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07.12.17

Links 12/7/2017: Fabric 1.0, Wine Staging 2.12, Exo 0.11.4

Posted in News Roundup at 11:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • The New Open Source Business Model: Trading Code for Personal Data

    How do companies make money with open source software? Increasingly, the answer is that they use open source programs to collect personal information from users. Here’s how this new open source business strategy is changing the channel.

    For most of the thirty-three year history of free and open source software, companies that developed open code relied on a set of conventional business models. They revolved around strategies like “freemium” pricing, redistributing of open source software through channel partnerships, creating foundations and selling support services.

  • Nextcloud Launches Free, Secure Outlook Plugin for Home Users, Small Businesses

    Nextcloud released last month the second major update to its Outlook Add-in for the Nextcloud self-hosting cloud server, and now they’re announcing a free-as-in-beer version of the plugin for home users and small businesses.

    The Nextcloud Outlook Add-in version 2.0 brought a lot of goodies to the table, including support for HiDPI (High Dots Per Inch) displays, guidance for first-time users, as well as branding options, but it was only available to enterprise users willing to pay to install the add-on on their Nextcloud servers.

  • OpenStack: Driving the Future of the Open Cloud

    As cloud computing continues to evolve, it’s clear that the OpenStack platform is guaranteeing a strong open source foundation for the cloud ecosystem. At the recent OpenStack Days conference in Melbourne, OpenStack Foundation Executive Director Jonathan Bryce noted that although the early stages of cloud technology emphasized public platforms such as AWS, Azure and Google, the latest stage is much more focused on private clouds.

    According to the The OpenStack Foundation User Survey, organizations everywhere have moved beyond just kicking the tires and evaluating OpenStack to deploying the platform. In fact, the survey found that OpenStack deployments have grown 44 percent year-over-year. More than 50 percent of Fortune 100 companies are running the platform, and OpenStack is a global phenomenon. According to survey findings, five million cores of compute power, distributed across 80 countries, are powered by OpenStack.

  • Lucasfilm & ILM Launch Open Source MaterialX Library

    Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic announced the inaugural open source release of MaterialX Library, a CG tool developed by Lucasfilm’s Advanced Development Group and ILM engineers to facilitate the transfer of rich materials and look development content between applications and renderers. Tatooine. The MaterialX team will host a “Birds of a Feather” meeting at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles on Monday, July 31 (9:30-11:00am, room 511BC).

  • TIP Players Voice Open Source Misgivings [Ed: Fake 'supporters' of FOSS, pretending to have embraced it while attacking it]

    When Facebook launched its Telecom Infra Project (TIP) in early 2016, open source principles seemed essential to its mission. By encouraging members to pool their expertise, and even forego the royalty payments they would normally expect from intellectual property, Facebook aimed to spur innovation and lower costs in the market for telecom network equipment. (See Facebook TIPs Telcos Towards Open Source Networks.)

  • NFV’s path to Open Source and white boxes

    About a year or so into the progress of the ETSI NFV ISG, an off-camera comment by one of our interviewees highlighted one of the attitudinal roadblocks the ‘movement’ was facing. “Open source software,” he was told by a senior executive at one of the telcos, “would come into his network over his dead body.”

    An unusually strong response, but it did indicate an underlying uneasiness felt by many. Both open source software and ‘whitebox’ servers were still pretty ‘left of field’ to many network technical professionals, despite the fact that their colleagues on the IT side of the house were well versed in Linux (say) and had become increasingly comfortable with so called COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) platforms standing in for specialised appliances for OSS/BSS functions, for instance.

  • What’s the difference between SDN and NFV?

    Software defined networking (SDN), network function virtualization (NFV) and the related virtual network functions (VNF) are important trends. But Forrester analyst Andre Kindness says vague terminology from vendors has created a complicated marketplace for end users evaluating next-generation networking technology. “Few I&O pros understand (these new acronyms), and this confusion has resulted in many making poor networking investments,” he says.

  • A free, open resource to solve our third world problems

    At the core of open source are communities. Communities of like-minded individuals, working together, openly and freely sharing ideas and solutions for the benefit of others.

    Because of the diverse group of global contributors in the open source community, problems are identified and surfaced faster. And, more often than not, progress towards a resolution happens faster and the underlying problems are solved better because of this diversity.

    Read more

  • Lucasfilm, ILM Announce Open Source Release of MaterialX Library

    MaterialX development team to host a ‘Birds of a Feather’ meeting at the ACM SIGGRAPH Conference in Los Angeles, CA on Monday July 31 2017.

  • Why Is Open Source Important to You?

    Liferay is a CMS used for intranets, portals, etc.

