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09.15.17

Links 15/9/2017: Mesa 17.2.1 RC, Wine 2.17, WordPress to Ditch React Over Patents

Posted in News Roundup at 6:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • How an open source tool is helping hurricane victims

    After Hurricane Harvey recently ripped through the Houston area, causing catastrophic flooding and devastation, the Stephen F. Austin Community Health Network (SFA) responded quickly by leveraging open source technology to reach out to patients and victims of the crisis in areas of Texas that are virtually inaccessible.

    Using an advanced cloud-based version of the OpenEMR software, the SFA Community Health Network was able to treat patients in clinics that were physically unreachable by care providers. The next-generation version of the open source electronic health record (EHR) was developed and is maintained by St. Louis-based Williams Medical Technologies, Inc. (WMT).

  • 13-year-old coder works to advance cognitive tech

    Folks say computers are a young person’s game, and one of the best examples is Tanmay Bakshi (pictured), algorithmist and cognitive developer. Thirteen years old, going on 14, he represents the energy and innovation of young coders. Some of the biggest companies in the industry have offered the enthusiastic Bakshi a seat at the table.

    When asked about the coolest thing he’s working on, Bakshi replied: “It would have to be a tie between AskTanmay, DeepSPADE and advancements with the cognitive story.” Bakshi is an Honorary Cloud Advisor with IBM Corp.

  • Developers must simplify, standardize tech to expand reach, says analyst

    It’s good for a company to have the technology it needs, however, putting that tech to use is another matter. Few companies are staffed with enough tech wizards, and for technology to expand into the mainstream, developers must make it easy for non-tech businesses to integrate new innovations in open source software, according to Jono Bacon (pictured), founder of Jono Bacon Consulting.

  • GMO Blockchain Open Source Software project enters fourth phase

    This time, GMO Internet has teamed up with GMO-Z.com RUNSYSTEM JSC to demonstrate the security applications of blockchain technologies. As many of you are aware, the enhanced security is one of the main advantages of this type of technologies.

  • Open Source as a Service platform launches

    Instaclustr has announced the launch of its Open Source-as-a-Service platform. This comprehensive platform offers customers across industries – and from startups to the enterprise – fully hosted and securely managed Apache Cassandra, Apache Spark, Elasticsearch, Kibana, Lucene, and Zeppelin. Each is delivered to customers in its 100% open source form, with no vendor or technical lock-in. The platform arrives as the company continues to deliver top-line growth in excess of 100% YoY, and has reached milestones of 10 million node hours and 1 petabyte of data under management.

    In an industry where, all too often, providers will deliver open source solutions repackaged into proprietary versions that promote vendor lock-in, Instaclustr is ensuring that every solution it provides will always consist of fully portable open source code.

  • BlueZ 5.47 Released, Working On Bluetooth 5.0 Support & More

    BlueZ 5.47 has been released as the latest user-space components to the Linux Bluetooth stack.

    BlueZ 5.47 is a bit more exciting on the feature front than some of the past releases. BlueZ 5.47 includes support for decoding Bluetooth 5.0 commands and events, Bluetooth Mesh advertising bearer decoding, support for Bluetooth Mesh control applications, the ability to retrieve supported discovery filters, and support for appearance and local name advertising data.

  • Events

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Public Services/Government

    • Public Money? Public Code!

      31 organisations ask to improve public procurement of software

      Today, on 13 September 2017, 31 organisations are publishing an open letter. The letter calls for lawmakers to advance legislation requiring publicly financed software that has been developed for the public sector be made available under a Free and Open Source Software licence.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • MP3 Is Dead! Long Live MP3!

      Back in May, there was an unexpected surge in press coverage about the MP3 audio file format. What was most unexpected about it was it all declared that the venerable file format is somehow “dead”. Why did that happen, and what lessons can we learn?

