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07.01.16

Links 1/7/2016: New PCLinuxOS Magazine, Mageia 6 Close to Release

Posted in News Roundup at 6:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • UK farming left ‘in the dark’ after Brexit, says NSA

      British agriculture has been left “completely in the dark and rudderless” since voters went to the polls to make their voices heard on European Union membership, the National Sheep Association (NSA) has stressed.

      The organisation, which works to safeguard the interests of British sheep farmers, said there has been “nothing but political rhetoric and unanswered questions” since the British public voted to leave the European Union in last week’s referendum.

  • Finance

    • Hollande says competition rules need ‘adapting’ under new post-Brexit priorities

      The UK’s decision to leave the European Union has galvanized its remaining members to look anew at where they want to go as a 27-nation bloc. Part of the new policy drive should involve “adapting” competition laws, French President Francois Hollande has said.

    • Spotify’s concerns over Apple Music are obvious but it’s just manufacturing an App Store antitrust issue

      I wish to clarify upfront that I’ve never done any work for Apple or Spotify. A more elaborate disclosure can be found at the end of this post. The perspective from which I am writing this post is that of an app developer who happens to have fought hard for fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) behavior by companies wielding monopoly power. And one of the two iOS apps I’ll launch later this year will come with two different types of subscription offerings, which users can even use in combination. So I do have a strong interest in this, but for now I can’t see any wrongdoing on Apple’s part.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Lewandowski Hire Makes Journalists Choose Between Defending Their Profession and Embracing Its Demise

      Faced with the destruction of journalistic values by the corrupting effects of the profit motive, journalists can either stand up for the principles that brought many of them into the career in the first place—or else identify with the corruption, telling themselves that they’re siding with the smart money even as it destroys the institutions that form the basis for their profession.

      Both reactions were on display in the wake of CNN‘s decision to hire recently fired Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. The conservative New York Post (6/24/16) quoted an anonymous “TV insider” saying that “CNN is facing a near internal revolt over the Corey hiring,”with another unnamed source saying, “Everyone at CNN — and even people who used to work there — are pissed about Trump’s former campaign manager being hired on salary.”

    • BuzzFeed’s Obama Coverage Is 99 Percent Uncritical–and Borderline Creepy

      Since its launch as a scrappy clickbait site in 2006, BuzzFeed has grown to become one of the biggest names in online media and news, venturing into serious news coverage of politics and world events in attempt to add gravitas to a name typically associated with levity and listicles. While BuzzFeed has certainly done important work of late, on issues ranging from sex harassment to AIDS in Africa, when it comes to the most powerful person on earth, however—the president of the United States—its coverage is almost uniformly uncritical and often sycophantic.

    • There Will Be No Early General Election

      Labour and Tories were neck and neck on 32% in the Mail on Sunday Survation poll on 25 June, the day before the Blarites launched their coup against the “unelectable” Corbyn. Before Corbyn became leader, Labour were consistently between 7 and 12 points behind on Survation. That Corbyn has done so well in popular opinion and in elections, is remarkable considering the Blairites who dominate his own parliamentary labour party have been conspiring and briefing against him from day one.

      The coup “rationale” is based on two lies – that Labour was struggling in the polls, and that an early general election is imminent.

      Whoever becomes the new Tory Prime Minister, there is not going to be an early general election. No new Tory PM will throw away the 30 seat gain over Labour the Tories will get from the new Boundary Commission Review.

    • British Conservatives in Chaos Over Brexit, but Labour Party’s in No Position to Pounce

      Until Thursday, the political wrangling in Britain over how, or whether, to withdraw from the European Union — a move supported by a narrow majority of the voters in last week’s referendum, but opposed by 75 percent of the members of Parliament elected just last year — seemed likely to trigger a new general election.

      Although the ruling Conservative Party is not required to call an election until 2020, most political observers expected Prime Minister David Cameron to be replaced by the leader of the campaign for a British exit from the EU, Boris Johnson, who would then want a fresh mandate from the public.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Leak Reveals Secret FBI Guidelines That Basically Give Them Free Rein To Spy On Journalists And Sources

      Eleven months ago, we wrote about a lawsuit filed by the Freedom of the Press Foundation seeking to get a copy of the DOJ’s infamous new rules for spying on journalists. The new rules came about after it had come out that the DOJ had spied on Associated Press reporters as well as lied to a court to claim that Fox News reporter James Rosen was a co-conspirator in a leak investigation. To date, the DOJ has steadfastly refused to reveal the rules.

      Thankfully, someone has now leaked the rules, or at least the 2013 version of some of the rules, which show that, contrary to what then Attorney General Eric Holder had suggested, it’s still ridiculously easy for the FBI to spy on reporters and their sources in trying to hunt down a leak. In fact, it appears that these rules, around the use of NSLs are actually separate from the rules that Holder was talking about — meaning that there’s an entirely separate path for the DOJ to spy on journalists. The rules show that the FBI can just issue a National Security Letter (NSL), the mechanism that the FBI has been known to regularly abuse without consequence and which it’s trying to expand. The “process” by which the media is supposedly protected under these new rules is that if someone in the DOJ is seeking an NSL to get phone records of someone in the media, they need to get some permission from someone else in the DOJ first…

    • Michael Bloomberg Comes Down On The Wrong Side Of The Crypto Wars: Supports Backdooring Encryption

      This is perhaps not surprising, but still disappointing. Former NYC mayor and current billionaire media/tech company boss Michael Bloomberg has come down on the wrong side of the “going dark” encryption fight. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed (possible paywall link) he scolds tech execs for daring to side with Apple over the FBI and the Justice Department on the question of backdooring encryption. Bloomberg does not appear to actually understand the issues at play.

      [...]

      Note the false framing here. Bloomberg is setting up the argument that backdooring encryption for the sake of the FBI/DOJ is “good for national security and public safety.” He’s wrong. It’s not. It’s not even close. It actually puts many more people at risk, because the only way to backdoor encryption effectively is to break that encryption and put everyone who uses it at much more risk. Yes, it means that the FBI/NSA won’t be able to track some people, but it’s a very small number of people, and they have other ways to track them without undermining the security of everyone else.

    • IoT Already at Work in 65% of Enterprises

      A majority of enterprises, 65 percent in fact, have already incorporated Internet of Things (IoT) technologies into their environments, gathering data from sensors, equipment and other devices and using it for business purposes, according to 451 Research’s inaugural Voice of the Enterprise: Internet of Things report. The most common type of data collected is of the machine sensing type (71.5 percent), followed by environmental data (20 percent) and biological data from people and animals (8.5 percent).

    • 84% of IoT Data Comes From Data Center Equipment

      Even though they may not be familiar with the term “Internet of Things” (IoT), 65 percent of organizations are collecting data from equipment, devices, or other connected endpoints. And they’re using that data for business purposes, according to an IoT study conducted by 451 Research.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Reporter kicked out of Gatineau courtroom over dress

      A reporter says she was kicked out of the Gatineau courthouse because her skirt was too short and her shoulders were exposed.

      CTV Ottawa’s Annie Bergeron-Oliver says she was in court to cover a manslaughter case Thursday morning when a male police officer approached her and said she’d have to step out.

      “Of course, I’m confused. I don’t have my cell phone out. I’m not eating. I don’t think I’ve broken any rules,” she told CFRA’s Ottawa Now. “So he pulls me outside and says ‘I’m sorry. Your skirt is too short. ‘ ”

    • Illinois Court Says State’s Cyberstalking Law Is Unconstitutional

      One of several problems with hastily-enacted laws meant to deal with advances in technology is that they often skip a step or several when being written. In many cases, the step skipped is an important one: the consideration of intent. By crafting laws that cater to subjective views of a situation — whether it’s meant to address cyberbullying or other forms of online harassment — the laws blow past, sometimes intentionally, the requirement that there be malicious intent behind the targeted actions.

      This has led to courts striking down newly-enacted laws as unconstitutional because they have skipped this step. Without this requirement in place, the laws curb free speech by enacting new limits on First Amendment expression based almost solely on subjective reading of the allegedly “criminal” content.

    • Chatbot Helps Drivers Appeal Over $4 Million In Bogus Parking Tickets

      In what is likely a sign of the coming government-rent-seeking apocalypse, a 19-year-old Stanford student from the UK has created a bot that assists users in challenging parking tickets. The inevitable result of parking nearly anywhere can now be handled with something other than a) meekly paying the fine or b) throwing them away until a bench warrant is issued.

      While a variety of bots have been created to handle a variety of tasks, very few have handled them quite as well as Joshua Browder’s “robot lawyer” — which is certain to draw some attention from disgruntled government agencies who are seeing this revenue stream drying up.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Access To Medicines Resolution Adopted By UN Human Rights Council

      A resolution on access to medicines proposed by a number of developing countries was adopted today by the United Nations Human Rights Council, as well as a resolution on enhancing capacity-building in public health. This marks yet another United Nations fora in which developing countries seek to raise the issue of access to medicines, particularly with regard to high prices.

    • First DTSA decision entered, as new trade secrets cases roll in [Ed: Anti-whistleblower law already being put to use]

      The Northern District of California appears to be the first federal court to enter a written decision under the Defend Trade Secret Act.

    • Kanye West’s ‘Famous’ music video: publicity rights vs the First Amendment

      Kanye West’s music video for “Famous” has sparked outrage for portraying naked celebrities in bed, in the form of life-like wax figures. It is not simply the nudity, but the individuals portrayed, which has led to criticism; Rihanna is seen lying next to former boyfriend and abuser, Chris Brown, alleged serial rapist Bill Cosby is featured, as well as Taylor Swift, Anna Wintour and Amber Rose. Subsequent to the release of the video, Kanye tweeted, “Can somebody sue me already #I’llwait” but later deleted it.

    • Copyrights/Culture

      • Think Tank: The Library Of Congress Has Too Many Librarians, So We Should Reject New Nominee To Run It

        When you get quotes like that — especially on the record — for someone retiring from a longstanding job, you know things were bad. And Hayden appears by almost any measure to be perfect for the job. She’s run large libraries, showing that she has the knowledge and administrative skills to run the Library of Congress. She’s also got experience dealing with a variety of policy issues, including ones around surveillance and access to information. I’ve spoken to many people who either know or have worked with Hayden, and I can’t recall ever hearing such levels of praise about anyone.

        But, of course, some are unhappy about this. But with such a supremely qualified nominee, the attacks have been weird and getting weirder. We recently wrote about a laughable complaint that Hayden was “pro-obscenity” because she fought against mandatory porn filters on all computers in libraries. And now someone has pointed out a complaint from Hans von Spakovsky from the Heritage Foundation, claiming that Hayden is unqualified for the position… because she’s a librarian. Really.

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