EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Links 20/8/2016: Android Domination, FSFE summit 2016

Posted in News Roundup at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Need a tamper-proof, encrypted PC? The portable, open-source ORWL could be what you’re looking for

    There are a number of choices available if you need a small, powerful but affordable mini desktop PC, from the $500 Mac Mini, to the cheaper Google Chromebox, or HP Pavillion Mini Desktop.

    But can more be done to keep these devices secure, not just from software exploits, but scenarios in which the attacker has gained physical access to the device?

    The makers of ORWL, a flying saucer-shaped mini desktop for the security-minded, think it can, providing you’re willing to fork out a relatively hefty $699.

  • Nextgov Ebook: Tech Revolutions: Open Source and the Internet of Things

    Nextgov’s meetup series Tech + Tequila has been an opportunity for government and private sector technologists to explore hot topics in federal IT together in a casual setting—with cocktails. Aug. 25 marks our sixth event, and we’ll be discussing artificial intelligence. Is there anything more top of mind than a robot uprising?

    In all seriousness, Tech + Tequila has tackled some awesome topics: data, cybersecurity and emerging tech. This ebook features two more recent Tech + Tequila themes: open source and the internet of things.

    On Aug. 8, the White House unveiled the final policy that requires agencies to share 20 percent of their custom-created source code. When the draft framework was announced back in March, some critics said it didn’t go far enough and argued for a more sweeping “open source by default” framework. Another dissenting voice said the policy would add “more layers of confusion.”

  • Cloud innovator of the Year announced

    AMADEUS, the leading provider of technology solutions for the global travel industry, has won the 2016 Red Hat Innovator of the Year award.

    This is in recognition of its innovative use of Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform as part of a new cloud services platform to help companies meet the increasingly complex demands of travelers.

  • Tips on adding Linux to Your Developer Skill Set

    The time when developers and administrators can get by with only Microsoft in their bag of tricks is over. With Linux’s continuing dominance and growth in server space and with Redmond now embracing open source with actions as well as words, even those who develop exclusively for the Windows platform are almost certain to find times when they need to wrap their heads around an aspect of the Linux kernel or some open source application.

    If you’ve been following tech news, you know that across the board there is an increasing need for people with Linux skills, which has pushed the salaries available for those with certifiable Linux talents to record highs. This opens an opportunity in traditional Windows shops where fully certified Linux people might not be necessary, but where certified Windows people with good Linux skills have extra value.

    In other words, you can increase your value as an employee simply by honing your Linux and open source skills, without the need to necessarily shell out big bucks to Red Hat or the Linux Foundation for certification. There are plenty of educational opportunities available online, some free and others offered with a very low price tag.

  • Talent remains the biggest issue for deploying open source in the enterprise

    Representatives from open source companies Red Hat, Capgemini, MongoDB, Rackspace and Weaveworks weighed in on how open source infiltrated the enterprise, and why skills remains the biggest barrier to a successful open source strategy

    At a Rackspace hosted event in London this week titled Open Source is Eating the World (a play on venture capitalist Marc Andreessen’s seminal Software is Eating the World essay from 2011) panelists generally agreed that open source has managed to infiltrate the enterprise, but talent remains the biggest barrier to a successful open source strategy.

  • Trump’s campaign donation website used open-source code sloppily, risking ridicule and worse

    Like tens of millions of other websites, the campaign donation website for US presidential candidate Donald Trump relies on open-source software called jQuery. But it seems that the software is being used in a sloppy way, which could put Trump supporters at risk of identity theft or worse.

    Trump’s website uses a jQuery plug-in, or a bit of ready-made code, called jQuery Mask Plug-in to handle how donors fill in their name, address, and other information. The mask plug-in restricts the types of information users can enter in forms. This is useful because it increases the chances of accurate data being submitted for payment processing, and for the campaign’s records. It’s also free and available for download from GitHub, the popular platform for open-source software.

  • [New page] Open source alternatives
  • AT&T: What Is ‘Open Source,’ Anyway?

    Companies evaluating open source technology need to be careful that they get all the open source benefits. That’s sometimes tricky, which is why AT&T has defined “three key characteristics of open source software that we consider paramount,” says Greg Stiegler, AT&T assistant vice president of cloud.

    AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is a leader among big network operators making a big open source commitment, with involvement in multiple projects and aggressive code-sharing. Last month, it released its Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy (ECOMP) for network management and orchestration (MANO) as open source. (See AT&T Offers ‘Mature’ ECOMP as Open Source MANO, AT&T Makes Case for Open Source Sharing and AT&T’s Chiosi: Unite on Open Source or Suffer.)

  • Events

    • SFD Countdown Ready!

      The Software Freedom Day countdown is ready for usage in English. We are therefore informing translators and also people willing to add a new language that translation can start right now. All the instructions are available on the wiki at this page.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Spurring Tech Project Development with Sprints and Grants

        At Mozilla, there is momentum gathering around new open source projects and the Internet of Things (IoT). The company is hosting an IoT sprint development weekend this September. Mozilla’s Hive Chattanooga, in collaboration with The Company Lab, is hosting 48Hour Launch: Internet of Things (IoT) Edition, on September 9-11. 48Hour Launch is a weekend-long competition that challenges teams of entrepreneurs and specialists to spend 48 hours transforming a startup concept into a viable business model, prototype, policy proposal, or piece of curriculum.

        The experience culminates with a Demo Night, where participants debut their work for a chance to win cash prizes, free business services, and a free trip to MozFest in London.

  • Databases

    • Open source uproar as MariaDB goes commercial

      MariaDB Corp. has announced that release 2.0 of its MaxScale database proxy software is henceforth no longer open source. The organization has made it source-available under a proprietary license that promises each release will eventually become open source once it’s out of date.

      MaxScale is at the pinnacle of MariaDB Corp.’s monetization strategy — it’s the key to deploying MariaDB databases at scale. The thinking seems to be that making it mandatory to pay for a license will extract top dollar from deep-pocketed corporations that might otherwise try to use it free of charge. This seems odd for a company built on MariaDB, which was originally created to liberate MySQL from the clutches of Oracle.

  • CMS

    • Writing an academic paper? Try Fidus Writer

      The Fidus Writer online editor is especially for academics who need to write papers in collaboration with other authors, and it includes special tools for managing citations, formulas, and bibliographies. If you’re writing an academic paper by yourself, you have a lot of choices for tools to edit your document. Some of them even take care of making your footnotes and bibliographies come out in the right format. But writing collaboratively is harder, for lots of reasons. You could use Google Docs, ownCloud, or even Dropbox to share the document, but then you lose useful citation-management tools.

      Enter Fidus Writer: Fidus Writer is a web-based collaborative writing tool made specifically for the needs of academic writers who need to use citations or formulas. The rules for citations are complicated, so Fidus Writer takes care of the format for you; you can choose from several citation formats, including APA, Chicago, or MLA. Version 3 of Fidus Writer was just released in June, and it is a clean, well-polished application.

      At my first look, Fidus Writer is impressive. The application is written mostly in Python and Node.js, and is licensed under the AGPL V3. I installed it on a Debian virtual machine running on my Windows PC. The installation instructions are geared toward Debian and its derivative distros, and uses apt to install software. I suspect someone clever who has a real desire to run it on RPM-based distros could make it work, as the list of packages needed is not overlarge.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Omega2, $5 Linux platform computer for IoT projects, exceeds $450k in Kickstarter funding

      The Omega2 set out to produce an extremely cheap, extensible Linux computer designed for Internet of Things (IoT) projects with a Kickstarter campaign asking for only $15,000. Now, with only for days remaining in the campaign, the Omega2 team is set to receive over $450,000 in funding from over 11,000 backers. Developed by the Onion Corporation, the Omega2 promises to be an interesting entry for DIY (do it yourself) and commercial projects.

    • Crowdfunding closing on $5 Linux + Wifi tiny IoT compute module

      Omega 2 is a Linux compute module designed specifically for building connected hardware applications. It combines, say its designers Onion, “the tiny form factor and power-efficiency of the Arduino, with the power and flexibilities of the Raspberry Pi.”


    • GNU Libreboot, version 20160818 released
    • GNU Libreboot Release Adds New Chromebook & ASUS/Gigabyte/Intel Board Support

      The Libreboot project has done their first official release of this Coreboot binary-free downstream now being under the GNU project label.

      GNU Libreboot 20160818 is the new release. New board support for this de-blobbed version of Coreboot includes supporting the ASUS Chromebook C201, Gigabyte GA-G41M-ES2L, Intel D510MO, ASUS KCMA-D8, ASUS KFSN4-DRE, and ASUS KGPE-D16. Yep, all rather old motherboards (aside from the Chromebook C201) with sadly not much love these days from AMD and Intel around fully supporting modern chipsets by free software.

    • FSFE summit 2016

      Imagine a European Union that builds its IT infrastructure on Free Software. Imagine European Member States that exchange information in Open Standards and share their software. Imagine municipalities and city councils that benefit from decentralized and collaborative software under free licenses. Imagine no European is any longer forced to use non-Free Software.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Dutch consider mandatory eGovernment standards

      The Dutch government wants to make the use of open standards mandatory for public administrations, to provide business and citizens with easier access to eGovernment services. The government is developing a generic digital infrastructure, and its services and standards are to be used by all public administrations, writes Henk Kamp, the country’s Minister of Economic Affairs in a letter to Parliament.


