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08.27.15

Links 27/8/2015: ownCloud Desktop Client 2.0, Red Hat Downgraded

Posted in News Roundup at 8:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google Hopes Open Source Will Give Its Cloud A Path To The Enterprise

    Instead, Google expects that becoming more open — and releasing more open-source software — will create a path for the company to make inroads into the enterprise. “Google has recognized that open is a better way of building,” McLuckie also noted. “We’ve come to admire the ability of the open-source community to drive innovation.”

    He argued that building out in the open not only allows it to build a better product for its customers, but also to enable faster integration cycles. In addition, having an open-source project that involves other companies also allows it to absorb the DNA of these companies into the product.

  • Like open source software, a book is more than its content

    Instead, we chose to partner with Harvard Business Review (HBR) Press. In many ways, HBR does for books what Red Hat does for open source software; it collaborates with creators and adds value to the products of these collaborations. Like any piece of open source software (such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, for example), a book is far more than the content it contains. Like a software application, a book is a project with multiple stakeholders. It involves an agent that works to put the book on publishers’ radars. It involves an editorial team that reviews manuscripts and suggests improvements. And it involves a marketing team that decides how best to develop and target potential audiences.

  • Aligning Democratic Candidates with Open Source Software OSes

    A few days ago, I aligned Republican presidential hopefuls with open source Linux-based operating systems. Now, it’s the Democrats’ turn: If Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders et al. ran Linux, which distribution would they use? Read on for some perspective.

  • INSIGHT: Top 5 reasons why Open Source technology is the answer

    Organisations that can effectively harness people’s innate tendency to make their lives easier will be more likely to successfully develop software and applications that genuinely disrupt, or protect against disruption, as business needs dictate.

  • Software Development Environment Must Be Open, Says Red Hat

    The application development technology of the future must provide a framework for users to develop software quickly and get it to market fast.

    That’s according to Red Hat, who says open source technology is the answer.

    Red Hat says organisations that can effectively harness people’s innate tendency to make their lives easier will be more likely to successfully develop software and applications that genuinely disrupt, or protect against disruption, as business needs dictate.

  • 10 ways open source tech is changing the rules of the game

    In the last few years, open source software platforms such as Android have established themselves as essential catalysts for technology advances.

  • How Open Source Is Improving The Way Businesses Visualize Data

    It was recently reported that the Colorado-based startup SlamData is working on creating an enterprise version of its open source analytics platform. Their solution allows users to see and understand NoSQL data and this will now enable larger businesses to visualize data more effectively. The platform will enable large businesses to visualize semi-structured NoSQL data by adding proprietary security and management features to the main open source platform.

  • FCC Chairman Promises Open-Source Video-Conferencing Platform for ASL-Signing Callers

    FCC Chairman Tim Wheeler addressed the biannual meeting of the Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc. (TDI) Conference in Baltimore on Thursday, with news of interest to anyone who works in assistive technologies.

  • For UNC scientists, open source is the way forward

    But scientists know they can manipulate those kinases to combat the disease. And chemical biologists at the University of North Carolina are leading an open source effort to unlock the secrets of kinase activity—secrets they say could pioneer a new generation of drug discovery.

  • How open source will power tomorrow’s tech unicorns

    With open source technology already powering business like Facebook, Google and Booking.com – and 70% of new apps – will it be the backbone of the next wave of unicorns?

  • A simple, scalable solution for storing and serving build artifacts

    Now we’re making Pinrepo open source on GitHub. There you can find all of the configuration stanzas and instructions to recreate it for yourself. It also includes a pypi release tool to release and maintain pypi packages. Check it out and let us know what you think! And, feel free to contribute back with your customizations and improvements.

  • Stephen Hawking’s Voice Is Now Open Source And Free To Download [Ed: Windows-only, Intel commercial as an ‘article’, exploiting a disabled person as the marketing logo]

    Currently, you’ll need a Windows machine to use ACAT. In the future, though, it would seem like this is exactly the kind of app that should be running on a smartphone, which is already bristling with cameras and sensors.

  • Markup lowdown: 4 markup languages every team should know

    When I ended my Doc Dish article about why you should use a rendered language for documentation, I told you that selecting a language was a matter for another day.

    Well another day has finally arrived.

    There’s no shortage of languages you can use for formatting and publishing your documentation, and your choice of language will depend on your project’s needs. In this article I’ll look at several different language options, ranging from the simplest to the most complex. It’s hardly an exhaustive list, so make the case for your favorite (or most hated) language in the comments.

