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Links 21/7/2017: New Wine, Ubuntu EoL

Posted in News Roundup at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Big Data Ingestion: Flume, Kafka, and NiFi

    When building big data pipelines, we need to think on how to ingest the volume, variety, and velocity of data showing up at the gates of what would typically be a Hadoop ecosystem. Preliminary considerations such as scalability, reliability, adaptability, cost in terms of development time, etc. will all come into play when deciding on which tools to adopt to meet our requirements. In this article, we’ll focus briefly on three Apache ingestion tools: Flume, Kafka, and NiFi. All three products offer great performance, can be scaled horizontally, and provide a plug-in architecture where functionality can be extended through custom components.

  • GMO Internet Launches Blockchain OSS to Enable Widespread DLT Adoption

    Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is one of the hottest technology platforms these days. Businesses across various industries are currently exploring the implementation of blockchain solutions into their applications. Catering to these rising requirements, few companies are involved in the development of proprietary solutions.

    As the technology progresses, the Japanese internet giant, GMO Internet Inc., has decided to make development and implementation of blockchain solutions easier by creating an open source software project. The company recently announced the official launch of the GMO Blockchain Open Source Software Project, which allows developers to build, modify and implement the projects for free.

  • Conservancy Welcomes Etherpad as a Member Project, Launches Etherpad Instance

    Software Freedom Conservancy proudly welcomes Etherpad as Conservancy’s newest member project. Etherpad is is a highly customizable web-based editor providing collaborative real-time editing.

    Conservancy, a public charity focused on ethical technology, is the home of over forty member projects dedicated to developing free and open source software. Conservancy acts as a corporate umbrella, allowing member projects to operate as charitable initiatives without having to independently manage their own corporate structure and administrative services.

    “We’re excited to be joining Conservancy,” said John McLear, Etherpad’s chief maintainer. “Conservancy is well-known for its expertise in free and open source software project administration and mentorship. Now that Etherpad is a member, we look forward to working with Conservancy to advance our project.”

  • Utility Settlement Coin Creator to Open-Source Modular Blockchain Software

    The company behind the Utility Settlement Coin project, one of the first designed to enable central banks to utilize distributed ledger tech, is preparing a coming-out party of sorts.

    After working in almost complete secret on what founder and CEO Robert Sams calls “foundational technology,” venture-backed blockchain startup Clearmatics will soon begin a rather unusual roll-out of new offerings for the open-source community.


    While Sams acknowledged that his work with the Utility Settlement Coin, his most well-known project, “informs” the soon-to-be-revealed open-source code, he made explicit that they are distinct from each other.

  • Sustainable Open Source – Where Are the Vendors?

    I agree with much of what Gans writes. There is indeed a problem with unmaintained crusty code, which manifests itself in the form of security vulnerabilities and things that break more easily than they should. In fact, it’s become such a well-known issue that GitHub and others recently sponsored a conference in SF to talk about it. But in all this discussion, and in going through the non-profit organizations dedicated to working on sustainable open source code, I have to ask: where are the vendors?

  • How to use Libraries.io data from millions of open source projects

    What if we applied the techniques Google applied to index the internet back in 1998 to the world of open source software? That’s exactly the thought Andrew Nesbitt had in 2014 which lead to the creation of Libraries.io, an open source project for indexing other open source projects. This month Libraries.io released metadata on over 25 million open source projects.

    You can download it right now from Zenodo, but what can you do with it? To understand what is contained within this dataset, I’ll take a quick look at how it’s collected.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • BSD

    • pfSense 2.3.4-p1 Open-Source Firewall Update Brings Security Fixes for OpenVPN

      A new security and bug fix maintenance update just landed today for the pfSense 2.3.4 stable release of the open-source and free firewall distribution based on the FreeBSD technologies.

      The pfSense 2.3.4-p1 patch is being released two and a half months after the launch of pfSense 2.3.4, and it looks like it attempts to inject new security fixes in pfSense and several of its components, including OpenVPN, as well as to fix various bugs that have been reported during this time. For example, it fixes Hover Dynamic DNS updates to be able to verify the SSL peer.

