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Links 21/3/2016: PAYDAY 2 for GNU/Linux, PDFBox v2.0

Posted in News Roundup at 7:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Science

    • African Tech Start-Ups Face Many Challenges

      For Assane Gueye, a Senegalese cybersecurity expert based at both University of Alioune Diop in Senegal and University of Maryland in the US, sustainable innovation solutions could emerge from going beyond incubators as people share ideas.

      “Usually in Africa when we talk about infrastructure we always talk about money, it’s not true,” he said.

      If people have enough information about the technology, they can tweak it and make better use of it,” he explained.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • UK Teachers Report 4 Year Old Boy To The Terrorism Police For Drawing A Cucumber

      The unintended but entirely predictable consequences from the UK’s disastrous Counter-Terrorism and Security Act keep on a-coming. You will recall that this handy piece of legislation tasked teachers with weeding out possible future-terrorists amongst the young folks they are supposed to be teaching. This has devolved instead into teachers reporting children, usually children that would be peripherally identified as Muslim children, to the authorities for what aren’t so much as transgressions as they are kids being kids. It has even turned some teachers into literal grammar police, because the universe is not without a sense of humor.

      And now we learn that these part-teacher-part-security-agents may be incorporating art criticism into their repertoire, having reported a young Muslim boy of four years old to the authorities because of his inability to properly illustrate a cucumber.

  • Censorship

    • Wicked Campers faces slogan censorship

      The company’s controversial slogans have previously been the subject of numerous complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority.

      Chief Censor Andrew Jack said his office recently received its first complaint about the vans – from the police.

      “I can confirm that we have received a submission in respect of some of the Wicked campervans from the police, and we’ll be working through the classification process and testing those publications against the criteria in the Films, Videos, and Publications Act to determine whether or not they need to be age restricted or might be objectionable.

      “This is the first time a publication, in respect of Wicked Campers, has been submitted to us.”

      He would now consider whether the images need to be banned or restricted.

    • Twitter CEO Dorsey Denies ‘Censorship’ in Today Show Interview; Lauer Fails to Challenge

      Matt Lauer, aka Mr. Softee (when interviewing people with whom he sympathizes), tried to act like a tough guy in his Friday interview with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. You’re not fooling us, Matt.

    • ‘Free speech is a left‑wing value’

      A protest urging the UK National Union of Students (NUS) to reform its Safe Space and No Platform policies took place last Thursday in London. A grand coalition of humanists, atheists, liberal Muslims and human-rights activists set up shop on the pavement outside NUS headquarters. Talking to the students and campaigners involved made this reporter hopeful about the free-speech fightback, which has recently erupted on campuses up and down the country.

    • Report: Zuckerberg Meets With China’s Censorship Chief
    • Mark Zuckerberg Met with China’s Propaganda Chief
    • Zuck Meets China Propaganda Chief
    • Can Facebook’s ‘China Dream’ get along with Xi Jinping’s?
    • Facebook might be one step closer to launching in China

      Facebook may now be one step closer to its dream of accessing China’s 720 million Internet users, though I wouldn’t count on a full reconciliation between the two countries just yet.

      Over the weekend, while attending an economic forum in Beijing, Mark Zuckerberg took some time out to meet with Liu Yunshan, China’s propaganda chief, it was reported by Xinhua News Agency, China’s official press agency, over the weekend.

      Liu expressed interest in working with Facebook to “enhance exchanges and share experience so as to make outcome of the internet development better benefit the people of all countries,” it said in the report.

    • Censorship And The CBLDF, At Home And Abroad – The C2E2 Panel Report

      On Sunday, the CBLDF held a panel hosted by Charles Brownstein and Betsy Gomez highlighting the wave of censorship spreading across the world like kudzu, relentless and nearly impossible to stop. And the results are frightening.

    • New Book Traces History of Cinema’s Censorship

      Ever wonder why Hollywood’s married sleuths Nick and Nora Charles retired to separate beds after their comic adventures? We have film censors to thank—or blame—for those twin beds.

      For much of filmmaking history, government entities sliced and diced the movies as they saw fit, cutting out profanity, violence and obscenity until the movies were squeaky-clean. But did this silencing of the salacious protect Americans or control them?

