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08.01.18

Links 1/8/2018: Wayland Protocols 1.16, Vala 0.41.90, Istio 1.0, SimCity Takedown

Posted in News Roundup at 2:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Linux Apps may come to Chromebooks in Stable Channel In Version 69

      We were originally hoping that Chrome OS version 68 would get Linux App support, but that wasn’t the case. Now, Chrome 69 is said to be released for the 4th September this year. (Not too long left to go) and the update has a strong chance to hit Google’s very own Chromebook first instead of the other Chromebook. This information is gleaned from several commits that suggest a review of the Crostini project will now finalise.

      Without the upcoming update, Linux app support is already available on a fair amount of Chrome OS laptops that are running the Dev Channel version of the Chrome OS. The fair amount of Chrome OS laptops, which includes Google’s own Pixelbook and HP’s Chromebook x2, can potentially run Linux Apps. But, as many of these laptops are not high specification machines, they might (will) struggle to adequately run Linux Apps.

    • Google’s latest Chromebook ad throws shade at macOS and Windows, showcases Pixelbook & Android apps [Video]

      Chrome OS has always been considered inferior to the “real” computer operating systems, Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s macOS. However, it does have some major advantages which Google has been trying to point out for years. In its latest ad for Chromebooks, the company highlights a few of those strengths, as well as throwing shade at the competition.

    • MacOS is a hellstew of error messages, says new Chromebook ad

      Tensions between Google and Apple may have cooled since Steve Jobs declared “thermonuclear war” on the search giant, but that doesn’t mean hostilities have ceased altogether.

    • Windows PCs, Macs are slow and crash constantly, mocks Google

      Tired of Microsoft’s and Apple’s desktop alerts? Try a Chromebook, says Google.

      If you need speed, Google thinks Chromebooks are the notebooks to buy in its new ad showing off their “built-in virus protection, a battery that lasts all day, and automatic updates”, offering a “new way of doing things” to let you “stream, play, and work without anything slowing you down”.

    • Dell XPS 13 Kabylake Makes For A Great Linux Laptop

      When it comes to new laptops for the summer of 2018 that are Linux-friendly, the latest-generation Dell XPS 13 with Intel Kabylake-R processor ranks high on that list. Recent in upgrading my main production workstation, I decided to go with the Dell XPS 13 9370 while using Fedora Workstation 28 and it’s been a phenomenal combination. Here are my thoughts on the current Dell XPS 13 as well as some benchmarks and other information.

    • Dell XPS 13 9370 Developer Edition with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Lunched

      Dell has launched its latest Flagship laptop – the Dell XPS 13, with the flavour of Ubuntu. Dell in a partnership with Canonical has launched Dell XPS 13 9370 Developer Edition with Ubuntu Linux 18.04 operating system. The first XPS 13 Developer Edition arrived more than five years ago and back then it had Ubuntu 12.04 installed.

    • The Best Accessories To Turn Your Chromebook Into A Powerhouse Workstation
  • Server

    • IBM & Google Launch ‘Istio’ Cloud Software, but Amazon & Microsoft Skip the Party

      Istio, an open source project backed by IBM, Google, Red Hat and others for connecting, managing and securing Kubernetes containers, hits version 1.0 Tuesday. But can Istio become ubiquitous without support from market leaders Amazon Web Services and Microsoft?

      Istio, also backed by Lyft Inc. and Pivotal , is a “service mesh,” picking up where Kubernetes leaves off. Kubernetes provides orchestration to run multiple containers, manage their lifecycle, keep them available and scale them up and down as needed. Istio is software for managing how containers interact with each other.

    • Istio, an open source service mesh for microservices, hits version 1.0

      The open source Istio project is ready for prime time with the release of version 1.0, according to announcements by its key developers, Google LLC, IBM Corp. and Red Hat Inc.

      Istio is a “service mesh” that enables developers to connect, manage and secure microservices, or components, of applications built using software containers. Launched a little over a year ago, the joint project aims to tame the complexity of managing applications composed of large numbers of microservices by using containers, the lightweight virtual machines that are skyrocketing in popularity.

    • The Istio service mesh hits version 1.0
    • What is Istio? The latest open source project out of Google
    • Istio sets sail as Red Hat renovates OpenShift container ship

      Red Hat is celebrating the 1.0 release of Istio, the open source microservices management project, and the arrival of version 3.10 of its OpenShift software container platform.

      Istio’s 1.0 release received mention at Google Cloud Next last week, but the official bits are expected on Tuesday. The software serves as a management mechanism for distributed microservices, providing capabilities like traffic management, service identity and security, policy enforcement and telemetry among apps running across multiple Kubernetes clusters and hosts.

    • IBM, Google, Red Hat push Istio to 1.0 release

      IBM launched Istio along with Google Cloud and Lyft a little more than a year ago. The goal of Istio is to give developers a vendor-neutral way to connect, secure and manage networks of various microservices.

      Managing microservices is a critical issue since enterprises are increasingly built on them. By breaking services and applications into smaller parts developers can be more agile. The issue is that managing various microservices requires a good bit of choreography.

    • ​Container adoption speeds up to the detriment of VMs

      Ever since Docker arrived to make containers popular, companies have turned to containers. The inevitable result was virtual machines (VMs) began to decline.

      According to Diamanti, a bare-metal container company in its 2018 Container Adoption Benchmark survey of 576 IT leaders, enterprises are using containers to save money by reducing their reliance on commercial virtualization technologies such as VMware’s VM. The report examines the current state of container adoption, evaluates container “stack” technology choices, examines containers’ impact on VM infrastructure, and finds high levels of enterprise dissatisfaction with VM licensing fees.

    • How Spotify migrated everything from on-premise to Google Cloud Platform

      Spotify announced that it was going all in on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) back in 2016, committing a reported $450 million (£343 million) over three years. In Spotify, Google got itself an anchor customer, not just because of its brand and scale, but also its reputation as a data driven, engineering-centric company.

    • The Search for a GUI Docker

      I love Docker. At first it seemed a bit silly to me for a small-scale implementation like my home setup, but after learning how to use it, I fell in love. The standard features are certainly beneficial. It’s great not worrying that one application’s dependencies will step on or conflict with another’s. But most applications are good about playing well with others, and package management systems keep things in order. So why do I docker run instead of apt-get install? Individualized system settings.

      With Docker, I can have three of the same apps running side by side. They even can use the same port (internally) and not conflict. My torrent client can live inside a forced-VPN network, and I don’t need to worry that it will somehow “leak” my personal IP data. Heck, I can run apps that work only on CentOS inside my Ubuntu Docker server, and it just works! In short, Docker is amazing.

      I just wish I could remember all the commands.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m familiar with Docker. I use it for most of my server needs. It’s my first go-to when testing a new app. Heck, I taught an entire course on Docker for CBT Nuggets (my day job). The problem is, Docker works so well, I rarely need to interact with it. So, my FIFO buffer fills up, and I forget the simple command-line options to make Docker work. Also, because I like charts and graphs, I decided to install a Docker GUI. It was a bit of an adventure, so I thought I’d share the ins and outs of my experience.

  • Kernel Space

    • Thunderbolt Runtime Power Management Staged For Linux 4.19

      Adding to the list of notable changes for the Linux 4.19 kernel is run-time power management for Thunderbolt controllers.

      Mika Westerberg of Intel who has been leading many of the Thunderbolt improvements for Linux has worked out support for run-time power management with the Thunderbolt host controller. This supports run-time suspending until receiving a remote wake event such as a device connect/disconnect or when user-space is trying to access the hardware.

    • Huawei’s EROFS to be Merged Into Linux 4.19 Kernel

      Back in January 2018, Huawei announced that the company is developing an open-source filesystem called EROFS (Extendable Read-Only File System), which would feature an improved compression mode that focuses on performance and speed.

      It now appears that EROFS is being introduced to Linux 4.19, as the initial EROFS kernel code has been merged into Greg Kroah-Hartman’s staging-next branch. This staging-next code is what will follow in a week or so following Linux 4.18, which should be released within the next week.

    • WireGuard Now Under Review, First Step Towards Getting Included In The Linux Kernel

      After being in development the past few years, the first version of WireGuard has hit the kernel mailing list for review on its path to being included in the mainline Linux kernel.

    • The 4.18 kernel release will be delayed a week

      For those waiting on the edges of their seats for the release of the 4.18 kernel: it looks like Linus will be pushing it back one week (to August 12) in response to some late-discovered problems. “I _prefer_ just the regular cadence of releases, but when I have a reason to delay, I’ll delay.”

    • Linux Foundation

      • Join Interactive Workshop on Cloud-Native Network Functions at Open Source Summit

        ONAP and Kubernetes – two of the fastest-growing Linux Foundation projects – are coming together in the next generation of telecom architecture.

        ONAP provides a comprehensive platform for real-time, policy-driven orchestration and automation of physical and virtual network functions, and Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Telcos are now examining how these virtual network functions (VNFs) could evolve into cloud-native network functions (CNFs) running on Kubernetes.

      • South Korean Tech Company LG Joins Linux Foundation Hyperledger Project

        Hyperledger, а cross-sector blockchain project of Linux Foundation, has been backed by South Korean technological giant LG and several crypto companies, including Omnitude, Hyperledger said on Tuesday.

        LG entered the project through one of its subsidiaries LG CNS, which provides IT services to major investors including in the banking sector. In May, LG CNS unveiled its own blockchain project, called Monachain, that targets finance, manufacturing and communication sectors with logistic distributed ledger technology (DLT) based offers. It is unclear how and if participation in the Hyperledger will affect Monachain.

      • Hyperledger blockchain project passes 250 members mark

        In December 2015, the Linux Foundation formed a multi-organisational group to focus on blockchain technology. The following February, it named the initiative Hyperledger and at the time consisted of less than 30 organisations. Now, the Linux Foundation says Hyperledger has more than 250 members after recently admitting nine new firms.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland Protocols 1.16 Released With Few Updates

        Jonas Ådahl announced the release earlier today of Wayland Protocols 1.16 , the newest feature update to this collection of Wayland protocols, both stable and unstable.

        Wayland-Protocols 1.16 features an updated version of the unstable text input protocol, clarifications to the existing stable XDG-Shell protocol, clarifications to XDG-Output, and some test suite improvements.

      • [ANNOUNCE] wayland-protocols 1.16

        This version includes a new version of the unstable text-input protocol. The new version is not compatible with the old version. Please check the commit adding the new protocols for more details about the introduced changes.

        The stable xdg-shell protocol got some clarifications about expectations regarding state requested by the client and what is configured by the compositor.

      • Mesa’s VirGL Now Has OpenGL 4.2 Support To Offer Guest VMs

        In the mad rush to land last minute features into Mesa 18.2 prior to its code branching and release candidate phase beginning, David Airlie has settled OpenGL 4.2 support for the VirGL stack.

        Airlie’s VirGL work continues for offering guest OpenGL acceleration to virtual machines that in turn is rendered by the host’s driver/GPU. It’s also through this year’s Google Summer of Code 2018 (GSoC 2018) that Vulkan VirGL is a work-in-progress for virtual machines with VirtIO-GPU.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.13.4 Desktop Environment Released with More Than 45 Improvements

        Coming almost three weeks after the KDE Plasma 5.13.3 release, the KDE Plasma 5.13.4 maintenance update continues to improve the stability and performance of the KDE Plasma 5.13 desktop environment by adding total of 48 changes and bug fixes across various components, including the Plasma Desktop, Plasma Discover, Plasma Workstation, KScreen, KWin, Plasma Add-ons, Info Center, Breeze Plymouth, and others.

        “Today KDE releases a Bugfix update to KDE Plasma 5, versioned 5.13.4. Plasma 5.13 was released in June with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience. This release adds two week’s worth of new translations and fixes from KDE’s contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important,” reads today’s announcement.

      • 7 of the Best KDE Plasma Themes for Linux

        Plasma is known for being one of the most visually attractive desktop environments for Linux. It’s more than earned its reputation, too. Even the default Breeze theme that ships with Plasma looks great. That’s not to say there isn’t room to customize and improve things based on your own preferences. These Plasma themes capitalize on the great aesthetic that’s already in place and tweak it to create something new and visually appealing for your desktop.

      • Porting KTextEditor to KSyntaxHighlighting

        After several years, the time has come that KTextEditor finally starts to use more of KSyntaxHighlighting than just the syntax definitions resources.

        At the moment, we still do everything on our own (parsing the xml, doing the highlighting, …) and only use the XML files bundled inside the KSyntaxHighlighting library as “code sharing”.

        I started a “syntax-highlighting” branch in ktexteditor.git to change that. Dominik helped out by starting to add missing API to KSyntaxHighlighting that will ease the porting.

      • I’m going to Vienna as well!

        We’ve already got Valorie here in Deventer, and next week we’ll take the slow train, the international train and then the ICE to Vienna, to attend Akademy. Last time Irina and I attended Akademy was in A Coruña, to present the work I had been doing on Plasma Mobile.

      • KDE Connect – New Stuff II

        It’s time for another feature update for KDE Connect!

        You can now run commands on connected devices from the Plasmoid.

      • Google Summer of Code, Porting Keyboard KCM to Qt Quick — Part 3
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Gnome Shell YouTube Search Provider Lets You Play YouTube Videos In VLC

        YouTube Search Provider is a new extension for Gnome Shell which can be used to search for YouTube videos directly from the Gnome Shell Activities and play them using a desktop video player, like VLC.

      • Watch your favourite streamers from GNU/Linux with GNOME Twitch

        Streaming is a big deal nowadays in the gaming world; what used to be boring and weird, watching someone else play a videogame, is now something that millions of people spend their free time doing, often watching their favourite Twitch / YouTube celebrities gaming.

        While there is a Twitch application available for Windows and Mac users, there isn’t an official one for GNU/Linux users – but there is an unofficial one: GNOME Twitch.

        Linux users may watch streams on the official Twitch website using their favorite web browser, or use GNOME Twitch to do so.

      • Ruxandra Simion: Five-or-More Modernisation – Now They Move!

        These past two weeks I have worked on (probably) the most exciting part of modernising the Five or More game. After the new changes, the game is officially playable and fun! But still, there is room for more changes. So let’s jump right to the updates.

        First of all, if you remember reading my previous blog post, there were no means to interact with a shape, or otherwise move it to any desired cell. The cells inside the game board were filled up randomly on click, using the queue on the top left corner of the window, which contained the next shapes to be rendered inside the game area.

        Now, all of that changed, and the user can interact with each individual shape rendered on the game board. The pathfinding system I came up with uses the A* algorithm with a Manhattan distance heuristic to determine the shortest path from the current cell to the destination cell chosen by the player.

