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Links 6/4/2017: CentOS Linux 6.9, Ubuntu is Back to GNOME

Posted in News Roundup at 3:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Enterprise Adoption of APIs is Driven by Internal Integration Needs

    The need to integrate the ballooning range of software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools being used within enterprises is driving the adoption of application programming interfaces (APIs.) While many think of APIs in the enterprise as being introduced as a way to leverage a microservices architecture or as part of a broader cloud migration effort, integration is actually the early driver for using APIs in many businesses across industry sectors.

  • Chinese university to open in Oxford despite ideological crackdown at home

    One of China’s top universities is preparing to open a campus at the heart of British academic life, just months after President Xi Jinping called for Chinese universities to be transformed into strongholds of Communist party rule.

    Peking University, an elite Beijing institution where Mao Zedong once worked as a librarian, will open a branch of its HSBC Business School in Oxford early next year, the respected financial magazine Caixin reported on Thursday.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • UPOV This Week Focuses On International Cooperation System; Benin Curiously Ratifies Twice

      The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) governing body is meeting this week, along with its technical, and consultative committees. On the agenda is a potential international system of cooperation, disputed by civil society. Separately, Benin, a least-developed country, appears to be in the process of ratifying the UPOV convention, raising questions since a regional organisation of which Benin is part already joined UPOV in 2014.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Israeli Security Expert Warns Samsung Smart TV Suffers From Major Hacking Flaws Due To Tizen OS

      Intelligence agencies could hack into Samsung smart TVs caused by a deep flaw in the ecosystem of the Seoul-based tech giant. According to security researchers, there are up to 40 zero-day exploits for the Tizen operating system that Samsung uses for its TV, phones, and smartwatches. These vulnerabilities could be used by attackers to hack the Samsung gadgets remotely.

    • Apple fans, Android world scramble to patch Broadcom’s nasty drive-by Wi-Fi security hole

      Yesterday, Apple rushed out an emergency patch to plug a severe security hole that can be exploited to wirelessly and silently commandeer iPhones, iPads and iPods.

      Now we know why: this remote-code execution vulnerability lies in Broadcom’s Wi-Fi stack, which Apple uses in its handhelds. Many other handsets also use Broadcom’s naff chipset, and, as a result, we expect – and hope – a lot of other phone and tablet makers push out patches: any gadget using Broadcom’s vulnerable tech is at risk to over-the-air hijacking, not just Apple’s iThings.

    • Researchers discover the Android version of iOS’s worst spyware

      A few months back, we covered a nasty and incredibly advanced piece of malware dubbed Pegasus. Created by a relatively obscure Israeli security company called the NSO Group, Pegasus seemingly set a new bar for mobile hacking sophistication. Built upon three previously undisclosed iOS zero-day exploits, Pegasus, once installed, was able to eavesdrop on conversations, remotely spy on a users’s text messages, location, browsing history, calendar records, photos and more.

    • The Rise Of Open-Source Malware And IoT Security
    • Changes coming to TLS: Part Two
    • Critical Xen hypervisor flaw endangers virtualized environments

      A critical vulnerability in the widely used Xen hypervisor allows attackers to break out of a guest operating system running inside a virtual machine and access the host system’s entire memory.

      This is a serious violation of the security barrier enforced by the hypervisor and poses a particular threat to multi-tenant data centers where the customers’ virtualized servers share the same underlying hardware.


      Qubes OS, an operating system that uses Xen to isolate applications inside virtual machines, also put out an advisory warning that an attacker who exploits another vulnerability, for example inside a browser, can exploit this Xen issue to compromise the whole Qubes system.

    • CentOS Linux 6.9 Drops Support for Insecure Cryptographic Algorithms & Protocols
    • Canonical Outs New Kernel Security Update for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

      Canonical released earlier a new kernel security update for all supported Ubuntu Linux releases that appears to patch a vulnerability discovered recently in the upstream Linux kernel packages.

      According to the Ubuntu Security Notice USN-3256-1 advisory, the system could be made to crash under certain conditions. The security issue (CVE-2017-7308) was discovered by Andrey Konovalov in Linux kernel’s AF_PACKET implementation, which incorrectly validated some block-size data.