  • Uber Wasting No Time: Launching Test Of Self-Driving Cars

    Separately, the company announced that it has bought a self-driving startup, Otto, and put its co-founder, Antohony Levandowski, in charge of Uber’s self-driving efforts.

    We’ve already noted that Tesla has Uber-like plans as well, but this could certainly get interesting. Lots of people (including us!) have speculated on what the world will look like as autonomous vehicles become more prominent, but it’s somewhat amazing how quickly this is happening.

    While it’s not a huge surprise that Uber may be leading the way, it does still raise some interesting questions. Obviously, lots of people say that Uber wants to do this so that it won’t have to pay drivers any more (though in these tests a human is still in the driver’s seat and, one assumes, getting paid). But part of the genius (or problem, depending on your point of view…) of Uber was that it was just a platform for drivers who brought their own cars. That is, Uber didn’t have to invest the capital in buying up cars. It just provided the platform, drivers brought their own cars, and Uber got a cut. If it’s moving to a world of driverless cars, then Uber is no longer the platform for drivers, it’s everything. It needs to make the investment and own the cars. That’s actually a pretty big shift.

    That’s not to say that it won’t work — and there’s an argument that Uber’s real power these days is in its operations software figuring out which cars should go where — but it is an interesting shift in the business. And given that, it’s also interesting to see how Tesla is entering the market from the other direction — a direction that is more like Uber’s original concept, where individuals own their own cars, but then lease them back to Tesla to act as for-hire cars for others. I guess it’s possible that Uber could do the same thing too, where any car owner could provide their vehicle back to Uber to earn money, but without having to drive it — just making it a productive resource.

    Who knows how this will turn out — and I’m sure some people will inevitably freak out when there’s a self-driving car accident — but the future is getting really interesting really fast.

  • The Human Cost of Tech Debt

    If you’re not already familiar with the concept of technical debt, it’s worth becoming familiar with it. I say this not only because it is a common industry term, but because it is an important concept.

  • Science

    • Scientists to launch global hunt for ‘line in the rock’ marking the ‘scary’ new man-made epoch

      A worldwide hunt for a “line in the rock” that shows the beginning of a new geological epoch defined by humanity’s extraordinary impact on planet Earth is expected to get underway in the next few weeks.

      The idea that we are now living in the Anthropocene epoch has been gaining ground in recent years.

      The surge in global temperatures by an average of one degree Celsius in little over a century, the burning of vast amounts of fossil fuels, the extinction of many animal species, the widespread use of nitrogen fertilisers, the deluge of plastic rubbish and a number of other factors have all caused changes that will remain visible in rocks for millions of years.

      Later this month, an expert working group – set up to investigate whether these changes are so significant that the 11,500-year-old Holocene epoch is now at an end – will present its latest findings to the 35th International Geological Congress (IGC) in South Africa.

      They then plan to search for what is known as a “golden spike” – a physical point in the geological record that shows where one epoch changed to another – which could win over any remaining doubters among the geology community.

    • NASA dangles ONE MILLION DOLLARS for virtual Mars robots

      NASA has announced a million-dollar prize it will award to whomsoever can program a virtual robot to get stuff done ahead of a crewed mission to Mars.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Thursday’s security advisories
    • Microsoft Windows UAC can be bypassed for untraceable hacks

      USER ACCOUNT Control (UAC), the thing in Microsoft Windows that creates extra menus you wish would just sod off, can be bypassed, allowing hackers to gain registry access.

      Security researcher Matt Nelson has discovered that the flaw allows someone to start PowerShell, access the registry and then leave no trace.

      The workaround/feature/bug/massive security hole works on any version of Windows with UAC, which was introduced in Windows Vista and later softened in Windows 7 as it proved such a spectacular pain in the Vista.

      The technique uses no files, no injections and leaves no trace. It’s just pure direct access via a vulnerability. You could go off and do it to someone now.

      Don’t do that, though.

    • all that’s not golden

      Several stories and events recently that in some way relate to backdoors and golden keys and security. Or do they? In a couple cases, I think some of the facts were slightly colored to make for a more exciting narrative. Having decided that golden keys are shitty, that doesn’t imply that all that’s shit is golden. A few different perspectives here, because I think some of the initial hoopla obscured some lessons that even people who don’t like backdoors can learn from.

      Secure Boot

      Microsoft added a feature to Secure Boot, accidentally creating a bypass for older versions. A sweet demo scene release (plain text) compares this incident to the FBI’s requested golden keys. Fortunately, our good friends over at the Register dug into this claim and explained some of the nuance in their article, Bungling Microsoft singlehandedly proves that golden backdoor keys are a terrible idea. Ha, ha, I kid.

      Matthew Garrett also has some notes on Microsoft’s compromised Secure Boot implementation. He’s purportedly a Linux developer, but he doesn’t once in this post call Windows a steaming pile, so he’s probably a Microsoft shill in disguise.

      Returning to the big question, What does the MS Secure Boot Issue teach us about key escrow? Maybe not a whole lot. Some questions to consider are how thoroughly MS tried to guard the key and whether they actually lost the key or just signed the wrong thing.

      Relevant to the crypto backdoor discussion, are the actions taken here the same? In a key escrow scheme, are iPhones sending encrypted data to the FBI or is the FBI sending encrypted messages to iPhones? The direction of information flow probably has a profound effect on the chances of the wrong thing leaking out. Not to say I want anything flowing in either direction, but it does affect how analogous the situations are.

      A perhaps more important lesson, for all security or crypto practitioners, is just barely hinted at in mjg59’s post. Microsoft created a new message format, but signed it with a key trusted by systems that did not understand this format. Misinterpretation of data formats results in many vulnerabilities. Whenever it’s possible that a message may be incorrectly handled by existing systems, it’s vital to roll keys to prevent misinterpretation.

    • Security against Election Hacking – Part 1: Software Independence

      So the good news is: our election system has many checks and balances so we don’t have to trust the hackable computers to tell us who won. The biggest weaknesses are DRE paperless touchscreen voting machines used in a few states, which are completely unacceptable; and possible problems with electronic pollbooks.

      In this article I’ve discussed paper trails: pollbooks, paper ballots, and per-precinct result printouts. Election officials must work hard to assure the security of the paper trail: chain of custody of ballot boxes once the polls close, for example. And they must use the paper trails to audit the election, to protect against hacked computers (and other kinds of fraud, bugs, and accidental mistakes). Many states have laws requiring (for example) random audits of paper ballots; more states need such laws, and in all states the spirit of the laws must be followed as well as the letter.

    • Security against Election Hacking (Freedom to Tinker)

      Over at the Freedom to Tinker blog, Andrew Appel has a two-part series on security attacks and defenses for the upcoming elections in the US (though some of it will obviously be applicable elsewhere too). Part 1 looks at the voting and counting process with an eye toward ways to verify what the computers involved are reporting, but doing so without using the computers themselves (having and verifying the audit trail, essentially). Part 2 looks at the so-called cyberdefense teams and how their efforts are actually harming all of our security (voting and otherwise) by hoarding bugs rather than reporting them to get them fixed.

    • Shift: public cloud considered more secure than corporate data centers

      Security has always weighed heavily on executives’ minds as the risk of using public cloud services. In surveys I am involved in designing, we find to this day that security is the number-one challenge or showstopper when it comes to moving things to the cloud.

    • Agencies Face Cyber Concerns as Apps Rely on Aging Systems — Report

      More than 70 percent of the 100 federal IT business decision-makers polled in Dell’s State of IT Trends 2016 Study said their agency is using old operating systems to run important mission applications. And a little more than half of respondents said their agency is using software or systems that are no longer vendor-supported, according to the report.

    • Vulnerable smart home IoT sockets let hackers access your email account

      The smart plug can act as a conduit not just for electricity — but for cyberattacks.

    • Isis members share ‘how to hack’ tutorials encouraging supporters to target western intelligence

      “Kali Linux is known as the ‘go-to’ for black [hat] and white [hat] hackers alike,” Omri Moyal, VP Research at Israel-based cybersecurity firm Minerva Labs, was quoted as saying by Vocativ. “It is widely promoted and educated in underground forums and anonymous chat rooms, and the combination of its pre-installed, ready-to-use, powerful tools make it extremely dangerous in the wrong hands,” he adds. “As we have heard that ISIS are declaring that they will move to operate in the cyber domain, it is very natural that they will go to this tool.”

    • Main ISIS forum promote ‘How To Hack’ Tutorials Online
    • ISIS Noobs Share ‘How To Hack’ Tutorials Online
    • Rex Linux Trojan Can Launch DDoS Attacks, Lock Websites, Mine for Cryptocurrency

      What initially looked like a string of Drupal sites infected with ransomware (that didn’t work properly) now looks like a professional cybercrime operation that relies on a self-propagating Linux trojan to create a botnet with various capabilities.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • U.S. Held Cash Until Iran Freed Prisoners

      New details of the $400 million U.S. payment to Iran earlier this year depict a tightly scripted exchange specifically timed to the release of several American prisoners held in Iran.

    • The Aleppo Poster Child — Paul Craig Roberts

      As for the little boy in the propaganda picture, he does not seem to be badly injured. Let us not forget the tens of thousands of children that Washington’s wars and bombings of 7 Muslim countries have killed without any tears shed by CNN anchors, and let us not forget the 500,000 Iraqi children that the United Nations concluded died as a result of US sanctions against Iraq, children’s deaths that Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said were worth it.

    • Why Are We Still Wasting Billions on Homeland Security Projects That Don’t Make Us Safer?

