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12.20.16

Links 20/12/2016: OpenSDS Project Grows, OpenSSH 7.4 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 9:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • An Open Source Driving Agent from comma.ai

    Last week, we open sourced an advanced driver assistance system in order to help accelerate the future of self driving cars and provide a platform anyone can build on top of. We released both openpilot, driving agent research software, and NEO, a robotics platform capable of running openpilot, under the MIT license.

  • How Praekelt.org and Open Source Provide Critical Services to Enable Social Change

    Praekelt.org runs exclusively on open source software, and the majority of their services are deployed on Ubuntu Linux servers. Recently, they launched a few services on the latest stable Debian release.

    The organization uses Apache Mesos to manage large clusters for their maternal health applications. “All applications on these clusters are distributed in Docker containers and are managed by Mesophere’s Marathon. To provision the machines we use Puppet. Our language of choice for all of our services is Python,” according to Simon de Haan, chief engineer atPraekelt.org and Ambika Samarthya-Howard, head of communications.

  • Five open source skills you’ll need in 2017 | Top skills IT pros will need to conquer the open source platform

    With more organisations opting to either use open source software or open up their platforms, most IT pros will be versed in basic open source practices. However, like most things in tech, the required skills can be subject to change.

    According to The Linux Foundation, a huge 87 percent of managers say it’s difficult to find open source talent, with 79 percent of mangers increasing incentives to retain their current open source employees.

    Computerworld UK spoke with CBT Nuggets trainer and open source expert Shawn Powers to discuss skills IT pros will need to conquer the open source platform in 2017.

  • Give back this holiday: Language input needed for literacy project

    Educational software programs like gCompis, Tux Math, Childsplay and KDE Edu may be familiar to free desktop users. This software is used by organizations such as Reglue, Partimus and KidsOnComputers who are bring educational opportunities to underprivileged children the world over. Even what you might consider to be business-focused software can make the world a better place, as we see with CouchDB who played a crucial role in the fight against the Ebola outbreak two years ago.

  • Kickstarter’s Engineering Team Begins to Open Source Crowdfunding Platform’s Android & iOS Apps
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Upstreams Chrome on iOS Source Code In Chromium

        Google developers today pushed a bunch of their Chrome on iOS code into the upstream Chromium Git repository.

        Over the course of 11 commits, Google appears to have upstreamed much of their Chrome iOS source-code into Chromium.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Survey Reveals Big Data Reaching Maturity, But Governance Fears Loom

      During its formative stage, the Big Data trend–sorting and sifting large data sets with new tools in pursuit of surfacing meaningful angles on stored information–remained an enterprise-only story, but now businesses of all sizes are evaluating tools that can help them glean meaningful insights from the data they store. As we’ve noted, the open source Hadoop project has been one of the big drivers of this trend, and has given rise to commercial companies that offer custom Hadoop distributions, support, training and more.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD-Based OPNsense 17.1 Operating System for Firewalls & Routers Enters Beta

      The OPNsense project had the great pleasure of announcing the release of the first Beta images of the upcoming OPNsense 17.1 operating system developed for firewalls and routers.

    • OpenSSH 7.4 released

      OpenSSH 7.4 has just been released. It will be available from the
      mirrors listed at http://www.openssh.com/ shortly.

      OpenSSH is a 100% complete SSH protocol 2.0 implementation and
      includes sftp client and server support. OpenSSH also includes
      transitional support for the legacy SSH 1.3 and 1.5 protocols
      that may be enabled at compile-time.

      Once again, we would like to thank the OpenSSH community for their
      continued support of the project, especially those who contributed
      code or patches, reported bugs, tested snapshots or donated to the
      project. More information on donations may be found at:

      http://www.openssh.com/donations.html

    • OpenSSH 7.4 released!
    • OpenSSH 7.4 Removes Server Support for the SSH-1 Protocol, Adds New Features

      OpenSSH 7.4 has been released today, December 19, 2016, as the latest and most advanced stable release of the open-source and portable 100% complete SSH protocol 2.0 implementation used on Linux, BSD, and other Unix-like platforms.

      OpenSSH 7.4 is here four and a half months after the release of OpenSSH 7.3, and it promises to be primarily a bugfix release that addresses many of the security issues discovered since OpenSSH 7.3. But first, it looks like this version includes various under-the-hood changes that may affect existing configurations.

      For example, it removes support for the the SSH version 1 protocol as SSH2 is a more secure, efficient, and portable version of SSH (Secure Shell), which delivers SSH-encrypted SFTP functionality. It also removes 3des-cbc from the client’s default proposal, as well as support for pre-authentication compression.

  • Public Services/Government

    • DISA looks to open source to squash cyber bugs, reorganizes its data centers

      As part of the response to two massive data breaches involving systems at the Office of Personnel Management, the federal government decided to put the Defense Department in charge of building a new information technology backbone to house and process all of the data involved in security clearance investigations, one that would be safer from foreign attacks.

