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07.19.16

Links 19/7/2016: ARM and Opera Buyout

Posted in News Roundup at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Bryan Lunduke and Matt Hartley – The Boys Are Back

    After some “going back and forth”, Bryan and I have decided it was high time we did a proper show together. Here are the details you need to know. Yes, it’s actually happening!

  • Top 6 Desktop Linux Blunders

    Ever since I first tried Linux on my desktop years ago, I’ve found myself wincing at what I felt were avoidable blunders. This observation doesn’t affect one distro more than another, rather it’s ongoing issues I’ve watch in utter amazement happen time and time again.

    No, I’m not giving a free pass to proprietary operating systems as they also have their share of epic blunder moments. But with Linux on the desktop, I guess you could say it just hits a bit closer to home. Remember, these are not merely bugs – I’m also talking about avoidable issues that affect folks even if they don’t realize it.

  • Desktop

    • Microsoft Releases Patch to Block Linux from Running on the Original Surface RT [Ed: but Microsoft loves Linux]

      The Register claims that MS16-094 fixes a loophole that allowed users to install other operating systems on Windows RT devices, including here Linux. With Windows RT becoming an OS with no future, many have looked into ways to install a different operating system on the Surface RT, but most attempts failed because of the locked bootloader and the other security systems that Microsoft put in place.

  • Kernel Space

    • Intel Developer Proposes “Kernel NET Policy” For Better Linux Network Performance

      Intel developer Kan Liang has published a set of 30 patches amount to more than two thousand lines of new kernel for implementing what he calls the Kernel NET Policy.

    • SGX For Linux — Intel Open Sources A Tool To Protect Your Code And Data

      As promised, Intel has open sourced an early version of its SGX tool for Linux. Intel SGX is a set of instructions that create a private region for sensitive code and data. This enclave is invisible to even the machine’s CPU with root privileges. At the moment, this release only supports Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit version.

    • Hardware Design for Linux Engineers by Grant Likely

      At the Embedded Linux Conference, Grant Likely — who is a Linux kernel engineer, and maintainer of the Linux Device Tree subsystem used by many embedded systems — described his embedded hardware journey in a presentation called “Hardware Design for Linux Engineers” — or as he put it, “explaining stuff I only learned six months ago.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel Has More DRM Graphics Fixes Needed For Kabylake In Linux 4.7

        The Linux 4.7 kernel is expected to be officially released this coming weekend, but a pile of Intel Kabylake fixes are needed if the DRM graphics support is to be in order.

        Intel’s Daniel Vetter sent in a request to DRM subsystem maintainer David Airlie to consider pulling these Kabylake (KBL) fixes for Linux 4.7. He explained, “here’s the pile of kbl cherry-picks assembled by Mika&Rodrigo. It’s a bit much, but all well-contained to kbl code and been tested for a while in drm-intel-next. Still separate in case too much, but in that case I think we’d need to disable kbl by default again (which would be annoying too) in 4.7.”

      • Maxwell OpenGL Improvements Coming To Nouveau
      • Intel Finishes Up Another OpenGL ES 3.2 Extension In Mesa
      • libinput 1.4.0

        libinput 1.4.0 is now available. New features since the RC are a reduced
        middlebutton area on Dell clickpads. All Dell touchpads have a visible
        marker between the left and the right button so the middle button can be
        smaller too – users have a visual guide where to click.

      • Libinput 1.4 Officially Released With Graphics Tablet Modes & More

        Libinput 1.4 was officially released over night to add new features to this input handling library used by Wayland, X.Org, and Mir systems.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt WebBrowser 1.0

        We have recently open sourced Qt WebBrowser!

      • Qt WebBrowser 1.0 Open-Sourced
      • KDE Neon OS, a review

        After hopping between Red Hat Linux, CentOS, Fedora, and Ubuntu LTS over the past decade, I recently decided to give KDE Neon a shot.

        The potential of a cutting edge desktop environment on a stable 16.04 Ubuntu base really attracted me, the first because I’m a stickler for a good GUI based UX, and the latter because most current software is built against RHEL/Ubuntu.

        However I should preface this by saying that I spend more time on Windows than the GNU/*nix based OS’s combined, and so my perspective in this review may be different than how you feel.

      • System Settings help needed

        First of all I need help, but before you help me I’d like to show you what a user without development skills can do to make plasma better.

        I already post about the system settings redesign and cause developer are busy with other tasks, I reviewed the existing modules and update them to fit (more) our vision. I know it’s not how I would prefere in the end but I did the changes without development skills (no compiling, no new code). I use qt-creator for edit the ui files and play around with qml.

        The Mouse cursor theme was updated, by move the buttons to bottom as in most other kcm’s. The height of the resolution depandant button will be change soon. (left plasma 5.7 right 5.8)

      • Current status for mailrendering in kube & kmail
      • From LaTeX to ConTeXt

        Every year I start to create a new book, every year I delete the book folder because I think it’s going into the wrong direction, and ths year is no different, I’m starting to write a book about Qt5 programming with C++11, I hope this time things can go different. And what I usually do is setup my LaTeX enviroment (kile, texlive, a few libraries and all that) – but I was hitting a UTF8 issue that \includepackage[utf8 or utf8-x][inputenc] didn’t solved… And if you are not well versed in Tex debugging things can go hairwire in just no time.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 6 Wallpaper, OpenMandriva 3 RC, Desktop Blunders

        Today in Linux news the Mageia project announced the winner of their artwork contest for upcoming version 6 as well as some of the other being included. OpenMandriva 3.0 Release Candidate 1 is available for download although the project has yet to announce it and Korora 22 is nearing the end of support. Matt Hartley identified the top six Linux desktop blunders and several Linux reviews caught my eye today.

      • And the winner is….

        We have completed the artwork contest and would like to extend our thanks to everyone that took part, there were some excellent pieces submitted and choosing the winners was a tough task.

        We would like to congratulate Jacques Daugeron on winning the background contest, the runners up will be available in the extra theme package as well.

        Here is the signature background for Mageia 6, it will be included in the next updates to the theme packages.

      • Breeze everywhere

        The first half of this year, I had the chance to work on icon and design for two big free-software projects.

        First, I’ve been hired to work on Mageia. I had to refresh the look for Mageia 6, which mostly meant making new icons for the Mageia Control Center and all the internal tools.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Shoots to Solve Container Storage with Gluster and OpenShift

        Red Hat is the newest organization to take a stab at the persistent storage challenge for containers. Last month, the open source giant announced a new Gluster-based storage option for OpenShift, the company’s open source platform for running containerized apps.

        Gluster and OpenShift are two key parts of the Red Hat technology stack. Gluster provides open source distributed storage, while OpenShift offers an integrated, one-stop platform for deploying and managing containers using Docker and Kubernetes.

      • Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 Xfce – As good as it gets

        CentOS 7.2 Xfce is the most satisfactory distribution on the market today, alongside Trusty. Not perfect, not plug-n-play, but it is supported, stable and quite friendly. I did need several hours to sort things out, and that’s the price for converting a server distro into a home operating system.

        In this guise, it works well, with a few small exceptions, one or two outstanding niggles that need fixing, and the knowledge that I needed some third-party gear to achieve the level of productivity that I normally seek. That precludes CentOS 7 from being perfect or a candidate for my production setup, but it might be just the thing for you. If you’re not as bothered as I am around unofficial repos and adding some extra software on your own, then look no further. CentOS 7.2 Xfce is a slick, modern, good-looking choice with all the goodies for a healthy modern life. It is better than KDE and Gnome flavors, and comes with the unbeatable blend of simplicity and functionality.

        If anyone out there is interested in making the perfect home distro, based on Red Hat, please consider my words as a template for what needs doing. Drivers (signed), third-party software, basic customization. And that’s it. So simple. Then again, so difficult. But this is the most sensible formula for desktop use you will have seen in a long, long time. Enjoy.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Korora 22 Is About to Reach EOL

          As Korora uses Fedora as the base for our distribution and thus follow the Fedora Project’s life cycle, Korora 22 Selina will reach it’s End Of Life status on 22nd July.

        • Fedora APAC budget FAD

          Last week I attended the Fedora APAC budget planning FAD for FY’18. Ie. planning for Fedora activities that we expect to conduct between Mar 2017 – Feb 2018 and requisite budget for the same. Last year with Fedora.next reforms, we adopted a new approach to regional budget planning with an aim to increase transparency in the process. In this, each geographical region(ex. APAC) elects three delegates who handle major regional responsibilities. The Treasurer manages regional finance. The Logistician takes care of swag/media/banner production, dispatch and general coordination for Fedora presence at various events. And the Storyteller would collate information about regional events/activities and their impact/benefits to the Fedora project and report the same to the Fedora Community Action and Impact Lead(FCL) and the Fedora Council.