      The turbulent months after the 9/11 attacks were notable for something that did not happen. Even though al-Qaeda had killed thousands of people and scored a direct hit on the Pentagon, hardly anyone in either political party blamed the Bush Administration for failing to defend the homeland. In the burst of patriotism that followed the assaults, President Bush and his aides essentially got a free pass from the voting public. This consensus held even after it emerged that government officials had fumbled numerous clues that might have prevented the attacks. (The Central Intelligence Agency knew two al-Qaeda operatives had entered the U.S. in 2000, but never told the Federal Bureau of Investigation. No one tracked their movements and phone calls, a notable lapse since both men ended up among the 19 hijackers.) Voters had no problem re-electing a president who did nothing after receiving an intelligence briefing weeks before 9/11 headlined “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.”

    • What Became of the Left?

      For fifteen years, and more if we go back to the Clinton regime’s destruction of Yugoslavia, the US has been engaged in wars on populations in seven—eight counting Yugoslavia/Serbia—countries, causing millions of deaths, disabled, and dislocated peoples. A police state has been created, the US Constitution stripped of its protective features, and massive crimes committed under both US and international law by three administrations. These crimes include torture, transparant false flag events, naked aggression (a war crime), spying without warrants, and murder of US citizens. Yet, the leftwing’s voice is barely heard.

      Clearly, my acquaintances are beginning to miss the challenge to explanations and the country’s direction that the left formerly provided. I know how they feel. We used to be pushed along by biases and stereotypical thinking, and the left was there to rattle our cage. Now we are pushed along by propaganda and there is no countervailing force except a few Internet voices.

    • Washington Hawks Prey on Syrian Killing Fields

      Official Washington loves to show heartbreaking images of wounded Syrian children with the implicit message that it’s time to invade Syria and impose “regime change” (rather than commit to peace talks), a dilemma addressed by Michael Brenner.

    • More False Outrage on the Syrian War
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Smoke from Indonesia’s fires begins to drift into Malaysia

      Air quality in Indonesia and peninsular Malaysia declined this week as prevailing southwesterly winds continued to blow smog over the water that separates the two countries.

      “Smoke from forest fires and peat in Riau has already crossed the Malacca Strait,” Indonesia’s disaster management agency chief Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Wednesday. “It’s still only a little but it should be addressed immediately.”

      Data from Malaysia’s Department of Environment showed air quality in Shah Alam, a city near Kuala Lumpur in Selangor state, declined to 85 on Wednesday. A level above 100 is classified as unhealthy. Only one of five areas in Singapore monitored by the city state’s National Environment Agency showed air quality in the “Moderate” range. The 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index was in the “Good” range on August 7.

      The number of fires and hotspots in the 2016 dry season has been lower than last year, when the extended drought wrought by an El Niño weather event deprived the region of the rain needed to suppress Indonesia’s annual fires. Prolonged periods with no rain have led to spikes in hotspots in recent months, including the last week.

    • Time to listen to the ice scientists about the Arctic death spiral

      Not Peter Wadhams. The former director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and professor of ocean physics at Cambridge has spent his scientific life researching the ice world, or the cryosphere, and in just 30 years has seen unimaginable change.

      When in 1970 he joined the first of what would be more than 50 polar expeditions, the Arctic sea ice covered around 8m sq km at its September minimum. Today, it hovers at around 3.4m, and is declining by 13% a decade. In 30 years Wadhams has seen the Arctic ice thin by 40%, the world change colour at its top and bottom and the ice disappear in front of his eyes.

      In a new book, published just as July 2016 is confirmed by Nasa as the hottest month ever recorded, this most experienced and rational scientist states what so many other researchers privately fear but cannot publicly say – that the Arctic is approaching a death spiral which may see the entire remaining summer ice cover collapse in the near future.

  • Finance

    • Steemit Is Like Reddit, But Where Upvotes Equal a Cryptocurrency Payout

      A homeless man can afford to buy an RV thanks to a popular blog post. A woman earns a year’s salary from a YouTube makeup tutorial. An African writer starts with three hours of electricity per day and ends with over $40,000 dollars.

      These are some of the striking and somewhat implausible-sounding stories to have emerged during the first fully operational month of Steemit, a forum-style platform that rewards community content and curation with cryptocurrency payouts, and where—for the moment at least—users who hit the goldmine of a viral post can see up to five-figure payouts. (Here I should include a journalistic disclosure: a post on the site in which I appealed for sources for this story earned a total value of over $800, of which I have currently withdrawn $100.)

      But as with any new cryptocurrency, there are key questions over stability, sustainability, and underlying motivation. As it stands, the bulk of the site is made up of quickly-written, poorly-researched content, some of which is remunerated into the thousands of dollars. At the same time, critics have raised concerns over both the distribution of the currency and the business model of the platform, questioning the huge sums accrued by early adopters and in some cases alleging a scam dependent on new investment to remain afloat.

    • Bitcoin.org suspects state-sponsored attacks on the horizon

      Bitcoin.org has warned users to be aware that the upcoming release of Bitcoin Core is likely to be targeted by state-sponsored cyberattackers.

      The group which manages Bitcoin Core, the client used to keep the virtual currency decentralized while at the same time aims to accept only valid transactions, warned this week that the organization has “reason to suspect” that the binaries used in the next release will become targets.

      The upcoming 0.13.0 release, dubbed Segwit, has undergone extensive testing and has been designed to improve transaction efficiency. The update also changes the rules of the Bitcoin system marginally by introducing new features which reduce problems associated with unwanted third-party transaction malleability and designing smart contracts which use the cryptocurrency.

      However, state-sponsored groups — which are often sophisticated and have high levels of government funding — may impede the release or threaten investors dabbling in the virtual currency, and Bitcoin.org says that any state-sponsored threats levied against the new release cannot be defended against without help.

    • California Lawmaker Pulls Digital Currency Bill After EFF Opposition

      For the second year in a row, EFF and a coalition of virtual currency and consumer protection organizations have beaten back a California bill that would have created untenable burdens for the emerging cryptocurrency community.

    • Research Funding in a Post-Brexit World

      A considerable amount of research funding comes to the UK from the EU through the Horizon 2020 (H2020) scheme [1]. This programme is providing over 80 billion Euros in grants over the period 2014 to 2020 and is envisioned as a means to drive economic growth and create jobs within the EU’s member nations. The stated aim is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.

      The chief beneficiaries of H2020 grants are research institutions (universities and independent research organisations) and the R&D arms of large companies [2], however there is a goal that 20% of the monies will go to small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

      Funding under H2020 is granted to projects each operated by a consortium of companies and organisations. A consortium puts together a detailed proposal describing what work they will do, what the outcomes will be, and how grant money would be spent. The proposals are assessed for the European Commission (EC) by panels of experts who determine the technical merit and value for money as well as considering the social and economic impact of the research. Other considerations also play a small part, such as the participation by SMEs, equality issues, and distribution of work across all EU countries. Competition is stiff, and many proposals are turned down.

    • Dozens of New York Officials Support Tenants’ Lawsuit Over Rent Stabilization

      Tenants have sued a Lower Manhattan developer, saying their leases should have been rent-stabilized in exchange for the tax breaks their landlord received. State and local officials have now filed a brief supporting the tenants, whose case could affect thousands of rental units.

    • Felicia Kornbluh on the Politics of Welfare

      Now we’re told we’re in a moment of reconsideration—of tough-on-crime policies, of the deregulation of banks and, perhaps, of the notion that depriving needy people of assistance would lead to their gainful employment and well-being. Our guest says a true reconsideration of the 1990s welfare overhaul would require a so-far invisible recentering of the people in its crosshairs: low-income women, particularly mothers raising children on their own.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Federal Election Commission To Crack Down On ‘Deez Nuts’ As Presidential Candidate

      The more web savvy among you may know that “Deez Nuts” was a popular web meme earlier in 2015, but it didn’t quite explain how it got into the poll. It turned out that a 15 year old kid named Brady Olson had filled out the necessary paperwork under the name Deez Nuts, and PPP had decided to toss it into their poll as a bit of fun. The attention paid to Deez Nuts as a political candidate resulted in a bunch of other silly names filling out the paperwork as well — including Butt Stuff, Mr. Not Sure and Sir TrippyCup aka Young Trippz aka The GOAT aka The Prophet aka Earl.

      Of course, after that initial flurry of attention, most people mostly forgot about Deez Nuts, the fake Presidential candidate…. until this week.

      You see, earlier this week PPP released a new poll showing that Green Party candidate Jill Stein was trailing Deez Nuts in Texas (also trailing, Harambe, the dead gorilla who is also now something of an internet meme).

    • Wealthy Elites and Blowjobs

      Ostenisbly, the rant serves to warn that if such tools get out, people might target banks and financial systems, specifically mentioning the hacks on SWIFT (not to mention suggesting that if the other claimed files get out someone might target finance).

      Along the way it includes a reference to elites having their top friends announcing “no law broken, no crime commit.” And right before it, this: “make promise future handjobs, (but no blowjobs).”

      Maybe I’m acutely sensitive to mentions of blowjobs, especially those received by Bill Clinton, for reasons that are obvious to most of you. But the reference to handjobs but no blowjobs in the immediate proximity of getting off of a crime followed closely by a reference to running for President seems like an oblique reference to the Clintons.

      If so, it would place this leak more closely in line with the structure of the other leaks targeting Hillary.

      That’s in no way dispositive, but the blowjobs references does merit mentioning.