      • Story of GNOME Shell Extensions

        A long time ago (exactly 10 years ago) it was decided that the the shell for GNOME would be written in JavaScript. GNOME 3 was still looking for its new face, a lot of UI experimentation was taking place, and JavaScript looked like the best candidate for it. Moreover it was a popular language on the web, so barriers to entry for new contributors would be significantly lowered.

        When you have the shell written in JavaScript you can very easily patch it and alter its look and behaviour. And that’s what people started doing. Upstream was not very keen to officially support extensions due to their nature: they’re just hot patching the GNOME Shell code. They have virtually unlimited possibilities in changing look and behaviour, but also in introducing instability.

      • Common Fedora Workstation Crashes Traced Back to GNOME JavaScript Extensions

        A recent spate of Fedora Workstation crashes and other issues with the GNOME Shell has been traced back to GNOME Shell extensions written in JavaScript, as discovered by GNOME developer and Red Hat engineering manager Jiri Eischmann.

        Being able to write GNOME Shell extensions in JavaScript has been regarded as an interesting concept with a low barrier to entry, but it appears that it is in fact causing problems for users within the GNOME desktop environment. Even worse yet is that the current GNOME Shell environment defaults to Wayland with the Mutter compositor, so it takes some pretty hard crashes, compared to GNOME X.Org sessions that have the occasional blank screen or similar issue.

      • GNOME Might Need To Crack Down On Their JavaScript Extensions

        Longtime GNOME developer and Red Hat engineering manager Jiri Eischmann has looked at recent Fedora Workstation crashes and other problems happening with the GNOME Shell and the most common denominator is problems caused by the GNOME Shell extensions written in JavaScript.

        While being able to write GNOME Shell extensions in JavaScript was fascinating at first and a low barrier to entry, they seem to be responsible for recent problems users are encountering with the GNOME desktop. Making matters worse is that with the current GNOME Shell environment defaulting to Wayland with the Mutter compositor, when it crashes, it crashes hard. That’s compared to when the GNOME X.Org session running into problems running into just a screen blank and being able to restore the clients.

      • Vala 0.41.90 Released

        Vala development has never been stopped. New features and better code generation is present in recent development version.

        This is like a “Beta” version, so go ahead and test with your new code.

        Checkout that now is possible to annotate an automatic property, with a [GtkChild] attribute, making possible to bind directly your XML builder defined widget to your class, so is easy to create powerful custom widgets.

        Also checkout Vala deprecations remove <= 0.22, so your Vala code could fail to compile. Just port to new API bindings.

      • GNOME Data Access 6.0

        At master there are a set of fixes for GDA Library and its GTK+ widgets, its Control Center for Data Sources Management and its powerful GDA Browser.

        Next major 6.0 release, is breaking API/ABI from older releases, in order to improve GObject Introspection bindings, including Vala ones.

        One step forward to use Meson build system, has been done too. Indeed, that work helps to speed up development.

      • WebKitGTK and WPE gains WebRTC support back!

        WebRTC is a w3c draft protocol that “enables rich, high-quality RTP applications to be developed for the browser, mobile platforms, and IoT devices, and allow them all to communicate via a common set of protocols”. The protocol is mainly used to provide video conferencing systems from within web browsers.

      • The Lazy Way to Search for YouTube Videos on Ubuntu

        A new “YouTube Search Provider” extension hit the GNOME Extensions website this week. It allows Ubuntu users to search for YouTube videos straight from the GNOME Shell Activities overlay or Applications screen.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • OpenWRT 18.06 Released, Their First Update Since Merging With LEDE

        OpenWRT 18.06 is now available as the router/networking/embedded-focused Linux distribution.

        OpenWRT 18.06 is a significant release in that it’s the first since the OpenWRT and LEDE projects decided to merge under the unified OpenWRT umbrella following the two year fork of the “Linux Embedded Development Environment” (LEDE).

      • IPFire 2.21 – Core Update 122 Introduces New Linux Kernel Support and Overall Improvements

        IPFire, the Linux firewall distro, has just recently been updated to IPFire 2.21 – Core Update 122. The distro has been rebased from the old LTS kernel to the new Linux Kernel 4.14.50, and comes with a load of bug fixes and overall improvements.

        The kernel update should improve the overall system security of IPFire 2.21, including performance updates, and also enable some level of threat mitigation against Meltdown and Spectre (but only on some architectures).

        On Intel-based platforms, the microcode of the CPUs has been updated, so it will avoid any performance penalties that would be otherwise introduced by the mitigation techniques.

    • Red Hat Family

      • How to be the lazy sysadmin

        The job of a Linux SysAdmin is always complex and often fraught with various pitfalls and obstacles. Ranging from never having enough time to do everything, to having the Pointy-Haired Boss (PHB) staring over your shoulder while you try to work on the task that she or he just gave you, to having the most critical server in your care crash at the most inopportune time, problems and challenges abound. I have found that becoming the Lazy Sysadmin can help.

      • What’s in a container image: Meeting the legal challenges

        Container technology has, for many years, been transforming how workloads in data centers are managed and speeding the cycle of application development and deployment.

        In addition, container images are increasingly used as a distribution format, with container registries a mechanism for software distribution. Isn’t this just like packages distributed using package management tools? Not quite. While container image distribution is similar to RPMs, DEBs, and other package management systems (for example, storing and distributing archives of files), the implications of container image distribution are more complicated. It is not the fault of container technology itself; rather, it’s because container distribution is used differently than package management systems.

      • The top requirement for high-impact teams

        What is the top requirement for high-impact teams? When I was recently asked this question, I started making a list.

      • OpenShift Commons Briefing: OpenShift Origin 3.10 Release Update with Derek Carr and Mike Barrett (Red Hat)

        In this briefing, Red Hat’s Derek Carr and Mike Barrett walk us thru what’s new in OpenShift Origin Release 3.10

      • OpenShift Commons Briefing: IoT Edge Deployments on OpenShift with RHEL – Luca Gabella (Red Hat)

        In this briefing, Red Hat’s Alessandro Arrichiello, Luca Bigotta and Luca Gabella (Red Hat) walk us thru leveraging containers for IoT Edge Deployments: in this scenario and discuss how developers are using OpenShift to build Edge Applications. Then they walked us thru a real use case scenario how developers can leverage OpenShift features for enabling Hybrid deployments on standalone Red Hat Enterprise Linux. In the demonstration, they also show using OpenShift’s Ansible Service Broker for automating the external deployment, and talked about using Ansible Tower when large scale ones will be needed.

      • Connecting and managing microservices with Istio 1.0 on Kubernetes

        Coming into this year, CoreOS’s Alex Polvi predicted that Istio, an open source tool to connect and manage microservices, would soon become a category leading service mesh (essentially a configurable infrastructure layer for microservices) for Kubernetes. Today we celebrate a milestone that brings us closer to that prediction: celebrating the general availability of Istio 1.0.

        Istio provides a method of integrating services like load balancing, mutual service-to-service authentication, transport layer encryption, and application telemetry requiring minimal (and in many cases no) changes to the code of individual services. This is in juxtaposition to other solutions like the various Java libraries from Netflix OSS. Utilizing these libraries requires both the use of Java for development as well as modification to source code, separately integrating these capabilities into each application component. I like to think of Istio as another component in your application stack, providing this functionality without extensive code changes.

      • Istio 1.0 Brings Service Mesh to Cloud Native Applications

        Istio disaggregates microservices networking connectivity, enabling services to be connected in a mesh. With Istio, service-to-service networking can be offloaded from individual microservices in a way that could help to expedite development. Kubernetes is a container orchestration system and has its own networking abstraction known as the Container Networking Interface (CNI) with policies defined via the Network Policy API. Istio can be deployed on top of an existing Kubernetes CNI deployment.

        “Just as Kubernetes provides orchestration of containers, Istio might best be viewed as providing orchestration of service-to-service networking yielding a much better way to develop and deploy microservice-based applications in a multicloud world,” Lew Tucker, CTO for Cloud Computing at Cisco, wrote in a blog post.

      • Paving the way for intelligent and performance-sensitive applications on Kubernetes with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 3.10

        In November 2017, we highlighted our collaboration with key partners like NVIDIA in bringing performance-sensitive applications to Kubernetes and, ultimately, to Red Hat OpenShift. With today’s launch of Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 3.10, we’re pleased to say that Red Hat’s enterprise Kubernetes platform is now well-positioned to handle several of these demanding workloads, offering a modern, fully open Kubernetes platform upon which to run next-generation applications.

      • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 3.10 is now available for download

        Today, we’re pleased to announce the general availability of Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 3.10 (read the release notes; download the new version). Every release of OpenShift contains hundreds of fixes for enhanced security and performance, tested integrations throughout the stack, and access to hundreds of validated ISV solutions. For a full walkthrough of the latest updates, you can view our latest OpenShift Commons Briefing.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • A Fedora COPR for libinput git master

          To make testing libinput git master easier, I set up a whot/libinput-git Fedora COPR yesterday. This repo gets the push triggers directly from GitLab so it will rebuild with whatever is currently on git master.

    • Debian Family

      • Free software log (June 2018)

        Well, this is embarassingly late, but not a full month late. That’s what counts, right?

        It’s quite late partly because I haven’t had the right combination of time and energy to do much free software work since the beginning of June. I did get a couple of releases out then, though. wallet 1.4 incorporated better Active Directory support and fixed a bunch of build system and configuration issues. And rra-c-util 7.2 includes a bunch of fixes to M4 macros and cleans up some test issues.

      • The State of Gaming On Debian In 2018

        Happening now in Hsinchu, Taiwan is Debian’s DebConf 18. Of the many interesting talks at this multi-day event is X11 veteran Keith Packard talking about gaming on Debian.

        Keith Packard talked on Monday about Debian gaming, the state of the open-source graphics drivers, his recent work on improving the Linux stack for Steam VR / VR HMDs, work being done to help reduce micro-stuttering, the state of these components in Debian unstable, and other related topics.

      • Mike Gabriel: My Work on Debian LTS (July 2018)
      • Chris Lamb: Free software activities in July 2018
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 538
          • GCHQ subsidiary publishes Ubuntu 18.04 security guide

            The National Cyber Security Centre, a department of the UK spy agency, GCHQ, has published a new security guidance document for Ubuntu 18.04 which can help administrators set up and Ubuntu systems securely. The recommendations provided are in accordance with the NCSC’s best security practices and are intended for the public and private sectors who want to set up new systems, home users can also learn from it.

          • NCSC Publishes Full Guideline Documentation on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Security Configuring

            Just recently, the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) in the UK published an advisory on configuring the latest Ubuntu 18.04 LTS in accordance with their security best practices. The NCSC generally publishes many similar guidelines for a variety of devices and internet topics, including Multi Factor authentication, and security reviews of various platforms such as Google’s G Suite and Microsoft’s Office 365.

          • UK’s National Cyber Security Centre Give Advice on Securing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            Dubbed Bionic Beaver, the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS operating system was launched in April 2018 as the latest release of Canonical’s popular Ubuntu Linux OS, and it’s a long-term support release that will receive security and software updates for the next five years, until April 2023. The Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS point release is also available for download and includes all the latest security updates.

            Being based on the Linux kernel, Ubuntu is already a secure computer operating system compared to Windows or macOS, but if you’re living in the UK (United Kingdom) and you need to configure your Ubuntu 18.04 LTS installations for maximum security, the National Cyber Security Centre tells you how.

          • Here’s the New Login Screen of Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) with Yaru Theme

            One of the most attractive things about the forthcoming Ubuntu 18.10 operating system, due for release later this fall on October 18, 2018, is its new look and feel, which is provided by the so-called Communitheme that was recently renamed as Yaru, a system-wide theme for Ubuntu Desktop.

            As part of this community initiative, Ubuntu 18.10 will get a brand-new look and feel that will make the popular computer operating system more modern, more accessible, and more attractive. And, today we finally have a first look at the Yaru theme on the current Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) development release.

          • Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS Release Candidate Ready for Testing Ahead of August 2 Release

            Canonical’s Lukasz Zemczak put out a call for testing today for the upcoming Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS point release of the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system series.

            Release Candidate (RC) images of the Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS point release, which is the fifth and also the last for the long-term supported Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, are now ready for public testing. The Ubuntu community is urged to download and test drive the new RC images in case some unknown issues arise.

          • First set of 16.04.5 RC images ready for testing
          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Btrfs now boots ReactOS, a free and open source alternative for Windows NT

    Google Summer of Code (GSoC), a global program focused on introducing students to open source software development is nearing the end of its competition for this year. A student developer named Victor Perevertkin has been successful in his GSoC 2018 project on Btrfs file-system support for ReactOS. He has been able to boot the Windows API/ABI compatible OS off Btrfs.

  • Libjpeg-Turbo 2.0 Released With AVX2 SIMD Additions, Better Error Handling

    Libjpeg-Turbo 2.0 was released in the past few days as the JPEG image codec library known for being quite speedy thanks to its various optimizations on different CPU instruction sets, by as much as two to six times faster than the conventional JPEG library.

    With Libjpeg-Turbo 2.0 there are now AVX2 SIMD implementations for color-space conversion, chroma down/up-sampling, integer quantization and sample conversion, and other processes. For AVX2-capable Intel/AMD CPUs this is generally yielding double digit percentage improvements for the new code paths.

  • Building Briar Reproducible And Why It Matters

    Briar is a secure messenger, the next step in the crypto messenger evolution if you want. It is Free Software (Open Source), so everybody has the possibility inspect and audit its source code without needing to trust third-parties to have done so in secret.

    However, for security critical software, just being Free Software is not enough. It is very easy to install a backdoor before compiling the source code into a binary file. This backdoor would of course not be part of the published source code, but it would be part of the file that gets released to the public.

  • Pymetrics Open-Sources Fairness-Aware Machine Learning Algorithms

    Pymetrics, an AI start-up that specializes in providing recruitment services for organizations, has recently open-sourced their bias detection algorithms on Github. The tool, also known as Audit AI, is used to mitigate discriminatory patterns that exist within training data sets which influence or improve the probability of a population being selected by a machine learning algorithm.

    As more and more workloads are being automated by processes leveraging machine learning, it is important to ensure these algorithms don’t develop biases that create un-fair advantages. Pymetrics seeks to ensure that machine learning algorithms remain fair.

  • Haiku monthly activity report – 07/2018

    waddlesplash completed his work synchronizing drivers with FreeBSD 11. The FreeBSD9 compatibility layer is now gone and all drivers are up to date again.

    jessicah fixed a problem in the UEFI framebuffer driver (most of the code is shared with the “VESA” driver, although there is no VESA BIOS in this case). So you are more likely to see a bootscreen on UEFI machines now.

    waddlesplash and kallisit5 worked on the Radeon driver, getting it to play well with SMAP and recognize a few newer devices.