      What had actually happened was the last of the patents on the MP3 file format and encoding process have finally expired. Building on earlier work, it was developed by the Moving Pictures Expert Group (MPEG) built on the doctoral work of an engineer at Fraunhofer Institute in Germany. Many companies held patents on the standard and it was not until April that the last of them expired. There’s no easy way to ascertain whether a patent has expired even after the date one moght expect it, so the wave of news arose from announcements by Fraunhofer Institute.

      Framing this as an “ending” fits the narrative of corporate patent holders well, but does not really reflect the likely consequences. Naturally the patent holding companies would rather everyone “upgrade” to the newer AAC format, which is still encumbered under a mountain of patents necessitating licensing. But for open source software, the end of patent monopilies signals the beginning of new freedoms.

    • On React and WordPress

      Big companies like to bury unpleasant news on Fridays: A few weeks ago, Facebook announced they have decided to dig in on their patent clause addition to the React license, even after Apache had said it’s no longer allowed for Apache.org projects. In their words, removing the patent clause would “increase the amount of time and money we have to spend fighting meritless lawsuits.”

      I’m not judging Facebook or saying they’re wrong, it’s not my place. They have decided it’s right for them — it’s their work and they can decide to license it however they wish. I appreciate that they’ve made their intentions going forward clear.

      A few years ago, Automattic used React as the basis for the ground-up rewrite of WordPress.com we called Calypso, I believe it’s one of the larger React-based open source projects. As our general counsel wrote, we made the decision that we’d never run into the patent issue. That is still true today as it was then, and overall, we’ve been really happy with React. More recently, the WordPress community started to use React for Gutenberg, the largest core project we’ve taken on in many years. People’s experience with React and the size of the React community — including Calypso — was a factor in trying out React for Gutenberg, and that made React the new de facto standard for WordPress and the tens of thousands of plugins written for WordPress.

      We had a many-thousand word announcement talking about how great React is and how we’re officially adopting it for WordPress, and encouraging plugins to do the same. I’ve been sitting on that post, hoping that the patent issue would be resolved in a way we were comfortable passing down to our users.

      That post won’t be published, and instead I’m here to say that the Gutenberg team is going to take a step back and rewrite Gutenberg using a different library. It will likely delay Gutenberg at least a few weeks, and may push the release into next year.

    • WordPress to ditch React library over Facebook patent clause risk

      Automattic, the company behind the popular open source web publishing software WordPress, has said it will be pulling away from using Facebook’s React JavaScript library over concerns about a patent clause in Facebook’s open source license.

      In a blog post explaining the decision yesterday, WordPress’ Matt Mullenweg said Automattic had hoped to officially adopt React for WordPress — noting it has already used it for the Calypso ground-up rewrite of WordPress.com a few years ago, and had started using it for its major Gutenberg core project.

      But he reveals it’s changed its mind after seeing Facebook dig in behind the patent clause — which was recently added to the Apache Software Foundation’s (ASF) list of disallowed licenses.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Machine Learning Lends a Hand for Automated Software Testing

      Automated testing is increasingly important in development, especially for finding security issues, but fuzz testing requires a high level of expertise — and the sheer volume of code developers are working with, from third-party components to open source frameworks and projects, makes it hard to test every line of code. Now, a set of artificial intelligence-powered options like Microsoft’s Security Risk Detection service and Diffblue’s security scanner and test generation tools aim to make these techniques easier, faster and accessible to more developers.

      “If you ask developers what the most hated aspect of their job is, it’s testing and debugging,” Diffblue CEO and University of Oxford Professor of Computer Science Daniel Kroening told the New Stack.

    • Are Women in Tech Facing Extinction?

      We hear a lot about how few women work in tech. The numbers range from 3 percent in open source to 25 percent industry-wide. But frankly, those aren’t the numbers that scare me most. The numbers that scare the hell out me are the ones that underscore how many women are choosing to leave tech.

      The latest NCWIT data shows that women leave tech at twice the rate of men, and that number has been increasing since 1991. A Harvard Business Review study found that as many as 50 percent of women working in science, engineering and technology will, over time, leave because of hostile work environments.

