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10.18.16

Links 18/10/2016: Release Candidate of Leap 42.2, Looking Ahead at GTK4

Posted in News Roundup at 11:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Best Linux Intranet Solutions

    There’s a lot of benefits to having your local communications within the confines of your office Intranet. When it comes to keeping content and communications local, there are a number of decent Linux Intranet friendly solutions to serve content to those on your network.

  • Server

    • The Ops Identity Crisis

      A big theme in the keynotes and conversation during Velocity Conf in NYC a few weeks ago was the role of ops in an “ops-less” and “server-less” world. It’s also been a big feature in discussions on twitter and in conversations I’ve had with coworkers and friends in the industry. There are several things that stand out to me in these conversations: first, that some ops engineers (sysadmins, techops, devops, and SREs) are worried that they will be phased out if developers and software engineers are responsible for the operational tasks in their systems; second, that developers and software engineers do not have the skills needed to take over responsibility for operational tasks; and third, that building reliable systems is impossible without an operations organization.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel 4.9 merge window highlights

      The 4.8 kernel was released on October 2nd. This also marked the start of the merge window for the 4.9 kernel. The merge window is the time period when kernel subsystem maintainers send their pull requests for new features to be included in the 4.9 kernel. Here are a few features pulled into the 4.9 kernel that might be of interest for Fedora users.

    • The Linux Foundation strives to unite open-source JavaScript community
    • The Linux Foundation Helps Launch the JS Foundation

      Today, the Linux Foundation announced the creation of a new entity named the JS Foundation that will serve as an umbrella project and guiding force for various open-source utilities at the heart of the JavaScript ecosystem.

      The JS Foundation’s primary mission is to help manage and fund projects, but also cultivate best practices in the JavaScript ecosystem.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Clear Linux Now Riding On Linux 4.8.1, Ships AVX2-Optimized Python

      Intel’s Clear Linux open-source operating system continues advancing as one of the less heard of but highly performant rolling-release distributions for servers, cloud, containers, and other applications.

      Clear Linux Highlights #4 was published today to make known some of the latest improvements. Some of the recent packaging changes include landing GNOME 3.22 components, adding Wayland 1.12, introducing Apache Maven, and updates to various existing packages. Some of the notable updates are using Linux 4.8.1, systemd 231, Vim 8.0, Emacs 25.1, and Node.js 6.8.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Linux Kernel 4.8 and KDE Plasma 5.8.1 Coming Soon to openSUSE Tumbleweed Users

        openSUSE Project’s Dominique Leuenberger informed the Tumbleweed community about the latest goodies that landed in the stable software repositories of the rolling release operating system during the past week.

        We’re talking here about the openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots released during the week of October 10, 2016, which brought several interesting software components which might get users of the rolling OS excited. For example, you can now enjoy the latest KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS desktop environment.

      • First openSUSE Leap 42.2 Release Candidate Adds KDE Plasma 5.8.1, GNOME Updates

        Just a few minutes ago, openSUSE Project, through Douglas DeMaio, proudly announced the availability of the first Release Candidate (RC) version of the upcoming openSUSE Leap 42.2 operating system.

      • OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 Release Candidate Published
      • Release Candidate Available for openSUSE Leap 42.2

        The openSUSE Project is pleased to announce the availability of the openSUSE Leap 42.2 Release Candidate 1 (RC1).

        Since mid-May, the project has been guiding the development of the next openSUSE community release Leap 42.2, which will be released in 29 days. The release of RC1 completes the development process for openSUSE Leap 42.2 based on source code from SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) Service Pack (SP) 2.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Why enterprises are now opting for open source software

        In March this year, Red Hat became the world’s first open source software (OSS) solutions company to cross $2 billion in revenue. The term open source implies ‘free’ access to software which developers can modify. Not many thought Red Hat would be successful when the company was founded in 1993. However, it has proved its naysayers wrong with a $14.78 billion market cap (as on September 30), $600 million revenue in Q2 FY17 and entry into the Forbes list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in 2016 for the fourth time. Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat’s president and CEO, and Rajesh Rege, its India MD, tell Forbes India why enterprises are now opting for open source software.

      • CentOS Linux Vagrant Boxes Gets September’s Updates and XFS File System Support

        CentOS maintainer Karanbir Singh announced the availability of updated Vagrant Box images for the CentOS Linux 7 and CentOS Linux 6 operating systems for the month of September 2016.

      • Using feedback loops for greater work satisfaction

        In August I wrote about using feedback loops in your personal life to get unstuck from unproductive habits. This month I’ll talk about some new helpful feedback loops for your workplace. I’m going to make this easy for you: Here are my top three, and they’re always good ones to start with.

      • Red Hat study shows virtualization will keep growing

        With the rise of exciting new technologies like containers, virtualization might sometimes seem like it’s old hat. But not according to Red Hat, whose latest research shows that enterprise adoption is still on the rise.

        In a new survey of over 900 enterprise information technology pros, Red Hat discovered that virtualization is still gaining traction thanks to its ability to drive server consolidation, reduce provisioning times, serve as platform for app development and deployment and save enterprises money.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • New Tool Lets You Easily Install the Ubuntu Touch OS on Your Mobile Devices

            Softpedia was just informed by Marius Quabeck from UbuntuFun.de about a new tool that lets users super easily install the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system on their devices.

            The tool is developed by Marius Quabeck himself and is called magic-device-tool. The first stable version, magic-device-tool 1.0, is now available to everyone and promises to offer a simple and easy-to-use batch tool for installing Canonical’s Ubuntu Touch mobile OS, as well as Android, Cyanogenmod, or Phoenix OS.

            In other words, you’ll be able to replace your mobile operating system on your device with any of the following: the latest Ubuntu Touch release, Cyanogenmod – with or without the GAPPS (Google Apps) package, the factory Android image, as well as Phoenix OS. Please note that you’ll only be able to run one of these OSes on your mobile devices.

          • Canonical Brings Ubuntu OpenStack, Ceph to ARM Servers

            Telco and enterprise customers are looking for an alternative source of silicon beyond Intel for data center silicon, Canonical officials say.
            ARM officials took a step forward in their effort to build the software ecosystem around its efforts in the data center when Canonical said that its Ubuntu OpenStack and Ceph offerings are now commercially available on servers powered by ARM’s 64-bit chip architecture.

          • Ubuntu OpenStack and Ceph Storage now available on ARM v8-A

            Unified solution will benefit majority of public cloud services, Canonical explained

            Canonical and ARM have announced a strategic partnership, making Ubuntu OpenStack and Ceph Storage now available on ARM v8-A-based enterprise solutions.

            Working together with Ubuntu certified System on Chip (SoC) partners, ODMs and OEMs, the two companies will ensure the equipment used by customers, such as servers, storage and networking products can be used with Ubuntu Advantage.

            “We have seen our Telecom and Enterprise customers start to radically depart from traditional server design to innovative platform architectures for scale-out compute and storage. In partnering with ARM we bring more innovation and platform choice to the marketplace,” Mark Baker, product manager of OpenStack at Canonical said.

          • Canonical gives Ubuntu Linux 17.04 the name ‘Zesty Zapus’ (jumping mouse)

            Linux distributions and silly names go together like peanut butter and jelly. For whatever reason, the maintainers of these operating systems seem to enjoy having fun with what they call them — some argue it is childish. Even Google — a billion dollar company — uses sugary dessert names for the Linux-based Android operating system.

