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10.07.15

Links 8/10/2015: KDE Plasma 5.4.2 Released, Linux Drama Queens

Posted in News Roundup at 6:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • 5 Popular Safety Measures That Don’t Make You Any Safer

    Thus the no fly list was established. It is estimated to have around 1 million names but nobody knows for sure. Keeping the list secret is a matter of national security, so the only way to find out if you’re on it is to be detained in the airport. Or in the air. For instance, in 2005 a 747 flight from Amsterdam to Mexico was turned back before it could reach its destination. The reason? Two of the plane’s passengers were on the no fly list and the flight crossed over US airspace. Well, better safe than sorry, right?

  • Stephen King’s practical advice for tech writers

    Even if you don’t enjoy writing and have no intentions of becoming a professional tech writer, chances are you’ll have to draft reports, mailing list updates, or technical articles at some point in your career. With a few practical tips in mind—along with solid writing advice from Stephen King—you can improve your writing before you start writing. And, with proper planning, you can easily repurpose your content for multiple audiences.

  • Avoiding tap water has become a way of life in Flint

    Outside a taco shop on Flint’s Fifth Street, Estella Walker balances a gallon jug of water on top of the stroller that holds her 3-month-old son, DeWayne. She’s mixing bottles of formula for DeWayne and his 19-month-old sister Vanessa.

    Nadene Strickland sits outside her home on the city’s north side, watching her grandsons play basketball. She still drinks the water. She can’t afford bottled.

    Shopping at the local farmers market with five of her seven children, Tena Fransioli says she hasn’t used tap water in a long time.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • LinuxCon 2015 Report: Shrinking the Security Holes in OSS

      Dublin native James Joyce famously wrote that “mistakes are the portals of discovery.” LinuxCon 2015 keynote speaker Leigh Honeywell grabbed hold of the same theme here in Dublin, reminding hundreds of open source professionals that “you’re going to make mistakes; you’re going to introduce security bugs.” The goal, said Honeywell, who works as a senior security engineer at Slack Technologies, shouldn’t be the all-out elimination of these mistakes. Instead, security engineers should strive to make different mistakes next time around.

    • The perils of free digital certificates

      The current certificate is not cross-signed, so loading the page over HTTPS will give visitors an untrusted warning. The warning goes away once the ISRG root is added to the trust store. ISRG expects the certificate to be cross-signed by IdenTrusts’s root in about a month, at which point the certificates will work nearly anywhere. The project also submitted initial applications to the root programs for Mozilla, Google, Microsoft, and Apple so that Firefox, Chrome, Edge, and Safari would recognize Let’s Encrypt certificates.

    • Get Simplified Web Encrytion For Your Website With Let’s Encrypt
    • InvizBox Go Offers Open Source Online Privacy And Security (video)

      Team InvizBox have unveiled a new pocket sized device which has been created to provide an open source solution to online privacy and security.

      The small InvizBox box is capable of offering users a broad range of privacy options, allowing secure connectivity to the Internet from both desktop and mobile devices.

    • New programmer pow-wow for coders paranoid about Android

      DevSecCon is a newly formed, non-profit conference for DevOps and SecOps practitioners, run by practitioners. By creating a neutral platform, it will exchange and create new ideas on how to leverage the best of both worlds and adopt a new mind-set of inclusiveness and collaboration.

    • Cisco disrupts $30 million browser plug-in hacking operation
    • ​Cisco: notorious hackers using Linux cloak earn $30m a year

      Cisco notes that Linux servers were being managed remotely via SSH using root, adding that they were likely compromised systems in Europe and Asia.

    • Linux.Wifatch: The Wireless Router Malware that Increases IoT Security
    • Vigilante Malware
    • Creators of the Benevolent Linux.Wifatch Malware Reveal Themselves

      The Linux.Wifatch malware, also dubbed as the “vigilante malware” has been going around the Internet, infecting IoT devices, cleaning out malware infections, and boosting the devices’ security.

    • Linux.Wifatch Is Protecting Unpatched Routers, Devices

      Today’s topics include how vigilante malware is protecting unpatched routers, HP launches its Open-Source Network OS, Twitter locks in Jack Dorsey as its permanent CEO, and Cisco is driving its investments in network chip startup Aquantia.