    • Sublime Text 3.0 is released for download on MacOS, Windows and Linux
    • Open Source Atom Code Editor Gets IDE Features

      GitHub is morphing its open source code editor, Atom, into more of a full-fledged IDE with a new project appropriately called Atom-IDE.

      Just announced this week, Atom-IDE integrates programming language support in order to offer IDE-like features.

    • Migrating GitHub’s Web and API to Kubernetes Running on Bare Metal

      Over the last year GitHub has evolved their internal infrastructure that runs the Ruby on Rails application responsible for github.com and api.github.com to run on Kubernetes. The migration began with web and API applications running on Unicorn processes that were deployed onto Puppet-managed bare metal (“metal cloud”) servers, and ended with all web and API requests being served by containers running in Kubernetes clusters deployed onto the metal cloud.

      According to the GitHub engineering blog, the basic approach to deploying and running GitHub did not significantly change over the initial eight years of operation. However, GitHub itself changed dramatically, with new features, larger software communities, more GitHubbers on staff, and many more requests per second. As the organisation grew, the existing operational approach began to exhibit new problems: many teams wanted to extract the functionality into smaller services that could run and be deployed independently; and as the number of services increased, the SRE team found they were increasingly performing maintenance, which meant there was little time for enhancing the underlying platform. GitHub engineers needed a self-service platform they could use to experiment, deploy, and scale new services.

    • Oracle turns Java EE over to an open source foundation
    • The Basics of Going Serverless with Node.js

      Linda Nichols, of Cloudreach, will discuss the basics of serverless and why it works so well with Node.js at Node.js Interactive, Oct. 4-6, 2017 in Vancouver, BC Canada.
      The Linux Foundation

      Developers are continuing to look for more efficient and effective ways to build out applications, and one of the new approaches to this involves serverless applications, which are the future of lightweight, scalable, and performant applications development.

      The space of “serverless” is still fairly new and many developers and companies are wanting to go “serverless,” but don’t know how to orchestrate decisions like how to choose the right cloud provider, how to avoid vendor lock in. And, if you do change your mind about the cloud platform, does that mean you have to rewrite your application code?

    • Clear Linux & Their Love For FMV + dl_platform/dl_hwcap In The Name Of Performance

      For those mesmerized by the numbers whenever posting a cross-distribution comparison like the recent Core i9 7900X vs. Threadripper 1950X On Ubuntu 17.10, Antergos, Clear Linux with showing Intel’s performance optimizations done on Clear Linux, Intel engineer Victor Rodriguez presented this week at the 2017 Open-Source Summit North America about some of their Linux performance boosting work.

      While Clear Linux ships with aggressive compiler flags and other optimizations, contrary to the belief of some, their distribution does work on Intel hardware going back to ~2011 and just not the most recent generations of CPUs. But for remaining optimized for both new and old hardware, they do utilize Function Multi-Versioning (FMV) as offered by GCC. They also rely upon optimized binaries for particular hardware platforms via GLIBC with the dl_platform/dl_hwcap features for shipping optimized libraries that are then selected at run-time based on the CPU. This is one of the approaches to how Clear Linux is already shipping with AVX-512 optimized libraries.

    • GCC Finishing Up C++17 Adjustments, Preparing For C++2A

      While C++17 was just formally approved days ago and is now waiting for ISO publication, GCC (and Clang) developers have largely finished up their C++17 (formerly known as “C++1z”) support for some time. There are just a few lingering patches for GCC and already are beginning to lay the ground work for C++2a.

      There’s the longstanding GCC C++ status page where it does show all the major features of C++17/C++1z are complete in GCC 7. Red Hat’s Jakub Jelinek sent out a patch this week with the final adjustments and now that C++1z is indeed going to be called C++17 officially.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Independent Monitors Found Benzene Levels After Harvey Six Times Higher Than Guidelines

      As a longtime resident of Manchester, Guadalupe Hernandez is used to the chemical smells that waft through his southeast Houston, Texas neighborhood, a low-income, predominantly Hispanic community near a Valero Energy refinery. But when Hurricane Harvey blew in the weekend of Aug. 26, the stench became noticeably stronger for about five hours, a scent like “glue or boiled eggs,” he said.

