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08.22.15

Links 22/8/2015: Chromebook Gains, GNOME 3.18 Clues

Posted in News Roundup at 1:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • John Oliver Exposes the Racket of the Christian Megachurch Industry

    On Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver took on the fraudulent behind-the-scenes (and occasionally, not so behind-the-scenes) practices of America’s mega-televangelist ministries — specifically, those that have exploited people’s faith for monetary gain with the promise that “donations will result in wealth coming back to you.” It’s called “The Prosperity Gospel,” and is built on the idea that every donation a congregant gives its pastor is a “seed” that will one day be harvested. “Wealth is a sign of God’s favor,” after all.

  • Hardware

    • Your Toner Is No Good Here: Region-Coding Ink Cartridges… For The Customers

      Everyone likes buying stuff with a bunch of built-in restrictions, right? The things we “own” often remain the property of the manufacturers, at least in part. That’s the trade-off we never asked for — one pushed on us by everyone from movie studios to makers of high-end cat litter boxes and coffee brewers. DRM prevents backup copies. Proprietary packets brick functions until manufacturer-approved refills are in place.

  • Security

    • LinuxCon: CII Program Will Give Badges to Open Source Projects With Strong Security

      Amid this week’s LinuxCon in Seattle, SecurityWeek reported that the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), which funds open source projects, will give the badge to those that meet a set of standard criteria. This includes an established bug reporting process, an automated test suite, vulnerability response processes and patching processes. A self-assessment will determine whether the project owners merit the badge.

    • Why every website should switch to HTTPS

      HTTPS protects both website owners and users from interference by network operators. It provides three protections: data authentication, integrity, and confidentiality. HTTPS makes sure that the website you loaded was sent by the real owner of that website, that nothing was injected or censored on the website, and that no one else is able to read the contents of the data being transmitted. We are seeing more and more evidence of manipulation of websites to inject things that the website owners and users didn’t intend. Additionally, browsers are starting to deprecate HTTP as non-secure, so in the coming years non-HTTPS websites will start throwing warnings by both Chrome and Firefox.

    • Embargoed firmware updates in LVFS

      The new embargo target allows vendors to test the automatic update functionality using a secret vendor-specific URL set in /etc/fwupd.conf without releasing it to the general public until the hardware has been announced.

    • Security updates for Friday
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Two Candidates Surge in 2016 Polling–but Only Trump, Not Sanders, Fascinates Media

      The two big surprises of the 2016 presidential race so far are Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Two dark horse candidates opposed by party insiders, each began a substantial surge in campaign polls around the beginning of July. In Real Clear Politics‘ average of polls, Sanders has gone from 12.7 percent to 25.0 percent since July 1, while Trump has gone from 6 percent to 22 percent.

      Yet corporate media show a fascination with just one of these characters. Is it the self-described socialist senator from Vermont, who has focused his campaign on combating the US’s rising inequality? Or is it the billionaire real-estate developer who blames America’s economic troubles on foreigners and calls for massive deportations?

    • Louise Mensch takes swipe at Corbyn campaign – and hits herself

      Mensch was unbowed by the criticism and continued to post examples of abuse she said had come from Corbyn supporters. She did not respond to a request for comment.

    • Louise Mensch Roundly Mocked For Twitter Search Faux Pas In Corbyn Row

      Users of the micro-blogging site were quick to point out the mistake, mocking the former MP for her monstrous faux-pas.

      While anti-Semitism is rife on social media, and Mensch and others has raised concerns regarding Corbyn’s alleged links to high-profile anti-Semites, the gaffe itself was widely appreciated.

  • Censorship

    • Indonesia Blocks The Pirate Bay, IsoHunt, Others

      After promising a strong response to piracy for several years, Indonesia has finally taken action against The Pirate Bay. Along with fellow torrent index IsoHunt.to, the site is among almost two dozen others now ordered by the Ministry of Communications to be blocked at the ISP level.

