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01.30.16

Links 30/1/2016: Neptune 4.5, *buntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus Alpha 2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Digital Signage for Small Business

    If you’ve spent any time shopping for digital signs for your small business, you might be a tad discouraged at the cost and complexity. But thanks to Linux and Android, you can enjoy a whole new generation of software, services, and devices that range from free to inexpensive, and that offer all kinds of great features.

    Amazingly flexible, digital signs can display simple images, slideshows, movies, Web pages, and dynamic content pulled in from the Internet, or whatever sources you want to use. Anything you can do on a computer you can put into digital signage.

  • How to safely bet your business on open source to support apps

    Companies are building new applications everyday – whether it is to meet their own requirements or to serve their customers. Open source platforms are increasingly being used to support these applications, moving from initial development and experimentation into production.

    For example, Apache Hadoop provides support for storage of huge volumes of data and companies are now looking at how to get more from their ‘data lakes.’ Meanwhile, new stacks of tools are being developed to help developers build their applications faster.

  • NSA, GCHQ used open source software to spy on Israeli, Syrian drones

    There was no supercomputing magic involved in at least most of the video interceptions. As part of an operation codenamed “Anarchist,” NSA and GCHQ analysts used Image Magick (an open source image manipulation tool) and other open source software developed to defeat commercial satellite signal encryption. One of the tools, called antisky, was developed by Dr. Markus Kuhn of the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory. The tools could be used by anyone able to intercept satellite signal feeds then exhibit the patience and skill to sort through the pixels. However, the conversion to digital video feeds on some drones has apparently made video interception more difficult.

  • Open source plugin aims to defeat link rot

    A new open source plugin designed to prevent the creation of dead content links online – so called “link rot” – has launched.

    Amber has been designed by Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and it provides what it calls a “persistent route” to information on the internet by automatically taking and retaining a snapshot of every page on a website and storing it on the same website’s server.

  • Pentaho Expands Data Analysis with Python

    Will Gorman, VP of Pentaho Labs, explains how the new Python integration will benefit data scientists and what’s coming next.

  • How to understand your team’s irrational behavior

    In this video, Jono Bacon describes a singular passion that motivates his career in open source: “Figuring out how we can build strong, inclusive, effective communities that build really cool things.”

  • Google’s ‘Seesaw’ Load Balancer Goes Open Source

    If you’re a network or systems administrator, you’re likely familiar with the concept of a load balancer. It’s a hardware device or software stack that distributes network application load across all the machines and servers connected to it in order to help mitigate network congestion. Google’s software solution, called Seesaw, was created in 2012 in response to a lack of adequate load balancing software for Google’s own use. Coded in Google’s own Go language, the software boasted a flexible Linux backbone and was used to manage Google’s own network needs, which entailed things like automated deployment and ease of use and maintenance.

  • Google Open Sources Its Seesaw Load Balancer

    Google announced today that it is open-sourcing Seesaw — a Linux-based load balancing system. The code for the project, which is written in Google’s Go language, is now available on GitHub under the Apache license.

    As Google Site Reliability Engineer Joel Sing, who works on the company’s corporate infrastructure, writes in today’s announcement, Google used to use two different load balancing systems back in 2012. Both, however, “presented different sets of management and stability challenges.” So to fix this, he and his team set out to find a new solution and because the ones available at the time didn’t meet Google’s needs, they started writing their own.

  • SourceForge’s New Owners, Mint’s New Apps & More…

    Thank goodness this week is over. After our Larry Cafiero spent last week “putting out fires,” as he puts it, at SCALE 14x, I’ve spent the last couple of days doing the same here at FOSS Force. It seems our article on Slashdot’s sale attracted some unruly types to the comments, forcing us to put the shields up on our comments site-wide for the first time in our nearly six year history. You can still comment, but you might have to wait a while for us to notice it and approve it for publication. We’ll take the shields down as soon as we determine it’s safe to do so.

  • Events

    • Sarah Sharp talks about increasing diversity in open source

      The Southern California Linux Expo 14x (SCaLE 14x) concluded on January 24 with a keynote from open source developer Sarah Sharp, who made waves in October, 2015 with a blog post explaining why she stepped down as a Linux kernel developer. Here are some highlights from her presentation.

    • Heading Out To linux.conf.au

      I am excited to be joining the conference. The last time I made the trip was sadly way back in 2007 and I had an absolutely tremendous time. Wonderful people, great topics, and well worth the trip. Typically I have struggled to get out with my schedule, but I am delighted to be joining this year.

    • 5 ways to have a more inclusive event
    • Texas Linux Fest
    • Unikernel Profiling: Flame Graphs from dom0

      Is a unikernel an impenetrable black box, resistant to profilers, tracers, fire, and poison? At SCaLE14x this weekend there was a full day track on unikernels, after which I was asked about unikernel profiling and tracing. I’m not an expert on the topic, and wasn’t able to answer these questions at the time, however, I’ve since taken a quick look using MirageOS and Xen.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Open Source: Is it Right for Your Database?

