipated GNOME 3.16 update has just been announced today, March 25, on the official website of the acclaimed open-source desktop environment used in numerous GNU/Linux operating systems. This is a major release that includes countless new features, updated components, and dozens of bug fixes.

      • Introducing GNOME 3.16, the Best GNOME Release Yet – Video

        http://linux.softpedia.com/blog/Introducing-GNOME-3-16-the-Best-GNOME-Release-Yet-Video-476775.shtml

      • GNOME 3.16 is here — the best Linux desktop environment gets better

        Linux-based operating systems are a staple in my computing life. With that said, as much as I love the kernel and associated distributions, my true love is the GNOME 3 desktop environment. While version 3 has historically been a rather polarizing desktop, its subsequent point releases have greatly improved its reputation.

      • GNOME 3.16 Released With New Notification System, Updated Visuals [Video, Screenshots]

        GNOME 3.16 was released today and it includes some important changes, like a new notification system, updated visuals, 3 new preview applications and much more. Read on to find out what’s new!

  • Distributions

    • Neptune 4.3.1 Linux Distro Released to Fix an Installation Issue with EXT4 Partitions

      Only four days after announcing the release of Neptune 4.3 Linux operating system for computers, its developer published a new ISO image for the distribution, which has been updated to version 4.3.1, as users reported that they were unable to install the distribution on EXT4 partitions.

    • Hands-on learning with “Linux From Scratch”

      Almost ten years ago, I used a computer for the first time. I mean I had heard a lot and seen computers in action in movies but I had never touched, let alone, used one before then. I will never forget that late summer morning when I switched on a computer for the first time. A deep hunger was ignited within me and ever since that day I have had an insatiable hunger to learn more about ICT gadgets.

      A year later when I was introduced to computers one of the first things I Googled, inspired by Angelina Jolie’s Hackers movie, was how to be a hacker.

    • Zorin OS: Can I keep it, please?

      As it happened, I had just been testing Zorin OS 8 on a USB stick, on my own laptop. I loved the way Zorin Look Changer can make your computer look like what you might be used to at work, or on your own machine – XP, 2000, 7 (and even OS X, if you use the Ultimate version). The range of software that is included is amazing, too – games, office stuff, apps that let you edit photographs and even video. There are heaps more, but the list would be too long to include here.

    • An introduction of library operating system for Linux
    • Reviews

      • Deepin 2014.2 review

        Deepin 2014 was a major release of Deepin (formerly Linux Deepin), a desktop distribution developed by some good folks in China. Though based on Ubuntu Desktop, the distribution features a custom desktop environment instead of the Unity Desktop of its parent distribution.

        That desktop environment, which is called Deepin Desktop Environment, is what gives the distribution a very unique look and feel.

        This is a cursory review of Deepin 2014.2, which is a point update to Deepin 2014. for a more detailed review of the 2014 releases, see Deepin 2014 review.

    • Screenshots

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Hewlett-Packard Platinum Sponsor of DebConf15

        With this additional commitment as Platinum Sponsor, HP contributes to make possible our annual conference, and directly supports the progress of Debian and Free Software, helping to strengthen the community who continue to collaborate on their Debian projects throughout the rest of the year.

      • Working towards a child-friendly DebConf

        The Debian Project will celebrate its 22nd birthday during DebConf15 in Heidelberg in August 2015. At this age, it’s unsurprising that children of Debian contributors have attended our developer conference for several years.

      • Derivatives

        • New SteamOS Beta Arrives with Updated Nvidia Video Drivers, Uses Linux Kernel 3.10.5

          Valve has announced earlier today, March 25, the immediate availability for download and testing of a new Beta version for its awesome SteamOS Linux operating system for gamers. SteamOS Update 157 has been pushed to the Alchemist Beta channel a few hours ago and the ISO images are now available for download.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • New Ubuntu Phone Flash Sale Confirmed for March 26

            Canonical confirmed a few minutes ago on their Twitter and Facebook accounts that a new flash sale of the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition smartphone will take place tomorrow morning, on March 26, starting 9 AM CET (Central European Time). BQ already started shipping the Ubuntu phones to users from the European Union, so it should arrive quickly this time.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) Final Beta Freeze Is Now in Effect, Will Be Released on March 26

            Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) is getting closer and closer to a final release, which will be unveiled by Canonical next month, on April 23, 2015. The Final Beta will arrive tomorrow, March 26, for all editions, including Ubuntu itself, which did not had an Alpha or Beta release until now.

          • Win an Ubuntu Phone, Here Are the Details

            Canonical has announced earlier today, on their website and Twitter account, that they’re giving away an Ubuntu Phone device to the winner of an origami contest related to the Ubuntu 14.10 mascot, the Utopic Unicorn.

          • Ubuntu And Ericsson Partner To Helps Telcos Achieve Flexibility

            Ericsson is a monster in the telecommunications industry. The company, which provides products and services upon which telcos themselves build their businesses, has a network spread that sees 40 percent of the world’s mobile traffic, and some 2.5 billion mobile subscribers globally pass through its equipment. Quite simply, in the telco market, what Ericsson does matter greatly. So in this vein, and given Ericsson’s investments in the cloud space, it is interesting to hear of a partnership between Canonical, the open source company best known for the Ubuntu operating system, and Ericsson.

          • BQ Is Cleaning Up Their Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Kernel

            Last week we relayed the article by Carsten Munk of Jolla about the kernel of the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Phone being a mess. Since then, it looks like BQ and Ubuntu developers have taken to cleaning up the kernel source tree.

          • BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition Unboxing – Video

            We are extremely happy to report that the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition smartphone, which will be known forever as the first Ubuntu Phone device made, has just arrived today at our headquarters in the European Union, so we’ve decided to make a short unboxing video to show you guys what’s in the box.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Blueberry: LinuxMint’s Brand New Bluetooth Configuration Tool

              Clement Lefebvre, the Founder and lead developer of LinuxMint, has introduced the brand new bluetooth setup and configuration tool called “Blueberry”. It is a front-end for Gnome-bluetooth-3.14, and it shows a systray icon in your panel and doesn’t annoy you if you don’t have a Bluetooth adapter. It works on any Desktop environment, including MATE, Cinnamon, GNOME, XFCE, and Unity. And ofcourse, it should work on any distribution as long as gnome-bluetooth 3.14 is installed.

            • Bodacious Bodhi Broadens Linux Desktop

              Bodhi Linux is based on Ubuntu 12.04 and Enlightenment 17.04. It uses a modular structure that provides a high level of customization and selections of themes. Bodhi’s philosophy is built around minimalism and user choice, aiming to strike a balance between providing nothing but a command-line interface, and including everything plus the kitchen sink.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Building a SNES emulator with a Raspberry Pi and a PS3 gamepad

      It’s been a while since I did this, but I got some people asking me lately about how exactly I did it and I thought it could be nice to write a post answering that question. Actually, it would be a nice thing for me to have anyway at least as “documentation”, so here it is.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

      • Android

        • Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 Update Rumors Emerge

          Samsung is still rolling out Android 5.0.1 and Android 5.0.2 Lollipop updates and rumors suggest that it hasn’t begun work on Galaxy Android 5.1 updates. That said, a new round of Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 Lollipop update rumors reveals some potential Galaxy Android 5.1 update details for some of Samsung’s biggest names.

        • Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Release: 10 Things to Expect
        • Run this Installer Hijacking Scanner app to see if your older Android phone is at risk
        • How to enable one of the best security features in Android Lollipop
        • Android 5.0 Lollipop beginning to roll out for the AT&T Galaxy Note 3

          Following in the Galaxy Note 4’s footsteps from earlier today, Android 5.0 Lollipop is now beginning to roll out to the AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note 3. The update comes in at a hefty 1.2GB and carries build number N900AUCUEOC1.

        • This is probably the best collection of Material Design apps you’ll ever find

          There is plenty to like in Google’s latest major Android release, Lollipop. It’s faster, lighter and more battery efficient than ever before. The biggest in-your-face change found in Android 5.0 was the new look of the operating system, which Google calls “Material Design.”

        • The four best podcast apps for Android phones

          Podcasts remain a lively and popular forum for online broadcasting, even with a name that calls back to the era of the iPod.

          As an Android user you’ve probably long broken free of the Apple ecosystem, so there will be no searching through iTunes to sync up podcasts with an iPhone. No, you want your podcasts your way, quickly and conveniently on your Android phone.

        • Open source security tool indicates Android app vulnerability spike
        • Five essential must-have apps for Android Wear

          The whole smartwatch shebang is still a rather confusing mini-mess, where manufacturers are not very certain on how to position their gizmos, while users are not entirely sure that a glorified timepiece with the ability to vibrate when you get an email is worth shelling out $300 for. Well, at least that was the case until the recent few months, when smartdevice makers realised that people wouldn’t mind paying a premium price for a watch, as long as it doesn’t look like a fitness tracker with a glowing screen, but actually resembles a timepiece you wouldn’t mind being seen in public with. Nowadays, we have the Moto 360 (which still doesn’t appeal to many, due to simple looks and the infamous cut-off at the bottom of its circular screen), the Asus ZenWatch, and the upcoming LG Watch Urbane, which will surely attract more eyes to the wearable tech market (and we are not even mentioning the amount of traction the Apple Watch will bring along as well).

        • Pioneer’s NEX Series of Android Auto Head Units are Now Available, Range From $700 to $1400

          Pioneer’s line of in-dash multimedia receivers, which were previewed at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, are now available for all through select retailers and online at Pioneer’s website. These units run Android Auto, Google’s OS for vehicles, but also come with Apple CarPlay compatibility built-in, allowing for complete flexibility for a family that runs multiple platforms.

        • Google Maps for Android just got a great new feature iPhone users will be jealous of

          Google Maps for Android and Google Maps for the iPhone may never have true feature parity. This is due in part to the limitations Apple puts in place on third-party application developers, but Google also seems to reserve some features and design elements solely for users of its own mobile platform.

        • Android Wear smartwatches: The benefits for professionals

          With smartwatches and wearables in general, it can be hard see real usefulness through the current hype. Here’s how professionals can leverage Android Wear devices to make their lives easier.

        • A review of Android for Work: Dual-persona support comes to Android

          If you work in an office environment, you probably know a few people—maybe a lot of people—with two smartphones. One is a personal phone full of pictures of the family, games, social networking, and sports stuff, and the other is a company-issued smartphone full of e-mail, appointments, contacts, and documents. With two phones, your IT department has full control over your work data and can remotely wipe it, and they never get to see your personal pictures or other information. It’s a workable setup, but the downside is all the duplication—you have two phones, two chargers, and almost no free pocket space. The other alternative is BYOD—Bring Your Own Device—in which the IT department takes over and installs a bunch of company software to your personal phone.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Using Spark DataFrames for large scale data science

    When we first open sourced Spark, we aimed to provide a simple API for distributed data processing in general-purpose programming languages (Java, Python, Scala). Spark enabled distributed data processing through functional transformations on distributed collections of data (RDDs). This was an incredibly powerful API—tasks that used to take thousands of lines of code to express could be reduced to dozens.

  • Events

    • Checkpoint/Restart Microconference Accepted into 2015 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Checkpoint/restart technology is the basis for live migration as well as its traditional use to take a snapshot of a long-running job. This microconference will focus on the C/R project called CRIU and will bring together people from Canonical, CloudLinux, Georgia Institute of Technology, Google, Parallels, and Qualcomm to discuss CRIU integration with the various containers projects, its use on Android, performance and testing issues and, of course, to show some live demoes. See the Checkpoint/Restart wiki for more information.

    • Energy-Aware Scheduling and CPU Power Management Microconference Accepted into 2015 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Energy efficiency has received considerable attention, for example, the microconference at last year’s Plumbers. However, despite another year’s worth of vigorous efforts, there is still quite a bit left to be desired in Linux’s power management and in its energy-aware scheduling in particular, hence this year’s microconference.

    • Containers Microconference Accepted into 2015 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Over the past year, the advent of Docker has further increased the level of Containers excitement. Additional points of Containers interest include the LXC 1.1 release (which includes CRUI checkpoint/restore, in-container systemd support, and feature-set compatibility across systemd, sysvinit, and upstart), the recently announced merger of OpenVZ and Cloud server, and progress in the kernel namespace and cgroups infrastructure.

    • Chemnitzer Linux-Tage 2015

      Last weekend there was Chemnitzer Linux-Tage, after the dead of LinuxTag in Berlin, Germany’s largest event around Linux and Open Source. I got to this event since the begin and it was like always a lot of visitors, even it was a little bit lsser this year as the years before. I had this year als only one talk, together with Robert Scheck.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox OS ported to MIPS on Ingenic tablet

        Imagination is hosting a raffle for a 9.7-inch, MIPS-based Ingenic tablet that runs a MIPS port of Firefox OS, which will also support its Creator C120 SBC.

        An “experimental” version of Firefox OS has been ported to the MIPS architecture in the form of an unnamed Ingenic reference tablet announced by Imagination Technologies. Imagination designs the IP for the MIPS32 cores and PowerVR SGX540 GPU incorporated in the tablet’s Ingenic XBurst SoC. There are five days left to sign up for an Imagination raffle of 15 of the tablets, which are loaded with Firefox OS, but also support Android 4.4

      • Mozilla cares for community with educational resources

        I love the opportunity and inspiration of open source participation—the chance to tinker with and influence new innovation and social change. Seeing my contributions become part of something bigger continues to be both an empowering and humbling experience.

  • Databases

    • A Cautionary Open Source Tale, Apple Buys And Shutters FoundationDB

      So far so good. Except that almost immediately FoundationDB seemingly excised its very existence from GitHub, the repository where the code for open source projects like this is stored. The FoundationDB repository was devoid of any content after the move. This is in contrast to the day before when the repository was a typical bustling ecosystem of contributors and code.

      [...]

      There was no warning for this move and while commercial Apple watchers would expect that from a company not well known for its altruism, it’s a very unusual move in the open source world. As Jack Clark from Bloomberg pointed out, this move looks set to incense many…

    • Apple May Have Just Killed An Open Source Project
    • InfluxDB has taken its open-source business to Silicon Valley

      Paul Dix is holding on to his Williamsburg apartment. The CEO and cofounder of InfluxDB has strong personal ties to Brooklyn and it’s unlikely that he’ll totally vacate the place any time soon. However, his investors wanted his time series database company on the West Coast, where they believed it could find the right talent to grow.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • The benefits of decoupling your CMS

      A common disease of software development is the “not-invented-here” syndrome, a tendency to write new implementations instead of leveraging existing solutions. We then just write it as part of the application we’re currently building, thinking it’s a small thing. Over time, such helper or utility classes grow as new things are added, but usually stay tightly coupled to the application.

      This disease also applies to content management applications. By choosing a CMS, you need to accept not only the language it’s written in, but also its editing and administration interface, templating system, databases it supports, and so on. The decoupled content management movement aims to improve this situation.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 5 and AutoFDO

      This comes from Google, with some more information at this git repository and the GCC wiki, as far as I can tell. The basic idea is that you can do feedback-directed optimization by low-overhead sampling of your regular binaries instead of a specially instrumented one. It is somewhat less effective (you get approx. half the benefit of full FDO, it seems), but it means you don’t need to write automated, representative benchmarks—you can just sample real use and feed that into the next build.

  • Project Releases

    • glibmm 2.44.0 and gtkmm 3.16.0

      I’ve just done the stable glibmm 2.44.0 and gtkmm 3.16.0 releases with the usual bunch of API additions and deprecations to keep track of the glib and gtkmm API. Thanks to Kjell Ahlstedt in particular for his many well thought-out contributions.

    • Pulp 2.6.0 is available!

      The Pulp team is very happy to announce the release of Pulp 2.6.0!

    • SCAP Workbench 1.1.0

      The new SCAP Workbench is out! This is the biggest release to date. We focused on improving the typical use-case of tailoring and remote scanning. This is also the first release to have Windows and MacOS X support!

    • Keeping up with noisy blog aggregators using PlanetFilter

      I follow a few blog aggregators (or “planets”) and it’s always a struggle to keep up with the amount of posts that some of these get. The best strategy I have found so far to is to filter them so that I remove the blogs I am not interested in, which is why I wrote PlanetFilter.

  • Public Services/Government

    • EP IT department: ‘We should give openness example’

      The European Parliament should give the example for the openness of its software solutions, says Giancarlo Vilella, Director General for DG ITEC, the EP’s IT department, speaking at the Document Freedom Day workshop organised on 25 March by the EP’s Greens and the European Free Alliance. “ICT is a strong tool for democracy”, the Director General says. “We aim to be the avant garde of political institutions.”

    • Centre formulates policy on adoption of open source software

      The IT Ministry has unveiled a ‘Policy on Adoption of Open Source Software for Government of India’ that will encourage the formal adoption and use of Open Source Software (OSS) in government organisations.

      Formulated by the Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY), the policy will enable freedom of use and re-use of ICT assets along with availability of strong OSS community support.

    • European Parliament Leans Towards Free Software

      Of course, there are many more reasons to use FLOSS. “openness” certainly raises the level of confidence one can have in the software but it also increases the reliability and efficiency of the software, things that matter and affect the bottom line. With non-Free software, there are motives to include inefficient code, to do the work of others rather than the users of the software. It also costs less to produce FLOSS since authours can use the works of others to build FLOSS, a great efficiency. Instead of every product needing to re-invent the wheel or pay to use a copy, every product can largely consist of re-used code. This also allows authours to put their full energy into the innovative parts of a product instead of trying to comply with endless restrictive software licences.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Creative Commons for Developer Docs

      Over the last few years, we’ve seen more and more open source projects transition to a Creative Commons license for their documentation. Specifically, most projects tend to use some version of CC-BY-SA. There are some projects that use a permissive code license like Apache or MIT for documentation, and certainly still some that use the GFDL. But for the most part, the trend has been toward CC-BY-SA.

    • It’s now possible to open source your body for medical science

      Medical advancements don’t just happen by themselves. Each new treatment and drug is the result of tireless work by researchers, often working with health data provided by volunteers. However, study participation rates have dropped in recent years, and what data is collected isn’t usually widely available. An initiative called the Open Humans Network hopes to change that by making health data more open and public. It basically offers you a way to donate your body to science without that unpleasant “death” aspect.

    • Open Hardware

      • Leap Motion Faceplate Lets OSVR Head Talk to the Hand

        Open Source Virtual Reality, a platform that aims to unify virtual reality input devices, games and output, and Leap Motion, a company that has established itself in the development of motion-tracking hardware, on Wednesday announced what may be a compelling way to control movements in a virtual reality environment.

      • Leap Motion’s Open Source Virtual Reality support gets real

        Right up front – attached at the faceplate – that’s where you’ll find the Leap Motion tracker on the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit later this year. An announcement has been made by the Open Source Virtual Reality group that suggests Leap Motion is fully onboard – supporting the initiative and preparing their motion tracking equipment to ship with the first developer-aimed hardware later this year. This would make the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit the first VR headset to ship with Leap Motion attached – supposing Oculus VR doesn’t get there first.

      • Razer’s handing open-source VR kits to more than 20 education labs
  • Programming

    • Saving code

      As you probably know by now, Gitorious is shutting down. A lot of history sits on that site, and much of the code is no longer maintained. Browsing around, I ran into the maemo-tools that has not been touched since 2013. There are still some useful stuff there, so I decided to save it. All tool repositories has been cloned to the maemo-tools-old organization on github.

    • PHP 7.0 as Software Collection

      RPM of upcoming major version of PHP 7.0, are available in remi repository for Fedora 20, 21, 22 and Enterprise Linux 6, 7 (RHEL, CentOS, …) in a fresh new Software Collection (php70) allowing its installation beside the system version.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Dump JavaScript for faster Web loading? Let the debate begin

      Can Web pages load faster if they’re not bogged down by slow JavaScript response times? A Web developer in the online publishing space believes this could be the case and has offered a plan for this purpose, but a co-author of the popular Angular.js JavaScript framework has his doubts.

      A proposal entitled “HTML6 proposal for single-page Web apps without JavaScript” has been circulating on a World Wide Web Consortium mailing list and GitHub. “The overall purpose is to reduce response times when loading Web pages,” said Web developer Bobby Mozumder, editor in chief of FutureClaw magazine, who authored the proposal.

    • EC updates overview of standardisation activities

      The European Commission on 24 March published an update to its ‘EU Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation’, the first update in two years. The document provides an overview of the needs for preliminary or complementary ICT standardisation activities in support of EU policy activities. The report covers policy making across different Directorates-General of the European Commission.

Leftovers

  • Germanwings Pilot Was Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash in France

    As officials struggled Wednesday to explain why a jet with 150 people on board crashed in relatively clear skies, an investigator said evidence from a cockpit voice recorder indicated one pilot left the cockpit before the plane’s descent and was unable to get back in.

    A senior military official involved in the investigation described “very smooth, very cool” conversation between the pilots during the early part of the flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf. Then the audio indicated that one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not re-enter.

    “The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer,” the investigator said. “And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer.”

  • French prosecutor says pilot deliberately crashed plane

    The co-pilot of a Germanwings flight that slammed into an Alpine mountainside “intentionally” sent the plane into its doomed descent, a French prosecutor has said.

    Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said on Thursday that the commander left the cockpit, presumably to go to the lavatory, and then was unable to regain access.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • We’re treating soil like dirt. It’s a fatal mistake, as our lives depend on it

      The issue hasn’t changed, but we have. Landowners around the world are now engaged in an orgy of soil destruction so intense that, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, the world on average has just 60 more years of growing crops. Even in Britain, which is spared the tropical downpours that so quickly strip exposed soil from the land, Farmers Weekly reports, we have “only 100 harvests left”.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Architect of CIA’s drone campaign to leave post in watershed moment

      As the architect of that campaign, the CTC chief came to be regarded as an Ahab-like figure known for dark suits and a darker demeanor. He could be merciless toward subordinates but was also revered for his knowledge of terrorist networks and his ability to run an organization that became almost an agency unto itself. He embodied a killing-centric approach to counter­terrorism that enraged many Muslims, even though he is a convert to Islam.