  • Bringing together Gitter, IRC, and Slack channels in one place on Riot

    Riot is an Open source platform that uses the Matrix protocol. It’s similar to IRC, but it’s a lot more usable. and what is better, one can integrate IRC, Slack, and Gitter into Riot – so one can interact with users over all these platforms in one place. For example, the image below shows Neuroscience-central/Lobby room that I’ve set up on Riot. But, I’ve also gone ahead and connected this room to the Neuroscience-central/Lobby room on Gitter, and to the #neuroscience-central-lobby channel on IRC. So, everyone on any of these platforms can communicate with each other.

  • Events

    • Going to DebConf 17
    • OpenGL/Vulkan SIGGRAPH Event Set For 2 August
    • Power Management and Energy-awareness Microconference Accepted into LPC

      The Power Management and Energy-awareness microconference has been accepted for this year’s Linux Plumber’s Conference, which runs September 13-15 in Los Angeles, CA. “The agenda this year will focus on a range of topics including CPUfreq core improvements and schedutil governor extensions, how to best use scheduler signals to balance energy consumption and performance and user space interfaces to control capacity and utilization estimates. We’ll also discuss selective throttling in thermally constrained systems, runtime PM for ACPI, CPU cluster idling and the possibility to implement resume from hibernation in a bootloader.”

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Fully Paid Parental Leave Program Officially Rolls Out Worldwide

        For most countries around the world, school is out, and parents are reconnecting with their kids to enjoy road trips and long days. Many of our Mozilla employees have benefited from the expanded parental leave program we introduced last year to spend quality time with their families. The program offers childbearing parents up to 26 weeks of fully paid leave and non-childbearing (foster and adoptive parents, partners of childbearing) parents up to 12 weeks of fully paid leave.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice-Based Collabora Online Office Suite Comes to Univention App Center

      Collabora Productivity today announces the availability of its Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE) cloud-based office suite in the Univention App Center marketplace.

      It would appear that Collabora, Univention GmbH, and Nextcloud have joined forces to publish the free edition of Collabora Online on the Univention App Center that’s available for all Univention Corporate Server customers, a move that will make the management of your own LibreOffice-based online office suite easier than before.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Why OSI License Approval Matters

      Does it really matter if a copyright license is OSI Approved or not? Surely if it looks like it meets the benchmark that’s all that matters? I think that’s the wrong answer, and that OSI license approval is the crucial innovation that’s driven the open source revolution.

      “Open Source” describes a subset of free software that is made available under a copyright license approved by the Open Source Initiative as conforming with the Open Source Definition. Having a standards body for licenses — one which ratifies the consensus of an open community of license reviewers — saves individuals from needing to each seek out a legal advisor to tell them whether a given license does in fact give them the rights they need to build or deploy the software they want. By providing easy certainty, open source gives people permission in advance to meet their own needs and innovate with technology.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Building a Smart Airsoft Gun with Open Source Hardware

        [matt8588] designed a smartgun rig for his Airsoft shotgun (YouTube, embedded below). He has a Rasperry Pi 3 mounted inside a PEQ box connected to an infrared camera with an IR tac light helping with illumination. A series of buttons control a crosshair pattern superimposed on the camera image, which is displayed on a tablet. You can also reposition the crosshairs to shoot further away. One of the buttons triggers a signal on the transmitter, for setting off Airsoft claymores during battle. A second Pi, a Zero, connects to an BerryIMU sensor that controls a “traffic light” arrangement of 12mm LEDs that warn him when he’s moving the gun too much to be accurate.

  • Programming/Development

  • Standards/Consortia

    • G20 Leaders Statement Includes Reference to Industry-Led International Standards

      Following its meeting in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7-8, the Group of Twenty (G20) released a declaration that includes a positive reference to industry-led international standards.

      The G20 Leaders’ Declaration: Shaping an interconnected world outlines several common goals and objectives for the world’s major economies.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Deep Partisan Divide on Higher Education

      Based on income levels, Republicans are less positive about higher education the more money they make. Just 31 percent of those who earn at least $75,000 a year in family income view colleges positively, compared to 34 percent in the $30,000 to $74,999 range. And 46 percent of Republicans making less than $30,000 gave higher education positive marks.

    • Study: Education cuts threaten civilised society

      The education cuts [that have been] brought about by the Sipilä government are one of the single most significant threats to civilised society, a new survey among highly educated professionals shows.

    • America hits peak anti-intellectualism: Majority of Republicans now think college is bad

      Republican politicians in recent years have pushed back on the four-year degree, building upon their long-hyped attack on institutes of higher education as bastions of liberal indoctrination.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • BGH grants compulsory license in preliminary proceedings [Ed: Mark Schweizer, one of the more reliable among the Kats, on patents that will screw very ill people]

      According to its media release of 11 July 2017, the German Federal Court of Justice confirmed the decision of the Federal Patent Court granting Merck a compulsory license to EP 1 422 218 owned by Shionogi. This allows Merck the continued distribution of its antiretroviral drug Isentress, an approved medication for treatment of HIV-patients, on the German market.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Windows Phone dies today

      Microsoft is killing off Windows Phone 8.1 support today, more than three years after the company first introduced the update. The end of support marks an end to the Windows Phone era, and the millions of devices still running the operating system. While most have accepted that the death of Windows Phone occurred more than a year ago, AdDuplex estimates that nearly 80 percent of all Windows-powered phones are still running Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8, or Windows Phone 8.1.

