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03.23.17

Links 23/3/2017: Qt 5.9 Beta, Gluster Storage 3.2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Eraserhead: the true story behind David Lynch’s surreal shocker

    On 19 March 1977, the world changed, after which there was a long uncomfortable silence. The occasion was the first public screening of Eraserhead, the feature debut of David Lynch, at the Filmex festival in Los Angeles. It was not a hot ticket. The film arrived with little advance publicity at the only festival to accept it. The screening took place at midnight, drawing a modest crowd who dutifully watched for the next two hours (the film was then longer than the 89 minutes it became). When it ended: nothing. But no one left either. Just silence. Then, finally, applause.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How Politicians Force Doctors to Lie to Women

      On Tuesday, the Texas Senate advanced a bill that would enable doctors to lie to pregnant patients about fetal deformities in order to coercively dissuade them from choosing to have an abortion. Specifically, SB 25 eliminates withholding information regarding fetal health as a cause of action in so-called “wrongful birth” lawsuits, which prevents parents from pursuing financial damages.

    • “There’s No Way We’re Gonna Drink That”: Fighting for Clean Water in Flint

      Ongoing government noncompliance and backroom deals halt any progress the city could be making to limit the effects of the crisis, which makes even good news like the EPA’s $100 million grant for infrastructure improvements fall a little flat. The deeply flawed emergency management law, under which both Flint and Detroit’s crises emerged almost overnight, is still on the books.

    • Doctors Around the World Rally for New Surgery to Counter Female Genital Mutilation

      The UNFPA would like to see more doctors that are trained in treating the effects of FGM, says Nafissatou J. Diop, the Senior Advisor for the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on FGM, but for the moment they are putting their scarce resources towards eliminating the practice altogether. “We want to focus on the girls who have not yet gone through it, to make sure that they are the priority.”

    • What To Watch Out For In The EU-Mercosur FTA Negotiations: Consequences For Access To Medicines

      This week (20-24 March), a new round of negotiation of the free trade agreement (FTA) between Mercosur and the European Union (EU) is taking place in Argentina. For almost two decades, the negotiation of bilateral trade agreements (FTAs), outside of the multilateral international institutions, has been part of the strategy of high income countries to extend the monopolies of major pharmaceutical companies, through intellectual property and regulatory measures. Will the Mercosur/EU FTA have consequences on access to medicines in Latin America countries? After the release of the draft agreement by the European Commission, and through projections made on HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and cancer medicines, we tried to evaluate the impact of one of the TRIPS-plus measures of the Mercosur/EU FTA on the prices of medicines in Brazil. Per our calculations, an additional USD 444 million would be necessary to be spent by the public health system for the purchase of 6 medicines alone[1]!

  • Security

    • Windows flaw lets attackers take over A-V software

      A 15-year-old flaw in every version of Windows right from XP to Windows 10 allows a malicious attacker to take control of a system through the anti-virus software running on the system.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Devops embraces security measures to build safer software

      Devops isn’t simply transforming how developers and operations work together to deliver better software faster, it is also changing how developers view application security. A recent survey from software automation and security company Sonatype found that devops teams are increasingly adopting security automation to create better and safer software.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Erdoğan: Europeans ‘will not walk safely’ if current behavior persists

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned Europe that its behavior will put its citizens at risk in other parts of the world, the AFP reported Wednesday.

      “If you [Europe] continue to behave like this, tomorrow in no part of the world, no European, no Westerner will be able to take steps on the street safely and peacefully,” Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara.

      The warning was another sign of the increasingly acrimonious relationship between the EU and Turkey, which soured over some countries’ refusal to allow Turkish government officials to campaign in European cities ahead of a referendum on expanding the president’s powers. On Tuesday, Turkey announced that it is canceling all planned rallies in Germany in the run-up to the referendum on April 16.

    • Crude nature of Westminster attack suggests limited Isis network in Britain

      Last July a stolen truck driven through a Bastille Day parade in Nice killed 86. The strikes appear inspired, if not actively commissioned, by Isis in Iraq and Syria.