      The Environmental Protection Agency has assured the public they looked into complaints in the area a week after the storm hit, and spent several days taking air pollution measurements with a mobile laboratory. The agency didn’t release any specifics, but said concentrations of several toxic chemicals, including the carcinogen benzene, met Texas health guidelines.

      Now, environmental advocacy groups have shared their own, detailed data with ProPublica and the Texas Tribune, based on air sampling from the same Manchester streets over six days. It shows a more nuanced picture than the one given by the EPA: in numerous locations, benzene levels, though under the Texas threshold of 180 parts per billion, far exceeded California’s guidelines, which is 23 times more stringent and is well-respected by health advocates nationwide.

    • The Obamacare Fight Is Over — Now It’s On To Universal Medicare

      In June, as the fight over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act reached its climax, then-White House spokesman Sean Spicer delivered a warning. “It’s not a question of Obamacare versus the AHCA,” he said, referring to the GOP alternative, the since-failed American Health Care Act. The question, Spicer said, was between repealing Obamacare and moving to single payer.

      History may prove him right. The battle over the Affordable Care Act is over. The fight for what comes next will begin in earnest on Wednesday with the introduction of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s bill to create a universal Medicare program, the most fleshed-out single-payer proposal ever introduced in Congress.

      The campaign for the Vermont independent’s bill will start with the backing of at least 15 Democratic cosponsors and 24 progressive and healthcare advocacy groups, numbers that will only grow in the coming days and weeks.

    • Bernie’s Army: 24 Organizations With Millions of Members Vow To Help Pass His Universal Medicare Plan

      On Wednesday morning, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is set to unveil a bill that would make Medicare universal with the co-sponsorship of at least 15 Senate Democrats. The legislation would finally make health care a human right for all Americans.

      The question is: What do proponents think will make this push for single payer any more successful than others in the past? After all, activists who backed such an approach during 2009’s health care debate were literally arrested at hearings, and their legislation was sidelined and never even brought to a vote.

      But this time, as he launches his campaign, Sanders has the support of 24 grassroots organizations with a combined membership base of tens of millions of people.

    • Pharma CEO Worries Americans Will Say “Enough Is Enough” and Embrace Bernie Sanders’s Single-Payer Plan

      Brent Saunders, the chief executive of Allergan, one of the largest pharmaceutical firms in the world, is concerned that in an era of increasing political polarization, Americans will become fed up and embrace the single-payer health care plan set to be unveiled Wednesday by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

      He shared his candid thoughts last weekend at the Wells Fargo Healthcare Conference in Boston, a gathering for investors and major pharmaceutical and biotech firms.

      Americans have lost trust in drug companies, Saunders said, noting the industry consistently ranks lower than oil and tobacco companies in public trust surveys.

    • Malaysia Grants Compulsory Licence For Generic Sofosbuvir Despite Gilead Licence

      A much cheaper version of a groundbreaking hepatitis C medicine is expected to be available soon for the hundreds of thousands of hepatitis C patients in Malaysia, as it decided to grant a compulsory licence to sofosbuvir, according to sources. The decision comes right after the medicine originator decided to expand its voluntary licensing scheme to four more countries, including Malaysia.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • North Korea fires second ballistic missile over Japan

      North Korea has fired a ballistic missile across Japan, creating new tension in the region after its nuclear bomb test less than two weeks ago.

      The missile reached an altitude of about 770km (478 miles), travelling 3,700km before landing in the sea off Hokkaido, South Korea’s military says.

      It flew higher and further than one fired over Japan late last month.

      Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his country would “never tolerate” such “dangerous provocative action”.