      [...]

      Microsoft has shied away from officially killing off its phone OS efforts, but it’s been evident over the past year that the company is no longer focusing its efforts on Windows for phones. Microsoft gutted its phone business last year, resulting in thousands of job cuts.

    • Unikernels are secure. Here is why.

      There have been put forth various arguments for why unikernels are the better choice security wise and also some contradictory opinions on why they are a disaster. I believe that from a security perspective unikernels can offer a level of security that is unprecedented in mainstream computing.

    • ‘Hacking’ Of US Nuclear Facilities Appears To Be Little More Than The Sort Of Spying The US Approves Of

      This is where the DHS fell down in its “sharing” of internal documents with the New York Times. No one bothered to correct the Times when it went off on a Stuxnet tangent. This could give some government officials the wrong idea about what’s happening — both here and in foreign nations. There are many people in power who get much of their information from the press. This leads to bad bills being hurriedly crafted and public calls to action based on hearsay from a document someone else viewed. And that’s just here in the US.

      On top of that, there’s how we behave and how we expect others to behave. We’re going to do this sort of thing. So are our adversaries. Both sides will continue to play defense. But going from 0-to-Stuxnet in the DHS’s Ambermobile isn’t a great idea. And it allows US officials to further distance themselves from actions we condone as part of our national security efforts.

    • Kaspersky under scrutiny after Bloomberg story claims close links to FSB

      Shortly after Bloomberg Businessweek published an explosive story under the headline: “Kaspersky Lab Has Been Working With Russian Intelligence,” the security firm released a lengthy statement noting that the company does not have “inappropriate ties with any government.”

      The article, which was published in the early morning hours on Tuesday, says that the Moscow-based firm “has maintained a much closer working relationship with Russia’s main intelligence agency, the FSB, than it has publicly admitted. It has developed security technology at the spy agency’s behest and worked on joint projects the CEO knew would be embarrassing if made public.” Media organization McClatchy made seemingly similar claims in a July 3 report.

    • US restricts use of Kaspersky products by govt agencies

      The US government has removed Kaspersky Lab from a list of approved software suppliers for two government-wide purchasing contracts that are used to buy technology services.

    • Trump administration restricts popular Russian security software

      The Trump administration has discouraged government agencies from using a leading Russian cybersecurity firm’s software amid fears that the firm’s products could serve as a Trojan horse for the Kremlin’s hackers.

    • How I Survived the Internet of Things [Ed: Well, cameras with identical passwords, open ports?]

      Based on these goals I chose to work on home automation with a focus on security and lighting. After considering many things that could be done I chose to implement monitoring of fire, carbon monoxide, power, temperature, water intrusion, perimeter intrusion, and video monitoring. I also implemented lighting control with the goals of power savings, convenience, and having lights on when you come home. When designing and implementing the various subsystems I chose commercial grade monitoring, sensors and controls.

      [...]

      In January of 2017, an estimated 70% of the security cameras in Washington DC were compromised by malware and were not able to stream video. Workers had to physically go to each individual camera and do a fresh install of the original firmware to return them to operation.

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Owner of The Intercept assisting accused NSA leaker’s legal defense

      The parent company of The Intercept online news outlet announced Tuesday that it is helping the legal defense of the Augusta suspect in the National Security Agency leak investigation. At the same time, The Intercept admitted some fault in Reality Winner’s predicament.

      “The ongoing criminal case prevents us from going into detail,” Intercept editor-in-chief Betsy Reed wrote online Tuesday, “but I can state that, at several points in the editorial process, our practices fell short of the standards to which we hold ourselves for minimizing the risks of source exposure when handling anonymously provided materials.”

    • Prosecutors in Reality Winner Case Push for News Reports to Be ‘Classified’

      U.S. Justice Department lawyers prosecuting former NSA contractor Reality Winner over alleged leaks of classified information regarding Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election are arguing her defense team should not be allowed to discuss any classified information, even if it was in news reports.

      In a motion filed Tuesday, federal prosecutors said they had reached an impasse with Winner’s defense team and asked the court to resolve the question in the government’s favor.

    • Assange invites PM to visit him in London

      He has been holed up in the embassy since June 2012 after seeking asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden to face a rape allegation.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Sixth mass extinction: The era of ‘biological annihilation’

      “We’ve got this stuff going on that we can’t really see because we’re not constantly counting numbers of individuals,” he said. “But when you realize that we’ve wiped out 50% of the Earth’s wildlife in the last 40 years, it doesn’t take complicated math to figure out that, if we keep cutting by half every 40 years, pretty soon there’s going to be nothing left.”

