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07.21.16

Links 21/7/2016: An Honorary Degree for Alan Cox, Looks Back at DebConf16

Posted in News Roundup at 2:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Has open source become the default business model for enterprise software?

    The announcement this week that Splice Machine is open-sourcing its product has become just the latest reminder that — in emerging technology markets — open source is increasingly the rule, not the exception.

    Open-source software is one of those overnight successes that’s been a decade and more in the making. It’s a far cry from the early aughts when Red Hat and JBoss blazed a trail that still has doubters. Arguably, there’s still the issue of whether Red Hat, a publicly-traded, open source company, is a Unicorn from a different twist. Nonetheless, today, when we get acquainted to a new startup, one of the first questions that we pop is whether they’re open source.

  • Spark-powered Splice Machine goes open source

    Splice Machine, the relational SQL database system that uses Hadoop and Spark to provide high-speed results, is now available in an open source edition.

    Version 2.0 of Splice Machine added Spark to speed up OLAP-style workloads while still processing conventional OLTP workloads with HBase. The open source version, distributed under the Apache 2.0 license, supplies both engines and most of Splice Machine’s other features, including Apache Kafka streaming support. However, it omits a few enterprise-level options like encryption, Kerberos support, column-level access control, and backup/restore functionality.

  • 3 lessons from Gratipay’s take-what-you-want compensation experiment

    This is the second in a two-part series on hiring and compensation practices in open organizations. In Want the best employees? Let them hire themselves, I introduced the concept of open hiring with examples from Drupal (the well-known CMS) and Gratipay (a payments start-up and open organization; I’m the founder). We saw how open source thinking about onboarding best practices can lead naturally to including new collaborators in money distribution.

  • Healthcare colored with blockchain’s open-source foundation

    Technological change forces economic growth. Technology extends the science of discovery and produces artifacts used in everyday life. It’s the small technical discoveries that make larger scientific endeavors possible. It’s also these seemingly unrelated breakthroughs that make their way into our daily lives.

  • Apache Foundation Crucial to Hadoop, Big Data’s Success

    Looking back at 10 years of Hadoop, project co-founder and Cloudera Chief Architect Doug Cutting can see two primary factors in the success of open source big data technology: a heap of luck and the Apache Foundation’s unique support.

  • What is DevOps? Gareth Rushgrove Explains

    Gareth Rushgrove is known by many people as the creator and editor of the popular DevOps Weekly email newsletter, and he spent several years working for the U.K. Government Digital Service (GDS) on GOV.UK and other projects. As Senior Software Engineer at Puppet, you can find him building some of the latest infrastructure automation products when he isn’t speaking at events on a wide variety of DevOps and related topics.

  • Coffee Shop DevOps: Clearly defining and communicating team goals

    Last month I interviewed the Cockpit team about team practices. We had an interesting conversation from many different angles, but most notable were the themes we kept returning to: understanding goals, the importance of feedback loops, and committing to open and transparent communication. I found I could easily correlate each of these back to other teams I have worked with in the past. When you inspect the behaviors and inner workings of a team, these themes seem to be remarkably central to team conflict.

  • Google’s Magenta Seeks to Leverage TensorFlow for Art and Music

    As we’ve noted, artificial intelligence and machine learning are going through aamini-renaissance right now. Google recently made a possibly hugely influential contribution to the field of machine learning. It has open sourced a program called TensorFlow that is freely available. It’s based on the same internal toolset that Google has spent years developing to support its AI software and other predictive and analytics programs.

    In a related open project from the Google Brain team, dubbed Magenta, Google is calling for efforts to leverage TensorFlow and machine learning to create compelling art and music. Some of the early examples from this effort are eye-opening.

  • Nintendo NX Spec Rumors Say The Console’s Games May Support Open-Source Virtual Reality

    Nintendo NX spec rumors keep coming, and the latest chatter suggests that the console may support open-source virtual reality for certain games. This would allow the 2017 machine to compete with the likes of Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR.

    The news comes to Design & Trend via Chinatimes as referenced by the sometimes-accurate Digitimes. The report should be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s certainly interesting.

    As indicated by the secondary source, Nintendo allegedly has a production partnership with a certain chipmaker called Pixart. While the outfit is most known for its heart-rate monitoring hardware, mentions are also made to “tape-out chips supporting VR technology by the end of 2016.” These chips “will support next-generation Nintendo NX game machines.”

  • Learn an instrument with this open source music teacher

    Playing musical scores is a heavy kind of art. The Nootka app will help you understand the basics of music notation reading, and help you improve by practicing various kinds of exercises. Nootka gives real-time feedback, has multiple difficulty levels, and is customizable.

  • Open source offers job security as businesses navigate an IT talent war

    If you’re in open source and looking for a job, chances are you won’t have to search long. According to recent research, businesses are going out of their way to find—and hang onto—their best open source talent. Last month, the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report found that 79% of hiring managers have increased incentives to retain their current open source professionals.

  • Google Leverages its AI Tools to Slash Data Center Energy Consumption
  • Tutorials, workflows, and a place to showcase high-quality FOSS photography

    There’s a special place to chat with fellow photographers, learn about high-end FOSS photography software, and share your work with others. It’s called PIXLS.US, and it’s a large and wonderful world beyond Photoshop.

    This is truly a golden age in the hobby of photography. Never before has it been so inexpensive and easy to take and share great photos. The rise of smartphones has fueled an explosion in casual photography, and the ecosystem is further extended through the proliferation of media-sharing apps like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Lower costs for better cameras has enabled many budding photographers to take up the hobby. Unfortunately, while much of the underlying software that fuels the apps and platforms is built on free/open source software, there is little fanfare for the projects that are available directly to photographers.

  • Events

    • Solskogen 2016 videos

      I just published the videos from Solskogen 2016 on Youtube; you can find them all in this playlist. The are basically exactly what was being sent out on the live stream, frame for frame, except that the audio for the live shader compos has been remastered, and of course a lot of dead time has been cut out (the stream was sending over several days, but most of the time, only the information loop from the bigscreen).

    • REMINDER! systemd.conf 2016 CfP Ends in Two Weeks!

      Please note that the systemd.conf 2016 Call for Participation ends in less than two weeks, on Aug. 1st! Please send in your talk proposal by then! We’ve already got a good number of excellent submissions, but we are interested in yours even more!

      We are looking for talks on all facets of systemd: deployment, maintenance, administration, development. Regardless of whether you use it in the cloud, on embedded, on IoT, on the desktop, on mobile, in a container or on the server: we are interested in your submissions!

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Reducing Adobe Flash Usage in Firefox

        Browser plugins, especially Flash, have enabled some of our favorite experiences on the Web, including videos and interactive content. But plugins often introduce stability, performance, and security issues for browsers. This is not a trade-off users should have to accept.

        Mozilla and the Web as a whole have been taking steps to reduce the need for Flash content in everyday browsing. Starting in August, Firefox will block certain Flash content that is not essential to the user experience, while continuing to support legacy Flash content. These and future changes will bring Firefox users enhanced security, improved battery life, faster page load, and better browser responsiveness.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Empowering Growth Hackers with Big Data

      Growth hacking often leverages customer data in the experimentation process, in the form of A/B testing. The goal is to use big data to gain a better understand of the customer, via a complete view across every touch point of the organization, in order to enable an optimal customer experience. Growth hackers—who can be anyone from marketing professionals to product manager and engineers—are seeking insights to help optimize marketing campaigns across channels, increase customer loyalty and retention, and enhance the customer experience.

    • TP empowers Singapore students with big data analytics skills

      Temasek Polytechnic (TP), Singapore and Cloudera have teamed on cultivating the next generation of data professionals through the Cloudera Academic Partnership (CAP) program.

    • TP, Cloudera to help S’pore students prepare for big data-related roles

      Temasek Polytechnic (TP) and Cloudera are working together to cultivate the next generation of data professionals through the Cloudera Academic Partnership (CAP) program. Through this program, students from Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Informatics & IT (IIT) have access to the latest Apache Hadoop curriculum, software and skills training for the Hadoop platform.

    • Apache Hadoop at 10 – Doug Cutting, Chief Architect, Cloudera
    • Report Shows Hadoop Growing at 53.7% CAGR, But Complexity Remains an Issue

      The latest in a string of market research reports has arrived forecasting huge growth for big data analytics platform Hadoop, but not everyone agrees that Hadoop adoption is going so smoothly. According to researchers at Stratistics MRC, the global hadoop market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 53.7% over the forecast period 2015 to 2022. ” Increasing investments in data management, rising amount of structured and unstructured data, hasty growth in consumer data and rapidly increasing demand for big data analytics are the factors influencing the market growth,” the study’s authors report.

      Here are some of the details, and some of the warning signs coming in pointing to too much complexity required in deploying Hadoop.

    • 5 Stages of Cloud Adoption
  • Databases

    • Splice Machine Launches Open Source RDBMS Sandbox

      Splice Machine, which provides an RDBMS powered by Hadoop and Spark, has announced a cloud-based sandbox for developers to put its just launched open source Community Edition to the test. The company is making available an open source standalone and cluster download, and has announced the general availability of V2.0, and the launch of its developer community site.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LIBOCon: get around Brno

      Yesterday I added Get around Brno page to the LibreOffice Conference website. There you can find comprehensive information about public transport in Brno, how to buy tickets, how to get to the hotel/venue if you arrive by train/bus/car/plane etc. All accompanied with maps and pictures of described places. So hopefully no one will get lost on their way to the hotel or venue, or struggle purchasing tickets.

    • LibreOffice developer interview: Winfried Donkers

      In this week’s developer interview, we talk to Winfried Donkers, a Dutch coder who has been using LibreOffice (and its predecessors) for almost two decades, and today works on Calc.

  • CMS

    • Koha Integrated Library System Brings FOSS to Libraries

      Randal Schwartz, from TWiT.tv’s “FLOSS Weekly,” interviews Nicole Engard and Brendan Gallagher, about the open source Koha Integrated Library System (ILS), which originated in New Zealand in 1999. Along with being a web developer, Nicole is a prolific blogger on Opensource.com and last year was recognized by Red Hat for her significant contributions to open source advocacy.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Results of the EU-FOSSA survey

      Between 17 June and 8 July, you sent the EU-Fossa project 3282 answers, to help us choose which open source software to audit.

      First, thank you very much for the many interesting and encouraging comments!

    • EC to audit Apache HTTP Server and Keepass

      The European Commission is preparing a software source code security audit on two software solutions, Apache HTTP server and Keepass, a password manager. The source code will be analysed and tested for potential security problems, and the results will be shared with the software developers. The audits will start in the coming weeks.

    • NZ govt agencies now have open source software at their side

      Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) is helping government agencies pave the way for open source software use, opening doors for software developers keen to shape new innovative software, says Land Information Minister Louise Upston.

      The NZGOAL Software Extension guidelines were themselves developed using open source tools and facilitated through Loomio, an online group decision-making platform. The final drafts were crafted through GitHub, an open source repository.

    • UK.gov digi peeps hunt open source chief

      The British government’s Digital Service is looking for a chief penguin to head up open source.

