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05.20.17

Links 21/5/2017: Linux 3.18.53, Tizen 4.0

Posted in News Roundup at 6:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Sprint NFV/SDN Research Leads to Open Source Project for Network Efficiency

    Mobile carrier Sprint has culminated four years of research into Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) with a new open source offering designed to make core networks more efficient through new-age virtualization techniques.

  • TensorFlow: Providing Support to a Successful Open-Source Project

    Building a community around an open-source project requires a number of practices regarding support, pull requests handling, licensing, and more, writes Pete Warden, TensorFlow Mobile lead at Google.

    A great challenge in the early life of a new project, explains Warden, is providing support to those who are using it. At first, the only available experts are the developers themselves, who have to find a way to integrate their day-to-day tasks with other support duties. This is not entirely straightforward, since it may take developers outside of their comfort zone and potentially distract them from their main tasks. The TensorFlow team dealt with this challenge by establishing a rotation among all engineers, so each engineer took responsibility for a particular area for one full week approximately once every couple of months.

  • AT&T’s Donovan defends operator’s embrace of open source software

    “It really doesn’t have a downside,” Donovan said of the proliferation of open source software in the telecom industry. He explained that operators can either choose to simply obtain open source solutions for free through open source groups, or they can opt to participate in open source communities by designing and building solutions.

  • AT&T’s Donovan: Open Source is Necessary to Win the War

    AT&T’s transformation from traditional telco to an open source champion was largely driven by John Donovan, the company’s chief strategy officer and group president. Donovan took the stage at Light Reading’s Big Communications Event today to tell those questioning the necessity of open source projects that they are “dead wrong.”

    Donovan said that competition from over-the-top players, cable companies, and others are making it critical for AT&T to move to open source. “Our open source projects have doubled in the past year,” Donovan said, adding that sitting around and operating in a traditional telecom mode is no longer effective.

  • 3D Hardware Acceleration in Haiku

    The Mesa renderer in Haiku presently ventures into software rendering. Haiku uses software for rendering frame buffers and then writes them to the graphics hardware. The goal of my project is to port Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) Driver for i915, from the Linux kernel to Haiku with the help of DragonflyBSD’s Linux Compatibility layer, so that those drivers can be later extended to add OpenGL support (Mesa3D) for hardware accelerated 3D rendering.

  • Intertwining Artificial Intelligence With Blockchain

    Except for those folks living under rocks (sounds uncomfortable), everyone knows about or at least has heard of bitcoin. However, not everyone understands the technology of bitcoin, which extends well beyond Internet-based currency.

  • Sprint exec: Chaos in open source indicative of startup culture, and that’s just fine

    Mobile operators are embracing open source like never before, and there’s a lot of confusion around the myriad projects and efforts that are underway, but that doesn’t worry Sprint’s vice president of technology Ron Marquardt.

  • Events

    • Announcing QtCon Brasil 2017

      It’s been almost a year since I, Filipe and Aracele were having a beer at Alexander Platz after the very last day of QtCon Berlin, when Aracele astutely came up with a very crazy idea of organizing QtCon in Brazil. Since then, we have been maturing such an idea and after a lot of work we are very glad to announce: QtCon Brasil 2017 happens from 18th to 20th August in São Paulo.

    • Join us at Akademy 2017 in Almería!

      This talk will illustrate the application areas for Input Methods by example, presenting short introductions to several international writing systems as well as emoji input. It will explain why solid Input Methods support is vital to KDE’s goal of inclusivity and how Input Methods can make the act of writing easier for all of us.

    • Training in Foss Compliance

      The first training “Free and Open Source Software Compliance” is on June 23rd at KDAB’s Berlin training center. It will be held in German. Trainings in English at this and our other locations will follow later in the year. If you would like to learn how to navigate Open Source licensing with confidence, read more and sign up here.

    • Linux Kernel Memory Model Workshop Accepted into Linux Plumbers Conference

      A good understanding of the Linux kernel memory model is essential for a great many kernel-hacking and code-review tasks. Unfortunately, the current documentation (memory-barriers.txt) has been said to frighten small children, so this workshop’s goal is to demystify this memory model, including hands-on demos of the tools, help installing/running the tools, and help constructing appropriate litmus tests. These tools should go a long way toward the ultimate goal of automating the process of using memory models to frighten small children.

    • IBM’s OpenWhisk Stirs up Serverless IoT with Watson

      With the Internet of Things, the realms of embedded Linux and enterprise computing are increasingly intertwined, and serverless computing is the latest enterprise development paradigm that device developers should tune into. This event-driven variation on Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS) can ease application development using ephemeral Docker containers, auto-scaling, and pay-per execution in the cloud. Serverless is seeing growing traction in enterprise applications that need fast deployment and don’t require extremely high performance or low latency, including many cloud-connected IoT applications.

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL 10 Beta 1 Released

      The PostgreSQL Global Development Group announces today that the first beta release of PostgreSQL 10 is available for download. This release contains previews of all of the features which will be available in the final release of version 10, although some details will change before then. Users are encouraged to begin testing their applications against this latest release.

