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07.10.18

Links 10/7/2018: Wine 3.12, FreeNAS 11.2 Beta, GNU Helps Journalism

Posted in News Roundup at 10:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google Releases Open Source Tool to Containerize Java App Deployments

    Google wants to make it easier for Java developers to containerize their applications.

    The company this week announced Jib, an open-source Java tool that it says will enable developers to build Java containers more easily using tools with which they are already familiar.

    In a blog post July 9, Google software engineers Appu Goundan and Qingyang Chen described Jib as a container image builder designed to handle all the steps involved in packaging a Java application into a container.

    “Containerizing a Java application is no simple task,” Goundan and Chen wrote. “You have to write a Dockerfile, run a Docker daemon as root, wait for builds to complete, and finally push the image to a remote registry.”

  • How open source can transform the way a company’s developers work together

    Open source has been a tech mainstay for decades in large part, as Tilde co-founder and JavaScript veteran Yehuda Katz has argued, because it “gives engineers the power to collaborate across …companies without involving [business development].”

    “The benefits of this workaround are extraordinary and underappreciated,” Katz continued. But open source offers something just as extraordinary and even more underappreciated, something that edX community lead John Mark Walker recently pointed out on Twitter.

  • Why you really don’t want just one vendor running an open source project

    When someone calls out Linux and Hadoop as two multi-vendor open source communities that have “made commercialization of the technology extremely competitive and difficult,” it would be reasonable to wonder what planet they live on. After all, as MongoDB’s Henrik Ingo challenged, “Surely those are the two biggest and most successful ecosystems???”

    Joseph Jacks, who made the first statement, is active with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. He’s not a newbie to open source. In arguing for single-vendor open source “communities” and their allegedly superior economics, he has perhaps unwittingly argued for (one) winner-takes-all when far more money is available in (many) winners-take-much markets.

    But first, here’s what we’re not talking about.

  • Privacy-Centric ‘Bob Wallet’ Adds Bitcoin Cash Support

    Privacy is important in the cryptocurrency ecosystem to a large number of individuals, and people believe private transactions are needed badly these days in a society watched by the ‘deep state.’ Because people find privacy to be extremely important, some developers have designed bitcoin mixers and tumblers that help obfuscate cryptocurrency transactions recorded on public blockchains. One specific project in the works called Bob Wallet offers a privacy-centric client that enables users to move BTC and BCH from a public wallet to a private wallet in a secretive fashion.

  • Private & Public Open Source Bob Wallet Adds Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Crypto Support

    Privacy-centric Bob Wallet recently added Bitcoin Cash (BCH) support so BCH users can use BCH Testnet coins and experiment with the mixing service. The Wallet was created to help preserve Bitcoins fungibility. Today it is easy to trace bitcoin transactions from address to address by simply using any public Block Explorer. Bob Wallet helps fix this.

    The open source project doesn’t allow you to make payments to others as its only purpose is to allow the movement of funds from your public wallet to a private wallet in an isolated manner. The project, which is currently in Beta should only be used in Testnet for now until the software is thoroughly tested. Users can visit the Bob Wallet website or drag and drop the ‘bobwallet.html’ into a browser to create a new Bob Wallet.

  • 6 open source cryptocurrency wallets

    Without crypto wallets, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum would just be another pie-in-the-sky idea. These wallets are essential for keeping, sending, and receiving cryptocurrencies.

    The revolutionary growth of cryptocurrencies is attributed to the idea of decentralization, where a central authority is absent from the network and everyone has a level playing field. Open source technology is at the heart of cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks. It has enabled the vibrant, nascent industry to reap the benefits of decentralization—such as immutability, transparency, and security.

  • Windstream’s Nichols, Frane discuss why open source is important

    While the road to virtualization has included potholes and bad signage, open source can provide the right roadmap, according to Windstream executives.

    Although some service providers are still on the fence when it comes to using open source, Windstream Enterprise’s Arthur Nichols, vice president of network architecture and technology, and Mike Frane, vice president of product development and portal, are believers.

    Windstream is using open source technologies or applications from OpenStack, ONOS, Kafka, Message Bus and RabbitMQ, to name just a few. It’s also a member of the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) open source community.

  • Istio: The New Open Source Cloud Hotness

    Expect to hear a lot more about Istio, an emerging open source technology for orchestrating microservices networking. The buzz is already building, says Kip Compton, senior vice president of Cisco’s cloud platform and solutions group.

  • Mapping Open Source Governance Models

    If you would like to contribute some data about the governance on an open source project which is not listed there or you have more details about one which is already listed please don’t hesitate to contribute. Create a pull request or an open an issue and I’ll get the information added.

    This is a nice small fun project. SUSE Hack Week gives me a bit of time to work on it. If you would like to join, please get in touch.

  • Events

    • Early uses of blockchain will barely be visible, says Hyperledger’s Brian Behlendorf

      The blockchain revolution is coming, but you might not see it. That’s the view of Brian Behlendorf, executive director of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project.

      Speaking at the TC Sessions: Blockchain event in Zug, Switzerland, Behlendorf explained that much of the innovation that the introduction of blockchains are primed to happen behind this the scenes unbeknownst to most.

      “For a lot of consumers, you’re not going to realize when the bank or a web form at a government website or when you go to LinkedIn and start seeing green check marks against people’s claims that they attended this university — which are all behind-the-scenes that will likely involve blockchain,” Behlendorf told interviewer John Biggs.

    • Anniversary Schedule at OSCON

      The Open Source Initiative (OSI), in conjunction with OSCON, will be celebrating 20 years of Open Source next week at the Oregon Convention Center, Portland.

    • FSF Events: Conference – “SeaGL 2018″ (Seattle, WA)

      The Seattle GNU/Linux Conference (November 9–10) is this year again going to take place at Seattle Central College (Maps).

    • Taiwan Travel Blog – Day 1

      I’m going to DebConf18 later this month, and since I had some free time and I speak a somewhat understandable mandarin, I decided to take a full month of vacation in Taiwan.

      I’m not sure if I’ll keep blogging about this trip, but so far it’s been very interesting and I felt the urge to share the beauty I’ve seen with the world.

      This was the first proper day I spent in Taiwan. I arrived on the 8th during the afternoon, but the time I had left was all spent traveling to Hualien County (花蓮縣) were I intent to spend the rest of my time before DebConf.

    • Still not going to Debconf…. (100%)

      I was looking forward to this year’s Debconf in Taiwan, the first in Asia, and the perspective of attending it with no jet lag, but I happen to be moving to Okinawa and changing jobs on August 1st, right at the middle of it…

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Welcoming Sunil Abraham – Mozilla Foundation’s New VP, Leadership Programs

        I’m thrilled to welcome Sunil Abraham as Mozilla Foundation’s new VP, Leadership Programs. Sunil joins us from The Center for Internet and Society, the most recent chapter in a 20 year career of developing free and open source software and an open internet agenda.

      • Firefox now supports the macOS share menu

        Firefox now supports the macOS share menu. This means you can send the current page you are viewing to another application. For instance, you can add a link to your Things 3 or Omnifocus inbox, add a page to Apple Notes, send a link to Evernote, send a link to someone using messages, or share a link to a social network.

      • Notable moments in Firefox desktop pre-release UA string history

        I’m sure everyone remembers this super great blog post from 2010 about changes in the Firefox 4 user agent string. In terms of “blog posts about UA string changes”, it’s, well, one of them.

      • Firefox 62 Beta 8 Testday, July 13th

        We are happy to let you know that Friday, July 13th, we are organizing Firefox 62 Beta 8 Testday. We’ll be focusing our testing on 3-Pane Inspector and React animation inspector features.

  • CMS

    • Acquia CTO defines ‘decoupled’ Drupal

      Many open source enthusiasts (practitioners, paragons, partisans, preachers and protagonists) will have heard of Drupal.

      For those that haven’t, Drupal is an open source content management framework, as well as an extended community of developers, maintainers and business supporters.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Rainmeter 4.2 Build 3111 [Ed: GPL, but Windows only]

      Rainmeter is a free, open-source platform that enables skins to run on the desktop. Rainmeter allows you to display customizable skins on your desktop, from hardware usage meters to fully functional audio visualizers. You are only limited by your imagination and creativity.

      Rainmeter is the best known and most popular desktop customization program for Windows. Enhance your Windows computer at home or work with skins; handy, compact applets that float freely on your desktop. Rainmeter skins provide you with useful information at a glance. It’s easy to keep an eye on your system resources, like memory and battery power, or your online data streams, including email, RSS feeds, and weather forecasts.

    • 15 open source applications for MacOS
  • Funding

  • BSD

    • FreeNAS 11.2-BETA1

      We are pleased to announce the general availability of FreeNAS 11.2-BETA1. This initial version of the 11.2 series is considered to be feature-complete and ready for testing. Users, especially those who use Plugins, Jails, or VMs, are encouraged to update to this release in order to take advantage of the many improvements and bug fixes to those subsystems. Please report any bugs to https://redmine.ixsystems.com/projects/freenas/.

      To update to this release, select the 11.2-STABLE train in System → Update. Should you need to return to the 11.1 series after updating, reboot and select that boot environment from the boot menu.

    • FreeNAS 11.2 Beta Rolls Out With FreeBSD Bootloader, Self-Encrypting Drives

      The folks at iX Systems have announced their first public beta of FreeNAS 11.2, their downstream of FreeBSD 11.2 focused on supporting network-attached storage (NAS) systems.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC’s Conversion To Git Is Being Held Up By RAM, a.k.a. Crazy DDR4 Prices

      After converting the GNU Emacs repository to Git a few years back, Eric S Raymond has been working on the massive undertaking of transferring the GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) repository in full over to Git. But the transition to GCC Git is being hampered since due to the massive size of the repository, Raymond’s system is running under extreme memory pressure with 64GB of RAM.

      ESR provided an update on the GCC repository conversion process. He has managed to solve the only known remaining technical bug that’s been blocking the repository, but now he can’t get the process completed since he’s over-running memory capacity. His primary workstation has 64GB of DDR4 memory and that’s turned out to not be enough for the GNU Compiler Collection repository with more than a quarter million commits over the past three decades.

    • How ProPublica Illinois Uses GNU Make to Load 1.4GB of Data Every Day

      I avoided using GNU Make in my data journalism work for a long time, partly because the documentation was so obtuse that I couldn’t see how Make, one of many extract-transform-load (ETL) processes, could help my day-to-day data reporting. But this year, to build The Money Game, I needed to load 1.4GB of Illinois political contribution and spending data every day, and the ETL process was taking hours, so I gave Make another chance.

      Now the same process takes less than 30 minutes.

      Here’s how it all works, but if you want to skip directly to the code, we’ve open-sourced it here.

      [...]

      GNU Make is well-suited to this task. Make’s model is built around describing the output files your ETL process should produce and the operations required to go from a set of original source files to a set of output files.

      As with any ETL process, the goal is to preserve your original data, keep operations atomic and provide a simple and repeatable process that can be run over and over.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Why DOD Should Look Before Leaping into Open Source

      In February 2018, the Department of Defense (DOD) Defense Digital Service (DDS) relaunched Code.mil to expand the use of open source code. In short, Code.mil aims to enable the migration of some of the department’s custom-developed code into a central repository for other agency developers to reduce work redundancy and save costs in software development. This move to open source makes sense considering that much of the innovation and technological advancements we are seeing are happening in the open source space.

      Since its launch, Code.mil has, according to the DDS, helped spur many open source-enabled projects, including the creation of eMCM last March—an easily accessible web-based version of the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM) that outlines the official conduct guide to the courts-martial in the U.S. military. Before the digital relaunch of MCM, the process for updating the Manual for Courts-Martial was tedious and involved approvals from a handful of government offices, resulting in delayed and outdated releases of guidance that occurred only once every several years. In its open version, the MCM is periodically updated allowing for a live version to be widely accessible across the U.S. military.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Elsevier Will Monitor Open Science In EU Using Measurement System That Favors Its Own Titles

        In other words, one of the core metrics that Elsevier will be applying as part of the Open Science Monitor appears to show bias in favor of Elsevier’s own titles. One result of that bias could be that when the Open Science Monitor publishes its results based on Elsevier’s metrics, the European Commission and other institutions will start using Elsevier’s academic journals in preference to its competitors. The use of CiteScore creates yet another conflict of interest for Elsevier.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • ARM Launches “Facts” Campaign Against RISC-V

        It looks like Arm Limited is going on the offensive against the RISC-V open-source processor instruction set architecture.

        ARM has launched RISCV-Basics.com as a site to “understanding the facts” about the RISC-V architecture.

        Their five points they try to make before designing a SoC is that the ISA accounts for only a small portion of the total investment to creating a commercial processor, RISC-V doesn’t yet have an a large developer ecosystem, there is the risk of fragmentation with this open-source ISA, RISC-V is new and thus not yet as mature in terms of being a proven architecture around security, and greater design costs with RISC-V due to potential re-validation if modifying the ISA.

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Malware Found On The Arch User Repository (AUR)

      On June 7, an AUR package was modified with some malicious code, reminding Arch Linux users (and Linux users in general) that all user-generated packages should be checked (when possible) before installation.

      AUR, or the Arch (Linux) User Repository contains package descriptions, also known as PKGBUILDs, which make compiling packages from source easier. While these packages are very useful, they should never be treated as safe, and users should always check their contents before using them, when possible. After all, the AUR webpage states in bold that “AUR packages are user produced content. Any use of the provided files is at your own risk.”

      The discovery of an AUR package containing malicious code proves this. acrored was modified on June 7 (it appears it was previously “orphaned”, meaning it had no maintainer) by an user named “xeactor” to include a curl command that downloaded a script from a pastebin. The script then downloaded another script and installed a systemd unit to run that script periodically.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Claranet Buys NotSoSecure

      Claranet, a managed service provider with services focused on western Europe and Brazil, has purchased NotSoSecure, a firm specializing in penetration testing and ethical hacker training.

      The purchase follows Claranet’s 2017 acquisition of SEC-1, a security firm based in the United Kingdom. According to a Claranet statement announcing the purchase, the security acquisitions, together with the opening of a security operations center in Portugal, are part of the company’s intention to increase their overall security services capabilities.

    • Firefox, Security Keys, U2F, and Google Advanced Protection

      Advanced Protection for Google Accounts uses a legacy web technology that is only partially supported in Firefox. Here is how you get started with physical security keys and extra protections for your Google Account in Firefox.

      [...]

      Before you can enroll in the Google Advanced Protection program, you must have at least two security keys at the ready. You can use the same keys for multiple Google Accounts, and even reuse the same keys with different U2F-enabled web services.

      You should keep a record of which of your keys are registered with which websites. If you loose a key or want to decommission one, you’ll need this record to know all the accounts you’ll need to update.

      You can use any FIDO U2F security keys as long as they’re compatible with your devices. Google recommend you get one regular key with USB as your backup token, and one mobile-capable with wireless Bluetooth and NFC as the primary key you carry around with you. Specifically, Google recommends the YubiKey U2F (USB) and either the Feitan Multipass (Bluetooth/NFC/USB) or YubiKey Neo (NFC/USB). Bluetooth is more compatible with a wider range of devices, but the Bluetooth capabilities requires you to charge the key. NFC is less compatible with cheaper smartphones and other devices. However, neither NFC nor USB modes require you to charge the keys for them to operate.

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #167
    • WellMess: This Go-based Malware Attacks Both Linux And Windows Machines [Ed: If the user actually needs to install it, then the threat is the user, not the program]
    • 6 Open Source Software Security Concerns Dispelled [Ed: White Source typically badmouths FOSS to sell its wares and services. Anat Richter, for a change, tries a more positive approach.]

      Used by developers around the world, open source components makes up 60%-80% of the codebase in modern applications. Open source components are downloaded thousands of times per day to create applications for organizations of varying sizes and across all industries.

      But despite the continuously growing adoption there are still myths to dispel and concerns to mitigate around the usage of open source components in commercial software. The following is a list of the top concerns associated with open source usage and how to overcome each one of these stumbling blocks:

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Russia Trolls CIA Over World Cup: ‘Congratulations Accepted’—Now Add Crimea to Our Map
    • From CIA-Backed Wars to Cartel Violence: Inside the Roots of the Refugee Crisis in Central America

      Across the United States, thousands of migrant children remain detained alone after the Trump administration forcibly separated them from their parents at the border. Yet, despite the news about the United States’ human rights abuses of migrants, asylum seekers keep risking the dangerous journey to the United States. Texas-based human rights lawyer Jennifer Harbury has lived in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas for more than 40 years and has long worked with people fleeing violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. She also knows intimately the U.S. roots of this conflict. Her husband, Efraín Bámaca Velásquez, was a Mayan comandante and guerrilla who was disappeared after he was captured by the U.S.-backed Guatemalan army in the 1980s. After a long campaign, she found there was U.S. involvement in the cover-up of her husband’s murder and torture. We speak with Jennifer Harbury in Brownsville, Texas, about this history and this U.S. involvement in today’s conflicts in Central America.

    • CIA-Linked Military Contractor Used Arizona “Black Site” to Secretly Jail Dozens of Migrant Children

      A major U.S. military and CIA contractor has been detaining dozens of migrant children inside a vacant Phoenix office building with dark windows, no kitchen and only a few toilets, according to a new investigation by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. Reveal learned about what some are calling the “black site” for migrant children after one local resident filmed children in sweatsuits being led into the building. The building was leased in March by MVM, a defense contractor that Reveal reports has received nearly $250 million in contracts to transport immigrant children since 2014. We speak with the lead reporter on this story, Aura Bogado, in Oakland, California. She is the immigration reporter for Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

    • Human Rights Lawyer Jennifer Harbury on How Trump Is Punishing Cartels’ Victims—Not Their Members

      A federal judge will hold a hearing today on whether to delay Tuesday’s deadline that mandated the reunification of all children under the age of 5 whom the Trump administration separated from their parents at the border. The Trump administration is claiming it needs more time to match children with their parents, including at least 19 parents who have already been deported. The American Civil Liberties Union says less than half of separated children under the age of 5 will be reunited by the Tuesday deadline. As Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy crackdown continues, we speak with human rights lawyer Jennifer Harbury about how U.S. foreign policy has led to the violence that Central Americans are fleeing, and what happens when people follow the U.S. government’s instructions and attempt to apply for political asylum at a legal port of entry. Jennifer Harbury has lived in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas for more than 40 years. She works with people fleeing violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, and has been active in the response to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.

    • RAF running out of funds while government ‘bangs on’ about cyber threat, says former defence chief

      The RAF risks falling behind in the government’s obsession over the cyber threat, a former Chief of the Defence Staff warns.

      Defence cuts have left the RAF struggling to meet its operational commitments and as celebrations for the centenary year of the RAF continue, the government is once again pressed on funding for Britain’s armed forces.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange case affecting ties with Britain: Ecuador FM

      The ongoing case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has affected the relationship between the United Kingdom and Ecuador, according to Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Jose Valencia.

      Assange, an Australian national, sought asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in London in 2012 and has been there ever since.

      “It would be unrealistic to say the Assange issue has not affected our relationship with the United Kingdom. It has been affected. However, it has not completely collapsed. We still have contact on a variety of issues,” Valencia told Ecuador’s Radio Sucesos.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • China Weighs Further Cuts in Electric-Car Subsidies

      China is considering a further reduction in electric-vehicle subsidies next year as the government pushes automakers to innovate rather than rely on fiscal policy to spur demand for alternative-energy cars, people familiar with the plan said.

      The average purchase incentive per electric vehicle may be lowered by more than a third from the 2018 levels, said the people, who asked not to be identified disclosing information that isn’t public. Vehicles may be required to be able to go at least 200 kilometers (125 miles) on a single charge to be eligible for incentives, up from 150 kilometers currently, said the people. The plan is still under discussion and subject to changes, they said.

      Subsidies have been key to making plug-in hybrids and EVs of companies such as BYD Co., backed by Warren Buffett, more affordable to Chinese consumers and helping the country surpass the U.S. as the world’s biggest in 2015. The central government spent 6.64 billion yuan ($1 billion) last year funding consumers’ purchases of such autos. On top of what the federal government spends, Chinese cities and provinces separately offer incentives to make electric cars more appealing in a country where automakers from Volkswagen AG to Ford Motor Co. are planning to increase EV offerings.

    • China Rethinking EV Incentives To Promote New Technology Solutions

      Every government knows if you want people to do something, give them free money. Norway leads the world in the percentage of electric cars sold because it offers its citizens the highest EV incentives. China is not far behind. Last year it doled out over a billion dollars in EV incentives to encourage its citizens to buy electric cars. Local authorities also offer additional incentives. But its leaders are rethinking their priorities

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why Congress Should Not Honor One of the Most Notorious Doping Cheats of All Time

      Congress should look beyond the flawed New York Times coverage of alleged state-sponsored Russian Olympic doping, which relied on a discredited informant and then largely ignored a respectable court.

    • Putting a Face (Mine) to the Risks Posed by GOP Games on Mueller Investigation

      To protect the investigation, I will not disclose this person’s true identity or the identity and/or role I believe he played in the attack. Nor will I disclose when I went to the FBI. I did so on my own, without subpoena; I did that in an effort to protect people who have spoken to me in confidence and other journalists. Largely because this effort involved a number of last minute trips to other cities, I spent around $6K of my own money traveling to meet with lawyers and for the meeting with the FBI.

    • Inspector General: ICE Detention Facility Inspections Are A Joke

      With ICE doing increased business everywhere in the US, the need to place detainees somewhere has never been greater. The president may have rescinded his demand families be separated and tossed into “foster care or whatever,” but that just means detainee housing now has to cater to the needs of the young and old alike.

      The government has a duty of care for every person it locks up. The duty is still there. The care isn’t. The way prisoners are routinely treated shows the government thinks of arrestees and prisoners as something less than human. The way it treats people who aren’t even citizens is bound to be worse. The only mitigating factor is there are fewer immigrants to keep track of. But that shouldn’t be taken to mean the average amount of “care” is slightly higher.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • More Police Admitting That FOSTA/SESTA Has Made It Much More Difficult To Catch Pimps And Traffickers

      Prior to the passage of SESTA/FOSTA, we pointed out that — contrary to the claims of the bill’s suppporters — it would almost certainly make law enforcement’s job much more difficult, and thus actually would help human traffickers. The key: no matter what you thought of Backpage, it cooperated with law enforcement. And, law enforcement was able to use it to track down traffickers using online services like Backpage. Back in May we noted that police were starting to realize there was a problem here, and it appears that’s continuing.

      Over in Indianapolis, the police have just arrested their first pimp in 2018, and it involved an undercover cop being approached by the pimp.

    • Police in Pennsylvania Are Abusing the State’s Hate Crime Law to Punish Speech

      We rightly expect our police to be thick-skinned because their job is, by definition, dealing with people at their worst.

      When reporter Joshua Vaughn of The Appeal told me that some Pennsylvania police have charged people with “ethnic intimidation” — the state’s version of a hate crime — for saying offensive things to the officers who arrest them, I thought, “Not again!”

      No, really. This is another version of “contempt of cop,” the police practice of punishing people who defy them with criminal charges. So now, amidst a rising tide of actual hate crimes, we have police officers using hate crime laws to punish people who get angry when they are being arrested.

      In June, I reviewed the affidavits of probable cause that four officers used to justify hate crimes charges against four suspects in 2016. Two people were being arrested for minor crimes. The third was arrested for getting upset when the police would not take her complaint, and the fourth was being picked up for a psychiatric check.

      Yet, all of them ended up charged with hate crimes.

    • Blaming The Messenger (App): WhatsApp Takes The Blame In India Over Violence

      This has resulted in many, many calls for WhatsApp (and its parent company, Facebook) to “do something” about this. Indeed, the Indian government has more or less demanded that WhatsApp stop “false messages” from being spread on its app. Of course, that’s… not easy. It’s not easy for a variety of reasons, both technical and cultural. On the technical side, WhatsApp is (famously, and for very good and helpful reasons) using end-to-end encryption. So no one at WhatsApp/Facebook can see what’s in those messages. That’s a good thing (especially for everyone whining about how Facebook sucks up too much data about us). No one should want WhatsApp to backdoor that encryption in any way, because that just creates even more problems.

      And then of course, there’s the cultural side of this. Even if WhatsApp could read the messages, how could it possibly know what was legit and what was not. And how could it determine that fast enough to stop a mob from going nuts.

      WhatsApp has tried to explain all of this to the Indian government — and rather than understanding these issues, many people seem to be screaming about how this is Facebook/WhatsApp “ignoring” its responsibility.

    • Opinion: Little House on the Prairie and the retrospective censorship of books

      Were Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl racists and should we stop our children from reading their books?

      That may seem ridiculous and unthinkable, but if we follow in the footsteps of America we could find ourselves seriously asking those questions.

      On the other side of the pond a once highly respected children’s author has had her name removed from a literary prize more than 60 years after her death because of her ‘stereotypical attitudes’ towards African Americans and Native Americans.

    • Stripping Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from literature award is censorship
    • Librarians censoring Wilder
    • Flowers: Straight-out censorship
    • Letter: Book censorship
    • Is Sam Gyimah right to be worried about safe-space policies?

      Universities visited by the higher education minister, Sam Gyimah, have denied that his recent comments about a “culture of censorship” could refer to them. Gyimah said: “At one institution when I turned up to speak to students they read the safe‑space policy and it took 20 minutes.”

      Yet all eight universities he had visited said this was not the case, according to the website Research Professional. A spokeswoman for the Department for Education explained: “I don’t believe he means someone actually read the policy out at one of the meetings, he means a student said it to him anecdotally.”

    • Report on Censorship of Art on Campus

      “One Man’s Vulgarity” is the name of a report being issued today by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education on censorship of art on campus. The report documents numerous cases and urges those concerned with free expression in higher education to protect artistic freedom in higher education. “The artwork described here expresses a multitude of ideological viewpoints and depicts subjects ranging from critical illustrations of the Confederate flag to theater productions about Lenny Bruce to posters of beloved television characters. The one thing they all have in common is not the message they send, but the censorship their messages provoked,” the report says.

    • SLAV: Montreal Jazz Festival faces consequences, not censorship, over cancelled show
    • Eminem accused of censorship in Oslo
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Facebook’s Push for Facial Recognition Prompts Privacy Alarms

      When Facebook rolled out facial recognition tools in the European Union this year, it promoted the technology as a way to help people safeguard their online identities.

      “Face recognition technology allows us to help protect you from a stranger using your photo to impersonate you,” Facebook told its users in Europe.

      It was a risky move by the social network. Six years earlier, it had deactivated the technology in Europe after regulators there raised questions about its facial recognition consent system. Now, Facebook was reintroducing the service as part of an update of its user permission process in Europe.

    • Court Compares Car Crash Data To CSLI, Cellphone Contents; Tells Cops Best Bet Is To Always Get A Warrant

      The Supreme Court’s ruling in the Carpenter case came as something of a surprise. The nation’s courts seemed unwilling to start paring back the Third Party Doctrine, but the expansion of people’s digital footprints following the widespread adoption of smartphones proved to be too big to ignore. The ruling was narrow — finding only that the acquisition of historical cell site location info (CSLI) was a search under the Fourth Amendment — but it possibly contains broader applications.

      The way it stands now, law enforcement needs a warrant to collect CSLI from cell service providers — the first hole that’s been poked in the Third Party Doctrine since its inception almost 40 years ago. If not for the Riley decision — the one that recognized phones no longer resembled “containers” or “pockets,” but rather contained a detailed depiction of a person’s entire life — the Supreme Court may not have arrived at this conclusion. But it was that decision that first conjured up the image of the government happily discovering people were carrying around personal tracking devices loaded with info 24 hours a day. Grabbing large quantities of CSLI — 127 days in Carpenter’s case — turned cellphones into ad hoc ankle bracelets, allowing the government to reconstruct someone’s movements over a period of months using only a subpoena.

    • Yes, Privacy Is Important, But California’s New Privacy Bill Is An Unmitigated Disaster In The Making

      We’ve talked a little about the rush job to pass a California privacy bill — the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) — and a little about how California’s silly ballot initiatives effort forced this mad dash. But a few people have asked us about the law itself and whether or not it’s any good. Indeed, some people have assumed that so many lobbyists freaking out about the bill is actually a good sign. But, that is not the case. The bill is a disaster, and it’s unclear if the fixes that are expected over the next year and a half will be able to do much to improve it.

      First, let’s state the obvious: protecting our privacy is important. But that does not mean that any random “privacy regulation” will be good. In a future post, I’ll discuss why “regulating privacy” is a difficult task to tackle without massive negative consequences. Hell, over in the EU, they spent years debating the GDPR, and it’s still been a disaster that will have a huge negative impact for years to come. But in California they rushed through a massive bill in seven days. A big part of the problem is that people don’t really know what “privacy” is. What exactly do we need to keep private? Some stuff may be obvious, but much of it actually depends quite heavily on context.

    • Future Samsung phone might get face-scanning camera, like iPhone X [Ed: Convincing people that it's "cool" to carry out surveillance against themselves]
    • Fitness app Polar Flow exposed names and locations of thousands of military, NSA and FBI staff
    • Polar fitness app broadcasted sensitive details of intelligence and service members
    • Polar’s fitness app made it dangerously easy to track soldiers and secret agents worldwide
    • Here’s how we found the names and addresses of soldiers and secret agents using a simple fitness app

      Most of the activity takes place in Western countries. Elsewhere, where there are few Strava users, the map is largely empty. But here and there, sometimes smack dab in the middle of a desert or other inhospitable spot, there’s a burst of rich color.

      A few clever investigators soon discover the source of this activity: military bases, some of which are meant to stay hidden. Western military personnel using Strava have unwittingly drawn global attention to themselves and their colleagues.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Who Is Brett Kavanaugh? A Supreme Court Reading Guide

      President Trump on Monday night nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the seat on the U.S. Supreme Court that Justice Anthony Kennedy will vacate at the end of the month. Kavanaugh is a judge on the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Below, we’ve gathered some of the best reporting on Kavanaugh.

    • With Supreme Court Vacancy, Congress Must Act To Prevent the Harms of Religious Exemptions

      But while the U.S. Senate braces for what is certain to be an all-consuming, months-long confirmation battle over a new justice, we must not lose sight of the fact that there are things Congress can and must do now to safeguard the rights and dignity of the most vulnerable, regardless of who sits on the highest court in the country. One major thing that Congress could do is pass the Do No Harm Act, which would prevent religion from being used as a license to discriminate.

      When it was signed into law 25 years ago, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was intended to protect religious freedom, especially for religious minorities. In recent years, however, individuals and businesses have worked to distort RFRA into a blank check to license discrimination or to impose their religious beliefs on others.

      The Supreme Court’s 2014 Hobby Lobby ruling marked the first time that the court said that business owners could use RFRA to deny their employees a benefit that they are guaranteed by law: insurance coverage for contraception. In her dissenting opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg expressed concern that the decision could open the door for RFRA to be used to engage in a wide range of discrimination.

    • The 14th Amendment Was Intended to Achieve Racial Justice — And We Must Keep It That Way

      We cannot take the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law for granted, especially today.

      Few times in recent memory have demanded a more careful examination of our nation’s history than now — the year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment’s passage. At a time when the Trump administration is throwing asylum seekers in jail without due process and undermining efforts to desegregate schools, it is critical to remember that the “pervading purpose” of the 14th Amendment was to eliminate the oppression of historically subjugated minorities and to provide equality of opportunity.

      The amendment’s ratification in 1868, shortly after African-Americans were emancipated from slavery, represented a turning point in the country’s history. Its passage was an effort to provide substance to the Declaration of Independence’s promises of freedom and equality, which from the beginning had not applied to significant parts of the population, including Black people and women. And though those promises were continually reneged upon, the 14th Amendment remained a source of aspiration and hope.

      Although the 14th Amendment is frequently invoked now, particularly by conservative judges and commentators, to attack affirmative action and efforts to desegregate schools under the guise of “colorblindness,” the Fourteenth Amendment was never a colorblind document. The amendment was enacted specifically for purposes of assisting newly freed Black people. Although the 13th Amendment ended slavery, it left uncertain the status of those who had been kept in bondage. The infamous Dred Scott case had held that Blacks had no rights that whites were bound to respect and denied them citizenship. The 14th Amendment was necessary to make clear that Black people, as well as anyone born in the country or naturalized, were American citizens.

    • Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Is a Disaster for Net Neutrality, Great for the NSA
    • Trump’s Supreme Court nominee decided against net neutrality and for NSA surveillance
    • Trump’s Supreme Court nominee opposes net neutrality, supports NSA bulk collection
    • Brett Kavanaugh’s defense of NSA phone surveillance looms as confirmation question
    • Dem senator: Trump’s Supreme Court pick shows he’s ‘terrified of Robert Mueller’
    • Knox College graduate makes list for high court
    • Supreme Court candidates’ positions on cyber issues
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Supporter update – July 2018

      From victory at the Supreme Court to success in the EU Parliament and the launching of a new data rights service, it has been a busy summer for Open Rights Group. We would like to thanks all our members and supporters who made these achievements possible.

    • Streaming Video Sees Wave Of Price Hikes In Apparent Bid To Mimic Cable & Embolden Piracy

      One of the major benefits of cutting the traditional TV cord and switching to streaming video services was supposed to be the lower cost of service. But because broadcasters dictate the licensing cost of content for both services, it was inevitable that the sector would increasingly mimic its traditional cable counterparts. As a result, numerous streaming video services used the July 4th holiday to obfuscate an industry wide price hike, driving up the monthly subscription costs of services like AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Sony’s Playstation Vue, and Dish Network’s Sling TV.

      AT&T’s price hike, a $5 bump for all of the company’s DirecTV Now streaming TV tiers, is likely getting the most attention because it’s the precise type of hike AT&T repeatedly stated wouldn’t be happening if regulators signed off on the company’s $86 billion merger with Time Warner.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • How autonomous vehicles will change IP strategies [Ed: Just more software patents; see this and that]

      Figure 4 shows that 65% of respondents see patent filings increasing, compared to 1% who believe they are decreasing. “The ecosystem is developing rapidly … Our patent portfolio is six times the size it was three years ago,” an in-house counsel for one tier one supplier says, adding: “If you have valuable patents early in development with broad application, then you are well positioned … Everybody entering the field is heavily engaged in patenting activity.” Another says: “Since 2015 we have dramatically increased patent applications and geographical coverage, and 50% of our filings are in new technical areas.”

    • Ireland: Re Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG & Patents Acts, High Court of Ireland, [2017] IEHC 495, 26 July 2017

      The applicant, Teva, sought an order for the revocation of the Irish designation of European Patent No. (IE) 1379220 entitled “Inhalation Capsules” (the “220 Patent”) on the grounds of (i) obviousness, (ii) an “AgrEvo” challenge and (iii) insufficiency. The Court ruled in Boehringer’s favour by upholding the validity of the 220 Patent and rejecting all of Teva’s grounds of challenge.

    • WIPO Publishes Guide To Tackling Issues In Access & Benefit-Sharing Agreements

      The World Intellectual Property Organization has published a guide to access and benefit-sharing agreements for use of genetic resources.

    • Copyrights

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