      GDS has created a brand-new position for an individual to conduct open source technology projects, adoption and working practices for the government’s IT arm.

      Moreover, the chosen candidate will be charged with forging relationships with individuals and projects outside government in the open-source community.

      Until now, GDS had a number of people working in different roles taking the lead on open source. The new individual will be nestled in GDS’s technical architecture team.

    • ‘GovStrap’ open source kit helps sites replicate GDS website theme

      Open Source Software specialist OpusVL has created a way to take the Gov.UK website theme created by the Government Digital Service (GDS) and reproduce it quickly in designing and building public sector websites.

      The solution uses Bootstrap, an HTML, CSS and JavaScript framework originating from Twitter, which is used for creating front end websites and applications. With an increase in the variety of devices used to view websites, Bootstrap is a standard toolkit for building responsive design and enabling websites to be mobile and tablet friendly.

      With sharing and re-use of software and technology high on the GDS agenda, OpusVL adopted the principle by importing the GDS work and “re-factoring” it in the form of the Bootstrap framework in addition to the methods originally created by GDS.

    • As it Mandates Open Source, is Bulgaria Opening Questionable Doors?

      For decades now, open source tools and applications have been gaining enormous traction in parts of Europe, and cities such as Munich have even been involved in a multi-year effort to transform technology infrastructure by throwing out proprietary applications and using open source tools instead.

      In the latest move on this front, Bulgaria recently passed legislation requiring that government software be open source. The move underscores how pervasive open source applications and platforms have become. Now, though, there is growing debate about whether Bulgaria is making a wise move, or one that could open it up to security threats.

    • Could Bulgaria’s open source law transform government software worldwide?

      Ripples from Bulgaria’s recent decision requiring all software written for the government to be open source could build into something bigger.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • The Importance of Following Community-Oriented Principles in GPL Enforcement Work

      The GNU General Public License (GPL) was designed to grant clear permissions for sharing software and to defend that freedom for users. GPL’d code now appears in so many devices that it is fundamental to modern technology. While we believe that following the GPL’s requirements is neither burdensome nor unreasonable, many fail to do so. GPL enforcement — the process to encourage those who fail to correct problems and join our open software development community — is difficult diplomacy.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open-Source Farming Machine Plants And Waters Seeds

        While it is nice to have access to produce that is not in season, the unseen use of pesticides and other harmful additives is a difficult problem to avoid.

      • California dreaming: DIY, open-source SoCs with RISC-V

        With its customizable, open-source SoCs built on the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture, SiFive, a San Francisco start-up, is poised to reverse the industry’s rising licensing, design and implementation costs.

        With on the one hand Moore’s Law ended or approaching the end and on the other, vast investments required for to develop a modern, high-performance chip, it looks impossible for smaller system designers to join the traditional economic model of chip building. However, the body of software and tools available from the open-source community under the guidance of the RISC-V Foundation, can substantially cut the cost of developing custom silicon. System designers can use the SiFive Freedom platforms to focus on their own differentiated processor without having the overhead of developing a modern SoC, fabric or software infrastructur

      • Lawn Da Vinci Open Source RC Lawnmower (video)

        If you find the prices of the current range of robotic lawnmowers just a little too high for your budget, you might be interested in a new open source remote control lawnmower which has been created called the Lawn Da Vinci.

        Okay so it’s not completely autonomous but you can still add a little extra fun to those lawn mowing days, with the addition of a little remote control to the humble petrol powered lawnmower.

      • A open source toolkit for building your own home

        The evidence is overwhelming that large scale collaboration leads to superior technology. FOSS showed us the way and now free and open source hardware is rapidly gaining traction. There is a growing list of open source hardware projects, which are bringing millions (billion?) of dollars of value to the world. Now a new initiative from the Open Building Institute (OBI) is adding “house” to the list of killer open hardware apps.

      • Open Source Hardware: What It Means and Why It Matters

        You’ve heard of open source software. But what about open source hardware? Here’s an overview of what open source hardware is, what the challenges are and why open hardware is poised to grow in importance as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to boom.

      • The Ember 3D Printer: High-Resolution, Open-Source 3D Printing on Your Desktop

        Though Autodesk’s interest in 3D printing was not unknown, it may have been a bit of a surprise when the CAD developer entered the industry with its own 3D printer in 2014. Ember, Autodesk’s first hardware product, is a digital light processing (DLP) 3D printer capable of high-resolution prints for prototyping and even end part production. What may be most unique about the Ember is that both the printer and one of its materials are open-source, a bold move for a large corporation like Autodesk.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • AT&T, Orange target NFV, SDN open source, standards

      AT&T and Orange signed a deal to tackle NFV and SDN open source and standards issues that continue to plague the telecom industry

      AT&T signed a deal with European operator Orange to work on open source and standardization initiatives linked to the carrier’s push toward increasing control of its network resources using software-defined networking and network functions virtualization technology.

    • DIGST: ‘Denmark should update eInvoicing systems’

      Denmark’s public administrations should overhaul their eInvoicing solutions, writes the Agency for Digitisation (Digitaliseringsstyrelsen – DIGST). The agency wants public administrations to prepare to introduce a European-wide eInvoicing standard, and to concentrate on the use of Danish 2010 eInvoicing standard, OIOUBL. Its forerunner, OIOXML, is to be phased out.

Leftovers

  • The Dig: Is Your School’s Plan Right for Your Special Needs Child?

    Recently, I got a plea from the mother of a child with special needs. She asked: “Can you do a column on how to investigate your child’s special education file?” Two thoughts flashed to my mind: 1) That’s such a fundamental and important thing to be able to investigate. And 2) I don’t know anything about it.

    Luckily, one of the joys of working at ProPublica is being surrounded by super smart people. And our education reporter, Heather Vogell, is uncommonly sharp, having covered the most important stories in education for years. (Remember the cheating scandal in Atlanta schools? Heather and her colleagues at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution uncovered that.)

  • Science

    • Putting Your Computer Inside Oil Sounds Crazy, But It’s Super Useful. Here’s How To Do It

      Very few of you would be knowing about the existence of mineral oil-cooled PCs. These are custom made computers submerged in non-conductive mineral oil. Compared to regular air cooling , the mineral oil cooling setup works with up to 5-times more efficiency. If you find this interesting, you can read ahead and watch some useful videos that detail the process of making a mineral oil-cooled PC.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WHO: Countries Need To Step It Up On Noncommunicable Disease Commitments

      Despite “remarkable” progress by some countries on addressing noncommunicable diseases like cancer and diabetes, there is a need to accelerate efforts in order to meet agreed global commitments, the World Health Organization said this week.

    • Jeremy Hunt has broken NHS funding pledges, report finds

      The government has broken its pledges on NHS funding and is misleading the public about how much extra money it is actually putting into the health service, a committee of MPs has said.

      In a highly critical report, the House of Commons health select committee accuses Jeremy Hunt and other ministers of giving the cash-strapped NHS “less than would appear to be the case from official pronouncements”.

      The cross-party group of MPs refutes the health secretary’s persistent claim the government will have given the NHS in England an extra £8.4bn by 2020-21 compared with 2015-16. That was one of the Conservatives’ key pledges in last year’s general election campaign, and was repeated many times after that by David Cameron and George Osborne while they were still the prime minister and the chancellor.

    • Damning Probe Finds EPA ‘Turning Blind Eye’ to Toxic Chemical Cocktails

      While the use of one toxic chemical—on our foods, lawns, and elsewhere—has its inherent risks, scientists warn that the combination of two or more such ingredients in common pesticides could have an even more noxious impact, one which is commonly overlooked.

      In fact, a investigation released Tuesday by the environmental watchdog Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) found that over the past six years the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved nearly 100 pesticide products that contain these so-called “synergistic” compounds, effectively “increasing the dangers to imperiled pollinators and rare plants.”

      As CBD explains, “[s]ynergy occurs when two or more chemicals interact to enhance their toxic effects,” turning “what would normally be considered a safe level of exposure into one that results in considerable harm.”

      “The EPA is supposed to be the cop on the beat, protecting people and the environment from the dangers of pesticides. With these synergistic pesticides, the EPA has decided to look the other way, and guess who’s left paying the price?” asked Nathan Donley, a scientist with the Center and author of the report, Toxic Concoctions: How the EPA Ignores the Dangers of Pesticide Cocktails (pdf).

  • Security

    • Mental Note: Keep Working Email on Forum Account
    • No Passwords Stolen During Ubuntu Forums Data Breach
    • SQL Injection Exposes 2 Million Ubuntu Forum Users
    • Ubuntu forum breach traced to neglected plugin
    • Ubuntu Forums Database Hacked
    • Passwords not compromised by Ubuntu Forums data breach
    • Ubuntu forum breach traced to neglected plugin
    • Canonical warns users after Ubuntu forum data breach
    • Flaw in vBulletin add-on leads to Ubuntu Forums database breach
    • CrypTech — Internet Engineers’ New Open Source Weapon Against ‘Creepy’ Governments

      The CrypTech project is an independent security hardware development effort that consists of an international team. CrypTech Alpha is an open source crypto-vault that stores the private/public keys and separates the digital certificates from the software using them. It has been developed as a hardware secure module (HSM) to make the implementation of strong cryptography easier.

    • Entrepreneur in £10m swoop for hacking team

      One of the northwest’s best-known entrepreneurs has splashed out about £10m on a cyber-security venture that helps businesses repel hackers.

      Lawrence Jones, who runs the Manchester-based internet hosting and cloud computing specialist UKFast, has bought Pentest, an “ethical hacking” firm whose staff help detect flaws in clients’ cyber-defences.

      Jones, 47, will merge Pentest’s 45 staff into his own cyber-security outfit, Secarma. “It’s become obvious that there is a massive need to put emphasis on cyber-security,” said the internet tycoon, whose wealth is calculated by The Sunday Times Rich List as £275m.

    • Guilt by ASN: Compiler’s bad memory bug could sting mobes, cell towers

      A vulnerability in a widely used ASN.1 compiler isn’t a good thing: it means a bunch of downstream systems – including mobile phones and cell towers – will inherit the bug.

      And an ASN.1 bug is what the Sadosky Foundation in Argentina has turned up, in Objective Systems’ software.

      The research group’s Lucas Molas says Objective’s ASN1C compiler for C/C++ version 7.0.0 (other builds are probably affected) generates code that suffers from heap memory corruption. This could be potentially exploited to run malware on machines and devices that run the vulnerable compiler output or interfere with their operation.

    • Security advisories for Tuesday
    • BlackBerry Inks Software Deal With U.S. Senate
    • BlackBerry inks security software deals, shares slip
    • BlackBerry Announces String of Small Security Software Deals
    • BlackBerry inks U.S. government software deals; shares slip
    • Carbanak Gang Tied to Russian Security Firm?

      Among the more plunderous cybercrime gangs is a group known as “Carbanak,” Eastern European hackers blamed for stealing more than a billion dollars from banks. Today we’ll examine some compelling clues that point to a connection between the Carbanak gang’s staging grounds and a Russian security firm that claims to work with some of the world’s largest brands in cybersecurity.

