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Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

[# ! (#Free) #Tech:] Manage your Linux Box with htop - Freedom Penguin - 0 views

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    "January 14, 2016 Joe Collins 0 Comment How To There is one application that I simply must have on every Linux system I install and that's htop. It doesn't matter whether it's a virtual machine or installed on hardware. It doesn't matter what distribution it is or whether the system is running a GUI Desktop Environment or not, I gotta have htop. It has become such an integral part of "
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    "January 14, 2016 Joe Collins 0 Comment How To There is one application that I simply must have on every Linux system I install and that's htop. It doesn't matter whether it's a virtual machine or installed on hardware. It doesn't matter what distribution it is or whether the system is running a GUI Desktop Environment or not, I gotta have htop. It has become such an integral part of "
Gary Edwards

The True Story of How the Patent Bar Captured a Court and Shrank the Intellectual Commons | Cato Unbound - 1 views

  • The change in the law wrought by the Federal Circuit can also be viewed substantively through the controversy over software patents. Throughout the 1960s, the USPTO refused to award patents for software innovations. However, several of the USPTO’s decisions were overruled by the patent-friendly U.S. Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, which ordered that software patents be granted. In Gottschalk v. Benson (1972) and Parker v. Flook (1978), the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, holding that mathematical algorithms (and therefore software) were not patentable subject matter. In 1981, in Diamond v. Diehr, the Supreme Court upheld a software patent on the grounds that the patent in question involved a physical process—the patent was issued for software used in the molding of rubber. While affirming their prior ruling that mathematical formulas are not patentable in the abstract, the Court held that an otherwise patentable invention did not become unpatentable simply because it utilized a computer.
  • In the hands of the newly established Federal Circuit, however, this small scope for software patents in precedent was sufficient to open the floodgates. In a series of decisions culminating in State Street Bank v. Signature Financial Group (1998), the Federal Circuit broadened the criteria for patentability of software and business methods substantially, allowing protection as long as the innovation “produces a useful, concrete and tangible result.” That broadened criteria led to an explosion of low-quality software patents, from Amazon’s 1-Click checkout system to Twitter’s pull-to-refresh feature on smartphones. The GAO estimates that more than half of all patents granted in recent years are software-related. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court continues to hold, as in Parker v. Flook, that computer software algorithms are not patentable, and has begun to push back against the Federal Circuit. In Bilski v. Kappos (2010), the Supreme Court once again held that abstract ideas are not patentable, and in Alice v. CLS (2014), it ruled that simply applying an abstract idea on a computer does not suffice to make the idea patent-eligible. It still is not clear what portion of existing software patents Alice invalidates, but it could be a significant one.
  • Supreme Court justices also recognize the Federal Circuit’s insubordination. In oral arguments in Carlsbad Technology v. HIF Bio (2009), Chief Justice John Roberts joked openly about it:
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  • The Opportunity of the Commons
  • As a result of the Federal Circuit’s pro-patent jurisprudence, our economy has been flooded with patents that would otherwise not have been granted. If more patents meant more innovation, then we would now be witnessing a spectacular economic boom. Instead, we have been living through what Tyler Cowen has called a Great Stagnation. The fact that patents have increased while growth has not is known in the literature as the “patent puzzle.” As Michele Boldrin and David Levine put it, “there is no empirical evidence that [patents] serve to increase innovation and productivity, unless productivity is identified with the number of patents awarded—which, as evidence shows, has no correlation with measured productivity.”
  • While more patents have not resulted in faster economic growth, they have resulted in more patent lawsuits.
  • Software patents have characteristics that make them particularly susceptible to litigation. Unlike, say, chemical patents, software patents are plagued by a problem of description. How does one describe a software innovation in such a way that anyone searching for it will easily find it? As Christina Mulligan and Tim Lee demonstrate, chemical formulas are indexable, meaning that as the number of chemical patents grow, it will still be easy to determine if a molecule has been patented. Since software innovations are not indexable, they estimate that “patent clearance by all firms would require many times more hours of legal research than all patent lawyers in the United States can bill in a year. The result has been an explosion of patent litigation.” Software and business method patents, estimate James Bessen and Michael Meurer, are 2 and 7 times more likely to be litigated than other patents, respectively (4 and 13 times more likely than chemical patents).
  • Software patents make excellent material for predatory litigation brought by what are often called “patent trolls.”
  • Trolls use asymmetries in the rules of litigation to legally extort millions of dollars from innocent parties. For example, one patent troll, Innovatio IP Ventures, LLP, acquired patents that implicated Wi-Fi. In 2011, it started sending demand letters to coffee shops and hotels that offered wireless Internet access, offering to settle for $2,500 per location. This amount was far in excess of the 9.56 cents per device that Innovatio was entitled to under the “Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory” licensing promises attached to their portfolio, but it was also much less than the cost of trial, and therefore it was rational for firms to pay. Cisco stepped in and spent $13 million in legal fees on the case, and settled on behalf of their customers for 3.2 cents per device. Other manufacturers had already licensed Innovatio’s portfolio, but that didn’t stop their customers from being targeted by demand letters.
  • Litigation cost asymmetries are magnified by the fact that most patent trolls are nonpracticing entities. This means that when patent infringement trials get to the discovery phase, they will cost the troll very little—a firm that does not operate a business has very few records to produce.
