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07.30.18

Links 30/7/2018: Linux 4.18 RC7, OpenMW 0.44.0, freedesktop.org GitLab

Posted in News Roundup at 4:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • A single-user, lightweight OS for your next home project

    What on earth is RISC OS? Well, it’s not a new kind of Linux. And it’s not someone’s take on Windows. In fact, released in 1987, it’s older than either of these. But you wouldn’t necessarily realize it by looking at it.

    The point-and-click graphic user interface features a pinboard and an icon bar across the bottom for your active applications. So, it looks eerily like Windows 95, eight years before it happened.

    This OS was originally written for the Acorn Archimedes. The Acorn RISC Machines CPU in this computer was completely new hardware that needed completely new software to run on it. This was the original operating system for the ARM chip, long before anyone had thought of Android or Armbian.

  • GSoC 2018 – booting from BTRFS works!

    Freeloader is now able to read files and follow symlinks from btrfs partition. One major issue is left here – case sensitivity. BTRFS is case-sensitive file system, so paths like /ReactOS/System32, /reactos/system32, /ReactOS/system32 are different here. But in Windows world most software is written assuming that case does not matter during path lookup. This thing is solved in WinBtrfs driver, but for Freeloader it can be a bit tricky. Right now I’ve implemented a hack for this, we will handle this later.

  • ReactOS Is Now Able To Boot From Btrfs

    The ReactOS “open-source Windows” operating system is now able to boot from a Btrfs file-system.

    Being worked on as part of this year’s Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is Btrfs file-system support for ReactOS. The student developer Victor Perevertkin has been working on Btrfs support within the ReactOS boot-loader as well as other fixes needed to allow for ReactOS to be installed on and boot from a Btrfs file-system.

  • Holochain (HOT) Review – An Open-Source Framework Alternative to the Blockchain

    Holochain is an open-source framework for building decentralized, peer-to-peer applications that is an alternative to the blockchain. Its long-term goal is to create an uncloseable carrier for doing interaction that is completely peer-to-peer. In other words, a decentralized system for agency, autonomy and security. Holochain believes that this is not available today and that blockchain technology does not meet this need.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • In Memoriam: Gervase Markham

        I met Gerv in the early 2000s, after he’d already been diagnosed. He has always been very public about his illness. He was frank with all who knew him that his life expectancy was sadly well below average due to that illness. So, this outcome isn’t a surprise nor a shock, but it is nevertheless sad and unfortunate for all who knew him.

        I really liked Gerv. I found him insightful and thoughtful. His insatiable curiosity for my primary field — FLOSS licensing — was a source of enjoyment for me in our many conversations on the subject. Gerv was always Socratic in his approach: he asked questions, rather than make statements, even when it was pretty obvious he had an answer of his own; he liked to spark debate and seek conversation. He thoughtfully considered the opinions of others and I many times saw his positions change based on new information. I considered him open-minded and an important contributor to FLOSS licensing thought.

        I bring up Gerv’s open-mindedness because I know that many people didn’t find him so, but, frankly, I think those folks were mistaken. It is well documented publicly that Gerv held what most would consider particularly “conservative values”. And, I’ll continue with more frankness: I found a few of Gerv’s views offensive and morally wrong. But Gerv was also someone who could respectfully communicate his views. I never felt the need to avoid speaking with him or otherwise distance myself. Even if a particular position offended me, it was nevertheless clear to me that Gerv had come to his conclusions by starting from his (a priori) care and concern for all of humanity. Also, I could simply say to Gerv: “I really disagree with that so much”, and if it became clear our views were just too far apart to productively discuss the matter further, he’d happily and collaboratively find another subject for us to discuss. Gerv was a reasonable man. He could set aside fundamental disagreements and find common ground to talk with, collaborate with, and befriend those who disagreed with him. That level of kindness and openness is rarely seen in our current times.

      • Gerv

        I never spent very much time with him, but I really appreciated getting together at Mozilla events with Gerv and a small group of other Mozilla Christians to pray every morning. That tradition continues, and long may it do so!

      • TenFourFox FPR9b1 available

        Before we begin: if you haven’t seen it, check out the newly updated and refurbished TenFourFox FAQ, and consider this sobering thought on the state of web monitoring advertising.

        Also, for those of you who may be unaware, long-time Mozillian Gervase Markham passed away, surrounded by his family. He was ever a professional to the end. I didn’t know him as well as some, but I’ll always remember him, not least of which for his unwavering faith in the face of adversity and leaving us far too soon. Go with God.

        TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 9 beta 1 is now available (downloads, hashes, release notes). There are several new features and many bug fixes in this version. FPR9 is also the first TenFourFox release to pull from the new extended support release, Firefox 60ESR, and we have updated the extended validation certificate roots and our certs’n’pins import script to pull from that source instead of the shortly-to-be-decommissioned 52ESR. All relevant security and stability patches on 60ESR so far have also been backported.

        On the bug fix side, there is a crash fix for media tracks from Raphael, updates to the ATSUI font blacklist (mostly for certain Japanese fonts) that can now block incompatible fonts through the CSS Font Loading API as well, updated timezone data for the ICU internationalization library, ICU security fixes, fixes for button sensing in events which should get around some weird glitchy things where the mouse buttons get ignored, and a dumb old bug with WiFi scanning. I also added a layout fix for button subelements that keep getting split apart, fixing problems on sites like Twitch and GoDaddy.

  • Funding

  • Open Hardware/Modding

    • 7 Best Arduino Projects To Do In Summer

      The free time of summer vacations or continuous hours is for many an ideal time to start more complex or long projects associated with some of their passions. If Arduino is among your interests and you want to reinforce your maker spirit, we propose 7 arduino projects to do in summer.

  • Programming/Development

    • Introducing freedesktop.org GitLab

      This is quite a long post. The executive summary is that freedesktop.org now hosts an instance of GitLab, which is generally available and now our preferred platform for hosting going forward. We think it offers a vastly better service, and we needed to do it in order to offer the projects we host the modern workflows they have been asking for.

