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08.16.17

Links 16/8/2017: Ardour 5.11, 24th Birthday of Debian

Posted in News Roundup at 7:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Army reaps benefits of open-source policy

    The Army’s decision to formalize its open-source software development policy is paying off. At least two major projects have benefited from the policy announced this spring, with open source helping to speed development and save taxpayer dollars, according to officials from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.

  • Hortonworks’ Shaun Bierweiler: Open Source Tech to Support Gov’t Cultural Shift Toward Data-Driven Ops [Ed: In all these recent puff pieces and "sponsored content" from Hortonworks this NSA-connected firm is openwashing mass surveillance]
  • Minoca OS 0.4 Has X.Org Support, Available As A Coreboot Payload

    The Minoca operating system is a “general purpose operating system written from scratch” but has a POSIX-like interface and is SMP-ready, network-capable, event-driven, and other modern features.

    Minoca OS so far supports some x86 hardware and ARM SBC boards. At the end of June marked the Minoca OS 0.4 release to not a lot of attention. Minoca OS 0.4 added support for X.Org as well as fceux as a Nintendo NES emulator.

  • Fraunhofer HHI releases update to open-source radio channel model QuaDRiGa

    The open source MATLAB / Octave implementation is freely available at http://quadriga-channel-model.de

  • Power-packed — and open source — project management tools for enterprises

    Project management is a tough nut to crack. Multilevel tasks, complicated methodologies, large team sizes, geographically separated resources, office politics (have you seen the show “The Good Wife”?), progress tracking, reporting, analytics, planning – you get the idea. Intuitive and simplified project management tools were never such necessary arrows in the quiver of project managers.

  • Events

    • The Need for Connection: Building Habit-Forming Open Source Products

      With the increasing use of connected devices and the growing presence of online distractions, it’s important to understand the ideas behind habit-forming technologies. Nir Eyal, author of the best-selling book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, will be delivering a keynote presentation based on his book at Open Source Summit in Los Angeles.

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

  • CMS

    • Ghost, the open source blogging system, is ready for prime time

      Four long years ago John O’Nolan released a content management system for bloggers that was as elegant as it was spooky. Called Ghost, the original app was a promising Kickstarter product with little pizazz. Now the app is ready to take on your toughest blogs.

      O’Nolan just released version 1.0 of the software, a move that updates the tool with the best of modern blogging tools. You can download the self-hosted version here or use O’Nolan’s hosting service to try it out free.

      “About four years ago we launched Ghost on Kickstarter as a tiny little prototype of an idea to create the web’s next great open source blogging platform,” said O’Nolan. After “2,600 commits” he released the 1.0 version complete with a new editor and improved features.

    • SerenataFlowers.com and Hipper.com Extend Support to Open Source through OSI Sponsorship

      SerenataFlowers.com’s Managing Director, Martin Johansson, emphasized the company’s investment, “We actively use a large number of open source software in our website front-end and back-end development. Examples include, Snowplow Analytics, Metabase, Joomla, foundation framerwork, MySQL, and many others.” Johansson added, “Open source software is one of the cornerstones upon which our business is built. We believe open source software is both more secure and more efficient than their closed-source counterparts and we are actively looking to replace as many closed-source technologies for open source equivalent technology.”

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Where does our money go?

      Each year, the FSFE spends close to half a million Euro raising awareness of and working to support the ecosystem around free software. Most of our permanent funds come from our supporters — the people who contribute financially to our work each month or year and continue to do so from month to month, and year to year. They are the ones who support our ability to plan for the long term and make long term commitments towards supporting free software.

Leftovers

  • Google is paying Apple billions per year to remain on the iPhone, Bernstein says

    Google will pay Apple about $3 billion this year to remain the default search engine on iOS devices, Bernstein says.

    The licensing payments make up a large bulk of Apple’s services revenue.

  • Reynolds: Google needs a new CEO, but dumping Sundar Pichai is not enough

    Various people (most of whom, as The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf noted, seem not to have read Damore’s actual memo, but rather to have been responding to an imaginary document instead) demanded that Damore be fired. CEO Sundar Pichai complied and gave Damore the boot. For this egregious piece of mob-induced misjudgment, Pichai must go. But that’s the least of the problems for Google, and Silicon Valley.

  • Dirty NYC dwellers are using AirDrop to send unwanted wang shots to women

    The report notes that the dirty trend was first spotted in London in 2015, but has since made its way to New York.

  • The Snopes Fight Is Even Way More Complicated Than We Originally Explained

    If you read our post a few weeks ago about the very messy legal fight between Snopes and Proper Media, you may recall that we spent many, many words explaining how the story was way, way, way more complicated than most in the media were portraying it. And significantly more complicated than how Snopes was portraying it. And we thought we did a pretty good job explaining all of that. Indeed, one of our commenters noted: “Wow. This couldn’t possibly get any messier.”

    He was wrong. It turns out it’s even messier. And it involves accusations of tax scams and shell companies, none of which came out in the last discussion on all of this. So, buckle in.

  • Science

    • Implication of our technological species being first and early

      Here we argue that this suggests that the typical technological species becomes extinct soon after attaining a modern technology and that this event results in the extinction of the planet’s global biosphere.

    • [Older] By convicting an honest statistician, Greece condemns itself

      Georgiou’s prosecution also raises questions about the integrity of Greece’s institutions. Four times in the past four years, public prosecutors have concluded Georgiou is innocent of charges raised against him, and yet these rulings have been discarded and the trials have continued. That suggests the possibility of some degree of political interference in the judicial system — something potential foreign investors will be watching with concern.

    • A Greek Statistician’s Cautionary Tale
    • What Developers Need to Consider When Exploring Machine Learning

      There are many reasons why startups might struggle to fulfill their potential for financial and technological success. Among the many unique challenges they face from initial concept through to expansion, a lack of scalability can be one of the most difficult to overcome. In this section, we’ll focus on the capabilities and practical application of machine and deep learning, the frameworks and technologies you need to know about, and the ways that the community can help from the very beginning.

    • A Dangerous Nuclear Ignorance

      Writing in a publication by scientists, read by many scientists and lovers of science, Shermer is indeed apologizing for war crimes and providing a method for other scientists to treat this as a non-scientific issue. Decades of aftermath of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki sufferings tell us otherwise, and demand better from scientists. Currently, American denial of climate destruction and nuclear warfare are endorsed at the highest level of government. The US State Department is openly considering changing its stated priorities from “democracy” to “security, prosperity and interests of the American people globally”. American scientists cannot take a backseat and claim moral indifference. The species depends on it.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Oregon Lauded as Progressive Model for Reproductive Healthcare Reform

      As Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed on Tuesday a law that bans state insurance providers from covering abortion, pro-choice advocates celebrated a bill signed by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown that proponents are calling the nation’s most progressive reproductive healthcare policy.

    • Racism and Capitalism: the Barriers to Decent Health Care

      Capitalism exists to make profits. This is not a moral statement, but the underlying mechanism of the system, for a business must be successful at not only making, but maximizing profits, or it will lose out to competitors. Profits are derived from the difference between the value of goods produced and the investment in the means of production, ie labor, machinery, advertising, etc. It is the cost of labor where the major flexibility lies, and wages depend on the costs of maintaining the worker in working condition, providing training, and replacing workers lost to disability or retirement. Thus a low-skilled worker in a time of high unemployment, when he or she can be easily replaced, is much less valuable and is paid less than a highly trained one with scarce skills.