    • Yemen President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi Flees Home As Rebels Close In

      The departure of the close U.S. ally and the imminent fall of the southern port of Aden pushed Yemen further toward a violent collapse. It also threatened to turn the impoverished but strategic country into another proxy battle between the Middle East’s Sunni powers and Shiite-led Iran.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Journalists Who Hate Whistleblowers

      A disturbing trend in mainstream U.S. media is how many “star” journalists side with the government in its persecution of whistleblowers – and even disdain fellow reporters who expose secret wrongdoing, an attitude that is destroying what’s left of American democracy, as John Hanrahan explains.

    • Supreme court clears way for release of secret Prince Charles letters

      The UK supreme court has cleared the way for the publication of secret letters written by Prince Charles to British government ministers, declaring that an attempt by the state to keep them concealed was unlawful.

    • Accidentally Revealed FTC Document Details Some Questionable Google Practices, But Not The Ones Most People Focused On

      Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an article detailing how one part of the FTC, the competition bureau, wanted to go after Google for antitrust violations, claiming it was eventually “overruled” by the FTC’s commissioners who sided with the economic bureau that felt there was no real antitrust violations in Google’s practices. The WSJ got its hands on part of the internal report by accident — saying that the FTC inadvertently handed it over as a response to a different FOIA request, but that it was only part of the internal report. Late yesterday, the WSJ released the document it received (which you can see here in PDF form). Somewhat bizarrely, it’s every other page of the report, suggesting some sort of weird screwup inside the FTC.

  • Finance

    • The Case Against Raising Interest Rates Is Simple, Despite WaPo’s Efforts to Confuse It

      We yelled as loudly as we possibly could that there was a huge housing bubble that would sink the economy when it burst. Of course, papers like the Washington Post did not pay attention to us, because it did not fit their story that the Fed was an economic superman. Such nonsense was the conventional wisdom at the time, and the paper did not want to give those who challenged the claim a voice. Now it wants to pretend that people who understood the basic economics of the housing bubble, and the stock bubble before it, did not exist.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Manipulating Wikipedia to Promote a Bogus Business School

      No idea what “ArbCom” is? You’re not the only one. It’s the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee, the highest court in Wikipedia land. And Wifione was a Wikipedia “administrator” account, run by persons unknown, that was accused of manipulating the Wikipedia site of an unaccredited business school in India by deleting links to numerous media reports alleging it scammed students into paying hefty sums for worthless degrees.

    • New York Times Turns Ads Off On ‘Sensitive’ Stories

      There are no Google results for the tag, so it looks like it hasn’t been documented, but it seems like a pretty low-tech way to keep possibly insensitive ads off a very sensitive story—an admirable effort. It’s interesting in part because it’s almost an acknowledgement that ads are invasive and uncomfortable. They cross over into the intolerable range when we’re emotionally vulnerable from a tragic story. Advertisers know this too, and the New York Times might stipulate in contracts they’ll try to keep ads off sensitive pages.

    • Fox Claims That FBI Report That Doesn’t Cover Mass Shootings Falsified Mass Shooting Data

      Fox News relied on claims from discredited gun researcher John Lott to falsely suggest that an FBI report inflated the occurrence of mass shootings, possibly for political reasons. In fact, the report in question covered only “active shooter situations” and explicitly noted in its introduction, “This is not a study of mass killings or mass shootings.”

  • Censorship

    • UK Blocking More Than 100 Pirate Sites After New Court Order

      Major UK Internet providers must now block more than 100 piracy related websites after a new High Court order. The latest blocking round was issued on behalf of the major record labels and targets several MP3 download sites such as stafaband.info, rnbxclusive.se and plixid.com, as well as a search engine for the cloud hosting service Mega.co.nz.

    • How The Copyright Industry Wants To Undermine Anonymity & Free Speech: ‘True Origin’ Bills

      The way they work is pretty simple: they outlaw anonymity on the internet if your website distributes any kind of audiovisual work. The point of this is twofold: one, for those who “register” and reveal their name and address, it makes it easier for the RIAAs and MPAAs of the world to sue a site for copyright infringement. And, for those who don’t reveal their names, the RIAA and MPAA can ask the states to prosecute the site owners for failing to reveal their names.

    • Palestinian Journalists Under Fire

      Bashar Nazzal, a 36-year-old Palestine TV cameraman from Qalqiliya, had covered the Kafr Qaddum village demonstrations for the past four years. The demonstrations, held every Friday, protest the closure of the main road between the village and its closest neighbor, Nablus, as a result of Israeli expansion of the Kedumim settlement. The shooting occurred only minutes into the demonstration when Nazzal, who noted that he was easily identified as a member of the press, was filming a group of five armed Israeli soldiers. Despite an operation on his shattered shin, the injury has interfered with his ability to work. “Palestinian journalists claim there has been an increase in direct military assaults against them in the last year,” and many journalists interpret these assaults as a message from the IDF to stop covering Palestinian demonstrations.

    • Colombian Report on US Military’s Child Rapes Not Newsworthy to US News Outlets

      An 800-page independent report commissioned by the US-friendly Colombian government and the radical left rebel group FARC found that US military soldiers and contractors had sexually abused at least 54 children in Colombia between 2003 and 2007 and, in all cases, the rapists were never punished–either in Colombia or stateside–due to American military personnel being immune from prosecution under diplomatic immunity agreements between the two countries.

  • Privacy

    • All Austrian Parties in Parliament Back Measures Against NSA, GCHQ Spying

      At least that’s the case in Austria, where every single political party in the Austrian parliament – and there are six – signed on to a motion against illegal surveillance, citing their concerns about the US and others using their spy agencies such as the super-secret National Security Agency to eavesdrop on people abroad.

      There in fact was an uproar not too long when documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden showed that the US had been listening in to German chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone calls.

    • Netanyahu’s Spying Denials Contradicted by Secret NSA Documents

      Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday vehemently denied a Wall Street Journal report, leaked by the Obama White House, that Israel spied on U.S. negotiations with Iran and then fed the intelligence to Congressional Republicans. His office’s denial was categorical and absolute, extending beyond this specific story to U.S.-targeted spying generally, claiming: “The state of Israel does not conduct espionage against the United States or Israel’s other allies.”

    • Apple Patent Tips Real-Time Route Tracking

      We’ve all received text messages from friends that say they are “almost there” or “five minutes away.” Apple, however, is working on technology that might help you track your tardy friend’s journey.

    • Music Group Wants ISPs to Spy on Customers to Stop Piracy

      In a response to the draft code tabled to deal with the Australian online-piracy problem, some of the world’s largest music publishers have presented a set of draconian measures. ISPs should not only use technology to spy on their own customers, but also to proactively block access to infringing content and websites.

    • We know where you’ve been: Ars acquires 4.6M license plate scans from the cops

      If you have driven in Oakland any time in the last few years, chances are good that the cops know where you’ve been, thanks to their 33 automated license plate readers (LPRs).

      Now Ars knows too.

      In response to a public records request, we obtained the entire LPR dataset of the Oakland Police Department (OPD), including more than 4.6 million reads of over 1.1 million unique plates between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The dataset is likely one of the largest ever publicly released in the United States—perhaps in the world.

    • Despite privacy policy, RadioShack customer data up for sale in auction

      RadioShack is trying to auction off its customer data on some 117 million customers as part of its court-supervised bankruptcy.

      The data in question, according to a legal challenge (PDF) launched by Texas regulators on Friday and joined by the state of Tennessee on Monday, includes “consumer names, phone numbers, mailing addresses, e-mail addresses, and, where allowed, activity data.”

      The states say the sale breaches the 94-year-old chain’s promises to its in-store and online customers that it would not sell their personal identifying information (PII) data.

    • Google’s New CFO Underscores Deep Ties Between Silicon Valley and Wall Street

      Google’s recruitment of Ruth Porat from Morgan Stanley to be chief financial officer is the latest example of Wall Street executives being lured to Silicon Valley to join the technology boom.

    • Facebook May Host News Sites’ Content
    • EU: Don’t use Facebook if you want to keep the NSA away from your data

      In a key case before the European Union’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the European Commission admitted yesterday that the US-EU Safe Harbor framework for transatlantic data transfers does not adequately protect EU citizens’ data from US spying. The European Commission’s attorney Bernhard Schima told the CJEU’s attorney general: “You might consider closing your Facebook account if you have one,” euobserver reports.

    • French Intelligence Bill: Everyone Under Surveillance

      While presenting the Intelligence bill adopted during the 19 March 2015 Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister proudly asserted that it contained “legal means of action but neither exceptional means nor the generalised surveillance of citizens”!

  • Civil Rights

    • Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – Investment Chapter

      WikiLeaks releases today the “Investment Chapter” from the secret negotiations of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement. The document adds to the previous WikiLeaks publications of the chapters for Intellectual Property Rights (November 2013) and the Environment (January 2014).

      The TPP Investment Chapter, published today, is dated 20 January 2015. The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations.

    • More MPs criticise TTIP on transparency and ISDS

      Many people are concerned that Governments could be discouraged from passing new legislation due to ISDS.

    • Whistleblowers and the Press Heavyweights

      Sterling, who has never admitted leaking any classified information, nevertheless with his conviction joined the ranks of those whistleblowers and conduits for whistleblowers who have come under fire from prominent journalists for disclosing classified information to the press – e.g., Wikileaks, Julian Assange, Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, Edward Snowden, John Kiriakou, and others.

    • Council of Europe (COE) Committee Calls for U.S. to Allow Snowden to Return Without Fear of Criminal Prosecution Under Certain Conditions

      The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights called for COE and European Union member states to enact whistleblower protection laws that also cover national security and intelligence community employees. In a particularly significant development, the Committee’s draft resolution urged member states to grant asylum to whistleblowers threatened by retaliation.

      The resolution is based on a detailed report by the Committee that draws significantly on the experience of GAP client and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Indeed, the resolution calls for the U.S. to allow Snowden to return without fear of criminal prosecution under laws that prevent a public interest defense, like the Espionage Act. This marks the first time that any inter-governmental body has called on the U.S. not to prosecute Snowden unless he is afforded the opportunity to raise a public interest defense, according to Sandra Coliver of the Open Society Foundation.

    • Rebranding McCain and Romney as Moderates to Facilitate a Sharp Right Turn

      Republicans have a similar media trope, but theirs works a little differently: GOP candidates run as rightists and lose as centrists.

    • It’s OK to leak government secrets – as long as it benefits politicians

      When it comes to classified information, some leaks are more equal than others. If you are a whistleblower like Edward Snowden, who tells the press about illegal, immoral or embarrassing government actions, you will face jail time. But it’s often another story for US government officials leaking information for their own political benefit.

    • After years in Guantanamo, ex-detainees find little solace in Uruguay

      Dhiab is a Syrian, and he spent 12 years in Guantanamo. Now he lives in Montevideo with three other Syrians, a Palestinian and a Tunisian, all former prisoners at the U.S. detention facility in Cuba. In a week’s worth of long and candid conversations, he acknowledged that the transition to life in a Latin American capital has not been easy.

    • “Help! My boys were stopped three times by police for being outside unsupervised”

      Another mom grows incensed by a parenting culture gone mad, but we have to turn frustration into connection

    • Federal court rejects Third Amendment claim against police officers

      Back in 2013, a lot of attention focused on a Third Amendment claim against Henderson, Nevada police officers. I wrote about the case here. The Third Amendment, which forbids the “quartering” of “soldiers” in private homes without the owner’s consent, is often the butt of jokes because it is so rarely litigated. But in this case, a Nevada family claimed that local police had violated the Amendment by forcibly occupying their home in order to gain a “tactical advantage” against suspected criminals in the neighboring house.

    • Senator Wants To Know Why The US Marshals Asset Forfeiture Division Is Blowing Money On $10,000 Tables

      Asset forfeiture — both at state and national levels — is receiving some intense scrutiny, thanks to unflattering coverage in major news outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post. Attorney General Eric Holder made some minor cuts to the DOJ’s participation in states’ forfeiture programs. Meanwhile, at the state level, legislators have introduced bills targeting these programs’ perverted incentives — namely, that the agency performing the asset seizure usually benefits directly from the “forfeited” wealth.

    • Speaker election: Tearful Charles Walker clapped by MPs

      An MP has claimed he has been “played like a fool” by government ministers over a bid to change the way the Speaker is elected to the House of Commons after the general election.

    • Suicide Rates Among US Adults Rise Dramatically

      A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine has found that the rate of suicide for adults between 40 and 64 years of age has risen by close to 40% since 1999. Since 2007 the increase has been especially striking. Analysis factoring in potential motivation for the act suggests a linkage to the 2007-2009 economic crisis and its impact on the financial wherewithal of millions around the world.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Latest Assault on Net Neutrality Launched at Telecom Industry-Funded Think Tank

      Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., last week addressed the Free State Foundation to announce his new plan to undermine recently enacted net neutrality rules by going after the funding of the Federal Communications Commission, the agency behind the decision.

      The FCC’s approach to net neutrality represents “potential untenable rules and regulatory overreach that will hurt consumers,” said Walden, the chair of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, speaking at the foundation’s annual Telecom Policy Conference. Walden outlined a plan to limit FCC appropriations, cap its other revenue sources, and change the hiring process for the FCC’s inspector general.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • IOC Forces School To Remove Rings From Crest For Some Reason

        Have you thought about the Olympics lately? No? Then I guess you didn’t drive past any of the tiny little schools in this itty bitty school district in the Poconos in Pennsylvania that serves a population of almost twenty-five thousand whole people, because, if you had, the International Olympic Committee is quite certain you would have been all, “Oh, look, that must be a school run by the Olympics for some reason.” Otherwise, the IOC’s pressuring the district to re-draw this district crest would make no sense.

    • Copyrights

      • Netflix Wants to Make VPN Piracy Obsolete

        In recent months Hollywood has pushed Netflix to ensure that VPN users can’t access their services. Netflix honors these requests, but according to CEO Reed Hastings there’s a better way to deal with the issue. The company would like to get rid of Hollywood’s geographical restrictions entirely and render ‘VPN piracy’ obsolete.

      • Open Letter To Key EU Copyright Working Group Calls For ‘Balanced Representation Of Views’

        Back in January, we wrote about the report from the Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda, which made a number of bold but sensible proposals for reforming the EU’s 2001 copyright directive. Not surprisingly, the lobbyists have been hard at work, and no less than 556 amendments to the report have been proposed (pdf), many of them clearly aiming to undermine some of Reda’s ideas completely — for example, those seeking to rein in DRM.

      • U.S. Government Wins Dozens of Millions From Kim Dotcom

        The U.S. Government has won its civil forfeiture case against Megaupload and Kim Dotcom. As a result, the U.S. now owns Kim Dotcom’s bank accounts, cars, art and other property worth dozens of millions of dollars. Megaupload’s founder describes the ruling as unjust and says his team will file an appeal at a higher court.

03.25.15

Links 25/3/2015: India Moving to Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 12:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source and DevOps aren’t mandatory, but neither is survival

    I can’t recall the exact time I learned about open source software, but I can certainly narrow down the place. I quickly realized how transformative it could be. In 1996, I was sitting in the tech support department of a large ISP that provided hosting and connectivity to the Fortune 1000. Most of our servers ran Solaris, floppy disks arrived via snail mail, and we applied security updates manually adhering to a regime of updates and invoices prescribed by Sun Microsystems. It was a huge change from my university career of dumb terminals and mainframes.

  • How open source can improve your software’s security

    Let’s be blunt: your code is full of security holes. Just as bad, your employees are careless with passwords and other ways of cracking into your data.

    Hence, while we may wring our hands over security breaches at Target, Morgan Stanley, or dozens of other breaches, the reality is that the only reason your company has yet to be cracked is that hackers haven’t bothered to try. Yet.

  • Govt formulates policy on adoption of open source software

    The Government on Wednesday formulated a ‘Policy on Adoption of Open Source Software for Government of India’ that would encourage the formal adoption and use of Open Source Software (OSS) in Government organisations.

    Currently most eGovernance solutions are developed using Closed Source Software (CSS), which is licensed under the exclusive legal right of the copyright holder. In that the users’ right to make modifications, sharing, studying, redistribution or reverse engineering is limited.

  • What the New York Times CIO asks when evaluating open source software

    In this interview, New York Times CIO Marc Frons explains how his teams evaluate whether to use open source or proprietary software and the simple question that helps guide the conversation.

  • Why Amnesty International uses Booktype 2.0 for report publishing

    Human rights NGO Amnesty International, a movement of more than seven million people, released its Annual Report for 2014-15 at the end of February. This 500+ page print book is published simultaneously in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic, and translated into 12 other languages by local teams. It is composed of 160 detailed chapters written by regional experts on the human rights situation in most of the countries of the world.

  • Action Launcher 3.3 released with new open-source Live Wallpaper API
  • Events

    • Two microconferences accepted for the Linux Plumbers Conference

      The Checkpoint/Restart and Energy-aware scheduling and CPU power management microconferences will be held at LPC.

    • Shevirah Set to Break Into Mobile Penetration Testing Market

      Weidman, no stranger to the world of mobile security, was the recipient of a Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) Cyber Fast Track grant in 2012 for her open-source Smartphone Pentest Framework project. In 2015, Weidman has been accepted into the Mach37 Cybersecurity accelerator program, which invests in security startups and provides tools and training to launch companies.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Scaling

      ownCloud runs on small Raspberry Pi’s for your friends and family at home but also on huge clusters of web servers where it can serve over hundreds of thousands of users and petabytes of data. The current Raspberry Pi doesn’t deliver blazing fast performance but it works and the new raspberry pi 2 announced last month should be great hardware for small ownCloud deployments. Big deployments like the one in Germany or at CERN are usually ‘spread out’ over multiple servers, which brings us to the secret sauce that makes scalable software possible.

    • MapR Notes Big Demand for Free Hadoop Training Offerings

      Recently, MapR Technologies, focused on Hadoop, has been out with some interesting announcements that we covered. We also interviewed the company’s Tomer Shiran (shown), who noted that there is a serious lack of job candidates with advanced Hadoop and data analytics skills. He added that MapR is providing free online training for Hadoop. Now, there is some evidence of how popular the free training has been, with the training program enrolling more than 10,000 registrants worldwide in its first 30 days.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Healthcare

    • Why open source is key to mHealth data standards

      Open source software that allows for sharing and integration of mHealth data poses tremendous benefit for diagnosing, treating and preventing disease as well as the development of a more tailored patient healthcare strategy, according to Ida Sim, Ph.D, professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 5 Compiler will be released soon

      And the developers expect to have the final version ready probably at the end of April, this year.

    • LibrePlanet 2015 brings free software luminaries to MIT

      The 2015 LibrePlanet free software conference drew nearly 350 activists from around the world to discuss issues of freedom, privacy, and security in computing. Free Software Foundation founder and president Richard Stallman delivered the opening keynote, “Free software, free hardware, and other things” before a packed room at MIT’s Stata Center, with hundreds of remote participants tuning in online.

    • GNU Manifesto Published Thirty Years Ago

      It was in March 1985 that Richard Stallman first set out his belief in the ideal of Free Software with the publication of the GNU Manifesto.

      [...]

      If you have always referred to Linux as just “Linux” then you might be surprised to know that the FSF claims that it really should always be called “GNU/Linux”. There is also now a modified GNU/Linux system that has all proprietary and non-free code removed – Linux-libre.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Intro to Grace: an open source educational programming language

      When it comes to picking a programming language to use when teaching people how to program, there are many, many options. Scratch is a good choice when teaching the basics because of its drag and drop building block method of programming. Python or Ruby are also good choices—both languages have a straight-forward syntax, are used in major real-world projects, and have excellent communities and supplemental projects built around them. Or there is Java, Objective-C, and C#, which are solid programming languages and marketable job skills. Honestly, they are all good choices, but when it comes to teaching programming in an academic setting, are they really the best way to go about doing it?

Leftovers

  • Germanwings to Cancel More Flights as Crew Members Refuse to Fly

    Germanwings will have to cancel more flights today as some crew members refuse to fly, a day after an Airbus A320 operated by the budget arm of Lufthansa crashed in the French Alps.

    “There will be irregularities… There are crew members who do not want to fly in the current situation, which we understand,” a spokeswoman for Germanwings said.

  • Germanwings Is An Example Of European Carriers Trying To Compete In The Budget Airline Game

    Germanwings, the airline operating Flight 9525 that crashed in the French Alps Tuesday, may not be well known outside Europe. But the low-cost carrier owned by Lufthansa Group is emblematic of a trend many flag carriers in Europe are embracing: launching their own budget airlines for short-haul flights to compete with wildly successful low-cost carriers that have snatched 26 percent of market share in Europe.

  • Security

    • Google Hit Again by Unauthorized SSL/TLS Certificates

      The purpose of an SSL/TLS digital certificate is to provide a degree of authenticity and integrity to an encrypted connection. The SSL/TLS certificate helps users positively identify sites, but what happens when a certificate is wrongly issued? Just ask Google, which has more experience than most in dealing with this issue.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • New York Times: Nuclear Establishment Tool

      The New York Times’ longtime nuclear power reporter, Matthew Wald, has announced that he’s been hired as the senior director of policy analysis and strategic planning for the Nuclear Energy Institute, the chief lobbying arm of the nuclear industry. Investigative reporter Karl Grossman wrote a piece a few years ago on the ties between the Times and the nuclear power establishment that go back to the dawn of the Atomic Age.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Jeb Bush Returns to the Washington Fund-Raising Well

      Mr. Bush, the former Florida governor, has sounded that theme regularly in his fledgling presidential campaign. But even as he positions himself as a Washington outsider, he seems to have mastered a skill that is crucial in this city: tapping into the money-raising clout of the K Street lobbyists, political operatives, superlawyers and business leaders in Washington’s permanent class.

    • Information Warfare: Automated Propaganda and Social Media Bots

      NATO has announced that it is launching an “information war” against Russia.

      The UK publicly announced a battalion of keyboard warriors to spread disinformation.

      It’s well-documented that the West has long used false propaganda to sway public opinion.

      Western military and intelligence services manipulate social media to counter criticism of Western policies.

  • Privacy

    • Britain’s Surveillance State

      Edward Snowden exposed the extent of mass surveillance conducted not just by the United States but also by allies like Britain. Now, a committee of the British Parliament has proposed legal reforms to Britain’s intelligence agencies that are mostly cosmetic and would do little to protect individual privacy.

