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09.14.17

Links 14/9/2017: Plasma 5.11 Beta, Q4OS 1.8.8, Orion

Posted in News Roundup at 5:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Uber and Lyft Bring Open-Source Cloud Projects to CNCF

    In the market for ride sharing services, Uber and Lyft are fierce competitors, the world of open-source however is another story. At the Open Source Summit here on Sept. 13, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) announced that it had accepted two new projects, Envoy from Lyft and Jaeger from Uber.

  • ​Lyft and Uber travel the same open-source road

    Coke and Pepsi, Gimbels and Macy’s, Apple and Microsoft — these were all great business rivals. Today, we have Lyft and Uber fighting tooth and nail over the new ride-sharing market. While they may be bitter rivals on the highways, the pair can agree on one thing: Open source is the best way to develop software.

    At The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summit in Los Angeles, both companies appeared — but not at the same time — to announce they were launching two new cloud-native, open-source software projects with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

  • Ride-hailing firms Lyft and Uber open-source microservices technology

    Ride-hailing companies Lyft Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. are embracing the open-source software movement.

    The two megastartups have both donated technologies developed in-house to the Cloud Native Computing Federation, which is best known for hosting the Kubernetes container orchestrator project.

  • 6 Best Free And Open Source Reddit Alternatives You Must Visit

    Just recently, Reddit announced its plans to stop sharing its main website’s open source code base. The website gave a number of reasons, which weren’t welcomed by the open source community. So, we’ve decided to prepare a list of some free and open source Reddit alternatives that you can give a try. Some of these aren’t much popular, but we thought it’s a good time to spread the world and tell you about these options.

  • New network demands push adoption of open-source networking solutions

    Networking makes the modern connected world possible. Yet as networking has become more important, new technologies must rise to shoulder the burden. Businesses at all levels are discovering that open-source networking can provide the solutions they need.

    “I can confidently say that open-source networking, not just networking but open-source networking, is now mainstream,” said Arpit Joshipura (pictured), general manager of networking and orchestration at The Linux Foundation.

  • Richard Morrell: a brief history (of life) in open source

    I worked with Red Hat until the end of last year and am now at Falanx in the UK – a firm building possibly the fastest and most intelligent security platform to ever emerge from the open source community.

  • Wipro Joins Hyperledger to Catalyze Collaboration on Enterprise-Grade Blockchain Solutions
  • Wipro partners with open source blockchain project Hyperledger

    Wipro Limited said today that it will partner with an open source project Hyperledger to design and develop open source-based blockchain solutions for enterprise-grade blockchain deployments.

    Hyperledger is a global open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies across sectors such as finance, banking, Internet of Things, supply chain, manufacturing and technology.

    “We are excited to welcome Wipro to the Hyperledger community. Wipro brings industry-acknowledged blockchain advisory and consulting capabilities, coupled with industry solutions for specific use cases and a strong partner ecosystem to help client businesses innovate on blockchain. We look forward to Wipro’s active contribution in the Hyperledger community to share insights on blockchain use cases, technology frameworks, tools and standards, and thought leadership,” said Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director, Hyperledger in a statement.

  • Wipro joins Hyperledger
  • IT Consultancy Wipro Joins Hyperledger Blockchain Consortium
  • Wipro Joins Automotive Grade Linux to Accelerate Open Source Adoption
  • Wipro joins hands with Linux for open source projects
  • Wipro joins The Linux Foundation, Strengthening Collaboration and Commitment to Open Source Technologies
  • Comcast cuts truck rolls with open source AI software

    Comcast claims to have saved tens of millions of dollars through avoiding the need for truck rolls, by using a machine learning program that can predict with 90% accuracy whether or not it will need to send a technician to a customer’s home to fix connectivity problems. Every operator would love to reduce truck rolls. Estimates of the average costs vary, but tend to be somewhere between $50 and $100 per truck roll. Even if a company is using the most efficient vehicles possible, those costs are increasing as fuel and labour costs rise. Every operator is well aware that they end up sending people out on the road more often than is really needed, because many problems could be…

  • Need Free Software? Open-Source Options for Small Businesses

    Nearly all of today’s software packages run on a monthly subscription model. It doesn’t sound like much upfront, but if you spend $10 a month here and another $20 there, all of a sudden you’re forking over a bunch of money each month for programs you’re no longer sure that you even need.

    If you’re a solopreneur or a small business, you don’t want the costs of effective software to eat too much into the bottom line. At the same time, you definitely need the right tools to get the job done.

    This is where free, open-source software can come to the rescue. Not every icon may have the same type of excessive attention to detail and polish as paid software, but when it comes to getting the job done, these free tools can be just as effective. Here are a few of our favorite options.

  • Cloudera Joins Open Source Eclipse IoT Community

    Cloudera, Inc. (NYSE: CLDR), the modern platform for machine learning and analytics, optimized for the cloud, announced it has joined the Eclipse Foundation as a Solutions member and will participate in the Eclipse IoT Working Group. In this capacity, Cloudera collaborates with industry leaders such as Bosch, Eurotech, Red Hat and Samsung Electronics to support the development of Eclipse IoT Open Testbeds. This new initiative showcases how open source software, open standards, and commercial solutions can be used to create real-world, industry-specific IoT (Internet of Things) solutions.

  • Events

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Java EE Finds Open Source Home

      Oracle announced this week it would turn over Java Enterprise Edition to the Eclipse Foundation, a nonprofit corporation formed in 2004 and an outgrowth of a software project originally created by IBM in 2001. The company said its decision resulted from consultations with IBM and Red Hat, the other key contributors to the Java EE platform.

    • Get out your specs: Java EE’s headed to the Eclipse Foundation

      Oracle has named the Eclipse Foundation as the new host for Java Enterprise Edition, but said the platform won’t get to keep its name.

      The decision to make Java EE – which is already developed in open source – fully open was announced last month, with Oracle’s David Delabassee saying it was in a bid to make it “more agile and responsive”.

    • Oracle Punts Java EE To The Eclipse Foundation

      Since last month’s announcement by Oracle that they were essentially looking to offload Java EE to a new foundation, that new steward has now been named.

    • Red Hat Gives Thumbs Up to Java EE’s Move to Eclipse

      So Java Enterprise Edition has a new home.

      Yesterday Oracle announced it’s turning control of the platform over to the nonprofit Eclipse Foundation. On the surface, this makes a lot of sense, as the foundation’s namesake project is the most widely used Java IDE. The announcement came just a month after Oracle said it was considering moving control of the platform to an open source foundation.

      All of the details have yet to be ironed-out, but in a blog Oracle’s David Delabassee said that Oracle-led Java EE and related GlassFish technologies, including RIs, TCKs, and associated project documentation, will be re-licensed to the foundation, presumably under the Eclipse Public License. In addition, the project will be rebranded with a not yet determined new name.

    • Java EE to Eclipse: A Welcome Move

      In a blog post on the venerable Aquarium blog (started by the Glassfish team at Sun a decade or so ago) Oracle has announced that it has selected the Eclipse Foundation as the new home for Java EE. They will relicense and rename it and invent a new standards process. It looks like the MicroProfile rebellion was successful as this has all been negotiated with Red Hat and IBM as well.

      I don’t see this move as “dumping” Java EE. Moving a project to an open source Foundation is complex and expensive and Oracle should be congratulated on finally committing to this move. Java EE has already been uploaded to GitHub, but that’s not sufficient as the default Github Governance is isolation mediated via pull requests.

