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04.12.18

Links 12/4/2018: Stable New Kernels, Neptune 5.1

Posted in News Roundup at 2:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Streaming the Norwegian ultimate championships

    As the Norwegian indoor frisbee season is coming to a close, the Norwegian ultimate nationals are coming up, too. Much like in Trøndisk 2017, we’ll be doing the stream this year, replacing a single-camera Windows/XSplit setup with a multi-camera free software stack based on Nageru.

  • Desktop

    • Want your sweet PS3 Linux settlement cash? Sunday’s your last day

      If you bought an original “fat” Sony PlayStation 3 game console, you’ll want to know this:

      Sony may owe you up to $65 — and you’ve only got until this Sunday, April 15, to postmark the form that’ll let you claim that cash.

      Yes, tax day.

      That’s because April 15 also happens to be the deadline for Sony’s “OtherOS” class-action settlement. Sony originally promised the PS3 could become a Linux computer, but removed that feature in 2010, and now it’s paying $3.75 million to resolve the lawsuits that followed.

      So: How do you qualify to get that money, how much money can you actually expect to get, and why is this only happening now?

  • Server

    • Spaces – uncomplicating your network

      For past 5-6 years I’ve been in business of deploying cloud solutions for our customers. Vast majority of that was some form of OpenStack, either a simple cloud or a complicated one. But when you think about it – what is a simple cloud? It’s easy to say that small amount of machines makes an easy, and large amount of machines makes a complicated cloud. But, that is not true. Complexity of a typical IaaS solution is pretty much determined by network complexity. Network, in all shapes and forms, from the underlay network to the customer’s overlay network requirements. I’ll try to explain how we deal with the underlay part in this blog.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.17 Will Allow Some Systems To Lower Their Idle Power Use Up To 10%+

      While last week was the main power management feature updates for the Linux 4.17 kernel merge window that included the new ACPI TAD driver, Rafael Wysocki today sent in a secondary set of feature updates and it includes a rather significant development for Linux power and performance.

      The kernel’s idle loop has been reworked to prevent processors from spending too much time in shallow idle states. Following this significant code rework, there is the potential for power-savings while the system is idling as well as in select workloads.

    • ​Linux is under your hood

      Much of that work is done via the Automotive Grade Linux (AGL). This Linux Foundation-based organization is a who’s who of Linux-friendly car manufacturers. Its membership includes Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Mercedes, Suzuki, and the world’s largest automobile company: Toyota.

      “Automakers are becoming software companies, and just like in the tech industry, they are realizing that open source is the way forward,” said Dan Cauchy, AGL’s executive director, in a statement. Car companies know that while horsepower still sells, customers also want smart infotainment systems, automated safe drive features, and, eventually, self-driving cars.

      I have two young grandsons. I seriously wonder if they’ll learn to drive. Just like many people who no longer know how to drive a stick-shift, I can see people in the next 20 years never bothering with driving classes.

    • wait_var_event()

      One of the trickiest aspects to concurrency in the kernel is waiting for a specific event to take place. There is a wide variety of possible events, including a process exiting, the last reference to a data structure going away, a device completing an operation, or a timeout occurring. Waiting is surprisingly hard to get right — race conditions abound to trap the unwary — so the kernel has accumulated a large set of wait_event_*() macros to make the task easier. An attempt to add a new one, though, has led to the generalization of specific types of waits for 4.17.

    • An audit container ID proposal

      The kernel development community has consistently resisted adding any formal notion of what a “container” is to the kernel. While the needed building blocks (namespaces, control groups, etc.) are provided, it is up to user space to assemble the pieces into the sort of container implementation it needs. This approach maximizes flexibility and makes it possible to implement a number of different container abstractions, but it also can make it hard to associate events in the kernel with the container that caused them. Audit container IDs are an attempt to fix that problem for one specific use case; they have not been universally well received in the past, but work on this mechanism continues regardless.

      The audit container ID mechanism was first proposed (without an implementation) in late 2017; see this article for a summary of the discussion at that time. The idea was to attach a user-space-defined ID to all of the processes within a container; that ID would then appear in any events emitted by the audit subsystem. Thus, for example, if the auditing code logs an attempt to open a file, monitoring code in user space would be able to use the container ID in the audit event to find the container from which the attempt originated.

    • Kernel lockdown in 4.17? [Ed: Giving Microsoft the keys to Linux]

      The UEFI secure boot mechanism is intended to protect the system against persistent malware threats — unpleasant bits of software attached to the operating system or bootloader that will survive a reboot. While Linux has supported secure boot for some time, proponents have long said that this support is incomplete in that it is still possible for the root user to corrupt the system in a number of ways. Patches that attempt to close this hole have been circulating for years, but they have been controversial at best. This story may finally come to a close, though, if Linus Torvalds accepts the “kernel lockdown” patch series during the 4.17 merge window.

      In theory, the secure-boot chain of trust ensures that the system will never run untrusted code in kernel mode. On current Linux systems, though, the root user (or any other user with sufficient capabilities) can do exactly that. For anybody who wants to use secure boot to ensure the integrity of their systems (or, perhaps, to prevent their customers from truly owning the system), this hole defeats the purpose of the whole exercise. Various kernel lockdown patches have been proposed over the years (LWN first covered them in 2012), but these patches have run into two types of criticism: (1) restricting what root can do goes against the design of Unix-like systems, and (2) locking down the system in this way still does not solve the problem.

    • Linux 4.16.2
    • Linux 4.15.17
    • Linux 4.14.34
    • Linux Foundation

      • Changing Healthcare with Blockchain Technology

        He also emphasized that open source efforts, such as The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project, are driving blockchain forward and are essential. He said that openness ensures scalability, accessibility, resiliency, and innovation. “Participating in The Hyperledger Project has made a lot of sense for us,” Symanski noted. “It protects protocol governance, node management, consensus mechanisms, and more and these are all very important in the healthcare industry.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Spins The Radeon RX 500X Series For Laptops/Desktops

        ollowing rumors the past few days, AMD officially confirmed the Radeon RX 500X series today for desktops and notebooks, but these effectively are just re-branded GPUs for OEM builders.

      • Wayland Gets A Meson Build System Port

        Following this week’s Wayland 1.15 launch, there are now patches on the floating list to add Meson build system support to Wayland-Protocols.

        For complementing Wayland’ Autotools build system, longtime GNOME developer Emmanuele Bassi is proposing Meson support for Wayland, beginning with Wayland-Protocols.

      • Khronos Officially Announces Its LLVM/SPIR-V Translator

        The Khronos Group has officially announced the long-awaited open-source availability of their SPIRV-LLVM-Translator that allows the bi-directional translation of SPIR-V and LLVM IR.

      • AMDVLK’s XGL Code Updated With Int16 & Shader Ballot Improvements

        AMD’s XGL Vulkan API layer for their “AMDVLK” driver has been updated this week with a number of enhancements.

        The latest code drop for this AMDVLK XGL code includes supporting 16-bit integers “int16″ within the AMD_shader_ballot and AMD_trinary_minmax extensions. There are also pipeline improvements, AMD_shader_ballot extension enhancements, a consistent dispatch table mechanism is now used throughout the driver, and a number of other code fixes.

      • There Are Now More Than 2,000 Projects Referencing Vulkan On GitHub

        As another milestone for the Vulkan API, as of today there are more than 2,000 projects referencing Vulkan on GitHub!

        It was nearly one year ago to the day (19 April) that Vulkan had 1,000 project mentions on GitHub while overnight that threshold crossed 2,000.

        Granted, the GitHub search isn’t looking at projects necessarily offering a full Vulkan code implementation, but could be a Vulkan mention within code documentation saying it’s coming soon, etc. But for comparison, “Direct3D 12″ has just 39 hits on GitHub (or 101 for D3D12), 207 for D3D11 / 99 for Direct 3D 11, or 33,741 for OpenGL. Overall, not bad for Vulkan’s continued rise and this graphics/compute API just over two years old.

      • Mesa 17.3.9 Is Coming With About Two Dozen Fixes To End Out Mesa 17.3

        Mesa 17.3.9 is expected to be released at the start of next week as the final point release for the Mesa 17.3 driver series that was introduced back in Q4’2017.

        With Mesa 18.0 now in good shape and being out for a few weeks, the Mesa 17.3 series is wrapping up. Juan Suarez Romero of Igalia who has been serving as the 17.3 series stable release manager today announced the 17.3.9 release candidate. There are currently 23 patches for this final point release, including fixes for the RADV Vulkan driver, GL/GLES version overriding fixes, GLSL patches, NIR fixes, and other minor work.

      • Libinput Getting Support For Custom Acceleration Profiles

        The latest libinput hackery being worked on by Linux input expert Peter Hutterer at Red Hat is custom profile support for pointer acceleration.

    • Benchmarks

      • NVIDIA 396.18 Linux Benchmarks, Testing Their New Vulkan SPIR-V Compiler

        Yesterday NVIDIA released their first 396 Linux driver beta in the form of the 396.18 release and its biggest addition is a new Vulkan SPIR-V compiler to replace the compiler that’s been hobbled together since the Vulkan 1.0 debut. Here are some fresh NVIDIA Vulkan Linux benchmarks and more on this new SPIR-V compiler.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Falkon browser – Fly babe fly

        Falkon and QupZilla may be the same product, but just re-branding it has already improved the overall impression. Not by a huge margin, but enough to make it interesting. Once you start using it, you do realize that it’s a mix of good and odd, much like the predecessor, with some really brilliant and dubious choices packaged together. Adblocking, session manager versus fuzzy interface, missing spellcheck and database plaintext thingie. Then, the behavior is nowhere near as stellar, lithe or fast as it should be.

