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02.17.17

Links 17/2/2017: Wine 2.2, New Ubuntu LTS

Posted in News Roundup at 6:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

    • US scientists fear America under Donald Trump will become like a totalitarian regime

      Scientists fear the United States under Donald Trump could become like the Soviet Union, in which the prevailing political ideology was so powerful that science was unable to contradict it with hard evidence.

      Speaking at the beginning of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in Boston, its president, Professor Barbara Schaal, and chief executive, Dr Rush Holt, both expressed concern about the use of the phrase “alternative facts” by Trump administration officials.

      Professor Schaal also criticised the proposed hardline immigration ban on seven majority-Muslim countries, saying it would damage vital collaboration between scientists.

      She said people should protest if Mr Trump, who has described global warming as a hoax and appointed a string of sceptics to key positions in his cabinet, cut government climate science projects.

  • Security

    • OpenSSL project releases patch to fix critical bug
    • Microsoft’s monthlong patch delay could pose risks [Ed: Microsoft is in no hurry because there are back doors it knows about but keeps secret anyway]

      Microsoft has decided to bundle its February patches together with those scheduled for March, a move that at least some security experts disagree with.

      “I was surprised to learn that Microsoft wants to postpone by a full month,” said Carsten Eiram, the chief research officer at vulnerability intelligence firm Risk Based Security, via email. “Even without knowing all the details, I find such a decision very hard to justify. They are aware of vulnerabilities in their products and have developed fixes; those should always be made available to customers in a timely fashion.”

      Microsoft took everyone by surprise on Tuesday when it announced that this month’s patches had to be delayed because of a “last minute issue” that could have had an impact on customers. The company did not initially specify for how long the patches will be postponed, which likely threw a wre

    • Zero-day flaw around, but Microsoft updates delayed by a month
    • Microsoft misses regular security fix date

      Microsoft has delayed the release of a security update that would have fixed a vulnerability cyber thieves are known to be exploiting.

      The fix was to be released as part of Microsoft’s regular monthly security update for its Windows software.

    • How Google reinvented security and eliminated the need for firewalls

      In some ways, Google is like every other large enterprise. It had the typical defensive security posture based on the concept that the enterprise is your castle and security involves building moats and walls to protect the perimeter.

      Over time, however, that perimeter developed holes as Google’s increasingly mobile workforce, scattered around the world, demanded access to the network. And employees complained about having to go through a sometimes slow, unreliable VPN. On top of that, Google, like everyone else, was moving to the cloud, which was also outside of the castle.

    • No Firewalls, No Problem for Google

      On Tuesday at RSA Conference, Google shared the seven-year journey of its internal BeyondCorp rollout where it affirms trust based on what it knows about its users and devices connecting to its networks. And all of this is done at the expense—or lack thereof—of firewalls and traditional network security gear.

    • Android Phone Hacks Could Unlock Millions of Cars
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • United States asked Canada to help spy on candidates during 2012 French election: WikiLeaks

      Central Intelligence Agency documents released by WikiLeaks Thursday list Canada as one of several countries asked to assist the United States while they spied on the 2012 French presidential election.

      The three CIA tasking orders request that current French president Francois Hollande, then president Nicolas Sarkozy and current first round presidential front runner Marine Le Pen all be closely monitored.

      CIA officers were asked to uncover the secret strategies of the candidates, as well as information on internal power dynamics within the parties. Canada is listed as one of five countries working on human intelligence parts of the operation however there are no specifics on which parts of the operation, if any, Canada was involved in.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Trump signs bill undoing Obama coal mining rule

      President Trump on Thursday signed legislation ending a key Obama administration coal mining rule.

      The bill quashes the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule, a regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste that officials finalized in December.

      The legislation is the second Trump has signed into law ending an Obama-era environmental regulation. On Tuesday, he signed a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution undoing a financial disclosure requirement for energy companies.

      Both the mining and financial disclosure bills are the tip of a GOP push to undo a slate of regulations instituted in the closing days of the Obama administration. The House has passed several CRA resolutions, and the Senate has so far sent three of them to President Trump for his signature.