      Today, however, MySQL in particular has evolved into a serious contender as an enterprise-capable database engine, powering many websites and commercial applications. Aided in large part by Oracle’s acquisition of the company behind MySQL, we have seen over the past several years the growth of a number of very interesting and viable MySQL derivatives.

    • Top 10 MySQL GUI Tools

      Many third parties create rich applications to facilitate database management, database development and database administration. Here are ten outstanding graphical interfaces for MySQL.

    • CenturyLink Adds MySQL-Compatible DBaaS to Managed Cloud Services

      CenturyLink’s new MySQL-compatible DBaaS platform, Relational DB Service, highlights the company’s growing investment in managed cloud solutions.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Licensing

    • The Internet Has a New Standard for Censorship

      The introduction of the new 451 HTTP Error Status Code for blocked websites is a big step forward in cataloguing online censorship, especially in a country like India where access to information is routinely restricted.

    • The real censorship in children’s books: smiling slaves is just the half of it

      It seems the definition of censorship becomes more fluid and convenient with each new use. If free speech groups feel the need to cry censorship about editorial decisions, there are many, many stories of slavery that don’t feature smiling enslaved people or white saviours in the rejected folders of the 79% white publishing industry that they could start with. They could look into the even wider array of stories about our anger, our resistance, our power, that have never made it out of the slush pile, let alone to the shelves of major bookstores.

      But the free speech advocates haven’t devoted much energy to the alarmingly un-diverse publishing industry and its very real effect on literature. (Pen American, of which I’m a relatively new and usually proud member, has been doing more recently and hosted an excellent series of panels on the subject last year.)

      What we’re left with is a palpable sense of selective outrage. Pulling a book because it’s historically inaccurate and carries on the very American tradition of whitewashing slavery is classified as “censorship”, while maintaining an ongoing majority white industry that systematically excludes narratives of color is just business as usual.

    • Driven to Tears – GPLv3 and the Automotive Industry

      The automotive industry is moving toward the use of Free and Open Source software (FOSS) in vehicles. GPLv3 is currently presenting a roadblock to greater adoption. Specifically the Installation Information requirement in GPLv3 Section 6 (sometimes called the “Anti-Tivoization” clause) is causing some car makers to fear GPLv3. These car-makers want to lock down all software installed on their cars against user modifications, but fear that using GPLv3 software will prevent them from doing so. Although there may be good reasons to lock down some software on cars, car-makers should not fear GPLv3. One solution the industry may wish to consider to allay concerns about the Installation Information requirement in GPLv3 is to adopt and advocate for use of an “Additional Permission” that excepts users from having to comply with that requirement.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Just Solutions International caused a £1.1 million loss to the Ministry of Justice

    It now can be revealed that “Just Solutions International” – the Ministry of Justice commercial venture promoted by former Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling – caused an overall £1.1 million LOSS to the MoJ.

    JSI was closed by Grayling’s successor Michael Gove last October.

  • When Sony Accidentally Launched Camcorders That Could “See Through” People’s Clothes

    It’s an outrage — I think it would outrage anyone. You go out in the street you don’t expect people to look under your clothes. It’s such a basic expectation that any court in the country would find that this violates that right.

  • Screen-saver rant

    In the 70s and 80s people used text command line interfaces at the computers and mainly black and white or green CRT monitors. This CRT monitors had a problem. If they show the same interface for a long time like for example Wordstar or Visicalc then the interface is burned into the screen and the screen is basically damaged. This was not good.

  • Sorry slacktivists: The Man is shredding your robo responses

    Last week the UK government ripped up a public consultation into the future of the BBC because almost all the responses came from one source, the pressure group 38 Degrees.

  • Replacing Windows Media Center

    If you used Windows Media Center only for playing DVD movies and music, you can find alternatives if you upgrade to Windows 10 and do not have a serious loyalty to the old software. For example, VideoLAN’s VLC media player can play many types of video and audio files. If you want more of a “media center” experience, programs like Kodi, MediaPortal or Plex may offer a range of functions similar to the old, discontinued Microsoft software.

  • Science

    • The Challenger disaster: 30 years ago I was working at mission control

      Thirty years ago I was at mission control at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center for the launch of the Challenger. I was working data communications. My job was making sure all the telemetry links between the space shuttle and NASA’s ground communications system (NASCOM) were working. Everything was green on my board, the shuttle launched, and a few seconds later everything went to hell. I stared at my controls, tried to get things to reconnect, and then I finallly looked up at the TV display.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Here’s How Hard It Will Be to Unpoison Flint’s Water

      It is possible to trace every drop of toxic water spewed from Flint, Michigan back to two terrible decisions. The second was switching the city’s supply from treated Lake Huron water to the corrosive broth in the Flint River. Left untreated, that water unleashed the disaster stored in the walls of the city’s first bad decision: its lead pipes.