    • On CISA the Surveillance Bill

      After the Senate Intelligence Committee passed CISA, its sole opponent, Ron Wyden, said, “If information-sharing legislation does not include adequate privacy protections then that’s not a cybersecurity bill – it’s a surveillance bill by another name.” Robert Graham, an expert on intrusion-prevention, argues, “This is a bad police-state thing. It will do little to prevent attacks, but do a lot to increase mass surveillance.”

  • Civil Rights

    • White House chief of staff: 50 years of Israeli occupation must end

      White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough made it clear Monday that the crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations over the issue of a Palestinian state has not dissipated, despite efforts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to clarify remarks he made late in the election campaign that no such state would be established on his watch.

    • The $450 an Hour Terror Industry Echo Chamber

      Matthew Levitt, a prominent figure in the Terror Industry, has been testifying in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial. He’s one of a number of noted figures who gets presented as experts at trials who doesn’t speak Arabic, who hasn’t bothered to learn Arabic over the course of years of this work.

      Yesterday, Levitt spent several hours explaining how the explanation Dzhokhar wrote on a boat in Watertown had to have come from Anwar al-Awlaki’s propaganda.

      Just before Levitt testified yesterday, he RTed an article describing him as the expert that would testify at Dzhokhar’s trial. As soon as he got done, he RTed several more articles about his own testimony, describing himself as an “expert” “decoding” the boat. And then, for good measure, he RTed a livetweet from his own testimony.

      Today, on cross, it became clear the Awlaki propaganda on Dzhokhar’s computer was all Levitt got from prosectors. He didn’t know how long it had been on Dzhokhar’s computer. Nor did he know what else Dzhokhar has read. He also doesn’t know much about Chechnya, except in the context of Jihad. And though Levitt testified yesterday that there always must be a “radicalizer,” he did not know, nor was he asked, to identify the “radicalizer” in Dzhokhar’s life.

    • In Defense of Doing Wrong

      I want to say that it’s the wrong answer to the wrong question. It’s the wrong answer because we all have a lot to hide. We all talk and behave scandalously, and if all that [information] were available to everybody, it would cause no end of grief. It’s the wrong question because, as you’ve heard from all three of my fellow panelists tonight, privacy isn’t fundamentally about secrecy. It’s about things like autonomy—we’ve heard dignity, liberty, power, control, and maybe we’ll talk about that later. – See more at: http://thepointmag.com/2015/politics/in-defense-of-doing-wrong#sthash.fQbKXkkE.dpuf

    • The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Prison
    • A Prosecutor Seeks Redemption. Can We Allow Prisoners the Same?

      BY NOW MANY have read and been moved by the extraordinary mea culpa published in the Shreveport Times by a man named Marty Stroud III, who more than thirty years ago sent Glenn Ford to die for a crime he did not commit.

    • NYT Reported Japanese Internment as ‘Pioneering Chapter in US History’

      Reporter Lawrence E. Davies described the first internees as “weary but gripped with the spirit of adventure over a new pioneering chapter in American history.” This rah-rah treatment continued throughout the article: The internees were said to have begun “assembling long before daylight near the Pasadena Rose Bowl, scene of many a great football game.” Their destination was “a new reception center rising as if by magic at the foot of snow-capped peaks.”

      Only two internees are quoted in the article. One, Arthur Hirano, a former New York City chef, says: “This is a wonderful place. We didn’t expect such fine treatment.” Another, Mike Nishida, who is scheduled to join the US military, says, “I’m going up there to do any job they put me on in the meantime.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

03.24.15

Links 24/3/2015: WebKitGTK+ 2.8.0, Black Lab Linux 6.5

Posted in News Roundup at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Can your code survive crappy 2G? This open-source traffic controller will test it

    A two-year project inside Facebook has culminated in the release of software to test how well applications and servers work under degraded network conditions – all the way down to rickety 2G.

    The idea behind Augmented Traffic Control, open-sourced on GitHub, is to improve the delivery of material on under-performing networks.

  • Open Source Sirius Creates IPA Opportunities For Channel

    The creation of an open source computing system users control via voice command could generate new opportunities for service providers seeking to differentiate their offerings or develop new custom solutions.

  • New version of SecureDrop, open-source whistleblower submission system originally created by Aaron Swartz

    At Freedom of the Press Foundation, we’re excited to announce the release of a brand new version of SecureDrop, our open source whistleblower system which media organizations can use to communicate and receive documents from sources.

    Version 0.3 has been over a year in the making, and is the result of extensive feedback from both news organizations who already have SecureDrop—like the New Yorker and The Intercept—and from a security audit done by iSec Partners. In addition, we have a new website for SecureDrop, SecureDrop.org, which will serve as a hub for all the news organizations that have installed their own instances, and where you can find all the information you need to use it yourself.

  • Facebook open-sources Augmented Traffic Control, a Wi-Fi tool for simulating 2G, Edge, 3G, and LTE networks

    Facebook today open-sourced Augmented Traffic Control (ATC), a Wi-Fi tool for testing how mobile phones and their apps handle networks of varying strength, over on GitHub. ATC simulates 2G, Edge, 3G, and LTE networks, and allows engineers to switch quickly between various simulated network connections.

  • 4 reasons why people should stop associating open source with a lack of security

    Today, the open source model is much better understood, and organisations are considering it as vital to the future of digital business and government services. A recent survey found that more than 50% of respondents are moving into the open source space.

  • Events

    • [EuroBSDcon] Call for Papers

      EuroBSDcon is the European technical conference for users and developers of BSD-based systems. The conference will take place in Stockholm, Sweden. Tutorials will be held on Thursday and Friday in the main conference hotel, while the shorter talks and papers program is on Saturday and Sunday in the University of Stockholm.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • CMS

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • A Trip Down (Computer) Memory Lane

      The world of free software seems constantly fresh and exciting, so it always comes as a shock – to me, at least – to remember that it has been around for more than 30 years now. Richard Stallman announced the GNU project back in 1983, but this month, there’s another important anniversary: the publication of the GNU Manifesto.

    • Software freedom

      Richard Stallman, a 27-year-old programmer at the time with MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, wanted to modify the software that drove the new Xerox 9700 laser printer to get it to send out an electronic alert over the network every time the paper jammed so that somebody could walk over to it and fix the problem. When he was denied access to the source code, Stallman recalls, this set him thinking about how software should be shared freely so that users could modify it to suit their needs.

    • Stallman joins the Internet, talks net neutrality, patents and more

      According to Richard Stallman, godfather of the free software movement, Facebook is a “monstrous surveillance engine,” tech companies working for patent reform aren’t going nearly far enough, and parents must lobby their children’s schools to keep data private and provide free software alternatives.

      The free software guru touched on a host of topics in his keynote Saturday at the LibrePlanet conference, a Free Software Foundation gathering at the Scala Center at MIT. Excoriating a “plutocratic” corporate culture and warning of severe threats to freedom and privacy around the world, he nevertheless said his own positions on the technology issues of the day had evolved.

    • Extracting the abstract syntax tree from GCC [older, but without paywall now]

      Richard Stallman recently revived a nearly year-old thread in the emacs-devel mailing list, but the underlying issue has been around a lot longer than that. It took many years before the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) changed its runtime library exemption in a way that allowed for GCC plugins, largely because of fears that companies might distribute proprietary, closed-source plugins. But efforts to use the plugin API to add features to another GNU project mainstay, Emacs, seem to be running aground on that same fear—though there has never been any real evidence that there is much interest in circumventing the runtime library exception to provide proprietary backends to GCC.

    • GNU Nano 2.4.0 Brings Complete Undo System, Linter Support & More

      GNU Nano 2.4.0 was released this morning as the first stable update to this open-source CLI text editor in a number of years.

    • GNU Nano Editor 2.4 Comes with Full Undo Support [Install in Ubuntu/Mint]
    • LibrePlanet 2015: Day one roundup
    • LibrePlanet 2015: Highlights and what comes next
    • Reglue & Sébastien Jodogne Receive FSF Awards

      Ken Starks put another well deserved feather in his cap on Saturday when he accepted an award for Reglue from the Free Software Foundation (FSF) at the LibrePlanet conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Saturday. Reglue was announced as this year’s winner of the Project of Social Benefit Award by FSF executive director John Sullivan, who also announced that Sébastien Jodogne had won this year’s award for Advancement of Free Software. The event took place on the MIT campus.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Meet the White House’s new open source-happy IT director

      The White House has plucked 28-year-old David Recordon, engineering director at Facebook, as its first IT Director. A strong open source advocate with a decidedly non-button-down appearance, Recordon will be charged with modernizing the White House’s technology. Here’s a closer look at one of our newest public servants…

    • Federal open source software activities are growing

      Patricia M. Loui-Smicker of Hawaii was confirmed by the Senate, just the other day, as a director of the Export-Import bank. Not the kind of routine confirmation that makes the news. Gilberto de Jesus of Maryland withdrew his nomination to be chief counsel for advocacy at the Small Business Administration. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs reported favorably on a bill “to reduce the operation and maintenance costs associated with the Federal fleet by encouraging use of remanufactured parts.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Apple’s ResearchKit: Is Open Source Good for Your and Apple’s Health?

      Apple’s website defines it as “an open source software framework that makes it easy for researchers and developers to create apps that could revolutionize medical studies, potentially transforming medicine forever.”

    • OGP: 36 Action Plans submitted in 2014

      In total, 29 countries have submitted their second Open Government Partnership (OGP) Action Plans in 2014, according to the 2014 report of the Open Government Partnership. This number indicates “a strong desire to continue participating in OGP”, the report said. The report also mentions that seven countries submitted their first national Action Plan last year. In total, 36 countries “submitted new Action Plans containing over 900 commitments“.

    • ‘Open Humans Network’ seeks to open-source your body

      People eager to share personal information beyond what’s on their Facebook profile have another outlet: an online platform launching on Tuesday will let them give scientists information about their genomes, gut bacteria and other biological data.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source Virtual Reality gets massive with Unity and Unreal Engine

        Plugins for both Unity 5 and Unreal Engine 4 have been released to the public for OSVR, the Open Source Virtual Reality program. This system was first initiated by the folks at Razer, appearing at CES 2015 with a brand new OSVR Dev Kit virtual reality headset. In the very short time between then and now, they’ve racked up quite a few heavy-hitting partners. This system also works with Vuzix technology and has racked up partners like Ubisoft, Seven Hill Games, Homido, and castAR.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • FDA Deems GM Apples, Potatoes Safe

      The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed genetically modified (GM), non-browning “Arctic” apples—approved last month by the Department of Agriculture—and bruise-resistant “Innate” potatoes “as safe and nutritious as their conventional counterparts,” according to The New York Times.

      Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the British Columbia-based firm that produces the GM apples, and J.R. Simplot of Idaho, which grows the GM potatoes, both consulted with the FDA to assess the safety and nutrition of their foods.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Washington’s War on Russia

      “In order to survive and preserve its leading role on the international stage, the US desperately needs to plunge Eurasia into chaos, (and) to cut economic ties between Europe and Asia-Pacific Region … Russia is the only (country) within this potential zone of instability that is capable of resistance. It is the only state that is ready to confront the Americans. Undermining Russia’s political will for resistance… is a vitally important task for America.”

    • Israel Supported Hamas to Divide Palestine’s Resistance – Assange

      Israel supported the Palestinian Islamic organization Hamas’s growth in order to drive a wedge in the Palestinian resistance movement, according to WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • California’s About to Run Out of Water. We Have to Act Now

      California is now heading into its fourth year of record-breaking drought, with no liquid relief in sight. High temperatures, little precipitation, and historically low snowpack have left the state with dwindling water reserves. The situation is so bad, as NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti wrote in an LA Times op-ed last week, that California has only a year of water left in its reservoirs.

  • Finance

    • The world’s next credit crunch could make 2008 look like a hiccup

      For the time being, the markets remain sanguine, expecting, for example, a gentle increase in the Bank of England’s main interest rate to just 1.5pc by the end of the decade. And, who knows, maybe the markets are right.

      But maybe it’s too quiet. Last week, Ray Dalio, the founder of the $165bn (£110bn) hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, wrote a widely-circulated note warning his clients that the US Federal Reserve risked setting off a 1937-style crash when it starts raising interest rates again.

    • From Right-to-Work to the Servant Economy

      Two Mondays ago, Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin and a fast-rising Republican star, signed a “right-to-work” bill into law in his state, calling it “one more tool that will help grow good-paying, family-supporting jobs here in the state of Wisconsin.”

      In fact, if experience from other right-to-work states is any indicator, it’s likely to do just the opposite. It may, indeed, attract more jobs, but most of them won’t pay enough to support a family.

      The decline of America’s middle class in the past four decades is attributable to many factors, one of them being the decline in union membership; right-to-work depresses union membership further. It will decrease dues payments that unions tend to spend on candidates who support unions, most of whom are not Republicans.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • BP Dumps ALEC; Tally at 102

      BP announced Monday that it was cutting ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, the controversial corporate bill mill. It is the third major fossil fuel company to sever ties with ALEC, after Occidental Petroleum in 2014. ExxonMobil remains on the ALEC private sector board.

      “We continually assess our engagements with policy and advocacy organizations and based on our most recent assessment, we have determined that we can effectively pursue policy matters of current interest to BP without renewing our membership in ALEC,” the spokesman told the National Review.

  • Privacy

    • Communication Security Establishment’s cyberwarfare toolbox revealed

      Top-secret documents obtained by the CBC show Canada’s electronic spy agency has developed a vast arsenal of cyberwarfare tools alongside its U.S. and British counterparts to hack into computers and phones in many parts of the world, including in friendly trade countries like Mexico and hotspots like the Middle East.

    • Amazon Still Won’t Talk About Government Requests For User Data

      In the wake of the Snowden leaks, more and more tech companies are providing their users with transparency reports that detail (to the extent they’re allowed) government requests for user data. Amazon — home to vast amounts of cloud storage — isn’t one of them.

    • CISA Security Bill: An F for Security But an A+ for Spying

      When the Senate Intelligence Committee passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act by a vote of 14 to 1, committee chairman Senator Richard Burr argued that it successfully balanced security and privacy. Fifteen new amendments to the bill, he said, were designed to protect internet users’ personal information while enabling new ways for companies and federal agencies to coordinate responses to cyberattacks. But critics within the security and privacy communities still have two fundamental problems with the legislation: First, they say, the proposed cybersecurity act won’t actually boost security. And second, the “information sharing” it describes sounds more than ever like a backchannel for surveillance.

    • John Key hits back at Nicky Hager over GCSB claims

      Prime Minister John Key believes the latest spying allegations were timed to coincide with his visit to South Korea.

      “Of course they were, it’s all part of a particular agenda by Nicky Hager and some others,” he told reporters in Seoul.

      “There’s no question there’s an anti-government, anti-American agenda.”

    • Former diplomat, minister shocked by WTO spy claims

      Spying by the GCSB on those competing against National Government minister Tim Groser for the World Trade Organisation’s top job has appalled a former foreign affairs and trade minister and astonished one of the country’s most experienced diplomats.

      An inquiry is likely into the actions of the GCSB after Labour leader Andrew Little said he would ask the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security to investigate today.

      The Herald and US news site the Intercept yesterday revealed a top secret GCSB document showing the electronic surveillance agency had been searching for email communications which mentioned Mr Groser, the Trade Minister, in association with names of candidates competing against him. The news broke as Prime Minister John Key and Mr Groser prepared to sign a Free Trade Agreement in South Korea, whose former trade minister was among the surveillance targets vying for the $700,000 WTO job.

    • BIOS Hacking

      The NSA has a term for vulnerabilities it think are exclusive to it: NOBUS, for “nobody but us.” Turns out that NOBUS is a flawed concept. As I keep saying: “Today’s top-secret programs become tomorrow’s PhD theses and the next day’s hacker tools.” By continuing to exploit these vulnerabilities rather than fixing them, the NSA is keeping us all vulnerable.

    • Facebook wants to save you a click by hosting other sites’ content

      As if Facebook couldn’t get any bigger, it’s looking like The Social Network wants to start natively hosting content from news organizations. As The New York Times’ sources tell it, Zuckerberg and Co. have been in talks with at least six media companies about publishing their content directly on the site — no link-clicking required. The initial round of publications apparently includes The New York Times, Buzzfeed, National Geographic and our sister publication The Huffington Post. The reason? Websites take too long to load, and Facebook says that on mobile, the average eight-second page-load is too much. Of course, the outfit has a vested interest in mobile, hence it stepping in.

  • Civil Rights

    • 5 signs America is devolving into a plutocracy

      One-percent elections. Congressional gridlock. An increasingly demobilized public. Our democracy is on life support

    • The DOJ Isn’t Interested In Protecting FBI Whistleblowers From Retaliation

      You don’t hear much about FBI whistleblowers. Many other agencies have had wrongdoing exposed by employees (and the government has often seen fit to slap the whistles out of their mouths with harsh prosecution), but the FBI isn’t one of them. Forty-three years ago, whistleblowers broke into the FBI and retrieved damning documents, but no one’s really broken out of the FBI to do the same. In fact, the FBI would rather not talk about whistleblowing at all.

    • Voter ID Will Take Effect in Wisconsin–Here’s What that Means

      The ruling is regarded as a victory for Governor Scott Walker, who championed the law in Wisconsin and has boasted about the state’s voting restrictions as he makes the case for a presidential run. Walker defended voter ID during the 2014 gubernatorial race, declaring that “it doesn’t matter” if there is only one incident of voter fraud in each election, even though as many as 300,000 Wisconsinites don’t have the forms of ID required under the law.

    • Journalism as Subversion

      The assault of global capitalism is not only an economic and political assault. It is a cultural and historical assault. Global capitalism seeks to erase our stories and our histories. Its systems of mass communication, which peddle a fake intimacy with manufactured celebrities and a false sense of belonging within a mercenary consumer culture, shut out our voices, hopes and dreams. Salacious gossip about the elites and entertainers, lurid tales of violence and inane trivia replace in national discourse the actual and the real. The goal is a vast historical amnesia.

      The traditions, rituals and struggles of the poor and workingmen and workingwomen are replaced with the vapid homogenization of mass culture. Life’s complexities are reduced to simplistic stereotypes. Common experiences center around what we have been fed by television and mass media. We become atomized and alienated. Solidarity and empathy are crushed. The cult of the self becomes paramount. And once the cult of the self is supreme we are captives to the corporate monolith.

      As the mass media, now uniformly in the hands of large corporations, turn news into the ridiculous chronicling of pseudo-events and pseudo-controversy we become ever more invisible as individuals. Any reporting of the truth—the truth about what the powerful are doing to us and how we are struggling to endure and retain our dignity and self-respect—would fracture and divide a global population that must be molded into compliant consumers and obedient corporate subjects. This has made journalism, real journalism, subversive. And it has made P. Sainath—who has spent more than two decades making his way from rural Indian village to rural Indian village to make sure the voices of the country’s poor are heard, recorded and honored—one of the most subversive journalists on the subcontinent. He doggedly documented the some 300,000 suicides of desperate Indian farmers—happening for the last 19 years at the rate of one every half hour—in his book “Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories From India’s Poorest Districts.” And in December, after leaving The Hindu newspaper, where he was the rural affairs editor, he created the People’s Archive of Rural India. He works for no pay. He relies on a small army of volunteers. He says his archive deals with “the everyday lives of everyday people.” And, because it is a platform for mixed media, encompassing print, still photographs, audio and film, as well as an online research library, it is a model for those who seek to tell the stories that global capitalism attempts to blot out.

    • Greece’s Golden Dawn: Fascists at the Gate

      When some 70 members of the neo-Nazi organization Golden Dawn go on trial sometime this spring, there will be more than street thugs and fascist ideologues in the docket, but a tangled web of influence that is likely to engulf Greece’s police, national security agency, wealthy oligarchs, and mainstream political parties. While Golden Dawn—with its holocaust denial, its swastikas, and Hitler salutes—makes it look like it inhabits the fringe, in fact the organization has roots deep in the heart of Greece’s political culture

    • ‘Nazi Hideout’ Found in Argentine Nature Reserve

      Investigators discovered German coins dating back to World War II in the deserted rubble.

      Ruined buildings in an Argentine nature reserve could have been built as a Nazi hideout, archeologists believe. Investigators found German coins dating back to World War II in the deserted rubble.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Digital Freedoms

      As of April 2014 figures from uSwitch showed, only 15% of Britain is using broadband of 30 Mbps or higher – the speed classified by the EU as “superfast”. Looking inward, compared with the rest of the UK, Wales has some of the slowest Internet speeds. Wales itself contains the slowest broadband speed street in the entire UK, Erw Fawr in Henryd, North Wales had an average download speed of 0.60 megabits per second. That is 30 times slower than the UK national average.

    • First Legal Challenges To FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules Filed

      As we noted a week and a half ago when the FCC released its full net neutrality rules, it seemed like the legal challenges wouldn’t start for a little while — because the rules had to formally be published in the Federal Register, which would then set off the countdown clock for filing a lawsuit against the rules. However, some believe that parts of the new rules fall under a different legal regime, and thus there is a 10 day limit from the date the rules were released to file an appeal. And thus, we have USTelecom, a trade association of broadband providers and Alamo Broadband, a small Texas-based ISP, who have both filed legal challenges over the FCC’s rules. Specifically, they’re both asking appeals courts to “review” the rules. Alamo is asking the Fifth Circuit court of appeals, while USTelecom is focusing on the DC Circuit (which is where the last challenge to FCC rules happened). The reasoning in both is fairly similar.

    • Ted Cruz’s New Presidential Campaignx Donation Website Shares Security Certificate With Nigerian-Prince.com

      A few hours after this was first noticed, the Cruz campaign appears to have removed nigerian-prince.com from its certificate, but it still raises some questions about just who he has hired to build his websites. I guess that’s what happens when even the technologists in your own party openly mock Ted Cruz’s ignorance when it comes to technology issues like net neutrality.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Celebrities race to beat trolls to internet domains

      Taylor Swift knew they were trouble. So too did Microsoft. And the pop phenomenon and the software giant both had the means and motive to do something about it.

      From 1 June there will be an unprecedented web free-for-all. In a bid to allow easier searches for doctors, businesses and places, a raft of new top-level domain (TLD) names – the last bit of a web address – will become available to buy, including “.healthcare” and “.deals”, but also “.porn”, “.sucks” and “.adult”.

