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02.04.16

Links 4/2/2016: Red Hat Upgraded, Ubuntu Tablet

Posted in News Roundup at 8:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • IoT in 2016: Open-Source, Better Tools, and Eclipse IoT

    The Eclipse IoT community had great momentum in 2015. Benjamin has done a nice summary of 2015. However, I often get asked where I see IoT and open source going into the future. Below are some of the trends I’d like to see within the Eclipse IoT community for 2016.

  • Orson Charts 1.5 is Open Source

    Orson Charts is Open Source software, licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, version 3.

  • TNS Research: How Many Company Developers Should Work on Open Source?

    How many employees in your organization contribute to open source projects? Earlier this year, The New Stack asked this question to companies in the container ecosystem.

    Among the 36 responses we received, the median response was ten employees, which is a lot, but even more significant if we look at the size of the companies involved. Taking this into account, we found that the median company actually said 47 percent of their employees were contributing to an open source project.

  • How Well Do You Know the People of FOSS?

    How well do you know the people behind the different FOSS communities? Do you know the names of the people who are behind the software we use daily? Would you recognize the faces of the people who fight to keep free software free by helping enforce the GPL or by working on software patent reform? How much do you know about the people who diligently work to support free and open standards so that the digital age belongs to all of us instead of to a handful of corporations?

    Would you like to test your knowledge of the people of FOSS? Take our quiz. We have eighteen questions, each concerning a person considered to be a leader in the FOSS world. Have we left anyone out? You betcha — starting with you. The way we see it, each and every one of us, whether we merely use FOSS at home, work to keep FOSS software maintained or fight the good fight to keep free tech free, is equally as important.

  • Go phish your own staff: Dev builds open-source fool-testing tool

    The platform was written in Go and has been posted to GitHub where it’s had more than 300 commits at the time of writing. It differs from some other anti-phishing platforms in part because it is hosted on premise rather than in the cloud, “There are many commercial offerings that provide phishing simulation/training [but] unfortunately, these are SaaS solutions that require you to hand over your data to someone else,” the GoFish team says.

  • Hoodie aims to be one of open source’s most diverse and inclusive communities

    Too often web apps and the frameworks they’re built on support only the privileged—the always-online users and development teams with both front-end and back-end expertise. In open source, this support of privilege is usually reflected in the contributor community.

    Hoodie, a new web app architecture, does things a little differently. Simply put, Hoodie is a back end for front-end people. Started in 2013 as a spinoff of CouchDB, Hoodie provides a fast, easy, and accessible way for developers to focus on the front end of a project without getting caught up in the time sink of back-end administration.

  • Midokura Extends Enterprise SDN Insight with MEM 5.0

    MidoNet, Midokura’s SDN platform, was open-sourced back in November 2014. Midokura CTO Pino de Candia explained that the new MEM 5.0 release is based on MidoNet (MN) 5.0, which was first released in October 2015. Midokura’s product roadmap has MEM updates set to be released every 6 months, with MN updates every 3 months.

    [...]

    Looking forward, the next MEM release is version 5.2, currently scheduled to debut in July. Among the features that de Candia expects to be included are: Kubernetes and vSphere integration. Additionally, MEM Insights will likely benefit from integration with physical switches, starting with Cumulus Linux and other platforms in later releases. Another big item on the release roadmap is support for multi-site workloads.

  • Events

    • Meet on open source software

      International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) will organise an open forum on FOSS transition policy and strategies for government officials here on Saturday.

      The venue will be Padmam Hall, Institute of Management in Government, Vikas Bhavan. The Centre had released its open source software policy in March, 2015, that made it mandatory to explore use of FOSS in government organisations.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 49 Enters Beta, Adds MediaRecorder API To Record Audio & Video

        Google has released the Chrome 49 beta today for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, OS X, and Windows.

        Chrome 49 is bringing support for CSS custom properties to make it easy to define property variables in CSS, background sync support with service workers, improved ECMAScript 2015 support, the keygen element to generate a key-pair as part of an HTML form, a new MediaRecorder API for recording a user’s audio and video without the use of any plugins, WebAudio API additions, and a variety of other enhancements.

      • Google Chrome Will Soon Call out Websites Lacking HTTPS Security

        Can you shame website administrators into making their sites more secure? That’s what Google will soon start doing through its Chrome browser, which now prominently identifies sites that are not secured with HTTPS encryption.

      • Google Launches Best Ever Chrome Feature — Now You’ll Be Warned About Fake Download Buttons

        Google has updated the Safe Browsing feature in Chrome to protect your PC against the social engineering techniques that trick you into clicking the fake download buttons.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • MEM 5.0 Aims to Simplify OpenStack Management

      Midokura has released Midokura Enterprise MidoNet (MEM) 5.0, a network virtualization product designed for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) clouds. MEM 5.0 builds on Midokura’s open source, highly scalable, network virtualization system — MidoNet — to support network virtualization deployments with enhanced tools for OpenStack operators.

      According to the announcement, “MEM 5.0 offers an intelligent, software-based network abstraction layer between the hosts and the physical network, allowing operators to build isolated networks in software overlaying pre-existing, hardware-based network infrastructure.”

    • A Significant Fork of CloudStack is Making Waves

      It’s official: There is now a significant fork of the CloudStack cloud computing platform. If you don’t know its history, CloudStack had more momentum a few years ago as an open cloud platform than OpenStack has now. Citrix, which owned it, passed the open source CloudStack platform to the Apache Software Foundation, and CloudStack continues to advance and is widely used.

    • Getting Started With OpenStack [Webinar]

      The conversation around the adoption of OpenStack, the open source cloud technology platform, continues to gain momentum. Analysts at Forrester recently declared it “enterprise-ready” while many enterprise companies have taken the leap and deployed it. One thing that seems to be a dominant theme is that there are not enough professionals with OpenStack skills to keep up with demand.

    • OpenStack Adoption in the UK Hits 80 Percent, Claims SUSE

      But cost and complexity woes remain as public cloud adoption easily surpasses private cloud sales.

    • Cloud Skills are Valuable, and Mirantis and Others Are Ramping Up Training

      In case you’ve missed the trend, LinkedIn has become very central to how many people get hired these days, and it can be a conduit for upgrading your current job. LinkedIn also organically gathers a lot of job- and industry-related data, and that’s why it’s notable that according to the company’s newly published analysis of the 25 Skills That Could Get You Hired in 2016, cloud and distributed computing ranked as the most in-demand skill globally last year.

      Here are some of the related findings, and some tips on how you can pick up OpenStack skills to better your job-seeking fortune.

  • Databases

    • Gammu 1.37.0

      Today, Gammu 1.37.0 has been released. As usual it collects bug fixes. This time there is another important change as well – improver error reporting from SMSD.

      This means that when SMSD fails to connect to the database, you should get a bit more detailed error than “Unknown error”.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Illumos Continues To Let OpenSolaris Live On

      It’s been more than five years since the launch of Illumos as the concerted, community-based effort around the OpenSolaris code-base. This truly-open Solaris stack continues to be at the heart of OpenIndiana, SmartOS, Dyson, and other operating systems.

    • Watch Out Microsoft And Google, Cloud Version Of Open Source LibreOffice Is Here

      If you looking for an open source alternative of Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs, Kolab Systems and Collabora are working to address this issue. Known as CODE (Collabora Online Development Edition), this office suite is basically a cloud version of LibreOffice.

    • A cloud office suite alternative to Microsoft and Google

      Like the idea of having a cloud office suite, but not crazy about being locked into Microsoft Office 365 or Google Docs software-as-a-service (SaaS) ? Two open-source companies, ownCloud and Kolab Systems, are working on enabling an office suite for your own private cloud.

      Kolab, like ownCloud, is using Collabora’s cloud version of the open-source LibreOffice office suite, Collabora CloudSuite. The desktop version of LibreOffice is my favorite office suite.

    • There Is One Week To Go Until LibreOffice 5.1

      Among the features coming for next week’s LibreOffice 5.1 release is a much faster start-up time (up to twice as fast!), improved Microsoft Office file format support, PNG export support in Calc, OpenGL transition support for Impress, menu improvements, auto-accelerator in GTK has been enabled, faster Calc performance, and many other enhancements developed over the past several months.

  • CMS

    • Top 6 open source CRM tools for 2016

      When we first took a look at the top open source CRM systems back in 2014, there were many promising options. Now, let’s take a quick look at six of the top open source CRM systems of today. While this is by no means a definitive list, each CRM system covered in this article has been selected based on its rich or unique feature set.

  • Education

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Testing The LLVM SI Machine Instruction Scheduler

      Landing last month in the LLVM SVN/Git code-base was the SI machine scheduler for the AMDGPU LLVM back-end. This scheduler has the potential to improve the performance for some hardware/workloads, but not by the wide margins originally reported by some early testers.

      While the SI machine scheduler has been in the LLVM back-end, landing in Mesa Git a few days ago was an option for easily enabling it.

    • VIMAGE Coming Soon to FreeBSD

      I have to confess that I am still tying up loose ends from SCALE14X — the expo doesn’t end when the doors close for those of us who work the show. However, one interesting development popped up on my BSD radar this week that bears mentioning.

      Ed Maste gives a detailed report on it in the FreeBSD Foundation’s newsletter, reporting that Bjoern Zeeb gets the nod for a project grant “to finalize and integrate the work done to make the VIMAGE network stack virtualization production ready.”

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Guile 2.1.2 released [beta]

      Guile 2.1.2 is the second pre-release in what will eventually become the 2.2 release series.

    • GnuTLS 3.4.9

      Released GnuTLS 3.3.21 and GnuTLS 3.4.9 which are bug fix releases in the previous and current stable branches.

  • Licensing

    • The case for educating judges on open source licensing

      Copyright is copyright, and open source licenses are just another license. What this case illustrates is the need for judges and lawyers to understand what open source software is: not just software made available under a license, but software that has an accompanying ethos.

    • Latest Windows 10 Spotted Having a Hidden Linux Subsystem

      Names of the latest discovered files are similar to Android subsystem from Project Astoria, i.e. ADSS.Sys. Where “LX” can only be taken for one thing, and that is LINUX.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • rLoop: We Are Pushing the Limits of the Open Source, Online Think Tank Model
    • Open Source Agriculture

      Open Source, normally referred to within the domain of computer software, also pertains to the availability of the inner workings of physical operations and technology in the modes of hardware and sociological being with my focus here in view of agricultural life and design. There is a wide variety of literature available online providing information on agricultural methods, but where food production is concerned, the most informative pathways towards gaining an understanding of farming is to see, firsthand, how farmers and ranchers operate in their seasonal tasks. I have visited several farms in the past couple of years that have operated in such a way that have allowed for guest study of their daily procedures and thus exist as open source sites of agriculture, with one in particular ringing out as the most appropriate to mention as an open source agricultural operation I have had personal experience with.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open Source Torrent Books: Why some publishers are giving away their titles for free

        There are advantages to living in the age in which we can carry an entire library in our pockets. Much as the MP3 player revolutionized music consumption by making it possible to keep a jukebox on hand, so too has the e-reader ushered in a brave new world of reading. With this freedom to have the entire collected works of Alice Walker (or all seven Harry Potter books) with us at all times, however, have come concerns about digital rights management.

    • Open Hardware

      • The Furby is now a terrifying, open-source robot that you can program

        We get a lot of emails from public relations folks at Tech Insider. But one stood out today: a pitch from a group of roboticists in Poland working to turn the Hasbro toy Furby into an open-source robot for tinkering. That means anyone with a little coding knowledge can program a Furby to do and say basically anything. (We posted some examples below.)

      • Ourobotics releases completely open source Renegade 3D bioprinter

        Irish 3D bioprinting startup Ourobotics has just introduced their second ‘revolution’ to the bioprinting industry: an entirely open source 3D bioprinter called the Renegade that can be assembled for under $900. The Renegade 3D bioprinter was designed specifically to open up 3D bioprinting technology to the educational and biomaking communities, and the free, DIY instructions are now available to download via Ourobotics and 3Ders.org.

      • What’s New in 3D Printing, Part III: the Software

        This article is the third part of a four-part series that examines some of the changes in 3D printing that have occurred in the past three years since my first articles on the subject. Because this is Linux Journal, instead of discussing the entire 3D printing world, I’m focusing on the sections of the topic most relevant to open source and open hardware. In the first article, I gave a general overview on the current state of 3D printing. In the second, I covered what’s changed in 3D printing hardware during the past three years, including the shift away from open hardware and which printers still hold onto their open hardware roots. In this article, I discuss the changes in 3D printing software, and then in the final piece, I’ll walk through setting up OctoPrint on a Raspberry Pi to control your printer remotely.

  • Programming

    • Build2: Another New C++ Build Toolchain / Build System / Package Manager

      Build2 was announced today by Code Synthesis with an alpha release of this new cross-platform toolchain for building and packaging C++ code-bases.

    • Clever New GitHub Tool Lets Coders Build Software Like Bridges

      Jesse Toth says that upgrading an Internet service is like building a new bridge across San Francisco Bay.

      In building the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, engineers didn’t tear down the old one and erect the new one in its place. They built the new span alongside the old one, before making sure the new bridge could handle the same traffic. Only then did they switch all the cars over and start tearing down the old span. As Toth explains, when it comes time to rebuild software that underpins a service like Google or Facebook or Uber, the process should work in much the same way. “You battle-test this new bridge—this new code path—while the original one is still being used,” she says.

    • Go 1.7 Is Trading Much Slower Compile Times For Better Generated Code

      Go developers are warning that with the upcoming Go 1.7 release the compiler could be as much as two times slower, but will yield better quality — and hopefully faster — generated code.

      For the upcoming Go 1.7 development cycle, they plan to merge their SSA compiler back-end for their x86_64 platform. Their Static Single Assignment back-end is currently running much slower than their current back-end, but will yield better generated code.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Cross: Mike Masnick, Digging Up Dirt On More Than Tech

    A. First of all, who do you know who’s complaining about Techdirt?!? But, more seriously, that’s a really good question. I will say, however, that I *try* to make sure that if I’m ripping apart something, it’s their ideas, statements or actions, rather than them as a person. We may not always succeed at that, but it’s something I strive for. As an example, when talking about a musician, I’m pretty careful not to, say, make fun of their music. Because something like that is a taste thing, and if lots of people like it, even if I don’t, well, that’s a cheap shot to make fun of that. But if they say something I think is dumb about copyright or the internet, well that’s fair game.

    I’ve met some of the people that I’ve criticized and it can be an interesting experience. I once had the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company call me up and lecture me for an hour where I couldn’t get a word in edgewise (which was weird). A few years back someone actually engineered something of a surprise dinner between me and a well known author whom I’ve criticized repeatedly, and it was a pretty intense conversation, though it made me realize that much of what that guy wrote was to play the role of a character (i.e., he would raise a point from his book, and I would point out multiple examples of why his argument was wrong, and he’d immediately back down saying “well, you know more of the details about that than I do…” — and I kept thinking “but you’re the one who wrote the book!”). I once met a Congressional staffer whom I had written not very nice things about, and I recognized the name, but couldn’t place why I recognized it. And she told me that a committee she was on had been trying to call me to testify before Congress and “people” (never identified) had refused to give her my contact info (though I’m pretty easy to find). I gave her my card and only later realized who it was and how I’d basically gone sentence for sentence in attacking some comments she’d made (that, to be fair, were really dumb), and that the idea of having me testify was probably designed to make me look bad. But, whatever.

  • Near-Unlimited Cloud Storage Service Copy.com Is Shutting Down

    Copy.com, the cloud storage service that offered near-unlimited space and huge bonuses for referrals, announced today they’re shutting down on May 1st, 2016—leaving more than a few people with dozens or hundreds of gigs of data to migrate.

  • Science

    • Square’s guide to supporting female engineers goes open source

      If you’re looking for the definitive guide on how to empower women in engineering, then this book won’t immediately have all the answers. By being on GitHub, Square wants it to be crowdsourced — and what better way to reach engineers than by hosting it on one of the industry’s popular services?

      The book is organized into four main areas: introducing new hires to the group and ensuring that they feel welcome; growing the community internally; expanding the network beyond your company; and creating a presence at conferences.

  • Hardware

    • How Speedy Solid State Storage May Radically Change Data Center Design

      For as long as there have been data centers, they have been designed around the CPU. Now, thanks to speedy non-volatile flash storage, that topology is changing, and it may have major repercussions to the IT industry, warned an article in the Association for Computing Machinery’s flagship publication Queue.

      “The arrival of high-speed, non-volatile storage devices, typically referred to as Storage Class Memories (SCM), is likely the most significant architectural change that data center and software designers will face in the foreseeable future,” wrote Mihir Nanavati, Malte Schwarzkopf, Jake Wires, and Andrew Warfield. “Piles of existing enterprise datacenter infrastructure—hardware and software—are about to become useless (or, at least, very inefficient).”

    • Google doubles Cloud Compute local SSD capacity: Now it’s 3TB per VM

      Google boosts local SSD storage to 3TB per virtual machine and persistent disk to 64TB per virtual machine on its Cloud Compute Engine.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Terror of Flint’s Poisoned Water

      Less than one month after the attacks of Sept. 11, a senior FBI official, Ronald Dick, told the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, “Due to the vital importance of water to all life forms … the FBI considers all threats to attack the water supply as serious threats.” In 2003, a UPI article reported that an al-Qaida operative “(does not rule out) using Sarin gas and poisoning drinking water in U.S. and Western cities.’” Where the terrorists have failed to mount any attack on a water supply, the Michigan state government has succeeded. In the city of Flint, lead-poisoned water has been piped into homes and offices since 2014, causing widespread illness and potentially permanent brain damage among its youngest residents.

      Michigan has one of the most severe “emergency manager” laws in the country, allowing the governor to appoint an unelected agent to take over local governments when those locales or institutions have been deemed to be in a “financial emergency.” Republican Gov. Rick Snyder pushed for and obtained two bills that strengthened the law, and has used it aggressively to impose his version of fiscal austerity on cities like Detroit, Benton Harbor, several large school districts and, now most notoriously, on Flint. In every case but one, the emergency manager has taken over cities that are majority African-American. The emergency manager is granted sweeping powers to override local, democratically elected governments and to make cuts to budgets, sell public property, cancel or renegotiate labor contracts and essentially govern like a dictator.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Default settings in Apache may decloak Tor hidden services

      The information leak has long been known to careful administrators who take the time to read Tor documentation, but that hasn’t prevented some Tor hidden services from falling victim to it. To plug the hole, darkweb sites that run Apache must disable the mod_status module that by default sets up a server status page displaying a variety of potentially sensitive information about the servers. Details include the number of requests per second sent to the server, the most recent HTTP requests received, CPU usage, and in some cases the approximate longitude of the server.

    • WordPress Update Patches Pair of Vulnerabilities

      Automatic updates that patch the two flaws and fix 17 bugs are now rolling out to users of the open-source WordPress CMS.
      A new update to the WordPress open-source blogging and content management system (CMS) has been released that patches a pair of security vulnerabilities and includes 17 bug fixes that improve functionality.

    • Linux Computers Becoming Increasingly Malware Prone
    • 10 Mistakes to Avoid to Make Open Source More Secure

      Open source is becoming more popular in the enterprise. But so are open-source vulnerabilities. Here is how you can prevent open source-related mishaps in 2016.

    • Custom and Open-Source Code: A New Approach to Application Security Management

      Use of open-source software is ubiquitous across the Web, cloud, containers, enterprise apps, mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT). Analysis from Black Duck, an IBM Security partner, showed that open-source code comprises about 30 percent of the average commercial software application; this figure can jump even higher for in-house applications. According to Gartner, open source will be included in mission-critical applications within 99 percent of Global 2000 enterprises by the end of 2016.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Tomgram: Ira Chernus, The Peace Movement’s War Story

      Who even remembers the moment in mid-February 2003, almost 13 years ago, when millions of people across this country and the planet turned out in an antiwar moment unique in history? It was aimed at stopping a conflict that had yet to begin. Those demonstrators, myself included, were trying to put pressure on the administration of George W. Bush not to do what its top officials so visibly, desperately wanted to do: invade Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, garrison it for decades to come, and turn that country into an American gas station. None of us were seers. We didn’t fully grasp what that invasion would set off, nor did we imagine a future terror caliphate in Iraq and Syria, but we did know that, if it was launched, some set of disasters was guaranteed; we knew beyond a doubt that this would not end well.

    • The Establishment’s Last Stand

      The good news for anti-interventionists out of Iowa is that Bernie Sanders has defied the conventional wisdom and effectively delayed the coronation of Hillary Rodham Clinton. In spite of a ramped up effort to isolate the Vermont socialist from the Democratic mainstream, Hillary is in for a bruising fight that will only get bloodier when Sanders smashes her in New Hampshire, as seems likely.

    • 4409 Killed in Iraq During January

      Culling numbers from media reports, Antiwar.com found that 931 people, mostly Iraqis, were killed, and 580 more were wounded. The Islamic State, Naqshbandi Army, and other militant groups lost 3,478 in fighting or by execution. Another 261 were reported wounded.

      The United Nations also released its casualty figures for January. They estimate that 849 Iraqis were killed and 1,450 were wounded. At least 490 of those killed and 1,157 of the injured were civilians. They do not count casualties in Anbar nor among the militants. However, the numbers from Anbar province’s health department are 56 killed and 248 injured.

    • North Korea Launches Newest Offensive: Cigarette Butts

      North Korea likes to call South Korea a land of “political filth” and its leaders, including President Park Geun-hye, “human trash.” Now, apparently to highlight its contempt, it has begun sending balloons into the South loaded with an unusual payload, the police here said on Thursday: cigarette butts.

      North and South Korea have escalated their propaganda war across their heavily armed border since Jan. 6, when the North conducted its fourth nuclear test.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The FBI Says It Can’t Disclose Its Records Because Then the Public Would Know How the Bureau Works
    • There Is No Freedom Without Truth

      When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the “Soviet threat” was replaced with the “Muslim threat” and the “War on Terror” took over from the Cold War. Despite a succession of false flag attacks and warnings of a “thirty years war,” a few thousand lightly armed jihadists were an insufficient replacement for the Soviet Union and its thousands of nuclear ICBMs. It was an uncomfortable notion that the “world’s only superpower” could not dispose of a few terrorists.

    • Trade secrets bill passes US Senate Judiciary Committee

      The US Senate Committee on the Judiciary has passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act 2016, which included amendments that were suggested in hearings in December

    • Julian Assange being arbitrarily held – UN legal panel

      A UN panel has ruled Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is being “arbitrarily detained”, the BBC understands.

      Mr Assange claimed asylum in London’s Ecuadorean embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex assault claims, which he denies.

      The Met Police said he will still be held if he does leave the embassy.

      He earlier tweeted he would accept arrest if the panel ruled against him, but called for his arrest warrant to be dropped if the decision went his way.

    • UN Ruling on Assange Case

      Here is an interview I did for RT today as the news broke that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention would announce tomorrow the findings of its report into the Julian Assange case.

    • Trade secrets up in the air

      Cloud services make storing and accessing large amounts of information easier and cheaper. This gives in-house IP counsel the perfect opportunity to refresh their trade secrets strategy, argue Mark Ridgway and Annsley Merelle Ward

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Koch-Fueled Playbook Against West Virginia Working Families Exposed

      West Virginia Senate President Bill Cole’s spokesman said Monday that Cole “will travel throughout West Virginia and beyond….” to talk about his legislative agenda that limits workers’ rights.

    • From Reef to Ridge

      The picturesque hillsides and vibrant blue waters of northeast Puerto Rico and nearby Culebra Island are home to marine and terrestrial ecosystems that make it a truly special place.

      This corner of Puerto Rico is NOAA’s only Habitat Blueprint Focus Area in the Caribbean. NOAA’s Habitat Blueprint is a national framework to improve habitat for fisheries, marine life, and coastal communities.

  • Finance

    • European Parliament will vote on TISA, the evil global services sibling of TTIP

      Tomorrow, the European Parliament will vote on what recommendations to offer the European Commission as the latter continues its negotiations with 22 countries around the world on the Trade in Services Agreement—TISA. This is a key opportunity for MEPs to lay down what their “red lines” will be—the things that they will not accept if and when it comes to a TISA ratification vote. Wednesday’s vote is therefore a critically important moment for the European Parliament to influence the European Commission, and for EU citizens to influence their MEPs.

      Last week, one of the European Parliament’s most important committees, the one dealing with international trade (INTA), published its report on TISA. The recommendations, drafted by MEP Viviane Reding, were approved by a large majority—33 votes to six, with one abstention. Two parties, the Greens and GUE/NGL, nonetheless hope to make amendments to the text during Wednesday’s vote.

    • A Tiny Cell With An Omnipresent Guard, Visitors Just Twice A Day: TAFTA/TTIP’s German Transparency Room

      One of the most problematic aspects of the TAFTA/TTIP negotiations is their lack of transparency. Although the European Commission, to its credit, has made available many of its initial offers and background papers, the key consolidated documents that show what’s really happening in the negotiations — and what deals are being cut — are reserved for the inner circle. Even national politicians within the EU have been denied access to these, and that has really rankled, particularly in Germany. In an effort to defuse the anger there over this manifestly anti-democratic approach, a special reading room has finally been set up in the German Ministry of Economy.

    • Top Hillary Clinton PAC Donation Amounts to 222,000 Bernie Sanders Donations

      FEC filings released Sunday provide an illustration of how dramatically the contributions of mega-donors eclipse those of normal citizens.

      For example, billionaire George Soros gave $6 million to the pro-Hillary Clinton Super PAC Priorities USA last quarter. By comparison, the average donation to the Bernie Sanders campaign — the only one mostly funded through small donors — was $26.28, according to a spokesperson for the campaign.

      That means Soros gave as much money as a small city’s worth of small donors — 222,000 people, slightly larger than the population of Des Moines.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Donald Trump Is The New Face Of Loser.com

      The famous URL loser.com is currently redirecting to the Wikipedia page entry on Donald Trump. Donald Trump lost in recent Iowa Republican caucuses. This has given an iconic and ironic blow to Donald Trump, who in the recent times has identity off calling people losers.

    • Anti-Muslim CEO Is Key Walker Ally

      Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has positioned himself as an ardent supporter of “religious liberty.” When running for president he said that Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis, who didn’t want to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, should be allowed a “reasonable accommodation.” He has stated that pharmacists should be allowed to refuse birth control prescriptions on religious grounds, and sponsored such a “conscience clause” bill as a state legislator.

      Walker’s commitment to religious liberty, though, is being tested as one of his top allies is accused of religious discrimination against Muslim workers.

    • Corporate Interests Take Aim at Local Democracy

      Across America, corporate interests are taking aim at local government.

    • The Clinton “Fluke”

      It is a plutocracy where 85 people own the same wealth as the other 50% of the population of the entire world, and the wealth gap still grows at astonishing pace. A reaction from the people who actually create that wealth is inevitable. The extraordinary concentration of capital has only been possible because of the existence of state mechanisms designed to promote it, and a popular movement to end that state bias was bound to happen. It was also predictable that it would be dominated by the young. To see youth mobilise for Scottish independence, for Corbyn or for Sanders has been life-affirming for me.

  • Censorship

    • We must have the freedom to hate

      The policing of hatred represents one of the greatest threats to freedom of speech in the 21st century. From coddled campuses, where student leaders ban speech they deem to be ‘hatemongering’, to the public sphere more broadly, where hate-speech laws govern what we can say about race, religion and sexuality, various ways of thinking have been rebranded as ‘hatred’ and are shamed or silenced into oblivion. It can be hard to stand up to this war on hatred; who wants to be known as ‘pro-hate’? But it is essential that we do, for the control and punishment of hatred represents an alarming intrusion of the state and others into the realm of ideas, and even emotions.

    • Tel Aviv Art Museum Nixes Ai Weiwei Exhibit; Israeli Artist Says Censorship at Play

      The exhibit by the Chinese artist and dissident, which was also expected to show portraits of Palestinians by Israeli photographer Miki Kratsman, was delayed repeatedly until being nixed.

    • Ares Rights Gets EFF Lawyer Suspended From Twitter For Posting Mild Criticism

      We’ve written a few times now (including just recently) about the Spanish firm Ares Rights, whose sole purpose and job in this world appears to be to abuse any and all systems to take down content to try to hide content that either Ares Rights or its clients dislike. Mainly, the takedowns seem to focus on the interests of what appears to be its main client, the government of Ecuador, and its main tool is totally bogus DMCA notices, that too many companies follow without looking at the details.

      However, Ares Rights also has a history of abusing takedowns to try to hide negative information about itself. And apparently, it will abuse other tools as well, such as Twitter’s policy on shutting down accounts for abuse.

    • Report sees dramatic increase in censorship

      Pakistani journalists and media houses during the year 2015 saw dramatic increase in censorship and silent, but potent crackdown on dissent and freedom of expression during the incumbent democratic setup which was never seen in previous civilian set ups.

    • Sounds of silence

      While the civil and military leadership boasts of tireless devotion to the cause of promoting democracy day and night, it has proceeded with a tyrannical regime of inaudibly silencing all opposing voices. After the onerous struggle to overcome the draconian censorship that had engulfed the public discourse for decades, Pakistan had only in recent years begun to breathe a sigh of relief when another round of dilapidating blows have been struck against freedom of speech. The very questions with their unadulterated veracity that sting those in power, are the ones most needed for a thriving democratic system. Unless these questions are raised, crucial debates will not be triggered, and consequent conclusions imperative for betterment will never be reached. Historically and currently, a free press remains a necessary condition for the success of any democratic state and society. This style of governance needs to be revisited, because if hijacking the nation’s liberties does not backfire, the denial that this self-aggrandising narrative has pushed the leadership into certainly will.*

    • Maryland Bill Would Protect Consumers’ Free Speech from Bad Contracts (H.B. 131)

      Should a company be allowed to use its own contractual fine print to take away its customers’ free speech? What fundamental rights should not be waivable?

      We’ve written in the past about companies putting clauses in their form contracts that ostensibly forbid customers from posting online reviews of those companies’ products and services. Members of the Maryland House of Delegates have introduced a bill (MD H.B. 131) seeking to end the practice in Maryland. The bill’s sponsors are Dels. Jeff Waldstreicher, David Moon, Benjamin Kramer, and C.T. Wilson.

    • Russia Blocks Another Archive Site Because It Might Contain Old Pages About Drugs

      The Russian block party continues. The government agency in charge of censoring the internet is still working its way backwards, hoping to erase the collective memories of the web… or at least, keep Russian citizens from seeing certain bits of the archived past.

      Last summer, Russia blocked the Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine,” an extremely useful tool that allows users to see historical snapshots of websites. The government may only have intended to block a single page, but because the Internet Archive utilizes HTTPS, the only practical way for ISPs to block the targeted pages was to block it at the domain level.

    • Oscar Wilde’s grandson Merlin Holland on Dorian Gray, censorship and posthumous pardons

      After years in the back room, Oscar has finally found his way onto the Oxford English syllabus,” says Merlin Holland, with both pride and indignation.

      Most of us in this noisy cafe off Carnaby Street wouldn’t be on first name terms with Oscar Wilde, but as his only living grandson and the sole executor of his estate, Holland has a greater claim than most.

    • The Picture of Dorian Gray – Reimagined
    • Moran: Mainland China’s censorship is oppressive to natives and visitors

      I just returned from two weeks of traveling in mainland China and Taiwan. I saw a lot of fascinating things — the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, the Forbidden City. Yet of everything I saw, our visit to Tiananmen Square was the most impactful.

      The Square is huge and some of the buildings are stunning. We saw Mao’s tomb and his infamous portrait on the wall of the Forbidden City, but something was lacking — it was the stuff the group didn’t talk about that interested me.

    • Beijing’s censorship is out of control, according to an ally of Deng Xiaoping

      A former deputy editor-in-chief of the People’s Daily, a Communist Party newspaper, has criticized Beijing for exerting too much control over its media (link in Chinese).

      Zhou Ruijin’s comments are noteworthy because, as a writer in the 1990s, he was closely aligned with Deng Xiaoping, China’s then-leader and whom is still highly respected. Often writing under the pen name Huang Fuping, Zhou’s commentaries directed the government to support Deng at a time when the party was divided over its direction.

    • ‘Censors have gone too far’: Influential voice of Deng Xiaoping era accuses China’s propaganda chiefs of too much intervention

      An influential voice for reform on the mainland says propaganda chiefs are overreaching and their intervention runs counter to rule by law.

      The commentary by Zhou Ruijin in Ifeng.com, an online news arm of Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV, came as authorities further tighten their grip over the media and intensify political ideology across the spectrum. The piece was taken from a collection of his commentaries published on the mainland last month.

      Zhou agreed with President Xi Jinping that propaganda work needed to be stepped up but said censorship chiefs had gone too far, saying it was now “a mismatch to the whole picture of reform”.

    • Deng-era Reformist Warns of Overreaching Censorship

      At South China Morning Post, Nectar Gan reports a newly published warning from former People’s Daily deputy editor Zhou Ruijin that excessive censorship is “a mismatch to the whole picture of reform”.” Zhou supported Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in the early 1990s under the group pen name Huang Fuping.

    • Can Localization Be Called Censorship?

      If you’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Fire Emblem Fates on the 3DS next month, you may have noticed a veritable shitstorm that has boiled over in the community regarding the exclusion of certain content from the North American (and likely European) release. This is not the first time that this subject has been up for not-so-friendly debate; when the game was released in Japan last June, there was a similar controversy over the revelation that this content existed in the first place. Some are declaring the changes “censorship” and even vowing not to purchase the game, while others are expressing relief and deeming the game better off this way. Censorship has become a very pervasive subject within the gaming community, especially in the last few years, and so I really wanted to take a moment to address what censorship means and how it may or may not pertain to this particular franchise, which admittedly is dear to my heart.

    • PM left red nosed by censorship protest

      When Malaysian police warned activist and graphic designer Fahmi Reza that his Twitter account was under surveillance after he posted an image of the prime minister, Najib Razak, as a clown, they probably hoped such behaviour would stop.

      Instead, an artists collective that Fahmi belongs to, Grupa has responded with even more clownish images of the premier to express their solidarity with him and to champion the ideal of free speech.

    • Facebook censorship under the microscope

      But when people tried to post stories about these topics on Facebook, they were blocked.

      “The content you’re trying to share includes a link that our security systems detected to be unsafe,” read one notification.

      What gives? That’s what nonprofit OnlineCensorship.org is trying to understand.

    • Valte questions Comelec censorship of gov’t officials
    • Comelec reminds gov’t execs: Campaign for candidates, face raps
    • Valte decries Comelec ‘ban’ on gov’t officials posting about candidates
    • Palace official gripes vs Comelec
    • Valte cries censorship over Comelec rules on Facebook posts, tweets
    • Comelec to Valte: ‘Ban’ for gov’t execs from campaigning ‘a good rule’
    • Valte twits Comelec over ‘unjustified, legally infirm censorship’
    • Israeli military reportedly seeks to censor private Facebook pages commenting on national security

      Change of approach in the military censorship; No more monitoring of Facebook texts following their publication: from now on account holders are required to pass on to the censorship any text regarding the security establishment; Blogger Yossi Gurvitz: I will not comply with the decree, I will apply to the court system.

  • Privacy

    • Napolitano Says She’s Always Wanted To Talk About The Secret Surveillance She Hasn’t Talked About Since Last August

      A Techdirt reader has sent us a copy of former DHS head/current University of California President Janet Napolitano’s official response to the outcry over the secret surveillance of UC staffers — surveillance she personally approved.

      Napolitiano’s letter to UC-Berkeley employees immediately ties the secretive surveillance implementation to the UCLA Medical Center cyberattack, just in case anyone (and it’s a lot of anyones) feels the effort was unwarranted.

    • Opinion: How NSA reorganization could squander remaining trust

      The coming reorganization of the National Security Agency may be a smart move for the agency but it’ll hurt America’s long-term national security interests.

      At a recent talk at the Washington think tank Atlantic Council, NSA director Adm. Michael Rogers said he wanted to better integrate the agency’s Information Assurance Directorate – its defensive arm that protects US systems and information – and the Signals Intelligence Directorate – the offensive branch that carries out spying operations.

      The reorganization is needed, he said, because with these two separate divisions “we created these two amazing cylinders of excellence and then we built walls of granite between them.”

    • Bill Gates Memorised Microsoft Employees’ License Plates To Monitor When They Came And Left
    • 200 Companies, Organisations Worldwide Promote Stronger Encryption

      Nearly 200 organisations, companies and others from 42 countries have signed an open letter to the international community demanding that stronger encryption tools be allowed to be developed and used. The letter describes encryption tools and services as vital components of maintaining a secure digital environment, where if users are allowed to use the strongest forms of encryption it can allow for the safest and most efficient ways to communicate across borders.

    • Why Did The Government Prosecute This Original NSA Whistleblower?

      A new initiative has been launched to uncover what really went on behind-the-scenes during the government’s high profile prosecution of Thomas Drake, a decorated National Security Agency whistleblower who disclosed details about a government domestic surveillance program.

      The James Madison Project filed a Freedom of Information Act suit before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Jan. 22 that sought documents about Drake’s highly unusual prosecution.

      Mark Zaid, executive director of the project, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the Drake case represented an attempt by government officials to send a chilling message to other national security whistleblowers, especially those concerned about domestic surveillance programs.

    • Lawfare thinks it can redefine π, and backdoors

      There is gulf between how people believe law to work (from watching TV shows like Law and Order) and how law actually works. You lawyer people know what I’m talking about. It’s laughable.

      The same is true of cyber: there’s a gulf between how people think it works and how it actually works.

    • Laura Poitras: using art to illuminate a world that would rather remain unseen
    • Snowden’s Chronicler Reveals Her Own Life Under Surveillance
    • Citizenfour Director Laura Poitras’ Whitney Exhibit Exposes NSA Surveillance From A New Perspective
    • Laura Poitras’s Astro Noise: indispensable book and gallery show about mass surveillance
    • Filmmaker Laura Poitras Brings Classified Documents to Art Museum Walls
    • In new art exhibit, Citizenfour director Laura Poitras shows you what surveillance feels like

      So says the disembodied voice of documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras to visitors of Astro Noise, her new solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Before Poitras introduced the world to Edward Snowden and made Citizen Four, the documentary about NSA surveillance, she had spent years being detained and searched at airports because of time she spent in Iraq making a documentary about an Iraqi family.

    • GCHQ Spies Collect Too Much of Our Data For Their Own Good

      Edward Snowden has shown that he’s still an almighty pain in GCHQ’s backside by leaking a document that describes the spy agency’s approach to data-collection. The ‘Data Mining Research Problem Book’ is essentially a top secret manual designed to help spies, well, spy.

      While there’s too much online information for GCHQ to properly sift through — meaning that the vast majority of content simply needs to be discarded — the doc explains that all metadata can be retained. That essentially means that GCHQ is pulling in absolutely everything it can pull in, because who’s going to stop it?

    • Big Data, Quantum Solutions [Ed: defecting attention from NSA itself]
    • NSA Says it “Must Act Now” Against the Quantum Computing Threat
    • NSA Plans to ‘Act Now’ to Ensure Quantum Computers Can’t Break Encryption
    • Row over GCHQ-built voice algo MIKEY SAKKE rumbles on

      GCHQ has defended its controversial MIKEY-SAKKE phone encryption protocol against criticism that it leaves a backdoor into systems that support the technology.

      The CESG assurance arm of the UK government’s signal intelligence agency has taken the unusual step of publishing a background document and FAQ in defence of the technology, summarised in a statement by a government spokesman.

    • Former DHS Boss Puts University Of California Employees Under Secret Surveillance

      Former DHS boss Janet Napolitano — who once stated she “doesn’t use email” (for many reasons, but mainly to dodge accountability) — is now showing her underlings at the University of California why they, too, might not want to “use email”: someone might be reading them over their shoulders.

      UC professor Christopher Newfield has the inside details of the recently-exposed monitoring system secretly deployed by the University of California (and approved by school president Napolitano) to keep tabs on the communications, web surfing and file routing of its employees. The SF Chronicle has an article on the secretly-installed spyware behind its paysieve [try this link], but Newfield has the internal communications.

    • Bryan Veloso Tells the Story Behind Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘I’m CEO, Bitch.’ Business Card

      One of the many Zuckerberg stories is about his legendary business card, “I’m CEO, Bitch”. The Social Network story is very real and the screenwriter Aron Sorkin took the original transcript from Zuckerberg’s LiveJournal blog which was used word-by-word, except the name of his girlfriend which was changed to Erica Albright in the movie. But that doesn’t play any of the roles in Zuckerberg’s “I’m CEO, Bitch” story.

    • UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill: Loopholes Within Loopholes Will Lead to Unbridled Surveillance

      The House of Commons Science and Tech Committee has published its report on the draft Investigatory Powers Bill, influenced by comments submitted by 50 individuals, companies, and organizations, including EFF. The report is the first of three investigations by different Parliamentary committees. While it was intended to concentrate on the technological and business ramifications of the bill, their conclusions reflect the key concern of lawmakers, companies, and human rights groups about the bill’s dangerously vague wording.

      The Investigatory Powers Bill, as written, is so vague as to permit a vast range of surveillance actions, with profoundly insufficient oversight or insight into what Britain’s intelligence, military and police intend to do with their powers. It is, in effect, a carefully-crafted loophole wide enough to drive all of existing mass surveillance practice through. Or, in the words of Richard Clayton, Director of the Cambridge Cloud Cybercrime Centre at the University of Cambridge, in his submissions to the committee: “the present bill forbids almost nothing … and hides radical new capabilities behind pages of obscuring detail.”

    • The future of the NSA: fight the hackers or embrace the hackers

      With its well-known habit of uncompromising surveillance, the NSA has earned itself something of a poor reputation among internet users. But while the spying side of the agency is what it is most famous for, it is actually made up of two different divisions: offensive and defensive.

    • With Rand Paul out of the race, is there anyone left to fight the NSA?

      Rand Paul is dropping out of the race for the White House. With him goes the most substantial critic of the NSA in the Republican field.

      Paul’s libertarian position often put him at odds with other GOP candidates, who, during debates and public statements, tried to out-hawk other candidates on national security issues. In one particularly memorably debate, he traded jabs with Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor who proudly said that he was “the only person on this stage who’s actually filed applications under the Patriot Act.” Paul responded by saying he wanted “more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Utah Politician Looking To Tackle Doxing, DoS Attacks And Swatting With New Slate Of Cybercrime Amendments

      Three of the Four Horsemen of the Internet Apocalypse (*Revenge Porn not included) are being targeted by Utah legislator David Lifferth with a package of amendments to the state’s cybercrime statutes.

      [...]

      Considering it’s tied to “intent to annoy, alarm, intimidate, offend, abuse, threaten, harass, frighten, or disrupt the electronic communications of another,” the amended statute could be read as making the publication of personal information by news outlets a criminal activity — if the person whose information is exposed feels “offended” or “annoyed.” Having your criminal activities detailed alongside personally identifiable information would certainly fall under these definitions, which could lead to the censorship (self- or otherwise) of police blotter postings, mugshot publication or identifying parties engaged in civil or criminal court proceedings.

    • First Amendment Under Assault, Again

      NY’s current mayor, Bill Blasio, promised in April of 2014 to dismantle the so-called NYPD Demographics Unit, which was responsible for singling out one religious group among all others, apparently based on the twisted post-9/11 logic of “Muslim –> Likely Terrorist –> Spy on all Muslims.”

    • Pt 2: Michael Eric Dyson on “The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America”
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • #BTdown – customers fume as BT’s broadband network crashes nationwide

      BT’s broadband network has crashed across the UK. The communications firm confirmed that its website and customer service platforms were also affected by the glitch, which it was yet to explain. After social media users reported problems, BT released a statement via Twitter that said: “Sorry if your are [sic] experiencing network problems. We will keep you updated.” A spokesman later said: “It is true that we are down at the moment. We are aware of the problems and are working on them as fast as we can.” BT later said it had restored services some three hours after the crash and added there was no indication it had been subjected to a “malicious attack”.

    • ICANN calls on APAC to help end US stewardship

      With the administrative functions for the world’s web traffic still under US jurisdiction, ICANN is urging Asia-Pacific nations to take a more active role in “facilitating the development of multi-stakeholder internet governance”.

    • Cruz missile slams into DNS overlord ICANN over Chinese censorship

      They also question whether accepting the role represents a conflict of interest, given that ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is under contract to the US government for the critical IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) functions.

      Back in December, Chehade surprised and infuriated the internet governance world when he agreed to head up a new “high-level advisory committee” that will develop the agenda for future World Internet Conferences, held in Wuzhen, China, as well as “contribute ideas for the development of the Internet.”

    • The US ranks 55th in terms of LTE download speeds

      The quality of a country’s mobile network is often decided by a recipe that’s two parts economics, and one part geography. While small, developed nations like South Korea and Hong Kong can easily provide complete coverage and fast speeds to their dense populations, larger, poorer countries often struggle to deliver full bars to all of their territory. Countries that are big and rich, like America, tend to get networks that are somewhere in the middle — good on coverage, for example, but not so great on speed, as a report into LTE in the US by OpenSignal showed earlier this week. Now, the network-testing company has released its worldwide report for Q4 2015, allowing us to see how America stacks up with the rest of the globe.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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