      As one way to achieve that goal, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the lead agency in charge of the IT development, is considering opening up the National Background Investigation System’s underlying source code to the general public as soon as it’s fully baked. The theory is that it’s far better for white-hat hackers to find and help squash security bugs before the new system comes online than for bad-guy hackers to discover and make use of them to steal yet another batch of data.

      Maj. Gen. Sarah Zabel, DISA’s vice director, said the idea was first proposed to her agency by the Defense Digital Service.

    • Smart Citizens roll out sensor network in Barcelona

      The roll out of the sensor network is part of a “beta pilot” marking the start of the Making Sense project. This project is partly funded by the EU under the Horizon 2020 programme and runs from 2015 till 2017. It aims to “explore how open source software, open source hardware, digital maker practices and open design can be effectively used by local communities to fabricate their own sensing tools, make sense of their environments, and address pressing environmental problems in air, water, soil and sound pollution.”

    • GDS says its open source code guidance needs to be more joined up

      Writing in a blogpost, Anna Shipman, a technical architect and open source lead at GDS, said that making code open – all new code written in government must be open by default – was “vital” to government’s plans to change the way it works.

      “By making our code open and reusable we increase collaboration across teams, helping make departments more joined up, and can work together to reduce duplication of effort and make commonly used code more robust,” she said.

      However, she acknowledged that the service’s guidance on open source code “is not as joined up as it could be” and that more work needed to be done to encourage good practice and make it easy for teams to collaborate.

      Shipman said she would be working to clarify the guidance and fill in any gaps, as well as addressing other barriers identified in user research.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • 3 Common Open Source IP Compliance Failures and How to Avoid Them

      Companies or organizations that don’t have a strong open source compliance program often suffer from errors and limitations in processes throughout the software development cycle that can lead to open source compliance failures.

      In part 3 of this series, we covered some of the risks that a company can face from license failures, including an injunction that prevents a company from shipping a product; support or customer service headaches; significant re-engineering; and more.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • OECD STI Outlook 2016: open science is next frontier

      Beyond open data, open science is now the next frontier. This is one of the main conclusions of the ‘Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2016′, published earlier this month by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

      “Open data access practices are increasingly widespread,” the authors of the report claim. “Encouraging the sharing and re-use of research data could generate more value for public money. Science is also becoming a less institutionalised endeavour, with citizens conducting their own research alongside the scientific community. However, deep changes in academic culture will be necessary to realise the full potential of a more open science.”

    • Open education is about improving lives, not taking tests

      Early in the book Couros says, “Sometimes it scares me to think that we have taken the most human profession, teaching, and have reduced it to simply letters and numbers,” Couros says early in the book. “We place such an emphasis on these scores, because of political mandates and the way teachers and schools are evaluated today, that it seems we’ve forgotten why our profession exists: to change—improve—lives.”

      In other words education has lost it’s “Why?”—and that is central to its mission.

      Immediately I saw the parallels to The Open Organization. Central to the open organization is a completely different model of organization. Conventional organizations are top-down, while open organizations are bottom-up. In conventional “What we do” and “How we do it” are most important. But in the bottom-up open organization “Why we do it” is most important, and this emotional connection between and among the members of the open organization motivates the community and drives innovation.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • SiFive Is Setting Silicon Free with Open-Source Chips

        Moore’s Law is dead…just not in the way everyone thinks. Technological advances keep allowing chips to scale, but the economics are another story – particularly for smaller companies that can’t afford chips in the volumes that the big chipmakers would like from their customers.

        The solution, according to San Francisco-based startup, SiFive, is open-source hardware, specifically an architecture developed by the company’s founders called RISC-V (pronounced “risk-five”). Done right SiFive, which was awarded Startup of the Year at the 2016 Creativity in Electronics (ACE) Awards, believes that RISC-V will do for the hardware industry what Linux has done for software.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Apple’s not very good, really quite poor 2016

    As they drift off for their one- or two-day vacations shortly, will Apple’s senior executives be patting themselves on the back? Or will they be slapping themselves on the forehead?

    Apple’s 2016 was garlanded with the usual hype, but not somehow with the usual excitement.

    Perhaps you’re excited by profits. Most real people, however, simply want to witness, feel and enjoy something that, to them, feels both new and exciting.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Superbacteria seep through Finland’s borders

      The last few years have seen more cases of antibiotic-resistant superbacteria infections in Finland. Even special strains of antibiotics that are saved for difficult cases may not necessarily have an effect on the so-called superbugs.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • [Older] Why Is Sweden Giving the “Alternative Nobel Prize” to Syria’s ‘White Helmets’?

      Sweden did not succeed in getting Bob Dylan to come to Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. Nevertheless as a consolation the “White Helmets” did arrive to get the Right Livelihood Award.

      This article examines a likely geopolitical rationale that the Swedish elites had for selecting that organization. Facts suggest a congruence between the stances of those elites on Syria and the declared political aims of the organization White Helmets. The reviewing of the institutions involved in the award-decision and process can also result relevant in pondering the reason for the event. Finally, to inquire into the role of Carl Bildt, as member of the board of directors in the institution ultimately deciding, is interesting against the backdrop of his opposition regarding the participation of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden in previous international events organized by the same institutions –all of them under the umbrella of the Swedish Foreign Office.