    • CBO: Trump’s Plan to Sabotage ACA Would Skyrocket Premiums

      The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Tuesday that premiums for many Americans would go up by 20 percent in 2018, should President Donald Trump follow through on his threats to stop paying the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing subsidies to insurance companies.

      The subsidies allow insurance companies to reduce costs for low-income Americans who rely on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Following the Republican party’s failure to pass a bill repealing the healthcare law, Trump has said he may end the payments in order to allow the ACA to collapse.

      According to the nonpartisan CBO, doing so would seriously hurt people who rely on the plans covered by the law and harm the U.S. economy as well. The loss of the $7 billion payments would cause the federal deficit to rise by $6 billion in just one year, and $195 billion over the next decade.

    • Donald Trump Could Personally Cost Americans Thousands of Dollars in Bigger Health Care Bills
    • Deadly drug-resistant fungus sparks outbreaks in UK—and it’s stalking US

      More than 200 patients in more than 55 UK hospitals were discovered by healthcare workers to be infected or colonized by the multi-drug resistant fungus Candida auris, a globally emerging yeast pathogen that has experts nervous.

      Three of the hospitals experienced large outbreaks, which as of Monday were all declared officially over by health authorities there. No deaths have been reported since the fungus was first detected in the country in 2013, but 27 affected patients have developed blood infections, which can be life-threatening. And about a quarter of the more than 200 cases were clinical infections.

    • “Alternative” medicine’s toll on cancer patients: Death rate up to 5X higher

      Unproven alternative treatments are clearly risky. Some carry the risk of direct harms, such as improperly diluted homeopathic tablets, blinding stem cell injections, contaminated supplements, or tainted placenta pills. And others, such as magic healing crystals and useless detoxes, may risk indirect harm by taking the place of evidence-based treatments.

      However obvious the risks, measuring them has been tricky. For one thing, patients aren’t always eager to provide data, let alone admit to their doctors that they’ve ditched conventional therapies. But, by digging into the National Cancer database, researchers at Yale have finally quantified one type of risk for cancer patients—the risk of death. And the results are grim.

    • New Drone Footage Exposes the Scale of Factory Animal Farming Like Never Before

      The animal agriculture industry spends millions on deceptive advertising to persuade consumers that farmed animals roam freely on bucolic pastures. But I’ve been piloting drones over animal agriculture facilities for several years, and the video I’ve captured tells a far different story. Nearly all animals raised and slaughtered for food in the U.S. live in factory farms––facilities that treat animals as mere production units and show little regard for the natural environment or public health. Instead of creating widgets, these factories confine, mutilate, and disassemble animals who feel pain and pleasure just like our dogs and cats.

      Aerial views of the first factory farms I visited—pig facilities—didn’t capture grass and rolling hills, but instead exposed rows of windowless metal buildings. Each confined thousands of intelligent, sensitive pigs who spent their lives on concrete floors in crowded pens. The footage also reveals what appear to be red lakes but are in fact giant, open-air cesspools. Waste falls through slats in the pigs’ concrete flooring and is flushed into these massive pits, which sometimes have the surface area of multiple football fields. To lower the levels of these cesspools, many facilities spray their contents into the air where they turn into mist and drift into neighboring communities.

  • Security

    • How to configure your Chromebook for ultimate security
    • Government Changes Its Tune about MalwareTech

      Marcus Hutchins, AKA MalwareTech, just plead not guilty at his arraignment in Milwaukee, WI. After the hearing, his attorney, Marcia Hofmann, called him a “hero” and said he would be fully vindicated.

    • NHS cyber-defender Marcus Hutchins back online

      He must surrender his passport and will be tracked in the US via GPS during his release.

      [...]

      He added: “I’m still on trial, still not allowed to go home, still on house arrest; but now i am allowed online. Will get my computers back soon.”

    • Marcus Hutchins pleads not guilty to FBI malware charges

      British security researcher Marcus Hutchins, who came to prominence after he inadvertently stopped the spread of the WannaCry ransomware in May, has pleaded not guilty to writing the code that was used to create the banking trojan Kronos.

    • WannaCry ‘hero’ Marcus Hutchins pleads not guilty to Kronos malware charges

      Hutchins is now out on bail awaiting trial. Under his bail conditions, he will not be allowed to leave the US or to use the internet. He will also have to wear a GPS tag and, as a non-US national, won’t be allowed to work, and will therefore be reliant on family and charity to sustain himself.

    • WannaCry ‘saviour’ Marcus Hutchins pleads not guilty to malware charges

      His trial has been scheduled to start in October. If Mr Hutchins is convicted he could face 40 years in prison.

    • 2016 Open-Source Repo Continues to Fuel the PHP Server Ransomware Scene [Ed: How Catalin Cimpanu associates FOSS with crime]

      A PHP ransomware project open-sourced on GitHub is still spawning active threats, more than a year after it was released in early 2016.

      The project, unimaginatively named “Ransomware,” is the work of an Indonesian hacker who goes by the name of ShorTcut (or Shor7cut), a member of two hacking crews named Bug7sec and Indonesia Defacer Tersakiti.

    • New Data Security Network Launches to Champion and Promote Data Sanitization Best Practices
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Red Hat Secures Networking Flaws in OpenStack, the Linux Kernel

      Red Hat has fixed an important vulnerability in the OpenStack subsystem that’s used to manage network connectivity to and from virtual machines. If left unpatched, it could allow an attacker to access network resources from virtual machines.

      The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2017-7543 in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) database, is located in openstack-neutron, a “pluggable, scalable and API-driven” component of the Red Hat OpenStack Platform that’s used to provision networking services to virtual machines.

    • Atomicorp Releases First Kernel-Level Docker Security and is Available Today Through AWS, Azure and Direct
    • Shadow Brokers Eternal Exploits expected to remain effective

      The Shadow Brokers also leaked exploits such as EternalRomance which is similar to EternalBlue but targets Windows 7 SP1 machines using SMBv2 and targets a vulnerability in the process of handling SMBv1 transactions, EternalSynergy which uses a packet type confusion vulnerability, and EternalChampion which takes advantage of a race condition in transaction hand.

    • Shadow Brokers EternalPulsar malware: All you need to know about the leaked NSA SMB exploits

      Cylance researchers said the DoublePulsar backdoor, which experts previously said had successfully infected around 100,000 computers shortly after the exploit was leaked in April, functions as a backdoor providing hackers with secret access to Windows systems.

    • IoT Security for Developers

      Previous articles focused on how to securely design and configure a system based on existing hardware, software, IoT Devices, and networks. If you are developing IoT devices, software, and systems, there is a lot more you can do to develop secure systems.

      The first thing is to manage and secure communications with IoT Devices. Your software needs to be able to discover, configure, manage and communicate with IoT devices. By considering security implications when designing and implementing these functions you can make the system much more robust. The basic guideline is don’t trust any device. Have checks to verify that a device is what it claims to be, to verify device integrity, and to validate communications with the devices.

    • Powerful backdoor found in software used by >100 banks and energy cos. [Ed: Yet more back doors in proprietary software on Microsoft Windows]

      For 17 days starting last month, an advanced backdoor that gave attackers complete control over networks lurked in digitally signed software used by hundreds of banks, energy companies, and pharmaceutical manufacturers, researchers warned Tuesday.

