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Links 21/10/2016: MPV 0.21, Mad Max for GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 10:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Top 8 Linux Distributions Of 2016

      There are quite a number of linux distribution out there and new ones are being added as the days go by. This means picking a distro amongst the lot becomes quite a difficulty. Luckily for you, I have hand-picked the best linux distributions in 2016 for you. These are the top distributions targeting very different uses and users and I bet at least one is going to appeal to you. So let’s get started.

    • Patten: How to exorcise Windows from your old computer

      You may have heard of Linux (also known as GNU/Linux), but only as something that hackers use. It has a reputation for being unwieldy and hard. That reputation is deserved … sometimes.

      But anyone can learn it. And if it’s good enough for Barbie, it should be good enough for you.

      The best part: It’s free, free, free.

      Linux is actually a kind of operating system, just as a mammal is a kind of animal. Linux systems are all similar or identical at the core (also known as the kernel). But they come in a lot of varieties, or distros. (Fun fact: Much of the Android operating system is based on Linux.)

      The hard part about Linux isn’t learning. It’s choosing.

  • Server

    • Docker: Making the Internet Programmable

      Docker, and containers in general, are hot technologies that have been getting quite a bit of attention over the past few years. Even Solomon Hykes, Founder, CTO, and Chief Product Officer at Docker started his keynote with the assumption that people attending LinuxCon Europe know that Docker does containers, so instead of focusing on what Docker does, Hykes used his time to talk about Docker’s purpose saying, “It really boils down to one small sentence. We’re trying to make the Internet programmable.”

      Hykes described this idea of making the Internet programmable with three key points. First, they are focused on building “tools of mass innovation” designed to allow people to create and innovate on a very large scale. Second, applications and cloud services are allowing the idea of the Internet as a programmable platform to be realized, and they want to make this accessible to more people. Third, they are accomplishing all of this by building the Docker stack with open standards, open infrastructure, and a development platform with commercial products on top of the stack.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.8.3

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.8.3 kernel.

      All users of the 4.8 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 4.8.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.8.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


    • Linux 4.7.9
    • Linux 4.4.26
    • Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0 Patches Updated For Linux 4.9

      Intel has updated its currently out-of-tree Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 patches for compatibility against the Linux 4.9-rc1 kernel plus made other improvements to the code.

      These patches have been worked on the past few months after Intel PR initially claimed no TBM 3.0 Linux support. The patches have gone through several public revisions but sadly didn’t make it for integration into the mainline Linux 4.9 kernel.

    • Linux 4.9 Is Showing A Performance Boost On More Systems

      Earlier this week I posted some benchmarks of a Core i7 6800K Broadwell-E system seeing performance boosts under Linux 4.9 and it turns out it’s looking more widespread than just affecting a niche system or two. When testing a more traditional Intel Haswell desktop, Linux 4.9 Git is seeing more wins over Linux 4.8 and 4.7 kernels.

      Following that earlier 4.9 Git benchmarking I set out to do a fairly large Linux kernel comparison on a Haswell system to go back three or so years worth of kernel releases. That big kernel comparison will be finished up and posted in the days ahead, but already from this Core i7 4790K Devil’s Canyon system I am seeing some performance improvements with 4.9 Git to share over 4.7.0 and 4.8.0 stock kernels…

    • Linux Foundation Welcomes JavaScript Community

      Kris Borchers, executive director of the foundation, announced the news, saying that the JavaScript Foundation aims “to support a vast array of technologies that complement projects throughout the entire JavaScript ecosystem.”

      This includes both client and server side application libraries, mobile application testing frameworks, and JavaScript engines.

      All jQuery Foundation projects will also be united within the JS Foundation including jQuery, Lodash, ESLint, Esprima, Grunt, RequireJS, jQuery UI, Globalize, Sizzle, Jed, and Dojo.

    • Kernel 4.4.25 Has Been Released
    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • How to benchmark your Linux system

        The Software Center list will also include individual tests. These can be fine to use, but they can be tedious to open and configure manually. Keep your eye out for an entry called Phoronix Test Suite, or PTS for short. The Phoronix Test Suite is a powerful program that can run a single test, or an entire battery. PTS offers some built-in suites (collection of tests), or you can design your own suite. When tests are completed, you can choose to upload the test results to openbenchmarking.org, where other users can see your results and even run the exact same tests on their PC.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Leslie Zhai Talks 20 Years of KDE in China

        In 2002, as a computer science major university student, I went to a Legal Authoried software store in Wuhan, Guangputun, and bought Redhat7 including four install CDs, three src.rpm CDs and a very exquisite user manual for only RMB 50, because other software for Windows 98 was too expensive to a univerty student! It was my first time to use KDE 3. Yes I chose KDE as my default desktop enviroment, but I tried GNOME of course. Wink Then I tried to migrate my university’s course assignment developed in Turbo C to compile with GCC. I used Konsole and VIM to edit my source code, I tried Emacs but I did not know how to make coffee with it, so I switched to VIM Wink and my teachers switched to use Redhat8 instead of Windows 98 when teaching operating system courses.

      • Choose Your Own Experience in Plasma 5.8 and beyond

        One of the key points of Plasma is while giving a simple default desktop experience, not limiting the user to that single, pre-packed one size fits all UI.

      • KDevelop 5.0.2 released for Windows and Linux

        Four weeks after the release of KDevelop 5.0.1, we are happy to announce the availability of KDevelop 5.0.2, a second stabilization release in the 5.0 series. We highly recommend to update to version 5.0.2 if you are currently using version 5.0.1 or 5.0.0.

      • Wayland improvements since Plasma 5.8 release

        Two weeks have passed since the Plasma 5.8 release and our Wayland efforts have seen quite some improvements. Some changes went into Plasma 5.8 as bug fixes, some changes are only available in master for the next release. With this blog post I want to highlight what we have improved since Plasma 5.8.

      • Wayland For KDE Plasma 5.9 Should Shape Up Quite Nicely

        Plasma 5.8 was only released at the beginning of October but already there has been a number of Wayland improvements queuing up for the next milestone, Plasma 5.9.

        KWin maintainer Martin Gräßlin wrote a blog post yesterday about some of the early Wayland changes coming for Plasma 5.9. Some of this early work for the next KDE Plasma 5 release includes resize-only borders, global shortcut handling, support for keyboard LEDs via libinput, relative pointer support, the color scheme syncing to the window decoration, window icon improvements, multi-screen improvements, panel imporvements, and more.

      • Autumn Sale in the Krita Shop
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME at Linux Install Fest

        It’s an event organized in order to help first year students install a Linux distro on their laptops (here at our uni, we work almost entirely on Linux, so we need to help those that have never used it and set up their distros🙂 ).

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Highlights of YaST development sprint 26

        One of the main reasons to adopt Scrum was to ensure we make a good use of our development resources (i.e. developers’ time and brains) focusing on things that bring more value to our users. In the past we had the feeling that many important things were always postponed because the developers were flooded by other not so important stuff. Now that feeling is gone (to a great extent) and we have a more clear and shared view of the direction of our development efforts.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Debian-Based Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 “Nev” Gets First Test Build, Ships GNOME 3.22

          Today, October 21, 2016, the developers of the Debian-based Parsix GNU/Linux operating system proudly announced the availability for download of the first test build of the upcoming Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 “Nev” release.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Turns 12, Happy Birthday!

            Today, October 20, 2016, is Ubuntu’s birthday! Its 12th anniversary since the release of the first Ubuntu version, namely Ubuntu 4.10 (Warty Warthog), which was originally announced by Canonical and Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth on the 20th of October 2004.

          • Celebrating 12 years of Ubuntu

            Founder Mark Shuttleworth announced the first public release of Ubuntu – version 4.10, or “Warty Warthog” – on Oct. 20, 2004. The idea behind what would become the most recognizable and widely used Linux distributions ever was simple – create a Linux operating system that anybody could use. Here’s a look back at Ubuntu’s history.

          • Happy 12th Birthday, Ubuntu!

            Yup, it’s twelve years to the day since Mark Shuttleworth sat down to tap out the first Ubuntu release announcement and herald in an era of “Linux for human beings”.

          • A Slice of Ubuntu

            The de facto standard for Raspberry Pi operating systems is Raspbian–a Debian based distribution specifically for the diminutive computer. Of course, you have multiple choices and there might not be one best choice for every situation. It did catch our eye, however, that the RaspEX project released a workable Ubunutu 16.10 release for the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3.

            RaspEX is a full Linux Desktop system with LXDE (a lightweight desktop environment) and many other useful programs. Firefox, Samba, and VNC4Server are present. You can use the Ubuntu repositories to install anything else you want. The system uses kernel 4.4.21. You can see a review of a much older version of RaspEX in the video below.

          • Download Ubuntu Yakkety Yak 16.10 wallpaper

            The Yakkety Yak 16.10 is released and now you can download the new wallpaper by clicking here. It’s the latest part of the set for the Ubuntu 2016 releases following Xenial Xerus. You can read about our wallpaper visual design process here.

          • Live kernel patching from Canonical now available for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

            We are delighted to announce the availability of a new service for Ubuntu which any user can enable on their current installations – the Canonical Livepatch Service.

            This new live kernel patching service can be used on any Ubuntu 16.04 LTS system (using the generic Linux 4.4 kernel) to minimise unplanned downtime and maintain the highest levels of security.

          • How to enable free ‘Canonical Livepatch Service’ for Linux kernel live-patching on Ubuntu

            Linux 4.0 introduced a wonderful feature for those that need insane up-time — the ability to patch the kernel without rebooting the machine. While this is vital for servers, it can be beneficial to workstation users too. Believe it or not, some home users covet long up-time simply for fun — bragging rights, and such.

            If you are an Ubuntu 16.04 LTS user (with generic Linux kernel 4.4) and you want to take advantage of this exciting feature, I have good news — it is now conveniently available for free! Unfortunately, this all-new Canonical Livepatch Service does have a catch — it is limited to three machines per user. Of course, home users can register as many email addresses as they want, so it is easy to get more if needed. Businesses can pay for additional machines through Ubuntu Advantage. Want to give it a go? Read on.

            “Since the release of the Linux 4.0 kernel about 18 months ago, users have been able to patch and update their kernel packages without rebooting. However, until now, no other Linux distribution has offered this feature for free to their users. That changes today with the release of the Canonical Livepatch Service”, says Tom Callway, Director of Cloud Marketing, Canonical.

          • KernelCare Is Another Alternative To Canonical’s Ubuntu Live Kernel Patching

            Earlier this week Canonical announced their Kernel Livepatching Service for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS users. Canonical’s service is free for under three systems while another alternative for Ubuntu Linux users interested in a commercial service is CloudLinux’s KernelCare.