        • Design Prototypes – Week 2
        • FESCo Elections: Interview with Dominik Mierzejewski (rathann)

          I have a degree in software engineering. For over 12 years, I’ve worked as a Unix system administrator, with a short stint as a software engineer. Currently, I work for Citi as a senior IT infrastructure analyst. My primary responsibility at work is expert-level support of a heterogeneous environment consisting of RHEL, Solaris and AIX systems, both physical and virtual machines. Working at Citi while simultaneously being a Fedora developer allowed me to see both ends of the distribution development process and made me appreciate the excellent work of Fedora contributors even more. My past jobs include development of a particle detector model at CERN and system and network administration at the supercomputing centre of the University of Warsaw.

    • Debian Family

      • Enter new tool for newbie: Handy Linux

        Handy Linux has come out with handy Linux its new weapon in its arsenal. It is quite a simplified version to use the Linux operating system on desktop. The Handy Linux surfaced at around three years ago, however in June the latest version was released.

        The developers have made it easy to remove the layers of Handy Linux to reveal the more standard Linux environments which the users can learn. The users who do not need the IT installation tools included in the initial installation can delete them using Handy2Ddebian app from Handy’s main menu.

        Handy Linux is a standard Debian based OS which is light and shows some mix of Xfce desktop ecosystem. The remixed desktop is the signature mark for the Handy Linux.

      • Video: Systemd in Debian, a status update

        On July 5th, 2016 Michael Biebl spoke at DebConf16 on systemd in Debian.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Demo Wireless Convergence on Bq M10 Tablet

            A video demoing wireless convergence on the Bq M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet has been shared by Canonical today.

            Ubuntu phone fans will know that wireless display technology was made available to users of the Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu phone in last month’s OTA-11 update.

            But for its latest over-the-air update Ubuntu is bringing it to the Bq Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition slate, which went on sale earlier in the year.

            “Our latest OTA-12 has just landed and we’re excited that you can now wirelessly connect your M10 tablet to a monitor,” Canonical say in the description accompanying the video.

            OTA 12 is, at the time of writing, scheduled to begin phased roll out from July 27, so don’t panic if you don’t get the update just yet!

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 3 open source data visualization tools for Hadoop

    Looking for ways to draw meaningful conclusions from big data?

    In his lightning talk at Great Wide Open 2016, Rommel Garcia gives us quick takeaways for three open source tools that help Hadoop users do just that…

  • Splice Machine 2.0 combines HBase, Spark, NoSQL, relational…and goes open source

    Splice Machine is a well-kept secret though; Zweben told me the company has about 10 customers. Although he hails from the world of commercial software, Zweben believes that open sourcing the Splice Machine product will help spread the word more widely. So version 2 of the product will be available in a free and open source Community Edition with the full database engine. A paid Enterprise Edition, that includes professional support and DevOps features like integration with LDAP and Kerberos as well as backup and restore, will provide the monetization model for the company.

  • Splice Machine Open Sources Dual-Engine Big Data Technology
  • Splice Machine’s New Open-Source RDBMS Sandbox Goes Live on Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • As Splice Machine’s Database Goes Open Source, Apache Spark Could Spur it On

    Around the time that Splice Machine announced a milestone version of its RDBMS, which it bills as “the first hybrid in-memory RDBMS powered by Hadoop and Spark,” its fortunes were starting to rise along with Hadoop’s and Spark’s. In the big data space, there is tremendous need to marry powerful data analytics tools with powerful database tools. If you’re focusing on the Big Data and NoSQL arenas, along with relational databases, Splice Machine is worth a look.

    Now, Splice Machine is going open source, and it is also going live in a sandbox version on Amazon Web Services (AWS), so you can easily give it a try.

    Splice Machine aims to be a database solution that incorporates both the scalability of Hadoop, ANSI SQL, ACID transactions, and the in-memory performance of Spark.

  • How Open Source Guides Digital Transformation

    Almost everyone can agree the digital era is being fueled by five primary forces — mobile, social, sensor technologies, big data and the cloud. But doesn’t open source play a role in digital transformation as well?

    That was one of the topics discussed last week during a roundtable discussion sponsored by MIT Technology Review Custom and EnterpriseDB (EDB). The explored how open source software is helping organizations transform their infrastructures to meet today’s data-driven demands.

  • This Open Source Tool Can Map Out Bitcoin Payments

    Bitcoin is not anonymous. Anyone who has followed the dark web or the continuing regulation of the cryptocurrency should be familiar with that idea. If someone manages to link a real identity to a wallet—something that we’ve seen is possible—they can then follow other transactions around the public blockchain to see where else that person’s money has traveled.

  • CIR’s open-source Impact Tracker is live

    Almost two years ago, I began the process of building an Impact Tracker at The Center for Investigative Reporting to help us better understand the results of our work. Flash forward to today, and we have a custom-built platform that is being used by more than 20 organizations around the world.

    Today, we are releasing an open-source version, available to any organization.

  • OpenWest conference emphasizes importance of open-source technology

    Over 2,000 individuals wearing circuit board badges learned and talked about all things open source this past weekend at the South Towne Expo Center. The OpenWest conference is the largest regional tech conference promoting all things open— hardware, software, data, standards and more.

    The conference is put on by Utah Open Source and sponsored by V School, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Podium and Protocol, among others.

    Open source refers to software that anyone can see and edit. Open-source code is typically created in collaboration with both online and real-life communities. Liz Sands-Adams, OpenWest’s Director of the Privacy Education Track, said, “OpenWest survives because of a volunteer community that believes in empowering the open-source communities around them.”

  • Getting Exposure for Your Open Source Project

    With so many great open source projects spreading like wildfire, it is a great time to be a developer! I spend a considerable amount of time looking for great ideas across the open source community. For me, I’m always searching for modules we might include in our distributions, projects that could be enhanced and commercialized, or even crossovers into other areas for innovations. If something really resonates with our business we will apply resources to furthering that project.

    Generally, the first thing I do is hit the project description to see if it makes a connection with me. If it does, I’ll try it out or tag it for further research, perhaps even mention it on Twitter or discuss internally on a relevant Slack channel. Note, I did not look at your code, I looked at the idea. If you want your code to get out into the community, and actually ignite something bigger, you need to make sure your project is discoverable.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Prometheus unbound: Open source cloud monitoring

      Prometheus, an open source system for monitoring and alerting a wide spectrum of enterprise IT events, including containers, released its 1.0 revision this week.

      It’s also the second product in what amounts to a portfolio assembled by the CNCF (Cloud Native Computing Foundation) for realizing the promise of a container-powered cloud built entirely on open source and open standards.

    • Prometheus reaches 1.0
    • Simplify your OpenStack installation with open source tools

      To avoid any confusion, let’s make this clear: OpenStack is a cloud-operating system. OpenStack is not a VM, but rather sits on top of VMs. Also, OpenStack is written in Python.

      As you install each component, OpenStack installs a command-line tool that works in tandem with it. The problem is that each component — of which there are dozens — has its own command-line tool, each with its own name and parameters. For example, you run Keystone to install users and roles in the Identity Service. Then you run Glance to load VM images. You would then use Nova to deploy those images. After a while, the sheer number of components and their respective command-line tools can get overwhelming.

      So, other than the command line, what options do we have to simplify the OpenStack installation process? Let’s have a look.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Why we use OpenBSD at VidiGuard

      At VidiGuard, we care a lot about physical security. In fact, it’s our job. But equally important to physical security is the security of our customers’ data. We also need a robust, reliable platform that can run with minimal interaction. To make both of those happen, we employ OpenBSD in our on-premise equipment and our data infrastructure. Why OpenBSD?

    • Building a home firewall: review of pfsense

      For some time now, I’ve been running OpenWRT on an RT-N66U device. I initially set that because I had previously been using my Debian-based file/VM server as a firewall, and this had some downsides: every time I wanted to reboot that, Internet for the whole house was down; shorewall took a fair bit of care and feeding; etc.

      I’ve been having indications that all is not well with OpenWRT or the N66U in the last few days, and some long-term annoyances prompted me to search out a different solution. I figured I could buy an embedded x86 device, slap Debian on it, and be set.

    • LLVM 3.9 Has Been Branched, LLVM 4.0 Will Be Up Next

      Right on schedule the LLVM 3.9 code was branched today in preparation for its formal release next month.

      LLVM 3.9 is another six-month feature update to the LLVM compiler stack. We’ll have more on its features and performance in the weeks ahead, in addition to the LLVM Clang benchmarks we already do daily with it at LinuxBenchmarking.com.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • The Slashdot Interview With Larry Wall

      I run firefox on Linux, and chrome on my ancient Google phone, but I’m not a browser wonk. Maybe I’ll have more opinions on that after our JS backend is done for Perl 6…

    • Pulp 2.8.6 Generally Available

      This release includes a small number of fixes to severe bugs in Pulp Platform, the RPM plugin, and the Docker plugin.

    • 11 Programming Languages For DevOps Success

      DevOps uses languages for software development and languages for deployment automation. If you want to be successful with either side of DevOps, these languages will help.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Physicists Achieve Atomic Data Storage

      Researchers from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have created a rewritable data-storage device capable of storing information at the level of single atoms representing single bits of information.

      The technology, which is described in the current issue of Nature Nanotechnology, is capable of packing data as dense as 500 terabytes per square inch. Theoretically, the device could store the entire contents of the US Library of Congress within a 0.1-mm-wide cube—though the proof-of-concept demonstrated by the group topped out at 1 kilobyte.