      In November a student used a vehicle and knives to injure 13 on a campus in Ohio, in the US. His motives and allegiance are less clear.

      Such attacks are not unprecedented, but have become much more numerous in recent years.

    • Brussels mayor: All our mosques are controlled by Salafists

      He added: “Terrorism is a problem that involves Europe as a whole. Don’t forget what happened in Paris, Nice and Berlin. If this was only a Brussels problem, it would have been solved.”

    • Attempted Antwerp attack: Shotgun and bladed weapons found in man’s car who tried to drive into shopping district

      A shotgun and several bladed weapons have been found in the car of a man who tried to drive at high speed through a busy shopping street in Antwerp, forcing pedestrians to jump out of the way.

      The federal prosecutor’s office said the car was intercepted at the port docks and a Frenchman living in France was arrested.

      The bomb squad was brought in and the authorities raised security in the centre of town, in places where people normally gather.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange: ‘Only 1 percent’ of the CIA material has been published

      There are no less than 16 different intelligence agencies in the United States. In 2017, they will cost US taxpayers some $70 billion (65 billion euros) – roughly twice Germany’s overall annual defense budget. The actual distribution of that sum among US intelligence services is classified, but revelations brought to light by Edward Snowden in 2013 suggest that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) receives the lion’s share. In 2013, that sum was around $15 billion. Now the CIA, a highly funded agency tasked with gleaning state secrets from other countries, has a problem keeping its own secrets: On March 7, the whistleblower platform WikiLeaks began publishing CIA documents under the name “Vault 7.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • Why becoming a tax haven would be bad news for Britain

      Theresa May and Philip Hammond have warned the EU that if they don’t like the Brexit deal, they could turn the UK into a tax haven. The truth is that being ‘offshore’ means being unfair and undemocratic – and you still pay tax

    • UK CEOs ‘earn 386 times more than workers on national living wage’

      The average FTSE chief executive earns 386 times more than a worker on the national living wage, according to an analysis published by the Equality Trust as it steps up its campaign for new government rules to expose pay gaps.

    • JEFTA: The Latest Massive ‘Trade’ Deal You’ve Never Heard Of, Negotiated Behind Closed Doors, With Zero Public Scrutiny

      As Techdirt has reported, the election of Donald Trump has turned the world of US trade deals upside-down. The US officially pulled out of TPP, although some still hope it might come back in some form. TAFTA/TTIP seems to be on ice, but Trump’s choice for US trade representative has just said he is open to resuming negotiations, so it’s not clear what might happen there (or with TISA). Against that confusing backdrop, the European Union has been quick to emphasize that it is in favor of trade deals, and is keen to sign as many as possible, presumably hoping to fill the economic and political vacuum left by the US.

      [...]

      But the worst aspect of JEFTA is not that it’s probably not worth the effort, but that the EU and Japan have done everything they can to prevent both the public and even politicians from finding out what a bad deal is being negotiated in their name. After the humiliating defeat of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), and the more recent failures of TPP and TTIP, you would have thought that the governments involved would have realized that this kind of secret dealmaking just isn’t acceptable any more, but apparently, they haven’t. Fortunately, JEFTA is finally out in the open, which means it can begin to be subjected to long-overdue scrutiny and democratic input. What we need now is for the EU to release negotiating texts as it did for TTIP.

