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11.15.15

Links 15/11/2015: Wine 1.7.55 and KDE Frameworks 5.16 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Swedish gym goers hit with ‘Bieber torture’

    “Every time you don’t clean up after yourselves, we’ll add another Justin Bieber song to the playlist.”

  • Gatwick terminal evacuated as explosive experts inspect item

    Police were called on Saturday morning to reports of “suspicious actions” on the man’s part. They said explosives ordinance disposal specialist officers at the airport but that it was too early to determine what the item was.

  • [False/drama] Breaking news: Gatwick North Terminal evacuated after armed police arrest a man with a ‘gun in his bag’

    Police said they were called at around 9.30am on Saturday morning following ‘suspicious actions by a man who discarded an item at the airport’.

    In a statement they said that the man was arrested and EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) specialists have been called to the airport to investigate the item.

    Eyewitness Tim Unwin tweeted that the terminal is in a ‘shutdown situation’.

  • BREAKING: Gatwick’s North Terminal evacuated

    GATWICK’S North Terminal has been evacuated this morning.

    There are unconfirmed reported of a “suspicious package” at the site.

  • Warren Mitchell obituary: Alf Garnett and much more

    It was a role he relished and he often returned to it over a period of four decades.

    He was a consummate character actor who took on a wide variety of roles on stage, screen and television.

    And despite playing Johnny Speight’s infamous creation for such a long time, he managed to avoid being typecast as Britain’s favourite bigot.

    Warren Mitchell was actually born as Warren Misell on 14 January 1926 in north London.

  • Ten dead as high-speed TGV train crashes near Strasbourg during test run

    There were sixty technicians on board the high speed TGV train on Saturday when it crashed near Eckwersheim, leaving ten people dead. Local authorities said the train appeared to have “derailed because of excessive speed.”

    The train derailed and caught fire at about 6:15p.m. local time (1700 UTC) according to local press reports. The wreckage fell into a canal.

    The crash happened on the second section of the Paris to Strasbourg high-speed TGV line, which is due to open in April 2016.

  • Strasbourg train crash: Carriages derail and plunge into river during France’s highest ever terror alert

    Five people died and at least seven were injured when a high speed train derailed in France during the country’s highest ever terror alert.

    Early reports suggest the TGV 2369 test train caught fire before overturning and smashing onto its side in Eckwersheim, near to Strasbourg this afternoon.

    The train is thought to have been undergoing a trial run when witnesses said it hit a nearby bridge just before setting fire.

    Crash scene investigators are probing whether the derailment was caused by “excessive speed”.

  • Science

    • In Memoriam: Gene Amdahl 1922-2015

      American computer architect and high-tech entrepreneur Gene Myron Amdahl died Tuesday at the age of 92.

      Amdahl’s wife Marian said he had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for about five years, before succumbing to pneumonia. “We are thankful for his kind spirit and brilliant mind. He was a devout Christian and a loving father and husband. I was blessed with having him as my husband and my best friend. I praise God for His faithfulness to us for more than 69 years.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • On Terror, We’re All Right-wingers Now

      Remember the mood in America just after 9/11? The surge of super-patriotism (dare we say jingoism)? The pall of political correctness (you’re fired, Bill Maher). The phrases that so resonated: “Let’s roll.” “You’re either with us or against us.” “Bring ‘em on.” Something like that is taking hold in France right now after Friday night’s horror, one of the worst terrorist attacks on Western soil since that terrible day 14 years ago.

    • Paris turns to #PorteOuverte to seek, offer shelter
    • Dozens Dead, Scores of Hostages Reported, in “Night of Terror” in Paris

      Meanwhile, an explosion also occurred near the Stade de France, where the French national soccer team was playing against Germany. Hollande, who was attending the game, was evacuated according to French television station iTELE. The explosion could be heard clearly during the game, as captured by the live feed of the match.

    • Hellfire missile ‘evaporated’ Jihadi John: Details of ISIS terror nut’s death revealed

      Mohammed Emwazi was blown up as he climbed into a car near a clock tower in Isis’s Syrian stronghold city of Raqqa where its jihadists have staged hundreds of brutal public executions.

      Last night US officials were “99 per cent sure” the 27 year old from London – branded the world’s most wanted man for the videoed beheadings of at least seven prisoners including two Brits – had been killed.

    • Non-French War Deaths Matter

      We are all France. Apparently. Though we are never all Lebanon or Syria or Iraq for some reason. Or a long, long list of additional places.

      We are led to believe that U.S. wars are not tolerated and cheered because of the color or culture of the people being bombed and occupied. But let a relatively tiny number of people be murdered in a white, Christian, Western-European land, with a pro-war government, and suddenly sympathy is the order of the day.