  • Hardware

    • Hardware Acceleration Teams Up with Software

      Like far too many things in this world, enterprise networking seems to bounce between two extremes. One year, hardware acceleration is all the rage. The next, a software-only approach seeks to transform the way networks are built and deployed altogether. In reality, new networking approaches such as software-defined networking (SDN) and networking functions virtualization (NFV) will require a balance between hardware and software.

    • SoftBank to acquire ARM

      The boards of directors of SoftBank and ARM have announced that they have reached an agreement on the terms of a recommended all-cash acquisition of ARM for GBP24.3 billion (US$32.2 billion).

    • ARM chip designer to be bought by Japan’s Softbank

      UK technology firm ARM Holdings is to be bought by Japan’s Softbank for £24bn ($32bn) it confirmed on Monday.

      The board of ARM is expected to recommend shareholders accept the offer – which is around a 43% premium on its closing market value of £16.8bn on Friday.

      The Cambridge-based firm designs microchips used in most smartphones, including Apple’s and Samsung’s.

    • ARM Is Being Bought Out By Japan’s SoftBank

      HARDWARE –
      Many news reports this morning are indicating that Japan’s SoftBank is working out a deal to buy ARM Holdings and that a deal could be officially announced as soon as this morning.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Field Drug Tests: The $2 Tool That Can Destroy Lives

      It only takes $2 and a few minutes to ruin someone’s life. Field tests for drugs are notoriously unreliable and yet they’re still considered to be evidence enough to deprive someone of their freedom and start a chain of events that could easily end in joblessness and/or homelessness.

      Ryan Gabrielson and Topher Sanders — writing for the New York Times magazine — take a detailed look at these field tests, filtered through the experience of Amy Albritton, who spent 21 days in jail thanks to a false positive.

      A traffic stop that resulted in a vehicle search turned up an empty syringe and a “suspicious” crumb of something on the floor. The field test said it was crack cocaine. Albritton was taken to a county jail where she spent the next three weeks after pleading guilty to possession, rather than face a trial and a possible sentence of two years.

      The crumb of whatever had been sent on to a lab for verification, but with Albritton’s guilty plea, there was no hurry to ensure the substance retrieved from Albritton’s car was actually illegal. In fact, with the case adjudicated and closed, the evidence could simply have been destroyed. It wasn’t. Long after Albritton had been released, the substance was tested.

    • The Indian Point Nukes: a Disaster Waiting to Happen

      “Indian Point” is a film about the long problem-plagued Indian Point nuclear power plants that are “so, so risky—so close to New York City,” notes its director and producer Ivy Meeropol. “Times Square is 35 miles away.”

      The plants constitute a disaster waiting to happen threatening especially the lives of the 22 million people who live within 50 miles from them. “There is no way to evacuate—what I’ve learned about an evacuation plan is that there is none,” says Meeropol. The plants are “on two earthquake fault lines,” she notes. “And there is a natural gas pipeline right there that an earthquake could rupture.”

      Meanwhile, both plants, located in Buchanan, New York along the Hudson River, are now essentially running without licenses. The federal government’s 40-year operating license for Indian Point 2 expired in 2013 and Indian Point 3’s license expired last year. Their owner, Entergy, is seeking to have them run for another 20 years—although nuclear plants were never seen as running for more than 40 years because of radioactivity embrittling metal parts and otherwise causing safety problems. (Indian Point 1 was opened in 1962 and closed in 1974, its emergency core cooling system deemed impossible to fix.)

    • Defeat Of Philip Morris In Its Corporate Sovereignty Case Against Uruguay Likely To Open Floodgates For Tobacco Packaging Legislation

      Last December, Techdirt wrote about Australia fending off an attempt by Philip Morris to use corporate sovereignty to overturn the country’s plain-packaging regulations. As we pointed out, this wasn’t proof that investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) was no threat to national sovereignty, despite what some were claiming. Australia won on purely procedural grounds, not because the ISDS tribunal agreed that Australia had a fundamental right to regulate.

  • Security

    • Flaw in vBulletin add-on leads to Ubuntu Forums database breach

      Ubuntu support forums users should be on the lookout for dodgy emails after the website’s database of 2 million email addresses was stolen.

      Canonical announced the security breach on Friday after being notified that someone was claiming to have a copy of the UbuntuForums.org database. An investigation revealed that an attacker did get access to the website’s user records through a vulnerability.

    • Flaw in vBulletin add-on leads to Ubuntu Forums database breach
    • Canonical hack exposes private data of 2 million forum members
    • Canonical sets off alarm after Ubuntu forum data breach
    • Ubuntu Linux forums hacked
    • Canonical warns of Ubuntu Forums breach
    • The Hacking of Ubuntu Linux Forums: Lessons Learned
    • Ubuntu Forums Breach Affects Two Million Users
    • Two Million Passwords Breached in Ubuntu Hack
    • VBulletin flaw exploited in breach of Ubuntu Forums

      A known SQL injection vulnerability affecting vBulletin software was exploited by an attacker to breach the Ubuntu Forums database.

    • Ubuntu Forums data breach exposes 2 million users

      Ubuntu aficionados beware, as a data breach of the Ubuntu Forum has resulted in the leak of information for two million users. It should be noted that the breach has not hit Canonical Ltd., which runs the Ubuntu operating system, but rather the forum, so other services are still safe.

      The notice from Canonical explains that the breach was made possible through an SQL injection vulnerability in the forum’s Forumrunner add-on, which had not been patched. By injecting certain formatted SQL into the forum database, the hacker could then reach any table, particularly the “user” table.

    • Ubuntu Forums Suffer Data breach; Credit Goes to SQL Flaw
    • Ubuntu Forums Hacked, Attackers Get Away With Names, Emails And Salted Passwords
    • Ubuntu Linux forum hacked, data of 2 million users leaked
    • Notice of Ubuntu Forums breach; user passwords not compromised
    • Ubuntu Forums hacked (again)

      Ubuntu Forums was previously hacked in 2013.

    • Ubuntu Forum Hack Exposes 2 Million Users

      Ubuntu Linux developer Canonical has confirmed that a data breach exposed personal information of two million users of its forum.

    • How to scam $750,000 out of Microsoft Office: Two-factor auth calls to premium-rate numbers

      Gaming two-factor authentication systems with premium rate phone numbers can be very profitable – or it was until the flaws got reported.

      Belgian security researcher Arne Swinnen noticed that the authentication systems used by Facebook-owned Instagram, Google and Microsoft allow access tokens to be received by a voice call as well as a text message. By linking accounts to a premium-rate phone number he controlled and could pocket money from, he was able to scam the three companies out of cash – in some cases potentially thousands of dollars a day.

    • How Do Hackers Easily Crack Your Strongest Passwords — Explained
    • Security Skills Give Open Source Professionals a Career Advantage

      In today’s market, open source professionals with security expertise are crucial players on an employer roster. The growing use of cloud and big data, as well as the overhaul and expansion of many companies’ tech infrastructures, are driving the demand and need for professionals with this skillset.

      According to the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report, 14 percent of hiring managers and recruiters surveyed believe security to be the most important open source skill to date, ranking third just behind cloud technologies (51 percent) and networking (21 percent). Employers aren’t the only ones that see the value in security; 16 percent of open source professionals surveyed cited security as the most important open source skill and the biggest driver for open source growth in 2016.

    • AT&T Unveils Powerful New Security Platform

      AT&T this week unveiled a new powerful security platform, using big data analysis based on a Hadoop architecture which allows the company to ingest and analyze 5 billion security events in less than ten minutes.

    • Software security: Does quality provide a blueprint for change?

      Software security has been in the news a lot lately, between various high profile social media hacks to massive data breaches it feels like people in the industry are always talking about security, or more appropriately, the lack thereof. While having a conversation with somebody from my company’s internal security team a few weeks ago I had a bit of an epiphany: security in 2016 is much like quality was in 1999.

      Let’s think back 17 years and remember what the quality process was like in 1999. Code was written in rather monolithic chunks with very little thought (if any) given to how that code was to be tested. Testers were on completely separate teams, often times denied access to early versions of the software and code. Testers would write massive sets of test cases from technical specifications and would accept large drops of code from developers only after a feature was considered completed. Automation was either a pipe dream or only existed for very stable features that had been around for a while. A manual testing blitz would then kick off, bugs would be filed, work thrown back over the wall, rinse and repeat. After several of these cycles it was the testers job to give a go/no-go on whether the product was good enough to ship, essentially acting as gatekeepers.

    • As a blockchain-based project teeters, questions about the technology’s security

      There’s no shortage of futurists, industry analysts, entrepreneurs and IT columnists who in the past year have churned out reports, articles and books touting blockchain-based ledgers as the next technology that will run the world.

      In the middle of all this hype is a small fire that threatens to put some of those words to ash: The hijacking last month of around US$40 million of dollars worth of a cryptocurrency called ether – named after its blockchain platform, Ethereum — from The DAO, a crowd-sourced investment vehicle that has so far raised over US$100 million in the digital currency. Instead, the DAO has become paralyzed and on the verge of collapse.

