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Links 8/6/2018: Chrome 68 Beta and PHP 7.3 Alpha

Posted in News Roundup at 3:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 7 open source VPN tools for businesses

    In recent months, many popular online security and VPN vendors have come under fire after unaddressed vulnerabilities in their products left users open to serious threats.

    In early February, the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University posted an advisory warning stating that the Pulse Secure VPN graphic user interface failed to validate SSL certificates when connecting to websites. This left enterprise-level clients open to man-in-the-middle (and other) attacks. While the SSL validation problem has been resolved for Pulse 5.3R4.2 and Pulse 5.2R9, the Carnegie Mellon researchers still warn against using it on untrusted networks.

  • Five Free Open Source Testing Tools You Can Trust

    ree open source testing tools have never been more popular, necessary or front of mind. Recent news coverage of the open source Kayenta suite of canary testing tools launched by Google and Netflix not only demonstrates that industry has an increasing appetite for automated testing, but also that the need for such tools is far more widely accepted.

    There are a few major pitfalls for the unwary when choosing open source testing tools, perhaps the most important being to be clear about is the difference between ‘free’ tools and open source tools, a distinction that often gets muddied. Indeed, there are legions of ‘free’ tools that are not truly open source, which can be an unwelcome discovery – too late – if not checked carefully first.

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Vue Vixens

    A new program, project and community was launched this year with a mission to introduce women to the open-source JavaScript framework Vue. While there are a variety of framework communities for women in the programming industry such as Django Girls, Rails Bridge, and ng-Girls, Jen Looper, developer advocate at Progress, saw a lack of community in the Vue.js space. Out of that lack of community, Vue Vixens was born.

  • OSI Welcoming Software Heritage
  • Google Open Sources Real-Time Visualisation Library Developed by Intern

    Google yesterday open sourced an improved algorithm for tSNE (a machine learning algorithm for data visualisation), developed by an intern, for its acclaimed machine learning framework Tensorflow, enabling interactive visual experiences when working with large datasets.

    The tech giant posted on its Google Plus page for ‘Google AI’: “Some new research from an intern in our Zürich office shows an approach to tSNE that allows real-time interactive visualization of large, high-dimensional datasets by leveraging GPU capabilities through WebGL. Oh, and it’s open source too! Check it out”.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 68 Beta: add to home screen, payment handler, page lifecycle

        Unless otherwise noted, changes described below apply to the newest Chrome Beta channel release for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, macOS, and Windows. View a complete list of the features in Chrome 68 on ChromeStatus.com. Chrome 68 is beta as of June 7, 2018.

      • Chrome 68 Rolls Out In Beta Form

        For those not satisfied by last week’s Chrome 67 stable release, Chrome 68 is now available in beta form with the latest and greatest feature work.

    • Mozilla

      • @media, MathML, and Django 1.11: MDN Changelog for May 2018
      • What is Standup?

        Standup is a system for capturing standup-style posts from individuals making it easier to see what’s going on for teams and projects. It has an associated IRC bot standups for posting messages from IRC.

      • Paris, Munich, & Dresden: Help Us Give the Web a Voice!

        In July, our Voice Assistant Team will be in France and Germany to explore trust and technology adoption. We’re particularly interested in how people use voice assistants and how people listen to content like Pocket and podcasts. We would like to learn more how you use technology and how a voice assistant or voice user interface (VUIs) could improve your Internet and open web experiences. We will be conducting a series of in-home interviews and participatory design sessions. No prior voice assistant experience needed!

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • Intel MPX Support Removed From GCC 9

      Support for Intel Memory Protection Extensions (MPX) is now pretty much dead on Linux.

      As a follow-up to the article in April of GCC looking to remove MPX support from their compiler with Intel no longer maintaining that portion of the code and MPX being deprecated already, today the commit went in deleting all of the MPX support in GCC.

    • How to defend your encrypted emails against prying eyes

      In May, a draft technical paper published at efail.de recommended that people stop using GPG plugins to encrypt their email. At the same time, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) raised the alarm about seemingly new vulnerabilities in GPG (GNU Privacy Guard), echoing the paper’s cautionary recommendations. Others further reduced this recommendation to a simple shorthand: stop encrypting your email, because it isn’t safe. (EFF has since modified its recommendations, depending on the mail client and GPG plugin you use, and with caveats that match some of the suggestions we’ll make here.)

      Much of this information isn’t new. The issue isn’t a flaw in GPG, and there is no need to panic or discontinue using GPG, including for signing emails or for encrypting and decrypting files outside of your email client. Here are the facts:

      The EFAIL paper describes several methods of attack: “EFAIL abuses active content of HTML emails, for example externally loaded images or styles, to exfiltrate plaintext through requested URLs.” The attacker accesses the encrypted emails, “by eavesdropping on network traffic, compromising email accounts, email servers, backup systems or client computers. The emails could even have been collected years ago.” The attacker changes the encrypted email, sends it to the recipient, and if the recipient’s mail client decrypts that message and automatically loads any external content, or users click on HTML links, the plaintext of the email is visible to the attacker.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Interview: Roger Uceda, BCN3D Technologies, ‘being in an open source community multiplies your efforts exponentially’

      Our series to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of RepRap continues with 3D printing insights from BCN3D Technologies.

      Roger Uceda is the founder of BCN3D Technologies, a division of the non-profit CIM-UPC foundation. In 2010, work began on developing a 3D printer at the research lab of the Barcelona Tech university, this project would later grow into the venture known as BCN3D Technologies.

      BCN3D has continued to adhere to Open Source principals by publishing design files for their 3D printers, most recently the BCN3D Sigmax. In this article Roger Uceda gives insights into the beginnings of BCN3D and the benefits of Open Source.

  • Programming/Development

    • How Did GitLab Scale Up for the Slashdot Effect? Point and Click
    • pinp 0.0.5: Accomodate pandoc 2.*

      Another maintenance release of our pinp package for snazzier one or two column vignettes is getting onto CRAN right now.

    • PHP 7.3.0 alpha 1 Released

      PHP team is glad to announce the release of the first PHP 7.3.0 version, PHP 7.3.0 Alpha 1. This starts the PHP 7.3 release cycle, the rough outline of which is specified in the PHP Wiki.

    • PHP 7.3 Alpha Released With New Features

      PHP 7.3 Alpha 1 is available today as the PHP developers kick off their next release cycle for getting this next version of PHP7 out by the end of 2018.

      PHP developers plan on at least three alphas and three betas to get through August and then at least six release candidates happening every two weeks. After that all happens, PHP developers feel PHP 7.3.0 should be ready for release by the end of November.


  • Science

    • Elsevier CiteScore™ missing the top conference in data mining

      It’s really time to abandon Elsevier. German universities canceled their subscriptions. Sweden apparently began now to do so, too. Because Elsevier (and to a lesser extend, other publishers) overcharge universities badly.

      Meanwhile, Elsevier still struggles to pretend it offers additional value. For example with the ‘‘horribly incomplete’’ Scopus database. For computer science, Scopus etc. are outright useless.

      Elsevier just advertised (spammed) their “CiteScore™ metrics”. “Establishing a new standard for measuring serial citation impact”. Not.

      “Powered by Scopus, CiteScore metrics are a comprehensive, current, transparent and “ horribly incomplete for computer science.


      Time to move to open-access, and away from overpriced publishers. If you want your paper to be read and cited, publish open-access and not with expensive walled gardens like Elsevier.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Where Is “Home” for Children in State Custody?

      Many of us have distinct memories of our own childhood homes. That’s not the case for hundreds of children trapped in Illinois psychiatric hospitals.

    • Know the Signs of Suicide, Save a Life

      “Suicide doesn’t end the chances of life getting worse, it eliminates the possibility of it ever getting any better.”

      I’m sure everyone has seen this quote (source unknown) before, but to anyone who has dealt with losing someone to suicide, it’s a hard truth. It’s not only hard to accept it as truth, but it’s hard to think about the fact that your lost loved one was to a point in their life when they felt like this was the only answer—that there was no way it would ever get better. It’s rough.

    • Celltrion, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc. (N.D. Cal. 2018)

      Last month, in Celltrion, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc., District Judge Jeffrey S. White of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted two motions to dismiss filed by Defendants Genentech, Inc.; Hoffman La-Roche, Inc.; and City of Hope (“Genentech”), which sought to dismiss the first amended complaint filed by Plaintiffs Celltrion, Inc.; Celltrion Healthcare, Co. Ltd.; Teva Pharmaceuticals International GMGH; and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. (“Celltrion”). Celltrion had initiated the dispute between the parties by filing complaints for declaratory judgment with respect to patents related to Genentech’s Herceptin and Rituxan biologic drugs.

      Both of the cases involve the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (“BPCIA”), which provides a regulatory approval pathway for biosimilar drugs. Under the BPCIA, a biologic licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is known as a reference product, and the entity that manufactures the reference product is known as the reference product sponsor (“RPS”). An entity that wishes to manufacture a biosimilar drug — the biosimilar applicant (BA) — may apply to the FDA for approval, and upon a showing that there are no “clinically meaningful differences” between the biosimilar drug and the biologic drug, can procure FDA approval for the biosimilar drug.


      Celltrion’s final argument was that the notices of commercial marketing it served for Herzuma and Truxima enabled it to file the declaratory judgment actions regardless of its compliance with other portions of the BPCIA. In particular, Celltrion contended that because a notice of commercial marketing lifts the ban on declaratory judgment actions described in § 262(l)(9)(A), a notice of commercial marketing should also lift §§ 262(l)(9)(B) and (C)’s prohibitions. The District Court, however, pointed out that the Central District of California had recently considered and rejected a similar argument in Amgen v. Genentech, Inc., 17-cv-7349-GHW, 2018 WL 910198 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 11, 2018). The Court reiterated that “a notice of commercial marketing only opens the door for an applicant to file a declaratory judgment action if the applicant complies with the rest of the statute.”

    • Court refuses injunctions in pharma patent case

      A judge has refused to grant injunctions restraining a Co Galway-based pharmaceutical company from acting in alleged infringement of patent by making a generic drug here for supply to multiple sclerosis patients in the US.

      Israeli-incorporated Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd sought the orders pending the outcome of its proceedings initiated in the Commercial Court last year against Mylan Teoranta, trading as Mylan Institutional, which employs more than 1,000 people in Dublin, Meath and Galway.

      Yeda Research and Development Company Ltd, also incorporated in Israel, is registered owner of the patent at issue and has granted an exclusive licence in respect of it to Teva. Yeda was joined as a co-defendant to the case to address a technical objection made by Mylan.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • 92 million MyHeritage users had their data quietly swiped

      Email addresses and hashed passwords of more than 92 million MyHeritage users were exposed in a cybersecurity breach on October 26, 2017, the popular genealogy company reported Monday, June 4, 2018.

    • Global Russian-Linked Router Malware Even Worse Than Originally Stated

      Late last month, the FBI announced that hackers working for the Russian government had managed to infect roughly 500,000 routers in 54 countries with a particularly-nasty piece of malware known as VPN Filter. The malware, which infected routers from vendors like Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear, TP-Link, and certain network-attached storage devices from companies like QNAP, gave attackers the ability to track a victim’s internet usage, launch attacks on other networks, and permanently destroy the devices upon command.

    • LinuxForums.org Hack Exposes 276,000 User Accounts

      LinuxForums.org is a free help and support forum for Linux distributions software, and computer hardware, which currently hosts more than 200,000 registered members. The website was launched back in 2001, and in 2008 it changed ownership, now being owned by MAS Media Inc.

      The LinuxForums.org data breach is a consequence of the forums using an old version of vBulletin (version 4.2.2, released back in October 2013), a proprietary Internet forum software. Along with the 276k unique email addresses, usernames, IP addresses and salted MD5 password hashes were also leaked. Using salted MD5 password hashes is a bad idea because… well, MD5 is very fast, so an attacker can try billions of password combinations per second.

    • Change your linuxforums dot org passwords
  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Cambridge Analytica Ex-Official Denies Channeling Money to WikiLeaks – Reports

      Brittany Kaiser, the former business development director at the UK Cambridge Analytica consultancy, has denied reports that she channeled donations from third parties to WikiLeaks, after the media revealed that she visited the organization’s founder, Julian Assange, last year, The Guardian reported on Thursday.

      Earlier in the week, The Guardian newspaper said that it had obtained the visitor logs from Ecuador’s Embassy in London, where Assange is currently residing, which reveal that the former Cambridge Analytica executive visited Assange on February 17 last year and discussed the US elections with him. The media also claimed that Kaiser allegedly received money in the form of “gifts and payments” and channeled it as cryptocurrency to WikiLeaks, which she had called her “favorite charity.”

    • Why Did a Cambridge Analytica Executive Meet with Julian Assange?

      The first threads of a relationship between Robert Mercer-backed data-analytics firm Cambridge Analytica and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange emerged in October, when reports surfaced that Alexander Nix, Cambridge Analytica’s former C.E.O., had reached out to Assange in 2016, allegedly to offer to help him distribute the 33,000 e-mails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s infamous server. At the time, Assange confirmed the outreach but said it was rejected by WikiLeaks. In an appearance before U.K. lawmakers in February, Nix played the whole thing down, saying he’d simply found contact information for WikiLeaks online and sent Assange a cold e-mail. But on Thursday, a Guardian report suggested that the web between the two organizations—both of which have drawn Robert Mueller’s attention as he seeks to determine the extent of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia—may be more extensive than either has acknowledged.

    • Officials visit WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange for the first time

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been visited by officials from the Australian High Commission.

      Two officials went to the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Assange has been living for almost six years.

      His internet and phone connections were cut off by the Ecuadorian government six weeks ago and he was denied visitors.

    • Aust officials pay visit Julian Assange
    • Australian officials pay visit to Julian Assange
    • Pamela Anderson Defends Russia and Julian Assange: ‘I’ve Spoken at the Kremlin Many Times’
    • Pamela Anderson boasts that she has spoken at the Kremlin ‘many times’ as she defends Putin and Julian Assange in bizarre Fox News interview
    • Pamela Anderson Says Trump Should Pardon Julian Assange Next
    • Pamela Anderson on Julian Assange: ‘He’s a very brave person’
    • Pamela Anderson defends Julian Assange: ‘A great testament to the human spirit’
    • Why Bringing Assange Home Would Be The Best Possible Thing For Australia

      According to a new report by the Sydney Morning Herald, officials from Australia’s High Commission have just been spotted leaving the Ecuadorian embassy in London, accompanied by Julian Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson. Robinson confirmed that a meeting had taken place, but declined to say what it was about “given the delicate diplomatic situation.”

      So, forgive me if I squee a bit. I am aware how subservient Australia has historically been to US interests, I am aware that those US interests entail the arrest of Assange and the destruction of WikiLeaks, and I am aware that things don’t often work out against the interests of the US-centralized empire. But there is a glimmer of hope now, coming from a direction we’ve never seen before. A certain southerly direction.

    • Ecuador Continues Playing Hardball With Assange

      On Monday Ecuadorian Foreign Minister María Fernanda Espinosa was elected to a one-year term as president of the United Nations General Assembly. On Tuesday she declared that her government would continue blocking WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange from all communications and deny him any personal visitors. On Wednesday it became 10 weeks since Ecuador’s government deprived Assange of his rights, which it is obliged to honor after granting him political asylum in its London embassy in 2012.

      The General Assembly vote in support of Espinosa was a substantial: 128 votes for 62 votes for the other nominee, Honduras’s UN ambassador, Mary Elizabeth Flores Flake. There were two abstentions. Washington was believed to favor Honduras because its right-wing government supported the provocative relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. After the vote, Espinosa again hinted that Ecuador is working to force Assange out of the embassy into the clutches of waiting police and the prospect of extradition to the United States on charges of espionage. She stated she was in discussion with both British authorities and Assange’s lawyers. “I think all parties are interested in finding an outlet, a solution, to this complex situation,” she declared.


      It appears Assange is being used as a bargaining chip in sordid negotiations between the U.S. and Ecuador. On June 4, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met Moreno. Amid the stepped-up persecution of Assange, Pence issued a statement lauding their discussion on “opportunities to reinvigorate the bilateral relationship” between the two countries. In words dripping with what sounded like imperialist deceit, Pence said the two countries would work together “to protect and promote freedom” and “build prosperity, security and democracy.”


      UN Body Called for His Release

      After years of delay, in late 2016 the Swedish police and prosecutors agreed to Assange’s repeated offer to be “questioned” in London. It belatedly took this action after a December 2015 ruling by the UN Working Party on Arbitrary Detentions.

      That ruling stated: “The Working Group considered that Mr. Assange has been subjected to different forms of deprivation of liberty… detention was arbitrary because he was held in isolation during the first stage of detention and because of the lack of diligence by the Swedish Prosecutor in its investigations, which resulted in the lengthy detention of Mr. Assange.”

      The ruling concluded: “The Working Group also considered that the detention should be brought to an end and that Mr. Assange should be afforded the right to compensation.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Northern Exposure: Alaska, Climate Change, Indigenous Rights, and Atmospheric Trust Litigation

      This chapter considers the atmospheric trust litigation in the case of Nelson Kanuk v. State of Alaska over the climate inaction of the State of the Alaska. The dispute is a compelling case study in respect of constitutional law, the public trust doctrine, climate change, intergenerational justice, Indigenous rights, and Indigenous intellectual property. The new litigation between Esau Sinnok and the State of Alaska promises to further refine and clarify issues in respect of climate change, human rights, and Indigenous interests. Such climate litigation highlights larger international legal issues in respect of Indigenous peoples and climate change. There has been debate over Indigenous rights and climate change during the discussions in respect of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007, the Anchorage Declaration 2009, the Paris Agreement 2015, and the Bonn climate talks in 2017. In the future, no doubt Indigenous communities will seek to engage in climate litigation against governments and corporations in order to seek redress for climate injustice, as well as loss and damage.

  • Finance

    • Tariff increases could bring us back to 2008 crisis levels, World Bank warns

      A ramp-up in the pace and scope of tariffs could set the world back to 2008 in terms of global trade levels, the World Bank has warned.

      In its latest Global Economic Prospects report, published Tuesday, the multinational finance organization had a grim forecast for both emerging and developed markets in the event that the commercial disputes underway between major economies intensifies.

      “A broad-based increase in tariffs worldwide would have major adverse consequences for global trade and activity,” the report said. “An escalation of tariffs up to legally-allowed bound rates could translate into a decline in global trade flows amounting to 9 percent, similar to the drop seen during the global financial crisis in 2008-09.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Unpublished Censorship Guidelines Lay Bare The Deepest Fears Of The Chinese Government

      In any case, experts seem to accept that it represents the Chinese government’s position quite well, which makes the insights it gives into official thinking extremely valuable. Forbidden activities include many that come as no surprise, such as: insulting leaders, criticizing official policies, spreading information about “made-up” accidents, epidemics, police incidents, and issues related to the economy. Celebrities are protected to a certain extent, with a ban on over-the-top stories about their sex scandals or luxurious lifestyles.


      It’s a great point that explains much of what the Chinese government has done over the last few years. What the authorities fear above all else is not so much any of the topics mentioned above in themselves, but the thought that they might help people to band together, and even formulate an idea that is truly frightening for Beijing: that they could start to resist.

    • Revenge Porn Dude Craig Brittain Files Hilariously Bad Lawsuit Against Twitter

      Ah, Craig Brittain is back. Never quite satisfied to recognize that after the FTC sanctioned him, his name is the equivalent of Pustule Nickelback McHitler II, he’s continued to lead his life of ridiculousness online, alternating between declaring himself a free speech hero and pushing to censor all his critics. And let us not forget his Senate campaign race in Arizona, which seemed to focus on Brittain’s strategy of insulting lots of people while declaring it was obvious he was going to win. That went so well that at the end of May it was revealed that he failed to get enough signatures and thus is not on the ballot.

      Apparently having some extra free time on his schedule, he has sued Twitter, pro se of course. It’s a fun read, and extra amusing as it comes just days after Chuck Johnson’s lawsuit against Twitter on sorta similar grounds was tentatively tossed out of court. At least Johnson had an actual lawyer file his suit. Brittain’s lawsuit, of course, cites the Packingham decision that a bunch of people have been misrepresenting to claim that it says social media can be considered a public forum. Brittain combines his misrepresentation of that opinion with a misrepresentation of the recent decision that President Trump cannot block followers, in order to claim that Twitter can’t kick off any political candidate.

    • Valve Decides To Get Out Of The Curation Business When It Comes To ‘Offensive’ Games

      As we’ve said in the past, Valve has always had a tricky line to walk with it’s Steam platform, having to straddle the needs of both the gamers that use the service and the game developers that make it worthwhile. Frankly, it’s walked this line fairly well for the most part. The platform, which was always popular, has exploded as the place to release a new game title online. As we noted way back in ye olde 2016, this popularity has also presented a problem for Steam: saturation. There are now simply so many games available on the platform that blindly wading into it and expecting to find new content you didn’t know you wanted is a dicey proposition at best. More content is an undeniably good thing, but it would be silly to suggest that the deluge of new games released in the past few years hasn’t also had a deleterious effect on the usability of the platform.

      Our solution? It won’t surprise you. We advocated that Steam empower the gamers that use it to act as curators. If done properly, this would allow an ecosystem of trusted advisers among gamers that share interests to tell them which titles they should be looking at. To that end, Steam subsequently employed a curators program within the platform that attempted to build exactly this ecosystem. To date, it’s been mediocre at best.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Continental Calls for Road Traffic’s “Vision Zero” to also Apply to Data Traffic

      Data protection deficiencies: Continental prohibits use of WhatsApp and Snapchat with immediate effect

    • Why the EU should dismantle Facebook

      Some analysts even project that, before long, Facebook will hold more data on its users than any government. Meanwhile, it makes a lot of money from this data. Its advertising revenues came up to around US$40 billion in 2017 (up 50% from 2016). With Google, it holds an 84% market share in online advertising.

    • Facebook bug set 14 million users’ sharing settings to public

      The bug, which affected those users from May 18 to May 22, occurred while Facebook was testing a new feature.

      After Facebook employees discovered the bug, the company went back and changed the privacy settings for all posts shared by those 14 million users during that time.

      Facebook changed every post by those users during the affected time period to private, including posts that people may have meant to share publicly. The company told CNN it took five days to make those changes.

    • Facebook Bug Sets 14 Million Users’ Private Posts Public

      For a period of four days in May, 14 million Facebook users had their default sharing setting for all new posts set to public, the company announced on Thursday.

      CNN reports affected users will “see a message from Facebook urging users to “Please Review Your Posts” and a link to a list of what they shared on Facebook while the bug was active.”

    • Let’s Solve the Deeper Problem That Makes Facebook’s Bad Acting Possible

      The New York Times reports that Facebook has “data sharing partnerships” with “at least sixty device makers”. That Facebook formed these partnerships in apparent violation of its own 2011 consent agreement with the FTC is also no surprise.

      The simple fact is that Facebook is in the personal data farming business. Finding a zillion ways to use personal data is a design feature of Facebook’s service infrastructure, and as unsurprising as finding out that there are a zillion ways to use wheat or corn.

      This is why contractual limits on data use by Facebook and its partners won’t exclude countless other first, second and third-order uses—especially when the appetite for personal data is flat-out boundless in the direct marketing industry that advertising has become in our digital age.

      The GDPR didn’t happen in a vacuum. Bad acting with personal data in the adtech business (the one that aims advertising with personal data) is the norm, not the exception. Promises by perpetrators of that business to respect personal privacy don’t just ring hollow. They scream absolute disrespect straight at your eyeballs every time they interrupt your “experience” (as the marketers like to call it) and require “consent” to being tracked by them and the posse of spies that are invited to invade and set up house your browser every time you visit.

    • Facebook Bug Defaulted 14 Million Users’ Posts To General Public, Now Fixed

      On Thursday, Facebook announced it had fixed a weird bug that exposed Facebook posts of millions of users to the public. Another privacy blunder, affecting 14 million users, the bug occurred while the company was testing a new feature.

      Generally, when you post something on Facebook, the audience selector picks up what you chose the last time. Many people choose the Friends option. So, it’s the default in most cases.

    • Facebook apologizes for privacy glitch that affected up to 14 million user
    • WikiLeaks took 10 days to reject Cambridge Analytica’s US emails bid, says Tricksy Nixy

      A defiant Alexander Nix has told MPs the Cambridge Analytica (CA) scandal was caused by lying media and the only person to trust is the one who wrote the app that quietly harvested personal data on more than 80 million people.

      The ex-CEO at CA started the hearing in a tense standoff with Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee chairman Damian Collins as he tried to read out prepared remarks before any questions were asked.

      “You’ve agreed to come and answer the members’ questions,” bristled Collins. “I’ve allowed you to make an opening statement and to go on now to the questions the committee wants to put to you. No, I will start the questions now.”

    • Cambridge Analytica chief accused of taking $8m before collapse
    • US to Limit Some Chinese Visas

      The U.S. State Department has announced plans to shorten the length of stay for some visas given to Chinese citizens.

      The move is part of an effort by the administration of President Donald Trump to protect U.S. intellectual property.

      The changes are expected to begin June 11. The State Department said that, under the new policy, U.S. consular officials giving visas may limit how long students can stay in the U.S. Currently, officials give visas for the maximum length of time possible.

      The State Department did not provide more details. However, a U.S. official told the Associated Press, or AP, that U.S. embassies and consulates were informed that some Chinese graduate students will be limited to one-year visas. This will be the case if the Chinese students are studying fields like robotics, aviation and high technology manufacturing.

    • IPVanish “No-Logging” VPN Led Homeland Security to Comcast User

      IPVanish, a VPN provider that for years claimed a strict no-logging policy, led Homeland Security to a suspect using a Comcast IP address, court papers filed in 2016 reveal. StackPath, the new operator of IPVanish, informs TorrentFreak that they won’t speak on behalf of the former team who have long since left the company. Assurances of security have been promised for the future, however.

    • New Homeland Security system will bring facial recognition to land borders this summer

      Now, that system is getting ready for a more permanent installation. In August, Customs and Border Protection will deploy a new system for scanning drivers’ faces as they leave the US, The Verge has learned. The pilot, called the Vehicle Face System (or VFS), is planned for installation at the Anzalduas border crossing at the southern tip of Texas and scheduled to remain in operation for a full year. The project is currently moving through the necessary privacy reviews, and it is set to be officially announced and submitted to the Federal Register in the coming months.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Court-Appointed Neutral Economic Experts

      Complex civil litigation routinely includes expert economic testimony. However, it may be hard for a jury to determine at trial which expert economist is more credible, and it may be hard for the judge to determine at the Daubert hearing whether the methodology upon which a given expert economist relies is intellectually rigorous enough to produce results that constitute admissible testimony. One solution rarely employed is for the court to appoint its own neutral economic expert under Rule 706 of the Federal Rules of Evidence when a lawsuit contains a claim for damages that will require rigorous analysis of data. Based on my recent experience as Judge Richard Posner’s court appointed economic expert on damages in patent infringement litigation, I explain how the wider use of Rule 706 would assist the judge and jury and would facilitate the prompt settlement of intellectual property, antitrust, securities, contract, business tort, and other complex disputes. The benefits to courts and litigants would surely exceed the costs.

    • Jeff Sessions’ Deceitful Spin on Family Separation

      On a talk show Tuesday, Jeff Sessions resorted to blatant lies in defense of tearing immigrant families apart.

      In an interview on Tuesday morning with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Attorney General Jeff Sessions doubled down on his defense of the Trump administration’s practice of tearing apart families seeking refuge in the United States, including those seeking asylum. The interview revealed not only Sessions’ lack of basic empathy and compassion but also his willingness to deceive the public in defending this cruel policy.

      During the conversation, Hewitt pushed Sessions to consider the implications of separating a child from his or her parent, even asking if Sessions could imagine his own grandchildren being taken from their parents. Yet Sessions would not be moved, opting instead to paint these devastated, vulnerable parents as criminals who are “just coming here because they’d like to make more money.”

      Further questioned on the morality of detaining people seeking asylum, Sessions resorted to outright lies. The issue, Sessions explained, is that people are not pursuing asylum in the correct way, by arriving through a U.S. port of entry: “If you come to the country, you should come through … the port of entry and make a claim of asylum.”

    • The Trump Administration Wants to Dump a Detained American Into One of the Most Dangerous Places on Earth

      The government said that it plans to drop off our client in Syria, either in a town or outside a refugee camp. He would have no identification or assurances of protection. This isn’t a safe release, it’s a death sentence, and we will soon be challenging it in court. As the U.S. government itself says in State Department travel advisories, no place in Syria is safe for U.S. citizens.

      Our client was detained in September by Kurdish forces in Syria and transferred to U.S. military custody in Iraq. The Trump administration has held this American as an “enemy combatant,” claiming that he fought for ISIS, which he denies. Now, with a court hearing scheduled in less than two weeks on whether the government can legally hold him, it wants to suddenly abandon him in the country he was trying to flee after being shot at, beaten, and threatened with death.

    • Kansas Prosecutors Are Locking People Up Rather Than Offering — Or Even Telling Them About — Diversion

      Last year, Melissa Braham was driving from Colorado to Missouri with her boyfriend and her two children. The car broke down in Kansas, and then her life broke down as well.

      A passerby called the police after allegedly smelling marijuana, and Ms. Braham was charged with possession of the marijuana and paraphernalia. She spent a month in jail pulling together her $2,500 bail and other fees, and eventually, she took a plea deal with six months of probation. This kept her confined to Kansas, a state where she knew no one.

      She soon lost her job in Colorado. And then, horrifically, the state of Kansas took her children from her, placing them in foster care and a new, strange school. The family remains separated today.

      Melissa Braham had no adult criminal record when she was prosecuted by Wilson County’s elected county attorney, Kenley Thompson. Her charges were extremely low-level. Given these facts, she was a good candidate for a program called “diversion,” by which defendants sign an agreement with prosecutors to stay out of trouble for a period of time, sometimes paying restitution, entering helpful counseling, or both.

      If defendants successfully meet these requirements, the prosecutor dismisses the charges. And that’s the beauty of diversion. It’s an intelligent and necessary alternative to pursuing expensive and disproportionately harsh prosecutions that seek to maximize punishment and jail or prison time rather than rehabilitation and long-term safety. In Kansas, prosecutors would save $8.9 million annually if they simply offered felony diversion in line with the national average of 9 percent, to say nothing of misdemeanors like Ms. Braham’s.

      But Thompson never even notified Ms. Braham of the existence of his county’s diversion program, despite the fact that notice is required by Kansas law. In 1980, the Kansas Supreme Court recognized that the notice requirement helps create a “uniform procedure to provide an alternative to formal conviction,” and the Kansas Attorney General’s Office has told the county attorneys under its authority that the purpose of the notification requirement is to “safeguard a defendant from discrimination by a prosecutor.” Therefore all county attorneys “must comply with the statutory diversion requirements.”

    • How Racial Profiling Goes Unchecked in Immigration Enforcement

      When immigration officers raided a rural Pennsylvania poultry transport company early last year, a lawyer for five undocumented men arrested saw plenty of evidence their rights had been violated.

      The Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers had no warrant to drive past the company’s “No Trespassing” signs and block the exits with their vans, or to demand documentation on the workers’ legal status. According to witnesses, the officers seemed to target workers solely based on their ethnicity: They lined up Latinos for questioning and asked white employees to lead them to more Latino workers.

      In a ruling last month, a Philadelphia immigration judge, John Carle, found there was a strong argument that the ICE officers had “egregiously violated” the Constitution. He noted that the agency presented no evidence to counter allegations of racial profiling.

      If the case had played out in criminal court, such a finding might well have resulted in the men going free.

      In immigration courts, however, there’s a higher bar, both for proving officers violated defendants’ rights and for getting cases thrown out as a result. Even when immigrants manage to meet this standard, they can get deported anyway.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Exclusive: China’s ZTE signed preliminary agreement to lift U.S. ban: sources

      ZTE Corp (000063.SZ) has signed an agreement in principle that would lift a U.S. Commerce Department ban on buying from U.S. suppliers, allowing China’s No. 2 telecommunications equipment maker to get back into business, according to sources familiar with the matter.

    • Chinese firm ZTE signs preliminary agreement with US to restore business: report

      In total, the U.S. will collect $1.7 billion from the Chinese phone company for violating sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

    • Potentially game-changing Ericsson 5G patent application moves closer to grant [Ed: If they cannot summarise this in a few pages, then it's not a patent and mere distortion of the patent system. Ericsson nowadays operates through patent trolls and acts like one itself.]

      What is quite possibly the longest patent application ever submitted continues on its merry way to grant. IAM understands that Ericsson has recently received a positive international preliminary report on patentability from the European Patent Office on a PCT filing submitted last year that describes a detailed 5G architecture reading on a wide range of applications with varying requirements and characteristics. It purports to set out higher bandwidth, lower latency, better reliability, longer battery life and less interference than anything contained in the prior art.

    • quic wg interim Kista

      The IETF QUIC working group had its fifth interim meeting the other day, this time in Kista, Sweden hosted by Ericsson. For me as a Stockholm resident, this was ridiculously convenient. Not entirely coincidentally, this was also the first quic interim I attended in person.

      We were 30 something persons gathered in a room without windows, with another dozen or so participants joining from remote. This being a meeting in a series, most people already know each other from before so the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. Lots of the participants have also been involved in other protocol developments and standards before. Many familiar faces.

    • Finance, Intangibles and the Privatization of Knowledge

      The paper examines different types of financial organization in a framework of incomplete law, under which the rights and the duties of the individuals are not completely specified. It focuses on the relationship between finance and specificity arguing that, while financial structure influences the degree of specificity of the assets, the degree of specificity of the assets influences the financial structure of firm. Because of these two-way relation, multiple possible equilibria exist and their selection is influenced by the nature the underlying assets. For this reason, the spectacular increase of intangibles is likely to have increased the role of equity finance relatively to traditional forms of banking, which are usually guaranteed by assets that, unlike most intangibles, have thick markets and fairly stable market values. The excessive financialization of the global economy mirrors the abnormal growth of intangibles and, in particular, of the assets related to the privatization of knowledge. International regulations should also tackle the negative effects of over-enclosing the knowledge commons.

    • Illegal Designs? Enhancing Cultural and Genetic Resource Protection Through Design Law

      Just a decade ago, a requirement that a designer disclose the origin of traditional cultural expressions, traditional knowledge, and biological or genetic resources used in creating a design in an industrial design application was virtually unheard of in national or regional protection systems. But as awareness of the many ways in which cultural and genetic resource use and misappropriation can occur is evolving, some developing countries have begun exploring the appropriateness of—and in some cases even instituting—such a requirement.

      These developments have taken center stage in the negotiations of a draft Design Law Treaty (DLT) in the World Intellectual Property Organization Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs, and Geographical Indications, which is expected to make it easier for applicants to obtain design protection globally by limiting domestic design registration requirements. Currently, a controversy exists over an African Group proposal to allow policy space in the draft DLT for countries to be able to require design applicants to disclose the origin of traditional cultural expressions, traditional knowledge, and biological or genetic resources used in creating protectable designs.

    • European Union Files WTO Complaint Against China on Unfair Intellectual Property Practices

      The European Union announced on June 1 that it has launched a complaint against China to the World Trade Organization (WTO), citing Chinese policies that discriminate against foreign firms and force them to transfer proprietary technology.

      In a press release, the European Commission explained that European firms operating in China—which are often forced to establish joint ventures with domestic companies in order to gain access to the Chinese market—have been made to transfer technology to their Chinese counterparts.

    • Copyrights

      • TIL: Hardcore Pirates May Be The Biggest Buyers Of Legal Content

        One way the pirates could be turned into revenue generating customers is to sell them merchandise of their favorite movie or TV shows. For instance, in the case of Marvel Comics, many die-hard fans have a huge collection of action figures that don’t come cheap.

      • EU Publishers Freak Out Now That People Are Realizing Just How Fucked Up Their Link Tax Really Is

        We recently had Julia Reda, a Member of the EU Parliament, on the podcast to discuss the horrible copyright directive proposal soon to be voted on by the Legal Affairs Committee in the EU Parliament. As we’ve been explaining, there are two very problematic parts to the copyright proposal: mandatory upload filters and the so-called “link tax.” The link tax is also refered to as neighboring right or a snippet tax or a wide variety of similar things. But the crux of it is this: publishers are annoyed that Google and Facebook are successful, while they’ve been struggling. Ergo, the simplest solution is that Google and Facebook should be giving them money.

        To make this happen, for a while now they’ve been dishonestly screaming that Google and Facebook are somehow unfairly “profiting” off of their work, because those sites link to online published news stories, often including snippets. The theory is that this somehow takes away from those own sites’ ability to profit. This… makes no sense. First off, this effort drives valuable traffic to the websites of these publishers. This is obvious from the fact that all of the publishers whining about this (1) have not used robots.txt to block sites like Google from scraping them and (2) employ their own search engine optimization team to appear higher in search results, showing they value traffic driven by search. The “solution” to this made up “problem” then is to say that sites like Google or Facebook are violating a brand new “publisher’s right” or “neighboring right” in sending these sites traffic without also paying them, and thus they want to force sites to get a license to send traffic.

      • Following Copyright Law Should Be Enough—Even When Payment Processors Say it Isn’t

        Imagine running an online business for 17 years, only to have your ability to collect payments suddenly turned off. No real explanation. It’s happened to Roz and Nir Arbel now—twice.

        The Arbels run an online community called Soulseek. Originally intended to be a dating service, Soulseek today consists of various chat rooms that also allow users to share files. It’s a place where community and relationships have flourished. The site is particularly popular with underground musicians, their fans, and other creative types, who can easily chat with each other and share their work online.

        Soulseek isn’t focused on profit, but the Arbels do take donations to offset their expenses from running the site. Those donations were processed by PayPal until the payment service abruptly terminated Soulseek’s service in February—with virtually no explanation and no coherent appeal process.

      • Act now to stop the EU’s plan to censor the web

        As the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament is nearing a vote on the proposed reform of the EU copyright rules, time is running out to make your voice heard. The vote will take place on June 20.

        The final copyright directive will have deep and lasting effects on the ability to create and share, to access and use education and research, and to support and grow diverse content platforms and information services. As it stands now, the copyright reform—especially Article 13—is a direct threat to the open web.

        Article 13 is the proposal that would require online platforms to monitor their users’ uploads and try to prevent copyright infringement through automated filtering.

        If you’re in the EU go to https://saveyourinternet.eu/ and tell Members of the European Parliament to delete Article 13 from the copyright directive.

      • MUSO, Of All Groups, Tells Copyright Holders To Get Their Shit Together And Treat Pirates Like The Customers They Are

        While the copyright industries love to frame so-called “pirates” as nefarious freeloaders who simply want to consume content for free, it’s been an open secret for some time now that these freeloaders are often outspending non-infringers on entertainment across the spectrum. Despite this clear indication that piracy is largely a problem of under-served customers, industry groups like the RIAA still prefer to play pretend with these obvious business metrics. The end result of this is that industry and anti-piracy groups essentially advocate for the attack of their constituents’ best customers, which ought to be about as insane a thing as one can imagine.

        But perhaps the tide is turning. An indication of that would be MUSO, the piracy-tracking group, essentially telling copyright industries to get their shit together and finally treat pirates like the great customers they tend to be. The report is based on a MUSO survey showing that 60% of UK citizens admit to engaging in copyright infringement, except the overwhelming majority of those “pirates” first tried, and failed, to get that content legally.

      • On June 20, an EU committee will vote on an apocalyptically stupid, internet-destroying copyright proposal that’ll censor everything from Tinder profiles to Wikipedia (SHARE THIS!)

        The European Union is updating its 2001 Copyright Directive, with a key committee vote coming up on June 20 or 21; on GDPR day, a rogue MEP jammed a mass censorship proposal into the draft that is literally the worst idea anyone in Europe ever had about the internet, ever.

        Under “Article 13,” sites that allow the public to post anything that might be copyrighted — text, pics, videos, games, sounds, code — will have to run user submissions through a copyright filter that will check to see if it matches the a known copyrighted work. It’s YouTube’s perennially busted, overblocking Content ID, but for everything from Github to the copyrighted images on that band tee you wore in your Tinder profile.

        These black boxes will have the unaccountable power of life or death over everything Europeans say to each other online. They’ll ingest everything we say to each other — likely sending it to one of the giant American tech companies that specialise in this kind of filtering — and render a judgment.

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DecorWhat Else is New

  1. Trying to 'Finish the Job' of Bully de Blanc and Deb Nicholson by Rewriting History (and Even Terms) for Microsoft

    Heather J. Meeker is trying to rewrite history and now we can see who her financial masters and hosts are (lots of Microsoft); The media portrayed her as some kind of historian for Free software a few months ago (as funding had been secured), but she already outsources everything to proprietary software controlled by Microsoft. This will be corporate revisionism; moreover, there’s employment history with Microsoft. As an associate put it: “The employment history with Microsoft is a dead give away that she will only spew lies and disinformation” (using books and such; the revisionism is well funded); the latest blog from the OSI is also sponsored by Microsoft (both the blog post and the person who wrote it)

  2. Links 09/06/2023: Tor Browser 12.0.7 and Many Linux Devices

    Links for the day

  3. Linux Foundation Demotes Mr. Linux, Linus Torvalds, to Third (in Salaries), Only Uses Him for the Name

    The Linux [sic] Foundation‘s tax filings (divulged by the Nonprofit Explorer) show that it now pays “CHRIS ANISZCZYK” and “JAMES ZEMLIN” more than it pays “LINUS TORVALDS”, sans bonuses. Torvalds fell to third place already. Mr. Zemlin pays himself over $1.2 million a year. He doesn’t even use Linux. He lacks credentials and accomplishments (except for selling out to companies like Microsoft), but he keeps pandering to power and money (Bill Gates). It should be noted that the Torvalds bonus was added only after backlash had erupted.

  4. HMRC is Just Taking Taxpayers' Money and Not Enforcing the Law (or Selectively Enforcing It for the Political Masters)

    What we've been demonstrating or highlighting so far this year is a defunct system of accountability, wherein the government officials and their associates are essentially above the law; can they endure the negative press that entails?

  5. GNU/Linux Decade in India: From 1.5% to 13.5%

    The world's largest population is quick to move away from Windows; not many adopt Apple (Indians don't care for overpriced junk), so GNU/Linux is growing fast

  6. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, June 08, 2023

    IRC logs for Thursday, June 08, 2023

  7. Links 09/06/2023: Microsoft's 'Online' ("Clown"/OneDrive) Storage Goes Down Again, Files Cannot be Reached

    Links for the day

  8. What Will Happen After All Major News Sites Die Isn't Pretty

    With webspam, chaff, sponsored puff pieces and worse things being presented as "the news" we're running out of actual purpose for the World Wide Web

  9. HMRC 3 Weeks Later: No Action, Same as 'Action Fraud' (Your Tax Money 'at Work')

    When people need police enforcement against a crime it turns out that police is “MIA” (missing in action); it might matter that Sirius worked with the British government, so there’s a reduced incentive to affirm crimes were committed and then arrest the perpetrators

  10. Links 08/06/2023: Istio 1.18 and FreeIPMI 1.6.11

    Links for the day

  11. Gemini Links 08/06/2023: Sourcehut, Gemini Identity, and BBS Comments on Cosmos

    Links for the day

  12. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, June 07, 2023

    IRC logs for Wednesday, June 07, 2023

  13. The Need to Evolve on the Internet

    Tux Machines is one year away from its twentieth birthday and its increased focus on protocols aside from HTTP/S is paying off; Tux Machines also weaned itself off all social control media, including Mastodon and Diaspora (they're not the future, they're the past)

  14. EPO Management is Still Bullying the Staff (While Breaking the Law and Violating the European Patent Convention)

    Overloaded or overworked EPO workers are complaining about further deterioration at the workplace and their representatives say "this management style may well contribute to feelings of disengagement, depression, or even burn-out"

  15. His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Not Responding After 20 Days (Well-Founded Report of Tax Fraud) and British Police Pretending Not to Exist

    The crimes of Sirius ‘Open Source’ have helped unearth a profound problem in the British law enforcement authorities; What good is a monopolistic taxman (called after the British Monarchy even in 2023) that cannot assess its own tax abuses? Or abuses connected to it via a contractor? Meanwhile, as per what I was told, the police is not responding to my MP and that’s ANOTHER scandal (police not only refusing to act against crimes, committed against many people, but moreover not responding to elected politicians)

  16. Links 08/06/2023: Cinnamon 5.8 and Leap 15.5 Release Mature

    Links for the day

  17. Gemini Links 08/06/2023: Emacs and Thoughts on Bubble

    Links for the day

  18. Links 07/06/2023: Reddit Layoffs and OpenGL 3.1 in Asahi Linux

    Links for the day

  19. Gemini Links 07/06/2023: Jukka Charting Geminispace

    Links for the day

  20. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, June 06, 2023

    IRC logs for Tuesday, June 06, 2023

  21. NOW LIVE: Working for the Public — Universities, Software and Freedom - a Talk by Richard Stallman at Università di Pisa (Italy)

    As noted a few hours ago, Richard Stallman is delivering a talk at Università di Pisa this morning

  22. Richard Stallman's Talk is in Two Hours and There's a BigBlueButton Livestream

    Dr. Stallman is in Italy to give talks at universities this week; he will soon give a live talk, accessible in his site or directly at the source

  23. Links 06/06/2023: Angie 1.2.0, New EasyOS and EndeavourOS Released

    Links for the day

  24. Gemini Links 06/06/2023: OpenKuBSD, GrapheneOS, and More

    Links for the day

  25. Links 06/06/2023: OpenSUSE Plans for Leap

    Links for the day

  26. Gemini Links 06/06/2023: Bubble 4.0, Neutral News, and Older Bits

    Links for the day

  27. IBM's War on Open (Look at the Pattern of Layoffs at Red Hat)

    By abandoning OpenSource.com and OpenOffice.org/LibreOffice IBM sends out a clear signal that it doesn’t understand or simply does not care about the community of Free software users; its siege against the FSF and other institutions never ended and today we look at who’s being laid off or shown the door (the work environment is intentionally being made worse)

  28. Links 06/06/2023: IceWM 3.4.0 and Liveslak 1.7.0

    Links for the day

  29. Gemini Links 06/06/2023: Apple Might Kill VR, Tea Tea Deluxe 1.2.7 and Tea Land

    Links for the day

  30. IRC Proceedings: Monday, June 05, 2023

    IRC logs for Monday, June 05, 2023

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