      The Carbanak gang derives its name from the banking malware used in countless high-dollar cyberheists. The gang is perhaps best known for hacking directly into bank networks using poisoned Microsoft Office files, and then using that access to force bank ATMs into dispensing cash. Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab estimates that the Carbanak Gang has likely stolen upwards of USD $1 billion — but mostly from Russian banks.

    • Now you can ask Twitter directly to verify your account

      Do you have an army of imposters online pretending to be you? Probably not, but now you can still request for a verified Twitter account.

      On Tuesday, Twitter launched an official application process so that any account can be verified and receive a blue checkmark badge next to its username. Twitter users interested in applying should have a verified phone number and email address, as well as a profile photo that reflects the person or company branding.

      Verified accounts get to filter their mentions to only see those from other verified accounts. But that seems to be the only real feature or perk that comes from having a blue badge–aside from bragging rights, of course. Additionally, verified accounts can’t be private, and the username must remain the same or you will have to seek verification all over again. If you are rejected, you can reapply after 30 days. Previously, the verification process was never clear-cut, and it seemed to require a direct connection to a Twitter rep.

    • Software flaw puts mobile phones and networks at risk of complete takeover [Ed: proprietary software]

      A newly disclosed vulnerability could allow attackers to seize control of mobile phones and key parts of the world’s telecommunications infrastructure and make it possible to eavesdrop or disrupt entire networks, security experts warned Tuesday.

      The bug resides in a code library used in a wide range of telecommunication products, including radios in cell towers, routers, and switches, as well as the baseband chips in individual phones. Although exploiting the heap overflow vulnerability would require great skill and resources, attackers who managed to succeed would have the ability to execute malicious code on virtually all of those devices. The code library was developed by Pennsylvania-based Objective Systems and is used to implement a telephony standard known as ASN.1, short for Abstract Syntax Notation One.

    • https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/07/rebooting-digital-security

      Wednesday, July 20 is the final day of EFF’s Summer Security Reboot, a two-week membership drive that focuses on taking stock of our digital security practices and bolstering the larger movement to protect digital civil liberties. Besides a reduced donation amount for the Silicon level membership, the Reboot features sets of random number generators: EFF dice with instructions on how to generate stronger and more memorable random passphrases. EFF even produced three new passphrase wordlists to improve upon Arnold Reinhold’s popular Diceware list, first published in 1995.

      EFF is a longtime advocate for personal security, and over the years we have continued to fight threats to user privacy and freedom. With the Summer Security Reboot, we want the public to engage with the larger questions of how one can and should control personal information in spite of high-profile attempt after attempt to compromise our devices. The world has increasingly recognized privacy and strong crypto as integral parts of protecting international human rights. A recent Amnesty International report states encryption is “an enabler of the rights to freedom of expression, information and opinion, and also has an impact on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and other human rights.” Strong passphrase use is but one basic part of a diverse toolkit that can help you protect personal information, whether from identity thieves or government surveillance (ideally both!).

    • Hacking Facebook By Stealing Facebook Access_tokens In Device Login

      A security researcher has located a flaw in Facebook’s device login feature that allows one to easily authorise apps on IoT devices. Due to the lack of CSRF protection, an attacker can fool Facebook’s systems and grab the access_token of the victim. Facebook has now fixed the bug and awarded $5,000 bounty to the white hat hacker.

    • Neutrino EK adopts new exploit after open source POC release

      The Neutrino exploit kit (EK) added a former Internet Explorer zero-day vulnerability affecting to its arsenal.

    • Arbor Networks Report: Largest DDoS Attack Of 579Gbps In The First Half Of 2016

      Arbor Networks has published the statistics of the DDoS attacks in the first half of 2016. The largest one went up to 579Gbps. An interactive map shows the DDoS attacks made on a global level.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • How many mobile phone accounts will be hijacked this summer?
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Hell Hath No Fury Like a Teflon Sultan

      When Turkish President/aspiring Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan landed at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport early Saturday morning, he declared the attempted coup against his government a failure, and a “gift from God.”

    • Again? Op-ed by Philippe Aigrain in the aftermath of the Nice attacks

      Yet another? But yet another what? One does not even know. Once more tens of people killed, many more injured. Once more, a human being has carried them over towards death and suffering in his trajectory of violence and self-destruction. And both ISIS and most western commentators rush to describe him as the soldier of a cause when one does not even know if and when he discovered it.

    • The political strategy for peace

      The success of peace requires not only the legal security of the agreements, but also, importantly, a grassroots political process that includes popular support. To date, the government and guerrillas have done little to win public support over the agreement. In fact, many critics have opposed the advances of the Negotiating Table in La Habana, and some, including former president Álvaro Uribe, have called for a “civil resistance” claiming that the agreement promotes impunity. Levels of citizen knowledge about the agreements are low, legitimacy and popular confidence of the peace process have decreased in the latest months, polarization continues to grow with post-paramilitary groups committing human rights abuses, and political strategies to encourage support are non-existent.

    • Mhairi Black on Trident

      Note that the government benches are almost empty. The people who bothered to be present and listen to the debate were overwhelmingly those who voted against Trident. With all Scotland’s MPs but one opposing, this is yet another reason to get a move on with Indyref2. I don’t share the criticism of the Tories for calling this debate and vote – it helpfully clarifies that the representatives of Scotland are treated with contempt, and that the Blairite majority in the Parliamentary Labour Party are in hock to arms industry interests.

    • Ryan Richardson and Siddhattha Gurung: Kurdish Autonomy, Under Siege

      On a hot Friday afternoon in April, hundreds gather at the House of Mourning to pay their respects to the fallen youth of the Kurdish city of Diyarbakır. Among the crowd are families and friends, neighbors and colleagues, municipal officials and local politicians, as well as leaders of the Kurdish movement and many of its most committed supporters. At the invitation of our hosts, we are here to witness the funeral of Yusuf, 19, one of hundreds of young Kurds killed during recent clashes with Turkish forces in the ancient neighborhood of Sur.

    • Fox, Gould, Werritty and Israel – Please write to your MP

      It is to me disgusting that a politician so thoroughly disgraced as Liam Fox should be back in power. Answers were blanked on the actual purpose of the Werritty connection, and I think collectively we should try to do something about that.

    • ‘Fraud’ Alleged in NYT’s MH-17 Report

      An amateur report alleging Russian doctoring of satellite photos on the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 case – a finding embraced by The New York Times – is denounced by a forensic expert as an “outright fraud,” reports Robert Parry.

    • Erdogan Unleashes Unprecedented Crackdown: Fires All University Deans; Suspends 21,000 Private School Teachers

      Over the weekend, after the initial reports of the purge unleashed by Erdogan against Turkey’s public, we previewed the upcoming, far more dangerous counter-coup as follows: “it was the next step that is the critical one: the one where Erdogan – having cracked down on his immediate military and legal opponents – took his crusade against everyone else, including the press and the educational system.”

    • Summer Convention Fun: Keep an Eye (Ear) Out for the LRAD

      The LRAD was first deployed for use in Iraq, and quickly found its way onto Navy and commercial ships sailing amongst Somali pirates. The bad boy is a sound cannon.

      The LRAD company prefers to label its product a tool to broadcast messages and pain-inducing “deterrent” tones over long distances. The device produces a sound that can be directed in a beam up to 30 degrees wide, and the military-grade LRAD 2000X can transmit at up to 162dB up to 5.5 miles away.

      Fun fact: A jet engine at 100 feet is 140dB. Sound at 180db will cause tissue damage.

      But of course the LRAD is non-lethal, so its maker says that anyone within a 100 meters of the device’s sound path will experience extreme pain. The version generally utilized by police departments (the LRAD 500X) is designed for short bursts of directed sound that cause severe headaches in anyone within a 300 meter range. Anyone within 15 meters of the device’s audio path can experience permanent hearing loss.

      Permanent hearing loss begins at 130dB, and if the device is turned up to 140dB, anyone within its path would not only suffer hearing loss, they could potentially lose their balance and be unable to move out of the path of the audio.

    • Civilian Death Toll From Coalition Airstrikes in Syria Could Be Single Largest in U.S.-Led War on ISIS

      Scores of civilians trapped in Islamic State-controlled territory in northern Syria were reportedly killed Tuesday by airstrikes from Western coalition aircraft. The reported death toll, potentially the highest ever to result from a coalition bombing in the international campaign against ISIS, continued to climb as The Intercept reached out to monitoring groups tracking operations in the area.

      The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 56 civilians were killed when their convoy of vehicles attempted to slip out of an area north of the city of Manbij in the predawn darkness, as U.S.-backed forces pushed forward in an increasingly bloody offensive in the area. In a brief phone interview, a representative from the Britain-based organization said that while coalition aircraft were believed to be responsible for the air raid, the group suspected it was a “100 percent mistake.”

      Airwars, a nonprofit that tracks claims of civilian casualties resulting from the international air campaign against ISIS, said incoming reports indicated the death toll may prove to be well over 100 civilians — potentially making it the largest single loss of civilian life resulting from coalition airstrikes since the U.S.-led campaign to destroy ISIS began nearly two years ago. Tuesday’s reports were the latest in a string of recent incidents in which coalition aircraft have been implicated in the deaths of civilians in the Manbij area.

      “Really these civilians are in a desperate situation,” Chris Woods, head of Airwars, told The Intercept. “We’ve never seen anything like this.”

    • Chris Christie and Karl Rove’s US Attorney Project

      The Republicans were supposed to talk about how they plan to Make America Work Again last night. And I supposed Paul Ryan — and to a lesser extent Mitch McConnell, when he wasn’t being booed — presented a vision of how they think Republicans run the economy. That vision doesn’t actually resemble the protectionist big government approach Donald Trump has been running on. But given the revelation that Trump offered to let John Kasich run both domestic and foreign policy if he would be his VP candidate (Kasich was still reluctant), perhaps we should focus more on how Mike Pence wants to suffocate the economy.

      Instead, as most people have focused, Republicans continued to attack Hillary (Hillary continues to attack Trump, though I suspect she will focus somewhat more on policy next week than Republicans have thus far). Many people have unpacked Chris Christie’s rabble inciting witch hunt last night, but Dan Drezner backs his review of it with some data on the risks to democracy (click through to read all of, which is worth reading).

    • Senator Ron Johnson Lies About Hillary Clinton to Accuse Her of Dishonesty on Benghazi

      It has become an article of faith among Republicans that the anti-Islam video, which had sparked protests in Cairo in the hours before the attack in Benghazi, and across the Arab world in the days after it, had absolutely nothing to do with the killing of the Americans. Inside that bubble, carefully nurtured by Fox News, any suggestion that the offensive video — a trailer for a film biography of the prophet made to antagonize Muslims — acted as a catalyst for the assault by Islamist militants was part of a cover-up by the Obama administration.

      According to a subsequent investigation by New York Times reporters, however, “extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack” suggested that the violence was indeed “fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”

    • Turkey’s Nukes: A Sum of All Fears

      The post-coup chaos in Turkey is a reminder about the risk of leaving nuclear weapons in unstable regions where they serve no clear strategic purpose but present a clear and present danger, explains Jonathan Marshall.