    • Two energy powerhouses join together to make big, grid-tied batteries

      Two large energy companies, Siemens and AES Corporation, are joining together to start a new company aimed exclusively at building utility-grade batteries. The company, called Fluence, will market these large lithium-ion storage systems to utilities and energy providers around the world.

    • Launch Of Book On TRIPS And Climate Change

      A new book being launched in Geneva next week reflects the growing recognition that the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) could play a more important role in the mitigation of the climate change, according to the programme of the book launch.

      Wei Zhuang, associate at WTI (World Trade Institute) Advisors, will present on 19 July her book, “Intellectual Property Rights and Climate Change: Interpreting the TRIPS Agreement for Environmentally Sound Technologies.”

      The book addresses whether and to what extent the minimum standards of TRIPS facilitate innovation and transfer of environmentally sound technologies. The book also looks at whether an interpretation of the TRIPS flexibilities can facilitate innovation and transfer of such technologies to address global climate change.

    • Iceberg twice size of Luxembourg breaks off Antarctic ice shelf

      A giant iceberg twice the size of Luxembourg has broken off an ice shelf on the Antarctic peninsula and is now adrift in the Weddell Sea.

      Reported to be “hanging by a thread” last month, the trillion-tonne iceberg was found to have split off from the Larsen C segment of the Larsen ice shelf on Wednesday morning after scientists examined the latest satellite data from the area.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump begins to dismantle Obama’s “startup visa” program

      The Trump administration has delayed the implementation of the “International Entrepreneur Rule,” an Obama-era policy that would have allowed more foreigners to start businesses in the US. The administration intends to overturn the rule, which would have gone into effect next week.

      Official notice of the delay, which pushes out the effective date of the regulation until March 2018, will be published tomorrow in the Federal Register. The Department of Homeland Security intends to rescind the rule but is taking public comment during a review period.

    • Trump election commission stops collecting personal voter data—for now

      The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity made headlines on June 28 when it requested that states hand over registered voters’ full names, political affiliations, addresses, dates of birth, criminal records, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, and other personal identifying information. The government wants to make all of the data public. Many of the states deem varying parts of the data private—meaning state law forbids them from divulging it.

      So far, Arkansas is the only state that has complied with the commission’s demands. But the commission, put together by President Donald Trump amid allegations of voter fraud on a massive scale during the 2016 election, said it has erased Arkansas’ data. And now the commission, which (among other topics) wants to investigate whether dead people voted in elections the past decade, is telling the rest of the states they don’t need to comply—at least for now.

    • Donald Trump Jr. Might Be a Criminal. He Is Definitely a Liar.

      Did Donald Trump Jr. confess to a crime this afternoon? And if so, does he even know it?

      Since Saturday, Trump Jr. has been windmilling wildly, trying to defend himself against a series of New York Times stories about a June 2016 meeting between young Donald, his father’s campaign manager Paul Manafort, brother-in-law Jared Kushner (now a senior Trump adviser), and a Russian lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya. At every step, he’s made things worse for himself, and perhaps his father. But on Monday he may have delivered the knockout punch—against himself.

      Just as the Times published a shocking new piece detailing e-mail messages sent to him by Rob Goldstone, a music publicist, promising “very high level and sensitive information” about Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” Donald Jr. released the entire e-mail chain himself, on Twitter. In it, he appears to be committing the crime of accepting campaign help from a foreign government. Gleefully.

      “If it’s what you say I love it,” Trump quickly replied to Goldstone, adding, “especially later in the summer,” in what seems to be a reference to when the campaign might deploy such damaging information against its opponent. Goldstone, who represents Russian singer Emin Agalarov, the son of Aras Agalarov, a real-estate tycoon who is a crony of both Trump Sr. and Vladimir Putin, told Trump Jr. that both Agalarovs were urging the meeting with a “Russian government attorney,” and he added, tantalizingly, “I can also send this info to your father via Rhona [Trump’s longtime assistant Rhona Graff] but it is ultrasensitive so wanted to send to you first.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Granting NSA permanent bulk surveillance authority would be a mistake

      Early last month, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats reneged on a promise that the National Security Agency would provide an estimate of just how many Americans have seen their communications collected under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It was the same broken promise made to Congress by his predecessor, James Clapper.

      Indeed, for the past six years, the NSA has flummoxed congressional oversight with its reluctance to give lawmakers this kind of hard data. And yet, despite this pattern of obfuscation —of promising transparency and then dialing back said promises—Congress is now debating a bill that would give immense power to that same agency.

