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05.21.18

Links 21/5/2018: Linux 4.17 RC6, GIMP 2.10.2

Posted in News Roundup at 1:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • GNU/Linux vs. Unix: What’s the difference?

    If you are a software developer in your 20s or 30s, you’ve grown up in a world dominated by Linux. It has been a significant player in the data center for decades, and while it’s hard to find definitive operating system market share reports, Linux’s share of data center operating systems could be as high as 70%, with Windows variants carrying nearly all the remaining percentage. Developers using any major public cloud can expect the target system will run Linux. Evidence that Linux is everywhere has grown in recent years when you add in Android and Linux-based embedded systems in smartphones, TVs, automobiles, and many other devices.

    Even so, most software developers, even those who have grown up during this venerable “Linux revolution” have at least heard of Unix. It sounds similar to Linux, and you’ve probably heard people use these terms interchangeably. Or maybe you’ve heard Linux called a “Unix-like” operating system.

    So, what is this Unix? The caricatures speak of wizard-like “graybeards” sitting behind glowing green screens, writing C code and shell scripts, powered by old-fashioned, drip-brewed coffee. But Unix has a much richer history beyond those bearded C programmers from the 1970s. While articles detailing the history of Unix and “Unix vs. Linux” comparisons abound, this article will offer a high-level background and a list of major differences between these complementary worlds.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.16.10
    • Linux 4.14.42
    • Linux 4.9.101
    • Linux 4.17-rc6

      Things continue to be fairly calm. There’s a couple of commits in here that
      aren’t “trivial few-liners”, but most of it really is pretty small. And in
      fact, a quarter of the full patch for the week is tooling – and the bulk of
      that is the testing subdirectory.

      In fact, drivers are in the minority here, because another 30% is arch
      updates (arm, s390, x86), and we even have more lines of filesystem fixes
      than we have driver fixes (admittedly mostly due to a few of the
      more-than-a-few-liner patches being to filesystems: afs and btrfs).

      We do have a few driver fixes (all over – hwmon, usb, sound, acpi, gpu),
      but it’s all really small.

      So nothing special to report. Go read the shortlog, pull the changes,
      build, and test. It should all be good and pretty stable by this point.

      Linus

    • Linux 4.17-rc6 Kernel Released As Another “Fairly Calm” Release

      Linux 4.17 is up to its sixth weekly release candidate ahead of the official release expected by mid-June.

    • USB Audio Class 3.0 Improvements Coming To Linux 4.18

      With the recently minted Linux 4.17 kernel there was initial USB Audio Class 3.0 support for this audio-over-USB specification while with Linux 4.18 that UA3 support will be further enhanced.

      UAC3 is primarily geared for “USB audio over USB Type-C” that is an upgrade over UAC2 with improved power management, new descriptors, and more.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Foundation LFCE: Hugues Clouâtre

        I started using Linux and open source software professionally at the beginning of my IT career while attending university. I found the simplicity and flexibility of Linux quite interesting, especially compared to the mainstream operating systems at that time (2004). Red Hat and Debian were the first Linux distributions I used in a business environment. Linux gives you the freedom to experiment — it got me interested right away.

    • Graphics Stack

      • IWOCL OpenCL 2018 Videos Start Appearing Online

        There is the conference program for those that are curious about the sessions that took place during this annual OpenCL conference. Eventually, slide decks should be available from there too.

        The most prominent session video of interest to hobbyists and general OpenCL developers/users will likely be The Khronos Group’s President, Neil Trevett, providing a “state of the nation” on CL…

      • Mesa 18.1 Officially Released as the Most Advanced Linux Graphics Stack Series

        The development team behind the open-source Mesa graphics stack announced over the weekend the general availability of the final Mesa 18.1 release for Linux-based operating systems.

        The Mesa 18.1 series comes approximately two months after the 18.0 branch, which probably most GNU/Linux distributions are using these days, and which already received its fourth maintenance updates. Mesa 18.1 introduces a few new features across all supported graphics drivers, but it’s mostly another stability update.

      • Mach64 & Rendition Drivers Now Work With X.Org Server 1.20

        Anyone happening to have an ATI Mach 64 graphics card from the mid-90′s or a 3Dfx-competitor Rendition graphics card also from the 90′s can now enjoy the benefits of the recently released X.Org Server 1.20.

        Mach 64 and Rendition are among the X.Org DDX (2D) drivers still being maintained for the X.Org Server. Even though using either of these two decade old graphics cards would be painfully slow with a Linux desktop stack from today especially if paired with CPU and memory from that time-frame, the upstream X.Org developers still appear willing to maintain support for these vintage graphics processors. Well, at least as far as ensuring the drivers still build against the newest software — we’ve seen before out of these old drivers that they are updated to work for new releases, but at times can actually be broken display support for years before anyone notices with said hardware.

    • Benchmarks

      • Ryzen 7 2700 / Ryzen 7 2700X / Core i7 8700K Linux Gaming Performance With RX Vega 64, GTX 1080 Ti

        With the Linux benchmarks of the Ryzen 7 2700 last week I included a few Linux gaming benchmarks, but for those evaluating CPU options for your next Intel/AMD Linux gaming system upgrade, here is a much more thorough set of benchmarks from a wide variety of OpenGL and Vulkan powered Linux games. The Ryzen 7 2700, Ryzen 7 2700X, and Core i7 8700K processors were tested for this Ubuntu gaming comparison while testing with both a Radeon RX Vega 64 and GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.

      • The Prominent Changes Of Phoronix Test Suite 8.0

        With development on Phoronix Test Suite 8.0 wrapping up for release in the coming weeks, here is a recap of some of the prominent changes for this huge update to our open-source, cross-platform benchmarking software.

      • AMD AOCC 1.2 Code Compiler Offers Some Performance Benefits For EPYC

        Last month AMD released the AOCC 1.2 compiler for Zen systems. This updated version of their branched LLVM/Clang compiler with extra patches/optimizations for Zen CPUs was re-based to the LLVM/Clang 6.0 code-base while also adding in experimental FLANG support for Fortran compilation and various other unlisted changes to their “znver1″ patch-set. Here’s a look at how the performance compares with AOCC 1.2 to LLVM Clang 6.0 and GCC 7/8 C/C++ compilers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.13 Looks Like an Awesome Update

        The KDE Plasma 5.13 release is shaping up to be something rather special indeed.

        Currently in development, KDE Plasma 5.13 serves as the next major release of the leading Qt/Qml desktop environment. The update features a stack of improvements, refinements and some innovative new functionality.

        In this post we roundup the best KDE Plasma 5.13 features and changes, plus give you all the details on how to upgrade to Plasma 5.13 in Kubuntu and KDE Neon once it is released on June 12, 2018.

      • First week of coding phase, GSoC’18

        QML plugins will now be loaded into Falkon from the subdirectory qml in the standard plugin paths, similar to Python plugins. Also in metadata.desktop file for plugin, the main entry file (QML) can be specified so that the plugin named X can have the entry file Y.qml.

      • KDAB at SIGGRAPH 2018

        Yes, folks. This year SIGGRAPH 2018 is in Canada and we’ll be there at the Qt booth, showing off our latest tooling and demos. These days, you’d be surprised where Qt is used under the hood, even by the biggest players in the 3D world!

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.30 Desktop to Introduce New App for Finding Free Internet Radio Stations

        GNOME 3.30 is currently in heavy development, with a second snapshot expected to land this week, and the GNOME Project recently updated their future plans page for the upcoming releases with the inclusion of the Internet Radio Locator app, which could make its debut during this cycle.

        Internet Radio Locator is an open-source graphical application built with the latest GNOME/GTK+ technologies and designed to help users easily locate free Internet radio stations from various broadcasters around the globe. It currently supports text-based location search for a total of 86 stations from 76 world cities.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian is wrong

        So, the MiniDebConf Hamburg 2018 is about to end, it’s sunny, no clouds are visible and people seem to be happy.

        And, I have time to write this blog post! So, just as a teaser for now, I’ll present to you the content of some slides of our “Reproducible Buster” talk today. Later I will add links to the video and the full slides.

      • Mini DebConf Hamburg

        Since Friday around noon time, I and my 6-year-old son are at the Mini DebConf in Hamburg. Attending together with my son is quite a different experience than plain alone or with also having my wife around. Though he is doing pretty good, it mostly means the day ends for me around 2100 when he needs to go to sleep.

      • Derivatives

        • Parrot 4.0 Ethical Hacking OS Debuts with MD Raid Support, Stable Sandboxed Apps

          Powered by the latest Linux 4.16 kernel series, Parrot 4.0 is a major release of the GNU/Linux distribution designed for ethical hacking and penetration testing operations. It’s the first to introduce stable, reliable support for sandboxed applications as an extra layer of security, and official Netinstall and Docker images.

          “Parrot on Docker gives you access to all the Parrot containers you need on top of Windows, Mac OS, or any other system supported by docker, no matter if it is just your laptop or a whole docker cluster running on an entire datacenter. You will always have access to all the parrot tools in all the isolated environments you need,” said the devs.

        • Debian GNU/Linux 8 “Jessie” Will Reach End of Security Support on June 17, 2018

          According to a security advisory posted by developer Moritz Muehlenhoff on the Debian-security-announce mailing list, the Debian GNU/Linux 8 “Jessie” operating system series will no longer receive regular security updates as of June 17, 2018. However, a limited number of packages will still be updated for a while.

          “This is an advance notice that regular security support for Debian GNU/Linux 8 (code name “jessie”) will be terminated on the 17th of June,” said Moritz Muehlenhoff. “As with previous releases additional LTS support will be provided for a reduced set of architectures and packages.”

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Tennibot is a really cool Ubuntu Linux-powered tennis ball collecting robot

            Linux isn’t just a hobby — the kernel largely powers the web, for instance. Not only is Linux on many web servers, but it is also found on the most popular consumer operating system in the world — Android. Why is this? Well, the open source kernel scales very well, making it ideal for many projects. True, Linux’s share of the desktop is still minuscule, but sometimes slow and steady wins the race — watch out, Windows!

            A good example of Linux’s scalability is a new robot powered by Linux which was recently featured on the official Ubuntu Blog. Called “Tennibot,” the Ubuntu-powered bot seeks out and collects tennis balls. Not only does it offer convenience, but it can save the buyer a lot of money too — potentially thousands of dollars per year as this calculator shows. So yeah, a not world-changing product, but still very neat nonetheless. In fact, it highlights that Linux isn’t just behind boring nerdy stuff, but fun things too.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Aims to Improve Laptop Battery Life

            It’s been less than a month since Ubuntu 18.04 LTS released, but when you work on a six-month release cycle the focus moves quickly to what comes next. Canonical is doing just that by telling us what we can expect to see in Ubuntu 18.10, which arrives in October.

            If you’re only just getting used to Ubuntu 18.04, don’t worry, Canonical hasn’t forgotten about you. In a blog post, Canonical’s desktop engineering manager, Will Cooke, details plans to release 18.04.1 in July. It will fix a number of bugs, but also introduce the ability to, among other things, unlock Ubuntu with your fingerprint.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Linux Operating System Launching Oct 2018

            Now that the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS operating system is available to download offering long-term support, its developers Canonical are now looking to the future and have announced that Ubuntu 18.10 operating system is expected to be made available during October 2018 and will bring with it some major new additions and enhancements.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 will come with a new default theme, improved power management, and more

            Scheduled to arrive in October, Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” will still use GNOME but will come with a new default theme called Communitheme, improved power saving options, a faster first-time startup for apps installed as snaps, DLNA media sharing, and more. Until then, version 18.04.1 is expected to drop in July with a few minor changes, as well as the usual tweaks and bug fixes.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Kubuntu Drops 32-bit Install Images

              If you were planning to grab a Kubuntu 18.10 32-bit download this October you will want to look away now.

              Kubuntu has confirmed plans to join the rest of the Ubuntu flavour family and drop 32-bit installer images going forward.

              This means there will be no 32-bit Kubuntu 18.10 disc image available to download later this year.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • More Roads And Faster Browsers

      And it’s exactly what is happening with our Web pages. Browsers become more performant. So developers instead of using this extra performance to make the page extra-blazingly fast, we use it to pack more DOM nodes, CSS animations and JavaScript driven user experiences.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 61 Beta 6 Testday Results

        As you may already know, last Friday – May 18th – we held a new Testday event, for Firefox 61 Beta 6.

        Thank you all for helping us make Mozilla a better place: gaby2300, Michal, micde, Jarrod Michell, Petri Pollanen, Thomas Brooks.

        From India team: Aishwarya Narasimhan, Mohamed Bawas, Surentharan and Suren, amirthavenkat, krish.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 4.9.6 Update Helps Websites Prepare for GDPR

      The open-source WordPress content management system project announced its 4.9.6 update on May 17, providing users with privacy enhancements designed to help sites be compliant with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

      GDPR is set to go into effect on May 25, requiring organizations to take steps to protect the privacy of end- user information. To be compliant with GDPR, organizations need to properly disclose how user data is stored and used.

      “It’s important to understand that while the GDPR is a European regulation, its requirements apply to all sites and online businesses that collect, store, and process personal data about EU residents no matter where the business is located,” WordPress developer Allen Snook wrote in a blog post.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • DragonFly BSD 5.2.0

      My experience with DragonFly this week was a lot like my experiences with other members of the BSD family. The system is lightweight, provides lots of useful documentation and gives us a minimal platform from which to build our operating system. The system was stable, fast and provided me with most of the software I wanted. Apart from DragonFly not working with my desktop computer’s hardware, I had an overall good experience with the operating system.

      I had mixed feelings about H2. At this point the file system seems stable and can be used for most common tasks. However, the advanced features that make the future of H2 look so appealing, are not all in place yet. So it might be best to wait another year before switching over to H2 if you want to make the most of snapshots and other advanced file system options.

      DragonFly is typically regarded as a server operating system, and that is where its strengths lie. However, this week I feel it performed well as a desktop platform too. It takes a little while to set up DragonFly as a desktop, but the documentation walks us through most of the process and I was able to do everything I would typically do on Linux desktop distribution.

    • Server maker IXsystems sets sail with new TrueNAS flagship

      All IXsystems storage runs a distribution of OpenZFS, based on the Zettabyte File System (ZFS) initially developed by Sun Microsystems, on x86-based appliances manufactured by iXsystems. The vendor, based in San Jose, Calif., also sells IXsystems FreeNAS rackmount systems used primarily by home offices and small businesses, and all-flash Z50 TrueFlash appliances on the high end.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GIMP 2.10.2 Released

      It’s barely been a month since we released GIMP 2.10.0, and the first bugfix version 2.10.2 is already there! Its main purpose is fixing the various bugs and issues which were to be expected after the 2.10.0 release.

    • GIMP 2.10.2 Released With HEIF Image Format Support

      Just shy of one month since the long-awaited debut of GIMP 2.10, the first stable point release is now available.

      Besides fixing bugs, there is new features too including support for HEIF images for importing and exporting, spherize and recursive transform filters added, improved histogram computation, and more.

    • GNU nano 2.9.7 was released

      Accumulated changes over the last five releases include: the ability to bind a key to a string (text and/or escape sequences), a default color of bright white on red for error messages, an improvement to the way the Scroll-Up and Scroll-Down commands work, and the new –afterends option to make Ctrl+Right (next word) stop at the end of a word instead of at the beginning. Check it out.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Tesla Starts Open Sourcing Some Software Code After Facing Criticism

      Elon Musk might enjoy the status of most-talked-about celebrity in the technology world, but his company Tesla doesn’t have many admirers when it comes to open source and free software enthusiasts. The company is known to be using many GPL-licensed technologies that need Tesla to share the source code of their software.

    • Tesla releases source code for some of its in-car tech
    • It Only Took Six Years, But Tesla Is No Longer Screwing Up Basic Software Licenses

      Tesla is actually doing it. The electric car maker is starting to abide by open source software licenses that it had previously ignored, and releasing the code it’s sat on for over six years, according to Electrek.

      Tesla’s super smart cars, specifically the sporty Model S sedan and Model X SUV, incorporate a lot of open source software, from Linux, the open source operating system, to BusyBox, a collection of tools that are useful when working with Linux and other UNIX environments (like macOS). All open source software is released under licenses and one of the most popular licenses is the GPL, or General Public License.

    • Tesla releases some of its software to comply with open source rules

      Tesla makes some of the most popular electric vehicles out there and the systems in those cars rely on open source software for operating systems and features. Some of that open source software that is used in Tesla products has a license agreement that requires Tesla to at least offer the user access to the source code. Tesla hasn’t been making that offer.

    • Tesla open sources some of its Autopilot source code

      ELECTRIC CAR MAKER Tesla tends to keep the details of its work under lock and key, but now Elon Musk’s company is plonking some of its automotive tech source code into the open source community.

      Tesla dumped some of its code used to build the foundations of its Autopilot semi-autonomous driving tech and the infotainment system found on the Model S and Model X cars, which makes uses of Nvidia’s Tegra chipset, on GitHub.

      Even if you’re code-savvy, don’t go expecting to build your own autonomous driving platform on top of this source code, as Tesla has still kept the complete Autopilot framework under wraps, as well as deeper details of the infotainment system found in its cars. But it could give code wranglers a better look into how Tesla approaches building infotainment systems and giving its cars a dose of self-driving smarts.

    • Tesla releases source code

      Tesla has taken its first step towards compliance with the GNU General Public Licence (GPL) by releasing some of its source code.

      The car maker has opened two GitHub repositories which contain the buildroot material used to build the system image on its Autopilot platform, and the kernel sources for the boards and the Nvidia-based infotainment system in the Model S and Model X.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Lemonade Proposes Open Source Insurance Policy for All to Change, Adopt

      Technology-focused homeowners and renters insurer Lemonade Inc. has proposed an open source renters insurance policy that anyone can contribute to changing, even its rivals since Lemonade is not copyrighting it.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Suitcase Computer Reborn with Raspberry Pi Inside

        Fun fact, the Osborne 1 debuted with a price tag equivalent to about $5,000 in today’s value. With a gigantic 9″ screen and twin floppy drives (for making mix tapes, right?) the real miracle of the machine was its portability, something unheard of at the time. The retrocomputing trend is to lovingly and carefully restore these old machines to their former glory, regardless of how clunky or underpowered they are by modern standards. But sometimes they can’t be saved yet it’s still possible to gut and rebuild the machine with modern hardware, like with this Raspberry Pi used to revive an Osborne 1.

        Purists will turn their nose up at this one, and we admit that this one feels a little like “restoring” radios from the 30s by chucking out the original chassis and throwing in a streaming player. But [koff1979] went to a lot of effort to keep the original Osborne look and feel in the final product. We imagine that with the original guts replaced by a Pi and a small LCD display taking the place of the 80 character by 24 line CRT, the machine is less strain on the shoulder when carrying it around. (We hear the original Osborne 1 was portable in the same way that an anvil is technically portable.) The Pi runs an emulator to get the original CP/M experience; it even runs Wordstar. The tricky part about this build was making the original keyboard talk to the Pi, which was accomplished with an Arduino that translates key presses to USB.

      • My talk from the RISC-V workshop in Barcelona
  • Programming/Development

    • 9 Best Free Python Integrated Development Environments

      Python is a widely used general-purpose, high level programming language. It’s easy to read and learn. It’s frequently used for science, data analysis, and engineering. With a burgeoning scientific community and ecosystem, Python is an excellent environment for students, scientists and organizations that develop technology software.

      One of the essential tools for a budding Python developer is a good Integrated Development Environment (IDE). An IDE is a software application that provides comprehensive facilities to programmers for software development.

      Many coders learn to code using a text editor. And many professional Python developers prefer to stay with their favourite text editor, in part because a lot of text editors can be used as a development environment by making use of plugins. But many Python developers migrate to an IDE as this type of software application offers, above all else, practicality. They make coding easier, can offer significant time savings with features like autocompletion, and built-in refactoring code, and also reduces context switching. For example, IDEs have semantic knowledge of the programming language which highlights coding problems while typing. Compiling is ‘on the fly’ and debugging is integrated.

    • Want to Debug Latency?

      In the recent decade, our systems got complex. Our average production environments consist of many different services (many microservices, storage systems and more) with different deployment and production-maintenance cycles. In most cases, each service is built and maintained by a different team — sometimes by a different company. Teams don’t have much insight into others’ services. The final glue that puts everything together is often a staging environment or sometimes the production itself!

      Measuring latency and being able to react to latency issues are getting equally complex as our systems got more complex. This article will help you how to navigate yourself at a latency problem and what you need to put in place to effectively do so.

Leftovers

  • You Can Send Invisible Messages With Subtle Font Tweaks

    The method is a steganographic technique, meaning it hides secret information in plain sight such that only its intended recipient knows where to look for it and how to extract it. FontCode can be applied to hundreds of common fonts, like Helvetica or Times New Roman, and works in word processors like Microsoft Word. Data encoded with FontCode can also endure across any image-preserving digital format, like PDF or PNG. The secret data won’t persist after, say, copy and pasting FontCode text between text editors.

    The most significant format conversion FontCode messages can transcend, though, is digital to physical and back.

  • Damned Ads!!!

    This is ridiculous. I don’t mind advertisers paying for my browsing experience but killing the browser to do it? What’s with that? You advertisers better get your act together or you’re going to kill the web as we know it. I feel sorry for the noble websites funded by ads. They plead with us not to block ads. I don’t want the overhead of sorting advertisers out between the good, the bad and the ugly. I just don’t want to know. My life is too complicated for an old retired guy. Weeds I understand. They’re just doing their thing. I don’t understand advertisers driving markets away.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Trump Administration Aims to Gut Family Planning Program Primarily Serving Low Income Patients

      The new gag rule would cut off access to critical care and information for low income patients nationwide.

      The Trump administration announced Friday that it is proposing a new “gag rule” designed to block patients who rely on Title X from accessing critical family planning services at reproductive health care providers including Planned Parenthood.

      The new proposed rule, which comes despite strong opposition from more than 200 Members of Congress and 110 organizations, has not been released to the public. According to reports, however, the rule is intended to push Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health care providers out of the Title X program if they provide or refer patients for abortions, and would allow providers in the program to withhold comprehensive information from patients about their options.

      If implemented, this will create a reality in which women with private health insurance receive comprehensive information, including referrals for abortion, from their doctors, while women whose providers are funded through the Title X program do not — because of restrictions imposed by the government on their doctors.

    • Five Years After The Indian Supreme Court’s Novartis Verdict

      On 1 April 2013, in a packed room inside India’s Supreme Court, a magnificent building in Indo-British architectural style, two judges delivered a verdict that impacted the national and global conversation about patents and patients.

      India’s apex court delivered a 112-page landmark judgement which dismissed Swiss pharma giant Novartis AG’s appeal for a patent for its life-saving cancer drug marketed under brand name Glivec in most parts of the world.

      The Novartis case triggered a hugely polarising discourse around the world about a key feature of India’s patent regime.

  • Security and Bugs

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 97 – Automation: Humans are slow and dumb

      Josh and Kurt talk about the security of automation as well as automating security. The only way automation will really work long term is full automation. Humans can’t be trusted enough to rely on them to do things right.

    • An introduction to cryptography and public key infrastructure

      Secure communication is quickly becoming the norm for today’s web. In July 2018, Google Chrome plans to start showing “not secure” notifications for all sites transmitted over HTTP (instead of HTTPS). Mozilla has a similar plan. While cryptography is becoming more commonplace, it has not become easier to understand. Let’s Encrypt designed and built a wonderful solution to provide and periodically renew free security certificates, but if you don’t understand the underlying concepts and pitfalls, you’re just another member of a large group of cargo cult programmers.

    • Teensafe, A Teen Phone Monitoring App, Leaks Thousands Of Apple ID Passwords

      Teensafe is a monitoring app used by parents for keeping a check on the activities of their children. The app allows parents to access their child’s location, call history, messages, browsing history, and apps downloaded by them without their permission.

    • Teen phone monitoring app leaked thousands of user passwords

      The mobile app, TeenSafe, bills itself as a “secure” monitoring app for iOS and Android, which lets parents view their child’s text messages and location, monitor who they’re calling and when, access their web browsing history, and find out which apps they have installed.

    • The weirdest bug I’ve found in a compiler: MSVC 2017

      There’s been discussion on cppitertools about the newest MSVC release (15.7) claiming to be fully standards compliant, which led me here.
      The following code fails to compile under MSVC for one reason: the U on lines 4 and 5 is a different name than the T on lines 10 and 11, so the result of the static_assert condition on line 19 is false. (Note that I’m not using std::declval here for simplicity’s sake).

    • Security updates for Monday
  • Defence/Aggression

    • War criminal Henry Kissinger: “AI is the end of the Enlightenment”

      This is a fascinating piece, but not because of its insights (which are anodyne, poorly argued, grounded in monumental ignorance of his subject, and years out of date — your basic high-paid management consultant, recycling five-year-old ideas for CEOs who are ten years out-of-date), but because of who they’re coming from.

      Kissinger is a living fossil, a monster of the 20th century that has staggered into the 21st, one of the last survivors of the cohort of genocidal authoritarians who included Pol Pot and Stalin. His doctrine once held that the state should gather its smartest (which is to say, “most Kissingerian”) elements inside of secret rooms where they would decide who would live and who would die, in the name of humanity’s greater good. They could do this because they had been through elite educational institutions that taught them about Greek, Roman and German philosophers.

    • Academics protest Google’s role in drone murder

      Three prominent technology scholars published an open letter Monday, which has now received over 900 signatures, condemning Google’s collaboration with the Pentagon’s illegal “targeted killing” program.

      The academics published their letter in support of over 3,100 Google employees who issued their own open letter last month protesting the company’s participation in a Pentagon program called Project Maven, designed to leverage the power of artificial intelligence to analyze footage collected by US military drones.

    • How Many Civilians Did Trump Kill in Drone Strikes Last Year?

      If civilian deaths from drone strikes are anything similar, Trump’s team is killing five to ten times as many civilians as Obama did. I’m a little surprised that they aren’t proud of this and eager to share that data, but I guess even the Trumpies have their limits.

    • ‘A Dangerous Low’: Trump Ignores Deadline for Reporting Civilians Killed by US Drone Attacks

      The Trump administration on Tuesday flouted two major deadlines for disclosing the number of civilians killed by U.S. military forces: one public report that was mandated by an Obama-era executive order and focused on drone strike deaths; and one report to Congress that is supposed to detail all civilian deaths tied to U.S. military operations.

      “The Trump administration’s decision not to comply with even the meager transparency requirements of the executive order is a dangerous low,” declared Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project.

      “It’s unacceptable,” she added, “for the government to simply refuse to release the numbers of people killed, let alone their identities, the rules governing its deadly decisions, or investigations into credibly alleged wrongful killing.”

    • How the UAE’s Chinese-Made Drone Is Changing the War in Yemen

      “They are working incredibly hard to be the new entrepreneurial contractor in the region, both politically and militarily,” says Farea al-Muslimi, an associate fellow at Chatham House. “They no longer want to remain on the sidelines. Yemen is one of the battles where they think they can improve both their credentials and capabilities.”

      The UAE has invested heavily in military aid to coalition-backed forces in Yemen. It has constructed various security units, seen as proxy forces by the United Nations, to fight al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula on the southern coast. Now, the UAE is directing its efforts to support Tareq Saleh, the nephew of late President Ali Abdullah Saleh who is leading an offensive to retake the strategic port of Hodeidah from the Houthis.

      “In recent days, we had been closely monitoring the Houthi leadership’s movements,” says a senior commander of the coalition’s ground forces advancing from the port of Mokha.

      The strike that killed Samad was part of the Saudi-led coalition’s offensive on Hodeidah. The Saudi ambassador to the United States, Khalid bin Salman, even tweeted about the strike earlier this week, claiming it was in retaliation for Houthi missile attacks. Samad “vowed [a] couple of weeks ago to make 2018 the ‘year of ballistic missiles on KSA,’” the Saudi ambassador wrote. “The response to him was a direct hit under the leadership of HRH Minister of Defense.”

      Though the Saudis have claimed credit for the strike, the intelligence for the attack was routed through Tareq Saleh’s staff to the UAE, which also carried out the operation.

      The UAE did not respond to a request for official comment

  • Finance

    • Over 80% Of 2017 IPOs Had ‘Negative’ Earnings – Most Since Dot-Com Peak

      Put a slightly different way, 2017 was the biggest “money for nothing” year since Pets.com… consider that the next time you’re told to buy the dip. Remember the only reason “the water is warm” is because it has been ‘chummed’ by the the last greater fool ready for the professional sharks to hand their ‘risk’ to…

    • Tax cut sparks record-setting $178 billion buyback boom

      One broad measure of business spending, real nonresidential fixed investment, rose by 6.1% during the first quarter. That’s solid growth signaling a strong economy. However, it was roughly in-line with the past several quarters. It even marked a slight deceleration from the final three months of 2017.

      That means companies have not significantly boosted spending on equipment, factories and other investments that create jobs and boost wages.

      Some economists aren’t surprised that the early windfall of the tax cuts is going to Wall Street, instead of Main Street. They note that companies have long had access to tons of cash. They note that companies have long had access to tons of cash.

      If they had plenty of cash, you shouldn’t really expect having access to more would lead them to invest,” said Alan Auerbach, director of Berkeley’s Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance.

    • The EU, Manufacturing and Brexit

      Britain already runs one of the world’s most efficient customs systems. In 2016, the World Bank ranked us fifth in the world on customs performance.

      [...]

      Brown writes, “The ‘Northern Powerhouse’ is just a phrase, and it is hard to believe that devolution in England will achieve more than a further layer of bureaucracy. There is wide agreement on the need for North-South rebalancing, but I believe the fundamental key to achieving this is the recovery of manufacturing.”

      But governments here have seen engineering as just ‘metal bashing’. When the author asked Labour’s Ed Balls, when he was Chief Economic Advisor to the Treasury, his view on the decline of engineering, Balls replied, “You might as well mourn for the dinosaurs.”

      Brown ends with recommendations for accessing the single market, industrial policy, economic management, energy policy, education, taxation, fund management, corporate governance, private equity, representation and accountancy. His key recommendations are these:

      In industrial policy “Choose engineering as a sector to back. Consider import substitution and rebuilding supply chains, and support for exporters. … Conduct tougher public interest reviews of overseas takeovers. Change the restrictive terms of the Business Bank, establish an engineering investment fund …”

      In energy policy “Establish and implement a clear and effective policy embracing cost and security of supply, with protection of the environment. … Bring fracking under the control of one unified authority, and mitigate the impact on the environment and local communities.” He notes that “Thatcher “went on to privatise utilities that did not operate in freely competitive markets and where long-term consideration of the national strategic interest is crucial, for example energy and the railways. In these instances it has worked very much less well, and there is a strong need for reconsideration.”

      And in education “Invest more in primary and secondary schooling, while pruning tertiary colleges and greatly promoting vocational training. … Improve funding for technical subjects in universities, and increase their contacts with engineering industry. Introduce a prestigious engineering qualification. Remove private schools’ charitable status, and provide state schooling on the same basis for all children, with no faith or grammar schools. …”

    • Brexit blamed for dramatic fall in UK business registrations

      Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has sparked a dramatic fall in the number of French, Dutch and Belgian businesses registering in the UK, in a further illustration of Brexit’s impact on the UK economy.

      Figures from Companies House show that French companies registered 48% fewer businesses in the UK in 2016-17 than the previous financial year while companies in Belgium registered 38% fewer. Companies in the Netherlands, which is probably the worst affected by Brexit of Britain’s trading partners, registered 52% fewer companies last year than in 2015-16.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Hillary Clinton is Now a Victim of ‘Socialists’

      Hillary Clinton’s take on “what happened” in the 2016 election is a running tale of victimization. She was the casualty of FBI Director James Comey and of Vladimir Putin and WikiLeaks. She was unjustly loathed by that “basket” of racist, sexist, nativist, and homophobic “deplorables” that is supposedly the American “heartland,” white working-class and rural population – people she recently painted (at an elite globalist gathering in Mumbai, India) as a bunch of “pessimistic,” slow-witted and retrograde losers. She was victimized by Bernie Sanders, who (Hillary complained) wasn’t even a “real Democrat” but had the unmitigated chutzpah to let his primary campaign challenge her prearranged coronation as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate.

      Never mind the series of stupid, arrogant, and largely unforced errors that crippled her uninspiring and policy-bereft insider campaign that was under her command. And never mind her own epic unpopularity before and during the campaign – disapproval earned over her many years of functioning as a cold and transparently elitist Establishment agent of the wealthy corporate and financial Few.

    • Polls Show Being Anti-Trump Isn’t Enough to Beat GOP

      With six months to go before the midterm election, recent national polls are showing that the Democratic Party’s much-touted momentum to gain control of the House has stalled. The latest numbers tell us a lot about the limits of denouncing Donald Trump without offering much more than a return to the old status quo.

      Under the headline “Democrats’ 2018 Advantage Is Nearly Gone,” CNN on May 9 reported that nationwide polling found “the generic congressional ballot has continued to tighten” — “with the Democrats’ edge over Republicans within the poll’s margin of sampling error for the first time this cycle.”

      With so many gerrymandered districts as well as widespread voter-ID laws and other GOP-engineered voter suppression, Democrats will need a substantial margin in vote totals to prevent Republicans from retaining a majority in the House of Representatives. (The prospects are worse in the Senate, where Democrats are defending a lopsided number of seats this year.)

    • Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation

      Within hours of opening an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in the summer of 2016, the F.B.I. dispatched a pair of agents to London on a mission so secretive that all but a handful of officials were kept in the dark.

      Their assignment, which has not been previously reported, was to meet the Australian ambassador, who had evidence that one of Donald J. Trump’s advisers knew in advance about Russian election meddling. After tense deliberations between Washington and Canberra, top Australian officials broke with diplomatic protocol and allowed the ambassador, Alexander Downer, to sit for an F.B.I. interview to describe his meeting with the campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos.

    • The FBI Informant Who Monitored the Trump Campaign, Stefan Halper, Oversaw a CIA Spying Operation in the 1980 Presidential Election

      Photo: YouTube
      The FBI Informant Who Monitored the Trump Campaign, Stefan Halper, Oversaw a CIA Spying Operation in the 1980 Presidential Election
      Glenn Greenwald
      May 19 2018, 2:27 p.m.

      An extremely strange episode that has engulfed official Washington over the last two weeks came to a truly bizarre conclusion on Friday night. And it revolves around a long-time, highly sketchy CIA operative, Stefan Halper.

      Four decades ago, Halper was responsible for a long-forgotten spying scandal involving the 1980 election, in which the Reagan campaign – using CIA officials managed by Halper, reportedly under the direction of former CIA Director and then-Vice-Presidential candidate George H.W. Bush – got caught running a spying operation from inside the Carter administration. The plot involved CIA operatives passing classified information about Carter’s foreign policy to Reagan campaign officials in order to ensure the Reagan campaign knew of any foreign policy decisions that Carter was considering.

      Over the past several weeks, House Republicans have been claiming that the FBI during the 2016 election used an operative to spy on the Trump campaign, and they triggered outrage within the FBI by trying to learn his identity. The controversy escalated when President Trump joined the fray on Friday morning. “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president,” Trump tweeted, adding: “It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a “hot” Fake News story. If true – all time biggest political scandal!”

    • Trump misspells Melania’s name in tweet on her return to White House from hospital

      Length of Walter Reed stay leads to questions over condition but spokeswoman says speculation on first lady’s health ‘uninformed’

    • Emma Barnett: A Classic “Philip Cross” Wikipedia Operation

      High Tory, ex Daily Telegraph and Murdoch, expensive private school, Emma Barnett is BBC Politics’ rising star and stood in as host of the BBC flagship Marr programme on Sunday. She was there rude and aggressive to Labour’s Barry Gardiner. The “highlight” of her career so far was during the general election when on Radio 4 Women’s Hour she demanded instant top of the head recall of complicated figures from Jeremy Corbyn, a ploy the BBC never turns on the Tories.

      The most interesting fact about Emma Barnett is that her exclusive private education was funded by her parents who were pimps and brothel keepers on a large scale, for which both were convicted.

      I know of no compelling evidence as to whether Barnett was, or was not, complicit in her parents’ activities, which financed her education into adulthood. But that this background is interesting and unusual is not in doubt. However the MSM’s image protector, “Philip Cross”, has been assiduous in, again and again, deleting the information about Barnett’s parents from Wikipedia. Not only has Cross deleted the referenced information of her parents being brothel-keepers, he has repeatedly inserted the ludicrous euphemisms that her father was a “businessman” and her mother a “housewife”.

    • The “Philip Cross” MSM Promotion Operation Part 3

      “Philip Cross” has just 200 Twitter followers, but has more MSM journalists following him than are to be found among my 42,300 twitter followers. Despite the fact a large majority of “Philip Cross’s” tweets are mere retweets, with Oliver Kamm and Nick Cohen most frequently retweeted. “Philip Cross” has never broken a news story and the few tweets which are not retweets contain no gems of expression or shrewd observation. In short, his twitter feed is extremely banal; there is literally nothing in it that might interest a journalist in particular. Do not take my word for it, judge for yourself.

      Why then does James LeMesurier, founder of the “White Helmets”, follow Philip Cross on twitter? Why does ex-minister Tristram Hunt follow Philip Cross on Twitter? Why does Sarah Brown, wife of Gordon, follow Philip Cross on twitter?

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Jacques: UM feels a lot like the USSR

      According to the complaint: “The University’s disciplinary code prohibits ‘harassment’ and ‘bullying,’ and further increases the potential penalties if such actions were motivated by ‘bias.’ All of those concepts, as the University interprets and applies them, can capture staggering amounts of protected speech and expression.”

      [...]

      “Students should be able to express themselves without fear of retribution,” Neily says.

    • Careful what you say in this university, its speech policies are those of Soviet Russia

      UM is an egregious example of how public institutions are limiting the free expression and debate of ideas — something that seems in opposition to the whole point of a college campus. And it is also creating a climate of suspicion on campus by encouraging students to spy on one another. They never know who they can trust.

      [...]

      The university’s system of encouraging anonymous tattletales (with real consequences for accused students) is “not workable,” she argues.

    • Christian Universities Engaging In Censorship Of Newspapers

      The censorship of newspapers is considered a grievous act in places of learning, but lately some Christian universities are facing accusations of meddling in the stories presented in their own publications. Several students who work at university newspapers have had their stories turned away by editors, claiming that the material was not interesting or would otherwise damage the school’s reputation. For example, Erin Covey of Liberty University complained that her desire to cover an anti-Trump and anti-Falwell event near the campus were blocked by her editors, seemingly because the protesters were only there for free publicity.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Google Could Face $4.3 Billion Claim in U.K. IPhone Privacy Case

      IPhone users suing Google over data-collection claims may be seeking as much as 3.2 billion pounds ($4.29 billion), the search giant said in a court filing.

      The group representing iPhone users, known as Google You Owe Us, now includes 4.4 million people, according to documents filed with the court at a hearing Monday. The group says the Alphabet Inc. unit unlawfully collected people’s personal information by bypassing Apple Inc.’s iPhone default privacy settings.

      While any potential damages are still to be determined, the group has suggested each individual could receive 750 pounds if the case is successful, Google said in court documents. The Mountain View, California-based company denies the allegations and argued at the hearing that the dispute doesn’t belong in a London court.

    • Nearly Everyone In The U.S. And Canada Just Had Their Private Cell Phone Location Data Exposed

      The company recently received all the wrong kind of attention when it was caught up in a privacy scandal involving the nation’s wireless carriers and our biggest prison phone monopoly. Like countless other companies and governments, LocationSmart buys your wireless location data from cell carriers. It then sells access to that data via a portal that can provide real-time access to a user’s location via a tailored graphical interface using just the target’s phone number.

      [...]

      It was yet another example of the way nonexistent to lax consumer privacy laws in the States (especially for wireless carriers) routinely come back to bite us.

      But then things got worse.

      Driven by curiousity in the wake of the Times report, a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University by the name of Robert Xiao discovered that the “try before you buy” system used by LocationSmart to advertise the cell location tracking system contained a bug, A bug so bad that it exposed the data of roughly 200 million wireless subscribers across the United States and Canada (read: nearly everybody).

    • Report Confirms Deep Flaws Of Automated Facial Recognition Software In The UK, Warns Its Use In The US Is Spreading

      Techdirt has written many stories about facial recognition systems. But there’s a step-change taking place in this area at the moment. The authorities are moving from comparing single images with database holdings, to completely automated scanning of crowds to obtain and analyze huge numbers of facial images in real time. Recently, Tim Cushing described the ridiculously high level of false positives South Wales Police had encountered during its use of automated facial recognition software. Before that, a post noted a similarly unacceptable failure rate of automated systems used by the Metropolitan Police in London last year.

      Now Big Brother Watch has produced a report bringing together everything we know about the use by UK police of automated facial recognition software (pdf), and its deep flaws. The report supplements that information with analyses of the legal and human rights framework for such systems, and points out that facial recognition algorithms often disproportionately misidentify minority ethnic groups and women.

    • Why Is My Facebook Android App Asking For “Superuser” Permission?

      It looks like developers working at Facebook really love to live dangerously. The company knows how to violate the user trust and play loose and fast with data protection and user privacy. The recent Cambridge Analytica scandal is a perfect example of the same.

    • The Facebook Android App Is Asking for Superuser Privileges and Users Are Freaking Out

      The Facebook Android app is asking for superuser permissions, and a bunch of users are freaking out about granting the Facebook app full access to their device, an understandable reaction following the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.

      “Grants full access to your device,” read the prompts while asking users for superuser permissions.

    • Prime suspect in CIA ‘Vault 7′ hack still hasn’t been charged
    • Canada’s Trudeau Promotes ‘Anglosphere’ Spying

      While the media has been full of news about information-gathering by Facebook and other Internet giants, other secretive organizations that are a major threat to our personal privacy and public security are seldom mentioned. When they are, it has been because politicians are praising them and offering up more money for them to spy.

      For example, Justin Trudeau recently promoted the “Anglosphere’s” intelligence sharing arrangement. Two weeks ago, in a rare move, the PM revealed a meeting with his “Five Eyes” counterparts. After the meeting in London Trudeau labeled the 2,000 employee Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s main contributor to the “Five Eyes” arrangement, “an extraordinary institution”. Last year Trudeau said that “collaboration and cooperation between allies, friends and partners has saved lives and keeps all of our citizens safe.”

    • Jerry Chun Shing Lee spy trial: ex-CIA officer pleads not guilty, will wait a year before trial in US

      A former CIA officer and Hong Kong resident accused of passing top secret information to Chinese intelligence officers in exchange for money will have to wait a year before going on trial in the United States.

      Jerry Chun Shing Lee, an American citizen who worked for the CIA from 1994 to 2007, pleaded not guilty on Friday to one charge of conspiracy to commit espionage and two of illegally retaining classified information.

      Lee, 53, appeared for arraignment in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, “unshackled in a green jumpsuit and glasses”, according to CNN. US District Judge Thomas Selby Ellis III set his trial date for February 12, 2019.

    • UK Supreme Court to probe British spy court’s immunity from probing

      Privacy International’s years-long challenge against UK government hacking is headed to the nation’s final court of appeal at the end of the year.

      The case, part of the privacy activists’ ongoing legal battles over the UK’s spy agencies’ activities, focuses on the government’s use of general warrants to hack computers and devices inside and outside Blighty.

      The fight kicked off in 2014, when Privacy International issued a legal complaint to Britain’s spying oversight court, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, alleging the campaign group was hacked by GCHQ.

    • Chinese spies promised to take care of ex-CIA officer for life, prosecutors say

      Chinese spies promised to take care of a former CIA officer for life if he handed over information on clandestine activities in their country, federal prosecutors say.

      Defendant Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, pleaded not guilty Friday in federal court in Alexandria to charges of conspiracy to commit espionage and holding on to classified information after leaving the CIA.

    • Ex-CIA officer accused of spying for China pleads not guilty

      The Justice Department alleges that Lee, a former CIA case officer and US citizen, was asked to trade information for money by two Chinese intelligence officers in 2010 and 2011 while he lived in Hong Kong.

    • ‘I felt exposed online’: how to disappear from the [I]nternet

      The process of deleting one’s Facebook account is deliberately arcane. The social network encourages you to “deactivate” your account, rather than “delete” it, to leave an open door if you later regret the decision. Permanent deletion requires a request be made to the company. If you log in within 14 days of the process being under way (easy to do accidentally if you have the app on your phone or linked accounts that require you to log in via Facebook), the company will automatically cancel your original request.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Is a Moral Compass Enough for the CIA?

      On Thursday, Gina Haspel was confirmed as America’s next CIA director after the Senate voted to approve her nomination in a 54-45 vote. Her appointment stirred concern among anti-torture advocates because of her role in operating a black site in Thailand where operatives used enhanced interrogation techniques on detainees. For today’s issue, I spoke to a few former intelligence officials to get a sense of how officers navigate through situations that are morally challenging, and what happens when an agent receives a potentially unethical directive.

    • CIA’s Haspel can tap undercover work in Russian operations

      Scrutiny of the 33-year spy career of new CIA director Gina Haspel has focused on her undercover role in the harsh interrogation of suspected terrorists, but she cut her teeth in intelligence operations against Russia.

      She’s sure to tap that latter experience as she takes over at the nation’s premier intelligence agency at a time of rising tension with Moscow. President Donald Trump has characterized it as worse than during the Cold War, and it’s been aggravated by investigations into Moscow’s interference in the election that brought Trump to power.

    • McCaskill defends CIA vote, says reasons are classified
    • Democrat McCaskill defends no vote on Trump CIA pick – but can’t say why
    • Dem McCaskill slammed for vote against Trump CIA pick
    • McCaskill defends CIA vote, says reasons are classified
    • McCaskill defends CIA vote: Reasons classified

      Earlier Saturday, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas said McCaskill “put partisan politics over national security” by opposing Haspel.

    • Donnelly stands by support of new CIA director

      Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly is standing by his support of the CIA’s newest director.

      Gina Haspel will be the first female director of the CIA. Her nomination was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday.

      Her confirmation was reached because of yes votes from six Senate democrats. That includes a vote from donnelly.

    • Haspel was only following orders: she’ll make a good CIA chief

      Listening to members of Congress question the putative director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Gina Haspel (in some cases rudely), one quickly got the impression that with the exception of a very few individuals on both sides, senators had their minds made up long before they sat down.

      The major reason is simply politics. We are so deeply split politically that I suspect that Jesus Christ would have trouble getting widespread support from this committee.

    • New CIA chief Gina Haspel is the ‘spy’s spy’

      The more uncomfortable parts of the new CIA chief’s Senate confirmation hearing would have taken place behind closed doors – fitting for a person who has spent most of her career in the shadows.

    • Innocent Infants

      There is a certain amount of confusion about the reason for the practice, and even more confusion about whether the activity it is seeking to prevent is criminal or not. But one thing is absolutely clear. It is not the same as what the Nazis did in the 1930s and 1940s, when families were being taken to concentration camps. When arriving at the camps, children were sometimes taken from their parents and, in many cases following the separation, would never again see their parents. The families arriving at the camps were not undocumented immigrants. They were citizens of the countries in which they lived.

      The Trumpsters are dealing with families that are neither citizens nor residents of the United States. The children they are dealing with are newly arrived in the United States. They are with parents who have arrived illegally and are seeking asylum. Like the Nazis, Trumpsters make no attempt to deny what they are doing. But whereas the Nazis had no need to justify what they were doing, the Trumpsters know that to avoid criticism, they must justify their actions.

    • Bright Light: Romania’s ‘Utter Denial’ of CIA Renditions Role

      Poland has grudgingly paid damages, Lithuania is investigating and Macedonia has apologised. Even Donald Trump’s pick to head the CIA said this month that it should never happen again.

      Yet Romania maintains a stubborn silence over its own alleged role in a secret CIA renditions and torture programme after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

      A March 28 apology by Macedonia’s year-old government for its involvement in the CIA rendition of a man in 2004 and the appointment of CIA director Gina Haspel has refocused attention on one of the darkest chapters of former President George W. Bush’s ‘War on Terror’.

      An upcoming ruling at the European Court of Human Rights, ECHR, is expected to punch a hole in the wall of official denial in Bucharest and a pending decision at the International Criminal Court, ICC, could yet bring more scrutiny.

    • This week’s reveals about the Deep State’s info ops

      It has been a big week for America, with big reveals showing how the Deep State manipulates the news – and our view of the world. Of course this has not been reported by the major news media.

    • Why misunderstanding identity politics undermines the goals of a just society

      The crisis of identity politics has undermined the concept of intersectionality, which is viewed as critical to the struggle for liberation from all forms of oppression. The recent assassination of the Brazilian Black queer activist Marielle Franco and the consequent public uproar demonstrate the threat intersectional leaders pose to the ruling establishment that uses division and preserves privilege to stifle change. Leaders such as Franco serve a vital unifying role in a peoples’ transnational solidarity movement that embraces—rather than eliminates—identities.

      Ashanti Monts-Treviska co-manages a social enterprise, Cascadia Deaf Nation, which focuses on creating a member-owned cooperative model that co-creates thriving spaces with Deaf Black Indigenous People of Color (DBIPOC*) in British Columbia, Washington State and Oregon. Monts-Treviska is a doctoral student in transformative studies and consciousness at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Respecting Foreign Judgments and $79 million for clicking “I agree”

      After losing in the UK, SAS brought its lawsuit to the USA and won on the same contract claim that was a loser in the UK (but lost on the copyright claim). The US lawsuit also included a fraudulent inducement and unfair trade practices under N.C. UDTPA. A jury found WPL liable — although WPL was barred from presenting any evidence regarding its reliance upon the UK and EU safe harbors. Damages $80 million.

      In this process, the district court refused to give any preclusive effect to the UK judgment.

      On appeal, the Fourth Circuit held that the UK judgment was properly denied preclusive effect since it was contrary to North Carolina policy. “North Carolina courts [are] more protective of the sanctity of contracts” than are UK or EU courts.

    • WIPO Asked To Improve Its Reporting On Development Agenda Implementation

      The World Intellectual Property Organization annual self-evaluation of the implementation of its 2007 Development Agenda was rubber-stamped by most delegates again this year at the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property. But Brazil offered detailed suggestions on ways to improve the report and ensure that past work is not being included in the reporting on new accomplishments. It also warned against confusing WIPO’s Development Agenda work with its broader activities for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

    • Trademarks

      • Disparaging and scandalous trade marks post-Tam

        While the Supreme Court settled the issue of disparaging marks, Section 2(a)’s prohibition against immoral or scandalous marks is still being contested. The Federal Circuit last month declined to hear the Brunetti case en banc

      • Canada tackling trade mark trolls

        One provision in Canada’s national intellectual property strategy is to prevent the misuse of the registration system such as instances of “trademark squatting”

        The Canadian government unveiled its first national intellectual property strategy at the end of April, in which one provision was to prevent the misuse of the trademark registration system such as instances of “trademark squatting”.

    • Copyrights

      • Barton Beebe on Bleistein

        Barton Beebe’s recent article, Bleistein, the Problem of Aesthetic Progress, and the Making of American Copyright Law, was already highlighted on this blog by Shyamkrishna Balganesh, but I wanted to add a few thoughts of my own because I really enjoyed reading it—it is a richly layered dive into the intellectual history of U.S. copyright law, and a wonderful piece to savor on a weekend.

        In one sense, this is an article about one case’s role in U.S. copyright law, but it uses that case to tackle a fundamental question of copyright theory: what does it mean “to promote the Progress”? Beebe’s goal is not just to correct longstanding misunderstandings of Bleistein; as I understand it, his real point is that we can and should “assess[] aesthetic progress according to the simple propositions that aesthetic labor in itself is its own reward and that the facilitation of more such labor represents progress.” He thinks Justice Holmes’s invocation of “personality” in Bleistein represents a normatively attractive “third way” between judges assessing aesthetic merit and simply leaving this judgment to the market—that aesthetic progress is shown “by the mere fact that someone was willing to make the work, either for sale or otherwise, and that in making it, someone had invested one’s personality in the work.”

        This personality-centered view of copyright seems similar to the Hegelian personality theory that was drawn into IP by Peggy Radin and elaborated by Justin Hughes, though at times it seems more like Lockean theories based on the author’s labor. I think he could have done more to explain how his theory relates to this prior literature, and also how it’s different from a utilitarian theory that recognizes the value creators get from creating (à la Jeanne Fromer’s Expressive Incentives). In any case, I think Beebe’s take is interesting, particularly with the connection he draws to John Dewey’s American pragmatist vision of aesthetic progress.

      • Poking the IP [sic] bear

        Whether or not you believe “legacy” artists deserve more copyright protections, there is no good reason not to condition that gift upon the artist taking some steps to claim that right, so that the “legacy” recordings no one cares about can be simply and cheaply made available through archives and other sources. (And before you start with Berne and the like, re-read Sprigman’s piece.)

        This is the point just never engaged. [...]

      • Fairplay Canada Discredits “Pro-Piracy” TorrentFreak News, Then Cites Us

        Earlier this week Fairplay Canada, the coalition lobbying for a national piracy blocking mechanism, countered its critics in a detailed reply. Buried in the footnotes, the document also included a stab at TorrentFreak, ‘discrediting’ our coverage by labeling us a “pro-piracy” site. Interestingly, however, the same report later cites TorrentFreak as a reputable source on site-blocking jurisprudence.`

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