    • 9/11: 28 Pages Later

      Why the long wait, and what do the 28 pages reveal?

      If we’re to believe the headlines in Saudi media (e.g. Al Arabiya) and mainstream American media (e.g. Time and the Washington Times) the big news is what they don’t reveal: A “smoking gun” connecting the government of Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 attacks.

      If we’re to believe the 28 pages themselves, the big news is that they do, in fact, reveal a “smoking gun” connecting the government of Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 attacks.

      Here’s the opening sentence from the newly released material: “While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected with the Saudi government.”

    • Military Regimes Shouldn’t be Recognized

      The military upheaval in Turkey, whose final consequences are yet to be seen, highlights a major weakness in worldwide efforts to promote democracy. This event underscores the need to establish binding international legal principles to ban the recognition of military regimes as a result of coups d’état. Establishment of such principles, and the creation of the legal mechanisms for applying them, would foster democracy throughout the world.

      The circumstances in Turkey mimic several similar situations in recent history: the coming to power of governments without support from the military. Once confronted with a threat to their political hegemony, the military either overthrow the civilian government or refuses to surrender power to democratically elected civilians.

      Overt recognition by Western democracies or implied recognition through ambivalent signs of disapproval have encouraged military officers to overthrow many constitutional governments freely chosen by the people. The military relinquish power only when forced by popular will, or when its own incapacity to govern has made its position untenable.

      This happened to the Greek junta after its debacle in Cyprus, to the Chilean regime under Augusto Pinochet and to the Argentine military after the Falklands conflict. New principles could be developed, however, that would automatically bar the recognition of such de facto regimes.

      Given the need to expand the role of the United Nations in keeping peace, the General Assembly and its International Law Commission could be called upon to draw up appropriate legislation. As the late Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold once said, the United Nations is “the most appropriate place for development and change of international law on behalf of the whole society of states.”

      Establishment of non-recognition of post coup d’état a universal principle raises some difficult practical questions. What about already established and recognized military regimes? These cases show the difficulties of applying the principle retroactively.

      But what if a country’s military forces stage a coup against an oppressive or corrupt civilian regime? An ousted civilian government that has been freely elected by the people should not be denied recognition in favor of a post-coup military regime unless the overthrown government was responsible for gross human rights violations. Further, after a coup, recognition should be withheld until another civilian government is chosen in free and democratic elections.

    • Should Police Use Bombs To Kill Criminals?

      In the wake of the two seemingly outrageous slayings of African American men by police in Minnesota and Louisiana and the equally heinous retaliatory killings of five police officers in Dallas by a black former Army Reservist, questions have been raised in all three cases about excessive police behavior.

    • US air strike in Syria kills nearly 60 civilians ‘mistaken for Isil fighters’

      A US air strike killed nearly 60 civilians, including children, in Syria on Tuesday after the coalition mistook them for Islamic State fighters.

      Some eight families were hit as they tried to flee fighting in their area, in one of the single deadliest strikes on civilians by the alliance since the start of its operations in the war-torn country.

      Pictures of the aftermath of the dawn strikes on the Isil-controlled village of Tokhar near Manbij in northern Syria showed the bodies of children as young as three under piles of rubble.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Prolific FOIA Requester Celebrates 50th Anniversary Of FOIA Law By Suing FBI Over Its Document Search Methods

      No better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act than filing a lawsuit claiming an agency is refusing to comply with it. FOIA enthusiast Ryan Shapiro has done exactly that, suing the DOJ [PDF] for the FBI’s continued refusal to perform anything more than a cursory search, using its most outdated software, for responsive records.

    • Justice department ‘uses aged computer system to frustrate Foia requests’

      Shapiro told the Guardian that the reason the DoJ gave for refusing to use its $425m Sentinel software to process Foia requests after ACS had failed to recover records was that a Sentinel search “would be needlessly duplicative of the FBI’s default ACS UNI index-based searches and wasteful of Bureau resources”.

    • Judge Tells DOJ Lawyers That A Search For FOIA Docs Requires More Than Chatting With A Couple Of Employees

      Jason Leopold is back in court (is he ever NOT there?) battling the NSA and the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) over the release of documents related to the NSA and FBI’s surveillance of federal and state judges. The two parties had already been told to do more looking around for responsive records by Judge Tanya Chutkan, who rejected their original request for summary judgment last July.

      The two agencies went back and performed another search. And still came up empty-handed.

      Let me rephrase that: the two agencies went back and performed another “search.” Here’s what that “search” actually entailed, as described in the opinion [PDF].

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Federal Agents Went Undercover To Spy on Anti-Fracking Movement, Emails Reveal

      When more than 300 protesters assembled in May at the Holiday Inn in Lakewood, Colorado — the venue chosen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for an auction of oil and gas leases on public lands — several of the demonstrators were in fact undercover agents sent by law enforcement to keep tabs on the demonstration, according to emails obtained by The Intercept.

      The “Keep it in the Ground” movement, a broad effort to block the development of drilling projects, has rapidly gained traction over the last year, raising pressure on the Obama administration to curtail hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, and coal mining on federal public lands. In response, government agencies and industry groups have sharply criticized the activists in public, while quietly moving to track their activities.

      The emails, which were obtained through an open records act request, show that the Lakewood Police Department collected details about the protest from undercover officers as the event was being planned. During the auction, both local law enforcement and federal agents went undercover among the protesters.

      The emails further show that police monitored Keep it in the Ground participating groups such as 350.org, Break Free Movement, Rainforest Action Network, and WildEarth Guardians, while relying upon intelligence gathered by Anadarko, one of the largest oil and gas producers in the region.

    • ‘World’s saddest polar bear’ exhibited in Chinese shopping centre

      More than 285,000 people have signed a petition calling for the closure of an aquarium in southern China that is home to an animal dubbed “the world’s saddest polar bear”.

      The lethargic bear, whose name is Pizza, is on show at an “ocean theme park” located inside the Grandview shopping centre in the city of Guangzhou.

      The aquarium made international headlines after its opening in early January with one Hong Kong-based animal rights charity denouncing it as a “horrifying” animal prison.

    • This Ridiculously Low Oil Spill Fine Is What’s Wrong With Environmental Enforcement

      Six years after spilling more than 27,000 barrels of oil into local rivers, Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership is finally facing the music: a $177 million settlement with the U.S. government.

      The music is a little soft.

      The settlement covers two spills, but one of them was a doozy. On July 25, 2010, an Enbridge pipeline ruptured, ultimately spilling 20,000 barrels of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River and becoming the largest ever on-shore tar sands oil spill. Tar sands oil, extracted primarily in Canada and piped into and across the United States, is heavy, thick, and mud-like. Unlike most other oils, it sinks, making it even more difficult to clean up. After the Kalamazoo spill, Enbridge had to dredge the river and then replant native vegetation. At the five-year mark of the spill, the river’s ecology had not fully returned.

  • Finance

    • What Donald Trump doesn’t get about ‘free trade’

      The future Republican presidential nominee is right to criticize so-called ‘trade’ deals like NAFTA, but he does so for the wrong reasons.

    • The Republican Platform’s Surprise Revival of Glass-Steagall Legislation

      The last-minute decision to include in the Republican platform a call to restore the firewall between commercial and investment banking comes as a surprise, because Donald Trump himself has never publicly addressed or endorsed such a reform in his year-long presidential run.

      Trump did once say at a debate in New Hampshire, “nobody knows banking better than I do,” but a review of the transcripts of all twelve Republican debates shows that he never endorsed restoring Glass-Steagall, legislation first passed in 1933. Websites devoted to detailing Trump’s positions find no record of him having any opinion on the Depression-era law. The issues pages of Trump’s presidential website steer clear of anything related to banks or finance.

    • The Corporate Liberal in America

      Sound familiar? King’s white moderate and Marx’s ostensible friend is our corporate liberal. Same spin, different decade. The corporate liberal is an embodiment of the idea that political parties are the graveyards of movements. Hedges himself wrote a book called, “Death of the Liberal Class” five years ago. It should’ve been the elegy before the interment of the Democratic Party as a serious option in electoral politics. Yet here we are, about to anoint another corporate liberal to the highest seat in the land. In that case, consider this article yet another epitaph awaiting its headstone. Let’s hope it’s not a long wait. Voices like Sawant’s and the momentum of movements like BLM give us reason to think it won’t be.

    • What’s The Rent? NYC Housing Officials Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

      The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development is flouting a rent-reporting requirement for apartments built under the city’s single biggest housing tax break. Mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t seem to mind.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Exclusive: Trump could seek new law to purge government of Obama appointees

      If he wins the presidency, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would seek to purge the federal government of officials appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama and could ask Congress to pass legislation making it easier to fire public workers, Trump ally, Chris Christie, said on Tuesday.

    • Trump Supporters Accused of Bullying Delegates Who Don’t Fall In Line

      Some Republican convention delegates are complaining that pro-Trump thugs harassed and threatened them for not falling into line behind the nominee.

      This is not a new phenomenon; there’s even a Delegate Defense Hotline set up by the Ted Cruz campaign in April that bullied delegates can call.

      Kera Birkeland, a delegate from Utah, said she was confronted by two women in the bathroom at the Quicken Loans Arena Monday night. “They yelled at me, called me names,” she wrote on Facebook. “They said I should die. They said the police should be pulled from the Utah delegation and we should all die. They never touched me. They did not say they would kill me. They just said I should die.”

      Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, joked about the incident on Tuesday. “I think I have a pretty good sense of what’s going on in this convention, but I haven’t gone in to the bathrooms yet,” he told reporters.

      Birkeland was part of a group of delegates who unsuccessfully called for a roll call vote on the convention’s rules on Monday – widely seen as the last gasp of a #Nevertrump movement. Birkeland initially supported Rand Paul for president, then Ted Cruz.

      Tommy Valentine, a 22-year-old Virginia delegate, told ThinkProgress that representatives from the Trump campaign threatened him about the petition for a roll call vote: “I had one Trump staffer who came to me and said, ‘When Trump becomes president, he will remember,’” Valentine said. “They were going around to the delegates who would sign the documents intimidating them and telling them to take their names off it.”

    • Trump Adviser Calls For Hillary Clinton’s Execution

      RNC delegates and convention-goers can buy merchandise calling Hillary Clinton a “bitch” and a “tramp.” On both Monday and Tuesday, the floor has broken out in chants of “lock her up!” Listening to the speaker after speaker spend a significant chunk of their time denouncing Clinton, one might be led to believe hating on Hillary is an official plank in the Republican Party’s platform.

    • G.O.P. Formally Nominates Donald Trump for President
    • RNC Headliners Avoid Talking About Jobs and Donald Trump on Day to Talk About Jobs and Trump

      Tuesday was “Make America Work Again” day at the Republican National Convention, which also happened to coincide with the party formally nominating Donald Trump as its nominee.

      But neither jobs nor Trump got much attention as a grab-bag of Republican headliners Tuesday spent most of their time demonizing Hillary Clinton and talking about themselves without offering an affirmative case for the nominee or a concrete economic policy agenda.

