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12.02.16

Links 2/12/2016: Mint Betas, Chrome 55, KDevelop 5.0.3, PHP 7.1.0

Posted in News Roundup at 9:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Oracle kicks £1.1bn into European computer sciences and digital skills [Ed: Oracle cares not about education and research; look what it did to researchers who reverse-engineered stuff.]

    ORACLE IS PROVIDING $1.4bn (around £1.1bn) in direct, and what it calls ‘in-kind’ support for European computer sciences and skills.

    The cash is part of an $3.3bn kitty that applies worldwide and is designed to support digital literacy, something that we are often told is lacking.

  • Science

    • New standard helps optical trackers follow moving objects precisely

      Throwing a perfect strike in virtual bowling doesn’t require your gaming system to precisely track the position and orientation of your swinging arm. But if you’re operating a robotic forklift around a factory, manipulating a mechanical arm on an assembly line or guiding a remote-controlled laser scalpel inside a patient, the ability to pinpoint exactly where it is in three-dimensional (3-D) space is critical.

  • Security

    • Security Patches for Firefox and Tor Address Key Security Vulnerability
    • Mozilla Patches Zero-Day Flaw in Firefox

      Mozilla moves quickly to fix vulnerability that was being actively exploited in attacks against Tor Browser, which is based on Firefox.

      Late afternoon on November 30, Mozilla rushed out an emergency update for its open-source Firefox web browser, fixing a zero-day vulnerability that was being actively exploited by attackers. The vulnerability was used in attacks against the Tor web browser which is based on Firefox.

    • Thursday’s security advisories
    • ‘Fatal’ flaws found in medical implant software

      Security flaws found in 10 different types of medical implants could have “fatal” consequences, warn researchers.

      The flaws were found in the radio-based communications used to update implants, including pacemakers, and read data from them.

      By exploiting the flaws, the researchers were able to adjust settings and even switch off gadgets.

      The attacks were also able to steal confidential data about patients and their health history.

      A software patch has been created to help thwart any real-world attacks.

      The flaws were found by an international team of security researchers based at the University of Leuven in Belgium and the University of Birmingham.

    • Lenovo: If you value your server, block Microsoft’s November security update

      Lenovo server admins should disable Windows Update and apply a UEFI fix to avoid Microsoft’s November security patches freezing their systems.

      The world’s third-largest server-maker advised the step after revealing that 19 configurations of its x M5 and M6 rack, as well as its x6 systems are susceptible.

    • Symantec and VMware patches, Linux encryption bug: Security news IT leaders need to know
    • UK homes lose internet access after cyber-attack

      More than 100,000 people in the UK have had their internet access cut after a string of service providers were hit by what is believed to be a coordinated cyber-attack, taking the number affected in Europe up to about a million.

      TalkTalk, one of Britain’s biggest service providers, the Post Office and the Hull-based KCom were all affected by the malware known as the Mirai worm, which is spread via compromised computers.

      The Post Office said 100,000 customers had experienced problems since the attack began on Sunday and KCom put its figure at about 10,000 customers since Saturday. TalkTalk confirmed that it had also been affected but declined to give a precise number of customers involved.

    • New Mirai Worm Knocks 900K Germans Offline

      More than 900,000 customers of German ISP Deutsche Telekom (DT) were knocked offline this week after their Internet routers got infected by a new variant of a computer worm known as Mirai. The malware wriggled inside the routers via a newly discovered vulnerability in a feature that allows ISPs to remotely upgrade the firmware on the devices. But the new Mirai malware turns that feature off once it infests a device, complicating DT’s cleanup and restoration efforts.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The New Red Scare

      “Welcome to the world of strategic analysis,” Ivan Selin used to tell his team during the Sixties, “where we program weapons that don’t work to meet threats that don’t exist.” Selin, who would spend the following decades as a powerful behind-the-scenes player in the Washington mandarinate, was then the director of the Strategic Forces Division in the Pentagon’s Office of Systems Analysis. “I was a twenty-eight-year-old wiseass when I started saying that,” he told me, reminiscing about those days. “I thought the issues we were dealing with were so serious, they could use a little levity.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Signs Of A Creepy Government Conspiracy At Standing Rock