  • But discovery can cost a medium or large company millions of dollars. Using an event study methodology, James Bessen and coauthors find that infringement lawsuits by nonpracticing entities cost publicly traded companies $83 billion per year in stock market capitalization, while plaintiffs gain less than 10 percent of that amount.
  • Software patents also reduce innovation in virtue of their cumulative nature and the fact that many of them are frequently inputs into a single product. Law professor Michael Heller coined the phrase “tragedy of the anticommons” to refer to a situation that mirrors the well-understood “tragedy of the commons.” Whereas in a commons, multiple parties have the right to use a resource but not to exclude others, in an anticommons, multiple parties have the right to exclude others, and no one is therefore able to make effective use of the resource. The tragedy of the commons results in overuse of the resource; the tragedy of the anticommons results in underuse.
  • In order to cope with the tragedy of the anticommons, we should carefully investigate the opportunity of  the commons. The late Nobelist Elinor Ostrom made a career of studying how communities manage shared resources without property rights. With appropriate self-governance institutions, Ostrom found again and again that a commons does not inevitably lead to tragedy—indeed, open access to shared resources can provide collective benefits that are not available under other forms of property management.
  • This suggests that—litigation costs aside—patent law could be reducing the stock of ideas rather than expanding it at current margins.
  • Advocates of extensive patent protection frequently treat the commons as a kind of wasteland. But considering the problems in our patent system, it is worth looking again at the role of well-tailored limits to property rights in some contexts. Just as we all benefit from real property rights that no longer extend to the highest heavens, we would also benefit if the scope of patent protection were more narrowly drawn.
  • Reforming the Patent System
  • This analysis raises some obvious possibilities for reforming the patent system. Diane Wood, Chief Judge of the 7th Circuit, has proposed ending the Federal Circuit’s exclusive jurisdiction over patent appeals—instead, the Federal Circuit could share jurisdiction with the other circuit courts. While this is a constructive suggestion, it still leaves the door open to the Federal Circuit playing “a leading role in shaping patent law,” which is the reason for its capture by patent interests. It would be better instead simply to abolish the Federal Circuit and return to the pre-1982 system, in which patents received no special treatment in appeals. This leaves open the possibility of circuit splits, which the creation of the Federal Circuit was designed to mitigate, but there are worse problems than circuit splits, and we now have them.
  • Another helpful reform would be for Congress to limit the scope of patentable subject matter via statute. New Zealand has done just that, declaring that software is “not an invention” to get around WTO obligations to respect intellectual property. Congress should do the same with respect to both software and business methods.
  • Finally, even if the above reforms were adopted, there would still be a need to address the asymmetries in patent litigation that result in predatory “troll” lawsuits. While the holding in Alice v. CLS arguably makes a wide swath of patents invalid, those patents could still be used in troll lawsuits because a ruling of invalidity for each individual patent might not occur until late in a trial. Current legislation in Congress addresses this class of problem by mandating disclosures, shifting fees in the case of spurious lawsuits, and enabling a review of the patent’s validity before a trial commences.
  • What matters for prosperity is not just property rights in the abstract, but good property-defining institutions. Without reform, our patent system will continue to favor special interests and forestall economic growth.
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    "Libertarians intuitively understand the case for patents: just as other property rights internalize the social benefits of improvements to land, automobile maintenance, or business investment, patents incentivize the creation of new inventions, which might otherwise be undersupplied. So far, so good. But it is important to recognize that the laws that govern property, intellectual or otherwise, do not arise out of thin air. Rather, our political institutions, with all their virtues and foibles, determine the contours of property-the exact bundle of rights that property holders possess, their extent, and their limitations. Outlining efficient property laws is not a trivial problem. The optimal contours of property are neither immutable nor knowable a priori. For example, in 1946, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the age-old common law doctrine that extended real property rights to the heavens without limit. The advent of air travel made such extensive property rights no longer practicable-airlines would have had to cobble together a patchwork of easements, acre by acre, for every corridor through which they flew, and they would have opened themselves up to lawsuits every time their planes deviated from the expected path. The Court rightly abridged property rights in light of these empirical realities. In defining the limits of patent rights, our political institutions have gotten an analogous question badly wrong. A single, politically captured circuit court with exclusive jurisdiction over patent appeals has consistently expanded the scope of patentable subject matter. This expansion has resulted in an explosion of both patents and patent litigation, with destructive consequences. "
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    I added a comment to the page's article. Patents are antithetical to the precepts of Libertarianism and do not involve Natural Law rights. But I agree with the author that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit should be abolished. It's a failed experiment.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Intellectual Property? Why Words Matter In The Copyright Debate - TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " Rick Falkvinge on September 13, 2015 C: 53 Opinion Language matters. Whether we get to keep our liberties or not depends on whether those liberties are generally named in positive words. The same thing goes for the privileges of corporations."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Exposed: NSA program for hacking any cell phone network, no matter where it is | Ars Technica - 1 views

