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06.24.17

Links 24/6/2017: GNOME Music Improves, FreeBSD 11.1 Beta 3

Posted in News Roundup at 6:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • [Older] Andy Rubin says Essential’s Ambient OS will be open source, just like Android

    Playground CEO Andy Rubin, whose new company Essential unveiled a new premium Android smartphone and Amazon Echo competitor today, says his company’s Ambient OS smart home platform will be open source. That means that Rubin, who rose to fame in the tech industry for co-founding Android, essentially wants to apply the same open-source philosophy that made Android the most dominant mobile operating system to the smart home.

  • [Older] How to Build Open Source Communities

    Seeing programming as a social activity changes how we build communities around programming. We should focus on building a community, and not on building a codebase, argued Ash Furrow at Craft. He suggested using a code of conduct, moving long or heated discussions into a Skype call or Google Hangout, avoiding fixing easy issues yourself, and distributing power and responsibilities.

  • [Older] R3’s open-source distributed ledger platform ‘Corda’ goes into public beta

    R3, the financial innovation company that runs blockchain consortium, announced that it’s open-source, financial-grade, distributed ledger platform ‘Corda’ has entered into first public beta.

    The release of the public beta represents a step forward in the path of Corda, towards API stabilization for production applications. The announcement was first made by Richard Gendal Brown, Chief Technology Officer of R3, last week.

  • As Blockchain Advances, Developers Look To Open Source As A Solution

    As the digitization of financial transactions becomes ever more mainstream, with Bitcoin’s core technology blockchain leading the way, the rapid adaptation raises security concerns at the same time its enhanced efficiency is being exploited. A recent Greenwich Associates survey highlights the conundrum but also points to solutions.

  • Free vs Open

    Here’s why. Corporations are not people, and so can’t “behave ethically” — doing so requires consciousness as a minimum. The people they employ can be expected to behave ethically, but a corporation will follow its programming to optimise the objectives stated in its bylaws. The people tending the machine can steer it towards different ways of achieving those objectives and can express their ethical selves through their choices, but they are not free to justify preferences purely on the basis of ethics. As a consequence, most advocacy of Open Source has focussed on helping those corporate employees demonstrate the value arising from it rather than the values motivating the people involved with it.

  • Events

    • The perils of live demonstrations

      Yesterday, I was giving a talk at the The South SF Bay Haskell User Group about how implementing lock-step simulation is trivial in Haskell and how Chris Smith and me are using this to make CodeWorld even more attractive to students. I gave the talk before, at Compose::Conference in New York City earlier this year, so I felt well prepared. On the flight to the West Coast I slightly extended the slides, and as I was too cheap to buy in-flight WiFi, I tested them only locally.

  • Databases

    • A beta for PostgreSQL 10

      PostgreSQL version 10 had its first beta release on May 18, just in time for the annual PGCon developer conference. The latest annual release comes with a host of major features, including new versions of replication and partitioning, and enhanced parallel query. Version 10 includes 451 commits, nearly half a million lines of code and documentation, and over 150 new or changed features since version 9.6. The PostgreSQL community will find a lot to get excited about in this release, as the project has delivered a long list of enhancements to existing functionality. There’s also a few features aimed at fulfilling new use cases, particularly in the “big data” industry sector.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice: Professional Typography Fully Arrives

      Three decades ago, StarDivision, the ancestor of LibreOffice and OpenOffice, was designed as an intermediate desktop publisher. However, many LibreOffice improvements are designed for users who insist on using it like a typewriter and entering manual formatting. Unofficially, I have been told that LibreOffice developers feel that, since manual formatting is the way most people use it, development for people who want advanced typography is a low priority. Finally, however, in the 5.3 release, LibreOffice has given advanced users a major feature: the ability to add advanced features automatically — a feature that, after almost a century and a half, gives home typists the ability to do advanced typesetting.

      That sounds like an exaggeration, so let me explain. Typewriters were a major advance over handwriting, but still fell short of producing copy that was as polished as what a printing shop could do. To add bold on most typewriters, a typist had to backspace and type over the same letters again, often blurring the letters. Adding italics was even worse, because they could only be indicated by the old copy editing notation of underlining.