    • PostgreSQL 10 Enters Beta

      More details on the changes to find with PostgreSQL 10 Beta 1 can be found via the informative release announcement posted this morning to PostgreSQL.org.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice can open XLSX files Excel cannot

      Just a quick heads up. I just created and saved an Excel file using Excel 2016, which cannot be opened again with it. Glad our swiss army knife LibreOffice can 😉

      It’s funny to see Excel can open the ODS I created using LibreOffice (as source I used the XLSX file) better than it’s “native” format….

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Free software, free services but what about your data?

      I care a lot about free software, not only as a Debian Developer. The use of software as a service matters as well because my principle free software development is on just such a project, licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License version 3. The AGPL helps by allowing anyone who is suitably skilled to install their own copy of the software and run their own service on their own hardware. As a project, we are seeing increasing numbers of groups doing exactly this and these groups are actively contributing back to the project.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Children’s Perspectives on Critical Data Literacies

      Last week, we presented a new paper that describes how children are thinking through some of the implications of new forms of data collection and analysis. The presentation was given at the ACM CHI conference in Denver last week and the paper is open access and online.

  • Programming/Development

    • Coding is not ‘fun’, it’s technically and ethically complex

      Unfortunately, this rosy portrait bears no relation to reality. For starters, the profile of a programmer’s mind is pretty uncommon. As well as being highly analytical and creative, software developers need almost superhuman focus to manage the complexity of their tasks. Manic attention to detail is a must; slovenliness is verboten. Attaining this level of concentration requires a state of mind called being ‘in the flow’, a quasi-symbiotic relationship between human and machine that improves performance and motivation.

Leftovers

  • Gordon Ramsay on Going From Michelin Stars to a Mobile Game
  • documentation is thoroughly hard
  • Science

    • AI can doctor videos to put words in the mouths of speakers

      Artificial intelligence can put words right into your mouth. A new system takes a still image of a person and an audio clip, and uses them to create a doctored video of the person speaking the audio. The results are still a little rough around the edges, but the software could soon make realistically fake videos only a single click away.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • A Step Forward for Security [iophk: "end point compromise negates many theoretical advantages"]

      While we are all mesmerized by the presidential crises, a small, but quite significant change occurred in Congress: the Senate Sergeant at Arms approved the use of Signal by Senate staff. Signal, a product of Open Whisper Systems, provides end-to-end encryption for Apple and Android phones.

    • Why Europe’s dependency on Microsoft is a huge security risk [iophk: "warning for javascript"]

      On May 12, hackers hit more than a hundred countries, exploiting a stolen N.S.A. tool that targeted vulnerabilities of Microsoft software. The attacks infected only machines running on Windows operative system. Among the victims are public administrative bodies such as NHS hospitals in the UK. Investigate Europe spent months to investigate the dire dependency of European countries on Microsoft – and the security risks this entails

    • NSA told Microsoft about stolen exploits: officials

      Current and former NSA officials say the agency informed Microsoft about the theft of the exploit named EternalBlue after learning of it, making it possible for the Redmond software giant to issue a patch for it in March. The exploit was used in the WannaCry ransomware attacks over last weekend.

    • Shadow Brokers claims Microsoft hand-in-glove with NSA

      The group that released NSA exploits for Windows, which were used in massive ransomware attacks last weekend, has accused Microsoft of being hand-in-glove with The Equation Group, a group that is believed to be a front for the NSA.

    • NSA officials worried about the day its potent hacking tool would get loose. Then it did.

      But for more than five years, the NSA kept using it — through a time period that has seen several serious security breaches — and now the officials’ worst fears have been realized. The malicious code at the heart of the WannaCry virus that hit computer systems globally late last week was apparently stolen from the NSA, repackaged by cybercriminals and unleashed on the world for a cyberattack that now ranks as among the most disruptive in history.

    • Shadow Brokers threaten to unleash more hacking tools

      The so-called Shadow Brokers, who claimed responsibility for releasing NSA tools that were used to spread the WannaCry ransomware through the NHS and across the world, said they have a new suite of tools and vulnerabilities in newer software. The possible targets include Microsoft’s Windows 10, which was unaffected by the initial attack and is on at least 500m devices around the world.

    • Microsoft held back free patch that could have slowed WannaCry
    • WannaCrypt makes an easy case for Linux

      Ransomware is on the rise. On a single day, WannaCrypt held hostage over 57,000 users worldwide, demanding anywhere between $300-$600 in Bitcoin. Don’t pay up and you’ll not be seeing your data again. Before I get into the thrust of this piece, if anything, let WannaCrypt be a siren call to everyone to backup your data. Period. End of story. With a solid data backup, should you fall prey to ransomware, you are just an OS reinstall and a data restore away from getting back to work.

    • Best way to avoid ransomware? Stop using Windows

      There are many Microsoft apologists, astro-turfers, and so-called journalists on the make who, at times like this, keep a low profile and furiously try to spread the message in Web forums that "computers users" are at risk.

      Alas, the harsh truth must at last be faced: if you do not use Windows, then the chances of a ransomware attack are close to zero.

    • Massive cryptocurrency botnet used leaked NSA exploits weeks before WCry

      On Monday, researchers said the same weapons-grade attack kit was used in a much-earlier and possibly larger-scale hack that made infected computers part of a botnet that mined cryptocurrency.

