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10.18.15

Links 18/10/2015: OpenBSD 5.8 Released, OpenBSD 20th Birthday

Posted in News Roundup at 8:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Twitter cuts 336 jobs so fast an ex-employee learns fate by “no access” notice

    On Tuesday, Twitter’s recently returned CEO Jack Dorsey sent a letter to all employees, notifying them that 336 jobs would be cut—around eight percent of the company’s workforce.

    [...]

    In a follow-up tweet, Teeuwisse clarified that he worked from home and HR called him, but the call went to voicemail. Apparently, HR decided to remove him from the corporate network despite the lack of person-to-person contact.

  • Electronic Beowulf 4.0

    It is a pleasure to report that Kevin Kiernan, one of the world’s foremost Beowulf scholars and editor of Electronic Beowulf, was inducted into the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame on 9 October 2015. To coincide with this event, we have made Electronic Beowulf 4.0, available as a free online digital academic resource, which will be of interest not only to scholars of Anglo-Saxon England but to all interested in the history of the text of this celebrated poem.

    [...]

    In addition to providing standard digitised images of the Beowulf manuscript (Cotton Vitellius A. xv); it includes over 130 ultraviolet images, and over 750 backlit images that reveal hundreds of letters, which are covered by the nineteenth-century restoration frames. These were installed to protect the manuscript after fire damage in 1731, for more information on the fire damaged items in the Cotton Collection check out this blog post by my colleagues in Collection Care.

  • Boris Johnson rugby tackles schoolboy in Japan: His other sporting slips
  • Guardian braces for cutbacks after ‘difficult’ year

    The Guardian is preparing for steep editorial cuts after a slowdown in advertising sales. Job losses are highly likely, insiders at the media company said.

    “This is shaping up to be one of the most difficult … periods we’ve faced in many years,” David Pemsel, Guardian Media Group’s chief executive, said in an internal memo obtained by POLITICO.

    Spending on new hires, salaries, travel and other expenses will be reined in as the company tries to reduce its losses, Pemsel added. He did not mention job cuts in the e-mail but several people at the company said there will need to be a reduction in the workforce to stem the red ink.

  • Huffington Post’s US Traffic Tanks In 2015, As BuzzFeed And Vice Media Grow

    The Huffington Post has seen a major decline in its monthly traffic coming from within the U.S. over the past year, while competitors such as BuzzFeed and Vice Media continue to grow, according to data provided by comScore to International Business Times. In September of last year, HuffPost pulled in around 113 million unique visitors and hit 126 million last November, but then steadily bled visitors into 2015 and throughout the year. Last month, it was down to 86 million.

  • Be careful who you fire: Twitter’s culling of engineers is shocking

    Culling engineering jobs is a bizarre act in a field where, such is the intense competition for staff, poaching is commonplace

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Netgear Publishes Patched Firmware for Routers Under Attack

      After a pair of very public disclosures in the last two weeks, Netgear published new firmware for vulnerabilities in its routers that have been publicly exploited.

    • Adobe just fixed a major security flaw in Flash, so it’s time to update your software
    • Adobe Patches Criticial Flash Vulnerability
    • Good news: Adobe bangs out Flash patch fast. Bad news: Google’s defenses were useless
    • All Windows affected by critical security flaws

      Microsoft has issued a cumulative patch for a set of critical flaws affecting all supported versions of its Windows operating system, to protect against remote code execution flaw in its Internet Explorer web browser.

    • Hacker Who Sent Me Heroin Faces Charges in U.S.

      A Ukrainian hacker who once hatched a plot to have heroin sent to my Virginia home and then alert police when the drugs arrived had his first appearance in a U.S. court today, after being extradited to the United States to face multiple cybercrime charges.

    • Think Apple OS X is below the malware radar? Think again

      Instances of Apple OS X malware are soaring this year, already totaling more than five times the number tallied over the previous five years combined, according to an in-house Bit9 + Carbon Black report.

      Instances totaled 180 from 2010 through 2014, but have already reached 948, according to “2015: The most Prolific Year in History for OS X Malware”, the results of a 10-week study of malware crafted for the operating system.

    • Malware, restoring data: What keeps data center techies up all night

      A majority of organizations polled in a data center and cloud security survey are dissatisfied with their malware containment and recovery times.

      More than half (55 per cent) of survey respondents were dissatisfied with the length of time it takes them to contain and recover from hacker infiltrations and malware infections, with more than 17 per cent of respondents needing more than a week to contain an contagion. About 37 per cent reported containment times of up to eight hours.

    • Who’s Behind Bluetooth Skimming in Mexico?

      In the previous two stories, I documented the damage wrought by an organized crime gang in Mexico that has been systematically bribing ATM technicians to install Bluetooth skimming components that allow thieves to steal card and PIN data wirelessly. What follows is a look at a mysterious new ATM company in Mexico that sources say may be tied to the skimming activity.

    • Tracking Bluetooth Skimmers in Mexico, Part II

      I spent four days last week in Mexico, tracking the damage wrought by an organized crime ring that is bribing ATM technicians to place Bluetooth skimmers inside of cash machines in and around the tourist areas of Cancun. Today’s piece chronicles the work of this gang in coastal regions farther south, following a trail of hacked ATMs from Playa Del Camen down to the ancient Mayan ruins in Tulum.

    • How the NSA can break trillions of encrypted Web and VPN connections

      For years, privacy advocates have pushed developers of websites, virtual private network apps, and other cryptographic software to adopt the Diffie-Hellman cryptographic key exchange as a defense against surveillance from the US National Security Agency and other state-sponsored spies. Now, researchers are renewing their warning that a serious flaw in the way the key exchange is implemented is allowing the NSA to break and eavesdrop on trillions of encrypted connections.

    • How is NSA breaking so much crypto?

      There have been rumors for years that the NSA can decrypt a significant fraction of encrypted Internet traffic. In 2012, James Bamford published an article quoting anonymous former NSA officials stating that the agency had achieved a “computing breakthrough” that gave them “the ability to crack current public encryption.” The Snowden documents also hint at some extraordinary capabilities: they show that NSA has built extensive infrastructure to intercept and decrypt VPN traffic and suggest that the agency can decrypt at least some HTTPS and SSH connections on demand.

    • Here’s Why Cybersecurity Experts Want Public Source Routers

      “In our letter [PDF], the scientists and engineers most deeply concerned with the internet have finally spoken with one voice, loud enough, maybe, to make a difference,” Dave Taht, co-founder of Bufferbloat, an initiative to improve router performance, told Motherboard. Taht, who lead author of letter to the FCC, said that manufacturers often ship routers that are vulnerable to known exploits, putting consumers and the wider internet at risk as soon as the routers are turned on. Making the matter worse is how few consumers bother to upgrade their firmware if patches are released.

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • HP perfomance monitor can climb through Windows

      Crimp nasty privilege escalation bug by running it in Linux instead says Rapid7

    • Why Cybersecurity Experts Want Open Source Routers

      A coalition of 260 cybersecurity experts is taking advantage of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) public comment period to push for open source Wi-Fi router firmware.

    • Internet daddy Vint Cerf blasts FCC’s plan to ban Wi-Fi router code mods

      Vinton Cerf has added his name to a campaign begging the FCC to scrap plans to ban custom firmware on Wi-Fi routers and other wireless devices.

    • Have your say on the FCC’s plan to lock down WiFi routers

      You may know that you can replace your WiFi router’s software with an open source version like DD-WRT or Tomato to make it more secure or powerful. However, the US wireless regulator (FCC) only seems to have figured that out recently, and is not happy with your ability to boost the signal power excessively on such devices. As such, it proposed changes to regulations, with one document suggesting it may ban or restrict third-party software altogether. That caught the eye of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which created an online petition asking the FCC to make changes.

      The EFF petition says that “router manufacturers are notoriously slow about updating their software — even with critical security fixes on the way. Under the FCC’s proposal, you could have no alternative to running out-of-date and vulnerable firmware.” It’s referring, in part, to an FCC demand that manufacturer’s “describe in detail how the device is protected from ‘flashing’ and the installation of third-party firmware such as DD-WRT.”

    • Technology Community Responds to FCC Rules Banning WiFi Router Firmware Modification
    • The world needs open source routers
    • FCC Should Mandate Open Source Router Firmware And Fast Security Updates, Say Internet Experts
    • 260 ‘Net Experts Urge FCC to Embrace Open, Transparent RF Rules

      A coalition of 260 leading Internet technology experts are warning the FCC to tread carefully when it comes to updated FCC rules governing RF devices. In a filing (pdf) with the FCC, experts like Vint Cerf (co-creator of the TCP-IP protocol) and Dave Farber (former Chief Technologist of the FCC) warn the agency that the FCC’s latest proposal for updated RF device guidance, as currently written, could potentially make the Internet slower, less secure and prevent users from maintaining and modifying devices they own.

    • Vint Cerf, hundreds of researchers, call on FCC to mandate open-source router firmware

      The FCC is currently inviting open comments on its plan to require router manufacturers to lock down device firmware as a means of ensuring that consumer devices can’t operate in certain frequency bands or at power levels that violate FCC guidelines. While these requirements are made to guarantee that limited spectrum is allocated fairly and in a manner that minimizes interference, many have raised concerns that locking down devices in this way will prevent open source firmware projects from continuing as well as hampering critical security research.

      Now, a group of more than 250 researchers and developers, including the Internet’s grandpa, Vint Cerf, have sent the FCC a letter proposing an altogether different set of rules that would actually mandate open-source firmware while simultaneously protecting the FCCs original goals. There are multiple reasons, the letter argues, why open-source firmware updates are a necessary part of securing the Internet against attack.

    • Hackers Can Silently Control Siri From 16 Feet Away

      Siri may be your personal assistant. But your voice is not the only one she listens to. As a group of French researchers have discovered, Siri also helpfully obeys the orders of any hacker who talks to her—even, in some cases, one who’s silently transmitting those commands via radio from as far as 16 feet away.

    • Is Apple’s security honeymoon on OS X ending?

      Apple scored unforgettable hits against Microsoft with its Mac vs. PC ads, which anthropomorphized Windows as a sneezing, miserable office worker.

      Security experts always knew that the campaign was a clever bit of marketing fluff, one that allowed Apple to capitalize on Microsoft’s painful, years-long security revamp.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Washington Post Reduces Palestinian Victims to a Word Problem

      There’s a lot going on in this paragraph. The heretofore unmentioned Palestinian dead come in at the back end of a sentence about Israeli fatalities, to whose numbers are added dozens of wounded so it is not immediately obvious that there are three-and-a-half times as many dead on one side as the other.

    • ‘How Many Afghans Have to Grow Up Knowing Nothing but War?’ – CounterSpin interview with Phyllis Bennis on US bombing of Doctors Without Borders
    • New Edward Snowden? Whistleblower leaks documents on US drone killings

      Classified documents, leaked to investigative news website The Intercept, have revealed the inner workings of the secret US drone program in Yemen and Somalia.

      A source from within the US intelligence community leaked the documents which appear to undermine American claims that drone strikes have been precise.

      The whistleblower, who has already been labelled as the new ‘Edward Snowden’ on social media, said the public has the right to know about the process by which people are placed on ‘kill lists’ and “ultimately assassinated on orders from the highest echelons of the US government.”

      The source told The Intercept: “This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield — it was, from the very first instance, wrong.”

      The leaked papers appear to show that drone strikes were often carried out based on insufficient and unreliable intelligence and when executed, often compromise further gathering of intelligence.

      The documents reveal that in Afghanistan, drone strikes on 35 targets killed at least 219 other people.