    • CloudLinux 7 Beta Kernel Released to Patch 2 Important Security Vulnerabilities

      CloudLinux’s Mykola Naugolnyi announced today, April 5, 2017, the availability of a new Beta kernel update for users of the CloudLinux 7 operating system series, patching a couple of vulnerabilities discovered lately.

      The announcement comes just one day after CloudLinux released a new stable kernel version for CloudLinux 7 and CloudLinux 6 Hybrid users, which included a fix for an out-of-bounds heap access security issue in XFRM framework of the Linux kernel, which was patched upstream in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Hopeless but Optimistic: Journeying through America’s Endless War in Afghanistan

      I exchanged emails of condolences with the embassy public relations officer, who was a great friend of hers. I saw heart-wrenching tributes to Anne Smedinghoff posted on-line. Secretary Kerry eulogized Anne Smedinghoff, praising her idealistic commitment to “changing people’s lives.” He noted the “extraordinary harsh contradiction” of her being killed while carrying books to a school. He described the Zabul media event was “a confrontation with modernity,” and said Smedinghoff embodied “everything that our country stands for.” It did little to salve my dismay that yet another promising American had been lost for such a dubious, failed cause. I thought of the remarks Kerry made on Capitol Hill in 1971, when he was a young, anti-war Vietnam vet.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Doomsday’s approaching: The climate could hit a state unseen in 50 million years

      If carbon emissions continue on their current trajectory, new findings show that by mid-century, the atmosphere could reach a state unseen in 50 million years. Back then, temperatures were up to 18°F (10°C) warmer, ice was almost nowhere to be seen and oceans were dramatically higher than they are now.

    • Climate change impacting ‘most’ species on Earth, even down to their genome

      Climate change is rapidly becoming a crisis that defies hyperbole.

      For all the sound and fury of climate change denialists, self-deluding politicians and a very bewildered global public, the science behind climate change is rock solid while the impacts – observed on every ecosystem on the planet – are occurring faster in many parts of the world than even the most gloomy scientists predicted.

      Given all this, it’s logical to assume life on Earth – the millions of species that cohabitate our little ball of rock in space – would be impacted. But it still feels unnerving to discover that this is no longer about just polar bears; it’s not only coral reefs and sea turtles or pikas and penguins; it about practically everything – including us.

      Three recent studies have illustrated just how widespread climate change’s effect on life on our planet has already become.

    • The end of coal: EU energy companies pledge no new plants from 2020

      Europe’s energy utilities have rung a death knell for coal, with a historic pledge that no new coal-fired plants will be built in the EU after 2020.

      The surprise announcement was made at a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday, 442 years after the continent’s first pit was sunk by Sir George Bruce of Carnock, in Scotland.

  • Finance

    • Nigel Farage jeered by MEPs after comparing EU to the Mafia

      Nigel Farage has been jeered in Strasbourg after comparing the EU parliament to the Mafia over its Brexit demands of the UK.

      Asked to retract his “unacceptable” remark by the body’s president, Italian Antonio Tajani, the former UKIP leader replied that in respect of national sensitivities he would instead brand them “gangsters”.

    • A New Look At The Lasting Consequences Of Student Debt

      Recent college graduates who borrow are leaving school with an average of $34,000 in student loans. That’s up from $20,000 just 10 years ago, according to a new analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump Removes Stephen Bannon From National Security Council Post

      For the first 10 weeks of President Trump’s administration, no adviser loomed larger in the public imagination than Stephen K. Bannon, the raw and rumpled former chairman of Breitbart News who considers himself a “virulently anti-establishment” revolutionary out to destroy the “administrative state.”

      But behind the scenes, White House officials said, the ideologist who enjoyed the president’s confidence became increasingly embattled as other advisers, including Mr. Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, complained about setbacks on health care and immigration. Lately, Mr. Bannon has been conspicuously absent from some meetings. And now he has lost his seat at the national security table.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Oath isn’t just a terrible name — it’s going to be a nightmare ad-tracking machine

      And now, with the new privacy not-rules, Verizon is free to take the data generated from the tracking supercookies it imposes on its network customers, mash it up with AOL’s ad stack, and promise advertisers hyper-targeted marketing information that can’t be blocked or stopped because Verizon will own both the pipes and an enormous amount of the content flowing through it.

