Links 25/8/2017: Linux Turns 26 Years Old, QupZilla is Now Falkon, Introduction of Sailfish X, Go 1.9

Posted in News Roundup at 6:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Why it’s time to open source the service mesh and end developer copycats

    As more and more enterprises embrace cloud-native applications and microservices, some argue that there is a need for a reimagined software stack. For cloud-native applications, there are new networking abstractions that engineers have to layer on (writing on new logic) to achieve reliability between services.

  • Food Industry Leaders Collaborate with IBM in Blockchain Consortium

    A group of leading companies across the global food supply chain today announced a major blockchain collaboration with IBM intended to further strengthen consumer confidence in the global food system. The consortium includes Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart, who will work with IBM to identify new areas where the global supply chain can benefit from blockchain. Together they will help identify and prioritize new areas where blockchain can benefit food ecosystems and inform new IBM solutions. This work will draw on multiple IBM pilots and production networks in related areas that successfully demonstrate ways in which blockchain can positively impact global food traceability.

  • Cloud Foundry Foundation: A Platform Where Competitors Collaborate

    The Linux Foundation is host to more than 100 open source projects, but only a handful are foundations unto themselves. Cloud Foundry Foundation is unique in its standing as a Linux Foundation project: a nonprofit foundation and an open source project that came to the table fully formed. Incepted at VMware in 2010, Cloud Foundry was transferred to Pivotal in 2013 before being open sourced, at which point the Cloud Foundry Foundation was established.

  • Events

    • Moby Project and Open Source Summit North America

      Docker will be at Open Source Summit in Los Angeles, CA from September 11-14th to highlight new development with the Moby Project and it’s various components: containerd, LinuxKit, InfraKit, Notary, etc.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome Vs. Chromium

        Google Chrome is currently the most popular browser on desktop PCs. It has over 54% of desktop users usually in the Windows world choosing it over the other browsers. Here in the Linux world, Google Chrome is not the most popular as most distros prefer to ship other web browsers. The most popular of these is Firefox whilst others prefer Chromium. Chromium for all intents and purposes is very identical to Google Chrome. They share everything from looks to extensions, engine, and features. So why don’t they (Linux distros) just ship with Google Chrome? What are the differences between Google Chrome and Chromium?

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s Servo Made Several Advancements This Summer

        Mozilla had several student developers contributing to their next-gen Servo engine via this year’s Google Summer of Code. Overall the work appears to be a big success and boost for Servo.

        For those interested in Servo’s GSoC 2017 successes, there was work done for supporting custom elements in Servo. Servo now has initial support for Custom Elements for allowing web developers to create reusable web components with “first-class support” in the browser. You can basically specify your own custom HTML tags and their behavior.

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Carlo Ratti to transform Italian military barracks into open-source architecture laboratory

      Architect Carlo Ratti has revealed plans to transform a former 19th-century military complex in Turin, Italy, into a campus where students, workers and makers can set up their own labs and studios.

      Carlo Ratti Associati will transform the 20,000 square-metre Caserma Lamarmora barracks into “a testing ground for an open-source approach to architecture”.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • DIY Open Source Electric Longboard

        If you would rather build your very own electric longboard rather than purchase one of the numerous different styles and variations currently available for over and above $500.

        You may be interested in a new open source electric longboard design which uses 3D printer parts and can be constructed for under $400. Depending on your skill levels the project can take anywhere from four hours to one we tend to construct and is capable of providing users with a theoretical top speed of 35 km an hour and the theoretical range of up to 25 km.

      • OpenGarages encourages open innovation for automobiles

        Practically since the invention of the automobile, people have been customizing their vehicles. From the fade-away fenders of the 1930s, to the hot rods and muscle cars of the 1950s and 1970s, and on to the “Pimp My Ride” era of the 2000s, people have always expressed their individualism through their cars.

        Now that computers are literally driving automobiles, programmers have gotten in on the action. People like Craig Smith, founder of OpenGarages, are working to support open source car hacking tools that both help automobile enthusiasts fine-tune their cars and contribute to the overall security of modern vehicles.

        Smith has long been an advocate for open standards and was an early Linux adopter. He’s written multiple Linux kernel modules for his own use (personally or for his employer), but he’s focused his public contributions at the “application level around security or game development.”

      • Turtle Rover Offers Open Source System for Earth Exploration

        The team behind the Turtle Rover started in 2012 working on Mars rover prototypes at the Wroclaw University of Technology. After working on the FREDE and DREAM projects for space missions the group decided to develop an open source project for makers. The Turtle Rover is their project, an open source remote control rover designed for Earth exploration.

  • Programming/Development

    • Blog: Adopting an Agile Warrior Mindset Toward Software Development

      Companies and individual tech teams must tailor their approaches to meeting customer needs by using open source practices and assuming an agile warrior mindset…

    • Go 1.9 is released

      Today the Go team is happy to announce the release of Go 1.9. You can get it from the download page. There are many changes to the language, standard library, runtime, and tooling. This post covers the most significant visible ones. Most of the engineering effort put into this release went to improvements of the runtime and tooling, which makes for a less exciting announcement, but nonetheless a great release.

    • Go 1.9 Adds Type Aliases, Parallel Compilation

      Version 1.9 of Google’s Go programming language is now available for developers.

      Go 1.9 features a variety of changes, including on the language front where there is now support for type aliases. Exciting me a lot about Go 1.9 is that it now supports compiling functions for a package in parallel. The concurrent compilation of functions should really speed up the build process and is enabled by default although there is an option to disable it if you so choose.

    • Teaching Kids Coding, by the Book

      One sunny summer morning this month, a group of 20 teenage girls gathered in a conference room in the sleek offices of a tech company in Manhattan. It was their fifth week of coding camp, and they were huddled around laptops, brainstorming designs for their final projects. One group was building a computer game that simulates the experience of going through life with depression and anxiety, while others were drafting plans for websites that track diversity at companies and help connect newly arrived immigrants with local community groups.

      They were working intently when Reshma Saujani, the founder and chief executive of the nonprofit organization Girls Who Code, dropped in to offer some encouragement.


  • Science

    • Lost Turing letters give unique insight into his academic life prior to death

      A lost and unique collection of letters and correspondence from the late Alan Turing has been found in an old filing cabinet in a storeroom at the University of Manchester.

      The file’s content, which potentially hasn’t seen the light of day for at least 30 years, dates from early 1949 until Turing’s death in June 1954.

      Altogether there are 148 documents, including a letter from GCHQ, a handwritten draft BBC radio programme about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and offers to lecture from some of America’s most famous universities, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

  • Health/Nutrition

    • 6 Enormous Dick Moves From Big Pharma (You Never Noticed)

      For being the industry that provides us with both life-saving drugs and boner pills, Big Pharma sure gets a lot of hate. But it turns out they’re even better at sucking than we thought, filling their day-to-day lives with lots of little acts of douchebaggery to keep us miserable through all of our waking moments. For example …

    • Did Monsanto Write Malawi’s Seed Policy?

      In late July, a short article was published in a Malawian newspaper: “Press Release on Organization of Seed Fairs.” Issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Water Development, in conjunction with the Seed Traders Association of Malawi, the short statement advised the public that “only quality certified seed suppliers registered with Government to produce and/or market seed should be allowed to display seed at such events.” The release was signed by Bright Kumwembe for the Agriculture Ministry.

    • Deadline Next Week For Sida Training On Genetic Resources And IP Regulation

      Applications are due by 4 September for an all-expenses-paid Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) Advanced International Training Programme aimed at building capacity in intellectual property and genetic resources in support of innovation.

      The programme is open for applicants from the following countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Philippines, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Possible Education of Donald Trump

      Despite the chaos and ugliness of the past seven months, President Trump has finally begun to turn U.S. foreign policy away from the neoconservative approach of endless war against an ever-expanding roster of enemies.

    • North Korea Keeps Saying It Might Give Up Its Nuclear Weapons — But Most News Outlets Won’t Tell You That

      The current phase of the decades-long U.S.-North Korea standoff began this past July 4, when North Korea launched its first genuine intercontinental ballistic missile. In a statement, North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un called it “a gift for the American bastards.”

      Then, on August 8, President Trump terrifyingly declared that “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Two days later he said, “maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough,” and tweeted that “military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded.”

    • The FARC arrives at Congress to become a political party

      The next day, the leader of the FARC met for several hours with the Central High Command of the guerrilla. At the meeting they discussed, above all, the name of the political party. On August 15, ‘Iván Márquez’ had told the media that the name of that community “will surely be called Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionara de Colombia (Alternative Revolutionary Front of Colombia). We do not want to break ties with our past, we have been and will continue to be a revolutionary front.”

    • Trump ‘Presidential’ Again—for Ramping Up War in Afghanistan

      Donald Trump is finally “presidential” again, pundits insist, now that he is ratcheting up another US war.

      In a speech on August 21, the far-right US president did an about-face, announcing a surge in the 16th year of the war in Afghanistan, which he had previously harshly condemned. Trump did not reveal many specifics, but reports suggest his administration will deploy 4,000 more soldiers to the country (Fox News, 8/21/17), in addition to the roughly 8,400 US troops and 5,000 other NATO forces already there.

    • Cost Of US Empire – $1 TRILLION A Year
    • The War That Time Forgot

      For her part, Warren largely echoed McCain’s bellicose banter that Trump needs to double down militarily to finish off the Taliban, the impossible dream. No real surprise here. To the extent that she’s advanced any foreign policy positions during her stint in the senate, Warren has been a dutiful supplicant to the demands of AIPAC and the Council on Foreign Relations, rarely diverging from the neocon playbook for the global war on Islam. Warren’s Afghan junket is a sure sign of her swelling presidential ambitions. These days “national security” experience is measured almost exclusively by how much blood you are willing to spill in countries you know almost nothing about. It didn’t take long for Warren to matriculate to the company position.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Julian Assange slams ‘absurd’ US plan to label WikiLeaks ‘non-state intelligence service’

      Julian Assange, the founder of whistleblowing platform WikiLeaks, has spoken out against a passing US Senate bill which aims to officially label his organisation as a “non-state hostile intelligence service” that is “abetted by state actors and should be treated as such”.

    • Even WikiLeaks Haters Shouldn’t Want it Labeled a “Hostile Intelligence Agency”

      It used to be easy to cheer on WikiLeaks. But since 2010, many (myself included) have watched with dismay as WikiLeaks slid from the outlet courageous enough to host Chelsea Manning’s data dump to a murky melange of bad-faith propagandizing and newsworthy disclosures. At a time when WikiLeaks and its founder are willing to help push Pizzagate, and unable to tweet about sunglasses sans conspiracy-think, it’s not unfair to view Assange as being motivated as much by his various axes to grind as by a zeal for transparency. But even the harshest WikiLeaks critics should resist the Senate’s attempt to brand the website a “non-state hostile intelligence service” in the 2018 intelligence authorization bill.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Assessing ExxonMobil’s climate change communications (1977–2014)

      We present an empirical document-by-document textual content analysis and comparison of 187 climate change communications from ExxonMobil, including peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed publications, internal company documents, and paid, editorial-style advertisements (‘advertorials’) in The New York Times.


