09.22.16

Links 22/9/2016: Linux Professional Institute Redesign, Red Hat Upgraded

Posted in News Roundup at 3:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Dronecode’s Craig Elder speaks about open-source software for drones

    Earlier this month it was revealed that ArduPilot, an open-source autopilot solution, would no longer be associated with the Linux Foundation’s Dronecode Project, an open-source drone platform. This came as a surprise to many considering that the idea of Dronecode came from the minds of ArduPilot.

    “Dronecode was established around ArduPilot,” said Craig Elder, former technical community manager for Dronecode who leads software teams in ArduPilot. “What we tried to do with Dronecode was to do a better job at engaging the companies who are using ArduPilot.”

    The reasoning behind this move is that ArduPilot is based on the open-source GPL license. According to Chris Anderson, chairman of Dronecode, the GPL license is great for the open-source development community, but toxic for companies.

  • Google open-sources Show and Tell, a model for producing image captions

    Google today is announcing that it has open-sourced Show and Tell, a model for automatically generating captions for images.

    Google first published a paper on the model in 2014 and released an update in 2015 to document a newer and more accurate version of the model. Google has improved the technology even more since then, and that’s what’s becoming available today on GitHub under an open-source Apache license, as part of Google’s TensorFlow deep learning framework.

  • Lenovo N21 Chromebook Now Has Mainline Coreboot Support

    The Lenovo N21 Chromebook is now supported by mainline Coreboot. But then again that’s not a huge surprise considering Google’s focus on Chromebook/Chromebox support in Coreboot.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Says Goodbye to Firefox Hello in Firefox 49

        In October 2014, as part of the Firefox 34 beta release, Mozilla introduced its Firefox Hello communications technology enabling users to make calls directly from the browser. On Sept. 20, 2016, Mozilla formally removed support for Firefox Hello as part of the new Firefox 49 release.

        The Mozilla Bugzilla entry for the removal of Firefox Hello provides little insight as to why the communications feature is being pulled from the open-source browser. As it turns out, the Firefox Hello removal is related to shifting priorities at Mozilla.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Cloudera Tests Impala Against Competitive Analytics Engines

      In the cloud and on the Big Data scene, there is a pronounced need for advanced data analytics and database-driven insigts. Apache Impala has emerged as an important tool providing these solutions, and Cloudera is out with some notable test results for Impala. Cloudera, focused on Apache Hadoop, released benchmark results that show that its analytic database solution, powered by Apache Impala (incubating), delivers very fast capabilities for cloud-native workloads but does so at better cost performance compared to alternatives.

    • Learn how to deploy OpenStack for free

      The course is designed for those who want a high-level overview of OpenStack to gauge whether their organization needs OpenStack solutions or not. The course also helps users in getting started with a small scale OpenStack test environment so they can test and experiment with it.

    • Support Is Now the Differentiator in the OpenStack Race

      When it comes to OpenStack cloud computing distributions, now offered by a variety of vendors, we are at a tipping point. As businesses and organizations demand flexible solutions for deploying cloud solutions based on OpenStack, competition is fierce. With so many vendors competing in this arena, market consolidation was bound to arrive, and it is here. What will the key differentiator be going forward? That would be support.

      Just last month, Red Hat announced its latest platform: OpenStack Platform 9. One day later, VMware introduced VMware Integrated OpenStack 3. Both distributions are based on the OpenStack Mitaka release. From Mirantis to Canonical, Hewlett-Packard and others, there are now several OpenStack distribution providers competing with each other, and updates arrive at a rapid-fire pace.

  • Funding

    • Almost Fully Funded – Pledge now!

      The Pepper and Carrot motion comic is almost funded. The pledge from Ethic Cinema put it on good road (as it seemed it would fail). Ethic Cinema is non profit organization that wants to make open source art (as they call it Libre Art). Purism’s creative director, François Téchené, is member and co-founder of Ethic Cinema. Lets push final bits so we can get this free as in freedom artwork.

      Notice that Pepper and Carrot is a webcomic (also available as book) free as in freedom artwork done by David Revoy who also supports this campaign. Also the support is done by Krita community on their landing page.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • An Early Port Of GCC To AMD’s GCN Architecture

      While still in its early stages, there’s a port in the works of the GNU Compiler Collection for AMD’s GCN (Graphics Core Next) instruction set architecture.

      Longtime SUSE toolchain expert Jan Hubicka started a port of GCC to AMD GCN a few weeks back. Hubicka has been experimenting with porting GCC to GCN for running on recent generations of GPUs. He noted in an email to Phoronix that it’s still a bit early to report on, but the slides are now uploaded for any interested readers.

    • The State Of GNU’s GDB Debugger In 2016

      At the GNU Tools Cauldron that took place earlier this month in Hebden Bridge, UK was the annual status update of the GDB debugger.

      Red Hat developer Pedro Alves talked about the state of the GNU Debugger with some recently-accomplished changes plus other work on the horizon for this widely-used GNU program.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Hybrid approach to federal open source

      The White House’s recent Federal Source Code Policy is its latest push in an ongoing effort to modernize and innovate government technology. It takes a focused aim at overhauling and democratizing federal software procurement and application by calling upon department and agency heads to consider the wider value of open source software (OSS), including releasing 20 percent of new custom-developed code as OSS. Noting that the federal government annually dispenses a whopping $6 billion on more than 42,000 software transactions, this guidance strongly encourages the exploration of solutions that better support cost efficiency, reduce vendor lock-in and encourage re-use across agencies.

    • Key article on China and Open Source Software, thoughts for Europe

      05 The fastest way for Europe to achieve all these goals is to create an Open Source (Technologies) Agency in partnership with China and India and I would go so far as to also suggest Iran, Russia, and Turkey as well as Malaysia and Indonesia. We divide the world at our peril. My memorandum to Vice President Biden is still available online for exploitation by anyone. The Americans refuse to take open source seriously because vendors own the US Congress and the US White House and they will pay to the death of all of us for the right to continue looting public treasuries instead of providing integrated open source solutions helpful to humanity. There are 9 major open source categories, 27 critical sub-categories — I have listed them at the P2P Foundation Category:Open Source Everything, but there is no government anywhere that a) understands this or b) is addressing open source as a universal ecology. That is the next big leap, in my generally humble opinion.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Help Send Conservancy to Embedded Linux Conference Europe

      Last month, Conservancy made a public commitment to attend Linux-related events to get feedback from developers about our work generally, and Conservancy’s GPL Compliance Program for Linux Developers specifically. As always, even before that, we were regularly submitting talks to nearly any event with Linux in its name. As a small charity, we always request travel funding from the organizers, who are often quite gracious. As I mentioned in my blog posts about LCA 2016 and GUADEC 2016, the organizers covered my travel funding there, and recently both Karen and I both received travel funding to speak at LCA 2017 and DebConf 2016, as well as many other events this year.

    • Copyleft, attribution, and data: other considerations

      When looking at solutions, it is important to understand that the practical concerns I blogged about aren’t just theoretical — they matter in practice too. For example, Peter Desmet has done a great job showing how overreaching licenses make bullfrog maps (and other data combinations) illegal. Alex Barth of OpenStreetMap has also discussed how ODbL creates problems for OSM users (though he got some Wikipedia-related facts wrong). And I’ve spoken to very well-intentioned organizations (including thoughtful, impactful non-profits) scared off from OSM for similar reasons.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Telenav releases OpenStreetView, an automotive-integrated open source platform designed to accelerate the advancement of OpenStreetMap

        Telenav®, Inc. (NASDAQ:TNAV), a leader in connected car and location-based services today announced the availability of OpenStreetView (OSV), a free open source platform designed to accelerate the advancement of OpenStreetMap® (OSM). The platform includes free iOS and Android apps with optional auto OBD-II integration and web tools to equip drivers and the nearly three million global OSM editors.

      • Open Budget: updated data reveal volatile practices

        “The data confirm a broader trend documented by IBP on volatility in government budget transparency practices. Improvements in budget transparency are often followed by regressions in subsequent years”, OGP added. But on the positive side, “the data show that more governments are publishing Citizens’ Budgets —simplified summaries of technical budget reports issued in languages and through media that are widely accessible.”

      • Amsterdam, Murcia and Zurich to test CPaas project

        The project aims to provide an open platform (City Platform-as-a-service – CPaas) that combines Open Government data with big data and the Internet of Things technologies to address challenges of the modern urban environment. The three European cities were chosen because of their proven experience in Open Data, the project website says.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Industrial IoT Group Releases Security Framework

      The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) , which was founded by AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM, and Intel, released a common framework for security that it hopes will help industrial Internet of Things (IoT) deployments better address security problems.

      Security is critical to industrial IoT because attacks could have dire consequences, such as impacting human lives or the environment, said Hamed Soroush, senior research security engineer with Real-Time Innovations and the co-chair of the IIC security working group.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Virginia Governor Photographed With Willie Nelson’s Pot — But Arrests Thousands for Possession

      The governor stopped by Nelson’s bus while thanking several performers at Farm Aid 2016, an annual festival meant to benefit family farmers. His spokesman, Brian Coy, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that McAuliffe was not aware of the marijuana. McAuliffe, who opposes marijuana legalization, visited Nelson for 10 minutes or less and “had no idea” what else was on the bus, Coy said.

      “He was not and still is not aware of whatever was on the table or anywhere around him and wouldn’t know marijuana or related paraphernalia if it walked up and shook his hand,” Coy said. “He’s cool, but he’s not that cool.”

    • If It Needs a Sign, It’s Probably Bad Design

      Despite having pen in its name, the EpiPen isn’t really designed like a pen at all. A pen usually has a cap that covers the pen tip. But the cap of the EpiPen is on the opposite end as the needle tip. Joyce Lee, a pediatrician and University of Michigan professor who also studies patient-centered design, points out that this broken metaphor causes confusion over which end is which – and has led to people accidentally pushing their fingers into the needle. Between 1994 and 2007 there were over 15,000 unintentional injections from EpiPens, including many cases of trained healthcare professionals who accidentally gave themselves a dose of epinephrine in the thumb or finger while trying to deliver the life-saving medicine to someone else.