      In parallel, we’re working on making our governance, including policies, processes and decision making, much more transparent.

    • GitLab Is A Vast Improvement To FreeDesktop.org’s Infrastructure

      Taking place the past few months has been migrating the FreeDesktop.org infrastructure to GitLab and the developers/administrators involved are quite happy with this big improvement to better their code hosting, issue tracking, etc.

      The FreeDesktop.org GitLab deployment is happening on Google Compute Engine to also replace aging FreeDesktop.org hardware in the process. Among the FreeDesktop.org projects moving over to GitLab has been Mesa, X.Org, and other sub-projects. This also follows a larger trend among other free software projects centering on GitLab for their infrastructure needs with the previous most notable project having been GNOME.

    • C++17 Filesystem Support Lands In LLVM’s Libc++ Library

      This week support for the official C++17 “filesystem” feature landed within LLVM’s libc++ standard library.

      C++17 adds file-system abstractions based upon the Boost library’s filesystem support. This functionality makes it easier for C++ programs to perform file/directory operations across platforms in a standard manner. The file-system technical specification continues to be available here for all of the details.

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Q&A: Yemen’s Humanitarian Catastrophe Demands Action

      Death surrounds us. I don’t know anyone who has not been touched by this conflict.

      The Yemeni people face almost unprecedented human suffering. One in three Yemenis is on the brink of famine. We faced the worst cholera outbreak in modern history. Yemen now is, according to UN experts, the worst humanitarian disaster in the world. It is a human-made disaster, created by warring parties who have committed violation after violation.

      And it is all so senseless, so preventable. We live in a land torn to shreds by a war largely fueled by outside forces.

      Currently, the port city of Hodeidah is under assault by the Saudi-led coalition, which backs the government. We are very concerned, not just for the city’s 600,000 residents, but also because about 75 percent of Yemen’s aid—and almost all of its commercial food shipments—go through the port.

    • America Must Update Its Lethal Drone Policy—Here’s How

      When a U.S. drone strike killed five members of the Manthari family in Yemen in late March 2018, the U.S. Defense Department reported that terrorists affiliated with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were killed and that civilians were not present at the attack. The Manthari family shares a different story. According to relatives, tribal leaders, and human rights groups, the men killed were innocent civilians, and family members are now demanding compensation and that the U.S. government clear the names of those killed.

      In the first year of the Trump administration, the plight of the Mantharis is not unusual. In 2015, then-candidate Trump said he would target terrorists and their families, and three years later he appears to be living up to that promise. Innocent civilians are experiencing the effects of President Trump’s approach, witnessing an increase in drone strikes and living with the consequences of potential mistakes. Verifying the legitimacy of such strikes is increasingly difficult, as the Trump administration moves away from policies and practices intended to bring greater transparency and accountability to the U.S. drone program.

    • U.S. Confirms It Provides Armed Drones to Niger

      The United States started arming drones in the West African nation of Niger earlier this year, according to the U.S. Africa Command.

      “In coordination with the Government of Niger, U.S. Africa Command has armed intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft already in Niger to improve our combined ability to respond to threats and other security issues in the region. Armed ISR aircraft began flying in early 2018,” Samantha Reho, spokeswoman for U.S. Africa Command, told The Associated Press.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Opinion: Attempted Censorship Of Christine Assange Reveals How Powerful Her Voice Is

      It’s not enough for the establishment to silence and isolate Julian Assange: they are so terrified of the truth, that they also blatantly attempt to silence his mother, Christine Assange. The unelected power structure’s terror in the face of courage exposes their essential nature, and at the same time indicates the power that they ascribe to Christine Assange’s voice.

      Christine was scheduled to speak on the Unity4J ‘State of the Movement‘ address, which was held yesterday by journalist Suzie Dawson, veteran CIA analyst and Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) co-founder Ray McGovern, filmmaker Vivian Kubrick, and myself. The entire event is available via Youtube. Those who have not yet joined the Unity4J Discord server and would like to do so can sign up at: Unity4J.com/Discord

      Despite strenuous efforts made by Christine and our technical support team for over an hour, we were unable to connect with Christine or bring her onto the panel. She then attempted to send a message to Suzie Dawson, which was intended to be read to the audience of the live event. However, that message too was delayed until the moment the stream ended.

      In light of the apparent attempt to silence Christine’s voice, Dawson and I decided to re-start the stream immediately, in order to read the message from Christine that had finally come through. The second stream of the evening which resulted is available in full via Youtube.

    • Ecuador works with Britain to evict Julian Assange

      Ecuador is working with Britain to end Julian Assange’s six-year stay in its embassy in London, its president has said.

      President Moreno said the ideal way out for Mr Assange would be for him to accept a penalty for breaching his UK bail conditions. “It is not the exercise of human rights compliance that a person remains so long as an asylum seeker,” he told El País on a visit to Spain.

    • Ecuador embassy set to give Assange the boot
    • London Newspaper: Assange Could Face Imminent Expulsion
    • Correa: ‘Assange’s Days in Ecuadorean Embassy Are Numbered’

      Former Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said president Lenin Moreno ” has an agreement with the United States on what will happen to Assange.”

      Ecuador’s former president Rafael Correa said in an interview with RT Saturday that Julian Assange’s days in the Ecuadorean embassy in London are numbered, a claim which contradicts the statements made by Lenin Moreno Friday.

    • WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange could face ‘imminent’ embassy expulsion
    • Assange faces expulsion from Ecuador Embassy hideout

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is likely to be expelled from his hideout at the Ecuador Embassy here, where he had sought asylum six years ago, after Ecuador President Lenin Moreno said that the Australian should go, according to a media report.

      Assange, 47, has been living in Ecuador Embassy in Knightsbridge in central London since 2012 when he was granted political asylum.

      “I expect (Assange) to lose his asylum status imminently. This means he will be expelled from the embassy. When this will happen is impossible to say,” a source related to the case was quoted as saying by “The Times” newspaper.