    • Truck hits Berlin Christmas market, one dead: reports

      German media reported on Monday that a truck had ploughed into a Christmas market in central Berlin, killing at least one person and injuring several others, according to local media.

      Reports said the truck drove into the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz in central Berlin’s main shopping district. There was no immediate word on who was responsible, but the newspaper Berliner Morgenpost — whose offices are located on the square — said police suspected it was a terrorist attack.

    • Berlin Crash Is Suspected to Be a Terror Attack, Police Say

      The Berlin police said early Tuesday that the killing of at least 12 people and the wounding of dozens more when a truck plowed through a Christmas market on Monday night was “a suspected terrorist attack.”

      In a statement, the police added that they were working swiftly and with “necessary care” in the investigation.

      The truck jumped the sidewalk about 8 p.m. near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, whose jagged spire, a reminder of the bombings during World War II, is one of the most symbolic sites in Berlin.

    • Russian official found dead from gunshot wounds in Moscow

      THE head of a Russian foreign ministry department has been shot dead in Moscow, according to local media.

      The government has not yet confirmed the reports.

      A man’s body was found in an apartment with a gunshot wound to the head, REN TV reported.

      Two shells were found along with a gun under the sink in the kitchen, a source told the news outlet. They claimed the wife of the man was also in the apartment.

      Paramedics were filmed carrying a man wearing a white shirt into an ambulance.

      The news comes on a dramatic day after nine were killed by a truck driving into a Berlin Christmas market and a Turkish off-duty police officer pulled out a gun at an art exhibition in Ankara and killed Russia’s ambassador to the country, shouting: “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!”

    • ISIS claims responsibility for Berlin Christmas market attack

      ISIS has claimed responsibility for the deadly Christmas market truck crash in Berlin, a report says.

      The Iraqi Popular Mobilization Force tweeted that the terror group was taking credit for the incident, which left at least 12 people dead and more than 50 injured at major public market Monday.

      Using encrypted technology, the group said they found several jihadist Twitter accounts that had been claiming responsibility for the alleged attack, according to the Washington Times.

    • Three more charged over Nice truck attack

      Six people have already been charged so far over alleged links to the 31-year-old killer

      A French anti-terrorist judge has charged three more men suspected of helping to arm the Islamist radical who crushed 86 people to death with a truck in Nice, a judicial source said Saturday.

      The three, who were among 11 arrested on Monday in Nice and the western city of Nantes, were remanded into custody on Friday, said the source. The other eight have been released.

      The three, aged 24, 31 and 36, were charged in relation to a terrorist plot.

      The arrests come five months after Tunisian extremist Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel ploughed a 19-tonne truck into a crowd on the Nice seafront, further traumatising a country reeling from a series of jihadist attacks.

    • Police escort FPI members during raid on Santa hats in Surabaya malls

      The Surabaya Police escorted Islam Defenders Front (FPI) members on Sunday as they raided shopping malls in the East Java capital to check whether outlets had ordered employees to wear Christmas attire such as Santa hats.

      For promotional purposes, many companies ask their employees to wear holiday season paraphernalia, including Santa hats, when serving customers ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations. Recently, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) issued an edict banning companies from forcing staff to wear such items, deeming it haram.

    • Russian ambassador dead: Video shows assassin shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ after shooting Andrey Karlov

      Video has emerged of the moments after a gunman shot dead the Russian ambassador to Turkey in Ankara.

      Andrey Karlov was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in the capital when a man wearing a suit and tie shouted “Allahu akbar” and fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience.

      It was reported that the gunman shouted in Turkish: “Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The dirty deplorables: Who’s who on Donald Trump’s team and how they’ll destroy the environment

      What do Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees and advisers think about climate change and other sustainability issues? As you would expect, it’s not looking good for those of us concerned about a habitable climate and livable cities. Trump is putting together a climate-denying cabal of extreme right-wingers and corporate sympathizers likely to roll back environmental protections, halt smart-growth efforts and undo progress toward environmental justice.

      We’ll keep tabs on the most relevant nominees and appointees here, continuing as they make their way through the confirmation process, so check back for updates.

    • The United States of Climate Change Denial

      Donald Trump has promised to unleash an energy revolution by extracting billions of dollars in untapped fossil fuels and gutting incentives to invest in renewable energy. With the nominations of Rex Tillerson, Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, and Rick Perry to his Cabinet, the President-elect is poised to do more damage to America’s environmental legacy—and future—than any other leader in recent memory.

      Despite Trump’s untraditional approach to choosing Cabinet officials, nothing about their nomination is accidental. Each of them offers a range of qualifications and connections that, together, form a unified front against climate progress, human health, and energy security.

    • Finland’s future – Even darker winters with temperatures like Hungary?

      Hot summers, warm winters and plenty of rain, this is the future Finland may face if unbridled climate change continues, says a study by the Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI. If the emissions of greenhouse gases continue unchecked, by the end of the century the climate of central Finland could be as warm as it is today in Hungary.

