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05.13.17

Links 13/5/2017: Neptune Plasma 5 ISO, a Shift to Free (FOSS) Databases

Posted in News Roundup at 2:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Fonts and presentations

    When you’re giving a presentation, the choice of font can matter a lot. Not just in terms of how pretty your slides look, but also in terms of whether the data you’re presenting is actually properly legible. Unfortunately, far too many fonts are appallingly bad if you’re trying to tell certain characters apart. Imagine if you’re at the back of a room, trying to read information on a slide that’s (typically) too small and (if you’re unlucky) the presenter’s speech is also unclear to you (noisy room, bad audio, different language). A good clear font is really important here.

  • Science

    • Trump’s Expected Pick for Top USDA Scientist Is Not a Scientist

      The USDA’s research section studies everything from climate change to nutrition. Under the 2008 Farm Bill, its leader is supposed to serve as the agency’s “chief scientist” and be chosen “from among distinguished scientists with specialized or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.”

      But Sam Clovis — who, according to sources with knowledge of the appointment and members of the agriculture trade press, is President Trump’s pick to oversee the section — appears to have no such credentials.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • New Report on U.S. Ocean and Great Lakes Economy Shows Growth

      The ocean economy includes businesses dependent on ocean and Great Lakes natural resources. This essential segment of the U.S. economy also employed more than 3 million people—more than crop production, telecommunication and building construction combined—with over two thirds of those employees in the tourism and recreation sector.

    • Action Alert: NYT Misleads on Children’s Pre-Existing Conditions

      But when you read the HHS report that Pelosi was referencing, the Times‘ “factcheck” is even more deceptive. The 4 million and 17 million figures are not the low and high estimates of the government about the same phenomenon; they’re counting two separate things, and the first figure intentionally leaves out massive numbers of kids with pre-existing conditions.

    • Understanding Sea Level Rise in the Nation’s Largest Estuary

      Chesapeake Bay Sentinel Site Cooperative researchers are working towards a better understanding of how the nation’s largest estuary is changing over time due to rising sea levels. Scientists are collecting data with tide stations and other tools at sentinel sites around the Bay. Through intensive studies and long-term observations at these stations, Cooperative partners are helping to create a clearer picture of sea level and ecological changes in this region to better inform coastal decision-makers about the health of the Bay now and into the future.

    • Taking Data Further with Standards

      Imagine reading a book, written by many different authors, each working apart from the others, without guidelines, and published without edits. That book is a difficult read — it’s in 23 different languages, there’s no consistency in character names, and the story gets lost. As a reader, you have an uphill battle to get the information to tell you one cohesive story. Data is a lot like that, and that’s why data standards matter. By establishing common standards for the collection, storage, and control of data and information, data can go farther, be integrated with other data, and make “big data” research and development possible.

      For example, NOAA collects around 20 terabytes of data every day.Through the National Ocean Service, instruments are at work daily gathering physical data in the ocean, from current speed to the movement of schools of fish and much more. Hundreds of government agencies and programs generate this information to fulfill their missions and mandates, but without consistency from agency to agency, the benefits of that data are limited. In addition to federal agencies, there are hundreds more non-federal and academic researchers gathering data every day. Having open, available, comprehensive data standards that are widely implemented facilitates data sharing, and when data is shared, it maximizes the benefits of “big data”— integrated, multi-source data that yields a whole greater than its parts.

    • Sullied seasoning: Sea salts come with a dash of microplastics

      When plastic garbage makes its way to the sea, it eventually breaks down into tiny fragments that return to us in salty seasonings, Malaysian researchers report in Scientific Reports.

      In a survey of 16 sea salts from eight countries, researchers found microplastic particles lurking in all but one. In total, the researchers collected 72 particles from the salts and used micro-Raman spectroscopy to identify their components, which were mainly plastic polymers and pigments.