      Word processors were a significant improvement over typewriters, but still generally fall short of complete professionalism. For instance, Bold and italic were available with a few clicks. However, far too many word processors continue to manufacture their own small capitals, the letters used to improve the look of several upper case letters in a row — and, often, the result was hideous.

    • Locked in by choice: Why the Italian Defence Department is switching to open source office

      Italy’s Defence Department began migrating to open source software in September 2015. It aims to replace Microsoft Office on 100,000 desktops with LibreOffice by 2020.

      Geneal Camillo Sileo was the man behind the decision to switch to open source. LibreDifesa – the name of his digital migration project – is a success, he says.

      “We have conducted a study and we have concluded that Microsoft Office and Libre Office were just as good for our needs.”

      The advantage of open source is that the code can be tailored to the needs of each organisation. “There should be a willingness to move towards that.”

    • Locked in by choice: How European governments are handling their Microsoft addiction

      In 2012, the then European Union (EU) commissioner for digital agenda, Neelie Kroes, said that not only EU institutions, but all government bodies throughout Europe should implement open standards. Her policy was designed to free public bodies from dependence on proprietary software suppliers.

      The UK has made the biggest strides in encouraging large government departments to increase their use of open source software, through initiatives by the Government Digital Service (GDS). Although local authorities and the NHS are still heavily reliant on proprietary software, the message is gradually spreading to smaller government departments in Britain.

      But five years on, EU civil servants rely on Microsoft Office and Windows. As a result, the public sector is hooked on a digital dependence on Microsoft that costs billions of any currency. Experts say this inhibits innovation and raises technical, political and security risks.

    • Announcing automatically updating Linux LibreOffice builds

      I’m finally ready to announce LibreOffice daily builds for Linux that integrate our new automatic updater. The work on the automatic updater has been going on for nearly a year now and is finally in a shape that we produce builds on TDF hardware that will automatically update using delta updates.

      The current builds are 64-bit Linux builds created on SLES 12.2 and should run on most Linux distros. These builds are .tar.gz based archives that you can extract and just run. Note that we can’t update builds that are placed into locations that are not writeable by the current user (and due to missing support for signing executables and libraries on Linux there are no plans to change that).

  • Python

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Making money with foss

      Because we are interested in making money, this post will took us all over the place. On the one hand we have the greedy businesses, and on the other side the diligent developer. Licenses were never discussed in hbo or university, which is interesting because these are the methods corporations use to make money. I think having discussed the overview and shown some concrete examples was a good exercise. I was not aware at all for example of the AGPLv3 practices which are interesting (without passing moral judgment). My blog seems to be really focused on money, but this is a reflection of what I’m worried about these days, having almost graduated.

    • Open-source software may save money, but what about monetization?

      While the open-source delivery model has emerged as a highly popular success, the problem remains that free downloadable software does not usually lead to revenue. But a growing number of cloud network entrepreneurs are becoming convinced that focusing their efforts on providing specific services for the enterprise computing marketplace is their path to the promised land.

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Firefox Focus for Android, Torvalds reflects on Linux, and more news
    • Finnish firm offers €30,000 prize to kick start open-source wood design

      Finnish materials firm Metsä Wood has launched the Open Source Wood initiative to encourage architects and engineers to make more use of the material. The idea is to make the company’s own intellectual property freely available to designers, and as an additional incentive, to offer a €30,000 prize for “exceptional designs” that are undertaken as part of the initiative and use one of its product lines.

    • Open Access/Content

      • University of Missouri launches systemwide initiative to adopt affordable and open educational resources

        On Wednesday, University of Missouri System President Mun Choi and Chancellors Leo Morton, Tom George, Garnett Stokes and Christopher Maples announced a plan that will save students significant amounts of money on textbooks and other course materials. This effort is designed to reduce the cost of attendance and enhance learning for students. The plan takes advantage of Open Educational Resources, or class materials that are free for students, and AutoAccess, which is a program that makes textbooks and class materials available online at a lower cost than traditional learning resources.

      • Textbook Costs to Drop Under University of Missouri Plan

        University system President Mun Choi wants to use more open-source learning material written by experts, vetted by their peers and posted for free downloading. Choi spoke about the effort Wednesday at an event with members of the Board of Curators, administrators, lawmakers, faculty from all four campuses and student representatives, the Columbia Daily Tribune (http://bit.ly/2t2L4HQ ) reported.

