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11.12.16

Links 12/11/2016: Core Infrastructure Initiative Supports Reproducible Builds, Temer’s Assault on FOSS

Posted in News Roundup at 11:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Project Imixs-Workflow 4.0 released!

    Imixs-Workflow is an Open Source Workflow Engine for Human-Centric BPM. Human-centric business process management supports human skills and activities by a task orientated workflow-engine.

    The new release includes a number of improvements concerning performance and stability. Version 4.0. is now based on Java 8 and can be run with any Java EE 7 application server. In addition to a long list of improvements, the Lucene search engine technology is now fully integrated into the Imixs-Workflow engine. Thus, the open source framework provides much more flexibility in data access and allows a faster integration into existing business solutions.

  • The digital revolution’s hidden secret: Open-source cloud software

    Buried deep within the heart of the digital revolution is a hidden secret. This secret is open-source software. Open-source software has been key to the transformation of business because it is low-cost, often free, and easy for a young company to modify and deploy. Because of these strong points, open-source software has produced powerful technologies for modern enterprise computing. To guide this explosive community, foundations have appeared, forming an alliance of businesses, startups and developers.

    To gain some insight into one such foundation, John Furrier (@furrier), co-host of theCUBE*, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, visited the KubeCon 2016 conference in Seattle, WA. There, he sat down with Dan Kohn, executive director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

  • Can an on-prem-cloud hybrid service solve companies’ open-source quandary?

    Companies wanting to stay on tech’s bleeding edge face a bit of a quandary these days: Most agree that the latest, greatest software is happening in open source; however, the job of curating and operating it is too messy for the IT teams at most businesses. We spoke with one startup co-founder who believes they’ve found a way to serve open-source innovation to customers without choking them with complexity.

    Bich Le, chief architect and co-founder of Platform9, started the company with some fellow VMware alumni. “The opportunity that we saw was open-source software was getting amazing and ruling the world, especially in the infrastructure space for running compute, storage, networking — but what’s defining this software is it’s very complex to operate,” Le told John Furrier (@furrier), host of theCUBE*, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, during KubeCon 2016.

  • Radisys Propels 5G, Contributes Virtual EPC to Open Source Group

    Radisys contributed its evolved packet core (EPC) framework to the open source CORD project to create a virtual EPC (vEPC).

  • Kubernetes and the open-source, cloud-native evolution

    As the movement to further the education and advancement of Docker, Kubernetes and Cloud-Native architectures continues to grow, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation hosted KubeCon 2016 in Seattle, WA, this week to gather leading Kubernetes technologists from multiple open-source cloud-native communities.

    During the event, Jim Walker, VP of Marketing at CoreOS Inc., and Joseph Jacks, senior director of Product Management at Apprenda Inc., spoke to John Furrier (@furrier), co-host of theCUBE*, from the SiliconANGLE Media team. KubeCon is a biannual community conference dedicated to Kubernetes, the open-source container cluster management software project by Google.

    Walker and Jacks spoke to Furrier about what’s going on at KubeCon, as well as in cloud-native and open source as it evolves.

  • Google Announces Code-In 2016 To Encourage Open Source
  • Google Code-in is Coming, Focused on Open Source

    We’re almost done with 2016, and this time of year is when Google announces its annual Code-in contest, which it has just done. Code-in is an an online contest hosted by Google for pre-university students aged 13 to 17. The contest encourages open source and exposes young people to open source.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Anatomy of a Chrome for Android bug: the mixed-up world of mobile browsers

        Security researchers at Kaspersky recently wrote about various Android attacks featuring malware known as Svpeng.

        Svpeng is a whole family of data-stealing and banking-related threats, so this is more than just what Google might glibly try to label Potentially Harmful Software: it’s malware, and you definitely don’t want it near your phone.

      • There are 2 Billion active Chrome browsers across mobile and desktop

        Chrome is installed by default on all Android devices that come from Google’s partners as well as all Chromebook computers. That probably accounts to a lot of devices, without taking into consideration all the Chrome browsers that users choose to install on their PCs and Macs. So it’s not hard to see how the browser could now be running on billions of phones and desktops and actively used on most of them.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • The battle for Apache Cassandra highlights major problem with open source projects

      Developers prefer Apache-licensed software, but the companies involved in Apache Software Foundation (ASF) projects should tread carefully. While it’s great to be associated with the the Apache brand, the ASF can seem like “Conan the Barbarian” to project leads who don’t abide by its rules. That’s one lesson to take from the fracas between the ASF and DataStax, the principal developer of the popular Cassandra database.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Public Services/Government

    • US Government Opens Access to Federal Source Code with Code.gov

      So far, the government is emphasizing the release of at least 20 percent of its custom code as open source. That may not be enough from the perspective of an open source community, but Pittenger argues that “20 percent is a good start. We need to balance the benefits from open sourcing code with the risks associated with vulnerabilities. Keep in mind that outsourced code may have been written by the lowest-cost bidder. For example, we don’t know if any secure development practices were followed, such as threat modeling, security design reviews, or static analysis. We also don’t know whether the contractors building the software closely tracked the open source they used in the code for known vulnerabilities. My advice would be to risk-rank the applications covered by these policies, and start by open sourcing the least critical. I would argue strongly against releasing code that manages sensitive taxpayer information or code for defense and intelligence agencies.”

      Read more

    • Brazil to Replace Open Source Software with Microsoft Products [Ed: After the banksters overthrew Brazil’s government and installed Temer et al Microsoft continues its long assault on the country’s digital sovereignty [1, 2, 3, 4]]

      “The Brazilian government is reportedly pondering an en masse transition from open source software to Microsoft products, including here Windows 10 and the Office productivity suite.”