      Eclipse is an extremely good choice of host. It has evolved excellent governance that recognises both the primacy of technical contribution and the inevitability of corporate politics and keeps both in balance. It’s ideally suited to the complexities and politics of Java EE, having hosted multiple large projects and survived de-investment by its founder IBM. Under the smart and firm leadership of Mike Milinkovich, Eclipse is the perfect home for Java EE (or whatever Oracle will want us to call it).

    • Oracle opens up enterprise Java and moves it to the Eclipse Foundation
    • Java EE Is Moving to the Eclipse Foundation
    • Tech’s old guard continues to embrace Kubernetes, as Oracle joins the Cloud Native Computing Foundation

      Oracle has always been a little more pragmatic about the role of open-source software in the tech industry than a company like Microsoft, which fought the very concept tooth and nail for years. Still, now that both companies have joined the foundation at the heart of one of the most important open-source projects in enterprise tech at the moment, it’s another sign the center of gravity has shifted.

    • ​Oracle joins the Kubernetes movement

      Oracle joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and released Kubernetes on Oracle Linux and its own Kubernetes cloud installer.

    • Oracle joins Cloud Native Computing Foundation, adds new container services

      As the excitement around software containers reaches fever pitch, database software giant Oracle Corp. is throwing its weight behind the cause.

      The company said Wednesday it’s signing up as a platinum member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, the organization leading the development of the Kubernetes container orchestrator tool. In addition, the company has just made Kubernetes available on its Oracle Linux platform, and will also open-source a Terraform Kubernetes Installer for its cloud infrastructure.

    • Oracle Joins Cloud Native Computing Foundation as Platinum Member
    • Oracle Joins CNCF, and Releases Kubernetes on Oracle Linux and Terraform Kubernetes Cloud Installer

      At the Open Source Summit, held in Los Angeles, USA, it was announced that Oracle have joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as a Platinum member. Oracle have also released two technologies for installing Kubernetes on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure: “Kubernetes on Oracle Linux”, an integration of Kubernetes into the Oracle Container Service; and an open source HashiCorp Terraform Kubernetes Installer for the Oracle Bare Metal Cloud. This news follows from the July release of three open source container tools by Oracle, which included a Rust-based alternative container runtime that implements the OCI-runtime specification

    • Oracle Joins the Cloud Native Computing Foundation
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Government lab that gives a crap pushes open source

      The US government wants you to use its software, and if you’re into manure, so much the better.

      The Idaho National Laboratory (INL), part of the US Department of Energy, last week released a new round of open-source projects in the hope that the public will take its research and run with it.

      Known for its MOOSE physics modeling software and a companion project for continuous integration and testing called CIVET, INL last year brought Paul Berg over from Amazon to serve as the lab’s senior R&D software licensing manager. His remit is to oversee the handling of open-source projects.

      When Berg spoke to The Register earlier this year, he said the lab was preparing to make a number of its projects available to the public. And now the floodgates have opened.

    • Software Paid For With Public Money Should Be Open Source, Groups Say

      Publicly financed software should be open source, more than 30 signatories of an open letter are proclaiming, calling for others to sign the letter.

      According to a press release from the European Digital Rights initiative (EDRi), the 31 organisations and 469 people who signed the open letter want legislation requiring that publicly financed software developed for the public sector be made publicly available under a free and open source software licence.

      “If it is public money, it should be public code as well,” it says.

      “We need software that guarantees freedom of choice, access, and competition. We need software that helps public administrations regain full control of their critical digital infrastructure, allowing them to become and remain independent from a handful of companies,” the release says.

    • Public Money? Public Code! 22 Organizations Seek to Improve Public Software Procurement

      Today, 22 organizations are publishing an open letter in which they call for lawmakers to advance legislation requiring publicly financed software developed for the public sector be made available under a Free and Open Source Software license. The initial signatories include CCC, EDRi, Free Software Foundation Europe, KDE, Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, Open Source Business Alliance, Open Source Initiative, The Document Foundation, Wikimedia Germany, as well as several others; they ask individuals and other organization to sign the open letter. The open letter will be sent to candidates for the German Parliament election and, during the coming months, until the 2019 EU parliament elections, to other representatives of the EU and EU member states.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Two Open Source Licensing Questions: The AGPL and Facebook
    • How Open Source and Proprietary IP Can Co-Exist [Ed: law firms pushing software patents, not just copyright]

      Open source software imparts a number of benefits, including decreasing product development time, distributing development across a community and attracting developers to your organization. However, some organizations shy away from it due to perceived risks and disadvantages around intellectual property.

      [...]

      That’s a situation in which we might open source an implementation and file for a patent at the same time. In scoping the patent and the license terms, the open source community gets access to the software but the patent retains value.

  • Programming/Development

    • Why open source developers are burning out: No respect

      As it turns out, maintaining good open source code is difficult. Just ask James Coglan, who disgorged a litany of reasons why releasing code can take forever. Oh, and without much hope of empathy in return. Or ask Isaac Schlueter, CEO of npm, who agonized over the burden of maintaining code for entitled downstream users who “don’t love me.”

      As people, we want to be recognized for the good work we do. Open source, however, often tends to maximize negative feedback loops, contributing to developer burnout, as Schlueter highlighted.

    • Why hackathons should insist on free software

      Hackathons are an accepted method of giving community support to digital development projects. The community invites developers to join an event which offers an encouraging atmosphere, some useful resources, and the opportunity to work on useful projects. Most hackathons choose the projects they will support, based on stated criteria.

      Hackathons fit the spirit of a community in which people take an attitude of cooperation and respect towards each other. The software that accords with this spirit is free (libre) software, free as in freedom. Free software carries a license that gives its users (including programmers) freedom to cooperate. Thus, hackathons make sense within the free software community. Hardware design projects also can and ought to be free.

    • dbKoda 0.7.0 new features

      0.7.0 is the second public release of dbKoda and our first post-MVP release. With the MVP (Minimal Viable Product) we definitely nailed the “M” criteria, and in this release we’ve pushing harder on the “V” side of the equation.

    • Southbank Software Introduces dbKoda, an Open Source Database Development Tool for MongoDB

      Southbank Software recently released its initial offering of dbKoda version 0.6.0, an open source MongoDB development tool packaged with JavaScript, React and Electron. As shown below, dbKoda’s graghical user interface features a connection manager and a feature-rich code editor for working with MongoDB databases.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Parkinson’s Researcher Notches 17 Retracted Papers

      Scientific misconduct motivated Yoshihiro Sato’s three additional retractions last month; his institution doesn’t respond.

    • Boffins fear we might be running out of ideas

      Innovation, fetishized by Silicon Valley companies and celebrated by business boosters, no longer provides the economic jolt it once did.

      In order to maintain Moore’s Law – by which transistor density doubles every two years or so – it now takes 18 times as many scientists as it did in the 1970s.

      That means each researcher’s output today is 18 times less effective in terms of generating economic value than it was several decades ago.

      On an annual basis, research productivity is declining at a rate of about 6.8 per cent per year in the semiconductor industry. In other words, we’re running out of ideas. That’s the conclusion of economic researchers from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    • Stone stackers at ancient sites could face jail, warns Historic England

      “This practice is not only vandalism; it is illegal, and carries with it a possible prison sentence. If anyone sees anyone attempting to move stones please warn them of this and message us. Or try and get their registration number and message it to us.”