    • Majority Of Intuit’s Lobbying Dollars Spent Trying To Stop IRS From Making It Easier To File Your Taxes

      There has been an effort underway these past few years to make tax season less stressful, less complicated, and less expensive for a large swath of Americans. These efforts have produced plans to make tax season “return free” for many, with pre-populated tax forms prepared by the government that can either be signed if accurate, or ignored if not with a separate filing then being produced by the person in question. That is, since the IRS already should have most of the details on how much you earned from the companies that paid you, it can send you a pre-filled out tax return document, rather than forcing everyone to redo the same work with the same documents hoping that you don’t make some mistake that will make the IRS man mad. Again, for those who want to go a different way, they can. But for those who find the IRS’s pre-filled documents to be okay, it will make tax filing significantly less of an issue. If you live outside the US, this may sound strange to you, because much of the rest of the world alread does it this way. In a recent episode of Planet Money, the analogy is made that the way we do taxes in the US would be like if credit card companies sent you a “bill” that was a blank sheet of paper, expecting you to fill out all your charges over the past month, and if you got anything wrong, you’d be punished. On taxes, most of the rest of the world the taxes are more like your credit card bill. In the US, it’s more like a blank sheet of paper. And, as in years past, some are finally trying to fix things in the US.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to skip Nato meeting and visit Russia instead

      Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is skipping a major North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) Summit, opting to meet with China and Russia instead and people are worried about the message that sends.

      The Nato summit is scheduled for 5-6 April, but the State Department confirmed that Mr Tillerson would meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at President Trump’s Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, from 6-7 April.

      He is also scheduled to visit Russia in April after a Group of 7 meeting in Italy, a State Department spokesperson told Reuters.

      Mr Tillerson is set to meet with 26 of the 27 foreign ministers of Nato member countries on 22 March. The meeting will include Secretary of Defence James Mattis and will be focused solely on counterterrorism and the eradication of Isis.

    • FBI: We have evidence Trump team and Russia communicated mid-campaign, maybe to coordinate Clinton info dump

      Late Wednesday, the FBI said it has evidence that associates of Donald Trump communicated with Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, possibly to coordinate the release of Hillary Clinton campaign info via Wikileaks.

    • Amy Goodman narrates a gorgeous animation about Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent”
    • This is a photo of lawmakers discussing taking away maternity coverage

      On Thursday, a bunch of men met at the White House to discuss taking away potentially millions of women’s coverage for pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care.

      The White House meeting was broadly about the American Health Care Act, the Republican bill meant to repeal and replace Obamacare. But it was focused on whether the bill should include a repeal of 10 “essential health benefits” that insurers in the individual marketplace must cover. Among those benefits is pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care.

      Yet Vice President Mike Pence, who was at the meeting along with President Donald Trump and Republican members of the House Freedom Caucus, tweeted out a picture showing that the meeting didn’t represent the exact people who most directly benefit from pregnancy, maternity, and newborn coverage in their health plans: women. This, unsurprisingly, drew quick criticism from groups like Planned Parenthood.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Senate Republicans Just Sold You Out to Advertisers

      In a 50-to-48 vote along party lines, the U.S. Senate decided to kill FCC rules blocking your ISP from selling your browsing history to the advertising industry without permission. Should the change pass the House, as is expected, the likes of Comcast and Verizon will be able to make money disclosing what you buy, where you browse, and what you search from your own home, all without asking permission.

    • Senate Puts ISP Profits Over Your Privacy

      The Senate just voted to roll back your online privacy protections. Speak up now to keep the House from doing the same thing.

      ISPs have been lobbying for weeks to get lawmakers to repeal the FCC’s rules that stand between them and using even creepier ways to track and profit off of your every move online. Republicans in the Senate just voted 50-48 (with two absent votes) to approve a Congressional Review Action resolution from Sen. Jeff Flake which—if it makes it through the House—would not only roll back the FCC’s rules but also prevent the FCC from writing similar rules in the future.

    • Congress Just Voted To Kill Consumer Broadband Privacy Protections

      Despite a last-ditch effort by the EFF and other consumer and privacy groups, Congress today voted to dismantle privacy protections for broadband subscribers in a 50-48 vote. The rules, passed last October by the FCC, simply required that ISPs clearly disclose what subscriber data is being collected and sold by ISPs. It also required that ISPs provide working opt out tools, and required that consumers had to opt in (the dirtiest phrase imaginable to the ad industry) to the collection of more sensitive data like financial info or browsing histories.