    • Commissioner Malmström defends rigged ISDS in CETA

      Today EU commissioner Malmström gave a speech in the European Parliament trade committee on investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS). ISDS gives foreign investors the right to use arbitration against states, instead of using local courts.

      Malmström made clear that she does not want to change the trade agreement with Canada (CETA), which contains a highly controversial ISDS section. The CETA text was used for the ISDS consultation.

    • Copyrights

      • U.S. Court Extends Global Shutdown of DVD Ripping Software

        A federal court in New York has issued a paralyzing verdict against the Chinese-based DVD ripping company DVDFab. Ruling in favor of AACS, the licensing outfit founded by Warner Bros, Disney, Microsoft, Intel and others, the court has issued an updated injunction granting the seizure of several domain names belonging to the software vendor.

      • US judge orders seizure of foreign domains owned by Chinese company

        A federal judge in New York has ordered dozens of global domains owned by the Chinese company Fengtao Software to be seized, for its social media accounts to be blocked, and for payment processors to cut off their services to the company.

        As TorrentFreak reports, this is the result of legal action by the decryption licensing body AACS, founded by companies such as Microsoft and Walt Disney. Last year AACS won a preliminary injunction against Fengtao Software, which sells the popular DVD-ripping software DVDFab. Initially, Fengtao failed to respond to the court, which caused the injunction to be granted by default. Later, the Chinese company asked for the decision to be reviewed, arguing that the order was too broad because it affected the company globally, while the relevant copyright law applied by the judge was US-specific.

03.23.15

Links 23/3/2015: Linux 4.0 RC5, Kubuntu Celebrates Ten Years

Posted in News Roundup at 12:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is This Open-Source Siri Smarter Than Apple’s Version?

    While tech industry giants like Apple and Microsoft have popularized the personal digital assistant by enabling smartphone users to ask Siri or Cortana to set alarms or find answers to their questions, now other developers and smaller companies can implement their own version of such assistants with new open-source software called Sirius.

  • Telco sector OPNFV project champions open network services

    This group is a community-led industry-supported open source reference platform for Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV).

    TechTarget defines NFV as an initiative to virtualise the network services that are (or were previously) being carried out by proprietary, dedicated hardware — NFV is part of the wider industry shift towards network and application virtualisation.

  • An introduction to software defined networking

    Software defined networking (SDN) is becoming a major driver for a number of next generation technologies to power the communications systems and networks of tomorow. Many of these projects are being developed as open source collaborations between the companies creating and using networking solutions.

  • Events

    • FOSSAsia 2015, Singapore

      FOSSAsia is the largest open source conference in Asia. This year, it was hosted in Singapore and I had a chance to speak there about Project Atomic. Singapore is a beautiful place but unfortunately I had a bad throat as soon as I reached there. That killed most of the fun but nonetheless the conference was great. I met up with a lot of new and old faces. The conference was kick started by Hong Phuc and Mario. Day 1 had a lot of interesting talks by Harish, Lennart, Brian and a lot of other interesting people. Novena project had an interesting talk by Bunny who showed why failure of Moore’s Law is actually a good news for open hardware hackers. I heard about Novena during Flock and I must say that it has come long way since. Most of all I enjoyed the talk given by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan on open data. The efforts of his team to bring data to public is really commendable. I wish more politicians think the way he is thinking. The day concluded and there was a barbeque in the evening but I had to skip it due to bad health.

    • February, one hell of a month packed with knowledge!

      Wow, finally I have time to write about February. This one was a packed month! First we had FOSDEM, then DevConf.CZ and then finally SCALE 13x.

    • Leveraging the power of academia in your open source project

      When academia and open source collaborate, everybody wins. Open source projects get new contributors, professors get students with more knowledge and perspective about real-world software development, and—most importantly—students can get extra mentorship while gaining hands-on experience in their chosen fields.

  • Web Browsers

  • BSD

    • DragonFly 4.0.5 out

      I’ve tagged version 4.0.5 of DragonFly, and it’s available at your nearest mirror. This revision is mostly to incorporate the newest OpenSSL security bump.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Sébastien Jodogne, ReGlue are Free Software Award winners

      Free Software Foundation executive director John Sullivan announced the winners of the FSF’s annual Free Software Awards at a ceremony on Saturday, March 21st, held during the LibrePlanet 2015 conference at MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Two awards were given: the Award for the Advancement of Free Software and the Award for Projects of Social Benefit.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Source Model In Computers Should Be Applied To Genomic Data, Paper Says

      Genomic data should be made publicly available for the promotion of science as a global public good, a new paper argues. Two researchers suggest that a model inspired by the open-source computer software movement should be developed for plant breeding, animal breeding, and biomedicine.

    • Getting started guide, making your first OpenStack commit, and more
    • Open Access/Content

      • How one professor saves students millions with his shared textbooks

        I learned about David Lippman from an article on TeamOpen and realized I needed to talk to him more about his work in open education and open source. David is a professor at Pierce College and has saved students a million dollars with his shared textbooks. He also built IMathAS, a free, open source math assessment and course platform.

    • Open Hardware

      • Sub $300 exiii handiii 3D Printed Open Source Bionic Hand is Controlled by a Smartphone

        As time goes by and technology improves, we are constantly seeing prices for previously groundbreaking technology fall to levels which allow for the adoption of this technology by the masses. 3D printing is one of these technologies, in that now, virtually anyone in the developed world can afford a desktop 3D printer. At the same time though, other technologies are following in this same path. For example smartphones, tablets and mini computers can now perform tasks that a machine 20 years ago, at 100 times the price, couldn’t even have come close to achieving.

  • Programming

    • 101 Open Source Tools for Developers

      These days, nearly every developer is familiar with the benefits of open source code and coding tools. Open source repositories like GitHub and SourceForge provide invaluable resources for those searching for assistance in creating their own applications.

      In addition, many of the most popular development tools are available under open source licenses. The last few years have seen an explosion of new tools, particularly in categories like mobile development and JavaScript frameworks. This month we’re updating our previous list of open source development tools and highlighting 101 of the very best open source bugtrackers, programming languages, version control systems, frameworks, IDEs, text editors and other tools.

    • The Demise of Open Source Hosting Providers Codehaus and Google Code

      At the turn of the millenium, a new breed of open-source hosting platforms was created to provide free hosting for open-source projects. The inaugral hosting service was SourceForge, created by VA Linux as a means to host open-source projects in 1999, to support their VA Linux product created in 1993. The repository provided a location for developers to host code (with CVS), have an issue tracking system, mailing lists and hosting for download purposes. By the end of 2001, over 30,000 projects were hosted on SourceForge. By 2006 the number of projects had grown to 100k, and adding Google Ads provided a means of income to support the hosting site. 2006 also saw Subversion being added to the platform.

Leftovers

  • The FTC’s internal memo on Google teaches companies a terrible lesson

    Many in Washington this week have been questioning whether the Federal Trade Commission made the right call when it rebuffed its own staff recommendation in 2013 to take Google to court over alleged anti-competitive practices. The debate was sparked by a Wall Street Journal story describing the FTC’s internal staff memo on Google, which the agency inadvertently sent to the publication.

  • Cash for access: Fake donor pays way to heart of big parties

    David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have been drawn into the cash for access debate after it emerged that all three met an undercover businessman posing as a potential donor.

  • Security

    • Stealing Data From Computers Using Heat

      The method would allow attackers to surreptitiously siphon passwords or security keys from a protected system and transmit the data to an internet-connected system that’s in close proximity and that the attackers control. They could also use the internet-connected system to send malicious commands to the air-gapped system using the same heat and sensor technique.

    • At Pwn2Own Hacker Competition, All Major Browsers Get Punk’d

      Slowly but surely, the Pwn2Own hacker contest has become an important fixture in the world of testing the security of software applications, operating systems and hardware devices. In fact, it’s now widely followed by major technology companies and technologists of all stripes.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Mexican Wikileaks Launched: Will Mexicoleaks Unearth Corruption?

      A consortium of Mexican media organizations have launched Méxicoleaks, an unedited online whistleblower tool similar to Wikileaks. The site uses the Tor browser to anonymize users and encryption to guarantee the safety of those that submit information, according to Processo, one of the organizations supporting the website.

    • Mexico’s version of WikiLeaks causes controversy before its first story

      There have been no classified diplomatic cables. No top-secret intelligence reports. No fugitive whistleblowers.

      And yet Mexico’s latest experiment in free speech, the new Web site MexicoLeaks, has already generated its own media mini-tempest.

    • Mexico Launches Own Wikileaks to Fight Corruption
    • Mexico’s own ‘WikiLeaks’ already making waves

      Mexico’s WikiLeaks-inspired whistleblower website is already making waves just days after its launch, even though it has yet to expose any government scandals.

      MexicoLeaks was announced by star journalist Carmen Aristegui last week when she told her audience that her MVS radio team was part of the initiative.

    • Spy cables: SA’s WikiLeaks moment

      South Africa is experiencing its own WikiLeaks moment as leaked classified documents from the State Security Agency and some foreign spy agencies are to be published by News24, Al Jazeera and the British Guardian, starting on Monday night.

    • Tweets of the Day: WikiLeaks vs WikiLeaksForum
    • ‘I’m Condemned to Death’ – WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange

      Julian Assange still remains holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London. The WikiLeaks founder told RTS the US government would never let him off the hook for publishing top secret US military documents leaked in 2010.

      [...]

      “Phones and hard drives worldwide are now under surveillance. This makes the world a very vulnerable place and poses a threat to everyone,” Assange said, adding that he will keep working to make sure people have access to censored data, because this information is essential in order to have a better understanding of the world we live in.

    • Whistleblowers Have a Human Right to a Public Interest Defense, And Hacktivists Do, Too

      Not a single one of those prosecuted has been allowed to argue that their actions served the public good. Chelsea Manning, the alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower, exposed human rights abuses worldwide and opened an unprecedented window into global politics. Her disclosures are to this day cited regularly by the media and courts. Thomas Drake exposed massive NSA waste, while John Kiriakou exposed waterboarding later admitted to be torture in the recent Senate CIA Torture Report. The story of Edward Snowden’s disclosures of widespread NSA surveillance recently won an Oscar.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Shell oil driling in Arctic set to get US government permission

      The US government is expected this week to give the go-ahead to a controversial plan by Shell to restart drilling for oil in the Arctic.

      The green light from Sally Jewell, the interior secretary, will spark protests from environmentalists who have campaigned against proposed exploration by the Anglo-Dutch group in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska.

    • Climate Change Advocate Bill Gates’ Foundation has Over $1 Billion Invested in Fossil Fuel Industry

      Bill and Melinda Gates are some of the most vocal advocates for reversing the effects of climate change, but The Guardian revealed yesterday that their foundation held at least $1.4 billion worth of investments in fossil fuel companies, according to the charity’s 2013 tax filings.

    • Can the Gates Foundation be convinced to dump fossil fuels?
    • Gates’ foundation has invested $1.4 billion in fossil fuel cos
    • Guardian Newspaper Targets Gates Foundation Over Oil Assets

      The London-based Guardian newspaper has taken aim at two leading charities—the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK’s Wellcome Trust—pressuring them to divest from fossil fuel-related assets.

    • Gates Fund Held $1.4 Billion in Fossil-Fuel Stock in 2013

      The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had at least $1.4 billion invested in large oil, gas, and coal companies in 2013, The Guardian writes, citing an analysis of the charity’s most recent available tax return. The $43 billion fund had stakes in 35 of the 200 firms with the biggest fossil-fuel reserves, according to the newspaper, which launched a petition drive Monday calling on the foundation to divest from the industry.

    • Florida and the Science Who Must Not Be Named

      The oceans are slowly overtaking Florida. Ancient reefs of mollusk and coral off the present-day coasts are dying. Annual extremes in hot and cold, wet and dry, are becoming more pronounced. Women and men of science have investigated, and a great majority agree upon a culprit. In the outside world, this culprit has a name, but within the borders of Florida, it does not. According to a Miami Herald investigation, the state Department of Environmental Protection has since 2010 had an unwritten policy prohibiting the use of some well-understood phrases for the meteorological phenomena slowly drowning America’s weirdest-shaped state. It’s … that thing where burning too much fossil fuel puts certain molecules into a certain atmosphere, disrupting a certain planetary ecosystem. You know what we’re talking about. We know you know. They know we know you know. But are we allowed to talk about … you know? No. Not in Florida. It must not be spoken of. Ever.

  • Censorship

    • Hate speech social media bans may not be the answer

      Parliamentary report on antisemitism calls for protection orders used to ban sex offenders from using the internet to be extended to hate crime. But these should be used to prevent serious harm, not as punishment for hate speech in general.

    • A Test of Free Speech and Bias, Served on a Plate From Texas

      The next great First Amendment battleground is just six inches high. It is a license plate bearing the Confederate flag.

      Nine states let drivers choose specialty license plates featuring the flag and honoring the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which says it seeks to celebrate Southern heritage. But Texas refused to allow the group’s plates, saying the flag was offensive.

  • Privacy

    • GCHQ and Mass Surveillance

      The consequences of GCHQ’s activities have the potential to harm society, the economy and our foreign standing. These have not been fully explored by Parliament. We hope that this report helps MPs to understand the range of GCHQ’s activities and the fact that they affect ordinary people not just those suspected of threatening national security.

    • The real impact of surveillance

      For many people surveillance makes them less safe.

    • New Zealand Spied on WTO Director Candidates

      New Zealand launched a covert surveillance operation targeting candidates vying to be director general of the World Trade Organization, a top-secret document reveals.

    • New Zealand used NSA’s XKeyscore to spy on trade candidates

      New Zealand’s spy agency GCSB used the US NSA’s XKeyscore mass surveillance tool to spy on candidates from around the world vying to lead the World Trade Organisation.

      GCSB used XKeyscore to set up searches for communications about candidates from Brazil, South Korea, Indonesia. Mexico, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya and Costa Rica, according to a document released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • How spy agency homed in on Groser’s rivals

      GCSB used United States’ XKeyscore surveillance system to intercept emails mentioning other candidates for WTO job and paid close attention to Indonesian contender.

    • GCSB spies monitored diplomats in line for World Trade Organisation job

      Exclusive – Secret document reveals Five Eyes software used for surveillance on candidates for WTO job.

    • Government accused of spying on WTO top job candidates

      The Green Party has slammed the Government’s claimed use of its spy agency to snoop on rival candidates for a top World Trade Organisation Job.

      Documents obtained by the US-based Intercept website purport to show the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) snooped on candidates for the WTO job for which Trade Minister Tim Groser was in the running.

      Groser ultimately missed out on the job to Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo.

    • Spy agencies used for personal gain, again – Greens

      Documents released today, by the Herald, show the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) was spying on Tim Groser’s rivals for the position of the director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

    • GCSB: Groser’s Competition Scuttling Bureau

      Tim Groser’s personal use of the GCSB to try and get himself a job at the WTO is a highly dubious use of an agency that is meant to combat security threats, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.

    • Spy agencies used for personal gain, again

      New Zealand’s spy agencies are once again being used to further the personal ambitions of Cabinet Ministers, the Green Party said today.

    • How far does GCSB ‘trade team’ spying go?

      How far does GCSB ‘trade team’ spying go?

      “Revelations this morning that the GCSB was spying on Trade Minister Groser’s opponents for the top job at the world Trade Organization raise the question about other activities of the GCSB’s ‘trade team’.

    • GCSB spies monitored diplomats in line for World Trade Organisation job

      Our spies monitored email and internet traffic about international diplomats vying for the job of director-general of the World Trade Organisation – a job for which National Government Trade Minister Tim Groser was competing.

      The spying operation was active in 2013 and called the “WTO Project” by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), according to a top secret document obtained by the Herald and United States news site The Intercept.

    • GCSB snooped on Trade Minister’s rivals

      The Government Communications Security Bureau used the Five Eyes spying network to trawl through the communications of candidates from Brazil, South Korea, Kenya, Indonesia and others, according to documents obtained by journalists Glenn Greenwald and Nicky Hager.

    • Govt downplays WTO spying claims

      The government is playing down allegations New Zealand’s spy agency snooped on foreigners competing with Trade Minister Tim Groser for the top job at the World Trade Organisation.

    • NZ spied on WTO candidates – Hager

      Journalist Nicky Hager says New Zealand spied on candidates vying to lead the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in a bid to help the New Zealand contender Tim Groser.

    • Don’t want NSA to spy on your email? 5 things you can do

      Encryption programs such as Pretty Good Privacy, or PGP, can make your email appear indecipherable to anyone without the digital key to translate the gibberish. This can help prevent highly sensitive financial and business information from getting swept up by hackers, as well as a government dragnet. Yet only 2 percent of the people surveyed by Pew used PGP or other email encryption programs. Part of the problem: Encryption isn’t easy to use, as email recipients also need to use encryption or leave their regular inboxes to read messages.

  • Civil Rights

    • Athens marches against racism and fascism

      In Athens thousands joined the Greek leg of the international day of action against racism and fascism. Kevin Ovenden reports

    • Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Blasts Canada For Denying Asylum To Alleged Anonymous Hacker Matt Dehart

      DeHart fled to Canada in 2014 ahead of a criminal trial on child pornography charges. But such were only false accusations, he claimed, meant to be used as leverage to push a probe into espionage and national security focused on his alleged involvement with the Anonymous and WikiLeaks hacker groups. He had likewise been alleged as to have leaked a number of classified U.S. government documents. While in custody in the United States, the former American serviceman in the Air National Guard claimed he was subjected to torture. “The abuse of the law in DeHart’s case is obvious, shocking and wrong,” Assange said in a statement.

    • Georgia anti-NDAA Bill Receives First Subcommittee Hearing

      On Tuesday, a Georgia House Subcommittee held a hearing about a bill that would take a first step against NDAA indefinite detention in the state.

    • May defense bill vote seen in U.S. House, acquisition reform in works

      The U.S. House of Representatives is moving toward a vote in mid-May on the annual half-billion-dollar defense policy bill, U.S. Representative Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said on Monday.

      Thornberry also said he plans to introduce next week legislation to reform the U.S. defense acquisition process. There is no schedule yet for a vote on that bill in the House, he told a news briefing, saying he first wanted to open up the process for comments.

    • Lee Kuan Yew inspired hopeful autocrats near and far

      Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev suggested that Singapore was a model on how a country should run, making it clear that he intended to follow Lee’s and not the West’s advice.

    • After Singapore patriarch Lee Kuan Yew, challenges for the Lion City

      A famously unsentimental man, he would laugh off complaints that the Singapore he’d built was “sterile” or “boring” or “charmless.” After all, the Singapore it replaced – a colonial British port – was squalid and poor. Yes the old kampong and Chinese-style shop-houses had character, but the government’s utilitarian public housing, block after block, put apartment ownership within reach of almost every Singaporean family.

    • Singapore: Death of Lee Kuan Yew

      On the passing on Singapore’s former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Research Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

      “Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the family of Lee Kuan Yew and others who mourn his passing.”

      “Lee Kuan Yew more than anyone else built modern Singapore, and his legacy will be unrivalled economic progress and development. There is, however, a dark side to what he leaves behind – too often, basic freedoms and human rights were sacrificed to ensure economic growth. Restrictions on freedom of expression and the silencing of criticism is still part of the daily reality for Singaporeans.”

      “Lee Kuan Yew’s passing, just a few months short of Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence, happens just as the country enters a new era. We urge the next generation of leaders to ensure that this is marked by genuine respect for human rights.”

    • 5 Hallmarks of the New American Order

      A new kind of governance is being born right before our eyes. Stop pretending it’s not happening.

03.22.15

Links 22/3/2015: GNOME 3.16 Shaping Up, LibrePlanet 2015

Posted in News Roundup at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Welcome to LibrePlanet 2015!

      After an opening keynote by FSF president Richard Stallman – and the announcement of our newest board member, Kat Walsh – more than 300 attendees split up for talks on a wide variety of free software topics. These included MediaGoblin developer Christopher Webber on the role of free software in federation of the web, Seth Schoen of EFF on a new robotic certificate authority called Let’s Encrypt, Deb Nicholson’s lively comparison of the 1980′s and the varied aspects of the free software movement, and Francis Rowe’s discussion of the Libreboot free boot firmware. Talks continue into the early evening, concluding with the annual Free Software Awards at 17:45 EDT.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Releases Firefox 36.0.3 to Patch the Security Vulnerabilities Disclosed at Pwn2Own

        Mozilla has just updated its popular Firefox web browser application for all supported computer operating systems, including GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows. The new stable release is now Mozilla Firefox 36.0.3 and you should receive it via the built-in updater tool of the software.

      • Netscape: the web browser that came back to haunt Microsoft

        But even when Microsoft engineers built a TCP/IP stack into Windows, the pain continued. Andreessen and his colleagues left university to found Netscape, wrote a new browser from scratch and released it as Netscape Navigator. This spread like wildfire and led Netscape’s founders to speculate (hubristically) that the browser would eventually become the only piece of software that computer users really needed – thereby relegating the operating system to a mere life-support system for the browser.

        Now that got Microsoft’s attention. It was an operating-system company, after all. On May 26, 1995 Gates wrote an internal memo (entitled “The Internet Tidal Wave”) which ordered his subordinates to throw all the company’s resources into launching a single-minded attack on the web browser market. Given that Netscape had a 90% share of that market, Gates was effectively declaring war on Netscape. Microsoft hastily built its own browser, named it Internet Explorer (IE), and set out to destroy the upstart by incorporating Explorer into the Windows operating system, so that it was the default browser for every PC sold.

        The strategy worked: Microsoft succeeded in exterminating Netscape, but in the process also nearly destroyed itself, because the campaign triggered an antitrust (unfair competition) suit which looked like breaking up the company, only to founder at the last moment. So Microsoft lived to tell the tale, and Internet Explorer became the world’s browser. By 2000, IE had a 95% market share; it was the de facto industry standard, which meant that if you wanted to make a living from software development you had to make sure that your stuff worked in IE. The Explorer franchise was a monopoly on steroids.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Kat Walsh joins FSF board of directors

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced the addition of Kat Walsh to its board of directors. She becomes the ninth director on the FSF’s board.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • New handheld console, first anti-cheat open hardware device, and more gaming news
    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source X3D XS CoreXY 3D Printer is Unveiled by Polish Designer

        One of the most fascinating things about the desktop 3D printing space is the openness exuded by the developers of the printers themselves. Desktop 3D printers first got off the ground because of open source movements such as RepRap. While some 3D printer manufacturers have taken their creations and closed off this ‘openness,’ others have remained key contributors to the community. These open source designs have allowed for an extremely quick development and innovation of these machines, and without organizations like RepRap, we certainly wouldn’t have the 3D printers we have today.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Be careful with your face at airports

      That should seem far-fetched, but it isn’t. The TSA continues to use pseudo-scientific “behavior detection” techniques that have given rise to persistent allegations of racial and ethnic profiling at our nation’s airports.

  • Hardware

    • Effects of a PSU upgrade

      While looking at what AMD cards to upgrade to, I happen to learn about the now ~1 year old Nvidia Maxwell architecture, which is – surprisingly – much more energy efficient. So efficient, that I could upgrade to a top-of-the-line card, with around 6× performance on most benchmarks compared to my current card, with only a 25W TDP increase.

      I couldn’t believe I missed this for almost a year, just because I was focused only on AMD cards.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Big Bank’s Analyst Worries That Iran Deal Could Depress Weapons Sales

      The possibility of an Iran nuclear deal depressing weapons sales was raised by Myles Walton, an analyst from Germany’s Deutsche Bank, during a Lockheed earnings call this past January 27th. Walton asked Marillyn Hewson, the chief executive of Lockheed Martin, if an Iran agreement could “impede what you see as progress in foreign military sales.” Financial industry analysts such as Walton use earnings calls as an opportunity to ask publicly-traded corporations like Lockheed about issues that might harm profitability.

    • Should the U.S. be able to counter-attack nation-state cyber-aggressors without attribution?

      The testimony of U.S. Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers on March 4th – before the House Armed Services Committee on cyber operations and improving the military’s cybersecurity posture – not only paints an unusually vivid picture of a nation trying to re-invent its military infrastructure in response to a problem that it only partially understands, but also provides some indication as to the means by which it intends to get off the back-foot regarding response policies to cyber-attacks such as last autumn’s Sony Hack incident.

    • George W. Bush: “My Dad Was Meeting with the Brother of Osama on September 11, 2001. Does That Make Him a Terror Suspect?”

      Ironically, the anti-terrorist legislation does not apply to politicians in high office, namely to the “State sponsors of terrorism”; nor does it apply to U.S. or Canadian diplomats, intelligence officials, who are routinely in liaison with terrorist organizations in the Middle East.

      Individuals can be arrested but presidents and prime ministers are allowed to mingle and socialize with family members of the World’s most renowned terrorist and alleged architect of the 9/11 attacks: Osama bin Laden.

      Lest we forget, one day before the 9/11 attacks, the dad of the sitting President of the United States of America, George Herbert Walker Bush was meeting none other than Shafig bin Laden, the brother of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden. It was a routine business meeting on September 10-11, no conflict of interest, no relationship to the 9/11 attacks which allegedly were carried out on the orders of Shafiq’s brother Osama.

      [...]

      The Carlyle Group is embroiled with the defense and intelligence establishment. “It is widely regarded as an extension of the US government, or at least the National Security Agency, the CIA, and the Pentagon.”

      Double standards in anti-terrorism legislation? Double standards in police and law enforcement? No questions asked. No police investigation or interrogation of Osama’s brother Shafig.
      Normally, under established rules of police investigation, both Shafig bin Laden and the president’s dad George Herbert Walker Bush should have been remanded in custody for police questioning and in all likelihood, Shafig bin Laden would have been arrested as a potential suspect. But that did not happen.

      The presence of members of the bin Laden family meeting up with the father of the president of the United States was hushed up and 13 members of the bin Ladens including Shafig were flown out of the US on September 19, 2001 in a plane chartered by the White House. Meanwhile, suspected Muslims are arrested on a mere suspicion, –e.g. that they have an old school friend, who’s cousin’s 86 year old grandmother is an an alleged sympathizer of the “jihad”.

    • Bellum Americanum: US imperialism’s delusions of world conquest

      Here, the pretense that the US is engaged in a campaign to defend human rights or ensure democracy is all but dispensed with. The United States “must protect the homeland, build security globally, and project power and win decisively,” the defense secretary declared. In other words, the US military must be in a position to conquer the world, and it must have unlimited funds at its disposal in order to do so.

    • ACLU files new lawsuit over Obama administration drone ‘kill list’

      As the US debates expanding its campaign against the Islamic State beyond Iraq and Syria, the leading US civil liberties group is intensifying its efforts to force transparency about lethal US counterterrorism strikes and authorities.

    • ACLU sues White House over drone “kill list”
    • ACLU Sues over Drone Kill List Secrecy

      This is actually the third lawsuit the ACLU has filed over the secrecy of the drone rules. One is for information about the strikes that killed American terrorism suspect Anwar al-Awlaki and then later his 16-year-old son in Yemen.

    • ​ACLU sues Obama administration over ‘kill list’ documents

      The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the US government in an effort to compel a court to release documents detailing the Obama administration’s use of a secret, so-called “kill list” containing potential drone strike targets.

    • Two books explore the high cost of killing by drone

      In 2008, President Obama ramped up the use of “killer drones” as a mainstay of U.S. counterterrorism policy. Since 9/11 and primarily under Obama, more than 500 drone strikes have killed nearly 4,000 individuals both in hot war zones, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and in countries containing terrorist havens — including Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

    • Seven Just Arrested Using Giant Books to Close Drone-Murder Base

      The nonviolent activists also held a banner quoting Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, stating that every treaty signed becomes the supreme law of the land. They brought the books to Hancock to remind everyone at the base of the signed treaties that prohibit the killing of civilians and assassinations of human beings.

    • US troops ‘withdraw from Yemen’

      The US is withdrawing its military personnel from a base in Yemen because of increasing insecurity there…

    • Yemen: American Weapons Once More “Landed Up in the Wrong Hands”. Mistakenly in the Hands of Al Qaeda

      Oops! There goes another half billion dollars’ worth of war material lost to another enemy. This time in Yemen where until a few weeks ago President Obama could readily tout Yemen as the one foreign policy success story he could always hang his hat on. Yemen was the one place on this planet where Obama could avoid having to admit his foreign policy is not a total and abject failure. Yemen was where he could rationalize that his killer drone policy was actually working at keeping the enemy at bay. So what if most of the people killed by drones are innocent (over 96% by one recent analysis), many children and women that happened to get in the way. A little so called collateral damage never hurt the mighty US Empire’s warring ways.

    • Obama’s Drone Policy Crashes and Burns

      The unraveling of Yemen should be a wake-up call for Obama loyalists. Obama was elected in large part because of his opposition to the disastrous Iraq War and his promise of a smarter Middle East policy, one less reliant on invasion and occupation. Nevertheless, in office, Obama has supported the occupation of Afghanistan and the NATO-led overthrow of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, which led to chaos.

      Still, as Obama explained in a September 2014 foreign policy speech, the centerpiece of his strategy in the Middle East has been a more long-distance approach: “taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines.” In other words: air strikes, drones and military aid. He touted the success of this strategy in Yemen and Somalia.

    • Drones and the rise of the high-tech assassins

      How twenty-three innocent Afghani civilians were wiped out by self-deceiving drone operators seven and a half thousand miles away.

    • Despite Promises, President Keeps Drone War Under CIA Command

      Despite a promise made by President Obama nearly two years ago to take control of the drone war away from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the spooks still have their fingers on the trigger.

    • White House Fails to Wrest Drone Control From CIA Years After Obama Pledge
    • Two Years Later, White House Still Hitting Roadblocks In Effort To Move Drone Program Out Of CIA Control
    • Web users given power to kill a rat with their phones as part of an ‘art project’

      In a poll of whether the animal should live or die, only half of those who had taken part said it should be spared.

      Mehnert has also received a barrage of protest e-mails and even a death threat on the internet.

      He said: “People are more concerned for the rat than their personal freedom or for the welfare of children in crisis areas around the world.

      “They should write to their government and not to me!”

    • Pope: Death penalty represents ‘failure,’ fosters vengeance

      Pope Francis says nothing can justify the use of the death penalty and there is no “right” way to humanely kill another person.

      Francis outlined the Catholic church’s opposition to capital punishment in a letter to the International Commission against the Death Penalty, a group of former government officials, jurists and others who had an audience with him at the Vatican Friday.

    • The doublespeak of drones

      Here I am talking of the softening of the boundary between two realms in which the UAV is used: what are usually termed the ‘military’ and the ‘civilian’ domains. Since 1995, when it flew the GNAT-750 surveillance drone over Bosnia, the CIA has used military drones as a tool of surveillance; since 2002, when the first CIA drone strike was conducted by an MQ-1 Predator on a ‘tall man’ in Afghanistan – believed to be Osama bin Laden, but in actual fact one of a group of innocent civilians collecting scrap metal – these drones have held lethal potential.

    • Dick Cheney Doesn’t Know a War When He Sees It

      In a new interview the former vice president insinuates that Barack Obama treats terrorism as a “law-enforcement problem.”

    • The US Military Just Plunged Philippine Politics into Crisis

      Indeed, Washington’s fingerprints were all over the operation: There was a $5-million bounty placed by the Americans on Marwan’s head. A U.S. military helicopter appeared in the area after the long firefight, allegedly to help evacuate the wounded. Marwan’s finger disappeared after the battle and showed up at an FBI lab in the United States a few days later.

      Filipino officials have remained tight-lipped on the question of U.S. participation in the raid, invoking “national security” or choosing to make revelations only in secret executive sessions with the Senate. Thus it has fallen on the media to probe the U.S. role.

    • No charges for man who crashed drone on White House lawn

      An intelligence agency employee whose drone crashed on the White House lawn earlier this year won’t face criminal charges, the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington announced Wednesday.

    • Downing of U.S. drone suggests Syria imposing red lines on air war

      After allowing the United States to use its air space to bomb Islamic State fighters for six months, the Syrian army appears to have imposed a “red line” by shooting down a U.S. drone over territory of critical importance to Damascus.

    • US Drone Reportedly Shot Down Near Syria
    • Middle East Updates / U.S. Predator drone likely shot down over Syria, officials say
    • Syria ‘brought down’ US drone, says state news agency Sana
    • Evidence suggests Syria shot down US drone, military source says
    • Syria claims downing of US drone after take-off from Turkey
    • Syrian Air Defense Systems Down Hostile Drone over Latakia
    • Syria investigating US drone crash
    • Feds Used Miami’s “Merchant of Death” to Catch Ex-CIA Smugglers, Secret Docs Show
    • After the Iraq invasion, the Pentagon thought it was worth killing up to 29 civilians to take out Saddam Hussein

      The ace of spades, of course, was dictator Saddam Hussein. He was considered so important that US planners decided that an operation killing the deposed leader woud be worth it if it were likely that no more than 29 civilians were killed in the process.

      “Our number was thirty,” according to Marc Garlasco, a former Defense Intelligence Analyst, who spoke with 60 Minutes in 2007. “If you’re gonna kill up to twenty-nine people in a strike against Saddam Hussein, that’s not a problem.

    • Obama’s drones

      Targeted killings have been a central part of US national security strategy for more than a decade, but the American public still knows scandalously little about who the government kills, and why. Now we’re filing a new lawsuit in our continuing fight to fix that.

    • US drone base evacuated in Yemen

      Yemen’s Shiite rebels issued a call to arms Saturday to battle forces loyal to the country’s embattled president, as U.S. troops were evacuating a southern air base crucial to America’s drone strike program after al-Qaida militants seized a nearby city.

      The turmoil comes as Yemen battles al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the target of the drone program, and faces a purported affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group that claimed responsibility for a series of suicide bombings killing at least 137 people Friday.

      All these factors could push the Arab world’s most impoverished country, united only in the 1990s, back toward civil war.

    • Afghan president to embark on landmark Washington visit

      As the Afghan president heads to the United States on his first trip to Washington as head of state, the landmark visit offers a chance for both sides to start afresh and wipe the slate clean on the legacy of troubled U.S-Afghan relations.

      Ashraf Ghani faces a daunting task – long-term, the visit could set the tone for years to come. More pressingly, Ghani needs firm commitment of American military support in his fight against the Taliban and other insurgent groups, including an Islamic State affiliate, which he and U.S. military leaders fear is finding a foothold in Afghanistan.

    • Forum: Standing for the rule of law and the safety of our nation on drone warfare

      How big is the problem? While the secrecy of the American drone warfare makes it impossible to know the exact scope of this program, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that American drone strikes have killed almost 2,500 people — including hundreds of children — in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia — and that’s not including drone killings in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • US Drone Strikes in Pakistan Breed Terrorism – President to Sputnik

      Last month’s international security conference in Geneva revealed estimates that as of January 2015 drone strikes in Pakistan killed nearly 4,000 people, including over 1000 civilians, mostly women and children.

    • Andrew Cockburn Understands Assassination

      America isn’t supposed to assassinate people — Pres. Ronald Reagan had banned the practice.

    • Afghan Woman Stoned, Set Alight After Allegedly Burning Quran

      An angry mob stoned and beat a woman before hurling her onto a riverbed and setting her body alight in the Afghan capital after she allegedly burned copies of the Quran, officials and eyewitnesses told NBC News.

    • CIA director suggests Iraq functions as interlocutor in US-Iran fight against Isis

      The director of the CIA came the closest of any US official so far to acknowledging cooperation between the US and Iran in their current war against the Islamic State in Iraq.

    • Ecuador’s Correa Accuses US of Trying to Destabilize Government

      Ecuador’s leftist President Rafael Correa on Saturday accused the United States of trying to destabilize his government, by infiltrating it with spies.

      The 51-year-old economist trained in the US has faced opposition protests as he seeks constitutional changes that would allow him to seek re-election next year to another four-year term.

    • Ecuador’s President Accuses CIA of Involvement in Opposition Protests

      Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has accused the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of being involved in opposition protests in the country with the aim of dragging it into chaos.

      “There is a CIA presence there [in Ecuador's opposition] which has a goal of weakening the government,” Correa said on Saturday, as quoted by the TeleSUR television network.

    • Did the CIA mastermind Purulia arms drop?

      Early the next morning, villagers over a wide area were startled to find in their fields and open ground all sorts of strange weapons. What rained from the skies was lethality: 10 RPG-7 rocket launchers, 300 AK-47s, 25 9-mm pistols, two 7.62 sniper rifles, two night vision binoculars, 100 grenades, 23,800 rounds of 7.62 ammunition, 6,000 rounds of 9-mm ammunition, 100 anti-tank grenades as well as 10 telescopic sights for rocket launchers. Purulia, which housed the Ananda Marg headquarters, had seen nothing like this. The cargo weighed 4,375 kg!

    • Paul Craig Roberts – The CIA May Have Just Assassinated Boris Nemtsov In Moscow To Blame Putin

      On the heels of the news out of Moscow that Boris Nemtsov was gunned down, today Dr. Paul Craig Roberts spoke with King World News about the CIA and the murder of Nemtsov. This is a fascinating trip down the rabbit hole with the former U.S. Treasury official as he is warning that the CIA may be out of control.

    • US Combat Forces, FBI and CIA in Ukraine: Vice President Biden Congratulates Poroshenko for Violating Minsk Peace Agreement

      On March 18, Joe Biden called Poroshenko. He congratulated him for violating Minsk.

      It calls for granting Donbass special status autonomous rule. Draft Kiev legislation designates it “temporarily occupied territories.”

      A White House statement said Biden “welcomed the (parliament’s) adoption of implementing measures relating to the law on special status for certain areas of eastern Ukraine…”

      He lied saying legislation adopted complies with terms stipulated under “September 2014 and February 2015 Minsk agreements.”

    • A double standard on government secrets for David Petraeus
    • A Double Standard on Leaks? As Whistleblowers Jailed, Petraeus Escapes Prison & Advises White House

      With prosecutions of whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou and several others, the Obama administration is by far the most aggressive in history when it comes to punishing leaks. But is there a double standard when it comes to who is punished and who walks free? That is the question being raised after a lenient plea deal for David Petraeus, the retired four-star general and former head of the CIA. Unlike the others, Petraeus did not release information to expose perceived government wrongdoing. Instead, Petraeus gave classified material to his girlfriend, Paula Broadwell, who was writing his biography. Petraeus let Broadwell access his CIA email account and other sensitive material, including the names of covert operatives in Afghanistan, war strategies, and quotes from White House meetings. Earlier this month, he reached a plea deal, admitting to one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified information. Prosecutors will not seek prison time, but instead two years probation and a fine. He remains an administration insider, advising the White House on the war against ISIS. We speak to Jesselyn Radack, National Security & Human Rights director at the Government Accountability Project. A former ethics adviser to the U.S. Department of Justice, Radackis the lawyer for Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou — three whistleblowers all charged under the Espionage Act. She recently wrote an article for Foreign Policy magazine, “Petraeus, Snowden, and the Department of Two-Tiered Justice.”

    • White House consulting former CIA Director David Petraeus on fight against IS

      The White House says it’s consulting with former CIA Director David Petraeus about the fight against the Islamic State group despite his admission that he gave classified material to his biographer and mistress.

      Petraeus has agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor count that carries a possible sentence of up to a year in prison. The retired four-star general allegedly gave the biographer eight binders of classified material.

    • White House STILL consults about ISIS with disgraced CIA chief David Petraeus after he pleaded guilty to giving classified information to his mistress-biographer
    • US Syria strategy in peril with collapse of CIA-backed rebel group

      A blow to US moves to aid rebels, the dissolution of Hazzm also highlights the risks that a new Department of Defense program could face in training and equipping fighters in Jordan, Turkey and Qatar.

    • CIA Director John Brennan: ISIS militants aren’t Muslims, they’re ‘psychopathic thugs’
    • CIA Chief John Brennan’s Misleading Statements on Islam and Jihad

      But perhaps Brennan knows all this and is simply being “strategic”? After all, the CIA head also “warned against ascribing ‘Islamic legitimacy’ to the overseas terrorist group, saying that allowing them to identify themselves with Islam does a disservice to Muslims around the world.”

    • Why CIA Chief John Brennan Represents All That Is Wrong With U.S. Thinking on Jihad
    • Pakistan Executes 12 in Single Day, Officials Promise More

      Pakistani officials on Tuesday executed 12 people in the country’s single-largest day of executions since a moratorium on the death penalty was lifted in December, officials said.

      The executions are sure to raise concerns over due process and proper oversight of the country’s troubled criminal justice system, which rights groups say often does little to protect defendants.

    • Is Sweden Recruiting People to Die in a CIA Shadow War?

      Sweden may be involved in the CIA’s drone strike campaign, as an investigation shows that an alleged CIA agent executed in Yemen in 2014 was likely recruited by Swedish intelligence.

    • Fidel Castro Had a Bizarre Obsession With Milk

      When Castro lived in the Havana Libre Hotel in the early ’60s, he would often enjoy a chocolate milkshake from the hotel’s lunch counter. But in 1961, the CIA hired Mafia assassins to poison the dictator’s milky meal.

      Richard Bissell, then the CIA deputy director for plans, arranged to offer Sam Giancana and Santo Trafficante, Jr.— heads of the Chicago and Tampa crime families — $150,000 to help assassinate Castro with a poison pill.

    • Cold War legacy lingers in Colorado valley

      Agency soldiers took over the camp and began training Tibetan freedom fighters there, teaching them to throw grenades, set landmines and use mortars as part of an ongoing fight against Chinese Communists. This was, after all, the height of the Cold War, and the American government was waging a bitter battle to prevent Communism from spreading.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Obama Administration Improperly Withholds Records & Censors, Keeps Secret More Files Than Ever

      The administration received 714,231 requests, which is slightly higher than 2013. In thirty-nine percent of those cases (250,581 requests), the government censored or denied requesters access. This is an increase from 244,675 requests last year.

    • National Archives crowdsources transcription of CIA files

      Tearing a page, so to speak, from social media crowdfunding campaigns like last year’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the National Archives has turned to Twitter to raise a volunteer workforce of citizen archivists to help transcribe some of millions of digitized documents—including thousands of declassified CIA and Department of Defense files. The goal of the Transcription Challenge: 1,000 transcribed pages of documents by March 23.

    • Our View: From NSA secrets to electrical fees, let sunshine in

      The Center for Investigative Reporting sought state citations for patient abuses in long-term care facilities controlled by the state. When state regulators initially released the records, they were so heavily redacted that they were useless.

    • DOD ordered to release photographs of detainee abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan

      [JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled Friday that the Department of Defense (DOD) [official websites] must release photographs [order, PDF] requested by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] in its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [official website] request for images depicting the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. Judge Alvin Hellerstein found that the legal certification filed in 2012 by then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was inadequate, and that the government has failed to remedy the shortcomings of the certificate. The order is stayed for 60 days so that the DOD’s Solicitor General may make a determination regarding appeal.

    • A Judge Just Ordered the US Government to Release Thousands of Detainee Abuse Photos
    • Judge Orders Thousands of Detainee Abuse Photos to Be Disclosed After US Government Fails to Justify Secrecy

      A federal district court judge will no longer accept the United States government’s secrecy arguments and has ruled that it must release thousands of photographs of detainee abuse and torture in Afghanistan and Iraq, including inhumane treatment at Abu Ghraib prison.

      The government is “required to disclose each and all the photographs responsive” to the Freedom of Information Act request submitted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU),” according to the order by Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the US District Court of the Southern District of New York.

      Hellerstein found that the government still had failed to justify keeping each individual photograph secret. However, the judge stayed the order for 60 days so the Solicitor General could determine whether to file an appeal.

    • 2 more men jailed, suspected of helping Copenhagen gunman

      After the preliminary charges were read, the rest of the hearing was held behind closed doors and details were not made public. None of the five suspects, who have pleaded innocent, can be name

    • FOIA failure: CIA’s ‘wins’ award for Bay of Pigs history request

      The CIA’s nine-year resistance to releasing its Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation was given the FOIA Failure Award on Friday (March 20) by the The FOIA Project, a non-profit organization that says it seeks ” to provide the public with timely and complete information about every instance in which the federal government grants or withholds records under the Freedom of Information Act.”

    • The FBI and CIA: What’s a FOIA?

      With a stroke of a pen, President Obama made it official that his office is exempt from information disclosure. And former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton probably won’t be disclosing work-related emails anytime soon.