    • DOJ Memo Shows NSA And White House Lawyers Mainly Unconcerned About Evidence Obligations In Criminal Trials

      Charlie Savage of the New York Times has obtained another document detailing the internal guidelines of the NSA’s STELLAR WIND program as a result of the NYT’s long-running FOIA lawsuit against the government. The new document is a memo from the Department of Justice, which details its lawyers’ attempts to suss out the government’s obligation to defendants when it comes to evidence derived from classified surveillance programs.

    • Bipartisan Bill Would Require A Warrant To Search Americans’ Devices At The Border

      As we’ve discussed for many years, Homeland Security and the Justice Department have convinced too many courts that there is some sort of 4th Amendment “exception” at the border, whereby Customs and Border Patrol agents (CBP) are somehow allowed to search through your laptops, phones, tablets and more just because, fuck it, they can. Now bipartisan pairs in both the Senate and the House have introduced a new bill that would require that CBP get a warrant to search the devices of Americans at the border. On the Senate side, the bill is sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden and Rand Paul, and in the House, it’s Reps. Blake Farenthold and Jared Polis. Honestly, it’s absolutely ridiculous that this kind of bill is even needed in the first place, because the 4th Amendment should just take care of it. But with DHS and the courts not properly appreciating the 4th Amendment’s requirment for a warrant to do a search, here we are.

    • Comcast Paid Civil Rights Groups To Support Killing Broadband Privacy Rules

      For years, one of the greasier lobbying and PR tactics by the telecom industry has been the use of minority groups to parrot awful policy positions. Historically, such groups are happy to take financing from a company like Comcast, in exchange for repeating whatever talking point memos are thrust in their general direction, even if the policy being supported may dramatically hurt their constituents. This strategy has played a starring role in supporting anti-consumer mega-mergers, killing attempts to make the cable box market more competitive, and efforts to eliminate net neutrality.

      The goal is to provide an artificial wave of “support” for bad policies, used to then justify bad policy votes. And despite this being something the press has highlighted for the better part of several decades, the practice continues to work wonders. Hell, pretending to serve minority communities while effectively undermining them with bad internet policy is part of the reason Comcast now calls top lobbyist David Cohen the company’s Chief Diversity Officer (something the folks at Comcast hate when I point it out, by the way).

      Last week, we noted how Congress voted to kill relatively modest but necessary FCC privacy protections. You’d be hard pressed to find a single, financially-objective group or person that supports such a move. Even Donald Trump’s most obnoxious supporters were relatively disgusted by the vote. Yet The Intercept notes that groups like the League of United Latin American Citizens and the OCA (Asian Pacific American Advocates) breathlessly urged the FCC to kill the rules, arguing that snoopvertising and data collection would be a great boon to low income families…

    • Revocation Of Broadband Rules Ossifying Poor Privacy Practices, Experts Say

      US President Trump Monday signed the repeal of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broadband privacy rules passed by both houses of Congress in March. The decision by Congress and the new administration to smash the FCC broadband privacy rules, data security and security breach notification obligations do not bode well for internet users who want to have a say with regard to their confidentiality, according to a range of tech experts.

    • Encryption to come under renewed fire from European Commission in June

      D-Day for encryption may be here sooner than you think. The EU justice commissioner Věra Jourová said this week that the European Commission will propose in June new measures to enable police to access data from encrypted apps.

      Jourová said there will be three or four options proposed including binding legislation and voluntary agreements with companies.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • RSF calls on Jokowi to honour pledge to let journalists work in West Papua

      Indonesia is ranked 130th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

    • Final Declaration of the Conference on: Saudi Arabia; Geopolitics in a troubled region

      The Human Rights situation in both Bahrain and Arabia is appalling.


      10- The participants call for the immediate release of human rights activists like Nabeel Rajab, Dr Abdul Jalil AlSingace and Abdul Hadi AlKhawaja of Bahrain and Raif Badawi, Abdulla Al Hamed and Abul Khair of Saudi Arabia. They salute the bravery of these activists and urge the West to embrace Arab activism that seeks to improve human rights and achieve democracy in Arabia.