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    "The National Security Agency has spied on hundreds of companies and groups around the world, including in countries allied with the US government, as part of an effort designed to allow agents to hack into any cellular network, no matter where it's located, according to a report published Thursday."
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    "The National Security Agency has spied on hundreds of companies and groups around the world, including in countries allied with the US government, as part of an effort designed to allow agents to hack into any cellular network, no matter where it's located, according to a report published Thursday."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Getting started with Docker | Opensource.com - 0 views

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    "It doesn't matter whether it is pianos or teddy bears, containers provide consistency that manufacturers and transporters can rely on. Just as shipping containers have revolutionized the import/export industry, you've heard that Docker is doing the same in tech."
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    "It doesn't matter whether it is pianos or teddy bears, containers provide consistency that manufacturers and transporters can rely on. Just as shipping containers have revolutionized the import/export industry, you've heard that Docker is doing the same in tech."
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    "It doesn't matter whether it is pianos or teddy bears, containers provide consistency that manufacturers and transporters can rely on. Just as shipping containers have revolutionized the import/export industry, you've heard that Docker is doing the same in tech."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Pirate Bay Founder Peter Sunde Released From Prison | TorrentFreak - 1 views

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    " Ernesto on November 10, 2014 C: 7 Breaking Former Pirate Bay spokesperson Peter Sunde is a free man again. After more than five months he was released from prison this morning. Peter is expected to take some time off to spend with family and loved ones before he continues working on making the Internet a better place." [# ! #Good #News... # ! ... but, oh, what a kind of '#Justice' # ! #imprisons #innovators...? [# ! why industry has not even thought on '#monetize' #filesharing...? # ! #clue: http://insights.wired.com/profiles/blogs/monetization-alternatives-the-cure-for-online-piracy] # ! It's Just a #matter of #control.]
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    " Ernesto on November 10, 2014 C: 7 Breaking Former Pirate Bay spokesperson Peter Sunde is a free man again. After more than five months he was released from prison this morning. Peter is expected to take some time off to spend with family and loved ones before he continues working on making the Internet a better place." [# ! #Good #News... # ! ... but, oh, what a kind of '#Justice' # ! #imprisons #innovators...? [# ! why industry has not even thought on '#monetize' #filesharing...? # ! #clue: http://insights.wired.com/profiles/blogs/monetization-alternatives-the-cure-for-online-piracy] # ! It's Just a #matter of #control.]
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