      Another part of the rules, which simply required that ISPs were transparent about hacking intrusions and data theft, had already been killed off quietly by new FCC boss Ajit Pai.

      The rules were seen as important in the face of greater consolidation in an already uncompetitive broadband market, where said lack of competition eliminates any organic market punishment for bad behavior on the privacy front (unlike the content or other industries). Now, with neither broadband competition — nor meaningful regulatory oversight — privacy advocates are justifiably worried about the repercussions to come.

    • WikiLeaks Reveals How the CIA Can Hack a Mac’s Hidden Code
    • Dark Matter

      Today, March 23rd 2017, WikiLeaks releases Vault 7 “Dark Matter”, which contains documentation for several CIA projects that infect Apple Mac Computer firmware (meaning the infection persists even if the operating system is re-installed) developed by the CIA’s Embedded Development Branch (EDB). These documents explain the techniques used by CIA to gain ‘persistence’ on Apple Mac devices, including Macs and iPhones and demonstrate their use of EFI/UEFI and firmware malware.

      Among others, these documents reveal the “Sonic Screwdriver” project which, as explained by the CIA, is a “mechanism for executing code on peripheral devices while a Mac laptop or desktop is booting” allowing an attacker to boot its attack software for example from a USB stick “even when a firmware password is enabled”. The CIA’s “Sonic Screwdriver” infector is stored on the modified firmware of an Apple Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter.

    • Two Ways GDPR Will Change Your Data Storage Solution

      By now, most companies who do any business in the EU are aware of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect in 2018 and applies to any entity doing business within any of the 28 EU member states. Not only does the GDPR apply somewhat broadly to “monitoring the behaviour” of EU residents, but it also comes with some hefty fines (up to €20 million, or 4% of worldwide turnover) for companies that violate the regulation. In short, the new regulation is going to require companies to implement entirely new processes and procedures around the collection and storage of personally identifiable information (PII), which will likely result in changes to data storage solutions as well.

    • Senate on the verge of vote to kill FCC’s consumer privacy protections

      A congressional resolution to roll back the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband privacy rules could see a vote in the Senate as early as Wednesday evening.

    • The Senate Prepares to Send Internet Privacy Down a Black Hole

      Even if you agree that the FCC’s rules are unfair or confusing, using the Congressional Review Act to reverse them completely at best complicates future privacy enforcement. One problem lies in the phrase “substantially similar.” The act is seldom used, and depending on how courts interpret it, the FCC could end up barred from introducing even the less controversial parts of the privacy order. “The only difference between the FCC rules and the FTC rules is that [the FCC rules] moves web browsing history to the ‘sensitive data’ category,” says Dallas Harris of the consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge. In other words, the FCC could be banned even from passing a less strict set of rules closer to the FTC’s provisions.

    • Just Prior To Hearing Over NSL Gag Orders, Court Allows Cloudflare & CREDO Mobile To Be Named As Plaintiffs

      In December, we wrote about how (thanks to EFF’s lawyering) mobile phone provider CREDO Mobile was finally (after many years) allowed to reveal the National Security Letter (NSL) it had received from the DOJ back in 2013. As per usual, the NSL had a complete gag order, barring the company from admitting it had received such a letter. Then, just about a month later, Cloudflare was similarly ungagged over an NSL it had received in 2013 as well.

    • Decrypt, or else…
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Woman given triple talaq for not bearing male child
    • [Older] Some Saudi women are secretly deserting their country

      Propelling the flight is the kingdom’s wilaya, or guardianship, law. Although it has received less publicity than the world’s only sex-specific driving ban, it imposes harsher curbs on female mobility. To travel, work or study abroad, receive hospital treatment or an ID card, or even leave prison once a sentence is served, women need the consent of a male wali, or guardian. From birth to death, they are handed from one wali to the next [...] women are treated as minors all their lives.

    • Child sex offences recorded across UK hits all-time high amid growing concerns over online grooming

      The shocking statistics, obtained through Freedom of Information requests, have prompted calls for specialist training for police investigating child abuse that occurs through online platforms, which have increased dramatically in recent years.