            The folks from CloudLinux wrote in to remind us of their kernel patching solution, which they’ve been offering since 2014 and believe is a superior solution to Canonical’s service. KernelCare isn’t limited to just Ubuntu 16.04 but also works with Ubuntu 14.04 and other distributions such as CentOS/RHEL, Debian, and other enterprise Linux distributions.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Exclusive: Blockchain platform developed by banks to be open-source

    A blockchain platform developed by a group that includes more than 70 of the world’s biggest financial institutions is making its code publicly available, in what could become the industry standard for the nascent technology.

    The Corda platform has been developed by a consortium brought together by New-York-based financial technology company R3. It represents the biggest shared effort among banks, insurers, fund managers and other players to work on using blockchain technology in the financial markets.

  • European banks risk lagging Wall Street in blockchain race
  • Report: R3′s Banking Blockchain Software is Going Open Source
  • Major Banks Take First Steps Towards Creating Industry Standards For Blockchain Technology
  • ‘Disputive’ blockchain technology set to be co-opted by banks
  • Google’s Open Source Report Card Highlights Game-Changing Contributions

    Ask people about Google’s relationship to open source, and many of them will point to Android and Chrome OS — both very successful operating systems and both based on Linux. Android, in particular, remains one of the biggest home runs in open source history. But, as Josh Simmons from Google’s Open Source Programs Office will tell you, Google also contributes a slew of useful open source tools and programs to the community each year. Now, Google has issued its very first “Open Source Report Card,” as announced by Simmons on the Google Open Source Blog.

    “We’re sharing our first Open Source Report Card, highlighting our most popular projects, sharing a few statistics and detailing some of the projects we’ve released in 2016. We’ve open sourced over 20 million lines of code to date and you can find a listing of some of our best known project releases on our website,” said Simmons.

  • Events

    • LatinoWare

      Yesterday, Wednesday 19 oct, was the first day of LatinoWare thirteen edition hosted in the city of Foz do Iguaçu in Parana state with presence of 5155 participants and temperature of 36ºC. Currently this is the biggest event of free software in Brazil.

    • Attending a FUDcon LATAM 2016

      From my experience I will share my days at FUDcon 2016 held on Puno last week. There were 3 core days, and 2 more days to visit around.

    • FOSDEM Desktops DevRoom 2016 all for Participation

      FOSDEM is one of the largest (5,000+ hackers!) gatherings of Free Software contributors in the world and happens each February in Brussels (Belgium, Europe).

      Once again, one of the tracks will be the Desktops DevRoom (formerly known as “CrossDesktop DevRoom”), which will host Desktop-related talks.

      We are now inviting proposals for talks about Free/Libre/Open-source Software on the topics of Desktop development, Desktop applications and interoperability amongst Desktop Environments. This is a unique opportunity to show novel ideas and developments to a wide technical audience.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Nino Vranešič: Open Source Advocate and Mozilla Rep in Slovenia

        “My name is Nino Vranešič and I am connecting IT and Society,” is what Nino says about himself on LinkedIn. The video is a little hard to understand in places due to language differences and (we think) a slow or low-bandwidth connection between the U.S.-based Zoom servers and Eastern Europe, a problem that crops up now and then in video conversation and VOIP phone calls with people in that part of the world, no matter what service you choose. But Vranešič is worth a little extra effort to hear, because it’s great to learn that open source is being used in lots of government agencies, not only in Slovenia but all over Europe. And aside from this, Vranešič himself is a tres cool dude who is an ardent open source volunteer (“Mozilla Rep” is an unpaid volunteer position), and I hope I have a chance to meet him F2F next time he comes to a conference in Florida — and maybe you’ll have a chance to meet him if he comes to a conference near you.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Mirantis and NTT Com Double Down on OpenStack

      Mirantis continues to drive forward with new partnerships focused on the OpenStack cloud computing platform. The company and NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com) have announced that they will partner to offer fully managed Private OpenStack as a service in NTT Com Enterprise Cloud and its data center services across the globe. NTT Com, in becoming Mirantis’ first data center services partner, says it will offer Mirantis Managed OpenStack on NTT Com Enterprise Cloud’s Metal-as-a-Service.

    • Using metrics effectively in OpenStack development

      At the OpenStack summit taking place this month in Barcelona, Ildikó Váncsa will be speaking on metrics in her talk Metrics: Friends or Enemies? She will discuss OpenStack metrics and how they can be used in software development processes, both for the individual developer and manager.

      I caught up with Ildikó before her talk to learn more about how metrics in OpenStack help guide developers and companies, and how they also drive evolution of the OpenStack community itself.

  • Databases

    • MySQL and database programming for beginners

      Dave Stokes has been using MySQL for more than 15 years and has served as its community manager since 2010. At All Things Open this year, he’ll give a talk about database programming for newbies with MySQL.

      In this interview, he previews his talk and shares a few helpful resources, required skills, and common problems MySQL beginners run into.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Nadella’s trust talk is just so much hot air

      Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella appears to have an incredibly short memory. Else he would be the last person who talks about trust being the most pressing issue in tech in our times.

      Over the last year, we have been treated to a variety of cheap tricks by Microsoft, attempting to hoodwink Windows users left, right and centre in order to get them to upgrade to Windows 10. After that, talking about trust sounds odd. Very odd.

      Microsoft does not have the best reputation among tech companies. It is known for predatory practices, for being convicted as a monopolist, and in recent times has been trying to cultivate a softer image as a company that is not as rapacious as it once was.

      That has, in large measure, come about as its influence and rank in the world of computing have both slipped, with other companies like Apple, Facebook and Google coming to dominate.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source where possible in Polish Gdańsk

      The city of Gdańsk, Poland’s sixth largest city, is using open source software applications where possible. Open source is called an ‘important element’ in the Operational Programmes, made public in August. This document describes the tasks and activities set out by the city to achieve the goals it defined in the Gdańsk 2030 Plus Development Strategy.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Ranking the Web With Radical Transparency

      Ranking every URL on the web in a transparent and reproducible way is a core concept of the Common Search project, says Sylvain Zimmer, who will be speaking at the upcoming Apache: Big Data Europe conference in Seville, Spain.

      The web has become a critical resource for humanity, and search engines are its arbiters, Zimmer says. However, the only search engines currently available are for-profit entities, so the Common Search project is creating a nonprofit engine that is open, transparent, and independent.

      We spoke with Zimmer, who founded Jamendo, dotConferences, and Common Search, to learn more about why nonprofit search engines are important, why Apache Spark is such a great match for the job, and some of the challenges the project faces.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development


  • What You Should Know About Ken Bone

    Photoshops, memes, witty comments, retweets, offhanded references … and now, for some reason, his sexual fetishes are making national news.

  • Come On Elon! Tesla Stupidly Bans Owners From Using Self-Driving Teslas For Uber

    We’ve talked a lot about the end of ownership society, in which companies are increasingly using copyright and other laws to effectively end ownership — where they put in place restrictions on the things you thought you bought. This is bad for a whole variety of reasons, and now it’s especially disappointing to see that Tesla appears to be jumping on the bandwagon as well. The company is releasing its latest, much more high powered, version of autonomous self-driving car technology — but has put in place a clause that bars Tesla owners from using the self-driving car for any competing car hailing service, like Uber or Lyft. This is not for safety/liability reasons, but because Tesla is also trying to build an Uber competitor.

    We wrote about this a few months ago, and actually think it’s a pretty cool idea. Part of the point is that it effectively will make Tesla ownership cheaper for those who want it, because they can lease it out for use at times when they’re not using it. So your car can make money for you while you work or sleep or whatever. That’s a cool idea.

  • Science

    • Artificial intelligence could be the greatest disaster in human history

      Stephen Hawking has warned artificial intelligence could be the greatest disaster in human history if it is not properly managed.

      The world famous physicist said AI could bring about serious peril in the creation of powerful autonomous weapons and novel ways for those in power to oppress and control the masses.

      Hawking suggested AI could be the last event in the history of our civilisation if humanity did not learn to cope with the risks it posed.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • UNICEF Tender Allows Gavi To Supply Vaccines For Millions Of Children

      Gavi, the vaccine alliance, announced yesterday that a UNICEF pentavalent vaccine tender will secure sufficient supplies for the next three years to protect millions of children in Gavi-supported and transitioning countries.

      According to a Gavi press release, pentavalent vaccine will be accessible from a broad base of manufacturers at less than US$1: half this year’s average price.

      Pentavalent vaccine protects against five major infections in one shot: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), according to Gavi.

    • Flint Water Panel Calls for New Emergency Management Rules

      Michigan should consider abandoning its one-person emergency management structure and instead install a team of three experts when deficit-ridden municipalities and school districts fall under state control, according to a report released Wednesday by a legislative committee that investigated Flint’s lead-tainted water crisis.

      Nine current or former government workers have been criminally charged since doctors detected elevated levels of lead in some children due to the discolored and smelly water supply in the impoverished city of nearly 100,000.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Thursday
    • More information about Dirty COW (aka CVE-2016-5195)

      The security hole fixed in the stable kernels released today has been dubbed Dirty COW (CVE-2016-5195) by a site devoted to the kernel privilege escalation vulnerability. There is some indication that it is being exploited in the wild. Ars Technica has some additional information. The Red Hat bugzilla entry and advisory are worth looking at as well.

    • New Debian Linux Kernel Update Addresses “Dirty COW” Bug, Three Security Issues
    • CVE-2016-5195

      My prior post showed my research from earlier in the year at the 2016 Linux Security Summit on kernel security flaw lifetimes. Now that CVE-2016-5195 is public, here are updated graphs and statistics. Due to their rarity, the Critical bug average has now jumped from 3.3 years to 5.2 years. There aren’t many, but, as I mentioned, they still exist, whether you know about them or not. CVE-2016-5195 was sitting on everyone’s machine when I gave my LSS talk, and there are still other flaws on all our Linux machines right now. (And, I should note, this problem is not unique to Linux.) Dealing with knowing that there are always going to be bugs present requires proactive kernel self-protection (to minimize the effects of possible flaws) and vendors dedicated to updating their devices regularly and quickly (to keep the exposure window minimized once a flaw is widely known).

    • “Most serious” Linux privilege-escalation bug ever is under active exploit (updated)

      While CVE-2016-5195, as the bug is cataloged, amounts to a mere privilege-escalation vulnerability rather than a more serious code-execution vulnerability, there are several reasons many researchers are taking it extremely seriously. For one thing, it’s not hard to develop exploits that work reliably. For another, the flaw is located in a section of the Linux kernel that’s a part of virtually every distribution of the open-source OS released for almost a decade. What’s more, researchers have discovered attack code that indicates the vulnerability is being actively and maliciously exploited in the wild.

    • Linux Kernels 4.8.3, 4.7.9 & 4.4.26 LTS Out to Patch “Dirty COW” Security Flaw

      Today, October 20, 2016, Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman announced three new maintenance updates for the Linux 4.8, 4.7, and 4.4 LTS kernel series, patching a major security vulnerability.

      Known as “Dirty COW,” the Linux kernel vulnerability documented at CVE-2016-5195 is, in fact, a nasty bug that could have allowed local users to write to any file they can read. The worst part is that the security flaw was present in various Linux kernel builds since at least the Linux 2.6.x series, which reached end of life in February this year.

    • Canonical Patches Ancient “Dirty COW” Kernel Bug in All Supported Ubuntu OSes

      As reported earlier, three new Linux kernel maintenance releases arrived for various Linux-based operating systems, patching a critical and ancient bug popularly known as “Dirty COW.”

      We already told you that the kernel vulnerability could be used by a local attacker to run programs as an administrator, and it looks like it also affects all supported Ubuntu releases, including Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin), as well as all of their official or unofficial derivatives running the same kernel builds.

    • Linux users urged to protect against ‘Dirty COW’ security flaw

      Organisations and individuals have been urged to patch Linux servers immediately or risk falling victim to exploits for a Linux kernel security flaw dubbed ‘Dirty COW’.

      This follows a warning from open source software vendor Red Hat that the flaw is being exploited in the wild.

      Phil Oester, the Linux security researcher who uncovered the flaw, explained to V3 that the exploit is easy to execute and will almost certainly become more widely used.

      “The exploit in the wild is trivial to execute, never fails and has probably been around for years – the version I obtained was compiled with gcc 4.8,” he said.

    • Dirty Cow, Ubuntu @ 12, Save a Penguin

      Dirty Cow is a local privilege vulnerability that can allow one to gain root access. Specifically, “race condition was found in the way the Linux kernel’s memory subsystem handled the copy-on-write (COW) breakage of private read-only memory mappings. An unprivileged local user could use this flaw to gain write access to otherwise read-only memory mappings and thus increase their privileges on the system.” Linus signed off and pushed the patch to git a few days ago and distributions are currently updating their products. This is considered a critical bug and users are encouraged to update as soon as possible because researchers have found code in the wild to exploit it. Worse still, the exploit leaves little or no trace of being compromised. So, keep an eye on your update applets or security advisories over the next few days. Since this bug has been in existence for so long, Kees Cook had to revise his critical bug lifetime average from 3.3 to 5.2 years, while the overall average for all bugs increased only slightly.

    • Hackers Hit U.S. Senate GOP Committee

      The national news media has been consumed of late with reports of Russian hackers breaking into networks of the Democratic National Committee. Lest the Republicans feel left out of all the excitement, a report this past week out of The Netherlands suggests Russian hackers have for the past six months been siphoning credit card data from visitors to the Web storefront of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).


      Dataflow markets itself as an “offshore” hosting provider with presences in Belize and The Seychelles. Dataflow has long been advertised on Russian-language cybercrime forums as an offshore haven that offers so-called “bulletproof hosting,” a phrase used to describe hosting firms that court all manner of sites that most legitimate hosting firms shun, including those that knowingly host spam and phishing sites as well as malicious software.

      De Groot published a list of the sites currently present at Dataflow. The list speaks for itself as a collection of badness, including quite a number of Russian-language sites selling synthetic drugs and stolen credit card data.

      According to De Groot, other sites that were retrofitted with the malware included e-commerce sites for the shoe maker Converse as well as the automaker Audi, although he says those sites and the NRSC’s have been scrubbed of the malicious software since his report was published.

      But De Groot said the hackers behind this scheme are continuing to find new sites to compromise.

      “Last Monday my scans found about 5,900 hacked sites,” he said. “When I did another scan two days later, I found about 340 of those had been fixed, but that another 170 were newly compromised.”

    • Thoughts on the BTB Paper

      The Branch Target Buffer (BTB) whitepaper presents some interesting information. It details potential side-channel attacks by utilizing timing attacks against the branch prediction hardware present in Intel Haswell processors. The article does not mention Intel processors later than Haswell, such as Broadwell or Skylake.

      Side-channel attacks are always interesting and fun. Indeed, the authors have stumbled into areas that need more research. Their research can be applicable in certain circumstances.

      As a side-note, KASLR in general is rather weak and can be considered a waste of time[1]. The discussion why is outside the scope of this article.

    • Donald Trump running insecure email servers

      In addition, Beaumont said he’d found that emails from the Trump Organization failed to support two-factor authentication. That’s particularly bad because the Trump Organization’s web-based email access page relies on an outdated March 2015 build of Microsoft Exchange 2007, he says. “Windows Server 2003, IIS 6 and Exchange 2003 went end of life years ago. There are no security fixes. They don’t have basics down,” the UK based researcher concludes.

    • Video: Endgame, Live from Grace Hopper 2016 [Ed: covers voting security]

      Andrea Limbago is interviewed by the CUBE at the Grace Hoper Celebration 2016 conference. She covers a number of interesting topics and I thought it was worth sharing. Enjoy!

    • Stable Linux Kernel Updates Roll Out To Address “Dirty COW” CVE
    • Dirty COW explained: Get a moooo-ve on and patch Linux root hole [Ed: If there was no branding, logo and Web site would it be news?]
    • Dirty COW: Linux kernel security flaw bypasses antivirus software
    • Warnings over Dirty Cow Linux bug [Ed: BBC found something negative to say about Linux so even a local privilege-escalation bug is “news”]
    • ‘Dirty Cow’ Linux vulnerability found after nine years [Ed: Wow, finally. The Guardian covers “Linux”… Couldn’t get the BBC and The Gurdian to cover Linux even when this kernel turned 25, but some old bug is major news? Shame. Both publications are Bill Gates-funded.]
    • “Dirty COW” Is The Most Dangerous Linux Privilege-escalation Bug Ever, Experts Say
    • Attackers exploit ancient ‘Dirty COW’ kernel flaw [Ed: My assessment: A CVE hyped up as “Dirty COW” is a lot more hype and fear-mongering than it ought to be. Pure marketing almost…]
    • Dirty COW Linux vulnerability – what you need to know
    • A serious Linux privilege-escalation bug has been in the wild for nine years
    • Linux Kernel Zero-Day CVE-2016-5195 Patched After Being Deployed in Live Attacks
    • ‘Dirty COW’ Linux kernel security vulnerability being exploited in the wild, warns Red Hat
    • The NyaDrop Trojan for Linux-running IoT Devices
    • Flaw resides in BTB helps bypass ASLR
    • Thoughts on the BTB Paper

      Though the attack might have some merits with regards to KASLR, the attack on ASLR is completely debunked. The authors of the paper didn’t release any supporting code or steps for independent analysis and verification. The results, therefore, cannot be trusted until the authors fully open source their work and the work is validated by trusted and independent third parties.

    • Spreading the DDoS Disease and Selling the Cure

      Earlier this month a hacker released the source code for Mirai, a malware strain that was used to launch a historically large 620 Gbps denial-of-service attack against this site in September. That attack came in apparent retribution for a story here which directly preceded the arrest of two Israeli men for allegedly running an online attack for hire service called vDOS. Turns out, the site where the Mirai source code was leaked had some very interesting things in common with the place vDOS called home.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Channel 4 News defends Facebook live stream of battle for Mosul

      Channel 4 News has defended its decision to live stream a conflict for the first time amid concerns over the dangers of watching the battle for Mosul on a Facebook live feed.

      The publicly owned broadcaster joined other TV stations including Al-Jazeera and Rudaw, the Kurdish news agency that provided the content, to live stream the advance of Iraqi troops and Kurdish fighters into Mosul, Islamic State’s last major stronghold in Iraq.

      Watched more than 500,000 times by lunchtime on Tuesday, the Channel 4 News feed prompted a mixed response with several users questioning the appropriateness of “liking” and pasting emojis on scenes of potential devastation.

    • US marines to establish Norway ‘base’ by January

      The US Marine Corps is to establish a new base in northern Norway as early as January, as Nato forces work to improve their ability respond rapidly to potential Russian aggression
      Maj. Gen. Niel E. Nelson, commander of US Marine Forces in Europe and Africa, told US broadcaster CNN that the new marine base was under discussion with the Norwegian government.

      “We enjoy a very close relationship with the Norwegian Armed Forces and a limited rotational presence in Norway would certainly enhance this relationship and our ability to operate together,” he said in a statement

    • Let’s Rethink What ‘Leadership’ Means in Foreign Policy

      As a retired lieutenant colonel for the U.S. Army, I want to be positive. Even when I’ve identified major conceptual and practical failures in the conduct of American foreign and military policy, I’ve suggested alternatives that could improve the situation. But when looking at the state of our foreign policy in this moment, and given how entrenched the foreign-policy elite in Washington has become, a rational optimism is getting more and more difficult to find.

      In practice, the current administration tries to keep a lid on problems by applying limited military power—at least regarding troop levels—over large sections of the globe. These military operations are tactical in nature, designed to achieve small-scale results, without the consideration of how or even whether they support some larger strategic objective.

    • Agencies Found to Be Ignoring IGs to the Tune of $87 Billion

      Federal agencies are wasting $87 billion by failing to implement more than 15,000 inspector general recommendations, according to a new report released by Republican senators.

      Many of the proposals have been floated for more than 10 years, wrote Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in their findings. The lawmakers and their staffs compiled the data over the last year from 72 different inspectors general at federal agencies governmentwide, and issued the final document without Democratic input.

    • Washington’s foreign policy elite breaks with Obama over Syrian bloodshed

      There is one corner of Washington where Donald Trump’s scorched-earth presidential campaign is treated as a mere distraction and where bipartisanship reigns. In the rarefied world of the Washington foreign policy establishment, President Obama’s departure from the White House — and the possible return of a more conventional and hawkish Hillary Clinton — is being met with quiet relief.

      The Republicans and Democrats who make up the foreign policy elite are laying the groundwork for a more assertive American foreign policy, via a flurry of reports shaped by officials who are likely to play senior roles in a potential Clinton White House.

    • Clinton’s “Incredibly Dangerous” Nuclear Brinkmanship

      Rowley, a former FBI special agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo to the FBI Director exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures was named one of TIME magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. She said today: “Clinton is engaging in incredibly dangerous brinkmanship with a nuclear superpower but at the same time, trying to lull the public into complacency about the danger she intends to place them in. Last night, she again pledged she would, after being elected, institute a ‘no-fly zone’ and ‘safe zones’ over Syria but she evaded answering the debate moderator’s direct question as to whether she would give the order to shoot down Russian aircraft over Syria. Her evasive response was directly at odds with the recent assessment of General Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in testimony to Congress (as well as earlier assessments from former Chief Martin Dempsey and other top generals) that establishing a ‘no-fly zone’ would almost certainly mean war with Syria (and Russia).

      “In addition, Clinton mischaracterized what the intelligence agencies are saying about the emails to/from her campaign chief of staff, John Podesta, that are being put out by WikiLeaks. She claimed they have come from ‘the highest levels of the Russian government, clearly, from Putin himself, in an effort, as 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed, to influence our election.’

      “In fact, a carefully crafted statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (James Clapper) was far less definitive, stating: ‘The recent disclosures … are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.’ It’s also worth noting that this was not the conclusion of a National Intelligence Estimate, merely a statement from the ODNI and Department of Homeland Security.” [Note: Because of an editing error by IPA staff, this news release originally quoted the line from the ODNI statement: “However, we are not now in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian Government.” But that sentence was referring to “scanning and probing of … election-related systems” — not to the recent WikiLeaks disclosures. IPA regrets the error.]

      ELIZABETH MURRAY, emurray404[at]aol.com, @elizabethmurra
      Murray served as deputy national intelligence officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council before retiring after a 27-year career in the U.S. government, where she specialized in Middle Eastern political and media analysis. See her page at Consortium News, including “How U.S. Propaganda Fuels New Cold War” and “Seeking a Debate on ‘Regime Change’ Wars.”

    • ‘Time to say goodbye to US,’ Philippines’ Duterte proclaims on historic China visit

      It’s “time to say goodbye” to the United States, said Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on a visit to China, where he and President Xi Jinping are turning the recently-frosty tide with bilateral agreements, while Washington now gets the cold shoulder.

      Duterte spoke to the press in Beijing on Wednesday, on the eve of talks with Xi. There was scant information about what was to come on Thursday, but Duterte’s conference coincided with talk of unprecedented agreements being written up – particularly the granting to the Philippines the use of Scarborough Shoal territories – a disputed resource-rich area in the South China Sea.

    • ‘The Promise:’ The Armenian Genocide Epic Kirk Kerkorian Spent a Fortune to Make

      “The Promise,” a sweeping historical romance starring Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale, is the kind of movie epic they just don’t make anymore. It’s a throwback to David Lean’s “Doctor Zhivago” and Warren Beatty’s “Reds,” movies that transposed big, emotional stories against a sprawling canvas, and tugged at the heartstrings while dealing with thorny political periods.

    • Finland: Russian propaganda questioning our validity risks destabilising country

      Finnish government communications chief Markku Mantila said his officials had observed a barrage of state-sponsored media attacks ahead of the country’s celebrations marking 100 years of independence from Russia

    • Pakistan bans Bollywood and Indian television as Kashmir dispute spills over into entertainment industry

      Pakistan is banning Bollywood films and all Indian programmes and music across the country’s television and radio networks amid heightened tensions with its neighbour in the disputed Kashmir region.

      The two countries have exchanged cross-border fire in recent weeks, after India blamed Pakistani forces for raid on one of its army bases that left 18 soldiers dead last month and responded with “surgical strikes”.

      Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister, vowed that the attack would “not go unpunished”, while his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif denied his country’s forces were involved and condemned “the unprovoked and naked aggression of Indian forces”.

      The escalation has provoked international alarm, spilling over into the world of entertainment and celebrity in both countries.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • 4chan, Anonymous working to get Julian Assange working internet

      It’s been a rough week for WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange, who’s cooped up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London with no internet and, possibly, poisonous vegan meals trying to kill him.

      But members of 4chan and Anonymous are rallying together to get Assange the Wi-Fi he needs so that a good samaritan can stop reading him everything off of the internet.

      The plan, per a report by The Next Web, is called “Operation Hot Pockets” and involves members of the notorious internet gathering around the embassy, in shifts, to create wireless hotspots so Assange can, once again, access the internet to leak emails, update his Friendster account, and do whatever else he needs to do (Instacart?).

    • WikiLeaks claims sham U.S. firm is trying to smear Assange

      The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks is claiming that an elaborate and somewhat wacky smear campaign has targeted the group’s founder, Julian Assange, to paint him as a pedophile and Russian client.

      WikiLeaks said the smear efforts, which it’s outlined in tweets and a series of documents over the past two days, include a sham offer from the Russian government to pay Assange $1 million to promote a women’s dating site and a separate scheme to link Assange to a criminal case in the Bahamas.

      The assertions are the latest twist in events that have kept Assange and WikiLeaks at center stage of the presidential campaign. The smears come as WikiLeaks releases tens thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee and from the personal email account of campaign chairman John Podesta.

    • ‘We wouldn’t not publish Trump documents or suppress them, but we can only work with what we’ve got’

      Last Sunday, Sarah Harrison stayed up to watch the second US presidential election debate between Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican rival Donald Trump. The organisation she works for, WikiLeaks, got a special mention at the showdown.

      “Our intelligence community just came out and said, in the last few days, that the Kremlin… are directing attacks, are hacking American accounts to influence the election,” Clinton said. “WikiLeaks is part of that, as are other sites.”

      It’s an accusation that rankles a little bit with Harrison.

      “This sort of attack keeps coming against us,” she says. “She [Hillary Clinton] is basically saying that the US intelligence community has confirmed this. But in their statements they have used vague language like ‘it’s the sort of thing we’ve come to expect from the Russians’. There’s no proof it comes from the Russians. We operate on the basis of source anonymity. We don’t comment on sourcing.”

    • Former CIA Employee Sues Agency Over Its Refusal To Provide Documents In Electronic Form

      The CIA is still causing problems for Jeffrey Scudder. Scudder used to work for the CIA. He was forced out of the agency after making a FOIA request for “historical documents of long-dormant conflicts and operations” while still employed there. Perhaps the agency thought only citizens outside of the agency should be making FOIA requests. Or maybe it thought Scudder was engaged in a particularly labyrinthine plot to exfiltrate declassified documents out of the agency. Whatever its thought process, it resulted in an FBI raid of Scudder’s house, the seizure of his electronics, and the end of his career.

      Unfortunately for the CIA, this has given Scudder more time to file FOIA requests and sue the agency when it responds in increasingly ridiculous ways. Scudder has already tangled with the CIA over its refusal to join the 20th century (never mind the current one) when turning over responsive documents. His last major request to the agency asked for “softcopy” — i.e., not paper — copies of 419 articles from the CIA’s “Studies in Intelligence.”

      The CIA told him it had no way of providing him documents in the format he asked for. Instead, it claimed it only had one way to comply with the request: the stupidest, most circuitous way.

    • The Wikileaks Story Is Even More Dramatic Thanks to This Composer’s Auto-Tuned Opera

      In early 2010, a US Army intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq sent three quarters of a million military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, a non-profit founded by Julian Assange dedicated to sharing official documents “alleging government and corporate misconduct,” according to their website. Private Bradley Manning, the analyst behind the biggest intelligence leak in US history, then confessed to his deed in an online chat with a known hacker named Adrian Lamo. In May of 2010, Lamo reported the confession to US Army counterintelligence, the chat logs were published by Wired.com, and by July of 2013, Private Manning had been charged by the US government with 22 offenses, including “aiding the enemy.” After pleading guilty to 10 of the charges and the trial finished on August 21st in 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

    • This Is Huge: New Project Releases All Current (Non-Confidential) Congressional Research Service Reports

      Going back nearly a decade, we’ve been talking about the ridiculousness of Congress refusing to publicly release reports from the Congressional Research Service (CRS). As we’ve discussed many times, CRS is an in-house think tank for Congress that is both famously non-partisan and actually really good at what they do. CRS reports tend to be really useful and highly credible (which is part of the reason why Congress isn’t a fan of letting them out into the public). Of course, as works of the federal government, CRS reports are in the public domain, but the way it’s always worked is that the reports are released only to members of Congress. These include both general reports on topics that are released to every member of Congress, or specific research tasked by a member for the CRS to investigate and create a new report. The members who receive the reports are able to release them to the public, and some do, but the vast majority of CRS work remains hidden from public view. For the most part, both CRS and Congress have resisted any attempt to change this. Going back decades, they’ve put together a mostly ridiculous list of reasons opposing plans to more widely distribute CRS reports.

      Some members of Congress keep introducing bills to make these public domain CRS reports actually available to the public. We’ve written about such attempts in 2011, 2012, 2015 and earlier this year. And each time they get shot down, often for completely ridiculous reasons, including the belief that making these reports public will somehow hurt CRS’s ability to continue to do good, non-partisan research.

      At times, different organizations and groups have taken up the cause themselves. Back in 2009, Wikileaks hit the jackpot and released nearly 7,000 such CRS reports. Steve Aftergood at the Federation of American Scientists has been posting CRS reports to a public archive for quite some time. There’s also Antoine McGrath’s CRSReports.com and some other sites that all create archives of CRS reports that they’ve been able to collect from various sources.

    • Agents of influence: How reporters have been “weaponized” by leaks

      Since June, some entity has been releasing e-mails and electronic documents obtained via network intrusions and credential thefts of politicians and political party employees. Some of the releases have appeared on sites believed to be associated with Russian intelligence operations; others have appeared on Wikileaks. On occasion, the leaker has also engaged journalists directly, trying to have them publish information drawn from these documents—sometimes successfully, other times not.

      The US government has pinned at least some of the blame for these leaks on Russia. This has led some observers to argue that WikiLeaks and Russian intelligence agencies are “weaponizing” the media. This is what national security circles refer to as an “influence operation,” using reporters as tools to give credibility and cover to a narrative driven by another nation-state. The argument is that by willingly accepting leaked data, journalists have (wittingly or not) aided the leaker’s cause. As such, they have become an “agent of influence.”

    • Agent of Influence 2.0

      An agent of influence is a particular type of agent used by an agency to deliver information (or a narrative) they hope will sway public opinion. There are three types of agent of influence:

      Controlled Agent — an agent under the direct control of an agency

      Trusted Contact — someone who is aware that they are being fed data by an agency; who is also looking to advance the same/similar agenda, but is not directly under the control of the agency

      Unwitting Agent — sometimes called a “useful idiot,” these agents are not aware of their role as conduits of data for an agency

      The primary role for an agent of influence is to add credibility to the narrative / data that the agency is attempting to get out and help influence the public.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • World’s mammals being eaten into extinction, report warns

      Hundreds of mammal species – from chimpanzees to hippos to bats – are being eaten into extinction by people, according to the first global assessment of the impact of human hunting.

      Bushmeat has long been a traditional source of food for many rural people, but as roads have been driven into remote areas, large-scale commercial hunting is leaving forests and other habitats devoid of wildlife.

      The scientists behind the new analysis warned that, without action, the wiping out of these species could lead to the collapse of the food security of hundreds of millions of people reliant on bushmeat for survival.

      The work comes against the backdrop of the natural world undergoing the greatest mass extinction since a giant meteorite strike wiped out the dinosaurs 65m years ago, with species vanishing far more rapidly than the long term rate, driven by the destruction and invasion of wild areas by humans and their livestock and hunting.

    • Norway nature group calls for limits to tourist hikers

      Norway’s leading hiking group has called for limits to the huge number of tourists hiking to Pulpit’s Rock and other attractions.
      Lasse Heimdal, leader of Friluftsliv, an umbrella organisation for those engaged hiking and other outdoor pursuits, said there was a risk that the huge spike in tourists seen in recent years would damage the most popular sites.

      He argued that was “urgent that we now take measures to ensure that outdoor life is safeguarded”.

      “If the large loads might damage nature, the authorities are obliged to impose countermeasures,” he told NRK. “Limiting access can be one of the measures.”

    • Greenland is Melting

      Not long ago, I attended a memorial service on top of the Greenland ice sheet for a man I did not know. The service was an intimate affair, with only four people present. I worried that I might be regarded as an interloper and thought about stepping away. But I was clipped onto a rope, and, in any case, I wanted to be there.

      The service was for a NASA scientist named Alberto Behar. Behar, who worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, might be described as a twenty-first-century explorer. He didn’t go to uncharted places; he sent probes to them. Some of the machines he built went all the way to Mars; they are orbiting the planet today or trundling across its surface on the Curiosity rover. Other Behar designs were deployed on Earth, at the poles. In Antarctica, Behar devised a special video camera to capture the first images ever taken inside an ice stream. In Greenland, he once sent a flock of rubber ducks hurtling down a mile-long ice shaft known as a moulin. Each duck bore a label, offering, in Greenlandic, English, and Danish, a reward for its return. At least two made it through.

      When Behar died, in January, 2015—he crashed his single-engine plane onto the streets of Los Angeles—he was at work on another probe. This one, dubbed a drifter, looked like a toolbox wearing a life preserver. It was intended to measure the flow of meltwater streams. These so-called supraglacial rivers are difficult to approach, since their banks are made of ice. They are often lined with cracks, and usually they end by plunging down an ice shaft. The drifter would float along, like a duck, collecting and transmitting data, so that, by the time it reached a moulin and was sucked in, it would have served its purpose.

  • Finance

    • Saudi Arabia’s $17.5 Billion Bond Sale Draws Investors

      Banks and investors flocked to buy Saudi Arabia’s first global bonds, a milestone in the giant oil producer’s efforts to diversify its economy and embrace global financial markets.

    • Iain Macwhirter: Panic! We’re led by a Dad’s Army of Brexiter buffoons

      The vote to leave the EU has been widely interpreted as a cry of anguish, predominantly from the dispossessed in non-metropolitan England: white working class people, typically in the north, who feel they have been left behind by globalisation, rising inequality, casualisation and low pay.

      It is a cruel irony, therefore, that it is these people, the ones at the bottom of the social heap, who stand to be worst hit by the emerging post-Brexit economy. There have been howls of anguish from financiers in the City of London, who are demanding a special deal in the EU, and, since money talks, they’ll probably get one. But the first casualties, as The Herald reported yesterday, will be low-income families caught in the vice of rising living costs and benefit cuts who stand to lose £360 a year. As we know, most of the working-age benefit claimants are actually in work and their income had already been squeezed by 10 per cent since the 2008 crash.

    • CETA – new documents and declarations (as of 19 October)

      Several documents have been transmitted to the Walloon parliament, including these.

      Again, nothing clear about the legal weight of these documents. Interesting to see how many of them are unilateral declarations of the Commission or of the Council or even of one member state, which means they did not convince Canada to make those joint statements, which makes them even weaker than the joint interpretative declaration that has already wiedly been criticised. Indeed, even a joint interpretative declaration cannot solve the concerns that have been expressed.

    • Citizens’ Summit Contra CETA: It’s Not Only Wallonia

      With the vote on the European Union-Canada trade agreement (CETA) on the agenda once more at the upcoming EU Council meeting tomorrow the representatives of European and Canadian cities and regions gathered at Brussels today for a “CETA Citizens’ Summit.” Gerardo Pisarello, vice mayor of the city of Barcelona, said that cities like his see CETA as a barrier to their plans to remunicipalize water and energy services and the attempts “to open up public procurement to small companies and cooperatives.”

    • Power company drags Guatemala back to ICSID

      The case is the second ICSID claim to be filed against Colombia. The first, by mining company Glencore International, was filed earlier this year. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is acting for the claimants in the two cases and also defended Guatemala in its dispute with TECO, though so far the state has not instructed counsel for the resubmitted claim.

      Last week, another ICSID tribunal issued a decision on rectification in a dispute between Philip Morris and Uruguay, making only minor corrections to an award issued earlier this year, which had held the state’s tobacco control regulations were not in breach of an investment treaty.

    • TTIP: the impact on the Greek democracy, economy and society

      The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), belongs to the “new generation”of trade agreements. Together with Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is one of the most important forthcoming steps for the wide-ranging transformation of the bourgeois society and capitalism.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • WikiLeaks poisons Hillary’s relationship with left

      Donald Trump is pointing to a stream of hacked emails as proof that Hillary Clinton would be a compromised president, but a surprising number of progressives are drawing similar conclusions — albeit for a totally different reasons.

      Some of the left’s most influential voices and groups are taking offense at the way they and their causes were discussed behind their backs by Clinton and some of her closest advisers in the emails, which swipe liberal heroes and causes as “puritanical,” “pompous”, “naive”, “radical” and “dumb,” calling some “freaks,” who need to “get a life.”

    • Jill Stein op-ed: Break the blackout on political competition in America

      A voter revolt is brewing in America. People are fed up, and they should be. The super rich are destroying our economy, sending our jobs overseas and making our planet uninhabitable. But instead of offering real solutions, the two-party system has produced the two most disliked and distrusted candidates in history.

      In a Fox News poll from Sept. 30, 57 percent of voters said their choice in the presidential election is motivated primarily not by enthusiasm, but by fear of the other candidate. Democrats and Republicans have lost ground to independents, now the largest voting block. Meanwhile, an incredible 57 percent of Americans polled recently by Gallup say the Democratic and Republican parties have failed and we need a new major party. In short, the American people are ready for real competition to the two-party system.

      As I travel the country, I hear disgust with both parties, especially among young people. They see a political establishment that is unwilling or unable to tackle the dead-end economy, crushing student debt, endless expanding wars, growing climate crisis and injustice in our legal and immigration systems. They see Donald Trump as an ignorant, bigoted predator and Hillary Clinton as an untrustworthy insider with a troubling record. The Green Party’s message makes sense to many because Greens have the freedom, as the only national party that doesn’t take corporate money, to speak out for fair, common-sense solutions that establishment politicians won’t touch.

    • Op Ed: Investigative Journalism is Not Dead

      Okay, so, I wasn’t going to submit these here because I’ve really had quite enough of politics for the year but it seems the mainstream media are having an absolute blackout on anything critical of Hillary, to the point of CNN has both coincidentally lost a sitting congressman’s satellite feed immediately after mentioning wikileaks and tried to tell their viewers that even reading the wikileaks emails is illegal.

      These two videos by Project Veritas Action, apparently with more to come, are the result of a year or so of actual investigative journalism and deserve coverage somewhere though. I don’t personally care at all if you like Hillary or not but it’s always better to know the truth than to stick your head in the sand, so here they are.

    • If You’re Ever Dissed in a Hacked Email, Try to Respond Like Larry Lessig

      Lawrence Lessig is a professor at Harvard Law School, a leading advocate for campaign finance reform, and short-lived presidential candidate.

      He was also, in the view of the Clinton campaign, circa August 2015, a “smug,” “pompous,” loathsome guy whom a reasonable person might wish “to kick the shit out of on Twitter.”

    • Jill Stein offers third party perspective on final debate

      The final debate of the 2016 Presidential Election was a terse one, with more jabs than a UFC event. While the debate only featured the two mainstream candidates, Jill Stein used Facebook Live to communicate the Green Party’s goals for the country and politics.

      While the mainstream debates mostly focused on which candidate is more corrupt politically and morally, Jill Stein’s Facebook Live event drew 12,500 viewers who were excited to hear of an alternative to the two-party system. Leaving Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to mudsling and name-call, Stein wanted to focus on the need for a three-party system and offering alternatives to the corporate-backed political system.

    • Green Party V.P. candidate makes visit to Muskegon, hopes for support

      Green Party vice-presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka visited Muskegon, and his stop was not at a college campus or a coffee shop but the Michigan Department of Corrections campus.

      Baraka visited Wednesday, Oct. 19, with prison inmate Rev. Edward Pinkney, who is serving time at the prison for a conviction on an election law forgery charge.

      “For him to be given a 30-month sentence allegedly for changing some signatures on a voter card that is outrageous,” Baraka said.

      Baraka has a message to voters looking for a home this election cycle: “We say you only have one choice and that is to support the Green Party. Don’t let fear undermine your commitment to principal.”

    • Green Party Candidate Jill Stein Rips John Oliver’s ‘Deceptive Attack’

      “Coming from someone who made a stunt of buying and canceling medical debt on his show, and who claims to want alternatives to the failed two-party system, this disingenuous attack on the idea of canceling student debt is both puzzling and hypocritical,” Stein’s campaign said in a statement. “It was beyond disappointing to see that our responses were completely ignored. The same tired, misleading attack lines were trotted out, and Oliver chose to misrepresent our campaign on the lone substantive issue that he addressed: our plan to cancel student debt.”

      In Sunday’s episode, Oliver said Stein’s plan to eliminate student debt relies on an economic method called quantitative easing, which is essentially the printing of new money. The problem, Oliver said, is that the Federal Reserve doesn’t have the jurisdiction of the president. “It’s basically akin to saying, ‘I’ll make us energy independent by ordering the Post Office to invade Canada,’” Oliver said. “No, Jill. That’s impractical, it’s a terrible idea, and you don’t seem to understand anything about it.”

    • Jill Stein Pitches a Green Foreign Policy

      On The Gist, Green Party candidate Jill Stein lays out her foreign policy. She debates Mike Pesca about Hillary Clinton, Yemen, and America’s use of force. Stein believes the United States is closer to nuclear war than ever, including the Cold War. She explains how de-escalating nuclear tensions with Russia should take priority, and how neither of the major party candidates is up to the job. This year marks Stein’s second run for the presidency.

    • Why These Americans Refuse to Vote

      In Nevada, residents are afforded a luxury not enjoyed by any other Americans: When they trudge to the polls next month, they’ll have the chance to check a box that reads, “None of These Candidates.” Nevada voters are statutorily entitled to signal their discontent with the entire array of presidential contenders before them by saying “screw it” and selecting that particular option. And it’s not a joke—this ultimate “F you!” has actually won various Nevada state primary elections in the past.

      One can only guess what percentage of voters would choose “none” were the option available nationwide, but there are some clues it’d find sizable traction: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the two most despised major party nominees in modern electoral history. But outside Nevada, there’s no way to formally register your across-the-board disillusionment with the political system that produced them: You’ve got to pick Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or one of the third-party also-rans. (Or you could write somebody in, such as Fred Flintstone or LeBron James.)

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein on “Donald Trump’s Psychosis and Hillary Clinton’s Distortions”

      After Wednesday’s debate, Democracy Now! spoke to Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presidential nominee. She and Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson were excluded from the debate under stringent rules set by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties.

    • A Tale of Three Foundations
    • Donald Trump Just Lost, But So Did American Democracy

      Trump called Clinton a liar, a “nasty woman” and someone who should have “never been allowed to run” because she is a crook.

    • Presidential Conflicts of Interest, and More from CRS

      “Does federal law require the President to relinquish control of his or her business interests?” That question is considered in a new analysis from the Congressional Research Service.

      The short answer appears to be No. “There is no current legal requirement that would compel the President to relinquish financial interests because of a conflict of interest.”

      There are, however, certain legal disclosure requirements that apply to candidates for the Presidency. It is those requirements that are “the principal method of regulation of potential conflicts of interests for elected officials such as the President.”

    • Natasha Stoynoff’s account of Trump sexual assault now backed by 6 witnesses

      Former People magazine contributor Natasha Stoynoff recently went public with her claim that she was sexually assaulted by the GOP Presidential Nominee, Donald Trump.

      Trump and his paid toadies on the campaign trail mocked Stoynoff, and questioned her motives. There were no witnesses, Trump said, adding, “She lies! Look at her, I don’t think so.”

      A totally normal thing for an innocent man to say when accused of sexual assault.

      “We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat,” she wrote.

      Six people have now come forward to corroborate Stoynoff’s account.

      She wasn’t lying, they say. It happened. And it happened just like she said it happened.

    • Revealed: 6 People Who Corroborate Natasha Stoynoff’s Story of Being Attacked by Donald Trump

      Six colleagues and close friends who corroborate former PEOPLE writer Natasha Stoynoff’s account of being attacked by Donald Trump in 2005 are now coming forward. Among them is a friend who was with Stoynoff when she ran into Melania Trump later in N.Y.C.

      The wife of the Republican nominee denies meeting Stoynoff after the attack, but Stoynoff’s friend Liza Herz remembers being there during the chance meeting.

      “They chatted in a friendly way,” Herz, who met Stoynoff in college, says. “And what struck me most was that Melania was carrying a child and wearing heels.”

      Stoynoff’s story, which made national news when it broke last week and is reprinted in this week’s issue of PEOPLE, describes a run-in with Trump when she was covering him and pregnant wife Melania on assignment for PEOPLE in December 2005.

    • Michael Moore quietly made a Donald Trump movie. “TrumpLand” opens this week.

      Filmmaker Michael Moore has an “October surprise” for America: A stealthily and quickly made movie about the presidential campaign of GOP nominee and accused serial sexual predator Donald Trump.

    • What Michael Moore Understands About Hillary Clinton

      “Michael Moore in TrumpLand” isn’t quite the film that I expected it to be, and that’s all to the good. Moore is, of course, a genius of political satire, deploying his persona—as a populist socialist skeptic with a superb sense of humor and a chess player’s skill at media positioning—to deeply humane ends that are mainly detached from practicality, policy, and practical politics. The very idea of the new film—a recording of Moore’s one-man show from the stage of a theatre in a small, predominantly Republican town in Ohio—runs the risk of self-parody, being a feature-length lampooning of Trump, laid out with meticulously researched facts set forth with the sublime derision of which Moore is a master. It would have been a highly saleable version of preaching to the converted.

    • Final Debate Review: One President vs One Petulant Child

      So the last Trump vs Hillary debate is done. It will be remembered as the debate where Trump put himself and his personal acceptance ahead of the opinion of 200 million voters. I think this will damage him more than any other third debate ever, and will bring on a wave of condemnation by Republicans and more un-endorsements. I think he will walk that statement back, soon, and may be forced to Apple-igize or non-apologize for it.

    • Clinton Campaign Makes Wildly Inconsistent Claims About Emails Published By WikiLeaks

      Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign contends the publication of emails from the campaign are part of a Russian plot. It believes raising the issue of Russia’s alleged involvement is enough to avoid discussion of the contents of emails. However, the campaign has been inconsistent in appearances on cable news networks.

      Multiple individuals explicitly insist there are doctored or forged emails to dodge questions. Some of these people had their email exchanges published by WikiLeaks. Yet no member of the Clinton campaign can name a single example of a forgery.

      Representatives of the Clinton campaign back away from talking points and answer questions about the emails if they can make a point that may be useful to the campaign about Donald Trump or Clinton’s progressive credentials. But when hosts of news programs ask questions they do not want to answer, they repeat a set of talking points; in particular, how Republican Senator Marco Rubio said this shows the Russians are trying to rig the election and people should stop talking about the emails.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Police mass face recognition in the US will net innocent people

      Live in the US? There’s a 50:50 chance that you’re in a police face recognition database, according to a report from the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law in Washington DC. The findings suggest that about a quarter of all police departments in the US have access to face recognition technology.

      That police are using face recognition technology is not a problem in itself. In a world with a camera in every pocket, they would be daft not to. But face recognition can be used far more broadly than fingerprint recognition, which means it carries a higher risk of tagging innocent people.

      Fingerprints are difficult to work with. Prints from known criminals can only be gathered in controlled environments at police stations, and dusting for prints is so time consuming that it is only done at relevant crime scenes. This narrows down the number of people in the sights of any one investigation.

      It’s much easier to build huge databases of identified photographs. The majority of the 117 million faces in the police datasets come from state driving licenses and ID cards. And when trying to solve a crime, gathering faces is as easy as pointing a camera at the street. People attending protests, visiting their church, or just walking by can all have their faces “dusted” without ever knowing it.

    • UK first to bring surveillance under rule of law, says former GCHQ director [Ed: So the spies broke the law for many years and our government will pardon them and legalise the crime]

      Former GCHQ head David Omand says the UK will be the first country in Europe to legislate to regulate digital intelligence and put it under judicial supervision with judicial review

    • NSA Can Access More Phone Data Than Ever

      One of the reforms designed to rein in the surveillance authorities of the National Security Agency has perhaps inadvertently solved a technical problem for the spy outfit and granted it potential access to much more data than before, a former top official told ABC News.

      Before the signing of the USA Freedom Act in June 2015, one of the NSA’s most controversial programs was the mass collection of telephonic metadata from millions of Americans — the information about calls, including the telephone numbers involved, the time and the duration but not the calls’ content — under a broad interpretation of the Patriot Act’s Section 215. From this large “haystack,” as officials have called it, NSA analysts could get approval to run queries on specific numbers purportedly linked to international terrorism investigations.

    • NSA, GCHQ and even Donald Trump are all after your data

      As production and usage of data keeps growing globally, it’s worth remembering that the US government wants access to your information and will use warrants, decryption or hacking to get to it.

      That’s not news and the US government has many tools in its box. Many had already heard of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (aka the Patriot Act) as the means by which the FBI would get access to data. Then the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act took centre stage (although the original version of this actually predated the Patriot Act by a couple of decades) following the Snowden revelations that the NSA had access to data on a massive scale.

      If Donald Trump gets elected as president, he might introduce more snooping powers. As part of his election campaign, he has already issued some tough statements which seem likely to rebalance powers in favour of the US government and away from the tech industry.

    • Local Superior Court Judge Says DEA’s Wiretap Warrant Factory Perfectly Legal

      Over the past several years, the DEA has run hundreds of wiretap warrants through a single county judge’s court after getting them approved by whoever happened to be in the local district attorney’s office when agents need one signed. The latter part of this process runs contrary to statutes enacted specifically to prevent abuse of wiretap warrants by the federal agencies.

      The approval process, which had been streamlined to eliminate any possible roadblocks to the DEA’s deployment of wiretaps all over the country, was considered by the DOJ to be far enough outside legal boundaries as to make the warrants questionable, if not legally “toxic.”

      The district attorney who was supposed to personally approve these wiretap warrants never did. Former Riverside County district attorney Paul Zellerbach delegated this task to anyone but himself. Because of this, some of the warrants have been challenged in court, leading to the DOJ stepping in to salvage wiretaps its lawyers had previously instructed DEA agents to keep out of federal courts.

    • New Research Blames Insiders, Not North Korea, for Sony Hack

      Growing evidence suggests it was not North Korea.

      A leading cyber security firm says it has evidence that contradicts the government’s allegation that North Korea was behind the debilitating cyber attacks against Sony Pictures.

      Researchers from the firm Norse told Security Ledger, an independent security news website, that they believe that a group of six individuals orchestrated the hack, including at least one former employee who was laid off in company-wide restructuring in May.

    • “I’ve seen pretty much all your tech secrets”

      Government prosecutors intend to file charges under the Espionage Act against a former NSA contractor who was arrested in August and charged with stealing a massive trove of top-secret intelligence documents.

      In court papers filed Thursday [you can read them below], the government said Navy veteran Harold T. Martin III stole 50,000 gigabytes of data over the course of two decades, which far exceeds the number of documents Edward Snowden took from the NSA and leaked to journalists. (One gigabyte can store about 10,000 pages.)

      Prosecutors say Martin, who had been a contractor with Booz Allen Hamilton — the same company that employed Snowden at the time of his leak — is a national security threat and a flight risk, and must remain behind bars until a trial in his case begins next year. Earlier this week, Martin’s attorneys requested a court hearing to determine if he could be released pending trial; the hearing is scheduled to take place Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Maryland.

      In the court papers, the government for the first time characterized the documents that Martin allegedly stole, which prosecutors said lay bare a “course of felonious conduct that is breathtaking in its longevity and scale.” According to the government, in addition to numerous digital media devices the FBI seized from Martin, there were also “hard-copy documents that were seized from various locations during the search that comprise six full bankers’ boxes worth of documents.”

    • Trove of Stolen Data Is Said to Include Top-Secret U.S. Hacking Tools

      Investigators pursuing what they believe to be the largest case of mishandling classified documents in United States history have found that the huge trove of stolen documents in the possession of a National Security Agency contractor included top-secret N.S.A. hacking tools that two months ago were offered for sale on the internet.

      They have been hunting for electronic clues that could link those cybertools — computer code posted online for auction by an anonymous group calling itself the Shadow Brokers — to the home computers of the contractor, Harold T. Martin III, who was arrested in late August on charges of theft of government property and mishandling of classified information.

      But so far, the investigators have been frustrated in their attempt to prove that Mr. Martin deliberately leaked or sold the hacking tools to the Shadow Brokers or, alternatively, that someone hacked into his computer or otherwise took them without his knowledge. While they have found some forensic clues that he might be the source, the evidence is not conclusive, according to a dozen officials who have been involved in or have been briefed on the investigation.

    • Feds seized 50TB of data from NSA contractor suspected of theft

      In a new Thursday court filing, federal prosecutors expanded their accusations against a former National Security Agency contractor. Federal investigators seized at least 50 terabytes of data from Harold Thomas Martin III, at least some of which was “national defense information.” If all of this data was indeed classified, it would be the largest such heist from the NSA, far larger than what former contractor Edward Snowden took.

      Prosecutors also said that Martin should remain locked up and noted that he will soon be charged with violations of the Espionage Act. That law, which dates back nearly a century, is the same law that was used to charge Chelsea Manning and Snowden, among others. If convicted, violators can face the death penalty.

      United States Attorney Rod Rosenstein and two other prosecutors laid out new details in the case against Martin, whose arrest only became public earlier this month. Martin had been a contractor with Booz Allen Hamilton and possessed a top-secret clearance.

      The new filing states that Martin also took “six full bankers’ boxes” worth of paper documents, many which were marked “Secret” or “Top Secret.” The documents date from between 1996 through 2016.

    • Cops Monitoring Social Media Is Much More Than Just Collecting Tweets

      It’s not just your friends following you on Facebook or Twitter. The cops are, too.

      Law enforcement agencies around the world have used social media monitoring software to keep tabs on populations en masse, sweeping up their posts and tweets, giving police a bird’s-eye view of what, say, Twitter users are broadcasting in a specific area, or about a particular topic. Tweeting from an Olympic stadium? Sharing a post with a hashtag supporting Black Lives Matter? Police may be watching that, in real time.

      On the face of it, you might not have a problem with cops reading public social media posts or tweets: individuals presumably took the decision to put the information out there themselves. But law enforcement’s monitoring of social media is not that simple.

      “Social media monitoring is so much more than it first appears. Programs to monitor social media are rarely about manual review of public information,” Amie Stepanovich, US policy manager at activist group Access Now, told Motherboard in a Twitter message.

    • DNA testing for jobs may be on its way, warns Gartner

      It is illegal today to use DNA testing for employment, but as science advances its understanding of genes that correlate to certain desirable traits — such as leadership and intelligence — business may want this information.

      People seeking leadership roles in business, or even those in search of funding for a start-up, may volunteer their DNA test results to demonstrate that they have the right aptitude, leadership capabilities and intelligence for the job.

      This may sound farfetched, but it’s possible based on the direction of the science, according to Gartner analysts David Furlonger and Stephen Smith, who presented their research at the firm’s Symposium IT/xpo here. This research is called “maverick” in Gartner parlance, meaning it has a somewhat low probability and is still years out, but its potential is nonetheless worrisome to the authors.

    • How to endorse a political candidate on Facebook and lose friends forever
    • How to find out what Facebook knows about you

      Close to the top of this page you’ll see a section called “Interests” with a whole lot of tiles. Each tile represents an interest, and Facebook organizes your interests under a variety of categories including sports, news, entertainments, people, and technology.

      All you have to do is go through this list. If you see something that shouldn’t belong—or you’d rather not have belong—just click the “X” that appears in the upper-right corner of the tile when you hover over it with your mouse. This should remove or at least reduce any ads you see related to that content.

      Perhaps the most interesting section for most of us right now is the “Lifestyle and culture” section, which houses political interests. For me, personally, this area was way off. It said I had liked pages related to political parties I don’t support.

      My best guess as to how this happened is that in the last few weeks I’ve liked a bunch of articles criticizing the other side. Do that enough times and one particular candidate’s name comes up more than the other’s, and (perhaps) an association is made between you and the side you disagree with.

    • Email/Web footer – For the NSA….

      I responded to a spam message from my credit union, asking to be removed from their mailing list for things not directly related to my current account status using my standard Live.com email which has for at least 10 years now contained a footer labeled for the NSA which contains dozens of keywords sure to get you scanned. Well it finally worked… 2 days later the Yuma PD responded to my door and questioned me regarding the text of the footer which was reported to them by my credit union as a terrorist bomb threat. 2 Yuma PD marked cars and an unmarked vehicle containing a ‘detective’ arrived, rang the door bell and asked to speak to me, they wanted in the house badly but I chose to speak to them on the front porch. They had a copy of the email and were as they termed it just following up on a complaint lodged by the AEA credit union. The detective asked some rather pointed questions and tried real hard to get me to admit that the footer was really a threat but seemed rather embarrassed at his presence and went away after apparently I turned out to have valid ID and wasn’t brown. The patrol officers openly laughed with me at the over reaction and accepted a bottle of water on their way out. I am debating wearing a turban to the credit union to close my account out and demanding cash in lieu of a cashiers check, but given the state I am in and the gun carry laws that might be too much. I’ll report back if I don’t end up in Gitmo.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Denmark: Muslims stage organised attack against teenagers for being “American”

      The below story also shows how little security Danes (and American tourists) have, now because the police is overwhelmed by Muslim crime and terror.

    • Segregated Housing For Black Students At Cal State LA

      Welcome to the indoctrination station.

      Martin Luther King, please report to the front desk. You’re being brought to trial on charges of microaggressions for this “content of their character” microaggression.

    • Uh, America’s Take On The Salem Witch Trials Is Really Weird

      Imagine someone accusing you of a crime so ridiculous that the crime itself isn’t a real thing, like “French-kissing a pink elephant while enjoying free healthcare and a living wage.” And before you can even figure out how to mount a reasonable defense, you and a dozen other people in your community are dead, swinging from a hanging tree while the rest of the town pats themselves on the back for sending the pink-elephant-kissers back to Hell where they belong.

      Now imagine that a few hundred years have passed, and instead of mourning the terrible crime committed against you, everyone in town dresses up as a cartoon version of you and encourages tourists to buy trinkets that minimize and celebrate your death.

      Got all of that? Cool, you’ve basically pictured what’s happened in Salem, Massachusetts. This town is famous for witches and witch trials, which is another way of saying “mob hysteria which resulted in the murder of over 20 people.” Instead of solemnly remembering their dark past with humility, Salem has gone a different route — specifically, the route populated with merchandise and Ferris wheels.

    • Imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi faces more lashes: supporters

      Imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, whose public flogging in the kingdom in 2015 generated global outcry, now risks a new round of lashes, a co-founder of a Canadian foundation advocating for his release said on Tuesday.

      Evelyne Abitbol, who founded the Raif Badawi Foundation with Badawi’s wife, said a “reliable source” in Saudi Arabia claims he faces a new flogging after being sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and 1000 lashes in 2014 for breaking the kingdom’s technology laws and insulting Islam.

    • Outrage over actor Rahama Sadau’s hug highlights Nigeria’s divisions

      She is a hugely popular actor. He is a hugely popular rapper. But when Rahama Sadau and ClassiQ briefly touched in a music video released this month in northern Nigeria, their fleeting embrace set off a storm of controversy that has revealed the deep divides in the country.

      Sadau, 22, found herself lambasted by conservative commentators and banned from working in the predominantly Muslim north of Nigeria.

      “Rahama has been banned for life from acting … This is as a result of her recent immoral appearance in a certain video song where she appeared … hugging and cuddling,” said Salisu Mohammed, the head of the Motion Picture Practitioner’s Association of Nigeria, based in Kano state.

      The actor apologised for any offence she might have caused but called for a “more forgiving and tolerant” attitude.

      The northern Hausa-language film industry is only one part of the vast Nigerian movie business. Dubbed “Nollywood”, but divided along linguistic and cultural lines, it claims to be the second largest in the world, producing 2,000 films a year. Only Bollywood, the Indian film industry, which has been a huge influence on its Nigerian counterpart, produces more.

    • Muslim leader jailed for life after hiring hitman to kill mosque rival

      A Muslim leader has been jailed for life after hiring a hitman to execute his rival in cold blood following a bitter dispute over control of a controversial mosque.

      Khalid Rashad, 63, a Muslim convert, is the brother of Liz Mitchell, the lead singer in the 1970s band Boney M, famous for disco hits such as Rivers of Babylon, Rasputin and Daddy Cool.

      She appeared as a character witness in his trial, held in January this year, explaining how they had grown up in a large Christian family in Jamaica.

      The case can finally be reported at the end of a second trial in which Rashad was convicted of possessing military-grade plastic explosives and rounds of ammunition at his home, yards from Wembley stadium.

      In the first case, Abdul Hadi Arwani, 48, was found slumped in the driver’s seat of his VW Passat in a street in Wembley, north London, with the engine still running and bullet wounds in his chest in April last year.

      There was speculation that the preacher could have been murdered by a Syrian hitman when it emerged that he had been a vocal opponent of the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

    • Journalist Charged in North Dakota with Rioting; Case is Dismissed

      Amy Goodman, host of the New York City-based leftist news programme Democracy Now! was charged with criminal trespass by the North Dakota state’s attorney (prosecutor). The charge was changed to riot, then was dismissed due to lack of evidence when Goodman appeared in court on Monday. The charges stemmed from her presence at a protest in September against construction of the Dakota Access (Bakken) oil pipeline, after the protest was reported on her show.

    • Christian refugees persecuted by Muslim asylum seekers in German shelters – survey

      Christian asylum seekers as well as members of other religious minority groups living in refugee shelters across Germany face systematic persecution from both Muslim refugees and Muslim staff, a recently published survey shows.

      As many as 743 Christian refugees and 10 Yazidis living in refugee centers in various German states have reported religiously motivated attacks between February and September 2016, a survey conducted by several charitable NGOs says, stressing that collected data should be “considered … as the tip of the iceberg,” as “there are a high number of unreported cases.”

      Fifty-six percent of the affected refugees said that they were subjected to violent assaults and were beaten up while 42 percent of them said that they or their family members received death threats both from fellow refugees and Muslim staff, including volunteers and security personnel working at the centers.

    • Teat Scares Airlines: TSA Still Humiliates Nursing Mothers

      The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) still can’t identify an obvious breast pump used by women who are breastfeeding. According Hawaiian media, a mom was asked to prove her breast pump was real at the Lihue Airport.

      Agents told her she couldn’t take the pump on the plane because the bottles inside were empty. Interestingly, the same thing happened to Kossack Jesselyn Radack 8 years ago for the opposite reason: the bottles were full.

      This is not just a one-off. This is what occurs with measures intended to make people feel secure while doing nothing to actually improve security.

      Radack was on the No-Fly List, so maybe that’s why her breasts are more suspicious. But what the Hawaiian woman experienced is eerily similar and degrading as what Radack went through.

    • Arrested Backpage Execs Ask Kamala Harris To Drop Bogus Case She Herself Has Admitted She Has No Authority To Bring

      A few weeks ago, we wrote about the absolutely ridiculous and unconstitutional charges brought by California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton against the online classified site Backpage.com. We focused on the fact that Section 230 clearly protects Backpage from such a lawsuit, and went into detail on the ridiculousness of Harris’ “investigator” using the fact that Backpage itself actually worked with him to track down, remove, and block ads for prostitution as some sort of evidence of wrongdoing.

      The execs are now hitting back — as they should. They’ve asked the court to dump the case with a detailed and thorough filing. It highlights that the charges violate the First Amendment, Section 230 of the CDA and, at an even more basic level, the complaint doesn’t even satisfy the requirements for “pimping,” which is what they’re charged with.

    • By stealing from innocents, Chicago PD amassed tens of millions in a secret black budget for surveillance gear

      Since 2009, the Chicago Police Department has seized $72M worth of property from people who were not convicted of any crime, through the discredited civil forfeiture process, keeping $48M worth of the gains (the rest went to the Cook County prosecutor’s office and the Illinois State Police) in an off-the-books, unreported slush fund that it used to buy secret surveillance gear.

      Civil forfeiture is widely considered to be an invitation to abuse and exploitation, and Chicago’s system is especially pernicious, as the police get to keep the proceeds from seizure, and do not have to disclose or account for the money.

      The full scope of the program was revealed in late September by the Chicago Reader, who worked with Muckrock and the Lucy Parsons Lab to file public records requests that yielded more than 1,000 pages’ worth of CPD documents.

    • URGENT CALL: ask your MP to sign letter to Obama

      One week ago Lauri Love’s case was raised at Prime Minister’s Questions by David Burrowes MP. Lauri’s case, and the inadequacy of Theresa May’s forum bar, is now firmly on the Parliamentary agenda.

      David Burrowes is one of a cross-party group of MPs who are now campaigning for Lauri in Parliament. Along with Labour’s Barry Sheerman and Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael, he has written a letter to President Obama, asking for the extradition warrant to be withdrawn.

    • Iran arrests Baquer Namazi, father of imprisoned American businessman

      Six weeks after freeing U.S. citizens in a prisoner swap with the United States, Iran appears to have arrested yet another man whom Washington may take an interest in seeing freed.

      Baquer Namazi, 80, is the father of American businessman Siamak Namazi, who was detained in October and was not part of last month’s exchange. Before his father’s arrest, he was the last confirmed U.S. prisoner still being held in Iran.

      Baquer Namazi, a former UNICEF official, was arrested on Monday, his wife Effie Namazi said on Facebook. He is an Iranian-American.

      “I must share the shocking and sad news that Baquer was arrested in Tehran late evening of 22 February 2016 and as far as I have been told by those who took him taken to Evin prison,” she wrote. “Now both my innocent son Siamak and my Baquer are in prison for no reason. This is a nightmare I can’t describe.”

    • Muslims call for Norway minister to resign after pork post

      Norwegian Muslims have called on the country’s integration minister to step down after she said that immigrants should adapt to a culture of pork, alcohol and no face-veils.

      Sylvi Listhaug, a minister appointed by the anti-immigrant Progress Party, caused outrage on Monday when she made an incendiary post on the eve of an national integration conference.

      “I think those who come to Norway need to adapt to our society. Here we eat pork, drink alcohol and show our face. You must abide by the values, laws and regulations that are in Norway when you come here,” she wrote in a post that was ‘liked’ by 20,000 people.

    • Supporters of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi fear flogging set to resume

      Supporters of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi are sounding the alarm that his flogging could soon resume.

      The Montreal-based foundation that bears Badawi’s name said this week it has it on good authority his punishment will begin again.

      The information comes from a “private source” who is the same person who informed Badawi’s family in Canada about the first series of lashes in January 2015.

      Evelyne Abitbol, the foundation’s executive director, conceded Tuesday it isn’t known for sure if or when the lashes will resume. Nonetheless, the organization found the information credible enough to convey it publicly.

      “We believe this information is right because it came from the same source,” Abitbol said. “We thought: If we don’t do anything and he is flogged, we would not be happy about not alerting the international community.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • How the Web Became Unreadable

      It’s been getting harder for me to read things on my phone and my laptop. I’ve caught myself squinting and holding the screen closer to my face. I’ve worried that my eyesight is starting to go.

      These hurdles have made me grumpier over time, but what pushed me over the edge was when Google’s App Engine console — a page that, as a developer, I use daily — changed its text from legible to illegible. Text that was once crisp and dark was suddenly lightened to a pallid gray. Though age has indeed taken its toll on my eyesight, it turns out that I was suffering from a design trend.

      There’s a widespread movement in design circles to reduce the contrast between text and background, making type harder to read. Apple is guilty. Google is, too. So is Twitter.

      Typography may not seem like a crucial design element, but it is. One of the reasons the web has become the default way that we access information is that it makes that information broadly available to everyone. “The power of the Web is in its universality,” wrote Tim Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web consortium. “Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”

    • Time’s Running Out for the FCC on Set-Top Reform, Privacy and Zero-Rating

      Dozens of leading public interest groups on Monday urged the Federal Communications Commission to swiftly approve new consumer protection policies aimed at promoting competition in the video marketplace, increasing online privacy, and ensuring internet openness.

      In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and his colleagues, the groups asked the agency to take action on two of the most important issues facing US telecom regulators: Rules that would save consumers billions of dollars annually by breaking the cable industry’s stranglehold on the video “set-top box” market, and tough new policies designed to protect consumers from broadband industry privacy abuses.

      The public interest coalition is also urging the FCC to crack down on the controversial practice of “zero-rating,” in which internet providers exempt certain online services from monthly data caps. Open internet groups say such schemes violate net neutrality, the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible, because they favor certain services by giving consumers an economic incentive to use them over rival offerings.

    • Oversight Transition Isn’t Giving Away the Internet, But Won’t Fix ICANN’s Problems

      At midnight last Saturday morning, Washington DC time, oversight over the performance of ICANN’s IANA functions—notably its maintenance of the root zone database of the Internet’s domain name system (DNS)—passed from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to ICANN’s global multi-stakeholder community.

      Despite several weeks of heated discussion within the United States, we haven’t commented much on this transition. That’s because there has not been much to say: the talking points over ICANN have been mostly a product of American party politics (and the election season) rather than a debate on a substantive technical or policy issue. The outcome was unlikely to affect Internet users much one way or the other. Now that the transfer of oversight has gone through, life will go on pretty much as it did before, with the exception that a broader group of people will have the formal responsibility of ensuring that the DNS root zone is being administered according to community-developed policies. New accountability measures have been put in place by ICANN as a condition of the transition, which will give this community some extra teeth to make sure that it stays on the straight and narrow.

    • Vox Seems Kind Of Upset That We’re Building Gigabit Networks With Bandwidth To Spare

      If you want to see why broadband in the United States still stinks, your first stop should be to examine the state level protectionist laws used to stifle competition across countless markets. But despite the lobbyist stranglehold over state legislatures, we’re still seeing some impressive progress when it comes to the deployment of gigabit fiber networks. Google Fiber continues to slowly but surely expand its footprint, and we’re seeing the rise of numerous other piecemeal gigabit solutions, whether coming from the likes of Tucows or municipal broadband deployments in cities like Chattanooga, Tennessee.

      To be clear, the “gigabit revolution” is certainly a bit overhyped. The vast majority still can’t get this caliber of service, and the obsession with the mighty gigabit does tend to obscure a potentially more important conversation about broadband prices and the often glaring lack of real competitive options. But by and large most people can agree that gigabit fiber builds are a good thing in an era when most users can still only obtain DSL at circa 2002 speeds and prices, and two-thirds of homes lack access to speeds greater than 25 Mbps from more than one provider (aka a broken monopoly).

    • FCC Fines T-Mobile For Abusing The Definition Of ‘Unlimited’ Data

      For the better part of the last decade, wireless carriers have had an often vicious, adversarial relationship with the dictionary. More specifically, they’ve struggled repeatedly with the definition of the word “unlimited,” often pitching data services that proclaim to be unlimited, only to saddle users with onerous, often confusing restrictions. For the last decade, regulators have tried to cure them of this behavior, from Verizon paying $1 million to New York’s Attorney General in 2007, to the FCC fining AT&T $100 million last year.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • China’s Manufacturers Now Producing Copies Before Original Products Are Even Launched

      Techdirt has written a number of articles tracking how China is moving beyond its traditional counterfeit imitation culture to one of collaborative innovation, as exemplified by “gongkai”. An article on the Quartz site provides a useful update on this world, concentrating on developments in Shenzhen, generally regarded as China’s hardware equivalent of Silicon Valley.

    • Comments Received On South African IP Framework; Action Seen In Early 2017

      The invitation by the South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to intellectual property stakeholders to comment on its recently released IP Consultative Framework has reignited calls for the department to come clean on the status of the national draft IP policy.

    • US, India Trade Ministers Agree List Of IP Enforcement Actions For India

      United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman met in Delhi today and discussed various bilateral issues including intellectual property rights. Based on the release from the meeting, it appears much of the IP focus was on tasks for India to do to better protect IP rights.

    • Copyrights

      • Skittles Photographer Actually Sues Trump Campaign Over Infringement

        A few weeks ago, we wrote about how David Kittos was threatening the Trump campaign with a copyright infringement lawsuit after Donald Trump Jr. tweeted out a really dumb image involving a bowl of Skittles and a ridiculous statement about refugees.

      • Megaupload User Fears Complete Data Loss, Asks Court For Help

        Millions of users lost access to their personal files when Megaupload was raided, and after nearly half a decade they are still stashed away in a Virginia warehouse. Former Megaupload user Kyle Goodwin has been trying to get his files back for years. This week he urged the court to take action, fearing that his data may soon be lost forever.

      • Our new brochure is finally here!

        After countless hours of work our new brochure “Ancillary Copyright for press publishers – Background and key issues” has arrived! It is easy to read and answers all relevant questions regarding an Ancillary Copyright for press publishers (AC). You can download it here for free.

        Much has happened in the past years. The first part of the paper reconstructs the development from the first discussions in Germany back in 2009 over the implementation in Germany and Spain with its consequences to Günther Oettinger’s current plans to introduce an AC at European level.

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