      The keynoter, House Speaker Paul Ryan, spoke nearly 1,500 words, but mentioned Trump’s name just twice. Promising he’ll be standing alongside “Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump” at next year’s State of the Union address, Ryan spent the lion’s share of his time castigating the Democratic Party instead.

    • Will Clinton VP Pick Be ‘Pronounced Middle Finger’ to Millions Who Voted for Bernie?

      Appropriate progressive response to inadequate choice, says one Democratic delegate, ‘would be expressions of outrage and nonviolent protest, from the convention floor in Philadelphia to communities across the country.’

    • GOP Crazy Talk Comes to Cleveland

      The Republican National Convention has been an orgy of crazy talk – mixed in with some plagiarism by Donald Trump’s wife and a vast kangaroo court convicting Hillary Clinton – a truly remarkable spectacle, as Michael Winship describes.

    • Donald Trump’s Most Idiotic Moments
    • The Coronation of a Charlatan

      Years from now, bright-eyed children will look up at Grandma or Grandpa and ask, “Where were you when they nominated Donald Trump?” Far too many prominent Republicans will have to hang their heads in shame.

      As the garish imperial coronation in Cleveland reaches its climax, there will be much commentary—some, no doubt, from me—about fleeting events. Did So-and-so’s speech help Trump or hurt him? Did one line of attack against Hillary Clinton seem more or less promising than another? All of this is news, but we must not lose sight of the big picture: The “Party of Lincoln” is about to nominate for president a man who is dangerously unfit for the office.

      Trump is a brilliant showman, no question about that. His life’s work has been self-aggrandizement, not real estate, and all those years of practice served him well when he turned to politics. He knows how to work a crowd. He understands television and social media. He dominated and vanquished a field of experienced campaigners as if they were mere apprentices.

    • Boris Johnson grilled over past ‘outright lies’ at uneasy press conference

      Boris Johnson was embarrassingly forced on to the back foot during his first London press conference as foreign secretary on Tuesday as he was repeatedly pressed to explain his past “outright lies” and insults about world leaders, including describing the US president as part-Kenyan and hypocritical.

      Standing alongside John Kerry, the US secretary of state, Johnson claimed his remarks had been misconstrued, that his past journalism had been taken out of context, and world leaders he had met since his appointment fully understood his past remarks.

    • A Lens on the RNC: Dispatches From Day 1 of the Convention (Photos)

      What happens outside Quicken Loans Arena during the 2016 Republican National Convention may be more interesting than what happens inside the star-spangled halls.

      Photojournalist Michael Nigro is in Cleveland to provide Truthdig with a view of noteworthy moments from around the convention centers, where protesters and activists have gathered to express their views.

    • Inside The Delegate Revolt At The RNC

      Boos, screams of “no,” and cries of “shame” rang throughout the Republican National Convention’s arena Monday afternoon as party leaders rejected demands from at least ten states to allow a vote on the rules that bind delegates to vote for Donald Trump.

      The delegates leading the eleventh-hour rebellion, including Colorado’s Kendal Unruh, were furious. She told ThinkProgress minutes after the vote that she felt cheated by her own party and its nominee.

    • Anti-Trump Dead-Enders Hit a Dead End

      Party divisions over Donald Trump reached the floor of the Republican Convention on Monday afternoon as anti-Trump delegates attempted a complicated procedural maneuver: petitioning the convention’s chairman to force a roll call vote over the acceptance of the convention’s rules.

      It was an act of desperation.

      “I think Trump is the absolute worst candidate that the Republican Party could put forth,” said Craig Licciardi of Flint, an alternate delegate from Texas who said that he supported the roll call vote. (Nearly half the delegates attending the convention are technically “alternates,” who don’t get an actual vote on the floor.)

      Like many from his state’s delegation, he wore a Lone Star shirt and a cowboy hat. “He’s a Democrat in disguise,” Licciardi said. “I would hope that everything he says has a measure of truth to it, but it was only a few years ago that he was praising Hillary and Bill as his good friends, and good people.”

    • The Long, Sad, Corrupted Devolution of the GOP, From Eisenhower to Donald Trump

      The Intercept and our partners at AJ+ produced the video above documenting the GOP’s 60-year-long de-evolution

      The Republican Party is poised to nominate a presidential candidate who has built his platform on promises to ban a billion people from entering the United States based on their religious faith and build a gigantic wall south of the border.

      But Donald J. Trump is not an accident. The GOP has in the last 40 years relentlessly devolved away from addressing the needs of ordinary people, catering instead to extreme ideologies and the wealthiest donors.

      Rather than addressing pressing problems like income inequality and climate change, the modern GOP focuses instead on cutting taxes for the super-wealthy, expanding earth-killing carbon extraction, and endless war.

      But it wasn’t always this way. Sixty years ago, the Republican Party was advocating for civil rights and gender equality, a stronger welfare state, and to protect the environment. This is the story of the Republican Party that once was.

    • American Pravda: Relying Upon Maoist Professors of Cultural Studies

      Last week America suffered the loss of Sydney Schanberg, widely regarded as one of the greatest journalists of his generation. Yet as I’d previously noted, when I read his long and glowing obituary in the New York Times, I was shocked to see that it included not a single word concerning the greatest story of his career, which had been the primary focus of the last quarter century of his research and writing.

      The cynical abandonment of hundreds of American POWs at the end of the Vietnam War must surely rank as one of the most monumental scandals of modern times, and the determined effort of the mainstream media to maintain this enormous governmental cover-up for over four decades raises serious doubts about whether we can believe what our newspapers report about anything else.

      A couple of mainstream academics, one liberal and one conservative, whose names would be recognized as those of prominent public intellectuals, dropped me notes strongly applauding my effort to reopen the POW controversy and help get the truth out at last.

    • GOP Leans In To Misogyny During Convention

      Each day of the Republican National Convention, as tens of thousands of delegates, reporters, and curious onlookers pushed and shoved their way down a single narrow street leading to the arena’s main stage, a group of vendors hawked t-shirts and buttons attacking Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

    • R.I.P., GOP?

      The Republican Party came to life as the bastion of “Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Speech, Free Men.” It was a reformist party dedicated to stopping the spread of slavery and to fighting a “Slave Power” its founders saw as undermining free institutions.

      The new political organization grew out of the old Whigs and reflected the faith that Henry Clay and his admirer Abraham Lincoln had in the federal government’s ability to invest in fostering economic growth and expanding educational opportunity. Its partisans embodied what John C. Calhoun, slavery’s chief ideological defender, described disdainfully as “the national impulse.” It was, in fact, a good impulse.

    • Trump-Loving KKK Leader: Jewish Speechwriter Sabotaged Melania Trump

      In the last 24 hours, the Donald Trump campaign has offered a number of dubious excuses for why Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention’s opening night appeared to lift passages of First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic Convention speech word-for-word. Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, who has enthusiastically endorsed Trump, offered a novel explanation: the Jewish agenda.

      Trump initially refused to disavow the notorious white supremacist’s endorsement, eventually distancing himself from Duke after pressure from the party establishment. But Duke has continued to vociferously defend Trump against all accusations of racism, generally by blaming the Jews.

    • Melania Trump Remarks on Values Plagiarized From Michelle Obama

      A central portion of Melania Trump’s speech to the Republican National Convention on Monday night, about the core values her parents instilled in her and her sister as children, seems to have been lifted almost word for word from the speech Michelle Obama gave on the first night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

    • GOP Platform Calls for Elimination of Almost All Campaign Finance Laws

      A key part of Donald Trump’s campaign to become the Republican presidential nominee was based on claiming to self-fund his campaign while calling his opponents “puppets” of big contributors. But the 2016 Republican platform takes some of the most extreme positions on money in politics, measures that would force almost all politicians to seek out their own personal puppet masters.

      First, the GOP platform advocates “raising or repealing contribution limits” on donations directly to politicians.

      Currently individuals can give only $2,700 per election directly to a candidate. Primaries count as separate elections, so you can give Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s campaigns $5,400 – half for the primary and half for the general elections.

      Thanks to Citizens United and related rulings, you can also — if you can afford to — give unlimited amounts to Super PACs that are theoretically uncoordinated with campaigns.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • GCHQ and Leamington charity aim to inspire girls to take up a career in cyber security [Ed: Today's femmewashing]
    • Surveillance, power and communication

      Algorithms make digitally mediated surveillance or watching over technically very easy. Applications can support and mitigate the damage of disasters, they can help protect people in public spaces, they can help signal health risks and in that sense, they combat disease. They help in monitoring climate change. Algorithms are being used to help companies to boost profits and countries are (in some cases) experiencing economic growth as a result – that is the claim and it can be verified. Algorithms also of course support sousveillance or undersight as Steve Mann and others call it; and so algorithmic based watching from below also supports a radical politics of resistance.

    • What Could Go Wrong With Asking Teachers To Monitor Kids for ‘Extremist’ Beliefs?

      The FBI wants to implement a program to counter extremism in U.S. schools that’s similar to a disastrous one in the U.K.

      Are these the tell-tale signs of kids at risk of committing violence: An 8-year-old who wore a t-shirt saying he wanted to be like a seventh-century Muslim leader? A 17-year-old who sought to draw attention to the water shortage in Gaza by handing out leaflets? A 4-year-old who drew a picture of his dad slicing a vegetable?

      Teachers and school officials in the United Kingdom thought so, and they referred these children for investigation as potential terrorists. They were interrogated by U.K. law enforcement. They’re likely subject to ongoing monitoring, with details of their childhoods maintained in secret government files potentially indefinitely.

      A report released last week by Rights Watch (UK) highlights these and other children’s experiences under a U.K. countering violent extremism (CVE) program known as Prevent. Prevent imposes a legal obligation on schools to implement policies assessing whether children have “extremist” views or are at risk of engaging in terrorism, and to “intervene as appropriate.” Intervention may include referring the child to a related program in which panels of police officers, teachers, and other government employees identify children they think are vulnerable to terrorist recruitment.

      Why should any of this concern Americans? Because the FBI wants to do something a little bit too close for comfort in U.S. schools, and American schoolchildren may come under similar suspicion and scrutiny.

    • France orders Microsoft to stop collecting excessive user data

      The French data protection authority on Wednesday ordered Microsoft to stop collecting excessive data on users of its Windows 10 operating system and serving them personalized ads without their consent.

      The French data authority, Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), said the US company had three months to stop tracking browsing by users so that Windows apps and third-party apps can offer them targeted advertising without their consent, failing which it could initiate a sanctions procedure.

      A number of EU data protection authorities created a contact group to investigate Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system following its launch in July 2015, the French privacy watchdog said.

    • Now You Can Hide Your Smart Home on the Darknet

      The privacy software Tor has aided everything from drug dealing marketplaces to whistleblowing websites in evading surveillance on the darknet. Now that same software can be applied to a far more personal form of security: keeping hackers out of your toaster.

      On Wednesday, the privacy-focused non-profit Guardian Project, a partner of the Tor Project that maintains and develops the Tor anonymity network, announced a new technique it’s developed to apply Tor’s layers of encryption and network stealth to protecting so-called “Internet of things” or “smart home” devices. That growing class of gadgets, ranging from refrigerators to lightbulbs to security cameras, are connected to the Internet to make possible new forms of remote management and automation. They also, as the security research community has repeatedly demonstrated, enable a new breed of over-the-Internet attacks, such as the rash of hackers harassing infants via baby monitors or the potential for hackers to steal your Gmail password from your fridge.

    • White privilege protects Taylor Swift’s Instagram while racist slurs force Leslie Jones off Twitter

      Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift had an exhausting day on the internet on Monday. In the immediate aftermath of Kardashian releasing video footage confirming that Swift did, in fact, have a conversation with Kanye West about her name drop in his song “Famous,” public opinion has taken a dramatic turn against Swift.

    • Instagram Protects Taylor Swift While Twitter Lets Racist Trolls Attack Leslie Jones

      Censorship on social media is a tricky issue. Platforms like Twitter and Instagram have to balance community policing with freedom of expression. When does bullying cross the line? Should hate speech be banned? And who gets to decide? It’s often a gray area — except when it’s black and white.
      Since Kim Kardashian uploaded snippets on Sunday night of Kanye’s conversation with Taylor Swift — you know, the phone call about “Famous” that Swift insisted never happened — Kimye supporters have been hard-core trolling Swift’s Instagram response to the debacle. Commenters have been calling her a liar, a fake, and things much nastier than that — or simply resorting to the snake emoji, as inspired by this tweet of Kardashian’s. Not nice — but nothing egregious or unusual, either.

    • Tor Veteran Lucky Green Exits and Withdraws Critical ‘Tonga’ Node and Relays
    • Health Gadgets and Apps Outpace Privacy Protections, Report Finds

      The federal patient privacy law known as HIPAA has not kept pace with wearable fitness trackers, mobile health apps and online patient communities, leaving a gaping hole in regulations that needs to be filled, according to a much-delayed government report released today.

      The report, which was supposed to be complete in 2010, does not include specific recommendations for fixing the problem, even though Congress asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide them.

    • Russia Asks For The Impossible With Its New Surveillance Laws

      It’s been a rough month for Internet freedom in Russia. After it breezed through the Duma, President Putin signed the “Yarovaya package” into law—a set of radical “anti-terrorism” provisions drafted by ultra-conservative United Russia politician Irina Yarovaya, together with a set of instructions on how to implement the new rules. Russia’s new surveillance laws include some of Bad Internet Legislation’s greatest hits, such as mandatory data retention and government backdoors for encrypted communications—policies that EFF has opposed in every country where they’ve been proposed.

      As if that wasn’t scary enough, under the revisions to the criminal code, Russians can now be prosecuted for “failing to report a crime.” Citizens now risk a year in jail for simply not telling the police about suspicions they might have about future terrorist acts.

      But some of the greatest confusion has come from Internet service providers and other telecommunication companies. These organizations now face impossible demands from the Russian state. Now they can be ordered to retain every byte of data that they transmit, including video, telephone calls, text messages, web traffic, and email for six months—a daunting and expensive task that requires the kind of storage capacity that’s usually associated with NSA data centers in Utah. Government access to this data no longer requires a warrant. Carriers must keep all metadata for three years; ISPs one year. Finally, any online service (including social networks, email, or messaging services) that uses encrypted data is now required to permit the Federal Security Service (FSB) to access and read their services’ encrypted communications, including providing any encryption keys.

    • Deep Dive: EFF’s New Wordlists for Random Passphrases

      Randomly-generated passphrases offer a major security upgrade over user-chosen passwords. Estimating the difficulty of guessing or cracking a human-chosen password is very difficult. It was the primary topic of my own PhD thesis and remains an active area of research. (One of many difficulties when people choose passwords themselves is that people aren’t very good at making random, unpredictable choices.)

    • The Things We Need to Know

      The national security state steps out of bounds.

      [...]

      After 9/11, Hayden and a small group of White House officials, intelligence officers, and lawyers secretly put in place a warrantless wiretapping program whose purported legality relied on radical exceptions to both the Fourth Amendment and a federal statute that strictly governs foreign-intelligence surveillance on domestic soil. Even as he defends the program, codenamed “Stellarwind,” as a “logical response” to 9/11 and “not the product of demented cryptologic minds,” Hayden calls it “the agency’s edgiest undertaking in its history.” (He may be right, but he devotes just five lines to describing the program’s most legitimate competitor for that title: the vast domestic spying, detailed in the 1975 and ’76 Church Committee Reports, that he calls a “scandal” in scare quotes. He mentions government surveillance of “the likes of” Jane Fonda, Joan Baez, and Benjamin Spock; he leaves out a host of legislators and civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr.) Situating the controversy Stellarwind ignited, Hayden writes my favorite sentence in the book: “Domestic intelligence has always been countercultural in America.”

    • Pokemon Go Cheat Fools GPS with Software Defined Radio

      Using Xcode to spoof GPS locations in Pokemon Go (like we saw this morning) isn’t that much of a hack, and frankly, it’s not even a legit GPS spoof. After all, it’s not like we’re using an SDR to spoof the physical GPS signal to cheat Pokemon Go.

    • DOJ Pushes Out Legislation Proposal To Undercut Microsoft Case Decision About Overseas Searches

      No sooner had the ink dried on the Second Circuit Appeals Court decision regarding Microsoft and its overseas servers than new legislation designed to undercut the court’s finding has been printed up by the DOJ and presented to the administration.

      Microsoft successfully argued that the US government couldn’t force it to unlock a server in Dublin, Ireland, so it could rummage around for evidence. Nor could the DOJ force the company to act on its behalf, performing a search of its overseas servers for documents the US government couldn’t access otherwise.

      Since that decision obviously just won’t do, the DOJ has presented proposed legislation [PDF] that would alter existing Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) so the agency can do the very thing a court just said it couldn’t do.

      The details are discussed in, um, detail over at the Lawfare blog by none other than a former DOJ lawyer (David Kris). Needless to say, the post skews towards “supportive,” but the analysis is thorough and offers some excellent insight on what the DOJ hopes to open up — and what it’s willing to concede in return for this new power.

    • Former Marine Dad Blames Son’s Beating Death on PTSD
    • Md. dad who killed adopted son sentenced to 12 years in prison
    • Former NSA Employee Sentenced for Adopted Son’s Death
    • Former NSA official gets 12 years in death of adopted son

      A former division chief for the National Security Agency, who admitted that he hurled his 3-year-old adopted son against a wall in his Maryland home, was sentenced to 12 years in prison Tuesday for the boy’s death.

    • War veteran gets 12 years in prison for brutally killing three-year-old adopted son
    • PTSD claim helps deadly dad get low end sentence
    • Former NSA official sentenced to 12 years in death of adopted son

      Much of the six-hour hearing dealt with O’Callaghan’s mental state. He had served tours in Kosovo and Iraq as a Marine, saw the dead bodies of children, and was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, testimony showed. His attorney, Steven McCool, described that history as a mitigating factor in the crime.

    • Theresa May wrong to pass spy law, and DRIPA opinion proves it—MP says

      Politicians, lawyers, and civil rights groups have slammed the UK government’s present and future surveillance laws in light of the advocate general’s opinion on the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA)—which said that Theresa May’s emergency spy law is legal if strong safeguards are in place.

      [...]

      Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson—who, alongside Tory MP and the government’s new Brexit chief David Davis—brought the original legal action against the UK’s DRIPA legislation, said: “This legal opinion shows the prime minister was wrong to pass legislation when she was home secretary that allows the state to access huge amounts of personal data without evidence of criminality or wrongdoing.”

      Human rights group Liberty, which represented Watson in the courts, said that if the CJEU judges agree with the advocate general’s opinion, “the decision could stop the government’s fatally flawed Investigatory Powers Bill in its tracks and mark a watershed moment in the fight for a genuinely effective, lawful, and targeted system of surveillance that keeps British people safe and respects their rights.”

    • Germany Wants To Put Black Boxes In Self-driving Cars, Just Like Airplanes
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • There Will Be No Second American Revolution: The Futility of an Armed Revolt

      America is a ticking time bomb.

      All that remains to be seen is who—or what—will set fire to the fuse.

      We are poised at what seems to be the pinnacle of a manufactured breakdown, with police shooting unarmed citizens, snipers shooting police, global and domestic violence rising, and a political showdown between two presidential candidates equally matched in unpopularity.

      The preparations for the Republican and Democratic national conventions taking place in Cleveland and Philadelphia—augmented by a $50 million federal security grant for each city—provide a foretaste of how the government plans to deal with any individual or group that steps out of line: they will be censored, silenced, spied on, caged, intimidated, interrogated, investigated, recorded, tracked, labeled, held at gunpoint, detained, restrained, arrested, tried and found guilty.

      For instance, anticipating civil unrest and mass demonstrations in connection with the Republican Party convention, Cleveland officials set up makeshift prisons, extra courtrooms to handle protesters, and shut down a local university in order to house 1,700 riot police and their weapons. The city’s courts are preparing to process up to 1,000 people a day. Additionally, the FBI has also been conducting “interviews” with activists in advance of the conventions to discourage them from engaging in protests.

    • Court Says There’s No Remedy For Person Whose Vehicle Was Subjected To Civil Forfeiture After An Illegal Search

      A bizarre case comes out of the Texas court system — landing squarely in the middle of a legal Bermuda Triangle where illegal searches meet civil asset forfeiture… and everything is still somehow perfectly legal. (via FourthAmendment.com)

      The facts of the case: police officers arrested Miguel Herrera and seized his 2004 Lincoln Navigator. An inventory search of the vehicle uncovered drugs and the state moved to seize the vehicle itself as “contraband” using civil (rather than criminal — this is important) asset forfeiture. Herrera argued that the stop itself was illegal and anything resulting from it — the drugs and the civil seizure of the vehicle — should be suppressed.

      The Supreme Court of Texas examines the facts of the case, along with the applicable statutes, and — after discarding a US Supreme Court decision that would have found in Herrera’s favor — decides there’s nothing he can do to challenge the seizure. He can’t even move to suppress the evidence uncovered following the illegal stop — the same search that led to the state seizing his vehicle under civil forfeiture statutes.

    • FBI, Police ‘Visited’ Activists’ Homes Ahead of the Republican National Convention

      In another step towards the fascist state Donald Trump has warm dreams envisioning, FBI agents and Cleveland police officers “visited” the homes of local activists in an attempt to gather intelligence on possible planned demonstrations surrounding the Republican National Convention.

    • Republican Congressman Steve King Sets White Supremacist Tone in Cleveland

      Steve King, a Republican congressman from Iowa, insisted on Monday that there was nothing wrong with the lack of diversity at the Republican National Convention since, he said, members of other races had contributed relatively little to human civilization.

      King’s literal assertion of white supremacy, in response to criticism of the party by the Esquire blogger Charlie Pierce, came during a live appearance on MSNBC, and seemed to stun the host, Chris Hayes, as well as Pierce and April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks’ Washington bureau chief.

    • Amid Unrest, South Sudanese Journalist Arrested

      Alfred Taban, a prominent South Sudanese journalist and editor-in-chief of the Juba Monitor, was arrested by government national security service agents on Saturday, according to the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (DefendDefenders). His arrest reportedly stemmed from his recent editorial calling for the removal of South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir and his first vice president Riek Machar, following a new round of bloodletting in South Sudan’s long-running civil war.

      “What Alfred wrote was within the constitutional right (freedom of expression), it is not an offense,” Edmund Yakani, the executive director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, a civil society organization that tracks the harassment of journalists, told The Intercept by email.

    • The dangerous denial of dangerous instincts

      Power-seeking demagogues appeal, unknowingly, to our dangerous instinct to fear and hate rival groups: unknowingly, partly because the scientific community denies the existence of instinct.

    • Puerto Rican Police Officials Find Out They Can’t Force Officers to Pray or Demote Them When They Refuse

      It’s really simple: Government officials cannot punish subordinates for refusing to pray.

      How does a 13-year veteran of the Puerto Rico Police Department go from being a patrol officer to washing police cars? In the case of Officer Alvin Marrero-Méndez, all it took was refusing to participate in his boss’s official Christian prayers. After Officer Marrero-Méndez, an atheist, objected to the unlawful practice and declined to join his colleagues in prayer, he was demeaned by his supervisors, stripped of his gun, and effectively demoted to a messenger and car-washer.

      In 2013, the ACLU and ACLU of Puerto Rico filed a federal lawsuit against Officer Marrero-Méndez’s supervisors. Today, ruling against the supervisors, a federal appeals court affirmed the obvious: The government cannot punish someone for refusing to pray, and officials who violate this basic constitutional principle can be held liable in court for their conduct.

      The defendants had argued that they should be immune from liability because, according to them, the law at the time was not clearly established. But as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit explained today, “If these actions do not establish religious coercion, we would be hard-pressed to find what would.”

    • Police officer among three stabbed as Hyde Park water fight turns ugly

      One police officer was stabbed and another injured after a water fight in London’s Hyde Park on the hottest day of the year turned violent.

      Two other people suffered stab wounds in addition to the police officer as the park descended into a “war zone”.

    • Hyde Park disorder – two police officers injured and two others stabbed
    • Security, Territory and Population Part 2: Initial Discussion of Security

      The first lecture in the series Foucault calls Security, Territory and Population is primarily a discussion of security. Instead of a definition, Foucault gives two sets of examples. The first group involves penal statutes. In the simplest case, there is a prohibited practice (you shall not steal) and a punishment (amputation). In the second, the disciplinary case, the prohibition and the punishment are present, but in a more complex context, including a system of supervisions, inspections and checks to identify the likelihood that a person will commit a crime; and instead of a spectacular punishment like amputation or banishment, there are incarceration and efforts at transforming the person. In the third case, the first two remain in place, but we add a supervisory regime of statistics and other efforts to understand the problem created by the prohibited practice and to set up mechanisms that are cost-effective in trying to keep the prohibited acts at a tolerable level with cost-benefit analysis and other constructs.

      The second set of examples concerns illness. In the Middle Ages, leprosy was dealt with using a strict protocol of separation. A bit later, the Plague was treated with a robust series of quarantines, inspections and other regulatory steps to prevent spread. In the third case, there is smallpox, treated with inoculations, so that the crucial questions are the effectiveness of the vaccine, the modes of insuring widespread inoculation, and other more formal statistical understandings.

    • The choice before the Labour party

      Underlying this question for the party was a question for the country as a whole, the fundamental and perennial question, ‘who is to be master?’ Is society to be dominated by a few hundred thousand bankers, industrialists and landowners? Or will the whole nation come to comprehend and control its economic policy and ‘distribute the product of its labours in accordance with some generally recognised principles of justice?’

    • Brazil’s Largest Newspaper Commits Major Journalistic Fraud to Boost Interim President Temer

      One of the looming mysteries during the last several months of Brazil’s political crisis (as The Intercept has repeatedly noted) has been the complete absence of polling data from the country’s largest media outlets and polling firms. The lower house voted on April 17 — more than three months ago — to send to the Senate impeachment charges against democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff, which resulted in the temporary installation of her vice president, Michel Temer, as “interim president.”

      Since then, there had been no published polls from Datafolha — the polling firm used by Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha de.S Paulo — asking Brazilians if they favor Dilma’s impeachment, if they favor the impeachment of Temer, and/or if they want new elections to choose a new president. The last Datafolha poll prior to the impeachment vote was on April 9, and it found that 60 percent favored Dilma’s impeachment, while 58 percent favored the impeachment of Temer. It also found that 60 percent wanted Temer to resign after Dilma was impeached, and 79 percent favored new elections once they both left.

    • Former STL Cardinals Scouting Director Gets Jail Time For Illegally Accessing Astros Scouting Database

      If you’ll recall, early on this year we wrote about the very strange story in which the at-the-time scouting director for the St. Louis Cardinals, Chris Correa, used the old passwords of a former employee who had since taken a job with the Houston Astros to break into the opposing team’s scouting database. The actions were fairly brazen, leading many to wonder how in the world Correa thought he was going to get away with this. The government charged him under the CFAA, to which Correa pleaded guilty. At the time, I concluded the post guessing that Correa, given his standing and the fact that he isn’t named Aaron Swartz, would get off with minimal if any jail time.

    • Cardinals Employee Sentenced to Almost 4 Years in Prison for Guessing a Password

      Christopher Correa, the former scouting director for Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals, has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for guessing the password of a Houston Astros manager.

    • Rudy Giuliani Brags About Treating All Muslims Like Criminal Suspects

      In his grab-the-pitchforks address to the Republican National Convention on Monday night, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani insisted the enemy wasn’t “most of Islam,” just “Islamic extremist terrorism.”

      But in an interview with The Intercept on the convention floor Tuesday night, Giuliani enthusiastically defended policies that treat all Muslims like criminal suspects.

      Asked whether he supports Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s proposals to have police spy on mosques, Giuliani replied “I was the mayor who put police officers in mosques, in New York and New Jersey.”

      Giuliani even claimed credit for a longer history of police surveillance of New York area mosques than is widely known, predating the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “We did it for the eight years I was mayor,” he said. Giuliani was mayor from 1994 through December 2001.

      “After the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center by Islamic extremist terrorists from New Jersey, I did it in early January of 1994.”

      After the 9/11 attacks, the New York Police Department launched a now well-documented but then-secret program of spying on every mosque within a 100-mile radius of New York City, including in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New England. The department acknowledged in 2012 court testimony that the program had never generated an investigative lead and in 2014, Mayor Bill De Blasio shut down the program’s most controversial unit.

    • Cleveland Police Swarm Protestors Brandishing Tennis Balls

      Dozens of police officers swarmed protestors from the activist group CodePink outside a main entrance to the Republican National Convention Tuesday, because they were holding tennis balls.

      In June, the City of Cleveland added tennis balls to its list of prohibited items inside a 3.3 square mile “event zone,” surrounding the Quicken Loans Arena. Other prohibited items included tape, rope, bike locks, and any stepstool that could be used to address a crowd. But the prohibition did not apply to guns – meaning that convention attendees and onlookers are allowed to openly carry firearms, including assault weapons.

      Cleveland Police requested that Ohio Gov. John Kasich suspend open carry laws inside the “event zone,” but he denied the request.

    • Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Long Nightmare at Guantánamo Is Finally Coming to an End

      After 14 years, the author of ‘Guantánamo Diary’ has been cleared for release from indefinite detention by the government.

      After 14 long years languishing at Guantánamo without charge or trial, Mohamedou Slahi has finally been cleared for release.

      Today the Periodic Review Board — a panel of national security, intelligence, and other officials — made that decision after determining that Slahi poses no significant threat to the United States. The government of his native Mauritania has said that it would welcome him home.

      Slahi is the author of the best-selling memoir “Guantánamo Diary,” and he appeared before the Periodic Review Board on June 2. We provided the PRB with a slew of evidence and support for Mohamedou’s release. We especially appreciate the letter of support from a former U.S. military guard at Guantánamo who was assigned to Slahi for 10 months, and another support letter from former chief prosecutor for the Guantánamo military commissions, Col. Morris Davis.

      A campaign to free Slahi spearheaded by the ACLU has gathered major support both in the U.S. and abroad. The ACLU and Change.org have collected more than 100,000 signatures calling for his release. High-profile supporters of the petition include Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Roger Waters. In the U.K., several members of Parliament signed a letter urging the British government to call on the U.S. to release Slahi.

    • “Guantánamo Diary” Author Cleared for Release After 14-Year Imprisonment

      An interagency review board has determined that Guantánamo detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi poses no threat to the United States and has recommended that he be released, setting the bestselling author on the path to be reunited with his family.

      Slahi was arrested in his native Mauritania in 2001, and was held and tortured in secret prisons in Afghanistan and Jordan before being secreted to Guantánamo, an odyssey he recounted in a memoir, Guantánamo Diary, which became a bestseller last year. He has been imprisoned for over 14 years without being charged with a crime.

      In early June, Slahi made his case to the Periodic Review Board as part of a sort of parole process instituted by the Obama administration to evaluate the cases of the remaining men at Guantanamo to determine if they might be safely transferred to another country.

      At that hearing, Slahi’s advocates, including his lawyer and two representatives from the military, described his plans to continue writing and to start a small business, and noted the strong network of family and other supporters who could help him. They spoke to his unusual language skills and warm relationship with his lawyers and even the guards assigned to him. The military representatives described him as “an advocate for peace,” and stated that they were “certain that Mohamedou’s intentions after Guantánamo are genuine, and that he possesses sound judgment, and that he is good for his word.” One former guard submitted a letter attesting that he “would be pleased to welcome [Slahi] into my home.” (In keeping with the general secrecy of proceedings at Guantánamo, Slahi was not allowed speak during the open portion of the review, and he declined to have his own statement from the closed session made public.)

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • La Quadrature du Net answers to BEREC EU consulation on Net Neutrality

      Today ends the BEREC consultation on Net Neutrality. This consultation aimed at consulting the people on the guidelines clarifying the implementation of the telecom regulation1. The version sent by La Quadrature du Net is the one written by the FDN Federation, we believe this answer is appropriate and we support its provisions.

    • Europe Builds a Network for the Internet of Things. Will the Devices Follow?

      With much industry fanfare last month, Dutch telco KPN announced that it had completed nationwide coverage of the Netherlands in a wireless Internet of things network. Like a traditional cellular network, but with far lower costs and energy requirements, KPN’s network can connect sensors monitoring everything from rail switches at Utrecht Central station to depth sounders at the Port of Rotterdam and baggage handling at Schiphol Airport.

    • Handover of internet control to ICANN now officially blocked by Republican policy

      The planned transition of the internet’s critical technical functions from the US government to a technical body may come under further attack after the Republican Party officially agreed to block it on Monday.

      The Republican Platform for 2016 [PDF] was formally approved during a chaotic first day of the party’s national convention in Cleveland, and among its 66 pages of policy positions is its stance on “Protecting Internet Freedom.”

      In contrast to most of the document, the effort to move ultimate control of IANA from the US Department of Commerce (DoC) to non-profit DNS overseer ICANN is covered in largely hyperbolic terms.

    • IoT Gateways

      IoT Gateways connect IoT Devices to IoT back-end systems. Gateways connect to devices using interfaces like Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth, 6LoWPAN, RS-485 and CANbus. Gateways connect to back-end systems through the Internet, commonly using Ethernet, WiFi, or cellular connections. Gateways perform multiple tasks, including concatenation of multiple devices, protocol conversion, device management, and security. Gateways may also perform application processing.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • EU Anti-Counterfeiting Rapid Intelligence System: One Database For All Data On IPR Infringement

      The Anti-Counterfeiting Rapid Intelligence System (ACRIS) is new database created by EUIPO’s Observatory in cooperation with DG Trade. The database provides EU companies with an overview of IP risks in third countries and offers a collection of IPR infringement cases. In the database, information is also given on the actions taken by third country local authorities in response to IP infringements. This information is intended to help companies to make informed decisions as to their business strategies in third countries and how to avoid and mitigate risks of IP infringement.

    • UK Government Called To Action To Further Boost IP Enforcement

      The United Kingdom-based Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) industry group launched a “manifesto” earlier this month, calling on the government to establish a more effective and comprehensive response to intellectual property crime.

      A summary press release and the manifesto can be found here.

      The UK government is estimated by industry to lose £1.3 billion in unpaid tax from the sale of counterfeits. Additionally, whilst there has been an increase in the counterfeit products entering the UK markets, there has unfortunately been a decrease in the number of these products being seized at EU borders, the group said.

    • Patenting By Universities Unhelpful, Paper Says; WIPO Programme To Be Reviewed

      A new publication analysing the relationship between intellectual property and access to science explores ways countries have developed to counter the potential barriers created by IP rights, and says patenting by universities is counterproductive.

    • AIDS Conference: Will The UN High-Level Panel Report Deliver R&D And Access To Medicines?

      The lessons derived from the history of AIDS treatment have become a rallying call for civil society organisations globally. Not being able to afford AIDS medicines should not be repeated for people with other diseases, including HIV co-infections, treatment activists told world leaders here.

    • Copyrights

      • German Software Company Sues US Gov’t For Copyright Infringement

        A German software company, Bitmanagement Software, is now suing the US government for copyright infringement and demanding almost $600 million. The lawsuit, which was filed in the US Court of Federal Claims (basically a special court set up just for cases involving suing the US government for money), says that the US Navy copied Bitmanagement’s 3D virtual reality software, BS Contact Geo. Apparently, the Navy had tested the software and had an evaluation license allowing the software to be used on 38 computers. And then the Navy just copied it onto hundreds of thousands of computers.

        The lawsuit notes that the Navy had specifically requested the removal of Bitmanagement’s usage tracking code, and then told the company that it wanted to license the software for upwards of 500,000 computers — but also that it started doing those installs while the company was still negotiating a license. While that negotiation was ongoing, someone (accidentally, apparently) forwarded an email to Bitmanagement indicating that the software had already been installed on 104,922 computers. Apparently, a few months later, the Navy also disabled some other tracking software, called Flexwrap. This part is a bit confusing in the lawsuit, since earlier it notes that the evaluation contract required Bitmanagement to remove tracking software, but then the lawsuit notes that later on it was the Navy that removed Flexwrap, “in violation of the terms” of the license.

      • The conflict between social media and copyright

        Sharing is an inherent feature of social media. But, asks Alice Gatignol, is there any way this can be reconciled with established principles of copyright protection?

      • How Google Fights Piracy? 523,000,000 Pirate Links Removed In 2016

        Copyright holders running after pirates is not a new tune to our ears. Google, the biggest search engine provider on the planet, publishes regular reports of their fight against removing pirated content. They’ve managed to blank out around 523 million links from Google Search this year and will continue to remove more of them in the coming months.

      • Francis Gurry appoints Sylvie Forbin, lobbyist for Vivendi, as new head of copyright at WIPO

        Francis Gurry has appointed the new Deputy Director General for the Copyright and Creative Industry Sector. She is Sylvie Forbin, a national of France, and most recently Senior Vice President for Public and European Affairs, for Vivendi. Here is the WIPO announcement: as PDF.

        If the past is a guide, she is a hardliner for the industry, opposing user rights and favoring very aggressive enforcement measures.

        Among other things, she has described the social movements for access to knowledge as “very organized” and “opaque networks” that serve technology giants.

      • A Fan’s Case For Putting Batman & Superman In The Public Domain

        The crux of the argument is that these iconic characters currently appear to be in a bit of a death spiral. Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman met with a mixed-at-best response from fans and critics, and while both made good money in the big picture, they also showed some worrying signs — like failing to catch up to Marvel’s superhero movies (which was the whole point) and breaking records of audience drop-off between the much-hyped opening night and the following week (when word begins to get around that the movie sucks). Schmidt is not the first to attribute this to the creators’ disdain for the characters: Zack Snyder has openly expressed his lack of real interest in Batman and Superman, and made it clear that he doesn’t really understand their appeal. Writer David Goyer has made similar comments. And the same people are already hard at work on the follow-up Justice League films, which seem unlikely to break the pattern of mediocrity.

      • Farmers Demand Right to Fix Their Own Dang Tractors

        This might be hard to believe for non-farmers, but owners of tractors aren’t actually allowed to fix them, thanks to a set of laws designed to protect software intellectual property.

      • Cable Industry’s False Copyright Claims Are Killing Cable Box Reform Efforts

        In the quest to stop the FCC from bringing competition to the set top box, the cable industry has trotted out all manner of misleading arguments, most of which have been pushed in editorials in newspapers nationwide without highlighting author ties to the sector. Some of them have tried to pretend that cable box competition will create a piracy apocalypse. Others have tried to somehow argue that better, cheaper hardware and choices will somehow harm minority communities. Most of those are just flimsy attempts to try and keep the FCC from cracking open a $21 billion monopoly on cable box rental fees.

        Fearing their own loss of control, the entertainment industry has joined the cable sector in also claiming new cable box rules will somehow violate copyright law. Under the FCC’s original proposal (pdf), the agency simply states that existing cable content must be delivered to third-party hardware using the copy protection of the industry’s choice. Nothing in the rules will change that, or magically give third-party vendors the right to violate copyright. Still, opponents of the rules have consistently tried to claim the rules are some kind of cabal by Google to freeload off of and repackage “their innovation.”

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  13. 'Open Source' You Cannot Run Without Renting or 'Licensing' Windows From Microsoft

    When so-called ‘open source’ programs strictly require Vista 10 (or similar) to run, how open are they really and does that not redefine the nature of Open Source while betraying everything Free/libre software stands for?



  14. All About Control: Microsoft is Not Open Source But an Open Source Censor/Spy and GitHub/LinkedIn/Skype Are Its Proprietary Censorship/Surveillance Tools

    All the big companies which Microsoft bought in recent years are proprietary software and all of the company’s big products remain proprietary software; all that “Open Source” is to Microsoft is “something to control and censor“



  15. The Sad State of GNU/Linux News Sites

    The ‘media coup’ of corporate giants (that claim to be 'friends') means that history of GNU/Linux is being distorted and lied about; it also explains prevalent lies such as "Microsoft loves Linux" and denial of GNU/Free software



  16. EPO President Along With Bristows, Managing IP and Other Team UPC Boosters Are Lobbying for Software Patents in Clear and Direct Violation of the EPC

    A calm interpretation of the latest wave of lobbying from litigation professionals, i.e. people who profit when there are lots of patent disputes and even expensive lawsuits which may be totally frivolous (for example, based upon fake patents that aren't EPC-compliant)



  17. Links 15/9/2019: Radeon ROCm 2.7.2, KDE Frameworks 5.62.0, PineTime and Bison 3.4.2

    Links for the day



  18. Illegal/Invalid Patents (IPs) Have Become the 'Norm' in Europe

    Normalisation of invalid patents (granted by the EPO in defiance of the EPC) is a serious problem, but patent law firms continue to exploit that while this whole 'patent bubble' lasts (apparently the number of applications will continue to decrease because the perceived value of European Patents diminishes)



  19. Patent Maximalists, Orbiting the European Patent Office, Work to 'Globalise' a System of Monopolies on Everything

    Monopolies on just about everything are being granted in defiance of the EPC and there are those looking to make this violation ‘unitary’, even worldwide if not just EU-wide



  20. Unitary Patent (UPC) Promotion by Team Battistelli 'Metastasising' in Private Law Firms

    The EPO's Albert Keyack (Team Battistelli) is now in Team UPC as Vice President of Kilburn & Strode LLP; he already fills the media with lies about the UPC, as one can expect



  21. Microsoft Targets GNU/Linux Advocates With Phony Charm Offensives and Fake 'Love'

    The ways Microsoft depresses GNU/Linux advocacy and discourages enthusiasm for Software Freedom is not hard to see; it's worth considering and understanding some of these tactics (mostly assimilation-centric and love-themed), which can otherwise go unnoticed



  22. Proprietary Software Giants Tell Open Source 'Communities' That Proprietary Software Giants Are 'Friends'

    The openwashing services of the so-called 'Linux' Foundation are working; companies that are inherently against Open Source are being called "Open" and some people are willing to swallow this bait (so-called 'compromise' which is actually surrender to proprietary software regimes)



  23. Microsoft Pays the Linux Foundation for Academy Software Foundation, Which the Linux Foundation is Outsourcing to Microsoft

    Microsoft has just bought some more seats and more control over Free/Open Source software; all it had to do was shell out some 'slush funds'



  24. Links 14/9/2019: SUSE CaaS Platform, Huawei Laptops With GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  25. Links 13/9/2019: Catfish 1.4.10, GNOME Firmware 3.34.0 Release

    Links for the day



  26. Links 12/9/2019: GNU/Linux at Huawei, GNOME 3.34 Released

    Links for the day



  27. Links 12/9/2019: Manjaro 18.1 and KaOS 2019.09 Releases

    Links for the day



  28. EPO: Give Us Low-Quality Patent Applications, Patent Trolls Have Use for Those

    What good is the EPC when the EPO feels free to ignore it and nobody holds the EPO accountable for it? At the moment we're living in a post-EPC Europe where the only thing that counts is co-called 'products' (i.e. quantity, not quality).



  29. Coverage for Sponsors: What the Linux Foundation Does is Indistinguishable From Marketing Agencies' Functions

    The marketing agency that controls the name "Linux" is hardly showing any interest in technology or in journalism; it's just buying media coverage for sponsors and this is what it boils down to for the most part (at great expense)



  30. Watch Out, Linus Torvalds: Microsoft Bought Tons of Git Repositories and Now It Goes After Linux

    Microsoft reminds us how E.E.E. tactics work; Microsoft is just hijacking its competition and misleading the market (claiming the competition to be its own, having "extended" it Microsoft's way with proprietary code)


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