    • Brazilian government plans largest Microsoft procurement to date
    • Brazil Replacing Open Source Software With Microsoft’s Windows 10 And Office
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • After a decade, open source Java is still controversial

      Ten years later, the open-sourcing of Java remains a point of contention, with many in the community extolling the importance of an open Java, while others remain critical of its handling, including the belief that Sun Microsystems didn’t go far enough.

      Sun Microsystems officially open-sourced Java on Nov. 13, 2006—a move long pined for by the industry at large. Java’s code had already been accessible prior to that date—a strategy that helped boost the platform from its earliest days, notes Java founder James Gosling.

    • Programming: Windows and Linux Lose Developers to Mac OS

      Both GNU/Linux and Windows have been slowly losing ground among developers. The Linux desktop hasn’t changed much in years and remains a clunky alternative. Windows 10 has made progress, but increasingly developers are choosing to use Macs. The number of developers using a Windows platform for development is expected to drop below 50 percent over the next year.

    • GitHub Enterprise 2.8 adds new workflow options

      The big changes rolled out for GitHub Enterprise 2.8 may seem familiar, but don’t say GitHub is running out of ideas. Instead, the company is adding tools to GitHub Enterprise that enterprises may already know, rather than expand functionality exclusive to GitHub.

      Some new pieces, like the Reviews or Projects functions, will likely draw users because of their tight integration with the product or because they provide the equivalent of a third-party option. But others, like Jupyter support, appeal because they open up GitHub Enterprise to use cases that didn’t exist before or would have been difficult to implement.

    • Tumblr Is The Latest Company Boasting About PHP7 Performance

      We’ve talked a lot on Phoronix about PHP 7 due to the mighty impressive performance improvements found in this major update that was released at the end of last year. Many companies have blogged about their positive performance experiences in upgrading to PHP7, many of which we’ve shared on Phoronix, and Tumblr is now the latest company to boast about their migration from PHP5 to PHP7.

Leftovers

  • The Tech Industry Waits to See Trump’s Tech Policies

    U.S. President-elect Donald Trump isn’t even in office yet, but technology industry associations are already sounding off about what his presidency will mean for tech. Trump laid out a detailed tech policy agenda in advance of the Nov. 8 election, but there are still a lot of questions swirling about his stance toward key tech sectors such as telecom, and there are questions about whether his administration will be as much of a champion for open source technologies as Obama’s was.

    Here are some soundbytes from the discussion.

    BSA | The Software Alliance, which represents companies such as IBM and Microsoft, along with tech advocacy groups such as the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and TechFreedom, have had mostly optimistic things to say, and their leaders are hoping to help mold Trump’s tech policies.

    “There will be a lot of issues the Trump administration will have to confront and deal with, and we hope to play a constructive role in helping them think through those issues,” Robert Atkinson, ITIF’s founder and president, told Bloomberg BNA.

  • Security

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Morning Spin: WikiLeaks emails show Emanuel involvement in Bush-Obama meeting

      Much of the political universe was centered on President-elect Donald Trump’s initial visit and meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday.

      Eight years ago, the same type of meeting unfolded between then-President-elect Barack Obama and then-President George W. Bush. Heavily involved was Rahm Emanuel, who had been picked to serve as Obama’s White House chief of staff, though it had not yet been announced publicly.

      Hacked emails from John Podesta, who co-chaired Obama’s transition team and served as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman, show Emanuel’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering on the Obama-Bush meeting. In one of the emails, posted in recent weeks by WikiLeaks, Emanuel complains about a draft of the press statement Obama’s transition team was prepared to release about the meeting.

      “I don’t see how this carries us very far,” Emanuel wrote about the brief statement acknowledging the meeting took place and little more. “It is so devoid of detail and will lead to a lot of freelancing by the press. That’s the danger.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Norway caught in pipeline uproar
    • Kids Win the Right to Sue the US Government Over Climate Change

      A bright speck of climate news was quickly overshadowed by the presidential election this week—America’s children have officially won the right to sue their government over global warming.

      Yesterday, a lawsuit filed by 21 youth plaintiffs was ruled valid by US District Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene, Oregon. A group of citizens, whose ages range from nine to 20, charged President Obama, the fossil fuel industry, and other federal agencies with violating their constitutional rights by declining to take action against climate change.

    • For 12 years, plants bought us extra time on climate change

      Plants are our best friends in the fight against climate change, and a new study shows just how important they are. From 2002 to 2014, plants sucked up so much carbon dioxide that they slowed the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere, even as human-made CO2 emissions were increasing.

      The findings, published this week in the journal Nature Communications, show how important ecosystems are in regulating the carbon cycle, and also how little we know about the processes contributing to climate change. This information can help scientists and policymakers come up with solutions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Finance

    • Sterling records best fortnight in 8 years after Trump boost

      Sterling hit a five-week high against the dollar on Friday and recorded its best fortnight on a trade-weighted basis in almost eight years, with investors’ focus having turned away from Brexit and towards political risks elsewhere.

      Since Donald Trump’s shock victory in the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday, the pound has been the best performer of any major currency, outshining even the dollar, which itself is on track to record its best week in a year against a basket of currencies.

      Sterling rose above $1.26 for the first time since Oct. 6, the day before it plunged as much as 10 percent in a matter of minutes in a “flash crash”, and advanced as high as $1.2673 in European trade. By 1704 GMT it was around $1.2607, up 0.4 percent on the day.

    • Pound sterling value rise: How has it gone from the worst to best performing major currency?

      Traders might be looking at the prospect of destabilising victories for populists in European elections and are upgrading their view of the relative prospects for sterling in that light

    • European Parliament planning to vote in the dark on CETA – Carthy

      Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy has harshly criticised the European Commission’s insistence to push ahead with the timeline of their trade deal with Canada, CETA, despite crucial elements of the agreement being reserved for so-called ‘retrofitting’.