      Available documents show a discrepancy between what ExxonMobil’s scientists and executives discussed about climate change privately and in academic circles and what it presented to the general public.

    • Failure to Set Cost of Carbon Hampers Trump’s Effort to Expand Use of Fossil Fuels

      The Trump administration plans to sharply reduce the government’s estimate of how much each ton of carbon emissions harms the planet. It hasn’t done so yet, and that delay is slowing Trump’s effort to expand coal mining and gas pipelines.

    • Border Patrol Checkpoints in Texas Will Stay Open as Hurricane Evacuation Is Underway

      As evacuations are underway for Hurricane Harvey, the Border Patrol is continuing to operate its immigration checkpoints, forcing undocumented immigrants to choose between staying put — and trying to withstand a hurricane — or risking deportation.

      The hurricane is expected be the most powerful storm to land in 12 years, and counties near the southern coast in Texas have ordered thousands of residents to leave, according to NBC.

      Jim Burns, a spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection, told The Intercept that “U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints in the path of Hurricane Harvey in Texas will close as state highways close.” So in other words, as long as the highways are functional for evacuation, the Border Patrol will operate checkpoints.

  • Finance

    • The Trump Administration Just Approved a Dangerous Merger

      But like almost everything with Trump, he was just blowing hot air: Yesterday, his Federal Trade Commission handed Amazon its biggest victory yet. The First Amendment has been spared, but consumers, workers, and small businesses have not. The decision will have dreadful long-term effects, and the FTC did it with all the seriousness of an intern scheduling a lunch meeting.

    • Whole Foods price cuts are at center of Amazon-Walmart online war

      Amazon, which acquired Whole Foods in June, will begin a wave of price cuts on Monday following Walmart’s new focus on developing its online retail efforts

    • Billionaire Porn King Reinvents Himself as Japan’s Startup Guru

      The next big idea was a cash register Kameyama developed that looked like a tablet computer. He gave it to customers for free, in exchange for their sales records [...]

    • ‘I don’t feel welcome anymore’: EU citizens explain why they are leaving the UK in their thousands

      Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that 122,000 Europeans left the UK in the year to March, with the unprecedented exodus driving a drop in net migration.

      Business groups have raised mounting concerns over “brain drain” from vital industries, while organisations representing EU migrants have urged the Government to offer solid guarantees over their status following Brexit.

      Lukasz, who did not want his second name published, moved to London as a young child when his mother was offered a better job in the capital.

    • Why is the government so afraid to publish its Brexit impact studies?

      Earlier this year, a leaked Department of Health study revealed that a hard Brexit would leave the NHS short of 40,000 nurses by 2026. This led me to write to Brexit secretary, David Davis, demanding the government urgently disclose any other findings into the potential impacts of the hard Brexit path it is pursuing.

      The response from the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) revealed that they have conducted analysis of over 50 sectors of the economy, but no indication was given as to the findings from these studies. So potentially more than 50 secret papers fill the shelves at DExEU offices.

      Attempted reassurances in the letter that the DExEU has “travelled up and down the country to listen to the hopes and concerns of businesses, civil society and of course the general public”, won’t wash. The government is sitting on crucial information that ought to be in the public domain. It could help determine future policy on key issues such as membership of the single market and customs union, freedom of movement and the rights of EU nationals.

    • Yellen Warns Against Erasing Regulations Made After the Financial Crisis
    • Fed Chair Yellen Rejects Trump Bank Deregulation

      Yellen correctly and courageously rejects the deconstruction of key financial safeguards supported by many on Trump’s team of Wall Street-sourced bank regulators.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Depiction of Trump in American flag giving Nazi salute is disturbing

      Wow. Check out this latest cover of German magazine Stern, that depicts Trump draped in the American flag, giving a Nazi salute.

    • Interior recommends Trump shrink national monuments

      Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Thursday he’s asking President Trump to shrink “a handful” of national monuments that previous presidents designated to protect land and water.

      In a formal report he’s sending to Trump on Thursday, Zinke will not ask the president to eliminate any of the 27 protected areas that were under review since an April executive order, he told The Associated Press.

      He did not specify the changes he is recommending in the AP interview. But he said any areas removed from national monuments would remain under federal control and public access would either stay the same or improve.

    • The Taliban’s Response to Trump’s Afghanistan Address
    • Intel chief sheds light on ‘beautiful letter’ Trump says he wrote him

      When former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper questioned President Donald Trump’s “fitness to be in this office” after the President’s wild speech in Phoenix Tuesday night, it was likely only a matter of time before the President aimed his Twitter ire at the retired general.

      Indeed, Thursday morning came the tweet from the President: “James Clapper, who famously got caught lying to Congress, is now an authority on Donald Trump. Will he show you his beautiful letter to me?”

    • What Trump has undone

      President Trump has repeatedly argued that he’s done more than any other recent president. That’s not true, as measured by the amount of legislation he’s been able to sign. It is true, though, that Trump has undone a lot of things that were put into place by his predecessors, including President Barack Obama.

      Since Jan. 20, Trump’s administration has enthusiastically and systematically undone or uprooted rules, policies and tools that predated his time in office. Below, a list of those changes, roughly organized by subject area.

    • The Breakthrough: Behind the Scenes of Hillary Clinton’s Failed Bid for President

      “She’s partway through the primaries already and she’s saying, ‘I don’t understand what this populist uprising is,’” says Allen. He and Parnes were “dumbstruck” when sources first told them this, long before Election Day.

      Hear about these surprises and more on The Breakthrough, the ProPublica podcast where investigative reporters reveal how they nailed their biggest stories.

    • Mark Lilla’s Book Criticizes Identity Politics, But Falls Short On Proposing An Alternative

      Shortly after the 2016 election, Columbia University historian Mark Lilla published an op-ed in The New York Times lamenting that “American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.”

      He attacked “identity politics” as atomizing the American public and losing elections — contrasting it with a holistic variation of liberalism that powered the New Deal Coalition — Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms, which focused not so much on who individual Americans were, but what rights they all needed. The column went viral, sparking countless hot takes, and he quickly padded out the argument into enough words to call it a book. Let the hot takes resume.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Nude Blogger Wins Censorship War With Instagram

      A nude blogger whose self-described “body positive” Instagram page was shut down for violating the social-media network’s nudity policy has celebrated her return to the site by posting a nude photo of herself partially obscured by a placard reading: “F*ck you Instagram.”

    • ‘A win for body positivity’: Aussie nude blogger back on Instagram

      A Queensland nude blogger is back on Instagram after her popular account was shut down without warning by the social media platform.

    • Google Begins Biggest Crackdown on Extremist YouTube Videos

      YouTube isn’t removing the selected videos, but is instead setting new restrictions on viewing, sharing and making money on them. A note detailing the changes will go to producers of the affected videos on Thursday, according to a spokeswoman for the Alphabet Inc. company.

    • Measuring the Internet for Freedom

      All of this was uncovered through the use of software called ooniprobe, which is designed to measure networks and detect Internet censorship. Ooniprobe was developed more than five years ago by the Tor-supported Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), with which I work, in order to boost transparency, accountability, and oversight of Internet censorship. The software is free and open source, meaning that anyone can use it. And, indeed, tens of thousands of ooniprobe users from more than 190 countries have already done just that.

    • Helping to track and combat creeping online censorship

      A piece of software that detects internet censorship is a critical tool for safeguarding human rights on the internet and beyond, writes Maria Xynou.

      Last year, during a wave of deadly political protests in Ethiopia, the government blocked more than 15 media websites and the smartphone chat application WhatsApp.

      Sites promoting freedom of expression and LGBTQ+ rights, as well as those offering censorship-circumvention tools, such as Tor and Psiphon, were also suppressed.

      All of this was uncovered through the use of software called ooniprobe, which is designed to measure networks and detect internet censorship.

    • Drop censorship of documentary films on human trafficking, refugees

      On 11 August, the Malaysian government wrongfully censored a documentary film on the human trafficking of Rohingya girls to Malaysia and banned a documentary on refugees in Kenya.

      “This censorship is unconstitutional and violates the rights of the filmmakers,” said Amy Smith, executive director of Fortify Rights. “Malaysia’s censorship law is inconsistent with human rights law and Malaysia’s own constitution, suppressing free speech and expression — the bedrocks of a free society. These films are in the public interest and deserve a wide audience.”

    • ‘Clever’ TapDance approach to web censorship that works at ISP level

      Both China and India have been found to block websites sometimes. Don’t feel smug if you live outside of Asia, the American government may block websites in the future. The UK government has already talked about blocking websites that feature pornography of consenting adults, unless an adult Briton specifically asks to be able to access it.

      Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Georgetown University Law Center, University of Michigan, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have found a way to circumvent web censorship, but ISPs worldwide would need to implement their technology. Their refraction networking system is called TapDance.

    • Why We Must Defend Free Speech

      The Trump era requires greater resistance against government’s power to restrict First Amendment rights.

      Does the First Amendment need a rewrite in the era of Donald Trump? Should the rise of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups lead us to cut back the protection afforded to speech that expresses hatred and advocates violence, or otherwise undermines equality? If free speech exacerbates inequality, why doesn’t equality, also protected by the Constitution, take precedence?

      After the tragic violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, these questions take on renewed urgency. Many have asked in particular why the ACLU, of which I am national legal director, represented Jason Kessler, the organizer of the rally, in challenging Charlottesville’s last-minute effort to revoke his permit. The city proposed to move his rally a mile from its originally approved site—Emancipation Park, the location of the Robert E. Lee monument whose removal Kessler sought to protest—but offered no reason why the protest would be any easier to manage a mile away. As ACLU offices across the country have done for thousands of marchers for almost a century, the ACLU of Virginia gave Kessler legal help to preserve his permit. Should the fatal violence that followed prompt recalibration of the scope of free speech?

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • EFF urges stronger oversight of DOJ’s digital search of J20 protestor website

      District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Robert Morin ruled today that DreamHost must comply with federal prosecutors’ narrowed warrant seeking communications and records about an Inauguration Day protest website: disruptj20.org; but they will have to present the court with a “minimization plan” that includes the names of all government investigators who will have access to the data and a list of all the methods that they will be using to search the evidence. This is an important step in ensuring judicial oversight of the government’s digital search.