  • Programming/Development

    • Free and ready-to-use cross-compilation toolchains

      For all embedded Linux developers, cross-compilation toolchains are part of the basic tool set, as they allow to build code for a specific CPU architecture and debug it. Until a few years ago, CodeSourcery was providing a lot of high quality pre-compiled toolchains for a wide range of architectures, but has progressively stopped doing so. Linaro provides some freely available toolchains, but only targetting ARM and AArch64. kernel.org has a set of pre-built toolchains for a wider range of architectures, but they are bare metal toolchains (cannot build Linux userspace programs) and updated infrequently.

    • D Language accepted for inclusion in GCC

      I am pleased to announce that the GCC Steering Committee has accepted the D Language front-end and runtime for inclusion in GCC and appointed Iain Buclaw as maintainer.

    • Is Complexity Bad?

      You can essentially think of complexity as a distinction between two different types. Accidental and necessary complexity. Necessary complexity is okay, but accidental complexity will absolutely ruin your day as a programmer.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Assembling the history of Unix

      The moment when an antique operating system that has not run in decades boots and presents a command prompt is thrilling for Warren Toomey. He compares it to restoring an old Model-T. “An old car looks pretty, but at the end of the day its purpose is to drive you somewhere. I love being able to turn the engine over and actually get it to do its job.”

      Toomey, an Australian university lecturer, founded the Unix Heritage Society to reconstruct the early history of the Unix operating system. Recently this historical code has become much more accessible: we can now browse it in an instant on GitHub, thanks to the efforts of a computer science professor at the Athens University of Economics and Business named Diomidis Spinellis. The 50th anniversary of the invention of Unix will be in 2019; the painstaking work of Toomey and Spinellis makes it possible for us to appreciate Unix’s epic story.

    • Turkey to stop teaching evolution in high school

      Turkish high school students will no longer be taught the theory of evolution.

      The subject has been cut from the curriculum under changes made to eliminate “controversial” topics, the head of the national board of education, Alpaslan Durmus, announced in a video address.
      “If our students don’t have the background, the scientific knowledge, or information to comprehend the debate around controversial issues, we have left them out,” Durmus said.
      The new curriculum will go into effect for the 2017- 2018 school year.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • You Can’t Debate Health Care If You’re Dead

      So why are more people not talking about this? Why is this not the only thing anyone is talking about?

    • Plastic Water Bottles Might Have Poisoned Ancient Californians

      To make a Chumash-style plastic bottle, you start by weaving a bottle-shaped basket. Then you combine bitumen and pine pitch in an abalone shell. You have to melt them together, but you don’t place the abalone directly onto the fire. Instead, you roast some pebbles in a fire until they are piping hot. Remove the pebbles, place them in the abalone, and stir them around until the the mixture is wet, hot, and bubbly. Finally, use a stick to paint the molten bitumen over the bottle-shaped basketry.

    • Fukushima’s Radiation Will Poison Food “for Decades,” Study Finds

      Three of the six reactors at Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi complex were wrecked in March 2011 by an earthquake and tsunami. The destruction of emergency electric generators caused a “station blackout” which halted cooling water intake and circulation. Super-heated, out-of-control uranium fuel in reactors 1, 2, and 3 then boiled off cooling water, and some 300 tons of fuel “melted” and burned through the reactors’ core vessels, gouging so deep into underground sections of the structure that to this day operators aren’t sure where it is. Several explosions in reactor buildings and uncovered fuel rods caused the spewing of huge quantities of radioactive materials to the atmosphere, and the worst radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean ever recorded. Fukushima amounts to Whole-Earth poisoning.

      Now, researchers say, radioactive isotopes that were spread across Japan (and beyond) by the meltdowns will continue to contaminate the food supply for a very long time.

  • Security

    • Practical waterholing through DNS typosquatting

      Typosquatting has been known and abused since the 90’s, mostly for phishing, but is it still profitable for water-hole kind of attacks?