      Matt Carthy said:

      “When Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor went to Brussels to sign CETA last month, many assumed that the case was closed. This week, however the European Commission confirmed that crucial elements of the agreement have yet to be agreed in the controversial Chapter on Investment Protection.

    • TPP seen as doomed after Trump victory

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership deal – that would have created the world’s largest free-trade zone – is all but dead, now that the Obama administration has given up hope of a last-ditch effort to ratify it amid a rising tide of protectionism.

      A former senior adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is calling on Canada to shift focus and try to negotiate free-trade deals with Japan and other Asian countries.

    • Obama Administration Gives Up on Pacific Trade Deal

      A sweeping Pacific trade pact meant to bind the U.S.and Asia effectively died Friday, as Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress told the White House they won’t advance it in the election’s aftermath, and Obama administration officials acknowledged it has no way forward now.

      The failure to pass the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership—by far the biggest trade agreement in more than a decade—is a bitter defeat for President Barack Obama, whose belated but fervent support for freer trade divided his party and complicated the campaign of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

    • Recoverability of third party funding costs in arbitration

      A significant appeal decision has recently emerged dealing with the recoverability between the parties of third party funding (“TPF”) costs in arbitral proceedings – Essar Oilfield Services Limited v Norscot Rig Management Pvt Limited.

      Essar concerns a long-running ICC arbitration where the successful party, Norscot, further succeeded in an application to recover its costs of litigation funding.
      The case is being hailed as a landmark judgment in some quarters and is expected to encourage more parties to engage in arbitration, especially if they have TPF. The equal and opposite is also true.

    • Middle and low earners pay bulk of taxes in Finland

      Nearly a third of all Finnish income taxes were paid by those earning between 35,000 and 54,999 euros last year. That group pays some 29 percent of all income taxes collected in Finland.

    • Can Trump make ‘trickle-down’ economics work?

      The theory: Lowering taxes for businesses and wealthy individuals leaves more cash in their pockets, spurring more investment and hiring, and the faster growth generates enough new tax income to pay for the cuts. The top tax rate under Reagan was slashed to 28% from 70%, and business deductions became more generous. About 16 million jobs were created during his two terms, and the economy grew as much as 7.3% in 1984.

      Trump proposes chopping the top individual marginal rate to 33% from 40% — as well as more modest cuts for those with low and moderate incomes — and the corporate rate to 15% from 35%. The many small-business owners taxed at the individual rate also would pay 15%.

    • No, Trump Didn’t Kill the TPP — Progressives Did

      If you read the headlines, Donald Trump’s election has killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The headlines have it wrong.

      Donald Trump didn’t kill the TPP. Assuming we see the fight through to the bitter end, it’s the cross-border, cross-sector, progressive “movement of movements” that will have defeated the TPP.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Bernie Sanders would have easily beaten Donald Trump according to new pre-election poll

      Bernie Sanders would have crushed Donald Trump according to new pre-election poll.

      In the wake of the shocking election results, many have wondered what would have happened were the Democratic socialist chosen as the nominee.

      The poll, reported by the Huffington Post, found that the Vermont senator would have likely earned 56 per cent of the vote, while Mr Trump would have only received 44 per cent.

    • Historian who predicted Trump’s win says he’ll be impeached

      A political historian and professor who predicted that Donald Trump would win the presidency has a new bet: Trump will be impeached.

      “I’m going to make another prediction,” Allan Lichtman told The Washington Post Friday. “This one is not based on a system; it’s just my gut. They don’t want Trump as president, because they can’t control him. He’s unpredictable. They’d love to have Pence — an absolutely down-the-line, conservative, controllable Republican. And I’m quite certain Trump will give someone grounds for impeachment, either by doing something that endangers national security or because it helps his pocketbook.”

      Lichtman isn’t the first to predict that Trump could be impeached. University of Utah Law Professor Christopher Lewis Peterson wrote a 23-page article explaining the legal reasons Congress should impeach Trump. And on Friday, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore told MSNBC reporters he predicts Trump will either be impeached or resign before his term is up.

    • “Hitler’s only kidding about the antisemitism” New York Times, 1922

      “Several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic, and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes.”

      “You can’t expect the masses to understand or appreciate your finer real aims. You must feed the masses with cruder morsels and ideas like anti-Semitism. It would be politically all wrong to tell them the truth about where you really are leading them.”

    • My Nightmare Trump Prediction Came True—Now What?

      A little over a year ago, I wrote a piece for Vanity Fair outlining what seemed at the time like an improbably absurd argument—how Donald Trump, then a lunatic-fringe candidate with no political credibility, could somehow win the White House. His path to victory, I suggested, ran through traditionally Democratic strongholds such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, where I detected a unique hunger for an outsider. For months, I made a similar argument to my so-called “elite” friends who work in politics, the media, and the financial-services industry. And for months, they all laughed me off. Then, on Tuesday evening, Trump rode a path through the Rust Belt all the way to the White House.

      In retrospect, this elite ignorance was one of the factors powering Trump’s success. Ever since May, the “smartest” people in America, from both parties, seemed to believe that a Trump victory was more or less unthinkable. In fact, Republicans believed this so steadfastly that, as recently as last month, they were protesting for Trump to withdraw from the ticket. Did this result in a certain complacency among the Hillary Clinton campaign and her supporters (perhaps roused belatedly by James Comey’s provocation)? It’s hard to say for sure, but it likely played a role in depressing voter turnout.

    • Electoral college should change its mind and make Hillary Clinton president, say millions of signatories to petition

      There’s only one group of people who can – very theoretically – stop the result of the Presidential election. And millions of people are calling on them to do so.

      A petition arguing that the result of the election should be overturned has been signed by nearly 2.5 million people, all of whom are asking that Hillary Clinton becomes president.