    • OpenBSD kernel address randomized link

      A less than two-month-old project for OpenBSD, kernel address space randomized link (KARL), has turned the kernel into an object that is randomized on every boot. Instead of the code being stored in the same location for every boot of a given kernel, each boot will be unique. Unlike Linux’s kernel address space layout randomization (KASLR), which randomizes the base address for all of the kernel code on each boot, KARL individually randomizes the object files that get linked into the binary. That means that a single information leak of a function address from the kernel does not leak information about the location of all other functions.

      Theo de Raadt first posted about the idea on the OpenBSD tech mailing list on May 30. He described the current layout of the OpenBSD kernel code, which is effectively the boot code and assembly runtime (in locore.o), followed by the kernel .o files in a fixed order. His post had some changes that would split out the assembly runtime from locore.o and link it and all of the kernel .o files in a random order. The only piece that would be placed at a known address would be locore.o; it would be followed by a randomly sized gap, then by the kernel text that has its .o files arranged in a random order. There would also be random gaps before other sections (i.e. .rodata, .data, and .bss) that are placed after the kernel text.

    • openbsd changes of note 625
    • moving to https

      There is some security benefit, of course, but really it’s all about the speed. I want flak to be as fast as possible, thus we need to be using the fastest protocol.

  • Public Services/Government

    • The municipality of Tirana goes free open source by using Nexcloud

      The municipality of Tirana, the biggest municipality in the country serving over 800,000 citizens, decided to make an Important move onto open source technologies, by implementing yet another open source software in its infrastructure and offering a major improvement with the deployment of a private cloud service: cloud.tirana.al.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development


  • Technology Is Biased Too. How Do We Fix It?

    Instead of offering a workaround for human biases, the tools we designed to help us predict the future may be dooming us to repeat the past by replicating and even amplifying societal inequalities that already exist.

  • Science

    • A future for light-powered wireless connectivity, thanks to graphene

      In my younger days—about the time that Erik the Red was making a name for himself—I was really into electronics. Countless never-quite-working-as-expected circuits should have taught me the futility of telling electrons what to do. Yet my interest in electronics peaked with the construction of an electronically steerable phased-array antenna. This is where, by varying the timing slightly, numerous small antennas create a signal that can be sent in specific directions without moving any hardware.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Donald Trump doesn’t seem to know how much health insurance costs or how it works

      Donald Trump appears not to know how much health insurance costs or how it works.

      Despite declaring to Republican senators that he is ready to sign a healthcare bill, the President has demonstrated a shaky understanding of the legislation he is pushing and the healthcare industry he wants to reform.

      In an interview with The New York Times, Mr Trump said, “So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan.”

      The notion of paying $12 a year for health insurance is even less than the $15 per month amount he suggested in an interview with The Economist earlier this year.

    • WHO Prequalifies First Generic Hepatitis C Drug, First HIV Self-Test

      The WHO said the prequalification could open the way to expand treatment access by increasing the number of generic medicines on the market that have met quality assurances.

    • More Than Half Of People With HIV Now Have Access To Treatment, UNAIDS Says [Ed: Taxpayers have funded much of the research, but nearly half of people with HIV cannot use the drugs because of privateering]

      For the first time, more than half of people in the world living with HIV have access to treatment, UNAIDS said in a report released today in Geneva. In addition, AIDS-related deaths have been nearly cut in half since 2005, it said. As of 2016, nearly 20 million people were living with HIV.

      The report is available here. The report highlights areas where gains have been made and where gaps continue, and points out that funding for addressing HIV/AIDS has been flat.

  • Security

    • Fixing vulnerabilities in open source environment is easier: Red Hat’s Rege

      Inherently in open source, the number of eye balls focused on software at any point of time outpaces the number of people in a proprietary environment. So theoretically the potential for spotting vulnerabilities earlier and fixing is much-much higher in an open source environment. So the ability to respond to and manage those threats by design are much faster.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Clarification on a recent security flaw on a thumbnailer

      The CVE in question, named “Bad Taste” (with even a logo(!) of a wine glass) can be found here.


      In conclusion, it takes 2 minutes to contact any of us and verify your statements/blog post/tech news. Please do, before posting.