    • The Drone Papers

      From his first days as commander in chief, the drone has been President Barack Obama’s weapon of choice, used by the military and the CIA to hunt down and kill the people his administration has deemed — through secretive processes, without indictment or trial — worthy of execution. There has been intense focus on the technology of remote killing, but that often serves as a surrogate for what should be a broader examination of the state’s power over life and death.

    • The US Could End Saudi War Crimes in Yemen – It Just Doesn’t Want To

      The Saudi-led coalition is guilty of systematic war crimes in Yemen, and the US bears legal responsibility because of the use of arms purchased from the United States, an Amnesty International report charged in early October.

      But although the Obama administration is not happy with the Saudi war and has tremendous leverage over the Saudis, it has demonstrated over the past several weeks that it is unwilling to use its leverage to force an end to the war. And it now appears that the administration is poised to resupply the munitions used by the Saudis in committing war crimes in Yemen.

    • Taliban waged a calculated campaign against women in Kunduz

      The Taliban occupation of Kunduz may have been temporary, but what they did to Afghan women’s rights could prove to be lasting.

      In a methodical campaign, the Taliban relentlessly hounded women with any sort of public profile, looted a high school, and destroyed the offices of many of the organizations that protected and supported women in Kunduz.

      Among those who have fled are the women who ran a shelter for female victims of violence, who Taliban commanders say are “immoral.”

    • The Problem With Using Metadata to Justify Drone Strikes

      The US military maintains that its drone program delivers deadly “targeted strikes” against its enemies overseas, and yet, reports of civilians being killed by drones keep pouring in.

      Secret documents prepared as part of a Pentagon report on the US drone program in Yemen and Somalia, obtained by The Intercept, reveal the reason for this apparent contradiction: The US military is over-reliant on signals intelligence, or SIGINT—such as cell phone records, or metadata, of who is called and when, as well as the content of phone and online communications—when selecting targets for drone strikes.

      This kind of intelligence is often supplied by foreign governments, is difficult to confirm on the ground in Yemen and Somalia, and is easily gamed by adversaries, the Intercept report on the documents alleges. Basically, it’s unreliable until a human confirms it. But in Yemen and Somalia, signals intelligence makes up more than half of the intel that goes into marking someone for death, the documents state.

    • U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies

      In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • UK refuses Assange safe passage to hospital

      The UK government on Wednesday denied WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange safe passage from Ecuador’s embassy in London to a nearby hospital to diagnose shoulder pain. The 44-year-old Assange has been granted asylum from Ecuador, and he has been holed up at the embassy there since 2012 as Swedish authorities wish to question him about an alleged sexual-assault.

      The British decision, announced by the Public News Agency of Ecuador and South America, came as Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño told state TV that the UK should honor the request to enable Assange to “benefit from the right of asylum that we have granted him, as should be done in a respectful international relationship.” Assange has been at the embassy for three

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Volkswagen to recall 500,000 pollution-hiding cars in US

      German carmaker Volkswagen has been ordered by US regulators to recall half a million cars because of a device that disguises pollution levels.

    • A Wet Winter Won’t Save California

      As wildfires rage, crops are abandoned, wells run dry and cities work to meet mandatory water cuts, drought-weary Californians are counting on a savior in the tropical ocean: El Niño.

      This warming of the tropical Pacific occurs about every five years, affecting climate around the globe and bringing heavy winter precipitation to parts of California. The state experienced two of its wettest years during two of the strongest El Niños, in 1982-83 and 1997-98.

    • Cameron gives top environment policy job to oil man ahead of major climate talks

      Environmentalists slam appointment of ex-Schlumberger consultant as energy and environment adviser just months before global climate summit in Paris

    • Why America’s Deadly Love Affair with Bottled Water Has to Stop

      This spring, as California withered in its fourth year of drought and mandatory water restrictions were enacted for the first time in the state’s history, a news story broke revealing that Nestlé Waters North America was tapping springs in the San Bernardino National Forest in southern California using a permit that expired 27 years ago.

    • The GOP’s bullsh*t campaign: Why they’re drowning the country in an ocean of lies

      If you’re searching for advice on using the Internet without losing your mind, the classic xkcd web comic “Duty Calls” remains the gold standard. After all, no matter how much technology changes, as long as there are humans using it, the Internet will be full of people; and many of them will be wrong. So unless you figure out a way to log-off — and, more important, stay logged off — you’re just going to have to find a way to deal.

    • 26 more elephants killed with cyanide in national park in Zimbabwe

      Rangers in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park have discovered the carcasses of 26 elephants at two locations, dead of cyanide poisoning along with 14 other elephants who were found last week, officials said Wednesday.

      Patrolling rangers discovered the carcasses Tuesday, according to Bhejani Trust and the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. Bhejani Trust undertakes joint animal monitoring and welfare work with the parks agency

    • Norwegian Prime Minister demands global carbon price and end to fossil fuel subsidies

      Erna Solberg, the Norwegian Prime Minister, has called on the world to immediately set a global carbon price and phase out fossil fuel subsidies in order to better drive investment in low carbon technologies.

      Speaking at a conference hosted by the Norwegian British Chamber of Commerce in London today, Solberg argued Norway’s 26 year old carbon tax had been crucial in helping to drive development of “climate friendly” technologies.

    • New Concern Over Quakes in Oklahoma Near a Hub of U.S. Oil

      A sharp earthquake in central Oklahoma last weekend has raised fresh concern about the security of a vast crude oil storage complex, close to the quake’s center, that sits at the crossroads of the nation’s oil pipeline network.

      The magnitude 4.5 quake struck Saturday afternoon about three miles northwest of Cushing, roughly midway between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The town of about 8,000 people is home to the so-called Cushing Hub, a sprawling tank farm that is among the largest oil storage facilities in the world.

      Scientists reported in a paper published online last month that a large earthquake near the storage hub “could seriously damage storage tanks and pipelines.” Saturday’s quake continues a worrisome pattern of moderate quakes, suggesting that a large earthquake is more than a passing concern, the lead author of that study, Daniel McNamara, said in an interview.

    • VW

      Do you know the name Michael Horn? He’s the CEO of Volkswagen of America. You know what’s going on with Volkswagen, right? Dieselgate? The fact that the software that controls the Diesel engine in some of their cars was specifically written to defeat emissions tests? Yeah, apparently that software could detect when an emission test was being run, and could put the engine into a mode where it emitted one fortieth of the noxious nitrogen oxides of it’s normal operation.

      [...]

      I think that argument is even more asinine than Michael Horn’s. They knew. And if they didn’t know, they should have known. They had a responsibility to know.

      If we had a real profession, those programmers would be brought before that profession, investigated, and if found guilty, drummed out of the profession in disgrace.

  • Finance

    • How Reaganomics is Still Hurting the Middle Class

      Thom talks income inequality and Reaganomics with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee’s Sarah Badawi and radio host and author Ari Rabin-Havt. In tonight’s Conversations with Great Minds, Thom discusses capitalism and the climate with award-winning journalist Naomi Klein, author of the new book “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.”

    • Donald Trump isn’t rich because he’s a great investor. He’s rich because his dad was rich.

      “It takes brains to make millions,” according to the slogan of Donald Trump’s board game. “It takes Trump to make billions.” It appears that’s truer than Trump himself might like to admit. A new analysis suggests that Trump would’ve been a billionaire even if he’d never had a career in real estate, and had instead thrown his father’s inheritance into a index fund that tracked the market. His wealth, in other words, isn’t because of his brains. It’s because he’s a Trump.

    • Capitalism and Its Regulation Delusion: Lessons From the Volkswagen Debacle

      Volkswagen (VW), we now know, systematically evaded pollution control regulations. Over the last decade it defrauded 11 million buyers of its diesel-engine vehicles, fouled the planet’s environment and thereby damaged the health and lives of countless living organisms. Regulation-defeating deception gave VW diesel autos competitive advantages over other companies’ diesel products and thereby enhanced its profits, the driving purpose of capitalist corporations.

    • Political Economy

      I hardly know where to start to deconstruct his speech, but one fact stands out. Osborne purported to give an overview of Britain’s economic crash and “recovery”, without making a single mention of the banking crisis or bankers’ corrupt and greedy practices as the cause of the crash, of vast banking bailouts by the taxpayer and the rapid contraction of the economy. That banker behaviour was of course accelerated by Gordon Brown’s extreme banking deregulation, but that was Brown’s great blunder, not the levels of public spending.

    • After Democratic Debate, Right-Wing Media Miss The Tax Cut Elephant In The Room
    • Now the Tories are allowing big business to design their own tax loopholes

      Last Monday, as the prime minister rehearsed his Manchester conference speech, a story appeared in this newspaper that showed you who really runs this country – and how. It revealed that one of Britain’s largest companies, AstraZeneca, paid absolutely no corporation tax here in both 2013 and 2014, despite racking up global profits in those years of £2.9bn.

    • US, Australia & Canada Decide Screw Over Poor Nations Because Big Pharma’s Not Happy With TPP

      With the conclusion of the negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement now in place, there has been some ridiculous whining from the pharmaceutical industry which got almost everything it wanted in the agreement, but wasn’t quite able to get a few things, including a 12 year patent-like exclusivity on biologics. And, because of that hissy fit, apparently, the USTR and its counterparts in Australia and Canada have agreed to help out Big Pharma in another arena. Jamie Love is reporting that this week there’s a meeting at the WTO this week to explore granting a special exemption on patent rules for developing nations (i.e., those who often need drugs the most, while also being the least likely to be able to afford them). It’s silly to enforce patents in these countries, because doing so would not only lead to almost no business at all, but (more importantly) because lots of people will die or, at the very least, suffer needlessly.

    • Who’s down with TPP?

      TTP is causing a lot of consternation. Critics say the agreement benefits developed countries at the cost of developing countries. They also argue that negotiations have been suspiciously secret. Proponents argue that TPP will reduces barriers to trade, support economic and job growth, improve IP protection and, ‘create new 21st century trade rules.’

      [...]

      While the economic arguments are against term extension, there is evidence that public domain content spurs innovation and new content. Under the agreement, “The Parties recognise the importance of a rich and accessible public” and recognise the importance of good registers. Despite this, the agreement’s copyright terms will reduce the public domain.

      There are also provisions for making the circumvention of DRM illegal (and everyone knows how much consumers looooove DRM) and vague liability for ISPs. Not in the leaked draft are the different copyright terms for corporations, which were discussed earlier, presumably as life-support for Mickey Mouse.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Sanders Goes After Media’s Most Sacred Cow

      One of the biggest audience responses during the October 12 Democratic presidential debate came when Bernie Sanders agreed with Hillary Clinton that focus on her email server was a distraction. But as Lee Fang at the Intercept (10/14/15) pointed out, TV coverage only stressed part of that story, the part about the political impact of Sanders expressing solidarity with Clinton.

    • Pundits Thought Clinton Beat Sanders–but Did Viewers?

      What the Times and these pundits failed to mention is the fact that every online poll we could find asking web visitors who won the debate cast Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as the winner—and not just by a small margins, but by rather enormous ones.

    • USTR Fishing For Academics To Astroturf In Favor Of TPP

      Now that the TPP deal is done, it appears that the USTR has decided to focus on pushing propaganda, rather than legitimately discussing the details with the American public.

    • Why Is Lawrence Lessig Missing From Tonight’s CNN Debate?

      CNN’s decision to exclude Democratic presidential candidate and tech policy icon Lawrence Lessig from tonight’s debate in Las Vegas is drawing strong criticism from his supporters and other prominent voices from across the political spectrum.

      The Harvard law professor and campaign finance reform crusader, who is best known in tech circles as one of the nation’s top authorities on internet policy and digital copyright law, is running a highly unusual single-issue campaign aimed at rooting out what he calls the corrupting influence of money in politics.