    • U.S. Coast Guard investigates strong oil smell in waters off Vallejo as residents report trouble breathing

      The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating reports of an oil sheen and strong smell near Vallejo that prompted firefighters to recommend residents shelter in place after some complained they had trouble breathing.

      A Coast Guard helicopter planned to conduct a search Wednesday morning to try to locate the sheen near Vallejo and Mare Island. Coast Guard boats and a helicopter crew did not find the sheen on Tuesday.

      The ferry Intintoli first reported a strong smell of oil at about 8 p.m. Later, other ferry vessels and crew members from Coast Guard Station Vallejo reported seeing a sheen on the water.

      Coast Guard officials said it’s unclear if the sheen is related to the strong odor that prompted the Vallejo Fire Department to advise its residents to stay indoors, close their windows and turn off any air conditioning.

      Pacific Gas & Electric said a team was working with public safety officials in Vallejo to determine the origins of the odor.

      Residents reported difficulty breathing because of the strong odor, with many flocking to Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center to seek medical assistance, KPIX-TV reported.

    • How ZIP Codes Nearly Masked the Lead Problem in Flint

      My job was to examine blood lead data from our local Hurley Children’s Hospital in Flint for spatial patterns, or neighborhood-level clusters of elevated levels, so we could quash the doubts of state officials and confirm our concerns. Unbeknownst to me, this research project would ultimately help blow the lid off the water crisis, vindicating months of activism and outcry by dedicated Flint residents.

      As I ran the addresses through a precise parcel-level geocoding process and visually inspected individual blood lead levels, I was immediately struck by the disparity in the spatial pattern. It was obvious Flint children had become far more likely than out-county children to experience elevated blood lead when compared to two years prior.

    • Overusing Antibiotics Could Cost the World Trillions of Dollars

      It has become increasingly clear that we’re overusing antibiotics, and now it’s costing us big money.

      Here in New York, the United Nations is ready to take on what has become a global threat. The UN General Assembly High-level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance that’s set to happen today has a singular message to policymakers: get antimicrobial resistance under control for the sake of the human and economic health.

      According to a World Bank report titled “Drug-resistant Infections: A Threat to Our Economic Future,” drug-resistant infections are causing economic damage up to 3.5 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP). Middle and low- income countries could lose up to 5 percent of their GDP. In total, the global economic loss could cost nearly $100 trillion by 2050.

      The report emphasized that if antimicrobial resistance continues to spread, several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at risk of failure. These goals include missions to end hunger, improve nutrition and food security, promote sustainable agriculture, and reduce inequality within and among nations.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Why we should just simply call ourselves Hackers

      Developers, Programmers, Engineers, Code Artists, Coders, Codesmiths, Code Warriors, Craftsmen … these are currently the labels we use to explain our profession. One can get an idea of how this can appear confusing to the outsider.

      Computers can enrich our lives, give focus, amplify our adventures, gauge our science and grow our business. Right now computing is being embedded into everything and it is now more than ever that we need to redefine our role and show. some. fucking. solidarity.

      Rather than confusing pre-existing labels and shoe-horning them to our profession, which makes use of synthetic intelligence more than any, I propose that we call ourselves Hackers instead of the myriad other ways.

    • Germany surveys cyber-attacks

      Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has launched a survey to obtain information about actual cyber-attacks on business and government, to assess potential risks, and to determine protective measures. The study should result in new ICT security recommendations.

    • Matthew Garrett Explains How to Increase Security at Boot Time [Ed: Microsoft apologist Matthew Garrett is promoting UEFI again, even after the Lenovo debacle]

      Security of the boot chain is a vital component of any other security solution, said Matthew Garrett of CoreOS in his presentation at Linux Security Summit. If someone is able to tamper with your boot chain then any other security functionality can be subverted. And, if someone can interfere with your kernel, any amount of self-protection the kernel might have doesn’t really matter.

      “The boot loader is in a kind of intermediate position,” Garrett said. It can modify the kernel before it passes control to it, and then there’s no way the kernel can verify itself once it’s running. In the Linux ecosystem, he continued, the primary protection in the desktop and server space is UEFI secure boot, which is a firmware feature whereby the firmware verifies a signature on the bootloader before it executes it. The bootloader in turn verifies a signature on the next step of the boot process, and so on.

    • Is open source security software too much of a risk for enterprises? [Ed: inverses the truth; proprietary software has secret back doors that cannot be found and patched]

      Although free, there are many institutions that are reluctant to use open source software, for obvious reasons. Using open source software that is not controlled by the enterprise — in production environments and in mission-critical applications — introduces risks that could be detrimental to the basic tenants of cybersecurity, such as confidentiality, integrity and availability. This includes open source security software like the tools Netflix uses.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Tolstoy On Iraq

      As Tolstoy explains it, the French thought they were in a ritual duel with rapiers between two honorable combatants. Suddenly the Russian side realizes its danger, picks up a cudgel and beats its rival senseless. Tolstoy says that Napoleon complained to the Russian Emperor Alexander I and General Kutusov that the war is carried on “…contrary to all the rules – as if there were any rules for killing people.”

      [...]

      The publisher of my version explains that a new edition was warranted especially by Hitler’s invasion of Russia. We might see it as a good time to understand a lesson ourselves. The US Army and its allies destroyed the Iraqi Army, but the people were not defeated. The US Army won many battles with the army of North Viet Nam and conflicts with guerrillas in Viet Nam, but the people were not defeated. And the debacle in Afghanistan is even harder to understand in light of that country’s history.

    • The Assassination of Orlando Letelier and the Politics of Silence

      Forty years ago last night, agents working for the Chilean secret service attached plastic explosives to the bottom of Orlando Letelier’s Chevrolet as it sat in the driveway of his family’s home in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.

      A few blocks away across Massachusetts Avenue my family’s Pinto sat in our driveway unmolested. Our whole neighborhood, including my mother and father and sister and me, slept through everything.

      Forty years ago this morning, the Chilean agents followed Letelier as he drove himself into Washington, down Massachusetts to the think tank where he worked. The bomb went off as Letelier went around Sheridan Circle, ripping off most of the lower half of his body. He died shortly afterward, as did Ronni Moffitt, a 25-year-old American who’d been in the car with him. A second passenger, Moffitt’s husband Michael, survived.

      Letelier’s murder was ordered by the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who’d overthrown the country’s democratically elected president Salvador Allende three years before in a military coup. Letelier, who had been Allende’s defense minister, was arrested during the coup and tortured for a year until Pinochet bowed to international pressure and released him. But in Washington, Letelier became the leading international voice of the opposition to Pinochet, who decided he had to be eliminated.

      There are still many unanswered questions about this time. Exactly how complicit was the U.S. in the overthrow of the Chilean government? Why did the CIA ignore a cable telling it that Chile’s agents were heading to the U.S.? Why did Henry Kissinger, then Secretary of State, cancel a warning to Chile not to kill its overseas opponents just five days before Letelier was murdered?

    • After We Help the Saudis Commit More War Crimes We’re Going to Mars!

      But we had to help the Saudis kill Yemeni civilians, Lindsey argued, because Iran humiliated American sailors who entered Iranian waters, purportedly because of navigation errors.

      That argument — one which expressed no interest in the well-being of Yemenis but instead pitched this as a battle for hegemony in the Middle East — held the day. By a vote of 71-27, the Senate voted to table the resolution.

    • 27 U.S. Senators Rebel Against Arming Saudi Arabia

      A Senate resolution opposing a $1.15 billion arms transfer to Saudi Arabia garnered support from 27 senators on Wednesday, a sign of growing unease about the increasing number of civilians being killed with U.S. weapons in Yemen. A procedural vote to table the resolution passed 71-27.

      The Obama administration announced the transfer last month, the same day the Saudi Arabian coalition bombed a potato chip factory in the besieged Yemeni capital. In the following week, the Saudi-led forces would go on to bomb a children’s school, the home of the school’s principal, a Doctors Without Borders hospital, and the bridge used to carry humanitarian aid into the capital.

      Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen in March 2015, four months after Houthi rebels from Northern Yemen overran the capitol, Sana’a, and deposed the Saudi-backed ruler, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

      In addition to providing Saudi Arabia with intelligence and flying refueling missions for its air force, the United States has enabled the bombing campaign by supplying $20 billion in weapons over the past 18 months. In total, President Obama has sold more than $115 billion in weapons to the Saudi kingdom – more than any other president.

      After the White House failed to respond to a letter from 60 congressman requesting the transfer be delayed, Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., introduced a resolution condemning the arms sale. Paul and Murphy said they had planned to pursue binding legislation if their resolution was successful.

      “It’s time for the United States to press ‘pause’ on our arms sales to Saudi Arabia,” Murphy said. “Let’s ask ourselves whether we are comfortable with the United States getting slowly, predictably, and all too quietly dragged into yet another war in the Middle East.”

    • How Video Games Are Influencing War Propaganda in Syria

      Since the country’s uprising began in 2011, Syrian civil society activists have created a huge range of media documenting their own experience of the conflict. Professional documentary filmmaking in Syria has undergone a renaissance of sorts, with films like Bassel Shehadeh’s “Streets of Freedom” and the award-winning 2013 documentary “Return to Homs” portraying the effect of years of war on the Syrian people.

      Dauber says sophisticated political films like the one produced by Ahrar al-Sham are an attempt to promote a particular narrative of events in Syria, as well as to recruit others to their cause. Like all war propaganda, it is questionable how closely this polished image reflects reality. Amateur footage from the Syrian war, typically produced by citizen journalists with cellphones, portrays a reality that is harsher, uglier, and more morally conflicted than the tidy narratives of militant groups and states.

      But even as they gloss over the realities of war, politically driven films like “Rage Wind” reflect a generational change in the way that conflicts are depicted.