    • Trump and the Long History of Media Bias

      The mainstream U.S. news media insists that its bias against Donald Trump is an aberration justified by his extraordinary recklessness, but the truth is U.S. media bias has a long history, says longtime journalist Robert Parry.

    • Revealed: The Secret Donor Behind “Children of Israel,” the Ghost Corporation Funding GOP Super PACs

      If limited liability companies like Children of Israel make political donations, and the LLC is treated as a partnership for tax purposes, federal regulations require the LLC to inform the recipients who the actual humans behind the company are. Then the recipients of the donations must disclose this in their filings with the Federal Election Commission. By May of this year, Fox and the RNC were doing that.

      But Children of Israel either failed to do so with its contributions to Pursuing American’s Greatness and Stand for Truth, or the two Super PACs simply chose to ignore it. According to Brendan Fisher, associate counsel of the political money watchdog group Campaign Legal Center, Fox and/or Children of Israel therefore violated prohibitions on “straw donor” contributions made in someone else’s name. (The CLC filed a complaint with the FEC against Children of Israel in March before Fox’s identity became known.)

    • FEC Commissioner Wants Help Getting Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections

      Ann Ravel, one of six members of the Federal Election Commission, called last week for the FEC to take a stand against foreign money in U.S. elections — and on Thursday, she appealed for public reaction.

      At issue are advisory opinions that gave a green light to domestic subsidiaries of foreign corporations who wanted to make donations to U.S. political campaigns. In her proposal to rescind those opinions, Ravel cited The Intercept‘s recent reporting about American Pacific International Capital, a California corporation owned by Chinese citizens which — thanks to Citizens United and that FEC opinion — was able to give $1.3 million to the Jeb Bush Super PAC Right to Rise USA.

    • Searches for Green Party surpass Dems during CNN town hall

      CNN on Wednesday night held a town hall with presidential nominee Jill Stein and running mate Ajamu Baraka.

      During the event, the team made its pitch to voters, casting the Green Party ticket as an alternative option for those who don’t want to back either major party’s nominee. Stein said the Green Party is standing up for “everyday people and an America and a future that works for all of us.”

      Stein hit Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during the event and said she would have trouble sleeping at night if either Clinton or Republican nominee Donald Trump were elected president.

    • Did Green Party Pitch for ‘Greater Good’ Resonate with National Audience?

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka took part in CNN’s first Green Party town hall Wednesday night, laying out their proposals to abolish all student debt, establish a single-payer healthcare system, create a foreign policy based on humanitarian values, and to establish a “Green New Deal” that would both create millions of jobs nationwide and help transition the country to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

    • Open Up the Debates: Green Party’s Jill Stein Accuses Democrats & GOP of Rigging Debate Rules

      While polls show Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are among the least popular major-party candidates to ever run for the White House, it appears no third-party candidates will be invited to take part in the first presidential debate next month. The debates are organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties. Under the commission’s rules, candidates will only be invited if they are polling at 15 percent in five national surveys. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein have both witnessed recent surges in support, but neither have crossed the 15 percent threshold. More than 12,000 people have signed a petition organized by RootsAction calling for a four-way presidential debate. We speak to Green Party presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein. Four years ago she was arrested outside a presidential debate protesting her exclusion from the event.

    • Jill Stein: How far will she go to make a splash at the debates?

      The Green Party presidential nominee tells USA TODAY’s Capital Download that she will be at the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in less than six weeks. And she says she is “absolutely” ready to be arrested, as she was four years ago. Video by Jasper Colt, USA TODAY

    • Trump May Be Saving His Biggest (Worst) Surprise For Last

      If the 2016 election is a grease-soaked dumpster fire, Donald Trump might be about to spray it with a hose full of cooking oil. Last month his campaign raised an astonishing $82 million, leaving him with $74 million on hand at the start of this month. We can safely assume a lot of that’s going toward red hats and Trump Steaks … but so far, none of it’s being spent on television ads. Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, aka “Who?” have both spent, uh, infinity times more money on TV ads than Donald Trump has.

      Trump’s spent $0 on TV since the start of the general election campaign, compared to $52 million spent by the Clinton campaign. While Hillary’s people have already booked a full range of ads in battleground states through November, Trump still seems to be relying on all the “free” publicity he’s getting from media (like us!) since the start of the campaign. The only problem is, since the end of the primary, that coverage has taken a distinct turn from “Donald Trump might be a genius” …

    • The Dixie Chicks: The long road back from exile

      Thirteen years after country music blacklisted the top-selling female band in American history, the Dixie Chicks are returning to the town that made them famous.

      And when the trio performs Wednesday night at Nashville’s sold-out Bridgestone Arena, they’ll do so unapologetically — with a show featuring the same brand of biting political commentary that most country artists avoid at all costs, and that forced the Chicks into exile more than a decade ago.

      “They have a bitter feeling about Nashville,” said Paul Worley, record executive and the Dixie Chicks’ former producer. “People in the industry may have turned their back on them, but Nashville did not. And they are going to find out when they play here that Nashville has always been here for them and will always be here for them.”


      Yet on Wednesday, if previous shows on the Dixie Chicks’ largely sold-out 55-city tour are any indication, they will perform in front of a giant image of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump — embellished with horns sprouting from his head and a devilish goatee scribbled on his chin.

    • Jill Stein Should Be Part of a 4-Way Presidential Debate

      After the Republicans and Democrats finished their conventions in late July, the Green Party gathered this month to nominate Dr. Jill Stein for the presidency. Stein’s campaign — with her party on ballot lines in the majority of states, and her poll numbers surging ahead of Green numbers from recent presidential elections — has the potential to be a breakthrough bid for the Greens, and for a more robust democracy.

      Stein recognized the prospect in an optimistic yet urgent acceptance speech in which she spoke of “unstoppable momentum for transformational change.” The candidate who talks of ushering in a “Green New Deal” told the Green Party Convention that “we have an historic opportunity, an historic responsibility to be the agents of that change. As Martin Luther King said, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’ I know that arc is bending in us, and through us. And we are actors in something much bigger than us as we struggle for justice, for peace, for community, for healing.”

    • Roaming Charges: Prime Time Green

      Give CNN just a little credit. On Wednesday night, the cable network hosted a Town Hall featuring Green Party candidates Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka. In those 90 Prime Time minutes, Stein and Baraka presented a clearer picture of the realities and consequences of US foreign policy and militarism than we heard from Bernie Sanders in a year’s worth of speeches.

      Americans who tuned in heard some things that are rarely mentioned in the mainstream media: a sober critique of the US’s malign relationship to the government of Israel, forthright calls for the elimination of nuclear weapons, the end of killer drone strikes, the closure of all 800-plus overseas military bases and an end to interventionist wars. The entire Town Hall session was the political equivalent of George Carlin’s the seven things you can’t say on TV.

    • Top DNC fundraiser to depart following shakeup

      Kaplan’s were among the emails released, but he didn’t lose his job in the immediate wave of housecleaning. And unlike the others who left, he’s not going far: Kaplan will be the DNC’s outside point person for events that involve President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama as they raise money for the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and other candidates going into the final phase of the election.

      A DNC official confirmed the news, which was announced to senior staff Friday morning.

      “Jordan Kaplan has decided to return to his consulting business full time. He will continue to manage DNC finance events featuring the president and first lady,” the official said

    • Green Party Ticket Lays Out Its Programs, Denounces ‘Murder From the Sky’ (Audio)

      On Thursday, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein and running mate Ajamu Baraka joined Alan Colmes for a radio interview on Fox News’ “The Alan Colmes Show.” The Green Party ticket only recently began receiving mainstream media coverage, and Stein and Baraka explain many aspects of the Green Party ticket to potentially unfamiliar listeners.

      First, Colmes asks about the impact of the “Nader effect,” or the fear that voting for third-party candidates will split up the liberal vote and cause the Democratic Party to lose. “These are the most unpopular and disliked candidates in our history,” Stein responds. “People are saying ‘we’ve had enough of those guys.’ ”

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein to join presidential campaign trail in Colorado

      Stein is expected to draw a crowd as she appeals to one-time Bernie Sanders supporters in a state that overwhelmingly voted for the Vermont senator at the 2016 caucus. The latest poll shows Stein with 7 percent support in Colorado, far better than her showing in the 2012 election when she won just 0.3 percent, or 7,508 votes.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Atheism – a reason to be banned by Facebook?

      In February 2016, ten of the largest Arabic-speaking atheist groups, with a total of about 100,000 members, have been deactivated for the same reason: heavy reporting campaigns that are organized by “cyber jihadist” fundamentalist Islamic groups, especially for the removal of any anti-Islamic group or page. In such coordinated campaigns, very large numbers of people, and possibly automated scripts, simultaneously file reports falsely claiming that a page, group, or personal account has violated Community Standards.

    • Gawker.com to shut down next week

      Gawker.com, the flagship blog of Gawker Media, will shut down Monday after 14 years of operation, a dramatic coda for a feisty newsroom unable to survive a $140 million judgment from an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit.

      The decision comes two days after Univision Communications agreed to buy Gawker Media’s assets — for its six other blogs — for $135 million in a bankruptcy auction held Tuesday. Univision won after outbidding a $131 million bid from digital publisher Ziff Davis.

      Gawker Media and its founder and CEO, Nick Denton, filed for bankruptcy protection after a Florida jury decided in March that Gawker.com violated Hulk Hogan’s privacy when it published a sex tape of the former pro wrestler having sex with the wife of a friend.