      “This is not just an attack on the French people, it is an attack on human decency and all things that we hold dear,” says U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. I’m not sure I hold ALL the same things dear as the senator, but for the most part I think he’s exactly right and that sympathy damn well ought to be the order of the day following a horrific mass killing in France.

      I just think the same should apply to everywhere else on earth as well. The majority of deaths in all recent wars are civilian. The majority of civilians are not hard to sympathize with once superficial barriers are overcome. Yet, the U.S. media never seems to declare deaths in Yemen or Pakistan or Palestine to be attacks on our common humanity.

    • China’s Xi says willing to join France in combating terrorism

      China is ready to join France and the international community in stepping up security cooperation and combating terrorism, President Xi Jinping told French President Francois Hollande on Saturday, after attacks in Paris that killed about 120 people.

    • Paris and the Lessons of 9/11

      As terrorists murdered scores of people in Paris on Friday, Americans watching in horror from afar immediately began to show solidarity with the French people. Many harkened back to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when Le Monde declared, “Nous sommes tous Américains,” and French President Jacques Chirac issued repeated expressions of his country’s solidarity with the United States.

      “I have no doubt for a single moment that terrorism, which is always fanatical, mindless, and mad, clearly represents the evil in today’s world. And so we must combat it with the greatest energy,” he told CNN in a representative interview. “The Americans are currently making a great effort, a very effective one, it seems to me, with the search for all the clues and then those to blame, so that they can determine who is at the origin of this murderous folly. And when subsequently it comes to punishment for this murderous folly, yes France will be at the United States’ side.”

    • Stop Patronizing Vets and Start Helping Them

      In the annals of shame and hypocrisy, few things match America’s duplicity toward its veterans.

      For their troubles, they earn lip service from politicians, are allowed to board some airplanes first, receive a few bucks off at restaurants and, once a year, get their own holiday on which everybody expresses support for them. They are also honored at sporting events in ceremonies that, despite appearances, are actually paid for with taxpayer dollars.

      But step away from these feel-good exercises, and you get a bucket of cold water in your face. Let’s take a frank look at the serious problems that veterans are facing every day — and what is or isn’t being done about them.

    • S. Korea-US intelligence cooperation: all the hallmarks of unrequited love

      Relationship can be described as a paradox, where cooperation is more about the US’s own interests

      In an interview with German weekly Der Spiegel, Thomas Drake, a former employee for the US’s National Security Agency (NSA), described the NSA’s relationship with Germany by saying, “It’s a sort of paradox in that relationship.”

      Drake was drawing attention to the fact that, while Germany and the NSA are partners, the NSA does not hesitate to spy on Germany when the US’s national interest is on the line.

    • [Interview] Whistleblower Thomas Drake

      When it comes to the whistleblowing on the NSA, Edward Snowden is not the first one. According to NGO ‘GAP(Governmental Accountability Project)’, Thomas Drake has dedicated his life to safeguarding his country. He served in the Air Force specializing in intelligence, and then worked as a CIA analyst and contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA)for 12 years before joining the NSA full time in 2001. Drake worked at the agency as a software contractor until 2008. When he saw abuse in the billions of dollars spent on the allegedly illegal surveillance program, he took his concerns to his superiors at NSA, to Congress and to the Department of Defense Inspectors General, but nothing changed. Finally, Drake made legal disclosures of unclassified information to a Baltimore Sun reporter. He was prosecuted by Department of Justice under the Espionage Act. He faced the possibility of decades in prison. NGOs and media made this issue public. The DOJ finally dropped all of the Espionage Act charges. Drake pled guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to one year of probation and community service, but lost his pension. The Hankyoreh interviewed with Drake on Oct. 12 for one and half hours through video chat. He declined to disclose specific declassified information but provided worthwhile insight.

    • This government’s inexplicable lack of action on illicit surveillance

      South Korea and the South Korean public have been under complete surveillance from every possible direction. The scope of wiretapping around the world revealed by Edward Snowden, former contractor for the US’s National Security Agency (NSA) and the results of the Hankyoreh’s investigative reporting into the documents he leaked bring about that feeling of shock and horror.

      The “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing group that was led by the US and included four other English-speaking countries was able to monitor online information for anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time. South Korea was no exception.

      This snooping took place at any time that these countries deemed it necessary for their national interest, even when there was no legitimate excuse.

    • Snowden leaks: Lack of homegrown equipment leaves S. Korea vulnerable to hacking
    • Xkeyscore – a form of “intelligence imperialism”

      Xkeyscore is a key program used by the US National Security Agency (NSA) to collect, organize, and search data. Internal NSA documents released by the Intercept describe it as a “DNI [digital network intelligence] exploitation/analytic framework.” It can be used by the NSA to search for information through specific email addresses or keywords. A document stating that the candidate names, genders, email addresses, and the term “candidacy” were used as keywords to search for information during the 2013 election for World Trade Organization director-general gives a hint of the program‘s capabilities.

    • S. Korean government stays mum as Foreign Ministry and SNU are hacked
    • Nicolas Maduro to Denounce US Violation of Venezuelan Airspace

      The Venezuelan president will resort to various international organizations to denounce Washington’s recent violation of the country’s territory.

      Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he will denounce Washington’s new threats against the South American country to international organizations after a United States intelligence plane violated the country’s airspace twice on Friday.

    • Russian plane crash: flight recorder captured ‘sound of explosion’

      The sound of an apparent explosion can be heard on the flight recorder of the Russian-operated plane that came down over the Sinai peninsula, killing all 224 people on board, adding to the evidence that a bomb was smuggled aboard, French media sources said on Friday.

      Giving further credence to the idea that the plane crash was a terrorist act rather than because of structural failure, Russia, which for a week has been resistant to speculation about a bomb, suspended flights to all Egyptian airports.

      An Egyptian-led international team of aviation experts, including some from France, successfully recovered the black box, the flight recorder, from the crash site. Several French media outlets, including the television station France 2, reported that the investigators had listened to it and concluded that a bomb had detonated, which would seem to rule out structural failure or pilot error. The pilots can be heard chatting normally, including contact with airport controllers, up until the apparent explosion.

    • Doctors Without Borders Describes ‘Relentless and Brutal’ U.S. Attack in Afghanistan

      “Patients burned in their beds, medical staff were decapitated and lost limbs, and others were shot by the circling AC- 130 gunship while fleeing the burning building. At least 30 MSF staff and patients were killed,” the introduction to the report says. The dead include 10 patients, 13 staff and seven more bodies that were so badly burned they have not yet been identified.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • EFF files brief calling for greater law enforcement transparency

      EFF has long fought for the public’s right to use federal and state public records laws to uncover controversial and illegal law enforcement techniques. That’s why we filed an amicus brief in a federal appellate court case this week asking it to reconsider a decision that makes it much easier for law enforcement agencies such as the FBI to conceal their activities.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Koch Group Dumps Half Million Dollars in Florida Anti-Solar Campaign

      Consumers for Smart Solar, the group promoting an anti-home-solar constitutional amendment in Florida, has collected half a million dollars from the 60 Plus Association, a group that has itself received at least $34 million since 2010 from organizations financially backed by the Koch brothers.

      Unlike most states, Florida does not allow homeowners to enter into contracts for the no-upfront-cost installation of solar on their homes. In other states, this freedom has contributed to the dramatic 80% increase in home solar installations across the US in 2014, and seen large financial investments from corporations like Google.

      Rival constitutional amendments are being proposed for the Florida ballot in 2016.

      One of these would allow homeowners increased rights to install solar energy; that one is backed by consumer and environmental organizations.

    • Network Evening News Programs Yet To Address What Exxon Knew About Climate Change
    • Magnitude-7 earthquake strikes off southwest Japan

      A tsunami advisory was issued for parts of southern Japan on Saturday after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck off the coast of Kyushu.

    • Japan earthquake: Small tsunami triggered

      A magnitude 7.0 earthquake has struck off Japan’s south-western coast, triggering a small tsunami.

      The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said a 30cm (1ft) tsunami was registered on the southern Nakanoshima island, part of Kagoshima prefecture.

      There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

      A tsunami warning issued for Kagoshima and Satsunan islands was later lifted. The quake happened at a depth of about 10km (six miles).

    • The US Still Hands Out $20 Billion a Year to Fossil Fuel Companies

      Over the years, President Obama has repeatedly called on Congress to kill the sizable subsidies the federal government annually grants to oil companies. “It’s outrageous,” he said in a 2012 speech. “It’s inexcusable. I’m asking Congress: Eliminate this oil industry giveaway right away.”

    • Scientists Warn of Health Damage From Indonesia’s Haze Fires

      Toxic fumes from the Indonesian fires that have spread a choking haze across Southeast Asia may be doing more harm to human and plant health than officials have indicated, scientists measuring the pollution say.

      Farmers are expecting a poor harvest because plants have too little sunlight for normal photosynthesis, while government figures of half a million sickened by the smoke are only the “tip of the iceberg”, said Louis Verchot, a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

    • Indonesia says forest fires could be back in weeks

      Indonesia’s forest fires, which this year sent vast plumes of smoke across the region described by climate officials as a “crime against humanity”, could return as early as February, the forestry minister said on Friday, but on not such a large scale.

      Slash-and-burn agriculture, much of it clearing land for palm oil crops, blanketed Singapore, Malaysia and northern Indonesia in a choking “haze” for months, pushing up pollution levels and disrupting flights, as it does every year.

      But this year was unusually severe.

    • Japanese tech used to extinguish Sumatran blazes

      Major Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas Group, in a tie-up with the central government, conducted a forest-fire extinguishing test on Nov. 5 using a product developed by several small Japanese companies. The exercise puts Japan’s technology into practical use as Indonesia struggles to cope with forest fires and the smoke emanating from them, which pose an ever-worsening problem for Indonesia and neighboring countries.

      The test took place on the outskirts of Palembang, a city on Sumatra Island, in a forest plantation owned by Asia Pulp and Paper Group, where a fire had continued to burn. Asia Pulp and Paper is a member of Sinar Mas Group, which is run by ethnic Chinese.

  • Finance

    • Trans-Pacific Partnership Text Released – a Look at What’s Inside

      The New Zealand government released the final text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, the White House followed suit hours later. The massive trade deal, which includes 12 countries and 40% of the world’s economy, has been shrouded in secrecy until now. Parts of the deal have been leaked along the way, but it’s the first time the public has had a chance to read what may become the the most broad reaching trade deal in history if all the interested countries ratify the treaty. The agreement has enormous implications for global labor, food and product safety, access to affordable medications, the environment and much more. For a look at how the TPP agreement would affect the internet and what access to redress would look like under the corporate-driven agreement, FSRN’s Shannon Young spoke with Evan Greer, Campaign Director of Fight for the Future, a group best known for its advocacy of an open and neutral internet.

    • GOP & Dems just puppets of wealthiest US families – Justice party leader

      The US faces lots of issues right now, from being sucked into a war in Syria to stagnating salaries and a shrinking middle class – and ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, people are looking for a candidate who can actually bring change to the way the country’s been going on in domestic and foreign policies. But what games are the candidates playing? Is the choice of candidates wide enough, or too limited? We ask the former mayor of Salt Lake City and founder of the U.S. Justice party.

    • Aide to Sanders Rips CBS On Last Minute Debate Change to National

      Though careful never to mention Clinton by name, Sanders has drawn a series of contrasts with the former secretary of state on issues that include her backing of the war in Iraq, trade and the minimum wage.

    • US State legislators ‘shocked’ by EU trade deal implications

      When State Senator Virginia Lyons thought it would be wise to develop legislation to reduce harmful electronics waste in her state of Vermont, the last complaint she expected to receive was from the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese it seemed, had issue with how new E-Waste reduction measures for Vermont would impact their sales of electronics to the USA.

    • EU Commission TTIP proposal attacked by MEPs and campaigners

      The European Commission has formally presented its proposed reforms on the controversial investment protection and dispute resolution for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

      The ‘more transparent’ investment court system will replace the so-called investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. It aims to safeguard the right to regulate and create a court-like system with an appeal mechanism based on clearly defined rules, with qualified judges and transparent proceedings.

    • Holly Sklar on Minimum Wage Economics, Nicholas Kusnetz on State Government Transparency
    • With ‘Off-Planet’ Mining Bill, US Congress Seeks to Privatize Outer Space

      In a bipartisan bid to encourage commercial exploitation of outer space, the U.S. Senate this week unanimously passed the Space Act of 2015, which grants U.S. citizens or corporations the right to legally claim non-living natural resources—including water and minerals—mined in the final frontier.

      The legislation—described by IGN’s Jenna Pitcher as “a celestial ‘Finders Keepers’ law”—could be a direct affront to an international treaty that bars nations from owning property in space. The bill will now be sent back to the House of Representatives, which is expected to approve the changes, and then on to President Barack Obama for his anticipated signature.

    • H-1B visa reform bill introduced in US Senate to check ‘abuse of the system’

      The bill would prohibit companies from hiring H-1B employees if they employ more than 50 people and more than 50 per cent of their employees are H-1B and L-1 visa holders.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Five things to watch in tonight’s Democratic debate

      There’s a reason Sanders’ online fundraising operation has caught the eye of Democratic Party leaders nationwide: He raised $3.2 million in just the two days after the last debate — roughly as much as O’Malley raised over June, July, August, and September combined.

    • Prominent Gun Advocate John Lott Was Twice Interviewed By Anti-Semitic Newspaper

      Lott is a well-known pro-gun advocate and frequent source of conservative misinformation about gun violence. He rose to prominence during the 1990s with the publication of his book, More Guns, Less Crime, although his conclusion that permissive gun laws reduce crime rates was later debunked by academics who found serious flaws in his research. (Reputable research indicates that permissive concealed carry laws do not reduce crime and may actually increase the occurrence of aggravated assault.)

    • Media Turn Civilian ISIS Victims in Beirut Into Hezbollah Human Shields

      When civilians are killed, media reaction is often contingent upon who did the killing and why. Instead of blanketly condemning such attacks, the bombing of civilians can be implicitly justified if those civilians were in the wrong place at the wrong time—say, in a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan, or, more recently, in a neighborhood in Lebanon.

      Two ISIS suicide bombers killed at least 43 people and wounded more than 230 in attacks on a heavily Shia Muslim community in Beirut on November 12. This was the worst attack on the city in years.