    • No threat of WannaCry attack as GSTN operates on Linux: CEO

      GSTN, set up to provide IT infrastructure for GST rollout, will not be impacted by the WannaCry ransomware attack, as its systems do not run on Microsoft software, the network’s CEO Prakash Kumar said today.

      The Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) is gearing up to handle about 3 billion invoices every month under the new indirect tax regime and will complete the beta testing of its software tomorrow.

      “Our software is not based on Microsoft windows operating system and hence we are immune. We operate on Linux software which is not affected by the ransomware attack,” Kumar told PTI.

      More than 60 lakh excise, service tax and VAT assessees have enrolled on the GSTN portal between November 8, 2016 and April 30, 2017. Currently, there are 80 lakh such assessees.

    • Almost all WannaCry victims were running Windows 7

      According to data released today by Kaspersky Lab, roughly 98 percent of the computers affected by the ransomware were running some version of Windows 7, with less than one in a thousand running Windows XP. 2008 R2 Server clients were also hit hard, making up just over 1 percent of infections.

    • NHS cyber-attack causing disruption one week after [Windows] breach

      Operations and clinic appointments were cancelled and patients were still being diverted from accident and emergency departments on Thursday.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Narendra Modi must begin talks in Kashmir before it is too late

      Things in the Valley have not been this bad in two decades. I don’t measure this by violence, terrorism and fatalities – we have seen much worse years on that count. I say this because battling Pakistan’s armed proxies is much more straightforward than taking on your own people on the street. And cloaking militancy with a protective sheet of civilian agitations, women and teenagers among them, means many of the old conflict zone formulas won’t work.

    • What Trump’s intellligence-sharing with Russia may have cost the US

      That’s because counterterrorism work depends on a high level of trust among partner nations, international security experts say. The partners rely on each other to use the highly sensitive information, which sources may have risked their lives to gather, judiciously and to mutual benefit.

      Violate that trust by loosely sharing intelligence from at-risk sources, the experts add, and information critical to stopping one attack – or prevent a new means of carrying out deadly attacks – can dry up.

    • Donald Trump’s loose lips with Russia may have cost America the trust of European allies

      An unnamed European official has told the Associated Press that his country may stop trusting America with secrets

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The Assange case – now what?

      First of all, the case in itself was remarkably thin. Second, Assange has never been charged with any crime. The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was issued to question him. Such an interview was conducted last November. So, reasonably, the EAW have lost its function.

      So, now… what?

    • Julian Assange Rape Inquiry Is Dropped but His Legal Problems Remain Daunting

      When Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, jumped bail and sought asylum in Ecuador’s embassy five years ago to avoid a Swedish rape investigation, he was considered by many a hero of transparency, internet freedom and resistance to the secret state.

      So when Sweden’s prosecutors announced on Friday that they were abandoning their attempt to extradite him, invalidating the warrant for his arrest, Mr. Assange proclaimed it a happy moment of vindication. “Today was an important victory,” he said.

    • Australia govt needs to help Assange: lawyer

      A legal advisor to Julian Assange says the Australian Government needs to do more to help grant him a safe passage to Ecuador.

      Swedish prosecutors announced on Friday that they would discontinue an investigation into allegations of rape against the Wikileaks founder, which Mr Assange labelled an ‘important victory’.

    • Assange case always had disturbing political background – Ecuadorian FM to RT

      WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has always been under political persecution without any real charges, the Ecuadorian foreign minister told RT, calling for a prompt decision by the UK to grant him safe passage.

    • Julian Assange’s mother calls on Australian Prime Minister to help secure his release

      Julian Assange’s mother has called on the Australian Prime Minister to help her son seek political asylum abroad,

      Christine Assange said she was “very pleased” after Swedish authorities announced they were dropping a rape allegation against him.

      But she told ABC Radio Brisbane: “I’m officially calling on Malcolm Turnbull to step in, act like a Prime Minister, and protect a citizen.”

      “I’d like him to take to task Sweden for what they’ve done breaching his human rights and lying to the media, and I would like him to pressure the UK Government to allow him safe passage to Ecuador.”

    • Sweden drops investigation into WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

      Whether or not he’ll walk free depends on the UK.

    • Sweden Is Dropping Its Rape Investigation Into Julian Assange

      Swedish prosecutors announced today that they were dropping their investigation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange into allegations of rape.

      Director of Public Prosecutions Marianne Ny and Chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren held a press conference in Stockholm today to discuss the decision, saying it was made not because they believe Assange to be innocent necessarily, but because they were unable to formally serve him the allegations during an interview at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, UK in November 2016, where Assange has been in exile since 2012.

    • Julian Assange: Sweden drops rape investigation

      Sweden’s director of public prosecutions has decided to drop the rape investigation into Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

      The move comes ahead of a Stockholm court’s examination of a demand by Mr Assange’s lawyers that Sweden drop his European arrest warrant.

      Mr Assange has lived in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since 2012, trying to avoid extradition to Sweden.