      That vague title leaves a lot open to interpretation. And if the internet has taught us anything, it’s that interpretation is not the average person’s strong suit … or even their medium suit, for that matter. “Clash” suggests an equal meeting of force, and that’s really not the case when one side has military hardware and the backing of a multi-billion-dollar corporation, and the other side … well … doesn’t. Reading that headline makes the story sound identical to every other protest of the last 20 years. But thanks to sites like Twitter, “water protectors” with drones can put video of how that “clash” really looked in front of thousands of eyes…

    • Indonesia: Human rights abuses on palm oil plantations

      The world’s most popular food and household companies are selling food, cosmetics and other everyday staples containing palm oil tainted by shocking human rights abuses in Indonesia, with children as young as eight working in hazardous conditions, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

    • Indonesia’s Forest-Fire Problem Is Nowhere Close to Being Solved. Here’s Why

      Choking haze caused by Indonesia’s annual slash-and-burn forest fires affects millions of people. Wetter weather provided some relief in 2016, but tackling the fires properly will require monumental change

    • Climate change escalating so fast it is ‘beyond point of no return’

      Global warming is beyond the “point of no return”, according to the lead scientist behind a ground-breaking climate change study.

      The full impact of climate change has been underestimated because scientists haven’t taken into account a major source of carbon in the environment.

      Dr Thomas Crowther’s report has concluded that carbon emitted from soil was speeding up global warming.

      The findings, which say temperatures will increase by 1C by 2050, are already being adopted by the United Nations.

  • Finance

    • Panama Papers: Europol links 3,500 names to suspected criminals

      Almost 3,500 individuals and companies in the Panama Papers are probable matches for suspected criminals including terrorists, cybercriminals and cigarette smugglers, according to a document seen by the Guardian.

      The analysis, which was carried out by Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, sheds more light on the breadth of criminal behaviour facilitated by tax havens around the world.

      “The main point here is that we can link companies from the Panama Papers leaks not only with economic crimes, like money laundering or VAT carousels, but also with terrorism and Russian organised crime groups,” Simon Riondet, head of financial intelligence at Europol, told a committee of MEPs.

    • EU, RI look to negotiate CEPA points

      Indonesia will seek a win-win outcome for the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the European Union, having exchanged views on a number of crucial sticking points ahead of the next round of negotiations in January.

      The EU and Indonesia began earnest talks on the free trade pact in September following the signing of scoping papers earlier in April.

      Issues discussed in the negotiations include market access for trade in goods and services, customs and trade facilitation, sustainable development and dispute settlement.

    • Meltdown at the European Parliament

      The carefully calibrated “grand coalition” of Europe’s dominant political parties, which EU leaders have relied on to sustain their agenda and to manage a series of crises since 2014, this week imploded amid the collapse of a power-sharing deal in the European Parliament and the start of a bruising fight over the Parliament presidency.

      The rupture cast a shadow of uncertainty over Brussels, raising the prospect of weeks of distraction and legislative paralysis, and leaving European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk with little choice but to watch in dismay from the sidelines and brace for further turbulence.

    • Guggenheim Helsinki museum plans rejected by city councillors

      Venice and Bilbao will remain the only Guggenheim museums in Europe for the foreseeable future after Helsinki finally buried a controversial plan for a striking new shrine to modern and contemporary art on the city’s waterfront.

      After a stormy five-hour meeting lasting into the early hours of Thursday morning, city councillors voted by 53 to 32 to kill off the project, which had been fiercely contested in Finland since it was floated in 2011.

      Helsinki’s deputy mayor, Ritva Viljanen, who had supported the plans for a €150m (£126m) museum on a prime dockside site currently in use as a car park, said the project’s proponents would have to accept the decision.

      “Democracy has spoken, and in no uncertain manner; there can be no ifs or buts,” Viljanen told YLE, the state broadcaster. She said she was sorry feelings about the project had run so high, with some backers receiving threats of violence.