    • Indonesia’s forestry ministry takes Greenpeace to court over freedom of information request

      The Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry is going to court over a successful freedom of information request by Greenpeace, setting the stage for a protracted legal battle over a form of data NGOs say they need if they are to play a monitoring role in the world’s third-largest democracy.

      Greenpeace Indonesia on Oct. 24 won its yearlong suit submitted to the Central Information Commission (KIP) against the ministry demanding access to seven different geospatial maps of Indonesia, including those showing oil palm, timber, and mining concessions as well as the archipelago country’s land cover.

      The group argued its case under the 2008 Freedom of Public Information Law, which established the KIP. “This is exciting news for us,” Greenpeace’s Kiki Taufik said immediately after the ruling came down. “The commission has made the right decision.”

  • Finance

    • IMF chief Lagarde found guilty of negligence by French court over payout to businessman

      The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, has been found guilty of negligence by a Paris court over a huge payout she approved to a business tycoon while serving as French finance minister in 2008.

      Despite the guilty finding, the Court of Justice of the Republic did not issue any sentence for the IMF chief.

      The official denies the negligence charges, and her lawyers will now look into appealing the court ruling, Reuters reported.

      The decision not to hand down a punishment was made considering Lagarde’s good reputation and international standing, Reuters reported, citing the main judge, Martine Ract Madoux. She added that “the context of the global financial crisis in which Madame Lagarde found herself” was “taken into account.”

    • When you thought trade deals could not get any worse — enter Wall Street

      What connects two proposed gold mines, one in the high-altitude wetlands of Colombia and one in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania?

      Both mines would require huge quantities of cyanide and threaten watersheds used by millions of people for drinking water. One would damage a unique, legally protected ecosystem and the other would destroy an ancient, UNESCO-nominated settlement. Both have been opposed by scientific bodies, protested by tens of thousands of people, and restricted by domestic courts.

      And in both cases, the Canadian mining corporations behind the projects (Eco Oro in Colombia and Gabriel Resources in Romania) have responded to the mining denials by using trade and investment deals to sue the governments in private tribunals. In fact, Eco Oro just launched its case last week. Using this backdoor process called “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS), the corporations can demand up to billions of dollars from the taxpayers in both countries. These ISDS claims are possible due to far-reaching rights that trade and investment deals grant to corporations.

      But there is another common element driving both cases: big money from Wall Street.

    • Brazil passes the mother of all austerity plans

      Imagine setting your budget today for every year through 2036. This week, the world’s ninth-largest economy made just such a decision.

      The Brazilian Senate on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment to freeze social spending by the Brazilian government for 20 years — allowing it to rise only in tandem with inflation. The government says such a dramatic measure is necessary to get the country’s recession-bound economy back on track and gain control over public debt, which has grown sharply in recent years.

      With tough fiscal measures such as the amendment, “everyone will be able to project the numbers,” Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles said in an interview in June with the Financial Times. “A lot of the uncertainty is coming down.”

    • We’re about to sign a deal with Canada that’s just as bad as TTIP and could increase inequality across the whole of Europe

      CETA is an EU-Canada trade deal just like the controversial EU-US deal TTIP. It was secretly negotiated over five years, locks in the privatisation of public services and will permit corporations across the North America to sue European governments in a private justice system. Brexit may not happen for at least two years, but CETA will be voted on in February – if it passes, it will immediately apply to the UK.

      Inequality is grist to the mill for far-right populists, yet the European Commission and members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are failing to learn the lessons of Brexit and the rise of Nigel Farage and Donald Trump. Instead, it’s big business as usual, and continued support for policies that generate inequality and, in turn, fuel the xenophobic right.

    • Apple given favorable treatment on tax? No way, insists Ireland

      On Monday, the Irish government said in its challenge against the European Commission—which ruled that Apple should pay Ireland €13 billion (£11.1 billion) in back taxes—that it “does not do deals with taxpayers,” adding that the country “did not give favourable tax treatment to Apple.”

      The commission’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, said in August: “Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies—this is illegal under EU state aid rules.” But Ireland’s finance ministry countered that “the full amount of tax was paid in this case and no state aid was provided.”

    • If the U.S. Won’t Pay Its Teachers, China Will

      Cindy Mi leans forward on a couch in her sun-filled Beijing office to explain how she first got interested in education. She loved English so much as a child that she spent her lunch money on books and magazines to practice. By 15, she was good enough that she began to tutor other students. At 17, she dropped out of high school to start a language-instruction company with her uncle.

      Today, Mi is 33 and founder of a startup that aims to give Chinese kids the kind of education American children receive in top U.S. schools. Called VIPKid, the company matches Chinese students aged five to 12 with predominantly North American instructors to study English, math, science and other subjects. Classes take place online, typically for two or three 25-minute sessions each week.

    • Trump’s anti-education Education Secretary owes millions in election fraud fines

      Betsy DeVos is the self-described neo-Calvinist and wife of the heir to the Amway fortune who’s devoted her life to fighting against public education through a system of vouchers that allow for public funding of religious schools; in accord with the trumpian maxim of “a fox for every henhouse,” she has been selected to serve as Trump’s Education Secretary.