      [...]

      An assistant of Assange, an Australian national – who fears being extradited to the US where he is wanted for leaking secretive documents via Wikileaks, has criticised the Ecuador President for ending the asylum status.

      The crisis had prompted contingency plans for him to leave in “hours, days or weeks”, one of Assange’s team member was quoted as saying in the report.

    • Assange must leave embassy ‘eventually’: Ecuadorian President
    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange faces expulsion from Ecuador embassy in UK: Report

      Assange had been granted asylum six years ago on the grounds that he feared extradition to America, where he faced a possible death sentence or torture.Moreno indicated that negotiations with Britain might have resulted in a guarantee that he would not face the death penalty if he were extradited. “What we want is for his life not to be in danger,” he said. This could clear the way for possible extradition of Assange to the US, once the threat of the death penalty is lifted.

      Meanwhile, Assange’s medical condition has been aggravated in the ongoing heatwave in the UK. ” He’s under a huge amount of pressure. If they do remove his protection, we will go to the courts to protect him,” Assange’s lawyer in London said.

    • Assange lawyers brace for Ecuadorian embassy evicting WikiLeaks publisher at any moment

      Julian Assange’s legal team is preparing to defend the WikiLeaks publisher against a possible U.S. extradition request in anticipation of Ecuador ejecting him from its London embassy at any moment.

      Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno confirmed Friday that his government is working with British officials toward brokering Mr. Assange’s exit from the embassy, potentially putting the Australian-born activist on the path to face criminal charges abroad related to his role running WikiLeaks.

      “If they do remove his protection, we will go to the courts to protect him,” said Jennifer Robinson, an attorney for Mr. Assange, The Times of London reported Saturday.

      “We are preparing to defend him in the British courts and will fight extradition to the U.S,” Mr. Robinson told the newspaper. “We don’t have any indication of timeframe. This is a very serious situation, one that we are very concerned about. It’s a matter for Ecuador, the U.K., the U.S. and Australia.”

    • Britain and Ecuador discuss Wikileaks founder’s fate

      Government officials in both countries are pondering the eviction of Assange, who gained notoriety for publishing thousands of U.S.-classified documents on the website, WikiLeaks, from Ecuador’s London embassy, where he has been in asylum since 2012 and gained citizenship late last year.

      Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno told the BBC Friday that he was never “in favor” of Assange’s activities, and that both countries were holding talks.

      The British government has become more concerned about his welfare as Ecuador cut off his internet connection in March over concerns about his use of social media interfering with diplomatic relations and cut back extra security in May after spending $5 million on protection costs.

    • Julian Assange faces expulsion from Ecuadoran Embassy

      Why it matters: Assange is wanted by London police for breaching bail, per the Times, and his arrest is wanted by the U.S. A source with detailed knowledge of the situation told the Times: “I expect [Assange] to lose his asylum status imminently. … When this will happen is impossible to say.” Ecuador’s President Moreno said this week that no one should be in asylum “for too long.”

    • Report: Julian Assange’s Thin Ice at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London Could Be About to Break

      Later, Moreno confirmed that Assange could stay if he became less of a headache, though it seems that the situation has continued to deteriorate. Reports have indicated the Ecuadorean government has spent millions on Assange’s security, including monitoring his guests.

    • Report: Julian Assange’s Thin Ice At The Ecuadorean Embassy In London Could Be About To Break [Ed: Australian version]
    • Julian Assange looks for deal to end ‘diplomatic isolation’
    • Ecuador’s President Says Wants to Find Solution to Assange Case Without Trouble

      Moreno said on Friday Assange would ultimately have to leave the embassy where he has lived since June 2012. Ecuador’s National Communications Ministry (SECOM) later denied that the Ecuadorian president told Assange to leave the embassy, and stressed that the issue should be resolved through the negotiations between Ecuador and the United Kingdom.

    • Is a deal for Julian Assange in the works?

      CNN is focusing on the question of U.S. extradition and leaning on unconfirmed rumors that there is a sealed indictment awaiting Assange if we can get our hands on him. But it’s not for the Russia investigation. This one dates back to the release of hundreds of thousands of classified documents stolen by Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning.

      Ecuador’s concerns over Assange’s health, having been negatively affected by all that time “in confinement,” seem strange to say the least. If they were so worried about his medical condition they should have kicked him out years ago. And just for the record, he hasn’t been “in confinement.” He could have walked out of that embassy any time he wanted to, starting on June 19, 2012.

      [...]

      Of course, the other complicating factor that I brought up last week is still in play. Does Donald Trump really want Julian Assange parachuting into the middle of the current investigations and debates? To paraphrase an old movie quote, a guy with a mouth like that could cause a lotta problems in this town. If our Justice Department doesn’t act and the Brits cut him loose on the unlawful flight charges with time served, he could conceivably just get on a plane. And if he makes it to Ecuador nobody will be able to touch him.

    • Who is Julian Assange, will the WikiLeaks founder leave the Ecuador embassy and did he date Pamela Anderson?

      Speculation about Assange’s future has grown after the Sunday Times reported senior officials from Ecuador and Britain were talking about how to remove him from the embassy.

      Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno said on July 27 that nobody should remain under asylum “for too long”.

      Speaking at an event in Madrid, he added: “I have never been in favour of Mr Assange’s activity.”

      Mr Moreno insisted any eviction of Assange from the embassy had to be carried out correctly and through dialogue, but he displayed no sympathy for Assange’s political agenda as a leaker of confidential documents.

    • Brazil Lula backs Wikileaks founder
    • Julian Assange faces ‘imminent expulsion’ from embassy

      “The recent indictments issued by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller imply that Assange and WikiLeaks were a conduit for Russian intelligence in distributing hacked Democratic Party emails in 2016,” the media outlet said. “Whether a sealed indictment awaits Assange in relation to the Russian hacking investigation is unknown. But according to US officials, charges have been drawn up relating to previous WikiLeaks disclosures of classified US documents.”