    • Athena

      Today, May 19th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the “Athena” project of the CIA. “Athena” – like the related “Hera” system – provides remote beacon and loader capabilities on target computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system (from Windows XP to Windows 10). Once installed, the malware provides a beaconing capability (including configuration and task handling), the memory loading/unloading of malicious payloads for specific tasks and the delivery and retrieval of files to/from a specified directory on the target system. It allows the operator to configure settings during runtime (while the implant is on target) to customize it to an operation.

      According to the documentation (see Athena Technology Overview), the malware was developed by the CIA in cooperation with Siege Technologies, a self-proclaimed cyber security company based in New Hampshire, US. On their website, Siege Technologies states that the company “… focuses on leveraging offensive cyberwar technologies and methodologies to develop predictive cyber security solutions for insurance, government and other targeted markets.”. On November 15th, 2016 Nehemiah Security announced the acquisition of Siege Technologies.

    • WikiLeaks Reveals ‘Athena’ CIA Spying Program Targeting All Versions of Windows

      WikiLeaks has published a new batch of the ongoing Vault 7 leak, detailing a spyware framework – which “provides remote beacon and loader capabilities on target computers” – allegedly being used by the CIA that works against every version of Microsoft’s Windows operating systems, from Windows XP to Windows 10.

      Dubbed Athena/Hera, the spyware has been designed to take full control over the infected Windows PCs remotely, allowing the agency to perform all sorts of things on the target machine, including deleting data or uploading malicious software, and stealing data and send them to CIA server.

    • How a Pakistani journalist exposed the CIA’s most secretive operation

      Masood Anwar’s story triggered a global search for the plane that blew the lid off the notorious “extraordinary rendition” programme. It all started with the registration number of a private jet that had whisked away a terrorism suspect from Karachi.

    • ‘WikiLeaks Will Always Be the Bad Boy’

      Has WikiLeaks become a tool of Russian propaganda? Platform founder Julian Assange, 45, responds to the accusations, addresses the effects of hackers on Western elections and talks about the “WannaCry” attack.

    • Sweden Withdraws Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, but He Still Faces Serious Legal Jeopardy

      Swedish prosecutors announced this morning that they were terminating their 7-year-old sex crimes investigation into Julian Assange and withdrawing their August 20, 2010, arrest warrant for him. The chief prosecutor, Marianne Ny, said at a news conference this morning (pictured below) that investigators had reached no conclusion about his guilt or innocence, but instead were withdrawing the warrant because “all prospects of pursuing the investigation under present circumstances are exhausted” and it is therefore “no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence.”

      [...]

      But that celebration obscures several ironies. The most glaring of which is that the legal jeopardy Assange now faces is likely greater than ever.

      Almost immediately after the decision by Swedish prosecutors, British police announced that they would nonetheless arrest Assange if he tried to leave the embassy. Police said Assange was still wanted for the crime of “failing to surrender” — meaning that instead of turning himself in upon issuance of his 2012 arrest warrant, he obtained refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy. The British police also, however, noted that this alleged crime is “a much less serious offence” than the one that served as the basis for the original warrant, and that the police would therefore only “provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence.”

      That could perhaps imply that with a seriously reduced police presence, Assange could manage to leave the embassy without detection and apprehension. All relevant evidence, however, negates that assumption.

      Just weeks ago, Donald Trump’s CIA director, Mike Pompeo, delivered an angry, threatening speech about WikiLeaks in which he argued, “We have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.” The CIA director vowed to make good on this threat: “To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.”

      Days later, Attorney General Jeff Sessions strongly suggested that the Trump DOJ would seek to prosecute Assange and WikiLeaks on espionage charges in connection with the group’s publication of classified documents. Trump officials then began leaking to news outlets such as CNN that “U.S. authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.”

    • Assange case proves ‘UK an American vassal state’ that can’t stop extraditions

      There has possibly been some back room deal that led to the Swedish authorities dropping rape charges against Julian Assange, said former MI5 officer Annie Machon. Other activists and analysts provide their views.

      Swedish prosecutors dropped the rape investigation against WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange ending a seven-year standoff and will revoke its arrest warrant, according to the Swedish Prosecution Authority.

      Assange has been in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, and with the threat of extradition to the US for leaking classified national security documents hanging over him.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • ‘Doomsday’ seed vault meant to survive global disasters breached by climate change

      Fortunately, the water hasn’t flooded the vault itself. It only got to the entrance of the tunnel, where it froze. (The seeds are stored at minus 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit.) But the incident has raised questions over the durability of a seed bank that was supposed to operate without people’s intervention.

    • One fourth of armed conflicts in ethnically divided countries coincide with climatic problems: Study

      A research conducted by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research found almost one fourth of armed conflicts in ethnically divided countries happen at the same time as climatic problems. The researchers studied armed conflicts and climate-related natural disasters between 1980 and 2010 using event coincidence analysis.

    • Volvo says no more diesel engines, the future is electric

      Samuelsson said that Volvo’s first purely electric vehicle will arrive in 2019. He also paid a mighty compliment to Elon Musk’s EV outfit. "It must be acknowledged that Tesla has managed to offer such a car for which the people are queuing. In the area, we should also have space, with high quality and attractive design," he told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook ‘dark ads’ will win this election for the Tories – unless you do something about it

      Personal information – from your age, location to whether you own a home and what music you like – held by Facebook allows political parties to target specific voters with tailored messages when they purchase advertising space from the social media platform.

