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01.10.17

Links 10/1/2017: Synfig 1.2, Kodachi Linux 3.7

Posted in News Roundup at 8:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 4 open source alternatives to Trello that you can self-host

    Trello is a visual team collaboration platform that was recently acquired by Atlassian. And by that, I mean as recently as today Monday, January 9 2017.

    I’ve been using Trello as a board member of DigitalOcean’s community authors and started using it to manage a small team project for a non-profit organization a couple of days ago. It’s a nice piece of software that any team, including those with non-geeky members, can use comfortable.

    If you like Trello, but now want a similar software that you can self-host, or run on your own server, I’ve found four that you can choose from. Keep in mind that I’ve not installed any of these on my own server, but from the information I’ve gathered about them, the ones I’m most likely to use are Kanboard and Restyaboard.

  • The case for open source software

    “Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept you should think of ‘free’ as in ‘free speech,’ not as in ‘free beer,’” leading software freedom activist Richard M. Stallman explained via the Free Software Foundation.

    Open source software is computer software published under a copyright license where the copyright holder provides the rights for the study, change, and distribution of the software’s source code for any purpose. This is important not just for the advancement of technology but for the freedom of expression as an innate human right.

    Currently, developers can release software under a few main types of licenses. The General Public License (GPL) demands any modified software from the product—including source code—must be placed under the same type of license. In contrast to traditional copyright laws, this license—often referred to as ‘copyleft’—allows developers to use and modify other developers’ code.

    “The GPL is built on copyright, but disables the restrictions of copyright to allow for modification, distribution, and access,” Dr. Gabriella Coleman, the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill, wrote in an essay published in Cultural Anthropology. “It is also self-perpetuating because it requires others to adopt the same license if they modify copylefted software.”

  • What engineers and marketers can learn from each another

    After many years of practicing marketing in the B2B tech world, I think I’ve heard just about every misconception that engineers seem to have about marketers.

  • Synfig 1.2.0 released

    This release summarizes the results of our work for last 16 months, since the start of new development cycle in August 2015. Much thanks to everyone who supported our efforts by contributing to crowdfunding campaign, purchasing training course, donating via downloads and providing continuous support through our Patreon page! You really made this release happen.

  • Open-Source Animation Software Synfig 1.2 Released
  • Synfig Studio 1.2 Released With New Render Engine

    The Synfig 1.2 release has a complete rewritten render engine developed over the past year and is now better optimized, a new lipsync feature, UI changes, support for multiple threads when rendering via the command line, and other improvements.

  • Sweden’s Blockchain Land Registry to Begin Testing in March

    A public-private effort in Sweden to record land titles on a blockchain is set to begin public testing this March.

    Spearheaded by the Swedish National Land Survey and blockchain startup ChromaWay, the project was revealed in June to have support from consulting firm Kairos Future and telephone service provider Telia. Now, the project is moving ahead with the addition of two banks that specialize in mortgages, Landshypotek and SBAB, CoinDesk has learned.

    ChromaWay CEO Henrik Hjelte said that the sandbox release would seek to test the platform from a business, legal and security perspective, while allowing the public to test the interface and back-end.

  • VMware Joins Open-O to Pursue its Telco NFV Strategy

    The open source project hosted by the Linux Foundation works to enable end-to-end service orchestration via network functions virtualization (NFV) over both software-defined networks (SDN) and legacy networks.

  • Looking for Some Open Source Virtual Reality?

    For those of you who like your reality virtual and your software open, there are options — such as this nifty headset our Phil Shapiro found while searching YouTube.

  • Eagle Joins a Slew of Big Data Projects Open Sourced by Apache

    For more than a year now, we’ve steadily taken note of the many projects that the Apache Software Foundation has been elevating to Top-Level Status. The organization incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, and has squarely turned its focus to Big Data and developer-focused tools in recent times. As Apache moves Big Data projects to Top-Level Status, they gain valuable community support. Recently, the foundation announced that Apache Kudu had graduated as a Top-Level project. Then, the news came that Apache Geode had graduated from the Apache Incubator as well. It is a very interesting open source in-memory data grid that provides transactional data management for scale-out applications needing low latency response times during high concurrent processing.

  • Events

    • 10 Lessons from 10 Years of Amazon

      Amazon launched their Simple Storage Service (S3) service about 10 years ago followed shortly by Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). In the past 10 years, Amazon has learned a few things about running these services. In his keynote at LinuxCon Europe, Chris Schlaeger, Director Kernel and Operating Systems at the Amazon Development Center in Germany, shared 10 lessons from Amazon.

    • MoodleMoot UK & Ireland 2017

      MoodleMoot UK and Ireland 2017 will be held from 10 – 12 April at Park Plaza Riverbank London.

    • Linus Torvalds, Guy Hoffman, and Imad Sousou to Speak at Embedded Linux Conference Next Month

      Linux creator Linus Torvalds will speak at Embedded Linux Conference and OpenIoT Summit again this year, along with renowned robotics expert Guy Hoffman and Intel VP Imad Sousou, The Linux Foundation announced today. These headliners will join session speakers from embedded and IoT industry leaders, including AppDynamics, Free Electrons, IBM, Intel, Micosa, Midokura, The PTR Group, and many others. View the full schedule now.

    • The Linux Foundation Announces Session Lineup for Embedded Linux Conference + OpenIoT Summit
    • ELC lineup features Linus, Alexa, Zephyr, and Android Things

      The LF posted the schedule for the Embedded Linux Conference in Portland, Feb. 21-23. Keynotes include Guy Hoffman, Imad Sousou, and Linus Torvalds.

      Registration is open for the Embedded Linux Conference (ELC) and OpenIoT Summit. Early bird prices end Jan. 15. The Linux Foundation also posted a full schedule for the show, which will run Feb. 21-23 in Portland, OR. That will make life easier for Linux and Git creator and long-time Portlandian Linus Torvalds, who will chat on stage with Dirk Hohndel, the former Intel open source guru who is now working as Chief Open Source Officer at VMware.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Fighting Back Against Unlawful Warrants and Indefinite Gag Orders to Protect Internet Privacy and Security

        Mozilla and other major technology companies, including Amazon, Apple, Google and Twitter, are joining together in an amicus brief filing that supports Facebook’s ability to challenge both a search warrant for nearly 400 Facebook users’ data, and an indefinite gag order which forbids Facebook from notifying users about government requests for their data.