    • Sandia Labs Researchers Build DNA-Based Encrypted Storage

      Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico are experimenting with encrypted DNA storage for archival applications.

      Husband and wife team George and Marlene Bachand are biological engineers with a remarkable vision of the future.

      The researchers at the Sandia National Laboratories Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies foresee a time when a speck of DNA on a piece of paper the size of a millimeter could securely store the entire anthology of Shakespeare’s works.

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Using a HooToo Nano as a magic VPN box
    • opensshd – user enumeration
    • Criminals plant banking malware where victims least expect it

      A criminal gang recently found an effective way to spread malware that drains online bank accounts. According to a blog post published Monday, they bundled the malicious executable inside a file that installed a legitimate administrative tool available for download.

      The legitimate tool is known as Ammyy Admin and is used to provide remote access to a computer so someone can work on it even when they don’t have physical access to it. According to Monday’s blog post, members of a criminal enterprise known as Lurk somehow managed to tamper with the Ammyy installer so that it surreptitiously installed a malicious spyware program in addition to the legitimate admin tool people expected. To increase their chances of success, the criminals modified the PHP script running on the Ammyy Web server, suggesting they had control over the website.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Germany axe attack: Assault on train in Wuerzburg

      Initial reports said up to 20 people had been injured but it was later revealed that at least 14 had been treated for shock.

      The motive for the attack is not yet clear.

      Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said the attacker was a 17-year-old Afghan refugee who had been living in the nearby town of Ochsenfurt.

    • Hyping Terrorism, Stoking Fear Following Nice, France Incident

      Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called for banning Sharia. Will greater war on Islam follow than already?

      Wall Street Journal editors hyped Islamophobia, saying “Jihad has become the default assumption of our age.”

      They urged strengthening NATO, shamelessly claiming it’s to protect freedoms from “21st-century barbarism,” ignoring the real thing.

      State-sponsored war on humanity is terrorism’s most extremist form. Expect lots more coming – an endless body count of imperial victims.

    • Donald Trump Doesn’t Care If He’s a Hypocrite About Mike Pence’s Iraq Vote

      Donald Trump has condemned the Iraq War as a “disaster,” but he showed little concern during a 60 Minutes interview, broadcast Sunday, that his vice presidential candidate, Indiana’s Republican Gov. Mike Pence, was an outspoken advocate of that invasion.

      After Trump proclaimed that the United States should not have invaded Iraq because it had no involvement in 9/11, interviewer Lesley Stahl reminded him that his running mate, then-Indiana Republican Rep. Mike Pence, voted to authorize the war.

    • Would Turkey Be Justified in Kidnapping or Drone-Killing the Turkish Cleric in Pennsylvania?

      Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan places the blame for this weekend’s failed coup attempt on an Islamic preacher and one-time ally, Fethullah Gulen (above), who now resides in Pennsylvania with a green card. Erdogan is demanding the U.S. extradite Gulen, citing prior extraditions by the Turkish government of terror suspects demanded by the U.S.: “Now we’re saying deliver this guy who’s on our terrorist list to us.” Erdogan has been requesting Gulen’s extradition from the U.S. for at least two years, on the ground that he has been subverting the Turkish government while harbored by the U.S. Thus far, the U.S. is refusing, with Secretary of State John Kerry demanding of Turkey: “Give us the evidence, show us the evidence. We need a solid legal foundation that meets the standard of extradition.”

      In light of the presence on U.S. soil of someone the Turkish government regards as a “terrorist” and a direct threat to its national security, would Turkey be justified in dispatching a weaponized drone over Pennsylvania to find and kill Gulen if the U.S. continues to refuse to turn him over, or sending covert operatives to kidnap him? That was the question posed yesterday by Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor of Guantánamo’s military commissions who resigned in protest over the use of torture-obtained evidence:

      That question, of course, is raised by the fact that the U.S. has spent many years now doing exactly this: employing various means — including but not limited to drones — to abduct and kill people in multiple countries whom it has unilaterally decided (with no legal process) are “terrorists” or who otherwise are alleged to pose a threat to its national security. Since it cannot possibly be the case that the U.S. possesses legal rights that no other country can claim — right? — the question naturally arises whether Turkey would be entitled to abduct or kill someone it regards as a terrorist when the U.S. is harboring him and refuses to turn him over.

    • Of density, banality and terror

      Once again there will be an influx of notes of sorrow, by now customary calls for unity in face of the terror gripping our cities, our streets: the spaces of our public, convivial existence.

      But there is already something not-quite-right about the prime sentiment that grips some of us this morning as we skim through the endless videos of Nice’s howling urban beach-front stampede. The feeling that the city’s screaming agony is on the verge of becoming as commonplace as the street lights and the wide avenues on which it unfolds: an inseparable, however unwelcome, by-product of urban life.

    • Military Coups, Turkey and Flimsy Democracy

      Any aspect of instability in the state of Turkey is going to be greeted with trepidation by those partners who bank on its security role between East and West. The European Union, that rattled club of members who fear the next onslaught against its institutional credibility, have been bolstering Ankara in the hope to keep refugees at bay. There are security exchanges, and promises (always promises) of sweeter deals regarding the movement of Turkish citizens.

    • Turkey’s Faltering Democracy

      Turkish President Erdogan crushed a military coup this weekend but this victory for civilian rule will do little to revive Turkish democracy which Erdogan has been strangling with his autocratic grip on power, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • China’s Bad Day in Court
    • Theresa May Says “Yes,” She’s Prepared to Kill Hundreds of Thousands in Nuke Attack

      Newly installed U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is prepared to authorize a nuclear strike that could kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

      So she said before Parliament on Monday, as the body debated whether to renew Trident, Britain’s aging nuclear weapons system.

      According to the Independent, May was challenged on her support for the program by the SNP’s George Kerevan, who asked: “Are you prepared to authorize a nuclear strike that could kill hundreds of thousands of men, women and children?”

    • Iraq must not be forgotten: The humanitarian crisis worsens

      As ISIS continues to have devastating effects on Iraq, the country is facing some of the most profound challenges it has seen in the last decade. Rachel Sider, Humanitarian Policy Advisor, comments on the need for governments to prioritize the area as they meet this week in the United States at a donor pledging conference.

    • Israel’s Wolf-Crying about Iran’s Bomb

      Despite Israeli and neocon-led doomsday talk, the year-old Iranian nuclear agreement has achieved its principal goal of stopping Iran from getting the Bomb and has even quieted alarums from Israel, writes Trita Parsi.

    • CODEPINK Marches to Oppose Unlimited Funding for War Abroad While Millions Live in Poverty at Home

      CODEPINK will be part of the Coalition to Stop Trump and March on the RNC and the End Poverty Now! March on Monday, July 18th to protest the GOP’s corporate backers profiteering off of endless war abroad while the shameful epidemic of poverty continues unabated in the richest country on the planet.

    • Long Knives in Ankara: Victorious Erdogan begins Purge of Judiciary, Army

      President Tayyip Erdogan is taking advantage of the failed coup against him to purge the judiciary and security forces of anyone who is lukewarm toward or actively critical of him.

      These steps are, of course, the opposite of the ones Erdogan should be taking– he should be attempting to bring the country together in unity and to re-include in the polity those he has isolated and excluded in recent years. Instead, he is scapegoating and purging.

      Erdogan characterizes this purge as against the secretive and cult-like Gulen movement, one element in Turkey’s landscape of the religious Right. He blames the Gulen movement for the attempted coup, though its leader (in exile in Pennsylvania), Fethullah Gulen, denies the allegation.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Offshore wind powers ahead in Europe

      A building boom is underway offshore in Europe. Up to 400 giant wind turbines are due to be built off the northeast coast of the UK in what will be the world’s largest offshore wind development.

      Output from the Dogger Bank project will be 1.2 Gigawatts – enough to power more than a million homes.

      Next year, a 150-turbine wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands is due to start operating, and other schemes along the Dutch coast are in the works.

    • The British Climate Department Is Gone — But It Could Have More Power Than Ever

      The fallout from Brexit continues. The pound has hit record lows against the dollar.

      [...]

      “This is shocking news. Less than a day into the job and it appears that the new Prime Minister has already downgraded action to tackle climate change, one of the biggest threats we face,” Friends of the Earth U.K. CEO Craig Bennett said in a statement emailed to ThinkProgress.

      But while changing the actual name of the office that works on climate change might seem extreme, the change in branding might not be indicative of where the government plans to go.

      Simon Bullock, a spokesperson for Friends of the Earth, noted that Greg Clarke, the new head of the newly formed department, is “decent” on climate. “It’s reassuring that although [climate change] is not in the new department’s title, Clark at least sees climate as a part of his role,” Bullock said in an email.

  • Finance

    • Ukip’s trade policy would leave Britain isolated and vulnerable

      Say what you like about the UK Independence party, but do not call them economic isolationists. Ukip is mustard-keen on free trade as long as the EU is not negotiating on Britain’s behalf. Buoyed by its European election victory and clutching sweat-stained copies of David Ricardo’s pro-trade economic treatise, Ukip is promising a new trade deal as soon as Britain’s exit liberates the UK from the dead hand of European protectionism.