      Those behind the petition are arguing that since Ms Clinton is easily winning the popular vote – by as many as millions of ballots – she should be elected president. It also argues that Donald Trump is not fit to be the president and so shouldn’t be allowed to take his position.

    • Donald Trump could still theoretically not be president because of ‘faithless electors’ and the electoral college

      It’s still theoretically possible for Donald Trump not to become president. But the near-impossibility all depends on the electoral college and the strange US system.

      Donald Trump might have won the election by getting more of the votes in the electoral college than Hillary Clinton did. But strictly and legally, it’s not the election that just happened that matters: it’s the one where the members of the electoral college go and represent their voters and pick their candidate.

      That’s due to happen on 12 December, at meetings in each state where all Republican or Democrat representatives – depending on how each state voted – will cast their vote. And it will almost certainly go one way, with most of the electors casting their ballots for Donald Trump and making him President.

    • Exclusive: Riding Trump wave, Breitbart News plans U.S., European expansion

      The right-wing Breitbart News Network is expanding its U.S. operations and launching sites in Germany and France, its U.S. editor-in-chief told Reuters, as it seeks to monetize the anger and anti-immigrant sentiment unleashed by Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign.

      The planned expansion is one sign of how the right-wing media landscape is shifting in the wake of Trump’s campaign to provide a platform for the more radical views that helped fuel the Republican candidate’s shock election victory on Tuesday.

    • Why we need a new Democratic Party

      As a first step, I believe it necessary for the members and leadership of the Democratic National Committee to step down and be replaced by people who are determined to create a party that represents America – including all those who feel powerless and disenfranchised, and who have been left out of our politics and left behind in our economy.

      The Democratic Party as it is now constituted has become a giant fundraising machine, too often reflecting the goals and values of the moneyed interests. This must change. The election of 2016 has repudiated it. We need a people’s party – a party capable of organizing and mobilizing Americans in opposition to Donald Trump’s Republican party, which is about to take over all three branches of the U.S. government. We need a New Democratic Party that will fight against intolerance and widening inequality.

      What happened in America Tuesday should not be seen as a victory for hatefulness over decency. It is more accurately understood as a repudiation of the American power structure.

    • Spoiled Americans now want to flee what they created

      The reactions of many Americans to the Trump victory is a symptom of their political immaturity.

    • Trump’s victory over Clinton was sealed 40 years ago

      In the afterglow of Donald Trump’s historic presidential victory, the Democratic firing squad is already out, looking for someone to blame.

      It’s time to look in the mirror.

      Despite being a historically weak candidate, Hillary Clinton’s demise wasn’t just about Hillary Clinton.

      Clinton was the final lifeline to a neoliberal bubble built by the Clintons and many others—that finally popped on November 8th, 2016.

    • The U.S. presidential election of 1876: votes, cannabis and intellectual property

      Let’s step back from the supercharged atmosphere of this week’s electoral events and focus on a curious side-show. First, perhaps for the sixth
      time in U.S. electoral history, the winner of the electoral vote did not win the popular vote. Second, several American states were simultaneously holding various ballot initiatives on the legalization of cannabis. This Kat began to wonder: has there ever been a juxtapose between the two in connection with any previous presidential election? Mirabile dictu—the answer is “yes”, the election of 1876. And in this lies a unique tale about Samuel J. Tilden, Tilden’s Extract, and the world of intellectual property during that period.

    • Trump election: Juncker warns president may upset US ties with Europe

      Donald Trump’s election risks upsetting EU ties with the US “fundamentally and structurally”, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has warned.

      “We will need to teach the president-elect what Europe is and how it works,” Mr Juncker told students in Luxembourg.

      The Commission chief predicted that two years would be wasted while Mr Trump “tours a world he doesn’t know”.

      His remarks contrasted with other EU leaders’ more muted reaction to the Tuesday’s shock election result.

    • Donald Trump blocks press access, in defiance of long standing practices

      Donald Trump is keeping Americans in the dark about his earliest conversations and decisions as president-elect, bucking a long-standing practice intended to ensure the public has a watchful eye on its new leader.

      Mr Trump on Thursday refused to allow journalists to travel with him to Washington for his historic first meetings with President Barack Obama and congressional leaders. The Republican’s top advisers rebuffed news organisations’ requests for a small “pool” of journalists to trail him as he attended the meetings.

    • Trump fills the swamp with more lobbyists

      In the final weeks of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, he pledged to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C. by, among other things, introducing tough new restrictions on lobbying.

      “I am proposing a package of ethics reforms to make our government honest once again,” Trump said during the October 17 appearance in Green Bay, Wisconsin where he first used the “drain the swamp” line.

    • The bad news the Government released during the week of the US election

      As the bitter and often fraught presidential battle across the Atlantic – and to the surprise of many, the election of Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman with little experience of the political machinery of Washington – came to a conclusion this week, many of the front pages in the UK and the commentary focused on the drama unfolding in the States.

      But here The Independent looks at some of the news and reports released by the UK Government this week that appear to have slipped under the radar.

      According to Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, ministers have slipped out a deluge of embarrassing announcements because Parliament is in recess. He added: “The Tories might think they can take things for granted while the world looks away, aghast at the election of Donald Trump but my party will be keeping a total focus on them and the damaging policies they are pushing through”.

    • Donald Trump presidency: Memo from an old friend of the US
    • Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook fake news didn’t sway election

      Mark Zuckerberg addressed growing criticism of Facebook’s ascendant power to sway public opinion, saying the “small amount” of fake news that spread on the social network during the election did not influence the outcome.

      “To think it influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea,” Zuckerberg said Thursday evening during the Techonomy conference in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

      Zuckerberg said people underestimated support for president-elect Donald Trump. “I do think there is a certain profound lack of empathy in asserting that the only reason someone could have voted the way they did is they saw some fake news,” Zuckerberg said. “If you believe that, then I don’t think you have internalized the message the Trump supporters are trying to send in this election.”