  • Hardware

    • AGESA 1.0.0.6b Might Fix The Ryzen Linux Performance Marginality Problem

      Motherboard vendors have begun pushing out BIOS updates for Ryzen motherboards using the AMD AGESA 1.0.0.6b revision and it’s reported that it does resolve the “Performance Marginality Problem” affecting early Ryzen Linux customers.

      While newer Ryzen CPUs are running great on Linux without the performance marginality problem as described by AMD, since yesterday I have begun receiving unconfirmed reports from Phoronix readers that the recent AGESA 1.0.0.6b revision does address the issue via this software update.

    • The iPhone Is Guaranteed to Last Only One Year, Apple Argues in Court

      Apple says it makes the “most durable devices,” but an iPhone 6 design flaw and the ensuing court proceeding shows you can legally expect it to last for just one year.

    • Apple Discussing $3 Billion Stake in Bain’s Toshiba Bid

      The iPhone maker is in talks to provide about $3 billion in capital for Bain Capital’s bid for the unit, adding to financial support from Dell Inc., Seagate Technology Plc and SK Hynix Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. That support convinced Toshiba to sign a memorandum of understanding with Bain and work toward a final agreement this month, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Apple plans to take an equity stake alongside Bain, they said. If the agreement is completed, it may exceed Apple’s largest deal ever, the $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics LLC.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Behold The Fatberg: London’s 130-Ton, ‘Rock-Solid’ Sewer Blockage

      There are subjects one should avoid while eating. This is one of them.

      Crews in London are working to unblock a section of the city’s sewer system. The culprit, a stomach-churning, 130-ton mass of sanitary products and cooking fat. You might call it disgusting. Water company officials call it a fatberg.

      In a weekend statement, Thames Water announced the fatberg’s existence. According to the private utility company, the”rock-solid” blockage had formed under the city’s Whitechapel neighborhood. Weighing roughly the same as 11 double-decker buses, the fatberg is one of the largest to form in the London sewer system.

    • HOW CONGRESS IGNORED SCIENCE AND FUELED ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE

      THE GRAY CLAPBOARD house on the two-lane road in a western suburb of Boston looked, in the fall of 1974, the way you would expect a comfortable old Massachusetts house full of children to look. It was rambling and tall, made out of a house and a barn butted together. There were other barns out back, down a long gravel drive that stretched to a grove of trees: small sheds and one big building, 200 feet on the long side, painted an iconic barnyard red. There was a milk cow, a few horses, a couple of pigs, and chickens: white laying hens, some in a chalet-shaped coop and some skittering underfoot between the trees.

  • Security

    • Kaspersky Banned: Federal Agencies Ditch Russian Cybersecurity Firm Over Spying Concerns

      Acting Department of Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke announced the ban of Kaspersky Lab software from federal government networks. The agencies have an unspecified timeline to rid their machines of the software, which DHS declared may pose a security risk.

    • US homeland security dept bans Kaspersky use by govt

      The US Department of Homeland Security has ordered all government agencies to stop using products from Kaspersky Labs, with a deadline of 90 days to implement plans to discontinue the use and to remove software from information systems.

    • U.S. moves to ban Kaspersky software in federal agencies amid concerns of Russian espionage

      In a binding directive, acting homeland security secretary Elaine Duke ordered that federal civilian agencies identify Kaspersky Lab software on their networks. After 90 days, unless otherwise directed, they must remove the software, on the grounds that the company has connections to the Russian government and its software poses a security risk.

    • Ayuda! (Help!) Equifax Has My Data!

      Equifax last week disclosed a historic breach involving Social Security numbers and other sensitive data on as many as 143 million Americans. The company said the breach also impacted an undisclosed number of people in Canada and the United Kingdom. But the official list of victim countries may not yet be complete: According to information obtained by KrebsOnSecurity, Equifax can safely add Argentina — if not also other Latin American nations where it does business — to the list as well.

      [...]

      It took almost no time for them to discover that an online portal designed to let Equifax employees in Argentina manage credit report disputes from consumers in that country was wide open, protected by perhaps the most easy-to-guess password combination ever: “admin/admin.”

    • Equifax hack: 44 million Britons’ personal details feared stolen in major US data breach
    • On the Equifax Data Breach

      Last Thursday, Equifax reported a data breach that affects 143 million US customers, about 44% of the population. It’s an extremely serious breach; hackers got access to full names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers — exactly the sort of information criminals can use to impersonate victims to banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, and other businesses vulnerable to fraud.

      Many sites posted guides to protecting yourself now that it’s happened. But if you want to prevent this kind of thing from happening again, your only solution is government regulation (as unlikely as that may be at the moment).

      The market can’t fix this. Markets work because buyers choose between sellers, and sellers compete for buyers. In case you didn’t notice, you’re not Equifax’s customer. You’re its product.

    • Open Source Summit: Securing IoT is About Avoiding Anti-Patterns

      The security perils inherent in Internet of Things (IoT) devices are painfully obvious at this point in 2017, but why are there so many security issues? At a session during the Open Source Summit here Marti Bolivar, senior software engineer at Linaro detailed what he described as “anti-patterns” that ultimately lead to negative security outcomes.

      Bolivar started his session by defining what security in IoT is really all about, by pulling a quote from security engineer Ross Anderson.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Reagan Documents Shed Light on U.S. ‘Meddling’

      “Secret” documents from the Reagan administration show how the U.S. embedded “political action,” i.e., the manipulation of foreign governments, in ostensibly well-meaning organizations, reports Robert Parry.

    • Mystery of sonic weapon attacks at US embassy in Cuba deepens

      Soon came the hearing loss, and the speech problems, symptoms both similar and altogether different from others among at least 21 US victims in an astonishing international mystery still unfolding in Cuba. The top US diplomat has called them “health attacks”.

      New details learned by the Associated Press indicate at least some of the incidents were confined to specific rooms or even parts of rooms with laser-like specificity, baffling US officials who say the facts and the physics don’t add up.

      “None of this has a reasonable explanation,” said Fulton Armstrong, a former CIA official who served in Havana long before America re-opened an embassy there. “It’s just mystery after mystery after mystery.”

    • Rand Paul’s Amendment to Force a Vote on Endless War Gets Kicked Down the Road

      The Senate voted Wednesday by nearly two-to-one against an amendment from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to the defense authorization bill. The amendment would have ended the current Authorization for Use of Military Force within six months and forced Congress to vote on authorizing wars beyond that.

      The authorization, which was passed in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, is the legal justification for many U.S. military engagements abroad, as part of what has been called the “global war on terror.” The expansively interpreted law authorized military attacks against those responsible for 9/11 and “associated forces.”

      The failed vote came after Paul took to the floor on Monday, vowing to block other Senate actions until his amendment was allowed.

    • ACTION ALERT: NewsHour Treats Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar as Matter of Opinion

      UN Secretary General António Guterres called Myanmar’s persecution of the Rohingya people “ethnic cleansing,” saying there’s no better word to describe the now 380,000 people forced to flee a violent military campaign—this after decades of discrimination and repression in Myanmar, where Rohingya are denied citizenship and rights, despite having been in the country for centuries. Rohingya militants killed 12 security personnel at a police post in late August; the government’s response has been a brutal scorched earth campaign, burning villages and attacking civilians, while denying human rights organizations access to the region.