    • Encryption and Firewalls – Unleaded Hangout
    • Windows 10 S security brought down by, of course, Word macros [Ed: By Microsoft Peter (damage control)]

      But if that protection is flawed—if the bad guys can somehow circumvent it—then the value of Windows 10 S is substantially undermined. The downside for typical users will remain, as there still won’t be any easy and straightforward way to install and run arbitrary Windows software. But the upside, the protection against malware, will evaporate.

    • Microsoft claims on Windows 10 S security blown away

      Microsoft’s claims that no known ransomware can run on Windows 10 S have been blown sky high by a researcher – in just three hours.

    • A Stack Clash disclosure post-mortem
    • Hardened/Gentoo Hardened and Stack Clash
    • [Older] If your home wifi router is on this list, it might be vulnerable to CIA hacking tools

      For the past four months, WikiLeaks has been slowly publishing a series of documents that describe a plethora of hacking tools, which the anti-secrecy organization says belong to the US Central Intelligence Agency. The latest release, published June 15, is a batch of documents describing tools that can be used to hack home wifi routers.

      The collection of tools, which the documents refer to as “CherryBlossom,” can be used to monitor internet activity on networks that use the routers it infects. CherryBlossom infects routers by identifying their make and model and injecting malicious firmware into them. This kind of hack, when successful, is nearly impossible to detect because it infects the hardware itself and is not something anti-virus software is capable of checking.

    • Under pressure, Western tech firms bow to Russian demands to share cyber secrets

      Western technology companies, including Cisco, IBM and SAP, are acceding to demands by Moscow for access to closely guarded product security secrets, at a time when Russia has been accused of a growing number of cyber attacks on the West, a Reuters investigation has found.

      Russian authorities are asking Western tech companies to allow them to review source code for security products such as firewalls, anti-virus applications and software containing encryption before permitting the products to be imported and sold in the country. The requests, which have increased since 2014, are ostensibly done to ensure foreign spy agencies have not hidden any “backdoors” that would allow them to burrow into Russian systems.

    • AMD’s Epyc is a major advance in security

      AMD’s Zen core has been revealed in detail but with Epyc the company added a few juicy details. SemiAccurate is particularly interested in the security aspects on the new CPU line which is what we will discuss here.

    • 32TB of Windows 10 beta builds, driver source code leaked [Updated] [Ed: Microsoft has long hidden holes rather than disclosure/patch them. It admitted this, too. What happens now that source code is leaked? Article by Microsoft Peter, i.e. damage control.]
    • Sudo or Sudo Not, There Is No (4th) Try

      If you’ve been using Linux for any length of time, at some point in some tutorial or troubleshooting guide you’ve more than likely encountered Linux’s magic word: “sudo”. A casual observer probably can tell you that it’s used to access restricted functions on your computer, but there is much more to it than that.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Invisible Empire Beneath the Radar, Above Suspicion

      When the United States went to war with Spain in 1898, it did so in a media environment of “yellow journalism,” that played no small part in the advent of the Spanish-American War. Yellow journalism was basically the use of sensationalism and poorly researched reportage to stir up excitement and pad the bottom line. In February on that year, the mysterious sinking of the American cruiser Maine on a quiet night in Havana harbor was seized upon by western media outlets like William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World to create an atmosphere rife with tension, accusation, and defamation. War fever was loosed upon the population. The McKinley administration was soon ensnared in combat, which it won in ten weeks across the Caribbean and Pacific theaters, effectively erasing the Spanish imperial footprint from the Philippines and Caribbean, and delivering American control over Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. American author Mark Twain wasn’t fooled by the jingoistic broadsheets, nor by the administration’s claims of support for Cubans, nor by its claims to want to bring democracy to the Philippines, a former Spanish colony. Twain said, “…we have gone there to conquer, not to redeem.”

    • ISIS-themed fake Lego sets exported globally from China

      Counterfeit ISIS-themed Lego sets complete with beheading figurines are being produced in China and have been discovered on sale in Malaysia.

      A mother noticed the Islamic State terrorist figures inside a ‘Falcon Commandos’ set that had been bought for less than $2 by her youngest son from a store in Taiping, north of Kuala Lumpur.

      The serial number on the box has been traced back to a manufacturer in China, Berita Harian reports.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • Why Aren’t More Employees Suing Uber?