      His remarks came as Trump’s presidential win prompted Silicon Valley soul searching, with some wondering whether the tools created here had run amok.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The Spanish Government The Latest To Try To Ban Memes

      It would be sort of fun to watch the more authoritarian governments of the world attempt to combat internet memes with censorship if it weren’t both so damaging to the free speech ideals I hold so dear and if recent, ahem, events weren’t making these stories hit a little closer to home than they would have but a few months ago. Countries like Russia and Indonesia have both taken steps to attempt to make illegal the time-honored tradition of putting up a famous person’s picture and then typing words across it. Despite both governments’ insisting that these legislative attempts are all to do with protecting people’s honor and/or quelling false information about the subjects of these memes, the truth is that the aims behind them are more to do with clamping down on dissident speech and protecting those in power from criticism. That, indeed, is why these laws tend to be worded so vaguely. Vague enough, in fact, that it’s quite clear that they can be used to criminalize pretty much any speech that the ruling government doesn’t like.

    • Angola: Blocking rap concert is state censorship

      Ahead of the planned livestream of a concert this evening in Luanda by Luaty Beirão – also known as Ikonoklasta – and MCK, two well-known rappers and critics of the Angolan government, Tjiurimo Hengari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa said:

      “Angolan authorities must ensure that the rappers’ concert takes place without any further interference by the police, who blocked it over the weekend.”

      “The unexplained police intervention has potentially far-reaching consequences for freedom of assembly and artistic expression in the country, and smacks of state censorship of Luaty Beirão and MCK for their criticism of Angola’s government.”

    • Censorship: High School Makes 18-Year-Old Girl Remove ‘Hillary for Prison’ T-Shirt

      Boca Raton High School in Palm Beach County, Florida, trampled an 18-year-old girl’s free speech rights: the school forced her to change out of a T-shirt that bore the political message “Hillary for Prison.”

      The provocative T-shirt drew the ire of student Maxine Yeakle’s classmates, who said they considered all supporters of Donald Trump to be racist, according to The Sun Sentinel. Their criticisms became disruptive, and as a result, Yeakle was sent to the principal’s office. The disrupters were not punished: only the girl whose political advocacy inspired the others to misbehave was punished.

    • Hey UN: leave the media censorship to North Korea

      The United Nations isn’t all that into me.

      While hundreds of journalists have been planning their arrival in Morocco for months to attend its ​fancy-pants ​climate change conference this week, I’ve only just recently been given “permission” to attend because the global organization doesn’t like what I might have to say. It worries I’m advocate, not a journalist, and that maybe my reporting won’t be “helpful” in its fight.

    • The Daily Fix: Censorship should not become the new normal

      On Monday, Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu decided to put on hold the order requiring NDTV India to go off air for a day on November 9 as a penalty for allegedly revealing strategically sensitive information during its broadcast about the militant attack on the Pathankot airbase in January.

      The decision was taken after the NDTV management asked for the order to be reviewed, Naidu said. He added somewhat belligerently that the decision to take the channel off air for a day was just and proper and dismissed criticism that the government was muzzling those who were critical of it.

    • China’s internet censorship is throttling software development

      If you’ve ever been to mainland China, chances are you’re familiar with the Great Firewall, the country’s all-encompassing internet censorship apparatus. You know the despair of not being able to open Facebook, the pain of going mute on Twitter. But with a good VPN, you can magic many of these inconveniences away – at least temporarily.

      For software developers based in China, however, it’s not that simple. You’re not just censored from certain websites. Basic building blocks that you use for product development are suddenly beyond your reach.

    • China Responds to U.S. Election With Heavy Censorship, Light Schadenfreude

      As news of Donald Trump’s shocking presidential win was reverberating around the world Wednesday, media coverage in China was oddly scant — and not by accident.

      China’s censors had issued advance orders to media outlets to restrict coverage of the U.S. democratic contest. All websites, news outlets and TV networks were told not to provide any live coverage or broadcasts of the election and to avoid “excessive” reporting of the story, a source who was briefed on the official instructions told the South China Morning Post.

      In response, coverage of Trump’s upset was carried only as a secondary story across the Chinese media landscape, with most outlets highlighting a meeting between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Vladimir Putin instead.

    • UBC Free Speech Club don red “MAGA” hats to challenge censorship on campus

      Yesterday also marked a coming out party for the Free Speech Club at the University of British Columbia. To mark the occasion, members of the club set up a table outside the student commons and proudly wore the now infamous red hats reading Make America Great Again and Make Canada Great Again.

    • Debate on digital age censorship

      “Censorship has been a topic of debate since it was introduced in 1916 – and never more so than it is now. Never before has the public had so much access to audiovisual material via so many channels,” says panel facilitator Diane Pivac of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

      “We’ve invited a panel that brings a whole range of viewpoints to the discussion. We’re asking how do new technologies change and challenge censorship? And how equipped are our regulators to meet these challenges?” says Diane.

      “The Government is moving ahead with classification of online entertainment content, but is censorship still relevant?

      “And how do we balance the public’s right to freedom of expression against concern over young people’s ease of access to potentially harmful material?”

      [...]

      The panel debate is part of CENSORED – 100 Years of Film Censorship in NZ – a two-week programme featuring films that were once banned by New Zealand censors, documentaries, censors’ offcuts and discussion.

    • Could The U.S. Soon Be Making Movies To ‘Serve Socialism’ In China?

      China’s new film law may have an impact on the American movie business, which is increasingly influenced by China.

      The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislative body, passed new laws to govern the world’s second largest film market Monday, reports Xinhua News Agency.

    • Azerbaijan reveals conditions for possible military censorship on media

      Azerbaijan can apply military censorship on media upon the declaration of martial law in the country.