    • Google ordered to remove links to ‘right to be forgotten’ removal stories

      Google has been ordered by the Information Commissioner’s office to remove nine links to current news stories about older reports which themselves were removed from search results under the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling.

      The search engine had previously removed links relating to a 10 year-old criminal offence by an individual after requests made under the right to be forgotten ruling. Removal of those links from Google’s search results for the claimant’s name spurred new news posts detailing the removals, which were then indexed by Google’s search engine.

      Google refused to remove links to these later news posts, which included details of the original criminal offence, despite them forming part of search results for the claimant’s name, arguing that they are an essential part of a recent news story and in the public interest.

    • Google ordered to remove links to stories about Google removing links to stories

      The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has ordered Google to remove links from its search results that point to news stories reporting on earlier removals of links from its search results. The nine further results that must be removed point to Web pages with details about the links relating to a criminal offence that were removed by Google following a request from the individual concerned. The Web pages involved in the latest ICO order repeated details of the original criminal offence, which were then included in the results displayed when searching for the complainant’s name on Google.

    • London ‘Draw Mohamed’ exhibition cancelled due to ‘real possibility people could be killed’

      A planned ‘Draw Mohamed’ exhibition has been cancelled in London after counter-terrorism police warned that people could be killed if it went ahead.

      Organiser Anne Marie Waters, Sharia Watch director and former UKIP candidate, revealed that security services had reason to believe the event might be attacked, with a “very real possibility that people could be hurt or killed – before, during and after”.

      Organisers asked more than 200 galleries to host the exhibition but their requests were almost universally refused, with even the gallery that eventually agreed later pulling out.

    • UK Piracy Police Asked Domain Registrars to Shut Down 317 Sites

      Since its launch two years ago, the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has requested domain name registrars to suspend 317 pirate sites. A lot of requests were denied, but police say they don’t know how many. The numbers were made available in response to a Freedom of Information request by TF, which also reveals more interesting details.

    • Boston Public Broadcaster WGBH Files Bogus DMCA Notice On Public Domain Video Uploaded By Carl Malamud

      It’s amazing the kind of trouble that Carl Malamud ends up in thanks to people not understanding copyright law. The latest is that he was alerted to the fact that YouTube had taken down a video that he had uploaded, due to a copyright claim from WGBH, a public television station in Boston. The video had nothing to do with WGBH at all. It’s called “Energy — The American Experience” and was created by the US Dept. of Energy in 1974 and is quite clearly in the public domain as a government creation (and in case you’re doubting it, the federal government itself lists the video as “cleared for TV.”

    • The biggest threat to comedy? Self-censorship

      ‘A powerful declaration of the primacy of freedom of expression, not always the most fashionable view at a liberal arts festival.’ It’s lines like this that prove we live in strange times. This caught my eye in a review of character comic Sarah Franken’s new Fringe show Who Keeps Making All These People?, a searing satire of the Islamic State, political correctness and the gutlessness of modern Western culture. I wonder if the reviewer recognised the irony.

    • A showgirl’s story of sequins and censorship in Shanghai

      If the strangeness of opening a burlesque club in China had not occurred to Amelia Kallman and Norman Gosney as a Buddhist cleansing ceremony took place in their future venue, it certainly did when they found themselves submitting Frank Sinatra lyrics to be vetted by the local cultural department.

    • China’s official response to emergencies is ‘censorship’

      As Tianjin residents struggle to find answers, China has imposed heavy restrictions on independent media trying to cover the deadly explosions that rocked the port city. DW spoke to China expert Isabel Hilton.

    • How did the Chinese media react to the Tianjin explosions?

      It has now been more than a week since the explosions in Tianjin occurred. Discussions on online social networks such as Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) show Chinese netizens are angry. The incident has been Weibo’s top trending topic for a week, with combined posts gaining more than 3 billion views.

