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Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software

The Relevance of IT for Humanitarian Response The humanitarian response domain aims to help save lives and alleviate human suffering in responding to: i) rapid-onset natural disasters, such as tsunamis, earthquakes, and pandemics; ii) slow-onset natural disasters, such as global warming, droughts, and famine; and iii) human-instigated disasters, such as civil wars. The humanitarian response domain consists of an ecosystem […]

FTC’s New Privacy Report Endorses “Do Not Track” Mechanism to Empower Online Consumers

This morning, the Federal Trade Commission released its long-anticipated privacy report. The report is the final result of a series of FTC privacy roundtables held earlier this year that solicited comments from leading scholars, industry figures and nonprofits including EFF about the consumer privacy challenges posed by new technologies. One of the main focuses of the FTC’s report is online […]

Location, Location, Location: Three Recent Court Controversies on Cell Phone & GPS Tracking

Welcome to the 21st century, where we all carry tracking devices in our pockets and where one morning you might find an FBI-installed GPS tracking device on your car. In this age of location-based-everything, the legal question of whether or not the government has to get a search warrant based on probable cause before secretly tracking you becomes all the […]

How to dual-boot Linux Mint 10 or Ubuntu 10.10 and Windows 7 on a computer with two hard drives

How to dual-boot Linux Mint 10 or Ubuntu 10.10 and Windows 7 on a computer with two hard drives

The first two articles on dual-booting Windows 7 and Linux distributions published here involved installation on a computer with a single hard drive. Those articles on dual-booting Fedora 14 and Ubuntu 10.10 with Windows 7 are available here and here. This article will cover a different use-case, dual-booting Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.10 or Linux Mint 10 on a computer […]

How to install and configure a parental control system on Linux Mint 10

How to install and configure a parental control system on Linux Mint 10

Linux Mint 10 comes pre-installed with a very simple application that could be considered a parental control tool. Other than being a basic, uni-directional domain blocker, it is does not provide any other feature. So, if you want a parental control tool, one that provides all the features you expect in an application of that sort, you will have to […]

How to create and manage a guest user account on Linux Mint 10

How to create and manage a guest user account on Linux Mint 10

Say, you have a Linux Mint 10-powered computer that you share with a friend or family member you do not completely trust. How do you continue to give this friend or family member access to your computer and still keep your data private? You have two options. The first is to let your guest use the built-in guest session. The […]

Wikileaks: Lessons For Consumer Privacy

The website Wikileaks recently published hundreds of thousands of confidential State Department cables. These communications apparently reveal the details of conversations with, and personal impressions and assessments of, foreign leaders and diplomats. Many fear that the leak will undermine international relations in profound and unknowable ways. One of the unintended consequence of the leak, however, may be to strengthen the […]

U.S. Government Seizes 82 Websites: A Glimpse at the Draconian Future of Copyright Enforcement?

Over the past few days, the U.S. Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security and nine U.S. Attorneys’ Offices seized 82 domain names of websites they claim were engaged in the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and illegal copyrighted works. Setting aside the due process concerns inherent in seizing any website without notice or appropriate recourse for the owner, […]

Supreme Court to Decide Standard for Proving Invalidity of a Patent

Today the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Microsoft’s appeal in a case that could make it easier to invalidate a patent. If successful, Microsoft’s challenge should help in the fight against bad patents by leveling the playing field for showing that a patent is invalid. A Microsoft win in the case would benefit not only Microsoft, but also the […]

Cloud Computing: New Way to Patch Holes in the ‘Cloud’

Researchers from North Carolina State University and IBM have invented a way to update computer systems packaged in virtual machines in a computer “cloud” — even when those programs are offline. The new cloud computing patch tool developed by NC State and IBM is called Nuwa and protects virtual machines (VMs) from cyber-attacks by ensuring that they always receive important […]

ownCloud 1.1 released

ownCloud 1.1 has been released. I´m really happy with this release. Not only because we have a lot of new features and bugfixes but also because the ownCloud development team is growing and more and more people are contributing to ownCloud. I gave several presentation about ownCloud in the last few month and I´m trilled by the positive reactions I […]

How to customize Linux Mint 10

How to customize Linux Mint 10

After a review of Linux Mint 10, the next logical step is to write a few tutorials and tips for those that might need it. The first of these tutorials is a very basic one: It will present several steps you can take to customize a new installation of Linux Mint 10. The list of tips that will be presented […]

All regions and nearly all municipalities in Norway now use open source

Public administrations in Norway are increasingly turning to open source, says Martin Bekkelund, business developer at Friprog, the country’s open source competence centre. This year, all ninenteen county administrations are using open source in some form, compared to 76 percent in 2005. Uses varies from server operating systems , content management systems to OpenOffice. A recent example is procurement of […]

Open source database new engine of France’s social security

The open source database management system (DBMS) Postgresql is the new engine for France’s Caisse Nationale d’Allocations Familiales (CNAF). The organisation, responsible in 2009 for some 69 billion Euro in benefits distributed to 11 million claimants, earlier this year replaced its proprietary DBMS with the open source alternative. According to a statement published in September by IT company Bull, assisting […]

Common Sense and Security: Body Scanners, Accountability, and $2.4 Billion Worth of Security Theater

The Transportation Security Administration is feeling public heat these days over its combination of whole-body-image scanners and heavy-handed pat-down searches, and deservedly so. There’s no question that reform is needed to curtail TSA’s excesses. We especially applaud the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s efforts to increase public awareness about the body scanners. But will the heat now being generated produce the […]

EFF’s Guide to Protecting Electronic Devices and Data at the U.S. Border

Amid recent reports that security researchers have experienced difficulties at the United States border after traveling abroad, we realized that it’s been awhile since we last discussed how to safeguard electronic devices and digital information during border searches. So just in time for holiday travel and the 27th Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, here’s EFF’s guide for protecting your devices […]

Short, on-Chip Light Pulses Will Enable Ultrafast Data Transfer Within Computers

Electrical engineers generated short, powerful light pulses on a chip — an important step toward the optical interconnects that will likely replace the copper wires that carry information between chips within today’s computers. University of California, San Diego electrical engineers recently developed the first ultra compact, low power pulse compressor on a silicon chip to be described in the scientific […]

Methane-Powered Laptops? Materials Scientists Unveil Tiny, Low-Temperature Methane Fuel Cells

Making fuel cells practical and affordable will not happen overnight. It may, however, not take much longer. With advances in nanostructured devices, lower operating temperatures, and the use of an abundant fuel source and cheaper materials, a group of researchers led by Shriram Ramanathan at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) are increasingly optimistic about the commercial […]

EFF Tool Offers New Protection Against ‘Firesheep’

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has launched a new version of HTTPS Everywhere, a security tool that offers enhanced protection for Firefox browser users against “Firesheep” and other exploits of webpage security flaws. HTTPS secures web browsing by encrypting both requests from your browser to websites and the resulting pages that are displayed. Without HTTPS, your online reading habits and […]

A general public license for seeds?

“The same multinational corporations that are putting their proprietary, genetically modified plants into the environment and onto our tables are also well on the way to establishing a monopoly …on seeds. They have purchased the majority of commercial seed companies and the choices for farmers to use non-GM seeds are getting fewer and fewer. So here is a counter-proposal. Following […]