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01.25.17

Links 25/1/2017: Managed Kubernetes Service, Wine 2.0

Posted in News Roundup at 7:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Chrome OS tablets with Android apps are coming soon

      Get ready for Chrome OS to get a lot more pervasive and a lot more interesting this year, if only because it’s going to show up in new kinds of hardware. Google has been talking up the latest round of Chromebooks — the Samsung Chromebook Pro from CES and today’s new education-focused Chromebooks — but it’s also looking ahead to the next thing: tablets.

      Google’s Rajen Sheth, director of product for Android and Chrome for education and enterprise, held a conference call yesterday to talk about Chromebooks for the education market. But he also couldn’t help but note that these 2-in-1 form factors are just the start for Chrome OS.

    • Android apps will make Chromebooks worth buying this year

      While Chromebooks have always been a great low-cost option for basic tasks like browsing and watching videos, they’re about to get a lot more useful, as Google is introducing support for Android apps on them this year.

      The company announced that it was working to bring its massive Google Play app store to Chromebooks in May 2016, and rolled out a preview on Chrome OS for three models last September. Now, it’s confirmed that all new Chromebooks launching in 2017 and from here on out will support Android apps, along with a long list of existing devices.

    • Endless Code and Mission Hardware Demo

      Recently, I have had the pleasure of working with a fantastic company called Endless who are building a range of computers and a Linux-based operating system called Endless OS.

    • Mac sales declined nearly 10% last year as Lenovo, Dell and others gained ground

      It’s not surprising that Mac sales dropped for Apple in 2016 as they experienced their first year over year sales decline since 2001. What is interesting, however, is that as Mac sales dropped roughly 10% and personal computers overall dropped 5.7% for the year, the top four leaders in the market all saw growth as Apple was pushed to number five.

      Although Mac sales were up in Q4 2016 compared to Q4 2015, an analyst note today from Bloomberg’s Anand Srinivasan and Wei Mok has revealed Apple has dropped to the fifth largest PC vendor, with ASUS (ASUSTeK) overtaking fourth place. The top four vendors are now Lenovo, HP, Dell, and ASUS.

  • Servers/Containers

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Hitachi Increases Investment in Open Source With Linux Foundation Platinum Membership

      We are thrilled to announce that Hitachi has become the latest Linux Foundation Platinum member, joining existing Platinum members Cisco, Fujitsu, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, Oracle, Qualcomm and Samsung. Hitachi has been a supporter of The Linux Foundation and Linux since 2000, and was previously a Linux Foundation Gold member. The company decided to upgrade its membership to Platinum in order to further support The Linux Foundation’s work, and open source development in general.

    • Hitachi Expands Open Source Leadership by Becoming a Linux Foundation Platinum Member
    • Hitachi steps up open source game with Linux Foundation

      Tokyo-headquartered Hitachi has become a Platinum member of the Linux Foundation to tap into the opportunities of open source developments.

      The foundation is a nonprofit advancing professional open source management organisation that seeks to get industry players collaborating to develop new technologies and solutions.

    • 10 Things You Should Know about Blockchain

      If you read technology publications, blogs and analyst reports on a regular basis, you’ve undoubtedly come across some mentions of blockchain technology. Many experts say blockchain could revolutionize the way business is conducted. For example, James Wester, research director at IDC Financial Insights, said blockchain “represents a complete shift in the way electronic transactions have been handled for decades, and participants in the market should begin thinking about how they will adapt to it.” And Microsoft predicts that blockchain “will fundamentally change the way we think about exchanging value and assets, enforcing contracts, and sharing data across industries.”

    • A Complete Beginner’s Guide To Blockchain
    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Budgie Desktop To Begin Decoupling From GNOME, Will Use Qt

      The Solus desktop environment has delivered innovations on a number of fronts, including its work on the Budgie desktop that has a growing following. While Budgie Desktop started off as being based upon GNOME, now the developers are working to decouple from GNOME and begin making use of the Qt tool-kit.

      Developer Ikey Doherty wrote a blog post today on the development work going into Budgie 11, the next major version of their desktop. They are working to “deGNOME” their desktop due to consistently hitting API/ABI breakage and other changes with each GNOME release.

    • Kicking Off Budgie 11

      With the Budgie website now up and running, let us turn our focus to the development of Budgie 11 itself. It’s no secret that we’ve been very busy over in Solus land, focusing on the base layers of the operating system. We did also promise we’d be kicking off the year with a focus on the next major release in the Budgie Desktop project, with version 11.

    • Budgie Desktop Is Moving to Qt

      Tossing a startled cat amidst a proverbial flock pigeons, Budgie creator and Solus Project lead Ikey Doherty dropped word of the switch in a lengthy blog post that details the technical reasoning behind their plans for Budgie going forward.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GXml 0.13.90 Released

        With lot of work to do on XSD, but certainly happy to see GXml.Gom* classes taking shape, fixed lot of bugs since last 0.13.2 and starting to port some projects to this new version, I hope to soon release 0.14, just after most translation are in place.

        This new version, will provide a better supported XML GObject wrapped, using DOM4 API and initials of other technologies like XPath and XSD.

  • Distributions

    • BlankOn Linux explained

      Hi guys, welcome to the 15th segment of “Introduction with Linux Distro”. We have made quite a few introductions from the start of this website, every segment has something unique to itself. So this time we will be having a Linux distribution which have pure philosophy and creativity, as our guest. Let’s get to know more about BlankOn Linux.

    • Best Distro, systemd Exploit, KDE neon Scare

      The Linux world keeps on turning and while I’ve been under the weather a KDE neon download scare rocked users recently as well as a newly discovered exploit in systemd. The exploit is said to “open the door to privilege escalation attacks, creating a means for hackers to root systems.” Elsewhere, FOSS Force is running their annual Readers’ Choice Awards Poll for the best Linux desktop distribution for the year ended a few weeks ago. Firefox 51.0 was released with a new logo and Arch is deprecating the 32-bit architecture images. Jamie Watson test several more distros on his new notebook and Jesse Smith reviewed GoboLinux saying, “I applaud the developers’ efforts in making something unusual and interesting.”

    • Brisk Menu Gets Basic Keyword Filtering in v0.3.0, Enables Internationalization

      Solus developer Ikey Doherty is announcing today the availability of stable version 0.3.0 of the modern and efficient Brisk Menu applications menu used for the MATE edition of the Solus operating system.

    • Mangaka OS (32-bit)

      With the seemingly great obsession with Manga and Anime there should be a Linux distribution dedicated to the topic. Great news! There is! The Operating System (OS) is called Mangaka which is the name of the creators of Manga. This article covers only the 32-bit versions, but another article will cover the 64-bit versions.

    • 10 best Linux distros for privacy fiends and security buffs in 2017

      The awesome operating system Linux is free and open source. As such, there are thousands of different ‘flavours’ available – and some types of Linux such as Ubuntu are generic and meant for many different uses.

      But security-conscious users will be pleased to know that there are also a number of Linux distributions (distros) specifically designed for privacy. They can help to keep your data safe through encryption and operating in a ‘live’ mode where no data is written to your hard drive in use.

    • Reviews

      • KaOS-2017.01 — a review

        I have previously reported on KaOS, in 2015. I have actually kept it installed since August 2015. When I saw the announcement for 2017.01, I decided that it was time for a re-install. I’ll note that I could have just updated the already installed version, but it seemed like time for a fresh start.

    • New Releases

      • SparkyLinux 4.5.3 Rescue Edition Implements New Redo Backup and Recovery Tool

        The developers of the Debian-based SparkyLinux operating system are announcing today the general availability of SparkyLinux 4.5.3 Rescue Edition, which brings a new and exciting tool.

        The new tool we’re talking about is called Redo Backup and Recovery, which some of you might have used in the past to recover your computer from a complete disaster. The tool can be run standalone from a USB flash drive or CD disc, allowing for a bare-metal restore, which can be the ultimate antivirus solution for PCs.

      • SolydXK Linux OS Gets First ISO Respins for 2017, Raspberry Pi Build Also Out

        The developers of the SolydXK (SolydX with the Xfce desktop environment and SolydK with the KDE desktop) GNU/Linux distribution are announcing the immediate availability of new ISO respins.

    • Arch Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • GeckoLinux “Rolling” and “Static” editions updated to fix bugs

        I’m pleased to announce a set of updated spins for the GeckoLinux Rolling editions, now at version 999.170124. These are live installable DVD / USB images based on the well tested and highly stable openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling distribution, combined with driver and multimedia support from the Packman project. After installation, GeckoLinux Rolling systems can be easily updated in sync with the updates that openSUSE Tumbleweed and Packman offer.

        There are also updated spins of the GeckoLinux Static editions, now at version 422.170124. These are live installable images based on the enterprise-grade openSUSE Leap distribution, currently at version 42.2, combined with driver and multimedia support from the Packman project. After installation, GeckoLinux Static systems can be easily updated in sync with the updates that openSUSE Leap and Packman offer.

        The current set of updated GeckoLinux spins focuses on releasing the new Calamares 3.0 installer, with significant bug fixes and new features. Additionally, the old yast2-live-installer is now offered again as an alternative for those that prefer it. Also, users of the Rolling editions that experienced difficulties booting to a graphical Xorg system are invited to try this new release with bug fixes in that area. Finally, the Budgie spins have been updated after a long hiatus, now featuring the latest 10.2.9 release of the Budgie desktop.

    • Slackware Family

      • Poll: who needs 32bit packages for latest Plasma 5?

        During the past week I have been spending time on getting the latest KDE Frameworks, Plasma and Applications built. The new Applications 16.12 was quite a bit of work due to the splitting of tarballs in many smaller ones. Also, the Slackware 14.2 and -current versions have now diverged sufficiently that the packages I compile on 14.2 are no longer guaranteed to work on -current, so that introduces additional work.

    • Red Hat Family

      • BU and Red Hat Forge $5 Million Partnership

        Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source enterprise software, is joining in a five-year-long partnership with Boston University, an arrangement aimed at advancing research into emerging and translational technologies, such as cloud computing and big data platforms. The collaboration, celebrated Monday evening at a dinner at the home of Robert A. Brown, BU president, will involve researchers from both Red Hat and BU, and will provide opportunities for students, staff, and faculty to drive new ideas and new technologies.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Cloud Base Image has a new home!

          When the Fedora Board (the precursor to the current Fedora Council) set up the three-edition strategy for Fedora, we chose three broad areas, and asked interested people in our contributor community to develop focused editions aimed at a target in each area. These were server, desktop, and emerging computing — resulting in Fedora Server, Fedora Workstation, and Fedora Cloud Base Image.

        • Fedora upgrade – Does this work?

          I do have to admit I am surprised – but also quite pleased – with the outcome of my upgrade test. I was expecting it to succeed, true, but then, I also thought there would be some errors, some small bugs or leftovers. Nothing at all. Like a glove. This is a smooth, clean procedure, and Fedora excelled in delivering a professional result. Given that it has significantly improved in stability and quality, this does not come as a complete shocker, then again, it’s a short-lived fast-paced testbed for Red Hat technologies, it’s meant to be brittle and dangerous and living la vida loca.