        Still, this has been my most successful QupZilla-ed experience so far. Falkon was stable, it did not crash, there were no errors, and overall, it worked well. But the sense of unease remains. I can’t put my finger to it, but there’s just something slightly out of place with it. Not sure what it is. But whatever it is, it’s probably the reason why there hasn’t been that much uptake with this native KDE Internet-giving program. Once that part is sorted out, Plasma may have a nice and friendly browser. Worth testing, and try not to be dissuaded by the oddness.

      • Krita 4.0.1 Released

        Today the Krita team releases Krita 4.0.1, a bug fix release of Krita 4.0.0. We fixed more than fifty bugs since the Krita 4.0.0 release! See below for the full list of fixed isses. Translations work again with the appimage and the macOS build.

      • Qt 5.9.5 Released

        Qt 5.9.5 is released today. As a patch release Qt 5.9.5 does not add any new functionality, but provides important bug fixes and other improvements.

        Compared to Qt 5.9.4, the new Qt 5.9.5 contains over 100 bug fixes. In total there are around 450 changes in Qt 5.9.5 compared to Qt 5.9.4. For details of the most important changes, please check the Change files of Qt 5.9.5.

      • Qt 5.9.5 Released With 100+ Bug Fixes, ~450 Changes
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Awesome GNOME extensions for developers

        Extensions add immense flexibility to the GNOME 3 desktop environment. They give users the advantage of customizing their desktop while adding ease and efficiency to their workflow. The Fedora Magazine has already covered some great desktop extensions such as EasyScreenCast, gTile, and OpenWeather. This article continues that coverage by focusing on extensions tailored for developers.

        If you need assistance installing GNOME extensions, refer to the article How to install a GNOME Shell extension.

      • Free software desktops to 2020 & beyond

        One of the amazing things about the GNOME project is how it brings people together, both by bringing new developers into free software for the first time, and by fostering cooperation and interoperability between different free software components. The “year of the free software desktop” may not be in the next twelve months, but for those that use GNOME, we can work together to ensure that software freedoms are accessible by all. This talk will have a look at some of the challenges that GNOME and free software desktops face at the moment, a brief look into a possible future if we aren’t vigilant, and how we can meet those challenges head-on and thrive.

      • System76 becomes GNOME Foundation Advisory Board member

        System76 has long been a huge champion of both Linux and open source. If you aren’t familiar, the company sells premium computers running the Ubuntu operating system. Recently, the company decided to create its own Ubuntu-based distro called “Pop!_OS” which uses the GNOME desktop environment.

        Today, the Denver, Colorado-based System76 takes its commitment to GNOME even further by becoming a Foundation Advisory Board member. It joins other respected companies on the board such as Google, Red Hat, and Canonical to name a few.

      • System76 Gets On The GNOME Advisory Board

        With Linux PC vendor System76 getting more involved in the open-source software game since they began developing their Ubuntu-derived Pop!_OS operating system last year, their latest step forward is joining the GNOME Advisory Board.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Best open source CRM software

    When it comes to customer relationship management (CRM) software, Salesforce.com has quickly grown into the dominant player with its software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. With this popularity comes cost, and alongside other proprietary big players like Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Oracle CRM, prices can be anything between £20-£240 per user.

    For the more cost-conscious organisations there are open source solutions for storing that all important customer relationship data, and solutions that are far more configurable. The downside is proprietary software often comes with best-in-class features, including more and more machine learning capabilities, the upside is you can save some money and not be at the mercy of major vendors who hold your all-important data.

    So what are the open source CRM alternatives? Here are some of the best on the market.

  • Tap Systems Releases Open Source Software Development Kit

    Tap Systems, Inc., the company behind the Tap wearable keyboard and mouse, announced today they have released a developer SDK. The released software kit enables interested developers to design applications that incorporate and/or include the Tap wearable and its functionality. The Tap device is a comfortable wearable that sits at the base of your fingers and senses finger taps as input. Connecting to any Bluetooth enabled device, Tap users can currently compose text, play games, point, click and scroll using just about any available surface.

  • If You’re Interested In Open Source Development, Wingify’s Paras Chopra Is Ready To Fund Your Projects

    After leading Wingify to success, founder Paras Chopra has been constantly tweeting about his interest in open source and his willingness to support open source development in India.

  • GitLab now offers native integration into Google Kubernetes
  • Google, Netflix launch new IT risk analysis tool Kayenta
  • Kayenta: An Open Source Canary Analysis Tool from Netflix and Google
  • Google, Netflix Team Up To Launch New Open Source Canary Analysis Tool
  • 4 enterprise GitHub projects from Google

    Open source is everywhere, and is quickly becoming the new norm for how companies approach software development. Here, we take at a look at some of the open source projects on GitHub created by Google that can help make life easier for IT teams in organizations.

  • Events

    • Lessons from OpenStack Telemetry: Incubation

      The rigidity of the process discouraged anyone to start a new project for anything related to telemetry. Therefore, everyone went ahead and started dumping its idea in Ceilometer itself. With more than ten companies interested, the frictions were high, and the project was at some point pulled apart in all directions. This phenomenon was happening to every OpenStack projects anyway.

      On the one hand, many contributions brought marvelous pieces of technology to Ceilometer. We implemented several features you still don’t find any metering system. Dynamically sharded, automatic horizontally scalable polling? Ceilometer has that for years, whereas you can’t have it in, e.g., Prometheus.

      On the other hand, there were tons of crappy features. Half-baked code merged because somebody needed to ship something. As the project grew further, some of us developers started to feel that this was getting out of control and could be disastrous. The technical debt was growing as fast as the project was.

    • Bursary applications for DebConf18 are closing in 48 hours!

      If you intend to apply for a DebConf18 bursary and have not yet done so, please proceed as soon as possible!

    • Percona Live Open Source Database Conference 2018 Keynotes Tackle Open Source in the Enterprise, Future of Databases, Cloud Adoption and More

      Percona, the company that delivers enterprise-class MySQL®, MariaDB® and MongoDB® and other open source database solutions and services, today announced the keynote addresses for the seventh annual Percona Live Open Source Database Conference 2018, taking place April 23-25, 2018 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif. Limited sponsorship opportunities for the conference are still available.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 36
      • Data Collection at Mozilla: Browser Errors

        The first step was to find out how many errors we’d be collecting. One tool at our disposal at Mozilla is Shield, which lets us run small studies at targeted subsets of users. In this case, I wanted to collect data on how many errors were being logged on the Nightly channel.

      • Use Firefox Focus to keep Facebook contained on your mobile device

        Most of us signed up for Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. We didn’t sign up to share our personal information with mysterious third-party organizations. That’s why we created the Facebook Container, which lets you use Facebook on your desktop or laptop without sharing personal info with third parties outside of Facebook. Firefox Focus for iOS and Android can give you similar privacy protection when you’re using Facebook on the go. Here’s how it works.

      • Sneak Peek at WebAssembly Studio

        WebAssembly.Studio is an online IDE (integrated development environment) that helps you learn and teach others about WebAssembly. It’s also a Swiss Army knife that comes in handy whenever working with WebAssembly.

        

        We started working on WebAssembly Studio in late December 2017, in an attempt to merge two existing tools that we had developed: WasmExplorer and WasmFiddle. Since then, thanks to several contributors who jumped into the project early, we’ve made quite a bit of progress. We’ve merged those two tools and added several new features. Our beta (more like an alpha) release is now live at https://webassembly.studio and we are very interested in your feedback.

      • Latest Firefox for iOS Now Available with Tracking Protection by Default plus iPad Features

        Today, we’re rolling out Tracking Protection by default for Firefox for iPhone and iPad users. It’s been a little over six months since we added Tracking Protection as an option in regular browsing. With Tracking Protection now turned on by default in both regular and private browsing mode, you can easily control which sites you want to deploy Tracking Protection for — like retail sites — and which ones you don’t. It’s simple, just tap your menu button and you’ll see it listed there!

      • Protect Your Privacy With Firefox for iOS 11

        It’s pretty simple: Firefox for iOS Tracking Protection uses a list provided by Disconnect to identify and block trackers. The list includes third-party ad networks, malware sites, and more. If one of these sites tries to track your browsing history, Tracking Protection in Firefox blocks it.

      • Get the FTP outta here, says Firefox

        Mozilla developers have decided to block requests for File Transfer Protocol (FTP) subresources inside web pages.

        A bug report and Intent to implement notice suggest the change will land in Firefox 61. The browser’s currently at version 59, with 61 due in May 2018.

  • Databases

    • Idera Acquires Webyog to Enable the Open Source Relational Database Systems

      Idera, Inc. recently announced that it has acquired Webyog – a company that provides database management and administration tools for MySQL. It will be Idera’s second acquisition in under a year that will join the latter’s Database Management Tools business that currently includes AquaFold and IDERA.

      Webyog delivers MySQL management and monitoring offerings and serves customers in a wide range of industries. SQLyog, its flagship MySQL GUI and administration product, delivers migration tools, query profiling tools, backup, synchronization tools, scheduling and reporting tools, as well as several other power tools that enhance developer, data architect, and DBA productivity.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice certification for FSF members

      The FSF and The Document Foundation have worked together to offer LibreOffice Certification to FSF Members, for developers, migrators, and trainers. This session will provide all of the relevant information about LibreOffice Certification, in order to make it easier for FSF Members to apply and prepare for the certification review.

  • CMS

    • Promote Drupal Initiative Announced at DrupalCon

      Yesterday’s Keynote from Drupal project founder, Dries Buytaert, kicked off the annual North American gathering of Drupalists from around the world, and also kicked off a new Drupal community initiative aimed at promoting the Drupal platform through a coordinated marketing effort using funds raised within the community.

      The Drupal Association hopes to raise $100,000 to enable a global group of staff and volunteers to complete the first two phases of a four-phase plan to create consistent and reusable marketing materials to allow agencies and other Drupal promoters to communicate Drupal’s benefits to organizations and potential customers quickly and effectively.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Making institutional free software successful

      Many large institutions, especially government agencies, would like to distribute their software—including the software of the vendors with whom they contract—as free software. They have a variety of reasons, ranging from the hope that opening the code will boost its use, all the way to a mature understanding of the importance of community, transparency, and freedom. There are special steps institutions can take to help ensure success, some stemming from best practices performed by many free-software projects and others specific to large organizations. At the 2018 LibrePlanet conference, Cecilia Donnelly laid out nine principles for the successful creation and maintenance of a software project under these circumstances.

    • Benjamin Mako Hill: Free software and the shifting landscape of online cooperation
    • Free software forever

      As free software activists, do we focus on our own project-based communities or should we be looking outside? If free software is to succeed (forever!) I believe we need to do both. Maintaining our ideals as we take free software to new places, introduce it to new people, and bend it to new purposes depends on our willingness to grow both individually and collectively. Change is never simple so I hope that we will be gentle with each other as we try new things and work to build an even bigger movement.

    • Algorithmic bias: Where it comes from and what to do about it

      Slides from Andy Oram’s talk from LibrePlanet 2017: Algorithmic bias: Where it comes from and what to do about it.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Conservancy Welcomes the Common Workflow Language as a Member Project

      Software Freedom Conservancy welcomes the Common Workflow Language (CWL) as Conservancy’s newest member project. The CWL team develops and maintains a specification for describing data analysis workflows and tools in a way that makes them portable and scalable across a variety of software and hardware environments, as well as a supporting reference implementation.

      The Common Workflow Language project follows the OpenStand principles for collaborative open standards development to openly evolve the CWL specifications, which have already been implemented by a large number of independent vendors and open source projects. CWL has seen a large uptake by researchers, in particular in the bioinformatics community, with more than 700 public CWL workflows developed across academia and industry.

    • Xiaomi aims to release Kernel Source Code for new devices within 3 months after launch

      Xiaomi is a company that’s largely renowned for their devices that offer excellent specifications relative to price. Smartphones is just one of their many ventures, but it’s how the company has made its name known globally. The company’s rapid expansion in markets like India has brought millions of new users onto smartphones running Android, which has resulted in a wave of new users on our forums looking to customize their devices. Unfortunately, Xiaomi has a poor history of complying with open source licenses as they have shown time and time and time again that they are willing to violate the General Public License v2 (GPLv2) by failing to release kernel source code for their devices. The GPL is what makes the developer community on our forums possible, as all Android phones run on the Linux kernel and without access to the source code it would have been nearly impossible for custom AOSP-based ROMs to take off the way they’ve done on our forums.

    • Xiaomi to Release Kernel Sources ‘Within 3 Months’ Of Launching New Phones

      Xiaomi may have grown leaps and bounds as a tech company over the past decade, but it still receives a lot of flak for its failure to abide by the GNU General Public License v2 license, which governs open source software such as Android. The company has often either completely failed to release kernel sources for its smartphones and tablets, or released them long after the release of the device, both of which are an outright violation of the GNU GPL license, which mandates that all software licensed under its terms must have its source code available publicly.

    • Difference between various open-source software licenses

      An open-source license is a computer software license that allows the source code, blueprint or design to be used, modified and/or shared under defined terms and conditions. This license allows end users and commercial companies to review and modify the source code, blueprint or design for their own customization, curiosity or troubleshooting needs.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • MIT students create and circulate open source, covert RFID rings to subvert campus tracking system

      A reader writes, “A couple years ago MIT changed their dorm security/student tracking policy. They hired security contractors to work in dorms and required everyone to tap their RFID cards upon entry (no vouching for friends/guests). Most students complied. Some moved out. Some got in trouble ;)”

      “Fast forward to this week. There was a student-run ‘ring delivery’ event on campus where roughly 100 students received programmable RFID capable devices. Most of these were rings that could be mistaken for class rings. Students also received documentation on 125 kHz RFID systems, how to make inexpensive reader/writer devices, and how to produce more rings.

    • This open source viewer that runs on Raspberry Pi can share city’s geospatial data

      At GITA 2018 in Phoenix, Bob Basques, GIS Systems Developer at the City of St Paul, described a system called COMPASS he and his team have developed that provides a shared, easy to use tool that allows city employees and the public access to all of the city’s spatial and associated data including, for example, scans of surveyors’ notebooks, 2.2 million street level photos, and permitting and licensing information from 200 different applications. Based completely on open source components the system is compact and efficient enough to run on a Raspberry Pi.

      One of the problems that hampers efficient operations at municipalities is accessing geospatial data originating from multiple sources such as infrastructure maintenance, planning and zoning, property ownership, engineering, permitting, licensing and code enforcement. Spatial data is generated by CAD drafters, GIS users, surveyors and even users with smart phone apps. Imagery data can come from a variety of sources including earth observation satellites, aerial overflights, street photography, and drones. This data is constantly changing which means that any process that involves making copies such as converting it to a common format creates a bigger problem than it solves.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Using Open Source Designs to Create More Specialized Chips

        The open source movement changed how companies build software. Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo employees pitched in during the early days of the data-crunching software Hadoop. Even after the relationship between Apple and Google soured, the companies’ coders kept working together on an obscure but important piece of software called LLVM. Microsoft now uses and contributes to the Linux operating system, even though it competes with Windows.

        The embrace of open source isn’t about altruism. Facebook started using Hadoop because there was no commercial off-the-shelf software that met the company’s needs as it grew. Because Hadoop is open source, Facebook could customize and extend it to solve its specific problems; sharing its changes allowed others to innovate further, making the software better for Facebook and all other users. Collaborating on freely available code enables companies and programmers to pool resources to solve common problems and avoid reinventing the wheel. Companies build competing products and services from these open source foundations that they might never have been able to build otherwise.

  • Programming/Development

    • Anaconda, CPython, PyPy, and more: Know your Python distributions

      When you choose Python for software development, you choose a large language ecosystem with a wealth of packages covering all manner of programming needs. But in addition to libraries for everything from GUI development to machine learning, you can also choose from a number of Python runtimes—and some of these runtimes may be better suited to the use case you have at hand than others.

      Here is a brief tour of the most commonly used Python distributions, from the standard implementation (CPython) to versions optimized for speed (PyPy), for special use cases (Anaconda, ActivePython), or for runtimes originally designed for entirely different languages (Jython, IronPython).

    • Fedora and Python 2

      It has been known for quite some time that Python 2 will reach its end of life in 2020—after being extended by five years from its original 2015 expiry. After that, there will be no support, bug fixes, or security patches for Python 2, at least from the Python Software Foundation and the core developers. Some distributions will need to continue to support the final Python 2 release, however, since their support windows extend past that date; the enterprise and long-term support distributions will likely be supporting it well into the 2020s and possibly beyond. But even shorter-support-cycle distributions need to consider their plan for a sweeping change of this sort—in less than two years.

    • Better support for CUPS features in Qt 5.11

      During the last couple of months KDAB engineers have been working on improving CUPS printing support for Linux in Qt.

    • GitKraken – The Legendary Cross-Platform Git GUI Client

      GitKraken is a powerful GUI application that allows Git users to interact more efficiently with their repositories. It is arguably the best Git GUI Client in the world not just because of its beautiful and relaxing UI/UX but also its seamless integration with other platforms necessary for developers’ workflow.

    • Happy 10th birthday GitHub, it’s been eventful

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Hope For Hepatitis C Patients In Poor Countries – New Affordable Combination With High Cure Rate

      A new affordable combination treatment for hepatitis C patients with a 97 percent cure rate was announced today.

      According to a Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) press release, the combination treatment including new drug candidate ravidasvir showed safe, and with “extremely high cure rates for patients, including hard-to-treat cases.”

    • Kentucky Abortion Ban, Here We Go Again

      For the third time in two years, the ACLU has sued Kentucky for blocking access to abortion. We’ve been here before. Once again, the Kentucky General Assembly passed a bill that limits abortion access and, once again, Gov. Matt Bevin signed it into law.

      The new law, signed yesterday, makes it a crime for doctors at Kentucky’s last remaining abortion clinic to perform a safe and medically proven abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation, or “D&E.” Leading medical experts such as the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists oppose this type of abortion restriction. Earlier this month, an evidence-based and non-partisan report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine described D&E as a “superior method” of abortion after 16 weeks, finding that it is extremely safe with minimal complications.

    • At Geneva Health Forum: Importance Of High Quality Of Health Systems, Beyond Access

      Achieving a high percentage of universal health coverage often does not translate into a high quality of health systems, according to speakers at the opening of the Geneva Health Forum. While in developed countries people are demanding better quality, the expectations of people living in low and middle-income countries need to be raised, they said. Another panel looked at the use of big data and mathematical modelling as ways to improve health systems, including Facebook monitoring.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • We All Need To Unite Against War In Syria, Regardless Of Ideology

      He told the truth about Syria. He told the truth about Yemen. He told the truth about the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma. He told the truth about the bipartisan war machine which drops all pretense of opposition the instant it’s time for bloodshed. He told the truth about what war is, what it costs, and what it does to our world.

      He stood in stark, unequivocal opposition to the trajectory the Trump administration appears to be moving along. And he did it on Fox News.

      [...]

      Whenever I bring this up I get lefty echo chamber cultists shrieking at me that people like Fairbanks are alt-right/Nazis (which is absurd and ridiculous) and saying that the left and right don’t need to work together on any issue at all; that the left can just do its own separate, fully segregated thing on its own side of the divide while any anti-war right wingers can do their thing far away somewhere else.

      [...]

      For that reason we also need to stop attacking each other. People keep telling me I need to denounce Glenn Greenwald for advancing the mainstream narrative about chemical weapons and Bashar al-Assad, despite the fact that he’s been consistently and aggressively opposed to western interventionism in Syria. We don’t have that kind of luxury, people. We don’t have the luxury of rejecting anyone who’s willing to stand against the war machine, let alone a fellow leftist with a large and influential voice. We need all the help we can get.

    • America’s ‘Unlimited Imperialists’

      Historically the latest eruption of American militarism in the 21st Century is akin to that of America opening the 20th Century by means of the U.S.-instigated Spanish-American War in 1898.

      The then Republican administration of President William McKinley grabbed their colonial empire from Spain in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines; inflicted a near genocidal war against the Filipino people; while at the same time illegally annexing the Kingdom of Hawaii and subjecting the Native Hawaiian people (who call themselves the Kanaka Maoli) to genocidal conditions.

    • Yulia Skripal Is Plainly Under Duress

      Only the Russians have allowed us to hear the actual voice of Yulia Skripal, in that recorded conversation with her cousin. So the one thing we know for certain is that, at the very first opportunity she had, she called back to her cousin in Russia to let her know what is going on. If you can recall, until the Russians released that phone call, the British authorities were still telling lies that Sergei was in a coma and Yulia herself in a serious condition.

      We do not know how Yulia got to make the call. Having myself been admitted unconscious to hospital on several occasions, each time when I came to I found my mobile phone in my bedside cabinet. Yulia’s mobile phone plainly had been removed from her and not returned. Nor had she been given an official one – she specifically told her cousin that she could not call her back on that phone as she had it temporarily. The British government could have given her one to keep on which she could be called back, had they wished to help her.

      The most probable explanation is that Yulia persuaded somebody else in the hospital to lend her a phone, without British officials realising. That would explain why the first instinct of the British state and its lackey media was to doubt the authenticity of the call. It would explain why she was able to contradict the official narrative on their health, and why she couldn’t get a return call. It would, more importantly, explain why her family has not been able to hear her voice since. Nor has anybody else.

    • Trump’s Chief Homeland Security Adviser Thomas Bossert Ousted

      President Trump’s chief homeland security adviser, Thomas Bossert, has been ousted, one day after John Bolton began serving as Trump’s new national security adviser. Bossert’s resignation Tuesday makes him the latest in a slew of top officials to resign or be forced out of the Trump administration.

    • International Lawyers: Strike Against Syria Would Be Illegal

      In this statement released Wednesday, a group of international law experts warn that a U.S. military strike on Syria would be illegal if not in self-defense or with U.N. Security Council authorization.

      We are practitioners and professors of international law. Under international law, military strikes by the United States of America and its allies against the Syrian Arab Republic, unless conducted in self-defense or with United Nations Security Council approval, are illegal and constitute acts of aggression.

      The unlawful killing of any human being without legal justification, under every legal system, is murder. And an act of violence committed by one government against another government, without lawful justification, amounts to the crime of aggression: the supreme international crime which carries with it the evil of every other international crime, as noted by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1946.

    • As Nuclear Powers Trade Threats, Gorbachev Calls on US and Russia to ‘Return to Sanity’

      Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, seen here in 2013, said Tuesday that Russian and U.S. leaders must meet to diffuse tensions over Syria. (Photo: Jean-Marc Ferré via UN Geneva/flickr/cc)

      Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, seen here in 2013, said Tuesday that Russian and U.S. leaders must meet to diffuse tensions over Syria. (Photo: Jean-Marc Ferré via UN Geneva/flickr/cc)

      Amid escalating tensions between Russia and the U.S., former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev urged the two nations to “return to sanity” and said President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin should meet to engage in diplomacy rather than military confrontation over Syria.

      Speaking to Interfax news agency, Gorbachev said Tuesday, “I am very alarmed.”

      “The situation hasn’t been this bad in a long time, and I am very disappointed in how world leaders are behaving themselves. We see evidence of an inability to use diplomatic mechanisms. International politics has turned into exchanges of accusations, sanctions, and even military strikes,” he said.

      While he feels certain “no one wants a war,” he noted the current “febrile atmosphere” and said that “ordinary people are not yet aware of the threat hanging over them.”

    • The Bolton-Pompeo Package

      This week John Bolton assumes the job of national security advisor. Given that a key function of that position is to ensure that the bureaucracy provides the relevant options and most accurate information to the president before major national security decisions, it is hard to think of anyone more ill suited to that duty. Bolton’s method of policy formation has been to try to bully any part of the bureaucracy that does not subscribe to his personal agenda and bully away any part of the truth that does not serve his objectives. Bolton has never met a war or prospective war he didn’t like. He still avows that the Iraq War—with all the costs and chaos it caused, from thousands of American deaths to the birth of the group that we now know as the Islamic State—was a good idea. That someone with this perspective has been entrusted with the job Bolton now has is a glaring example of how there often is no accountability in Washington for gross policy malpractice.

    • Bombing Syria would be both dangerous and illegal

      Despite all the moral hand-wringing, international law forbids nations from attacking each other, outside of Security Council approval or in self-defence, and alleged use of chemical weapons is no exception. Western media and politicians are once again calling for our governments to commit what Nuremberg Judges labelled the “supreme international crime”. They risk further escalating the conflict despite a lack of independent verification as to what actually happened in Douma, eastern Ghouta.

    • Russia-US tensions — latest updates: Theresa May holds war cabinet meeting ahead of expected Trump attack on Syria

      Theresa May is to hold an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss joining the United States and France in possible military action against Syria.

      The prime minister summoned her senior ministers to No 10 after saying “all the indications” were the regime of Bashar al-Assad was responsible for a suspected chemical weapons attack on civilians last weekend.

      Donald Trump warned Russia of imminent military action in Syria, declaring missiles “will be coming” and denouncing Moscow for standing by Syria’s president.

    • OPCW Salisbury Report Confirms Nothing But the Identity of the Chemical

      The word “Russia” does not occur in today’s OPCW report. The OPCW Report says nothing whatsoever about the origin of the chemical which poisoned the Skripals and certainly does not link it in any way to Russia.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • John Pilger and Julian Burnside denounce silencing of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

      Under pressure from the United States and its imperialist allies, which are preparing to launch a new war in Syria that could result in a direct conflict with nuclear-armed Russia, Ecuador cut Assange off from the Internet under the pretext that he was interfering in the politics of other countries. Silencing dissidents and those who question the official narrative has always been critical for the ruling elites in the lead-up to the launching of new wars.

      The censorship of Assange has been met with an approving silence from the mainstream media, the pseudo-left and many human rights organizations. Very few in these upper- and middle-class circles have found it necessary or beneficial to stand up for the rights of the publisher and journalist.

      Among those who have had the courage to speak out are documentary filmmaker and journalist John Pilger and barrister Julian Burnside, an Australian human rights and refugee advocate. They have written to the WSWS to denounce the silencing of Assange and demand the end to his persecution by the United States and its imperialist allies.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Investigators: We Can’t Tell if Interior Dept. Reassignments Were Legal Due to Lack of Records

      The Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General concluded an investigation into the reassignment of 27 top career employees last year without being able to determine the reasons behind the moves or their legality, because, it said, the agency failed to document its decision-making process, despite federal guidance.

      In a report issued Monday, the agency’s watchdog examined the reassignment of the employees between June 15, 2017, and October 29, 2017.

      Among those moved was Joel Clement, formerly the director of the Office of Policy Analysis. In a July 2017 op-ed, Clement accused the department under Secretary Ryan Zinke of transferring him to an obscure accounting post as retaliation for speaking out about the threats manmade climate change poses to Alaskan villages. Zinke has expanded greater fossil fuel development on federal lands and played down or erased consideration of climate impacts across the agency.

      Clement said last year that his reassignment was part of a pattern within Interior under the new administration. After he filed a federal whistleblower complaint against the agency, eight senators asked the Inspector General’s Office to undertake an inquiry.

  • Finance

    • 50 Years After the Fair Housing Act, Tenants Are Still Fending Off Landlords’ Sexual Demands

      It’s time to talk about sexual harassment in housing.

      Fifty years ago today, Congress passed the Fair Housing Act, which at long last protected Americans from discrimination when purchasing or renting a home.

      At least that was the plan. But for too many people, the fight for fair housing is not over.

      Ongoing bias against African-Americans at the hands of banks, landlords, and local governments is well-documented half a century later. Women, including women of color, also continue to grapple with unequal treatment. They are frequently subjected to sexual harassment while trying to keep a roof over their heads, a violation of the FHA that flies under the radar.

      Sexual harassment by landlords, superintendents, and other housing staff plays out in many ways in communities across the country. They have demanded sex in exchange for rent reductions or repairs, entered tenants’ homes without permission or notice, sexually groped them, and moved to evict tenants who rejected their sexual advances. Property managers have also refused to approve housing applicants unless they complied with sexual demands. Harassment in housing affects all types of people, but it disproportionately harms low-income women of color.

    • The Article 50 Challenge Responds

      A couple of days ago, I set out on here why I believed the “Article 50 challenge” had no merit.

      To their credit, the campaign responded politely and constructively, and they have now issued a statement.

      Read the statement carefully – as I do not want to misrepresent their position.

      I do not think the statement has much force.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • After FBI Raid, Concern Trump Will Fire Rosenstein or Mueller

      President Trump’s threats to carry out military action in Syria come as he is facing an escalating political crisis at home, after the FBI raided the offices of his longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen early Monday morning. The New York Times reports the FBI agents were looking for records about payoffs to two women—Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford—who say they had affairs with Trump, before he was president. The Trump-appointed deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, personally signed off on the raid, which was carried out by the interim U.S. attorney of the Southern District of New York, who was also appointed by President Trump. There’s now increasing speculation Trump may try to fire Rosenstein, or even special counsel Robert Mueller. On Tuesday, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump believes he has the power to fire Mueller.

    • Liars Lying About Nearly Everything

      At least since the time of Marcus Tullius Cicero in the late Roman Republic everyone has certainly understood that politicians lie all the time. To be sure, President Donald Trump has been exceptional in that he has followed through on some of the promises he made in his campaign, insisting periodically that he has to do what he said he would do.

      Unfortunately, those choices he has made to demonstrate his accountability to his supporters have been terrible, including moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, threatening to end the Iran nuclear agreement and building a wall along the Mexican border. Following through on some other pledges has been less consistent. He has increased U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan and turned the war over to the generals while also faltering in his promise to improve relations with Russia.

      The potential breakthrough offered by promising exchanges during phone calls to Vladimir Putin have been negated by subsequent threats, sanctions and expulsions to satisfy hysterical congressmen and the media.

    • Media’s Linguistic Gymnastics Mislead on Gaza Protests

      Another AP headline (4/7/18) said, “Gaza Buries Journalist Who Died After Covering Mass Protests,” a reference to Palestinian journalist Yasser Murtaja, whom Israel shot while he filmed Friday’s march in Gaza. Readers could conclude from the headline that Murtaja covered the protests and then went home and died of natural causes. In reality, he died because an Israeli sniper shot him. Obfuscating that absolves Israel.

      There was also this cryptic news brief from the New York Times (4/6/18): “Sporadic rifle fire from the Israeli side of the Gaza border made clear that the Palestinian protests could elicit the sort of response that killed 20 people a week ago.” The paper uses 30 words and still fails to convey the critical information that can be communicated in seven words: Israel kills nine Palestinian protesters in Gaza.

      Not only does the headline seriously muddy what happened, it also primes readers to blame Palestinians for being massacred, by saying their protests “elicited” the massacre. Likewise, describing Israel’s massacre as a “response” is a way of justifying it.

    • Nationwide U.S. protests planned if Trump fires Mueller or Rosenstein

      U.S. progressive groups are gearing up for nationwide protests if President Donald Trump fires the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, or replaces the Justice Department official overseeing the probe.

    • Disney must offer to buy all of Sky, Britain’s takeover regulator rules

      Britain’s takeover regulator said Walt Disney (DIS.N) must offer to buy all of Sky if it acquires Twenty-First Century Fox’s 39 percent stake and if Rupert Murdoch’s Fox is prevented from purchasing all of the European pay-TV company itself.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Canadian Government Leaning Towards A Right To Be Forgotten It Can Enforce Anywhere In The World

      It looks as though the “Right to Be Forgotten” will be crossing the Atlantic and setting up shop just north of the United States. The Canadian Privacy Commissioner has already stated existing Canadian privacy laws allow for this, but there’s been no statutory adoption of the Commissioner’s theory.

      The idea that Canadians should join their European counterparts in being able to selectively erase personal information continues to be pushed by the Privacy Commissioner. Speaking at a recent conference in Toronto, Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien reiterated his belief Canadians should be offered this dubious “right.”

    • Despite What Zuckerberg’s Testimony May Imply, AI Cannot Save Us

      Yesterday and today, Mark Zuckerberg finally testified before the Senate and House, facing Congress for the first time to discuss data privacy in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. As we predicted, Congress didn’t stick to Cambridge Analytica. Congress also grilled Zuckerberg on content moderation—i.e., private censorship—and it’s clear from his answers that Facebook is putting all of its eggs in the “Artificial Intelligence” basket.

      But automated content filtering inevitably results in over-censorship. If we’re not careful, the recent outrage over Facebook could result in automated censors that make the Internet less free, not more.

    • You can’t use the Taiwan flag emoji on a Chinese iPhone
    • China’s Anti-Pornography Office Asks Video Platforms To Strengthen Censorship

      China’s anti-pornography office has summoned 18 online video streaming and related media companies, including Douyu, Qiqiyi, Huajiao and Toutiao, asking them to strengthen video censorship, according to the authority’s website.

      The news marks Chinese regulators’ latest move to clean up what it considers indecent content on the Internet.

      The anti-pornography office said companies that fail to filter and censor their content will be penalized. This week, China’s State Administration of Radio and Television shut down Toutiao’s joke app permanently for distributing what it deemed anti-social content. Earlier this month, the State Administration of Radio and Television singled out Toutiao and Tencent-backed live-video streaming start-up Kuaishou, for “disrupting online broadcasting order.”

    • Are we entering a new age of theatre censorship?

      It’s February 2009 and Richard Bean’s play England People Very Nice is knowingly parading a stream of cartoonish East End immigrants in front of National Theatre audiences. There are French Huguenots, Irish Catholics, Jewish anarchists, and Bangladeshis who straddle the divide between western liberalism and militant Islam. The play divides the critics, and some voices denounce Bean as racist. But it’s also a palpable talking point hit, enjoying 80 to 90 per cent houses.

    • California Bill Could Introduce A Constitutionally Questionable ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ In The US

      As we’ve pointed out concerning the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU, the thinking behind the regulation is certainly well-meaning and important. Giving end users more control over their own data and increasing privacy controls is, generally speaking, a good idea. However, the problem is in the drafting of the GDPR, which is done in a manner that will lead to widespread censorship. A key part of the problem is that when you think solely in terms of “privacy” or “data protection” you sometimes forget about speech rights. I have no issue with giving more control over actually private information to the individuals whose information is at stake. But the GDPR and other such efforts take a much more expansive view of what information can be controlled, including public information about a person. That’s why we’ve been troubled by the GDPR codifying a “right to be forgotten.” We’ve already seen how the RTBF is leading to censorship, and doing more of that is not a good idea.

      But now the idea is spreading. Right here in California, Assemblymember Mark Levine has introduced a local version of the GDPR, called the California Data Protection Authority, which includes two key components: a form of a right to be forgotten and a plan for regulations “to prohibit edge provider Internet Web sites from conducting potentially harmful experiments on nonconsenting users.” If you’re just looking from the outside, both of these might sound good as a first pass. Giving end users more control over their data? Sounds good. Preventing evil websites from conducting “potentially harmful experiments”? Uh, yeah, sounds good.

    • In the Fight for Free Speech, Sex Workers Have Been Left Behind

      The U.S. government, along with various important online platforms, have decided that it’s dangerous to let sex workers speak or organize publicly. But the truth is, speaking isn’t dangerous for sex workers. Censorship is. When sex workers can’t use online resources to screen clients and share information, they are forced onto the street, where they are assaulted and murdered with terrifying frequency. A recent study found that overall homicide rates for women dropped by 17 percent when sex workers got access to online advertising like Craigslist erotic services. If SESTA succeeds in banning sex workers from the Internet, so many sex workers will be killed that we’ll probably see a significant rise in the overall female murder rate.

    • Trump Signs ‘FOSTA’ Into Law, Enabling Internet Censorship That Puts Sex Workers at Risk
    • Trump signs anti-trafficking law that weakens online free speech protections

      And FOSTA conflates stopping sex trafficking with stopping consensual sex work, making it difficult for sex workers to screen clients or build communities through online services.

    • Trump Signs FOSTA, Igniting Online Censorship Concerns

      President Trump has signed a controversial bill that’s intended to help stop online sex trafficking but has privacy advocates concerned that it will instead trigger internet censorship and put sex workers at risk.

      The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) opens the door for criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits against websites that facilitate sex trafficking and prostitution.

      Prior to FOSTA, also known as SESTA, internet platforms were granted some legal immunity for content posted by third parties, but no more. Even before Wednesday’s signing, sites that hosted user-generated classified posts removed them for fear of being prosecuted for their content. Craigslist, for example, removed all personal ads from the site last month, while Reddit banned paid transactions “involving physical sexual contact.”

    • Censorship Is a Bipartisan Pursuit in South Korea

      A controversy erupted earlier this week over the ostensibly liberal South Korean government’s decision to cut off funding for the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Critics, including the Institute’s chairman, former ambassador Robert Gallucci, have claimed that the decision stems from the Moon Jae-in administration’s desire to force out USKI Director Jae H. Ku over his perceived conservative leanings.

      This comes on the heels of a report which appeared last week in the Joongang Ilbo alleging that the administration had brought political pressure to bear on a number of academics at research think-tanks within South Korea for criticizing the government’s policy toward the North. That list included former State Department official David Straub, who recently left his post as a research fellow with the Sejong Institute in Seoul. The same article also stated that prominent North Korean defectors such as Thae Yong-ho have been sidelined from making public appearances in recent months as North and South Korean relations have entered a phase of reconciliation.

    • Overcoming Censorship, ‘Geoblocking,’ and Hubris While Doing Business Abroad
    • New Target for China’s Censors: Content Driven by Artificial Intelligence

      A new battle over censorship is playing out in China, one that underscores the differences in how the world’s two largest economies are dealing with advances in technology that are upending the news business and social media.

    • Conservatives push censorship narrative during Zuck hearings
    • Ted Cruz Grills Mark Zuckerberg Over Facebook’s Political Bias, Censorship
    • Mark Zuckerberg’s House testimony covered the opioid crisis, diversity, conservative censorship and Facemash
    • Blackburn Takes on Zuckerberg Over Alleged Censorship: Diamond & Silk Are ‘Not Terrorism’
    • Congress ‘offended’ by Facebook’s censorship of Diamond and Silk
    • Republican lawmakers keep grilling Mark Zuckerberg about ‘censoring’ two conservative vloggers
    • Zuckerberg Says So-Called Censorship Of Diamond And Silk An Error
    • Who Are Diamond and Silk, and Why Can’t Congress Stop Asking Mark Zuckerberg About them?
    • GOP Lawmakers Continue Grilling Zuckerberg About Diamond & Silk: They’re ‘Not Terrorism’
    • ‘Diamond and Silk Is Not Terrorism’: Marsha Blackburn Claps Back at Mark Zuckerberg’s Claim About Facebook’s Censorship
    • Diamond and Silk Hit Back at Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook ‘Censorship’: ‘We Are Not Terrorists’
    • Our new website will challenge the culture of censorship on campus

      This is a story about the dwindling health of free speech on university campuses and why we set up a website to challenge it.

      The idea came quite suddenly. One of our founders, Oliver Kraftman, had written a piece in support of an anti-abortion student society in a university magazine. He didn’t agree with them, as it happens, but he supported their right to exist.

    • Google removes ‘Russia won the White House for you, Donald Trump’ billboard in censorship row

      Borders” that put messages criticizing world leaders on billboards that appeared on Google Street View has had the images removed by the tech company.

      Earlier this week, people browsing Moscow’s Red Square via Street View on maps.google.se would have seen a huge black-and-white billboard right next to St Basil’s Cathedral stating: “Being gay is normal.”

      The quote is from an interview with a school teacher who stated “homosexuality is normal” in Russian newspaper Molodai Dalnevostochnik. Editor Alexander Suturin was fined by Russia’s Federal Mass Media Inspection Service for breaking a law that bans “gay propaganda” among minors.

    • Facing Censorship and Stigma, Asia’s #MeToo Movement Fights For Change

      When Luo Qianqian posted about how she was sexually assaulted by her PhD supervisor on Chinese social networking site Sina Weibo, she could have hardly imagined the response. She had suffered in silence for 15 years since the attack, finally coming forward in January this year. “[There’s] no longer any need to be afraid,” she wrote. “we need to stand up bravely and say ‘No!’” She ended with the hashtag # 我也是 (#WoYeShi or #MeToo). Within weeks, thousands had shared her post, other students had come forward to tell their own tales of abuse, and the professor responsible was allegedly dismissed.

      Sadly, stories like Luo Qianiqian’s have been the exception rather than the norm in China, and across Asia as a whole. #MeToo has—by and large—been a slow starter across the continent. From Beijing to Kuala Lumpur, women have faced many of the same hurdles—the social stigma that comes with sharing experiences of abuse, a lack of trust in authorities to take claims seriously, and male-dominated societies that reinforce a code of silence.

      [...]

      It is no wonder that what has been called Indonesia’s own “#MeToo moment” was sparked by police ignoring one victim’s story. In January this year, a 22-year-old woman was groped by a man on a motorcycle in broad daylight on a Jakarta street. She tracked down CCTV footage of the incident, but after police refused to listen she posted it online through a popular Instagram account. The footage promptly went viral, leading another police unit to take up the case and eventually track down the abuser. The story illustrates both the power of social media and the considerable obstacles Indonesian women face in reporting abuse, let alone obtaining justice.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Disconnecting from Facebook

      About 5 months ago I moved away from Whatsapp (owned by Facebook) to Signal and today I moved away from Facebook itself. It has been on my to do list for a while already. Watching Zondag met Lubach this week gave me the final push to put my Facebook account removal at the top of my to do list. Arjen Lubach even created a Facebook event (quite funny) called “Bye Bye Facebook”, which was scheduled for yesterday evening at 20.00. He stuck to his word and removed his own account. What made it funnier was that his event was not very easy to find using the search function, which usually works fine.

    • Classified hearing set for leak suspect Reality Winner

      A date for a classified hearing was set Tuesday for attorneys to present their sides concerning the request by leak suspect Reality Leigh Winner’s defense team to subpoena various agencies, including the CIA, Department of Defense and Office of the White House, in preparation for her trial on an Espionage Act violation.

      The hearing, which will be closed to the public, is set for April 23 in U.S. District Court in Augusta before Magistrate Judge Brian K. Epps. The judge has been handling pretrial matters in the criminal case.

      Winner has pleaded not guilty to the accusation that she copied a classified document while working for National Security Agency contractor Pluribus International at Fort Gordon and gave it to an unauthorized entity. A classified document was sent anonymously to the online media outlet The Intercept, which used the document to publish an account of Russian efforts to hack into state election officials’ e-mail and websites.

    • Zuckerberg: Facebook Collects Your Data Even If You’re Not A Facebook User

      This makes a hard blow to the privacy claims made by Facebook. And the already undermined statement that users own and control their data sounds no more than a bad joke.

      Facebook does have a support page titled,”I don’t have a Facebook account and would like to request all personal data stored by Facebook.”

      After clicking the form link present on the page, the user is asked to visit Account Settings and download their data. Unfortunately, this is only possible if you have a Facebook account.

    • Cambridge Analytica’s acting CEO is stepping down

      Embattled tech firm Cambridge Analytica announced that its acting CEO, Alexander Tayler, is stepping down to resume his post as chief data officer. The company’s board suspended and began investigating its previous head exec Alexander Nix a month ago after he was caught boasting about using propaganda and blackmail on behalf of previous clients.

    • Zuckerberg’s Congress Testimony Inspires Hilarious Memes On Internet

      Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg appeared in front of the US Congress today, where he answered a series of questions regarding the massive data breach by Cambridge Analytica.

    • 11 Biggest Moments From Mark Zuckerberg’s Mega Roast By Congress

      Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg spent five hours testifying against the senate judiciary and commerce committee at the Capitol Hill. Each senator was on a five-minute clock limit in which they had to squeeze as many words out of the Facebook CEO.

      According to NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, Zuckerberg took part in four mock hearings to prepare for his first testimony that happened on April 10. The Facebook CEO is due for another testimony before the Energy and Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives.

    • Zuckerberg’s Personal Data Also Leaked In Cambridge Analytica Scandal

      Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, while testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has revealed that his personal data was also a part of the 87 million users’ data that was exposed to Cambridge Analytica.

      The tech billionaire was summoned to the Capitol Hill for the second round of questioning on Facebook’s failure to protect user data and prevention of data misuse by Cambridge Analytica that caused political interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

    • Facebook Confirms Cambridge Analytica Had Access To Private Messages Too

      Facebook has revealed another shocking fact that Cambridge Analytica, which usurped over 87 million users’ data, could have accessed the private Facebook messages of users who were affected.

    • Facebook, This Is Not What “Complete User Control” Looks Like

      If you watched even a bit of Mark Zuckerberg’s ten hours of congressional testimony over the past two days, then you probably heard him proudly explain how users have “complete control” via “inline” privacy controls over everything they share on the platform. Zuckerberg’s language here misses the critical distinction between the information a person actively shares, and the information that Facebook takes from users without their knowledge or consent.

      Zuckerberg’s insistence that users have “complete control” neatly overlooks all the ways that users unwittingly “share” information with Facebook.

      Of course, there are the things you actively choose to share, like photos or status updates, and those indeed come with settings to limit their audience. That is the kind of sharing that Zuckerberg seemed to be addressing in many of his answers to Congressmembers’ questions.

    • State of the Onion

      The Tor Project has been hard at work this year building free software to fight surveillance and censorship across the globe. Join a handful of Tor contributors at this panel, and learn all about the state of the onion. We’ll talk about how we’re adding new security features like browser sandboxing, improving support for mobile devices, deploying the next generation of onion services, making Tor more usable, lowering our network overhead, making our software more maintainable, and growing our community with new outreach initiatives. We’ll also share some of what you can expect from Tor in the coming year, and we’re eager to hear questions from our community, too.

    • Amazon files for Alexa patent to let listen to people all the time and work out what they want

      The Amazon Alexa of the future could be listening to you at all times – and using that to build up a detailed picture of what you want to buy.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Is Halfway to Scot-Free

      Zuckerberg’s performance was not perfect. His stilted delivery played well in the theatrical proceedings, but he professed ignorance about the basic functioning of his own platform, a cornerstone piece of Internet legislation called the Communications Decency Act, and whether Facebook tracked browsing even when users were logged out (they can).

    • What You Don’t Know About How Facebook Uses Your Data

      “Facebook can learn almost anything about you by using artificial intelligence to analyze your behavior,” said Peter Eckersley, the chief computer scientist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights nonprofit. “That knowledge turns out be perfect both for advertising and propaganda. Will Facebook ever prevent itself from learning people’s political views, or other sensitive facts about them?”

      [...]

      Facebook is quick to note that when users sign up for an account, they must agree to the company’s data policy. It plainly states that its data collection “includes information about the websites and apps you visit, your use of our services on those websites and apps, your use of our services, as well as information the developer or publisher of the app or website provides to you or us.”

    • The Questions Zuckerberg Should Have Answered About Russia

      Here are the five of the biggest questions about Russia that Zuckerberg wasn’t asked or didn’t answer—and why it’s important for Facebook to provide clear information on these issues.

    • Facebook-backed lawmakers are pushing to gut privacy law

      As Zuckerberg prepares to testify before Congress, Facebook is quietly fighting a crucial privacy measure in the Illinois Statehouse. Starting tomorrow, state legislators will consider a new amendment to the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) that could neuter one of the strongest privacy laws in the US, giving Facebook free rein to run facial recognition scans without users’ consent.

    • Senator to Zuckerberg: ‘Your user agreement sucks’

      “Here’s what everyone’s been trying to tell you today — and I say it gently — your user agreement sucks,” Kennedy said. “The purpose of a user agreement is to cover Facebook’s rear end, not inform users of their rights.”

      Zuckerberg appeared momentarily amused, but the comment hits at an issue central to Facebook’s data scandal: transparency.

    • Shadow profiles are the biggest flaw in Facebook’s privacy defense

      The most powerful example came from Rep. Ben Luján (D-NM), who confronted Zuckerberg on the company’s use of shadow profiles — a term for non-user data collection that Zuckerberg was apparently unfamiliar with.

      “It’s been admitted that you do collect data points on non-Facebook users,” Luján asked. “So my question is, can someone who does not have a Facebook account opt out of Facebook’s involuntary data collection?”

    • EU threatens to crack down on Facebook over hate speech

      The EU’s executive arm is examining how to have hateful [sic] content removed swiftly by social media platforms, with tough legislation being one option that could replace the current system.

    • Zuckerberg says Facebook will extend European data protections worldwide — kind of

      The congresswoman interrupted him. “It sounds like it will not be exact.” She ran out of time before she could press him any further.

      In yesterday’s hearing before the Senate, Zuckerberg was similarly ambiguous about whether this would be the case, possibly because his crib sheet (photographed yesterday by the AP), says in bolded text, “GDPR (Don’t say we already do what the GDPR requires).”

      It’s not known whether Facebook is in GDPR compliance at the moment. The new rules go into effect on May 25th.

    • The Photojournalist Who Took a Picture of Mark Zuckerberg’s Notes Reveals Why He Did It
    • Mark Zuckerberg just finished nearly 10 hours of questions from almost 100 lawmakers

      Rep. Kathy Castor pressed Zuckerberg hard on whether and how Facebook tracks users after they are off the platform. Rep. Ben Luján got Zuckerberg to admit that Facebook goes so far as to collect data from some people who have not signed up for the social network “for security purposes.”

      [...]

      Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat from Illinois, recounted a long list of Zuckerberg’s apologies over the years before concluding: “This is proof to me that self-regulation does not work.”

    • We want to link Aadhaar not because we see people as criminals, but to protect them from crime: UIDAI

      This is how the UIDAI countered before a Supreme Court Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra the allegation raised by petitioners, and later taken up by the court, that insistence of Aadhaar for all stigmatises the entire population and creates a feeling among people that all are under the government’s scanner for financial frauds, terrorism and tax evasion.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Hells Angels around the world rally to downrank Manitoba businesses that don’t serve outlaw bikers

      An Ontario police officer who works for an outlaw motorcycle gang unit said that the activities might constitute criminal harassment, and suggested that the targeted businesses could seek civil remedies from the Hells Angels.

    • Manitoba Hells Angels target businesses by posting 1-star reviews

      On March 27, supporters took to social media to express their displeasure with the Marion Hotel. When the small Winnipeg business removed its Facebook page, the bikers and their friends turned their attention to the Marion Street Eatery, the restaurant in the hotel.

      Within 24 hours hundreds of people, most of them from outside Canada, posted one-star reviews on the restaurant’s Facebook page, reducing its 4.5-star reputation to three stars overnight.

    • Reminder: Removing “Void if Removed” Stickers Doesn’t Void Your Warranty

      Tech companies aren’t allowed to void your warranty just because you removed a sticker—regardless of what that sticker might say.

      That’s according to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), who yesterday posted a press release warning car, phone, and video game console makers to stop using warranty terms that aren’t legally enforceable.

    • FTC Suddenly Remembers ‘Warranty Void If Removed’ Stickers Are Illegal, Sends Out Stern Letters To Manufacturers

      The law has been around for more than 40 years, but the FTC only seems interested in enforcing it every so often. The tags slapped on electronic devices warning you that removing them will void your warranty? Complete horseshit. And illegal horseshit on top of that.

      The 1975 Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act said manufacturers can’t automatically void warranties just because owners have opened up their devices, performed their own repairs, or taken them to third parties for service. Nonetheless, the practice of sticking these little lies on electronics continues because the US government has yet to show an ongoing interest in protecting consumers from companies preying on consumer ignorance.

      Matthew Gault at Motherboard notes the FTC has made its periodic appearance in defense of consumers, raising its head above the parapet to wordslap a few unnamed manufacturers for their continued violation of this classic mid-70s legislation.

    • FTC Says ‘Warranty Void If Removed’ Stickers Are Bullshit, Warns Manufacturers They’re Breaking the Law

      The Federal Trade Commission put six companies on notice today, telling them in a warning letter that their warranty practices violate federal law. If you buy a car with a warranty, take it a repair shop to fix it, then have to return the car to the manufacturer, the car company isn’t legally allowed to deny the return because you took your car to another shop. The same is true of any consumer device that costs more than $15, though many manufacturers want you to think otherwise.

    • Goodyear Asks Judge To Help It Bury Document Showing It Covered Up Tire Problems Related To 98 Injuries Or Deaths

      The Jalopnik expose on tire problems Goodyear buried for 20 years — resulting in nearly 100 injuries or deaths — has led to a really novel request from Goodyear’s counsel. In essence, Goodyear approached the court (via a late evening conference call) and asked it to sternly request Jalopnik not publish damning documents mistakenly unsealed by the court’s clerk.

    • Goodyear Asked A Judge To Call Jalopnik And Request We Not Publish Documents On Its Dangerous RV Tire

      Last week, I asked Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. to comment on claims made in a lengthy letter that says the company knew for more than 20 years about failures on a tire linked to hundreds of crashes that have left at least 98 people either injured or killed. I obtained the letter, along with more than 200 pages of exhibits to the letter, from a court in Arizona following a judge’s earlier decision that led the court’s clerk to briefly unseal the records. Goodyear never responded to me. Instead, unbeknownst to us at Jalopnik, the company asked the Arizona judge to call me directly and intone that I should, in the words of Goodyear’s attorney, “do the right thing” and not publish those documents.

    • Restoring the Rule of Law

      The rule of law is in serious jeopardy in the United States.

      The executive branch is unconstrained, engaging in foreign wars without oversight even while it dismantles the regulatory and administrative state that protects citizens from abuses of power.

      The legislative branch has been hopelessly bought-and-sold by monied interests.

      And the judicial branch refuses to intervene, actively closing the doors to any accountability over other elected officials.

    • Automatic Voter Registration Is on the Rise

      Pushing back on Trump’s anti-voter agenda, states are making real progress.

      Last week, Maryland joined eleven other states and the District of Columbia in adopting automatic voter registration. Because of The Secure and Accessible Registration Act, eligible Maryland residents will be automatically registered to vote when they apply for or renew a driver’s license at the Department of Motor Vehicles, or interact with other state agencies such as the state’s health insurance exchange.

      Automatic voter registration is not only critical step to reaching hundreds of thousands unregistered Marylanders, it’s a national trend: states advancing voting rights in the face of an administration hostile to the ballot box.

      Just two days before Maryland made its gains, Donald Trump took the stage in the neighboring state of West Virginia to repeat — without proof —false claims that millions of people vote illegally in California. These comments come on the tail of the ACLU’s voting rights trial in Kansas, where Kris Kobach, one of Trump’s top lieutenants in the fight to spread the voter fraud lie, was exposed in court for a total lack of evidence.

    • Anger as ‘Windrush generation’ face deportation threat

      Thousands of people who arrived in the UK as children in the first wave of Commonwealth immigration face being threatened with deportation.

      They have lived and worked in the UK for decades but many are now being told they are there illegally.

      A new petition on the government’s website calling on the Home Office to grant them an amnesty has attracted more than 23,000 signatures.

      The Home Office said it would handle applications to stay “sensitively”.

      The problem arises from the fact that under the 1971 Immigration Act, all Commonwealth citizens already living in the UK were given indefinite leave to remain – but the right to free movement between Commonwealth nations was ended from that date onwards.

    • ‘Serious flaws’ in UK immigration system, Law Society warns

      Bad immigration decisions are having a “devastating” effect on families and businesses and undermining the rule of law, solicitors have warned.

      Nearly half of decisions that go to appeal in England and Wales are overturned, suggesting the system is “serious flawed”, the Law Society said.

      And, the group added, it needed to be fixed before Brexit kicks in.
      The Home Office says appeals are upheld for a variety of reasons, often because new evidence is presented.

      Anine Sutherland, who fought a three-year battle with the Home Office to assert her right to stay in the UK, said she was “treated like a criminal” by officials at her first tribunal hearing.

    • From Border-Crosser to Felon

      The Trump administration encouraged prosecutors to seek felony charges against those who re-enter the U.S. after being deported. In the case of this Bucks County gardener, government employees felt halfhearted about turning an immigrant into a criminal.

    • In Pennsylvania, It’s Open Season on Undocumented Immigrants

      ICE’s Philadelphia office is fanning out into communities across its three-state region and making more “at-large” arrests of immigrants without criminal convictions than anywhere else in America.

    • For Cops Who Want to Help ICE Crack Down on Illegal Immigration, Pennsylvania Is a Free-for-All

      Without guidelines or oversight, some officers are using traffic stops to question Hispanics and turn over undocumented immigrants to ICE.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The Video Game Industry Joins The Lawsuit To Save Net Neutrality

      The Electronic Software Association (ESA) has decided to take a break from making up piracy statistics to actually do something useful.

      The group, which represents video game publishers ranging from EA to Nintendo, has filed a motion to intervene (pdf) in the looming case against the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules at the behest of consumers. Numerous consumer advocacy firms, several companies including Vimeo and Mozilla, and 23 State attorneys general have filed suit against the FCC, arguing it ignored the public interest, experts, and objective data when it rushed to kill popular net neutrality rules at the telecom industry’s behest.

    • The FCC’s ‘Broadband Advisory Council’ Keeps Losing Members Due To Cronyism

      Last year, FCC boss Ajit Pai repeatedly hyped the creation of a new “Broadband Deployment Advisory Council” (BDAC) purportedly tasked with coming up with solutions to the nation’s broadband problem. Unfortunately, reports just as quickly began to circulate that this panel was little more than a who’s who of entrenched telecom operators with a vested interest in protecting the status quo. What’s more, the panel featured few representatives from the countless towns and cities that have been forced to build their own broadband networks in the wake of telecom sector dysfunction.

  • DRM

    • DRM, DRM, oh how I hate DRM…

      After waiting for a couple of weeks, it arrived in a nonexciting little envelope straight from Hong Kong. If you look closely, you can even appreciate there’s a line (just below the smaller barcode) that reads “Lenovo”). I soon found how to open this laptop (kudos to Lenovo for a very sensible and easy opening process, great documentation… So far, it’s the “openest” computer I have had!) and installed my new card!

    • Entries for the Catalog of Missing Devices, courtesy of EFF supporters like you

      The Catalog of Missing Devices is a tour through some of the legitimate, useful and missing gadgets, tools and services that don’t exist but should. They’re technologies whose chance to exist was snuffed out by Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which makes tampering with “Digital Rights Management” into a legal no-go zone, scaring off toolsmiths, entrepreneurs, and tinkerers.

      We’re still adding our own designs to the Catalog, but we’ve also been honored by EFF supporters who’ve come up with their own additions. One such supporter is Dustin Rodriguez, who sends us these five great ideas for future entries. If you have great ideas for additions, send them to me and maybe you’ll see them here on Deeplinks!

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • China Online Gaming: Trademark and Copyright and Patent Protections

      The big thing to know about China IP laws as they relate to online gaming is that there really are no IP laws specific to online gaming. China’s IP laws relevant to online gaming are the same trademark and copyright and patent and IP licensing and trade secret and unfair competition laws we constantly write about on here. But though the laws are the same, how best to apply them to the particular product/industry — online gaming — differs. Our China IP lawyers generally view the IP work we do for our gaming company clients as similar to what we do for our movie and music and software and publishing (especially comic books) and toy company (especially dolls and character figures) clients.

    • Copyrights

      • 10 Best Free Music Websites To Download Songs Legally In 2018

        The internet offers a lot of things and among them is free music. You can find plenty of websites that offer free downloadable music; however, not all of them are legal. So if you are looking for songs that can be availed safely and free of cost, we have handpicked the best music websites for you.

        One might argue also why download free music when you can just stream it. Well, streaming online music is cool but what do you do when your mobile network connection or Wi-Fi is down. That’s where you need offline music, and the best part is you can carry your favorite tracks wherever you go without spending a single penny.

      • Rich writer, poor writer

        Meanwhile, there seems to be a chain of contempt in the world of writing believing pure literature is superior to scriptwriting: In 2008, Mr. Wolfgang Kubin criticized such “trend of vocational switching” in China and emphasized that “A script is not literature, as it casts too much restrictions in the course of creating. A writer loses his/her basic dignity when starts to write a script.” He is certainly not alone on that point of view, e.g. Ms. Geling Yan, the well-known writer whose works often being adapted into movies/TV series, also shared her experience that “Engaged in long-term screenwriting is harmful to the novel writing. Because unlike in screenwriting where each part of the plot carries a specific purpose to promote the development of the story… the creation of a novel normally is slower-paced and full of tension” – this all makes sense, at least at some point.

        Besides, the “poor literary writer” phenomenon might in fact already be a common issue. According to the report published by the Arts of Council England, “Now, however, the lot of the literary writer is tending back towards its historical norm – they are becoming unable to support themselves through literary writing alone.”

        It may seem natural to throw a conclusion here calling for stronger protection towards the pure literary writers. Yet many screenwriters, if not the most, have their own trouble as well, e.g. the socially inferior status, the lack of bargaining position, and the arrears of pay. Worse still, they do not have a Guild as powerful as for instance Writers Guild of America that could represent them. Therefore, the reality is that under the circumstances of the low-cost rampant plagiarism, the disproportionate compensation and the lack of up-to-date regulations, any types of writers in China could be vulnerable by chance, and they all should receive the corresponding protection of the law.

      • Solutions for a Stalled NAFTA: Stop Pushing So Hard on IP, and Release the Text

        The deadline for concluding a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), originally scheduled for last year, has continued to slip. An eighth and final formal round of negotiations was cancelled last week, and despite earlier optimistic plans that the parties could announce an “agreement in principle” at the Summit of the Americas in Peru this Friday 13 April, these plans have since been abandoned.

        An over-optimistic negotiation schedule isn’t the only problem here. The other is that United States Trade Representative (USTR) is pushing a hard line on topics such as intellectual property that neither of the other negotiating parties find remotely palatable. As a result, although advances have been made in some other chapters, reports suggest that virtually the whole of the agreement’s IP chapter remains up in the air.

      • MPAA Report Shows How The Internet Is Saving The Film Industry, Not Destroying It

        The MPAA has long found itself in the odd position of cheerleading its own industry’s never-attained demise. One of the core functions of the organization has been to demonize the internet with incessent discussions about how piracy is “killing” the industry, a death that never seems to take. Others have posited that the movie industry needs the internet more than the other way around, which hasn’t prevented Hollywood from waging a clandestine war through pricing and burdensome licensing arrangements with service providers that actually stave off piracy, such as Netflix. Whether Hollywood knew it was waging this war is an open question, but the end result of its tactics were to tamp down the usefulness of Netflix.

        And, yet, Netflix grew and grew anyway.

        Which perhaps has brought us to something of a turning point. There is a major change in the MPAA’s latest annual report, one which serves to laud the internet for saving its industry, instead of killing it. The MPAA has decided to finally start including home-viewing numbers and revenue in the report, and the numbers make it quite clear where the industry’s revenue is coming from.

      • Malibu Media Picks Fight With Wrong Defendant, Now Facing Abuse Of Process Allegations

        Malibu Media continues to burn judicial bridges. This is due to its habit of juggling hundreds of lit torches at any given time. Sooner or later, a few are going to get dropped. The prolific copyright troll continues to issue speculative invoices at the rate of dozens a month. Federal judges all around the country are sitting on backlogs of Malibu Media filings. But one thing remains certain: pushback by defendants tends to result in judicial examination of MM’s courtroom tactics. And that’s the last thing this serial litigant wants.

        When cases are actually examined on their merits, judges have been less than impressed. Some have noticed Malibu Media has little interest in actually serving defendants. Some have refused to let the troll dismiss cases the instant it experiences a little judicial friction. And, in Northern California, a judge has all but banned Malibu Media cases from his courtroom.

      • The EU’s latest copyright proposal is so bad, it even outlaws Creative Commons licenses

        But the new, worse-than-ever Link Tax contains a new wrinkle: rightsholders will not be able to waive the right to be compensated under the Link Tax. That means that European creators — who’ve released hundreds of millions of works under Creative Commons licenses that allow for free sharing without fee or permission — will no longer be able to choose the terms of a Creative Commons license; the inalienable, unwaivable right to collect rent any time someone links to your creations will invalidate the core clause in these licenses.

      • MPAA Quietly Shut Down Its ‘Legal’ Movie Search Engine

        A few years ago the MPAA launched its movie search engine WhereToWatch, offering viewers a database of legal alternatives to piracy. While the site worked as advertised, the movie industry group decided to quietly shut it down, stating that there are plenty of other search options available today.

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