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03.18.17

Links 18/3/2017: New Stables Kernels, Wine 2.4

Posted in News Roundup at 12:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Status Introduces CommitETH – A Tool Designed to Foster Open Source Software Development

    Status is a messenger and browser to access the decentralized web of Ethereum. With the high level goals of preserving the collective right of humans to privacy, mitigating the risk of censorship, and promoting economic trade in a transparent, open manner, Status is building a community where anyone is welcome to join and contribute to the cause.

  • 18F releases open-source web design guidelines, code library

    18F, the General Services Administration’s tech incubator, has announced the release of the U.S. Web Design Standards — easy-to-implement, open source code to allow government developers to quickly create or update websites.

    Version 1.0 of the library includes guidelines for forms, typography, buttons, alerts and more to assist in the quick creation of “trustworthy, accessible and consistent digital government services” that sport a modern feel. Mobile performance-optimized and advanced components (like mapping and data visualization) are being evaluated for future builds.

  • ETSI is Bullish on the Results of Its First NFV Interoperability Tests

    The European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI) recently put on a plugtest event in Madrid, Spain, where 35 commercial and open source implementations were tested for interoperability, and it saw promising results as released in its report.

  • A Bell Labs-inspired initiative for open-source blockchain projects

    Bloq, a startup dedicated to developing enterprise-grade blockchain software, has launched an initiative to support open-source projects in the bitcoin and blockchain industry.

    The initiative, called BloqLabs, appears to be an extension of Bloq’s prior commitment to fostering the independent software projects of some of its employees.

  • Bloq’s BloqLabs to connect business & blockchain
  • Bloq Launches BloqLabs to Connect Enterprises with Open Source Blockchain Innovations
  • Docker containerd finds an open source home alongside Kubernetes

    Docker donated its containerd open source code to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which has surprised some Docker fans as it attempts to solidify a container consensus.

  • Events

    • Science Day at GMRT, Khodad 2017

      Akshat, who works at NCRA as a programmer, the standing guy on the left shared with me in January this year that this year too, we should have two stalls, foss community and mozilla India stalls next to each other. While we had the banners, we were missing stickers and flyers. Funds were and are always an issue and this year too, it would have been emptier if we didn’t get some money saved from last year minidebconf 2016 that we had in Mumbai. Our major expenses included printing stickers, stationery and flyers which came to around INR 5000/- and couple of LCD TV monitors which came for around INR 2k/- as rent. All the labour was voluntary in nature, but both me and Akshat easily spending upto 100 hours before the event. Next year, we want to raise to around INR 10-15k so we can buy 1 or 2 LCD monitors and we don’t have to think for funds for next couple of years. How will we do that I have no idea atm.

    • GUADEC 2017 on the cheap

      I’ve just booked flight and hotel for GUADEC 2017, which will be held in Manchester. André suggested that I should decide this time. We’ll be staying a wheelchair accessible (the room is slightly bigger :P) room with Easyhotel. It’s 184 GBP for 5 nights and NOT close to the venue (but not bad via public transport). Easyhotel works like a budget airline. You’ll have to pay more for WiFi, cleaning, breakfast, a remote, etc. I ignored all of these essential things which means André has to do without that as well. The paid WiFi might even be iffy, so rather use my mobile data, plus per half June that shouldn’t cost anything extra thanks to new EU regulations. Before GUADEC I might switch to another mobile phone company to get 4-5GB/month for 18 EUR/month. André will probably want to work remotely. Let’s see closer to the date what’s a good solution (share my data?).

    • Tizen Developer Conference 2017 Announced – Ready to Connect! Get Involved!

      This is the fifth time that we have seen the conference taking place, with it being held previously three times in San Francisco and once in Shenzhen. The Tizen Developer Conference (TDC) is an annual event that is the highlight of Tizen Devs calendars. Last year, the event did not take place but we saw a huge amount of Tizen content being featured as part of the Samsung Developer Conference 2016 and we expect the same to be true of this year’s event.

    • Participation at Scale15x

      A few days ago I returned -incredibly satisfied- from attending my personal 7th Southern California Linux Expo, which was the 15th edition of the event. I’ve read a thing or two about the beginning of Scale, and how it has grown by the years to become one of the largest and more important FOSS events, not only in the US but also worldwide. From my perspective I can tell that the event gets better by every year.