    • America’s Fragile Future

      Fourteen years ago, when America prepared for its ill-conceived invasion of Iraq and encountered loud resistance from France and Germany, backed up by Russia, it became possible to wonder whether U.S. global hegemony could last. The disaster that the Iraqi adventure quickly became within a year of George W. Bush declaring “mission accomplished” rolled on and progressively diminished the enthusiasm of allies and others hitherto on the U.S. bandwagon for each new project to re-engineer troublesome nations, to overthrow autocrats and usher in an age of “liberal democracy” across the globe.

      Still, the doubts were discussed sotto voce. Governments tended to conform to what the Russians colorfully call “giving someone the finger in your pocket.” Observers spoke their piece privately against the violations of international law and simple decency that the United States was perpetrating — and against the swathe of chaos that followed American intervention across the Greater Middle East. But such persons were on the fringes of political life and drew little attention.

      What has happened over the past couple of years is that doubts about the competence of the United States to lead the world have been compounded by doubts about the ability of the United States to govern itself. The dysfunction of the federal government has come out of the closet as an issue and is talked about fairly regularly even by commentators and publications that are quintessentially representative of the Establishment.

      [...]

      Some of us have called this the new McCarthyism, because the most salient aspect of groupthink is the ongoing hysteria over alleged Russian “meddling” in U.S. domestic politics. The denunciations of “stooges of Putin” and the blacklisting from both mass and professional media of those known to deliver unconventional, heterodox views on Russia and other issues of international affairs is reminiscent of what went on during the witch hunt for Communists in government and in the media during the early 1950s.

      However, no one is being hounded from office today. There are no show trials, as yet, for treasonous collusion with Russia. So, it would be safer to speak of an atmosphere of intimidation that stifles free debate on the key security issues facing the American public. Absence of debate equates to a dumbing-down of our political elites as intellectual skills atrophy and results in poor formulation of policy. The whole necessarily undermines America’s soft power and standing in the world.

      Groupthink in America today did not come from nowhere. Debilitating conformism was always part of our DNA, as is the case in a great many countries, though its emergence has been episodic and in varying degrees of severity. The present acute manifestation in the United States goes back to the mass paranoia which followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks when the George W. Bush administration introduced the Patriot Act, gutting our civil rights in exchange for the promise of security.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Rethinking the ‘Infrastructure’ Discussion Amid a Blitz of Hurricanes

      The wonky words infrastructure and resilience have circulated widely of late, particularly since Hurricanes Harvey and Irma struck paralyzing, costly blows in two of America’s fastest-growing states.

      Resilience is a property traditionally defined as the ability to bounce back. A host of engineers and urban planners have long warned this trait is sorely lacking in America’s brittle infrastructure.

      Many such experts say the disasters in the sprawling suburban and petro-industrial landscape around Houston and along the crowded coasts of Florida reinforce the urgent idea that resilient infrastructure is needed more than ever, particularly as human-driven climate change helps drive extreme weather.

      The challenge in prompting change — broadening the classic definition of “infrastructure,” and investing in initiatives aimed at adapting to a turbulent planet — is heightened by partisan divisions over climate policy and development.

  • Finance

    • What’s next for the Brexit withdrawal bill

      On Monday night MPs voted, in principle, in favour of the greatest shift in power from legislature to executive in modern British constitutional history.

      The vote was for the “second reading” of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. A second reading vote in parliament is when there is a vote on the merits of a bill. Next will be a committee stage, when the measure is examined clause by clause and amendments are considered, and then a “third reading”. The same process is then followed in the House of Lords. So there is some time yet before the bill receives royal assent and becomes an act.

      [...]

      Even with these safeguards, however, the law-making powers are extraordinarily wide. In a way their purpose is to place Prime Minister Theresa May in effectively the position she would have been in had she won the expected large majority at the general election. The legislative work needed for Brexit will be insulated from the inconveniences of hard parliamentary scrutiny.

      That some legislation is required is beyond argument. There cannot be Brexit without substantial domestic legislative activity. And the government is right to place as much EU law into domestic law as possible, to provide continuity and certainty over the exit date. There is no serious objection to that, even though it ironically becomes the greatest single incorporation of EU law into domestic law. This is just one of the paradoxes of Brexit.

      But the problem with the discretions proposed for ministers to make, change and abolish law goes further than what is necessary. These so-called “Henry VIII clauses” (which is a little unfair on the old king, under whom parliament became significantly more important as part of the English polity) are assaults on parliamentary democracy. They can be justified, perhaps, when they are essential. But they are never good or welcome in themselves.

    • Brexit diary – the “process” phase is now firmly in place

      With the Withdrawal Bill passing the “second reading” vote (see my FT post here) and the Brexit negotiation talks now passed their third round, Brexit is now firmly in (what can be called) its “process” phase.

      Until the second reading vote, it was open to the UK government to start again with a Bill with less wide-ranging scope. But now the government is committed to this approach.

    • Catalonia refuses to send weekly accounts to Madrid before referendum

      Catalonia will stop sending weekly financial accounts to Madrid, defying a demand by Spain’s central government that the region prove it is not using public money to promote an independence drive.

      The decision follows a series of moves to block a Catalan referendum on self-rule, planned for Oct. 1, which Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government has declared illegal.

      In a letter dated Sept. 13, Catalan Deputy Governor Oriol Junqueras told Spanish Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro the region would no longer comply with the obligation to submit its accounts every week.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Exclusive: Rice told House investigators why she unmasked senior Trump officials

      The crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, arrived in New York last December in the transition period before Trump was sworn into office for a meeting with several top Trump officials, including Michael Flynn, the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his top strategist Steve Bannon, sources said.

    • In Month After Charlottesville, Papers Spent as Much Time Condemning Anti-Nazis as Nazis

      Since the Charlottesville attack a month ago, a review of commentary in the six top broadsheet newspapers—the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, LA Times, San Jose Mercury News and Washington Post—found virtually equal amounts of condemnation of fascists and anti-fascist protesters.

      Between August 12 and September 12, these papers ran 28 op-eds or editorials condemning the anti-fascist movement known as antifa, or calling on politicians to do so, and 27 condemning neo-Nazis and white supremacists, or calling on politicians—namely Donald Trump—to do so.

    • I Bought a Russian Bot Army for Under $100

      Do you really know if that pro-Trump meme or far-right tweet is from a real person, or just an unmanned string of code that was purchased for pennies?

      Although bots—automated accounts on social media—are certainly not a new phenomenon, they have a renewed political significance. Part of the Russian government’s well-documented interference in the 2016 U.S. election included pushing deliberately divisive messages through social platforms.

    • Daca: Trump ‘fairly close’ to deal with Democrats on Dreamers

      US President Donald Trump has said he is “fairly close” to a bipartisan deal to protect young undocumented migrants known as Dreamers.

      Mr Trump told journalists at the White House that any agreement must include “massive border security”.

      The president said funding for his planned border wall was not part of the pact.

      Mr Trump spoke a day after talks with top Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer at the White House.

    • Example #9475 Why It’s Stupid To Make A Deal With Trump

      Two Democratic Party leaders dined with Trump last night and came away proclaiming Trump had agreed on a plan to save the Dreamers combined with increasing border security. As usual, making a deal with a man with no conscience is just an illusion. Trump denied the deal. A few minutes ago, he wrote, “No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Sanders: ESPN host’s tweet a ‘fireable offense’
    • Martin Shkreli jailed after Facebook post about Hillary Clinton

      “This is a solicitation of assault. That is not protected by the First Amendment.”

    • Kashmiri Journalists and Activists Face Twitter Censorship at Indian Government’s Request

      Dozens of people who have tweeted about the conflict in Indian-administered Kashmir or shown sympathy for Kashmiri independence movements online may soon be censored on Twitter, at the request of the Indian government.

      The US-based social media company sent notices to users explaining that the Indian government had reported certain tweets and Twitter accounts for violating Section 69A of India’s Information Technology Act.

      Section 69A of India’s IT act allows the government to block online content and censor when it believes the ‘said’ content can threaten the security, sovereignty, integrity or defense of the country.

    • Munroe Bergdorf, Jemele Hill, And The Censorship Of Black Women

      In case you missed it, Bergdorf had everyone talking when she was announced as the first openly transgender woman to be the face of a L’Oréal UK campaign. Many praised the company for its progressive campaign, which is supposedly centered upon diversity, but when Daily Mail published a Facebook post of Bergdorf’s—in which she took a commendable stand against white supremacists following last month’s horrific events in Charlottesville—the cosmetic company dropped her from the campaign as quickly as they signed her on.

    • MEP files complaint over censorship of Greek cartoonists

      SYRIZA MEP Stelios Kouloglou has filed a complaint with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani claiming that several sketches by Greek cartoonists will not be allowed to go on display in an exhibition that is being organized by the Greek politician and French MEP Patrick Le Hyaric, celebrating 60 years of the European Union.

      According to Kouloglou, Greek cartoonists were censored, as 12 out of 28 their sketches were rejected because they allegedly violated European Union rules that prohibit Nazi-friendly or other offensive material appearing in EU exhibitions.

    • ‘Hate speech is code for censorship,’ Boston Free Speech organizers say as group plans second rally

      It’s been almost a month since the “Boston Free Speech” rally drew tens of thousands of people to Boston Common.

      Now, the free speech advocates who were met with roughly 40,000 counter-protestors are at it again.

      “We are not announcing a date. We want to make sure we have a number of our ducks in a row,” said John Medlar, the Fitchburg State student from Newton who has become a spokesman for Boston Free Speech.

    • China’s thought police are giving a master class in censorship

      China is gearing up for one of the most important meetings on its political calendar. Next month thousands of delegates from around the country will convene in Beijing for the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. The meeting will culminate in the announcement of the new members of the country’s most important decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee — including a possible candidate to replace party leader Xi Jinping in 2022. Already China-watchers are speculating about the possibility that no one will be named — a signal that Xi is prepared to break with precedent and move toward a third term in office

    • Independent Cinema Resists Censorship at Local Film Festival

      The seventh edition of Myanmar’s pioneering Wathann Film Festival showcasing independent cinema wrapped up on Monday.

      The festival jury presented five awards from nearly 30 competing films. The Best Documentary Award was most remarkable, however, as the winning film had not actually been shown at the festival.

      The 21-minute documentary “A Simple Love Story” directed by Hnin Pa Pa Soe tells a love story between a transgender woman and a transgender man, challenging norms surrounding gender identity and love.

    • CUP and the censorship of historical truth

      A recent debate between the publishing company Cambridge University Press (CUP) and the Chinese government over the censorship of academic journals has just come to an end. China generally attempts to maintain a strict censorship on what academic topics its students and citizens have access to, which is why CUP removed 300 articles about historical events that were sensitive to the Communist Party from the China Quarterly website, according to a Washington Post report. However, the publishing company restored the articles a few days later by request of the international academic community. This move by CUP is, in fact, an integral step in countering political censorship and informing the Chinese public.

    • Campus Censorship: Orwell Ignored

      When you hear the quite horrific stories of censorship and dangerous restrictions on expression at universities in the US, the UK and Europe, your first reaction might be to laugh at how infantile the nature of political discourse in the student world has become.

      Cardiff Metropolitan University banned the use of the word “man” and related phrases, to encourage the adoption of “gender neutral” language. It is the equivalent of the “newspeak” about which Orwell warned: “Ambiguous euphemistic language used chiefly in political propaganda”.

    • Large majority of writers fear censorship and ‘fake news’

      More than 80% of writers are concerned about censorship and ‘fake news’, according to the “alarming” findings of a study by PEN International.

      Authors Paul Auster, Svetlana Alexievitch, Madeleine Thien and Andrei Kurkov will debate these issues along with more than 200 PEN members from across the world for the campaigning organisation’s 83rd congress in Lviv, Ukraine.

      Of the 228 international writers surveyed by PEN International, more than 81% believe that ‘fake news’ and censorship have become increasing concerns over the course of the last year. Furthermore, around 87% believe that combating racism and xenophobia, born out of these factors, is central to their roles as writers.

    • India blocks Russian social network VK over Blue Whale ‘suicide game’ threat

      The decision follows a series of police warnings, daily media stories and even a Madras High Court ruling calling on foreign companies to comply with Indian law so as to make it easier for local agencies to root out the menace.

      Blue Whale first surfaced in 2013 in groups for suicidal teens on VKontakte. The game allegedly instructs participants to complete a series of tasks set by shadowy “curators.” It varies between the routine, such as listening to ‘dark’ songs or getting up in the middle of the night, to increasingly macabre and self-harming practices, allegedly culminating in the supervisor demanding the player to take their own life.

      An investigative article sparked widespread interest four years ago, and ever since, heated public debate has raged whether it is a genuine phenomenon responsible for as many as 130 suicides, or a borderline urban myth or meme spread by a hungry media, gullible teens, and parents afraid of their children’s internet habits.

    • Bombay high court refuses to stay pre-censorship of play scripts; final hearing on Dec 4
    • HC refuses to stay mandatory ‘pre-censorship’ rule for plays
    • HC to hear Amol Palekars plea against pre-censorship of plays
    • Stop SESTA: Whose Voices Will SESTA Silence?

      In all of the debate about the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA, S. 1693), there’s one question that’s received surprisingly little airplay: under SESTA, what would online platforms do in order to protect themselves from the increased liability for their users’ speech?

      With the threat of overwhelming criminal and civil liability hanging over their heads, Internet platforms would likely turn to automated filtering of users’ speech in a big way. That’s bad news because when platforms rely too heavily on automated filtering, it almost always results in some voices being silenced. And the most marginalized voices in society can be the first to disappear.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA Broke the Encryption on File-Sharing Apps Kazaa and eDonkey

      Before services like Spotify and Netflix proliferated, people who wanted to listen to music or watch movies online, on demand, had few legal options. Instead, they would download copies of pirated media using file-sharing technology. In early 2004, close to 8 million people in the U.S. alone were estimated to have downloaded music through so-called peer-to-peer apps like LimeWire, eDonkey, Kazaa, and BitTorrent. While it’s difficult to measure exactly how much of the world’s internet traffic consists of people swapping files, at the time some estimates said it was approaching 40 percent. (It was closer to 11 percent by 2016, according to another estimate.)

      With this much file sharing occurring online, it’s no surprise that the National Security Agency took notice. According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the spy agency formed a research group dedicated to studying peer-to-peer, or P2P, internet traffic. NSA didn’t care about violations of copyright law, according to a 2005 article on one of the agency’s internal news sites, SIDtoday. It was trying to determine if it could find valuable intelligence by monitoring such activity.

      “By searching our collection databases, it is clear that many targets are using popular file sharing applications,” a researcher from NSA’s File-Sharing Analysis and Vulnerability Assessment Pod wrote in a SIDtoday article. “But if they are merely sharing the latest release of their favorite pop star, this traffic is of dubious value (no offense to Britney Spears intended).”

    • Trump administration sued over phone searches at U.S. borders

      The Trump administration has engaged in an unconstitutional practice of searching without a warrant the phones and laptops of Americans who are stopped at the border, a lawsuit filed on Wednesday alleged.

    • We’re Challenging the Government’s Warrantless Searches of Phones and Laptops at the Border

      The border should not serve as a dragnet for law enforcement to pry into our personal and professional lives.

      Warrantless searches of smartphones, laptops, and other electronic devices at the border are a major threat to privacy and civil liberties. Today, the ACLU, along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU of Massachusetts, filed a lawsuit challenging such searches as unconstitutional. The border should not serve as a dragnet for law enforcement to pry into our personal and professional lives.

      We represent 10 U.S. citizens and one green card holder from a variety of backgrounds: a military veteran, journalists, students, an artist, an engineer, a limousine driver, and a business owner. All of them had their rights violated when border officials searched their smartphones or other electronic devices when they were returning from travel abroad. Officials also confiscated and held several of our clients’ devices for weeks or months.

      None of our clients have been accused of any wrongdoing, nor have they been given any valid explanation for why this happened to them.

    • Three Lies Big Internet providers Are Spreading to Kill the California Broadband Privacy Bill

      Now that California’s Broadband Privacy Bill, A.B. 375, is headed for a final vote in the California legislature, Comcast, Verizon, and all their allies are pulling out all the stops to try to convince state legislators to vote against the bill. Unfortunately, that includes telling legislators about made-up problems the bill will supposedly create, as well as tweeting out blatantly false statements and taking out online ads that spread lies about what A.B. 375 will really do. To set the record straight, here are three lies big Internet providers and their allies are spreading—and the truth about how A.B. 375 will protect your privacy and security online.

    • NSA’s Quiet Presence at a Base in England’s Countryside Revealed in Snowden Documents

      Civil war was raging in Libya, and Col. Moammar Gadhafi was in hiding. Two thousand miles away, on the outskirts of a small village in the English countryside, British and American spies were monitoring the chaos, listening in on the Gadhafi regime’s phone calls.

      The spies were part of a group known as Joint Service Signal Unit Digby, operating from within a nearly 100-year-old military base near the village of Ashby de la Launde in Lincolnshire, a county in England’s east midlands. About a three-hour drive north of London, it is a scantly populated area encompassing flat fields that stretch across the landscape. The British government says publicly that the Digby facility conducts “research into new communications systems.” A more truthful account is that it is an important part of the sprawling covert surveillance network maintained by British and American spy agencies, GCHQ and the National Security Agency.

    • Data Protection Measure Removed from the California Values Act

      Shortly after the November election, human rights groups joined California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León in introducing a comprehensive bill to protect data collected by the government from being used for mass deportations and religious registries. S.B. 54, known as the California Values Act, also included a sweeping measure requiring all state agencies to reevaluate their privacy policies and to only collect the minimum amount of data they need to offer services.

      EFF was an early and strong supporter of the bill, generating more than 750 emails from our supporters. Over subsequent months, the bill was split into multiple pieces of legislation. The ban on using data to create religious registries was moved to S.B. 31, the California Religious Freedom Act, while the general protections morphed into a data privacy bill, S.B. 244, both authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara.

      S.B. 54 became an important set of measures designed to deal exclusively with immigrant rights by limiting California law enforcement’s cooperation with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and other immigration authorities. These provisions include stopping local law enforcement officials from inquiring about immigration status, keeping people in custody on immigrations “holds,” and using immigrations agents as interpreters—all measures that would help protect our immigrant family members, neighbors, coworkers, and friends from persecution.

    • EFF, ACLU Sue Over Warrantless Phone, Laptop Searches at U.S. Border

      Lawsuit on Behalf of 11 Travelers Challenges Unconstitutional Searches of Electronic Devices

      Boston, Massachusetts—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without warrants at the U.S. border.

      The plaintiffs in the case are 10 U.S. citizens and one lawful permanent resident who hail from seven states and come from a variety of backgrounds. The lawsuit challenges the government’s fast-growing practice of searching travelers’ electronic devices without a warrant. It seeks to establish that the government must have a warrant based on probable cause to suspect a violation of immigration or customs laws before conducting such searches.

      The plaintiffs include a military veteran, journalists, students, an artist, a NASA engineer, and a business owner. Several are Muslims or people of color. All were reentering the country from business or personal travel when border officers searched their devices. None were subsequently accused of any wrongdoing. Officers also confiscated and kept the devices of several plaintiffs for weeks or months—DHS has held one plaintiff’s device since January. EFF, ACLU, and the ACLU of Massachusetts are representing the 11 travelers.

    • Turks detained for using encrypted app ‘had human rights breached’

      Tens of thousands of Turkish citizens detained or dismissed from their jobs on the basis of downloading an encrypted messaging app have had their human rights breached, a legal opinion published in London has found.

      The study, commissioned by opponents of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, argues that the arrest of 75,000 suspects primarily because they downloaded the ByLock app is arbitrary and illegal.

    • Press Release: Privacy International launches international campaign for greater transparency around secretive intelligence sharing activities between governments

      Privacy International, in partnership with 30+ national human rights organisations, has today written to national intelligence oversight bodies in over 40 countries seeking information on the intelligence sharing activities of their governments.

      Countries may use secret intelligence sharing arrangements to circumvent international and domestic rules on direct surveillance. These arrangements can also lead to the exchange of information that can facilitate human rights abuses, particularly in countries with poor human rights records or weak rule of law.

      National intelligence oversight bodies hold intelligence agencies accountable to the public by exercising scrutiny over the legality, propriety, effectiveness, and efficiency of the intelligence activities of their governments.

    • Facebook Enabled Advertisers to Reach ‘Jew Haters’

      Want to market Nazi memorabilia, or recruit marchers for a far-right rally? Facebook’s self-service ad-buying platform had the right audience for you.

      Until this week, when we asked Facebook about it, the world’s largest social network enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’”

      To test if these ad categories were real, we paid $30 to target those groups with three “promoted posts” — in which a ProPublica article or post was displayed in their news feeds. Facebook approved all three ads within 15 minutes.

    • Data Protection Bill must give privacy groups right to lodge complaints

      Open Rights Group has responded to the publication of the Data Protection Bill, which put the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation into UK law.

    • VICTORY: DOJ Backs Down from Facebook Gag Orders in Not-so-secret Investigation

      The U.S. Department of Justice has come to the obvious conclusion that there’s no need to order Facebook to keep an investigation “secret” when it was never secret in the first place. While we applaud the government’s about-face, we question why they ever took such a ridiculous position in the first place.

      Earlier this summer, Facebook brought a First Amendment challenge to gag orders accompanying several warrants in an investigation in Washington, D.C. that Facebook argued was “known to the public.” In an amicus brief joined by three other civil liberties organizations, EFF explained to the D.C. Court of Appeals that gag orders are subject to a stringent constitutional test that they can rarely meet. We noted that the timing and circumstances of the warrants were strikingly similar to the high-profile investigations of the protests surrounding President Trump’s inauguration on January 20 (known as J20). Given these facts, we argued that there was no way the First Amendment could allow gag orders preventing Facebook from informing its users that the government had obtained their data.

    • Take cybersecurity away from spies… for everyone’s sake

      Until 1994, GCHQ, the British signals intelligence agency, didn’t officially exist. Now, it has emerged out of the shadows to take a very public role at the heart of British cybersecurity. Public accountability for intelligence services is crucial to any democracy, but as the recent WannaCry ransomware attack showed, there are inevitable conflicts of interest between the role of intelligence services and network safety.

      The past seven years have seen a dramatic change in profile for GCHQ. While the number of police officers has been cut by 14 per cent since 2010, according to the Home Office, GCHQ’s staff numbers have grown by more than ten per cent in the same period. At the same time, it has been loaded with additional responsibilities, including the fight against distribution of child-abuse images on the dark web, money laundering and financial fraud. This was made official when, in February 2017, it assumed responsibility for making the UK “the safest place to do business online” through the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

    • In the Era of ‘Prosthetic Intelligence,’ the Right to Remain Silent Is the Right To Encryption

      You have the right to remain silent. It’s a key principle of the United States criminal justice system and many others that as the accused we can choose to not say anything―to not reveal anything―under questioning by the police or at trial. Generally, it’s a right against self-incrimination. We can choose not to expose ourselves, to not disclose our thoughts and memories, and that refusal can’t be used against us.

      This seems pretty straightforward. It only takes seven words to encapsulate, anyhow. But technology is changing everything, including what and where the “self” even is. This is the starting point for an argument put forth by Silicon Genetics founder Andrew Conway and Electronic Frontier Foundation Chief Computer Scientist Peter Eckersley in a piece published this month in the Communications of the ACM. Simply, technology has enabled―if not forced―us to project our most private interior selves into places that can be observed and recorded with few legal limits.

    • NSA Spied on Early File-Sharing Networks, Including BitTorrent

      A document just published as part of the Edward Snowden leaks has revealed the NSA was actively monitoring file-sharing networks more than 12 years ago. Particular success was reported against both KaZaA and eDonkey, with the NSA managing to compromise the encryption on both while gaining access to sharers’ computers and personal data including email addresses.

    • Why the future of skills is more than digital

      I do think wherever you are in the world, whoever you talk to, digital skills are growing in importance. It’s no surprise when you consider technology continues to transform our day-to-day lives, bringing accessibility and speed, and changing the way we relax, shop, interact, and learn. But don’t take my word for it.

      In the last year alone, we’ve seen countless reports confirm this. The OECD suggests an “increasing use of digital technologies at work is raising the demand for new [digital] skills….” The White House tells us that “coursework in STEM, and specifically in areas such as computer science, will be especially relevant to work and citizenship in an increasingly AI-driven world.” And the UK Government Office for Science believes a million new people are forecasted to be required for specialist digital roles by 2023.

    • Intelligence community attempts to sell FISA law [Ed: A lot like, "military companies attempt to sell war"]
    • Congress Braces for Tense Debate on Surveillance Law
    • AG Sessions, DOJ Ask Congressional Leaders For A Clean, Forever Re-Authorization Of Section 702
    • Trump Admin. Seeks Permanent Renewal of Warrantless Spying Law
    • Intelligence community briefs House members in attempt to sell FISA law
    • Sloppy U.S. Spies Misused a Covert Network for Personal Shopping — and Other Stories from Internal NSA Documents

      NSA agents successfully targeted “the entire business chain” connecting foreign cafes to the internet, bragged about an “all-out effort” to spy on liberated Iraq, and began systematically trying to break into virtual private networks, according to a set of internal agency news reports dating to the first half of 2005.

      British spies, meanwhile, were made to begin providing new details about their informants via a system of “Intelligence Source Descriptors” created in response to intelligence failures in Iraq. Hungary and the Czech Republic pulled closer to the National Security Agency.

      And future Intercept backer Pierre Omidyar visited NSA headquarters for an internal conference panel on “human networking” and open-source intelligence.

    • Encryption At The Centre Of Mass Arrests: One Year On From Turkey’s Failed Coup

      The repercussions from the failed military coup in Turkey on 15 July 2016 have impacted almost every part of Turkish society as President Erdoğan clamps down on perceived and actual opposition in a never ending cycle of raids, arrests and detentions.

      Turkish authorities blame the 2016 coup on Fethullah Gülen, an old rival of Erdoğan currently exiled in the US, and have set about ‘purging’ Turkish society of his supporters ever since. While over 200 people are on trial for organising the coup, thousands more have been arrested on suspicion of being a member of the Gülen movement, which the Turkish government has named FETO (Fetullah Gülen Terrorist Organisation). The Turkish Ministry of Justice recently stated that 168,801 people have been detained and subject to “legal proceedings”, with a further 50,504 people arrested on a specific charge who are likely in pre-trial detention since the coup. Thousands more arrest warrants have been issued, including for judges and prosecutors. Amnesty International estimate an additional 100,000 people have been dismissed from their jobs, including doctors, police officers, teachers, academics and soldiers.

    • NSA Secretly Gives Tech Company A $2.4 Billion Contract
    • Sloppy U.S. Spies Misused a Covert Network for Personal Shopping — and Other Stories from Internal NSA Documents

      NSA agents successfully targeted “the entire business chain” connecting foreign cafes to the internet, bragged about an “all-out effort” to spy on liberated Iraq, and began systematically trying to break into virtual private networks, according to a set of internal agency news reports dating to the first half of 2005.

      British spies, meanwhile, were made to begin providing new details about their informants via a system of “Intelligence Source Descriptors” created in response to intelligence failures in Iraq. Hungary and the Czech Republic pulled closer to the National Security Agency.

      And future Intercept backer Pierre Omidyar visited NSA headquarters for an internal conference panel on “human networking” and open-source intelligence.

    • How the NSA Built a Secret Surveillance Network for Ethiopia

      “A warm friendship connects the Ethiopian and American people,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced earlier this year. “We remain committed to working with Ethiopia to foster liberty, democracy, economic growth, protection of human rights, and the rule of law.”

      Indeed, the website for the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia is marked by press releases touting U.S. aid for farmers and support for public health infrastructure in that East African nation. “Ethiopia remains among the most effective development partners, particularly in the areas of health care, education, and food security,” says the State Department.

      Behind the scenes, however, Ethiopia and the U.S. are bound together by long-standing relationships built on far more than dairy processing equipment or health centers to treat people with HIV. Fifteen years ago, the U.S. began setting up very different centers, filled with technology that is not normally associated with the protection of human rights.

    • Edward Snowden, NSA leaker, says U.S. should show evidence of Russia election hacking

      Russia likely interfered in last year’s U.S presidential election, according to former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, but the American public deserves to see evidence of its involvement, he said in an interview published Wednesday.

      “Everybody is currently pointing at the Russians,” Mr. Snowden, 33, told Germany’s Der Spiegel. “They probably did hack the systems of Hillary Clinton’s Democratic Party, but we should have proof of that.”