        Mozilla is joining this brief because we believe this type of lengthy, never-ending gag order ultimately infringes on the ability to control one’s online experience. This is part of our fight to protect individual privacy and security online, and to improve internet health by promoting cybersecurity and increasing transparency.

        In this case, the government argued that Facebook has no legal right to even challenge the warrant’s scope or validity, and a lower court agreed. This would mean companies like Mozilla couldn’t challenge unlawful orders we receive. And, because gag orders would prevent us from notifying users, those users wouldn’t know to challenge them either. Unlawful warrants would never see the light of day or be apparent to users. This is staggering and unacceptable.

  • CMS

    • Decisive benefits of a good open source e-commerce

      There was a time when websites were only afforded and operated by big businesses alone. Nowadays you can easily find free basic websites online. If the free version that you are getting is not up to your standards, you can always purchase a premium one or customize the one that you currently have to suit your needs.

  • Healthcare

    • Open medical records community supports new system in Mozambique

      The southern African country of Mozambique suffers under the most extreme challenges for resource-poor countries: economic instability, political strife, civil unrest, corruption and crime, unreliable infrastructure (such as transportation and telecommunications), and a large-scale HIV epidemic that has yet to be declared under control. The United Nations positions Mozambique’s Human Development Index at number 180 out of 188 countries, placing it as the eighth lowest nation in the world for the three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living. Over 11 percent of the adult population is infected with HIV, and approximately one in 10 children will die before their fifth birthday. Compounding Mozambique’s problems is a serious shortage of trained medical staff, with only 64 doctors and nurses per 100,000 people.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • LLVM Founder, Swift Creator Chris Lattner Is Leaving Apple

      Chris Lattner who is known most recently for starting the Swift programming language while most profoundly he is the original creator of LLVM/Clang, is leaving his job at Apple.

      Lattner had been the director of the Developer Tools department, including Xcode and similar compiler efforts around Swift/LLVM. Chris joined Apple in 2005 due to his work on LLVM/Clang. His wife is the president of the LLVM Foundation. Coming as a surprise today is that he’s leaving Apple and no longer the Swift Project Lead, per this mailing list post.

    • LLVM/Clang Finally Lands Mainline Support For AMD’s Zen/Ryzen Processors

      The latest LLVM and Clang compiler code as of this morning now has support for Zen (AMD Ryzen) processors.

      Back in 2015 there was the AMD Zen “znver1″ patches for GCC along with Zen for Binutils while with the latest Git/SVN development code for LLVM/Clang today is similar “znver1″ support.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Clock ticking on open source voting effort as SF extends voting machine contract [Ed: recall this]

      The clock is ticking on the open source voting effort because Arntz said that the current system is becoming obsolete and in two years he plans to competitively bid for the new line of voting equipment if open source voting isn’t finalized by December 2018.

      “If the new open source voting system is not ready in two years, [John] Arntz advises that the Department of Elections plans to conduct a competitive process to lease a new voting system, removing the need for a large expenditure to purchase voting equipment,” the report reads.

      Those who support open-source voting systems argue they bring a greater level of transparency and accountability by allowing the public to have access to the source codes of the system, which is used to tabulate the votes. If The City owns the system outright it could come at a savings to taxpayers as opposed to using a private vendor.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Why we need an open model to design and evaluate public policy

      In the months leading up to political elections, public debate intensifies and citizens are exposed to a proliferation of information around policy options. In a data-driven society where new insights have been informing decision-making, a deeper understanding of this information has never been more important, yet the public still hasn’t realized the full potential of public policy modeling.

      At a time where the concept of “open government” is constantly evolving to keep pace with new technological advances, government policy models and analysis could be the new generation of open knowledge.

      Government Open Source Models (GOSMs) refer to the idea that government-developed models, whose purpose is to design and evaluate policy, are freely available to everyone to use, distribute, and modify without restrictions. The community could potentially improve the quality, reliability, and accuracy of policy modeling, creating new data-driven apps that benefit the public.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development

    • Improve your programming skills with Exercism

      Many of us have a 2017 goal to improve our programming skills or to learn how to program in the first place. While we have access to many resources, practicing the art of code development independent of a specific job requires some planning. Exercism.io is one resource designed for this exact purpose.

      Exercism is an open source project and service aimed at helping people level up in their programming skills using a philosophy of discovery and collaboration. Exercism provides exercises for dozens of different programming languages. Practitioners complete each exercise and then receive feedback on their response, enabling them to learn from their peer group’s experience.

Leftovers

  • A New Year, a New Round of pop3 Gropers from China

    Yes, the Chinese are at it again. Or rather, machines with IP addresses that belong in a small set of Chinese province networks have started a rather intense campaign of trying to access the pop3 mail retrieval protocol on a host in my care, after a longish interval of near-total inactivity.

  • Yahoo isn’t really going away (at least, not yet)

    Yahoo will be renamed “Altaba” and company CEO Marissa Mayer will step down from its board of directors once its major sale to Verizon closes, according to an 8-K filing released by Yahoo earlier today.

    It’s a crazy string of events that sounds like the end of one of the web’s most iconic properties. But the reality is a bit different from what the many headlines about this series of moves make it sound like.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Meeting this week in Chicago likely to have big impact on Flint water crisis

      A group of doctors, regulators and outside experts is meeting behind closed doors in Chicago Tuesday to determine if Flint’s water technically meets federal standards again. The meeting at EPA’s regional headquarters could be the start of a shift; from a public health emergency to a longer term response.

      Water samples have improved for several months. But there are still some homes with spikes in lead levels that are potentially dangerous without a water filter.

      Some experts now believe any homes with a lead water service line are at risk.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Law Says a Civilian Must Run the Pentagon. Does Gen. Mattis Deserve an Exception?

      Why has Donald Trump picked so many generals for his cabinet? A few popular theories: Trump has patterned himself on the movie “Patton”; he spent his boyhood years at New York Military Academy; he likes the martial machismo of gold-braided uniforms; he needs to balance the ruthless image he cultivated on the “Apprentice” with a nod to sacrifice and service.

      In a speech last month at the Fort Myers Officers’ Club, Michael Hayden, the former head of the NSA and CIA, suggested that Trump’s overrepresentation of the military in his appointments was simply due to a lack of a better alternative.

      “Many in the power ministry establishment, the foreign policy establishment, have signed letters: Never Trump,” said Hayden, who himself called Trump “erratic” and signed a letter saying that Trump would be “a dangerous president.”