    • CIA Documents Sought on 1960′s Transfer of Enriched Uranium From U.S. to Israe

      The complaint asks for CIA files regarding “the unlawful diversion of U.S. government-owned weapons-grade uranium from the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) into the clandestine Israeli nuclear weapons program.”

    • Israel Should Pay for Weapons-Grade Uranium Smuggling Site Cleanup in PA- IRmep Lawsuit
    • How CIA Evidence from Whistleblower Trial Could Tilt Iran Nuclear Talks

      A month after former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was convicted on nine felony counts with circumstantial metadata, the zealous prosecution is now having potentially major consequences — casting doubt on the credibility of claims by the U.S. government that Iran has developed a nuclear weapons program.

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

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

    • IAEA Refusal to Visit Iran Site Flags Intelligence Doubts

      It debunked forged documents it received before the 2003 Iraq War but has never acknowledged being given faked intelligence on Iran. For its part, Iran has consistently alleged that forgeries have played a key role in supporting claims that it ran a nuclear weapons program.

    • How the CIA encouraged Iran to build a nuclear trigger

      A CIA plan may have allowed US intelligence to claim that it had solid proof Iran was actively trying to build the final critical component of a nuclear weapon, had Iran fallen for the deception.

    • The Push To Charge Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld For CIA Torture And War Crimes

      The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights has been making the case for heavyweight members of the European Union to bring war crimes charges against members of the former administration.

    • ACLU says Justice, Pentagon and CIA have failed to comply with open records law on drones

      The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the federal government, seeking to force a response to its request for documents about drone missile strikes against terror suspects.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Republicans Push Climate Change Cuts at CIA, Defense Department

      House Republicans want to eliminate climate research.

    • Republicans Hit CIA On … Climate Change?

      GOP isn’t happy with the money the two national security agencies are spending on climate-change research.

    • Ban CIA Weather Manipulation Disguised as Climate Research (La Jornada, Mexico)

      In February 2015, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences along with other institutions published two reports on geoengineering (technological proposals to manipulate the climate) that were funded by, among others, the CIA.

    • Bangladeshis angry over Norway scrapping policy

      The Norwegian Shipowners’ Association (NSA) has come in for harsh criticism over its policy towards scrapping in Bangladesh.

      The NSA strongly advises its members against recycling their ships in Bangladesh, unless it is closely monitored and undertaken as part of projects aimed at improving standards in line with the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (Hong Kong Convention) .

    • Japanese Power Utility Finally Admits Fukushima Meltdown

      Large Japanese electricity utility Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) confirmed on Thursday, March 19 that nearly all fuel in one of four damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has melted and fallen into the containment building.

      With the design of the Fukushima Daiichi plants, the containment building was a very simple shell protecting the reactor from the elements, but provided no real protection in the event of a nuclear accident. Instead, the nuclear reactor was enclosed in primary and secondary containment vessels, which sat atop a thick concrete pad at the base of the containment building.

      [...]

      While there has been suspicions that nuclear fuel did melt its way through the containment vessel and to the base of the containment building, until Thursday there was no definitive proof meltdown had occurred.

      The implication of the findings is that it will be very difficult to remove the highly radioactive molten fuel from Unit 1. As well, the molten fuel must continue to be cooled with water until it is removed.

      Holes and fractures in the concrete base of the reactor building also means that groundwater continues to seep in and become irradiated before draining into the Pacific Ocean, causing an ongoing nuclear disaster.

    • Revealed: Gates Foundation’s $1.4bn in fossil fuel investments

      The companies include BP, responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Anadarko Petroleum, which was recently forced to pay a $5bn environmental clean-up charge and Brazilian mining company Vale, voted the corporation with most “contempt for the environment and human rights” in the world clocking over 25,000 votes in the Public Eye annual awards.

    • Idaho Senate approves spending $400,000 to kill wolves

      The Idaho Senate has approved spending $400,000 to kill wolves.

  • Finance

    • Greece should tackle not only domestic corruption but also foreign bribery

      The risk of Greek companies bribing foreign officials is substantial, but Greece has not given the same priority to fighting foreign bribery as it has to domestic corruption. This sends an unfortunate message that foreign bribery is an acceptable means to win overseas business and improve Greece’s economy during an economic crisis. Greece must therefore urgently raise the priority of fighting foreign bribery and explicitly address foreign bribery in its national anti-corruption strategies.

    • Facebook raises security concerns with launch of Messenger payments service

      The new Facebook service has, unsurprisingly, raised a few eyebrows, with some noting privacy concerns could prove a barrier to the service’s success.

      Kevin Dallas, CMO at WorldPay, said: “Social networks are an integral part of our lives, so it’s no surprise that they want to play a role in our finances.

      “Many people, however, still have concerns about security online, with identity fraud that uses data cribbed from social networks rife. Until these fears are put to bed, this will be a big barrier to the wholesale adoption of this technology.”

    • ‘Shadow CIA’ Stratfor Claims EU, Russia Will Fall Apart

      Austin-based think tank Stratfor has released its Decade Forecast 2015-2025, predicting the imminent collapse of Russia and the EU and the decline of China, while the US and its allies flourish.

    • Have the Banks Escaped Criminal Prosecution because They’re Spying Surrogates?

      I’m preparing to do a series of posts on CISA, the bill passed out of SSCI this week that, unlike most of the previous attempts to use cybersecurity to justify domestic spying, may well succeed (I’ve been using OTI’s redline version which shows how SSCI simply renamed things to be able to claim they’re addressing privacy concerns).

      But — particularly given Richard Burr’s office’s assurances this bill is great because “business groups like the Financial Services Roundtable and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association have already expressed their support for the bill” — I wanted to raise a question I’ve been pondering.

      To what extent have banks won themselves immunity by serving as intelligence partners for the federal government?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • A practical guide to making up a sensation.

      So how can a global company with Russian roots play a part in a conspiracy theory? Well, this one is easy: there should be some devilish inner job of the Russian secret services (to produce the “I knew it!” effect). In many cases you can change the adjective “Russian” for any other to produce a similar effect. It’s a simple yet effective hands-on recipe for a sensationalist article. Exploiting paranoia is always a great tool for increasing readership.

      There are questions we’ve answered a million times: what are our links with the KGB? Why do you expose cyber-campaigns by Western intelligence services? When do you plan to hire Edward Snowden? And other ones of the ‘have you stopped beating your wife?’ kind.

      We’re a transparent company, so we’ve got detailed answers ready. Of course we want to dispel any speculation about our participation in any conspiracy. We’ve nothing to hide: we’re in the security business and to be successful in it you have to be open to scrutiny.

    • The CIA-Controlled Neocon Washington Post

      America’s MSM mock legitimate journalism. State propaganda Big Lies substitute for real news, information and analysis on issues mattering most.

    • Kill The Messenger: a murky meditation on modern media

      The kicker, the ugliest irony – and the movie’s measure of how gutless and corrupt the American media has become – is that chief among Webb’s persecutors is the self-same home of Woodward and Bernstein, The Washington Post of All The President’s Men. Ultimately for Webb the bitterness became – tragically – too much to bear.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Senate Intelligence Committee Advances Terrible “̶C̶y̶b̶e̶r̶s̶e̶c̶u̶r̶i̶t̶y̶”̶ ̶B̶i̶l̶l̶ Surveillance Bill in Secret Session

      The Senate Intelligence Committee advanced a terrible cybersecurity bill called the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (CISA) to the Senate floor last week. The new chair (and huge fan of transparency) Senator Richard Burr may have set a record as he kept the bill secret until Tuesday night. Unfortunately, the newest Senate Intelligence bill is one of the worst yet.

    • CISA’s Terrorists Are Not Just Foreign Terrorists

      In addition to hunting hackers, the Cybersecurity Information Security Act — the bill that just passed the Senate Intelligence Committee — collects information domestically to target terrorists if those so-called terrorists can be said to be hacking or otherwise doing damage to property.

    • Draft Equipment Interference Code of Practice Submission

      The UK has been deploying CNE for over a decade, yet the release of the draft Equipment Interference Code of Practice (EI Code) is the first time the UK intelligence services have sought public authorisation for their activities. Indeed, it is the first time the intelligence services have publicly acknowledged they engage in CNE. For that reason, this consultation regarding the draft EI Code is extremely important. Privacy International and Open Rights Group appreciate this opportunity to weigh in on whether CNE is an appropriate surveillance technique and, if it is used, the controls, safeguards and oversight that must be applied.

    • Simple Question: What Cyberattack Would The New Cybersecurity Bill Have Stopped?

      Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted (in secret, of course) to approve a new cybersecurity bill, dubbed CISA (as it was in the last Congress), though it kept the content of the actual bill secret until this week. The only Senator who voted against it was… Senator Wyden, of course, who rightly pointed out that this bill is “not a cybersecurity bill – it’s a surveillance bill by another name.”

    • UK Government Admits Intelligence Services Allowed To Break Into Any System, Anywhere, For Any Reason

      What’s important about this revelation is not just the information itself — many people had assumed this was the case — but the fact that once more, bringing court cases against the UK’s GCHQ has ferreted out numerous details that were previously secret. This shows the value of the strategy, and suggests it should be used again where possible.

    • The NSA’s plan: improve cybersecurity by cyber-attacking everyone else

      The National Security Agency want to be able to hack more people, vacuum up even more of your internet records and have the keys to tech companies’ encryption – and, after 18 months of embarrassing inaction from Congress on surveillance reform, the NSA is now lobbying it for more powers, not less.

      NSA director Mike Rogers testified in front of a Senate committee this week, lamenting that the poor ol’ NSA just doesn’t have the “cyber-offensive” capabilities (read: the ability to hack people) it needs to adequately defend the US. How cyber-attacking countries will help cyber-defense is anybody’s guess, but the idea that the NSA is somehow hamstrung is absurd.

    • Hacking BIOS Chips Isn’t Just the NSA’s Domain Anymore

      BIOS-hacking until now has been largely the domain of advanced hackers like those of the NSA. But researchers Xeno Kovah and Corey Kallenberg presented a proof-of-concept attack today at the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver, showing how they could remotely infect the BIOS of multiple systems using a host of new vulnerabilities that took them just hours to uncover. They also found a way to gain high-level system privileges for their BIOS malware to undermine the security of specialized operating systems like Tails—used by journalists and activists for stealth communications and handling sensitive data.

    • Twenty-four Million Wikipedia Users Can’t Be Wrong: Important Allies Join the Fight Against NSA Internet Backbone Surveillance

      Last week, the ACLU filed a welcome additional challenge to the NSA’s warrantless Internet backbone surveillance (aka “Upstream” surveillance) on behalf of Wikimedia and a number of other media and human rights organizations. We applaud all of those involved in bringing the case. It adds another avenue of attack on one of the NSA’s most audacious programs—tapping into the very backbone of the Internet and thereby putting all of our online activities under scrutiny.

    • ‘Traitor’ Snowden endangered spies with NSA leaks, claim UK security chiefs

      Edward Snowden’s National Security Agency (NSA) leaks damaged national security, exposed spies to danger, aided terrorists and cost the UK taxpayer money, according to senior British security officials.

    • 10 spy programmes with silly codenames used by GCHQ and NSA

      You’ve probably heard a lot about online mass surveillance, but maybe you’re wondering how exactly intelligence agencies are monitoring you. Helpfully, they like to give their surveillance programmes silly codenames, so we can explain what’s going on.

    • SAP says customers – like the NSA – can do what they like with its software

      CEO Bill McDermott says reports about SAP’s role in the NSA’s controversial mass surveillance projects are “misleading” but adds firm is “honoured” that it contributes to national safety.

    • SAP CEO McDermott Walks a Fine Line on NSA Allegations

      “There are no back doors in SAP technology, period,” he told Re/code at an event in Hanover, Germany, Monday night where the CeBit technology conference was under way.

    • Americans: It’s OK For the NSA To Spy On Foreigners But Not Me

      Americans are OK with government surveillance on foreigners and politicians, but not when it comes to their own lives, according to a new survey. In the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency’s antiterrorism monitoring initiatives, more than half of Americans think it’s unacceptable for the government to monitor U.S. citizens’ communications, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center. But 60 percent think it’s fine to listen in on the conversations of foreign leaders, and 54 percent think it’s ok to monitor foreign citizens.

    • Wikipedia head: NSA spying is unconstitutional

      The co-founder of the world’s sixth most popular website thinks that the National Security Agency’s Internet spying is not only illegal but violates core provisions of the Constitution.

      While explaining the rationale behind Wikipedia’s lawsuit against the spy agency on Friday, Jimmy Wales hoped that the legal action would lead to a landmark ruling declaring new limits on government’s spying powers.

      The “minimum acceptable” result of the case, Wales said in a conversation on Reddit, would be to find that the NSA’s massive collection of data on the Internet’s backbone was illegal.

    • Court: NSA Spying May Continue Even If Congress Lets Authority Expire

      The National Security Agency may be allowed to continue scooping up American phone records indefinitely even if congressional authority for the spying program expires later this year, according to a recently declassified court order.

    • Here’s Why the NSA Won’t Need Congress’ Permission To Continue Spying

      The National Security Agency may be allowed to continue scooping up American phone records indefinitely even if congressional authority for the spying program expires later this year, according to a recently declassified court order.

    • Former NSA Staffer Finds Way To Bypass Apple Inc. Mac Gatekeeper

      But former NSA researcher Patrick Wardle told Thomas Fox-Brewster of Forbes that he has found a way to bypass the Apple Mac’s Gatekeeper security and abuse such insecure downloads. Wardle told Fox-Brewster that the Gatekeeper does not check all components of the OS X download files. A malicious version of a “dylib file” (dynamic library) can be sneaked into legitimate downloads performed over insecure HTTP lines. This way you can infect Macs and steal data.

    • Ex-NSA Researcher Finds Sneaky Way Past Apple Mac’s Gatekeeper

      Finding vulnerable apps shouldn’t be too hard either. Wardle created a scanner that looked for applications that would use his naughty dylibs.

    • The Stasi, a timeless topic

      A new generation seeks answers, Jahn says. “What’s the difference between the Stasi and the NSA?” young people ask him. Jahn, himself a victim of the Stasi, feels such questions are neither absurd nor trivializing. Both represent a “state intervention.” A dictatorship’s secret police is not comparable to an intelligence gathering organization of a democracy but a comparison can be helpful. The Stasi is ideal illustrative material. Had the files remained closed, we wouldn’t have access to this timeless material. Opening them was first an act of liberation for the victims, but dealing with Stasi history as such is a lesson in democracy.

    • Two books look at how modern technology ruins privacy

      ‘Even the East Germans couldn’t follow everybody all the time,” Bruce Schneier writes. “Now it’s easy.”

    • Angry Austrian could turn Europe against the US – thanks to data

      In a David versus Goliath battle, an Austrian law student may topple the biggest EU-US data sharing deal when he gets his day in court in a couple of weeks’ time.

    • Amazon doesn’t want you to know how many data demands it gets

      Amazon remains the only US internet giant in the Fortune 500 that has not yet released a report detailing how many demands for data it receives from the US government.

      Although people are starting to notice, the retail and cloud giant has no public plans to address these concerns.

      Word first spread last week when the ACLU’s Christopher Soghoian, who’s spent years publicly denouncing companies for poor privacy practices, told attendees at a Seattle town hall event that he’s “hit a wall with Amazon,” adding that it’s “just really difficult to reach people there.”

    • 15 Facts About The NSA’s Domestic Spying Program

      The NSA has a blanket order to spy on your domestic phone calls. It collects information about the date and time of numbers dialed and the length of call. There is no evidence that it is currently storing recordings of the phone calls, though it is widely suspected to be occurring.

      Under this blanket order, the NSA collects data on 3 billion phone calls per day.

    • Revealed: CIA plans to increase spying on Facebook, Twitter

      Buried in a news article Tuesday is a nugget of a story that could send privacy advocates reeling: the CIA is planning to increase spying on Facebook pages and tweets.

      What’s more, the plan to increase cyber espionage has set of an intradepartmental feud. According to the Washington Post, the head of the agency’s clandestine service recently resigned, in part over objections to the plan. CIA director John Brennan “quickly replaced him with a longtime officer who had led an internal review panel that broadly endorsed [his] reform agenda.”

    • CIA plans to increase spying on Facebook, Twitter
    • Rejection of NSA whistleblower’s retaliation claim draws criticism

      Thomas Drake became a symbol of the dangers whistleblowers face when they help journalists and Congress investigate wrongdoing at intelligence agencies. He claims he was subjected to a decade of retaliation by the National Security Agency that culminated in his being charged with espionage.

    • NSA trying to map Rogers, RBC communications traffic, leak shows

      The U.S. National Security Agency has been trying to map the communications traffic of corporations around the world, and a classified document reveals that at least two of Canada’s largest companies are included.

      A 2012 presentation by a U.S. intelligence analyst, a copy of which was obtained by The Globe and Mail, includes a list of corporate networks that names Royal Bank of Canada and Rogers Communications Inc.

      The presentation, titled “Private Networks: Analysis, Contextualization and Setting the Vision,” is among the NSA documents taken by former contractor Edward Snowden. It was obtained by The Globe from a confidential source.

    • Reports of NSA spying on Canadian companies fuel calls for more transparency

      Critics say a crisis of transparency surrounds modern spying methods in Canada after revelations that a close ally – the U.S. National Security Agency – has been looking at the communications traffic of at least two Canadian corporations.

    • The NSA Is Going to Love These USB-C Charging Cables

      The trouble with USB-C stems from the fact that the USB standard isn’t very secure. Last year, researchers wrote a piece of malware called BadUSB which attaches to your computer using USB devices like phone chargers or thumb drives. Once connected, the malware basically takes over a computer imperceptibly. The scariest part is that the malware is written directly to the USB controller chip’s firmware, which means that it’s virtually undetectable and so far, unfixable.

      [...]

      What the Verge fails to mention however, is that it’s potentially much worse than that. If everyone is using the same power charger, it’s not just renegade hackers posing as creative professionals in coffee shops that you need to worry about. With USB-C, the surveillance establishment suddenly has a huge incentive to figure out how to sneak a compromised cable into your power hole.

    • French surveillance bill would give govt NSA-like power

      The measure introduced Thursday has already prompted outcry from some privacy advocates and human rights groups.

    • Snowden files: NZ’s spying on the family

      Leaked Edward Snowden documents, published for the first time today, reveal New Zealand is spying on them anyway – despite residents being New Zealanders.

    • ‘Samoa has nothing to hide’ – Samoan PM supports spying
    • Analysis: The questions the Government must answer about the Snowden revelations

      Wrong, says the Prime Minister of the surveillance stories.

      But John Key won’t say why.

      Don’t believe what you read in the newspaper, says the Foreign Minister of reports New Zealand was spying on the Solomon Islands government.

      However, there’s no benefit in having discussions about it through the media, says Murray McCully.

      And those doing the spying at the Government Communications Security Bureau won’t assist, saying it doesn’t comment on “operational” matters.

      So, between the leaked top secret documents and the denials, how do we cut through to what’s actually happening?

      Broadly, the claim in relation to the GCSB is that it sucks up vast amounts of raw data from the Pacific which is then stored with the United States’ National Security Agency.

    • Leak unveils NZ spy network

      New Zealand agency exposed spying on Japan, China, India among others including Antarctica.

    • CISA 2.0 Frequently Asked Questions

      CISA’s primary mechanism is to facilitate the transfer of “cyber threat indicators,” which are defined broadly enough to include private information such as email content or personal identities.

    • What’s Next in Government Surveillance

      In the United States, the group charged with hacking computers is the Tailored Access Operations group (TAO) inside the NSA. We know that TAO infiltrates computers remotely, using programs with cool code names like QUANTUMINSERT and FOXACID. We know that TAO has developed specialized software to hack into everything from computers to routers to smartphones, and that its staff installs hardware “implants” into computer and networking equipment by intercepting and infecting it in transit. One estimate is that the group has successfully hacked into, and is exfiltrating information from, 80,000 computers worldwide.

    • The world’s most sophisticated hacks: governments?

      Last month, Moscow-based security software maker Kaspersky Labs published detailed information on what it calls the Equation Group and how the U.S. National Security Agency and their U.K. counterpart, GCHQ, have figure how to embed spyware deep inside computers, gaining almost total control of those computers to eavesdrop on most of the world’s computers, even in the face of reboots, operating system reinstalls, and commercial anti-virus products. The details are impressive, and I urge anyone interested in tech to read the Kaspersky documents, or these very detailed articles.

    • How Oliver Stone is tackling the Edward Snowden story

      Sony, meanwhile, has bought the rights to Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide in the hope of making its own movie, and has set James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli for the project, though whether it still moves forward in the wake of Stone’s take is an open question.

    • Why Americans Don’t Trust the Intelligence Community

      To explain what they mean by non-neutrality, Ashley and Ben write: “When it comes to the intelligence community . . . the law allows those actors to do things other people cannot.” They go on to note that this definition raises a question: why does the American public consistently rate so highly the U.S. military, an institution whose members necessarily detain and kill people with legal immunity?

    • Spy Cameras Collect Data Outside of Post Office

      Local Denver citizens became alarmed after discovering that they’re being watched while dropping off mail by a hidden data collection device outside their local post office .

      The events took place from Thanksgiving and continued until recently. Who was responsible for planting the device?

    • What the CIA used before Google Maps

      These days, it’s easy to take for granted just how amazing Google Maps is. Not only is Google’s mapping service incredibly useful for getting where you want to go, the satellite imagery it provides is the stuff straight out of old school spy movies.

    • The CIA And America’s Presidents: Some Rarely Discussed Truths Shaping Contemporary American Democracy

      As with all large, powerful institutions over time, the CIA constantly seeks expansion of its means and responsibilities, much like a growing child wanting ever more food and clothing and entertainment. This inherent tendency, the expansion of institutional empire, is difficult enough to control under normal circumstances, but when there are complex operations in many countries and tens of billions in spending and many levels of secrecy and secret multi-level files, the ability of any elected politicians – whose keenest attention is always directed towards re-election and acquiring enough funds to run a campaign – to exercise meaningful control and supervision becomes problematic at best. The larger and more complex the institution becomes, the truer this is.