  • Haiku OS Working On Updated Drivers From FreeBSD, GCC 8 Compiler

    With July quickly coming to a close, the Haiku project has published their latest monthly report regarding the happenings for this open-source BeOS-inspired operating system.

    Their recent effort around 32/64-bit hybrid support continued this month with good work in that direction albeit not yet complete. There’s also the matter of the long-awaited Haiku beta that still has yet to materialize even after talking about it for many months, but they have been clearing out the issues that have been holding up that next release.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Browse the web in VR: Chrome launches on Daydream View

        Chrome is built to be accessed across all types of devices and platforms, regardless of what operating system you’re on. And today, we’re launching Chrome on Google Daydream View and the Lenovo Mirage Solo with Daydream. So if you have one of these headsets, you can launch Chrome directly from your homepage to browse and interact with any webpage while in VR.

        All the features you love on Chrome, from voice search to incognito mode to saved bookmarks, are now accessible on your Daydream headset. But we’ve also added a few Daydream-specific features, like “cinema mode” which optimizes web video for the best viewing experience in VR. With Chrome now integrated into Daydream, you can start browsing on your phone, whether it is reading your favorite news article or watching a YouTube video, and easily switch to your headset.

      • Google Chrome Launches For VR Headsets: Here’s How To Try It On Daydream

        There is an extensive list of platforms for which the Google Chrome browser is available; you name it and a version exists. Now, Google has added another name to the list: Daydream VR.

    • Mozilla

      • Evolving the Firefox Brand

        Say “Firefox” and most people think of a web browser on their laptop or phone, period. TL;DR, there’s more to the story now, and our branding needs to evolve.

        With the rapid evolution of the internet, people need new tools to make the most of it. So Firefox is creating new types of browsers and a range of new apps and services with the internet as the platform. From easy screen-shotting and file sharing to innovative ways to access the internet using voice and virtual reality, these tools will help people be more efficient, safer, and in control of their time online. Firefox is where purpose meets performance.

      • Firefox is getting a new logo, and Mozilla wants your opinion on it

        The familiar swoosh-tailed Firefox logo could soon be a thing of the past. Mozilla has announced that it is redesigning the iconic Firefox logo with input from users. In blog post titled ‘Evolving the Firefox Brand’ Mozilla explains why it wants to drastically revamp the Firefox identity. And the keyword seems to be “family”.

      • Jim Hall: What an icon says about you

        Once upon a time, the Netscape “N” was instantly recognizable as the web browser’s brand icon. Later, the organization spun off into Mozilla, represented by a less memorable big red dragon head. Finally, we have Firefox, represented by a stylized fox wrapped around a small globe. The fox icon has represented the Firefox brand for years, although now the Firefox organization wants to change the brand icon.

        From an article in Venture Beat: “For most people, Firefox refers to a browser, but the company wants the brand to encompass all the various apps and services that the Firefox family of internet products cover,” and “The fox with a flaming tail ‘doesn’t offer enough design tools to represent this entire product family’.” The Firefox name will remain, but the branding will change.

      • Mozilla Is Changing Firefox Logo After Years, Wants Your Feedback

        When we think of the Firefox browser, the image of the red panda logo immediately comes to our mind. Mozilla is about to change that, and a redesigned logo will represent the versatility of products the company has started making.

        As per its blog post, Mozilla is going through possible design considerations and has invited users to post their comments. It wants to know whether the new design system still feels like Firefox, reinforces Firefox’s speed, reliability, wit and at the same time represents Mozilla’s position as a people over profit company.

      • Introducing the Dweb

        The web is the most successful programming platform in history, resulting in the largest open and accessible collection of human knowledge ever created. So yeah, it’s pretty great. But there are a set of common problems that the web is not able to address.

      • Firefox needs some more RAM to run your Rails system tests

        A quick fix for an annoying (and not very descriptive) error Browsing context has been discarded when setting up Ruby on Rails system tests with Firefox headless.

      • Cameron McCormack: Back

        Since coming back, I’ve been serving as technical lead for the Firefox Layout team, which really just means being a bit more involved, along with Maire and our new Layout team manager Sean, in the team’s planning work. We’ve got a lot going on! It also means getting back into standards work, and I had a great time meeting old friends and colleagues at the CSS Working Group’s meeting last month in Sydney.

      • Checking minidumps for memory corruption

        Recently I was investigating some Firefox crashes that were occurring in the style system, somewhere in Rust code. These were persistent, low frequency crashes, being reported around 25 times per day. Our crash report database, crash-stats, indexes crashes by signature, which is the top one or more stack frames. From the bug report, I could see that these crashes were all in the same function, although the exact stack trace that led to calling this function varied across crashes.

        On a good day, looking at a crash report will reveal the bug without too much effort. For example, it’s usually easy to see when a null pointer has been dereferenced (the address being read or written will be somewhere around 0×0), and hopefully it’s obvious from looking at the surrounding code whether a null pointer should have been guarded against. On a bad day, you can spend hours working backwards from the crash, trying to work out how the program ended up where it did.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Should you donate to Open Source Software?

      In short: yes, you should! If you are a regular user and can afford it. For the longer version: read on. In this article I will explain donating is not just “the right thing to do”, but also a practical way of supporting Open Source Software (OSS). I will show you a fair and pragmatic method that I use myself. You will see that donating does not need to cost you much (in my case less than € 25 per month; 25% of the proprietary alternatives), is easy and gets this topic “off your mind” for the rest of the time.

      Using LibreOffice as an example you will also see that even if only the 5 governments mentioned on the LibreOffice website would follow my method, then this would bring in almost 10 times more than would be needed to pay all the people working on the project a decent salary, even when living in a relatively ‘expensive’ country like The Netherlands!

  • BSD

    • OPNsense 18.7 Released For FreeBSD 11 Powered Routers / Firewalls

      While OpenWRT 18.06 was released today as the popular Linux-based networking/embedded distribution, for those preferring FreeBSD, the OPNsense 18.7 release is also shipping today.

    • OPNsense 18.7 released
    • Newer unveil diffs
    • Inside IncludeOS – what is a unikernel?

      IncludeOS is a unikernel, a special type of library operating system that allows developers to write and run their application in the cloud… in place, that is, of a more traditional OS.

      [...]

      Our goal at IncludeOS is to expand the application runtime support to include those written in C++ and C, so Node.js and Python are strong candidates. Once in place it should be a good platform for edge applications written in these languages. For Node you could imagine doing «npm include» or similar and having the build system spit out a virtual image that boots straight into your Node application.

      For people writing in languages such as OCaml or Reason, the Mirage Unikernel is excellent.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • SimCity

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • The next step in open data is open source

        Governments at all levels are moving to embrace open data, where governments share public data proactively with citizens. Open data can be used, reused, mixed, and shared by anyone.

        For example, The US Government has an open data portal that publishes data on various topics, including agriculture, education, energy, finance, and other public data sets. Where I work (Ramsey County, Minn.) we established an open data portal that shares expenses and other public data about the county that users can access in different views.

        Through open data, governments become more transparent. We have seen this in several instances. The Oakland Police Department used a 2016 open data study from Stanford University to address racial bias in how officers behave towards African Americans versus Caucasians during routine traffic stops. In 2017, Steve Ballmer launched the USAFacts website that uses open data to reveal how governments spend tax dollars to benefit citizens. Also from 2017, Los Angeles, California’s comprehensive “Clean Streets LA” initiative uses open data to assess and improve the cleanliness of public streets.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • India’s first RISC-V based Chip is Here: Linux boots on Shakti processor!
      • Innovating to Make Prosthetics More Accessible and Affordable

        India has an ancient affinity with prosthetics. The earliest known historical document to describe a prosthesis is the Rigveda, an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns, whereby the lost foot of the warrior Vispala is replaced with a “metallic leg” by her husband, Khela, enabling her to walk again.

      • Researchers Build Inexpensive Open Source Bioprinter for 3D Printing Branching, Hydrogel-Based Vascular Constructs

        But thanks to 3D bioprinting, it’s now possible to 3D print complex structures on multiple length scales within a single construct. This enables the generation of branching, interconnected vessel systems of small, vein-like microvessels and larger macrovessels, which couldn’t be done with former tissue engineering methods. However, the best sacrificial material for fabricating branching vascular conduits in constructs based in hydrogel has yet to be determined.

        A team of researchers from the University of Toronto recently published a paper, titled “Generating vascular channels within hydrogel constructs using an economical open-source 3D bioprinter and thermoreversible gels,” in the Bioprinting journal. Co-authors of the paper include Ross EB Fitzsimmons, Mark S. Aquilino, Jasmine Quigley, Oleg Chebotarev, Farhang Tarlan, and Craig A. Simmons.

      • (Badly) cloning a TEMPer USB

        At this point things became less reliable. The V-USB code is an evil (and very clever) set of interrupt driven GPIO bit banging routines, working around the fact that the ATTiny doesn’t have a USB port. 1-Wire is a timed protocol, so the simple implementation involves a bunch of delays. To add to this the temper-python library decides to do a USB device reset if it sees a timeout. And does a double read to work around some behaviour of the real hardware. Doing a 1-Wire transaction directly in response to these requests causes lots of problems, so I implemented a timer to do a 1-Wire temperature check once every 10 seconds, and then the request from the host just returns the last value read. This is a lot more reliable, but still sees a few resets a day. It would be nice to fix this, but for the moment it’s good enough for my needs – I’m reading temperature once a minute to report back to the MQTT server, but it offends me to see the USB resets in the kernel log.

  • Programming/Development

    • Create your Linux development workstation in seconds

      Linux is the best platform for developers. Here’s how you can get popular languages and development environments up and running in moments. The first step is to install snapd (the service that runs and manages Snaps) on your distro, then you can install your pick from some of our recommendations below.

    • Web development on a phone with Hugo and Termux

      Hugo is an excellent static site generator and website framework.

      You can build a static web site using your phone by running Hugo on LineageOS under Termux.

      Here’s how:

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Artificial Intelligence Shows Why Atheism Is Unpopular

      MERV shows that mutually escalating violence is likeliest to occur if there’s a small disparity in size between the majority and minority groups (less than a 70/30 split) and if agents experience out-group members as social and contagion threats (they worry that others will be invasive or infectious). It’s much less likely to occur if there’s a large disparity in size or if the threats agents are experiencing are mostly related to predators or natural hazards.

      This might sound intuitive, but having quantitative, empirical data to support social-science hypotheses can help convince policymakers of when and how to act if they want to prevent future outbreaks of violence. And once a model has been shown to track with real-world historical examples, scientists can more plausibly argue that it will yield a trustworthy recommendation when it’s fed new situations. Asked what MERV has to offer us, Toft said, “We can stop these dynamics. We do not need to allow them to spiral out of control.”

    • Supposedly pristine South American forest had been pre-Columbian farmland

      The first Europeans to set foot in the Quijos Valley were Spanish expeditions in 1538 and 1541, who arrived in search of gold and cinnamon. They estimated that about 35,000 indigenous people lived in the region. By 1577, about 11,400 people had clustered around the Spanish town of Baeza, which the colonizers built in 1559 alongside the indigenous community of Hatunquijos. But by 1600, three out of four of these people were dead.

    • Joachim Breitner: The merits of a yellow-red phase

      Lights that switch directly from red to green cause more stress. Picture yourself at the first car waiting at a traffic light, with a bunch of cars behind you. Can you relax, maybe observe the cars passing in front of you, switch the radio station, or simply look somewhere else for a moment? Well, you can, but you risk missing how the light switches from red to green. When your look at the traffic light again and see it bright green, you have no idea how long it has been on green. Hyper-aware of all the cars behind you waiting to get going, you’ll rush to get started, and if you don’t do that really fast now, surely one of the people waiting behind you will have honked.

    • How Water Damages Electronics

      Interestingly enough, it’s actually not the water itself doing the damage, but rather the microscopic impurities and ions in the water. These ions can link together to form a chain of sorts, and if lucky enough, both ends of that chain can make a connection between two different contact points within the phone. If the phone is turned on, this will send electricity to where it’s not supposed to go, creating a short and causing damage to the device.

  • Hardware

    • PATA and SATA: The evolution of disk standards

      since the 1980s, and in that time, there have been a tremendous number of advancements in data storage. In those early days, I recall working with disks that were massive in size, if not capacity. These cabinet-based disks had unique connectivity capability but eventually gave way to newer standards, such as PATA and SATA.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • State: Flint is ignoring tens of millions of dollars for water pipeline replacement

      The letter from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality maintains that Flint has drawn only $27.2 million of the $167 million in state and federal funds that have been available to Flint since early 2017. Flint’s use of 17 percent of available money comes, state officials said, as city officials are telling contractors they do not have enough money to pay them for more than a partial contract.

    • Flint Water Crisis Deaths Likely Surpass Official Toll

      Officially, 90 people were sickened and 12 died from exposure to waterborne legionella bacteria during the 18 months that the city of Flint drew its water from the Flint River in 2014 and 2015. But FRONTLINE’s investigation has found 119 deaths from pneumonia during that time, some of which scientists say could actually have been caused by legionella. The tally is based on an extensive review of death records and interviews with epidemiologists and other scientists who are experts in the field of infectious diseases.

    • Cancer rates on Staten Island highest of any borough, data shows

      That means that Staten Island accounted for 7.16 percent of all New York City cancer incidences in 2014, despite only accounting for 5.5 percent of the city’s total population.

    • A tenth of U.S. veteran coal miners have black lung disease: NIOSH

      More than 10 percent of America’s coal miners with 25 or more years of experience have black lung disease, the highest rate recorded in roughly two decades, according to a government study released on Thursday that showed cases concentrated heavily in central Appalachia.

    • Asthma deaths rise 25% amid growing air pollution crisis

      In England and Wales 1,320 people died of asthma last year, a sharp rise of more than 25% over a decade, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

    • Vaccine-refusing community drove outbreak that cost $395K, sickened babies

      “Those who voluntarily choose to forego vaccination are thus free-riders, benefiting from this public good without contributing to it,” Schwartz concludes. One possible solution, he writes: vaccination refusal fees that would go to cover outbreak response costs, among other vaccination-related expenses. [...]

    • 639 farmers ended lives in Maharashtra in three months, says State govt

      He claimed in the last four years as many as 13,000 farmers have ended their lives, of which 1,500 committed suicide in the last one year alone.

    • Doctors fear urgent care centers are wildly overusing antibiotics—for profit

      Popular urgent care centers may be the biggest—and most overlooked—culprits in the dangerous overuse of antibiotics in clinics, according to a new analysis in JAMA Internal Medicine.