  • Finance

    • Nearly 80,000 working-age men have disappeared from the labour force

      The EVA study says that there are over 50,000 men who should be in their best working years (25–54) who do not have jobs and who are not actively seeking jobs. This does not include men who are studying or who are on disability pensions.

      The authors of the labour market analysis refer to this group as “the lost workmen”. In statistics, they fall under the category of “others not in the workforce”.

      In addition, there are over 28,000 unemployed men in the same age group who are looking for jobs, but are unlikely to ever return to the workforce.

      Even while unemployment levels decline, the numbers of lost workmen have grown steadily over the past few years.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Greenwald: Empowering the “Deep State” to Undermine Trump is Prescription for Destroying Democracy

      Some supporters of Trump, including Breitbart News, have accused the intelligence agencies of attempting to wage a deep state coup against the president. Meanwhile, some critics of Trump are openly embracing such activity. Bill Kristol, the prominent Republican analyst who founded The Weekly Standard, wrote on Twitter, “Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it, prefer the deep state to the Trump state.” We talk about the deep state with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of The Intercept.

    • Britain starting to reassess US as an ally, Scottish Tory leader says

      Britain is beginning to reassess how reliable an ally the US is, the Scottish Conservative party leader, Ruth Davidson, has said, in comments that contrast starkly with the official policy of the UK government.

      During an interview at the Women in the World summit in Washington, Davidson said: “At the moment, from the UK, we have always seen America as being a very strong, a reliable ally, and now, even after only 26 days or however long [Donald Trump’s] tenure has been so far in Pennsylvania Avenue, we are beginning to reassess how reliable an ally the United States is.

    • Deutsche Bank examined Donald Trump’s account for Russia links

      The scandal-hit bank that loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to Donald Trump has conducted a close internal examination of the US president’s personal account to gauge whether there are any suspicious connections to Russia, the Guardian has learned.

      Deutsche Bank, which is under investigation by the US Department of Justice and is facing intense regulatory scrutiny, was looking for evidence of whether recent loans to Trump, which were struck in highly unusual circumstances, may have been underpinned by financial guarantees from Moscow.

    • More mainstream media mess-ups: The Muslim Olympian ‘detained because of President Trump’s travel ban’ was detained under Obama

      Reporters have done it again.

      The latest media misfire on the Trump administration involves Ibtihaj Muhammad, a New Jersey native who made headlines last year when she became the first female Muslim-American to win an Olympic medal for the United States.

      Muhammad, a lifelong American citizen, claimed in an interview last week that she was detained “just a few weeks ago” by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. She said she was held for two hours without explanation.

      Her remarks on Feb. 7 earned her an entire news cycle, as several journalists ran with reports suggesting, and alleging outright, that the American Olympian had been ensnared in the president’s executive order temporarily barring immigration from seven Middle Eastern countries.

    • (Jakarta vote) Civil servant insists non-Muslims must not lead Muslims

      Hadiyul Umam, 40, a civil servant, said voting for incumbent Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a minority Christian and ethnic Chinese, would go against everything he believes in.
      “As a Muslim, I believe that non-Muslims are not allowed to lead Muslims in this country, and personally, I do not like the way Ahok leads, which is not pro-poor people and his words were disrespectful and rude,” he said.
      Ahok’s blasphemy trial and the ease with which hard-liners attracted several hundred thousand to protest against him in Jakarta have undermined Indonesia’s reputation for practicing a moderate form of Islam and shaken the centrist government of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

    • Muslim convert carried axe to meeting with father over “religious differences”

      A Muslim convert was found carrying an axe through the streets to confront his Christian father over “religious differences”, a court heard.

      Newcastle Crown Court heard Clayton McKenna was taking the weapon – which he got from his mother’s shed – through Boldon Colliery in the early hours of the morning, to his father’s
      home in South Tyneside on July 18.

      The 22-year-old gave a series of “confused and contradictory” explanations when he was stopped by the police, including saying he was on his way to his father’s “to ask him to bow down to me” – a statement he now rejects.

