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01.29.16

Links 29/1/2016: Controversy at the Linux Foundation, Tor Browser 5.5

Posted in News Roundup at 8:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Free Pathways to Running Linux Right

    If you’re new or relatively new to Linux, you may be looking around for good educational resources and perhaps some tutorials. Whether you’re new to Linux or looking to become a more advanced user, there are a lot of free online books and tutorials that can give you guidance. In this post, you’ll find our newly updated collection of many good Linux reference guides and tools online–all available at no cost.

  • Desktop

    • 8 Ways to Make Use of Your Old PC with Linux

      Most people throw away their old computers when they get new ones. Don’t be one of those people. Instead, turn your old PC into a Linux file server, a smart TV hub, a web caching proxy, Network Attached Storage, or even your own private cloud solution. With Linux, the possibilities are endless.

      Here are 8 things you can do with an old PC and Linux. Keep in mind that these are just eight picks. It’s not the be-all-end-all list. There is no doubt that there are other things that can be done on Linux that simply didn’t make the list.

  • Server

    • IBM mainframes get open source revamp with Ubuntu Linux support

      IBM has revealed new technology features and collaborations for its LinuxONE family of Linux systems, with a particular focus on hybrid cloud capabilities.

    • ​The mainframe lives on in IBM’s LinuxONE

      IBM invested a billion dollars in Linux in 2002. Some things remain the same. Last year, IBM introduced LinuxONE, a new pair of IBM mainframes along with Linux and open-source software and services. These new systems are the LinuxONE Emperor, which built on the IBM z13 mainframe and its z13 CPU, and its little brother, Rockhopper, which is now moving from the older z12 processor to the z13.

    • Linaro provides go-to Linux-based software stack for ARM servers

      Recognizing that challenge, standards organization Linaro is pushing a new open-source software reference platform that will provide easy access to firmware and common software tools for easier integration of ARM servers in data centers.

      Linaro is a major player in the development of Linux and Android software for ARM-based devices and servers. The organization is handling the development of Android for Google’s Project Ara custom smartphone, and has adapted the Chrome browser for mobile devices.

    • Linaro announces Software Reference Platform for ARM servers
    • The History of Linux Containers from chroot to the Future

      Linux containers are an operating system level virtualization technology for providing multiple isolated Linux environments on a single Linux host. Unlike virtual machines (VMs), containers do not run dedicated guest operating systems. Rather, they share the host operating system kernel and make use of the guest operating system system libraries for providing the required OS capabilities. Since there is no dedicated operating system, containers start much faster than VMs.

    • Build a better web server – Part 1

      Up your computing power with an upgraded or brand new server that you can build yourself

      While big business and big data may be utilising mainframes more of late, the concept of servers is not going away any time soon. Servers are an integral part of any system, however large your IT infrastructure is. Whether it’s inside the data centre or tucked away in your (well-ventilated!) cupboard at home, there are still a lot of uses for servers in 2015.

      For the office you may want to save a bit of money and create something perfect for your needs that you know exactly how to maintain. For home you may just want to enhance your setup and make the entire network more efficient. For both it’s a great way to separate certain aspects of your network to control it in a more efficient way.

      There are many components of a server that you need to keep in mind, but it boils down to an appropriate hardware selection and a good distro for the task at hand. In this tutorial, we are going to concentrate on file and web servers, two base server systems that can be expanded and modified in multiple ways to best fit the situation you are in.

      As we’re teaching you how to build a better web server, we will first take a quick detour to tell you what you should know if you want to upgrade your current server so that it can compete with the new tech.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 4 Episode 02

      In this episode: Good news from Qt and bad news for 32 bit Google Chrome users. The Linux Foundation ditches individual membership and Microsoft MITs more code. Plus loads of Finds, Neurons, Voices, Competition Prizes and An Important Announcement.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.5 AMDGPU/Radeon vs. Catalyst OpenGL Performance

      With the first test release out this week for the Linux 4.5 kernel I have carried out some fresh benchmarks on different AMD Radeon graphics cards for comparing the very latest open-source driver performance against that of the proprietary AMD Linux driver. Here are how the competing AMD OpenGL Linux stacks are comparing to one another for starting off 2016.

    • Linux Kernel 3.18.26 LTS Has Btrfs Improvements, Updated Network and USB Drivers

      After the release of the Linux 4.3.4, 4.1.16 LTS, 3.14.59 LTS and 3.10.95 LTS kernels, today we would like to inform our readers about the immediate availability for download of the long-term supported Linux kernel 3.18.26.

    • The Linux Foundation and the Uneasy Alliance

      Meanwhile, the comments on Garrett’s blog suggest that, whatever else happens, Garrett has tapped into a general perception. For instance, the community site FOSS Force discussed the issue under the headline “Linux Foundation Sells Out.”

      Clearly, to many, the Linux Foundation represents the community poorly. However, the accuracy of that perception seems more mixed that either side seems willing to acknowledge.

    • ‘Unikernels will send us back to the DOS era’ – DTrace guru Bryan Cantrill speaks out

      Some heralded Docker’s acquisition of UK-based Unikernel Systems last week as the golden dawn of a post-container era. Others showed healthy skepticism.

      One person firmly in the latter camp is Bryan Cantrill, who typed up a long blog post on why he believes unikernels are “unfit” for production. Cantrill is chief technology officer of San Francisco-based Joyent, which builds software to manage containers across whole data centers.

    • Controversy at the Linux Foundation

      Linux has seen more than its fair share of controversy through the years. And, that’s not so surprising. For one thing, the operating system flies in the teeth of deeply entrenched multinational companies. The fact that it stands for users instead of vested interests has drawn more than a little ire as well.

      And, let’s be honest. Sometimes the controversy comes from within our own camp. Although the Open Source community is generally very welcoming and accepting, there always will be conflicts when a large group of people works together on a big project. It happens in offices. It happens in universities. And it has certainly happened on the Linux Kernel Mailing list.

      It shouldn’t be so surprising that tempers occasionally flare. People may come to the Open Source world with rose-tinted spectacles, expecting to join a utopia. I guess it can be disappointing to realize that we’re human after all (yes, even Linus Torvalds).

    • Jumping Bean to partner with Linux Foundation to deliver Linux Training in Southern Africa

      Jumping Bean today announced it is partnering with The Linux Foundation to deliver the nonprofit organisation’s sought after, vendor-neutral Linux training and certification courses in Southern Africa. The demand for the Linux training has seen unprecedented growth in recent years as companies scramble to move their businesses to the Linux dominated cloud.

    • Linux Kernel 3.12.53 LTS Introduces x86 and Blackfin Fixes, Updated Drivers

      Linux kernel developer Jiri Slaby informs us all about the immediate availability for download of the fifty-third maintenance version for the long-term supported Linux 3.12 kernel series.

      Linux kernel 3.12.53 LTS is an important milestone, and according to the appended shortlog, it changes a total of 45 files, with 197 insertions and 138 deletions. Among the most important improvements, we can mention bugfixes for the x86, m68k, Blackfin, m32r, and PowerPC (PPC) hardware architectures, along with updates to the networking stack, especially for things like IPv6, IPv4, and SCTP (Stream Control Transmission Protocol).

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Xeon E3-1270 v5 Skylake Linux Benchmarks

        Our latest Intel Skylake processor to benchmark is a Xeon E3-1270 v5 processor that boasts a boost speed of 4.0GHz.

        A new server was commissioned this week for the new OpenBenchmarking.org. Prior to transitioning the OpenBenchmarking.org infrastructure to it this weekend, I ran some benchmarks on it since it has a shiny new Xeon E3-1270 v5 Skylake processor. This new server has the Xeon E3-1270 v5 processor, Supermicro X11SSL-F motherboard, 64GB of memory (4 x 16GB Kingston DDR4-2133MHz), and 240GB Micron M510DC solid-state drive. Its running CentOS 7 with the Linux 3.10 kernel and XFS file-system.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Instrumenting the GLib main loop with Dunfell

        This screenshot is of a trace of the buffered-input-stream test from GIO, showing I/O callbacks being made across threads as idle source callbacks.

      • Project Templates

        Now that Builder has integrated Template-GLib, I started working on creating projects from templates. Today, this is only supported from the command line. Obviously the goal is to have it in the UI side-by-side with other project creation methods.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Home theatre distros group test

        Raspbian is really unsuited to your HTPC needs. It’s not designed to either, but it was interesting to see if the extra UX considerations that were added this year made it more suitable for the task. Unfortunately, they didn’t.

    • New Releases

      • Apricity OS Is Getting a Cinnamon Flavor Soon, Both KDE and Xfce Flavors Delayed

        The developers of the Arch Linux-based Apricity OS computer operating system announced a few minutes ago, January 28, 2016, that the first Beta build of Apricity OS for 2016 is now available for download and ready for testing.

      • OPNsense 16.1 released

        Welcome back!

        No, we would not say it was easy getting here, but booting into 16.1 for the first time sure is as relieving (and exciting) as it could get for our project growing beyond what we had ever imagined. It has been more than a year since OPNsense first came out. Back then it was FreeBSD 10.0. Not even two months after, 10.1 was introduced along with the opnsense-update utility. Today is the day for FreeBSD 10.2, the latest and greatest release currently available for broader driver support and stability improvements.

      • FreeBSD-Powered Firewall Distro OPNsense 16.1 Released

        OPNsense, the open-source firewall project powered by FreeBSD that began as a fork of pfSense, is out with a new release.

      • BackBox Linux 4.5 OS comes with pre-installed new hacking tools

        The release of BackBox Linux 4.5 has been announced by the developers of the BackBox Linux operating system, which assures to bring a new kernel and lots of upgraded packages, plus it is also immediately available for download.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • OpenMandriva Lx 2015 Finally Reaches Beta State

        The OpenMandriva Lx camp has released their 2015 Beta release in time for this weekend’s FOSDEM conference happening this weekend in Brussels.

        While we are now into 2016 and its been a number of months (April of 2015 since the alpha release, OpenMandriva Lx 2015 Beta was finally made public today. The latest stable release of OpenMandriva remains at 2014.2.

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro Update 2016-01-27 (stable)

        I’m happy to announce our fifth update of Manjaro 15.12 (Capella)!

        Most work went into preparations for Manjaro 16.03 (Daniella) release. Particularly we are working on some settings packages, so it would be possible to install our desktop-configurations on your already running system. This will also reduce the files the overlays of our manjaro-iso-profiles.

      • Manjaro 15.12 (Capella) Receives New Update with Important Kernel Fixes

        The Manjaro developers have pushed out the door yet another update for Manjaro 15.12 (Capella), and it brings a lot of important fixes.

        This is the fifth update for Manjaro 15.12 (Capella), and it looks like the developers will continue to provide this packs for the coming months. If the past is any indication, we’ll probably get about 5 or 6 update packages if everything goes according to plan.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Expands Partner Reach With New Insight Enterprises Deal
      • Red Hat CEO to deliver Discovery Lecture on organizational openness

        Jim Whitehurst, president and chief executive officer of Red Hat Inc., will give the talk, The Power of Openness, at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 4 in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 121. A book signing will follow at 2:30 p.m. in the nearby Venture Café. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is a part of the Discovery Park Distinguished Lecture Series.

      • 3Reasons RedHat, Inc. Stock Could Fall

        And what if Oracle stopped optimizing every product for maximum revenue, instead flooding the market with affordable database tools of unbeatable quality? And maybe the remnants of that near-forgotten Sun Microsystems buyout could come up with another Solaris-branded operating system that puts Red Hat’s best efforts to shame?

      • Red Hat, Inc. See Large Inflow of Money

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) traded negative at $71.3. On an intraday basis, the price dropped -0.44 points or -0.61%. The composite uptick value was $15.81 million while the combined downtick value was $15.22. The net money flow was $0.59 million while the up/down ratio was not very comforting at 1.04. The shares on a weekly note has seen a change in share price of -1.6%.According to the trading data, the shares saw a block trade with $3.57 million in upticks and $2.86 million in downticks. The up/down ratio for the block was calculated to be 1.25. The net money flow for the block trade was 0.71.