  • Docs or it didn’t happen

    Many words have been written on community building, engagement, and retention. The discussion around community management is alive and kicking, with articles and blog posts everywhere about how to grow, support, and not mess up open source communities.

  • Events

    • Linux Plumbers Conference 2015

      Linux Plumbers 2015 finished up last Friday. Another great conference. The focus of Plumbers is supposed to be more problem solving/discussion and less talking/lecturing. To really get the most out of Plumbers, you need to be an active participant and asking questions or giving input. Plumbers was co-located with the group of conferences now run by the Linux Foundation. The fist day of Plumbers overlapped with the last day of Linux Con. This day was as bit more lecture focused like a regular conference. Even if Plumbers is typically a discussion conference, the talks I went to were all great.

    • Speakers and Agenda announced for Tizen Developer Conference 2015 Shenzhen

      The Tizen Developer Conference 2015 has been moved this year from San Francisco to Shenzhen, China, from September 17 to 18. This is the annual event that brings together open source and app developers who are interested in contributing to the growth of the Tizen ecosystem worldwide.

    • First Round of systemd.conf 2015 Sponsors

      We are happy to announce the first round of systemd.conf 2015 sponsors!

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla CEO threatens to fire person responsible for anonymous hate speech on Reddit

        An anonymous person complaining about “social justice bullies” at Mozilla will be fired if the person is discovered to be an employee, the company’s CEO said today. Speaking at Mozilla’s weekly public meeting, Mozilla CEO Chris Beard said Reddit user aioyama had “crossed the line” in a series of postings about women at the company, including recently departed community organizer Christie Koehler. In a series of tweets earlier this month, Koehler complained about Mozilla’s lack of diversity in the workplace and its failure to address accessibility issues.

      • SIMD in Rust

        For the last two months, I’ve been interning at Mozilla Research, working on improving the state of SIMD parallelism in Rust: exposing more CPU instructions in the compiler, and an in-progress library that provides a mostly-safe but low-level interface to that core functionality.

      • Rust Gains Greater SIMD Support

        A new SIMD scheme is now available in the latest nightly versions of the Rust programming language.

        Mozilla Research has been working on improving SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) parallelism in Rust that’s simple to use.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

  • Business

  • Funding

    • Eclipse seeks donations for open source development

      The Eclipse Foundation, best known for its Eclipse IDE, is moving into funding its open source projects via donations.

      Previously, all Eclipse development was done by individuals and organizations contributing their time. “Today, we are significantly lowering the barriers for companies and individuals to actively invest in the ongoing development of the Eclipse platform,” Eclipse Executive Director Mike Milinkovich said in a recent blog post.

    • Mirantis Raises Another $100 Million, This Time from Intel
  • BSD

    • Why FreeBSD should not adopt launchd

      I have been keeping an eye on NextBSD for some time, when it was initially just openlaunchd, an effort initially started by R. Tyler as a GSoC student in 2005 to, unsurprisingly, port the launchd system and service manager to FreeBSD. It was stalled for a long time until its revival in late 2013, but again moving very slowly.

      Around November of 2014 at the MeetBSD conference, Jordan Hubbard delivered a talk entitled “FreeBSD: The Next 10 Years,” which outlined a general desire for a more “event-driven” and unified configuration approach to FreeBSD, strongly implying the use of launchd as system bootstrap and service daemon, as well as other parts of the OS X low-level userspace.

    • LLVM 3.7 & Clang 3.7 Are Bringing Exciting Compiler Features, Improvements

      The LLVM 3.7 release is imminent so here’s our usual look at the new features/improvements for this open-source compiler stack. Complete OpenMP 3 support is a big one but there’s also many other big ticket items to find in this major compiler update.

    • LLVM 3.7′s Release Is Imminent

      The release of LLVM 3.7 is imminent.

      Days after preparing the 3.7-RC3 release, Hans Wennborg of Google has announced the release of 3.7-RC3.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Umeå University computer club supports open source

      The Academic Computer Club at the Umeå University in Sweden is a major supporter of open source projects. ACC UMU hosts one of the popular free software mirrors, and is one of the official sponsors of the Debian open source software distribution, maintaining a few of the project’s servers. The club supports two more well-known projects, the Open and Free Technology Community (OFTC) and Freenode. Both projects provide communication facilities that benefit free software communities.s

    • How Scotland can protect itself from GCHQ spying by going open source

      One of the key lies out out in last years referendum was that we couldn’t exist securely without the British Security Services (the ones that brought you extraordinary rendition).

    • Digital Assembly developing list of digital rights for interaction with public agencies

      Citizens and businesses should have to provide basic information only once, eGovernment services should be user-friendly and intuitive, and users should be digitally literate in order to use online (public) services. These are the most important digital rights for citizens and businesses when interacting with public agencies, as identified by panellists and the audience at the workshop ‘Promoting e-society’.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Facebook open-sources Hack code generator

      Hack is Facebook’s spinoff of the PHP language, working with the HHVM virtual machine. The library, meanwhile, generates code that is written into signed files to prevent undesired modifications. “The idea behind writing code that writes code is to raise the level of abstraction and reduce coupling,” Facebook said on its GitHub page for Hack Codegen.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • When everything’s a request for comments

      The Internet’s foundational documents are called “requests for comments” or “RFCs.” Published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the organization whose stated goal is “to make the Internet work better,” RFCs define and explain the operational standards by which our worldwide network of networks functions. In other words, they specify the rules everyone should follow when building and implementing new Internet technologies. Engineers working on the Internet discuss potential RFCs, debate their merits, then post their decisions online for anyone to read.

    • Centimeters and Points are the best [ODF]

      For example, when saving ODF with LibreOffice, the unit that is used for storage depends on the user preferences. This can lead to inconveniences and rounding errors. If I specify a margin of 1.25cm and send it to someone who has the preferences set to use inches, the margin will be stored as 0.4925in. When that number is converted back to centimeters, the value is 1.25095cm which is 1‰ more than the original value.

Leftovers

  • Angry Birds maker Rovio plans deep job cuts as profits fall

    Finland’s Rovio, maker of mobile phone game Angry Birds, forecast its earnings would fall for a third consecutive year and said it planned to slash up to 39 percent of its workforce to try to improve its prospects.

    Rovio has failed to create new hit games since the 2009 launch of Angry Birds, the top paid mobile app of all time, though it has tried to capitalise on its most successful brand by licensing its use on string of consumer products.

  • Google Express Workers Vote ‘Yes’ to Union, as Warehouses Plan to Shut Down

    On Friday afternoon, 151 warehouse and shipping workers for Google Express, the search engine’s delivery service, voted in favor of joining a union. Last month, workers at the Palo Alto, Calif., facility agreed to join Teamsters Local 853, which has unionized shuttle drivers for eBay, Apple, Yahoo and other companies.

  • Science

    • MIT creates file system that will survive unexpected crashes

      IT’S A SITUATION that will be familiar to most computer users. Your computer crashes, and when you manage to get it back up and running the disk has corrupted some data. Probably the bit that was vital and so new that it hadn’t been backed up yet.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • NYT: Not Believing in Climate Change Is Like Believing in Food Shortages

      Is rejecting climate science, though, really like having believed that unchecked population growth would lead to food shortages? Contrary to Leonhardt’s glib “it hasn’t,” food shortages are a serious problem in the world right now. According to the UN World Food Programme, “Some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life…about one in nine people on Earth.” The WFP notes that about 3.1 million children die from malnutrition a year–and that one in four children on Earth are stunted by lack of food. That seems fairly widespread.

      Unlike climate change denial, which if anything has exacerbated the problem of global warming, warnings about overpopulation may have had the intended effect of curbing population growth. China’s draconian one-child policy was directly inspired by the warnings of limits-to-growth advocates like the Club of Rome, along with numerous less coercive family planning initiatives. Partially as a result of these programs, the global population growth rate declined from above 2 percent in the 1960s and early ’70s to close to 1 percent and falling today. Without this reduction in growth, the population would be about 2 billion higher today than its current 7.3 billion.

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Court rules FTC can prosecute companies over lax online security

      The Third Circuit US Court of Appeals in Philadelphia has ruled that the Federal Trade Commission does have the right to prosecute firms who mishandle their customers’ data.

      Between 2008 and 2009, hotel chain Wyndham Worldwide – which runs hotels under the Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Ramada, Super 8, and Travelodge brands – suffered three computer intrusions. The hackers stole the personal information and credit card numbers of over 619,000 customers, causing at least $10.6m in thefts.

    • The Basic Principles of Security (and Why They Matter)

      Yet, despite the frequent complaints about the unrealistic demands of security, today the problem is just as likely to be the insistence on convenience. With the rise of desktop Linux and the popularity of Android, the pressure to be as easy to use as Windows is almost irresistible. As a result, there is no question that the average distribution is less secure than those of a decade ago. That is the price we pay for automounting external devices and giving new users automatic access to printers and scanners — and will continue to pay.

    • GitHub combats DDoS cyberattack

      At the time, the code repository said the cyberattack involved “a wide combination of attack vectors,” as well as new techniques including the hijacking of unsuspecting user traffic to flood GitHub, killing the service.

    • Jails – High value but shitty Virtualization

      Virtualization is nothing new, and depending how fundamentalist you define “virtualized environment” one can point to the earliest of timesharing systems as the origin.

      IBM’s mainframe hardware, the 360 machine series, introduced hardware virtualization, so that it was possible to run several of IBMs different and incompatible operating systems on the same computer at the same time.

      It’s more than a little bit ironic that a platform which have lasted 50 years now, were beset by backwards-compatibility issues almost from the start, and even more so that IBMs patents on this area of technology prevented anybody else from repeating their mistake for that long.

      Everybody else did software virtualization.

    • How to crack Ubuntu encryption and passwords

      During Positive Hack Days V, I made a fast track presentation about eCryptfs and password cracking. The idea came to me after using one feature of Ubuntu which consists in encrypting the home folder directory. This option can be selected during installation or activated later.

    • AT&T Hotspots: Now with Advertising Injection

      While traveling through Dulles Airport last week, I noticed an Internet oddity. The nearby AT&T hotspot was fairly fast—that was a pleasant surprise.

      But the web had sprouted ads. Lots of them, in places they didn’t belong.

    • Advertising malware rates have tripled in the last year, according to report

      Ad networks have been hit with a string of compromises in recent months, and according to a new report, many of the infections are making it through to consumers. A study published today by Cyphort found that instances of malware served by ad networks more than tripled between June 2014 and February 2015, based on monthly samples taken during the period. Dubbed “malvertising,” the attacks typically sneaking malicious ads onto far-reaching ad networks. The networks deliver those malware-seeded ads to popular websites, which pass them along to a portion of the visitors to the site. The attacks typically infect computers by exploiting vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash, typically triggered as soon as an ad is successfully loaded.

    • How security flaws work: the buffer overflow

      The most important central concept is the memory address. Every individual byte of memory has a corresponding numeric address. When the processor loads and stores data from main memory (RAM), it uses the memory address of the location it wants to read and write from. System memory isn’t just used for data; it’s also used for the executable code that makes up our software. This means that every function of a running program also has an address.

    • Lessons learned from cracking 4,000 Ashley Madison passwords

      When hackers released password data for more than 36 million Ashley Madison accounts last week, big-league cracking expert Jeremi Gosney didn’t bother running them through one of his massive computer clusters built for the sole purpose of password cracking. The reason: the passwords were protected by bcrypt, a cryptographic hashing algorithm so strong Gosney estimated it would take years using a highly specialized computer cluster just to check the dump for the top 10,000 most commonly used passwords.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • UN Official Says Human Suffering in Yemen “Almost Incomprehensible”

      With a staggering four in five Yemenis now in need of immediate humanitarian aid, 1.5 million people displaced and a death toll that has surpassed 4,000 in just five months, a United Nations official told the Security Council on August 19 that the scale of human suffering is “almost incomprehensible”.

      Briefing the 15-member body upon his return from the embattled Arab nation on Aug. 19, Under-Secretary-General for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien stressed that the civilian population is bearing the brunt of the conflict and warned that unless warring parties came to the negotiating table there would soon be “nothing left to fight for”.

      An August assessment report by Save the Children-Yemen on the humanitarian situation in the country of 26 million noted that over 21 million people, or 80 percent of the population, require urgent relief in the form of food, fuel, medicines, sanitation and shelter.

    • Media and Nuclear Deal Opponents Continue to Spread Debunked Myth Iran Will Monitor Itself

      There is no dearth of rumors about the Iran nuclear deal. In the latest scare, two allegations have filled the media: the first, that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran made “secret side deals”; the second, that the IAEA, in those negotiations, put the Iranian government in charge of investigating alleged nuclear research at its Parchin military base.

      The latter supposed exposé comes from a now-debunked story by Associated Press (8/19/15). The piece, in its first draft, was full of errors and distortions (Vox, 8/20/15; War on the Rocks, 8/24/15). But its supposed revelations filled the airwaves.

    • The Iran Nuclear Deal: Give Diplomacy a Chance

      A war with Iran would be a catastrophe, yet by opposing diplomacy, hundreds of members of Congress may be blundering into just such a conflict. The Iran nuclear deal, as the complex diplomatic arrangement is popularly called, was agreed upon on July 14 by a consortium of key powerful countries, the European Union and Iran. The goal of the agreement is to limit Iran’s nuclear activities to peaceful purposes, and to block Iran’s ability to construct a nuclear bomb. Despite what its critics say, this agreement is not based on trust. It grants the International Atomic Energy Agency the power to conduct widespread, intrusive inspections to ensure that Iran keeps its many pledges. In return, many, but not all, of the sanctions on Iran, which have been crippling its economy, will be lifted.

      The alternative to diplomacy is to pour gasoline on a region of the world already on fire with intense, complex military conflicts. Iran’s military has more than half a million soldiers, no doubt with many more who could be mobilized if threatened with invasion. Iran shares a vast border to its west with Iraq, and to its east with Afghanistan, two nations with ongoing military and humanitarian disasters that have consumed the U.S. military since 2001, costing trillions of dollars and untold lives.

    • Autoplay Is for a G-Rated World

      Tragedy struck Bedford County, Virginia this morning when two journalists, Alison Parker and Adam Ward, were shot to death on live TV.

      The people viewing the broadcast at home had no choice but to watch the horror unfold, and neither did many social media users. Video of the shooting autoplayed on Twitter, Facebook (despite a content warning feature reportedly implemented in January), and other sites that support autoplay video.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Tourist Unclear On Concept Of Wild Animals Demands Yellowstone Provide Better Bears

      Mashable reports that the following note was left by a guest at Yellowstone and then posted on Reddit by a friend of someone who works at the park. The note was left upon checkout by someone who does not understand how wild bears work (they don’t fuck with you unless you’ve got a pool) but is nonetheless quite polite; it’s refreshing that they were so kind about their disappointment, unlike the woman who threatened to shit herself in anger at Town Hall when Disneyland didn’t have fireworks the last time I went.

    • Environmentalists Blast Obama’s Decision to Let Shell Drill in Arctic

      Apparently the president cares more about Big Oil than the environment, endangered animals, indigenous people — even his own climate legacy.

      [...]

      “This is a disaster,” said Kristin Brown, director of digital strategy at the League of Conservation Voters, in an email. “Shell has an awful safety track record — even the Interior Department says there’s a 75 percent risk of a large oil spill if these leases are developed, and in the unpredictable Arctic Ocean, cleanup would be next-to-impossible.”

    • ​The Nations That Will Be Hardest Hit by Water Shortages by 2040

      Water access is going to be one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. As climate change dries out the already dry areas and makes the wet ones wetter, we’re poised to see some radical civilizational shifts. For one, a number of densely populated areas will come under serious water stress—which analysts fear will lead to strife, thirst, and even violent conflict. With that in mind, the World Resource Institute has assembled a new report projecting which nations are most likely to be hardest hit by water stress in coming decades.

  • Finance

    • Armando Iannucci urges BBC to monetise its programmes overseas and resist ‘prejudiced’ Tory attacks

      “If it was a car industry, our ministers would be out championing it overseas, trying to win contracts, boasting of the British jobs that would bring. And if the BBC were a weapons system, half the Cabinet would be on a plane to Saudi Arabia to tell them how brilliant it was,” he said.

    • Latest Seattle Jobs Numbers Disprove Fox’s Minimum Wage Misinformation

      New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) disproves allegations promoted by Fox News that the 2015 increase in Seattle’s minimum wage has destroyed restaurant jobs.

    • The stock market roller coaster is not being felt by most Americans for one simple reason

      That’s because fewer people are invested in the stock market today than at any time in nearly the last two decades — the product of dogged wage stagnation and a dramatic loss of faith in markets.

    • Prof. Wolff speaks to The Big Picture’s Thom Hartmann about Market Meltdown

      Prof. Wolff talks to The Big Picture’s Thom Hartmann about Monday’s historic lows in the financial markets. Prof. Wolff breaks down China’s economy and if the devaluation of the yuan is the root to this market meltdown. Then Prof. Wolff and Thom take a look at the U.S. economy and review wage growth, inequality, and pensions.

    • The Stock Market Is Not the Economy

      We are seeing the usual hysteria over the sharp drop in the markets in Asia, Europe, and perhaps the US. (Wall Street seems to be rallying as I write.) There are a few items worth noting as we enjoy the panic.

      First and most importantly, the stock market is not the economy. The stock market has fluctuations all the time that have nothing to do with the real economy. The most famous was the 1987 crash, which did not correspond to any real-world bad event that anyone could identify.

    • WSJ Editorial Blames Progressives For Student Debt, Claims Government Loans Send “Deadbeats” To College
    • Fox Exploits Stock Market Turbulence To Push GOP Policies, Major Tax Cuts

      On August 24, major stock markets in the United States opened their trading sessions with significant declines and sustained losses of 3 to 5 percent throughout much of the morning. Fox News used the event to advocate on behalf of numerous failed Republican policy demands, such as major tax cuts for the wealthy and a significant roll back of federal regulations.

    • Sanders Sends Letter to Postmaster General
    • ‘Suicide guidance’ given to benefits staff preparing for desperate calls on welfare reform

      GUIDELINES on how to deal with suicidal benefits claimants have been handed out by the Department for Work and Pensions to Scots workers tasked with rolling out the UK Government’s controversial welfare reforms.

      As part of a six-point plan for dealing with suicidal claimants who have been denied welfare payments, call-centre staff in Glasgow have been told to wave the guidance, printed on a laminated pink card, above their head.

      The guidance is meant to help staff dealing with unsuccessful applicants for Universal Credit who are threatening to self-harm or take their own life.

      A manager is then meant to rush over to listen in to the call and workers – who insist they have had no formal training in the procedure – must “make some assessment on the degree of risk” by asking a series of questions.

      One section of the six-point plan, titled “gather information”, demands that staff allow claimants to talk about their intention to commit suicide.

      The call-centre workers, who earn between £15,000 and £17,000 a year, must “find out specifically what is planned, when it is planned for, and whether the customer has the means-to-hand”, according to the guidance seen by the Sunday Herald.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • The Illusion of Online Privacy

      As the Ashley Madison hack demonstrated, Web companies can’t guarantee privacy.

    • Almost None of the Women in the Ashley Madison Database Ever Used the Site

      When hacker group Impact Team released the Ashley Madison data, they asserted that “thousands” of the women’s profiles were fake. Later, this number got blown up in news stories that asserted “90-95%” of them were fake, though nobody put forth any evidence for such an enormous number. So I downloaded the data and analyzed it to find out how many actual women were using Ashley Madison, and who they were.

    • Here’s what Ashley Madison members have told me

      As someone said to me in one of the comments on my blog, trying to remove your data from the web is “like trying to remove pee from a swimming pool”. I added the DMCA comment in there as well because this has come up many times in the press. There’s a good piece on it in an article that emerged after news of the attack first broke last month (paradoxically, stating that DMCA is the reason the full data hadn’t been leaked), do read Parker Higgins’ comment about the “fraudulent” use of the act in terms of its’ use for removing data breaches. Regardless, a US law will in no way stop the mass distribution of this data, particularly via a decentralised mechanism like torrents.

    • Digital surveillance ‘worse than Orwell’, says new UN privacy chief

      The first UN privacy chief has said the world needs a Geneva convention style law for the internet to safeguard data and combat the threat of massive clandestine digital surveillance.

      Speaking to the Guardian weeks after his appointment as the UN special rapporteur on privacy, Joseph Cannataci described British surveillance oversight as being “a joke”, and said the situation is worse than anything George Orwell could have foreseen.

      He added that he doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter, and said it was regrettable that vast numbers of people sign away their digital rights without thinking about it.

    • Canada’s Police Want Laws That Will Give Them ‘Real Time’ Access to Your Data

      Thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision, Canadian cops need a warrant before they can get subscriber information from telecommunication companies—which is why police are now lobbying for a legal workaround so they can access that same information without court approval.

      In 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that subscriber information such as names and addresses carries with it a reasonable expectation of privacy, and that accessing such information without a warrant constitutes an unlawful search. The ruling has caused “substantial resource and workload challenges for law enforcement,” according to a resolution adopted by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) at its annual convention in August.

    • Vint Cerf Echoes Widespread Concerns About the Internet of Things

      According to a study from HP Security Research, 70 percent of the most widely used Internet of Things devices have notable security vulnerabilities.

    • Facebook promotes Scheeler to managing director

      Facebook has promoted Stephen Scheeler to the role of managing director of its Australia and New Zealand region business.

    • 9 steps to make you completely anonymous online

      The default state of Internet privacy is a travesty. But if you’re willing to work hard, you can experience the next best thing to absolute Internet anonymity

    • Everybody Hates When You Use Your Phone at Dinner

      It’s official: using your cell phone during a family dinner is frowned upon by pretty much everybody.

      A new survey by Pew Research Center found that 88% of respondents believe it’s “generally” not OK to use a cell phone during dinner. An even larger percentage, 94%, say cell phone use is inappropriate during meetings, while 95% say they shouldn’t be used at theaters and 96% say they shouldn’t be used during religious services.

    • Abe Asks U.S. to Investigate Alleged NSA Spying on Japanese Government

      Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday asked U.S. President Barack Obama to investigate alleged spying by the National Security Agency on the Japanese government and companies, Mr. Abe’s spokesman said.

    • Concerns new Tor weakness is being exploited prompt dark market shutdown
    • IBM Tells Companies To Block Tor On Security Grounds

      Tor is increasingly being used to scan organisations for vulnerabilities and to launch attacks

      The Tor anonymisation network is increasingly used as the point of origin of attacks on public- and private-sector organisations, according to a new report by IBM, which recommends administrators ban access to the network.

      The report also noted increases in SQL injection and distributed denial-of-service attacks and of “ransomware” incidents that encrypt data belonging to an individual or an organisation, and then charge a fee to decrypt it.

    • UN privacy rapporteur invokes Orwell and calls for global digital privacy

      UN PRIVACY RAPPORTEUR Joseph Cannataci has suggested – and he is not the first – that citizens need better data protection from technology companies, governments, the internet, heck the 21st century.

      Cannataci, who assumed the position last month after a 29-person battle royal/interview process, has made it clear that, as a representative for privacy, he will represent privacy.

    • Ashley Madison faces proposed class-action lawsuit over half-deleted data

      After a breach of the site’s database, people combing through the information found that Ashley Madison, and other properties owned by parent company Avid Life Media (ALM), had retained quite a bit of information pertaining to users who purchased a “full delete” of their profile for £15, including GPS coordinates, date of birth, gender, ethnicity, weight, height, among other details. Although e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and descriptions written by users who sought “full deletes” were eliminated by the time the hackers accessed the database, the incidental data that Ashley Madison kept on those users could still paint quite a picture. The Register has a table that nicely illustrates what information Ashley Madison kept on “deleted” users and what it actually deleted.

      In addition, when Ars investigated the “full delete” option on Ashley Madison a year ago, we found that there was little difference between a “full delete” and the “hiding your profile” option, except that messages that a user sent to another user would be deleted if exiting users paid the fee.

  • Civil Rights

    • Former head of the Army leads the calls for translators to be given safe haven in Britain

      Generals, decorated war heroes, grieving families and politicians last night urged soldiers and members of the public to sign a petition to save Afghan interpreters from the Taliban.

      General Sir Richard Dannatt, former head of the Army, led the calls as he pledged to sign a petition asking David Cameron to give all translators a safe haven in Britain.

      He praised the Daily Mail for its Betrayal of the Brave series of articles highlighting the plight of frontline Afghans who risked their lives for UK troops in the battlefield.

      He said: ‘We have a moral obligation to look after these people and if they feel once we have left that they cannot assume their normal lives because of fear having worked for us, then it is our obligation to have them in this country.

    • Saudi Arabia executed 175 people in past year, says Amnesty International

      On average, one person every two days was put to death in kingdom, says new report, with figures for 2015 already ahead of those for whole of last year [...] on average one person every two days [...] Saudi courts allow for people to be executed for adultery, apostasy and witchcraft.

    • Instead of Releasing Dashcam, Cops Hire PR Firm to Help Cover Up Murder of Unarmed Teen

      A former police captain recently signed an affidavit affirming that several formal reprimands are missing from the personnel file of the officer who killed a 19-year-old during a marijuana bust. Although the police chief claims that no disciplinary actions have been taken against the officer, his former supervisor lists multiple performance issues resulting from the officer’s negligence. In an attempt to improve public relations, city officials have hired a PR firm at the expense of taxpayers’ dollars instead of releasing the dash cam videos of the shooting.

    • Woman ‘too drunk to fly’ after downing hundred-pound bottle of cognac airport security officials attempted to confiscate

      A woman reportedly downed a £120 bottle of cognac after airport security officials attempted to confiscate the liquid – only to be denied boarding as she was “too drunk to fly”.

      The woman, who is being identified only by her surname of Zhao, was allegedly seen rolling about on the floor of Beijing Capitol International Airport, according to the Beijing Times.

    • Feds’ cyberbullying reverses cops’ convictions for shooting unarmed people

      In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, five former New Orleans police officers were sentenced to six to 65 years in prison in connection to on-the-job deadly shootings of unarmed civilians. But recently, these five officers had their convictions set aside by a federal appeals court. Why? Federal prosecutors’ anonymous online comments posted underneath local news accounts of the officers’ ongoing 2011 trial “contributed to the mob mentality potentially inherent in instantaneous, unbridled, passionate online discourse,” the court said. In light of that, the appellate court found a fair trial wasn’t possible.

      The New Orleans-based 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week (PDF) that the prosecutors’ behavior, unearthed by the same forensic expert who helped identify the Unabomber, created an “air of bullying” that federal prosecutors were “sworn to respect.”

    • Virginia Police Force BBC Reporters To Delete Camera Footage Of Police Pursuit Of Shooter

      …apparently two BBC reporters who were covering the police pursuit of the apparent shooter (who then shot himself) were forced by police to delete their own camera footage. This is illegal. I don’t know how many times it needs to be repeated. Even the DOJ has somewhat forcefully reminded police that they have no right to stop anyone from photographing or videotaping things, so long as they’re not interfering with an investigation.

    • Is using your mobile phone in public ruder than you think?

      Some 23% of Americans think it’s not OK to use your phone while walking down the street, but that’s nothing compared to how they feel about the cinema or church

    • Katrina: The Logic of Genocide

      The very upscale New Yorker magazine marked the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with a celebration of the benefits that supposedly accrued to the 100,000 mostly Black and poor people forced into exile from New Orleans. “Starting Over,” by magazine staff writer Malcolm Gladwell, a biracial Canadian who made his bones promoting the hyper-aggressive “broken windows” police strategy, concludes that involuntary displacement is a good thing for people who are stuck in “bad” neighborhoods or bad cities where poverty is high and chances for upward mobility are low. Since every heavily Black city in the country fits that description, the logic is that Black people should be dispersed to the four winds and prevented from forming concentrated populations.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Google Lobbied Against Real Net Neutrality In India, Just Like It Did In The States

      While Google is still seen as (and proclaims to be) a net neutrality advocate, evidence continues to mount that this is simply no longer the case. Back in 2010 you might recall that Google helped co-write the FCC’s original, flimsy net neutrality rules with the help of folks like AT&T and Verizon — ensuring ample loopholes and making sure the rules didn’t cover wireless at all. When the FCC moved to finally enact notably-tougher neutrality rules for wired and wireless networks earlier this year, Google was publicly mute but privately active in making sure the FCC didn’t seriously address the problems with usage caps and zero-rated (cap exempt) content.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Man tries to copyright a chicken sandwich, learns that that’s completely ridiculous

        In 1987, Norberto Colón Lorenzana had what we can all agree is a pretty unremarkable idea. Colón, who had just started working at a fast food joint called Church’s Chicken in Puerto Rico, suggested to his employer that they try adding a basic fried chicken sandwich to a menu that was mostly chicken-by-the-piece.

      • UK Police ‘Hijack’ Ads on 251 Pirate Sites

        Data obtained through a Freedom of Information request reveals that City of London Police have targeted the ad revenue of 251 suspected pirate sites, replacing their banners with anti-piracy messaging. The police won’t reveal the domain names as that would raise their profiles, but the most prominent pirate sites are believed to be included.

      • Megaupload Wants U.S. Govt to Buy and Store its Servers

        Megaupload’s legal team is asking the court to preserve essential evidence hosted on its seized servers. The data is at risk of being destroyed and Kim Dotcom’s lawyers argue that the authorities should buy the servers and transfer them to a safe facility where they can be preserved at the Government’s cost.

      • DIY Tractor Repair Runs Afoul Of Copyright Law

        John Deere would not talk on tape, but in an emailed statement the company said ownership does not include the right to modify computer code embedded in that equipment.

      • Carl Malamud Asks YouTube To Institute Three Strikes Policy For Those Who Abuse Takedowns

        We write frequently about those who abuse the DMCA either directly for the sake of censorship or, more commonly, because some are in such a rush to take down anything and everything that they don’t bother (or care) to check to see if what they’re taking down is actually infringing. The latter, while common, could potentially expose those issuing the takedowns to serious legal liability, though the courts are still figuring out to what extent.

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