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01.23.16

Links 23/1/2016: New Kali Linux, Google Teams with Red Hat

Posted in News Roundup at 12:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Opinion: Open source for all mankind

    Thankfully there’s a better way. Whether in reference to technology or a political ideology, open source is about self-determination. It’s about individuals developing products and projects, taking responsibility and being open to criticism and change. It fosters a healthy, meritocratic ecosystem of shared, mutually improving ideas. Crucially, the open-source attitude manifests a level of respect and equality between developer and user, government and citizen.

  • Verizon Joins ONOS Open-Source SDN Project

    Verizon is the latest major service provider to join the ONOS open-source network virtualization initiative, joining other carriers like AT&T, NTT Communications, China Unicom and SK Telecom in the effort.

    Verizon officials said Jan. 21 that they joined the ONOS (Open Network Operating System) in hopes of accelerating the development of open-source software-defined networking (SDN) and network-functions virtualization (NFV) offerings that their company and other carriers can use.

  • How getting started in open source can help your career

    When contributing to open source projects and communities, one of the many benefits is that you can improve your tech skills. In this article, hear from three contributors on how their open source helped them get a job or improved their career.

  • Verizon Joins the ONOS Project Partnership
  • Verizon Looks to ONOS for Faster Transformation
  • NFV/SDN Reality Check: ONOS project updates open source SDN progress – Episode 44
  • Verizon Becomes Newest Telecom to Join ONOS Open Source SDN Project
  • Verizon Joins ONOS SDN Partnership
  • ONOS Delivers Astounding Adoption and Momentum among its Community of Service Providers and Innovators
  • Verizon joins ONOS project partnership
  • Verizon hooks up with ONOS project, joining AT&T, SK Telecom
  • Verizon signs up for ONOS Project
  • Verizon joins AT&T, others at ONOS project in boost to open source SDN
  • Verizon Joins ONOS
  • Telecom Providers Worldwide Are Flocking to NFV Plus OpenStack

    As this year began, we spotted a lot of action from telecom players and the open source community surrounding Network Function Virtualization (NFV) technology. Red Hat and NEC Corporation said that they formed a partnership to develop NFV features in he OpenStack cloud computing platform, with the goal of delivering carrier-grade solutions based on Red Hat’s OpenStack build.

    Telecom companies have traditionally had a lot of proprietary tools in the middle and at the basis of their technology stacks. NFV is an effort to combat that, and to help the parallel trends of virtualization and cloud computing stay as open as possible. Now, The OpenStack Foundation has released a comprehensive report on the adoption and business cases driving NFV deployment among the world’s leading telecom providers. Titled “OpenStack Foundation Report: Accelerating NFV Delivery with OpenStack,” the report paints a bright future for NFV with close ties to the OpenStack cloud platform.

  • Google Open Sources Dataflow Analytics Code through Apache Incubator

    Google is open-sourcing more code by contributing Cloud Dataflow to the Apache Software Foundation. The move, a first for Google, opens new cloud-based data analytics options and integration opportunities for big data companies.

    Cloud Dataflow is a platform for processing large amounts of data in the cloud. It features an open source, Java-based SDK, which makes it easy to integrate with other cloud-centric analytics and Big Data tools.

  • ONOS project updates open source SDN progress on 1-year anniversary
  • Plerd: A Dropbox-friendly Markdown blog platform

    Jason McIntosh had a problem: He’d gotten out of the habit of writing long-form blog posts. A decade before, he’d been a regular on LiveJournal, but that platform is getting a little long in the tooth, and he wanted something that was more in line with his current writing habits. As a fan of Markdown, he wanted something where he could just drop Markdown files in a spot, and the blog would be built from those.

  • Events

    • 11 steps to running an online community meeting

      Open organizations explicitly invite participation from external communities, because these organizations know their products and programs are world class only if they include a variety of perspectives at all phases of development. Liaising with and assisting those communities is critical. And community calls are my favorite method for interacting with stakeholders both inside and outside an organization. In this article, I’ll share best practices for community calls and talk a little about how they can spur growth.

    • SCALE 14X Thursday: New Morning in Pasadena

      A SCALE staple is PostgreSQL Days, which have taken place for years at the Southern California event. This year it’s a two-day, two-track event of sessions designed for a general audience of web developers, sysadmins, DBAs and open source users. As usual, talks will have significant technical content. For those of you keeping score at home, PostgreSQL is a powerful, open source object-relational database system, with more than 30 years of active development and a proven architecture that has earned it a strong reputation for reliability, data integrity, and correctness.