    • Unrealistic North Korean Sanctions

      The new United Nations Security Council resolution on North Korea was mainly a U.S.-promoted show, even though it passed unanimously. The principal story of the resolution concerned how severe a set of sanctions the United States could get enacted, and how much it needed to water down the resolution to get support from other members of the council and especially to avoid vetoes from China and Russia.

    • The Clinton Book Tour is Largely Ignoring the Vital Role of Endless War in the 2016 Election Result

      To pitch her book, Hillary Clinton is sitting down this week for a series of media interviews, mostly with supportive TV personalities, such as Rachel Maddow, to discuss her views of “What Happened,” the book’s title. Calls for Clinton to be quiet and disappear are misguided for all sorts of reasons, including the fact that she is a very smart, informed, and articulate politician, which means her interviews — especially when she’s liberated from programmed campaign mode — are illuminating about how she, and her fellow establishment Democrats who have driven the party into a ditch, really think.

      An hourlong interview she sat for with Vox’s Ezra Klein is particularly worthwhile. Clinton, for good reason, harbors a great deal of affection for Klein, which she expressed on multiple occasions during their chat. But Klein nonetheless pressed her on a series of criticisms that have been voiced about her and the Democrats’ stunted political approach, banal policies, status-quo-perpetuating worldview, and cramped aspirations that seem far more plausible as authors of her defeat than the familiar array of villains — Bernie Sanders, Vladimir Putin, Jill Stein, Jim Comey, the New York Times — that she and her most ardent supporters are eager to blame.

    • How North Korea Outmaneuvered U.S.

      This was evident the moment the U.N. Security Council voted on Monday to slap the DPRK with yet another round of economic sanctions, its ninth in 11 years. The Security Council resolution certainly sounded tough enough as it accused Kim of “destabilize[ing] the region” by exploding an underground thermonuclear device on Sept. 3 and posing “a clear threat to international peace and security.”

      But thanks to Russia and China, it ended up with so many loopholes as to be well-nigh meaningless. The resolution imposes trade restrictions, for example, but rejects a U.S. bid to allow outside powers to enforce them by stopping and inspecting North Korean ships on the high seas or by forcing down aircraft suspected of carrying contraband. Where the U.S. had pushed for a total energy embargo, it allows oil imports to continue at current levels. It permits North Korean workers in foreign countries to continue sending hard currency back home, a practice the United States had hoped to stop. And it rebuffs U.S. demands for a ban on the North Korean national airline, Air Koryo.

    • The Trump Administration Was Ordered to Disclose the Legal Basis for its Syria Strike. It Handed Over Squat.

      After President Donald Trump launched a cruise missile strike against Syria in April, his administration struggled to justify the legal basis for the attack. For months, a watchdog group has hounded the Trump administration for its legal reasoning. Under court order, the government has finally produced documents that reveal little, if anything.

      One document the administration saw fit to release is simply an aggregation of praise for Trump’s strike from pundits, lawmakers, and world leaders. It was prepared by Trump’s National Security Council.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • No Gas in Florida: Give Truth a Chance

      As I heard Florida’s governor demanding gas, I wondered why they don’t learn from Cuba, and send buses. Cuba was there in the CBC newscasts about Florida. It was the country under the satellite image, under the “lingering” eye of category five Irma. For hours, that awful image was in the background as the CBC anchor kept returning to Florida’s need for gas.

      They won’t learn from Cuba. And it is not because Cuba is part of the world’s “left-overs”, who don’t count and whose ideas don’t count either. It’s not even because of Cold War mentality. The problem is deeper. It’s about culture and truth. In short, it’s about a culture that denies truth.

    • Pruitt Gives Another Present to Coal Executives

      Yesterday, Donald Trump’s EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, granted a polluter petition to “reconsider” new clean water protections against dangerous coal ash pits near America’s drinking water supplies. Pruitt’s decision came ahead of opening arguments for a pending case on the water protections in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and is widely considered to be a ploy to scrap the protections entirely – benefiting coal plant owners eager to avoid accountability for the substantial public health dangers their coal ash pits pose to communities living near them.

