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05.13.18

Links 13/5/2018: RC5 of Linux 4.17, SparkyLinux 4.8, Malicious Package Found on the Ubuntu Snap Store

Posted in News Roundup at 8:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.17-rc5

      Things continue to look fairly normal. About half the rc5 release is driver
      updates, with amdgpu standing out but mainly because everything else is
      really pretty small, not because the amdgpu patches are all that big.

      Outside of drivers, there’s a random collection of changes all over: some
      filesystems (ceph and cifs), some networking, some core kernel, some small
      arch updates, and some tooling.

      There’s a fair number of changes in there (shortlog appended as usual), but
      a lot of them really are one- or two-liners.

      So I think we’re in pretty good shape. Please go keep testing, though, to
      make sure we’re not missing anything.

      Linus

    • Linux 4.17-rc5 Released As Another Normal Weekly Test Release

      Linus Torvalds has done a Mother’s Day release of the Linux 4.17-rc5 kernel.

      Linus notes that this latest Linux 4.17 release candidate continues looking “fairly normal” with about half of the changes being driver updates and then a random collection of other changes. He notes that so far they are in fairly good shape.

    • Linux 4.17 Gets More Spectre V1 Fixes

      Thomas Gleixner this morning sent in the latest batch of x86/pti updates for containing the latest mitigation improvements around Meltdown and Spectre CPU vulnerabilities.

      This latest pull request has several fixes, including a possible deadlock fix. There have also been a number of Spectre Variant One access restrictions.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Bigger than Linux: The rise of cloud native

        The Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s first KubeCon + CloudNativeCon of the year took place in the Bella Center, Copenhagen. A giant greenhouse of a building with snaking industrial pipework and connecting concrete bridges; it’s a vast container made of glass letting in light. A suitable setting for an industry that’s evolved rapidly from the release of Docker’s superstar container technology back in 2013.

        Attendance has rocketed to 4,300, according to Dan Kohn, executive director of the CNCF, which almost triples attendance from a year ago in Berlin, but that’s not surprising as cloud native computing industry is meeting the business world’s demand for more scalable, agile applications and services that can be run across multiple geographical locations in distributed environments.

    • Graphics Stack

      • RADV Lands VK_PIPELINE_CREATE_DISABLE_OPTIMIZATION_BIT

        The RADV Vulkan driver within Mesa has landed its VK_PIPELINE_CREATE_DISABLE_OPTIMIZATION_BIT support so applications/games can opt to disable optimizations when compiling a Vulkan pipeline. This is notably what was just covered the other day for helping to reduce stuttering with DXVK.

      • DXVK 0.51 Brings Fixes & Asynchronous Pipeline Compilation Support

        DXVK 0.51 is now available as the latest version of this library for running Direct3D 11 games under Wine via the Vulkan graphics API.

        The DXVK 0.51 release most notable adds asynchronous pipeline compilation support for Vulkan drivers making use of VK_PIPELINE_CREATE_DISABLE_OPTIMIZATION_BIT. This is the feature for reducing stuttering for games on DXVK and as of this morning is now supported by the RADV driver. We’ll see how long it will take until the NVIDIA Vulkan driver and others support this feature. For now though DXVK ships with this support disabled and requires using the DXVK_USE_PIPECOMPILER=1 environment variable as this feature can cause hangs for Prey and potentially other titles.

      • VK9 Gets Better Support For Shaders, 64-bit Fixes

        While the rapidly maturing DXVK library has been capturing much of the limelight when it comes to piping Direct3D over Vulkan, the VK9 project targeting Direct3D 9 on top of Vulkan continues making progress.

      • Intel’s Mesa Driver Prepares To Kill Off The Blitter

        Jason Ekstrand has spent some time away from the Intel ANV Vulkan driver to kill the hardware blitter usage within the i965 Mesa OpenGL driver.

        With a set of patches posted on Friday, the Intel Mesa driver eliminates its hardware blitter usage for Intel Sandy Bridge hardware and newer. Ekstrand explained that the graphics hardware blitter has been degraded on recent generations of Intel graphics, “On Sandy Bridge, the blitter was moved to another ring and so using it incurs noticable synchronization overhead and, at the same time, that synchronization is an endless source of GPU hangs on SNB. Some time around the Ivy Bridge time frame, we suspect that the blitter ended up with somewhat slower paths to memory than the 3D engine so it’s slower in general. To make matters worse, the blitter does not understand any sort of compression at all and so using it frequently means having to do some sort of resolve operation.”

      • Latest Intel ARB_gl_spirv Patches Published By Igalia

        It’s almost one year since the release of OpenGL 4.6 and while there is support outside of the Mesa tree, mainline Mesa still doesn’t support this latest OpenGL revision due to the holdups around SPIR-V ingestion support.