    • Dakota Access pipeline has first leak before it’s fully operational

      “It doesn’t give us any pleasure to say, ‘I told you so.’ But we have said from the beginning that it’s not a matter of if, but when,” the Earthjustice attorney told the Guardian on Wednesday. “Pipelines leak and they spill. It’s just what happens.”

      [...]

      The company has fought in court to keep information about the status of the project confidential.

    • [Old] 220 ‘Significant’ Pipeline Spills Already This Year Exposes Troubling Safety Record

      Three major U.S. pipeline spills within the last month are just a small part of the 220 significant incidents reported so far this year—and 3,032 since 2006—that provide a stark reminder of the environmental hazards of an aging pipeline infrastructure carrying fossil fuels. The costs of these leaks since 2006 has amounted to $4.7 billion.

  • Security

    • ‘CIA malware plants Gremlins’ on Microsoft machines – WikiLeaks

      WikiLeaks has released the latest instalment in the #Vault7 series, detailing two apparent CIA malware frameworks dubbed ‘AfterMidnight’ and ‘Assassin’ which it says target the Microsoft Windows platform.

    • WannaCry ransomware used in widespread attacks all over the world

      Earlier today, our products detected and successfully blocked a large number of ransomware attacks around the world. In these attacks, data is encrypted with the extension “.WCRY” added to the filenames.

      Our analysis indicates the attack, dubbed “WannaCry”, is initiated through an SMBv2 remote code execution in Microsoft Windows. This exploit (codenamed “EternalBlue”) has been made available on the internet through the Shadowbrokers dump on April 14th, 2017 and patched by Microsoft on March 14.

    • NHS left reeling by cyber-attack: ‘We are literally unable to do any x-rays’

      Thousands of patients across England and Scotland have been in limbo after an international cyber-attack hit the NHS, with many having operations cancelled at the last minute.

      Senior medics sought to reassure patients that they could be seen in the normal way in emergencies, but others were asked to stay away if possible.

      According to one junior doctor who works in a London hospital, the attack left hospitals struggling to care for people. “However much they pretend patient safety is unaffected, it’s not true. At my hospital we are literally unable to do any x-rays, which are an essential component of emergency medicine,” the doctor told the Guardian.

    • “Worst-Ever Recorded” Ransomware Attack Strikes Over 57,000 Users Worldwide, Using NSA-Leaked Tools

      Update 4: According to experts tracking and analyzing the worm and its spread, this could be one of the worst-ever recorded attacks of its kind. The security researcher who tweets and blogs as MalwareTech told The Intercept “I’ve never seen anything like this with ransomware,” and “the last worm of this degree I can remember is Conficker.” Conficker was a notorious Windows worm first spotted in 2008; it went on to infect over nine million computers in nearly 200 countries.

    • Ransomware mess: high time for Microsoft to act [iophk: "close, it's high time to ditch Windows across the board"]

      Lets’ remember one thing: the ransomware and exploits are just the effects. The vulnerabilities in Windows are the cause.

    • NHS hospitals across the UK hit by large-scale ransomware attack

      Malware said to be spreading via Windows SMB exploit first outed in February

    • Tories cut security support for outdated NHS computers a year ago despite warnings of vulnerability to hackers

      The Government Digital Service, set up by David Cameron, decided not to extend a £5.5million one-year support deal with Microsoft for Windows XP.

    • We Wuz Warned

      The tools that are infecting computers worldwide were indeed developed by, and then leaked from, the NSA. (Thanks for nothing, spooks.) The bitcoin.com article contains tips about how to protect yourself, and links to Windows patches, if you haven’t yet been hit. Fortunately for us, the attacks seem to be focused on Windows systems; our Linux desktops are so far unscathed.

    • NSA-created cyber tool spawns global attacks — and victims include Russia

      Leaked alleged NSA hacking tools appear to be behind a massive cyberattack disrupting hospitals and companies across Europe, Asia, with Russia among the hardest-hit countries.

      But the Department of Homeland Security told POLITICO it had not confirmed any attacks in the U.S. on government targets or vital industries, such as hospitals and banks.