    • Imam in hiding after backing calls to close Aussie Muslim schools

      [...] when asked whether groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir should be banned in Australia she said they should be treated like “skinheads”.

      “White supremacists and all sorts of remnants of the Nazi Party … are stigmatised and they are actively marginalised and that’s what we should do with Hizb ut-Tahrir, Jemaah Islamiyah, with the Diobandi, with the Muslim Brotherhood, with all Islamism organisations that set up shop in Australia and other liberal societies.”

    • Swansea woman ends Saudi Arabia ‘locked up’ court case

      The court heard Miss Al-Jeffrey, who has dual British and Saudi Arabian nationality, had now been promised freedoms which she did not believe she would have been given by her father had it not been for the proceedings.

    • Malaysian MP: OK for rapists to marry victims, even 9-year-olds can marry
    • Want to Buy an Old CIA Rendition Jet?

      For $27.5 million you can own a valuable memento of a dark period of recent American history. The jet above is currently for sale in Dallas, Texas. The Boeing 737 business jet seats up to 16 passengers and includes one queen and two single beds, a lounge bar, and three built-in 42-inch TV screens. The jet’s listing does not mention, however, that in its former career, it was part of the Central Intelligence Agency’s extraordinary rendition program, transporting “high-value” terrorism detainees around the globe to “black sites” where they faced “enhanced” interrogation techniques.

    • Singapore: Authorities given broad new powers to police protests

      As of 3 April, organizers of public events will have to adhere to strict measures including applying for a permit at least 28 days in advance and informing the police of the estimated size of the gathering. Failure to do so will result in a fine of SGD $20,000 or imprisonment for up to a year, or both.

    • US: Release Singaporean Blogger Amos Yee

      US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials should immediately release persecuted Singaporean activist and blogger Amos Yee, who was granted asylum by a US immigration judge on March 24, 2017, PEN America and Human Rights Watch said today. Yee, who has been detained since December, remains in ICE custody on the grounds that the Department of Homeland Security may file an appeal against the grant of asylum.

    • Why the US Approach to Singapore’s Amos Yee Matters

      The inherent problem of defending free speech is that one cannot pick and choose whose speech to defend. It would be so much simpler if every free speech agitator was intelligible and coherent and dignified. But this is seldom the case. And, to be sure, Amos Yee doesn’t fit that description.

      The 18 year-old Singaporean registered his first high-profile arrest in 2015 when he posted a video online mocking the death of the country’s founder and prime minister, the late Lee Kuan Yew. The deceased statesman’s son, Lee Hsien Loong, currently serves as prime minister. A short part of the video included comments about religion, which led to Amos Yee being convicted for wounding religious feelings, a crime under the Sedition Act, and he served 50 days on remand.

      The following year, Yee was once again in front of the courts, and again for insulting religion after posts he made on his blog. Pleading guilty, he was imprisoned for six weeks and fined almost $1,400 for ignoring a notice issued by the police to present himself for questioning.

    • Muslim gets into Stanford University, wrote ‘BlackLivesMatter’ 100 times in essay

      On his Stanford University application, Ahmed was posed the question, “What matters to you, and why?”

      The activist from Princeton, New Jersey, decided to use the opportunity to write “#BlackLivesMatter” a 100 times.

      To his surprise, the answer caught the attention of the California school’s admissions office and Ahmed received his acceptance letter on Friday.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC, FTC Bosses Pen Misleading Editorial Falsely Claiming The Best Way To Protect Your Privacy Moving Forward… Is To Gut Net Neutrality

      As they’ve long made clear, Trump, FCC boss Ajit Pai, and other net neutrality opponents have every intention of killing net neutrality rules. Of course, given the huge, bipartisan consumer popularity of net neutrality, these folks can’t just come out and say they’re doing that, lest they incur the wrath of internet users and activists. As such, they’ve begun laying the groundwork for a misleading argument that attempts to make gutting oversight of the uncompetitive broadband industry — and killing net neutrality — sound almost pleasant.

