EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

09.25.17

Links 26/9/2017: Linux 4.14 RC2, Mesa 17.1.10, Red Hat’s Results Published

Posted in News Roundup at 6:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • 10 Tips For First Time Linux Users

      ​New to Linux? Never fear, a superior operating system is here! You’ll go from asking everyone for help to re-compiling your own kernel in no time! (Relevant XKCD).

    • Are These the Toughest Linux Operating Systems to Install?

      It’s important to keep in mind that no matter the Linux operating system you choose to install, what matters is getting it onto your computer and using it. Sure, there may be benefits or drawbacks to whatever setup you pursue, but that’s just how Linux is: various by nature.

      What’s really important is choosing something that best suits you. If you want a high level of flexibility, then by all means, use something like Arch Linux. And if you want something more automated, that’s fine as well. It’s still Linux, after all.

    • FreeType Improvements For The Adobe Engine

      With FreeType 2.8.1 having been released last week, a lot of new code landed in the early hours of today to its Git repository.

      The code landed includes the work done this summer by Ewald Hew for Google Summer of Code (GSoC 17) adding support for Type 1 fonts to the Adobe CFF engine. Type 1 is an older, less maintained font format.

  • Server

    • Future Proof Your SysAdmin Career: Advancing with Open Source

      For today’s system administrators, the future holds tremendous promise. In this ebook, we have covered many technical skills that can be big differentiators for sysadmins looking to advance their careers. But, increasingly, open source skillsets can also open new doors.

      A decade ago, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst predicted that open source tools and platforms would become pervasive in IT. Today, that prediction has come true, with profound implications for the employment market. Participating in open source projects — through developing code, submitting a bug report, or contributing to documentation — is an important way to demonstrate open source skills to hiring managers.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.14-rc2

      I’m back to my usual Sunday release schedule, and rc2 is out there in
      all the normal places.

      This was a fairly usual rc2, with a very quiet beginning of the week,
      and then most changes came in on Friday afternoon and Saturday (with
      the last few ones showing up Sunday morning).

      Normally I tend to dislike how that pushes most of my work into the
      weekend, but this time I took advantage of it, spending the quiet part
      of last week diving instead.

      Anyway, the only unusual thing worth noting here is that the security
      subsystem pull request that came in during the merge window got
      rejected due to problems, and so rc2 ends up with most of that
      security pull having been merged in independent pieces instead.

    • Linux 4.14-rc2 Kernel Released
    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Announces Early 8th Gen Core Processors, Coffee Lake

        Intel has rushed up the announcement of their 8th Gen Intel Core desktop processors following a recent leak. We can now confirm that these new Intel CPUs are en route to retailers, they have already arrived for testing, and will be benchmarked under Linux on Phoronix once that secondary embargo expires.

      • Intel Core i9 7980XE Linux Benchmarks: 18 Core / 36 Threads For $1999 USD

        Besides the embargo expiring this morning on the Intel Core i9 7960X, the Core i9 7980XE Extreme Edition processor is also now fair game. Here is our look at the Linux performance for this 18 core / 36 thread processor within a single 165 Watt package.

      • Intel Core i9 7960X Linux Benchmarks

        While Intel previously announced the expanded Intel Core X-Series line-up including the Core i9 7960X and Core i9 7980XE processors, only today is the performance embargo expiring as these CPUs begin to ship to further battle AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper line-up. Here is today’s launch-day Linux benchmarks of the Core i9 7960X.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • 5 Great Linux Desktop Environments You Haven’t Heard Of

      Although popular, these desktop environments (DE) are just a sample of what’s currently available. Better still, it’s so easy to make the change. Unlike Windows and macOS, you can change the desktop user interface by simply installing a new one. Unhappy with the way your preferred Linux distro looks? You don’t have to switch distros, just switch desktops!

      The following five desktop environments (and, to be precise, shells) are under the radar, but definitely worth a look.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt 5.10 Alpha in testing for KDE neon

        Qt 5.10 got an alpha release last week and rumours are there’s lots of interesting new stuff for Plasma developers and other parts of KDE.

        Packages are available in KDE neon but hidden away in the testing repository because there is inevitably some breakage. Random bits of QML such as the clock above and Kirigami seem to be unhappy. Please do test but expect breakage and fixes to be necessary.

      • KTextEditorPreviewPlugin 0.1.0

        The KTextEditorPreviewPlugin software provides the KTextEditor Document Preview Plugin, a plugin for the editor Kate, the IDE KDevelop, or other software using the KTextEditor framework.

        The plugin enables a live preview of the currently edited text document in the final format. For the display it uses the KParts plugin which is currently selected as the preferred one for the MIME type of the document. If there is no matching KParts plugin, no preview is possible.

      • Quick Look at KDE Plasma 5.11

        KDE released Plasma 5.11 beta version at 14 September 2017. The new star feature here is Plasma Vault, an ability to protect your folder with password. You can try it on the latest KDE neon before the Plasma finally released next October. Here is a quick look to the new things on KDE Plasma on neon dev-unstable.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • BackSlash Linux Olaf

        While using BackSlash, I had two serious concerns. The first was with desktop performance. The Plasma-based desktop was not as responsive as I’m used to, in either test environment. Often times disabling effects or file indexing will improve the situation, but the desktop still lagged a bit for me. My other issue was the program crashes I experienced. The Discover software manager crashed on me several times, WPS crashed on start-up the first time on both machines, I lost the settings panel once along with my changes in progress. These problems make me think BackSlash’s design may be appealing to newcomers, but I have concerns with the environment’s stability.

        Down the road, once the developers have a chance to iron out some issues and polish the interface, I think BackSlash might do well targeting former macOS users, much the same way Zorin OS tries to appeal to former Windows users. But first, I think the distribution needs to stabilize a bit and squash lingering stability bugs.

      • A Quick Review Of Parabola Linux Distribution

        ​There is free software and then there is software that is entirely free as in freedom (libre). These distros are ready-to-use full systems whose developers have followed the Guidelines for Free Systems Distribution as put forward by the Free Software Foundation.

      • Antergos 17.9 Gnome – Ghost riders in the Tux

        Antergos 17.9 is a weird distro, full of polarities. It comes with a weak live session, and it does not really demo what it can do. The installer is good, robust, and if offers some neat tricks, including extra software and proprietary graphics driver. I’m really impressed by that. The installed system behaved reasonably, but with some oddities.

        Hardware support isn’t the best, most notably touchpad and what happened after waking from suspend. On the other hand, you get good smartphone and media support, a colorful and practical software selection, a moderately reasonable package manager with some tiny dependency hiccups, pretty looks, okay performance, and nowhere does it advertise its Archness. Much better than I expected, not as good as it should be. Well, taking everything into consideration, I guess it deserves something like 7.5/10. Antergos needs a livelier live session, more hardware love out of the box, and a handful of small tweaks around desktop usability. Shouldn’t be too hard to nail. Worth watching.

    • New Releases

      • LibreELEC (Krypton) v8.1.2 BETA

        This is the third beta for our 8.2 release. It addresses minor findings related to the Samba bump: we now detect and avoid invalid Samba v3 configurations, old samba.conf.sample templates are overwritten with the new v4 template, and remote SMB shares are mounted using SMB2 or where possible SMB3. The release also adds support for the Raspberry Pi IQAudIO Digi+ board and a Xiaomi BT remote, and includes security fixes for the Blueborne Linux/BlueZ vulnerability. This is hopefully the final 8.1.x beta release; next will be 8.2.0.

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro Linux Phasing out i686 (32bit) Support

        In a not very surprising move by the Manjaro Linux developers, a blog post was made by Philip, the Lead Developer of the popular distribution based off Arch Linux, On Sept. 23 that reveals that 32-bit support will be phased out.