    • Hulk Hogan’s $115 Million Win Against Gawker Raises Serious First Amendment Questions

      Well, this isn’t necessarily a huge surprise, but Friday afternoon a Florida jury sided with Hulk Hogan in his lawsuit against Gawker, awarding him a fairly astounding $115 million (he had asked for $100 million) for posting a short clip of a Hogan sex tape along with an article about it. We hadn’t written about this case recently, as it was getting tons of press coverage elsewhere — but when we discussed it three years ago, when a Florida court first issued an injunction against Gawker, we noted the serious First Amendment issues here. Hogan (real name: Terry Bollea) had originally sued in federal court where it was more or less laughed out of court, mostly on First Amendment grounds. However, he was able to try again in state court, where it’s astounding that it even went to trial in the first place.

    • Hulk Hogan Gets $115M Verdict Against Gawker at Sex Tape Trial

      Hogan brought the case three years ago after Gawker, a 13-year-old digital news site founded by Nick Denton, an entrepreneur with an allergy to celebrity privacy, published a video the wrestler claimed was secretly recorded. The sex tape was sensational, showing Hogan — whose real name is Terry Bollea — engaged in sexual intercourse with Heather Cole, the then-wife of his best friend, Tampa-area radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge (real name: Todd Alan Clem). Gawker’s posting of the Hogan sex tape was accompanied by an essay from then–editor-in-chief A.J. Daulerio about celebrity sex and a vivid play-by-play of the encounter between Hogan and Cole.

  • Privacy

    • Review finds Pentagon likely destroyed evidence in NSA whistleblower case

      A federal watchdog has concluded that the Pentagon inspector general’s office may have improperly destroyed evidence during the high-profile leak prosecution of former National Security Agency official Thomas Drake.

      The Office of Special Counsel, which is charged with protecting federal employees who provide information on government wrongdoing, said its review of the handling of the Drake case had determined that there is “substantial likelihood” that there had been “possible violations of laws, rules or regulations” in the destruction of the evidence.

    • DOJ To Court: Hey, Can We Postpone Tomorrow’s Hearing? We Want To See If We Can Use This New Hole To Hack In

      So, this morning we wrote about a new flaw found in the encryption in Apple’s iMessage system — though it was noted that this wouldn’t really have impacted what the FBI was trying to do to get into Syed Farook’s work iPhone.

    • Flaw Discovered In Apple iMessage Encryption, Reminding Us That Compelled Backdoors Are Idiotic

      One of the points that seems to be widely misunderstood by people who don’t spend much time in computer security worlds, is that building secure encryption systems is really hard and almost everything has some sort of vulnerability somewhere. This is why it’s a constant struggle by security researchers, cryptographers and security engineers to continually poke holes in encryption, and try to fix up and patch systems. It’s also why the demand for backdoors is idiotic, because they probably already exist in some format. But purposely building in certain kinds of backdoors that can’t be closed by law almost certainly blasts open much larger holes for those with nefarious intent to get in.

    • Johns Hopkins researchers poke a hole in Apple’s encryption

      Apple’s growing arsenal of encryption techniques — shielding data on devices as well as real-time video calls and instant messages — has spurred the U.S. government to sound the alarm that such tools are putting the communications of terrorists and criminals out of the reach of law enforcement.

      But a group of Johns Hopkins University researchers has found a bug in the company’s vaunted encryption, one that would enable a skilled attacker to decrypt photos and videos sent as secure instant messages.

    • The NSA wanted Hillary Clinton to use this crazy secured Windows CE phone
    • Clinton Rejected Secure Gov’t Cellphone After Denied a President-level Blackberry [Ed: Windows is not secure, NSA controlled]
    • Black Americans and encryption: the stakes are higher than Apple v FBI

      When the FBI branded Martin Luther King Jr a “dangerous” threat to national security and began tapping his phones, it was part of a long history of spying on black activists in the United States. But the government surveillance of black bodies has never been limited to activists – in fact, according to the FBI; you only had to be black.

      In the current fight between Apple and the FBI, black perspectives are largely invisible, yet black communities stand to lose big if the FBI wins. A federal judge in California is set to rule on Tuesday whether the FBI will be granted a request compelling Apple to unlock the iPhone of a San Bernardino shooter.