      The backdoor, dubbed ShadowPad, was added to five server- or network-management products sold by NetSarang, a software developer with offices in South Korea and the US. The malicious products were available from July 17 to August 4, when the backdoor was discovered and privately reported by researchers from antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab. Anyone who uses the five NetSarang titles Xmanager Enterprise 5.0, Xmanager 5.0, Xshell 5.0, Xftp 5.0, or Xlpd 5.0, should immediately review posts here and here from NetSarang and Kaspersky Lab respectively.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Media monsters: militarism, violence and cruelty in children’s culture

      Who would ever have thought that there would be torture scenes in G and PG-rated children’s films, or that video games would allow someone to feel the rush of killing, or that the Disney corporation would try to trademark ‘SEAL Team 6’ so that they could use it for toys, Christmas stockings and snow globes after this elite military group had killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani compound?

      Who could have imagined that a child would write a few loving words on her desk and then be arrested in front of her classmates, or that the U.S. government would torture real children in the ‘war on terror?’ Alexa Gonzalez, a 12-year old girl from Queens, doodled “I love my friends Abby and Faith. Lex was here. 2/1/10,” adding a smiley face for emphasis. The next thing she knew she was escorted from school in handcuffs and detained for hours.

      And what of 14-year old Mohammed El-Gharani, who was subjected to sleep deprivation and hung from his wrists while a U.S. soldier threatened to cut off his penis with a knife? Welcome to the new face of childhood in America.

    • A Ukraine Link to North Korea’s Missiles?

      U.S. intelligence analysts reportedly have traced North Korea’s leap forward in creating an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking U.S. territory to a decaying Ukrainian rocket-engine factory whose alleged role could lift the cover off other suppressed mysteries related to the U.S.-backed coup in Kiev.

      [...]

      Kolomoisky, who has triple citizenship from Ukraine, Cyprus and Israel, was eventually ousted as governor of Dnipropetrovsk (now called Dnipro) on March 25, 2015, after a showdown with Ukraine’s current President Petro Poroshenko over control of the state-owned energy company, but by then Kolomoisky’s team had put its corrupt mark on the region.

      At the time of the Kolomoisky-Poroshenko showdown, Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, chief of the State Security Service, accused Dnipropetrovsk officials of financing armed gangs and threatening investigators, Bloomberg News reported, while noting that Ukraine had sunk to 142nd place out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s Corruptions Perception Index, the worst in Europe.

      Even earlier in Kolomoisky’s brutal reign, Dnipropetrovsk had become the center for the violent intrigue that has plagued Ukraine for the past several years, including the dispatch of neo-Nazi militias to kill ethnic Russians who then turned to Russia for support.

    • Among the Racists

      But, like those crude black-and-white mosquito-Jew cartoons, the Final Solution never changes. Hanging them from lamp-posts. Gassing them with Zyklon B. (Arcane debates about the efficacy of various gaseous poisons are common.) Rendering them into lampshades. It’s a nonstop tape-loop of race-hatred and genocide-dreams. And this is where the outsider—no matter how well-versed in the rhetoric, no matter how he steels himself against it—begins to falter. I was an eager infiltrator, but this is where I lost heart. Because to live through that ongoing conversation–and not just to endure it, but to be a laughing participant in it–is something that my nervous system was not wired for. The synapses of any faintly decent human being are wired to short out and shut down at this point. You have to keep kick-starting your brain. And in the end it’s too exhausting.

    • Charlottesville: Outrage, Hypocrisy & Obama’s Betrayal

      It is simply untrue to claim that the United States has a problem with white supremacy. It is untrue because the United States is synonymous with white supremacy; it is a nation founded and established by white supremacists, whose constitution was written by white supremacists, and in which white supremacy is wedded into the cultural and social fabric, not forgetting its very institutions.

      While it may be tempting to dismiss 500 knuckle-dragging racists marching through Charlottesville waving Confederate flags as unrepresentative of a nation that takes pride in values of tolerance and racial equality, it would be wrong. Those who took part in those ugly scenes are the reality rather than the myth of America. They know that the American exceptionalism which Obama, while president, declared he believed in with every fiber of his being, is in truth white exceptionalism – ‘white’ in this context being not only a racial construct but also an ideological construct.

    • Pentagon Ready for “Full Range” of Options, Despite South Korea Pleas to Rule Out War

      The highest-ranking US military officer again warned that the Trump administration stands ready to attack North Korea, despite pleas for peace from South Korea.

      Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Joseph Dunford on Monday said that the Pentagon is prepared “to use the full range of military capabilities to defend our allies and the US homeland.” Dunford made the comments in Seoul while meeting with South Korean civilian and military officials.

      South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday urged the sabre-rattling to stop, declaring “there must not be another war on the Korean Peninsula.”

      President Moon also vowed to work with the US “to safeguard peace,” according to the AP, and told Pyongyang to “stop issuing menacing statements and provoking.”

      “Whatever ups and downs we face, the North Korean nuclear situation must be resolved peacefully,” Moon also stated.

    • In the Wake of Charlottesville, Let’s Call for Structural Transformation

      Critiques of Trump focused on his days-long inability to reference Neo-Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan, eventually forcing him to deliver a new statement. But what is the point of pushing Trump to denounce white supremacists, when he clearly does not have the moral authority to criticize them? Trump helped popularize birtherism, which offered a basis for Republican Party obstructionism during the Obama era. Trump-fueled birtherism also helped delegitimize certain policies, such as the Affordable Care Act.

    • Taking Nuclear War Seriously

      With remarkably little public debate, the U.S. government has raised the risk of a nuclear conflagration with face-offs against Russia and now North Korea, an existential issue that Dennis J Bernstein discusses with journalist John Pilger.

    • Cataclysmic Risks of North Korean Crisis

      A lot of people in Congress were very concerned about Trump’s remarks. That was true around the world, as well. Moon Jae-in won the election based on his policy of wanting to engage again with North Korea. The last two presidents had rejected engagement and the situation had become very tense because of their hard-line policies.

    • The Agony of ‘Regime Change’ Refugees

      European nations have been thrown into a political crisis by the hundreds of thousands of migrants coming north from the Middle East and Africa. The number has grown in recent years, due to a mix of wars and poverty, resulting in a visible increase of the influx of foreigners across Europe, and a popular backlash that has political institutions scrambling to find a way to stem the flow and lessen the sense of emergency.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Stories Claiming DNC Hack Was ‘Inside Job’ Rely Heavily On A Stupid Conversion Error No ‘Forensic Expert’ Would Make

      While we wait for the Mueller investigation to clearly illustrate if and how Russia meddled in the last election, there’s no shortage of opinions regarding how deep this particular rabbit hole goes. While it’s pretty obvious that Putin used social media and media propaganda to pour some napalm on our existing bonfires of dysfunction, just how much of an impact these efforts had on the election won’t be clear until a full postmortem is done. Similarly, while Russian hackers certainly had fun probing our voting systems and may have hacked both political parties, clearly proving state involvement is something else entirely.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • At ITC hearing, two US solar manufacturers ask for tariffs on imported cells

      A US-based solar-panel components maker called Suniva filed a petition with the International Trade Commission (ITC) this spring, alleging unfair trade practices after the company declared bankruptcy. It was later joined in its petition by SolarWorld America, another US-based solar cell manufacturer. Today, the two companies pleaded their case (PDF) in front of the ITC and are asking for tariffs to be placed on solar-panel materials imported to the US.

    • Trump Has Broad Power to Block Climate Change Report

      Earlier this month, someone involved in the government’s latest report on climate change provided The New York Times with a copy of the version submitted to the Trump administration for final approval. The main intent of the leak, according to several people tracking the report, was to complicate any attempt to suppress the study or water down its findings.

      Publication of the document inflamed an already-fraught debate about climate change. Administration officials and Republican lawmakers accused the leaker and journalists of manufacturing a dispute. They said the report, which was required by law, was moving through a normal process of White House review.

    • Ignoring Threat of Rising Seas, Trump Eliminates Flood Risk Standards

      Reuters, New York Times, and the Washington Post reported that Trump’s order “revoked an Obama-era executive order that required strict building standards for government-funded projects to reduce exposure to increased flooding from sea level rise and other consequences of climate change.”

    • Trump Signs Order Rolling Back Environmental Rules on Infrastructure
    • Does Game of Thrones Contain a Stark Warning About Climate Change?

      Many people who care about climate change often complain that although the issue may get discussed in the inside pages of serious news publications it rarely cuts through to popular culture. For something as momentous as humans threatening the habitability of the only planet suitable for human habitation, climate change hasn’t really had the airtime one would expect.

      However, scratch under the surface and we can see that one of the biggest small screen blockbusters of the last few years, Game of Thrones, is an almost perfect metaphor for the politics of the climate crisis.

      The popular adaptation of author George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire has been showing its potential as a modern-day climate fable, but it really hit home last week.

      In the seventh season’s third episode, “The Queen’s Justice,” hero Jon Snow, asks Tyrion Lannister: “How do I convince people who don’t know me that an enemy they don’t believe in is coming to kill them all?” Well quite Jon. We environmentalists feel your pain.

  • Finance

    • From supply chain to equity: real-world uses of the blockchain today

      A blockchain is a digital ledger that is available for all parties to see, providing transparency across the chain – and businesses in financial trading, insurance, and supply chain management are all taking notice.

    • Bitcoin, Fake News, and the Illusion of Money

      Bitcoin’s value is an illusion of money. But so is all governmental money, all central-bank money. All governments always knew that the value of money is an illusion: they could just not fathom a day would come when they would no longer be in complete control of that illusion.

    • Pro-EU activists to stage ‘stop Brexit’ march during Tory conference

      Pro-EU campaigners are planning to stage one of their biggest “stop Brexit” marches outside the Conservative party conference this autumn.

      Campaigners said their aim was to make the party “face up to the reality of Brexit” when they march to the conference centre to make sure their voices are heard by delegates inside.

      Thousands are expected to turn out for the rally, starting in Platt Fields in Manchester on the first day of the conference – the same day as the traditional anti-Tory and anti-austerity protests held outside the gathering, which begins on 1 October.

    • As Billionaire Apple Heiress Laurene Powell Jobs Buys the Atlantic, Will Her Fierce Charter School Advocacy Be on the Agenda?
    • Gates Makes Largest Donation Since 2000 With $4.6 Billion Pledge [iophk: "retain control while avoiding tax"]

      Gates has made the majority of his donations to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the charity he and his wife use to direct their philanthropic {sic} efforts.

    • Labour calls for benefit shakeup to be halted after £3,100 a year impact on single parents revealed

      Ministers should halt the rollout of the Government’s flagship welfare reform, Universal Credit, Labour warned today.

      Hard-up families could have lost huge amounts of cash are being switched onto the benefit, which rolls six working-age handouts into one payment, a report warned.

      Analysis from the House of Commons Library shows falling incomes for both public and private sector workers, with real wages stagnating and a reduction in in-work support.

    • The government’s customs union plan is an absolute dog’s breakfast

      It’s hard to know where to start with the customs union position paper. It is such a mess, such a full-spectrum catastrophe of ineptitude and wishful thinking, that it’s honestly quite difficult to choose which bits of it to single out for criticism.

      On Sunday, Phillip Hammond and Liam Fox wrote a joint piece for the Sunday Telegraph agreeing that the UK would not stay in the customs union during transition. There is no particular reason to do this, except for the religious zeal of hard Brexiters. Staying in would allow British business to enjoy certainty and consistency as we left the EU and reduce the amount of work the UK government has to do before Brexit day. But regardless, that is not happening, so now we are full steam ahead to leave, even in the transition period.

      [...]

      The streamline option recognises that the UK and the EU would be third parties, but tries to simplify customs arrangements so that they are as frictionless as possible. This is done through continuing “some existing arrangements”, “reducing or removing” other barriers, and a variety of highly optimistic IT solutions. There’d be a waiver on entry and exit requirements, a mutual recognition agreement for authorised economic operators, technology-based solutions for roll-on-roll-off ports, and some other initiatives. Lastly, and with no small hint of irony, the UK would join the Common Transit Convention, a transit procedure used between the EU and the Efta states which Britain refuses to join for transition.

      [...]

      Through it all, one question sticks with you: Why the hell are we doing this? This is not even about Brexit. It’s about leaving the customs union, which is a frankly insane thing to do. Officials defending these plans say that leaving the EU means leaving the customs union. It does not. That is a choice taken by the British government. This dog’s breakfast is the result. Imagine what else we could be doing with our time.

    • Irish border pulls UK toward softer Brexit

      The key thing to understand about the British stance on the Northern Ireland border, set out in a new position paper Wednesday, is the extreme importance the government is attaching to maintaining the peace process.

      The border was a conflict zone within the lifetime of most of the people now making decisions about its future. Avoiding a return to those days is a responsibility not borne lightly by any serious British politician.

    • In rare rebuke of Trump, PM May says leaders must condemn far-right views

      British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday there was no equivalence between fascists and those who opposed them, a rare rebuke of U.S. President Donald Trump by one of his closest foreign allies.

      Trump inflamed tensions after a deadly rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, by insisting that counter-protesters were also to blame, drawing condemnation from some Republican leaders and praise from white far-right groups.

      “There’s no equivalence, I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them and I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them,” May told reporters when asked to comment on Trump’s stance.

    • Lenin Moreno, Rafael Correa and the bull in the China shop

      As a consequence the governing party’s candidate in the last presidential elections, Lenin Moreno, barely scraped over the line, and did so principally because he was not Rafael Correa. He promised a different style of government. And after the first two months we can clearly say that we have exactly that. Strangely, that has made a lot of people within the governing Alianza País unhappy. Moreno has been called a traitor, weak, a liar, a neoliberal, a sellout to the Right, and all this by those who are his own side, including the ex-president himself. Correa has actively gone after his successor, taking a leaf out of Donald Trump’s book, twittering on a daily basis and causing a great deal of damage by blundering about in his own china shop.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • ‘Bernie Bros’ and ‘Alt-Left’ Are Propaganda Terms Meant to Disempower

      The 2016 Presidential Primaries ended more than a year ago, but the divisive and destructive rhetoric that was developed during it remains prevalent. During the battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the Bernie Bros narrative, a resurfacing of the Obama Boys narrative used during the 2008 Primaries by Clinton supporters, became a novelty for political opponents of Bernie Sanders. It served as an easy smear campaign that could be exploited and touted without citing any actual evidence to corroborate the claims behind it.

    • Trump Inner-Circle Privately “Appalled” and “Disgusted.” Publicly? Dead Silent

      While the New York Times’ Glenn Thrush reported he had it from “three people with knowledge” that Gary Cohn, chair of President Donald Trump’s National Economic Council, was “upset” and “disgusted” with his boss’s defense of white supremacists during an “unhinged” performance at a Tuesday press conference, Cohn has yet to speak publicly about such feelings.

      In response to Thrush, many people asked why, if Cohn felt the way he did, would he remain silent or continue to stand with the president? “So he’s resigning…” begged one. “That’s nice,” quipped another. “The exits are clearly marked and not hard to find.”

      Cohn’s private feelings were also reported by Axios on Wednesday, where journalists Mike Allen and Jonathan Swann were “told” that Cohn’s reaction to Trump’s remarks were “somewhere between appalled and furious.”

    • The Racism at Charlottesville is a Symptom of a Nation Built on White Supremacy

      The racism and white supremacy that were on full display at the Charlottesville white supremacist rally is symptomatic of a United States culture that has whitewashed its history, ignored it’s rampant human rights abuses and stowed away the darkest corners of its past to formulate a distorted view of American exceptionalism predicated on white supremacy. America was built on slavery, genocide, violence, and white male supremacy that exploited others for profit and power for centuries, and still do to this day. The moral high ground of American exceptionalism that some people have taken to condemn the rally’s hate, with claims of “this is not America,” demonstrate a historical obliviousness or refusal to accept responsibility for this history.

    • After Charlottesville

      Racism, exposed once more in the terror visited on Charlottesville, Va., still scars America. Hundreds of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, klansmen and other fervid racists gathered — some armed with assault rifles, wearing camouflage. They marched with lit torches, yelling Nazi slogans, looking for trouble. They provoked the violence, terrorized a city, and took the life of Heather Heyer and injured many more. In the reaction to those horrors, character is revealed.

    • Antifa: A Look at the Anti-Fascist Movement Confronting White Supremacists in the Streets

      President Trump is facing widespread criticism for his latest comments on the deadly white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. Speaking at Trump Tower on Tuesday, Trump said the violence was in part caused by what he called the “alt-left.” President Trump’s comment were widely decried. Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney wrote on Twitter, “No, not the same. One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes.” We look at one of the groups who confronted the white supremacists in the streets: the anti-fascists known as antifa. We speak to Mark Bray, author of the new book, “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook.”

    • A Call for Self-Defense in the Face of White Supremacy

      In order to self-defend, groups targeted for violence by white supremacists have to first acknowledge in ourselves that we are worthy of defending. Those of us who experience the daily damages of white supremacy and desire its end deserve a world without it.

    • ‘Embarrassing’ for US, Trump Defense of Neo-Nazi Rally Stuns People Worldwide

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) charged President Donald Trump with “embarrassing” his own country during a press conference on Tuesday—and the overnight evidence suggests he’s exactly right.

      President Donald Trump’s defense of last weekend’s violent neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was met with shock across the country and around the world on Wednesday, with some of the strongest criticism coming from his hometown of New York City.

      A day after Trump was greeted by hundreds of his former neighbors chanting “New York hates you,” and as protesters gathered outside Trump Tower for more demonstrations, the New York Daily News and New York Post offered clear summations of the city’s position on the president.

    • Centrist Pundits Paved Way for Trump’s ‘Alt-Left’ False Equivalence

      President Donald Trump sparked outrage Tuesday afternoon after he equated Nazis and counter-protesters in Charlottesville. To do so, he referred to the anti-racist activists as the “alt-left,” with the implication that they were the equivalent of the “alt-right,” two sides to the same coin, showing there was, in his words, evil “on both sides.”

      It’s important to remember that the “alt-left” rhetorical gambit—deliberately equating leftists with the alt-right, itself a euphemism for internet-savvy racism—was popularized by centrist pundits and Democratic Party apparatchiks in an attempt to stigmatize and smear those challenging the center-left establishment. As it turns out, there’s no way to suggest that unruly leftists are as bad as neo-Nazis without suggesting that neo-Nazis are no worse than unruly leftists.

    • ‘This Is a Company That Is Essentially Producing Trump TV’

      Sinclair Broadcasting Group is already the largest owner of television stations around the country, with some 173. But it’s looking to increase that dominance by taking over Tribune Media, which owns stations in key markets like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The deal would mean Sinclair would own more than 220 stations, reaching some 72 percent of US TV households.

    • Reactions to the Charlottesville White Nationalist Rally

      President Donald Trump doubled down on his comments that there are “many sides” to blame for the violence in Charlottesville during an Aug. 15 press conference at Trump Tower.

    • Trump Asks, ‘What About the Alt-Left?’ Here’s an Answer
    • Trump blows up damage control as he blames ‘both sides’ for Charlottesville

      It took President Donald Trump two days to explicitly call out the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who engaged in violent protests over the weekend that resulted in the death of a 32-year-old Charlottesville woman.

      It took him less than 24 hours to undo the damage control that had been foisted upon him by teleprompter-wielding, crisis-managing aides.

    • Everyone working for Trump knows his Charlottesville response is an abomination

      Now that President Trump has reverted to his earlier position that “many sides” are to blame for the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, the dismay of senior people very close to him is suddenly getting smuggled out to the rest of the world, as if by magic. We are told that Gary Cohn, a top economic adviser to the White House, was “disgusted” and “upset.” We learn that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have been urging moderation. We are informed that Trump’s top aides were “stunned” by Trump’s comments, and that new chief of staff John F. Kelly was “very frustrated” by them.

      At yesterday’s presser, the president adamantly defended his original statement that the fault lies with bigotry on “many sides” and reiterated that “there’s blame on both sides” for what happened. He said that the rallying white supremacists and Nazis had been treated “unfairly” by the media, and that there “were very fine people on both sides.” No doubt, many of the top officials around Trump are deeply disturbed or horrified by all of this.

    • Intel CEO is the latest to leave Trump’s manufacturing council

      Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has become the third top business leader to step down from President Trump’s manufacturing council on Monday.

      He follows the chiefs of Merck (MRK) and Under Armour (UA), who announced their decisions earlier Monday amid the fallout over Trump’s response to violence over the weekend at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

      “We should honor — not attack — those who have stood up for equality and other cherished American values. I hope this will change, and I remain willing to serve when it does,” Krzanich wrote in a blog post on the Silicon Valley company’s website late Monday.

    • Donald Trump’s failure in Charlottesville wasn’t political — it was moral

      Donald Trump is who we thought he was.
      After a campaign gestated in birtherism, Trump was slow to condemn the likes of white supremacist David Duke, routinely spoke in coded racial language to energize a segment of people angry about the changing face of the country and condoned violence against those who disagreed with him, Trump, over the last four days, has proven that he is that same person as president.
      And that person is the opposite of a leader. And that person is dangerous to this country’s well-being.

    • Treason And Other High Crimes And Misdemeanors Demand Trump Be Impeached
    • Repugnant

      Make no mistake about it; today’s statement was deliberate. Trump’s entry into the political fray was as a leader of the so-called birthers, questioning Barack Obama’s citizenship. His announcement of candidacy was a full-throated anti-immigrant stance, which he never moderated and has not changed.

      Yes, previous American presidents have been racist, some of them proudly so. But since the Civil War we have not seen — until today — a president of the United States throw his political lot in with white nationalists and neo-Nazis. Good people voted for this man, hoping that he would shake things up in Washington. Good people cannot stand by statements such as Trump made today.

      It is time for the Congress to censure this President. The statements made today are morally bankrupt, and are intolerable. Good people do not march with neo-Nazis, and good people cannot let statements such as those made today, stand.