    • CIA at 50, Lost in the ‘Politicization’ Swamp

      Like so much else at the CIA, however, that tradition changed in the early 1980s, with Ronald Reagan’s determination to enforce his “Evil Empire” vision of the Soviet Union. The writing was quickly on the wall. The Reagan transition team denounced CIA career analysts for allegedly underestimating the Soviet commitment to world domination.

    • Council of Europe panel asks US to let Edward Snowden return home

      The US Government threatened to starve Berlin of intelligence if it harboured fugitive document-leaker Edward Snowden, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel says.

      The National Security Agency (NSA) leaker considered Germany as a place of refuge after he fled to Russia from the United States via Hong Kong in 2013.

    • US threatened Berlin with intel blackout over Snowden asylum: report

      The US Government threatened to starve Berlin of intelligence if it harboured fugitive document-leaker Edward Snowden, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel says.

      The National Security Agency (NSA) leaker considered Germany as a place of refuge after he fled to Russia from the United States via Hong Kong in 2013.

    • Mystery Again Surrounds Bundestag’s NSA Committee of Inquiry (Die Welt, Germany)
    • With clock ticking, lawmakers have no plan for reforming NSA

      Lawmakers are nowhere close to a deal to renew provisions of the Patriot Act, with a deadline little more than two months away.

    • NSA Bulk Telephony Metadata Program Reupped Until Parts Of The Patriot Act Potentially Sunset

      In a post on its official Tumblr, the United States’ Office of the Director of National Intelligence noted that it sought and received a reauthorization of its telephony metadata program, authorized under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The program collects metadata on phone calls, including those of United States citizens.

    • The Head of the NSA Is on a Charm Offensive

      After nearly two years of intense scrutiny over the American spy shop’s mass surveillance programs, Rogers is making a full-court press to repair the agency’s troubled legacy. That means portraying a shinier, happier version of the behemoth spy agency that led widespread surveillance on Germany’s chancellor, prominent Muslims, and, well, everybody.

    • Former NSA chief’s irresponsible remarks on China reek of cyber McCarthyism

      Mike McConnell, former chief of the US National Security Agency (NSA), has recently captured public attention with an unprecedented allegation that Chinese hackers “have penetrated every major corporation of any consequence in the US and taken information.”

    • Enough is Enough: We’ve Been Waiting for Congress to Stop the NSA. Since 1975.

      Last year, the Alaska Senate passed a powerful resolution condemning NSA spying and proclaiming that the Alaska State Legislature “will not assist the federal government by facilitating programs that are tyrannical in nature.”

      The resolution also called on the federal government to end mass warrantless collection of electronic data.

      Here we are, another year down the road, and Congress still hasn’t taken the first step to stop unconstitutional spying.

    • Opinion: NSA spying alienates American allies

      To preserve the right of its users who visit the website on a monthly basis, Wikipedia announced Wednesday it was suing the National Security Agency. This announcement made me question why more people and organizations aren’t doing the same.

      Americans seem to love their amendments, but nobody really cares that the NSA violates the Fourth Amendment, which states every citizen has the right to privacy, and the First Amendment, which vows freedom of expression and association.

    • Australian spy officer was sent to New Zealand to lead new surveillance unit

      Australia’s defence intelligence agency sent an officer to work with New Zealand’s spy agency to help them develop their cyber capabilities and lead a new operational unit, new documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal.

    • New Zealand Targets Trade Partners, Hacks Computers in Spy Operations

      New Zealand is conducting covert surveillance operations against some of its strongest trading partners and has obtained sophisticated malware to infect targeted computers and steal data, newly released documents reveal.

      The country’s eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Security Bureau, or GCSB, is carrying out the surveillance across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond as part of its membership in the Five Eyes, a spying alliance that includes New Zealand as well as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

    • Wolff: Snowden effect hits ‘Guardian’

      The Snowden story, in addition to its journalistic significance, was a key part of the effort to extend the Guardian brand to the U.S., where the company has pinned much of its hopes for the future.

    • NSA staffers rake in Silicon Valley cash

      Former employees of the National Security Agency are becoming a hot commodity in Silicon Valley amid the tech industry’s battle against government surveillance.

    • NSA Does Not Collect Intelligence From Foreign Companies to Benefit US

      The Canadian daily The Globe and Mail reported On Tuesday that it gained access to an NSA document alleging the spy agency is mapping US and foreign companies’ corporate communications.

    • Lawsuit Challenges NSA Internet Dragnets

      The American Civil Liberties Union earlier this week filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the National Security Agency from indiscriminately snooping on United States Internet traffic.

    • Texas Bill Would Turn Off Power to Massive NSA Surveillance Facility

      A Texas legislator introduced a bill that would stop the independent Texas power grid from being used to power mass, warrantless surveillance by the NSA.

      Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R) introduced House Bill 3916 (HB3916) on March 13. The legislation would prohibit any political subdivision in Texas from providing water or electricity to any federal agency “involved in the routine surveillance or collection and storage of bulk telephone or e-mail records or related metadata concerning any citizen of the United States and that claims the legal authority to collect and store the bulk telephone or e-mail records or metadata concerning any citizen of the United States without the citizen’s consent or a search warrant that describes the person, place, or thing to be searched or seized.”

    • CIA moves onto NSA’s turf with plan for cyber espionage

      Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan wants to pursue a dramatic expansion of hacking and cyber espionage in a shift that could reorganize power and create tension with the rival National Security Agency (NSA).

    • The NSA should be worried about the most secure smartphone ever

      Remember the ultra-secure smartphone I told you about last summer called the Blackphone? Well, it’s getting a serious upgrade that the NSA won’t be happy about.

    • FREAK vulnerability exploits old encryption export restrictions

      As one might expect, the NSA controlling encryption exports was a contentious issue. The agency had no particular interest in helping anyone outside of the U.S. actually secure their communications. It created a split world in which American citizens had access to better encryption ciphers, such as SSL with 1024-bit asymmetric encryption and 128-bit symmetric encryption. The rest of the world, meanwhile, was only eligible for encryption approved for export, which limited SSL to 512-bit asymmetric and 40- or 56-bit symmetric encryption. This weak export encryption solution gave the NSA the ability to continue monitoring international communications. More than just SSL suffered from this NSA decision, as well. The ancient VPN protocol, PPTP, supports three strengths of encryption to accommodate export: 40-, 56-, and 128-bit. Export restrictions even created controversy around Microsoft operating systems.

    • 1990s backdoor demanded by NSA leaves many websites vulnerable

      Researchers from France and the US call the newly discovered flaw “FREAK,” which apparently arises from “a class of deliberately weak export cipher suites… introduced under the pressure of the US government agencies to ensure that the NSA would be able to decrypt all foreign encrypted communication.”

    • Montana House Committee Passes Bill to Turn off Resources to NSA Spying

      A Montana bill that would take on NSA spying by denying material support and resources to federal agencies engaged in warrantless surveillance cleared a major hurdle today, passing the House Judiciary Committee by a 12-9 vote.

    • Montana House Votes to Approve Bill Turning Off Resources to NSA by Razor-Thin Margin

      The Montana House gave preliminary approval to a bill that would take on NSA spying by denying material support and resources to federal agencies engaged in warrantless surveillance. The vote was 51-49.

    • Law Enforcement Fear-Mongering Kills anti-NSA bill in Montana

      This is not something we’ve actively reported on or aggressively tracked, but I’m planning on shining some light on who most aggressively lobbies against bills to advance liberty and/or reject federal power. In almost every situations, it’s law enforcement. And while many conservatives, for example, hold these folks in such high regard that they’re almost seen in a religious light, they’re the ones behind the scenes getting the most important bills voted down.

    • Pentagon Inspector General Ignored & Rejected NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake’s Claims of Retaliation

      NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake has learned that the Pentagon Inspector General’s Office has rejected his whistleblower retaliation complaint, which he filed after the Justice Department’s prosecution against him collapsed.

      As part of the Pentagon IG office’s audit, Drake provided details about waste and civil liberties abuses related to a program called TRAILBLAZER. He alleged in his complaint that he was spied upon by NSA management as he participated in this audit as a material witness. When he grew upset with the failure of the NSA to address problems, he decided to contact a Baltimore Sun reporter and reveal details related to the corruption.

      The complaint he submitted to the IG’s office comprehensively detailed nearly ten years of retaliation by the agency for his whistleblowing. But, for no legal or statutory reason, the investigation into whistleblower retaliation only focused on five months and ignored a vast amount of other allegations made against the agency.

    • NSA chief says agency complies with ‘law’ after spyware reports

      Navy Admiral Michael Rogers was responding to reports that the NSA had embedded spyware on computer hard drives on a vast scale and that it and its British counterpart had hacked into the world’s biggest manufacturer of cellphone SIM cards. He spoke at a forum sponsored by the New America think tank.

    • NSA director: Imported technology comes with risk

      The director of the National Security Agency (NSA) acknowledged an “aspect of risk” Wednesday in government agencies using computer technology that is manufactured abroad.

    • NSA document sheds light on cyber warfare between US, Iran

      The document, written for the purpose of briefing then-director of the NSA, Keith Alexander (who is now running his own cyber security firm) says Iran was behind the “destructive cyberattack against Saudi Aramco in August 2012, during which data was destroyed on tens of thousands of computer.”

    • The Coming Death, and Afterlife, of the NSA Spying Law

      The scale of that surveillance has become so great that the NSA has been known to collect images and content from conversations between ordinary people who are not even being targeted, including content that is sexual in nature, religious, political or related to mental health.

    • FBI: NSA reform could hurt cyber probes

      The business records request program based on Section 215 allows the FBI to obtain customer records from places like major telecom companies without going through the public court system.

    • Seeing the Stasi Through NSA Eyes

      I had come to the ​Stasi Museum with a group of U.S. and UK intelligence whistleblowers…

    • In Response to EFF Lawsuit, Government Scheduled to Release More Secret Court Opinions on NSA Surveillance

      Later today, the government is scheduled to release two landmark opinions on NSA spying issued by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The documents are being released as a result of FOIA lawsuit filed by EFF last year, seeking disclosure of many of the surveillance court’s still-secret, yet significant, opinions.

    • CIA re-orgs to build cyber-snooping into all investigations

      It may also sound like the CIA is going to be doing a lot more digital snooping…

    • Cyberespionage Is a Top Priority for CIA’s New Directorate
    • Top Secret NSA Documents Leak by Snowden Resulted in ‘Few Changes’

      The leak of the NSA documents by Edward Snowden has resulted in a “very few changes” to the modus operandi of the US intelligence agency and its partners, says Norway’s spy chief.

    • Is privacy dead?

      In 1980, personal computers were still in their infancy, and the internet did not exist. There were, of course, genuine concerns about threats to our privacy, but, looking back at my book of that year, they mostly revolved around telephone tapping, surveillance, and unwanted press intrusion. Data protection legislation was embryonic, and the concept of privacy as a human right was little more than a chimera.

    • AT&T’s Cozy History With the NSA Unlikely to Derail Proposed Merger

      As consolidation of the telecom sector is placing consumer data in the hands of fewer corporations, dozens of former AT&T business partners have warned regulators that the company has a poor record on privacy that should increase scrutiny of its proposed $48.5 billion merger with DirecTV.

    • NSA cited as hurdle against AT&T merger

      A coalition of dozens of former AT&T business partners are raising alarms about the telecom giant’s past cooperation with the National Security Agency (NSA), which could pose problems for its $48.5 billion merger with DirecTV.

  • Civil Rights

    • Leniency for General Petraeus: His Lawyer’s Argument

      General Petraeus’s case is about the unlawful removal and improper storage of classified materials, not the dissemination of such materials to the public. Indeed, a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement and signed by both General Petraeus and the Justice Department makes clear that “no classified information” from his “black books” (personal notebooks) that were given to his biographer, Paula Broadwell, appeared in the biography.

    • NSA whistleblower denounces Petraeus plea bargain

      NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake denounced a plea bargain reached by former CIA Director David Petraeus and federal prosecutors, calling it a “slap on the wrist” for illegal actions “served no public good.”

    • Quit listening to the hawks, CIA on Middle East

      By us invading Iraq we have every Muslim in the world hating us.

    • Lawyers for CIA Leaker Cite Selective Prosecution After Petraeus Plea Deal

      Lawyers for Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA official convicted earlier this year of leaking classified information to a New York Times reporter, have requested a reconsideration of his conviction because two former generals, David Petraeus and James Cartwright, have received far more lenient treatment for what they call similar offenses.

    • NSA Hinders Amnesty International USA Work

      Amnesty International USA Security and Human Rights Program Director Naureen Shah stated that the US National Security Agency’s mass surveillance program interferes with efforts to document and stop human rights abuses.

    • After Hearing, Capitol Police Arrest Lawyer for Shouting Question at Clapper About NSA Surveillance

      Shahid Buttar, a constitutional lawyer and executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), was arrested by Capitol police at the end of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in which Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified.

      In video posted by the peace group, CODEPINK, Buttar shouts a question about NSA surveillance at Clapper as he is leaving. An officer is already nearby, which suggests he had already tried to get Clapper’s attention prior to the first question heard in the video.

    • Lead prosecutor apologizes for role in sending man to death row

      This is the first, and probably will be the last, time that I have publicly voiced an opinion on any of your editorials. Quite frankly, I believe many of your editorials avoid the hard questions on a current issue in order not to be too controversial. I congratulate you here, though, because you have taken a clear stand on what needs to be done in the name of justice.

    • “We need to reconquer democracy”

      The Pira­te Party has been grow­ing in pop­ula­rity recently and is now the lar­gest political party in Ice­land accord­ing to a recent poll, with 29.1% of the vote. A whopp­ing 38 percent of Icelandic voters aged 18-49 year old would cast their vote for the Pira­te Party if the electi­ons were held today.

      Rick Falkvinge, founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party, says the growing support in Iceland is encouraging for Pirates worldwide.

    • Supreme Court considers impact of disability law on police

      The police shooting in Georgia earlier this month of a naked, unarmed man with bipolar disorder spotlights the growing number of violent confrontations between police and the mentally ill – an issue that goes before the Supreme Court this coming week.

      At least half the people police kill each year have mental health problems, according to a 2013 report from the Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriffs’ Association. On Monday, the nation’s highest court will consider how police must comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act when dealing with armed or violent people who have psychiatric problems or other disabilities.

    • Memo: San Jose police aim to have officer-worn cameras by next year, working drone by 2017

      The San Jose Police Department has set timetables for pilot-testing officer-worn cameras and a drone, surveillance technologies that have polarized local law-enforcement and civil libertarians over the past year.

    • If America Wants to End Terrorism, It Has to Start With Its Own

      American airpower has blown away eight wedding parties in three different countries—and we call ourselves the leaders of the global war on terror.

    • The CIA, the drug dealers, and the tragedy of Gary Webb

      Gary Webb knew his story would cause a stir. The newspaper report he’d written suggested that a US-backed rebel army in Latin America was supplying the drugs responsible for blighting some of Los Angeles’s poorest neighbourhoods – and, crucially, that the CIA must have known about it.

    • Lawyer for Pakistani doctor who helped CIA find Osama bin Laden shot dead

      A Pakistani lawyer under death threats for defending a doctor who helped CIA agents hunt al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was shot dead on Tuesday, police said.

      Samiullah Afridi represented Dr Shakil Afridi, who was jailed in 2012 for 33 years for running a fake vaccination campaign believed to have helped the US intelligence agency track down bin Laden. That sentence was overturned in 2013 and the doctor is now in jail awaiting a new trial.

    • Lawyer for Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA track down Bin Laden is shot dead months after receiving death threats from Taliban militants
    • Lawyer for Pakistan doctor who helped CIA find bin Laden shot dead
    • US role in disastrous Mamasapano ops under scrutiny

      A disastrous raid on alleged Islamic militants has ignited the worst political crisis yet for Philippine President Benigno Aquino — and questions about the extent of any US role in the operation are deepening his discomfort.

      Some Philippine lawmakers are asking whether the US military played a leading role in the operation in January, which ended with 44 police commandos dead in a field in the country’s Muslim-majority south.

    • Here’s the full version of the CIA’s 2002 intelligence assessment on WMD in Iraq

      In October of 2002, 9 months before the US-led invasion of Iraq, the CIA produced a document summarizing relevant intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s chemical and biological weapons programs. The document became the basis for the Bush Administration’s public statements about the extent of Saddam’s WMD program and was also distributed to members of Congress.

    • Revealed: The CIA report used as pretext for Iraq invasion

      The document summarizing the CIA’s purported knowledge of Iraqi chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs, produced in October 2002 and hidden from the public ever since, has finally been made public.

      The CIA had previously released a heavily redacted version of the controversial National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) in 2004. Last year, transparency advocate John Greenwald made another FOIA request and received a declassified version of the document, which Vice News published this Thursday.

    • Declassified CIA report refutes US rationale for Iraq war

      Among the U.S. arguments for invading Iraq was to topple a regime that developed weapons of mass destruction and that Iraq harbored terrorists, but a newly-surfaced intelligence report shows the rationale lacked certainty.

    • The Iraq CIA Report That Handed 127,000 People Their Death Certificates

      Almost nine months before the invasion of Iraq led by the United States, the CIA produced a document in October 2002 summarizing the agency’s purported knowledge of Iraqi chemical and biological weapons programs.

    • This Declassified CIA Report Shows the Shaky Case for the Iraq War

      The report is rife with what now are obvious red flags that the Bush White House oversold the case for war. It asserts that Iraq had an active chemical weapons program at one point, though it admits that the CIA had found no evidence of the program’s continuation. It repeatedly includes caveats like “credible evidence is limited.” It gives little space to the doubts of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, which found the CIA’s findings on Iraq’s nuclear program unconvincing and “at best ambiguous.”

    • The CIA Just Released the Documents That George W. Bush Used to Sell the Iraq War

      Twelve years after the U.S. launched its invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the secret intelligence report repeatedly cited by the George W. Bush administration as it campaigned for war has finally been made available to the American public.

      The 2002 National Intelligence Estimate provides further proof that the president and his aides purposefully mischaracterized and exaggerated the dangers posed by the Iraqi regime in an effort to stoke fear about a nuclear or biological attack on the U.S. and its allies. A close reading of the report, which reflects the consensus of U.S. intelligence at the time, reveals an intelligence community at odds with itself about the nature of the potential threat.

    • Op-Ed: CIA-linked General Haftar appointed commander of Libyan army

      Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni of the internationally recognized Libyan government based in Tobruk has appointed General Khalifa Haftar as commander of the army today.

    • Iraq, Libya…Iran?

      I was in Iraq with a dozen of my CODEPINK colleagues a month before the US invasion in 2003. While we found a country wracked by 13 years of draconian Western sanctions and a people scared to openly criticize Saddam Hussein, we also found a middle class country with an extremely well-educated population where women made up the majority of university students and participated in all aspects of public life.

    • John Brennan and Restructuring the CIA

      What then, of CIA director John Brennan’s promise to “overhaul” the organisation in what is ostensibly an effort to modernise it? His address to the press was filled with management speak. “Efficiencies” had to be wrung; hindering “seams” in the organisation’s structure preventing proper assessment of threats had to be targeted and removed.

    • UK-Iraq abuse inquiry refuses to consider CIA torture report

      The body tasked with investigating British abuses in Iraq has said it will not request as evidence the US Senate’s report on CIA torture, in the case of two Pakistani men tortured and rendered by the UK and the US.

    • Patriotic Betrayal in the 1960s — When the CIA Turned Students Into Spies
    • A Friend of the Devil

      Almost exactly twenty years after Truman’s speech, in February, 1967, the government’s cover was spectacularly blown by a college dropout. The dropout’s name was Michael Wood, and the operation he exposed was the C.I.A.’s covert use of an organization called the National Student Association. The revelation had a cascading effect, and helped to mark the end of the first phase of the Cold War.

    • Uncensored CIA torture report demanded by lawyers in Iraq war abuse case

      Lawyers for two men, who claim they were tortured after capture by UK forces, are demanding access to an uncensored version of the CIA torture report from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) team charged with investigating abuses.

      Solicitors Leigh Day, representing the men, has a long record of taking on similar cases, including the recent Al Sweady Inquiry into allegations of abuse by British soldiers.

      Their clients are two Pakistani nationals, Yunus Rahmatullah and Amanatullah Ali, both of whom were captured in Iraq in 2004 by British special forces soldiers and held for a decade before being released by the US last year.

    • ‘Torture Report’ Reshapes Conversation In Guantanamo Courtroom

      For years in the military courtroom at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, there’s been a subject no one could talk about: torture.

    • CIA asks foreign special services to torture suspects – John Brennan

      Fox News Channel conducted its own investigation and noted that the activities of the CIA and Brennan in particular in terms of torture intensified after the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009. Since then, the department has received a number of secret rooms, where US secret agents would interrogate suspicious people.

    • Homan Square: politicians push DoJ to investigate ‘CIA or Gestapo tactics’ at secret police site

      A day after the Guardian exposed the first in a series of allegations of incommunicado detention and abuse at the Chicago police facility known as Homan Square, Cook County commissioner Richard Boykin sent a letter to the US Department of Justice. Citing what he likened to “CIA or Gestapo tactics”, Boykin joined officials and human-rights groups from the nation’s capital to the west side of Chicago in calling for a federal investigation into the secretive site.

    • Chicago Police Use “Black Site” Similar To CIA Interrogation Facilities
    • VIDEO: Chicago Police Run CIA-Style Domestic Interrogation ‘Black Site’
    • Chicago police are running a horrifying CIA-style black site out of a warehouse
    • Chicago Followed CIA Example
    • The CIA Secret Prisons in Europe. Political Camouflage in the EU. Washington’s “European Partners in Crime”
    • Chicago Police Caught Disappearing People Into Secret CIA-Style Detention Center
    • The US Military’s Forgotten Sex-Abuse Scandal That Foretold CIA Torture in the War on Terror
    • The Historic Roots of Homan Square, Chicago’s CIA-Style Black Site
    • Stunning Report: Chicago Police Created CIA Type Black Site For Detainees
    • Why we all bear responsibility for the torture of black, brown and poor people — at home and abroad
    • Chicago Police’s Secret CIA-Style Detention Center

      The Guardian has reported that Chicago Police are operating a secret detention facility that mirrors the CIA’s “black sites.” From violations of due process to torture, the revelations raise serious concerns about the deteriorating state of freedom and justice in the United States.