      Based on insurance claims from patients with employee-sponsored coverage, researchers estimated that about 46 percent of patients who visited urgent care centers in 2014 for conditions that cannot be treated with antibiotics—such as a common cold that’s caused by a virus—left with useless antibiotic prescriptions that target bacterial infections. That rate of inappropriate antibiotic use is almost double the rate the researchers saw in emergency departments (25 percent) and almost triple the rate seen in traditional medical offices (17 percent).

    • Brexit will harm both NHS and public’s health say doctors as BMA backs Final Say campaign

      UK doctors believe Brexit will be devastating to the NHS and the nation’s health, a study has found, as the body representing more than 160,000 medics and students backed The Independent’s call for a Final Say on the deal.

      A comprehensive poll of nearly 1,200 UK doctors published in the BMJ Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health on Monday found 83 per cent thought leaving the EU would hurt the NHS.

      The average response from doctors when asked how serious the effect will be on the NHS, with zero being the worst impact imaginable and 10 being the best result, was a two.

    • Reporting on Medicare for All Makes Media Forget How Math Works

      “Medicare for All,” a federally funded universal healthcare plan championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vermont–Ind.), has quickly become a key issue for progressive voters evaluating Democratic Party candidates for the 2018 midterm elections and the 2020 presidential race. The plan would provide coverage for the 40 million currently uninsured in the United States, a gap that is estimated to cause tens of thousands of deaths annually. Despite this, Medicare for All has received no shortage of negative coverage in the media, all revolving around the same question: Just how are we going to pay for it?

      A study on the cost of Medicare for All was recently conducted by Charles Blahous for the libertarian-leaning Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Blahous’ study projected that Sanders’ Medicare for All system, assuming it was enacted in 2022, would cost the federal government a whopping $32.6 trillion in excess spending over the course of 10 years.

  • Security

    • The Dark Side of Containers: Protecting Container Data from Itself

      Containers are virtualized but not by hypervisors. They can be deployed to a VM but are not VMs.

      Both containers and VMs use server/host OS as the bottom two layers of the stack. In VM environments, the next level is the hypervisor followed by VMs containing guest OS, libraries (div/lib in Linux), and applications. A single VM runs two full operating systems: the host and guest OS.

      In contrast, containers do not have a hypervisor layer. A container shares the host OS, housing only the libraries and application code and data. Container benefits include greater portability, less operational overhead, lower OS licensing and maintenance/support costs, and less expensive application development.

    • Update on the Distrust of Symantec TLS Certificates

      Firefox 60 (the current release) displays an “untrusted connection” error for any website using a TLS/SSL certificate issued before June 1, 2016 that chains up to a Symantec root certificate. This is part of the consensus proposal for removing trust in Symantec TLS certificates that Mozilla adopted in 2017. This proposal was also adopted by the Google Chrome team, and more recently Apple announced their plan to distrust Symantec TLS certificates. As previously stated, DigiCert’s acquisition of Symantec’s Certification Authority has not changed these plans.

      In early March when we last blogged on this topic, roughly 1% of websites were broken in Firefox 60 due to the change described above. Just before the release of Firefox 60 on May 9, 2018, less than 0.15% of websites were impacted – a major improvement in just a few months’ time.

    • Automating Kernel Exploitation for Better Flaw Remediation

      Black Hat researchers plan on open sourcing a new framework they say can help organizations get a better rein on vulnerability fixes for kernel bugs.

      The explosive disclosure of the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities were like a detonator on the already incendiary field of kernel vulnerabilities this year. Security researchers had previously been ramping up their exploration of kernel bugs, but this year the discoveries have mushroomed considerably.

    • Initial SpectreRSB Support Queued For Merging Into The Mainline Linux Kernel

      Last week “SpectreRSB” was detailed as a new Spectre Variant Two like attack affecting modern processors. A Linux kernel patch was quick to materialize and now it’s been staged for merging soon into the mainline Linux kernel.

      Spectre Return Stack Buffer is just one of the newest speculative execution vulnerabilities affecting at least Intel CPUs. Researchers at the University of California were able to exploit SpectreRSB into leaking private data protected by Intel SGX (Software Guard Extensions) and that these return stack buffer attacks could be process-process or even inter-VM.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • MySQL Updates for Ubuntu Resolve Server Data Manipulation and DoS Vulnerabilities
    • Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V2 2.0.8350 Found Vulnerable to Wireless Eavesdropping

      Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V2 has been diagnosed with three vulnerabilities: command injection vulnerability, broken access control vulnerability, and evil twin attack vulnerability. The first vulnerability has only been tested on the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V2 software versions 2.0.8350 to 2.0.8372 and has been found to impact all the versions in this range. The broken access control and evil twin attack vulnerabilities have been found to affect only the software version 2.0.8350 in the tested range. Other versions of the software were not tested, and the vulnerabilities have not been exploited yet. The command injection vulnerability has been assigned the label CVE-2018-8306, and it has been given a relatively moderate risk assessment.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Protesters demand Nicaraguan President Ortega step down after hundreds killed in clashes

      Thousands of people marched yesterday in Nicaragua to demand that President Daniel Ortega step down. The demonstrations over proposed benefit cuts, which began three months ago, are expected to continue today.

      Human rights groups say about 300 people have been killed during the protests, many by police.

    • Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan kill at least 15 Taliban

      The attack, in Sayyad district of Sar-e Pul, followed reports from local officials of fighting between Islamic State and Taliban militants in other northern provinces over recent days.

    • The fight against Islamic State is moving to Africa

      Much of the conflict is barely reported on, even though last year it claimed more than 10,000 lives, almost all of them civilian. It also involves a battle against what General Mark Hicks, the commander of American special forces in Africa, calls “probably the largest card-carrying group” of Islamic State (IS) members outside Iraq and Syria. The war has drawn in troops from America, France, Britain and Germany, and is attracting remnants of IS.

    • 30 years on, ‘new age militancy’ stokes Kashmir conflict

      A home-made bomb set off the insurgency against Indian rule in Kashmir 30 years ago, but “new age” fighters using social media assaults alongside guns are taking the battle to new heights of bitterness.

      [...]

      “The middle ground has disappeared.”

    • Bloodbath in the run-up to polls

      Instead, the state is doing the opposite by ‘mainstreaming’ individuals and groups with a history of violence and anti-state actions. There is a clear difference between religio-political parties that engage with the processes of parliamentary democracy, and those that hold it in contempt and will ultimately undermine it.

    • Historian Peter Kuznick and The Untold History of the United States

      Historian Peter Kuznick returns to the Project Censored Show to discuss the forthcoming update to his book The Untold History of the United States. The new material will cover the period from 2012 to 2018. In the interview on this week’s show, Kuznick addresses issues ranging from Trump and Russia, to the prospects for ending the conflict in Syria.

    • How Montenegro could start World War III

      Reading the news following US president Donald Trump’s latest passage through Europe the message was clear: it had been a bad week for the international order. First Trump poured scorn on America’s allies for not contributing enough to NATO, allegedly even threatening to pull the US out of the alliance. This was followed by his much-too-chummy meeting with Russia’s president Putin prompting both liberal and conservative commentators to sound alarm bells at this bizarre spectacle.

      To top it off, Trump gave an interview to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson in which he used the unlikely example of Montenegro to claim that NATO is not only a flimsy excuse for a military alliance, but downright dangerous to the US. “Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people,” Trump stated, adding that “They’re very aggressive people. They may get aggressive, and congratulations you’re in World War III.” All of Montenegro’s neighbours and potential adversaries are either NATO members, NATO protectorates, or participate in NATO’s Partnership for Peace.

      The international commentariat exploded in outrage not so much at Trump’s casual racism but at his apparently successive attempts to undermine NATO, either out of ignorance or at Putin’s behest.

      Yet instead of underlining the absurdity of the idea that a country with just over 600,000 inhabitants and an army of 2,000 could possibly start a world war many commentators chose to drum up the emotional charge with orientalising clichés. An assembly line of opinionated pieces warned the broader public of the chilling prospect of a renewal of the conflicts and wars of the 1990s should Trump withdraw NATO’s protective wing from a region that has been “prone to violence” and where, coincidentally, “World War I started”.

    • US confirms deployment of armed drones in Niger

      The United States military’s Africa Command has confirmed that its forces began deploying armed drones in Niger earlier this year.

      The West African country’s government granted American forces permission in November 2017 to arm their drones – but neither side had previously confirmed their deployment.

      “In coordination with the Government of Niger, US 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 US Africa Command told The Associated Press on Monday.

      The armed drones are currently deployed to Niger’s Air Base 101 in the capital, Niamey. Reho said the effort was supported by Niger’s government, describing it as part of the long-term strategic partnership between the two countries to counter armed groups in the region.

    • US military in Africa says changes made to protect troops

      The U.S. military in Africa has taken steps to increase the security of troops on the ground, adding armed drones and armored vehicles and taking a harder look at when American forces go out with local troops, the head of the U.S. Africa Command said Monday.

    • Former AG dismisses CIA involvement in ending coup in T&T

      A former attorney general has dismissed suggestions that the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was involved in helping Trinidad and Tobago authorities suppress the 1990 coup by a radical Islamic group.

      Anthony Smart, who served as attorney general during the insurrection, said that his then Cabinet colleague, Dr Brinsley Samaroo, while he is “a respected historian” was not even present when the negotiations regarding the hostages were taking place.

      “He wasn’t even there, all the activities took place between the 27th of July, the 28, the 29th and by the 30th we had the situation under control and that’s when Brinsley entered the picture and by the next day, the hostages were released,” Smart said.

      Speaking on a television programme last Friday, Samaroo, a historian and former government minister, also told viewers that the attempt by the Jamaat Al Muslimeen group led by Yasin Abu Bakr to overthrow the then ANR Robinson Government had far implications, including a possible overthrow of the Government in Venezuela by Libya.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • To Get Assange, US Likely to Play the “Russia” Angle Via Mueller Probe

      By treating Assange as a Russian collaborator — not as a journalist or publisher — and using the carefully cultivated RussiaGate hysteria against him, it will spare other journalists the obligation of belatedly coming to Assange’s aid and they will instead continue to align themselves with the very institutions that seek to destroy a colleague and his organization.

    • Julian Assange lawyer wants Malcolm Turnbull to ‘stand up to the Trump administration’
    • Julian Assange lawyer wants Malcolm Turnbull to ‘stand up to Trump administration’

      JULIAN Assange — the Australian WikiLeaks founder in self-imposed exile at a London embassy — wants the Turnbull Government to urgently intervene in his case as he faces the imminent prospect of expulsion from his refuge.

      Assange could be kicked out of the Ecuadorean Embassy in the coming weeks after that country’s new president indicated he wanted the 47-year-old to leave, and only intended to ensure he wouldn’t face the death penalty if extradited to the United States. The WikiLeaks boss has been at the embassy since 2012.

      The development comes as new British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt claimed Assange was facing “serious charges” from local police. But there is confusion about what they are, as he is only facing a minor charge for breaching bail.

    • Turnbull disappoints Assange on free speech

      Julian Assange’s core supporters initially hoped that Malcolm Turnbull would push the US to end its pursuit of the Wikileaks chief, according to private correspondence leaked to the media.

      They based their expectations on the Australian Prime Minister’s previous history of supporting free speech, and comments he’d made about Assange before becoming prime minister.

      But Assange himself was dubious that Turnbull’s deposing Abbott as prime minister in 2015 would aid his cause.

    • Assange May Be Ready to Take First Steps Into a Different World

      Julian Assange soon will leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London — his refuge from criminal charges for the last six years — and enter a changed world.

      The Australian walked into the building in the capital’s Knightsbridge neighborhood just before the 2012 Olympics, with Barack Obama in his first term and elections untainted by alleged interference by Russian agents. When he walks out, Assange will face a new more aggressive American president, a U.K. trying to find its role outside the European Union and a change in Ecuadorian leadership. The 47-year-old may find the future uncertain.

      The WikiLeaks founder’s health has declined recently, and he’s expected to leave his self-imposed isolation in the embassy in the coming weeks, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. He sought refuge there to avoid Swedish rape allegations and the prospect of being extradited to the U.S. to face sanctions for publishing secret government communications.

    • WikiLeaks founder interview’s Imran Khan

      Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, The cricketer-turned-politician has finally been accepted as Pakistan’s next prime minister. Prior to entering politics, Khan was a cricketer and philanthropist. He played international cricket for two decades and later developed philanthropic projects such as Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre and Namal College.

    • Julian Assange’s 2012 interview with Imran Khan may still offer glimpses of the next Pak PM’s plans

      In the few days following the emergence of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) as the single largest party – though short of a majority – after the July 25 election, speculation has been rife about the influence of the Pakistani army on his administration and what his foreign policy towards neighbouring countries like India and China will be like.

    • Here is what the leaked Wikileaks messages can tell us about Assange’s conspiracy theories
    • Trans Journalist Publishes Over 11,000 WikiLeaks Chats With Queerphobic, Pro-Trump Comments
    • Journalist Publishes Thousands of WikiLeaks’ Private Messages
    • Activist Releases Wikileaks DMs, Including Anti-Semitic Messages
    • Would you like to read 11,000 Wikileaks Twitter DMs?
    • Activist speaks out about publishing damning WikiLeaks chat
    • Leaked WikiLeaks messages compare Julian Assange’s life in the Ecuadorian Embassy to Biosphere 2.
    • Hackers are hacked: WikiLeaks exposed as ‘antisemitic and transphobic’ in Twitter messages
    • 11,000 Twitter direct messages between WikiLeaks and supporters leaked
    • Wikileaks Gets WikiLEAKED! Journalist Posts Thousands Of Messages From Assange’s Group
    • Assange’s Attorney Suggests Australian Govt Should Step in to Help Its Citizen

      Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno has said to a Spanish news outlet that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should accept a penalty for breaching UK bail conditions. According to Moreno, Assange has been in this situation for more than five years and that a way out must be found.

      Moreno added that “a way out that defends his rights, mainly his right to life, and that at the same time can give Ecuador the possibility of not having what undoubtedly represents a problem for our country.” Radio Sputnik has discussed Julian Assange’s options with Julian Burnside, a prominent Australian civil liberties attorney and member of Assange’s legal team.

    • Alex Jones: “If it wasn’t for Julian Assange, you can say, clearly, that the president wouldn’t have been elected”
    • Why Every American Needs to Defend Julian Assange’s Freedom

      Prosecution of Julian Assange is a persecution of American ideals. Criminalizing the act of publishing through the Espionage Act destroys the First Amendment as the guardian of democracy. This not only sets a dangerous precedent for press freedom, but it could allow the beginning of a new totalitarianism. We must break our silence and refuse to participate in the destruction of values that founded this country. It is time for us all to put aside ideological differences and unite in solidarity with people around the world who are engaging in non-violent resistance against this assault on WikiLeaks and our right to free speech.