    • AMD Confirms It Won’t Opensource EPYC’s Platform Security Processor Code
    • Software wet wipes, Sonatype advocates supply chain hygiene
    • Google drops the boom on WoSign, StartCom certs for good

      Last August, after being alerted by GitHub’s security team that the certificate authority WoSign had errantly issued a certificate for a GitHub domain to someone other than GitHub, Google began an investigation in collaboration with the Mozilla Foundation and a group of security professionals into the company’s certificate issuance practices. The investigation uncovered a pattern of bad practices at WoSign and its subsidiary StartCom dating back to the spring of 2015. As a result, Google moved last October to begin distrusting new certificates issued by the two companies, stating “Google has determined that two CAs, WoSign and StartCom, have not maintained the high standards expected of CAs and will no longer be trusted by Google Chrome.”

    • TV station struggling a month after Windows ransomware attack

      More than a month after a ransomware attack on their Windows computers, journalists at San Francisco’s public TV and radio station KQED are still reduced to doing most of their work manually.

    • New version of SambaCry spotted in the wild: Linux users urged to update OS
    • How I tricked Symantec with a Fake Private Key

      I registered two test domains at a provider that would allow me to hide my identity and not show up in the whois information. I then ordered test certificates from Symantec (via their brand RapidSSL) and Comodo. These are the biggest certificate authorities and they both offer short term test certificates for free. I then tried to trick them into revoking those certificates with a fake private key.

    • Goldilocks Security: Bad, Won’t Work, and Plausible

      Previous posts discussed the security challenge presented by IoT devices, using IP Video Cameras as an example. Now let’s consider some security alternatives…

    • Summer is coming

      Rather than trying to fix the big problems, our time is better spent ignoring the thought leaders and just doing something small. Conferences are important, but not to listen to the leaders. Go find the vendors and attendees who are doing new and interesting things. They are the ones that will make a difference, they are literally the future. Even the smallest bug bounty, feature, or pull request can make a difference. The end goal isn’t to be a noisy gasbag, instead it should be all about being useful.

    • 5 New CIA Malware Unveiled By WikiLeaks — HTTPBrowser, NfLog, Regin, HammerLoss, Gamker
    • Security updates for Friday

      Security updates have been issued by Debian (php5 and ruby-mixlib-archive), Fedora (knot, knot-resolver, and spice), Oracle (graphite2 and java-1.8.0-openjdk), Red Hat (graphite2, java-1.6.0-sun, java-1.7.0-oracle, java-1.8.0-openjdk, and java-1.8.0-oracle), Scientific Linux (java-1.8.0-openjdk), and Ubuntu (kernel, linux, linux-raspi2, linux-hwe, and mysql-5.5, mysql-5.7).

    • Hardened usercopy whitelisting

      There are many ways to attempt to subvert an operating-system kernel. One particularly effective way, if it can be arranged, is to attack the operations that copy data between user-space and kernel-space memory. If the kernel can be fooled into copying too much data back to user space, the result can be an information-disclosure vulnerability. Errors in the other direction can be even worse, overwriting kernel memory with attacker-controlled data. The kernel has gained some defenses against this sort of attack in recent development cycles, but there is more work yet to be merged.

      Much of the heap memory used within the kernel is obtained from the slab allocator. The hardened usercopy patch set, merged for the 4.8 kernel, attempts to limit the impact of erroneous copy operations by ensuring that no single operation can cross the boundary between one slab-allocated object and the next. But the kernel gets a lot of large memory objects from the slab allocator, and it is often not necessary to copy the entire object between the kernel and user space. In cases where only part of an object needs to be copied, it would be useful to prevent a rogue copy operation from copying to or from parts of the structure that do not need to be exposed in this way.

    • User=0day considered harmful in systemd

      Validating user input is a long-established security best practice, but there can be differences of opinion about what should be done when that validation fails. A recently reported bug in systemd has fostered a discussion on that topic; along the way there has also been discussion about how much validation systemd should actually be doing and how much should be left up to the underlying distribution. The controversy all revolves around usernames that systemd does not accept, but that some distributions (and POSIX) find to be perfectly acceptable.

