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09.23.16

Links 23/9/2016: Latest Microsoft and Lenovo Spin (Now in ‘Damage Control’ Mode)

Posted in News Roundup at 6:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Indigenous Australians the oldest living civilisation on Earth, study affirms

      An extensive DNA study confirms what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have always believed: they’re the oldest living civilisation on the planet.

      “We know that we were here forever, but Western science is slowly catching up,” says a Facebook post from Indigenous Australian rights organisation Sovereign Union, led by activist and Euahlayi leader Ghillar Michael Anderson.

      In fact, their relationship to the land stretches back over 50,000 years, according to new scientific research published in the journal Nature. Led by Professor Eske Willerslev of the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with a host of Indigenous elders, the research team sequenced the genome of 83 Aboriginal Australians (from groups covering 90 percent of Australia’s land mass) and 25 Highland Papuans.

    • Horses can use symbols to talk to us

      There will never be a horse like Mr. Ed, the talking equine TV star. But scientists have discovered that the animals can learn to use another human tool for communicating: pointing to symbols. They join a short list of other species, including some primates, dolphins, and pigeons, with this talent. Scientists taught 23 riding horses of various breeds to look at a display board with three icons, representing wearing or not wearing a blanket. Horses could choose between a “no change” symbol or symbols for “blanket on” or “blanket off.” Previously, their owners made this decision for them. Horses are adept at learning and following signals people give them, and it took these equines an average of 10 days to learn to approach and touch the board and to understand the meaning of the symbols.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • A pile of security updates for Thursday
    • What this Yahoo data breach means for you

      On Thursday afternoon Yahoo confirmed a massive data leak of at least 500 million user accounts, which is a very big deal.

      Though the data breach obviously spells trouble for those with YahooMail accounts, users with hacked accounts need to keep in mind that the breach goes so much further.

      Yahoo owns a bunch of other major sites like Flickr, Tumblr and fantasy football site Rivals.com, which means the 500 million users affected by the data breach also have to worry about their personal information associated with all additional Yahoo services.

    • Hackers now have a treasure trove of user data with the Yahoo breach
    • Half! a! billion! Yahoo! email! accounts! raided! by! ‘state! hackers!’

      Hackers strongly believed to be state-sponsored swiped account records for 500 million Yahoo! webmail users. And who knew there were that many people using its email?

      The troubled online giant said on Thursday that the break-in occurred in late 2014, and that names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers, were lifted.

      This comes after a miscreant calling themselves Peace was touting copies of the Yahoo! account database on the dark web. At the time, in early August, Yahoo! said it was aware of claims that sensitive information was being sold online – and then today, nearly two months later, it alerted the world to the embarrassing security breach.

    • Brian Krebs’ blog banged in bloody massive DDoS

      YOU KNOW that Brian Krebs guy? Well, his website has been hit with a huge denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that he couldn’t handle on his own.

      Krebs is that security guy. He is bound to have some enemies out there, so we expect that sooner or later someone will take the credit for ruining the pathway to his pages.

      For now we have Krebs to explain what happened and who helped him deal with it. The short version is that there was great big whack of an attack on him, and that he needed assistance from security firm Akamai.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Next-Generation Destroyer Zumwalt Sidelined for Repairs After Engineering Casualty

      Less than a month ahead of its commissioning, the Navy’s next-generation destroyer Zumwalt (DDG-1000) suffered an engineering casualty that could take up to two weeks to repair, Navy officials confirmed to USNI News on Tuesday.
      The ship’s crew – currently pier side at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. – found the fault in the ship’s engineering plant on Sept. 19 ahead of at-sea tests. Zumwalt is now undergoing repairs that may take anywhere from 10 days to two weeks.

    • Obama vetoes 9/11 bill

      President Obama on Friday vetoed legislation that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S courts, setting up a high-stakes showdown with Congress.

      “I recognize that there is nothing that could ever erase the grief the 9/11 families have endured,” Obama wrote in his veto message. “Enacting JASTA into law, however would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks.”

      Obama’s move opens up the possibility that lawmakers could override his veto for the first time with a two-thirds vote in both chambers.

      Republican and Democratic leaders have said they are committed to holding an override vote, and the bill’s drafters say they have the support to force the bill to become law.

      The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) unanimously passed through both chambers by voice vote.

      But the timing of the president’s veto is designed to erode congressional support for the bill and put off a politically damaging override vote until after the November elections.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • EFF Heads To Court To Fight Off Smart Grid Company That Can’t Wrap Its Mind Around Section 230 Protections

      Apparently the legal battle between a bunch of contractors providing “smart meter” equipment to the city of Seattle and FOIA clearinghouse MuckRock isn’t over. The last time we checked in, a judge had overturned his own hastily-granted injunction, relieving MuckRock of the impossible demands placed on it by miffed tech provider Landis+Gyr — which included handing over the details of everyone who might have seen Landis+Gyr’s documents and “retrieving protected information that may have been downloaded” from the site.

      MuckRock was allowed to reinstate the documents and Landis+Gyr walked away from a debacle of its own making. Another contractor utilized by Seattle Power and Light (Ericsson) had pursued a similar injunction but dropped MuckRock from its complaint, following Landis+Gyr into battle against the entity that had released the documents to requester Phil Mocek: the city of Seattle.

      But there’s still one company pursuing a case against MuckRock. The EFF, on its way back into court to fight the tenacious litigant, points out that Elster Solutions, LLC is still hoping to hold MuckRock accountable for publishing documents received from the city of Seattle. But it’s impossible to ascertain why it’s going after MuckRock.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Recalculating the Climate Math

      The future of humanity depends on math. And the numbers in a new study released Thursday are the most ominous yet.

      Those numbers spell out, in simple arithmetic, how much of the fossil fuel in the world’s existing coal mines and oil wells we can burn if we want to prevent global warming from cooking the planet. In other words, if our goal is to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius—the upper limit identified by the nations of the world—how much more new digging and drilling can we do?

      Here’s the answer: zero.

  • Finance

    • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been arm-twisting journalists into relinquishing their reportorial independence, our investigation reveals. Other institutions are following suit

      CNN Money has found multiple whistleblowers from Wells Fargo who were willing to go on the record and report that they were fired in retaliation for coming forward to report the massive fraud in which Wells Fargo employees opened up 2,000,000 fake accounts in their customers’ names, raiding their real accounts to open them, then racking up fees and penalties, and trashing their customers’ credit ratings.

      CNN also spoke to a former Wells Fargo HR manager who explained how the retaliatory firings worked: employees who blew the whistle would be monitored closely for minor infractions (e.g. being two minutes late for work), then fired “with cause.”

      The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed in the wake of the Enron fraud, makes it a jailable, criminal offense to fire whistleblowers; it also makes the CEO and CFO personally, criminally liable for failures to create secure means by which whistleblowers can come forward without fear of retaliation.

    • China’s elites appear to be exfiltrating billions while on holidays

      China has a massive “tourism deficit” — the difference between the money that tourists spend in China and the money that Chinese people spend abroad: $206B from June 2015-June 2016, up from $77B in 2013. The missing money is hard to explain, since China doesn’t export that many tourists.

      But there’s one explanation that fits the facts, according to Bloomberg: Chinese millionaires going abroad with “suitcases full of cash,” which they convert to overseas real-estate, undeclared luxury goods, or just anonymous deposit accounts in offshore banks. Chinese corruption has hit surreal levels: for example, one civic official had so much cash in his apartment that the police who raided him were unable to count it with bill-counting machines. Instead, they weighed it by the ton and estimated its value by weight.

    • Tesla wants to sell cars directly in Michigan, so it’s suing state officials

      On Thursday, Tesla filed a lawsuit against three Michigan officials (PDF)—Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, Attorney General Bill Schuette, and Governor Rick Snyder—on the grounds that the state is violating the electric vehicle company’s right to sell Teslas directly from the manufacturer instead of through a dealer.

    • Barroso says Goldman is ‘no drug cartel’, blasts EU judgment

      Former European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Friday put up a spirited defense of his right to work for U.S. bank Goldman Sachs, after the commission opened an ethics probe into his move, and he accused it of acting arbitrarily.

      “Why would I not have the right to work where I choose, if it is a legal entity, obviously, not a drug cartel?” a visibly agitated Barroso, who is a former Portuguese prime minister, said in his first public comments to reporters at an event in Cascais near Lisbon.

      Goldman appointed Barroso as non-executive chairman of its international arm in London two weeks after Britons voted for Brexit in June and he said he would advise it on issues arising from the negotiations for Britain to leave the European Union.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Could Jill Stein Be Invited To The Presidential Debates? All Hope Is Technically Not Lost

      The presidential election cycle will progress to the next phase with the much-anticipated presidential debates. Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump will take the debate stage on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University for the first of three scheduled debates. But for the third party candidates – Independent Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson, and Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein – did not qualify to participate and therefore will not be included in the televised event. But, could Stein be invited to the presidential debates? Well, not to the first one, but she still has a chance to participate in the debates following.

      In order to qualify to participate in the presidential debates, candidates must be polling at 15 percent in five national surveys leading up to the debates. As it stands now, according to a NBC News poll, Johnson is polling at 10 percent and Stein is polling at 4 percent. Different polls show varying percentages; for instance, a recent Reuters poll put at Johnson at 6.6 percent and Stein at 2.2 percent. Regardless, the two candidates are well below the threshold and will not participate in next week’s debate. Instead, Clinton and her running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, and Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, will have their voices heard on Monday as they battle it out on the issues.

    • 5 Signs NBC Is Unofficially Endorsing Trump For President

      The mainstream media is getting a lot of flack for not doing enough to stop Donald Trump’s rise to the cusp of having all the power, and deservedly so. In fact, I’m going to that exact thing here today. But rather than focus on the news as a whole, I want to focus on one outlet in particular: NBC. I’m singling them out because it’s not just that they haven’t done enough to stop the potential threat that is Donald Trump’s impending presidency — it’s that they’re actively endorsing it, all while pretending they cut ties well over a year ago with the man they helped make a star. We talk about it on this week’s Unpopular Opinion podcast …

    • Powell leakers strike again with alleged White House staffer emails, Michelle Obama passport

      The hacker website that leaked Colin Powell’s politically embarrassing emails struck again Thursday, this time releasing what appears to be the personal emails of a White House staffer working with Hillary Clinton’s campaign — and what purports to be an image of Michelle Obama’s passport.

      An initial scan of the messages appear to show chatter mostly regarding event planning details, such as requesting an invoice for a stage used at a Clinton campaign event. In one exchange, the advanced planning team expresses concern that the media might notice a group of protesters at one event.

    • Palmer Luckey: The Facebook Near Billionaire Secretly Funding Trump’s Meme Machine

      A Silicon Valley titan is putting money behind an unofficial Donald Trump group dedicated to “shitposting” and circulating Internet memes maligning Hillary Clinton.

      Oculus founder Palmer Luckey financially backed a pro-Trump political organization called Nimble America, a self-described “social welfare 501(c)4 non-profit” in support of the Republican nominee.

      Luckey sold his virtual reality company Oculus to Facebook for $2 billion in 2014, and Forbes estimates his current net worth to be $700 million. The 24-year-old told The Daily Beast that he had used the pseudonym “NimbleRichMan” on Reddit with a password given him to by the organization’s founders.

      Nimble America says it’s dedicated to proving that “shitposting is powerful and meme magic is real,” according to the company’s introductory statement, and has taken credit for a billboard its founders say was posted outside of Pittsburgh with a cartoonishly large image of Clinton’s face alongside the words “Too Big to Jail.”

      “We conquered Reddit and drive narrative on social media, conquered the [mainstream media], now it’s time to get our most delicious memes in front of Americans whether they like it or not,” a representative for the group wrote in an introductory post on Reddit.

    • Green party may try to ‘escort’ Jill Stein into the presidential debates

      Kevin Zeese told the Guardian that Stein, her vice-presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka and 100 of her supporters were willing to risk arrest at the debates, the first of which will be held at New York’s Hofstra University on Monday.

      “About 300 people have already signed up to protest, 100 are willing to risk arrest,” Zeese said.

      “We hope Jill and Ajamu will not get arrested as we want them to respond in live time to the debate but when you are on the frontlines, things are not always in our control.”

      The Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Friday that the third-party candidates Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson had failed to qualify for the first debate.

      To earn a spot on the debate stage, the commission requires each candidate meet a 15% support threshold, determined by an average of five pre-selected national polls, and qualify for the ballot in enough states that it would be mathematically possible to receive the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

      The commission calculated that Stein had 3.2% support in an average of the five selected polls. Johnson also failed to make the cut, with a polling average of 8.4%.

    • DNC Files Scathing Rebuttal, Wants Fraud Lawsuit Filed by Bernie Backers Thrown Out

      ‘The DNC was biased in favor of one candidate – Hillary Clinton – from the beginning and throughout the process,” the plaintiffs wrote in their original lawsuit. The complaint, which was filed in federal court in Florida, alleges fraud, as well as negligence as it relates to a Russian Hack on the DNC server. The Bernie backers contend that the trove of DNC emails posted by Wikileaks further proves that the Democratic Party was working against Bernie Sanders from the start.

      However, in a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed this week, attorneys with the DNC fired back. They believe that the lawsuit is completely without merit, and that the Bernie supporters are using “litigation as a political weapon against a national party (and to support their SuperPAC) in the middle of an election.” They also don’t believe the Bernie backers have standing to even bring the lawsuit.

    • If Trump Wins, Blame Clinton

      Now that Hillary Clinton is statistically tied with Donald Trump in the polls according to Real Clear Politics, Democratic Party loyalists are looking for a new scapegoat. Some individuals have decided to attribute blame to millennials. Mother Jones’ Editor-in-Chief, Clara Jeffery, took to Twitter to declare her hatred for millennials after learning that Hillary Clinton loses a substantial amount of millennial voters to third-party candidates.

      Echoing this frustration with millennials, James Kirchick of The Daily Beast—an outlet that does not disclose to readers the fact that Chelsea Clinton sits on the board of their parent company, IAC—smugly purports that these pesky millennials would probably be more inclined to support Hillary Clinton if it weren’t for their “moral relativism, historical ignorance, and narcissism.” Some want to hold Jill Stein accountable for a potential Trump victory, while others argue Bernie Sanders will be culpable if Trump wins, given that he “convinced” millennials that “Clinton was in the pocket of Wall Street,” and is “a tool of wealthy elites.”

      I, too, would like to jump on this bandwagon and advance my own hypothesis as to which individual we can blame in the event Trump wins. If Clinton loses, really, there’s only one person you can blame: Hillary Rodham Clinton.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • How Nigeria’s cybercrime law is being used to try to muzzle the press

      Since Nigeria’s cybercrime act was voted into law in May 2015 authorities have used the accusation of cyber stalking to harass and press charges against at least five bloggers who criticized politicians and businessmen online and through social media.

      Cyber stalking, which falls under Section 24 of the act, carries a fine of up to 7 million naira (USD$22,000) and a maximum three-year jail term for anyone convicted of knowingly sending an online message that “he knows to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another.”

    • EDITORIAL: Instagram allows customizable censorship

      If you have been using social media for a while, you’re probably familiar with people being offended by online content.

      The debate over how media should censor their apps is not new.

      What is new, however, is Instagram’s new feature in answer to this complaint. They have created a way that users can make personalized lists of words they don’t wish to see in the comments on their feeds.

      The words can be anything, from swear words to words surrounding discourses such as gender and race. If you don’t want those words commented on your pictures, poof, they’re gone.

      We think this is a great move. In the past, many people have been angry with companies for their censorship policies.

      Twitter bans many offensive words altogether. Instagram’s solution seems to be a simple yet brilliant one. Instead of banning words for every user, the individual gets to make their own choice on what their Instagram comments will show, based on what offends them personally.

      This makes a lot of sense, since offensiveness, like many things, is very subjective. Words, particularly swear words, that offend one person may be a common part of another’s vocabulary.

    • Beijing’s great wall of film censorship
    • ‘No ghosts. No gay love stories. No nudity’: tales of film-making in China
    • Why Hollywood Needs To Cease Grovelling To China
    • YouTube Gets Step Closer to Full Censorship With ‘Heroes’ Program, and YouTubers Aren’t Happy
    • Don’t censor content, consumers flag issues: YouTube India official
    • Sanders: YouTube demonetizing YouTubers
    • YouTube Heroes program seeks crowdsourced moderation, but panned as censorship

      YouTube is looking for “heroes” to help moderate its content and comments sections, but early feedback has been overwhelmingly negative with users describing it as crowdsourced censorship.

      Users who join the Heroes program, which was announced Tuesday, will earn points for adding captions and subtitles to videos, flagging inappropriate videos and answering questions on the site’s Help forum.

      Accruing points will earn them privileges like joining video chats with others in the Heroes program, exclusive previews of upcoming product launches and the ability to flag abusive videos en masse instead of one at a time.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • As Kuwait imposes world’s first DNA collection law, attorney tries to fight it

      A Kuwaiti lawyer has filed a formal constitutional challenge to his country’s controversial mandatory DNA law, which is reportedly set to take effect in November 2016.

      The law mandates DNA collection from all citizens and resident foreigners, a total of about 3.5 million people, plus all visitors to the tiny Gulf state. The law was quickly passed by the Kuwaiti Parliament after a July 2015 terrorist attack in the capital left nearly 30 people dead. By having a large database of everyone’s DNA, presumably it would be easier to identify victims of terrorism or perhaps even criminal suspects.

      The law, believed to be the first of its kind anywhere in the world, is viewed by many critics as being not only ineffective as a tool to combat terrorism but as being a potentially huge privacy liability if this database were to be stolen or hacked. Still, anyone who refuses collection could be subject to imprisonment or a fine of about $33,000, according to the Kuwait Times.

    • On Her Majesty’s secret servers: GCHQ taps startups to fight cyber attacks

      Britain’s spooks are tapping startup geeks to help fight the growing battle against cyber threats, opening the insular intelligence agency to innovation and kickstarting ambitious plans for Britain to become a world leader in cyber security.

    • Big Security Bug Affects Hundreds Of Thousands Of Cisco Devices

      Hackers using NSA-related hacking tools could exploit a major cyber security vulnerability impacting hundreds of thousands of Cisco switches, routers, and other networking gear.

      The vulnerability, disclosed by Cisco csco last week, has impacted at least 859,000 devices, according to Shadowserver Foundation, an independent cyber security group and Cisco partner that has been scanning Cisco routers and switchers worldwide.

      Of those devices affected, 259,000 are located in the U.S., 44,000 are in Russia, and another 43,000 are in the U.K. Cisco said Shadowserver would share data with owners of the affected devices and related IP addresses. If customers want detailed reports, they “can contact Shadowserver and get their section of the scan results,” said a Cisco spokesperson.

    • A Good American review – troubling, fascinating glimpse of NSA surveillance

      Less scoping with its all-seeing eye than apparently shooting itself in the foot, the NSA gets another battering in this intriguing but troubling documentary, released in the slipstream of Oliver Stone’s Snowden. It’s a tale of two surveillance systems: Trailblazer, the pre-2006 digital-comms sweep that failed to anticipate 9/11, vs ThinThread, the DIY precursor developed on the downlow by former NSA technical director-turned-whistleblower Bill Binney. A crack analyst who pioneered the concept of meta-data (“the data about the data”), Binney is a conduit for a fascinating run-through of postwar intelligence-gathering, starting with the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, which he claims he predicted. Yet lambasting rival security factions for their incompetence and cronyism, while compacting bigger issues about privacy and democracy, A Good American is in danger of coming across like an NSA internal review. Rather than adversarially pinning him, it cheerleads Binney as a homespun American mathmo maverick bucking big government. At one point he says of his methodology: “You never ask for permission, only forgiveness.” In the film, as in real life, the crucial questions are posed too fleetingly too late.

    • Up Creatives designs posters and titles for NSA film A Good American

      London design studio Up Creatives has created posters, titles and animated sequences for A Good American, a documentary about NSA whistleblower William Binney and his ThinThread surveillance system

    • What’s Going on with Ed Snowden and the Washington Post?

      As Oliver Stone’s Snowden struggles at the box office—moviegoers, apparently, prefer the unambiguous heroism of Captain “Sully” Sullenberger—the fate of the real Edward Snowden, and the meaning of his actions, is once again the subject of heated debate.

      To bring you up to speed: Last week, the United States’ three largest human rights organizations—the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International—launched a campaign to pressure the Obama administration to pardon Snowden. A few days later, in a rather ham-fisted effort to counter the flattering portrait in the Stone film, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released three pages of a classified report denouncing Snowden as a “serial exaggerator and fabricator,” who did “tremendous damage to national security.” As my colleague Barton Gellman, who received and reported on the Snowden leaks for the Washington Post, put it, the House’s report was “one-sided,” “incurious,” “contemptuous of fact,” and “trifling.” (Bart, you’ll notice, has misplaced his word-mincer. In fact, he may never have owned one.)

    • Judge Orders Release Of Information On Cases Involving Electronic Surveillance

      This is a response to a petition by Leopold and Vice to unseal court dockets containing electronic surveillance affidavits, orders, etc. The step forward towards more transparency is welcome news, but it appears the wheels of justice aren’t grinding any faster. This petition was submitted to the court in 2013.

      Default mode for nearly any case involving law enforcement surveillance is pitch-black darkness. The government asks for cases to be sealed with alarming (and annoying) frequency, often claiming the potential exposure of law enforcement means and methods would be detrimental to the business of catching criminals. This makes no sense considering the technology used is decades old and the methodology has been common knowledge for nearly the same length of time.

      And yet, these requests are granted more often than not. Howell’s district (Washington DC) presides over an extremely high percentage of sealed cases.

    • Opera’s Free VPN Takes On Internet Privacy Challenge

      Opera earlier this week released a new version of its browser, Opera 40, which comes with a free virtual private network service built in. The official rollout follows five months of user experimentation with a beta version. The company evaluated beta users’ feedback and subsequently brought on additional servers, added options for global or private browsing, and created versions that would run on iOS and Android. The VPN creates a secure connection to one of Opera’s five servers around the world, letting users spoof their IP address.

    • FBI investigation of leaked NSA hacking tools examines operative’s ‘mistake’

      A careless agent. A cache of hacking tools left on a remote and unsecured computer. A shadowy group of Russian hackers. A fire-sale on the deep web.

      This is the current focus of a inquiry into a cache of NSA exploits that were dumped on to public websites last month by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, four people with direct knowledge of the probe investigation told Reuters.

      The tools enabled hackers to exploit software flaws in computer and communications systems from vendors such as Cisco Systems and Fortinet.
      Hacking group auctions ‘cyber weapons’ stolen from NSA
      Read more

    • Probe of leaked U.S. NSA hacking tools examines operative’s ‘mistake’
    • NSA cyberweapons leak: FBI probe investigating former operative’s mistake during active operation
    • NSA hacking tools were reportedly left unprotected on remote computer
    • Report: NSA hushed up zero-day spyware tool losses for three years

      Sources close to the investigation into how NSA surveillance tools and zero-day exploits ended up in the hands of hackers has found that the agency knew about the loss for three years but didn’t want anyone to know.

    • I have found a secret tunnel that runs underneath the phone companies and emerges in paradise

      Calyx is a famous, heroic, radical ISP that has been involved in groundbreaking litigation — they were the first company to ever get a secret Patriot Act warrant unsealed, fighting for 11 years to overturn the gag order.

      Calyx is structured as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, meaning that they can accept donations and provide tax-receipts for them.

      Here’s where things get interesting!

      In 2013, Sprint acquired a competitor called Clearwire in order to gain control of the company’s wireless spectrum in order to launch Sprint’s LTE/4G business. Now, that spectrum was originally allocated for educational purposes before being sublicensed to Clear, and it came with the requirement that non-profits get unlimited access at very low prices.

      And Calyx, remember, is a nonprofit.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • A Good American – Bill Binney

      I have for a number of years now been involved with a global group of whistleblowers from the intelligence, diplomatic and military world, who gather together every year as the Sam Adams Associates to give an award to an individual displaying integrity in intelligence.

      This year’s award goes to former CIA officer, John Kiriakou, who exposed the CIA’s illegal torture programme, but was the only officer to go to prison – for exposing CIA crimes.

      The award ceremony will be taking place in Washington on 25 September at the “World Beyond War” conference.

      Last year’s laureate, former Technical Director of the NSA Bill Binney, is currently on tour across Europe to promote an excellent film about both his and the other stories of the earlier NSA whistleblowers before Edward Snowden – “A Good American“.

    • Chelsea Manning’s disciplinary board happens today

      As soon as we get a call from Chelsea, we will let you know the news. (It will most likely be in the mid-late afternoon Central Standard Time.)

      In a blog post that Fight for the Future released yesterday, Chase Strangio, Chelsea’s ACLU attorney, explained that there is some concern about whether she will even be able to call us after the hearing. (This is because the board could decide to punish her with indefinite solitary confinement, which could start immediately.)

    • Jill Stein on Charlotte Shooting: In All These Cases it’s a Matter of Very Aggressive Policing

      Along with Stein’s concerns about aggressive policing, she viewed the climate of fear as adding to the tension.

      “There are background elements here in which there is fear across the board. We live in a Garrison State now, we live in a society divided by fear. That’s why we call not only for accountable policing and community control, but also for a truth and reconciliation commission.”

      Stein says these fears are particularly prevalent in the African-American community.

      “People are up in arms and feel like they are on the firing lines simply for sitting in their car while black.”

    • This photo from Charlotte tells you all you need to know about policing in America

      A line of police officers stand in the dark on a Charlotte, North Carolina, highway. They look like an occupying force with their helmets and face shields and various weaponry strapped all over their armored clothing. A large bus illuminates them with its headlights. The front of the bus declares in bright lights: “NOT IN SERVICE”.

      It’s as if these police responding to protests of Tuesday’s shooting death of Keith Scott are carrying with them a lighted banner that declares what black Americans already know: they are not in service. Not for us.

      It’s the message that police have always been sending black Americans. Blacks make up about 13% of the US population, and yet accounted for 27% of the approximately 1,146 people killed by police in 2015. “Not in service” is the message we got when Tamir Rice was killed, when Freddie Gray was killed, when Eric Garner was killed. This was the message we got when Terence Crutcher was killed this week while asking for service. We understand that if our police force really does exist to protect and serve, it does not exist to protect and serve us.

    • Before Forfeiture Is Finalized, Sheriff Racks Up 54k Miles On Seized Vehicle, Sells It To Private Buyer

      The department’s actions are indicative of an agency that seldom has trouble retaining anything it designates as “guilty” property. So secure was the sheriff’s office in its belief that it would ultimately prevail — despite never bringing criminal charges against the couple whose assets it seized — that it moved ahead with converting the property to cash without having any legal right to do so.

      The Ostipows are now suing [PDF] the sheriff and his deputies in federal court for blithely blowing past even the minimal protections granted to victims of asset forfeiture. In addition to $1 million+ in damages, the Ostipows are seeking declarations that the asset forfeiture processes deployed by the sheriff’s department are Constitutional violations and the compelled released of documents requested by the couple in an earlier FOIA request.

    • Falsely-accused Dane accepts settlement from New York

      Malthe Thomsen on Tuesday accepted a settlement offer amounting to 500,000 kroner in his lawsuit against the New York City Police Department and the State of New York for unlawful detainment and coercing a false confession in a sexual abuse case.

      Thomsen had sought $7 million (48 million kroner) in the case but settled for the much smaller amount, his lawyer Jane Fischer-Byrialsen told Danish media.

      “I think that Malthe deserved much more and should be compensated with much more than he was. But sometimes one needs to be realistic and weigh the risks of continuing a legal case against the money you know you can get here and now,” she told TV2.

      Thomsen sued both the former coworker who accused him of sexually assaulting children at an upscale Manhattan daycare institution and the New York City Police Department, which he says coerced a false admission out of him.

    • SWEDEN IN CHAOS: Number of ‘no-go zones’ INCREASED as police lose control over violence

      In February Express.co.uk reported the Scandinavian country has seen a huge surge in crime since the start of the migrants crisis in Europe with a rise in sex assaults, drug dealing and children carrying weapons.

      The force’s increased lack of control in the country was revealed in a report by Sweden’s National Criminal Investigation Service, where attacks on officers were detailed, including police cars being stoned by masked groups.

      At the time around 50 areas were put on a “blacklist” which are then divided into three categories from “risk areas” to “seriously vulnerable”.

    • Charlotte protests: governor of North Carolina declares state of emergency

      Violence and confusion has spread across Charlotte after a second night of protests was interrupted by gunfire when one protester shot another.

      North Carolina governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, and called for help from the National Guard and the Highway Patrol.

    • Charlotte police chief says why he won’t release video of cop killing black man

      A day after North Carolina’s governor declared a state of emergency amid violent protests following the police killing of a black man, Charlotte’s police chief said Thursday the agency will not publicly release video footage of Keith Lamont Scott’s death.

      A black officer from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department killed Scott, 43, on Tuesday outside an apartment complex while serving a warrant on somebody else. The officer, who has been placed on administrative leave, said Scott had a handgun as he got out of a vehicle and did not follow orders to drop it. Friends and family members maintain Scott was carrying a book—an assertion flatly denied by Kerr Putney, the police chief. At a press conference, he said the authorities retrieved a handgun Scott “was holding in his hand when he got out of the vehicle.”

      [...]

      The Charlotte police agency requires officers to wear body cams. At least three officers on the scene were wearing body cams. Officer Brentley Vinson, the shooter, was not wearing one at the time of the incident.

    • Man who murdered Glasgow shopkeeper for ‘disrespecting Islam’ calls for beheadings in prison YouTube video

      A man who murdered a Glasgow shopkeeper for “disrespecting Islam” has released messages from prison calling on supporters to behead other “insulters”.

      Tanveer Ahmed, 32, admitted stabbing Asad Shah to death in his shop because he felt his victim was “disrespecting the prophet Mohamed” with his beliefs as an Ahmadi Muslim.

      Now, he is encouraging others to do the same in extremist audio messages that appear to have been recorded and released after he was jailed for life.

    • Army Punishes Chelsea Manning With Two Weeks Of Solitary Confinement

      Chelsea Manning went before a three-member disciplinary board at Fort Leavenworth on September 22 and was punished with 14 days of solitary confinement.

      The punishment stems from administrative charges the United States Army brought against Manning after she attempted suicide in July. The Army charged her with “resisting the force cell move team,” “prohibited property,” and “conduct which threatens” the “good order and discipline” of the facility.

      In a statement from Manning, she indicated the Army acquitted her of the “resisting” charge. But she was found guilty of the “conduct which threatens” offense and the “prohibited property” charge, which was for having an “unmarked copy” of Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous by Gabriella Coleman.

    • Women in Iran post photos and videos defying new fatwa against cycling

      Iranian women have been posting photographs and videos of themselves cycling in public, in defiance of a fatwa that claims riding a bike poses a threat to a woman’s chastity. Journalist Masih Alinejad, the founder of My Stealthy Freedom, has urged women to post the images of themselves with the hashtag #IranianWomenLoveCycling.

      Earlier this month, Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini issued a fatwa prohibiting women from cycling in public. “Riding a bicycle often attracts the attention of men and exposes the society to corruption, and thus contravenes women’s chastity, and it must be abandoned,” he told state media.

      In one courageous video, a mother and daughter are seen riding together, and issuing a direct message to Ayatollah Khameini, saying, “It is our absolute right and we are not going to give up.”

      In July, it was reported that a group of women in the country’s north were stopped by law enforcement while riding bicycles and required to sign pledges not to repeat the ‘violation.’

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Senate Comes To Its Senses: Does NOT Support Ted Cruz’s Plan To Block Internet Governance Transition

      So, just a few hours ago, the reports were still spreading that the Senate would absolutely include Ted Cruz’s preferred language that would block the (largely symbolic, but really important) transfer of control over the IANA functions of ICANN away from the Commerce Department. We’ve explained over and over and over again why this is important — including once this morning in response to Donald Trump suddenly taking a stand (an incredibly ignorant one, but a stand) on the issue.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Texas Rangers Oppose Bacardi’s Logo For Green Tea Spirit Because Of The ‘T’

        Now, while the letters “T” in both logos do look kinda-sorta similar, there’s a slight chance that’s because it’s a single freaking letter in the English language and there are only so many ways to depict a capital “T” in a recognizable way. The only real stylistical similarity in the two “T”s is the outjuts in the mid-section of the stem in each letter — known as “median spurs” and found on lots and lots of typefaces. Other than that, the letters are actually fairly distinct in style. And, of course, the rest of each logo has a shit-ton of other components which all severely demonstrate the source of each logo. This makes customer confusion laughably unlikely, particularly given that the Texas Rangers are known by the public to be in the sporting industry, even though the team claims it holds trademarks on its logo for use on beverages and food services.

    • Copyrights

      • ISP Trolls Copyright Troll With A Taste of Its Own Medicine

        Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof is giving copyright trolls a taste of their own medicine. The company has sent a settlement request to the group that’s spearheading the copyright trolling efforts in Sweden, asking them to pay up for alleged trademark infringement, or else.

      • European Commission promises harshened copyright and untraceable free wifi everywhere on the same day

        The European Commission has promised a number of things related to IT in its State of the European Union address. Two promises that stand out are another harshening of the copyright monopoly in combination with a promise of public and free wifi from all public authorities. These are obviously in direct conflict, as a public wifi is easily (and commonly) used to circumvent digital distribution monopolies – and politicians seem completely unaware that these two promises probably shouldn’t be in the very same set of press releases.

        In the European Commission’s Digital Agenda RSS feed, there was a recent barrage of press releases related to the evaluation of the European Union Copyright Directive – the EU’s equivalent of the DMCA – where the Commission decided it was a good idea to introduce the “ancillary copyright” on news snippets for legacy news organizations. Yes, that’s the complete moronity commonly known as the “Google Tax”, which I wrote about in a previous post.

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