      A bankruptcy court in New York, which had to review any deals for Gawker’s assets, considered Univision’s bid at a hearing Thursday afternoon and gave its approval to proceed with the deal.

      “Sadly, neither I nor Gawker.com, the buccaneering flagship of the group I built with my colleagues, are coming along for this next stage,” Denton wrote in a note to staffers.

      The closure of Gawker.com, known for its snarky and pugnacious coverage of politicians, celebrities and media personalities, will be cheered by some of its critics as a satisfying comeuppance for a blog that not only didn’t pull punches but sometimes aimed below the belt. Others, including media advocates, interpret it as a chilling sign of the threat to the First Amendment posed by third-party-funded lawsuits.

    • Body slammed by Hulk Hogan, Gawker.com will cease operations

      Gawker.com, facing a $140 million jury verdict for publishing a sex tape of Terry Bollea (better known as pro wrestling icon Hulk Hogan), is shuttering operations next week, according to a post on the site.

      “Nick Denton, the company’s outgoing CEO, informed current staffers of the site’s fate on Thursday afternoon, just hours before a bankruptcy court in Manhattan will decide whether to approve Univision’s bid for Gawker Media’s other assets,” the website said. “Staffers will soon be assigned to other editorial roles, either at one of the other six sites or elsewhere within Univision. Near-term plans for Gawker.com’s coverage, as well as the site’s archives, have not yet been finalized.”

      Univision acquired Gawker Media for $135 million on Tuesday. Gawker Media’s other holdings include Gizmodo, Deadspin, Jezebel, Lifehacker, Kotaku, and Jalopnik. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy two months ago and went up for sale following the jury’s verdict.

    • Twitter says it shuttered 235k accounts linked to terrorism in 6 months

      Twitter said Thursday it has shut down 235,000 accounts linked to violent extremism in the last six months alone. That brings the total number of terminated Twitter accounts associated with terrorism to 360,000 since mid-2015.

    • “Dangerous precedent for free speech”: NJ Gov. Chris Christie signs law punishing boycotts of Israel

      New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has signed bipartisan-backed legislation that will punish groups that endorse a boycott of Israel in protest of its violations of Palestinian human rights.

      Christie, who is one of the most outspoken supporters of far-right Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, signed the bill on Tuesday.

      It requires the New Jersey government to identify companies that support a boycott of Israel, raising fears that it would create a “blacklist” of institutions that back the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement.

      Under the new law, the State Investment Council, which manages more than $80 billion in pension assets, is legally obligated to divest from these blacklisted companies.

    • Former Gawker Editor Lashes Out At Peter Thiel, Calls Freeze On His Checking Account ‘Ludicrous’

      A.J. Daulerio, the ex-Gawker editor who wrote the 2012 story that originally included an excerpt of the Hulk Hogan sex tape he and his employer were successfully sued over, lashed out at Peter Thiel on Thursday. Daulerio questioned the motives of going after his personal assets to satisfy a portion of the $140.1 million judgement in the case.

      “It’s ludicrous that a billionaire like Peter Thiel is spending his wealth on lawyers to freeze my $1,500 bank account and figure out the value of my rice cooker and old furniture,” Daulerio told FORBES in a statement. “If Mr. Thiel really believed in the First Amendment, he would not be funding lawyers to chase my meager assets and instead would try to justify the $115.1 million verdict in front of an appeals court. Instead, he’s using his fortune to hold me hostage to settle a decade-long grudge that has nothing to do with me or Hulk Hogan.”

      As FORBES first revealed in May, Thiel financed Hogan’s lawsuit as part of an effort to bring down the media company. Daulerio’s comments are his first public statements about case since the jury awarded its verdict in March.

    • Did I Kill Gawker?

      It feels a bit strange to say this now, but in the spring of 2014 there was no better place to work than Gawker. For a certain kind of person, at any rate — ambitious, rebellious, and eager for attention, all of which I was. Just over a decade old, Gawker still thought of itself as a pirate ship, but a very big pirate ship, ballasted by semi-respectable journalism, and much less prone to setting itself on fire than in its early days, when its writers had a tendency to make loud and famous enemies and when its staff was subjected to near-annual purges — unless they were able to dramatically quit first. It managed to be, in a way it never had been, the kind of place about which you could say, “I could see myself being here in ten years.” Which I did often enough for it to seem funny now, since I myself would end up dramatically quitting in the summer of 2015, a little more than a year after being promoted to editor-in-chief and a little less than a year before the company would declare bankruptcy and auction itself off to the highest bidder.

    • Under Xi Jinping’s presidentship, it is apparent that free and fair media reportage is difficult

      For most of its 25 years, the Chinese history magazine Yanhuang Chunqiu has been loved by moderate liberals and detested with equal passion by devotees of Mao Zedong, who reviled it as a refuge for heretical criticisms of the Chinese leader and the Communist Party. But in a sign of how sharply ideological winds have turned under President Xi Jinping, officials who recently took control of the magazine have wooed Maoist and nationalist writers who long scorned the magazine. Several well-known hard-line polemicists attended a meeting with the new managers on Monday.

    • ‘It feels like censorship’: Guardian readers on NPR’s decision to close comments

      One thing I think would benefit all publishers is to more closely moderate comments before they’re published. That’ll lead to better discussions and avoid the “garbage fire” of flame wars. Would a news organisation allow journalists to publish prior to proof reading and approval? Of course not. Why then would they allow comment to be approved based purely on a login?

      NPR has said it will use social media to engage with users instead of comments, but responding to a story on social media certainly isn’t the right place for anything other than a brief statement. It’s an instant reaction, rather than any analytical in-depth response.

      My perspective is: either do it properly (moderate), or close the comments. But remember, closing comments effectively diminishes the collaborative communication that the internet gifts us all.

    • Despite Violent Scenes, Directors Mo Brothers Say Censorship is Not the Limit

      As seen during the media preview that in Jakarta on Thursday (18/08), “Headshot” features quick fighting and gun violence scenes which undoubtedly will raise the question about censorship. Directors Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto said censorship should not limit their creativity.

    • Mapping Media Freedom: In review 30 July-18 August
    • Will Certificates Help Indian Films Against Censorship?
    • Media’s Self-Inflicted Punishment is the New Censorship

      Public and foreign diplomats are routinely told by the military regime that Thai media enjoys freedom to criticize. That’s only half true at best. The reality is that, two years after the 2014 coup, the selective pressures being applied on some media critical of the junta have just become more subtle and sophisticated, thus rather invisible.


      Pravit RojanaphrukLast month, junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha used his absolute power under Article 44 of the provisional charter to empower the commission to censor any media deemed a threat to national security and shield it from legal consequences for doing so. According to an outstanding junta order from 2014, security threats include anything construed as defaming the monarchy, “insincere” criticism of the junta, or anything that might sway public opinion against it.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Researcher Grabs VPN Password With Tool From NSA Dump

      Cisco has already warned customers about two exploits found in the NSA-linked data recently dumped by hackers calling themselves The Shadow Brokers. Now, researchers have uncovered another attack included in the cache, which they claim allows the extraction of VPN passwords from certain Cisco products—meaning hackers could snoop on encrypted traffic.

      Security researcher Mustafa Al-Bassam first documented the hacking tool, which uses the codename BENIGNCERTAIN, in a blog post published Thursday. He coined the attack “PixPocket” after the hardware the tool targets: Cisco PIX, a popular, albeit now outdated, firewall and VPN appliance. Corporations or government departments might use these devices to allow only authorised users onto their network.

    • Why the NSA should be considered a hostile agency

      I think the current mindset of these government agencies is foolish and puts not only our firms and customers at risk, but the nation itself. Let me explain.

    • Shadow Brokers Leak Just Revealed How The NSA Broke American-Made Encryption

      If the Shadow Brokers’ leak of NSA files is legit, as is now all but confirmed, they have offered a glimpse into how the intelligence agency exploited security systems created by American tech vendors.

    • Snowden Documents Confirm the NSA Hack Is Real

      Last Friday, a mysterious group by the name of “The Shadow Brokers” dumped what appeared to be some of the National Security Agency’s hacking tools online. There was some speculation as to whether the tools were legitimate. According to The Intercept, these tools are mentioned in documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • The NSA Leak Is Real, Snowden Documents Confirm

      On Monday, a hacking group calling itself the “ShadowBrokers” announced an auction for what it claimed were “cyber weapons” made by the NSA. Based on never-before-published documents provided by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Intercept can confirm that the arsenal contains authentic NSA software, part of a powerful constellation of tools used to covertly infect computers worldwide.

      The provenance of the code has been a matter of heated debate this week among cybersecurity experts, and while it remains unclear how the software leaked, one thing is now beyond speculation: The malware is covered with the NSA’s virtual fingerprints and clearly originates from the agency.

      The evidence that ties the ShadowBrokers dump to the NSA comes in an agency manual for implanting malware, classified top secret, provided by Snowden, and not previously available to the public. The draft manual instructs NSA operators to track their use of one malware program using a specific 16-character string, “ace02468bdf13579.” That exact same string appears throughout the ShadowBrokers leak in code associated with the same program, SECONDDATE.

