Monthly Archives: June 2013

America’s Global Role Shifting Away from a Bastion of Freedom

It’s rather unnerving when we look back to see what kind of authority the US government has:

Information on bank records has been available for quite some time under the Patriot Act. Routine over extension of bureaucratic power for political purposes is also present, if not common, as we’ve seen with the IRS recently.  US soldiers abroad have killed many innocent people, including unarmed reporters. Continue reading

Open Source and the GPL

The term “Open Source” was first used in 1998 to refer to Netscape Navigator’s distribution and development method of giving away their source code for free.  However, the concept of sharing code and information had a long history before that, including automobile manufacturers in the early 20th century sharing patents, all the way through ARPANET and the beginning of the internet.  BSD, for example, is a Linux distribution that was shared and given away for free for years before Open Source became a term. You can read more in Wikipedia’s article.

Free software is a related term. It was coined by Richard Stallman in the 80s when he established the Free Software Foundation. Continue reading

You are being monitored by your government

Last night, a story broke when The Guardian confirmed that Americans were being subjected to widespread, untargeted spying by the NSA (Glenn Greenwald broke the story for those who don’t know of him).  To quote:

In plain language: the order gave the NSA a record of every Verizon customer’s call history — every call made, the location of the phone, the time of the call, the duration of the call, and other “identifying information” for the phone and call — from April 25, 2013 (the date the order was issued) to July 19, 2013.  The order does not require content or the name of any subscriber and is issued under 50 USC sec.1861, also known as section 215 of the Patriot Act. Continue reading

FBI kills suspect but totally doesn’t remember how it happened.

This article from the Atlantic details the changing story of the FBI about a man killed while being interrogated in Orlando in connection with the Boston bombing.

The fact that no one seems to have a conclusive story on what actually happened when this suspect was killed, several hours into an interrogation forces us to confront one of two explanations: gross incompetence or government sanctioned murder.  Since we don’t have much information, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of incentive for the FBI to kill a suspect, but that doesn’t exactly make anyone feel better.

And why can’t anyone get their story right?  Clearly someone screwed up big time in this situation, and it’s important that we figure out what happened and work to push back against government agents that abuse their power.