      The cherry atop the SCALE 14X sundae on Thursday, as you might expect, comes in the evening when FOSS raconteur Bryan Lunduke brings his humorous “Linux Sucks” presentation, this time accompanied by a live broadcast and a book, to SCALE. Give him an hour, he says, and he’ll prove it.

    • IoT Summit: An Opportunity to Learn What Open Source Can Offer IoT

      The Eclipse IoT community has grown significantly over the last 1-2 years. There are now 20+ Eclipse IoT projects building open source technology for IoT solutions. We are well on our way to providing the key building blocks developers need to build IoT solutions.

    • Drupal Higher-Ed Summit

      We are pleased to announce that we are bringing the First Drupal Higher-Ed Summit to Mumbai this 18th Feb 2016. The event focuses on the Drupal and Open Source in Education.

    • Meet Guix at FOSDEM!

      One week to FOSDEM! This year, there will be no less than six Guix-related talks. This and the fact that we are addressing different communities is exciting.

    • SCaLE 14x, day 1: Shuttleworth delivers the grand vision for Ubuntu

      Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE) 14x in kicked off yesterday, January 21. The highlight of the was a keynote by Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth at UbuCon Summit, a co-hosted event at SCaLE 14x.

      Some technical issues with the projector at the beginning of Shuttleworth’s presentation led him to quip that Ubuntu is “moving so fast that we have warped the colors on the screen.”

    • SCALE 14X: Making the Mark and Getting Ready for Doctorow

      One of the drawbacks of having to work a show like SCALE is that I don’t get to go to enough sessions while I’m here. As the traffic cop at the intersection of old and new media, it’s my job to marshal the publicity team’s forces into taking the information happening at the show and then processing it for the wider public consumption.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox OS

        Firefox OS has demonstrated that it’s a very flexible platform. It has the potential to run on a wide range of devices, such as TVs and IoT gadgets. As long as Mozilla can find some persuasive use cases for manufacturers, it has a good chance of making an impact in these emerging fields.

      • Announcing Rust 1.6

        Hello 2016! We’re happy to announce the first Rust release of the year, 1.6. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

        As always, you can install Rust 1.6 from the appropriate page on our website, and check out the detailed release notes for 1.6 on GitHub. About 1100 patches were landed in this release.

      • Rust Lang 1.6 Stabilizes Libraries

        The Mozilla-backed crew working on the Rust programming language announced the release today of Rust v1.6 as their first new version of 2016.

      • Former Mozilla CEO reveals Brave, a browser that speeds up the Web by blocking all ads

        Brendan Eich, co-founder of Mozilla and for an 11-day stint, its CEO, yesterday announced a new browser called “Brave,” that blocks outside online ads and ad tracking.

        Brave, which was at version 0.7—denoting its under-construction and fit-for-developers-and-other-strong-hearts-only status—is for Windows and OS X on the desktop, iOS and Android on mobile. The browser does not have a final code launch date or one for a public preview. Users may sign up for notification when betas become available.

        In a post to the browser’s website, Eich, Brave’s CEO and president, touted the new browser’s model, which rests on blocking ads and all other tracking techniques used by websites to pinpoint their visitors and show them online advertisements.

      • WebGL Can Be Moved Off The Main Thread With Latest Firefox

        With Firefox 44 and newer it will be possible to move the WebGL rendering work off the main processing thread.

        With Firefox 44 when setting the gfx.offscreencanvas.enabled option, it’s possible to move the WebGL rendering work off the main thread and to allow for the alternative thread(s) to change what is displayed to the user. “This API is the first that allows a thread other than the main thread to change what is displayed to the user. This allows rendering to progress no matter what is going on in the main thread…Developers will now be able to render to the screen without blocking on the main thread, thanks to the new OffscreenCanvas API. There’s still more work to do with getting requestAnimationFrame on Workers. I was able to port existing WebGL code to run in a worker in a few minutes. For comparison, see animation.html vs. animation-worker.html and worker.js.”

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Why open source is the ‘new normal’ for big data

      As a provider of integration technologies for that platform, Talend has placed a significant bet of its own on Hadoop, Spark, and open source in general, so Tuchen’s enthusiasm isn’t exactly surprising. Talend offers products focused on big data, cloud and application integration, among others, and all are based on open-source software.

      Still, Talend’s bet seems to be paying off. The company will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year, and it claims big-name customers like GE, Citi, Lufthansa, Orange and Virgin Mobile. It’s also in the middle of a major expansion. At the end of 2015, it was selling its products in five countries; by end of this year, it will be selling in 15, Tuchen said. Making that happen will mean hiring about 200 new people, he said, bringing the company’s total head count to about 750.

  • Databases

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • And So It Begins! Microsoft Asks Node.js to Allow ChakraCore (Edge) Alongside Google’s V8 Engine

      Microsoft has submitted an official “pull request” (term used on GitHub for merging two pieces of code) to the Node.js project, through which it’s asking the project’s maintainers to enable support for ChakraCore, the JavaScript engine packed inside Microsoft’s Edge browser.

    • EMC reinvigorated: Automation, open-source and versatile integration

      As the calendar rolls on into 2016, the buzz around the Dell-EMC merger has slightly diminished, but EMC’s activity behind the media relations has in no way cut its workload. With its presence in dozens of countries continuing to grow and a wide array of IT development opening up new avenues for it each day, the merger seems to have EMC’s activity reinvigorated.

    • Bloomberg releases API and online tools to boost open source FIGI [Ed: no source code AFAICT]

      Bloomberg is adding new features to increase the accessibility of its FIGI open source financial instrument identification system. The new online tools are intended to make it easier for instrument issuers to request identifiers and for exchanges, data providers, custodians and others to map other third-party identifiers to FIGI.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Licensing

    • No single license to success

      OSI (Open Source Initiative) has tracked many licenses and approved some as well, maintaining a list of the nine most widely used and popular. Each license has its unique requirements and benefits from the reciprocity of GPL (GNU General Public License) to the permissive MIT. Each has its strong proponents and opponents. Some feel that without GPL’s compulsion human greed will end open source as we know it. Others feel that freedom is the key to success and such compulsion hinders creative use.

      The reality is that the strength of open source is in its diversity, including a diversity of licenses. No single license has been nor will be the pivotal point to open source success. License diversity is very evident from the data gathered by the Black Duck Knowledgebase. A quick view of the top 20 licenses used in open source projects today shows an even spread.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Idealist: Aaron Swartz And The Rise Of Free Culture On The Internet

      Two weeks ago, our book of choice was a collection of Aaron Swartz’s writings. And this week, it’s a new book by Justin Peters not only about Swartz, but also about the rise of free culture online, putting Swartz’s ideas and actions into context, called The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet. I have to admit that I had no idea this book had even come out until I heard a wonderful interview with Peters over on On the Media (and, for what it’s worth, in a separate podcast, OTM’s Brooke Gladstone said that the interview was so good that they struggled to figure out how to edit it down — so I wonder if they’ll release an even longer version as a “podcast extra.”)

Leftovers

  • How this blogger became one of the most influential voices in tech policy

    In May 2003, the legal website The Smoking Gun posted a short item titled “Barbra Sues Over Aerial Photos.” Kenneth Adelman, an environmentalist who takes aerial photographs of California’s coastline for the benefit of scientists and researchers, had inadvertently captured an image of singer and actress Barbra Streisand’s home. The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleged that by posting the image to his website, Adelman had provided a “road map into her residence” and “clearly [identified] those routes that could be used to enter her property.” On page 9 of the lawsuit it states that “there is no telling how many people have downloaded the photograph of [Streisand’s] property and residence on their computer.”

    In the coming weeks it would emerge that, up until the lawsuit was filed, the image of Streisand’s house had only been accessed six times, two of which were by her lawyers. And because of the engendered press from the lawsuit, it was then visited more than 420,000 times in just the first month after it was filed. Not only did Streisand later lose the lawsuit, but it had produced the very result her lawyers had set out to avoid: drawing attention to her property.

  • Call Of Duty Again Sued Over Another Historical Figure… Who Is A Good Guy In The Game

    You may recall that Activision’s Call of Duty games have already been the subject of a lawsuit by a historical figure. Previously, notorious figure Manuel Noriega brought a publicity rights case against the game company in the United States, claiming that the game depicted him without his permission. Pretty much everyone agreed that Activision was on solid First Amendment grounds in depicting a historical figure, including Rudy Giuliani, who galloped in to represent Activision and quickly got the case summarily dismissed.

  • Happy Bier-thday: German beer purity law celebrates 500yrs

    Raise a stein to Germany’s famous beer purity law known as “das Reinheitsgebot” as it celebrates its 500th birthday this year.