    • Trump Ends C.E.O. Advisory Councils as Main Group Acts to Disband
    • ‘Shame! Shame!’: New Yorkers Surround Trump Tower to Protest President’s Return

      Protesters on Fifth Ave. in New York City shouted “Shame! Shame! Shame!” as President Donald Trump returned to Trump Tower Monday night for the first time since he took office in January. Thousands of people—and an inflatable rat designed to resemble Trump—filled the streets of Midtown letting the president know “New York hates you!”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • A.B. 375, California’s Broadband Privacy Act, Very Close to Becoming Law
    • Proposed Law Would Turn US Borders Into Unblinking Eyes With A Thirst For Human DNA

      Some senators are looking to turn US borders into the equivalent of London: cameras everywhere and a host of new incursions into travelers’ and visitors’ privacy. Cyrus Farivar of Ars Technica “outed” the not-yet-introduced bill — titled “Building America’s Trust Act” [wtf] — since the supporting lawmakers have yet to formally announce their plans to make the US a worse country to live in, much less visit.

      The one-pager [PDF] for the bill [PDF] (which is 186 pages long) makes it clear what the objective is: more surveillance, more boots on the ground, and green lights for law enforcement agencies located anywhere within 100 miles of the nation’s borders. The bill calls for more judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and inspectors, as well as walls, levees, fences — whatever might further separate the US from its bordering neighbors (but only the southern one, apparently).

    • Trump DOJ Wants Info on Every Person Who Visited Anti-Trump Protest Site

      Decrying it as “investigatory overreach” and a “clear abuse of government authority,” web hosting provider DreamHost is challenging a request it received from the Justice Department for information about visitors to a client’s site used to organize protests against President Donald Trump on his Inauguration Day.

      In a blog post titled “We Fight for the Users,” the DreamHost wrote on Monday evening that the DOJ had demanded personal information of more than 1.3 million people who visited disruptj20.org, where they could find information about where anti-Trump events were taking place on January 20.

    • A Sweeping Search Warrant Targets Anti-Trump Website in Clear Threat to the Constitution

      One of the core principles enshrined in the Fourth Amendment is a prohibition on general searches — meaning, the government cannot simply go fishing for a wide range of information in the hope that some kind of useful evidence will turn up. But that’s exactly what the government appears to be doing with a newly revealed search warrant seeking reams of digital records about an Inauguration Day protest website that could implicate more than 1 million users.

      We first learned yesterday that within days of President Trump’s inauguration, the web server hosting company DreamHost received a subpoena from the government seeking records about a website hosted on its servers. Now the government has followed up that initial demand with a search warrant seeking a huge array of records “related to” the website. Those records would include the IP addresses of over 1.3 million visitors to the site.

    • Letter to Metropolitan Police: Scrap Notting Hill Carnival automated facial recognition plans

      We are writing to express our concern regarding the Metropolitan Police’s plans to use mobile facial recognition at this year’s Notting Hill Carnival.

      We are calling on you to scrap plans to use automated facial recognition at Notting Hill Carnival and to urgently start a dialogue with civil society and Parliament about the use of this technology.

    • Tech companies, law profs agree: The Fourth Amendment should protect data

      A group of prominent tech companies and lawyers has come together in new friend-of-the-court filings submitted to the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The group is arguing in favor of stronger legal protections for data generated by apps and digital devices in an important privacy case pending before the court.

      The companies, which include Apple, Google, and Microsoft among many others, argue that the current state of the law, which distinguishes between “content” (which requires a warrant) and “non-content” (which does not) “make[s] little sense in the context of digital technologies.”

    • Don’t let Trump get his hands on our data – Sign now!

      “I have made it clear in my campaign that I would support and endorse the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.” – Donald Trump, 15/2/2016

      President Trump now has unrivalled access to data collected by UK intelligence agencies. And thanks to the UK’s Investigatory Powers Act, the UK is collecting huge amounts of data about all our lives in Britain and around the world – in bulk.

      Trump has threatened to use torture, ban Muslims from entering the US, and expand use of the death penalty. He plans to ban most refugees and suspend visas for people coming from majority-Muslim countries.

    • Trump’s NAFTA Renegotiations Could Put Canadians’ Personal Data At Risk

      Canada and the US are getting ready to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—something president Trump has been vocal about changing—and on the table are rules defining where online information will be stored. Privacy experts are concerned American law enforcement or spy agencies could get access to Canadians’ sensitive information, while others point out that Canada already shares plenty of data with the US.

    • Real people don’t (just) need encryption

      Because real people don’t just need encrypted messaging apps that offer end-to-end protection, they also need end-point security — the kinds of thoughtful design and expedient updating and transparent code that enables them to defend their devices from attackers who gain access to their messages by compromising their phones and computers.

    • End-to-end encryption isn’t enough security for ‘real people’

      Government officials continue to seek technology companies’ help fighting terrorism and crime. But the most commonly proposed solution would severely limit regular people’s ability to communicate securely online. And it ignores the fact that governments have other ways to keep an electronic eye on targets of investigations.

    • Justice demands 1.3M IP addresses related to Trump resistance site

      “In essence, the Search Warrant not only aims to identify the political dissidents of the current administration, but attempts to identify and understand what content each of these dissidents viewed on the website,” the company’s general counsel, Chris Ghazarian, said in a legal argument opposing the request.

    • Court orders web host to hand over IP addresses of anti-Trump website visitors

      A search warrant, dated 12 July from a District of Colombia court, said that visitors to the disruptj20.org site, hosted by Dreamhost, must be available as they constitute “the individuals who participated, planned, organized, or incited the January 20 riot,”.

    • We Fight for the Users

      At the center of the requests is disruptj20.org, a website that organized participants of political protests against the current United States administration. While we have no insight into the affidavit for the search warrant (those records are sealed), the DOJ has recently asked DreamHost to provide all information available to us about this website, its owner, and, more importantly, its visitors.

    • Uber settles claims that it mishandled private information about users and drivers

      “Uber failed consumers in two key ways: First by misrepresenting the extent to which it monitored its employees’ access to personal information about users and drivers, and second by misrepresenting that it took reasonable steps to secure that data,” said FTC acting chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen in a statement. “This case shows that, even if you’re a fast growing company, you can’t leave consumers behind: you must honor your privacy and security promises.”

    • Google, Facebook ask Supreme Court to protect cellphone data under Fourth Amendment [iophk: "they want to retain their monopoly on that access"]

      Apple, Facebook, Google and other major technology companies asked the Supreme Court late on Monday night to rule that their users’ data should be protected from warantless search and seizure by the government.

    • Americans Love Ordering Pizza on Facebook

      TGI Fridays’ Perdue joined the company earlier this year from Taco Bell, which was a pioneer in letting customers order with their phones. Now, TGI Fridays has become the first restaurant chain to let people pay with their Amazon accounts — a new wrinkle in the convenience wars. Rather than fumbling with wallets and finding credit cards, customers use the Amazon app on their phones.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Julian Assange, a Man Without a Country

      Still, his legal circumstances had barely changed. Scotland Yard was maintaining an arrest warrant for him, based on the violation of his bail. Assange was fighting the warrant, but he told me that even if it was dropped immediately he would not walk out. What he wanted, it seemed, was immunity: a guarantee that he would never be called to the United States to face any trial. Without it, he was going to stay put.