      “And he don’t want them anyway,” Hayden quipped. “But he doesn’t want Joe the Plumber either, as the secretary of defense. So where can he go for unarguable expertise without buying into the pre-established political inner circle in Washington? Bing! Go to the armed forces. I think it’s not so much the love of the uniform. It’s that ‘I don’t want to go to the normal well, but I still need talent.’”

    • The Crimes of SEAL Team 6

      Several months after the bin Laden raid, in October 2011, SEAL Team 6 held its annual “stump muster,” a reunion of current command members and their families, as well as past leaders and senior operators. That year’s reunion, the first under Wyman Howard as commanding officer, was held at their new headquarters, a $100 million, state of the art testament to the stature of the command as the home of the “President’s Own,” the clandestine global force capable of striking anywhere, killing anyone, the tip of America’s military spear. Outside the main entrance stands a 30-foot trident sculpted out of a fragment of the World Trade Center.

    • Saudi Arabia’s Dream of Domination Goes Up in Flames

      As recently as two years ago, Saudi Arabia’s half century-long effort to establish itself as the main power among Arab and Islamic states looked as if it was succeeding. A US State Department paper sent by former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in 2014 and published by Wikileaks spoke of the Saudis and Qataris as rivals competing “to dominate the Sunni world”.

      A year later in December 2015, the German foreign intelligence service BND was so worried about the growing influence of Saudi Arabia that it took the extraordinary step of producing a memo, saying that “the previous cautious diplomatic stance of older leading members of the royal family is being replaced by an impulsive policy of intervention”.

    • PLO threatens to revoke recognition of Israel if US embassy moves to Jerusalem

      Senior Palestinian officials have warned that the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s recognition of Israel – one of the key pillars of the moribund Oslo peace agreements – is in danger of being revoked if Donald Trump moves the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

      The Palestinian leadership is also calling for protests in mosques and churches on Friday and Sunday to object to the move, calling for opposition to the plan “from Pakistan to Tehran, from Lebanon to Oman”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • 25 smears, hoaxes, grifts and whoppers on climate and the environment in the Obama era.

      A day after his inauguration, President Obama signed a memorandum promising: “the most transparent administration in history.”

      By May 2016, a different verdict came in. Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan called it “one of the most secretive.” In August 2015, 52 journalism organizations, including the Society of Environmental Journalists, sent an appeal to the White House, asking for an end to restrictions on government employees’ contact with reporters.

    • It’s Official: 2016 Was Second Hottest Year for U.S.

      The announcement comes a week before the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which released the U.S. data, and NASA are expected to announce that 2016 set the record for the hottest year globally. Both the global record and the U.S. near-record are largely attributable to greenhouse gas-driven warming of the planet.

      Both records also come amid a shift in the tenor of the discussion on U.S. climate policy after the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. Trump, who has previously called climate change a “hoax,” has chosen several cabinet nominees who reject the established science of climate change to cabinet positions; Senate confirmation hearings begin this week.

    • Book Review: Interactions Of Climate Change And The Global IP System

      Climate change is prompting the need for new technologies to address the consequences of the weather changing patterns. A book authored by a number of scholars provides an introduction to the interactions of climate change with the global intellectual property, innovation, human rights and international trade systems.

    • Ticking Carbon Clock Warns We Have One Year to Avert Climate Catastrophe

      Our window of time to act on climate may be shrinking even faster than previously thought.

      We may only have one year remaining before we lock in 1.5ºC of warming—the ideal goal outlined in the Paris climate agreement—after which we’ll see catastrophic and irreversible climate shifts, many experts have warned.

      That’s according to the ticking carbon budget clock created by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC). The clock’s countdown now shows that only one year is left in the world’s carbon budget before the planet heats up more than 1.5º over pre-industrial temperatures.

    • UK wind power overtakes coal for first time

      The huge decline in coal power last year saw a series of records, including days with no coal power at all, and solar power generating more than coal across six months. The slack was largely taken up by gas-fired power stations, which was up 45% year on year, Carbon Brief found. Its analysis was based on grid data and estimates; official figures are due in March.

  • Finance

    • The Brexit resistance: ‘It’s getting bigger all the time’

      “I’m still hoping. I can’t really believe it’s going to happen, but in the back of my mind it’s always there. I love this country; I want to live here. I always dreamed of coming, because it was such an open-minded, lovely place where foreigners were greeted. I think that’s part of why I was so shellshocked on 24 June: because this country I thought I knew suddenly turned up a very ugly face.”

      Chris Hoffman is a 44-year-old freelance translator who lives in south Birmingham. She is originally from Stuttgart and first came to the UK thanks to the European Union’s Erasmus student exchange programme. Later on, her husband started academic research in Birmingham, which then turned into a full-time job – and a little more than a decade ago, they settled in the city. They have an eight-year-old son. “He might not have a British passport,” she tells me, “but he was born here, and he feels British.”

      Now, the prospect of Britain leaving the EU seems to have infected her life with anxiety. Does she think she might have to go back to Germany? “We’ll have to, if they chuck us out,” she says. “We haven’t got EU residency cards; we haven’t gone for naturalisation.”

    • Hard Brexit threatens global financial system, City chiefs tell MPs

      Brexit poses a risk to the global financial system and could spark more than 230,000 job losses in the financial sector, senior City figures have warned MPs as they called for clarity on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

      Xavier Rolet, chief executive of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), warned that Brexit could have an impact on “unimaginably large” contracts which are cleared through the City and which might need to be transferred to the 27 remaining EU member states.

      The HSBC chairman, Douglas Flint, also giving evidence to the Treasury select committee, said that while banks did not want to move activities outside London they had to plan for the worst.

    • Theresa May ‘risking Northern Irish peace process to secure DUP’s Brexit votes’

      Theresa May could risk the peace process in Northern Ireland over concerns she is pandering to the Democratic Unionist Party so they will back her Brexit plans, a leading Northern Irish politician has warned.

      Naomi Long, who is leader of the anti-sectarian Alliance Party, told The Independent there were growing concerns in Northern Ireland that the Prime Minister’s impartiality on the peace process is being compromised by a need to keep the DUP onside.

      The DUP has eight MPs at Westminster, which could prove essential support for the Conservatives who currently have a slim majority in the House of Commons.