    • Lawrence Lessig’s Attack Lines for Tuesday’s Debate—Had He Been Invited

      Lawrence Lessig sounded irritated as he spoke by phone while on a train Saturday morning. The Harvard professor turned political rabble-rouser, who launched his presidential campaign a month ago, has already raised more than a million dollars and started hiring political operatives. But CNN has not invited him to participate in the Democratic debate on Tuesday night.

    • More Americans support Bernie Sanders than Donald Trump

      For all of the attention paid to the Republican primary — thanks in large part to the classy marquee name of Donald Trump — it’s worth pointing something out: More Americans currently support Hillary Clinton than Trump, which you probably already knew. But it’s safe to assume that more Americans also support Bernie Sanders.

      We looked at this a bit back in May, when the Sanders phenomenon was first emerging. But it’s worth revisiting now that he has surged.

    • LET’S DO PUNCH DEPT.
    • Business Whines That Even EU’s Mild, Unsatisfactory Reform Of Corporate Sovereignty Goes Too Far

      Last month Techdirt wrote about the attempt by the European Commission to deflect the growing EU resistance to the inclusion of a corporate sovereignty chapter in TAFTA/TTIP by turning it into a more formal Investment Court System (ICS). We pointed out some major problems with the proposal, and noted that the US Chamber of Commerce had already rejected the idea out of hand. We now have a response from BusinessEurope, one of the main lobbying organizations in the EU with 40 members in 34 countries.

  • Censorship

    • NJ Legislator Wants State’s Cops To Be The New Beneficiaries Of Hate Crime/Bias Laws

      It’s not enough. It’s dangerous out there for cops these days.* So, in the interest of making things even safer for our underprotected boys/girls in blue, a New Jersey politician is introducing legislation that would fold cops in to the state’s “hate speech/bias” laws.

    • Twitter is suspending accounts that share sports GIFs or highlights without permission

      Twitter has been coming down hard on accounts that share GIFs or video footage of sports highlights without permission. It temporarily suspended the @Deadspin account on Monday, and the @SBNationGIF account is still suspended at the time of writing.

    • China—not online porn—is why Playboy is dumping nude photographs

      Playboy’s recent decision to stop publishing nude photos marks a watershed moment in media, as the porn pioneer buttons up and turns its back on what made it famous. But the company’s core has had little to do with pornography for a long time.

      Over the course of a decade, Playboy has steadily transformed itself from a publishing company to a company that sells bunny drawings to T-shirt manufacturers. Revenues from licensing Playboy merchandise went from $37 million in 2009 to $65 million in 2013‚ marking about half the company’s revenues at the time (paywall).

    • 2,800 Cloudflare IP Addresses Blocked By Court Order

      When SOPA was imminent, Internet users expressed concerns that web blocking might “break the Internet”. The legislation didn’t pass, but according to data just published by a web-blocking watchdog in Russia, a similar law means that 2,800 of Cloudflare’s IP addresses are now on the country’s blocklist.

    • Yee ‘openly defied directions of the court’

      In their submissions yesterday, Yee’s lawyers said that it was not their client’s “dominant intention” to wound the religious feelings of Christians. Instead, his dominant intention was to critique Mr Lee.

    • Thai Arthouse Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul Laments Local Censorship

      Thailand has experienced a dozen military coups since it became a constitutional monarchy in 1932. While the country has one of the more prosperous economies in Southeast Asia and remains a hotspot for international tourists, many Thais feel that political violence is a persistent, latent threat to civic order.

    • Apichatpong Weerasethakul: I won’t censor my work for Thailand

      The Palme D’Or-winning Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul has said he does not want his new film to be screened in in his home country, for fear of the reaction of the ruling military junta.

      Speaking at the London film festival, which screened Cemetery of Splendour earlier this week, Weerasethakul told the BBC he would be forced to self-censor the film if he wanted to show it in Thailand. The drama centres on a group of soldiers who fall ill with a mysterious sleeping sickness, and it has been viewed by critics as a metaphor for the country’s societal travails.

    • Thai film director decries censorship

      An award-winning Thai film director has told the BBC he does not want his latest film shown in Thailand as he would be required to self-censor.

      Apichatpong Weerasethakul, winner of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or prize in 2010, said Thais did not have “genuine freedom”.

      The film, Cemetery of Splendour, evokes political uncertainty in Thailand.

      Thailand’s army seized power in a coup last year and has since increased censorship in the country.

    • Got a question about sex, violence and censorship on television?

      The organization lobbies the Federal Communication Commission and various broadcasting networks regarding the content of television programming, and encouraged advertisers to withdraw their support of programs they deem offensive or contain overly violent, sexual or suggestive content.

    • The story of censorship in America

      Conservatives once wanted to ban Playboy magazine, violent rap lyrics and offensive depictions of Jesus. Leftists then were right to fight such bans, but today leftists encourage censorship in the name of “tolerance.”

    • American Publishers Take a Stand Against Censorship in China

      This may be remembered as the year China’s publishing industry truly went global. In May, a large delegation of Chinese publishers attended BookExpo America, a major publishing trade event, as international guests of honor. And on Thursday, the Publishers Association of China, a government-backed industry group, was admitted to the International Publishers Association, a Geneva-based federation of more than 60 organizations whose mission includes promoting the freedom to publish.

    • 12 American Publishers Sign Pledge to Fight Chinese Censorship

      The PEN American Center has recruited 12 American publishing houses to a pledge. According to the press release, these companies have sworn to “monitor and address incidents of censorship in Chinese translations of books by foreign authors.”

    • American Publishers Take a Stand Against Censorship in China

      Earlier this year, PEN released a report on the censorship of foreign authors works when translated for the Chinese market, which included recommendations for those looking to publish there. That report came ahead of the 2015 BookExpo America, where China was honored as the guest of honor. PEN’s report did much to stoke conversation about weighing the appeal of China’s enormous book market with the government censorship required for entry.

    • No book censorship at Sharjah book fair

      The vision and directives of Dr Shaikh Sultan have contributed towards promoting the culture, knowledge and love of the written word, not only in the UAE but also in the Arab region and the world. The Sharjah book fair has now risen to be amongst the top fairs in the world, said Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority, on the sidelines of the Frankfurt Book Fair

    • China Tightens TV Censorship after Cleavage Controversies

      China’s state media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), is tightening up censorship of TV soaps and dramas to ensure that costumes remains decidedly demure and storylines hew towards “socialist core values” rather than courtly innuendo.

    • Privatizing censorship in fight against extremism is risk to press freedom

      Allowing ill-defined “extremist” content to be removed without judicial oversight or due process can too easily be used by states interested in limiting independent reporting and staving off public policy debates.

    • No to Government Censorship, Yes to Free Speech!

      Siaosi Sovaleni plans to bring this flawed technology and introduce “Internet Censorship” to Tonga.

    • Government censorship – a concern that should not be ignored

      There is no disputing the excellent efforts by the Hon. Minister to ensure Children’s Cyber-Safety (Parliament passes Bills to control internet access) is the centrepiece of this bill amongst others. There is never a place for online child-abuse material in any society, Tonga included.

    • Activists Beat Censorship in Lumberton, NJ

      Congratulations to the students, parents, and teachers in Lumberton, New Jersey, who have proven that grassroots action makes a difference.

    • The new PC priests of Irish censorship

      After Irish Independence, a state body with the unimprovable title of The Commission on Evil Literature was set up, followed shortly after by the Censorship of Publications Act.

    • Natasha Tripney: Was school cancellation censorship or child protection?

      On October 13, the Out of Joint co-production of Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s new play Jane Wenham: The Witch of Walkern, based on the story of one of the last women to be put on trial for witchcraft in England, was due to be staged at Ipswich High School for Girls. Instead, the performance was cancelled relatively late in the day, as reported in The Stage, due to “grave reservations” over its portrayal of child sex abuse, a decision Out of Joint’s artistic director Max Stafford-Clark branded “spectacularly perverse.”

      Co-produced with Watford Palace Theatre and the Arcola Theatre, the play’s tour includes 10 performances overseen by Eastern Angles, a regional touring theatre company based in the east of England, of which the Ipswich High School date was part. This collaboration was something of a new venture for both Eastern Angles and Out of Joint. It was important to Stafford-Clark that the play should tour this part of the country because the story it tells is so tied up in East Anglian history. In the 17th century, Suffolk was the stomping ground of the notorious Matthew Hopkins, self-styled ‘Witchfinder General,’ and while the Pendle Witch Trials are perhaps lodged more firmly in the collective imagination, the largest single witch trial in England actually took place in Bury St Edmunds in 1645. Walkern itself is in East Hertfordshire, but Wenham’s story, which takes place in 1712, in the time of Queen Anne, when the witch craze though fading was still alive in people’s memories, is part of the landscape of this part of England.

    • Rushdie decries censorship in keynote speech at Frankfurt Book Fair

      The world-famous novelist has called freedom of speech a fundamental right in his keynote address at the annual literary festival. His words come after Iran boycotted the event because of his presence.

    • Rushdie Condemns Censorship as Iranians Boycott Frankfurt Book Fair

      “Limiting freedom of expression is not just censorship, it is also an assault on human nature,” Mr. Rushdie said in his speech, according to Agence France-Presse. “Expression of speech is fundamental to all human beings. We are language animals, we are story-telling animals.” He added, “Without that freedom of expression, all other freedoms fail.”

    • Rushdie warns of new dangers to free speech in West
    • Rushdie: ‘free speech is a part of human nature’
    • Salman Rushdie: Without free speech, all freedoms fail
    • Apple News blocking is a reminder of the ethical minefield facing tech firms in the Chinese market
    • Censorship is the enemy of change

      It is without doubt, as we are constantly told, that we now live in the ‘information age’. With a click of a button, or the swipe of a finger, we can now access, share and follow more stories, content and information from across the world than previous generations could have ever imagined.

      However, as the age-old maxim goes, with great power comes great responsibility. And as we continue in our race to becoming an all-knowing, all-seeing population, we have also become a part of an extremely divisive and important debate: Should the information and media we consume so readily be censored and vetted when it comes to violent and graphic content?

      As is often the case, this debate is rarely black and white. Of course, certain forms of censorship are ostensibly necessary. For example, the use of a television watershed and various forms of film classification boards are in place to avoid unsuitable content being easily accessed by children. However, when it comes to the news outlets and mass media targeted at mature audiences, is such policy really suitable?

    • China leads the way in Internet censorship requests

      From Jan. 1 to June 30, the Chinese government asked Microsoft to remove 165 items from the web, according to the company’s annual transparency report released on Wednesday. That compared to 21 requests from other countries, which included 11 from the United States, five from Germany, two each from the United Kingdom and Russia, and one from Austria.

    • Hillel Int’l champions animal rights activist to cover for its censorship of human rights

      Pro-Israel organizations have championed a number of progressive causes as a form of hasbara, or propaganda, seeking to immunize the Israeli occupation from criticism. These include environmentalism– greenwashing– and LGBTQ rights — pinkwashing. The latest effort is a case of veg-washing.

    • Dave Helling: Censorship shouldn’t be an issue in Kansas school finance case

      Last week, the Shawnee Mission School District told the Kansas Supreme Court that the state’s cap on local spending for education should be lifted. The cap, it said, “has led to a crippling loss of teachers, loss of foreign language programs, larger class sizes, closure of neighborhood schools and loss of property values.”

      The spending cap was put in place to make Kansas’ school funding system more fair for every student. The court is trying to figure out if the scheme has accomplished that goal.

      [...]

      “Ceilings on education are but censorship by another name,” the brief says.

