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11.22.17

Links 22/11/2017: Qt 5.9.3 Released, FCC v the Internet

Posted in News Roundup at 4:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Why Linux can make you feel thankful or merely stuffed

    There are many reasons why I came to appreciate Unix and then Linux and why they became such an important part of my life. These operating systems provided a focus and a career specialty that I’ve greatly enjoyed. I appreciate Linus Torvalds and the many thousands of developers who have contributed their time and energy into building a powerful, efficient and enjoyable operating system. I appreciate the many tools and commands that make them so easy to use and get my work done. And I appreciate the chances that I’ve had to share what I’ve learned with so many others. It’s been fun, and it’s been very rewarding.

  • Desktop

    • PINE64 PINEBOOK Review — Is This $89 Linux Laptop Worth it?

      A while back, there were articles circulating about the “World’s Cheapest Laptop,” but they really weren’t accurate. The PINEBOOK weighs in at $89USD for the 11″ model and $99USD for the 14″ model. But, can a sub-$100 laptop, new or used, really be worth it? It would almost be unanymously be argued not, but the PINEBOOK makes a very compelling case. Let’s tell you about it in detail.

      PINE64, the company behind the first budget/hobbyist 64bit single board computer by the same name, has started offering a lot more in the alternative computing arena. They have a wide variety of inventory on their website containing all sorts of odds and ends in addition to the flagship offerings. Everything a tinkerer might need, from microSD cards to USB wifi, USB ethernet, even power over ethernet broken-out into a DC barrel adapter and LCD panels, all for very appealing prices.

    • Surface Book 2 can’t stay charged during gaming sessions

      The Surface Book 2 is aimed at graphic pros, but with a stout NVIDIA 1060 GPU, it’s a tempting gaming machine, too. As we observed during our review, gaming drains the battery pretty fast, though. Worse, The Verge noticed that the power supply can’t actually charge the battery fast enough to prevent it from draining in some cases. A Microsoft spokesman has confirmed to The Verge that “in some intense, prolonged gaming scenarios with Power Mode Slider set to ‘best performance’ the battery may discharge while connected to the power supply.”

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 4.14 Now Ready for Mass Deployments as First Point Release Debuts

      Renowned Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman announced today the Linux 4.14.1 kernel, the first point release of the Linux 4.14 kernel series, which is the first to be supported for the next six years. The Linux 4.14.1 kernel is marked as “stable” on the kernel.org website, giving the green light to OS developers to add it to their repositories.

      Arch Linux developers have already pushed the Linux 4.14.1 kernel to the “Testing” repositories, for early adopters, so we may soon see a rebase of the operating system on Linux kernel 4.14, which brings major new features like support for AMD Secure Memory Encryption, Heterogeneous Memory Management to support upcoming GPUs, and bigger memory limits in x86 hardware.

    • Five fresh kernels

      Stable kernels 4.14.1, 4.13.15, 4.9.64, 4.4.100, and 3.18.83 have been released. They all contain important fixes and users should upgrade.

    • Linux 4.14.1
    • Linux 4.13.15
    • Linux 4.9.64
    • Linux 4.4.100
    • Linux 3.18.83
    • ‘Urgent data corruption issue’ destroys filesystems in Linux 4.14

      A filesystem-eating bug has been found in Linux 4.14.

      First reported last week by developer Pavel Goran, the problem struck bcache, a tool that lets one use a solid state disk drive as a read/write cache for another drive. bcache is often used to store data from a slow disk on faster media.

      Goran noticed the problem after trying to upgrade Gentoo from version 4.13 of the Linux kernel to version 4.14. During that effort he noticed “reads from the bcache device produce different data in 4.14 and 4.13.”

    • Linux Foundation

      • Inspiring the Next Generation of Open Source

        The Linux Foundation works through our projects, training and certification programs, events and more to bring people of all backgrounds into open source. We meet a lot of people, but find the drive and enthusiasm of some of our youngest community members to be especially infectious. In the past couple of months, we’ve invited 13-year-old algorithmist and cognitive developer Tanmay Bakshi, 11-year-old hacker and cybersecurity ambassador Reuben Paul, and 15-year-old programmer Keila Banks to speak at Linux Foundation conferences.

        In 2014 when he was 12, Zachary Dupont wrote a letter to his hero Linus Torvalds. We arranged for Zach to meet Linus–a visit that helped clinch his love for Linux. This year, Zach came to Open Source Summit in Los Angeles to catch up with Linus and let us know what he’s been up to. He’s kept busy with an internship at SAP and early acceptance to the Computer Networking and Digital Forensics program at the Delaware County Technical School.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Looking At The Power Use From Linux 4.6 To Linux 4.15

        In addition to looking at system boot times from Linux 4.6 to Linux 4.15, while doing this kernel testing session on the Lenovo ThinkPad I also took some battery power consumption measurements.

        Using the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon with Core i7 (Broadwell) processor, I also compared the battery power consumption on these tested mainline Linux kernels from 4.6 to 4.15.

      • Sabrent EC-SS31: A $10 USB 3.1 To SATA 2.5-Inch Drive Adapter

        If you are looking out for a SATA 2.5-inch HDD/SSD to USB3 adapter, the Sabrent EC-SS31 is quite simple, works with Linux, supports USB 3.1, and retails for about $10 USD.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 7.6 M3 Is The Last Ahead Of The Stable “Alvdal”
      • Running Radeon RX Vega On Linux 4.15, NVIDIA/Radeon Benchmarks

        With AMDGPU DC having been merged a few days ago for the Linux 4.15 merge window, it’s now possible to run the Radeon RX Vega graphics cards with display support using the mainline kernel without having to resort to using a patched/third-party kernel build or using the AMDGPU-PRO hybrid driver. Here are some tests I have carried out with the Radeon RX Vega 56, RX Vega 64, and other graphics cards from Linux 4.15 Git compared to a few NVIDIA GPUs.

      • Linux 4.10 To Linux 4.15 Kernel Benchmarks

        The ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been enjoying its time on Linux 4.15. In addition to the recent boot time tests and kernel power comparison, here are some raw performance benchmarks looking at the speed from Linux 4.10 through Linux 4.15 Git.

        With this Broadwell-era Core i7 5600U laptop with 8GB RAM, HD Graphics, and 128GB SATA 3.0 SSD with Ubuntu 17.10 x86_64, the Linux 4.10 through 4.15 Git mainline kernels were benchmarked. Each one was tested “out of the box” and the kernel builds were obtained from the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel archive.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Samsung Galaxy S8 Icon Theme for KDE Plasma

        A new KDE icon theme is bringing a sprinkle of Samsung Experience to the Plasma desktop.

        The Dex icon theme for KDE draws inspiration from the icons used on the Samsung Galaxy S8.

        Like its source Dex uses a “squircle” shape for the majority of its app icons. This reminds me (a little) of the Ubuntu Suru icon theme.

      • Qt 5.9.3 Released

        I am pleased to inform that Qt 5.9.3 is released today. As a patch release Qt 5.9.3 does not add any new functionality, focus is in bug fixes and performance improvements.

        Compared to Qt 5.9.2, the new Qt 5.9.3 contains over 100 bug fixes and in total more than 500 changes since Qt 5.9.2. For details of the most important changes, please check the Change files of Qt 5.9.3.

      • Qt 5.9.3 Packs More Than 500 Changes, Fixes Security Issues for Android Port

        The Qt Company, through Tuukka Turunen, announced today the third maintenance and stability update to the latest Qt 5.9 LTS open-source and cross-platform application framework.

        While Qt 5.9.3 does not add any new functionality to the long-term supported Qt 5.9 series, it would appear to be a major bugfix release that adds more than 500 changes compared to the previous update, Qt 5.9.2, which is currently used by default in various Linux-based and other operating systems.

      • Qt 5.9.3 Released With Fixes & Performance Improvements

        The Qt Company has issued Qt 5.9.3 as the latest tool-kit update in the Qt 5.9 Long-Term Support series.

        As is standard practice for Qt point releases, no new functionality is presented by Qt 5.9.3 but there are bug fixes and performance improvements. There are more than 100 bug fixes for this latest update and more than 500 changes in total since Qt 5.9.2. There are also security fixes, noted are two vulnerabilities being addressed for Qt on Android.

      • Security advisory about Qt for Android

        Two vulnerabilities have been identified in Qt for Android which could be used by a malicious application to hijack an existing Qt for Android application on the same device. The vulnerabilities in question were found by JPCERT Coordination Center, and have been assigned the following vulnerability IDs: JVN#27342829 and JVN#67389262.

      • Qt Creator 4.5 RC released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.5 RC!

        We think that we are pretty close to what we want to release as Qt Creator 4.5.0, so please take this opportunity to give us final feedback through the bug tracker, our mailing list, or on IRC (#qt-creator on chat.freenode.net). For information about the new features and improvements in this version, please have a look at the beta blog post or our change log.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Raspberry Slideshow 10 Operating System Released for Raspberry Pi Computers

        Raspberry Slideshow is another Linux-based operating system that runs on Raspberry Pi single-board computers, this time designed to provide image and video slideshows, as its name implies. The OS is capable of playing different media formats from a Windows (Samba), FTP, or web server share, or from a USB flash drive.

        The latest version, Raspberry Slideshow 10.0, is using packages from Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Raspbian Stretch release, which is based on the Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system series. It also adds support for all the Raspberry Pi models available on the market, as well as a number of improvements for better performance.

      • Kali Linux 2017.3 Ethical Hacking OS Brings InSpy, Sublist3r, and SMB3.0 Support

        Coming two months after the previous release, Kali Linux 2017.3 is here with a new kernel, namely Linux 4.13.10, which adds better support for the latest hardware components, as well as all the security patches pushed upstream in the Debian Testing repositories, as well as various new tools.

        First off, the Linux 4.13.10 kernel adds SMB 3.0 support to CIFS by default, rises the EXT4 directories limit from 10 million entries to up to 2 billion, and enables TLS support. Second, Offensive Security updated several of the included tools for this release, such as The Social Engineering Toolkit, Reaver, Burp Suite, PixieWPS, and Cuckoo.

      • TheSSS (Smallest Server Suite) Linux OS Receives Latest MariaDB & Apache Servers

        TheSSS 23.1 is a small update to the open-source, server-oriented GNU/Linux distribution and it’s based on the recently released 4MLinux Server 23.1 operating system, which means that it runs the Linux 4.9.61 LTS kernel under the hood, along with other updates like OpenSSL 1.0.2m, Postfix 3.2.4, and Stunnel 5.43.

        On the server side of things, TheSSS 23.1 updates the MariaDB database server to version 10.2.10, the Apache web server to version 2.4.29, as well as the PHP packages to both 7.0.25 and 5.6.32 releases, the latter being available for compatibility reasons.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • OpenMandriva Is Dropping 32-Bit Support, OpenMandriva Lx 3.03 Is the Last One

        Powered by the Linux 4.13.12 kernel, OpenMandriva Lx 3.03 is an enhancement to the previous OpenMandriva Lx 3 releases, adding major improvements to the boot process. The OS also uses the Mesa 17.2.3 graphics stack with S3TC support enabled, the X.Org Server 1.19.5 display server, and systemd 234 init system.

        On the user-visible side of changes, OpenMandriva Lx 3.03 ships with the KDE Plasma 5.10.5 desktop environment and KDE Frameworks 5.39.0 software stack, along with the latest Firefox Quantum web browser compiled with LLVM/Clang 5.0.0 and Calamares 3.1.8 as default graphical installer.

      • OpenMandriva Is Going To Do Away With 32-bit Support

        Following in the steps of Ubuntu 17.10 dropping 32-bit desktop images and other Linux distributions also lessening their focus on 32-bit support, OpenMandriva has issued its final i586 release.

        OpenMandriva Lx 3.03 was released on Tuesday with boot speed improvements, updates to Linux/systemd/Mesa, KDE Plasma 5.10.5, LLVM Clang 5.0, and other package upgrades. This is also going to be their last planned release in the OpenMandriva Lx 3 series.

      • OpenMandriva Lx 3.03 – Get it while it’s hot!

        This release Lx 3.03 is an enhancement and upgrade to the previous Lx 3 releases.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Buster-Based SparkyLinux 5 Development Version Adds Full Disk Encryption

        Shipping a few days after the release of SparkyLinux 4.7 “Tyche” stable operating system based on Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch,” the SparkyLinux 5-dev20171120 development build includes up-to-date packages based on the repositories of the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system.

        Apart from rebasing the operating system on the latest Debian Testing repos as of November 20, 2017, the new SparkyLinux 5 development images are the first to enable full disk encryption by default in the Calamares graphical installer, as you can see from the screenshots attached at the end of the article.

      • Debian package depicts ‘Tux the penguin’ with sheep in intimate ASCII

        A Debian software package containing an “ASCII representation of zoophilia” has been installed automatically on some users’ machines.

        According to a bug report, Debian user Felicia Hummel installed a package called “cowsay”, which turns text into ASCII art of cows (or other animals) with speech or thought balloons. But with default settings of “install suggests” enabled, a controversial second “recommends” package called “cowsay-off” was also installed.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • MAAS 2.3.0 (final) Released!

            I’m happy to announce that MAAS 2.3.0 (final) is now available!
            This new MAAS release introduces a set of exciting features and improvements to the overall user experience. It now becomes the focus of maintenance, as it fully replaces MAAS 2.2
            In order to provide with sufficient notice, please be aware that 2.3.0 will replace MAAS 2.2 in the Ubuntu Archive in the coming weeks. In the meantime, MAAS 2.3 is available in PPA and as a Snap.

          • LinuxAndUbuntu Review Of Ubuntu MATE 17.10

            Ubuntu Mate 17.10 is a pretty stable and rock solid distribution which has got most things right. There is nothing unlikable about the distro. However, I feel it could have been a lot better if they had allowed 4 windows to be snapped on each corners and done something about the opaque top panel. The software included are very much standard and even though some of their names have been changed we all know what’s under the hood. Overall Experience has been good. Having already tested Ubuntu with Gnome 3, I can say that Ubuntu Mate 17.10 feels a lot faster and quicker in terms of GUI response.

          • Join us at the Ubuntu Enterprise Summit!

            Bloomberg, Walmart, eBay, Samsung, Dell. Ever wonder how some of the world’s largest enterprises run on Ubuntu? This December, we are hosting our first ever Ubuntu Enterprise Summit to tell you how and help guide your own organisation whether it be running the cloud in a large telco to deriving revenue from your next IoT initiative. The Ubuntu Enterprise Summit is a two day event of webinars on December 5th and 6th where you can join Canonical’s product managers, technical leads, partners and customers to get an inside look at why some of the world’s largest companies have chosen Ubuntu. Whether you are focused on the cloud or are living life at the edge, the webinars will also look at trends and the considerations for your organisation when implementing such technologies. To kick off the event on December 5th, Canonical CEO and founder Mark Shuttleworth will deliver a keynote talk on 21st Century Infrastructure. Following Mark’s opening, there will be a series of other events and you can register now for those that spark your interest by clicking on the links below

          • Ubuntu Server Development Summary – 21 Nov 2017

            The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update and highlights for any interesting subjects from the Ubuntu Server Team. If you would like to reach the server team, you can find us at the #ubuntu-server channel on Freenode. Alternatively, you can sign up and use the Ubuntu Server Team mailing list.

          • Late Post For Ubuntu Community Appreciation Day 2017

            I am also very thankful for LaTeX2e and Tex Live. It has been a great thing to have to prepare devotional materials for church. I am thankful for the MOTU folks maintaining Gummi which is the editor I use on Xubuntu. Xubuntu is what I run on my laptop that goes many places with me. Tex Live is run both on the laptop and on the Raspberry Pi 2 at home.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 Users Get Major Kernel Update, 20 Security Vulnerabilities Patched

            If you’re using the latest Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system on your personal computer, you should know that it received it’s first major kernel update since the official release back in October 19, 2017. The update addresses a total of 20 security vulnerabilities for Ubuntu 17.10′s Linux 4.13 kernel packages, including the Raspberry Pi 2 one.

            Among the security issues patched in this update, five are related to Linux kernel’s USB subsystem, including a use-after-free vulnerability, which could allow a physically proximate attacker to crash the affected system by causing a denial of service (DoS attack) or possibly execute arbitrary code. Other three are related to the ALSA subsystem, including a race condition.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu-Based ExLight Linux OS Is One of the Few to Use Latest Enlightenment 0.22

              ExLight Build 171121 replaces last week’s Build 171112, which used the older Enlightenment 0.20 desktop from the Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) software repositories, to update Enlightenment to the latest 0.22 release that the developer compiled from sources. This makes ExLight one of few distros to use Enlightenment 0.22.

              “Version 171112 uses Enlightenment 0.20 installed from Ubuntu’s repositories. Build 171121 of ExLight uses Enlightenment 0.22 installed by me from source,” said the developer in the release announcement. “Only two Linux distributions in the whole wide world (besides ExLight) use Enlightenment 0.22 as desktop environment.”

            • LXLE Eclectica 16.04.3 Released

              LXLE 16.04.3 is built upon Ubuntu Mini LTS. Lubuntu-core is used as a starting point.

            • LXLE 16.04.3 “Eclectica” Linux Distro Is Out Now Based on Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS

              The developers of the Ubuntu-based LXLE GNU/Linux distribution have announced the release of LXLE 16.04.3, the latest update to the Eclectica series based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

              Incorporating all the updates and core components of Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS, the LXLE 16.04.3 release is here to further integrate various of the components of the MATE and LXQt desktop environments, as well as some from the Linux Mint operating system.

              On top of that, the application menu received improvements to its layout and how items are organization, the system theme was tweaked for consistency, LXhotkey replaces the Obkey Openbox key editor, and Pithos has been removed because it required a user account.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Interview with FreeDOS Founder and Lead Dev Jim Hall

    It’s been 23 years to the FreeDOS project. FreeDOS founder Jim Hall shares some interesting insight into this veteran open source project.

  • ONAP Rolls Out Amsterdam Release

    Less than nine months after AT&T and the Linux Foundation merged their open source projects to become the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), the group today rolled out its first code release, Amsterdam.

    The highly anticipated release, which integrates AT&T’s ECOMP and the Linux Foundation’s Open-O code bases into a common open source orchestration platform, aims to automate the virtualization of network services.

  • The advantages of open source tools

    Open source software, applications, and projects are becoming more commonplace, at least more than they ever have been. That’s because major organizations and brands have now embraced the development philosophy.

    Some of the more renowned examples of open source projects include WordPress, Android, FileZilla, Audacity, GIMP, VLC Media Player, Notepad++, Blender, and, of course, Ubuntu/Linux.

  • The 2 Best Ways to Build a Business Around Open Source Software

    There are many things to think about when building and starting a company. However, I’ll say a few things that are particularly different about building a business around open source technology. First, open source isn’t a business model; it is a go-to-market strategy. Done right, it really solves one of the hardest problems in building a business — getting traction for the product. Focusing on developer evangelism and community building is key to adoption of open-source technology. In the early days of Apache Kafka and even now, this is a big part of what I and the team do. Second, while building any business, it is important to understand the new buyer and then influence them. For most open-source businesses, the developer is the new buyer. This fundamentally changes the role of marketing in open-source companies. Third, there has been a constant evolution of open source software business models since Red Hat blazed the first trail. The two common OSS business models that are successfully pursued by many companies like Cloudera, Elastic and Confluent are:

  • Events

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.0 Beta to Arrive by Week’s End for Second Bug Hunting Session

      Announced today by Mike Saunders, the event will be held for the first time on a Monday, on November 27, 2017, from 8 a.m. UTC to 10 p.m. UTC. During the event, which will take place online, LibreOffice developers will try to triage and fix as many bugs as possible for the first LibreOffice 6.0 Beta.

      A few days before the event, The Document Foundation will release the LibreOffice 6.0 Beta 1 builds for GNU/Linux distributions using either the DEB or RPM binary formats, as well as for macOS and Microsoft Windows operating systems. These beta builds can run in parallel with the production version, LibreOffice 5.4.

    • LibreOffice Calc Is Finally Being Threaded

      While LibreOffice Calc for a while now has been offering OpenCL support for speeding up spreadsheet computations, with not all drivers/GPUs supporting OpenCL, this Microsoft Office alternative is finally receiving proper multi-threading support.

      Collabora developers have landed their initial work on multi-threading / parallelism as they look to speed-up the LibreOffice Calc spreadsheet program’s calculations.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • pfSense 2.4.2-RELEASE now available

      We are excited to announce the release of pfSense® software version 2.4.2, now available for new installations and upgrades!

      pfSense software version 2.4.2 is a maintenance release bringing security patches and stability fixes for issues present in previous pfSense 2.4.x branch releases.

      pfSense 2.4.2-RELEASE updates and installation images are available now!

    • pfSense 2.4.2 Open-Source Firewall Patches OpenSSL, Improves Network Performance

      Netgate’s Jim Pingle announced the availability of the second maintenance and stabilization update to the latest 2.4 series of pfSense, world’s most trusted open-source firewall.

      pfSense 2.4.2 is a security and bugfix release that updates the OpenSSL packages to version 1.0.2m to fix two recently disclosed vulnerabilities (CVE-2017-3736 and CVE-2017-3735), addresses three potential XSS vectors, fixes the VLAN priority handling, and addresses issues with PPP interfaces that have VLAN parents.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open education: How students save money by creating open textbooks

        Most people consider a college education the key to future success, but for many students, the cost is insurmountable. The growing open educational resource (OER) movement is attempting to address this problem by providing a high-quality, low-cost alternative to traditional textbooks, while at the same time empowering students and educators in innovative ways. One of the leaders in this movement is Robin DeRosa, a professor at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. I have been enthusiastically following her posts on Twitter and invited her to share her passion for open education with our readers. I am delighted to share our discussion with you.

  • Programming/Development

    • 5 approaches to learning Python

      Python is a powerful, versatile programming language that’s popular with open source software developers. Whether you’re a seasoned developer looking to test your code, or you just want to learn the basics, the following resources might help.

    • Google’s mysterious Fuchsia OS gets Apple Swift language support

      Google has given its mystery operating system Fuchsia an update to support Apple’s Swift programming language.

      Swift has quickly become one of hottest languages among developers. Google last week caused a stir after it forked Swift, causing speculation that Google wanted to take the language in a different direction.

    • devRantron – An Unofficial Desktop Client for devRant Programmers

      devRantron is a free, open-source, and cross-platform (unofficial) desktop client for the famous Dev Rant Android and iOS social media application for programmers, developers, and designers.

      Before now, devRant was only accessible on the mobile phones, but now users can post complaints and follow up on rants by developers from all around the globe even while working on their desktops and it’s thanks to a group of friends who concluded that devRant was taking too long to deliver a desktop client.

    • The New Compiler Features & Changes Of GCC 8

      With GCC 8 feature development over and onto bug fixing, here is a look at some of the changes to find with the GCC 8 compiler stack that will be released as stable early next year in the form of GCC 8.1.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • British water utilities admit they use divining rods to find leaks

      Ten out of 12 water utilities in the United Kingdom admitted that their technicians use divining rods to find underground leaks or water pipes, according to an investigation by science blogger Sally Le Page.

      Dowsing is a centuries-old technique for locating underground water. Someone searching for water holds two parallel sticks—or sometimes a single Y-shaped stick—called divining rods while walking in an area where there might be water under the surface. The branches supposedly twitch when they’re over a water source.

      Needless to say, there’s zero scientific evidence that this technique actually works better than random chance. But Le Page got a bunch of UK water companies to admit that their technicians still employ the superstitious practice.

  • Hardware

    • HPE CEO Meg Whitman to step down in 2018

      As part of its quarterly earnings report, Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced Tuesday that CEO Meg Whitman would be stepping down from her position as of February 1, 2018.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How an unpaid UK researcher saved the Japanese seaweed industry

      The tasty Japanese seaweed nori is ubiquitous today, but that wasn’t always true. Nori was once called “lucky grass” because every year’s harvest was entirely dependent on luck. Then, during World War II, luck ran out. No nori would grow off the coast of Japan, and farmers were distraught. But a major scientific discovery on the other side of the planet revealed something unexpected about the humble plant and turned an unpredictable crop into a steady and plentiful food source.

      Nori is most familiar to us when it’s wrapped around sushi. It looks less familiar when floating in the sea, but for centuries, farmers in Japan, China, and Korea knew it by sight. Every year, they would plant bamboo poles strung with nets in the coastal seabed and wait for nori to build up on them.

    • WHO Draft Work Program To Be Presented, Discussed This Week

      The World Health Organization is presenting its draft work program for 2019-2023 for consideration by member states this week.

      The 34-member WHO Executive Board is meeting in a special session on 22-23 November to consider the draft thirteenth General Programme of Work (GPW 13 [pdf]), recently published by the WHO (IPW, WHO, 1 November 2017).

      According to the draft programme of work [pdf], comments received this week will feed into a revised draft GPW 13 for consideration by the Executive Board at its 142nd session in January.

    • Before Peter Thiel invested, research on herpes vaccine began in US hotel rooms

      Halford’s actions represent a flagrant violation of laws governing human clinical trials. They will likely further ensnare SIU and Halford’s company, Rational Vaccines, in controversy.

      Halford’s conduct has already drawn sharp criticism and rebuke following the August report of his unapproved trial on the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis. Experts called the trial “patently unethical.” Scientists rejected data generated by the trial from publication. And authorities from St. Kitts opened an investigation into the trial, while US authorities from Health and Human Services sent an inquiry to SIU regarding Halford’s work.

      But conservative investors critical of US regulations, including PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, invested $7 million into Halford’s research based on results of the trial. Those results were considered “partly wishful thinking” by scientists. But Halford painted the trial and the vaccine as a success, as did Agustín Fernández III, the co-founder of Rational Vaccines.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Chilling New Report Cites Greater Death Toll in Allende Massacre

      A disturbing report released today by researchers at the prestigious Colegio de Mexico provides new details about a 2011 massacre in Allende, a quiet Mexican ranching town less than an hour’s drive from the United States, and suggests that many more people were killed in the incident than estimated by Mexican authorities. The report’s authors also repeatedly cite an investigation of the incident by ProPublica and National Geographic in calling for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to provide information about its role in triggering the killing spree.

    • Nigeria: Suicide Bombing Kills Up to Fifty People at Mosque

      In Nigeria, a suicide bombing at a mosque in the northeast has killed up to fifty people. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, though local officials blamed it on Boko Haram.

    • Will Lebanon’s Economy Be Crippled?

      Lebanon is being accused by 5 GCC members and a growing list of allies regionally and globally of declaring war on Saudi Arabia by its corrupt ‘leaders’ essentially deeding the country to Iran. Consequently, the KSA and other countries have joined in demanding that the Lebanese “government” choose between peace or allegiance to Iran and Hezbollah. The new reactive strategy appears to include targeting Lebanon’s already challenged economy.

      [...]

      Mr. Sabhan’s declaration raises the distinct possibility of a GCC “Dahiyeh Doctrine” wherein Saudi Arabia and her allies could take a page from Israel’s 2009 “Dahiyeh Doctrine” wherein the occupiers of Palestine are now committed to targeting all of Lebanon in the next war and not just Hezbollah areas. The justification for both “total wars” is claimed to be that the Lebanese government has failed to effectively control or disarm Iran’s Hezbollah militia but instead has ceded Lebanon’s sovereignty. Some are suggesting that Saudi Arabia, along with her regional and even some global allies may well launch an economic “Dahiyeh Doctrine” wherein all of Lebanon’s economy is fair game for targeting much as Iran’s continues to be.

    • The Uncounted: New York Times Finds US Airstrikes Kill Far More Iraqi Civilians Than Pentagon Admits

      We spend the hour looking at a damning new report that reveals how U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq have killed far more civilians than officials have acknowledged. The coalition’s own data shows 89 of its more than 14,000 airstrikes in Iraq have resulted in civilian deaths, or about one of every 157 strikes. But their an on-the-ground investigation by The New York Times magazine found civilian deaths in “one out of every five” strikes. We are joined by the two reporters who co-authored this investigation titled “The Uncounted.” Azmat Khan is an investigative journalist and a Future of War fellow at New America and Arizona State University; and Anand Gopal is a reporter and an assistant research professor at Arizona State University. A civilian survivor who lost his family and home to a 2015 U.S. airstrike in Mosul, Basim Razzo, also joins us from Erbil, Iraq.

    • Trump Designates North Korea as State Sponsor of Terrorism

      President Trump has officially designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, escalating the rising tensions between the two countries. Other countries on the list are: Sudan, Syria and Iran. The diplomatic move comes amid an escalating threat of nuclear war, with Trump repeatedly threatening to “totally destroy” North Korea and to unleash “fire and fury” on the nation of 25 million people. This is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

    • U.S. Navy plane carrying 11 crashes into ocean near Okinawa

      A U.S. Navy aircraft carrying 11 crew and passengers crashed into the ocean southeast of Okinawa on Wednesday afternoon, the Seventh Fleet said.

      The aircraft was traveling to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, which is currently operating in the Philippine Sea, when it crashed. The cause of the crash is not known, the Seventh Fleet, based in the Japanese port of Yokosuka, said in a statement.

    • Report: U.S. Air Force on Track to Triple Number of Bombs Dropped in Afghanistan

      In news on the U.S. war in Afghanistan, the U.S. Air Force is on track to triple the number of bombs there dropped this year, compared with last year. The major increase in bombing comes as the Trump administration has deployed thousands more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in recent months. By early 2018, there are slated to be about 16,000 U.S. troops there. The ongoing U.S. war in Afghanistan is the longest war in U.S. history.

    • U.S. Government Planned False Flag Attacks to Start War With Soviet Union, JFK Documents Show

      The U.S. government once wanted to plan false flag attacks with Soviet aircraft to justify war with the USSR or its allies, newly declassified documents surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy show.

      In a three-page memo, members of the National Security Council wrote, “There is a possibility that such aircraft could be used in a deception operation designed to confuse enemy planes in the air, to launch a surprise attack against enemy installations or in a provocation operation in which Soviet aircraft would appear to attack US or friendly installations to provide an excuse for U.S. intervention.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Lack of planning, investment will continue to drive up electricity costs: report

      With energy storage and a reliable, sustainable supply of power — and government energy policies — a hot topic in Australia, a group of Australian academics has warned that without proper planning and investment in energy storage, electricity costs in Australia will continue to rise and electricity supply will become less reliable.

    • ‘Wealthy Countries Have Damaged the Climate in Incredible Ways’

      A New York Times explainer in advance of the Bonn climate talks told readers the worst case scenario for the UN summit is it “could get bogged down by the traditional rift between richer and poorer nations.” That might “stall momentum right before the next big round of climate talks in 2018.” Of course, others may see different forces behind any stalled momentum, and might offer a different frame for questions of climate justice than that of a “traditional rift” between the world’s rich and poor.

      Karen Orenstein is the deputy director of the Economic Policy Program at Friends of the Earth US where she works on issues of international public finance and climate finance in particular. She joins us now by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome to CounterSpin, Karen Orenstein.

    • USA Today Ignores Climate Change as Factor in Alaskan Drilling

      The lead story of the November 20 USA Today, “Drilling Closes In on Alaska Wildlife Refuge,” was supposed to give readers the basics surrounding proposed legislation to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The article is intended as an explainer—“Here’s What You Should Know,” its online headline concludes—but one idea is conspicuously absent from its explanation: climate change.

      Sales of drilling rights in the northeastern Alaskan coastal plain are slated to be attached to the Senate version of the tax bill, ostensibly as a way to raise revenue to offset the cost of massive tax cuts. The article’s lead frames the issue in terms of proponents’ view of the refuge “as an area rich with natural resources that could help fuel the United States’ drive for energy independence”—despite the fact that the United States became a net exporter of oil in 2013, and any increase in oil production would likely go to overseas markets.

    • Hinkley Point C subsidy has dealt consumers ‘a bad hand’, say MPs

      MPs have accused the government of failing to protect consumers over the price it has promised to pay for power from the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant.

      The Commons public accounts committee said the subsidy contract for Hinkley Point C, agreed in 2016 after years of delays, would hit poorest households hardest.

      The power station is expected to cost billpayers £30bn over the lengthy of the 35-year contract, adding £10-£15 to the average household energy bill.

    • Oysters and Celery Aren’t Only for Holiday Stuffing!

      Roasted birds on the holiday table are often stuffed with a blend of breadcrumbs, herbs, and spices that includes chopped celery. Many stuffing recipes even call for chopped oysters, a briny bivalve that for centuries has been served raw on the half shell as a token of good luck in the coming year.

      But did you know that oysters and “celery” (the wild variety, a common seagrass) also serve as vital underwater habitats?

      As you celebrate the season, consider the diverse roles of oysters and celery (both wild and cultivated). Far more than delectable treats on the holiday menu, they provide protective lairs and nutritious fare for our fragile aquatic communities.

    • ‘Looting’ spree threatens wildlife and forests across eastern Europe

      An environmental “looting” spree is threatening biodiversity and pristine forests across 15 countries in central and eastern Europe, the UN has warned.

      Environmental crimes such as illegal logging, fishing, poaching and the caviar black market are putting “high pressure” on ecosystems in the Danube-Carpathian region, according to a report by the UN Environmental Programme (Unep) and WWF.

  • Finance

    • Brexit Diary: A “reality check” for Remainers

      21st November 2017

      The UK government is encountering problem after problem with Brexit.

      There is a real prospect either of there being “no deal” or of a capitulation to the EU’s demands.

      In terms of administration – basic points such as customs and border control – the UK state is nowhere near ready.

      But the accumulation of these difficulties does not make Brexit any less likely.

      Unless something exceptional happens, the UK will leave the EU by automatic operation of law on 29 March 2019.

      Very little can prevent this.

    • Five-a-day eating targets ‘will be unaffordable for millions after Brexit’

      Five-a-day eating targets for fruit and vegetables could become unaffordable for millions of low-income families as a result of Brexit-related food price rises, a report says.

      The Food Foundation says that already-feeble consumption rates of healthy food in the UK could nosedive under Brexit because the triple impact of exchange rates, labour costs and tariffs could add up to £158 a year to the amount a family of four spends on fruit and vegetables.

      The thinktank warns that the poorest families – which spend the biggest proportion of their household budget on food – will be hardest hit, and calls for an expanded healthy food voucher system to help boost household nutrition in deprived areas.

    • Airbus boss says Brexit risks losing UK aviation’s ‘crown jewels’ to China

      Airbus has told MPs that Britain risks losing the “crown jewels” of its aviation industry to China as a result of Brexit, putting up to 7,000 wing-manufacturing jobs in Wales at risk.

      The company’s senior corporate representative in the UK warned the business select committee that the threat of new customs bureaucracy and reduced employee mobility could deter long-term investment and accelerate a shift to Asia.

      Though there are no current plans to move, Katherine Bennett said, she was “fighting to ensure that wing design – the crown jewels of aerospace – remains in this country”.

    • Expect A Budget That Pays Lip Service To The Marvellous Opportunities Of Brexit – The Reality Is An Unfolding Economic Calamity

      When the Chancellor gets up to deliver his Budget statement it will be too much to expect consistency between his view of the impact on the economy of Brexit now and what it was before the referendum. It is now party line for Conservative politicians to pay lip service to the marvellous opportunities that Brexit offers in stark contradiction to their view before the referendum.

      In this respect at least, the establishment of the independent Office for Budget Responsibility has been a blessing for us all. Their duty is to provide an objective, and apolitical, perspective on public spending. While public opinion can be swayed on issues such as the likelihood that our former colonies will rush to our aid, or the potential for us to export innovative jams to France and naan breads to India; or the likelihood that Argentina will vote for us to have tremendous terms at the WTO, the hard facts of economic statistics remain unmoved.

    • Uber is ripping off riders in Singapore, charging thousands for ‘phantom’ trips
    • Colorado fines Uber $8.9M for allowing dozens of unauthorized drivers

      Colorado authorities have issued an $8.9 million fine against Uber for authorizing drivers who had prior disqualifying criminal or vehicle-related offenses.

      According to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, Uber allowed 57 drivers over the last 18 months to drive who should not have been permitted to drive for the company.

    • French bank to close far-right Front National’s accounts

      France’s second largest bank has asked the Front National to close all its accounts and take its business elsewhere. The bank, Société Générale, told the far-right party, led by Marine Le Pen, that it wished to end its 30-year “banking relationship”. It gave no specific reason for the decision.

      FN officials said they were fighting the move and claimed that the party was being persecuted. The party headquarters in Nanterre, outside Paris, and local FN federations, have all been targeted, the news website Mediapart and France Inter radio reported on Tuesday.

      According to an internal party communication leaked to Mediapart, the bank is seeking to close all current and savings accounts held by the party.

    • MP demands answers on DUP Brexit funders’ fine

      Martin Docherty-Hughes MP grilled the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on a secret fine charged to the DUP’s dark-money Brexit funders.

      [...]

      Martin Docherty-Hughes, the SNP MP for West Dunbartonshire, used Northern Ireland Questions to ask the Secretary of State James Brokenshire why the DUP’s Brexit donors had been charged a record fine by the Electoral Commission. The secretive donors to the Tories’ partners in government are protected from public scrutiny by Northern Irish secrecy laws.

    • Modern slavery, Brexit, migration, and development: connecting the dots

      Regardless of how one feels about migrants, protecting them in the labour market will bring benefits to all workers.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Hungary’s Russian-built nuclear plant powered by politics in Brussels

      The European Commission brokered a “global political solution” with Hungary over its controversial Russia-backed nuclear power station rather than escalate a fight amid already fraught relations with Budapest, according to internal documents obtained by an MEP and reviewed by POLITICO.

      More than 200 pages of Commission memos, emails and meetings minutes from 2016 show that Commission officials expressed serious doubts about Hungary’s numerous attempts to justify awarding the contract to build the €12 billion Paks II nuclear project to the Kremlin-owned Rosatom without opening up the project for bids.

    • Former U.S. ethics official files complaint against Trump aide Conway

      The former head of a U.S. government ethics watchdog said on Wednesday he had filed a complaint claiming senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway violated a law barring executive branch employees from engaging in political activity when she spoke on television against a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Civil Liberties Committee joins the opposition against automated censorship machines

      The Committee voted to remove the obligation for [I]nternet platforms to employ technologies like automated content recognition to surveil all user uploads and try to pre-empt copyright infringement. It also proposes strengthening people’s ability to contest the takedown of works they’ve uploaded. This is the same balanced approach previously taken by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee.

    • Data bill means censorship, BBC warns

      New powers allowing pre-publication censorship of the media would have a “chilling effect” on investigative journalism, the BBC has warned.

      The newspaper industry has also raised objections to the Data Protection Bill, which is passing through parliament. It seeks to give individuals more control over their personal information and imposes harsher penalties on companies that misuse it. Journalists are granted significant exemptions to the rules if they are working to expose wrongdoing and criminality.

    • China’s Flashy Ex-Internet Censor Faces Corruption Investigation

      The former Chinese official in charge of internet censorship, who hobnobbed with top executives from Facebook, Apple and Amazon and flatly denied that his government engaged in censorship, has been put under investigation by the Communist Party’s anti-corruption agency, state media reported on Tuesday.

      The downfall of the censorship official, Lu Wei, was a long time coming. He once held a cluster of titles that gave him formidable influence over internet policy. But he was removed from many posts last year, suggesting that his career was under a cloud.

    • China’s former internet tsar Lu Wei faces graft probe
    • China has detained a key architect of its massive internet censorship regime
    • Chinese censor feted by Mark Zuckerberg is accused of corruption
    • China’s former chief internet censor Lu Wei investigated for ‘severe disciplinary violations’
    • Sage is latest publisher to warn of China censorship pressures

      Another leading academic publisher has been warned that it may have to censor in China or be forced out of the market, as Beijing intensifies its control over foreign education and publishing.

    • Editors Claim Censorship at a Public Health Journal

      The editorial board at the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health accuses its publisher of promoting corporate interests.

    • 7 pull out of KL Biennale over ‘censorship’

      ONE day before its official opening, a group of Malaysian and Indonesian artists withdrew today from the Kuala Lumpur Biennale (KL Biennale) 2017, claiming that their artworks have been removed from the exhibition.

      The group, a collaboration of five Malaysians from Pusat Sekitar Seni (PSS) and two Indonesians from Population Project, had produced an installation entitled Under Construction.

    • Poliakoff: Censorship takes stage on campus

      The censors seem to be out in force lately on the American college campus. November saw Brandeis University cancel the world premiere of a play about Lenny Bruce. Then Knox College in Illinois cancelled the staging of Bertolt Brecht’s “The Good Person of Szechwan.” In both cases, the charge against the dramas was racial insensitivity. And in both cases, only cloudy reasoning could lead viewers to ignore the clear anti-racist intent of these plays.

      The ironies are overwhelming, with poor Lenny and Bertolt bludgeoned first from the right and now from the left. In 1947, Brecht found himself face-to-face with the House Committee on Un-American Activities, charged with his creation of “a number of very revolutionary poems, plays, and other writings.” In 1961, Bruce, a quintessential counter-culture figure, was prosecuted for “obscenity.”

    • Laurier university issues apology amid censorship controversy

      Wilfrid Laurier University officials have offered one of their T.A.s an apology for the way they handled a complaint surrounding her tutorial.

      The issue started when Lindsay Shepherd, a master’s student, played a controversial YouTube clip about gender-neutral pronouns in her tutorial for students in a communications class.

    • Laurier University Apologizes to TA For Jordan Peterson Censorship Drama
    • Alabama Media Group Isn’t Messing Around With Roy Moore’s Silly Threat

      Last week, we wrote about the truly ridiculous letter sent by Senate candidate Roy Moore’s nutty lawyer, Trenton Garmon, threatening to sue Alabama Media Group for defamation for daring to write about reports of Moore’s sketchy behavior towards girls and young women. In that piece, we noted that AMG made it clear it wasn’t going to back down, noting that it stood behind its reporting and the threats only made the news organization that much more interested in “doggedly” pursuing the truth. Now, as pointed out on Boing Boing, we see the official response from Alabama Media Group’s lawyer, John G. Thompson Jr.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The Senate’s Liberty Act Helps Close the “Backdoor”
    • The Safest Conversation You’ll Have This Holiday

      Do your friends and family rope you into providing tech support when you’re home for the holidays? Use this opportunity to be a digital security hero and rescue your family from tracking cookies, unencrypted disks, insecure chats, and recycled passwords.

      Check out EFF’s Security Education Companion for ideas and inspiration. And remember: People learn by doing! Encourage friends and family members to walk through new security concepts and tools with you, and avoid the pitfalls of taking over their devices and doing it yourself.

    • New York Court Says NYPD Must Get Warrants To Deploy Stingrays

      Another court has decided warrants must accompany Stingray use. (via the New York Times) The ruling handed down earlier this month clarifies the distinction between the records obtained and the records requested. In this case, police used a pen register request to deploy their Stingray device. As the court points out, Stingray devices grab a lot more than just phone numbers.

      [...]

      The decision also notes Stingray use was “conceded” by the prosecution, suggesting it fought this disclosure for as long as it could.

      This is good news for residents of New York and another small step towards a unified judicial view on Stingray deployments. Better yet, it has probably resulted in audible wailing and gnashing of teeth in the upper levels of the NYPD bureaucracy.

    • Dozens Of Tech Experts Tell DHS & ICE That Its Social Media Surveillance And Extreme Vetting Should Be Stopped

      In short, this is the tech world telling DHS and ICE that its belief that there’s a “nerd harder” solution to using computers and algorithms to sniff out terrorists is a load of pure hooey. It may be true, as Arthur C. Clarke once stated, that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” but the corollary does not apply: not all magical solutions can be implemented in technology. It’s kind of ridiculous that actual technologists were needed to explain this to DHS, but that’s where things are these days.

    • Google secretly tracks people even after they’ve explicitly told it to stop
    • Google tracks Android users even with location services turned off

      Google has been tracking Android users even if they had location tracking turned off and did not have a SIM in their smartphones, according to a published report.

    • Google admits it tracked user location data even when the setting was turned off

      Since January, all kinds of Android phones and tablets have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers and sending the encrypted data to Google’s push notifications and messaging management system when connected to the internet. It’s a practice that customers can’t opt out of — even if their phones are factory reset.

    • Investigation Finds Google Collected Location Data Even With Location Services Turned Off

      So much for going off the grid. There are some caveats to Google’s permissionless collection of cell site location data, with the most significant being the fact Google didn’t store the auto-collected cell tower info. That doesn’t excuse the practice, but it at least keeps it from becoming tracking data the government can access without a warrant.

      Google’s collection of cell tower data occurred when notifications were pushed or phone users utilized the phone’s built-in messaging service. In both cases, it’s reasonable to assume users weren’t expecting Google to be collecting this data. (It wouldn’t be necessarily reasonable to assume cell providers weren’t, as that’s what’s needed to deliver messages and notifications if the user isn’t using a WiFi connection.) But no one would reasonably assume the operating system would still send cell tower info to Google with the SIM card pulled.

      This is a troubling practice to be engaged in, no matter how temporary the storage of cell site data. It flies directly in the face of what phone users expect when they shut off location services or undertake other affirmative actions to minimize their digital footprint.

    • ProtonMail: An Open Source Privacy-Focused Email Service Provider

      The difference between most people in 2017 and myself is which email providers we use. I am going to throw out a wild guess and say you use a Gmail account as your main email address. And if you don’t I bet you know SEVERAL people that do.

    • New NSA breach believed worse than Snowden – naturally Russia was blamed

      Another scandal that’s currently still gaining speed in the US is connected to the major US intelligence agency – the National Security Agency (NSA). This Monday, the New York Times reported that a year ago unknown hackers infiltrated the NSA network and stole secret programs for cyber break-ins. Because one of its employees had Kaspersky anti-virus software on his computer, the NSA claimed ‘Russia did it’.

    • Apple formally asked to release Texas shooter’s iCloud data

      Texas authorities have recently gotten formal permission from a state judge to search the deceased Sutherland Springs shooter’s seized iPhone SE and LG candybar-style phone. In addition, the Texas Rangers have also submitted a formal request to Apple in order to access Devin Patrick Kelley’s iCloud data.

    • Skype is the latest messaging app to disappear from Chinese app stores
    • Germany is dealing with children’s surveillance watches in the right way

      The problem here isn’t so much a fear of hackers [sic] – it’s the things that parents are doing with these smartwatches. Not only are they listening to their kids as they go about their daily lives; they’re also using the kid-borne gadgets to listen to what their teachers are saying. And in a country that takes privacy very seriously, that’s a no-go.

    • Letter to the Minister of State for Digital: Give us the right to defend the elderly and children’s privacy

      We urge the Government to allow for not for profit bodies, as defined in Article 80(1) of the GDPR, to act in the public interest to help groups of affected people to seek collective redress from those in breach of their data protection obligations.

    • Two ways to help preserve privacy in an age of massive leaks and deep hacks

      We live in the golden age of leaks. That’s not to say that leaks didn’t happen before. But the move to digital data and the availability of high-speed Internet connections has made the exfiltration of data on a massive scale much easier. Where in 1971 Daniel Ellsberg had to photocopy 7,000 pages of what became known as the Pentagon Papers before he could leak them to the New York Times, Chelsea Manning was able to give 750,000 military and diplomatic documents to Wikileaks in 2010 by copying them onto writable CDs. Later, Edward Snowden is believed to have gathered and removed around 1.7 million intelligence files – something that would have been impossible had it been analog data. All those leaks were made by whistleblowers who wanted the public to know about US government activities. But alongside the actions of Manning and Snowden there have been an increasing number of thefts of personal data on a massive scale.

    • NSA Section 702 Q&A Glosses Over Incidental Collection Problems, Domestic Surveillance

      As the clock winds down to the end of the year, the NSA (along with the FBI, CIA, and other government components with access to NSA collections) is hoping it won’t have its internet surveillance programs limited in any way. So far, it’s receiving plenty of help from the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has offered up a zero-reform package. (The House has its own version, which actually includes a few reforms, but it still leaves plenty of loopholes for domestic surveillance.)

      To that end, the NSA has released a highly-misleading Q&A on Section 702 surveillance — one that conveniently ignores its historic problems with incidental collection and the other authorities being renewed that actually do allow it to target US persons.

      The NSA chooses to focus solely on Section 702 and the issue of targeting. But these focal points are misleading. The NSA has plenty of ways of obtaining US persons’ communications without targeting them. On top of that, the NSA has a few options for targeting US persons that go completely unmentioned. And the FBI is allowed to target US persons for a number of reasons using NSA surveillance programs — again, something the Q&A ignores completely.

    • Treasury Department Concludes Fraud Investigation into ComputerCOP “Internet Safety” Software

      Three years ago, EFF exposed how hundreds of law enforcement agencies were putting families at risk by distributing free ComputerCOP “Internet safety” software that actually transmitted keystrokes unencrypted to a third-party server. Our report also raised serious questions about whether the company was deceiving government agencies by circulating a bogus letter of endorsement from a top official in the U.S. Treasury Department.

      This month, our suspicions were confirmed. A document obtained through the Freedom of Information Act shows that, in response to EFF’s research, the Treasury Department’s Inspector General launched an investigation into ComputerCOP. The final report concluded that the company had, in fact, doctored a government letter to improperly convince law enforcement agencies to spend asset forfeiture funds to buy the product.

    • A Privacy Case Before the Supreme Court Is About Press Freedom, Too

      If the government can access cellphone location records without a warrant, journalism suffers. So does democracy.

      For today’s journalists, cellphones are mobile newsrooms that go where a reporter goes. They’re used to contact sources, record interviews, write notes and articles, take photos and videos, share work on social media, follow breaking news, and more.

      So when the government can access — without a warrant — cellphone location records that could be used to reconstruct a person’s movements over time, it not only infringes upon the public’s Fourth Amendment right to privacy, but also threatens reporters’ ability to maintain the confidentiality of their sources and gather the news without being surveilled.

      That’s why the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 19 other media organizations are urging the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn an appeals court ruling in Carpenter v. United States and require the government to obtain a warrant to acquire cellphone location data.

    • For the European Parliament, personal data are not commodities!

      This morning, the European Parliament has adopted its position on a new Directive regulating ‘contracts for the supply of digital content’. It has enacted a fundamental principle, already drawn few weeks ago in the ePrivacy Regulation: “personal data cannot be compared to a price, and therefore cannot be considered as a commodity’.

      On 26 October 2017, the European Parliament has adopted its position on the ePrivacy Regulation, specifying that ‘no user shall be denied access to any [...] service [...] on grounds that he or she has not given his or her consent [...] to the processing of personal information [...] that is not necessary for the provision of that service’ (see art. 8, paragraph 1a, of the LIBE report).

    • The latest threat to your online privacy: exfiltration of personal data by website session-replay scripts

      Last week, Privacy News Online reported on a worrying trend of increased surveillance in the workplace. This kind of spying includes capturing every keystroke workers make. The practice is regarded in many jurisdictions as acceptable because people are working on equipment provided by their employer, and use it to carry out tasks for the company that pays their wages. So the logic is that an employer has permission to check that the equipment is being used properly, and that employees are working diligently. But a blog post on the Freedom to Tinker blog reveals that keystroke capture and more is taking place on public websites too:

    • The Motherboard Guide to Sexting Securely

      Once we attached cameras to computers, people predictably started sending each other nudes over the internet. Research now indicates the majority of Americans are sending and receiving explicit messages online: 88 percent of the 870 people who participated in a 2015 Drexel University study said they’ve sexted.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Police Assault on Black Students in Kentucky Sparks Calls for Reform

      Police in schools criminalize students and don’t make anyone safer. They’ve got to go.

      Families in Louisville, Kentucky, are rightly calling for an end to police in schools following the recent assault on two Black students perpetrated by law enforcement at a local high school that was caught on camera.

      Before the video begins, two students at Jeffersontown High School were said to have been in a fight over a pair of headphones when a police officer intervened. He reportedly called for additional officers after being attacked by the student. The video clip shows three police officers on top of a teenager. One officer presses the teen’s head into the linoleum floor while another holds his legs, and the third can be seen kicking him multiple times. As students look on, some crying out for the police to stop, an officer waves what appears to be a stun gun at the onlookers. The stun gun had reportedly been used on the detained student.

      As the video comes to an end, someone can be heard telling the student to turn off the recording.

      Outrage at the incident started within the community and was then shared widely on social media after activists posted video of the disturbing incident on Twitter. This assault on students of color at a high school by police represents the latest evidence that police do not belong in our schools.

    • John Lasseter’s Pattern of Alleged Misconduct Detailed by Disney/Pixar Insiders

      Rashida Jones is still credited as a writer on Toy Story 4, the next installment in the beloved franchise. But, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter, the actress and her writing partner at the time, Will McCormack, left the project early on after John Lasseter, the acclaimed head of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, made an unwanted advance.

    • John Lasseter Takes Leave of Absence From Disney/Pixar, Apologizes for Unwanted Hugs

      John Lasseter, the head of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios and one of the most powerful figures in the entertainment industry, acknowledged Tuesday that he had crossed the line with employees. He is taking a six-month leave of absence.

      Lasseter sent a memo to staff apologizing for making employees feel disrespected or uncomfortable, Variety has confirmed.

      “That was never my intent,” he wrote. “Collectively, you mean the world to me, and I deeply apologize if I have let you down. I especially want to apologize to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape, or form.”

      Lasseter is taking a leave as several prominent Hollywood figures are grappling with allegations of sexual harassment. His name has continued to be mentioned privately, with a number of former Pixar employees telling Variety that he has behaved inappropriately and describing a culture at the company as “toxic” and “sexist” for women. His leave was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.

    • Not One Person With A Discrimination Case Was Referred To See A Legal Aid Lawyer In The Last Year

      Not one person with a discrimination complaint was referred to see a legal aid lawyer in the last year, BuzzFeed News has learned.

      New Ministry of Justice figures reveal the impact of legal aid cuts on people who cannot afford a lawyer to bring discrimination cases against their employer or companies they use.

      Funding for almost all employment cases was scrapped in 2013 as part of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO). To soften the blow, the government said legal aid would be available in discrimination cases – but could only be accessed after first getting advice over the phone.

    • Chinese students claim they worked illegal overtime making the iPhone X

      A report in the Financial Times claims Foxconn has employed teenaged students to manufacture iPhone X components and that those students worked illegal overtime. Additionally, according to one of the students cited in the report, a school had students working at the factory as part of their educational programs.

    • US Justice Department threatens to sue Harvard over Asian-American admissions

      “We sincerely hope that Harvard will quickly correct its non-compliance and return to a collaborative approach,” the letter said, adding that “Harvard has not yet produced a single document.”
      The inquiry is related to a federal lawsuit filed by a group of students in 2014 alleging Harvard limits the number of Asian Americans it admits each year. A similar complaint was made to the Justice Department.

    • Facebook (still) lets housing advertisers exclude users by race

      In February, Facebook said it would step up enforcement of its prohibition against discrimination in advertising for housing, employment, or credit.

      But our tests showed a significant lapse in the company’s monitoring of the rental market.

      Last week, ProPublica bought dozens of rental housing ads on Facebook but asked that they not be shown to certain categories of users, such as African-Americans, mothers of high school kids, people interested in wheelchair ramps, Jews, expats from Argentina, and Spanish speakers.

    • DHS Trying To Bury Report Showing Violations Of Travel Ban Court Orders By CBP Officers

      An Inspector General’s report showing Customs and Border Protection violated court orders during its implementation of Trump’s travel ban appears to be headed for a burial by the DHS. A letter from the Inspector General to high-ranking senators says the department has indicated it will invoke an unchallengeable privilege to withhold large portions of the report, if not its entire contents.

    • How a Racially Polarized New York School District Is Violating Voting Rights Law

      In East Ramapo, a white voting bloc has taken control of the school board and shut out public school supporters.

      Even if your school district isn’t as deeply troubled as the East Ramapo Central School District in the Lower Hudson Valley, it might very well be suffering from the same Voting Rights Act violation.

      East Ramapo is a racially diverse district — a little less than half of the residents in the district are people of color — but it has a very segregated school system. Ninety-six percent of the district’s public school students are children of color, while 99 percent of its private school students are white.

      But because of a very common method of electing school board members, the entire East Ramapo Board of Education consists of candidates preferred by the district’s white voters. The district uses at-large elections, which means that board members are elected by all the voters of the school district, rather than voters from individual geographic areas. Extreme racial polarization in the school system is reflected in racially-polarized voting in district elections. The white majority tends to vote as a bloc to support candidates who favor low taxes and high investment in private school services, while black and Latino voters tend to support candidates who favor investment in the public schools.

    • Trump Resumes Abuse of ‘Terror List’

      The U.S. government has long abused its “terrorism list” by including disfavored nations while leaving off “allies” implicated in 9/11 and other terror attacks, a practice President Trump has resumed, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

      [...]

      Other countries besides North Korea have been the subject of misuse of the state sponsor list. The Reagan administration took Iraq off the list as part of its tilt toward Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War. The George H.W. Bush administration returned Iraq to the list after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Neither move had to do with any change in Iraqi behavior regarding international terrorism.

      [...]

      Misusing the list of state sponsors of terrorism sends the message that the United States does not care all that much about terrorism itself. It undermines the credibility of efforts that really are focused on countering terrorism. Most fundamentally, it diminishes the incentive of the targeted regime to get out or stay out of international terrorism. If the North Korean regime sees that it is going to be branded a state sponsor of terrorism regardless of what it is doing terrorism-wise, it has that much less disincentive against sliding back into the reprehensible things it was doing in the 1980s.

    • FBI Racially Profiling “Black Identity Extremists”

      In early August 2017, the counterterrorism division of the FBI released a report warning of the danger of “Black Identity Extremists.” Jana Winter and Sharon Weinberger reported for Foreign Policy that, as “white supremacists prepared to descend on Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, the FBI warned about a new movement that was violent, growing, and racially motivated. Only it wasn’t white supremacists; it was ‘black identity extremists.’”

      The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch Staff reported that the FBI report used the term BIEs (the Bureau’s acronym for “Black Identity Extremists”) to describe “a conglomeration of black nationalists, black supremacists, and black separatists, among other disaffiliated racist individuals who are anti-police, anti-white, and/or seeking to rectify perceived social injustices against blacks.” According to the SPLC report, the FBI was “taking some heat from historians, academics and former government officials for creating the new ‘BIE’ term,” which categorized a range of activists, not by their common ideologies or goals, but by race.

    • Extreme Digital Vetting of Visitors to the U.S. Moves Forward Under a New Name

      The Department of Immigration & Customs Enforcement is taking new steps in its plans for monitoring the social media accounts of applicants and holders of U.S. visas. At a tech industry conference last Thursday in Arlington, Virginia, ICE officials explained to software providers what they are seeking: algorithms that would assess potential threats posed by visa holders in the United States and conduct ongoing social media surveillance of those deemed high risk.

      The comments provide the first clear blueprint for ICE’s proposed augmentation of its visa-vetting program. The initial announcement of the plans this summer, viewed as part of President Donald Trump’s calls for the “extreme vetting” of visitors from Muslim countries, stoked a public outcry from immigrants and civil liberties advocates. They argued that such a plan would discriminate against Muslim visitors and potentially place a huge number of individuals under watch.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality supporters plan nationwide protests on December 7

      The Obama administration’s network neutrality rules are in danger, and the activists who helped get those regulations enacted aren’t giving up without a fight. They’re planning a series of protests nationwide to pressure the Federal Communications Commission to reject Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to roll back network neutrality protections.

      The protests will be held outside Verizon stores on December 7, a week before an expected December 14 vote on Pai’s proposal. They chose Verizon because Verizon has been a leading opponent of the net neutrality rules and because Pai worked as Verizon’s associate general counsel from 2001 to 2003.

      “The company has been spending millions on lobbying and lawsuits to kill net neutrality so they can gouge us all for more money,” the protest organizers write. “We’re calling on our lawmakers to do their job overseeing the FCC and speak out against Ajit Pai’s plan to gut Title II net neutrality protections.”

    • FCC Releases Net Neutrality Killing Order, Hopes You’re Too Busy Cooking Turkey To Read It

      As we noted yesterday, the FCC is trying to use the Thanksgiving holiday to distract the press and public from its blatant handout to one of the least liked and least competitive industries in America. As we also noted yesterday, trying to bury such an epic middle finger to consumers behind the cranberry sauce is an obvious underestimation of just how unpopular this plan is, and the policy, political, and cultural backlash it’s going to generate for years.

      That said, all six of you not currently driving long distances, buying turkeys and potatoes, or otherwise distracted by holiday preparation can now read a fact sheet provided by the FCC (pdf) explaining what Ajit Pai and his lobbying friends in the telecom industry have planned for you.

    • FCC stonewalled investigation of net neutrality comment fraud, NY AG says

      New York’s attorney general has been trying to investigate fraud in public comments on the Federal Communications Commission’s anti-net neutrality plan but alleges that the FCC has refused to cooperate with the investigation.

    • America [sic] is about to kill the open [I]nternet – and towns like this will pay the price

      Michelle Conrow picks up a book about the history of the US postal service lying next to her laptop, flicking through the pages.

      “It talks about when there was a debate over whether we should have service to rural areas. It was all the same arguments about why we shouldn’t – too expensive, it doesn’t return the investment – and why we should – farmers need the news, people need to order things. It was a similar debate with the telephone, electricity … we’ve been here before.

    • Creators for Net Neutrality : The Open Letter

      The Internet is essential infrastructure for our economy and culture. It has ushered in an unprecedented era of freedom for communication. And thanks to strong net neutrality rules, users have been in the driver’s seat of choosing what is successful online, without interference from government or Internet service provider (ISP) gatekeepers.

    • FCC announces vote to destroy net neutrality next month

      The Internet Association, a trade group that represents web 40-some web companies including Google and Facebook, pointed to lack of ISP options as a critical flaw in the plan. “Consumers have little choice in their ISP,” the organization said, “and service providers should not be allowed to use this gatekeeper position at the point of connection to discriminate against websites and apps.” And ACLU policy analyst Jay Stanley issued a similar warning, saying, “Gutting net neutrality will have a devastating effect on free speech online. Without it, gateway corporations like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T will have too much power to mess with the free flow of information.”

    • R.I.P. The Internet, 1983-2017: End of Online Liberty

      If the FCC abandons its commitment to net neutrality, Congress can and should step in to put it back on course. That means enacting real, forward-looking legislation that embraces all of the bright-line rules, not just the ones ISPs don’t mind. And it means forcing the FCC to its job, rather than handing it off to another agency that’s not well-positioned to do the work.

    • Can a Free Internet Survive FCC End to Net Neutrality?

      Pai’s FCC is also planning to remove monopoly regulations in the media sector, including bans on cross ownership of TV stations and newspapers in major sectors.

    • As The FCC Guts Net Neutrality, Comcast Again Falsely Claims You Have Nothing To Worry About

      As the Trump administration guts oversight of some of the least liked and least competitive companies in America in one of the most brazen examples of crony capitalism in tech policy history, ISPs like Verizon and Comcast seem intent on insisting that none of this is actually happening. Verizon, you’ll recall, went so far as to publish a comical video in which the company used a fake journalist to try and construct an alternate timeline; one in which Verizon hasn’t been trying to undermine net neutrality and a healthy, competitive internet for the last fifteen years:

    • Ajit Pai announces net neutrality vote ahead of long Thanksgiving weekend

      Most major internet sites have said that they disagree with plans to axe net neutrality – even those such as Amazon and Netflix which represent a large proportion of internet traffic in the US, and could afford to pay the fees (though may well end up passing the costs on to end customers.

      Fight For The Future which is spearheading protests and lobbying senators to delay or even challenge the decision on legal grounds has reacted furiously.

    • FCC Plans to Gut Net Neutrality, Allow Internet ‘Fast Lanes’

      Of course, well-established services from deep-pocketed companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft will likely remain widely available. But net-neutrality advocates argue that smaller companies that don’t have the money to pay for fast lanes could suffer. In other words, protecting net neutrality isn’t about saving Netflix but about saving the next Netflix.

    • Net Neutrality, John Conyers, Zimbabwe: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing

      It’s expected to be approved on Dec. 14 in a party-line vote by the agency’s five commissioners. But some companies will probably put up a legal fight to prevent it from taking hold. This video explains how net neutrality works.

    • Here’s How the End of Net Neutrality Will Change the Internet

      INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS like Comcast and Verizon may soon be free to block content, slow video-streaming services from rivals, and offer “fast lanes” to preferred partners. For a glimpse of how the internet experience may change, look at what broadband providers are doing under the existing “net neutrality” rules.

      When AT&T customers access its DirecTV Now video-streaming service, the data doesn’t count against their plan’s data limits. Verizon, likewise, exempts its Go90 service from its customers’ data plans. T-Mobile allows multiple video and music streaming services to bypass its data limits, essentially allowing it to pick winners and losers in those categories.

    • FCC will also order states to scrap plans for their own net neutrality laws

      In addition to ditching its own net neutrality rules, the Federal Communications Commission also plans to tell state and local governments that they cannot impose local laws regulating broadband service.

      This detail was revealed by senior FCC officials in a phone briefing with reporters today, and it is a victory for broadband providers that asked for widespread preemption of state laws. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposed order finds that state and local laws must be preempted if they conflict with the US government’s policy of deregulating broadband Internet service, FCC officials said. The FCC will vote on the order at its December 14 meeting.

    • Internet Defenders Urge Mass Revolt to Fight FCC’s “Scorched-Earth” Attack on Net Neutrality

      Open internet advocates warned that “we’re running out of time” to save the web from corporate control and called on Americans to make their representatives’ phones “ring off the hook” Tuesday after FCC chairman Ajit Pai unveiled his long-awaited plan to scrap net neutrality that critics slammed as “naked corporatism” designed to give a major gift to the telecom industry at the expense of the public.

      “The reckless wrecking ball strikes again,” former FCC commissioner and current special adviser at Common Cause Michael Copps said in a statement. “FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s scorched-earth plan for net neutrality displays callous disregard for both process and substance. The chairman’s plan to do away with net neutrality will be a disaster for consumers and yet another handout for big business.”

      Matt Wood, policy director at Free Press, said Pai’s plan “makes no sense” for a variety of key reasons.

    • RIP net neutrality: FCC chair releases plan to deregulate ISPs

      The Federal Communications Commission today announced its plan to deregulate the broadband industry and eliminate net neutrality rules, setting up a December 14 vote to finalize the repeal.

      As expected, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is proposing to reverse the commission’s classification of home and mobile ISPs as common carriers, eliminating the legal justification for the net neutrality rules and numerous other consumer protections. The Republican-controlled FCC is likely to vote 3-2 along party lines in favor of Pai’s plan at its regular monthly meeting in December, ignoring Internet users who voiced widespread support for net neutrality rules.

    • FCC Plan To Use Thanksgiving To ‘Hide’ Its Attack On Net Neutrality Vastly Underestimates The Looming Backlash

      Except this obfuscation plan isn’t “devilishly brilliant,” it’s a massive underestimation of the brutal backlash awaiting the broadband industry and its myopic water carriers. Survey after survey (including those conducted by the cable industry itself) have found net neutrality has broad, bipartisan support. The plan is even unpopular among the traditional Trump trolls over at 4chan /pol/ that spent the last week drinking onion juice. It’s a mammoth turd of a proposal, and outside of the color guard at the lead of the telecom industry’s sockpuppet parade — the majority of informed Americans know it.

      Net neutrality has been a fifteen year fight to protect the very health of the internet itself from predatory duopolists like Comcast. Killing it isn’t something you can hide behind the green bean amandine, and it’s not a small scandal you can bury via the late Friday news dump. This effort is, by absolutely any measure, little more than a grotesque hand out to one of the least competitive — and most disliked — industries in America. Trying to obfuscate this reality via the holidays doesn’t change that. Neither does giving the plan an Orwellian name like “Restoring Internet Freedom.”

    • Say Goodbye to Net Neutrality. Say Hello to the FCC’s Trickle-Down Experiment

      Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission’s Trump-appointed chairman, is moving to gut the net neutrality rules that progressive activists and a massive online movement successfully pushed for during the Obama administration.

      The effort to kill net neutrality adds to a long list of deregulatory moves that media rights advocates say will hurt people the FCC is charged with protecting: everyday consumers, low-income families, underserved Indigenous communities, disabled people, as well as women and people of color, who remain underrepresented in broadcast media.

      Last week, Pai and the FCC’s Republican majority began overhauling the Lifeline program that subsidizes phone and internet service for low-income people, an effort that Democratic commissioners say will punitively cripple the crucial safety net. Commissioners also voted along party lines to repeal a list of media ownership regulations, a move that critics say will usher in a new era of media consolidation in local markets and help a massive, right-leaning broadcasting company gobble up TV stations without selling others off.

    • Today—and Every Day—We Fight to Defend the Open Internet

      Today, we heard from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about its plans to devastate Network Neutrality. Instead of responding to the millions of Americans who want to protect the free and open Internet, the FCC instead is ceding to the demands of a handful of massive ISPs, like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.

      EFF will be analyzing the full plan when it is released. But based on what we know so far, it’s clear that Chairman Pai is seeking to reverse the 2015 Open Internet Order that established clear but light touch protections for Internet users and Internet innovation. The FCC’s new approach invites a future where only the largest Internet, cable, and telephone companies survive, while every start-up, small business, and new innovator is crowded out—and the voices of nonprofits and ordinary individuals are suppressed. Costs will go up, as ISPs take advantage of monopoly power to raise rates on edge providers and consumers alike. And the FCC’s proposed plan adds salt to the wound by interfering with state efforts to protect consumer privacy and competition.

    • [Mozilla] Statement on FCC proposal to roll back net neutrality in the U.S.

      Today, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the next step in their plan to roll back net neutrality. The FCC still has time to remove the vote from the docket, which we hope they do before the December 14 meeting.

      If the FCC votes to roll back these net neutrality protections, they would end the internet as we know it, harming every day users and small businesses, eroding free speech, competition, innovation and user choice in the process.

      Our position is clear: the end of net neutrality would only benefit Internet Service Providers (ISPs). That’s why we’ve led the charge on net neutrality for years to ensure everyone has access to the entire internet.

    • The Right Choice For The Wrong Reasons? DOJ Sues To Kill The AT&T Time Warner Merger

      If you’ve been paying attention, the Trump admninistration has been engaged in a frontal assault on everything from net neutrality to media consolidation rules, its legacy-industry-cozy policies driving a new wave of mergermania in telecom and media. As such, few thought the administration would block AT&T’s $86 billion acquisition of Time Warner. After all, AT&T wasn’t acquiring a direct competitor, and the harms caused by vertical integration — however real — haven’t been a genuine concern in regulatory telecom oversight from either party for years (see Comcast NBC Universal or Sinclair Tribune).

      But then rumors began to emerge that the Trump DOJ was contemplating suing to block AT&T’s latest megamerger — unless it was willing to sell either DirecTV (acquired by AT&T last year) or Turner Broadcasting, owner of CNN. Reports indicate that AT&T refused both options and was primed for a court showdown

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Nobel Prize Winning Economist Says Non-US Countries Have Unique Opportunity To Reform Intellectual Property

      For well over a decade, we’ve noted that Nobel Prize-winning economist Joe Stiglitz has been one of the many, many economists who are skeptical of the benefits of our current patent system, noting that it appears to do a lot more harm than good, both to the process of innovation and (importantly) to the wider distribution of the gains from innovation. He’s been particularly critical of pharmaceutical patents over the years. And, it appears that he may sense a somewhat unique opportunity to actually get countries around the world to actually rethink traditional patent and copyright regimes — in part because the US, under the Trump administration, is pulling back from various international agreements and fora.

      Earlier this year, along with Dean Baker and Arjun Jayadev, Stigliz authored an interesting paper about ways to rethink innovation, intellectual property and development. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in the paper, but I do agree with much of it — especially the presentation of the problems of today’s systems.

    • Copyrights

      • 3 Million Dish Customers May Miss Thanksgiving Football In Latest Example Of TV Industry Dysfunction

        So for several years now consumers have faced a growing number of obnoxious retransmission blackouts, which occur when broadcasters and cable providers can’t agree on new programming contracts. Such feuds usually go something like this: a broadcaster will demand a fairly obnoxious price hike for the same content, to which the cable provider (already awash in complaints about higher rates) will balk. Instead of negotiating their differences like adults, this content is subsequently blacked out for paying customers, who never see refunds for the inconvenience.

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