      Amid growing concerns that some pro-EU MPs could rebel against Ms May, securing support from the DUP is being seen as increasingly important in order to deliver her plans for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

    • Corbyn on Brexit: UK can be better off out of the EU

      Jeremy Corbyn will use his first speech of 2017 to claim that Britain can be better off outside the EU and insist that the Labour party has no principled objection to ending the free movement of European workers in the UK.

      Setting out his party’s pitch on Brexit in the year that Theresa May will trigger article 50, the Labour leader will also reach for the language of leave campaigners by promising to deliver on a pledge to spend millions of pounds extra on the NHS every week.

    • Jeremy Corbyn warning over ‘bargain basement’ Brexit

      Britain must not become a “bargain basement economy” after Brexit, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said.

      He told the BBC high-skilled jobs and trade must be protected outside the EU.

      Mr Corbyn was asked about his stance on immigration ahead of a speech in which he is to say he is “not wedded” to free movement as a matter of principle.

      Asked what this meant, he said EU migrants should be able to continue to travel to the UK, but the right to work would be part of Brexit negotiations.

    • Green Party accuses Jeremy Corbyn of ‘capitulating to the Tories’ on immigration

      The Green Party has accused Labour of “capitulating” to the Tories on immigration after Jeremy Corbyn said he would accept the end of European freedom of movement.

      The Labour leader will say in a speech in Peterborough this morning that his party would push for “fair and reasonably managed migration” and that it was not “wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens as a point of principle”.

    • Corbyn: Labour is willing to sacrifice the free movement of people

      Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will on Tuesday abandon his long-held commitment to open borders and signal that he is willing to allow Theresa May’s government to end the free movement of people once Brexit talks begin with the EU.

      In a keynote speech that he is set to give in Cambridgeshire on Tuesday, Corbyn will outline the party’s approach to Brexit under his leadership, including long-awaited clarification on what Labour’s immigration policy is.

    • Was the Richmond Park by-election really a setback for Brexit?

      Zac Goldsmith’s billionaire father, Sir James Goldsmith, tried to upset the 1997 general election with his personally-financed Referendum Party, whose objective was to force a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. The campaign failed, Sir James himself winning a negligible number of votes in Putney (where I live); two months later, he died of pancreatic cancer.

    • Rep. Maxine Waters Targets “Foreclosure King” Mnuchin as Case Against Trump’s Pick to Head Treasury Builds

      If the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have any documents related to the “pernicious, discriminatory practices” conducted while Donald Trump’s pick for treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, was at the helm of the notorious OneWest bank, they must release them immediately.

      So urged Rep. Maxine Waters (D. Calif.), the ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee, in a letter (pdf) issued Friday, the same day she urged her colleagues in the U.S. Senate to reject Mnuchin’s nomination, saying “it shocks the conscience” that Trump “would give the keys to the Treasury to a man whose bank engaged in massive fraud and profited off the backs of Americans that his company threw out on the street.”

      HUD and the DOJ, she wrote, must “do everything in [their] power to ensure that justice is served for those homeowners that fell victim to the illegal activities of OneWest.”

    • How the University of California exploited a visa loophole to move tech jobs to India

      Using a visa loophole to fire well-paid U.S. information technology workers and replace them with low-paid immigrants from India is despicable enough when it’s done by profit-making companies such as Southern California Edison and Walt Disney Co.

      But the latest employer to try this stunt sets a new mark in what might be termed “job laundering.” It’s the University of California. Experts in the abuse of so-called H-1B visas say UC is the first public university to send the jobs of American IT staff offshore. That’s not a distinction UC should wear proudly.

    • Boris Johnson: UK ‘first in line’ for free trade deal with US

      Boris Johnson has claimed that the UK is “first in line” for a free trade deal with the US after the Trump administration takes office on 20 January. On a hastily arranged trip to the US to reinforce previously weak links with Donald Trump’s transition team, Johnson also declared on Monday that the incoming administration had “a very exciting agenda of change”.

      Johnson’s claim about the UK’s future status as Washington’s preferred trading partner was a pointed reference to Barack Obama’s warning during the EU referendum campaign that Britain would be at the “back of the queue” for a trade deal if it chose Brexit.

      At the time, the US and EU were trying to complete a transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP), but that appears to have no future under the presidency of Donald Trump, who ran on a platform of opposition to multilateral trade deals.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Democrats’ Russia-Did-It Dodge

      Two months after the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the most cohesive message from congressional Democrats is: blame Russia. The party leaders have doubled down on an approach that got nowhere during the presidential campaign — trying to tie the Kremlin around Donald Trump’s neck.

    • Watch How Casually False Claims are Published: New York Times and Nicholas Lemann Edition

      Like most people, I’ve long known that factual falsehoods are routinely published in major media outlets. But as I’ve pointed out before, nothing makes you internalize just how often it really happens, how completely their editorial standards so often fail, like being personally involved in a story that receives substantial media coverage. I cannot count how many times I’ve read or heard claims from major media outlets about the Snowden story that I knew, from first-hand knowledge, were a total fabrication.

      We have a perfect example of how this happens from the New York Times today, in a book review by Nicholas Lemann, the Pulitzer-Moore professor of journalism at Columbia University as well as a long-time staff writer for The New Yorker. Lemann is reviewing a new book by Edward J. Epstein – the long-time neocon, right-wing Cold Warrior, WSJ op-ed page writer and Breitbart contributor – which basically claims Snowden is a Russian spy.

      The book has been widely discredited even before its release as it is filled with demonstrable lies. The usually rhetorically restrained Bart Gellman, whose work on the Snowden story at the Washington Post won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, called the book “bad faith work” that is filled with “distortions” and “baseless and bizarro claims,” several of of which he documented. I’ve documented some of the other obvious falsehoods in the book.

      Suffice to say, so fringe is Epstein’s conspiracy claim that even top NSA and CIA officials – who despise Snowden and have repeatedly attempted to disparage him – have rejected the book’s central conspiracy theory that Snowden has worked with the Kremlin. In 2014, Epstein, citing what he claimed a government official told him “off the record,” wrote my favorite sentence about this whole affair, one which I often quoted in my speeches to great audience laughter: “there are only three possible explanations for the Snowden heist: 1) It was a Russian espionage operation; 2) It was a Chinese espionage operation; or 3) It was a joint Sino-Russian operation.” He’s apparently now opted for Door #1.