    • Guantánamo judge orders CIA testimony on destroyed ‘Black Site’ videotapes

      A military judge ruled Tuesday that defense attorneys could call former CIA officials as witnesses in their bid to derail the death-penalty trial of the alleged USS Cole bombing plotter, who was waterboarded in the spy agency’s secret prison network, the Black Sites.

      The one-page ruling by Air Force Col. Vance Spath, the judge, authorized Witnesses A, B, C and D.

    • Rendition: government evidence to be heard in secret in UK for first time

      Government evidence in a rendition case will be heard in secret for the first time following a high court ruling.

      Lawyers for the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office in a case brought by two Pakistani men will be allowed to present evidence behind closed doors under rarely used provisions of the Justice and Security Act.

      The two men, Amanatullah Ali and Yunus Rahmatullah, claim they were subjected to torture and rendition.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Netflix Is No Longer Worried About Net Neutrality Now That It’s Massive And Successful

      Once upon a time, Netflix was among the fiercest supporters of net neutrality, and a consistent critic of arbitrary and unnecessary broadband usage caps. So much so that the company effectively became public enemy number one at many of the nation’s broadband providers, resulting in a steady stream of bizarre policy and lobbying attacks on the company. Netflix, we were told by a rotating crop of ISP-tied mouthpieces (even by current FCC boss Ajit Pai), was a dirty freeloader, and a nasty company responsible for most of the internet’s ills.

      But as Netflix has grown larger and more powerful, the company’s positions on usage caps and net neutrality has, well, softened.

  • DRM

    • DRM in HTML5 Takes its Next Step Toward Standardization

      Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), a mechanism by which HTML5 video providers can discover and enable DRM providers offered by a browser, has taken the next step on its contentious road to standardization. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the standards body that oversees most Web-related specifications, has moved the EME specification to the Proposed Recommendation stage.

      The next and final stage is for the W3C’s Advisory Committee to review the proposal. If it passes review, the proposal will be blessed as a full W3C Recommendation.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Millions of Papers, Papers for Me

      Stuck in the 19th Century, the Federal Circuit Rule 30(a) requires appellants to submit six paper copies of the appendix to the briefs. In a recent filing, pro se appellant Urvashi Bhagat asked the court to waive this requirement in favor of another form of out-dated technology known as “CDROM.” Bhagat’s argument is that the 1,000+ pages of her appendix, would be cost prohibitive, unwieldy, and an unwarranted consumption of paper. The copying and delivery cost here really is several thousand dollars — easily outweighing the $500 appeal filing fee.

    • Copyrights

      • Supreme Court Says You Can Copyright Elements Of ‘Useful Articles’ — Which May Spell Disaster For 3D Printing & More

        Last summer, we wrote about a potentially important case going to the Supreme Court, technically about the copyright design of cheerleading uniforms. As we’ve discussed, copyright is supposed to apply to artistic expression, and it’s been considered not to apply to functional products or industrial design — sometimes referred to as “useful articles.” Along those lines, things like fashion design, have always been considered not subject to copyright. In this case, Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, the question was raised about the design of certain stylistic elements on cheerleading uniforms, and whether one copy using similar elements on its cheerleading uniforms infringed on the copyrights of the other. A district court said no, the appeals court said yes. And now the Supreme Court has weighed in saying that the designs can be covered by copyright and creating a new test on such matters (previously, there was something of a mess of different tests that judges would apply, sometimes haphazardly). Having a single test seems better than a mishmash of competing tests, but the situation here is… potentially very dangerous to a variety of innovations.

      • EU Parliament: No Commercial Availability Or Compensation In Marrakesh Implementation

        The European Parliament announced today that its Legal Affairs Committee approved new draft legislation to bring European Union law into line with an international treaty providing copyright exceptions for special format books for visually impaired people. Limitations to the scope of the treaty, such as commercial availability or compensation, were disregarded by Parliament members.

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