    • New Snowden documents confirm leaked cyberweapons do belong to the NSA
    • Snowden documents show NSA leak is real: report
    • Snowden documents show NSA leak is real: report
    • New Snowden documents prove the hacked NSA files are real
    • Snowden docs link NSA to Equation Group hackers
    • New Snowden docs support claim of NSA cyberweapon hack
    • Snowden files confirm Shadow Brokers spilled NSA’s Equation Group spy tools over the web

      Documents from the Edward Snowden archive prove that the malware and exploits dumped on the public internet on Monday originated from the NSA.

      Among the files leaked by whistleblower Snowden in 2013 is a draft NSA manual on how to redirect people’s web browsers using a man-in-the-middle tool called SECONDDATE. This piece of software meddles with connections in real-time so targets quietly download malware from NSA-controlled servers.

      The guide instructs snoops to track SECONDDATE deployments using a 16-character identification string: ace02468bdf13579.

      Earlier this week, hackers calling themselves the Shadow Brokers briefly leaked on GitHub an archive of code, claiming the tools were stolen from the Equation Group – which is understood to be a computer surveillance wing of the NSA. It was hard to tell at the time if the software collection was a carefully constructed spoof, or if it truly belonged to the US spying agency.

    • Hackers say leaked NSA tools came from contractor at RedSeal

      On Friday, messages posted to Pastebin and Tumblr allege the recently leaked NSA files came from a contractor working a red team engagement for RedSeal, a company that offers a security analytics platform that can assess a given network’s resiliency to attack. In addition, the hackers claim the intention was to disclose the tools this year during DEF CON.

      Salted Hash reached out to the press team at DEF CON, as well as RedSeal.

      In a statement, RedSeal would only confirm they are an In-Q-Tel portfolio company. The company also denied any knowledge of red team assessments against their products by In-Q-Tel or contractors working with In-Q-Tel. The press department at DEF CON hadn’t responded to questions by the time this article went to print.

    • Why The NSA’s Vulnerability Equities Process Is A Joke (And Why It’s Unlikely To Ever Get Better)

      Two contributors to Lawfare — offensive security expert Dave Aitel and former GCHQ information security expert Matt Tait — take on the government’s Vulnerability Equities Process (VEP), which is back in the news thanks to a group of hackers absconding with some NSA zero-days.

      The question is whether or not the VEP is being used properly. If the NSA discovered its exploits had been accessed by someone other than its own TAO (Tailored Access Operations) team, why did it choose to keep its exploits secret, rather than inform the developers affected? The vulnerabilities exposed so far seem to date as far back as 2013, but only now, after details have been exposed by the Shadow Brokers are companies like Cisco actually aware of these issues.

      According to Lawfare’s contributors, there are several reasons why the NSA would have kept quiet, even when confronted with evidence that these tools might be in the hands of criminals or antagonistic foreign powers. They claim the entire process — which is supposed to push the NSA, FBI, et al towards disclosure — is broken. But not for the reasons you might think.

      The Office of the Director of National Intelligence claimed last year that the NSA divulges 90% of the exploits it discovers. Nowhere in this statement were any details as to what the NSA considered to be an acceptable timeframe for disclosure. It’s always been assumed the NSA turns these exploits over to developers after they’re no longer useful. The Obama administration may have reiterated the presumption of openness when reacting to yet another Snowden leak, but also made it clear that national security concerns will always trump personal security concerns — even if the latter has the potential to affect more people.

    • Australian Law Enforcement Hacked US Users’ Computers During Child Porn Investigation

      Thanks to the internet, more law enforcement agencies are exceeding jurisdictional limitations than ever before. The FBI’s Network Investigative Technique (NIT) — deployed during a child porn investigation to strip Tor users of their anonymity — travelled all over the United States and the world beyond. IP addresses and computer information harvested by the FBI were turned over to Europol and details obtained by Motherboard suggested at least 50 computers in Austria alone had been compromised by the FBI’s hacking.

      Rule 41 imposes jurisdictional limitations on the FBI’s hacking attempts — something the DOJ is trying (and succeeding, so far) to have changed. But the hacking goes both ways. Not only does the FBI go cruising past US borders while tracking down Tor users accessing seized child porn servers, but law enforcement agencies in other countries are doing the same thing — and raising the same questions.

    • Bulk data collection by MI5, MI6 and GCHQ is warranted, says terrorism watchdog

      Bulk collection and analysis of data by MI5, MI6 and GCHQ is relevant and worthwhile for national security, according to an in-depth report by the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC.

      Prime minister Theresa May has already used the report as proof that the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill, despite widespread criticism, is necessary to boost the UK’s ability to fight crime and terrorism.

      The 192-page report was headed by Anderson and a team he chose free from government involvement. It did not look at the legal and privacy aspects of bulk data collection and analysis, only whether it served a purpose for the operations of the security agencies.

    • Terror plot foiled “in its final few hours” after spooks hack attackers’ phones and emails

      A terrorist cell poised to attack Britain last year was foiled at the 11th hour after online spooks hacked their phones and emails, a dramatic new report has revealed.

    • GCHQ spies given enhanced hacking powers — what are they and should we be worried?

      British spies at GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 have effectively been given the green light to continue their mass spying operations around the world after a fresh independent review into bulk surveillance powers found ‘no viable alternative’ to the current regime.

      Compiled by David Anderson QC, the hefty 200-plus page report was commissioned by Prime Minister Theresa May while in her previous role of home secretary.

    • GCHQ Details Cases of When It Would Use Bulk Hacking
    • UK terror-law watchdog has given a green light to powers for spy agencies to collect bulk data
    • Internet spying powers backed by review
    • Spy agencies’ love of bulk data set has merit, so Snoopers’ Charter is fair
    • Court Says Man Can Sue Maker Of Web-Monitoring Software For Wiretap Act Violations

      The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided a man whose communications were snagged by commercial spyware can sue the software’s maker for violating federal wiretap law.

      The plaintiff, Javier Luis, became involved in an online relationship with an unhappily married woman. Her husband, Joseph Zang, installed Awareness Technologies’ “WebWatcher” on his wife’s computer in order to keep tabs on her online communications. After discovering his communications had been intercepted, Luis sued the software’s maker (along with the husband, who has already settled with Luis and is no longer listed as a defendant).

      The Appeals Court doesn’t form an opinion on the strength of Luis’s claims — only noting that they’re strong enough to survive dismissal. Awareness Software will be able to more fully address the allegations in the lower court on remand, but for now, the Appeals Court finds [PDF] the software’s “contemporaneous interception” of electronic communications to be a potential violation of the Wiretap Act.

    • The NSA Data Leakers Might Be Faking Their Awful English To Deceive Us

      Nobody knows who’s hiding behind the moniker of The Shadow Brokers, the mysterious group who earlier this week dumped a slew of hacking tools belonging to the NSA. Is it the Russian government? Is it actually a disgruntled rogue NSA insider?

      For now, there’s no hard evidence pointing in either direction. But The Shadow Brokers’ language in their rambling manifesto might give us some clues. In fact, the apparent broken English might just be a ruse, a trick to make us believe the author doesn’t speak the language, according to a linguistic analysis of it.

      “The author is a native English speaker trying to pass himself off as a foreigner,” Jeffrey Carr, CEO of cybersecurity company Taia Global, told Motherboard.

    • Researchers Find “Strong Connection” Between NSA Hackers and Leaked Files

      First detected by Kaspersky Lab back in 2015, Equation Group is a threat actor believed to be working for the NSA. It has leveraged malware campaigns, watering holes, and compromised removable media to conduct cyber espionage against foreign targets presumably on behalf of the United States and Israel.

    • Did The NSA Continue To Stay Silent On Zero-Day Vulnerabilities Even After Discovering It Had Been Hacked?

      The NSA’s exploit stash is allegedly for sale. As mentioned earlier this week, an individual or a group calling themselves Shadow Brokers claims to be auctioning off parts of the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) toolkit, containing several zero days — including one in Cisco’s (a favorite NSA TAO target) Adaptive Security Appliance which allows for remote code execution.

      The thing about these vulnerabilities is that they aren’t new. The exploits being hawked by Shadow Brokers date back to 2013, suggesting the agency has been sitting on these exploits for awhile. The fact that companies affected by them don’t know about these flaws means the NSA hasn’t been passing on this information.

      Back in 2015, the NSA declared that it passed on information about vulnerabilities to affected companies “90% of the time.” Of course, this statement contained very few details about how long the NSA exploited vulnerabilities before allowing them to be patched.

      The White House told the NSA to make disclosure the preferred method of handling discovered vulnerabilities, but also gave it a sizable loophole to work with — “a clear national security or law enforcement need.”

    • Eight LinkedIn alternatives for IT professionals: Top professional networks 2016: Professional social networks [iophk: "how about none?"]
    • Cisco Systems to cut 5,500 jobs after reporting 2% drop in revenue

      Cisco Systems is to cut about 5,500 jobs, representing nearly 7% of the US technology company’s global workforce.

      The world’s largest networking gear maker, based in San Jose, California, announced the cuts on Wednesday night as part of a transition from its hardware roots into a software-centric business.

    • I’m 36 and not on Facebook. You probably shouldn’t be either.

      I am 36 years old and am not on Facebook. It’s not that I ever explicitly decided not to sign up, but at first it was easy to avoid. It seemed like another fad that would peak and then fade, like Myspace (remember that?). But Facebook didn’t fade — in fact, it’s become expected — and by not making a decision to join, I made my decision.

      The Facebook Era emerged slowly, at least for me. I grew up when the main function of home computers was for games and word processing, and I remember a line of kids my age snaking out of one neighbor’s dining room to take a turn on the family’s new machine. It was unbelievably exciting — for about a week, until we all became bored and went back outside to play Manhunt or Ghosts in the Graveyard.