            One of the most well-known Linux distributions to use funny names is Ubuntu. It famously uses the convention of an adjective and a lesser-known animal, each starting with the same letter. The letter is chosen sequentially by alphabet. For example, Ubuntu 16.10 uses the letter “Y” — “Yakkety Yak”. The next version of the operating system will use the letter “Z”. While many folks hoped for “Zebra”, that would be too obvious. Instead, Canonical has chosen “Zesty Zapus”. Don’t know what a zapus is? Neither did I. It is apparently a type of jumping mouse. The selection was not made at random, however, as the company has an explanation for the decision.

          • Upcoming Zesty Zapus, Bodhi 4 Beta 3

            Mark Shuttleworth today blogged of the “metaphorical” naming of the release has reached the end of the alphabet with 17.04′s Zesty Zapus. Apparently, a zapus is “a genus of North American jumping mice,” thanks to Wikipedia, and is the only living mammal to have 18 teeth. The genus includes three distinct subspecies and has inhabited Earth since the Pliocene. They have long tails, long back feet, yellowish-brown backs and white bellies. Zesty means “having an agreeably pungent taste,” according to the collective dictionary databases of KDict.

          • Ubuntu MATE 16.10 – quick screenshot tour

            Ubuntu MATE became an officially supported family member not so long ago. Linux notes from DarkDuck have already published a review of Ubuntu MATE 16.04.

          • Why the IoT security nightmare could be a dream for Ubuntu

            A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how the poor design of Internet of Things devices poses a serious threat to the Internet. By an interesting coincidence, security guru Bruce Schneier wrote about the same issue on the same day, albeit rather more authoritatively. Other articles on the topic continue to appear, as people begin to wake up to the seriousness of this issue.

            On Monday, I attended the opening day of Oscon in London, and listening to Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth talk about “Brilliant pebbles,” it seemed to me that he was outlining part of a possible solution to IoT’s problems. Here’s a description of his keynote…

  • Devices/Embedded

    • RPi Compute Module 3 revealed, tapped for NEC signage

      On Oct. 10, NEC Display Solutions Europe announced it would produce a series of digital signage display computers equipped with the upcoming Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, which runs Linux on the same quad-core Cortex-A53 SoC as the Raspberry Pi 3. On Oct. 14, Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading, made his own announcement of the displays, adding some more details, and today, the datasheet for the Compute Module 3 leaked online.

      Long story short: the Compute Module 3 is pin compatible with the original, but will be available in 4GB eMMC and SD-only models. There’s no pricing or close-up photo, but the module will ship by the end of the year.

    • How to fly your DIY Raspberry Pi drone

      We’ve shown you how to build your own drone, and once you’d fitted all the cables and powered up, you have been able to enjoy your first flight. However, if you’ve found that your drone has a tendency to fly off in a random direction or doesn’t seem to respond in the way that you want then we’re now going to take a look at the delicate process of connection and calibration.

      The calibration of the drone will be carried out using software called APM which enables us to calibrate the RC unit with the PXFMini autopilot module.

    • Demonstrating the Future of IoT

      Yesterday was a special day. It would be a nightmare day for most tech executive. I was a keynote speaker for OpenIoT Europe / Embedded Linux Conference from The Linux Foundation and was asked to demo IoT in front of more than a thousand [potentially multiple thousands] experts. If there is one thing software companies don’t do enough, it is sending their executives to demo their new products. I survived and it went quite well. This blog post will run through my demos but also explain how each is just a building block towards a software defined future in which home, business and industrial IoT will redefine our future. My code is on Github and where possible I will give instructions to do the demo yourself.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • App: Smart Tutor Released by Samsung for Tizen Smartphones

          A new app named Smart Tutor has been released by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and is available right now from the Tizen Store. Using the app you are able to contact Samsung customer care about your device support needs. It’s an easy, quick and safe technical support application and a good consulting tool for Samsung smartphones. You can get help from Samsung Customer Care for solve your device’s technical issues. It can be used to diagnose your device remotely in order to optimize device performance and give functional advice.

      • Android

        • Google Maps for Android can now show you nearby traffic through a one-tap shortcut
        • HTC launches virtual reality-focused Viveport M storefront for Android
        • BlackBerry Mercury, Like Pixel Phones And LG V20, Will Run Android 7.0 Nougat Out Of The Box

          BlackBerry appears to be up to speed when it comes to releasing new Android smartphones. Since releasing the PRIV and DTEK50, the Canadian company reportedly worked on a new smartphone, which is now called the DTEK60. Just this Monday, however, new information has surfaced, revealing that Apple’s former greatest rival is working on another Android hardware.

        • PBS Launches Android Tablet for Kids

          A sub-$100 Android tablet is hitting Best Buy stores in November, and its 16GB of flash storage will be prefilled with so much content you probably won’t have room to add your own.

          But it’s not all adware, as you might expect for such a cheap device. Instead, the more than 25 games and 120 video clips are educational resources from PBS Kids. Dubbed the “Playtime Pad,” the $80 tablet is a partnership between PBS and California budget electronics maker Ematic.

        • Google Pixel review: Bland, pricey, but still the best Android phone

          Welcome to the age of Google Hardware. Apparently tired of letting third-party Android OEMs serve as the stewards of Android handsets, Google has become a hardware company. (Again).

          Earlier this year Google, launched a hardware division with former Motorola President Rick Osterloh at the helm. With the high-ranking title of “Senior Vice President,” Osterloh doesn’t oversee a side project—his group is on even footing with Android, Search, YouTube, and Ads. The hardware group is so powerful inside Google that it was able to merge Nexus, Pixel, Chromecast, OnHub, ATAP, and Glass into a single business unit. The group’s coming out party was October 4, 2016, where it announced Google Home, Google Wifi, a 4K Chromecast, the Daydream VR headset, and the pair of phones we’re looking at today: the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The answer to Internet of Things madness? Open source, of course!

    “Open is always going to win,” states Ed Hemphill, CEO of WigWag, a company that hopes to make sense of the ever-expanding and ever-more-complex Internet of Things market.

    WigWag is named after the traditional flags used by the US military’s Signal Corps to communicate messages. Hemphill and his cofounder Travis McCollum both served in the Signal Corps before starting up their company in Austin, Texas.

  • What the history of open source teaches us about strategic advantage

    The free software movement started like many other movements: A group of bright, spirited people felt controlled by a greater power and rose up and took matters into their own hands.

    It’s not that different from the American Revolution. The colonists were tired of being controlled by Great Britain, so they declared their independence and started building their own system of government and military, and creating their own cultures. The revolutionaries’ methods were disorganized and improvised, but they ultimately proved to be effective. Same goes for the software revolutionaries.

  • Web Browsers

    • 7 chronic browser bugs plaguing the web

      Web browsers are amazing. If it weren’t for browsers, we wouldn’t be able to connect nearly as well with users and customers by pouring our data and documents into their desktops, tablets, and phones. Alas, all of the wonderful content delivered by the web browser makes us that much more frustrated when the rendering isn’t as elegant or bug-free as we would like.

      When it comes to developing websites, we’re as much at the mercy of browsers as we are in debt to them. Any glitch on any platform jumps out, especially when it crashes our users’ machines. And with design as such a premium for standing out or fitting in, any fat line or misapplied touch of color destroys the aesthetic experience we’ve labored to create. Even the tiniest mistake, like adding an extra pixel to the width of a line or misaligning a table by a bit, can result in a frustrating user experience, not to mention the cost of discovering, vetting, and working around it.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • 12 Top Open Source Data Analytics Apps

      For many large enterprises, open source big data analytics have become an integral part of daily business. According to a 2016 New Vantage Partners survey of executives at Fortune 1000 companies, 62.5 percent of enterprises are now running at least one big data tool or application in production. That’s nearly double the number who said the same thing in 2013. And only 5.4 percent of those surveyed had no big data plans.