      One current engineer told WIRED that Uber’s arbitration agreement has kept at least two people from suing the company for sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Although signing the agreement does not preclude employees from filing suit, the engineer believes that Uber recognizes the chilling effect of mandatory arbitration.

    • This guy sued Uber and won after a driver stole $4k of his stuff

      Wilcox ended up taking Uber to court, and after two hearings, he won. Uber was forced to send him a check for $4,000.

    • Beneath Red Hat’s and Oracle’s Earnings Reports

      There are probably a lot of smiles in Raleigh and Redwood Shores this week. Both Red Hat and Oracle turned in quarterly earnings reports that greatly beat expectations. Wall Street blessed both companies for the news, as the value of Red Hat’s stock rose by 10.6 percent in early trading after the announcement and Oracle saw a 9 percent spike.

      Although Red Hat’s gains were unexpected insofar as they beat both the company’s and Wall Street’s estimates by a long shot — they weren’t that much of a surprise. The open source company has been on a roll for a long while now.

    • [Old] Forfeit Your Bitcoin? Congressional Bill Draws Fire Over Border Check Rules

      This means if a person trying to enter the country has more than $10,000 worth of bitcoin in their possession, under the proposed legal change, they would need to inform the relevant authorities.

    • The academic evidence regarding immigration is overwhelmingly positive

      The immigration debate continues to rage and obsess the UK. The issue of immigration has managed to level with economic concerns and produces fireworks not only from UKIP but from a similarly infatuated Conservative camp. Unlike the political discourse which has stuck into “immigration is probably good, but” mode, the academic evidence remains almost unequivocally positive. The general public worries that there are many aspects of migration that could go awry and researchers have tried to address them in a similarly detailed fashion.

      Take, for example, the concern over unskilled migration waves, and the danger to the welfare system that migrants with little transferable human capital can present. Several recent academic papers have demonstrated that these fears are overstated (see here, here and here, for example). Immigrants to the UK tend to be highly-skilled on average compared to immigrants in other EU member states. In particular, Dustmann and Frattini show that the average level of education, as well as the share of individuals with a tertiary education, has been consistently higher in the UK’s immigrant population than among natives and that this difference has accelerated with the arrival of new immigrants since 2000.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • With cameras banned, CNN sends sketch artist to White House briefing

      Press secretaries for Democratic and Republican presidents have held on-camera briefings on a regular basis for the past quarter century.

      But the Trump White House has been cutting back on the frequency and the length of on-camera briefings.

    • Trump’s Lies

      Many Americans have become accustomed to President Trump’s lies. But as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them. So we have catalogued nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office.

    • Prominent Democratic Fundraisers Realign to Lobby for Trump’s Agenda

      After President Donald Trump’s upset election victory, Democratic insiders who worked on Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential bid weren’t necessarily relegated to the sidelines. Many, in fact, are cashing in as lobbyists — by working to advance Trump’s agenda.

      Lobbying records show that some Democratic fundraisers, who raised record amounts of campaign cash for Clinton, are now retained by top telecom interests to help repeal the strong net neutrality protections established during the Obama administration.

    • Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party, and the UK’s Socialist Surge

      Labour Party membership is defined by dues, which start as low as 3 pounds, the rough equivalent of $5. Dues paying members elect the party leader in a model similar to that Bruce Dixon and Howie Hawkins advocate for the Green Party. In 2015, Labour Party membership tripled, to 550,000, largely due to new members who paid three pounds to join and vote for its leader. This is a good part of the reason Corbyn surprised himself and everyone else with his hugely successful campaign to lead the party.

      His victory was also made possible by the elimination of Labour’s variation on the Democratic Party’s super-delegates, elected officials and party big wigs who are free to vote for whatever presidential candidate they prefer at the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating convention, regardless of how their constituents have voted in the primary. Prior to 2015, the votes cast by sitting members of Parliament had greater weight than those of rank and file members, but in 2015, the party adopted a one member-one vote system. Fifty-one Members of Parliament and/or Members of the European Parliament still have to sign to put a candidate on the ballot for the party’s leadership—unless the candidate is incumbent—but the system is far more populist than before.