        In his announcement, Philip says, “Due to the decreasing popularity of i686 among the developers and the community, we have decided to phase out the support of this architecture. The decision means that v17.0.3 ISO will be the last that allows to install 32 bit Manjaro Linux. September and October will be our deprecation period, during which i686 will be still receiving upgraded packages. Starting from November 2017, packaging will no longer require that from maintainers, effectively making i686 unsupported.”

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Linux turns 25: From business distro leader to cloud power

        Today, SUSE, the oldest Linux business still running, is a long, long way from its humble beginnings. Then, the first SUSE Linux was a German port of Patrick Volkerding’s Slackware, the world’s longest surviving Linux distribution.

      • Enterprise open source comes of age

        In the age of digitalisation and data centre modernisation, open source has come of age.

        This is demonstrated by the growth that enterprise open source software provider SUSE has enjoyed over the last months.

        “SUSE is in good shape,” says Nils Brauckmann, CEO of SUSE. “In the last year, revenue grew at 21%, and it was profitable growth.”

        Business is positive going forward, he adds, with SUSE now part of the larger mothership Micro Focus group following the completion this month of the HPE Software spin merger.

        “Micro focus is now the seventh-largest pure-play software vendor in the world, with revenues approaching $4,5-billion,” Brauckmann points out.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-2 Rolls Out for Ubuntu Phones, Including Nexus 4 & Nexus 7 2013

            The UBports community has released this past weekend the second OTA (Over-the-Air) update to supported Ubuntu Phone devices, bringing support for some old devices that were requested by the community, as well as a set of new features.

          • UbuCon Europe 2017

            I’ve been to many Ubuntu related events before, but what surprises me every time about UbuCons is the outstanding work by the community organising these events.

            Earlier this month, I was in Paris for UbuCon Europe 2017. I had quite high expectations about the event/location and the talks, especially because the French Ubuntu community is known for hosting awesome events several times a year like Ubuntu Party and Ubuntu install parties.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Packet radio lives on through open source software

    Packet radio is an amateur radio technology from the early 1980s that sends data between computers. Linux has natively supported the packet radio protocol, more formally known as AX.25, since 1993. Despite its age, amateur radio operators continue to use and develop packet radio today. A Linux packet station can be used for mail, chat, and TCP/IP. It also has some unique capabilities, such as tracking the positions of nearby stations or sending short messages via the International Space Station (ISS).

  • Change Healthcare Releases Healthcare Blockchain Solution
  • Change Healthcare Introduces Enterprise Blockchain for Healthcare
  • Be Nice: Hyperledger’s Brian Behlendorf Offers Tips for Creating Sustainable Open Source Projects

    The Linux operating system was created some 26 years ago by a young Finnish engineer, and it now powers the global economy. Not only has Linux survived for more than quarter of a century, it continues to grow its influence and dominance.

  • American International University, West Africa Extends Curriculum as Open Source Initiative Member

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), the global non-profit formed to educate about, and advocate for, the benefits of open source software and build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community, announced today that The American International University, West Africa’s (AIUWA) has joined the organization as an Affiliate Member. AIUWA is a unique educational instituion of higher education, combining degree-seeking programs, along with professional development and certification. The program’s mandatory academic and professional courses enable students to graduate with both academic credentials and professional qualifications. AIUWA also serves as a center for health, management, and information technology research and development in Africa.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Adding More Policy Firepower to the Mozilla Network

        In June, Mozilla launched a new fellowship that brings together policy experts from around the world to advance crucial tech policy efforts. Today, we are excited to announce the appointment of seven advisors to help steer this fellowship into the future. We are also announcing one new fellow, bringing the cohort to 11 fellows from four countries who are already up to great work.

        Over the past three months, Mozilla’s Tech Policy Fellows have been digging into their projects to keep the Internet open and freely accessible to all. With most fellows joining directly out of government service, they’re continuing to move forward some of the urgent policy efforts they had been leading, and working to avoid any backsliding that might come with government transitions.

        The fellows’ work is focused on protecting net neutrality, advancing policies around artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, promoting affordable broadband service for vulnerable communities, and more. Amba Kak is our most recent addition, starting this month to work on promoting net neutrality in India.

        To advance this work, the fellows are meeting with policymakers inside and outside of government; they’re keynoting major events and giving press interviews about the importance of these topics; and in the coming weeks, they’ll share more about their work with the Mozilla network on our network blog.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • MongoDB’s Mongo Moment [Ed: Ridiculous. The "journalist" writing about MongoDB here has received many paychecks from the company.]
  • BSD

    • 23 Years of FreeDOS

      This eBook contains the voices of many of the users who contributed their stories, as well as the history of FreeDOS. Many individuals have helped make FreeDOS what it is, but this eBook represents only a few of them. I hope you enjoy this collection of 23 years of everything FreeDOS!

    • Call for testing: OpenSSH 7.6

      OpenSSH 7.6p1 is almost ready for release, so we would appreciate testing
      on as many platforms and systems as possible. This is a bugfix release.

    • OpenSSH 7.6 Is Ready For Testing & Finishes Gutting SSHv1

      OpenSSH 7.6 will be hitting the streets soon.

    • New FreeBSD Committer

      So in a sense I have been part-time part of the FreeBSD Community for nearly 15 years as well. FreeBSD has reached Tier-1 status within KDE now, with the KDE FreeBSD CI, which much stronger upstreaming happening, and with Tobias and Raphael following new releases pretty closely. I’ve been pushing and prodding at our ports tree a lot, and chasing CMake releases (and reporting bugs), and trying to get some KDE KF5-based applications into the official ports tree. So I’m happy to now receive a FreeBSD ports commit bit, with Tobias and Raphael acting as mentors. I won’t pretend this will immediately lead to Qt 5.9 and KDE Applications 17.latest in the official FreeBSD ports tree, but it increases the (direct) effort we can expend on it.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Richard Stallman says Microsoft’s Linux love-in is a ploy to ‘extinguish’ free software

      GNU OS CREATOR Richard Stallman has slammed Microsoft’s Windows 10 subsystem for Linux as an attempt to “extinguish” free software.

      Microsoft, a company whose ex-CEO famously slammed Linux as a “cancer”, has a new found “love” for open source software, having last month released its hell-over-freezing subsystem that lets Windows 10 users run various GNU/Linux distros and software.

      Unsurprisingly, some are sceptical about Microsoft’s new-found enthusiasm for Linux and open source software, including free software advocate, and founder of GNU OS Richard Stallman.

      Speaking to Tech Republic, he said Microsoft’s decision to build a Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) amounts to an attempt to extinguish free, open source software.

      “It certainly looks that way. But it won’t be so easy to extinguish us, because our reasons for using and advancing free software are not limited to practical convenience,” he said.

      “We want freedom. As a way to use computers in freedom, Windows is a non-starter.”

      “The aim of the free software movement is to free users from freedom-denying proprietary programs and systems, such as Windows. Making a non-free system, such Windows or macOS or iOS or ChromeOS or Android, more convenient is a step backward in the campaign for freedom.”

    • Microsoft’s Linux enthusiasm may not help open source

      Microsoft has been hitting the headlines lately with its enthusiasm for Linux – but Open Source’s messiah Richard Stallman is less than impressed.

      Vole has been building a Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) with its chums in Canonical. But Stallman thinks this amounts to an attempt to extinguish software that users are free to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve.

      “It certainly looks that way. But it won’t be so easy to extinguish us, because our reasons for using and advancing free software are not limited to practical convenience,” he said.

      “We want freedom. As a way to use computers in freedom, Windows is a non-starter.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Free the Seed: An Open Source Approach to Food Crop Seed

      We Americans value the freedom to do what we want with our property. These days, our freedom of action in regard to what we own is increasingly being eroded and constrained by the expansion of corporate power and the evolving legal dimensions of ownership.