      In 2006, All Children Matter, DeVos’s anti-education PAC asked the Ohio Elections Commission whether it could transfer unlimited funds to its Ohio subsidiary, and were firmly told that the most they could transfer was $10,000 — a ruling DeVos ignored, transfering $870,000 to the Ohio affiliate. This resulted in the bipartisan commission fining DeVos $5.2m, a ruling upheld by an Ohio court.

      DeVos ducked out of the fines by shutting down the Ohio subsidiary and claiming that neither she nor her PAC were liable for its debts, including the whopping $5.2M fine.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Five reasons why we don’t have a free and independent press in the UK and what we can do about it

      While most of us don’t trust journalists, many of us are still under the illusion that we have a free and independent press. The truth is we don’t. Here’s five reasons why we should be very sceptical of the information we read in the corporate media and why there is hope for the future.
      1) The billionaires that own the press set the agenda

      Who owns the media shapes what stories are covered and how they are written about. The UK media has a very concentrated ownership structure, with six billionaires owning and/or having a majority of voting shares in most of the national newspapers.

    • BREAKING: FBI Ordered to Unseal Warrant Used to Get Clinton Emails During Weiner Probe

      A federal judge has ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation to unseal at least a portion of search warrant it obtained after finding emails pertinent to the Hillary Clinton investigation during the Bureau’s Anthony Weiner probe.

      The FBI’s planned disclosure is directly related to an effort by well-known attorney Los Angeles attorney E. Randol Schoenberg, who filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Justice that sought the “immediate disclosure of the FBI search warrant for the e-mails of Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.”

    • Fact-checking the integrity of the vote in 2016

      Faith in elections goes to the core of the American idea of democracy. That faith has been challenged before, but this year, the attacks came from many directions.

      There were repeated allegations of voter fraud, which for the most part turned out to be false. The government warned that Russia tried to influence the election through hacking and strategic document dumps. And fake news reports about the presidential candidates circulated on the Internet and via Facebook.

    • Kent County to profit $10K from halted Michigan recount

      Kent County could profit as much as $10,000 from a halted recount of ballots cast in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

      The recount was halted by a federal judge after Kent County had completed two full days of reviewing thousands of paper ballots by hand.

    • Pennsylvania’s voting system is one of the worst

      In May 2006, Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, Ohio, launched an e-voting system, producing a nationally notorious election disaster in which every technical and management system failed. One of the largest election jurisdictions in the nation, the county used DRE touchscreens similar to Allegheny County’s.

      When the election tabulation database grew beyond what it was designed to handle — a flaw concealed by the manufacturer — it silently began dropping votes and other data, without notifying officials. An accurate recount was possible, however, because Ohio had required paper printouts of voters’ e-ballots. Recounts showed that some previously announced winners actually had lost. The hidden software problem did not extinguish anyone’s voting rights only because there was a paper trail.

      Experts in election technology have pointed out that most Pennsylvania counties — including Allegheny — use e-voting systems that have been outlawed by most states. The chief reason? The omission of voter-approved paper printouts that can be recounted and that allow for audits to check on the accuracy of the electronic machines. Even when voting systems are aged and vulnerable to hacking or tampering, durable paper ballots combined with quality-assurance audits can ensure trustworthy results.

    • Trump private security force ‘playing with fire’

      President-elect Donald Trump has continued employing a private security and intelligence team at his victory rallies, and he is expected to keep at least some members of the team after he becomes president, according to people familiar with the plans.

      The arrangement represents a major break from tradition. All modern presidents and presidents-elect have entrusted their personal security entirely to the Secret Service, and their event security mostly to local law enforcement, according to presidential security experts and Secret Service sources.

      But Trump — who puts a premium on loyalty and has demonstrated great interest in having forceful security at his events — has opted to maintain an aggressive and unprecedented private security force, led by Keith Schiller, a retired New York City cop and Navy veteran who started working for Trump in 1999 as a part-time bodyguard, eventually rising to become his head of security.

    • IBM workers protest against co-operation with Trump

      Employees of IBM have launched a petition against the statement made by the company’s chief executive Ginni Rometty to US president-elect Donald Trump in which she detailed various services the company could sell to the government.

      According to the Intercept, IBM had also initially refused to rule out creating a registry of Muslims in the US, something that it has ruled out now.

      The IBM protest is being led by cybersecurity engineer Daniel Hanley. He said he was shocked after reading Rometty’s letter which was published on an internal IBM blog along with a personal note from the chief executive to the company’s global staff.

    • Trump wins electoral college amid nationwide protests

      The US electoral college has certified Donald Trump as the 45th president, despite a last-ditch effort to deny him the White House.

      Six weeks after winning the polls, the Republican cruised past the 270 votes needed to formalise his victory.

      After the result, Mr Trump promised to “work hard to unite our country and be the president of all Americans”.

      Electors had been flooded with emails and phone calls urging them not to support the billionaire.