    • Why US Had to Kill the Syrian Ceasefire

      There are several sound reasons for concluding that the US-led air strike on the Syrian army base near Deir Ezzor last weekend was a deliberate act of murderous sabotage. One compelling reason is that the Pentagon and CIA knew they had to act in order to kill the ceasefire plan worked out by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

      The compulsion to wreck the already shaky truce was due to the unbearable exposure that the ceasefire plan was shedding on American systematic involvement in the terrorist proxy war on Syria.

      Not only that, but the tentative ceasefire was also exposing the elements within the US government responsible for driving the war effort. US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter – the head of the Pentagon – reportedly fought tooth and nail with Obama’s top diplomat John Kerry while the latter was trying to finalize the ceasefire plan with Russia’s Lavrov on the previous weekend of September 9 in Geneva.

    • Syria declares end of ceasefire, US seeks clarification from Russia

      The initial seven days of the nationwide ceasefire in Syria have run their course, the Syrian Army has declared. However, it failed to add whether the truce will be reinstated in the near future. In response the US has called on Russia to clarify the statement made by the Syrians.

      The Syrian Army’s statement blames “terrorist groups” for jeopardizing the cessation of hostilities, Reuters reports.

    • America’s Worldwide Impunity

      After several years of arming and supporting Syrian rebel groups that often collaborated with Al Qaeda’s Nusra terror affiliate, the United States launched an illegal invasion of Syria two years ago with airstrikes supposedly aimed at Al Qaeda’s Islamic State spin-off, but on Saturday that air war killed scores of Syrian soldiers and aided an Islamic State victory.

      Yet, the major American news outlets treat this extraordinary set of circumstances as barely newsworthy, operating with an imperial hubris that holds any U.S. invasion or subversion of another country as simply, ho-hum, the way things are supposed to work.

    • Syrian Rebels Unite With al-Nusra Front, Prepare for Offensive – Russian MoD

      The only parties adhering to the truce are Moscow and the Syrian government forces, while the United States and opposition groups it controls have not fulfilled a single obligation according to the Russia-US agreement, the General Staff said.

      “The United States and so-called moderate opposition groups under its control have not fulfilled a single commitment taken on under the Geneva agreements. Above all, the moderate opposition has not been separated from al-Nusra Front [also known as Jabhat Fatah al Sham],” Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said at a briefing.

      Syrian rebels have taken advantage of the ceasefire observed by the Syrian army and currently are preparing to advance in the Aleppo and Hama provinces, the Russian reconciliation center said.

    • Deconstructing Samantha Power’s Big Lies on US Warplanes Massacring Syrian Forces

      She’s Obama’s neocon UN envoy, a despicable character, complicit in his high crimes by outrageously supporting them.

      Edward Herman once called her a member of “the cruise missile left.” She glorifies US-sponsored genocides outrageously called humanitarian interventions, ignoring or shamelessly justifying Washington’s sordid record of repeated supreme crimes against peace.

      She disgraces the office she holds, part of Obama’s permanent war criminal cabal. Her notion of responsibility to protect is mass slaughter and destruction to advance America’s imperium.

    • In Russia, some men want to watch the world burn

      Greenpeace activist Mikhail Kreindlin after he was attacked in Krasnodar region. Photo courtesy of Greenpeace Russia.Mikhail Kreindlin, the head of Greenpeace’s protected areas programme, returned to Moscow with relief. Two weeks ago, Kreindlin was in the southern region of Krasnodar, home to the Kuban river, to fight wildfires. But the trip left Kreindlin with a broken nose, a badly cut eyebrow and possible concussion.

      Russia’s volunteer firefighters have never had to face this kind of “patriotic vigilance” before. The problem is, vigilante justice seems to be a cover for corrupt officials.

    • How US Hardliners Help Iran’s Hardliners

      U.S. neocons keep pounding the propaganda drum about Iran in line with Israel’s regional desires but not helpful to American interests or even to the cause of moderating Iran’s behavior…

    • Fight Between Saudis and 9/11 Families Escalates in Washington

      On Monday, a constellation of lobbyists for Saudi Arabia, which has spent more than $5 million this past year to buy influence in Washington, called a crisis meeting to try to stop legislation allowing the families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to sue the Saudi government for any role in the plot.

      On Tuesday, the 9/11 families, represented in their multibillion-dollar lawsuits by lawyers including Jack Quinn, a former White House counsel with deep relationships in Washington, demonstrated outside the White House to pressure President Obama not to veto the legislation, as he has vowed to do.

      On Wednesday, these two powerful forces, one operating in the shadows and the other more in the open, converged on Capitol Hill in the culmination of one of the biggest and most emotional lobbying fights of the year. The battle is a reflection of the enduring dominance in Washington of the 9/11 families and the diminishing clout here of Saudi Arabia, which once advanced its agenda unencumbered in the West Wing and corridors of Congress.

    • Third World War has never been so close

      As we have already said many times, the main aspect of this political season is not elections, but war. But if elections do have importance somewhere, then this is in the US where, once again, they are closely connected to war. Two days ago, on Saturday, September 17th, the likelihood of this war was breathtakingly high. As we know, American troops, who no one ever invited to Syria, bombed the positions of the Syrian army at Deir ez-Zor. As a result of the bombing, 60 Syrian soldiers were killed.

      This strike was extremely important for ISIS militants, whom the US is informally advising and arming while supposedly fighting them. This crossed the line. Bombing Syrian soldiers is one thing, but this means declaring war not only against Syria, but also Russia, which is fighting in Syria on Assad’s side. And this means that we have reached a climax.

      Sure, the US leadership immediately reported that the airstrike was a mistake and warned the Russian leadership not to express any emotions. But Americans can only be lying, as modern technology allows satellite objects to be seen from a desktop. Theoretically, American bombers could not have simply confused such a strike. And what’s most important: if they had told you that they were preparing to bomb you, and you said nothing, then does that mean you agree?

    • Simple Ignorance vs. Politically Slanted Ignorance

      The principal reason Mr. Johnson was on the show was that he is running for president of the United States on the Libertarian Party ticket. And, of course, the president of the U.S. is the world’s most powerful leader and his or her awareness level is expected to reflect that.

      Therefore, those running for president are assumed to know everything about what is going on in the world as well as in their own country. This is of course impossible, though there is always a short list of issues that are center-stage.

    • “Indifferent to Yemen’s Misery,” Senate Approves Massive Saudi Arms Deal

      The bipartisan resolution to block the weapons sale failed 71-27, with two senators not voting.

      During the floor debate, many of those in favor of the weapons sale echoed Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who declared: “This is a sale that benefits us.” Although even Corker admitted Saudi Arabia is not a “perfect ally” and that many civilians had been killed in Yemen, he argued that the massive sale of new weapons should be approved because it will benefit the U.S. economically. Corker further claimed that arming the Saudi regime serves U.S. geopolitical interests by pushing back against the Iranians, who support the anti-Saudi Houthi factions in Yemen.

      Voting in favor of the arms deal were right-wing senators such as Corker and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) alongside several centrist Democrats, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

    • We’re Winning the War Against ISIS! Maybe? On Social Media?

      Despite the reality that propaganda in wartime is as old as dirt, America collectively is freaking out because a lot of ISIS’ takes place on social media. The elderly and feeble who run our government do not understand The Online gizmos and thus are terrified of them and declare they must be turned off with a big switch somewhere.

      The young who serve them and understand little outside their own online bubbly life, all want to get ahead and so are eager to “engage” in online warfare with ISIS as if it was all just a cooler version of Pokemon Go.

      So it was without meaning or surprise that the Obama Administration announced that Twitter traffic to pro-ISIS accounts has fallen 45 percent in the past two years.

    • For $178 million, the U.S. could pay for one fighter plane – or 3,358 years of college

      Does free college threaten our all-volunteer military? That is what Benjamin Luxenberg, on the military blog War on the Rocks says. But the real question goes beyond Luxenberg’s practical query, striking deep into who we are and what we will be as a nation.

      Unlike nearly every other developed country, which offer free or low cost higher education (Germany, Sweden and others are completely free; Korea’s flagship Seoul National University runs about $12,000 a year, around the same as Oxford), in America you need money to go to college. Harvard charges $63,000 a year for tuition, room, board and fees, a quarter of a million dollars for a degree. Even a good state school will charge $22,000 for in-state tuition, room and board.

      Right now there are only a handful of paths to higher education in America: have well-to-do parents; be low-income and smart to qualify for financial aid, take on crippling debt, or…

      Join the military.

      The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides up to $20,000 per year for tuition, along with an adjustable living stipend. At Harvard that stipend is $2,800 a month. Universities participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program make additional funds available without affecting the GI Bill entitlement. There are also the military academies, such as West Point, and the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, commonly known as ROTC, which provide full or near-full college scholarships to future military officers.

      Overall, 75 percent of those who enlisted or who sought an officer’s commission said they did so to obtain educational benefits. And in that vein, Luxenberg raises the question of whether the lower cost college education presidential nominee Hillary Clinton proposes is a threat to America’s all-volunteer military. If college was cheaper, would they still enlist?

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • EFF Fights to End Court Case Against MuckRock

      After successfully defending MuckRock’s First Amendment right to host public records on its website earlier this summer, EFF filed documents in court on Monday seeking to end the last lawsuit brought against it in Seattle.

      The lawsuit was one of three filed by companies against MuckRock, one of its users, and the city of Seattle after the user filed a public records request in April seeking information about the city’s smart utility meter program, including documentation of the technology’s security.

      The lawsuits were all aimed at preventing disclosure of records the companies claimed contained trade secrets. In one of the cases, a company obtained a court order requiring MuckRock to de-publish two documents from its website that the city had previously released. A court quickly reversed that clear violation of MuckRock’s First Amendment rights and MuckRock put the public records back online.

      After the dust settled, companies in two of the lawsuits agreed to dismiss MuckRock. This occurred after EFF explained that the website is an online platform that hosts its users public records requests and any documents they receive. As such, MuckRock did not actually request the records subject to the lawsuits and merely facilitated and hosted the request by its user.

      MuckRock thus has no particular interest in the lawsuits because the underlying dispute is about whether certain documents contained trade secrets that must be redacted or withheld under Washington state’s public records law.