    • Trump Administration Can Sift Through User Data of Inauguration Protest Website, Judge Rules
    • Judge: Accused NSA leaker can see classified information in her trial

      The suspect in the National Security Agency leak investigation will be allowed to see classified information used as evidence in her trial under an order recently issued by a federal judge in Augusta.

      In his six-page ruling this month, U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Epps said Reality Winner, 25, will be permitted to inspect the sensitive records in a secure area, so long as she signs a memorandum of understanding barring unauthorized disclosure of them.

    • The CIA and Me: How I Learned Not to Love Big Brother
    • CIA uses a secret tool to spy on NSA, FBI and other intel partners
    • Did CIA Create A Tool To Spy On NSA, FBI, And Homeland Security? New Vault7 Leak Reveals
    • ExpressLane: WikiLeaks’ latest dump reveals CIA’s covert tool used to steal data from intel allies

      WikiLeaks claims the program has been used against numerous US agencies, including the FBI, NSA and Department of Homeland Security.

    • Wikileaks Vault 7: CIA Spied On Other Intelligence Agencies Using ExpressLane

      Anti-secrecy organization Wikileaks published Thursday another trove of files purported to be from the United States Central Intelligence Agency. While the documents have historically shown the agency’s capabilities to spy on individuals and targets, the latest release shows how the CIA spied on other intelligence agencies.

      The release focuses on a CIA program called ExpressLane, which can collect data from other intel organizations without their knowledge. Wikileaks suggests those partners may include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Security Agency (NSA), though the documentation for the program does not name targets.

    • Vault 7: CIA tool can steal biometric data from NSA, FBI

      WikiLeaks has released details of a CIA project known as ExpressLane which enabled the agency to steal biometric data from its liaison services such as the NSA, Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI.

      The release was part of its ongoing Vault 7 document dump which was kicked off on 7 March. The tool only works on computers running Windows.

    • Judge orders DreamHost to hand over anti-Trump website records to Justice Department

      After a dispute over the scope of a warrant, a judge today ordered hosting service DreamHost to turn over records related to an anti-Trump website.

    • Russia’s surveillance state is giving us a false sense of security

      The idea that “an honest person has nothing to hide” is often repeated by those for whom the concept of privacy only impedes their ability to track their fellow citizens. But you also hear it from people who clearly do have something to hide, despite the fact that they are not doing anything to violate the law. In 2016, the Agora International Human Rights Group produced its first report, revealing several hundred identified cases of politically motivated surveillance of Russian activists, journalists and NGOs — when police officers photographed and fingerprinted people detained during protests, for example. Human rights defenders moving around the country regularly encounter increased attention from law enforcement agencies — they are detained, searched and questioned about why they’re travelling. State and pro-state media broadcast the results of wiretaps and video surveillance of opposition politicians, which have been clearly passed to them by the security services, as well as compromising stories they have fabricated themselves. Internet services periodically warn their users that “state-sponsored hackers” are trying to get access to their accounts.

    • India’s top court rules privacy a fundamental right in blow to government

      A nine-member bench of India’s Supreme Court announced the ruling in a major setback for the Narendra Modi-led government, which argued that privacy was not a fundamental right protected by the constitution.

  • Civil Rights/Policing


      In the uproar following the violence in Charlottesville earlier this month, one of America’s leading neo-Nazi websites, The Daily Stormer, was all but chased off the internet, thwarted even by Russian authorities within hours of its attempt to register a new .ru domain.

      But Moscow’s swift move came with a striking irony: American and European right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis have in recent years flocked to Russia’s biggest social network site, VK.

      VK, Russia’s most-trafficked website, has emerged as a social media hub for high-profile American far-right groups like the National Socialist Movement — which the Southern Poverty Law Center has called “notable for its violent anti-Jewish rhetoric” — despite the fact that pro-Nazi propaganda is illegal in Russia.

    • Trump’s Most Recent Shout to White Supremacists: I’m With You

      Cecillia Wang is deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. She was one of the attorneys who litigated the civil rights case against former Maricopa County, Ariz., sheriff Joe Arpaio brought by the ACLU and partner organizations.

      President Trump rallied his crowd in Phoenix on Tuesday night by invoking the name of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. The reaction was exactly as expected.

      “Do the people in this room like Sheriff Joe?” Trump asked the crowd to thunderous applause. “I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine.”

    • A Distant Echo on Race and Police

      The new film Detroit by director Katherine Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal is about an event that took place in 1967. But with what has happened in America over the past couple of years, it could not be more timely, particularly the fatal police shootings of male African-Americans, such as Michael Brown in Ferguson, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, and Philando Castile in St. Paul. In all three cases, the officer involved was either acquitted, or no charges were filed.

    • We’re Suing California Because It Threw Out More Than 45,000 Ballots in the 2016 Presidential Election Over Handwriting ‘Mismatches’

      In last year’s presidential election, 45,000 California voters were unknowingly disenfranchised. Their right to vote wasn’t curtailed because anyone questioned their eligibility or registration. They weren’t late sending in their ballot. They weren’t accused of doing anything wrong.

      Rather their vote didn’t count because an election official thought the voter’s signature on the mail-in ballot envelope didn’t match the voter’s signature on file. Officials make this determination without expertise in handwriting analysis.

    • Florida Lawmakers to Review Law Targeting Injured Undocumented Workers

      The second-highest ranking member of the Florida Senate pledged a legislative review of a state law that has allowed injured undocumented workers to be arrested and potentially deported rather than paid workers’ compensation benefits.

      “Legitimate injuries shouldn’t be denied just because the person was an undocumented immigrant,” said Republican Sen. Anitere Flores, the president pro tempore of the state Senate and chair of the Banking and Insurance Committee.

      “One needs to balance the going after fraudulent claims,” she said, “with not overcompensating and then denying claims to those individuals who have actually been injured.”

    • The Road to Charlottesville: Reflections on 21st Century U.S. Capitalist Racism

      The United States, where median Black household wealth is less than 7 cents on the white household dollar and where the mild slogan “Black lives matter” is considered controversial, is still very much a racist nation. Grasping the nature of this national racism in 21st century means looking at the different levels on which race operates here. One level is at the nation’s discursive and symbolic surface. It is about language, imagery, signs, the color of elite personnel, representation, and, well, symbols.

    • For once, no one charged in Russia’s Bolotnaya Square case is officially in prison

      This week, Ivan Nepomnyashchikh was released from Yaroslavl Prison Colony No 1. In December 2015, Nepomnyashchikh was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for participating in mass unrest as part of the Bolotnaya Square case. Three days before he was released, the prison administration once again placed him in a punishment cell. Nepomnyashchikh had been in solitary confinement on numerous occasions, especially after he, along with a number of other prisoners, complained of being beaten by prison guards. During his sentence, he spent a total of 58 days in solitary confinement.

      This means that, as of 24 August 2017, no one convicted in connection with the May 2012 protest on Bolotnaya Square is in prison. Approximately one month before Nepomnyashchikh, Dmitry Ishevsky was released from the same prison colony. However, the prosecution of Dmitry Buchenkov (who was not on Bolotnaya Square the day of the demonstration) continues. He is currently under house arrest. In addition, Maxim Panfilov, who was charged with taking part in the events on Bolotnaya Square and found by a court to be unfit to stand trial, remains in a psychiatric hospital in Astrakhan.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Google genericide saga continues

        In May, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the phrase “Google it” was not genericide – but now the plaintiffs in the case are asking the Supreme Court to take another look at the issues raised by that decision

As Expected, Dennis Crouch Continues Spreading Myths and Falsehoods to Help Patent Trolls and Patent Extremists

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 3:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

King of the trolls/patent maximalists in scholarly clothing?

Dennis Crouch at the University of Houston Law Center
Photo credit: University of Houston Law Center

Summary: A patent maximalists’ blog of Dennis Crouch continues to meddle and calls for meddling (in the form of briefs) ahead of a Supreme Court decision that primarily deals with patent quality and impacts patent trolls

YESTERDAY, Crouch’s series of anti-PTAB posts (e.g. [1, 2]) culminated in admission of his own error. He then wrote about “Dismantling Inter Partes Review” (the very essence of PTAB). It’s no secret that he is a PTAB foe, but nowadays he makes it far too obvious.

One might even say — not baselessly — that Crouch has inadvertently become little more than a lobbyist of patent trolls and aggressors. He is disguised as an ‘academic’, so courts would be inclined to listen to him. “Oil States has now filed its very well written opening merits brief,” Crouch wrote, probably inviting the patent maximalists who read his blog to do the same. “Briefing will continue over the next few months, and I expect substantial amicus filing on both sides of the case, as well as input from President Trump’s Department of Justice,” he added.

“We expect the patent ‘industry’ to use this as an opportunity to try to destroy PTAB.”It’s not hard to know which side he is on, having bashed PTAB for a very long time. He surely knows what’s at stake here. He ends with these words: “One way that the court could rule against Oil States is by ruling that the IPR cancellation process involves “public rights” rather than private property rights.”

Same old nonsense from him, comparing patents to “property” or “rights” (they are neither).

We expect the patent ‘industry’ to use this as an opportunity to try to destroy PTAB. Here is one of those people, a PTAB basher, saying that “PTAB finds invention that passes 101! https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2016003171-08-22-2017-1 … identifying route 4 medical procedure on PC passes “significantly more” test…”

Here is Crouch admitting his own mistake:

The historic point here – although the it did not actually revoke any patents after 1779 — the privy council seemingly held that power up until at least 1902.

I only had a chance to look through one English patent issued during this time period – the 1896 Marconi patent. The patent does include the caveat that permits the Privy Council to void the patent – following the form language almost identically.

He has dug stuff up from more than 200 years ago in an attempt to make a case against PTAB. How low can these people go? Some of them have actually been bullying/harassing judges, too.

On the other side, looking at some myth-busting, Josh Landau (CCIA) has just responded to a common attack on PTAB. He said this:

One of the criticisms frequently leveled against inter partes reviews (IPRs) is that people file multiple IPRs; they file two, three, four IPR petitions in order to harass a patent owner. Complaints notwithstanding, the data shows just how infrequent a practice this is. The data also shows that the blame for the occasions when this does occur lies squarely with the patent owner’s own choices.

The truth is that multiple petitions are rare. And when they are filed, it’s typically because patent owners have filed patents with so many claims that you need multiple petitions just to fit your arguments into the word limit.


In other words, around 0.1% of patents in force have actually had any petitions filed against them.

It’s not true that most patents that are asserted in litigation have IPRs filed against them. On the contrary—about 85% of patents asserted in litigation are not challenged in an IPR!

