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09.01.18

Links 1/9/2018: Wine 3.15 and KaOS 2018.08

Posted in News Roundup at 3:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Ubuntu Now Shipping On The Dell Precision 5530 Developer Edition

      Announced back in May by Dell was an Ubuntu option for their new (2018) xx30 series Precision laptops. They previously began shipping the Ubuntu-loaded Dell Precision 3530/7530/7730 mobile workstations while beginning to ship as of today is the Precision 5530 Developer Edition.

      The Dell Precision 5530 features 8th Gen Intel Core CPUs of either Core or Xeon families, up to 32GB of RAM, up to 4TB of storage, and integrated graphics or NVIDIA Quadro discrete graphics, and other current generation functionality.

  • Server

    • New OpenStack cloud release embraces bare metal

      OpenStack is getting bigger than ever. It now powers more than 75 public cloud data centers and thousands of private clouds at a scale of more than 10 million compute cores. But it’s always been hard to upgrade from one version of OpenStack to another, and it’s been hard to deploy on bare metals. With OpenStack 18, Rocky, both problems are much easier to deal with now.

    • Openstack Rocky builds on automation, upgrades and usability

      Time again for another Openstack release, the open source infrastructure’s 18th iteration – Rocky – which promises to heap on new features that further improve automation and usability among a variety of hardware architectures.

      According to the Openstack Foundation, some of the more notable enhancements include refinements for bare metal provisioning service Ironic as well as fast forward upgrades so that users can upgrade to the latest releases more easily.

      “I think some of the biggest improvements are around the bare metal management, basically enabling people to build Openstack bare metal clouds with Ironic,” executive director of the Openstack Foundation, Jonathan Bryce, tells Computerworld UK. “Once you’ve automated your physical hardware in your data centre, that brings a ton of flexibility to what you can do with that infrastructure – you can run virtual machines on it with Nova, you can run containers directly on the bare metal and then orchestrate them with Kubernetes, Mesos, Swarm, or whatever you want to do.

    • OpenStack’s latest release focuses on bare metal clouds and easier upgrades

      The OpenStack Foundation today released the 18th version of its namesake open-source cloud infrastructure software. The project has had its ups and downs, but it remains the de facto standard for running and managing large private clouds.

      What’s been interesting to watch over the years is how the project’s releases have mirrored what’s been happening in the wider world of enterprise software. The core features of the platform (compute, storage, networking) are very much in place at this point, allowing the project to look forward and to add new features that enterprises are now requesting.

    • Developers’ corner: Top 9 open source projects spawned by Kubernetes

      Kubernetes is at the center of the container revolution today. What began with Docker has gone beyond the confines of a single organization or tool. The container movement has brought the entire IT industry to consolidate around open standards that benefit all organizations, not just a few powerful vendors. This is what Kubernetes represents — a world of software delivery that is built on an open foundation.

    • Despite What VMware Says, Not Everyone Wants to Deploy Containers in VMs [Ed: So the company wants containers to be placed within its proprietary VMs/hypervisors with back doors]

      For its 18th code release, issued today, the OpenStack community is making the software easier to deploy on bare metal. The release, named “Rocky,” takes advantage of the way physical servers are managed to make it as fast and easy to deploy OpenStack on physical servers as in virtual machines (VMs).

      Jonathan Bryce, executive director with the OpenStack Foundation, said, “We see an environment where people want the right building blocks and to be able to pick a physical server or a VM and have the ability to manage it all in a single platform.”

    • VMware Claims Greater Scalability With Open-Source Blockchain Project [Ed: Openwashing]

      Cloud computing and virtualization firm VMware said Tuesday that it has developed an open-source blockchain infrastructure designed to be both scalable and energy efficient.

      Dubbed Project Concord, VMware’s blockchain aims to provide a base for blockchain implementations which can solve certain scaling issues by modifying the Byzantine Fault Tolerance consensus algorithm commonly found in blockchain networks.

      Senior researcher Guy Golan Gueta wrote in a company blog post that the project’s algorithm uses a different communication procedure than existing consensus protocols that “exploits optimism to provide a common case fast-path execution” and utilizes new cryptographic algorithms.

    • Is Serverless the Future of Open Source and Software Development?

      Is serverless computing the next evolution of open source? And, more broadly, is serverless the key to opening up software development to the masses?

      Those two questions were the crux of a short keynote address by Austen Collins, CEO of Serverless Inc., at this week’s Open Source Summit event in Vancouver, British Columbia.

    • Mainframes Get GUI, With Zowe Project

      For the last 50 years, mainframe have literally been the big iron systems that have helped to power critical elements of IT infrastructure. Yet despite the core role that mainframes have held, the primary interface to the mainframe throughout its history has been the ‘green screen’ command line.

      At the Open Source Summit, the Linux Foundation’s Open Mainframe project announced the new Zowe effort which for the first time brings a real graphical user interface to the mainframe. The Open Mainframe project itself was first announced at Linux Foundation’s LinuxCon 2015 event in Seattle.

    • OpenStack Bare Metal Clouds, Fast Forward Upgrades and Hardware Accelerators Take Center Stage in Latest Release, ‘Rocky’

      18th release of OpenStack addresses new demands for infrastructure driven by modern use cases like AI, machine learning, NFV and edge computing, by starting with a bare metal foundation and enabling containers, VMs and GPUs

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • [Podcast] PodCTL #47 – VM Admin vs Container Admin

      This week, we were watching as fall trade show season got started and we noticed that one of the Container 101 sessions had a packed room. This led to a discussion about how many people were still at the 101 stages of container knowledge. TL;DR – it’s still a lot! So we thought it would be useful to do a basic-level show about what a VM-Admin would need to know in order to be a Container Admin. We walked a mile in that admin’s shoes, and laid out a map for how to think about their world in a container-centric way.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 4.17 Reaches End of Life, Users Are Urged to Upgrade to Linux 4.18

      The Linux 4.17 kernel series has reached end of life earlier this week with the release of the nineteenth maintenance update (Linux 4.17.19) and it won’t receive further updates.

      Launched by Linus Torvalds on June 3, 2018, the Linux 4.17 kernel series introduced better hardware support thanks to the addition of support for Intel’s Cannon Lake architecture, as well as support for the Nvidia Tegra Xavier processor.

      It also added support for the Andes NDS32 RISC-like architecture and AMD’s upcoming Radeon Vega 12 graphics processing units, and it deprecated several microarchitectures, including Blackfin, CRIS, FR-V, M32R, Metag, MN10300, SCORE, and TILE.

    • DRM-Misc Begins Preparing For The Linux 4.20~5.0 Kernel

      Sean Paul of Google who herds the drm-misc-next code into DRM-Next sent the first pull request of new material targeting the next kernel cycle, Linux 4.20 but more likely to be known as Linux 5.0.

    • Linux Patches Working On High Resolution Scrolling For Logitech Mice

      The latest work being sought by Google’s Chrome OS team for inclusion into the upstream Linux kernel is high-resolution scrolling for Logitech mice.

      Harry Cutts of the Chrome OS touch/input team sent out the latest patches today for high-resolution scroll wheel support for Logitech mice under Linux. The original high-resolution scrolling patches were sent out last week and offers much more precise reporting than the existing functionality provided by the HID driver.

    • 32-bit PTI For Mitigating Meltdown Is Causing Problems With Early Linux 4.19 Builds

      If you tend to routinely ride the latest Linux Git code and are still using 32-bit (x86) hardware, you may want to watch out for problems around the new Kernel Page Table Isolation (K/PTI) functionality.

      One of the additions to the Linux 4.19 kernel that ended its merge window last weekend and proceeded to 4.19-rc1 is 32-bit KPTI support for page table isolation similar to x86_64 for mitigating the Meltdown vulnerability on Intel CPUs.

    • Torvalds Says Open Source Is the Way to Combat Software Complexity

      Linus Torvalds is no longer worried about what happens to Linux if he gets hit by a bus, as he’s confident there is a work flow process in place that guarantees the success of Linux. Torvalds, the creator of Linux, shared his views on the future of Linux in a conversation with Dirk Hohndel, Chief Open Source Officer at VMware at the Open Source Summit here Aug. 31

      Torvalds exchanged lively banter with Hohndel on a wide variety of topics ranging from the recent Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, the state of hardware performance, the Linux development process and the future of Linux without Torvalds’ guiding hand.

      “What I really worry about is the flow of patches and the workflow is more important than the code,” Torvalds said. “If you have the right work flow, code will sort itself out and if a bug happens, we know how to deal with it.”

    • Intel Open-Sources New TPM2 Software Stack

      This week Intel opened up a newly-completed Trusted Platform Module 2.0 (TPM2) stack with support for Linux and Microsoft Windows.

      This new TPM2 code supports the latest Trusted Computing Group v1.38 specification and is designed to work with any TPM2 hardware implementation. This new open-source software stack provides the TPM-T2SS as the heart of this new code as well as a new set of tools for interfacing with the TPM 2.0 device, a system daemon, and the kernel driver.

    • Linux Patch Posted For Cross-Hyperthread Spectre Mitigation With STIBP

      The latest Linux kernel patch coming to light in the Spectre space is by SUSE’s Jiri Kosina for enabling cross-hyperthreaded Spectre V2 STIBP mitigation.

      STIBP is short for Single Thread Indirect Branch Predictors and is supported by certain Intel CPUs and microcodes. What STIBP provides on supported CPUs/microcodes is from indirect branch predictions from being controlled by the sibling hyper-thread.

    • Linux Foundation

      • The Linux Foundation: Accelerating Open Source Innovation

        Successful projects depend on members, developers, standards, and infrastructure to develop products that the market will adopt, said Zemlin, and The Linux Foundation facilitates this success in many ways. It works downstream helping industry, government, and academia understand how to consume and contribute to open source. At the same, it works upstream to foster development and adoption of open source solutions, showing industries how to create value and generate reinvestment.

        During his keynote, Zemlin spoke with Sarah Novotny, Open Source Strategy Lead at Google Cloud, about Google’s support of open source development. In the talk, Novotny announced that Google Cloud is transferring ownership and management of the Kubernetes project’s cloud resources to CNCF community contributors and is additionally granting $9 million over three years to CNCF to cover infrastructure costs associated with Kubernetes development and distribution. Novotny, who noted that the project is actively seeking new contributors, said this commitment will provide the opportunity for more people to get involved.

      • New Open-Source Projects Emerge for Machine Learning

        Two open-source projects contributed by Chinese tech giants Baidu and Tencent will focus on machine and deep learning advances with the long-term goal of making the AI technologies easier to use while advancing cloud services using deep learning frameworks.

        The Linux Foundation said it would add the two projects to its deep learning community projects focused on boosting the ecosystem for AI, machine learning and deep learning. Tencent’s Angel Project consists of a distributed machine learning platform running on Apache Spark and YARN. Baidu’s Elastic Deep Learning (EDL) framework aims to allow cloud service providers to use deep learning tools to build clustered cloud offerings.

        Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU), which has followed Google and other U.S. tech companies in steadily releasing its machine learning tools to the open-source community, said the EDL project will use its PaddlePaddle tool along with TensorFlow to accelerate cluster cloud services deployments. EDL uses the Kubernetes container orchestrator as a cluster controller along with a PaddlePaddle auto-scaler. The combination “changes the number of processes of distributed jobs to the idle hardware resource in the cluster, and a new fault-tolerable architecture,” the Linux Foundation said.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 396.54.02 Vulkan Beta Driver Brings Some Fixes For DXVK

        NVIDIA today released new Vulkan beta drivers in the form of v399.17 for Windows and v396.54.02 for Linux.

        This latest NVIDIA Vulkan beta driver is mostly notable on the Windows front as there it adds support for VK_EXT_swapchain_colorspace and VK_EXT_hdr_metadata.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Out with the Old ..

        KDE4 ports will be removed from FreeBSD ports on December 31st, 2018

        [...]

        As for KDE4 itself: there haven’t been any upstream KDE4 releases since Applications 17.08.3, and Qt4 upon which it depends is EOL since 2015. The latest KDE Plasma desktop has been available in the official ports tree for over four months (and has been in use by users of Area51 for much much longer).

        So, given that there is a viable upgrade path (although, truth be told, you’ll probably have to re-configure KMail and get used to Falkon), we’ve decided to put a four month deprecation period on all the KDE4 ports. They will be removed at the end of this year, which will free up some maintainence time for chasing the steady stream of updates from the KDE community.

      • KDE4 Being Dropped From FreeBSD At The End Of The Year

        With KDE4 not having seen an upstream release in years and the old KDE4 code beginning to break under newer C++ compilers, the KDE-FreeBSD team has announced a four-month deprecation period after which they are dropping the KDE4 ports from the operating system.

        On 31 December 2018 is when the FreeBSD maintainers of these older KDE packages plan to drop the KDE4 packages from their tree.

      • KaOS 2018.08

        With almost 70 % percent of the packages updated since the last ISO and the last release being over two months old, a new ISO is more than due. No major changes this time to announce, as was with last ISO, just the usual large package movement. News for KDE Applications 18.08 included Dolphin updated context menu and a modernized ‘Settings’ dialog, Gwenview received a major overhaul, KMail has added support for travel data and Spectacle now has a magnifier to help you draw a selection rectangle.

        As always with this rolling distribution, you will find the very latest packages for the Plasma Desktop, this includes Frameworks 5.49.0, Plasma 5.13.4 and KDE Applications 18.08.0. All built on Qt 5.11.1.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Gnome 3 & best extensions

        There you go. Writing this article got me thinking. Gnome 3 is like Firefox 57. It brought about a radical change, made a lot of what made the original version great redundant, and hid options from users, making customization difficult. Gnome 3 also fights hard against extensions. But these are the bread and butter of what makes it useful, practical and appealing to users. The same is also true of Cinnamon, which has also partially been afflicted the same way. Technically, one may claim that extensions are a poor excuse for bad design, but then, in general, history has shown that they do make products more engaging in the long run. Collective intelligence can be a good thing, especially when harvested for free.

        I am still convinced that Gnome 3 is doing it wrong, and that Plasma, Unity or even MATE are much better solutions on all levels. But then, if you do want to use this desktop environment, there are several handy extensions that can truly transform the experience. The must-have set, and then a sweetening of five nice little extras, which help make the desktop more useful and fun. If you have any other suggestions, this is a good time to use your email sending skills. And we’re done.

      • Implementing power panel in Usage

        The power panel in gnome-usage intends to inform users about how different applications and hardware components are consuming power in their systems. For instance, how much does the screen affect overall power consumption, and how much impact on battery life can be ascertained by lowering the screen brightness by as little as 10%.

      • Message Search merged into Dino!

        I added an option to get back to the end of a conversation. A button offering this functionality appears as soon as the conversation isn’t scrolled all the way down anymore. This is handy after one clicked on a search result and ended up far up the conversation.

        Furthermore, I finished auto completion for search filters. This allows for way easier usage of filter terms, as you don’t have to write full addresses anymore. The auto-completion also searches in names, so in case you don’t know the corresponding address by heart, it still is easy to use.