    • After Massive Giveaways to Industry, Mining Executives Will Spend Big at Trump’s D.C. Hotel

      The chief executives of some of the largest coal and mining companies in the country have chosen the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., for a private conference next month, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

      The hotel is a natural venue for such an event. The host of the conference, the National Mining Association, an industry lobby group, has won a string of policy victories and carve-outs from the Trump administration and its Republican allies in Congress.

      The NMA board of directors meeting, which takes place October 3-4, is yet the latest example of a special interest group spending thousands of dollars on a property owned directly by the Trump family. The Trump International charges over $800 a night for the days the mining event is scheduled.

    • How Young People are Tackling Climate Change, One Innovation at a Time

      Climate entrepreneurship is a rapidly growing branch of contemporary business. Environmental and climate change issues are increasingly becoming part of our everyday lives. The global population is predicted to reach 11 billion by 2100. We can also expect an average global temperature increase of more than 1°C above pre-industrial levels.

      People around the world are dealing with extreme weather events, food and water shortages, waste management, urbanisation and overpopulation – from Cameroon to Thailand and from the US to Australia.

    • While Hurricanes Ravage US, Trump Pushes LNG Exports
    • Southern Oregon Wildfires: the Rhetoric and the Reality

      Recently a low-intensity, backing wildfire dropped into my community from the ridge above, cleaning up fuels, thinning young trees and re-initiating the ancient process of fire in a fire-starved environment. Firefighters and engines lined the road and waited, stationed at every home to protect our small community as the Abney Fire, part of the Miller Complex, approached. They safely guided the fire down the slope to containment lines adjacent to our homes.

      Trapped beneath a heavy inversion layer, smoke filled the forested canyon. Smoke smothered the sun, trapping moisture, limiting air movement, reducing temperatures, and moderating fire severity. Believe it or not, when wildfire is at your doorstep, smoke is an ally. Despite the impact to local communities, the smoke inversion itself moderates fire behavior and helps ensure a natural, mixed-severity fire. Although a nuisance, when smoke lingers in our valleys and canyons, wildfires are more likely to burn slow and cool.

      [...]

      Timber industry lobbyists such as Schott are working hard to perpetuate the myth that logging will reduce fire hazards and eliminate the smoke and effects of wildfire. This is simply untrue. Fire is a natural process, and unless Schott thinks logging can eliminate lightning storms, we must learn to live with it.

  • Finance

    • The Latest: Brazil’s Temer charged with obstructing justice

      Brazilian President Michel Temer is being charged with obstruction of justice and leading a criminal organization in a case that could suspend him from office for up to six months.

      Brazil’s attorney general’s office said Thursday that the country’s top prosecutor is accusing Temer of paying hush funds to a former speaker of the lower Chamber of Deputies and to an operator of his political group. Attorney General Rodrigo Janot also alleges that Temer is the criminal organization that operates in Brazil’s Congress and executive.

      Temer has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The end of anonymity? Trump and the tyranny of the majority

      Long before the trickle of anonymous leaks from the White House became a steady downpour, President Trump delivered a characteristically meandering address to the Conservative Political Action Conference, in February this year. Tucked into a library catalogue of complaints (against “bloodsucker consultants”, Obamacare and “bad dudes”) and compliments (for miners, Bernie voters, border police, and “really strong and really good” regulations), was a brief tirade against anonymous sources. “I’m against the people that make up stories and make up sources. They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name. Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out,” the President declared. “A source says that Donald Trump is a horrible, horrible human being. Let them say it to my face. Let there be no more sources.”

      The President’s remarks, and his subsequent sustained and vitriolic attacks on the news media, reveal as much about the severity of his personality flaws as they do about his dangerous disregard for an independent and pluralistic media. But they also suggested a more fundamental contestation of a key pillar of democratic and human rights-respecting societies – the right to anonymity.

    • Why are Nazis so afraid of clowns?

      “White power!” the neo-Nazi group shouted, and the clowns pretended they finally understood their mistake. “Oh, white flowers!” they cried out, handing white flowers to passersby, including some of the neo-Nazis themselves.

