I received this email message just now.

If you file taxes in Italy, you can donate to Autistici/Inventati via the so-called “5 per mille”, an option to donate 0.5% of your taxes to a non-profit organization.

To do so, on your “Modello CU Unico” and Form 730, in the section called “5 per mille”, you will have to sign your name ad insert the tax code (codice fiscale) 93090910501 where it says:

“SOSTEGNO DEL VOLONTARIATO E DELLE ALTRE ORGANIZZAZIONI NON LUCRATIVE DI UTILITA’ SOCIALE, DELLE ASSOCIAZIONI DI PROMOZIONE SOCIALE E DELLE ASSOCIAZIONI E FONDAZIONI RICONOSCIUTE CHE OPERANO NEI SETTORI DI CUI ALL’ART. 10, C. 1, LETT A), DEL D.LGS. N. 460 DEL 1997”

 

Using software libre is always important, no matter what kind of computer you use. Whether it’s a laptop or a mobile phone, our computers should do our computing the way we wish.

Using proprietary software makes corporations and computers do what they like, not what we want. However, software libre gives us the power to control our computing and own our systems.

One kind of computers we use daily is our mobile phones. Mobile phones are also computers so they should also run software libre. An important part of our mobile phones’ software is the operating system.

Now, Android itself is software libre but usually phones come with a Googlized Android. Googlized Android is no longer software libre but there’s something you can do, use LineageOS.

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NSA Eagle

Later this week, the House of Representatives is once again voting on whether or not to extend the authorities in Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act—a surveillance law with a rich history of government overreach and abuse, along with two other PATRIOT Act provisions, and possibly, an amendment.

Congress considered several bills to reauthorize and reform Section 215 earlier this year, but the law expired on March 15 without renewal. In the days before that deadline, the House of Representatives passed the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act, without committee markup or floor amendments, which would have extended Section 215 for three more years, along with some modest reforms. However, the Senate failed to reach an agreement on the bill, allowing the authorities to expire.

As we have written before, if Congress can’t agree on real reforms to these problematic laws, they should remain expired. A savings clause in the expired law gives intelligence agencies some, limited ongoing ability to use the authority, and  the government has plenty of other surveillance tools at its disposal. Allowing the law to expire rather than rush into extending the authorities was a positive step.

But rather than hold hearings to determine what additional reforms are needed, earlier this month, the Senate considered amendments to the bill the House passed in March. The Lee-Leahy amendment, which passed overwhelmingly,  would strengthen the provisions regarding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s (FISC) appointment of amici, outside experts to independently analyze surveillance requests that are particularly sensitive.

Another amendment, sponsored by Senators Wyden and Daines, failed 59-37, one vote short of the required 60. This amendment would have clarified that Section 215 cannot be used to obtain an individuals’ Internet browsing or search history.

In our view, it was already clear that Section 215 could never lawfully be used to obtain browsing and search history information. Numerous courts, including the FISC itself, have found that browsing and search history constitute the “content” of communications. And, as the Supreme Court in Riley v. California explained, “Internet search and browsing history, for example, can be found on an Internet-enabled phone and could reveal an individual’s private interests or concerns — perhaps a search for certain symptoms of disease, coupled with frequent visits to WebMD.” This data implicates an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy, and a warrant is therefore required. In light of this precedent, it is difficult to imagine Internet companies complying with a Section 215 order for browsing history, given that most companies—including Google, Facebook, Comcast, and other giants—require the government to produce a warrant before handing over the contents of communications. And even if the government did seek to use Section 215 in this way, the FISC would be obligated to appoint an amicus to argue against this novel interpretation of the law; any opinion the FISC reached would need to be declassified and released (and no opinion like that exists, to our knowledge). So, while it was already clear to us that Section 215 could never allow the government to collect such information, the Wyden-Daines amendment would have made this crystal clear.