    • 8 Iranian Girls Dressed Up As Men To Attend A Football Game, Got Caught And Were Thrown Out

      Eight Iranian girls who disguised themselves as boys to attend a football match despite an official ban were prevented from entering the stadium, an official was quoted as saying today.

      Iran argues that its ban on women attending football matches in the same stadiums as men is necessary to protect them from lewd language that might emanate from the terraces.

      “Eight girls dressed up as men to try to enter the Azadi stadium” in southwest Tehran on Sunday, the Tasnim news agency said.

    • Stoke Central’s Muslim voters warned they will go to hell if they do not vote Labour in anti-Ukip text
    • Ilford father Faisal Bashir who claims he was forced to move house after renouncing Islam is calling for more action on hate crime

      A MAN who claims he was forced to move house after renouncing his faith wants authorities to crack down on hate crime

      Fasial Bashir, of Mayville Road, Ilford decided to stop practicing Islam in the summer of 2014 over claims the religion was too “hateful” and “sending out the wrong message”.

      But when the 43-year-old stopped going to mosques in Ilford he claims he started getting harassment on a weekly basis.

    • Martial arts academy posts how-to video for defending against Trump handshake

      “Now I’m not suggesting you do this to the president,” he added, then demonstrating the “goose neck” wrist lock he says will defend against the hand shake.

      “As he grabs really hard and pulls you in, I go with it. I step in with the outside foot, I wrap around the elbow. As I do that, I’m going to block his arm from here, I bend the wrist in, the other hand wraps over the top of the knuckles and boom — now you have what we call a goose neck.”

    • United States asked Canada to help spy on candidates during 2012 French election: WikiLeaks

      Central Intelligence Agency documents released by WikiLeaks Thursday list Canada as one of several countries asked to assist the United States while they spied on the 2012 French presidential election.

      The three CIA tasking orders request that current French president Francois Hollande, then president Nicolas Sarkozy and current first round presidential front runner Marine Le Pen all be closely monitored.

      CIA officers were asked to uncover the secret strategies of the candidates, as well as information on internal power dynamics within the parties. Canada is listed as one of five countries working on human intelligence parts of the operation however there are no specifics on which parts of the operation, if any, Canada was involved in.

    • A Brief History of Hope (and How Trump Won)

      I haven’t run across anyone who voted for Trump who said “Well, that’s that, time to sit back and watch things get fixed.” A lot of these people voted for Obama, at least in 2008, and not because he was going to be America’s First Black President but because they really believed in his promise of Hope. The Bush years had worn out. We stayed scared enough, but then no post-9/11 attack came, the wars dragged on, and most of the stuff that was supposed to make us feel safe just ended up somewhere between inconvenient and bullying.

      People have no sense of being in control of their lives. They know they have a lot less money than they used to, they don’t see their kids doing better, but they see on TV that some few seem to have most of everything. They can figure if they have less and someone else has more where that more came from.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA Split From Cyberwar Command Inevitable, Says Former Official
    • Security Lessons From Snowden
    • U.S. Spies vs. our Constitutional government
    • Obama admin expanded NSA’s wiretap power just before leaving office, and it’s raising a lot of eyebrows
    • China’s “citizen scores” used to blacklist 6.7m people from using high-speed rail or flying

      China’s nightmarish “citizen scores” system uses your online activity, purchases, messages, and social graph to rate your creditworthiness and entitlement to services. One way your score can be plunged into negative territory is for a judge to declare you to be a bad person (mostly this happens to people said to have refused to pay their debts, but it’s also used to punish people who lie to courts, hide their assets, and commit other offenses).

      More than 6.7 million people in China have been placed on a blacklist created in this manner. Once you’re on the blacklist, you are not allowed to buy high-speed rail tickets or plane tickets — and other people can see your ratings, and face social pressure to exclude you (their own scores are based in part on whether they associate with low-scoring individuals).

    • Italy Proposes Astonishingly Sensible Rules To Regulate Government Hacking Using Trojans

      As Techdirt has just reported, even though encryption is becoming more widespread, it’s not still not much of a problem for law enforcement agencies, despite some claims to the contrary. However, governments around the world are certainly not sitting back waiting for it to become an issue before acting. Many have already put in place legal frameworks that allow them to obtain information even when encryption is used, predominantly by hacking into a suspect’s computer or mobile phone. In the US, this has been achieved with controversial changes to Rule 41; in the UK, the Snooper’s Charter gives the government there almost unlimited powers to conduct what it coyly calls “equipment interference.”

      [...]

      It’s a remarkable list of technical and operational requirements that are surely unique in their attempt to minimize the key dangers of implanting clandestine surveillance software. Of course, it would be better if the use of government malware were avoided completely, and other methods were adopted. But realistically, the police and intelligence agencies around the world will be pushing hard for legislation to allow them to infect people’s computers and mobiles in this way, not least if encryption does become more of a problem.

    • Court: Unsupported Assertions And Broad Language Aren’t Enough To Support Cell Phone Searches

      Another court has stepped up to inform law enforcement that just because criminals are known to use cell phones doesn’t mean any cell phone possessed by a suspect is fair game — warrant or no warrant.

      This time it’s the Superior Court of Delaware making the point. In its suppression of evidence found on a seized cell phone, the Superior Court makes it clear that cell phones are used by everyone — not just criminals. Not only that, but if an officer is going to seek a warrant that effectively allows them access to the owner’s entire life, the warrant needs to contain more specifics and limitations than this one did.

      During a consensual search of an apartment where a homicide suspect (Qualeel Westcott) was staying, police came across heroin and three mobile phones. All three of the phones were seized. A warrant was obtained to search the content of the phones. But a warrant alone isn’t good enough. While a warrant is better than nothing at all, the warrant here — according to the court — barely exceeded “nothing at all.”

    • Check your privacy filters: Facebook could be the new LinkedIn
    • Did Facebook steal the design for its data center in Sweden?

      The suit was brought by British engineering firm BladeRoom Group (BRG), which in 2015 alleged “BRG spent years developing and refining the prefabricated, modular design and the transportation and construction techniques that Facebook blithely passed off to the world in 2014,” the company said in its federal lawsuit. The company said that Facebook “simply stole the BRG Methodology and passed it off as its own.” BladeRoom notes that Facebook shared some of the ideas for the Swedish data center on the Open Compute Project blog and did not “make any attempt to attribute or credit BRG for any of the elements of the innovative new approach” that Facebook “claimed” it had developed.

    • Man Who Used Facebook Live To Stream Birth Of Child Loses Bid To Sue All The News For Copyright Infringement

      The saga of Facebook Live marches on, I suppose. The social media giant’s bid to get everyone to live-stream content that mostly appears to be wholly uninteresting has nevertheless produced some interesting legal stories as a result. The latest of these is the conclusion of a string of lawsuits filed by a man who used Facebook Live to stream the birth of his child over copyright infringement against many, many news organizations that thought his act was newsworthy.

      It was in May of 2016 that Kali Kanongataa accidentally publcly streamed his wife birthing the couple’s son. He had intended for the stream to only be viewable to friends and family, but had instead made the stream viewable by pretty much everyone. Even after realizing he’d done so, Kanongataa kept the stream public, leading over 100,000 people to view the video — including some folks in several news organizations, who used snippets of the stream in news stories about the couple’s decision to stream this most intimate of moments.

    • Dad who live-streamed his son’s birth on Facebook loses in court

      A father who live-streamed his son’s birth on Facebook and proceeded to sue for copyright infringement several media outlets that used the clips has lost his case.

      US District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled yesterday that the lawsuit filed by Kali Kanongataa must be thrown out, after the American Broadcasting Company and other defendants filed motions arguing that their use of the clips was covered by “fair use.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Nation’s Police Chiefs Disagree With Trump’s New Tough On Crime Executive Orders

      President Trump’s three new law-and-order Executive Orders are designed to combat a largely-nonexistent crime wave and increase protections for one of the most-heavily protected groups in America: law enforcement officers. The orders also mixed crime prevention and national security into a single bowl, making criminal activity inseparable from threats to the nation — especially if foreigners are involved. In addition to his travel ban and his Two Minutes Hate reporting system, Trump also singled out illegal immigrants in these “law and order” orders, implying that they were to blame for much of the perceived crime problem.

    • Freshman Representative Serves Up Immigration Bill That Would Make The DHS Do Things It Already Does

      While CBP and DHS have been asking incoming foreigners for social media info for a while now, the process has been voluntary — or at least as voluntary as any process can be when one side holds all the power. New DHS Secretary John Kelly suggested this would expand further in the near future, moving from requests for social media handles to demands for account passwords.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net Neutrality Is in Danger. Tell the FCC Why We Need It

      Net neutrality is in grave danger. Back in 2015, advocates for the open Internet won a hard-fought battle to preserve net neutrality, the principle that all Internet traffic is treated equally and that providers cannot charge content providers for “fast lanes” for those who can afford it. Net neutrality is key to the work of activists and independent media outlets (like The Nation!), allowing them to reach people across the country without being drowned out by corporate media companies with big pockets.

    • T-Mobile Not So Subtly Hints That It Wants To Disrupt The Cable TV Industry

      While T-Mobile isn’t without its faults (like its opposition to net neutrality, or the time its CEO mocked the EFF), there’s little doubt that T-Mobile has been a good thing for the wireless industry. The company has managed to drag the industry kicking and screaming in an overall positive direction, including the elimination of the carrier-subsidized handset model, the elimination of annoying hidden fees, and the recent return to more popular unlimited data options. And its brash CEO John Legere, while sometimes teetering into absurd caricature, has at least managed to bring a sense of industry to a traditionally droll telecom sector.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Pro-Marijuana Student Organization Wins Court Case Over Using School Logos

        We’ve seen stories in the past in which higher educational institutions attempt to slap down students’ use of school iconography when it comes to advocating for marijuana legalization. Trademark law is the preferred bludgeoning tool in many of these cases, regardless of whether or not the uses in question actually pass the muster on the tests for Fair Use. Still, at least in most of these cases the schools are at least quick to act and staunch in their attempts to silence a completely valid political position by the student body.

        That’s not so in the recent dust up between a pro-marijuana student group and Iowa State University. In this particular case, the student group got approval from ISU to use school trademarks, only to have that approval rescinded once a bunch of politicians got involved. The organization created by students is called the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML.

    • Copyrights

      • Argentinian Copyright Office Proposes To Add Exceptions And Limitations To Copyright Act

        On 12 December, the Argentinian Copyright Office and the Ministry of Culture invited a group of stakeholders, among which was this author, to discuss the final draft of the Exceptions and Limitations Bill (Proyecto de Ley de Excepciones) to modify current Copyright Act no.11.723 of 1933. One wonders whether it would be better to draft from scratch a modern Copyright Act instead of patching up the old 1933 Act. Nevertheless, the bill is welcomed. Argentina, as this author has already expressed, has one of the most restrictive copyright laws in the world (see Propuestas para ampliar el acceso a los bienes públicos en Argentina – Estableciendo el necesario balance entre derechos de propiedad intelectual y dominio público, Maximiliano Marzetti, Buenos Aires, 2013).

      • US Federal Court Bars Online Publication Of Copyrighted Standards Incorporated Into Laws

        In a case pitting standards development organisations against internet content aggregators, a United States federal court ruled that Public.Resource.Org breached copyright by posting unauthorised copies of standards incorporated into government education regulations. Public Resource has appealed.

      • MPAA: Dealing With Kodi is the $64,000 Question

        While torrent sites have been a thorn in the side of the MPAA for more than a decade, there’s a new kid on the block. Speaking at the Berlin Film Festival, MPAA chief Chris Dodd cited the growing use of the Kodi platform for piracy, describing the problem as the “$64,000 question.”

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