      But despite longshot liberal hopes of a revolt by Republican electors, only two – from Texas – ended up voting against him.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Turkey blocks Tor’s anonymity network

      Turkey’s President Erdogan and the ruling AKP party are increasingly bent on silencing online dissent, and that now affects you even if you’re smart enough to evade typical censorship methods. Watchdog group Turkey Blocks has confirmed that Turkey is blocking the Tor anonymity network’s direct access mode for most users. You can still use a bridge mode for now, but there are hints that internet providers might be hurting performance even then. The restrictions come alongside a recent government ban on virtual private network services.

    • Tor blocked in Turkey as government cracks down on VPN use

      The Turkey Blocks internet censorship watchdog has identified and verified that restrictions on the Tor anonymity network and Tor Browser are now in effect throughout Turkey. Our study indicates that service providers have successfully complied with a government order to ban VPN services.

    • Facebook patent hints at an automated solution for fake news

      Facebook may have said that it’s stepping up its fight against fake news in the past few weeks, but there are signs that it might have had a way to tackle this problem sooner. A recently published USPTO filing from 2015 reveals that Facebook has applied for a patent on technology that would automate the process of removing “objectionable content.” It’s ostensibly for eliminating hate speech, porn and other material that Facebook has objected to for years, but the system could easily be applied to bogus stories as well.

      The approach would supplement user-based content flagging with machine learning. The automatic system would generate a score for content based on the likelihood that it’s objectionable, helping human moderators decide which material to cut. It’d look at the number of users objecting to content, for example, as well as the age of the account making a complaint (to discourage harassment and trolling). The AI-like code would study valid flags and learn to make more informed decisions about objectionable content.

    • Google is threatening to throw me off Google+, but won’t tell me why

      Naturally, I assumed this was just the Russians trying to gain access to my hugely valuable store of e-mails, and ignored the message. However, the next time I logged on to my Google+ account, there was a further warning that Google was seriously thinking about throwing me off the service, and so I had better watch my step.

      Since I am not in the habit of posting “unwanted promotional or commercial content, or engaging in unwanted or mass solicitation” on Google+, this left me somewhat perplexed. I searched everywhere for some way of contacting the Google+ violation department, or whatever it’s called, but could find nothing other than a couple of pages offering “Tips for creating Google+ content” and one about “Limited access and profile suspensions.” The absence of any way to contact Google seemed strange: after all, before I could stop doing what I shouldn’t be doing, I needed to know what exactly that was.

      Although I was unable to find any official way of obtaining information on alleged violations, I did find a Google+ Help community. After I joined, I asked how I could find out what I had done to incur the wrath of the great god Google, and this led to a useful thread.

    • Facebook fake news: Germany threatens new law with €500,000 fine attached

      Germany’s coalition government is threatening to bring in legislation early next year that would see Facebook and other social media firms fined up to €500,000 (£420,000) for “publishing” fake news.

      “Market dominating platforms like Facebook will be legally required to build a legal protection office in Germany that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” parliamentary chair of the Social Democratic Party Thomas Oppermann told Der Spiegel, which was translated on Deutsche Welle.

      “If, after appropriate examination, Facebook does not delete the offending message within 24 hours, it should expect individual fines of up to 500,000 euros,” Oppermann said. The subject of a fake news story would be able to demand a correction published with similar prominence, he added.

    • MPs suggest introducing web blocking to tackle suicide rates in UK

      MPs have suggested restricting access to sites which encourage self-harm or give detailed advice on methods for committing suicide as a means of tackling the “unacceptable” level of suicide in the nation.

      MPs have warned government that it has failed to do enough to tackle the UK’s suicide rates. Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 49, and also the leading cause of death for people aged between 16 and 24.

      Over 6,100 deaths in the UK in 2015 were registered as suicides, though the actual number may be higher. While MPs placed much blame at the feet of government, they claimed there was also much to be done by internet providers and social media companies too.

    • France plans internet ombudsman to safeguard free speech

      France is considering appointing an official internet ombudsman to regulate complaints about online material in order to prevent excessive censorship and preserve free speech.

      A bill establishing a “content qualification assessment procedure” has been tabled in the French senate and the initiative was debated last week at a high level meeting attended by senators and judges as well as policy officers from Google and Twitter.

      The aim is to provide a simple procedure that will support firms operating online who are uncertain of their legal liabilities and to prevent over-zealous removal or censorship of material merely because it is the subject of a complaint. It could be copied by other European jurisdictions.

      Dan Shefets, a Danish lawyer who works in Paris has developed the proposal with the French senator Nathalie Goulet, said: “The problem which an internet ombudsman addresses applies to all countries in Europe [because] member states have to work with the e-commerce directive.

    • Proposed bill would block porn from computers sold in South Carolina, somehow

      South Carolina representative Bill Chumley has proposed a bill that would make it slightly more difficult for people in his state to watch porn. The bill would require manufacturers to install “digital blocking capabilities” on their computers that would ban access to internet porn, The Charlotte Observer reports.

    • South Carolina will debate bill to block porn on new computers

      A South Carolina politician is hoping to stop computer owners in his state from viewing pornography.

      State Rep. Bill Chumley, a Republican from Spartanburg, told his hometown newspaper that his Human Trafficking Prevention Act would require manufacturers or sellers of computers or other devices that access the Internet to install digital blocks to prevent the viewing of obscene content. Blocking websites that facilitate prostitution would also be required, he said.

      If a purchaser wants the filter lifted, he or she has to pay $20 to have it taken out—provided the person is over the age of 18.

    • The Call To Censor Bad News Isn’t New, Doesn’t Make Sense, And Should Frighten You A Great Deal

      The American citizen currently enjoys greater access to information than any average person in human history. But you wouldn’t know that from reading The New York Times, Buzzfeed or any other of the many outlets busying themselves calling for the administration, in concert with corporations, to censor fake news stories.

    • Arts Academy Under Attack: Police Questionings, Censorship and a Blow to Academic Freedom
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Cuts to open source monitoring tool could impact MoD intelligence, warn MPs

      BBC Monitoring is one of the few open source information gathering agencies, which has a global reach through its partnership with its US counterpart, Open Source Enterprise (OSE). BBC Monitoring covers 25% of the world and OSE the remaining 75%.

    • How to check if your VPN is leaking private data

      A virtual private network is a great way to keep your internet usage secure and private whether at home or on public Wi-Fi. But just how private is your activity over a VPN? How do you know if the VPN is doing its job or if you’re unwittingly leaking information to those trying to pry into your activities?

      One simple way to see if the VPN is working is to search for what is my IP on Google. At the top of the search results, Google will report back your current public Internet Protocol (IP) address. If you’re on a VPN, it should show the VPN’s IP. If it doesn’t, you know you have a problem.

    • U.S. Investigators Blame Autopilot in Facebook’s Big Drone Crash

      The wing on Facebook Inc.’s experimental high-altitude drone broke last summer in Arizona after the massive aircraft hit an updraft and its autopilot overcompensated seconds before touchdown on its maiden flight, a U.S. investigation has concluded.

      The end section of the right wing snapped off as the plane’s computerized flight controls made abrupt maneuvers to keep it on course, breaking the carbon-fiber structure, the National Transportation Safety Board said in conclusions posted online Friday.

      There were no injuries or damage other than to the drone.

    • Twitter Cuts Off Firehose Access To DHS Fusion Centers

      Earlier this year, Twitter pulled the plug on some of Dataminr’s customers, specifically the intelligence agencies it was selling its firehose access to. Twitter made it clear Dataminr’s access to every public tweet wasn’t to be repurposed into a government surveillance tool.

      That being said, everything swept up by Dataminr was public. There was no access to direct messages or tweets sent from private accounts. And Twitter seemingly is doing nothing to prevent Dataminr from selling this same access to the FBI, an agency that’s far more an intelligence agency than a law enforcement agency these days — one that thinks it should be allowed to do everything the CIA does, if not more.

    • Britain urged to increase cyber security in financial services

      Britain’s intelligence agencies need to do more to help regulators to protect the financial services industry from cyber crime, the head of an influential parliamentary committee said on Monday.

      Andrew Tyrie, a lawmaker in the ruling Conservative Party, said parliament’s Treasury Committee was concerned about the “opaque lines of accountability”, particularly between regulators and intelligence agencies.

    • GCHQ urged to ramp up security to protect Britain’s financial industry from escalating cybercrime
    • GCHQ must do more to protect UK banks from hack attacks, say MPs
    • Tyrie demands clarity on cybercrime
    • GCHQ asked to step up action against cyber-attack threat to financial services

      More action may be needed to protect the financial services industry from a devastating cyber-attack, the head of the Treasure select committee has suggested.

    • Edward Snowden, The NSA And Civil Liberties: Is Our Privacy Still Being Violated By The Federal Government And Its Intelligence agencies?

      Thanks to Edward Snowden, the ongoing debate between those who want to ensure the United States can gather any intelligence it needs to protect itself from terrorism and those who are concerned about civil liberties exploded into the public arena three years ago. As reported by NBC News, Snowden released a vast treasure trove of highly classified documents regarding the surveillance activities then being carried out by the NSA. But have these revelations really changed anything regarding privacy issues?

      In the immediate aftermath of Snowden’s release of these documents, many politicians and legal experts came forward to demand that the NSA be reformed. Following the leaks, President Obama assembled experts to evaluate the situation. In December of that year, the group published a report in which they recommended a number of significant reforms – such as halting the U.S. government’s gathering of bulk telephone data and limiting the extent of surveillance carried out on foreign leaders.

    • In Trump, beleaguered intelligence community faces a new challenge: A disparaging boss

      It’s been a bruising few years for America’s spies.

      Revelations about torture by the CIA and sweeping electronic spying on the part of the NSA have hurt their public image, casting them as aggressive or nosy rather than — as they tend to see themselves — quiet patriots forced to work in obscurity to protect the nation.

