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04.11.16

Links 11/4/2016: Krita 3.0 Alpha, New Linux RC

Posted in News Roundup at 5:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • GNU/kWindows

    There has been a lot of talk lately about a most unique combination: GNU—the fully free/libre operating system—and Microsoft Windows—the freedom-denying, user-controlling, surveillance system. There has also been a great deal of misinformation. I’d like to share my thoughts.

    [...]

    Free software is absolutely essential: it ensures that users, who are the most vulnerable, are in control of their computing—not software developers or corporations. Any program that denies users any one of their four freedoms is non-free (or proprietary)—that is, freedom-denying software. This means that any non-free software, no matter its features or performance, will always be inferior to free software that performs a similar task.

    Not everyone likes talking about freedom or the free software philosophy. This disagreement resulted in the “open source” development methodology, which exists to sell the benefits of free software to businesses without discussing the essential ideological considerations. Under the “open source” philosophy, if a non-free program provides better features or performance, then surely it must be “better”, because they have outperformed the “open source” development methodology; non-free software isn’t always considered to be a bad thing.

    [...]

    Secondly, when you see someone using a GNU/kWindows system, politely ask them why. Tell them that there is a better operating system out there—the GNU/Linux operating system—that not only provides those technical features, but also provides the feature of freedom! Tell them what free software is, and try to relate it to them so that they understand why it is important, and even practical.

    It’s good to see more people benefiting from GNU; but we can’t be happy when it is being sold as a means to draw users into an otherwise proprietary surveillance system, without so much as a mention of our name, or what it is that we stand for.

  • Good bye “open source”; hello “free software”

    Everyone has at least a good reason to prefer software freedom over non-free software products.

  • Rancher Labs Release Rancher 1.0, An Open Source Cross-Cloud Container Management Platform

    Rancher Labs have released version 1.0 of their open source Rancher container management platform, which allows the deployment of Docker containers via Docker Swarm, Kubernetes or Rancher Labs’ Cattle across a range of underlying infrastructure. Rancher manages the underlying compute fabric, exposing control via a web-based UI that can be secured via RBAC/ACL, and can be deployed across a combination of multiple public cloud vendors, private virtualised clouds and bare metal. The platform also includes integrated load balancing and persistent storage services.

  • Events

    • OSCAL ’16 | Open Source Conference Albania 2016

      OSCAL (Open Source Conference Albania) is the major international tech conference in Albania organized by Open Labs Hackerspace, the open source and free software community in Albania. The conference promotes software freedom, open source software, free culture and open knowledge, global movements which originally started more than 30 years ago.

      The third edition of the the annual OSCAL conference will take place once again in Tirana on 14 & 15th of May and will gather more than 400 free libre open source technology enthusiasts, developers, students, academics, governmental agencies and people who share the idea that software should be free and open for the local community and governments to develop and customize to its needs; that knowledge is a communal property and free and open to everyone.

    • Document Freedom Day 2016: Singapore

      Document Freedom Day is a day where we celebrate and raise awareness of Open Standards. It is held annually, on the last Wednesday of March. However, this year, the Ambassadors in Singapore decided to celebrate it on 24 March, 2016.

    • KubeCon part 2: 1.3 and the CNCF

      In the “State of The Union”, David Aronchik, Kubenetes Project Manager for Google, brought folks up to date with what’s happened in the Kubernetes community and what’s ahead for version 1.3 and beyond.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Is your open source community optimized for contributors?

        Josh Matthews is a platform developer at Mozilla. He’s a programmer who writes Rust code and is active in the development of Firefox. His development experience has led him to enjoy mentoring new contributors in open source projects.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • What’s new in MySQL?

      This year at the Percona Live Data Performance Conference I’ll be talking about MySQL. MySQL is the world’s most popular open source database, enabling the cost-effective delivery of reliable, high-performance and scalable web-based and embedded database applications, including all five of the top five websites.

      My interest in databases grew while working in banking in the late nineties. Back then I implemented back-end ATM servers using HP-UX and Sybase as the development platform. I remember we had an allowed maintenance window from 2am-5am, and struggled with finishing a blocking create index operation on our main table with 30 million rows. I remember thinking “Why can’t this be done while the database is online?”

    • Open Source Leader MariaDB Rockets into Analytics Market
  • Education

    • Mining for Education

      Students are not taught word processing, they are taught Microsoft Word. They are not taught presentation skills, they are taught Microsoft Powerpoint. They are required to present their work, be it essay, slideshow, or graph, in Microsoft-owned proprietary formats, recorded onto thumb-drives formatted with a Microsoft-patented file systems. Nothing else will do.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • MediPi open source telehealth kit piloted in NHS

      An open source telehealth kit built using a Raspberry Pi will be piloted with heart patients at a southern NHS trust this financial year.

      Richard Robinson, a technical integration specialist at HSCIC, developed the telehealth prototype called MediPi to prove that “telehealth is affordable at scale”.