      Nowhere has this tendency to limit freedom to operate come into sharper focus than in farming. A farmer may buy a John Deere tractor, but ownership of the copyrighted software—without which the tractor cannot run and cannot be repaired—is retained by the company. According to Deere, the farmer has “an implied lease” to operate the tractor but is prohibited from making any repair or change involving use of the copyrighted code.

    • Synthace raises a £7.3m Series A to bring open source to biotech

      Synthace, a UK startup using open source technology to make process in biotechnology move faster, has raises a £7.3m Series A round. New investors White Cloud Capital, Amadeus Capital Partners and Eleven Two Capital participated alongside existing investors that included Sofinnova Partners, SOSV and Bioeconomy Capital.

      The Company’s Antha operating system replaces processes which are currently done, almost, by hand.

      CEO Tim Fell says the company came out of the desire to better engineer biology: “Our need to heal, feed, fuel and manufacture for a growing population can be met by unlocking the near infinite power of biology but only by bringing software abstraction and more automation to biological R&D and manufacturing, and by enabling biologists to build atop their collective work. That is what the Antha platform does.”

    • Runway to Open Source Machine Learning Research
  • Programming/Development

    • Accelerate Application Modernization with Node.js

      Node.js is much more than an application platform. In a 2016 Forrester report, the research firm talked with several Node.js users and developers to better understand the growth of Node within global enterprises across all a range of industries.

    • GitLab v10 Integrates with Kubernetes

      It’s been six months and two million downloads since GitLab released version 9.0 of its developer-centric integrated application development platform. The company kept busy in the time since, polling nearly 1,000 users at client companies like VMWare, Sony and Ticketmaster to find out what capabilities their developers needed to power up the most enterprise-worthy GitLab release yet.

Leftovers

  • Apple replaces Bing with Google as search engine for Siri and Spotlight

    Apple is ditching Bing and will now use Google to power the default search engine for Siri, Search within iOS (iOS search bar), and Spotlight on Mac.

  • Science

    • Australia to launch its own Space Agency

      Australia is to establish its own space agency with the federal government set to announce plans for the agency as it looks to cash in on the growing global space industry estimated to be worth $400 billion.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • New Research Links Flint Water Crisis to ‘Horrifyingly Large’ Spike in Fetal Death Rates

      Shedding new light on the human costs of the ongoing Flint water crisis—as well as underscoring the need for regulatory oversight—a new working paper links the city’s now infamous switch from the Detroit system to the Flint River as a water source with a decrease in fertility rates and a spike in fetal death rates.

      The paper (pdf) from researchers from the University of Kansas and West Virginia University is the first to look at lead-poisoned water’s impact on fertility and birth outcomes. It compares birth and fetal death rates, which refers to miscarriages after 20 weeks of gestation, in Flint with those in other Michigan cities from 2008 to 2015—before and after the 2014 water switch.

    • Ohio Community Confronts the Opioid Crisis Head-On

      Devon Applegate’s life in Scioto County, Ohio, has paralleled one of the worst drug epidemics this nation has ever seen. During his 19 years, he’s watched as opioid pills, dispensed by doctors to seemingly anyone who walked through their doors, destroyed the lives of many people in his community and throughout Ohio.

      The problem grew to a scale that it is now part of a nationwide crisis, leading the Trump administration to contemplate declaring a state of emergency. Southern Ohio is one of the opioid epidemic’s epicenters, and the problem continues to grow. In 2016, 4,050 Ohioans died from unintentional drug overdoses—a thousand more than the year before.

    • Unitaid Official Explains How ‘Breakthrough’ HIV Medicine Pricing Deal Brings Best To The Neediest

      In the midst of the high-level meetings of the annual United Nations General Assembly last week, health officials from the UN and foundations announced what they called a breakthrough pricing agreement that will speed the availability of “the first affordable, generic, single-pill HIV treatment regimen containing [the key compound] dolutegravir to public sector purchasers in low- and middle-income countries at around $75 per person, per year.” A senior official at Unitaid, the drug purchasing mechanism that helped reach the deal, explained to Intellectual Property Watch how it came about and why this is significant.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • CCleaner malware may be from Chinese group: Avast

      Security company Avast says it has found similarities between the code injected into CCleaner and the APT17/Aurora malware created by a Chinese advanced persistent threat group in 2014/2015.

    • Capsule8 Raises New Funds to Help Improve Container Security

      Container security startup Capsule8 is moving forward with beta customer deployments and a Series A round of funding, to help achieve its vision of providing a secure, production-grade approach to container security.

      The Series A round of funding was announced on Sept. 19, with the company raising $6 million, led by Bessemer and ClearSky, bringing total funding to date up to $8.5 million. Capsule8 first emerged from stealth in February 2017, though its’ core technology product still remains in private beta as the company fine-tunes the platform for production workload requirements.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Dozens of Civilians Killed When U.S. Bombed a School And a Market in Syria

      U.S. military aircraft bombed a school and a crowded marketplace in attacks that killed dozens of civilians in Syria this March, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch. Titled “All Feasible Precautions?: Civilian Casualties in Anti-ISIS Coalition Airstrikes in Syria,” the report investigated two airstrikes conducted in and around the northern Syrian city of Tabqa. Investigators who visited the sites and interviewed locals and survivors found that the strikes had caused huge numbers of civilian deaths. The documentation adds to a drumbeat of criticism about a U.S. air campaign in Syria that has already been accused of inflicting massive civilian casualties in support of ground operations against Islamic State by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

      The attacks documented in the report include a March 20 airstrike that targeted a school housing displaced people in the suburban town of Mansourah, outside of Tabqa, as well as another strike that hit a packed marketplace in Tabqa City two days later. Investigators from Human Rights Watch visited the sites of both attacks this July and collected the names of at least 84 civilians who had died in the bombings, including 30 children. While witnesses who spoke to investigators acknowledged that there had been Islamic State members, along with their families, around the areas of the bombings, they also said that there had been many civilians nearby who had no connection to the group.

    • Vote by Iraqi Kurds Adds to Tensions

      It is a foregone conclusion that the independence vote will receive at least 90 percent support. It is also certain that the vote will not immediately change the legal status of the Iraqi Kurdish region from the semi-autonomy it already enjoys. But the possible overreaction of Baghdad and its neighbors to the vote has injected fear and uncertainty about what happens after Monday.

    • As Israel backs Kurdish independence, Palestinians may reap the benefit
    • Kurds vote in independence referendum
    • There Is No Rehabilitating the Vietnam War

      Since the day it ended, in 1975, there have been efforts to rehabilitate the Vietnam War, to make it acceptable, even honorable. After all, there were so many sides to the story, weren’t there? It was so complex, so nuancical. There was real heroism among the troops.

      Of course, all of this is true, but it’s true of every war so it doesn’t redeem any war. The Vietnam War is beyond redemption and must be remembered and condemned for the calamity that it was. The Vietnam War was “one of the greatest American foreign policy disasters of the twentieth century.”

      Those are not the words of a leftist pundit or a scribbling anti-American. They are the words of H.R. McMaster, the sitting National Security Advisor to the President of the United States.

    • North Korea asserts its right to shoot down U.S. bombers
    • US says it’s not pushing for regime change in NKorea

      The Trump administration clarified Monday that it’s not seeking to overthrow North Korea’s government after the president tweeted that Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer” and Pyongyang interpreted it as a declaration of war.

      Ratcheting up the rhetoric further, the North’s top diplomat also argued Monday that Trump’s comment gives it the right to shoot down U.S. warplanes in international airspace.

    • Senate Passes Defense Bill That Would Bolster Nuclear Weapons Programs

      The Senate approved a massive defense policy bill by a vote of 89 to 9 on Monday that is raising concerns about nuclear weapons proliferation amid rising tensions between the United States and countries such as North Korea and Russia.

