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Links 1/4/2016: Free RHEL, 2000 Games for GNU/Linux on Steam

Posted in News Roundup at 9:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Abot — How To Make Your Own Digital Assistant With This Free And Open Source Tool

    Ever wished to create your own digital assistant that talks back to you and completes your day-to-day tasks? Now it’s easier than ever with an open source tool Abot that’s written in Go programming language. Know more about it here and start coding one for you.

  • An open source microprocessor for wearables
  • Swiss open-source processor core ready for IoT
  • Every part of this microprocessor is open source

    Software source codes and hardware designs tend to be closely guarded trade secrets. But researchers recently made the full design of one of their microprocessors available as an open-source system.

  • Open source web development for better customization
  • Open source software opens door to web design career

    Before I discovered open source software in 2005, I had never touched a digital design package and probably couldn’t have named one. In fact, I never believed myself to be creative in any way, let alone thought about teaching myself an entirely new discipline.

  • Michael DeHaan on Achieving Project Adoption

    Starting a successful open source project requires a lot more than technical skills. You need to have wise strategies, which Michael DeHaan, founder of the IT automation company Ansible, clearly explains in this valuable video. In this talk, recorded March 22 on the Centennial Campus of North Carolina State University, he explains that for users to adopt your open source creations, the documentation needs to be outstanding. Your web site needs to be very well done. Learn these and other tips in this video.

  • Google Open Sources 360-Degree VR and Photo Tool
  • Membership Drive Results 2016

    This year, we are delighted to say hello to 335 new and returning members. This means that our membership numbers are up 172% over last year, which is wonderful to see!

  • Industrial city hackerspace teaches something more valuable than code

    James Wallbank is a founder of one of the longest-running hackerspaces in the U.K. Access Space opened in the center of the northern industrial city of Sheffield in 2000 with the goal of being open to all.

    Beyond being a place for coding and programming, Access Space refurbishes donated laptops for charitable use. It was also the subject of a recent academic study on barriers to womens’ participation in hackerspaces and makerspaces. In this interview, Ikem Nzeribe of Moss Code and I ask Wallbank about his experience running the hackerspace, revealing lessons that all projects looking to support diversity can use for themselves. The hackerspace model of economic self-empowerment could lead to a more diverse tech sector, but Wallbank makes it clear that there are no short cuts. The challenge may be finding enough champions of genuine diversity with the right balance of vision, critical evaluation, and persistence to enable under-represented communities.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • FLOSS Weekly 381: Mozilla Encryption Campaign

        Brett Gaylor is a Director at the Mozilla Foundation, where he helps helm the current encryption education campaign. He also oversees Mozilla’s Open Web Fellows program, which places open source technologists and activists at leading nonprofits like Amnesty International and ACLU.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • AtScale Advances its BI and Hadoop Strategy

      As it began to develop, the Big Data trend–sorting and sifting large data sets with new tools in pursuit of surfacing meaningful angles on stored information–remained an enterprise-only story, but now businesses of all sizes are evaluating tools that can help them glean meaningful insights from the data they store. As we’ve noted, the open source Hadoop project has been one of the big drivers of this trend, and has given rise to commercial companies that offer custom Hadoop distributions, support, training and more.

  • Databases

    • The PostgreSQL Global Development Group’s PostgreSQL

      Other specific features are performance boosters for today’s more powerful big iron servers, analytics and productivity enhancements to speed complex query capabilities on extreme data volumes, and a foundation for horizontal scalability across multiple servers for importing entire tables from external databases.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice


    • The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews Matt Lee of GNU Social

      GNU social was created as a companion to my earlier project, GNU FM, which we created to build the social music platform, Libre.fm. After only a few short months, Libre.fm had over 20,000 users and I realized I didn’t want to be another social media silo like MySpace or Facebook, so I came up with this vague idea called GNU social. A few prototypes were built, and eventually we started making GNU social as a series of plugins for Evan Prodromou’s StatusNet project, with some help from Ian Denhardt, Craig Andrews and Steven DuBois. Later, StatusNet, GNU social and Free&Social (a fork of StatusNet) would merge into a single project called GNU social. If that sounds confusing and convoluted, it is.

    • March 2016: photos from Bhopal and Utrecht and through to Quebec City and Montreal

      RMS was in India, the Netherlands, and Canada this past month. He started his trip in February in Pilani, in Delhi, and in Roorkee, where he spoke, at APOGEE 2016, the annual Birla Institute of Technology & Science–Pilani technical festival, at Tryst, the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi’s annual science and technology festival, and at Cognizance,1 IIT–Delhi’s annual technical festival. He then moved on…

  • Programming/Development


  • Why are so many people using ad blockers?

    Prominent mobile device companies like Apple and Samsung have recently added the ability to run ad blockers on their phones and tablets. And many users have been installing them, making ad blockers some of the most popular apps in app stores.

    Ad blockers are a hot topic of debate though, with revenue-starved sites being pitted against users who are concerned about malware as well as their overall reading experience. Users are defending their right to run ad blockers, while sites are requesting that they turn them off.