      The bug was opened in late June by GitHub user “mapleray”. It describes setting up a systemd service file with a “User=0day” entry, which means that the service should run as the 0day user. However, mapleray found that it ran as root instead, which is, at the least, rather surprising. It turns out that usernames starting with a digit are disallowed by systemd—so it ignores the line and puts a warning in the log. Since there is no user specified, systemd falls back running it as the default user: root.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Paul Ryan Hands Donald Trump a Blank Check for Endless War

      House Speaker Paul Ryan had an opportunity not merely to reassert the authority of the chamber he is supposed to lead but also to steer the United States away from the dangerous course of endless war and steady subservience to an ever-more-powerful military-industrial complex. Ryan squandered that opportunity.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Son of Cecil the Lion shot dead by hunters in Zimbabwe two years after dad killed by US dentist

      The son of Cecil – the lion killed by a US dentist two years ago – has been shot dead by hunters in Zimbabwe.

      Xanda, aged six with several young cubs, died at the Hwange National Park where his father was also killed.

      Cecil was shot by trophy-hunting American dentist Walter Palmer, sparking an international outcry.

      The Lions of Hwange National Park shared a Facebook post that said: “Today we heard that a few days ago, Xanda, the son of #CecilTheLion has been shot on a trophy hunt.

    • Trump just nominated a climate change skeptic to USDA’s top science post
    • Trump picks climate change doubter for USDA science job

      Clovis, who does not have a science degree, according to a Washington Post report, takes over a position that it said has generally gone to someone with an advanced degree in science or medicine.

    • Trump wants a talk-radio host to be the USDA’s chief scientist

      Yesterday, the Trump administration formally named its candidate for the Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary of research, education, and economics, a post that serves as the agency’s chief scientist. Its choice? Sam Clovis, who has no scientific background but is notable primarily for having been a conservative talk-radio host. If approved by the Senate, the US’ attempts to understand climate change’s impact on agriculture will be led by someone who called climate research “junk science.”

    • What the world would look like if all the ice melted

      If the world keeps burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon emissions indefinitely, climate change will eventually melt all the ice at the poles and on mountains, according to National Geographic.

      This would raise global sea levels by approximately 216 feet, engulfing oceanside cities like Miami, Buenos Aires, and Cairo.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Tillerson cuts high-profile cyberdiplomacy office in State Dept. reorg

      On the heels of the resignation of State Department Cyber Coordinator Chris Painter—the top diplomat for negotiations on setting norms for nations’ behavior in “cyberspace”—a State Department spokesperson confirmed that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is moving toward shutting down the department’s Office for the Coordination of Cyber Issues.

      The office, set up by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Obama administration, has taken the lead in negotiations with other nations on cybersecurity policy issues. It also works out how existing international law applies to hacking, cyber-espionage, and other state-directed activities on the Internet. The Cyber Coordinator, who leads the office, has reported directly to the secretary of state. As the head of the office, Chris Painter—a career Department of Justice employee who was detailed to the State Department for the post six years ago—took part in multiple multinational negotiations resulting in agreements to halt economic electronic espionage against other countries’ companies. Among these was an agreement reached by the Group of 20 leading world economic powers (G20) in November of 2015.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Top European Court To Consider If EU Countries Can Censor The Global Internet

      Last month we wrote about the tragic and hugely problematic ruling in Canada that said a Canadian court could order global censorship of content it deems to be illegal. As lots of people pointed out, that is going to have dangerous consequences for speech around the world. If you accept that Canada can censor the global internet, what’s to stop China, Iran or Russia from claiming the same rights?

      And now we’ll get to find out if the EU similarly believes in the ability of one country to demand global censorship online. In another case that we’ve been following, French data protection officials had been demanding Google censor content globally, and Google had been refusing. Now, the issue has been sent to the EU Court of Justice, the very same court who created this mess three years ago in saying that Google was subject to “right to be forgotten” claims. Google had reasonably interpreted the law to just apply in the EU (where the jurisdiction existed). But now the same court will decide if EU officials can censor globally.

    • Net Censorship Undermines Opportunities of ‘Thailand 4.0’

      With the threat of a single gateway still looming over the heads of netizens, the recent dust-up over limiting access to Facebook content deemed inappropriate by the government, a future internet chock-full of stringent government controls still seems an inevitable reality.

      While the government has asserted in the past that its motivation for any restrictions to the kingdom’s internet access is cybersecurity, it would also seem that term covers blocking content it feels is not in its best interest – which was recently the case when it requested the Thai Internet Service Provider Association, or TISPA, to engage Facebook in an attempt to get specific content blocked.

    • Seeking Clarification: Is James Woods A Hypocritical Asshole?

      Oh, James Woods. He has now “settled” the ridiculous lawsuit he filed against someone mocking him on Twitter… but is still fighting a fairly similar lawsuit that was filed against him — complaining that it’s an attack on his free speech rights.

      If you don’t recall, the rather opinionated actor sued a trollish Twitter user who went by the name Abe List, after Abe referred to Woods as a “cocaine addict” in a clearly hyperbolic tweet. As the case progressed, “Abe List” died unexpectedly, leading to Woods obnoxiously gloating on Twitter that List had “dropped” his anti-SLAPP appeal, and when people pointed out it was only because List had died, Woods demonstrated what kind of character he is by cheering on the fact that someone died.

    • Google right to be forgotten spat returns to Europe’s top court

      Google’s dispute with France’s privacy watchdog over a call to apply “right to be forgotten” rules globally to some Web links will be weighed by Europe’s top court—three years after it told the ad giant to comply with an order to remove old, out of date, or irrelevant listings from its powerful search index, so long as they weren’t found to be in the public interest.

    • YouTube Will Now Redirect Searches For Extremist Videos To Anti-Terrorist Playlists

      As of today, when users search for hateful content on YouTube using certain keywords, the platform will return playlists comprising content that debunks violent and extremist rhetoric.

    • Russia Does A ‘Copy/Paste’ Of Germany’s New ‘Hate Speech’ Online Censorship Law

      A few weeks ago, we warned about a dangerous new German law that would fine social media companies if they didn’t magically block “hate speech” on their platforms. As we pointed out, this would lead to widespread censorship, as the risk of liability for leaving up even borderline speech would be massive. And, equally important, this would embolden oppressive, dictatorial and autocratic regimes to press on with their own crackdowns on free speech by using laws like this one and claiming that they’re doing the exact same thing as supposedly democratic nations like Germany.

    • ‘Censorship results from a patriarchal mindset’
    • A Familiar Bollywood Story: ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ Battles India’s Censor Board
    • Filmmakers hit out at censorship

      Acclaimed director Prakash Jha believes that censorship is an offshoot of a patriarchal mentality governing the Indian mindset for centuries. “Censor or the government or the people with the authority have a patriarchal attitude. Censorship isn’t getting abolished because nobody wants to lose control over popular culture,” Jha said during a visit to the city.

    • China orders tech firms to ramp up censorship
    • China’s Top Cyber Watchdog Is Making More Demands on Tech Firms
    • WhatsApp Disruptions in China Continue
    • WhatsApp disruptions in China raise suspicions
    • China WhatsApp crackdown only scratches surface of worsening internet censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Finland to expand powers of border officers

      The Finnish Border Guard is set to receive expanded powers to combat hybrid threats both independently and in collaboration with other security authorities.

      The Ministry of the Interior has drafted a bill that would grant border officers the same powers as police officers under normal circumstances to uphold order and security at border-crossing points, their immediate vicinity, and other areas and facilities controlled by the Finnish Border Guard.

    • Trump lawyers asking about presidential pardon powers: report

      President Trump’s lawyers are looking into the president’s authority to grant pardons in connection with the special counsel investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

      Trump himself has talked to advisers about his ability to pardon his aides, family members and himself in the investigations, according to the Post, though one adviser cautioned that the president’s inquiries were made in curiosity, rather than in connection to the Russia probes.

    • Freedom Of Information Lawsuit Results In NYPD Agreeing To Follow FOI Law

      The “new” email request system will aid more New Yorkers in having their requests ignored by the NYPD. The NYPD’s future use of email for FOI responses will ensure requesters are informed of denials in a much speedier fashion. The portal the NYPD is setting up on its website will provide instructions for requesters, as well as information on how to challenge denials and non-responses. If nothing else, the NYPD will be forced to follow the letter of the law a bit more closely, but it will take far more than a steady stream of FOI lawsuits for it to approach the law’s spirit.

      The NYPD has made a opacity a cottage industry. It has been dubbed the least responsive government agency in the US, worse than the CIA, FBI and NSA. It has developed an in-house classification system that allows pretty much anyone to designate almost any document “top secret” for almost any reason, and reached its nadir when it refused to release a copy of its FOIL response guidelines to a FOIL requester.

      But this is an ugly victory — one that should subject the department to a steady stream of ridicule. It takes a lawsuit to make a law enforcement agency follow the law. That’s just depressing.

    • Massachusetts Lawmaker Wants To Make It A Felony To Have Secret Compartments In Your Car

      A Massachusetts lawmaker is looking to give law enforcement another way to bust people and seize vehicles. Modify a vehicle you own in a certain way and you can expect to never see that vehicle again.

    • Prosecutors Say Subpoenas Will Be Used For Serious Crimes Against Children, Use Them For Everything Else

      It is the same here as it is with everything else. Stingrays were supposed to be counterterrorism devices, what with them being repurposed war gear. But then it was homicides. Then drug dealers. Then pretty much anyone cops wanted to locate, even if all they’d done was steal $60 of fast food.

      Likewise, National Security Letters. The clue is in the name. Maybe they’re only being used for national security purposes, but if so, America is under constant threat from prolific terrorists. The FBI issues thousands of these a year. And we know very little about the underlying crimes, thanks to indefinite gag orders and loads of government court filings still under seal.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • IPv6 anycast possibly done better

      Anycasting IP space has become quite a meme in the networking world in the last few years, with it being used sparsely in the past for UDP based services like DNS. Now it’s being used for TCP based services too, meaning that all the services that use TCP are now also being served on Anycast IP ranges. (ie, HTTP, or other TCP based applications, like games)

    • Senator challenges Ajit Pai over evidence for net neutrality repeal

      The evidence for repealing net neutrality rules isn’t good enough, Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.) told Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai yesterday.

      Pai claims that the rules issued in 2015 are reducing investment in broadband networks, but Markey pointed out during a Senate hearing that ISPs have not reported any dramatic problems to their investors.

    • Verizon Wireless is apparently now throttling Netflix and Youtube to 10Mbps

      [...] YouTube and Netflix are being throttled to 10Mbps regardless of the speed you have paid for. If it sounds like a step towards a world without net neutrality, that’s because it is. The reported speed cap, 10 Mbps, allows for 1080p streaming video, but starts to falter when streaming anything higher quality such as 1440p or 4k video. Whether or not 1080p video is enough for mobile streaming or not isn’t the matter – the consensus seems to be that the throttling is very unwelcome. Using a VPN defeats this throttling and allows you to get the streaming speed that you paid for.

    • FCC says it cannot provide more proof of claimed cyberattack

      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says it cannot provide more information proving that it was the victim of a cyberattack in May.

      The agency’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) went down shortly after comedian John Oliver told viewers to file comments in favor of net neutrality in a segment on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight.”

      The FCC claimed at the time that the website did not crash because of the large amount of traffic Oliver generated, but was instead the result of a Distributed Denial of Service Attack. An FCC official cited an “analysis” that lead the agency to that conclusion.

    • FCC has no documentation of DDoS attack that hit net neutrality comments

      In its response to a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request filed by Gizmodo, the FCC said its analysis of DDoS attacks “stemmed from real time observation and feedback by Commission IT staff and did not result in written documentation.” Gizmodo had asked for a copy of any records related to the FCC analysis that concluded DDoS attacks had taken place. Because there was no “written documentation,” the FCC provided no documents in response to this portion of the Gizmodo FoIA request.

    • Supposed Stickler For Transparency, FCC Boss Won’t Release Net Neutrality Complaints

      When Ajit Pai was first appointed as the new head of the FCC, he promised to be a stickler for transparency at the agency. And in one way he followed through, by making it standard operating procedure to now publish FCC orders a month before they’re voted on (even though former staffers and consumer advocates believe he only did so to give ISP lobbyists more time to construct counter-arguments and their legal and policy assaults). Elsewhere, this supposed dedication to transparency has been decidedly lacking however, especially in regards to his efforts to repeal net neutrality protections.

    • FCC Won’t Release Data To Support Its Claim A DDOS Attack, Not John Oliver, Brought Down The Agency’s Website

      You might recall that when HBO comedian John Oliver originally addressed net neutrality on his show in 2014, the FCC website crashed under the load of concerned consumers eager to support the creation of real net neutrality rules. When Oliver revisited the topic last May to discuss FCC boss Ajit Pai’s myopic plan to kill those same rules, the FCC website crashed under the load a second time. Both instances did a fantastic job highlighting how satire often tops traditional journalism in driving interest toward what can often be rather wonky tech policy issues.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Six Inconvenient Truths About NAFTA Renegotiations

      This leads to the fifth hard truth: the United States will certainly push Canada to accept patent standards that are not in Canada’s best interest. As US firms own nearly four times more Canadian patents than Canadian firms do themselves, the United States has a clear interest in having Canadian patent laws be more patent-holder friendly. Each trade negotiation is another opportunity for the United States to export its desires in Canada. At the end of the 1980s, at the time of the negotiations of the Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement, the Reagan administration successfully used the access to the large American market to pressure the Canadian government to extend patent protection to pharmaceutical products and restricted the possibilities for the government to provide licences to generic manufacturers. Later, with NAFTA, the United States made sure that Canada could no longer provide a more favourable treatment for pharmaceutical inventions and generic products made in Canada. This time, one could expect that the United States will ask for a 12-year data exclusivity for biologics and a five-year patent term extension to compensate patent holders for regulatory delays. These rules would not serve Canadian interests.

    • WIPO Drags Feet On Reduction In Compensation For Geneva-Based Staff

      Earlier this year, the United Nations International Civil Service Commission called for a decrease in the compensation for the high cost of living for professional staff of Geneva-based United Nations agencies. At the World Intellectual Property Organization Program and Budget Committee last week, some countries asked why the decision was not reflected in the draft budget for 2018/2019. WIPO replied that discussions to curb the decision are ongoing.

    • Trademarks

      • Man ridicules Olive Garden’s demand letter over trademark dispute

        Malone documents his travails online with detailed photos, often in brief form, such as: “My mind has actually come around completely on the garlic alfredo sauce since its original launch in 2015. Perhaps the recipe has changed, or maybe my palate has been deadened by years of conspicuous consumption, but the flavor is actually fairly mild and the grated cheese adds a bit of depth to the traditionally bland alfredo.”

    • Copyrights

      • Giganews Sues Perfect 10 For $20 Million For Trying To Play ‘Hide The Assets’ After Jury Award

        If you’re not familiar with Perfect 10 by now, it is a company that billed itself as a smutty porn magazine that was actually mostly in the far more immoral business of copyright trolling. Rather than peddling skin, Perfect 10 mostly peddled laughably frivolous copyright lawsuits against roughly everyone, managing in this process to suffer legal losses to Google, CCBill, Amazon, and Visa among others. One of those others was Usenet provider Giganews, which won big in its court battle with Perfect 10 to the tune of the latter being ordered to pay over $5 million in attorney’s fees to the former. Perfect 10 immediately cried poor at that point, stating it didn’t have the money to cover the award, leading the court to put its assets in receivership.

      • EU to kill Creative Commons?

        The EU is in the process of hammering out a new copyright directive. Here is a leaked amendment from the European Parliaments Committee on Culture and Education (CULT)…


        “2. The right of an author or performer to obtain fair remuneration for the making available of his/her work as described in paragraph 1 cannot be waived.”

      • BREIN Wants to Speed Up Dutch Pirate Bay Blockade

        Anti-piracy group BREIN is determined to have The Pirate Bay blocked in the Netherlands, preferably as soon as possible. The group no longer wants to wait for a local Supreme Court hearing on the matter and hopes to speed up the issue with a preliminary injunction.

      • Kim Dotcom Denied Access to Illegally Obtained Spy Recordings

        Between December 2011 and March 2012, New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau illegally intercepted the private conversations of Kim and Mona Dotcom, and Megaupload co-defendant Bram van der Kolk. A new ruling handed down by the High Court means that Dotcom will be denied access to the recordings.

      • How badly do streaming services rip off musicians? A chart, updated

        Information is Beautiful has updated their comparison of artist payments on streaming services, estimating that 2.4 million plays on YouTube will net a whopping $1,472 for an unsigned artist. That’s $0.0006 per play!

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