    • Twitter User Sparks Controversy for Outing Virginia Protesters

      So far, at least two people who attended the protest have been revealed and one lost his job, according to the Twitter feed. Critics on the right and left said it was too easy to identify a photo incorrectly and ruin someone’s reputation.

    • Saudi Government Looking To Jail More Citizens For ‘Harming Public Order’ With Their Religious Tweets

      The internet may be an amazing communication tool, but it’s also a handy way for governments to keep an eye on their citizens. Saudi Arabia uses the internet for multiple things — mainly monitoring dissent and controlling communication.

      An expansive cybercrime law, coupled with longstanding statutes outlawing criticism of the official religion, have made it easy for the Saudi government to jail critics and cut off communications platforms. Bloggers have been imprisoned and encrypted services asked for technical details presumably in hopes of inserting the government into private conversations.

    • American accused of faking eBay sales to fund US terror pleads guilty

      A 32-year-old American man accused of using an eBay account for fake computer-printer transactions to raise funds for a US terror plot pleaded guilty to federal terrorism-related charges Tuesday.

      Mohamed Elshinawy, whom the government said pledged allegiance to ISIS, told the authorities that the up to $8,700 he received via PayPal was to be used for “operational purposes” (PDF) in the US, like conducting a terror attack. However, he also told the authorities, according to court documents, that he was just ripping off overseas ISIS operatives and had no intention of carrying out an attack in the US.

    • The Joe Arpaio I Knew

      The former Maricopa County sheriff made his name in part by targeting immigrants — even after a judge ordered him to stop. As President Trump considers a pardon, it’s worth remembering precisely what Arpaio did in his decades in law enforcement.

    • They Got Hurt at Work. Then They Got Deported.

      How insurance companies use a Florida law to get undocumented immigrants arrested and deported when they get injured on the job — and what it means in Trump’s America.

    • “Honour killings” in Russia’s North Caucasus

      “You can’t say that Sultan Daurbekov ended his daughter’s life, that he killed her.” This is how Ilyas Timishev began his defence of his client. “What you have to say is that he took her away from life, so that she couldn’t bring shame to herself, her father and her entire family. That’s the correct description.” Timishev’s client, Sultan Daurbekov, a resident of Chechnya, was on trial for the murder of his daughter, Zarema. In April 2015, this “honour killing” case, held in Grozny’s Staropromyslov District Court, was drawing to a close, and the public prosecutor had already requested an eight year sentence in a high security prison colony.

      According to witnesses, Zarema Daurbekova “led an immoral life”. Reflecting on whether Zarema’s father deserved to be punished for killing her, Timishev remarked that the man was being judged under laws which belonged in a different cultural tradition.

      “Our lawmakers are, in general, members of the Russian-speaking population. They will find this father’s actions unacceptable. Why is this?’ asked the defending counsel before immediately answering his own question: “Because they don’t have any traditions.”

    • Equality, Justice and the First Amendment

      While the events of this weekend — with white supremacists holding lit torches — frightened and outraged many Americans, we can never underestimate the impact of these images on African-Americans. That rally reflected this nation’s history of slavery, racial violence, and terrorism, which has left an indelible mark on our democracy to this day. As employees, members, or supporters of an organization dedicated to racial justice, we are all affected. Many of us are even more directly affected because we and our family members are the direct targets of the white supremacists. I know that speech alone has consequences, hurtful and deep, and that’s why I believe it’s important to place the ACLU’s representation of white supremacist demonstrators in Virginia in the broader context of the values and principles that have guided this organization for nearly a century.

    • Our Fight Against Fascism

      When editor-in-chief of the Atlantic Jeffrey Goldberg asserted that “the struggle in Charlottesville is a struggle within our own civilization, within Trump’s own civilization,” and that in the wake of such events “an American president should speak up directly on behalf of the American creed, on behalf of Americans who reject tribalism and seek pluralism, on behalf of the idea that blood-and-soil nationalism is antithetical to the American idea itself,” who, exactly, can place his logic?

      It reads nicely, and it seems a conscionable thought to have after a woman dies fighting Nazis on American soil. But, really, what history books has Mr. Goldberg been reading?

      “Our civilization’s” ongoing genocide against indigenous groups and the violently enforced systematic oppression of Black Americans notwithstanding, the US government – of which Trump is now Commander-in-Chief – has a storied and bloody history of assassinating foreign heads of state precisely because, democratically, a body of citizens or voters “seeking pluralism” elsewhere in the world had commenced down an antifascist political path that did not suit Washington’s interests.

    • Trump and Charlottesville

      There was a time in the United States when a violent gathering of neo-Nazis and their cohorts would have been condemned from the highest offices in the land. The Ku Klux Klan, white supremacists and others of their ilk would hardly dare to march publically, and if they did, every politician in government would weigh in with criticism, if for no other reason than to get their name in the news.

      How times have changed! All it takes is the election of one of their own, for racism to become fashionable again. As a candidate, Donald Trump did nothing to temper his feelings of hostility towards most people who didn’t fit into the white-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant mode. Of course, with a Jewish son-in-law, he did make some exceptions. But for Blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, gays, transgender people, women – the list of those he holds in disdain is endless.

    • ‘This Is Sick’: Unscripted and Unhinged Trump Reverts to Defending Neo-Nazis

      After largely sticking to the script on Monday, President Donald Trump “showed his true colors” once again at an impromptu press conference Tuesday at Trump Tower, where he suggested that white supremacists and counter demonstrators were both to blame for the deadly violence that broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, and argued that torch-wielding neo-Nazis were merely expressing peaceful disagreement with the planned removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

    • Ahead of Charlottesville, Trump Cut Funds for Group Fighting White Supremacy

      A few weeks before Heather Heyer was murdered and many others were injured after a coalition of hate groups gathered violently in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Trump administration—under guidance from trusted aides such as Katharine Gorka—revoked a $400,000 federal grant from a U.S. nonprofit dedicated to rehabilitating former white supremacists and other extremists.

      Just before President Donald Trump took office in January, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that Life After Hate would receive funding from the $10 million appropriated by Congress for the department’s Countering Violent Extremism Grant Program (CVE).

    • Ta-Nehisi Coates on How Cities & Municipalities Are Winning Reparations for Slavery at Local Level

      The white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend came after thousands of neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and other white nationalists descended on Charlottesville to protest the city’s plan to remove a Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee. The effort to remove this statue was spurred in part by the African-American city Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy, who convinced his fellow city councilmembers not only to vote to remove the statue, but also to create a “reparations fund” for Charlottesville’s African-American residents. For more, we speak with award-winning author and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, who in 2014 penned the influential piece for The Atlantic, “The Case for Reparations.”

    • Overcrowding in Nebraska’s Prisons Is Causing a Medical and Mental Health Care Crisis

      Nebraska’s prison conditions are inhumane and unconstitutional, and ultimately, they hurt public safety. We can’t reduce recidivism rates among former prisoners if, instead of being given rehabilitation opportunities, they have been horribly traumatized during incarceration.

      According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Nebraska’s prison system is one of the most crowded in the nation. All but one of our state prisons are over capacity — some are at 200 percent of capacity, and one is at more than 300 percent. The system is supposed to house approximately 3,275 people and is currently housing 5,228 people.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • GOP lawmakers shamed on billboards for trying to repeal net neutrality rules

      Pro-net neutrality activist group Fight for the Future has put up a series of billboards shaming Republican members of Congress who want to eliminate the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules and classification of broadband providers as common carriers.

      The billboards in the lawmakers’ home states urge people to contact their elected officials and say that a net neutrality repeal will lead to “slower, censored, and more expensive Internet.” The signs were paid for by hundreds of small donations, the group said. Broadband providers Comcast, Verizon, and Charter get shoutouts on the billboards as well.

    • Billboards target neutracidal congresscreeps
    • Net neutrality activists launch crowdfunded billboards targeting key members of Congress during August recess

      Billboards in six states single out lawmakers who support the FCC’s plan to gut key safeguards preventing ISPs from charging new fees, slowing traffic, or blocking websites

    • Google is eating the open internet [iophk: "IIRC only 3 other search engines exist, the others are meta engines"]

      The benefits of operating within a regulated walled garden are obvious. The open web tends to be a wild and messy place, whereas closed platforms allow companies to control, track, and potentially monetize every part of their user experience and behavior.

    • FCC Begins Weakening The Definition Of Quality Broadband Deployment To Aid Lazy, Uncompetitive ISPs

      You may be shocked to learn this, but like most U.S. regulatory agencies, the FCC’s top Commissioner spots are occassionally staffed by individuals that spend a bit too much time focused on protecting the interests of giant, incumbent, legacy companies (usually before they move on to think tanks, consultant gigs, or law firm policy work financed and steered by those same companies). In the telecom market these folks usually share some fairly consistent, telltale characteristics. One, they’re usually comically incapable of admitting that there’s a lack of competition in the broadband market.

      Two, they go to great, sophisticated lengths — usually via the help of economists hired for this precise purpose — to obfuscate, modify, and twist data until it shows that broadband competition is everywhere and the market is functioning perfectly. After all, if the data shows that there’s no longer a problem — you can justify your complete and total apathy toward doing anything about it.

    • “I closed my eyes and waited for the bullet”

      A month later, on 15 September 2012 we were near the koppie with Paulina Masuhlo, an ANC councillor and our good friend. The police had weapons and fought the mine workers near the koppie. They killed Paulina. I don’t know how I (Primrose) survived because I was next to her. I just took my hood and closed my eyes and then I waited for the bullet. We took Paulina to hospital where she died.

      After Paulina’s death, we met again as women and formed an organisation called Sikhala Sonte (We Cry Together). We organised as women in solidarity with those who died. They were brothers, fathers, friends, they were related to us. As women, we gathered together in the hospitals, funerals, prisons and courts.

      Sikhala Sonke is now a registered non-profit organisation and last year filmmaker Aliki Saragas approached us about documenting our community’s struggle for justice. We are in the UK to show the finished film, called Strike a Rock, and to represent the mine workers, widows, orphans and everyone in our community. We are demanding action from Lonmin because they promised to help the widows, to compensate them, to compensate Paulina’s family, but they’ve said nothing about her since.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Whispers From the Void – When nothing is going on in tech, a few brief observations on the occasional news tidbits

      Talking of Nokia, haha, this is the ‘real’ Nokia not HMD – Apple reached settlement to pay $2B yes BILLION in royalties to Nokia out of iPhone patent infringements and a long-running lawsuit. Yes. Apple admits by this action (while not admitting in public) that it had been stealing from Nokia intellectual property {sic} for YEARS.

    • Aarhus University and industry open patent-free playground

      Along with a number of leading Danish industrial companies, Aarhus University has opted out of the rat race in a new collaboration on industrially relevant basic research. Researchers and companies from all over Denmark publish all their results and data on the innovative Open Science platform, where the information is available free of charge to everyone interested.

    • Trademarks

      • Ninth Circuit Holds that “Reverse Confusion” Need Not Be Pled with Specificity

        A plaintiff seeking to prevail on a trademark infringement claim needs to establish that there is some likelihood of confusion between its mark and that of the defendant. Generally, a plaintiff establishes that there is “forward” confusion by showing that customers believed they were doing business with plaintiff but because of a confusion in their respective marks, were actually doing business with the defendant. Sometimes, however, a plaintiff will seek to establish “reverse confusion” in that a customer believing they were doing business with a defendant actually ends up doing business with the plaintiff. The Ninth Circuit, in the case Marketquest Group v. BIC Corp. (decided July 7, 2017), was faced with the issue as to whether a plaintiff seeking to prevail under a theory of “reverse confusion” is required to plead that theory with specificity.

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Needs Radical Reform

        Copyright is back in the news in Europe. In the UK, the Digital Economy Bill proposes to increase the maximum prison sentence for online copyright infringement to ten years. Meanwhile, an extensive modernisation of copyright for the EU is also in progress, with a goal of making the treatment of copyright the same across Europe, especially in relation to digital media.

        None of the proposals I have seen address the most significant issue we face today; that copyright was never meant to apply to things you and I routinely do. It was a law made in the context of the end of general censorship and the rise of the printing press. It was intended to protect the weak from the powerful and the powerful from each other. It never applied to people who read printed works, only to those who printed them. That’s why the penalties associated with infringement are so disproprotionate; they are meant to influence magnates, not minnows.

        We’ve seen the immense harm that’s resulted from the semantic sleight-of-hand that justifies the violation of our rights because the phrases “war on drugs” and “war on terror” includes the word “war”. A similar, more cunning sleight-of-mind observes that every enjoyment of a work in the digital age requires a “copy”. Use of that word is taken to mean copyright law applies, and thus a license is required by the consumer to waive the monopoly which copyright grants.

      • Spinrilla Refuses to Share Its Source Code With the RIAA

        Spinrilla, a popular hip-hop mixtape site and app, is refusing to share its source code with the RIAA. The major record labels want to use the code as evidence in their ongoing piracy lawsuit against the company. Spinrilla notes, however, that handing over its “crown jewel” goes too far, while stressing that the RIAA’s piracy claims are overblown.

      • Court rejects LinkedIn claim that unauthorized scraping is hacking

        The case pits a business analytics startup called hiQ against the Microsoft-owned behemoth LinkedIn. HiQ scrapes data from publicly available portions of the LinkedIn website, then sells reports to employers about which of their employees seem to be looking for new jobs. LinkedIn sent hiQ a cease-and-desist letter warning that continued scraping could subject hiQ to liability under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), the anti-hacking legislation Congress enacted in 1986.

      • U.S. judge says LinkedIn cannot block startup from public profile data

        A U.S. federal judge on Monday ruled that Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) LinkedIn unit cannot prevent a startup from accessing public profile data, in a test of how much control a social media site can wield over information its users have deemed to be public.

      • Court Says CFAA Isn’t Meant To Prevent Access To Public Data, Orders LinkedIn To Drop Anti-Scraper Efforts

        Some good pushback against the CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) has been handed down by a federal court. LinkedIn, which has frequently sued scrapers under both the CFAA and DMCA, just lost an important preliminary round to a company whose entire business model relies on LinkedIn’s publicly-available data.

        hiQ Labs scrapes LinkedIn data from users whose accounts are public, repackages it and sells it to third party recruiters and HR departments, allowing companies to track employee skills and get a read on which employees might be planning to jump ship.

        LinkedIn didn’t care much for another business piggybacking on its data (and likely cutting back ever so slightly on the number of third parties it sells this data to), so it sued hiQ, alleging the scraping of publicly-available data violated the CFAA. This has completely backfired. hiQ has obtained an injunction preventing LinkedIn from blocking its scraping efforts. [h/t Brad Heath]

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