      In the past few weeks, the nation’s attention has increasingly focused on Flint’s public health disaster. At least 15 percent of the city’s homes have water with lead levels exceeding the safe limit established by the federal government. Several of those homes had water with lead levels 900 times above the safe limit. Poor political decisions caused the crisis, but it wouldn’t have happened at all if the lead pipes weren’t there to begin with. The current solution is a stopgap—spiking the water supply with an anticorrosive chemical. But if the powers that be want to eliminate the risk completely, they will ultimately have to replace all the lead plumbing. A September estimate, only recently released by Michigan governor Rick Snyder, puts the cost of replacing all the lead pipes in Flint at $60 million. And the project will take 15 years.

    • Flint Weighs Scope of Harm to Children Caused by Lead in Water

      Quayana Towns’s 2-month-old daughter wriggled on an exam table last week as her pediatrician ticked off questions that have become essential for every parent of young children here.

      “So what are you guys doing for water — what are you drinking?” asked the doctor, Mona Hanna-Attisha.

      “I have a whole bunch of bottled water that I picked up,” said Ms. Towns, 26, assuring the doctor that the family had been drinking it for a few months, since the gravity of Flint’s water crisis came to light.

      “And before that you were using tap water?”

    • 10 Things They Won’t Tell You About the Flint Water Tragedy. But I Will.

      News of the poisoned water crisis in Flint has reached a wide audience around the world. The basics are now known: the Republican governor, Rick Snyder, nullified the free elections in Flint, deposed the mayor and city council, then appointed his own man to run the city. To save money, they decided to unhook the people of Flint from their fresh water drinking source, Lake Huron, and instead, make the public drink from the toxic Flint River. When the governor’s office discovered just how toxic the water was, they decided to keep quiet about it and covered up the extent of the damage being done to Flint’s residents, most notably the lead affecting the children, causing irreversible and permanent brain damage. Citizen activists uncovered these actions, and the governor now faces growing cries to resign or be arrested.

    • Letter to the editor: Local media didn’t whiff on Flint coverage

      James Warren, chief media writer for Poynter, wrote a column Friday that suggests news media bears a share of the responsibility for the lead poisoning scandal that has afflicted the city of Flint and engulfed the state government that caused it to happen.

      And he quotes two sources — one of them is a former, longtime environmental writer for our company — who suggest local journalists were lax in following the story, or too inexperienced to know how to handle it, due in part to cuts in staffing in newsrooms.

    • While Flint Was Being Poisoned, State Workers “Quietly” Provided Water Coolers

      Following release of new document and emails, Gov. Snyder told he must ‘explain to the people of Flint why his administration trucked water into a state building while allowing residents to drink unsafe water’

    • We Failed in Flint. Here’s How to Avoid Making the Same Mistakes in Climate Policy

      The same four mistakes that led to tragedy in Flint are repeated in other cities and, dangerously, in the realm of global climate policy. To create a just and sustainable world we must learn to recognize and rectify each of them.

    • WHO Discusses Polio, Hepatitis C, Vaccines, Affordability

      The World Health Organization Executive Board this week noted a number of reports on communicable diseases, such as poliomyelitis, and vaccines. Developing countries underlined the affordability and accessibility of treatments. The board also agreed on the setting up of an open-ended intergovernmental meeting to come to agreement on the organisation’s governance reform.

    • Evaluation Starts On WHO Global Strategy For Public Health, Innovation, IPRs

      “Things seem very abstract,” the representative said, citing the high prices of drugs, such as cancer drugs. It is important, he said, that local generic manufacture of drug be supported.

    • TRAPping Access to Safe, Legal Abortions

      This week, a Houston grand jury returned a surprise indictment. It was tasked with investigating videos that purported to expose Planned Parenthood for selling the body parts of aborted fetuses. The grand jury found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood, but instead charged the video producers David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt from the anti-abortion group The Center for Medical Progress, with tampering with a government record, a felony.

    • Steffie Woolhandler on Media Attacks on Single-Payer Healthcare

      This week on CounterSpin: The consensus of Beltway media seems to be that a single-payer healthcare system, similar to those in other industrialized countries is “excellent in theory,” but “dead on arrival” in Washington, making its proponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, naive at best. Americans make life-altering healthcare choices, in which worry over cost plays a big part, every day, but serious public discussion about how to address that crisis is a sometimes thing. So we should care what media are saying about single payer—as a lesson in policing possibilities, even apart from what it means for the presidential race.

  • Security

    • Could an Open-Source Approach Make Cars Hacker-Proof?

      While organization like the Linux Foundation, through its Automotive Grade Linux platform and GENIVI, have pushed for an open-source approach to in-car infotainment, the same principles could be applied to vehicle code at large to help prevent hacking. And given the rapid pace of self-driving technology and the lines of code that will be required—100 million or more for a modern vehicle, compared to 60 million in all of Facebook or 50 million in the Large Hadron Collider—perhaps it’s time for automotive software to become more transparent and therefore more tamper-proof.

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Critical OpenSSL Patch Available. Patch Now!

      All versions of OpenSSL are vulnerable to CVE-2014-0195, but this vulnerability only affects DTLS clients or servers (look for SSL VPNs… not so much HTTPS).

    • Linux Trojan That Takes Screenshots and Records Audio Has a Windows Brother

      The Linux trojan that spied on users by taking screenshots of their desktop has now a Windows variant, as Kaspersky’s security team has found out.

      The trojan, first discovered by Dr.Web and named Linux.Ekocms, and later also identified by Sophos as Linux/Mokes-A, and then by Kaspersky as Backdoor.Linux.Mokes.a, has caused some stir in the Linux community because it was one of the first spyware threats detected in the wild on the platform.

    • Forcing out bugs with stress-ng

      I’ve also tried to make stress-ng portable, so it can build fine on GNU/Hurd and Debian kFreeBSD (with Linux specific tests not built-in of course). It also contains some architecture specific features, such as handling the data and instruction cache as well as the x86 rdrand instruction and cache line locking. If there are any ARM specific features than can be stressed I’d like to know and perhaps implement stressors for them.

    • OpenSSH and the dangers of unused code

      Unused code is untested code, which probably means that it harbors bugs—sometimes significant security bugs. That lesson has been reinforced by the recent OpenSSH “roaming” vulnerability. Leaving a half-finished feature only in the client side of the equation might seem harmless on a cursory glance but, of course, is not. Those who mean harm can run servers that “implement” the feature to tickle the unused code. Given that the OpenSSH project has a strong security focus (and track record), it is truly surprising that a blunder like this could slip through—and keep slipping through for roughly six years.

    • Why Is Usable Security Hard, and What Should We Do about it?
    • Linux-Based Botnets Accounted for More than Half of DDoS Attacks in Q4 2015
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • UN Report Finds ‘Systematic’ Saudi Targeting of Yemeni Civilians

      A leaked report by a UN panel of experts is calling for a formal inquiry into Saudi human rights abuses, saying the nation is “deliberately starving” Yemeni civilians in its war, and targeting civilians in airstrikes in a “widespread and systematic manner.”

    • Yemeni-American Tells How the U.S. Separated Him from His Wife and Three Children

      Qarwash Mohsn Awad was already aboard his flight to Jordan at Chicago’s O’Hare airport in May 2015 when he was pulled off and escorted to a small room by two individuals – a man and a woman.

      The agents questioned him – asking him for his documents, how much money he had, how many bags he had. Every time Awad answered, they responded, “You are lying, you are lying.” Agitated, Awad had no idea what was going on, he says. He was accused of having fake paperwork and told he would be locked up.

    • Pentagon Wastes $800 Million On Businesses in Afghanistan

      Sopko’s office has unleashed critical reports about Pentagon spending in Afghanistan — especially TFBSO, which was finally disbanded in a mercy killing last year. Financial records show that the task force spent $43 million on a compressed natural gas filling station that has been widely mocked as the world’s most expensive. It also spent upwards of $150 million on private villas and associated security, bankrolled a multi-million dollar Afghan start-up incubator that is now defunct, and even paid to import Italian goats in order to jumpstart the country’s cashmere industry.

    • Suicide Bombers Stage Mass Attack; 200 Killed in Iraq

      In Baghdadi, five suicide bombers attacked a guesthouse belonging to a town councilman; they killed a tribal fighter acting as a guard and wounded 10 other people. Two more suicide bombers attacked first responders, killing the police chief and two policemen. In a second attack on the outskirts of twon, a dozen suicide bombers attacked a barracks and killed 25 security personnel.

    • Hillary’s West African Footprint

      To any informed observer, the motivation for the increased frequency of these attacks, and their growth into new countries, is abundantly clear. Western imperial ambitions, especially those in Islamic-majority countries, lead to a perceived lack of self determination on the part of the body politic of those people living under dictators friendly to Western governments. When attempts to resist authoritarian leaders beholden first to foreign interests fail, frustration within the social order builds among members of that nation’s populace. This, in turn, validates the narratives of the most violent groups opposing Western rule, and attracts the young, the restless, and often the jobless elements of society most hungry for change and willing to take the most dramatic steps to initiate it. This is a phenomenon that Chalmers Johnson labeled”blowback” in a now-famous article published in The Nation in late September of 2001. Its existence has become an accepted fact in the realm of military planning, and Hillary Clinton herself warned of its possibility in March of 2011. More important to her, however, were her political ambitions, a chance to grease the palms of friendly arms dealers, and a good deed done for the domestic politics of the Clinton Foundation’s gulf supporters. If there is any action an American Secretary of State ought to take in attempting to quell violence aimed at Western targets, it is to facilitate peace talks rather than engage in fruitless military escapades overseas to intervene in conflicts about which American bureaucrats understand nothing. And, even then, such enterprises carry with them the threat of backfire. In tracing the footsteps of unrest across the whole of North and West Africa, one finds that all roads lead to Hillary Clinton and her Libyan regime-change operation. The best of all solutions is the complete withdrawal of Western military forces from the foreign lands they occupy. Only under these conditions will peace in the Sahel become an achievable outcome; and until then, the peaceful citizens of the tiny nation of Burkina Faso will be asked to foot her bill.