      He said eight months ago his wife, who works for a charity helping socially isolated older people, was asked to find volunteers for a telehealth pilot.

      “She came home with the kit and it was all high-end tablets, 3G and Bluetooth enabled devices and I was really shocked by what I thought would cost,” explained Robinson.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • 6 steps to calculate ROI for an open hardware project

        Free and open source software advocates have courageously blazed a trail that is now being followed by those interested in open source for physical objects. It’s called free and open source hardware (FOSH), and we’re seeing an exponential rise in the number of free designs for hardware released under opensource licenses, Creative Commons licenses,or placed in the public domain.

  • Programming/Development

    • What’s awful about being a {software engineer, tech lead, manager}?

      I’ve been building software professionally for over 10 years now. I love what I do and I hope to be an old programmer someday. But along the way, I’ve encountered many terrible things that have made me hate my job. I wish that someone had given me a roadmap of what to expect earlier in my career, so when some new and unfortunate awfulness occurred that I wouldn’t have felt so alone and frustrated.

      This post is meant to be such a guide. I have three goals.

    • FAQ: Node.js

      We still have nightmares about GeoCities too, and yes, JavaScript has historically been used for things like that. It originated at Netscape in the mid 90s as a lightweight scripting language to add interactive properties to web pages, but it has come a long way since then. Sure, many programmers look down on JavaScript, and it’s massively overused on some websites, but it also has plenty of fans.

    • A single Node of failure

      The web-development community was briefly thrown into chaos in late March when a lone Node.js developer suddenly unpublished a short but widely used package from the Node Package Manager (npm) repository. The events leading up to that developer’s withdrawal are controversial in their own right, but the chaotic effects raise even more serious questions for the Node.js and npm user communities.

      npm itself is a module repository for Node.js code, akin to the Python Package Index or similar repositories for other languages and frameworks. Users can install a package with a simple npm install foo, but the service is also widely used by Node.js developers to automatically fetch and install dependencies: projects list their dependencies in the package.json file, and they are recursively fetched from npm and installed when the package is built. Using npm in this manner is standard operating procedure, allowing complex JavaScript applications to be written on top of multiple third-party frameworks in minimal lines of code. The service, however, is run by a private company called npm, Inc., rather than by the Node.js project.

Leftovers

  • Google Is Interested In Buying Its Rival Yahoo’s Web Business — Report
  • What Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand About Negotiation

    The next president of the United States will need to be an extremely effective negotiator. Armed conflict, political deadlock, and diplomatic crises abound. The president will be called upon to resolve the war in Syria, manage complex relationships with Russia and Iran, handle hot spots such as North Korea, Libya, and Ukraine, navigate competitive tensions with China, and revive a modicum of bipartisanship in Congress. Ironically, the only presidential candidate who has been asserting his prowess as a great negotiator is someone who has precisely the wrong instincts and experience for the types of conflicts the president will face. The Donald Trump approach to negotiation would be not only ineffective but also disastrous — and there are clearly identifiable reasons for this.

  • Typing on a MacBook Could Soon Be as Awful as Typing on an iPad
  • Apple Patent Imagines a Keyboard without Keys
  • Apple patented a MacBook design that is all touchpad and no keys
  • Apple files patent for a ‘keyless’ touchpad keyboard
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Children Wrongfully put on ADHD Medication

      A recent study showed that 1 in every 4 children in preschool is taking medication for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The majority of kids that age have a tough time paying attention to extended periods of time because their brain and body is nowhere close to being fully developed. Medication shouldn’t be the first option when it comes to treating kids who have ADHD or who we think have ADHD.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Britain’s top secret kill list: How British police backed by GCHQ fed names of drug lords to a US assassination unit, which – under cover of the war on terror – wiped out an innocent family with a missile strike

      British law enforcement and intelligence services have helped draw up an extra-judicial ‘kill list’ to assassinate the world’s most wanted terrorists and drug smugglers in foreign countries.

      The sensational claims, which raise disturbing questions about Britain’s involvement in the targeting of aircraft and drone strikes, will be revealed in a 50-page report by the Reprieve human rights charity to be published tomorrow.

      It will state that the UK has been a key, long-standing partner in America’s ‘shoot to kill’ policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, targeting not only alleged terrorists, but also supposed drug traffickers, and earmarking them for drone and missile strikes – often on the basis of unsubstantiated ‘intelligence’ which has never been tested in court.

      Although the top secret ‘kill list’ has been in existence for years and is continually revised, Britain’s contribution has never been sanctioned by Parliament.

      The startling evidence, drawn from leaked official documents, reveals the two agencies involved are the electronic eavesdropping organisation GCHQ, and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), now rebranded as the National Crime Agency (NCA).