In other words, only 0.1% of all patents and only 15% of patents that have been asserted in litigation have seen any IPRs filed against them. Most patents never see a petition at all, much less multiple petitions.

Over at TechDirt a couple of days ago it was covered too. It simplified it for readers. The SCOTUS case was framed as “Another Chance To Help Take Down The Patent Trolls”. To quote:

The Supreme Court has a chance to help banish patent trolls back under the bridge where they belong. In the fall session, the Court will hear Oil States Energy Service v. Greene’s Energy Group – a case that has massive implications for the future of patent law and U.S. innovation.

Patent trolls (sometimes called non-practicing entities, or NPEs) don’t actively create any goods or provide any services. Instead, they go after those who do, filing bogus patent infringement lawsuits. Ultimately, their goal is to frighten businesses into settling outside of court, collecting as much money as they can.

More than 80 percent of trolls’ victims are small and medium-sized businesses, and the cost to defendants to fight a patent-infringement lawsuit can easily reach $1 million. That’s why it’s often more cost-effective to simply pay off the trolls.

“Trolls often aggressively push for extortionate settlements that far surpass the value of the [intellectual property] because they know many companies will choose to settle, rather than get embroiled in an expensive and drawn-out lawsuit,” Ira Blumberg, a former patent-troll lawyer, explained: “Their actions can wreak havoc on tech companies of all sizes.”

Notice how the patent trolls and their front groups have begun attacking PTAB, trying to create scandals and urging people to contact the court to (essentially or in effect) help the trolls.

At EPO, “Producing Stronger Patents (or Being Able to Produce Them) is Also a Matter of Professional Pride for the Examiners”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If the EPO produced an academic journal, nobody would subscribe to read it

Peer Review for Journals: Evidence on Quality Control, Fairness, and Innovation,” J. Scott Armstrong, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Summary: Producing European Patents (EPs) that are solid and have merit is still a priority for examiners at the European Patent Office (EPO), but not for the management

THE ACCELERATION of granting, to be followed by accelerated litigation, is a horrible legacy of Battistelli. PPH, Early Certainty, PACE, UPC etc. are designed to tilt the system in favour of bullies and patent trolls, not actual inventors. It is basically a rather gross distortion of what the patent system (not only in Europe) was intended to do and supposed to accomplish. Patent examiners are clever enough to understand this, whereas Battistelli and his unqualified team understand nothing but power and leverage (and gratuitous bonuses for themselves).

“The worryingly low quality of patents (EPs) granted over the past few years threatens to engulf Europe with litigation; UPC would give such litigation even more ‘teeth’.”The UPC is quite likely dead, but the EPO‘s management tries to float it in headlines like these ones from the past 24 hours [1, 2].

“Germany and the UK still need to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement before the unitary patent system can come into force,” one article says. “Once a European patent has been granted, a separate, simple post-grant procedure can be initiated at the EPO with a view to obtaining a Unitary Patent,” says the other. But there is no UPC yet and there may never be UPC at all. Nor should be…

The worryingly low quality of patents (EPs) granted over the past few years threatens to engulf Europe with litigation; UPC would give such litigation even more ‘teeth’. Who would suffer the most? Vulnerable people/companies like SMEs. They cannot even afford going to court for patent justice.

We expect the UPC nonsense to resume (a lot of misinformation about it) next week when more people return from holiday. They’ll probably just pretend that the UPC is around the corner to benefit SMEs when in fact neither is true.

Yesterday we spotted this discussion in IP Kat‘s last post about EPO scandals. It’s about patent quality:

If Ford can make cars with acceptable quality for the driver, and safety for the public, does everyone need to pay the price for a gold-plated Rolls-Royce, and experience the delay while it is hand made?

Admittedly, you might not want a Trabbi from the USPTO, but shouldn’t there be a happy medium?

Days later came this response:

fair point indeed. Only in the past 30 years the Ford production did not decrease quality but instead tremendously increased it.

At the EPO the contrary occured. Come on face it, accept it and let us not whine about it but redress it. Nothing more nothing less.

Producing stronger patents (or being able to produce them) is also a matter of professional pride for the examiners, thus allowed to do their work as they should and not to cut corners.

Not sure you would currently like to step in in a Ford built by EPO staff given the way they are forced to work

The analogy can go further to say that Battistelli has turned the EPO from something sort of scholarly into a mere production line where truth matters not, only so-called ‘production’. No wonder examiners are not tolerating it.

Links 25/8/2017: GIMP 2.9.6 Released, SUSE Cushions Btrfs

Posted in News Roundup at 12:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source professionals are more in demand than ever

    So, you want a technology job, do you? Then you should work on your open-source skills because that’s where the jobs are. According to Dice, the leading technology job site, and The Linux Foundation, opportunities for open-source professionals are abound, as companies strive to improve efficiency and cut time to market.

  • 2017 Open Source Jobs Report Available For Download
  • 2017 Jobs Report Highlights Demand for Open Source Skills

    Dice® and The Linux Foundation have once again partnered to produce the annual Open Source Jobs Report, focusing on all aspects of open source software.

  • The 2017 Open Source Jobs Report: Employers Prioritize Hiring Open Source Professionals with Latest Skills
  • Open source and proprietary software solutions: the key for an analytic project

    In the world of data analysis it may be no coincidence that open source tools like the ‘R’ statistical computing language have blossomed as analytics and big data have matured together.

    Hadoop, Python… There seems to be a special kind of magic between the curious minds of data analysts (with a small ‘a’ – as they may be ‘line of business’ users that don’t have a degree in statistics or a qualification in coding) and with new ways of exploring the world.

    Open source software has proven itself to be a very useful way of rapidly finding quality insights out about the world when out to the challenging task of finding insights from the enormous volumes of data out there. Big data analytics provides an opportunity for open source data quality tools to deliver new insights.

  • Telstra launches open source powered security operations centre

    Telstra has formally launched the first of what is intended to be a string of Security Operations Centres (SOCs) that will deliver services to its enterprise and government customers.

    Telstra CEO Andrew Penn and the minister assisting the prime minister for cyber security, Dan Tehan, today officially opened the Sydney SOC.

  • Telstra launches Sydney cybersecurity centre
  • Organizations are desperate for open-source technology skills

    Open-source technology skills are becoming highly sought after as organizations fight among themselves to attract the talent they need to take advantage of the burgeoning trend.

    That’s according to the Linux Foundation’s new 2017 Open Source Jobs Survey and Report, which found that companies are increasingly looking for full-time hires to boost efficiency and reduce time to market.

  • This Man Wants To Open Source Your Car

    So Hotz scrapped it and, last November, gave his technology away for free, releasing an open- source, self-driving platform called Openpilot. He also released open-source plans for Neo, a smartphone-powered device…

  • An open source approach to drive NFV innovation

    Network functions virtualisation (NFV) and software-defined networks (SDN) will play a vital role in the development and future of the telecoms industry. The hybrid network model, based on virtualised technology and hardware, has become mission critical, not just to operations but commercial success also. Telecoms is an industry traditionally steeped in proprietary solutions and insulated approaches to network development, writes Tzvika Naveh, the marketing director for NFV orchestration at Amdocs, however, the introduction of an open-source approach will help further fuel NFV and SDN commercialisation and innovation through collaboration.

  • Understanding OPNFV Starts Here

    If telecom operators or enterprises were to build their networks from scratch today, they would likely build them as software-defined resources, similar to Google or Facebook’s infrastructure. That’s the premise of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).

    NFV is a once in a generation disruption that will completely transform how networks are built and operated. And, OPNFV is a leading open source NFV project that aims to accelerate the adoption of this technology.

  • Open Source Jobs Report: In-Demand Developers Can Get Paid to Earn Certification
  • Demand for Open Source Skills Continues to Grow

    On a scale of one to five, how are your open source skills? If you picked a number below four, you might want to do something about it. According to the Linux Foundation’s annual Open Source Jobs Report released on Wednesday, employment prospects for open source workers continues to rise.

    Consider this: 86 percent of open source professionals believe that just knowing open source has advanced their careers, with 52 percent saying it would be easy to find another job. If that doesn’t wet your whistle — only 27 percent report not receiving a recruiting call in the past six months.

  • Open source talent in demand, but jobs tough to fill

    Almost 90% of hiring managers reported difficulties acquiring qualified talent for open source jobs, according to a report released Wednesday from career site Dice and The Linux Foundation.

  • The Secret Sauce To Open Source

    One of the first items discussed when companies start using and leveraging open source is the determination of what, in their IP portfolio, is the unique differentiation between themselves and their competitors. What is, in other words, their “secret sauce.” Companies can then use open source to allow them, and their development, to focus on their secret sauce and to consume, or contribute/donate, non-differentiating software to the open source community. This allows companies to focus their time, talent and resources on those aspects of technology that provide the most innovation to them and their customers.

    Some companies, known as Open Core companies, also leverage the idea of “secret sauce” in that they release their code under an Open Source license, but sell “Enterprise Extensions” as commercial products, and keep that technology private and confidential, as their own secret sauce.

    But the most important “secret sauce” in Open Source is also the most unrecognized and most misunderstood. Ironically, science fiction understands this secret ingredient better than most. It’s the delicacy specified in the Twilight Zone’s “How To Serve Man”; it’s the basic constituent of Soylent Green; it’s Arthur C. Clarke’s “Food of the Gods.”

    It’s people.

  • How to handle criticism of your open project

    Over the course of the past year, the project I’m working on has been using open organizational principles as the cornerstone of the work. It’s the first attempt at using open methodologies inside of Greenpeace. The project, code named Planet 4, is the global redesign and development of Greenpeace’s digital presence. To put it quite simply, we are building a piece of software that content and web editors will use to put Greenpeace content on the web. We’re building the software on top of WordPress, a platform we selected in part because of its own open source roots. Throughout the project, we’ve used a remixed version of the Open Decision Framework to document and share everything we’re doing. Aside from me, this way of working was new to my team.

  • YOLO: Open source real-time image recognition

    For those of you who are looking to play around with image recognition in your UAS projects, there’s an open source real-time image recognition system for that. I am not sure yet how well this would work at longer distances with smaller images when capturing footage from a flying platform but could be interesting. I wonder if SAR and related ops could perhaps benefit from such an open source project. Gene?

  • Events

    • Much awaited.. DebConf’17 in Montreal.

      On 5th August I got a chance to attend, speak and experience DebConf 2017 at Montreal, Canada. The conference was ‘stretch’ed from 6 August to 12 August .

    • Technoshamanism at Aarhus University

      We talked about the traditions of festivals before the festivals of technoshamanism, such as Brazilian tactical media, Digitofagy, Submidialogy, MSST (Satellitless Movement), etc. We presented the Baobáxia and the indigenous / quilombola struggles in the city and the countryside. The aesthetic manifestations of encounters of technoshamanism as well as ideas about free or postcolonial thoughts, ancestorfuturism and new Subjective territories.