After the Wyden-Daines amendment failed, the Senate passed the underlying bill 80-16, and sent it back to the House once more. Given that the Wyden-Daines amendment only failed by one vote, it’s no surprise that lawmakers on the House side are pushing for a vote on a similar amendment. Now called the Lofgren-Davidson Amendment, House leaders have made a deal to consider the amendment and are working with the sponsors on final text. Both the Lofgren-Davidson amendment and the underlying bill are expected to be on the House floor later this week.

If the amendment and the underlying bill passes the House, the Senate would have to approve the new language before the bill gets sent to the President for his signature.

Congress should feel no pressure to reauthorize any of the provisions. Even without Section 215, the government still has a wide range of surveillance tools at its disposal, and Congress should take the time to ensure that meaningful reforms— reforms that address the torrent of surveillance abuses that have come to light over the past year— are added to the bill. The Lee-Leahy amendment and the Wyden-Daines amendments are commonsense additions. But they do not cure the bill’s underlying shortcomings or fix some of the most egregious problems with FISA. Congress should make additional changes to the legislation to ensure that our national security surveillance laws are not abused and adequately protect civil liberties.

(original post)

Pixelfed: Photo sharing for everyone

I created, changed, moved, and deleted a lot of accounts on fediverse, I’m not going to lie. Some of them were Pixelfed accounts. Since 2018, Pixelfed is bringing photo sharing to people without violating their rights. Pixelfed is software libre and has much better privacy settings than Instagram.

I’ve had quite few Pixelfed accounts before but photo sharing was not my thing but since I’m trying to be more socialized and connected to people, I try to keep this account. I’ve explained about fediverse before, here’s a small note about Pixelfed.

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Update: You may also want to read this too regarding my problem with Fedora.

I’ve been a user of Fedora for a long time but I recently noticed a statement on Fedora download page:

By downloading Fedora software, you acknowledge that you understand all of the following: Fedora software and technical information may be subject to the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (the “EAR”) and other U.S. and foreign laws and may not be exported, re-exported or transferred (a) to any country listed in Country Group E:1 in Supplement No. 1 to part 740 of the EAR (currently, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan & Syria); (b) to any prohibited destination or to any end user who has been prohibited from participating in U.S. export transactions by any federal agency of the U.S. government; or (c) for use in connection with the design, development or production of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, or rocket systems, space launch vehicles, or sounding rockets, or unmanned air vehicle systems. You may not download Fedora software or technical information if you are located in one of these countries or otherwise subject to these restrictions. You may not provide Fedora software or technical information to individuals or entities located in one of these countries or otherwise subject to these restrictions. You are also responsible for compliance with foreign law requirements applicable to the import, export and use of Fedora software and technical information.

I believe this statement is an obvious violation of freedom of software. They didn’t talk about Fedora trademarks, they have only said that some people who are determined by U.S. government won’t have the right to use Fedora “software”.

This is the end for me and Fedora. I do encourage you to move away from Fedora (if you’re using it) and install an other libre distro. There’s a good list of free (libre) distors on gnu.org/distros/free-distros.html.

I’m very disappointed. Fedora was one of my favorites. I should mention that I continue to use QubesOS.

I’ve been informed that there’s many apps in various app stores to track people during coronavirus pandemic. Right now (May 24), there’s more than 5.3 million cases of coronavirus and near 350 thousand people are dead.

I believe many of them were also tracked, not only by these apps, but by Google and Apple too. Apple and Google are helping governments to track people‘s location status. This tracking technology release is an obvious violation of privacy.

People are convinced that these technologies and tracking is helping them but disadvantages of it is far more than its benefits. While people can be informed of the dangers in various ways that are not violation of privacy, these corporations are collecting personal information, obviously not to help people but for their own benefits.

People should be able to be safe without their basic rights being violated. Privacy is one these basic rights. Nobody should be forced to destroy its privacy. No matter what are the reasons.

One of my problems with services that require invitation or entering your email address in any way is that some of these services filter acceptable domain names. Some of them only accept emails from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo (plus AOL) and that’s a problem for people like me who don’t use these email services for privacy reasons.

I opened an email account on ProtonMail but some of those services didn’t even accept ProtonMail, one of the most famous secure email services. Service providers should stop filtering domain names and email providers.

Free Software, Free Society

“Necessity is the mother of invention” is probably the best way to start a business. If your product is new to people, you need to make a sense of need for it. I believe in that sentence, however, I believe when we say need, we shouldn’t only think about the need for product.

People have different needs. For example, many people like to be famous, many people like to be rich, many people want political power, etc.

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Général Toussaint Louverture

Few days ago, May 20, was the birthday of Général Toussaint Louverture.

Born 20 May 1743, Louverture was a former slave who would lead the Haitian Revolution that would defeat the French and Spanish colonizers and established the first free, Black republic shortly after his death in 1804. Louverture led the anti-slavery uprising in his country into a war for independence, using his political and military genius against colonial forces led by Napoleon, one of the greatest military commanders of all time.

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Windows box from FSF

Often, a proprietary software company’s silence can speak as loudly
as their latest campaign against a computer user’s right to freedom.
This is the case with Microsoft’s developer-centric “Build” event.
While Microsoft announced a few more welcome additions to its free
software output, it missed the opportunity to demonstrate a real
commitment to user freedom by upcycling its recently abandoned Windows
7 operating system under a free software license.

The predictable failure here fits together well with the
corporation’s complex history of mixed messaging on freedom,
which once compared copyleft to “a virus that gobbles up intellectual
property like a Pac-Man,” and yet now would have you believe
that it “loves [free software].” Our Upcycle Windows 7 petition
has given Microsoft the perfect opportunity to take the next step in
its promotion of free software, to show that its “love” was real. We
are disappointed, but not surprised, that they have ignored this call
from us and thousands of potential users.

Although the petition signatures and “special gift” were signed,
sealed, and delivered safely to their Redmond, WA headquarters, the
FSF has not received any response from a Microsoft representative. Of
course, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the operations of even the
largest companies, but as of yet, we haven’t heard anything from
Microsoft suggesting this was the reason for the lack of response.
They certainly seem to have had the resources to put on a 48-hour
video marathon about proprietary software.

We can only take this to mean that it’s “business as usual” as
far as the corporation is concerned, but things don’t have to remain
that way. And while Microsoft has failed to live up to its own words,
we (and all of our petition signers) aren’t just shouting into the
void. 13,635 free software supporters from around the globe signed the
petition, and the initiative saw more than 6,000 newcomers subscribe
to the monthly Free Software Supporter newsletter.

Of course, this small setback is just another bump in the road in our
fight for a world in which people can use their computers to work,
hack, and play in complete freedom. In this vein, we encourage
everyone Microsoft has left in the lurch to give a fully free
operating system a try. Your friends, colleagues, and loved ones
might be surprised by how free software’s elegance and ease-of-use
continues to improve each day, and you might get your first glimpse of
participating in a collaborative digital community: one in
which your contributions, whether they’re in the form of code,
translations, graphic design, or bug reports, can benefit the
experience of users everywhere. And unlike a certain operating system
from Redmond, we can assure you that GNU/Linux isn’t going anywhere
anytime soon. After all, it powers the Internet!

There’s still time for Microsoft to step up and show its respect for
user freedom, and if they do, we’re ready to give them all the
assistance that they need. We’ll continue to welcome the contributions
Microsoft has been making to various free software programs. It’s not
that we don’t appreciate those. Rather, it’s that they still exist in
a context where the company appears to be trying to get the best of
both worlds — proprietary and free — and they just passed up a huge
opportunity to show their commitment by ending the waffling. But if
they still choose not to, we and every other free software activist
can take consolation in the fact that to deny users freedom is to be
on the wrong side of history.

(original post)