    • Revelations on tax avoidance of football stars: serious foul play against common good

      Today, the Spanish newspaper “El Confidencial” reports on leaked documents revealing tax avoidance practices by football stars like Cristiano Ronaldo. Although residing in Madrid, Ronaldo has been invoicing most of his advertising revenues through an Irish company. With this manoeuvre, he has benefitted from a significantly lower tax rate on his earnings. While Spain taxes at 43.5%, Ireland only charges 12.5%. MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group, comments on the so-called “football leaks”…

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why the recount matters: Jill Stein

      There is nothing more important to our American way of life than our democracy. The lifeblood of this nation is the principle that each citizen’s vote is equal when it comes to choosing our president.

      But in the age of computerized voting machines and unprecedented corporate influence in our elections, our electoral system is under increasing threat. How can every citizen’s voice be heard if we do not know if every citizen’s vote is counted correctly?

      To help ensure it is, I have asked for a recount of the 2016 presidential election in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Our goal is not to change the result of the election. It is to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the vote. All Americans, regardless of party, deserve to know that this and every election is fair and that the vote is verified.

    • New evidence finds anomalies in Wisconsin vote, but no conclusive evidence of fraud

      Did the outcome of voting for president in Wisconsin accurately reflect the intentions of the electors? Concerns have been raised about errors in vote counts produced using electronic technology — were machines hacked? — and a recount may occur.

      Some reports involving statistical analysis of the results has been discussed in the media recently. These analyses, though, rely on data at the county level. Technology, demographics and other important characteristics of the electorate vary within counties, making it difficult to resolve conclusively whether voting technology (did voters cast paper or electronic ballots?) affected the final tabulation of the vote for president.

    • Chris Sacca: ‘Silicon Valley must stand up to Trump or risk destroying tech, America and the planet’

      Leading US venture investor Chris Sacca is calling on Silicon Valley to stand up and defend the technology industry from President-elect Donald Trump, or risk an unpleasant future where technology no longer provides solutions, but instead hurts people and spies on them, as well as potentially destroying the planet.

      “The hypocrisy is really risking what America stands for. I think the tech sector has to acknowledge that we’re making this problem worse. We can’t just be open source and say use [software, products and services] for whatever you want,” Sacca, an early seed investor in Twitter, Uber, Instragram, Twilio and Kickstarter told the audience at the Slush 2016 tech conference in Helsinki, Finland.

    • Teen becomes seventh ‘faithless elector’ to protest Trump as president-elect

      A teenager from Washington state has become the seventh person to indicate that she will break ranks with party affiliation and become a “faithless elector” in an attempt to prevent Donald Trump being formally enshrined as president-elect when the electoral college meets on 19 December.

      Levi Guerra, 19, from Vancouver, Washington, is set to announce that she is joining the ranks of the so-called “Hamilton electors” at a press conference at the state capitol in Olympia on Wednesday.

      The renegade group believes it is the responsibility of the 538 electors who make up the electoral college to show moral courage in preventing demagogues and other threats to the nation from gaining the keys to the White House, as the founding fathers intended.

    • Trump lawyers file objection to delay Michigan recount

      President-elect Donald Trump’s lawyers have filed an objection to the recount in Michigan, delaying and potentially blocking a review that was slated to begin Friday.

      Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson (R) said that the state’s Bureau of Elections received the objection from Trump representatives on Thursday, a day after Green Party nominee Jill Stein filed for a recount.

    • Trump Spokesmonster Scottie Nell Hughes: ‘There’s No Such Thing as Facts’

      We have officially entered the post-fact American era. Donald J. Trump presidential surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes, known for being one of the most wack in Trump’s pack, explicitly said on public radio’s “The Diane Rehm Show” yesterday that lying is official Trump strategy.

    • Dr. Jill Stein, Alleged Election Spoiler, Defends Her Recount Battle

      On the heels of the most contentious presidential election in recent history, comes an equally contentious recount effort. Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who won only 1 percent of the popular vote, is now attracting far more media attention than her campaign ever did, after she launched a controversial effort to initiate recount proceedings in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan—three states where Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by roughly 1 percent.