    • Mike Vickers, longtime senior intelligence official and former CIA strategist, to leave Pentagon

      Vickers is best known for having played a leading role in planning CIA paramilitary operations in the 1980s in Afghanistan, where he helped coordinate the guerrilla war against the Soviet army — a covert action campaign famously depicted in the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War.” He left the spy agency shortly afterward, and stayed out of government work for years.

    • HBO movie will tell how psychologists developed the CIA’s interrogation tactics

      HBO Films is making a feature about how the CIA hired psychologists to devise extreme interrogation tactics that the agency employed in the war on terror. This was all done with the full knowledge and cooperation of the American Psychological Association, making it possible that your own therapist was thinking about waterboarding while you went on and on about Richard getting that promotion instead of you.

    • HBO Will Adapt Rorschach And Awe – Examining The Architects Of CIA Torture

      HBO Films is developing a movie adaptation of the Vanity Fair article, Rorschach And Awe, written by Katherine Eban. While this source material certainly provides a snappy title for the project, the subject matter is deeply troubling – examining, as it does, the role of two professional psychologists in the development of torture techniques for the Central Intelligence Agency.

    • US Justice Dep’t Ignores Questions on Drones, CIA Torture Report – Lawmaker

      US Senator Ron Wyden’s said that the US Department of Justice has left unanswered all questions concerning the US government’s use of drones, government agencies’ interpretations of the law and the report on CIA torture.

    • Did the CIA Really Get a “Bum Rap” on Torture?

      Nowhere does Cole mention some of the more bizarre and unconscionable aspects of CIA’s torture and abuse such as “rectal feeding” and “rectal hydration” that involved a “pureed” blend of hummus and raisins that was “rectally infused.” The CIA justified these techniques as “medically necessary,” which was the kind of lie that Cole likes to pretend was not part of the CIA’s modus operandi. And nowhere does Professor Cole note that these sadistic techniques were performed on totally innocent victims, who were known to be innocent by many at the CIA. It is believed that nearly 25% of the victims were totally innocent, which created no problem for Vice President Dick Cheney but should have bothered the first recipient of the ACLU’s prize for contributions on civil liberties in 2013.

    • ICC studying CIA torture report ‘very, very closely’

      The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor is studying a US Senate report on the CIA’s torture of terrorism suspects “very, very closely”, she told Middle East Eye on Thursday.

    • Did torture report give US government a free pass and dump too much on CIA?

      Three months after the Senate report was released, Georgetown University Law Center Prof. David Cole emphasized a major new piece of the issue.

      [...]

      What is new? John Yoo, a former US Department of Justice lawyer, has been famous – or infamous – for some time for writing various memoranda justifying stretching international law with new interpretations that could justify the new techniques.

    • European Court Of Human Rights Orders Poland To Pay $262,000 To CIA ‘Black Site’ Prisoners – OpEd
    • Poland to pay compensation to CIA torture victims

      Poland will respect the sentence of the Human Rights Tribunal at Strasbourg and pay compensation to victims of torture at CIA “black sites”, Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna said.

    • Former CIA Operative Who Suffers from Narcolepsy Has Discrimination Lawsuit Dismissed Over ‘State Secrets’

      A federal judge dismissed a former CIA operative’s lawsuit alleging he was subject to a “hostile work environment” and discriminated against because of his disability and race. The judge decided the CIA had appropriately made a state secrets claim and there was no way to litigate the case without creating “substantial risk” to “national security.”

    • Miller Center panel addresses CIA torture practices

      The Miller Center hosted an event Friday titled “The CIA and the Question of Torture: Reading the Senate Report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.” The program included a panel of professional experts who debated the significance of the Senate’s recent torture report and placed them into broad historical context.

    • Podcast: CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou on How US Government Treats Whistleblowers in Prison

      CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou is more than three weeks into an 86-day term on house arrest. He was released from a federal “correctional” institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, in early February.

      Kiriakou pled guilty to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA), but it was not until he spoke up about waterboarding being torture in an interview in 2007 that he became a target for prosecution. He maintains, while what he did was wrong, he was the subject of a selective and vindictive prosecution.

    • A Drug Kingpin, the CIA, and Prisoners: Freeway Rick Ross and America’s Mass Incarceration Problem

      Marc Levin’s documentary Freeway: Crack in the System premieres tonight on Al-Jazeera America. Here, he writes about Freeway Rick Ross’s connection to Selma and a generation of prisoners.

    • Sadists who carried out CIA torture should be fired, prosecuted

      Were the atrocities committed by the CIA following the horrific events of 9/11, which have now come to light, enhanced interrogation or torture? They were neither. They were unmitigated sadism and unabashed sexual sadism committed by opportunistic psychopaths employed by the CIA. These individuals included CIA officials, government contractors and psychologists.

    • Songs By Prince, Eminem, Metallica Named In CIA Torture Report

      The CIA has declassified a list of songs they used as part of their systematic methods of torture and interrogation. The surprising list features songs by Prince, Matchbox Twenty, Eminem, The Bee Gees and Metallica.

    • Declassified CIA Songs Used In Torture
    • AFP: Romania allowed secret CIA detention sites-Amnesty International

      Rights group Amnesty International on Tuesday urged five European countries to come clean on alleged cooperation with CIA operations involving torture and help bring those responsible to justice, AFP informs quoted by interantional media.

    • When torturers walk

      Here’s what we learned from the release of the US Senate’s report on the CIA’s use of torture: the agency tortured some people, in the president’s flippant phrase. More than a few people it turns out, though we probably will never know exactly how many.

      The techniques of torture were brutal, even sadistic. Though, again, the most barbarous measures have been redacted from public disclosure. The CIA learned almost nothing of value from these heinous crimes. More strikingly, the agency didn’t expect to pry out any fresh intelligence. Instead, what the torturers wanted most desperately was to extract false confessions, writhing accounts of fantastical ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, linking Iraq to the 9/11 attacks, that could be used retroactively to justify a phony war. Thus does one crime feast on another.

      But here’s the rub. We still know much less than we know about the government’s torture programme. And that’s not just because two-thirds of the CIA report remains sequestered at Langley. Why? To protect sources and methods? Hardly. You can find those easily enough in any book on the Spanish Inquisition. The techniques haven’t changed that much in five centuries. Just add a few jolts of electricity.

      While the CIA wants to keep the details of its torture methods cloaked in mystery, the agency was very happy to let the fact that it was torturing prisoners of its covert operations slip out. Partly this was intended to send a message to the agency’s enemies, that terrible torments were going to be inflicted on the bodies and minds of anyone would stood in its way: from Jihadis to Edward Snowden, if they could just lay their hands on him.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

03.21.15

Links 21/3/2015: Alpine Linux 3.1.3, Tizen TV SDK 1.4

Posted in News Roundup at 3:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Can’t even throw code across the wall – on open sourcing existing code

    Starting a new project as open source feels like the simplest thing in the world. You just take the minimally working thing you wrote, slap on a license file, and push the repo to Github. The difficult bit is creating and maintaining a community that ensures long term continuity of the project, especially as some contributors leave and new ones enter. But getting the code out in a way that could be useful to others is easy.

  • Open Networking Acronym Soup

    During the past few years, software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) have emerged as the next big thing in networking. As a result, we’ve seen established networking standards development organizations (SDOs) such as the ITU, IETF, TMF, among others, leap on the bandwagon to address SDN and NFV.

  • Will Open Source Groups Keep Windows Open?

    The full blog can be viewed here and it includes a link to a recording of the panel discussion on Open Platform for NFV Project Inc. featuring five of its board members, including AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) ‘s Margaret Chiosi, and Hui Deng, principal staff at China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL)’s Research Institute.

  • OPNFV Bridging Open Source Communities and Telcos

    It has been a whirlwind two months since I joined OPNFV in January. I recently spent three weeks on the road getting to know our community and seeing OPNFV in a broader market context, and it’s been a great experience. Our technical committee chair Chris Price wrote about our recent Meet-up and Hackfest and the only thing I’ll add to his great summary is that I was highly impressed by the passion and collaborative attitude I witnessed during those events. It’s not always an easy thing for a diverse group of people all working for different companies to come together and form a coherent community, but we are definitely on our way.

  • California Association of Voting Officials, Latest to Join Open Source Initiative

    CAVO and OSI recognize that advances in open source development can provide citizens and governments the opportunity to ensure that everyone’s vote is counted accurately and securely without being held hostage to private vendors nor aging, outdated infrastructure. Innovation through open source development will provide communities the capacity and certainty to administer elections for this century and keep the promise of democracy, namely that your vote will always count.

  • Sirius: An Open-Source Alternative To Apple’s Siri & Google Now
  • Sirius, the open-source intelligent personal assistant set to take on Siri

    The new personal voice-activated assistant was created by developers at the university’s Clarity Labs. Unlike its commercial lock-in counterparts, Sirius is free and can be easily customised. Anyone can contribute to the open-source project via GitHub, with the code released under the BSD license making the software free both to use and to distribute. The project is supported by Google, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Science Foundation.

  • Tutanota: open source encrypted email

    Tutanota is a German open source encrypted email startup lauded as a direct alternative to Google Gmail

  • Even faster: Data at the speed of Presto ORC
  • Facebook Open Sources New Tool That Can Speed Queries

    Now, with an eye toward optimizing the performance of open source distributed SQL query engine Presto, Facebook has designed a new Optimized Row Columnar (OCR) file format reader for Presto, and it is open sourced.

  • Events

    • ApacheCon Apache Open Source Conference Will Be in Austin April 13-17

      ApacheCon North America brings developers and users together to explore issues and provide educational experiences for building open source solutions. The Apache community is among the most robust in open source with hundreds of thousands of applications deploying Apache Software Foundation (ASF) products and code contributions by more than 3,500 committers from around the world.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Juniper Adds More OpenStack Distro Support with Mirantis

      At its core, the open-source OpenStack cloud platform is a pluggable framework that enables multiple products and services to be plugged in. The OpenStack Neutron (formerly known as Quantum) project is the leading-edge networking project within OpenStack, providing a framework into which multiple SDN vendors can plug to enable agile networking services.

  • Databases

    • Transticket signs open source contract with MariaDB

      Nordic ticket giant to develop open source on chips, tickets and beer.

      Open source database technology company MariaDB has announced Nordic Transticket as its latest costumer.

      Previously with Oracle-owned MySQL, the ticketing company, a rising rival to European Ticketmaster, reached a peak in user data with 150 Gigabytes.

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Licensing

    • Did VMware Flout Open Source License Terms?

      A long-standing dispute over proprietary software developers’ use of licensed open source software code ultimately could be settled in a case against VMware. “[Developer Christoph] Hellwig sees his creation being used commercially,” noted tech attorney Ray Van Dyke. “VMware feels persecuted for using a bit of free code. Now, a German jurist will make a decision sometime in the future.”

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Security

    • ​You need to apply the OpenSSL patches today, not tomorrow

      True, some operating systems, such as Red Hat Linux Enterprise (RHEL), aren’t greatly impacted by these latest problems. But if you’re using any operating system that uses OpenSSL 1.0.2 or OpenSSL versions: 1.0.1, 1.0.0 and 0.9.8, it’s another story.

    • New BIOS Implant, Vulnerability Discovery Tool to Debut at CanSecWest

      When the National Security Agency’s ANT division catalog of surveillance tools was disclosed among the myriad of Snowden revelations, its desire to implant malware into the BIOS of targeted machines was unquestionable.

    • Friday’s security updates
    • ‘Notorious’ felon was cleared for faster boarding at airports

      The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved a convicted felon who is a former member of a domestic terrorist organization for expedited airport security last year, according to a report released this week by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general.

      The report alleges that the TSA cleared the June 2014 passenger, whose name was not revealed, despite the fact that the traveler had not submitted paperwork for its PreCheck trusted passenger program. The traveler was recognized by security agents at the airport.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • This Declassified CIA Report Shows the Shaky Case for the Iraq War

      The United States began its invasion of Iraq 12 years ago. Yesterday, a previously classified Central Intelligence Agency report containing supposed proof of the country’s weapons of mass destruction was published by Jason Leopold of Vice News. Put together nine months before the start of the war, the National Intelligence Estimate spells out what the CIA knew about Iraq’s ability to produce biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. It would become the backbone of the Bush administration’s mistaken assertions that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs and posed a direct threat to the post-9/11 world.

    • Former House Intelligence Chair Mike Rogers’ Quiet Trip Through the Revolving Door

      In Congress, Rogers led efforts to pass broad new legislation to expand government and private sector surveillance. He also maintained friendly ties to the business and K Street community — relationships that may have influenced his quiet move through the revolving door.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Ecuador: Why Did It Take Sweden 1,000 Days to Agree to Question Julian Assange in Our U.K. Embassy?

      Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño responds to recent reports Swedish prosecutors will seek to question WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Assange has never been charged over allegations of sexual assault, yet he has been holed up in the embassy since 2012, fearing that if he steps outside, he will be arrested and extradited to Sweden, which could lead to his extradition to the United States — which is investigating Assange over WikiLeaks publishing classified documents. “We are pleased to see the Swedish prosecutors say that they now want to take the statements from Julian Assange at our embassy,” Patiño says. “But at the same time, we are concerned that 1,000 days have gone by, 1,000 days with Julian Assange confined in our embassy, before they say that they are going to do what they should have done from day one.”

    • UK Police Deem Snowden Leak Investigation a State Secret

      British police claim a criminal investigation they launched into journalists who have reported on leaked documents from Edward Snowden has to be kept a secret due to a “possibility of increased threat of terrorist activity.”

    • Let’s Give Edward Snowden the Same Deal General Petraeus Got for Leaking Info

      General David Petraeus has agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified material and will serve no jail time for his actions. Let’s give the same deal to Edward Snowden.

      True, their crimes are different: Petraeus gave classified info to his biographer and girlfriend, Paula Broadwell. Snowden gave classified info to the American people.

    • Assange To Stay in London Embassy as Long as US Pursues WikiLeaks Probe

      An attorney for Julian Assange said the WikiLeaks founder is likely to remain at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London as long as the United States pursues a criminal investigation of his organization.

    • “I Might Have Some Sensitive Files”

      On the evening of April 3, 2013, a battered blue pickup truck slowly crossed a bridge from International Falls, Minnesota, to the border station at Fort Frances, Ontario. The family inside — a clean-cut middle-aged couple and their dark-haired 28-year-old son — looked like any other vacationers heading north. The father handed over their IDs to the border guards. “We need the protection of the Canadian government under the U.N. convention against torture,” he said. “Because our son was tortured by the FBI.”

      [...]

      But she believes that what she saw was true: the agrochemical company’s culpability in 13,000 deaths, the CIA’s role in the anthrax attacks. She tells more than Matt had recalled, stories that sound too incredible to be true: a report that says the CIA explored plans to put anthrax in a New Jersey bay in order to drum up support for the war. “That’s what they were going to do,” she recalls, “And I remember reading that and saying [to Matt], ‘OK, all right, I know you’re not crazy.’”

    • Clinton’s e-mail is on a hosted Exchange 2010 server, not in Chappaqua

      There’s been a lot of controversy over how Hillary Clinton apparently used a mail server running in her Chappaqua, New York, home when she started her tenure as secretary of state. But if you want to know what she’s using now, all you have to do is point your browser at it—you’ll get a login page for Outlook Web access from a Microsoft Exchange 2010 server. And so will anyone who wants to brute-force guess her e-mail password or simply take the server down with a denial-of-service attack. (This is not a suggestion that you should.)

    • Using Open Data to Fight Corruption in Greece

      Greece has been much in the news recently as the Syriza government tries to deal with the country’s massive economic problems. We hear plenty about its high-level negotiations with the EU; what we don’t hear about is the Greek government’s innovative use of openness to tackle key issues in everyday life.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Stanford Law School Covers Up SEC’s Andrew Bowden’s Embarrassing Remarks by Deep-Sixing Conference Video

      Two days ago, we wrote about a remarkable example of regulatory capture and potential corruption. SEC enforcement chief Andrew Bowden, before an industry audience at Stanford Law School, on a panel moderated by KKR board member, Stanford Law professor and former SEC commissioner Joseph Grundfest, made fawning remarks about the private equity industry. Bowden repeatedly called PE “the greatest,” and made clear that he was so awestruck by its profits and seemingly attractive investor returns that he was urging his teenaged son to seek his fortunes there. This was troubling not simply because Bowden, as the SEC’s exam chief, looked to be soliciting, on a plausibly deniable basis, employment for his child from the firms he supervises. Bowden had described widespread lawbreaking in private equity in an unusually blunt and detailed speech last May. But almost immediately, he began walking his remarks back at conferences with the industry and in interviews with private equity publications. We’d charitably assumed the change in posture was due to outside pressure, but it may actually be due in large measure to Bowden’s unduly high regard for the industry, which appears to have tarnished his judgment, badly.

    • What’s Scarier: Terrorism, or Governments Blocking Websites in its Name?

      The French Interior Ministry on Monday ordered that five websites be blocked on the grounds that they promote or advocate terrorism. “I do not want to see sites that could lead people to take up arms on the Internet,” proclaimed Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

    • “I don’t even pretend I can stop it”: 8chan’s founder talks doxing, Internet freedom

      In early January, Ars Technica reported on a swatting attempt on an Oregon home—notable in particular because the intended target no longer lived at the address in question. In the 24 hours after publication of that piece, an Ars staffer became the target of an online harassment campaign which began with the posting of private, personal information, a practice known as doxing. That doxing, just like the failed swatting attempt, originated with posts on the imageboard known as 8chan. (Users disagreed with use of “8chan” rather than spelling out “8chan users” in the headline.)

  • Privacy

    • The CIA and Signals Intelligence

      Additional Declassified Documents Describe CIA Domestic and Foreign SIGINT Activity

    • Why the Idea That a Big Cyber Attack Could Create a Huge Tech Armageddon Is Pure BS

      Over the past several years, mainstream news outlets have conveyed a litany of cyber doomsday scenarios on behalf of ostensibly credible public officials. Breathless intimations of the End Times. The stuff of Hollywood screenplays. However a recent statement by the U.S. intelligence community pours a bucket of cold water over all of this.

      It turns out that all the talk of cyber Armageddon was a load of bunkum. An elaborate propaganda campaign which only serves as a pretext to sacrifice our civil liberties and channel an ocean of cash to the defense industry.

    • UK spies target women for recruitment
    • US/UK intelligence agencies threaten Germany

      Accord­ing to journ­al­ist Glenn Gre­en­wald, Ger­man Vice Chan­cel­lor Sig­mar Gab­riel has stated that the US and UK spy agen­cies threatened to cut Ger­many out of the intelligence-sharing loop if it gave safe haven to NSA whis­tle­bower, Edward Snowden.

    • The U.S. can legally access your old emails and it wants to keep it that way

      Many people around the globe might assume these days that the U.S. government can enact some shady magic called the NSA to access any email it wants, even if that shady magic is considered by some to be illegal.

      But how many people—particularly U.S. residents—know that the American government technically has perfectly legal access to everyone’s emails, so long as it says those digital notes might be useful for an investigation and the emails are more than 180 days old?

    • Leaked Document Reveals Upcoming Biometric Experiments at US Customs

      The ​facial recognition pilot program launched last week by US Customs and Border Protection, which civil liberties advocates say could lead to new potentially privacy-invading programs, is just the first of three biometric experiments that the feds are getting ready to launch.

      The three experiments involve new controversial technologies like iris and face scanner kiosks, which CBP plans to deploy at the Mexican border, and facial recognition software, according to a leaked document obtained by Motherboard.

    • Cisco Shipping Equipment to Fake Addresses to Foil NSA Interception

      Now Cisco is taking matters into its own hands, offering to ship equipment to fake addresses in an effort to avoid NSA interception.

      I don’t think we have even begun to understand the long-term damage the NSA has done to the US tech industry.

    • Digital Rights Are For Everyone, Including Young People.

      During our four sessions, we spoke to teenage girls about how people lose control of information about themselves online. Within five minutes of the opening workshop we were getting questions about whether Facebook could read their messages, and it only got more interesting.

  • Civil Rights

    • Chicago police commander resigns in wake of Homan Square revelations

      A senior Chicago police commander in charge of a major unit operating out of the controversial Homan Square police warehouse has resigned, the Guardian has confirmed.

      The news came as attorneys for three Homan Square victims announced that they would file the first civil rights lawsuit over the facility with the aim of shutting down the complex likened by attorneys and activists to the domestic law enforcement equivalent of a CIA “black site.”

    • Petraeus Deal Cited in Sterling Leak Defense

      Attorneys for former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who was found guilty on nine felony counts involving unauthorized disclosure of classified information, argued yesterday that the Sterling verdict should be set aside in view of the misdemeanor plea agreement that was recently offered to former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus for mishandling classified information.

      Sterling’s attorneys suggested that the disparate treatment of the two cases was attributable to improper considerations of rank and race.

    • Chelsea Manning Warned of Nuri al-Maliki’s Corruption in 2010. David Petraeus’ Subordinates Silenced Her.

      Manning would go on to leak more documents showing US complicity in Iraqi abuses, going back to 2004. None of those documents were classified more than Secret. Her efforts (in part) to alert Americans to the abuse the military chain of command in Iraq was ignoring won her a 35-year sentence in Leavenworth.

      Compare that to David Petraeus who pretends, to this day, Maliki’s corruption was not known and not knowable before the US withdrew troops in 2011, who pretends the US troops under his command did not ignore, even facilitate, Maliki’s corruption.

    • Autopsy suggests suicide in hanging of black man in Mississippi

      Preliminary results from an autopsy on the body of Otis Byrd, whose body was found hanging from a tree in rural Mississippi, strongly suggest the death was a suicide rather than foul play, a federal law enforcement official said Friday.

      “It looks like that,” said the official, who asked not to be identified because authorities are planning to make an announcement at a later news conference. But he said, “that’s where they are headed” — with a finding of suicide.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Questions, Reactions Mount for the FCC’s Net Neutrality Provisions

      The FCC’s pubication of the new Net Neutrality rules is continuing to draw a lot of analysis. Some Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate have sharply criticized the FCC order, and want Congress to pass a bill that would enact some Net Neutrality protections.

    • Does net neutrality really mean ‘net regulation?

      One of the most contentious disagreements in the net neutrality debate in the U.S. over the past year has been over whether the new rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission amount to regulation of the Internet.

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