    • Spies in the sky, Julian Assange’s fate, and more wildfires (E770)

      Under a previously undisclosed program called “Quiet Skies,” the TSA has asked air marshals to spy on and identify passengers since 2010. The US is now experiencing a level of wealth inequality that hasn’t been seen since 1928. Activist and comedian Randy Credico discusses the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. And wildfires continue to sweep across California.

    • The Australian Government can save Julian Assange

      Julian Assange is an Australian. He is in trouble overseas. He needs the Australian government’s help.
      For six years he has been virtually a prisoner in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. The reason he is there is because he is the founder and editor of WikiLeaks, which published evidence of war crimes leaked by an American soldier, Bradley (later Chelsea) Manning as a matter of conscience. WikiLeaks has since revealed the secrets of the world’s unaccountable forces. This Australian has provided an historic public service.
      The Americans have made it clear from the start that they want to get Assange, who has good reason to fear he will be mistreated the way Chelsea Manning was. That’s why this week’s events in London are so critical. Will the Ecuadorean president Lenin Moreno, at present visiting London and under pressure from Washington, abandon the man his country has so honourably protected?
      Julian Assange has never been charged with any crime. In 2010, Sweden wanted to extradite him from Britain under a European Arrest Warrant. When it became clear that Sweden was likely to hand him over to the Americans, he sought asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

    • As Long As Assange Is Silenced, Claims Against Him Are Illegitimate

      As attempts to evict Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London get more and more aggressive, we are seeing a proportionate increase in the establishment smear campaign against him and against WikiLeaks. This is not a coincidence.
      The planned campaign to remove Assange from political asylum and the greatly escalated smear campaign to destroy public support for Assange are both occurring at the same time that Assange has been cut off from the world without internet, phone calls or visitors, completely unable to defend himself from the smear campaign. This, also, is not a coincidence.
      The ability to control the narrative about what is going on in the world is of unparalleled importance to the plutocrats who use governments as tools to advance their agendas. The agenda to make an example of a leak publisher with a massive platform who has repeatedly exposed the corruption of the establishment upon which western plutocrats have built their empires will require continuous narrative spin, since the precedent set by prosecuting a journalist for publishing authentic documents would arguably constitute a greater leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia than the Patriot Act.

    • Virginia State Senator in Rare Support by Politician for Assange

      As a military officer, I was trained to strictly observe security protocols. So when I first heard of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, I was instinctively critical. But upon reading his released documents, I saw how Julian gave people accurate insights into the inner workings of their own government.

      Government “of the People” cannot flourish beneath a suffocating cloak of secrecy. And secrecy is often aimed, not at protecting us from enemies abroad, but at deceiving us about the dark machinations of our own government. The most consequential secrets are those used to conceal steps taken to establish predicates for future wars—unwarranted conflicts that seem to roll off an endless assembly line. No-fly zones, bombings, sanctions, false flags, blockades, mercenaries, bloodthirsty terrorists have all become stock in trade. Sanctions destabilize our targets through hunger and suffering. We terrorize and blow body parts into the streets like calling cards. Regime change is the end game; coups and assassinations are fair play.

      Before Assange, those who “broke the code” and detected the Deep State’s patterns of misbehavior were labeled “conspiracy theorists” or worse. But with the advent of WikiLeaks, original, unchallenged source documents have proven our arguments, and revealed the truth to citizens.

    • Julian Assange’s Attorney Calls on Australia to Step In

      “The main option for Assange is for the Australian government to step in and help him by doing a diplomatic deal with the British, which should not be difficult to do, which would enable him to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy and travel safely back to Australia,” Burnside said.

      “Now, if the Americans want to extradite Assange, they could apply to an Australian court for that to happen and they would have to demonstrate to an Australian court that there is some charge that he should be taken to America to answer.”

      Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno said that Assange should accept a penalty for breaching UK bail conditions and that the WikiLeaks founder’s situation of residing in the Ecuadorean embassy must be resolved, according to Sputnik.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The rise and fall of bees

      A decade ago, stories of “colony collapse disorder” and crashing bee populations led to predictions of imminent ecological disaster. When the “beepocalypse” failed to materialise, humanity lost interest, but the insects’ problems persist. Mr Hanson cites an authoritative survey showing that around 40% of bee species globally are in decline or threatened with extinction. Beekeepers in North America and Europe are losing hives at an abnormally high rate.

    • “Fingerprint” of humanity’s climate impact seen in the seasons

      A new study led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Ben Santer looked for fingerprints in a new place: the seasonal cycle of temperatures. The ideal tool for analyzing this is the global temperature record produced by satellites, which began their watch in 1979. That means they don’t go back nearly as far as weather-station records, but the dataset is now long enough to be useful for studies like this.

    • Terrafame mine wins building permit for battery chemicals plant

      The nickel and zinc miner is still awaiting an environmental permit, however. This might be more difficult to procure, due to the mine’s extensive track record of serious environmental offenses back when it was still known as Talvivaara.

      The government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä made a controversial decision in 2016 to bail the bankrupt mine out to tune of 100 million euros. The name of the operation was subsequently changed from Talvivaara to Terrafame.

    • South Africa: SA’s Lion Bone Export Quota Set At 1 500 Skeletons [iophk: "attack the networks"]

      “If there is ongoing demand for lion bone and the supply from captive breeding facilities is restricted, dealers may seek alternative sources, either through illegal access to stockpiles or by poaching both captive bred and wild lion,” he said.

      “South Africa has learned through its experience with rhino and abalone poaching that these illegal supply chains are very difficult to disband once they become established and seeks to avoid such a scenario materialising.”

    • Turtle found dead with beach chair around neck
    • To Fight Plastic Pollution, Indian Railways Plans To Install Plastic Bottle Crushing Machines At 2,000 Stations

      Railways will be installing the Plastic Crushing machines at platforms and at exit points of the railway stations so that passengers who want to discard their plastic bottles can deposit them in the flaking machine.

      These machines which are in the size of a refrigerator will start working as soon as people deposit their plastic bottles in it. First, through a sensor, the machine will check whether the material inserted is a plastic bottle or not. If it is a plastic bottle, only then the machine will disintegrate it into fine pieces of plastic which will then be sold as scrap in the market or will be used to manufacture bags and t-shirts in a bid to effectively recycle plastic.

    • Shocking: Cannibal pigs eat each other alive at farm that supplies pork for Tesco

      The group had first highlighted the conditions at Hogwood pig farm in Oxhill, Warwickshire in 2017. However, officials who investigated it found no breaches of animal welfare standards and Tesco continued using it as a supplier.

      Viva! Re-visited the farm this month an dreleased footage that include images that show a sow slumped forlornly in a narrow passage as three pigs, their snouts smeared with blood, take turns to gnaw at her hind legs.

    • Trump administration introduces proposal to roll back Endangered Species Act protections

      The Trump administration is proposing significant changes to the way it enforces the Endangered Species Act (ESA), saying they are a needed modernization of decades-old regulations, but wildlife groups say the changes will put endangered animals and plants at risk.

      The proposal would make it easier to delist an endangered species and would withdraw a policy that offered the same protections for threatened species as for endangered species unless otherwise specified.

    • Can Germany’s supposedly crumbling infrastructure hold up against extreme heat?

      Germany has a long-established infrastructure investment problem. Since a post-reunification investment boom in the early 1990s, the net infrastructural investment of German states has plummeted, with the belt-tightening generally blamed on “debt brakes” imposed on state and federal spending by the German government during a financial crisis in 2001 and during the global financial crisis almost a decade ago.

    • Heatwave could cause further rail closures in Sweden

      Trafikverket is concerned the heat may cause parts of the tracks to buckle or shift, a phenomenon known as “sun kinks”, with freight trains generally the ones that run on the sections most sensitive to the heat.

      Two freight trains have already derailed in Sweden in July – one near Mariannelund and one outside Nyköping.

    • Artificial light is killing our view of the night sky. But we can change that.

      Through much of human history, our ancestors looked up at a night sky filled with stars that set planting patterns and helped lead them across continents. We’ve since filled that night sky with artificial light, brightening our immediate surroundings and dimming the stars above. New York City residents can live their entire lives seeing fewer than a dozen of the brightest stars and planets. Most people living east of the Mississippi River will never see the Milky Way in all its sparkling glory.

    • Think tank: Finnish rye crops may run out by end of year

      Extreme changes in weather patterns have caused Finnish rye crops to decrease in recent years, potentially leading to domestic rye running out before the end of the year.

      [...]

      The acreage for Finnish rye crops has diminished year on year, with almost half as much planted this year than in 2017.

  • Finance

    • We’re headed for a future where only the wealthy can enjoy nature

      And while his deeply flawed analogy likens the kings to our federal government, Lee does indeed paint an accurate picture of an outcome he clearly desires: Privately-held estates for the benefit of the wealthy, while public lands are reduced to tiny, overused, underfunded parks.

    • The rich can survive on a polluted planet, the poor cannot — a carbon tax is the great equalizer

      On Tuesday, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) announced that he’ll introduce a carbon tax as a means of generating funds for infrastructure improvements and reducing the pollution driving climate change. Earlier this year, Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) introduced carbon tax legislation, as well.

      At first, it may seem difficult to see the connection between the policy of a carbon tax and a more sustainable world. With a federal law that puts a price on the pollution that is driving climate change, industries would no longer pollute the air for free. By simply making it more expensive to pollute, technologies like wind and solar become more competitive than their polluting big brothers.

    • Secular countries can expect future economic growth, confirms new study

      New research measuring the importance of religion in 109 countries spanning the entire 20th century has reignited an age-old debate around the link between secularization and economic growth. The study has shown that a decline in religion influences a country’s future economic prosperity.

    • Secular countries may have more economic growth: Study

      Secularisation may lead to economic development of a country when it is accompanied by a greater respect for individual rights, a study measuring the importance of religion in 109 countries has found.

    • Accidents at Amazon: workers left to suffer after warehouse injuries

      Guardian investigation reveals numerous cases of Amazon workers being treated in ways that leave them homeless, unable to work or bereft of income after workplace accidents

      [...]

      “They’re also going to pay me for 24 more hours for last week. They haven’t said anything else,” Allen explained. ”They offered me a buyout, only for $3,500, which meant I would have to sign a non-disclosure agreement to not say anything derogatory about Amazon or my experience.”

    • US gov’s ‘do not buy’ list shuts out software from China and Russia

      The trump administration has put together a ‘do not buy’ list of companies that use software of Russian and Chinese origin, Ellen Lord, the undersecretary in charge of procurement in the Department of Defense, has admitted.

    • Pentagon’s ‘Do Not Buy’ List Targets Russian, Chinese Software
    • Tariffs in a Nutshell

      I was asked to distill a previous post about tariffs into something more accessible to the general public. The resulting article ended up being run on CNN Digital as an opinion piece:

    • Trump’s fast and loose trade policy endangers American jobs

      This administration knows how to protect US business interests without harming everyday consumers and job-creating businesses — so are the new tariffs a negotiating tactic or political theater to appear tough on trade? Either way, the tariffs will have a chilling effect on the American economy, and long-term effects should be taken into consideration. As it stands, the Trump administration’s combative, fast-and-loose trade policy is putting American jobs at risk by encouraging businesses of all sizes to seek alternatives to building finished products in America.

    • Defending Users: Initial Ideas for Cryptocurrency Exchanges, Payment Processors, and Other Choke Points Within the Blockchain Ecosystem

      The blockchain ecosystem has drastically changed over the last nine years, and the realities of today don’t closely resemble how many early enthusiasts imagined Bitcoin would evolve. People are no longer mining Bitcoin on their home laptops, and most people aren’t storing private keys on their own hard drives and then sending Bitcoin directly to friends and merchants. Instead, we’ve seen the rise of companies building software that handles these and other tasks on behalf of users. At the same time, creators are developing dozens of new tools to interact with the Bitcoin blockchain and many alternative blockchains. This in turn has inspired a wide array of new companies that mine, store, and exchange these alternative coins.

      The result? Many users in the cryptocurrency space have traded banks and credit card networks for cryptocurrency exchanges, wallet providers, payment processors, and other software tools and companies that are relatively young and untested. Each of these stakeholders sets policies for how and when they’ll allow cryptocurrency storage or exchange, who is allowed to have an account, how and when accounts can be frozen, and how they’ll react to government regulation and demands for user data.

      While blockchain protocols may be designed to favor censorship-resistance and autonomy, the real-world experiences of most of the users of cryptocurrencies is dictated by the policies of a few, centralized corporate intermediaries.

      This post is designed to address policy concerns that companies and startups in this space should be thinking about early in their development. This post is specifically designed to speak to startups within the larger blockchain ecosystem that work at the transactional layer—including any of the multitude of tools, businesses, and services being created atop distributed ledgers such as communications platforms, methods for tracking assets, and smart contracts, and other innovative projects within the blockchain space. This specific post isn’t designed to address projects working only at the protocol layer, since projects focused on developing decentralized protocols are dedicated (if they are genuine) to solving the issues of centralization and power that we’ll be addressing in this post. Some of the ideas in this post may also apply to other projects within the larger decentralized Web space, where ideals of autonomy and decentralization are running up against the practical realities of businesses bringing products to market in a way that requires minimal effort from users.

    • Hard Brexit not an option, Britain’s car industry warns

      A no-deal Brexit is not an option for Britain’s car industry, given the costs and disruption that carmakers and consumers would suffer, the head of the country’s automobile industry group said today (31 July).

      Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said carmakers were “increasingly concerned” about the lack of clarity around the manner of Britain’s departure from the European Union.

      With less than eight months until the divorce is due to take place, Prime Minister Theresa May has yet to find a proposal to maintain economic ties with the bloc that pleases both sides of her divided party and is acceptable to negotiators in Brussels.

    • Is Bitcoin Compromised? BTC’s Censorship, Infiltration and Subversion Dialogue

      Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin were created in order to bring new technology to the financial world and to have a new monetary system without having to depend on traditional institutions. Indeed, populist governments will never be able to control the supply of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

      But of course, virtual currencies have weaknesses and the crypto community shouldn’t put their guard down, governments and regulatory agencies can severely damage them. Indeed, Bitcoin has been damaged in the past during several hacks.

    • Sextortion Scam: What to Do If You Get the Latest Phishing Spam Demanding Bitcoin

      You may have arrived at this post because you received an email from a purported hacker who is demanding payment or else they will send compromising information—such as pictures sexual in nature—to all your friends and family. You’re searching for what to do in this frightening situation.