      When it comes to big data analytics, open source software is the rule rather than the exception. Several of the leading tools enterprises are using are managed by the Apache Foundation, and many of the commercial tools are based at least in part on these open source solutions.

      In this slideshow, we’re featuring twelve of the top open source data analytics solutions. Some of them offer a complete end-to-end platform for big data analytics while others must be combined with other technologies. All of them are suitable for enterprise use and are among the leading tools for data analysis.

    • One CTO’s mission to boost needed OpenStack skills in future IT talent

      Virtually every employer struggles to hire people with needed tech skills. But Amrith Kumar, CTO of the OpenStack database-as-a-service company Tesora, is fighting the talent crunch in the future. He’s investing some of his time in working with college students, making sure there will be more available hires with OpenStack expertise. In an interview with The Enterprisers Project, Kumar explains why this work is so important.

    • OpenStack Summit, Barcelona: Your Guide to the Event

      The OpenStack Summit event in Barcelona is only days away, and you can still register. According to the OpenStack Foundation, approximately 6,000 attendees from 50+ countries are expected to attend the conference, taking place Oct. 25 – 28 in Barcelona.

      This event is a bi-annual gathering of OpenStack community members, technology leaders, developers and ecosystem supporters. Each year one summit event is held in North America and then one additional event rotates between Asia and Europe. Barcelona already has a packed schedule, and here is what you can expect from the event.

    • Mesosphere Embeds Marathon Container Orchestration in DC/OS

      While Marathon may not draw as much attention these days as other container orchestration technologies, work surrounding the platform continues. With the latest version of the DC/OS platform from Mesosphere, the Marathon container orchestration engine now comes baked in.

      Tal Broda, vice president of engineering for Mesosphere, says with version 1.8 of DC/OS via a new Services Feature the Marathon container orchestration engine can be more naturally invoked, with the same dashboard IT administrators employ to schedule jobs and perform other tasks. The end result is a more refined IT management experience.

    • A new kind of match-making: Speed mentoring

      My primary focus is to make contributing to the OpenStack community easier and more fun.

      I’m an upstream developer advocate for the OpenStack Foundation, and this work includes bringing new people into the community, making sure members of the community feel valued, and reducing conflict and removing roadblocks to contribution. It’s also part of my job to smooth the path for newcomers just starting to get involved in the community.

      In many cases, people looking to contribute often don’t know where to start—a mentor can point new people in the right direction and help them feel involved and engaged.

  • BSD

    • DragonFly 4.6.1 tagged

      I don’t have it uploaded yet, but DragonFly 4.6.1 is tagged. Anyone with an existing 4.6.0 or earlier system can upgrade now. Use the 4.6 release instructions if you are unsure on how to upgrade. The 4.6.1 tag commit message has all the changes.

  • Public Services/Government

    • France renews its two free software support contracts

      The French administration in charge of the public procurement, and DINSIC (the state agency in charge of the IT ) have renewed the two contracts for free software support services. Both contracts were awarded to the French free software services provider Linagora.

    • White House Open-Sources Bot Code
    • White House open sources Facebook Messenger

      The US government is looking to help other governments build bots, with the White House having shared open source code for President Obama’s Facebook Messenger bot.

      Jason Goldman, Chief Digital Officer of the White House, said in a post announcing the open source move: “we’re open-sourcing this White House technology, with the hope that other governments and developers can build similar services—and foster similar connections with their citizens— with significantly less upfront investment.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Linux & Open Source News Of The Week — Ubuntu 16.10, FreeBSD 11, Android 7.1, And More
    • Open Data

      • Open Data: 81% of European countries have a dedicated policy

        In 2016, 81% of countries in the European Union have a dedicated Open Data policy, up from 69% in 2015, according to a new report, “Open Data maturity in Europe 2016,” produced by Capgemini.

        Data collected from the European Open Data Portal showed that, in 2016, only five countries in the EU28+ zone had not yet deployed an Open Data policy (nine countries in 2015): Hungary, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta and Portugal.

        The report also showed signs of improvement in the involvement of European countries in Open Data. In 2016, 57% had completed what the report called their open data journey – an incremental strategy which leads to opening data. This is a 28.6% increase compared to 2015. “A majority of the EU28+ countries have successfully developed a basic approach to address Open Data,” the report stated. “Countries are also investing in understanding the impact of Open Data for their economy and society via the launch of a number of studies and interactions with civil society,” the report went on to say.

  • Programming/Development

    • More GCC Patches To Get OpenMP Offloading To NVIDIA NVPTX Working

      Fresh patches are available for GCC to get OpenMP offloading to the NVIDIA PTX ISA working for accelerating OpenMP on NVIDIA GPUs with the GNU Compiler Collection.

      Alexander Monakov has published the latest patches for GCC to provide OpenMP offloading to NVPTX, the ISA to be consumed in turn by NVIDIA’s proprietary driver. GCC NVPTX support has been ongoing for quite a while now but these are the final pieces for getting OpenMP support in place.

Leftovers

  • The Villains of Remote Work

    Working remotely is awesome. It’s how DNSimple operates. There’s no office, there are no working hours, there is nowhere you need to be, there’s no commute, and no line for the bathroom. You’re free to work when you want, how you want, and from wherever you want.

    Working on a small team is awesome. It’s how DNSimple operates. There are no deadlines, there are no managers, there is no disconnect between the development and the business, and no HR department. You’re free to contribute wherever it’s effective, you get to know your coworkers well, you develop your own workflow, and you’re held accountable by your commitment to your team and forward progress.

    Both core aspects of DNSimple, being a small remote team is a wonderful combination, but it’s one that opens itself up to unexpected vulnerabilities. Much like how when a superhero makes their appearance, villains inevitably follow…being part of a small team that works remotely is a superpower that draws in super-villainy.

  • Science

    • Connected cars are cash cows; low margins may have killed the Apple Car

      A pair of articles published on Monday by Bloomberg and Fast Company provide an interesting snapshot of the ongoing collision between the tech and automotive industries. In the former, Mark Gurman and Alex Webb provide a fuller exploration of Apple’s ongoing “Project Titan” than we’ve read to date. The “so secret we can’t talk about it” car R&D is believed to have been heavily scaled back—along with Apple’s vehicular ambitions.

      The once thousand-strong team has now lost hundreds of members, particularly those working on a car OS, as well as chassis and suspension design, Bloomberg reports. Perhaps Apple’s scaled-back plans were inevitable; according to Bloomberg, “Apple executives had imagined an electric car that could recognize its driver by fingerprint and autonomously navigate with the press of a button.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • [Older] Pesticide manufacturers’ own tests reveal serious harm to honeybees

      Unpublished field trials by pesticide manufacturers show their products cause serious harm to honeybees at high levels, leading to calls from senior scientists for the companies to end the secrecy which cloaks much of their research.

      The research, conducted by Syngenta and Bayer on their neonicotinoid insecticides, were submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency and obtained by Greenpeace after a freedom of information request.

      Neonicotinoids are the world’s most widely used insecticides and there is clear scientific evidence that they harm bees at the levels found in fields, though only a little to date showing the pesticides harm the overall performance of colonies. Neonicotinoids were banned from use on flowering crops in the EU in 2013, despite UK opposition.

      Bees and other insects are vital for pollinating three-quarters of the world’s food crops but have been in significant decline, due to the loss of flower-rich habitats, disease and the use of pesticides.

    • CEO’s Death Stirs Debate About Chinese Techies’ 70-Hour Work Weeks

      The premature death of the 44-year-old founder of a prominent mobile health app startup has spurred a bout of soul searching in the Chinese tech community, where working long hours in the hope of making a quick fortune has become a way of life.

  • Security

    • Understanding and Securing Linux Namespaces

      Richard Guy Briggs, a kernel security engineer and Senior Software Engineer at Red Hat, talked about the current state of Kernel Audit and Linux Namespaces at the Linux Security Summit. He also shared problems plaguing containers and what might be done to address them soon.

      His insights are borne of deep experience. Briggs was an early adopter of Linux back in 1992, and has written UNIX and Linux device drivers for telecom, video and network applications and embedded devices.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • An ‘Epidemic of Graft’ – Anti-Corruption Efforts in Afghanistan Fail Hard

      The U.S. spends spends $5 billion of your tax money a year in “aid” to Afghanistan, plus billions more for the cost of the thousands of American troops and Pentagon-sponsored military contractors there.

      An “Epidemic of Graft”

      One of the (many) reasons why all that money has accomplished close to jack squat in 15 years of war is corruption. Extraordinary amounts of U.S. money simply disappears, siphoned off at high levels, passed on as bribes to suppliers and Taliban hustlers at the lower levels. It is, according to one study, an “epidemic of graft.”

    • The Story Changes: The Pentagon Is No Longer Sure Yemen Fired Missiles At A US Ship

      Last Thursday, after two consecutive missile attacks on the US Navy ship USS Mason, which allegedly were launched by Houthi rebel forces in Yemen, the US entered its latest military engagement in the middle east, when the USS Nitze launched several Tomahawk cruise missiles aimed at radar installations located by the Bab el-Mandab straight, and which enabled the launch of at least three missiles against the U.S. ship.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • WikiLeaks Claims ‘State Actor’ Has Cut Off Assange’s Internet

      One of Julian Assange’s only ways of communicating with the outside world from within the Ecuadorian Embassy in London has been disconnected, according to WikiLeaks.

      WikiLeaks claims that a “state actor” has cut off Assange’s internet access, with the group’s Twitter account confirming on the morning of October 17 that Assange’s connection has been “intentionally severed” and contingency plans are being activated. It’s unclear what those contingency plans may be and Motherboard was unable to verify Wikileaks’ claim. The Ecuadorian Embassy also did not immediately provide Motherboard with any more information.

    • Wikileaks: a “state party” has cut off Julian Assange’s primary internet access

      Late yesterday, the @wikileaks account tweeted “Julian Assange’s internet link has been intentionally severed by a state party. We have activated the appropriate contingency plans.”

      The tweet followed some apparent “dead man’s switch” with what looked like cryptographic fingerprints or keys, which could be used to decrypt “insurance files” of leaks that had been posted in encrypted form to a server somewhere, or to verify future documents as having originated with Wikileaks.

      The “state party” could be the UK government, which exercises an extraordinary level of fine-grained control over the six major ISPs that serve the UK market (Assange is stuck in the Ecuadoran embassy in London), or it could be another government.

    • Assange net access cut after Clinton papers leaked

      The government of Ecuador has been accused of cutting off Internet access for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after the organisation released details of speeches given to Goldman Sachs by Democrat presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

      In a tweet, WikiLeaks said: “We can confirm Ecuador cut off Assange’s internet access Saturday, 5pm GMT, shortly after publication of Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speechs.”

      Assange has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since August 2012. He has been accused of rape in Sweden and the country has said recently that it is willing to interview him in the embassy.

    • Someone has pulled the plug on Julian Assange’s internet

      BEFORE ANYONE asks whether someone has tried turning it off and on again, we will quickly get in the fact that somewhere in or around the Ecuadorian embassy someone has turned off Julian Assange’s internet connection and plunged him into a world of daytime television. And no-one is sure how or why.

      Assange has made a home for himself at the embassy, although reportedly not a very comfortable one, and may consider himself lucky to be in exile when he sees The Jeremy Kyle Show. He may even plead for a bit of time out of the office so that he can check any attics for cash.

    • Assange’s Internet “intentionally severed by state party”

      WikiLeaks announced via its Twitter account this morning that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s Internet connection had been cut off, blaming a “state party” for the outage. Assange, who has been ensconced in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since he sought asylum there over four years ago to avoid extradition, has been “detained in absentia” by the Swedish government for questioning on allegations of rape. Other lesser allegations have been dropped because they have passed the time allowed by Sweden’s statute of limitations.

    • Wikileaks: Julian Assange’s internet access ‘cut’

      Wikileaks says that Ecuador has shut down internet access for its founder Julian Assange.

      The transparency activist has sought asylum at London’s Ecuadorean embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition over sex assault allegations.

      Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Guillaume Long made no comment on the claim, saying only: “The circumstances that led to the granting of asylum remain.”

      Wikileaks has recently been releasing emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

    • These Cryptic Wikileaks Tweets Don’t Mean Julian Assange Is Dead [Update]

      In the absence of context, some users on Twitter, Reddit, and various image boards were quick to speculate that the tweets were the result of a “dead man’s switch,” triggered in the event of Julian Assange’s untimely end. Such switches do exist (both mechanically and electronically) and many speculated that all 349 gigs of the heavily-encrypted “Wikileaks insurance” from 2013 are intended for precisely that purpose.

    • What’s Going On With Julian Assange and WikiLeaks? Here Are 4 Theories [Ed: Time continues its endless, years-long attacks on Wikileaks under the guise of “coverage” or “journalism”]
    • Republicans warm up to Assange [iophk: “they are too stupid to understand WL”]

      Republicans are making common cause with an old enemy: Julian Assange.

      In 2010, prominent figures in the GOP wanted the WikiLeaks founder jailed for releasing thousands of diplomatic cables leaked by former Pvt. Chelsea Manning.

      Onetime presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said the leak “put American lives at risk.” Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said Assange had “blood on his hands” and should be “hunted down.” Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) called for the Australian anti-secrecy activist to be tried under the Espionage Act and asked if WikiLeaks could be designated as a terrorist organization.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • WWF: Finnish wildlife already feeling the burn from climate change

      WWF Finland issued a report Monday in which it outlined signs that global warming is already beginning to affect Finland. The organisation noted that ice formations on lakes and open seas last for shorter periods, while vegetation has changed and the tree line is migrating further north.

      “These changes and winter temperatures in particular have a massive impact on species that depend on snow and ice in Finland,” said WWF Finland programme manager Sampsa Vilhunen in a statement.

      According to the report, the Arctic fox has almost entirely disappeared from Finland and the snowy owl has all but shunned Finland as a nesting site, only returning occasionally. Wolverines, the Saimaa ringed seal and salmon are also suffering the effects of climate change, the NGO said.

    • The Riverkeeper: Just a Florida Man Trying to Save Waterways From Toxic Algae

      Marty Baum jumped on a friend’s boat, his phone blowing up with frantic phone calls from fishermen. Forty square miles of catfish, mullet, redfish and most other common game were dead in the water. Thousands of fish, all belly-up.

      “We went out on his boat and I cried,” Baum said. “Every little thing that required dissolved oxygen was dead.”

    • The Montreal Protocol Is the Most Successful Climate Agreement Ever

      Remember the hole in the ozone layer? If you were around in the 80s, you definitely do—it was a climate bogeyman of the time, along with acid rain, and rightfully so.

      It was in that decade that scientists confirmed that chemicals called CFCs (found in aerosol cans like hairspray and deodorant) were eating away at the ozone layer, and would produce some scary consequences, from skyrocketing skin cancer rates to damaging effects on plant life and marine ecosystems, if left unchecked.

      That realization lit a fire under scientists and, importantly, government officials. (Margaret Thatcher, who trained as a chemist, was among those spooked by it.) In 1987, almost every country in the world signed the Montreal Protocol, agreeing on a plan to phase out damaging CFCs. Consumers bought in, too, voluntarily boycotting the spray cans. As a result of this global effort to get rid of CFCs, scientists now say the ozone layer is slowly healing.

  • Finance

    • SoftBank and Saudi Arabia Partner to Form Giant Investment Fund

      SoftBank of Japan has already earned a reputation as one of the most ambitious technology companies around, unafraid to strike huge deals.

      Now the conglomerate is aiming to become one of the world’s biggest investors in tech — potentially with the help of Saudi Arabia.

      SoftBank announced on Thursday that it would form a new investment fund that could invest up to $100 billion in technology companies worldwide.

      SoftBank will invest at least $25 billion into what’s provisionally called the SoftBank Vision Fund over the next five years, while Saudi Arabia is weighing putting in at least $45 billion. They may draw in other partners who could eventually push the fund’s size to its maximum.

    • Cadbury owner paid no UK corporation tax

      The owner of Cadbury paid no corporation tax in its latest financial year, despite making a profit of £177.6m on sales of £1.73bn.

      Mondelez, the UK subsidiary of US snacks giant Kraft Foods, said its annual profit was inflated by a “one-off gain” from the sale of its coffee business, behind brands such as Douwe Egberts, for £147m last year.

      This sale was not subject to tax under UK law.

    • From laptops and cars to Cadbury and Heinz: the brands accused of exploiting Brexit to ramp up prices

      Today a Sun on Sunday investigation has unearthed an epidemic of price increases in the pipeline from firms ready to blame Brexit and the falling Pound.

      Former Cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith has blasted these “Brexit bandits” as firms are already using the impact of the vote to crank up the cost of iPads, Dell laptops and our holiday cash.

      And everyday shopping items such as Cadbury chocolate, Majestic wines and Next clothes could increase too.
      A tub of Marmite on a white background

    • Andersson: “If there were no trade unions, this would be the time to invent them”

      Holmström has predicted that the age of trade unions is about to be over. He estimated last week that changes in the nature of employment will result in a decline in trade union membership and, therefore, in the inevitable disintegration of trade unions.

      “The age of trade unions is over in the sense that their societal power will decrease and their nature and role change,” he told Talouselämä on Friday.

      Andersson acknowledged that the changing nature of traditional occupations and the working life in general will also have an impact on the position and responsibilities of trade unions.

      “Having a high rate of organisation and strong trade union movement is not self-evident, but the trade union movement has to demonstrate that it can keep step with social changes and understand the problems created by the fragmentation of employment and the working life,” she said.

    • The job juggle is real. Many Americans are balancing two, even three gigs

      Many Americans who struggled to find a job several years ago are now juggling two or three.

      The number of multiple job holders hit an eight-year high in September as several forces reshape the labor market. Many workers are seeking extra income as wages are inching up. Job openings are near record levels. And the burgeoning gig economy is putting a premium on freelance work and short-term projects.

      Michael Alfaro, 49, of Coloma, Mich., toils full-time as an executive customer service representative for an appliance manufacturer. And on most evenings and some weekends, he works the late shift — 6 PM to 10 PM or 4 PM to midnight — in the electronics department of a local department store.

      Alfaro decided to take the gig last November to whittle down about $37,000 in debt, including credit card, and student and personal loans. But he also was spurred by the struggles of area retailers and other businesses to find employees.

      “It encouraged me,” he says.

      The ranks of multiple job holders jumped by 300,000 last month to 7.8 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The moonlighters represent 5.2% of all those employed, up from 4.9% in September 2015.

      Monthly data can be volatile, but the totals through the first nine months of 2016 have averaged 7.5 million, nearly 300,000 higher than the year-ago figure.

    • UK inflation rises to 1% in September

      The UK inflation rate rose to 1.0% in September, up from 0.6% in August, according to official figures.

      It is the biggest monthly rise in the cost of household items in more than two years, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

      Rising prices for clothing, overnight hotel stays and motor fuels led to the rise in the Consumer Prices Index.

      However, the ONS said there was “no explicit evidence” the lower pound was increasing prices of everyday goods.

    • Brexit is simulated in Football Manager 2017, and it’s going to make the game harder than ever

      Miles Jacobson is frank about what he is up against: “As far as I know this is the first time a computer game has tried to predict the future of a country.”

      This would always have been a busy time of year for the man in charge of Sports Interactive, the makers of the phenomenally successful Football Manager series of videogames. A new instalment is released on 4 November, but the period leading up to the 2017 edition has been made particularly complicated by the biggest political decision taken in this country since the Second World War.

      While the rest of the world waits to see how the government approaches the triggering of Article 50, Jacobson and his team have built a Brexit simulator into this year’s game, which models some of the consequences of the UK leaving Europe.

      The world outside football is not something that had previously been incorporated into Football Manager, a game so comprehensive that some clubs are now using it as a resource to help scout players. But Brexit, says Jacobson, was too big to be left out: “We usually try and keep politics out of the game because nobody wants it rammed down their throat.

    • How Trump’s Casino Bankruptcies Screwed His Workers out of Millions in Retirement Savings

      When pressed about the multiple bankruptcies at his Atlantic City casinos, Donald Trump routinely says the episodes highlight his business acumen. He made out well, he claims, at the expense only of his greedy Wall Street financiers. “These lenders aren’t babies,” he said during a Republican primary debate last fall. “These are total killers. These are not the nice, sweet little people that you think, okay?”

      Yet among those who suffered as a result of Trump’s bankruptcies were his own casino employees, who collectively lost millions of dollars in retirement savings when the company’s value plummeted.

      Trump’s company encouraged its employees to invest their retirement savings in company stock, according to a class-action lawsuit filed by employees against Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts following its 2004 bankruptcy. Then, when the stock price was near its nadir as bankruptcy loomed, the company forced the employees to sell their stock at a huge loss. More than 400 employees lost a total of more than $2 million from their retirement accounts, the lawsuit states.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • John Oliver Treated Jill Stein and Gary Johnson Like What They Are: Presidential Candidates (Video)

      In the video seen above, the “Last Week Tonight” host powerfully dismisses the idea that third party candidates are “spoilers” and expresses his understanding at the American public’s desire for alternatives to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In an assessment of both the Libertarian and Green Party candidates aired on the HBO show on Sunday, Oliver vetted their positions and statements in a segment that contained quite a few jokes, and, admittedly, quite a bit of ridicule. Johnson came under attack for his less-than-detailed desire to rid the nation of several important government organizations while Stein was criticized for making vague comments that, in Oliver’s view, seemed to egg on conspiracy theorists.

      Yet perhaps being ridiculed by the comedian is part and parcel of running for office. In this sense, Oliver has offered the third party candidates more respect than many other pundits have, including his political comedy peers (see Samantha Bee, for example, who refused to name Stein on her show). The “Last Week Tonight” host even groups the four candidates together at the end of his monologue (something most of the rest of the media have been reluctant to do, still treating third party candidates like extras rather than main players), joking that on Nov. 8 Americans will have to choose between the lesser of four evils, not two.

      “As uncomfortable as this is, everyone has to own the floors of whoever you vote for,” says the host in his wrap-up. “Whether they are a lying, handsy, narcissistic sociopath; a hawkish, Wall-Street-friendly embodiment of everything that some people can’t stand about politics; an ill-tempered mountain molester with a radical, dangerous tax plan that even he can’t defend; or conspiracy-pandering political neophyte with no clear understanding of how governments operate …”

    • The media’s extermination of Bernie Sanders, and real reform

      All politicians love to complain about the press. They complain for good reasons and bad. They cry over frivolous slights and legitimate inquiries alike. They moan about bias. They talk to friendlies only. They manipulate reporters and squirm their way out of questions. And this all makes perfect sense, because politicians and the press are, or used to be, natural enemies.

      Conservative politicians have built their hostility toward the press into a full-blown theory of liberal media bias, a pseudosociology that is today the obsessive pursuit of certain nonprofit foundations, the subject matter of an annual crop of books, and the beating heart of a successful cable-news network. Donald Trump, the current leader of the right’s war against the media, hates this traditional foe so much that he banned a number of news outlets from attending his campaign events and has proposed measures to encourage more libel lawsuits. He does this even though he owes his prominence almost entirely to his career as a TV celebrity and to the news media’s morbid fascination with his glowering mug.

    • Green Party Candidate Jill Stein: What Global Citizens Should Know

      Hillary Clinton isn’t the only woman breaking records in this year’s election.

      Dr. Jill Stein, this year’s Green Party nominee, holds the current record for most votes ever received by a woman candidate for president of the United States in the general election.

      That’s because she also ran in 2012 as the Green Party’s nominee, and since her defeat, Stein has not slowed down.

      A physician who graduated from Harvard, Stein worked in the medical field for 25 years, until 1988, when she moved into activism. This transition was more seamless than you might expect.

    • 6 Signs That the Election is Rigged
    • Donald Trump’s rigged election is GOP’s latest headache

      It might seem as though Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is moving further away from the party that nominated him. Since he declared himself “unshackled” he’s escalated his maverick rhetoric, hammering home his claims that the November 8 election is “rigged” against him.
      Cornered by a flood of accusations of sexual assault, Trump’s Fifth Avenue headquarters has become an unlikely fort from which he’s staging a last stand against an ever-widening circle of enemies that includes not only the media and his Democrat opponent, Hillary Clinton, but much of the GOP. “100% fabricated and made up charges … may poison the minds of the American voter. FIX!” he tweeted on October 15.

    • Judicial Watch Statement on FBI Interview Document Detailing Open Source Investigation into Hillary Clinton’s Emails
    • FBI Agents Say Comey ‘Stood In The Way’ Of Clinton Email Investigation

      FBI agents say the bureau is alarmed over Director James Comey’s decision to not suggest that the Justice Department prosecute Hillary Clinton over her mishandling of classified information.

      According to an interview transcript given to The Daily Caller, provided by an intermediary who spoke to two federal agents with the bureau last Friday, agents are frustrated by Comey’s leadership.

    • Documenting Trump’s Abuse of Women

      When the news broke that Donald Trump had been caught on video in 2005 boasting that, as a celebrity, he feels free to “grab” women “by the pussy,” Harry Hurt III experienced a sense of vindication. In 1993, Hurt published “Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump,” an unauthorized biography that has long been out of print. The day the tape surfaced, he was hitting golf balls at a driving range in Sagaponack, New York, when a text message arrived from a friend: “Donald is done!”

      After Hurt watched the tape, he said, “I thought, Finally, this behavior is coming out.” But he doubted that the revelation would do any real damage to Trump’s campaign. Researching his book, in the early nineties, Hurt discovered and documented more serious instances of Trump’s mistreatment of women, yet most news outlets had declined to report on them. Even during the current campaign, Hurt said, “I’ve been a voice in the wilderness.”

    • Companies used Clinton fundraisers to lobby State Department

      The nexus among private companies, Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the Clinton family foundations is closer and more complex than even Donald Trump has claimed so far.

      While it is widely known that some companies and foreign governments gave money to the foundations, perhaps in an effort to gain favor, one of the key parts of the puzzle hasn’t been reported: At least a dozen of those same companies lobbied the State Department, using lobbyists who doubled as major Clinton campaign fundraisers.

      Those companies gave as much as $16 million to the Clinton charities. At least four of the lobbyists they hired are “Hillblazers,” the Clinton campaign’s name for supporters who have raised $100,000 or more for her current White House race. Two of the four also raised funds for Clinton’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid.

    • Private Prison Company Bankrolls Pro-Trump Super-PAC

      It’s unusual for a publicly traded corporation to donate to a super-PAC, but in August, private prison company GEO Group steered $150,000 to Rebuild America Now, a pro-Donald Trump outfit launched by the GOP nominee’s longtime friend, developer Tom Barrack.

      The timing of the GEO Group’s contribution is significant. It cut a $100,000 check to the super-PAC on August 19, the day after the Justice Department announced that it would phase out the use of private prisons. (The company’s political action committee donated $50,000 to Rebuild America Now a week before the announcement.)

      The multibillion-dollar-a-year private prison industry has been under increasing scrutiny, in part thanks to a groundbreaking investigation by Mother Jones that revealed a litany of disturbing practices at a Louisiana prison run by the Corrections Corporation of America. GEO Group is one of just three companies that operate prisons and detention centers on behalf of the federal government. It’s no surprise the company is putting its money behind Trump. While Hillary Clinton has sharply criticized private prisons, Trump has expressed support for expanding their use, and his policy proposals, including his plan to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, could be a boon for the industry. In addition to backing Trump, the company recently brought on three lobbying firms to represent its interests in Washington.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Porn in the classroom? Here’s why it makes sense

      What a cat I put among the pigeons last week by suggesting, in answer to a question about pornography at a literary festival, that it should be considered suitable for pupils to watch and analyse this material in schools. I was accused, on social media of course, of being a danger to innocent children, and, yes, I received my first online death threat.

      What, I wondered, do so-called grown-ups think our youngsters are up to when it comes to sex? The internet is the wild west of the information age, and the younger generation is far more adept than the older ones at gaining access to its more unsavoury territories.

      Teenagers will always be drawn to the raunchier aspects of whatever culture is available to them. This would once have been a copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, passed around the classroom with a giggle, disguised beneath the cover of Calculus for Beginners.

      In the 1990s there were the lads’ mags, and lots of work for any feminist mother trying to persuade her sons that the exploitation of women – putting semi-nude pictures of them on a bedroom wall – was not a good idea. That was a difficult one, because you didn’t want your kids to think sex was dirty or to make them afraid to share their interest in it with their parents. You just wanted them to know that women should never be used or objectified.

    • Posting on Facebook is now a crime under Ethiopia’s state of emergency

      A state of emergency declared in Ethiopia last week is growing more draconian by the day. Posting updates on the current status of the country, hit by anti-government protests since last November, is now a crime, the government said over the weekend.

      Watching Oromia Media Network and Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio, outlets run by the Ethiopian diaspora supportive of the protesters, is also illegal.

      “The military command will take action on those watching and posting on these social media outlets,” Siraj Fegessa, Ethiopia’s minister of defense, said on state television. Those who violate the terms of the state of emergency risk imprisonment of three to five years.

    • Tomorrow’s Wars Will Be Livestreamed

      Hundreds of thousands of people around the world watched the start of the invasion of Mosul, a city held by ISIS in Iraq, live on Facebook and YouTube this morning.

      The most popular stream—there were several, some of which are still live—was shared by Kurdish outlet Rudaw and re-posted by outlets like the Washington Post and Channel 4 in the UK. While some viewers commented on the merits of the offensive, for others, the livestream itself was the most startling thing. As angry cartoon faces and “Wow!” emoticons floated over top of live images of war, viewers noted that it all seemed like a bit too much like a sci-fi fever dream about a war-obsessed culture.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • ]Older] United States v. Ganias and the Case for Selective Seizures of Digital Evidence

      Recent high-profile cases involving digital searches and seizures have largely focused on government access to data, from the battle over breaking strong encryption to the debates over whether a warrant is required to hack a computer or to obtain private communications from a third-party service provider. But the next big set of questions lurking in the wings revolves around what happens after law enforcement gains access to a cache of personal data: How much can they seize? What can they can search, and how? What happens to non-responsive data? What if it is evidence of another crime? A handful of courts and commentators have grappled with these questions, but the issues seem to be coming up with increasing frequency, highlighting the lack of clarity and consensus on a difficult suite of problems.

      Earlier this year, the Second Circuit waded into these waters when an en banc panel decided United States v. Ganias, a case that many observers expected to resolve a thorny Fourth Amendment question about how long the government can keep seized data that falls outside the scope of a warrant.

      Unfortunately, the opinion may do more to muddy the water than clear it. In particular, it operates on mistaken assumptions about the need to copy entire caches of data and search them off-site, suggesting that such an invasive process will often be reasonable for Fourth Amendment purposes. But a few additional facts make clear that such an approach ought to be exceedingly rare.

    • Court Finds UK Spies Unlawfully Collected Bulk Data for Over a Decade

      The UK government used its bulk collection powers, including sweeping up details on ordinary citizens’ internet usage, illegally for over a decade, according to privacy campaigners.

      On Monday, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), a court tasked with keeping tabs on the country’s surveillance powers, highlighted the intense veil of secrecy that has formed around the UK’s use of bulk powers, and the lack of oversight around those powers, in a written judgment. The judgment comes when the country is just preparing for a huge overhaul in its surveillance legislation, via the Investigatory Powers Bill, which is likely to soon become law.

    • Unregulated Police Face Recognition in America

      There is a knock on your door. It’s the police. There was a robbery in your neighborhood. They have a suspect in custody and an eyewitness. But they need your help: Will you come down to the station to stand in the line-up?

      Most people would probably answer “no.” This summer, the Government Accountability Office revealed that close to 64 million Americans do not have a say in the matter: 16 states let the FBI use face recognition technology to compare the faces of suspected criminals to their driver’s license and ID photos, creating a virtual line-up of their state residents. In this line-up, it’s not a human that points to the suspect—it’s an algorithm.

      But the FBI is only part of the story. Across the country, state and local police departments are building their own face recognition systems, many of them more advanced than the FBI’s. We know very little about these systems. We don’t know how they impact privacy and civil liberties. We don’t know how they address accuracy problems. And we don’t know how any of these systems—local, state, or federal—affect racial and ethnic minorities.

    • Telemetry, an essential part of any cloud-native app [Ed: Putting surveillance in Clown Computing (servers) advocated by this network, under the guise of "diagnostics"]

      Auditing and monitoring cloud applications are often overlooked but are perhaps some of the most important things to plan and do properly for production deployments. If you wouldn’t blindly launch a satellite into orbit with no way to monitor it, you shouldn’t do the same to your cloud application.

    • GPG Sync simplifies encryption key management

      In all the discussion about using encryption, a critical point keeps getting lost: It’s difficult to work with, and it’s even harder to deploy it at scale. Nowhere is the challenge more evident than in sending secure email.

      There are many ways to interact and collaborate — instant messaging, Slack, and so on — but email still dominates in enterprises. Even as encryption goes mainstream with secure messaging tools, more websites adopting HTTPS by default, and cloud storage services allowing easier file encryption, sending an encrypted email message is still a challenge.

    • NSA contractor accused of hoarding classified information seeks pre-trial release

      A former National Security Agency contractor accused of bringing a large volume of classified information to his home is asking to be released as the legal proceedings against him grind forward.

      Harold Martin was arrested by the FBI on Aug. 27 and has been in pretrial detention since, without objection from his lawyers. The defense strategy seemed aimed at convincing investigators that Martin meant no harm with his activities and had no intention to disclose sensitive information to anyone.

      That phase of the case seemed to come to a close Monday as Martin’s defense lawyers filed a motion in federal court asking for a hearing to discuss conditions for the computer specialist’s release.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Spy fraud

      Taxpayers are paying intelligence contractors to browse Facebook, watch porn, and commit crimes

    • Intelligence Watchdog Finds Contractor Abuses

      Last week brought news that another Booz Allen Hamilton employee was accused of improperly removing sensitive material from the National Security Agency (NSA). Harold Thomas Martin III was charged with theft of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials. The government alleges Martin took documents and digital files containing information that, if disclosed, “reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.”

      It was another black eye for Booz Allen, which was NSA surveillance program whistleblower Edward Snowden’s employer. It was equally embarrassing for the U.S. intelligence community, which pays contractors like Booz Allen billions of dollars each year to help run its global operations and keep a tight lid on our country’s more sensitive secrets.

    • The Pentagon Must Stop Abusing the War Budget

      After years of claiming that the war budget has been limited to paying for the costs of foreign conflicts, the Pentagon has finally admitted that it has been using that account to pay for tens of billion of dollars in costs that have nothing to do with fighting wars. This budget shell game has been particularly egregious in recent years, as the Pentagon has sought to evade the caps on non-war spending that were imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

      The revelation was recently confirmed by Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col Eric Badger. Badger acknowledged that this year’s request for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account – the formal term for the war budget – contains $30 billion for “enduring requirements” that have always been funded whether or not the nation was at war.

    • Pentagon Admits Half of War Spending Account Is Slush

      The Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account was originally designed to support unanticipated and difficult-to-plan costs for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. But over time—particularly to circumvent spending caps established by the Budget Control Act and subsequent budget deals—it’s become a slush fund for programs with little connection to our current war efforts. Now a new story by Tony Bertuca at Inside Defense reveals we grossly underestimated just how slushy this fund has truly become.

      The Congressional Research Service (CRS) previously found that even according to the Pentagon’s own accounting, $71 billion in OCO spending went to non-war programs from 2001 to 2014. The definition for OCO became increasingly squishy as Congress and the Pentagon sought opportunities to increase Pentagon spending to circumvent spending caps first established by the Budget Control Act. For example, in 2014 then-House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon expanded the definition of OCO to include “readiness shortfalls.”

    • Out-of-control North Dakota prosecutors still pursuing reporter Amy Goodman, even after judge dismisses riot charge

      Award-winning journalist Amy Goodman won an important victory for press freedom yesterday, but given alarming new comments made by her prosecutor, it may be short lived.

      On Monday, a judge quickly dismissed an absurd ‘riot’ charge brought against her by North Dakota authorities that stemmed from her coverage on Democracy Now of a violent attack on Dakota Access Pipeline protesters. But apparently, prosecutors don’t plan on dropping their investigation into her. They announced they may charge her again and indicated they want her unaired footage.

    • Malaysian sharia laws: Parliament to debate hudud bill that could introduce stonings and amputations in state of Kelantan

      The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party — commonly known as PAS — is pushing to introduce the proposed laws in the conservative north-eastern state, but first the bill must be passed by the Malaysian national parliament.

      Kelantan is a major stronghold for PAS, which was founded in 1951 and is among the country’s oldest and largest opposition parties.

      “Among the mandate from the people is to try to establish the Islamic system here, including the Islamic criminal law,” PAS executive council member Mohd Fadzi said.

      Kelantan’s state capital Kota Bahru is deeply religious and many of its citizens live by a strict adherence to Islam.

      At shops and supermarkets there are separate queues for males and females, while signs advising women to cover up are common outside offices and government buildings.

    • Aggravated judge tosses off robe, joins courtroom scuffle

      When McBain’s court officer went to take Larson into custody, he resisted. McBain said he was “hand fighting” the officer, Jared Schultz, then a deputized law clerk. Larson would not cooperate, tensed up and made a fist as though he was trying to fight, said Schultz, now working for the state Court of Appeals.

      There were no other officers or any sheriff’s deputies in the courtroom – they are not typically present unless there is a jailed person in court – and McBain said he assisted in getting control of Larson’s hands, arms and elbows. Schultz, a former police officer, said he was fortunate to have the judge as backup.

      Schultz said at one time he removed his Taser from its holster, but did not have to use it.

      Even when Larson was on the floor, he wouldn’t allow the officer to cuff him, said McBain, who says he was concerned about the welfare of both men.

    • Sweden’s Shaky Walk Down the Aisle of Equality

      Everything was perfect on the day of Hanna Skjutare’s wedding. On a Saturday in September the sun shone down on the rural church where the ceremony was held and Skjutare was sipping champagne and getting ready with her bridesmaids. They took a car to the church and met up with Hanna’s dad, who escorted the bride down the aisle to her groom and their toddler son.

      “That was one of the strongest memories of the whole day when my dad saw me in my wedding dress and his eyes teared up,” Skjutare explains over lunch.

    • Muslim woman who was sentenced to 40 lashes for wearing a MINISKIRT as a teenager reveals how she left Iran to forge a new life in the US as a bikini designer

      A Muslim woman who was punished for wearing a miniskirt says she’s been heavily criticised for pursuing a career as a swimwear designer.

      Tala Raassi told FEMAIL how she was sentenced to 40 lashes in her hometown of Tehran for attending a mixed party when she was 16 – but has refused to let her ordeal hold her back.

      Instead Tala moved to the States where, despite speaking no English, she carved out a career in fashion, launched her own swimwear line and has just written her first book.

    • Court: It’s entirely reasonable for police to swipe a suspicious gift card

      A US federal appeals court has found that law enforcement can, without a warrant, swipe credit cards and gift cards to reveal the information encoded on the magnetic stripe. It’s the third such federal appellate court to reach this conclusion.

      Last week, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals found in favor of the government in United States v. Turner, establishing that it was entirely reasonable for Texas police officers to scan approximately 100 gift cards found in a car that was pulled over at a traffic stop. Like the previous similar 8th Circuit case that Ars covered in June 2016, the defendants challenged the search of the gift cards as being unreasonable. (The second case was from the 3rd Circuit in July 2015, in a case known as US v. Bah.)

      In this case, after pulling over the car and running the IDs of both men, police found that there was an outstanding warrant for the passenger, Courtland Turner. When Turner was told to get out of the car and was placed in the patrol car, the officer returned to the stopped car and noticed an “opaque plastic bag partially protruding from the front passenger seat,” as if someone had tried to push it under the seat to keep it hidden.

    • Refugees being forced into ‘modern slavery’ by people traffickers before attempting deadly journey to Europe

      Refugees and migrants risking their lives in desperate attempts to reach Europe are being forced into “modern slavery” by ruthless people traffickers who are imprisoning, torturing and raping those they exploit.

      A new report has revealed the shocking scale of abuse by criminal gangs who prey on asylum seekers travelling across Africa – most commonly in Libya, which has become the main launching point for smugglers’ boats in the chaos following its civil war.

      Research by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) found that almost three quarters of migrants attempting to cross the Central Mediterranean have experienced exploitation and human trafficking.

      The group said practices occurring with “alarming scare and frequency” included forced labour, imprisonment, kidnapping, ransom and physical and sexual abuse.

    • The Last Nuremberg Prosecutor Has 3 Words Of Advice: ‘Law Not War’

      When the Nazi leadership was put on trial in Nuremberg, Germany, in the wake of World War II, the notion of an international war crimes tribunal was new and controversial.

      British Prime Minister Winston Churchill proposed a summary execution of Nazi leaders. But it was decided that trials would be more effective, and would set a precedent for prosecuting future war crimes.

      Thirteen trials were held in Nuremberg from 1945 to 1949, with multiple defendants in the cases. The prosecutor for one trial was Benjamin Ferencz, who was just 27 at the time, and it was his first trial.

      “We shall establish beyond the realm of doubt facts which, before the dark decade of the Third Reich, would have seemed incredible,” Ferencz said at the trial.

      He served as a combat soldier during the war, but as the fighting was coming to an end, Ferencz says he was assigned to Gen. George Patton’s headquarters.

      “The final assignment in the army was to go into the concentration camps as they were being liberated and collect all the evidence of the crimes for future trials,” he said.

      Ferencz, who’s now 96 and living in Florida, spoke with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep.

    • Despite a post-Snowden push for openness, report shows secret laws still abound

      The Justice Department has kept classified at least 74 opinions, memos and letters on national security issues, including interrogation, detention and surveillance, according to a report released Tuesday by the Brennan Center for Justice.

      Also still classified are between 25 and 30 significant opinions issued between 2003 and 2013 by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the secretive federal court that interprets the law governing foreign intelligence-gathering inside the United States.

      And at the State Department, 807 international agreements signed between 2004 and 2014 have not been published.

    • The New Era of Secret Law

      An unprecedented buildup of secret law has been created by the federal government since 9/11 through legal memos, court opinions, agreements with foreign nations, and more. All have been issued without public scrutiny or input — and many impact crucial decisions about the lives and liberties of U.S. citizens, from the use of torture to mass surveillance.

    • The Government’s Addiction to ‘Secret Law’

      The Central Intelligence Agency’s torture of detainees, and the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping of Americans’ international communications, were two of the most controversial programs our government implemented after Sept. 11. Both are now widely considered to have been illegal, even though both were authorized by official legal analyses that were withheld from the public — a phenomenon known as “secret law.”

      The notion of secret law is as counterintuitive as it is unsettling. When most of us think of law, we think of statutes passed by Congress, and we take for granted that they are public.

      Statutes, however, are only one kind of law. When the secret surveillance panel known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA court, construed the Patriot Act to allow bulk collection of Americans’ phone records, that interpretation became part of the statute’s meaning. When President Obama issued procedures and standards for using lethal force against suspected terrorists overseas, agency officials were bound to follow them.

    • Former Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chairman pleads guilty to false statements in classified leak investigation

      A retired four-star Marine Corps general who served as the nation’s second-ranking military officer pleaded guilty Monday to a federal felony charge of lying to the FBI in a probe of a leak of classified information about a covert U.S.-Israeli cyberattack on Iran’s nuclear program.

      James E. “Hoss” Cartwright, who served as deputy chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before he retired in 2011, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon of Washington hours after the charge was announced by the office of U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein of Maryland.

      A senior Obama administration official in June 2013 acknowledged that Cartwright was the target of a Justice Department investigation into a leak to New York Times reporter David E. Sanger of details about a highly classified operation to hobble Iran’s uranium-enrichment capability through cybersabotage — an effort not acknowledged by Israel or the United States.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • 4 reasons why an accessible website is a win-win

      Why do some people choose to make a website accessible? Some people are do-gooders who, like the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), believe that “the web is fundamentally designed to work for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, culture, location, or physical or mental ability.” And, some people do it because they are compelled by law, based on Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities act. Most federal and state institutions require that websites are accessible to people with a variety of disabilities. Though they may want to do good, their main motivation is to avoid costly legal problems.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WIPO launches pro bono patent programme [Ed: Charm offensive from body which is attacking its very own staff]

      The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has launched a global programme aimed at helping inventors in developing countries to file patents for their inventions.

      The “first-of-its kind” programme, in cooperation with the World Economic Forum, will see patent attorneys provide pro bono help.

      Following a successful pilot effort in Colombia, the Philippines and Morocco, the Inventor Assistance Program was officially launched yesterday, October 17.

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