    • Remote and grim, No 10 mirrors its lonely leader

      Theresa May arrived back from Brussels last night and headed straight for Sonning, the village near Maidenhead where she has her constituency residence.

      Since her election humiliation she is said to be spending more time in the house she regards as home. Even on weekdays she is avoiding the private Downing Street flat, choosing instead to be driven in to London early in the morning with her husband, Philip.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • UK Law Enforcement Telling Citizens To ‘See Something Say Something’ About Dark Web Use

      What an “education” campaign like this has the potential to do is turn any deviation from normal web use into something inherently suspicious. If law enforcement likes chasing down worthless tips, depicting things non-terrorists do as terrorist-centric is a good way to get that ball rolling.

      I don’t doubt the public can play a part in preventing terrorist attacks, but the leaflet asks citizens to become intrusive extensions of the government. Most citizens aren’t going to know whether their friends and neighbors surf the dark web, much less have any idea if they’re “carrying out suspicious transactions on their bank account.” The upshot will be a generalized heightened level of suspicion that will most likely manifest itself as expressions of citizens’ inherent biases and bigotry.

    • Cops Sent Warrant To Facebook To Dig Up Dirt On Woman Whose Boyfriend They Had Just Killed

      Everything anyone has ever said about staying safe while interacting with the police is wrong. That citizens are told to comport themselves in complete obeisance just to avoid being beaten or shot by officers is itself bizarre — an insane inversion of the term “public servant.” But Philando Castile, who was shot five times and killed by (now former) Officer Jeronimo Yanez, played by all the rules (which look suspiciously like the same instructions given to stay “safe” during an armed robbery). It didn’t matter.

      Castile didn’t have a criminal record — or at least nothing on it that mattered. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been allowed to own a weapon, much less obtain a permit to conceal the gun. Castile told Yanez — as the permit requires — he had a concealed weapon. He tried to respond to the officer’s demand for his ID, reaching into his pocket. For both of these compliant efforts, he was killed.

    • California Finally Releases Wiretap Dataset

      In 2016, California investigators used state wiretapping laws 563 times to capture 7.8 million communications from 181,000 people, and only 19% of these communications were incriminating. The year’s wiretaps cost nearly $30 million.

      We know this, and much more, now that the California Department of Justice (CADOJ) for the first time has released to EFF the dataset underlying its annual wiretap report to the state legislature.

    • Restoring Privacy Protections for Californians

      Earlier this year, Congress narrowly voted to repeal federal privacy rules that kept your ISP from selling information about who you are and what you do online without your permission. Today, California legislators are introducing new state legislation—the California Broadband Internet Privacy Act, A.B. 375 (Chau)— that would effectively reinstate those rules for Internet users in California.

      ISPs are our gatekeepers to the Internet, and we shouldn’t have to sacrifice our privacy to these companies just to get online.

    • EU proposes banning encryption backdoors

      The European Union might want it to be easier for police to obtain data, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy for officers to read that data. The European Parliament has proposed amended regulation that would not only require end-to-end encryption when available, but forbid backdoors that offer guaranteed access to law enforcement. EU residents need to know that the “confidentiality and safety” of their data is “guaranteed,” according to the draft, and backdoors risk “weakening” that privacy.

    • Banning VPNs and Proxies is Dangerous, IT Experts Warn

      In its fight to restrict access to copyrighted content and blocked websites, the Russian government wants to ban the use of anonymization technology including VPNs, proxies, and [Tor]. In a discussion in parliament this week involving prominent IT experts, the message was clear. Blocking these technologies simply won’t work.

    • In terror fight, tech companies caught between US and European ideals

      Since terms of service apply globally, this has the effect of making EU speech norms apply to everyone, even though in many cases their definitions of hate speech and extremist speech are very broad – so broad that Professor Citron says they can “easily encompass political dissent” and turn into what she calls “censorship creep.”

    • Scroogled no more: Gmail won’t scan e-mails for ads personalization

      Google has announced it will no longer scan e-mail messages for ad personalization. Previously, in the consumer version of Gmail, Google’s computers would scan the contents of every e-mail message to determine a relevant ad to show. The scanning “feature” has been turned off for Google Apps for Education and GSuite accounts for some time, but now Google says that “consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change.”