    • Liveblogging Jeff Sessions’ Attorney General Confirmation Hearing

      Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions is testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee today as part of his confirmation process. EFF has voiced concerns about President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Sessions to lead the Justice Department, citing past statements he has made and votes he has cast on a number of critical digital rights issues, including surveillance, encryption, net neutrality, and protections for the press.

    • As Attorney General, Jeff Sessions Would Destroy the DOJ’s “Crown Jewel”

      During the Obama administration, the Civil Rights division — which Attorney General Eric Holder repeatedly referred to as the DOJ’s “crown jewel” — opened 25 investigations of law enforcement agencies, resulting in 19 agreements and 14 consent decrees. But President-elect Donald Trump has called the push for greater police accountability a “war on police,” and Sessions, who if confirmed would be in charge of overseeing such investigations, has said they are an intrusion on local authority and an overreach by the DOJ.

    • Running for president showed me how our elections are broken. We can fix them

      From the outset, the recount was met with resistance at every turn. In Pennsylvania, only a small minority of precincts initiated a recount due to obsolete, chaotic rules requiring more than 27,000 citizens to file notarized affidavits by undisclosed deadlines in order to conduct a statewide recount. Reliance on paperless electronic voting machines (“DREs”) for 80% of Pennsylvania voters meant that there were no ballots to recount for most of the state in any case.

    • Wall Street’s Win-Win with Trump

      Most Wall Street bigwigs sided with Hillary Clinton in 2016 but now have adroitly shifted affections to Donald Trump whose populist rhetoric is giving way to another super-rich bonfire of the vanities, explains Mike Lofgren.

    • As Leveson consultation closes, how free is our press?

      As the government’s consultation on the Leveson Inquiry draws to a close, and as politicians, campaigners and journalists clamour to make the case for how much freedom the UK’s press deserves, one question has been missed – how free is our press?

      With the empire of Rupert Murdoch owning one third of our media, how free are the majority of our journalists, really? There is a glaring gap in the Leveson Inquiry which has failed to challenge the power of media moguls.

      Whenever media regulation makes headlines, powerful proprietors and journalists are quick to warn of the threat to the freedom of the press.

      The loss of freedom that comes as a result of media ownership becoming more and more concentrated, however, is discussed far less – perhaps unsurprisingly considering that these discussions are mediated and managed by the employees of media corporations. The hands of reporters are tied.

    • All Russian Puppets?

      An ill wind is blowing in the West. And almost every election is assessed through the lens of Russia. Whether discussing Trump in the US, Jeremy Corbyn in the UK or candidates as different as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, François Fillon and Marine Le Pen in France, it is enough to express doubts about sanctions against Russia or anti-Russian theories from the CIA — an institution surely as infallible as it is beyond reproach — to be suspected of serving the Kremlin’s ends.

      In such an atmosphere, one dares not imagine the outpouring of indignation that would have been aroused if Russia, rather than the US, had listened in on Angela Merkel’s telephone calls, or if Google had delivered billions of pieces of private data collected online to Moscow rather than the National Security Agency (NSA). Without quite realising the irony of his words, Barack Obama used a press conference on 16 December to warn Russia: they need to ‘understand that whatever they do to us, we can potentially do to them.’

    • US Media outraged by Russia, won’t Notice Israeli plot on UK Parliament

      Washington is obsessed by the story put out by US intelligence agencies that Russia tried to interfere in the US presidential election. But for reasons of self-preservation, the blockbuster story just hitting the headlines that an Israeli operative was plotting to get up scandals to unseat British members of parliament will sink like a stone. This, even though part of the concern voiced by official Washington is that Putin may target the elections of European democracies allied to the US to push them in a right wing direction. That’s exactly what the right wing Likud government of Israel has been caught planning to do to Britain.

    • Protest Stopped the Predators. They Will Be Back.

      Mark Twain noted that man is the only animal that blushes — or needs to.

      He also believed that “public office is private graft.”

      Those two observations from our greatest and most sagacious humorist intersected with a bang on Capitol Hill Monday night, when the bright lights of the Republican House Conference met in secret behind closed doors at the end of the New Year’s holiday.

    • WikiLeaks: Russia hacking report was political document

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Monday denounced last week’s U.S. intelligence report on Russian hacking, calling it a politically motivated “press release” that provided no evidence that Russian actors gave WikiLeaks hacked material.

      In an online news conference, Assange said the report is vague and that U.S. intelligence officials should be embarrassed by the 25-page, declassified document. “This is a press release,” Assange said. “It is clearly designed for political effects.”

    • George Clooney Reacts to Donald Trump Calling Meryl Streep ‘Overrated’

      George Clooney couldn’t make it to this year’s Golden Globes — but he still knows exactly who won. The star, 55, spoke to Us Weekly on Monday, January 9, at a London event for The White Helmets, a 40-minute Netflix documentary about Syrian civil-defense rescue workers who run into the rubble in the aftermath of air strikes to search for injured victims.

    • Beneath Trump’s Mockery of a Reporter, a Cascade of Lies Leading Back to 9/11

      Donald Trump, the serial liar who will be sworn in as President of the United States next week, lied once again on Monday, rejecting the actress Meryl Streep’s condemnation of him for impersonating a reporter’s physical disability on the campaign trail last year by insisting that he had done no such thing.

      “For the 100th time,” Trump wrote on Twitter, “I never ‘mocked’ a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him… ‘groveling’ when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad.”

      Trump’s Twitter spats and false claims are by now so routine that it can seem pointless to even report them, but this one is worth unpacking, because it reveals a cascade of lies leading back to a false claim that helped him win: the fantasy that Arab-Americans in New Jersey had openly celebrated the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center as it took place.

    • Human rights in a state of perpetual emergency

      How long will it take for the European ‘crisis’ to be re-framed as the new norm, and what are the potential consequences of that shift?

    • American Media Must Do Better in 2017 – An open letter to the American media from journalists inside it and out

      There is a crisis in American journalism. For too long, news outlets have prioritized their bottom line over real stories, at the expense of the American people. Stories about the vast systemic problems in America, from war to staggering income inequality to climate change to the amount of money being spent on our political system, are perpetually eclipsed by a 24-hour circus of infotainment.

      Nowhere has the failure of the media been clearer than in the 2016 presidential election, where scandals, false statements and horse-race politics so often took precedence over policy. A study from the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, at Harvard’s Kennedy School, found that coverage of Trump on eight major news outlets in 2015 alone was worth $55 million in free advertising for the candidate.