The Linux desktop battle (and why it matters) - TechRepublic - 2 views

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    Jack Wallen ponders the problem with the ever-lagging acceptance of the Linux desktop and poses a radical solution.
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    "Jack Wallen ponders the problem with the ever-lagging acceptance of the Linux desktop and poses a radical solution. Linux desktop I have been using Ubuntu Unity for a very long time. In fact, I would say that this is, by far, the longest I've stuck with a single desktop interface. Period. That doesn't mean I don't stop to smell the desktop roses along the Linux path. In fact, I've often considered other desktops as a drop-in replacement for Unity. GNOME and Budgie have vied for my attention of late. Both are solid takes on the desktop that offer a minimalistic, modern look and feel (something I prefer) and help me get my work done with an efficiency other desktops can't match. What I see across the Linux landscape, however, often takes me by surprise. While Microsoft and Apple continue to push the idea of the user interface forward, a good amount of the Linux community seems bent on holding us in a perpetual state of "90s computing." Consider Xfce, Mate, and Cinnamon -- three very popular Linux desktop interfaces that work with one very common thread... not changing for the sake of change. Now, this can be considered a very admirable cause when it's put in place to ensure that user experience (UX) is as positive as possible. What this idea does, however, is deny the idea that change can affect an even more efficient and positive UX. When I spin up a distribution that makes use of Xfce, Mate, or Cinnamon, I find the environments work well and get the job done. At the same time, I feel as if the design of the desktops is trapped in the wrong era. At this point, you're certainly questioning the validity and path of this post. If the desktops work well and help you get the job done, what's wrong? It's all about perception. Let me offer you up a bit of perspective. The only reason Apple managed to rise from the ashes and become one of the single most powerful forces in technology is because they understood the concept of perception. They re-invented th
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    Jack Wallen ponders the problem with the ever-lagging acceptance of the Linux desktop and poses a radical solution.
Gary Edwards

Skynet rising: Google acquires 512-qubit quantum computer; NSA surveillance to be turned over to AI machines Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind! - 0 views

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    "The ultimate code breakers" If you know anything about encryption, you probably also realize that quantum computers are the secret KEY to unlocking all encrypted files. As I wrote about last year here on Natural News, once quantum computers go into widespread use by the NSA, the CIA, Google, etc., there will be no more secrets kept from the government. All your files - even encrypted files - will be easily opened and read. Until now, most people believed this day was far away. Quantum computing is an "impractical pipe dream," we've been told by scowling scientists and "flat Earth" computer engineers. "It's not possible to build a 512-qubit quantum computer that actually works," they insisted. Don't tell that to Eric Ladizinsky, co-founder and chief scientist of a company called D-Wave. Because Ladizinsky's team has already built a 512-qubit quantum computer. And they're already selling them to wealthy corporations, too. DARPA, Northrup Grumman and Goldman Sachs In case you're wondering where Ladizinsky came from, he's a former employee of Northrup Grumman Space Technology (yes, a weapons manufacturer) where he ran a multi-million-dollar quantum computing research project for none other than DARPA - the same group working on AI-driven armed assault vehicles and battlefield robots to replace human soldiers. .... When groundbreaking new technology is developed by smart people, it almost immediately gets turned into a weapon. Quantum computing will be no different. This technology grants God-like powers to police state governments that seek to dominate and oppress the People.  ..... Google acquires "Skynet" quantum computers from D-Wave According to an article published in Scientific American, Google and NASA have now teamed up to purchase a 512-qubit quantum computer from D-Wave. The computer is called "D-Wave Two" because it's the second generation of the system. The first system was a 128-qubit computer. Gen two
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    Normally, I'd be suspicious of anything published by Infowars because its editors are willing to publish really over the top stuff, but: [i] this is subject matter I've maintained an interest in over the years and I was aware that working quantum computers were imminent; and [ii] the pedigree on this particular information does not trace to Scientific American, as stated in the article. I've known Scientific American to publish at least one soothing and lengthy article on the subject of chlorinated dioxin hazard -- my specialty as a lawyer was litigating against chemical companies that generated dioxin pollution -- that was generated by known closet chemical industry advocates long since discredited and was totally lacking in scientific validity and contrary to established scientific knowledge. So publication in Scientific American doesn't pack a lot of weight with me. But checking the Scientific American linked article, notes that it was reprinted by permission from Nature, a peer-reviewed scientific journal and news organization that I trust much more. That said, the InfoWars version is a rewrite that contains lots of information not in the Nature/Scientific American version of a sensationalist nature, so heightened caution is still in order. Check the reprinted Nature version before getting too excited: "The D-Wave computer is not a 'universal' computer that can be programmed to tackle any kind of problem. But scientists have found they can usefully frame questions in machine-learning research as optimisation problems. "D-Wave has battled to prove that its computer really operates on a quantum level, and that it is better or faster than a conventional computer. Before striking the latest deal, the prospective customers set a series of tests for the quantum computer. D-Wave hired an outside expert in algorithm-racing, who concluded that the speed of the D-Wave Two was above average overall, and that it was 3,600 times faster than a leading conventional comput
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Michael Robertson: Helping Publishers Avoid the Google Destroyer - 0 views