    • Baby Boomers Share Blame for Today’s Censorship-Happy Students

      It’s fun and important to mock the jumped-up Joe Stalins who have seized power in student associations across the West and who are banning songs, hats, newspapers, and people that piss them off. But it isn’t enough. Too often we treat this scourge of student censorship as a sudden, almost malarial hysteria infecting campuses—the fault of a uniquely intolerant generation corrupting a hitherto healthy academy with their demands to be Safe-Spaced from hairy ideas. But this is wrong. These ban-happy brats are actually the bastard offspring of… well, of some of the people now criticizing them. They are Complacency’s Children, the angry logical conclusion to liberals’ failure over the past 30 years to kick back against a creeping culture of intolerance.

    • EU, Germany express concern on Keneş’s arrest ahead of key visits

      On the eve of separate visits by EU commissioners and the German chancellor to Ankara this week, officials from the European Commission and the European Parliament have expressed their concerns about the arrest of Today’s Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bülent Keneş, with the German Bundestag also joining in the growing chorus of those condemning the political pressure on the media and media professionals.

    • Purdue University Erases Video Of NSA Surveillance Speech To Obey Government Censorship Rules

      Purdue University erased a video of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Barton Gellman’s campus address on Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency because his presentation included classified government documents, Gellman said.

      Gellman, a former Washington Post reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Edward Snowden and the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, gave a keynote speech Sept. 24 at Purdue’s technology conference, “Dawn or Doom.” His talk was live-streamed and organizers promised to provide a permanent link to the video on the school website after the talk, Gellman said. But the school, located in Lafayette, Indiana, never provided the link, Gellman wrote in a piece posted on the website of the Century Foundation, a progressive think tank.

      “It turns out that Purdue has wiped all copies of my video and slides from university servers, on grounds that I displayed classified documents briefly on screen,” Gellman wrote. He said he was told that the university at one point pondered destroying the projector he borrowed as well.

    • Lincoln Book Festival: There’s nothing new in newspapers censoring themselves – it’s gone on years

      In my research for my forthcoming book, War on Wheels, on the story of the mechanisation of the army in the Second World War, I read many accounts of captivity written by those who had spent years as prisoners of war.

      They were allowed to write home, but in the knowledge that everything they wrote would be seen by their captors. The result was letters that revealed nothing of the dreadful conditions under which they were forced to live.

    • A history of nudity: Playboy’s censorship is a throwback to the medieval era

      Playboy is to abolish the nude. Many people will celebrate this, even if the magazine once seen as the bible of sexual liberation is getting out of the business of soft porn because it has been outdone by the internet, and not for any idealistic feminist reason.

    • Debate team, library staff argue censorship

      In the 2013 school year, 666 of 1241 schools in Texas protested or challenged books according to the Robert R. Muntz Library staff. Two commonly known books that have been banned or challenged are World War Z and A Christmas Carol. To bring attention to the issue of banned books, a public debate focusing on “Censorship of Offensive Material in an Academic Environment Does More Harm than Good” was organized and held at the Cowan Center on September 29th.

    • Newspapers should not practice censorship

      Recently a letter writer demanded that The Morning Call engage in the irrational and immoral practice of censorship — specifically censorship of scientific measurements and observations (i.e., scientific facts) which refuted the global warming crisis theory and the predictions of its flawed computer climate models.

      As the great scientist, Sir Isaac Newton, pointed out, valid scientific theories must be built upon measurements/observations. NASA satellites during the past 18 years have measured no significant global warming, despite an 11 percent increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Neither the theory nor its computer models predicted this huge pause in global warming, proving that both are grossly flawed.

    • Censorship not warranted

      Today, they are regarded as classics, but “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Fahrenheit 451” were once banned for being too controversial. More recently, “Friday Night Lights” was rejected for its depiction of profanity and racism, and the Harry Potter series is banned in several countries for allegedly promoting witchcraft.

    • Opposition politicians slam censorship of TV stations

      Reaction continues to grow after Digital satellite platform Teledünya, cable provider Digiturk, online TV streamer Turkcell TV+ and Treasury backed Tivibu have all joined the political bandwagon and censored the networks, citing an audacious terror investigation launched by a public prosecutor. The platforms’ actions have violated contractual agreements both with viewers and with the channels, and have drawn condemnation from rights groups, opposition politicians, and scores of citizens who have cancelled their subscriptions.

    • Indian Languages Festival to discuss creativity and censorship in Tamil
    • For freedom of speech, these are troubling times

      This most fundamental of principles is under attack – from over-zealous law making, online witch hunts, and a profit-driven media offensive on the BBC

    • UK porn filters still shunned by public, despite wider roll-out

      Around a quarter of UK broadband subscribers (24 percent) have opted to allow their ISPs to block pornographic content, according to an online survey by the broadband comparison site Broadband Genie. Just over half (54 percent) said that they did not use the porn filters, while another 22 percent said they didn’t know. Although there was no attempt to conduct the survey rigorously, and it was relatively small—2,491 respondents took part—it offers useful indications about the public’s uptake of filters not available elsewhere.

      According to the Broadband Genie numbers, the main reason people chose to opt out of the filtering system was that they did not want their access “hindered in any way” (40 percent), while 15 percent of those who rejected the blocks were worried about censorship. Another 11 percent said they did not need the filtering, because they had their own software to do the job.

    • Je Suis Charlie, Toronto Film Festival, review: A powerful eulogy for the victims

      Documentary attempts to put the attacks and French society in context

    • Apple Censors Mobile App Content in China, Even if Users Seek Privacy

      How committed is Apple (APPL) to user privacy and freedom? Not very, it seems—at least for users in China, where the company has blocked access to its News app for iOS mobile devices.

      As its name implies, News is an app for aggregating and reading news on iPads and iPhones (presumably for people who haven’t yet discovered Google News or other free, web-based news aggregators). The app is only available to install for Apple users in the United States. (Apple is currently testing the product in the United Kingdom and Australian markets.) Once it’s installed, however, it can be used from any location.

    • MPA Reveals 500+ Instances of Pirate Site Blocking in Europe

      MPA Deputy General Counsel Okke Visser has revealed that European instances of site blocking on copyright grounds now exceed 500. During a presentation in the UK yesterday, Visser highlighted 13 countries that are implementing web blockades, including latest addition Iceland, which blocked The Pirate Bay this week.

  • Privacy

    • IPT ruling on Wilson doctrine opens way for devolved parliament and assemblies to challenge surveillance

      The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has ruled that the Wilson Doctrine does not protect MPs and peers’ communications from surveillance by the intelligence agencies.

    • GCHQ allowed to spy on MPs and peers, secret court rules

      The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), the UK body that hears complaints about intelligence agencies, has ruled that the communications of MPs and peers are not protected by the Wilson Doctrine, which was thought to exempt them from surveillance by GCHQ and other intelligence agencies. Back in July, the UK government had already admitted that the Wilson Doctrine “cannot work sensibly” when mass surveillance is taking place, but today’s decision goes further by explicitly rejecting the idea of any formal immunity from spying.

    • Thieves steal cyclists’ bikes by following apps that track their routes

      Social media apps which track cyclists’ routes are believed to be behind a sharp rise in high-value bike thefts.

      The mobile phone apps, which allow cyclists to post details of their routes on the internet, are giving thieves the chance to track down top-of-the-range bikes to their owners’ sheds and garages.

      The apps, such as Strava, Endomondo and MapMyRide, record what make and model bike the cyclist is using, so thieves know the value of the bikes.

    • Why Does Facebook Keep Suggesting You Friend Your Tinder Matches?

      A year ago, shortly after breaking up with her boyfriend of three years, Emma Lauren decided to jump back into the dating scene, starting with an OkCupid account. Her first date went disastrously: the dude showed up late, looked nothing like his profile picture, spent the entire time talking about 9/11 conspiracy theories, and berated her for smoking a cigarette before he tried to kiss her at the end of the night. She didn’t speak to him again, and later blocked his phone number after he became belligerent because she didn’t reply to his texts.

    • It could be worse

      So this week the usual folks have been all over China’s proposal to use big data techniques to assign every citizen a Citizen Score. And while a tiny ethics-free part of my soul weeps for joy (hey, I never expected parts of Glasshouse to come true!) the rest of me shudders and can’t help thinking how much worse it could get.

      So, let’s start by synopsizing the Privacy Online News report. It’s basically a state-run universal credit score, where you’re measured on a scale from 350 to 950. But it’s not just about your financial planning ability; it also reflects your political opinions. On the financial side, if you buy products the government approves of your credit score increases: wastes of time (such as video games) cost you points. China’s main social networks feed data into it and you can lose points big-time by expressing political opinions without prior permission, talking about history (where it diverges from the official version—e.g. the events of 1989 in Tiananmen Square—hey, I just earned myself a negative credit score there!), or saying anything that’s politically embarrassing.

      The special social network magic comes into play when you learn that if your friends do this, your score also suffers. You can see what they just did to you: are you angry yet? Social pressure is a pervasive force and it’s going to be exerted on participants whether they like it or not, by friends looking for the goodies that come from having a high citizen score: goodies like instant loans for online shopping, car rentals without needing a deposit, or fast-track access to foreign travel visas. Also, everyone’s credit score is visible online, making it easy to ditch those embarrassingly ranty cocktail-party friends who insist on harshing your government credit karma by not conforming.

      [...]

      First a micro-example: The Chinese government could conceivably to abolish it’s Great Firewall once the citizen score is enacted. Instead, it could require ISPs to log all outgoing internet connections; the UK’s GCHQ already does this via the KARMA POLICE program (and that name could be a big hint about where this is going). By monitoring what people are looking at, you can then reward or punish their habits. The 50 Cent Party demonstrates that they’ve got the human resources to actively track internet activities; members could be rewarded for identifying hostile foreign web sites, and non-members could then earn penalty points on their citizen scores for looking at those sites. By rendering the firewall transparent they could paradoxically improve enforcement: looking at dodgy sites on the internet would get you shunned by family, friends, and workmates out of self-interest.

    • Camgirl OPSEC: How the World’s Newest Porn Stars Protect Their Privacy Online

      I spoke with a well-established camgirl, NataliaGrey, of the popular website MyFreeCams, about how she keeps herself safe online. The first step is protecting your location.

    • If You’re Not Paranoid, You’re Crazy

      Then there was this peculiar psychic incursion. One night, about a year before my phone suggested I eat more walnuts, I was researching modern spycraft for a book I was thinking about writing when I happened across a creepy YouTube video. It consisted of surveillance footage from a Middle Eastern hotel where agents thought to be acting on behalf of Israel had allegedly assassinated a senior Hamas official. I watched as the agents stalked their target, whom they apparently murdered in his room, offscreen, before reappearing in a hallway and nonchalantly summoning an elevator. Because one of the agents was a woman, I typed these words into my browser’s search bar: Mossad seduction techniques. Minutes later, a banner ad appeared for Ashley Madison, the dating site for adulterous married people that would eventually be hacked, exposing tens of millions of trusting cheaters who’d emptied their ids onto the Web. When I tried to watch the surveillance footage again, a video ad appeared. It promoted a slick divorce attorney based in Santa Monica, just a few miles from the Malibu apartment where I escaped my cold Montana home during the winter months.

    • Judge Calls Bluffs On Encryption Debate; Asks Apple To Explain Why Unlocking A Phone Is ‘Unduly Burdensome’

      Things on the Crypto War 2.0 battlefront just got a little more interesting. The administration won’t seek backdoors and neither will Congress. The intelligence community has largely backed away from pressing for compliance from tech companies. This basically leaves FBI director James Comey (along with various law enforcement officials) twisting in his own “but people will die” wind.

      Comey continues to insist encryption can be safely backdoored. He claims the real issue is companies like Apple and Google, who hire tons of “smart people” but won’t put them to work solving his “going dark” problem for him. As pretty much the entirety of the tech community has pointed out, holes in encryption are holes in encryption and cannot ever be law enforcement-only.

    • Majority of ISPs not ready for metadata laws that come into force today

      The vast majority of Australian internet service providers (ISPs) are not ready to start collecting and storing metadata as required under the country’s data retention laws which come into effect today.

      ISPs have had the past six months to plan how they will comply with the law, but 84 per cent say they are not ready and will not be collecting metadata on time.

      The Attorney-General’s department says ISPs have until April 2017 to become fully compliant with the law.

    • Australia accessed NSA spy data more than UK over 12 months: Edward Snowden document

      Australian intelligence authorities accessed private internet data gathered by the US National Security Agency even more than their British counterparts over a 12-month period, according to a previously unreported document released by Edward Snowden.

      The document relates to the NSA’s PRISM program, which takes chunks of users’ online activity directly from companies like Google.

      In the 12 months to May 2012, Australia’s electronic spy agency, the ASD, then known as DSD, produced 310 reports based on PRISM. The UK produced 197.

      Eric King from British activist group Privacy International found the document and told Lateline he was astonished.

      “What we’ve now found out is that DSD, the Australian intelligence services, were using PRISM, they were having access directly to Google, Apple, Facebook and other big US companies which are right into heart of their customer’s data and pulling that out,” he said.

      “The fact that [Australia] had a third more than even Britain used is astonishing to my mind.”

    • How Is the NSA Breaking So Much Crypto?

      There have been rumors for years that the NSA can decrypt a significant fraction of encrypted Internet traffic. In 2012, James Bamford published an article quoting anonymous former NSA officials stating that the agency had achieved a “computing breakthrough” that gave them “the ability to crack current public encryption.” The Snowden documents also hint at some extraordinary capabilities: they show that NSA has built extensive infrastructure to intercept and decrypt VPN traffic and suggest that the agency can decrypt at least some HTTPS and SSH connections on demand.

    • Germany vows tougher control of spy agency after new revelations

      Germany’s justice minister has called for tighter control of the national foreign intelligence agency, after media reported its spies had targeted the embassies of allied countries without the government’s express permission.

      Heiko Maas told the Rheinische Post newspaper in an interview to be published on Friday that a fundamental reform of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) was needed.

      “Parliament must get all the necessary means for an effective control of the intelligence services,” he added.

    • The Guardian view on surveillance: licence to pry on parliament

      Two years ago Edward Snowden let citizens know that their privacy wasn’t all it seemed. Records were routinely being kept on the websites they visited, the texts they sent and the numbers they called. Even search terms and passwords could sometimes be harvested as “bulk data”, making it possible in principle to weave an intimate portrait from disparate electronic traces.

      There were shockwaves around the world, from Washington to Berlin. Westminster, however, shrugged off the news, with many MPs more interested in taking pot-shots at Mr Snowden, and sometimes the Guardian, than in engaging with the substance of what he had to say. If parliamentarians were less than excited about snooping, then – on the-personal-is-the-political principle – it could be because they didn’t imagine that it affected them. The Wilson doctrine – the 50-year-old prime ministerial promises that MPs’ communications wouldn’t be tapped – gave that hunch some basis. Today, however, the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) told them bluntly that the doctrine had no force in law. Now it is the politicians’ turn to discover that their privacy isn’t all that it had seemed.

    • Facebook has poached a senior Microsoft exec to lead its marketing in Europe

      Facebook has hired Microsoft’s UK chief marketing officer Philippa Snare as its marketing director for business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

    • Researchers Find ‘Impossible to Trace’ Spyware in 32 Countries

      In the summer of 2014, an anti-surveillance “digilante” only known as PhineasFisher hacked into the servers of the controversial company Gamma International, makers of the FinFisher government spyware, and exposed some of its secrets to the world.

      The breach revealed the company’s customer list as well as details of its products. For some, this was going to seriously damage the company. But a year later, FinFisher is alive and well as a now-separate company. In fact, it has more customers than previously reported, according to a new investigation by Citizen Lab, a digital watchdog at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

    • If The NSA’s Not Complaining About Encryption, It’s Likely Because It Has Already Found A Way In

      The NSA hasn’t said much (well… compared to the FBI) over the past several months about the default phone encryption offered by Google and Apple. This lack of public outcry has to do with the NSA’s capabilities, rather than a sudden interest in ensuring people around the world have access to secure communications. If it truly felt the world would be a better place with safer computing, it wouldn’t have invested so much in hardware implants, software exploits and — its biggest black budget line — defeating encryption.

      Where there’s no smoke, there’s a great deal of fire which can neither be confirmed nor denied. The NSA has very likely punched holes in encryption in existing encryption. But how does it do it? A brute force attack on encryption would be largely futile, even with the computing power the agency possesses. Alex Halderman and Nadia Heninger at Freedom to Tinker have a theory, and it involves a “flaw” in a highly-recommended encryption algorithm.

    • The NSA may have been able to crack so much encryption thanks to a simple mistake

      The NSA could have gained a significant amount of its access to the world’s encrypted communications thanks to the high-tech version of reusing passwords, according to a report from two US academics.

    • Could a simple mistake be how the NSA was able to crack so much encryption?

      Most encryption software does the high-tech equivalent of reusing passwords, and that could be how the US national security agency decrypted communications

    • Inside China’s plan to give every citizen a character score

      WHERE you go, what you buy, who you know, how many points are on your driving licence: these are just a few of the details that the Chinese government will track – to give scores to all its citizens.

      China’s Social Credit System (SCS) will come up with these ratings by linking up personal data held by banks, e-commerce sites and social networks. The scores will serve not just to indicate an individual’s credit risk, for example, but could be used by potential landlords, employers and even romantic partners to gauge an individual’s character.

      “It isn’t just about financial creditworthiness,” says Rogier Creemers at the University of Oxford, who studies Chinese media policy and politics. “All that behaviour will be integrated into one comprehensive assessment of you as a person, which will then be used to make you eligible or ineligible for certain jobs, or social services.”

    • How to Protect Yourself from NSA Attacks on 1024-bit DH

      In a post on Wednesday, researchers Alex Halderman and Nadia Heninger presented compelling research suggesting that the NSA has developed the capability to decrypt a large number of HTTPS, SSH, and VPN connections using an attack on common implementations of the Diffie-Hellman key exchange algorithm with 1024-bit primes. Earlier in the year, they were part of a research group that published a study of the Logjam attack, which leveraged overlooked and outdated code to enforce “export-grade” (downgraded, 512-bit) parameters for Diffie-Hellman. By performing a cost analysis of the algorithm with stronger 1024-bit parameters and comparing that with what we know of the NSA “black budget” (and reading between the lines of several leaked documents about NSA interception capabilities) they concluded that it’s likely NSA has been breaking 1024-bit Diffie-Hellman for some time now.

    • Freedom Equals Surveillance
    • Google, Facebook and Other Giants Oppose New Bill Over Privacy Threats

      Facebook, Google, Yahoo and a number of open source advocates are joining the rally cry against a controversial new bill proposed in the U.S. called the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015. Some experts are saying that, if passed, the bill could have a seismic impact on individual privacy and privacy at businesses.

    • How ACLU project director Ben Wizner got a firsthand look at the scope and severity of surveillance issues — as Edward Snowden’s lawyer

      Ben Wizner got a call in January 2013 that would revolutionize his professional career.

      The call was from a journalist and filmmaker, Laura Poitras, whom he had known for years. She had received an email from someone who claimed to be a senior intelligence official.

      “She came to me in order to seek advice,” Wizner says via phone from New York. “She wasn’t sure, and I wasn’t sure, whether the writer was a real person, a crank, or even something more sinister.”

      The writer turned out to be a former CIA employee and government contractor named Edward Snowden. The rest turned out to be history.

      Snowden, with help of journalists around the world, released information about the National Security Agency that had not previously been discussed in public — most notably, that the NSA was collecting telephone data in bulk, including the numbers dialed by Americans and how long the calls lasted. Snowden now lives in Russia, but he has said he would one day like to return home.

    • EU Digital Commish: Ja, we should have done more about NSA spying

      Europe’s outspoken digi Commissioner, Günther H-dot Oettinger has admitted that the European Commission did too little, too late in reaction to Edward Snowden’s NSA spying revelations.

      Following a landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) striking down the EU-US data sharing Safe Harbor agreement on Tuesday, Oetti told German daily Der Spiegel that “a mandatory government agreement would be the best solution” but that he didn’t believe it was likely to happen.

      The second-best option is a re-negotiated arrangement, said Oettinger, for once sticking to the Commission official line. He said clarity was urgently needed for “the many medium-sized companies that are now feeling insecure”.

    • ‘Are you a traitor?’ The BBC Panorama interview with Edward Snowden
    • BBC’s Panorama attacks Edward Snowden

      As well as smearing Snowden, the aim of the documentary was to head off opposition to upcoming UK government legislation, in which even more spying powers are being handed over to an already vast and all-embracing intelligence apparatus.

    • Edward Snowden: NSA Spying on Porn Habits, not Terrorists
    • Why one Utah lawmaker is calling Edward Snowden a ‘traitor’
    • Why one Utah lawmaker is calling Edward Snowden a ‘traitor’
    • Rep. Chris Stewart calls Edward Snowden ‘destructive traitor’
    • Officials in Utah defend NSA’s role fighting cyber-attacks
    • Officials in Utah defend NSA’s role fighting cyber-attacks
    • Officials in Utah Defend NSA’s $1.7 Billion Data Center

      The National Security Agency’s massive data center in Utah isn’t being used to store Americans’ personal phone calls or social media activity, but plays a key role in protecting the country from cyber-attacks by hostile foreign governments, U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah said Tuesday.

      Stewart’s comments came during a national security conference he hosted on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City. NSA Utah director Dave Winberg was among the speakers, but didn’t talk specifically what happens at a $1.7 billion data center south of Salt Lake City. He instead focused his remarks on the NSA’s global purpose.

    • Microsoft Gave NSA Access To Encrypted Messages Including Skype, Says Snowden

      According to leaked internal memos given to The Guardian, the U.S. government’s National Security Agency (NSA) worked with Microsoft in order to enable them to read personal messages sent over Skype as well as Outlook email, and its predecessor Hotmail

    • Research Shows How NSA Exploits Flaws to Decrypt Huge Amounts of Communications Instead of Securing the Internet

      According to an award-winning paper presented at a security conference earlier this week by a group of prominent cryptographers, the NSA has likely used its access to vast computing power as well as weaknesses in the commonly used TLS security protocol in order to spy on encrypted communications, including VPNs, HTTPS and SSH. As two of the researchers, Alex Halderman and Nadia Heninger explained, it was previously known that the NSA had reached a “breakthrough” allowing these capabilities. The paper represents a major contribution to public understanding by drawing a link between the NSA’s computing resources and previously known cryptographic weaknesses.

    • On its way: A Google-free, NSA-free IT infrastructure for Europe

      This really wasn’t in the script. All conquering, “disruptive” Silicon Valley companies were more powerful than any nation state, we were told, and governments and nations would submit to their norms. But now the dam that Max Schrems cracked last week has burst open as European companies seek to nail down local alternatives to Google, Dropbox and other Californian over-the-top players.

      They don’t have much choice, says Rafael Laguna, the open source veteran at Open Xchange.

    • When NSA employees leave to start their own companies

      Adam Fuchs and his small team labored for years inside the National Security Agency on a system that would enable analysts to access vast troves of intelligence data and spot hidden patterns.

      “We very much had a startup feel,” Fuchs said. The team worked in an office at Fort Meade with ideas scrawled across whiteboards and old furniture scattered around.

      Their work helped analysts identify terrorist groups. But the ordinarily secretive NSA did something else with the technology: Figuring that others could make use of it, too, the agency released it to the world for free.

      And that was when those who had built the tool saw an opportunity. Half eventually left the agency to develop it on the outside. Fuchs and others founded a company.

    • NSA may have had ability to bypass ‘unbreakable’ encryption for years
    • How to Protect Yourself from NSA Attacks on 1024-bit DH

      In a post on Wednesday, researchers Alex Halderman and Nadia Heninger presented compelling research suggesting that the NSA has developed the capability to decrypt a large number of HTTPS, SSH, and VPN connections using an attack on common implementations of the Diffie-Hellman key exchange algorithm with 1024-bit primes. Earlier in the year, they were part of a research group that published a study of the Logjam attack, which leveraged overlooked and outdated code to enforce “export-grade” (downgraded, 512-bit) parameters for Diffie-Hellman. By performing a cost analysis of the algorithm with stronger 1024-bit parameters and comparing that with what we know of the NSA “black budget” (and reading between the lines of several leaked documents about NSA interception capabilities) they concluded that it’s likely NSA has been breaking 1024-bit Diffie-Hellman for some time now.

    • This Common Cryptography Method Is Alarmingly Vulnerable
    • Snowden: NSA, GCHQ Using Your Phone to Spy on Others (and You)

      You are a tool of the state, according to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      The NSA in the U.S., and its equivalent in the UK, GCHQ, are taking control of your phone not just to spy on you as needed, but also to use your device as a way to spy on others around you. You are a walking microphone, camera and GPS for spies.

    • Edward Snowden: Governments Want to Own Your Phone Instead of You
    • Could Nosey, Tracker and Dreamy Smurfs expose your digital life?
    • Snowden discusses a scary way spies can hack your smartphone and gain ‘total control’
    • The NSA sure breaks a lot of “unbreakable” crypto. This is probably how they do it.

      The paper describes how in Diffie-Hellman key exchange — a common means of exchanging cryptographic keys over untrusted channels — it’s possible to save a lot of computation and programmer time by using one of a few, widely agreed-upon large prime numbers. The theoreticians who first proposed this described it as secure against anyone who didn’t want to spend a nearly unimaginable amount of money attacking it.

    • Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders call for Edward Snowden to face trial

      Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sparred over Edward Snowden during Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate with both calling for him to face trial, but with the Vermont senator saying he thought the NSA whistleblower had “played a very important role in educating the American people”.

    • Sanders would ‘absolutely’ end NSA spying
    • Hillary Clinton Is Wrong About Edward Snowden
    • Sanders would ‘absolutely’ end NSA wiretapping program
    • Some Democrats Deserve Praise for NSA and Snowden Stances. Hillary Clinton, Not So Much.
    • 4 out of 5 Democratic candidates agree—Snowden should face the courts
    • Snowden Broke US Law, Should Stay in Exile – Hillary Clinton
    • No, Hillary, Edward Snowden Didn’t Have Whistleblower Protections
    • Clinton ‘Out of Touch’ With Whistleblowers Reality – Ex Snowden Attorney
    • What Did Clinton Mean When She Said Snowden Files Fell Into the “Wrong Hands”?
    • Hillary Clinton wants Edward Snowden to stand trial
    • Hillary’s Attack on Snowden Was Devoid Of Facts
    • Sanders’ Snowden Response Proves He Doesn’t Want a “Revolution”
    • Snowden Says Hillary Clinton’s Bogus Statements Show a “Lack of Political Courage”
    • Why Hillary Clinton is Wrong About Edward Snowden
    • Snowden hits back at Clinton
    • Hillary Clinton claims Edward Snowden had whistleblower protections, didn’t use them

      That’s not accurate, we found. While American law does shield government whistleblowers, it wouldn’t necessarily apply in Snowden’s case.

    • GCHQ and NSA Spying on Pakistan?

      Last week, Edward Snowden made several statements about the NSA, as he usually does, and the U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ claiming that these agencies wish to control the phones of the public. Lost in much of the typical nonsense one expects to hear from Mr. Snowden, there was the claim that these two signals intelligence agencies were actively engaged in spying on Pakistan. More specifically, Snowden claimed that the eavesdropping was conducted through an exploit in the Cisco routers employed by the Pakistanis.

    • Fallout from EU-US Safe Harbour ruling will be dramatic and far-reaching

      In the wake of last week’s dramatic judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which means that transatlantic data transfers made under the Safe Harbour agreement are likely to be ruled illegal across the EU, there has been no shortage of apocalyptic visions claiming that e-commerce—and even the Internet itself—was doomed. Companies are already finding alternative, if imperfect, ways to transfer personal data from the EU to the US, although a very recent data protection ruling in Germany suggests that one approach—using contracts—is unlikely to withstand legal scrutiny. But what’s being overlooked are the much wider implications of the court’s ruling, which reach far beyond e-commerce.

      The careful legal reasoning used by the CJEU to reach its decisions will make its rulings extremely hard, if not impossible, to circumvent, since they are based on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. As the European Commission’s page on the Charter explains: “The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU brings together in a single document the fundamental rights protected in the EU.” Once merely aspirational, the Charter attained a new importance in December 2009: “with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the Charter became legally binding on the EU institutions and on national governments, just like the EU Treaties themselves.”

    • Edward Snowden attorney: ‘Pick your misdemeanor’
    • Facebook’s Like Buttons Will Soon Track Your Web Browsing to Target Ads

      Facebook’s ad targeting algorithms are about to get a new firehose of valuable and controversial personal data.

    • With Little Fanfare, FBI Ramps Up Biometrics Programs (Yet Again)—Part 1

      Being a job seeker isn’t a crime. But the FBI has made a big change in how it deals with fingerprints that might make it seem that way. For the first time, fingerprints and biographical information sent to the FBI for a background check will be stored and searched right along with fingerprints taken for criminal purposes.

    • With Little Fanfare, FBI Ramps Up Biometrics Programs (Yet Again)—Part 2

      As Privacy SOS reported earlier this month, the FBI is looking for new ways to collect biometrics out in the field—and not just fingerprints, but face recognition-ready photographs as well.

    • Sheriff: We’ll get judicial approval—not a warrant—when using stingray

      The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department (SCSD) announced a new cell-site-simulator policy earlier this week, saying that it would seek “judicial authorization” when deploying the devices, which are also known as stingrays.

      In a press release, the largest law enforcement agency in California’s state capital region touted that it was the “first law enforcement agency in the country” to release such a policy.

    • AVG Proudly Announces It Will Sell Your Browsing History to Online Advertisers

      AVG, the Czech antivirus company, has announced a new privacy policy in which it boldly and openly admits it will collect user details and sell them to online advertisers for the purpose of continuing to fund its freemium-based products.

      This new privacy policy is slated to come into effect starting October 15, and the company has published a blog post explaining the decision to go this route, along with the full privacy policy’s content, so users can read it in advance and decide on their own if they want to use its services or not.

    • South Korea-backed app puts children at risk

      Security researchers say they found critical weaknesses in a South Korean government-mandated child surveillance app — vulnerabilities that left the private lives of the country’s youngest citizens open to hackers.

    • Why I Quit My Facebook Quitting

      Most of the time, though, my slips were accidental. I discovered (again this year) that social software is embedded everywhere. My Facebook log-in doubled as my log-in for my ride-sharing app (Uber), my jogging music app (RockMyRun), my house-sharing app (Airbnb), and my bike-riding app (MapMyRide). And then there was Rise, the social app I use to send photos of my meals to a professional dietician, who advises me to leave off the chocolate and add a bit of spinach. Wasn’t that basically a social app?

    • UL creating standard for wearable privacy and security

      UL, formerly called Underwriters Labs, soon expects to certify wearables for safety and security, including user privacy.

      Founded in 1894 and more commonly known for certifying appliances for electrical safety, UL is developing draft requirements for security and privacy for data associated with Internet of Things devices, including wearables. A pilot program is underway, and UL plans to launch the program early in 2016, UL told Computerworld.

    • Germany will make telcos share customer data with the police

      Germany once again requires telcos and ISPs to make user data available to law enforcement, after a previous law and the EU directive on which it was based were declared unconstitutional.

      Even as the European Union attempts to tighten privacy laws, law-enforcement interests have won a battle in Germany: a new law forces communications service providers there to once again make data about their customers’ communications available to police.

    • Online advertisers admit they “messed up,” promise lighter ads

      The online advertising business, which has for years struggled against a rising tide of ad blockers by deploying ever-heavier and more-invasive ads, this week publicly acknowledged the error of its ways.

      “We messed up,” begins the post by Scott Cunningham of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), which represents 650 advertising and tech companies that produce 86 percent of all Internet ads in the US.

    • Reports: Department Of Transportation To Require All Drones Be Registered
    • U.S. Will Require Drones to Be Registered
    • Report: Feds Will Require All Drones to Be Registered

      If you unpack a shiny new drone on Christmas morning, it’s possible you’ll have to get Uncle Sam’s permission before you can fly it.

      NBC News is reporting that the federal government will soon announce new requirements for drones, the most severe of which is that consumer drones will need to be registered with the Department of Transportation.

    • UK Politicians To Hold ‘Emergency Debate’ After Spy Tribunal Says GCHQ Is Permitted To Put Them Under Surveillance

      Now we can see what moves legislators to take swift action against domestic surveillance. It all depends on who’s being targeted.

    • Why ORG is offering to help protect MPs’ communications

      The Wilson Doctrine is named after former Prime Minister Harold Wilson who in 1966, following a spate of scandals involving the alleged telephone-bugging of MPs, told the House of Commons that MPs’ phones would not be tapped. In 2002, Tony Blair said that the policy also applied to the “use of electronic surveillance by any of the three security and intelligence agencies”. In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations, Parliamentarians have asked repeatedly for the Government to clarify whether the Wilson Doctrine still applies. In addition, Caroline Lucas MP and Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb asked the IPT whether the Wilson Doctrine prohibited the interception of their communications – including their confidential correspondence with constituents.

  • Civil Rights

    • Domestic Abuse Victims Evicted for Calling Police

      Municipalities across the United States are evicting domestic abuse victims from their homes. Officials term these evictions as “nuisance evictions,” which occur when too many police calls are made to a specific residence.

    • No, Hillary, Edward Snowden Didn’t Have Whistleblower Protections

      That doesn’t take into account cases such as Thomas Drake’s, a former senior NSA executive who obeyed the law while trying to report problems within the NSA and found himself on the wrong side of a major investigation. He now works at an Apple store outside of Washington, DC. Admittedly, the law is fairly complicated, but as Politifact pointed out in January 2014, when the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald said Snowden did not have any whistleblower protections under the Espionage Act, his claim was “mostly true.” Greenwald received the classified information from Snowden.

    • BLOWING THE WHISTLE ON THE UC BERKELEY MATHEMATICS DEPARTMENT

      In response to the many people who have asked me whether I am leaving Berkeley, it is true that the UC Berkeley Mathematics Department has fired me. More precisely, the then Chair of the Mathematics Department, Arthur Ogus, emailed me on October 31st 2014 saying that my employment would be terminated in June 2016. I have asked the campus authorities to review the circumstances leading up to that decision and overrule it. I have filed a formal grievance, viewable here, with the aid of my union representative, and a meeting is scheduled for October 20th, 2015 with representatives from the UC Berkeley campus administration. My contract entitles me to a written response within 15 days of that meeting, by November 4th, 2015. I will be communicating the response I receive at this URL when I receive it.

    • Relatives of Black Man Shot by Off-Duty Officer in Texas Question Police Actions

      For 15 minutes, a man shot by an off-duty officer here lay bleeding from two gunshots in his abdomen as the responding officers stood by without providing first aid. At one point, as the victim, a 53-year-old black man, raised his head, an officer used his foot to keep the man’s face on the pavement, according to a dashboard camera video supplied to The New York Times recently by the man’s relatives.

      From the time the episode was first reported, at 2:17 a.m. on July 9, 2014, and including the time the man, Charles K. Goodridge, lay unaided on the ground, it took more than an hour for him to arrive at an emergency room. An hour after his arrival at the hospital in an ambulance, he was dead.

    • How The Tribune Company And The DOJ Turned A 40 Minute Web Defacement Into $1 Million In ‘Damages’

      Last week we wrote about Matthew Keys being found guilty of three CFAA charges which will likely lead to some amount of jailtime for him (the prosecution has suggested it will ask for less than 5 years). While Keys still denies he did anything he’s accused of, the prosecution argues that he took a login to the Tribune Company’s content management system, handed it off to some hackers in an internet forum and told them to mess stuff up. And… so they made some minor vandalism changes to an LA Times article. It took the LA Times all of 40 minutes to fix it. Even if we assume that Keys did do this, we still have trouble seeing how it was any more than a bit of vandalism that deserves, at best, a slap on the wrist. Its ridiculous to say that it’s a form of felony hacking that requires a prison sentence. As we noted in our original article, the Tribune Company and the feds argued that the damage cost the company $929,977 in damage, well above the $5,000 threshold for the CFAA to apply. We still have trouble seeing how the $5,000 could make sense, let alone nearly a million dollars. And it’s important to note that the sentencing guidelines match up with the dollar amount of the “damages” so this actually matters quite a bit for Keys.

    • Iranian media says Post correspondent Jason Rezaian convicted

      Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, imprisoned in Tehran for more than 14 months, has been convicted following an espionage trial that ended in August, Iranian media reported Monday. The verdict — belated and opaque — was strongly condemned by the journalist’s family and colleagues, as well as the U.S. government.

    • Law Enforcement And The Ongoing Inconvenience Of The Fourth Amendment

      The Fourth Amendment somehow still survives, despite the government’s best efforts to dismantle it… or at the very least, ignore it.

      Law enforcement agencies seemingly have never met a warrant they didn’t like. They’ll do everything they can to avoid getting one, even though the process appears to be little more than [INSERT PROBABLE CAUSE] [OBTAIN WARRANT].

      New Jersey was one of the last states to pay lip service to the warrant requirement for vehicle searches, but recently overturned that because it seemed to be too much of an inconvenience for officers (and drivers [but really just officers]). The court noted that the telephonic warrant system no one had bothered using didn’t seem to be working very well, and so the warrant requirement had to go.

      Everywhere else, there’s any number of ways law enforcement officers can avoid seeking warrants. Exigent circumstances, bumbling ineptitude/warrant-dodging d/b/a “good faith,” the Third Party Doctrine, coming anywhere near a national border, dogs that always smell drugs, the superhuman crime-sensing skills of patrolmen, etc.

    • Family sues Eaton County over son’s traffic-stop death

      The family’s decision comes four months after Eaton County Prosecutor Doug Lloyd determined that Sgt. Jonathan Frost’s actions were lawful when he shot and killed Deven Guilford during a traffic stop.

    • 8 Things You Don’t (Want To) Know About TSA Checkpoints

      If you’ve been on an airplane in the last few decades, you’ve had a close encounter of the TSA kind. We’re all annoyed about taking our shoes off, throwing out our sweet pocket machetes, and emptying all of our delicious exotic liquids just to please The Man. We sat down with someone who spent most of the last decade working for the TSA, and he explained to us just what it was like being inside that most hated of organizations …

    • Google, Facebook and peers criticize CISA bill ahead of Senate consideration

      A trade group representing Facebook, Google, Yahoo and other tech and communications companies has come down heavily against the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015, a controversial bill in the U.S. that is intended to encourage businesses to share information about cyberthreats with the government.

      The Computer & Communications Industry Association claims that the mechanism CISA prescribes for the sharing of cyberthreat information does not adequately protect users’ privacy or put an appropriate limit on the permissible uses of information shared with the government.

      The bill, in addition, “authorizes entities to employ network defense measures that might cause collateral harm to the systems of innocent third parties,” the CCIA said in a blog post Thursday.

    • Law-abiding activist faces deportation from UK

      A political activist arrested but not charged during peaceful protests is facing illegal deportation from the UK, his lawyer has claimed.

      It is thought to be the first case of its kind and has raised serious concerns that the right to peaceful protest, which is enshrined in English law, is being eroded.

      Daniel Gardonyi, 34, is Hungarian but has lived in the UK for several years. He is self-employed and has been involved in several high-profile protests, including the occupation of Friern Barnet library in north London and the Sweets Way housing occupation in the borough of Barnet.

    • Holocaust Scholar Debunks Controversial Claims Connecting Gun Control To The Holocaust

      A professor of history and Holocaust studies debunked Ben Carson’s suggestion that fewer people would have been killed in the Holocaust had there been greater access to guns in an op-ed for The New York Times, explaining that such assertions “are difficult to fathom” for anyone “who studies Nazi Germany and the Holocaust for a living.”

      Ben Carson has come under fire after an October 8 interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer where he claimed that the number of people killed in the Holocaust “would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed.” Carson’s comments were immediately called out as “historically inaccurate” by the Anti-Defamation League, but Fox News figures continuously stood by the controversial comments, which parroted an old right-wing media talking point.

    • Teen prosecuted as adult for having naked images – of himself – on phone

      North Carolina high schooler and his girlfriend face legal proceedings over selfies as both the adult perpetrators and minor victims

    • Anger after Saudi Arabia ‘chosen to head key UN human rights panel’

      Wife of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi says move amounts to “a green light to flog him”

    • Gunshots Fired From Sheriff’s Helicopter Kill Pursuit Suspect; NB 215 Fwy Shut Down

      A police pursuit led to a wrong-way crash and fatal gunshots fired from a Sheriff’s Department helicopter Friday afternoon, leaving three people hospitalized and prompting the closure of all lanes of the northbound 215 Freeway just south of the Cajon Pass.

    • China Makes Big Push To Get American Tech Companies To Agree To Its Rules

      China is a big — and quite appealing — market. I think just about everyone recognizes that. But it’s also a troubling market for a variety of reasons, and American tech companies have struggled with how to handle China. Beyond the fact that China often requires American firms to “partner” with a local Chinese firm, China often helps local firms get a leg up on American firms. And, then, of course, there’s the whole “Great Firewall” censorship issue, and concerns about the Chinese government’s desire for greater surveillance powers. Google famously left China about five years ago after it got tired of pressure to change its search results. However, just recently it was reported that Google has (at least somewhat) caved to China with a plan to bring a censored version of the Android Play store to China.

    • Why Backdoors Always Suck: The TSA Travel Locks Were Hacked And The TSA Doesn’t Care

      The TSA, it appears, is just simply bad at everything. The nation’s most useless government agency has already made it clear that it is bad at knowing if it groped you, bad at even have a modicum of sense when it comes to keeping the traveling luggage of citizens private, and the TSA is especially super-mega-bad at TSA-ing, failing to catch more than a fraction of illicit material as it passes by agents upturned noses. And now, it appears, the TSA has demonstrated that it is also bad at pretending to give a shit.

    • CIA torture flights have landed at Prestwick at least 19 times

      The revelation will prove embarrassing for the SNP, which last year called for a full judicial inquiry into Britain’s role in the extraordinary rendition of suspected terrorists.

      Police Scotland are also pursuing a lengthy investigation into claims that rendition flights made refuelling stops in Scotland during the early years of the war on terror.

      Glasgow Prestwick was bought by the Scottish Government for £1 in November 2013, in a move that safeguarded hundreds of jobs in and around the struggling airport.

    • He claimed to be ex-CIA and was quoted as an expert on Fox News. Prosecutors say it was a lie.
    • Fox News guest analyst arrested for lying about working for CIA

      A Fox News guest terrorism analyst was arrested on Thursday after a grand jury indicted him on charges of falsely claiming to have been a CIA agent for decades, US prosecutors said.

    • Fox News analyst arrested for lying about working as a CIA agent

      A Fox News guest terrorism analyst was arrested on Thursday after a grand jury indicted him on charges of falsely claiming to have been a CIA agent for decades, US prosecutors said.

      Wayne Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, bogusly portrayed himself as an “Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Officer” for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1973 to 2000, the US Attorney’s Office for Virginia’s Eastern District said in a statement.

      [...]

      He has appeared on Fox News, a unit of 21st Century Fox Inc , as a guest analyst on terrorism since 2002 and has a wide presence among conservative groups, a profile on Amazon.com said.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • How IMDb Can Be Older Than the First Web Browser

      Here’s a riddle: the Internet Movie Database, the now-ubiquitous website that tracks pretty much every speck of info about movies and TV, will celebrate its 25th birthday on Saturday. But the 25th anniversary of the proposal that gave birth to the World Wide Web won’t come around till November. That means that the website is older than the web.

    • Telstra partners with HP for network function virtualisation

      Australian telco Telstra has partnered with HP, F5, and Nuage to announce a proof of concept for a multi-vendor, open NFV solution.

    • A lucky accident: Net neutrality changed the world for the better, let’s keep it that way

      The concept of network neutrality was unplanned, an accident even, but a lucky one that did more to encourage internet innovation than any purposeful master plan ever could have done.

      The first architects of the internet, primarily researchers in the US, wanted to build a network that would scale, and they decided the best design for such a network would have smart end points (computers) and a ‘dumb’ network that did one thing only, but did it really well, and that was to forward packets as fast as possible. In contrast, the telephone network had dumb end devices (think rotary handsets) but a smart network that handled end-to-end reservations, accounting, billing and other processing.

    • Welcome to hell: Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook and the slow death of the web

      You might think the conversation about ad blocking is about the user experience of news, but what we’re really talking about is money and power in Silicon Valley. And titanic battles between large companies with lots of money and power tend to have a lot of collateral damage.

  • DRM

    • The Obscure 1789 Statute That Could Force Apple to Unlock a Smartphone

      Law enforcement have asked a magistrate judge in the Eastern District of New York to compel Apple, Inc. to unlock (and possibly decrypt) an iPhone. In response, Magistrate Judge James Orenstein has asked Apple to brief the court on “whether the assistance the government seeks is technically feasible and if, so, whether compliance with the proposed order would be unduly burdensome.”


    • There’s No DRM in JPEG—Let’s Keep It That Way

      If you have ever tried scanning or photocopying a banknote, you may have found that your software—such as Adobe Photoshop, or the embedded software in the photocopier—refused to let you do so. That’s because your software is secretly looking for security features such as EURion dots in the documents that you scan, and is hard-coded to refuse to let you make a copy if it finds them, even if your copy would have been for a lawful purpose.

    • Making The Case Against Adding DRM To JPEG Images

      Earlier this year, we wrote about a plan to add DRM to the JPEG standard, meaning that all sorts of images might start to get locked down. For an internet where a large percentage of images are JPEGs, that presents a potentially serious problem. We did note that the JPEG Committee at least seemed somewhat aware of how this could be problematic — and actually tried to position the addition of DRM as a way to protect against government surveillance. However, there are much better approaches if that’s the real purpose.

    • The iPad and your kid—digital daycare, empowering educator, or something bad?

      Researchers want to find out, but the subject (and related science) is complicated.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • With Dotcom Absent, Extradition Hearing Won’t End Today

        Although it was due to end today there’s no end in sight for the extradition hearing of Kim Dotcom and his co-accused. After a series of delays and adjournments the case continued this week, but on occasion without the Megaupload founder present due to a reported bad back.

      • Big Win For Fair Use In Google Books Lawsuit

        For years, Google has been cooperating with libraries to digitize books and create a massive, publicly available and searchable books database. Users can search the database, which includes millions of works for keywords. Results include titles, page numbers, and small snippets of text. It has become an extraordinarily valuable tool for librarians, scholars, and amateur researchers of all kinds. It also generates revenue for authors by helping them reach new audiences. For example, many librarians reported that they have purchased new books for their collections after discovering them through Google Books. Nonetheless, for almost a decade the Authors Guild has argued that its members are owed compensation in exchange for their books being digitized and included in the database.

      • Google book-scanning project legal, says U.S. appeals court

        A U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday that Google’s massive effort to scan millions of books for an online library does not violate copyright law, rejecting claims from a group of authors that the project illegally deprives them of revenue.

        The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York rejected infringement claims from the Authors Guild and several individual writers, and found that the project provides a public service without violating intellectual property law.

        The authors sued Google, whose parent company is now named Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), in 2005, a year after the project was launched.

      • BREAKING: 2nd Circuit confirms that Google Books Library Project is fair use

        Some libraries agreed to allow Google to scan only public domain works, but others also permitted the scanning of in-copyright content. Overall, libraries agreed to abide by the copyright laws with respect to the copies they make.

        Litigation ensued between the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Authors’ Guild on the one hand, and Google on the other hand.

      • How Bad Copyright Law Makes Us Less Safe… And How Regulators Have It All Backwards

        For quite some time we’ve pointed out how problematic Section 1201 of the DMCA is. That’s the part of the law that says it’s copyright infringement to simply circumvent any kind of “technological protection measure” even if the reasons for doing so are perfectly legal and have nothing to do with infringement at all. And, of course, we now have the big “1201 Triennial Review” results that are about to come out. That’s the system that was put in place because even Congress realized just how stupid Section 1201 was and how much innovation and research it would limit — so it created a weird sort of safety valve. Every three years, the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress would work together to come up with classes of technology that are magically “exempted” from the law. Now, normally, you’d think that if you have to come up with exemptions, there’s probably something wrong with the law that needs to be fixed, but that’s not the way this worked.

      • Piracy Claims Are No Basis to Terminate Internet Accounts, Court Hears

        The copyright infringement notices rightsholders send to Internet providers should not lead to account terminations, the EFF and Public Knowledge have told a federal court in Virginia. Both groups submitted their opinion in the case between Cox and two music groups, stating that the interests of millions of subscribers are at risk.

      • ISP Will Disconnect Pirates Following Hollywood Pressure

        Following pressure from Hollywood studios including Viacom, Paramount, and MGM, an Italian ISP is now warning its customers of severe consequences if they persistently share copyright infringing content. In emails to subscribers the ISP warns that accounts will be permanently closed in order to protect the company.

      • Online Piracy Drops in Australia, Thanks to Netflix

        For the first time in years, online piracy rates have dropped significantly in Australia. The downswing coincides with the launch of Netflix, which played a key role as most consumers who say they are pirating less cite legal alternatives as the main reason.

      • Digital Orphans: The Massive Cultural Black Hole On Our Horizon

        Imagine you are a researcher in 2050, researching the history of the Black Lives Matter movement. But you’ve stumbled across a problem: almost every Tweet, post, video or photograph with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter that you want to use in your work is an orphan work (i.e., works whose owners are impossible to track down, but are still covered by copyright). You’d like to ask permission but all you’ve got to go on are usernames from defunct accounts. Where do you go from here?

        [...]

        Instead, the Copyright Office proposes to “solve” the orphan works problem with legislation that would impose substantial burdens on users that would only work for one or two works at any given time. And because that system is so onerous, the Report also proposes a separate licensing regime to support so-called “mass digitization,” while simultaneously admitting that this regime would not really be appropriate for orphans (because there’s no one left to claim the licensing fees). These proposals have been resoundingly criticized for many valid reasons.

      • Are Users to Blame When Pirate Site Admins Go to Jail?

        Who is to blame when torrent and streaming site operators end up in jail?

      • Copyright Scares University Researchers From Sharing Their Findings

        For most researchers the main goal is to publish their research in credible academic journals. Getting published is a victory for them, but one that comes with a downside that’s seldom discussed. In order to get their work accepted they have to sign away their copyrights, which means that they can’t freely share the fruits of their labor.

      • Dotcom case sets Crown back $5.8m

        Crown lawyers have spent nearly 30,000 hours and counting on the Dotcom extradition case.

      • Spammers Flood Google With Fake Takedown Notices

        Google is facing a never-ending flood of takedown requests from copyright holders but there’s also another problem cropping up. Spammers are now submitting takedown notices as well, in the hopes it will indirectly drive traffic to stores selling dubious and counterfeit products.

      • The Pirate Bay Blacklisted By 600 Advertising Companies

        The Pirate Bay and several other locally significant ‘pirate’ sites have been placed on an advertising blacklist. The initiative is the fruit of a collaboration between anti-piracy group Rights Alliance and Swedish Advertisers, an association of advertisers with more than 600 member companies.

      • No Library For You: French Authorities Threatening To Close An App That Lets People Share Physical Books

        It’s not necessarily a new idea. Nearly four years ago, we asked a similar question right here at Techdirt. And even after centuries of having public libraries, we sometimes still see authors lash out at them. And, indeed, you see some weird situations like when people put up little personal libraries in their front yards, people have tried to shut them down, but for being “illegal structures” rather than over the horror of the free lending of books. And you could argue that various attacks on parts of copyright law on the internet really are attacks on the modern form of a library.

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  1. Organising Techrights

    We're tidying up the site so as to make it easier to find past material (by clustering topics programmatically)



  2. Links 26/5/2019: GNOME 3.33.2 and OSS Catchup

    Links for the day



  3. Much Ado About Senators Tillis and Coons (Who Failed in 2017 and in 2018)

    The patent microcosm is attempting to buy laws that supersede the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) and remove/weaken U.S.C. § 101 as well as PTAB while their blogs and sponsored 'articles' serve as lobbying vehicles



  4. European Patents Are Eventually Being Revoked. But at Great Expense to Everyone Except Law Firms.

    European Patent EP2724461 is revoked; but the cost of this chaos, which included an invalid embargo, could well be measured in billions, not millions



  5. Team Campinos Will Try to Make It Difficult to Go on Strike (But Won't Manage to Prevent It)

    The European Patent Office has a long and growing tradition of failing to respect staff's rights, including the right to go on strike (over violations of other rights of staff)



  6. Links 25/5/2019: Wine 4.9 Released, FreeBSD 11.3 Beta, Telegram Launches Fift

    Links for the day



  7. Links 24/5/2019: PostgreSQL 12 Beta 1 and Rust 1.35 Released

    Links for the day



  8. EPO Strikes Further Diminish Chances of UPC Ever Materialising (in Any Shape or Form)

    The EPO crumbles under the weight of its own corruption while an increasingly-insane Team UPC pretends all remains normal and a patent trolls-friendly system is ready to take off



  9. EPO Allegedly Becoming Insolvent (Pretext for Cuts), So Staff Gets Punished While Management Takes the Jackpot

    The corporate 'logic' at the EPO follows the "shareholders' value" propaganda line as if the EPO is a private company looking to maximise revenue rather than serve the public



  10. EPO President Still Not Obeying Courts' Rulings

    Federation of International Civil Service Associations (FICSA) sent a message to António Campinos yesterday (the same day SUEPO publicly made a call for strike)



  11. António Campinos Has Run Out of Time and EPO Staff is Going on Strike (Skipping Mere Protests)

    European Patent Office strikes are to resume; as SUEPO recently put it, people have come to accept that EPO leadership has not really changed and none of the underlying issues is being tackled



  12. Links 23/5/2019: Elisa 0.4.0, OpenSUSE Leap 15.1 Released

    Links for the day



  13. Links 22/5/2019: Mesa 19.0.5, Huawei and GNU/Linux, Curl 7.65.0, End of Antergos, Tails 3.14, ownCloud Server 10.2, Firefox 67.0

    Links for the day



  14. Quality of Patents is Going Down the Drain and Courts Have Certainly Noticed

    Uncertainty or lack of confidence in the patent system has reached appalling levels because heads of patent offices are just striving to grant as many patents as possible, irrespective of the underlying law



  15. EUIPO and EPO Abuses Growingly Inseparable

    'Musical chairs' at CEIPI and the EPO/EUIPO (Battistelli, Archambeau, Campinos) as well as joint reports never fail to reveal the extent to which EPO abuses are spreading



  16. Links 21/5/2019: China's GAFAM Exit, DragonFlyBSD 5.4.3

    Links for the day



  17. Links 20/5/2019: Linux 5.2 RC1, LibreOffice 6.3 Alpha, DXVK 1.2.1, Bison 3.4 Released

    Links for the day



  18. South Korea's Government Will Show If Microsoft Loves Linux or Just Attacks It Very Viciously Like It Did in Munich

    Microsoft's hatred of all things GNU/Linux is always put to the test when someone 'dares' use it outside Microsoft's control and cash cows (e.g. Azure and Vista 10/WSL); will Microsoft combat its longstanding urge to corrupt or oust officials with the courage to say "no" to Microsoft?



  19. Links 19/5/2019: KDE Applications 19.04.1 in FlatHub and GNU/Linux Adoption

    Links for the day



  20. The War on Patent Quality

    A look at the EPO's reluctance to admit errors and resistance to the EPC, which is its very founding document



  21. Watchtroll, Composed by Patent Trolls, Calls the American Patent System “Corrupt”

    Another very fine piece from Watchtroll comes from very fine patent trolls who cheer for Donald Trump as if he's the one who tackles corruption rather than spreading it



  22. Unified Patent Court Won't Happen Just Because the Litigation Microcosm Wants It

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) hopefuls are quote-mining and cherry-picking to manufacture the false impression that the UPC is just around the corner when in reality the UPC is pretty much dead (but not buried yet)



  23. Links 17/5/2019: South Korea's GNU/Linux Pivot, Linux 5.1.3

    Links for the day



  24. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 4: Happy Birthday to the Kötter Group?

    This year the Kötter Group commemorates the 85th anniversary of its existence. But is it really a cause for celebration or would a less self-congratulatory approach be more fitting? And does it create the risk that a routine tendering exercise at the EPO will turn into Operation Charlie Foxtrot?



  25. Links 16/5/2019: Cockpit 194, VMware Acquires Bitnami, Another Wine Announcement and Krita 4.2.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  26. The EPO's Key Function -- Like the UPC's Vision -- Has Virtually Collapsed

    The EPO no longer issues good patents and staff is extremely unhappy; but the Office tries to create an alternate (false) reality and issues intentionally misleading statements



  27. Stanford's NPE Litigation Database Makes a Nice Addition in the Fight Against Software Patent Trolls

    As the United States of America becomes less trolls- and software patents-friendly (often conflated with plaintiff (un)friendliness) it's important to have accurate data which documents the numbers and motivates better policy; The NPE (troll) Litigation Database is a move towards that and it's free to access/use



  28. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 3: “Ein kritikwürdiges Unternehmen”

    A brief account of some further controversies in which the Kötter Group has been involved and its strained relations with German trade unions such as Verdi



  29. EPO Had a Leakage Problem and Privacy of Stakeholders Was Compromised, Affecting at Least 100 Cases

    The confidentiality principle was compromised at the EPO and stakeholders weren't told about it (there was a coverup)



  30. Links 15/5/2019: More Linux Patches and More Known Intel Bugs

    Links for the day


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