      The latest example of this came via an op-ed this week in the Washington Post, jointly written by FCC boss Ajit Pai and FTC boss Maureen Ohlhausen, entitled “No, Republicans didn’t just strip away your Internet privacy rights.” Of course they did, and there’s not any real debate that this is what happened, but this being the post-truth era — countless individuals labor under the illusion that facts are somehow negotiable. Amusingly, the editorial can’t even make it a full sentence without being misleading (read: lying)…

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Advisory Group Supports Industry Demand For Audit Of WHO Pandemic Flu Framework

      The World Health Organization has been recommended to provide details on its spending of funds provided to its pandemic influenza framework by the private sector.

      Last week, a longstanding demand by the private sector – the major financial contributor to the framework – was clearly heard by the framework’s advisory group, which recommended an independent audit, according to sources.

      Other topics addressed by the meeting included the management of virus genetic data under the framework, and how to address the decreasing number of viruses shared with the framework.

    • Trademarks

      • “Curry favour with Donald Trump’” by granting trade mark rights… seriously?

        This Kat has come across several news reports recently on “China is trying to curry favour with the new American president by granting him preliminary approvals to his 38 trade mark registrations” (e.g. here and here), which unfortunately contain some unnecessary negative assumptions upon the Chinese trade mark system. To clear the air, this Kat would like to briefly share some fact-based disagreements.

    • Copyrights

      • American Division Of Persona 5 Developer Warns That Their ‘Masters’ Don’t Want People Streaming Spoilers

        This seems like something we’ll need to keep repeating: revealing entertainment spoilers is not copyright infringement. What ought to be common sense is apparently not so for all kinds of content owners in the entertainment space. As such, DMCA notices or threats for DMCA notices have been used to combat spoiler releases in all kinds of forms, from movie predictions, to television show predictions, to video game footage that reveals spoilers. Some of these instances involve actual footage of the copyrighted material while some don’t, but the core of the matter is that if you’re talking copyright infringement because of spoilers, you’re doing copyright wrong.

        The latest version of this comes from Atlus, developers of Persona 5. The American division of Atlus put out a notice on its website, in which it starts off with bubbling excitement over the release of the game, but then spills into a lecture on what gamers can stream and what they cannot.

      • German Court Rules Parents Must Out Their Family Members For Copyright Trolls Or Pay Fines Themselves

        Copyright trolls are a plague spreading across the world, one which has received far too little social medicine for the taste of many. This virulent form of rent-seeking tends to put out some of the more despicable strategies, from flatout falsely accusing people of piracy, lying to international students about the punishment for copyright infringement, and threatening those that expose their actions.

        But a case that was winding its way through German courts sees copyright trolls there now going even further, winning the argument over whether parents should have to serve their own children up to the courts for copyright trolls.

      • Another Major Scandal At The Copyright Office: $25 Million ‘Fake Budget’ Line Item

        On Monday, we published documents we obtained that revealed a massive amount of incompetence and waste at the Copyright Office. They had officially asked for $1.9 million on a technology modernization program, then spent $11.6 million on it without telling anyone about the ever-growing money pit, only to cancel the contract with the vendor last October with nothing to show for it. Oh, and throughout the process, it appeared that the Copyright Register misled both Congress and the Library of Congress.

        It would appear that this is not the only time that the former Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante, was found to be misleading Congress and the Library of Congress concerning the Copyright Office’s budget and monetary needs. In the recent markup for a bill in the House Judiciary Committee that would make change the Copyright Register position to be a Presidential appointment, rather than by the Librarian of Congress, Rep. Zoe Lofgren revealed that Pallante had apparently put in place a fake $25 million budget line item, asking the Librarian of Congress to testify under oath what it was for, despite it being made up.

      • Kim Dotcom announces Bitcontent, a new Bitcoin venture for content uploaders to earn money

        Controversial New Zealand-based internet mogul Kim Dotcom plans to launch a Bitcoin payments system for users to sell files and video streaming as he fights extradition to the United States for criminal copyright charges.

        The German-born entrepreneur, who is wanted by U.S. law enforcement on copyright and money laundering allegations related to his now-defunct streaming site Megaupload, announced his new venture called ‘Bitcontent’ in a video posted on Youtube this week.

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