      • Promising stocks in today’s market: Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)
      • Sentiments And Ratings Alert Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)

        Zacks Research gets the recommendation of multiple brokerage firms to reach a consensus rating on the stock. Following the same methodology, which measures a stock on a scale of 1-5, the stock of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)’s has been given a mean rating of 1.5 compared to an ABR of 1.5 three months ago. A rating between 1 and 2 highlights a Buy, 3 suggests a Hold while a reading of 4 and 5 typically implies a Sell call by the analysts.

      • Red Hat Inc. (RHT) Falls 4.57% for January 27

        Red Hat Inc. is centered in Raleigh, NC, and has 7,300 employees.

      • Analyst’s Roundup: Red Hat Inc
      • Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) Short Interest Update
      • Price Target Update On Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)
      • Red Hat Inc (RHT) Rating Lowered to Neutral at Bank of America

        Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) was downgraded by equities research analysts at Bank of America from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday, The Fly reports. They currently have a $80.00 target price on the open-source software company’s stock, down from their previous target price of $90.00. Bank of America’s price objective indicates a potential upside of 18.71% from the stock’s current price.

      • Fedora

        • Remote group merging for Fedora

          One of the major features of the Fedora Server Edition is the Cockpit administrative console. This web-based interface provides administrators with a powerful set of tools for controlling their system. Cockpit relies upon low-level tools like polkit and sudo to make authorization decisions to determine what a user is permitted to do. By default, most operations on a Fedora system are granted to users in the ‘wheel’ group. People granted administrator access to Cockpit (and other tools through shell access) are generally added to the wheel group in the /etc/group file.

        • Fedora looks back and ahead on Women in Computing

          This past week, the Community Operations (CommOps) team wrote a report on the Fedora Community Blog about some of Fedora’s most recent activities working towards improving outreach and increasing the diversity of the Project. Over the past year, there have been increased movements and activism towards improving the presence of women in computer science fields. Free and open source software is no exception to the rule, with FOSS being one of the areas with the least participation of women. In 2009, 28% of proprietary software development was done by women, but only 1.5% of contributions in free and open source software projects were made by women. While a lot has changed since 2009 and many great advancements have been made, the numbers are still low, and Fedora is helping give back to the world of free and open source software by working to improve its own diversity and outreach.

        • DevConf 2016: Pungi 4 and the Fedora compose / validation cycle

          Hi folks! Just a quick note for anyone who might be wondering – I’ll be at DevConf 2016 in Brno next week. (I’ll also be at the mostly-Red Hat-only-I-think QEcamp event before that). I’m expecting to spend most of the time running around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to talk to people about the pending move to Pungi 4 for Fedora composes and the consequences / opportunities for release validation and so on. There will probably be quite a bit of change, hopefully for the better!

        • Mono SIG – Year in Review

          The Mono SIG (Special Interest Group) is a group of Fedora contributors that maintain Mono (and related) packages in Fedora. The goal of the Mono SIG is to provide high-quality and usable Mono software packages to Fedora users and developers and to support others in creating and maintaining Mono packages.

    • Debian Family

      • Ian Murdock to be Remembered at FOSDEM 2016

        The Debian Publicity team is planning to hold a memorial for founder Ian Murdock who tragically took his own life December 28 after altercations with police. The event will take place during FOSDEM this coming weekend. The team has been collecting pictures, stories, and video in order to compile a short video for the event in Brussels, Belgium Saturday.

      • Becoming a Debian contributor

        Over the past two months or so I have become a contributor to the Debian Project. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while. Firstly, just because I’ve got so much out of Debian over the last five or six years—both as a day-to-day operating system and a place to learn about computing—and I wanted to contribute something back. And secondly, in following the work of Joey Hess for the past three or four years I’ve come to share various technical and social values with Debian. Of course, I’ve long valued the project of making it possible for people to run their computers entirely on Free Software, but more recently I’ve come to appreciate how Debian’s mature technical and social infrastructure makes it possible for a large number of people to work together to produce and maintain high quality packages. The end result is that the work of making a powerful software package work well with other packages on a Debian system is carried out by one person or a small team, and then as many users who want to make use of that software need only apt-get it. It’s hard to get the systems and processes to make this possible right, especially without a team being paid full-time to set it all up. Debian has managed it on the backs of volunteers. That’s something I want to be a part of.

      • Derivatives

        • Tails 2.0 Gets GNOME Shell As Default Desktop Environment And Debian 8 “Jessy” Upgrades And More

          Tails 2.0 is one of the most popular Linux distributions based on Debian. Tails is Live CD/USB that aims to provide freedom by making its users anonymous on the web. All the applications’ traffic such as Internet browser, email client, IM etc. is sent through the Tor network that is very hard to trace. Recently Tails team released Tails 2.0 with some major changes, some security fixes and lots of other improvements.

        • The ultra-secure Tails OS beloved by Edward Snowden gets a major upgrade

          Edward Snowden’s favorite secure operating system just got a major upgrade. Version 2.0 of the Amnesic Incognito Live System, better known as Tails, rolled out recently. Tails 2.0 brings a new desktop environment, sandboxing for services via the always controversial systemd, and a new build of the Tor Browser.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 Is Officially Released

            The Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 has finally arrived, and users should start to get the new update in the next 24 hours, in a phased manner.

          • Ubuntu Phone OTA-9 Makes Available New Features, Finally Has Custom Ringtones
          • Ubuntu Phone OTA-9 Update Received Well by Users, Nexus 10 Port to Be Removed

            Canonical, through Łukasz Zemczak, today announced that the highly anticipated Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 update for Ubuntu Phone devices has been officially released and that the phased upgrades kicked in.

          • Canonical teams with Oracle to drive enterprise cloud adoption

            Canonical today announced that it is working with Oracle to provide enterprises with greater flexibility in the way they develop and deploy large-scale workloads on Oracle Cloud. Certified Ubuntu images are now available on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, providing Oracle enterprise customers with increased choice, velocity – a true “grab and go” approach – and new and innovative ways to manage and scale their enterprise workloads, using the number one cloud operating system.

          • Canonical and Oracle partner to make cloud adoption via Ubuntu even easier

            CANONICAL and Oracle have announced a joint venture aimed at speeding up cloud adoption.

            The companies have made an agreement to provide enterprises with greater flexibility in the way they develop and deploy large-scale workloads on Oracle Cloud.

          • Canonical to Provide Certified Ubuntu Images for Oracle Cloud
          • Canonical and Oracle team up to boost enterprise cloud use

            Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, has announced a collaboration with Oracle to make Ubuntu images available on Oracle Cloud.

            Under the deal, Certified Ubuntu images will be available on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, providing Oracle enterprise customers with increased choice and new and innovative ways to manage and scale their enterprise workloads, using the number one cloud operating system.

          • Canonical and Oracle bring certified Ubuntu images to Oracle Cloud customers

            Ubuntu developer Canonical has disclosed that certified Ubuntu Linux images are now available on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace for customers to access.

            The move is part of a collaboration between the two firms to provide greater flexibility for companies developing and deploying large-scale workloads on Oracle Cloud.

            Ubuntu Linux has become a popular choice for scale-out workloads in the cloud thanks to its performance, stability and regular updates, according to Canonical. The firm has in fact tied its refresh cycle to that of the OpenStack cloud computing framework, which is now included with Ubuntu as standard.

          • Watch: Mark Shuttleworth Talks Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and Snappy at UbuCon Summit 2016

            Since we “failed” to show you guys a live video stream or even a recording of Mark Shuttleworth’s opening keynote at UbuCon Summit 2016 during SCALE 14x, we’re continuing our “Watch” series of articles today with an interview of Canonical and Ubuntu founder at the said event.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 Alpha 2 to Land with Very Few Participating Flavors

            The second Alpha for Ubuntu 16.04 flavors is landing tomorrow, and it looks like most of the important names are missing, with a few exceptions.

            The Ubuntu developers have been discussing for the past few days about this latest Alpha, and it took some convincing to get the thing rolling. The thing is that most of the distros chose not to participate in this Alpha release, and there is a good chance that things are going to change in the next cycle.

            Canonical dropped intermediary releases a couple of years ago for Ubuntu, and they only cover the final Beta version. They still offer daily builds for most of the six months interval between two releases, so naming something Alpha 2 is somewhat arbitrary. The only advantage for an Alpha is that developers freeze the process for a couple of days and make sure that the OS is booting and can be used.

          • Ubuntu Make Now Helps You Easily Install Apple’s Swift Language in Ubuntu Linux

            The UbuCon Summit 2016 has ended and now the Ubuntu developers have returned to their workspaces to continue working on their great projects. Didier Roche informs us today, January 28, about the release of a new version of his awesome Ubuntu Make tool.

          • Major Unity 8 Update to Land for Ubuntu Phones in OTA-9.5, Mir 0.19 Too

            We have just been informed by Łukasz Zemczak of Canonical about the latest work done by the Ubuntu Touch developers in preparation for the forthcoming OTA-9.5 hotfix update for Ubuntu Phones devices.

          • Containers Become a First Class Citizen in Ubuntu 16.04, Says Mark Shuttleworth

            It seems like a whole lot of Mark Shuttleworth interviews are starting to pile up these days, and today we would like to inform our readers about a recent one where the Ubuntu founder talks about the latest cloud technologies coming from Canonical.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint Is Getting Its Own Apps Starting with the 18.x Branch

              The Linux Mint project is about to get a lot more interesting because, with the 18.x branch, the developers are going to introduce the so-called X-Apps, which are designed to work across Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce.

            • Mint 18′s New Themes and Applications, New Mint Box

              Clement Lefebvre today added some additional tidbits from early Mint 18 planning in his monthly newsletter. A few weeks ago he’d said version 18 would finally feature a new theme and today he said they would be developing new applications as well. In addition, a new mini PC featuring Mint was introduced.

            • Monthly News – January 2016

              Hello everyone! Before I start with the news, I’d like to share a few words about the donations we received in December. You sent us an unprecedented number of donations for an all-time high total of $16,736! We had to check the stats twice to make sure this wasn’t a mistake. This follows the release of Linux Mint 17.3, so not only does it help our funding, it’s also extremely gratifying and motivating for us. Many many thanks to the 714 people who supported us, and to our partners and sponsors for being here for us.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • How Google backed an open source winner

    It’s hard to fault the pedigree of Google’s Kubernetes container management tool, and it seems many of the world’s cloud-forward enterprises agree.

    Inspired by Borg – Google’s internal container management software, which manages the two billion-plus containers the web giant starts each week – Kubernetes has scale in its DNA.

  • 6 starting points for open source beginners

    To help navigate your first open source contribution, I’ve put together a list of what I think are the most beginner-friendly open source starting points, as well as, a few other helpful resources. To make sure the list contains well-maintained projects, I’ve only included projects with over 1,000 stars on GitHub (unless otherwise stated).

  • Good leaders know what economics can’t explain about open source

    Whatever the reason, economic rationality won’t illuminate it. But open leaders need to discover it. And they can turn once again to open source communities for insight. Yet again, they likely have something important to teach us about the reasons we organize today.

  • How to increase online privacy with open source tools and best practices

    Privacy on the Internet is… well, let’s just say it’s complicated. In this article, I’ll analyze a few open source tools and concepts that you might use to increase privacy on the Internet for yourself. It will not be an exhaustive list of all possible avenues, nor does it pretend to ensure complete privacy even in the fact of a concentrated, personal attack. Some of the tips you will find useful, others you will discard, and still others you might use in conjunction with other policies to construct your own privacy model.

  • 5 Top Open Source Contributions for React Native (and What’s Needed)

    Since being open sourced by creator Facebook, React Native has garnered more than 26,000 “stars” on GitHub — making it No. 23 in the all-time rankings — and has been forked more than 4,600 times. Clearly, it’s taking the mobile app dev arena by storm.

  • 4 myths about agile

    It stung—but she learned from it. Proponents of agile “have failed to deliver the message in a way the open source community understands,” she tells her audience in this video. So Krieger took to the stage to dispel four common myths about agile and “get to the truth of what it’s intended to be.”

  • 10 Open Source Vulnerability Assessment Tools

    Vulnerability assessment tools are an essential part of enterprise security strategies, as scanning applications for known vulnerabilities is a key best practice. Using open source vulnerability assessment technologies can help organizations save money and customize software to suit their needs.

    Many open source vulnerability assessment tools are conveniently bundled in security distributions such as Offensive Security’s Kali Linux. Here is a selection of 10 useful open source vulnerability assessment tools, including general vulnerability assessment tools, Web server and application vulnerability scanners, analysis tools and fuzzers.

  • How open source could save us from ad-served hacking

    Yesterday I wrote of how Adblock Plus isn’t necessarily the best, and certainly isn’t the most ethical of all possible open-source adblocking solutions; but rather that it predominates because it grew a massive user-base in a time of diversity and transition. And so it is with its opposite number – the ad-serving industry whose domains form the basis of adblockers’ blacklists and whitelists.

    It’s a rotten, but established solution. It’s just ‘what people do’.

    To boot, the ad-serving industry as it stands has billions in turnover to spend defaming or undermining any alternative system, should one arise.

  • The dangerous “UI team”

    Customers do not want to click on UI controls. Nor do they want to browse a web site, or “log in,” or “manage” anything, or for that matter interact with your product in any way. Those aren’t goals people have when they wake up in the morning. They’re more like tedious tasks they discover later.

    [...]

    The “UI team” has “UI” right there in the name (sounds user-friendly doesn’t it?). But this is a bottom-up, implementation-driven way to define a team. You’ve defined the team by solution rather than by problem.

  • New framework needed for open source switching

    According to Cardenas, the development of open source switching has proved challenging given Broadcom’s dominance in the market. Obtaining the vendor’s software development kit (SDK) isn’t necessarily easy nor does receipt of it guarantee that a vendor’s subsequent product will be as full-featured as it should be, Cardenas said. He suggests that to make open source switching a reality, developers and competitors should escalate the pressure. Cardenas cites Mellanox’s Linux kernel derived project, switchdev, as an example of what can be done. Bottom line, writes Cardenas: “Without an open source framework to drive merchant silicon, we won’t truly have an open source NOS.”

  • HFOSS: The First Flight

    This past year, I enrolled as a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. For me, this is quite a distance from my hometown just outside of Atlanta, GA. Part of the motivation that led me to choose RIT as my university of choice was its participation in Free and Open Source Software education and communities. RIT is one of the few schools in the United States to offer a minor in Free and Open Source Software.

  • SourceForge and Slashdot Have Been Sold

    Slashdot Media, which owns the popular websites SourceForge and Slashdot, has been sold to SourceForge Media, LLC, a subsidiary of web publisher BIZX, LLC. Financial terms of the sale were not revealed in the press release announcing the sale, which was published today on the website EIN News.

    This afternoon I exchanged a few emails with Logan Abbott who is one of the owners of BIZX and the president of the SourceForge Media subsidiary which he said “was formed for the purposes of this transaction.”

  • Slashdot and SourceForge Sold, Now Under New Management
  • 8 non-code ways to contribute to open source

    Whether you’re a novice programmer, a seasoned veteran, or not an engineer at all, there are many ways to contribute to open source projects beyond coding.

    Compared to proprietary software, open source projects tend to be relatively short-handed when it comes to non-engineering contributions, so don’t shy away from open source just because you’re not a coder. Your blog post or design skills could be much more meaningful to the right project than just another line of code.

  • SCALE14x – and 8 million users for ownCloud!

    After covering openSUSE and KDE booths at SCALE in my previous blog, let’s talk ownCloud. Note that, despite the awesomeness of this blog post, our biggest news right now is probably the announcement that ownCloud has an estimated 8 million users!

  • Events

    • LibreOffice India First Meetup – A Big Small Step!

      It was a historical meetup of LibreOffice Community in India indeed! It was the first LibreOffice meetup in India. We ideated for starting LibreOffice activities in India during my Red Hat days. Last year, few of us participated in LibreOffice Conference, Aarhus, Denmark. We saw the level of real volunteer participation from all over the world for LibreOffice and no doubt several of us were inspired much. I discussed with Chandrakant and decided that it is already late and we should start as soon as possible on our own level. And this small meetup is the output of what we discussed. We have planned for much more in this year.

    • IndiaHacks online code sprint includes month-long open source track

      Open source software contributions often spring from passion—the passion to give back to the community, or simply the burning desire to create something new. The same passion that drives individual contributors also drives the team behind IndiaHacks to help develop the skills and networks of those individual contributors.

      From January 30 to March 2, the Open Source Track of IndiaHacks challenges contributors from all over the world to make the most of their efforts. Originally focused on algorithmic programming, IndiaHacks added eight more tracks for this year. The open source track follows the model of Hacktoberfest and other similar events: Contributions are measured by accepted pull requests and commits to open source software projects.

    • Brussels CentOS Dojo

      This Friday (2016-01-29) there will be a great CentOS dojo in Brussels Belgium. I am going mostly to help out run the cameras and announce different talks. I will also be wanting to listen to people use who use EPEL about what they use it for and what they are wanting to see in growth. This will help me prepare for the talk on Sunday at FOSDEM which I will be moderating.

      If you have questions please try and find me. I will probably be the one fellow in a tie and sports coat. [And because I am from the desert.. no rain coat which sounds like a minus currently in Belgium].

    • Whither EPEL (Talk at FOSDEM 2016)

      If you are going to FOSDEM 2016 and use CentOS, Scientific Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux or even Oracle Enterprise Linux.. you should be interested in a round-table talk we are having on Sunday to talk about the Fedora Project’s Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) . EPEL is a repository which has a curated set of Fedora packages rebuilt for EL-5, EL-6, and EL-7.

    • Linux Foundation announces 2016 events, adds OpenIoT

      The Linux Foundation announced its 2016 event calendar, and issued a CFP for the Apr. 4-6 Embedded Linux Conference, which features an OpenIoT Summit.

      It’s once again time to check your calendar to see if you can carve out a few days to network with your geeky peers — the Linux Foundation has revealed its extensive lineup of 2016 events. In 2015, LF events attracted “nearly 15,000 developers, maintainers, sysadmins, thought leaders, business executives and other industry professionals from more than 3,100 organizations across 85 countries,” says the nonprofit Linux advocacy organization.

    • BSD at SCALE 14x

      As I may have mentioned during the SCALE 14x coverage, one of the disadvantages of the glorious burden of working for a great event such as SCALE is that I don’t get out of the media room enough. The fact is, I can’t — herding the cats known as the tech media and processing various social media posts around the event keeps me in the room.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 44.0 Has Just Landed in All Supported Ubuntu Linux OSes

        If you’re reading the news lately, you would know by now that Mozilla has pushed the Firefox 44.0 web browser to the stable channel for all supported operating systems, including Linux, Mac and Windows.

      • It’s International Data Privacy Day: Help us Build a Better Internet

        Today is International Data Privacy Day. What can we all do to help ourselves and each other improve privacy on the Web? We have something for everyone:

        Users can greatly improve their own data privacy by simply updating their software.

        Companies can increase user trust in their products and user privacy by implementing Lean Data Practices that increase transparency and offer user control.

        By taking action on these two simple ideas, we can create a better Web together.

      • Firefox 44.0 Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

        The official launch announcement for Firefox 44.0 has finally landed, and it details the changes and improvements that have landed in this latest release.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • A new open source cloud management tool… from Walmart

      If you want evidence of just how different Internet retail and brick-and-mortar retail are, you just have to look at what’s going on with the world’s largest retailer. In the same week that Walmart announced the closing of over 100 physical stores, the company’s e-commerce unit announced that it is releasing a piece of its cloud-management infrastructure as open source—publishing the OneOps platform on Github. The company’s internal e-commerce development unit, @Walmartlabs, has released OneOps under the Apache 2.0 license.

    • 13 frameworks for mastering machine learning

      Over the past year, machine learning has gone mainstream in an unprecedented way. The trend isn’t fueled by cheap cloud environments and ever more powerful GPU hardware alone; it’s also the explosion of frameworks now available for machine learning. All are open source, but even more important is how they are being designed to abstract away the hardest parts of machine learning, and make its techniques available to a broad class of developers.

      Here’s a baker’s dozen machine learning frameworks, either freshly minted or newly revised within the past year. All caught our attention for being a product of a major presence in IT, for attempting to bring a novel simplicity to their problem domain, or for targeting a specific challenge associated with machine learning.

    • Filling Out Your Free Web Development Toolkit

      Web site and application development is becoming in reach for nearly everyone, thanks to easier and better tools. Software as a Service (SaaS) applications are increasingly either employing open source or are built entirely on it. And all of this adds up to an increasing need for web development toolsets focused on the open source community. The good news is that there are many open source tools to help you with your web project, and given the costs of web development environments and the like, they can save you a lot of money. Here are many good examples of tools and tutorials, with a few that we’ve covered before appended at the end, in case you missed them.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Is Deprecating The Java Web-Browser Plugin With Java 9

      For anyone still relying upon Java web-plugins in their browser, they are going to be deprecated with the upcoming Java 9.

      Oracle announced today in a blog post that they will be moving to a plugin-free Java by deprecating the once common Java web plug-in in Java 9. The plug-in support will then be dropped in a later Oracle JDK/JRE release.

    • Java is going to die a slow painful death

      Java browser plugin, just like Adobe Flash has contributed heavily to making the web an insecure place. Both these technologies have compromised billions of PCs and Macs around the globe.

      The good news is that Oracle is finally pulling the plugs on Java, the browser plugin. Many people are freaking out, confusing it with Oracle’s Java language, which Linus Torvalds believes is a horrible language either way. Folks, this is about the Java browser plugin!

    • Oracle deprecates the Java browser plugin, prepares for its demise
    • Here’s Why Oracle Is Killing The Java Browser Plugin – A Good News For Plugin-free Web

      Oracle has announced that it’s removing the Java browser plugin from its future releases. In its whitepaper, the company said that the rise of web usage on mobile devices has inspired the browser vendors to look for plugin-free technologies. This plugin has been repeatedly exploited to install malware and attack users during its lifetime.

  • CMS

    • On owning blogosphere

      Then inevitable happened: my server died, so I have to rebuild my site. My colleagues from work shared rented VPS so I joined them and pointed my domain to it. However, when I started to work on installing WP, I was caught again by my suspicions about WP. Do I really want to fight with pulverized HTML, zillion upgrades, comment spam, etc., when all I want from the server is to render my posts to HTML? So, I started to look for static web generators. After a brief affair with Hexo (Server-side JavaScript looks like such a good idea, but it still so immature and unuseable!) I ended up with pelican.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Wikimedia in Google Code-in 2015

      Google Code-in 2015 is over. As a co-admin and mentor for Wikimedia (one of the 14 organizations who took part and provided mentors and tasks) I can say it’s been crazy as usual. :)

    • Wercker raises $4.5 million to open-source CLI container development tool

      When it comes to automating the containerization, configuration and deployment of services the right tools for the job go a long way, which is what Wercker BV’s business is all about. Today the company announced that it has raised $4.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Inkef Capital with participation from existing investor Notion Capital. The company also announced that it will open source its flagship command line interface (CLI) developer tool that facilitates the containerization and deployment of applications and microservices on the desktop.

      This investment led by Amsterdam-based Inkef Capital brings the company’s total funding to $7.5 million.

      “We’re excited to join the Inkef Capital portfolio and continue to bridge the gap between the innovative communities in Amsterdam and Silicon Valley,” said Micha Hernández van Leuffen, founder and CEO at wercker. “We’re fortunate to have a passionate developer community behind us: a community that will only continue to grow and improve with access to our open sourced CLI technology.”

  • BSD

    • Qt 5.5.1 has landed in FreeBSD

      The Qt5 (meta-)port and all its dependent ports have been updated to Qt 5.5.1 in FreeBSD. Special thanks to Yuri Victorovich, who did an independent Qt 5.5.1 port and whose work has been gratefully incorporated into this update. Thanks also to Ralf Nolden for pushing for better upgrade-paths and co-installability.

    • PC-BSD / FreeBSD 11.0-CURRENT Performance

      Last week I had plans to run some fresh FreeBSD vs. Linux gaming benchmarks using the FreeBSD’s Linux software binary compatibility layer.

      For those that don’t know, FreeBSD boasts a Linux binary compatibility initiative. Five years ago I did some Linux gaming tests on FreeBSD within FreeBSD: A Faster Platform For Linux Gaming Than Linux?. I wanted to do some modern tests atop the latest FreeBSD/PC-BSD code and the latest NVIDIA driver.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Edward Snowden will kick off LibrePlanet 2016 in Cambridge, Massachusetts

      The annual free software conference will kick off at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Stata Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts on the morning of Saturday, March 19th with “The last lighthouse: Free software in dark times”, in which Snowden (who will appear via a free software live video stream) and Daniel Kahn Gillmor will discuss free software, surveillance, power, and control of the future.

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: January 29th
    • GNU Binutils 2.26: Linker Gets Experimental Garbage Collection, LLVM Plugin Support

      GNU Binutils 2.26 has been released as the first major release in more than one year since Binutils 2.25.

      This collection of binary tools was updated this week and the release announcement sent out this morning. In digging through the Git change-log and then the Bintutils NEWS, libmpx is now enabled by default, more patches from GCC mainline were imported, some new configure switches added, there is now support for the ARC EM/HS and ARC600/ARC700 architectures, objcopy improvements, and more.

    • Inside the FSFE

      Mike Saunders and Graham Morrison popped by the FSFE head office in Berlin to see how the organisation is spreading the word about FOSS.

      You’ve almost certainly heard of the Free Software Foundation before. This is a US-based non-profit organisation set up by Richard Stallman, the creator of GNU, in 1985. Originally it was established to fund programmers, but over the years it has moved into other realms, handling legal issues and promoting Free Software.

    • StreamComputing launches GEGL-OpenCL project

      This week, StreamComputing launches an educational initiative that aims to get more developers to study and use OpenCL in their projects. Within this project, up to 20 collaborators will port as many GEGL operations to OpenCL as possible.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Galicia shares training kit on open source for NGOs

      The government of Galicia (Spain) has made available conference videos, presentation slides and training material that focus on the use of free and open source software by Non-Governmental Organisations.

    • South Tyrol open source school project to spur teachers

      Three teachers and a handful of volunteers working on the decade-old project that introduces schools in the Italian province of South Tyrol (Alto Adige) to free and open source software, are starting a campaign to get new teachers involved.

    • Bernie Sanders’ campaign is right, Microsoft could hurt election — open source is needed

      When it comes to government agencies at all levels, and things like the voting process, I am a hardcore believer in open source being necessary. To truly know that votes are being counted correctly by machines, only open source would allow independent auditing. It will also help to prevent unknown backdoors in secure government computer systems.

      Closed source technologies from companies like Microsoft could, in theory, contain backdoors or vulnerabilities that hackers and evildoers could exploit. Even worse, Microsoft or its employees could purposely alter voting software to influence outcomes. Am I saying the company is doing this? Not at all. But with closed source software, there is no way to know for sure. Now, Bernie Sanders’ campaign is questioning Microsoft’s technologies being used in Iowa Caucuses. You know what? They have a point.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • European data portals implement EC’s DCAT validator

        Open data portals in Italy, Sweden and Belgium are working on validators for the EC’s DCAT-AP. Data portals that use the World Wide Web Consortium’s Data Catalog Vocabulary make it easier for others to search and use their datasets, including across borders.

        By methodologically listing where datasets can be downloaded and what formats are available, W3C’s DCAT instructions make its easier for others to discover these data collections. Instead of stockpiling data, DCAT-enabled repositories can be federated, with search results pointing to data available on other web sites.

        The DCAT-Application Profile for data portals in Europe (DCAT-AP) describes datasets created by European public administrations. Work on the DCAT-AP began in 2013. Initiated by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology (DG Connect), the EU Publications Office and the EC’s ISA Programme, the creation of this specification involved representatives from 16 European Member States.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Pagure: DIY git project hosting

      Pagure is a new, full featured git repository service for the web, written in Python. It is similar to other popular git forges like Github and Gitlab, allowing open source contributors to share and collaborate on code and content. By the way, pagure is French for “hermit crab,” as reflected in the logo on the project documentation.

      Pagure is the brainchild of Pierre-Yves Chibon, a member of the Fedora Engineering team. The Fedora Engineering team focuses on Python based solutions because the language is easy to learn and thus presents less barrier to entry for contributors. Pagure is therefore a perfect fit not just for hosting projects, but for encouraging contribution to the service itself.

    • Beep Beep Yarr!

      For too long, computer programming has seemed like a secret world, sealed off from all but the geekiest of maths geniuses. Normal people never needed to know what went on inside their mysterious black boxes: it might have well as been voodoo. That’s changing now though. Because computers are essential to the way we live now, computer programmers are essential too. Kids growing up today need to have at least an idea of how computers work to make them useful (and well paid) members of the workforce of tomorrow.

    • Fortran: coding for scientists, by scientists

      FORTRAN (it dropped the caps in 1990) is the oldest high-level language still written today. It’s now over 55 years old and still in widespread use in the sciences, in high-performance computing, and in supercomputers. Its real strength is in numerical computation and complicated mathematical models (making it also popular in finance); and its position is hard to assail given the vast Fortran code library of numerical computation routines that’s available. There are even people still using fixed-format F77 (see below), although most modern users have shifted to the easier free-format. It’s probably not your language of choice for shiny Web 2.0 development, but it’s fascinating to have a look at something with such a venerable and successful history.

    • GitHub falls offline, devs worldwide declare today a snow day

      Updated Popular and widely used source-code hosting service GitHub is, for the moment, no longer a widely used source-code hosting service. It has fallen offline.

      Since 1632 PT (0032 UTC, 1132 AEDT), the website has been down. Right now, the San Francisco-headquartered upstart reports: “We’re investigating a significant network disruption affecting all github.com services.”

    • First Release Candidate Arrives For Go 1.6
  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Are teenagers addicted to screens because their whole social life is online?

    There are some domestic issues on which men and women will never agree: the ideal ambient temperature of the sitting room, why it’s more important to remember the date of your wedding anniversary than the Battle of Agincourt, the pressing need for your daughter to have her phone in her bedroom after 9pm.

    In a week when parents have been told in no certain terms that “night texting” is not only A Thing, but a thing that is damaging our children’s exam performance, school grades and life chances, I must hold up my hands and admit I am drowning, not waving, or even signalling to the invigilator that I need more paper. I wish.

  • Science

    • New Drone Racing League Wants to Be the Next Nascar

      That’s the bet Nick Horbaczewski is making by starting the Drone Racing League, with the backing of investors who include Stephen Ross, owner of the National Football League team Miami Dolphins, and Lerer Hippeau Ventures, a New York venture capital firm. Horbaczewski expects most fans to watch races online, much as they do competitive gaming in the U.S., using their phones, computers—eventually even virtual-reality headsets. Ultimately, he has ambitions of becoming a digital Nascar for drones.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Berkeley’s cell phone radiation warning law can go into effect, judge rules

      After complying with a federal judge’s order on Wednesday, the city of Berkeley, California, will now be allowed to go forward with its cell phone radiation warning law, as it has cut out one controversial line. It is not clear when the new notice will go into effect.

    • I Farm Crickets, The Future Of Human Food: 7 Insane Truths

      If you’re reading this from the civilized world, most of your insect encounters boil down to emotionally scarring spider cameos and annoying flies. But in roughly 80 percent of the countries on Earth, people eat insects. Cracked sat down with one man who has made it his life’s work to get Americans to eat more bugs; Kevin Bachhuber, cricket farmer, told us …

    • Flint All Over Again? Lead Poisoning Scandal Strikes Ohio Town

      Schools in Sebring, Ohio were closed for a third day on Tuesday and pregnant women and children have been advised not to drink the water, after tests showed elevated levels of lead in the local water supply.

      Though the village of about 4,300 in northeastern Ohio is much smaller than Flint, Michigan, the drinking water crises in the neighboring states share troubling aspects.

      According to local news station WKBN: “Correspondence from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Village of Sebring show concerns with water testing, beginning in late September. Elevated lead levels were noted by the EPA in November, but customers didn’t learn of the issues until Thursday, meaning that some people could have been drinking water containing lead for months.” WKBN has a full timeline of events here.

    • VIDEO: ‘Days of Revolt’: Chris Hedges, Detroit Activists Describe the Death of the American City

      In this week’s episode of teleSUR’s “Days of Revolt,” Chris Hedges and two Detroit activists, Darryl “Waistline” Mitchell and Roshaun Harris, trace Detroit’s socio-economic apocalypse, which has taken forms specific to that city but also mirrors other communities around the country.

      In his opening comments, Hedges refers to “the sacrifice zone that Detroit has become” and calls the catastrophic changes there “a consequence of unfettered, unregulated capitalism.”

      Mitchell traces the arc of Detroit’s fate along his own life line, remembering when it was possible to make a living wage in the auto industry there. He also points to the many ways in which the systemic racism corroding the city is connected to America’s economic history.

    • Activists File Suit Asking For Lead Free Pipes As Polluted Water Corrodes The System

      Melissa Mays realized Flint’s water was toxic long before Michigan declared a state of emergency earlier this month.

      “After the water switch, I ran the kitchen tap and it came out just yellow, just disgusting yellow,” said Mays, a mother of three who is now becoming an activist and a plaintiff in lawsuits against the state.

      Her first sight of foul water happened in the summer of 2014 — some two months after the economically challenged city switched its water supply as a cost saving measure. Months of calls and inquires followed. All the while, city officials told residents like Mays that their water was safe.

    • The Flint Water Disaster: a Perfect Storm of Downplaying, Denial and Deceit

      Flint, Michigan, the city portrayed as the embodiment of a rust belt city abandoned by deindustrialization in Michael Moore’s allegorical documentary, Roger & Me, has recently become a morality play of a different sort as it captures national headlines highlighting a controversial series of decisions creating a major public health crisis that threatens the health of Flint’s children.

    • I Grew Up in Flint. Here’s Why Governor Snyder Must Resign.

      But now, if you’re a poor kid growing up in Flint today, forget economic mobility—you don’t even deserve clean water.

    • NHS campaigners say ‘No’ to NHS Commission

      Why MPs must oppose the NHS and Social Care Commission Bill.

      As grassroots campaigners, we care about the NHS and we know that our friends, families and the general public are fast becoming aware of the profit-seeking private companies operating behind the blue logo that we all trust as a standard of excellence, equality and world class care.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

    • A Single Comma Is All That Stands Between The Public And FOIA’ed Law Enforcement Documents

      The terrible tale of the missing comma and the damage done may soon come to an end. The EFF is calling on Congress to legislate this apparently missing punctuation back into its list of FOIA exemptions.

    • UK government retreats on plans to water down the Freedom of Information Act

      The UK government is backing away from its original plans to weaken the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Financial Times reports. Last year, the government set up a commission to review the law, composed mostly of people who had expressed scepticism or concern about the scope of the FOIA, and with a clear brief to add restrictions to its workings. It was widely expected that their report would recommend weakening the UK public’s right to access government information by imposing charges for requests, and making it easier for them to be refused.

      But according to an article in the Financial Times, strong media and political opposition has led to the changes being dropped or postponed: “Mr Cameron is likely to back off from making substantial changes to the FOI Act, settling instead for some minor technical amendments to protect government advisers, two ministers have told the Financial Times.”

    • REPORT AND ANALYSIS OF RECENT AMENDMENTS TO S. 1890 (The Defend Trade Secrets Act 2016)

      The Defend Trade Secrets Act (S. 1890) passed out of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary today, but not before it was amended to address a number of concerns that were voiced by opponents over the past two years.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Noam Chomsky Says GOP Is ‘Literally A Serious Danger To Human Survival’

      Noam Chomsky, the noted radical and MIT professor emeritus, said the Republican Party has become so extreme in its rhetoric and policies that it poses a “serious danger to human survival.”

      “Today, the Republican Party has drifted off the rails,” Chomsky, a frequent critic of both parties, said in an interview Monday with The Huffington Post. “It’s become what the respected conservative political analysts Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein call ‘a radical insurgency’ that has pretty much abandoned parliamentary politics.”

    • Do palm oil financiers care about sustainability?

      Within the sustainability sector, finance is increasingly being seen as a powerful lever to help companies “green” their operations. In response to NGO and consumer pressure, a growing number of corporate banks and investors over the past few years have begun using both positive and negative screening methods to improve the sustainability of their portfolios and client companies. Positive screening methods preferentially provide capital to sustainably-run companies, and include socially responsible investment (SRI) funds and green bonds that are dedicated to responsible companies. On the other hand, negative screening methods focus on weeding out unsustainable companies, generally by using environmental, social and governance (ESG) screens that grade companies on a number of metrics, such as carbon footprint and fair labor policy.

      Sustainable finance is still regarded as a niche market, but its share of the financial industry continues to grow. According to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, from 2012 to 2014, the global sustainable investment market expanded from $13.3 trillion to $21.4 trillion.[1] Reflecting this trend, consortiums such as the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) are attracting an increasing number of signatories.[2] Much of this demand for sustainable investment is being driven by millennials[3] and institutional clients.[4] Some of these institutional clients, such as the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), may be ethically or religiously obligated to pay attention to such concerns when making investing decisions.[5]

    • What Happened to Jane Mayer When She Wrote About the Koch Brothers

      Out of the blue in the fall of 2010, a blogger asked Jane Mayer, a writer with The New Yorker, how she felt about the private investigator who was digging into her background. Ms. Mayer thought the idea was a joke, she said this week. At a Christmas party a few months later, she ran into a former reporter who had been asked about helping with an investigation into another reporter on behalf of two conservative billionaires.

      “The reporter had written a story they disliked,” Ms. Mayer recounts in “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right,” out this month from Doubleday. Her acquaintance told her, “‘It occurred to me afterward that the reporter they wanted to investigate might be you.’”

  • Finance

    • The Populist Revolution: Bernie and Beyond

      Today’s populist revolt mimics an earlier one that reached its peak in the US in the 1890s. Then it was all about challenging Wall Street, reclaiming the government’s power to create money, curing rampant deflation with US Notes (Greenbacks) or silver coins (then considered the money of the people), nationalizing the banks, and establishing a central bank that actually responded to the will of the people.

    • The Facebook founder’s “philanthropy” lets him stash his billions without paying taxes.

      Let us now praise “Lord Zuckerberg, The Magnificent!”

      Mark Zuckerberg, the wunderkind of Silicon Valley who co-founded Facebook and amassed roughly a gabillion dollars in personal wealth, is now being hailed as a new giant of American altruism.

      This started after the tech titan and his wife Priscilla Chan announced the birth of their first child. While delivering what could have been routine news, they announced that in honor of baby Maxima’s birth, they intend to donate $45 billion — 99 percent of their Facebook wealth — to charity.

      The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and other media outlets swooned at Zuckerberg’s selfless act: “Philanthropy Pledge Sets New Giving Standard,” gushed Bloomberg. Lost in the fog of media adulation are two important facts: (1) the $45 billion didn’t actually go to charity, and (2) it wasn’t really a donation.

    • Yet More TPP Studies Predict Slim Economic Gains, Highlight Dubious Underlying Assumptions

      It’s striking that from a situation where there were very few studies of the likely effects of the TPP agreement, we’ve moved to one where they are appearing almost every week. Recently Techdirt wrote about a World Bank study, and one from Tufts University; now we have one from the Peterson Institute for International Economics, which calls itself “a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution devoted to the study of international economic policy.”

    • Deadly crash kills five in Kampong Speu

      Five female garment workers, one of them pregnant, were killed and 68 others injured yesterday morning after a truck overloaded with garment workers plunged into a ditch. The accident raises questions yet again about the perilous state of the Kingdom’s transportation system for more than 700,000 labourers in its clothing industry.

      The accident happened at 6:45am on the border of the Kong Pisei and Samrong Tong districts in Kampong Speu province, according to Touch Phearith, Kong Pisei district police chief in charge of traffic.

    • Microsoft Continues to Obscure Its Real Cloud Revenue [Ed: creative accounting to hide a crisis]

      At first glance, it appears that Microsoft is making far more on its cloud services than Amazon, which made $2.41 billion last quarter from its Amazon Web Services division. The problem is that, in reporting its results, Microsoft bundles its Azure line of cloud services with Windows Server and other traditional enterprise software sales together under the label “Intelligent Cloud” without revealing what percentage of that total actually comes from Azure. That makes an apples to apples comparison with Amazon Web Services impossible.

    • Silicon Valley’s poorest workers tell government ‘we can’t live like this’

      At Intel’s corporate headquarters in Santa Clara, California, the highly paid engineers and developers directly employed by the computer chip company wear blue identification badges.

      Janitors, electricians, gardeners, security guards and cafeteria workers employed by various subcontractors wear green badges.

      It’s an important distinction for Nahima Aguiniga, 34, who works as a cashier and dishwasher at a cafe on the Intel campus. Blue badges get free coffee, soda and fruit; green badges have to pay.

      Free food is just one of the perks Intel’s blue badge employees enjoy. Like other Silicon Valley tech firms, the company competes for employees with perks like ping-pong tables, on-site spa services, dry cleaning and gyms with personal trainers.

      “The way they treat green badges, it’s like we’re second-class citizens,” said Aguiniga. A single mother of two, Aguiniga earns just $13.50 per hour. She can’t afford her own apartment in an area that has such a high cost of living that even highly paid tech employees and venture capitalists are balking. For the past 10 weeks, she and her children have been sharing a single room in her ex-mother-in-law’s house.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Dumb and Dumber: Trump, Palin and the Celebration of Stupidity in U.S. Politics

      This last election cycle has revealed an increasing divide over how segments of the population understand political issues. According to Pew, “Partisan polarization — the vast and growing gap between Republicans and Democrats — is a defining feature of politics today.” The problem is not simply connected to opposing ideologies, though. Today polarization is the defining feature of Tea Party politics. From the Bundy gang to Donald Trump’s rallies, we are witnessing a rise in aggressive and divisive politics.

    • Ha Ha: Hillary Clinton’s Top Financial Supporter Now Controls “The Onion”

      Onion staffers may think twice before they produce more stories like Hillary Clinton Tries To Woo Voters By Rescinding Candidacy, Hillary Clinton To Nation: ‘Do Not Fuck This Up For Me’, Hillary Clinton: The Merciless, Unrelenting March To The Presidency, or the signed Hillary Clinton editorial titled I’m Weighing Whether Or Not I Want To Go Through The Hell Of Appealing To You Idiotic, Uninformed Oafs.

      Many news outlets covered Univision Communications’ purchase last week of a stake in The Onion, the world’s leading news publication. According to NPR, Univision bought a 40 percent controlling interest in the company, and also acquired the option to buy the remainder of The Onion in the future.

    • WaPo’s Wemple Explains How The “Great Conservative Tradition” Of Bemoaning Media Bias Has Now Backfired On Fox

      During a January 26 press conference GOP presidential front runner Donald Trump announced that he will not participate in Thursday night’s Fox News-hosted GOP presidential primary debate, because of alleged bias against him by Fox News host and debate moderator, Megyn Kelly.

      Fox has given Trump over 24 hours of free airtime since May, significantly more than his fellow GOP candidates and has furnished several of the talking points Trump uses on the campaign trail. However, the network has stood by Kelly and several Fox News figures have attacked Trump over his decision to pull out of the debate.

    • Megyn Kelly throws love fest for Michael Moore on Fox News

      On “The Kelly File” Tuesday, host Megyn Kelly welcomed in liberal documentarian Michael Moore for what turned out to be a surprisingly cordial chat about President Barack Obama’s legacy, as well as her ongoing feud with Donald Trump — which resulted yesterday in the GOP front-runner pulling out of the Fox News/Google debate, which she will be moderating.

      Moore began by offering genuine praise for the Fox News host, asking her “What does this [Trump fiasco] feel like to you? Because you don’t want to be the story — you’re a journalist.”

    • Clinton’s New Pitch to Iowa Voters: Republicans Want Sanders to Win

      Hillary Clinton’s campaign has recently turned to a new tactic to convince Iowa Democrats that they should caucus for her over Sen. Bernie Sanders: Republicans, the campaign says, want Sanders to win.

      Clinton and her surrogates have taken to pointing out that Republican super-PACs and donors have started to air ads that appear intended to boost Sanders’ campaign. “The best evidence that I have the best plan is that the Republicans and their billionaire allies are running ads against me,” Clinton told a crowd at a middle school in Marshalltown, Iowa, on Tuesday night. Clinton was referring to the news that Joe Ricketts, a major Republican donor, is funding a super-PAC to air ads in Iowa that could serve to bolster Sanders’ caucus bid by describing him as “too liberal.”

    • Hillary Clinton Doing Back-to-Back Finance Industry Fundraisers Just Before Iowa

      Despite being dogged with questions about her ties to Wall Street, Hillary Clinton will take a detour from the campaign trail in Iowa to do back-to-back finance industry fundraisers in other states later this week.

      Clinton will appear in Philadelphia at a “gala” fund-raiser hosted by executives at Franklin Square Capital Partners, a $17 billion investment fund. Rocker Bon Jovi will reportedly play an acoustic set for “friends” who pledge $1,000 and hosts who bundle up to $27,000.

      The Philadelphia Inquirer notes that “Franklin Square employs Ivy League-educated money managers and salespeople with experience at big Wall Street firms – plus four personal trainers and a dietitian to keep staff happy and productive amid the gym, yoga and nap rooms, Sol LeWitt art installations, and fancy cafeteria.”

    • Donald Trump in 2000: “I Support the Ban on Assault Weapons”

      Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has campaigned as an ardent advocate of expanding gun rights, but in the past he called for banning assault weapons and a longer waiting period for gun purchases.

      Trump’s new gun plan calls for a national right to concealed carry and criticizes “opponents of gun rights” for coming “up with scary sounding phrases like ‘assault weapons,’ ‘military-style weapons,’ and ‘high capacity magazines’ to confuse people.” He has vowed to undo President Obama’s modest gun executive orders and even called for the elimination of all “gun-free zones” at schools.

  • Censorship

    • Singapore: Bloggers, Internet Users Increasingly Targeted

      In the 659-page World Report 2016, its 26th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth writes that the spread of terrorist attacks beyond the Middle East and the huge flows of refugees spawned by repression and conflict led many governments to curtail rights in misguided efforts to protect their security. At the same time, authoritarian governments throughout the world, fearful of peaceful dissent that is often magnified by social media, embarked on the most intense crackdown on independent groups in recent times.

      The People’s Action Party (PAP), which has ruled Singapore since 1959, won 83 out of 89 parliamentary seats in the September general elections. The PAP government uses vague and overly broad legal provisions on public order, morality, security, and racial and religious harmony to sharply limit what its citizens can express and to prosecute those who earn the government’s displeasure.

    • Notable & Quotable: Campus Censorship

      ‘Yes, we should mock these little tyrants who fantasize that their feelings should trump other people’s freedom. But we must go further.’

    • ‘Green Day’ Rocker Billie Joe Armstrong Calls Out School Censorship

      Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong has spoken out about censorship after Enfield High School in Connecticut said it will no longer put on an adaptation of the Broadway hit “American Idiot.”

      Based on the band’s 2004 album, the musical apparently contains more profanity, sex and drug use than the school’s staff (and certain parents) could stomach.

    • Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong Warns of Censorship After School Drops ‘American Idiot’

      A decision by officials at a Connecticut high school to drop a student production of the Green Day rock opera American Idiot drew an online rebuke from the band’s frontman.

      Enfield High School’s drama club posted fliers at the school announcing auditions.

    • Censorship and Sensibility

      Idaho must answer for its speech-chilling statute

    • ‘Easily offended students reported me to the police’

      Last year, Oxford student Jacob Williams decided he had had enough of debate-dodging campus politicos. He founded No Offence, a student mag which would air the views that students are no longer allowed to. The campus authorities weren’t happy. Watch Jacob discuss the rise of illiberal liberals and the importance of questioning your assumptions.

    • Meet the students fighting campus censorship

      If there’s one thing that really gets on my nerves, it’s the idea that students today are uniquely intolerant. The explosion of campus censorship in recent years has made bashing campus politicos a kind of commentariat pastime, with fortysomething columnists wheeling the little blue-haired pillocks out each week to give them a good kicking. But while the students’ union censors deserve everything they get, all too often campus censorship has been painted as a generational phenomena – as if undergraduates appeared from the womb with a Safe Space policy in hand.

    • ‘Students don’t need to be taught about consent’

      Warwick student George Lawlor made international headlines when he spoke out against compulsory consent classes.

    • Watching paint dry: how artists have challenged censorship

      A team of unfortunate BBFC censors was recently forced watch paint dry for ten hours. The unusual movie, crowdfunded by filmmaker Charlie Lyne, was a protest against alleged censorship by the classification board.

    • Medium Stands Up To Malaysia’s Attempt To Take Down Investigative Reporting; Gets Entire Site Blocked In Malaysia

      We’ve seen an increasing effort by governments around the globe to censor content they don’t like. This takes many different forms, but one fairly typical one is for governments to send official looking documents to websites and webhosts demanding that certain content be taken down. Many smaller companies, often with no official policy in place on how to handle such requests, will cave and just take the content down to avoid the hassle. However, recently we’ve seen a growing number of sites reject such requests, unless they’re accompanied by a valid court order. The latest is Medium, the increasingly popular content publishing platform.

      In this case, the issue involves the government of Malaysia and the investigative journalism site Sarawak Report, which has been writing a bunch of stories, many based on apparently leaked documents, exposing corruption in Malaysia. Last summer, the website was blocked in Malaysia after a series of reports related to claims of $700 million magically appearing in the Malaysian Prime Minister’s personal bank account. After having its own website blocked, Sarawak also started republishing all its articles on Medium.

    • Medium’s Sitewide Encryption Confronts Censorship in Malaysia

      Blogging platform Medium is now blocked in Malaysia, apparently in an effort to censor an investigative news outlet critical of the government. The Sarawak Report has mirrored its articles on Medium at least since its own site was blocked in mid-2015, when it published allegations of corruption.

      Medium’s legal team has done an admirable job keeping the relevant post online in the face of government demands. It’s published an account saying the company “stand[s] by investigative journalists” and that the post will stay up until it “receive[s] an order from a court of competent jurisdiction.” But this story also demonstrates the censorship-resistant properties of online encryption like HTTPS, which Medium has enabled across its entire site.

    • Ecuador Continues To Use US Copyright Law To Censor Critics

      A few years ago, we highlighted an absolutely ridiculous claim by a pro-copyright expansion think tank, arguing that it was a myth that copyright could ever be used for censorship. In that article, we listed out a number of examples of copyright being used absolutely for reasons of censorship, including a few by government actors. But, by far, one of the worst abusers of copyright law (and US copyright law specifically) to censor critical speech is the government of Ecuador. We’ve written a few times about Ares Rights, a Spanish company that was regularly sending DMCA notices in the US to try to suppress any kind of criticism of Ecuador’s government (and also on criticism of Ares Rights).

    • Indonesian telecom provider blocks access to Netflix
    • Netflix blocked by Indonesia in censorship row
    • Indonesia Telecoms Firm Blocks Netflix Over Local Laws, Censorship
    • Indonesia’s biggest telecom operator blocks Netflix
    • Free Speech Row As Radical Islam Documentary Given ’18 And Over’ Rating
    • Documentary on radical Islam raises hackles in France
    • Jihadi film that sparked censorship row in France released with 18 certificate
    • France Restricts ‘Salafistes,’ Film on Islamic Radicals
    • France bars minors from seeing controversial documentary
    • French documentary on Salafists gets rare ’18 and over’ rating
    • France bars teens from seeing documentary on radical islam
    • “Salafists” a shocking French documentary risking censorship
    • Cartoonists are mocking Italy’s censorship of nude statues for Rouhani
    • Italian Government Censors Nude Statues in Rome for Iranian President’s Visit
    • Italians Protect Iranian President’s Virgin Eyes from Nude Art During Museum Visit
    • Pakistan Orders ISPs To Block 429,343 Websites Completely, Because There’s Porn On The Internet
    • Porn sites targeted in major crackdown by Pakistan authorities

      Pakistan is reportedly preparing to launch a major crackdown on internet pornography and the country’s telecoms regulator has ordered internet providers to block 400,000 adult websites.

      The action follows a recent order passed down by the Supreme Court in Pakistan requiring the telecom sector to “take remedial steps to quantify the nefarious phenomenon of obscenity and pornography that has an imminent role to corrupt and vitiate the youth of Pakistan”.

    • Thailand asked Google to make censorship easier – leaked document

      AS online censorship concerns mount in Thailand, activists in the country released a document Wednesday that purportedly details a meeting in which government officials urged Google staff to comply with content removal requests without waiting for court orders.

    • Thailand Asks Google to Bend Censorship Rules

      Thai officials asked Google to make an exception and remove content without a court order, according to leaked details of a meeting this past Friday with top executives from the U.S.-based search giant.

      The second meeting between Google legal reps and a junta censorship committee was detailed in a document leaked by Thai net freedom advocates hours before Anonymous-aligned hacktivists shut down 20 Department of Corrections websites Thursday morning.

    • Cecil Rhodes statue to be kept by Oxford University college

      A college at Oxford University says it has decided not to remove a statue of the British imperialist Cecil Rhodes.

      Campaigners want the statue torn down, arguing that Rhodes, a 19th Century businessman and politician in southern Africa, represented white supremacy.

      Oriel College began a consultation last month and said the “overwhelming” response was that Rhodes should stay.

      It said the statue was a reminder of the complexity of history and of the legacies of colonialism.

    • Supinya slams ‘self-censorship’

      Journalists must refrain from self-censorship, despite the restrictions on media freedom imposed by the ruling junta, an activist-turned-media regulator said Thursday.

      Supinya Klangnarong, a member of the state-run National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, said the media was obliged to “dare to cross the line” on public interest issues, especially in a society with limited freedom of expression.

    • After Sculpture Censorship Fiasco, Italian Officials Fail to Uncover the Naked Truth

      Earlier this week, the Musei Capitolini in Rome found itself at the center of a controversy as news spread worldwide of the censorship of some of its famous nude statues in anticipation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to the institution. While widely reported as a means to avoid offending the dignitary, the measure has stirred trouble of another kind in the Italian capital, with — unsurprisingly — all parties denying responsibility for it and an internal investigation now underway.

      According to The Local, both Rouhani and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi denied knowing about the seemingly Minimalism-inspired transformation, in which someone ordered that the marble sculptures be hidden beneath white boxes during Rouhani’s tour. Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini labelled the deed “incomprehensible,” and attempted to distance Renzi’s office from the matter.

  • Privacy

    • Data Privacy Day: Take Charge of Your Family’s Privacy

      Thursday, January 28, is Data Privacy Day—a day dedicated to promoting and raising awareness of privacy and data protection around the globe. It commemorates the January 28, 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. And it’s a great day to take charge of not only your own privacy, but also the privacy of any school children in your life.

      We recently launched Spying on Students—an online resource dedicated to helping students, parents, teachers, and school administrators learn more about the privacy issues surrounding school-issued devices and cloud services. The website—part of our new campaign to promote student privacy—provides useful guides for adjusting privacy settings on mobile devices. It also answers common questions about the legal and technological landscape regarding student privacy and offers suggestions on how you can connect with other concerned parents.

    • 25 Civil Liberties Organizations Call for Open Hearings on Section 702 Surveillance

      The House Judiciary Committee has plans for a “members only” meeting next week to discuss Section 702 of the FISA Amendment Acts, the law the NSA relies on to operate its notorious PRISM surveillance program and to tap into the backbone of the Internet, also known as “upstream” collection.

      While we wish that “members only” meant that Congressional watchdogs would all don vintage jackets from the 1980s while reining in the NSA, the sad truth is that our elected representatives are once again cutting out the public from an important debate over mass surveillance.

    • New Evidence of Racial Profiling on Florida Roadways

      Black motorists in Florida almost two times more likely to be ticketed for seat belt violations than white motorists.

      Sam Dubose. Walter Scott. Sandra Bland. 2015 showed in terrible and vivid detail how even routine police traffic stops carry the risk of escalating to arrest or the use of force — even lethal force. Traffic stops are not simply innocuous encounters. They can be deadly, particularly for Black people.

      When evidence suggests that certain communities are targeted for traffic stops because of their race or ethnicity, we need to take heed. Today the ACLU is releasing a report providing just that. “Racial Disparities in Florida Safety Belt Law Enforcement” is the first report to analyze publicly available seat belt citation data reported by law enforcement agencies across the state to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in 2014 and 2011.

    • Congressional Hearings on Surveillance Programs to Kick Off — in Secret

      The House Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing next week on two of the NSA spying programs revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden that vacuum up domestic content despite being ostensibly targeted at foreigners: PRISM and Upstream.

      But, to the great consternation of 26 government accountability groups who wrote an angry letter to committee leaders on Wednesday, the public is not invited. The entire hearing is classified, and closed.

      Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008, which has been cited as the legal authority for those two programs, lapses next year.

    • Canadian Spies Get Spanked Again For Sharing Citizens’ Data With the NSA

      They won’t tell us what it means, but the Canadian government has confirmed that its spy agencies have a real problem with mass-collecting its citizens’ metadata.

      They won’t say how many Canadians were affected, what processes led to the mass-spying, how many information was shared with international intelligence agencies like the NSA, or even how they define “metadata.” But they’re confident everything will be okay.

      After news broke that untold number of Canadians had their private information collected by a top-secret intelligence agency, Minister of National Defence Harjit Singh Sajjan told reporters even he didn’t know how far it went.

    • Canada Temporarily Drops Out Of Five Eyes Spying Coalition, After Realizing It Wasn’t Properly Protecting Information

      Of course, by now you know about the “Five Eyes” coalition of the signals intelligence agencies of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand all sharing certain intelligence information between them. Some of the Snowden docs have made clear that this collaboration helps the various countries get around restrictions on “domestic” surveillance by effectively offshoring it to other “friendly” electronic spy agencies. Well, at least for now, it appears that that the Five Eyes effort has lost an Eye.