      Every time major media outlets asked an irrelevant question at the presidential debates, every time they cued a roundtable of Trump and Clinton surrogates, every time they ignored or downplayed independent or third-party candidates, they failed. They decided to play a dangerous political game, and in turn, were played.

      Now we have a president who has openly threatened and aggressed against members of the media. He has called for opening up libel laws and suing the press for their coverage. When we do not fully exercise our press freedoms, when we do not remain vigilant, we are jeopardizing those very liberties and thereby jeopardizing our democracy. Democracy is only as strong as a media that is a watchdog, not a lapdog, of power.

    • Welcome to the Vortex

      It’s time to wade into the swamp – or alternative universe – of right-wing media to really understand the twisted “truths” they report.

    • Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner ‘to be senior adviser to the president’

      Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is expected to be named senior adviser to the president.

      The Associated Press said that Mr Kushner, who has been one of Mr Trump’s top strategists, will continue in that role in the White House.

    • U.S. Decline to Banana Republic Accelerates as Trump Places Son-in-Law Jared Kushner in White House

      Donald Trump’s intention to name his son-in-law Jared Kushner to a senior White House post violates ethical standards – and the smell test.

      A 1967 anti-nepotism law states that a government official can’t hire relatives “in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control.” Kushner’s lawyers are said to be preparing to argue that the White House is somehow not an “agency” and so Trump can do as he wishes, but they are probably wrong and without a change to the law the appointment of Kushner would likely lead to litigation aimed at forcing him out.

      And legalities aside, a world leader turning his son-in-law into one of his foremost advisers has an extremely creepy vibe, because it’s straight out of the third world dictator playbook. Raul Castro’s son-in-law has worked for him for decades and now runs the Cuban military’s businesses. Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law was perhaps his top deputy and supervised his WMD programs during the 1980s. Further back, Benito Mussolini’s son-in-law served as his foreign minister (until Mussolini had him executed).

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • ISPs Get Right To Work Pushing For Elimination Of New FCC Broadband Privacy Rules

      So we’ve noted that killing net neutrality isn’t the only goal for large ISPs in the new year. Trump’s top telecom advisors have all made it abundantly clear they’d like to defang and defund the FCC as a consumer watchdog entirely, and roll back the decision to classify ISPs as common carriers under Title II. This would not only dismantle net neutrality, but it would also eliminate the relatively basic broadband privacy rules the FCC recently passed. Those rules, in short, require that ISPs not only clearly disclose what’s being sold and who it’s being sold to, but also require they also provide working opt-out tools.

      Unsurprisingly, ISPs made quite a stink about the “draconian” nature of the rules, and sector lobbyists are getting a running head start in dismantling them. After all, informed customers with the tools to protect their own privacy could cost them billions of dollars annually. Especially since the rules require that consumers opt in to collection of more sensitive financial data.

    • Judge won’t toss lawsuit accusing NSA of spying on everyone in SLC during the 2002 Olympics
    • Judge won’t dismiss lawsuit over alleged NSA Olympic spying

      A judge refused Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit claiming the National Security Agency conducted a mass warrantless surveillance program during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

    • Congress Must Pass Long-Delayed Email Privacy Bill

      It’s time for Congress to put an end to a glaring loophole in privacy law. Thanks to the wording in a more than 30-year-old law, the papers in your desk are better protected than the emails in your inbox. Congress can fix that by finally passing the Email Privacy Act, reintroduced in the House by Reps. Kevin Yoder and Jared Polis and others today.

      The bill would require law enforcement to get a warrant before searching through electronic communications—including things like emails, Facebook messages, and Dropbox files—regardless of how long they have been stored.

      That would put an end to the arbitrary standard in the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act that allows law enforcement to access emails and other communications that have been stored on a server for more than 180 days. It would also set a uniform legal standard by codifying a 2010 federal court ruling that said Fourth Amendment protections require law enforcement to obtain a warrant before accessing stored communications.

    • Why a Tax Break for Security Cameras Is a Terrible Idea

      Law enforcement agencies around the country have been expanding their surveillance capabilities by recruiting private citizens and businesses to share their security camera footage and live feeds. The trend is alarming, since it allows government to spy on communities without the oversight, approval, or legal processes that are typically required for police.

      EFF is opposing new legislation introduced in California by Assemblymember Marc Steinorth that would create a tax credit worth up to $500 for residents who purchase home security systems, including fences, alarms and cameras. In a letter, EFF has asked the lawmaker to strike the tax break for surveillance cameras, citing privacy concerns as well as the potential threat created by consumer cameras that can be exploited by botnets.

    • Turkey Is Building Domestic Replacements For Gmail and Google

      Turkey has a long history of blocking Internet services. It’s become such a thing, there’s even a site called TurkeyBlocks that is exclusively about this phenomenon. A couple of recent stories on the site suggest the Turkish government is aiming to tighten its local control over the online world even more. First, in order to prevent people circumventing social media shutdowns, the Turkish authorities are going after Tor…

    • The Swedish Kings of Cyberwar

      Possible targets might be the administrators of foreign computer networks, government ministries, oil, defense, and other major corporations, as well as suspected terrorist groups or other designated individuals. Similar Quantum operations have targeted OPEC headquarters in Vienna, as well as Belgacom, a Belgian telecom company whose clients include the European Commission and the European Parliament.

      [...]

      Significantly, while WINTERLIGHT was a joint effort between the NSA, the Swedish FRA, and the British GCHQ, the hacking attacks on computers and computer networks seem to have been initiated by the Swedes.

    • Uber Extends an Olive Branch to Local Governments: Its Data

      The ride-hailing company Uber and local governments often do not play well together. Uber pays little heed to regulation while city officials scramble to keep up with the company’s rapid deployment and surging popularity.

      But now, with a new data-focused product, Uber is offering a tiny olive branch to its municipal critics.

      The company on Sunday unveiled Movement, a stand-alone website it hopes will persuade city planners to consider Uber as part of urban development and transit systems in the future.

      The site, which Uber will invite planning agencies and researchers to visit in the coming weeks, will allow outsiders to study traffic patterns and speeds across cities using data collected by tens of thousands of Uber vehicles. Users can use Movement to compare average trip times across certain points in cities and see what effect something like a baseball game might have on traffic patterns. Eventually, the company plans to make Movement available to the general public.