    • GCHQ tweeted about keeping Britain cyber-safe and it majorly backfired
    • Leaked NSA Hacking Tool On Global Ransomware Rampage [Ed: No, the problem isn't "patching" or "upgrade", the problem is Windows itself, irrespective of which version (back doors)]

      Thus, there’s some debate online about whether the “problem” here is organizations who don’t upgrade/patch or the NSA. Of course, these things are not mutually exclusive: you can reasonably blame both. Failing to update and patch your computers is a bad idea these days — especially for large organizations with IT staff who should know better.

    • An NSA-derived ransomware worm is shutting down computers worldwide
    • WCry is so mean Microsoft issues patch for 3 unsupported Windows versions [Ed: Back doors in old versions of Windows belatedly closed because Microsoft risks losing millions of useds [sic] for good]
    • Six things you need to know about IoT security
    • OpenStack Cloud Security Moves Forward

      When it comes to understanding security in the cloud and specifically security in OpenStack clouds, there are many factors to consider. In a panel session moderated by eWEEK at the OpenStack Summit in Boston, leaders from across different elements of the OpenStack security spectrum provided insight and recommendations on cloud security.

      Security is a broad term in the OpenStack context and isn’t just one single item. There is the OpenStack Security Project, which has a mission to help build tools and processes that help to secure OpenStack and its various projects. There is also the Vulnerability Management Team (VMT) that handles vulnerabilities for OpenStack project. Security in OpenStack is also reflected in various OpenStack projects, including notably Project Barbican for security key management. Finally there is just general security for cloud deployment by operators, which includes secure configuration and monitoring.

    • Intel’s Management Engine is a security hazard, and users need a way to disable it

      Since 2008, most of Intel’s CPUs have contained a tiny homunculus computer called the “Management Engine” (ME). The ME is a largely undocumented master controller for your CPU: it works with system firmware during boot and has direct access to system memory, the screen, keyboard, and network. All of the code inside the ME is secret, signed, and tightly controlled by Intel. Last week, vulnerabilities in the Active Management (AMT) module in some Management Engines have caused lots of machines with Intel CPUs to be disastrously vulnerable to remote and local attackers. While AMT can be disabled, there is presently no way to disable or limit the Management Engine in general. Intel urgently needs to provide one.

      This post will describe the nature of the vulnerabilities (thanks to Matthew Garrett for documenting them well), and the potential for similar bugs in the future. EFF believes that Intel needs to provide a minimum level of transparency and user control of the Management Engines inside our CPUs, in order to prevent this cybersecurity disaster from recurring. Unless that happens, we are concerned that it may not be appropriate to use Intel CPUs in many kinds of critical infrastructure systems.

    • ‘Accidental hero’ halts ransomware attack and warns: this is not over

      Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a user’s data, then demands payment in exchange for unlocking the data. This attack used a piece of malicious software called “WanaCrypt0r 2.0” or WannaCry, that exploits a vulnerability in Windows. Microsoft released a patch (a software update that fixes the problem) for the flaw in March, but computers that have not installed the security update remain vulnerable.

    • Vanilla Forums Open Source Software Vulnerable to RCE, Host Header Injection Vulnerability

      Popular open source forum software suffers from vulnerabilities that could let an attacker gain access to user accounts, carry out web-cache poisoning attacks, and in some instances, execute arbitrary code.

    • Vanilla Forums has a plain-flavoured zero-day

      The popular Vanilla Forums software needs patching against a remote code execution zero-day first reported to the developers in December 2016.

      Published by ExploitBox, the zero-day “can be exploited by unauthenticated remote attackers to execute arbitrary code and fully compromise the target application when combined with Host Header injection vulnerability CVE-2016-10073.”

      The problem arises because Vanilla Forums inherits a bug in PHPMailer. The mailer uses PHP’s mail() function as its default transport, as discussed by Legal Hackers here.

    • Google Fuzzing Service Uncovers 1K Bugs in Open-Source Projects

      Today’s topics include Google’s fuzzing service uncovering more than 1,000 bugs in open-source projects in five months, VMware helping Google make Chromebooks better for business; Edward Snowden advocating the need for open source and OpenStack; and Dell EMC aiming servers at data center modernization efforts.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The universal lesson of the courage of East Timor

      On May 5, John Pilger was presented with the Order of Timor-Leste by East Timor’s Ambassador to Australia, Abel Gutteras, in recognition of his reporting on East Timor under Indonesia’s brutal occupation, especially his landmark documentary film, Death of a Nation: the Timor Conspiracy. The following was Pilger’s response…

      Filming undercover in East Timor in 1993 I followed a landscape of crosses: great black crosses etched against the sky, crosses on peaks, crosses marching down the hillsides, crosses beside the road. They littered the earth and crowded the eye.

      The inscriptions on the crosses revealed the extinction of whole families, wiped out in the space of a year, a month, a day. Village after village stood as memorials.

      Kraras is one such village. Known as the “village of the widows”, the population of 287 people was murdered by Indonesian troops.

      Using a typewriter with a faded ribbon, a local priest had recorded the name, age, cause of death and date of the killing of every victim. In the last column, he identified the Indonesian battalion responsible for each murder. It was evidence of genocide.

    • Lockheed Martin-Funded Experts Agree: South Korea Needs More Lockheed Martin Missiles

      As tensions between the United States and North Korea continue to rise, one think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), has become a ubiquitous voice on the topic of missile defense, providing Official-Sounding Quotes to dozens of reporters in Western media outlets. All of these quotes speak to the urgent threat of North Korea and how important the United States’s deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system is to South Korea…

    • NPR Can’t Help Hyping North Korean Threat

      North Korea’s dictatorial government uses the threat of war as a propaganda tool against its own population—fostering loyalty to itself and its military establishment. As NPR’s own reporting (3/23/16) put it, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un “needs to establish his own legitimacy, and that means standing up to enemies.” According to Brookings’ Sheena Greitens, interviewed in that piece: “North Korea might use a range of strategies…but we should remember that they’re all aimed at the same underlying, fundamental objective: ensuring Kim’s political survival.”

      If North Korea’s warlike propaganda is so transparent, what should we think of the US media? Of course, professional journalists claim to pursue the truth, and report it in nobody’s interest but the public’s. But what if even a “serious” outlet like National Public Radio launches a flurry of fear-mongering at a word from the Pentagon? A survey of its coverage since March 8 suggests that NPR has promoted the perspective of the US government at the expense of public understanding of US/North Korean relations. The construction of foreign “threats” benefits both a national government hungry for legitimacy—and news organizations hungry for an audience.

  • Finance

    • Donald Trump Is Waging a War on Workers
    • Behind Many ‘Mom and Pop’ Bail Bonds Shops Is a Huge Insurance Corporation Out to Profit From Misery

      Every year, money bail boosts bail insurance corporations’ profits at the expense of millions of low-income people of color.

      Eleven years ago, San Diego, California, resident Melodie Henderson was arrested for assault after a minor altercation with a former coworker. Her bail was set at $50,000. This was before a judge ever laid eyes on her.

      Although she was employed, there was just no way Melodie would ever have been able to come up with the $50,000 she needed to post bail to be released while she fought her case in court. Her other option was to pay a bail bonds company a 10% nonrefundable fee, but with a $50,000 bail amount, it would be hard for her to come up with the $5,000 on her own. Of course there was third option: to sit in jail while her case moved forward, but that wasn’t an option at all. She was in her early 20s, working and going to school part time, while also taking care of her 6-year-old sister and her grandmother, who was undergoing chemotherapy. Her bail felt like punishment before she even went to trial.