    What started out as an order in the duchy of Munich became Bavaria’s law of the land on April 23, 1516, after reunification.

    In 1871 Bavaria insisted on national acceptance before unification with Germany, ending the market for beer from Northern Germany which contained spices and cherries.

  • How new money has ruined Sesame Street

    Over on Showtime, a new show called Billions just got going in which Damian Lewis plays hedge-fund manager Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, with Paul Giamatti as the US attorney eyeing Axelrod for insider trading. The obvious characterisation would have been to make Axelrod a villain, the embodiment of the world’s intolerance for financiers. Instead, he is a sympathetic version of an Alan Sugar type, a kid from the wrong side of the tracks made good. Perhaps his psychopathy will emerge, but for now the show has pulled off a very tough feat and made one root for the billionaire.

  • How I ended up paying $150 for a single 60GB download from Amazon Glacier

    In late 2012, I decided that it was time for my last remaining music CDs to go. Between MacBook Airs and the just-introduced MacBook Pro with Retina Display, ours had suddenly become a CD-player-free household.

  • Science

    • BLOG: Embracing foreign investment in homegrown high-tech may help Japan build an IP value creation culture

      We learned yesterday that Taiwan’s Foxconn (otherwise known as Hon Hai) has offered to pay as much as $5.3 billion to take over Japan’s struggling Sharp, potentially trumping a possible rescue package being put together by public-private technology-focused investment fund Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ). This is the latest in a series of actual and rumoured attempts made by Foxconn to gain a foothold in the ailing Japanese company – underlining just how valuable Sharp’s IP assets and other intangibles are considered to be, not just to for the wellbeing of Japanese industry, but for foreign players too.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • They Tell Us Nothing But Lies — Paul Craig Roberts

      Litvinenko’s brother and father say that they “are sure that the Russian authorities are not involved. It’s all a set-up to put pressure on the Russian government.” Maksim Litvinenko dismisses the British report as a smear on Putin.

    • Petraeus: ‘It’s Time to Unleash America’s Airpower in Afghanistan’

      To begin, Petraeus’ statement that airpower in 2001 “ousted the Taliban,” a statement made without apparent irony, would be hilarious if it was not utterly tragic. Petraeus seems to have missed a few meetings, at which he would have learned that since those victories in 2001 the Taliban has been doing just fine, thanks. The U.S. has remained inside the Afghan quagmire for more than 14 more years, and currently has no end game planned for the war. Air power, with or without “a motivated and competent ground force” (as if such a thing can ever exist in Afghanistan, we’ve been training and equipping there for 14 years), never is enough. There are examples to draw from going back into WWI.

    • Afghanistan Bans Toy Guns to Curb Culture of Violence

      This one’s so funny that it must be some kind of U.S.-led initiative; I can’t believe the Afghans have this kind of a sense of humor.

      But whatever the origin, Afghanistan banned the sale of imitation Kalashnikovs and other toy guns after they caused injuries to more than 100 people during the last Eid celebrations. Children toting toy guns that fire rubber or plastic pellets are a common sight in the country during Eid al-Fitr, with sales surging every year amid festivities marking the end of Ramadan.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • CMD Submits Evidence of ExxonMobil Funding ALEC’s Climate Change Denial to California Attorney General

      The Center for Media and Democracy, a national watchdog group exposing corporate influence on democracy, has submitted evidence to California Attorney General Kamala Harris showing how ExxonMobil has promoted climate change denial through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). CMD believes this information is relevant to her office’s investigation into whether ExxonMobil deceived its shareholders and the public about the impact that burning fossil fuels has on climate change.

      “ExxonMobil has bankrolled ALEC for decades and has a seat on ALEC’s corporate board, as ALEC has plied legislators with disinformation and denial about climate change and pushed legislation and resolutions to block crucial federal and state efforts to address the climate crisis,” said Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice under both Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Janet Reno.

    • Haze crisis cost Indonesia almost 2% of GDP, World Bank says

      A
      Forest fires in Indonesia last year cost the country at least $16 billion in economic losses, equivalent to 1.9 percent of its gross domestic product, according to the World Bank.

    • Indonesia’s Fires Blamed For Potent Greenhouse Gases

      Indonesian fires that are expected to flare up again in the coming months may affect temperatures far away from the nation’s watery borders.

      Carbon dioxide and methane from the fires is already known to be accelerating global warming, and new research is linking high levels of another potent greenhouse gas with forest and peat fires in Indonesia and elsewhere.

    • Land-clearing fires cost Indonesia lives and $16 billion last year—and they’re starting again

      This week Indonesian president Joko Widodo warned that forest fires are once again starting to appear in the country, and called upon citizens to avoid a repeat of last year’s haze crisis, described by some as a “crime against humanity.” During that months-long disaster, large areas of Southeast Asia were smothered in toxic smoke, forcing school closures, flight cancellations, and respiratory problems (even deaths in some cases). The haze was caused by fires sparked to cheaply clear land for agricultural uses, especially palm oil.

  • Finance

    • Canada may “scrub” CETA rule allowing corporations to sue governments but we’ll keep it in the TPP?

      Remind us why this is supposed to be a good idea?

      The Government of Canada appears to be tiptoeing away from a controversial provision in a new trade deal with the European Union at the same time as they’re plowing ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes a similarly controversial provision.

      According to CBC News, Canada and the EU are quietly discussing how to “scrub” a clause from CETA (the “Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement” between Canada and the EU) that would allow multinational corporations to sue governments for passing laws that get in the way of their business interests.

    • Dangerous Regulatory Duet

      How transatlantic regulatory cooperation under TTIP will allow bureaucrats and big business to attack the public interest

    • Graft allegations hit ally of Japan PM

      A Japanese minister who was the country’s top negotiator for a huge trans-Pacific trade deal was accused of corruption on Thursday, piling pressure on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ahead of parliamentary elections this year.

      Weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun claimed that Economy and Fiscal Policy Minister Akira Amari, who also serves as Japan’s chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and his staff accepted a 12 million yen ($102,000) “bribe” from a construction firm.

      The allegations against a key ally of the prime minister come ahead of upper house elections in July and as the government looks to ratify the TPP, a massive multi-nation deal of which Japan has been a key player.

    • 10 textbook firms rewarded 4,000 officials

      Ten textbook publishing companies showed a total of about 4,000 teachers and other officials textbooks under screening, and gave cash or book vouchers — or both — to each of them after fiscal 2009, with the cash worth ¥3,000 to ¥50,000, according to a survey by the education ministry, details of which were announced Friday.

    • Google to pay UK £130m in back taxes
    • Google agrees £130m UK tax deal with HMRC

      Google has agreed to pay £130m in back taxes after an “open audit” of its accounts by the UK tax authorities.

      The company had been accused of “not paying its fair share” of tax, and criticised for complex tax structures.

      Senior figures at the technology company have said that they want to draw a line under the issue.

    • Poverty may alter the wiring of kids’ brains

      Growing up poor is known to leave lasting impressions, from squashing IQ potential to increasing risks of depression. Now, as part of an effort to connect the dots between those outcomes and identify the developmental differences behind them, researchers have found that poverty actually seems to change the way the brain wires up.

      Compared to kids in higher socioeconomic brackets, impoverished little ones were more likely to have altered functional connections between parts of the brain. Specifically, the changes affected the connections from areas involved in memory and stress responses to those linked to emotional control. The finding, appearing in The American Journal of Psychiatry, suggests that poor kids may have trouble regulating their own emotional responses, which may help explain poverty’s well-established link to depression and other negative mood disorders.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • US experts gird Finnish officials for information war

      Behind closed doors, about 100 Finnish state officials have this week been undergoing training in American-style management of public information. The most concrete advice they’ve received from US lecturers? Avoid repeating false claims.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Leaked Savile report: Paedophile ‘could be lurking undiscovered in the BBC’

      A PAEDOPHILE could still be lurking undiscovered at the BBC according to a leaked report which also claims the whistle blowing culture at the BBC is now “worse” than in sick Jimmy Savile’s time.

    • Another Lawmaker Is Trying To Create A Photography-Free Zone For Police Officers

      A former cop is trying to legislate some First Amendment-violating protection for his blue-clad brothers. Everyone’s carrying a camera these days and Arizona Senator John Kavanaugh wants them to be as far away as possible from police officers performing their public duties. Ken White (aka Popehat) summarizes the proposed legislation for FaultLines.

    • Body Cam Footage Leads To Federal Indictment Of Abusive Las Vegas Cop

      Body cameras are working as intended. Of course, this is a very limited sampling and the fact that anything happened at all to the abusive cop was reliant on him being either too stupid or too arrogant to shut his body-worn camera off.

    • How The UK’s Counter-Terrorism And Security Act Has Made Law Enforcement Into The Literal Grammar Police

      We’ve already talked a couple of times about the intersection with the UK’s disastrous Counter-Terrorism and Security Act and its intersection with the country’s educational system. As part of its effort to weed out terrorists, the UK tasked teachers with keeping a watchful eye on their students to try to identify those that would be radicalized in the future, a concept that sounds like something out of Airstrip One rather than England. Shortly thereafter it was discovered that a software package that teachers had been given to help with this was exploitable in the typically laughable ways. But the tech isn’t the only shortfall here. As one would expect when you take a group of people whose profession has in absolutely no way prepared them to act as counter-terrorism psychologists and ask them to be just that, it turns out that the human intelligence portion of this insane equation is off by several integers as well.

    • After FBI briefly ran Tor-hidden child-porn site, investigations went global

      In 2015, the FBI seized a Tor-hidden child-porn website known as Playpen and allowed it to run for 13 days so that the FBI could deploy malware in order to identify and prosecute the website’s users. That malware, known in FBI-speak as a “network investigative technique,” was authorized by a federal court in Virginia in February 2015.

      In a new revelation, Vice Motherboard has now determined that this operation had much wider berth. The FBI’s Playpen operation was effectively transformed into a global one, reaching Turkey, Colombia, and Greece, among others.

    • FBI “took over world’s biggest child porn website”

      The FBI took over the world biggest child pornography website in a sting operation intended to catch viewers of sexual images of children sometimes “barely old enough for kindergarten”, it has been revealed.

    • FBI ran website sharing thousands of child porn images

      For nearly two weeks last year, the FBI operated what it described as one of the Internet’s largest child pornography websites, allowing users to download thousands of illicit images and videos from a government site in the Washington suburbs.

      The operation — whose details remain largely secret — was at least the third time in recent years that FBI agents took control of a child pornography site but left it online in an attempt to catch users who officials said would otherwise remain hidden behind an encrypted and anonymous computer network. In each case, the FBI infected the sites with software that punctured that security, allowing agents to identify hundreds of users.

    • FBI May Have Hacked Innocent TorMail Users

      Back in 2013, the FBI seized TorMail, one of the most popular dark web email services, and shortly after started to rifle through the server’s contents.

      At the time, researchers suspected the agency had also deployed a network investigative technique (NIT)—the FBI’s term for a hacking tool—to infect users of the site. Now, confirmation of that hacking campaign has come about buried in a Washington Post report on the FBI’s recent NIT usage.

      Even more questions have now been raised, however. In particular, it’s unclear whether the hacking was carried out on a much larger scale than the FBI is letting on, possibly sweeping up innocent users of the privacy-focused email service.

    • Administration Says Child Porn Provides A ‘Model’ For Hunting Terrorists Online

      The administration is trying to draft tech companies into the War on Terror. Encryption — despite being given an unofficial “hands-off” by President Obama — is still being debated, with FBI Director James Comey and a few law enforcement officials leading the charge up the hill they apparently want to die on.

      One of the aspects discussed was how to deter online communications involving terrorists. Trying to deputize tech companies is a non-starter, considering the potential for collateral damage. But that’s not stopping the administration from trying to do exactly that, and it’s willing to deploy the most terrible participant in its parade of horrors.

    • Australia’s day for secrets, flags and cowards

      On 26 January, one of the saddest days in human history will be celebrated in Australia. It will be “a day for families”, say the newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch. Flags will be dispensed at street corners and displayed on funny hats. People will say incessantly how proud they are.

      For many, there is relief and gratitude. In my lifetime, non-indigenous Australia has changed from an Anglo-Irish society to one of the most ethnically diverse on earth. Those we used to call “New Australians” often choose 26 January, “Australia Day”, to be sworn in as citizens. The ceremonies can be touching. Watch the faces from the Middle East and understand why they clench their new flag.

    • UK Police Deny Misspelling Led To Investigation, Say It Was Other Schoolwork Instead

      We had just relayed a story via the BBC about an elementary school kid in the UK earning a visit to his home from the authorities after writing in an English assignment that he lived in a “terrorist house”, when he reportedly was trying to say he lived in a “terraced house.” The crux of this story was that the UK’s Anti-Terrorism law, which requires that school teachers act as surveillance agents for the state in an attempt to weed out future-radicalized will-be-terrorists is a policy built for unintended chaos, given that teachers are neither trained nor properly equipped to fulfill this role. The resulting visit to the boy’s home by the authorities from a misspelled word was billed as an example of this overreach by government.