    • A lawyer rewrote Instagram’s privacy policy so kids and parents can have a meaningful talk about privacy

      In Britain, more than half of 12- to 15-year-olds are on Instagram, according to OfCom (pdf), the country’s communications regulator. So are 43% of 8- to 11-year-olds. But how many of them understand what they signed when they joined? Pretty much 0%, according to “Growing Up Digital”, a report released Jan. 5 (pdf) by the UK Children’s Commissioner.

      “Are you sure this is necessary? There are like, 100 pages,” said one 13-year-old who was asked to read Instagram’s terms of service. (Actually 17 pages, with 5,000 words, but still plenty.)

    • I have seen the future: Alexa controls everything

      Inside the heaving halls of the Las Vegas convention centre, which run thick with the smell of tired feet and one too many late nights spent at a roulette table, a familiar voice can be heard. In any booth, whether it’s LG’s sprawling temple to tech or one of the tiny makeshift stands from CES’ smaller attendees, Amazon’s Alexa is ever present, taking commands from smart alec tech press desperate to spot a crack in her capabilities.

      If, as its organisers would have you believe, CES remains the great predictor of tech trends for the year, then 2017 is when Amazon’s AI aide goes from humble home assistant to all-encompassing presence built into every gadget we own. From fridges, to cars, to smartwatches, and even robots, Alexa has quickly become the voice assistant du jour. For an online retailer with a spotty track record in tech (see: the Amazon Fire Phone), it’s an impressive and surprising achievement.

    • Darul Hadis Latifiah school downgraded as CCTV found in toilet

      An independent Islamic boys’ school where inspectors found a CCTV camera in toilets has been rated “inadequate”.

      Ofsted downgraded Darul Hadis Latifiah in Bethnal Green, saying pupils were not being “prepared for life in modern Britain”.

      Inspectors found “grimy” facilities and “inappropriate” literature.

      The school, for boys aged 11 to 20, said it was “preparing a formal complaint” in response. It said the camera only viewed the “washing area”.

    • The official Tor browser for iOS went free-to-use after Trump’s election win

      When Mike Tigas first created the Onion Browser app for iOS in 2012, he never expected it to become popular. He was working as a newsroom Web developer at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, at the time, and wanted a Tor browser app for himself and his colleagues. Expecting little interest, he then put Onion Browser on the Apple App Store at just $0.99/£0.69, the lowest non-zero price that Apple allows.

      Fast forward to 2016, and Tigas found himself living in New York City, working as a developer and investigative journalist at ProPublica, while earning upwards of $2,000 a month from the app—and worrying that charging for it was keeping anonymous browsing out of the hands of people who needed it.

    • Eyes Over Baltimore: How Police Use Military Technology to Secretly Track You

      When protesters took to the street after police shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, they were greeted by law enforcement in full body armor, flanked by armored vehicles. In the two and a half years and countless shootings since, militarized police have become an all too familiar sight. In response, citizens have overwhelmingly begun to film these interactions on their smartphones, making the technology the eyes of our nation. But as we watch the police, they also watch us – only they don’t use an iPhone. Often, they use military grade surveillance equipment that gives them a much broader view than simple cell phone cameras ever could.

    • The rise of the cashless city: ‘There is this real danger of exclusion’

      Scrolling through my online bank statements at Christmas, I was surprised to find I had not removed cash from an ATM for well over four months. Thanks to the ubiquity of electronic payment systems, it has become increasingly easy to glide around London to a chorus of approving bleeps.

      As more shops and transport networks adapt to contactless card and touch-and-go mobile technology, many major cities around the world are in the process of relegating cash to second-class status. Some London shops and cafes are now, like the capital’s buses, simply refusing to handle notes or coins.

    • Your private medical data is for sale – and it’s driving a business worth billions

      Your medical data is for sale – all of it. Adam Tanner, a fellow at Harvard’s institute for quantitative social science and author of a new book on the topic, Our Bodies, Our Data, said that patients generally don’t know that their most personal information – what diseases they test positive for, what surgeries they have had – is the stuff of multibillion-dollar business.

      But although the data is nominally stripped of personally identifying information, data miners and brokers are working tirelessly to aggregate detailed dossiers on individual patients; the patients are merely called “24601” instead of “Jean Valjean”.

      At the doctor’s office, Tanner told the Guardian, “you close the door and you think, I’m telling my doctor my most intimate medical secrets, and only my doctor knows about it. But it’s sold commercially.” Patients are reduced to gender, age, particular ailments, and neighborhood. Then, Tanner said, data miners cross-reference that information with data from pharmacies about who they sell prescriptions to, culled by big drugstore chains like Rite Aid and CVS.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘Is this what the west is really like?’ How it felt to leave China for Britain

      By the time I reached my late 20s, I was desperately looking for a way out of Beijing. From 2001 onwards, the city was consumed by preparations for the 2008 Olympics. Every bus route had to be redirected. Every building was covered in scaffolding. Highways were springing up around Beijing like thick noodles oozing from the ground, with complicated U-turns and roundabouts. It was surrounded by a moonscape of construction sites. Living there had become a visual and logistical torture. For me, as a writer and film-maker, it was also becoming impossible artistically, with increasing restraints placed on my work.

    • An Ocean Apart, But United in Concerns About Hate Crimes

      A divisive vote, with jobs and immigrants the most combustible issues. An outcome that surprised the experts. A nation left on edge, with many anxious about intolerance and the violence that can stem from it.

      No, not just America today, but also the United Kingdom seven months ago. Last June, voters there opted out of the European Union, ushering in a new prime minister who has since backed controversial proposals, including one that would require pregnant women to show papers that prove their “right” to use the national health system, before being allowed to give birth in a hospital.

      So, were the worst fears of racial, ethnic or other hate violence realized? A mix of government agencies, academics and other organizations have been laboring to offer answers.

      In the week after the British went to the polls — widely known as the Brexit vote — there were more than 2,400 accounts of hate crimes reported through Twitter, according to a report from the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos.

    • ‘That Punishment of Women Is Already Happening’ – CounterSpin interview with Destiny Lopez on abortion rights under Trump

      Women’s reproductive rights, never universally comfortably secure, are in clear and present danger under a Trump administration. But much media coverage of abortion has been marked by a static pro/con framing that presents it as, above all, a political football, rather than a question of women’s fundamental human rights. As Trump-emboldened lawmakers push forward more “heartbeat bills” and waiting-period restrictions, we have to ask if media will rise to the challenge, including acknowledging that, as it stands, all women are not equal when it comes to the ability to make critical reproductive choices.

