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08.17.16

Links 17/8/2016: GNOME and Debian Anniversaries

Posted in News Roundup at 5:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Plane Maker Airbus Joins Hyperledger Blockchain Project

    French airplane manufacturer Airbus has officially joined the Hyperledger Project, the Linux Foundation-led blockchain initiative.

    The Toulouse-based manufacturer, which last year beat Boeing to sell more than 1,000 aircraft, is expected to “actively contribute” to the initiative, which also counts companies such as IBM, Intel and JPMorgan among its membership.

  • Hyperledger Announces Airbus as a Premier Member
  • Hyperledger Tests Open Strategy With First Blockchain Explorer

    Business blockchain consortium Hyperledger is now building an open-source tool that will let anyone explore the distributed ledger projects being created by its members.

    Originally conceived by an intern at the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), the proposal to create a blockchain explorer gained steam last month when it was informally proposed to members. It was then that other prominent contributors to the Linux-led group discovered they all had similar efforts underway.

    But instead of launching competing open-source services, an effort began to merge the blockchain explorers being developed by DTCC, IBM and Intel. The joint project has been dubbed the “Hyperledger Explorer”.

    Similar to block explorers already being offered for other public blockchains, the tool would make it easier to learn about Hyperledger from the inside, while still protecting the privacy valued by many of the non-profit organization’s members.

  • Does the Open-Source Model Enable Bitcoin-Stealing Wallet Apps?

    According to an Apple Insider report published on August 9, a disturbing trend has emerged on Apple’s App Store as a series of malicious copycats of well-known Bitcoin wallet apps became available to download. Some of the fake wallets looked quite similar to the real thing but were specifically tweaked to steal bitcoins from unsuspecting users. As a result some $20,000 reportedly ended up in the pockets of scam artists before Apple was able to filter and remove the apps from its store.

  • Vendor-supplied or open-source HMI software?

    When an HMI project requires more functionality than that offered by self-contained touchscreen units, the next step is to use an industrial PC-based system. The PC can be a traditional keyboard and mouse if the environment allows, or an integrated computer/touchscreen with varying degrees of environmental protection.

    [...]

    The three biggest advantages when using open source are the price (free or close to it), the programmer’s ability to modify and extend the code in any way required and having the final project being a smaller, more efficient product. The programming skill needed to create an application is somewhat higher than what is required using off-the-shelf development packages.

  • 5 steps for making community decisions without consensus

    Healthy open source communities usually include a wide range of people with different ideologies, goals, values, and points of view—from anarchists to CEOs of major corporations. The normal approach for making decisions that affect the entire community should be an attempt to reach consensus through discussion; however, what if you’re attempting to make a decision that is critically important, but there are irreconcilable differences in the community?

    The Xen Project community had such a decision to make in the wake of the XSA-7 security issue about the project’s security policy. We knew beforehand that there was unlikely to be consensus, so we thought carefully about how we could approach the discussion.

    Our main goals were to find a “center of gravity” of the community preference, and to make sure that the people who didn’t get what they wanted felt like their voice was heard and taken into consideration. In this article, I’ll briefly summarize my conclusions from that experience.

  • How to fire yourself: A founder’s dilemma

    I learned more about business, software, and, most importantly, people, in the first two years of Lucidworks than I did in the previous 10-15 years of school and work combined. Being a founder was (and is) a thrilling ride and one that expands your brain in ways you never knew it could expand. It’s also an addictive ride, as your brain starts to crave the novelty of newness that comes from context switching between a dozen different things, seemingly all at once, as well as the satisfaction that comes from being “the one who gets it done.” Not that you ever really are that person, but more on that in a moment.

  • Events

    • Is open source eating the world?

      Open source technology is understandably controversial, not least because it has massively eroded the software licensing revenues of established IT players.

      At a panel hosted by Rackspace, entitled ‘Open source is eating the world: Building on open source for enterprise’, participants disagreed over what was driving the production of open source, but not over the scale of disruption it had brought to the industry.

    • Rackspace open source cloud breakfast: techie toasties & cloudpaccinos

      As a side note of huge interest… during general discussions it emerged that (according to one statistic) the split between female and male developers is roughly 80% to 20% in favour of males, obviously. But, significantly, that split drops down to 90% to 10% — why that should be is unknown, but it may be a good pointer for where responsibilities lie.

    • Upskill U on Open Source & the Cloud With Heavy Reading

      On Wednesday in the Upskill U course “Using Open Source for Data Centers and Cloud Services,” Roz Roseboro, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, will address why and how operators are implementing open source for cloud platforms and services. This course will examine relevant open source projects for telcos, how open source differs from traditional standards bodies and what concerns operators have about open source, like security. (Register for Using Open Source for Data Centers and Cloud Services.)