    • Californians: Demand That Your Legislature Restore Your Broadband Privacy Rights

      Earlier this year, Congress 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. That wildly unpopular vote undid years of work at the FCC to prevent companies that you already pay to access the Internet from also monetizing information about what you look at, what you buy, and who you talk to online.

      Last week, companies like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon attempted to stall the bill in its first committee in hopes of running out the clock. They failed, but now they will now make every effort to vote the bill down in any one of these next three committees. If the telecom lobby wins in any of these committees, the bill will be stalled for the rest of the year.

    • EFF: ‘Encrypted’ WhatsApp will roll over and give up your data to the NSA

      The EFF provides a handy list called “Who has your back?” which provides us with a very good idea of which social and internet companies share what with the US government. WhatsApp does not do very well in the latest list because of all the things that it does on the quiet.

    • WhatsApp ‘not doing enough’ to defend users against governments

      The EFF noted that unlike some other tech companies, “WhatsApp does not explicitly state that it prohibits third-party access to its user data, nor does it say that third parties are prohibited from allowing WhatsApp user data to be used for surveillance purposes”.

    • Amazon and WhatsApp ‘falling short over privacy’, says pressure group

      The seventh annual Who Has Your Back privacy report analysed the policies and public actions of 26 companies, rating them out of five categories covering industry best practices, privacy policies and their dealing with governments – including two new entries of “promises not to sell out users” and “stands up to National Security Letter (NSL) gag orders”.

    • Comcast, AT&T, WhatsApp all score low on new “Who Has Your Back?” list

      Only a handful of tech companies have earned the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s coveted five-star rating in its annual “Who Has Your Back?” scorecard, released on Monday.

      The top-rated companies for 2017 include Adobe, Credo Mobile, Dropbox, Lyft, Pinterest, Sonic, Uber, Wickr, and WordPress. Notable names among the lowest-rated companies include Comcast, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Amazon, and WhatsApp.

      The EFF’s Who Has Your Back? report analyzes and evaluates how companies deal with user data when government entities come seeking it. “Third-party companies hold more and more of our personal data as technology and user practices evolve,” the EFF writes in its initiative description. “The annual Who Has Your Back? report encourages companies to protect users from government requests for data and helps users make informed choices about their Internet use.”

    • Facebook Is Fighting A Gag Order Over Search Warrants For User Account Information

      Tech companies and civil liberties groups are backing up Facebook in its challenge to a court order that bars it from notifying users about warrants for their information.

    • Facebook Back In Court Challenging More Law Enforcement Gag Orders

      Facebook is at it again, hoping to make law enforcement agencies second-guess their secrecy demands. It recently successfully challenged gag orders attached to 381 warrants served to it by Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance’s office. It also forced Minnesota law enforcement to retract warrants seeking information from a police shooting victim’s girlfriend’s Facebook account by challenging the secrecy added to the demand for data.

    • News industry decries Facebook’s “digital duopoly,” wants government help

      The News Media Alliance, a trade group representing almost 2,000 news organizations, has asked US Congress for an exemption to antitrust law so that it can “negotiate collectively” with Google and Facebook.

      The Alliance, formerly known as the Newspaper Association of America, complains that the two dominant Internet companies form a “de facto duopoly that is vacuuming up all but an ever-decreasing segment of advertising revenue.”

    • Facebook Messenger globally tests injecting display ads into inbox

      Facebook Messenger is expanding its display ad beta test that lets businesses buy space between your chat threads. Later this month, a small percentage of users will start seeing ads in the Messenger app’s home tab.

    • Dutch Senate votes in favor of dragnet surveillance powers

      Late last night the Dutch Senate passed the bill for the new Intelligence and Security Services Act. With the Senate’s vote, a years-long political battle has come to an end: the secret services have been afforded dragnet surveillance powers.

    • End-to-end encryption back door ‘a bad idea’
    • Singapore’s proposed cybersecurity bill should put many on notice

      Singapore’s proposed cybersecurity bill has prompted the need for clarification around the licensing of service providers, government liability, and customer confidentiality, but its aim to push cybersecurity as a top priority for all businesses is certainly now accomplished.

      The Singapore government on Monday unveiled details of the draft bill, outlining new legislations that would require operators of local critical information infrastructures (CIIs) to take steps to safeguard their systems and swiftly report threats and incidents. Released by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and Cyber Security Agency (CSA), the proposed new laws also would facilitate information sharing across critical sectors and require selected service providers as well as individuals to be licensed.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Third Circuit Appeals Court Establishes First Amendment Right To Record Police

      Early last year, a federal court judge decided filming police officers was not protected by the First Amendment. How the court arrived at this conclusion was by narrowly defining the First Amendment as only protecting “expressive” speech. Simply documenting activity was somehow not covered by the First Amendment, according to the government’s theory (the city of Philadelphia, in this case).