      The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence has concluded that Russia interfered in last year’s election race by using state-sponsored hackers and propagandists to target Mrs. Clinton’s campaign in an effort to hurt her odds of winning the White House.

    • Edward Snowden offers mixed review on Apple’s Face ID

      Not everyone is sold on the benefits of Face ID, the facial-recognition system Apple unveiled Tuesday as a convenient biometric method for unlocking devices.

      Introduced along with the iPhone X, the system uses the phone’s front-facing camera to scan and register your facial structure for use as a password, eliminating the need to input a keypad password or scan a fingerprint. Using facial recognition to unlock a device isn’t a new concept, and previous attempts have shown the technology can easily be tricked.

    • NSA Leaker Edward Snowden: Apple Face Data Will Be ‘Abused’

      Edward Snowden, who knows something about cybersecurity and information privacy, criticized one feature of the new iPhone X on Tuesday, saying Apple’s facial recognition software is “certain to be abused.”

      Snowden was referring to Apple’s announcement on Tuesday that the new devices would collect “face data” as part of a scanning feature that allows users to unlock their phones and even pay for things by glancing at their screens.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Situation in Turkey While New Judicial Year Begins

      The judicial year starts on 1st of September every year in Turkey. The judicial recess which starts 20th of July ends on 1st of September and so new judicial year starts but due to official holiday of Eid Al-Adha, this year official opening ceremony takes place on 5th of September.

      According to the ceremony programme made pursuant to the new regulation, the president of the Union of Turkish Bars Association will not have the right to give speech at the opening ceremony which will be held in the Supreme Court (Yargıtay). The Union of Turkish Bars Association denounced the programme with a written statement and said “We do not attend (the ceremony) just to applaud”.

    • The Right to Decide When to Vote: Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute

      Voting in the United States is not a “use it or lose it” right.

      This case challenges Ohio’s practice of ‘purging’ or removing people who vote infrequently from its voting rolls. Since this practice began in 1994, hundreds of thousands have been eliminated from voter registration lists. Under Ohio’s rules, registered voters who do not participate in an election in a two year period are sent a postcard from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office requesting a confirmation of address. If the voter does not respond to the notice or vote within the next two consecutive federal elections, i.e. four years, they are removed from the rolls without further notice.

      Voting in the United States is not a ‘use it or lose it’ right. Ohio’s purge practice violates the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) which explicitly prohibits removing voters solely because they did not vote in an election.

    • The House Tells Sessions’ Justice Department It Will Not Stand for Civil Asset Forfeiture

      In a bipartisan vote, the House voted to rein in Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resurrection of abusive forfeiture rules.

      The U.S. House sent a strong message of rebuke to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on civil asset forfeiture last night. The House adopted three amendments offered to an appropriations bill that prohibit the Department of Justice from using funds to increase certain federal and local forfeiture practices.

      Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) summed up the problem with civil asset forfeiture in one sentence. “It is an unconstitutional practice that is used to violate the due process rights of innocent people,” he said from the House floor.

      This bipartisan showing was in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ July announcement to expand the use of civil forfeiture. Sessions’ action was a reversal of a 2015 Attorney General Eric Holder policy that prevented local law enforcement from using federal forfeiture laws to circumvent more restrictive state forfeiture laws.

    • EFF Asks Court: Can Prosecutors Hide Behind Trade Secret Privilege to Convict You?

      California Appeals Court Urged to Allow Defense Review of DNA Matching Software

      If a computer DNA matching program gives test results that implicate you in a crime, how do you know that the match is correct and not the result of a software bug? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has urged a California appeals court to allow criminal defendants to review and evaluate the source code of forensic software programs used by the prosecution, in order to ensure that none of the wrong people end up behind bars, or worse, on death row.

      In this case, a defendant was linked to a series of rapes by a DNA matching software program called TrueAllele. The defendant wants to examine how TrueAllele takes in a DNA sample and analyzes potential matches, as part of his challenge to the prosecution’s evidence. However, prosecutors and the manufacturers of TrueAllele’s software argue that the source code is a trade secret, and therefore should not be disclosed to anyone.

    • The Trump Administration Plans to End a Refugee Program for Children

      The Trump administration plans to stop accepting refugee applications from children with U.S.-based parents from three violence-riddled Central American countries — El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala — according to the summary of a presentation the State Department made recently to refugee organizations.

      The decision to end the Central American Minors program, which began in 2014 and is the only refugee program aimed at helping people from that region, could put hundreds of families split between two countries in a delicate situation.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Global Antitrust Attack On Intellectual Property Rights [Ed: Nowadays Forbes feels like a den of patent trolls; Some of whom are actual authors in that site]
    • Intellectual property education crucial to America’s future [Ed: Calling for patent indoctrination of kids in schools, which are obligatory

      Every major new industry of the last 100 years — from the automobile and aircraft businesses to semiconductors, personal computers, software, biotech, mobile telephony and Internet e-commerce — was launched on the back of an IP-protected innovation. It’s time higher education developed a curriculum to ensure that the same thing happens in the next 100 years.

    • Shrinking Transparency in the NAFTA and RCEP Negotiations

      Provisions on digital trade are quietly being squared away in both of the two major trade negotiations currently underway—the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade talks. But due to the worst-ever standards of transparency in both of these negotiations, we don’t know which provisions are on the table, which have been agreed, and which remain unresolved. The risk is that important and contentious digital issues—such as rules on copyright or software source code—might become bargaining chips in negotiation over broader economic issues including wages, manufacturing and dispute resolution, and that we would be none the wiser until after the deals have been done.

      The danger of such bad compromises being made is especially acute because both of the deals are in trouble. Last month President Donald Trump targeted the NAFTA which includes Canada and Mexico, describing it in a tweet as “the worst trade deal ever made,” which his administration “may have to terminate.” At the conclusion of the 2nd round of talks held last week in Mexico, the prospects of agreement being concluded anytime soon seem unlikely. Even as a third round of talks is scheduled for Ottawa from September 23-27, 2017, concern about the agreement’s future has prompted Mexico to step up efforts to boost commerce with Asia, South America and Europe.

    • Copyrights

      • We Shall Overcome not covered by copyright

        Civil rights movement anthem “We Shall Overcome” has been ruled to be in the public domain, with the Southern District of New York deciding that 1960 and 1963 applications for a copyright in the song were significantly flawed

      • The Selfie Monkey case: the end?

        The Monkey Selfie dispute, otherwise known as the case of the Black Macaque, is back for a final episode. As the parties have reached a settlement earlier this week, this episode marks the end of your favorite copyright saga. But you should not be too quick to celebrate the end of the ‘Monkey Selfie buzz’ as the settlement might not have actually settled anything… or has it?

        There is no shortage of press coverage on the topic; however, if you feel you need to refresh your memory see previous IPKat posts: here and here. Otherwise, just remember the following: the crux of the dispute lays in this deceptively simple question: who is the legal author of a selfie taken by a monkey with a camera left unattended by its owner?

      • EU Copyright Reform Meets Resistance From Stakeholders, Some Governments

        It has attracted strong criticism (IPW, Copyright, 9 March 2017) from, among others, Mozilla, European Digital Rights initiative (EDRi) and German Member of the European Parliament Julia Reda, of the Greens/European Free Alliance. The European Publishers’ Council (EPC), however, has been among those stakeholders lobbying hard for the ancillary right.

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