      The company in the third case, however, has refused to dismiss MuckRock. This is particularly curious because MuckRock currently does not host any documents from the company, Elster Solutions, LLC, that are subject to the public records request.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Green: at what price?

      On the shores of Lake Victoria in southern Uganda, a parcel of land is pitting a Norwegian timber company against more than 10,000 villagers.

    • AFL-CIO’s Lust for Oil Pipeline Jobs

      Despite the existential risk from global warming, short-term self-interest often wins out, whether opposition to the cost of building mass transit or readiness to put oil-industry jobs over the danger from fossil fuels, as Norman Solomon explains.

  • Finance

    • ‘You Know That It’s Not a Few Rotten Apples’ – CounterSpin interview with William Black on Wells Fargo fraud

      Janine Jackson: Wells Fargo employees illegally opened some 2 million accounts in the name of customers who didn’t authorize them, but were still charged with fees. Employees say the bank set aggressive goals for “cross-selling” its products, goals on which bonuses and jobs depend. But CEO John Stumpf tells the Wall Street Journal, “There was no incentive to do bad things.” Well, they say the fraud was concentrated in one division, and more than 5,000 employees have been fired. But the $185 million fine from regulators is still less than the $200 million worth of stock Stumpf holds, and only a little more than the retirement package given the executive in charge of the division identified as the epicenter of abuse. So how does that incentive system work again?

    • Former EU Official Among Politicians Named in New Leak of Offshore Files from The Bahamas

      A cache of leaked documents provides names of politicians and others linked to more than 175,000 Bahamian companies registered between 1990 and 2016

      For years, Neelie Kroes traveled Europe as one of the continent’s senior officials, warning big corporations that they couldn’t “run away” from the European Union’s rules. The Dutch politician sympathized with average citizens who worried they’d been left to pay the bills “as infringers cream off the extra profits.”

      As the EU’s commissioner for competition policy from 2004 until 2010, she was Europe’s top corporate enforcer and made Forbes magazine’s annual list of the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” five times.

      What Kroes never told audiences – and didn’t tell European Commission officials in mandatory disclosures – was that she had been listed as a director of an offshore company in the Bahamas, the Caribbean tax haven whose secrecy and tax structures have attracted multinational companies and criminals alike.

      Kroes was listed as director of a Bahamian company from 2000 to 2009, according to documents reviewed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

    • TiSA leaks set alarm bells ringing

      Despite the rumours and assertions by several Member States that Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is dead, the fight for safeguarding citizens’ rights and freedoms via so-called “trade agreements” is far from over. Now it is time to address the threat from the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). Just days after Wikileaks made public some key negotiating documents concerning TiSA, Greenpeace Netherlands has released another batch of crucial and worrying documents.

    • Revelations on Neelie Kroes: Outstanding negative example of corrupting trust in politics

      A new investigation of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reveals that former EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes has breached the EU Commission’s Code of Conduct by withholding information about her participation in an offshore company in the Bahamas. A whistleblower shared the intransparent company register of the Bahamas with ICIJ. Kroes served as EU Commissioner for Competition from 2004 to 2010 and as EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda from 2010 to 2014.

    • Sir Alan Duncan: Boris Johnson didn’t want Brexit win

      Boris Johnson only campaigned to leave the EU to set himself up as the next Conservative leader, Sir Alan Duncan said the day before June’s referendum.

      Sir Alan said he believed the now foreign secretary, who is his current boss, wanted to lose narrowly and be the “heir apparent” to David Cameron.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • There’s One Other Reason Gary Johnson and Jill Stein Should Be Invited to the Debates
    • INTERVIEW WITH JILL STEIN, GREEN PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

      In 2012, Dr. Stein became the most successful female presidential candidate in history…

    • Bush Just Made a MASSIVE Announcement About Donald Trump – BREAKING NEWS

      Former President George H.W. Bush, an American patriot and World War II veteran, has just made a shocking announcement about the 2016 Presidential election.

      Bush will vote against his own party, and cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton in the November election.

      Even with a FBI criminal scandal and countless criminal acts, Bush is willing to vote for her anyway. This is probably because of things Trump said in the primary.

    • Justice Kennedy, Author of Citizens United, Shrugs Off Question About His Deeply Flawed Premise

      Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the author of the 2010 Citizens United decision that unraveled almost a century of campaign finance law, doesn’t seem to care that the central premise of his historic decision has quickly unraveled.

      I spoke briefly to Kennedy during his visit to the U.S. Courthouse in Sacramento, before his security detail escorted me out of the room.

      In the Citizens United decision, Kennedy claimed that lifting all campaign finance limits on independent groups — now known largely as SuperPACs — would not have a corrupting effect upon candidates. “By definition,” Kennedy wrote confidently, “an independent expenditure is political speech presented to the electorate that is not coordinated with a candidate.”

    • Sorry, the Boundary Commission is not Gerrymandering

      There is no point in declaring yourself of independent mind if you proceed to try to ingratiate yourself with any particular group of people or defined set of political opinions. Occasionally I express opinions which are not palatable to many of my readers, and I am afraid this is one of those times. But the plain fact is, that the boundary review of Westminster constituencies is neither deliberate gerrymandering nor unfairly favourable to the Tories.

      The starting point for any sensible discussion must be that the first past the post system will virtually never produce any kind of fair representation, especially in a multi-party system. I detest UKIP, but a system which gave them just 0.15% of the seats for 9.5% of the vote is not equitable. Between the two “main” parties, FPTP in modern times had always advantaged Labour, as boundary changes lagged behind declining populations in old industrial areas. But the 2015 trouncing of Labour by the SNP changed this and it took more votes to elect each Labour MP than each Tory. But in a sense this is all pointless – FPTP is not meant to be fair. Its theoretical advantage is in ensuring the proper representation of individual constituencies.

    • Security Top Priority as Hofstra Presidential Debate Nears

      Law enforcement is planning to drop a safety net around Hofstra University for next week’s presidential debate, which Nassau County police’s top cop called the most “significant security event” the county has hosted in decades.

      During a press conference at Hofstra University Wednesday, Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said at least a half-dozen law enforcement agencies have allocated manpower and other resources for the event. In total, more than a 1,000 cops are expected to flood the debate area.

    • Judge: child porn evidence obtained via FBI’s Tor hack must be suppressed

      A federal judge in Iowa has ordered the suppression of child pornography evidence derived from an invalid warrant. The warrant was issued as part of a controversial government-sanctioned operation to hack Tor users. Out of nearly 200 such cases nationwide that involve the Tor-hidden child porn site known as “Playpen,” US District Judge Robert Pratt is just the third to make such a ruling.

      “Any search conducted pursuant to such warrant is the equivalent of a warrantless search,” Judge Pratt wrote Monday in his 19-page order in United States v. Croghan.

      While the charges against Beau Croghan have not been dropped yet, the ruling significantly hinders the government’s case.

      Earlier this year, federal judges in Massachusetts and Oklahoma made similar rulings and similarly tossed the relevant evidence. Thirteen other judges, meanwhile, have found that while the warrants to search the defendants’ computers via the hacking tool were invalid, they did not take the extra step of ordering suppression of the evidence. The corresponding judges in the remainder of the cases have yet to rule on the warrant question.

    • Evidence FBI Gathered While Running Porn Site Thrown Out Again

      For the third time, a federal judge has ruled that a mass hack by the FBI – which ensnared thousands of computers based on only one warrant – was illegal.

      Like the previous ones, the decision was based on a jurisdictional technicality: Rule 41 of criminal procedure holds that magistrate judges can only authorize searches inside their jurisdiction – meaning a judge in one district cannot authorize a search in a different geographical location.

      The hack in question was part of an investigation into a child pornography website called Playpen. Playpen was hosted on the dark web, meaning that users could only access it through a service that concealed their IP address, making it impossible for the FBI to tell who was accessing the site and downloading child pornography.

      In 2014, the FBI received a tip from a foreign intelligence agency that Playpen’s server was operating out of Lenoir, N.C. The FBI seized the server, but instead of shutting the website down, continued running it — placing a copy of the site on government-run servers in Virginia.

    • What Happens When Visa Applicants Forget Their Old Social Media IDs?

      After being pushed into it by Congress, Customs and Border Protection has been going through the rule-making process on asking visa applicants for their social media IDs. The idea is root out people like Tashfeen Malik, the wife in the San Bernardino attack couple, who spoke in radicalized terms on private messaging areas of Facebook before she came to the country.

      At first, the idea was just to ask for applicants to turn over social media sites voluntarily. But given the pressure CBP already uses, even with US citizens, it’s easy to see how that “voluntary” request can be made to seem obligatory in the pressure of a border encounter.

    • Is Hillary Clinton Turning into Jeb Bush?

      One of last winter’s cruelest spectacles was the harpooning of Jeb Bush’s candidacy by upstart wiseacre Donald Trump. Like a neatly dressed schoolboy vowing to eat his mashed potatoes in peace, only to find himself plunged into them face-first, Jeb consistently fell prey to Trumpian assaults on his dignity—he was boring, and “low energy,” and last in the polls.

      Such indecorousness proved nearly impossible for anyone to combat. Should the victim try to stay aloof, the way Jeb did? That just made you look like a stiff. Should you try to match Trump on his own terms, the way Marco Rubio did? That just made you look silly. Should you just scorch the terrain, the way Ted Cruz did? Your opponent might just take things one step further and start insulting your wife. Only primary voters had the power to punish such a lowering of standards, but many of them were in no such mood this year. Their spite was directed toward a pompous and clueless establishment, with Jeb as its quintessential face and Trump as the overdue pie.

    • Don’t Waste Your Vote on the Corporate Agenda—Vote for Jill Stein and the Greens

      Clinton’s billionaire backers, who wined and dined her throughout August, want her to promise as little as possible to ordinary people for fear of a mass movement developing under her administration. They know that working people, and young people especially, are fired up in a way that we haven’t seen in decades. E-mails recently leaked from Nancy Pelosi’s office contain explicit instructions not to agree to any specific demands from Black Lives Matter.

      The Democratic Party has a special talent for enabling the right. President Obama was first elected in 2008 on a wave of opposition to eight years of George W. Bush’s wars and tax cuts for the rich. But he and the Democrats continued the bailout of Wall Street and stood by as millions lost their homes—and the leadership of the labor movement and most progressive organizations gave him a pass. This created space for the Tea Party to exploit the legitimate anger of large sections of the working and middle class. It wasn’t until 2011 that Occupy Wall Street gave a genuine left-wing expression to the widespread outrage at corporate politics.

    • John Boehner Cashes Out, Joins Corporate Lobbying Firm That Represents China

      John Boehner, the retired speaker of the House, is monetizing his decades of political relationships and cashing out to serve some of the most powerful special interests in the world.

      Boehner is joining Squire Patton Boggs, a lobbying firm that peddles its considerable influence on behalf of a number of foreign nations, including most notably the People’s Republic of China. Serving Beijing is somewhat appropriate: Boehner has long been a supporter of unfettered trade, helping to lead the effort to grant Most Favored Nation status to China. Squire Patton Boggs also represents a long list of corporate clients, including AT&T, Amazon.com, Goldman Sachs & Co., Royal Dutch Shell, and the Managed Funds Association, a trade group for the largest hedge funds in the country.

      Boehner is signing onto Squire Patton Boggs “as a strategic advisor to clients in the U.S. and abroad, and will focus on global business development.”

      The news comes just a week after the announcement that Boehner will be joining the board of Reynolds American, the tobacco company responsible for brands such as Camel and Newport cigarettes. The tobacco board seat will likely earn Boehner over $400,000 a year in stock and cash. The Squire Patton Boggs salary has not been disclosed, but lawmakers of Boehner’s stature have easily obtained salaries at similar gigs in the seven-figure range.

      Boehner is reportedly declining to register as a lobbyist for his new job at a lobbying firm, but that label makes little difference these days. Thousands of professionals engaged in government affairs positions work to influence policy on behalf of well-heeled special interests every day without registering under the Lobbying Disclosure Act. The law governing lobby registration is virtually unenforced.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Digital Homicide Sues Steam Reviewers, Steam Drops It Like It’s Hot

      In recent days, megalith digital games platform Steam found itself making headlines with a tweak to its game reviews system. At issue was Steam’s prioritizing reviews from customers who bought a game on Steam over anyone else. Asked for an explanation for the move, Valve suggested that some game developers were attempting to game the reviews system by exchanging download codes for positive reviews. While this explanation omitted the prevalence of crowdsource funding of games, such as Kickstarter funding, Valve at least was putting on a public face of trying to treat its gaming customers well.

      And now we have the second such story of Valve looking out for its gaming customers, as the platform has chosen to entirely drop a game developer known for its anti-consumer behavior off of the Steam store. You may recall that Digital Homicide is a game developer that has been featured on these pages before, having decided that the best way to deal with some mildly scathing reviews of its games was to sue the reviewer for ten million dollars, alleging emotional, reputational and financial distress. It seems that lawsuit wasn’t a one-off, as Digital Homicide has now apparently filed suit against a whole bank of Steam users (at least 100), who reviewed Digital Homicide games, to the tune of $18 million, with a court recently granting a subpoena requesting that Steam turn over identification data for those users.

    • Author talks about banned books, censorship

      The Western Kentucky University graduate spoke about censorship and banned books to about 115 people Tuesday at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College. The event was part of the college’s activities for Banned Book Week, which is Sunday through Oct. 1.

      Harper talked about some of the books that have been banned, including “Matilda,” “I Am Jazz,” “The Holy Bible” and “Two Boys Kissing.”

    • Street artists use anonymity to accentuate the message

      In the latest issue of Index on Censorship magazine, The Unnamed: Does anonymity need to be defended?, Index’s contributing editor for Turkey, Kaya Genç, explores anonymous artists in Turkey. In the piece the artists discuss how vital anonymity is in allowing them to complete their more controversial work. The Index on Censorship youth advisory board have taken inspiration from this piece for their latest task, in which they investigate anonymous art around the world.

    • Censorship is becoming more common

      Lately it seems issues relating to censorship come up with surprising frequency. While one might be tempted to say that people are trying to control our thoughts “more than ever before”, that simply is not true – censorship and attempting to control how other people think has been prevalent for centuries.

      But the problem with censorship today is that it seems to be becoming increasingly mainstream and coming from people on all sides of different issues.

      For starters, we have the Colin Kaepernick issue in regards to his protest of the national anthem and the American flag. His demonstrations have engulfed the media and people’s attention over the past weeks over this hot-button issue. While the validity and appropriateness of his protest can be debated, he has the complete freedom of speech to act how he pleases – his protest does not harm anyone nor is it particularly disruptive. No one, aside from his employers, possibly, has the right to try to tell him that he should think differently or behave differently in his benign protest.

    • Digital rights organizaton wants to map internet censorship affecting Latin American journalists

      Researcher Olga Khrustaleva is looking for journalists and activists across Latin America to share their experiences with Internet censorship.

      Her goal: to map types of Internet censorship in the region and to find out how journalists and activists are changing their behavior as a result.

    • Canadian company helped Bahrain censor the internet

      Canadian technology company Netsweeper helped the Bahraini government in their bid to censor the internet against content they deem inappropriate, according to a new report by the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

    • Canadian company helped Bahrain censor the internet
    • Not just Yemen: Canadian cyberarms dealer Netsweeper also helped censor the net in Bahrain
    • Bahrain using Canadian software to stifle dissent: report
    • Guelph firm ‘Netsweeper’ accused of helping facilitate online censorship for Bahrain
    • The Canadian Government Has Funded a Notorious Censorship Company for a Decade
    • Netsweeper, tech used to censor dissent, funded by NRC in 2012
    • U of T’s Citizen Lab implicates Canadian company in Bahrain Internet censorship
    • Waterloo company accused of helping Bahrain censor online content
    • Arab Nominees for Israeli Film Awards Accuse Local Academy of Censorship

      Four Palestinian citizens of Israel nominated for the country’s top film award are accusing the Israel Academy of Film and Television of censorship.

      In a letter sent to all academy members on Monday, the four accused the academy of barring a performance by Tamer Nafar and Yossi Tzabari from tomorrow’s Ophir Awards ceremony because it was slated to include a poem by Mahmoud Darwish, regarded as the Palestinian national poet.

      However, in a letter of response, academy chairman Mosh Danon denied the censorship charge. He said organizers of the ceremony only asked Nafar to show them the performance in advance “so we could suit it to the general tone of the ceremony from a musical and staging standpoint.” When that didn’t happen, they “decided, with great regret, to dispense” with the performance, including Darwish’s poem.

    • Turkey Overwhelmingly Leads World In Twitter Censorship

      Turkey is rapidly ramping up its efforts to censor Twitter, according to the site’s new transparency report.

      The biannual report, which was released Wednesday and covers the first half of 2016, shows that the United States continues to lead the world in requests for information about users. During this period, U.S. law enforcement issued such requests for 8,009 accounts, far more than anywhere else in the world. However, in a separate metric, which tracks government requests to block specific Twitter users, the U.S. issued 150 requests for Twitter user data in the first half of 2016, a slight increase from the 107 requests in the six months before. But in aggregate, other countries almost doubled their attempts to get Twitter to take down users’ tweets and accounts.

      By and large, those attempts have been unsuccessful. In the last half of 2015, the world tried to censor 11,092 Twitter accounts, though only 423 of those attempts were successful. In the following six months, the number of attempts skyrocketed to 20,571, though the number of censored accounts actually dropped to 240.

    • ‘Safe space’ now a tool of liberal censorship

      IF YOU thought the term “safe space” had something to do with crèches or playgrounds you would be wrong. It applies to universities and places of public debate, places traditionally the preserve of adults who are particularly well able to look after themselves. The term is a new construct which means it is socially unacceptable to attack or ridicule peoples’ cherished views and convictions or say anything that might potentially be imputed to reflect negatively on any demographic. The end of debate? Well, clearly not. Not for some at any rate.

      Media sphere was never more awash with opinions and theories which, of their very nature, evoke disagreement or agreement in varying measures. So, qualification is needed. People who promote the safe place concept want protection for themselves and their own views, not necessarily and, at times under no circumstances, for those who oppose them. It is the usual tyranny of the consensus, however it may be formed. Being enlightened and progressive, onside with the current zeitgeist as well as, of course, on the side of history, was always a privileged place to be. It used to the the Church that censored: It is now the new secular guardians of “liberties” who suppress voices of dissent.

      It the realms of twitterdom and other media platforms, fair and informed comments, respectfully made, are less common than offensive, bellicose ones. They chase each other down chat threads petering out often in a completely unrelated discussion. However, nothing worth its salt comes cheaply and freedom of speech and expression, within the bounds of libel and defamation laws, is surely bought cheaply if the price is merely the verbal equivalent of tomatoes and rotten eggs.

    • Donald Trump’s warning about impending ‘online censorship’ is dead wrong
    • Surprise, Donald Trump Has No Idea How Internet Censorship Works

      Back in December, Donald Trump suggested fighting terrorism online by “closing the internet in some way,” openly mocking potential First Amendment concerns. Since then, the alleged computer user seems to have changed his mind, joining Ted Cruz’s bizarre crusade for an American takeover of the internet’s address book in the name of freedom of speech.

      [...]

      In the end, Trump and Cruz’s ICANN campaign appears to be little more than political theater making use of a digital disguise.

    • Donald Trump Doubles Down On Ted Cruz’s Blatantly Confused And Backwards Argument Over Internet Governance
    • Facebook’s Nudity Ban Affects All Kinds of Users

      Facebook’s recent censorship of the iconic AP photograph of nine year-old Kim Phúc fleeing naked from a napalm bombing, has once again brought the issue of commercial content moderation to the fore. Although Facebook has since apologized for taking the photo down from the page of Norwegian publication Aftenposten, the social media giant continues to defend the policy that allowed the takedown to happen in the first place.

      The policy in question is a near-blanket ban on nudity. Although the company has carved out some exceptions to the policy—for example, for “photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures”—and admits that their policies can “sometimes be more blunt than we would like and restrict content shared for legitimate purposes,” in practice the ban on nudity has a widespread effect on the ability of its users to exercise their freedom of expression on the platform.

      In a statement, Reporters Without Borders called on Facebook to “add respect for the journalistic values of photos to these rules.” But it’s not just journalists who are affected by Facebook’s nudity ban. While it may seem particularly egregious when the policy is applied to journalistic content, its effect on ordinary users—from Aboriginal rights activists to breastfeeding moms to Danish parliamentarians who like to photograph mermaid statues—is no less damaging to the principles of free expression. If we argue that Facebook should make exceptions for journalism, then we are ultimately placing Facebook in the troubling position of deciding who is or isn’t a legitimate journalist, across the entire world.

    • YouTube announces crowdsourced censorship
    • Read: Amol Palekar’s essay on censorship makes a blistering case for the freedom of expression
    • ‘I Just Got Really Mad’: The Norwegian Editor Tackling Facebook on Censorship
    • Editor Calls Out Facebook For Decision To Block Iconic Vietnam War Photo
    • Comments about OARS and CSM age ratings

      I’ve had quite a few comments from people stating that using age rating classification values based on American culture is wrong. So far I’ve been using the Common Sense Media research (and various other psychology textbooks) to essentially clean-room implement a content-rating to appropriate age algorithm.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Why Is DOD Paying Dataminr $13M for Data It Claims to Believe Twitter Won’t Deliver?

      Last week I did a post on John McCain’s promise, given in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, to “expose” Twitter for refusing to share you Tweets in bulk with intelligence agencies. Later in the hearing, Jeanne Shaheen returned to the issue of Twitter’s refusal to let Dataminr share data in bulk with the Intelligence Community. She asked Under Secretary for Intelligence Marcell Lettre what the committee needs to get more cooperation. Lettre responded by suggesting one-on-one conversations between Executive Branch officials and the private sector tends to work. Shaheen interrupted to ask whether such an approach had worked with Twitter. Lettre responded by stating, “the the best of my knowledge, Twitter’s position hasn’t changed on its level of cooperation with the US intelligence community.”

      That’s interesting, because on August 26, 2016, DOD announced its intent to sole-source a $13.1 million one-year contract with Dataminr to provide alerting capability based off Twitter’s Firehose.

    • National Software Reference Library: An important digital tool for forensic investigators

      The story starts with Stephen M. Cabrinety, the Stanford University Libraries, and NIST’s National Software Reference Library (NSRL). Cabrinety collected more than 50,000 pieces of commercial software and nearly 300 functioning microcomputer systems—some dating back to the mid-1980s.

      [...]

      Something not often thought about is how a digital forensic scientist working on a criminal case knows if a particular software application having thousands of lines of code has been altered to hide an incriminating piece of evidence. Using NSRL tools, investigators can quickly know if the code has been doctored by comparing the hash from the suspect code against the RDS hash of the original and pristine code—saving time and effort.

    • BaycloudSystems Joins EFF’s Do Not Track Coalition

      Baycloud Systems has become the latest company to join the EFF’s Do Not Track (DNT) coalition, which opposes the tracking of users without their consent. Baycloud designs systems to help companies and users monitor and manage tracking cookies. Based in the UK, it provides thousands of sites across Europe with tools for compliance with European Union (EU) data protection laws.

      In contrast to the U.S., with its scant legislative privacy protection and weak self-regulatory system, EU data protection law requires companies that collect user data to provide a legal basis for using it–the most important aspect of which is user consent. And this requirement has real teeth: the new General Data Protection Regulations mean that companies will soon face serious fines of up to 2 or 4 percent (depending on the violation) of worldwide turnover.

      EU rules also require user consent before a site sets cookies, and public disclosure of information as to their purpose (such as feature functionality or behavioral profiling). Although the cookie rules have been applied unevenly and have not stopped tracking, the principle requiring user consent is sound.

    • Join the Movement for Community Control Over Police Surveillance

      From cell-site simulators in New York to facial recognition devices in San Diego, law enforcement surveillance technologies are spreading across the country like an infectious disease. It’s almost epidemiological: one police department will adopt a new, invasive tool, and then the next and the next, often with little or no opportunity for the citizens to weigh in on what’s needed or appropriate for their communities. Sometimes even elected officials and judges have no idea how technologies are being used by the police under their supervision.

      2016 is the year we start to turn it around. In California, we helped pass legislation to require transparency and public hearings on technologies such as cell-site simulators and automated license plate readers before they can be adopted by cities and counties. Specifically, earlier this year, the County of Santa Clara passed a groundbreaking ordinance limiting how and when law enforcement can adopt new surveillance technologies.

    • Let There Be Light: Cities Across America Are Pushing Back Against Secret Surveillance by Police

      Big Brother is watching local communities, some more than others.

      Think about how it feels when you are driving down a road, look in your rearview mirror, and notice a police car driving directly behind you. You tense up. You slow down. You try not to drift too much in your lane as you drive. One false move and those red flashing lights will switch on. Only after the police car drives past can you finally relax and exhale. As internationally renowned security technologist Bruce Schneier observed in his book “Data and Goliath,” this is what surveillance feels like. But for many Americans who live in communities that are disproportionately targeted by police surveillance technologies, that feeling never goes away.

    • Oliver Stone talks “Snowden”: NSA leaker is more than a whistleblower; he’s a “lie exposer”

      “I know you’re not going to believe this, but I see myself as a storyteller,” said Oliver Stone. The director of “JFK,” “Platoon” and the new political thriller “Snowden” added that he tries to tell stories that others ignore. “There are too many things that are taboo in the American public,” he lamented.

      The Academy Award-winning director spoke last week at a small Manhattan event about “Snowden,” his new movie starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      While being interviewed by journalist Amy Goodman, Stone described the difficult process of producing the film, which was released last week to much acclaim. He also applauded whistleblowers for exposing government lies and providing the public with the truth.

      “We never made this an activist film,” Stone said, explaining that “Snowden” was not meant to be part of a larger campaign to win a presidential pardon for Snowden, who has been living in Russia as a stateless refugee for the last several years. A new coalition of rights groups, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, is pressuring President Barack Obama to pardon Snowden before he leaves office. The heads of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch published an op-ed in The New York Times last week defending the whistleblower’s many contributions to the American public.

    • Cisco Reveals Major Security Exploits to its Customers
    • Over 840000 Cisco Devices Are Exposed To NSA Exploit Cyberweapon
    • More than 840000 Cisco devices are vulnerable to NSA-related exploit
    • How GCHQ stopped thousands of scam tax refund emails [Ed: I thought they exist “because terrorism”…]
    • Google Allo: Why people such as Edward Snowden are advising against using the app

      The launch of the new chat app – which Google had hoped would focus on its use of artificial intelligence and the huge amounts of information it stores – has in fact revolved around the threat to privacy and safety that it represents. It culminated with a warning from Edward Snowden that nobody should use the app.

      It was just the latest reminder that our messaging apps might not be as private as they seem. And that is very private indeed – unlike social networks and other semi-public spaces, messages are perhaps the most sacred and private spaces on the entire internet.

    • No matter what, don’t use Google’s new Allo messenger app, says Edward Snowden

      The search giant’s new WhatsApp competitor combines messaging with a digital assistant to allow you to chat like never before—but those who care about their privacy and mass surveillance should steer clear of the app, Edward Snowden said in a series of tweets.

    • Don’t Use Allo

      The buzziest thing Google announced at its I/O conference Wednesday was Allo, a chatbot-enabled smartphone messaging app that looks to take on iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and the Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

      Early sentiment about Allo is overwhelmingly positive: It looks beautiful, lets you doodle on images before you send them, comes with stickers as well as emojis, and it’s the first Google product to offer end-to-end encryption, which is certainly a good thing.

    • Whatever you do, do not use Google Allo: Snowden

      However, the efficiency of time-saving typing may end up costing customers their already compromised privacy.

      When Google first announced the introduction of Allo earlier this year they, too, had planned end-to-end-encryption in “Incognito Mode” and assured they would only store messages transiently, rather than indefinitely.

      However, it now appears that Google won’t be doing that after all. Wednesday’s announcement revealed Google plans to store all conversations that aren’t specifically started in “incognito mode” by default.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Not Content With Silencing Human Critics, Russia Has Now Arrested A Robot

      You might be forgiven if you were under the impression that the Russian government is a bit behind the times when it comes to modern technology and its never ending desire to stifle every last bit of dissent possible. Between the bouts its had with internet censorship and some strange claims about how binge-watching streaming services are a form of United States mind-control, it would be quite easy to be left with the notion that this is all for comedy. Alas, blunders and conspiracy theories aside, much of this technological blundering is mere cover for the very real iron grip the Russians place upon free speech, with all manner of examples in technology used as excuses to silence its critics.

      And now it’s no longer just human beings that need fear the Russian government, it seems. Just this past week, a robot was arrested at a political rally. And, yes, I really do mean a robot, and, yes, I really do mean arrested.

    • Here Are Eight Policies That Can Prevent Police Killings

      With 788 people killed by police this year alone, death at the hands of law enforcement has become so routine in this country that it risks becoming expected and predictable, as if it were inevitable. Every time a new video emerges, anger soars, as do calls to end police violence. Then invariably, within days or sometimes mere hours, police somewhere else kill again.

      This week was no exception. Last night, the now familiar scene of angry protests met with tear gas unfolded again, this time in Charlotte, North Carolina, after a police officer shot and killed Keith L. Scott, a 43-year-old black father who had been sitting in his car waiting to pick up a child from school. Police said on Wednesday that Scott was holding a gun, which they said they later recovered, and that he ignored orders to drop it. Scott’s family said he had been holding a book, and his daughter speculated that police would plant evidence on the scene. The officer who killed Scott was not wearing a body camera.

      Debate over such details, too, has become common, and increasingly supplemented by video evidence that has rarely made a difference in bringing about greater accountability. Just hours before Scott was killed, police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, released footage showing another black man, Terence Crutcher, being shot to death by a police officer while he walked away, unarmed, and with his hands up. A week earlier, Tyre King, a 13-year-old with a BB gun who was reportedly running away from police, was killed by a Columbus, Ohio, police officer who had killed someone else in 2012.

      But as commonplace as they have become, police killings are neither inevitable nor even that hard to prevent, and a new report released today suggests that curbing police violence is really not rocket science when departments and local officials are committed to doing it.

    • Peak Kinnock

      Brendan Cox left Save the Children due to allegations from several women that he sexually harassed female staff and volunteers. Justin Forsyth left at the same time amid allegations he had not effectively acted to have his friend Cox investigated. This has not stopped Forsyth from now popping up as Deputy Chief Executive of UNICEF. Misery for some is a goldmine for others.

    • Kids Like Esme Shouldn’t be Behind Bars

      These kids asked for asylum. The U.S. government locked them up. They need a fair hearing.

      Nine-year-old Esme (a pseudonym) came to the United States with her mother and two siblings seeking asylum from violence in Central America. But rather than finding a safe haven, U.S. officials picked up Esme and her family and put them in immigration detention. The family has been locked up in Pennsylvania for the better part of a year, which means her baby brother’s been behind bars for nearly half his life.

      Instead of shopping for school supplies and wondering about what’s in her lunch box, Esme is thinking about things no kid should have to consider. She worries about guards waking her up at night, whether the prison food will make her sick, and whether her family will ever be free and safe.

    • Poverty Is Not a Crime, so Why Are People Being Trapped in Immigration Detention for Being Poor?

      Immigrants shouldn’t be locked up just because they can’t afford bail.

      You shouldn’t be imprisoned for being poor. But that’s what’s happening to thousands of immigrants across the country who are unable to afford to pay a bond to be released from immigration detention. People accused of immigration violations — who have no criminal record whatsoever — can be assigned exorbitantly high bail that leaves them trapped in detention for years.

      Today, members of Congress introduced legislation to prevent immigration detainees from being overcharged for bail. The Immigration Courts Bail Reform Act, co-sponsored by Reps. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), and 25 other lawmakers, is critical to ensure that no immigrant — whether a legal resident, asylum seeker, or undocumented person — is imprisoned solely because he or she can’t afford to get out.

      Bail is not supposed to keep a defendant in jail — but to allow the defendant to leave. The American Bar Association says that judges should use bail to “ensure that defendants will appear for trial and all pretrial hearings for which they must be present.”

    • Americans Should Examine Our Treatment of People Seeking Asylum — Not Just on a Boat in the Mediterranean, but at Our Border

      The U.S. imagines itself as protector of the dispossessed, but that portrait doesn’t reflect reality.

      Around the world, more than 65 million people are currently displaced by conflict, amounting to the worst worldwide refugee crisis since World War II. This week, heads of state are gathering at the United Nations headquarters in New York “with the aim of bringing countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach” to the global refugee and migration crisis. President Obama is hosting his own meeting with world leaders to increase funding for U.N. programs and international organizations serving refugees and expanding the number of refugee resettlement places worldwide.

      But as the United States urges other countries to take more action in response to the global refugee crisis, we should examine our own treatment of those who come to our borders seeking asylum and protection. Even as the U.S., the most powerful country in the world, seeks to establish leadership on refugees, we continue to block Central American asylum seekers from coming to us and punish those who arrive.

      President Obama fought to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees this year — still a drop in the bucket of almost 5 million registered with the U.N. — and defended his plan against nativist attacks. Thirty state governors attempted to halt refugee resettlement of Syrians in their state, citing security concerns; federal courts blocked the most serious attempts in Texas, Indiana, and Alabama. Almost 50 anti-refugee bills in 19 states have been introduced in state legislatures, most of which attempt to block resettlement altogether. President Obama has stayed true to his commitment, and the administration recently announced plans to increase overall refugee admissions by 30 percent.

    • Dashcam shows mentally-ill man shot 14 times as he flees Sacramento police

      Video and audio recordings were released by Sacramento Police Chief Sam Somers on Tuesday after mounting pressure from the mayor, members of the city council and Mann’s family, who called for more information surrounding the July 11 shooting.

    • ‘Disturbing’ helicopter footage shows Tulsa police kill unarmed man

      Video footage released Monday showed Tulsa police shooting an unarmed man to death on Friday night after he approached his SUV with his arms raised.

      In footage filmed from a police helicopter, Terence Crutcher, 40, can be seen slowly walking from the edge of a street north of Tulsa toward his vehicle, which authorities said had been reported abandoned at 7:36 p.m. (8:36 p.m. ET) and left running in the middle of the road.

    • What’s It Like To Try And Be Normal After A Career As A Spy

      I joined the CIA out of a sense of wanting to serve my country, and the notion that the U.S. government was going to pay me to live and work overseas was a tantalizing bonus. I come from a family where public service was part of our DNA: My father was an Air Force officer who served in World War II. My brother was a Marine, wounded in Vietnam. As I developed my expertise in nuclear counterproliferation — making sure bad guys, from terrorists to leaders of rogue states, did not acquire a nuclear capability — I was incredibly proud of my ability to contribute to this critical national security interest. My CIA colleagues were smart, dedicated, funny and creative. Yes, there was sometimes stifling bureaucracy, boredom, colleagues who never should have been there, and later, deeply disturbing stories of the CIA’s involvement in torture. Still, I got to do work I thought was incredibly important and, many times, had fun doing it.

      When I suddenly found myself “a civilian,” it dawned on me that so many of the skills I learned and carried out in the CIA — many of which had become second nature — were no longer of use or necessary. I didn’t constantly have to check my rear-view mirror to see if I had picked up covert surveillance. (For a while there, the only people following me were reporters and photographers.) I didn’t have to memorize safe codes or be sure to clear my desk at the end of every work day. I didn’t have to worry that a disguise wig would slip off or look ridiculous. I didn’t have to go through my mental Rolodex when I met a new person to be sure I got my name right. I was simply Valerie Plame: wife, mother of twins and former spy.

    • The Playpen Story: Some Fourth Amendment Basics and Law Enforcement Hacking

      First, the government’s malware “seized” the user’s computer. More specifically, the execution of the government’s code on a user’s device “meaningful[ly] interfered” with the intended operation of the software: it turned a user’s computer into a tool for law enforcement surveillance. By hacking into the user’s device, the government exercised “dominion and control” over the device. And that type of interference and control over a device constitutes a “seizure” for Fourth Amendment purposes.

      Next, the government’s code “searched” the device to locate certain specific information from the computer: the MAC address, the operating system running on the computer, and other identifying information. In this instance, where the search occurred is central to the Fourth Amendment analysis: here, the search was carried out on a user’s personal computer, likely located inside their home. Given the wealth of sensitive information on a computer and the historical constitutional protections normally afforded peoples’ homes, a personal computer located within the home represents the fundamental core of the Fourth Amendment’s protections.

    • Muslim migrant boat captain faces murder charges for pushing Christians overboard

      A Cameroonian immigrant has been put on trial in Spain for the murder of six fellow occupants of a flimsy migrant boat because of their Christian religious beliefs.

      Survivors of the hellish 2014 crossing from Morocco to the southern shore of Spain described how the accused, the Muslim captain of the inflatable craft identified as Alain N. B., blamed Christian passengers for the onset of a storm and forced six men off the boat to a certain death.

      According to some of the 29 survivors from the more than 50 sub-Saharan migrants who boarded the boat near Nador, northern Morocco, the accused “blamed the rough seas which were rocking the boat on the prayers led by a Catholic pastor on board”.

    • Syrian refugee ‘threw three children out of first-floor window because his wife wanted more freedom’ in Germany

      A Syrian asylum seeker is on trial for allegedly throwing his three children out of a first floor window in Germany because his wife wanted greater freedom.

      The 36-year-old man has been accused of attempted murder after his two daughters, aged one and seven, and five-year-old son were injured at refugee accommodation near Bonn.

      Police arrived at the scene in February to find the two elder children suffering broken bones and skull fractures, with the baby girl left with bruising and a liver contusion after landing on her brother.

      According to an indictment seen by Germany’s DPA news agency, the suspect admitted the crime and said it stemmed from anger with his wife.

    • Syrian man ‘threw children out of window because his wife demanded same rights as Germans’

      A SYRIAN asylum seeker who is accused of hurling his three children from window after fighting with his wife when she demanded the “same freedom” as German women will go on on trial on attempted murder charges.

    • Muslim man who KICKED woman in the head for wearing shorts says ‘Islamic law demanded it’

      Aysegul Terzi was assaulted on a bus in Istanbul after the man claimed Islamic law demanded he attack the young woman.

      In shocking footage the 23-year-old girl is seen being brutally kicked in the face by Abdullah Cakiroglu.

      The thug was incredibly freed by prosecutors when he said he was following Islamic law by assaulting the woman and it was decided to classify the incident as an assault that did not justify custody.

    • Should Hacking a Tor User to Get an IP Address Require a Warrant?

      On Monday, a judge chucked out all evidence obtained by a piece of FBI malware in a child porn case, becoming the third court to suppress evidence related to the FBI’s investigation of dark web site Playpen.

      But US District Court Judge Robert W Pratt also threw a punch in an ongoing legal debate with implications that stretch beyond any single case.

      In recent months, judges, defense lawyers, and the government have fought over whether obtaining a Tor user’s real IP address, perhaps through hacking, counts as a search under the Fourth Amendment. The debate has serious consequences for whether law enforcement requires a warrant to break into a suspect’s computer, even if it’s only to learn the target’s IP address.

      Pratt argued that when the FBI hacked suspected Playpen users and grabbed their IP addresses, that constituted a search.

      “If a defendant writes his IP address on a piece of paper and places it in a drawer in his home, there would be no question that law enforcement would need a warrant to access that piece of paper—even accepting that the defendant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the IP address itself,” Pratt writes in his order.

    • Keith Lamont Scott Identified as Disabled Black Man Shot Dead by NC Police While Reading in Car

      A disabled black man has died at the hospital after being shot by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., police officer Tuesday afternoon on Old Concord Road in University City, a subdivision of Charlotte.

      Police said that they were searching for someone who had outstanding warrants when they saw a man with what they believed to be a gun leave a vehicle.

      According to police reports, the man, who has not been named, returned to his vehicle. Police claim that when they approached the man, he “posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers,” according to the New York Times, and one of them opened fire. An eyewitness reportedly told the victim’s daughter that a Taser was used on her father, and then he was shot at least three times.

      [...]

      As previously reported by The Root, a jury deadlocked in the trial of former Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Randall Kerrick, 27, who was charged with voluntary manslaughter in the 2013 shooting death of 24-year-old former Florida A&M football player Jonathan Ferrell.

      On the night of Sept. 14, 2013, Ferrell, who was unarmed, was seeking help after a car accident when he knocked on the door of a nearby home. Instead of helping him, the homeowner slammed the door in Ferrell’s face and called 911 to report that someone was forcibly breaking into her home.

      Kerrick was one of several officers who responded. Kerrick shot at Ferrell 12 times—with 10 bullets piercing his body—and at least eight of those shots were fired while Ferrell was crawling on the ground.

    • Fight for the Future Releases Formal Charge Sheet And Other Documents Ahead of Chelsea Manning Disciplinary Board

      Chelsea Manning faces an administrative disciplinary board tomorrow that may punish her for charges directly related to her July suicide attempt. This board is happening even though it was the government’s own mistreatment of Chelsea that drove her to attempt to take her own life earlier this year.

      The process of preparing for the board has been very emotional and traumatizing for Chelsea. It requires her to continually relive the painful experience over and over again. Chelsea must prepare her defense completely on her own, and will appear in front of the three person panel alone. She is not permitted to consult with or have an attorney or other advocate present during the hearing. The hearing itself could last for hours and there will be no transcript or account of the proceedings available to the public beyond what Chelsea herself is able to convey.

    • Chelsea Manning Facing Indefinite Solitary Confinement For Attempting Suicide, Possessing A Book On Hackers

      As you may have heard, Chelsea Manning, who leaked a ton of State Department cables to Wikileaks and is now in jail for decades, attempted suicide earlier this year. And the Army’s response is to threaten her with indefinite solitary confinement to punish her for the attempt. Really. Of course, Manning has been held in solitary confinement in the past — under conditions that the UN itself declared to be torture. And just last year, Manning was also threatened with indefinite solitary confinement for “disrespecting” corrections officers and for having a toothbrush and certain books and magazines that she wasn’t supposed to have.

      What about this time? Well, Fight for the Future has posted the details including the charge sheet and it’s ridiculous. She’s charged with “resisting” when the “force cell team” went to her cell to respond to her suicide attempt. “Resisting” in this case being that she was unconcious. Really.

    • Video Shows Terence Crutcher Was Not Reaching Into Car When Shot, Lawyer Says

      Crump accused a police department spokesperson, Officer Jeanne Mackenzie, of spreading “misinformation that he caused his own death” when she told reporters on Friday night that Crutcher had prompted the shooting by refusing to raise his hands and reaching into his vehicle.

      [...]

      Finding that initial police account hard to believe, Crutcher’s family had demanded the release of unedited police footage of the incident. The department complied with that request on Monday.

      David Riggs, a former state attorney general who chairs the Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission, also addressed a report that the police had found the hallucinogenic drug phencyclidine, or PCP, inside Crutcher’s car after the shooting. Riggs said that the shooting was not justified even if Crutcher was intoxicated. “Not everybody who’s under the influence of something is a threat to other people,” Riggs said.

      Crump also noted, as many others did on social networks, that the killing of Crutcher stood in stark contrast to the capture of Ahmad Khan Rahami, the suspect in the New York and New Jersey bombings, after a shoot-out with police officers there.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Europe will get free roaming after all as EC cans 90-day cap plans

      THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (EC) has outlined new plans to govern how much data, text and phone services travellers can use when roaming costs are abolished across the continent.

      The EC had previously suggested a 90-day cap on roaming in any one year and no more than 30 consecutive days’ use. However, this was withdrawn after a backlash, with people arguing that such caps went against the purpose of the proposals.

    • AT&T Will Zero Rate its Upcoming Streaming TV Service, Doesn’t Think FCC Will Act

      We’ve long noted how the FCC’s decision to avoid prohibiting zero rating (exempting your own or a paid partner’s content from usage caps) opened the door to letting incumbent ISPs trample net neutrality — if they’re just creative enough about it. And that’s precisely what has happened, with Comcast and Verizon now exempting their own content from usage caps, while T-Mobile and Sprint explore throttling all video, games and music unless users pay a $20 to $25 leave me the hell alone fee.

      The FCC’s total inaction on this front has also emboldened AT&T, which recently began exempting its own DirecTV streaming video app from the company’s usage caps while still penalizing customers that use competitors like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon. But as we warned then — AT&T isn’t done.

  • DRM

    • HP Retrofits Ink Cartridge DRM on Printer

      You’ve owned your printer for a year or more, and have happily used off-brand ink cartridges during that time. Suddenly the manufacturer says you can’t do that anymore, and suddenly orders the printer you own to not accept the ink cartridges of your choosing.

      Have you tried using you HP printer recently? If not, if you use certain models and keep your expenses down by using third party ink cartridges, you might find you have a “damaged” cartridge that needs replacing before the printer will operate. Open up a new cartridge that you’ve been keeping on hand and if it’s branded Office Max, Office Depot or anything other than “genuine HP,” it’ll be “damaged” too.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Shared Experiences Of Indigenous Peoples In The WIPO Negotiating Process

      Members of indigenous communities this week shared their experiences in negotiating for their rights at the World Intellectual Property Organization and gave their advice on negotiations for potential treaties on genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore.

      A panel was held at the outset of this week’s WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), entitled “IGC Draft Articles on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge: Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ Perspectives.”

    • Nagoya Protocol Gains Members, Implications Spread Ripples

      The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) announced early this month that five new countries ratified its protocol on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources, bringing membership to 85 countries.

      The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization now counts 85 members. The CBD in a press release [pdf] called for 15 new ratifications to reach the goal of 100 ratifications before the second meeting of the Parties to the protocol, on 14-17 December in Cancun, Mexico.

    • Copyrights

      • Law Professor Mark Lemley: Hollywood Is Simply Wrong About FCC’s Set Top Box Plan
      • Don’t let copyright box us in

        The Federal Communications Commission is currently considering rules that would free cable and satellite television subscribers from the tyranny of the set-top box. Doing so would surely make the world a better place.

        The cable set-top box is an anachronism. No one carries a physically separate phone, modem, calculator, address book, street directory, and camera today when they can have one flexible device loaded with apps. Abolishing the monopoly of the set top box by allowing apps on existing devices to run programming will introduce this same flexibility to the devices we use to watch cable and satellite TV.

        The world has changed. Young people are “cutting the cord.” People everywhere consume their media on a wide variety of devices. The FCC is right to bring the cable and satellite industries along with that change. Indeed, in the long-term cable and satellite companies too will benefit from ending their exclusive reliance on the set-top box. The last two decades have proven beyond much doubt that while people are willing to pay for content, they are not willing to put up with artificial constraints on when and where they watch it. And if they can’t get their content easily and lawfully, too many turn to getting it easily but unlawfully.

        App based TV will make it easier for all of us to pay for our media delivered when we want it, how we want it.

      • Stop Piracy? Legal Alternatives Beat Legal Threats, Research Shows

        Threatening file-sharers with high fines or even prison sentences is not the best way to stop piracy. New research published by UK researchers shows that perceived risk has no effect on people’s file-sharing habits. Instead, the entertainment industries should focus on improving the legal options, so these can compete with file-sharing.

      • Yet Another Report Says More Innovation, Rather Than More Enforcement, Reduces Piracy

        It’s not like many of us haven’t been saying this for years: but fighting piracy through greater copyright enforcement doesn’t work. It’s never worked and it’s unlikely to ever work. A year ago, we released our big report, The Carrot or the Stick? that explored at a macro level what appeared to lead to reduced levels of piracy — enforcement or legal alternatives — and found overwhelming evidence that enforcement had little long-term impact (and a small short-term impact), but that enabling legal alternatives had a massive impact in reducing piracy. This should sound obvious, but it was important to look at the actual data, which backed it up.

        Now, there’s a new and different study that further supports this idea. Researchers at the University of East Anglia, Lancaster University and Newcastle University have a new report saying that promoting legal alternatives is much more effective in stopping piracy than the threat of legal consequences.

      • Former Refugee Who Took Skittles Photograph Donald Trump Jr. Used In A Stupid Meme Threatens Copyright Lawsuit

        FWIW, this is an old and a dumb and meaningless meme. It’s not always Skittles, though. Last year failed Presidential contender Mike Huckabee used the same concept, but with Peanuts — and John Oliver mocked him for it, noting that “peanuts themselves have killed far more people than terrorist refugees.” Another version involved M&Ms, and it was used by a variety of groups — including a feminist “Yes All Women” campaign. Some are arguing that the switch from M&Ms to Skittles is even more racist, because it’s based on the fact that when Trayvon Martin was shot dead by George Zimmerman, Martin had a pack of Skittles in his pocket. And, of course, the Intercept argues that this meme goes all the way back to a top Nazi propagandist making sure that the meme is sufficiently Godwined.

        But… of course, most of that has little to do with what we normally cover around these parts. But what we do often cover is copyright related issues — so it’s interesting to find out that the image used in that Skittles graphic that Trump Jr. posted was copied from Flickr, where it pretty clearly has an “all rights reserved” copyright notice on it. Oh, and the guy who took the photo, David Kittos, happens to be a former refugee himself, who is not at all pleased that his image is being used in this manner.

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