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09.21.16

Links 21/9/2016: Lenovo Helps Microsoft Block GNU/Linux Installations

Posted in News Roundup at 5:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Beware: Windows 10 Signature Edition Blocks Installing Linux

      Microsoft opening the source code of a lot of its projects in the last months convinced some people that the company – under its new management – is now good, and that it “loves Linux”, however, this assumption came to be wrong today with the latest monopoly try from Microsoft.

      In a TL;DR format: Some new laptops that ship with Windows 10 Signature Edition don’t allow you to install Linux (or any operating system) on it; the BIOS is locked and the hard drives are hidden in a way you can’t install any OS. Those news are not some rumors from the Internet, Lenovo for example confirmed that they have singed an agreement with Microsoft for this.

    • Best Linux Desktop for Customization

      Is customizing your Linux desktop important to you? Run Linux for even a few months, and the ability to customize a desktop environment according to your preferences can become a right.

      Customization options start with the fact that more than one Linux desktop is available, and many of these desktop environments allow some customization of the desktop and panel. However, others include options for almost everything you can see or use.

  • Server

    • How blockchain will grow beyond bitcoin

      Since its advent in 2009, bitcoin’s decentralized, broker-less and secure mechanism to send money across the world has steadily risen in popularity and adoption. Of equal — if not greater — importance is the blockchain, the technology that supports the cryptocurrency, the distributed ledger which enables trustless, peer-to-peer exchange of data.

    • The end of Moore’s Law and the expansion of Linux; what do these mean to IBM?

      As many organizations are finding out, open-source computing is a game-changer. Many businesses now rely on open-source tools to lower costs, increase flexibility and freedom, and enhance security and accountability.

      Stefanie Chiras, VP of IBM Power Systems Offering Management, Systems of Engagement, at IBM, joined Stu Miniman (@stu) and Dave Vellante (@dvellante), cohosts of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, during IBM Edge, held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV, to discuss the changing landscape around open source, the end of Moore’s Law, and how the cloud drives innovation for clients.

    • Cloud Foundry launches its new Docker-compatible container management system

      Cloud Foundry, the Pivotal- and VMware-incubated open source platform-as-a-service project, is going all in on its new Diego container management system. For a while now, the project used what it called Droplet Execution Agents (DEA) to manage application containers. After running in parallel for a while, though, the team has now decided to go all in on its new so-called “Diego” architecture. Thanks to this, Cloud Foundry says it can now scale to running up to 250,000 containers in a single cluster.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDevelop 5.0.1 Open-Source IDE Brings Multiple Bug Fixes, General Improvements

        The development team behind the open-source KDevelop IDE (Integrated Development Environment) software announced the release and immediate availability of the first maintenance update to the KDevelop 5.0 stable series.

        KDevelop 5.0 was released just a month ago, and it brought lots of goodies, the biggest one being the port to the latest KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt 5 technologies. Other features include improved C/C++ support, CMake support, and QML/JavaScript support.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Parsix Normalizes GNOME

        The Parsix project’s goal is to provide a ready-to-use and easy-to-install Debian operating system with the latest stable release of the GNOME desktop environment. The Parsix distro meets that goal and even goes beyond it.

        The developer community is far more independent than other Debian testing-based derivatives. The Parsix community keeps four software repositories enabled by default. Official repositories contain packages maintained by project developers that are built on the community’s own build servers.

        Content repository is a snapshot of Debian’s stable branch. Wonderland repository contains multimedia-related software packages and is a snapshot of Debian multimedia repositories.

        Even better is the fact that the community maintains its own security software repository for both the stable and testing branches. Parsix Developers closely follow Debian Security Advisories and port them to the distro’s own security repository.

      • MATE 1.16 Ready For Release, More GTK2 GNOME-Forked Code Ported To GTK3

        The various components of the GNOME2 desktop forked MATE code were checked in as version 1.16 today in preparation for announcing this next release.

        MATE 1.16 is being released in time to hopefully make it in Ubuntu 16.10 and Fedora 25, which are among the goals for this release. During MATE 1.16 development that began following MATE 1.14 in April, there’s been more porting of GTK+ 2 code to GTK+ 3.

      • A Look At The Exciting Features/Improvements Of GNOME 3.22

        If all goes well, GNOME 3.22 will be officially released tomorrow, 21 September. Here is a recap of some of the new features and improvements made over this past six month development cycle plus some screenshots of the near-final desktop that will power the upcoming Fedora 25 Workstation.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 104 released

        This is the official release announcement for IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 104.
        This update brings you a new kernel under the hood and a from scratch rewritten Guardian.

      • IPFire 2.19 Linux Firewall Gets New Intrusion Prevention System, Kernel 3.14.79

        Today, September 20, 2016, IPFire’s Michael Tremer announced the release of yet another Core Update to the IPFire 2.19 stable Linux-based firewall distribution and system.

        IPFire 2.19 Core Update 104 appears to be a big release with many interesting changes, starting with the latest version of Linux 3.14 kernel, build 3.14.79, and continuing with a brand new Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) called Guardian, and all the latest software updates and security patches. But first, we should warn you that the Linux kernel 3.14 series reached end of life last week, and users are urged to move to Linux 4.4 LTS.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 Now Includes GCC 6.2, GNU Binutils 2.26.1 & GDB 7.11.1

        SUSE’s Andreas Jaeger reports on the availability of an updated toolchain for the SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 operating system, bringing the latest tools designed for application development.

        The updated toolchain included in SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 comes with some of the latest and most advanced development utilities, such as GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) 6.2, GDB (GNU Debugger) 7.11.1, and GNU Binutils 2.26.1, thus enabling app developers to use the newest technologies when creating their amazing projects.

    • Slackware Family

      • Slackware-Based Absolute 14.2 Linux OS Arrives with Up-to-Date Components

        Absolute Linux developer Paul Sherman announced the release of version 14.2 of his Slackware-based GNU/Linux operating system for personal computers and laptops.

        Based on Slackware 14.2, Absolute 14.2 comes, as expected, with many updated components, most of them borrowed from upstream. But it looks like there are some newly implemented things as well, such as an “Autoinstall” option in the installers to allow automatic installation of the OS on a user-selected partition or disk drive.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Reproducible Builds: week 73 in Stretch cycle

        Ximin Luo started a new series of tools called (for now) debrepatch, to make it easier to automate checks that our old patches to Debian packages still apply to newer versions of those packages, and still make these reproducible.

      • Derivatives

        • Tails 2.6 Anonymous Linux Live CD Is Out, Brings Tor 0.2.8.7 & Tor Browser 6.0.5

          Just a few moment ago, the Tails development team proudly announced the official and general availability of the Tails 2.6 anonymous Live CD Linux operating system based on the latest Debian technologies.