    • UbuConLA 2017 Summit Summary

      These are my notes about UbuconLA, a bit of social activities and thoughts on the talks related to the snappy ecosystem.

    • Moby Summit at OSS North America

      In case you missed it, the next Moby Project Summit will take place on September 14, 2017 in Los Angeles, as part of the Open Source Summit North America. Following the success of the previous editions, we’ll keep the same format which consists of short technical talks / demos in the morning and Birds-of-a-Feather sessions in the afternoon.

  • Databases

    • Quest Software Releases New Platform to Tackle MySQL Open Source Environments

      Quest Software, a global systems management and security software provider, is releasing Toad Edge, a new commercial database toolset that can manage next-generation open source database environments.

      This release will support MySQL, saving time, minimizing the MySQL learning curve, and mitigating risks that can be associated with building applications on an open source database platform.

      “It’s a brand new development and DBA administration tool for the MySQL database whether that database is running on-prem or on Amazon RDS Azure, it doesn’t matter our tool can help the developer and DBA develop an application on MySQL on-prem or in the cloud,” said Greg Davoll, Executive Director of product management and product marketing.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Kolab Now Is a Smooth On-Ramp for LibreOffice Online

      As cloud popularity grows, so does the collection of free or low-cost online office tools that services like Microsoft Office Online and Google Docs/G Suite provide.

      However, those two major league offerings, along with a swarm of other cloud-based productivity platforms, are proprietary. Open source vendors have been promising a free open source online alternative. Until now, online open source office suites have been little more than vaporware.

      You can get your document work done fine using an open source local installation. Exchanging documents via email attachments or shared links to files stored on Dropbox and other cloud storage farms work reasonably well for low-level collaborative team tasks.

      However, the inconvenience factor kicks in very quickly when you try to handle collaborative tasks and need access to a continual stream of live edits. That is when a cloud-based open source office suite is sorely missed.

      Kolab Systems last month announced Kolab Now, a full-featured online office suite. The launch had the blessing of The Document Foundation, which gave up on fulfilling promises for a free open source online version of the LibreOffice suite it sponsors.

  • Healthcare

    • Open Source Collaboration Key to Healthcare Blockchain Adoption

      Interest in healthcare blockchain continues to grow as organizations realize the potential data sharing advantages. Blockchain is not currently used in healthcare, but open source projects, such as Hyperledger, are working to develop blockchain standards that can eventually be used in healthcare.

      Entities are showing genuine interest in blockchain and are currently working on projects for future adoption, according to Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf.

      Last year the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hosted a healthcare blockchain essay contest in response to vendors approaching the agency and suggesting uses for blockchain in healthcare for provider directories and EHRs. The contest gave HHS a broad pool of examples from vendors and providers alike to get a better grasp on the potential reality of healthcare blockchain implementation.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • LLVM’s Clang C/C++ Compiler Is Still Having Problems With ~5% Of Debian Packages

      Debian developer and LLVM/Clang enthusiast Sylvestre Ledru has provided an update regarding the build results for trying to compile the Debian archive using this GCC compiler alternative.

    • Rebuild of Debian using Clang 3.9, 4.0 and 5.0

      tldr: The percentage of failure is decreasing, Clang support is improving but there is a long way to go.

      The goal of this initiative is to rebuild Debian using Clang as a compiler instead of gcc. I have been doing this analysis for the last 6 years.

      Recently, we rebuilt the archive of the Debian archive with Clang 3.9.1 (July 6th), 4.0.1 (July 6th) and 5.0 rc2 (August 20th).

      For various reasons, we didn’t perform a rebuild since June 2016 with version 3.8. Therefor, we took the opportunity to do three over the last month.

    • ARC Backend Merged In LLVM

      LLVM 6.0 SVN/Git now has landed a Synopsys DesignWare ARC processor back-end.

    • AF3e status, 22 August 2017

      Your irregular “Absolute FreeBSD” status report!

      It’s at 123,700 words. 12 of 26 chapters exist as first drafts. (Yes, the last report said 7 of 24. I can’t count.) Two more chapters are partially done. One of those partially-done chapters, on “Pre-Install Considerations,” won’t be done until I finish the whole book. I keep going back to add tidbits to it. It’s complete, except when I find something else I have to add to it.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Patrick McHardy and copyright profiteering

      Many in the open source community have expressed concern about the activities of Patrick McHardy in enforcing the GNU General Public License (GPL) against Linux distributors. Below are answers to common questions, based on public information related to his activities, and some of the legal principles that underlie open source compliance enforcement.

      Who is Patrick McHardy? McHardy is the former chair of the Netfilter core development team. Netfilter is a utility in the Linux kernel that performs various network functions, such as facilitating Network Address Translation (NAT)—the process of converting an Internet protocol address into another IP address. Controlling network traffic is important to maintain the security of a Linux system.

    • Facebook Refuses to Alter React’s Open Source License

      The Apache Foundation recently announced that Facebook’s BSD+Patents open source license has been disallowed for inclusion with Apache products. The resulting fallout has caused gnashed teeth and much soul searching for React developers and Facebook has so far refused to reconsider.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Community building with a Q&A vs. online forum

      If you’ve ever built an online community, you know that the sheer number of options available can be daunting. Should you set up a forum, a Q&A site, or both? Would users prefer Slack, IRC, or perhaps a mailing list? Where does Telegram fit in? Maybe you should you just set up one of every available solution…

      I’ll discuss this topic at length during the upcoming Open Source Summit North America. But in the meantime, let’s focus on one aspect to better understand the overall decision-making process.

    • Open Data

      • Estonia to focus presidency on free movement of data

        Estonia, holding its first Presidency of the European Council as of July, hopes to advance the EU’s digital single market by focusing on the free movement of data. One of three key suggestions in a vision paper by the country’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications is to encourage the cross-border exchange of public administration data on the basis of the once-only principle.

  • Programming/Development

    • Top 3 open source Python IDEs

      Python is everywhere. These days, it seems it powers everything from major websites to desktop utilities to enterprise software. Python has been used to write all, or parts of, popular software projects like dnf/yum, OpenStack, OpenShot, Blender, Calibre, and even the original BitTorrent client.

    • Users as Co Developers OR The Secret of Programming Success

      And so I inherited popclient. Just as importantly, I inherited popclient’s user base. Users are wonderful things to have, and not just because they demonstrate that you’re serving a need, that you’ve done something right. Properly cultivated, they can become co-developers.

      Another strength of the Unix tradition, one that Linux pushes to a happy extreme, is that a lot of users are hackers too. Because source code is available, they can be effective hackers. This can be tremendously useful for shortening debugging time. Given a bit of encouragement, your users will diagnose problems, suggest fixes, and help improve the code far more quickly than you could unaided.

    • Oracle to open source Java Enterprise Edition (JAVA EE)

      They say that you can never expect a favor from the corporate world without them getting some profit. Oracle seems to be shutting shop on Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) and has now decided to open source it. After earning millions from Java EE, now Oracle seems to have realized that it needs to move on.


  • Science

    • WIPO, IFPMA Adviser Sees No Problem With Trump Comments, May Become US Science Envoy

      A United States State Department science envoy quit yesterday in protest over US President Donald Trump’s pullout from the Paris climate accord and defensive comments after violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. But according to a press report, Peter Hotez, a past science adviser who has been a featured speaker of a UN agency and pharmaceutical industry group in Geneva, is stepping up to offer his services without concern for Trump’s actions.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Malaysia Inclusion In Gilead Voluntary Licence – A Product Of Compulsory Licence Pressure

      Gilead’s announcement today that they would include four middle-income countries (Malaysia, Thailand, Belarus, Ukraine) in their sofosbuvir voluntary licence was a welcome surprise, and will enable millions access to their highly effective, but exorbitantly priced, drug.

      The decision to include these countries, however, no doubt is a response to increasing pressure from within these countries to either issue a compulsory licence (CL) or a government use licence (GUL), invalidate the sofosbuvir patents, or block data exclusivity for the drug.

    • Access To Medicines Foundation Details Methodology For 2018 AMR Benchmark

      The Amsterdam-based Access to Medicines Foundation today published the methodology it will use for its 2018 framework for evaluating how pharmaceutical companies are taking action to limit antimicrobial resistance, addressing the rising the global problem of overuse of antibiotics leading to resistance with few new ones in the pipeline.

      The methodology will analyse company research and development, manufacturing and production, and appropriate access and stewardship.

  • Security

    • Xen Hypervisor Patched for Privilege Escalation and Information Leak Flaws

      The Xen Project has fixed five new vulnerabilities in the widely used Xen virtualization hypervisor. The flaws could allow attackers to break out of virtual machines and access sensitive information from host systems.

      According to an analysis by the security team of Qubes OS, an operating system that relies on Xen for its security model, most of the vulnerabilities stem from the mechanism that’s used to share memory between domains. Under Xen, the host system and the virtual machines (guests) run in separate security domains.

    • Crunchy Data Unveils Open Source Security Compliance Automation Platform

      The Defense Information Systems Agency released a STIG for Crunchy Data’s PostgreSQL open source database in March to provide guidance on how to deploy the database in government networks in compliance with DoD security requirements.

      “Crunchy Data’s mission is to enable enterprises to adopt open source PostgreSQL as a means to reduce [information technology] infrastructure costs and avoid unwanted vendor lock-in,” said Paul Laurence, chief operating officer of Crunchy Data.

    • How to scan and clean malware from a Linux server

      At first blush, you might be wondering why anyone would need to scan a Linux server for malware. Even though the Linux platform isn’t nearly as vulnerable to malware as other systems, that doesn’t mean your email or file server can’t host malicious files that could take down a connected (and vulnerable) machine. Say, for instance, your Linux server uses Samba to allow users to store files. Or maybe it’s a cloud server that allows users to sync and share their files to various devices. How do you know a user hasn’t inadvertently uploaded a malicious file to the server? You don’t, unless you take action.

    • GCHQ Knew FBI Wanted To Arrest MalwareTech, Let Him Fly To The US To Be Arrested There

      It looks like the UK found an easy way to avoid another lengthy extradition battle. Its intelligence agency, GCHQ, knew something security research Marcus Hutchins didn’t — and certainly didn’t feel obliged to tell him. Not only that, but it let a criminal suspect fly out of the country with zero pre-flight vetting. (Caution: registration wall ahead.)

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Wanted: Weaponized exploits that hack phones. Will pay top dollar

      In a sign of the soaring demand for zeroday attacks that target software that’s becoming increasingly secure, a market-leading broker is offering serious cash for weaponized exploits that work against Signal, WhatsApp, and other mobile apps that offer confidential messaging or privacy.