      This is according to Article 1.0.3 of the revised Law “On martial law”, the parliament told APA on Thursday.

      Military censorship includes pre-coordination of mass media information by military and state authorities, control on correspondences for the purpose of preventing illegal dissemination of state secrets, on TV and radio broadcast as well as phone and radio talks.

    • Angry Saudi intellectuals brand closure of cafe and cultural space as ‘censorship’

      Students and book lovers in Riyadh have expressed their dismay that a popular artistic spot in the city has been shut down and all its books removed pending an investigation by the Saudi authorities.

      Rawi Cafe located on the campus of South Imam University posted pictures of its previously dark, wooden, library-like interior stripped of all its books to social media last week, alerting customers that the business had been shut down by the Ministry for Culture and Information.

      Rawi had previously been popular with students, researchers, and others in Riyadh’s intellectual community.

    • Top media bodies condemn NDTV India ban, term it arbitrary
    • Dear NDTV, Have You Learnt Your Lesson Now?
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Users flock to encrypted email service after Trump win

      Donald Trump’s surprise win has been good news for end-to-end encrypted services. The Swiss company Protonmail announced today that weekly sign-ups had doubled after Donald Trump’s surprise win on Tuesday, although the company did not disclose raw numbers for the jump. “Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you are on, Trump’s control over the NSA is now an indisputable fact, and we think it is worth taking a closer look at what this means,” CEO Andy Yen wrote in an accompanying post.

    • Peter Thiel is joining Donald Trump’s transition team

      In addition to Thiel, Vice President-elect Mike Pence will act as chairman for the transition team, according to the statement. Three of Trump’s children — Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump — will serve alongside Thiel on the committee. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi also made the list, as well as RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

    • Peter Thiel Said to Join Trump’s Presidential Transition Team

      Thiel, who was one of the few tech industry executives who supported the Republican candidate, will play a role in vetting presidential appointments and selecting which of Trump’s campaign promises will become the policies of America’s 45th president, according to people familiar with the discussions. Thiel’s title and precise role are still being determined, the people said. The Huffington Post earlier reported that Thiel would lead the transition team.

      Speaking for Trump as a delegate at the Republican National Convention this summer and again a week before the election, Thiel echoed what had become a popular refrain among Trump’s electorate: government is broken and outsiders are the only ones who can fix it.

    • Donald Trump Will Have His Eye on You

      Edward Snowden warned us about the abuses of our national security state. Now look who’s in charge of it.

    • Trump and mass surveillance: You were warned

      The danger of all of this one day falling into the »wrong« hands ought to have been obvious from the very beginning.

      It’s naive to claim that Big Brotherism is a problem in just some cases, used by some political forces, with some specific justifications. Mass surveillance is a problem by its very nature and to its core – regardless who is in power. Always.

    • Feds Can Unlock Most Devices They Need To Get Into, FBI Admits

      The FBI is able to unlock or access data on most of the phones and computers it encounters during its investigations, as well as those of local and state cops, according to the bureau’s General Counsel Jim Baker.

      So far in the fiscal year 2016 (from Oct. 1, 2015 until Sept. 30, 2016), the FBI has encountered passwords or passcodes—that is locked phones or laptops—in 2,095 out of 6,814 (31 percent) mobile devices analyzed by its forensic labs, Baker said according to attendants at a public meeting on encryption and the challenges it poses to law enforcement, celebrated in Washington D.C. on Friday.

      And even for those 2,095 devices that were locked, the fed’s investigators were able to break in in 1,210 cases, and couldn’t unlock around 880 devices, Baker reportedly said. In other words, in the vast majority of cases (87%), the FBI was able to access the data it needed.

    • Facebook Bug Tells Users They Are Dead

      It’s a fitting end to a strange week. When many Facebook users logged on to their accounts on Friday afternoon, they discovered the social network had declared them to be deceased.

      The lethal online epidemic is causing Facebook FB to display a small memorial message above users’ regular homepage profile. In the case of my editor, Rachel King, Fortune tech writers who visited her page discovered a “Remembering Rachel King” message, and a wish to remember to remember and celebrate her life.

    • Facebook Is Utterly Dominating America’s Social Media Use

      Social media is playing an increasingly influential role in our lives. Even if given the benefit of the doubt—believing that they are “tech” companies and not “media” companies—people are using Facebook and Twitter to gather news and information about world events, not just to find and follow friends.

    • The RCMP Used Police Databases and Social Media to Track Aboriginal Protestors

      The Royal Canadian Mounted Police used law enforcement databases and social media to identify indigenous protesters and then made their identities known to front-line officers, new documents show.

      “The year 2013 saw an increase across Canada in Aboriginal protests,” an RCMP document from 2015, obtained through an information request by Carleton University professor Jeffrey Monaghan and researcher Andy Crosby, states.

      In March of 2014, according to the document, the RCMP put a call out to its divisions across Canada and local police departments to hand over any information in their databases that might help the RCMP identify and track aboriginal protesters.

      This initiative was known as Project SITKA, and with this data from police and social media, the RCMP identified 313 activists across the country who attended protests “opposing natural resource development, particularly pipeline and shale gas expansion.” Those who attended anti-capitalist protests, and protests regarding missing and murdered indigenous women, were also targeted.

    • People in tech are freaking out about Donald Trump being given control of the NSA

      Last month, Wired published a story with the headline “Imagine if Donald Trump controlled the NSA.” Now there’s no need to imagine.

      Trump overcame all odds on Wednesday when he became the 45th president-elect of the United States. As a result, he’s about to gain control of the US intelligence agencies, including the NSA (National Security Agency).

      Tech workers and security campaigners have been quick to express concerns about handing control of the NSA to Trump.

    • MalwareMustDie closes blog in NSA/CIA spy protest

      MalwareMustDie, the white-hat security research group, has closed its blog in protest of alleged American espionage against friendly countries.