      The Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual piece of “must-pass” legislation that shapes dozens of policies at the Pentagon, would authorize $640 billion in discretionary defense spending and an additional $60 billion for overseas military operations, such as the ongoing war efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

      What’s the value of $700 billion? It’s more than twice the size of Denmark’s entire economy, and the same amount of money that the government spent bailing out banks during the financial collapse in 2008. Both the Senate and House versions of the bill name amounts that exceed President Trump’s request for military funding by tens of billions of dollars.

      The numbers put forth in the defense authorization bill set the bar for future defense spending legislation and policy determinations. As an authorization bill, this legislation does not actually permit the expenditure of those funds; an appropriations bill is needed for that.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate Armageddon Revisited

      Massive hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, Maria) and torrential flooding (Houston, Sierra Leone, Bihar-India, Assam-India, Nepal, Mumbai, Southern Asian Noah’s Ark territory) are only telltale signs, minor events in a bigger picture, like canaries in the proverbial mineshaft, warning of a much larger canvas painted with darkened hues, threatening like the distant rumbling of an upcoming mega storm.

      In that regard, it’s unmitigated insanity to ignore the bellwethers of Armageddon when big time trouble brews, like now. Ominous changes in the planet’s ecosystem are so blatant that anybody ignoring these warning signals should be slapped on the back of the head: Wake up and pay attention!

      After all, Greenland’s entire surface turned to slush for the first time in scientific history, raising the question of whether a tipping point is at hand, in turn, raising sea level by a lot. According to the climate models of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), Greenland’s entire ice sheet was not expected to turn 100% slushy for decades to come. Surprise, surprise, it’s here now!

    • While Trump Stokes Division, Warnings Against Ignoring Ongoing Crisis in Puerto Rico

      “No matter what crazy stuff Trump is up to now let’s keep in mind Puerto Rico really needs our attention and help.”

      Those are the words of Mark Ruffalo this weekend as the actor and social justice activist echoed the concerns of many that the president’s incendiary comments over recent days are serving to distract people from the severe crisis in the U.S. island territory, where power remains out for much of the island and residents are growing increasingly worried over the scale of the damage left by Hurricane Maria.

      As journalist David Sirota tweeted, “Houston & FL are destroyed, Puerto Rico is in crisis & Trump wants u to be mad not at his climate denialism but instead at NFL players.”

      In an interview with the Washington Post on Sunday, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz described the disaster in her city and across Puerto Rico—elsewhere described as “apocalyptic”—by saying, “There is horror in the streets… People are actually becoming prisoners in their own homes.”

    • China puts US on notice over solar panel trade curbs ahead of Trump trip

      Beijing sent a tempered warning to Washington against trade curbs on the weekend after a US agency concluded that imports of Chinese solar panels had hurt two American manufacturers.
      China’s Ministry of Commerce called on the United States to “exercise caution” on trade restrictions and rejected the US International Trade Commission’s ruling on Friday that the cheap imports were responsible for the woes of the two companies.

      The commission now has two months to review the case and make recommendations, such as tariffs, to US President Donald Trump. If Trump does not take action he could be seen as failing to meet his “America First” protectionist agenda; if he does, it could overshadow his planned trip to China later this year.

      In a statement on Saturday, Wang Hejun, director of the ministry’s Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau, said the commission’s ruling ignored strong opposition from other countries, US state governments, and “downstream” solar enterprises.

    • A pile of trash in the ocean has grown to the size of France—and some people want it recognized as a nation

      There’s a country-sized problem in the north Pacific Ocean: a patch of trash has grown to the size of France. So the environmental charity Plastic Oceans Foundation has paired up with the news and entertainment publication LadBible to campaign for it to be recognized as an official country.

      The campaign claims that, under Article 1 of the 1993 Montevideo Convention on the rights and duties of states, a country must be able to: define a territory, form a government, interact with other states, and have a permanent population. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has borders (sort of), and it’s easy to create a government and institutions for interacting with others. Now with former US vice president Al Gore signing up as the country’s first citizen and more than 100,000 signing the petition to be granted citizenship, the campaign has submitted its application earlier this month to the United Nations to recognize the Trash Isles as the world’s 196th country.

      The project is the brainchild of advertising professionals Michael Hughes and Dalatando Almeida, according to AdWeek. Designer Mario Kerkstra helped create a flag, a passport, currency (called debris), and stamps.

    • The U.S. government fails Puerto Rico once again.

      But PROMESA is essentially an austerity measure. The financial oversight board charged with PROMESA’s implementation has proposed slashing public spending, further eroding the island’s worn safety net. “The plan includes cuts to the University of Puerto Rico, a reduction in pension benefits and a $550 million reduction in the island’s annual health care budget,” Marketplace reported in March.

      The federal government has long treated Puerto Rico like a vestigial organ, despite the fact that its 3.4 million residents are U.S. citizens. Puerto Rico needs aid, but it needs more than that; it needs equal recognition. It should be recognized as a state and funded accordingly—and if Congress isn’t willing to do that, it should end over a century of colonial rule and recognize the island’s independence.

    • Dubai starts tests in bid to become first city with flying taxis

      Dubai staged a test flight on Monday for what it said would soon be the world’s first drone taxi service under an ambitious plan by the United Arab Emirates city to lead the Arab world in innovation.

      The flying taxi developed by German drone firm Volocopter resembles a small, two-seater helicopter cabin topped by a wide hoop studded with 18 propellers.

      It was unmanned for its maiden test run in a ceremony arranged for Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed

    • Hot, isolated, and running out of supplies, parts of Puerto Rico near desperation

      In the heat and humidity here in the central mountains, Meryanne Aldea fanned her bedridden mother with a piece of cardboard Sunday as the ailing woman lay on her side, relieving a large ulcer in her back.

      The 63-year-old mother, Maria Dolores Hernandez, had cotton stuffed in her ears to keep flies out, since her now screenless windows were letting all sorts of bugs in. The gray-haired diabetic woman spoke with her daughter about her worries: that she would run out of prescription drugs, that they were almost out of generator fuel to keep her insulin refrigerated and to run the fans at night. With all the heat, she feared that her ulcer would become infected.

    • Chevron Rejects Push From Muslim Shareholders to Divest from Myanmar, Site of Ethnic Cleansing

      The world watches as the crisis continues in Myanmar, where the Muslim Rohingya minority faces barbaric acts of ethnic cleansing.

      The international community is increasingly critical of leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s resistance to intervention.

      But as the Nobel Laureate sits on her hands, a small Muslim-led investment firm led an effort to get a U.S. oil giant profiting from Myanmar’s fossil fuel wealth to divest in protest of the atrocities.

      The Virginia-based Azzad Asset Management started engaging in shareholder activism in 2015, a rarity among Islamic finance firms.

  • Finance

    • DeVos Says Defrauded Students Are After ‘Free Money’

      But perhaps none of that occurred to sheltered billionaire Betsy DeVos, speaking to wealthy Republicans at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in northern Michigan. These defrauded students are not seeking free money, but a chance to start again with nothing after being ripped off by cruel scam artists. Free money would be something like being born the daughter of Edgar Prince, who became a billionaire industrialist. Betsy DeVos is a disgrace.

    • Target to raise its minimum wage to $11 per hour, promising $15 by 2020
    • Why We Must Raise Taxes on Corporations and the Wealthy, Not Lower Them

      When Barack Obama was president, congressional Republicans were deficit hawks. They opposed almost everything Obama wanted to do by arguing it would increase the federal budget deficit.

      But now that Republicans are planning giant tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, they’ve stopped worrying about deficits.

      Senate Republicans have agreed to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, which means giant budget deficits.