  • Distributions

    • 5 Reasons You Should Use The Manjaro Linux Operating System

      If you haven’t started using Linux yet then you are probably already in a quandary about which of the hundreds of Linux distributions you should be using.

      Of course if you haven’t started using Linux yet then you might wonder why you should ditch Windows and use Linux in the first place. In this case you will want to read “10 reasons to replace Windows with Linux“.

      Should you ask the question “which distro should I use?” in a forum, in a chat room, on Reddit or via a tweet then you will commonly get the answers Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Zorin OS, Debian, Fedora, openSUSE and Arch.

    • SharkLinux Distro: Open Source in Action

      Every so often I run into a Linux distribution that reminds me of the power of open source software. SharkLinux is one such distribution. With a single developer creating this project, it attempts to change things up a bit. Some of those changes will be gladly welcomed by new users, while scoffed at by the Linux faithful. In the end, however, thanks to open source software, the developer of SharkLinux has created a distribution exactly how he would want it to be. And that my friends, is one amazing aspect of open source. We get to do it our way.

      But what is SharkLinux and what makes it stand out? I could make one statement about SharkLinux and end this now. The developer of SharkLinux reportedly developed the entire distribution using only an Android phone. That, alone, should have you wanting to give SharkLinux a go.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Touts Financial Growth, Hints at Future Acquisitions

        SUSE will soon have a new owner, but it remains focused on easing the cloud native migration path for enterprise customers. In an interview with SDxCentral at this week’s Open Source Summit event in Vancouver, British Columbia, SUSE CTO Thomas Di Giacomo said the company plans to invest more into its core operations, but will also look at new acquisitions.

        That investment push comes on the heels of Swedish private equity fund EQT VIII announcing plans to acquire SUSE for $2.5 billion. SUSE has been owned by Micro Focus since late 2014 where it has operated as a semi-independent business under CEO Nils Brauckmann.

      • Registration, CfP for openSUSE Conference 2019 Open

        openSUSE is pleased to announce that registration and the call for papers for the openSUSE Conference 2019 (oSC19), which takes place in Nuremberg, Germany, are open.

        The dates for this year’s conference will be May 24 through May 26 once again at the Z-Bau. Submission for the call for papers will be open until Feb 3. Registration for the conference is open until the day oSC19 begins.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • [Debian birthday] And lo, we sacrificed to the gods of BBQ once more

        As is becoming something of a tradition by now, Jo and I hosted another OMGWTFBBQ at our place last weekend. People came from far and wide to enjoy themselves. Considering the summer heatwave we’ve had this year, we were a little unlucky with the weather. But with the power of gazebo technology we kept (mostly!) dry… :-)

        I was too busy cooking and drinking etc. to take any photos myself, so here are some I sto^Wborrowed from my friends!

        We continued to celebrate Debian getting old..

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

        • LMDE 3 “Cindy” Cinnamon released!

          LMDE is a Linux Mint project and it stands for “Linux Mint Debian Edition”. Its main goal is for the Linux Mint team to see how viable our distribution would be and how much work would be necessary if Ubuntu was ever to disappear. LMDE aims to be as similar as possible to Linux Mint, but without using Ubuntu. The package base is provided by Debian instead.

          There are no point releases in LMDE. Other than bug fixes and security fixes Debian base packages stay the same, but Mint and desktop components are updated continuously. When ready, newly developed features get directly into LMDE, whereas they are staged for inclusion on the next upcoming Linux Mint point release.

        • Linux Mint Debian Edition 3 Now Shipping

          If you are a fan of Linux Mint and their GNOME/GTK-forked Cinnamon desktop but prefer not having the Ubuntu base, Linux Mint Debian Edition 3 “Cindy” is now available.

          One month after going into beta, LMDE 3 Cindy is officially shipping with a Debian package-set while including the latest Cinnamon desktop.

        • How to upgrade to LMDE 3

          If you’ve been waiting for this I’d like to thank you for your patience.

          It is now possible to upgrade the Cinnamon edition of LMDE 2 to version 3.

        • Linux Mint team release Debian-based LMDE 3 “Cindy”

          Following a month-long beta period Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) 3 “Cindy” has been released. Unlike the standard Linux Mint releases, new software from the Mint team, such as new versions of Cinnamon, become available right away, whereas you usually have to wait for the point release of standard Mint releases to get new major updates.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Won’t Include Android Integration After All

            Always possibility, and now sadly confirmed: Ubuntu 18.10 won’t ship with Android phone integration out of the box.

            The feature, provided by the GSconnect GNOME Shell extension, a Qt-free implementation of the KDE Connect service, was proposed for inclusion in Ubuntu 18.10 early on in the development cycle by Ubuntu desktop manager Will Cooke.

            Like many, we were excited by the notion of being able to boot up Ubuntu and view Android notifications on the desktop, transfer files to and from our phone using Nautilus, monitor battery life, keep tabs on calls, send SMS messages, and more.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Monthly News – August 2018

              Many thanks to all of you, for your donations and for your support.

              I hope you had a great summer (or winter if you live in the South hemisphere). Here we’re eager to get into September, with LMDE 3 and Mint 19 behind us, we’re ready to get started on some of the big projects.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 6 open source tools for making your own VPN

    If you want to try your hand at building your own VPN but aren’t sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll compare six of the best free and open source tools to set up and use a VPN on your own server. These VPNs work whether you want to set up a site-to-site VPN for your business or just create a remote access proxy to unblock websites and hide your internet traffic from ISPs.

    Which is best depends on your needs and limitations, so take into consideration your own technical expertise, environment, and what you want to achieve with your VPN. In particular, consider the following factors…

  • Faster Zlib Performance On ARM Thanks To NEON

    ARM developer Adenilson Cavalcanti has been working on optimizing the Zlib compression/decompression performance on ARM systems.

    By making use of ARM’s NEON instructions for SIMD, Adenilson was successful in squeezing better performance out of the ARM chips, among other tuning. With the Chromium Zlib code they were able to make compression 1.36x faster on average or 1.4x for compressing HTML. For decompression speeds they were 1.6x faster with Gzip and 1.8x faster for HTML.

  • It Looks Like Raptor Is Gearing Up To Release A New Open-Source POWER System

    Raptor Computer Systems began their open-source hardware expedition with the POWER8-based Talos Secure Workstation that was quite expensive but last year launched the Talos II platform with IBM POWER9 processors and earlier this year launched the Raptor Talos II Lite systems at a cheaper price-point but still quite a significant investment compared to x86_64 AMD/Intel products. They’ve been pushing ahead on making their platform more viable for Linux users as well as more affordable and it looks like they will soon be launching a new product.

    A Phoronix reader pointed out that Raptor is indicating they’ll be showing off a new system soon. In response to potential customer inquiries, they responded they are working to expand their product line and appears that they will likely show off a new product at the OpenPOWER Summit coming up in Amsterdam.

  • How Gap uses cloud and open source to thrive in the digital age

    When a retail organization decides to switch to a cloud architecture, there’s a great temptation to outsource the process, and simply start buying resources from one of the market leaders – like AWS, Google or Microsoft. American clothing and accessory retailer Gap, which has been part of the American Main Street for nearly 50 years, did the opposite – it decided to craft a custom private cloud platform to run its websites, using its own infrastructure, in-house expertise and popular open source tools like OpenStack and Cloud Foundry.

  • ReactOS 0.4.10 Release Candidate Available

    It’s just been over one month since the release of ReactOS 0.4.9 while the next version is beginning to formulate.

    A release candidate of ReactOS 0.4.10 is available for testing. ReactOS 0.4.10 has merged work for setup improvements, memory management improvements, x64 architecture fixes, various Win32 subsystem additions, initial work on FAT32 statistics support, several shell enhancements, and additions to many of the key DLLs — as well as syncing the user-mode DLLs against what’s found in Wine-Staging 3.9.

  • Storj Labs to create revenue opportunities for open source

    Storj Labs announced a new Open Source Partner Program this week designed to generate revenue for open-source projects and companies. The way the programs works by generating revenue as users of open-source partner software store data in the cloud, Storj Labs explained.

    This new program can be looked at as an open source and cloud alliance. “Traditional cloud infrastructure requires massive capital investment to build data centers. The cloud companies compete on the basis of huge economies of scale and (generally) narrow gross margins. And, they drive demand through fairly expensive sales & marketing, frequently using Open Source Software as a loss leader to drive revenue through infrastructure usage,” Ben Golub, Storj Labs executive chairman and interim CEO, wrote in a post.

    However, a decentralization infrastructure, which Storj provides, doesn’t require a lot of power, bandwidth or people, Golub explained. Storj aims to provide secure and private cloud storage at an affordable price without the need to operate on centralized data centers. It features segmented and distributed files, S3 compatible gateways and open-source components.

  • Storj Labs Launches Incentive Program For Open Source Projects

    Storj Labs, a provider of decentralized cloud storage network, has announced the launch of its Open Source Partner Program. This program aims at rewarding open source projects and companies when their users store data in the cloud.

    [...]

    This is a new approach by a crypto startup as it aims to create economic empowerment on the Storj network. The launch of the program sees ten partners join in, including Confluent, Couchbase, FileZilla, InfluxData, MariaDB, Minio, MongoDBNextcloud, Pydio, and Zenko. What role these companies will play is yet to be disclosed.

    The company also announced the launch of the V3 private Alpha. This was after a successful upgrade of the V3 network. Developments of this network have been underway since the beginning of the year. The company consequently promised to release a Whitepaper and update their licensing for the network. The upgrade was aimed at achieving better scalability. The company now says that the V3 private Alpha will be first run on a test environment to ensure that it’s stable.

  • Hazelcast Change CEO, Pledge Continued Open-Source Commitments

    Hazelcast, makers of open-source developer-focused infrastructure components, including an in-memory data grid (IMDG) and a stream processing engine (Hazelcast Jet) have been through a management change.

    The previous CEO, Greg Luck, moves to become Chief Technology Officer (a position he previously held) and member of the board. The incoming CEO is Kelly Herrell, a Silicon Valley veteran who was most recently Senior Vice President and General Manager of Brocade Communications, as a result of Brocade’s acquisition of Vyatta where Herrell was Chief Executive Officer.

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Nyoka

    Software AG is aiming to bring the burgeoning world of artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, machine learning and deep learning in line with the statistical and data mining industry standard of the Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML).

    Nyoka is a Python library, compatible with Python 3.5+, which features full support for the PMML XML-based predictive model and provides data preprocessing, script execution and deep neural networks through extensions. Through Nyoka, Software AG explains users can export PMML implementations of a large number from popular machine learning and deep learning Python frameworks. For any that aren’t supported out of the box, users can create their own exporters.

  • Open source low-code platforms extend app dev capabilities

    Open source low-code platforms are growing in popularity because there is more flexibility for app customization and ownership compared to proprietary products. The current generation of open source products has vendor support, expert consultation and training available, but enterprises can also rely on the community at large for support without fear of lock-in. However, there are a lot of options in the market right now, and enterprises need to find the right platform for their goals.

    Explore these three popular open source low-code platforms.

  • Who Is Paying for Open Source?

    There is a misconception among some that open source is free. In a keynote at the Open Source Summit, Angel Diaz, Vice President of Developer Technology, Open Source and Advocacy at IBM outlined who actually is paying for open source.

    According to Diaz, the “second awakening” of open source technologies is now occurring with the growth of open cloud, artificial intelligence and transactional architectures.

    “We are reinventing and democratizing technology and doing it in a way that is open and allows everyone to gain value,” Diaz said.

    Diaz said that when asking the question about who is paying for open source, the question isn’t just about money for services and product, it’s about time and investment. From his perspective, there are three core groups that pay for open source: consortia, enterprises and individuals.

    The Consortia includes groups like the Eclipse Foundation and the Linux Foundation, among many others. Diaz said that consortia have helped to establish the end user as a first class entity for the consumption of open source software.

  • Events

    • Technoshamanism meeting in Axat, France (October 5 to 8)

      We still enjoy temporary autonomous zones, new ways of life, of art / life, we try to think and cooperate towards the goal of food self-sufficiency and interdependence, towards the reforestation of the Earth, and towards the ancestorfuturist fertilization of the imagination. Our main practice is to promote networks of the unconscious to strengthen the desire to form communities as well as proposing alternatives to the “productive” thinking of science and technology.

    • Annual computer graphics conference encourages use of open source

      It’s been a few years since I last attended the annual SIGGRAPH Conference. If you’re not familiar with SIGGRAPH, it’s a special interest group within the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) that focuses on computer graphics. It holds a North American conference every year, usually on the western side of the continent. This year it was in Vancouver, Canada.

      I like to describe the conference as the largest gathering of artists, researchers, and technicians (and some marketers, of course) with a focus on computer graphics. They come from all over the world to share what they know, learn from their peers, and show off their new toys. It’s one of my favorite conferences to attend.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 65 Will Block Cross Site Tracking

        An upcoming version of Firefox will block cross site tracking by default.

        The feature will be part of Firefox 65, coming out in December, though users of the Nightly releases have it right now. Cross-site tracking is where ads use cookies to follow you around the web. Mozilla plans to block access to cookies in some cases ands delete them entirely in others.

      • Firefox Browser Will Soon Block All Web Trackers By Default

        There’s no denying the fact that data collection on the web is one of the fundamental ways how our Internet actually works. But then comes the practice of unchecked data collection, which brings along tons of negative impacts like performance impact and data breaches.

        It seems that Mozilla is planning to block all kinds of web trackers by default in the upcoming releases. This might be a massive blow to the advertisers in the regions where Firefox enjoys a more significant market share.

      • Experimental Code Allows Vulkan-Accelerated Gecko/Firefox On Linux

        With some out-of-tree code of Firefox Nightly with a modified version of Gecko using GFX-RS, it’s possible to use the web-browser powered by the Vulkan API on Linux.

        Hungarian developer Attila Dusnoki shared the milestone this week of being able to run Gecko with Vulkan on Linux.

        This is part of the effort to run Gecko with GFX-RS. GFX-RS, of course, is the Rust portability initiative with low-level graphics abstractions to map to Vulkan, Metal, Direct3D, etc, depending upon the platform.

      • Firefox to Block Tracking by Default, ZeroPhone Project Coming Soon, Google Code-in 2018, OpenStack Releases Version 18 “Rocky” and Greg Kroah-Hartman on Meltdown and Spectre Vulnerabilities

        Mozilla yesterday announced a different approach to anti-tracking on the internet. Mozilla’s new approach means that “in the near future, Firefox will—by default—protect users by blocking tracking while also offering a clear set of controls to give our users more choice over what information they share with sites.” In order to accomplish this, Mozilla has three key initiatives: improve page load performance, remove cross-site tracking and mitigate harmful practices.

      • This Week in Mixed Reality: Issue 18, Hubs Edition

        Hubs attendance is going strong. Along the way several people requested a space that was wide open and not distracting when they are sharing content, so the team added a new scene style called Wide Open Space, and it’s live now!

      • Firefox 62 new contributors

        With the upcoming release of Firefox 62, we are pleased to welcome the 48 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 35 of whom were brand new volunteers!