    • Recep Tayyip Erdogan caught on video watching his guards beat up Kurdish protesters in Washington DC
    • The World’s Worst Negotiation

      In a single brief meeting with Russian officials, President Trump not only divulged classified information, he also handed them a damaging account of his decision to fire James Comey

    • Something about Trump cybersecurity executive order seems awfully familiar

      Trump’s cybersecurity order cribs from his predecessor, despite campaign bluster.

    • Any Half-Decent Hacker {sic} Could Break Into Mar-a-Lago. We Tested It.

      "Those networks all have to be crawling with foreign intruders, not just [Gizmodo and] ProPublica," said Dave Aitel, chief executive officer of Immunity, Inc., a digital security company, when we told him what we found.

    • Trump’s Mar-a-Lago can be hacked in minutes: investigators

      Experts told ProPublica and Gizmodo that they wouldn’t be surprised if foreign intruders have already managed to breach those networks.

      "[It's] bad, very bad," said Jeremiah Grossman, chief of security strategy for cybersecurity firm SentinelOne. "I’d assume the data is already stolen and systems compromised."

    • Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago wifi wide open to ‘any half-decent hacker’ {sic}
    • The abysmal information security at Trump properties has probably already compromised US secrets

      The team found multiple unsecured wireless networks, unsecured and open wireless printers, misconfigured routers, an unsecured website from which they could "download a database that appears to include sensitive information on the club’s members and their families" and more.

    • After Promising a ‘Fair Hearing’ on Monuments, Secretary Zinke Shuts Out the Public

      As the Interior Department considers unprecedented changes to protected lands, avenues for public input have been curtailed.

    • President Trump’s exit a matter of time
    • Video shows Turkey’s Erdogan watched from limo as his guards bashed protesters in Washington, D.C.

      New video hit the internet today showing the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, looking on as armed security guards from his entourage violently attacked protesters demonstrating outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington.

    • In Video, Erdogan Watches as His Guards Clash With Protesters

      Nine people were hospitalized after the skirmish, and the State Department issued a stern statement condemning the attack.

    • The 25th Amendment Solution for Removing Trump

      One does not need to be a Marvel superhero or Nietzschean Übermensch to rise to this responsibility. But one needs some basic attributes: a reasonable level of intellectual curiosity, a certain seriousness of purpose, a basic level of managerial competence, a decent attention span, a functional moral compass, a measure of restraint and self-control. And if a president is deficient in one or more of them, you can be sure it will be exposed.

      Trump is seemingly deficient in them all. Some he perhaps never had, others have presumably atrophied with age.

    • A Citizen’s Guide to Impeachment

      Despite his astonishing incompetence, the overwhelming majority of Republicans stand with him. And in a recent poll of Trump voters, only 2% would change their vote to be against him.

      Most on my side literally cannot understand how these polls could be true. But I believe that we must accept them, and then, as citizens, we need to reckon this radical disconnect between us.

    • Elizabeth Warren Tests the Waters for 2020

      Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday waded into the flamewar for the soul of the Democratic Party that Bernie Sanders started in 2016, with an impassioned speech decrying the increasing concentration of money and power in the highest, most rarefied echelons of American society.

    • Saudi Arabia to serve Donald Trump steak and ketchup to keep him happy

      When President Donald Trump sits down for dinner in Saudi Arabia, caterers have ensured that his favourite meal — steak with ketchup on the side — will be offered alongside traditional local cuisine.

      At Nato and the G7 summits, foreign delegations have had word the new US president prefers short presentations and lots of visual aids.

    • Trump Is a Cornered Megalomaniac—and That’s a Grave Danger to the Country

      With a cascade of leaks, a war with the FBI, and the announcement of the appointment of a special counsel to investigate allegations of wrongdoing, Donald Trump’s grotesque presidency now hangs by a thread. By the hour, it seems, the possibility of impeachment, of him being declared incompetent to govern—or, at the very least, of his own party bringing irresistible pressure on him to resign—grows.

      And as that pressure grows, so balloons the peril of our moment. For the 18 months that Trump has been center-stage politically, he has shown an extraordinary commitment to demagoguery, to flirtations with mob violence, to peddling conspiracy theories, to military grandstanding to distract attention from his problems, and to race-and-religion-baiting whenever the mood suits. He has demonstrated utter contempt for the separation of powers, extraordinary hostility to the free press, and a disconcerting fondness for dictators the world over. He has also shown himself to be brittle and thin-skinned, relishing the ability to use his vast platform to attack those he deems to be his personal “enemies,” but unable to tolerate disagreement or dissent when it is directed at him.

      Why do I rehash all these known traits now? Because—cornered, humiliated, and increasingly in legal peril—Trump will likely resort to all of the tricks of the demagogue as he fights for his survival. This is a man who has never played fair in his life, who takes pleasure in inflicting hurt on those weaker than himself, and who believes that ideals, or simply basic decency, are mere annoyances in the one game that matters: the game of power.

    • The Real Aim of Trump’s Trip to Saudi Arabia

      Donald Trump sets off on Friday to create the fantasy of an Arab Nato. There will be dictators aplenty to greet him in Riyadh, corrupt autocrats and thugs and torturers and head choppers. There will be at least one zombie president – the comatose, undead Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria who neither speaks nor, apparently, hears any more – and, of course, one totally insane president, Donald Trump. The aim, however, is simple: to prepare the Sunni Muslims of the Middle East for war against the Shia Muslims. With help from Israel, of course.

      Even for those used to the insanity of Arab leadership – not to mention those Westerners who have still to grasp that the US President is himself completely off his rocker – the Arab-Muslim (Sunni) summit in Saudi Arabia is almost beyond comprehension. From Pakistan and Jordan and Turkey and Egypt and Morocco and 42 other minareted capitals, they are to come so that the effete and ambitious Saudis can lead their Islamic crusade against “terrorism” and Shiism. The fact that most of the Middle East’s “terrorism” – Isis and al-Qaeda, aka the Nusrah Front – have their fountainhead in the very nation to which Trump is travelling, must and will be ignored. Never before in Middle Eastern history has such a “kumidia alakhta” – quite literally “comedy of errors” in Arabic – been staged.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Facebook blocks Pulitzer-winning reporter over Malta government exposé

      Temporary censorship of Matthew Caruana Galizia – who worked on the Panama Papers – raises concern over Facebook’s power to shape the news

    • Theresa May promises a British version of Iran’s Halal Internet

      UK Prime Minister and noted authoritarian Theresa May has promised that if she wins the upcoming general election, her party will abolish internet access in the UK, replacing it with a government-monitored internet where privacy tools are banned and online services will be required to vet all user-supplied content for compliance with rules about pornography, political speech, copyright compliance and so on — and search engines will have to emply special British rules to exclude banned material from their search results.

    • Theresa May to create new internet that would be controlled and regulated by government
    • Theresa May outlines Tory plan to create new, censored Internet controlled by UK government

      Yesterday, during her speech describing the current Tory Manifesto, Theresa May revealed that she plans to build a "new Internet," over which the government has complete control. The goal in the Tory internet plan is to become "the global leader in the regulation of the use of personal data and the internet." The manifesto states: [...]

    • Abolish geoblocking in the EU, civil society organisations demand

      This must be the first of multiple steps towards abolishing digital borders in Europe, not the last, several interest groups today demand in an open letter to the EU institutions.

    • What do you do when you realize your government has blocked you for Wrongthink?

      Something remarkable happened in Sweden this week: a list of 15,000 people with the wrong political opinions was used to block those people from the @Sweden account, and thereby preventing these people from communicating over Twitter with that part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The government tried defending the block as only concerning neo-nazi right-wing extremists, which was a narrative that held water in legacy media until somebody pointed out that the Ambassador of Israel (!) was among the blocked.

      [...]

      The Ministry of Foreign Affairs unblocked everybody and destroyed the blocklist – but only after getting Freedom-of-Information requests to have it handed out. This is an extremely illegal act in Sweden, as all governmental documents are transparent by default and must be handed out on request, with no counterdemands allowed. Destroying records is illegal in the first place. Destroying records after they are against-all-efforts-to-cover-up embarrassing, and after they have been requested, goes directly against the Swedish Constitution since 1766.

    • Anti-protest laws are stifling free speech in Australia

      The line between legitimate protest and unlawful obstruction needs to be carefully drawn. But these excessive laws make it impossible to make that determination. No government should have the right to stifle protest in this way. Australia, and the rest of the world, should be very wary of the outcome of this case.

    • Open letter urging further action to end geoblocking in the EU [Warning for PDF]

      The EU must take decisive action against digital borders that today divide the people of Europe, discriminate against minority language speakers, inconvenience millions and cause substantial losses to the EU economy.

    • Killing parody, killing memes, killing the internet?

      We love the internet because it creates fantastic opportunities to express ourselves and to innovate.

      But do we love it enough to pass it on to future generations?

    • Theresa May to create new internet that would be controlled and regulated by government

      Theresa May is planning to introduce huge regulations on the way the internet works, allowing the government to decide what is said online.

      Particular focus has been drawn to the end of the manifesto, which makes clear that the Tories want to introduce huge changes to the way the internet works.

    • MIT student sues CIA for information about its social media jokes

      A lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency — and no, it’s not a joke.

      Amy Johnson, a PhD student and researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is suing the CIA for failing to turn over documents, as part of a public records request, about the agency’s social media policies and how it manages its official Twitter account.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Killing C.I.A. Informants, China Crippled U.S. Spying Operations

      The Chinese government systematically dismantled C.I.A. spying operations in the country starting in 2010, killing or imprisoning more than a dozen sources over two years and crippling intelligence gathering there for years afterward.

      Current and former American officials described the intelligence breach as one of the worst in decades. It set off a scramble in Washington’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies to contain the fallout, but investigators were bitterly divided over the cause. Some were convinced that a mole within the C.I.A. had betrayed the United States. Others believed that the Chinese had hacked the covert system the C.I.A. used to communicate with its foreign sources. Years later, that debate remains unresolved.