    • White House cyber tsar warns against Kaspersky use

      The cyber security co-ordinator of the White House has publicly warned against the use of software from Kaspersky Lab.

    • Latest Linux Mining Malware Uses Minergate’s Monero Pool

      It has been a while since we last saw a new malware threat in the form of a cryptocurrency miner. Do not be mistaken in thinking cybercriminals have given up on the idea, though. A new cryptocurrency mining malware referred to as Linux.BTCMine.26 is actively distributed to Linux computers using default Telnet credentials. Unlike what the name suggests, it does not mine Bitcoin but is more interested in Monero. Additionally, it only targets X86-64 and ARM hardware-based devices.

    • SourceClear Announces First-of-its-Kind Domain-Specific Language to Identify Open-Source Vulnerabilities
    • How to protect your network from ransomware attacks
    • Google Improves Security in Android 8.0 Oreo

      Google officially announced the latest iteration of its mobile operating system on August 21 with the debut of Android 8.0 Oreo. While performance is one of the headline features in the new release, Google is also implementing multiple security enhancements in Oreo as well.

    • Over 500 Android apps with a combined 100 million downloads found to secretly contain spyware
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Reporting on Trump’s Afghan Escalation Omits Dead Afghan Civilians

      US media also continued their rich tradition of not blaming the US or Trump for the war—instead laying responsibility at the feet of some unknown geopolitical dark matter that has forced the US to occupy Afghanistan permanently. The US isn’t waging ongoing war in the Central Asian country; it is simply “stuck,” according to the AP (8/21/17) and the Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty. Trump isn’t continuing the occupation; according to the Sacramento Bee (8/21/17); he “Keeps US Stuck in Afghanistan Quagmire.” The US doesn’t seek further war and occupation, but to “break free from the quagmire,” the Chicago Tribune (8/22/17) spells out.* Bush, Obama and Trump didn’t make a deliberate choice to bomb Afghanistan, according to PBS’s Judy Woodruff (8/21/17); attacking the country just became “the burden of three presidents.” War was consistently depicted as being thrust upon the US government by forces outside of its control.

      The number of Afghan civilians killed during the 16-year US military occupation is well over 31,000, according to researchers at Brown University. The average American couldn’t possibly know this fact, since it’s almost never mentioned when weighing the cost/benefit ratio of further military occupation and bombing.

    • America’s ‘Global Policeman’ Role

      Global disorder is on the rise. What can the U.S. do about it? There are two fundamentally different approaches one can take — it all depends on your philosophy of how the world works.

    • Saudi Bombing Kills Dozens, and US Complicit, as ‘Man-Made Crisis’ in Yemen Worsens

      An airstrike by the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition on a hotel near the Yemeni capital Sanaa killed dozens of people on Wednesday, multiple news agencies have reported, as a “man made” humanitarian crisis extends its grip on the impoverished nation.

    • ‘Good Parents’ Who Kill Strangers

      A troubling paradox in world leaders is their apparent love for their own children while showing callous disregard for the lives of children and other innocents at the receiving end of their bombs and bullets, as Philip A Farruggio observes.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Whistleblower Lawsuit Charges Illegal Retaliation, Dangerous Practices at CIA’s Elite Directorate of Operations
    • Senate bill would label WikiLeaks ‘non-state hostile intelligence service’

      Congress will formally consider WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service” if lawmakers adopt the annual Intelligence Authorization Act passed 14-1 by a Senate panel last month — a provision the bill’s sole dissenter now cites as his reason for rejecting it.

      Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat and the only member of the Senate Intelligence Committee to cast a ballot against the 2018 authorization act during last month’s vote, said Tuesday his decision was driven by the inclusion of language specifically targeting WikiLeaks, the antisecrecy website responsible for publishing millions of pages’ worth of U.S. state secrets ranging from military documents and diplomatic cables to internal Democratic Party emails.

      The provision was included at the very end of the annual intelligence authorization act passed in committee and quietly introduced in the full Senate on Friday amid summer recess.

    • Former NSA Official Sure DNC Wasn’t Hacked

      William Binney, a former “highly placed NSA official,” told investigative journalist Aaron Klein he’s convinced the Democratic National Committee wasn’t even hacked, much less that it was hacked by Russians seeking to do damage to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

    • Senate bill would label WikiLeaks ‘non-state hostile intelligence service’

      Congress will formally consider WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service” if lawmakers adopt the annual Intelligence Authorization Act passed 14-1 by a Senate panel last month — a provision the bill’s sole dissenter now cites as his reason for rejecting it.

      Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat and the only member of the Senate Intelligence Committee to cast a ballot against the 2018 authorization act during last month’s vote, said Tuesday his decision was driven by the inclusion of language specifically targeting WikiLeaks, the antisecrecy website responsible for publishing millions of pages’ worth of U.S. state secrets ranging from military documents and diplomatic cables to internal Democratic Party emails.

    • Intelligence Committee Pins A ‘Surveil Me’ Sign On Wikileaks’ Back In Latest Authorization Bill

      President Trump seemed to think Wikileaks was a fine establishment while on the campaign trail. As long as Wikileaks kept serving up DNC documents, it could do nothing wrong. Since his election, however, things have changed. The administration is plagued by leaks. Even though Wikileaks hasn’t played a part in those leaks, it has continued to dump CIA documents — something the White House isn’t thrilled with.

      Back in April, the new DOJ — under the leadership of 80s throwback AG Sessions — announced it had prepared charges to arrest Julian Assange. This was something Obama’s administration talked about, but never actually got around to doing. Pursuing Assange and Wikileaks for publishing leaked documents would set a dangerous precedent, paving the way for domestic prosecutions of news agencies.

      Fortunately, nothing has moved forward on that front yet. But it appears at least a few Senators would like to further distance Wikileaks from any definition of journalism. As Spencer Ackerman reports for The Daily Beast, the Senate Intelligence Community wants to redefine Wikileaks as a hostile entity.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Rick Perry’s “baseload” study released, offers a lifeline to coal, nuclear

      The US Department of Energy (DOE) released a report late Wednesday night recommending that power markets revise how they value coal and nuclear power. The report also admits that low natural gas prices are a primary cause of recent coal plant closures.

    • Analysis of 187 documents concludes Exxon “misled the public” on climate change

      The documents included internal papers published by journalists at InsideClimate News as well as 50 “peer-reviewed articles on climate research and related policy analysis” written by ExxonMobil researchers. The oil and gas company made the internal papers public and challenged anyone to “read all of these documents and make up your own mind,” accusing journalists of cherry-picking data.

      Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes, from Harvard’s Department of the History of Science, took up that challenge, comparing the information in the documents cited by ExxonMobil against the information conveyed in the publicly-available advertorial columns published by the company on anthropogenic (or human-caused) climate change in the New York Times. They found that “83 percent of peer-reviewed papers and 80 percent of internal documents acknowledge that climate change is real and human-caused, yet only 12 percent of advertorials do so, with 81 percent instead expressing doubt.”

  • Finance

    • Labor Day Used to Be a Grand Celebration in This Storied Factory Town
    • FTC: We won’t stand in the way of pending Amazon-Whole Foods merger

      The Federal Trade Commission has formally allowed Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods to go forward.

      According to a statement released Wednesday by acting FTC director Bruce Hoffman, “Based on our investigation, we have decided not to pursue this matter further. Of course, the FTC always has the ability to investigate anticompetitive conduct should such action be warranted.”

      Last month, there had been some public opposition to the deal. Back in June, the online retail giant announced it would acquire Whole Foods Market for approximately $13.7 billion.

    • The FTC says it won’t stop Amazon from buying Whole Foods
    • The government’s new Brexit position paper is actually pretty good

      Today’s Brexit position paper on enforcement and dispute resolution is a good piece of work. It makes reasonable demands and puts to bed a lot of the crazier hard Brexit rhetoric from No.10. It also has one central argument, which is that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is not a suitable body to arbitrate on whatever new arrangement the UK and the EU strike up. As it happens, they are correct on both counts – the hard Brexiters are wrong and so is Brussels.

      The hard Brexiters want May to abide by her promise last autumn to remove Britain completely from ECJ jurisdiction. This was the exact moment it was clear she was a lunatic, reading scraps of paper her aides wrote without thinking and using them as the basis for the country’s future prosperity. It was an amazingly stupid thing for her to have said. The drawbacks became clear almost instantly, when the government confirmed its involvement in a new EU patent court which would have an umbilical cord to the ECJ. Suddenly, years of work and income were at risk. Later, it became clear that our entire nuclear regulation system, under Euratom, had been put in jeopardy due to this commitment.

    • Jeremy Corbyn’s living wage plan ‘would give one in four British workers a pay rise’

      Jeremy Corbyn’s £10-an-hour living wage plan would give one in four British workers a pay rise, new analysis from his party claims.

      Around 40 per cent of those in employment would benefit from Labour’s plan in some parts of the UK, it said, with warnings the Conservatives had not done enough to boost pay.

      The Government said 1.7 million workers had benefited from the latest rise in the living wage in April, which saw an increase from £7.20 to £7.50.

    • Manufacturing Giant Midea Wants to Put Bitcoin Miners in Household Appliances

      Midea Group, a major manufacturer of electrical appliances in China, is seeking to patent a method for mining bitcoin with household items, public records show.

      The previously unreported application was submitted last November and published earlier this year by the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of the People’s Republic of China.

      The company’s application calls for appliances ranging from air conditioners, dehumidifiers and TVs to be built with specialized mining chips embedded inside. Once programmed, the products would connect to a cloud-based service and contribute their hashing power in the background.

    • Republicans try comparing tax code to Legend of Zelda, mix up their facts

      American Republican legislators have begun aiming their sights on a major policy initiative: the nation’s tax code. Any changes will certainly impact the American technology sector, but before getting to that possible impact, there’s the matter of the GOP’s publicity campaign on the matter.

      On Wednesday afternoon, the GOP showed that it could use some help in its attempts to make its sales pitch look “hip.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • 7 Rules For Reading Trump’s Approval Rating

      It still isn’t entirely clear how much President Trump’s reaction to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia — which was criticized by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers after he blamed “many sides” for the violence there — has affected his job approval rating. As of Wednesday evening, Trump’s approval rating was 36.9 percent, according to the FiveThirtyEight average, down only slightly from 37.6 percent on the day before1 a counter-protester and two police officers were killed in Charlottesville. His disapproval rating was 56.8 percent, up only slightly from 56.3 percent before Charlottesville. So perhaps there’s been a little movement — but there hasn’t been the sort of unambiguous decline in Trump’s approval rating that occurred at earlier moments in his presidency, such as when Republicans began to debate their health care bill in March or after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May.