        Intel’s i965 and AMD’s RadeonSI drivers would have supported OpenGL 4.6 with mainline Mesa months ago, but they’ve been held up on the ARB_gl_spirv extension and the related ARB_spirv_extensions support. This work allows for SPIR-V modules to be used by OpenGL complementary to GLSL and allows for GLSL to also to be used as a source language for creating SPIR-V modules for OpenGL consumption. This is basically all about better interoperability between OpenGL and Vulkan — not an easy task to implement.

      • RADV Adding New Bit To Help Avoid Stuttering With DXVK

        The RADV Vulkan driver will soon have VK_PIPELINE_CREATE_DISABLE_OPTIMIZATION_BIT to help avoid stuttering with DXVK for running Direct3D 11 games on Wine over Vulkan.

        While DXVK performance is already quite compelling and handling a surprising number of D3D11 games rendered via Vulkan considering how young this project is, DXVK and potentially the other Vulkan Linux drivers may soon see less stuttering.

    • Benchmarks

      • KDE vs. GNOME, X.Org vs. Wayland Radeon Linux Gaming Performance With Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

        For those wondering how the Radeon Linux gaming performance is changed between desktop environments when testing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS out-of-the-box, here are some benchmarks. Not only is it looking at the performance between GNOME Shell 3.28.1 and KDE Plasma 5.12.4, but it’s also comparing each desktop environment with its X.Org and Wayland session support. Additionally, these tests were done with both AMD Radeon Polaris and Vega graphics cards.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Release of KDE Frameworks 5.46.0

        KDE today announces the release of KDE Frameworks 5.46.0.

        KDE Frameworks are 70 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the Frameworks 5.0 release announcement.

        This release is part of a series of planned monthly releases making improvements available to developers in a quick and predictable manner.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.46 As The Latest Add-Ons Update

        KDE Frameworks 5.46.0 is out today as the newest version of this collection of add-on libraries used by KDE applications and more for complementing the Qt5 tool-kit.

      • KDE Connect Junior Jobs

        One of KDE’s Community goals for the next years is streamlined onboarding of new contributors. It’s very important that new people regularly join the community for various reasons. First of all, there will always be something to do and the more contributors the merrier! But there are also people becoming very inactive or leaving the community and these people need to be replaced. Furthermore new people bring in new and fresh ideas. It’s important to have people from diverse backgrounds in the community.

      • Management of LVM VGs in Calamares

        I talked in my last post about some of my LVM studies for the first goal of GSoC. This post is an addition to the last one, focused more in explaining how I want to implement it and talking a little bit about some application concepts from Calamares that I’ve studied.

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 18

        Image operations in Gwenview that have been undone can now be re-done too (Peter Mühlenpfordt, KDE Applications 18.08.0)

      • GSoC 2018 with KDE – Community bonding period

        The community bonding period ends today and the coding period begins.

        Community bonding period had been quite hectic for me with respect to learning new things and thinking of good ways to implement them. I didn’t know much about piano or other musical instruments (as I had never played them before) and was unaware of many notations and usages, but thanks to my mentor Emmanuel Charruau (allon on IRC) who suported me a lot and always cleared even my very silly doubts (as I myself was learning various elements of piano and its notations for the first time). He provided me all the resources step-by-step and helped me learn so much about the project in such less time.

        It was quite fun exploring new things and learn them which I would never had.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Sky’s the limit as Cathay Pacific deploys Red Hat cloud

        Cathay Pacific has deployed Red Hat solutions and services to drive customer experience across the airline, transforming legacy infrastructure into a modern hybrid cloud architecture.

        Specifically, the carrier leveraged the vendor’s OpenStack Platform and OpenShift Container Platform offerings, in a bid to improve end-user experience through digital technologies.

        Based in Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific is an international airline offering passenger and cargo services to 200 destinations in 52 countries and territories worldwide.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • 32-bit ARM Is Also On The Chopping Block For Ubuntu

            Not only are developers talking about dropping Ubuntu 32-bit x86 support but the ARMHF support might also be cut as well for 32-bit ARM boards.

            With ARMv8 ushering in 64-bit ARM has been common now for years, Ubuntu developers are also considering dropping the Ubuntu ARM hard-float port for ARMv7 support. This is a tiny bit surprising considering the wide number of 32-bit ARM SBCs out in the wild, including some ARMv7 boards still being peddled by different vendors. But then again it’s not too often we see ARM SBCs support Ubuntu releases outside of the LTS cycles: Ubuntu 18.04 will remain available with armhf and by the time of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, hopefully many of these other boards will have been phased out from any production purposes. There are still occasional ARM SBC reference images I come across even using the aging Ubuntu 14.04 and many of the older 32-bit ARM boards currently using 16.04 probably won’t see updates to 18.04.

          • 11 years of Ubuntu membership

            It’s been 11 years and 1 month since I was awarded with official Ubuntu membership. I will never forget that day: as a kid I had to write about myself on IRC, in front of the Community Council members and answer their questions in a language that was not my primary one. I must confess that I was a bit scared that evening, but once I made it, it felt so good. It felt good not just because of the award itself, but rather because that was the recognition that I did something that mattered. I did something useful that other people could benefit from. And for me, that meant a lot.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Join the Orvium Innovation, first open source and decentralized framework for managing scholarly publications

    Knowledge is power. This phrase holds the truest form when it comes to publication of knowledge. One of the most lucrative markets in the world, the publication houses work in a manner that where the cost of publishing is on the publisher’s end. Work submitted by authors is selected carefully, the basis being relevancy, the interest of the readers and the commercial viability. Authors are then compensated for their works. Publication houses pay more to their content submitters if they have a higher quality of work, while another may agree to print an article easily, but with limited reader reach, it will pay out much less.

    [...]

    The ORV token is used in the Orvium platform for the exchange of monetary matters, such as payment for reviews, publications, copyrights etc. The ORV’s ICO is yet to be announced. A total of 379 million ORVs will be available for the public through its ICOs.

  • HP Elitebook 8770w Ported To Coreboot, But Need To Disassemble The Laptop For Flashing

    If you happen to have an HP Elitebook 8770w laying around from Intel’s Ivy Bridge era, that Hewlett Packard laptop has now been freed by Coreboot.

    This Intel Ivy Bridge quad-core laptop with SO-DIMM memory modules and using MXM 3.0b graphics cards can now work with Coreboot Git. Though if you have this laptop, for performing the initial port you first need to disassemble the laptop down to the motherboard. But at least when the initial Coreboot flash is done, subsequent flashes can be done using the Flashrom software.

  • Terratest – an Open Source Go Library for Automated Infrastructure Testing

    Gruntwork open sourced their Go framework Terratest which can be used to write automated tests for testing infrastructure. The library comes with support for Terraform and Packer.

    Terratest was developed internally at Gruntwork to maintain their Infrastructure as Code (IAC) library, a repository of tools based on Terraform, Python, Go and bash for managing infrastructure on AWS. IAC is available to paying Gruntwork users.

    Writing tests in Terratest involves using Go’s inbuilt package testing mechanism. A test run creates real infrastructure components like servers, deploys applications on them and validates the expected behaviour using Terratest tools. At the end of the test, Terratest can undeploy the apps and cleanup resources using Go’s defer mechanism, similar to JUnit’s teardown method. Can Terratest run against an existing infrastructure deployment instead of creating it from scratch each time? The tool wiki recommends against this as it might create undesirable changes in the environment. However, this can be difficult to follow for some teams who have complex infrastructure topologies and do not wish to create an entirely new setup to run the tests. A feature called namespacing can isolate resources by using unique identifiers. Note that namespacing here does not translate to the generally understood term of isolating components by tagging them with labels, but rather to ensuring unique identifiers for resources and using only those resources for testing which have the identifiers generated in the test framework.

  • Events

    • Fractal Hackfest

      This week, I was able to attend to the Fractal Hackfest. My train from Paris arrived at Strasbourg at 12:45, so I missed the beginning of the Hackfest in the morning but I could be there for the afternoon. I stayed until the middle of Saturday’s afternoon.

      On Thursday, I wasn’t there on the morning but there was a sum up of the important part of the morning’s discussions.

      There can be two main use cases for Matrix: one for friends, family and other small group discussions, where there are a low volume of messages and you care about all of them; and another for huge and noisy rooms in which there is a lot going on and you don’t necessarily care about most of it (for instance, you would want to be able to focus on the messages mentioning you). Both of these use cases could motivate to split Fractal in two apps: “Barbecue” (for the first use case) and “Banquet” (for the second one).

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Officially Unveils Firefox 60 Quantum Web Browser as the Next ESR Series

        Mozilla officially announced today the release of its Firefox 60 web browser as the next ESR (Extended Support Release) series for all supported platforms on the desktop, including Linux, Mac, Windows, and Android.

        Firefox 60 “Quantum” was launched today as the next ESR (Extended Support Release) series of the widely-used open-source and cross-platform web browser, ready for deployments in enterprise environments thanks to a new policy engine, as well as Group Policy support that helps IT professionals easily configure the browser using a cross-platform JSON file or Windows Group Policy.

      • Important: Pale Moon users and NoScript support (Parody)

        Yesterday our readers discovered problems with the Pale Moon web browser, which according to the NoScript website has either security, compatibility or usability issues when using popular add-ons like NoScript:

        One reader who uses NoScript found the plugin was displaying the above window and offering to disable the Pale Moon browser, rather than have it cause users any further trouble.

  • BSD

  • Programming/Development

    • shutil module in Python

      File Management and Handling file objects are considered to be one of the most tricky tasks in all programming languages. Some programming languages provide us with some tools which abstract away the difficult parts of File Handling with easy to use functions and interfaces. This is exactly what Python‘s shutil module does as well.

Leftovers

  • Medium abruptly cancels the membership programs of its 21 remaining subscription publisher partners

    No publication has been burned worse throughout these changes, perhaps, than The Establishment, which had been wooed to move off WordPress and entirely onto Medium, and migrated all its content the same day Medium announced its drastic changes early last year. “I shan’t lie to you, gentle reader — it was a dark and shocking day for The Establishment,” cofounder Kelley Calkins wrote at the time. Now, it’s at a precipice again.

  • A new documentary will explore the life and legacy of Ursula K. Le Guin

    Curry kickstarted Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin in 2016, and has been working on the project ever since. Earlier this week, she released a trailer for the documentary, which will use archival footage and recent interviews with Le Guin to examine her life and the impact of her career. The film will also feature interviews from authors such as Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale), Neil Gaiman (American Gods), Theodora Goss (The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, and a forthcoming critical volume on Le Guin), and others. “She’s being recognized not just as one of our great science fiction and fantasy writers,” Goss says in the trailer, “but as one of our great American writers.”

  • Science

    • Social media copies gambling methods ‘to create psychological cravings’

      These methods are so effective they can activate similar mechanisms as cocaine in the brain, create psychological cravings and even invoke “phantom calls and notifications” where users sense the buzz of a smartphone, even when it isn’t really there.

      [...]

      “If you disengage, you get peppered with little messages or bonus offers to get your attention and pull you back in,” said Schüll. “We have to start recognising the costs of time spent on social media. It’s not just a game – it affects us financially, physically and emotionally.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • At the VA, a Law Meant to Discipline Executives is Being Used to Fire Low-Level Workers

      The Nation spoke to more than two dozen current and former VA employees and union officials, who portrayed the VA as an agency needlessly cracking down on loyal workers. Union officials allege that the law is being abused to retaliate against whistle-blowers and union members, and that the VA leadership has created conditions for employees to fail by promulgating stringent new work standards that have recategorized hardworking employees as failing. The law also established the shadowy Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, headquartered in Washington but with satellite offices across the country, staffed by 68 employees, as of last month, who provide “investigative internal affairs services.”

  • Security

    • Google YOLO [iophk: "javascript"]

      Actually don’t even click anything. Malicious websites can simply track your cursor’s position and change the invisible button/iframe’s position accordingly. So even if you make a click by mistake you will be forced to click on something else.

    • One year on from the WannaCry attack, are we more vulnerable than ever? [Ed: The ToryGraph repeats Microsoft's lies about Windows XP; all versions of Windows have NSA back doors and XP was hardly the problem in this case. The problem is Microsoft collusion with NSA.]

      The hackers, reportedly from North Korea, didn’t intentionally target the UK’s health service: it was collateral damage. WannaCry entered computers through a glitch, discovered by the US National Security Agency, in early Windows operating systems. The 33 affected NHS practices were hit because they hadn’t updated their Windows XP software for many years.

      [...]

      One of the biggest problems facing the UK, as WannaCry showed, is a lack of technical proficiency. There just aren’t enough defenders in the face of highly trained foreign criminals and state-sponsored hackers, Hannigan explains.

      [...]

      The fight doesn’t end with education. Hannigan’s other suggestions have included the creation of an international cyber war treaty. In the meantime, he welcomes the news that all NHS computers will be upgraded to Windows 10 and that the Government will spend £150 million in the next three years to improve the service’s security.

    • Malicious Package Found on the Ubuntu Snap Store

      An attentive Ubuntu user has spotted today a cryptocurrency miner hidden in the source code of an Ubuntu snap package hosted on the official Ubuntu Snap Store.

      The app’s name is 2048buntu, a clone of the popular 2024 game, packaged as an Ubuntu snap —a relatively new app format for Ubuntu OS.

      According to a GitHub user named Tarwirdur, the app contained a cryptocurrency mining application disguised as the “systemd” daemon, along with an init script that provided boot persistence.

    • Malware Found In The Ubuntu Snap Store

      Software Center doesn’t make them safe. This is proved by a recent discovery of malware in some snap packages from the Ubuntu Snaps Store.

      At least two of the snap packages, 2048buntu and Hextris, uploaded to the Ubuntu Snaps Store by user Nicolas Tomb, contained malware. All packages by Nicolas have since been removed from the Ubuntu Snaps Store, “pending further investigations”.

      The report comes from a bug which mentions that the 2048buntu snap package (and other packages by Nicolas Tomb) contains a hidden cryptocurrency miner inside. You can see the init script below:

    • Ubuntu Snap Store app contained cryptocurrency miner, showing open source doesn’t equal safe [Ed: This headline is not correct. Snaps are proprietary.]
    • Malware Found on the Ubuntu Snap Store

      Malware has been found hiding inside software on the Ubuntu Snap store.

      A pair of (seemingly normal) apps hosted by the Canonical-backed app hub were discovered to contain a сryptocurrency miner disguised as the “systemd” daemon.

      The affected apps also shipped an “init script” to auto-load the malicious code on boot and allow it to run in the background on affected systems.

    • Google Takes Legal Road To Bring “Regular” Security Updates To Android Devices
    • ATM attacks: How hackers are going for gold

      Now, with confirmed strains of malware like Ploutus.D being used in ATM jackpotting attacks on U.S. soil, jackpotting can be added to the growing list of popular ATM attack types, including skimming, shimming and network-based attacks. Here we examine various ATM attack techniques and offer security recommendations to protect against them.

    • Unpatched Oracle WebLogic servers targeted for mining
    • USBGuard

      One of the most common security concerns (especially when traveling) is the attach of unknown USB device on our system.

    • Valve are paying hackers for finding security flaws, plus a website refresh teased top secret games
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Terrorists Are Still Recruiting on Facebook, Despite Zuckerberg’s Reassurances

      At least a dozen U.S.-designated terror groups maintain a presence on Facebook, a review by Bloomberg Businessweek shows. That includes Hamas and Hezbollah in the Middle East, Boko Haram in West Africa, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The terror groups are rallying supporters with everything from gruesome photos of death caused by their enemies to quotidian news about social services they offer. Several can be found simply by typing their names into Facebook’s search bar in English or, in some cases, in Arabic or Spanish. Some of the groups proudly link to their Facebook pages on their home websites, too.

    • Trump’s War Against Iran

      An apparent coordination between Trump leaving the Iran deal and Israeli attacks on Iranian targets in Syria portend an attack on Iran itself, says Eric S. Margolis.

      [...]

      The U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel all recently suffered a stinging defeat in Syria. Their campaign to overthrow the Assad government in Damascus by using the rag-tag ISIS movement, and other jihadist wild men, was defeated by the Syrian Army, backed by Russian air power, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and some Iranian militia groups and army advisors.

      The alleged Iranian rocket barrage, supposedly in response to Tuesday’s attack, was directed at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that were illegally annexed and occupied after the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and are still held, legally, as part of Syria. Israel is very nervous about having world attention drawn to its continued occupation of the strategic Golan Heights from which Israeli heavy artillery can reach Damascus.

      Israel now claims to have wiped out more than a score of Iranian positions in Syria. As far as we can tell, these were minor logistics or communications facilities, not the backbone of a supposed Iranian offensive against Israel. Iran is in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government.

    • The EU Will Not Stand by Iran

      Ever since Donald Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) with Iran and would unilaterally impose across-the-board sanctions on that country, a procession of European leaders including the leaders of the U.S.’s most powerful European allies – Britain, France and Germany – have publicly declared their intention to stand by the JCPOA.

      There is also brave talk of the EU creating safeguards for European companies which in defiance of the U.S. continue to trade or do business with Iran.

      President Rouhani of Iran – who has a big personal stake in the JCPOA, which he personally negotiated – has for his part said that Iran will for the time being abide by the terms of the JCPOA whilst it waits to see how Europe will react.

      In the meantime the talk of the EU standing up to the U.S. over the JCPOA has increased talk – or hope – that a corner in U.S.-EU relations has been turned, and that the EU will henceforth increasingly defy the U.S., making Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the JCPOA a further step in the decline of U.S. power.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Pamela Anderson writes letter to Kanye West asking him to support Julian Assange

      Pamela Anderson, who visited Julian Assange at his Ecuadorean Embassy refuge in London multiple times, has written to Kanye West in an attempt to gain his support for the WikiLeaks founder.

    • Pamela Anderson Wrote a Letter to Kanye West Asking Him to Help Julian Assange

      Kanye West has been causing quite a stir on Twitter in recent weeks, and apparently, Pamela Anderson thinks that means the rapper can help with a legal case close to her heart: that of Julian Assange. According to TMZ, Anderson has written a letter to West, asking him to give her friend some publicity and claiming the WikiLeaks founder is being tortured.

    • Julian Assange ‘BANNED from taking visitors and phone calls’ in Ecuador embassy

      The Wikileaks Twitter account wrote that the Ecuadorian embassy in London was refusing Mr Assange most forms of contact with the outside world.

      Mr Assange has been living in the embassy since June 2012 when he faced extradition to Sweden to face questioning over allegations of sex crimes, which he has always denied.

    • Ecuador ‘bans Julian Assange from taking visitors and phone calls’ in embassy where he’s been holed up for almost six years

      Ecuador has banned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from taking visitors and phones, it has been claimed.

      The whistleblower website tweeted that Mr Assange was being refused most forms of contact with the outside world by the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

      He has been living at the embassy since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning over allegations of sex crimes, which he always denied.

      But Mr Assange is facing increasing isolation inside the embassy, with officials announcing in March that he was having his internet access curtailed.

    • Ex-Assange Hater Sarah Palin Praises WikiLeaks’ Head for ‘Opening People’s Eyes’

      WikiLeaks published the former governor of Alaska’s private emails back in 2008. She has until recently been a strong critic of WikiLeaks’ activities, but has now changed her views.

      Sarah Palin, former Republican governor of Alaska, has expressed her appreciation for Julian Assange’s work as the head of WikiLeaks in an interview with the One America News network. According to her, she had previously not understood how important his work is, but now she has seen that Assange is “trying to provide people with information.” Palin is confident that such information helps people make “better decisions.”

    • ‘The smelly kid in class’: Former Met officer taunts Julian Assange’s mother on Twitter
    • Sputnik: Ecuador Prepares to Hand Julian Assange Over to UK

      More than six years after Julian Assange moved himself into the confines of the Ecuadorian embassy building in London, the WikiLeaks founder finds himself in danger again, Sputnik writes.
      Remarks made earlier this week by Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa suggest that her government may be depriving Assange of the political asylum it granted him in in 2012 and hand him over to British and then US authorities, the World Socialist Website wrote on Saturday.

    • Ecuador Hints It May Hand Over Assange

      Julian Assange is in immense danger. Remarks made this week by Ecuador’s foreign minister suggest that her government may be preparing to renege on the political asylum it granted to the WikiLeaks editor in 2012 and hand him over to British and then American authorities.

      On March 28, under immense pressure from the British and U.S. governments, Ecuador imposed a complete ban on Assange having any Internet or phone contact with the outside world, and blocked his friends and supporters from physically visiting him. For 46 days, he has not been heard from.

      Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa stated in a Spanish-language interview on Wednesday that her government and Britain “have the intention and the interest that this be resolved.” Moves were underway, she said, to reach a “definite agreement” on Assange.

      If Assange falls into the hands of the British state, he faces being turned over to the U.S. Last year, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that putting Assange on trial for espionage was a “priority.” CIA director Mike Pompeo, now secretary of state, asserted that WikiLeaks was a “non-state hostile intelligence service.”

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • 5 Surprising Ways America Is Actually Moving Backwards

      When people wax nostalgic, it’s typically for fun stuff, like old cameras and weathered rocking chairs … not polio or segregation.

    • At FDA, TVs now turned to Fox News and can’t be switched

      CBS News has confirmed an email was sent to researchers at the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research responding to apparent efforts to change the channel on internal television screens. The email from “[White Oak] Digital Display” sent on Wednesday, May 3, was sent to inform the researchers of the “reason for the change from CNN to Fox.” White Oak is the name of the FDA’s campus.

      The email goes on to inform employees that the decision came from the Trump administration.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Fresh case of censorship hits Zimbabwe as dancehall star is fined over song

      Zimbabwean dancehall star, Tawanda Mumanyi, popularly known as Seh Calaz, may spend a month in jail if he fails to pay a $100 fine imposed on him by a court in Harare for recording a song deemed as obscene and indecent.

      Magistrate Ms Josephine Sande on Thursday convicted him of contravening the country’s Censorship and Entertainment Control Act with his song “Kurova Hohwa”, local media The Herald reports.

      Mumanyi, in his plea in mitigation, said when he recorded the song, he did two versions, one for the public and another for private use.

    • Publishers, Editors Inflict Tyranny of Censorship on Freedom of Speech, Says Adedayo

      A member of the Tribune’s editorial board and former media adviser to ex-Enugu and current Oyo State governors, Dr. Festus Adedayo, has said that government censorship of freedom of the press and freedom to publish were fast diminishing in the world and is being substituted by other forms of censorships, the most visible being internal censorship by book publishers and editors themselves.

      He made this known while discussing the sub-theme “Addressing freedom to publish challenges in Africa” as one of the panelists at the recently concluded seminar of the International Publishers Association (IPA) held at the Eko Hotels & Suites with the general theme

      “Publishing for sustainable development: The role of publishers in Africa.”

    • Eurovision Returns To Glitz, Politics And Censorship

      In previous years, those have mostly involved Russia. Last year, for instance, the Russian act was banned by Ukrainian authorities from coming to the country since she had visited Crimea after Russia annexed the peninsula. This year Russia submitted the same singer, Yuliya Samoylova, but she failed to qualify for Saturday night’s final.

      This year, as in contests past, some of the audience booed as the Russian voting results were being read, a response to anti-LGBT policies in Russia. Eurovision has a large gay following, and rainbow flags are frequently seen in the crowd alongside national flags from competing countries.

      Chinese viewers of Tuesday’s semifinal would have struggled to make out those flags, though, as Mango TV blurred out rainbow flags.

      China, which doesn’t compete in the contest, also edited out two of the acts from the performance.

    • Facebook censorship

      On Friday night, Facebook blocked a Dawn.com post for Pakistani users of its platform.

      The 2017 update was a news report on politician Javed Hashmi’s news conference in which he criticised the judiciary, the military and politicians with a warning that the country had entered the worst crisis in its history.

    • What Spotify’s Alarming R. Kelly Censorship Means for the Future of the Internet

      Seen from one perspective, the industry-defining streaming music service is a golden beacon, a bright light piercing the gloom of a profit-hungry, dangerously amoral industry, thanks to its renewed commitment to ethical business practices. Shift your vantage point a bit, however, and it’s a dark and sinister censorship machine—a bleak harbinger of our technodystopian future in which unaccountable internet services become our nanny bots, removing any power or responsibility from human end-users sucking at the silicon teat.

      Here’s how we got here: On Thursday, Spotify rolled out a new “Hate Content & Hateful Conduct” policy, which says the service may remove songs or entire artist catalogs from curated playlists—or even erase them from the service altogether—if a song “incites hatred or violence against a group or individual” based on their race, religion, sexual orientation or other sensitive aspect of their identity. Furthermore, even if their music is unobjectionable, artists may also be deep-sixed if their personal behavior doesn’t live up to Spotify’s moral standards. For example, the company says, violence against children and sexual violence are beyond the pale.

    • Eurovision: Is Chinese censorship on the rise?

      When you’re at home watching TV, you wouldn’t normally expect a broadcast to suddenly cut out.

      But that’s exactly what audiences in China have become used to.

      During the first semi-final of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, Chinese broadcaster Mango TV edited out footage.

      It blurred rainbow flags and removed some entries altogether.

      Irish singer Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s performance was not aired because it featured two male dancers enacting a gay love story.

    • Eurovision axes Chinese broadcast after censorship row

      The European Broadcasting Union has torn up its contract with a leading Chinese broadcaster which held the rights to air this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

      The dramatic move by the EBU followed the Chinese broadcaster’s decision to censor two performances in the competition’s first semi-final earlier this week.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • A former spy boss believes the next generation of agents could come from Manchester – this is why

      A former spy boss believes young Mancunians affected by the Manchester Arena bomb will apply to join the new GCHQ centre in Manchester when it arrives next year.

      Robert Hannigan, ex-director of the UK intelligence agency, which works closely with MI5 and MI6 to combat terrorism, said ‘keeping the city safe’ after last year’s atrocity will be a big motivator for a generation of new recruits.

      Speaking exclusively to the M.E.N during a visit to the city, Hannigan, said the ‘diverse and young workforce’, growing tech industry and ‘impressive’ universities offered an ‘untapped talent pool’ for the new Government Communications Headquarters base.

      He said: “Counter terrorism is a massive part of GCHQ’s work and it’s apt to be able to come to a city that has suffered from it. It’s great that young people in Manchester will have an opportunity to be part of that.

    • The Clock Is Ticking: Get Your Copy Of CIA: Collect It All On Kickstarter!

      Last month, we launched our Kickstarter campaign to turn a formerly-top-secret CIA training game into something you can play at home. We hit our goal much sooner than we expected, and now we’re less than two weeks away from the close of the campaign — so if you want to get your hands on a copy, hurry up and become a backer!

      CIA: Collect It All comes with over 150 high-quality playing cards in a premium box, and is also available in a digital print-and-play version. The game pits you and your friends against each other in a race to solve as many global crises as you can by leveraging clever combinations of the many varied and creative techniques used by real intelligence agencies, from satellite imagery to hacking to good old fashioned espionage.

    • US pollies again push bill to ban encryption backdoors

      US politicians from both sides of the divide have reintroduced a bill into Congress that would prevent any government bid to mandate that backdoors be built into commercial software and hardware.

    • Government would be barred from mandating crypto backdoors under House bill

      The Secure Data Act would prohibit agencies from mandating or requesting a “manufacturer, developer, or seller of covered products [to] design or alter the security functions in its product or service to allow” for surveillance. The bill would exempt surveillance authorized by the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act.

    • Cops Can Find the Location of Any Phone in the Country in Seconds, and a Senator Wants to Know Why

      Here are the letters Senator Ron Wyden sent to mobile carriers and the FCC demanding answers and action on the recently highlighted law enforcement service to easily track phones across the country.

    • DNA is just another way we can’t opt out of data sharing

      But I absolutely believe we are dangerously lacking in responsible stewardship of both data and having a sane conversation about imbalances of power. So, like most of us, I do what I can to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

    • Facebook Just Tapped the Next Mark Zuckerberg

      If there were ever a question as to who would step in to fill Zuckerberg’s shoes should something happen to him, it has been resolved. With his new role as head of the company’s family of apps—Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and the tried and true Big Blue (aka Facebook)—Facebook’s chief product officer is stepping out as the leader he has long been internally. Anyone paying close attention knows this already.

    • Facebook is making its biggest executive shuffle in company history

      CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reorganized the social giant’s product and engineering organizations into three main divisions, including a new “Family of apps” group run by Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, the executive previously in charge of the core Facebook app. Cox will now oversee Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, according to multiple sources, four social apps with a combined reach of more than five billion monthly users.

    • ‘We’re waiting for answers’: Facebook, Brexit and 40 questions

      “It could be that these adverts are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s just so hard getting any sort of information out of them, and then not knowing if that information is complete.”

    • Facebook hit with class action lawsuit over collection of texts and call logs

      Facebook collected the logs of text messages and calls, including the recipients and duration of the communications, through its apps for Android including Messenger when users opted into being able to send SMS from the app or give access to their contact lists.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Black activist jailed for his Facebook posts speaks out about secret FBI surveillance

      Handcuffed and shaking in the cold wind, Balogun thought a misunderstanding must have led the FBI to his door on 12 December 2017. The father of three said he was shocked to later learn that agents investigating “domestic terrorism” had been monitoring him for years and were arresting him that day in part because of his Facebook posts criticizing police.

    • Congress Weighs Indefinite Detention of Americans

      Under the guise of exercising supervisory power over the president’s ability to use military force, Congress is considering writing Donald Trump a blank check to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens with no criminal charges. Alarmingly, this legislation could permit the president to lock up Americans who dissent against U.S. military policy.

      The bill that risks conveying this power to the president is the broad new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), S.J.Res.59, that is pending in Congress. Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Bob Corker (R-TN) and Democratic committee member Tim Kaine (VA) introduced the bipartisan bill on April 16, and it has four additional co-sponsors.

      This proposed 2018 AUMF would replace the 2001 AUMF that Congress gave George W. Bush after the September 11 attacks. Although the 2001 AUMF authorized the president to use “all necessary and appropriate force” only against individuals and groups responsible for the 9/11 attacks, three presidents have relied on it to justify at least 37 military operations in 14 countries, many of them unrelated to 9/11.

    • Loyal dog protects its owner from furious motorists as he sleeps off hangover in the middle of a street

      The protective pooch lies on top of the man in the footage and barks at anyone who comes near him.

      The dog then licks its owner’s face and paces around his body in a circle in a desperate bid to protect him.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Innovation should be legal; that’s why I’m launching NeTV2

      I’d like to share a project I’m working on that could have an impact on your future freedoms in the digital age. It’s an open video development board I call NeTV2.

      It’s related to a lawsuit I’ve filed with the help of the EFF against the US government to reform Section 1201 of the DMCA. Currently, Section 1201 imbues media cartels with nearly unchecked power to prevent us from innovating and expressing ourselves, thus restricting our right to free speech.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Jury Cannot Award Disgorgement of Profits in Trade Secret Misappropriation Cases

      Tex. Advanced Optoelectronic Sols., Inc. v. Renesas Elecs. Am., Inc., Nos. 2016-2121, 2016-2208, 2016-2235, 2018 (Fed. Cir. May 1, 2018) (Before Dyk, Bryson, and Taranto, J.) (Opinion for the court, Taranto, J.)

      The Federal Circuit affirmed a jury finding that Renesas was liable for trade secret misappropriation and patent infringement for a set of apparatus claims, but vacated the damages awards in the case and remanded for further proceedings.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate IPTV Service Goes Bust After Premier League Deal, Exposing Users

        Pirate IPTV service Ace Hosting has shut down and gone into liquidation after agreeing to pay the Premier League a copyright settlement of £100,000. With unpaid VAT and corporation tax bills running to £260,000 also unpaid, Ace subscribers and resellers, who are owed around £353,000, are set to have their details made public and could even be handed to the authorities.

      • Google is preparing to petition the Federal Circuit to revisit Oracle’s Android-Java copyright victory

        While I’m not going to reiterate my positions on copyrightability and “fair use” in connection with Oracle v. Google (I fully stand by what I’ve written before and which the Federal Circuit has vindicated, but don’t see a point in repeating what I’ve been saying for so many years), it does sometimes surprise me that there is so little interest in the proceedings. The latest example is that I haven’t seen any media coverage of the fact that Google is preparing a petition for a rehearing en banc (a full-court review) of Oracle’s recent appellate victory (this post continues below the image):

      • Bing Deleted a Quarter Billion Pirate Research Results Last Year

        When it comes to takedown notices, a lot of attention is paid to Google. But what about Bing? Last year, copyright holders asked Microsoft’s search engine to remove roughly a quarter billion URLs from its index. Among the requesting copyright holders is, interestingly, Microsoft itself.

      • Iconic Megaupload.com Domain Has a New Owner

        As part of its criminal case against Megaupload, the US Government seized several domain names belonging to Kim Dotcom’s defunct file-hosting service. While the feds have held onto the iconic Megaupload.com domain for years, it was recently taken over by RegistrarAds, a company with a history of controversial domain cases.

      • BitTorrent Inc. Changed Its Name to Rainberry

        BitTorrent is without a doubt one of the more recognizable technology brands of the century. It, therefore, comes a surprise that BitTorrent Inc. has changed its name to Rainberry. According to the company, it’s strictly a “corporate decision,” but a more detailed motivation is lacking.

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