    • Right-Wing Media Immediately Criticize Obama After He Condemned Paris Attacks

      After President Obama condemned the attacks in Paris, France, calling the attacks “terror” and an “attack on all humanity,” right-wing media personalities immediately attacked Obama, in particular for not criticizing Islam.

    • Ben Carson: Please Believe Me When I Tell You I’m Psycho

      Probably because he’s ahead in the polls, attention is currently focused on Ben Carson’s distant relationship with the truth, most interestingly his story of getting offered a scholarship to West Point. It’s a ridiculous tale given the fact that many young Americans try to get into the military academies (I applied to Annapolis), so a lot of people know the real deal. If you gain acceptance after a grueling application process — I remember a battery of physicals that took all day and having to obtain a sponsorship from a member of Congress — tuition, room and board is free. But you’re committed to serving as a junior officer for six years after graduation.

    • Ben Carson’s New Book Contains Some Surprisingly Progressive Ideas
  • Censorship

    • Quebec Bets on Internet Blocking: New Bill Mandates ISP Blocking of Gambling Websites

      The Government of Quebec has introduced new legislation that requires Internet service providers to block access to unlicensed online gambling sites. The provisions are contained in an omnibus bill implementing elements of the government’s spring budget, which included a promise to establish website blocking requirements. The bill provides that “an Internet service provider may not give access to an online gambling site whose operation is not authorized under Québec law.” The government’s lottery commission will establish the list of banned websites:

    • Post arguing for separation of church and state gets pulled by Facebook

      Earlier this week, an administrator for a private Facebook group called “Winchester, MA Residents” received a notification from Facebook that a comment made on the group’s site had been removed.

      The comment was made beneath a controversial post about a local high school not using the pledge of allegiance, but what was unusual was that the comment in question neither incited violence nor was it harassing—in fact it seemed quite measured in its tone.

      ”Yeah that’s an unfortunate conflation of government and religion,” the commenter wrote. “I’m in favor of removing all references to god from all governmental documents and instruments, including our legal tender.”

      In the notification to the group administrator, Facebook said only that the post had been removed because it didn’t “follow the Facebook Community Standards.”

    • Pirate Bay Censorship Marks the End of Open Internet, ISP Warns

      The ISP under legal pressure to block The Pirate Bay in Sweden has criticized efforts to make the provider an accomplice in other people’s crimes. In a joint statement two key executives of Telenor / Bredbandsbolaget warn that folding to the wishes of private copyright holder interests could mark the beginning of the end for the open Internet.

    • Blocking The Pirate Bay (TPB), Similar Torrent Sites Is Severe Censorship & Will Lead To Demise of Open Internet

      Blocking The Pirate Bay and other file-sharing or torrent sites is glaring example of severe censorship that a Swedish internet service provider or ISP said will eventually curtail the free flow of information that users enjoy. Sweden denying access to TPB will doom the Open Internet concept, a new report said.

    • Can ISPs be asked to block access to The Pirate Bay?

      Can an internet service provider (ISP) be requested to block access to a torrent site like The Pirate bay?

    • Killing of journalists as the cheapest form of censorship

      When we look at the number of resolved crimes against journalists, it turns out that in more than 90 percent of murder cases, those killings are left unresolved, which keeps the executioners safe while the killing of journalist becomes one of the cheapest form of establishing censorship, along with blocking investigative journalism, preventing distribution of progressive ideas and opening the space for debate, etc.

    • When the campus PC police are conservative: why media ignored the free speech meltdown at William & Mary

      Conservative alumni, already suspicion of Nichol, saw this as the long-feared first strike against their heritage and the school’s rightfully Christian identity. They launched a grassroots campaign to pressure the college to reinstate the cross and, if necessary, fire Nichol.

      One of the organizers of this campaign was a former college board member. While writing for the student paper, I once found that she had been ghostwriting student op-eds criticizing Nichol, passing them off to conservative students and encouraging them to publish them in the school paper under their own names. When I asked her about it, she told me that if I reported what she’d done she would use her “connections” in Washington media to make sure I was “toxic” and thus would never find work as a journalist. I mention this not to insert myself into the story, but rather to illustrate that this larger campaign was not some high-minded intellectual debate but rather was experienced on campus as a bitter fight in which activist alumni were not above threatening students.

    • Students Fight Against Censorship in Indiana

      Members of the Portage High School Thespians had been rehearsing Bad Seed for two weeks when they received word from administrators that the play would have to be rewritten to expurgate references to drugs, alcohol, and sex. The students would have none of that.

    • How to deal with censorship? ‘Resist it’

      The best way to address censorship is to resist it, veteran Indonesian writer Goenawan Mohamad said.