      Don’t panic. Contrary to the claims in your email, you haven’t been hacked (or at least, that’s not what prompted that email). This is merely a new variation on an old scam which is popularly being called “sextortion.” This is a type of online phishing that is targeting people around the world and preying off digital-age fears.

      We’ll talk about a few steps to take to protect yourself, but the first and foremost piece of advice we have: do not pay the ransom.

      We have pasted a few examples of these emails at the bottom of this post. The general gist is that a hacker claims to have compromised your computer and says they will release embarrassing information—such as images of you captured through your web camera or your pornographic browsing history—to your friends, family, and co-workers. The hacker promises to go away if you send them thousands of dollars, usually with bitcoin.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The rise of the Sweden Democrats

      We’ve repeatedly been told that the influx of refugees would be a win for the economy, that among the Syrian refugees were plenty of doctors and engineers. We’ve been told that the Afghan migrants would save the welfare state, as an influx of low-skilled labour would help take care of our elderly. But the reality has been quite different. All the rhetoric was just an insult to voters’ intelligence.

      Politicians seem to assume that the public are too dim or prejudiced to discuss migration rationally. [...]

    • Facebook’s results suggest it is short of new users and goodwill

      At its core, the collapse is due to three negative trends: a stagnant user base, shrinking revenues and growing costs. The first, Facebook argues, has been visible for years; the second is a blip as advertisers get used to new formats; and the third is a reflection of the significant sums the company is spending to fix the problems that have plagued it in the press over the past year.

    • Twitter is funding college professors to audit its platform for toxicity

      The team of researchers will be led by Dr. Rebekah Tromble, an assistant professor at Leiden University in the Netherlands who focuses on politics in social media. They will investigate how toxic speech is created on Twitter. The idea that the researchers are working off of is from previous Leiden research, which found that when a group of like-minded people gathers to discuss similar perspectives, they’re encouraged to hate those not engaged in the same discussion, thus creating an echo chamber. The researchers will see how many users exist in these echo chambers and how many users are actually talking to others with diverse perspectives.

    • The Guardian view on the fight against fake news: neutrality is not an option

      The culture select committee of MPs has published a report that ought to galvanise the public debate about online giants and their political influence

    • UK gov warns we’re drowning in fake news as it tears strips off Facebook

      As if that wasn’t enough, it has referred a tranche of unpublished evidence about Facebook’s behaviour dating back as far as 2010, which it plans to refer straight to the National Crime Agency, which is a British version of the FBI only with more tea and less kudos.

    • How The 2020 Census Could Doom American Democracy

      We need to start caring about the census, because things are looking bad.

    • We Found a New Batch of Trump Administration Appointees

      In 2015, March Bell was Republican staff director and chief counsel for a House panel that investigated Planned Parenthood. The mission: to find out if Planned Parenthood, a system of more than 600 reproductive care clinics across the country, was profiting off donated fetal tissues. The investigation was kicked off by undercover videos from anti-abortion activists that were heavily doctored and edited.

      After 15 months of investigation and $1.6 million in taxpayer dollars, the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives found no evidence of wrongdoing but nonetheless recommended that the National Institutes of Health stop funding Planned Parenthood. Later, a Texas grand jury cleared the nonprofit of misconduct after the state attempted to defund it. Texas prosecutors did, however, indict two of the anti-abortion activists who shot the undercover videos.

      Now, Bell, a former Department of Justice attorney, is a senior adviser and chief of staff in the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services. He started in the Trump administration in March 2017 and took on the additional adviser title in April 2018. The exact details of Bell’s new position have not been made public.

    • Pew Research: ‘Dramatic decline’ in newsroom jobs — digital media jobs also lost

      Silicon Valley’s technology-driven media companies Google and Facebook last week reported strong earnings and jobs growth but news outlets continue to lose thousands of jobs even those that are digital native, says a new Pew Research analysis.

    • Summer Is the Season for Visiting Members of Congress

      August has just begun, and that means the start of the summer recess for Congress. During that recess, most members of Congress—specifically members of the House of Representatives—will be coming home. And that means that you have the opportunity to meet and talk to them without traveling to Washington, D.C. Let’s make sure that Representatives hear about net neutrality, innovation, and privacy while they’re back home. These discussions will play a huge rule in determining the Congressional agenda in the following months.

      Constituents can request meetings with members of Congress either by filling out a meeting request form on the member’s official website or by contacting their local office in your state or district. You can look up your member’s address and phone number on the member’s official website. Make sure to check who your representative is since they prefer hearing from their constituents. Though it will depend on timing, you will hopefully get a meeting with the actual member of Congress. If not, meeting with Congressional staff will still get your concerns to the member.

      Calling the local office will also help you find out if your member of Congress is planning any town halls. The staff may be able to give you the information over the phone and the member’s official website and social media accounts may also post the location and time of any town halls one to three days beforehand. Make sure to carefully follow any instructions listed about parking and security and look to see if you need to register ahead of time to attend. Be aware that registering may mean including your name and contact information and that failing to register may mean you can’t get into a town hall with heightened security. While speaking in-person is the best way to be heard, you can always send an email, letter, or call instead.

      Town halls and meetings matter a lot. When members hear repeatedly from their own constituents in person about how issues are affecting people in the district, those conversations travel with the members back to DC. Especially if the members think that the issue could generate enough controversy and press, local stories can influence votes, legislation, and private conversations with other members.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The backstory of how South Africa ditched Taiwan for China
    • China’s art event bullying ‘barbaric’: ministry

      The Ministry of Culture yesterday decried China’s bullying of Taiwan at international arts events and called on the international community to support freedom of artistic expression and to bar Chinese political influence from cultural exchanges.

      One of the incidents involved Fang Shiang Dance Theater (方相舞蹈團), one of the groups invited to perform at an International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts event in Lazio, Italy, the ministry said.

      On Tuesday, one day before the troupe was scheduled to take the stage, its members were handed identification cards displaying Chinese and Republic of China flags, a substantial part of which was covered by the Chinese flag, the ministry said.

    • China’s airline censorship over Taiwan must not fly

      In May, Beijing sent letters to 44 international airlines, demanding that they update their websites to reflect Beijing’s view that Taiwan is a part of China. Many buckled. For their part, the three major American fliers — American, Delta, and United — in late July performed a half-kowtow, removing references to Taiwan from their websites, but refusing to indicate that cities on the island are actually in China (which, of course, a quick look at a map shows that they are not). The Civil Aviation Administration of China was not amused, saying in a statement that the airlines’ “rectification is still incomplete.”

      This is, apparently, a preferred Chinese response when others fail to concede to Beijing’s demands regarding Taiwan. In her inaugural address in 2016, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen offered a significant olive branch to the Chinese Communist Party, promising to abide by past cross-strait agreements and committing to manage cross-strait relations in accordance with the Republic of China (Taiwan) constitution (which defines the Republic of China’s borders as in accord with the “one China” approach). China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, however, described Tsai’s speech as an “incomplete test answer” — that word again — because she failed to explicitly embrace “one China.”

    • CPJ condemns pre-election news censorship in Cambodia

      Bangkok – The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the Cambodian government’s move to block news websites ahead of yesterday’s national elections and called for an end to the state’s censorship and harassment of the media.

    • CPJ condemns pre-election news censorship in Cambodia

      The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the Cambodian government’s move to block news websites ahead of yesterday’s national elections and called for an end to the state’s censorship and harassment of the media.

      The Information Ministry on July 28 ordered local internet service providers to block 17 websites–including Voice of Democracy, The Phnom Penh Post, and the U.S. Congress-funded Radio Free Asia–for 48 hours ahead of the election because their coverage was perceived as “provocative” and “very political,” according to news reports that quoted the ministry’s director general of information and broadcasting, Phos Sovann.

      The block order overlapped with a 24-hour silent period that prohibits reporting on elections in the lead up to polling and which was imposed by the state’s poll organizer, the National Election Committee, according to the Qatari-funded broadcaster Al-Jazeera.

      News outlets perceived as friendly to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government remained accessible online ahead of the elections during this silent period, according to the same Al-Jazeera report.

    • Mike Stanton talks new book, press censorship on State of Mind

      Mike Stanton, former Providence Journal reporter and author, joined Dan Yorke State of Mind to discuss his new book Unbeaten: The Triumphs and Tragedies of Rocky Marciano.

      Stanton also joined Dan for a conversation about President Trump’s persistent attacks on the media.

    • Senator Mark Warner Lays Out Ideas For Regulating Internet Platforms

      For over a year now, Senator Mark Warner has been among the most vocal in saying that it’s looking like Congress may need to regulate internet platforms. So it came as little surprise on Monday when he released a draft white paper listing out “potential police proposals for [the] regulation of social media and technology firms.” Unlike much of what comes out of Congress, it does appear that whoever put together this paper spent a fair bit of time thinking through a wide variety of ideas, recognizing that every option has potential consequences — both positive and negative. That is, while there’s a lot in the paper I don’t agree with, it is (mostly) not in the hysterical moral panic nature found around such debates as FOSTA/SESTA.

    • Editor’s note: Stop censoring conservatives

      I get that we’re living in the time of President Trump, which deeply concerns a lot of people.

      But does it mean that all conservatives are scary and deserve shunning? Short answer: No.

      The largest social media platforms seem to think differently, however, and there are simply too many examples of Twitter and Facebook silencing or burying views they don’t like to brush the censorship off.

    • China Charges Former Internet Censorship Chief With Corruption

      China has charged its former top internet censor with corruption, formalizing the demise of an official who became synonymous with the country’s strict control of online information.

      Lu Wei was charged with accepting bribes, taking advantage of his official position and using other officials to seek profits, according to a statement issued Monday by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, China’s top prosecutor’s office. The case will be handled by a court in the coastal city of Ningbo, China’s official Xinhua News Agency has reported.

      Lu ran the Cyberspace Administration of China from its launch in 2014 to 2016, and met frequently with the likes of Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg.

    • China’s former top censor Lu Wei charged with taking bribes

      China’s former internet czar, who oversaw a tightening of online censorship during his tenure, has been charged with taking bribes, state media said Monday.

      Throughout his career, Lu Wei used his political offices to benefit himself including “illegally receiving a huge amount of property,” according to the official Xinhua news agency, quoting a statement by the office of the country’s top prosecutor.

    • Disgraced former Chinese internet tzar Lu Wei charged with bribery
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Eight AT&T Buildings and Ten Years of Litigation: Shining a Light on NSA Surveillance

      Two reporters recently identified eight AT&T locations in the United States—towering, multi-story buildings—where NSA surveillance occurs on the backbone of the Internet. Their article showed how the agency taps into cables, routers, and switches that handle vast quantities of Internet traffic around the world. Published by The Intercept, the report shines a light on the NSA’s expansive Internet surveillance network housed inside these sometimes-opaque buildings.

      EFF has been shining its own light on NSA Internet surveillance for years with our landmark case, Jewel v. NSA. In more than 10 years of litigation, we’ve made significant strides.

      We’ve had our case dismissed but we fought the decision and it was reversed on appeal. We’ve overcome multiple delays. We’ve forced the NSA to produce evidence about whether our plaintiffs were harmed by mass, warrantless surveillance. And earlier this year, the former NSA director finally submitted a 193-page declaration in response to our questions, in addition to producing thousands of pages of other evidence concerning the NSA’s spying program for the court to review. No case challenging NSA surveillance has ever pushed this far.

    • County Welfare Office Violated Accountability Rules While Surveilling Benefits Recipients

      California law is crystal clear: any entity—including government agencies—that accesses data collected by automated license plate readers (ALPRS) must implement a privacy and usage policy. This policy must ensure all use of this sensitive information “is consistent with respect for individuals’ privacy and civil liberties.” The policy must include a process for periodic audits and every time the data is looked up, a purpose for the search must be recorded.

      From June 2016 until July 2018, the Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance (DHA) failed to abide by these basic legal requirements, according to documents obtained by EFF through the California Public Records Act.

      The county allowed 22 employees working in the welfare fraud department to search ALPR data collected by other agencies and private companies more than 1,000 times without any of these mandated accountability measures. No policies were written or posted online, as required by law. No audits were conducted. The purposes for the ALPR data searches were not recorded according to logs.

      ALPRs are high-speed camera systems that capture images of license plates of vehicles that pass into view. The systems convert the plates into machine-readable numbers and letters, attach the time, date, and GPS coordinates, and upload the information to a searchable database that can be used to establish travel patterns of drivers and visitors to certain locations. ALPR technology collects data on all vehicles, regardless of whether they are connected to criminal activity.

    • Customs targets social media for open source border security intelligence

      NZ Customs is planning to use software to trawl through social media posts and other public information to identify border security threats.

      Customs is testing the market for intelligence analysis software, incorporating a host of functions including federated search, link analysis, network analysis, data visualisation, case/document management, real-time data and image exploitation and open source search tools, “with a particular focus on social media.”

      “A solution that does not deliver the full breadth of scope but that is exceptional in one or more areas, and can work seamlessly as part of an overall solution, may still be considered,” the agency stated.

    • Moving Your Site From “Not Secure” to Secure

      Maybe you’re a beginner to web development, but you’ve done the hard work: you taught yourself what you needed to know, and you’ve lovingly made that website and filled it with precious content. But one last task remains: you don’t have that little green padlock with the word “secure” beside your website’s address. You don’t yet have that magical “S” after “HTTP”.

      You might have heard or noticed recently that something is different on Google Chrome: if your website does not have a HTTPS certificate, your visitors will see a warning on your pages, cautioning them about your page’s security. This is because Google Chrome browser is now marking unencrypted websites that don’t provide HTTPS as “Not Secure.”

    • Google Chrome Now Marks HTTP Sites “Not Secure”

      Last week, the movement to encrypt the web achieved another milestone: Google’s Chrome browser made good on its promise to mark all HTTP sites “not secure.” EFF welcomes this move, and we are calling on other browsers to follow suit.

      This is the latest in the web’s massive shift from non-secure HTTP to the more secure, encrypted HTTPS protocol. All web servers use one of these two protocols to get web pages from the server to your browser. HTTP has serious problems that make it vulnerable to eavesdropping and content hijacking. HTTPS fixes most of these problems. That’s why EFF and others have been working to encourage websites to offer HTTPS by default.

      Users should be able to expect HTTPS by default.

    • When the threat is in your home: Online privacy, security and domestic violence
    • The TSA has been quietly tracking American travelers who are not on government watch lists

      Travelers are tracked by officials as they move about the airport, and once they board, a small team of marshals follows them onto the plane. Documents obtained by the Globe noted an extensive observation process in which marshals make note of whether a passenger uses a computer, fidgets, or even sleeps.

    • TSA Darkens the Skies With Secret Surveillance of Americans

      The wasteful program raises a number of red flags.

      The Transportation Security Administration is engaging in covert surveillance of innocent fliers — and raising a host of disturbing questions in the process.

      Internal TSA documents uncovered by The Boston Globe reveal that under a program called “Quiet Skies,” every day federal air marshals are tracking and shadowing dozens of U.S. citizens who are not under investigation or suspected of any actual wrongdoing. We aim to find out more by filing a Freedom of Information Act request with the Trump administration.

      The documents show that the TSA is using secret criteria that include travel patterns and specific behaviors to determine which travelers to target. The marshals then secretly follow the passengers and document their conduct in granular detail, going so far as to fly with them on subsequent flights. The agency retains the marshals’ observations and reports in its internal files.

      The red flags here are plentiful. First, federal law enforcement shouldn’t be tracking and monitoring travelers and then logging detailed information about them without any basis to believe that they’ve done anything wrong. That the TSA appears to be doing exactly that through the Quiet Skies program is at once troubling and illogical — it needlessly invades the privacy of thousands of Americans while flooding the agency’s databases with useless information on innocent activity.

      This program also raises serious constitutional concerns. If the TSA’s secret targeting criteria rely on race or religion, it could amount to unconstitutional profiling.

      The TSA appears to be using algorithms to decide who to target, which only aggravates these concerns. This is a problem because such artificial intelligence incorporates human biases and often operates without adequate oversight and accountability. We’ve called out the agency in the past for using a targeting algorithm to sort passengers according to the purported risk they pose because it’s at odds with fairness and due process.

    • TSA “Quiet Skies” surveillance program targets innocent U.S. citizens

      As part of Quiet Skies, air marshals are being asked to step off of the flights that they’ve been assigned to protect to undertake a new detail: gathering intelligence on civilians who aren’t on a terrorist watchlist – regular folks like you and me. Unlike ICE, which giddily has accepted a larger number of troubling new powers and responsibilities from the federal government, the air marshals are voicing their concern with the new marching orders being given to them.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The black detective who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan

      Ron says that in the 1970s white extremism was considered weird and fanatical, but he’s shocked that it has now become mainstream. “If someone had predicted it back then, I’d have said they were out of their mind,” he says. “We’ve always had people in public office who were more middle ground. They work together. Trump, who is a billionaire, an ‘educated man’, essentially has the same message as Duke had on the phone. The very fact he equates Neo-Nazis [after Charlottesville] as ‘very fine people…’”

    • Immigrant Children Held In US Shelters: “They Told Us To Behave, Or…”

      Gonzalez-Garcia said she didn’t know about President Donald Trump’s new “zero tolerance” policy and the push to separate children from their parents to discourage families from coming to the United States.

      On May 9, shortly after illegally crossing the border between Mexico and Arizona, Sandy and her mother suddenly found themselves surrounded by Border Patrol vehicles. Gonzalez-Garcia told them she was seeking asylum.

    • 20 states take aim at 3D gun company, sue to get files off the Internet

      So even if the states are somehow successful in shutting down DEFCAD this week, the files have already been available to anyone who wanted them.

      The United States Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968 allows anyone to manufacture their own firearm without a license, but manufacturing such weaponry for sale or transfer does require a federal license.

    • Former Romanian PM heard in secret CIA prisons case

      Prosecutors investigating the existence of secret CIA detention sites in Romania heard former prime minister Adrian Nastase about one month ago, according to judicial sources.

      The former PM apparently told the prosecutors that he knew nothing about the existence of such CIA prisons in Romania, according to the same sources, quoted by Agerpres.

      Several years ago, former presidents Ion Iliescu and Traian Basescu were also heard in this case. Former presidential adviser and Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) director Ioan Talpes was also questioned by prosecutors. However, all the Romanian officials denied they knew anything about this.

    • CIA letter nothing to do with Najib, says ex-intelligence DG
    • PM, cabinet need not know about CIA letter, says lawyer

      FORMER prime minister Najib Razak did not have to know about the letter sent to the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as it was a routine operational matter, said a lawyer representing the sender of the letter – Hasanah Abdul Hamid, the former director-general of Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO).

    • MEIO agents in fear after letter to CIA leaked, lawyer claims
    • Former Malaysian intelligence chief says letter to CIA nothing to do with ex-PM Najib
    • Spy chief’s lawyer confirms letter to CIA is genuine and falls under the OSA (updated)

      The leaked letter that was sent to the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Is genuine but falls under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and a police report has been lodged on the matter.

      According to former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) head Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid’s (pic) lawyer, the report was lodged urging for a probe into the individuals who leaked her confidential letter.

      Her lawyer, Datuk Shaharudin Ali was speaking at a media conference at his office here and said Hasanah lodged her report Tuesday (July 31) at the Travers police station.

    • NYPD Police Officers Union Wants to Keep Sexual Misconduct Under Wraps

      The union wants to keep an independent review board from looking into accusations of sexual harassment and abuse by officers.

      Evidence continues to mount that the New York Police Department may have a sexual assault and harassment problem on its hands. But rather than face up to the fact that some officers abuse their authority and deal with those officers accordingly, the officers’ union is legally trying to make sure that any allegations of sexual assault or harassment are dealt with internally rather than publicly.

      For decades, the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) — the independent New York City agency that investigates civilian complaints of misconduct by NYPD officers — automatically referred police sexual misconduct complaints to the NYPD for internal examination, while it investigated a wide range of other police misconduct, like excessive use of force.

      In one of the complaints that the CCRB forwarded to the NYPD, a woman recounted repeated sexual harassment by the same officer. In 2014, when the woman was questioned by an NYPD officer at a crime-scene investigation, the officer gave her his number under the pretense that she may need to reach him if she remembered something that could be relevant to the investigation. But when she encountered him next, he asked her why she never called and made comments about the size of his penis. The third time she encountered him, in 2016, when he entered her holding cell after she had been arrested, he told her “suck my dick.”

      In a welcome move, the CCRB clarified in February of this year that it will now investigate such civilian complaints of police sexual misconduct. The CCRB has jurisdiction under New York City law to investigate police “abuse of authority,” and it should go without saying that sexual harassment and violence committed by police are abuses of authority.

    • TSA Sending Air Marshals All Over The US To Tail Non-Terrorist US Citizens

      “Quiet Skies” relies on in-person surveillance of targets by “Flying Air Marshals” (referred to as FAMs in the program’s documents). The TSA doesn’t say very much about the program exposed by the docs leaked to the Globe. It prefers to point at its “broad discretion” to counteract terrorism — something its doesn’t do much in practice, but spends millions every year doing in theory.

      “Whatever it takes” apparently includes adding people to watchlists simply because they’ve passed through certain foreign countries or are somehow “connected” to someone on the US government’s multiple watchlists, no matter how tenuous that link is. This has led to air marshals following flight attendants, business people, and even other law enforcement officers all over the country, jumping from plane to plane as often as their targets do.

      Marshals are given a sheet to list observations of the target’s behavior while traveling, noting how often they sleep, use the restroom, access electronic devices, or otherwise do the things terrorists and non-terrorists alike do while on airplanes. But the surveillance extends to the airport itself. The checklist marshals are given also asks them to make note of “suspicious” behavior in airports, like changing directions when walking, looking into shop windows (supposedly checking reflections to see if they’re being followed), or simply having the misfortune of being the last person on the plane.

    • No Medicine, No Burial At Graveyard: “Fatwa” Against Triple Talaq Victim

      The diktat says: “No medicines will be provided if she falls ill. If she dies, no one is allowed to offer ‘namaz’ on her ‘janaza’ (funeral procession). She cannot be buried in the kabristan (graveyard) after her death.” Those who help or support her will face similar punishment, the cleric, Shahar Imam Mufti Khurshid Alam, says.

    • Child Brides in Turkey

      According to Turkish Philanthropy Funds (TPF), 40% of girls under the age of 18 in Turkey are forced into marriage. TPF found that the Turkish national average of female high school dropouts was 56%. It further found that early marriage is seen in families with a low education level. “Low education” means almost all of Turkey: The average schooling in the country is a mere 6.5 years. In 45 Turkish provinces, the schooling rate is below the national average.

      The Islamist rule in the once secular country has added to the problem of child brides instead of combating it. In November 2017, President Erdoğan signed the “mufti law,” which allows state-approved clerics (or simply imams) to conduct marriage ceremonies, “despite concerns from civil society that this could have an impact on child marriage.”

    • EU Praises Passage Of Muslim Autonomy Law In Philippines

      “With its opposition to the BOL, the BIFF, specifically the Turaipe Group, will intensify its military activities to entice new recruits and to attract foreign funding,” he said.

    • ‘They Spit When I Walked in the Street’: The ‘New Anti-Semitism’ in France

      But for residents like Joanna Galilli, this area in northwestern Paris represents a tactical retreat. It has become a haven for many Jews who say they have faced harassment in areas with growing Muslim populations. Ms. Galilli, 28, moved to the neighborhood this year from a Parisian suburb where “anti-Semitism is pretty high,” she said, “and you feel it enormously.”

      “They spit when I walked in the street,” she said, describing reactions when she wore a Star of David.

    • Kingsbarns told lack of mosque and halal butcher make it “impractical” as home for Syrian refugees
    • In Shielding US from Legal Obligations, Kavanaugh Conflates International Law with Foreign Laws

      The two primary sources of international law are treaties, and what’s known as “customary international law.” Ratified treaties are part of domestic U.S. law under the supremacy clause of the Constitution, which says treaties “shall be the supreme law of the land.” Furthermore, it has long been established that customary international law, which arises from the consistent and general practice of nations, is also part of U.S. law.

      Although he professes to interpret the Constitution as written by the founders, Kavanaugh has apparently overlooked the supremacy clause and simply scorns customary international law.

      Jordan Paust, international law scholar and professor emeritus at University of Houston Law Center, told me in an email, “The unanimous views of the Founders, Framers, and Supreme Court Justice opinions is that the President and all members of the Executive Branch are bound by international law.” Paust also referenced a 2016 article he wrote in the Houston Journal of International Law documenting this fact.

    • Papa John sues Papa John’s

      Papa John’s denied Schnatter’s claims in a statement. The company said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the lawsuit, which it called “needless and wasteful.”

      Schnatter has admitted he said the N-word on a conference call with a marketing firm. Schnatter claimed the firm asked if he was racist, and he used the N-word in describing how KFC’s Colonel Sanders used to talk. Schnatter has since said he also told the firm that he himself wouldn’t ever use that word.

    • Lauri Love’s forum bar precedent lives on

      Stuart Scott becomes the second UK citizen to benefit from post-McKinnon extradition protections

    • You Caught A Bullshit ‘Photographing The Police’ Arrest Too Soon, Federal Judge Tells Plaintiff

      A federal judge in Texas has ruled the right to photograph public officials in public is indeed protected under the First Amendment. The problem for the plaintiff in this case is that the right wasn’t clearly established at the time his arrest occurred. The lawsuit survives, but just barely, and the transit cop who engaged in a pretty-much-established violation of the photographer’s rights will escape being held liable for abusing their position. (h/t Eric Goldman)

      Avi Adelman, a freelance journalist, was photographing EMS officers responding to the scene of an apparent overdose. DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) officer Stephanie Branch arrived at the scene and placed herself between Adelman’s camera and the medical scene. Branch made up something about “establishing a perimeter” and “HIPAA violations” and told Adelman to stop photographing. According to the decision [PDF], Officer Branch also asked Adelman to leave the scene nine times and (for whatever reason — most likely because Texas cops just don’t seem to understand this particular law) for his ID four times. Adelman refused and was arrested, spending 20 hours in jail.

      An internal investigation by DART resulted in a letter from Chief James Spiller to Adelman telling him the bogus “criminal trespass” charge against him would be dismissed. It also contained an admission of guilt: the letter stated the interaction and arrest were “not consistent with DART… policies and directives.” And, just to prove the old adage holds true, DART discovered Officer Branch made twenty-three false or inaccurate statements in her report, including falsely claiming Adelman was only a “few feet” from responding paramedics.

    • At US Ports of Entry, the Government Is Denying Asylum to Those Seeking Refuge

      The government’s strategy is to inflict enough agony and misery on these already-terrorized families to deter them from seeking asylum.

      Good things don’t always come to those who wait.

      This is the harsh reality of asylum seekers who have recently reached our ports of entry and are turned back by U.S. officials, only to wait indefinitely for a chance at refuge in America that may never come. Notwithstanding the recent change in U.S. policy on family separation, the outlook for asylum seekers at the border remains bleak. Despite the Department of Homeland Security’s claim that it’s a “myth” that the U.S. is turning asylum seekers away at ports of entry, our team at the border has witnessed officials doing exactly that.

      Consider Laura’s story.

      By June 12, 29-year-old Laura and her 6-year-old son Nicolas had been sitting on the hot sidewalk of the Brownsville-Matamoros International Bridge for three days, just 20 feet away from a plaque that marked the international boundary line between Mexico and the United States. Sitting in the shade of a jury-rigged bit of canvas, Laura explained that she had left her native Honduras, intent on escaping her violent husband, a police officer who would beat her with impunity because pleas to her government were ignored. She had made her way through Mexico, heading to Matamoros where she had hoped to cross into the U.S. through a port of entry to apply for asylum.

      [...]

      The government’s “stick and stick” approach has only one goal: to inflict enough agony and misery on these already terrorized families to deter them from seeking asylum, no matter how they come to the United States.

    • Court Catches ICE In A Lie As It Tries To Vanish A Mexican Journalist And Immigration Policy Critic

      A lot of talk about “bad hombres” and former “shithole” denizens raping, pillaging, and terrorizing their way through our country has led to a lot of beefed-up immigration enforcement. ICE, once just a post-9/11 also-ran relegated to counterfeit panty raids and seizing sites the RIAA didn’t like, is now front and center. It is the face of immigration enforcement and it’s the agency that’s decided a handful of executive orders outweigh the Constitutional rights we extend to asylum seekers and other entrants into this country.

      Lots of rights go violated in the case of Mexican journalist Emilio Gutierrez-Soto. Gutierrez entered the country with his son, Oscar, in June 2008. He made credible claims his life would be in danger if he was returned to Mexico, stating that his house had already been raided at least once by Mexican military police, presumably in retaliation for his reporting. He was detained for seven months and separated from his son while asylum proceedings continued. After being released, he reunited with his son and other members of his family.

      The proceedings dragged on. Gutierrez made a living operating a food truck while nothing much got adjudicated. He also criticized the US’s immigration policies and procedures as being unnecessarily punitive, especially considering the country’s history of welcoming immigrants. He noted the extremely odd handling of asylum cases like his, where people seeking refuge from persecution are tossed into a jail or detainment center for months or years while the courts slowly make their way through their case backlog.

    • Did ICE detain this Mexican journalist for criticizing U.S. immigration policy?

      Late last night, Mexican journalist Emilio Gutiérrez-Soto and his son Oscar were released from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility in El Paso, Texas. The two had been held in ICE detention for more than seven months, ever since being arrested and nearly deported by ICE agents on December 7, 2017.

      The United States government has never offered a convincing reason for arresting Gutiérrez and Oscar in December, or for continuing to detain the two. Gutiérrez and his attorneys have argued that ICE targeted him for arrest in retaliation for his criticism of U.S. immigration policy, in violation of his First Amendment rights — and they have internal ICE documents to back up their case. Freedom of the Press Foundation has obtained the documents and is publishing them for the first time.

    • ‘Those Who Are Targeted Know What the State’s Agenda Has Been’

      Anti-Muslim hatred, assaults, intimidation, vandalism have increased in this country since September 11, 2001, with investigation dishearteningly suggesting the sharpest spikes have been since 2015.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • New York State Votes To Kick Charter Out Of The State For Poor Service, Failing To Meet Merger Conditions

      As noted previously, the state has been trying unsuccessfully for more than a year to get Charter to actually comply with merger conditions. Among them was the promise to expand broadband availability to around 149,000 homes across New York State, something Charter not only didn’t do, but actively misled regulators into thinking had already been completed. In part, by claiming older, existing expansions were new builds.

      If you follow telecom (or other major megamergers) for any amount of time, you’ll quickly find that most merger conditions are pretty theatrical in nature. Usually, said conditions are often proposed by the companies themselves and were things they already had planned anyway, making “accomplishing them” rather trivial, zero calorie affairs. Companies sign off on these conditions because it helps them pretend the merger actually benefits the public, and regulators sign off because it provides cheap political brownie points and the illusion that companies are being held accountable. Neither is usually true, especially in telecom.

  • DRM

    • Apple App Store anniversary marks ten years of proprietary appsploitation

      It’s been ten years since Apple opened the App Store. This created a whole new industry through which third party app creators and Apple themselves found new ways to threaten user freedom with technical tricks and legal loopholes. Since the beginning, we at the Free Software Foundation have recognized the threats posed by the iPhone and have reported on Apple on fsf.org and DefectiveByDesign, while free software supporters around the world have been taking action.

      [...]

      Apple loves Digital Restrictions Management (DRM)! DRM is the use of technology (including software) to restrict access to digital media like ebooks, games, and music. Apple’s use of DRM not only steps on the freedoms of users, but has proven to be downright dangerous. In 2016, AceDeceiver became the first iOS trojan exploiting flaws in iOS DRM.

      In a DRM-free a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. – Steve Jobs

      When DRM was dropped from the iTunes store, Steve Jobs wrote an essay titled “Thoughts on Music,” which took a firm stance against DRM. It has since been removed from the Apple Web site. In it, Jobs called for the world to abandon DRM technologies, and for Apple to embrace a DRM-free future. This is clearly no longer Apple’s stance on DRM.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Report reveals perception versus reality of IP litigation risk

      More than 50% of in-house survey respondents agree that IP litigation costs could have a material impact on their businesses but only 7% purchase IP insurance, according to a Willis Towers Watson report

      IP litigation, if not managed properly, can greatly dent an organisation. Costs include litigation expenses, damages or settlements, lost customers and lost productivity.

    • When ‘Nature’ attacks the ‘Hill of Testimony’…

      …great forces are up against each other and a dispute arises. Fortunately, it is not a war of biblical dimensions, but only a lawsuit, a significant and legally interesting one though, about an Supplementary Protection Certificate. The parties were Teva (Hebrew word for nature) and Gilead (aka Hill of Testimony, a mountainous region east of the Jordan river). As such, it obviously had to be settled in Luxemburg.

      Last week the Court of Justice of the European Union gave its eagerly awaited ruling in the Teva v Gilead case (C-121/17) on the criteria for determining whether the product of an SPC (active or combination of actives) is protected by the basic patent or not. Specifically, the case concerned Gilead’s SPC for the combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine. In order to obtain the same, Gilead had relied on a patent (EP 915894) which describes and claims tenofovir but also includes one broadly worded composition claim reading “a pharmaceutical composition comprising a compound according to any one of claims 1-25 and optionally other therapeutic ingredients”. Since emtricitabine was not mentioned in the patent and was in fact not even known at the priority date of the basic patent, the main issue of these proceedings was whether the expression “…optionally other therapeutic ingredients” is sufficient to protect emtricitabine in the sense of Article 3(a) of the SPC regulation No. 469/2009.

    • Updated WIPO Guide On Alternative Dispute Resolution A Tool For IP Offices

      The World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center has released an updated guide providing an overview of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes for intellectual property disputes. The guide provides instructions on how to use the ADR process that has helped resolve tens of thousands of legal disputes outside of the courts.

      [...]

      As of today, the WIPO centre has settled over 40,000 cases, in domain name disputes alone. From its experience in ADR, the centre organised the guide, to assist “IPOs, courts and other bodies considering the development, implementation and/or improvement of ADR programs directed at intellectual property disputes.”

    • Firm DQ’d Because it “Should Have Known” a TM Client Would Sue Another for Patent Infringement the Day the Patent Issued

      This is an interesting case where the court granted a motion to disqualify based on a very odd assumption. The case is Altova GMBH v. Syncro Soft SRL, No. 17-11642-PBS (D. Mass. July 26, 2018), here.

      The facts of this case are a bit unclear, but it seems like Firm A represented Syncro Soft in three trademark-related matters. The first involved responding to a C&D letter from a third party in 2004. The second involved representing Firm A in responding to a C&D letter alleging trade dress and copyright infringement from the party moving for disqualification in this case, Altova, in April 2009 and ending in June 2009. Then in 2010 Firm filed a trademark registration for Syncro Soft and provided other assistance through 2014. The total number of hours on these matters: less than 50.

      In October 2011, Firm A had begun to represent Altova in trademark matters and in June 2012 filed suit for Altova against an alleged trademark infringer. In other words, although Firm A had defended Syncro Soft from claims of trade dress and copyright infringement in 2009, from October 2011 through 2014, at least, Firm A was representing both Altova and Syncro Soft though not in matters where each was adverse to the other. The opinion is unclear whether Firm A represented Syncro Soft after 2014.

      In June, 2017, Altova asked Firm A to assert a patent that Altova had obtained against Syncro Soft. In July, 2017, Firm A sent a letter to Syncro Soft “terminating” its attorney-client relationship with it (again, it’s not clear the firm was doing anything after 2014). The firm did not explain why. It then filed the patent infringement suit for Altova against Syncro Soft.

    • Trademarks

      • Do these two sausage store logos look alike? Lawsuit says yes.

        Two south Georgia sausage makers are embattled in a federal trademark infringement lawsuit.

        Stripling’s General Store is suing Carroll’s Sausage & Country Store because it was using a “confusingly similar mark” to advertise its goods, according to the complaint filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.

        The general store also alleges unfair competition, false designation of origin and injury to its reputation.

        Stripling’s was established in 1964 in Cordele. Carroll’s was established in 1988, about 35 miles away, in Albany. Both businesses advertise along Interstate 75 and Ga. 300.

      • Two Georgia Sausage Companies Battle Over Trademarked Logos That Aren’t Particularly Similar

        We see a lot of dumb trademark lawsuits here at Techdirt, but the most frustrating of them is always those that assert similarities in trade dress when it’s plainly obvious that no such similarities exist. Even when afforded the greatest leeway for interpretation, there are times when one company will complain about the branding of another company that simply leaves you scratching your head.

        A lawsuit filed by Stripling’s General Store against Carroll’s Sausage & Country Store is an exmaple of this.

    • Copyrights

      • #IPSC18 Preview: Copyright

        Yesterday I previewed the panels on patents and innovation at next week’s IP Scholars Conference at Berkeley Law.

      • German Supreme Court: WiFi Operators Not Liable For Pirating Users

        Unlike most other countries in Europe, offering free wifi in Germany has been fraught with difficulty since local laws have failed to protect operators when users carry out infringements. Now, however, Germany’s top court has upheld 2017 legislation which grants WiFi operators immunity from acts carried out by their users.

      • Lost Neil Young, Joni Mitchell Concert Recordings From 1968 Unearthed

        “We learned of the existence of the tapes about six years ago,” Michigan History Project president Alan Glenn said in a statement. “They were in the possession of a private collector. Then they disappeared, and we were afraid they were gone for good. But a few weeks ago they resurfaced, much to our surprise and relief. Now our first priority will be to get them transferred to a digital format, then make sure that the original analog tapes are safely archived.”

      • Michigan History Project Discovers Treasure-Trove of Historic Recordings

        The discovered 7-inch reel-to-reel audio tapes include a series of concerts by Joni Mitchell from 1968, a performance by Neil Young from that same year, and shows by other folk, blues, and bluegrass artists including Tim Buckley, Doc Watson, Odetta, Dave Van Ronk, David Ackles, Jim Kweskin (both solo and with the Jug Band), Len Chandler, Spider John Koerner, and the New Lost City Ramblers.

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    The US patent office proposes charging/imposing on applicants that are not customers of Microsoft a penalty; there’s also an overtly and blatantly malicious move whose purpose is to discourage petitions against wrongly-granted (by the USPTO) patents



  10. The Demise of US Software Patents Continues at the Federal Circuit

    Software patents are rotting away in the United States; it remains to be seen when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will truly/fully honour 35 U.S.C. § 101 and stop granting such patents



  11. Almost Two Months After the ILO Ruling Staff Representative Brumme is Finally Back on the Job at EPO

    Ion Brumme gets his position at the EPO back, owing to the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILO-AT) ruling back in July; things, however, aren't rosy for the Office as a whole



  12. Links 15/8/2018: Akademy 2018 Wrapups and More Intel Defects

    Links for the day



  13. Antiquated Patenting Trick: Adding Words Like 'Apparatus' to Make Abstract Ideas Look/Sound Like They Pertain to or Contain a 'Device'

    35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101) still maintains that abstract ideas are not patent-eligible; so applicants and law firms go out of their way to make their ideas seem as though they're physical



  14. Open Invention Network (OIN) Member Companies Need to Become Unanimous in Opposition to Software Patents

    Opposition to abstract software patents, which even the SCOTUS and the Federal Circuit nowadays reject, would be strategically smart for OIN; but instead it issues a statement in support of a GPL compliance initiative



  15. President Battistelli 'Killed' the EPO; António Campinos Will 'Finish the Job'

    The EPO is shrinking, but this is being shrewdly disguised using terms like "efficiency" and a low-profile President who keeps himself in the dark



  16. Links 14/8/2018: Virtlyst 1.2.0, Blender 2.8 Planning Update, Zorin OS 12.4, FreeBSD 12.0 Alpha

    Links for the day



  17. Berkheimer Changed Nothing and Invalidation Rates of Abstract Software Patents Remain Very High

    Contrary to repetitive misinformation from firms that 'sell' services around patents, there is no turnaround or comeback for software patents; the latest numbers suggest a marginal difference at best — one that may be negligible considering the correlation between expected outcomes and actions (the nature of risk analysis)



  18. Lockton Insurance Brokers Exploiting Patent Trolls to Sell Insurance to the Gullible

    Demonstrating what some people have dubbed (and popularised) "disaster capitalism", Lockton now looks for opportunities to profit from patent trolls, in the form of "insurance" (the same thing Microsoft does)



  19. Patent Lawyers Writing Patent Law for Their Own Enrichment Rather Than for Innovation

    We have become detached from the original goals and come to the point where patent offices aren't necessarily run by people qualified for the job of advancing science and technology; they, unlike judges, only seem to care about how many patents get granted, irrespective of their quality/merit



  20. Links 13/8/2018: Linux 4.18 and GNU Linux-libre 4.18 Arrive

    Links for the day



  21. PTAB is Loathed by Patent Maximalists Because It Can Potentially Invalidate Thousands of Software Patents (More Than Courts Can Handle)

    The US patent system has become more resistant to software patents; courts, however, are still needed to invalidate such patents (a potentially expensive process) because the USPTO continues to grant these provided some fashionable buzzwords/hype waves are utilised (e.g. "facial recognition", "blockchain", "autonomous vehicles")



  22. Gene Quinn and 'Dallas Innovates' as Couriers of Agenda for Patent Trolls Like iPEL

    Failing to hide their real purpose and malicious agenda, sites whose real purpose is to promote a lot of patent litigation produce puff pieces, even for patently unethical trolls such as iPEL



  23. Software Patents, Secured by 'Smart' and 'Intelligent' Tricks, Help Microsoft and Others Bypass Alice/Section 101

    A look at the use of fashionable trends and buzzwords to acquire and pass around dubious software patents, then attempting to guard these from much-needed post-Alice scrutiny



  24. Keep Boston (and Massachusetts in General) From Becoming an Infestation Zone for Patent Litigation

    Boston, renowned for research and innovation, has become somewhat of a litigation hotbed; this jeopardises the state's attractiveness (except perhaps to lawyers)



  25. Links 12/8/2018: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Mesa 18.1.6 Release Notice, New Linux Imminent

    Links for the day



  26. Thomas Massie's “Restoring America’s Leadership in Innovation Act of 2018” (RALIA) Would Put the US Patent System in the Lions' (or Trolls') Mouth Again

    An anti-§ 101 and anti-PTAB bill from Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) strives to remove quality control; but by handing the system back to patent trolls he and his proponents simply strive to create more business of litigation, at the expense of innovation



  27. EPO-Style Problem-Solution: Tackling Backlog by Granting Lots of Low-Quality (Bogus) European Patents, Causing a Surge in Troll/Frivolous Litigation

    The EPO's lack of interest in genuine patent quality (measuring "quality" in terms of speed, not actual quality) may mean nothing but a litigation epidemic; many of these lawsuits would be abusive, baseless; those harmed the most would be small businesses that cannot afford a legal defense and would rather settle with those who exploit questionable patents, notably patent trolls



  28. Links 11/8/2018: PGP Clean Room 1.0, Ring-KDE 3.0.0, Julia 1.0

    Links for the day



  29. Propaganda Sites of Patent Trolls and Litigators Have Quit Trying to Appear Impartial or Having Integrity

    The lobbying groups of patent trolls (which receive money from such trolls) carry on meddling in policy and altering perception that drives policy; we present some new examples



  30. Months After Oil States the Patent Maximalists Still Try to Undermine Inter Partes Reviews (“IPRs”), Refusing to Accept Patent Quality

    The patent maximalists in the United States, seeing that the USPTO is moving away from patent maximalism, is desperate for a turnaround; prominent patent maximalists take it all out on PTAB


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