          This is not the end of this experiment – I need to continue running and testing the system, and make sure Wayland is behaving. Moreover, we should repeat the test on a laptop with an Nvidia card, and that will obviously be a more difficult one, and lo and behold, just recently, I installed Fedora 24 on an older HP laptop, hue hue. We will indeed need to see what the results will come out like. Perhaps horrible. So far though, it would seem the Red Hat family delivers some very consistent, very pleasant results, with CentOS having a spotless record, and Fedora now barging in with its fleeting yet meaningful existence. It also gives me confidence in future endeavors of this kind, and it does show that the world of Linux is trying to embrace quality alongside all the innovation, hecticness, schisms, and re-forking of the cutlery cabinet.

          If you are keen on using Fedora as your day-to-day distribution but do dread the ultra-quick support cycle but also do not feel that interested in CentOS, then you will be most pleased to learn that you can continue to play with Fedora without losing support. All it takes is an occasional (and safe) upgrade. Ubuntu and Mint are still valid options, but with my recent annual score highlighting lots of good stuff in the Fedora world, this is one more reason to hang around with this distribution. Fedora be good. Have fun.

    • Debian Family

      • Stretch preparations before the freeze

        These are the last hours when we can update packages and they migrate to testing after 10 days right before the full freeze on 5 February.

        The latest Wireshark upstream version, 2.2.4 has been released on Monday and it is waiting patiently to be part of next Debian stable.

      • Derivatives

        • Tails 2.10 Amnesic Live System Adds OnionShare Tool for Anonymous File Sharing

          Edward Snowden’s favorite amnesic incognito live system, Tails, has been updated today to major version 2.10, a release that comes with numerous new features, updated components, and the latest technologies for accessing the Tor anonymity network.

        • Worried about your online privacy? Download Linux distro Tails 2.10

          Donald Trump is US president now, and maybe you are happy about that. More power to you. Some folks, however, are terrified of the man. True, he only just started the job, but he has already declared war on the truth by lying about both inaugural crowd size and voter fraud. He has even publicly attacked the press for doing its job. Heck, Trump’s FCC appointee, Ajit Pai, is a known opponent of net neutrality. With all of that said, it can be hard to feel that your privacy will be safe with such a curious administration.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • The Ubuntu Web Browser App Is Getting a New Icon

            The Ubuntu web-browser app is getting a brand new icon after community members said the existing icon looked too similar to the Safari web browser.

          • Do You Still Use The Ubuntu HUD? [Poll]

            Five years ago today Ubuntu introduced the HUD, a (for the time) revolutionary new way of interacting with application menus on the desktop.

            The HUD (which stands for ‘Heads Up Display’) aims to make finding menu items faster using keywords instead of clicks, the idea being to help speed up our workflows by letting us find and use menu commands faster.

          • Ebook: Beginner’s Guide to Ubuntu Package Management
          • Ubuntu 17.04 Continues Prepping For Linux 4.10

            Ubuntu 17.04, the Zesty Zapus, is still planning to ship Linux 4.10 for its kernel when the OS ships in April.

            Linux 4.9 is still in the Zesty repository for now, but via the kernel team’s unstable repository they are tracking upstream and have re-based to Linux 4.10-rc5.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Intel Leafhill & ThinkPad L520 Added To Coreboot

    There are some new boards now supported by mainline Coreboot.

    First up, Intel’s “Leafhill” development motherboard is now supported. Leafhill is the codename for this customer reference board (CRB) for Intel Apollo Lake. Going back to last February was initial Apollolake support in Coreboot with FSP 2.0 support.

    Initial Leafhill support was added with this commit and the changes to program it different from the Google “Reef” board where this Coreboot port was based. There are some changes with regards to handling of firmware blobs on this newer hardware, “Apollo Lake silicon requires a boot media region called IFWI which includes assets such as CSE firmware, PMC microcode, CPU microcode, and boot firmware.”

  • WebP 0.6 Coming With Performance Improvements

    For those interested in Google’s WebP lossy/lossless image format that tends to deliver much superior compression vs. quality results to JPEG, a new release is on approach.

    On Tuesday libwebp 0.6-rc1 was imported to Chromium. That was my first time seeing WebP 0.6 references with the current stable release being v0.5.2.

  • Happy birthday to Opensource.com: 7 years of open source

    On our lucky 7th birthday, the Opensource.com team decided to get visual.

  • Designing a Race Car with Open Source Tools
  • Announcing the 2016 Open Source Yearbook: Download now
  • Open Source Year in Review Roundups Now Available

    The year 2016 was a momentous one for open source. From cloud computing platforms to big data and machine learning toolsets, transformative open source tools made more of a difference than ever for organizations large and small.

    Now, some interesting collections of 2016 open source year in review materials are taking shape. Here are a couple of year in review options worth checking into.

  • Technology of the Year 2017: The best hardware, software, and cloud services

    Looking over the winners of the 2017 Technology of the Year Awards, you can’t help but be struck by the startling number of open source projects. For several years now, we’ve watched as the more groundbreaking projects — like Hadoop and MongoDB and AngularJS — leapt from our Best of Open Source Software Awards packages into the rarified air of the Technology of the Year Awards, taking their place not only among the best open source software but among the best products period.

    This year, open source has finally tipped the balance. Among the 32 winners, at least 20 are either open source projects, cloud versions of open source projects, or commercial products with an open source core. The true number is probably higher, considering that many of the other winners are cloud services, which undoubtedly stand on open source foundations and may use open source in their secret sauce.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice contributor interview: Tamás Bunth

      LibreOffice developers, testers, translators and documentation authors are working hard on LibreOffice 5.3, which is due for release in early February. One contributor to the project, Tamás Bunth, has been helping to improve Base, the database front-end of the suite. We caught up with him to ask how he got involved with LibreOffice and what the community is like…

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Digital and open source resources open La Crosse classrooms to learning

        Unlike some states, such as Texas, which require school districts to choose from an approved lists of textbooks, Wisconsin leaves the decision in the hands of school districts. When making textbook decisions, La Crosse School District supervisor of instruction and staff development Rob Tyvoll said the discussion starts with state standards.

        Textbook adoption committees identify concepts that need to be taught and bring in vendors to see what they offer. Committee members decide which of the options best fits the needs of the course.

        Textbook review and adoption happens on a cycle, Tyvoll said, which can be expedited in special circumstances, such as when the state adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010. But Tyvoll said the internet gives teachers access to resources that are much more current than textbooks, allowing classes to stay up to date.

  • Programming/Development

    • 24 Pull Requests challenge encourages fruitful contributions

      In 2012, Andrew Nesbitt was inspired by the 24 Ways to impress your friends advent calendar to start a new project: 24 Pull Requests, an open source contribution event. Participants are challenged to open one pull request for an open source project on GitHub every day from December 1 through December 24.

    • New to Programming? Check out these Outstanding Open Source Programming Books

      Computer programming offers a fascinating career path. It’s full of challenges, a great way of collaborating, teaches you how to think, and most importantly offers a way to improve your life. Become more productive, efficient, and effective in life by learning the discipline of coding.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • A WebRTC-like Standard for the Internet of Things? It’s Complicated

      Building the connections for the Internet of Things (IoT) is challenging, since applications, services, and devices of all different shapes, sizes, and requirements have to seamlessly communicate. In an ideal world, we would have a WebRTC-like interface standard accessible through HTML, but it’s not going to be that simple, says the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF).

    • OCI’s Push For Open Container Standards Continues in 2017

      As we kick off 2017 and look ahead to the coming year, I want to take some time to reflect back on what the Open Container Initiative (OCI) community accomplished in 2016 and how far we’ve come in a short time since we were founded as a Linux Foundation project a little over a year ago.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • ASUS PRIME Z270-P Kabylake Motherboard Works Fine On Linux

      The ASUS PRIME Z270-P is a modestly-priced Z270 motherboard at around $130 USD, it’s not on the cheap end but also not close to being one of the more expensive Z270 series boards. The PRIME Z270-P I picked up for its combination of price and features, including dual M.2 slots, plenty of USB 3.0 connectivity, ready for Intel’s forthcoming Optane Memory, and all of the other essentials for being a solid Kabylake motherboard.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WaPo Factcheck Attack on Sanders’ ACA Warning at Odds With Actual Facts

      With the New York Times finally agreeing to name politicians’ lies where they belong—in the headlines of the stories where they first occur—it’s time to end the failed experiment of factchecking columns. Not only do these projects give the false impression that checking facts is a sidelight rather than central to the journalistic mission, they are fatally compromised by corporate media’s interest in maintaining the illusion of impartiality.

    • Dutch government to set up international abortion fund, to counteract Donald Trump’s aid ban

      The Netherlands is seeking to set up an overseas abortion fund to counteract Donald Trump’s recent ban against funding international groups which give women information about terminations.

      Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen for the Dutch government has announced she intends to establish an international fund which would finance projects relating to access for birth control, abortion and women’s education, throughout developing countries.

      Ms Ploumen announced the plan in reaction to an extensive memorandum signed by Mr Trump to restrict access to information on abortion for women who are in receipt of aid from international development groups.

    • Medicines Patent Pool TB Deal Praised But Raises Concerns Of Affordability

      The Medicines Patent Pool announced today that it has signed a license agreement with Johns Hopkins University for a candidate tuberculosis treatment. Although seen as a major step forward by public health groups, they said the agreement does not include guarantees that the treatment that could be brought to the market would be affordable for all.

    • Judge cites “persuasive evidence” that Aetna withdrew from ACA exchanges to evade regulatory oversight

      In a federal court decision that blocked its planned merger with Humana, health insurance giant Aetna has been called out for withdrawing from most Affordable Care Act exchanges in order to evade regulatory oversight.

      U. S. District Judge John Bates wrote there is “persuasive evidence” that Aetna left the Affordable Care Act exchanges in 17 counties in 11 states not “for business reasons, but instead to follow through on the threat that it made earlier,” according to a CNN Money report on Tuesday. The decision, Bates argued, was made “specifically to evade judicial scrutiny” in connection with its planned Humana deal.

      The “threat” that Judge Bates can be traced back to last summer. In July the Department of Justice blocked Aetna’s planned $34 billion merger with Humana because the government claimed the move would violate antitrust laws. Prior to this, however, CEO Mark Bertolini had written a letter to the Department of Justice warning that “it is very likely that we would need to leave the public exchange business entirely . . . should our deal ultimately be blocked.”

    • WHO Director Candidates Down To Three, Europe Drops In Ranking

      The outcome was hard to predict as voting is secret and governments were generally tight-lipped about who they were supporting, though they were lobbied by the various candidates at receptions and other locales during the week. The only WHO member states voting in this round were the 34 members of the Executive Board, and each voted for their top three choices.

      The results held some surprises but given the unpredictability, people would be unsurprised by almost any outcome. Today’s vote showed a dramatic shift in support for Bustreo, who dropped from 33 yesterday to 12 votes today. This was not explained at press time. It is also interesting that yesterday the four European candidates garnered a total of 104 votes and today this dropped to a total of 44 with three candidates, the bottom three finishers.

  • Security

    • New Tor Security Updates Patch DoS Bug That Let Attackers Crash Relays, Clients

      Two new Tor security updates have been published recently, stable version 2.9.9.9 and development release 0.3.0.2 Alpha, patching a few important vulnerabilities discovered lately.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Wireshark 2.2.4 Open-Source Network Protocol Analyzer Released with Bug Fixes

      Wireshark, the world’s most popular network protocol analyzer software, has been updated today to version 2.2.4, the fourth bugfix and security update to the stable 2.2 series.

      Wireshark 2.2.4 comes approximately five weeks after maintenance update 2.2.3 and provides patches for two recently discovered vulnerabilities, namely wnpa-sec-2017-01 and wnpa-sec-2017-01. While the first one could make the ASTERIX dissector go into an infinite loop, the second could make the DHCPv6 dissector go into a large loop.

    • Penguins force-fed root: Cruel security flaw found in systemd v228

      Some Linux distros will need to be updated following the discovery of an easily exploitable flaw in a core system management component.

      The CVE-2016-10156 security hole in systemd v228 opens the door to privilege escalation attacks, creating a means for hackers to root systems locally if not across the internet. The vulnerability is fixed in systemd v229.

    • Linux Systemd Flaw Gives Attackers Root Access

      Security researcher Sebastian Krahmer has recently discovered that a previously known security flaw in the systemd project can be used for more than crashing a Linux distro but also to grant local attackers root access to the device.

    • Bad bots account for 30 per cent of all web traffic

      OH LORD, THE INTERNET HAS A BAD TIME OF IT. According to a report from Imperva, it spends around a third of its time trafficking bot crap that no one wants.

      The Imperva Incapsula Bot Traffic Report is a regular thing from the firm, and it bases its study on more than 16.7 billion visits to some 100,000 randomly-selected domains on its Incapsula network. It has found, for an almost consistent five years, that bots account for more traffic than actual bloody people, though only by a slight margin and not in 2015.

      “In 2015 we documented a downward shift in bot activity on our network, resulting in a drop below the 50 per cent line for the first time in years. In 2016 we witnessed a correction of that trend, with bot traffic scaling back to 51.8 per cent—only slightly higher than what it was in 2012,” explains the firm.

    • Trojan Transforms Linux Devices into Proxies for Malicious Traffic
    • Linux nasty kicks weak, hacked gadgets when they’re already down

      Several thousand Linux devices have been infected with a new Linux-based trojan, Russian security software firm Doctor Web warns.

      The Linux-Proxy-10 Trojan infects network devices running Linux, turning them into a platform for cybercrime that allows crooks to remain anonymous online. Black hats run freeware code called the Satanic Socks Server on infected devices.

      Miscreants hack into devices that are running with default passwords or are already infected with Linux malware in order to plant the malware.

    • A note about security after a possible security issue was discovered

      In future I would appreciate being told in private about any possible security issues. It’s standard procedure to notify people in private to give them time to fix it. Putting it out in public right away, to be blunt, is a completely irresponsible thing to do. Luckily, we aren’t a bank or anything that stores any sensitive information.

    • Tips and Tricks for Making VM Migration More Secure

      A challenge for any cloud installation is the constant tradeoff of availability versus security. In general, the more fluid your cloud system (i.e., making virtualized resources available on demand more quickly and easily), the more your system becomes open to certain cyberattacks. This tradeoff is perhaps most acute during active virtual machine (VM) migration, when a VM is moved from one physical host to another transparently, without disruption of the VM’s operations. Live virtual machine migration is a crucial operation in the day-to-day management of modern cloud environment.

    • Apollo Lake thin Mini-ITX board focuses on security

      Kontron’s “mITX-APL” thin Mini-ITX board offers Intel Apollo Lake SoCs with triple displays, dual GbE, dual SATA 3.0, mini-PCIe, and Kontron Secure Solution.

    • 7 ways we harden our KVM hypervisor at Google Cloud: Security in plaintext

      Google Cloud uses the open-source KVM hypervisor that has been validated by scores of researchers as the foundation of Google Compute Engine and Google Container Engine, and invests in additional security hardening and protection based on our research and testing experience. Then we contribute back our changes to the KVM project, benefiting the overall open-source community.

    • Look before you paste from a website to terminal

      Malicious code’s color is set to that of the background, it’s font size is set to 0, it is moved away from rest of the code and it is made un-selectable (that blue color thing doesn’t reveal it); to make sure that it works in all possible OSes, browsers and screen sizes.

      This can be worse. If the code snippet had a command with sudo for instance, the malicious code will have sudo access too. Or, it can silently install a keylogger on your machine; possibilities are endless. So, the lesson here is, make sure that you paste code snippets from untrusted sources onto a text editor before executing it.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Unknown Enemy in Plain Sight

      A survey conducted in fourteen Muslim states revealed the indigent were considerably less supportive of terrorism than those who were affluent.[iv] An MI5 report determined that at least 60% of terror suspects were highly educated and economically well off.[v] Much the same picture emerged from a study undertaken by France’s Center for Prevention Deradicalization and Individual Monitoring which concluded that two-thirds of those who had left France to fight for the Islamic State hailed from middle-class families.[vi] Having interviewed 250 surviving Palestinian suicide bombers, scholar Nasra Hassan noted that “none of them were uneducated, desperately poor, simple-minded, or depressed. Many were middle class and, unless they were fugitives, held paying jobs…two were sons of millionaires.”[vii] What did characterize each and every one of them was that they were “all deeply religious.”[viii] As Alan Kreuger of Princeton University and Jitka Maleckova of Charles University, Prague, determined, there is little direct connection between poverty and terror.[ix]

    • 50% Indian IS recruits follow this EXTREME school of Islam

      Officials from the National Investigation Agency who are probing all IS-related cases say out of those arrested for ties with the outfit, only 20 per cent had studied in a madrasa. The rest had gone to regular schools and colleges and are also highly-qualified.

      This shows that it is not the old school of thought which has driven youth towards the IS. The IS has successfully managed to capture the imagination of several Muslim youth through propaganda. The dream of the Caliphate or the virgins in heaven are some of the points that have been driven into the minds of youth who took to the IS.

    • [Old] Did Manning Help Avert War in Iran?
    • Trump’s Muslim Immigration Executive Order: If We Bombed You, We Ban You

      An executive order that President Trump is expected to sign shortly restricts visits and immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Iran.

      The draft text of the order was leaked to the Huffington Post and Los Angeles Times. Titled “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals,” it would suspend the issuance of visas for at least 30 days to most people in the seven countries while the administration revamps its vetting procedures. Most citizens of foreign countries must first obtain a visa before being allowed to enter the United States.

      “In order to protect Americans, we must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward our country and its founding principles,” the draft reads, justifying this blanket prohibition.

      The draft relies on Division O, Title II, Section 203 of the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which lays out security-related exemptions to the visa waiver program, to derive that list of seven countries. In the 2016 law, Iraq and Syria are explicitly listed, Iran and Sudan are included as state sponsors of terrorism, and Libya, Somalia, and Yemen are in the “area of concern” as designated by the Department of Homeland Security.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Database CIA Claimed Too Difficult To Compile For FOIA Requesters Released In Full On CIA Website

      The CIA has millions of declassified records stashed away in Maryland — something it claimed was accessible to the public. Actual access, however, resembles something out of Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil,” rather than what any reasonable person would call “accessible.”

      This so-called “publicly accessible” database — known as CREST — has been the target of MuckRock contributor Mike Best, who kickstarted an effort to liberate records from the vault through the use of manual labor. The records can be accessed by computer, but only certain computers, and only if you know exactly where to find them.

      This is the CIA’s “publicly available” records system front-end.

    • DOJ, DOS, DHS, DOD, SEC, EEOC, EPA, And NSA Sued For Records On Trump’s Attorney General Nominee, Jeff Sessions

      Multiple federal agencies are in violation of the Freedom of Information Act. Investigative journalist Jason Leopold and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) PhD candidate/Harvard Klein Center for Internet & Society research affiliate, Ryan Shapiro, filed a lawsuit this morning against the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of State (DOS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Security Agency (NSA). The suit is over the agencies’ failure to comply with Shapiro and Leopold’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records on President Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.

    • Lawsuit filed to get information on Sessions

      A lawsuit has been filed against eight federal agencies seeking records on President Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).

      Journalist Jason Leopold and Ryan Shapiro, a doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Tuesday.

      They assert that the agencies have failed to comply with their request for documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Standing Rock may be the first battle site in Trump’s war on the environment
    • Trump approves pipelines as a way to put ‘America First.’ But will they really?
    • Dakota Access protesters demonstrate outside White House against Donald Trump expediting pipeline projects
    • President Trump Says the Dakota Access Pipeline ‘Serves the National Interest,’ Yet It Threatens Indian Rights and the Drinking Water of 18 Million People

      President Trump’s decision to fast-track the Dakota pipeline will likely steamroll over Indian rights.

      STANDING ROCK INDIAN RESERVATION, N.D. — President Trump’s executive order yesterday has an impressive-sounding title: “Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High-Priority Infrastructure Projects.” What the title really should say, however, is: “How to Make Money for Big Oil Real Fast Despite the Human and Environmental Costs.”

      The executive order makes no reference to the Dakota Access Pipeline, the 1,100-mile pipeline being constructed to carry nearly 500 million gallons of fracked crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois each day. Yet expediting the construction of DAPL is the obvious goal of the executive order. In fact, Trump signed a presidential memorandum at the same time he signed the executive order, stating his belief that construction of the pipeline would “serve the national interest.”

      Unfortunately, Trump doesn’t mention in either the executive order or the memorandum that completing the construction of DAPL will require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue a permit allowing the pipeline to be constructed underneath the Missouri River, just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. He doesn’t mention that the route of the pipeline was first planned to traverse land further north until white landowners complained, causing a change in the route. He doesn’t mention that a leak of oil in the Missouri River would not only threaten federally protected water rights belonging to the Standing Rock Sioux but would pollute water used by some 18 million persons. He doesn’t mention that completion of DAPL would destroy sacred sites of the tribe. And, finally, he doesn’t mention that the owner of the company building DAPL contributed more than $100,000 to his election campaign.

    • How Keystone XL and Dakota Access went from opposition to resurrection
    • The Dakota Access Water Protectors Were Leaving—Then Came Trump’s Order
    • A Bad Day for the Environment, with Many More to Come

      Tuesday began with news that the Trump Administration had imposed a comprehensive gag order on employees of the Environmental Protection Agency. According to a leaked memo, “no press releases,” “no blog messages,” and “no social media will be going out,” and “no new content can be placed on any website” until further notice—perhaps an attempt to camouflage the other big E.P.A. announcement, which was that the agency’s grants and contracts had been temporarily frozen, effectively halting its work. Then, at nine o’clock, the President had breakfast with a group of beaming auto executives. Trump told them that he was “to a large extent an environmentalist,” but apparently his long participation in that movement had persuaded him that “environmentalism is out of control.” The last time Detroit’s C.E.O.s came to the White House, in 2011, President Obama got them to agree, grudgingly, to increase average fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon, a pledge they now hope to recant. The day went on. Just before noon—surrounded by his increasingly familiar cast of white guys in suits—Trump signed an executive order expediting approvals for the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines, thus overturning perhaps the two biggest environmental victories of the Obama years, both of which the advocacy organization I helped found, 350.org, fought for vigorously.

    • Action Alert: NYT Turns to Oil Consultant to Minimize Trump’s Climate Damage

      Donald Trump’s orders to “revive” the Keystone and Dakota Access pipeline projects, whose progress had been slowed by the Obama administration, are much ado about nothing, the New York Times (1/24/17) reported: “The pipelines were more about symbol than substance but generated enormous passion on both sides of the debate,” wrote the Times‘ Peter Baker and Coral Davenport.

      [...]

      But for the sake of the argument, let’s go with the Times‘ energy analyst-approved estimate of “less than 1 percent” of total US greenhouse emissions. Imagine that percentage in the jobs discussion: With 123 million full-time employees in the US at present, “less than 1 percent” would be roughly a million jobs. If there were credible claims that the pipeline would create a million jobs, year after year, would the Times claim that that was not a “momentous effect” on jobs? That such an impact on employment would be “more about symbol than substance”?

      Yet the New York Times is making exactly those assertions about Keystone’s impact on the climate, in the service of false balance and downplaying the impact of Trump’s anti-environmental moves.

    • Trump silences government scientists with gag orders

      Less than a week after the inauguration, the Trump administration has already gagged employees at two federal agencies. Memos obtained by various media outlets show that scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture are now blocked from communicating with the public and the press.

      At the EPA, whose grants and contract budget have also been frozen, employees are not allowed to talk about this change to reporters or on social media. The EPA is responsible for passing and upholding regulations on issues such as clean air and water and the carbon emissions responsible for global warming. The nominee for EPA head, Scott Pruitt, has made a career out of suing the EPA and trying to weaken its environmental regulations.

      Scientists at the research division of the US Department of Agriculture are no longer allowed to communicate with the public about taxpayer-funded research. In general, the USDA is less politically sensitive than the EPA, though it does do some research into genetically modified food and pesticides. That said, it has used research money to investigate how to cut down methane, a greenhouse gas that is a major cause of climate change.

    • Trump administration freezes EPA grants, bans employees from giving updates via social media

      The Trump administration has frozen grants and contracts by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to ProPublica, and blocked employees from providing updates on this change via social media. This could have big effects on the agency’s budget and severely undercut its efforts.

      In an email obtained by ProPublica, one EPA contractor writes that: “The new EPA administration has asked that all contract and grant awards be temporarily suspended, effective immediately. Until we receive further clarification, this includes task orders and work assignments.”

      Also, employees have been banned from providing updates to reporters or on social media. The internal memo specifies that no press releases will go out to external audiences, there will be “no blog messages” and media requests will be carefully screened. (Interestingly, the Department of Energy, a fellow federal agency, recently released new guidelines that specifically protects contractors and ensures that they can state their personal opinions.)

    • Donald Trump claims ‘environmentalism is out of control’

      President Donald Trump has claimed that “environmentalism is out of control”.

      Mr Trump spent the morning meeting with auto executives as part of a push to bring jobs back to the US. Mr Trump told his guests at the White House that he was looking to ease regulations to help car companies and other businesses wishing to operate in the US.

      Among the attendees at the breakfast meeting were Ford chief executive Mark Fields, Fiat Chrysler chairman Sergio Marchionne and General Motors chief executive Mary Barra.

    • Trump clears Keystone XL, Dakota Access pipelines

      US President Donald Trump has signed two executive actions to advance the building of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

    • Commerce nominee Ross promises to protect “peer-reviewed research” at NOAA

      Under Wilbur Ross, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will continue to provide accurate and factual data to the public, including peer-reviewed research, without political filters, Ross wrote last night in a letter to Senator Bill Nelson (D–FL), the ranking member of the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

    • Trump nominee pledges to shield NOAA climate scientists from intimidation, censorship

      Climate scientists throughout the federal government are fearing an onslaught of budget cuts and censorship policies from the President Donald Trump administration, with sweeping changes expected governing how climate science is funded and communicated to the public.

      Some of this has already begun. On Monday, scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency were told not to talk to the press, and a similar order was reportedly sent out to employees of the Agriculture Department, which includes the U.S. Forest Service.

    • Trump Administration Imposes Freeze On EPA Grants and Contracts

      The Trump administration has imposed a freeze on grants and contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a move that could affect a significant part of the agency’s budget allocations and even threaten to disrupt core operations ranging from toxic cleanups to water quality testing, according to records and interviews.

    • Breaking: White House Implies DAPL, Keystone XL, Are On

      President Donald Trump plans to overturn the U.S. Department of the Army’s denial of the last easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to be drilled under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer implied on January 23.

      Spicer “gave first hints that the new administration would move forward” with both the DAPL and the Keystone XL pipeline, projects that were halted or put on hold after fierce grassroots opposition, reported The Independent.

    • Trump orders revival of Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines

      Donald Trump was sharply criticised by Native Americans and climate change activists on Tuesday after he signed executive orders to allow construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines.

      Both pipe projects had been blocked by Barack Obama’s administration, partly because of environmental concerns. But Trump has questioned the science of climate change and campaigned on a promise to expand energy infrastructure and create jobs.

    • Americans overwhelmingly support clean energy, even if their new president doesn’t

      Throughout his campaign to become president of the United States, Donald Trump promised to bring back coal jobs and pump up fossil fuel production. The promises won him points in some constituencies, but his plans are in direct confrontation with the opinion of a majority of Americans—especially young people—who overwhelmingly prefer to focus on renewable power, and are increasingly getting jobs in clean energy.

      Just 27% of Americans surveyed this month by the Pew Research Center, a think tank, said they thought the US should prioritize expanding the coal, oil, and gas industries, while 65% thought alternatives like wind and solar should be the priority. (The remainder of the 1,502 US adults Pew surveyed didn’t express an opinion.)

    • Social Media Made the World Care About Standing Rock—and Helped It Forget

      A thousand protesters stayed put. The snow piled up around their tepees, but they dug in as caravans of supporters and journalists drove away. The Dakota Access Company planned to run the last segment of an oil pipeline under Lake Oahe, but the Army Corps of Engineers had given the protesters a reprieve when it ordered an an environmental review of the project in early December. Still, this core group of Standing Rock Sioux seemed to know that when the spotlight faded and the hashtags stopped trending, their fortunes could change. They knew what could happen if the world stopped watching—and the world did, thanks in no small part to the platforms that made the protests so visible in the first place.

    • Trump takes action to move forward with Keystone, Dakota Access pipelines

      President Trump on Tuesday moved two controversial pipeline projects forward by signing a pair of executive actions that could speed up approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access projects.

      In an Oval Office ceremony, Trump said the actions would create new jobs in the United States, and that the pipelines should be built with U.S. steel and labor.

      “We will build our own pipeline, we will build our own pipes, like we used to, in the old days,” Trump said as he held up one of his actions to television cameras brought into the Oval Office to broadcast the event.

  • Finance

    • We broke the Panama Papers story. Here’s how to investigate Donald Trump

      Donald Trump is now president. This challenges many of us, not least members of the press. Countless reporters are still shaken and stunned by how he singled out a CNN reporter, one of the most respected news outlets in the world, to attack and humiliate him during his first press conference since winning the elections. Worryingly, none of his fellow journalists in the room stood up for him at the time.

      This wasn’t Trump’s first attack on the press, and it certainly won’t be his last. The first White House press briefing, held on Saturday, featured bullying, threats and unproven claims. That is why a new level of solidarity and cooperation is needed among the fourth estate.

      American journalists should stop him from dividing their ranks – however hard their professional competition may be. They should do the opposite: unite, share and collaborate. Even if doing so would mean embracing something quite unfamiliar and new to American journalism.

      [...]

      And if Trump stops this reporter, too, then the next one should repeat the original question, and so on. This would be a new, unusual approach. But if the media doesn’t want to see more press conferences like the disastrous one we saw recently, they will need to be bold.

      The next level of solidarity and cooperation is even more challenging. Let us assume a source approaches a reporter of the Washington Post with important information which is hard for them to corroborate. Why not reach out to a colleague who already did work on this topic, even if at a rival publication – the New York Times, CNN, ProPublica, Fox News or where ever – for help? They might have the missing piece of the puzzle, they might have the vital second source and they might have what it takes to publish the story. So why not collaborate?

    • China’s richest man buys Nordic cinema firm for $930m

      Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group said its US-based AMC Theatres chain will buy the Nordic region’s largest cinema operator for $930 million, further expanding the company’s world-beating cinema empire.

      Wanda said late Monday the acquisition of Stockholm-based Nordic Cinema Group Holding AB, which owns Sweden’s largest cinema chain SF Bio, brings the Chinese property-to-entertainment giant “one step closer to reaching the goal of taking 20 percent of (the) world’s film-market share”.

    • Supreme Court rules Act of Parliament is needed to initiate UK leaving the EU

      Yesterday, sitting in an unprecedented composition of all 11 judges, the UK Supreme Court ruled by an 8 : 3 majority that the Government cannot initiate the process for the UK leaving the EU (the notification under Article 50 of the TEU) by itself using the Royal Prerogative, but instead an Act of Parliament is needed. The decision itself and the press summary can be found on the Supreme Court website.

      This is the constitutional case of a generation, and the result was eagerly awaited. The hearing, held over four days, had been live streamed and so attracted huge attention. This Kat feels he should blog about it, having covered the earlier decision of the Divisional Court that unanimously reached the same conclusion. But he finds himself strangely unexcited by the Supreme Court decision, in large part because the majority decision reaches the same conclusion on the main issue for similar reasons as the earlier judgment. It is clearer and more thoroughly argued, because the case was more thoroughly and better presented at the Supreme Court than at first instance, where it seemed to this Kat that the Government was barely arguing its position but instead assuming the result that it sought to persuade.

      There has already been written a host of blogposts and newspaper articles on the Supreme Court decision – interested readers have probably read some already, but if not you can do worse than start here for a short account. So instead this Kat will record some perhaps peripheral reflections after a day of consideration.

    • Trump’s wall: Mexican construction firms likely to be biggest winners

      The biggest winners from the construction of Donald Trump’s “big, beautiful, powerful” wall along the US-Mexico border are likely to be Mexican cement companies and construction workers.

      The US president was expected to sign executive orders on Wednesday laying the groundwork for the construction of his signature policy multibillion-dollar wall, which he has promised will keep out “Mexican rapists and drug dealers” and will be paid for by Mexico.

    • Indonesia Scraps Plan to Join TPP

      The Indonesian government is likely to scrap its plan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership if the United States withdraws from the forum, Dewi Fortuna Anwar, deputy for government policy supports at the Vice Presidential Secretariat said on Wednesday, January 25, 2017.

      “So, the focus is to build a mutual bilateral relationship,” Dewi said after welcoming the US Ambassador to Indonesia Joseph Donovan at the Vice Presidential Office in Jakarta on Wednesday, January 25, 2017.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump Orders Crimes Against Humanity By USA

      USA is a signatory to the 1967 Protocol on the status of refugees. USA agreed not to discriminate against refugees, to assist them in many ways including providing travel-documents. There is an exception for “national security” but refugees generally are no threat whatsoever.

    • Trump Is Said to Keep James Comey as F.B.I. Director

      The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, told his top agents from around the country that he had been asked by President Trump to stay on the job running the federal government’s top law enforcement agency, according to people familiar with the matter.