      Destiny Lopez is co-director of All Above All, a coalition of groups and individuals working to lift the bans that deny abortion coverage. She joins us now by phone from North Carolina. Welcome to CounterSpin, Destiny Lopez.

    • Majority of Religion School Teachers in Indonesia Support Sharia Law

      Nearly 80 percent of Islamic education teachers in five of 34 Indonesian provinces support implementing Sharia law, according to a new survey that is causing alarm among some moderate Muslim groups.

      Researchers led by Dr. Didin Syafruddin of Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN) in Jakarta interviewed 505 Islamic religious education (Pendidikan Agama Islam) teachers in five of Indonesia’s 34 provinces. In much of Indonesia, religion is taught in public and private schools.

    • Muslim Migrants Unwilling to Integrate Into European Society – Czech President

      The president added he is not a xenophobe and is glad that Vietnamese and Ukrainian migrants had been successfully integrating into the Czech society.

    • Defiant ISIS sex slave told hardline Sharia court ‘cut off one foot then I will escape with the other’

      “He said that either they must kill me or cut off my foot to stop me escaping,” Lamiya told the Mail on Sunday.

      “I told him that if you cut off one foot then I will escape with the other. I told the judge I would never give up. So they replied they would keep on torturing me if I tried to escape.”

    • Interior ministry “wish list”: strengthen central government security, policing and deportation powers

      German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere has announced a series of proposals that revolve around giving the German federal government more power over security agencies, cyber attacks, policing and deportations; permitting the deployment of the military internally; expanding the scope of the proposed EU Entry/Exit System and loosening the the EU definition of “safe third countries”.

      The proposals would centralise many responsibilities of Germany’s federal states and are being touted as a response to the Berlin Christmas markets attacks in December, although de Maiziere has reportedly admitted that he has called for most of the changes before.

    • Women Visiting New York City Jails Describe a Pattern of Invasive, Humiliating Strip Searches

      On July 2, 2015, Jasmine Quattlebaum took the bus to Rikers Island to visit her fiancé, who was being held at the jail’s Anna M. Kross Center. Her cousin accompanied her, and as the two women waited to be processed at the Visit Control Building, they were pulled out of line to be searched. Quattlebaum was asked to sign a consent form agreeing to a “pat frisk.”

      She entered a search cubicle with a female correction officer she didn’t recognize, who instructed her to put her hands over her head, according to Quattlebaum, and then felt around her bra area, over her shirt. After that, she asked Quattlebaum to unbutton her pants. “I’m not gonna lie, my pants were a little tight, so I’m thinking that’s why she couldn’t get her fingers around the waist,” Quattlebaum recalled. “So I unbutton it for her and put my hands back up.”

      Checking a visitor’s waistband is protocol in the pat-down searches permitted by the New York City Department of Correction’s directive on visitor procedure. “The search is conducted by patting the outer clothing over the entire length of the visitor’s body and examining the seams and pockets of the visitor’s clothing,” the directive states. “The visitor may be required to remove his/her outer garments, coat, hat shoes and no other items.” The DOC explicitly prohibits correction officers from conducting more invasive strip searches and cavity searches on visitors to the city’s jails, the majority of whom are women, many accompanied by children, coming to see incarcerated loved ones.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Verizon Cracks Down On Unlimited Data Users, Claims Nobody Wants Unlimited Data Anyway

      Back in 2011, AT&T and Verizon eliminated their unlimited data plans, instead shoving users toward metered plans with limited data allotments. While the two companies did “grandfather” their existing unlimited data users at the time, they’ve been engaged in a quiet war to drive these users off the plans for years, ranging from AT&T’s decision to block Facetime from working unless users signed up for metered plans, to throttling these users (and then in some instances lying about it). This is all of course accompanied by a constant barrage of rate hikes (AT&T imposed another $5 bump just last week).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Tanzanian Farmers Face 12 Years In Prison For Selling Seeds As They’ve Done For Generations

      What’s particularly regrettable here is not just the loss of biodiversity, and the fact that African farmers will be beholden to Western corporations, but that the NAFSN program will achieve the opposite of its stated aims, and end up taking away what little independence Tanzanian farmers enjoyed under the traditional seed system. No wonder, then, that last year Members of the European Parliament called for the NAFSN to “radically alter its mission”. Judging by what’s happening in Tanzania, there’s no sign of that happening.

    • Tanzanian farmers are facing heavy prison sentences if they continue their traditional seed exchange

      In order to receive development assistance, Tanzania has to give Western agribusiness full freedom and give enclosed protection for patented seeds. “Eighty percent of the seeds are being shared and sold in an informal system between neighbors, friends and family. The new law criminalizes the practice in Tanzania,” says Michael Farrelly of TOAM, an organic farming movement in Tanzania. Read more below the photo slider …seed evils

    • Copyrights

      • Anti-Piracy: Can It Exist Without Censorship?

        Back in September 2016, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced his plans to modernize existing copyright laws in Europe. They form part of the Digital Single Market reforms. However, Communia, founded by groups including Creative Commons and Wikimedia, believes Juncker’s reforms will actually violate users’ fundamental rights.

        Specifically, Communia has issues with the controversial Article 13 of the Digital Single Market reforms. The article would require online providers to implement, and thus, consistently use “[appropriate and proportionate] content recognition technologies.” TorrentFreak gives one example:
        “User-generated content sites, for example, would be required to install fingerprinting and filtering systems to block copyright-infringing files.”

      • Research Groups Seek Stronger Protections In EU Copyright Reform Proposal

        European lawmakers should boost protections for researchers and educators in the European Commission proposal for a directive on copyright in the digital single market, five research organisations said today. Among other things, lawmakers and policymakers must rethink the provisions on text and data mining as well as the exception for use of works in digital and cross-border teaching, they said.

        The statement by the Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER), Conference of European Schools for Advanced Engineering Education and Research, European University Association, League of European Research Universities and Science Europe is here.

      • Pirate Bay Offered to Help Catch Criminals But Copyright Got in the Way

        The Pirate Bay is often portrayed by copyright holders as a site that has no respect for the law, but that overstates the truth. According to one of its original founders, when the torrent site offered to help the authorities catch some really serious criminals several years ago, the police were completely disinterested.

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  30. Links 15/9/2017: Mesa 17.2.1 RC, Wine 2.17, WordPress to Ditch React Over Patents

    Links for the day


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