          Earlier this month, we reported on the availability of the first development version of Tails 2.6, the RC1 build, which also appeared to be the only one, and now, nearly three weeks later, we can get our hands on the final release, which brings many updated components and several new features.

          According to the release notes, the biggest new features in Tails 2.6 are the enablement of the kASLR (kernel address space layout randomization) in the Linux kernel packages that ship with the popular amnesic incognito live system, protecting users from buffer overflow attacks.

        • Linux Top 3: Tails 2.6, Android-x86 6.0 and Deepin 15.3
        • Debian-Based Q4OS 2.2.1 “Scorpion” Linux OS Ships with LXQt Alongside Trinity

          Today, September 20, 2016, the Q4OS development team informs Softpedia about the immediate availability of an updated version of their work-in-progress Q4OS 2.0 “Scorpion” GNU/Linux operating system.

          Q4OS 2.2.1 is out now, and it comes as a drop-in replacement for the previous development release, namely Q4OS 2.1.1, bringing all sort of updated components and new technologies based, of course, on the upstream Debian Testing repositories. These include Linux kernel 4.6, Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) 14.0.4, and GCC 6.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-13 Officially Released for All Ubuntu Phones and Tablets

            We reported yesterday on the upcoming availability of the Ubuntu Touch OTA-13 software update for Ubuntu Phone and Ubuntu Tablet devices, and it looks like Canonical finally started the phased update earlier today.

            Canonical’s Lukasz Zemczak informs us that the main OTA-13 images have been successfully copied from the rc-proposed channel to the stable one for users to update but, as expected, it’s phased during the next 24 hours, so not everyone will get it at the same time.

          • Ubuntu tees up OpenStack on IBM’s iron

            Canonical’s OpenStack spin has landed on IBM’s Power hardware as part of zSystems’ Linux stack.

            The Ubuntu shop’s cloud has been released for IBM’s zSeries IBM LinuxOne and on IBM Power Systems.

            Canonical’s cloud will run on IBM’s planned LC servers, announced in April. The servers run OpenPOWER – from the group building customised POWER CPUs.

          • Get your own $80 private cloud server kit with Nextcloud Box!

            Nextcloud, an open source, self-hosted file sync and share and communication app platform, has teamed up with Canonical and WDLabs to release a Raspberry Pi and Ubuntu Linux powered cloud server called Nextcloud Box for homes and offices.

            According to the company, the Nextcloud Box is a secure, private, self-hosted cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) platform. It makes hosting a personal cloud simple and cost effective whilst maintaining a secure private environment that can be expanded with additional features via apps.

            “It has been a great co-operation with amazingly agile teams at Canonical and WDLabs,” said Frank Karlitschek, Founder and Managing Director, Nextcloud.

          • Simple Weather Indicator for Ubuntu Now Has Its Own PPA

            A new version of the ‘no frills’ weather indicator that I use on my Ubuntu desktop is available to download — and it finally has a PPA.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 21 Open Source Projects for IoT

    The Internet of Things market is fragmented, amorphous, and continually changing, and its very nature requires more than the usual attention to interoperability. It’s not surprising then, that open source has done quite well here — customers are hesitant to bet their IoT future on a proprietary platform that may fade or become difficult to customize and interconnect.

    In this second entry in a four-part series about open source IoT, I have compiled a guide to major open source software projects, focusing on open source tech for home and industrial automation. I am omitting more vertical projects related to IoT, such as Automotive Grade Linux and Dronecode, and I’m also skipping open source, IoT-oriented OS distributions, such as Brillo, Contiki, Mbed, OpenWrt, Ostro, Riot, Ubuntu Snappy Core, UCLinux, and Zephyr. Next week, I’ll cover hardware projects — from smart home hubs to IoT-focused hacker boards — and in the final part of the series, I’ll look at distros and the future of IoT.

  • Samsung open sources its HbbTV media player

    Samsung’s Hybrid boradcast broadband TV (HbbTV) media player has now taken the open source path which the company announced in a press release earlier today. The project is available on GitHub as HbbPlayer and app developers as well as broadcasters can utilize it to test their services on any HbbTV 1.5 compliant TV which most of Samsung’s smart TVs are.

  • Secure messaging environment delivers safe online collaboration
  • Riot Launches Introducing Open Source Encrypted Collaboration for Business
  • Riot looks to launch a chat revolution with open platform
  • Riot is trying to knock down the walled gardens of the messaging space
  • Building businesses out of open-source solutions

    The open-source movement is taking over business software. There are benefits; open source is usually less expensive, it’s easy to add on functionality and there’s a community to draw on. The trick, though, is making a business out of open-source solutions. One such business is Rackspace, Inc., a managed cloud computing company.

    To gain some insight into how open-source business works, Dave Vellante (@dvellante) and Stu Miniman (@stu), cohosts of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, visited the IBM Edge 2016 conference in Las Vegas. There, they sat down with Major Hayden, principal architect at Rackspace, Inc.

  • Abigail Cabunoc Mayes: How to Bring Open Source to a Closed Community

    Abigail Cabunoc Mayes, who works for the Mozilla Foundation as the lead developer for open source engagement, recently gave a lively talk explaining open source inclusion practices. View this engaging video here.

  • Coreboot Is Being Ported To A New Intel Skylake-Y System

    Those wishing to use Coreboot on a modern Intel system (albeit with the closed-source FSP) will soon have another option to consider with an open-source, physically secure computer powered by a Skylake-Y SoC moving ahead with a port to Coreboot.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 49 Released, This Is What’s New

        Mozilla has released Firefox 49 for Windows, Mac and Linux. The latest update to the popular open-source web browser introduces a range of (always) welcome improvements. Among them, Firefox 49 ships with native support for the Widevine CDM on Linux. This enables you to watch Netflix (and other DRM-protected HTML5 video content) without any cumbersome workarounds.

      • Latest Firefox Expands Multi-Process Support and Delivers New Features for Desktop and Android

        With the change of the season, we’ve worked hard to release a new version of Firefox that delivers the best possible experience across desktop and Android.

      • Mozilla shortlists four designs in open-source rebrand project

        Four designs have been shortlisted in the search to find a new brand identity for software company Mozilla.

        Mozilla is best known for its web browser Firefox, though its latest rebrand project is an attempt at dispelling the myth that this is the only thing the company does.

        It is working with design consultancy Johnson Banks on its open-source rebrand project, which has seen it seeking feedback from the Mozilla community and general public through the comments section on the Mozilla blog, social media and live events over the last few months.