    • Video Of Oregon Occupier’s Final Moments Contradicts Claims Police Killed Him With His Hands Up

      The FBI says Finicum appeared to be reaching for a gun in his jacket when he was killed. The video is aerial footage, and the distance and high angle of the shot make it hard to speak conclusively about what it shows. But at the very least, Finicum did raise and lower his hands repeatedly, and had his hands lowered and near his torso when he was killed.

      The agency has released both the full 26-minute aerial video of the stops, and a briefer clip showing Finicum’s attempt to run a barricade and subsequent death. Greg Bretzing, the top FBI official in Oregon, told reporters that they’re limited in discussing the encounter because of an ongoing outside review of the shooting by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s office.

    • Finland’s Patria sells armoured vehicles to UAE

      The majority state-owned company has been granted an export license despite the UAE’s involvement in the Yemeni conflict, and its own series of corruption scandals.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • US Police Organisation Hacked, Documents Posted Online

      Documents related to a US police association have been dumped online, as well as a database of personal information and member-only forum backup.

      The affected organisation is the “Fraternal Order of Police” (FOP), which describes itself as “the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, with more than 325,000 members in more than 2,100 lodges.”

      “We have learned today that our data system has been hacked by the Group known as Anonymous,” said a statement posted on Facebook by the FOP national president Chuck Canterbury on Thursday. The attack “appears to have originated outside of the United States,” the statement continued.

    • DOJ Agrees To Hand Over Document To EPIC, But Only Because The Document Has Already Been Made Public

      Two days after this announcement, EPIC filed expedited FOIA requests on both sides of the pond for the text of this agreement, arguing (logically) that the people this would affect had a right to know what their governments were agreeing to. EPIC specifically had concerns that the US would offer less protection to foreign citizens’ data than to its own citizens, given that it has historically refused to extend these niceties to those residing elsewhere on the planet.

    • Former FTC CTO Ashkan Soltani Denied Security Clearance, Perhaps Because He Helped In Reporting On Snowden Docs

      Ashkan Soltani is a well known privacy expert who (among other things) worked with Barton Gellman at the Washington Post to analyze the Snowden documents for story worthy information — an effort that won that series a Pulitzer Prize. Soltani has been hugely instrumental in reporting on other privacy-related issues as well, including being a part of the team that also a Pulitzer Prize finalist for the Wall Street Journal’s excellent What They Know series on digital privacy issues. Basically he has a long history of doing great journalism around privacy. For most of the last year, he was also the Chief Technology Officer at the FTC. Back in December, it was announced that he had moved over to work for the federal government CTO, Megan Smith, in the White House as a senior advisor. The CTO’s office has been collecting some fairly amazing tech talent recently.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • In 50-49 vote, US Senate says climate change not caused by humans

      The Senate rejected the scientific consensus that humans are causing climate change, days after NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared 2014 the hottest year ever recorded on Earth.

      The Republican-controlled Senate defeated a measure Wednesday stating that climate change is real and that human activity significantly contributes to it. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, offered the measure as the Senate debated the Keystone XL pipeline, which would tap the carbon-intensive oil sands in the Canadian province of Alberta.

  • Finance

    • Japan’s Top TPP Negotiator Resigns After It’s Alleged He Accepted Bribes

      Over in Japan, there’s been a big political scandal brewing over the last few days, leading the country’s economy minister Akira Amari to resign amid charges that he received significant bribes from a construction company. What makes that relevant to us here is that Amari was also Japan’s leading negotiator on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, and his resignation and the bribery charges are raising additional (and fairly serious) questions about whether or not Japan really should support the TPP. So far, the bribery that’s been discussed does not appear to directly impact that TPP, but it at least raises other questions about whether or not the TPP itself was compromised by similar corruption (of course, some may argue that the entire process, in which big companies basically helped write the thing, is itself corrupt). Amari had been expected to travel to New Zealand in the next few days for the TPP signing ceremony, but obviously someone else will now have to go.

    • Japanese economy minister Akira Amari quits over bribery claims

      Japan’s Economy Minister Akira Amari has said he is resigning amid corruption allegations.

      Mr Amari unexpectedly made the announcement at a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday.

      But he again denied personally receiving bribes from a construction company, as had been alleged by a Japanese magazine.

    • Paul Krugman Doubles Down on Defense of Clinton Over Sanders—Questionably

      Krugman’s latest column suggests that such establishment media figures are leveraging this climate to launch spurious attacks against the left and progressive movements.

    • Washington Post’s Wild Swings at Sanders

      It’s not surprising that the Washington Post (owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos) would be unhappy with a presidential candidate running on a platform of taking back the country from the millionaires and billionaires. Therefore the trashing of Sen. Bernie Sanders in an editorial, “Bernie Sanders’ Fiction-Filled Campaign” (1/27/16), was about as predictable as the sun rising.

    • Even after years of TTIP talks, new study still unable to point to any major benefits

      Last year, Ars provided an extensive introduction to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement currently being negotiated between the EU and the US. This massive deal—it involves half the world’s GDP and a third of its trade—was launched back in 2013, largely on the basis that it would provide a significant fillip to both economies. The previous EU commissioner responsible for trade, Karel de Gucht, claimed it would be “the cheapest stimulus package you can imagine.” A study published in 2013 by the London-based Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) on behalf of the European Commission predicted that the EU’s economy would be boosted by €119 billion, and the US’s by €95 billion.

    • Elizabeth Warren Challenges Clinton, Sanders to Prosecute Corporate Crime Better Than Obama

      Three days before the Iowa caucuses, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has released what might have been her closing argument had she been a candidate in the presidential race.

      It’s a thorough indictment of a rigged system in Washington that allows corporate criminals to go free while those without the same power and influence get severely punished.

      The report — a 12-page booklet titled “Rigged Justice: How Weak Enforcement Lets Corporate Offenders Off Easy” — cites 20 well-documented civil and criminal cases from 2015 “in which the federal government failed to require meaningful accountability.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Virgin Birth of Obama’s Wonk Core

      There’s a telling paragraph in this post from Ezra Klein, one of a series of posts written lately by self-described “wonks” defending the electoral and political approach Hillary Clinton embraces.

    • Seizing on Establishment Panic, Sanders Sharpens Contrast with Clinton

      With just a few days to go until the Iowa caucus, Bernie Sanders spoke to an evening rally in Burlington, Iowa on Thursday and made some of his boldest statements yet criticizing Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s political track record and Wall Street ties.

      Sanders, who has faced an escalation of establishment ire in recent weeks, made a sharp contrast between his principles and his rival’s—such as his early and consistent opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Keystone XL pipeline, the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton.

      “Check the record, find out where my opponent was on all of these issues,” Sanders said. “It is great to be against the war after you vote for the war. It is great to be for gay rights after you insult the entire gay community by supporting DOMA.”

    • Black lives like my father’s should matter. That’s why I’m endorsing Bernie Sanders.

      A year and a half ago, New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo barbarically choked my father, Eric Garner, on a Staten Island sidewalk in broad daylight. My father died that day. His death was ruled a homicide. Despite viral video footage of the incident, international media attention and widespread protests, our justice system failed to find Officer Pantaleo guilty of any crime. In fact, until a few weeks ago, the only person indicted in relation to the case was Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed it all.

      As a daughter, I was devastated. As a citizen, I remain outraged — my father’s death was an absolute injustice, but not an uncommon one. By now, we know many of the other names all too well: Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Mike Brown, Rekia Boyd. But it’s only thanks to the tireless work of organizers and protesters, who take to the streets and disrupt business as usual, that we know their names at all.

      [...]

      I trusted establishment Democrats who claimed to represent me, only to later watch them ignore and explain away the injustice of my father’s death. I trusted the system; then I watched as politicians on both sides of the aisle — from Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel to Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder — disregard the will of the people they were elected to represent and abdicate their responsibility to protect them. I’ve watched as our system criminalizes blackness while allowing Wall Street to bilk the American people with impunity.

    • I thought Sanders was bad for black people. These women changed my mind.

      Six months ago, I was a Bernie Sanders skeptic. In July, I wrote about how Sanders had bungled his outreach to the black base. Though he spent a lot of time talking about economic inequality, his message seemed aimed at the thousands of white liberals who attended his rallies. A month later, I accused his white online supporters of condescending to black people who weren’t sold on his civil rights record.

      [...]

      But now, I’m beginning to rethink my position. That’s thanks, largely, to Sanders’s black women supporters. Over the last week, I’ve spoken with people like Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, Trayvon Martin family lawyer Natalie Jackson and several black female Sanders staffers, like Tezlyn Figaro. No one shaped my thinking more than Erica Garner. She’s the daughter of Eric Garner, an unarmed African American who died after being put in a choke hold by an NYPD officer in 2014.

    • The Anti-Democratic Structure of Two Party Elections: Chomsky, Bloomberg and and the VotePact Solution

      I’ve been a critic of Sanders. I think his main problem is a lack of radicalness, especially on foreign policy.

    • “Black Americans for a Better Future” Super PAC 100% Funded by Rich White Guys

      New FEC filings show that all of the $417,250 in monetary donations to a Super PAC called “Black Americans for a Better Future” comes from conservative white businessmen — including $400,000, or 96 percent of the total, from white billionaire hedge fund manager Robert Mercer.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • The School Choice Myth and Our (Literal) Case Against It

      Parents have every right to send their children to a religious school, but not on the public dime.

      Opportunity in education. Effective education options for every child. Stimulating educational environments. Every year at the end of January, the proponents of National School Choice Week emphasize these ideals as reasons that parents, educators, and policymakers should support school voucher and tax credit programs.

      By appealing to the core aspirations for reform desired among the education community, the school choice movement masks the fact that these programs do not actually offer the benefits their supporters tout. Instead, voucher and tax credit programs typically funnel taxpayer funds into private and often religious schools that are free to discriminate against students on a variety of grounds and are exempt from meeting the same educational requirements as public schools.

    • Tibetan, Muslim Students Join in Protest For Equal Education

      In a display of cooperation across ethnic lines, Tibetan and Muslim students and their parents came together this week in a public protest to demand better funding for the education of minority groups in northwestern China’s Qinghai province, Tibetan sources said.

      Gathering on Jan. 24 outside government offices in the provincial capital Xining, protesters called especially for an investigation into the activities of the education department head of the Bayan Khar (in Chinese, Hualong) Hui Autonomous County in Qinghai’s Tsoshar (Haidong) prefecture, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

      “The protesters were parents and students of Tibetan and Muslim origin belonging to a local school called the Gangjong School,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    • Georgia Lawmaker Defends KKK: “It Made a Lot of People Straighten Up”

      A Georgia state representative has triggered anger on social media after he made several statements that appear to defend the actions of the Ku Klux Klan, a group he insists “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order.”

      “It made a lot of people straighten up,” Republican State Rep. Tommy Benton said, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. “I’m not saying what they did was right. It’s just the way things were.”

    • Disney’s princesses spoke more in the 1950s. So much for ‘feminist’ heroines

      In Aladdin, female characters speak only 10 per cent. While in Mulan, despite the eponymous character saving China, female characters utter 23 per cent of the dialogue.

    • Clinton emails labeled ‘top secret’

      The Obama administration will entirely withhold 22 emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server because they have been classified as “top secret,” the State Department said on Friday.

      The existence of multiple top secret emails in the Democratic presidential front-runner’s inbox will only increase public scrutiny on the former secretary of State’s unusual email arrangement, mere days before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation nominating contest on Monday.

      The 37 pages of emails are the first time the Obama administration has confirmed that messages within Clinton’s server while she was at State merit one of the highest levels of classification. Although the State Department has previously classified more than 1,300 of Clinton’s emails upon release, the vast majority of those were at lower classification levels.

    • State to release some Clinton emails on Friday; thousands still delayed

      The State Department on Friday will release roughly 2,000 pages of Hillary Clinton’s emails but will delay the final batch of messages until after voters go to the polls in the first several primary states.

      In a court filing late on Thursday evening, the department insisted that it “regrets” its inability to publish the final 7,000 pages on Friday, as a federal court ordered it to do last year.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Nightmare

      Hillary Clinton’s nightmare is not the sudden resurgence of Bernie Sanders. It is the fidelity to the rule of law of the FBI.

      The recent revelations of the receipt by Clinton of a Special Access Program email, as well as cut and pasted summaries of state secrets on her server and on her BlackBerry nearly guarantee that the FBI will recommend that the Department of Justice convene a grand jury and seek her indictment for espionage. Here is the backstory.

    • APNewsBreak: US declares 22 Clinton emails ‘top secret’

      The Obama administration confirmed for the first time Friday that Hillary Clinton’s home server contained closely guarded government secrets, censoring 22 emails that contained material requiring one of the highest levels of classification. The revelation comes three days before Clinton competes in the Iowa presidential caucuses.

    • Facebook Says It Will Ban Gun Sales Between Users

      Social networking giant Facebook announced Friday that it would ban the private sale of guns on its site, and on its photo-sharing platform Instagram.

      Although the site itself does not act as a retailer of firearms, it has allowed users to sell guns on Facebook pages or in Instagram posts. The new prohibitions will affect only private and person-to-person sales, and not licensed gun sellers.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • New Report To FCC Details How Binge On Violates Net Neutrality

      Stanford Law professor Barbara van Schewick, one of the leading scholars on net neutrality, has filed a report with the FCC detailing how T-Mobile’s Binge On clearly violates net neutrality. As we’ve been highlighting, Binge On has numerous problems when it comes to net neutrality, and appears to clearly violate some of the FCC’s rules. There’s also the fact that T-Mobile flat out lied about it and claimed that it was “optimization” when it’s really throttling.

    • The Trouble with the TPP, Day 20: Unenforceable Net Neutrality Rules

      One of President Barack Obama’s selling points for the TPP has been claims that it helps preserve “an open and free Internet.” The references to an open and free Internet, which is closely linked to net neutrality, may strike a chord with those concerned with digital issues. However, the Trouble with the TPP is that a close examination of the text and a comparison with existing net neutrality rules in many TPP countries reveals that it doesn’t advance the issue. In fact, the standards are so weak and unenforceable that at least half of the TPP countries already far exceed them.

    • Google admits to how much it paid the brief owner of its domain name

      Back in October 2015, an admin error caused the ownership of its main domain “google.com” to lapse and a lucky fellow managed to snap it up.

      Sanmay Ved, a researcher managed to buy google.com through Google domains for a brief moment, which led to Google having to buy it back for around $12,000 USD.

      Although this was seemingly done as a moment of opportunity rather than a means to get quick rich. Google paid the sum for the domain which Sanmay went onto donate to charity.

    • T-Mobile’s Binge On violates net neutrality, says Stanford report

      The debate over whether or not Binge On violates Net Neutrality has been raging ever since the service was announced in November. The latest party to weigh in is Barbara van Schewick, law professor at Stanford University.

      In a new report published today — and filed to the FCC, as well — van Schewick says that Binge on “violates key net neutrality principles” and “is likely to violate the FCC’s general conduct rule.” She goes on to make several arguments against Binge On, saying that services in Binge On distorts competition because they’re zero-rated and because video creators are more likely to use those providers for their content, as the zero-rated content is more attractive to consumers.

    • Open source optical network could create a new Internet

      Key elements for their Internet are optical white boxes and bare metal optical switches. Bare metal switches use merchant chips rather than custom silicon, and can be cheaper and easier to use. Open source software can be used.

      Data Centers are embracing these cheaper open switches that can be programmed like Linux computers, explains Computerworld in a 2015 article.

      I wrote about merchant chips in April 2015 in ‘Open source a driver for merchant chips.’

      [...]

      Add to this the idea of a special network virtualization mechanism that lets multiple networks use the same infrastructure, plus the aforementioned open source elements and high-speed light-based networks, and the Internet will be able to move forward with exciting new applications a la Google and iOS, they reckon.

    • Internet may soon carry traffic at speed of light
    • Internet traffic may soon travel at the speed of light
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • When Even The Wall Street Journal Calls Out The USTR’s Misleading Propaganda About The TPP…

      Not too surprisingly, the Wall Street Journal has been a big booster of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement over the past year, repeatedly praising the deal and claiming it will save the world in all sorts of ways. Most of that is based on the faulty belief that the TPP is actually a “free trade” deal (it’s actually the opposite), with some of it just being the standard WSJ faith-based belief that “if big businesses like it, it must be good.”

    • Copyrights

      • Monkey See, Monkey Do, But Judge Says Monkey Gets No Copyright

        However, as we’ve explained time and time again (much to the chagrin of David Slater, the photographer whose camera was used to take the photo), the photo is clearly in the public domain, as it’s long been held that the Copyright Act only applies to human authors. In court a few weeks ago, the judge made it clear he didn’t believe PETA had any case at all, but Judge William Orrick has now come out with his written opinion in the case explaining his reasoning why. Not surprisingly, it more or less tracks with what he said in court: there is no evidence that the Copyright Act applies to monkeys, and thus, case dismissed — with leave to amend.

      • Be more lenient in copyright cases, US government says

        The US Copyright Act should be amended to become more favourable towards fair use and change the way that damages are awarded in cases, a report from the US Department of Commerce has argued.

        In a white paper released yesterday, January 28, the Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) at the department outlined ways judges and juries could be given more guidance when assessing damages.

      • U.S. Govt: Excessive Piracy Punishments Should Be Avoided

        The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force has released a set of copyright reform proposals. The Government recommends Congress to implement various changes to avoid excessive damages awards and stresses that copyright trolling should not be tolerated.

      • Pick A Side: Video Of Creepy Girls Singing To Donald Trump Taken Down Over Copyright On WWI Song

        Yeah, it was taken down by EMI. But why, you ask? While many of us would thank anyone or anything that could tear the existence of this horror show away from wherever unsuspecting innocents might happen across it, what stake does EMI Music have in this song sung by The USA Freedom Kids?

      • Commerce Department Wants To Fix Some Of The Worst Problems Of Copyright Law: Reform Crazy Damages

        A couple of years ago, the Commerce Department put out a somewhat problematic “Green Paper” on copyright, that at times seemed to have been pretty heavily influenced by the maximalist view of the world, without recognition of how widely copyright is abused. Lots of people responded to it with their concerns — including an excellent response from (believe it or not) Hollywood screenwriters who actually pointed out the problems of copyright maximalism, statutory damages, abusive takedowns and attacks on fair use. I don’t know if it was that letter that really influenced things, but the Commerce Department has now come out with its follow up “White Paper” and it’s really quite good. It basically says that copyright’s statutory damages are a huge mess and need to be fixed.

      • Rather a double life: 26 extra years of copyright for Beatrix Potter

        In a real-world fairytale story this week, the discovery was announced of a previously unpublished work by beloved mycologist (also children’s author) Beatrix Potter, 150 years after her birth.

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