      • Extensions in Firefox 63

        Firefox 63 is rolling into Beta and it’s absolutely loaded with new features for extensions. There are some important new API, some major enhancements to existing API, and a large collection of miscellaneous improvements and bug fixes. All told, this is the biggest upgrade to the WebExtensions API since the release of Firefox Quantum.

        An upgrade this large would not have been possible in a single release without the hard work of our Mozilla community. Volunteer contributors landed over 25% of all the features and bug fixes for WebExtensions in Firefox 63, a truly remarkable effort. We are humbled and grateful for your support of Firefox and the open web. Thank you.

        Note: due to the large volume of changes in this release, the MDN documentation is still catching up. I’ve tried to link to MDN where possible, and more information will appear in the weeks leading up to the public release of Firefox 63.

      • Mozilla Addons Blog: September’s featured extensions
  • Education

    • 3 innovative open source projects for the new school year

      I first wrote about open source learning software for educators in the fall of 2013. Fast-forward five years—today, open source software and principles have moved from outsiders in the education industry to the popular crowd.

      Since Penn Manor School District has adopted open software and cultivated a learning community built on trust, we’ve watched student creativity, ingenuity, and engagement soar. Here are three free and open source software tools we’ve used during the past school year. All three have enabled great student projects and may spark cool classroom ideas for open-minded educators.

    • Movement monitor

      An open-source AI tool for studying movement across behaviors and species

      [...]

      “We want as many researchers as possible to benefit from our work,” said Bethge. “DeepLabCut was created as an open software, as sharing results, data, and also algorithms is essential for scientific progress.”

      Even as the paper describing the software was published, the technology had been used by more than 50 labs to study everything from the gait of horses to bacteria dynamics to the movement of surgery robots.

      The software toolbox can be used with minimal to no coding experience and is freely available at mousemotorlab.org/deeplabcut.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • RSS Feed available for OpenBSD-current special instructions

      I wrote a script generating a RSS file from the content of the page https://www.openbsd.org/faq/current.html

    • A Look At DragonFlyBSD’s Kernel Tuning Performance On The AMD Threadripper 2990WX

      Last week I posted some initial tests and benchmarks of DragonFlyBSD/FreeBSD on the AMD Threadripper 2990WX. While that went well and the BSDs scale with this 32-core / 64-thread processor better than Windows, lead DragonFly developer Matthew Dillon had picked up a 2990WX system and has been tuning the kernel ever since. Here are some benchmarks looking at some of his recent optimizations.

      Hours after that BSD Threadripper testing ended last week, Matthew Dillon landed some more performance tuning/optimizations to benefit the Threadripper 2990WX design. Here are some benchmarks of that original 2990WX support on DragonFlyBSD 5.3-DEVELOPMENT compared to the later daily snapshot.

    • OpenBSD on the Microsoft Surface Go

      For some reason I like small laptops and the constraints they place on me (as long as they’re still usable). I used a Dell Mini 9 for a long time back in the netbook days and was recently using an 11″ MacBook Air as my primary development machine for many years. Recently Microsoft announced a smaller, cheaper version of its Surface tablets called Surface Go which piqued my interest.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • OpenRISC port accepted for inclusion in GCC

      I am pleased to announce that the GCC Steering Committee has
      accepted the OpenRISC port for inclusion in GCC and appointed
      Stafford Horne as maintainer.

    • OpenRISC Will Be Accepted Into The GCC Compiler

      The GCC Steering Committee is accepting OpenRISC as the newest architecture port for inclusion into the GNU Compiler Collection.

      While OpenRISC has been around longer than the RISC-V ISA that is already supported in GCC, the OpenRISC port had run into complications. The original developers working on the OpenRISC GCC code were not okay with the required copyright assignment of the code to the Free Software Foundation as a requirement for upstreaming the work.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Dutch government to remove legal barriers to sharing code as open source

      The Dutch government plans to remove legal roadblocks to allow public services to publish the source code of their ICT solutions. A pending proposal from the government to the parliament will change the country’s rules of conduct that minimise interference with the private sector. Next year, the government will begin encouraging public services to publish their source code publicly.

      In recent months, the government has been working on a proposal to change itsrules of conduct. The proposal has not yet been submitted to the Dutch parliament, but the changes are anticipated in NL DIGIbeter, a brochure detailing the country’s digital agenda that was published in August. This week, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry referred to the brochure when asked about pending changes to the rules of conduct.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • It’s Time To Reject The Latest Attack On Open Source Software

      Open source software is under attack. Again. And so it’s beholden on all of us to take a stand before the current scourge marginalizes the wonderous benefits of open source (which accrue to every human) and the organization which looks after both the sanctity of the open source movement and the integrity of the licenses behind it: the Open Source Initiative.

      Whether you know it or not, all humans are the beneficiaries of open source software in almost everything we do in our digital lives. Most of everything we use — the smartphones, the cable modem routers, our desktops and laptops, the Web sites and services we access, the APIs at work under the hood of it all — is built using open source software (in all or in part). It can be easily argued that all of our user experiences would be a lot suckier and slower were it not for the open source model and how it drives innovation (much of it charitable) which trickles into every digital moment without exception. Some experiences that add value to our lives might not exist at all were it not for open source.

    • Open Source Devs Reverse Decision to Block ICE Contractors From Using Software

      Less than 24 hours after a software developer revoked access to Lerna, a popular open-source software management program, for any organization that contracted with US immigrations and Customs Enforcement, access has been restored for any organization that wishes to use it and the developer has been removed from the project.

      The reversal underscores the inherent duality of open source development. The community’s commitment to total freedom means that anyone can use the code as they please, even in ways that the developers might find repugnant. It’s the price the community has accepted for the manifold benefits that open source software provides.

      As Motherboard reported on Wednesday, open-source developer Jamie Kyle changed the terms of Lerna’s license so that any groups working with ICE would be barred from using the software. The modified version specifically banned 16 organizations, including Microsoft, Palantir, Amazon, Northeastern University, Johns Hopkins University, Dell, Xerox, LinkedIn, and UPS. Lerna was originally controlled by the MIT license, one of the most permissive open-source agreements.

    • ​Javascript Tool Maker Relents After Mixing Immigration Politics with Open Source Licensing

      In very short order, Lerna, a company that offers some Javascript tooling, has learned the hard way not to mess with the integrity of an open source license. In other words, don’t decide you’re going to take an existing OSI-certified open source license, modify it to suit your agenda, license your code under the newly derived license, and still continue to refer to your offering as “open source.”

      First, this analysis piece is really just a follow up to my previous post about why it’s time to reject the latest attack on open source software (OSS). The main point of that post was to point out that all of us who have experienced the benefits of open source (ok, that’s nearly all human beings) should play a role in defending it. Otherwise, it will whither and so too will the benefits most of us have come to enjoy, blind to the fact that open source is playing such an important role in our lives.

    • Does Redis’ Commons Clause threaten open-source software?
    • Get a Jump on Reducing Your Open Source Software Security Risks [Ed: Anti-FOSS firm Veracode/CA pays IDG for spam which stigmatises FOSS as lacking security]
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • How to Conduct an Open-Source Investigation, According to the Founder of Bellingcat

      On a recent afternoon in central London, twelve people sat in a hotel conference room trying to figure out the exact latitude and longitude at which the actress Sharon Stone once posed for a photo in front of the Taj Mahal. Among them were two reporters, a human-rights lawyer, and researchers and analysts in the fields of international conflict, forensic science, online extremism, and computer security. They had each paid around twenty-four hundred dollars to join a five-day workshop led by Eliot Higgins, the founder of the open-source investigation Web site Bellingcat. Higgins had chosen this Sharon Stone photo because the photographer was standing on a raised terrace, which makes the angles confusing, and used a lens that makes Stone appear closer to the Taj than she actually was. The participants, working on laptops, compared the trees and paths visible in the photo to their correlates on Google Earth.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Boffins trying to build a open source secure enclave on RISC-V

        At some point this fall, a team of researchers from MIT’s CSAIL and UC Berkeley’s EECS aim to deliver an initial version of an open source, formally verified, secure hardware enclave based on RISC-V architecture called Keystone.

        “From a security community perspective, having trustworthy secure enclaves is really important for building secure systems,” said Dawn Song, a professor of computer science at UC Berkeley and founder and CEO of Oasis Labs, in a phone interview with The Register. “You can say it’s one of the holy grails in computer security.”

  • Programming/Development

    • Python Natural Language Processing Tools

      Natural language processing (NLP) is an exciting field of computer science, artificial intelligence, and computational linguistics concerned with the interactions between computers and human (natural) languages. It includes word and sentence tokenization, text classification and sentiment analysis, spelling correction, information extraction, parsing, meaning extraction, and question answering.

      In our formative years, we master the basics of spoken and written language. However, the vast majority of us do not progress past some basic processing rules when we learn how to handle text in our applications. Yet unstructured software comprises the majority of the data we see. NLP is the technology for dealing with our all-pervasive product: human language, as it appears in social media, emails, web pages, tweets, product descriptions, newspaper stories, and scientific articles, in thousands of languages and variants.

      Many challenges in NLP involve natural language understanding. In other words, computers learn how to determine meaning from human or natural language input, and others involve natural language generation.

    • PHP version 7.1.22RC1 and 7.2.10RC1

      Release Candidate versions are available in remi-test repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL / CentOS) to allow more people to test them. They are available as Software Collections, for a parallel installation, perfect solution for such tests (for x86_64 only), and also as base packages.

      RPM of PHP version 7.2.10RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 28-29 or remi-php72-test repository for Fedora 26-27 and Enterprise Linux.

      RPM of PHP version 7.1.22RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 26-27 or remi-php71-test repository for Enterprise Linux.

    • Announcing Google Code-in 2018: nine is just fine!

      We are excited to announce the 9th consecutive year of the Google Code-in (GCI) contest! Students ages 13 through 17 from around the world can learn about open source development by working on real open source projects, with mentorship from active developers. GCI begins on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 and runs for seven weeks, ending Wednesday, December 12, 2018.

      Google Code-in is unique because, not only do the students choose what they want to work on from the 2,500+ tasks created by open source organizations, but they have mentors available to help answer their questions as they work on each of their tasks.

    • A small HTTP debug server in Go

      Lately, I found myself to work on an application that was communicating via SOAP with a server. My goal was to understand how this application worked with the SOAP server to emulate its behavior. Even if I had access to the source code of the application, I thought it would have been easier, faster and more fun to do the work without actually reading the code. It’s important to note that actually, the application is fairly small and self-contained. Otherwise, I would have probably taken a different approach.

      Since I was not very interested in the application itself, but more to the SOAP API, I decided to handle the whole situation as a reverse-engineering effort. One nice thing about this application, like many others, is that it’s possible to set the server URL with a command line configuration.

    • Franken-algorithms: the deadly consequences of unpredictable code

      “In some ways we’ve lost agency. When programs pass into code and code passes into algorithms and then algorithms start to create new algorithms, it gets farther and farther from human agency. Software is released into a code universe which no one can fully understand.”

Leftovers

  • How Harry Potter changed the world

    Almost exactly 20 years ago, on September 1, 1998, Scholastic published Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first US edition of the UK’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

  • What I could not undiscover about Unikernels.

    Unikernels http://unikernel.org/ have been around for a while but remain a relatively unknown technology. The core idea of a Unikernel is …

  • Science

    • Child drownings in Germany linked to parents’ phone ‘fixation’

      The German Lifeguard Association (DLRG) – the biggest organisation of its kind in the world, providing 40,000 volunteer lifeguards at German beaches, lakes and the coast – has made a direct connection between children getting into difficulty in the water and parents being too busy on their mobile phones to notice.

    • Who Owns Faculty Work at Purdue Global?

      Faculty leaders are sounding the alarm about what they call a highly restrictive employee agreement at Purdue University Global — one that requires academics to potentially waive their rights to course materials they create.

      It also prohibits ex-employees from hiring former Purdue colleagues for a year — or from bad-mouthing Purdue once they’re gone.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • New research uncovers ‘one of the tobacco industry’s greatest scams’

      Two new studies from the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, published in the BMJ journal, Tobacco Control, expose evidence that big tobacco companies are still facilitating tobacco smuggling, while attempting to control a global system designed to prevent it, and funding studies that routinely overestimate levels of tobacco smuggling.

    • Major funding announcement puts Bath TCRG at centre of new $20 million global industry watchdog

      Andy Rowell, Research Fellow and co-editor of TobaccoTactics said: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant. By shining a light on the tobacco industry’s activities we will identify its latest marketing and lobbying tactics, its front groups and spokespeople. In this way our work will increase the transparency of policy making, reduce the industry’s ability to block the work of policy makers around the world, inform new legislative approaches and hold the industry to account.”

    • How to Calculate the Costs of #MedicareForAll Properly
    • Fighting the vanilla thieves of Madagascar

      Each vine that Leon prunes holds pods – also known as beans – that will eventually retail for more than $150 (£120), once they are dried.

      To deter theft, all the farmers in the surrounding area are stamping their names, or sometimes serial numbers, on to individual pods while they’re still on the vine. Even when the pods are dried, the markings can be made out.

    • Schools close as haze worsens in Pontianak in Indonesia’s West Kalimantan

      National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said hotspots detected in West Kalimantan had decreased to 526 by 8.22am local time on Monday. On the morning of Aug 16, the BNPB had recorded 1,061 hotspots across the province.

    • More than 2 billion people lack safe drinking water. That number will only grow.

      A major United Nations report, released in June, shows that the world is not on track to meet a U.N. goal: to bring safe water and sanitation to everyone by 2030. And by 2050, half the world’s population may no longer have safe water.

    • Safe Drinking Water for All

      The agricultural fee revenues would be targeted to address nitrate contamination from fertilizers, a common problem in farming areas. Money raised by the voluntary contributions, which would be collected from water customers unless they opt out, would be directed to disadvantaged communities suffering from water contamination caused by a range of pollutants, such as arsenic and uranium. Together, these sources are expected to raise $100 million or more a year.

    • Senators demand answers on reported lead poisoning at Army bases

      Reuters reported that more than 1,000 young children tested at military clinics had elevated lead levels between 2011 and 2016. It also found military bases failed to report children’s blood test results to state health departments in violation of state laws.

    • Flint water crisis: Michigan health director ordered to manslaughter trial

      Involuntary manslaughter is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Lyon is also charged with felony misconduct in office for allegedly obstructing academic researchers from studying the outbreak, which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison. Last, he faces a misdemeanor charge of willful neglect in office.

    • Flint water crisis: How AI is finding thousands of hazardous pipes
    • State knew of PFAS in Flint River before switch, but city may not have been told

      The report — “Measuring Perfluorinated Compounds in Michigan Surface Waters and Fish” — showed that two samples from the river — both taken downstream, north of Flint — had the second- and third-highest concentrations of PFAS — per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — in testing at 13 separate sites in the state in 2011 and 2013.