      Approval ratings, of course, aren’t the only way to judge a president’s standing. The fact that Republicans in Congress have become much more openly defiant of Trump could spell trouble for him later on, whether or not rank-and-file voters were all that moved by Charlottesville. Nonetheless, approval ratings provide a reality check of sorts, as the media’s guesses about what will or won’t affect public opinion aren’t always accurate. So let me walk you through a few propositions for what I think we’ve learned about Trump’s approval through the first seven months of his presidency — and why his approval ratings’ modest response to Charlottesville shouldn’t have been all that surprising.

    • Blocking Prosecutors From Creating Trump’s Enemies List
    • State Dept. science envoy resigns with letter that spells out ‘Impeach’

      The science envoy for the State Department has resigned following President Trump’s response to the violent clashes at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

      Daniel Kammen announced his resignation in a letter addressed to Trump — in which the first letter of every paragraph spelled out “Impeach.”

      “My decision to resign is in response to your attacks on core values of the United States,” Kammen said in the letter.

      “Your failure to condemn white supremacists and neo-Nazis has domestic and international ramifications.”

    • MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch: Trump possesses traits of a sociopath

      MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch on Wednesday read traits of a sociopath on air, arguing that President Trump exhibits many of the same qualities.

      “What a sociopath is a condition that prevents people from adopting to ethical and behavioral standards of community,” Deutsch said on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House,” reading from a paper.

      “Sociopaths are usually extremely charming and charismatic. Sociopaths oftentimes feel entitled to certain positions, people and things. They believe their own beliefs and opinions are the absolute authority and disregard others.”

    • Hillary Clinton: My “skin crawled” when Trump stood behind me

      MSNBC’s Morning Joe has the first batch of excerpts from “What Happened,” Hillary Clinton’s forthcoming memoir on the 2016 presidential election, which feature her reflecting why she wrote the book and on President Trump’s intimidation tactics that made her “skin [crawl]” during their second, town hall-style debate.

    • Fact check: At Phoenix rally, Trump revises history, exaggerates accomplishments and makes false claims

      President Trump delivered a raucous, error-filled speech in Arizona on Aug. 22, just days after he was uniformly criticized for blaming “both sides” for the deadly violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

      The president gave a revisionist account of his remarks about Charlottesville, exaggerated his accomplishments, and made a series of false and misleading claims:

      • Trump cherry-picked excerpts from his past statements about Charlottesville to put a positive spin on his remarks. But in his retelling, Trump failed to say he blamed “both sides” for the violence that left one counterprotester dead and 19 others injured.

      • Trump also wrongly suggested that the media didn’t report that he had said “racism is evil,” a quote from his second statement — on Monday, Aug. 14 — on the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. That quote was widely reported by the media.

    • Trump’s Fit in Phoenix Shames the Presidency and Humiliates America

      Trump’s disturbing diatribe and brutish assault on the media prove, once and for all, that he’ll never get better

    • The Arpaio Pardon: You’re Not the Audience
    • Donald Trump’s Defining Moments

      In the last few weeks, President Trump has gone through a series of defining moments in which his disturbing rhetorical reactions to historical developments have opened a window on his sense of the world and the nation.

    • Will Nothing Rid Us of President WTF?

      The Doomsday Clock has been edging closer to midnight since Donald Trump got his hands on the nuclear codes – not for ideological reasons, as would have been the case had Hillary Clinton not blown her chance to become Commander-in-Chief, but because he is morally inert and psychologically unhinged. Giving such a miscreant control over a nuclear arsenal is like handing a troubled teenager a loaded gun.

    • Wall Street Journal Editor Admonishes Reporters Over Trump Coverage
  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Here’s How CIA Spies On Its Intelligence Liaison Partners Around the World
    • CIA’s secret spy tool helps agency steal data from NSA & FBI, WikiLeaks reveals

      Details of an alleged CIA project that allows the agency to secretly extract biometric data from liaison services such as the NSA, the DHS and the FBI have been published by WikiLeaks.

      Documents from the CIA’s ‘ExpressLane’ project were released by the whistleblowing organization as part of its ongoing ‘Vault 7’ series on the intelligence agency’s alleged hacking capabilities.

      A branch within the CIA – known as Office of Technical Services (OTS) – provides a biometric collection system to liaison services around the world “with the expectation for sharing of the biometric takes collected on the systems,” according to a file released by WikiLeaks.

      ExpressLane, however, suggests the system has inadequacies as it was developed as a covert information collection tool to secretly exfiltrate data collections from such systems provided to liaison services.

    • ExpressLane

      Today, August 24th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes secret documents from the ExpressLane project of the CIA. These documents show one of the cyber operations the CIA conducts against liaison services — which includes among many others the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

      The OTS (Office of Technical Services), a branch within the CIA, has a biometric collection system that is provided to liaison services around the world — with the expectation for sharing of the biometric takes collected on the systems. But this ‘voluntary sharing’ obviously does not work or is considered insufficient by the CIA, because ExpressLane is a covert information collection tool that is used by the CIA to secretly exfiltrate data collections from such systems provided to liaison services.

    • DOJ Walks Back Its Demands For Info On Everyone Who Visited A Trump Protest Site As Some Of Those Visitors Protest Subpoena

      Last week we wrote about a crazy warrant from the DOJ, effectively demanding information — possibly identifying information — on everyone who visited the site disruptj20.org, which had been used by people organizing protests of Trump’s inauguration. When we wrote about it, the site’s hosting company, DreamHost, had just announced that it was pushing back on the demand in court. On Monday of this week, some of the visitors to the site pushed back too. Public Citizen Litigation Group took on the case of five individuals who had visited the site, asking the court if they could intervene to oppose the warrant.

    • DOJ Backs Down From Overbroad J20 Warrant. But Problems Still Remain

      The government has backed down significantly in its fight with DreamHost about information related to the J20 protests. Late on Tuesday, DOJ filed a reply in its much publicized (and much criticized) attempt to get the hosting provider to turn over a large amount of data about a website it was hosting, disruptj20.org—a site that was dedicated to organizing and planning protests in Washington, D.C. on the day of President Trump’s inauguration.

      In the brief, DOJ substantially reduces the amount of information it is seeking. It also specifically excludes some information from its demand, including some of the most obvious examples of overreach.

    • It’s Time to Strengthen California’s Public Records Law

      In 2015, the Center for Public Integrity undertook a major investigation aimed at grading all 50 states to ascertain their transparency and accountability. When it came to California, the state received an abysmal ‘F’ rating in the category focusing on public access to information. That is unacceptable.

      Transparency advocates for years have complained about the enforcement measures in the California Public Records Act (CPRA). There is no appeal process when an agency rejects or ignores a records request. The burden is on the requester to go to court to fight for the documents. While the agency may have to pick up the requester’s legal bills, there is no penalty for agencies that willfully, knowingly, and without any good reason violate the law.

      The union’s most populous state and the sixth largest economy in the world should be setting an example rather than lagging behind the many states—such as North Dakota and New Mexico—that penalize agencies that improperly handle or reject request for public records.

    • Mozilla causes stir with opt-out data collection plans

      Mozilla has announced that it would like to collect anonymous user data in order to “better understand how people use” Firefox. The proposed move is quite contentious for many users because Mozilla is making it opt-out; many users feel betrayed by the move given that Mozilla touts Firefox as a privacy-oriented browser.

    • Silicon Valley siphons our data like oil. But the deepest drilling has just begun

      Recent reports suggest that three of the country’s largest supermarket chains are rolling out surge pricing in select stores. This means that prices will rise and fall over the course of the day in response to demand. Buying lunch at lunchtime will be like ordering an Uber at rush hour.

    • Sonos Users Forced To Choose Between Privacy And Working Hardware
    • Sonos to insist that users bend to its new privacy rules

      “If a customer chooses not to acknowledge the privacy statement, the customer will not be able to update the software on their Sonos system, and over time the functionality of the product will decrease.”

    • Hardware maker: Give up your privacy and let us record what you say in your home, or we’ll destroy your property

      Sonos is particularly sneaky about the part where they record sound. They say in their blog post that they “don’t keep the recordings” of sound recorded in your home, with the new Voice Assistant. However, they point out that they share their collected data with a large number of parties, the services of which you have “requested or authorized” — where people tend to read “requested”, but where “authorized” is the large part. Further, they point out that they share recorded sound with Amazon under all circumstances, and Amazon is already known to keep recordings for later use by authorities or others, so the point is kind of moot. “We don’t keep the recordings, we let others do it for us” would be a more straightforward wording.

    • Big push to go cashless, but hurdles remain
    • Facebook confirms it will add subscriptions to Instant Articles

      CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that the company will begin testing subscriptions inside Instant Articles, the company’s fast-loading news format, later this fall.

    • Mark Zuckerberg confirms Facebook will add subscriptions for publishers, not take a cut

      Here’s how it works: Publishers using Instant Articles, Facebook’s fast-loading article pages, will be able to have a paywall (certain number of articles per month) or have locked articles (freemium model). For either case, Facebook users will be prompted to subscribe to read more. All payments will be processed directly via publishers’ websites, and Facebook will not take a cut—at least not now.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • James Damore Case Could Spawn More Legal Headaches for Google

      Damore says he felt more persecuted as managers responded to his memo and, he says, misrepresented his arguments. He accused one manager of “providing a platform to crucify me.” Such exchanges helped prompt him to file the unfair-labor-practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board on Aug. 2. Damore says that Google was aware of the NLRB charge when he was fired five days later.

    • Supermarket Removes All Foreign Food From Shelves To Make A Point About Racism, And Here’s The Result

      When customers walked into Edeka supermarket in Hamburg recently, they were surprised to find that the shelves were almost empty, and the small handful of products that remained were all made in Germany. It seemed like the supermarket had simply forgotten to restock their produce until customers saw the mysterious signs left around the shop. “So empty is a shelf without foreigners,” read one sign at the cheese counter. “This shelf is quite boring without variety,” read another.
      It turns out that Edeka, in a rather controversial move, had opted to solely sell German food for a day in order to make a powerful statement about racism and ethnic diversity. As a result, there were no Greek olives, no Spanish tomatoes, and very little of anything else that can normally be found in a typical modern household. “Edeka stands for diversity, and we produce a wide range of food in our assortment, which is produced in the different regions of Germany,” said an Edeka spokesman. “But it is together with products from other countries that we create the unique diversity that our customers value.”

    • Deputy Who Rear-Ended Driver At 104 MPH Had Horrendous Service Record, Received Almost Zero Discipline

      Normally, I wouldn’t grab an isolated story about police misconduct and present it here. The misconduct is indeed serious — an officer involved in high-speed crash that left another man critically injured — but one cop doing something dumb is barely even newsworthy these days.

      But the more you read about this law enforcement officer, the worse it gets. And it starts with Deputy Brandon Hegele nailing a smart car driven by a sixty-year-old man while Hegele was travelling 100+ MPH towards a suspect he’d already been told repeatedly not to pursue.

    • EU nationals deportation letters an ‘unfortunate error’, says May

      Theresa May admitted the Home Office made an “unfortunate error” when it mistakenly sent up to 100 letters to EU nationals living in the UK ordering them to leave the country or face deportation.

      The prime minister was forced into the statement after it emerged that a Finnish academic working in London had highlighted the warning letter she had received, which told her to leave the UK or risk being detained.

      Although Eva Johanna Holmberg has lived in the UK with her British husband for most of the last decade, the correspondence from the Home Office said that if she did not leave the country of her own accord the department would give “directions for [her] removal”. It added that she was “a person liable to be detained under the Immigration Act”.

      Holmberg, a visiting academic fellow from the University of Helsinki at Queen Mary University of London, was told that she had a month to leave, a demand that left her baffled. “It seems so surreal and absurd that I should be deported on the grounds that I’m not legal. I’ve been coming and going to this country for as long as I remember,” she said. “I don’t know what kind of image they have of me but it’s clearly quite sinister based on the small amount of info they actually have on me.”


      The government has repeatedly told the 3.5 million EU nationals living in the UK they did not need to apply for residency after Brexit because their status was not at risk. Despite this, there have been several occasions where people have been told wrongly they should leave the country after trying to apply for permanent residency but this is the first time the Home Office has issued a letter telling people to leave.

      After the mistake came to light, the Home Office called Holmberg to “apologise profusely”, she said. But the person who telephoned her would not confirm that the government would cover her legal costs of about £3,800. “The best way to apologise and ease my distress would be to cover my expenses,” she said. The Home Office would not say whether it intended to cover the costs of those who received the letters.

    • UN racism committee issues ‘warning’ over US tensions

      A UN committee tasked with combatting racism has issued a formal “early warning” over conditions in the United States, a rare move often used to signal the potential of a looming civil conflict.

      The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said it had invoked its “early warning and urgent action procedure” because of the proliferation of racist demonstrations in the US.

      It specifically noted the unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which a woman was killed after an avowed white supremacist ploughed his car into a group of anti-racism counterprotestors.

    • Artificial Intelligence at Any Cost Is a Recipe for Tyranny

      The more powerful technology becomes, the more governments and corporations may use it to endanger our rights.

      This post was adapted from a presentation at an AI Now symposium held on July 10 at the MIT Media Lab. AI Now is a new initiative working, in partnership with the ACLU, to explore the social and economic implications of artificial intelligence.

      It seems to me that this is an auspicious moment for a conversation about rights and liberties in an automated world, for at least two reasons.

    • Pro-Russian Bots Take Up the Right-Wing Cause After Charlottesville

      Angee Dixson joined Twitter on Aug. 8 and immediately began posting furiously — about 90 times a day. A self-described American Christian conservative, Dixson defended President Donald Trump’s response to the unrest in Charlottesville, criticized the removal of Confederate monuments and posted pictures purporting to show violence by left-wing counterprotesters.

      “Dems and Media Continue to IGNORE BLM and Antifa Violence in Charlottesville,” she wrote above a picture of masked demonstrators labeled “DEMOCRAT TERROR.”

    • New Scottish Tory MP slammed for anti-Gypsy attack

      New Moray MP Douglas Ross has been slammed by Amnesty International and Traveller groups after saying that his top-priority is “tougher enforcement against Gypsies”.

    • New Bill Would Force Arrested Protesters to Pay Police Overtime, Other Fees

      A new bill introduced by seven Pennsylvania Republican state lawmakers could force protesters arrested at demonstrations to pay for police overtime and other fees related to the action.

      The bill, SB 754, has been introduced by Rep. Scott Martin of Lancaster County; his district has been the site of anti-pipeline protests aimed at the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline.

      Under the terms of the bill, “a person is responsible for public safety response costs incurred by a State agency or political subdivision as a result of the State agency’s or political subdivision’s response to a demonstration if, in connection with the demonstration, the person is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor offense.”

    • Mar-a-Lago is paying for Trump’s Charlottesville comments

      At least 18 charities have cancelled their plans to hold events at Donald Trump’s private club Mar-a-Lago following his incendiary comments on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

      Not all of the charities — which include the Red Cross, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and the Salvation Army — publicly cited politics, or even any reason at all, for their abrupt departure. Many had been holding events at the Palm Beach, Florida club for years — some of the club’s biggest money makers.

      The loss of one of the latest charities to cancel, the Bethesda Hospital Foundation, will likely hit Mar-a-Lago hard: In 2015, the charity spent about $95,000 in total on the event, dwarfing most of the other charities that spent anywhere between $25,000 and $40,000. On Monday, a local chapter of United Way also canceled a reception scheduled for the Trump National Golf Club in Teaneck, New Jersey, citing the events in Charlottesville.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Remembering That Xbox Wanted Always Online DRM For Its Console In The Wake Of Major Xbox Live Outtage

      Nearly half a decade into the current generation of gaming consoles, you will be forgiven if you don’t recall some of the consternation surrounding Microsoft’s initial plan to make the Xbox One have an “always online” requirement to play the games customers purchased. Microsoft initially floated this concept ahead of the console’s release, perhaps testing the public waters for the requirement. If that was indeed the plan, the instinct to take the public’s temperature on it was a good one, as the backlash was both swift and severe, particularly in light on Sony taking every opportunity to remind consumers that the Playstation 4 would have no such requirement. Predictably, at least to this author, Microsoft caved and removed this “feature”, even as company employees who should have known better made insulting comments about how always online was the way of not just the future, but the present, and everyone should essentially shut up and get used to it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • General Mills loses bid to trademark yellow color on Cheerios box

        The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board on Tuesday set aside the cereal maker’s two-year quest to trademark “the color yellow appearing as the predominant uniform background color” on boxes of “oat-based breakfast cereal.” A contrary ruling could have given the Cheerios maker an exclusive right to yellow boxes of oat cereal.

      • Chateau Marmont, Hotel For Celebrity Humans, Sends Trademark C&D To Cateau Marmont, Hotel For Cats

        While spending a great deal of time writing about dumb trademark disputes can be both monumentally frustrating and fill your mind with despair, I will be the first to admit that it also is a great avenue for entertainment and laughter. This story is about a situation firmly in the latter categories. The Chateau Marmont is a famous hotel in Los Angeles with a reputation for catering to celebrities both in its lodgings and at the restaurant. Roman Polanski took up residence there, while Hunter S. Thompson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Tim Burton all produced some of their works from within its walls. John Belushi overdosed while residing there in 1982. It’s kind of a thing for human celebrities, in other words.

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Troll Insists Septuagenarian Is An Enormous Copyright Infringer, Then Runs Away After Backlash

        Except that this only brings up more questions. We can start with the obvious one: why did Culpepper agree to dismiss Harding? What makes his case different than all of the others? It cannot simply be his age. The Elderly are capable of infringing copyright, after all, and if all of the evidence against Harding equates to the evidence against younger targets of these letters, his age alone shouldn’t be the difference maker. Except that of course it is. What this dismissal does is highlight the laughable idea that the authors of these settlement offers have any real evidence against the recipients at all. If they did, this evidence could not be defeated by someone simply shouting, “But I’m just so old!”

        And yet the threat letters go out, embarrassing miscalculations and mistargets and all. It’s probably long past due that we had some legal clarity on the legal value of IP addresses as evidence of infringement.

      • Graham v Prince set to test the limits of fair use

        A case that is heating up in a New York district court could have broad implications for copyright in the context of social media and the internet, and could ultimately end up at the Supreme Court

      • Will TPP-11 Nations Escape the Copyright Trap?

        Latest reports confirm that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is being revived. The agreement had been shelved following the withdrawal of the U.S. from the negotiation process. Over the past year, countries eager to keep the pact alive have continued dialogue and rallied support of less enthusiastic members to move forward with the agreement without the U.S. A revised framework is expected to be proposed for approval at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) TPP-11 Ministerial Meeting in November.

        We had previously reported the remaining eleven nations (TPP-11) had launched a process to assess options and consensus on how the agreement should be brought into force. A recent statement by New Zealand’s Prime Minister suggests that countries favor an approach that seeks to replicate TPP provisions with minimal number of changes. The revival of the trade bloc comes at a critical juncture. Two trade agreements—the U.S. led North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and China led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are racing to establish rules to control data flows and the digital economy. The TPP without the U.S offers an alternative to the China-centric and U.S led treaties under negotiation.

      • The Dilemma Of Fair Use And Expressive Machine Learning: An Interview With Ben Sobel

        Intellectual Property Watch recently conducted an interview with Ben Sobel, law and technology researcher, teacher, and fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Sobel has focused his research on copyright and the fair use doctrine, in particular in the context of artificial intelligence (AI). Below, he shares his views on expressive machine learning, “the fair use dilemma” and “Big Content versus Little Users”. Of note: the most pressing copyright question has to do with AI readers, not AI authors, according to Sobel.

      • Is the copyright industry above the law and exempt from respecting human rights? Some companies seem to think so

        The whole sorry tale exposes how easy it is for deep-pocketed companies to abuse the legal system in an attempt to crush weaker opponents. Even when judges subsequently strike down those abuses, the damage already caused is not easily reversed. Above all, it shows once again how some members of the copyright industry seem to regard themselves as above the law and exempt from respecting the basic human rights of the people they bully.

      • Why universities can’t be expected to police copyright infringement

        The other problem, less discussed, is the danger that universities could be enlisted as copyright surveillance and enforcement watchdogs.

      • Police Intellectual Property {sic} Crime Unit Secures Funding Until 2019

        The London-based operation, which has been instrumental in disrupting the activities of dozens of sites and people operating generally in the ‘pirate’ sector, has been given £3.32m to spend over the next two years.


        Formed four years ago and run by the City of London Police, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) [...]

      • Pirate Bay Founders Ordered to Pay Music Labels $477,000

        Two founders of The Pirate Bay have been ordered by a court in Finland to pay record labels more than $477,000 in compensation. Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm were found liable for ongoing copyright breaches on the site. Neither appeared to mount a defense so both were found guilty in their absence.

      • BREIN Goes After Developers of ‘Pirate’ Kodi Builds

        Pursuing sellers and developers of pirate Kodi add-ons has become a prime focus in recent months after the European Court of Justice handed down a landmark ruling.

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