    • FPB unmoved by R2K on ‘censorship’ policy

      The Film and Publication Board (FPB) will not publish public comment on its Draft Online Regulation Policy, which has been heavily criticised as Internet censorship legislation.

      This after the Right2Know Campaign called for records of the FPB’s public hearings and written submissions to do with the controversial draft policy to be made public.

      “We believe the record of public comment will confirm that the majority of South Africans want a free Internet,” says R2K in a statement.

    • Erdogan Enhances Censorship Ahead of Snap Polls

      As predicted, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had absolutely no intention of abiding by the results of the June 7, 2015 when, for the first time in more than 12 years, his Justice and Development lost its majority in parliament. Joining a coalition means compromising with opposition parties rather than continuing his own tyranny of the plurality.

      Hence, Erdoğan has called snap-elections for November 1. Erdoğan is no gambler, however, and he will not trust his fate to the voters determining their party pick on an even playing field.

    • Ongoing censorship blocks Kurdish, critical, data-based media during time of crisis

      A black curtain has been preventing the public from receiving news since certain media outlets’ websites have had all access to their sites from within Turkey blocked since July 25, just as the cease-fire between Turkey and the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) ended and the country enters a war against radical terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

    • Writers slam ‘censorship by bullet’ in Mexico

      Demanding an end to “censorship by the bullet” in Mexico, more than 500 international writers and intellectuals called on President Enrique Peña Nieto to do more to prevent the murder of journalists in a country they say has “no safe haven for the profession”.

    • Censorship by bullet

      It’s hard to know which is worse: the deadly conditions that threaten critical journalists in Mexico or the government’s feeble response to recent deadly attacks. The intolerable situation has produced a letter from 500 global writers and thinkers to Mexico’s president urging him to address his country’s terrible record on protecting news professionals. Among the signers: novelists Salman Rushdie, Junot Diaz, Margaret Atwood and news figures Christiane Amanpour and Tom Brokaw.

    • Europe’s Latest Export to America: Internet Censorship

      American Web users’ access to Internet content may soon be limited, thanks to a recent decision by French regulators. France’s National Commission on Informatics and Liberties (known by its French acronym CNIL) ordered Google to apply the European Union’s bizarre “right-to-be-forgotten” rules on a global basis in a June ruling. The search engine announced at the end of July that it would refuse to comply. If it is nevertheless forced to do so, the result could be unprecedented censorship of Internet content, as well as a dangerous expansion of foreign Web restrictions on Americans.

    • India’s Government Censorship

      Since his election in May 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has trumpeted India’s open society and vibrant democracy when he speaks to foreign heads of state and business leaders. But, at home, his government is seeking to restrict freedom of expression, including recent attempts to limit access to the Internet and the freedom of Indian television networks to report the news.

    • Age ratings enforced for UK-produced music videos on YouTube and Vevo

      Videos made in the UK by artists signed to major labels will be classified before release, in measures meant to protect children from unsuitable online content

    • Profile: Are age ratings on music videos and video games appropriate?
    • Mark Latham, censorship and free speech

      Does Mark Latham’s parting of ways with the Australian Financial Review amount to censorship? Has political correctness gone mad? Are commentators not allowed to be provocative? Should we not tolerate a wide array of views – popular or not? Do ‘frightbat’ feminists on Twitter have too much power?

    • How UC can respond to bigoted speech without censorship

      Second, parents should insist on workable procedures for students to report instances of bigotry (and also for allegations that faculty members are failing in their duty to evaluate student work based on its quality, rather than a divergent political view).

      Third, they should ask the regents to ensure that each campus has a plan so that when a significant instance of bigotry occurs, there are clear and immediate communications from the chancellor, campus police and campus administrators.

      Fourth, parents should ask the regents to stress a core principle without which the university cannot function: that attempts to outlaw or chill speech are more dangerous than hateful speech itself. Unless the speech is illegal, such as threats against a person or a group coupled with a clear call for immediate unlawful action, it must be answered with other speech that argues why what was advocated or articulated was not only wrong, but also bigoted. This, not censorship or “trigger warnings,” will tell the students that people of goodwill are speaking out with and for them.