    • HackerNest Tech Job Fair
    • Outreachy talk

      Yesterday I gave a talk about Outreachy to Girls Coding Kosova. Since there is isn’t anyone else from Kosovo who participated in Outreachy previously and they were not really informed about it, I thought I’d share my amazing experience and give some details about the program. I decided to focus more on the application process since that was the “tricky” part when I applied and seemed to be the same for them as well, since they had a lot of questions regarding the application part. I pretended to be applying for the second time and went through the application process step by step. Starting from choosing an organization, choosing a project, contacting mentors and coordinators via e-mail or IRC, making a small contribution etc.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Awards Nearly $600,000 to Qualifying Open Source Projects

        Last year, Mozilla launched the Mozilla Open Source Support Program (MOSS) – an award program specifically focused on supporting open source and free software. As The VAR Guy notes: “The Mozilla Foundation has long injected money into the open source ecosystem through partnerships with other projects and grants. But it formalized that mission last year by launching MOSS, which originally focused on supporting open source projects that directly complement or help form the basis for Mozilla’s own products.”

        Now, Mozilla has reported that it awarded a hefty $585,000 to nine open source projects in Q2 of this year alone. Here is more on a couple of the most interesting projects and what they are focusing on.

        PyPy. PyPy is a fast, compliant alternative implementation of the Python language (2.7.10 and 3.3.5). Its developers tout its performance advantages over Python.

      • Netflix will work on Firefox 49 for Linux [Ed: yay! DRM!]

        In the upcoming release of Firefox 49, Mozilla will include support for Google’s Content Decryption Module (CDM), Widevine. With this support, Firefox users on Linux will finally be able to watch Netflix content; previously Linux users had to watch Netflix using Google’s Chrome browser.

        Mozilla Firefox users on Windows and Mac already had the ability to watch Netflix content as Widevine was switched on earlier for those users. Firefox 49 brings the Linux version up to parity.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Keynote: Making Data Accessible – Ashish Thusoo, Co-founder & CEO, Qubole
    • OpenStack Community Challenged By Dearth Of Talent, Complexity

      The OpenStack community has grown at breakneck pace since the open-source cloud orchestration technology burst on the scene in 2010, a product of NASA and Rackspace Hosting.

      As envisioned by its developers, OpenStack provided a welcome alternative to proprietary IaaS solutions and an opportunity for independent service providers to build robust public and hybrid clouds with distributed computing resources that had the functionality and power to compete with the big boys, including industry-dominating Amazon Web Services.

    • How to Avoid Pitfalls in Doing Your OpenStack Deployment

      How fast is the OpenStack global cloud management market growing? Research and Markets analysts are out with a new report that forecasts the global OpenStack cloud management market to grow at a CAGR of 30.49% during the period 2016-2020.

      According to the report: “Cloud brokerage services that provide management and maintenance services to enterprises will be a key trend for market growth. However, this report and others forecast that technical issues and difficulties surrounding OpenStack deployments will be on the increase. In this post, you’ll find resources that can help you avoid the pitfalls present in doing an OpenStack deployment.

      “OpenStack talent is a rarified discipline,” Josh McKenty, who helped develop the platform, has told CRN, adding, “to be good with OpenStack, you need to be a systems engineer, a great programmer but also really comfortable working with hardware.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • US Government Reshapes Core Services Through Open Source

      Yesterday Kathryn Ryan interviewed Eric Hysen, the head of U.S. Digital Service at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about his organisation’s efforts to streamline and improve government IT projects. Hysen, formerly a Silicon Valley tech guru at Google discusses how DHS is partnering top private sector tech expertise with innovators inside government to transform critical government services. This approach is part of a fundamental shift in thinking in the US that seeks to tackle Government services delivery problems through more open source and human centred design approaches. The interview is available here:

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Slovakian Public Procurement Bulletin published in XML format

        The Slovakian Public Procurement Office (PPO) has published its Public Procurement Bulletin in an open XML format, making all announcements of public procurement, including editorial corrections, available for download and (automated) processing.

      • “Helsinki Region Infoshare service increasing trust toward city and officials”

        Over the last five years, more than 1200 datasets have been published on the open data portal of Greater Helsinki, comprising the Finnish cities of Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen. According to the City of Helsinki, just opening up the data has resulted in 1-2 percent savings. “Making lots of our city purchase data public has opened up a new view for citizens into city administration, and it increases people’s trust toward the city and its officials,” said Tanja Lahti, the project manager for the Helsinki Region Infoshare (HRI) service.