    • Salman Khan on ‘religious intolerance’ and PRDP censorship
    • Shocking: Indian Television Censorship Rules That Won’t Let You Say ‘Sex’ And ‘Jesus’

      It was just another lazy afternoon when I was watching a rerun of one of the episodes of my favourite sitcom, Friends, when I heard the beeping of the word ‘boobies’ throughout the entire episode. In the 21st century, it is hard to believe that the ‘watchdogs’ of our Indian society would believe the audience to be this easily excitable when exposed to this word. Not only is it inconvenient for the viewers to watch the same, but it also downrightly rejects their level of intelligence.

    • Boycotting Sam Harris’s ads: Atheist freedom of speech vs. religious censorship

      The truth is, religious groups are granted a unique concession when it comes to the right to be offended. This is not so much about the battle between believers and non-believers, this is a battle between censorship and freedom of speech.

    • The censors must not win: Campus thought police have run amok — but all is not lost

      Yale and the University of Missouri both made headlines last week after students who started out passionately protesting allegations of racism and cultural insensitivity wound up attacking professors’ speech rights and freedom of the press.

    • Trigger or treat: Campus censorship

      The recent debates over free speech and “safe spaces” in the academy may have reached a watershed with last week’s debacle at Yale University, where a group of students had a meltdown over an email defending culturally “insensitive” Halloween costumes. Several video clips of a confrontation in which protesters mobbed a beleaguered administrator went viral on the Internet — serving, one hopes, as a wake-up call for the nation.

    • Protesting Censorship at MACBA, Trio Quits International Museum Committee’s Board
    • How free is the media in Turkey?

      The pre- and post-election period in Turkey has seen a mass of violations meted out against media workers. Here are just five examples of how press freedom is on the wane in Turkey

    • Iran’s Revolutionary Guards target popular messaging app in widening crackdown

      In recent weeks, Iran’s powerful hardline Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has rounded up a number of artists, journalists and U.S. citizens, citing fears of Western “infiltration”.

    • Can Bitcoin Be Censorship-resistant and Regulatory-compliant At The Same Time?

      Over the past few years, there has been an interesting debate going on regarding how Bitcoin should position itself in the regulatory landscape. While the opinions are divided as to how the solution should look like, there may be a third solution hardly anyone has ever thought of. Sometimes it’s not about picking sides, but trying to collaborate with every party involved.

    • Why does Facebook keep censoring atheists in India?

      Three days ago a petition popped up on the website Change.org urging Mark Zuckerberg to “support freedom of expression in India” by unblocking an atheist Facebook group there with over 13,000 members.

      Facebook, the petition said, had not given any reason for the blockade. One day users in India who tried to visit the site were simply hit with a message that the content was “unavailable.” This was not the first time a Facebook page for atheists had been censored in the secular state. In June, another atheist Facebook group was reportedly labeled “unsafe” and its members were unable to share its content.

    • Spotify’s Political Censorship Should Worry Us All
    • Reddit Moderators Censor, Then Un-Censor Video on Campus Censorship

      A video from The Rubin Report discussing the growing culture of censorship on U.S. campuses was recently censored by a moderator on Reddit, despite its popularity among users.

    • A penis and ‘Hootie and the Blowfish’: Colbert’s art censorship bit was a classic

      Last night Stephen Colbert showed a penis on CBS’s The Late Show. Don’t worry, he showed it for only two seconds, the maximum length of time that the network’s censors would allow. He also attempted to show numerous sets of female primary and secondary sex organs, but they were blurred out. For those getting their knickers in a twist and preparing to complain to the FCC about how Colbert is corrupting your children (but, seriously, what were your kids doing up at 11.30pm on a school night?) all of these organs were on works of art. Yes, Colbert can show the statue of David, but only at far remove and only for two whole seconds because that is the country we Americans live in.

    • Watch Stephen Colbert Troll the Censors by Demonstrating What You Can and Can’t Show on CBS

      It’s no secret that TV censors can be arbitrary, bewildering, and sometimes downright goofy. But on Thursday’s Late Show, Stephen Colbert demonstrated just how bizarre—and specific—some of these policies can be. As he discussed the recent sale of Modigliani’s “Nu Couché” (“Reclining Nude”), Colbert noted that several networks, CBS included, won’t display the painting without blurring out, as Colbert put it, “both Hootie and the Blowfish.”

    • Stephen Colbert Answers the Age-Old Question: What Is Porn?
    • Stephen Colbert mocks CBS censorship on ‘The Late Show’ (Video)
    • Yes, The Censorship Of Nude Art Today Is Completely Arbitrary
    • Watch Stephen Colbert Explain CBS’ Odd Censorship Policy
    • Stephen Colbert dares to test the limits of TV censorship on the ‘Late Show’
    • Russia: Blasphemy law has aided the growth of religious censorship
    • Turkish government blocks Reddit
    • Turkey bans Reddit under Internet censorship law
    • Turkey bans access to Reddit under Internet censorship law
    • Turkey blocks Reddit through its internet censorship law
    • Reddit blocked in Turkey under Internet Censorship law
    • Turkey blocks Reddit under its Internet censorship law

      Turkey’s government has blocked Reddit under its Internet censorship law 5651. Under this law, the country’s officials are allowed to ban sites that contain content that is pirated, is pornographic in nature or contains criticism of the current President Mustafa Ataturk.

    • Turkey blocks access to Reddit under controversial censorship law
    • Publishers under pressure as China’s censors reach for red pen

      It was the scrawl of red ink snaking around paragraphs that told novelist Sheng Keyi how much things had changed. Just over a decade ago, Sheng’s best-selling breakthrough novel, Northern Girls, was published uncensored in mainland China to critical acclaim.

      But last month, as editors prepared to launch a third edition of the book, the author was informed that parts of her text were no longer publishable.

      “It is ridiculous,” Sheng complained, pointing to an editors’ manuscript on which a red ballpoint pen had been used to highlight sections that now needed excising. “It doesn’t feel like something that could happen in real life and it makes me quite angry.”

    • Censorship and Criticism

      Don’t get me wrong, my favorite comedian is Louis CK, probably one of the most offensive, least politically correct comedians ever. I personally love his jokes, but maybe others don’t, and guess what? That’s okay. I will not attempt to convince people otherwise. Not everyone likes what everyone else has to say, but labeling criticism of speech as an attack on freedom of speech is a bit overzealous. You can’t tell people what they can and cannot say, but you also can’t mandate how they should respond. We all come from differing backgrounds, which means some buttons are a bit easier to push than others. You might think a rape joke is “funny,” but a sexual assault survivor will not. (I would sincerely hope anyone reading thing does not find rape jokes funny, but, I don’t know, different strokes).

    • TPP trade pact spreads SOPA-like censorship worldwide

      Details of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement were finally released late last week following a secretive, seven-year negotiating process. The purported trade deal’s 6,194 pages of mind-numbing legalese actually cover a wide range of policy questions that have little to do with tariffs, imports, or exports — including a chapter on intellectual property that will likely dismay supporters of an open Internet.

      President Obama may boast that the trade bill eliminates more than 18,000 taxes that countries impose on U.S. exports, but TPP also enshrines the very measures sought by SOPA, a controversial copyright infringement bill that failed in Congress three years ago.

    • Quebec Moves Closer to Censoring Online Gambling
    • Quebec plan to block gambling sites draws cries of censorship

      Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao tabled legislation on Thursday to implement the provincial budget that was announced in March, including amendments to the province’s Consumer Protection Act that direct Internet service providers (ISPs) to “block access” to a list of “unauthorized gambling sites” to be drawn up by Loto-Québec. Failure to comply could lead to a fine of up to $100,000 and twice that for subsequent offences.

    • Making Movies for Democracy in Myanmar

      Myanmar’s government has been notorious for its censorship.

    • As Myanmar counts votes, a Yangon musician pushes political music past censors

      American musicians have it tough, but try making it work in Myanmar. To be an artist in the isolated Southeast Asian country is to face nearly impossible barriers. The Internet is spotty, the music scene virtually nonexistent and every original song must still be approved for release by a government-affiliated censorship board.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • “Heads up, Quentin Tarantino”: Fox News’ Bolling ominously warns “everyone thinks they don’t need a cop until they do”

      Days after the head of the largest police union in the country issued a threat to filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, warning that “something is in the works” after the director dared to speak out against police brutality, Fox News Eric Bolling followed suit, reminding Tarantino that “everyone thinks they don’t need a cop until they do.”

      Bolling, co-host of “The Five,” has repeatedly railed against Tarantino for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Tarantino has recently come under conservative fire after speaking at an anti-police brutality protest last month.

      “Remember the two guys who were executed over here in Brooklyn? In days after that, that protest. People, as Dana [Perino] points out, people look up to Quentin Tarantino,” Bolling asked during a recent show. “They look up to Hollywood actors and directors, and it feeds into that narrative. Cop violence is going up.”

    • Why Hackers Must Eject the SJWs

      The hacker culture, and STEM in general, are under ideological attack. Recently I blogged a safety warning that according to a source I consider reliable, a “women in tech” pressure group has made multiple efforts to set Linus Torvalds up for a sexual assault accusation. I interpreted this as an attempt to beat the hacker culture into political pliability, and advised anyone in a leadership position to beware of similar attempts.

    • Leak Hypocrisy: CIA Employee, Contractor Who Committed Security Breaches Weren’t Prosecuted

      The CIA was relentless in their pursuit of CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who confirmed the name of an undercover operative to a reporter and was successfully prosecuted and jailed by the Justice Department. However, at least one CIA employee and one CIA contractor committed similar breaches of classified information and were not put on trial by the United States government.

      VICE News journalist Jason Leopold obtained documents from the Office of the Inspector General at the CIA, which show the OIG completed 111 investigations of alleged crimes between January 2013 and 2014.

      The Justice Department, according to Leopold, “declined to prosecute a case in lieu of CIA administrative action involving a CIA Special Activities Staff employee who ‘misused government systems by conducting unauthorized, non-official searches on sensitive Agency databases.’ The employee was warned “on more than one occasion to cease [the] behavior but [the employee] continued to conduct unauthorized searches.’”

    • In terrorism war, as in domestic crime fight, lawful policing matters [Ed: Pro-NSA, pro-surveillance]
    • Elite fed interrogation unit training local police, other agencies

      The U.S. government’s elite interrogation unit, formed in the aftermath of the al-Qaeda suspect torture scandal, has been providing extensive training to local police, other federal agencies and friendly foreign governments.

      Since its creation in 2009, the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, overseen by the FBI with members drawn from the bureau, Defense Department and CIA, has sponsored instruction and research for at least 40 agencies, including the Los Angeles and Philadelphia police departments.

      While members of the so-called HIG have been involved in controversial encounters with terror suspects, including interrogations aboard U.S. war ships, HIG Director Frazier Thompson asserted that the group’s techniques bear no resemblance to the abusive treatment exposed following the capture of al-Qaeda suspects wanted for their alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks and during the Iraq War.

    • A Plan to Close Guantánamo Is Coming, Just Not This Week

      Another week has gone by, and the White House still has not rolled out its long-awaited plan to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

      Chatter that the release was imminent picked up over the past week after defense and White House officials said they expected the Obama administration to deliver the document to Congress soon, likely by Friday. But several defense officials confirmed to Foreign Policy on Friday that the plan will not come this week, and they are unsure when President Barack Obama will sign off on it.

    • Police Body Camera Issues and Concerns

      According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, while the federal government is pushing local and state law enforcement agencies to use body cameras for their law enforcement officers, federal law enforcement officers are not using such cameras when performing their own LE duties. According to the article, this is because the federal government hasn’t adapted policies for the use of body cams and the storage of the video.

    • Lee Robert Moore, Secret Service member, arrested on child-sex charges

      A Secret Service officer attached to the White House has been arrested on suspicion of soliciting a child for sex, CNN reported Thursday afternoon.

      Lee Robert Moore turned himself in to federal authorities in Maryland on Monday and has admitted his guilt.

      According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware, Mr. Moore, 37, sent nude pictures of himself and lewd messages to a “14-year-old girl” who was actually an undercover cop. He also asked to meet the “girl” in person for sex.

    • Obama’s Double-Standard on Leaks

      Though President Obama touts America as a nation of laws and evenhanded justice, there is a blatant double-standard regarding how people are punished for national security breaches – whistleblowers are harshly punished but the well-connected get a pass, writes John Hanrahan.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • T-Mobile is writing the manual on how to fuck up the internet

      T-Mobile has just announced “Binge On,” a deal that gives customers unlimited access to Netflix, HBO Go, ESPN, Showtime, and video from most other huge media brands (but not YouTube!). It’s just like T-Mobile’s “Music Freedom” promotion, which gives customers unlimited high-speed data, as long as they’re listening to music from Spotify, Google Play Music, or one of T-Mobile’s other partners. It sounds like a sweet deal, and many customers will benefit! But it’s dangerous for the internet. When John Herrman writes that the next internet is TV — and you should believe him — this is part of how we get there. You know that viral picture that shows ISP internet bundles being sold as cable packages? That’s basically what’s happening here, except it’s more difficult to stop because, as the FCC might say, there’s “no obvious consumer harm” in giving people free stuff.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • U.S. and MPAA Protest Return of Megaupload’s Servers

        A possible release of Megaupload’s servers, containing millions of files of former users as well as critical evidence for Kim Dotcom’s defense, is still far away. Responding to questions from the federal court, the MPAA says that it’s gravely concerned about the copyrighted works stored on there. The U.S. Government, meanwhile, doesn’t want Megaupload to use ‘illicit’ money to retrieve any data.

      • The Reprobel decision: fair compensation justified by actual harm (so is it OK to have a levy-free private copying exception?)

        This reference originated in the context of litigation between Hewlett-Packard (HP) and collective management rights organisation Reprobel.

        In 2004 the latter informed HP that the sale of multifunction devices entailed payment of a levy of EUR 49.20 per printer, and – from what this Kat understands – this should apply retrospectively.

        In 2010 HP summoned Reprobel before the Court of First Instance of Brussels, seeking a declaration that no remuneration was owed for the printers which it had offered for sale, or, in the alternative, that the remuneration which it had paid corresponded to the fair compensation owed pursuant to the Belgian legislation, interpreted in the light of the InfoSoc Directive.

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