    • Bridge over troubled legal water? Legal issues of the Brexit transition period

      Compared to famous Florentines, Theresa May’s recent speech on the UK’s Brexit plans inevitably owed more to Machiavelli than Leonardo da Vinci. Nevertheless, it gave a rough indication of the basic legal architecture that the UK government would like to govern its relationship with the EU for a transition period after Brexit Day. I have previously summarised and commented upon the main points of the Florence speech, but there is more to say on this legal framework – and also on the rules which would apply to EU27 citizens in the UK during the transition period.

    • Brexit bonanza: Lawyers encouraging corporations to sue UK & EU member states

      Brexit could become a money-making machine for law firms that make millions when corporations sue nation states via trade and investment agreements. Not only are these law firms paving the way for Brexit-related corporate claims against the UK, they are also building up the UK as a gateway for more investor claims against EU countries in the future.

    • John Oliver on monopolies, anti-trust and the death of real competitive markets

      Lax anti-trust enforcement is destroying American democracy, growth and equality; it laid waste to minority-owned small businesses and “fleeced” the middle class, creating its own parallel “justice” system and laying waste to whole industries, with the complicity of the Democratic party (and the $1,000/hour expert “consulting” by superstar economists), and there’s no end in sight, from Yahoo to Whole Foods.

    • Brexit diary – After Florence

      What should we make of it?

      In respect of the Brexit negotiations, the speech has made little difference. The position before the Florence speech is more-or-less the position today. The only concrete proposal, that of a security treaty, was welcome but not directly relevant to the current negotiations.

      [...]

      But if the speech was not in itself a failure, the speech was about failure.

      The request – which may or may not be granted by EU27 – for a two year transition on current terms is an implicit admission of the UK government’s failure to date on Brexit.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Ukraine-born billionaire with biz ties to Russian oligarchs is funding Trump’s legal defense via the RNC

      The RNC account in question has been historically used to pay for the RNC’s own legal bills, but just last month paid over $300,000 to help cover Trump’s personal legal expenses, Federal Election Commission filings reveal.

      Oh, and that same fund also paid about $200,000 to attorneys representing the President’s dumbest son, Don Jr.

    • Facebook Fail Is Blow for Silicon Valley Cult of Founder Control
    • Obama warned Zuckerberg about fake news on Facebook: report

      Obama reportedly pulled Zuckerberg aside at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru in November and warned him that unless he cracked down on fake news, it would only get worse in the next election.

    • Facebook Anonymously Admits It IDed Guccifer 2.0 in Real Time

      But 26 paragraphs later, WaPo reveals a detail that should totally change the spin of the article: in June, Facebook not only detected APT 28’s involvement in the operation (which I heard at the time), but also informed the FBI about it (which, along with the further details, I didn’t).

    • Kushner used private email account for White House business: Politico
    • Lawyer: Kushner used personal email for some WH messages

      President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, used his personal email account on dozens of occasions to communicate with colleagues in the White House, his lawyer said Sunday.

      Between January and August, Kushner either received or responded to fewer than 100 emails from White House officials from his private account, attorney Abbe Lowell said in a statement that confirmed Kushner’s use of a personal address in the first months of the administration.

      The use of a private email account to discuss government matters is a politically freighted issue that factored prominently in last year’s presidential election. Trump repeatedly attacked Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton for setting up a private email server as secretary of state, a decision that prompted an FBI investigation that shadowed her for much of the campaign.

      In Kushner’s case, Lowell said, the emails to and from his private account usually involved “forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal, rather than his White House, address.”

    • Watchdog: Ivanka Trump used personal email account for government business

      Ivanka Trump used a personal email account to communicate with a member of President Trump’s administration, a watchdog group said Monday.

      American Oversight obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that show Ivanka Trump, a senior White House adviser to her father, used a personal email account to contact Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Linda McMahon in February.

      Ivanka Trump wrote that she wanted to “explore opportunities to collaborate” with McMahon’s department on “women’s entrepreneurship,” according to the emails released under FOIA.
      “Dina [Powell, the White House deputy national security director] and I are very excited about your focus on women’s entrepreneurship and would love to assist you in any way we can,” Ivanka Trump wrote.

      The documents show Ivanka Trump exchanged the emails with McMahon about a month before she became an official government employee, though she had been involved with high-level meetings within the administration. However, Ivanka Trump copied her chief of staff, Julie Radford, on the emails. In them, Radford has a White House email account.

    • Western Propaganda in Southeast Asia

      It is all done in a fully barefaced manner. Those who are not part of this world could never even dream about such a ‘perfect’ design.

      You come to your club, in my case to The Foreign Correspondent Club of Thailand (FCCT), and immediately the long arm of indoctrination begins stretching towards you.

      You place yourself on a comfortable couch, and soon after get fully serviced. You get instructed, told what to think and how to formulate or modify your ideas.

      You are periodically shown movies about “corruption and immorality” in China. You get encouraged to participate in some public discussions that are, among other things, trashing the anti-Western president of the Philippines.

    • Report: Jared Kushner used private email for White House business
    • How digital media fuels moral outrage – and what to do about it

      But in today’s online attention economy, attending to the outrageous feels less like writing a check and more like setting up an automatic withdrawal. Open Facebook or Twitter, and you are likely to be greeted by a bottomless feed of outrage-triggering stimuli on matters both momentous and trifling, all handpicked just for you by an artificial intelligence that gets smarter each time you click, tap, and scroll.

    • Facebook’s Ad Scandal Isn’t a ‘Fail,’ It’s a Feature

      Here’s the hard truth: All these problems are structural. Facebook is approaching half-a-trillion dollars in market capitalization because the business model — ad-targeting through deep surveillance, emaciated work force, automation and the use of algorithms to find and highlight content that entice people to stay on the site or click on ads or share pay-for-play messages — works.

      The trouble is Facebook’s business model is structurally identical whether advertisers are selling shoes, politics or fake diet pills, and whether they’re going after new moms, dog lovers or neo-Nazis. The algorithms don’t know the difference, and Facebook’s customers are not its users.

    • Iceland’s ‘Pirate’ Politician Won’t Run After Government Collapses In Pedophilia Scandal

      Nearly one year after she first took office in 2009, the Icelandic parliamentarian and co-founder of the populist Pirate Party worked with WikiLeaks to release a video of a U.S. helicopter gunning down a group of civilians and journalists in Baghdad. She became a fierce critic of American-led wars, a vocal advocate for radical transparency and a prime target for U.S. intelligence services, which subpoenaed her private Twitter messages.

    • “Those People:” Trump plays to White nat’lism from N. Korea to NFL

      He actually said “those people.”

    • MSNBC Goes Full Dr. Strangelove

      Oh, in addition to his crimes against humanity, Negroponte also endorsed Hillary Clinton, who obviously shared his interest in perpetuating mass suffering among nonwhite, non-loyal Hondurans. And she trumpeted his endorsement loudly, as she did with Henry Kissinger. Not that there’s anything tone-deaf about that.

      It turns out that old John Negroponte was very impressed with Trump’s speech—only Benjamin Netanyahu was more girlish in his excitement. But surely Jack Jacobs, decorated war hero, would call out the insanity of threatening to commit war crimes in a speech at The United Nations. And Williams teed it up for him, asking Jacobs how America could start to “walk back” Trump’s Jack D. Ripper idiocy.

    • Split exposed in German far-right as co-leader storms out

      Frauke Petry, the co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) said on Monday she would not be part of the parliamentary group of her anti-immigrant party and stormed out of a news conference without answering questions.

      Petry’s surprise announcement came after the AfD shocked the German establishment by scoring 12.6 percent in the national election on Sunday, meaning it will be the first far-right party to enter the German parliament in more than half a century.