    • French Police Report On Paris Attacks Shows No Evidence Of Encryption… So NY Times Invents Evidence Itself

      That’s not all that surprising, of course. People have known about burner phones for ages. But the thing that stood out for me was the desperate need of the NY Times reporters to insist that there must be encryption used by the attackers, despite the near total lack of evidence of any such use. Immediately after the attacks, law enforcement and intelligence officials started blaming encryption based on absolutely nothing. Senator John McCain used it as an excuse to plan legislation that would force backdoors into encryption. And Rep. Michael McCaul insisted that the Paris attackers used the encrypted Telegram app, despite no one else saying that. In fact, for months, the only thing we’d heard was that they used unencrypted SMS to alert each other that the attacks were on, and made almost no effort to hide themselves.

    • Paris terrorists used burner phones, not encryption, to evade detection

      New details of the Paris attacks carried out last November reveal that it was the consistent use of prepaid burner phones, not encryption, that helped keep the terrorists off the radar of the intelligence services.

      As an article in The New York Times reports: “the three teams in Paris were comparatively disciplined. They used only new phones that they would then discard, including several activated minutes before the attacks, or phones seized from their victims.”

      The article goes on to give more details of how some phones were used only very briefly in the hours leading up to the attacks. For example: “Security camera footage showed Bilal Hadfi, the youngest of the assailants, as he paced outside the stadium, talking on a cellphone. The phone was activated less than an hour before he detonated his vest.” The information come from a 55-page report compiled by the French antiterrorism police for France’s Interior Ministry.

      Outside the Bataclan theatre venue, the investigators found a Samsung phone in a dustbin: “It had a Belgian SIM card that had been in use only since the day before the attack. The phone had called just one other number—belonging to an unidentified user in Belgium.”

    • GCHQ intervenes to prevent catastrophically insecure UK smart meter plan
    • UK spies looking to protect smart meters against hackers
    • GCHQ steps in to ensure UK smart meter plan has adequate security
    • Customers blame new smart gas meters for higher prices
    • GCHQ treating people in Hester’s Way as ‘second class’ over parking says former Cheltenham mayor

      Hundreds of residents have been asked to give their views on an ‘increase’ in cars parked by GCHQ workers in the Fiddlers Green and Hester’s Way areas of Cheltenham

      Liberal Democrat councillor Wendy Flynn, a former mayor, said she had delivered 400 letters to residents and has set up an online petition and survey.

      Wendy told the Echo: “GCHQ do a vitally important job keeping us safe and their presence helps the local economy.

      “However they also have a responsibility to the community that are situated in and a moral obligation to be a ‘good neighbour.’

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • PETA, Pretending It Can Represent A Photogenic, Selfie-Snapping Monkey In Indonesia, Has Appealed Its Copyright Loss

        Aw, who are we kidding? The monkey has no clue about any of this. It’s a monkey! The case is really about a giant publicity stunt by PETA, which is pretending to represent the monkey and claiming that a monkey taking a selfie can get a copyright. Incredibly, PETA hired a big time, previously well-respected law firm by the name of Irell & Manella, which argued with apparently straight faces that someone must own the copyright, and thus the monkey (and PETA) were the most obvious choice. But, that’s something anyone with even the most marginal knowledge of copyright should know is not true, because we have something called the public domain. No one needs to hold the copyright because there might not be a copyright (and in this case, there is none).

      • Oil Industry Group Claims Copyright On Oil Pricing Data, Gets Twitter To Delete Tweets

        The American Petroleum Institute (API), a group that represents the oil industry, apparently releases a fee-based report on oil prices, which is released to paying subscribers a week before the US government releases “official” data. For obvious reasons, this information is fairly valuable to traders, who are more than willing to pay the monthly fee to get early access to some crucial information on the price of oil. Apparently, last week, some people then took that data, and tweeted about it… leading API to issue DMCA takedown notices, which Twitter promptly complied with.

      • Sean Parker’s New Service Offers Theaters A New Revenue Stream But All They Can See Is Business Model Intereference And Piracy

        Any time anyone routes around Hollywood’s windowed food chain — theatrical release, delay, video release, delay, VOD, longer delay, pay TV, even longer delay (or never), on-demand streaming — studios and theaters get bent out of shape. This terrible system makes major studios and theaters happiest (and their own worst enemies), even though it’s apparent a large percentage of the public would rather enjoy films on their own terms.

        Along with the complaints about the reshuffling of The Schedule come the inevitable cries of “PIRACY!” Sean Parker, formerly the major labels’ worst enemy, is now at the receiving end of motion picture industry hate, even though his plan — the “Screening Room” — involves everyone getting paid.

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