    • Revoking an Article 50

      The vote on 23 June for the UK to leave the EU is beginning to expose uncertainties in the withdrawal procedure laid down by Article 50 of the EU Treaty. Among the issues currently being debated is whether it would be possible to revoke a formal Article 50 notice to withdraw from the EU before the withdrawal process has been completed. In other words, would the die have been cast irretrievably for the UK to exit the European Union once Article 50 is triggered, or could the process be reversed before its conclusion if the UK wished to do so?

    • Lao Holdings continues legal battle on Savan Vegas sale

      Sanum Investments Ltd and its parent company, Lao Holdings NV, say they filed on Friday the latest move in a legal battle concerning the Savan Vegas Hotel and Entertainment Complex – a casino hotel in Savannakhet, Laos.

      The legal move opposes what is known as a ‘motion to dismiss’ filed earlier by San Marco Capital Partners LLC, a U.S.-based private investment firm that had been asked by the Laos government to handle the sale of Savan Vegas.

      The opposition to the motion to dismiss was filed with the United States District Court in Delaware.

    • SNP MPs at Westminster are giving their £7,000 pay rise to charity

      Westminster MPs of all parties are getting a 10 per cent, £7,000, boost to their pay packets after the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority said they were not paid enough.

    • Greenpeace replaces Brexit battle bus ‘lies’ with ‘messages of hope’ in Westminster stunt

      Greenpeace has acquired the Vote Leave battle bus and parked it in Westminster where it has been covered with thousands of messages for the new Government.

      They overhauled the bus to replace the “lies” about EU funding with demands for the “truth” in a stunt outside Parliament on Monday morning.

      The environmental activists are calling on members of the public to send in messages for the “rebranding” of the bus.

    • My 350 on BREXIT: Last call for new leaders?

      If the political discourse in the coming months and years changes to successfully countering populists with “popularizers” as leaders, preserving the European (western) order, and further reforming it, we could yet be thanking the UK for saving us by the alarm bell.

    • Bill Gates’ Silver-Bullet Misfiring at the Mandela Memorial Lecture

      But compare what can be termed Gates’ ‘philanthro-capitalism’ with Ford Foundation President Darren Walker’s proposal for a more appropriate approach to giving in the 21st century: “We foundations need to reject inherited, assumed, paternalist instincts… We need to interrogate the fundamental root causes of inequality, even, and especially, when it means that we ourselves will be implicated.”

      In contrast, Gates specialises in top-down technicist quick-fixes – ‘silver bullets’ – which often backfire on the economic shooting range of extreme corporate influence and neoliberal policies. As Global Justice Now’s Polly Jones complained in a report last month, Gates’ “influence is so pervasive that many actors in international development, which would otherwise critique the policy and practice of the foundation, are unable to speak out independently as a result of its funding and patronage.”

      Amongst the few exceptions are Katharyne Mitchell and Matthew Sparke, whose research critiques Gates’ “highly targeted investments, market-mediated partnerships, rapid technological fixes, constant assessment, quick exits, and the use of competition, benchmarking and rankings to set funding priorities.”

      [...]

      But the most damage done within South Africa was Gates’ promotion of intellectual property (IP) rights. Long-term monopoly patents were granted not only to Gates for his Microsoft software, but for life-saving medicines.

      IP became a fatal barrier to millions of HIV+ people who, thanks to Big Pharma’s profiteering, were denied AIDS medicines which cost R150 000/year fifteen years ago. The Gates Foundation was part of the problem by insisting on Merck-branded drugs in its Botswana AIDS clinics, complained Zackie Achmat of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in 2001.

      [...]

      Self-interest was perhaps a factor, because Gates got rich from IP illegitimately acquired thanks to blatantly anti-competitive practices, such as bundling Windows with the slow, security flaw-ridden Internet Explorer web-browser, according to US prosecutors. The emails that Gates and his colleagues sent each other unveiled their cutthroat, illegal approach to IT (and Gates’ own slipperiness), notwithstanding the internet’s massive government subsidies.

      And as Edward Snowden showed, Microsoft is in league with the United States National Security Agency’s Prism snoop service to hack your computer, Outlook, Hotmail and Skype accounts.

      Speaking of secrecy, Microsoft’s offshore tax-avoidance policies today earn the company more money than Gates gives annually in donations (less than $4 billion/year).

      [...]

      These forces show, objectively, that the world urgently needs far less corporate power – including in the hands of Bill Gates and Microsoft – and many more bottom-up activist initiatives to achieve thorough-going wealth redistribution.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Hillary Clinton’s Citizens United Pledge Doesn’t Matter; Her Small-Donor Matching Pledge Definitely Does

      Presidents play essentially no role in amending the Constitution. Any amendment Clinton proposed would have to be passed by a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate, and then would have to be ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states.

      That’s never going to happen. The U.S. has amended the Constitution just once in the past 45 years, with the non-earthshaking 27th Amendment prohibiting Congress from voting itself a pay raise that takes effect before the next election. (Moreover, the 27th Amendment was submitted to the states in 1789; it then took 203 years for three-fourths of the states to ratify it in 1992.)

      So Clinton’s constitutional amendment pledge is empty grandstanding. Citizens United will either be overturned by the Supreme Court, or it will remain law.

      On the other hand, Clinton’s pledge to “fight” for small-donor matching funds is genuinely important. Over the past several years, almost all Democrats in the House and many in the Senate have signed on in support of the idea, and it would change the dynamics of money in politics in a way that even overturning Citizens United would not.

    • Donald Trump’s Shotgun Wedding in Cleveland

      The rift between establishment conservatives and Tea Party insurgents was on full display. The billionaire dilettante and presumptive nominee was attempting to pivot from rabble-rouser to peacemaker. It wasn’t going to be easy.

    • Donald Trump and the Revolt of the Proles

      Liberals and progressives love to point across the aisle and accuse their opponents of racism, misogyny and xenophobia, but that’s not what the Trump campaign is all about. And that’s not what Brexit was about. While it’s true that anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise in Europe and the US, the hostility has less to do with race than it does jobs and wages. In other words, Brexit is a revolt against a free trade regime in which all the benefits have accrued to the uber-rich while everyone else has seen their incomes slide, their future’s dim and their standard of living plunge.

    • Two Delegates Propose Banning Corporate Lobbyists From the RNC, Get Crushed

      Donald Trump has denounced his opponents as being controlled by “special interests, the lobbyists, and the donors,” but a number of pro-Trump delegates helped crush an effort by two members of the Republican Party’s rules committee last week to ban for-profit lobbyists from the Republican National Committee.

      Republican state Reps. Mary Anne Kinney of Maine and Cindy Pugh of Minnesota introduced an amendment at a rules committee session that would ban registered lobbyists for for-profit entities from serving as members of the RNC.

      “This amendment is meant to keep those with a financial stake in being on the RNC [out]. … Nonprofit lobbyists are exempt,” Ted Cruz delegate Kinney explained, saying that lobbyists for pro-life groups, for instance, would not be barred.

    • Trump Resistance Swells at RNC Kickoff

      Protests, discord, and heightened security announced the start of the Republican National Convention (RNC) on Monday as thousands marched on downtown Cleveland calling on the GOP to reverse its racist policies and “Dump Trump.”

      The peaceful March on the RNC ended with a rally outside the heavily-fortified perimeter that encircled the Quicken Loans Arena during which participants denounced the “racist, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim” policies of the GOP and its presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

    • Trump 2016: The Three Shadows Haunting Cleveland

      When Donald Trump’s Republican Party convenes in Cleveland, three shadows will haunt the arena. They won’t talk about these shadows on television, but if you look closely you’re sure to see them.

      The first shadow is that of the extremist Republican right. Since the infamous Lewis Powell memo of 1970 it has invested billions in think tanks, academia, and politics to promote its agenda of individual greed over the common good.

    • Stephen Colbert Tells Us What He Really Thinks About Clinton in This Hilarious Rap (Video)

      The seemingly fed up—but inevitably comical—“Late Show” host “took [his] gloves off” in his take on the Democratic presidential candidate’s email scandal, rapping, “You’re so bad at running for president, the only person you could beat is Donald Trump.”

    • Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All

      Last June, as dusk fell outside Tony Schwartz’s sprawling house, on a leafy back road in Riverdale, New York, he pulled out his laptop and caught up with the day’s big news: Donald J. Trump had declared his candidacy for President. As Schwartz watched a video of the speech, he began to feel personally implicated.