      MMD believes that US spy agencies have been installing backdoors on the servers of universities and other public institutions outside the United States.

      Shadow Brokers, which famously hacked the National Security Agency in the US and released supposed NSA hacking tools for anyone to use, recently published files containing the IP addresses of 49 countries they claim have been hacked by the NSA.

      According to the website SecurityAffairs.co, these hack attacks have been linked back to Equation Group, an NSA espionage group.

    • Trump’s election stokes fears of future NSA surveillance abuses

      They say you reap what you sow. The US is just weeks away from handing over massive surveillance powers to a man who has expressed enthusiasm for the idea of spying on those he sees as adversaries.

      It’s common knowledge that the US collects massive amounts of data on phone and internet communications involving both its own citizens and people abroad. The National Security Agency (NSA) can read text messages, track social media activity and hack into your computer’s webcam. Since Edward Snowden’s revelations on spying in 2013, US president Barack Obama has been criticised by privacy activists for not doing enough to curb such programmes.

      Now, his failure to act threatens to turn into a cautionary tale with a dark moral: don’t build a surveillance state, because you don’t know who will end up in charge of it.

      During his campaign, president-elect Donald Trump railed against Apple when the tech giant resisted unlocking the iPhone of one of the perpetrators of the mass shooting in San Bernadino, California. In July, he invited Russia to hack Hillary Clinton and publish her deleted emails.

      He has also spoken in favour of allowing the surveillance of mosques in the US, as New York City did after the 9/11 attacks, and of asking Muslims to register in a federal database and authorising the NSA to collect metadata. “I tend to err on the side of security,” he said last year.

      When Trump takes office in January, how will he decide to wield the government’s surveillance powers? He could try to roll back the reforms that Obama has put in place, such as limitations on when the agency can collect people’s data and how it can be stored. He can decide which countries the US spies on. He might choose to push much harder against companies that decline to build government “back doors” to their technology.

      Trump has also promised to exact revenge on personal enemies, such as the women who accused him of sexual assault. Back when details of the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping came to light, analysts were caught snooping on their partners and love interests. Could Trump take similar advantages?

    • Home Monitoring Will Soon Monitor You

      I worry. About my family. My house. My dumb possessions, and my treasured ones. Doesn’t everyone? “Happiness,” Don Draper opines in Mad Men’s pilot, “is the freedom from fear.” Companies sell people solutions to those fears—even if they are contrived ones. Listerine, invented to cure a made-up condition called halitosis. Nike, whose kicks are used for sloth more than athleticism. Apple, whose modernist, glass-and-aluminum shields hide compulsion.

    • Privacy experts fear Donald Trump running global surveillance network

      Privacy activists, human rights campaigners and former US security officials have expressed fears over the prospect of Donald Trump controlling the vast global US and UK surveillance network.

      They criticised Barack Obama’s administration for being too complacent after the 2013 revelations by the NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, and making only modest concessions to privacy concerns rather than carrying out major legislative changes.

      The concern comes after Snowden dismissed fears for his safety if Trump, who called him “a spy who has caused great damage in the US”, was to strike a deal with Vladimir Putin to have him extradited.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Donald Trump May Select an Architect of Bush’s Torture Program to Run CIA

      Donald Trump may select Jose Rodriguez, one of the primary architects of the George W. Bush torture program, to run the Central Intelligence Agency, according to a law firm with close ties to Trump.

      Rodriguez, the former director of the National Clandestine Service, helped developed the CIA black sites, secret prisons operated in foreign countries where interrogators used a range of torture tactics, including the use of “waterboarding,” the simulated drowning technique once used by the Khmer Rouge and Nazi agents to glean information from detainees.

    • Glenn Greenwald: Trump will have vast powers. He can thank Democrats for them.

      Liberals are understandably panicked about what Donald Trump can carry out. “We have a president-elect with authoritarian tendencies assuming a presidency that has never been more powerful ,” Franklin Foer wrote this past week in Slate. Trump will command not only a massive nuclear arsenal and the most robust military in history, but also the ability to wage numerous wars in secret and without congressional authorization; a ubiquitous system of electronic surveillance that can reach most forms of human communication and activity; and countless methods for shielding himself from judicial accountability, congressional oversight and the rule of law — exactly what the Constitution was created to prevent. Trump assumes the presidency “at the peak of its imperial powers,” as Foer put it.

      Sen. Barack Obama certainly saw it that way when he first ran for president in 2008. Limiting executive-power abuses and protecting civil liberties were central themes of his campaign. The former law professor repeatedly railed against the Bush-Cheney template of vesting the president with unchecked authorities in the name of fighting terrorism or achieving other policy objectives. “This administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide,” he said in 2007. Listing an array of controversial Bush-Cheney policies, from warrantless domestic surveillance to due-process-free investigations and imprisonment, he vowed: “We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers.”

    • The Democratic Party deserves so much of the blame for electing Donald Trump

      Election Day 2016 was a miserable failure for the Democratic Party. When all the votes are counted, it appears that Donald Trump will have won 30 states and at least 300 Electoral College votes. After months of tough talk, Democrats not only lost the presidency, but lost the Senate and continued to lose the House. It was a thorough drubbing. Calling it anything other than that is a damn lie.

      But I must linger there for a while. The Democratic Party has mastered lying to itself and its core constituencies. It claims a progressive identity, but is as moderate and lukewarm as it has ever been on so many issues that matter to everyday people. It claims to be tough on Wall Street, financial corruption and white collar crime, but is awash in donations from lobbyists and executives in the industry. Democrats claim to be the party of working people, but so often seem to be deeply out of touch with their problems and needs.

    • The idea that America ‘doesn’t talk about’ racism is absurd

      As we confront our nation’s election of a man who dwells blithely in stereotype and caricature, many of us are wondering what we are to do as responsible citizens faced with what many of us regard as a political and moral catastrophe. One thing someone opposed to Donald Trump’s unenlightened, “mean boy” perspective on women, nonwhites, the disabled, Muslims, and others might consider doing is to avoid imitating him.

      It may seem perhaps the least likely thing an anti-Trumpian would do, but there’s a word we might consider tempering our usage of in the coming years, given that the way we use it opens us to certain charges involving kettles and the color black. I refer to the word “racist.”

      The Martian anthropologist would recognize no difference between the way those accused of being witches were treated in 17th-century Salem, Mass., and the way many innocent people are being accused of “racism” today. Those appalled by the way people were tarred with the Communist label in the 1940s and 1950s must recognize that America has blundered into the same censorious mob mentality in assailing as “racists,” just recently, people such as Ellen DeGeneres — for Photoshopping herself riding on Jamaican gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt’s back in celebration of his win — and Hillary Clinton — for referring to the black men terrorizing poor black neighborhoods as “superpredators” in describing plans for protecting people in those neighborhoods from such crime.

    • ‘You voted Trump!’: Elderly motorist beaten in street by gang of youths as girl screams abuse

      This shocking footage shows an elderly motorist being beaten in the street by youths as a girl can be heard screaming “you voted Trump!”

      The man is repeatedly punched and kicked in the face by the youngsters in what has been described online as an alleged race attack.

      The incident took place in the middle of the day in Chicago following Donald Trump’s shock victory in the US presidential election.

      The driver struggles to his feet at one point as fists rain down on him and shouts at one of the gang to get out of his car.

    • Woman fabricated story of being attacked and robbed of hijab at Louisiana college by man wearing Donald Trump hat

      A Louisana college student admitted she made up reports of being attacked by two men, one she said was wearing a Donald Trump hat.

      The Lafayette Police department say they are no longer investigating her claims. The University of Louisiana would not disclose whether they were taking disciplinary action against the student, citing federal law prohibition.

      Authorities said the University of Louisiana student reported the alleged robbery Wednesday morning, and claimed one of the apparent attackers wore a white Donald Trump cap, according to The Advertiser.

      Her claim drew on fears of anti-Muslim backlash in the wake of Mr Trump’s election to the US presidency. His campaign stoked fears of Muslim immigration to the US that appealed to much of his predominantly white, nationalistic supporters. Multiple reports of hate crimes against Muslims, Latinos, black people, and the LGBTQ community have already surfaced.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T Will Offer a Lower-Quality Video Option But Without a Discount

      After T-Mobile and Sprint introduced lower-cost wireless plans in return for customers accepting lower quality video streaming, AT&T is following suit. Sort of.

      The second-largest wireless carrier said it would introduce a feature starting next year called “Stream Saver” to let customers voluntarily downgrade streaming video from any service—such as YouTube and Netflix—to DVD quality. But AT&T will not lower prices or give a discount to customers activating the lower-quality stream, which would use much less data than watching a typical high-definition video stream. The data used will also still count against a customer’s monthly data allowance.

      AT&T emphasized that the feature, which will be turned on by default, was intended to help customers use less data, essentially stretching their monthly allowance to go further. Customers can opt turn off the feature at any time.

    • Trump and net neutrality: How Republicans can make the rules go away

      The net neutrality rules implemented during Barack Obama’s presidency don’t seem likely to survive Donald Trump’s administration.

      Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler crafted the rules to survive lawsuits filed by Internet service providers, and the strategy worked when a federal appeals court upheld the rules in June of this year. But that doesn’t mean a new presidential administration can’t overturn them.

      The FCC rules say ISPs may not block or throttle lawful Internet traffic or speed up Web services in exchange for payments from online service providers. A similar set of net neutrality rules was previously struck down in court, leading to Wheeler’s decision to reclassify broadband providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act. The commission’s Title II authority was enough to put the rules on solid legal ground.

    • AT&T to limit video quality by default—even on unlimited data plans

      AT&T today said it will begin limiting the quality of mobile video for cellular data customers in early 2017. A new feature called “Stream Saver” will throttle video to DVD resolution of about 480p. Customers will be able to opt out of Stream Saver, but it will be enabled by default—even for customers with unlimited data, AT&T told Ars.

      AT&T will notify customers once Stream Saver has been activated and provide instructions for turning it off and back on, the company’s announcement said. Customers on limited data plans may appreciate the feature, as it could help them stay under their data caps. But AT&T’s decision to enable video throttling by default on unlimited plans that were sold without any mention of such limits has little benefit for customers. It could have some benefit only because AT&T reserves the right to throttle unlimited data plans when customers exceed 22GB a month and connect to a congested cell tower. Using less data for video will help keep “unlimited” customers under 22GB.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay Risks “Repeat Offender” Ban From Google

        The Pirate Bay and other pirate sites risk a “repeat offender” ban from Google, but not over copyright infringements. Google has updated its safe browsing service, used by modern browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, which will now block websites for a minimum of thirty days after being repeatedly marked as harmful.

      • University Bans BitTorrent to Stop Flood of Infringement Notices

        A university in Canada has taken sweeping action in an effort to stem the tide of piracy notices. The University of Calgary says that after banning BitTorrent usage on several networks, infringement notices immediately dropped by 90%. People wanting access to the protocol will now need to apply for an exemption.

      • EU Copyright Directive – privatised censorship and filtering of free speech

        The European Commission’s proposal on copyright attempts something very ambitious – two different measures that would restrict free speech, squeezed into a single article of a legislative proposal.

      • A joint dataset for the EU copyright consultation responses

        In March of 2016, the European Commission asked for your input on two specific issues of copyright reform: Freedom of panorama (the ability to freely share your photos of public places) and extra copyright for publishers.

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