      “White power!” they yelled again. “Tight shower?” the clowns called back, holding a shower head in the air and crowding together in a ridiculous attempt to follow the directions of the white supremacist group.

      They tried once more: “White power!” And the female clowns exclaimed, as though they finally understood, “Wife power!” raising letters in the air to spell out the words and hoisting the male clowns in the air, running around and carrying them in their arms.

    • Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Get It

      In the first hundred pages of What Happened, Hillary Clinton writes that she decided to run for office during a vacation with the designer Oscar de la Renta and that when she lost she received an invitation from George W. Bush to get burgers. These bookends are an early sign that there is something amiss in this much-anticipated tell-all of the 2016 campaign, which attempts—and fails—to offer a diagnosis of how Clinton lost an election to the most unqualified and most loathed presidential candidate in modern history. These anecdotes suggest a fatal lack of awareness, an inability to see that she and her party may have grown out of touch. To the contrary, she says. She was the victim of forces beyond her control. Journalists, Russia, Bernie Sanders: These are a few of her least favorite things.

    • Catalonia referendum: Spanish state poised to seize Catalan finances

      The Spanish government has given the regional government in Catalonia 48 hours to abandon “illegal” referendum plans or lose budgetary powers.

      Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro said a mechanism had been approved for the state to take control of the autonomous region’s finances.

      Madrid is seeking to stop the Catalan government spending public money on its planned independence referendum.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The NSA’s 12-Year Struggle to Follow the Law

      This spring, the government announced a change to the way the National Security Agency collects information targeting foreigners, using the telecom backbone in what it calls “upstream” collection. Whereas for 10 years, the agency had sucked up communications mentioning a target’s selector—say, collecting all emails sent to someone in this country that include Osama bin Laden’s phone number in the body of the email—in April it stopped doing so domestically (though it will still do tons of it in collection overseas).

    • NSA spied on illegal downloaders until it realised they were only using streaming software to share Britney Spears tunes, documents reveal
    • The NSA was snooping on your early-2000s Kazaa downloads, probably

      A NEW CACHE of Edward Snowden documents have revealed that the NSA was actively monitoring file-sharing networks more than 12 years ago.

      According to a report at The Intercept, the NSA formed a research group dedicated to studying peer-to-peer internet traffic, via apps including LimeWire, eDonkey, Kazaa and BitTorrent, to see if it could find valuable intelligence by monitoring such activity.

      “One question that naturally arises after identifying file-sharing traffic is whether or not there is anything of intelligence value in this traffic,” the NSA document begins.

      “By searching our collection databases, it is clear that many targets are using popular file sharing applications; but if they are merely sharing the latest release of their favourite pop star, this traffic is of dubious value (no offence to Britney Spears intended).”

    • NSA once spied on your *NSYNC downloads from Kazaa

      A nostalgic new cache of Edward Snowden files shows the National Security Agency (NSA) has been snooping online for a lot longer than you may think. While you were listening to Enya on your state-of-the-art iPod, the agency was looking into peer-to-peer encryption sites like Napster, Limewire and Kazaa, according to a report by The Intercept. Its crowning achievement was to crack the encryption used by at least two sites, Kazaa and eDonkey, exposing search queries and shared files.

    • Global campaign on intelligence sharing

      Yestarday, Privacy International, FIDH, LDH and La Quadrature du Net have written to the French surveillance oversight bodies (the CNCTR – Commission nationale de contrôle des techniques de renseignement – and the Délégation parlementaire au renseignement) in the context of a global campaign for greater transparency around secretive intelligence sharing activities between governments. We publish here the press release issued yesterday by Privacy International.

      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.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘Undocumented Immigrants Are Constantly Used as a Bargaining Chip’

      Now there are thousands of people marching in the street across the country in support of the immigration program DACA—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Democratic lawmakers are speaking out in support, thus demonstrating what the Washington Post called a “lurch to the left,” and corporate media are presenting a clear for-and-against battle over the program that allowed some 800,000 people who came to the US as children to legally work, drive and travel outside the country.