      According to the district court, expression is key. It was the wrong conclusion to reach, but it helped some Philadelphia police officers escape being held accountable for retaliatory arrests of citizen photographers. Even worse, it created a chilling effect for citizen photographers in the court’s jurisdiction, giving them a publish or die be arrested mandate.

    • FBI didn’t need warrant for stingray in attempted murder case, DOJ says

      Weeks before a key hearing, federal prosecutors have submitted their formal opposition to an attempted murder suspect’s recent efforts to suppress evidence found through the warrantless use of an FBI cell-site simulator, better known as a stingray.

      The Tuesday filing reiterates the government’s position in the case known as United States v. Ellis, setting the stage for a key upcoming hearing next month. DOJ officials say that law enforcement’s use of a stingray should not be considered an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment and, therefore, it never required a warrant.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • EU Telecom Package: courage over details

      The last discussions on the draft on the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) before the summer break will take place today and we can only hope for very few changes before the vote on 11 September. The current trend is catastrophic: Pilar del Castillo, the main rapporteur known for her ties with large telcos, is leading to a world of monopolies were very few telcos (3 or 4, she may hope!) would share the whole EU market on optic fiber and radio spectrum. Very few latitude will be allowed to the national regulatory authorities (NRAs) to regulate the market and ensure that the core values also promoted by the European Union will be protected.

    • The Duct Tape Holding the Internet Together

      Due to a security issue with our domain registry, another registrar (not the one that manages our domain) was able to incorrectly mark our domain name as pending deletion. Per the ICANN specification, when a domain has “Pending Delete” status, it’s no longer included in the zone file and becomes inaccessible even if DNS records are configured correctly.

    • AT&T is joining tomorrow’s net neutrality protest, but it hates the FCC’s net neutrality rules

      AT&T is hardly a fan of net neutrality, at least as most people understand it. The company has been accused by the FCC of violating open internet protections, and has forcefully lobbied against the current rules. It’s even joined in lawsuits to block them.

    • AT&T joins net neutrality protest—despite suing to block neutrality rules

      AT&T says it is joining a big protest to save net neutrality—even though the company previously sued the US Federal Communications Commission in a failed attempt to get the commission’s rules thrown out.

      “Tomorrow, AT&T will join the ‘Day of Action’ for preserving and advancing an open Internet,” AT&T Senior Executive VP Bob Quinn wrote in a blog post this afternoon.

    • AT&T Pretends To Love Net Neutrality, Joins Tomorrow’s Protest With A Straight Face

      You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger enemy of net neutrality than the fine folks at AT&T. The company has a history of all manner of anti-competitive assaults on the open and competitive internet, from blocking customer access to Apple FaceTime unless users subscribed to more expensive plans, to exempting its own content from arbitrary and unnecessary usage caps while penalizing streaming competitors. AT&T also played a starring role in ensuring the FCC’s 2010 net neutrality rules were flimsy garbage, and sued to overturn the agency’s tougher, 2015 rules.

    • Telecom Industry Feebly Tries To Deflate Net Neutrality Protest With Its Own, Lame ‘Unlock The Net’ Think Tank Campaign

      With this week’s net neutrality protests being joined by the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Reddit and hundreds of startups and small companies, the cable and broadcast industry appears to be getting a little nervous. So far they’ve had a relatively easy time convincing FCC boss Ajit Pai to not only dismantle the rules, but to blatantly ignore the massive public support the rules enjoy. Pai’s even turned a blind eye as somebody used a bot to stuff the agency’s public comment system with bogus support for the telecom industry’s horrible idea.

    • The FCC Insists It Can’t Stop Impostors From Lying About My Views On Net Neutrality

      So we’ve been talking for months now about how the Trump FCC has quite intentionally turned a blind eye to fraudulent comments being posted to the agency’s net neutrality proceeding, since the lion’s share of these bogus comments support the agency’s plan to gut the popular consumer protections. Numerous people say they’ve had their identities lifted by somebody that has used a bot to populate the agency’s comment system with hundreds-of-thousands of fake comments supporting the telecom-industry backed effort. Calls by these folks (and a few Senators) for an investigation have been simply ignored.

    • Defending Net Neutrality: A Day of Action

      As always, Mozilla is standing up for net neutrality.

      And today, we’re not alone. Hundreds of organizations — from the ACLU and GitHub to Amazon and Fight for the Future — are participating in a Day of Action, voicing loud support for net neutrality and a healthy internet.

      “Mozilla is supporting the majority of Americans who believe the web belongs to individual users, without interference from ISP gatekeepers,” says Ashley Boyd, Mozilla’s VP of Advocacy. “On this Day of Action, we’re amplifying what millions of Americans have been saying for years: Net neutrality is crucial to a free, open internet.”

    • Net neutrality protests to blanket internet

      Major technology companies and tech advocacy organizations are banding together in a last-ditch effort to save the Federal Communication Commission’s net neutrality rules.