      Trump, facing a crowd that had gathered in the lobby of Trump Tower, on Fifth Avenue, laid out his qualifications, saying, “We need a leader that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.’ ” If that was so, Schwartz thought, then he, not Trump, should be running. Schwartz dashed off a tweet: “Many thanks Donald Trump for suggesting I run for President, based on the fact that I wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.’ ”

      Schwartz had ghostwritten Trump’s 1987 breakthrough memoir, earning a joint byline on the cover, half of the book’s five-hundred-thousand-dollar advance, and half of the royalties. The book was a phenomenal success, spending forty-eight weeks on the Times best-seller list, thirteen of them at No. 1. More than a million copies have been bought, generating several million dollars in royalties. The book expanded Trump’s renown far beyond New York City, making him an emblem of the successful tycoon. Edward Kosner, the former editor and publisher of New York, where Schwartz worked as a writer at the time, says, “Tony created Trump. He’s Dr. Frankenstein.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • South African bishops urge lawmakers to address media censorship

      South Africa’s bishops have lent their support to demonstrators who have protested censorship at the state-run South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), including the suspension of employees who sought to cover riots.

      “An impression has been created that the SABC is failing to report fully and objectively on events that have the capacity to diminish the holding of free and fair elections,” said Bishop Abel Gabuza, chairman of the justice and peace commission of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference. “Certainly, this is a serious matter that requires urgent intervention by the National Assembly.”

    • Israeli College Department Head Resigns Over Censorship of Political Artwork

      A department head at Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art has resigned to protest the college’s censorship of a drawing…

    • At Cleveland Repub Convention, ‘First Amendment Zones’ Will Detain Protesters Far Away From Trump

      Once upon a time, all of America was a First Amendment Zone. That’s now as dead as Alexander Hamilton.

      The city of Cleveland revealed part of its security plan for the Nuremberg rally Republican National Convention. Securing the convention will require a heavily policed, fenced off 3.3 square-mile First Amendment Zone. A fun fact is that the First Amendment Zone is about the same size as Baghdad’s Green Zone.

    • 100 Naked Women Hold Mirrors Up to RNC to Protest Anti-Women Rhetoric

      On Sunday, the day before the Republican National Convention (RNC) began, 100 naked women held up mirrors to the RNC-hosting Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland as a political statement against the anti-women rhetoric of the Republican party.

      The staged protest artwork by the artist Spencer Tunick, titled “Everything She Says Means Everything,” was meant to “express the belief that we will rely upon the strength, intuition and wisdom of progressive and enlightened women to find our place in nature and to regain the balance within it,” Tunick wrote. “The mirrors communicate that we are a reflection of ourselves, each other, and of, the world that surrounds us. The woman becomes the future and the future becomes the woman.”

    • Call Him Out. Call Him Out.

      The two recent police shooters were ex-military. Two minds cocked and loaded by the country they turned on. The police who recently killed black citizens, also cocked, loaded and afraid. Human beings on hair triggers and for a year we have had a steady bark from a sociopath shrieking simplistic violent solutions to all issues. The two police shooters had the military training but the uniforms they targeted changed. Not sure what kind of training the policemen in Baton Rouge and St. Paul had. But an atmosphere gave the release. If you can say, which is said ad nauseum, our hearts and prayers are with the families – there was also a heartlessness and a counter prayer that preceded the killing.

    • University’s China campus has less censorship than its U.S. campus, American student says

      New York University student Ella Reider had to go to China to find the freedom to debate things she’d never be allowed to say or hear in Manhattan.

      That’s her surprising takeaway from the past year studying at NYU Shanghai, whose openness to controversial ideas stands in stark contrast to the American campus, which is increasingly “hostile to political views that differ from the predominant views on campus.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Admiral Rogers Talks Openly About The NSA But Not Quite [Ed: AOL puff piece]
    • Foreign govts could serve warrants on US firms

      The United States is working with foreign governments to draft agreements that would allow the latter to serve warrants for email searches and wiretaps on US technology companies doing business in these countries.

      According to the Wall Street Journal (paywall), the plans were discussed at a public forum in Washington DC by Brad Wiegmann, a senior Justice Department official, who said the first agreement was being worked out with the UK.

      The news comes a few days after Microsoft won a landmark case to prevent the US government from using a domestic warrant to gain access to the email data of one of its clients which was stored in Ireland. The US had claimed the data was relevant to a drug-trafficking operation.

    • Germany to require ‘black box’ in autonomous cars

      Germany plans new legislation to require manufacturers of cars equipped with an autopilot function to install a black box to help determine responsibility in the event of an accident, transport ministry sources told Reuters on Monday.

      The fatal crash of a Tesla Motors Inc Model S car in its Autopilot mode has increased the pressure on industry executives and regulators to ensure that automated driving technology can be deployed safely.

      Under the proposal from Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt, drivers will not have to pay attention to traffic or concentrate on steering, but must remain seated at the wheel so they can intervene in the event of an emergency.

    • Facebook and Google show how the world really will be blanketed in 5G

      Facebook has outdone even Google recently, in its efforts to shake up the mobile industry and accelerate the delivery of broadband services (and its revenue generators) to the entire planet. This is no longer just about using balloons and new spectrum to push affordable wireless access to underserved communities. It is about blowing apart the traditional mobile network supply chain, and the way those networks are deployed.

      First came TIP (Telecoms Infrastructure Project), a telecoms network version of its Open Compute Project to drive commoditized, massively scalable platforms. Then came its own R&D projects geared to affordable, easily deployable, but powerful open RANs, Terragraph and Aries.

      And now it has announced OpenCellular, which brings the two ideas together in many ways, providing an open source platform for low cost, dense networks.

    • UK prime minister Theresa May’s Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) isn’t

      UK prime minister Theresa May’s Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) isn’t necessarily incompatible with European fundamental rights, a senior advisor at Europe’s top court said on Tuesday.

      European Court of Justice (ECJ) advocate general Saugmandsgaard Øe has published his non-binding legal opinion on DRIPA arguing that “a general obligation to retain data imposed by a member state on providers of electronic communication services may be compatible with EU law.”

      The case was brought by a cross-party alliance of British MPs—the now Brexit secretary of state David Davis and deputy Labour leader Tom Watson.

    • Core TOR Browser Developer Leaves Project, Shuts Down Critical Node Relays

      A core contributor to the Tor network has announced that he would be shutting down all the relays and Tor-related services under his control and leaving the project. Known as Lucky Green, he has indicated some recent development as the cause and finds them behind the bounds of ethics for initiating such action.

    • What’s The Reason China Fears Pokemon GO?

      The overnight success of Pokemon GO has been on the center stage for another interesting reason — this time for acting as a potential medium for disclosure of military zones in China. The flow of posts regarding the same has begun to appear on the microblogging site Weibo

    • Sen. McCain Unhappy Apple Turned Down His Invitation To Be Encryption Hearing Punching Bag

      Thanks, but no thanks. McCain and others attending the hearing pretend the encryption problem can be solved by “working together.” But Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance used part of his testimony to basically accuse Apple of offering encryption-by-default just to spite the government. The others testifying didn’t go quite as far as Vance did in portraying the company as the enemy of justice, but there was really nothing in it for Apple. There’s no “working together” going on here, not if the committee offers three invitations to people opposed to encryption (or at least far more sympathetic to law enforcement’s requests) but the only outsider asked to attend is one that spent the running time of the last hearing listening to ignorant statements and wild allegations.

    • Cy Vance Still Arguing For Mandated Encryption Backdoors; Believes Third Party Doctrine Supports His Theory

      The United States Senate Committee on Armed Services held a hearing about the coming darkness cellphone encryption Friday morning. There was almost no attempt made to address both sides of the issue, most likely because Senator John McCain — who headed up the “discussion” — has already made up his mind on how this problem should be handled.

      Testimony — all from government officials — was presented, with Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance leading off. Vance’s tune hasn’t changed. Encryption is still (apparently) an insurmountable problem and the only “answer” runs directly through Congress. Vance spent most of his speaking time [PDF] criticizing Apple and suggesting its decision to provide encryption by default on its phones was done purely to spite him and the government.

    • Defense Department Issues Opsec Guidelines For Safe And Secure Pokemon Hunting

      Given the cultural phenomenon that is Pokemon Go, it was only a matter of time before security-conscious government agencies would be forced to confront the inevitable: that their employees would be joining in the quasi-AR madness.

      Kristan J. Wheaton of the Sources and Methods blog was handed an apparently official document from the Defense Department that lays down several common sense rules for employees throwing imaginary balls at imaginary creatures. (A screenshot of the original document can be seen in Thomas Rid’s tweet, embedded at the bottom of this post.

    • Pre-Snowden Whistleblower Explains How NSA Got ‘Unleashed’ To Spy On Everyone

      Thomas Drake was a 48-year-old decorated Air Force and Navy veteran, and a senior executive at the National Security Agency, the NSA, when he decided he had to speak up against what he considered the spy agency’s abuses.

      That’s when he anonymously contacted a reporter at The Baltimore Sun, helping her expose wrongdoing at the agency in a series of articles. Two years later, the FBI raided his home, and the US government launched an investigation into Drake for leaking classified information and espionage.

      All of a sudden, Drake faced the possibility of spending most, if not all, of the rest of his life in jail. Looking back now, after he escaped jail and only pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, Drake says it was all worth it.

    • Security chief claims there are more Russian spies in the UK now than at the height of the Cold War [Ed: THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING !!! Like headlines from the 70s today. John Bayliss, a former GCHQ official, warning about the Russians is like GSK warning about Swine Flu.]
    • More Russian spies are trying to gather intelligence in Britain now than at the height of the Cold War, warns former GCHQ official
    • More Russian spies in Britain than during the COLD WAR, top intelligence official warns
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Half Of TSA’s 30,000 Employees Accused Of Misconduct; Nearly A Third Multiple Times

      The TSA is a multibillion dollar agency with nearly zero redeemable qualities. It can only act in hindsight, does almost nothing to make traveling safer, and seemingly devotes most of its screening efforts to toddlers, cancer patients, and ensuring carry-on liquids do not exceed three ounces.

      What it lacks in competency, it makes up in misconduct. Lines at security checkpoints have slowed to a crawl. Making it through the tedious, invasive process sometimes means inadvertently “donating” expensive electronics to sticky-fingered agents. The TSA’s morale is generally on par with Congress’ approval rates. And, when it’s all said and done, the people hired to protect travelers just plain suck at their job.

      [...]

      As Katherine LaGrave of the Conde Nast Traveler points out, the problem is only getting worse. Complaints are up 28% over the last three years, with larger airports averaging a complaint a week. Long lines may be causing a spike in the complaints, but the misconduct detailed in the report has very little to do directly with this issue.

      Attendance issues are part of the problem, but the offenses listed in the report range from missing work to smuggling drugs/humans to “engaging in child pornography activities.” Although processes are in place to handle disciplinary issues, they are both bureaucratic and inconsistently applied. Worse, the investigation found that the agency has no specific process in place to fire problem employees.

    • Almost Half of All TSA Employees Have Been Cited for Misconduct

      Despite the Transportation Security Administration’s ten-point action plan to reduce long lines at airports across the country, lengthy queues remain. Now, the TSA’s summer may be getting even worse: According to a recent report from the House Homeland Security Commission entitled “Misconduct at TSA Threatens the Security of the Flying Public”, nearly half of the TSA’s 60,000 employees have been cited for misconduct in recent years.

      The bad news doesn’t stop there. Citations have increased 28.5 percent from 2013 to 2015, and in 2015, the average U.S. airport received 58 complaints each year—more than one a week. (Unsurprisingly, some of the nation’s largest and busiest airports—Los Angeles International Airport, Newark International Airport, and Boston Logan International Airport—saw the highest rates of misconduct.) The complaints can come from frustrated passengers, sure, but also from fellow TSA employees and other government workers.

    • The Sun wants to know why a TV presenter in a hijab was allowed to talk about the Nice attack

      Ex-editor and columnist for the Sun Kelvin MacKenzie caused furore on Monday with a piece asking “Why did Channel 4 have a presenter in a hijab fronting coverage of Muslim terror in Nice?”

    • Muslims Were The Real Victims Of The Nice Terror Attack, The BBC Explains
    • Nice and the Mathematics of Killing

      As I watch the news on television and see another atrocity unfold in front of my eyes, innocent people crushed to death as they were celebrating Bastille Day, by the weapon of mass destruction that is a white van, the absurdity of the situation becomes hard to miss. 84 – 84 dead, many amongst them children. 84 innocent people crushed to death by a mad man behind wheels, hurling his vehicle at them with the intent to do maximum harm. And so he did, until his turn came to die an early death under the blaze of gun bullets aimed to kill. Every last second of an insignificant life laid to bare on the world stage, analyzed, repeated, studied and vilified. 84 dead. In the coming days, the lives, loves and stories of these people cut down in their prime will fill magazines. Images, anecdotes and testimonies will make them come alive again for a few moments only to heighten that feeling of loss when it is brought home again that because of a mad man behind a wheel, Stephanie will not get her dream wedding and Jeff will not play for the home team, and our eyes will well up in tears.

      Meanwhile the world we knew and functioned in comfortably will have changed again to an even more aggressive and unwelcoming place to all who do not come from the West. You are blamed and asked to carry the shame of the act of a lone madman, but was he alone? Or was he following the orders of a higher entity that is fighting to destroy the freedoms the West benefits from. ISIS or IS or Al-Qaeda, these boogie men in the dark who hate western values, western freedoms and consider the rest infidels, sending their radicalized disillusioned soldiers to do Allah’s work in our midst.

    • Rough Passage: Reporters Find Abuse, Neglect and Death Aboard Private Prison Vans

      Raines was one of some 50 current and former guards who spoke to Hager and Santo for “Inside the Deadly World of Private Prisoner Transport,” a devastating examination of the for-profit van companies used by prisons to transport inmates. The reporters found that a dozen prisoners died in such vans in the last 16 years; a dozen more suffered serious injuries; at least 60 managed to escape, and many alleged sexual and physical abuse at the hands of drivers and guards. This week the reporters join the ProPublica podcast to tell us how their effort grew from a tip on one prisoner who was beaten to death to a full and rare examination of a dangerous, virtually unregulated industry.

    • The Police Are Victimized By Their Training

      It is too early to know if the shooting of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge are the beginnings of acts of retribution against police for their wanton murders of citizens. The saying is that “what goes around, comes around.” If police murders of citizens have provoked retribution, police and those who train them need to be honest and recognize that they have brought it upon themselves.

      Killings by police have gone on too long. The killings are too gratuitous, and the police have largely escaped accountability for actions that, if committed by private citizens, would result in life imprisonment or the death penalty.

      There has been no accountability, because the police unions and the white community rush to the defense of the police. In rare instances when prosecutors bring charges, as in the case of Freddie Gray, the police are not convicted.

      Presstitutes treat killings by police as acts of racism, and that is the way the public sees them. This infuriates black communities even more as the indifference of whites to the murders is regarded as racist acceptance of the murder of black people.

    • Mike Pence Argued For Criminalization Of Adultery Before Joining Trump Ticket

      Before his career as an elected official, Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) hosted both a radio and television show in the 1990s, with the name, “The Mike Pence Show.” While his commentaries from that time in defense of cigarettes and in opposition to the feminist message in Disney’s Mulan have made news, one less noticed piece suggested that adultery should be a crime in the United States. It appeared on the website for his television show on WNDY, retrieved through the Internet Archive WayBack Machine.

      In May of 1997, Pence railed against the news that U.S. Air Force Lt. Kelly Flynn had received a general dischrage despite having been accused of two adulterous affairs. While Pence said he was glad she had received compassion, he took aim at society for making extramarital affairs acceptable. “Did anyone else notice the incredulous looks on the faces of Lt. Flynn’s most ardent defenders anytime the term ‘adultery’ was mentioned? Many of her defenders were less concerned, it seemed, about the facts of the case than about the fact that somewhere in this society adultery is still a crime.”

    • Three Years After Global Garment Industry’s Worst Disaster, 38 Indicted for Murder

      Over 1,100 people died when Rana Plaza garment factory building collapsed near Dhaka

    • The Post-Dallas Kumbaya Window Begins to Close

      There was a true kumbaya moment after the Dallas cop massacre similar to the moment after 9/11 when sympathy was expressed for America from many unexpected quarters around the world. That window began to close when US leaders took a hard line and vengefully attacked an un-implicated nation to counter the very sense of vulnerability that moved people of the world to sympathize with us. Similarly, the sympathy for attacked cops in Dallas may be evaporating thanks to a familiar sociological dynamic involving in-group, out-group identification.

    • America’s Failure to Protect Voting

      America may call itself democracy’s gold standard, but it fails to guarantee the right to vote and permits the dominance of political money, a shameful anomaly that requires a constitutional amendment, writes William John Cox.

    • Profile of Baton Rouge Police Shooter Begins to Emerge

      The shooter, who was killed at the scene, has been identified as 29-year-old Gavin Eugene Long of Kansas City, Missouri. He was honorably discharged from the Marines in 2010 holding the rank of sergeant. During his five-year stint in the service, which included a June 2008 to January 2009 deployment in Iraq, he received several medals, according to media reports citing military records.

    • Beyond Panic and Punishment: Brock Turner and the Left Response to Sexual Violence

      The Brock Turner case has reminded us of the bitter truth of the adage that in America it is better to be guilty and rich than to be innocent and poor. In early June, Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner, a Stanford student who was convicted on three counts of sexual assault, to six-months in jail and three years of probation. The sentence, shorter than the six years requested by prosecutors, spurred an eruption of public outrage. Anger has poured out at Turner’s mother and father for excusing his actions and in particular at Judge Persky. The Turner case exemplifies a problematic pattern in American policymaking. The case, similar to other sensationalized instances of leniency for sexual assault, has animated calls for harsher punishments, mandatory minimums and removing judicial discretion. All of these law-and-order responses, coming particularly from the left, continue a tradition in the United States of channeling efforts to address sexual violence into demands for punishment. Far from being progressive, however, this strategy contributes to the expansion of the carceral state, which is ineffective at reducing crime, incapable of healing victims, and devastating for those caught in its web. A more substantively progressive and feminist strategy for addressing these issues is needed in order to draw the connection between sexual violence and material inequality.

    • Newt Should Check out Mike Pence’s Christian Sharia

      Newt Gingrich suggested late last week on cable tv that Muslim Americans should be asked if they believe in “sharia” and if they answer yes, they should be deported. You can’t deport US citizens, so the whole remark was ridiculous.