    • Bloggers need to exercise self-censorship

      Bloggers need to exercise ethical self-censorship, one of the organizers of NeForum for Bloggers 2015, LiveJournal head marketing officer Ivan Kalyuzhny told reporters.

    • UK Orders Google to Censor Links to Articles About “Right to Be Forgotten” Removals

      The “right to be forgotten” has always been a double whammy of a disaster: an awful policy based on terrible ideas. Under the right, implemented in 2014 by the European Court of Justice, private citizens can petition search engines to hide results that pertain to their pasts. As a policy, the right to be forgotten is bad because companies like Google have legitimate free speech interests in presenting their results as they see fit. As an idea, it’s bad because it bars search engines from publishing truthful information about matters of public concern—a troubling precedent which, taken to its logical end, could lead to serious censorship.

    • Google to Remove Links on EU Censorship

      On Thursday, a UK court ordered Google to remove links to some stories about the right to be forgotten.

    • Africa: Stand Up Against Unaccountable Net Censorship

      When ISPs and social media platforms are held legally responsible for all content passing through them, we all lose out.

    • Ecuadoran government imposes censorship of media due to volcano crisis outside Quito
    • Why is Ecuador censoring coverage of volcano’s activity?

      The Ecuadorean authorities have imposed “preventive censorship” on all media coverage of Cotopaxi, a volcano 50 km south of the capital that became active again on 14 August after 73 years of inactivity. The government’s communiqués are now the only permitted source of information on the subject.

    • Campus censorship feeds false fears, stifles learning

      The new language of campus censorship cuts out the middleman and claims that merely hearing wrong, unpleasant or offensive ideas is so dangerous to the mental health of the listener that people need to be protected from the experience.

    • Fighting Back Against Internet Censorship in Australia

      Look at a move back in 2014 with proposed legislation that would give more powers to a government regulatory body to say what they want taken offline – all in the name of ‘protecting children.’

    • Dozens of journalists stop reporting following intimidations and censorship

      The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) backs the protest of journalists working in central Somalia due to increasing pressure, intimidations and censorship by armed religious group.

    • Comedian’s take on University campus censorship
    • The little-known history of secrecy and censorship in wake of atomic bombings

      The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 years ago, is one of the most studied events in modern history. And yet significant aspects of that bombing are still not well known.

      I recently published a social history of US censorship in the aftermath of the bombings, which this piece is based on. The material was drawn from a dozen different manuscript collections in archives around the US.

      I found that military and civilian officials in the US sought to contain information about the effects of radiation from the blasts, which helps explain the persistent gaps in the public’s understanding of radiation from the bombings.

    • Censorship By Remote Control

      The recent show-cause notice by the government to three television channels on Yakub Memon’s hanging, and its temporary ban on 857 porn sites, have rekindled apprehensions about overt and covert censorship, and of the kind of coercive constraints on free and fearless expression that is a fundamental right guaranteed to every Indian.

    • New routing method promotes censorship-free internet

      Computer scientists have developed a novel method for providing concrete proof to internet users that their information did not cross through certain undesired geographic areas.

      The new system, called “Alibi Routing”, offers advantages over existing systems as it is immediately deployable and does not require knowledge of the internet’s routing hardware or policies.

      Recent events such as censorship of internet traffic, suspicious “boomerang routing” where data leaves a region only to come back again, and monitoring of users’ data have alerted the researchers.

    • Western Mainstream Media Censor Green Left Pope Francis’ “Laudato Si’” Message For Urgent Action On Climate Change

      Censorship, lying by omission and lying by commission will doom the planet.