      Countless numbers of routers and Internet-connected devices around the world are not properly updated, leaving the devices, their owners and the Internet at large at risk. A new code infection, however, dubbed Linux.Wifatch, is taking unpatched routers and devices a different route, protecting them, rather than exploiting them.

    • Microsoft OWA falls victim to password-pinching APT attack

      SECURITY RESEARCHERS FROM Cybereason have sounded a klaxon over a problem with the Microsoft Outlook Web Application (OWA) that could let attackers swoop in and tag and bag data and documents through the use of APT techniques.

      Cybereason discovered the bug when a customer with some 19,000 endpoints suspected that it was the victim of infection.

    • New Outlook mailserver attack steals massive number of passwords

      Backdoor in Outlook Web Application operates inside target’s firewall.

    • Vint Cerf: The Headline I Fear Is ’100,000 Fridges Hack Bank of America’

      When the ILOVEYOU worm struck on May 4, 2000, it thrust the reality of computer vulnerabilities into the public consciousness in a very big way.

      Sure, computer worms had spread before, but some estimates pegged this particular worm as causing billions of dollars in damage. Entire government departments were crippled. The nature of its spread was unprecedented in scale.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US Denies WikiLeaks Claims of Plot To Topple Bolivian President

      Bolivia says it is launching a thorough investigation into revelations made public by a WikiLeaks report.

      The U.S. has refuted reports that it planned to topple the government of Bolivia.

      The controversy started after a report surfaced on WikiLeaks that the U.S. government had plotted an assassination attempt against President Evo Morales in 2008.

      A representative described the WikiLeaks accusations as “absolutely false and absurd.”

    • NYT Continues to Obscure Responsibility in US’s Bombing of Hospital

      The New York Times followed up its euphemistic and equivocal coverage (FAIR Blog, 10/5/15) of the US bombing of the Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, with an article (10/6/15) that continued to downplay the US’s responsibility for the deaths of 12 hospital staffers and 10 patients.

    • Down the Memory Hole: NYT Erases CIA’s Efforts to Overthrow Syria’s Government

      FAIR has noted before how America’s well-documented clandestine activities in Syria have been routinely ignored when the corporate media discuss the Obama administration’s “hands-off” approach to the four-and-a-half-year-long conflict. This past week, two pieces—one in the New York Times detailing the “finger pointing” over Obama’s “failed” Syria policy, and a Vox “explainer” of the Syrian civil war—did one better: They didn’t just omit the fact that the CIA has been arming, training and funding rebels since 2012, they heavily implied they had never done so.

      First, let’s establish what we do know. Based on multiple reports over the past three-and-a-half years, we know that the Central Intelligence Agency set up a secret program of arming, funding and training anti-Assad forces. This has been reported by major outlets, including the New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel and, most recently, the Washington Post, which—partly thanks to the Snowden revelations—detailed a program that trained approximately 10,000 rebel fighters at a cost of $1 billion a year, or roughly 1/15th of the CIA’s official annual budget.

    • ‘Military Intervention in the Middle East Started This Crisis in the First Place’ – CounterSpin interview with Raed Jarrar on the refugee crisis

      Janine Jackson: A recent CNN report said that the worsening Syrian refugee crisis highlights the differences among countries that welcome what they called “desperate migrants” and those that don’t; but if US audiences think that the crisis, some 11 million people now displaced, reflects only on the action or inaction of countries “over there,” they’re misunderstanding the situation. What more do we need to know about this crisis, its roots and possible ways forward? Raed Jarrar is government relations manager at the American Friends Service Committee. He joins us now by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Raed Jarrar.

    • 9/11 and the Rise of Neoconservative Foreign Policy

      9/11 and the Rise of Neoconservative Foreign Policy. For this 14th anniversary 9/11 special program, co-hosts Mickey Huff and Peter Phillips speak with Media Roots journalist and filmmaker Robbie Martin about his new film “A Very Heavy Agenda.” The film looks in depth at the Kagan family and the rise of neoconservative foreign policy prior to and since the events of 9/11. Tune in for a detailed discussion about the development of the US policy driving American Empire.