      A decision to retain Mr. Comey would spare the president another potentially bruising confirmation battle. It would also keep Mr. Comey at the center of the F.B.I.’s investigation into several Trump associates and their potential ties with the Russian government.

      Retaining Mr. Comey could also help calm the bureau’s work force, which has been rattled after a tumultuous few months in which the F.B.I. and the director himself were sharply criticized for moves that many felt influenced the outcome of the presidential election.

    • Donald Trump’s watching a lot of television, and it’s worrying his aides: reports

      President Donald Trump is obsessed with the media — consuming it, reacting to it and desiring positive depictions in it. That obsession arises not only out of egotism but also, as recent reports have revealed, from a seemingly uncontrollable fixation on them. (The word “addiction” is not being used here literally but when reading about his media consumption habits, a fitting substitute is difficult to come up with.)

      “Print copies of three newspapers,” wrote Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei of Axios in a Tuesday article describing the president’s media habits on Tuesday. “When Billy Bush was on, ‘Access Hollywood’ every night. TiVo of the morning and evening news shows so he can watch the tops of all of them. Always ’60 Minutes.’ Often ‘Meet the Press.’ Lots of New York talk radio.”

    • Trump is reportedly still using his unsecured Android phone
    • Trump is apparently still using his unsecured Android phone

      Last week, we reported that Trump had somewhat begrudgingly trading his beloved Android phone in for something more secure. An unnamed encrypted device with a phone number that “few people possess.” At the time, it seemed to put to rest the question of whether the new president would finally abandon his personal Twitter machine for the sake of national security.

    • There’s Nothing Stopping Trump From Using His Personal Phone

      It’s impossible to overstate the inseparability of Donald Trump and his Android phone. The 70 year-old doesn’t email, and once said that “computers have complicated lives very greatly.” But for someone who doesn’t really get how the internet works, Trump has disproportionately relied on his phone to communicate with the outside world, primarily through Twitter.

      So when it came time for Trump to surrender his Android for a government-sanctioned device, he was allegedly, yet predictably, unhappy. The headlines swiftly poured in. Some outlets likened the physical transfer of power to a child having their favorite toy taken away.

    • Why Trump’s Staff Is Lying

      One of the most striking features of the early Trump administration has been its political uses of lying. The big weekend story was the obviously false claim of Donald Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, that Trump pulled in the largest inauguration crowds in American history. This raises the question of why a leader might find it advantageous to promote such lies from his subordinates.

      First and most obviously, the leader wishes to mislead the public, and wants to have subordinates doing so, in part because many citizens won’t pursue fact-checking. But that’s the obvious explanation, and the truth runs much deeper.

      By requiring subordinates to speak untruths, a leader can undercut their independent standing, including their standing with the public, with the media and with other members of the administration. That makes those individuals grow more dependent on the leader and less likely to mount independent rebellions against the structure of command. Promoting such chains of lies is a classic tactic when a leader distrusts his subordinates and expects to continue to distrust them in the future.

    • Seymour Hersh Blasts Media for Uncritically Promoting Russian Hacking Story

      Hersh denounced news organizations as “crazy town” for their uncritical promotion of the pronouncements of the director of national intelligence and the CIA, given their track records of lying and misleading the public.

      “The way they behaved on the Russia stuff was outrageous,” Hersh said when I sat down with him at his home in Washington, D.C., two days after Trump was inaugurated. “They were just so willing to believe stuff. And when the heads of intelligence give them that summary of the allegations, instead of attacking the CIA for doing that, which is what I would have done,” they reported it as fact. Hersh said most news organizations missed an important component of the story: “the extent to which the White House was going and permitting the agency to go public with the assessment.”

    • A Mosque and an Islamic School Now Stand in the Place of the Armenian Church of Samsun

      In a short TV report, the local “Samsun Haber TV” station (samsunhaber.tc) recently covered the Armenian past of the Selahiye neighborhood in the northern Turkish city of Samsun.

      In the report, Emin Kirbiyik, the head of the Samsun Local History Community, said that the 30 August Islamic Imam-Hatip Middle School, which offers an Islamic curriculum to pupils, and the Selahiye mosque in the neighborhood, were built on the property that housed an Armenian church before 1915. The church Kirbiyik refers to is the Surp Nigogayos Armenian Apostolic Church.

    • Donald Trump dogged by insecurity over popular vote, media coverage

      Donald Trump holds the most powerful office in the world. But he’s dogged by insecurity over his loss of the popular vote in the election and a persistent frustration that the legitimacy of his presidency is being challenged by Democrats and the media, aides and associates say.

      Trump’s fixation has been a drag on the momentum of his opening days in office, with his exaggerations about inauguration crowds and false assertions about illegal balloting intruding on advisers’ plans to launch his presidency with a flurry of actions on the economy. His spokesman Sean Spicer has twice stepped into the fray himself, including on Tuesday, when he doubled down on Trump’s false claim that he lost the popular vote because 3 million to 5 million people living in the U.S. illegally cast ballots.

    • Dawn of the Resistance

      There is deep popular opposition to the legitimacy of a presidency occupied by this toxic, twittering human smokestack of polluted right-wing demagoguery. Indeed, Trump faces widespread antipathy for his racist border wall plan, proposed Muslim registry, and planned attacks on health care rights. His history of demeaning women as some sort of patriarchal birthright, coupled with an entitled silver spoon mentality that he thinks gives him free rein to insult, threaten, and bully anyone who challenges him, evoke for many only public revulsion. For many Trump is now perceived as the ultimate concierge of corrupt capitalism, a man whose economic orientation in office will translate into angling for every possible “deal” to further enrich the super-wealthy corporate class.

      Unlike former president Obama or candidate Clinton, many tens of millions of ordinary Americans are not asking everyone to give Trump a chance or wishing him “success.” They’re not talking about how as Americans we’re “all on the same team.” Nor are they clamoring to assist Trump’s advisory Strategic and Policy Forum on economic issues, as many of Clinton’s most influential corporate supporters are doing.

      We have to “throw sand in the gears of everything,” instead declares Frances Moore Lappe in a recent Nation essay. Good idea. That means escalating the defiance, escalating the resistance, stoking the fires of mass protest everywhere they smolder. The moment cries out for new political leadership, for grassroots working-class activism, and for a way out of the stagnant swamp of the corporate two-party system.

    • David Brooks’ Anti-PC Screed: Women’s March Edition

      David Brooks gets paid extremely well, by an extremely influential media organization, to have extremely banal opinions. This much is known.

      What isn’t known is why the New York Times keeps allowing him to publish the same banal opinions over and over again. For the tenth time in as many months, the Times let Brooks (1/24/17) take a current issue—in this case, the worldwide Women’s March—and jam it into his boilerplate grievance against what he perceives as ineffectual, harmful “identity politics.”

    • Resistance to the New Trump Regime

      Recorded on Inauguration Day, this edition includes interviews with three organizers of opposition or resistance to the new Trump regime. Also on the program, the hosts discuss recent important stories not reported — or misreported — by corporate media.

    • Punch Early, Punch Often – Smashing the Far Right

      In the article, Van Buren says that if you condone the act of punching a Nazi then you must condone the act of ripping a hijab off a woman’s head. That he considers these two things equivalent speaks volumes of the ‘moderate’ tendency to empty acts, and indeed words, of their meaning. Ripping a hijab off a woman’s head is an act of oppression. It says that this woman, who has said or done nothing to threaten anyone is a legitimate target for hatred and violence. Punching a Nazi on the other hand, is an act of self defence. Nazi’s are not just using words to get their point across, they are organising physical violence against people of colour, Muslims, LGBT folk and left wing radicals; They are actively threatening the lives of people who are different or who disagree with their world view. Their world view is to eradicate freedom in it’s entirety for the vast majority of human beings. That’s why they should be physically confronted, that’s why their movement must be smashed before it can wreak too much havoc.

      [...]

      In Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Greece and the USA, the far right is a tangible threat to the freedom of the vast majority of humanity. Constitutional rights won’t stop them, only an organised anti-fascist movement that is well organised, prepared to take the fight to the fascists, to snuff out their ideas in their infancy and keep fighting until their movement is back in the dustbin of history where it belongs. We will be harshly judged by the future generations if we let them rise again.

    • Trump’s perverse populism

      How Trump’s “America First” platform distorts populism to protect the powerful.

    • Recidivism Watch: Spicer uses repeatedly debunked citations for Trump’s voter fraud claims

      Spicer cited repeatedly debunked research to support Trump’s claim that millions of people voted illegally during the 2016 presidential election. These studies do not support Trump’s Four-Pinocchio claims of “millions” of people voting illegally — as we’ve covered here, here, here, here and here.

      Spicer claimed Trump believes there was widespread voter fraud, based on studies that were presented to him. Then Spicer cited a Pew study that — as we noted before — does not support this claim. Moreover, Spicer conflated the Pew study with another study that — again — does not support this claim.

    • Jill Stein, Chase Iron Eyes and Tim Canova Trace the Path Forward for Progressives

      On Saturday, 2016 presidential candidate Jill Stein spoke with law professor Tim Canova at the Green Party’s Inaugurate the Resistance event at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza in Washington, D.C. They considered whether the Democratic Party is reformable and debated the importance of its progressive wing. Their discussion also covered the future of the two dominant parties and the importance of grass-roots movements.

      At that same event, Chase Iron Eyes, an American Indian activist and member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, explored the importance of nonviolent resistance, the assault on Native American culture and women, and the situation on the ground in North Dakota concerning the Dakota Access pipeline.

    • Why Trump brings clapping, laughing sycophants to his press events and appearances

      The press reported cheering at Donald’s press conference and at his address at the CIA memorial, and it turned out to be his staffers, an entourage of fawning sycophants paid to clap. It’s funny, at first. Then you realize that it’s a grotesque headgame that is only going to get worse.

    • This is Psychological Warfare

      The clapping and laughing you hear in both instances are Trump’s own people, who initiate and get the crowd to follow. They are sycophants who he brings to cheer him on and make it seem like what he’s saying is being well-received. And it’s working.

      The laugh track was invented to cue the audience to the jokes and encourage laughter in response. But it has another effect: if you hear people laughing and you’re not, you start to question if maybe there’s something wrong with you for not getting it. You might even impulsively start laughing just to fit in, not because you think anything is funny.

    • How many metro rides were taken during Women’s March Vs Trump inauguration

      1,001,616 paid rides were taken on the DC Metro on the day of the Women’s March on Washington. Compare that to 570,557 rides taken on the day Trump was sworn into office, which is even less than the number of rides taken on the average weekday.

    • I Was at Trump’s Inauguration. It Was Tiny.

      On Friday, I spent roughly nine hours—from 6 am to 3 pm—on the streets of drizzling Washington, DC, inside and outside the Secret Service checkpoints at Donald Trump’s inauguration. I have been to every inauguration since 1997, gauging the size and enthusiasm of the crowds. It’s fun and a perk of living in DC.

      I wasn’t planning to write about what I saw on Friday until I saw White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer say on Saturday, “This was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.” Then, as his voice shook and his face became mottled, he shouted, “These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.” The next day, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said that Spicer was merely stating “alternative facts.”

    • “Claque”: how Trump revived the ancient practice of paid applauders

      Trump launched his campaign in front of an “audience” of actors paid $50/each to wear campaign shirts and cheer wildly, and he’s brought his paid cheering section with him into the presidency, bringing along staffers to applaud at key moments during his press conferences and other appearances.