      • UN: open data to improve state accountability and transparency

        Publishing government data online can improve accountability and transparency not only of national governments, but also of parliaments and the judiciary. Consequently, open data will play an important role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted in 2015 by the United Nations with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development [1, 2]. “With growing access to social media, an increasing number of countries now proactively use networking opportunities to engage with people and evolve towards participatory decision-making. This is done through open data, online consultations, and multiple ICT-related channels.”

  • Programming/Development

    • Vala — seems ideal so far

      I was searching for a language to write the phone GUI with… python3+gtk3 is way too slow; 9 seconds for trivial application is a bit too much (on N900). python2+gtk2 is a lot better at 2 seconds. Lua should be even faster.

Leftovers

  • Google launches a mysterious open source operating system called Fuchsia
  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Fears of global yellow fever epidemic grow as vaccine stocks dwindle

      A last-ditch effort to prevent yellow fever spreading through Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and potentially developing into a global epidemic is to be launched using vaccines containing a fifth of the normal dose because the global stockpile is so low.

      Yellow fever is frequently lethal, killing half of those who develop severe symptoms. It is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is also responsible for the spread of Zika virus. There is a vaccine which protects people for life, but few adults had been immunised in Angola when yellow fever broke out there in December last year, and in the DRC, to where it has spread.

      If it takes hold in Kinshasa, a densely packed city of more than 10 million people, it is feared that infected mosquitoes could travel beyond the central African region, which has been experiencing so severe an outbreak that vaccine stocks are almost exhausted.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Rampaging South Sudan troops raped foreigners, killed local

      For hours throughout the assault, the U.N. peacekeeping force stationed less than a mile away refused to respond to desperate calls for help. Neither did embassies, including the U.S. Embassy.

      The Associated Press interviewed by phone eight survivors, both male and female, including three who said they were raped. The other five said they were beaten; one was shot. Most insisted on anonymity for their safety or to protect their organizations still operating in South Sudan.

      The accounts highlight, in raw detail, the failure of the U.N. peacekeeping force to uphold its core mandate of protecting civilians, notably those just a few minutes’ drive away. The Associated Press previously reported that U.N. peacekeepers in Juba did not stop the rapes of local women by soldiers outside the U.N.’s main camp last month.

      The attack on the Terrain hotel complex shows the hostility toward foreigners and aid workers by troops under the command of South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, who has been fighting supporters of rebel leader Riek Machar since civil war erupted in December 2013. Both sides have been accused of abuses. The U.N. recently passed a U.S.-sponsored resolution to send more peacekeeping troops to protect civilians.

      Army spokesman Lul Ruai did not deny the attack at the Terrain but said it was premature to conclude the army was responsible. “Everyone is armed, and everyone has access to uniforms and we have people from other organized forces, but it was definitely done by people of South Sudan and by armed people of Juba,” he said.

      A report on the incident compiled by the Terrain’s owner at Ruai’s request, seen by the AP, alleges the rapes of at least five women, torture, mock executions, beatings and looting. An unknown number of South Sudanese women were also assaulted.

      The attack came just as people in Juba were thinking the worst was over.

      Three days earlier, gunfire had erupted outside the presidential compound between armed supporters of the two sides in South Sudan’s civil war, at the time pushed together under an uneasy peace deal. The violence quickly spread across the city.

      Throughout the weekend, bullets whizzed through the Terrain compound, a sprawling complex with a pool, squash court and a bar patronized by expats and South Sudanese elites. It is also in the shadow of the U.N.’s largest camp in Juba.

      By Monday, the government had nearly defeated the forces under Machar, who fled the city. As both sides prepared to call for a cease-fire, some residents of the Terrain started to relax.

      “Monday was relatively chill,” one survivor said.

      What was thought to be celebratory gunfire was heard. And then the soldiers arrived. A Terrain staffer from Uganda said he saw between 80 and 100 men pour into the compound after breaking open the gate with gunshots and tire irons. The Terrain’s security guards were armed only with shotguns and were vastly outnumbered. The soldiers then went to door to door, taking money, phones, laptops and car keys.

      “They were very excited, very drunk, under the influence of something, almost a mad state, walking around shooting off rounds inside the rooms,” one American said.

    • Company That Sued Soldiers Settles Colorado Lawsuit

      In 2014, ProPublica published an investigation of USA Discounters, a subprime lender that, contrary to its name, specialized in enticing military service members into overpaying for furniture, electronics and appliances. When they fell behind on the high-interest loans, the company often took them to court in Virginia — a few miles from the company’s headquarters, but often nowhere near where the service members were based. With court judgments in hand, the company gained the power to seize money from soldiers’ paychecks or bank accounts.

    • Monsters to Destroy: Top 7 Reasons the US could not have forestalled Syrian Civil War

      The interventionist temptation, muted since the Iraq imbroglio, is now returning. Sec. Clinton’s team are already talking about taking steps to remove Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad from office as soon as they get into the White House. An excellent and principled NYT columnist called the non-intervention in Syria President Obama’s worst mistake.

    • Hillary Clinton wants to review US strategy in Syria against Isis and Bashar al-Assad’s ‘murderous’ regime
    • Why Hillary’s neocon foreign policy will make the problem of Islamophobia worse

      In Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Democratic Party seems to have found the perfect counter to Donald Trump. Since Trump proposed banning Muslims from the US, his campaign has sought to exploit the fear that Muslims are dangerous and disloyal. But who could think that of the patriotic, constitution-waving Khans, whose son died fighting for the US?

      Trump suggested that Ghazala Khan did not speak for Islamic reasons. But this backfired and the episode appears to have hurt him in the polls. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has been able to establish herself as the candidate of tolerance and liberal progress.

      But take a closer look and things are not that straightforward. It is easy to lose sight of why the Khans lost their son in the first place. Humayun Khan died fighting in the illegal war in Iraq, which was launched on the basis of Islamophobic lies, and supported by Hillary Clinton, as senator for New York.

      In 2011, Clinton was a leading figure pushing for military action in Libya. She initially presented the bombing campaign as a way to create a no-fly zone to protect civilians. Within three weeks, the real aim became apparent: regime change.

    • New Katanga trial shows DRC’s potential to try complex international crimes

      Germain Katanga, a warlord convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for murder and other crimes, thought he was getting released from prison in January. But he was wrong. He had been found guilty by the ICC on charges linked to a 2003 attack on the village of Bogoro, in the eastern province of Ituri of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – and had served the end of his 12-year sentence in a Kinshasa jail, at his own request.

    • Brazilian Intelligence Service Stokes Olympic Terrorism Fear for Its Own Benefit

      The enemy could not have chosen a worse time to turn up. On the eve of a major international sporting event, Brazil was simultaneously living through profound economic and political crises. With the country at its weakest moment and fears spreading rapidly, the bombshell dropped: A secret service report leaked to the press revealed that a group of Brazilian citizens, in collusion with foreign agents, planned to arm themselves in order to commit acts of violence and thus further destabilize the country.

      That was 30 years ago, in the first year of the post-dictatorship era. The event was the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico. In Brazil, President José Sarney’s government was a disaster, and the cumulative inflation would reach 65 percent that year. The dangerous enemy rehearsing the moves to plunge the country into chaos? According to the secret service, which at the time was known as the National Information Service (Serviço Nacional de Informações, or SNI), the threat was the return of guerrilla warfare, funded by foreign agents, principally from Germany, but also involving the left-leaning opposition Workers’ Party and the trade union federation Unified Workers’ Central. Of course, the threat was just a delusion. It was fabricated by the SNI to warrant the criminalization of social movements and help stop the construction of a left-wing political project, but not only that. The creation of a dangerous enemy right at the beginning of the democratic transition justified the existence of an entity that had become the symbol of the dictatorship.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Hillary Clinton Picks TPP and Fracking Advocate To Set Up Her White House

      Two big issues dogged Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary: the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP) and fracking. She had a long history of supporting both.

      Under fire from Bernie Sanders, she came out against the TPP and took a more critical position on fracking. But critics wondered if this was a sincere conversion or simply campaign rhetoric.

      Now, in two of the most significant personnel moves she will ever make, she has signaled a lack of sincerity.

      She chose as her vice presidential running mate Tim Kaine, who voted to authorize fast-track powers for the TPP and praised the agreement just two days before he was chosen.

      And now she has named former Colorado Democratic Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to be the chair of her presidential transition team — the group tasked with helping set up the new administration should she win in November. That includes identifying, selecting, and vetting candidates for over 4,000 presidential appointments.

    • Hillary Clinton Appoints Ken Salazar To Lead White House Transition

      Clinton has also faced questions from environmentalists about her record on pipeline construction, hydraulic fracking and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Salazar’s appointment will not allay those concerns: Since leaving government, he has made headlines promoting the Keystone XL pipeline, promoting the TPP and defending fracking.

      In November, Salazar authored a joint oped with former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt saying “The TPP is a strong trade deal that will level the playing field for workers to help middle-class families get ahead. It is also the greenest trade deal ever.” Politico reports that Salazar is now opposing a ballot measure designed to restrict fracking in his home state of Colorado. He has previously asserted that “there’s not a single case where hydraulic fracking has created an environmental problem for anyone.”

    • Second phase of world’s biggest offshore windfarm gets go-ahead

      The world’s biggest offshore windfarm off the Yorkshire coast is to be expanded to an area five times the size of Hull after being approved by ministers.

      The multibillion-pound Hornsea Project Two would see 300 turbines – each taller than the Gherkin – span more than 480 sq km in the North Sea.

      Fifty-five miles off the coast of Grimsby, the project by Denmark’s Dong Energy is expected to deliver 1,800MW of low-CO2 electricity to 1.8m UK homes.

    • Can a ‘green growth’ strategy solve climate change?

      ‘Decoupling of global emissions and economic growth confirmed’ ran the headline on the International Energy Agency (IEA) website in March 2016. “Coming just a few months after the landmark COP21 agreement in Paris, this is yet another boost to the global fight against climate change”, noted IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. It’s a popular idea that the decoupling of economic growth and carbon emission represents ‘green growth’ or ‘sustainable growth’, and that this is a powerful tool in the fight against dangerous levels of climate change. The idea was further pushed in a 2014 report co-authored by prominent economist Lord Stern, and backed by the United Nations, the OECD, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

  • Finance

    • CEO Tim Cook Decides Apple Doesn’t Have to Pay Corporate Tax Rate Because It’s “Unfair”

      Wouldn’t it be great if you could refuse to pay your taxes until you decided your tax rate was “fair”?

      That is, of course, not the way it works. Unless you’re Apple.

      Apple is currently holding $181 billion overseas, largely thanks to arbitrarily deciding that its most valuable intellectual property seems to live exclusively in low tax countries. For instance, at one time Apple’s subsidiaries in Ireland — a country with 4.6 million people — “earned” over one-third of all Apple’s worldwide revenue.

      And due to a very business-friendly quirk in U.S. tax law, Apple doesn’t have to pay any U.S. taxes on its overseas profits until it “brings them back” to America.

    • Cisco Systems to sack fifth of global workforce, says report

      Cisco Systems is reportedly planning to lay off about 14,000 employees, representing nearly 20% of the US technology company’s global workforce.

      San Jose, California-based Cisco was expected to announce the cuts within the next few weeks as part of a transition from its hardware roots into a software-centric business, technology news site CRN reported, citing sources close to the company.

      Cisco, which had more than 70,000 employees as of 30 April, declined to comment.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Green Party candidate slams Clinton on email

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on Monday ramped up her attacks on Hillary Clinton for using a private email system while serving as the nation’s top diplomat and maintaining a fuzzy boundary between her official and private duties.

      In an interview with CNN, Stein appeared to reiterate her call for the Justice Department to prosecute Clinton for mishandling government secrets, and also joined in the attacks on her relationship with the Clinton Foundation.

      “I think there should have been a full investigation,” Stein said. “I think the American people are owed an explanation for what happened, and why top secret information was put at risk, why the identity of secret agents were potentially put at risk.”

      “There is much more that is coming to public attention about Hillary Clinton’s behavior, including the recent revelations about favors bestowed on the Clinton Foundation’s donors who got special deals, who got state partnerships,” she added, in a reference to recently released emails suggesting blurred lines between Clinton’s position as secretary of State and her vast personal and philanthropic connections.

      “If she wasn’t aware that she was violating State Department rules, it raises real issues about her competency.”

      Stein has previously criticized the Justice Department’s decision not to indict Clinton or her senior aides for the email set-up, a move that she said gave the Democratic presidential nominee “a pass.”

    • Charles Koch’s network launches new fight to keep donors secret

      A group tied to billionaire Charles Koch has unleashed an aggressive campaign to kill a ballot measure in South Dakota that would require Koch-affiliated groups and others like them to reveal their donors’ identities — part of a sustained effort by his powerful network to keep government agencies and the public from learning more about its financial backers.

      Americans for Prosperity, the largest activist group in the policy and political empire founded by industrialist Koch and his brother, David, launched a coalition this year to fight Initiated Measure 22, which calls for public disclosure of donors who fund advocacy efforts, the creation of a state ethics commission and public financing of political campaigns. It also limits lobbyists’ gifts to elected officials and lowers the amount of campaign contributions to candidates, parties and political action committees.

    • Why the Presidential Debates Will Suck Even Though They Don’t Have To

      Run by Party Elites and Lobbyists, Sponsored by Corporations

      In 1988, the CPD wrested the stewardship of general election presidential debates away from the fiercely independent League of Women Voters (LWV), which had run the events from 1976 to 1984.

      The CPD is nominally a nonpartisan organization, but its co-chairmen, Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr., and Michael McCurry, are senior Republican and Democratic Party figures, both of whom leveraged their time in politics to later work for corporate interests.

      Fahrenkopf chaired the Republican National Committee for six years before joining the Washington, D.C., law and lobbying firm Hogan & Hartson. From 1998 to 2013, he was the president of the American Gaming Association, a lobbying group for for-profit gambling interests.

      McCurry is a former Clinton White House press secretary who today works for the D.C.-based corporate and political communications firm Public Strategies Washington. Although his current client list is not public, he was employed on the “Hands Off Internet” campaign in 2006, working for telecommunications companies to kill net neutrality.

      The commission’s board of directors is composed of an entire strata of America’s elites including Howard G. Buffett, the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, Newton N. Minow, a former chairman of Citigroup and Time Warner — and Jim Lehrer.

      The debates themselves are consistently sponsored by private corporations. This year’s sponsors have yet to be announced, but in the past, they have included AT&T, Anheuser-Busch, Southwest Airlines, J.P. Morgan, Ford Motor Company, and the Washington, D.C., international law firm Crowell & Moring.

      The CPD has not included a third-party candidate in a presidential debate since Ross Perot ran in 1992. Since 2000, its rules state that only candidates who consistently poll over 15 percent in national polls should be included.

    • Interrupting Trump’s strut is only a start

      Donald Trump says he is running for presidency against the crooked media. What should be the media response?

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Revamped Chinese History Journal Welcomes Hard-Line Writers

      Wang Yanjun, who was ousted as deputy editor of Yanhuang Chunqiu, with the latest issue of the journal on Tuesday, which still shows his name and that of other editors removed by its new managers.

    • China censorship: How a moderate magazine was targeted
    • “Ultra-left” Takes Over Journal as Ex-editor Loses in Court
    • Former editors of liberal Chinese magazine sue government after being forced out in takeover
    • China intellectuals sue over magazine, former editor loses appeal
    • Azerbaijan’s long assault on media freedom

      As a former Soviet republic, Azerbaijan has never had a strong record on press freedom. Since independence, the country’s journalists have been mistreated, while independent and opposition newspapers faced constant libel charges and other harassment from local law enforcement or criminal elements.

      Journalists and outlets that support government policies are left alone to fill their pages with praise, while those who take a more critical approach are punished. Official court documents detail how journalists have been sent to prison on trumped-up charges of hooliganism, extortion, trafficking, and instigating mass protests and violence.

      In practice, however, targeted journalists reported on official corruption, criticised extravagant government spending or documented illegal evictions. While the country’s leaders and key decision makers pay lip service to media freedom, the government continues to hunt down journalists, activists and human rights defenders.

    • Disappointing: LinkedIn Abusing CFAA & DMCA To Sue Scraping Bots [Ed: Remember the time Microsoft broke the Internet by undermining No-IP. Microsoft (i.e. NSA PRISM) owns LinkedIn and wants to harvest tons of personal information, not share even what’s public with others.]

      It’s been really unfortunate to see various internet companies that absolutely should know better, look to abuse the CFAA to attack people using tools to scrape public information off of their websites. In the past few years, we’ve seen Facebook and Craigslist do this (with Facebook recently winning in court).

      Now LinkedIn is doing the same thing, suing a bunch of anonymous users for scraping public information from LinkedIn. This is not the first time the company has done this. A few years ago, the company (using the exact same lawyers) filed a very similar lawsuit, eventually figuring out that the scraping was done by a wannabe competitor, HiringSolved, which pretty quickly settled the lawsuit, agreeing to pay $40,000 and erase all the data it collected.

    • Billionaire Backer Of Palantir & Facebook Insists He’s Bankrupting Journalists To Protect Your Privacy

      We’ve already made it quite clear where we stand on Peter Thiel financing a number of lawsuits against Gawker Media as some sort of retaliation for some articles he didn’t like. Lots of people who really hate Gawker don’t seem to care how problematic Thiel’s actions are, but you should be concerned, even if you dislike Gawker — in part, because many of the lawsuits Thiel appears to be backing are clearly bogus and just designed to bankrupt the company, which happened a couple months ago.

      This week is the auction to see who ends up with Gawker, and Thiel is taking a weird victory lap with a silly and misleading oped in the NY Times where he argues that this was really all about making a stand for privacy and has nothing to do with shitting on the First Amendment. There’s a lot in the article that’s bullshit, and it deserves a thorough debunking, so here we go.

      First off, positioning himself as a champion of privacy seems laughable. After all, this is the guy who put the first money into both Palantir and Facebook. Palantir, of course, is the datamining operation used by governments and law enforcement around the globe to snoop through various databases and try to find magical connections. Palantir is rumored to be in trouble lately, in part because its technology isn’t that good, and it may have built a multi-billion dollar business on convincing clueless government officials that by sniffing through a variety of databases, it could magically find important “connections.” But

    • ​Why Github Removed Links to Alleged NSA Data

      Over the past few days, researchers have pored over dumped data allegedly belonging to a group associated with the NSA. The data, which contains a number of working exploits, was distributed via Dropbox, MEGA, and other file sharing platforms.

      The files were also linked to from a page on Github, but the company removed it fairly swiftly—despite having hosted plenty of hacked material in the past. It turns out that removal was not due to government pressure, but because the hacker or hackers behind the supposed breach were asking for cash to release more data.

      “Per our Terms of Service (section A8), we do not allow the auction or sale of stolen property on GitHub. As such, we have removed the repository in question,” Kate Guarente, from Github’s communications team, told Motherboard in a statement.

    • Guccifer 2.0 Censorship Shields DNC Corruption

      In June 2016, hacker Guccifer 2.0 released a trove of internal Democratic National Committee documents, which pointed to DNC staff violating its own charter in treating Hillary Clinton as the nominee long before the primaries even began.

      Included in the documents was a DNC dossier of possible attacks from Republican presidential candidates on Clinton, outlining counterpoints to their arguments in preparation for Clinton’s coronation as the Democratic nominee. The documents unquestionably prove the DNC violated their own charter and undermined democracy by strategizing for Clinton to win the Democratic primaries and general election.

      One of those strategies included manipulating media coverage for her benefit.

      “Use specific hits to muddy the water around ethics, transparency, and campaign finance attacks on HRC,” noted one of the leaked memos. In July, Guccifer 2.0 released additional documents to The Hill, including a DNC memo from March 2015 to Clinton campaign operatives outlining ways to legally solicit Clinton’s SuperPACs. The DNC made no efforts to dispute the content of the leaked documents. Instead, they offered a vague statement saying they were taken and leaked by suspected Russians hackers.

      On August 12, Guccifer 2.0 released more documents, which included congressional contact lists and passwords. This leak likely served to make public that the recent hacks of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee were committed by Guccifer 2.0.

    • Poland approves bill outlawing phrase ‘Polish death camps’

      The Polish government has approved a new bill that foresees prison terms of up to three years for anyone who uses phrases like “Polish death camps” to refer to Auschwitz and other camps that Nazi Germany operated in occupied Poland during the second world war.

    • Obasanjo tasks media on self-censorship

      He said, “I see Nigerian journalists pretending to be oblivious of the devastating role that the media has played in major conflicts on the continent. For instance, the case of the role of the press in triggering the Rwandan Genocide is instructive for Nigeria as we are increasingly polarized and divided along the ethnic lines with the press fanning the embers of division and separation.

      “The immediate concern for me is for the press not to be used as a wedge for separating us, but for the press to be an adhesive for bridging the gaps.”

    • Popular Pages Revolt Against Facebook’s Arbitrary Censorship

      A group of popular Facebook meme pages have launched a revolt against Facebook’s increasingly strict and bizarre censorship.

      The revolt, which includes some of Facebook’s biggest comedy pages, aims to catch Facebook’s attention in a show of dissatisfaction with the social network’s current policy enforcement system.

      “I have gone through a lot of post blocks and seen a lot of friends getting into issues with losing their accounts or pages even over the most inoffensive posts like this picture of Drake as a n64 controller that got my post blocked,” said one of the revolt’s organizers, Devin Shire, in an interview with Breitbart Tech.

    • Turkey’s continuing crackdown on the press must end

      Index strongly condemns the indefinite closure of newspaper Özgür Gündem by a Turkish court.

      The silencing — even temporarily — of one of Turkey’s last independent papers underscores the severe erosion of freedom of expression in the country. This crackdown on critical voices has accelerated since the attempt to overthrow the country’s democratically elected and increasingly autocratic president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

      “Waves of arrests rippling across the country have swept up journalists, academics and even artists and are rightly raising concerns around the world. This latest attack on media freedom sends a clear signal that president Erdogan is intent on playing politics with the public’s right to information and journalists’ right to report,” Index on Censorship CEO Jodie Ginsberg said.

    • I don’t believe in censorship: Adoor Gopalakrishnan
    • It’s silly to have censorship in a democracy: Adoor Gopalakrishnan
    • I’m Opposed to Any Kind of Censorship: Adoor Gopalakrishnan
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Dallas PD Asks Attorney General For Permission To Withhold ‘Embarrassing’ Documents About Its Bomb Robot

      The unprecedented deployment of a bomb-defusing robot by Dallas police to kill an armed suspect raised several questions. While these robots have sometimes acted as part of a negotiation team in the past, no police department had previously rigged one up with an explosive device to take a suspect out.