    • Top secret “28 pages” may hold clues about Saudi support for 9/11 hijackers

      Current and former members of Congress, U.S. officials, 9/11 Commissioners and the families of the attack’s victims want 28 top-secret pages of a congressional report released. Bob Graham, the former Florida governor, Democratic U.S. Senator and onetime chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, says the key section of a top secret report he helped author should be declassified to shed light on possible Saudi support for some of the 9/11 hijackers. Graham was co-chair of Congress’ bipartisan “Joint Inquiry” into intelligence failures surrounding the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, that issued the report in 2003. Graham speaks to Steve Kroft for 60 Minutes report to be broadcast Sunday, April 10 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

    • U.S. Bombs Were Used in Saudi-Led Attack on Market in Yemen, Rights Group Finds

      ONE OF THE deadliest airstrikes in Yemen since a Saudi Arabia-led coalition began bombing the country used munitions supplied by the United States, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.

      The March 15 attack targeted a crowded market in the village of Mastaba in northwestern Yemen, killing at least 97 civilians, including 25 children. HRW said it found remnants of a “GBU-31 satellite-guided bomb, which consists of a U.S.-supplied MK-84 2,000-pound bomb mated with a JDAM satellite guidance kit, also U.S.-supplied.” The group said it also reviewed evidence provided by British news channel ITV, which found remnants of an “MK-84 bomb paired with a Paveway laser guidance kit.”

      The report provides yet more evidence of U.S. complicity in the indiscriminate killing of civilians in Yemen. The Obama administration has been a key military backer of Saudi Arabia in its yearlong campaign against a rebel movement in Yemen known as the Houthis. In addition to billions of dollars in arms sales, the Pentagon has provided the Saudi-led coalition with logistical and intelligence support. Human Rights Watch said the U.S. role may make it “jointly responsible” for war crimes.

    • GCHQ working on joint ‘shoot to kill list’

      According to the article in the paper, one Afghan family were killed by a missile strike after they were mistaken for a member of the Taliban.

    • Covering Up Hillary’s Libyan Fiasco

      Despite Libya’s bloodshed and chaos, ex-Secretary of State Clinton still defends her key role in the 2011 “regime change,” but her reasons don’t withstand scrutiny, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

    • Tomgram: William Hartung, What a Waste, the U.S. Military

      From spending $150 million on private villas for a handful of personnel in Afghanistan to blowing $2.7 billion on an air surveillance balloon that doesn’t work, the latest revelations of waste at the Pentagon are just the most recent howlers in a long line of similar stories stretching back at least five decades. Other hot-off-the-presses examples would include the Army’s purchase of helicopter gears worth $500 each for $8,000 each and the accumulation of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons components that will never be used. And then there’s the one that would have to be everyone’s favorite Pentagon waste story: the spending of $50,000 to investigate the bomb-detecting capabilities of African elephants. (And here’s a shock: they didn’t turn out to be that great!) The elephant research, of course, represents chump change in the Pentagon’s wastage sweepstakes and in the context of its $600-billion-plus budget, but think of it as indicative of the absurd lengths the Department of Defense will go to when what’s at stake is throwing away taxpayer dollars.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate change will wipe $2.5tn off global financial assets: study

      Climate change could cut the value of the world’s financial assets by $2.5tn (£1.7tn), according to the first estimate from economic modelling.

      In the worst case scenarios, often used by regulators to check the financial health of companies and economies, the losses could soar to $24tn, or 17% of the world’s assets, and wreck the global economy.

      The research also showed the financial sense in taking action to keep climate change under the 2C danger limit agreed by the world’s nations. In this scenario, the value of financial assets would fall by $315bn less, even when the costs of cutting emissions are included.

    • What Will Happen When Genetically Engineered Salmon Escape Into the Wild?

      In late 2015, the Food and Drug Administration gave the greenlight to AquaBounty, Inc., a company poised to create, produce and market an entirely new type of salmon. By combining the genes from three different types of fish, AquaBounty has made a salmon that grows unnaturally fast, reaching adult size twice as fast as its wild relative.

      [...]

      Unfortunately, outside of Alaska, our poor management of an enormous fishing industry and important habitat has depleted fish stocks all along our coasts. Salmon species, in particular, are sensitive to environmental changes. The development and industrialization of our coast has polluted and dammed the rivers they depend on to breed. Although salmon used to be abundant on both the east and west coasts, large, healthy populations of salmon now exist mostly in Alaska.

  • Finance

    • Tory donor was trusted middleman for oil firm involved in bribes inquiry

      David Cameron’s troubles deepened on Saturday night as a Tory donor named in the Panama Papers was revealed as a trusted middleman for a company raided by the Serious Fraud Office, which is investigating what has been described as the world’s biggest bribery scandal.

      [...]

      Unaoil is at the centre of allegations that the business “systematically corrupted the global oil industry” by delivering millions in bribes on behalf of well-known multinationals to secure contracts.