    • Don’t censor anti-Semites, argue with them

      Chiming in with the outraged individual who wrote to the Fringe, Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, said in a statement that Chabloz’s presence should be ‘of grave concern’ to Fringe organisers and urged Scottish premier Nicola Sturgeon to step up and enforce her pledged ‘zero-tolerance’ policy on anti-Semitism.
      Related categories
      Free speech

      But as dodgy, detestable and potentially anti-Semitic as Chabloz may be, the ease with which people are trying to run her out of the festival, and, potentially, out of the country, is a complete disgrace. In a free society, we must all be free to speak, discuss and salute however we like.

    • Who is policing the word police? Github’s retarded move causes user backlash.

      Currently a controversy is brewing over at Github, which can be described as “the facebook of programmers”. That’s one heck of an elevator pitch, and made Github the darling of VC-funders and happy users alike. It’s a web-based Git repository hosting service, where you can upload your projects and if anyone takes a liking to your repo they can fork it and work on it too.

      Git in this context is a free software distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, and every Git working directory is a full-fledged repository with complete history and full version-tracking capabilities. A fork is a copy of a repository. Forking a repository allows you to freely experiment with changes without affecting the original project, and the original project doesn’t affect yours. Just making that clear so that Adria Richards doesn’t come around in case I make any forking-jokes.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Google joins Facebook in trying to prevent IAMAI from taking strong anti-Zero Rating stand

      Google joined hands with Facebook to try and prevent the Internet and Mobile Association of India, which represents some of the largest Internet companies in India, from taking a stand that counters Zero Rating. According to emails exchanged between IAMAI’s Government Relations committee members, of which MediaNama has copies, Vineeta Dixit, a member of Google’s Public Policy and and Government Relations team, strongly pushed for the removal of any mention of Zero Rating from the IAMAI’s submission, as a response to the Department of Telecom’s report on Net Neutrality. Please note that Google hasn’t responded to our queries, despite multiple reminders.

    • Two Important Speeches: The Threats To The Future Of The Internet… And How To Protect An Open Internet

      Last week, I came across two separate speeches that were given recently about the future of the internet — both with very different takes and points, but both that really struck a chord with me. And the two seem to fit together nicely, so I’m combining both of them into one post. The first speech is Jennifer Granick’s recent keynote at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas. You can see the video here or read a modified version of the speech entitled, “The End of the Internet Dream.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Once Again, Megaupload User Asks Court for His Files Back

        Three years ago now, EFF’s client Kyle Goodwin, a sports videographer, asked the court to allow him to retrieve the files he stored in an account on the cloud storage site Megaupload. When the government seized Megaupload’s assets and servers in January 2012, Mr. Goodwin lost access to video files containing months of his professional work. Today, EFF filed a brief on behalf of Mr. Goodwin asking, once again, for the return of the files.

        We originally asked the court for help back in 2012. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia took briefing, and even held a hearing. Unfortunately, since that time not much has happened. The U.S. government has continued pursuing a criminal case and a civil forfeiture case against Megaupload and its owners, but the data stored by millions of Megaupload customers, including material like Mr. Goodwin’s sports videos that had nothing to do with the alleged copyright infringement that Megaupload is accused of, languished in a warehouse on hundreds of servers owned by Carpathia Hosting, Megaupload’s former contractor.

      • Appeals court: Prenda lawyer who drained cash from his law firm must pay up

        A Minnesota court has ordered Paul Hansmeier, one of two lawyers considered the creators of the Prenda Law copyright-trolling scheme, to pay sanctions in a case where he and his colleague John Steele were accused of trying to collude with a defendant.

        An order published Monday by a Minnesota appeals court describes how Hansmeier tried to dodge a $64,000 judicial sanction in the Guava LLC v. Spencer Merkel case by moving money out of his Alpha Law Firm then dissolving it. A district court previously found that Hansmeier’s actions and inconsistent explanations warranted a piercing of the “corporate veil,” and that court ruled that Hansmeier should be held personally responsible for the debt. Now, an appeals court has agreed (PDF) with that conclusion.

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