      But if the “against” argument is obvious, and obviously bogus—they’re criminals who steal jobs while somehow simultaneously draining welfare—the argument of supporters and recipients is not always especially thoughtfully explored. Tina Vasquez is the immigration reporter at Rewire. She joins us now by phone from North Carolina. Welcome to CounterSpin, Tina Vasquez.

    • My Police Department Vowed to ‘Get Rid’ of Me After I Had My Son, so I Fought Back for Other Female Officers

      I loved my job in law enforcement, but I was demeaned, demoted, and discriminated against for choosing to be a mom. I was a police officer and investigator with the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force for five years before I was pushed off the job for breastfeeding my son.

      In that time I worked my way up in the force, starting as a patrol officer and eventually becoming an undercover agent and training officer. Fewer than ten percent of officers work undercover and train recruits. These were competitive positions and promotions that I worked hard to earn.

      I grew up wanting to help people and decided that becoming a police officer was how I would protect my community. In my hometown of Tuscaloosa, I had witnessed firsthand how prescription drug addiction was killing people and ruining lives. I wanted to help.

    • Judge in Arpaio Case Wants to Hear Arguments Before Vacating Former Sheriff’s Conviction

      When the Founding Fathers created the presidential pardon power, they likely had a few ideas about how that authority could be used. Clemency might be granted in a show of mercy, or to undo a miscarriage of justice. Or maybe the president would want to pardon anti-government rebels in an attempt to restore peace to the republic, much like President Andrew Johnson would do after the Civil War.

      But what the founders could not possibly have envisioned was that a president would pardon an elected official for ignoring a court order to stop violating constitutional protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Those rights, after all, did not exist until two years after the Constitution came into force.

      Or so goes the argument by civil rights groups that say, for this reason, that President Donald Trump’s controversial pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio cannot stand.

    • DiEM25: A historic moment for the international progressive movement?

      DiEM25 needs to create a Janus-faced, progressive union out of the cooperation of every individual – individuals who in turn need to willingly relax their egos for the bigger cause.

      [...]

      The pragmatists think of DiEM25 as a practising political organisation, and therefore wish to support policies and parties that already have acquired wider support — in the way Momentum has supported Jeremy Corbyn lately, DiEM25 should for example advocate a reconsideration of Brexit. In addition, they would prefer to develop concrete policies such as the European New Deal, and they want to take these policies to the ballot box themselves, or even better: get politicians elected to implement them. Without such a visible electoral politics, DiEM25 would be exclusively confined to exerting its influence through a European demos, or populace, which does not yet seem to exist.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC’s New Diversity Chair Lobbied Against Net Neutrality and Services for Minority Communities

      Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has selected Julia Johnson, president of a consulting firm called NetCommunications, to lead the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment, a group Pai said he established to champion the voice of every American, “no matter their race, gender, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.”

      Despite the laudatory title and mission of the diversity committee, Johnson is a consultant who perfectly embodies the corporations-first agenda of President Donald Trump’s FCC.

      Johnson has long worked on behalf of industry groups seeking to undermine consumer regulations and promote the interests of large corporate clients.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • We’re Asking the Copyright Office to Protect Your Right To Remix, Study, and Tinker With Digital Devices and Media

        Who controls your digital devices and media? If it’s not you, why not? EFF has filed new petitions with the Copyright Office to give those in the United States protection against legal threats when you take control of your devices and media. We’re also seeking broader, better protection for security researchers and video creators against threats from Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

        DMCA 1201 is a deeply flawed and unconstitutional law. It bans “circumvention” of access controls on copyrighted works, including software, and bans making or distributing tools that circumvent such digital locks. In effect, it lets hardware and software makers, along with major entertainment companies, control how your digital devices are allowed to function and how you can use digital media. It creates legal risks for security researchers, repair shops, artists, and technology users.

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