        Involving the community in its rebrand aims to show the company’s “transparent” and “open” philosophy, Mozilla says. However, the company has made it clear that this is not a crowd-sourcing project, which would involve public voting, but instead a way of harbouring thoughts and opinions.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • CouchDB 2.0

      The Apache CouchDB development community is proud to announce the immediate availability of version 2.0.

    • Apache CouchDB 2.0 Released

      For users of Apache’s CouchDB document-oriented NoSQL database system, version 2.0 was announced today.

    • Apache Announces Availablity of CouchDB 2.0 Database

      Over the past several months, we’ve taken note of the many open source projects that the Apache Software Foundation has been elevating to Top-Level Status. The organization incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, and has squarely turned its focus to data-centric and developer-focused tools in recent months. As Apache moves these projects to Top-Level Status, they gain valuable community support.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Chess 6.2.3

      GNU Chess is a chess-playing program. It can be used to play chess against the computer on a terminal or, more commonly, as a chess engine for graphical chess frontends.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • The Coral Project launches open-source ‘Ask’ form builder

      New open-source software designed to allow newsrooms to crowdsource information from readers was made available to publishers on request today (19 September) by The Coral Project.

      Ask is the second in a trio of products from The Coral Project, a collaboration between The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the Mozilla Foundation.

      Greg Barber, director of digital news projects at the Post, and strategy and partnerships at The Coral Project, likened Ask to an enhanced version of Google Forms which allows journalists to request information from readers, such as opinions, personal anecdotes, or suggestions on topics to cover.

  • Programming/Development

    • GitHub 101: A Beginners Guide For Contributing To GitHub Open Source Software Projects

      Since launching in 2009, GitHub has become the biggest Git repository hosting service in the world and is used by millions of individuals and businesses to manage software projects. It has also become a playground for open-source software projects that often involve a large number of contributors. When there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen, it can become chaotic and scare off beginners. If you are a software developer that’s ready to enter the GitHub fray, we have some advice on what to do — and what not to do — when you’re contributing to a project in a Git repository.

      As of April 2016, GitHub has over 14 million users and 35 million repositories. Many of the projects hosted on GitHub are open source. The nature of the service allows for large groups of people from all corners of the world to collaborate and improve the code in these projects. But the nature of group work, especially when individuals come from diverse backgrounds, means maintaining and participating in a project can become problematic. Which is one reason why GitHub brought in a feature that allows project owners of public repositories to block troublesome users.

      It can be intimidating to start contributing to an open source project and it can be a bit of a learning curve for newbies. First off, let’s talk about taking the plunge. To do this, you’ll need to create a GitHub account. We have a guide on how to do this here.

      Once you’ve done that, it’s best to start off on a project that is beginner-friendly.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • ‘Superbug’ scourge spreads as U.S. fails to track rising human toll

      Fifteen years after the U.S. declared drug-resistant infections to be a grave threat, the crisis is only worsening, a Reuters investigation finds, as government agencies remain unwilling or unable to impose reporting requirements on a healthcare industry that often hides the problem.

    • The Hidden Toll of Drug-Resistant Superbugs

      Just 17 days old, Josiah Cooper-Pope died in the hospital after he was infected with a drug-resistant bacteria, but no one added his death to the toll from the deadly bug.

      As Reuters reported earlier this month, hospital officials told Josiah’s mom about the infection, but not that her son was the fourth patient out of 12 who would eventually become infected during an outbreak. The hospital also didn’t notify public health officials as the law required. And the final record, Josiah’s death certificate, did not report the superbug as a cause of death. As the story said, it’s as if the killer got away.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Aid Security Incident Statistics: 18-month trends based on open source reported events affectng aid infrastructure (December 2014 to May 2016)
    • Easy Secure Web Serving with OpenBSD’s acme-client and Let’s Encrypt

      s recently as just a few years ago, I hosted my personal website, VPN, and personal email on a computer running OpenBSD in my basement. I respected OpenBSD for providing a well-engineered, no-nonsense, and secure operating system. But when I finally packed up that basement computer, I moved my website to an inexpensive cloud server running Linux instead.

      Linux was serviceable, but I really missed having an OpenBSD server. Then I received an email last week announcing that the StartSSL certificate I had been using was about to expire and realized I was facing a tedious manual certificate replacement process. I decided that I would finally move back to OpenBSD, running in the cloud on Vultr, and try the recently-imported acme-client (formerly “letskencrypt”) to get my HTTPS certificate from the free, automated certificate authority Let’s Encrypt.

    • iPhone passcode bypassed with NAND mirroring attack

      Passcodes on iPhones can be hacked using store-bought electronic components worth less than $100 (£77), according to one Cambridge computer scientist.

      Sergei Skorobogatov has demonstrated that NAND mirroring—the technique dismissed by James Comey, the director of the FBI, as unworkable—is actually a viable means of bypassing passcode entry limits on an Apple iPhone 5C. What’s more, the technique, which involves soldering off the phone’s flash memory chip, can be used on any model of iPhone up to the iPhone 6 Plus, which use the same type of LGA60 NAND chip. Later models, however, will require “more sophisticated equipment and FPGA test boards.”

      In a paper he wrote on the subject, Skorobogatov, a Russian senior research associate at the Cambridge Computer Laboratory’s security group, confirmed that “any attacker with sufficient technical skills could repeat the experiment,” and while the technique he used is quite fiddly, it should not present too much of an obstacle for a well-resourced branch of law enforcement.

      The attack works by cloning the iPhone’s flash memory chip. iPhones generally allow users six attempts to guess a passcode before locking them out for incrementally longer periods of time; by the complex process of taking the phone apart, removing its memory chip, and then cloning it, an attacker is able to have as many clusters of six tries as they have the patience to make fresh clones. Skorobogatov estimates that each run of six attempts would take about 45 seconds, meaning that it would take around 20 hours to do a full cycle of all 10,000 passcode permutations. For a six-digit passcode, this would grow to about three months—which he says might still be acceptable for national security.

    • Seagate NAS hack should scare us all

      No fewer than 70 percent of internet-connected Seagate NAS hard drives have been compromised by a single malware program. That’s a pretty startling figure. Security vendor Sophos says the bitcoin-mining malware Miner-C is the culprit.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Hillary Clinton ‘dropped climate change from speeches after Bernie Sanders endorsement’

      Hillary Clinton has dropped the words “climate change” from most of her public addresses since winning the endorsement of her party rival Bernie Sanders, according to Climate Home analysis.

      While the presidential candidate talks regularly about her plan for the US to become a “clean energy superpower”, in recent months she has rarely made reference to the planetary crisis that necessitates it.

      On Monday, when she launched her pitch to millennials online, she could find no room for an issue that will affect that voting cohort more than any other.

