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07.22.18

Links 22/7/2018: Neptune 5.4, NetBSD 8.0

Posted in News Roundup at 12:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • How to install Linux on your PC

      If you are building a new system or upgrading an existing PC, installing Linux as the OS may not be the first option you considered.

      Linux is the underlying structure used to power operating system distributions which are similar to the software most users are familiar with – Windows.

      It is open source and prevalent in a number of software distributions, from smart IoT platforms and Android smartphones to server operating systems.

      Installing a Linux distribution instead of Microsoft Windows on a new or existing machine can be great for reducing overhead and saving costs.

      While certain video games and applications may not run correctly on Linux desktop distributions, most common tasks can be conducted with the same level of convenience as “standard operating” systems.

    • Chromebook Users Will Soon Be Able to Install Debian Packages via the Files App

      Google continues to work on the Linux app support implementation for its Linux-based Chrome OS operating system for Chromebooks by adding initial support for installing Debian packages via the Files app.

      Linux app support in Chrome OS is here, but it’s currently in beta testing as Google wants to make it ready for the masses in an upcoming stable Chrome OS release. Meanwhile, Google’s Chrome OS team details in a recent Chromium Gerrit commit initial support for installing Linux packages in the .deb file format used by Debian-based operating systems directly from the Files app.

  • Kernel Space

    • Benchmarks

      • Jonathan Dieter: Small file performance on distributed filesystems – Round 2

        Last year, I ran some benchmarks on the GlusterFS, CephFS and LizardFS distributed filesystems, with some interesting results. I had a request to redo the test after a LizardFS RC was released with a FUSE3 client, since it is supposed to give better small file performance.

        I did have a request last time to include RozoFS, but, after a brief glance at the documentation, it looks like it requires a minimum of four servers, and I only had three available. I also looked at OrangeFS (originally PVFS2), but it doesn’t seem to provide replication, and, in preliminary testing, it was over ten times slower than the alternatives. NFS was tested and its results are included as a baseline.

        I once again used compilebench, which was designed to emulate real-life disk usage by creating a kernel tree, reading all the files in the tree, simulating a compile of the tree, running make clean, and finally deleting the tree.

        The test was much the same as last time, but with one important difference. Last time, the clients were running on the same machines that were running the servers. LizardFS benefited hugely from this as it has a “prefer local chunkserver” feature that will skip the network completely if there’s a copy on the local server. This time around, the clients were run on completely separate machines from the servers, which removed that advantage for LizardFS, but which I believe is a better reflection on how distributed filesystems are generally used.

        I would like to quickly note that there was very little speed difference between LizardFS’s FUSE2 and FUSE3 clients. The numbers included are from the FUSE3 client, but they only differed by a few percentage points from the FUSE2 client.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 8.2 Milestone 1 Released For Open-Source Benchmarking

        The first development snapshot of Phoronix Test Suite 8.2 is now available as what will be the next quarterly feature update to our open-source Linux / BSD / macOS / Windows automated benchmarking software and framework.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • What Build System Should Qt 6 Use?

        While developers have begun discussing plans for Qt 6.0 with plans to ship this upgraded tool-kit in 2020, one of the unanswered questions is over what build system should Qt 6 be using.

        Up to now there’s been a lot of pointing at Qbs as the new build system for Qt6. Qbs dates back to the Nokia days but has been seeing a number of improvements in recent times under the assumption it could replace Qmake as the default build system of Qt6. Qbs is designed to be easier to use than Qmake, which goes back to the original Trolltech days, while having the potential to be more powerful and offer much more flexibility.

        Without voicing a preference as to the Qt 6 build system, Intel open-source developer Thiago Macieira and a longtime upstream Qt developer, has shared what he feels should be some requirements of whatever build system is selected.

      • I’m going to Akademy

        As for the BoFs, I’ll probably attend the sessions about Phabricator, Flatpak, OpenQA, Wayland, as well as the Config Workshop.

      • Plasma 5.14 Wallpaper “Cluster”

        The time for a new Plasma wallpaper is here, so for 5.14 I’m excited to offer up “Cluster”.

        But first, please allow me to gush for a moment. In tandem with Inkscape, this is the first wallpaper for KDE produced using the ever excellent Krita. For graphic design my computer has a bit of beef to it, but when I work with Inkscape or GIMP things always chug just a bit more than I feel they should. Whenever I’ve had the distinct pleasure of opening Krita, even on my lesser powered laptop, it’s always been productive, rewarding, and performant. I’m looking forward to using Krita more in future wallpapers. *claps for Krita*

      • KDE Applications 18.08 Software Suite Enters Beta, Adds Apple Wallet Pass Reader

        With KDE Applications 18.04 reached end of life with the third and last point release, the KDE Project started working earlier this month on the next release of their open-source software suite, KDE Applications 18.08.

        KDE Applications is an open-source software suite designed as part of the KDE ecosystem, but can also be used independently on any Linux-based operating system. To fully enjoy the KDE Plasma desktop environment, users will also need to install various of the apps that are distributed as part of the KDE Applications initiative.

        KDE Applications 18.08 is the next major version of the open-source software suite slated for release on August 16, 2018. As of yesterday, July 20, the KDE Applications 18.08 software suite entered beta testing as version 18.07.80, introducing two new libraries, KPkPass and KItinerary.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.30 Desktop Environment to Enter Beta on August 1, GNOME 3.29.4 Is Out

        With a two-day delay, the GNOME Project through Javier Jardón announced today the release of the fourth and last development snapshot of the GNOME 3.30 desktop environment before it enters beta testing next month, GNOME 3.29.4, which continues to add improvements to various of GNOME’s core components and applications.

        However, due to the summer vacation and the GUADEC conference, GNOME 3.29.4 isn’t a major snapshot as many would have expected. It only adds some minor changes and bug fixes to a handful of components, including GNOME Shell, Mutter, Evolution, GNOME Photos, GNOME Builder, GNOME Online Accounts, Polari, Bijiben, Evince, Epiphany, Baobab, GNOME Control Center, and File Roller.

      • GNOME 3.29.4 Released As Another Step Towards GNOME 3.30
      • Meg Ford: GUADEC 2018

        I was particularly interested in and disappointed by Michael Catanzaro’s talk “Migrating from JHBuild to BuildStream”. I appreciate all the time and effort the Release Team has put into maintaining and developing the build systems, so I’m including my experience here as an example, not as a criticism.
        Over time I’ve gotten used to JHBuild and become adept at searching for and fixing its sometimes bizarre error messages. A few months ago, after running into some modules that failed on JHBuild, I read the announcement about GNOME’s modulesets moving to BuildStream. I spent a couple days removing JHBuild and rebuilding everything in BuildStream. Except I ran out of disk space. So I removed as much as I could and started over. Except then PulseAudio wouldn’t work. Luckily I’d occasionally run into the same errors caused by an unavailable PulseAudio daemon when I was using JHBuild. I tried restarting the daemon, etc, and looked for info on the subject. In the end it turned out that PulseAudio wasn’t available within the sandbox, so I scrapped BuildStream and went back to JHBuild.
        Going forward, I’m planning to move from JHBuild to using FlatPak, Builder, and GNOME’s nightly runtime build. I’m happy that the community is providing solutions, and, while things are still in a confusing state, at least they are moving quickly in interesting and promising directions.

      • On Flatpak Nightlies

        As far as I know, it was not possible to run any nightly applications during this two week period, except developer applications like Builder that depend on org.gnome.Sdk instead of the normal org.gnome.Platform. If you used Epiphany Technology Preview and wanted a functioning web browser, you had to run arcane commands to revert to the last good runtime version.

        This multi-week response time is fairly typical for us. We need to improve our workflow somehow. It would be nice to be able to immediately revert to the last good build once a problem has been identified, for instance.

        Meanwhile, even when the runtime is working fine, some apps have been broken for months without anyone noticing or caring. Perhaps it’s time for a rethink on how we handle nightly apps. It seems likely that only a few apps, like Builder and Epiphany, are actually being regularly used. The release team has some hazy future plans to take over responsibility for the nightly apps (but we have to take over the runtimes first, since those are more important), and we’ll need to somehow avoid these issues when we do so. Having some form of notifications for failed builds would be a good first step.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Neptune 5.4

        We are proud to announce version 5.4 of Neptune .

        This update represents the current state of Neptune 5 and renews the ISO file so if you install Neptune you don’t have to download tons of Updates.

        In this update we introduce a new look and feel package called Neptune Dark. This comes together with an modified icon theme optimized for dark themes called Faenza Dark. We improved hardware support further by providing Linux Kernel 4.16.16 with improved drivers and bugfixes.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • TLS 1.3 Via GnuTLS Is Planned For Fedora 29

          The feature list for Fedora 29 continues growing and the latest is about shipping GnuTLS with TLS 1.3 support enabled.

          TLS 1.3 was approved by the Internet Engineering Task Force earlier this year as the newest version of this protocol for making secure web connections that is key to HTTPS. TLS 1.3 offers various security and performance improvements over TLS 1.2 as well as lower-latency, better handling of long-running sessions, etc.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Ripple’s Evan Schwartz says Codius might pave the way for open-source services

      The Creator of Codius, Evan Schwartz, spoke about the technology recently at CSAIL Initiative Launch. Codius is a smart contract and distributed applications hosting platform developed jointly by Stefan Thomas, the Founder of Coil, and Evan Schwartz.

      Schwartz started off by saying that Codius is much more flexible in hosting decentralized applications when compared to the blockchain. The reason for many developers to choose the blockchain is mainly security and redundancy.

    • Nish Tech Simplifies eCommerce Integrations With the Launch of Open-Source Framework for Sitecore Commerce

      Nish Tech, a leader in Sitecore and eCommerce implementations, released a framework to the user community to accelerate and simplify development and integration for ecommerce sites. Nish Tech, a Gold Sitecore Implementation Partner with a specialization in eCommerce, initially unveiled a preview at the European Sitecore User Group summit in Berlin, Germany earlier this year. Today marks the official launch of this framework.

      In most online ecommerce implementations, integration with backend systems like ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and PIM (Product Information Management) play an important role. Most companies spend significant time/effort building connections to these systems. Customers using a modern ecommerce platform, like Sitecore Experience Commerce in the digital commerce space need a communication link to the backend systems to complete ecommerce transactions.

    • Appareo offers open source on fourth-generation Stratus receiver

      Appareo released a new addition to its Stratus family of pilot-friendly affordable avionics this week. Stratus 3 is the latest model in the line of industry-leading ADS-B receivers first introduced in 2012. The company will exhibit Stratus 3 as part of its full line of Stratus products next week at the annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 fly-in and expo.

  • BSD

    • Announcing NetBSD 8.0

      The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce NetBSD 8.0, the sixteenth major release of the NetBSD operating system.

    • NetBSD 8.0 Officially Released With USB3 Support, Security Improvements & UEFI

      While it’s been on mirrors for a few days, NetBSD 8.0 was officially released this weekend.

      NetBSD 8.0 represents this BSD operating system project’s 16th major release and introduces USB 3.0 support, an in-kernel audio mixer, a new socket layer, Meltdown/Spectre mitigation, eager FPU support, SMAP support, UEFI boot-loader support for x86/x86_64 hardware, and a variety of long sought after improvements — many of which are improving the security of NetBSD.

    • NetBSD 8.0 Released with Spectre V2/V4, Meltdown, and Lazy FPU Mitigations

      The NetBSD open-source operating system has been updated this week to version 8.0, a major release that finally brings mitigations for all the Spectre variants, Meltdown, and Lazy FPU security vulnerabilities, as well as many stability improvements and bug fixes.

      Coming seven months after the first and last point release of the NetBSD 7 series, NetBSD 8.0 is here with mitigations for both the Spectre Variant 2 (CVE-2017-5715) and Spectre Variant 4 (CVE-2018-3639) security vulnerabilities, as well as for the Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754) and Lazy FPU State Save/Restore (CVE-2018-3665) vulnerabilities.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Crowdfunding for extension management in GIMP (and other improvements)

      Well that’s the big question! Let’s be clear: currently security of plug-ins in GIMP sucks.

      So the first thing is that our upload website should make basic file type checks and compare them with the metadata listing. If your metadata announces you ship brushes, and we find executables in there, we would block it.

      Also all executables (i.e. plug-ins or scripts) would be held for manual review. That also means we’ll need to find people in the community to do the review. I predict that it will require some time for things to set up smoothly and the road may be bumpy at first.

      Finally we won’t accept built-files immediately. If code is being compiled, we would need to compile it ourselves on our servers. This is obviously a whole new layer of complexity (even more because GIMP can run on Linux, Windows, macOS, BSDs…). So at first, we will probably not allow C and C++ extensions on our repository. But WAIT! I know that some very famous and well-maintained extensions exist and are compiled. We all think of G’Mic of course! We may make exceptions for trustworthy plug-in creators (with a well-known track record), to allow them to upload their compiled plug-ins as extensions. But these will be really exceptional.

      Obviously this will be a difficult path. We all know how security is a big deal, and GIMP is not so good here. At some point, we should even run every extension in a sandbox for instance. Well some say: the trip is long, but the way is clear.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Python’s founder steps down, India’s new net neutrality regulations, and more open source news

      The head of one of the most popular free software/open source software projects is stepping down. Guido van Rossum announced that he’s giving up leadership of the project he founded, effective immediately.

      van Rossum, affectionately known as Python’s “benevolent dictator for life,” made the move after the bruising process of approving a recent enhancement proposal to the scripting language. He also cited some undisclosed medical problems as another factor in his resignation. van Rossum stated that he “doesn’t want to think as hard about his creation and is switching to being an ‘ordinary core developer’,” according to The Inquirer.

      van Rossum, who “has confirmed he won’t be involved in appointing his replacement. In fact, it sounds very much like he doesn’t think there should be one,” believes that Python’s group of committers can do his job.

    • Open Data

      • FLIR Creates Open-Source Dataset for Driving Assistance

        Sensor systems developer FLIR Systems Inc. has announced an open-source machine learning thermal dataset designed for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and self-driving vehicle researchers, developers, and auto manufacturers, featuring a compilation of more than 10,000 annotated thermal images of day and nighttime scenarios.

        The first of its kind to include annotations for cars, other vehicles, people, bicycles, and dogs, the starter thermal dataset enables developers to begin testing and evolving convolutional neural networks with the FLIR Automotive Development Kit (ADKTM). The dataset empowers the automotive community to quickly evaluate thermal sensors on next-generation algorithms. When combined with visible light cameras, lidar, and radar, thermal sensor data paired with machine learning helps create a more comprehensive and redundant system for identifying and classifying roadway objects, especially pedestrians and other living things.

      • Open-source map of accessible restaurants in Calgary growing into something beautiful

        A call on Twitter for a list of accessible restaurants has led to an online mapping movement to plot out user-friendly restaurants around the city.

        On Monday, Calgary-based tech entrepreneur Travis Martin saw a tweet from Natasha Gibson (@ktash) asking Councillor Druh Farrell if she knew of some accessible restaurants for her senior parents.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Universities in Germany and Sweden Lose Access to Elsevier Journals [iophk: "sci-hub to the rescue"]

        This month, approximately 300 academic institutions in Germany and Sweden lost access to new papers published in Elsevier’s journals due to a standstill in negotiations for nationwide subscription contracts. While Elsevier’s papers remain inaccessible, academics are turning to alternative means of obtaining them, such as using inter-library loan services, emailing authors, finding earlier versions on preprint servers, or buying individual papers.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open Source Laboratory Rocker is Super Smooth

        Lab equipment is often expensive, but budgets can be tight and not always up to getting small labs or researchers what they need. That’s why [akshay_d21] designed an Open Source Lab Rocker with a modular tray that uses commonly available hardware and 3D printed parts. The device generates precisely controlled, smooth motion to perform automated mild to moderately aggressive mixing of samples by tilting the attached tray in a see-saw motion. It can accommodate either a beaker or test tubes, but since the tray is modular, different trays can be designed to fit specific needs.

  • Programming/Development

    • Update on our planned move from Azure to Google Cloud Platform

      Improving the performance and reliability of GitLab.com has been a top priority for us. On this front we’ve made some incremental gains while we’ve been planning for a large change with the potential to net significant results: running GitLab as a cloud native application on Kubernetes.

      The next incremental step on our cloud native journey is a big one: migrating from Azure to Google Cloud Platform (GCP). While Azure has been a great provider for us, GCP has the best Kubernetes support and we believe will the best provider for our long-term plans. In the short term, our users will see some immediate benefits once we cut over from Azure to GCP including encrypted data at rest on by default and faster caching due to GCP’s tight integration with our existing CDN.

Leftovers

  • What’s the full story behind Elon Musk’s involvement with the Thai cave rescue effort?
  • Science

    • Shortage of computer experts increases risk of cyberattack

      Britain has an acute shortage of cyberexperts to protect power stations, nuclear plants and hospitals, a committee of MPs and peers warns today.

    • Stem vital to UK’s future cybersecurity

      The Cyber Security Skills and the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure report from Parliament’s Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy said the gap between the demand and the supply of skilled workers for the critical national infrastructure sector is a “cause for alarm” and the government “no real sense of the scale of the problem or how to address it effectively”.

      The report stated: “A key challenge for education policy is the considerable time lag between a pupil joining primary school and ultimately entering the workforce, and the extraordinary pace of technological evolution during the same period.

      “A pupil who chooses to pursue higher education will spend at least seventeen years in formal education. Consequently, the education system cannot—and should not—be expected to anticipate and deliver the range of specialist skills and knowledge required nearly two decades later.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Migrant Children Detained in Shelters Being Drugged
    • Honduras Files Appeal Against WTO Ruling That Allowed Tobacco Plain Packaging

      Australia’s legislation came into effect on 1 December 2012 and requires that all tobacco products sold, offered for sale, or otherwise supplied in Australia must be in plain packaging.

      Four tobacco-producing countries initiated disputes against Australia, arguing that the country was infringing intellectual property rules among other concerns. The four countries were Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Indonesia. The report of the WTO dispute settlement panel was released [pdf] on 28 June (IPW, Health & IP, 28 June 2018).

      On 19 July, Honduras filed an appeal against the WTO panel ruling.

      The Honduras case had included an assertion of infringement of trademarks and geographical indications by the plain packaging requirements.

    • NGOs: Countries Pressured To Drop Reference To Affordable Medicines In UN TB Negotiations

      The High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis will take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York on 26 September.

      Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) issued a release today, arguing that developing countries would be specifically affected by removal of the language.

      “How is it possible that global leaders will gather for the first time to decide how to tackle the world’s most deadly infectious disease killer, and yet some countries backed by their big pharma lobbies are pushing to remove any mention of the need for vital medicines to be affordable?” said Sharonann Lynch, HIV and TB Advisor for MSF’s Access Campaign.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen

      Hundreds of thousands of people showed up across the United States at more than 600 gatherings three weeks ago. They came out to protest Donald Trump‘s “zero tolerance” immigration policy in highly choreographed, Democratic Party-affiliated “Families Belong Together” rallies and marches. Liberal celebrities marched and spoke. Local, state, and federal Democratic Party politicians and office-holders gave passionate speeches denouncing Trump’s separation of Central American migrant children from their parents at the southern U.S. border.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Ecuadorian president arrives in Britain as Julian Assange’s fate hangs in the balance

      Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno arrives in London today, with his administration seeking to force WikiLeaks editor and Australian citizen Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy there, where he sought and was granted political asylum in 2012.

      If Assange leaves the embassy he will be imprisoned by Britain for breaching bail and almost certainly face an application to extradite him to the United States to stand trial on manufactured charges of espionage.

      [...]

      The American intelligence agencies are determined to prosecute Assange as a “spy.” The campaign to arrest him was escalated to a “priority” in April 2017, after WikiLeaks began publishing the “Vault 7” leaks that revealed how the CIA had developed malware to hack phones, PCs, servers, smart televisions and vehicle computer systems in every part of the world.

      Moreno’s government has betrayed Assange as part of its venal attempts, on behalf of the Ecuadorian business elite, to restore economic and political relations with Washington. The London embassy cut off Assange’s communications just one day after top-level meetings in Ecuador with representatives of US Southern Command on re-establishing military cooperation.

      Underscoring Moreno’s complicity in the persecution of Assange, his aides announced he has no intention of visiting the embassy whilst in London to even check on the well-being of a persecuted journalist his government is nominally providing political asylum.

    • Julian Assange’s Hand Over To UK May Be Imminent According To WikiLeaks

      According to a tweet by the internationally known organization WikiLeaks, its founder’s fate may be decided within a mere few days or weeks, and Julian Assange might be handed over on a silver platter by Ecuador to the UK government. Then presumably Assange will be handed over to the U.S. government and extradited to the United States.

      The head of RT, Margarita Simonyan, tweeted in Russian that her sources indicate Assange will be handed over to UK authorities.

    • Ecuador Will Imminently Withdraw Asylum for Julian Assange and Hand Him Over to the UK. What Comes Next?

      ECUADOR’S PRESIDENT Lenin Moreno traveled to London on Friday for the ostensible purpose of speaking at the 2018 Global Disabilities Summit (Moreno has been confined to a wheelchair since being shot in a 1998 robbery attempt). The concealed, actual purpose of the President’s trip is to meet with British officials to finalize an agreement under which Ecuador will withdraw its asylum protection of Julian Assange, in place since 2012, eject him from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and then hand over the WikiLeaks founder to British authorities.

      Moreno’s itinerary also notably includes a trip to Madrid, where he will meet with Spanish officials still seething over Assange’s denunciation of human rights abuses perpetrated by Spain’s central government against protesters marching for Catalonia independence. Almost three months ago, Ecuador blocked Assange from accessing the internet, and Assange has not been able to communicate with the outside world ever since. The primary factor in Ecuador’s decision to silence him was Spanish anger over Assange’s tweets about Catalonia.

      [...]

      The central oddity of Assange’s case – that he has been effectively imprisoned for eight years despite never having been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime – is virtually certain to be prolonged once Ecuador hands him over to the U.K. Even under the best-case scenario, it appears highly likely that Assange will continue to be imprisoned by British authorities.

      The only known criminal proceeding Assange currently faces is a pending 2012 arrest warrant for “failure to surrender” – basically a minor bail violation charge that arose when he obtained asylum from Ecuador rather than complying with bail conditions by returning to court for a hearing on his attempt to resist extradition to Sweden.

      That charge carries a prison term of three months and a fine, though it is possible that the time Assange has already spent in prison in the UK could be counted against that sentence. In 2010, Assange was imprisoned in Wandsworth Prison, kept in isolation, for 10 days until he was released on bail; he was then under house arrest for 550 days at the home of a supporter.

      Assange’s lawyer, Jen Robinson, told the Intercept that he would argue that all of that prison time already served should count toward (and thus completely fulfill) any prison term imposed on the “failure to surrender” charge, though British prosecutors would almost certainly contest that claim. Assange would also argue that he had a reasonable, valid basis for seeking asylum rather than submitting to UK authorities: namely, reasonable fear that he would be extradited to the U.S. for prosecution for the act of publishing documents.

    • Breaking: Possible Hand-Over Of Julian Assange To The UK May Be Imminent

      Russian media is hardly the first source of dire warnings regarding Assange’s safety in recent weeks. Just Days ago, the World Socialist Website related: “The London Times reported July 15 on secret talks between the British and Ecuadorian governments. They are apparently intending to expel WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has enjoyed political asylum for six years. The article said the talks were “an attempt to remove Assange from the embassy,” and they were being run at the highest levels of government. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Sir Alan Duncan, is personally involved.”

    • WikiLeaks May Get Served For DNC Lawsuit Over Twitter

      In April the Democratic National Committee (DNC) filed a novel lawsuit against WikiLeaks alleging they were part of a global conspiracy to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It is widely believed that by publishing hacked emails from the DNC and from Hillary Clinton’s campaign WikiLeaks hurt Clinton and helped Trump become president.

      The hacked emails came back into the public eye in June when special counsel Robert Mueller issued 12 new indictments against Russian military intelligence officers working for Vladimir Putin. The substance of the indictments is that the Russians illegally hacked into the DNC servers and illegally stole emails and other proprietary documents.

      Three months after filing the lawsuit the DNC has still not been successful in its attempts to serve WikiLeaks as is required in order to get the lawsuit started. If WikiLeaks can continue to avoid being served notice of the lawsuit then the lawsuit can never begin.

      So now CBS News has reported that the DNC is trying a unique new approach to get its lawsuit notice served to WikiLeaks.

    • Ecuador May Be Getting Ready to Expel Julian Assange

      I don’t have any independent knowledge of what will happen to Assange next, or whether he will indeed eventually be extradited to the United States. But I will say this. If the case brought against him is a fairly ordinary one of publishing classified material, I expect, contra Greenwald, that virtually no Democrats and absolutely no journalists will support the government’s case.¹ There would, unfortunately, probably be a few Democratic politicians who would cheer his prosecution, but even there I think (or hope, anyway) that their numbers would be small. If this case goes forward, I suppose it will be a good test of whose level of cynicism is currently best calibrated to the current mood of the American public.

    • Ecuador Will Withdraw Asylum Protection From Julian Assange And Hand Him Over To British Authorities

      This comes after Ecuador blocked Assange from gaining access to the internet around three months ago. Since then, no one has heard from Assange directly. The reason for the internet ban is believed to be linked to Assange taking a stance against the Spanish government in Catalonia’s separatist crisis, after which Ecuador warned Assange that “he has no reason to interfere in Ecuadorian politics because his status does not allow it,” reported the Local. The Ecuadorian President has called Julian a “hacker,” an “inherited problem,” and a “stone in the shoe.”

    • Julian Assange to be handed over to UK officials: Report

      Assange first came to the embassy when he faced a warrant for arrest following allegations of sexual assault and rape from the Swedish government. He has denied the allegations, and the investigation was closed last year.

    • Ecuador may be close to ejecting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from its London embassy

      …Moreno is close to a deal as early as this week

    • speculation over Assange, Correa grows as Ecuador President Moreno visits UK, Spain

      Hunt said, “At any time he wants to he is free to walk out onto the street of, and the British police will have a warm welcome for him.”

      In the UK Assange is facing only a minor charge for failing to turn up to a court hearing.

      Another point in Moreno’s agenda might be former president Rafael Correa. According to Andres Michelena, Secretary of Communications, the government has put together a team to counter the narrative promoted by Correa that he is a victim of political persecution.

    • Ecuador’s Agenda: Squeezing and Surrendering Assange

      Since the changing of the guard in Ecuador, President Lenín Moreno has shown a warmer feeling towards the United States, and a desire to raise the issue of Assange’s stay in the embassy with US Vice President Mike Pence with the urgency of man desiring to be rid of a problem. The UK government has also been brought into the mix. The forces against Assange are marshalling themselves with a renewed impatience.

    • Ecuador Will Be Handing Assange Over To UK Authorities ‘In Coming Weeks Or Days’: RT

      Ecuador is planning to hand over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to UK authorities in the “coming weeks or even days,” RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said, citing her own sources. Simonyan reported the news in a recent tweet, which was reposted by WikiLeaks.

    • Ecuador to Withdraw Asylum For Assange – Reports

      Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno is not planning to meet with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Julian Assange, who is residing in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, during the president’s upcoming visit to the United Kingdom, the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry said on July 19.

      A source close to the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry and the president’s office, refusing to speak publicly, has confirmed that Moreno is close to settling if he has not already settled, an agreement to hand over Assange to the UK within the next several weeks, the Intercept reported.

      Withdrawal of Assange’s asylum and his ejection could come as early as this week.

      According to Ecuadorian Deputy Foreign Minister Andres Teran, Quito and London are currently negotiating Assange’s future, but Moreno’s involvement in the talks has not been confirmed.

    • Julian Assange’s ‘days NUMBERED’ as Ecuador ‘ready to EVICT’ Wikileaks founder

      A source close to the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry reportedly confirmed that Moreno is close to reaching a settlement with the UK within the next few weeks.

      According to the source the eviction could come as early as next week.

      It is known that Ecuador’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andres Teran is currently negotiating Assange’s future.

    • Ecuador’s president to hand Assange over to UK during London visit – Greenwald
    • Ecuador about to boot out Julian Assange – reports
    • Julian Assange Could Be Turned Over To U.K. Authorities Soon: Report
    • Greenwald: Ecuador Working to Finalize Assange’s Release to UK Officials
    • Ecuador to Hand Over Julian Assange to British Authorities
    • Report: Ecuador close to evicting Julian Assange from London embassy
    • Ecuador ‘close’ to evicting Julian Assange from London embassy

      Sweden has since dropped its case against him, but Assange believes he will be extradited to the US for questioning over WikiLeaks activities if he leaves the building.

    • Ecuador is Handing Over Julian Assange to the United Kingdom
    • Julian Assange will ‘immediately’ be ejected from embassy to face possible prosecution: Glen Greenwald report
    • Ecuadorian sources tell Intercept that Julian Assange could be evicted from London embassy this week

      Ahead of Moreno’s visit to London, his national secretary of political management, Paul Granda, asserted on July 19 that “there is no specific meeting planned on Assange.” The same day, acting Ecuadorian foreign minister, Andres Teran, claimed that Moreno’s government is “not in talks with the United States” over the WikiLeaks editor.

      These statements have no credibility. All evidence, reinforced by the Intercept report, points to the opposite conclusion: A conspiracy is well advanced, involving the US, British, Ecuadorian and Australian governments, to have Assange hauled before a show trial in the US.

    • Julian Assange is free to leave Ecuadorean embassy any time, British foreign secretary says
    • Julian Assange: UK dares Wikileaks to leave Ecuadorean embassy
    • Inside WikiLeaks, the Publisher that Changed the World

      Silenced and cut off from the outside world, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the last six years with no access to sunlight, fresh air, or proper medical treatment. Furthermore, last March President Lenin Moreno’s Ecuadorian government cut his access to the internet, phone calls and even visitors and journalists. For a man who has already been confined to the embassy for so long, these restrictions are particularly harsh.

      I began working as one of WikiLeaks’ media partners in 2009, before Assange and WikiLeaks published such bombshells as the “Collateral Murder” video. Over the last nine years, I have partnered with WikiLeaks on behalf of my newspaper, the Italian daily La Repubblica to work on the Podesta emails and many of its other secret files, except for those that WikiLeaks released without media partners: the DNC emails, the Saudi Cables, Turkey’s ruling party emails, the Hacking Team documents, the Collateral Murder video and the Brennan emails.

      Like its work or not, WikiLeaks is an independent media organization that doesn’t have to rely on traditional media to publish its scoops. Indeed it was founded to bypass the legal qualms traditional media may have about publishing classified information.

      With its 5.5 million followers on Twitter, WikiLeaks has a huge social media presence that gives its work immediate impact. But WikiLeaks has published most of its revelations in collaboration with a number of media partners.

    • Report: Ecuador Handing Over Julian Assange to U.K. in ‘Coming Weeks or Even Days’

      In a highly publicized speech to the media from the balcony’s Ecuador London embassy in 2012, Assange urged U.S. authorities to suspend its probe into WikiLeaks. “I ask President Obama to do the right thing. The United States must renounce its witch hunt against WikiLeaks,” Assange said. “The United States must dissolve its FBI investigation. The United States must vow that it will not seek to prosecute our staff or our supporters.”

    • Ecuador Rumored to Hand Julian Assange to UK Authorities in “Days” or “Weeks”

      Though Moreno campaigned as a progressive leftist in the style of Rafael Correa, his predecessor who had granted Assange asylum, he has shown himself to be eager to return Ecuador to the fold of U.S. and U.K. influence and neoliberal economic policies. Since his election, Moreno has barred Correa from running for re-election and removed Correa loyalists from his cabinet. He has also begun paving the way for the U.S. military to regain its foothold in the country, which was abruptly ended in 2009 when Correa expelled the U.S. military from its base, and has also sought new financing from the U.S.-dominated International Monetary Fund.

    • Ecuador: Speculation Over Assange, Correa Grows as President Moreno Visits UK, Spain

      Last week the leader of the Spanish party Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, argued the detention order was part of a trend of judicializing politics in the region.

      After the events in the U.K. Moreno will head to Spain, where he is expected to meet Pedro Sanchez, the Prime Minister of Spain.

      Moreno will be accompanied by his wife, Rocio Gonzalez, who he appointed as president of Toda Una Vida social plan and a dozen Ecuadorean officials.

    • UK Minister dares Assange to leave embassy

      Speaking alongside Mr Hunt, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the government was offering Mr Assange consular support.

    • UK minister dares Julian Assange to leave Ecuadorean embassy
    • DNC files motion to serve lawsuit against WikiLeaks via Twitter

      Three months after filing a lawsuit against the Trump campaign, the Russian government and WikiLeaks that alleges a massive conspiracy to tilt the 2016 election in President Trump’s favor, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has so far been unsuccessful in its attempts to serve WikiLeaks.

      So the DNC is trying a new tactic to serve its complaint to the website that leaked internal DNC emails during the 2016 election — Twitter. The DNC filed a motion Friday in federal court in Manhattan requesting permission to serve the complaint to WikiLeaks on a platform the DNC argues the website uses regularly.

      “Because WikiLeaks has more of a virtual than a physical presence, the court can and should exercise its authority … to authorize service by Twitter,” the motion reads.

    • Are US media outlets repentant about reporting on DNC emails alleged hacked by ‘the Russians’? No

      US media outlets have few regrets about reporting on the shady practices of the DNC, Hillary Clinton’s private speeches, and other scoops revealed by emails allegedly leaked by Russian hackers, The Washington Post reports.

      Erik Wemple, The Washington Post’s media critic, decided to reach out to American news organizations after Neera Tanden, the president and CEO of the Soros-funded, Clinton-friendly Center for American Progress, accused “every reporter who gleefully trafficked in stolen emails via Wikileaks” of “abetting a crime – not illegal activity by itself but unethical and immoral.”

    • Truth Betrayed: WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange to be Handed to Americans

      The truth will set you free, as long as it not the truth about the corrupt governments that run the world.

      Julian Assange has been instrumental in shining a light on the corruption of government, but he will now be handed to America’s lackey the British, and obviously he will then be fed to the Americans. The truth clearly has no place in our modern world.

      Hillary Clinton who was exposed with her own words by Assange is yet to be charged with any offenses.

      Ecuador is ready to hand over the WikiLeaks founder to the UK in “coming weeks or even days,” RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said citing her own sources, as prospects of his eviction from the embassy are back in the media.

      “My sources tell [Julian] Assange will be handed over to Britain in the coming weeks or even days,” Simonyan wrote in a recent tweet which was reposted by WikiLeaks. “Like never before, I wish my sources were wrong,” she continued.

      Simonyan’s message comes, as speculations Ecuador is in talks with the UK over the future of Assange are back again in British press. Earlier this week, the Times reported Britain is locked in top-tier discussions with the Ecuadorians in a bid to remove Assange from their London embassy.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Blue whale harpooned by cannon and butchered: Millionaire whaler Kristjan Loftsson vows to carry on killing

      A rare hybrid of a blue whale and a fin whale, it would have made an awesome sight rising through the waves.

      But, as these shocking images show, the determination of one Icelandic whaler to kill it for profit meant its body has now been hacked to pieces.

      The helpless animal was harpooned in international waters by men working for multi-millionaire Kristjan Loftsson, the small country’s most notorious whaling magnate.

    • Yet another hot day far up in the Arctic circle – northern Finland already at 33 °C by 11:30 UTC (July 18)! | Severe Weather Europe
    • The Billion Tree Project In Pakistan Is A Success

      The Billion Tree Tsunami project in Pakistan has been a success. About 730 million trees were regrown using various forestry measures for regeneration, and three hundred million seedlings were planted using about 40 different species in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

      Also, nine million eucalyptus trees were planted in Heroshah in 2015-2016 by 16,000 laborers. They are a fast-growing species, so they can provide benefits to landscapes which have been stripped resulting in problems with erosion.“We are 100% confident that the figure about the billion trees is correct,” said Kamran Hussain, a manager of the Pakistani branch of the World Wildlife Fund.

      [...]

      Some people living in heavily forested areas were receiving annual royalties from logging, but after the Taliban cut so many trees for themselves their earnings dropped by as much as 90%, reportedly.

      The UN has noted multiple important benefits generated by forests, saying “Forests provide many significant resources and functions including wood products and non-wood products, recreational opportunities, habitat for wildlife, conservation of biological diversity, water and soil, and play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle. They support employment and traditional uses, and biodiversity.” They also prevent erosion, provide shelter and food for animals and generate oxygen. Some trees produce for food humans and forests are extremely valuable to human economies.

  • Finance

    • Thieves use free-to-play games to turn stolen credit-card numbers into cash

      The beauty of the system is its automation: everything from the creation of the Apple accounts to the game logins to the item purchases and resales is automated, meaning that the scammers just have to press Go and start cashing out.

    • Scammers Are Using ‘Clash of Clans’ to Launder Money From Stolen Credit Cards

      Kromtech Security—a German-based IT and security company—has discovered evidence of a large scheme where scammers use stolen credit cards to buy in-app currencies from mobile games Clash of Clans, Clan Royale, and Marvel Contest of Champions, then sell those currencies on the grey market for cash.

    • Digital Laundry: how credit card thieves use free-to-play apps to launder their ill-gotten gains

      The resources even maintain value after purchase, because in many cases, once bought, they can be traded, adding to the game play. The game itself can also be transferred from one account to another. Because of this, resources gathered or bought and games built to advanced levels can also be resold. It is the selling of these on third party markets that holds the door open to the illicit activity that we found taking place.

    • Amazon Warehouse Strike in Spain Reportedly Results in Police Clashes, Arrests

      With help from our colleague Carlos Zuhamensky at our Spanish-language offshoot Gizmodo ES, we were able to speak with Juan Manuel Rosado, a spokesperson for the CSIT union in the Amazon Company Workers Committee about yesterday’s violent clash. His words have been transcribed and translated by Zuhamensky.

    • Jeff Bezos’s fortune has come at the expense of workers and society not receiving their fair share

      This week Jeff Bezos was named the world’s richest man by Bloomberg’s Billionaire’s Index, with a staggering $152bn (£117bn) in net worth following a jump in the Amazon share price on Amazon Prime day. Looking further into how he came to be there reveals a story of the global economy in 2018. While a gilded class sees huge returns, it comes at the expense of workers and society not receiving their fair share.

      Bezos did not make his fortune alone; the company’s customers, suppliers, workforce, and the public sector through investment in infrastructure, roads and services all played a part. In particular, Amazon’s employees, of which there are over half a million, are essential to Amazon’s business model of being reliably quick and convenient. Yet Bezos makes more wealth every 9 seconds than the median Amazon employee in the US makes in a year. In the UK, undercover investigations have shown work in Amazon’s fulfilment centres to be insecure, demeaning, excessively monitored and low-paid. Toilet breaks can cost a job and workers’ movements are tracked to check they are optimal for maximising Amazon’s profit. Amazon has consistently suppressed efforts amongst its workforce to unionise, and has created some of the most atomised labour markets imaginable through its Amazon Turk bank of online workers from around the world, reducing the ability of colleagues to organise. Amazon’s fulfilment centres are often in places where it’s close to the only gig in town for low-skill workers; evidence from America suggests this has enabled the tech giant to reduce wages for those jobs over time. Despite its poor record as an employer, mayors in the US have offered Amazon billions in tax breaks to attract the giant to create employment in their cities.

    • US Continues To Block Progress On WTO Appeals Body, While Rapidly Adding Cases To The System

      The United States is piling up dispute settlement cases against its trading partners at the World Trade Organization while at the same time ironically blocking any progress on the selection of panellists for appeals in the WTO dispute settlement process.

    • Why is vigorous economic competition a good thing?

      ECONOMISTS are becoming increasingly worried that capitalism today is less competitive than it once was. Some argue that much of what is wrong with rich-world economies today—from high income inequality to measly wage growth—has its roots in markets that are uncompetitive.

      However, much of the discussion about competition is fairly abstract and difficult to understand. To help readers get a grip of one of the most important issues today, we turned to an expert on competition to ask him some simple questions.

    • Wall Street Journal Hammers ‘Out of Touch’ Trump Economic Adviser Peter Navarro for Trashing the US Economy

      The editors of the very conservative and very business-oriented Wall Street Journal have taken President Donald Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro to the woodshed for pushing the president’s tariffs that is having a devastating effect on U.S. manufacturers.

      Under an ominous headline that reads “The Trade Casualties Mount,” the editorial board laid out the case on the toll the Trump tariffs are taking on U.S. economic growth.

      “President Trump is escalating his trade rhetoric, threatening China and Europe with more tariffs on more goods if they don’t agree to his terms. Mr. Trump says winning these trade wars is ‘easy,’ so let’s take a look at the early returns on his steel and aluminum tariffs and the retaliation they’ve inspired,” the editorial began.

    • A national government would only deliver for the rich

      There is a growing chorus of voices calling for some kind of national government. Sometimes it is expressed by saying that politicians should come together to deliver Brexit. And there are whispers of moves to set up a new centre party which would incorporate politicians of all parties and none.

      It is easy to see the superficial attraction of national government politics. The same argument is often used in relationship to the NHS. “If only” people sigh “we could take the politics out of health issues”.

      The trouble is that (although politics has become almost a dirty word for much of the public) in truth there is no more intensely political subject than healthcare. How much you are prepared to spend on your health service, what level of tax you are prepared to levy to pay for it, whether you are concerned about rising health inequality and (ultimately) who gets to live or die because of decisions made – these are political subjects where vastly different economic interests contend.

      In the same way the idea that you can take the politics out of Brexit is delusional. When people talk about the importance of forming a national government “in the national interest” I am concerned. Because the question is whose nation and whose interest? The assumption behind national government is that the interests of a hedge fund manager in Mayfair are the same as a single parent in Hackney. But they are not. And the danger of a national government is that, inevitably, the interest of the poor and disadvantaged get marginalised.

    • I’ve Worked for Tips for 60 Years. DC Council Should Listen to the Voters Who Want to Raise My Wages

      When people ask me when I’m going retire, my answer is always the same: About 15 minutes before I’m dead. I turn 70 this year, and I’ve been working in DC—always for tips—since I was 12. My first job, at the concession stand at Arena stage in the early ‘60s, was one of the better ones. My bosses were kind, and I got to watch the shows that came through town. By the time I got my second job, my wages were 66 cents an hour—not exactly the stuff nest eggs are made of.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook’s pledge to eliminate misinformation is itself fake news

      Facebook does not just tolerate Infowars. It seeks to profit from Infowars and its audience. Facebook’s advertising tools, at time of writing, allow advertisers to pay Facebook to target the 743,220 users who “like” the InfoWars page.

    • Russia Was Just the Beginning: Here’s How Social Media Became Infested with ‘Computational Propaganda’ Designed to Control Society

      While much of the world’s attention is currently centered on efforts by Russian operatives to sow discord among the American electorate with fake social media posts and “troll farms” during the 2016 presidential election, an Oxford Internet Institute study published Friday found that use of social media by governments looking to “spread junk information and propaganda to voters” has become a global phenomenon.

      “Social media manipulation is big business,” the researchers found. “We estimate that tens of millions of dollars are being spent on social media manipulation campaigns, involving tens of thousands of professional staff.”

      While there is nothing new about political parties and governments using disinformation to manipulate elections at home and abroad, the Oxford researchers note that the massive, easily accessible, and lightly regulated platforms offered by Facebook and Twitter have become enormously powerful tools in the hands of political actors, who have used social media to kick their propaganda campaigns into overdrive and cast doubt on science and public institutions.

    • Going Home Again to Trump’s America

      For the most part I keep my distance from Trump’s Boardwalk fascism. Who needs to reminded that the United States, politically anyway, has descended into a reality show? To be sure it is impossible, even when you live in Europe, to escape Trumpism altogether. He shows up at G-7 or NATO summits to lecture European leaders about trade inequality or Putin’s humanism. But living without television and on another continent, I am largely spared Trump’s Babbittry, although any sampling of online newspapers brings his rants into focus. That said, once or twice a year, because I need to remind myself that the United States is a lot more than its village idiocy, I make plans to travel around the country.

      In recent years I have biked and bused from Chicago to New York, camped in many states between North Carolina and Oklahoma, roamed the coal hollows of Kentucky and West Virginia, and attended the presidential primary in New Hampshire. It may not make up for my lack of familiarity with Fox & Friends, but at least I now having a working knowledge of where Eugene V. Debs lived in Terre Haute and have visited the house, in Fayetteville, in which lived the late Senator J. William Fulbright (from whom we got the scholarships and much opposition to the Vietnam War).

    • Former Malaysian PM’s Letter Requesting May 2018 Election Help ‘Ignored’ by CIA

      A secret letter has been leaked, sent by the office of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to the CIA begging for US help if the then-upcoming May 2018 elections went sour for his ruling coalition. Radio Sputnik spoke with Nile Bowie, a writer and journalist who covers Singapore and Malaysia for the Asia Times, about the revelations.

      Najib, who was already embroiled in a corruption scandal that had gutted his popularity, faced a dangerous challenger in the form of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who had partnered up with disaffected elements of Najib’s own party and run on a platform of getting to the bottom of the 1MBD embezzlement scandal.

    • Group: Probe letter asking for CIA backing

      The National Patriots Association wants authorities to probe a purported intelligence unit in the Prime Minister’s Department and its officials who were involved in a letter appealing to the United States to support Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s administration.

      Referring to a report by a news portal which revealed that a letter from the Research Division in the Prime Minister’s Department was sent to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Gina Haspel five days before the 14th general election, the association urged an immediate investigation.

      “All guilty persons should be punished and an example set to all current officials in the Government, security forces personnel and politicians,” said Patriots president Brig Jen (Rtd) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji in a statement.

      He said the letter discussed internal security and foreign policy matters that should not have been shared.

    • Trump Invited Putin to the U.S.

      Following their meeting in Finland, Trump wants to meet with Putin again.

    • How to Destroy Democracy, the Trump-Putin Way

      delete

      All around the world, strongmen are seizing power and subverting liberal norms.

    • The Helsinki Hostage Summit, Putin’s Puppet Trump, and my Working Theory of How the White House was Sold (and joke songs at end)

      To be clear, it is totally illegal to take money from foreign entities in a US election. Trump took money from anyone, not just Putin. Trump took money from several Arab countries (UAE and Saudi Arabia at least) and many other places. But most of all, he took from Putin. And he collected bucks by the bucketload. These would be election finance crimes, and even at enormous levels, they are not necessarily going to get you for life behind bars.

    • Senate 98-0 passes resolution opposing Vladimir Putin’s proposal to interrogate U.S. officials including McFaul & Browder
    • The Crisis Facing America

      The country can no longer afford to wait to ascertain why President Trump has subordinated himself to Putin—it must deal with the fact that he has.

    • Trump’s New Attack on Lawyer Michael Cohen Was a ‘Terrible Idea’ That Will Blow Up in President’s Face: Trial Attorney

      While spending the weekend at his New Jersey golf course, President Trump accused his former attorney, Michael Cohen, of “perhaps illegal” behavior by recording a conversation with Trump during which the two reportedly discussed a hush money payment.

    • Commentary: Trump has attacked U.S. intel agencies. Expect them to strike back.

      The foundations of American national security are under assault. The battle lines are drawn. On one side stand the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency. On the other: the commander-in-chief of the United States.

      [...]

      The display of fealty to Moscow was indelible. Then Trump tried to erase it. Back in the White House on Tuesday, he said he didn’t say what he meant or mean what he said.

      In Helsinki it was “President Putin… said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.” Disavowing himself, reading from a script the day after, Trump demurred: “I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t.’” Rather like a groom at the altar saying: “I don’t.”

    • The Cybersecurity 202: Trump’s intel chiefs fight Russia’s election interference – with or without him

      President Donald Trump’s top intelligence and national security officials are forging ahead with plans to disrupt any Russian interference ahead of the 2018 midterms. But they may be going it alone following Trump’s performance this week at the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

      Just hours after Trump cast doubt on his own country’s conclusions about Moscow’s 2016 election interference at Monday’s presser, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said the intelligence community “will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security.” And on Tuesday, the day after Trump suggested he believed Putin’s denials, The Washington Post reported that the National Security Agency is partnering with the military’s cyberwarfare arm to counter threats from Moscow going into November.

    • Cohen recorded Trump discussing payment to ex-Playboy model

      The FBI is in possession of a recording between President Donald Trump and his former personal attorney Michael Cohen in which the two men prior to the election discuss a payment to a former Playboy model who has alleged an affair with Trump, Rudy Giuliani and a source familiar with the matter told CNN Friday.

      Cohen has other recordings of the President in his records that were seized by the FBI, said both a source with knowledge of Cohen’s tapes and Giuliani, who described the other recordings as mundane discussions. Another source with knowledge of the tape, however, said the conversation is not as Giuliani described and is not good for the President, though the source would not elaborate.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Disney confirms Guardians director fired over years-old tweets
    • Online Censorship an ‘Imaginary Narrative’?

      In an April hearing focused on online viewpoint suppression, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) declared his intent to make sure Big Tech corporations answered for their content filtering practices. This week, Goodlatte made good on that declaration by convening a hearing that featured officials from Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s YouTube.

      In announcing this week’s hearing, Goodlatte touted the amazing possibilities of social media, but also warned, “[T]his same technology can be used to suppress a particular viewpoint and manipulate public opinion.” He hoped this hearing would help the Big Tech companies explore “how they can be better stewards of free speech in the United States and abroad.”

    • GOP Lawmakers Grill Social Media Giants Over Alleged Censorship Of Conservatives, Again [VIDEO]
    • Blockchain Is Helping to Circumvent Censorship in China
    • US academic and critic of Beijing censorship loses job at top Chinese university

      An American professor and vocal critic of Beijing’s censorship has said he has lost his job at the prestigious Peking University and is leaving China.

      Christopher Balding, who had taught for the past nine years at Peking University’s HSBC School of Business in Shenzhen, said in a blog post on Tuesday that the school had not renewed his contract.

      Balding wrote in his post that he was given an “official” reason for his contract not being renewed, but added: “I know the unspoken reason for my dismissal.” He said he was notified in early November that his contract would not be renewed.

      “You do not work under the Communist Party without knowing the risks,” he wrote.

    • American Professor Cites Academic Intolerance as Reason for Leaving China

      An American professor, known as a prolific commentator on Chinese economic policy and an outspoken critic of state censorship, has left China after losing his academic post at a prestigious business school.

      Christopher Balding said that the narrowing limits for open discussion, even of economic and business issues, made him feel unsafe and drove him to leave China. He said Peking University’s HSBC School of Business in Shenzhen—where he worked for nine years—told him last November that his contract wouldn’t be renewed.

    • U.S. Professor Fired from Chinese University After Criticizing Communist Government’s Censorship

      An American professor has lost his job at a top Chinese university after criticizing the communist government’s censorship policies.

      Christopher Balding, who taught at Peking University’s HSBC School of Business in Shenzhen for nine years, said Tuesday that his contract has not been renewed, according to the South China Morning Post. The academic previously launched a successful online petition in August calling on Cambridge University Press to stop blocking access to hundreds of academic articles in China due to pressure from Beijing.

      “You do not work under the Communist Party without knowing the risks,” Balding wrote in a blog post, Reuters reported. “China has reached a point where I do not feel safe being a professor and discussing even the economy, business, and financial markets.”

    • ‘Saturday Night Live’ pulled in China amid crackdown on content

      China’s version of U.S. broadcaster NBCUniversal’s satire show “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) has temporarily been pulled from a domestic video site, amid a crackdown on content ranging from online blogs to livestreamed video.

      The news comes after China’s content regulator urged media platforms last week to produce and broadcast “positive energy” programs to teenagers, and protect them from “low taste and harmful programs” during the summer vacation.

    • Not live from Beijing: Saturday Night Live China suspended
    • China’s Saturday Night Live: victim of Communist Party censorship, or just not funny?

      The Chinese version of the long-running American television comedy show Saturday Night Live has been taken off the air less than a month after its launch, sparking debate over whether it was a victim of censorship or bad writing.

      The news was announced on social media, with the show’s producers seeming to acknowledge its failure to amuse.

      “We are trying to make the show better to meet your expectations,” read a statement posted on Sunday on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service. “Next time we see you, don’t forget to have a big laugh!”

      The show, which was broadcast on Youku.com, a video-sharing website similar to YouTube, did not say why it had been suspended or if it would return, but previously aired episodes are no longer available on the platform.

    • Journalists denounce media censorship, ministry dismisses allegations

      In meeting of the Senate Standing committee regarding Information and Broadcasting earlier last Tuesday, representatives of the media community voiced their objections to apparent censorship of their activites in certain areas. While journalists and media tycoons were thus embroiled with the Information ministry, Political parties and personalities were busy criticizing the media houses for coverage.

      The Senate Standing Committee meeting was held under the chair of Senator Faisal Javed and attended by Senator Maula Bux Chandio and Senator Rubina Khalid. The house heard out President Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Afzal Butt and President Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) Mubarak Zeb Khan. Afzal Butt was concerned about the past when dictatorial regimes prevented certain stories or photographs from being aired or published.

    • When Code Is Speech, Tech Like 3D-Printed Guns Sees Greater Protection from Censorship

      Can a gun be protected by our rights to free speech? According to a recent settlement by the Department of Justice, when the gun is a schematic written in computer code, it can.

      Reason readers will be familiar with the saga of Cody Wilson and his gun rights collective, Defense Distributed. Disturbed by the rising tide of anti-gun sentiment in the cultural discourse, Wilson and his comrades set out to secure Americans’ rights to defend ourselves against government abuse. But they took a different tack than Second Amendment advocates before them. Rather than spending billions on lobbying and public persuasion campaigns, Defense Distributed bound their fate to the mast of technological determinism. They put guns on the internet.

      It has been about five years since the first 3-D printed gun was fired. Engineers at Wilson’s Austin-based firearms defense syndicate had been hard at work building the first prototypes. While the design looked a bit like a toy gun that a young boy might play with, the plastic-cast first DIY handgun, dubbed “the Liberator,” was truly fearsome to regulators and gun control hardliners. On its launch day, Defense Distrbuted’s “Wiki Weapon” schematic file had been downloaded 50,000 times from their DEFCAD.org website.

    • Polish gov’t opposed internet censorship

      The announcement comes ahead of a European Parliament debate on copyright rules proposed by Brussels which have been widely opposed by internet users, scientists, and IT experts.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Is Right

      Political activists on the left are calling on Mark Zuckerberg to assume the role of censor on Facebook. Facebook has the right to allow or prohibit any content Facebook wants. The left can call on Facebook to do this, but it is a bad idea. Both Facebook and Zuckerberg are right to refuse. By way of disclosure, I am holding my annual Resurgent Gathering in a few weeks and Facebook is a sponsor.

    • Mark Zuckerberg’s Sister Simultaneously Rejects and Defends Facebook Censorship

      Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s sister doesn’t think the social media company should censor Holocaust deniers. She wants the government to do that.

      Zuckerberg drew criticism Wednesday after Recode asked him about fake news on the platform. Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, told the interviewer that he did not want to delete even something as deeply and personally offensive to him as Holocaust denial. “I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong,” he said. “I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong.” Zuckerberg was willing to take down pages engaged in actually organizing harm. But when a page limits itself to expressing offensive opinions, he’d rather lower its reach than expel it.

      The comments were quickly criticized by people who believe Facebook had a duty to banish ideas like Holocaust denial.

    • Facebook Shouldn’t Censor Offensive Speech
    • Mark Zuckerberg clarifies: ‘I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that.’
    • WhatsApp to limit message forwarding following lynchings in India spurred by misinformation

      WhatsApp users in the country will now only be able to forward a message five times. The company is also removing the “quick forward” feature, which created a streamlined in-app process for passing along messages.

    • WhatsApp to restrict message forwarding after India mob lynchings

      In India, where false rumours about child abduction spread virally over WhatsApp, leading to several vigilante murders over the past year, the new limit will be even stricter: each message can be forwarded just five times. In that country, where according to Facebook “people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world”, WhatsApp is also removing the “quick forward” feature, a button that appears next to photos, videos and links. The previous forwarding cap, rarely hit by users, was more than 250.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • OpSec – Staying Private Under Surveillance

      This article is intended to give you a list of tips on how to keep yourself private in a world of internet surveillance. It is broken up into two parts, technical security and operational security (OpSec). Technical security is avoiding outing yourself through technology issues. OpSec is outing yourself by making operational mistakes.

      Disclaimer: This is not a complete or exhaustive list, but a set of general guidelines on how to protect yourself from identification.

    • ICANN GDPR case referred to German higher court

      ICANN is attempting to force one of its domain name registrars to collect data on new registrants in an effort to maintain the integrity of the WHOIS platform, used by rights holders to aid online enforcement

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Real gender equality includes femininity (and the color pink)

      As feminist parents we tell ourselves that we’re trying to break down the gender binary, but what’s wrong with skirts and baby dolls?

      The message that we consistently send out is that in order to achieve any kind of significant career goals, girls need to adopt traits that are typically associated with masculinity. Credit: Hero Images/Getty Images via YES! Magazine. All rights reserved.

      A few months ago, my 4-year-old son went to a classmate’s birthday. The party was superhero-themed and the loot bags were packed with cute little superhero trinkets, including temporary tattoos. One little girl, let’s call her Izzy, put hers on immediately.

      “LOOK,” Izzy yelled, running up to everyone in turn. “IRON MAN. SO COOL.”

      The other children and parents in attendance oohed and aahed over her forearm. Every single one of them showed their admiration and approval for her Iron Man tattoo.

      Later, as we parents were watching our cake-smeared kids run around in a sugar-induced frenzy, one of the other mothers turned to me and said, “Isn’t it funny that [your son] loves My Little Pony so much? I mean, he’s such a boy.”

      Not really knowing how to answer, I said, “I don’t think it’s funny. It’s a good show.”

    • CIA watchdog withdraws nomination after allegations of retaliation against colleagues

      Christopher Sharpley, the acting Inspector General of the Central Intelligence Agency, is withdrawing his nomination after former colleagues alleged he retaliated against them for blowing the whistle on CIA IG officials’ alleged mishandling of evidence.

      According to two sources familiar with the matter, and confirmed by the CIA, Sharpley sent an email to staff on Wednesday telling them he was pulling back his nomination to be CIA Inspector General and would be retiring from CIA within 30 days to seek other opportunities. His specific reason for withdrawing now was not immediately clear.

    • Acting CIA watchdog steps down, withdraws IG nomination

      The acting watchdog at the CIA, who has been accused of retaliating against whistleblowers, is resigning, the agency confirmed Friday.

      Christopher Sharpley, whose nomination for the agency’s inspector general post had stalled in the Senate, said in a memo to employees that he is stepping down within 30 days.

      “After three decades of public service, he has decided to continue his career outside the agency, and we wish him the best in this new chapter,” CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani said in a statement. “CIA’s commitment to rigorous, independent oversight is unwavering, and the Office of Inspector General will carry on that important mission through the transition.”

    • Acting CIA watchdog up for top job resigns
    • Behind closed doors, Guantánamo secret court talks about the CIA, torture and rights

      The CIA used an alleged accomplice in the Sept. 11 terror attacks as a test subject to train new interrogators. Agents diapered or left naked a one-legged CIA captive during his time in secret overseas detention. Taking showers still traumatizes the alleged USS Cole bomber, whom the CIA waterboarded in 2003.

      These and other details emerged from McClatchy’s review of 1,300 pages of partially declassified transcripts of Guantánamo’s secret death-penalty case sessions that have been gradually made public since February.

      Although still heavily redacted, the transcripts show a consistent theme across 30 hours of closed war-crimes hearings: When the public and accused terrorists aren’t allowed to listen, the legal arguments are often about the CIA’s secret overseas prison network, the circumstances of Guantánamo detention and how now outlawed Bush-era interrogation methods might affect future justice.

      In 2002 and 2003, “Essentially the United States government is running a Turkish prison. And that’s an insult, probably, to Turkey, frankly,” Navy Cmdr. Brian Mizer, a defense attorney, told a judge in a May 2014 court argument initially labeled top secret.

    • Come in from the cold: not enough ethnic minority spies, say MPs

      Britain’s intelligence agencies are suffering from a “glaring lack” of ethnic minority spies in top jobs, a watchdog warned today.

      Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee said the three organisations it monitors, MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, had made progress in improving the diversity of their staff and had won accolades for efforts to help women, gay and lesbian staff prosper in their careers.

    • UK spy agencies criticised for lack of black or Asian leaders

      The UK’s intelligence agencies suffer from a lack of black and Asian staff in top posts, according to a report from the parliamentary intelligence and security committee published on Wednesday.

      Neither MI6, which deals with overseas intelligence-gathering, nor MI5, had any people from a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background in the top posts in 2016-2017. The surveillance agency GCHQ was the only agency listed as having any staff at a senior level from a BAME background.

      The spy agencies have over the last few years made a big play about the need for more diversity in recruitment. The head of MI6, Alex Younger, has said he wants a more diverse staff to be one of his legacies.

    • MI5 and MI6 have ‘glaring lack’ of ethnic minority and female staff at senior levels, report reveals

      Just two of Britain’s security and intelligence agencies have any members from the ethnic minorities in senior ranks while women make up a disproportionately low numbers at that level across the board.

      Although “significant progress” has been made in making MI5, MI6, GCHQ and other services more inclusive, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) found “at senior level in particular the intelligence community is still not gender-balanced and does not fully reflect the ethnic makeup of modern Britain … There is a glaring lack of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff at senior civil service levels across the community.

      “And although 31 per cent of the senior civil servants in MI5 are women, that figure is considerably lower – around 25 per cent – across the other agencies and rest of the intelligence community” the MPs said.

    • UK spy agencies criticised for lack of black leaders

      Neither MI6, which deals with overseas intelligence-gathering, nor MI5 had any people from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background in the top posts in 2016-17. The surveillance agency GCHQ was the only agency listed as having any staff at a senior level from a BAME background.

      The spy agencies have over the last few years made a big play about the need for more diversity in recruitment. The head of MI6, Alex Younger, has said he wants a more diverse staff to be part of his legacy.

      The report also found a lack of gender balance.

      The report describes the lack of BAME staff in senior posts as “lamentable”. On lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, the report records 3% of staff at MI6 choosing to declare themselves as LGBT, 4.4% in MI5 and 1.3% in GCHQ.

      “It is not clear why the declaration rates for the agencies are lower for this group than for staff declaring as BAME, particularly as the LGBT groups across the agencies and organisations are high profile and well-established,” the report says.

    • ‘Glaring lack of BAME staff’ in top posts at MI5 and MI6

      THERE IS a ‘glaring lack of BAME staff’ at senior civil service levels in the UK intelligence agencies, a new parliamentary report has revealed.

      Issues around diversity and inclusion at each of the UK’s seven intelligence and security organisations – GCHQ, MI5, Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), Defence Intelligence (DI), National Security Secretariat (NSS), Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT) and the Joint Intelligence Organisation (JIO) are examined in the report by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee published today.

      The report highlighted what the seven agencies are currently doing well – working together effectively, sharing resources and best practice and employing “increasingly innovative” recruitment campaigns as the seek to promote brand awareness and “attract a more diverse range of applicants from underrepresented groups”, among other things.

    • Intelligence Liaison and Torture: Catch-22 for Britain’s Spies?

      MPs found that in over 200 cases U.K. agencies – the Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6) – continued to share intelligence with partners even though they knew detainees were being mistreated. In 198 cases, U.K. officers received intelligence from sources where mistreatment had taken place. Britain’s eavesdroppers in the Government Communication Headquarters were also criticised for sharing intelligence which could have supported illegal CIA activities, a claim denied by spy bosses.

      [...]

      ISC Chair and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve told journalists that officers worked with countries with “very dubious human rights records, where it would have been very likely that the person would be in fact tortured or ill-treated.”

      Prime Minister Theresa May said that Britain’s spies found themselves in a “new and challenging operating environment.” It took “too long to recognise that guidance and training for staff was inadequate, and too long to understand fully and take appropriate action on the risks arising from our engagement with international partners on detainee issues,” she added.

    • Using Dogs as a Tool of Racist Repression

      In 2016, veterinarian Dan Wentz started a fundraiser to implant titanium crowns on the teeth of a 106-pound German Shepherd police dog.

      In Ferguson, Missouri.

      “Given all that’s happened,” said Wentz, “I want to make sure we are doing what we can to help keep these dogs on the street.”

      Ferguson, of course, is where the 2014 police murder of unarmed, 18-year-old Michael Brown touched off an uprising that sparked the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement around the nation, and brought horrific police repression of protesters in response.

      Wentz’s campaign was launched after the uprising. It came after the Ferguson Police Department had taken a police dog to the memorial left to Brown to piss on it. And it was after a Justice Department investigation into the Ferguson police found that officers only sicced dogs on Black people, including children, and that the dogs were used “not to counter a physical threat but to inflict punishment.”

      This story isn’t an exception, though. Throughout the country, police departments cynically exploit people’s love of dogs to make the abuse of human beings by police K9 units and the abuse of the dogs themselves seem acceptable, obscuring a mass of brutality, corruption and abuse.

      The “Rin Tin Tin” propaganda used by police departments for community outreach efforts must be confronted with the real history of decades of brutality — toward human and animal alike — as a result of the use of police dogs.

    • Elders urges parties not to make unreasonable demands, condemns attacks on women

      Political parties should not make unreasonable demands and should instead seek legal recourse if they feel the electoral process is being violated, chairperson of The Elders, Kofi Annan, said today.

      The Elders is an independent group of global leaders that work together for peace and human rights.

      In a press statement held in the capital, Mr Annan – who is also former United Nations secretary-general and a Nobel Peace Laureate – said making unreasonable demands, including inciting the population, had the potential to complicate the electoral process and yielding unforeseen outcomes.

    • Anonymous hacker who made odd asylum claim in Canada sues in U.S. to claim time spent in Canadian prisons

      An Anonymous hacktivist and former U.S. airman, who sought political asylum in Canada claiming torture by American officials over his access to secret government documents, is suing the U.S. prison bureau to reclaim time he served in Canada’s prisons.

      Matt DeHart spent 439 days in prison in Canada before his refugee claim was rejected and he was deported to the United States in 2015. Waiting for him in Tennessee were child pornography charges he claimed were a ruse to probe and curb his online activism.

      DeHart’s case became a bizarre and troubling story involving Anonymous hackers, WikiLeaks whistleblowers, Russian spies, military secrets and a classified dossier purporting to contain highly inflammatory U.S. intelligence secrets; his story was revealed in a detailed investigation by the National Post in 2014.

      From 2005 until he was arrested in the United States in 2010, DeHart ran a communal computer server on the so-called “dark web” and was involved in early campaigns by Anonymous, an international affiliation of computer hacktivists.

      In 2009, DeHart found an alarming file that had been uploaded to his server. It probably was supposed to be encrypted but it opened without a password. He believes it was destined for WikiLeaks, the whistleblowing organization. WikiLeaks itself refers to DeHart as an “alleged WikiLeaks middleman.”

    • Matt DeHart launches legal challenge against sentence extension
    • Ecuador, Britain In Talks Over Assange Standoff

      Assange’s arrest warrant stems from charges of sexual misconduct in Sweden. He believed Britain plans to hand him over to the US government to be indicted for blowing the whistle on war crimes.

      Earlier this month, Moreno said he had “fruitful talks” with British authorities, who delivered a certain type of information for us to be able to use in favour of international law and Assange’s right to life.”

      Moreno’s government tried to break the deadlock in December by granting Assange citizenship and requesting Britain to give him diplomatic status and immunity, but they were rejected.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Father and Son Among Inventors Recognized for Fleet Impact at Navy Patent Awards Ceremony

      Gerhard Thielman and his son, Benjamin – among 32 patent holders recognized for 12 patents – collaborated to invent the ‘Spherical Tractor Operating Mobile Platform’.

      “The potential benefit to the warfighter is an adaptable, self-contained vehicle with multi-mission capability,” NSWCDD Chief of Staff Chuck Campbell told an audience of the inventors’ family, friends and colleagues regarding the Thielmans’ innovation.

      The patents represent a culmination of effort by many individuals, including the inventors, the Invention Evaluation Board members, patent attorneys, and others who conceive – and reduced to practice – the technological innovations arising from the command’s research and development activities.

    • Little People slam Amazon’s dwarf-tossing robot patent
    • Trademarks

      • Research Shows Rapid Growth in Chinese Trademarks

        It doesn’t take a professional economist to realize the rapid rate of growth in China. In the first quarter of 2018, the country’s GDP increased by 6.8 percent and the second quarter is predicted to see a further 6.7 percent growth.

        But of course GDP is not the only metric by which to measure economic growth. From a business point of view, it can also be helpful to observe trademark filing activity, and to say this has boomed in China would be an understatement. In the past two years alone, the number of trademark applications made within China to foreign registers has doubled.

    • Copyrights

      • Two Years On, Alleged KAT Founder Continues to Fight Extradition

        Exactly two years ago, on July 20th 2016, KickassTorrents was shut down following a criminal investigation by the United States. The enforcement action also led to the arrest of several men, including an alleged operator, who is still waiting for a final extradition decision after two years.

      • Nintendo Sues Console ROM Sites For ‘Mass’ Copyright Infringement

        Nintendo has filed a lawsuit against the alleged operator of the popular console ROM sites LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.co. The sites are among the most notorious online hubs for pirated games, according to Nintendo, and face millions of dollars in potential damages.

      • Premier League Obtains Piracy Blocking Order For 2018/19 Season

        The High Court has granted the Premier League permission to continue blocking live pirate streams of football matches in the UK. The football organization obtained a pioneering injunction early 2017, with a second order expiring in May 2018. That has now been renewed by Justice Arnold for the 2018 to 2019 season. Many of the details are shrouded in secrecy.

      • English Premier League scores copyright hat trick against ISPs

        The English High Court has extended a live blocking injunction for the Football Association Premier League, showing that such injunctions are here to stay but adds nothing about who should pay for them

      • The first rule of copyright reform: Don’t mess with free speech and net neutrality

        One takeaway is that there are presently two kinds of copyright reforms. The first involves a conventional balancing of copyright interests, typically framed as creator rights on the one hand and users’ rights on the other. Ensuring both appropriate compensation and reasonable rights of access and reuse are invariably contentious, but they are largely limited to directly copyright-related considerations.

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