      The practice has its origin in ancient Rome, where the Emperor Nero deployed his own crowds, called “Augustiani,” to cheer at his indifferent poetry and lyre playing. It was revived in 17th and 18th century opera circles, where “claques” were used to “huzzah or hiss their favorite performers.”

    • A Day With the Women Scientists Protesting Trump

      Jane Zelikova is not a “protest person.”

      “I’m so anti-protest, and so anti-demonstration,” she told me. “Growing up in the U.S.S.R., I always have that sense that protest is theater.”

      Even after she moved to the United States, she retained her suspicion of demonstrations large and small. They seemed to rarely achieve their goals, and they reminded her of the government-planned pageantry of her youth. As a graduate student at the University of Colorado Boulder, she attended a protest during the run-up to the Iraq War—only to leave before it ended out of personal unease.

      Since then, her research into community ecology has taken her to the tropical rainforests of Costa Rica and the high-elevation deserts of Utah. It let her spend months studying leafcutter ants, a colony-dwelling creature that grows fungus for its food; and it introduced her to Pseudobombax septenatum, a tree sheathed in photosynthetic bark that can store water in its trunk for months at a time.

    • America, You Look Like an Arab Country Right Now

      Dear America,

      We have been watching the drama of your presidential elections with much interest and curiosity for some time now. It’s hard not to notice the many similarities between our own countries and yours. From fiery inauguration protests and bitter disputes about crowd size, to the intelligence service’s forays into politics and the rise of right-wing extremists, it appears that you are traveling very much in our direction—and at the same time, like us, becoming a curiosity for foreign correspondents trying to explain what’s happening in your region to the world. You might be distraught about where you are headed, but we aren’t! Perhaps this will be an opportunity to put our differences aside and recognize how similar we are.

      Let’s start at the beginning. During the campaign we were surprised to learn of the influence that the head of the American mukhabarat (state security, i.e. your FBI) can wield over the election process, simply by choosing to pursue a certain line of investigation. As you may know, this has been a constant feature of our politics since independence. Our surprise turned to astonishment when we started to witness the blossoming feud between the then-president-elect and the American mukhabarat, another important feature of Arab politics.

    • Media Caught Publishing Fake News About WikiLeaks’ Position On Trump Tax Returns

      It’s a hard lesson to consumers that sometimes what you read in the news isn’t news at all. Just conveniently timed, targeted information that media elites seized an opportunity to put their spin on.

      WikiLeaks did send out a call for a whistleblower to submit the returns so that they can be released to the public. But it was not the first time WikiLeaks had made such a request, or even the second.

      Yet many wrongly assumed that interest in Trump’s tax returns was a shift in position for Wikileaks when it has in fact been after them all along.

    • Democrats Try To Find A Future Post-Obama With Fault Lines Along Economics, Race

      David Betras realized Hillary Clinton’s odds of winning the presidency were in peril — back in March of last year.

      Betras, the chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party, lives in an area of Ohio that traditionally votes for Democrats. But during the Ohio primary, Betras saw 18 people on his own precinct committee defect and cross party lines to vote Republican.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Donald Trump’s escalating war against the media

      Less than 24 hours being sworn in, Donald Trump declared the first war of his presidency—on the media.

      Going to the CIA’s headquarters on Saturday morning, Trump immediately brought up the “dishonest media,” transitioned into praise for the agency that he said was going to destroy ISIS, and then resumed trashing the press: first for saying he didn’t get along with America’s spies (he called “Nazis” last week), and then for the inaugural coverage.

      “And the reason you’re my first stop is that, as you know, I have a running war with the media,” Trump said. “They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth… We had a massive field of people. You saw them. Packed. I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field…”

    • Government Employees Get to Have Opinions, Too

      Federal government employees: Know your First Amendment rights.

      In the midst of widespread reports of a clampdown on federal agencies’ public communications by the Trump administration, lots of people are asking about what rights federal government employees have to continue speaking to the public. The short answer? It depends.

      The new administration is entitled to use the official channels of government – whether they be press briefings or websites or social media accounts – to put out its own messages, and it can decide what federal employees are allowed to communicate when they are on the job. But the First Amendment still protects those employees’ ability to speak in their private capacities, on their own time, about matters that concern the public.

      At the moment, different federal agencies have reportedly imposed different restrictions, from the Department of Agriculture to the Environmental Protection Agency. These restrictions vary, from limiting social media posts and press releases to preventing communications with Congress. It is unclear how long the freezes will last or whether some of the directives were properly authorized.

    • Cameroon Cuts Internet in English-speaking Regions

      In Cameroon, internet connections appear to have been cut in the major towns of the country’s two English-speaking regions. The action comes as a months-long strike by local lawyers and teachers intensifies.

      Agbor Gideon owns a shop that provides internet services to students and researchers at the University of Bamenda in the northwest region of Cameroon. He says his suppliers disconnected internet connection to his neighborhood Tuesday.

      “They are stepping on our rights. They are stepping on the rights of the people to use internet because it blocks so many things,” said Gideon. “There are people whose businesses are based on the internet so it is going to add to the hardship.”

    • Don’t Expect the First Amendment to Protect the Media

      When President Trump declared on Saturday that reporters are “among the most dishonest human beings on earth,” it was not the first time he had disparaged the press. Nor was it out of character when, later that same day, his press secretary threatened “to hold the press accountable” for reporting truthful information that was unflattering to Mr. Trump. Episodes like these have become all too common in recent weeks. So it’s comforting to know that the Constitution serves as a reliable stronghold against Mr. Trump’s assault on the press.

      Except that it doesn’t. The truth is, legal protections for press freedom are far feebler than you may think. Even more worrisome, they have been weakening in recent years.

      The First Amendment provides only limited protection for the press. Over the centuries, courts have affirmed that it prohibits government censorship and offers some protection against defamation lawsuits. But journalists themselves have few constitutional rights when it comes to matters such as access to government sources and documents, or protection from being hounded by those in power for their news gathering and reporting. In those respects, journalists are vulnerable to the whims of society and government officials.

    • Chinese Artists Confront Censorship, Memory, and History at the Guggenheim

      Censorship can look at lot different depending on your vantage point. To observers in the West, the policies of the Chinese government — the routine harassment of journalists and activists, the suppression of internet access, the wholesale erasure of certain words and events from the nation’s history — are abhorrent. The fact that the country’s most internationally celebrated contemporary artist is Ai Weiwei, whose years-long house arrest galvanized the art world, is a case in point. But within China’s borders, life continues, if not flourishes: Facebook can be accessed with simple VPN software, and political discourse carries on, with prohibited words replaced by puns to circumvent the restrictive firewall.

    • Brian Stokes Mitchell Weighs In on RAGTIME Censorship: ‘It’s a Great Disservice’

      The Cherry Hill High School East community is approaching the production of this show from a learning disposition. Within our educational community we have been engaging in a dialogue regarding the offensive language in the show. We are indebted to the Cherry Hill African American Civic Association as well as individuals in our community for joining us in this discussion regarding the use of bigoted language in the script. After a very open and productive meeting between representatives from the East Staff and the Cherry Hill African American Civic Association, we confirmed the decision to remove offensive language from the enacted script. In addition, all students at Cherry Hill High School East will participate in learning activities stemming from Ragtime in an effort to use our history to further expose the ugliness of racism. We apologize for any negative impact that the potential inclusion of the racist language had on members of our community and we are thankful that we have educational leaders, student leaders, and community leaders with whom we can partner when concerns arise.

    • New Jersey Production of Ragtime Faces Language Censorship

      Ragtime, the award-winning musical from Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, and Terrence McNally about the immigrant experience at the turn of the 20th century, is scheduled to play Cherry Hill High School East in New Jersey—but with a censored script.

      According to NJ.com, the March production will be replacing or eliminating the n-word and other racial slurs in the script of Ragtime. The decision was made by school officials from the Cherry Hill High School East with approval from the Cherry Hill African American Civic Association and the Camden County East NAACP.

    • NJ school board to discuss censoring student production of ‘Ragtime’

      A high school presentation of the racially charged musical “Ragtime” will be discussed by a South Jersey board of education meeting on Tuesday.

      The Cherry Hill High School East Drama Department is scheduled in March to perform the show set in the decades before the outbreak of World War I.

      The choice of musical has prompted debate about just how the play, which includes frequent use of a racial slur, should be presented: in an unaltered form, an edited form or not at all.

    • Trump bans agencies from ‘providing updates on social media or to reporters’

      The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture have been placed under de facto gag orders by the Trump administration, according to documents obtained by news organizations.

      The president has banned EPA employees from “providing updates on social media or to reporters,” according to interagency emails first obtained by the Associated Press, and barred them from awarding new contracts or grants as well.

    • Policing criticism of Islam: the new Star Chamber

      ‘We are happy to make clear that Islam as a religion does not support so-called “honour killings”.’ Last August that sentence appeared in the corrections pages of both the Sun and the Mail Online. Why had these newspapers suddenly felt inclined to weigh in on this contentious theological debate? Because a complaint had been made against them to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), the non-state-backed press regulator set up after Leveson. It was lodged by Miqdaad Versi, the assistant general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, acting in a personal capacity.

    • Amos Yee’s mom: I encouraged him to leave Singapore

      Teen blogger Amos Yee’s mother, Mary Toh, has taken to Facebook to say that she encouraged him to leave Singapore and that she is glad that he is highlighting Singapore’s anti-free speech laws and the flawed immigration policies in the USA.

      Yee landed in Chicago O-Hare Airport on 16 Dec with a tourist visa and was detained by the US authorities when they discovered text messages between him and a US-based Singaporean activist, Melissa Chen, about his bid for political asylum in America.

    • White House Comment Line Shut Down, Tells Callers to Use Non-Existent Facebook Messenger Account Instead

      The White House has shut down its public comment line some time in the past few weeks, instead telling callers, with an automated message, that they should contact the administration via Facebook Messenger instead. There’s only one problem: Neither the new White House administration nor President Donald Trump seem to currently maintain an active Facebook Messenger account.

      The White House had long kept a public comment line, which in recent years had been staffed by volunteers of the Obama administration. In addition, it also offered a number to reach the White House switchboard, where paid staffers would pick up the phone and take messages for the administration.

    • National Parks Employee Defies Trump Censorship Order
    • Trump’s War On Environment Begins Anew With Censorship, Halting EPA Funding, & Revitalizing Keystone XL & Dakota Access Pipelines
    • Censorship, political meddling has no place in science, weather group says
    • Is Trump ‘censoring’ federal agency accounts? [Ed: This author thinks that Trump now has King-like powers]

      Earlier today, the Badlands National Park’s official Twitter feed sent out four tweets about climate change. They were subsequently deleted.

      [...]

      The Park Service is an executive branch agency. It has no pretense to independence from the president’s authority. And in fact, our constitutional system depends on such agencies obeying the competent authority. They don’t get to have a life of their own outside of what the Congress permits and the president demands. Elected officials make these decisions — this is what democracy looks like.

    • Trump Muzzles Federal Employees; Reporters Start Asking For Leaks

      Of course, it quickly became clear that this was not just for the EPA. The USDA received similar marching orders. Same with the Department of Health & Human Services and possibly others as well, including the Department of Commerce, being told it can’t even publish the basic research it releases for US companies.

      It’s possible to say that this is just the Trump administration hitting the pause button to figure out what’s going on before moving forward again, but many in these agencies are quite worried that they’re going to be muzzled for political reasons. Most of the people working in these agencies are civil servants, not political appointees, and their work is not at all political. The press releases and blog posts are generally to release new findings, research and data from taxpayer funded studies. This shouldn’t be controversial or reviewed for political motives.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Stop Trump getting our data

      Open Rights Group has called on the Prime Minister to ensure that the UK is not complicit with human rights abuses if President Trump keeps his promises to reinstate waterboarding and torture.

    • EFF Asks Massachusetts High Court to Require Clear Limits Before Allowing Searches of Digital Devices and Information

      Along with several other advocacy groups, EFF signed on to an amicus brief this week in the case of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. James Keown, in support of requiring courts to set pre-search limits on the method of digital searches by law enforcement pursuant to judicially authorized warrants.

      Keown was charged with murdering his wife after she died of an apparent poisoning. The evidence against him included a forensic search of his laptop, which revealed web searches for homemade poison. Although the police got a warrant to do this forensic examination, it allowed them to conduct a nearly unfettered search of the computer.

    • Messaging App Has Bipartisan Support Amid Hacking Concerns

      Signal, a smartphone app that allows users to send encrypted messages, is gaining popularity in the political world amid rising fears about hacking and surveillance in the wake of a tumultuous election year.

    • New CIA Director Mike Pompeo Sparks Privacy Concerns

      The U.S. Senate confirmed Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo to be the Director of the CIA late on Monday over concerns from several congressional Democrats, who warned that putting Pompeo at the head of the intelligence agency would threaten civil liberties.

      In an impassioned floor speech, Sen. Bernie Sanders called it “vital to have a head of the CIA who will stand up for our constitution, stand up for privacy rights.” He continued, “Unfortunately, in my view, Mr. Pompeo is not that individual.”

    • UK Government Refuses To Impose Privacy Rules On Surveillance Cameras In Hospitals

      Reasonable enough, you might say. Except that the Commissioner had previously explained to the UK government that he had already tried asking for “voluntary compliance”, only to be told by the hospitals that “they could not enforce compliance with guidance that was not mandatory”. A cynic might almost think the UK government doesn’t really care what its Surveillance Camera Commissioner recommends.

    • New Mexico Legislators Looking To Add Warrants To The Stingray Mix, Curb Electronic Surveillance

      The bill does contain a few warrantless exceptions, but they’re the expected exceptions (consensual searches, exigent circumstances) and they’re limited to those two. Otherwise, deployment of a Stingray device requires a warrant or wiretap order. Law enforcement agencies will no longer be able to hide Stingray use behind pen register orders or wander into providers’ offices without any paperwork and ask for historical cell site location info.

      The bill also requires that any collected information be destroyed within ninety days. Information unrelated to the device targeted must be destroyed within thirty days. Any extended retention must be approved by a judge after the agency has shown cause for the additional storage and use of collected information.

      Additionally, restrictions are placed on the sharing of collected information, limiting access only to those who will comply with the boundaries contained in the court order authorizing the collection. These entities will be subject to the same data destruction periods.

    • Attorney General Nominee Sessions Backs Crypto Backdoors

      As the presidential campaign was in full swing early last year, now-President Trump made his feelings on encryption clear. Commenting on the Apple-FBI fight in San Bernardino, Trump threatened to boycott Apple if they didn’t cooperate: “to think that Apple won’t allow us to get into [the] cell phone,” Trump said in an interview. “Who do they think they are? No, we have to open it up.”

      For that reason, we were curious what Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) would say about the role of encryption.

    • A Character Sounding A Lot Like Edward Snowden May Be Coming To CBS

      As TV pilot season kicks off and networks decide which scripts should become full shows for all of us to watch, CBS has ordered a familiar-sounding pilot, per The Wrap.

      Called “Perfect Citizen,” the drama centers around the former general counsel for the NSA who was involved in “an international scandal.” As he begins a new career at a powerful Boston law firm, he is forced to contend with half the country believing him a patriot and the other half, a traitor.

    • ‘How America Lost Its Secrets’ paints picture of Edward Snowden — whistleblower and spy

      A catastrophic data breach. Russian complicity. Blundering institutions. Distrust of government. Reading Edward Jay Epstein’s gripping and devastatingly even-handed account of Edward Snowden, “How America Lost Its Secrets,” provides a Faulknerian reminder, during these days ringing with the same themes, that “the past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

    • ‘Pay Back’ Snowden: Whistleblower’s Lawyers Call on EU States to Offer Asylum

      Lawyers for Edward Snowden have once again pushed for the whistleblower to be granted legal protection in the EU, saying that member states should “pay back” the American for uncovering the widespread surveillance practices of the US government.

      Speaking to the European Parliament, Snowden’s Berlin-based lawyer Wolfgang Kaleck said EU officials needed to take a stand against his client’s situation.

    • Edward Snowden Latest: Is NSA Leaker Leaving Russia For Iceland, Spain Or Germany? European Union Must Act, Lawyer Says

      Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden should be rewarded with asylum in the European Union for leaking to the world how the U.S. spies on its allies and enemies alike, his lawyer said Monday. Snowden, who faces charges in the U.S. of leaking confidential information, has asylum in Russia through 2020, but has long sought a friendlier haven in the West.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Why Making A Peace Sign In Public Is Now A Security Risk

      The British have a number of traditions. Some, such as drinking tea, are famous around the world. Less well-known is a habit of revealing highly-confidential information by carrying pieces of paper in public that photographers using long-focus lenses are able to snap and then magnify to read. The Guardian wrote an entire article on the subject, detailing how numerous embarrassing leaks occurred in the UK because people forgot to put the documents they were holding in some kind of opaque folder. On one occasion, an anti-terror operation had to be brought forward when Britain’s most senior counterterrorism officer walked around with top secret documents on display — a blunder that cost him his job.

      This mistake is so common that there are notices by the door of the UK Prime Minister’s residence at Number 10 Downing Street reminding people not to walk out with confidential material that is exposed. The fact that there is a photographer with a long-focus lens who hangs around outside No 10 in the hope that they do precisely that shows how often they ignore this warning.

    • Bus driver sexually assaulted while driving on Lougheed Highway

      A man is in custody after he allegedly sexually assaulted a bus driver while she was driving east along Lougheed Highway last week.

      According to transit police the suspect, Mohammed Sahib, allegedly first harassed and then groped the driver between the legs.

      The Coast Mountain driver fended off the suspect, pushed the alarm, and continued to the Production Way SkyTrain Station.

    • Trump Poised to Lift Ban on C.I.A. ‘Black Site’ Prisons

      The Trump administration is preparing a sweeping executive order that would clear the way for the Central Intelligence Agency to reopen overseas “black site” prisons, like those where it detained and tortured terrorism suspects before former President Obama shut them down.

      President Trump’s three-page draft order, titled “Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants,” and obtained by The New York Times would also undo many of the other restrictions on handling detainees that Mr. Obama put in place in response to policies of the Bush administration.

      If Mr. Trump signs the draft order, he would also revoke Mr. Obama’s directive to give the International Committee of the Red Cross access to all wartime detainees in American custody – another step toward reopening secret prisons outside of the normal wartime rules established by the Geneva Conventions.

    • Trump to order Mexico wall in national security crackdown

      Donald Trump is due to sign off a volley of executive orders on national security, including measures to start the construction of a wall on the Mexican border and the imposition of a ban on refugees from the Middle East.

      The new US president is expected to sign orders setting out federal funding for the wall during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday, two administration officials told the Associated Press.

    • 5 Movies And TV Shows With Bizarre Real-Life Repercussions

      Most people understand that fiction is just that — an important but imaginary divergence from reality. The real world inspires our stories, not the other way around. Unless it is the other way around. And it is. So very, very often. We don’t know why we even bothered to pretend otherwise. It’s just … we get lonely, sometimes, up here in the intro. Most people skip over it. Thank you — thank you for staying with us. To show our gratitude, here’s an article about bizarre ways fiction influenced reality …

    • Four more journalists get felony charges after covering inauguration unrest

      Four more journalists have been charged with felonies after being arrested while covering the unrest around Donald Trump’s inauguration, meaning that at least six media workers are facing up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted.

    • Police Names Ade Armando Suspect for Breaking IT Law

      Ade Armando, communication expert and lecturer at University of Indonesia’s Social and Political Science Faculty, has been named as a suspect by the Jakarta Police’s cyber crime department.

      The Jakarta Police’s spokesman Sr. Comm Prabowo Argo Yuwono said Ade is charged with violating the Information Technology and Electronics Law (UU ITE) for the statements and opinions he posts online.

    • Obama’s Legacy: Refining System Of Secrecy, Cracking Down On Leaks

      President Barack Obama’s administration will hand President-elect Donald Trump’s administration a system for secrecy, especially when it comes to concealing military and national security programs and policies, that is stronger than ever.

      Eight years were spent by the Most Transparent Administration Ever™ refining this system. It succeeded marvelously because administration officials took actions that gave citizens the illusion of transparency as it transparently engaged in acts intended to protect government officials from accountability and scrutiny.

      Part of this system involved doing the bare minimum when it came to the Freedom of Information Act, including frustrating momentum to reform the law. That included censoring or preventing a record number of files from disclosure under FOIA.

      Another aspect involved litigation in federal courts to ensure documents and were not released—torture photos, “targeted killing” or drone documents, videos of force-feeding of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay military prison, etc.

    • Six Journalists Arrested, Charged While Covering Trump Inauguration Protests

      We’re in something of an era of firsts here in America. We have our first billionaire President, for instance. Add to that that, on his first day as President Elect, Donald Trump saw fit to take to Twitter to take aim at the First Amendment. Fears for what a Trump presidency means for the rights of the press and for free speech rights have compounded since then, supercharged by Trump himself, who has constructed a narrative in which the press is his foil, either because he truly believes that’s the case or out of pure political expediency. Whichever the case, we had another first as on the very day of Trump’s inauguration, his first day officially as President of the United States, police managed to arrest and charge six journalists for the crime of covering the protests coinciding with the ceremony.

    • Court Orders Prosecutors To Stop Dragging Feet On 20k Convictions Resulting From Faked Drug Lab Tests

      In 2012, it was discovered that Annie Dookhan, a Massachusetts state drug lab technician, had falsified thousands of drug test results. Perhaps this would have been discovered before it became catastrophic, but supervisors seemed impressed with her productivity and dumped even more of the testing workload on her.

      The end result of Dookhan’s fakery was a caseload of well over 40,000 convictions that needed to be reexamined. It also resulted in Dookhan being sent to jail for three years. Dookhan is out now, but more than 20,000 of the possibly-tainted convictions still haven’t been addressed. This makes it likely there are people still falsely incarcerated while the person who helped put them there is back on the streets.

      Presiding over what’s left of Dookhan’s mess is Massachusetts’ highest court. It has been weighing various solutions to expedite the processing of more than 20,000 possibly wrongful convictions. One suggestion is that all remaining convictions be immediately vacated, with the option left to state prosecutors to reopen any they feel are still legitimate.

    • Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Nominee for Attorney General, Stands by His Support for Sweeping Anti-LGBT Bill

      Sen. Sessions can try to mask the true intent of the First Amendment Defense Act, but it’s tax payer-funded discrimination.

      As the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to vote on the nomination of Jeff Sessions to be attorney general of the United States, it is telling that Sen. Sessions continues to stand by his support for the most sweeping anti-LGBT bill in Congress.

    • I’m Paralyzed From the Collarbone Down, and My Time in Prison Revealed a System That Robs Prisoners of Their Rights and Dignity

      In prison, Dean Westwood was deprived of necessary medical care required by law.

      I have a spinal cord injury in my neck, which rendered me paralyzed from the collarbone down. When I was sentenced to prison, my physical disability should have been taken into account by the corrections officers and staff. But it wasn’t. Instead I was deprived basic care and necessary services, which put my health at risk and caused me great harm.

      While incarcerated with the Oregon Department of Corrections, I was needlessly isolated in an infirmary at three different institutions, despite having no medical condition that would warrant my being confined there. In the first institution, I was confined to my cell for 23 to 24 hours a day, which didn’t immediately make sense. I didn’t break any rules, and I was classified at the lowest security level.

      While I was confined to the infirmary, they were aware of the medications I needed due to my disability, but they withheld them from me. They denied me a medication that keeps my bladder sphincter closed, so I don’t urinate on myself. I didn’t get that, so I uncontrollably urinated all over myself on a regular basis. They denied me the medication that keeps my body from locking up in terrible muscle spasms. Without it, my entire body would spasm like a fish out of water squeezing the air from my lungs as I lay helplessly on my bunk. When I asked why they weren’t giving me the medication I needed to maintain my basic health, the staff told me they wanted me to “have a holiday from my medications.”

    • EFF to Santa Clara County: Improve Police Body Camera Rules

      EFF sent a letter to the Santa Clara County Board suggesting ways to improve the proposed policy of that county’s Sheriff for use of body-worn cameras (BWCs). We did so with our allies the ACLU of California and the Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

      BWCs may help protect civil liberties, but only if they are adopted with robust community input and are subject to strong policies that ensure they promote police transparency and accountability. Without appropriate policies, BWCs may instead become another police tool of street-level surveillance.

      Our letter addresses, among other issues, limits on when deputies may record at protests; discipline for deputies who fail to record their law enforcement activities, such as arrests or use of force; when deputies may review their BWC footage; when the Sheriff’s Office must release BWC footage to the public; and when BWC footage should be deleted.

    • GOP Attack on Women Continues With House Vote to Deny Abortion Coverage

      Anti-choice House Republicans on Tuesday voted to further curtail U.S. women’s healthcare access, passing a draconian bill that permanently bans the use of federal funds for abortion and prohibits anyone who receives subsidies to buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from purchasing a plan that covers abortion.

    • Draft Executive Order on Secret CIA Prisons Signals a Return to the Darkness of the Post-9/11 Period

      A draft presidential order being circulated in the Trump administration could signal a return to the executive-branch lawlessness that followed September 11, 2001.

      A draft of the executive order obtained by the New York Times and Washington Post calls for senior officials to consider re-opening the CIA’s network of secret prisons, where terror suspects were disappeared and deprived of their rights.

      And by rescinding President Obama’s 2009 executive order that banned torture and closed the CIA’s prisons — where many of the worst abuses of CIA’s post-9/11 torture program took place – it paves the way for illegal torture to take place in secret.

    • Sisi’s neoliberal assault: context and prospects

      Only a radical distribution of wealth, in the opposite direction to the current Sisi-IMF policies and a democratic state representing the majority of Egypt’s population, and not a handful of monopoly capitalists and generals, can solve Egypt’s endemic economic woes.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Trump Works For The Working Class! Oh Wait, He’s Undermining Net-neutrality…

      O deluded ones. I keep hearing that Trump will fight the big corporations to support the working class, cutting taxes and creating jobs, jobs, jobs… Then why is he putting a monopolist in charge of the FCC so that ISPs can charge higher prices and/or tax content-providers??? [IRONY, eh?]

      Think the ISPs are the big employers? Nope. It’s the likes of Google and others who dump content onto the web. Trump is going to tax jobs…

    • Outgoing FCC Boss Reminds Trump Supporters That Net Neutrality Is Good For Them, Too

      We’ve repeatedly noted how the idea of a healthy and open internet, free from the meddling of incumbent giants like Comcast, is a good thing. We’ve also noted that until we bring some real competition to bear on the broadband sector, the FCC’s inconsistent protection is about the only thing separating you from a hearty “servicing” from Comcast corporation (whether that’s usage caps or abysmal service). As such, the nation’s net neutrality rules (which are really quite basic and if anything didn’t go far enough) have broad, bipartisan support, and holding Comcast accountable is a bipartisan, very popular idea.

      And while Trump’s Presidential campaign endlessly promised Trump would focus on bringing power back to the people, Trump’s new FCC boss Ajit Pai — a former Verizon lawyer — effectively represents the complete opposite of that. He’s yet to seriously stand up to Comcast or any other ISP, adores media consolidation, wants to kill net neutrality, is incapable of admitting the broadband market lacks competition, and has promised to dismantle the FCC’s consumer watchdog functions solely at AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and Charter’s behest.

    • New Protectionist Virginia Law Would Keep Residents From Better Broadband

      For years now we’ve noted how incumbent ISPs have written and purchased protectionist state laws in roughly twenty states. These laws were quietly passed by AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and other large ISPs as a response to communities that began considering building their own broadband networks. Granted these efforts only emerged because these communities were frustrated by the lack of competition, poor service, and high prices (aka market failure). Instead of shoring up service and competing, these ISPs found it more economical to simply buy legislation overriding local community rights.

      Virginia is just the latest state to happily do the bidding of incumbent telecom giants with a new proposal that would hamstring towns and cities with all manner of restrictions should they decide to build their own networks, or strike a public/private partnership to that same end.

    • Net Neutrality Advocates Blast Trump’s New FCC Boss Ajit Pai

      Not so fast Ajit.

      Public interest groups, political organizers and free speech advocates expressed anger and alarm on Monday about President Trump’s decision to elevate Ajit Pai, a right-wing opponent of net neutrality, to lead the Federal Communications Commission.

      Pai, a 44-year-old Republican and former Verizon lawyer who has served as a FCC commissioner since 2012, has repeatedly opposed the agency’s recent pro-consumer free speech reforms. Last month, Pai vowed to take a “weed whacker” to the FCC’s policy protecting net neutrality, the principle that all internet content should be equally accessible to consumers.

      “Ajit Pai has been on the wrong side of just about every major issue that has come before the FCC during his tenure,” Craig Aaron, President and CEO of DC-based public interest group Free Press, said in a statement. “Pai has been an effective obstructionist who has always been eager to push out what the new presidential administration might call alternative facts in defense of the corporate interests he used to represent in the private sector.”

    • Google, Ting, Netflix Dare To Suggest That Maybe Giant, Anti-Competitive ISPs Shouldn’t Be Writing State Telecom Laws

      For years now, we’ve noted how state legislatures are so corrupt, they quite literally let giant ISPs like AT&T and Comcast write state telecom law. These laws, as you might expect, do everything in their power to keep the pricey, abysmal customer service broadband status quo in place by hamstringing any and every attempt to bring competition to bear on these complacent duopolists. That’s particularly true of the anti-community broadband bills passed in more than 20 states that prevent towns and cities from upgrading their own local telecom infrastructure — even in instances where incumbent providers refuse to.

      This kind of protectionism is precisely what’s going on right now in Virginia, where incumbent broadband providers have convinced (read: thrown a lot of money at) state Delegate Kathy Byron to propose HB 2108, aka the “Virginia Broadband Deployment Act.” The act does nothing to improve broadband deployment; in fact it does the exact opposite, preventing ad-hoc community broadband solutions in light of market failure. It also saddles towns and cities with all manner of restrictions, forcing them to get approval by committees stocked with incumbent ISP lobbyists if they want to even strike public/private broadband partnerships.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Trump Campaign Wants To Trademark ‘Keep America Great’

        It appears that Donald Trump — or, more specifically, whatever remains of the organization that was his Presidential campaign — has asked the US Patent and Trademark Office (US PTO, which Donald Trump now controls, as President) to give the campaign a trademark on the phrase “Keep America Great!” for use on bumper stickers, signs, placards, pamphlets, clothing, campaign buttons and more. One imagines that they are already gearing up for the expected campaign slogan of the 2020 re-election campaign. Of course, as Paul Levy at Public Citizen points out, someone else had already tried to trademark that phrase last year, and had it rejected by the PTO on the (correct) grounds that a “slogan” can’t be taken out of the public domain and trademarked. Indeed, the rejection letter notes many examples of the slogan already in widespread use, recognizing that giving one guy the trademark on it wouldn’t make any sense.

      • KEEP AMERICA GREAT

        Predicting success in his effort to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, President Donald Trump has filed a new trademark application – focusing on his 2020 presidential campaign. The new slogan: KEEP AMERICA GREAT.

    • Copyrights

      • President Trump Told That Strong Copyright Laws Are in His Interest

        President Trump has been reminded that strong copyright laws are not only in the nation’s interests, but in his too. A letter from the Copyright Alliance notes that among US leaders, Trump’s copyright portfolio is unprecedented, while warning that high piracy rates run counter to his mission to “Make America Great Again.”

      • Usenet Provider Giganews Wins Landmark Copyright Battle

        Giganews is celebrating a hard-fought legal battle against adult publisher and serial copyright litigant Perfect 10. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit handed the Usenet giant a comprehensive victory in the long-running case, one that will prove so financially damaging to Perfect 10 that the company will go into liquidation.

      • Canadian Stock Exchange Blocked Megaupload 2.0 Plans

        Late last week, Kim Dotcom was getting ready to make a major announcement about Bitcache and the new Megaupload 2.0 service. However, just before going public the news was halted due to a “roadblock.” Today, Dotcom reveals that he planned to announce a merger with a publicly listed Canadian company, but the stock exchange got in the way.

      • Perfect 10 Loses Once Again, Sets More Good Copyright Precedent

        One of the core elements of a Perfect 10 copyright trolling operation is that it rarely sends legitimate DMCA notices. Sometimes it just sends screenshots of images and basically says “take this down” without ever pointing to the actual location of the content. That’s yet another reason why many have argued it’s little more than a troll. Someone truly looking to protect its own content would actually follow the DMCA and tell service providers where the content was hosted, rather than tap dancing around such questions… and then filing lawsuits. I’m sure that some who Perfect 10 threatens just settle, but when cases go to court, Perfect 10 not only loses, but loses in impressive fashion, setting all sorts of useful and valuable precedents around the DMCA and how service providers should respond to takedowns. Among the useful cases:

New Caricature: Benoît Battistelli ‘Takes Care’ of Roland Grossenbacher’s Dissent

Posted in Europe, Humour, Patents at 3:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Roland Grossenbacher cartoon

Summary: New EPO caricature about Roland Grossenbacher, Battistelli’s predecessor whom he allegedly targets [1, 2] for ‘daring’ to lead some resistance against the President

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