      The rhetorical shift undermines hopes that climate change might emerge as a key campaign issue in 2016. Boosted by the disparity between Clinton and her Republican opponent Donald Trump, a self-professed non-believer in climate change.

    • Austrian farmer horrified by sheep slaughter in fields

      Under Austrian law the killing of sheep has to take place in official slaughterhouses but the sheep in the field in Styria simply had their throats cut and were left to die.

      Horrified locals raised the alarm with police, who rushed to the area to stop the massacre and managed to save 52 of the 131 sheep that had been put in the field.

      The other 79 had already been slaughtered as part of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, also known as the Sacrifice Feast, which is the second of two Muslim holidays celebrated worldwide each year and considered the holier of the two.

      Muslims who can afford it sacrifice their best animals as a symbol of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son to God.

  • Finance

    • Store wars: Brussels in food fight with Eastern Europe

      The European Commission has opened a new front in its deepening conflict with Central and Eastern European governments over restrictions on big foreign supermarkets.

      The battle became bloodier Monday when Brussels said it was launching an in-depth investigation to determine whether Warsaw was using a new tax to favor smaller local supermarkets over big foreign retailers. The Commission insisted that the Poles must not levy their new tax until the probe was complete.

      Poland’s Finance Minister Paweł Szałamacha hit back Tuesday, slamming the European Commission’s move as a “success for lobbyists.”

    • Leaks Show TISA No Easy Trade Deal; Civil Rights Groups, Unions Alarmed

      Greenpeace, European Digital Rights, Public Services International and the International Transport Worker’s Federation today presented a collection of leaked papers on the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). As negotiators from a dozen countries currently gathered in Geneva for officially the 20th round to close the deal on better trans-border service trading, the civil rights activists and trade union representatives warned that TISA partners would commit to give up their options to regulate in the public interest through a secret deal.

    • Amazon Says It Puts Customers First. But Its Pricing Algorithm Doesn’t.

      One day recently, we visited Amazon’s website in search of the best deal on Loctite super glue, the essential home repair tool for fixing everything from broken eyeglass frames to shattered ceramics.

      In an instant, Amazon’s software sifted through dozens of combinations of price and shipping, some of which were cheaper than what one might find at a local store. TheHardwareCity.com, an online retailer from Farmers Branch, Texas, with a 95 percent customer satisfaction rating, was selling Loctite for $6.75 with free shipping. Fat Boy Tools of Massillon, Ohio, a competitor with a similar customer rating was nearly as cheap: $7.27 with free shipping.

      The computer program brushed aside those offers, instead selecting the vial of glue sold by Amazon itself for slightly more, $7.80. This seemed like a plausible choice until another click of the mouse revealed shipping costs of $6.51. That brought the total cost, before taxes, to $14.31, or nearly double the price Amazon had listed on the initial page.

    • The Stronger the Boycott, the Thicker the Hype

      What readers would have no clue about would be the four years of organizing, the walkouts, picket lines and lawsuits over labor violations leading to Driscoll’s being the subject of a high-profile international boycott. Wage theft, poverty wages, hostile and unhealthy conditions—all of these have been reported. One of the workers lawsuits went to the Washington state supreme court; they won a 2015 decision that ensured paid rest breaks for farmworkers statewide.

    • Google may face over $400 million Indonesia tax bill for 2015 – government official

      Indonesia plans to pursue Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google for five years of back taxes, and the search giant could face a bill of more than $400 million for 2015 alone if it is found to have avoided payments, a senior tax official said.

      Muhammad Haniv, head of the tax office’s special cases branch, told Reuters its investigators went to Google’s local office in Indonesia on Monday.

      The tax office alleges PT Google Indonesia paid less than 0.1 percent of the total income and value-added taxes it owed last year.

    • Federal judge says Bitcoin is money in case connected to JP Morgan hack

      The defendant is Anthony Murgio of Florida, who was arrested in July 2015 in connection with a number of other American and Israeli men who allegedly hacked into JP Morgan Chase, ETrade, and News Corp., among others. Murgio was not directly charged with conducting any of the hacks, but the Justice Department did claim that Murgio ran a sketchy Bitcoin exchange website called Coin.mx with Gery Shalon, the alleged mastermind of the JP Morgan hacks. According to a 2015 indictment, Murgio and others were able to accept shady money from co-conspirators through Coin.mx.

      Murgio is also accused of misrepresenting his business to financial institutions by creating a front for Coin.mx called the “Collectables Club,” as well as with bribing a small New Jersey credit union to process its electronic payments. Judge Alison Nathan’s Monday order did not impact those charges.

      In his motion to dismiss the unlicensed money transfer business charges, Murgio claimed that, because Bitcoins are not considered “funds,” he was not operating an illegal business.

    • Taxi price regulation to be abolished

      Government leaders reached a compromise on planned taxi industry reforms on Tuesday. While operation of a taxi will still require a license, regulations on pricing will be abolished – but there will be no limit to the number of taxi licenses that can be issued. The changes will take effect in July 2018.

    • Christian Engström at the Nordic Conference on Basic Income 2016 in Copenhagen

      When someone on basic income starts to make money the basic income will be reduced, but never with 100%, so there is always an incentive to work if you can. The cost of this system would be covered in full by letting the basic income replace the current systems for social assistance (försörjningsstöd), student aid and unemployment benefits, and by removing the VAT discounts that certain industries enjoy. To make the proposal politically realistic, there would be no raise in income taxes, and no reduction of current sickness or family benefits.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Two-Party Tyranny: Ralph Nader on Exclusion of Third-Party Candidates from First Presidential Debate

      It’s official: When the first presidential debate takes place next Monday, a week from today, it will exclude third-party candidates from the debate stage. The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Friday that both Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party failed to qualify by polling at 15 percent or higher. This comes as polls show Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are among the least popular major-party candidates to ever run for the White House. We get reaction from four-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who has previously been excluded from debates. He has a new book titled “Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think.”

    • Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low

      Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.

    • WikiLeaks’ Guccifer 2.0: Obama Sold Off Public Offices to Donors

      On September 13, WikiLeaks lived up to its promise of releasing more Democratic National Committee (DNC) documents. This time they were from hacker Guccifer 2.0, serving as a teaser for larger and likely more embarrassing leaks from the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign.

      Both the Democratic Party and Clinton campaign have attempted to insulate themselves from the content of the releases by alleging the hacks were organized by the Russian government. The claims are a mix of paranoia and PR/damage control, and will have enduring consequences. It may lead to what former Secretary of Defense William Perry referred to as a drift back into Cold War mentalities.