    • Google Will Stop Reading Your Emails for Gmail Ads

      Google is stopping one of the most controversial advertising formats: ads inside Gmail that scan users’ email contents. The decision didn’t come from Google’s ad team, but from its cloud unit, which is angling to sign up more corporate customers.

      [...]

      Ads will continue to appear inside the free version of Gmail, as promoted messages. But instead of scanning a user’s email, the ads will now be targeted with other personal information Google already pulls from sources such as search and YouTube.

    • Facebook Near Deal to Lease Extra Office Space in Dublin

      The world’s largest social network plans to lease about 75,000 square feet (7,000 square meters) of space near East Point Business Park, where Google and Cisco Systems Inc. have offices, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deal isn’t public. That’s enough space for about 600 workers, based on modern office standards. The firm agreed to rent about 110,000 square feet of office space in the East Wall district earlier this year.

    • Mark Zuckerberg just unveiled Facebook’s new mission statement

      It was an almost quaint euphemism for the company’s more capitalistic goals of vacuuming up the attention of billions of humans and selling boatloads of advertising.

    • DOJ applies to take Microsoft data warrant case to Supreme Court

      The case, U.S. v. Microsoft, concerns whether data stored in a foreign server is under the jurisdiction of a U.S. warrant. A lower court had ruled that it was not – that law enforcement agencies would have to follow the same rules to obtain extraterritorial data as it would with physical evidence and seek the cooperation of a foreign government.

    • Does US have right to data on overseas servers? We’re about to find out

      The Justice Department on Friday petitioned the US Supreme Court to step into an international legal thicket, one that asks whether US search warrants extend to data stored on foreign servers. The US government says it has the legal right, with a valid court warrant, to reach into the world’s servers with the assistance of the tech sector, no matter where the data is stored.

    • Guarding personally identifiable information

      There is no viable way to prevent data from being collected about us in the current age of computing. But if institutions insist on knowing our financial status, purchasing habits, health information, political preferences, and so on, they have a responsibility to keep this data—known as personally identifiable information (PII)—from leaking to unauthorized recipients. At the 2017 Strata data conference in London, Steve Touw presented a session on privacy-enhancing technologies. In a fast-paced 40 minutes he covered the EU regulations about privacy, the most popular technical measures used to protect PII, and some pointed opinions about what works and what should be thrown into the dustbin.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Grenfell Tower fire: police consider manslaughter charges

      Police have said they are considering manslaughter charges in relation to the deadly Grenfell Tower blaze as they revealed that both the insulation and tiles at the building failed safety tests.

    • Employees say they’re forced to work amid bed bug infestation

      Employees told 11Alive the bugs are all over the three floors – and they’re biting. But employees are being told they still must go to work.

    • Man Shot by Deputy in Burien Was Carrying Pen, Not Knife

      A man who was fatally shot by a King County Sheriff’s deputy in Burien around midnight June 13 was carrying a pen and not a knife as initially reported, the sheriff’s office said.

    • ACLU releases video of brutal beating of motorist by enraged cop
    • Charleena Lyles Was Killed by a Police Department Under a Consent Decree

      The untimely death of a 30-year-old woman demonstrates the obvious need for more scrutiny, not less.

    • Woman assaulted on crowded bus ‘for wearing shorts during Ramadan’

      She said the slap caused her jaw hit the window of the bus.

    • Female Democratic senators ignore 2 women activists at hearing on Islamism, pose questions only to male witness

      On Wednesday, Democratic senators appeared to ignore Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Asra Nomani after they gave brief testimonies on the ideology of Islamism at a U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing, sparking a social media outcry.

    • EFF to the SEC: Get a Warrant

      If the federal government wants to compel an online service provider, like Yahoo or Google, to turn over your email, they need a warrant. That’s the industry-accepted best practice, implemented by nearly every major service provider. More importantly, it’s what the Fourth Amendment requires.

    • In the Blink of an Eye, Police Officers Turned This Traffic Stop Into an Unnecessarily Violent Encounter

      In a heartbeat, Anthony Promvongsa’s sunny summer day in Worthington, Minnesota, turned from ordinary to a nightmare.