    • Julian Assange faces ‘imminent expulsion’ from embassy

      His lawyer Jennifer Robinson reportedly told The Times, that she was concerned for Assange’s health.

      “We are preparing to defend him in the British courts and will fight extradition to the US,” she said. “We don’t have any indication of time frame.

      “This is a very serious situation, one that we are very concerned about. It’s a matter for Ecuador, the UK, the US and Australia.”

    • Julian Assange reportedly about to be kicked out of Ecuadorian embassy

      President Donald Trump has proclaimed that he loves WikiLeaks. But when Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, was the CIA director, he said, “We can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.” Pompeo also has called Assange a “fraud” and a “coward.”

    • Assange Faces Expulsion From Ecuador Embassy Hideout in UK: Report

      This could clear the way for possible extradition of Assange to the US, once the threat of the death penalty is lifted.

      Jeff Sessions, the US attorney-general, has made clear that the Donald Trump administration is seeking his arrest.

      Meanwhile, Assange’s medical condition has been aggravated in the ongoing heatwave in the UK amid growing reports of an increasingly uncomfortable relationship between embassy staff and the man they call “the guest”.

    • The Women of WikiLeaks: Speaking Truth to Power

      At the center of any WikiLeaks discussion lies Julian Assange, the platform’s founder who has been embroiled in scandals and accusations of misogyny, amongst all else. Lesser known is the story of the women involved in the WikiLeaks phenomenon, as whistleblowing is an area of activity that, as Renata Avila, Sarah Harrison and Angela Richter write in Women, Whistleblowing, WikiLeaks: A Conversation, is “widely perceived as heavily male dominated.”

      This is because the mainstream media heavily focuses on key male players — not just Assange, but also journalist Glen Greenwald, whose work on the NSA surveillance disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden has brought them both into the international spotlight. Even Chelsea Manning, despite being a transgender woman, is often referred to as a “he.”

      This is one of the notions brought up in the foreword of a book based on a conversation sparked between the women involved with WikiLeaks. Harrison, an acclaimed journalist; Richter, a Croatian-German theater director; and Avila, a celebrated Guatemalan human rights lawyer, are all women who have had prominent roles working within WikiLeaks. For instance, Harrison was at the heart of the Snowden revelations and accompanied him in his escape from Hong Kong to Moscow. Yet, as Richter points out in the foreword, instead of describing Harrison as a “brave, independent journalist,” she was often referred to in the media as “an ‘assistant’ or ‘friend’ of Assange.”

    • Julian Assange cannot stay in embassy forever, Ecuador’s President says

      Mr Moreno also confirmed he had been in contact with the British Government about ending Mr Assange’s stay at the embassy, where he has been since seeking asylum there in 2012.

      “We are constantly talking with the British Government, with the ambassador, who is their representative in Ecuador,” he said.

      “The only person I’ve never talked to is Mr Assange.”

      Mr Assange sought asylum in the embassy to avoid being extradited to Sweden to answer questions over an alleged sex crime.

      He denied the allegations and the charges were later dropped, but he is still subject to arrest in Britain for skipping bail and also fears a possible US extradition request based on his leaking of classified US State Department documents.

    • Ecuador denies Assange ordered out

      Ecuador says it has not ordered Wikileaks founder Julian Assange out of its embassy in London.

    • Ecuador, Britain in talks over Assange fate: Ecuadorian president
    • Ecuador, Britain in talks over Assange fate

      Moreno, who visited Spain and Britain last week, said the “ideal” solution would involve Assange accepting a “penalty” for having breached British bail conditions and then be “extradited to a country where he does not face any danger.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Sorry, Bernie, We Need Radical Change

      One of the more darkly amusing narratives in current establishment Democratic Party positioning for the 2018 mid-term elections and the 2020 presidential contest is the claim that the Bernie Sanders tendency represents a radical “socialist” threat that will tip the races to the Republicans and Trump.

      Never mind that the progressive and mildly social-democratic policies Sanders and his cadre of Democrats back – Medicare for All, progressive taxation, free college tuition, a significant increase n the federal minimum wage, the re-legalization of union organizing – have longstanding majority support from the U.S. populace.

      Never mind that it precisely the centrist neoliberal nothingness of the dollar-drenched dumpster- fire that is the current corporate Democratic Party (aptly described by Sheldon Wolin as “the Inauthentic Opposition” in early 2008) that has delivered state and federal government over to the widely hated, radically regressive and arch-reactionary (racist, sexist, white-nationalist, and eco-fascist) Republicans.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Malaysia will be having hate speech laws soon? How do they even work??

      But is this even legal in the first place? Actually, we found out that Malaysia does not really have a specific law to regulate hate speech (any form of speech that attacks a person or a group on the basis of attributes) especially against race and religious groups. That may be why we still see Malaysians uttering racial slurs everywhere and not get caught! The closest law to regulating hate speech would probably be the Sedition Act 1948, which states that promoting the feeling of ill-will and hostility between different races is considered seditious.

      However, a Minister in the PM’s Department recently proposed three new bills to protect racial and religious harmony in Malaysia: the Anti-Discrimination Act, National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission Act and the Religious and Racial Hatred Act.

    • You Can’t Fight Hate With Censorship, Says Former ACLU President

      Just recently, a federal court in Oregon prevented a public high school from banning an anti-immigration T-shirt from its campus, notwithstanding the shirt’s capacity to be viewed as offensive, even hateful. According to Nadine Strossen’s latest volume, Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship, this is an outcome to be celebrated—not merely because it comports with the Constitution, but because so-called “hate speech” bans are unconstitutional and ultimately counterproductive.

      Hate is a slim volume, consisting of nine chapters where Strossen, a former president of the American Civil Liberties Union, makes her case. The book presents itself as an accessible legal brief aimed at the social justice left, which appears to be forsaking its 1970s-era robust view of free speech, as well as First Amendment practitioners looking for a distillation of the state of play.

    • Did Google stop domain fronting as a censorship move?

      Google, which has been long known for defending freedom of internet, recently removed access to a feature that was widely used to bypass censorship; domain fronting.

      Activists claim Google is siding with censorship, while Google claims it was a regular update. But what is the bigger picture? Should Google ignore the moral effects of its actions?

      [...]

      For instance, if you’re in the US and try to access a website hosted in the UK, normally the transfer must cross the Atlantic every time, which makes it very slow. With a CDN, another server in the US will keep a copy of the UK website. Thus, you bypass the slow process and interact instead directly with a local server, which is much faster.

      Of course, for this to work, the URL of the target website must translate to the CDN server’s address instead of its own IP. That means you and the users accessing the site are still calling the same URL but under the hood, the content is coming from a different location.

    • Discord punishes popular server for offensive images, sparking debate on censorship

      A popular Final Fantasy Discord server lost its partner status this week, after allegedly breaching the relatively new policy regarding not safe for work (NSFW) content. Although admins rectified the situation in record time, Discord has refused to reinstate its title, prompting concerns over double standards and inconsistency within the rules leading to censorship.

      The situation arose when a member of a Final Fantasy XIV-centred Discord posted a single ‘lolicon’ image into a NSFW channel. Lolicon is a subgenre of manga/anime that depicts young, presumably underage girls in lewd situations, explicitly banned by the platform for depicting “minors or underage individuals engaged in violent, sexually suggestive, pornographic, shameful, or otherwise inappropriate situations.” Discord suspended the server’s partnered status as a result of the breach, giving admins 48 hours to remove the channel or risk deletion of the entire server.

    • Fake News and Censorship (British Edition)

      To return yet again to the topic of how abusing the idea of ‘fake news’ could represent an ideal opportunity for censors on the make, here’s the BBC discussing a report by the British Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee (that such a committee even exists is, incidentally, yet more depressing evidence of the reach of the modern state). The Committee’s report was prompted by Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, but, however bad that mess may have been, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the cure may be worse than the disease.

      [...]

      It looks a lot as if these MPs, like authoritarians from Moscow to Malaysia, have been inspired by the strikingly illiberal precedent set by Angela Merkel’s social media law. In particular, and as I mentioned in a recent NRODT piece, part of the idea behind sticking social media companies with legal liability is to scare them into going even further in muzzling free speech than the strict letter of the law requires.

    • Column: China Takes Its Political Censorship Global

      The United States lost an important early skirmish last week over whether American companies must comply with the Chinese government’s political demands.

      But the greater conflict is just beginning, which means the Trump administration must now prepare to help U.S. corporations fight Chinese coercion in future rounds.

      After months of behind-the-scenes discussion, the three major U.S. air carriers — United, American and Delta — all partially caved to Beijing’s order that they change their websites to portray Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic of China. After the government of Xi Jinping threatened severe punishment, the White House called the demands “Orwellian nonsense.”

    • Withstanding Censorship, US Embassy Provides an Enclave for Free Speech on Chinese Social Media

      A vaccine scandal that broke out in China late this month, has led to a nationwide uproar followed by extensive efforts by the authorities to censor public opinion online—particularly on Twitter-like social media sites such as Weibo or WeChat.

      While the regime’s internet police regularly delete content the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) deems political or socially sensitive, Chinese netizens have exploited something of a diplomatic loophole.

      The Chinese authorities seem loathe to censor posts on the official Weibo page of the U.S. Embassy in China, making it a safe haven for Chinese users to discuss topics that would be redacted elsewhere.

    • Facebook Rejects Rubens in Fight Over Artistic Nudity

      For four centuries, the opulent, exuberant nudes of Peter Paul Rubens have been known to shock and delight in sometimes equal measure. And now, even in 2018, his Baroque paintings are still jolting the internet.

      Belgian museums are uniting in protest against Facebook since they cannot promote Flemish Masters including Rubens at will for fear of falling foul of the social media site’s adult content rules and automatic censorship.

      “The bare breasts and buttocks painted by our artist are considered by you to be inappropriate. We have noticed that Facebook consistently rejects works of art by our beloved Peter Paul Rubens,” over a dozen top Belgian art officials wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

    • It’s Rubens vs. Facebook in fight over artistic nudity
    • It’s Rubens vs. Facebook in fight over artistic nudity

      For four centuries, the opulent, exuberant nudes of Peter Paul Rubens have been known to shock and delight in sometimes equal measure. And now, even in 2018, his Baroque paintings are still jolting the internet.

      Belgian museums are uniting in protest against Facebook since they cannot promote Flemish Masters including Rubens at will for fear of falling foul of the social media site’s adult content rules and automatic censorship.

      “The bare breasts and buttocks painted by our artist are considered by you to be inappropriate. We have noticed that Facebook consistently rejects works of art by our beloved Peter Paul Rubens,” over a dozen top Belgian art officials wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

      The Visit Flanders tourist board even produced a mock news video where security officials prevent visitors from seeing nudity in the Rubens House museum. In it, one even spreads his arms in front of the “Adam & Eve” painting, where the biblical figures are covered only by the proverbial fig leaf. Instead they divert them to other paintings where everyone is properly dressed.

    • Belgian museums protest Facebook’s censorship of posts featuring iconic Baroque paintings

      Visitors look at the painting “Adam and Eve” by Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens in the Rubenshouse in Antwerp, Belgium. Belgian museums are uniting in protest against Facebook since they cannot promote Flemish masters like Rubens at will for falling foul of the social media site’s adult content rules. Facebook says it has more restrictive rules when it comes to advertising which “must not contain adult content. This includes nudity, depictions of people in explicit or suggestive positions, or activities that are overly suggestive or sexually provocative.”