    • Royal pair’s ‘scandalous’ Saudi Arabia plans slammed

      But controversy surrounding Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and recent political developments in the country, which applies a strict interpretation of Islamic law, has caused a number of participants to reconsider their involvement, according to the TV2 report.

      Spokesperson Nikolaj Villumsen of the left-wing Enhedslisten party was harshly critical of the proposed official visit.

      “I think it is completely scandalous, if it’s true that the royal family and industry representatives are on their way to Saudi Arabia,” Villumsen told TV2.

      “[Saudi Arabia] is a brutal dictatorship where supporters of democracy are whipped, dissidents are beheaded and princes throw millions at Isis and other extremists. This is not a country that should be receiving official visits from Denmark,” he continued.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Platform Loyalty

      The concept of “Neutrality of the platforms”, or “Loyalty of the platforms”, emerged among editors and web hosts that suffer or question the commanding position of major players of the Web, particularly in the USA and in other English speaking countries.

      These notions of “loyalty” and “neutrality” of the platforms may have been used to divert MPs from the debate on Net Neutrality.

      Platform loyalty should be envisaged in an environment where questions of the user’s control of its digital terminals (computer, tablet, mobile phone, other connected objects such as the ones referred to when talking about the “quantified self”, etc.), monopoly positions of some companies, problematics of tax system and revenue sharing are more and more intricate.

    • BT should be forced to sell Openreach service, report says

      BT should be forced to sell the country’s leading broadband provider because of poor performance, a report backed by 121 cross-party MPs has said.

      The report, commissioned by ex-Tory chairman Grant Shapps, said BT’s Openreach service had only partially extended superfast broadband despite £1.7bn of government money.

      It should be sold off to increase competition, the report added. BT should be forced to sell the country’s leading broadband provider because of poor performance, a report backed by 121 cross-party MPs has said.

      The report, commissioned by ex-Tory chairman Grant Shapps, said BT’s Openreach service had only partially extended superfast broadband despite £1.7bn of government money.

      It should be sold off to increase competition, the report added.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Pirate Party politics

      Each Pirate Party, whether in the UK or Sweden, operates independently rather than as one organisation and has seen varying degrees of success. Iceland’s Pirate Party is now the largest political party in the country, with high hopes for the 2017 general election. In the UK the Pirate Party is looking to increase its supporters and active members over the next year as well as contesting a number of seats in the May 2016 local elections.

    • WIPO Conference on IP and Development Provisional Programme Is Out
    • Copyrights

      • They put a Pirate Party MEP in charge of EU copyright reform: you won’t believe awesomesauce that followed

        Julia Reda, the sharp-as-a-tack Member of the European Parliament for the German Pirate Party, has just tendered her draft report on copyright reform in the EU. It is full of amazingly sensible suggestions.

        Among them: harmonizing EU exceptions to copyright (what would be called “fair use” in the USA), so that things that are permitted in one EU state are permitted in the others. This is very important because as it stands, a work that is legal in one EU country can be a copyright infringement next door, meaning that by crossing a border, you commit an offense, and meaning that artists who make transformative uses in one EU member state can be held liable for punishing fines next door.

        Another good ‘un: shortening the term of copyright to the term set out in the Berne Convention (life of the creator plus 50 years), ending the trend of extending EU copyright every time the Beatles and Elvis near the public domain.

      • EFF Warns Against Broad “Stay Down” Anti-Piracy Filters

        Copyright holders want websites to implement strict filters to guarantee that content stays down after a DMCA notice is received. The EFF warns against these demands, arguing that they will lead to a “filter everything” approach. According to the EFF this will result in more abuse and mistakes from often automated takedown bots.

      • UK Gov Opens Consultation on Netflix-Style Geo-Blocking

        The UK government has launched a public consultation on the EU’s proposals to ban Netflix-style geo-blocking. The government says it wants its citizens to be able to access legally purchased content wherever they travel in the European Union and is now seeking input from copyright owners, ISPs and consumers.

      • Piracy Can Boost Digital Music Sales, Research Shows

        A new academic paper published by the Economics Department of Queen’s University examines the link between BitTorrent downloads and music album sales. The study shows that depending on the circumstances, piracy can hurt sales or give it a boost through free promotion.

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