    • Angela Merkel, Reluctant Leader of the West, ‘Has Gotten the Taste for It’
    • Support grows for second Brexit vote

      Support for a second referendum on Brexit is growing among British voters, amid diminishing optimism about the U.K.’s future outside the European Union and waning confidence in London and Brussels’ handling of the divorce negotiations, according to a detailed new poll shared exclusively with POLITICO.

      Just over half of those surveyed said they back some form of a second referendum, with the most popular scenario being a vote to either accept the government’s Brexit deal, or to stay in the EU — an option backed by 34 percent. That is up from 28 percent in a similar survey in March, according to new findings from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (GQRR). In the earlier survey, 45 percent of people backed a second referendum — although these figures include public votes that would still mean the U.K. leaves the EU under either outcome.

    • The White House as Donald Trump’s New Casino

      During the 2016 election campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly emphasized that our country was run terribly and needed a businessman at its helm. Upon winning the White House, he insisted that the problem had been solved, adding, “In theory, I could run my business perfectly and then run the country perfectly. There’s never been a case like this.”

      Sure enough, while Hillary Clinton spent her time excoriating her opponent for not releasing his tax returns, Americans ultimately embraced the candidate who had proudly and openly dodged their exposure. And why not? It’s in the American ethos to disdain “the man” — especially the taxman. In an election turned reality TV show, who could resist watching a larger-than-life conman who had taken money from the government?

      Now, give him credit. As president, The Donald has done just what he promised the American people he would do: run the country like he ran his businesses. At one point, he even displayed confusion about distinguishing between them when he said of the United States: “We’re a very powerful company — country.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • 68 Things You Cannot Say on China’s Internet

      Song Jie, a writer in central China, knows what she can and cannot write in the romance novels she publishes online. Words that describe explicit sexual acts are out, of course. So are those for sexual organs. Even euphemisms like “behind” or “bottom” can trigger censorship by automatic software filters or a website’s employees.

      “Basically,” she said, “the sex scenes cannot be too detailed.”

      Other prohibitions inside China’s Great Firewall, the country’s system of internet filters and controls, are trickier to navigate, in part because they are subjective and even contradictory. And there are more and more of them.

      While China has long sought to block access to political material online, a flurry of new regulatory actions aims to establish a more expansive blockade, recalling an earlier era of public morality enforced by the ruling Communist Party.

      In a directive circulated this summer, the state-controlled association that polices China’s fast-growing digital media sector set out 68 categories of material that should be censored, covering a broad swath of what the world’s largest online audience might find interesting to read or watch.

    • How The RIAA Helped Pave The Way For Spain To Undermine Democracy

      This might seem like a harsh title, but let’s go back a bit into history. In 2010, at the direct urging of the RIAA, the US government, in the form of ICE, suddenly decided that it could seize domains right out from under websites with zero due process. Specifically, the RIAA gave ICE a list of websites that it insisted were engaging in piracy. It later turned out that this list was completely bogus — and the seized domains included some music blogs and a search engine — and when ICE asked the RIAA to provide the evidence (incredibly, many months after seizing the domains…), it turns out that they had none. Even with all of this, ICE kept one blog’s domain for over a year, while denying that site’s lawyer even the chance to talk to the judge overseeing the case — and (even more incredibly) kept two other sites for five whole years.
      The RIAA, who was directly quoted in the affidavit used to seize these domains (including falsely claiming that a non-RIAA song, that was personally given to the site by the independent artist in question, was an RIAA song and infringing) later tried to downplay its role in all of this, while still insisting that seizing entire domains based on flimsy claims and zero evidence was a perfectly reasonable strategy.

    • French Ministry of Interior v. Indymedia: An absurd and shocking act of censorship

      Last Thursday, the French Ministry of Interior ordered two Indymedia websites, one in Nantes and the other in Grenoble, to take down an anonymous tract claiming responsibility for fire arson in a police hangar the previous night. According to the government, the hosted text constitutes a “provocation to terrorism”. The two Indymedia sites decided to take down the litigious content, in order to avoid being put on the secret blocking list sent by the government to major ISPs in France to censor websites. While the text has also been relayed on the websites of traditional news outlets, the latter have apparently not been subject to the government’s takedown request.

    • China’s Censors Pull Revered Director’s Film Days Before Release, Outraging Industry

      Marketing efforts and ticket presales for Feng Xiaogang’s ‘Youth’ were already well advanced when authorities suddenly blocked its release, offering no explanation.

      Youth, the 17th film from renowned Chinese filmmaker Feng Xiaogang, had been billed as a possible commercial and critical return to form. But a sudden heavy-handed censorship decision may have just laid such hope to waste.

      A sweeping period drama set during the upheavals of 1970s China, the film was well received at its world premiere during the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, with critics praising its balance between Feng’s auteurist and crowd-pleasing impulses — traits that once earned him the nickname of “China’s Spielberg.” Commercial prospects for Beijing studio Huayi Brothers, the film’s lead producer (which could use a hit), were also thought to be strong, as the film was set to open Sept. 29, just prior to a lengthy national holiday period in China.

    • Twitter Censorship: Government Removal Requests
    • The New Censorship
    • China Blocks WhatsApp, Broadening Online Censorship
    • WeChat claims it stores all user data and could even ‘disclose’ it to the Chinese government
    • Banned Books Week: Unveiling NCAC’s Book Censorship Action Kit

      “Banning books? That doesn’t happen in the United States.”

      Unfortunately, attempts at censorship don’t only happen in places like China or Iran.

    • Banned Books Week: ‘In 2017, censorship comes from an outraged public’
    • Why We Need to Have Access to Banned Books

      This week is the American Library Association’s official Banned Books Week, where we celebrate books that have survived troubled times, literary shunning and, occasionally, potential legal persecution.

      Oddly enough, most of the books that faced so much trouble are ones we now consider essential to the literary sphere.

      As we (or at least I) celebrate Banned Books week by buying out Barnes and Noble’s entire stock, we should remember that without these books, the world at large could have a much narrower worldview.

    • Where to Celebrate Banned Books Week 2017!
    • Panel celebrates freedom to read
    • Remain vigilant on Chinese censorship, says academic
    • Blazing saddles dim memory in new dark age of censorship, witch-hunts
    • China’s cyber watchdog imposes top fines on tech firms over censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Is the NSA Doing More Harm Than Good in Not Disclosing Exploits?

      The current debate surrounding the Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP) — the process by which the U.S. government decides whether to disclose newly discovered software vulnerabilities or keep them secret for possible use — is admittedly rather tedious. One side accuses NSA of “exploit hoarding” and insists the agency should disclose more discovered vulnerabilities in the interest of public safety. The other side counters that the government should retain a responsible amount of so-called zero-day exploits and that it discloses them when reasonable. Both sides, however, often talk past the obvious point that there will always be vulnerabilities the NSA needs to retain for national security reasons. Even those who encourage the NSA to prioritize defense over retention of vulnerabilities for offensive use should acknowledge that disclosure of a vulnerability makes us more secure only if it is either already in the hands of — or independently discovered — by an adversary.

    • Accused NSA leaker Reality Winner seeks release from jail
    • Accused NSA Leaker Reality Winner Seeks Release From Jail
    • Accused Georgia NSA leaker appearing in court this week to ask for release
    • ePrivacy Campaign starts today, act now!

      A decisive vote for our online privacy will take place in the European Parliament in two weeks. If we do not act now, companies will be allowed to monitor us for business purposes and without our consent (through the analysis of our emails, calls and Internet usage, online tracking and geolocation). La Quadrature du Net starts today an awareness campaign, so that anyone can contribute to this fight for our rights: eprivacy.laquadrature.net.

      There are two weeks left to convince the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs’) in the ‘Civil Liberties’ Committee (LIBE) to protect our privacy. On 11 October, they will vote their draft report on the ePrivacy Regulation. This report will be the basis on which the Parliament will approach this key Regulation before negotiating it with the Council of the EU (made of the government of each Member State).