      The leaks include more evidence of overt corruption within the DNC. One email dated May 18, 2016, from Jacquelyn Lopez, an attorney with the law firm Perkins Coie, asked DNC staff if they could set up a brief call “to go over our process for handling donations from donors who have given us pay to play letters.”

      Included in the leak was a list of high-profile donors from 2008 and the ambassadorship they received in exchange for their large donation to the DNC and Barack Obama’s Organizing For Action (OFA). Essentially, Obama was auctioning off foreign ambassador positions and other office positions while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state. The largest donor listed at contributions totaling over $3.5 million, Matthew Barzun, served as U.S. Ambassador to Sweden from 2009 to 2011, served as President Obama’s National Finance Chair during his 2012 reelection campaign, and now serves as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Researchers: Canadian firm helping Bahrain censor the web
    • Canadian tech company Netsweeper helped Bahrain censor websites, says report

      Canadian technology company Netsweeper helped the Bahraini government block opposition party websites, various news websites and content critical of Islam, according to a new report by the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

    • Italy Proposes Law To Make Mocking People Online Illegal

      Yes, mockery on the internet could get you a €100,000 fine. Mockery. The internet. The internet is made for mockery. And now is the time that everyone should be mocking this idiotic law — and the politicians who proposed it without having the slightest idea of how such a thing would be abused all the time.

    • Facebook Algorithms Take Down WordPress Lawyer’s Post About Idiocy Of Algorithmic Takedowns

      We’ve had a lot of talk lately about the idiocy of automated content blocking, whether done by Facebook or by big movie studios like Warner Bros. issuing automated DMCA takedowns on its own site. Paul Sieminski*, the General Counsel for Automattic, was asked by Corporate Counsel magazine for his opinions on the WB takedowns (warning: possible registration or paywall).

      [...]

      Facebook claims that posting about automated takedowns and how they’re problematic somehow violates its Community Standards. Obviously, this is a mistake (yet another one) by Facebook’s autotakedown system, but it really does help highlight the point of how problematic this kind of system can be, when perfectly legitimate speech is silenced, because a bot thinks it’s bad.

    • Introducing spiked’s Safe Space Bingo

      For the uninitiated, a Safe Space is a space – physical or hypothetical – where students are protected from offensive opinions, words, jokes, gestures and even items of clothing. They are places where students are able to express themselves free from hateful phrases like, ‘I disagree with you’. But, even before Safe Spaces hit the headlines, universities and students’ unions were cooking up all manner of nonsensical restrictions in the name of protecting students from offence.

    • Censorship in the 21st Century

      The freedom you see on the internet means there is someone out there fighting for this freedom for our benefit. Just like there are freedom rights organizations in the physical world, the virtual world has freedom rights companies that stand for the truth they believe in and refuse to fabricate any information. They upload facts as they are in their raw form and just like in any aspect of life, there are supporters and critics in this field as well.

    • Powell emails expose depth of media self-censorship re Israeli nukes

      It is of course an open secret of nearly 50 years standing in Washington that Israel has nuclear weapons. But a hypocritical American policy was also set 50 years ago: the White House would repeat Israel’s promise not to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East. Behind the scenes the U.S. cooperated with the nuclear program, and urged Israel to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, but publicly, our government would parrot the claim of “nuclear ambiguity.”

      President Obama has continued the charade.

      And meantime Colin Powell states the fact openly to a man-about-town business partner (who has given a ton of money to Democratic and Republican establishment candidates and was married by Rudy Giuliani and gossips about Hillary Clinton’s health issues).

      The most important element of the Powell revelation, though, is the context. A friend points Powell to Netanyahu’s speech (to a dual loyalty Congress) against the Iran deal; and this is Powell’s very first argument. “Iranians can’t use one if they finally make one.” Because Israel has a ton of nukes. Not even the old Mutual Assured Destruction doctrine that preserved peace between the U.S. and the F.S.U. — but self-destruction.

    • Those Terrible Takedowns Aren’t Mistakes, They’re Intentional Fakes

      Usually, when we see stupid and dangerous DMCA errors like Warner Bros. taking down its own website and Paramount taking down legitimate Linux torrents, it’s the studios we call out first for their wanton abuse of the system. But of course that’s only part of the story — there is a system of broken incentives both inside and outside the studios that has created an entire “anti-piracy” ecosystem. It started with the third parties that many studios and other rightsholders hire: self-styled copyright enforcement experts who charge a fee to piss an endless stream of DMCA notices into the wind of piracy. Some studios, like NBCUniversal (who we’ll be talking about in a moment) choose instead to build this function into their internal structure with anti-piracy divisions staffed by the same kind of folks. Thanks to the willingness of copyright holders to pay out for this pointless service, it’s grown into a whole industry — and it’s an industry for which the never-ending, whac-a-mole nature of the takedown game is a plus, since it means the job will never be done. While there’s plenty of blame to go around among media companies and lawmakers, it’s these takedown “experts” who are the most directly responsible for the epidemic of botched and fraudulent takedown notices.

      And it’s easy to see why: they need to pad the numbers. If we accept that the whole exercise is pointless (it is) and there’s no actual end goal (there isn’t) then what makes one anti-piracy outfit better than another? Why, sheer volume of pointlessness, of course! The executive who hired the firm that takes down two-million links can brag about his competence compared to the executive who only got one-million for the same price, and the executive who designed the internal division that hit three-million for even less is a damn hero — even though they’re all just futilely pecking away at “infinity”. And so, since there’s no real penalty for abusing the DMCA, these groups have zero incentive to fret about only sending fair and accurate takedowns. But that’s not all — they also have every incentive to actively pad their numbers with takedowns they know are bullshit, and as TorrentFreak discovered last month and recently demonstrated again in pretty undeniable terms, that’s exactly what they’re doing…

    • Web Security Firm Sitelock Uses DMCA to Censor Critics

      Sitelock, one of the world’s leading website security companies, is using the DMCA to silence a vocal critic. Web design and services outfit White Fir Design has published several articles about Sitelock, but now the company has hit back by filing DMCA notices against screenshots included in White Fir’s reports.

    • Pahlaj Nihalani’s censorship hurts Gajendra Chauhan

      Chauhan told ET it was wrong on the part of the CBFC to decide that “the killings never happened” without consulting historians. He added that he took up the role only after researching on the killings. “I have researched deeply and groomed myself to fit into the character of someone I respect a lot, in terms of appearance and character. I sometimes felt Prasadji’s aatma has come into me, that is my level of involvement in the project.” He said the film has shown only what happened. “I can proudly say that Mookerjee is the reason why Bengal is part of India. Jinnah wanted West Bengal to be a part of Pakistan and Mookerjee fought against that. He is the father of the ideology people voted for power in India. I feel the nation has not given Syama Prasadji his due. He unfurled the national flag in J&K in 1953. He was a great ideologue and the film will educate people about his personality which sadly has not gotten justice.”

    • Sexually explicit Sunday Sport ads banned despite ‘censorship’ claim
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • If I see an ending, I can work backward.

      As an example the first time you visit a page on www.example.foo.invalid you might receive a cookie with the domain example.foo.invalid so next time you visit a page on www.example.foo.invalid your browser will send the cookie along. Indeed it will also send it along for any page on another.example.foo.invalid

      A supercookies is simply one where instead of being limited to one sub-domain (example.foo.invalid) the cookie is set for a top level domain (foo.invalid) so visiting any such domain (I used the invalid name in my examples but one could substitute com or co.uk) your web browser gives out the cookie. Hackers would love to be able to set up such cookies and potentially control and hijack many sites at a time.

      This problem was noted early on and browsers were not allowed to set cookie domains with fewer than two parts so example.invalid or example.com were allowed but invalid or com on their own were not. This works fine for top level domains like .com, .org and .mil but not for countries where the domain registrar had rules about second levels like the uk domain (uk domains must have a second level like .co.uk).

    • Max Schrems shows how one privacy activist can make a global difference

      Max Schrems is at it again: after having made the sharing of private European data to corporations in United States banned by the European Court of Justice, he’s now seeking class action status for a privacy lawsuit against Facebook. This is one individual calling out the highest executive offices on the purest of bullshit, and succeeding with it – he does not just set an example for others, but shows all of us that one individual can end global wrongs.

      There was a small notice in a few news outlets yesterday, about how somebody is seeking class action status against a privacy lawsuit against Facebook. A TechCrunch article mentions his name, but not before calling him “privacy campaigner”, just like the BBC calls him “a privacy activist”, and only mentions his name halfway down the article. But to those of us who read court papers with all the boredom and dryness of an imminent dust explosion, the name Maximillian Schrems immediately rang bells from such court papers from a year ago.

      It used to be that the European Commission – the executive branch of the European Union – gave away private data on European citizens to U.S. corporations freely, obviously without asking said citizens first, on some sort of goodwill assumption that European privacy laws would be followed (which they couldn’t be in the first place, as the US has the NSA). This was called “The Safe Harbor agreement” for European private data.

    • Unprecedented and Unlawful: The NSA’s “Upstream” Surveillance

      The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA) — the statute the government uses to engage in warrantless surveillance of Americans’ international communications — is scheduled to expire in December 2017. In anticipation of the coming legislative debate over reauthorization, Congress has already begun to hold hearings. While Congress must address many problems with the government’s use of this law to surveil and investigate Americans, the government’s use of “Upstream” surveillance to search Internet traffic deserves special attention. Indeed, Congress has never engaged in a meaningful public debate about Upstream surveillance — but it should.

      First disclosed as part of the Snowden revelations, Upstream surveillance involves the NSA’s bulk interception and searching of Americans’ international Internet communications — including emails, chats, and web-browsing traffic — as their communications travel the spine of the Internet between sender and receiver. If you send emails to friends abroad, message family members overseas, or browse websites hosted outside of the United States, the NSA has almost certainly searched through the contents of your communications — and it has done so without a warrant.

      The executive branch contends that Upstream surveillance was authorized by the FAA; however, as others have noted, neither the text of the statute nor the legislative history support that claim. Moreover, as former Assistant Attorney General for National Security David Kris recently explained, Upstream raises “challenging” legal questions about the suspicionless searching of Americans’ Internet communications — questions that Congress must address before reauthorizing the FAA.

      Because of how it operates, Upstream surveillance represents a new surveillance paradigm, one in which computers constantly scan our communications for information of interest to the government. As the legislative debate gets underway, it’s critical to frame the technological and legal issues that Congress and the public must consider — and to examine far more closely the less-intrusive alternatives available to the government.

    • ‘It Looks Like You’re Trying To Harvest Cell Phone Data…:’ Quick-Start Guides For IMSI Catchers Leaked
    • After Equation Group Dump, Cisco Finds New Zero-Day Flaw
    • Cisco customers targeted by hackers using leaked NSA hacking tools
    • Cisco finds new Zero-Day Exploit linked to NSA Hackers
    • Shadow Brokers’ Cisco vulnerability exploited in the wild
    • Cisco customers targeted using leaked NSA hacking tools
    • Cisco warns of exploitation of new flaws linked to Shadow Brokers exploits
    • NSA hacking tools used against Cisco customers

      Leaked NSA hacking tools are now being used on Cisco customers, according to the tech giant. The company published an advisory on Friday saying that NSA grade hacking tools are now being used against customers.

      The authors wrote that the “Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) is aware of exploitation of the vulnerability for some Cisco customers who are running the affected platforms.” Cisco have not yet identified those that have fallen prey to the exploit.

      The vulnerability affects a variety of Cisco product and by extension, anyone who is using them including any Cisco PIX firewalls and Cisco products running affected releases of Cisco iOS software, iOS XE software and iOS XR software. However, the company are currently checking whether the vulnerability affects any more of their products.

    • UK Proposes Great Firewall, Can Digital India Do It?

      There is a ‘cyber-ideological war’ brewing in Britain; GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) in the UK have proposed what is being called the ‘Great British Firewall’, which will give the organization, greater surveillance powers, to keep malicious websites out of the reach of British enterprises. Privacy groups have started raising serious concerns, as the firewall could potentially open up private user information to British authorities in the process.

      GCHQ apparently has a reputation similar to that of NSA (National Security Agency) when it comes intrusive activities for the civilian population. Thomas Falchetta, the legal officer for Privacy International, paraphrased it, by saying “Given the broad scope of GCHQ’s hacking operations both domestically and abroad, this seems like the fox protecting the chicken.”

    • UK might be planning a ‘Great British Firewall’

      You’ve probably heard of the Great Firewall of China, the virtual fortification that allows the Chinese government to monitor and restrict internet traffic to and from the world’s most populous nation.

      Well, the cyber-security chief of the UK Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) has suggested early plans for what sounds rather like a “Great British Firewall”.

      Privacy groups immediately sounded the alarm that it might pose a risk to freedom of speech, and offer the potential for Britain’s secret services to get up to no good. So what exactly is GCHQ proposing and should we be worried?

    • Does the UK need or even want a ‘Great British Firewall’?

      You’ve probably heard of the Great Firewall of China, the virtual fortification that allows the Chinese government to monitor and restrict internet traffic to and from the world’s most populous nation. Well, the cyber-security chief of the UK Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) has suggested early plans for what sounds rather like a “Great British Firewall”. Privacy groups immediately sounded the alarm that it might pose a risk to freedom of speech, and offer the potential for Britain’s secret services to get up to no good. So what exactly is GCHQ proposing and should we be worried?

      Firewalls are standard tools for computer defence. They are essentially filters which can control what traffic enters and leaves a network. You are probably protected by a firewall right now, at your workplace or at home, that runs either on your computer’s operating system or on the hardware that provides your connection to the internet.

      A firewall can be configured to reject certain types of traffic deemed undesirable or potentially harmful. This might be a connection request from an untrustworthy source, such as a web address known to harbour hackers or spammers, for example. Or it could block a file that looks like it might contain a computer virus or other malware. While deflecting this sort of undesirable traffic the firewall allows standard traffic such as web browsing and email to pass through.

    • Will The Washington Post Give Back Its Pulitzer And Stand Trial With Snowden?

      We already know that the Washington Post editorial board has some cognitive dissonance when it comes to Ed Snowden. Three years ago, right after the Washington Post itself, via reporter Barton Gellman, broke a bunch of the initial stories around the Ed Snowden documents — including the first public report on the Section 702 PRISM program — the editorial board wrote a piece condemning Snowden’s leaks. Now, it’s true (as many point out) that the editorial board is separate from the reporters who work at the paper, but it still is really quite amazing that the editorial board would not only burn a source like that but basically complain about its own journalism.

      It appears that three years later, the Post’s editorial board has not changed its perspective. In response to the campaign to pardon Snowden, the Washington Post has come out with a tone deaf editorial against pardoning Snowden, calling for him to be prosecuted, and insisting that Snowden caused real harm with the revelations. Here’s the really incredible part. The Post focuses its complaint on the revelation of the PRISM program — and that is the story that the Post broke. Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian had the first story, about the Section 215 mass phone records surveillance program. But it was the Post that had the first story about PRISM. And yet, the Washington Post now says that while revealing the 215 program may have been a public service, revealing PRISM was a crime.

      [...]

      Remember that, while many people falsely think that Snowden is the one who revealed these programs to the public, that’s not the case. He gave the documents to certain journalists, saying that he trusted them to sort through them and determine what was newsworthy, what was not, and what should be kept secret. It was the Washington Post that determined the PRISM program — which is still subject to legal challenges (though so far has been found to be legal) — was serious enough for news coverage. Not Ed Snowden. And yet now the Post says Snowden should be prosecuted for the journalistic decision it made, which earned it a Pulitzer.

    • Oliver Stone’s “Snowden” is great entertainment and an important argument for pardon

      I just saw Oliver Stone’s Snowden. It’s an excellent film, no doubt, and also an important rebuttal to ongoing efforts by propagandists to limit America’s conversation to who Edward Snowden is, rather than what this whistleblower revealed.

    • Why Global Privacy Should Matter to Americans: A Reply to Jack Goldsmith

      Jack Goldsmith’s response to my call for a pardon for Edward Snowden deserves a reply. I also have a few thoughts on what Susan Hennessey and Ben Wittes have now added to the debate.

      Jack and I agree that the reforms instituted since 2013 would not have happened without Snowden and have helped the NSA become more transparent, accountable and effective. We agree that this is a good thing because NSA operations are vital to national security and international stability. We also agree that Snowden should not be punished for exposing a program of domestic collection of telephone records approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that was—at best—of marginal value and legally questionable, was ruled illegal by another federal court and has now been ended by Congress.

    • As a source — and a patriot — Edward Snowden deserves a presidential pardon

      President Obama’s administration has an unfortunate record of prosecuting whistleblowers, some of whom have been important sources for journalists.

      That’s not a legacy any president should want.

      In the waning days of his administration, the president can turn that around, not entirely, but in an important way by pardoning the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and allowing him to return to the United States from his Russian exile without facing charges.

      Obama absolutely should do so. Snowden did an important — and brave — service for the American public and, in fact, the world, when he made it possible for news organizations to reveal widespread government surveillance of citizens. Some of that surveillance broke the law; some, although within the law, was nevertheless outrageous and unacceptable. And, afterward, some of the wrongs were righted through legislative reform.

      One of the beneficiaries was The Washington Post, which won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for stories made possible by Snowden’s leak of more than a million documents. (The Guardian U.S. shared in that award, given in 2014.) Some see it, then, as hypocritical for The Post’s editorial board to weigh in against a pardon, as it did in Saturday’s paper — even though the editorial-writing side is separate from the newsroom.

      In awarding its highest honor to both publications, the Pulitzer board cited The Post’s revelations “of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security”; in the Guardian’s case, for aggressive reporting that sparked “a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.”

      At the time of the revelations, the president himself declared that national debate important and worthwhile, although he criticized Snowden for breaking the law in making the classified documents public.

    • FBI director: Cover up your webcam

      The head of the FBI on Wednesday defended putting a piece of tape over his personal laptop’s webcam, claiming the security step was a common sense one that most should take.

      “There’s some sensible things you should be doing, and that’s one of them,” Director James Comey said during a conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

      “You go into any government office and we all have the little camera things that sit on top of the screen,” he added. “They all have a little lid that closes down on them.

      “You do that so that people who don’t have authority don’t look at you. I think that’s a good thing.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Mike Pence Just Gave The Dumbest And Most Dangerous Answer Of The Entire Campaign

      O’Donnell asked Pence if profiling can violate rights. He answered, “Well, of course, it can,” and then talked more about the importance of common sense.

      Pence never answered the question about how Trump’s plan to profile immigrants would work. His answer was some idiotic nonsense about political correctness and common sense.

      The Republican Party was the party of individual liberty, but under Donald Trump, the “common sense” of the president overrides the constitutional rights and protections of the American people. Gov. Pence’s answer wasn’t just idiotic. Pence expressed a form of idiocy that presents a danger to fundamental individual rights that are the backbone of the republic.

    • Find A Good Kid Who Tries To Do The Right Thing And Suspend Him From School For A Year

      The idiots running the schools there later reduced his suspension to 30 days.

      A suspension that shouldn’t exist at all. (The message to kids: “If you see something, say nothing.”)

      On a positive note, this should teach Kyle things he wouldn’t have learned at school — like to always question authority.

    • Death in County Jail ruled homicide; cause of death was dehydration

      The death of an inmate in the Milwaukee County Jail has been ruled a homicide, four months after corrections officers reportedly cut off his water supply for an extended period of time.

      The cause of death was dehydration, with other significant conditions including bipolar disorder, according to autopsy results released Thursday by the Milwaukee County medical examiner’s office.

      Terrill Thomas, 38, was found unresponsive in his cell on April 24, nine days after being arrested for shooting a man in the chest and later firing two shots in the Potawatomi casino.

      His family said he was in the throes of a mental breakdown when he was arrested. At the time of his death, he was awaiting a court-ordered psychiatric examination.

    • Video Released in Tulsa Shooting Incident

      Police released video Monday of the scene where a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man Friday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

      Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby fatally shot Terence Crutcher, 40, on Friday evening, after responding to an abandoned car blocking the road, according to The New York Times.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Nashville Council Member Admits AT&T & Comcast Wrote The Anti-Google Fiber Bill She Submitted

      We’ve been talking about how the next great battlefield in broadband is utility pole attachment reform. In many cities, the incumbent broadband provider owns the utility poles, giving them a perfect opportunity to hinder competitors. In other cities, the local utility or city itself owns the poles, but incumbent ISPs have lobbied for laws making it more difficult for competitors to access them quickly and inexpensively. Google Fiber has been pushing “one touch make ready” rules in several cities aimed at streamlining this bureaucracy by letting a licensed, third-party installer move any ISP’s gear (often a matter of inches).

    • Is dialup still an option?

      Is the Internet usable on Dialup in 2016? No. You can’t even pretend it’s maybe usable. It pretty much would suck rocks to use the Internet on dialup today. I’m sure there are some people doing it. I feel bad for them. It’s clear we’ve hit a place where broadband is expected, and honestly, you need fast broadband, even 1 Megabit isn’t enough anymore if you want a decent experience. The definition of broadband in the US is now 25Mb down 3Mb up. Anyone who disagrees with that should spend a day at 56K.

    • AT&T and Comcast helped elected official write plan to stall Google Fiber

      As the Nashville Metro Council prepares for a final vote to give Google Fiber faster access to utility poles, one council member is sponsoring an alternative plan that comes from AT&T and Comcast.

      The council has tentatively approved a One Touch Make Ready (OTMR) ordinance that would let a single company—Google Fiber in this case—make all of the necessary wire adjustments on utility poles itself. Ordinarily, Google Fiber must wait for incumbent providers like AT&T and Comcast to send construction crews to move their own wires, requiring multiple visits and delaying Google Fiber’s broadband deployment. The pro-Google Fiber ordinance was approved in a 32-7 preliminary vote, but one of the dissenters asked AT&T and Comcast to put forth a competing proposal before a final vote is taken.

  • DRM

    • HP Launched Delayed DRM Time Bomb To Disable Competing Printer Cartridges

      For decades now, consumers have been lured into a sour deal: pay for a relatively inexpensive printer, then spend a lifetime paying an arm and a leg for viciously overpriced printer cartridges. As most have learned first-hand, any attempt to disrupt this obnoxious paradigm via third-party printer cartridges has been met with a swift DRM roundhouse kick to the solar plexus. In fact if there’s an area where the printer industry actually innovates, it’s most frequently in finding new, creative and obnoxious methods of preventing cartridge competition.

      Hoping to bring this parade of awfulness to its customers at scale, HP this week unearthed the atomic bomb of printer cartridge shenanigans. HP Printer owners collectively discovered on September 13 that their printers would no longer even accept budget cartridges. Why? A firmware update pushed by the company effectively prevented HP printers from even detecting alternative cartridges, resulting in HP printer owners getting messages about a “cartridge problem,” or errors stating “one or more cartridges are missing or damaged,” or that the user was using an “older generation cartridge.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • From OHIM to EUIPO

        The great changes at EUIPO will continue with further reforms coming into force next year, including the abolition of the “graphical representation” requirement for EUTMs. Luis Berenguer, Head of the Communication Service of EUIPO, discusses the changes in an interview

    • Copyrights

      • Most Young Millennials Love Piracy and Ad-Blockers

        More than two-thirds of all millennials admit to having downloaded or streamed pirated content, a new survey from Anatomy Media finds. The same group also has a high preference for ad-blocking, which is believed to be directly related to the high prevalence of invasive ads on pirate sites.

      • Microsoft sues Wisconsin man (again) for copyright infringement (again)

        Microsoft is hoping the third time will be the charm in its efforts to shut down a man once again being accused of pirating its products.

        The Redmond giant has filed suit [PDF] in the US District Court in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, against Anthony Boldin for illegally selling product activation keys for its products. The complaint seeks damages and a court order barring Boldin from selling its products without a license.

        Microsoft said that, through various websites he owned and operated, Boldin was selling decoupled product activation keys that allowed users to authenticate pirated copies of its software.

        The keys – obtained for use with academic, supplier, and internal copies of Microsoft Windows and Office – were sold by Boldin’s sites to customers who were then directed to other download sites (including Microsoft’s own sites) to get the software itself. To gather proof, Microsoft investigators made a handful of purchases directly from the sites.

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  23. EPO Stakeholders Complain That the New Chairman Does Not Grasp the Issues at the EPO (or Denies These)

    Some information from inside the EPO’s Administrative Council, whose Chairman is denying (at least to himself) some of the core issues that render the EPO less competitive in the international market



  24. Another Misleading Article Regarding Patents From Rana Foroohar at the Financial Times

    In an effort to promote the agenda of patent maximalists, many of whom are connected to the Financial Times, another deceiving report comes out



  25. Monika Ermert's Reports About the Crisis at the EPO and IP Kat's Uncharacteristically Shallow Coverage

    News from inside the Council shows conflict regarding the quality of European Patents (granted by the EPO under pressure from top-level management)



  26. Patent Troll VirnetX a Reminder to Apple That Software Patents Are a Threat to Apple Too

    VirnetX, a notorious patent troll, is poised to receive a huge sum of money from Apple and Qualcomm is trying to ban Apple products, serving to remind Apple of the detrimental impact of patents on Apple itself



  27. Links 16/10/2017: Linux 4.14 RC5, Debian 9.2.1, End of LibreOffice Conference 2017

    Links for the day



  28. The Systematic Erosion of Workers' Rights and Holidays at the EPO Goes Years Back

    The legitimacy of the staff's concerns at the EPO, having seen basic labour safeguards being shredded to pieces by Battistelli for a number of years (predating even the escalation of the conflict)



  29. Articles in English and German Speak About the Decline in Quality of European Patents (Granted by the EPO)

    Heise and The Register, two sites that have closely watched EPO affairs for a number of years, speak about the real problem which is declining patent quality (or rushed examination) -- a recipe for frivolous litigation in Europe



  30. Software Patents and Patent Trolls Not a Solved Issue, But the US is Getting There

    A media survey regarding software patents, which are being rejected in the US in spite of all the spin from law firms and bullies such as IBM


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