    But there’s another reason why so many people are using ad blockers on their mobile devices: mobile data allotments. It turns out that advertising can eat up a user’s fixed data allotment very, very quickly and that could result in expensive overage charges.

  • Code talker Gilbert Horn laid to rest

    To the broader outside world, Horn was best known as a Native American code talker who fought with the storied WWII deep penetration unit known as Merrill’s Marauders. But to those who knew him best, he was simply “Uncle Gil,” chief of the Fort Belknap Assiniboine Tribe.

    “My dad touched a lot of people’s lives in a good way,” said Willowa “Sis” Horn, Gilbert Horn’s oldest daughter. “But to me he was just daddy – just my dad.”

    Horn was born May 12, 1923, during an era when much of white society viewed Native culture as a quaint anachronism – something that would be gradually extinguished as Indian people were assimilated into the dominant western culture.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Review Of WHO Pandemic Flu Preparedness: Data Sequencing And Other Issues

      A representative of Sequirus, one of the largest vaccine manufacturers, on behalf of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA), the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), and another industry group, said industry supports the PIP Framework.

      Genetic sequence data of influenza viruses with pandemic potential are not WHO PIP biological materials per the definition of PIP biological materials, the representative said. It is critical that GSD remain in the public domain for continued influenza R&D efforts, she said. In the context of the PIP Framework review, “industry is willing to consider an appropriate revision to the PIP biological definition to reflect anticipated technological advances.”

      However, “not all influenza IVPP and IVPP GSD should be included in the definition and subject to the WHO PIP Framework obligations,” the industry representative said, rather only GSD which is used directly to develop and manufacture commercial IVPP products. “Attaching obligations to the general use and the sharing of publicly available GSD could potentially inhibit influenza R&D.”

    • Global E-Waste Epidemic: Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind

      Many of us identify with the growing movement to better understand our collective and individual impact on the environment and one another. We can look to our own communities for working examples of regulations, initiatives, and programs that have been developed to tackle the growing problem of electronic waste. Curbside donation programs have sprung up in many communities around the U.S., but most of us stop thinking about the disposal process once it leaves our hands. There has been a lack of media coverage regarding the global community’s outsourcing of electronic waste.

      Steps have been taken on an international level to promote responsible disposal, for example with the creation of the Basel Convention. However, loopholes exist. In her report, Madeleine Somerville points to the fact that externalizing the costs of disposal contributes to the exploitation of marginalized communities as well as the environment. The fundamental problem is not that we don’t care about the effects of e-waste, but that we are relatively unaware of the complete life cycle of the electronics we use. We are not yet tuned in to how our everyday lifestyles contribute to the amount of production and subsequent waste.

    • If Addiction is a Disease, Why is It Criminal? Maia Szalavitz Envisions a Compassionate Drug Policy

      President Obama has unveiled a series of steps aimed at addressing the epidemic of opioid addiction in the United States. We speak with journalist Maia Szalavitz about her new book, “Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction,” and about her own experience of overcoming addiction. “We need to create a more compassionate and loving drug policy,” Szalavitz says. “Nobody is going to believe that addiction is a disease as long as the behavior is criminal.”

    • POTUS advisors vote for Superbug Czar but go soft on farm antibiotic use

      The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that trek between farms and clinics and across international boarders is unquestionably one of the most serious public health threats of our time. They currently sicken around two million people in the US each year, killing at least 23,000. To tackle the issue, the Obama Administration last year released a National Action Plan and established a panel of diverse experts to research and guide the government’s efforts to squash those deadly superbugs.

      That 15-person panel, called the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria or PACCARB, convened this week in Washington, DC to discuss and vote on its first progress report and key recommendations, which now head to the president’s desk. Thursday, the council unanimously voted for six recommendations, which spanned calls for funding and collaboration. But chief among them is the call for the president to establish a White House-level leader that could coordinate all of the government agencies’ efforts to fight drug resistance.

  • Security

    • Thursday’s security updates
    • Your router could succumb to a new Telnet worm

      Building botnets made up of routers, modems, wireless access points and other networking devices doesn’t require sophisticated exploits. Remaiten, a new worm that infects embedded systems, spreads by taking advantage of weak Telnet passwords.

      Remaiten is the latest incarnation of distributed denial-of-service Linux bots designed for embedded architectures. Its authors actually call it KTN-Remastered, where KTN most likely stands for a known Linux bot called Kaiten.

    • Remaiten Is a New DDoS Bot Targeting Linux-Based Home Routers

      Malware coders have created a new DDoS bot called Remaiten that targets home routers running on common Linux architectures, which also shares a lot of similarities with other DDoS bots like Tsunami and Gafgyt.

    • Oh, Look: Yet Another Security Flaw In Government Websites

      Or worse. The open direct could lead to spyware and malware, rather than just advertising masquerading as content or bottom-feeder clickbait. Fortunately, you can keep an eye on what URLs are being reached using these open redirects via this link. Unfortunately, it may be only citizens keeping an eye on that page, and they’re in no position to prevent further abuse.