      But there was no disagreement about the damage. From the final weeks of 2010 through the end of 2012, according to former American officials, the Chinese killed at least a dozen of the C.I.A.’s sources. According to three of the officials, one was shot in front of his colleagues in the courtyard of a government building — a message to others who might have been working for the C.I.A.

    • Feds use anti-terror tool to hunt the undocumented

      An unsealed federal search warrant affidavit obtained by The News is the first public acknowledgment that agents are using secret devices that masquerade as a cell tower to find people who entered the U.S. illegally, privacy and civil liberty experts said.

    • Undocumented Immigrant Hunt Expands Use of Controversial Stingray Tech

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Shahid Buttar concurred. "Once you start giving agencies fancy toys, and somebody is making money off of it, they are going to use them for more things, and ultimately oppress your rights," Buttar told the Free Press.

    • Facebook hit with fines and investigations in six EU countries over privacy law breaches

      Three EU countries – Belgium, France, and the Netherlands – have determined that Facebook is breaking their privacy laws, while Germany and Spain are still investigating the US company. The news was announced in a joint statement from the Contact Group of the data protection authorities (DPAs) of the Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and the German city of Hamburg. As a result, the French authorities have imposed a fine of €150,000 (about $166,000) on Facebook. The move comes hard on the heels of a €3 million fine (around $3.3 million) imposed by Italy on Facebook’s subsidiary WhatsApp last week over its handling of customer data.

    • 4 Items That Can Take On Anything The Internet Throws At You

      Well you should still look at privacy software because …

    • Tor Browser 7.0a4 is released

      This will probably be the last alpha before the first stable release in the 7.0 series.

    • ALTwitter – profiling with metadata

      EDRi’s Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellow Sid Rao created a platform called ALTwitter, which combines the metadata collected from public Twitter accounts of the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and presents them graphically. Without going through all their tweets, one can learn a lot about their work areas, the devices they use, the types of websites they refer to, when they are the most active, and so on. What we can learn about the person only based on these metadata is indeed much more than we would first expect!

    • Twitter rolls out new privacy tools as it ditches Do Not Track and expands data sharing

      Twitter is dumping its support for Do Not Track (DNT), changing how it shares user data with third parties, and holding any web browsing data it collects for a longer duration—all to better aid in ad targeting, of course.

    • Facebook Fined $122 Million Over WhatsApp Deal for Misleading EU

      Facebook Inc. was fined 110 million euros ($122 million) by the European Union for misleading regulators during a 2014 review of the WhatsApp messaging service takeover on the same day the EU threatened to heavily penalize Patrick Drahi’s Altice NV for implementing for a second time a deal before getting regulatory clearance.

    • In Europe political attitudes are changing to Facebook

      Facebook counts a quarter of the world’s population – 1.94bn accounts – as monthly active users, with 354m in Europe. WhatsApp has 1.2 billion users, while Facebook-owned Instagram has 700m monthly active accounts. This vast scale has given it an air of an unstoppable behemoth trampling over rivals and across borders.

      However, politicians across Europe have started to question the role of tech giants in EU member states. Where once there was a feeling that the capitalism and tech ideas coming from the US were good for Europe, attitudes are changing.

    • Why open source AI voice assistants pose little threat to Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri

      The AI voice assistant in question is Mycroft, and the so-called "challenging" of market heavyweights is beyond silly. Mycroft has 36 contributors, with minimal outside interest. A total of 104 developers have bothered to follow it on Github, and it has garnered fewer than 1,000 stars (a way for developers to register interest). Another project associated with data infrastructure, Kubernetes, meanwhile, has 1,191 contributors, 23,205 stars, 1,733 people watching it, and 8,163 forks. That is what "challenging X for market superiority" looks like.

    • The machine is learning
    • It’s coming: another call for everyone’s DNA to be collected and stored permanently

      The head of the Hamburg Institute for Legal Medicine, Klaus Püschel, has called for the DNA of everybody in Germany – including tourists – to be collected and stored. As a story in the German news magazine Der Spiegel (Google Translate version) reported, Püschel wants this because [...]

    • UK government watchdog examining political use of data analytics

      The use of data analytics by political parties has piqued the interest of the Information Commissioner’s Office, a UK public body that protects data rights. On Wednesday it launched a formal investigation into the targeting of voters through social media by political parties, warning that any messages sent to people based on identifying data could be breaking the law.

    • PornHub’s Owner is About to Card Everybody in the UK

      Privacy advocates are fearful that MindGeek, which has over 100 million daily visitors to its sites that include PornHub and Brazzers, could create a database of adult viewing habits on a scale never seen before. MindGeek is "the largest adult entertainment operator globally," according to the porn industry press.

    • Boy, 11, hacks {sic} cyber-security audience to give lesson on ‘weaponisation’ of toys

      "Most internet-connected things have a Bluetooth functionality … I basically showed how I could connect to it, and send commands to it, by recording audio and playing the light," he told AFP later.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Security chiefs agree there’s no point extending laptop flight ban to Europe

      A four-hour meeting in Brussels ended in agreement not to enforce the ban which is already in place between a number of ‘mostly Muslim’ countries, however, reports claim that other measures were still being considered.

    • Laptop ban will create ‘economic tsunami’ in travel industry if electronic devices banished to hold

      Simply put, the ripple effects of this could create an economic tsunami the likes of which terrorists are dreaming of, but instead it will be at the hand of government directive.

