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Links 25/3/2018: digiKam 5.9.0, Slax 9.4 RC1

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Active Directory®
    Open Source Alternatives to Active Directory

    In the identity management arena there are a number of open source solutions that could qualify here. Of course, the most well known is OpenLDAP™, but there are others such as Samba and FreeIPA. Each of these solutions comes with their own set of strengths and challenges, so let’s take a look at what these are.

  • LG Open Sources WebOS

    The new webOS Open Source Edition (OSE) GitHub account contains 85 different repositories that use the Apache 2.0 License to make code change and distribution easier. To build an image of webOS OSE, you can clone the build-webos repository, which is a top-level repo that aggregates the various layers of code required to build a complete image.

  • Events

    • LibrePlanet Day 1: Free software forever!

      LibrePlanet started as the annual meeting of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) membership. Ten years later, that meeting has transformed into a vibrant two-day conference that brings together hundreds of new and longtime members of the free software community from all parts of the world.

      This year’s conference kicked off on Saturday, March 24th with a keynote by Deb Nicholson, a free software policy expert and Community Outreach Director for the Open Invention Network, who posited the question: how do we make free software last forever? How does our community bring in, welcome, and train the new young people who will keep the flame of the free software movement alive? And, how do we create a technological future that bears more resemblance to the techno-utopia of Wakanda (the homeland of the film Black Panther’s titular character) than to the techno-dystopias imagined in cyberpunk narratives? Videos of this talk and others will be available soon, at the LibrePlanet GNU MediaGoblin page.

    • Another year, another great Linux conference – Scale16x

      From March 8th to 11th, 2018 the Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE) took place in beautiful Pasadena for the third year in a row, previous edition were held in hotels near LAX. This was the 16th edition of the conference -hence the #Scale16x hashtag that flooded social media those days- and my personal 8th.

      I’ve been saying it for a while now that I think that the conference is just getting better by every year, but this year I heard several comments that this is one of the best and most important community driven conferences in the world. Rough estimations tell that there were around 3,000 attendees this year.

      As a long time tradition now, the Fedora community held some activities in the conference, as well as a booth in the exhibition floor. This year, I had the privilege and pleasure of promoting Fedora, answer question from people that showed interest in (or are already users of) Fedora or simply saluting people that stopped by. I have to say that it pleasantly surprised me the growing number of spanish-speaking people that attended this year. I was accompanied in booth duty with long time Fedora contributors -but above all great Friends- Perry Rivera, Scott Williams and my newest Fedora friend Michael Singh. Unofficialy, but always willing to help, RedHat’s Tom ‘Spot’ Callaway was also supporting our booth and we always appreciate it and thank him for his work.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • TenFourFox FPR7b1 and TenFourFoxBox 1.1 available

        TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 7 beta 1 is now available for testing (downloads, hashes, release notes). I chose to push this out a little faster than usual since there are a few important upgrades and I won’t have as much time to work on the browser over the next couple weeks, so you get to play with it early.

      • More ad-versarial tech: Mozilla to pop limited ad blocker into Firefox

        Mozilla intends to add basic ad filtering capabilities to its Firefox browser later this year, according to its recently updated roadmap.

        The move follows from what Asa Dotzler, Firefox roadmap and community leader at Mozilla, describes as changes that are making the web experience worse.

        “Trackers, intrusive ads and other dark patterns threaten to drive people away from the open web and that’s not good for people browsing or publishing,” he says in Firefox roadmap update made on Thursday.

        “Over the next year or so, Firefox will take a stand against tracking, intrusive ads, and other dark patterns on the web by blocking the worst content and more clearly communicating the privacy and other protections the browser offers.”


    • Public Lab and Karen Sandler are 2017 Free Software Awards winners

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced the winners of the 2017 Free Software Awards at a ceremony held during the LibrePlanet 2018 conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). FSF president Richard M. Stallman presented the Award for Projects of Social Benefit and the Award for the Advancement of Free Software.

      The Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented to a project or team responsible for applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, to intentionally and significantly benefit society. This award stresses the use of free software in service to humanity.

      This year, Public Lab received the award, which was accepted by Liz Barry, Public Lab co-founder, organizer, and director of community development, and Jeff Warren, Public Lab co-founder and research director, on behalf of the entire Public Lab community.

