Thursday, March 29, 2012

Red Hat: First Open-Source Company With $1 Billion In Revenue | Muktware

Red Hat has always been the 'ideal' open source company. The company has now broken all records and become the first open source company to register a whooping $1.3 billion in revenues.

Total revenue for the fourth quarter ended February 29, 2012 was $297.0 million, an increase of 21% from the year ago quarter. Subscription revenue for the quarter was $255.2 million, up 22% year-over-year. For the full fiscal year 2012, total revenue was $1.13 billion, an increase of 25% over the prior year, and subscription revenue was $965.6 million, up 25% year-over-year.

Jim Whitehurst, President and Chief Executive Officer of Red Hat. “Red Hat is the first pure-play, open source company, and one of only a select few software companies, to have achieved the billion dollar revenue milestone. The open source technologies which we provide are being selected by more customers every day as they re-architect the infrastructure of their data centers for greater efficiency, agility and cloud enablement.”

Community respect
Red Hat is one of the primary forces behind the free and open source operating system Fedora. The company is the top contributor to the development of Linux kernel and also leads the innovation of new technologies in the open source world.

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Schneier on Security: Harms of Post-9/11 Airline Security

Schneier on Security

A blog covering security and security technology.

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March 29, 2012

Harms of Post-9/11 Airline Security

As I posted previously, I have been debating former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley on the Economist website. I didn't bother reposting my opening statement and rebuttal, because -- even though I thought I did a really good job with them -- they were largely things I've said before. In my closing statement, I talked about specific harms post-9/11 airport security has caused. This is mostly new, so here it is, British spelling and punctuation and all.

In my previous two statements, I made two basic arguments about post-9/11 airport security. One, we are not doing the right things: the focus on airports at the expense of the broader threat is not making us safer. And two, the things we are doing are wrong: the specific security measures put in place since 9/11 do not work. Kip Hawley doesn’t argue with the specifics of my criticisms, but instead provides anecdotes and asks us to trust that airport security—and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in particular—knows what it’s doing.

He wants us to trust that a 400-ml bottle of liquid is dangerous, but transferring it to four 100-ml bottles magically makes it safe. He wants us to trust that the butter knives given to first-class passengers are nevertheless too dangerous to be taken through a security checkpoint. He wants us to trust the no-fly list: 21,000 people so dangerous they’re not allowed to fly, yet so innocent they can’t be arrested. He wants us to trust that the deployment of expensive full-body scanners has nothing to do with the fact that the former secretary of homeland security, Michael Chertoff, lobbies for one of the companies that makes them. He wants us to trust that there’s a reason to confiscate a cupcake (Las Vegas), a 3-inch plastic toy gun (London Gatwick), a purse with an embroidered gun on it (Norfolk, VA), a T-shirt with a picture of a gun on it (London Heathrow) and a plastic lightsaber that’s really a flashlight with a long cone on top (Dallas/Fort Worth).

At this point, we don’t trust America’s TSA, Britain’s Department for Transport, or airport security in general. We don’t believe they’re acting in the best interests of passengers. We suspect their actions are the result of politicians and government appointees making decisions based on their concerns about the security of their own careers if they don’t act tough on terror, and capitulating to public demands that “something must be done”.

In this final statement, I promised to discuss the broader societal harms of post-9/11 airport security. This loss of trust—in both airport security and counterterrorism policies in general—is the first harm. Trust is fundamental to society. There is an enormous amount written about this; high-trust societies are simply happier and more prosperous than low-trust societies. Trust is essential for both free markets and democracy. This is why open-government laws are so important; trust requires government transparency. The secret policies implemented by airport security harm society because of their very secrecy.

The humiliation, the dehumanisation and the privacy violations are also harms. That Mr Hawley dismisses these as mere “costs in convenience” demonstrates how out-of-touch the TSA is from the people it claims to be protecting. Additionally, there’s actual physical harm: the radiation from full-body scanners still not publicly tested for safety; and the mental harm suffered by both abuse survivors and children: the things screeners tell them as they touch their bodies are uncomfortably similar to what child molesters say.

In 2004, the average extra waiting time due to TSA procedures was 19.5 minutes per person. That’s a total economic loss—in –America—of $10 billion per year, more than the TSA’s entire budget. The increased automobile deaths due to people deciding to drive instead of fly is 500 per year. Both of these numbers are for America only, and by themselves demonstrate that post-9/11 airport security has done more harm than good.