      Canada’s signals intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), has stopped sharing data with the other Four Eyes after realizing that it hadn’t done a particularly good job of protecting the metadata it collected on Canadians.

    • Meet the private companies that sell spy tech to the NSA and Sudan

      The multi-billion dollar private surveillance industry does some of the U.S. government’s most critical electronic snooping. From “deep packet inspection” — that includes tracking and filtering emails — to phone taps, private contractors play a key role for law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

    • Pssst, Your PGP Is Leaking

      Ever since the Snowden revelations, more and more people have been educating themselves on how to use encryption. One of the first programs people might turn to is Pretty Good Privacy, or PGP, a version of which was thrust further into the public consciousness when it was explicitly credited in Citizen Four, Laura Poitras’ documentary on the National Security Agency and her meeting with Snowden.

    • Cops Getting Free License Plate Readers In Exchange For 25% Of The ‘Take’ And All The Driver Data Vigilant Can Slurp

      As has been discussed here before, turning law enforcement agencies into revenue-focused entities is a bad idea. Case in point: asset forfeiture. Further case in point: speed trap towns. Improper incentives lead to improper behavior. Agencies may like the idea of a “free” license plate reader, but the price still has to be paid by someone — and that “someone” is going to be the general public.

      As priorities shift towards ensuring ongoing use of the “free” ALPRs, other criminal activity is likely to receive less law enforcement attention. Unpaid fines and fees are in law enforcement’s wheelhouse, but should never become its raison d’etre. Once it does, the whole community suffers. Anything that could be implemented to lower crime rates would also serve to lower revenue, making it far less likely to be implemented. Fewer infractions mean fewer opportunities to collect court fees. And while the legislators pushing the new law Vigilant is leveraging talked a good game about sending fewer people to overcrowded jails, the governments overseeing these agencies still have budgets to meet and law enforcement to lean on to ensure this happens. Actually achieving the bill’s stated aims would mean a steady reduction in court fees, which would lead to the loss of “free” plate readers. And no one wants that, at least not on the government side of things.

    • GCHQ certified course to improve cyber-attack response and recovery [Ed: Danielle Correa, “Production Editor”, is just a ghostwriter/parrot]
    • Near Inevitability of Cyber Breaches Calls for Greater Focus on Response and Recovery Through Security Training
    • This is the kind of brain we look for at GCHQ [Ed: the spies took over British media again]
    • Thousands puzzle over GCHQ’s festive test
    • No one has cracked GCHQ’s Christmas card and there are only 2 days left
    • Nobody has cracked GCHQ’s crypto Christmas Puzzle
    • With just three days left to crack GCHQ’s ‘impossible’ puzzle, will you be the first person to solve the code?
    • GCHQ’s Christmas card puzzle ‘not yet solved’
    • Nobody has managed to solve GCHQ’s cryptographic Christmas puzzle yet
    • No one has cracked GCHQ’s Christmas card and there are only 2 days left
    • Spy agency’s ‘fun’ quiz still not cracked
    • Three Days Left To Solve GCHQ Xmas Puzzle
    • GCHQ’s Christmas puzzle continues to baffle as deadline looms
    • Can you solve the world’s hardest puzzle?
    • Thousands baffled as GCHQ’s Christmas puzzle deadline looms
    • USENIX Enigma 2016 – NSA TAO Chief on Disrupting Nation State Hackers
    • NSA Hacker Chief Explains How to Keep Him Out of Your System
    • Pompeo wants to give NSA authority to collect mass info.
    • NSA’s top hacking boss explains how to protect your network from his attack squads

      The United States National Security Agency (NSA) is a notoriously secretive organization, but the head of its elite Tailored Access Operations (TAO) hacking team has appeared at Usenix’s Enigma conference to tell the assembled security experts how to make his life difficult.

      Rob Joyce has spent over a quarter of a century at No Such Agency and in 2013 he became head of TAO, with responsibility for breaking into non-US computer networks run by overseas companies and governments. Joyce’s presentation on network security at the event boiled down to one piece of advice.

      “If you really want to protect your network you have to know your network, including all the devices and technology in it,” he said. “In many cases we know networks better than the people who designed and run them.”

    • NSA Hacking Chief: Internet of Things Security Keeps Me Up at Night

      The leader of the National Security Agency’s hackers says that putting industrial control systems online has made America less secure.

    • USENIX Enigma 2016 – The Golden Age of Bulk Surveillance
    • An Unprecedented Threat to Privacy

      A private company has captured 2.2 billion photos of license plates in cities throughout America. It stores them in a database, tagged with the location where they were taken. And it is selling that data.

    • Your social data is doomed, and don’t count on Facebook to save you

      Your status updates, your uploaded photos, your videos, all of it is going to be inaccessible sometime in the future. Not just by you, but by your descendants as well.

    • Facebook’s quarterly earnings surpass $5bn for first time thanks to ad sales

      Facebook signalled its increasing power and influence with an emphatic set of financial results that showed quarterly revenue passing $5bn for the first time, and putting it in a position to challenge Google’s dominance of Silicon Valley.

    • Facebook denies Belgian court privacy ruling because it used word ‘cookie’
    • Facebook appeals Belgian cookie rule because it says ‘cookie’

      The court’s ruling contained some English words — like cookie, homepage and browser — which could violate a Belgian law that says all rulings must be in the official languages of the country: French, Dutch and German. Facebook has said this means the whole ruling must be annulled.

      Privacy lawyers not associated with the case told POLITICO this is a “desperate, petty and last-ditch” attempt to avoid Belgian justice. Previously, Facebook tried to fight the verdict by claiming the Belgian data protection authority did not have jurisdiction because the company’s European headquarters is in Ireland.

    • The myth of the ISIS encrypted messaging app

      Despite widespread media reports to the contrary, an app created for Islamic State militants to send private encrypted messages does not exist, a Daily Dot investigation found.

      On Jan. 12, Defense One reported that the Islamic State allegedly built a new Android app called Alrawi for exchanging encrypted messages, based on claims from self-proclaimed online counter-terrorism outfit Ghost Security Group (GSG). The claim was quickly reprinted by Newsweek, Fortune, TechCrunch, and the Times of India—the largest English-language newspaper in the world—among many others.

      However, it seems as though hype and fear, rather than concrete evidence of a genuine tool for orchestrating terrorists attacks, played the primary role in propagating word of its existence.

    • How to Make Your Own NSA Bulk Surveillance System

      Of all the NSA surveillance documents Edward Snowden leaked, some of the most important exposed the spy agency’s so-called XKEYSCORE program, a massive system for vacuuming up and sifting through emails, chats, images, online search activity, usernames and passwords, and other private digital data from core fiber optics cables around the world.

      XKEYSCORE, which the NSA calls its “widest reaching” surveillance program, was established around 2008 and consists of more than 700 servers that store data sucked from the internet’s backbone and mine this data for patterns and connections.

      Only a well-resourced party like the NSA could deploy such a grandiose surveillance program. But if your spy needs are more modest, there are a number of existing tools available that offer similar surveillance capabilities, albeit at a smaller scale, says Nicholas Weaver.

    • Daily tests of torbrowser-launcher, and on every git commit too
    • CESG Certified Training rebranded as GCHQ Certified Training
    • GCHQ targets EM vulnerability of military systems

      GCHQ’s information security arm and the UK’s National Technical Authority for Information Assurance has appointed an accredited laboratory in the UK to perform Tempest first-of-type platform testing.

    • TÜV SÜD Product Service Appointed as UK’s Only CESG Tempest First-of-Type Platform Test Facility
    • GCHQ-developed software for secure phone calls open to ‘eavesdropping’

      MIKKEY-SAKKE is currently being promoted by GCHQ for both government and industry as the gold standard.

      In fact, they have said they will only certify encryption products that implement MIKKEY-SAKKE, and are also pushing to implement it on the public’s mobile phones.

    • NSA Chief Warns of More Hacks Like Those That Hit OPM
    • Cops hate encryption but the NSA loves it when you use PGP

      Usenix Enigma Although the cops and Feds wont stop banging on and on about encryption – the spies have a different take on the use of crypto.

      To be brutally blunt, they love it. Why? Because using detectable encryption technology like PGP, Tor, VPNs and so on, lights you up on the intelligence agencies’ dashboards. Agents and analysts don’t even have to see the contents of the communications – the metadata is enough for g-men to start making your life difficult.

    • Why Do We Expose Ourselves?

      Exposed is a welcome addition to the current spate of books about technology and surveillance. While it covers familiar ground — it opens with brief accounts of Facebook’s methods of tracking users, USAID’s establishment of ZunZuneo (a Twitter-like social network) in Cuba, and Edward Snowden’s revelations of the NSA’s PRISM program — Harcourt’s contribution is uniquely indebted to critical theory. Riffing on the work of another French philosopher, Gilles Deleuze, and his evocative 1992 fragment “Postscript on the Societies of Control,” Harcourt settles upon the phrase “Expository Society” to describe our current situation, one in which we “have become dulled to the perils of digital transparence” and enamored of exposure. This new form of expository power, Harcourt explains, “embeds punitive transparence into our hedonist indulgences and inserts the power to punish in our daily pleasures.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Obama Puts Solitary Confinement on Notice

      His reforms treat solitary as an inherently dangerous practice that should only be used as a last resort.

      The American people got a wake-up call yesterday from President Barack Obama about solitary confinement, a barbaric practice that’s routine in our country’s prisons, jails, and juvenile detention centers. The White House delivered a new report on solitary from the Department of Justice and a simultaneous pledge in an op-ed by the president to sharply reduce federal prisons’ reliance on this inhumane practice.

      For state and local jails and prisons across the country, the Justice Department presents its first-ever guide to cutting back on solitary — principles the president endorsed.

      On any given day, as many as 100,000 people in U.S. prisons are held in solitary, where they are deprived of almost all human interaction, often sustaining permanent psychological damage. Many solitary survivors — like Reginald Dwayne Betts, Anthony Graves, and James Burns — left prison long ago but remain haunted by their days, months, and years in the hole.

    • Corrupt US Government Accuses Putin Of Corruption

      The most corrupt government on earth, a government so utterly corrupt that it allows former executives of a handful of corrupt mega-banks to run the economic policy of the US solely in the interest of their banks, denying tens of millions of American retirees any interest income on their savings for 7 years and denying hard-pressed Social Security recipients any cost-of-living adjustments by falsifying inflation measures, a government so totally corrupt that it has destroyed seven countries and millions of Muslims solely on the basis of lies, this irredeemably corrupt government has accused the most admired political leader on earth of corruption.

    • Guantánamo Parole Board Clears Victim of Mistaken Identity — After 13 Years

      The Guantánamo parole board approved the release of a Yemeni “forever prisoner,” dismissing intelligence that imprisoned the man for 13 years without trial. And if that level of evil and scorn for justice doesn’t radicalize a 100 people to join ISIS, then nothing can.

    • Kuwait Creating Mandatory DNA Database Of All Citizens, Residents — And Visitors

      The DNA will not be used for medical purposes, such as checking for genetic markers of disease, which will avoid issues of whether people should be told about their predisposition to possibly serious illnesses. Nor will the DNA database be used for “lineage or genealogical reasons.” That’s an important point: a complete nation’s DNA would throw up many unexpected paternity and maternity results, which could have massive negative effects on the families concerned. It’s precisely those kinds of practical and ethical issues that advocates of wider DNA sampling and testing need to address, but rarely do.

    • Lawyer: 16-Year-Old Shouldn’t Be Upset By Explicit Photos Cop Sent Her Because She’s Probably Seen Penises On The Internet

      Please note that if a classmate had sent a photo of his penis to this 16-year-old girl, he might be facing child pornography charges and a lifetime on the sex offender registry, rather than “annoying and accosting,” which would net Guzman a maximum $200 fine and 6 months in jail.

    • Courts Pretty Much OK With FBI’s Occasional Stints As Child Porn Distributors

      Law enforcement agencies commit criminal acts while conducting criminal investigations. It happens all the time. With the blessing of their handlers, confidential informants routinely engage in criminal activity. Investigators act as co-conspirators in the planning of terrorist attacks and the robbing of imaginary “stash houses.”

      But many people are taking issue with the FBI’s decision to use seized servers loaded with child pornography as honeypots rather than immediately shut them down. For some, this is the one unforgivable criminal act — the possession and distribution of child porn.

    • The FBI’s Two Weeks of Peddling Kiddie Porn and Section 702

      As you may have heard, from February 20 to March 4, 2015, the FBI was operating the world’s largest kiddie porn site, during which point it hacked the site and thereby IDed the IP address of up to 1,500 users, both in the US and abroad.

    • BPD sergeant may plead guilty, job on the line

      Sgt. Edwin Guzman is accused of sending sexually explicit Facebook messages to a minor.

      Guzman was promoted to sergeant in August 2014, around the same time he allegedly sent the messages to the teenager who says she considered Guzman a family friend and father figure.

      “It started off we regularly chat and it’s mostly about school and how life is,” the teenager who was 16 at the time told 5 Investigates’ Mike Beaudet.

    • Al Jazeera files claim for damages against Egypt

      Network registers complaint at World Bank arbitration court accusing Egypt of targeting its journalists and offices.

    • Ex-Department of Justice Lawyer Faces Penalties in Leak of NSA Program
    • Administration Pursues Charges Against Another Whistleblower

      Another whistleblower is facing charges brought by this administration — one that has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other administrations combined. Thomas Tamm, a DOJ lawyer during the Bush era, exposed the NSA’s super-secret domestic surveillance program, whose authorization ran directly from the Attorney General to the Chief Judge of the FISA Court.

      His whistleblowing led to a Pulitzer for the New York Times. The information Tamm gave to NYT reporters detailed something referred to only as “the program.” The two-person approval process eliminated much of the paper trail and allowed the NSA to perform warrantless domestic surveillance. Colleagues of Tamm’s at the DOJ’s Office of Intelligence Programs and Review even told Tamm this was “probably illegal.”

    • Pre-Snowden Whistleblower Faces Misconduct Charges, 12 Years Later

      Thomas Tamm exposed the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. Fellow Justice Department whistleblower Jesselyn Radack, right, waited a decade for a misconduct complaint against her to be dismissed.

    • NYPD Tells Public Record Requester It Will Cost $36,000 To Process A ‘Sampling’ Of Body Camera Footage

      The NYPD is once again in the middle of a transparency/accountability controversy. The law enforcement agency has achieved the dubious distinction of being more difficult to obtain public records from than federal three-letter agencies like the CIA and NSA. The latest news does nothing to improve its reputation.

      Some of this is due to its in-house classification system, which allows it to arbitrarily declare potentially-responsive documents “secret” — something it does quite often with no apparent oversight. Some of it is due to the department’s general antagonism towards transparency and openness, which keeps documents not marked secret out of the public’s hands just because. Its steadfast belief that the only entity truly entitled to information is the NYPD has seen this attitude carried over to discovery requests in civil lawsuits and criminal cases, much to the general disgruntlement of presiding judges.

    • E-voting won’t solve the problem of voter apathy

      As the old English proverb has it “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Such thoughts spring to mind with the launch of the report Secure Voting by campaigning group WebRoots Democracy. WebRoots are volunteers who ‘campaign for the introduction of online voting in Local and General Elections’. We know where they stand on this issue, but how informed is their argument that online voting can be secure?

    • Asylum seekers made to wear coloured wristbands in Cardiff

      Asylum seekers in Cardiff are being issued with brightly coloured wristbands that they must wear at all times, in a move which echoes the “red door” controversy in Middlesbrough and has resulted in their harassment and abuse by members of the public.

      Newly arrived asylum seekers in the Welsh capital who are housed by Clearsprings Ready Homes, a private firm contracted by the Home Office, are being told that they must wear the wristbands all the time otherwise they will not be fed. The wristbands entitle the asylum seekers, who cannot work and are not given money, to three meals a day.

    • Criminal Defendants Sue State Of Utah For Blowing Off The Sixth Amendment

      So much for those “inalienable rights.” The Sixth Amendment — among other things — guarantees representation for criminal defendants. This guarantee has been declared null and void in two states: Utah and Pennsylvania.

      The problem isn’t that these states aren’t willing to comply with both the Sixth Amendment and the Supreme Court’s Gideon v. Wainwright decision. It’s just that they’re not going to spend any of their money doing it. In these states, funding for indigent defense is left up to local governments, with no additional support coming from the state level.

    • Silencing Whistleblowers, 12 Years Later

      As reported by Zoe Tillman, Thomas Tamm, the first whistleblower to go to Eric Lichtblau with reports of Stellar Wind, is being investigated for ethical violations by the DC Bar. The complaint alleges he failed to report that people within DOJ were violating their legal obligations to superiors, up to and including the Attorney General, and that he took confidences of his client (which the complaint defines as DOJ) to the press.

      The question, of course, is why the Bar is pursuing this now, years after Tamm’s actions became public. Tillman describes the complaint as having had some kind of virgin birth, from Bar members reading the news accounts rather than someone complaining.

    • Lawrence Lessig: Why I Ran For President

      In the spring of 2015, before I decided to run for President, two things were clear to me. First, the need to focus America on the failure of its democracy was as urgent as ever. Second, no plausible candidate for President was going to do that.

    • Why I Dropped Out

      I decided to raise the money contingently. We set a target that we thought would be large enough to make the campaign credible, but not so large as to be impossible to hit in a short period. If we hit the target, I’d run. If we didn’t, we’d return the money we had raised.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • SDN Internet Router – Part 1

      This is the first part of a series of posts about a project we have been working with for a while now that we call SIR (SDN Internet Router). To give some context to this we will first introduce how the Internet route packets, what peering is and how Spotify connects to the rest of the Internet. Feel free to skip this post if you feel you know these topics already.

    • Internet in Cuba

      Unfortunately, I have been connected to the internet only through the the Varadero airport and the WiFi of a “full included” resort near Jibacoa. I have to come to assume that this network is likely to be on a segregated, uncensored internet while the rest of the country suffers the wrath of the Internet censorship in Cuba I have seen documented elsewhere.

      Through my research, I couldn’t find any sort of direct censorship. The Netalyzr tool couldn’t find anything significantly wrong with the connection, other than the obvious performance problems related both to the overloaded uplinks of the Cuban internet. I ran an incomplete OONI probe as well, and it seems there was no obvious censorship detected there as well, at least according to folks in the helpful #ooni IRC channel. Tor also works fine, and could be a great way to avoid the global surveillance system described later in this article.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WHO Board Debates Framework On Engagement With Non-State Actors

      The World Health Organization routinely works with a number of outside actors, such as non-governmental groups, philanthropic organisations, industry and academics. Member states have been trying to establish a framework to regulate such engagement and are still working to produce a consensus document. This week they are trying to extend the mandate of an intergovernmental meeting in the hope that an ultimate meeting in April can solve remaining issues.

    • The Shittiness Of IP Law Has Taught The Public That Everything Is Stealing And Everyone Is Owed Something

      In an article that’s actually a bit (but just a bit) more thoughtful than the headline applied to it (“How Corporations Profit From Black Teens’ Viral Content”), Fader writer Doreen St. Felix tackles the cultural appropriation of creative works. Sort of.

      While the article does quote from a 2008 essay about the historical cultural appropriation of black artists’ works by record labels, etc., the article does not point out any specific appropriation occurring here — at least not in terms of the two creators St. Felix has chosen to write about. And it has nothing to say about how these corporations are “profiting” from this supposed appropriation.

    • WHO Members Commit To SDGs For 2030, Despite Some Differences

      During the Executive Board meeting at the World Health Organization this week, member states agreed on committing to the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. The consensus reached by member states was that direct health development goals such as the continuous effort to rid the world of malaria, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C are at the forefront of pressing issues. But goals for health and those for related issues should be worked on together as they are mutually beneficial, they said.

    • Trademarks

      • Parody bag maker demands $400k legal fees from ‘trademark bully’ Louis Vuitton

        Louis Vuitton is facing a potential $400,000 legal bill after lawyers representing parody bag company My Other Bag filed a motion at a US court asking it to rule that the case is “exceptional”.

        Earlier this month, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York rejected the luxury brand’s complaint that MOB infringed its intellectual property rights.

        California-based MOB sells tote bags that on one side state “My Other Bag …” and on the other have a Louis Vuitton design. The company also sells bags that have other luxury brands’ designs on them.

      • Sad Raiders Fan Tries To Keep Team In Oakland By Squatting On Trademark

        I’m not certain why people think this will work, but there seems to be an idea floating around a few of our fellow citizens that they can simply force their favorite sports teams to do what they want by filing trademarks for things they never intend to use. You may recall the story about a jackass in North Dakota who wanted to prevent the University of North Dakota from changing its name from The Fighting Sioux to, well, anything else that had been suggested by filing for trademarks on all the other things that had been suggested. Such a strategy was doomed to fail from the beginning for any number of reasons, but mostly because you actually have to be using what you’re trying to trademark in commerce in order to get it approved, and trolling isn’t a commercial enterprise as far as I know.

      • Oakland Raiders fan seeks to trademark “San Antonio Raiders”
    • Copyrights

      • “Piracy Harms” Are Now Part of U.S. Education Law

        Last month President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law, making $1 billion dollars available for educational technology spending. In addition, the new law ensures that educators are aware of the piracy harms new technologies introduce.

      • Pissed Consumer Gets To Go After Roca Labs For Its Bogus DMCA Takedowns

        Remember Roca Labs? The somewhat shady manufacturer of some goop that the company claimed was an “alternative to gastric bypass surgery.” This was the company that initially sued the site PissedConsumer.com because it was hosting negative reviews of Roca’s product — and Roca claimed that because it pressured buyers into a gag clause saying they wouldn’t say anything bad about the product, that PissedConsumer was engaged in tortious interference. There was a lot more as well, including threatening to sue us at Techdirt (more than once!) for reporting on the case, suing Pissed Consumer’s lawyer Marc Randazza for defamation and a variety of other shenanigans (even including some bizarre side stories on Nevada politics, despite it being a Florida company). Anyway, late last year the FTC smacked down Roca for its misleading marketing and its non-disparagement clauses. Roca is still fighting that fight, but soon after it also lost the case against PissedConsumer.

      • Internet Policy Task Force Seeks Changes To US Copyright Statutory Damages Law

        The United States Copyright Act should be amended in a “very careful” way to change the way statutory damages are awarded to successful copyright owners against infringing individuals and online services, Shira Perlmutter, US Patent and Trademark Office chief policy officer and international affairs director, said today.

      • Cox Should Expose Pirating Subscribers, Court Hears

        After winning a $25 million judgment last month, music publisher BMG has requested a permanent injunction against Cox Communications, requiring the Internet provider to expose the personal details of pirating subscribers. For its part, Cox has asked the court to reconsider the guilty verdict or grant a new trial.

      • Writer Claims Libel, Copyright Infringement When Screencap Of Her Tweet Is Used In An Online Article

        A person can undo the damage of a particularly stupid assertion by acting quickly and contritely. Too bad far too many people opt for making the situation much, much worse.

        David Paxton included a screenshot of Forbes contributor Frances Coppola touting her own personal conspiracy theory about the rash of sexual assaults by immigrants in Cologne, Germany, in his article for Quillette.

        [...]

        There’s nothing “personal” about a Twitter account. Any tweet viewable by the public can be screencapped or quoted without permission of the account owner. If a Twitter account holder doesn’t care to have their tweets quoted or posted elsewhere in any form, they can always lock their account, making it only viewable by their followers. Coppola’s account was public then and — after briefly taking it private — it is public once again.

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