  • Programming/Development

    • DocKnot 1.04

      The last release of DocKnot (my program for maintaining various bits of package documentation) had a bug in one of the new tests on Windows systems. This release fixes only that bug, mostly to make the automated CPAN testers stop mailing me. (Such an excellent service.)


  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Cambridge Analytica became a US powerhouse thanks Mercer’s laundered money and a judas goat named John Bolton
    • How Cambridge Analytica broke into the U.S. political market through Mercer-allied conservative groups

      Cambridge Analytica executives aggressively sought the backing of rich GOP donors, who they believed would help the company “effectively corner the market” in the United States, internal records show. To win them over, executives sought to craft personal appeals drawn from information housed in the company’s extensive database of American voters.

    • The Untold Story of John Bolton’s Campaign for War With Iran

      In my reporting on U.S.-Israeli policy, I have tracked numerous episodes in which the United States and/or Israel made moves that seemed to indicate preparations for war against Iran. Each time—in 2007, in 2008, and again in 2011—those moves, presented in corporate media as presaging attacks on Tehran, were actually bluffs aimed at putting pressure on the Iranian government.

      But the strong likelihood that Donald Trump will now choose John Bolton as his next national security advisor creates a prospect of war with Iran that is very real. Bolton is no ordinary neoconservative hawk. He has been obsessed for many years with going to war against the Islamic Republic, calling repeatedly for bombing Iran in his regular appearances on Fox News, without the slightest indication that he understands the consequences of such a policy.

      His is not merely a rhetorical stance: Bolton actively conspired during his tenure as the Bush administration’s policymaker on Iran from 2002 through 2004 to establish the political conditions necessary for the administration to carry out military action.

    • Iran frets over new NSA Bolton

      Iran should strengthen ties with Russia and China to counter a tougher U.S. stance expected after President Donald Trump’s appointment of John Bolton as National Security Adviser, a senior Parliament member of Iran was quoted as saying on Saturday.

      Some commentators see Mr. Bolton’s nomination as another nail in the coffin of the Obama-era agreement between Iran and world powers to limit Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, already cast into grave doubt by Mr. Trump himself. “Americans are pushing for harder policies towards the Islamic Republic of Iran and we need to strengthen our view towards the East, especially China and Russia,” Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, told ISNA news agency.

    • Trump’s Most Alarming Foreign Policy Move Yet? Warmonger John Bolton Named National Security Adviser

      President Trump has tapped John Bolton to become his next national security adviser, replacing H.R. McMaster. Bolton is known for his ultra-hawkish views. He has openly backed war against Iran and North Korea, and was a prominent supporter of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Just three weeks ago, Bolton wrote an article for The Wall Street Journal titled “The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First.” In 2015, while the Obama administration was negotiating the Iran nuclear deal, Bolton wrote a piece titled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” We speak to longtime investigative reporter Gareth Porter. His new piece for The American Conservative is titled “The Untold Story of John Bolton’s Campaign for War with Iran.”

    • 6,700 More U.S. Missiles for Saudi Arabia to Shoot at Yemeni Kids

      Following a failed attempt by three senators to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war against Yemen, the State Department announced a sale of 6,700 missiles to Saudi Arabia, Ann Wright reports.

    • Dems Kept Cheerleading Bush-Era Neocons – Now There’s One In The White House

      Dems are criticizing Trump’s National Security Advisor pick, not because he’s a warmonger who was one of the original members of the Project for a New American Century, but because he’s allegedly too soft on Russia, Caitlin Johnstone explains.

      As so many of us have been dreading, PNAC’s favorite bloodthirsty child killer John Bolton has been added to the Trump administration. And as many half-jokingly predicted, Democrats seized on this opportunity to accuse Bolton of being a Kremlin agent.

    • Ron Paul on Bolton to the White House – Pre-Emptive War on the Way?

      President Trump’s shocking decision to appoint arch-neocon John Bolton to be his National Security Advisor has us wondering whether the old discredited GW Bush policy of “pre-emptive” war is back on the menu. Not only did Bolton help lie us into the Iraq war…he still thinks it was a really good idea! He has published articles calling for US pre-emptive strikes on Iran and North Korea and even called once for a US attack on Cuba! For a president who campaigned on how stupid all the foreign wars have been, he is sure picking a strange cabinet.

    • Austin Bombings, Russophobia and the Law of Immutable Vulnerability

      Austin’s bomber revealed many things. Despite being inexperienced and not terribly bright, he terrorized a major city, stretched police resources to their limit, significantly disrupted commerce and grabbed worldwide headlines. He doubtless also caused the CEOs at UPS and Fedex to have nightmares.


      The immutable vulnerability cannot be eliminated by military means. We cannot patrol below every power line and bridge. No border wall will matter, just another target. Besides, our principal enemies are internal, not an alien invasion. The Austin bomber was not a Russian. Nor was Timothy McVeigh or the perpetrators at Parkland HS or at the Pulse nightclub or at the Mandalay hotel Las Vegas or at Sandy Hook Elementary, all terrorist attacks by white male Americans with no criminal record who probably considered themselves Christians.

      There is no military means to fully guarantee our security. It is statistically irrefutable that having guns increases one’s likelihood of getting shot. Our safety will instead be primarily dependent on how we treat others, as human beings and as a nation.

    • Living in Terror

      My school gets multiple shooting threats a year and does nothing to help prevent this. My mom worries about me and begs me to become a recluse under the shield of online schooling and I have deeply considered it. Every day I think about how the likelihood of my school being next is uncomfortably grand. I think about how easy it is to get a gun and how my school never locks its doors. How many angry students, staff, and strangers there are. The most heartbreaking part is that no one ever calls that thinking far-fetched because every single student in America has had similar thoughts traverse their mind at some point.

    • Trump’s Quiet Meeting with Saudi Arabia and Israel Portends a Dangerous Collision Course with Iran

      In one 24-hour news cycle, President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, appointed the war and torture-backing CIA chief Mike Pompeo to replace him, and then tapped Gina Haspel—who covered up CIA torture in Thailand—to replace Pompeo.

      While the media descended on that circus, many missed that the White House quietly convened high-level representatives of 20 countries ostensibly to “brainstorm” about the crisis in Gaza, where Israel’s repeated military incursions and blockade have devastated the territory’s infrastructure, health and water systems.

      The gathering, which took place on March 13, was less splashy than the Tillerson-Pompeo-Haspel saga. But it spoke volumes about dangerous new drifts in U.S. foreign policy.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • In Federal Lawsuit, Judge Asks 8 Questions, Chevron Admits Climate Change Is Real

      Some may question whether a courtroom is the best place to create policies to address global warming and climate change. But in a broken political system dominated by tit for tat Twitter attacks, it might be the only place left in America where actual adults can address these issues calmly and maturely. The cities of San Francisco and Oakland have sued 5 major oil companies — Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell, and BP — claiming they knew decades ago that their operations were causing average global temperatures to increase, and that they kept their knowledge private, putting millions of people at risk. In particular, those who live in the San Francisco Bay Area are likely to suffer damages as a result of rising ocean levels that threaten to put large swaths of land adjacent to the Bay underwater.


      Daniel Farber, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, says “Most or all of the major oil corporations have now acknowledged the reality of climate change and the need for government action (though who knows how serious they are about that). So it would be hard for them to take a contrary view in this litigation. Getting them to say the same thing in court will be kind of a victory for the plaintiffs even if nothing else goes their way,” according to the Scientific American story. Maybe baby steps are the best we can hope for at this juncture.

  • Finance

    • American scam: My kid and I are both supposed to go broke paying for college? Forget it

      Education costs have risen at a pace triple that of housing in the same period. A recent Rolling Stone report called student debt “America’s next financial black hole.” As it ominously observed, the system is rigged: “You can’t get out of the debt. Since most young people find themselves unable to make their full payments early on, they often find themselves perpetually paying down interest only, never touching the principal.”

    • Will open-source cryptocurrency eat proprietary money?

      As the tidal wave of open-source money disrupts the entire stack from computing infrastructure to software developers, alpha geeks and pure entrepreneurs are getting in on the ground floor of what they believe will be the primary currency of the future.

    • The Brexit whistleblower: ‘Not cheating is the core of what it means to be British’ – video

      Shahmir Sanni, who worked for the official Vote Leave campaign, today breaks cover to raise concerns that the group behind the knife-edge 2016 vote in favour of Brexit – including key figures now working for Theresa May in Downing Street – may have broken the law by flouting referendum spending rules and then attempting to destroy evidence.

      Sanni claims that a donation of £625,000 was made by Vote Leave to an independent referendum campaign organisation called BeLeave. Sanni says that the money, which was then channeled to a Canadian digital services firm, AggregateIQ, that has links to the controversial Cambridge Analytica, violated election regulations. The donation was sanctioned by the most senior figures in Vote Leave, including campaign director Dominic Cummings and CEO Matthew Elliott

    • The buyback boondoggle is beggaring America
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Labour MPs challenge Corbyn on antisemitism and Brexit

      Jeremy Corbyn faces the most serious revolt by his own MPs since the failed coup of 2016 as senior figures publicly accuse him today of condoning antisemitism, while at the same time purging his inner circle of passionate pro-Europeans.

      MPs broke cover throughout on Saturday to demand that Corbyn appears before them on Monday evening to explain himself on both issues at the weekly meeting of the parliamentary party. One senior MP in an influential position said she expected an ugly atmosphere: “He has managed to combine antisemitism with an attack on Remainers in one weekend. This is about our identity as a progressive, tolerant, pro-European party. I am in complete despair.”

    • Corbyn regrets defending London mural he now says is anti-Semitic

      Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the United Kingdom’s Labour party, said he was wrong to support in 2012 an artist who had painted a mural in London that Corbyn is now calling anti-Semitic.

    • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn unmasked as ruthless Brexiteer by sacking Owen Smith in referendum row

      Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet has been shuffled more times than a Vegas blackjack dealer’s pack of cards.

      What is more extraordinary than some of those Corbyn has ditched is those he hasn’t.

      Owen Smith, the erstwhile leadership candidate, was the latest to be dropped for making remarks on Brexit which reflect the views of millions of Labour voters.

      Smith has been very harshly treated by a man who was supposed to be a leading light in the Remain campaign but has since revealed himself to be a committed Brexiteer.

    • Finland prepared to detain deposed Catalan leader Puigdemont “if he can be found”

      At the request of Spanish authorities, Finland will launch an extradition process targeting deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, although officials say his whereabouts are unknown.

    • Fugitive Catalan ex-leader detained

      Carles Puigdemont, wanted in Spain for sedition, is held by German police as he tries to reach Belgium.

    • Why Stormy Daniels is so dangerous
    • AT&T, Time Warner and the Antitrust Fight for the Future of Media

      The Justice Department’s trial to block AT&T’s $85 billion merger with Time Warner kicked off this past week in Washington, D.C., and it’s expected to be the most influential antitrust showdown in decades.

      It’s also an unusual fight for the Justice Department because it challenges a so-called vertical merger—a merger between companies that operate in the same industry but aren’t direct competitors—for the first time in decades.

      In this Legal Speak episode, Law.com editor Jenna Greene and D.C. reporter Cogan Schneier make sense of what’s been happening in court. Plus, Jenna asks antitrust lawyer David Balto, a former policy director for the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, to explain the legal strategies on each side and why the case matters beyond Big Media.

    • Truth, Damned Truth And Statistics

      Trump’s term began with a controversy where he claimed the largest crowd ever… That was not the truth. His crowd was way smaller than Obama’s, way smaller than the march of the women and way smaller than the march of the students who are mad as Hell about being shot up in schools.

    • The Mind-Benders: How to Harvest Facebook Data, Brainwash Voters, and Swing Elections

      In the days and weeks following the 2016 presidential elections, reports surfaced about how a small British political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, might have played a pivotal role in Donald Trump’s surprise victory. The company claimed to have formulated algorithms to influence American voters using individually targeted political advertisements. It reportedly generated personality profiles of millions of individual citizens by collecting up to 5000 data points on each person. Then Cambridge Analytica used these “psychographic” tools to send voters carefully crafted online messages about candidates or hot-button political issues.

      Although political consultants have long used “microtargeting” techniques for zeroing in on particular ethnic, religious, age, or income groups, Cambridge Analytica’s approach is unusual: The company relies upon individuals’ personal data that is harvested from social media apps like Facebook. In the US, such activities are entirely legal. Some described Cambridge Analytica’s tools as “mind-reading software” and a “weaponized AI [artificial intelligence] propaganda machine.” However, corporate media outlets such as CNN and the Wall Street Journal often portrayed the company in glowing terms.

      Cambridge Analytica is once again in the headlines–but under somewhat different circumstances. Late last week, whistleblower Christopher Wylie went public, explaining how he played an instrumental role in collecting millions of Facebook profiles for Cambridge Analytica. This revelation is significant because until investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr published her exposé in The Guardian, Cambridge Analytica’s then-CEO Alexander Nix had adamantly denied using Facebook data. And although Facebook officials knew that Cambridge Analytica had previously gathered data on millions of users, they did not prohibit the company from advertising until last Friday, as the scandal erupted. To make matters worse, the UK’s Channel 4 released undercover footage early this week in which Cambridge Analytica executives boast about using dirty tricks–bribes, entrapment, and “beautiful girls” to mention a few.

    • Is there a link between Cambridge Analytica and the DUP’s secret Brexit donors?

      Cambridge Analytica stands accused of using ‘unattributable and untrackable’ advertising to get Donald Trump elected, of illegally accessing 50 million Facebook profiles, and of much more besides. The controversial data company also has friends in high places, from Tory party donors to the British military.

      But openDemocracy has now discovered that Cambridge Analytica’s establishment links run even deeper, leading to one of the most senior figures in Northern Irish unionism – a PR man who has represented everyone from British Airways to Russian oligarchs – and raising questions once more about who gave the DUP a secretive £435,000 donation for its Brexit campaign.

      Former Ulster Unionist MP David Burnside has been one of the most influential PR figures in Britain for decades, a Tory donor with links to senior figures in Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. We have now learned that Burnside also works for Vincent Tchenguiz, a property tycoon who was the largest shareholder in Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Group, for almost a decade.

    • The Brexiteer and the newt – a case study in the EU, corporations and nature

      There are two diametrically opposed Brexit narratives, in what is now widely described as a ‘cultural war’ dividing the nation. The first story presents Britain as exceptional and plucky, but currently under the yoke of the risk averse European Union matriarch. We Brits, with the help of the brotherly United States, can overthrow this oppressive other, reboot our economy and find our way to the sunlit uplands.

    • Of red tape and Brexit red herrings in the war between business and the environment
    • Building firms can live with the newts – but the pro-Brexit hedge funders can’t

      The same week as developers were launching yet another political attack on the great crested newt, Sir Oliver Letwin registered a new company, The Red Tape Initiative (RTI), at Companies House. The new think tank would reopen the debate about the great crested newt, housing developments, the European birds and habitats directives and their implementation.

      But what was the RTI? The private company was registered by Letwin with Lord (Jonathan) Marland, who made a fortune in the insurance company acquisitions game, and a chap called Nick Tyrone. The firm was registered to a shared workspace in Victoria, London.

      It was described by Politico as “the other UK Brexit department”.

    • Government refuse to reveal details of meetings with the man who’s shaping Brexit

      There were big changes in the hard Brexit world recently with the announcement that Shanker Singham, a key advisor to senior Brexiteers in the British government, has left their favourite think tank, the Legatum Institute. But while Singham has departed the controversial organisation, the public is still being kept in the dark about his influence on the UK government.

      As head of Legatum’s trade commission, Singham, an advocate of a hard Brexit, has had “unparalleled access” to Brexit minister David Davis, including at least five meetings with officials from Davis’s Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) in the year to August 2017.

      But DExEU has refused openDemocracy’s repeated Freedom of Information requests for minutes, agendas and other information about these high-level meetings. Politicians from across the party spectrum have called for government to release all the details of dealings with think tanks and pro-Brexit lobbyists.

      Singham’s access to Brexiteers in the UK government had raised eyebrows. In November, the Mail on Sunday named the former US trade advisor as being involved in a letter sent by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove urging Theresa May to take a tougher stance on Brexit.

    • Brexodus: The UK may leave the EU, but the EU may already be leaving the UK

      For the past year, studies have piled up showing large proportions of EU citizens in the UK – from doctors and tech workers to academics – were considering leaving the country. In the meantime, the issue of EU citizens’ rights in the UK has become a politically charged topic and consequently remained unresolved since the referendum in June 2016. This has taken its toll.

      New data released on 22 February by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that net EU migration decreased to 90,000 over the last year. This is 75,000 lower than the previous year. In fact, it is a five year low. It also shows that 130,000 EU citizens left the UK – the most since 2008.

    • Deplorables II: The Dismal Dems in Stormy Times

      Beneath the endless madness of the Today in Tangerine Satan (TITS) show, aided and abetted by the Radically Regressive and Reactionary Republicans (the R4 Party), it’s easy to forget that the Inauthentic Opposition Party (IOP, also known as the Democratic Party) installed the malignant presidential apprentice in the White House in the first place. The deplorable, dollar-drenched Democrats (the 4D party) seated moronic mogul Donald Trump in the Oval Office in at least ten key ways:

      1. By governing in accord with the wishes of the wealthy Few under the neoliberal, fake-progressive Goldman Sachs-and Citibank-captive Barack Obama. The demoralized and demobilized the majority-progressive working-class base on which the Democrats depended to win the 2016 election.

    • Europe is Pregnant

      20th Century Europe however clings onto the 21st Century like a desperate man grasping at a life belt. Imperialism (the white man) and the Cold War (white hysteria) don’t want to drown in time. Neither does the United States of Europe (the EU). The 21st Century however can’t carry their weight. If the 21st Century doesn’t kick them away it’ll drown too. If the 21st Century wants to be born it must reject them. And it is doing so.

      The immigrants and the elections are doing so. Because they’re the midwife to the new European child – whatever it is. Make no doubt about it though: the immigrants are civilizing Europe. And the elections are undermining Europe.

      The bulk of the European 20th Century was shaped by the Communists, the Fascists and the Christian Democrats. They’re all gone now and in the vacuum there’s nothing but farce. But there’s the outline of something different.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Behind the Facebook data scandal: The drive to censor the Internet

      The growth of working-class opposition is the real target of the media firestorm over Facebook’s alleged data lapse. The aim of the press campaign is to create the climate for the introduction of even more explicit censorship measures.


      He then went on to say that Facebook now employs “15,000 people working on security and content review,” and that this number would rise to 20,000 by the end of the year.

      This amazing admission means that, based on the company’s employee headcount of 25,000 at the beginning of this year, most of the company’s employees are engaged in reviewing and censoring user content. From a company nominally dedicated to helping users share information and learn about the world, Facebook is being transformed into an instrument of police repression and censorship.

    • Life, liberty and the pursuit of profit: America’s assault on arts funding is cultural suicide

      In an essay calling the budget “petty” and “barbaric,” the brilliant novelist, poet, farmer and Kentucky native Wendell Berry wrote, “This destruction would amount to an act of censorship, for the knowledge made available by the Press belongs to the people of Kentucky, to readers now and to come. It is a part of our commonwealth, which the governor and the government are entrusted to protect, not destroy.”

    • Muzzled China feminist group to sue over online censorship

      Feminist activists are preparing to sue China’s biggest social media platforms for deleting their organization’s account, the group’s founder said on Saturday, March 24.

      On March 8, International Women’s Day, staffers operating the prolific Feminist Voices account on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform found it had been deleted.

      Weibo customer service representatives told them by phone that the account could not be reactivated due to the posting of “sensitive and illegal information”, the group’s founder Lu Pin told Agence France-Presse.

      The next day, the group’s WeChat public account had also disappeared.

      The group has run into trouble before on social media, with their accounts being temporarily suspended and individual posts deleted, but “this time they say it’s a permanent deletion”, Lu said.

    • Reddit Censorship Strikes Again as Darknet-Related Content Is No Longer Accessible

      On the one hand, it is rather easy to justify the actions of Reddit when it comes to removing illegal content from its platform. Judging from its recent announcement, the company is taking a zero-tolerance stance toward drugs, firearms, sexual services, stolen goods, and so forth. Most people will gladly agree with this approach, as most of these topics should be avoided due to their illegal nature.

      On the other hand, one has to acknowledge this is censorship in its purest form. Regardless of the illicit nature of the topics mentioned above, there is no reason to prevent people from thinking or talking about them. In fact, this decision by Reddit will push even more people to other platforms which can’t be actively monitored. Whether or not this was a smart decision remains to be determined, for obvious reasons.


      It is evident that Reddit is trying to cover all its bases by ensuring the platform cannot be linked to illicit content. At the same time, this approach to internet censorship is not a positive sign for the platform. It seems only a matter of time until other types of content will no longer be found on this platform. Whether or not Reddit will go after cryptocurrencies at some point remains to be determined. Anything seems possible at this point, unfortunately.

    • Russia, China and Silicon Valley have censorship in common

      Russia’s recent declaration that it is prepared to operate its own internet should the West cut off access has struck some observers as more Putinesque bellicosity, which indeed it might be. But Moscow’s desire to build a web it can control is the dream of authoritarians everywhere. And not all the authoritarians are in government.

      Regulating the flow of information has been the goal of every tyrant ever since Emperor Qin Shi Huang burned books in 213 B.C., in hopes that later generations would believe history began with his reign. Nowadays one country after another wants the ability to control its own intranet — or at least to throw a kill switch.

      Shutting off the web has proved easier than many imagined. When Hosni Mubarak’s regime ordered Egyptian telecoms to close down their internet service during the Arab Spring of 2011, traffic slowed to just about zero. Nowadays China’s Great Firewall is the best-known effort to restrict what a population can find online, but countries around the world are doing their best to follow Beijing’s example.

    • Censorship—the dream (and the nightmare)

      Authoritarian governments regulate online content. The US lets tech companies make similar decisions

    • You can’t combat fake news with fake news laws

      US President Donald Trump’s “fake news” mantra has inspired authoritarian leaders elsewhere to manufacture new laws that can both target legitimate media outlets that are critical of them and further violate the media’s ability to exercise freedom of expression.
      The Malaysian government has thus far suspended media and blocked websites which have hounded the prime minister over the 1MDB affair, and I believe, has recently launched a website to counter “fake news”. Nonetheless, 1MDB is being investigated in at least six countries for money-laundering and misappropriation of funds and cannot be so easily canned as “fake news”.
      To start with, a clear definition of “fake news” would be useful. Trump calls any journalism or reporting that he disagrees with “fake news”. As such, the challenge to journalism and freedom of expression could not be more menacing. Let’s hope the definition in the new bill in the Malaysian Parliament next week will be more rigorous.
      Now, if we are talking about misinformation, spinning, lies and deceit, these have been around in Malaysian society for quite a while. Unfortunately, in recent cases the most serious perpetrators have been the representatives of the Malaysian government itself and not any mischievous sector of the Malaysian citizenry. As Hitler argues in Mein Kampf, the big lie always carries credibility and as history demonstrates, it is usually the state that is capable of the big lie.

    • Rita Panahi on ‘Nazi pug’: United Kingdom is descending deeper…

      THE United Kingdom is broken and descending deeper into censorship and illiberalism.

    • Gun rights advocates blast new YouTube policy of censoring videos showing legal gun activity
    • As YouTube bans firearms demonstrations, Utah firm launching its own pro-gun video platform
    • Student journalists win decades-long fight against censorship

      After decades of advocacy in the state Legislature, this generation of Washington’s student journalists claimed their First Amendment rights.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Senior NSA official says tech is wondrous — and risky in a world of cyberspace foes
    • UK and US issue joint statement on cyber collaboration

      The joint statement comes after talks in the US involving GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming, JFC commander General Sir Christopher Deverell, and US Admiral Mike Rogers, commander of US Cyber Command and director of the NSA.

    • PM Modi’s Android App Is Sharing Your Personal Data Without Consent: Security Researcher

      Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Android app is allegedly collecting your personal data and sharing it with a third party without your consent. This claim has been made by the French security expert who goes by the name Elliot Anderson on Twitter.

      Elliot made this revelation is a series of tweets and detailed how Narendra Modi Android app starts collecting private data and device information as soon as a user profile is created. The collected data includes your phone operating system, network type, carrier, email, photo, gender, name, etc.

    • ‘A grand illusion’: seven days that shattered Facebook’s facade

      “Dumb fucks.” That’s how Mark Zuckerberg described users of Facebook for trusting him with their personal data back in 2004. If the last week is anything to go by, he was right.

      Since the Observer reported that the personal data of about 50 million Americans had been harvested from Facebook and improperly shared with the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, it has become increasingly apparent that the social network has been far more lax with its data sharing practices than many users realised.

      As the scandal unfurled over the last seven days, Facebook’s lackluster response has highlighted a fundamental challenge for the company: how can it condemn the practice on which its business model depends?

    • Delete your account – a guide to life after Facebook

      In the first few weeks after deleting your account, it can be tempting to try and replace every single element of Facebook with a competing service in order to satisfy your idle thumbs’ desire. But before you do, consider whether you could also use this change to overhaul your relationship with your phone, social media and the internet in general. Do you really need to find an alternative website to keep up with the racist tirades of that one guy you went to school with, or the bitcoin pyramid scheme your brother-in-law has been promoting? Couldn’t you just … not?

    • Your passports are full of tech

      Earlier this month, I interviewed officials from the Department of State and an ethical hacker for AFAR Magazine to get the skinny on what the hell’s actually on a passport’s RFID chip, who can read it and whether it’s being read is anything we need to be worried about. Along the way, I found out a ton about where U.S. Passport books get made, how many of them are out there and the fact that, somehow, people lose an absolute shit-ton of the things every year.

    • The Decrypted Truth About the Security of Your Passport

      What’s really stored on your passport’s microchip? Can your passport be hacked? Are foreign spies tracking your every move through your passport? Read on, traveler.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Promises That Misuse Of Facebook User Data Will Happen Again And Again
    • Google’s François Chollet: AI researchers with a conscience shouldn’t work at Facebook

      “We’re looking at a powerful entity that builds fine-grained psychological profiles of over two billion humans, that runs large-scale behavior manipulation experiments, and that aims at developing the best AI technology the world has ever seen. Personally, it really scares me,” Chollet said in a Twitter thread. “If you work in AI, please don’t help them. Don’t play their game. Don’t participate in their research ecosystem. Please show some conscience.”

    • New US law gives govt access to data stored abroad

      Efforts by US law enforcement agencies to gain access to email stored overseas by American companies have been resolved through a piece of legislation tagged onto a massive spending bill which was signed into law by US President Donald Trump.

    • The Cambridge Analytica Data Apocalypse Was Predicted in 2007

      Welp. “It is sort of what we anticipated, that there would be a Three Mile Island moment around data sharing that would rock the research community,” Lazer says. “The reality is, academia did not build an infrastructure. Our call for getting our house in order? I’d say it has been inadequately addressed.”

    • Privacy-Decimating CLOUD Act Sneaked Into US Spending Bill

      House Republicans voted Thursday to pass a $1.3 trillion, 2,232-page spending bill. The bill was rushed through so quickly that — quite conveniently — no one actually had time to read it before voting on it. President Trump has signed this bill.


      The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act — buried on page 2,201 of the omnibus — fundamentally alters the way in which law enforcement agencies — both in the US and abroad — access data.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Death by robot: the new mechanised danger in our changing world

      Was killed last Sunday by an Uber autonomous car that hit the 49-year-old at approximately 40mph as she was crossing the road in Tempe, Arizona. Police confirmed there was an operator in the Volvo SUV at the time of the collision, and stated that it didn’t appear the car had slowed down.

    • PAP Policy Forum slams Human Rights Watch report on Singapore, calls it a ‘deliberate falsehood’

      The People’s Action Party Policy Forum (PPF) has slammed a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report which described Singapore as a “repressive place” that imposed criminal penalties for peaceful speech.

      The group, an arm of the People’s Action Party that engages Government leaders on policy issues, called the report as a “type of deliberate falsehood” in a written submission to the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods on Friday (Mar 23).

      It said the report is “an example of how false and misleading impressions can be created by a selective presentation of facts, designed to promote an underlying agenda”, which is to change the society in Singapore.

    • Trump Should Withdraw Haspel Nomination, Intel Vets Say

      With respect, we veteran intelligence officers from CIA and other agencies urge you to withdraw the nomination of Gina Haspel for CIA director. From what is already known of her leading role in CIA torture 16 years ago, she has disqualified herself.

    • In ‘Affront to Freedom of the Press,’ Canadian Journalist Faces Criminal Charges for Covering Protest

      Press freedom advocates are raising awareness about the plight of Justin Brake, a journalist who is facing unprecedented charges in Newfoundland, Canada, more than a year after he covered a protest at a construction site for a controversial dam.

      Brake embedded with Indigenous demonstrators at the Muskrat Falls dam project in Labrador in October 2016. The protesters, who fear contaminants that could flow from the dam, violated an injunction by cutting through a lock on a gate and entering the project site. Brake followed them, livestreaming the action for several days.

      For merely doing his job, the reporter is now fighting criminal and civil charges. Brake could face up to 10 years in prison in addition to fines and mounting legal fees.

    • Two-Thirds of Americans Live in the ‘Constitution-Free Zone’

      In Hartford, Vermont, last year, U.S. Border Patrol agents boarded a Greyhound bus as it arrived from Boston, asking passengers about their citizenship and checking the IDs of people of color or those with accents. In January, they stopped a man in Indio, California, as he was boarding a Los Angeles-bound bus. In questioning him about his immigration status, they told him his “shoes looked suspicious,” like those of someone who had recently crossed the border.

      Interrogation, searches, demands for identification, and possible detainment are processes people are subjected to as they try to enter the U.S. at ports of entry as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection tries to keep borders secure. Turns out, this broad authority doesn’t end at ports of entry but extends for another 100 miles into the interior, across the entire perimeter of the country.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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