07.17.15

Links 17/7/2015: Linux Mint 17.2 RC, Google Joins OpenStack

Posted in News Roundup at 4:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Facebook and Twitter on the rise as sources of news in the US

    Pew Research Center study finds that 63% of each social network’s American users are getting their news from these services

  • Why Epic’s market dominance could stifle EHR and health IT innovation

    “As a country we get nervous when any company in any sector has a market share in the range of 40% because we know that companies will use their market dominance to limit consumer options and hold back technological advancement,” wrote Paul Levy, former CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, on his “Not Running a Hospital” blog.

  • Security

    • And finally, Adobe’s afterthought

      Adobe must think Linux users are a bunch of retards.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Once-theoretical crypto attack against HTTPS now verges on practicality

      Almost a third of the world’s encrypted Web connections can be cracked using an exploit that’s growing increasingly practical, computer scientists warned Wednesday. They said the attack technique on a cryptographic cipher known as RC4 can also be used to break into wireless networks protected by the Wi-Fi Protected Access Temporal Key Integrity Protocol.

    • Estonia to host first international cyber summer school

      The first international cyber security summer school will be held in Estonia next week.

      IT experts from the US, the UK and Estonia will investigate information security, and discuss, among other topics, how to keep data safe, how to safely share it and anonymize it.

      Speakers will come from Oxford University, Columbia University, UC Berkeley, the University of Tartu and the Tallinn-based NATO Cyber Defense Center of Excellence.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • We’ve created an open source database of every company flying drones in the US

      Last week we published a story about the first 500 companies given permission by the FAA to fly drones for commercial purposes over the US. The number of exemptions granted by the FAA has been growing quickly. Today we added all the data from the month of June, increasing the grand total by nearly 50 percent to 711. We also added this data set to the newly created collection of open-source projects from Vox Media, meaning you can dig into these numbers and use them to create stories, charts, or apps of your own.

    • Sadegh Zibakalam: Anti-Americanism at a ‘dead end’ in Iran

      Sadegh Zibakalam is a professor of political science at the University of Tehran, and one of the most prominent public intellectuals and political analysts in the country. He is the author of a number of bestsellers in Persian, including How Did We Become What We Are, Hashemi without Polish, Tradition and Modernity, and An Introduction to the Islamic Revolution. In a telephone interview, he discusses how the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers will change the dynamics in the country – at least in the long run.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Government makes ‘outrageous’ U-turn over fracking in precious wildlife sites

      The government has made a U-turn on its promise to exclude fracking from Britain’s most important nature sites, arguing that the shale gas industry would be held back if it was excluded from them.

      Campaigners accused ministers of putting wildlife at risk and reneging on their pledge earlier this year to ban fracking in sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs), which cover about 8% of England and similar proportions of Wales and Scotland.

    • For Tony Abbott, it’s full steam ahead on coal, ‘the foundation of prosperity’

      If, as the environment movement contends, fossil fuels are the new tobacco, then Australia has cast itself as a sort of swaggering Marlboro man, puffing away contentedly as the rest of the world looks on quizzically.

    • Climate change seen as greatest threat by global population

      Climate change is what the world’s population perceives as the top global threat, according to research conducted by the Pew Research Center, with countries in Latin America and Africa particularly concerned about the issue.

  • Finance

    • The Minimum Wage–and Other Left Ideas Washington Post Might Find ‘Lame’

      There are a few points worth noting here. First, “the left” has many ideas for helping workers other than just the minimum wage. For example, many on the left have pushed for a full-employment policy, which would mean having a Federal Reserve Board policy that allows the unemployment rate to continue to fall until there is clear evidence of inflation, rather than preemptively raising interest rates to slow growth.

      It would also mean having trade policies designed to reduce the trade deficit (i.e., a lower-valued dollar), which would provide a strong boost to jobs. It would also mean spending on infrastructure and education, which would also help to create jobs and have long-term growth benefits.

      The left also favors policies that allow workers who want to be represented by unions to organize. This has a well-known impact on wages, especially for less educated workers.

    • Blame the Banks

      One of the first lessons I was taught on Wall Street was, “Know who the fool is.” That was the gist of it. The more detailed description, yelled at me repeatedly was, “Know who the fucking idiot with the money is and cram as much toxic shit down their throat as they can take. But be nice to them first.”

      When I joined in Salomon Brothers in ‘93, Japanese customers (mostly smaller banks and large industrial companies) were considered the fool. My first five years were spent constructing complex financial products, ones with huge profit margins for us—“toxic waste” in Wall Street lingo—to sell to them. By the turn of the century many of those customers had collapsed, partly from the toxic waste we sold them, partly from all the other crazy things they were buying.

      The launch of the common European currency, the euro, ushered in a period of European financial confidence, and we on Wall Street started to take advantage of another willing fool: European banks. More precisely northern European banks.

      From ‘02 until the financial crisis in ‘08, Wall Street shoved as much toxic waste down those banks’ throats as they could handle. It wasn’t hard. Like the Japanese customers before them, the European banks were hell bent on indiscriminately buying assets from all over the globe.

      They were so willing, and had such an appetite, that Wall Street helped hedge funds construct specially engineered products to sell to them, made of the most broken and risky subprime mortgages. These products—the banks called them “monstrosities” and later the media dubbed them as “rigged to fail”—only would have been created if they had reckless buyers, and the European banks were often those buyers.

      When a bank buys an asset it is lending money; the seller is the borrower.In buying various assets European banks were doing what banks are supposed to do: lending. But by doing so without caution they were doing exactly what banks are not supposed to do: lending recklessly.

    • European Court of Justice Official Proposes Bitcoin VAT Exemption

      Bitcoin operations should be exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT), the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice said in an opinion document published today.

    • European Commission opens antitrust investigations against Qualcomm—again

      The European Commission has opened two formal antitrust investigations against the US company Qualcomm concerning possible “abusive behaviour” in the field of baseband chipsets used in consumer electronic devices. The first investigation will examine whether the company abused its dominant market position by offering financial incentives to customers on the condition that they buy baseband chipsets exclusively, or almost exclusively, from Qualcomm. The second will explore whether it used “predatory pricing”—that is, charged prices below costs in order to drive competitors from the market.

  • Censorship

    • Shocking: Software Used To Monitor UK Students Against Radicalization Found To Be Exploitable

      Well, that didn’t take long. It was only a month or so ago that we brought to you the delightful news that software for monitoring the UK youth in classrooms was being recommended to comply with the UK’s insane policy that conscripts teachers to watch out for scary future-Muslim-terrorists. The idea was that the software, from American company Impero Software, would report back to teachers should the children under their watchful gaze search around for terms deemed to be terrorist related. The teachers were then supposed to involve school admins, law enforcement, or parents as deemed necessary. Because, see, possible-might-be-future-terrorists sprouting up from our own children is a very scary, albeit not-yet-existing threat to something something.

    • Security flaw found in school internet monitoring software

      Firm releases temporary fix to Impero Education Pro after researcher says fault could leave pupils’ information exposed to hackers

    • Roya Nobakht: British woman imprisoned in Iran over anti-government Facebook comments is ‘being physically tortured’, say campaigners

      A British woman who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2013 for posting derogatory comments about the country’s government on Facebook has been subjected to “physical and psychological torture” in jail, according to campaigners working for her release.

      Roya Nobakht, 48, was arrested while visiting family in Iran and accused of “insulting Islamic sanctities” through comments posted on a Facebook group. She was put on trial alongside seven other people without legal representation and sentenced to 20 years in jail.

      She has since been given a retrial at which she was allowed to speak in her defence for the first time. She was later told that her sentence had been reduced to seven years, but she was given no legal papers to confirm this and her family remain deeply concerned about her welfare.

    • Researcher Receives Copyright Threat After Exposing Security Hole

      A researcher who exposed security flaws in tools used to monitor the Internet usage of UK students has been hit with a copyright complaint. ‘Slipstream’ discovered flaws in Impero Education Pro which could reveal the personal details of thousands of pupils but in response Impero has sent in its legal team.

    • Canadian Court Ponders If A Disagreement On Twitter Constitutes Criminal Harassment

      ree speech debates can often get tiresome online (for fairly obvious reasons), but it continues to astound me how people seem to think that there should be some sort of obvious exception to free speech rights for speech they don’t like — and that there won’t be any unintended or dangerous consequences from simply outlawing the speech that they dislike. To me, that belief is dangerous, though obviously people should be allowed to make their arguments for it. Up in Canada — where they don’t have a First Amendment like we do here in the states — there’s a fascinating and very troubling case happening that shows the dangerous path that you go down when you start saying things like “offensive speech” should be illegal. The determination of “offensive” is incredibly subjective.

      The case here appears to be over a Twitter spat between a few individuals, who clearly don’t much like each other. That said, the spat appears to be not dissimilar from the many, many Twitter spats that happen each and every day. I’m pretty sure I’ve had Twitter debates as bad, if not worse, than what happened here, and the idea that such a debate could lead to possible criminal charges and jail time is fundamentally crazy.

    • Underage pornography measures backed by new poll [Ed: A Christian Action Research and Education ‘poll’ on decency/nudity is like liberal ‘poll’ on torture]

      A survey of more than 2,000 adults conducted earlier this month for Christian Action Research and Education (CARE), the social policy charity, found overwhelming support for strict regulation.

  • Privacy

    • UK Confuses Gullible Reporter Into Believing It Changed Its Position On Encryption

      We’ve talked a few times about how UK Prime Minister David Cameron has made it abundantly clear that he wants to backdoor encryption to make sure law enforcement and intelligence agencies can read private communications. Back in January, he made it clear that the UK “must not” allow there to be any “means of communication [that] isn’t possible to read [by the government].” Just a few weeks ago, he once again made it clear that there should be no “safe space” where anyone can communicate without the government being able to spy on you (that there already is the ability for two people to converse in person without being spied upon is left ignored).

    • Public bodies are releasing confidential personal data by accident, activists say

      Public bodies are unintentionally releasing confidential personal information on a regular basis, research reveals.

      Freedom of information website WhatDoTheyKnow.com, which automates FOI requests and publishes responses, says it has recorded 154 accidental data leaks made by councils, government departments, police, the NHS and other public bodies since 2009. This amounts to confidential data being wrongly released on average once every fortnight.

    • Cryptology research potentially a criminal activity

      Australia’s obsession with national security continues to have unintended consequences, with the academic exchange of information about cryptography now in danger.

      Internet freedom group Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) has supported a call by the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR) for amendments to Australia’s Defence Trade Controls Act to include exemptions for scientific research and for education.

    • High court rules data retention and surveillance legislation unlawful

      A judicial challenge by the Labour MP Tom Watson and the Conservative MP David Davis has overturned the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (Dripa) 2014. The judges ruled that data retention powers in the legislation were inconsistent with EU laws.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net Neutrality: Improvements Are Still Possible

      European Parliament’s ITRE commission endorses the compromise adopted during the trialogue on 30 June regarding the regulation on telecommunications. Despite the improvements brought to the text compared to the Council’s version, the regulation still contains loopholes and inaccuracies that could violate people’s and SME’s rights.

    • Breaking up BT should only be the end of the line

      Sky and TalkTalk want Ofcom to force BT to split off the infrastructure division Openreach but the case for such radical action is weak and it might do nothing

  • DRM

    • JPEG Looking To Add DRM To Images… Supposedly To Protect Images From Gov’t Surveillance

      You may recall the mess a few years ago when, under pressure from the movie studios, along with Netflix and Microsoft, the W3C agreed to add DRM to HTML5. This resulted in lots of debates and reasonable anger from people who found that the idea of building DRM into HTML5 went against the idea of an open internet. And, now it appears that the organization behind the JPEG standard for images is heading down a similar path.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Sinead O’Connor declares ‘music is dead’ after Rolling Stone puts Kim Kardashian on cover

        Music has officially died, according to Sinead O’Connor.

        The outspoken musician has called for a boycott on Rolling Stone magazine after it placed Kim Kardashian on its front cover.

        O’Connor wrote on her Facebook page: “What is this c*** doing on the cover of Rolling Stone? Music has officially died. Who knew it would be Rolling Stone that murdered it?

      • Kim Dotcom’s Seized Data Could Soon Be in U.S. Hands

        Kim Dotcom’s battle to stop more of his seized data being sent to the U.S. has suffered a setback. Three Court of Appeal judges today set aside earlier High Court rulings meaning that the Attorney-General can now issue new directions to police enabling the devices to be shipped to the United States.

      • Reda Report: Watch out for last minute amendments!

        On Thursday 9 July, the European Parliament will vote on its own-initiative report on copyright reform, proposed by MEP Julia Reda. The report has been widely picked apart due to pressure from industry lobbies and right-holders, but is set to go forward without any major change. La Quadrature du Net calls on MEPs to be on their guard concerning certain points that could be raised during the vote, especially the right to hyperlink, the right of panorama, or public domain.

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