      Shortly after encountering an agitated motorist driving in front of him on July 28, 2016, Anthony found himself confronted by the police. Within seconds of exiting his vehicle after pulling Anthony over, Agent Joe Joswiak of the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force opened the door of Anthony’s car, screaming, “Get the fuck out of the car, motherfucker!”

      Without hesitation, Agent Joswiak pulled, punched, and elbowed Anthony several times in the back while Anthony was still restrained by his seat belt. Agent Joswiak then yanked Anthony out of the car, threw him to the ground, and pressed his knee to the back of Anthony’s neck to pin Anthony facedown on the pavement while he and Sgt. Tim Gaul of the Worthington Police Department applied handcuffs.

      It turns out the agitated motorist Anthony encountered before being assaulted by Agent Joswiak was an off-duty police officer who called Joswiak to go after Anthony for tailgating him. The officer reports regarding the incident make no mention of any suspicion that Anthony was committing a drug offense.

    • Far-right activists detained at UK border before Britain First rally

      Prominent far-right activists from Europe who were planning to attend an anti-Muslim rally in Birmingham have been detained at airports hours before they were due to speak.

      Jacek Międlar, 28, an antisemitic priest, and his fellow activist Piotr Rybak were among three Polish nationals stopped on Saturday morning, according to Polish media and social media posts. They were due to speak at the rally organised by far-right group Britain First.

    • Majority of terrorists who have attacked America are not Muslim, new study finds

      Most of the designated terrorist groups in the US are right-wing extremists, not Muslim, according to a new report.

      A joint project by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, a nonprofit media centre, and news outlet Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting took a look at the 201 designated terrorism incidents within the US from 2008 to 2016.

      The results: “right-wing extremists were behind nearly twice as many incidents” as terror acts associated with those identified as “Islamist domestic terrorism”.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast sued for allegedly digging up rival’s cables when it refused to sell up

      It is alleged that Mr Luna was offered a purchase of his telecoms system at below market value, and when he refused, Comcast began planting its own system and then went rogue.

    • Frontier Communications Caught (Again) Ripping Off West Virginia Taxpayers

      So (for good reason), we keep noting that if you want to see how the American broadband market really works, you should take a close look at West Virginia. As in most states, a lack of competition keeps broadband prices high and speeds slow, with far too many consumers forced to pay a tidy sum for DSL speeds circa 2002. But the state has also been embroiled in scandal after scandal involving Frontier Communication’s mismanagement of taxpayer subsidies that were intended to try and resolve this problem.

      Local Charleston Gazette reporter Eric Eyre has quietly done an amazing job the last few years chronicling West Virginia’s immense broadband dysfunction, from the State’s use of broadband stimulus subsidies on unused, overpowered routers and overpaid, redundant consultants, to state leaders’ attempts to bury reports supporting allegations that Frontier engaged in systemic, statewide fraud on the taxpayer dime.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • King Has ‘Crush’ Trademark Opposed By Dr. Pepper

        App-maker King, of Candy Crush fame, has built up a reputation for itself as a trademark bully. The company has previously attempted to threaten pretty much any game or mobile app that utilizes the words “candy” or “saga.” And if that sounds insane to you, you’re not alone, as there have been several instances of severe backlash against how King goes about “protecting” its trademarks.

    • Copyrights

      • Court Suspends Ban on Roku Sales in Mexico

        A federal judge in Mexico has suspended the ban on sales and imports of Roku media players, at least temporarily. Roku is happy with the decision and says it will continue to work with entertainment industry stakeholders on a variety of anti-piracy measures.

      • Kim Dotcom Opposes US’s “Fugitive” Claims at Supreme Court

        In an effort to regain control over millions of dollars in seized assets, Kim Dotcom’s legal team has filed a brief at the Supreme Court, countering the US Government’s position. The US uses the fugitive claims as a coercive weapon, which offends due process and fundamental fairness, according to the Megaupload founder.

      • Scientific research piracy site hit with $15 million fine

        The operator of a searchable piracy site for scientific research papers has been ordered to pay $15 million as fallout from a US copyright infringement lawsuit brought by one of the world’s leading scientific publishers, New York-based Elsevier.

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