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06.15.16

Links 15/6/2016: Saving Old Chromebooks, PCLinuxOS With Trinity

Posted in News Roundup at 4:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Give New Life to Old PCs with Linux

    Do you have some old hardware collecting dust in the basement, attic, or garage? Don’t let it go to waste just because it’s not powerful enough to run modern operating systems. Linux can breathe new life into such machines. I have revived many old PCs in this way. For example, I use one as my main file server, another as a family laptop in the living room for quick browsing, and third one as a media center in the kids’ room. Additionally, I have donated two revived laptops to a cause.

    So, don’t let good hardware die of old age.

  • Desktop

    • Liberating Crippled Chromebooks

      This seems like a great idea for anyone already confident in their use of GNU/Linux. Liberate the Chromebook from the straight-jacket of Chrome OS. It is a GNU/Linux OS but anchored to the browser. This procedure should permit full use of the hardware to run general applications. Amen.

  • Server

    • 3 Reasons IBM Participates in Linux Foundation Projects

      It’s impressive that IBM was founded more than a century ago with decades of research, technologies, and products behind it. But even more impressive is that the company continues to evolve and embrace emerging technologies. It’s done so, in part, due to its continued involvement with Linux and open source through The Linux Foundation.

      “IBM has a long history with The Linux Foundation,” says Todd Moore, VP of Open Technology at IBM. “We’ve been one of the bedrock members of The Linux Foundation since its inception.” And, more generally, says Moore, “We have a long history of doing open source projects throughout many communities.”

    • A Shared History & Mission with The Linux Foundation: Todd Moore, IBM
    • ON.Lab releases latest ONOS SDN platform

      The Open Network Lab’s Open Network Operating System project unveiled its seventh release targeting a software-defined networking operating system, dubbed “Goldeneye.”

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Dispatches from the GTK+ hackfest

        A quick update from the GTK+ hackfest. I don’t really want to talk about the versioning discussion, except for two points:

        First, I want to apologize to Allison for encouraging her to post about this – I really didn’t anticipate the amount of uninformed, unreasonable and hateful reactions that we received.

  • Distributions

    • New Linux Lite Is a Powerhouse Distro in Disguise

      Linux Lite 3.0 offers a great deal of flexibility and usability for both recent Microsoft Windows expatriots and seasoned Linux users. A new user application puts all of the needed information for using the distro in one spot. Just click on the topic and automatically view the information in a Web browser display.

      All of the system controls and settings are located in the Settings option within the main menu display. Windows users will find a close similarity to the Control Panel in that OS. Even recent Linux newcomers will not need much exploring or head-scratching to navigate their way around Linux Lite.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Day in the life of a Fedora Packager

          Ever wondered what it’s like being involved with the Fedora Project? There are many different roles and types of people that help make Fedora what it is. One common form of contributing is packaging. This is when someone takes software, “packages” it in the RPM format, and publishes the RPM to the Fedora repositories. There’s some steps along the way to being a packager. In this article, Fedora packager James Hogarth, responsible for ownCloud, Certbot (formerly LetsEncrypt), and more, details a day in the life of what it’s like being a Fedora Packager.

        • Fedora Wallpaper

          For some a computer wallpaper is not thought about and the default wallpaper stays for the live of their computer, others they like to pick a soothing scene of peace and serenity. At time I like The Serenity, but I usually like to rotate my wallpaper on a semi-monthly basis. While search the web for a new wallpaper I stumbled across a Legends of Zelda Logo wallpaper that I liked the look of. Not a fan of the Legend of Zelda I wanted to do something similar for Fedora.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Raspberry Pi Zero: Hands-on with the Zero4U 4-Port USB Hub

      In browsing around the UUGear web page I saw that they have a variety of other boards, such as a 7-port USB Hub designed for the “standard-sized” Raspberry Pi models and an acrylic case to fit that assembly.

      One last thing. There have been a number of comments about two things that some people think the Raspberry Pi is “missing” – a real-time clock and a complete power-off at shutdown capability. UUGear offers another board called the Witty Pi which incorporates both of those. They also have an acrylic case for this assembly, and even a larger case for the Pi, 7-port USB Hub and Witty Pi all together. Good stuff.

    • Putting the ‘Micro’ Into Microservices With Raspberry Pi

      I decided to really put the ‘micro’ into ‘microservices’, so I prepared a system of Raspberry Pis and pcDuinos. WebSphere Liberty is so lightweight that it can easily run on a Pi, and it’s so small and cheap that I can easily build up a collection of computers. I called it the ‘data center in a handbag.’ Because each machine really is a machine, the topology is more obvious.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • How to manage Smart Storage on your Nextbit Robin Android device

          If you’ve purchased an unlocked Nextbit Robin, you’ll want to take advantage of the impressive Smart Storage feature. Jack Wallen shows you how.

        • New Android ransomware targets smart TVs
        • Android N 7.0 review – hands on, how to get it, best features, release date, name

          Bucking its usual trend, Google has been treating us to Developer Preview versions of its next mobile operating system, Android N. While its name is still yet to be officially decided, following Google I/O you’re now able to try out Developer Preview 3, which Google is describing as the first beta-quality candidate.

          As such, if you were sat on the fence as to whether or not to try it out on your main phone or tablet, now might be the time to jump in and get among the Beta fun. If you’re already on the Beta, an OTA update should be rolling out to get you to the latest version. If you’re looking to do a fresh install, instructions are below.

        • Android inventor Andy Rubin thinks the future of smartphones might be a single AI

          Andy Rubin, who co-founded Android and jump-started Google’s robotics efforts, imagines a future where artificial intelligence is so powerful that it powers every connected device. Speaking at Bloomberg’s Tech Conference in San Francisco today, Rubin said a combination of quantum computing and AI advancements could yield a conscious intelligence that would underpin every piece of technology. “If you have computing that is as powerful as this could be, you might only need one,” Rubin says. “It might not be something you carry around; it just has to be conscious.”

        • Hyve Mobility announces Buzz and Storm smartphones with pure Android

          Hyve Mobility, a new technology startup has announced its first two smartphones. The Buzz and Storm smartphones will run pure Android.

          Hyve Buzz and Storm smartphones run stock Android 5.1 Lollipop, although an Android Marshmallow update is being promised soon.

          The focus here is not the devices itself, but the pure Android experience. However, apart from pure Android, Hyve Mobility’s Buzz and Storm are just like any other smartphone in the market.

        • Android continues market share gains around the world as Apple’s iPhone slips

          Thanks to the growing wave of first-time smartphone buyers, Android is expanding its market share lead over Apple’s iOS.

          That conclusion was part of Kantar Worldpanel ComTech’s latest smartphone report.

          Kantar found that for the three months ending April 2016, Android grabbed 76 percent of smartphone sales in Europe’s five largest markets, up 5.8 percent from the 70.2 percent it had for the same three months a year ago. (Those five markets: Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.)

Free Software/Open Source

  • A History of Open Source Fonts

    With the advent of free software for non-programmers, users ran into a licensing dilemma in a world of proprietary fonts.

    Most Linux users soon hear of the influence of the GNU General Public License (GPL) in the development of free software. However, fewer have heard of the influence of the SIL Font License, although it is as important for design as the GPL has been for software. Just as the GPL is responsible for the development of free software, so the SIL Font License has enabled the rise of the free font movement, making Linux a practical choice for designers and artists. Today, it is the most popular free license for fonts, although few know its story.

  • Events

    • How My Trip to SELF Turned Into a Nightmare

      Our writer goes to the Queen City of Charlotte, North Carolina for the SouthEast LinuxFest. Instead of having a good time, however, the trip turned into a nightmare — but the fault lies with Econo Lodge, not with SELF.

      What a great time I had during the day I spent at this year’s SouthEast LinuxFest. Those of you who read Friday’s Week-in-Review know that I had planned to stick around for the full three days of festivities at my favorite community oriented Linux and open source conference on the East Coast, but alas that wasn’t meant to be. But what a blast I had during the day I was there.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Healthcare

    • Leeds and Ripple pick Lockheed Martin to help build open source digital care record

      It added that Lockheed Martin will help support the work that is underway in Leeds for the benefit of frontline health and care staff. Leeds, which has the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) – soon to be renamed NHS Digital – based in the city, as well as the second largest teaching hospital in Europe, is regarded as one of the best cities for health and well being. At the same time, facing continuing austerity, the city council sees its role as one of leadership, facilitation and commissioning.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GnuTLS 3.5.1

      Released GnuTLS 3.5.1 a feature update release in the next stable branche.

  • Public Services/Government

    • European colleges share SMEs open source training

      Tertiary education institutes (hochschule and university college) and ICT training specialists from across Europe are creating a course to train students to help small and medium-sized enterprises select and use open source cloud services. The course will be tested on Spanish and British exchange students working for SMEs in the two countries.

  • Programming/Development

    • Top 100 Most Popular Programming Languages Of 2016

      You might be familiarized with the top programming languages like C++, Java, Python, JavaScript etc., but there exists a vast pool of programming languages that you need to know about. All these languages have different strengths and applications that should be studied before learning them. Here, we are sharing a list of the top 100 most popular programming languages of 2016.

    • What cognitive linguistics can teach developers

      Chris Prather never metaphor he didn’t like.

      That’s what he tells developers, at any rate. And on stage at SouthEast LinuxFest in Charlotte, NC, Prather explained how a deep understanding of metaphor—and the critical role it plays in cognitive function—can improve an open source software developer’s work. He delivered his presentation, “I Never Metaphor I Didn’t Like: How Cognitive Linguistics Can Help You Be A (More) Bad-ass Developer,” last Friday.

      Metaphors “are more than just flowery language, even though that’s how they’re taught to us in gradeschool and college,” said Prather, CEO of Tamarou, a boutique Perl development shop.

Leftovers

  • This USB adapter is Microsoft’s final admission that Kinect failed

    Microsoft had a bold vision for its Xbox One console that involved its Kinect accessory. While the Kinect for Xbox 360 was one of the most popular game console accessories of all time, a bundled Kinect with the Xbox One introduced a $100 price premium over the PS4 competition. Despite switching course and unbundling the Kinect, Microsoft hasn’t recovered yet in the games console battle, with reports suggesting it has sold 20 million Xbox One consoles vs. Sony’s 40 million PS4 shipments.

  • Science

    • On Agent Orange, VA Weighs Politics and Cost Along With Science

      Last year, a group of federal scientists was debating whether as many as 2,100 Air Force veterans should qualify for cash benefits for ailments they claimed stemmed from flying aircraft contaminated by Agent Orange.

      An outside panel of experts had already determined that the scientific evidence showed the vets were likely exposed to the toxic herbicide.

      The scientists within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs agreed the airmen had a strong case. But they had a more calculated concern: If the VA doled out cash to these veterans, others might want it too, according to an internal document obtained by ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot.

  • Security

    • Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump [Ed: Microsoft Windows again]

      Russian government hackers penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee and gained access to the entire database of opposition research on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, according to committee officials and security experts who responded to the breach.

    • Bears in the Midst: Intrusion into the Democratic National Committee

      The COZY BEAR intrusion relied primarily on the SeaDaddy implant developed in Python and compiled with py2exe and another Powershell backdoor with persistence accomplished via Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) system, which allowed the adversary to launch malicious code automatically after a specified period of system uptime or on a specific schedule. The Powershell backdoor is ingenious in its simplicity and power. It consists of a single obfuscated command setup to run persistently, such as…

    • Big data will fix internet security … eventually [Ed: Microsoft’s Grimes says mass surveillance (‘big data’) will fix Internet security eventually]

      I’ve always thought that improved computer security controls would “fix” the internet and stop persistent criminality — turns out it might be big data analytics instead.

    • Symantec dons a Blue Coat [Ed: two evil companies are now one]

      Symantec will pay US$4.65 billion in an all-cash deal to buy privately-held Blue Coat to ramp up its enterprise security offerings.

    • How A Student Fooled 17,000 Coders Into Running His ‘Sketchy’ Programming Code

      Using the typosquatting technique, a German college student tricked more than 17,000 people from cybersecurity and programming community into clicking his fake software packages. More than half the time his code ran with administrative rights, affecting government and military organizations.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • 4 people shot in downtown Oakland, 1 fatally

      Four people were shot in downtown Oakland early Tuesday evening — leaving one dead, according to police.

    • Drawing Wrong Lessons from Orlando

      America’s mass shootings, especially those linked to Islamic terrorism like the slaughter in Orlando, Florida, prompt a reflex of responses, but some reactions are particularly unhelpful, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Mitch McConnell Says He May Be ‘Open’ to Post-Orlando Gun Control

      Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says he be may be “open” to placing new gun controls on law-abiding citizens following the terror attack on Pulse Orlando.

      According to CBS News’s Steven Portnoy, McConnell has a meeting with FBI director James Comey and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Wednesday. Portnoy Tweeted that McConnell has signaled he may be willing to consider new gun controls after that meeting.

    • Your One-Size-Fits-All American Mass Slaughter Article

      We American value efficiency. We like to “get to it.” So why do we have to write and read pretty much the same articles, and do the same stuff, every time another mass slaughter occurs?

      So to help out, here’s your one-size-fits-all article. I hope you bookmark it, and refer back to it when the next act takes place. And a request– for those commenting, please try and keep your remarks as generic as possible as well in the spirit of things.

    • Orlando Mass Shooting Not Deadliest in American History

      To call it that is to forget the last hundred years of U.S. history of mass violence fueled by racial hatred and homophobia. Although precise numbers of deaths are impossible to specify, at least 100 African Americans were killed in East S​t.​ Louis, Ill., in one bloody night in July 1917; anywhere from 55 to 300 blacks were massacred in Tulsa​, Okla.,​ in 16 hours in June 1921; and dozens more were killed in Rosewood, Fla., in January 1923. And of course, more recently, 32 died in the 1973 bombing of the UpStairs Lounge, a gay bar in New Orleans.

    • Muhammad Ali’s True Patriotism

      Muhammad Ali angered much of America by declaring “I ain’t got no quarrel with the Vietcong” and refusing to fight in Vietnam, but his principled stand was vindicated by history and is a lesson for today, says Ivan Eland.

    • How the FBI’s Pursue-Every-Lead Policy Allowed the Orlando Shooting

      The FBI first discovered Omar Mateen, the man who would kill 49 and injure more than 50 others at a gay nightclub, when he boasted of a friendship with terrorists.

      Mateen told one of his co-workers at a private security firm in 2013 that he knew Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Mateen’s co-worker reported that information to the FBI.

    • What the FBI Was Doing Instead of Catching the Orlando Shooter

      After the most recent mass shooting in Orlando, Florida – the worst in U.S. history – one might ask how the FBI was able to investigate the perpetrator, twice, without deciding to take any further action. This question is further confounded by the fact the perpetrator was, according to his wife, an abusive, unstable man suffering from bipolar disorder.

    • Despite Orlando Killer’s Desire to Glorify ISIS, Discussion Moves on to His Sexuality

      As the first details about the massacre in Orlando trickled out on Sunday, Ali H. Soufan, a former counterterrorism agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, watched the media coverage unfold in a familiar way.

      Soufan, who now runs a consulting firm, told The Intercept that before it became known that the killer, in a call to the police during the attack, had dedicated his rampage to the leader of the Islamic State militant group, news reports focused on the timing and location of the shooting spree. An attack on an LGBT club during a month dedicated to expressing pride in that community — and the gunman’s personal profile — seemed strongly suggestive of a hate crime.

    • Orlando Shooting – RT Interview
    • When Media Learned Killer’s Ethnicity, Then They Knew to Call It ‘Terrorism’

      News coverage over the past 48 hours of the Orlando nightclub attacks has shown how corporate media use specific vocabulary to manipulate public perceptions and perpetuate harmful stereotypes and xenophobia.

      In the early hours of June 12, as reports poured in about a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, news outlets were reluctant to characterize the incident beyond calling it an act of violence.

    • Orlando Shooter Wasn’t the First Murderer Employed By Global Mercenary Firm

      The man who shot over 100 people and killed 49 in an Orlando nightclub Saturday worked at a retirement home as a security guard for G4S – a giant, often controversial global contracting corporation that provides mercenary forces, prison guards and security services. G4S is one of the world’s largest private security companies, with more than 620,000 employees and a presence in over 100 countries.

    • Post-Orlando Demagoguery Described as Trump’s Most Horrifying to Date

      “A man on TV is trying to make political capital out of the mass murder of innocent people.”

      “This is the scariest political speech I have ever seen in America.”

      “As a woman, and daughter of immigrants with an Arabic last name, this is probably the most frightening Trump speech I’ve heard.”

      Those were just a sampling of responses to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s fear-mongering and fallacy-ridden speech, delivered Monday afternoon in New Hampshire as a response to the mass shooting in Orlando.

    • Queer Muslims exist – and we are in mourning too

      A strange thing happened a few months ago. I got a news alert that my photo project, Just Me and Allah, which documents queer Muslims and their diverse experiences, had been mentioned in a major LGBT magazine website.

      I didn’t recall having done an interview with them, so I clicked on the article. The piece was about a 17-year-old Muslim girl in North Dakota allegedly having had a gun pointed at her head by her father after he discovered that she was a lesbian. In the piece, I was cited as proof of the existence of pro-LGBT Muslims – as if that were an anomaly. I wondered whether some random LGBT Christian would’ve been mentioned had the story involved an evangelical father and his daughter.

    • Euro 2016: Police fire tear gas at fans in Lille

      Tear gas has been used against football fans in Lille amid reports of renewed clashes at Euro 2016.

      It has not been been made clear which team’s fans were involved. England and Wales fans have been gathering in Lille ahead of their match in nearby Lens.

      Russian and Slovakian supporters are also in Lille, after their match at the city’s Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

      There are also reports that hundreds of England fans have been surrounded by riot police in the city’s main square.

    • End of Ceasefire in Syria: Aleppo on Fire

      On June 9, the defense ministers of Russia, Syria and Iran met in Tehran to discuss counter-terrorism activities and security initiatives that would prevent jihadists from conducting wider operations in the region. Russian Defense Ministry statement said the talks were focused on «priority measures in reinforcing the cooperation» in the fight with Islamic State (IS) and al-Nusra terrorist groups.

    • China says Dalai Lama-Obama meeting will damage bilateral ties

      China has lodged diplomatic representations with the United States over a planned meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama at the White House on Wednesday saying it would damage Chinese-U.S. ties, the Foreign Ministry said.

      China considers the exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader a dangerous separatist, and ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular briefing the meeting would encourage “separatist forces”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Indonesia hits back at Singapore in latest haze row

      Indonesia insisted Monday Singapore cannot take legal action against its citizens over the haze that choked Southeast Asia last year after the city-state sought to question the director of an Indonesian company.

      Forest fires in Indonesia produced acrid smog that shrouded Singapore, Malaysia and other parts of the region for weeks, pushing air quality to unhealthy levels, causing many to fall ill and disrupting air travel.

      The blazes are an annual occurrence during the dry season as land is cleared using slash-and-burn methods but they were the worst for years in 2015, with Singapore particularly angered at what it said was Jakarta’s failure to take action.

      Tempers have frayed again after Singapore last month attempted to call in the director of an Indonesian company suspected of being linked to the haze for questioning, Singaporean media reported, citing the National Environment Agency.

    • Why is this liberal congresswoman spreading anti-solar arguments?

      With the home solar panel industry and the electric utility industry at war, you might expect a liberal Democratic congresswoman from New York City to support the solar side. But that’s not what happened recently when Rep. Yvette Clarke decided to wade into this fight. Instead, she signed her name to a letter apparently written by utility lobbyists that warns about the risk of solar companies duping consumers.

      The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is holding a workshop on June 21 to learn about the booming rooftop solar market and how it’s affecting consumers. There are concerns on both pro- and anti-solar sides: The solar industry is hoping that the FTC will look into what they consider to be anti-competitive practices by the electric utility industry, intended to stymie the growth of solar. The utilities hope to prod the FTC to investigate allegedly unscrupulous solar companies, in the name of protecting consumers.

    • World’s Banks Driving Climate Chaos with Hundreds of Billions in Extreme Energy Financing

      Turning their backs on climate science and the consensus of governments and civil society across the globe, the world’s biggest banks are dangerously advancing the climate crisis by pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into the world’s most polluting fossil fuel industries, according to a new report published Tuesday.

  • Finance

    • Rolls-Royce says Brexit will heighten investment risk

      Engineering giant Rolls Royce has written to employees saying it wants the UK to stay in the European Union.

      Brexit would “limit any company’s ability to plan and budget for the future,” the firm said.

      Meanwhile, the CBI has said a vote to Leave would “put British businesses out in the cold”.

      But Leave campaigners said the CBI does not represent British business and is “the voice of Brussels”.

    • NYT Dismisses Social Programs, Routine in Much of the World, as ‘Unsustainable’

      And as his candidacy’s political purpose became clearer, corporate media criticism of his intention to stay in the race has become sharper. After the June 7 primaries, when it became mathematically impossible for Sanders to win a majority of the pledged delegates, much of the media circled the wagons, insisting Sanders drop out in the interest of “party unity” and “stopping Trump”—something Sanders himself has pledged to work toward.

      [...]

      With this one sentence, the New York Times not only embraced a right-wing canard that’s been peddled by everyone from the Wall Street Journal to the neoliberal Urban Institute, it also contradicted its previous editorial stance on the issue. In 2013, the Times (9/29/13) presented universal healthcare as a widespread standard that the US ought to meet…

      [...]

      One major change was in the official policy position of the Democratic Party. While universal healthcare was once a broad goal of putative liberals, the Democrats’ soon-to-be leader, Hillary Clinton, says that single-payer healthcare will “never, ever happen.” New York Times Clinton partisan and leading center-left economist Paul Krugman insisted in January that single-payer was “a distraction.” Adam Gaffney of the New Republic wrote in March, “Republicans are no longer afraid of the menace of single-payer, for a perfectly good reason: The mainstream of the Democratic Party has largely abandoned it.”

    • Bankers win big on UK referendum ballot

      The financial sector has used the threat of Brexit via the UK referendum on EU membership to promote its deregulatory agenda since 2013, according to a new study (1) by Corporate Europe Observatory.

      “How Cameron’s referendum delivered victories to Big Finance” tells the story of how, from the day a ballot on UK membership was first announced by David Cameron three years ago, the financial sector has sought and won significant lobbying victories thanks to a complicit UK government and EU efforts to keep the City of London happy.

      The appointment of Jonathan Hill as European commissioner for financial services, the deregulation agenda of the so-called “Capital Markets Union”, the impending roll-backs on rules to protect against financial instability, and special decision-making privileges for the UK should the interests of banks come under attack, are all highlighted as the key triumphs of the sector and its allies in the UK government since the prospect of Brexit was raised as a serious possibility.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Sanders: End of Voting Does Not Mean End of Political Revolution

      Bernie Sanders held a press conference on Tuesday calling for reform of the Democratic party—starting with the ouster of Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz—and said he would remain in the presidential race until the end.

      Speaking ahead of a planned meeting with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Sanders said, “The time is now—in fact, the time is long overdue, for a fundamental transformation of the Democratic party.”

    • A Campaign Based on Conspiracy Theory

      Conspiracy theories – suspicions without evidence – have become a bane of modern life, but Donald Trump seeks to make them a centerpiece of his presidential campaign, as Todd Gitlin describes.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Bryan Lim’s threat should be treated more seriously than Amos Yee’s

      While I do not ascribe to any of his points of views, I view him as nothing more than a teenager trying to find his way in the world. As a fellow citizen, I am of the opinion that we should nurture his intelligence rather than alienate him. It is painfully obvious that he isn’t some kind of violent criminal. Nor has he incited anyone to violence. All he has done is mouthed off on religion and the late Mr Lee. Now, I am not suggesting that he is a respectful child. But since when has disrespect become a crime?

    • Peter Thiel’s Gawker-Killing Lawyer Now Issuing Bogus Defamation Threats Over Story On Donald Trump’s Hair

      Earlier this week we noted that Peter Thiel’s legal vendetta against Gawker went way beyond just the Hulk Hogan case. In fact, it appeared that Thiel not only paid the lawyer, Charles Harder, to set up his own legal practice (without revealing to Holder who was really paying the bills), but basically sought to help pay the bills of lots of folks pushing legal claims on Gawker, no matter how tenuous. That included a questionable labor dispute (where even the plaintiff said he felt used by the lawyer) and a weird defamation case in which the court easily tossed out the defamation claim against Gawker, but the plaintiff, Meanith Huon, settled the claim against Above The Law (where his argument was marginally stronger), but appealed the ruling against Gawker, telling the court that he wasn’t concerned about the appeal because he was “getting support from Hulk Hogan’s lawyers in California.” The deeper you look at the Huon case, the more ridiculous it seems.

      [...]

      We see these kinds of notices all the time, and know that you absolutely can republish such threat letters without fear of actual infringement, but as Gawker’s reporter rightly notes, doing so might only give Harder yet another opportunity to pile on a questionable lawsuit. After some consideration, however, Gawker changed its mind and posted the letter. It’s as ridiculous as you’d expect. It lists out 19 specific statements from the original article, which it claims are false and defamatory. At the very least, that’s more advanced than most purely bogus threats that don’t highlight exact statements.

      Still, the key statements that Harder claims are defamatory are taken directly from other lawsuits against Ivari, and there’s what’s known as fair reporting privilege, which allows you to quote what’s found in a lawsuit and not be liable as if you’d said it yourself. Many of the other statements are minor issues that hardly rise to the level of defamation in any sense of the term, let alone hitting the necessary standards of being done recklessly with malicious intent, as would be necessary for a defamation claim to succeed. Incredibly, in the very first item, Harder even changes a word to misrepresent what Gawker’s article said.

    • Donald Trump revokes Washington Post press credentials

      Donald Trump says he is “revoking” the Washington Post’s press access at his campaign events because the newspaper is “phony and dishonest.”

      In a Facebook post, the presumptive GOP nominee attributed the decision to the newspaper’s “incredibly inaccurate coverage” of him.

    • Google’s Arbitrary Morality Police Threaten Us Yet Again; Media Sites Probably Shouldn’t Use Google Ads

      Two years ago, we wrote about a ridiculous situation in which the morality police who work for Google’s AdSense team threatened to kill our account because they saw that their ads were being displayed on this page, which has a story (from 2012) about a publicity rights claim involving a music video using footage of a porn star without her permission. The story was quite clearly about the intellectual property issues at play, but the AdSense team insisted that since the still image displayed from the embedded video showed a (clothed) woman pole dancing, it violated their policies on “adult or mature content.” We protested and AdSense rejected our protest, insisting that the still image of the pole dancing violated their policies. Never mind the fact that the same exact video was hosted on Google-owned YouTube where it had Google’s ads enabled…

      For what it’s worth, this happened just months after we had started using Google AdSense, after representatives from that team put together a big effort to get us switch from the other ad provider we’d been using at the time.

    • Censorship in cinema

      ‘Udta Punjab’ is in the news for the wrong reasons. After a wrung-out battle with the CBFC, the film is set to hit the screens soon. Here is a quiz on other such movies that have run into trouble due to their content.

    • Sadiq Khan’s ‘unrealistic body’ ads ban nothing more than censorship – advertising’s loss will be PR’s gain

      For two short years, before I wormed my way into PR, I worked as a personal trainer – and, slight dip since starting a business aside – still like to look after myself.

      What does that have to do with anything? Well, some of you will have read that, from next month, London’s new mayor Sadiq Khan is moving to ban ads promoting an ‘unhealthy’ or ‘unrealistic’ body image from appearing on London’s transport network – and I’d like to look at this logically, knowing what I know and having worked with hundreds of people of all shapes and sizes.

      As per an election promise, Khan’s going to issue a total ban on ad campaigns that could “pressurise people” (don’t get me started on pressurise – since when was ‘pressure’ not good enough?) to conform to idealised body standards.

      In his statement, Khan said that he was going after the kind of advertising that can demean people and make them feel ashamed of their bodies – noting, as the father of two teenage girls, that women were often particularly affected by this.

    • Twitter, Facebook & Google Sued For ‘Material Support For Terrorism’ Over Paris Attacks

      It’s an understandable reaction to tragedy. When faced with the unthinkable — like the death of a loved one in a terrorist attack — people tend to make bad decisions. We saw this recently when the widow of a man killed in an ISIS raid sued Twitter for “providing material support to terrorists.” Twitter’s involvement was nothing more than the unavoidable outcome of providing a social media platform: it was (and is) used by terrorist organizations to communicate and recruit new members.

      That doesn’t mean Twitter somehow supports terrorism, though. Like most social media platforms, Twitter proactively works to eliminate accounts linked with terrorists. But there’s only so much that can be done when all that’s needed to create an account is an email address.

      As difficult as it may be to accept, platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc. are not the problem. Like any, mostly-open social platform, they can be used by terrible people to do terrible things. But they are not responsible for individual users’ actions, nor should they be expected to assume this responsibility.

    • Myanmar censors ban movie at human rights film festival
    • Paving the Way for Peace in Burma
    • Myanmar scraps screening of film critical of military’s excesses during its 49-year rule
    • Twilight Over Burma: Myanmar censors pull film from festival
    • New Govt, Old Censorship Laws: Film About Shan Prince Banned as Threat to ‘Ethnic Unity’
    • Filmmakers reel after human rights festival motion picture ban
    • Myanmar scraps screening of film critical of military’s past
    • ‘Twilight Over Burma’ Eclipsed by Censorship Board

      “Twilight Over Burma,” a film about the real-life story of an Austrian woman, Inge Sargent, who became royalty when she married Sao Kya Seng, an ethnic Shan prince, was banned from premiering in Burma at the annual Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival that started on Tuesday. A film censorship board member told The Irrawaddy that the film was under review because it could allegedly damage ethnic unity in the country.

    • In China, it’s a cat and mouse game between censors and internet activists
    • Russia and China seek media control
    • China takes its authoritarian ways to the Internet
    • ASNE condemns Trump’s attempt at press censorship
    • Editorial: The slippery slope of censorship under Trump
    • Censorship attempts must end
    • Post Reporter at Trump Rally Despite ‘Ban’
    • Donald Trump’s ban on news outlets should alarm voters (Your letters)
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • John Cornyn Wants to Pass Law Letting FBI Collect Information on Omar Mateen It Already Collected

      The bodies from Sunday’s Orlando massacre are not yet buried, but that hasn’t stopped John Cornyn from trying to use their deaths to expand surveillance that would not have stopped the attack.

      Cornyn told reporters yesterday he will use the attack to push to include Electronic Communications Transaction Records in the things FBI can obtain with a National Security Letter.

    • Encryption and human rights: La Quadrature du Net takes part in a UN conference

      La Quadrature du Net is participating at the panel “Encryption and Human Rights” organised at the United Nations by the Committee Justice and Peace of the Dominican Order. This conference will talk about the right to encryption and to privacy in a time where in Europe, those rights are at regularly at risk. The video of this conference will be available on the Mediakit of La Quadrature du Net.

      Right to encryption is one of the essential condition to the existence of the right to privacy and to freedom of speech.

      Individuals and civil society are regularly subject to intrusions and restrictions of those rights by State, when those are asked to respect privacy of their citizens. The development of mass surveillance technologies and their legalisation in the name of the fight against terrorism act as a barrier to the application of those rights and seriously infringe a large number of civil liberties. Encryption has increasingly become a major breaking point and appear as a essential barrier against the demolition of our liberties in the digital era.

    • One Creepy Word Captures the NSA’s Culture of Secrecy

      A bill reforming the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is on its way to the president right now. It makes clearer the presumption of disclosure and centralizes requests for information from the feds. The Obama White House has arguably the worst record of finding records following FOIA requests of any administration, according to the AP. One advantage to keeping records locked up is that it helps to remove any sense that lower echelon public servants close to a given issue have doubts about political leaders’ chosen course of action.

      [...]

      One word in one document has been bugging us ever since: “corporate.”

      An NSA writer used the word in a newsletter story about its Legislative Affairs and Intelligence Security Issues office. That office watches budgets, answers questions from elected officials and vets all communication between NSA staff and Congress. As the newsletter article put it, if a staffer needs to communicate with a legislator, the office “will assist you in analyzing the request, providing background and context to the responsible action office, and reviewing the responses to ensure that they meet the five Cs (candid, complete, correct, consistent and corporate) for dealing with Congress.”

    • Why LinkedIn and Microsoft Isn’t Crazy [Ed: Calling people "dataset", along the lines of "assets" or "products".]
    • Microsoft buys LinkedIn: the value of data

      By acquiring the world’s largest professional social network, Microsoft gets immediate access to data from more than 433 million LinkedIn members. Microsoft fills out the “social graph” and “interests” circles.

    • Microsoft to Acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion

      At the same time, I expect that many free tech advocates will begin abandoning LinkedIn as much as possible as soon as the site begins to push users to take advantage of features requiring the use of Microsoft products, if not before. As one member of an email list I’m on commented upon hearing the news, “Anybody recommend a good alternative to LinkedIn?”

    • You don’t need a Linkedin account

      In recent years, Linkedin has perceivably become a rather important part of the modern business world. People use this social network to search for jobs, advertise jobs, and get their own work-related resume out there into the spotlight. Which is why I always get a funny look when people ask me to add them on Linkedin, and I tell them, I don’t have one.

      The same why I told you why you should not be using Facebook back in 2010, and the arguments still hold valid, I would like to tell you why you might want to entertain the idea of not having a business profile on a social media site, and why this could actually be good for your career. To wit, let us philosophize.

    • Dropbox CEO Pushes Toward Profitability in a ‘Post-Unicorn Era’

      Since attaining a $10 billion valuation from investors in 2014, Dropbox Inc. has become a symbol of unicorn startup exuberance. But several shareholders have recently written down the value of their investments in the cloud storage company while it cut costs and focused on generating more revenue.

    • Tuesday’s papers: Finland’s surveillance plans, Metro expansion boss under fire, Finnish director’s Chinese fantasy

      A working group on cyber security has submitted a list of proposals to Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, aimed to improve Finland’s cyber surveillance, according to newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.

      The proposals, drawn up by a joint group from the Ministry of the Interior, the Security Intelligence Service, the National Bureau of Investigation and a police task force, include the recruitment of 101 new cyber crime police officers.

      According to the paper group also suggests changing laws to broaden law enforcement’s capabilities of monitoring telephone communications.

      Additionally, the group proposes increased training in computer crime of police.

      The group’s report also point out laws on the books that they say hampers police work, the paper writes.

      The report states that even though identity theft was criminalised in Finland last autumn, the majority of cases are never reported to the police and many cases that are reported are often left unresolved.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Alabama Cop Snatches Camera from Man Recording Police Station to Prevent Terrorism

      Fearing a terrorist plot, an Alabama police officer snatched a camera from a man who was video recording a police station from across the street, turning the man’s camera off to keep it from recording.

      However, the man had a back-up body camera that was live streaming.

      “I don’t care about your First Amendment rights,” said the Wetumpka police officer, who has been identified as Charles Shannon.

      “I don’t know if you’re a terrorist or not, trying to film our building.”

    • Alabama Cops Retaliate Against Citizen Journalist After PINAC Readers Call Flood Police Department (Updated II)

      One day after PINAC posted a video showing an Alabama cop snatching a camera from a man recording a police station, sparking a call flood from hundreds of angry readers, that same police department retaliated by having the man arrested on felony charges.

      Wetumpka police claim that Keith Golden aka Bama Cameradisrupted their emergency phone lines by posting their non-emergency phone number in his video, which we then reposted in our article.

    • British Islamic scholar faces ban from Australia for preaching ‘death is the sentence’ for homosexuality

      Farrokh Sekaleshfar preached in Orlando in March but no evidence he influenced Omar Mateen who killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando

    • Killing Homosexuals Is Not ISIS Law, It Is Muslim Law

      Various reports indicate that the death toll from the jihadist attack overnight at a popular gay club in Orlando may exceed 50 people, with more than 50 others wounded. The terrorist’s identity has been reported: He is Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old American citizen and devout Muslim from Fort Pierce, Fla., the son of immigrants from Afghanistan.

    • Clement Freud, My Part in his Downfall

      It is hard to know what to make of Freud owning a holiday villa close to where Madeleine McCann disappeared. Clement was apparently not in Portugal at the time. When you add in the fact that the McCanns’ sleazy “spokesman”, Clarence Mitchell, works for Freud’s son Matthew, the coincidences do add up. I am not jumping to any conclusions at present. But I found the following fascinating.

    • CIA Lied about Leaking to Screw David Passaro and Protect Bush and Tenet

      In the SSCI Torture Report, it has two references to how press people were leaking details of the the torture program to the press even while lawyers were claiming that the program was top secret. In this document, someone notes “our Glomar fig leaf is getting pretty thin.” In this one, a lawyer admits the declaration he had just written “about the secrecy of the interrogation program” was “a work of fiction.”

    • CIA Finally Declassifies “Gloves Come Off” Memorandum of Notification Reference

      The title was part of some smart CYA on the part of George Tenet. When things started to go south with the torture program in 2003, he wrote this document, ostensibly putting order to the torture program, but also making it clear the whole thing operated on Presidential authority. (The document, which should have been released to David Passaro in his criminal trial for torturing a detainee who subsequently died, was withheld, which prevented him from pointing out anything he did, he did with Presidential approval, so Tenet’s CYA didn’t help him at all.)

    • The Senate’s Popular Sentencing Reform Bill Would Sort Prisoners By ‘Risk Score’

      At a time when Democrats and Republicans in Congress can’t agree on just about anything, there is one issue that unites them: the urgent need for criminal justice reform.

      A Senate bill on the issue has attracted an impressive 37 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act has gained support from figures as politically diverse as the Koch brothers and President Obama for its goals of reforming mandatory minimum sentences, reducing prison populations, and rehabilitating prisoners.

    • 7 Questions With EFF’s New Criminal Defense Staff Attorney Stephanie Lacambra

      EFF’s team of fearless lawyers defends your rights on the frontlines of technology and the law, from police stops on the street to arguments in the courtroom to the halls of government where policies are ground out. EFF’s latest hire, Criminal Defense Staff Attorney Stephanie Lacambra, is a fierce and accomplished public defender who will lend her unique expertise to our ongoing and emerging battles against law enforcement and prosecutorial overreach.

      I sat down with Stephanie to learn more about her story up until now and where she hopes this new endeavor will take her.

    • America’s Gestapo – The FBI’s Reign of Terror

      We discuss the seemingly-inexorable transformation of the USA into a police state

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Court Backs Rules Treating Internet as Utility, Not Luxury
    • U.S. Appeals Court Upholds Net Neutrality Rules In Full
    • Obama’s Web Rules Upheld in Win for Google, Loss for AT&T
    • After net neutrality loss, ISPs get ready to take case to Supreme Court
    • Net Neutrality Won Big Today, But Don’t Celebrate Just Yet
    • Net Neutrality Rules Upheld: Go Team Internet!

      In a crucial win for Internet users, today a federal appeals court upheld [PDF] clear net neutrality rules that will let us all use and enjoy the Internet without unfair interference from Internet service providers. The rules will keep providers from blocking or slowing traffic, or speeding up traffic for those who pay.

      Last year, EFF and other advocacy groups, along with millions of Americans, called on the FCC to do its part to defend Internet expression and innovation. We urged them to adopt focused rules based on a legal framework that would finally stand up to the inevitable legal challenge, but also limit their own authority in order to help prevent a future FCC from abusing its regulatory power. The FCC responded with an Open Internet Order that largely did just that.

    • The Cable Industry Trots Out Mitch McConnell To Fight Against Cable Box Competition

      We’ve been talking for weeks about how the cable industry has dramatically ramped up lobbying in an attempt to kill the FCC’s plan to bring some competition to the set top box market. The cable industry opposes the idea for two reasons: competition would dramatically reduce the $21 billion the sector makes each year off of rental fees, but the flood of new, cheaper boxes would also likely direct users — historically locked behind cable’s walled gardens — to a huge variety of streaming video alternatives.

      But the cable industry can’t just come out and admit that they’re terrified of competition — so they’ve been attacking the FCC’s plan with a two pronged approach. One, pay for an absolute torrent of hysterically-misleading editorials that claim set top competition will hurt consumers, scare the children, ramp up piracy, and knock the planet off of its orbital axis. The other prong of their attack involves a lobbying mainstay: throwing money at politicians to take positions they don’t have the slightest actual understanding of.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • EU Trade Secrets Directive to come into force on 5 July 2016 [Ed: anti-whistleblowers law in Europe]
    • UN Development Agency Issues Guidelines For Pharmaceutical Patent Examiners

      A new set of guidelines for pharmaceutical patent examination has been published by the United Nations Development Programme that seek to help reduce poor quality patents and ensure efficient market entry of generic products.

      The guidelines, written by a well-known advocate of access to medicines, aim at advising patent examiners in assessing the patentability requirements of applications relating to pharmaceutical products and processes.

    • Generics, Biosimilars Makers Join Global Medical Harmonisation Body

      Doors to a global medical harmonisation organisation opened to the generic and biosimilar industry, which described it as an historical moment for them. The industry will now be able to sit on the assembly of the international body that joins regulators and the pharmaceutical industry.

      At issue is the International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH). According to a press release, the ICH‘s General Assembly today approved the International Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (IGBA) as an ICH assembly member. ICH is a Geneva-based organisation that brings together regulatory authorities and the pharmaceutical industry.

    • Panels Brainstorm Ideas On Innovation And Drug Access

      The quest of balance between encouraging medical innovation and the imperative of broad access to medicines has so far been elusive. Two Harvard University programmes jointly organised a workshop this week with the aim of encouraging a conversation between global health actors and see if some “outside the box” thinking is possible.

    • Trademarks

      • The Metaphorical Trademark “Bully”: A Problem?

        Many have tried to answer the question of whether there is a trademark bullying problem–also known as trademark enforcement abuse. First, there have been anecdotal accounts of trademark holders making overreaching claims against persons or entities with less resources. In the United States, these claims are particularly troublesome when First Amendment values, such as free speech, are implicated or when fair competition may be threatened. One of the first trademark “bully” accounts that received substantial attention involved Monster Energy drinks and its enforcement of its trademark against a small brewery offering a beer called, “Vermonster.” However, my favorite trademark “bully” story involves Louis Vuitton who sent a cease and desist letter to the IP student group at University of Pennsylvania Law School directing them to stop using some of Louis Vuitton’s trademarks in an advertisement for a law school symposium. Anecdotal examples abound.

    • Copyrights

      • Ruling From EU’s Top Court Confirms Copyright Levies Are A Ridiculous, Unworkable Mess

        It’s really not clear how that could be done in practice. Maybe by allocating a tiny tax rebate to companies by way of “reimbursement” for the copyright levy payment made from the state budget. But that would add yet another layer of complexity to the tax system, hardly a welcome outcome. It would be far simpler just to get rid of the unwieldy and anachronistic copyright levy system altogether. It’s time to recognize that everybody has a fundamental right to make copies of stuff they own, and that the “fair compensation” for doing that is a big, fat nothing.

      • BREIN Wants Usenet Providers to Expose Prolific Uploaders

        The Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN is going after two anonymous Usenet uploaders, who shared more than 2,000 books in total. The group requested the personal details of the users from their providers, but they refused to hand them over citing privacy concerns. As a result, BREIN is now taking the matter to court.

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