    • Join Us in the Fight for Net Neutrality

      Automattic strongly believes in a free and open Internet and it’s hard to imagine a truly open Internet without Net Neutrality.

    • The Who’s Who of Net Neutrality’s ‘Day of Action’

      Here’s where seven internet giants stand on the issue, and what a world with fast and slow lanes might mean for them.

    • Net Neutrality: The July 12 Internet-Wide Day of Action protest and what to expect

      Who will come together for the protest: More than 180 companies including Amazon, Twitter, Etsy, OkCupid, and Vimeo, along with advocacy groups such as the ACLU, Change.org, and Greenpeace, will join the protest and urge their users and followers to do the same.

    • Why the 12 July protest to protect net neutrality matters

      What can people do? Tell the FCC and Congress to protect the open web through BattleForTheNet.com, or through one of the widgets on many popular websites on Wednesday.

    • Ars Technica supports net neutrality

      To explain how the current rules work, Ars Senior IT Reporter Jon Brodkin today takes us on a deep-dive into net neutrality and the current “Title II authority” behind the rules. If FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, appointed by President Donald Trump, revokes the rules, as he says he will, “Title II provisions related to broadband network construction, universal service, competition, network interconnection, and Internet access for disabled people would no longer apply.”

    • If You Want To Protect The Internet, Look To Congress

      As you probably know (because it’s almost unavoidable across the web), today is the “Day of Action” on behalf of net neutrality. Tons of other sites are participating in various ways. Many are popping up widgets, warning you of how crappy the internet might become if broadband access providers were allowed to create the kind of internet they dream of — one in which they are the gatekeepers, and where they get to put tollbooths on services trying to reach you. But you already know about all that, because you already read Techdirt, and we’ve been talking about this for over a decade. Many sites are encouraging you to comment on the FCC’s proceedings — which you absolutely should do (even as the FCC itself is making a mockery of the commenting process, by allowing bogus and fraudulent comments in.

      [...]

      Second: while you absolutely should go and file FCC comments (and I highly recommend first reading this guide to filing impactful FCC comments from a former top FCC staffer), this fight is going to end with Congress one way or the other. Two months ago we wrote about the real game plan to destroy net neutrality, and you can see it playing out in realtime. Ajit Pai’s move to get the FCC to repeal the rules is an effort to force the hand of Congress, and make it come in and create new regulations. Indeed, if you look around, it’s not hard to find lots of opeds from telco-funded folks about how “Congress should solve this” (all of which pretend to support net neutrality). And, yes, this is the kind of thing that Congress should solve — if we trusted Congress to actually do what was in the interest of the public, rather than the interests of the broadband access providers. But, right now, you shouldn’t. After all, this is the same Congress that happily voted to kill broadband privacy rules, and then seemed shocked that this upset people.

    • How to write a meaningful FCC comment supporting net neutrality

      Gigi Sohn was a top counselor to former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler when the commission reclassified ISPs as common carriers and imposed net neutrality rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. Yesterday, she published a post on Mashable titled “4 steps to writing an impactful net neutrality comment (which you should do).” Even if the FCC repeals net neutrality rules, meaningful comments could help net neutrality advocates argue in a future court case that the rules should be reinstated, she wrote.

      Before joining the FCC, Sohn was president and co-founder of the advocacy group Public Knowledge, which still plays an active role supporting net neutrality rules and other consumer protection regulations. She left the FCC after the election of President Donald Trump and took fellowship positions with Georgetown Law’s Institute for Technology Law & Policy, Open Society Foundations, and Mozilla.

    • If FCC gets its way, we’ll lose a lot more than net neutrality

      The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission is preparing to overturn the two-year-old decision that invoked the FCC’s Title II authority in order to impose net neutrality rules. It’s possible the FCC could replace today’s net neutrality rules with a weaker version, or it could decide to scrap net neutrality rules altogether.

      Either way, what’s almost certain is that the FCC will eliminate the Title II classification of Internet service providers. And that would have important effects on consumer protection that go beyond the core net neutrality rules that outlaw blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. Without Title II’s common carrier regulation, the FCC would have less authority to oversee the practices of Internet providers like Comcast, Charter, AT&T, and Verizon. Customers and websites harmed by ISPs would also have fewer recourses, both in front of the FCC and in courts of law.

      Title II provisions related to broadband network construction, universal service, competition, network interconnection, and Internet access for disabled people would no longer apply. Rules requiring disclosure of hidden fees and data caps could be overturned, and the FCC would relinquish its role in evaluating whether ISPs can charge competitors for data cap exemptions.

  • DRM

    • People Would Pay A Hell Of A Lot More If DRM Were Gone

      An argument that we’ve made for years is that for all the whining about how the legacy entertainment industry insists it needs DRM, adding DRM takes away value. It limits the content/games/software/etc. that people purchase a license to and therefore limits the value. You don’t need an economics degree to recognize that providing less value decreases how much people are willing to pay (and how many people are willing to pay). Thus, there’s at least some economic force when using DRM that decreases the potential market for DRM’d offerings. Supporters of DRM will likely counter with some version of the argument that this decrease in value/addressable market is okay, because it’s less than the expected decrease in the potential market that happens when “OMG I CAN GET A PIRATED VERSION FOR FREE!?!?!?!??” enters the market. I’m not entirely convinced that’s true — as time and time again, we’ve seen that people are more than happy to pay for (1) official versions in order to support creators they know, appreciate and trust and (2) especially when it comes with other benefits beyond just the content.

    • Intel Is Working On HDCP Content Protection For Linux Graphics Stack

      While sure to face opposition by some free software fans, Intel developers have begun working on High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) support for the Linux Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) code.

      High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection is the form of copy protection for being able to secure audio/video over DP/DVI/HDMI connections. HDCP-encrypted content cannot be played on unauthorized devices, prevents snooping of the data in the middle as the data is being sent, etc. HDCP dates back to the early 2000s while the most recent version is HDCP 2.2 from 2013. Intel Linux developers are working on bringing HDCP 2.2 to the open-source Linux DRM kernel code.

    • Encrypted Media Extensions a W3C Recommendation [Ed: Not just graphics DRM. ” Ugh! Linux is about freedom. Go away with your copy protection crap,” as one comment put it]

      Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) have been under review by the W3C Advisory Committee since last March. This report from the committee addresses comments and objections to EME. “After consideration of the issues, the Director reached a decision that the EME specification should move to W3C Recommendation. The Encrypted Media Extensions specification remains a better alternative for users than other platforms, including for reasons of security, privacy, and accessibility, by taking advantage of the Web platform. While additional work in some areas may be beneficial for the future of the Web Platform, it remains appropriate for the W3C to make the EME specification a W3C Recommendation. Formal publication of the W3C Recommendation will happen at a later date. We encourage W3C Members and the community to work in both technical and policy areas to find better solutions in this space.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Court Says DMCA Safe Harbors Disappear Once Infringing Images Are Printed On Physical Items

        A really weird decision with some implications for DMCA safe harbors has come out of a US district court in California. The case revolves around paintings and pictures licensed by Greg Young Publishing International [GYPI], several of which appeared on Zazzle’s website and, consequently, were turned into physical reproductions (mugs, t-shirts, etc.) via Zazzle’s automated print-on-demand process.

        After some discussion about which prints GYPI actually controls for infringement claim purposes, the court gets down to addressing the supposed infringement. Discussing the safe harbor provisions, the court finds Zazzle qualifies for these protections. Sort of. The court says Zazzle qualifies as a provider of online services and, thanks to GYPI never sending any DMCA notices, it had no knowledge of the infringement.

      • Did you hear the one about a monkey suing a photographer for infringement?

        On Wednesday, a federal appeals court will embark on a legal safari of sorts: animal rights activists, representing an Indonesian monkey named Naruto, are set to argue to the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals that their monkey client should be recognized as the lawful owner of property.

        The property at issue are a few infamous and viral selfies that the macaque monkey snapped of himself in the Tangkoko reserve on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in 2011. The monkey’s self-appointed lawyers from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are suing David Slater, the British nature photographer whose camera was swiped by the monkey while the photographer was on a jungle shoot.

      • What If You Published Half Your Book For Free Online?

        Almost exactly 17 years ago, we wrote about an interesting experiment in the movie world, in which the film Chicken Run freely chose to put the first 7 minutes of the film online (in my head, I remember it being the first 20 minutes, but I’ll chalk that up to inflation). I thought it was a pretty clever experiment and am still surprised that this didn’t become the norm. The idea is pretty straightforward — rather than just doing a flashy trailer that may give away much of the movie anyway — you give people the beginning of the actual movie, get them hooked, and convince them it’s worthwhile to go pay to see the whole thing. Of course, that only works with good movies where the beginning hooks people. But… it’s also interesting to think about whether or not this kind of thing might work for books as well.

      • Lessons From South Africa: Protecting Non-Expressive Uses In Copyright Reform

        This week, the South African Parliament began accepting comments on its pending Bill proposing to amend the South African Copyright Act to align it with the digital age. We and other experts and civil society organizations submitted comments praising many of the Bill’s provisions and proposing that it adopt an “open” fair use right. Here we focus on one major reason to adopt an open fair use right – to authorize so-called non-expressive uses of works. We conclude with some reflections on how international law could help in this regard.

      • A loss for culture and research in today’s copyright votes

        Both votes were in favour of the extra copyright for news publishers creating charges for the use of snippets and links.

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