    • Globalism, Neoliberalism and the Big Questions of Our Time

      Annoyingly for the neo-liberals, many of the most regulated economies in the world continue to be the most productive countries in the world. This stubborn fact is extremely frustrating for the neo-liberals, and leads them to make fools of themselves coming up with the daftest possible explanations (see Ryan Bourne above). It is also why they are desperate to destroy the French model (see Macron above).

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • WikiLeaks offers $100K for tapes of President Trump-James Comey conversations

      WikiLeaks has offered $100,000 to anyone who can send them any tapes of conversations between President Trump and former FBI director James Comey.

      The offer from the antisecrecy organization — which infamously published emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta last year — was made Friday via Twitter: “WikiLeaks offers US$100k for the Trump-Comey tapes. To increase the reward send Bitcoin to reward address.”

    • Media Are Literally Copy-and-Pasting ICE Press Releases

      Without going through every DHS and ICE press release and cross-checking them against local media reports, it’s impossible to document the scope of the problem. But with a half-dozen glaring examples in just the past few weeks alone, it appears rampant in local media. Rewriting press releases to mindlessly advance a government narrative is bad enough; literally plagiarizing government press releases in the service of the same ends is a whole new low in corporate media stenography.

    • Action Alert: Asking Questions of Government Figures Is Not a Crime

      West Virginia state police arrested Dan Heyman, a veteran reporter with Public News Service, for repeatedly asking Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price whether being a target of domestic violence would be considered a “pre-existing condition,” allowing health insurance to be denied, under the new Republican healthcare bill.

      The charge: “willful disruption of governmental processes.”

      Capitol police “decided I was just too persistent in asking this question and trying to do my job and so they arrested me,” Heyman told reporters (The Hill, 5/9/17). “First time I’ve ever been arrested for asking a question. First time I’ve ever heard of someone getting arrested for asking a question.”

    • Journalists as State Functionaries

      The media know perfectly well that the reason May needs protection from difficult questions – and even advance notice of soft ones – is that she is hopeless. Her refusal to debate Corbyn and her car crash interview with Marr illustrate that. But our servile media cover up for her by colluding in entirely fake events.

      I learn from a BBC source that in the special Question Time the BBC have organised for May in lieu of a debate, questioners will be selected in advance and May will see the questions in time to prepare.

      My observation that the Conservative platform is in its essentials identical to the BNP manifesto of 2005 has received widespread social media coverage. I simply cannot conceive that the UK can have become so right wing. Now add to that, it has become so authoritarian there is no reaction to advance vetting of journalists questions – something Vladimir Putin does not do. And very few people seem to care.

    • How a Tory Mayor spent nearly £1m on his election by bypassing spending limits

      Some rights reservedA Conservative candidate is reported to have spent nearly £1m to become the new Mayor of West Midlands. And yet campaign spending limits imposed by the Electoral Commission fall far short of that.

      Andy Street narrowly beat Labour’s Sion Simon in the hotly fought election and won despite expectations in the local elections held last week. The former businessman was managing director of John Lewis from 2007 to 2016

      This is how Street justified his spending to the BBC’s Today programme: “I haven’t spent quite a million, but I have spent a substantial amount more than my opponents and actually I think that’s OK, and I’ll tell you why. This is a very important election; a new start in democracy for this region. It is 2.5 million people and so it is absolutely appropriate. We have worked within the rules, which are that if you raise money you can spend it.”

      The rules are that candidates have a limit of around £130,000 for the final five weeks leading up to the Mayoral election.

    • Crown Prosecution Service Colludes in Tory Election Fraud

      So the Conservative Party broke electoral law, that is not in question and they have been fined for it by the Electoral Commission. But no individual may be prosecuted because Conservative Party HQ told them to do it? Their defence was that they are collectively all crooks, and this was accepted by the “independent” Crown Prosecution Service?

      On top of which, the Crown Prosecution Service also colludes with the Tory Party by repeating the lie the Tories have assiduously spread that the allegations only related to the “Battlebus”. Of course for generations every Party Leader has campaigned from a “Battlebus”, singular, and the public are familiar with it. The Tory meme then goes everyone does that, why is it illegal?

    • Kris Kobach, the ‘King of Voter Suppression,’ Will Lead Trump’s Sham Voter Fraud Commission. Be Afraid, Very Afraid.

      The ACLU’s Voting Rights Project director tells us what to watch out for from a “voting fraud commission” led by a fraud.

      President Trump signed an executive order yesterday forming a commission to investigate voter fraud and voter suppression after repeatedly claiming, without evidence, that the United States has a “major problem” with illegal voting.

      In response to the executive order, the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project immediately filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding that the government release any “evidence” it has to support President Trump’s claims of voter fraud. Too often in our country’s history, accusations of voter fraud have been used to justify unnecessary and unconstitutional restrictions on the right to vote.

    • S.O.S. — America Needs Our Help, Time to Get to Work

      We are tearing ourselves apart. If we do not stop we will destroy our nation. You wanted a crisis? You got one.

    • Moving Forward to 2018? The Danger of Undead Hillary

      Media regularly now run stories “telling” Trump voters how bad their decision was. Many outlets unlikely to be read by Trump voters produce elaborate charts and expert commentary about how whatever Trump is doing with taxes or the economy will negatively affect voters in Red states the most. The implication is hah, hah, suckers, you voted for more jobs and you’ll get nothing! Tag-on articles also include dubious surveys showing vast numbers of Trump voters agree with statements like “Even though Trump policies will definitely kill my mother in front of my eyes, I’d still vote for him.” That’s a two-fer: you were dumb to vote for him once, Cletus, and you still won’t admit how freaking dumb you are.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • FOI request reveals a porno site suggesting a blanket ban on porno sites for the Digital Economy Bill
    • Facebook shuts down atheist and ex-Muslim groups amid claims they are being targeted by ‘fundamentalists’

      Facebook has been accused of shutting down ex-Muslim and atheist groups amid claims they were targeted by ‘fundamentalists’ who wanted them closed.

      This week the social media company temporarily closed the pages of Atheist Republic, which has more than 1.6million followers, and the Ex-Muslims of North America, liked almost 25,000 times.

      It is believed Facebook closed the groups after a flurry of complaints from people taking advantage of the company’s ‘flagging’ tools to falsely report the pages.

    • Now Canceled Crowdfunding Project Sent DMCA Notice Following Skeptical Review

      A few months back, I saw some news about a crowdfunding project on IndieGogo, called Titan Note. It was a little a cylindrical device that acted as a microphone, and the guys behind the project insisted that it could transcribe notes with fairly incredible levels of accuracy. The device got some press coverage — including a quite reasonably skeptical piece at The Verge, entitled “No way this transcription gizmo is as good as it claims to be.” There was a lot more skepticism around the project in the comments to the project as well. On top of that, the project’s marketing pitch seemed… wrong. That is, it positioned the device as a thing that you could use to “stop taking notes” in classes and meetings in order to pay better attention and learn more. But… that’s just wrong. Because the process of taking notes yourself actually helps you commit things to memory. That is, taking notes helps you pay better attention, and thus if you actually used the device the way it was advertised, you might get less out of lectures and meetings.

    • Public Access Channel Tries To Shut Down Use Of Council Meeting Video Clips; Claims They Aren’t Fair Use
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Oakland City Council Committee Advances Measure to Require Transparency and Public Process for Surveillance Tech

      On May 9, the Public Safety Committee of the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to approve a proposed “Surveillance and Community Safety Ordinance.” The measure, passed on to the Council by the city’s Privacy Advisory Commission, is modeled on a law enacted in spring 2016 by Santa Clara County and could set a new standard for municipal reforms seeking transparency, oversight, and accountability to restrain otherwise unrestrained surveillance.

      Once approved by the full Council, the ordinance will require the Oakland Police Department to seek City Council approval before adopting or deploying new surveillance technologies. The measure will also provide community members with an opportunity to comment on such proposals, and the use policies for these technologies, before the City Council makes its decisions.

    • California Senate Committee Votes Against Privacy for Our Travel Patterns

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU of California joined forces with California State Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) on Tuesday to testify in favor of S.B. 712 (text), a bill that would have allowed drivers to cover their license plates when parked in order to protect their travel patterns from private companies operating automated license plate readers (ALPRs).

      The Senate Transportation and Housing Committee heard testimony on how private ALPR companies are collecting massive amounts of data on innocent people’s driving patterns and selling it for profit. Despite learning how this data may be misused to target vulnerable communities by the federal government, a Democratic majority voted to kill the bill 5-6.

    • The Fight Against General Warrants to Hack Rages On

      The federal government thinks it should be able to use one warrant to hack into an untold number of computers located anywhere in the world. But EFF and others continue to make the case that the Fourth Amendment prohibits this type of blanket warrant. And courts are starting to listen.

      Last week, EFF pressed its case against these broad and unconstitutional warrants in arguments before a federal court of appeals in Boston, Massachusetts. As we spelled out in a brief filed earlier this year, these warrants fail to satisfy the Fourth Amendment’s basic safeguards.

    • The FCC Pretends to Support Net Neutrality and Privacy While Moving to Gut Both

      FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has proposed a plan to eliminate net neutrality and privacy for broadband subscribers. Of course, those protections are tremendously popular, so Chairman Pai and his allies have been forced to pay lip service to preserving them in “some form.” How do we know it’s just lip service? Because the plan Pai is pushing will destroy the legal foundation for net neutrality. That’s right: if Pai succeeds, the FCC won’t have the legal authority to preserve NN in just about any form. And if he’s read the case law, he knows it.

      Let’s break it down.

    • Danger Ahead: The Government’s Plan for Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Threatens Privacy, Security, and Common Sense

      Imagine if your car could send messages about its speed and movements to other cars on the road around it. That’s the dream of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which thinks of Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication technology as the leading solution for reducing accident rates in the United States. But there’s a huge problem: it’s extremely difficult to have cars “talk” to each other in a way that protects the privacy and security of the people inside them, and NHTSA’s proposal doesn’t come close to successfully addressing those issues. EFF filed public comments with both NHTSA and the FTC explaining why it needs to go back to the drawing board—and spend some serious time there—before moving forward with any V2V proposal.

    • China Is on Track to Fully Phase Out Cash [Ed: Using technology as an excuse/pretext to take away rights we once had, including anonymous payments]

      “People basically run their lives through smartphones in China,” said Ben Cavender, senior analyst at Shanghai-based China Market Research Group. “If you compare the US to China in terms of how people access the internet, China is much more heavily slanted toward smartphones. People are already spending so much time on their smartphones; it’s logical for them to have the tools they need in one place.”

    • Certain HP laptops are found recording users’ keystrokes [Ed: but only if you use Microsoft Windows]
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • 6 Things I Learned When The Cops Raided My House By Mistake
    • No Dogs, No Indians

      Lean’s Passage to India was part of the Raj revival of the early 1980s in the UK—Salman Rushdie wrote witheringly about it in ‘Outside the Whale’. Three decades later, plus ça change. Intriguingly, in these films and TV shows, there is little on how Indians responded to this shaming provocation. The sign itself was part of colonial policy to keep Indians in their place, to remind them of their subhuman status in the machinery of empire, despite the collaborators, the clerks, the judges, the teachers, the district officers, the maharajas, as well as all the soldiers who laid down their lives in the thousands for Europe’s battles.

    • Tip of the Day: The Unfair and Imbalanced Culture of Sexual Harassment at Fox News

      Bill O’Reilly’s abrupt dismissal from Fox News in April serves as a long, hard fought victory for those who have called him out for his sexist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, and classist rhetoric. Over the past two decades, viewers of Fox News have been subjected to O’Reilly’s histrionic tirades against women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community, among others. For some, O’Reilly’s rants tapped into the their own sexist attitudes toward minorities, while cultivating a culture of domination and discrimination in the workplace. But for many others, O’Reilly’s patriarchal, racist, and elitist denigrations of women and minorities emboldened a countercultural resistance to the “Mad Men” view of the office.