      Twenty-five years later, I’m still outside looking for playmates, but the block is empty. Everyone is on Facebook.

      I don’t claim to be above technology: I have a smartphone and two Instagram accounts — one devoted to my collection of vinyl records. I truly do understand the appeal of social networking. It connects people who may otherwise not be connected, and there is a lot to appreciate about that. But I also have a deep affection for the face-to-face interaction.

    • Former NSA Staffers: Rogue Insider Could Be Behind NSA Data Dump

      There are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the shocking dump of a slew of hacking tools used by an NSA-linked group earlier this week. But perhaps the biggest one is: who’s behind the leak? Who is behind the mysterious moniker “The Shadow Brokers”?

      So far, there’s no clear evidence pointing in any direction, but given the timing of the leak, and the simple fact that very few would have the capabilities and the motives to hack and shame the NSA publicly, some posited The Shadow Brokers could be Russian.

      But there’s another possibility. An insider could have stolen them directly from the NSA, in a similar fashion to how former NSA contractor Edward Snowden stole an untold number of the spy agency’s top secret documents. And this theory is being pushed by someone who claims to be, himself, a former NSA insider.

      “My colleagues and I are fairly certain that this was no hack, or group for that matter,” the former NSA employee told Motherboard. “This ‘Shadow Brokers’ character is one guy, an insider employee.”

    • EU to crack down on online services such as WhatsApp over privacy

      WhatsApp, Skype and other online messaging services face an EU crackdown aimed at safeguarding users’ privacy, in a move that highlights the gulf between Europe and the US in regulating the internet.

      The European commission will publish a draft law on data privacy that aims to ensure instant message and internet-voice-call services face similar security and privacy rules to those governing SMS text messages, mobile calls and landline calls.

      Jan Philipp Albrecht, a German Green MEP and prominent campaigner on data privacy, said: “It was obvious that there needs to be an adjustment to the reality of today. We see telecoms providers being replaced and those companies who seek to replace them need to be treated in the same way,” he said.

      According to a draft policy paper seen by the Financial Times, the likes of WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, and Skype, owned by Microsoft, would have to abide by “security and confidentiality provisions”.

    • Where Are NSA’s Overseers on the Shadow Brokers Release?

      Whatever else the release of the tools did (and I expect we’ll learn more as time goes on), it revealed that NSA has been exploiting vulnerabilities in America’s top firewall companies for years — and that whoever released these tools likely knew that, and could exploit that, for the last three years.

      That comes against the background of a debate over whether our Vulnerabilities Equities Process works as billed, with EFF saying we need a public discussion today, and former NSA and GCHQ hackers claim we ignorant laypeople can’t adequately assess strategy, even while appearing to presume US strategy should not account for the role of tech exports.

      We’re now at a point where the fears raised by a few Snowden documents — that the NSA is making tech companies unwitting (the presumed story, but one that should get more scrutiny) or witting partners in NSA’s spying — have born out. And NSA should be asked — and its oversight committees should be asking — what the decision-making process behind turning a key segment of our economy into the trojan horse of our spooks looks like.

      Mind you, I suspect the oversight committees already know a bit about this (and the Gang of Four might even know the extent to which this involves witting partnership, at least from some companies). Which is why we should have public hearings to learn what they know.

      Did California’s congressional representatives Dianne Feinstein, Adam Schiff, and Devin Nunes sign off on the exploitation of a bunch of CA tech companies? If they did, did they really think through the potential (and now somewhat realized) impact it would have on those companies and, with it, our economy, and with it the potential follow-on damage to clients of those firewall companies?

    • UK terror-law watchdog has given a green light to powers for spy agencies to collect bulk data

      POWERS that allow spy agencies to harvest bulk data were today given the go-ahead by the UK’s terror-law watchdog.

      In David Anderson QC’s report, published this morning, he said there was a “proven operational case” for most of the controversial methods of data collection.

      Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed the findings claiming it showed how the powers, which she is currently trying to cement in legislation, are of “crucial importance” to MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.

      But critics raised concerns over whether the Government would follow all of the report’s recommendations, and raised the prospect of blocking them in the House of Lords if they are not happy.

      Mr Anderson was asked earlier this year to evaluate the case for the tactics, which are included in the landmark Investigatory Powers Bill.

    • Bulk data collection vital to prevent terrorism in UK, report finds

      The bulk collection of personal data by British spy agencies is vital in preventing terrorist attacks, an independent review of draft security legislation has found.

      David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, concluded that laws giving MI5, MI6 and GCHQ the right to gather large volumes of data from members of the public had a “clear operational purpose”.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Theresa May urged to vote against Saudi Arabia remaining on Human Rights Council over abuses

      Politicians and campaigners will demand Theresa May vote against Saudi Arabia remaining on the UN Human Rights Council after a year which saw the country’s government savagely bomb Yemen, commit vast numbers of beheadings, a mass execution and detain activists.

      Their call, on World Humanitarian Day, comes ahead of a critical UN vote on whether Saudi Arabia retains its seat. Controversy over the matter has increased since the Saudi Ambassador was also given a key role on a panel related to the council.

      But despite the repeated and well publicised atrocities of the Middle Eastern state, UK ministers still refuse to say whether they will back the kingdom or not.

    • An Iranian woman won an Olympic medal for the first time in history

      Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin made history yesterday, Aug. 18, as the first Iranian woman to ever win an Olympic medal. She took the bronze for Iran in taekwondo, beating Sweden’s Nikita Glasnovic.

    • When I Was a Kid in Sherman Park, There Were Problems With Police. Now It Feels Like a Police State.

      The neighborhood was one of the most diverse places in the city. My brother and I played with the lawyer’s kids across the street, and we swung on the swing of the photographer next door while he cleaned his classic Excalibur. The East Indian kids living opposite us were some of my best friends growing up. Their dad was a bank examiner and their mother was my brother’s English teacher. We hung out with the Latino family two doors down after their daughter Elizabeth’s Quinceanera. There were a few police officers’ families per block in the old neighborhood and a few judges and an alderman too. Most of them were Black.

    • Walmart’s Out-of-Control Crime Problem Is Driving Police Crazy

      Officer Walmart to his colleagues in the Tulsa Police Department—operates for up to 10 hours a day out of the security office of a Walmart Supercenter in the city’s northeast corner. It’s a small, windowless space with six flatscreen monitors mounted on a pale blue cinder-block wall, and on this hot summer day, the room is packed. Four Walmart employees watch the monitors, which toggle among the dozens of cameras covering the store and parking lot, while doing paperwork and snacking on Cheez Whiz and Club Crackers. In a corner of the room, an off-duty sheriff’s officer, hired by Walmart, makes small talk with the employees.

    • Scottish Soccer Fans Fly the Flag For Celtic, For Justice, For Palestine

      Defying a ban on political or “provocative” demonstrations by the European governing soccer body UEFA, hometown Scottish fans waved a sea of Palestinian flags at a playoff game between their Glasgow Celtics and Israel’s Hapoel Be’er-Sheva to express solidarity with Palestinians and opposition to the Israeli Occupation. The action by fans of the Celtic club, which grew from Irish Catholic working class communities and their fight against British colonialism in Northern Ireland, is the latest in a decades-long history of supporting Palestinian rights through groups like the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Committee, Celtic Fans for Palestine, No2BrandIsrael, and Palestine Alliance. The Alliance organized this week’s demonstration, distributing the flags and leaflets on the Nakba, urging Celtic fans to support the BDS movement, and arguing that “football, UEFA and Celtic are being used to whitewash Israel’s true nature and give this rogue state an air (of) acceptance it should not enjoy.”

    • The Global Ambitions of Pakistan’s New Cyber-Crime Act

      Despite near universal condemnation from Pakistan’s tech experts; despite the efforts of a determined coalition of activists, and despite numerous attempts by alarmed politicians to patch its many flaws, Pakistan’s Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB) last week passed into law. Its passage ends an eighteen month long battle between Pakistan’s government, who saw the bill as a flagship element of their anti-terrorism agenda, and the technologists and civil liberties groups who slammed the bill as an incoherent mix of anti-speech, anti-privacy and anti-Internet provisions.

    • Actress Amber Heard Donates Millions to Support ACLU Work Fighting Violence Against Women

      Actress Amber Heard announced yesterday she will give the American Civil Liberties Union half of her $7 million divorce settlement to support our work fighting violence against women. The other half of the settlement will be donated to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

    • Woman Sues After Police Destroy Her Home During 10-Hour Standoff With The Family Dog

      When the only thing standing between law enforcement and a suspect they’re seeking is a person’s home, well… the home’s got to go.

      As seen previously here at Techdirt, police officers pretty much razed a residence to the ground searching for a shoplifting suspect. In another case, law enforcement spent nineteen hours engaged in a tense standoff with an empty residence before deciding to send in a battering ram.

      Another standoff — currently the center of a federal lawsuit — stands somewhere in between these two cases. The house wasn’t completely empty or completely destroyed. But that still doesn’t make the Caldwell (ID) police look any more heroic… or any less destructive.

    • Declassified justice: Gitmo lawyer explains CIA censorship of clients

      President Barack Obama’s recent release of 15 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay marked the largest single transfer yet. However, as the US loosens its clutches on some detainees, the CIA’s grip on keeping them silent remains tight as ever.