      One question that remains unanswered is whether this use of the Dallas PD’s robot violated its own policies. Gawker’s Andy Cush filed a public records request for PD policies on using robots to kill and discovered Dallas law enforcement was basically making things up as it went along.

    • Activist Caucus: Occupying institutional politics in Brazil

      Amid a deep political crisis in Brasil, the goal is to develop a collaborative, pedagogical, supra-partisan and effective format of civic campaign for elections to be replicated and improved on future occasions.

    • German President Booed, Attacked; Claims “The People Are The Problem, Not The Elites”

      Official German State TV and State Radio reported that “a handful of right wing extremists” have attacked the president and disturbed the otherwise peaceful and welcoming reception of the President. This is simply not the case, as seen in the video…

    • Family of driver who died after seizure sues Ohio troopers

      The attorney alleges troopers didn’t offer medical attention because they were preoccupied with suspicions that Galloway had illegal drugs.

    • ‘My husband may die’ in a Colorado prison, says wife of CIA whistleblower

      The wife of former CIA officer and whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling says she’s concerned about the health of her husband, who was sentenced last year to serve three years in a Colorado prison.

      Sterling was convicted of espionage for leaking information to a journalist about a dubious U.S. government operation meant to deter Iran’s nuclear weapons program. He says he didn’t do anything wrong. The prosecution came as part of President Barack Obama’s crackdown on government leaks.

      Sterling is set for release in 2018. But his wife, Holly Sterling, told The Colorado Independent by phone from St. Louis, Missouri, that she worries health issues he’s having in prison might mean she’ll never see him on the outside again.

      “I’m concerned my husband may die,” she said. “I’m extremely concerned.”

      In the past few months, Jeffrey Sterling, 49, who says he has a history of atrial fibrillation, has been “subjected to unresponsive and dismissive medical care” at the Colorado federal correctional institution known as FCI Englewood, according to an Aug. 11 complaint he filed. Holly Sterling provided a copy of the complaint to The Independent.

    • Federal Judge Says Real-Time Cell Location Info — Whether Obtained With A Stingray Or Not — Requires The Use Of A Warrant

      An interesting decision by a federal judge in Florida suggests this district, at least, may not be amenable to the warrantless use of Stingray devices… or any other method that harvests cell site location data in real time.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Web at 25: Celebrating the 25th anniversary of World Wide Web

      Twenty-five years ago on August 6 1991, the first publicly available website was launched and the World Wide Web (WWW) was born.

      It was created by the now internationally known Sir Tim Berners-Lee who, just eight months earlier, first posted the simple text page on an internal web server hosted by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

      In the 1980’s, Berners-Lee had been looking at a way for physicists to share information around the world without all using the same types of hardware and software.

    • Google Fiber Hasn’t Hit A ‘Snag,’ It’s Just Evolving

      When Google Fiber jumped into the broadband market in 2011, the company knew full well that disruption of an entrenched telecom monopoly would be a slow, expensive, monumental task. And five years into the project that’s certainly been true, the majority of Google Fiber launch markets still very much under construction as the company gets to work burying fiber across more than a dozen looming markets. Wall Street, which initially laughed at the project as an experiment, has been taking the project more seriously as Google Fiber targets sprawling markets like Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

      This week however things took an interesting turn with the news that Google Fiber was pausing deployments in Silicon Valley and Portland, Oregon, to take stock of possible wireless alternatives. Neither deployment was formally official (both cities were listed as “potential” targets); and Google Fiber execs are simply considering whether or not it makes financial sense to begin using some fifth generation (5G) technologies to supplement existing fiber deployment.

      This isn’t really surprising; Under the guidance of former Atheros CEO Craig Barratt, Google has filed applications with the FCC to conduct trials in the 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz millimeter wave bands, and is also conducting a variety of different tests in the 3.5 GHz band, the 5.8 GHz band and the 24 GHz band. The company also recently acquired Webpass in the hopes of supplementing fiber with ultra-fast wireless wherever possible. Wireless has been on Google’s radar for several years. It’s a great option in cities where construction logistics are a nightmare, or in towns where AT&T’s using regulations to hinder fiber deployment.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Growing Call For Transparency Within African CMOs To Ensure Membership Confidence

      Collective management organisations (CMOs) in African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) member states, and Africa at large, have the potential to contribute to the growth and development of creative industries. However, they need to be supported, guided and supervised to ensure that they achieve the purpose for which they are established.

    • Who Should Get The Benefits When You Donate Your DNA For Research?

      Needless to say, lawyers are now involved in resolving the more mundane issues of ownership of the Blue Zone blood samples. But even if a court hands down its judgment for this particular case, the larger ethical issues will remain, and become ever-more pressing as the importance and value of DNA databases continues to rise.

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