      A week ago, authorities in Monaco raided the headquarters of the company, as well as the homes of some of its bosses, as part of a British-led investigation into a corruption scandal implicating businesses all over the world.

    • Still in the Dark on TTIP: Trade Agreement with the European Union Is a Black Box

      Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have been concluded. Citizens now have access to the 30-chapter agreement that is several thousand pages long. The TPP has been opposed by four major presidential candidates, and faces criticism in Congress. Nevertheless, it is likely that the trade deal will get a vote sometime this year.

    • Hillary Clinton Fundraiser Hosted by All-Star Cast of Financial Regulators Who Joined Wall Street

      As Hillary Clinton questions rival Bernie Sanders over the depth of his financial reform ideas this week, a group of former government officials – once tasked with regulating Wall Street and now working in the financial industry or as Wall Street lobbyists — are participating in a fundraiser for her in the nation’s capital.

      The invitation for the April 6 fundraiser, obtained by Sunlight Foundation’s Political Party Time, describes a “conversation” with Hillary finance chair Gary Gensler and Senators Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Carl Levin, D-Mich.

    • Texas nurses supersizing salaries for more money at McDonald’s

      “You know, you can start off at McDonald’s at $13-$14 an hour in some cases, you could certainly find easier jobs for more money and that’s a real problem when you’re trying to keep good people in your facilities,” said Scott Kibbe with the Texas Health Care Association.

    • Bitcoin and Ethereum are Driving Factors of Open Execution Initiative

      The Bitcoin network has been supporting the Open Execution principle for quite some time now, as services owners can’t run away with people’s bitcoins, and no one else can use your coins and send them to somebody else. Moreover, no additional money can be created out of thin air.

    • No, Bill Clinton, You Can’t Blame Welfare Reform’s Failures On Republicans

      While speaking to a crowd in Philadelphia on Thursday, former president Bill Clinton was interrupted by protesters affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement carrying signs criticizing the crime bill and welfare reform bill that he signed into law in the 1990s.

      In response, Clinton gave a misleading defense of welfare reform. “They say the welfare reform bill increased poverty,” he said of the protesters. “Then why did we have the largest drop in African-American poverty when I was president?”

    • “Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, From the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First”

      For as long as people have yearned for more stuff, intellectuals have chastised them for that desire. Even Plato’s “Republic” followed the “decline of a virtuous, frugal city as it was corrupted by the lust for luxurious living,” Trentmann reminds readers. But his true nemesis is more recent: John Kenneth Galbraith, author of “The Affluent Society” (1958), in which the late economist argued that modern society seeks not only to fulfill our needs but also to create new ones, propelling us to live beyond our means, go into debt and thus strengthen the power of business. Though Trentmann acknowledges that the book has been enormously influential in cementing popular notions of consumerism, he dismisses it as “not a sober empirical study but a piece of advocacy to justify greater public spending.”

    • The Pillaging of America’s State Universities

      America’s great public research universities, which produce path-breaking discoveries and train some of the country’s most talented young students, are under siege. The result may be a significant weakening of the nation’s preeminence in higher education. Dramatic cuts in public spending for state flagship universities seem to be at odds with widespread public sentiment. Americans say they strongly believe in exceptional educational systems; they want their kids to attend excellent and selective colleges and to get good, well-paying, prestigious jobs. They also support university research. After 15 years of surveys, Research! America found in 2015 that 70 percent of American adults supported government-sponsored basic scientific research like that produced by public universities, while a significant plurality (44 percent) supported paying higher taxes for medical research designed to cure diseases like cancer or Alzheimer’s. Nonetheless, many state legislators seem to be ignoring public opinion as they essentially starve some of the best universities—those that educate about two-thirds of American college students.

    • Wall Street Should Pay a Sales Tax, Too

      In case there was any doubt, the presidential election fight has confirmed that blasting Wall Street, even eight years after the financial crisis, is still a vote-getter.

      Hillary Clinton has said she’d like to jail more bankers. Donald Trump has skewered the hedge fund managers who are “getting away with murder.” And Bernie Sanders has made Wall Street accountability a centerpiece of his campaign.

      Of course, financial industry lobbyists aren’t about to take this lying down. In recent weeks, they’ve turned up the heat on lawmakers to block one particular measure that Sanders has mentioned in nearly every stump speech: taxing Wall Street speculation.

      Americans are used to paying sales taxes on basic goods and services, like a spring jacket, a gallon of gas, or a restaurant meal. But when a Wall Street trader buys millions of dollars’ worth of stocks or derivatives, there’s no tax at all.

      Sanders has introduced a bill called the Inclusive Prosperity Act, which would correct that imbalance by placing a small tax of just a fraction of a percent on all financial trades. It wouldn’t apply to ordinary consumer transactions such as ATM withdrawals or wire transfers.