    • Dangerous Chemicals Found in Flint River Water Before the Lead Crisis Started [Updated]

      The state’s Department of Human Health and Services (DDHS) discovered the Flint River was experiencing increased levels of contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, a year before the city of Flint switch to this river as its drinking water source in 2014. This group of synthetic chemicals has been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, obesity, and immune dysfunction.iThe state’s Department of Human Health and Services (DDHS) discovered the Flint River was experiencing increased levels of contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, a year before the city of Flint switch to this river as its drinking water source in 2014. This group of synthetic chemicals has been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, obesity, and immune dysfunction.

    • EPA whistleblower says he warned Michigan DEQ it was wrong about Flint water

      An Environmental Protection Agency whistleblower who helped expose Flint’s lead in water problems says he told state drinking water officials that the city should have been required to treat Flint River water to make it less corrosive — something that never happened.

    • Michigan’s top public health official to stand trial for 2 deaths connected with Flint water crisis
    • Nick Lyon’s criminal Flint water crisis case moving to trial

      Lyon is charged with involuntary manslaughter, willful neglect of duty and misconduct in office for the deaths of John Snyder and Robert Skidmore. Both men allegedly died from Legionnaires’ disease caused by Flint switching its drinking water source to the Flint River in 2014.

    • Think twice before eating raw fish — here’s why

      Raw fish, such as sushi, and other uncooked seafood may be delicious, but they also may be dangerous — even life-threatening — if prepared inexpertly.

    • Air pollution is shaving a year off our average life expectancy

      The study, using 2016 country data from the Global Burden of Disease project, is the first major look at country-specific mortality impacts of fine particulate matter — bits of pollution, known as PM2.5, that are smaller than 2.5 micrometers, or 30 times smaller than the width of an average human hair. And it’s the first to present those impacts in terms of life expectancy, rather than death or disease rates (SN: 11/25/17, p. 5). The approach is aimed at making the risk more relatable, says Joshua Apte, an environmental scientist at the University of Texas at Austin.

    • Overdose Deaths Reached Record Level of 72,000 in 2017, New Estimates Show

      Drug overdoses killed more than 72,300 Americans last year, a record and a rise of around 10 percent, according to new preliminary estimates from the Centers for Disease Control.

    • UN Tuberculosis Negotiations: What Is At Stake?

      With negotiations over the final language of a United Nations high level declaration on ending tuberculosis still ongoing, the stakes are high as different TB stakeholders await the outcome. The language in question could either raise or reduce barriers to affordable access to life-saving TB drugs, according to civil society groups.

    • Special Report: Children poisoned by lead on U.S. Army bases as hazards ignored

      For years, he has told the Army of failures to defend children on U.S. bases from lead poisoning, a preventable household health hazard. Ingesting the heavy metal can severely affect mental and physical development, especially in children, causing brain damage and other potentially lifelong health impacts. But poisoning is avoidable if old homes containing lead paint are properly monitored and maintained.

      “There is no acceptable number of children that the Army can allow to be so egregiously hurt,” Cale wrote in a letter to the Army Office of the Inspector General last year, describing the poisoning of JC and hundreds of other military kids he was aware of. He hasn’t received a response to the letter’s concerns.

    • Citizens’ initiative to ban FGM set for parliamentary consideration

      A citizens’ initiative demanding that lawmakers draw up a specific law to outlaw FGM in Finland has attracted over 50,000 signatures. This means it has met the threshold enacted in a 2012 Finnish law, and the Finnish Parliament must now put the item on its agenda and discuss it as if it were any other legislative proposal.

    • Girl, 3, ‘needed emergency surgery after botched FGM in London’

      The principal charge presented at Thames magistrates’ court today is the allegation of FGM. It accuses the couple of having “excised, infibulated or otherwise mutilated the whole or a part of a girl’s labia minora and clitoris” in August last year.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Chinese hackers [sic] scanned business, government websites in Alaska
    • Chinese hackers [sic] targeted U.S. firms, government after trade mission: researchers
    • Introducing the Tink cryptographic software library

      Tink aims to provide cryptographic APIs that are secure, easy to use correctly, and hard(er) to misuse. Tink is built on top of existing libraries such as BoringSSL and Java Cryptography Architecture, but includes countermeasures to many weaknesses in these libraries, which were discovered by Project Wycheproof, another project from our team.

    • Amazon Alexa Security Risk Allows Hackers to Take Over Voice Commands, Steal Private Information

      The world is changing and in the modern era, we are becoming reliant on our Internet of Things devices by the day. But this reliances could cost us everything, it could allow someone to steal our identity, bank information, medical history, and what not.

      Amazon Alexa has been criticised for having a number of security flaws but Amazon has been quick to deal with them. However, this new security flaw may not have a fix at all. And this could be the most dangerous security threat yet.

      According to research conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Amazon Alexa’s idiosyncrasies can be exploited through voice-commands to route users to malicious websites. Hackers are targeting the loopholes in machine learning algorithms to access private information.

    • Researchers show Alexa “skill squatting” could hijack voice commands

      The success of Internet of Things devices such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home have created an opportunity for developers to build voice-activated applications that connect ever deeper—into customers’ homes and personal lives. And—according to research by a team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)—the potential to exploit some of the idiosyncrasies of voice-recognition machine-learning systems for malicious purposes has grown as well.

      Called “skill squatting,” the attack method (described in a paper presented at USENIX Security Symposium in Baltimore this month) is currently limited to the Amazon Alexa platform—but it reveals a weakness that other voice platforms will have to resolve as they widen support for third-party applications. Ars met with the UIUC team (which is comprised of Deepak Kumar, Riccardo Paccagnella, Paul Murley, Eric Hennenfent, Joshua Mason, Assistant Professor Adam Bates, and Professor Michael Bailey) at USENIX Security. We talked about their research and the potential for other threats posed by voice-based input to information systems.

    • The Linux Foundation Set to Improve Open-Source Code Security

      CII is now working on further trying to identify which projects matter to the security of the internet as a whole, rather than taking a broader approach of looking at every single open-source project, he said. In his view, by prioritizing the projects that are the most critical to the operation of the internet and modern IT infrastructure, the CII can be more effective in improving security.

      “You’ll see in the next three months or so, additional activity coming out of CII,” Zemlin said.

      Among the new activities coming from the CII, will be additional human resources as well as new funding. The Linux Foundation had raised $5.8 million from contributors to help fund CII efforts, which Zemlin said has now all been spent. Zemlin that CII’s money was used to fund development work for OpenSSL, NTP (Network Time Protocol) and conducting audits.

    • Apache Struts 2.3.25 and 2.5.17 resolve Cryptojacking Exploit Vulnerability

      Information regarding a severe vulnerability found in Apache Struts was revealed last week. A proof of concept of the vulnerability was also published publicly along with the vulnerability’s details. Since then, it seems that malicious attackers have set out to repeatedly exploit the vulnerability to remotely install a cryptocurrency mining software on users’ devices and steal cryptocurrency through the exploit. The vulnerability has been allotted the CVE identification label CVE-2018-11776.

      This behavior was first spotted by the security and data protection IT company, Volexity, and since its discovery, the rate of exploits has been increasing rapidly, drawing attention to the critical severity of the Apache Struts vulnerability. The company released the following statement on the issue: “Volexity has observed at least one threat actor attempting to exploit CVE-2018-11776 en masse in order to install the CNRig cryptocurrency miner. The initial observed scanning originated from the Russian and French IP addresses 95.161.225.94 and 167.114.171.27.”

    • Windows Task Scheduler Micropatch Released by 0patch

      Earlier this week, a user on Twitter who goes by the username SandboxEscaper posted on the social media platform’s feed with information regarding a zero-day local privilege escalation vulnerability plaguing Microsoft’s Windows operating system. The user, SandboxEscaper, also included a proof of concept along with his post which was linked through to via a GitHub website reference containing the proof of concept in detail.

      [...]

      Surprisingly, SandboxEscaper disappeared off of Twitter entirely with his account disappearing from the mainstream feeds soon after the information regarding the zero-day Windows exploit was posted. It seems that the user is now back on Twitter (or is fluctuating off and on the social media site), but no new information has been shared on the issue.

    • Linux Kernel up to 4.15-rc3 Crypto Subsystem memory corruption

      The weakness was shared 08/30/2018 as bug report (Bugzilla). The advisory is available at bugzilla.redhat.com. This vulnerability is traded as CVE-2018-14619 since 07/27/2018. Local access is required to approach this attack. A single authentication is needed for exploitation. The technical details are unknown and an exploit is not available. The structure of the vulnerability defines a possible price range of USD $5k-$25k at the moment (estimation calculated on 08/31/2018).

    • CVE-2018-14619: New Critical Linux Kernel Vulnerability

      A new Linux kernel vulnerability identified as CVE-2018-14619 has been discovered by Red Hat Engineering researchers Florian Weimer and Ondrej Mosnacek. More particularly, the flaw was found in the crypto subsystem of the Linux kernel.

    • Air Canada app data breach involves passport numbers

      It believes data has been stolen [sic] from about 20,000 of these, and has informed members of this group via email.

    • Air Canada confirms mobile app data breach

      According to an email to customers, attackers may have accessed basic profile data, including names, email addresses and phone numbers — but also more sensitive data that users may have added to their profiles, including passport numbers and expiry date, passport country of issuance, NEXUS numbers for trusted travelers, gender, dates of birth, nationality and country of residence.

    • Air Canada says 20,000 mobile app users affected by data breach

      The app stores names and contact information, which may have been accessed.

      It also may hold information such as passport and NEXUS card numbers, gender, birth date, nationality and credit card numbers.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The global arms trade is booming. Buyers are spoiled for choice

      Britain, meanwhile, claims that last year it jumped to third place among global arms exporters, as measured by the value of their sales. According to the Defence and Security Organisation, a government body, America bagged 53% of the global business, its “highest-ever market share”. This left 16% for Russia and 12% for Britain, double the share taken by France.

    • Mistaken for vampires and accused of witchcraft, BBC crew ‘nearly stoned to death’ in Malawi

      “They were going to end our lives,” Anas said, as he recalled their flight from the angry villagers. The team managed to escape by running for their lives into the night, later to be saved by community police and a local chief.

      They suffering injuries from stones being thrown by the mob and one of the cars the team was travelling in was also destroyed. Kamanga and his associate also managed to escape in the confusion.

    • Dutch Muslim Parties: A New Development in Islamization

      The emergence of Muslim political parties in the Netherlands is a new facet of Islamization. One of these parties, Denk, has three seats in parliament and is also represented at the local level, as are other Muslim parties. They usually oppose integration and do not accept Dutch culture as the country’s dominant culture. Anti-Semitism is a regular attribute, often disguised as hate speech against Israel.

    • Police officer stabbed in southern Sweden

      A police officer was stabbed while on duty on Wednesday evening in the southern Swedish town of Växjö.

    • Gothenburg car fires: Swedish man arrested in Turkey

      “After some intense investigating we actually found out he was on his way to Turkey, so we contacted the police in Turkey and told them that we would like to have this man back for investigation,” Brehm said. The man is expected to return to Sweden on Wednesday.

    • Mykkänen: Finland seeing same signs of gang activity that Sweden saw 10 years ago
    • UK: Syrian Terrorists Can’t Possibly Be Planning Chemical Weapons False Flag, Because Russia Said They Are

      In a recent meeting with the press, British ambassador to the United Nations Karen Pierce told reporters that it is absolutely unthinkable that the terrorist factions in the terrorist-held Syrian province of Idlib could possibly be planning a terrorist attack using chemical weapons with the intention of blaming it on the Syrian government.

      Her reasoning? Since the Russian government has been warning of this possibility, the exact opposite must necessarily therefore be true.

      [...]

      So let’s recap: it is the British government’s official public position that the extremist jihadist factions who have been holing up in their final stronghold preparing for the long-awaited military confrontation in Idlib would have no incentive whatsoever to stage a false flag chemical attack in order to rally western reinforcements against the Syrian government and thereby escape defeat. Far more likely, in the British government’s estimation, is that the warnings of such an attack are a “smoke screen” to cover for the Syrian government’s plan to perpetrate its own chemical attack in order to accomplish the key strategic goal of suffocating a few dozen children. Oh yeah, and terrorists should be given safe passage to areas where they can safely regroup, because that’s the thing that you do with terrorists now.

      Never mind that those terrorist factions would stand everything to gain and nothing to lose in a last-ditch false flag attempt to recruit powerful allies to their cause. Never mind that these are actual, literal terrorists who have no qualms about killing civilians in order to advance their cause. Never mind that US National Security Advisor John Bolton has already effectively guaranteed those same terrorists that the US and its allies will join in their aggressions against the Syrian government by publicly announcing that any chemical attacks will be met with the strongest retaliation yet. All of that is invalidated by Russians having said something about it, because if Russians say something, the opposite of what they said must necessarily be true. Because God is drunk and everyone’s crazy.

    • ‘We Would Be Opening the Heavens to War’

      While the internet treated it largely as a kind of painful joke, corporate news media reported the Trump White House’s plans to establish a “Space Force” as the sixth branch of the US military as almost an inevitability: A Los Angeles Times story slips from saying the force “would be” responsible for training military personnel to saying the space command “will centralize planning for space war-fighting.” The pushback reported is from those concerned about “bureaucracy,” or changes in the “roles and budgets” of existing military branches. There are details to be worked out—even such “basic” ones, says a Washington Post front-pager, as “what uniforms” the space force would use. But coverage presents potential opposition to the plan, from congressmembers, for example, more as a “hurdle” than a cause for deeper investigation.

    • DeVos won’t say whether state grant money can be used to buy guns for schools

      Experts say the announcement clears the way for states to spend money on guns.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Why cross-border coherence matters

      Many of the biggest whistleblower disclosures of recent years have been international in nature – LuxLeaks and the Panama Papers in particular. As pointed out by the Greens in the European Parliament, there is a general European public interest that often supersedes the national interests of a single member state.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • This Swedish city may be a model for cutting emissions while maintaining growth

      The Swedish city of Vaxjo has done what some say is impossible: cut emissions and continue to grow economically. The city plans to eliminate carbon emissions from fossil fuels by 2030, far ahead of the timetable set by almost 200 nations in the Paris climate agreement.

    • The Trump administration’s latest plan to prop up coal

      “It’s revealing if you don’t think about this as a climate policy, but as a coal-subsidisation policy,” says Joseph Goffman, executive director of the Harvard Environment and Energy Law Programme and an architect of the CPP. A leaked set of White House talking-points given to The Economist confirms this. Climate change and global warming—usually the professed reasons for carbon regulation—go unmentioned. “A diverse, reliable energy portfolio is essential to the president’s goal of energy dominance,” the document reads. “Energy dominance is good for America and good for the world.”

    • The Everglades has endured decades of human meddling. Now it faces a more relentless foe: rising seas.

      South Florida is ground zero when it comes to sea level rise in the United States. By 2100, waters near Key West are projected to be as much as two meters above current mean sea level. Daily high tides are expected to flood many of Miami’s streets. The steady encroachment of saltwater is already changing the landscape, killing off saw grass and exposing the land to erosion.

      Against this looming threat, Everglades ecologists and hydrogeologists are racing to find ways to mitigate the damage before the land is reclaimed by the ocean, irrevocably lost.

    • World Population Growth Visualized (1950-2100)
    • Millions of pounds of dead fish have washed up on Florida beaches. This is what happens to them next

      The amounts of fish and ocean creatures being brought in are slowing down, but the beaches are still being cleaned up. The county and islands have collected millions of pounds of fish and sea creatures after a large Red Tide outbreak. Where does it go in the end? The landfill. Once the ocean creatures are collected from the beaches, they are brought to the landfill, mixed with other trash, and then burned.

    • There’s a new insecticide on the block, and it’s also bad news for bees

      “Sulfoximine-based insecticides are the most likely successor [to neonicotinoids]” write the University of London’s Harry Siviter and his colleagues in a paper published in Nature this week. And that’s not great, as they found that bumblebee colonies exposed to a sulfoximine-based insecticide called sulfoxaflor suffered severe effects compared to a control colony. The insecticide didn’t kill the bees, but it damaged their ability to run a successful colony—a similar effect to neonicotinoids.

    • Stone-stacking: cool for Instagram, cruel for the environment

      No longer. A forest of stacked stones destroys all sense of the wild. Stacks are an intrusion, enforcing our presence on others long after our departure. It’s an offence against the first and most important rule of wild adventuring: leave no trace.

      [...]

      Some will rail against more rules, or more self-restraint; but we need both, particularly when there are more than 7 billion of us. Sheer quantities of people turn inconsequential behaviour into acts with consequences. If we want to enjoy what’s left of our wild world, we have to be more aware than ever of our impact upon this Earth.

    • Judge Orders Environmental Review of the Keystone XL Pipeline

      The controversial Keystone XL pipeline has suffered a setback. On Wednesday, August 15, a federal judge ordered the U.S. State Department to conduct a full environmental review of the pipeline before moving forward with construction, Reuters reported.

    • U.S. judge orders review of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline route

      A federal judge in Montana has ordered the U.S. State Department to do a full environmental review of a revised route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, possibly delaying its construction and dealing another setback to TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO).

    • New Mexico Senators Speak Out Over Order They Say Would Hamper Nuclear Safety Board

      New Mexico’s senators are asking Congress to block a Department of Energy order that would limit a federal board’s access to information about nuclear facilities and could hinder its ability to oversee worker health and safety.

      In a letter sent Wednesday to the leaders of a Senate appropriations subcommittee, Democratic Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall also asked their colleagues to block impending staff cuts and a broad reorganization at the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. New Mexico is home to three of the 14 nuclear facilities under the board’s jurisdiction: Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

      “We feel strongly that these two matters facing the [safety board] and its future must be suspended while Congress and the public have time to review and offer constructive feedback” on how to maintain and improve the board, the senators wrote to Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chairman and ranking member of the energy and water development subcommittee.

      Spokespeople for Alexander and Feinstein said that the senators were still reviewing the proposal. Both senators have large nuclear facilities in their states.

  • Finance

    • Think Different

      In fiscal year 2017, Apple counted $229 billion in revenue. That means it brought in more money in sales than all but nineteen countries did in tax revenues last year. While governments then pump most of their revenues back into their own militaries, welfare systems, and infrastructure, Apple pays its suppliers and its workers market rates and then counts billions leftover—$48 billion in profit last year alone. No country comes even close to running such a surplus, and no corporation’s is within $20 billion of that amount.

      [...]

      As it stands now, more than 3 million people around the world who build Apple’s products work for independent contractors, often for about $2 an hour.

    • Labor Board Backs Startup Engineers Fired for Unionizing

      The NLRB issued a complaint on Tuesday against Lanetix, alleging that the company violated federal labor laws when it fired 14 engineers in January after they filed papers to unionize. The complaint also seeks an injunction to reinstate the terminated workers with back pay.

    • Scientists Warn the UN of Capitalism’s Imminent Demise

      Capitalism as we know it is over. So suggests a new report commissioned by a group of scientists appointed by the UN Secretary-General. The main reason? We’re transitioning rapidly to a radically different global economy, due to our increasingly unsustainable exploitation of the planet’s environmental resources.

    • The Online Gig Economy’s ‘Race to the Bottom’

      “There really is a race to the bottom effect going on here, because there’s so much of an oversupply of workers,” Mark Graham, a professor of internet geography at the Oxford Internet Institute, told me. Graham and his colleagues have been conducting an extensive study of the digital economy, interviewing hundreds of digital workers and analyzing data about tens of thousands of projects. They found that most buyers are located in high-income countries like the U.S., and most sellers are in countries such as India, Nigeria, and the Philippines. While digital labor markets are intended to allow sellers to auction off their work to whoever will pay the highest price for it, Graham and his Oxford colleagues Isis Hjorth and Vili Lehdonvirta found that they also help buyers find the cheapest sellers.

      [...]

      At first, she charged just $5 for 100 words of script, which made her feel guilty because she knew she was drastically undercutting union rates. When she started getting good reviews, she slowly raised her rates, and eventually made $17,000 one year. But she felt guilty doing work for multinational companies that had previously hired union actors for much more money, she told me. She was stuck: If she rejoined the union, she wouldn’t get much work, because so many buyers had gone to digital work sites. [...]

    • Why startups are leaving Silicon Valley
    • Ikea to test cash-free store in Sweden

      Ikea said that its cashless test would begin in Gävle on October 1st. If all goes well, the company plans to eliminate cash payments in all of its Swedish locations.

    • Moral courage, leadership, and Brexit

      Since when is blindly following “the will of the people”, wherever it may lead, the definition of leadership?

      We are all alive today because once in 1962 someone said, ‘I’m not doing that, it’s a stupid idea’, or words to that effect.

      The speaker would have been former US president Jack Kennedy, refusing the advice of the clear majority of the ExComm – the ‘executive committee’ of high government officials and generals that he had assembled to advise him on how to respond to the discovery of inter-continental ballistic missiles in Cuba. The hawks on ExComm, who were in the clear majority, wanted Kennedy to order an immediate invasion of Cuba, something we now know would have precipitated global nuclear war. But Kennedy, who had direct experience of the chaos of battle, was unconvinced, and instead, in the face of their opposition, led a process that de-escalated the crisis.

      Moral courage is like that. It’s the uncommon capacity to take personal responsibility for hard, sometimes terrifying, decisions, through the consideration of personal beliefs and values in interaction with the historical, organisational, or social challenges with which we are confronted. It is wholly distinct from authoritarian leadership in that it is open to dialogue with other perspectives. Consequently it can sometimes be manifest in statements as simple as: ‘I was wrong’. It sometimes can be manifest in more complex or challenging statements such as ‘I believe you are wrong’, or ‘I think this is stupid’.

    • Trapped on Brexit Island

      Stuck in a political twilight zone where the laws of causality are suspended, people stagger around in a kind of waking sickness—a disease whose most worrying symptoms are the mental gymnastics which imagine Brexit as a success and Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. Do you ever think to yourself what the hell is happening? Do you see the Johnson come-what-may-Brexit on the horizon?

      By bringing disrepute into repute, making arrogance a virtue and carving up politics according to a code known only to insiders, Johnson and company aim to spark a regulatory fire sale that leads us away from a dark European bureaucracy to the sunlit uplands of a butter-side-up Britain. No matter what kind of Brit you are—from Galashiels to Gibraltar—we’re all trapped in the same bizarre mental archipelago: Brexit Island. And we need an explanation of how we arrived here.

      One overlooked factor is that many of those embroiled in the Brexit narrative boarded at elite schools. Boris Johnson, David Cameron, and Jacob Rees-Mogg went to Eton, and Daniel Hannan—described by journalist Sam Knight as “the man who brought you Brexit” (he also invented that Maoist sound-bite “Project Fear”)—boarded at Marlborough College in the Cotswolds.

      Psychotherapist Nick Duffell knows about the psychic plumbing in such minds. His work with boarding school survivors documents the damage done by separating young boys from their mothers (some as young as six) and thrusting them into a loveless world of strangers, giving the child what George Orwell, reflecting on his own boarding, called “a sense of inferiority and the dread of offending against mysterious laws.”

    • Ex-Brexit minister Steve Baker remained in charge of secretive Tory ultra faction

      Control and influence over a hard-line Brexiteer group of Conservative MPs remained in the hands of Steve Baker throughout his time as a Brexit minister, according to new documents obtained by openDemocracy. Jacob Rees-Mogg was merely the public face of the secretive group.

      Baker led the taxpayer-funded European Research Group (ERG) of pro-Brexit MPs until being appointed a cabinet minister in 2017. But while in office he offered to address the ERG privately on government policy. These briefings were not recorded in transparency data from Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU).

      Official rules bar ministers from “being associated with non-public organisations whose objectives may in any degree conflict with government policy.” Although the ERG has often clashed with the government over Brexit, Baker continued to “act as though he was just the lightly-detached chief executive of the ERG”, according to a senior Conservative source with knowledge of the group’s activities.

      Baker resigned his ministerial post last month at the same time as his boss at DExEU, David Davis, complaining he had been “blind-sided” by Theresa May’s ‘Chequers’ plan.

    • Brexit disaster narrative: whose interest does it serve?

      The Brexiters and the Labour leadership have clear strategies, and Theresa M\ay cannot avoid providing them the opportunity to embark upon it. Considerably less clear is an effective strategy for those politicians whose first priority is to maintain EU membership, “Remainers”. Unlike the situation for Brexiters and the Labour leadership, the May government will not provide the opportunity for a second “in or out” vote before parliament votes on the agreement.

      Inspection of the pro-EU Guardian and other sources suggests that the Remainers anticipate three contingent routes to reversing Brexit. The most frequently suggested is that the government loses the Parliamentary vote on the agreement, and a majority of MPs decide that the only way to escape from a “no-deal crash-out” is a second referendum. Second, failure of the May government to secure an agreement results in the same outcome as the first. Third, either parliamentary defeat or no agreement results in a collapse of the May government and its replacement by a pro-EU government.

    • Wanchain (WAN) Joins World’s Largest Open Source Blockchain Initiative

      The beautiful performance of cryptocurrency does not lie in pump and dump price increments, it has to do more with how it is changing the status quo.

      Talking about cryptos with exemplary acts, one needs not go far, but pick Wanchain (WAN). To show how prepared it is to capture the blockchain world completely, Wanchain has announced it joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), the world’s largest open source blockchain initiative.

    • Does Amazon Have More Power Than the Federal Reserve?

      Federal Reserve, one of the dozen reserve banks in the U.S., gathered on Friday in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to discuss a signature puzzle of our times: How can the economy hum along, with unemployment falling for years, without wage growth? How have the gains from the economy been segregated from most Americans who do the work, instead flowing into the hands of a small group at the top? And what can the Fed, or anyone, do to reverse this?

      The main culprit discussed at the economic policy symposium was increasing corporate concentration: the limited number of firms in any one industry. A series of working papers and speeches examined monopolization’s impact on various aspects of the economy, from worker bargaining power to capital investment to inflation. While the Fed isn’t singularly responsible for policing market competition, it does have the power of the megaphone, and the implications of the research unveiled last week should signal a sea change across government: either tame the corporate giants, or watch helplessly as they eat everything not nailed down.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Village Voice Is Officially Dead

      Barbey has issued a statement. “The Voice has been a key element of New York City journalism and is read around the world. As the first modern alternative newspaper, it literally defined a new genre of publishing… The Voice has connected multiple generations to local and national news, music, art, theater, film, politics and activism, and showed us that its idealism could be a way of life.”

      He also addressed the financial issues: “In recent years, the Voice has been subject to the increasingly harsh economic realties facing those creating journalism and written media. Like many others in publishing, we were continually optimistic that relief was around the next corner. Where stability for our business is, we do not know yet. The only thing that is clear now is that we have not reached that destination.”

    • Trump Whines That Google Isn’t a Safe Space

      Essentially, conservatives want to create a world where objective information and right-wing disinformation are treated equally. They’re running the same playbook on tech that they ran, for decades, on media, caterwauling about bias so that defensive editors would treat them with kid gloves. Only now, these howls about viewpoint discrimination have the force of the United States government behind them.

    • An army of bots supporting Sweden Democrats is growing explosively ahead of September’s election

      The Swedish Defence Research Agency FOI issues a warning with less than two weeks until the general election. The number of fake Twitter accounts discussing Swedish politics is soaring – and almost every other is tweeting support for the Sweden Democrats.

    • Why Trump Should Have Read “Ask ProPublica Illinois” Before He Tweeted

      We don’t think President Donald Trump reads ProPublica Illinois. But, well, maybe he should.

      On Wednesday, the president issued a pair of tweets warning about the media’s use of anonymous sources, claiming there aren’t actual people behind the information attributed to them.

    • Planning for UK Embassy to Move to Jerusalem Post Brexit

      This information about planning being carried out in great secrecy came to me from an FCO source I had no previous contact with, so I do not know the reliability. It might even be a hoax to make me look foolish. Therefore I decided to check the story with the FCO Press Department, but I can’t get any response out of them. Not answering questions appears to be the standard British state response to independent journalists now. If this is nonsense, it would have taken the FCO two minutes just to tell me so.

    • How To Wake Up

      It is a well-documented fact that it is possible for the human organism to move into a far more healthy relationship with thought than the one which most people experience. This shift has been written about for as long as there has been written language, and scientists have been confirming its existence using modern studies now. Spiritual enlightenment is real, and it is possible. It is possible for thought to take on a role as a useful tool that one can pick up and use in a wholesome way when it’s needed and put down when it isn’t, rather than being the writer, director and star of the entire show as is typical in human experience. If this is possible for the individual, it is possible for the collective.

      Our species is at an evolve-or-die crossroads. We will cease destroying our ecosystem and flirting with nuclear armageddon in the very near future, or we will go the way of the dinosaur. The reason we continue on our current trajectory is because a few sociopathic plutocrats have seized control of the dominant narratives we tell ourselves about what’s going on in the world by buying up the news media people use to keep themselves informed. The plutocrat-controlled media manipulate the ways we think and vote to ensure that we will continue supporting the ecocidal, omnicidal, Orwellian status quo upon which the oligarchs have built their empire, instead of rising up and demanding a system that prioritizes human thriving and peaceful coexistence with each other and our environment.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • What Happens When Facebook Mistakenly Blocks Local News Stories

      Facebook barred Bostick from posting two local news articles published by The Winchester Star, a daily newspaper in Virginia where she and her family live. The first, published in June, was about a school board meeting during which Francesca and her family spoke out about her case. Six weeks later, the outlet published another story, this time concerning the appointment of Winchester’s new Title IX officer, who Bostick publicly criticized. She couldn’t share either to the social network.

    • The world is a terrible place right now, and that’s largely because it is what we make it.

      I found a harsh reality that I’m still trying to process: thousands of people who don’t know me, who have never interacted with me, who internalized a series of lies about me, who were never willing to give me a chance. I was harassed from the minute I made my account, and though I expected the “shut up wesley”s and “go fuck yourself”s to taper off after a day or so, it never did. And even though I never broke any rules on the server I joined (Mastodon is individual “instances” which is like a server, which connects to the “federated timeline”, which is what all the other servers are), one of its admins told me they were suspending my account, because they got 60 (!) reports overnight about my account, and they didn’t want to deal with the drama.

    • Demanding That That Creative Work Be Inoffensive

      The demand for inoffensiveness (not transgressing “woke” standards) isn’t made straight out; it’s made tacitly, by seeing that anyone who offends is pilloried online — ideally right out of a job.

    • Misuse of Blasphemy Law Again on the Rise in Pakistan

      Power state institutions have uses blasphemy charges as a tool to silence strong and powerful voices speaking out against them. In January 2016, five bloggers — Salman Haider, Waqass Goraya, Aasim Saeed, Ahmed Raza Naseer and Samar Abbas, all famous for promoting liberal views and criticism of Pakistan’s powerful military — went missing. Soon after their abductions, a campaign started on social media alleging that the bloggers ran a blasphemous Facebook page named Bhensa. The campaign led to wide protests against the bloggers, demanding the death penalty for them. The controversial scholar and TV host Aamir Liaqat Hussain made highly charged allegations of blasphemy against the missing bloggers, putting the bloggers and their families’ lives in danger. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) banned his show for a month after human rights activist Jibran Nasir filed a complaint.

    • Tofurky Has a Right to Free Speech, Too

      In a brazen attempt to restrict the First Amendment rights of those concerned with the effects of their food choices, the Missouri Legislature passed a law on Tuesday that prohibits “misrepresenting” any product as “meat” if it does not come from a slaughtered animal.

      The new law now makes it a crime for plant-based and clean-meat producers to accurately inform consumers what their products are: Foods designed to fulfill the roles conventional slaughtered meat has traditionally played in a meal. For example, under the law, selling a vegan sausage would be illegal because the word “sausage” has been traditionally associated with animal meat.

    • And Here Come The Completely Ridiculous Lawsuits Over Internet Company ‘Bias’

      It was only a matter of time. Given the incorrect and misleading claims of “political bias” in social media moderation/search recently, you knew someone was going to file a lawsuit, and not surprisingly, the first to take the plunge is serial litigant Larry Klayman and his “Freedom Watch” organization. Of course, we’ve had a few similar lawsuits test the waters, all of which have failed miserably — from Dennis Prager falsely claiming that YouTube was demonetizing his videos due to his political views (which was not even close to true) to Jared Taylor suing, claiming political bias in Twitter kicking him off its platform.

      Klayman’s complaint, however, adds layers of nuttiness upon those previous attempts. First off, he’s hoping to turn it into a class action lawsuit for “all politically conservative organizations, entities and/or individuals who… have experienced illegal suppression and/or censorship.” Second, he’s filing it against four companies at once: Google, Facebook, Twitter and Apple. Once again, I thought that conservatives believed in free markets and were against the fairness doctrine which (1) is not currently law and (2) even when it was, only applied to broadcasts over the airwaves. Yet, Klayman pretends that there’s some sort of quasi fairness doctrine, and also takes every possible rumor or claim of political bias in tech, no matter how incorrect, and assumes it’s true for the purpose of the case.

    • The Scunthorpe Problem, And Why AI Is Not A Silver Bullet For Moderating Platform Content At Scale

      Maybe someday AI will be sophisticated, nuanced, and accurate enough to help us with platform content moderation, but that day isn’t today.

      Today it prevents an awful lot of perfectly normal and presumably TOS-abiding people from even signing up for platforms.

    • Mother jailed for mosque remark

      An ethnic-Chinese woman in Indonesia whose supposed complaint about the volume of a mosque loudspeaker triggered a riot in the northern Sumatran town of Tanjung Balai in 2016 has been jailed for 18 months for blasphemy.

      The sentence was more than four times longer than the term given to rioters who destroyed Meiliana’s house and around 14 Buddhist temples in the sprawling city of Medan after the Buddhist mother of four complained to a friend about the noise and asked if she could talk to the caretakers.

    • Buddhist woman imprisoned for complaining about mosque’s speaker

      Her remark, made in 2016, is believed to have triggered the worst anti-Chinese riot in the country since 1998, with Muslims who claimed to have been offended by her words burning several Buddhist temples.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Google’s Ad Tracking Knows Every Mastercard Purchase You Make, Online or Off

      Google tracks Mastercard purchases to see if online advertisements prompt real-world sales. The deal is worth millions of dollars, with Mastercard basically selling customer data to Google.

    • Google and Mastercard Cut a Secret Ad Deal to Track Retail Sales

      For the past year, select Google advertisers have had access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to a sale at a physical store in the U.S. That insight came thanks in part to a stockpile of Mastercard transactions that Google paid for.

      But most of the two billion Mastercard holders aren’t aware of this behind-the-scenes tracking. That’s because the companies never told the public about the arrangement.

      Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Mastercard Inc. brokered a business partnership during about four years of negotiations, according to four people with knowledge of the deal, three of whom worked on it directly. The alliance gave Google an unprecedented asset for measuring retail spending, part of the search giant’s strategy to fortify its primary business against onslaughts from Amazon.com Inc. and others.

    • Google Bought Mastercard Data To Track Your Offline Purchases For Ad-Targeting

      Google has reportedly struck a secret deal with Mastership to track offline shopping details of credit card users. Apparently, it paid millions of dollars to Mastercard to access nearly two billion cardholders’ data.

      According to Bloomberg, this deal was finally brokered between the two companies after four years of negotiation. Neither Google nor Mastercard has made this announcement public.

    • Verizon’s Oath Will Still Scan Your E-mail For Advertising Purposes Because Hey, It’s Verizon

      After backlash, Google ended its own practice of auto-monetizing e-mail content for behavioral ads last year, acknowledging that the practice doesn’t exactly instill trust in your customers (e-mails are still automatically scanned as part of the company’s “Smart Compose” feature, but content is no longer monetized). Apple has never scanned subscriber e-mails for this purpose, and Microsoft told Techcrunch this week that the company does “not use email content for ad targeting in any way, anywhere in Microsoft.” The shift has been part of an effort to compete on privacy, which is an idea that should be encouraged.

      Coming from the telecom sector, Verizon’s not quite as familiar with this whole competition thing.

      [...]

      Of course, anybody surprised that Verizon would take the low road shouldn’t be. After all, this is the same company that was caught a few years ago covertly modifying user wireless packets so it could track users around the internet without telling them. It took two years for security researchers to even notice it, and months more before Verizon could be bothered to offer a working opt out tool. And while the company was ultimately fined by the FCC for the practice, a bigger variant of that technology has long-since been implemented across Verizon’s entire Oath (the combination of Yahoo and AOL) ad network.

      Of course we haven’t even gotten to Verizon’s ultra-cozy relationship with the nation’s intelligence apparatus yet, or the fact that giant ISPs routinely engage in pretty sleazy behavior to undermine pretty much any effort to shore up the nation’s privacy standards, regardless of the quality of the effort. All while hoovering up and monetizing private user browsing and location data on a scale that pretty routinely makes the Facebook, Cambridge scandal look like child’s play.

    • Officers Lose Their Evidence After Turning A Medical Emergency Call Into A Warrantless Search Party

      This case, coming to us via Andrew Fleischman, would be Keystone-Cops-comical if it weren’t such a hideous example of law enforcement using someone’s rights as a doormat. What began as a 911 call for assistance with an unresponsive infant soon devolved into a full-blown search of house by several officers without a single warrant between them.

      Arielle Turner was indicted by a grand jury for the death of her infant. That’s gone now, thanks to the careless, self-destructive actions of the officers at the scene. All evidence obtained during the unlawful search has been suppressed, with this Georgia Supreme Court ruling [PDF] upholding the lower court’s decision.

      Arielle and her mother, Terry Turner, called 911 to report her 10-week-old baby was unresponsive. EMTs arrived and began treating Turner’s daughter before taking her (and Arielle) to the hospital. The child’s grandmother remained at home.

      The first officer to arrive was Joseph Wells who comforted Terry Turner while standing on the porch. Terry invited Officer Wells to come in and sit down because her legs were starting to hurt. They sat and conversed. Detective Victoria Bender arrived shortly thereafter, letting herself in through the open front door. Neither of these two officers performed any searches or seized any property.

      Over at the hospital, an examination did not turn up any signs of abuse or foul play. Investigators believed the infant’s death to be accidental. This information was relayed to Detective Bender, who passed it on to Terry Turner. Either something got lost in translation or the officers already on the scene decided to make a command decision. Suddenly, the home they were already in was declared a crime scene, despite there being no evidence of foul play.

    • EFF To Maine, Massachusetts Courts: Rule Requiring Warrants to Access Cell Phone Location Data Applies to Real-Time Searches
    • Log Into Windows 10 Using Your Google Account #comingsoon

      Looks like the idea here is to register Chrome as a Credential Manager for Windows 10 and make it available for users to manager their passwords. However, there is another possibility.

      According to my friend Alan, if a Credential Provider is linked for interactive or network logon, you can use that account to log into your Windows 10 computer. That means, this feature opens up the possibility of using a Google account to log into Windows 10 computers

    • Statement of Principles on Access to Evidence and Encryption

      Should governments continue to encounter impediments to lawful access to information necessary to aid the protection of the citizens of our countries, we may pursue technological, enforcement, legislative or other measures to achieve lawful access solutions.

    • Hacking [sic] a Prince, an Emir and a Journalist to Impress a Client

      As private companies develop and sell cutting-edge surveillance technology to governments for tens of millions of dollars, human rights groups say the scant oversight over the practice invites rampant misuse. And no company is more central to the battle than the NSO Group, one of the best-known creators of spyware that invades smartphones.

    • How Israel Spies on US Citizens

      A never-shown Al Jazeera documentary on the pro-Israel lobby in the United States reveals possibly illegal Israeli spying on American citizens, and the lobby’s fear of a changing political mood.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Activists protest software company’s ICE contract at Burning Man

      Activists are protesting software company Palantir’s contracts with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency at Burning Man

      Mijente, an advocacy group for Latinx and Chicanx organizing, brought a giant cage on wheels to the festival in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, with the intent to bring the contract to the attention of tech workers in attendance.

    • Dread of Heinleinism

      But here’s the thing: as often as not, when you pick up a Heinlein tribute novel by a male boomer author, you’re getting a classic example of the second artist effect.

      Heinlein, when he wasn’t cranking out 50K word short tie-in novels for the Boy Scouts of America, was actually trying to write about topics for which he (as a straight white male Californian who grew up from 1907-1930) had no developed vocabulary because such things simply weren’t talked about in Polite Society. Unlike most of his peers, he at least tried to look outside the box he grew up in. (A naturist and member of the Free Love movement in the 1920s, he hung out with Thelemites back when they were beyond the pale, and was considered too politically subversive to be called up for active duty in the US Navy during WW2.) But when he tried to look too far outside his zone of enculturation, Heinlein often got things horribly wrong. Writing before second-wave feminism (never mind third- or fourth-), he ended up producing Podkayne of Mars. Trying to examine the systemic racism of mid-20th century US society without being plugged into the internal dialog of the civil rights movement resulted in the execrable Farnham’s Freehold. But at least he was trying to engage, unlike many of his contemporaries (the cohort of authors fostered by John W. Campbell, SF editor extraordinaire and all-around horrible bigot). And sometimes he nailed his targets: “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” as an attack on colonialism, for example (alas, it has mostly been claimed by the libertarian right), “Starship Troopers” with its slyly embedded messages that racial integration is the future and women are allowed to be starship captains (think how subversive this was in the mid-to-late 1950s when he was writing it).

      In contrast, Heinlein’s boomer fans rarely seemed to notice that Heinlein was all about the inadmissible thought experiment, so their homages frequently came out as flat whitebread 1950s adventure yarns with blunt edges and not even the remotest whiff of edgy introspection, of consideration of the possibility that in the future things might be different (even if Heinlein’s version of diversity ultimately faltered and fell short).

    • ‘We can’t let the Islamists win’

      Qanta Ahmed: The hysteria of this case is based on the idea that the remarks were an attack on a religion – and that’s not true. I’m opposed to the burqa because it represents the influence of Islamism, not Islam. Islamists want to make this marginal practice the main face of British Islam. In fact, there are millions of women who dress like me, without covering their hair or face. My mother dresses like Queen Elizabeth in her silk scarf. Queen Rania of Jordan dresses like Angelina Jolie – that’s completely normal for a Muslim woman. Islam is ethnically and ritualistically diverse, there are 1.6 billion of us. There’s no one unifying way of appearing Muslim. Islamists are trying to claim that the niqab is a religiously sanctioned form of dress, that a woman cannot be a Muslim without it. Is every woman in a niqab an Islamist? Probably not. But it shows how influential Islamist thinking is if people want to adopt this style of dress.

    • ‘I met my IS captor on a German street’

      “I left my family and my country and went to Germany to forget the beating and the pain. The last thing I expected was to meet my IS captor and that he would know everything about me.”

      [...]

      By the time they contacted her again in June this year as part of the investigation, Ashwaq had already left for Iraq.

      However, activists in Germany say her case may not be an isolated incident.

    • Muslim couple denied Swiss citizenship for refusing handshake

      But “religious practice does not fall outside the law,” he stressed.

      [...]

      “The constitution and equality between men and women prevails over bigotry,” he said.

    • Muslim couple denied Swiss citizenship over handshake refusal

      “The constitution and equality between men and women prevails over bigotry,” he said.

    • US-Turkey row: Pastor a ‘pawn in personal feud’

      The US is increasing pressure on Turkey to try to secure the freedom of American pastor Andrew Brunson. While the leaders of the two Nato allies clash with each other, Mr Brunson’s fate hangs in the balance.

    • Saudi Arabia seeking first death penalty for female activist, rights groups say

      Prosecutors in Saudi Arabia are seeking the death penalty for five activists in the country’s Eastern Province, according to Saudi activists and Human Rights Watch. Among those being targeted is Israa al-Ghomgham, who Saudi groups say would be the first female human rights activist to be put to death in the Saudi kingdom if the execution proceeds.

    • US-backed Saudi regime set to behead female activist and four others

      Democratic and Republican administrations alike have for more than seven decades supported the Saudi monarchy, one of the most reactionary regimes in the world, as a linchpin of US policy in the Middle East, arming it to the teeth. This support has only intensified as the Trump administration has ratcheted up US aggression against Iran, seeking to cobble together an anti-Iranian coalition including both Saudi Arabia and Israel for the purpose of rolling back Iranian influence in the region and asserting US hegemony.

    • Little to No Pay for Prisoners in the U.S.

      One of the biggest demands for the strikers is an immediate end to compulsory and imposed labor for little to no pay. Able bodied imprisoned people are put to work in correctional facilities doing cooking, cleaning, and grounds keeping along with possible labor outside of prisons, which is often dangerous, like in the case of prisoners fighting wildfires in California. Currently around 800,000 prisoners work daily for meager wages that are often docked for court-assessed fines, family support, and discharge money. States like Arkansas, Georgia, and Texas offer no compensation for work performed while in prison. Even for the highest paying states, the low end of compensation only outperforms states like Texas by around two quarters and a dime.

    • Christian sanitary workers protest against non-attendance of Muslim workers

      Nasir Mahtab, another sanitary worker, complained that the Muslim sanitary workers regularly took their salaries without doing any work. He alleged that the former Member Provincial Assembly, Karam Daad, hired these Muslim sanitary workers for political gain and the matter was not resolved in the last five years by the district administration. Rehmat Charagh, another worker, said that there were 40 ghost Muslim workers who never came to the work.

      The protestors demanded that all the ghost workers must be immediately called to work or they should be fired from the jobs and other sanitary workers should be hired to eliminate the shortage of sanitary workers in the city. They said that they already wrote to the district administration but no action was taken.

    • ‘I’m For Disruption’: Interview With Prison Strike Organizer From Jailhouse Lawyers Speak

      I recently interviewed another representative from Jailhouse Lawyers Speak to get their thoughts on the last several months of planning on the inside and solidarity organizing on the outside. I asked about the process of organizing prisoners as a class, prison slavery, their solidarity with ICE detainees, diversifying tactics, and what people on the outside can do to support the strike.

    • Why Prisoners Are Going On Strike Today

      But JLS says the strike will go on. “Fundamentally, it’s a human rights issue. Prisoners understand they are being treated as animals. We know that our conditions are causing physical harm and deaths that could be avoided if prison policy makers actually gave a damn,” the statement said. “Prisons in America are a war zone. Every day prisoners are harmed due to conditions of confinement. For some of us, it’s as if we are already dead, so what do we have to lose?”

    • Sweden Muslim woman who refused handshake at job interview wins case
    • Guests with ‘misogynistic, homophobic, racist’ views cost Canadian mosque its charitable status

      The Ottawa Islamic Centre and Assalam Mosque, which is one of the biggest mosques in the Canadian capital, had its charitable status revoked in July, after officials from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) expressed concerns in a report over dodgy financing and a roster of guest speakers who seemed to “promote hate and intolerance.”

      “Many of the views expressed by the organization’s speakers are misogynistic, homophobic, racist and/or promote violence,” the CRA Charities Branch wrote in a letter sent to the mosque president and obtained by the Global Times.

    • Qatar: France’s Generous Financer of Mosques

      Money from Qatar finances many of the “mega-mosques” in France. These are large structures with minarets — not the improvised mosques that have sprung up in garages, storefronts and cultural centers. The Great Mosque of Poitiers, for instance, sits in the vicinity of the site of the Battle of Tours (also known as the Battle of Poitiers), where Charles Martel, ruler of the Franks, stopped the advancing Muslim army of Abdul al-Rahman in the year 732.

    • Islamic scholar calls for end to ‘Muslim social self-exclusion’

      Mr Mustafa as targeted by Muslims in Glasgow and had to seek police protection after he spoke out about the more restrictive practices of Islam being propagated by Mosques.

      In response, he says that 15 imams issued the fatwa – or ruling – calling for other Muslims to take action against him.

      He has since been threatened with beheading by extremists after he claimed fasting between dawn and sunset during the month of Ramadan is not a requirement in the Quran, and has sought the protection of the police.

    • Welcome to Traveling While Black

      I’ve been traveling since I was a baby, and I’ve gotten used to the ways in which my body is surveilled both in and out of the airport. I’ve had a near run-in with neo-Nazis in Russia, landed in a taxi situation where I thought I could’ve been assaulted in the Bahamas, and had employees refuse to acknowledge me in domestic places like Florida. The constant awareness of what kind of treatment I’ll get for being born Black and assigned female is often more exhausting than the time it takes to get to and from my destination.

    • TSA + CBP test new facial recognition tech & computed tomography scanners at LAX

      The experiment will take place for 30 days at the LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal. Under the plan, travelers who transit this terminal are to be photographed as part of a pilot program the government says will help it keep tabs on foreign nationals exiting the United States for overseas destinations.

    • Australian Arrested at Cambodian Rally Convicted of Spying
    • In Defense of Affirmative Action in Higher Education

      The mere consideration of race in admissions, as the Supreme Court has long-held, does not violate college applicants’ equal rights.

      In November 2014, Students for Fair Admissions, an organization founded and led by Edward Blum as part of his ongoing opposition to civil rights and racial equality, sued Harvard University for racial discrimination in the admissions process.

      According to the plaintiff, Harvard discriminates against Asian-Americans and engages in “racial balancing” that unfairly restricts the number of Asian-Americans admitted to the school. Yet the remedy that plaintiff seeks — prohibiting Harvard from being “aware of or learn[ing] the race or ethnicity of any applicant” — is untethered to its allegations. Even if SFFA prevailed on all of their remaining claims, it doesn’t follow that the proper remedy would be to prohibit Harvard from considering race as one of many factors in the admissions process.

      On Thursday, the ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief with a federal court in Boston in defense of affirmative action in higher education. Whether or not Harvard discriminated against Asian-American applicants in its admissions process will ultimately be decided by the courts, but the remedy that the plaintiff seeks is extreme and unconstitutional for three primary reasons.

      First, the Supreme Court has already stated that race can be considered as one factor in a holistic admissions process. In its 2016 decision in Fisher v. University of Texas, the court reaffirmed that universities can take race into account to ensure a diverse student body as long as that practice is narrowly tailored to avoid violating the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. In fact, based on the 2016 Fisher decision, the court in this case already dismissed SFFA’s contention that Harvard’s bare consideration of race violates Equal Protection.

    • Nasrin Sotoudeh faces charges such as espionage as Tehran continues to stifle dissent

      The European Union has expressed serious concerns about the continuing detention of Nasrin Sotoudeh, the prominent Iranian human rights lawyer who is serving a five-year jail sentence.

      [...]

      Sotoudeh, 55, is facing a torrent of charges, including espionage, after arguing a string of cases involving women arrested for defying hijab rules by taking off their headscarves in public and waving them on a stick.

    • America’s Gulf Allies Are Making the World a More Dangerous Place

      Though August is supposed to be slow for news, the young month has already seen two extraordinary events. Both have largely flown under the radar, but each has important implications for United States national security—and together they expose a deep flaw in US foreign-policy strategy: a reliance on repressive and autocratic Persian Gulf states in the name of fighting terrorism.

    • Court Says Cop Gets No Immunity For Pulling A Man Over For Flipping Him Off

      The plaintiff, Brian Clark, maintained he didn’t flip off the officer, so that eliminates his First Amendment claim. If Clark did not engage in one-fingered expressive conduct (as he denies doing), there’s no First Amendment activity prompting retaliation. However, the Fourth Amendment remains alive, if currently covered by the clumsy, authoritarian footprints of Lt. Coleman, who is now completely stripped of his immunity shield.

      Cops see a lot of animosity from citizens. But it’s just part of the job. It may be unpleasant but it’s not an arrestable offense, much less reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop. With rare exceptions, courts have sided with citizens and their expressive conduct.

      [...]

      If a citizen lets the bird fly, officers should either let it ride or immediately seek legal representation. The courts say expressions of displeasure towards our government are the reason the First Amendment exists. Any cop who thinks an obscene gesture justifies a traffic stop is in the wrong business. Or the wrong country.

    • Federal Judge Upholds Right To Flip Off Virginia Cops

      Brian H. Clark, the irreverent passenger, has a history of annoying authority. In 2016, Judge Martin F. Clark Jr (no relation) banned Brian Clark from entering the county courthouse clerk’s office without a lawyer. The judge complained that Clark annoyed his staff with “numerous emails, letters and filings,” and the state Supreme Court upheld the order.

      Since he could not go inside, Clark waited outside the courthouse on July 25, 2016 while two friends filed court papers on his behalf. While inside, one of those friend, Wendy Inzerillo, overhead the sheriff’s deputies saying “Brian doesn’t know what we have in store for him” and that he “couldn’t wait to see his face when we take him down.”

    • John Powers on Voting Rights, Karen Dolan on School Safety

      Corporate media cover electoral politics—a lot. Yet the questions that guide that coverage don’t seem to change much: Who’s leading in polls (before anyone’s learned much about the candidates’ ideas), who said what awful thing about their opponent, who’s raised more money from rich people? That’s not the same as covering the electoral process: Do elections represent the public will? Does everyone who wants to vote get to? How can we ensure that our voting process reflects the principles of democracy that are so insistently invoked? There are few questions more critical right now. We’ll talk about them with John Powers, counsel in the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

    • A Click on a URL Isn’t Enough for a Search Warrant

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has asked an appeals court to ensure that a click on a URL isn’t enough to get a search warrant for your house.

      In U.S. v. Nikolai Bosyk, law enforcement discovered a link to a file-sharing service that was suspected of being used to share child pornography. Prosecutors got a warrant to search Bosyk’s home based only on the fact that someone attempted to access the link from his home. The warrant application included no information on why or how the user encountered the link, or if he had any knowledge of what it linked to.

      In an amicus brief filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, EFF argues that law enforcement should gather more evidence before subjecting someone to an invasive home search. It’s not always clear what kinds of sites URLs link to, particularly with the prevalence of link shorteners or other tools that obscure a link’s destination.

    • From Venezuela to McCain, Media and Human Rights Industry on Same Page

      The UN’s International Organization for Migration estimates that, by July of 2018, 2.3 million Venezuelans were living abroad (which includes hundreds of thousands who have spent decades abroad). Why does the Economist say it “may already” be 4 million? A good guess is that they are relying on the estimates of Tomas Paez, a vehemently anti-government Venezuelan academic who has long been a favorite source for corporate journalists (FAIR.org, 2/18/18). Paez has estimated that 1.6 million people left Venezuela from 1999–2015, about five times more than UN Population Division estimates for that period.

      No doubt as Venezuela’s economy entered what could fairly be called a “collapse” starting in 2015, migration began to skyrocket, and it is indeed likely to get worse, thanks to illegal economic sanctions that Trump enacted in August 2017.

      What about the Economist‘s Syria comparison? First of all, Syria’s civil war has not just created a massive “outflow” of refugees. It also created an enormous population of internally displaced people, as wars typically do. As of 2017, Syria had 6 million people forcibly displaced within its borders. Another 5 million refugees were still living in three bordering countries (Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey). That brings the total of those forcibly displaced by Syria’s civil war to nearly 11 million—almost seven times larger than the most credible estimate of the numbers displaced (so far) by Venezuela’s economic crisis.

      Syria had a population of about 21 million in 2011 when the civil war began. It has now been estimated to be about 18 million. So more than half of Syria’s 2011 population are now refugees, either internally or externally—a far cry from the 13 percent of the Venezuelan population claimed by Paez (and hinted at by the Economist), or the 5 percent (1.6 million) estimated by the UN’s International Organization for Migration to have left since 2015.

      [...]

      Guevara-Rosas also tweeted out an article praising John McCain. McCain’s death has been a real “teachable moment,” showing how tiny the ideological differences are between corporate media and the human rights industry. Four different Human Rights Watch (HRW) officials used their Twitter accounts to spread praise for McCain. In 2011, McCain tried to have Venezuela placed on the US “sponsors of terrorism” list—not scary at all, coming from a man who joked about bombing Iran. McCain dutifully echoed the Venezuelan opposition’s line (also the Western media line, and HRW’s line) that the country is a “dictatorship.”

      Ken Roth (HRW’s executive director) said McCain “will be remembered for his firm, principled opposition to torture, especially by Bush, a member of his own party.” Jose Miguel Vivanco said McCain was “a giant in North America politics and an ally in the defense of human rights.” Sarah Margon, HRW’s Washington director, said that McCain’s death ”feels exceptionally tough for those of us who have fought for human decency and basic rights alongside and with him.” Dinah PoKempner, HRW’s general counsel, spread an article that called McCain a “war hero.”

    • Police Union Offers Citizens $500 To Get Hurt, Killed, Or Sued As Amateur Cops

      Police unions have never been the sharpest tool in the law enforcement PR shed. Over the years, they’ve claimed officers should be subjected to less scrutiny than Walmart employees, flashbang-burned toddlers are the price society pays for “safe” neighborhoods, and anything remotely suggesting greater accountability or transparency will probably result in dead cops.

      Hey, I get it. Zealous advocacy and all that. Unions need to show the rank-and-file their dues are being put to use. And it’s the best use possible: self-preservation and consistent maintenance of the status quo. Unions will always strongly advocate for their officers, even when advocating positions officers don’t agree with. To sum up: ridiculous. And here we are with yet another ridiculous police union action.

      Recently, a video went viral showing an officer begging for help from a security guard while a number of people stood around filming his losing battle with an arrestee. Maybe the problem was callous citizens and their anti-cop attitudes. Maybe the problem is the reduction of real life to social media filler. Or maybe it was just the bystander effect: the more bystanders there are, the more everyone assumes someone else will step up and help out.

    • Police union offers $500 reward for people who take down suspects

      A police union wants to turn random bystanders into vigilantes-for-hire — by offering $500 to any civilian who helps cops wrestle down suspects who are resisting arrest.

      The cash proposal from the Sergeants Benevolent Association is aimed at getting those who normally would make videos of cops taking people into custody to put down their phones and actually get involved.

      “When you see an officer struggling, rather than take your cellphone out, assist the officer and you’ll receive an award of $500,” SBA president Ed Mullins told The Post.

      “Far too often, we see police officers engaged in violent struggles with perpetrators while members of the public stand by and take videos of the incident. This has got to stop, and hopefully this program will incentivize good Samaritans to do the right thing.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • California State Assembly Passes Nation’s Toughest Net Neutrality Law

      The legislation, which passed in a 59-18 vote, will now go to the Senate, where a vote is expected next week. It would then go to Governor Jerry Brown.

      [...]

      The bill prohibits internet providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or from selling speedier access to consumers. But the legislation also goes further than the FCC’s old rules, as it prohibits internet providers from charging access fees to websites to connect to their customers, and it bans certain types of “zero rating” offerings. The latter are practices in which companies like AT&T and Verizon offer plans that do not count affiliated content against data caps.

    • California tweaks President Trump’s nose with ‘strongest net neutrality bill’ in the US

      The bill will make it illegal for internet service providers or mobile operators in California to block or throttle internet traffic, or from selling speedier access to particular websites.

      It includes a ban on the practice of selling tariffs with access to particular websites that don’t count towards data caps. So-called ‘zero rating’ is most common among mobile providers.

    • California passes strongest net neutrality law in the country

      The bill was cleared with a final vote in the state Senate today, being approved 23-11. It passed in the State Assembly yesterday, after initially being approved in the Senate back in May. But the bill had changed in the ensuing months, so it needed to return to its chamber of origin today for final approval. The Electronic Frontier Foundation called the final legislation “a gold standard net neutrality bill.”

    • You Did It: California Net Neutrality Passes State Assembly

      After a long and hard-fought battle, one where you made your voices heard, California’s Assembly passed S.B. 822, the net neutrality bill. But we’re not quite done yet.

      In a bipartisan vote of 61-18, S.B. 822 passed the Assembly. Now it needs to pass the Senate again.

      ISPs have tried hard to gut and kill this bill, pouring money and robocalls into California. There was a moment where that campaign looked like it might have been successful, but you spoke out and got strong net neutrality protections restored. But that hiccup means that, although a version of the bill already passed in the California Senate, it’s now different enough from that initial version to have to be re-voted on.

    • What Does The Decentralized Web Need?

      In, among others, It Isn’t About The Technology, Decentralized Web Summit2018: Quick Takes and Special Report on Decentralizing the Internet I’ve been skeptical at considerable length about the prospect of a decentralized Web. I would really like the decentralized Web to succeed, so I admit I’m biased, just pessimistic.

       

      I was asked to summarize what would be needed for success apart from working technology (which we pretty much have)? My answer was four things:

    • Court Rules It’s Fine If FCC Wants To Deem Just One Available ISP As ‘Competition’

      So we’ve long discussed how the FCC (often under both parties) has a long and troubled history of ignoring the obvious competition problems in the United States broadband market. From the FCC’s $300 million broadband map that avoids mentioning prices and hallucinates competition and speeds, to the agency’s long-standing (and absurd) belief that just one connection in a census tract means the entire area is “served,” the government has gone to great lengths to help deep-pocketed telecom campaign contributors mask the width and depth of a problem that’s painfully obvious to U.S. consumers.

      Under the Ajit Pai FCC, this rose-colored glasses approach to data has only, unsurprisingly, intensified. The Pai FCC has been engaged in all manner of efforts to lower the definition of broadband in order to make it appear that residential broadband is more uniformly deployed than in actually is. That effort has been equally present in the even less competitive broadband business and special access market, where just a few ISPs hold regional monopolies over the high-speed lines connecting everything from cellular towers to your local ATM.

      When Ajit Pai came to power at the FCC, he immediately got to work scrapping previous FCC efforts to make this market more competitive. That included modifying the very definition of “competition.” Under the revised Pai FCC language, countless markets were suddenly deemed “competitive” if businesses had access to just one broadband provider. In response, impacted competitors and consumer groups filed an amicus curiae brief (pdf) urging the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to vacate the FCC’s rule changes.

    • Victory! California Passes Net Neutrality Bill

      California’s net neutrality bill, S.B. 822 has received a majority of votes in the Senate and is heading to the governor’s desk. In this fight, ISPs with millions of dollars to spend lost to the voice of the majority of Americans who support net neutrality. This is a victory that can be replicated.

      ISPs like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast hated this bill. S.B. 822 bans blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, classic ways that companies have violated net neutrality principles. It also incorporates much of what the FCC learned and incorporated into the 2015 Open Internet Order, preventing new assaults on the free and open Internet. This includes making sure companies can’t circumvent net neutrality at the point of interconnection within the state of California. It also prevents companies from using zero rating—the practice of not counting certain apps or services against a data limit—in a discriminatory way. That is to say that, say, there could be a plan where all media streaming services were zero-rated, but not one where just one was. One that had either paid for the privilege or one owned by the service provider. In that respect, it’s a practice much like discriminatory paid prioritization, where ISPs create fast lanes for those who can pay or for other companies they own.

      ISPs and their surrogates waged a war of misinformation on this bill. They argued that net neutrality made it impossible to invest in expanding and upgrading their service, even though they make plenty of money. Lobbying groups sent out robocalls that didn’t mention net neutrality—which remains overwhelmingly popular—merely mentioned the bill’s number and claimed, with no evidence, that it would force ISPs to raise their prices by $30. And they argued against the zero-rating provision when we know those practices disproportionately affect lower-income consumers [pdf].

      There was a brief moment in this fight when it looked like the ISPs had won. Amendments offered in the Assembly Committee on Communication and Conveyance after the bill had passed the California Senate mostly intact gutted the bill. But you made your voices heard again and again until the bill’s strength was restored and we turned opponents into supporters in the legislature.

  • DRM

    • Two Point Hospital’s Denuvo DRM Protection Cracked the Day Before Launch

      Denuvo, by its own admission, has never been more powerful than it is right now. It has access to near unlimited resources thanks to its acquisition by cybersecurity specialist Irdeto. Not even Denuvo could protect the Two Point Hospital development team against a major cock-up though.

      Two Point Hospital successfully had its Denuvo Anti-Tamper DRM protection circumvented a day before the game released. The blame for this is two-pronged.

      First of all, Two Point Hospital was released on both Windows and Linux via Steam on launch day. To put it simply, Denuvo doesn’t run on Linux, so rejigging the Linux executable was the first port of call for hackers, and helped save plenty of time.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • NAFTA Patents

      It will be interesting to see the extent that patents become an element in the negotiations. USTR is particularly calling on Mexico and Canada to pay more for prescription drugs.

    • Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharma USA, Inc.

      In Helsinn, the Supreme Court will focus on the new definitions of prior art found in the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011 (AIA). The language and history of Section 102(a)(1) suggest that the provision is limited only to prior art that is “available to the public.” However, pre-AIA precedent held that secret sales activity and commercial uses by the patentee could negate patentability. And nothing in the AIA directly addresses that old precedent.

    • US, Canada fall short of NAFTA deal, will resume talks next week

      The U.S. and Canada failed on Friday to reach a final deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) despite long discussions this week.The two nations plan to take up where they left off on Wednesday.

    • Undisclosed Conflict of Interest Causes Unenforceable Arbitration Clause, Disgorgement of Some Fees

      Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP v. J-M Mfg. Co. __ P.3d __ (Cal. Aug. 30, 2018) has been on a lot of people’s radar for while. Boiled down, the firm represented a J-M Mfg., in a qui tam action against a number of public entities while representing one of the public entities in an unrelated and small matter. The firm billed 10,000 hours in the qui tam action and 12 to the public entity, South Tahoe.

      South Tahoe moved to disqualify the firm, and that motion was granted over the firm’s argument that South Tahoe had agreed to a broad waiver of conflicts long before the matter for J-M had even existed.

      Later, J-M refused to pay the final $1 million of the $3 million the firm had billed it. The firm sought arbitration in accordance with its fee agreement with J-M, which also contained a broad waiver clause. In response, opposed arbitration and J-M sought disgorgement of the $2 million it had paid, since the firm had earned it while having a conflict of interest.

    • In re Maatita: Has the Court Radically Redesigned Design Patent Coverage?

      A U.S. design patent can only claim one design. Multiple embodiments of the same design may be claimed “only if they involve a single inventive concept according to the nonstatutory double patenting practice for designs.” MPEP § 1504.05.

      [...]

      To support its conclusion, the court conflated configuration and surface-ornamentation designs. According to the court, if a design for the surface ornamentation of a rug can be illustrated using a single “two-dimensional, plan- or planar-view,” there was no reason why a configuration design of indeterminate depth could not be so claimed, as long as it was clear what angle the ordinary viewer should view the design from. But surface-ornamentation and configuration are completely different types of designs. They should not be treated the same in all instances. The fact that an ordinary observer would view the surface-ornamentation design for a rug to be “the same” design (which is, after all, the test for infringement) whether it was used in a high-pile or low-pile rug does not mean that an ordinary observer would think that all of the shoe-sole designs claimed by Maatita were, in fact, “the same” design. Consider the examiner’s examples shown above. If a design patent claimed one of those, it wouldn’t be infringed by the others. If they’re not considered “the same” design for the purposes of infringement, they should not be considered “the same” design for the purposes of § 171.

      If Maatita is read as holding that a 3D design of indeterminate depth is, in fact, a single “design” under § 171, then the Federal Circuit has radically redefined the concept of a patentable “design” to a degree not seen since In re Zahn (I discuss that decision in Section III(A)(2) here). In Zahn, the CCPA said it was okay to claim a “design” for the configuration of just a portion of an article of manufacture. Post-Zahn, applicants could craft claims that would be infringed even if the overall shape of the article differed, as long as the claimed portion looked the same.

    • More on Maatita
    • FEDERAL CIRCUIT ALLOWS DESIGN PATENT WITH ONLY ONE DRAWING FIGURE

      Design patentees have finally caught a break. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in in re Maatita (No. 2017-2037, August 20, 2018) held that a single plan view of the bottom of a shoe satisfies the enablement and definiteness requirements of 35 U.S.C. § 112. This was the finding despite the fact – clearly recognized by the court – that the three-dimensional nature of the actual shoe bottom could not be determined from the sole drawing, i.e., many different 3D possibilities were covered by the design claim.

      [...]

      The only portions of the design that are claimed are in solid lines in the middle of the forefoot, highlighted here for convenience. The rest of the design is in broken lines, i.e., unclaimed.

    • Maggie Chon on IP and Critical Theories

      I tend to approach IP law primarily through a law-and-economics lens, but I enjoy learning about how scholars with different methodological toolkits tackle the same subject matter—especially when their work is clear and accessible. I was thus delighted to see a draft chapter by Margaret Chon, IP and Critical Methods, for the forthcoming Handbook on Intellectual Property Research (edited by Irene Calboli and Lillà Montagnani). Chon provides a concise review of critical legal theory and its application to IP law.

      According to Chon, critical theory includes a critique of liberal legal theory as based on the fallacy that legal institutions fairly reflect constituents’ interests (as reflected in the marketplace or ballot box). Instead, the interests of privileged or empowered social groups are over-represented, and institutions contribute to these inequalities to the extent that enduring change requires reimagining these institutions themselves. Of course, as she notes, “critical theory would not exist without some belief (however thin) that law and legal systems contain some of the tools necessary for structural transformation.”

      Chon argues that one need not be a self-identified Crit to engage in critical methodology, and that many IP scholars have stepped closer to critical method by moving from doctrinal to structural analysis, and by “perform[ing] this structural analysis with attention to power disparities.” And she gives a number of examples of the influence of critical theory across different areas of IP.

    • Amgen Inc. v. Hospira, Inc. (D. Del. 2018)

      Earlier this week, Judge Richard G. Andrews, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Delaware decided a veritable plethora of post-trial motions (by both parties) in Amgen Inc. v. Hospira, Inc. (he denied them all). These included Hospira’s Rule 50(a) Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law on the Issues of Safe Harbor, Noninfringement, Invalidity, and Damages and related briefing, Hospira’s Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law Under Rule 50(b) and, in the Alternative, For Remittitur or New Trial Under Rule 59 and related briefing, Hospira’s Motion to Seal Confidential Exhibits Admitted at Trial and related briefing, Amgen’s Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law of Infringement of the ’349 Patent or, in the Alternative, for a New Trial and related briefing, and Amgen’s Motion for Prejudgment and Post-judgment Interest and related briefing. Of note is the basis for the Court’s denial of Hospira’s safe harbor motion under the provisions of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA).

    • New Paper Looks At Differential Protection For Traditional Knowledge, Folklore

      The protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions (folklore) has been escaping consensus at the World Intellectual Property Organization for many years. One of the reasons for this lack of agreement is the particular nature of traditional knowledge and folklore. Some years ago, a new concept, calling for a different protection according to the degree of diffusion of this knowledge, gained support. A new paper looks into the benefits of this approach and its implementation in local contexts.

      The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) based in Canada recently issued a paper [pdf] on the tiered or differentiated approach to traditional knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs). It is authored by Chidi Oguamanam, CIGI senior fellow and expert in global intellectual property law and policy frameworks, and representing Nigeria at the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC).

    • Trademarks

      • Trademark filings on the rise since new law

        One year ago, government held a ceremonial conference to commemorate the Department of Tourism and Cayman Airways filing to protect the Sir Turtle logo, becoming the first entities to brand under the new Trade Marks Law.

        Since then, 620 other applications have been filed at the Cayman Islands Intellectual Property Office, nearly double the roughly 300 trademarks filed per year before that.

      • Monster Energy Loses Trademark Opposition With Monsta Pizza In The UK

        For readers of this site, we writers would simply need to utter the name “Monster Energy” to get their eyes rolling. The makers of energy beverages have been notorious in their trademark bullying habits and have built a reputation for being both blowhards and litigious. If one actually reviews our stories about the company, however, these bullying attempts just as often lead to pushback and losses for Monster Energy. And now it seems we have another such instance on our hands.

        A little over a year ago, a pizza joint in the UK applied to register its business name, Monsta Pizza, as a trademark. Monster Energy, which again I will point out makes drinks and not pizza, immediately opposed the registration, citing its own trademarks and claiming that the public would somehow be confused. A year and lots of legal fees later, the trademark office has finally ruled that Monster Energy’s opposition is denied and Monsta Pizza’s mark will be granted. The pizza company will not need to change any of its branding moving forward. Monster Energy has also been ordered to pay some of Monsta Pizza’s legal fees.

    • Copyrights

      • Disney Fixes Its Sketchy DVD Rental License, Wins Injunction Against Redbox Over Digital Downloads

        Earlier this year we wrote about Disney’s silly lawsuit against Redbox. If you don’t recall, Redbox, whose main business was renting DVDs out of kiosks started also offering digital download codes that could be purchased at their kiosks. What Redbox did, was it would buy Disney “combo packs” (that came with both a DVD and a download code) and would offer up just the slip of paper with the code out of its kiosks. This seems like perfectly reasonable first sale rights. A legitimate code was purchased, and then resold.

        When we wrote about the case back in February, it involved the court smacking down Disney, and even saying that the company was engaged in “copyright misuse” in overclaiming what copyright allowed the company to do. Later in that ruling, the court also rejected Disney’s claim that Redbox was in breach of a contract by saying that the text Disney prints on the box (at the time: “codes are not for sale or transfer”) was not actually a contract. Of course, as we noted at the time, the court’s language made it clear that slightly different language could fix this.

      • Yandex Refuses to Remove Pirate Content: Blocking Imminent, Despite Appeal (Updated)

        The video portal of Russian search giant Yandex will be blocked today on the orders of the Moscow City Court after the company refused to remove links to pirated content. Yandex says the order is unlawful and will launch an appeal but the local telecoms watchdog is already warning of potential over-blocking that could affect all of Yandex’s services.

      • This Music Theory Professor Just Showed How Stupid and Broken Copyright Filters Are

        With a new vote looming for the proposal in the EU Parliament, one German music professor has perfectly illustrated how automated copyright filters repeatedly fail.

        German music professor Ulrich Kaiser this week wrote about a troubling experiment he ran on YouTube. As a music theory teacher, Kaiser routinely works to catalog a collection of public domain recordings he maintains online in order to teach his students about Beethoven and other classical music composers.

        [...]

        Google’s Content ID is the result of more than $100 million in investment funds and countless development hours. Yet Kaiser found the system was largely incapable of differentiating between copyrighted music and content in the public domain. And the appeals process that Google has erected to tackle these false claims wasn’t any better.

      • US Supreme Court Petitioned to Fix Repeat Infringer ‘DMCA Disarray’

        Adult content producer Ventura Content has petitioned the court to clarify how and when the DMCA protects online services from piracy liability. According to Ventura, the lower courts have “given birth to a new monster,” the online service provider that is “brazenly rich only from others’ content.”

      • BREIN Shuts Down Usenet Indexing Community, Settles With Operators

        Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN has claimed another scalp on the piracy front. Place2Home was the largest Usenet community in the Netherlands but has now closed its doors. After successfully shutting down its torrent-focused sister site back in May, BREIN has now reached settlements with the operators of both platforms.

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