    • Why a recount? Prof who sparked it explains

      How might a foreign government hack America’s voting machines?

      Here’s one possible scenario. First, the attackers would probe election offices well in advance in order to find ways to break into their computers. Closer to the election, when it was clear from polling data which states would have close electoral margins, the attackers might spread malware into voting machines in some of these states, rigging the machines to shift a few percent of the vote to favor their desired candidate.

      This malware would likely be designed to remain inactive during pre-election tests, do its dirty business during the election, then erase itself when the polls close. A skilled attacker’s work might leave no visible signs — though the country might be surprised when results in several close states were off from pre-election polls.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Assange’s dilemma: ‘The UK & Sweden are vassals of the United States’

      The rule of law has gone into the heap of history, and Julian Assange is one of the victims of that. I do hope the UK will come to its senses and start obeying international law, former CIA officer Ray McGovern told RT.

      A UN panel rejected an appeal from the British government in the case of Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than four years.

      The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention upheld its earlier ruling that the WikiLeaks founder is being arbitrarily detained.

    • U.S. veterans to form human shield at Dakota pipeline protest

      More than 2,000 U.S. military veterans plan to form a human shield to protect protesters of a pipeline project near a Native American reservation in North Dakota, organizers said, just ahead of a federal deadline for activists to leave the camp they have been occupying.

      It comes as North Dakota law enforcement backed away from a previous plan to cut off supplies to the camp – an idea quickly abandoned after an outcry and with law enforcement’s treatment of Dakota Access Pipeline protesters increasingly under the microscope.

    • Toronto university Muslim group accused of anti-Semitism

      Voices from Toronto’s Jewish community are accusing a group of Muslim and pro-Palestinian university students of scuttling a vote by their union to commemorate Holocaust Education Week.

      The controversy unfolded during Tuesday’s general meeting of the Ryerson Student Union (RSU), which was set to vote on a Jewish student group’s motion to hold Holocaust Education Week events.

      According to a member of Hillel Ryerson, students from the university’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP Ryerson) and the Muslim Students Association (RMSA) first called for an amendment to the motion to include all forms of genocide.

      But then they walked out, causing the meeting to lose quorum and the vote to die, Hillel Ryerson’s Aedan O’Connor says. “Instead of going through with trying to amend it, they … decided to walk out,” he said Wednesday.

    • Call 6 Investigates Rafael Sanchez denied press credential to Carrier event

      Call 6 Investigates Chief Investigator Rafael Sanchez was denied press credential access to the announcement event at the Carrier plant that will detail the deal the west-side Indianapolis plant made with President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence to keep more than half of the jobs of the original 1,400 slated to be moved to Mexico.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Popcorn, Football And Chocolate – US Idea To Prompt Discussions At WIPO TK Committee

      What do popcorn, chewing-gum, football, syringes, and chocolate have in common? According to a United States paper tabled at the World Intellectual Property Organization, they are all rooted in traditional knowledge. While most efforts are geared this week towards trying to find consensual language on a treaty protecting traditional knowledge, the US said a discussion on what is protectable and what is not would be instructive. Some other delegations resubmitted proposals introducing alternative means of protection than a binding instrument.

    • Copyrights

      • Canada’s music lobby admits WIPO Internet Treaty drafters were “just guessing”

        Michael Geist writes, “The global music industry has spent two decades lobbying for restrictive DMCA-style restrictions on digital locks. These so-called “anti-circumvention rules” have been actively opposed by many groups, but the copyright lobby claims that they are needed to comply with the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Internet treaties. Now the head of the RIAA in Canada admits that the treaty drafters were just guessing and that they guessed wrong.”

      • Spain Announces New Campaign to Fight Internet Piracy

        Spain’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport has announced a new initiative for tackling piracy, especially online. Minister Íñigo Méndez de Vigo said a special prosecutor’s office will be developed alongside enhanced technological and human resources. An educational campaign targeting children is also on the agenda.

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