    • EuroBSDCon 2017 Call for Papers open

      Closing date for the CfP is April, 30th.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Some Firefox 52 Users on Linux Left Without Sound

        Many Firefox users on Linux were left without the ability to play sound in their browser after updating to Firefox 52, released last week.

        The issue at the heart of this problem is that Mozilla dropped support for ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) and is now requiring Linux users to have installed the PulseAudio library to support audio playback inside Firefox.

        ALSA is a software framework included in the Linux kernel that provides an API for sound card drivers. On the other hand, PulseAudio is a more modern sound server that’s already supported on most Linux distros, but also on FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and even macOS.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Call for testing: OpenSSH 7.5p1

      OpenSSH 7.5p1 is almost ready for release, so we would appreciate testing on as many platforms and systems as possible. This is a bugfix release.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Gimp 2.8 Reviewed: Open-Source Photo Editor

      Although its learning curve is too steep for novices, GIMP is free and has a nice set of photo editing tools within an open-source program that should appeal to geek photographers who like to control their editing environment.

    • Gna! Software Hosting Will Shut Down

      Do you know Gna! Software Project Hosting? It’s something today similar to SourceForge, GitHub, or Savannah, a place that host many free software projects. You find many projects source codes there, along with all development stuffs (SCM, bugtrack, forum, etc.). The important thing is Gna! supports and hosts only free software projects. Yesterday (Thursday, March 17th) I came across a sad reminder that Gna! will shut down soon. Actually this plan was announced in November 2016, it said “6-months notice before saying goodbye”, so it could be this April or May 2017. I show my support to Gna! by this article and I humbly encourage you to support them too by any way you can. Big thanks and respect for Gna! for this 13 years supporting free software.

    • The GNU Toolchain Has Made Much Progress So Far In 2017

      GNU tooling updates we have seen recently include GLIBC 2.25, GDB 7.12.1, Newlib 2.5, GCC 6.3, GCC 7 nearing release, and Binutils 2.28.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Updates to the last two posts

      Someone from the FSF’s licencing department posted an official-looking thing saying they don’t believe GitHub’s new ToS to be problematic with copyleft. Well, my lawyer (not my personal one, nor for The MirOS Project, but related to another association, informally) does agree with my reading of the new ToS, and I can point out at least a clause in the GPLv1 (I really don’t have time right now) which says contrary (but does this mean the FSF generally waives the restrictions of the GPL for anything on GitHub?). I’ll eMail GitHub Legal directly and will try to continue getting this fixed (as soon as I have enough time for it) as I’ll otherwise be forced to force GitHub to remove stuff from me (but with someone else as original author) under GPL, such as… tinyirc and e3.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Principles for C programming

      In the words of Doug Gwyn, “Unix was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things”. C is a very powerful tool, but it is to be used with care and discipline. Learning this discipline is well worth the effort, because C is one of the best programming languages ever made. A disciplined C programmer will…

    • Growing Young FOSS Programmers With Help of Scratch and Al Sweigart

      If your young child is showing an interest in learning computers, an introduction to Scratch and these instructional videos by Al Sweigart might be in order.

    • The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: January 2017

      Besides the above plot, which can be difficult to parse even at full size, we offer the following numerical rankings. As will be observed, this run produced several ties which are reflected below (they are listed out here alphabetically rather than consolidated as ties because the latter approach led to misunderstandings). Note that this is actually a list of the Top 23 languages, not Top 20, because of said ties.

    • Algorithm Time Complexity and Big O Notation
    • Modern software development is cancer

      Somewhere in the past 15 years, it all went wrong.

Leftovers

  • Major Milestone in Mobile Migration: Adidas Says Goodbye to TV Advertisements… because of mobile

    Now we have another huge milestone. Adidas the sporting brand has just declared that they will end TV advertising and the primary reason is mobile. Their target audience is glued to smartphone screens and if you want to reach that audience, you have to go with that media.

    [...]

    3.3 Billion out of 3.5 Billion internet users do use mobile, and 1.8 Billion, just over half, never use a PC or tablet of any kind to access the internet.

  • What America without the NEA and NEH would look like, and why that matters

    For arts and cultural groups across the country, the four agencies – although they account for only 0.02 percent of federal spending – have long been considered crucial in supporting outreach to underserved communities between the coasts, particularly in rural areas. Proponents of the proposed cuts have said that the proposed elimination of the agencies will open the door to a freer arts market that forces artists to produce works that speak to local audiences, rather than to bureaucrats in Washington.

    But opponents of the plan say that – ironically – the elimination of the arts agencies will do most damage in some of the parts of the country that had supported Trump the most.

  • Science

    • An ancient memorization strategy might cause lasting changes to the brain

      the take-home point is that memory skills can be learned. “It shows that superior memory on that level is not something that is just inborn talent, but is something that essentially can be learned by everyone,”

    • Trump flips science the bird with new budget

      Science is clearly not a priority, as it is repeatedly targeted for cuts in every agency that funds it.

    • Trump’s Budget Would Break American Science, Today and Tomorrow

      The basics are a litany of red. Defense spending goes up 9 percent. Homeland Security goes up 7 percent. Everything else gets ground into dust, from the environment to arts and humanities to the State Department. But the really scary parts, the stuff that you really can’t come back from, are the cuts to scientific research.

    • Scientists Brace for a Lost Generation in American Research

      America’s enduring scientific greatness rests largely on the scientists of the future. And relying on private funding poses an additional problem for supporting people early in their careers. The squeeze on public funding in recent years has posed a similar concern, as young scientists are getting a smaller share of key publicly-funded research grants [...]

    • 20,000 Worldclass University Lectures Made Illegal, So We Irrevocably Mirrored Them [iophk: "publicity stunt: https://lbry.io/faq"]

      Today, the University of California at Berkeley has deleted 20,000 college lectures from its YouTube channel. Berkeley removed the videos because of a lawsuit brought by two students from another university under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

      We copied all 20,000 and are making them permanently available for free via LBRY.

    • Noise-cancelling headphones: the secret survival tool for modern life

      Heavy traffic generates noise levels of up to 85 decibels (dB), which the Health and Safety Executive deems sufficient to cause permanent hearing damage if we’re exposed to it for several hours every day. Underground trains can pass the 100dB mark when roaring around a loud corner.

    • Leaving kids in front of screens unsupervised for hours may have unpleasant consequences, parents learn

      The bedroom resentments of adolescent boys are the new mass media; they’re desperate for fraternity, they find the others, and they never get the chance to grow out of it before it’s too late. And then there are the ringleader types–older, odder men with an opportunistic talent for lurking close to both youngsters and fame, desperate for the latter but stuck with the former. We’re already too accustomed to watching them implode; eventually one of them will be cunning and consistent enough and then we’ll really be off to the races.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Which Republicans are opposing the Obamacare repeal bill?

      The House Republican bill to repeal Obamacare hangs in a delicate balance as concerned GOP lawmakers publicly come out to express their opposition to the legislation.

    • Media Find Room for ‘Trumpcare Too Progressive,’ but Not for Single-Payer – Right-wing critics of GOP health plan get near-constant media attention–while single-payer advocates’ challenges to ACA were never taken seriously

      In May 2009, at the infancy of the healthcare reform battle that led to the Affordable Care Act, a group of nurses and single-payer activists were arrested for disrupting a Senate Finance Committee meeting chaired by Sen. Max Baucus (D.–Mont.) (Democracy Now, 5/13/09). These activists had been ignored by politicians and corporate media for years (FAIR.org, 3/6/09), and hoped an arrest, or eight, would bring attention to their cause.

      Despite the efforts of the “Baucus 8,” the New York Times did not report on the event. Nor did much of the rest of the dominant media. Not even mass arrests could get the corporate media to give voice to single-payer advocates, even though their position is supported by the majority of the public (Gallup, 5/16/16).

      This is worth remembering as the media cover the GOP House’s American Health Care Act (AHCA), the plan to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as Obamacare. While even eight arrests couldn’t get attention to left-wing critics of the Democrat’s milquetoast health reform plan in 2009–10, today the far right is given thousands of words in the press, and plenty of air time on television, to air its ideological opposition to the current GOP plan.