  • Finance

    • TPP Negotiations Conclude: What Next for the Trade Deal Without a Public Text?

      The Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations concluded early this morning in Atlanta with the 12 countries reaching agreement on the remaining outstanding issues. The U.S. quickly posted a summary of the TPP and the Canadian government has followed with its own package on the deal. At a just-concluded ministerial press conference, the ministers noted that this is one step in a longer process. The text itself must still be finalized and then each country will have its own rules before signing onto it. In the U.S., there is a review period with the full text, so this will be a 2016 issue. In Canada, new treaties must be tabled for review in the House of Commons, so there will be a Parliamentary review.

    • 12 countries strike Pacific Rim trade accord

      Trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific region have reached a deal on the Pacific trade pact that is intended to cut trade barriers and establish common standards for 12 countries, This is the largest trade pact in 20 years and has been a long-term goal of the Obama administration.

    • Users Have Been Betrayed in the Final TPP Deal—Help Us Tell Washington How You Feel

      Trade negotiators from the U.S. and its 11 Pacific Rim partners announced their agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) today, concluding the final round of closed negotiations in Atlanta and marking the culmination of seven years of secrecy. Throughout all that time, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has acted as a de facto representative of the Hollywood big media lobbies in pushing other countries to adopt the most punitive aspects of U.S. copyright policies—such as our over-the-top civil and criminal penalties—while at best giving lip service to pro-user aspects such as fair use.

    • ‘Massive’ Media Hype for TPP

      It is amazing how the elite media can be dragged along by their noses into accepting that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) can have a big impact on trade and growth. If I had a dollar for every time the deal was described as “massive,” or that we were told what share of world trade will be covered by the TPP, I would be richer than Bill Gates.

    • A Solution To Bitcoin’s Governance Problem

      A key aspect of Bitcoin’s value proposition is that it’s an open source protocol independent of any particular corporation or government.

      Similar to other open source initiatives, the software that runs the Bitcoin network is managed and improved upon by a group of volunteer developers.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • State Court Says University Can’t Punish Student For Off-Campus Tweets

      The Appeals Court of Kansas has upheld a lower court’s decision finding it beyond the reach of a university to expel a student for off-campus behavior.

      Beneath this logical conclusion are some not-so-pretty facts. The origin of the lawsuit is a “bad breakup” that resulted in criminal charges for the former boyfriend, Navid Yeasin.

    • Motherboard’s Version Of ‘Valuing Discussion’ Involves No Longer Letting You Comment

      Add Motherboard to the quickly growing list of news websites killing their comment section because they’re so breathlessly in love with reader interaction and visitor conversation. Like The Verge, Recode, Popular Science, The Daily Beast and numerous other websites before it, Motherboard has decided that there’s simply no value whatsoever to having a healthy, on-site local community.

    • Why are students now cheering about the massacre at Charlie Hebdo?

      I witnessed something genuinely disturbing at Trinity College Dublin last night: trendy, middle-class, liberal students cheering and whooping a man who had just given the closest thing I have yet heard to a justification for the massacre at Charlie Hebdo.

      It was as part of a debate on the right to offend. I was on the side of people having the right to say whatever the hell they want, no matter whose panties it bunches. The man on the other side who implied that Charlie Hebdo got what it deserved, and that the right to offend is a poisonous, dangerous notion, was one Asghar Bukhari of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee.

    • Scholarship, Security, and ‘Spillage’ on Campus

      On September 24 I gave a keynote presentation at Purdue University about the NSA, Edward Snowden, and national security journalism in the age of surveillance. It was part of the excellent Dawn or Doom colloquium, which I greatly enjoyed. The organizers live-streamed my talk and promised to provide me with a permalink to share.

      After unexplained delays, I received a terse email from the university last week. Upon advice of counsel, it said, Purdue “will not be able to publish your particular video” and will not be sending me a copy. The conference hosts, once warm and hospitable, stopped replying to my emails and telephone calls. I don’t hold it against them. Very likely they are under lockdown by spokesmen and lawyers.