    • Campaign group chief found guilty of refusing to divulge passwords

      The international director of the campaign organisation Cage has been convicted of a terrorist offence after refusing to hand over passwords to his mobile phone and laptop.

      Muhammad Rabbani, 36, was found guilty at Westminster magistrates’ court of wilfully obstructing police when he refused to cooperate at Heathrow airport last November. The test case could affect the way thousands of suspects stopped at UK airports and ports every year interact in the future with anti-terrorist officers.

      Rabbani was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay £620 in costs. His lawyers plan to appeal to the high court on the grounds that existing police powers do not sufficiently protect privacy or legally privileged material.

    • Traveler who refused to give device passwords to police found guilty of obstruction in UK court

      A UK court has reaffirmed the power for state agents to use sweeping counterterrorism legislation to require travelers hand over the passwords for their digital devices for their contents to be searched at borders.

      A London court today found Muhammad Rabbani guilty of willfully obstructing the police by failing to hand over device passwords and the PIN code for his smartphone after he had been detained at a UK airport.

    • The race to save online privacy: what happens when quantum computers can break all our crypto?

      Although many people are well aware of the many threats to their privacy, there is an underlying assumption that the use of strong encryption will always be available to mitigate those problems. Governments will doubtless continue to push for backdoors in encrypted Internet services like WhatsApp. But even if they do get their way by some misfortune, there are open source implementations that will remain beyond the reach of any government. As soon as commercial offerings are compromised, free software versions can step in for those who want such protection.

      [...]

      Even if new encryption methods are introduced for future protection, there’s nothing to stop people using quantum computing to expose information that has been protected using today’s crypto. For example, the NSA or GCHQ might be storing encrypted emails and communications of interest that they have swept up as part of their global surveillance. Those might be impossible to read today, but in a few years’ time, when quantum computers are available to deep-pocketed intelligence agencies, the latter will be able to eavesdrop on all those conversations we thought were guaranteed to be private, which could have some interesting consequences in years to come.

    • NSA-Developed Crypto Technology No Longer Trusted For Use In Global Standards

      One of the most shocking pieces of information to emerge from the Snowden documents was that the NSA had paid RSA $10 million to push a weakened form of crypto in its products. The big advantage for the NSA was that it made it much easier to decrypt messages sent using that flawed technology. A few months after this news, the National Institute of Standards and Technology announced that it would remove the “Dual Elliptic Curve” (Dual EC) algorithm from its recommendations. But of course, that’s not the end of the story. Betraying trust is always a bad idea, but in the security field it’s an incredibly stupid idea, since trust is a key aspect of the way things work in that shadowy world.

    • NSA Encryption War – if they win do we lose?

      Security agencies like the NSA are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

      We want their protection but we don’t want to give them the tools and access they need to protect us. Abuse is obviously a big concern here and if the movies can be believed, we have good reason to be worried.

      This debate is going to rage on until there is more convergence between cybercrime and cyber terrorism. We are already seeing cyber terrorists leveraging the web more than ever before.

      Once we start seeing remotely controlled loss of life, public opinion will no doubt swing to wanting to give the security agencies the tools and access they need.

    • Woman charged after uploading nude picture of friend getting dressed to Facebook

      A 22-year-old woman faces two years in prison after being charged with taking a nude photograph of her friend while she was getting dressed and then unlawfully uploading it to Facebook without her permission.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Trump doubles down on NFL rant, clearly has no idea how all this works

      If there’s anything constructive to take from Donald Trump’s continuing crusade against black athletes in the NFL protesting racial injustices in America, it’s that he seems to have lost touch with reality.

      Less than 24 hours after his initial, poorly received remarks that took the league’s protesting players to task, the 45th president of the United States is using his favorite social media platform to double down. In a pair of Saturday tweets, he seems to suggest that he’s somehow empowered to fire NFL players.

    • Freezing immigrants’ bank accounts makes Britain look more and more dystopian

      There’s a flashback in one of the early episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale, the TV version of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, where June, the protagonist, tries to pay for a coffee under the new regime and her card is declined. She discovers that every woman’s bank account has been frozen, and she is now entirely reliant on her partner for money. Deprived of money, she realises, there is even less chance she can flee. It is a remarkable reminder of the way the state can control the population with the click of a button.

      The government’s decision to force banks and building societies to freeze the accounts of failed asylum seekers, foreign national offenders and visa overstayers has a ring of The Handmaid’s Tale – only in this case, Theresa May really wants them to leave. As home secretary, she oversaw the creation of “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants, including requiring landlords to check their tenant’s immigration status, and a “deport first, appeal later” policy.

    • #TakeaKnee Sunday as NFL Teams and Players Rebuff President Trump

      Sunday is game day for the National Football League and the hashtag #TakeaKnee is going viral as people across the nation see how players and teams respond to calls by President Donald Trump to punish players who do so.

      For the earliest round of games that began at 1:00 pm (EST), dozens of players knelt while many teams chose to stand with arms locked together in a show of solidarity (see below).

      Despite that the NFL has been a vocal (and official) sponsor of the U.S. military for years—acting mostly as a high-profile promoter and recruitment center for the Pentagon—a wave of protest initiated last year by players trying to draw attention to racism and police violence has swept the league into the political conversation this week after Trump, first at a rally on Friday night and then in a series of weekend tweets, called on team owners to fire or suspend players for voicing their views on social issues.

    • 10 Clarifying #TakeaKnee Tweets to Beat Back Idiotic Arguments by Right-Wingers

      With #TakeaKnee going viral on Sunday as NFL players push back against threats by President Donald Trump, those who support the president’s position that professional athletes—and especially black or brown professional athletes—should just do as they are told and not speak their minds were infecting the social media hashtag with a variety of racist and otherwise ill-considered arguments about why “millionaire players” shouldn’t have or express political views. (Also, it’s all about the flag and misguided pro-war patriotism, aka freedom.)

    • NFL Players Kneel During National Anthem At Ravens and Jaguars Games In Protest of Trump and Racism

      Dozens of NFL players and staff took a knee during the national anthem Sunday at the first game after President Donald Trump criticized the practice at a rally in Alabama. The game was between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens in London.

    • Why the World Feels Like It’s Going Crazy

      Is it just a coincidence that the US, UK, and Germany (not to mention Turkey, Hungary, and so on) have all swung hard right in the last year or so? That suddenly one day, the citizens of three of the world’s richest countries woke up and decided collectively on extremism, for no underlying, connected, shared reason? Does that sound plausible? I think that the opposite is true: to any reasonable person, there is now a sharp trend very clearly visible. And as with any trend, there must be a cause.

    • Violent Crime in U.S. Rises for Second Consecutive Year
    • Torturing Detainees Is Immoral and Ineffective, Says UN Human Rights Chief

      A Manual for Investigative Interviewing to abolish torture among detainees suspected of crime is in the pipeline, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said today.

      At an event held on the sidelines of the General Assembly, Al Hussein slammed the practice of torture and called upon countries to abolish it entirely. In recent years, numerous studies have shown that information obtained through torture is not reliable, and from the interrogator’s perspective, even counterproductive. This is in part because flagrant abuse of human rights provokes anger among communities.

      “This destruction of public trust is profoundly damaging. When added to the perception that police abuses and humiliation of specific communities is tolerated – based on economic, geographic, ethnic, religious or other distinctions – it will certainly exacerbate tensions and may lead to serious violence,” Al Hussein said.

    • NFL spokesman: ‘This is what real locker room talk is’

      NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart made a not-so-subtle jab at President Trump during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

      “Looking at yesterday, everyone should know, including the President, this is what real locker room talk is,” said Lockhart, who served as press secretary under President Clinton. “We don’t seek to get into political debates or relish being in the middle of it, but extraordinary statements from our clubs and owners demonstrate just how deeply we believe in our players and in our game.”

    • NFL Owners and Executives Who Protested Donald Trump Are the Biggest Hypocrites Yet

      AS 3.5 MILLION AMERICANS languished without power in Puerto Rico this weekend, President Donald Trump turned his attention instead to NFL players who had decided to take a knee during the national anthem to protest injustice, bigotry, and police brutality in the U.S.

      “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” the president bellowed at a rally for a special election in Alabama. The owners who fired players, Trump said, would quickly be among the most popular men in America.

      Trump directed some of the harshest words of his presidency not at ascendant neo-Nazis or even opposition politicians, but peaceful NFL stars, many of them black, taking a knee to bring attention to a cause they care about deeply. What makes this so unique is that it wasn’t a Joe Biden hot mic moment: It was an intentional attack on free speech.

    • Police posed a greater danger to journalists than demonstrators in St. Louis

      Last weekend, I covered the protests in St. Louis along with Ellie Cherryhomes, one of my fellow photojournalism students at MU, and several other press photographers and videographers from news outlets across the country.

      People had gathered in the streets to protest the acquittal of police officer Jason Stockley, who fatally shot motorist Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. As in Ferguson in 2014, the protests came from a community hurt by police killings. It’s important to note that for the vast majority of this past weekend, the protests were peaceful. Police, in turn, were relatively restrained in their behavior — until Sunday night.

    • All The NFL Players Who Protested National Anthem In Week 3

      During the third week of the National Football League season, the NFL responded to President Donald Trump’s comments slurring players, who take a knee during the national anthem to protest injustice, police brutality, and systemic racism. The owners and coaches linked arms to show Trump he would not divide them. But there were several players, who took stronger action and continued to engage in the tactic of taking a knee.

      Taking a knee started with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the 2016 preseason. He declared, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” (He was referring to police who gun down black men and face nearly zero consequences for their actions.)

    • Diane Abbott urges end to online abuse of BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg

      Diane Abbott has called for an end to online abuse of the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg, and asked why it is female journalists and politicians that so often find themselves in the firing line.

      The shadow home secretary said she was saddened to hear that Kuenssberg was being accompanied by a security guard at Labour conference after facing a backlash from some Jeremy Corbyn supporters over claims of bias.

      Asked if she would call on supporters not to indulge in online abuse, Abbott, who faced more attacks than any other politician during the recent election campaign, said: “Oh definitely. Don’t do it. Just don’t do it. There is a positive case to make on Jeremy online, make that positive case. You don’t have to be abusing other people.”

    • Texas Schedules Execution but Refuses DNA Tests That Could Prove a Man’s Innocence

      When hunters walking in the piney woods of Sam Houston National Forest in East Texas found the body of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter on January 2, 1999, her jeans were torn and her shirt was pulled up. There was tissue damage on her face from scavenging animals and a length of pantyhose, which had been used to strangle her, was tied around her neck.

      Trotter had been missing since December 8, 1998, when she disappeared from the Montgomery County community college where she was a first-year student. Three days later, on unrelated warrants, the police arrested Larry Swearingen, a 27-year-old unemployed electrician with a young family and a history of run-ins with the law. Police suspected Swearingen was Trotter’s killer. He had been seen talking with Trotter two days before her disappearance outside a local store near Lake Conroe, which abuts the national forest. On the day she went missing, he was seen chatting with her in the college library.

      After the body was found some three weeks later, Swearingen was charged with Trotter’s kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder. There was little in the way of hard evidence to back up the charges. In addition to the two times he was seen talking to Trotter prior to her disappearance, the state pointed to a lie he told, claiming he didn’t know who Trotter was, and to a letter he wrote while jailed in which he pretended to be someone else and claimed knowledge about the murder that officials said only the killer would know.

    • People Power Is Taking the Voting Rights Fight to Kris Kobach

      The ACLU’s 50-state voting rights campaign will start in Kansas, where Kobach’s voter suppression efforts have created chaos.

      Donald Trump is obsessed with proving that voter fraud is a huge problem in the United States, not only to justify his false claim that he won the popular vote but also, and more importantly, to legitimize an attack on voting rights.

      To do this, Trump has turned to Kris Kobach, Kansas’s secretary of state and a longtime opponent of voting rights. He tapped Kobach to lead a voter fraud commission that has drawn scrutiny for trying to collect personal data about every voter in the country, promoting blatant falsehoods about supposed instances of voter fraud in the 2016 election, sanctioning voter suppression, and operating in secrecy in violation of federal law.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Velcro’s Hilarious Trademark Lesson Video Actually A Good Lesson In Just How Stupid Trademark Law Has Become

        So, you’ve probably heard stories in the past about the fear some trademark lawyers have about “genericide” — where their product’s name becomes so attached to the product that it’s considered generic and the trademark no longer applies? Think kleenex and xerox for example. We’ve found, over the years, that people get a bit too worked up about this, leading trademark lawyers to make some really dumb demands along the way to try to “prevent” what is generally impossible to actually prevent. We also often see people claim (falsely) that this means companies are required to stop any and all uses of their mark, even when not infringing (or, even worse, seeing people falsely claiming that the same thing applies to copyright). Either way, the company Velcro has taken… well… quite a unique approach to the fact that everyone calls their most famous product “velcro” — even when made by competitors. They made an absolutely hilarious “We are the World”-style video begging you not to call it Velcro and telling you, in no uncertain terms, that they it’s “fucking hook & loop.” Really.

    • Copyrights

      • Is the alt-right’s use of Pepe the Frog “fair use?”

        What can you do when your favorite frog gets away from you?

        When Matt Furie drew Pepe the Frog for a short-lived magazine in 2005, he had no way of knowing the character would become a mascot for the so-called “alt-right,” a loose coalition of far-right groups that veer toward white nationalism.

      • INTERVIEW WITH DELIA BROWNE

        Delia Browne is head of Australia’s National Copyright Unit, which provides specialist copyright advice to Australian schools and the technical and further education (TAFE) sector, and conducts negotiations with collecting societies on behalf of them. In that role she led the successful education law reform efforts in 2005-2006 which resulted in the introduction of free educational use copyright exceptions. She is one of the co-founders and President of Peer 2 Peer University, and also one of the people who drew up the Cape Town Declaration on Open Education.

      • Italian Supreme Court confirms availability of copyright protection to TV formats

        TV formats may be incredibly valuable, and be sold in franchise in several countries. As a result, also disputes relating to TV formats may be complex, lengthy and with uncertain outcomes, as the current litigation relating to The Voice, for example, demonstrates [here and here].

        In addition to the complexities of individual cases, a further difficulty is defining what kind of legal treatment TV formats are subject to in the first place. Discussion of the type of protection available has been, in fact, rather contentious in a number of countries.

      • Book Review : What if we could reimagine copyright?

        The contributors to this volume do not always agree on what copyright ought to ‘do’ or how far it should ‘go’ but they all concur on one thing: copyright should strive to defend and protect ‘the public interest’. Reading these last three words, you have might have had the following instinctive response: ‘Oh dear, not that thing again’. If you have, do not worry, the editors have accounted for your frustration in their introduction.

      • Belgium Wants to Blacklist Pirate Sites & Hijack Their Traffic

        Draft proposals from Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister could see the country taking a tougher line against pirate sites. In addition to building a blacklist of infringing sites and associated proxies, Kris Peeters envisions local ISPs diverting Internet traffic away from pirate sites and towards legitimate content sources.

      • How Much Money Can Pirate Bay Make From a Cryptocoin Miner?

        In a surprise move, The Pirate Bay decided to add a cryptocurrency miner to its website last weekend. The notorious torrent site wanted to see whether this could replace the ads on the site. A controversial idea, but how much money can a site like The Pirate Bay make through mining?

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts