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09.24.18

Links 24/9/2018: Linux 4.19 RC5 From Greg Kroah-Hartman, OpenShot 2.4.3 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • We’re inching closer to DaaS Windows

      Today’s Windows isn’t your dad’s Windows. Microsoft is finally acknowledging that IT professionals are fed up with Windows 10’s binannual major release cadence. So, to address this, it has come up with several new ideas, one of which comes straight out of the Ubuntu Linux desktop playbook.

    • Windows update problems: Microsoft reveals why recent patches broke some PCs

      Microsoft is preparing to rerelease a two-year old update for Windows 7 that’s necessary to avoid ‘error 0x8000FFFF’ when installing its latest security updates.

      If your organization’s Windows 7 PCs failed to install Microsoft’s two most recent monthly rollup updates or the September security-only update, it’s because the affected systems were missing a servicing stack update (SSU) that Microsoft released in October 2016.

    • Linux or Windows: 25 Things You Must Know While Choosing The Best Platform

      Choosing the best platform – Linux or Windows is complicated. Because both the system is versatile and capable of doing many mission-oriented and regular task. So if I ask you which one is the best system between Linux and Windows? On this topic, you can start an ever ending discussion. Windows OS is the most used operating system in the desktop world, no doubt in this statement, but “most used” can’t prove itself to be the best option in a bigger prospect.

      We all know that cigarette is one of the “most used” consumer product in the world but still, it’s not good for health. It’s challenging to leave smoking because people are habituated with this addiction. So why I have given this example which is entirely off topic? Because we all know, humanity is a slave of habit, and accordingly, most of the users are quite habituated with the use of a Windows system for quite a long time. Now they can’t leave it just like smoking. If a bird remains in a case, how will it enjoy freedom? Even one day the bird will forget, he can fly.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Reiser4 File-System Is Now Available For The Linux 4.18 Kernel

      It took several weeks past the initial stable debut of the Linux 4.18 kernel, but the Reiser4 file-system has now been updated to work with this new kernel build.

    • The Next Linux Kernel To Support Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 Sound Cards

      The next major Linux kernel cycle whether it is called Linux 4.20 or ends up being called Linux 5.0 as expected is now slated to carry support for the high-end Creative Labs’ Sound BlasterX AE-5 sound card.

      Earlier this week I reported on Linux patches for the Sound BlasterX AE-5 coming from a contributor. The AE-5 is a ~$150 PCI Express sound card with SABRE32 Ultra Class DAC, BlasterX Acoustic Engine, and other high-end audio features and for suiting to gamers/enthusiasts also has an RGB lighting controller onboard.

    • Linux 4.19-rc5

      As almost everyone knows, it’s been an “interesting” week from a social
      point-of-view. But from the technical side, -rc5 looks totally normal.

      The diffstat is a bit higher than previous -rc5′s, but the number of
      trees pulled is lower, so overall, pretty much all is on track. I’m not
      seeing any major “these bugs are not being fixed!” type of reports, so I
      can hope that the initial churn that -rc1 threw at everyone is under
      control.

      The majority size-wise of changes here are with more tests being added
      and fixed up, but there is also the usual networking, x86, sound, drm,
      ppc, and other fixes. Full details are in the shortlog below.

    • Greg Kroah-Hartman Releases Linux 4.19-RC5 Following An “Interesting” Week
    • Linux developers threaten to pull “kill switch”

      Linux powers the internet, the Android in your pocket, and perhaps even some of your household appliances. A controversy over politics is now seeing some of its developers threatening to withdraw the license to all of their code, potentially destroying or making the whole Linux kernel unusable for a very long time.

    • Linux Developers Threaten to Pull “Kill Switch” [iophk: "lynch mobs used as catspaws to attack and destroy FOSS projects”]

      All is not well in the Linux community: Linus Torvalds’s apology for “unprofessional behavior” and leave this week was accompanied by the adoption of a new Code of Conduct (CoC), which is being described by some as an insidious attempt by social justice warriors to wrestle power away from contributors they don’t agree with. The CoC appears to shift Linux’s long-standing culture based around meritocracy to a “safe space” that prioritizes inclusion rather than skill. Some developers believe this will destroy the foundations of Linux and are “threatening to withdraw the license to all of their code.”

    • On holy wars, and a plea for peace

      I’m writing now, from all of that experience and with all that perspective, about the recent flap over the new CoC and the attempt to organize a mass withdrawal of creator permissions from the kernel.

      I’m going to try to keep my personal feelings about this dispute off the table, not because I don’t have any but because I think I serve us all better by speaking as neutrally as I can.

    • The “Chinese EPYC” Hygon Dhyana CPU Support Still Getting Squared Away For Linux

      Back in June is when the Linux kernel patches appeared for the Hygon Dhyana, the new x86 processors based on AMD Zen/EPYC technology licensed by Chengdu Haiguang IC Design Co for use in Chinese data-centers. While the patches have been out for months, they haven’t reached the mainline kernel quite yet but that might change next cycle.

      The Hygon Dyhana Linux kernel patches have gone through several revisions and the code is mostly adapting existing AMD Linux kernel code paths for Zen/EPYC to do the same on these new processors. While these initial Hygon CPUs appear to basically be re-branded EPYC CPUs, the identifiers are different as rather than AMD Family 17h, it’s now Family 18h and the CPU Vendor ID is “HygonGenuine” and carries a new PCI Express device vendor ID, etc. So the different areas of the kernel from CPUFreq to KVM/Xen virtualization to Spectre V2 mitigations had to be updated for the correct behavior.

    • My code of conduct

      There are many “code of conduct” documents. Often they differ a lot. I have my own and it is probably the shortest one:

      Do not be an asshole. Respect the others.

      Simple. I do not care which gender people have when I speak with them (ok, may stare at your boobs or butt once) nor their sexual preferences. Colour of the skin does not matter as most of my friends I first met online without knowing anything about them. Political stuff? As long as we can be friends and do not discuss it I am fine. Etc etc.

      It works on conferences. And in projects where I am/was involved.

      Someone may say that part of it was shaped by working for corporation (is Red Hat corpo?) due to all those no harassment regulations and trainings. I prefer to think that it is more of how I was raised by parents, family and society.

    • Sharp did it again

      I have written about a certain Sarah Sharp (now Sage Sharp) and their attacks on Linus. As everyone knows by now, the Linux Kernel Team has decided to adopt a Code of Conduct – and without failure and according to the expectations of many – within the shortest time the CoC was used not in the intended way to create a positive atmosphere, but to attack fellow developers, in this case Ted Tso.

      [...]

      I have contacted the Linux Foundation to cut any ties with SShape, because the posting alone is against the very idea of the CoC: it is ad personam, it is derogatory, and it is public harassment. I even consider it on the border line of legality to call someone out in this way.

      This is what one gets from a combination of radical feminists paired with a CoC of this style.

    • After Linus Torvalds, SJWs are now coming for Ted Ts’o

      More than a week after Linux creator Linus Torvalds said he would be taking a break from leading kernel development, it is still unclear as to what actually led to his decision. But one thing is crystal clear: the social justice warriors, who played a role in what happened, are now targeting another kernel developer, Ted Ts’o, who works for Google.

      Was it the article in The New Yorker, as its author claimed, that led to Torvalds stepping down? Or was it pressure from kernel maintainers who were annoyed that Torvalds had bungled his schedules and planned a family vacation at the time when the maintainers summit was supposed to be held?

      It is clear from the article in The New Yorker that the whole aim of what was essentially a hit job, and far from the usual standards that this august publication maintains, was to try and draw a connection between Torvalds’ habit of abusive emails and the #MeToo movement. Cohen even managed to work the word in: “Many women who contribute to Linux point to another open-source project, Python, as a guide for Linux as its faces its #MeToo moment.”

    • Linux devs threaten to pull contributions

      Open source legend Eric Raymond says threat is real as culture wars rear their ugly head.

      Open source legend Eric S Raymond has weighed in on governance of the Linux Kernel after developers threatened to withdraw their code from the OS.

      The nub of the issue is a new code of conduct the project adopted last week in the wake of founder Linus Torvalds standing down as overseer as the project. Torvalds and current kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartmann proposed the new Code of Conduct (CoC) after Torvalds admitted some of his behavior has damaged the kernel development community. He’s therefore stepped aside from his role as kernel maintainer for a time to seek assistance on how to better understand co-workers’ emotions.

    • Linux community acts after years of complaints

      SUSE employee and Network World contributor Bryan Lunduke said Sharp’s loss is “a bummer” but argued that her departure does not necessarily reflect badly on the kernel community.

      “[N]ot everyone likes a politically correct work environment,” he said. “Not everyone will enjoy working in every environment, but my perception is that most working on the kernel enjoy doing so.”

      Lunduke admitted, however, that Sharp’s departure is not going to help the image of Linux developers.

      “It’s definitely not the greatest publicity in the world,” he said.

    • Graphics Stack

      • In-Progress AMDGPU Updates For Linux 4.20~5.0 Have DC Update, New Polaris ID

        -
        Last week AMD sent in their big feature pull request of AMDGPU driver changes to DRM-Next for the Linux 4.20 (or what will likely be Linux 5.0) and since then more changes have been queuing in their work-in-progress branch.

        That last pull request was a big one with AMD Raven2 support, AMD Picasso APU enablement, more Vega 20 upbringing work including initial xGMI support, AMDKFD merging into AMDGPU, VCN JPEG engine support, GPUVM virtual memory improvements, and various other changes as outlined in the aforelinked article.

      • VMware’s SVGA Gallium3D Driver Enables OpenGL 3.3 Compatibility Profile Support

        In preparation for the upcoming VMware Fusion 11 and VMware Workstation 15 releases, their Mesa/Gallium3D-based driver stack for Linux guest GPU acceleration has been seeing a variety of updates.

        Earlier this month was a big code push including many new features to its “SVGA” Gallium3D driver like MSAA, a various assortment of new OpenGL extensions, and other changes in step with their latest “VMWGFX” Linux kernel DRM drivers.

      • Sway 1.0 Alpha 6 Released, Now Supports Moving/Resizing Tiled Windows With The Mouse

        Released on Friday was the sixth alpha release of the upcoming Sway 1.0 Wayland compositor release that still strives for compatibility with the i3 window manager workflow.

        Sway 1.0 has already added a ton of new functionality like using the new wlroots Wayland library, output rotation, fractional scaling, daisy-changed DisplayPort monitors, better HiDPI support, DMA-BUF additions for screenshot capture and real-time video capturing, atomic additions, floating window improvements, better multi-GPU support, virtual keyboard protocol support, and a heck of a lot more.

      • CLVK Is Piping OpenCL On Top Of Vulkan

        The concept has been talked about before and there has been some previous work in this direction while “CLVK” is a newly-established effort for getting OpenCL running on top of Vulkan drivers.

        The challenge of OpenCL on Vulkan might not be as big as it seems to an outside observer considering both modern OpenCL and Vulkan rely on the SPIR-V intermediate representation, etc. There is also a plethora of tooling catering both to these compute and graphics APIs like clspv, which this CLVK project happens to rely upon as its compiler.

    • Benchmarks

      • Folding@Home Performance Is Looking Good On The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti

        Yesterday I published a number of CUDA and OpenCL benchmarks for the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card that happened to show the very strong GPU compote potential for this new Turing GPU. Another workload with promising potential for this powerful but pricey graphics card is Folding@Home.

        Folding@Home was accidentally left out of yesterday’s RTX 2080 Ti CUDA/OpenCL comparison with simply forgetting to add the FAHBench test profile to the run queue. But as there is often interest in seeing the FAHBench performance on new GPUs by at least a few of the premium enablers, I ran some extra tests just looking at the Folding@Home performance and here are those results today.

      • Ubuntu 18.10 Performance Is Looking Up, But Clear Linux Still Leads In Many Tests

        With less than one month until Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” releases, I have begun my usual benchmarking dance in checking out how the Ubuntu performance is looking to its current release, in this case the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver”. Our first performance look at Ubuntu 18.10 is with a mix of seven Intel and AMD desktop systems while using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with all updates, Ubuntu 18.10 in its current near-final form, and using Intel’s Clear Linux as a gold standard reference with it generally offering the leading out-of-the-box Linux x86_64 performance of major distributions.

      • Ethereum Crypto Mining Performance Benchmarks On The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti

        Over the past few days since receiving the RTX 2080 Ti “Turing” graphics card I have been running many different Linux benchmarks on this card, but one area I hadn’t explored until having the time this weekend was to checkout the cryptocurrency mining potential, which I tried out with the CUDA support in Ethereum’s Ethminer.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Happy 20th anniversary, KDevelop

        20 years of getting feature by feature, sometimes first of its kind, being partially rewritten, getting ported from Qt1 to Qt2 to Qt3 to Qt4 to now Qt5, being made run on non-Linux platforms, seeing hand-overs of maintainers.
        At its 20th anniversary KDevelop, now to be called an extensible cross-platform IDE for C, C++, Python, PHP and other languages, continues to provide developers a very reliable and powerful environment to get their code work done. While being inviting to enhance their tool, KDevelop, itself, being a FLOSS software and with no company agenda attached.

      • KDE’s Dolphin File Manager Can Now Show LibreOffice Document Previews

        Coming to KDE Applications 18.12, the Dolphin file manager will finally be able to show LibreOffice document previews as the icons.

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 37

        Next week, your name could be in this list! Just check out https://community.kde.org/Get_Involved, and find out how you can help be a part of something that really matters. You don’t have to already be a programmer. I wasn’t when I got started. Try it, you’ll like it! We don’t bite!

      • Good Support For Wayland Remote Desktop Handling On Track For KDE Plasma 5.15

        The KDE Plasma 5.15 release due out next year will likely be in good shape for Wayland remote desktop handling.

        The KDE Plasma/KWin developers have been pursuing Wayland remote desktop support along a similar route to the GNOME Shell camp by making use of PipeWire and the XDG-Desktop-Portal. Bits are already in place for KDE Plasma 5.13 and the upcoming 5.14 release, but for the 5.15 release is now where it sounds like the support may be in good shape for end-users.

      • Guerilla UX Testing, and Other Experiences From Akademy

        It’s about a month now since the end of Akademy 2018 and I’ve finally found the time to write up some of my impressions from my favorite event of every year, and to encourage all of you to embrace both your inner User Experience (UX) Researcher and your inner guerilla.

      • Akademy 2018: I was there! part 2

        As you may know, a little more than a month ago Akademy happened at the beautiful place of Vienna. On my first post, I told you about how I was freaking out before giving my talk about Atelier.

        So, to continue my history, on the following days of Akademy, Tomaz brought his printer from Munich so we could test Atelier and try to dig up what we need to do to improve it.

        [...]

        After that fix, Akademy was happening really fast for me. We had Atelier BoF, and as in my talk, I was amazed at all the people that have shown interest in the project and the willingness to help us. Tomaz and I received a few inputs, and we are working with Chris and Patrick on how to achieve them and the goals of this project.

        Sometimes I don’t believe that I was out there, far from my house and my boyfriend to konquer the world. However, since the internet era, we have all this amazing technology that can record people talking, I had my talk record and it’s alive on youtube. And yes, I still don’t have the courage to watch.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • LAS 2018

        This month I was at my second Libre Application Summit in Denver. A smaller event than GUADEC but personally was my favorite conference so far.

        One of the main goals of LAS has been to be a place for multiple platforms to discuss the desktop space and not just be a GNOME event. This year two KDE members, @aleixpol and Albert Astals Cid, who spoke about release cycle of KDE Applications, Plasma, and the history of Qt. It is always interesting to see how another project solves the same problems and where there is overlap.

        The elementary folks were there since this is @cassidyjames home turf who had a great “It’s Not Always Techincal” talk as well as a talk with @danrabbit about AppCenter which are both very important areas the GNOME Project needs to improve in. I also enjoyed meeting a few other community members such as @Philip-Scott and talk about their use of elementary’s platform.

      • Developer Center Initiative – Meeting Summary 21st September

        Since last blog post there’s been two Developer Center meetings held in coordination with LAS GNOME Sunday the 9th September and again Friday the 21st September. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the LAS GNOME meeting, but I’ll cover the general progress made here.

      • Meg Ford: LAS GNOME

        The 2018 edition of the LAS GNOME conference happened two weeks ago. I arrived in time for the second day of talks, and left early Sunday.

        The conference was small but the group was energized and the talks were engaging. The group was made up of local GNOMErs, developers and designers from the US free software community, developers from KDE, and local students, among others. I was very impressed by the hard work of the volunteers. The weather in Denver was very nice. The venue was a beautiful old mansion situated close to downtown.

      • Libre Application Summit 2018

        Libre Application Summit wants to be a place for all people involved in doing Free Software applications to meet and share ideas, though being almost organized by GNOME it had a some skew towards GNOME/flatpak. There was a good presence of KDE, but personally I felt that we would have needed more people at least from LibreOffice, Firefox and someone from the Ubuntu/Canonical/Snap field (don’t get annoyed at you if I failed to mention your group).

        The Summit was kicked off by a motivational talk on how to make sure we’re ride the wave of “Open Source as won but people don’t know it”. I felt the content of the talk was nice but the speaker was hit by some issues (not being able to have the laptop in front of her due to the venue being a bit weirdly layouted) that sadly made her speech a bit too stumbly.

      • I want to talk to the (Font) Manager

        You like fonts, don’t you? Well, we all do. So what happens if you want to install a fresh new font in your Linux distribution, and that distribution happens to be running, say, a Gnome desktop environment? You will have probably noticed that the font management facility available in the system settings tool is rather limited.

        First, there’s the actual issue of how to handle fonts in the first place – Gnome Tweak Tool – and then, you only have the ability to select from the existing range of fonts, but not really install any new ones. At the moment, it would seem, your one option is to manually copy font files into either the system or home directory fonts folder. Well, there’s a better way. Meet GTK+ Font Manager. Manager, meet your new user.

      • Philip Chimento: JavaScript news from GNOME 3.30

        Welcome back to the latest news on GJS, the Javascript engine that powers GNOME Shell, Endless OS, and many GNOME apps.

        I haven’t done one of these posts for several versions now, but I think it’s a good tradition to continue. GNOME 3.30 has been released for several weeks now, and while writing this post I just released the first bugfix update, GJS 1.54.1. Here’s what’s new!

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Review: Bodhi Linux 5.0.0

        Sometimes when reviewing an operating system it is difficult to separate the question “Is this a good distribution?” from “Is this a good distribution for me?” Bodhi is one of those projects where the answers to these questions are quite different, mostly over matters of style rather than functionality. On a personal level, I don’t think I would ever be inclined to use Bodhi myself because I don’t like the Moksha/Enlightenment style of desktop. It does a lot of little things differently (not badly, just differently) from other open source desktops and its style is not one I ever seem to find comfortable. This, combined with the streamlined, web-based AppCenter and unusual settings panel, makes Bodhi a distribution which always feels a bit alien to me.

        Let’s put aside my personal style preferences though and try to look at the distribution objectively. Bodhi is trying to provide a lightweight, visually attractive distribution with a wide range of hardware support. It manages to do all of these things and do them well. The distribution is paying special attention to lower-end hardware, including 32-bit systems, and maintains a remarkably small memory footprint given the amount of functionality and eye candy included. Most lightweight distributions sacrifice quite a bit visually in order to provide the lightest interface possible, but Bodhi does a nice job of balancing low resource requirements with an attractive desktop environment.

        Bodhi is pleasantly easy to install, thanks to the Ubiquity installer, has a minimal collection of software (in the main edition) that allows us to craft our own experience and, for people who need more applications out of the box, there is the AppPack edition.

        All of this is to say that, for me personally, I spent more time that I would have liked this week searching through settings, trying to get used to how Moksha’s panel works, tracking down less popular applications and re-learning when to use right-click versus left-click on the desktop. But, objectively, I would be hard pressed to name another distribution that more elegantly offers a lightweight desktop with visual effects, or that offers such easy access to both legacy and modern hardware support. In short, I think Bodhi Linux is a good distribution for those who want to get the most performance out of their operating system without sacrificing hardware support or the appearance of the interface. There are a few little glitches here and there, but sothing show-stopping and, overall, Bodhi is a well put together distribution.

    • New Releases

      • Solus 3.9999 ISO Refresh Released: Download The Modern Linux Distro Here

        While the release of Solus 4 isn’t around the corner for some time, the developers of this neat-looking and fast Linux distro have gone ahead and pushed a Solus 3 ISO refresh. They’ve called it Solus 3.9999.

        Since it’s an ISO refresh, it goes without saying that Solus 3.9999 ships with all the recent updates and security fixes released in the recent past. This makes it great for any new user who wishes to perform a fresh installation of Solus on a computer.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • My Open-Source Activities from April to August 2018

        Welcome readers, this is a infrequently updated post series that logs my activities within open-source communities. I want my work to be as transparent as possible in order to promote open governance, a policy feared even by some “mighty” nations.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu releases Mir 1.0.0

            Last week, the Ubuntu community announced the release of Mir 1.0.0, a fast, open and secure display server. The important highlights of this release are support for the Wayland xdg-shell (stable) extension and improved facilities for customizing display layouts.

            Mir is a system-level component that can be used to unlock next-generation user experiences. It runs on a range of Linux powered devices including traditional desktops, IoT and embedded products.

          • Saying Something Suitable in September

            So far the folks in the Ubuntu Podcast Chatter group have seen bits and pieces stating that I have been fussing over a Mythbuntu installation. It has been rough. I have two aerials in place connected to HDHomeRun Duo boxes. There is some reception of local stations. The problem with this is that I’ve had to put the antennae in the garage. When you understand that my part of northeast Ohio is essentially life in the deciduous forest, you’ll also understand that the main Directv dish also is mounted on the garage as it had the only vantage point with a clear shot to the satellite(s). Eventually I will make further progress.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu Studio 18.10 Wallpaper Contest Winners

              We would like to thank everyone who participated in our wallpaper contest for Ubuntu Studio 18.10! With 487 votes, the top 5 submissions were chosen. The winners can be found at this link.

              Additionally, we’d like to announce the new default wallpaper for 18.10, designed by Ubuntu Studio developer Eylul Dogruel, and is pictured to the right.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenCV 4.0 Alpha Released Now As A C++ Library, DNN Improvements, Better Performance

    OpenCV, the popular Open-Source Computer Vision real-time library, is nearing its big “4.0″ release with a number of improvements for this widely-used library.

  • Sculpt OS With “Visual Composition” Posted For Latest Genode OS

    The Genode open-source operating system framework written from scratch with a micro-kernel design has been working on Sculpt OS as a general purpose operating system. This week the project reached its latest milestone.

    The third version of Sculpt OS is now available, “Sculpt with Visual Composition”, which as part of this latest goal is working on transitioning more of their offerings from text-based user-interfaces to a GUI for administrative tasks. The text-based user interfaces will be maintained for those interested.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome Now Logs all Google Users Into the Browser. Should You Care?

        I understand where Green is coming from, particularly after he clicked no for so long. But if this is the moment that Google leverages its browser in an unseemly way, I’m not seeing it. Sync isn’t enabled by default, meaning there’s not much of a change for users from a practical privacy standpoint. Green disagrees, because he’s seeing settings now that he didn’t have to think about before. But Google isn’t seeing any more or less of his data now than before, and won’t unless users opt in.

    • Mozilla

      • New Firefox browser bug causes crashes on Windows, Mac and Linux

        Only a week after disclosing a new web code exploit that can cause an iPhone to crash, security researcher Sabri Haddouche, has uncovered another browser bug that can force Firefox to crash on all three popular desktop operating systems – Mac, Linux and Windows – reports ZDNet.

      • Firefox bug crashes your browser and sometimes your PC

        A security researcher who two weeks ago found a bug that could crash all WebKit-based apps on iPhones, iPads, and Macs, has now discovered another browser bug that can crash Firefox browsers, and sometimes the entire operating system underneath it.

      • This Firefox Bug Can Crash Your Browser On Windows, Mac, And Linux

        Security researcher Sabri Haddouche has found a bug in the Firefox web browser that can crash the browser and also the entire operating system running underneath.

        As reported by ZDNet, this Firefox bug can force the browser to crash on all the three popular desktop platforms — Mac, Linux, and Windows.

      • Watch Out: This Nasty Bug Will Crash Your Browser

        The attack, termed “Browser Reaper,” was created by security researcher Sabri Haddouche. Haddouche has created a website containing buttons that will crash Chrome, Safari, and Firefox on command, as well as Safari iOS and Chrome OS. The Chrome version also crashes Microsoft Edge, according to some Twitter users.

        Clicking one of Haddouche’s buttons prompts a file with an “extremely long file name” to download onto the victim’s computer once every millisecond. This floods the inter-process communication channel, the processes an operating system uses to respond to user requests. This all causes your browser to become unresponsive, or even crash.

      • New Firefox bug found capable of crashing your browser and operating system

        Bugs that shut down certain applications like a web browser are not uncommon, but those that can also crash your PC is a bit more worrying. That’s what a new bug found in Firefox is capable of, as revealed by Sabri Haddouche, a software engineer and security researcher who also recently disclosed a vulnerability that could crash an iPhone and freeze Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Internet Explorer.

      • This Firefox bug may crash the browser and your operating system

        A newly discovered bug in the desktop version of the Firefox web browser may crash the browser and under certain circumstances the entire operating system.

        Discovered and revealed by security researcher Sabri Haddouche, the bug causes the Firefox web browser to crash when a specifically prepared website is loaded in the web browser.

        What happens then depends on the operating system. Firefox displays the browser’s Crash Reporter prompt on Linux and Mac OS X which may be used to inform Mozilla about the crash and to restart Firefox.

      • Firefox DoS bug is causing browser to crash on Mac, Linux and Windows

        A DENIAL OF SERVICE (DoS) bug is causing Mozilla’s Firefox to freeze and, in some cases, bork the entire operating system underneath it.

        Uncovered by Sabri Haddouche, a software engineer and security researcher at encrypted instant messaging app Wire, the bug can cause Firefox to crash on all major desktop operating systems – Mac, Linux and Windows.

      • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 45
  • Databases

    • Postgres 11 – a First Look

      Postgres 11 is almost here, in fact the latest beta shipped today, and it features a lot of exciting improvements. If you want to get the full list of features it is definitely worth checking out the release notes, but for those who don’t read the release notes I put together a run down of some what I consider the highlight features.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • WLinux: Windows 10 Gets Its Own Exclusive Linux Distro

      Ubuntu, Debian, and Kali are some of the popular Linux distros available out there for Windows Subsystem for Linux. But, most of these distros contain packages that are irrelevant to WSL and lack development tools. How about a distro that is optimized specially for Windows 10?

    • New Linux Distro Created Specifically for Windows 10

      The Windows Subsystem for Linux allows users to run Linux distributions on top of Windows 10, and at this point, there are already several choices for users who want to try out this feature.

      In addition to Ubuntu, Debian, and Kali, beginning today, Windows 10 adopters are provided with a new Linux distro that’s specifically optimized for the WSL.

      Called WLinux, this new Linux distro is focused on the packages that are relevant to WSL, as well as the customizations to take full advantage of this Windows 10 feature.

    • Windows 10 now has its own exclusive Linux distro — WLinux

      There are a number of Linux distros available for the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), including Ubuntu, openSUSE Leap 42, Debian GNU/Linux, and Kali Linux.

    • AI and HPC GPU Acceleration Benefit from Open Source Efforts [Ed: openwashing and AI-washing by AMD]
  • BSD

    • pfSense 2.4.4-RELEASE now available

      We are excited to announce the release of pfSense® software version 2.4.4, now available for new installations and upgrades!

      pfSense software version 2.4.4 brings security patches, numerous new features, support for new Netgate hardware models, and stability fixes for issues present in previous pfSense 2.4.x branch releases.

      pfSense 2.4.4-RELEASE updates and installation images are available now!

    • MagicPoint presentation foils
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • An open source resistance takes shape as tech giants race to map the world

        Gowda and a few other contributors from India are part of a tiny yet growing resistance movement which doesn’t want giant corporations to own all the mapping data. For the average consumer, this may not seem like a big deal. But mapping is big business.

        The market opportunity for suppliers of mapping to the autonomous car industry is going to be worth over $24 billion by 2050, according to one estimate (pdf). And that’s just one industry. A study commissioned by Google in 2015 estimated that industries that run on top of the Global Positioning Satellite Systems and mapping generate nearly $73 billion in annual revenue. Worldwide, that industry is was estimated to generate $150- $270 billion in revenues. Although new research isn’t available, with growing smartphone usage and the birth of companies such as Uber and many others it is safe to assume that the industry has only grown bigger. All the more reason why map data can’t be held by only a few companies.

  • Programming/Development

    • Never use the word “User” in your code

      To begin with, no software system actually has “users”. At first glance “user” is a fine description, but once you look a little closer you realize that your business logic actually has more complexity than that.

    • How many programming languages have you used?

      In the 1940s, Grace Hopper was in the Navy Reserves doing programming at the machine level, bit by bit. She realized how limiting it was for humans to use a language meant for machines and wanted to radically change the process by which we program. Without a change, she knew that computing would never reach its potential.

      “Once humans could learn to speak programming languages and once compilers began translating our intentions into machine language, it was like opening the floodgates,” says the host of the Command Line Heroes podcast, Saren Yetbarek.

      Learn more about Grace Hopper and why there are so many programming languages, plus history on the first open source compiler, by listening to Episode 2 of Command Line Heroes Season 2.

    • Writing Solar System Simulations with NAIF SPICE and SpiceyPy

      Someone asked me about my Javascript Jupiter code, and whether it used PyEphem. It doesn’t, of course, because it’s Javascript, not Python (I wish there was something as easy as PyEphem for Javascript!); instead it uses code from the book Astronomical Formulae for Calculators by Jean Meeus. (His better known Astronomical Algorithms, intended for computers rather than calculators, is actually harder to use for programming because Astronomical Algorithms is written for BASIC and the algorithms are relatively hard to translate into other languages, whereas Astronomical Formulae for Calculators concentrates on explaining the algorithms clearly, so you can punch them into a calculator by hand, and this ends up making it fairly easy to implement them in a modern computer language as well.)

      Anyway, the person asking also mentioned JPL’s page HORIZONS Ephemerides page, which I’ve certainly found useful at times. Years ago, I tried emailing the site maintainer asking if they might consider releasing the code as open source; it seemed like a reasonable request, given that it came from a government agency and didn’t involve anything secret. But I never got an answer.

Leftovers

  • The Carrot & The Font Letter

    I have spent some times reading articles online – there’s this on Fedora, but curiously not the hat but an operating system, and this on Linux Mint – both of which highlight the change over the years and the associated difficulties. Then, I’ve also come across this other example that shows that Fedora (again, not the hat) can be relatively easily and quickly altered to use superior fonts. I have many more examples, but I do not wish to detract from the message, which is already running somewhat long.

    I believe there should be a single golden standard on font rendering – there can be differences in types, sizes and ultimately some relevant artistic choices – that dictates certain viewability guidelines to help the wider distroworld (is that the right term) achieve a commonality of good experience for its users. Primarily, there should be more focus and usability studies into ergonomic issues around font rendering, as well as the use of high-contrast black fonts with optimal anti-aliasing settings. The word optimal is a difficult choice, but I am confident good solutions can be found, as we had them in the past, and yet, they somehow disappeared.

  • Science

    • Low pay, poor prospects, and psychological toll: The perils of microtask work

      But a new study (PDF) from the United Nations’ International Labor Organization (ILO) questions whether these platforms are as good for society as the Silicon Valley investors and digital evangelists claim. The ILO surveyed 3,500 people across 75 countries who worked for Mechanical Turk, as well as Crowdflower, Clickworker, Prolific, and Microworker.

      The work on these platforms is often menial and tedious, and the survey found that workers get paid startlingly little on all five platforms, especially when unpaid work is taken into account. The survey counted unpaid work as “time spent looking for tasks, earning qualifications, researching requesters through online forums, communicating with requesters or clients and leaving reviews, as well as unpaid/rejected tasks/tasks ultimately not submitted.”

    • This Is Your Brain on the Internet

      In other words, our internet usage has “Googlified” our brains, making us more dependent on knowing where to access facts and less able to remember the facts themselves. This might sound a little depressing, but it makes perfect sense if we are making the most of the tools and resources available to us. Who needs to waste their mental resources on remembering that an “ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain,” when the [I]nternet can tell us at a moment’s notice? Let’s save our brains for more important problems.

    • This Bird Drone Can Prevent Airplane Crashes

      They may be tiny compared to planes, but birds can cause massive damage. Collisions with planes after takeoff or before landing have led to 15 recorded human deaths in U.S. airspace between 1990 and 2008. They cause an estimated $1.2 billion in worldwide damage each year, along with countless flight delays and immeasurable hand-wringing from federal aviation officials.

      Even hiring skilled shooters and training peregrine falcons to clear areas of birds hasn’t made much of a dent. The Federal Aviation Administration documented 138,257 airplane-bird collisions between 1990 and 2013 in U.S. airspace alone, nearly 10 percent of which caused damage to civil aircraft.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Magic Leap is Bidding on an Army Combat Contract

      Magic Leap Inc. is pushing to land a contract with the U.S. Army to build augmented-reality devices for soldiers to use on combat missions, according to government documents and interviews with people familiar with the process. The contract, which could eventually lead to the military purchasing over 100,000 headsets as part of a program whose total cost could exceed $500 million, is intended to “increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy,” according to an Army description of the program. A large government contract could alter the course of the highest-profile startup working on augmented reality, at a time when prospects to produce a consumer device remain uncertain.

    • Russia’s MiG-25 Was Built to Kill an Air Force Supersonic Bomber That Never Happened

      The MiG-25 (NATO reporting name: Foxbat) was one of the most awesome, yet most misunderstood , fighters of the Cold War. Envisioned as an interceptor designed to destroy U.S. supersonic bombers and high-flying spy planes, the Foxbat also put its high speed to good use as a reconnaissance aircraft and, to less good effect, as a fighter-bomber. The Foxbat also became a mainstay on the global export market, eventually serving in the air forces of over a dozen countries, and seeing combat in Lebanon, in the Syrian Civil War, over Egypt, in the Kargil War, in the Iran-Iraq War, the Persian Gulf War and the Libyan Civil War.

      [...]

      The downsides of the Foxbat became clear when a Soviet pilot defected to Japan with one in September 1976. The Japanese turned the aircraft over to the Americans, who disassembled and inspected it at length. The investigation confirmed that the Foxbat was an interceptor and not intended as an air superiority fighter, and that its capabilities were not as impressive as many had assumed.

    • Amazon Soars on the Wings of Cronyism

      All right, so Amazon is practicing cronyism to advance its cloud computing empire at the local and state levels. How about at the federal level? Well, yes, Amazon works to nab special deals there as well. Consider JEDI.

      It stands for Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, and it’s a $10 billion, winner-take-all contract to handle all of the Pentagon’s cloud computing needs. The initial contract could be extended to 10 years, and let’s face it: once one company has all the Pentagon’s data (classified and unclassified), that company will never lose the contract. JEDI could be a huge moneymaker if it’s awarded to just one tech firm.

    • Silicon Valley’s corrupt nexus: War, censorship and inequality

      On Wednesday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, will give the keynote address to the US Air Force Association’s annual conference. Bezos will discuss “how industry can better partner” with the US military.

      Bezos’ speech comes amid his Seattle-based firm’s lobbying to win a $10 billion contract, known as “Project JEDI,” to host large sections of the Pentagon’s operations infrastructure on the internet cloud. In a move that will likely win him points with the military brass awarding the contract, Bezos recently donated $10 million to a Virginia-based super PAC seeking to elect veterans to office and create a “less polarized government.”

      The Amazon CEO will appear as the representative of the world’s second-largest company by market capitalization, the second-largest employer in the United States, the world’s biggest provider of cloud computing services, and America’s largest e-commerce retailer, with twice the sales of the next nine competitors.

    • UP power staffer killed: NSA invoked against both accused

      Invoking the National Security Act (NSA) for the second time in three weeks, Gautam Budh Nagar District Magistrate B N Singh said it would be applied to detain one Neetu Gurjar for shooting dead an Uttar Pradesh power employee in April.

      The incident took place on April 20 at the Dhoom-Manikpur power sub-station in Dadri.

      Satveer Singh Tomar, a contractual worker employed as an operator at the sub-station, had cut power supply in the evening as a storm had been forecast.

      Neetu and his accomplice, Titu, allegedly entered the sub-station and threatened Tomar, demanding that supply be restored.

      When Tomar refused, they allegedly shot him dead.

      Following the incident, workers at the sub-station cut off power supply for several hours in protest.

    • New book: Trump told CIA, ‘We should make the bombs silent so they can’t get away’

      President Trump in his first full day as commander in chief reportedly asked CIA officials if they could fully silence the bombs used in drone strikes.

      Trump, shown highlights of successful Predator drone strikes during his first visit to CIA headquarters a day after he was inaugurated, noticed in one video that a group of militants had spread out right before an attack.

      “Can they hear the bombs coming? We should make the bombs silent so they can’t get away,” he told officials, according to an excerpt of “The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy” published by The Washington Post on Wednesday. Its author, Greg Miller, is a national security correspondent for the newspaper.

    • Donald Trump Asked CIA to Make Silent Bombs So Enemies ‘Can’t Get Away,’ Book Claims

      President Donald Trump was puzzled by the CIA’s efforts to limit civilian casualties and requested that silent bombs be developed so that militants “can’t get away,” according to a forthcoming book by Washington Post national security correspondent Greg Miller.

      Trump apparently made the remark on his second day in office during a visit to the agency’s northern Virginia campus. The CIA’s head of drone operations explained that special munitions had been developed to limit the number of civilian casualties, and “the president seemed nonplused,” Miller wrote in and adaptation of his new book, The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy, which will be released October 2.

    • Report: President Trump Asked CIA to Make Silent Bombs So Militants ‘Can’t Get Away’
    • ‘71 yrs of spying & regime change’: CIA tweets about birthday, gets trolled in comments

      The CIA has tweeted a GIF marking its 71st birthday – and while some folks on Twitter took the opportunity to express their sincere thanks to the intelligence agency for the work it does, others were, let’s just say, not so kind.

      The simple self-congratulatory GIF showed confetti falling over the years ‘1947 – 2018’ with the words “celebrating 71 years” written underneath and the CIA’s logo in the middle. It wasn’t long before the responses to the birthday tweet started rolling in.

    • Get ready: The Kurds might soon use drones against Turkey

      In 2013, after months of secret negotiations between imprisoned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s representatives, Turkey and the PKK agreed to a cease-fire, one condition of which was the departure of PKK fighters from Turkey. As part of that agreement, many entered Syria where they augmented the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the most successful indigenous force first in the fight against the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and then in the battle against the Islamic State.

      Indeed, it was U.S. recognition that the YPG were fighting against ISIS while Turkey was passively if not actively supporting ISIS that led the Obama administration to start partnering with the YPG over the objections of Turkey.

    • A Drone Killed Another Drone in the Sky for the First Time

      Late last year, but only revealed recently, there was a first that will likely one day be considered historic: robotic air-to-air combat was born, with a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone shooting down a smaller, target drone, all without humans physically involved. It’s likely this is just the first example of drone-on-drone violence in the skies.

    • What Drones Could Learn from the Problems with Driver less Cars?

      At first glance, drones and driver less cars are not like each other. But the latest iterations of both use advanced AI and machine based learning and are designed to reduce the need or awareness of manned pilots.

      Let’s look at cars first, for example, my wife and her parents both purchased new cars with some AI features build in that use sensors that are located in different areas around the car. It does not drive itself, but gives you alerts if you wander too far to the side of the road or over the center line. It has sensors that will alert you if you get within range of another vehicle. By no means is that an automated vehicle but it does help you be aware of driving too close to other cars, or you are not in the correct position on your lane, and other things. Both also do things like lower the headlights from high to low as it senses a car coming toward you and within range. I would call it driver assist.

    • The Incredible Case of Boshirov and Petrov’s Visas

      The Metropolitan Police made one statement in the Skripal case which is plainly untrue; they claimed not to know on what kind of visa Boshirov and Petrov were travelling. As they knew the passports they used, and had footage of them coming through the airport, that is impossible. The Border Force could tell them in 30 seconds flat.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The CIA and “Uncle Louie”

      Mykola Lebed was sentenced to death in Poland in 1934. He died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1998.

      By various accounts, he was an assassin, a freedom fighter, a terrorist, a hero, a villain, a prisoner, a refugee, a Nazi collaborator, a Nazi target, a writer, and a war criminal. To the Central Intelligence Agency, which bankrolled his activities for close to half a century, he was known as “Uncle Louie.”

    • CIA file confirms the White House’s role in “The Adlai Stevenson Affair”

      The details of the negotiations and planning surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis have long been the subject of some contention for historians, with some of the most influential and enduring accounts contradicting what the tapes of those planning sessions tell us. Almost immediately after the Cuban Missile Crisis resolved, rumors began floating around Washington D.C. that the narrative that emerged was the handiwork of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in an effort to force the resignation of Adlai Stevenson, Kennedy’s Ambassador to the United Nations. A Central Intelligence Agency chronology, originally classified SECRET and recently released to MuckRock, confirms that the architect of this historical revisionism was, in fact, Kennedy – and reveals that denials of this were based on nothing more than word games.

    • Senate Democrats Are Suing The National Archives To Get Brett Kavanaugh’s Records

      Six Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee filed a lawsuit Monday against the National Archives and Records Administration to force the agency to release documents about US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as soon as possible.

      Access to records from Kavanaugh’s tenure in the White House under former president George W. Bush have been a flashpoint in the fight over his nomination. The Democrats who sued — Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Patrick Leahy, Sheldon Whitehouse, Mazie Hirono, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris — also filed papers asking for immediate court action to force the release of records.

    • Brett Kavanaugh and Our Accountability Crisis
    • National Archives and CIA now being sued by Senate Democrats over Brett Kavanaugh’s documents
    • Leahy, Democrats demand release of Kavanaugh documents
    • Democratic senators file FOIA lawsuit over Kavanaugh records
    • Six Senate Democrats file FOIA lawsuit to force release of Kavanaugh documents
    • Extraordinary and Deliberate Lies from the Guardian

      I am just back from a family funeral – one of a succession – and a combination of circumstances had left me feeling pretty down lately, and not blogging much. But I have to drag myself to the keyboard to denounce a quite extraordinary set of deliberate lies published in the Guardian about a Russian plot to spring Julian Assange last December.

      I was closely involved with Julian and with Fidel Narvaez of the Ecuadorean Embassy at the end of last year in discussing possible future destinations for Julian. It is not only the case that Russia did not figure in those plans, it is a fact that Julian directly ruled out the possibility of going to Russia as undesirable. Fidel Narvaez told the Guardian that there was no truth in their story, but the Guardian has instead chosen to run with “four anonymous sources” – about which sources it tells you no more than that.

    • The CIA has declassified a bunch of jokes. Here are the best ones

      As historian Gene Zubovich helpfully pointed out this week, the CIA is apparently sitting on an impressive collection of jokes.

      In recent years, the U.S. intelligence agency has declassified more than a million Cold War-era documents. The National Post sifted through the pile in a search for the funny parts, and found these highlights.

    • ‘An American explains to a Russian …’: CIA declassifies Soviet-era jokes

      This week, a list of Soviet jokes, recorded by the CIA during the 1980s, were declassified. These zingers were shared among Soviets of the time, although why a list of them was prepared for the deputy director of the CIA isn’t 100% clear. One possibility is for their value as tools of dissent (it’s worth remembering, people could be, and were, sent to prison for jokes under Soviet rule).

    • The CIA joke-book: US declassifies cache of Soviet jokes its agents compiled during the Cold War to gauge public mood in the USSR

      A cache of Soviet jokes that was compiled by CIA agents during the Cold War has been released among a cache of declassified documents.

      All the jokes were told between Soviets but picked up by CIA operatives before being relayed back to Washington.

      The list was addressed to the Deputy Director of the CIA but it is believed to have been circulated among senior White House officials.

      One joke featuring Ronald Reagan made it to the president’s desk and he found it so funny he began using it himself.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Third tiger shark killed in Whitsundays despite doubts over whether they bit tourists

      Three tiger sharks have been killed by the Queensland government after life-threatening attacks on a woman and a girl, but officials say it is impossible to know if they caused the bites.

      Hannah Papps, 12, was bitten on her right leg while swimming in Cid harbour with her father and sister on Thursday, less than 24 hours after Tasmanian Justine Barwick, 46, was bitten on her left thigh while snorkelling in the same area.

    • Fourth shark snared in Qld drumlines

      A fourth shark has been snared in drumlines off the Queensland coast in the wake of two life-threatening attacks in the Whitsundays.

      The tiger shark was “humanely euthanised” after being caught in the Cid Harbour area on Sunday afternoon, Fisheries Queensland said in a statement.

      “This shark measures 3.7 metres and, like the others, would pose a serious threat to people swimming in the Cid Harbour waters,” a department spokesman said.

    • Fourth shark killed after Whitsundays attacks
  • Finance

    • When Disaster Capitalism Comes for the University of Puerto Rico

      The ongoing bid to reduce Puerto Rico’s government spending—what the non-elected Fiscal Board appointed by the federal government euphemistically calls “right-sizing”—threatens not only the UPR’s autonomy but its very existence.

    • Understanding Bitcoin’s Legacy: What Was Satoshi’s Bitcoin Vision?

      On October 31, 2008, a mysterious figure named Satoshi Nakamoto shared a 9 page document with the world. That whitepaper was titled, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”, and it explained Satoshi’s vision for a secure form of electronic money.

      Satoshi’s whitepaper is still online and accessible today. The whitepaper clearly explains how bitcoin should work along with the intentions of bitcoin. Despite the fact that the whitepaper is fully available online for everyone to read, there’s a huge debate over Satoshi’s vision.

    • British in Europe open letter to Theresa May in response to her statement following the Salzburg Summit

      We represent over 30,000 UK nationals living in the EU27. We listened to your statement this afternoon on the outcomes of the Salzburg summit with extreme concern. Firstly, whilst we welcome your softer words on protecting the rights of the 3 million EU nationals living in the UKthis is nothing more than your moral obligation and the UK cannot do anything else other than to maintain all their current rights even in the event of a no deal.

    • Yes, you too, you can become a crypto-millionnaire.

      Of course, you belong to the second category. So you’ll send your ID, bank statements as well as a picture of your dick to an exchange as required. Don’t use coinbase, this exchange is to mainstream : You are a disruptive crypto investor, do not forget.

      OK, now you’ve got your first crypto, HODL it. For now, there is no need to spend a coin that the world doesn’t give a shit about. The best way to secure your crypto is to transfert it from the exchange to a cold storage wallet. This elegant solution is practiced by many guys like you. The easiest way is to get a hardware wallet and trust it.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Flying Over the Purple Midterms

      It’s not that Trump is so popular. I met plenty of people as ideologically committed, albeit 180 degrees to the right, as their East Coast vegan socialist cousins. But most of the people I spoke with would be better described as light purple voters. More than a handful enthusiastically voted for their first-ever Democrat in 2008, then backed away from Obama in 2012, before returning to the Republicans, albeit Trump, in 2016. The idea today is Trump’s boorishness will send them back to Democratic candidates.

    • The CIA Democrats: A balance sheet of the primaries

      With the end the primary season, the Democratic Party leadership and their allies in the national security apparatus have completed the first stage of what might be termed a “friendly takeover” of the Democrats by candidates recruited from among military, CIA and civilian national security cadres.

      The World Socialist Web Site first identified the phenomenon of the CIA Democrats in a series published in March. At the time we noted the large number of candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus seeking Democratic nominations in competitive congressional districts. If the Democrats won the November election, we warned, such military-intelligence operatives would hold the balance of power in the new House of Representatives.

    • The CIA Democrats and the US midterm elections

      Two major polls made public Sunday project a sizeable Democratic Party victory in the US midterm elections set for November 6. A Fox News poll found a seven-point Democratic Party lead in the generic congressional ballot, while an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found a 12-point Democratic lead among registered voters, and an eight-point lead among likely voters. Both polls found that opposition to President Trump is the driving force in the election, with particular hostility to his persecution of immigrants and his tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.

      The likely swing to the Democrats comes as the two-party system as a whole faces mounting popular opposition. According to another recent poll, nearly two-thirds of voters want an alternative to the two existing parties, whose candidates are reviled as corrupt representatives of the rich who lie shamelessly and have nothing but contempt for ordinary working people. Other polls show a rising interest in and support for socialism, particularly among young people.

      The Democratic Party is now expected to make the gain of 23 seats needed to win control of the House of Representatives, and perhaps much more than that, while a Democratic takeover of the US Senate, previously thought unlikely because only nine Republican-held seats were up for election, is now considered a significant possibility. The Democrats are also projected to win a large number of Republican-held governorships, including nearly every state in the industrial Midwest. What would such a political shift mean?

    • Ocasio-Cortez, Democratic Socialists of America candidate, covers for CIA Democrats

      Ocasio-Cortez was elevated as a national political figure in June after beating incumbent Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary race for New York’s 14th Congressional seat. When a WSWS reporter asked her if she would back candidates from the military and intelligence agencies, she attempted to deflect the question.

      “I think it all depends on the individual candidate,” Ocasio-Cortez replied. “I don’t think that a person’s life experience in one way or another necessarily precludes them from running for office. I think what is important… is a candidate’s given story. And, for me I’m very outspoken about being an anti-war candidate… I don’t think that a person should be discounted because they were a bartender or on the front lines.”

      When this reporter pressed the question asking about Democratic Congressional candidate Max Rose, who is running in the same city as Ocasio-Cortez on a platform that emphasizes his experience as a soldier in Afghanistan, she continued to evade, claiming, “I don’t know a ton about his background, but I do know… What we try to do is focus on issues. What I see my responsibility as is building a consensus on single payer healthcare, on a peace economy… that’s really what we focus most on. I can’t provide opinions on all 200 candidates running.”

    • Michael Moore: How Democrats Paved the Way to Trump

      Moore’s new film Fahrenheit 11/9 opens September 21.

    • Bipartisan Furor as North Carolina Election Law Shrinks Early Voting Locations by Almost 20 Percent

      In June, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation mandating that all early voting sites in the state remain open for uniform hours on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., a move supporters argued would reduce confusion and ultimately make early voting easier and more accessible.

      But with the start of early voting only weeks away, county election officials across the state — who previously had control over setting polling hours in their jurisdictions — say the new law has hamstrung their ability to best serve voters. Some officials in rural counties say they’ve had to shrink the number of early voting locations to accommodate the law’s longer hour requirements and stay within their budgets.

      A ProPublica analysis of polling locations shows that North Carolina’s 2018 midterm election will have nearly 20 percent fewer early voting locations than there were in 2014. Nearly half of North Carolina’s 100 counties are shutting down polling places, in part because of the new law. Poorer rural counties, often strapped for resources to begin with, are having a particularly difficult time adjusting to the new requirement.

      The closure of polling locations increases the time it takes for voters to travel to the polls, and it could result in lower turnout, making matters worse for a state already dealing with Hurricane Florence. Early voting in North Carolina begins on Oct. 17.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • In Which A Bunch Of Us Try To Explain The 1st Amendment To Jeff Sessions Concerning ‘Social Media Bias’

      It’s quite incredible that we’re even discussing this. A fairness doctrine doesn’t make any sense, and is broadly unconstitutional for a whole host of reasons. What’s bizarre and troubling is how quickly those who like to wear blue or red uniforms like to rush to it as soon as they feel one area of the media is “biased” against them, not recognizing how it would clearly be used in other areas of the media as well.

      While it appears that Sessions’ gathering with Attornerys General will happen, hopefully all it serves to do is remind them all that the First Amendment exists, and that they are Constitutionally prohibited from messing with how online platforms present content.

    • The political editor of The Guardian has sided with The Sun against the people of Liverpool

      Guardian political co-editor Heather Stewart seems to have sided with the Sun against the people of Liverpool.

    • COMMENT: Momentum banning the Sun is an act of solidarity not censorship
    • Sun boycott: British journos accuse Corbyn-supporting group of ‘press censorship’

      A number of British journalists have hit out at the Corbyn-supporting Momentum group for banning Sun reporters from attending a festival in Liverpool, claiming it’s “censorship” and likening the ban to the actions of Donald Trump.

      Journalists from a number of mainstream news outlets reacted angrily to news that The World Transformed (TWT), a festival organised by pro-Jeremy Corbyn group Momentum, has announced that they are banning Sun newspaper journos from attending their event in Liverpool.

      TWT cite the false claims made by the Murdoch-owned Sun during its reporting of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 Liverpool football fans were unlawfully killed, as their reason for what they say is a boycott.

    • Excluding the Sun from our festival isn’t censorship, it’s Hillsborough solidarity

      Yesterday outraged Sun journalists took to Twitter to denounce the decision taken by The World Transformed to not grant them press passes for our four-day festival of politics, arts and music taking place alongside the Labour party conference in Liverpool next week. The World Transformed released a statement explaining that this decision was an act of solidarity with the families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster, and a show of support for the boycott of the newspaper observed by community groups and businesses across Liverpool.

      As an organiser with The World Transformed, and a proud Liverpudlian, I feel it’s crucial to explain why those attacking this decision as an act of “censorship” are so misguided.

    • Killing Free Speech

      The OICs highly ambitious plans to do away with freedom of speech go severely underreported in the West. Mainstream journalists do not appear to find it dangerous that their freedom of speech should be supervised by the OIC, while Western governments, far from offering any resistance, appear, perhaps for votes, to be cozily going along with everything.

    • ‘Transphobic’ student editor sacked over belief [sic] that ‘women don’t have penises’

      Angelos Sofocleous was assistant editor of Durham University’s philosophy journal Critique for just three days when he lost his job for tweeting the opinion that some found offensive.

      [...]

      Mr Sofocleous added: ‘These are individuals who think they hold the absolute right to determine which ideas can be discussed and what language can be used in a public forum.’

    • How I was hounded off campus for saying ‘women don’t have penises’

      Worryingly, such views are not only confined to our universities, though. TERFs – a slur used by activists against ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminists’ – who resist the idea of self identification of gender, are hounded off Twitter and routinely targeted online, and in person. The government is also hardly helping matters here by refusing to accept there is even a debate to be had on this subject. When the equalities minister Penny Mordaunt announced the government’s consultation on gender, she said the starting point is that ‘Trans women are women’. But what about those who don’t agree with that statement? In my case, I have found out the hard way: for those who fail to adhere to the new orthodoxy on transgenderism, the punishment is swift.

    • Horrific violence against female journalists in Muslim world

      The murder of female journalists is merely the tip of the iceberg regarding the harsh treatment female journalists experience in the line of duty. According to the Stockholm Center for Freedom, 55 female journalists in Turkey complained that they have been subjected to discrimination and violence at work with 32% being subjected to police violence.

      Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world, imprisoning 240 journalists according to the latest statistics. 180 other media outlets were shut down following the suppression of the Gulen Movement in 2016. According to Iranian human rights activist Shabnam Assadollahi, there are now over 15,000 women imprisoned in Turkey. Iranian human rights activist Minoo Moghimi claimed that Turkish journalist Sinem Tezyapar of A9 TV is among them. Furthermore, according to Bassam Tawil of the Gatestone Institute, two female Palestinian journalists were assaulted in the PA while covering a protest calling upon Mahmoud Abbas to lift his sanctions upon Gaza

    • Turkish Journalist Ayten Öztürk is kidnapped in Lebanon by Turkish CIA

      On 13 March, the Minister for Home Affairs, Nohad Machnouk, secretly referred her to the Turkish equivalent of the CIA or MI5 (Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT), bypassing the judicial process for extradition.

      Mr Machnouk is a member of the Current of the Future (Hariri’s party).

      Ayten Öztürk is a journalist who opposes the government. Her two brothers have already died prison in Turkey. She was living as an exile in Syria. Turkey had offered £600 00o.oo for her capture.

      Ayten Öztürk has been tortured for a long time. She has been submitted to electroshocks, blows to the soles her feet, being suspended by her arms for long periods of time, simulated execution…). All this continually for six moths by a counter-guerrilla unit. It is unclear if she was conscious at the time and under the influence of hallucinatory drugs. She was later found on 28 August 2018 quite by chance in a cell of the department of Political Police at Ankara.

    • Google ‘furious’ about internal memo on China project: report

      Google’s reluctance to offer any public comment on its plans to launch a censored search engine in China has been reinforced by a report that the company has made employees erase from their systems a confidential memo containing details about the China plan.

    • Infowars’ take-down part of a dangerous trend in censorship
    • Social-media censorship becomes civil-rights fight

      The liberal bias of the major social-media platforms in America has been documented by their own statements and by the ongoing censorship of conservative and religious voices.

      Now, it’s become a civil rights fight, according to a coalition of organizations initiating a lobbying campaign in Washington in early in October.

    • PayPal bans Alex Jones, saying he “promoted hate”

      Alex Jones has now been banned from a long list of high-profile technology platforms. Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube all recently removed Jones’ accounts from their platforms, and Apple and Spotify have blacklisted Jones’ podcasts.

    • Google Forces Employees To Delete Memo Related To Censored Search Engine In China

      Reports related to Google’s alleged censored search engine for China is getting weirder by the day. The latest report by The Intercept alleges that Google has tried to suppress an internal memo that contained detailed plans on how the Chinese government would use the censored search engine to track citizens who use it.

      This confidential memo was authored by a Google engineer who worked on the project. It accused developers working on the project of creating “spying tools” for the Chinese government to monitor its citizens.

    • Alumni Claim Censorship on Facebook

      Administrators of the “Oberlin Alumni Digital Community” Facebook group removed five alumni from the group last week for “abusive language” following the establishment of new community guidelines ratified Sept. 12.

      “When the Alumni Association took over the Digital Community group last week, a number of alumni, myself included, began criticizing the move,” Robert Hayes, a former Oberlin student, said in an email to the Review.

      Hayes is the creator of an alternative to the Facebook group, the “Uncensored Unofficial Oberlin Alumni Discussion Group,” and was one of five members banned the day the new guidelines were established.

    • Journalism for Democracy, Caught Between Bullets and Censorship in Latin America

      The murder of journalists and changing forms of censorship show that freedom of expression and information are still under siege in Latin America, particularly in the countries with the greatest social upheaval and political polarisation.

      Journalism “maintains a central role in the work for democracy in the region, although it suffers persecution of the media, journalists and political and social activists, which goes against hemispheric human rights agreements,” Edison Lanza of Uruguay, special rapporteur for freedom of expression at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), told IPS.

      The harassment “is very worrying in countries with political crises that lead to threats against journalism, with actions by states or various groups to repress, restrict or silence the press,” said Natalie Southwick, coordinator of the Latin American programme at the non-governmental Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), based in New York City.

    • ‘Smut for the English’: an age of censorship

      Banned Books Week kicks off tomorrow around the globe, with the exception of those lands where the event is banned. Ireland, like most liberal democracies, is caught in a tizzy where old certainties, taboos and safeguards are being overwhelmed by a tsunami of stuff from cyberspace that we don’t like, trust or even understand.

      Banned Books Week, a celebration of the freedom to read, aims to redirect our attention from this worrisome First World problem to its opposite number, the suppression of choice.

      When it started in the US in 1982, Banned Books Week was almost all about books. As America’s religious right found its voice, bookshops, schools and public libraries were pressured to remove titles on grounds of morality and ideology. The information superhighway transformed reading habits, so next Wednesday, and one Wednesday each year is now Banned Websites Awareness Day. Scores of state firewalls and Channel 4′s recent alarming Dispatches exposé on Facebook’s Irish filtering operation will draw scrutiny.

      Modern Ireland likes to beat itself up about its past deeply unhealthy fixation on sex. The good news from the American Association of School Librarians, which runs Banned Books Week, is that we are not alone (if that can be called good news).

    • And Another Thing

      Not the happiest of news that, apparently, President Donald John Trump isn’t totally unjustified in his paranoia. The blackbox that is search at Google can potentially be tampered with. Without any understanding of what goes on inside Google’s “black box” system, there isn’t really much to assuage President Trump’s fears.

    • Chelsea Cain Learns About the Censorship of the Batpenis and She Isn’t Happy About It

      Bleeding Cool has written near a dozen articles on the Batpenis since it was revealed in Batman: Damned #1 on Wednesday, including the fact that DC Comics had censored the penis in digital versions and vowed to remove it from future print copies, but Cain, clearly too busy spitting hot fire in interviews about the cancellation of her Vision series, didn’t learn about that until last night on Twitter…

    • Vision Writer Chelsea Cain Says She’s ‘Dead’ to Marvel

      Despite her criticisms of Marvel and the cancellation of her comic, Cain has continually expressed her affection for her colleagues at the company, saying, “I don’t think that it was part of some kind of like, sexist conspiracy. I think it was some really smart, funny, friendly boys in a room making a decision and it never occurred to them that this was important, or that these kinds of comics needed a place.”

    • Chelsea Cain Throws Marvel Under The Bus After Her Vision Series Gets Canned
    • Chelsea Cain Rips Marvel and Comics Industry a New One in Scorching Interview
    • BitcoinCashTalk.org: New Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Forum For Censorship-Free Discussions
    • Argo Mining Firm CEO Says Bitcoin’s Censorship Resistant Nature to Boost Adoption Worldwide
    • Nandita Das on Manto: Didn’t Want it to be Like Wikipedia Page
    • There exist many forms of censorship today, including self-censorship

      Actress-filmmaker Nandita Das was in Bengaluru to promote her latest release. She also hosted a special screening of her film for her friends, and the film and art fraternity here. During the screening, she met Kavitha Lankesh, whose film Deveeri was her Kannada debut. Incidentally, this was the first time Nandita met Kavitha since the assassination of her sister, Gauri Lankesh. Nandita, who has been very vocal in condemning the act, met us for a chat, at which she spoke about how Manto has remained relevant, that there are many Mantos across different eras, and her fascination for films set in times of conflict and violence. Excerpts…

    • Britain and Europe: United in Censorship

      The U.K.’s negotiations with the EU over Brexit may be going badly, very badly, but when it comes to the suppression of free speech, it appears that there is very little that divides Britain from many of its European partners.

    • New policies coming to Burlington HS after claims of student censorship
    • High School Journalists Stand up to Censorship and Win

      Four Vermont high school journalists have gotten a lesson of a lifetime when they stood up to censorship in their school newspaper and won based on a new law.

      Last week, the Burlington students posted a story online they wrote about a school employee facing unprofessional conduct charges.

      The next morning, the principal asked the students’ adviser to take it down. The students quickly talked to legal experts.

    • New Policies Coming to Vt. School Following Claims of Student Censorship
    • Congrats to those who stood up to BHS censorship

      Last Monday, four student journalists at The Register, the Burlington High School student newspaper, broke the news that the Vermont Agency of Education had filed six counts of unprofessional misconduct charges against BHS guidance director Mario Macias.

      The four student editors — Julia Shannon-Grillo, Halle Newman, Nataleigh Noble and Jenna Peterson — used public records to document the story.

    • Vermont high school students use New Voices law to win censorship dispute

      Student journalists at Burlington High School used the state’s New Voices law to successfully fight back against censorship and prevent the reinstatement of a prior review policy.

      On Sept. 10, the BHS Register was the first to report about an investigation by the Vermont Agency of Education focused on the school’s director of guidance, Mario Macias.

      BHS Register Editors Nataleigh Noble, Halle Newman, Jenna Peterson, and Julia Shannon-Grillo filed a public records request to the Vermont Agency of Education and collaborated on a story written by Shannon-Grillo.

    • Standing with Burlington High
    • Squashed High School Newspaper Story Raises Questions Of Censorship

      Burlington High School’s director of guidance, Mario Macias, faces six charges of unprofessional conduct from the Agency of Education. The school paper, the BHS Register, broke the story last week, but for a time you couldn’t read it there. That’s because within 24 hours of publication, the story had disappeared from the paper’s website, replaced with a mostly blank page with the words: “This article has been censored by Burlington High School administration.”

      Other outlets confirmed the Register’s reporting. In a reversal last week, the district allowed the story to be republished on the Register’s website.

    • Student newspaper censorship: Burlington High School editors win First Amendment battle

      Burlington High School student journalists learned a new appreciation of the First Amendment after an “adrenaline-filled” week fighting to win back their press freedoms.

      “It shows that journalism is important for every community to have, so that we can share important information like this that affects everyone,” Nataleigh Noble, 17, BHS Register co-editor said on Monday.

      Noble and two other student editors talked to the Burlington Free Press one week after they broke the news about misconduct charges against the high school guidance director and ended up battling school administration over their right to publish the story on the student-run BHS Register website.

    • Plucky Maine Library Decides Not To Censor Own ‘Banned Books’ Display

      After a brief hubbub and a rather pitched fuck-tussle, the public library in Rumford, Maine (population 5,700 or so), voted not to give in to a request by three local pastors to please remove several books on LGBTQ subjects from its “Banned Books” display. The pastors had sent a letter to the library board fretting the display was “promoting homosexuality” and that the books were “not appropriate for a public area” of the library, where children might see them. Heavens, one of the books even had a cover depicting (in comics form) “two naked ladies on the cover.” It is unknown from local media reports whether any livestock in the area became sterile or a baby was born with a caul as a result of the books being on display, although reliable sources indicate a black cat was seen standing on its hind legs, like unto a man.

    • Letter: Wary of censorship
    • Banned Books Week combats censorship
    • Banned Books Week: Challenging censorship
    • Removing censorship from books
    • Anti-gay preachers want LGBT books banned—from a display of banned books
    • Our View: Read A Banned Book
    • When banning things was bad
    • Church Members Try To Ban Books At The Local Library — From The ‘Banned Books’ Display
    • Censorship Abhorrent
    • 33 Years Ago: Dee Snider Spoke Out Against Censorship Before the Senate
    • Twitter’s Initial Classification of ‘Illegal Alien,’ ‘Criminal Alien’ as Hateful Shows Social Media’s Censorship Potential
    • Facebook expands censorship to photos and videos

      A September 13 statement by Facebook Product Manager, Antonia Woodford, titled “Expanding Fact-Checking to Photos and Videos” marks a significant escalation of the company’s censorship efforts.

      Under the pretense of combating so-called “fake news” and “Russian interference” the social media giant has spent the last two years assembling an army of censors and established partnerships with 27 so-called fact-checker partners in 17 countries. The partners, include the Associated Press, (AP) Agence France-Presse (AFP), Pagella Politica in Italy, Animal Politico in Mexico and others, together with fact checking sites such as Factcheck.org, PolitiFact and Snopes.com. At the end of last year, Facebook announced a partnership with the right-wing The Weekly Standard prompting widespread outrage.

      As the WSWS reported, the role of this latest partnership was highlighted last week when The Weekly Standard flagged an article posted by ThinkProgress with the headline “Brett Kavanaugh said he would kill Roe v. Wade last week.” The article was flagged as false on the preposterous claim that the word “said” in the headline implied a direct quote, rather than the dictionary definition of “indicate,” “show,” or “communicate.” The ThinkProgress incident is only the latest indication of the political character of the censorship by Facebook.

    • Spy Fears Prompt China to Censor Its Own Recruitment Drive
    • Jaggi Vasudev’s interaction with FTII Pune students cancelled

      A scheduled event of Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev at Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, as part of his national tour ‘Youth and Truth’, which was to take place at the institute campus on Wednesday, has been cancelled. While the institute administration, which was preparing for the event with much gusto, is tight-lipped about the reasons behind the cancellation, a spokesperson for Sadhguru Jaggi said that the event was cancelled as “final confirmation from FTII did not happen on time and Sadhguru got committed elsewhere”.

      Sources in the institute, however, said that the actual reason seems to be lack of enthusiasm among students for the event and an ongoing protest by a group of students who are unhappy about issues pertaining to the syllabus, availability of infrastructure and planning of academic exercises at the institute.

    • Jaggi Vasudev’s interaction with FTII Pune students cancelled | Pune NYOOOZ
    • Jaggi Vasudevs interaction with FTII students cancelled
    • How The BJP Is Using Censorship And Surveillance To Destroy FTII

      At the World Hindu Congress in Chicago earlier this month, actor Anupam Kher, one of the speakers, was described as the chairperson of FTIB—Film and Television Institute of Bharat, rather than Film and Television Institute of India as the 58-year-old institute is officially known.

      Dattatreya Hosabale, joint general secretary of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), found nothing controversial in this: Bharat was “the Hindi translation of India”. There was, however, no explanation as to why only one word in the institute’s name was translated.

      The use of “Bharat” in the place of India offers a glimpse at how the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has sought to bend the free-thinking culture of FTII to fit their ideological canon.

    • Why China owes its strict censors: or how Google and Facebook met their match [Ed: So... “censorship can also encourage creativity and innovation,” says letter in SCMP after Xi’s buddy Jack Ma bought it. Saying that “censorship can also encourage creativity and innovation” is like saying that shaving your head is good and would encourage hair growth.]

      It is traditionally assumed that censorship suppresses creativity by controlling what artists can work on and what they cannot. However, censorship can also encourage creativity and innovation as netizens think of interesting ways to express the same set of ideas.

      Scholars have summarised that Chinese netizens negotiate political control in cyberspace through three major strategies: rightful resistance, artful contention, and digital hidden transcripts – jargon for smart channels to test the boundaries of what can or can’t be discussed online. Meanwhile, new technologies also create new space and communication modes which directly foster user engagement and fuel creativity.

    • Highfield’s censorship reminiscent of Nazi era

      On Sept. 9 I went to Highfield Hall in Falmouth expressly to see Salley Mavor’s new exhibit. I have always admired her talent and was looking forward to seeing her new work.

      I was disappointed to find that her exhibit had been pulled because of its political content.

    • Artist withdraws Highfield exhibit satirizing Trump

      “She wanted to know if I was going to amend the show to eliminate political content or if I was going to cancel,” Mavor said. “She needed to know by the next day.”

    • I object, British Museum review – censorship, accidental?

      It’s the nature of satire to reflect what it mocks, so as you’d expect from a British Museum exhibition curated by Ian Hislop, I object is a curiously establishment take on material anti-establishmentarianism from BC something-or-other right up to the present day.

      As wheezes go, it’s a fairly good one, a jaunty riposte to the extraordinary plumbing of the museum’s archives conducted by then-director Neil MacGregor through the series A History of the World in 100 Objects. As a premise for collecting together absorbing objects it’s unconventional, but it suffers from continued-on-p.94ism and objects have to fight against shonky curation for attention.

    • Goethe-Institut pulls Egon Schiele movie after censorship board intervention

      The Goethe-Institut in Yangon cancelled the screening of an Austrian movie about the life of painter Egon Schiele one day before the event, after Myanmar’s censorship board banned scenes in the film containing nudity.

      The film, Egon Schiele: Death and the Maiden, about the life of the Austrian artist, who lived 1890-1918, was due to be shown on Saturday evening as part of the annual European Film Festival, which runs until September 30.

      Organised by the Delegation of the European Union to Myanmar and the Goethe-Institut Myanmar, the European Film Festival is the longest-running foreign arts festival in Myanmar and aims to promote a cultural exchange between Myanmar and Europe while showcasing the diversity of European cinema.

    • No good reason to censor ‘Thirteen Reasons Why

      “Thirteen Reasons Why,” a book about a teen suicide, is No. 1 on the list of challenged books. Because it is Banned Books Week, I read it.

      If you wanted to produce a book certain to provoke calls for censorship, “Thirteen Reasons Why” would be hard to outdo.

      The young-adult novel by Jay Asher about a teenager’s suicide was regularly challenged when first published in 2007 and is now attracting a second round of objections, thanks to the popular Netflix show based on it.

      Today begins Banned Books Week, the annual protest against efforts to keep certain books out of schools and libraries.

      I often mark the occasion by reading one of the books. I chose “Thirteen Reasons Why” because the American Library Association declared it the most-challenged book of 2017. (The Columbus Metropolitan Library has many copies. No censorship there.)

    • Local Pastors Attempt to Ban Books from Banned Books Display at Maine Public Library

      A group of pastors in Rumford, Maine are attempting to have LGBTQ books banned from the Rumford Public Library’s display of banned books. The library is holding a board meeting today, where the controversy will be discussed. The National Coalition Against Censorship and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund support Rumford Public Library’s display and freedom to choose how best to serve their community. NCAC and CBLDF oppose efforts to limit a whole community’s access to books based on the personal viewpoints or religious beliefs of some groups or individuals in that community. As public institutions, libraries are obligated not to discriminate on the basis of viewpoint or sexual orientation.

      The display coincides with Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read, highlighting books that often draw challenges in schools and libraries. Half of the books on this year’s American Library Association Top 10 Banned Books list tell stories of LGBTQ characters. Books representing a wide variety of experiences and voices allow readers, particularly children, to find connection, safely explore unfamiliar ideas, and broaden their understanding of the world.

    • 50 years since the end of theatre censorship: how the Lord Chamberlain was given the boot

      The day after government-sanctioned theatre censorship was finally abolished by Harold Wilson’s Labour administration, after a century-long battle, American producer Michael Butler opened the ‘make love not war’ musical Hair in the West End.

      As well as ushering in a spate of shows celebrating sex and nudity – The Dirtiest Show in Town, Let My People Come and Oh Calcutta! among them – Hair raised two fingers to the Lord Chamberlain’s Office that had vigorously prevented unfettered dramatic expression for 230 years. By 1968, theatre censorship had long been a cultural millstone and a major source of irritation to playwrights, directors and producers alike.

    • A ‘Tromatic’ Experience: Bjarni Gautur On Fecal Humour, Censorship & Swordfish

      Most splatter and B-movie fans have heard of Troma. The longest-running independent film company in the world, Troma is responsible for such cult classics as ‘The Toxic Avenger,’ ‘Class of Nuke ‘Em High’ and ‘Combat Shock,’ as well as lesser known titles including ‘Dead Dudes in the House,’ ‘Dumpster Baby’ and ‘Buttcrack.’ Icelanders would be proud to know that one of our own is working with Troma as we speak—the stand-up comedian and actor Bjarni Gautur. We caught up with Bjarni after work had wrapped up on Lloyd Kaufman’s new film, the amazingly titled ‘Shakespeare’s Shitstorm,’ which is described as a “Tromatic take on Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest.’”

      [...]
      According to Bjarni, the team is now working on getting the Finnish Night Visions film festival to Iceland but the festival will be showing the film. “Night Visions has been showing a lot of Troma films lately and we want to take it to Iceland,” he says. “Bíó Paradís has expressed some interest, so we’ll see what happens. It’s a dream of mine to show some of the films I’ve worked on with Troma in Iceland—that would be lovely.”

    • Instagram Deleted an Artist’s Nudes—Her New Work Shows How to Skirt Their Rules

      For the Brooklyn-based photographer Joanne Leah, social media censorship has both helped and hindered her work. On Instagram she now goes by @TwoFacedKitten, referencing a personal joke with a friend, after her original account was deleted in 2015 because of the nudity in her photography. Although devastated at the time, she says censorship forced her to think differently about her compositions, and her work now actually uses the guidelines to have some fun.

      “It [happened] before you could fight it. Now it’s a little better because you can protest it,” she told Observer of her earlier expulsion from the platform. “I didn’t know what to do at the time, I had built up a collection of work that I edited and had around 1,000 followers, and then it was all gone.”

    • Headlines from China: ‘The Predator’ Passes Chinese Censorship

      The Predator, a 2018 American science fiction film and the fourth installment in The Predator film series, has passed the Chinese censorship, according to sources familiar with the matter, but a release date is yet to be announced. It’s unclear if China’s censors have cut any parts of the film. Last year, Alien: Covenant, an American science fiction horror film, was six minutes shorter than the international version when the film was released in China. Directed by Shane Black and written by Black and Fred Dekker, The Predator follows a group of PTSD-affected soldiers who must fight off an invading pair of Predators. Read more on Mtime

    • Tanzania is about to outlaw online fact-checking

      Earlier in 2018 Tanzania’s government, under the leadership of President John Magufuli, introduced a new law for social media and blogs which saw the introduction of license fees for anyone effectively running a website in Tanzania. This led to the suspension of several blogs including the popular site, Jamii Forums.

      As if that wasn’t enough, Magufuli and his colleagues are now looking to outlaw fact checking thanks to proposed amendments to the Statistics Act, 2015.

    • Tanzania’s curbs on fact-checking spark censorship fears

      Tanzania has adopted controversial ammendant to an existing law, which the government says, will help tackle public misinformation gaps. However, journalists fear it will make it a criminal offense to challenge official data. If signed into law, it would mean that anyone who “distorts” facts by the National Bureau of Statistics could be sentenced to at least a year in prison.

      It’s going to have a “chilling effect,” communications expert Maria Sarungi Tsehai told RFI, after Tanzania voted the amendment to the country’s Statistics Act, making it illegal for anyone to publish statistical information which is intended to “invalidate, distort, or discredit official data.”

      “How do you interpret with the intent to?” Challenges Tsehai. From now on, journalists will “think twice” about quoting the slightest piece of data,” she reckons.

      For the National Bureau of Statistics, the new amendment is to help Tanzania fill its information gaps.

    • 450 issues of The OU Daily stolen — writer thinks it’s attempted censorship of front page sexual harassment story

      An estimated 450 issues of The OU Daily were stolen on Sept. 17 from multiple locations across the University of Oklahoma Norman campus. The stolen issue featured a front page article about sexual harassment allegations against a tenured drama professor who remains at the university but resigned in August from his position as director of the School of Drama.

      Papers went missing from nine different locations across campus.

      “I was pretty angry, to be honest, and confused as to why someone would do that,” said sophomore Jana Allen, the news editor for The OU Daily. Allen wrote the front page story.

    • A Censorship-Free Version of Bitcointalk? Developer Launches Bitcoincashtalk.org

      When it comes to cryptocurrencies enthusiasts like to discuss the technology regularly on social media and forums. Nearly every digital asset has its own forum but over the last few years, two of the largest Bitcoin-based forums (coincidentally owned by the same individual) have been plagued with censorship in regard to the scaling debate. For instance, thousands of users have been banned on the Reddit forum r/bitcoin and the web portal Bitcointalk.org for merely speaking about a different opinion concerning scaling the Bitcoin Network. Then thousands of Reddit users and Bitcointalk.org users have also been banned for failing to toe the party line.

      Just yesterday someone was banned for posting on r/bitcoin for simply asking in a post “What is the recommended procedure to safely update a bitcoin node if I have a Lightning node with channels open?” R/bitcoin moderators banned the user and called the individual a “low-effort concern troll, lying, spreading malicious propaganda, obvious Bcash shill.” In response to the extreme prejudice and censorship, many bitcoin users have shifted to other forums on the web. Now, this week an independent and uncensored version of Bitcointalk.org has launched called Bitcoincashtalk.org.

    • Nazi-style stranglehold of the Iranian regime’s censorship and propaganda methods

      All governments across the globe utilize some form of censorship, as the dangers of uncontrolled speech, which often comes in the form of violently radical political thought, racism, attacks against minority groups and outright slander, would be too dangerous for even the most liberal of governments to allow.

      Apart from this, there is also the need for censorship when considering threats to national security, in times of heightened danger to the public, brought about by terrorist activity or times of war, when giving away too much information would aid the enemy.

      But when it comes to absolute censorship, of the type seen in Iran, where no form of speech opposing the regime can be voiced, where newspapers, radio and television are monopolised entirely by the regime, and journalists, authors and all other artists have to follow strict guidelines on the work they produce, this enters into the realm of violating human rights.

    • Art installation ‘Haroon Mirza: The Night Journey’ is flat but interesting look into religion, censorship

      “Haroon Mirza: The Night Journey,” is a rather dull art installation that nonetheless makes interesting points on storytelling, religion and censorship.

      British Pakistani multimedia artist Haroon Mirza brings his “custom-built media system” to the Asian Art Museum. The main exhibit is a darkened, sound-proofed room illuminated by LED lights. An eight-channel synthesizer sits perched in the far corner of the room. Each of its outputs is hooked up to a speaker positioned about the room.

      The work reinterprets 18th century religious iconography in a contemporary setting. Mirza pixelated the “night journey of the prophet Muhammad on the heavenly creature Buraq,” an Indian watercolor from the Asian Art Museum’s collection. Mirza converted the pixelated image into a “score”: a sequence of frequencies that are played from the speakers as pure tones. The LED lights are also programmed to those frequencies, changing color in sync with each change in tone. The result is an underwhelming, monotonous light show.

    • Did UN ‘self-censorship’ aggravate Rohingya crisis in Myanmar?

      A report detailing massive human rights violations in Myanmar has pointed to UN negligence as a factor in allowing the Rohingya crisis in Rakhine State to escalate.

    • Bipartisan House group presses Google over China censorship
    • Report: Google’s China Platform Logs Phone Numbers, Censors Results, Drove Engineer To Quit
    • Google’s China prototype reportedly links searches to phone numbers
    • Google prototype for China “complicit in human rights violations”
    • House lawmakers want answers from Google on censored Chinese search engine
    • Google researcher resigns in protest of company’s plan to aid censorship in China
    • Report: Google Dragonfly links phone numbers to search results
    • Google, China create search engine that tracks, censors searches and links them to users’ phone numbers

      A prototype of a censored search engine that links users’ queries to their personal phone numbers is the result of a collaboration between Google and China.

      This technology would make it easier for the Communist Party of China to monitor people and what they are searching, the Intercept reported Friday.

      Dragonfly, the code name for the new search engine, was designed for Android devices.

      The search engine would remove information that the Chinese government deems sensitive, like content regarding political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and protests, in something called a censorship blacklist.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • ESNI: A Privacy-Protecting Upgrade to HTTPS

      Today, the content-delivery network Cloudflare is announcing an experimental deployment of a new web privacy technology called ESNI. We’re excited to see this development, and we look forward to a future where ESNI makes the web more private for all its users.

      Over the past several years, we at EFF have been working to encrypt the web. We and our partners have made huge strides to make web browsing safer and more privacy through tools like HTTPS Everywhere and the Let’s Encrypt Certificate Authority. But users still face many kinds of online privacy problems even when using HTTPS.

      An important example: a 15-year-old technology called Server Name Indication (SNI), which allows a single server to host multiple HTTPS web sites. Unfortunately, SNI itself is unencrypted and transmits the name of the site you’re visiting. That lets ISPs, people with access to tap Internet backbones, or even someone monitoring a wifi network collect a list of the sites you visit. (HTTPS will still prevent them from seeing exactly what you did on those sites.)

      We were disappointed last year that regulations limiting collection of data by ISPs in the U.S. were rolled back. This leaves a legal climate in which ISPs might feel empowered to create profiles of their users’ online activity, even though they don’t need those profiles in order to provide Internet access services. SNI is one significant source of information that ISPs could use to feed these profiles. What’s more, the U.S. government continues to argue that the SNI information your browser sends over the Internet, as “metadata,” enjoys minimal legal protections against government spying.

    • Eye in the sky: Odisha police to deploy drones to track Naxals in Malkangiri, Koraput districts

      Odisha police is going to deploy drones to track Naxal movement in Malkangiri and Koraput area. The first drone will be bought this financial year and will be used for surveillance of severely Naxal-affected districts to augment security. Out of 30 districts in the state, the Maoists have a strong influence in Malknagiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Gajapati, Nuapada, and Sundargarh.

      Odisha has been an ideal transit point for Maoists who flee the neighbouring states fearing search operation by security forces. This has forced the state government to step up vigilance in the bordering districts.

    • NSA worker who took secrets home cost the agency dear: claim

      An NSA worker, who took huge amounts of classified material home and was arrested in December last year over this, forced the organisation to drop a number of “important initiatives at great economic and operational cost”, the former director of the spy agency says.

      The man, Vietnamese American Nghia Hoang Pho, 70, of Ellicot City, Maryland, entered a guilty plea on 1 December to the charge of taking national defence information home from 2010 to 2015 and retaining it at his residence.

      Admiral Mike Rogers, who was NSA chief until May this year, wrote to US District Court Judge George Russell, who is set to sentence Pho in Baltimore on Tuesday, that the negative effects of Pho’s actions had also resulted in a loss of trust among NSA colleagues and essential partners. Rogers’ March letter was published by the American website Politico.

    • Belgian probe implicates Britain in phone spying

      A confidential report by Belgian investigators confirms that British intelligence services hacked state-owned Belgian telecom giant Belgacom on behalf of Washington, an official said Thursday.

      The admission by Belgium is one of the consequences of the myriad revelations made in 2013 by whistleblower Edward Snowden and risks fraying ties between the close allies.

      The report, which summarises a five-year judicial inquiry, is almost complete and was submitted to the office of Justice Minister Koen Geens, a source close to the case told AFP, confirming Belgian press reports.

    • Belgian Prosecutors Confirm UK Involvement in Surveillance of Belgacom – Reports

      The Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed in its conclusions that the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in 2013 intercepted communications of Belgium’s largest telecommunications company Proximus Group, formerly known as Belgacom Group, Belgium’s L’Echo newspaper reported Thursday.

      According to Belgium’s L’Echo newspaper, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office has provided its investigative findings and conclusions to Justice Minister Koen Geens, who confirmed that he would present the investigative report at the National Security Council.

    • A European Court Just Ruled NSA Surveillance Practices Violate Human Rights

      Last week, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the U.K.’s GCHQ spy agency is in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights with its mass surveillance programs. The court ultimately found that these activities violate the family and privacy rights of British and European citizens, and this assertion ultimately includes a rejection of the United States’ activities considering GCHQ has obtained much of its data from the NSA.

      The suit was brought by Amnesty International, Big Brother Watch, the ACLU, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and other civil liberties groups. It addresses provisions of the U.K.’s 2000 Investigatory Powers Act, and though a new version of the law was passed in 2016 and is yet to be enacted, many of the issues the court identified remain in the 2016 bill.

    • Top court rules UK mass interception of fiber-optic cable traffic violates the right to privacy: a victory, but how big?

      The judgment concerned the UK’s Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, which was replaced by the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, as Privacy News Online reported at the time. However, the two laws have much in common, and legal commentators believe that many of the points made by the ECtHR would also apply to the later law, which will need to be revised to comply with the ruling. Similarly, it’s worth noting that this judgment is not just about the UK: it also provides interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights for the 47 member States of the Council of Europe, all of which are parties to the Convention. This means that they should all be reviewing their surveillance laws to ensure they are compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

      Although the ruling does not affect US citizens directly, the fact that GCHQ has been gathering Internet traffic worldwide, and sharing it with the NSA, means that there should in the future be greater oversight of such surveillance, and thus better privacy protection when people in the US go online.

    • CIA Can’t Shake Suit Seeking Twitter Usage Docs

      A Massachusetts federal judge on Monday shot down the Central Intelligence Agency’s bid to ax a Freedom of Information Act suit seeking documents about the agency’s Twitter usage

    • NSA Must Give Up Info In Olympics Spy Suit, Attendees Say

      A group of 2002 Winter Olympics attendees who claim they were spied on by the U.S. National Security Agency asked a Utah federal court Friday to compel the agency to respond…

    • British spies ‘hacked Belgian telecoms firm for minister’

      British spies are likely to have hacked into Belgium’s biggest telecommunications operator for at least two years on the instruction of UK ministers, a confidential report submitted by Belgian prosecutors is said to have concluded.

      The finding would support an allegation made by the whistle-blower Edward Snowden five years ago when he leaked 20 slides exposing the targets of hacking by the British intelligence service GCHQ.

    • British Spies Hacked Belgian Telecom Firm on UK Government Orders – Reports

      Belgian prosecutors’ report supported previous claims made by Edward Snowden that British GCHQ had been intercepting communications at NATO HQ and key European institutions for at least two years.

      The operation had a codename “Operation Socialist” and was conducted by the British intelligence service GCHQ, the Guardian reported. Belgian Justice minister, Koen Geens, has confirmed that he received the report from the prosecutors and would discuss it with country’s national security council, led by Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.

    • Major U.S. insurance company to sell only health-tracker backed life insurance

      A week ago, Apple announced a redesigned smartwatch that could track heart data, run EKGs, and even detect atrial fibrillation, promising that it would save lives. Today, one of America’s biggest insurers killed its traditional life insurance policies, replacing them with “interactive” insurance that encourages users to use such devices and share the data with them to get perks.

      These are already available, but will soon be the only option on John Hancock’s menu.

    • Strap on the Fitbit: John Hancock to sell only interactive life insurance

      Policyholders score premium discounts for hitting exercise targets tracked on wearable devices such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch and get gift cards for retail stores and other perks by logging their workouts and healthy food purchases in an app.

      [...]

      Customers do not have to log their activities to get coverage even though their policies are packaged with the Vitality program. The insurer will begin converting existing life insurance policies to Vitality in 2019, it said.

    • Amazon’s smart microwave is a Trojan horse

      It’s a Trojan horse: an inexpensive entry point, an easy graduation gift, a staple that sometimes needs replacing, and a not-so-intrusive and not-so-useful but also not un-useful household item that can get Alexa into the homes of people who have so far not seen any good reason to invite Alexa to live with them.

    • Amazon announces $60 Alexa-powered microwave with a Dash button for popcorn
    • Colombia is getting to test Facebook’s dating experiment

      More importantly, the Facebook Dating will sit in the app itself – there’s nothing extra to download. Opting in is as easy as flicking a switch, making it far more impulsive a decision that signing up to a dating site.

    • Google confirms it’s letting third parties scan your Gmail

      In a letter to Senators which fell into the hands of CNN, Susan Molinari, VP of public policy and government affairs at Google confirmed: “Developers may share data with third parties so long as they are transparent with the users about how they are using the data”

    • FACEBOOK’S NEW HOME DEVICE MAY HAVE A CAMERA THAT WILL FOLLOW YOU AROUND THE ROOM: REPORT
    • Telco bodies, AIIA warn encryption bill could weaken Australia’s security

      The Federal Government’s draft encryption bill could seriously damage Australia’s — and international — cyber security and, would act contrary to its stated aim of increasing security for Australians, a submission jointly made by the telco industry body Communications Alliance, the Australian Information Industry Association and the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association claims.

    • Privacy, rights groups urge politicians to reject bill

      A group of privacy and rights organisations have called on Australian politicians to reject the encryption bill which was introduced into Parliament last week, as it creates insecurity by design which will get in the way of Australian companies who seek to do business in European markets.

    • Apple’s fine-print reveals a secret program to spy on Iphone users and generate “trust scores”

      Though Apple doesn’t provide any details on how this works, the company has previously deployed a privacy measure called “differential privacy” that allows for some aggregate data-gathering and analysis that theoretically protects the subjects’ privacy — however, Apple’s differential privacy implementation was fatally flawed, a fact that was slow to come to light in part because of the company’s notorious secrecy and its hostility to independent repair and unauthorized analysis of its security measures.

    • Apple is quietly giving people ‘trust scores’ based on their iPhone data

      The method is reminiscent of an episode of the dystopian TV series Black Mirror, in which people are rated on their interactions with other people.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Want to know your rights but only have 60 seconds?

      The 24-year-old lawyer has begun teaching people about their rights in online talks to camera that aim to simplify the complexity of legislation into a few basic principles.

    • Chicago socialist students demand school cuts ties with CIA

      A socialist student group at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is demanding that the school cut all ties with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), claiming that the organization is complicit in “countless crimes.”

      International Youth and Students for Social Equality is protesting UIC’s partnership with the CIA in its “Signature School Program,” which encourages graduates to seek jobs in the intelligence field, while also facilitating access to internships. The socialist group stated in a news release last week that, in partnering with the “diverse” UIC community, the CIA would be targeting “children of immigrants” to “carry out imperialist crimes of the U.S. government around the world.”

    • United Airlines partners with scandal-ridden, CIA-backed Palantir for data initiatives

      Back in 2009 an ex-Secret Service agent named Peter Cavicchia III ran special ops for JP Morgan in which he used Palantir’s software to spy on everyone in the company as part of his duty of forensic investigations at the bank.

      Employees caught on and some even inserted fake information in their personal correspondances to see if Cavicchia would bring it up in the next meeting… and he did!

      Not even senior bank executives were saved from the company-wide spying that went on at JP Morgan after Cavicchia allegedly went “rogue” using Palantir’s algorithms.

      As Bloomberg reported in April of this year, “An intelligence platform designed for the global War on Terror was weaponized against ordinary Americans at home.”

    • Five Ways the Trump Administration Has Attacked the U.N. and International Human Rights Bodies

      Trump’s assault on international cooperation and human rights is ultimately self-defeating. His U.N. address Tuesday will likely be more of the same.

      On Tuesday, President Trump will make his second appearance at the annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly, where he will reportedly use the international spotlight to deliver a speech that centers on favoring U.S. “sovereignty” over our commitments to the global community.

      The world has now witnessed the human costs of Trump’s self-defeating “America First” policies: the inhumanity of family separation, the ruined lives from repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and the suffering caused by slashing the numbers of refugees allowed to enter the U.S., to name just a few.

      By pushing xenophobic policies that defy international law, the Trump administration is pitting the United States against the very system of multilateralism that our country worked so hard to create in the years after World War II. This system was designed to benefit the entire world — including the U.S. — by promoting peace, security, and human rights while deterring chaos and violence. That’s why undermining it is harmful to everyone, including Americans.

    • Facebook Warns Memphis Police: No More Fake “Bob Smith” Accounts

      Facebook has a problem: an infestation of undercover cops. Despite the social platform’s explicit rules that the use of fake profiles by anyone—police included—is a violation of terms of service, the issue proliferates. While the scope is difficult to measure, EFF has identified scores of agencies who maintain policies that explicitly flaunt these rules.

      Hopefully—and perhaps this is overly optimistic—this is about to change, with a new warning Facebook has sent to the Memphis Police Department. The company has also updated its law enforcement guidelines to highlight the prohibition on fake accounts.

      This summer, the criminal justice news outlet The Appeal reported on an alarming detail revealed in a civil rights lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Tennessee against the Memphis Police Department. The lawsuit uncovered evidence that the police used what they referred to as a “Bob Smith” account to befriend and gather intelligence on activists. Following the report, EFF contacted Facebook, which deactivated that account. Facebook has since identified and deactivated six other fake accounts managed by Memphis police that were previously unknown.

      In a letter to Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings dated Sept. 19, Facebook’s legal staff demands that the agency “cease all activities on Facebook that involve the use of fake accounts or impersonation of others.”

    • DHS Oversight Looks At ‘Unreliable’ Border Assault Numbers, Decides Under-Reporting Is The Problem

      The DHS says assaults on CBP and Border Patrol officers have been steadily increasing since 2015, with a 46.3% surge in violence against officers in 2017 alone. Sure, it fits the current narrative that undocumented immigrants are inherently dangerous. But is it true? Not even remotely.

      The CBP and Border Patrol are using new math to report assaults, allowing the DHS to portray patrolling the border as far more dangerous than it actually is. The Intercept exposed the bogus math earlier this year, thanks to a CBP official’s inadvertently frank admission the numbers were incredibly inflated.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Talk: Juan Benet—DWeb Progress: “Where have we been? What’s next?”
    • New York Times Sues FCC With Eye On Bogus Russian Net Neutrality Comments

      So we’ve pretty well established that somebody flooded the FCC’s website with bogus comments during the agency’s unpopular attack on net neutrality last year. Many of these comments were made using lifted identities (like Senators Jeff Merkley and Pat Toomey, or my own). Other comments were made using the identities of dead people. Many of the comments were made by a bot that pulled some of these fake identities in alphabetical order from a hacked database of some kind. Exactly 444,938 of those comments were made using Russian e-mail addresses.

      The general consensus among activists and journalists is that it was broadband providers or a partisan advocacy group linked to broadband providers, though the FCC’s total refusal to aid investigations have made proving this rather difficult. This week, the New York Times sued the FCC for its ongoing refusal to adequately respond to FOIA requests regarding the incident.

    • Talk: Tristan Harris: “Can the Decentralized Web be more Humane that today’s Web?”
    • NYT sues FCC, says it hid evidence of Russia meddling in net neutrality repeal

      The Times made a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request in June 2017 for FCC server logs related to the system for accepting public comments on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s repeal of net neutrality rules. The FCC refused to provide the records, telling the Times that doing so would jeopardize the privacy of commenters and the effectiveness of the agency’s IT security practices and that fulfilling the records request would be overly burdensome.

    • Talk: Jennifer Granick— “The End of the Internet As We Knew It, And What Happens Next”
    • Vint Cerf on Traceability

      The significant problems Cerf lists could perhaps be somewhat mitigated if the cost and hassle factor for law enforcement of deanonymizing Internet malefactors were reduced. But law enforcement, especially international law enforcement, has limited resources and many tasks for good reason assigned higher priority than “social network bullying and misinformation”. It is doubtful that such cost reduction would change these priorities much. Mueller’s GRU indictments show that in important cases law enforcement can and does deanonymize bad actors; Facebook’s deletion of material from the Internet Research Agency shows that, under pressure, companies do the same.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Why Kodi Addons & Pirate Apps Are Disappearing…Quietly

        Since 2017, many Kodi addon and ‘pirate’ app developers have chosen to discontinue their projects and disappear into the shadows. Yet, unlike historical shutdowns of torrent and streaming platforms, most of these moves haven’t made the headlines. The informational black hole is notable but can be explained. Those targeted are compelled not to say a word.

        [...]

        After collating information from a number of sources, we can now reveal some of the tactics being used against developers involved in ‘pirate’ projects.

      • Ticketmaster stung by undercover journalists, who reveal that the company deliberately enables scalpers and rips off artists

        But a CBC/Toronto Star undercover investigation has revealed that Ticketmaster runs a secret, parallel system called “Tradedesk” that encourages the most prolific scalpers to create multiple accounts to circumvent the company’s limits on ticket sales, and then allows them to re-list those tickets for sale in its “brokerage” market, which nominally exists to allow fans who find themselves with a spare ticket or two to sell it other fans. According to Ticketmaster reps who were unaware they were being secretly recorded, the most successful scalpers use this system to make as much as $5 million/year.

      • ‘A public relations nightmare’: Ticketmaster recruits pros for secret scalper program

        CBC News obtained a copy of Ticketmaster’s official reseller handbook, which outlines these fees. It also details Ticketmaster’s reward system for scalpers. As scalpers hit milestones such as $500,000 or $1 million in annual sales, Ticketmaster will knock a percentage point off its fees.

      • If we don’t act now, Article 13 could break the internet by mistake

        There are two final hurdles the Copyright Directive has left to clear: a vote among the EU governments, and one among the Members of its Parliament – which will occur early next year, not long before all MEPs are up for re-election. You have until then to demand that your representatives at both levels consider not only what they want this law to do – but also what it actually will.

      • European Union announces draconian internet censorship measures

        The European Union (EU) has advanced plans for the continent-wide censorship of the internet. Giving his final State of the Union speech last Wednesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker outlined plans to compel online platforms to take down “terrorist content” within one hour of it being flagged by national authorities.

        Failure to comply will result in fines of up to four percent of the offending company’s annual global turnover.

        These proposals have vast, grave implications for the democratic right of hundreds of millions of people to access and use the internet freely. The law will mean EU members state governments and national security services will determine what is acceptable for publication on the internet—with no reference to the courts or any kind of democratic oversight. The one-hour time limit for removing content will force platforms to prevent certain postings lest they run the risk of sanctions.

      • E.U. Passes Censorship-Inducing Online Copyright Regulations

        Despite many, many warnings from technology companies and scholars that they were going to wreck the internet, European Union lawmakers have passed a host of new regulations greatly expanding online copyright enforcement demands.

        Last week the European Parliament approved a heavily amended version of the European Copyright Directive by a vote of 438 to 226. Tech companies and digital activists have been warning all summer that this will demolish online sharing in order to serve the financial interests of entertainment and media companies.

      • What New EU Copyright Law Will Mean for Media, Tech Companies and Users

        Supporters of the Copyright Directive, which the European Parliament passed last week, claim it will force online giants like Google and Facebook to share revenues with content creators.

        For internet activists, media industry wonks and copyright legislation fans (if such a species exists), these are heady days.

        On Sept. 12, the European Parliament approved a major overhaul of copyright law that, if its supporters are believed, will update copyright for the digital age and force online giants like Google and Facebook to share revenues with content creators. Or, according to critics of the European Union Copyright Directive, it will destroy the internet as users know it, blocking free speech, stifling competition and reinforcing the entrenched power of media conglomerates.

        The reality, as always, is somewhere in the middle.

      • Does the EU’s Controversial ‘Upload Filter’ Set a Precedent for Censorship?

        Will the EU’s new Copyright Directive lead to mass censorship of the internet? That’s the fear of some in the tech industry in the wake of new European Union regulations.

        To comply with the EU’s updated Copyright Directive, tech platforms like Google and Facebook may have to install “upload filters” to find and remove copyrighted content — which critics fear may result in unintended censorship.

      • Big changes for CC Search beta: updates released today!

        Today, we’ve released a significant update to our working beta of the CC Search product. We launched the project in February 2017 to provide a new “front door” to the Commons with the ultimate goal to find and index all 1.4 billion+ CC licensed works on the web. Since then, our newly formed tech team – myself, Alden Page, Sophine Clachar, and Steven Bellamy – have been working to move this project toward its next iteration, which I am proud to share today.

      • Using copyright-protected material as evidence in a court proceeding.

        The Swedish Patent and Market Court of Appeal has provided for an interesting ruling (PMFT 2585-17, 2018-01-24) concerning the protection of copyright-protected works when these are used as evidence as a court proceeding.

        The case at hand concerned a text written by J.I., filed as evidence during an appeal concerning custody. M.B. (the mother) filed a copy of the text as evidence of J.I.:s (the father) inappropriate behavior. The text had not been previously published. The objective was of course to harm the credibility of J.I. by means of the content of the text in question and thereby to succeed in acquiring the custody of their son. The custody proceedings took place behind closed doors.

        J.I. sued for copyright infringement on three grounds, the distribution of the text, its reproduction and its communication to the public.

      • Not Just Books: All the Free Digital Stuff Your Local Library Might Offer

        You might think of libraries as old fashioned, or irrelevant in the age of the internet. You’d be wrong.

        Modern libraries offer books, yes, but they also provide internet access to people who can’t afford it, along with a bunch of excellent digital resources. Many libraries offer ebooks, audiobooks, streaming video, and even access to paywalled newspapers.

        All of these services are free to you, regardless of your income level, if you have a library card. Here are five digital services your local library might offer. You might be surprised.

      • Reddit Gets Tough With Multiple Bans of Piracy Sub-Reddits

        Faced with communities that continually flaunt Reddit’s rules on deliberately linking to copyright-infringing content, the site’s admins have banned yet more piracy-focused sub-Reddits. The latest casualties are communities that have systematically posted links to movies, TV shows and software.

      • Judge Sees No Evidence that Pirates Were Drawn by ISP’s Lack of ‘Policing’

        A group of RIAA labels has suffered a setback in their case against ISP Grande Communications. US Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin recommends denying their motion for an amended complaint, as there is no new evidence suggesting that pirates signed up with the provider due to its lacking repeat infringer policy.

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