  • Privacy

    • Landmark EU ruling says US privacy protections are inadequate

      Europe’s highest court today ruled that Facebook cannot send personal information on European users to data centers in the US, invalidating a 15-year trans-Atlantic data transfer agreement. In a decision that could have far-reaching implications for many US tech companies, the European Court of Justice said that the EU’s Safe Harbor agreement with the US is “invalid” because the country does not guarantee adequate privacy protections. The agreement allows technology companies to transfer data from Europe to the US, provided that certain privacy requirements are met. According to The Wall Street Journal, today’s ruling could impact around 4,500 companies that currently rely on the laws to transfer data to the US.

    • EU-US Safe Harbour For Personal Data Eliminated

      The European Court of Justice (CJEU) handed down a decision declaring EU-US safe harbour for personal data invalid this morning. It has far-reaching implications for cloud services in particular and may presage increased opportunity for open source solutions from non-US suppliers. Looks like a real gift to companies like Kolab.

    • Interview with Kirsten Johnson, Director of “The Above”

      Kirsten Johnson talks with Eric Hynes about her new film, which documents a military surveillance blimp over Kabul and its impact on the Afghans living beneath it.

    • Adblock Plus to appoint whitelist watchdog

      The company behind the internet’s most popular advert-blocking plug-in has pledged to open up its controversial “whitelist” to outside scrutiny.

    • Data Transfer Pact Between U.S. and Europe Is Ruled Invalid
    • Verizon’s Sneaky Zombie Cookies Now Being Used Across The Entire AOL Ad Empire

      Poor Verizon. Telco executives for years have sat in their board rooms bored by the billions to be made on telecom and transit, jealously eyeing Facebook and Google ad revenue, and desperately dreaming of being seen as more than just a dull old phone company. That’s why the telecom giant recently paid $4.4 billion to acquire AOL, and is now throwing tens of millions at a new Internet video service aimed squarely at Millennials (hey kids, why get Internet video right from the source or a disruptive content company when you can get it from the phone company?).

    • Facebook can be blocked from passing data to US after treaty ruled invalid

      Facebook, Google and thousands of other US companies can be barred from transferring private information about European citizens across the Atlantic after Europe’s highest court struck down a 15-year-old data sharing treaty.

      The European Court of Justice has declared that the “Safe Harbour” agreement, which gives more than 4,400 US businesses free reign to send data about Europeans to American servers, is invalid.

    • Ireland, Facebook’s European base, pushed to act on ‘safe harbour’ ruling

      Ireland has said it plans to investigate the transfer of data on Facebook users in Europe to the United States after an EU court invalidated the “safe harbour” provisions under which it took place.

      It follows a request by Austrian citizen Max Schrems to the Irish data protection commissioner to investigate if there was adequate protection of his data transferred to the US by Facebook, which has its European headquarters in Dublin.

    • EU ruling means Facebook and Google can’t send data to the US

      If you live in Europe, your online life changed this morning. The European Union’s highest court, the EU Court of Justice, has invalidated the legal agreement by which personal data can be moved from the EU to the US for processing.

      The ruling against the 15-year-old law, known as Safe Harbour, threatens the business models of more than 3000 companies that use it to ship data to the US, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook.

    • No Safe Harbor: How NSA Spying Undermined U.S. Tech and Europeans’ Privacy
    • Microsoft sites expose visitors’ profile info in plain text

      If you think using secure HTTP would be enough to protect your privacy when checking webmail, think again. When users connect to their Microsoft user account page, Outlook.com, or OneDrive.com even when using HTTPS, the connection leaks a unique identifier that can be used to retrieve their name and profile photo in plaintext.

      A unique identifier called a CID is exposed because it’s sent as part of a Domain Name Service lookup for the address of the storage server containing profile data and as part of the initiation of an encrypted connection. As a result, it could be used to track users when they connect to services from both computers and mobile devices, possibly even identifying users as their requests leave the Tor anonymizing network.

    • EFF joins Nameless Coalition and demands that Facebook kills its real names policy

      Facebook has come under heavy criticism for its real names (or ‘authentic identities’ as they are known to the social network) policy. Over the last year, all manner of rights groups and advocates have tried to convince Facebook to allow users to drop their real name in favor of a pseudonym if they want.

      Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation is part of the 74-member strong Nameless Coalition and has written to Facebook demanding a rethink on the ground of safety, privacy, and equality. This is far from being the first time Facebook has been called on to allow the use of ‘fake names’, and the latest letter is signed by LGBT groups, freedom advocates, privacy supporters, and feminist organizations.

    • Thousands of “Spies” Are Watching Trackerless Torrents

      BitTorrent is a very efficient way to share large files, but not a very private one. It’s commonly known that anti-piracy outfits monitor users through public trackers. However, new research reveals that BitTorrent’s DHT is also full of “spies” who actively harvest IP-addresses.

      [...]

      Through DHT, BitTorrent users share IP-addresses with other peers. Thus far, little was known about the volume of monitoring through DHT, but research from Peersm’s Aymeric Vitte shows that it’s rampant.

      Through various experiments Vitte consistently ran into hundreds of thousands of IP-addresses that show clear signs of spying behavior.

      The spies are not hard to find and many monitor pretty much all torrents hashes they can find. Blocking them is not straightforward though, as they frequently rotate IP-addresses and pollute swarms.

    • Open Rights Group welcomes CJEU Safe Harbor ruling

      Open Rights Group welcomes today’s decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that the Safe Harbor agreement is invalid.

    • Why the CJEU ruling on #SafeHarbor is a landmark victory for privacy rights

      In 2013, Austrian law student, Max Schrems brought a case against Facebook in Ireland, where the company has its European headquarters. He argued that revelations by NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, showed that the NSA were accessing data held by companies like Facebook. As US law did not offer enough protection against this surveillance, his privacy was being violated.

      The Irish Data Protection Commissioner rejected Schrems’ case because the Safe Harbor agreement governed the transfer of data. The case was then referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

      [...]

      The ruling places greater obligations on data protection authorities – such as the UK’s Information Commissioner – as it says that they must ensure that fundamental rights are respected in data transfer arrangements to the US by private companies. It also limits the ability of the Commission to claim everything is OK and persuade European regulators to look away.

    • Safe harbor: abusive data collection and mass surveillance repealed by the European Court of Justice!

      By a decision published this morning, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the highest European jurisdiction, repealed the Safe Harbor agreement. This agreement in effect since 2000, allows data transfers between Europe and the United States under different versions, authorised the processing of European citizens’ data by US companies, with fewer guarantees than those existing in Europe. Max Schrems, an Austrian citizen, has put Facebook on trial since the monitoring by the NSA of his data hosted by Facebook had an impact on his freedom and privacy. The CJEU today confirmed his viewpoint by invalidating the Safe Harbor and held that the European Commission abused its power by approving it. The CJEU also affirmed that a local data protection authority may dissent a European agreement if guarantees granted to citizens were modified.

  • Civil Rights

    • Valencia Woman Files Suit Alleging She Was Punched By Police In Front Of Her Kids

      A Valencia woman has sued the city of Carlsbad and several of its officers over allegations that she was pinned to the ground and punched by police in 2013.

      Cindy Hahn said the incident on July 31 – a day she calls the worst one of her life – was caught on cellphone video.

    • Google drops ‘Don’t be evil’ mantra as it becomes Alphabet

      EVIL-DOING HAS HAD A BOOST. Google is no longer opposing it in its official company code of conduct for new and improved big brother company Alphabet, where employees will be expected to ‘do the right thing’.

    • Second Saudi Juvenile Faces Beheading As Cameron Tries To Justify “Squalid” Deal

      According to the campaign group Reprieve, “Dawoud al-Marhoon was 17 when he was arrested without a warrant by Saudi security forces in May 2012, at the height of protests in the country’s Eastern Province.”

      The campaign group claims that al-Marhoon signed a “confession”, which was used to convict him, after he was tortured. In a press release the group said: “He has been held in solitary confinement, and has been barred from speaking to his lawyer.

    • David Cameron attacks Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘terrorist-sympathising, Britain-hating ideology’ – live [Ed: opposition compared to terrorism]
    • Leon Brittan vs Julian Assange

      Indeed, the BBC has decided that, given the accusations against Assange are so risible, it would be wrong for any detail at all of the accusations to be given out. Therefore the BBC has never reported the fact that the allegation they describe as “rape” is that, during the act of consensual sex, Assange allegedly tore a condom with his fingers whilst wearing it (of which I doubt the physical possibility). The second sexual molestation accusation is that again consensual sex took place, but after they fell asleep in each others arms, Assange awoke and initiated a repeat of the sex act without requesting permission again.

      Despite the fact that Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen have given press conferences in Sweden promoting their allegations, the BBC has made no attempt to interview them. The BBC has not reported that, the day after the condom splitting “rape”, Anna Ardin hosted a crayfish party for Assange and tweeted her friends from it that she was with the coolest man in the world. The BBC has not reported that Anna Ardin had invited Assange to share her flat and her bed. The BBC has not reported that Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen only made accusations after the two of them got together and cooked up the story. The BBC has not reported that Stockholm’s chief prosecutor dismissed it as no case to answer, and that Ardin then took it, as Swedish law allows, to another prosecutor, Marianne Ny who has a campaigning feminist agenda.

      The BBC has not reported any of that because it would be quite wrong to doubt the word of victims of sexual abuse. It would be wrong to put them under pressure, or look sceptically at the evidence for their stories, both direct and circumstantial. It would be quite wrong to prejudice possible legal proceedings.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Hey, Remember How Net Neutrality Was Supposed To Destroy The Internet?

      Before and after the FCC imposed new net neutrality rules, you’ll recall there was no limit of hand-wringing from major ISPs and net neutrality opponents about how these “draconian regulations from a bygone era” would utterly decimate the Internet. We were told investment would freeze, innovation would dry up like dehydrated jerky, and in no time at all net neutrality would have us all collectively crying over our busted, congested, tubes.

      And, of course, shockingly, absolutely none of that is happening. Because what the ISPs feared about net neutrality rules wasn’t that it would senselessly hurt their ability to invest, but that it would harm their ability to take aggressive and punitive advantage of the lack of competition in last mile broadband networks. Obviously ISPs can’t just come out and admit that, so what we get instead is oodles of nonsense, including bogus claims that net neutrality violates ISPs’ First Amendment rights.

    • Facebook Will Beam the Internet to Africa Using this Satellite [iophk: "zero-rating"]

      Africa’s current state of Internet access is stark: the lowest levels of broadband connectivity, according to the United Nation’s State of Broadband report, are mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the UN, Internet availability reaches less than 2% of the populations in Guinea, Somalia, Burundi and Eritrea.

  • DRM

    • FCC clarifies third-party router firmware is allowed — but with restrictions

      A few weeks ago, we covered news that the FCC was considering rules that could ban the use of third-party router firmware. The FCC has issued new draft rules that would prevent customers from making changes to certain radio settings that would allow for operation outside of certain parameters. Typically these restrictions are designed to prevent multiple devices in the same geographical area from overlapping and conflicting with each other.

      The FCC has now revealed more details on these new policies, which could theoretically be read to prevent the installation of all third-party router firmware. The FCC’s initial order specifies, for example, that programs like DD-WRT should not be allowed, which is part of why people have been concerned about new restrictions in the first place. According to the FCC, manufacturers don’t need to lock out third-party firmware — they just need to prevent the third party firmware from changing settings the FCC doesn’t allow consumers to modify.

    • The Stagnation Of eBooks Due To Closed Platforms And DRM

      Craig Mod has a fascinating article for Aeon, talking about the unfortunate stagnation in digital books. He spent years reading books almost exclusively in ebook form, but has gradually moved back to physical books, and the article is a long and detailed exploration into the limits of ebooks today — nearly all of which are not due to actual limitations of the medium, but deliberate choices by the platform providers (mainly Amazon, obviously) to create closed, limited, DRM-laden platforms for ebooks.

    • Sorry, Unix fans: OS X El Capitan kills root

      If you haven’t heard, Apple has locked out root from various file system paths and core functions in Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan. The new sheriff here is System Integrity Protection (SIP), which reduces root privileges in an attempt to increase security.

      The gist is that no user — not even root — can write to /usr, /bin, /System, and /sbin or debug protected processes. Apple has also removed the ability to use unsigned kernel extensions through boot-time flags. It’s important to note that SIP can be disabled, through the recovery partition, but this will typically be done only for development and testing purposes.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Megaupload prosecutor wraps up arguments to extradite Kim Dotcom to the US

        For two weeks, Kim Dotcom and three other former Megaupload staffers accused of criminal copyright infringement were bombarded by accusations from New Zealand prosecutors.

        To hear prosecutors tell it, Dotcom is the Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman of illegal file sharing. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges that the defendants operated Megaupload as a criminal enterprise designed to profit from the illegal swapping of movies, music and software by users. A hearing is underway to determine whether New Zealand will extradite Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk, and Finn Batato to the US. Much is at stake for the four, who may eventually face lengthy prison sentences.

      • Megaupload Accuses U.S. of Unfair Tactics, Seeks Stay

        After the United States were given several days to state their case against Kim Dotcom and his former business associates, this morning lawyers for the Megaupload four stated why their clients should not be extradited to the United States. The U.S. has used unfair tactics to gain an advantage so the hearing should be brought to an end, the Court heard.

      • Google Must Expose eBook Pirate, Court Rules

        Google has to hand over the personal details of a user who published pirated eBooks online, a Dutch court has ruled. The information was requested by anti-piracy group BREIN, working on behalf of a local book publishers’ organization.

      • Happy Birthday And The Problem With The Copyright Office’s ‘Orphan Works’ Plan

        A few weeks ago, we wrote about the big ruling by Judge George King in a district court in California that Warner/Chappell does not hold a valid copyright in the song “Happy Birthday.” The press ran with the story, with nearly all of the coverage falsely stating that the judge had declared Happy Birthday to be in the public domain. As we noted in our post, however, that was not the case. While the plaintiffs had urged just such a finding, Judge King noted that there were issues related to this that a jury would need to answer, and he would not go that far. Instead, he merely stated that Warner did not hold a valid copyright. Many people assume that this is good enough. The likelihood of some third party magically showing up after all of these years and not just claiming the copyright, but having enough evidence to prove it seems very slim. Glenn Fleishman has done a nice job writing up a detailed explanation of this copyright mess for Fast Company, in which he notes the “uncertainty is maddening.”

      • Bat-tastic – Batmobile Protected by Copyright in the US

        Amongst the very old school and traditionalist judgments here in the UK, it is always refreshing to read ones that step outside of that dusty judicial demeanor, and often our friends across the pond in the US show us that even judges remember their youth with fondness.

        [...]

        In applying the test judge Ikuta quickly saw that, as the Batmobile has appeared in many renditions in a variety of forms, it has conceptual and physical qualities. The vehicle has also maintained a sufficient amount of distinct features over the years, even with minor (or more major) difference in some iterations, along with its specific characteristics and features in equipment and technology, making it sufficiently delineated to be recognizable as the same vehicle. Finally, judge Ikuta saw that the vehicle was especially distinctive, containing unique elements of expression through its status as a key part of Batman’s crime-fighting repertoire, along with its very distinctive name. The Batmobile therefore was deemed to be protectable under copyright.

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    Links for the day



  7. JUVE Creates English Site, Promotes Unified Patent Court (UPC)

    The generally good press outlet has taken a turn for the worse; it looks like it's doing more lobbying than reporting nowadays



  8. The Indian Ministry of Commerce Tries to Bend Patent Law in Favour of Foreign Monopolies

    There's an attempt to tilt patent law against the interests of India; but vigilant few are observing and reporting it, even in English



  9. The EFF Must Return That 'Internship' Money to Google or It Would Disgrace the Patent Reform Movement (by Association)

    Whether real or perceived, the EFF’s alleged bias is at stake now that Google money — not just money from a billionaire (Cuban) — lands on its lap; it can, by extension or association, serve to discredit patent reformers



  10. EPO Defying Patent Restrictions/Limits From the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Countries It Claims to Represent

    The departure from the EPC (and from the rule of law) at the EPO still means that patents are being granted on things that, as per the constitutions, should never have been patentable



  11. The UPC is Dead. But Bristows is Now Fully Engaged in Necrophilia.

    In an effort to float a dead project the deceiving folks from Team UPC pretend that everything is ready to go (commence) because they've managed to find some gowns and robes



  12. Links 19/1/2019: Wikipedia Cofounder Moves to GNU/Linux, Wine 4.0 RC7 Released, Godot 3.1 Beta 2, NomadBSD 1.2 RC1

    Links for the day



  13. Links 18/1/2019: Mesa 18.3.2, Rust 1.32.0

    Links for the day



  14. Links 17/1/2019: ZFS Debate Returns, AWS Pains Free Software

    Links for the day



  15. US Patent Lawyers Will Need to Change Profession or End up Becoming Abundantly Redundant, Unemployed

    In the age of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) and 35 U.S.C. § 101 it’s too risky to sue with dodgy patents; moreover, the Federal Circuit‘s growing adoption of Alice means that no recent cases have given hope to patent maximalists and litigation frequency has fallen again (at double-digit rates)



  16. Links 16/1/2019: Deepin 15.9 Released and Mozilla Fenix

    Links for the day



  17. Brexit Has Failed, But So Has the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    Even though all signs indicate that the Unified Patent Court (UPC) will never become a reality spin is to be expected from Team UPC, still looking to profit from more litigation and expanded scope



  18. IBM, Which Will Soon be Buying Red Hat, is Promoting Software Patents in Europe

    Even days apart/within confirmation of IBM's takeover of Red Hat IBM makes it clear that it's very strongly in favour of software patents, not only in the US but also in Europe



  19. Team UPC on Dead UPC: Choosing Gowns for Corpses

    The campaign of lies, long waged by Team UPC in order to manipulate politicians and courts, hasn’t stopped even in 2019 (IAM threw in the towel, but some of Team UPC is still ‘embalming’ UPCA)



  20. Links 15/1/2019: MX Linux MX-18 Continuum Reviewed, Mageia 7 Artwork Voting

    Links for the day



  21. Council of Europe (CoE) Recognises There's No Justice at the EPO

    It’s now the Council of Europe‘s turn to speak out about the grave state of international organisations that exist in Europe but aren’t subjected to European law (which they routinely violate with impunity)



  22. Dominion Harbor -- Armed by Microsoft's Biggest Patent Troll -- Goes After the World's Biggest Android OEMs, Huawei and Samsung

    Dominion Harbor, the patent troll that gets bucketloads of patents from Intellectual Ventures (a patent troll strongly connected to Microsoft and Bill Gates), is still suing using shell entities



  23. Links 14/1/2019: Linux 5.0 RC2 and DXVK 0.95 Released

    Links for the day



  24. Only the Higher Courts -- Not Trump's 'Poster Child' -- Can Bring Back Software Patents

    Software patents are not making a "comeback" as some like to claim; in fact, the latest court cases and notably their outcomes suggest that nothing has changed



  25. “Uniloc is a Lawsuit Factory”

    Apple is a very secretive company, so it is hard to know what goes on with the patent troll Uniloc



  26. European Patent Office a Textbook Example of Lawless, Rogue Institutions

    The tyrannical nature of the EPO is still being demonstrated by the sad fate of Patrick Corcoran; technical judges at the EPO are feeling intimidated by nontechnical politicians and bankers



  27. No, Software Patents Are Not Poised to Make a Comeback Under New US Patent Office Rules

    Poor understanding of the difference between patent courts and patent offices is to blame for widely-spread misinformation from Ars Technica (part of Condé Nast)



  28. IP Kat Has Turned From EPO Critic (to the Point of Being Blocked by the EPO) to EPO Whitewasher That Gags EPO Whistleblowers

    The EPO tried to forcibly gag (block) IP Kat like it blocks Techrights (since 2014); failing that, the EPO got the blog to just act as a whitewashing operation for Team Campinos (more or less the same as Team Battistelli)



  29. Linspire 'Reborn' is Still Working for Microsoft and Facilitating Surveillance on GNU/Linux Users

    GNU/Linux spyware scandals may be back (and it's not about Canonical and Amazon but Linspire and Microsoft); Microsoft is meanwhile exposing innocent kids to pedophiles and it refuses to explain or defend this



  30. Links 12/1/2019: Wine 4.0 RC6, X-Plane 11.30, SuperTuxKart 0.10 Beta, LibreOffice 6.2 RC2

    Links for the day


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