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03.08.18

Links 8/3/2018: Vulkan 1.1, Cockpit 163

Posted in News Roundup at 7:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • What is open source programming?

    At the simplest level, open source programming is merely writing code that other people can freely use and modify. But you’ve heard the old chestnut about playing Go, right? “So simple it only takes a minute to learn the rules, but so complex it requires a lifetime to master.” Writing open source code is a pretty similar experience. It’s easy to chuck a few lines of code up on GitHub, Bitbucket, SourceForge, or your own blog or site. But doing it right requires some personal investment, effort, and forethought.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Clang Now Compiles Chrome For Windows

        This is simple story until you start looking just below the surface. The simple part is that Google has manged to use the Clang compiler to compile Chrome targeting Windows. The real question is why?

      • Google Chrome 65 Now Rolling Out to Android Devices to Fight Malvertising

        After releasing the Chrome 65 web browser for Linux, Windows, and Mac operating system, Google now announced today that it started rolling out to Android devices as well.

        Google Chrome 65 (65.0.3325.109) is the first version of the Chromium-based web browser to come with a built-in ad-blocking feature that promises to fight malvertising by preventing websites with abusive ads from opening tabs or new windows and ruin your entire Chrome browsing experience.

    • Mozilla

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Report from the Geniatech vs. McHardy GPL violation court hearing

      Today, I took some time off to attend the court hearing in the appeal hearing related to a GPL infringement dispute between former netfilter colleague Partrick McHardy and Geniatech Europe

      I am not in any way legally involved in the lawsuit on either the plaintiff or the defendant side. However, as a fellow (former) Linux kernel developer myself, and a long-term Free Software community member who strongly believes in the copyleft model, I of course am very interested in this case.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: January 2018

      Given that we’re into March, it seems like a reasonable time to publish our Q1 Programming Language Rankings. As always, these are a continuation of the work originally performed by Drew Conway and John Myles White late in 2010. While the means of collection has changed, the basic process remains the same: we extract language rankings from GitHub and Stack Overflow, and combine them for a ranking that attempts to reflect both code (GitHub) and discussion (Stack Overflow) traction. The idea is not to offer a statistically valid representation of current usage, but rather to correlate language discussion and usage in an effort to extract insights into potential future adoption trends.

    • On standards work

      All of the students are using JavaScript. Where did it come from? Who made it? Who maintains it? Who defines it? Who is in charge? When we talk about open source we think about code, tests, documentation, and how all of these evolve. But what about open standards? What does working on a standard look like?

    • This Week in Rust 224

      Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed.

    • GitHub open sources Licensed for OSS license compliance

      GitHub announced it is open sourcing its internal tool for automating the licensing process of building and maintaining open source products. The tool, Licensed, is designed to help engineers streamline one of the most complex and crucial parts associated with building open source projects: maintaining code functionality and compliance.

    • GitHub gives businesses a helping hand to open source project licensing

      GitHub has introduced a new way for companies to license their open source projects, with an open source program.

      The company has open sourced ‘Licensed’, which is an internal tool used to automate various open source projects licensing processes that GitHub runs. The program aims to help programmers reduce the time it takes to track down licenses for open source projects, putting their efforts elsewhere.

      Licensed will enable developers to effectively use their code’s open source licensing by spotting potential problems with a program’s dependency license early in its development cycle. By spotting these problems early can help prevent larger issues happening.

    • Why Your Engineers Should Spend More Time Writing Open Source Software Code

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Record Afghan Opium Crop Signals Violent Year for U.S. Forces

      Despite an escalation of the Afghan conflict under the Trump administration, a record opium crop, coupled with steady Taliban gains, foretell bitter fighting in the coming months for American forces and the Afghans stationed alongside them.

      “Record-high opium production is but one indication of how badly U.S. efforts have failed and are continuing to fail,” said Andrew Bacevich, professor of history and international relations at Boston University and author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East. “It is both a major source of Taliban funding and an indication of how little control the Afghan government is able to exert.”

    • Trump Announces One-Sided Plan To Meet With Video Game Makers Over Gun Violence

      In the conspiracy against video games that is now in full swing after the school shooting in Florida, it seems that it goes all the way to the top, by which I mean the recent comments by our Dear Leader, Donald Trump. Lower levels of the government have already begun foisting the sins of the shooter on the scapegoat of violent games, with Rhode Island looking for a plainly unconstitutional tax on adult-rated games and the governor of Kentucky trying to blame violent games for the recent shooting, sans evidence. And now it seems that Donald Trump has gotten into the mix, announcing that he will be meeting with “the video game industry” in coming weeks to see how they can stop real-world gun violence.

    • Media Erase US Role in Syria’s Misery, Call for US to Inflict More Misery

      In the Guardian (2/10/18), Simon Tisdall described the US and its Western partners as “hovering passively on the sidelines in Syria,” and “restricting themselves to counterterrorism operations and vain calls for peace.” ABC’s Conor Finnegan (2/26/18) expressed concern that “the US will remain on the sidelines” in the country.

      However, America currently controls 28 percent of Syria (Foreign Policy, 1/25/18), precisely the opposite of being “on the sidelines,” and has recently declared its intent to continue occupying the country indefinitely (New York Times, 2/22/18). As Joshua Landis (Syria Comment, 1/15/18), director of the Center for Middle East Studies, notes, the US controls “half of Syria’s energy resources, the Euphrates dam at Tabqa, as well as much of Syria’s best agricultural land.”

      Anglo-American press coverage of the Syrian situation has grossly misled readers about their own governments’ role in the catastrophe, and has urged audiences to accept greater Western military intervention in the country without examining the implications of such a move.

    • For NYT, a Trillion Dollars’ Worth of A-Bombs Is ‘Little’ Response to Russia

      So what does a “little” response look like? Since taking office, the Trump administration and Congress—citing the Russian challenge as one of their major rationales—have increased the military budget by about $80 billion, or roughly 13 percent, the largest increase since the aftermath of 9/11, and 70 percent greater than the entire Russian military budget of $47 billion. (Note that in the late 1970s and early ’80s, the Soviet military budget was bigger in real terms than that of the United States—and yet the USSR still managed to lose the Cold War.)

      Additionally, Trump has reportedly asked for a “black budget” of over $80 billion for covert operations ($30 billion more than previous reports), and pledged more than $1.2 trillion to building up the United States’ nuclear arsenal over the next 30 years, $200 billion more than Obama asked Congress for when he announced the plan two years ago.

    • The Elephant In The Room

      Nerve agents including Sarin and VX are manufactured by the British Government in Porton Down, just 8 miles from where Sergei Skripal was attacked. The official British government story is that these nerve agents are only manufactured “To help develop effective medical countermeasures and to test systems”.

      The UK media universally accepted that the production of polonium by Russia was conclusive evidence that Vladimir Putin was personally responsible for the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. In the case of Skripal, po-faced articles like this hilarious one in the Guardian speculate about where the nerve agent could possibly have come from – while totally failing to mention the fact that incident took place only eight miles from the largest stock of nerve agent in western Europe.

    • What the Saudi leaks tell us: An interview with Julian Assange

      Since June 2015 WikiLeaks has been releasing details of leaked cables and other documents from within the Saudi Foreign Office. Julian Assange explains what’s inside.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Council Of Europe Agrees New Guidelines On Media Pluralism, Transparency Of Media Ownership

      The Strasbourg, France-based Council of Europe today adopted a recommendation containing a range of guidelines aimed at managing the effects of modern technology on the media sector and media pluralism. The recommendation sets out a comprehensive framework of guidelines for a “pluralist, transparent and participatory” media environment, online and offline.

    • CIA Still Arguing Its Official Leaks To Journalists Shouldn’t Be Subject To FOIA Requests

      Last week, a federal judge pointed out the obvious to the CIA: release-to-one is release-to-all, no matter how the agency’s lawyers spin it. The CIA had emailed classified information to certain journalists. When another journalist sought copies of those emails, the CIA handed him fully-redacted versions. Obviously, they weren’t redacted when they were sent to select members of the public. Why would the CIA feel the need to redact the information now when another member of the public asked for it?

      The CIA argued it had every right to hand out classified info to whoever it saw fit and then turn around and refuse to hand it over when an FOIA requester requested it. It said the classified info it gave to journalists was never published by those journalists, so it was technically not a public release. The judge shot back, stating that the CIA had effectively waived its right to withhold this information by handing it out to journalists in the first place.

  • Finance

    • Co-op becomes first UK supermarket to scrap queues for customers – and all you have to do is shop and go [Ed: Terrible idea. Greed.]

      The Co-op has become the UK’s first supermarket to introduce a no-queues policy – and shoppers can simply pick up their groceries and walk out.

      The new initiative, dubbed shop, scan and go, will allow time-pressed customers to complete payments on their phones, without visiting a till.

    • Slush Pool is Now Compatible With AsicBoost Bitcoin Miners

      “The protocol extension we propose and already implemented allows [miners] to use overt AsicBoost over stratum protocol, which was not yet possible,” Slush Pool CTO Pavel Moravec told Bitcoin Magazine. “Mining can now get even closer to the theoretical lower limit on power consumption so that there is less space for finding optimization.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • ‘Trump, Inc.’ Podcast: The Desperation, Secrecy and Conflicts of Jared Kushner’s Company

      We’ve seen headline after headline about Jared Kushner. We’ve heard that Trump’s son-in-law company has been on a global search for cash, that the company got giant loans from two big financial firms after Kushner met with officials from the companies in the White House, and that countries believe they can manipulate Kushner through his “complex” business arrangements.

      Just like his father-in-law, Kushner has not fully divested from his family’s business. He still owns at least $761 million in assets. Meanwhile, the company has found itself owing hundreds of millions of dollars in debt that comes due in less than a year.

      All of this while the company has worked very hard to keep some of its partners a secret.

    • French Government Wants To Toss Far-Right Political Leader In Jail For Posting Images Of Terrorist Atrocities

      France’s decision to inhibit free speech in response to local terrorist attacks has resulted in ridiculous applications of laws being written (and rewritten) on the fly. The current French president — and supposed moderate — wants to “ban” fake news and the French government has previously expressed a desire to censor websites for national security reasons. The attack on satirical publication Charlie Hebdo supposedly prompted French government officials to stand in solidarity with free speech. This show of unity was followed immediately by multiple arrests for violations of France’s speech laws — including the arrest of comedian for an anti-Semitic Facebook post and another for posting a video mocking dead policemen.

    • Could It Happen Here? Donald Trump, Tony Judt, and the Future of American Democracy

      Is Trump’s election a step on the road to authoritarianism, or is he an anomaly? That depends on us.

    • What We Found in Trump’s Drained Swamp: Hundreds of Ex-Lobbyists and D.C. Insiders

      When the Trump administration took office early last year, hundreds of staffers from lobbying firms, conservative think tanks and Trump campaign groups began pouring into the very agencies they once lobbied or whose work they once opposed.

      Today we’re making available, for the first time, an authoritative searchable database of 2,475 political appointees, including Trump’s Cabinet, staffers in the White House and senior officials within the government, along with their federal lobbying and financial records. Trump Town is the result of a year spent filing hundreds of Freedom of Information Act requests; collecting and organizing staffing lists; and compiling, sifting through and publishing thousands of financial disclosure reports.

    • The Trump Appointee Behind the Move to Add a Citizenship Question to the Census

      In December, the Department of Justice requested that the Census Bureau add a question to the 2020 survey that would ask respondents to reveal whether or not they are U.S. citizens. Since ProPublica first reported the DOJ’s letter, civil rights groups and congressional Democrats have announced their opposition, arguing that in the midst of President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown, the question will lead many people to opt out of the census, resulting in an inaccurate population count.

      A lot is at stake. The once-a-decade population count determines how House seats are distributed and helps determine where hundreds of billions of federal dollars are spent.

      But one question regarding the December letter remained unclear. The letter was signed by a career staffer in a division of the DOJ whose main function is handling budget and procurement matters. Who, observers wondered, was actually driving the policy change?

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Parliament approves “Internet Censorship Bill” – What happens next

      The National Assembly has approved legislation that aims to allow the FPB to regulate the distribution of online content in South Africa.

      Known as the Internet Censorship Bill, the Film and Publications Amendment Bill includes provisions to give the FPB powers to have online content blocked in South Africa.

      This includes “user-generated content”, such as posts published to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media services.

      According to reports, the National Assembly vote was 189 in favour, 35 against, and no abstentions.

    • We are probably going back to Emergency era: Shyam Benegal
    • Is Censorship A Necessary Evil?

      With more than 1000 films being released every year, in India censorship of films has not only been a debate in the legal fraternity but also a topic of discussion at the family dinner table. The recent delay and cuts in the movie “Padmavati” is just one of the many examples of censorship in India. The current trend of CBFC of cutting scenes and banning of movies has raised various questions in people’s mind which need clarification.

    • Eliminating Free Speech – Internet Censorship in the Trump Era

      Trump’s election victory was the Reichstag fire of internet censorship. The fury and conspiracy theories that followed were not just about bringing down President Trump, but ending free speech online.

      It’s no coincidence that the central conspiracy theory surrounding the 2016 election involves free speech or that the solution is internet censorship. The claim that Russian trolls and bots rigged the election has zero actual evidence behind it. But it’s a convenient tool for not only delegitimizing Trump, but the very idea of a free and open internet where anyone can say anything they choose.

      Senator Ben Cardin, Rep. Jerry Nadler and other members of Congress compared the election influence conspiracy to Pearl Harbor. Rep. Jim Himes went even further, suggesting that it had eclipsed 9/11 by claiming that it, “is up there with Pearl Harbor in terms of its seriousness as a challenge to this country.”

    • Judges impose self-censorship under gov’t pressure: CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu

      Judges in Turkey have been obliged to impose self-censorship due to government pressure and issue their verdicts according to the expectations of the presidency, the head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has said, amid discussions over the impartiality of the judicial system.

      “Judges have come to a point where they can no longer hand judgements in line with their conscience in a country under a one-man regime. They impose self-censorship. They are concerned about angering the person at the presidency with his or her verdict. They either delay the verdicts or they issue them in line with the expectation of the person in the palace,” CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told his parliamentary group on March 7.

    • Palestinian journalists protest Facebook censorship

      Palestinian journalists staged a demonstration outside the UN office in Gaza City on Monday, “to protest Facebook’s practice of blocking Palestinian Facebook accounts”, reported Al Jazeera.

      Participants held banners saying “Facebook is complicit in [Israel’s] crimes” and “Facebook favours the [Israeli] occupation”.

      Monday’s protest was organized by the Journalists Support Committee, a Palestinian NGO.

      Speaking at the demonstration, Salama Maarouf, a spokesperson for Hamas, said Facebook was “a major violator of freedom of opinion and expression”.

    • ‘Internet Censorship Bill’ approved

      The controversial Films and Publications Amendment Bill, labelled by some as the “Internet Censorship Bill”, has been passed by the National Assembly.

      According to the Parliamentary Monitoring group, the Bill was passed by the National Assembly on 6 March and will now be transmitted to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for concurrence. After that it heads to the desk of the president to be signed into law.

      The Bill is supposed to address the shortcomings of the Films and Publications Act of 1996, but has come under fierce scrutiny since it was first gazetted, with many calling for it to be overhauled for infringing on freedom of speech.

    • WATCH: ‘Inxeba’ ruling a ‘victory against censorship’: filmmakers

      The critically-acclaimed local film Inxeba (The Wound) may have won a legal battle, but its war is far from over, as filmmakers will be back in court at the end of March.

      The movie’s creators scored a victory on Tuesday when the North Gauteng High Court overturned the Film and Publication Board Appeals Tribunal’s decision, to give the film an age restriction of X18.

    • Inxeba returns to cinemas nationwide

      The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has ruled that the X-rating on the film Inxeba: The Wound can be lifted meaning the film can now be shown in local cinemas with an 18 age restriction pending court proceedings that have been postponed until March 28.

    • Offensive? Censorship? Inxeba in court over X18 rating

      The main argument of the applicant on its court papers is that as things now stand – the classification as hardcore pornography – the film can only be viewed at “adult premises” aka “sex shops” and no longer at mainstream cinemas.

      An appeal against the reclassification of the film was made at the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.

      The decision over the 18 rating has been postponed to March 28.

      This is a development of critical importance to Inxeba.

    • A blow against censorship
    • WATCH: ‘Inxeba’ ruling a ‘victory against censorship’: filmmakers
    • Can Someone Explain How SESTA Will Stop Sex Trafficking?
    • The New Israel Anti-Boycott Act Is Still Unconstitutional
    • Rhode Island Law Would Mandate Porn Filters, Charge You $20 Per Device To Bypass Them
    • Famous Racist Sues Twitter Claiming It Violates His Civil Rights As A Racist To Be Kicked Off The Platform

      We’ve seen a bunch of lawsuits of late filed by very angry people who have been kicked off of, or somehow limited by, various social media platforms. There’s Dennis Prager’s lawsuit against YouTube as well as Chuck Johnson’s lawsuit against Twitter. Neither of these have any likelihood of success. These platforms have every right to kick off whoever they want, and Section 230 of the CDA pretty much guarantees an easy win.

      Now we have yet another one of these, Jared Taylor, a self-described “race realist” and “white advocate” (what most of us would call an out and out racist), has sued Twitter for kicking him and his organization off its platform. Taylor is represented by a few lawyers, including Marc Randazza, who I know and respect, but with whom I don’t always agree — and this is one of those cases. I think Randazza took a bad case and is making some fairly ridiculous arguments that will fail badly. Randazza declined to comment on my questions about this case, but his co-counsel — law professor Adam Candeub and Noah Peters — both were kind enough to discuss for quite some time their theory on the case, and to debate my concerns about why the lawsuit will so obviously fail. We’ll get to their responses soon, but first let’s look at the lawsuit itself.

      To the credit of these lawyers, they make a valiant effort to distinguish this case from the Prager and Johnson cases, which appear to be just completely ridiculous. The Taylor case makes the most thorough argument I’ve seen for why Twitter can’t kick someone off its platform. It’s still so blatantly wrong and will almost certainly get laughed out of court, but the legal arguments are marginally better than those found in the other similar cases we’ve seen.

    • Subtle Censorship: A Gateway to Sovereignty

      “Both my maternal great-grandparents immigrated to the United States,” Dr. Kara Ritzheimer began. “I grew up hearing stories about my great-grandparents from my mother. As a teenager, I traveled to Germany and met my relatives there on my great-grandmother’s side, and I’ve stayed in very close contact with them.”

      Ritzheimer is an associate professor of history at Oregon State University, where she continues research in modern European history with an emphasis in modern German history. Her interest began with the female agency she heard about in stories from her mother. While that is still of interest, her work has led her to studying censorship of “trash” or “smut” in Germany surrounding WWI.

      Her work provides some food for thought about what censorship looks like, how it can be implemented, and the harm it causes. While the world of WWI Germany is much different than the U.S. today, censorship and its threats have changed surprisingly little.

      Ritzheimer contextualizes her work, explaining that prior to WWI, “trash first referred to serialized novels and then dime novels,” short stories of no more than 25 pages with bright covers, detailing the often violent or macabre adventures of characters like Sherlock Holmes and Buffalo Bill.

    • Controversial YouTubers head to alternative platforms in wake of ‘purge’

      SteemIt’s CEO Ned Scott doesn’t believe in censorship; a stance that has won him and his platform fans in recent months.

      The appeal of video platform, DTube, which runs on the Steem blockchain database, is almost directly tied to what many creators allege has been happening on YouTube for more than a year: the “YouTube Purge,” an alleged condemnation of right-wing political channels, pro-gun advocates and conspiracy theorists, that’s led to claims of censorship on Google’s video platform.

      As YouTube attempts to crack down on content it deems hateful, bullying or promoting dangerous conspiracy theories, people are looking for alternatives. DTube is a decentralized video platform with little to no moderation that uses cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to pay its users. BitChute is similar, but whereas DTube takes much of its design inspiration from YouTube, BitChute looks like an older version of LiveLeaks. The creators of BitChute describe themselves as a “small team making a stand against Internet censorship because we believe it is the right thing to do.”

    • Comcast Protected Browsing Blocks TorrentFreak, Showing Why Site-Blocking Sucks Out Loud Always

      While site-blocking is now a global phenomena, every country appears to be on a different trajectory in how it does this new flavor of censorship. Russia, for instance, looks for any excuse to block the availability of a website on its soil, resulting in absolutely hilarious amounts of collateral damage. Italy is slightly more judicious, but still does its site-blocking sans due process, whereas Ireland has just begun to open the door to site-blocking, with all kinds of major media companies just waiting to barge through it. Here in America, site-blocking is typically reserved for streaming sites during major sporting events and the voluntary blocking companies like Comcast offer with its “Protected Browsing” service.

      But let’s be clear: all of these points on the spectrum suck out loud. Collateral damage is the rule, not the outlier, and these efforts at justified censorship always creep, if not dash, towards the other line of reasonable behavior. As an example of this, let’s go back to the site-blocking Comcast performs for customers who enable its “Protected Browsing” feature. This feature is supposed to protect internet users from malware, unwanted pornography, and pirate sites. It also apparently keeps people from being able to access news sites like TorrentFreak.

    • Anti-censorship bill for student journalists awaits Washington governor’s signature

      In just a few days’ time, school administrators in Washington state may no longer get the final call on what publishes in their school newspapers — students will.

      On Monday afternoon, the state Senate approved the amended version of Senate Bill 5064, a bill that’s been introduced in various forms since 1992, including four times in the last decade. The vote count was 45 to 4. Sunnyside Republican Jim Honeyford was among those voting against the bill.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Shadow Brokers’ NSA data dump offers up more revelations

      A group of Hungarian researchers found that the National Security Agency (NSA) was able to scan for and track nation-state threat groups when NSA workers were conducting operations inside other country’s systems.

      The research comes from the Laboratory of Cryptography and System Security, also known as CrySyS Lab, reported The Intercept. The tracking was accomplished using scripts that could spot other nation-state hackers that were inside the same machines as the NSA. The Intercept said CrySys found the NSA was able to track 45 foreign operations. This tracking ability were discovered among the trove of NSA documents spilled by The Shadow Brokers several years ago.

    • The Leaked NSA Spy Tool That Hacked the World

      Leaked to the public not quite a year ago, EternalBlue has joined a long line of reliable hacker favorites. The Conficker Windows worm infected millions of computers in 2008, and the Welchia remote code execution worm wreaked havoc 2003. EternalBlue is certainly continuing that tradition—and by all indications it’s not going anywhere. If anything, security analysts only see use of the exploit diversifying as attackers develop new, clever applications, or simply discover how easy it is to deploy.

      “When you take something that’s weaponized and a fully developed concept and make it publicly available you’re going to have that level of uptake,” says Adam Meyers, vice president of intelligence at the security firm CrowdStrike. “A year later there are still organizations that are getting hit by EternalBlue—still organizations that haven’t patched it.”

      [...]

      Microsoft released its EternalBlue patches on March 14 of last year. But security update adoption is spotty, especially on corporate and institutional networks. Within two months, EternalBlue was the centerpiece of the worldwide WannaCry ransomware attacks that were ultimately traced to North Korean government hackers. As WannaCry hit, Microsoft even took the “highly unusual step” of issuing patches for the still popular, but long-unsupported Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 operating systems.

    • Spy v. Spy: An NSA Leak Reveals the Agency’s List of Enemy Hackers

      When the still-unidentified group calling itself the Shadow Brokers spilled a collection of NSA tools onto the internet in a series of leaks starting in 2016, they offered a rare glimpse into the internal operations of the the world’s most advanced and stealthy hackers. But those leaks haven’t just let the outside world see into the NSA’s secret capabilities. They might also let us see the rest of the world’s hackers through the NSA’s eyes.

      Over the last year, Hungarian security researcher Boldizsár Bencsáth has remained fixated by one of the less-examined tools revealed in that disemboweling of America’s elite hacking agency: A piece of NSA software, called “Territorial Dispute,” appears to have been designed to detect the malware of other nation-state hacker groups on a target computer that the NSA had penetrated. Bencsáth believes that specialized antivirus tool was intended not to remove other spies’ malware from the victim machine, but to warn the NSA’s hackers of an adversary’s presence, giving them a chance to pull back rather than potentially reveal their tricks to an enemy.

    • Leaked Files Show How the NSA Tracks Other Countries’ Hackers

      When the mysterious entity known as the “Shadow Brokers” released a tranche of stolen NSA hacking tools to the internet a year ago, most experts who studied the material homed in on the most potent tools, so-called zero-day exploits that could be used to install malware and take over machines. But a group of Hungarian security researchers spotted something else in the data, a collection of scripts and scanning tools that the National Security Agency uses to detect other nation-state hackers on the machines it infects.

    • Judge raises doubts in NSA hoarder case

      Prosecutors and a defense attorney squared off here Tuesday over a thorny legal question that a federal judge declared unprecedented: whether a National Security Agency contractor can be convicted under the Espionage Act for taking home highly classified documents he may not have known he had.

      There’s little doubt that Hal Martin, a computer specialist who worked with an elite NSA hacking unit, had a large volume of classified information at his Maryland home in 2016 when the FBI showed up with a search warrant.

    • The New Surveillance State and the Old Perjury Trap

      We now know that a significant number of people affiliated with Donald Trump were surveilled during and after the 2016 campaign, some under warrants, some via “inadvertent” or accidental surveillance. That surveillance is now being used against these individuals in perjury cases, particularly to press them to testify against others, and will likely form the basis of Robert Mueller’s eventual action against the president himself.

      How did the surveillance state become so fully entrenched in the American political process? Better yet, how did we let it happen?

      The role pervasive surveillance plays in politics today has been grossly underreported. Set aside what you think about the Trump presidency for a moment and focus instead on the new paradigm for how politics and justice work inside the surveillance state.

    • TorGuard VPN : Secure your web traffic
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Trump Created the DACA Immigration Crisis, and He Could Fix It Right Now

      Monday was the deadline President Trump gave Congress to put into law the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and protect nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to America as children. There’s no fix yet to a problem that Trump himself created six months ago when he ended DACA by executive action.

      The Supreme Court last week left in place a federal judge’s order temporarily continuing the program, thus denying Trump the chance to immediately carry out one of the cruelest policies of his presidency: deporting the Dreamers, as the DACA participants are known. Yet this is only a partial reprieve. Those who have DACA status can apply to renew the permits that allow them to be in the United States legally, but there’s no path for more than 1 million young people who do not already have DACA status and thus have no protection from deportation at all.

      Over the last six months, immigrant community groups have had to become experts at suicide prevention as the anxiety of being caught by Trump’s agents becomes overwhelming for some, while thousands of immigrant youth have had to organize to fight for their right to exist in the country they call home.

    • The Trial Against Kobach Kicks Off: Here’s What You Should Know

      Blocked from voting, three Kansans took the stand against Kris Kobach and the law that disenfranchised them.

      Tuesday was the first day of the Fish v. Kobach voting rights trial. The ACLU and Kris Kobach, Secretary of State of Kansas, squared off over a 2013 Kansas law which requires people to produce citizenship documents, like a birth certificate or U.S. passport, in order to register to vote. Kansas is one of only two states that imposes such a requirement, known as a documentary proof-of-citizenship or the DPOC law.

      The ACLU successfully blocked the law in 2016, prevailing in both the federal district court in Kansas and the Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. The case is now back before Judge Julie Robinson for trial, the outcome of which will determine whether or not the law is struck down permanently. The ACLU represents the League of Women Voter and individuals disenfranchised by the law, three of whom took the stand to share their experiences. In an unusual move, Kobach — who is being sued in his official capacity as secretary of state — chose to represent himself in court.

      Kobach and Dale Ho, ACLU’s Voting Rights Director, each delivered opening statements, which set the stage for the week ahead.

    • West Virginia’s Little-Known Riot Act

      An obscure law that came to light during the teachers strike gives police expansive powers to crack down on protesters.

      [...]

      This means the law could be used to impose harsh measures against a group of entirely peaceful protesters and those around them — individuals who, say, step off a sidewalk and onto a street because of the number of people nearby, or who can’t hear a dispersal order or get out of a crowd quickly enough once it is deemed unlawful.

      In many ways, these dangers mirror the troubling nature of the broader anti-protest legislative trend around the country. Rather than address the substantive issues raised by the powerful protests of the last two years — like racial justice, environmental protection, and the rights of indigenous communities — legislators have instead chosen to introduce bills that would pressure protesters to quiet their dissent.

    • Florida’s Governor Will Sign Bill Expanding Workers’ Comp Benefits for First Responders

      Josh Vandegrift was just starting a 24-hour shift for the Cocoa Fire Department on Florida’s Space Coast when the call came in: A pedestrian had been hit by a vehicle about 100 yards from the station where he worked.

      Vandegrift and other firefighter paramedics responded by ambulance, and Vandegrift cleared bystanders out of the way.

      “I looked down and I saw my brother’s face on the patient,” he said.

      Nate Vandegrift, his younger brother, had been hit by a commercial van crossing the street. Josh Vandegrift reverted back to his training and began to treat his brother. Then he was removed from the scene by police officers. “I remember just absolutely losing it in the middle of the road.”

    • LAPD Finally Starts Fixing Its Awful Body Camera Policy, But It’s Not All Good News

      It appears the city of Los Angeles is finally going to revise its terrible police body camera policy. Nearly $60 million was spent outfitting officers with cameras, but the end result provided little value to taxpayers. As it stands now, the only way to access footage is to engage in civil litigation with the police department (over violated rights, not rejected records requests) or be a defendant in a criminal case. Even then, a judge still has to be convinced you have a right to see the footage, even if you’re one of the subjects.

    • LAPD Mulls Over New Body Cam Video Release Policy
    • What would an Iranian secularism look like?

      The Iranian government is not determined enough to implement change, nor does it have the authority and resources to embrace the reforms people are demanding. Meanwhile, in restaurants, coffee shops, streets, schools, newspapers and sometimes even on state TV, people are discussing and talking about reform.

      People ask valid questions that rarely find viable answers by those who are supposed to find answers: will women, comprising half of Iran’s population, be finally officially permitted to watch football matches live in stadiums? Will the debate on the necessity or appropriateness of “compulsory veil” come to an end, as there’s no “solution” for what seems to be a “social dilemma” rather than a “problem” or as what some religious figures say, a “moral crisis” being injected from the overseas to pollute the pious minds? Will Iranian males, after graduating with their bachelors, refrain from harming themselves physically, i.e. pulling out their healthy teeth, or paying absence fines in order to avoid being enlisted for compulsory military service? Will Iranian sports be depoliticized with Iranian wrestlers, sportswomen, chess-players and other athletes stop losing international opportunities or being penalised due to their voluntary or involuntary decisions in refusing to face Israeli opponents?

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Why Is Hollywood Pushing A Totally Bogus Push Poll Trying To Undermine The Internet?

      The ad is from “CreativeFuture”, an MPAA front group that pretends to be representing the interests of “artists” but miraculously only seems to promote the extreme viewpoints of the giant Hollywood studios (imagine that). The group is often the go to quote for the copyright extremist position — and has a history of basically blaming technology for Hollywood’s own failures to adapt.

      Not surprisingly, then, that it’s now running this highly unscientific “survey” with a bunch of ridiculous leading questions, to try to argue that internet companies aren’t doing enough and that Congress should destroy the laws that protect the open internet. You can check out the survey yourself, but let’s dig into the questions and just how leading and/or silly they are.

    • Nobody (Even His Industry BFFs) Likes Ajit Pai’s Latest Attack On Low Income Broadband Programs

      So we’ve noted a few times how Trump FCC boss Ajit Pai enjoys wandering the country informing everyone he’s a massive champion of closing the digital divide. But those claims have been repeatedly and consistently undermined by Pai’s own actions, whether that involves rolling back net neutrality (a move that will make life harder and more expensive for countless consumers, non-profits, minority communities and startups alike), or his slow but steady dismantling of programs intended to make life a little bit easier for the poor.

      One of Pai’s biggest targets has been the FCC’s Lifeline program. It’s an arguably modest program that was started by Reagan and expanded by Bush, and it long enjoyed bipartisan support until the post-truth era rolled into town. Lifeline doles out a measly $9.25 per month subsidy that low-income homes can use to help pay a tiny fraction of their wireless, phone, or broadband bills (enrolled participants have to chose one). The FCC under former FCC boss Tom Wheeler had voted to expand the service to cover broadband connections, something Pai (ever a champion to the poor) voted down.

    • Middle Schoolers Cheer As Oregon Passes A Net Neutrality Law

      More than half of all states are now pushing their own net neutrality rules in the wake of the federal repeal. Some states are pushing for new net neutrality laws that closely mirror the discarded FCC rules, while others are signing executive orders that prohibit states from doing business with ISPs that behave anti-competitively. And while these discordant laws may make doing business from state to state harder on incumbent ISPs, that’s probably something they should have thought about before dismantling arguably modest (and hugely popular) federal protections.

      This week Oregon became the latest state to sign net neutrality protections into law with what was largely bipartisan support. House Bill 4155 largely mirrors the FCC ban on things like paid-prioritization and anti-competitive blocking and throttling, though (also like the discarded FCC rules) it wouldn’t address usage caps and overage fees or zero rating, one of the key areas where anti-competitive behavior often takes root. The bill also carves out numerous exemptions for legitimate instances of prioritization (medical care, prioritized VoIP services).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • SPCs in France: an uncertainty disappears and a few days appear

      The French National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) has just dispelled doubts by means of an official statement( https://www.inpi.fr/fr/nationales/communique-relatif-au-calcul-de-la-date-d-expiration-des-certificats-complementaires-de-protection ) it is now possible for holders of a supplementary protection certificate (SPC), issued in France before October 6, 2015, to require extension of their protection duration.

    • Copyrights

      • Gutenberg.org loses to German publisher and is found liable for damages

        In a year-long legal battle between the ‘not-for-profit-corporation’ Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, its CEO and the German publishing house S. Fischer Verlag GmbH, the District Court of Frankfurt (Landgericht Frankfurt am Main) has found Gutenberg in breach of German copyright law.

      • Project Gutenberg Blocks Access In Germany To All Its Public Domain Books Because Of Local Copyright Claim On 18 Of Them

        Project Gutenberg, which currently offers 56,000 free ebooks, is one of the treasures of the Internet, but it is not as well known as it should be. Started in 1991 by Michael S. Hart, who sadly died in 2011, Project Gutenberg is dedicated to making public domain texts widely available. Over the last 25 years, volunteers have painstakingly entered the text of books that are out of copyright, and released them in a variety of formats. The site is based in the US, and applies US law to determine whether a book has entered the public domain. Since copyright law is fragmented and inconsistent around the world, this can naturally lead to the situation that a book in the public domain in the US is still in copyright elsewhere.

      • Fair Use and Platform Safe Harbors in NAFTA

        Negotiators from Mexico, Canada and the United States were in Mexico City this week for a tense seventh round of negotiations over a modernized version of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. With President Trump’s announcement of tough new unilateral tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, and the commencement of the Mexican election season later this month, pressure to conclude the deal—or for the United States to withdraw from it—is mounting. In all of this, there is a risk that the issues that are of concern to Internet users are being sidelined.

      • Ten Hours of Static Gets Five Copyright Notices

        Sebastian Tomczak blogs about technology and sound, and has a YouTube channel. In 2015, Tomczak uploaded a ten-hour video of white noise. Colloquially, white noise is persistent background noise that can be soothing or that you don’t even notice after a while. More technically, white noise is many frequencies played at equal intensity. In Tomczak’s video, that amounted to ten hours of, basically, static.

        In the beginning of 2018, as a result of YouTube’s Content ID system, a series of copyright claims were made against Tomczak’s video. Five different claims were filed on sound that Tomczak created himself. Although the claimants didn’t force Tomczak’s video to be taken down they all opted to monetize it instead. In other words, ads on the ten-hour video would now generate revenue for those claiming copyright on the static.

        Normally, getting out of this arrangement would have required Tomczak to go through the lengthy counter-notification process, but Google decided to drop the claims. Tomczak believes it’s because of the publicity his story got. But hoping your takedown goes viral or using the intimidating counter-notification system is not a workable way to get around a takedown notice.

      • 9th Circuit ‘slam-dunks’ claim of copyright infringement by Nike photograph of Michael Jordan and ‘Jumpman’ logo

        Judge Owens agreed (in part) with the rest of the panel, but disagreed in the sense that questions of substantial similarity are inherently factual and should therefore have been addressed by the lower court: “Where no discovery has taken place, we should not say that, as a matter of law, the Nike photo could never be substantially similar to the Rentmeester photo. This is an inherently factual question which is often reserved for the jury, and rarely for a court to decide at the motion to dismiss stage.”

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