      Officials say falling morale has affected the agencies’ ability to hold on to employees — often highly skilled analysts and technicians who could earn many times as much money in the private sector.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Why General Motors is asking the Supreme Court to say it’s only 7 years old — not 108

      When a company reorganizes itself through a bankruptcy, is it the same company? And if so, is it liable for alleged wrongdoing committed by the previous version of itself?

      These are questions raised by General Motors’ efforts to dodge hundreds of lawsuits related to a potentially fatal ignition-switch flaw in millions of its older sedans. After receiving a stinging defeat in a federal appellate court this past summer, the automaker is now making a Hail Mary pass to the U.S. Supreme Court to try to convince judges that it has reincarnated into a seven-year-old car company free of liabilities from its previous life.

      With potentially billions of dollars’ worth of personal and financial injury claims at stake, the Detroit automaker’s lawyers argue that allowing these lawsuits to go through would undermine an important aspect of corporate bankruptcy: giving assurance to the buyers of troubled companies that they aren’t also buying a whole bunch of unexpected legal headaches.

    • Stupid law of the week: South Carolina wants anti-porno chips in PCs that cost $20 to disable

      Lawmakers in South Carolina are mulling over banning the sale of computers, tablets and phones unless they have a device that automatically blocks pornography from popping up on-screen.

      The Human Trafficking Prevention Act amendment, introduced by State Representative Bill Chumley (R‑Spartanburg), calls for manufacturers and resellers to be fined if they sell an internet-connected product in the US state without a filter capable of stopping smut from appearing by default. The proposed stiff rules, drawn up late last week, follow a crackdown in the state on human trafficking in 2015.

    • Disgusted by White Land Theft, Millionaire Gives Home to Tribe

      The $4 million property will turn into a prayer house for Indigenous youth to have a ‘safe space’ where they can get in touch with their roots, history and language.

      Expressing “disgust” for the historic land-theft perpetrated on Indigenous peoples in the United States, an eccentric Manhattan millionaire has decided to transfer his $4 million home back to the Lenape Tribe, the original inhabitants of Mannahatta – or land of many hills.

      Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois, 76, the son of late sculptor Louise Bourgeois, is currently in the process of transferring the deed of his West Village home to Anthony Jay Van Dunk, the chief of the 5,000-member Ramapough Indians, who are part of the Lenape Nation. They met in 2011, introduced by a common acquaintance after Bourgeois had expressed his desire to return the land.

    • ‘This isn’t Paris. It’s only men here’ – Inside the French Muslim no-go zones where women aren’t welcome

      A quiet Paris bar where men play cards and bet on horses has become the unlikely focus of a national row over alleged no-go zones for women in predominantly Muslim areas.

      The bar in the impoverished north-eastern suburb of Sevran is accused of being one of many in France where women are effectively banned.

      The neighbourhood, near Charles de Gaulle airport, is notorious as one of France’s leading exporters of jihadists.

      “Au Jockey Club” is clearly a male preserve — there were no women when The Telegraph visited — but it serves alcohol and feels more akin to a high street bookmaker than a den of Islamists. Licensed as a betting shop, its mainly French Arab patrons gazed intently at giant screens showing the races at Deauville.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • European authorities crack down on zero-rating ISPs, defending net neutrality

      Telecom authority PTS is cracking down on the European ISP Telia for having unmetered traffic to Facebook and Spotify while metering other traffic, in violation of net neutrality. Earlier this year, the ISP launched a marketing scheme where accessing Facebook and Spotify didn’t count against your Internet traffic cap, causing net neutrality concerns. While the authority hasn’t made a final decision, sources say it will tell Telia to end the practice in no uncertain terms.

      In May this year, Swedish ISP Telia attracted global attention by blatantly violating Net Neutrality in zero-rating Facebook, later adding a selection of music streaming services (Spotify among them) to its zero-rating offer.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Groundless threats – Nvidia v Hardware Labs

      This judgment concerned the Defendant’s application for strike out/summary judgment of the Claimant’s claim to groundless threats, the Claimant’s application to stay their groundless threats claim pending an EU IPO decision, and the Defendant’s application for transfer to IPEC or the Shorter Trials Scheme.

      The groundless threats question turned on the location of a threat to sue. More specifically, can a letter sent in English from a Germany company to a US parent company regarding infringement of an EU trade mark constitute a threat to bring trade mark infringement proceedings in England and Wales?

    • Trademarks

      • Dunks And Drunks: Jagermeister Blocks Milwaukee Bucks Logo Trademark Application

        Just when you think you’ve seen it all in silly trademark filings, along comes a liquor company to block the trademark application for the logo of an NBA basketball team. Jagermeister, a liquor I haven’t thought about since my college days because I’m a grownup that drinks grownup drinks, has decided that the logo for the Milwaukee Bucks is too similar to its own logo and must be stopped.

      • Lee v. Tam and A Basket of Deplorable People

        In the case, the Department of Justice and USPTO are appealing the Federal Circuit’s determination that the disparagement provision of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1052(a) is facially invalid as in conflict with the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The provision at issue provides for the PTO’s refusal to register marks that consist of “matter which may disparage . . . persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.” Mr. Tam’s band name – THE SLANTS – was refused under this provision.

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