The current TSA measures create an even greater harm: loss of liberty. Airports are effectively rights-free zones. Security officers have enormous power over you as a passenger. You have limited rights to refuse a search. Your possessions can be confiscated. You cannot make jokes, or wear clothing, that airport security does not approve of. You cannot travel anonymously. (Remember when we would mock Soviet-style “show me your papers” societies? That we’ve become inured to the very practice is a harm.) And if you’re on a certain secret list, you cannot fly, and you enter a Kafkaesque world where you cannot face your accuser, protest your innocence, clear your name, or even get confirmation from the government that someone, somewhere, has judged you guilty. These police powers would be illegal anywhere but in an airport, and we are all harmed—individually and collectively—by their existence.

In his first statement, Mr Hawley related a quote predicting “blood running in the aisles” if small scissors and tools were allowed on planes. That was said by Corey Caldwell, an Association of Flight Attendants spokesman, in 2005. It was not the statement of someone who is thinking rationally about airport security; it was the voice of irrational fear.

Increased fear is the final harm, and its effects are both emotional and physical. By sowing mistrust, by stripping us of our privacy—and in many cases our dignity—by taking away our rights, by subjecting us to arbitrary and irrational rules, and by constantly reminding us that this is the only thing between us and death by the hands of terrorists, the TSA and its ilk are sowing fear. And by doing so, they are playing directly into the terrorists’ hands.

The goal of terrorism is not to crash planes, or even to kill people; the goal of terrorism is to cause terror. Liquid bombs, PETN, planes as missiles: these are all tactics designed to cause terror by killing innocents. But terrorists can only do so much. They cannot take away our freedoms. They cannot reduce our liberties. They cannot, by themselves, cause that much terror. It’s our reaction to terrorism that determines whether or not their actions are ultimately successful. That we allow governments to do these things to us—to effectively do the terrorists’ job for them—is the greatest harm of all.

Return airport security checkpoints to pre-9/11 levels. Get rid of everything that isn’t needed to protect against random amateur terrorists and won’t work against professional al-Qaeda plots. Take the savings thus earned and invest them in investigation, intelligence, and emergency response: security outside the airport, security that does not require us to play guessing games about plots. Recognise that 100% safety is impossible, and also that terrorism is not an “existential threat” to our way of life. Respond to terrorism not with fear but with indomitability. Refuse to be terrorized.

Posted on March 29, 2012 at 6:53 AM32 Comments

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

No-Such-Agency, Wired, and the Resulting Circus.
Wired made waves with their cover story this week outlining the NSA's huge ongoing projects.  One in Utah and the other in Tennessee. The author James Bamford has mad a career out of following and writing about the NSA and is probably the outstanding civilian expert on the subject.  In his article he references several sources as former employees and even traveled to the site of the Utah data center project outing the NSA's ambitious plans.  Plans that appear to include eavesdropping on every single bit of communications worldwide - including yours.  I highly recommend reading the entire article.  It gets more and more juicy as you go.

None of it surprised me one bit.

Not even this video:

I fully expect the head of the NSA to deny any domestic wiretapping as that is in keeping with the letter of the law.  What I find interesting is the very carefully worded question from Representative Johnson to General Alexander (at about a minute into the video) and subsequent answer.  The crux being that the sender and recipient are both in the US.  Currently it is technically illegal for the NSA to wiretap within the US without a warrant from a FISA court.  Unless they "think" the other party is on foreign soil.  Thanks to a presidential (Bush) order that is still in effect (Obama).

That the NSA has and does wiretap US citizens is a well known fact.  I suggest the Wikipedia article for background and sources on this.  

The one thing that I find fishy in the whole debacle is that General Alexander did not seem to be aware of James Bamford or even that Representative Johnson misquoted his name as "Bashford".  Really?  The head of our largest "intelligence" agency isn't familiar with a man that has written at least 4 books about his organization dating to the early 80's...  Really?  Not buying any of the NSA's bullshit here at my undisclosed location...


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

$1B of TSA Nude Body Scanners Made Worthless By Blog — How Anyone Can Get Anything Past The Scanners « TSA Out of Our Pants!

This video is here to demonstrate that the TSA’s insistence that the nude body scanner program is effective and necessary is nothing but a fraud, just like their claims that the program is safe (radiation what?) and non-invasive (nude pictures who?). The scanners are now effectively worthless, as anyone can beat them with virtually no effort. The TSA has been provided this video in advance of it being made public to give them an opportunity to turn off the scanners and revert to the metal detectors. I personally believe they now have no choice but to turn them off.
Please share this video with your family, friends, and most importantly, elected officials in federal government. Make sure they understand that your vote is contingent on them fixing the abuse that 200,000 passengers face from the TSA on a daily basis.

I’m publishing this video because I want the world to know how much danger the American Transportation Security Administration is putting all us all in with their haste to deploy the expensive, invasive nude body scanner program. When the machines came out, we were told that the invasion on our privacy, doses of radiation, and trashing of our Constitution were necessary because the old metal detectors weren’t good enough. That “non-metallic explosives” were a threat, even though no one has boarded a plane in the US with any type of explosive in nearly 40 years. But while America was testing these devices, Rafi Sela, who ran security for Ben Gurion airport in Israel, which is known for being one of the most secure airports in the world, was quoted saying he could “overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to take down a Boeing 747,” and Ben Gurion therefore refused to buy scanners. The US ignored this warning, and Mr. Sela never publicly explained his statement. But it stuck with me.
As a scientist, engineer, and frequent traveler, as well as the first person to sue the TSA when they rolled out the scanners as primary in Nov. 2010, I studied and learned about both kinds of scanners currently in use by the TSA. Here are several images produced by TSA nude body scanners. You’ll see that the search victim is drawn with light colors and placed on a black background in both images. In these samples, the individuals are concealing metallic objects that you can see as a black shape on their light figure. Again that’s light figure, black background, and BLACK threat items. Yes that’s right, if you have a metallic object on your side, it will be the same color as the background and therefore completely invisible to both visual and automated inspection.
It can’t possibly be that easy to beat the TSA’s billion dollar fleet of nude body scanners, right? The TSA can’t be that stupid, can they?
Unfortunately, they can, and they are. To put it to the test, I bought a sewing kit from the dollar store, broke out my 8th grade home ec skills, and sewed a pocket directly on the side of a shirt. Then I took a random metallic object, in this case a heavy metal carrying case that would easily alarm any of the “old” metal detectors, and walked through a backscatter x-ray at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. On video, of course. While I’m not about to win any videography awards for my hidden camera footage, you can watch as I walk through the security line with the metal object in my new side pocket. My camera gets placed on the conveyer belt and goes through its own x-ray, and when it comes out, I’m through, and the object never left my pocket.
Maybe a fluke? Ok, let’s try again at Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport through one of the TSA’s newest machines: a millimeter wave scanner with automated threat detection built-in. With the metallic object in my side pocket, I enter the security line, my device goes through its own x-ray, I pass through, and exit with the object without any complaints from the TSA.
While I carried the metal case empty, by one with mal-intent, it could easily have been filled with razor blades, explosives, or one of Charlie Sheen’s infamous 7 gram rocks of cocaine. With a bigger pocket, perhaps sewn on the inside of the shirt, even a firearm could get through. It’s important to note that any metal object of any size can use this technique. …and I don’t urge you to try to bring contraband through security, as the nude body scanners often have false positives: so while the metal on your side might get through, a button on your shirt or a sweaty armpit might “look suspicious” and earn you a pat down anyway.
Now, I’m sure the TSA will accuse me of aiding the terrorists by releasing this video, but it’s beyond belief that the terrorists haven’t already figured this out and are already plotting to use this against us. It’s also beyond belief that the TSA did not already know everything I just told you, and arrogantly decided to disregard our safety: anything to force Americans to give up our liberty to the federal government and our tax dollars to companies that are in bed with that government. The nude body scanner program is nothing but a giant fraud, which should come as no surprise after the Fast & Furious scandal that sent thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels and cost a Customs and Border Patrol agent his life. THIS is a disgrace. So let’s fix this problem — now — before the terrorists take this opportunity to hurt us: the TSA must immediately end the nude body scanner program, and return to the tried-and-true metal detectors that actually work, and work without invading our privacy, as well as implement better solutions for non-metallic explosives, such as bomb-sniffing dogs and trace detection machines.
The TSA is worse than ineffective: they are an epic fail placing us all in danger. Beyond the scanners, Demand of your legislators and presidential candidates that they get rid of this $8B a year waste known as the TSA and privatize airport security. Ask for their commitment to our rights in exchange for your vote. And no matter which party is in the White House or holds on to Capital Hill, the issue of ending TSA abuse is of interest to all Americans; it’s NOT a partisan issue. We must all stand together and demand an end to the organization that molests our families while placing us in danger by directly ignoring blatant security flaws.
Thank you.