    • NY Daily News Claims FDR Unfit to Be President: “No Concrete Plans, Only Platitudes”

      [The following is an imagined 1932 New York Daily News editorial board interview with Franklin Roosevelt during his presidential campaign. The Daily News comments below derive from the editorial board’s interview with Bernie Sanders on April 1, 2016. The Roosevelt statements are taken primarily from his 1933 inaugural address and his 1936 campaign speech at Madison Square Garden.]

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Sanders Takes 30-Point Bite out of Clinton Lead in NY

      A poll released Friday shows that Bernie Sanders has significantly narrowed the lead Hillary Clinton once claimed in New York.

      The new Emerson College poll (pdf) shows Clinton leading Sanders among Democratic primary voters in the state by 18 points—56 percent to 38 percent. That marks a significant drop in support for the former secretary of state since the same poll was taken less than one month ago.

    • GE’s Jeffrey Immelt, Now Slamming Sanders, Once Said It Was His “Task to Outsource”

      BACK IN 2014, in an interview with the magazine Chief Executive, General Electric Co. CEO Jeffrey Immelt explained that starting in the 1980s, “most of us” — i.e. GE executives — “saw it as our task to outsource manufacturing, to move it to low-cost countries. This continued through the 1990s and into the very early 2000s.”

      Immelt’s statement of the obvious is relevant because Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said essentially the same thing about GE this week, which triggered an angry response from Immelt.

      In a meeting on Monday with the New York Daily News editorial board, Sanders was asked to name a corporation that he believed was “destroying the fabric of our nation.” Sanders said that GE was a “good example” because it had shut down “many major plants in this country. Sending jobs to low-wage countries. … That is saying that I don’t care that the workers, here have worked for decades. … The only thing that matters is that I can make a little bit more money. That the dollar is all that is almighty.”

    • Activists Launch Fight for Media Fairness for Sanders in Tight New York Primary
    • Grassroots revolt against Hillary: Occupy activists launch “Battle of New York” to fight Clinton machine, anti-Sanders bias in belly of beast

      “The corporate media and establishment keep counting us out, but we keep winning by large margins,” the Bernie Sanders campaign tweeted triumphantly, after the Vermont senator won the Wisconsin primary by a large margin this week.

      Journalists and activists in New York — the site of what may be the most important primary in the election — have noticed. And they are organizing in response.

      Enter Operation Battle of New York.

      It is the name of a new campaign launched by the editorial groups of The Indypendent and The Occupied Wall Street Journal, left-wing citizen journalist publications that have served as important voices for American social movements for more than a decade.

      “We can expect corporate media to do everything it can to prop up Clinton and ignore or mischaracterize Sanders and the increasingly broad and diverse movement that supports him,” Operation Battle of New York writes in the description accompanying its Indiegogo campaign.

    • We’re speeding toward a climate change catastrophe — and that makes 2016 the most important election in a generation

      Before dropping out of the presidential race last month, Marco Rubio repeatedly declared that the 2016 presidential election is “the most important in a generation.” Such language is, of course, not uncommon to hear during election seasons. Politicians have been assuring the public for decades that the “next election” will be more significant than ever before, and that if the opposition party wins, the consequences will be catastrophic. As Rubio once stated in overtly apocalyptic language, “if we don’t get this election right, there may be no turning back for America.”

    • Hillary’s Inability to Grapple With Inequality Is Making Her Vulnerable to Bernie in New York

      Establishment politicians running for high office live and breathe elaborate focus group-tested lines. In time, they become those lines. But every now and then, extreme political pressures can force a few unscripted words to slip through. And when that happens, we gain a rare glimpse of the candidate’s deeper understanding of their world and our world, and the gap between the two.

      Hillary Clinton suffered such a moment on Tuesday afternoon while speaking at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. Before taking the podium she already knew from internal polling that Sanders was going to win handily in Wisconsin. That meant she would be a loser in six of the last seven states, and by landslides, no less. Her staff is telling her not to worry; all the math on her side. Her delegate lead is so large Sanders can’t possibly overtake her.

      But Hillary is not stupid. She saw Sanders draw 18,000 people in the Bronx, virtually all people of color, and that was before his latest Wisconsin victory. She knows that nothing is set in stone if your opponent is clobbering you in primary after primary. Political momentum is something to fear and could infect the big states like New York and California.

      On top of that, young people are giving Bernie more than 80% of their votes. Even large majorities of young black and Latino voters are flocking to Sanders. How can that be?

    • Sanders Catches Clinton

      Sanders had the support of 47 percent of Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters while Clinton had 46 percent—a narrow gap that fell within the poll’s 2.5 percent margin of error. The national survey was conducted in the days before the Vermont senator handily defeated the former secretary of state in the Wisconsin primary, and it tracks other polls in the last week that found Sanders erasing Clinton’s edge across the country. In a poll that PRRI conducted in January, Clinton had a 20-point lead.

    • US government, Soros funded Panama Papers to attack Putin – WikiLeaks

      On Wednesday, the international whistleblowing organization said on Twitter that the Panama Papers data leak was produced by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), “which targets Russia and [the] former USSR.” The “Putin attack” was funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and American hedge fund billionaire George Soros, WikiLeaks added, saying that the US government’s funding of such an attack is a serious blow to its integrity.

    • ‘Chalking’ officially a problem as pro-Trump messages set off new storms

      If three is officially a trend, chalking is now a trendy — and highly controversial — way for Donald Trump fans to show their love.

      This week, two schools — the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga — jumped into the chalking fray, joining the headlines made in March at Emory University with pro-Trump messages scrawled on campus grounds.

      Following a now-familiar timeline, the chalked messages appeared and the storms followed. At UTC, it hit the student government.

    • Paul Krugman Is Annoying

      Krugman being Krugman, that means he’s been flooding the zone with anti-Bernie columns and blog posts.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • China’s “Panama” Censorship & The Implications For Encryption, Bitcoin

      The Panama Papers will have political and social fallout for months and years to come, much like the Libor scandal or the Edward Snowden leaks. A vote of no confidence for Iceland’s prime minister and Internet censorship in China are likely but the beginning.

    • Easier film censorship norms ahead?

      Is the government considering to relax the process of film certification? Also will filmmakers be able to get certification online instead of going through a long and winding process as is the case now?

    • When Pennsylvania was the censorship capital of America

      Can media affect behavior? Can a violent movie or video game provoke violence? Can visiting obscene, racist or misogynistic websites breed anti-social behavior? Should government step in to stop or regulate them?

      While the Internet now provides easy access to the darkest corners of the imagination, these concerns are not new. Even when the first films unspooled a century ago, authorities worried that the cinema would corrupt our communities. Pennsylvania became the first state to pass a law regulating motion pictures.

    • The architect of China’s Great Firewall embarrassed after needing to use VPN in front of live audience

      Fan Binxing, architect of the China’s infamous Great Firewall, was put in the embarrassing position of having to use a VPN in front of a live audience when trying to access a blocked web page.

      On April 3 Fang Binxing was giving a speech on internet safety at his alma mater, the Harbin Institute Technology. During the speech, he presented a defense for internet sovereignty and used North Korea’s own version of the system as a talking point.

    • Majome blasts censorship board

      Harare West legislator Jessie Majome says the censorship board is concerned with controlling political space, leaving information considered immoral and misappropriate finding its way into national radio and television.

    • The Naked Truth About Censorship In Uzbekistan

      Censorship was a key instrument for controlling the masses during Soviet times. These days Uzbekistan’s ageing President Islam Karimov — who served as the First Secretary of Soviet Uzbekistan’s Communist Party before independence — regularly rages against anything and everything connected to the old Union.

      Nevertheless, the system he has fashioned in the Central Asian country of 30 million remains remarkably similar to the one it emerged from in 1991.

    • Campuses are places for open minds – not where debate is closed down

      Last month, in the early hours, an act of traumatising racist violence occurred on the campus of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Students woke up to find that someone had written, in chalk, the words “Trump 2016” on various pavements and walls around campus. “I think it was an act of violence,” said one student. “I legitimately feared for my life,” said another; “I thought we were having a KKK rally on campus”. Dozens of students met the university president that day to demand that he take action to repudiate Trump and to find and punish the perpetrators. Writing political statements in chalk is a common practice on American college campuses and, judging from the public reaction to the Emory event, most Americans consider the writing to be an act of normal free speech during the national collective ritual of a presidential election. So how did it come to pass that many Emory students felt victimised and traumatised by innocuous and erasable graffiti?

    • A global guide to using Shakespeare to battle power

      Hitler was a Shakespeare fan; Stalin feared Hamlet; Othello broke ground in apartheid-era South Africa; and Brazil’s current political crisis can be reflected by Julius Caesar. Across the world different Shakespearean plays have different significance and power. The latest issue of Index on Censorship magazine, a Shakespeare special to mark the 400th anniversary of his death, takes a global look at the playwright’s influence, explores how censors have dealt with his works and also how performances have been used to tackle subjects that might otherwise have been off limits. Below some of our writers talk about some of the most controversial performances and their consequences.

    • China Internet regulator says Web censorship not a trade barrier
    • China Internet Regulator Says Web Censorship Not a Trade Barrier

      China’s online censorship system protects national security and does not discriminate against foreign companies, the country’s Internet regulator said, after the United States labelled the blocking of websites by Beijing a trade barrier.

      The US Trade Representative (USTR) wrote in an annual report that over the past year China’s web censorship has worsened, presenting a significant burden to foreign firms and Internet users.