    • Don’t Profit From Abuses by Bahrain

      Yemen has entered its third year of war, and war crimes are being committed at an escalating rate. For Yemen’s children, facing a man-made famine, this conflict between Houthi rebels and a coalition led by Saudi Arabia has begun a new phase of horrors.

    • British Human Rights Activist Faces Prison For Refusing To Hand Over Passwords At UK Border

      As Techdirt readers will recall, in 2013 David Miranda was held by the UK authorities when he flew into Heathrow airport, and all of his electronic equipment was seized, in an act of blatant intimidation. His detention was under Schedule 7 of the UK’s Terrorism Act, which, as its name implies, is supposed to be used only if someone is involved in committing, preparing or instigating “acts of terrorism.”

      That was clearly ridiculous in Miranda’s case, and it’s just as outrageous in the latest example of UK border bullying, this time against Muhammad Rabbani. He’s a British citizen, and the international director of Cage, which describes itself as “an independent advocacy organisation working to empower communities impacted by the War on Terror.”

    • The strange death, and even stranger life of “Cocaine Cowboy” Andrew Carter Thornton II

      Andrew Carter Thornton II (ACT II) is a name unknown to most except as a piece of historical trivia – the man who fell from the sky in 1985 with millions of dollars of cocaine strapped to his body. To a few others, he’s one of the men tied to a drug operation that was fueling and fueled by government corruption, whose roots were traced as far as the Kentucky Governor’s mansion. But reality, revealed through his FBI file, is even stranger, tracing the corruption surrounding ACT II back to the CIA.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC votes to dismantle net neutrality as critics cry ‘war on open internet’

      The Obama-era ruling came after a massive campaign by online activists who successfully saw off the lobbying might of the US’s largest cable companies. A similar battle will now ensue as the month’s long process of reviewing the rules begins. At the end of the review a final FCC vote will decide the future of internet regulation; court challenges are inevitable whatever the result.

    • Journalist allegedly "manhandled by FCC guards" for asking questions

      "When Donnelly strolled in an unthreatening way toward FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly to pose a question, two guards pinned Donnelly against the wall with the backs of their bodies until O’Rielly had passed," the report said. "O’Rielly witnessed this and continued walking."

    • OnPolitics Today: Your Internet is about to get less open

      Republicans succeeded in a party-line vote to start replacing the rules, which keep Internet providers from blocking or slowing down your Internet at will. The rules also keep corporations from getting paid to prioritize certain content’s delivery to users over others.

    • Net neutrality goes down in flames as FCC votes to kill Title II rules

      The Federal Communications Commission voted 2-1 today to start the process of eliminating net neutrality rules and the classification of home and mobile Internet service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act.

      [...]

      The FCC plans to take comments on its plan until August 16 (the docket is available here), and then make a final decision sometime after that.

    • Internet Providers Insist They Love Net Neutrality. Seriously?

      The rules won’t disappear overnight. In a party-line vote today, the FCC formally agreed to start the process of gathering feedback before drafting a more specific plan, which could take months (#bureaucracy). But FCC chair Ajit Pai has made it clear that, barring a successful legal challenge, the agency will give up its authority to actually enforce net neutrality regulations.

    • The FCC just voted to begin "Destroying Internet Freedom" and overturn net neutrality

      Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to kill net neutrality under the guise of "Restoring Internet Freedom." The lone FCC commissioner in favor of the Open Internet Order and the net neutrality rules we had enjoyed over the last few years, Mignon Clyburn, said the change would be better named "Destroying Internet Freedom" instead of "Restoring Internet Freedom."

    • [Older] The Republican push to repeal net neutrality will get underway this week

      The vote on Thursday, led by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, will kick off consideration of a proposal to relax regulations on companies such as Comcast and AT&T.

    • Ajit Pai accidentally supports utility rules and open-access networks

      But returning to 1990s-era Internet regulation would require more of the Title II utility-style regulation that Pai abhors, not less. If we had 1990s and early 2000s regulatory policy, Internet providers would be forced to open their networks to companies that want to resell Internet access, potentially unleashing a wave of competition in a market where today’s consumers often have no choice of high-speed broadband providers.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • EU Votes Today On Content Portability to Reduce Piracy (Updated)

        Members of the European Parliament will vote today on draft rules that would allow citizens to enjoy legally purchased music and movie streaming subscriptions when they travel to another EU country. It’s hoped that improved access to content will help to dampen frustrations and reduce Internet piracy.

      • Elsevier Wants $15 Million Piracy Damages From Sci-Hub and Libgen

        ‘Pirate’ sites Sci-Hub and LibGen face millions of dollars in damages in a lawsuit filed by Elsevier, one of the largest academic publishers. Elsevier has requested a default judgment of $15 million against the defendants for their "truly egregious conduct" and "staggering" infringement.

      • [Older] A brief visual history of MARC cataloging at the Library of Congress.

        The Library of Congress has released MARC records that I’ll be doing more with over the next several months to understand the books and their classifications. As a first stab, though, I wanted to simply look at the history of how the Library digitized card catalogs to begin with.

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