    • How a private water company brought lead to Pittsburgh’s taps

      Around the same time, the city’s water utility was laying off employees in an effort to cut costs. By the end of the year, half of the staff responsible for testing water throughout the 100,000-customer system was let go. The cuts would prove to be catastrophic. Six months later, lead levels in tap water in thousands of homes soared. The professor who had helped expose Flint, Michigan’s lead crisis took notice, “The levels in Pittsburgh are comparable to those reported in Flint.”

      The cities also share something else, involvement by the same for-profit water corporation. Pittsburgh’s layoffs happened under the watch of French corporation Veolia, who was hired to help the city’s utility save money. Veolia also oversaw a change to a cheaper chemical additive that likely caused the eventual spike in lead levels. In Flint, Veolia served a similar consulting role and failed to detect high levels of lead in the city’s water, deeming it safe.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trump is Considering Expanding Killing Powers Abroad. The Consequences for Civilians Will be Disastrous.

      When the Obama administration put in place guidelines meant to restrain lethal drone and other killings abroad, we were concerned that they set too low a bar, and that even that low bar could easily be overturned.

      Now, our worst fears are coming to a head. According to a recent New York Times report, the Trump administration is considering weakening or withdrawing those rules, which, while flawed, are intended to limit civilian deaths and injuries. Without them, the U.S. will further unmoor itself from domestic and international law that safeguards against extrajudicial killing, and many more innocent people will die. The Trump administration has also reportedly lifted limits on the CIA carrying out drone strikes, meaning that the CIA could return to its role as a paramilitary organization killing people largely in secret.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Lost in translation: Swedish prosecutors explain bizarre delay in Assange investigation
    • How Drones Help Transparency Activists To See Things The Hungarian Government Wants To Hide

      It’s remarkable how quickly drones have become a familiar part of the modern world. Like most tools, they can be used for good and evil, but it tends to be the latter that is highlighted when it comes to drones. In the last few days, it was widely reported that President Trump has given the CIA power to launch drone strikes against suspected terrorists, in addition to being able to use the technology to locate them. Dealing death from the skies may be the most dramatic application of drones, but there are plenty of other, more benign, uses, even if they receive less attention. For example, activists in Hungary have been deploying them in a variety of innovative ways in order to bolster transparency and openness in a country where these are increasingly under threat. That’s because the country’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, is a self-confessed believer in the “illiberal state,”…

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The Carbon Bubble is about to pop

      The post-carbon industries — from solar to electric cars — are a way for rich investors to go long on climate action, and short hydrocarbons, and they become a force against the carbon barons’ efforts to continue burning fossil fuels unchecked.

    • Next Steps in the Battle Against the Dakota Access and Keystone Pipelines

      In this edited interview, Jaffe speaks with Kandi Mossett of the Indigenous Environmental Network about the march last week and what’s next in the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline, as well as other pipeline projects. (The full interview is available in the audio above and online at TruthOut.org). Mossett is a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, which has been active in the Standing Rock protests since August.

    • Tribes Opposing Dakota Access Pipeline Turn To Appeal Court

      The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Attorney Nicole Ducheneaux on Wednesday asked the appeals court for an emergency order preventing oil through the pipeline until the appeal is resolved.

    • China, Saudi Arabia Sign $65 Billion in Cooperation Deals

      Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil producer, Aramco, is a partner with state-owned China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. in a refinery in the southeastern province of Fujian and has other Chinese projects.

  • Finance

    • How blockchain can be a force for good in the developing world

      By allowing users to conduct secure transactions with one another directly, blockchain eliminates the need for regulatory middlemen. This allows companies like Abra to save time and money by avoiding the lengthy processing periods and fees imposed by traditional money transfer services.

    • Spotify considered ending Uber partnership amid mounting scandals

      In an internal company-wide email, the company’s head of product refers to discussions the company held about ending Uber’s API access, which allows riders to control a driver’s sound system from their smartphones.

    • Breaking: Canada prevails in Eli Lilly arbitration, as tribunal dismisses NAFTA claim
    • Options for Independence

      So what do we do now with Theresa May apparently obdurate on blocking the referendum?

      It is important to realise politics are fluid. In a week’s time the situation will not be what it is today. The battle for public opinion is key. The unionist media (ie virtually all of it) are asserting continuously, as a uniform line, that opinion polls say the people of Scotland do not want a second Independence referendum in the timescale Nicola Sturgeon has set out – even though that is not true at all. The serial Tory crooks at You Gove came out with an opinion poll right on cue “showing” that support for Independence is hitting new lows. But I suspect it will not be long before evidence emerges that May’s unattractive diktat has profoundly assisted the Independence cause. That will change the game.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Don’t Let a Career Wall Street Lawyer Head the SEC

      In what is turning into a pattern for the Trump administration, yet another nominee close to Wall Street—and Goldman Sachs in particular—is on his way to being confirmed for a top post. Jay Clayton, Trump’s choice for head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, will have his confirmation hearing on March 23.

    • Trump’s Mar-a-Lago getaway could cost taxpayers more than $3 million

      The cost of flying Air Force One is more than $200,000 per flying hour, according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch in 2015.

    • How much is Donald Trump’s travel and protection costing, anyway?

      What really jumped out at some people, though, was that Trump was proposing cuts to some relatively low-cost programs shortly before he prepared to fly to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. According to an analysis from Politico, that’s a trip that costs about $3 million each time — and it’s a trip that he’s made three times this year.

    • Twitter users volunteer to be Russia’s latest weapon in the information wars

      Some Twitter users are voluntarily handing control of their accounts to the UK’s Russian Embassy, which uses them to retweet the “most important” tweets of the Russian ambassador on a weekly basis.

    • Why Trump’s budget cut for arts funding will be a cultural disaster — and makes no fiscal sense

      In addition to eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts, Trump’s budget will also jettison the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, according to The Washington Post. The costs of these programs equal $148 million, $445 million, $230 million, and $148 million respectively. Considering their combined total amounts to $971 million, their fiscal burden is a pittance compared to the trillions spent on defense and the military — which Trump plans on increasing.

    • Propaganda, Fake News, and Media Lies

      The expansion of public relations and propaganda (PRP) firms inside news systems in the world today has resulted in a deliberate form of news management. Maintenance of continuous news shows requires a constant and ever-entertaining supply of stimulating events and breaking news bites. Corporate media are increasingly dependent on various government agencies and PRP firms as sources of news.

      The PRP industry has experienced phenomenal growth since 2001. In 2015, three publicly traded mega PR firms—Omnicom, WPP, and Interpublic Group—together employed 214,000 people across 170 countries, collecting $35 billion in combined revenue. Not only do these firms control massive wealth, they also possess a network of connections in powerful international institutions with direct links to national governments, multi-national corporations, global policy-making bodies, and the corporate media.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Gwinnett County man deported after female genital mutilation sentence

      Khalid Adem, 41, was arrested for using scissors to mutilate the genitals of his 2-year-old daughter.

      He was deported on Monday after serving 10 years in prison.

    • Jaha’s Promise: FGM film premieres at Copenhagen film festival

      Co-director Patrick Farrelly said: “It is astonishing that FGM is not the top priority for the feminist movement, the women’s movement and the whole human rights movement. Two hundred million women and girls have been mutilated in the world today and it isn’t top of any of those agendas.”

    • Former owners of the Book Store in White Abbey Road, Bradford, apologise for “genuine human error” after claims that Qurans were put in skip

      The spokesman also criticised a “group of individuals” who arrived at the store during the afternoon of “harassing and bullying” the shop’s 80-year-old former owner, who was “not responsible for the filling of the skip”.

    • Turkey Threatens To Send Europe 15,000 Refugees A Month

      Ankara has warned it could cancel a March 2016 deal with the EU to curb the influx of refugees to the bloc, a move that came after Turkish ministers were barred from holding rallies in Europe.

    • [Old] More UK protests in support of Pakistan’s Asia Bibi

      Bibi has been in prison for over a decade after being accused of insulting Islam, a crime punishable by death under the country’s strict blasphemy laws.

      She faces death if her final appeal fails.

    • Germany unveils law with big fines for hate speech on social media

      Germany proposed a new law today to fight hate speech, threatening social media networks like Twitter and Facebook with €50 million fines.

    • The Ex-Muslim Community is Growing and Our Voices are Being Heard

      Many of these ex-Muslims were anonymous on social media, hiding their true identities for fear of being disowned by their families and the wider community. For many more there is the fear of being beaten and even death for leaving Islam and proudly shouting that they no longer believe.

    • Trouble brewing in Netherlands as Erdogan supporters win first seats in Dutch election
    • 1,500 acid attacks have been recorded in London since 2011

      A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Mirror shows that between 2011 and 2016, London had nearly 1,500 cases of the devastating crime, which burns the skin and leaves victims cowering from their injuries.

    • GOP pushes ‘economic terrorism’ bills in 18 states to discourage protests

      Republican lawmakers in at least 18 states have proposed a spate of bills making blocking streets a felony in North Carolina, allowing businesses to sue people protesting them in Michigan, and forcing Minnesota protesters pay the costs of policing.

    • ‘Throw stones at security forces for Islam’: Burhan Wani’s successor Zakir Musa urges protestors

      A top J&K officer told India Today that terrorists often try to create a smokescreen, inciting locals to target forces during operations. But, this video leaves little ambiguity on terrorist using locals to hamper counter terror operations.

    • ‘Pelt stones for Islam’: Burhan Wani’s successor incites Kashmir protestors

      The young commander in his monologue dismissed the idea of democracy while calling everyone to turn towards Islam.

    • U.S. is Regressing on Human Rights, Center for Inquiry Warns UN Human Rights Council
    • Hyderabad woman faces torture in Saudi, suffers fracture in both her legs

      My mother went to Saudi Arabia to make our lives better. She was promised 1,600 riyals a month, but the employer did not pay her even one riyal. When she asked for salary, the employer started harassing her. Unable to bear the harassment, she ran away from the employer’s house. But he brought her back to his house and pushed her from the third floor, fracturing both her legs.

    • Islamic cleric allegedly stones boy to death for rituals in Lagos
    • Teacher quits after primary school students threaten to behead her
    • What went wrong in Pakistan

      What went wrong? In an excellent new book, “Purifying the Land of the Pure,” Farahnaz Ispahani both recounts and laments Pakistan’s “descent” into what it has become today: unfree, undemocratic, intolerant and both a sponsor and victim of terrorism.

    • Truman Was Right About the CIA

      Say what you will about President Harry Truman, but at least he didn’t leave the White House a suspiciously rich man. He also actually went home, to Independence Missouri, and moved into a modest house he didn’t own. It was the same house belonging to his wife’s family where he had lived with Bess (and his mother-in-law!) decades earlier.

      Flat broke, and unwilling to accept corporate board positions or commercial endorsements, Truman sought a much-needed loan from a local Missouri bank. For several years his sole income was a $113 monthly Army pension, and only the sale of a parcel of land he inherited with his siblings prevented him from nearly “being on relief,” as Truman allegedly stated. In the 1950s, perhaps almost entirely to alleviate Truman’s embarrassing financial situation, Congress authorized a $25,000 yearly pension for ex-presidents Truman and the much-wealthier Herbert Hoover.

    • Appeals court upholds LuxLeaks whistleblower convictions

      A Luxembourg appeals court has upheld the convictions but reduced the sentences of two former PwC employees who blew the whistle on rampant tax evasion. In 2014, it was revealed that Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet passed confidential tax rulings, documenting widespread multinational tax avoidance, to journalists. The ICIJ published the documents as LuxLeaks, in a release that directly implicated the president of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker. Just this week, EU Competition Commisioner Margrethe Vestage has confirmed that the disclosures were justified.

      Deltour and Halet were convicted of theft and breaking secrecy laws, and Deltour was given a 12-months suspended prison sentence. Edouard Perrin, a journalist involved in the initial wave of disclosures, was one of the original defendants alongside the whistleblowers, but he was acquitted. All three rulings were appealed, and today an appeals court has confirmed the convictions but reduced Deltour’s suspended sentence to six months.

    • Two Courts Find That, Yes, It Was a Muslim Ban All Along

      Courts in Hawaii and Maryland ruled against the president’s executive order in another stinging rebuke of the president.

      The federal courts have dealt two more blows to President Trump’s ongoing attempt to ban Muslims from entering the United States. The two rulings, issued yesterday in separate lawsuits in Hawaii and Maryland, made clear that the president’s second Muslim ban executive order is just as unconstitutional as the first.

      The first blow came yesterday from a federal court in Hawaii. Just hours before the travel ban was scheduled to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. this morning, the court issued a ruling blocking the operative provisions of the executive order — both the ban against people from six predominantly Muslim countries and the provisions blocking refugee resettlement in the United States. The second ruling, in a case brought by the ACLU and the National Immigration Law Center on behalf of clients including the International Refugee Assistance Project and HIAS, came just before 2 a.m. from a Maryland district court. That ruling also blocked the six-country ban.

      The breadth of the Hawaii ruling means that, for now, no part of the executive order can take effect without further input from the courts.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • EU authorities demand changes from Facebook, Google, Twitter

      The Commission and European consumer protection authorities will “take action to make sure social media companies comply with EU consumer rules,” the official said.

    • Charter Tries To Tap Dance Out Of Lawsuit Over Substandard Broadband

      Last month, we noted how New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued Charter Communications for knowingly providing broadband service well below advertised speeds. After an initial first read I didn’t think much of the lawsuit (pdf), but upon closer inspection it provides some pretty damning evidence that Charter not only knowingly failed to provide decent service (and just didn’t care, since this is the uncompetitive broadband industry), but in some instances actively made connections worse for its own competitive advantage.

      The AG’s suit highlights how Charter manipulated data for a program run by the FCC to monitor consumer connection speeds. This program, co-operated by a UK outfit dubbed SamKnows, gives volunteers custom-firmware embedded routers to monitor connection quality and speed. The FCC was then using this data to name and shame ISPs that failed to deliver advertised speeds. The lawsuit highlights how Charter executives worked to intentionally deliver faster speeds to just these customers in order to trick the FCC into believing its network was performing better than it actually was.

    • California Youth in Detention and Foster Care Deserve Internet Access

      It’s 2017, and climbers can tweet from Mount Everest, astronauts can post YouTube videos from the International Space Station, and ocean explorers can live stream from the Mariana Trench. Considering the ability for technology to overcome those harsh environments, we see no reason that California can’t develop a way to ensure that youth in our state have secure and supervised access to the internet in juvenile detention and foster care programs.

      EFF is throwing its support behind A.B. 811, a California bill sponsored by Assemblymember Mike Gipson, that would establish that youth in custody have a right to “reasonable access to computer technology and the internet for the purposes of education and maintaining contact with family and supportive adults.” The bill would also establish the right of youth in foster care to have access to computers and the internet.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Daimler joins Linux’s Open Invention Network patent-protection group [iophk: "quaint but does 0 against patent trolls"]

      The OIN patent license and member cross-licenses are available royalty-free to any party that joins the OIN community.

    • Copyrights

      • From the Flying Dutchman to Piratenpartij, Pirates in The Netherlands are making Waves

        The coupling of a proportional representation electoral system and the steadfast campaigning of the Dutch Pirate Party means that there is a very real chance of seeing a Pirate elected to the Dutch Parliament (Tweede Kamer) with a second Pirate being an outside possibility.

        David A Elston, Pirate Party Acting Leader has already stated his (and our) strong support for our friends just across the sea and Mark Chapman, Pirate Party Spokesperson has previously written positively on the work of PPNL.

      • Australia’s Prime Minister Supports Expanded Safe Harbor Protections Down Under

        And that rocky road to harmonizing Australian copyright law with the EU and America is being laid by the usual entertainment industry suspects, whose objections are familiar tropes. Music and entertainment groups are complaining that offering safe harbor protections to such unworthy entities as schools and libraries, along with websites like Google and Facebook, amounts to codifying piracy. That’s silly for all the reasons you should already know, but which can be best stated as it being quite dumb, and immoral, to saddle a third party with the guilt of a pirate just because it’s an easier and more lucrative target. Because that’s all this opposition amounts to: the desire to sue a school if a student infringes copyright. Or Google. Or a museum that provides internet access. This is what the entertainment industry wants to go to bat over.

      • Piracy? RIAA Labels Asked Us to Promote Their Music, Spinrilla Says

        In addition, the hip-hop mixtape service notes that the labels, that are now suing, repeatedly reached out to them for promotions. This even happened after the lawsuit was filed last month.

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