      Sharia for Muslims is the equivalent of Canon Law for Catholics, Halakhah for Jews, and I guess the entire Bible for some fundamentalists (though there are laws in Deuteronomy that it is hard to imagine anyone actually practicing). All religions have laws. Sharia is the Muslim one. But it is fluid and an arena of contention within Islam. It forbids murder, theft, adultery, and drinking. You’d think people would be happy about all that. In any case, observant Muslims would all say they believe in sharia, just as observant Jews would say that the believe in Halakhah or observant Catholics would say they believe in canon law.

    • A Border Wall Isn’t Very Popular Among The People Who Actually Live There

      Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump built his political career on a campaign promise to build a border wall along the U.S. border with Mexico if elected president. But a new poll has found that a large majority of residents living in major cities along the southern U.S. border with Mexico aren’t excited about that prospect.

      About 72 percent of people living on the U.S. side of the border and 86 percent of people living on the Mexican side are opposed to building a wall, a poll funded by Cronkite News, Univision News, and Dallas Morning News found. Building out a border wall also isn’t on the top of their priority list — 77 percent of Mexicans and 70 percent of Americans found that the economy, crime, and education were more important than border issues. Another 69 percent of Mexicans and 79 percent of Americans said that they depend on the other country for economic survival.

    • Judge Hands Down Another Acquittal for Officer in Freddie Gray Case

      Baltimore Police Lt. Brian Rice, the highest ranking officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray, was on Monday acquitted on all counts.

      It marks the fourth time prosecutors have failed to secure a conviction in the case, the Baltimore Sun notes, and in turn “is likely to renew calls for Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby to drop the remaining charges[...] including from the union that represents the city’s rank-and-file officers.”

      Rice was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and misconduct in office by Circuit Judge Barry Williams in a bench trial. Williams previously handed down acquittals for officers Caesar Goodson and Edward Nero. The trial for Officer William G. Porter ended with a hung jury in December. A retrial is set for September 6.

    • FCC will let jails charge inmates more for phone calls

      The Federal Communications Commission is trying once again to limit the prices prisoners and their families pay for phone calls, proposing a new, higher set of caps in response to the commission’s latest court loss.

      A March 2016 federal appeals court ruling stayed new rate caps of 11¢ to 22¢ per minute on both interstate and intrastate calls from prisons. The stay remains in place while appeals from prison phone companies are considered, but FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn last week proposed new caps of 13¢ to 31¢ per minute in an apparent attempt to satisfy prison phone companies and the courts.

    • Police lock down Cleveland in what looks like martial law as poorly organized convention begins

      So far, the RNC has been low on organization and high on police presence.

      In fact, organizers did not even release a detailed schedule of speakers until Monday afternoon, when the convention began.

      The official guide for the RNC — which does not include a schedule — did, however, open with a photo of a smiling Donald Trump embraced by his wife, Melania.

      [...]

      Police are preparing for massive protests. Sunday did not have a lot of protest activity. The official convention began on Monday. Large demonstrations are planned to be held throughout the week.

      Cleveland spent $50 million in federal grant money on police for the RNC. The city spent $20 million on riot gear and equipment — including at least 2,000 full-body riot suits, 24 sets of ballistics body armor and 300 patrol bikes. It also spent another $30 million on “personnel-related expenditures.”

      The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, sued Cleveland in June for “placing unacceptable restrictions on free speech and other rights of people living and visiting downtown Cleveland for the RNC.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • BT must put house in order or face split

      In its report the Culture, Media and Sport Committee says BT is “significantly under investing” in Openreach, its infrastructure subsidiary. Based on a report commissioned from a panel of independent experts, the Committee concluded the shortfall in investment could potentially be hundreds of millions of pounds a year.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • UNCTAD Conference Opens With High-Level Calls For Action On Trade And Development

      The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 14th Session opened here yesterday, with leaders calling for deeper and broader cooperation between trade and development.

    • Trademarks

      • Australian Company Files Bogus Defamation/Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Over A Nine-Year-Old Blog Post

        How Assef came across this single post, floating in the internet backwater, is a mystery. But there it is. Before suing the Doe behind the single-post “blog,” Lincoln Crowne tried suing Google for defamation in Australia, presumably to use local laws to route around Section 230 protections. It didn’t work. Google briefly took down the blog post before restoring it.

        Having failed in this attempt, Lincoln Crowne is now trying to sue the anonymous blogger, using a poorly-constructed lawsuit with more than a few deficiencies. It not only claims the content is defamatory, but that the defendant’s URL is a violation of its trademark. It’s a mess, which is somewhat surprising because the firm is being represented by lawyers who seem otherwise competent.

      • Australian Financier’s Abuse of Trademark Law to Suppress a Critical Blog: A Perpetual Problem in the N.D. Cal.

        There is somebody on the other side of the Pacific Ocean who has a strongly negative perspective on Nicholas Assef, the head honcho at an Australian financial services firm called Lincoln Crowne – or at least, somebody held such views nine years ago. We know at least that much because, in 2007, an anonymous individual created a small Google blog, using the URL lincolncrowne.blogspot.com, and posted a “warning” urging people who were considering doing business with Assef and his company to do their due diligence first. And even though the blog is buried deep in the Google search results for someone entering a search using lincoln crowne as the search string (currently, it is on the tenth page of results), Assef is plainly rankled by this criticism. We know that first of all because seven years later, after Google refused to take down the blog, Lincoln Crowne sued Google for defamation in Australia (which lacks the US protection for online hosts that section 230 affords). Google initially responded to the lawsuit by taking down the blog, but later restored the blog to its DOT.COM domain. It is not clear to me whether Lincoln Crowne ever pursued the suit against Google to judgment. The company’s papers do not make reference to any judgment, so I assume there was none.

    • Copyrights

      • Just As Open Competitor To Elsevier’s SSRN Launches, SSRN Accused Of Copyright Crackdown

        A couple of months ago, we wrote about how publishing giant Elsevier had purchased the open access pre-publisher SSRN. SSRN is basically the place where lots of research that we regularly report on is published. Legal and economics academics quite frequently post their journal articles there. Of course, Elsevier has a well-known reputation for being extreme copyright maximalists in dangerous ways. Having Elsevier take over SSRN concerned a lot of academics, and even led to calls for alternatives, including many asking the famed arXiv to open a social science research operation as well.

        Indeed, it appears that arXiv was paying attention, because just about a week ago, SocArXiv was announced, and it already has a temporary home hosted by Open Science Framework.

      • How copyright trolls plunder both US citizens and… rights holders

        German extortion outfit Guardaley, together with its US collaborators — Voltage Pictures and a network of ethically handicapped attorneys — has been filing frivolous, evidence-free lawsuits across the US for years, extracting millions from alleged pirates and innocents alike. To maintain the fog of legitimacy and to shield Voltage from bad publicity, dozens of shell corporations were created — one per film — to serve as (sometimes bogus) plaintiffs in thousands of copyright infringement lawsuits filed either against individual defendants or about a dozen of John Does lumped together.

      • Ted Cruz Campaign Infringed On Copyright, But Will Probably Be Treated With Kid Gloves Just Because

        It’s typical for these types of complaints to be layered in nuance and interpretation, with a dash of one side or the other misunderstanding how licensing, copyright, and the rights that surround public performances work. This does not appear to be one of those cases, as the agreement Madison McQueen agreed to is fairly straightforward and specifically forbids the exact use for which the music was incorporated. As Goldman notes, whereas most campaigns would simply apologize and pay to have all of this go away, the Cruz campaign instead offered up a motion to dismiss. That motion didn’t rebut any of the allegations. Instead, Cruz’s lawyers argued that the musicians had only applied for copyright registrations and had yet to have that process completed, that it’s unclear how many times it should be said that the campaign infringed on the copyrights for the songs, that Audiosocket can’t stack its copyright complaint alongside its breach of contract complaint, and that all of this is a moot point because — not making this up — Cruz lost and gave up on his candidacy.

      • Rome Court of First instances confirms once again that takedown requests do not need to include URLs

        The Tribunale di Roma (Rome Court of First Instance) is back with yet another decision on the liability of online intermediaries (ISPs) for third-party copyright infringements.

      • Copyright in the Animal Kingdom

        Reading coverage of the new Great Animal Orchestra exhibition got this Kat thinking about the relationship between animals, artwork, performance and IP. The “biophony” exhibition is made up of natural soundscapes – estimated to come from over 5,000 hours of sound recordings made by Bernie Krause, and edited together with visual rendering by United Visual Artists. The product is an immersive collage of squeaks, calls, howls, waves and so on, which have also somehow previously been adapted to a symphony (by composer Richard Blackford), and a ballet. The exhibition is named after Krause’s book of the same title.

        The various intellectual property involved in the Great Animal Orchestra and its adaptations has not been the subject of any great, wild, public dispute – falling quite understandably behind other priorities such as drawing attention to the fact that over the 50 years of Krause’s recording, around half of the habitats have been silenced by humans. But, recently, of course, the issue of animal copyrights has been in the legal spotlight…

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