    • CNBC Asks Readers To Submit Their Password To Check Its Strength Into Exploitable Widget

      People’s passwords and their relative strength and weakness is a subject I know quite well. As part of my business, we regularly battle users who think very simple passwords, often times relating to their birthdays and whatnot, are sufficient. Sometimes they simply make “password” or a similiar variant their go-to option. So, when CNBC put together a widget for readers to input the passwords they use to get feedback on their strength or weakness, I completely understand what they were attempting to accomplish. Password security is a real issue, after all — which is what makes it all the more face-palming that the widget CNBC used was found to be exploitable.

    • Reviewing Important Healthcare Cybersecurity Frameworks [Ed: Microsoft Windows]

      Just recently, a ransomware attack affected Hollywood Presbyterian in California, causing the hospital to pay $17,000 to regain access to its databases.

    • U.S., Canada issue joint alert on ‘ransomware’ after hospital attacks [iophk: The governments need to track down those spreading Windows in the hospitals.]

      The United States and Canada on Thursday issued a rare joint cyber alert, warning against a recent surge in extortion attacks that infect computers with viruses known as “ransomware,” which encrypt data and demand payments for it to be unlocked.

      The warning follows reports from several private security firms that they expect the crisis to worsen, because hackers are getting more sophisticated and few businesses have adopted proper security measures to thwart such attacks.

    • NIST Publishes New Security Standard For Encrypting Credit Card, Medical Info

      The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed new encryption methods for securing financial data and other sensitive information.

      The NIST publication SP 800-38G authored by Morris Dworkin specifies cryptography standards for both binary and non-binary data, preserving the look and feel of the unencrypted digits. Earlier encryption methods designed by NIST worked for binary data. But for strings of decimal numbers, there was no feasible technique to produce coded data that preserves the original format.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Freedom in North Korea (I Hate Travel Stories About North Korea)

      Every travel story about North Korea reads the same:

      We went to North Korea voluntarily, and were shocked to find that we couldn’t like hang out at clubs with everyday Koreans, and the dudes there, like, spied on us.

      And we couldn’t use WhatsApp or take selfies anywhere we wanted, or like mock the hell out of the fat guy who dictates the place LOL. It’s like so oppressive and I’m so glad to be back in the U.S. where sh*t is totally free, I mean literally, bro.

      Wash, rinse, repeat.

    • No Thank You for Your Service: The Fallacy of Troop Worship

      There is a pervasive idea in today’s American society that regardless of political philosophy or party affiliation, one must never criticize the members of the United States military. Conventional wisdom holds that we must appreciate the sacrifice soldiers have made to “fight for our freedom,” and even if one is against the war, they must always “support the troops.” This line of thinking is not coming solely from the pro-war crowd; many of those who consider themselves antiwar (or at least oppose a specific war or conflict) have the utmost regard for those who fight in them. But is this canonization of those who take up arms in the name of the United States government truly just? Or is it a falsehood based on propaganda, emotion, and a lack of critical thinking?

    • NATO: Worse Than ‘Obsolete’

      That promise was not kept. Instead, the lobbyists, both foreign and domestic, went into overdrive in a campaign to extend NATO to the very gates of Moscow. It was a lucrative business for the Washington set, as the Wall Street Journal documented: cushy fees for lobbyists, influence-buying by US corporations, as well as political tradeoffs for the administration of George W. Bush, which garnered support for the Iraq war from Eastern Europe’s former Warsaw Pact states in exchange for favorable treatment of their NATO applications.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Italy should work on its OGP commitments and their implementation

      The Progress Report covers the second Italian OGP Action Plan (for the period 2014-2015), which was adopted in December 2014. The plan was developed by the new government that was installed at the beginning of that year and that “planned to set up structural reforms in many sectors of public administration, stressing the relevance of transparency, accountability, and open data.”

  • Finance

    • New Analysis Shows ‘Frivolous’ Corporate Sovereignty Suits Increasingly Used To Deter Regulation Rather Than Win Compensation

      The rise in public awareness of the dangers of corporate sovereignty provisions in agreements like TPP and TAFTA/TTIP has brought with it a collateral benefit: academics are starting to explore its effects in greater depth. An example is a new paper from Krzysztof J. Pelc, who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McGill University in Canada. Called “Does the Investment Regime Induce Frivolous Litigation?” (pdf), it looks at how the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism has evolved in recent years, and in a very troubling direction.

    • Open-Source P2P Currency Exchange CurrencyFair Secures €8 Million

      CurrencyFair, an open-source, peer-to-peer, international currency exchange with offices in the U.K., Ireland and Australia, has raised an additional €8 million and announced a new chief marketing officer.

    • Vox and the False Consensus of ‘Most Economists Agree’

      Sometimes Vox does actually link to something at least attempting consensus, as they have done here and here. But more often, even when an attempt at consensus is reached, it’s plagued with blinders that render the “most economists” distinction suspect.

      For example, the University of Chicago “poll” that sampled economists about the value of Uber, showing uniform consensus about how great it was, did not contain a single African-American or Hispanic economist. Does the class and racial composition —let alone the University of Chicago’s notorious association with free-market ideology—affect what this cohort of “most economists” thinks? Probably. Does anyone at Vox care? Evidently not.

      Sometimes the “most economists” device is just a lazy placeholder, and it’s entirely possible that “most economists,” if subjected to anything approaching a scientific poll, would actually agree with the author’s assertion. Sometimes vague intuitions about what others think are true!

      But like Fox News‘ use of “some say,” “most economists” or “most experts” is often a weasel phase that permits the writer to smuggle in their own opinion and ideology where it ought not be, and couches their own subjective, ad hoc analysis as something reflecting scientific consensus. Certainly, if “most experts” on a subject agree, what they agree on must therefore be objectively and undoubtedly true.

      Ultimately, the “most expert/economists” cliche is a lazy appeal to authority that shortcuts actually showing one’s homework—how one got from premise to conclusion. If the news is going to be “explained” rather than just asserted, most media critics agree that Vox should drop this tic altogether.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Corporate Media Circles Wagons Around Tories

      There is a huge amount of polling evidence over decades that shows that the perception that a party is divided causes much damage to that party’s popularity rating. Indeed the perception of division or unity is almost as important as what the actual policies are. The spectacular tumbling of popular Tory support in the UK is therefore entirely expected when the Tories are kicking pieces out of each other over Europe and Osbornomics.

      The corporate media, including the BBC, of course know this very well. That is why ever since those opinion polls the bitter Tory internal battles have simply stopped being reported. I have no doubt their political correspondents are having conversations like the one I had with an MP this morning, several times every day. Yet when did you last see one reported? Compare this to the regular reporting of every tittle tattle of anonymous Blairite briefing against Corbyn.

    • Moyers & Co. Cites FAIR on Media Consolidation
    • Anonymity in the New York Times: By the Numbers

      A new report from FAIR looks at a year’s worth of anonymity in the New York Times, with media critic Reed Richardson taking an in-depth look at how unnamed sources were used in the paper in 2015. His research substantiates that the observation Times public editor Margaret Sullivan made in 2014 (12/29/14) is still true: “Anonymity continues to be granted to sources far more often than a last-resort basis would suggest.”

    • Twenty Years of Media Consolidation Has Not Been Good For Our Democracy

      Wall Street’s sinister influence on the political process has, rightly, been a major topic during this presidential campaign. But history has taught us that the role that the media industry plays in Washington poses a comparable threat to our democracy. Yet this is a topic rarely discussed by the dominant media, or on the campaign trail.

    • Error Keeps Sanders off D.C. Ballot [iophk: The establishment, in pushing Clinton, is really pulling some dirty tricks.]

      Bernie Sanders is not on the ballot for Washington, D.C.’s Democratic primary on June 14, thanks to a clerical error.

      Both Sanders, a senator from Vermont, and front-runner Hillary Clinton submitted their paperwork and the $2,500 fee in advance of the March 16 deadline. But due to a clerical error, the D.C. Democrats did not notify the Board of Elections until March 17, according to WRC-TV in Washington.

    • Bernie Sanders Has an Interesting Theory About Why the Republican Party Exists

      Rachel Maddow posed an interesting question to Sen. Bernie Sanders during their interview on Wednesday: Would he like to see the Republican Party just disappear? Sanders’ answer was also an interesting one. He didn’t take the bait; instead, he offered an alternative theory—the GOP would disappear if corporate media simply told the truth about the party’s agenda.


      “The Republican Party today now is a joke,” he continued, “maintained by a media which really does not force them to discuss their issues.”

      Sanders was returning to one of his driving issues over the years—a fervent belief that corporate-owned media was steering democracy off a cliff. In 1979, he wrote an essay arguing that TV networks were “using the well-tested Hitlerian principle that people should be treated as morons and bombarded over and over again with the same simple phrases and ideas” to prevent them from thinking critically about the world around them. He hit those same themes (albeit more diplomatically) in his book, Outsider in the House, arguing that TV news coverage was dumbing down America by inundating viewers with superficial coverage of O.J. Simpson instead of “corporate disinvestment in the United States.” Not surprisingly, when Maddow asked Sanders in an interview last fall what his dream job might be, he quickly blurted out, “president of CNN.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Opinion: Censorship leads to many harmful, scary precedents

      Last week, “Trump 2016” was chalked in many places across Emory University’s campus. The backlash was swift. Students called for an immediate investigation. Emory administrators responded quickly, saying they would review security footage in order to find the “perpetrators” to then execute disciplinary protocol.

      In consistency with the free speech editorial we wrote in the fall, we write this in the hopes of criticizing this kind of censorship and policing culture often taken by college administration in response to speech that could be construed as hate speech.

      We certainly are not condoning the type of rhetoric that Donald Trump espouses or the type of politics that he inspires, but rather are calling for a more long-term strategy for protecting the rights of the marginalized. As many legal experts have noted, the type of precedent this Orwellian approach to censoring and stifling speech — however advantageous in the short term it may be — will come to disproportionately affect students’ ability to voice opinions later. If the chalkings were anti-University administration, students have now inadvertently created a protocol under which that too can be stifled by Emory officials.

    • Nintendo FIRES feminist Alison Rapp following furious paedophile porn censorship storm
    • Nintendo denies Alison Rapp firing is linked to harassment campaign
    • Nintendo fires woman who became online target
    • When Chinese state censorship reached the L.E.S.

      Manhattan-based artist Joyce Yu-Jean Lee never guessed she was in for a bit of international intrigue and even global headlines when she launched a show and accompanying discussion panels in February at a couple of alternative venues on the Lower East Side.

      The installation, which lasted a month, was a pop-up Internet cafe dubbed “Firewall.” This is a reference to the “Great Firewall of China” (officially the “Golden Shield”) that filters the Internet in the People’s Republic.

    • Apple patents on-the-fly censorship technology

      Apple recently patented a software system that can automatically detect and remove swear words from streamed audio tracks. The patent, dubbed “Management, Replacement and Removal of Explicit Lyrics during Audio Playback” scans a piece of music, compares the lyrics against a database of banned words, marks any explicit bits it finds and then removes the offending content, replacing it with either a beep or silence. The technology can also, according to its patent filing, detect the background music and boost that to cover what’s being censored. The system isn’t limited to music, mind you, it can just as easily be applied to audio books. As with many of Apple’s patents, there is no word on when — or even if — the technology will ever make it into an actual product.

    • Apple has patented technology to automatically scan songs and remove swear words

      Apple has been granted a patent for technology that can automatically scan songs being streamed online and edit out any swear words in the lyrics.

    • The Latest In Reputation Management: Bogus Defamation Suits From Bogus Companies Against Bogus Defendants

      Pissed Consumer has uncovered an apparent abuse of the court system by reputation management firms. Getting allegedly defamatory links delisted by Google requires a court order, which is something very few people can actually obtain. But the plaintiffs featured in this Pissed Consumer post seem to have no trouble acquiring these — often within a few days of filing their lawsuits.

    • Onlinecensorship.org Launches Inaugural Report

      We’re proud to announce today’s release of Onlinecensorship.org’s first report looking at how content is regulated by social media companies. Onlinecensorship.org—a joint project of EFF and Visualizing Impact (VI) that won the 2014 Knight News Challenge—seeks to encourage social media companies to operate with greater transparency and accountability toward their users as they make decisions that regulate speech.

      Onlinecensorship.org was founded to fill a gap in public knowledge about how social media companies moderate content. As platforms like Facebook and Twitter play an increasingly large role in our lives, it’s important to track how these companies are regulating the speech of their users, both in tandem with governments and independent of them. As self-ordained content moderators, these companies face thorny issues; deciding what constitutes hate speech, harassment, and terrorism is challenging, particularly across many different cultures, languages, and social circumstances. These U.S.-based companies by and large do not consider their policies to constitute censorship. We challenge this assertion, and examine how their policies (and their enforcement) may have a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

    • Texas Cops’ Complaint Censorship Attack YouTube Videos of Public Officials in Public

      Texas police launched a “complaint censorship” attack on David Warden’s YouTube channel News Now Houston, claiming his videos violate their privacy.

      Which is a lie, because in public, nobody has a right or expectation of privacy.

      Least of all public officials like police.

      You can see a new video below, Warden talking about the agony of having been first assaulted and then attacked with complaint censorship on his news channel and three false complaints aimed at censoring his citizen journalism.

      It’s his only way to monetize important public interest news-gathering activities.

      It’s where he tells the world about official abuse.

      Complaint censorship happens with false or improper complaints submitted with intent to damage a citizen journalist or news outlet’s online publishing access or tools.

    • Vietnamese Bloggers Sentenced to Prison in a Renewed Crackdown on Free Expression

      A prominent Vietnamese blogger and his assistant were sentenced to prison last week in Hanoi for their work on a popular web site, read by millions of Vietnamese, that reported on human rights and government corruption. The case raises alarms of a new wave of repression against independent media and free expression online in Vietnam.

      On March 23 a Hanoi court sentenced Nguyen Huu Vinh, a former police officer and the son of Vietnam’s ambassador to the former Soviet Union, to five years in prison for “abusing democratic freedoms to harm the interests of the state.” Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, Vinh’s assistant, was sentenced to three years. Vinh, better known as Anh Ba Sam, set up a popular blog in 2007 and later launched two others. The sites provided news and comments about democracy, social and economic issues from state media and activists, and articles critical of Vietnamese government policies. One site, AhnBasam, was repeatedly attacked by hackers in 2013 and 2014; Vinh and Thuy were arrested in May 2014 in Hanoi and indicted on charges that articles posted on the sites had “untruthful” content and “distort the lines and policies” of the ruling Community Party.

    • Onlinecensorship.org launches first report (PDF)
    • ‘Barney’s Wall’ Needs Money to Complete Film

      The producers of the film “Barney’s Wall,” about the creative vision and legacy of Barney Rosset, need money to cover post-production costs.

      The film focuses on the man and the mural he made in his later years on the main wall of his apartment and office space in the East Village. He worked on the mural until the last days of his life in 2012. In the years following his death, the apartment was sold to developers, and it was clear that the mural would not survive there.

    • Barney’s Wall: New Film Celebrates How One Man Brought Down Censorship in the US
    • Some prominent Chinese are chafing against censorship. Then their complaints are censored
    • Play Pamphlet Sparks Censorship Debate in Hong Kong
    • Pakistan Islamist protesters end four-day blasphemy protest
    • Turkey Wants Ban on Mocking Its Leader Enforced Abroad Too
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • FCC advances privacy proposal for U.S. internet users

      The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday advanced a proposal to ensure the privacy of broadband Internet users by barring providers from collecting user data without consent.

      The proposed regulation from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler won initial approval with a 3-2 vote to require broadband providers to obtain consumer consent, disclose data collection, protect personal information and report breaches — but would not bar any data collection practices.

      “It’s the consumers’ information and the consumer should have the right to determine how it’s used,” Wheeler said.

    • Exclusive: Egypt blocked Facebook Internet service over surveillance – sources

      Egypt blocked Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) Free Basics Internet service at the end of last year after the U.S. company refused to give the Egyptian government the ability to spy on users, two people familiar with the matter said.

      Free Basics, launched in Egypt in October, is aimed at low-income customers, allowing anyone with a cheap computer or smartphone to create a Facebook account and access a limited set of Internet services at no charge.

      The Egyptian government suspended the service on Dec. 30 and said at the time that the mobile carrier Etisalat had only been granted a temporary permit to offer the service for two months.

      Two sources with direct knowledge of discussions between Facebook and the Egyptian government said Free Basics was blocked because the company would not allow the government to circumvent the service’s security to conduct surveillance. They declined to say exactly what type of access the government had demanded or what practices it wanted Facebook to change.

    • Reddit deletes surveillance ‘warrant canary’ in transparency report

      Social networking forum reddit on Thursday removed a section from its site used to tacitly inform users it had never received a certain type of U.S. government surveillance request, suggesting the platform is now being asked to hand over customer data under a secretive law enforcement authority.

    • Reddit removes “warrant canary” from its latest transparency report

      Reddit has removed the warrant canary posted on its website, suggesting that the company may have been served with some sort of secret court order or document for user information.

      At the bottom of its 2014 transparency report, the company wrote: “As of January 29, 2015, reddit has never received a National Security Letter, an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or any other classified request for user information. If we ever receive such a request, we would seek to let the public know it existed.”

      That language was conspicuously missing from the 2015 transparency report that was published Thursday morning. (Disclaimer: Ars and Reddit are owned by the same parent company, Advance Publications.)

    • Signal

      Signal is a pretty amazing app; it manages to combine great security with great simplicity.

    • Amnesty International: Encryption is a Human Rights Issue

      New Report Analyzes How Crypto Backdoors, Interference with Crypto, and Compelled Disclosure of Encryption Keys All Impact Free Expression and Privacy

      Defending encryption is a human rights issue, according to a new Amnesty International report. The report calls on nation-states to promote the use of encryption tools as part of their international human rights obligations to protect the privacy of their populations.

    • NSA Chief Refuses ‘To Get Into’ Whether Hillary’s Email Server Was Hacked [VIDEO]

      National Security Agency (NSA) director Michael S. Rogers adamantly refused on Thursday to say whether Hillary Clinton’s private email server was ever hacked.

      “It’s something I’m just not going to get into,” Rogers told Yahoo! News’ Michael Isikoff when asked in an interview if Clinton’s server was ever compromised.

    • Did a Self-Identified Spy Hunter Leak an NSA Secret on LinkedIn?

      The American government built underwater drones in the 1990s to tap into fiber-optics cables, he claims.


      He later called it a “new series of fiber optic [remotely operated vehicles].”

      Edward Snowden, who knows some things about secrets, called the disclosure “probably the most incredible leak of compartmented [top secret] material I’ve ever seen on LinkedIn.”

    • Using the NSA Intrusion Lifecycle to bolster security

      IT systems in both the public and private sectors are woefully unprepared for an environment in which cyberthreats are becoming more constant and complex, according to Curtis Dukes, director of the National Security Agency’s Information Assurance Directorate.

    • Would it be any easier for the FBI to crack Android?
    • This Map Shows How the Apple-FBI Fight Was About Much More Than One Phone

      The FBI’s request was part of a sustained government effort to exercise novel law enforcement power.

      The government insisted that its effort to force Apple to help break into an iPhone as part of the investigation into the 2015 San Bernardino shootings was just about that one case. Even though the FBI no longer needs Apple’s help in that case, the FBI’s request was part of a sustained government effort to exercise novel law enforcement power.

    • Google Was Also Ordered To Unlock A Phone, But Did Not Put Up A Fight
    • The TOR Project: “Our Developers Will Quit If Ordered To Backdoor TOR Browser”

      The TOR Project has expressed its commitment to researching and developing new ways to mitigate the threats of security failure. Meanwhile, if TOR developers are asked to deploy some backdoor in the software, they would rather resign than honor the request.

    • Spy Agency Says NSA Data Will Be Shared Within Government
    • Spies close in on plan to share NSA data despite privacy worries

      The intelligence community is close to completing a plan to let the National Security Agency share more of the raw data it collects with other U.S. spy agencies, a system that would put an end to more than a decade of wrangling among the different organizations.

    • Jay Evensen: While we talk about security vs. freedom, government keeps expanding data-gathering

      This would allow the FBI, for instance, to use NSA-gathered information to investigate crimes that have nothing to do with terrorism.

    • Spy office denies allegations that NSA data will be used for policing

      A top lawyer for the nation’s intelligence agencies is pushing back on mounting criticism about new plans to widely share intercepted data throughout the federal government.

      Robert Litt, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed that the change in policy is “in the final stages of development and approval” in a post on national security legal blog Just Security on Wednesday.

      But Litt denied allegations that the change would allow the FBI and other agencies to use the sensitive data for domestic law enforcement matters, which members of Congress had speculated could be unconstitutional.

      “There will be no greater access to signals intelligence information for law enforcement purposes than there is today,” Litt claimed in his blog post. “These procedures will only ensure that other elements of the intelligence community will be able to make use of this signals intelligence if it is relevant to their intelligence mission.”

    • UVU hopes to increase student retention with opening of money management center
    • UVU working with NSA to get employees for data collection center
    • Senator Wyden Lays Out New ‘Compact For Privacy & Security In The Digital Age’ In Response To Surveillance/Encryption Fights

      Yesterday, at the excellent RightsCon event in San Francisco, Senator Ron Wyden gave a barn burnder of a speech, in which he detailed why it was so important to protect our privacy and security in a digital age, at a time when law enforcement and the intelligence communities are digging deeper and deeper into all of our personal information.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • A Look At Our Future: 5 Nations Who Elected Their Trump

      America makes a lot of questionable decisions, and when we do, the world is quick to call us out on it. For example, remember that time we impeached our president over an extramarital affair and countries lined up to express their amusement over the fact that we’d take such drastic steps over a relatively minor thing?

    • Startup Offers Citizens More Opportunities To Get Shot By/Have Their Smartphones Seized By Law Enforcement

      I’m not sure people are going to be more comforted that people are carrying guns they can’t see, especially not US law enforcement, which has already demonstrated it fears cell phones as much as it fears guns.

    • No Charges To Be Filed in Minneapolis Police Shooting of Jamar Clark

      Black Lives Matter activists are planning a protest in Minneapolis tonight after Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced no charges will be filed against the two Minneapolis police officers involved in the shooting death last fall of Jamar Clark, an unarmed 24-year-old African American. Clark was shot in the head after a scuffle with officers who responded to a report of an assault. In announcing the decision, Freeman rejected claims by multiple witnesses that Clark was shot while handcuffed. Freeman also claimed Clark placed his hand on an officer’s gun during the scuffle. Clark’s death sparked a series of protests in Minneapolis.

    • North Carolina: Flush Your Bathroom Bill Down the Toilet

      Opponents call it “the Bathroom Bill.” In a special session last week, the North Carolina state legislature passed HB2, officially called the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act. Gov. Pat McCrory signed the law that night. The new law denies transgender people use of the bathroom, changing room or locker room that matches their gender identity. Resistance to the bill is fierce, and growing daily.

    • When a Headscarf Becomes a Target

      To make clear their rights, the ACLU has just released a Know Your Rights guide for women and girls who wear hijab.

      Libraries and schools are supposed to be inclusive spaces for learning, growing, and tolerance. But two women last week — one in California, one in D.C. — learned these safe spaces do not always live up to their reputation.

    • They Came A-Knockin’, and I Said “As-Salam Alaikum, Y’all!”

      The first year was hard. While my husband enjoyed his new position at the university, I was having a difficult time finding work in my field — civil rights. I took up cooking and working out, trying to keep up with these very elegant Southern moms who always looked well-manicured. I even joined the PTA. At my first meeting, I was approached by someone who appeared to be the head lady of the group.

      “What church do you go to?” she asked, smiling from ear to ear.

      “Church? Oh. Uh. I don’t. I’m Muslim.”

    • UK Law Enforcement Trying To Force Man They’ve Never Charged With A Crime To Decrypt His Computers

      British hacker Lauri Love stands accused of causing “millions of dollars” in damages to US government computers — charges he’s been facing for more than two years. These charges originate in the US, but it’s the UK that’s been trying to get Love to give up his encryption keys for the past couple of years.

      Under RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act of 2000), the UK government can charge Love with “failure to cooperate” by refusing to comply with the order to decrypt files. To date it has not done so, despite Love blowing off its demands since the middle of February 2014.

    • UK cops tell suspect to hand over crypto keys in US hacking case

      At a court hearing earlier this month, the UK’s National Crime Authority (NCA) demanded that Lauri Love, a British computer scientist who allegedly broke into US government networks and caused “millions of dollars in damage,” decrypt his laptop and other devices impounded by the NCA in 2013, leading some experts to warn that a decision in the government’s favor could set a worrisome precedent for journalists and whistleblowers.

      Arrested in 2013 for the alleged intrusions but subsequently released, Love was re-arrested in 2015 and is currently fighting extradition to the United States. He has so far refused to comply with a Section 49 RIPA notice to decrypt the devices, a refusal that carries potential jail time. However, British authorities have not charged Love with any crime, leading him to counter-sue in civil court for the return of his devices.

    • Slain Activist Berta Cáceres’ Daughter: US Military Aid Has Fueled Repression & Violence in Honduras

      Another indigenous environmentalist has been murdered in Honduras, less than two weeks after the assassination of renowned activist Berta Cáceres. Nelson García was shot to death Tuesday after returning home from helping indigenous people who had been displaced in a mass eviction by Honduran security forces. García was a member of COPINH, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, co-founded by Berta Cáceres, who won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize last year for her decade-long fight against the Agua Zarca Dam, a project planned along a river sacred to the indigenous Lenca people. She was shot to death at her home on March 3. On Thursday, thousands converged in Tegucigalpa for the start of a mobilization to demand justice for Berta Cáceres and an end to what they say is a culture of repression and impunity linked to the Honduran government’s support for corporate interests. At the same time, hundreds of people, most of them women, gathered outside the Honduran Mission to the United Nations chanting “Berta no se murió; se multiplicó – Berta didn’t die; she multiplied.” We speak with Cáceres’s daughter, Bertha Zúniga Cáceres, and with Lilian Esperanza López Benítez, the financial coordinator of COPINH.

    • Indigenous Hondurans Demand Investigation of Berta Caceres’ Assassination

      Describing a backdrop of long-term US “meddling” in Honduras, Caceres spoken out publicly in 2014 against Hillary Clinton’s role as US Secretary of State in the 2009 coup that ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya and opened what the Goldman Prize website described as the “explosive growth in environmentally destructive megaprojects that would displace indigenous communities.”

    • Turkish President Visits Washington, Clashes With Journalists

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is visiting Washington, D.C. this week — and his security team has brought along some of its tactics for shutting down dissent and free speech.

      Outside a planned speech at the Brookings Institution on Thursday, confrontations between protesters and Erdogan’s guards devolved into violence. Eyewitnesses reported that Turkish security forcibly removed one journalist from the scene, while another was kicked and a third was thrown to the sidewalk. Inside the event, journalists reported being forced to leave by Turkish security.

    • Breaking: Cherelle Baldwin Found Not Guilty in Death of Abusive Ex, Freed After 3 Years in Jail

      Cherelle Baldwin has been freed after a 12-member jury in Bridgeport, Connecticut found her not guilty of murder in the death of her abusive ex-boyfriend, Jeffrey Brown. According to the Huffington Post, Baldwin “collapsed to the floor in tears as the verdict was announced,” crying, “My baby will have his mommy back.”

    • EFF Pressure Results in Increased Disclosure of Abuse of California’s Law Enforcement Databases

      EFF’s efforts to fix holes in oversight of the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS) are paying off.

      New data and records released by California Department of Justice (CADOJ) show a steep increase in the number of agencies disclosing cases of abuse of the state’s network of law enforcement databases—a major victory for transparency and law enforcement accountability.

      Last year, EFF identified major failures in how a CADOJ committee charged with overseeing the system—the CLETS Advisory Committee (CAC)—reviews misuse investigations. The body, EFF found, had failed to follow established procedures for disciplining users who break access rules, leading to a 100% increase in reported misuse since 2010.

    • Ham-Handed Arrest at Pediatric Clinic Highlights Official War on the Powerless

      The cops raided my wife’s pediatric practice looking for a fugitive, last week.

      Actually, let’s put the word “fugitive” in quotes. The story is an eye-opening tale in itself. It’s also a glimpse at how business-as-usual in courts and cop shops around the country screws with people’s lives and alienates the public from those who are allegedly their protectors.

      My wife, Dr. Wendy Tuccille, was on her way to the office in Cottonwood, Arizona, when her phone rang. Frantic staff called to tell her that the clinic’s parking lot was full of cops, there to arrest one of her employees, C.H. (it’s a small town so we’ll stick with her initials), on an outstanding warrant.

      When my wife arrived she found a gaggle of cops—12 to 15 she told me, some in battle jammies—in plain view at the rear corner of the building. The parking lot was full of police vehicles, in sight of families and children arriving to be seen and treated.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Stop the Obama administration from surrendering authority over the Internet

      We all know now that the Internet began as a US government project. Administration of parts of it was eventually outsourced, first to Network Solutions Inc and then to a non-profit corporation created just for the task: ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). ICANN operates autonomously, but under a contract from the US government, specifically from the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) in the US Department of Commerce.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Practical tips for filing designs post-Trunki

      Following the UK Supreme Court’s judgment in the Trunki design dispute, Managing IP summarises practical tips from UK practitioners on filing designs and eight lessons from the judgment

    • Copyrights

      • Rightscorp Blames VPNs and ISPs For Drop in Revenue

        Anti-piracy cash settlement outfit Rightscorp has just announced a net loss of $3.5m for its operations during 2015. Interestingly the company cites a number of reasons, some of them cryptic, for decreasing revenues. Alongside the mysterious “shutting down” of unnamed file-sharing infrastructure, VPN use and ISP reluctance to assist trolling are major factors.

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DecorWhat Else is New

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