    • Rubens paintings too saucy for Facebook
    • Tourist Board Accuses Facebook of “Cultural Censorship” After It Labels Famous Painting Indecent

      Facebook’s draconian regulations regarding the banning of all forms of nudity on images posted to the platform have long been the subject of criticism. It wasn’t until recently that the site stopped its policy of banning images of women breastfeeding–apparently an activity crucial to the continuation of the human race is offensive to some viewers.

      Cries to #FreeTheNipple have been heard across the Internet for years, and while Facebook has responded gradually, the rules still remain relatively unchanged.

    • Facebook slammed for censoring nude art as adult content

      Facebook has been slammed for censoring 400-year-old art work containing nudity.

      Tourism officials in Belgium noticed the platform’s censorship at work after posts including certain paintings by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens had been blocked on Facebook.

      In response the Visit Flanders tourist board staged a mock raid on an art gallery preventing visitors from seeing nudity in the Rubens House museum.

    • Facebook’s censorship agenda coinciding with huge earnings tank

      Facebook is taking a beating in the stock market, and it’s not a pretty picture. I don’t like to see things like this happening, given the kind of trouble it can bring to other areas of the market.

      [...]

      Seriously, do you feel as enthusiastic about Facebook as you did before all the censorship stories rolled out? The declaration of Diamond and Silk as “dangerous to the community” by Facebook’s censors at its YouTube subsidiary? Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s mixed-reviews congressional appearance? Did you want to use Facebook after learning that the company is composed solely of leftist hipsters who have it in for the right? Those were the news items as this profit report was being accumulated.

    • Facebook stock tanking over censorship: Diamond and Silk
    • On Fox, Diamond and Silk say their debunked claims of censorship are “the new Jim Crow”
    • Diamond & Silk say they’re living under ‘the new Jim Crow’ because of fake claims of censorship
    • Diamond and Silk Attack Twitter for Censoring Conservatives: ‘Stop Trying To Be the Arbitrator of Truth’
    • Facebook Crashes Amid Shadow Banning And Censorship Controversy
    • Twitter’s Censorship Problem Looks Like It’s Here To Stay
    • Devin Nunes looking at ‘legal remedies’ to take against Twitter for ‘shadow banning’
    • The Medical Board has become the censorship board
    • HC seeks response to plea against subtitle censorship
    • Bombay HC directs censor board on certificates for subtitles
    • Bombay High Court questions CBFC: Why new rules have been introduced to certify subtitles separately

      The Bombay High Court on Friday issued a notice to the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) asking it to clarify why it had introduced “new rules,” mandating film producers to seek re-certification of their films, after completing their subtitling. A division bench of Justices RM Borde and VM Deshpande issued notice to the CBFC directing it to file an affidavit in response to a petition filed by the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association (IMPPA).

      According to the plea filed by the IMPPA through advocate Ashok Saraogi, the CBFC introduced new set of rules in April this year, which are “arbitrary.” The petition states, “We received a notice from the CBFC on April 27, directing us (producers) to obtain a separate censorship certificate for the film’s subtitles. As per the notice, the producers have to first obtain a certificate for the movie and thereafter when subtitling is done by any producer in a different language, they are also required to obtain fresh censorship from the CBFC.”

    • ‘My Hero Academia’ Fans Are Divided Over its Latest Censorship

      My Hero Academia is speeding its way through the Provisional Hero License Exam, and fans were quickly introduced to Shiketsu’s Camie, who bared it all in her attack on Midoriya.

      Fans of the manga expected this development, but they didn’t expect to see the anime’s interpretation of Camie’s nudeness as the series chose to hide her more than Horikoshi did in the manga originally.

    • Not Content with Constant Anti-Scottish Output, the BBC is Extending its Reach to Anti-Scottish Censorship.

      The BBC’s success in taking down Wings Over Scotland’s YouTube channel – and Youtube’s complacent compliance with the BBC instruction – has a very dodgy foundation in law. Excerpts of copyright material may be published for purposes of “criticism, review or quotation” provided the source is acknowledged. As Wings would only use BBC material for review and criticism – they are hardly repeating it as great news reporting – the BBC’s copyright infringement claim is at best very dubious.

      More to the point, this despicable infringement on freedom of speech is appalling behaviour for a state broadcaster. Removal of criticism is the BBC’s only purpose here. The BBC is not protecting a state asset – the old news clips in question have zero commercial value; Wings was not republishing episodes of Dr Who.

      Not content with constant anti-Scottish output, the BBC is extending its reach to anti-Scottish censorship.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Report: NSA Still Plagued by Cyber Security Vulnerabilities

      Security problems are still plaguing the National Security Agency years after whistle blower Edward Snowden leaked classified information.

      The agency’s inspector general released a report that analyzed the NSA from October 2017 to March 2018 and showed the NSA still has substantial cyber vulnerabilities last week.

      The report reveals the agency’s “two-person access control” has not been implemented properly and every single “authority to operate” had paperwork missing.

    • NSA Watchdog Breaks Precedent By Releasing Semi-Annual Report

      For the first time in the history of the secret agency that was rocked by the 2013 Edward Snowden scandal, the National Security Agency’s inspector general has declassified a version of its semi-annual report.

      Robert Storch, after six months on the job, said the goal was “to be as transparent as possible about how the NSA OIG conducts rigorous independent oversight that detects and deters waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct within the agency, and how we promote the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of agency operations pursuant to the IG Act.” Future such releases are also planned.

      The report summarizing the watchdog’s audits and investigations from Oct. 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018, also included fresh language encouraging agency whistleblowers, a move cheered by activists at outside whistleblower groups.

    • NSA has yet to fix security holes that helped Snowden leaks
    • NSA Watchdog: Surveillance Giant Still Isn’t Securing Its Networks

      Despite suffering multiple devastating security breaches and data exfiltrations over the past five years, the National Security Agency still isn’t taking sufficient measures to secure its digital troves of highly valuable information, according to a rare public report from the NSA’s inspector general. The report, released Wednesday, said investigators found “many instances of non-compliance” with internal rules to protect “computer networks, systems and data.” Those include “inaccurate or incomplete” security plans, unimplemented plans for multi-person access controls over “data centers and equipment rooms” and “removable media” like thumb drives “not [being] scanned for viruses.” In under a decade, a surveillance agency once thought nigh impregnable has experienced at least four catastrophic data breaches, including from whistleblower Edward Snowden; the Shadow Brokers disclosure of NSA digital weapons; a breach attributed to Kaspersky Lab software; and a former cybersecurity contractor who this year pleaded guilty to taking home thousands of agency documents. “Most operators knew how they could get anything they wanted out of the classified nets and onto the internet if they wanted to, even without the USB drives,” a former NSA employee told The Daily Beast last October, the beginning of the six-month period covered in the inspector general report.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • CIA help for T&T [Trinidad & Tobago] with coup
    • WHAT CIA LINK?
    • TT centre of ‘war’

      Former NAR minister: US, Venezuela, Libya links to 1990 attempted coup

      [...]

      A former minister who served in the ANR Robinson cabinet during 1986 to 1991 revealed on Friday that four operatives of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a troop of American soldiers were heavily involved during the Jamaat al Muslimeen attempted coup in July 1990 in moves to suppress the uprising.

      And he also said neighbouring Venezuela was readying itself to invade TT if this country could not quell the disturbance not merely to assist but to stave off a threat by Libya to its own sovereignty.

      Historian Brinsley Samaroo, who was minister of agriculture at the time, made the disclosures in a special television programme on CCN TV6 to mark the 28th anniversary of the event on Friday evening.

      Samaroo, who was a panellist, said that the Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez suspected that what was happening was an attempt by Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi to take control of Trinidad through the Muslimeen and use here as a base for the invasion of Venezuela.

    • ‘CIA letter’ author to lodge report, hold presser to explain ‘real situation’

      Former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) director-general Hasanah Abdul Hamid will file a police report on the allegation that she penned a letter to the CIA ahead of the May 9 general election.

      She said her lawyers had advised her to lodge the report.

      However, there were no details as to where and when the report would be lodged in a Star Online report which quoted her press statement.

      Hasanah also said she would hold a press conference on the matter.

      “I will also hold a press conference to explain the real situation,” she said. Once again, there were no details as to when this would be done.

    • EX-MEIO DG to lodge police report over letter to CIA

      Former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisatiom (MEIO) director-general Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid will be lodging a police report over claims that she had sent a letter to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

      In a statement released through her lawyer Datuk Shaharudin Ali today, Hasanah said she was advised by her lawyer to make a police report.

      She said she will also hold a press conference to explain the real situation.

    • Former intelligence unit DG to lodge police report over CIA letter

      The former director-general of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) will lodge a police report over a letter sent to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) before the 14th general election.

      Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid who is at the centre of a controversy over the leaked letter to the CIA has broken her silence over the matter.

      In a statement issued through her lawyer, Hasanah said she had been advised to lodge a police report over the matter.

      She also said that she would issue a statement on the matter soon.

    • Former Malaysian intelligence unit chief to make police report over claims she sent letter to CIA on Najib

      Former director-general of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid will make a police report over news articles that claimed she had sent a letter to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

      In a statement yesterday, Datuk Hasanah said she was advised by her lawyers to lodge a report over the matter.

      “I will also hold a press conference to explain the real situation,” she said through her lawyer Datuk Shaharudin Ali on Friday (July 27).

    • Najib ‘not aware’ of letter to CIA

      Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has denied knowledge of a letter written to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) seeking the US’ support for his administration in the 14th general election (GE14).

      However, he added it is bad precedent to leak information considered to be a government secret.

    • Ex-DG to file police complaint over leaked letter to CIA
    • PolitiFact Florida Dissects Claim About Putnam and Algae; And Was CIA Director Really A Communist?

      Moving from green to red, Congressman Ron DeSantis, who’s running against Putnam for the Republican nod, reached back into the Cold War for this comment he made to Fox News:

      “John Brennan was a disaster as CIA director,” DeSantis said on Fox News on July 16. “He was a disaster as the counterterrorism official. He was a member of the Communist Party during the Cold War. So this is not exactly the guy I would listen to about Russia.”

    • UN Urges Full-Fledged Probe Into Allegations of Secret CIA Prison in Lithuania

      In 2016, Lithuania told the European Court of Human Rights that the country wasn’t harboring a secret US Central Intelligence Agency prison where terrorist suspects were allegedly detained.

      The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) has urged Lithuanian authorities to fully investigate allegations that a secret CIA prison operated in the Baltic state.

    • Migrant children sexually exploited to ‘pay’ for Italy-France crossing, says charity

      Migrant children are being sexually exploited to pay for their safe passage into France from the Italian border, according to a report from Save the Children Italy. The minors, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, are being forced to perform sex acts if they cannot afford the €50-€150 asked by drivers in exchange for a lift across the border.

      The children are also being offered food or shelter in return for being abused. The charity says it has evidence of many cases, particularly since the beginning of this year.

      “These are very young, and particularly at-risk girls, who are among the invisible flow of unaccompanied migrant minors in transit at the northern Italian border who, in an attempt to reunite with their relatives or acquaintances in other European countries, are deprived of the opportunity to travel safely and legally,” Raffaela Milano, the director of Italy-Europe programmes at Save the Children, said in the report.

    • Qatar alleged to have used ex-CIA to sabotage Australia’s Fifa World Cup bid
    • Former CIA agents nobbled Australia’s World Cup bid, says UK’s Sunday Times
    • Qatar alleged to have used ex-CIA to sabotage Australia’s World Cup bid
    • Qatar World Cup 2022 team ‘ran black ops campaign against rival bids using ex-CIA officers and PR firm’

      Qatar controversially won the right to host the tournament in 2010 after a surprise victory over the United States and Australia.

      The alleged aim of the ‘dirty tricks’ campaign was to suggest the World Cup would not be supported domestically in those countries.

      It is against Fifa rules for countries to make any statements or campaigns about rival bids.

    • Qatar accused of sabotage campaign with ex-CIA agents to secure World Cup hosting rights

      The World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar engaged in a secret smear campaign involving former CIA agents to undermine the bids of competing nations Australia and the United States, according to The Sunday Times.

      The British newspaper says that it has obtained documents which show that Qatar, the first Arab country to ever host the World Cup, secured the services of a US-based PR firm, as well as the former agents, with the aim of provoking a negative public reaction to the rival bids.

    • Qatar Accused of Using Ex-CIA Agents to Sabotage Rivals For 2022 World Cup Bid

      The Qatar World Cup bid team has been accused of using a PR agency and former CIA agents in a secret “black-ops” campaign aiming to sabotage their rivals competing for the 2022 World Cup tournament, thus breaking FIFA (the international football organization) rules. This was reported by The Sunday Times, after receiving documents from a whistleblower, who supposedly was part of the bid team.

    • Exclusive: Qatar sabotaged 2022 World Cup rivals with ‘black ops’

      The controversial Qatar World Cup bid team broke Fifa’s rules by running a secret “black operations” campaign to sabotage rivals competing to host the tournament, according to documents leaked to The Sunday Times.

      Emails from a whistleblower show how the bid paid a public relations firm and former CIA agents to pump out fake propaganda about its main rivals, the United States and Australia, during its successful campaign to host the next World Cup.

    • Qatar World Cup 2022 bid team accused of secret ‘black-ops’ campaign to sabotage rivals
    • Did Qatar use ‘black ops’ to win World Cup bid?
    • Qatar’s World Cup bid used ‘black operations’: Report
    • Qatar reject claims they used former CIA operatives to sabotage rival bidders for the 2022 World Cup

      The Qatar 2022 World Cup bid team broke FIFA rules by running a secret campaign to sabotage their rivals for the tournament, The Sunday Times has claimed.

      The newspaper says it has been passed documents by a whistleblower who worked with the Qatar bid.

      It says the bid team used a PR agency and former CIA operatives to disseminate fake propaganda about its main competitors, the United States and Australia.

    • Among them ex-CIA agents, these are the people Qatar used to cheat its way to WC 2022

      The lid is off the well-planned ‘black operations’ by Qatar to sabotage the rival bids from the US and Australia for the FIFA 2022 World Cup which Doha was awarded during the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in Zürich on December 2, 2010.

      The Sunday Times report compiled through leaked emails given to the newspaper by a whistleblower reveals that the sabotage operation was carried out by the New York-based PR firm Brown Lloyd James, now known as BLJ Worldwide. The modus operandi was by using middlemen to approach journalists, academics, bloggers and others to create negative reports on the bids by rival countries.

    • Isis Beatle’s mother launches legal action against British government over death penalty

      The government is facing a legal challenge over its refusal to ensure two Isis militants are not executed when they are sent to the US for prosecution.

      The Home Office has been forced to suspend a “mutual legal assistance” (MLA) agreement it struck with American authorities last month over Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh.

      Elsheikh’s mother is attempting to launch a judicial review of Sajid Javid’s unprecedented decision not to seek assurances that the death penalty would not be used, when he handed over British intelligence.

    • Harvesting hope: the permaculture movement in India

      On the first of June 2018, thousands of Indian farmers started a 10-day protest demanding farm loan waivers and higher prices for their products. This large-scale protest followed a long march by 40,000 farmers to Mumbai in March. India’s farming sector – which employs most of the country’s labour force – has been in crisis for decades. A significant indicator has been the dramatic increase of farmers suicides which first entered the headlines in the 1990s. According to a government report which was released in 2017, since 2013 over 12,000 suicides have been reported every year.

      At root, the agrarian crisis in India has a number of causes. While climate change and its consequent effects on Indian agriculture has played a role, activists and opponents of the government’s agricultural policies see the Green Revolution which started in the 1970s and the transformation of Indian agriculture into large scale corporate industrial agriculture as the main reason behind India’s agricultural crisis. Prominent environmental and alter-globalisation activist Vandana Shiva, for example, has referred to farmer suicides as a genocide, and has accused the WTO and the government’s agricultural policies of destroying small-scale farmers. Among a number of movements, civil society organisations and campaigns addressing the agrarian crisis and the effects of industrial agriculture in India, the permaculture movement is fast gaining ground among subsistence farmers and proponents of alternative agriculture. If expanded, they think it would be able to counter many of the discontents of Indian farmers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intellectual property, not intellectual monopoly

      “The copyright and patent laws we have today look more like intellectual monopoly than intellectual property,” wrote Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles in their recent book about the U.S. economy. Concerns about overprotection of intellectual property acting as a barrier to innovation and its diffusion are not new. But they have gained greater salience now that knowledge has emerged as a dominant driver of economic activity and competitive advantage.

      [...]

      Digital technologies have enabled the emergence of an “intangible economy,” based on soft assets like algorithms and lines of code, rather than physical assets like buildings and machinery. In this environment, intellectual-property rules can now make or break business models and reshape societies, as they determine how economic gains are shared.

      Yet the main features of today’s IP regime were established for a very different economy. Patent rules, for example, reflect the long-held assumption that strong protection provides an essential incentive for businesses to pursue innovation. In fact, recent studies by Petra Moser and Heidi Williams, among others, find little evidence that patents boost innovation. On the contrary, because they lock in incumbents’ advantages and drive up the costs of new technology, such protections are associated with less new or follow-on innovation, weaker diffusion, and increased market concentration. This has contributed to growing monopoly power, slowing productivity growth, and rising inequality in many economies over the past couple of decades.

      Patents also invite considerable lobbying and rent-seeking. A majority of patents are used not to produce commercial value, but to create defensive legal thickets that can keep potential competitors at bay. As the system expands, patent trolling and litigation soar. Lawsuits by patent trolls comprise more than three-fifths of all lawsuits for IP infringement in the U.S., and cost the economy an estimated $500 billion in 1990-2010.

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