    • Blizzard Erases Gaming History By Axing a Fan-Made ‘World of Warcraft’ Server

      Last week attorneys representing Blizzard Entertainment sent a cease-and-desist letter to the administrators of Nostalrius Begins, a private “legacy” server that had been running a version of World of Warcraft as it existed between 2004 and 2005 since February 28 of 2015. As of last night a Change.org petition to Blizzard CEO and co-founder Michael Morhaime had garnered more than 55,000 signatures in protest, but the plea for survival went unanswered, and the server shuts down forever effective today.

      Blizzard, of course, is acting within its rights. Nostalrius’ existence essentially amounts to piracy (particularly since the game proper is still going strong), and such things are expressly forbidden by Blizzard’s own terms of use. In a sense, this was inevitable, and it’s frankly surprising that Blizzard let it thrive for so long without taking action.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Leaked Encryption Draft Bill ‘Ignores Economic, Security, and Technical Reality’

      “This bill makes effective cybersecurity illegal.”

    • Edward Snowden Shows How To Tweet Like A Boss After Panama Papers Leak

      In a short span of time, Edward Snowden has built an impeccable reputation on Twitter.

    • Surveillance Debate Gets a Needed Dose of Racial Perspective

      ALVARO BEDOYA HAS been working on surveillance, privacy, and technology in Washington for years now. Before founding Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology, he served as chief counsel to Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law.

      But as surveillance became a major national issue thanks to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Bedoya saw something disturbing amid the Washington wonkery: a huge gulf between the discussions of government spying, on the one hand, and aggressive policing tactics in minority communities on the other.

    • The Internet of Things has a dirty little secret

      A year ago when the Internet of Shit account was spawned, it started as a personal joke: I was hearing a lot about internet-connected smart devices, but they all sounded like terrible ideas.

      In recent times, however, we’ve seen a new slew of devices pouring onto the market with no real specific purpose, as far as anyone can tell. At first I was just making jokes about these things, but the situation is worse than I initially thought.

      [...]

      The opportunities are delicious for bloated internet companies: now a software company could know how warm your home is, what times of day are noisy, whether you have a pet, when you turn on your lights or if you listen to music while having sex.

      Smart devices are sold as a way to improve your life — and in many ways, they do to an extent — but it also means those gadgets are incredible troves of data that could eventually turn into Software-as-a-Service money makers, just like Nespresso did to coffee.

    • A cashless society as a tool for censorship and social control

      The Atlantic had the excellent idea of commissioning Sarah Jeong, one of the most astute technology commentators on the Internet (previously), to write a series of articles about the social implications of technological change: first up is an excellent, thoughtful, thorough story on the ways that the “cashless society” is being designed to force all transactions through a small number of bottlenecks that states can use to control behavior and censor unpopular political views.

      Even if you like the idea of racists and jihadis and human traffickers being limited in their crowdfunding and financial ambitions, the power to control commerce at a fine-grained level, combined with the scale at which transactions flow, means that these restrictions end up being a dragnet, not a speargun. When you fish with a dragnet, you always catch some dolphins along with your tuna.

    • College Grad Looking For a Job? The NSA Wants YOU!

      If you want an indication as to how the surveillance state is growing, take a look at college recruitment by the National Security Agency (NSA). The agency routinely recruits students with internships and scholarships around the United States but now the NSA is looking for employees in the backyard of its controversial Utah Data Center.

    • Senate encryption bill draft mandates ‘technical assistance’

      A long-awaited Senate Intelligence Committee encryption bill would force companies to provide “technical assistance” to government investigators seeking locked data, according to a discussion draft obtained by The Hill.

      The measure, from Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), is a response to concerns that criminals are increasingly using encrypted devices to hide from authorities.

      While law enforcement has long pressed Congress for such legislation, the tech community and privacy advocates warn that it would undermine security and endanger online privacy.

    • Fierce legal battle over data retention in Sweden

      There is a rather interesting legal battle concerning data retention going on in Sweden. Parties are the ISP Bahnhof and the government oversight authority Post- & Telestyrelsen (PTS).

      Two years ago, to the day, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) invalidated the EU data retention directive — stating that it is in violation of human rights, especially the right to privacy.

    • Facebook Opens The Floodgates to ‘Sponsored Content’

      That’s because Facebook has changed its rules around sponsored content. On Friday, the social network announced that it will now let publishers, celebrities, and brands post sponsored or branded content on their Facebook pages as long as they follow a couple of rules, including getting a verified by Facebook and using a special tag for each of these posts.

    • GCHQ wizards kept Harry Potter’s secret [Ed: grooming and whitewashing GCHQ for Sunday]
    • Defence Against the Dark Arts: British spies guarded against Harry Potter leak
    • Defense Against the Dark Arts: UK spies guarded against Harry Potter leak
    • Harry Potter and the Spooks of GCHQ: Bizarre story of how British spies battled to stop internet leak of JK Rowling book
    • How GCHQ was called in to keep Harry Potter under wraps
    • Harry Potter and the curious tale of GCHQ
    • Facebook Users Are Sharing Fewer Personal Updates and It’s a Big Problem

      If you haven’t posted anything personal on Facebook FB in awhile, you’re not alone. A damning report published by The Information on Thursday revealed that Facebook has been struggling to reverse a 21% decline in “original sharing,” or personal updates, from its 1.6 billion monthly active users.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Innocent 60-year-old man free after 30 years in prison

      A man who spent more than three decades serving time for crimes he did not commit was finally released from a Virginia correctional facility.

      60-year-old Keith Allen Harward got his first taste of freedom Friday afternoon, thanking his lawyers, whom he called “heroes,” and lamented the fact that his parents could not see him walk free.

      “That’s the worst part about this, is my parents,” said Mr Harward, holding back tears as he addressed media outside the prison. “It killed them. It devastated them.” He added that he was not allowed to attend their funeral because of the sentence.

    • AP Analysis: Arab Democracies? Not So Fast, Say Some

      A new-old idea is rattling around the Middle East five years after the Arab Spring stirred democratic ambition: that restoring stability, especially if accompanied by some economic and political improvements, should be reform enough for the moment.

      This discourse appears to be taking front and center these days, most obviously in Egypt — the region’s most populous country and the one that raised the highest hopes for democracy advocates when the military in 2011 removed longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak as millions rallied against him and his Western support collapsed.

    • Canada’s Blackwater

      Last week students at L’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) disrupted a board meeting after learning administrators planned to sign a $50 million, seven-year, contract with security giant GardaWorld. Protesters are angry the administration has sought to expel student leaders and ramp up security at the politically active campus as they cut programs.

    • Convicted of a Crime That Never Happened: Why Won’t Texas Exonerate Fran and Dan Keller?

      THE 1992 PROSECUTION of Fran and Dan Keller was based on a trifecta of credulousness, hysteria, and bad evidence.

      The middle-aged couple was living quietly in Austin, Texas, where they ran a small drop-in day care out of their home, when the unimaginable happened: A little girl occasionally left in the Kellers’ care made a claim of abuse at the hands of the couple. At first, the allegation was simple: Dan Keller had spanked her, the 3-year-old told her mother in the summer of 1991. But rather quickly — in part due to repeated questioning by her mother and a therapist who had treated the girl for behavioral problems before she’d ever visited the Kellers — the allegation morphed into accusations far more lurid.

    • SCOTUS Declines Opportunity to Limit Random Border Patrol Stops

      Today the Supreme Court passed up an opportunity to impose limits on a disturbing exception to the Fourth Amendment that allows random detention of motorists within 100 miles of a border—a zone that includes two-thirds of the U.S. population. Since the rationale for these stops is immigration enforcement, they are supposed to be very brief. Yet in 2010 Richard Rynearson, an Air Force officer who brought the case that the Court today declined to hear, was detained at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Uvalde County, Texas, for a total of 34 minutes, even though there was no reason to believe he was an illegal alien or a criminal.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • (Legal) Moonshiner and University Battle Over Rights to ‘Kentucky’

        Moonshine packs a punch in this corner of Appalachia, where making hooch is steeped in local lore. But when Colin Fultz, the grandson of a bootlegger, opened a gourmet distillery here last fall, he ran afoul of a spirit even more potent than white lightning: University of Kentucky basketball.

        With his outlaw grandfather — who spent 18 years behind bars for smuggling — very much on his mind, Mr. Fultz, a businessman and onetime coal miner, set out to carry on his family’s tradition in a legal, and thoroughly modern, way.

        He tinkered with recipes, blending peaches and blackberries into mash brewed in his garage. He hired a lawyer — “My wife got on me, said I was going to get into trouble,” he said — and renovated an old car dealership, where he now distills and sells fruit-infused whiskey, serving it in thimble-size cups from an exposed-brick tasting bar.

    • Copyrights

      • Netflix Disappears From MPAA’s ‘Legal’ Movie Search Engine

        Less than two years ago the MPAA launched its search engine WhereToWatch, offering viewers a database of alternatives to piracy. However, those who try the search engine today will notice that results for Netflix, the largest entertainment platform in the United States, are no longer listed. Is there a feud going on behind the scenes?

      • UK government warns about piracy shakedown letters

        THE UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has published information on what people should do if they receive one of those scary shakedown letters from firms accusing them of breaching piracy laws and owing money.

        Take them with a pinch of salt is the very short version of this, but the IPO has a bit more information.

        The organisation is alerting people to the sort of missives sent by companies like Goldeneye that have a very fishy smell and a bad reputation. The messages are sometimes described as speculative invoices.

      • BPI Buys Up ‘Pirate’ Domains To Foil Pro-Piracy Activists

        Internet pirates are a swarthy bunch that have been known to hijack anti-piracy projects to further their own aims. The BPI is aware of these kinds of efforts and has registered a whole heap of ‘pirate’ domains to avoid a similar fate befalling the UK’s Get it Right From a Genuine Site campaign.

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