    • Big Media Need to Fight for the Right to Protest

      West Virginia state police arrested Dan Heyman, a veteran reporter with Public News Service, for repeatedly asking Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price whether being a target of domestic violence would be considered a “pre-existing condition,” allowing health insurance to be denied, under the new Republican healthcare bill (FAIR Action Alert, 5/10/17).

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Temporarily Stops Taking Net Neutrality Comments So FCC Can ‘Reflect’

      Okay, let’s be quite clear here: this is not some crazy new thing that the FCC is doing, but it’s important for members of the public to understand what’s happening. As lots of people have been commenting (some of which are fake) on the FCC’s proposed plan to rollback net neutrality, the FCC will be temporarily be shutting down the ability to comment. This is not in response to the fake comments. Nor is it in response to the site being overwhelmed — whether by John Oliver or [snort!] random DDoS attacks that no one else can see.

    • Even The Cable Lobby’s Questionable Survey Shows Most Americans Want Net Neutrality

      Meanwhile, when the survey starts asking about general principles, it actually finds strong support. One question defined net neutrality and laid out terms, saying, “Net neutrality is a set of rules which say Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T, and Verizon cannot block, throttle, or prioritize certain content on the Internet.” Knowing that, it asked, “do you support or oppose net neutrality?”

      A total of 61% of respondents indicated their support to that question; another 21% registered as unsure. A total of 18% opposed or strongly opposed neutrality when the terms were made clear. That’s a pretty clear 40-point majority supporting net neutrality.

    • The anti-net neutrality bot spamming the FCC is pulling names from leaked databases

      The Verge examined a dozen names and addresses used in the FCC spam comments that were also tied to emails in that dump. Those email addresses, when searched for in the data leak database Have I Been Pwned, all come up as matches for the RCM list, suggesting the RCM list, or a variation of the Special K list, may have been the source for many of the identities used in the comments.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Tough Mudder Threatens Local Rotary Club Over ‘Significant Use Of The Color Orange’

        While most minds will naturally recoil at the idea of a single company getting a trademark on an entire color for use in a certain marketplace, it’s a thing that exists. And it exists widely enough that even smallish entities are getting in on this game. Far from the game T-Mobile likes to play in pretending it owns all uses of the color magenta in every market, it’s becoming more common to see lesser known companies trademark base colors such as purple and yellow for their markets. If the idea that these basic colors can be locked up commercially in this way strikes you as laughable, your antennae are tuned correctly.

    • Copyrights

      • European Publishing Lobby Forces Compromise on Marrakesh Treaty

        The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled was one of the most fiercely contested treaty negotiations at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Representatives of publishers and other copyright holder groups spent years unashamedly lobbying against an instrument that would provide access to the written word to blind and other print disabled users. Despite their efforts to derail the negotiations, the treaty was finally agreed in 2013, and came into force last year.

        But that wasn’t the end of it. An important step towards the realization of the treaty’s benefits is the implementation of the treaty by the countries where the books for adaptation into accessible formats are published. It happens that a large proportion of those books, especially those in French (which is spoken in many parts of Africa) and in Spanish (spoken throughout Latin America), originate from Europe. Therefore many blind and print disabled users have eagerly awaited Europe’s implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty to unlock its many promised benefits.

      • Hold ISPs Responsible For Piracy After Brexit, Music Biz Says

        The powerful UK Music coalition, which includes the BPI and PRS, has published its 2017 manifesto. It takes a keen interest in IP issues, particularly post-Brexit. UK Music says that the UK’s departure from the EU will provide a good opportunity to clarify issues with hyperlinking and also to hold ISPs accountable for piracy.

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