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    "If you're an online news publisher then Google is not your friend. Neither is Facebook. (No matter how fast articles load.) They want to suck away all content and keep all the advertising money. Google has already achieved much of this and Facebook is not far behind. With the loss of advertisers, many publishers have been lured into slimy clickbait ads, which slow the website and damage the user experience. T"
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    "If you're an online news publisher then Google is not your friend. Neither is Facebook. (No matter how fast articles load.) They want to suck away all content and keep all the advertising money. Google has already achieved much of this and Facebook is not far behind. With the loss of advertisers, many publishers have been lured into slimy clickbait ads, which slow the website and damage the user experience. T"
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

The Next Five Years Could Determine Our Liberties | TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " Rick Falkvinge on April 6, 2014 C: 3 Opinion There's a European Election coming up. Voting starts in about one month, with the main election days on May 22-25. We've had many victories as activists and concerned citizens in the past five years to defend the net and its liberty, but the main showdown looks like it'll come down in the next five years. Your vote is going to matter."
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    " Rick Falkvinge on April 6, 2014 C: 3 Opinion There's a European Election coming up. Voting starts in about one month, with the main election days on May 22-25. We've had many victories as activists and concerned citizens in the past five years to defend the net and its liberty, but the main showdown looks like it'll come down in the next five years. Your vote is going to matter."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

The Web We Have to Save - Matter - Medium - 0 views

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    "The rich, diverse, free web that I loved - and spent years in an Iranian jail for - is dying. Why is nobody stopping it?"
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Patched Android Lockscreen Still a Threat | Mobile | LinuxInsider [MS Note...] - 0 views

    • Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.
       
      [With the announcement that Microsoft would partner with the truly open-source, Android-based Cyanogen OS to provide a bundled suite of apps, both companies made one thing very clear: Android's not just for Google anymore. http://www.wired.com/2015/04/microsoft-google-cyanogen/]
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    Although Google issued a patch for its Nexus line, hackers can have a field day exploiting a recently discovered lockscreen vulnerability on other Android products. "Even when users feel confident about locking their phone with a strong password, if their device is exposed to this exploit, it does not really matter how strong the password is," noted Armando Leon, director of mobile at LaunchKey.
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    Although Google issued a patch for its Nexus line, hackers can have a field day exploiting a recently discovered lockscreen vulnerability on other Android products. "Even when users feel confident about locking their phone with a strong password, if their device is exposed to this exploit, it does not really matter how strong the password is," noted Armando Leon, director of mobile at LaunchKey.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

How to manage your passwords from the Linux command line - 0 views

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    "Posted by Administrator | Mar 18, 2015 | Linux | 0 comments The authentication with passwords has been quite wide spread these days. This safety measure might be quite good for the security matter, but, eventually, consumers appear in a big need of password management method - a tool, a program or a clever technique - in order to save the used passwords during all of the processes. "
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    "Posted by Administrator | Mar 18, 2015 | Linux | 0 comments The authentication with passwords has been quite wide spread these days. This safety measure might be quite good for the security matter, but, eventually, consumers appear in a big need of password management method - a tool, a program or a clever technique - in order to save the used passwords during all of the processes. "
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

IoT will become a matter of life or death for security pros | InfoWorld - 0 views

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    "The need to move beyond just protecting computer systems is the biggest challenge ever faced by IT, Gartner says Neal Weinberg By Neal Weinberg Follow Network World | Oct 8, 2015"
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

In Europe, Pirates Are Writing The Copyright Law | TorrentFreak - 1 views

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    "For the first time, legislation on the matter is initiated by net liberty activists."
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    "For the first time, legislation on the matter is initiated by net liberty activists."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

How to Save the Net | Magazine | WIRED - 1 views

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    By Wired Magazine 08.19.14 | 6:30 am | Permalink It's impossible to overstate how much the Internet matters. It has forever altered how we share information and store it for safekeeping, how we communicate with political leaders, how we document atrocities and hold wrongdoers accountable, how we consume entertainment and create it, even how we meet others and maintain relationships."
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    By Wired Magazine 08.19.14 | 6:30 am | Permalink It's impossible to overstate how much the Internet matters. It has forever altered how we share information and store it for safekeeping, how we communicate with political leaders, how we document atrocities and hold wrongdoers accountable, how we consume entertainment and create it, even how we meet others and maintain relationships."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Big Brother goes to school - 0 views

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    ""Data gathering includes health, fitness and sleeping habits, sexual activity, prescription drug use, alcohol use and disciplinary matters. Students attitudes, sociability and even 'enthusiasm' are quantified, analyzed, recorded and dropped into giant data systems," she wrote." [ # ! #Smile... # ! ... #You are The '#Merchandise'. # ! #Protect #Yourself, You are The(ir) '#Target'... # ! But Stay #calm: You are one of #us... #of #Many... # ! ... The #Honest and #Peaceful #citizens...]
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    ""Data gathering includes health, fitness and sleeping habits, sexual activity, prescription drug use, alcohol use and disciplinary matters. Students attitudes, sociability and even 'enthusiasm' are quantified, analyzed, recorded and dropped into giant data systems," she wrote."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Relaxing "Neutrality" Principles Could Unlock Online Innovation | MIT Technology Review - 1 views

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    "Letting go of an obsession with net neutrality could free technologists to make online services even better. By George Anders " [ # ! The '#Trap' remains... # ! ... as available #bandwidth continue to be as a matter of the # ! #Money one can #pay and, unless #Providers seriously #engage # ! in #price # ! #lowering -and #QoS guaranteeing, the '#DigitalDivide' # ! will #remain #widening... ]
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    "Letting go of an obsession with net neutrality could free technologists to make online services even better. By George Anders "
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    "Letting go of an obsession with net neutrality could free technologists to make online services even better. By George Anders " [ # ! The '#Trap' remains... # ! ... as available #bandwidth continue to be as a matter of the # ! #Money one can #pay and, unless #Providers seriously #engage # ! in #price # ! #lowering -and #QoS guaranteeing, the '#DigitalDivide' # ! will #remain #widening... ]
Paul Merrell

How Edward Snowden Changed Everything | The Nation - 0 views

  • Ben Wizner, who is perhaps best known as Edward Snowden’s lawyer, directs the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project. Wizner, who joined the ACLU in August 2001, one month before the 9/11 attacks, has been a force in the legal battles against torture, watch lists, and extraordinary rendition since the beginning of the global “war on terror.” Ad Policy On October 15, we met with Wizner in an upstate New York pub to discuss the state of privacy advocacy today. In sometimes sardonic tones, he talked about the transition from litigating on issues of torture to privacy advocacy, differences between corporate and state-sponsored surveillance, recent developments in state legislatures and the federal government, and some of the obstacles impeding civil liberties litigation. The interview has been edited and abridged for publication.
  • en Wizner, who is perhaps best known as Edward Snowden’s lawyer, directs the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project. Wizner, who joined the ACLU in August 2001, one month before the 9/11 attacks, has been a force in the legal battles against torture, watch lists, and extraordinary rendition since the beginning of the global “war on terror.” Ad Policy On October 15, we met with Wizner in an upstate New York pub to discuss the state of privacy advocacy today. In sometimes sardonic tones, he talked about the transition from litigating on issues of torture to privacy advocacy, differences between corporate and state-sponsored surveillance, recent developments in state legislatures and the federal government, and some of the obstacles impeding civil liberties litigation. The interview has been edited and abridged for publication.
  • Many of the technologies, both military technologies and surveillance technologies, that are developed for purposes of policing the empire find their way back home and get repurposed. You saw this in Ferguson, where we had military equipment in the streets to police nonviolent civil unrest, and we’re seeing this with surveillance technologies, where things that are deployed for use in war zones are now commonly in the arsenals of local police departments. For example, a cellphone surveillance tool that we call the StingRay—which mimics a cellphone tower and communicates with all the phones around—was really developed as a military technology to help identify targets. Now, because it’s so inexpensive, and because there is a surplus of these things that are being developed, it ends up getting pushed down into local communities without local democratic consent or control.
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  • SG & TP: How do you see the current state of the right to privacy? BW: I joked when I took this job that I was relieved that I was going to be working on the Fourth Amendment, because finally I’d have a chance to win. That was intended as gallows humor; the Fourth Amendment had been a dishrag for the last several decades, largely because of the war on drugs. The joke in civil liberties circles was, “What amendment?” But I was able to make this joke because I was coming to Fourth Amendment litigation from something even worse, which was trying to sue the CIA for torture, or targeted killings, or various things where the invariable outcome was some kind of non-justiciability ruling. We weren’t even reaching the merits at all. It turns out that my gallows humor joke was prescient.
  • The truth is that over the last few years, we’ve seen some of the most important Fourth Amendment decisions from the Supreme Court in perhaps half a century. Certainly, I think the Jones decision in 2012 [U.S. v. Jones], which held that GPS tracking was a Fourth Amendment search, was the most important Fourth Amendment decision since Katz in 1967 [Katz v. United States], in terms of starting a revolution in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence signifying that changes in technology were not just differences in degree, but they were differences in kind, and require the Court to grapple with it in a different way. Just two years later, you saw the Court holding that police can’t search your phone incident to an arrest without getting a warrant [Riley v. California]. Since 2012, at the level of Supreme Court jurisprudence, we’re seeing a recognition that technology has required a rethinking of the Fourth Amendment at the state and local level. We’re seeing a wave of privacy legislation that’s really passing beneath the radar for people who are not paying close attention. It’s not just happening in liberal states like California; it’s happening in red states like Montana, Utah, and Wyoming. And purple states like Colorado and Maine. You see as many libertarians and conservatives pushing these new rules as you see liberals. It really has cut across at least party lines, if not ideologies. My overall point here is that with respect to constraints on government surveillance—I should be more specific—law-enforcement government surveillance—momentum has been on our side in a way that has surprised even me.
  • Do you think that increased privacy protections will happen on the state level before they happen on the federal level? BW: I think so. For example, look at what occurred with the death penalty and the Supreme Court’s recent Eighth Amendment jurisprudence. The question under the Eighth Amendment is, “Is the practice cruel and unusual?” The Court has looked at what it calls “evolving standards of decency” [Trop v. Dulles, 1958]. It matters to the Court, when it’s deciding whether a juvenile can be executed or if a juvenile can get life without parole, what’s going on in the states. It was important to the litigants in those cases to be able to show that even if most states allowed the bad practice, the momentum was in the other direction. The states that were legislating on this most recently were liberalizing their rules, were making it harder to execute people under 18 or to lock them up without the possibility of parole. I think you’re going to see the same thing with Fourth Amendment and privacy jurisprudence, even though the Court doesn’t have a specific doctrine like “evolving standards of decency.” The Court uses this much-maligned test, “Do individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy?” We’ll advance the argument, I think successfully, that part of what the Court should look at in considering whether an expectation of privacy is reasonable is showing what’s going on in the states. If we can show that a dozen or eighteen state legislatures have enacted a constitutional protection that doesn’t exist in federal constitutional law, I think that that will influence the Supreme Court.
  • The question is will it also influence Congress. I think there the answer is also “yes.” If you’re a member of the House or the Senate from Montana, and you see that your state legislature and your Republican governor have enacted privacy legislation, you’re not going to be worried about voting in that direction. I think this is one of those places where, unlike civil rights, where you saw most of the action at the federal level and then getting forced down to the states, we’re going to see more action at the state level getting funneled up to the federal government.
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    A must-read. Ben Wizner discusses the current climate in the courts in government surveillance cases and how Edward Snowden's disclosures have affected that, and much more. Wizner is not only Edward Snowden's lawyer, he is also the coordinator of all ACLU litigation on electronic surveillance matters.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

How to speed up your internet connection on Linux | HowtoForge - 0 views

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    "...there isn't a way to transform a slow internet connection into a lighting-speed one if your provider is just not giving you enough bandwidth, no matter what you do. This post is only aiming to provide generic advice on how to make things a little bit better if possible, and if applicable to each case."
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    "...there isn't a way to transform a slow internet connection into a lighting-speed one if your provider is just not giving you enough bandwidth, no matter what you do. This post is only aiming to provide generic advice on how to make things a little bit better if possible, and if applicable to each case."
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