    • Unmasking Misinformation, Disinformation and Propaganda: NSA Interrogation Officer – A Postcard From Guantanamo Bay

      From the Snowden Archives published by The Intercept come the internal newsletters of the NSA’s most important division, the Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID). These particular documents called ‘SIDtoday’ are internal newsletters given to the vast number of NSA employees as a way of communicating the perceived importance of their work and, no doubt, like many internal company newsletters to keep up employee morale. They provide an intriguing insight into their work from the perspective of those on the inside.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • U.S. says transfer of internet governance will go ahead on Oct. 1

      The U.S. will go ahead with its plan to hand over oversight of the internet’s domain name system functions to a multistakeholder body on Oct. 1, despite fierce opposition from some lawmakers and advocacy groups.

      The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), under contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce, operates the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) which enables the operation of the internet domain name system (DNS). These include responsibility for the coordination of the DNS root, IP addressing and other internet protocol resources.

      The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency within the Commerce Department, said in March 2014 that it planned to let its contract with ICANN expire on Sept. 30, 2015, passing the oversight of the functions to a global governance model. NTIA made it clear that it would not accept a plan from internet stakeholders that would replace its role by that of a government-led or intergovernmental organization or would in any way compromise the openness of the internet.

      The transfer was delayed to September as the internet community needed more time to finalize the plan for the transition. The new stewardship plan submitted by ICANN was approved by the NTIA in June.

    • US: We’re now ready to give up our role governing the internet

      The US says it is ready to transfer its role in administering the internet’s naming system to a multiple stakeholder group on October 1.

    • BT signs 5G research deal with Nokia

      BT HAS STRUCK a deal with Nokia over the research and development of 5G technologies, with the two companies already collaborating to test Nokia’s latest 5G kit at BT Labs at Adastral Park in Martlesham, near Ipswich.

      The agreement between the two companies will also include the development of proof-of-concept trials around 5G technologies, and the development of standards and equipment that could be used for 5G networks.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • After the split: so is it HP, Hewlett Packard, Hewlett Packard Enterprise or what?

        In that connection, this Kat recently met an acquaintance, who has a long-time connection with the company. Over a cup of coffee, this Kat innocently asked: “So which HP company do you now work for. And who is running the company”? My acquaintance fumbled his response to both questions, before ultimately coming up with the correct answers. As Kat readers may be aware, the former Hewlett-Packard Company has split into two separate companies. The then existing company changed its name to HP Inc. and retained the company’s personal computer and legacy business (with its ticker remaining HPQ), while a new company was created, called Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (with its ticker symbol “HPE”) and consisting of four divisions—Enterprise Group, Services, and Software and Financial Services. In May 2016, it was announced that Hewlett Packard Enterprise would sell its Enterprise Services division to Computer Sciences Corporation. This transaction is to be completed by March 2017; in the meantime, it does not appear that a name has been chosen for this new company.

      • Seven scenarios for EU trade marks post-Brexit

        The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys has mapped out seven possible options to prevent the loss of registered rights in the UK when the country leaves the EU

    • Copyrights

      • Recording Industry Whines That It’s Too Costly To Keep Copyright Terms At Life Plus 50, Instead Of Life Plus 70

        Okay. I’ve heard lots of crazy arguments from the record labels, but I may have found the craziest. We’ve discussed how ridiculous it is that the TPP includes a provision saying that every country that signs on must make sure the minimum copyright term is life plus 70 years. This will impact many of the countries that negotiated the agreement, which currently have terms set at life plus 50. This was a key point that the recording industry and Hollywood fought hard for. When even the Copyright Office recognizes that life plus 70 is too long in many cases, the legacy industries recognized that getting copyright term extension through Congress in the US might be difficult — so why not lock stuff in via international agreements?

      • Judge grants Happy Birthday lawyers $4.6M, citing “unusually positive results”

        The attorneys who moved the song Happy Birthday into the public domain will receive $4.62 million in fees, according to a judge’s fee order (PDF) published Tuesday. The amount, which equals one-third of a $14 million settlement fund, was granted over objections by the defendant, Warner/Chappell.

        After various billing deductions, US District Judge George King found that a “lodestar” payment of about $3.85 million was appropriate. King then added a multiplier.

        “Given the unusually positive results achieved by the settlement, the highly complex nature of the action, the risk class counsel faced by taking this case on a contingency-fee basis, and the impressive skill and effort of counsel, we conclude that a 1.2 multiplier is warranted,” wrote King.

        Five lawyers billed the “vast majority” of the hours, charging rates that varied between $395 per hour and $820 per hour. The most work was done by Randall Newman, who billed 2,193 hours at $640 per hour. King found the rates were all reasonable given “the cases cited, the National Law Journal survey, and our own experience.”

      • Arrrgh! I Speak With the Pirate Party of Iceland

        The audience was remarkably well-informed on whistleblower issues, with questions not only about high-profile folks like Ed Snowden and Chelsea Manning, but also important whistleblowers like Tom Drake, Bill Binney, John Kiriakou, and Jeff Sterling, who may not be as well known to many Americans.

        There was also among the people present an overt fear of the direction the United States continues to head, beyond the symptoms of Hillary and Trump. The endless wars of the Middle East progulated and/or encouraged and supported by the U.S., the global pestilence of the NSA, and the lashing out of America against Muslims and human rights were all of deep concern.

      • BREIN Tracks Down Facebook Music Pirate, Settles for €7,000

        Anti-piracy group BREIN has tracked down a prolific cyberlocker uploader who shared pirated music in a dedicated Facebook group. The man agreed to sign a €7,000 settlement and left the group, which shut down soon after. In addition, Facebook closed several other groups that were focused on sharing copyright infringing links.

      • Kim Dotcom & John McAfee “At War” Over Megaupload 2.0 Revelations

        Kim Dotcom has made a surprise announcement relating to his under-development Megaupload 2.0 project. The entrepreneur informs TorrentFreak that John McAfee’s MGT Capital Investments offered to invest $30m plus stock into the business but it soon became clear that the aim was to drive up the stock price at MGT. Now, it appears, McAfee and Dotcom are at war.

      • Court To Prenda’s John Steele: Okay, Now We’ll Sum Up How Much You Cost Taxpayers And Need To Pay

        When last we left John Steele, one of the dynamic duo behind the massive copyright trolling scam once known as Prenda Law, he was being scolded by the 7th circuit appeals court (not the first appeals court to do so), for failing to abide by the court’s own advice to “stop digging.” But digging a deeper and deeper hole has always been in John Steele’s nature, it seems. As we’ve mentioned in the past, Steele reminded me of a guy I once knew, who incorrectly believed that he was clearly smarter than everyone else, and thus believed (incorrectly) that he could talk and lie his way out of any situation if he just kept smiling and talking. That generally doesn’t work too well in court — especially when you’re not actually that smart.

        In that July ruling, the court upheld most of the money Steele and Paul Hansmeier were told to pay, and scolded them for directly lying about their ability to pay. It referred to Steele’s “entire pattern of vexatious and obstructive conduct.” However, as we noted, Steele kinda sorta “won” on one point, though even that win was a loss. One of the arguments that Steele’s lawyer had made was that on the fine that the lower court gave him for contempt, the basis for that fine appeared to be under the standards for criminal contempt rather than civil contempt. Way back during oral arguments, the judges on the panel had asked Steele’s lawyer, somewhat incredulously, if he was actually asking the court to push this over to be a criminal case rather than a civil one, and Steele’s lawyer answered affirmatively.

        And so, the court notes that the contempt fine “falls on the criminal side of the line,” because “it was an unconditional fine that did not reflect actual costs caused by the attorneys’ conduct.” So it tossed out the $65,263 fine, but noted that criminal contempt charges might still be filed (out of the frying pan, into the fire). Oh, and of course, it left open the idea that the lower court might go back and actually justify civil contempt fines. And it appears that’s exactly what Judge David Herndon in the Southern District of Illinois has done. He’s ordered Steele to show cause for why he should not be fined, and then details the basis for such a fine.

      • Anti-Piracy Firm Rightcorp Continues to Lose Big Money

        Piracy monetization firm Rightscorp continues to lose money. Revenue over the most recent quarter has dropped significantly compared to last year and the company is still miles away from turning a profit. Instead of generating more money from alleged pirates, Rightscorp must set aside $200,000 to settle accused file-sharers it allegedly harassed.

      • Hold On… We May Actually Be In For A THIRD Oracle/Google API Copyright Trial

        This does not mean that there absolutely will be a third trial, but it’s at least more of a possibility than most observers thought possible. I honestly don’t see how Android on Chromebook really matters for the fair use analysis. Oracle argues that since most of the talk on the market impact was limited to phones and tablets, that may have impacted the jury, but that’s kind of laughable. The reality is that Oracle just wants another crack at a decision it disagrees with.

      • Mexican Government Officials Have Press Creds Withdrawn From Olympics Over Uploaded Cell Phone Footage

        We’ve been detailing the ridiculous lengths the IOC and other Olympics organizations go in bullying others with their super special intellectual property protections. It’s always quite stunning to watch an event supposedly about fostering international cooperation and sporting devolve into a mess of commercial protectionism, speech-stifling threats, and the kind of strong-arm tactics usually reserved for members of organized crime groups.

        But I will give these Olympic goons credit: they appear to consider their bullying a matter of principle, deciding not to go any easier on an entire group of Mexican government officials because one of them uploaded one video of one Mexican athlete to a social media account.

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts