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09.29.18

Links 29/9/2018: Wine 3.17, Nuitka 0.60

Posted in News Roundup at 9:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Lilbits 340: System76 to launch a new open source computer

      It’s been more than a year since Linux computer company System76 announced plans to design and manufacture hardware in-house. Up until now, the company has primarily worked with OEM’s to add custom software to off-the-shelf laptop and desktop PC designs.

      Now the company says it plans to start taking pre-orders for a “new open-source computer” next month. The company isn’t saying much about what kind of computer we’re talking about, but last year System76 said it would probably start with desktops, which are easier to design than notebooks or other portable computers.

    • Linux Apps on High Resolution Chromebooks Getting A Fix

      The advent of Linux apps on Chromebooks is a relatively new phenomenon that feels like its been around for a long time. If you remember, the feature has only been around for the last few versions of Chrome and only began garnering attention in May of 2018 around Google’s yearly developer event: I/O.

      With that in mind, the rapid development has been impressive. It took Android far longer to shake out the major bugs and become relatively usable. Linux apps at this point are working quite well with decent file support and relatively simple setup – assuming you know your way around a Linux terminal. Heck, even if you don’t, getting a software center installed is pretty simple for most people and can give a level of comfort to users not so familiar with the terminal.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds answers 5 questions in BBC letter

      To hear some people talk about it, Linux’s new Code of Conduct (CoC) will destroy Linux by shoving out developers who don’t kowtow to political correctness. Others are sure Linux will remain a haven for abusive jerks. Linus Torvalds, in an e-mail to the BBC, revealed he’s sick of both sides.

      I addressed some of these myths about Torvalds stepping down and the CoC in an earlier piece, but Torvalds is the man on the spot, so let’s look at what he said.

    • Linus Torvalds’ Linux Kernel Departure Marks a Shift in Attitudes Toward Tech Entrepreneurs [Ed: Tomorrow is a fortnight since Torvalds sent out an e-mail about the latest kernel RC and a note about short Linux break. Corporate media keeps doing this mudraking.]

      See, the Linux kernel accepts contributions from a huge team of programmers via a programming repository called Git. Torvalds, until he took his break, was in charge of reviewing every piece of code submitted for consideration as part of the kernel. And Torvalds was a harsh reviewer.

      [...]

      There’s a popular story about Steve Jobs that illustrates this pretty well. The story goes that, during the design process for the iPod, Jobs complained to engineers that the prototype was too large. When the engineers replied that it couldn’t be made any smaller, Jobs irritably dropped the prototype into a fish tank. The Apple founder then pointed out the bubbles that came out as proof the device had empty space in it and reiterated his command: make it smaller.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Open Source Blockchain Project Hyperledger Adds 14 New Members, Including FedEx and Honeywell

        Hyperledger is an open-source platform that promotes cross-industry blockchain growth and adoption. On Sept. 26, the collaborative platform added 14 new members to its growing community. The total number of members who have joined is now over 270, who work together to create open-source distributed ledger frameworks and tools.

      • FedEx joins open source blockchain initiative

        The blockchain “collaborative” added 14 new members to its more than 250 existing members, including Honeywell International. Existing members include Accenture, Airbus, Daimler, IBM and SAP.

        It’s yet unclear what FedEx is looking to do with Hyperledger’s technology, but the company has said in the past it is conducting blockchain pilots, and the possibilities of blockchain technology in the supply chain are at this point well-recognized by its major players.

      • Linux Foundation drives VNF migration to cloud-native functions

        The Linux Foundation is stoking the fire to spur an evolution from virtual network functions to so-called cloud-native network functions.

        In one of several announcements during the Open Networking Summit in Amsterdam this week, The Linux Foundation said it is working with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation to better support this virtual network function (VNF) migration to cloud-native network functions. One example the foundation cited was running network functions on Kubernetes container instances.

      • Thirty-Eight New Organizations Join The Linux Foundation in August
      • Thirty-Eight New Organizations Join The Linux Foundation in August

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced the addition of 31 Silver members and 7 Associate members in the month of August. Linux Foundation members help support development of the shared technology resources, while accelerating their own innovation through open source leadership and participation. Linux Foundation member contributions help provide the infrastructure and resources that enable the world’s largest open collaboration communities.

      • Blockchain Interoperability Wanchain Joins Hyperledger

        Blockchain interoperability company Wanchain has joined Hyperledger’s platform with the aim of creating modern cross-industry blockchain technology that will run on Linux, the company said in a statement.

      • Open-Source Club: Monero Dodges Yet Another Attack With Community’s Help

        This week, the developers of Monero (XMR) patched a bug that could allow an attacker to ‘burn’ the funds of an organization’s wallet. The breach was initially revealed by a community member, and XMR developers were quick enough to fix it before any damage was done.

    • Graphics Stack

      • There’s A New Libre GPU Effort Building On RISC-V, Rust, LLVM & Vulkan

        Over the past decade and a half of covering the Linux graphics scene, there have been many attempts at providing a fully open-source GPU (or even just display adapter) down to the hardware level, but none of them have really panned out from Project VGA to other FPGA designs. There’s a new very ambitious project trying to create a “libre 3D GPU” built atop RISC-V, leveraging Rust and LLVM on the software side, and would also support Vulkan.

        Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton, the open hardware engineer behind the EOMA68 project, is pursuing an open-source GPU project and is reported to have access to $250k USD in funding to make it happen.

      • Tegra194 “Xavier” Display Support Hits DRM-Next For Linux 4.20~5.0

        Just last week a NVIDIA engineer sent out the initial Tegra194/Xavier SoC display enablement code for the Linux kernel’s Tegra Direct Rendering Manager bits. Those patches have now been queued in DRM-Next for introduction in the next kernel release.

        This enablement work is for getting the Tegra DRM display code working with this latest-generation Tegra SoC. But it isn’t about enabling the Volta GPU support for the 3D acceleration that would come with the Nouveau code.

      • Collabora’s Erik Faye-Lund Outlines The New “Zink” OpenGL-on-Vulkan Gallium3D Effort

        Not to be confused with the also new Zinc crypto code working its way to the mainline kernel as part of WireGuard, Zink is a new effort led by a developer at Collabora for implementing OpenGL on top of Vulkan drivers via Gallium3D.

        Zink is the project we noted earlier this week about getting OpenGL-on-Vulkan using Gallium3D as one of the interesting approaches compared to the other OpenGL over Vulkan projects we’ve seen in months past. Erik Faye-Lund of Collabora briefly talked about this new initiative during a lightning talk as XDC 2018 wraps up in Spain.

      • Vega 20 Compute Driver Support, Picasso DPG Added To Linux 4.20~5.0 Queue

        The red driver team has submitted their presumably last feature pull request to DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel cycle. This pull does include some of the recently covered notable additions to the AMDGPU DRM driver.

        This latest pull request builds off the exciting work that’s already been queued in prior weeks for this next kernel version. New additions include VCN dynamic power gating (DPG) support for yet-to-be-out AMD Picasso APUs, clean-ups to the DRM scheduler code, Vega 20 support within AMDKFD, and DC display code clean-ups and fixes.

      • Intel Working To Improve The Reset Experience During GPU Hangs

        Driven to improve the Chrome OS user-experience, Intel open-source developers have been working on improving their GPU reset behavior when encountering problems under 3D/multimedia workloads.

        Carlos Santa of Intel is presenting their latest work on a low-latency GPU engine-based reset mechanism. The current behavior is that the UI freezes followed by a black screen and system reboot, which can happen after unexpected GPU behavior after hours of usage.

      • Heterogeneous Memory Management Is Maturing, AMDGPU Support Coming

        For the past four years now we have been monitoring the development of Heterogeneous Memory Management (HMM) for allowing the mirroring of process address spaces and other functionality particularly designed around modern GPU compute needs but also applicable to other devices/drivers. The HMM kernel code was merged to mainline last year while haven’t seen much activity by the DRM drivers but that now seems to be changing.

        Red Hat’s Jerome Glisse who has been the mastermind behind of Heterogeneous Memory Management presented at this week’s X.Org Developers’ Conference (XDC2018) about this work. For those interested, the slides are now available here (PDF) that go over HMM.

      • A Nice Overview Of The ROCm Linux Compute Stack

        It’s easy to get confused by the Radeon GPU compute stack / OpenCL driver support as there has been multiple offerings over the years from the no longer supported Clover Gallium3D OpenCL driver to a still-maintained PAL-based OpenCL driver to their modern ROCm compute stack. When it comes to ROCm though, besides OpenCL there is also their HCC and HIP approaches and from there support for a variety of frameworks, libraries, etc. Here are some overviews of the current ROCm compute stack those interested.

    • Benchmarks

      • 12-Way Intel / AMD Integrated Graphics Linux Tests On Ubuntu 18.10

        Here is a fresh look at the current Linux OpenGL/Vulkan performance of various new and old Intel/AMD systems with integrated graphics using Ubuntu 18.10.

        With Ubuntu 18.10 around the corner, I’ve been carrying out some fresh benchmarks and do have a low-end Linux system benchmark comparison coming up soon. Today is looking at the graphics performance, which was benchmarked in the state it was a few days ago with the Linux 4.18 kernel, GNOME Shell 3.30.0, X.Org Server 1.20.1, and Mesa 18.1.5. Since then Mesa 18.2.1 was added to the archive, so unfortunately this particular article missed out on that upgrade, but the comparison is still very much relevant with not being many changes for the hardware covered by this comparison and the OpenGL/Vulkan software under test.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • gnome-software mini hackfest

        I am in London this week visiting Richard Hughes. We have been working out of his home office and giving some much needed love to GNOME Software.

  • Distributions

    • Netrunner Builds on KDE for a Unique Linux Spin

      Most every Linux distribution is based on another one. Many are based on Ubuntu or Debian, some are based on Fedora, while others are based on Arch Linux. And, even when a distribution offers different types of releases (stable vs. rolling, or various available desktops), they are generally based on the same base platform.

      Netrunner, however, takes a slightly different approach. If that name sounds slightly familiar, you might remember the Collectable Card Game from the 1990s that pitted two players against each other — one playing a corporation and one playing a hacker attempting to break into the corporation’s network. There is no indication that Blue Systems (the company supporting Netrunner) named the OS after the game, but it’s a great launching point for yet another Linux distribution.

    • Reviews

      • Summary of 5 XFCE Distros: Xubuntu, Mint, Fedora, Manjaro, Porteus

        I write this small review of GNU/Linux distros with XFCE User Interface to help you choose a suitable lightweight, free operating system for your computer. Especially, to empower your old PCs and laptops once again. I present here five distros for you: Xubuntu, Linux Mint XFCE Edition, Fedora Spin XFCE, Manjaro XFCE Edition, and Porteus XFCE. All are lightweight. By looking at my criteria below, like, 32-bit availability and how small the ISO size is, or what special features are available and how satisfying the support is, I hope you can choose one most suitable for you. Let’s revive our old machines and empower more our new ones with an XFCE distro!

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • VIM, Xen, Git Packages Updated in This Week’s Tumbleweed Snapshots

        There were a total of four openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots this week that updated packages like VIM, Xen, Git and ImageMagick.

        The latest snapshot, 20180925, updated three packages. All the packages updated in this snapshot were zero dot packages. The updated packages were obs-service-set_version 0.5.10, purple-carbons 0.1.6 and shotwell 0.30.0. The obs-service-set_version 0.5.10 version fixed a zip file crash associated with python. The version change regarding purple-carbons 0.1.6 was basically cleaning up the code. The shotwell 0.30.0 package updated translations and fixed random segfaults in GNOME settings.

        The 20180924 snapshot updated a little more than a handful of packages. Among the package updates were hdf5’s jump from version 1.10.1 to 1.10.3. The HDF5 package is a high performance data software library and file format to manage, process, and store heterogeneous data. The version added a few patches and had an upstream fix that dropped a warning patch. The text-mode web browser links 2.17 package had multiple changes. Among some of the most important fixes for the package was verifying SSL certificates for numeric IPv6 addresses and fixing an infinite loop that happened in graphics mode if the user clicked on OK in the “Miscellaneous options” dialog when more than one window was open. The nano 3.1 version fixed a fix a misbinding of ^H that had an effect with some terminals on certain systems. Three rubygem packages were also updated in the snapshot. The packages were rubygem-marcel 0.3.3, rubygem-sass 3.6.0 and rubygem-uglifier 4.1.19.

      • Tor Browser for Android (Alpha) Now Available, Feral Interactive Announces Total War: THREE KINGDOMS Coming to Linux Spring 2019, Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish Final Beta Released, Four New openSUSE Tumbleweed Snapshots and More

        This week brought four new openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots that update packages like vim, Xen, Git and ImageMagick.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Lucas Kanashiro: MicroDebConf Brasília 2018

        After I came back to my home city (Brasília) I felt the necessity to promote and help people to contribute to Debian, some old friends from my former university (Univesrity of Brasília) and the local comunnity (Debian Brasília) came up with the idea to run a Debian related event and I just thought: “That sounds amazing!”. We contacted the university to book a small auditorium there for an entire day. After that we started to think, how should we name the event? The Debian Day was more or less one month ago, someone speculated a MiniDebConf but I thought that it was going to be much smaller than regular MiniDebConfs. So we decided to use a term that we used sometime ago here in Brasília, we called MicroDebConf :)

        MicroDebConf Brasília 2018 took place at Gama campus of University of Brasília on September 8th. It was amazing, we gathered a lot of students from university and some high schools, and some free software enthisiastics too. We had 44 attendees in total, we did not expect all these people in the begining! During the day we presented to them what is Debian Project and the many different ways to contribute to it.

        Since our focus was newcommers we started from the begining explaining how to use Debian properly, how to interact with the community and how to contribute. We also introduced them to some other subjects such as management of PGP keys, network setup with Debian and some topics about Linux kernel contributions. As you probably know, students are never satisfied, sometimes the talks are too easy and basic and other times are too hard and complex to follow. Then we decided to balance the talks level, we started from Debian basics and went over details of Linux kernel implementation. Their feedback was positive, so I think that we should do it again, atract students is always a challenge.

        In the end of the day we had some discussions regarding what should we do to grow our local community? We want more local people actually contributing to free software projects and specially Debian. A lot of people were interested but some of them said that they need some guidance, the life of a newcommer is not so easy for now.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” Beta Released with GNOME 3.30 and Linux 4.18

            Canonical released today the beta version of the upcoming and highly-anticipated Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” operating system for public beta testers and early adopters.

            Dubbed Cosmic Cuttlefish, Ubuntu 18.10 is the first release of the world’s most popular GNU/Linux distribution to drop the alpha builds from its development cycle and opt only for a single beta release. The beta is now available for public testing and it’s the first and only development milestone for the Ubuntu 18.10 release.

            Ubuntu 18.10 beta is packed with some of the most recent GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software. It’s powered by the latest Linux 4.18 kernel series, uses the GNOME 3.30 desktop environment, and ships with an up-to-date graphics stack based on Mesa 18.2.1. It also includes Firefox 62.0 and LibreOffice 6.1.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” Beta Released: Download All Flavors Here

            After the April release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, the Canonical development team has announced the final beta of Ubuntu 18.10 Desktop, Server, and Cloud editions.

            Ubuntu 18.10 was codenamed Cosmic Cuttlefish — a name that doesn’t need any explanation — by Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth. A highlight point of this beta release is that it’s the final and only beta scheduled for the 18.10 cycle.

          • Cuddle up with Ubuntu Linux 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish Beta now!

            Just yesterday, we shared with you the official Ubuntu Linux 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish wallpaper. And yeah, while it looks cool, it’s not as exciting as, say, a Beta release of the upcoming operating system. Today, that is exactly what we get.

            If you like to run pre-release Linux-based operating systems for fun — which I do — you can download the ISO immediately. With Ubuntu, these late-stage Beta releases are usually very stable. After all, the final version will drop next month. So while you should install it at your own risk, I would say you are probably safe with it.

          • Canonical releases Ubuntu 18.10 ‘Cosmic Cuttlefish’ beta ISOs

            Canonical has announced the availability of the Ubuntu 18.10 ‘Cosmic Cuttlefish’ beta ISOs. The firm has announced the availability of the beta for Ubuntu Desktop, Server, and Cloud as well as Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Studio, and Xubuntu.

            Anyone that wants to test out the beta releases should know that they are “reasonably free” of showstopper or installer bugs and represent the features and software that should be included in the final release that is expected on October 18th. Of course, if you do encounter any bugs you should report these to Canonical so that they can be fixed.

          • Following Mir 1.0, Developers Encouraged To Target Wayland Instead Of Mir Client API

            Last week Canonical developers released Mir 1.0 for the “next-generation of graphical solutions” particularly for IoT device makers. Mir lead developer Alan Griffiths published a bit of a redux today now with the 1.0 release out the door.

          • Announcing the Ubuntu 18.10 Free Culture Showcase winners

            October approaches, and Ubuntu marches steadly along the road from one LTS to another. Ubuntu 18.10 is another step in Ubuntu’s future. And now it’s time to unveil a small part of that change: the community wallpapers to be included in Ubuntu 18.10!

            Every cycle, talented artists around the world create media and release it under licenses that encourage sharing and adaptation. This cycle we had some amazing images submitted to the Ubuntu 18.10 Free Culture Showcase photo pool on Flickr, where all eligible submissions can be found. The competition was fierce; narrowing down the options to the final selections was painful!

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu Studio 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Beta released

              While this beta is reasonably free of any showstopper CD build or installer bugs, you may find some bugs within. This image is, however, reasonably representative of what you will find when Ubuntu Studio 18.10 is released on October 18, 2018.

              In terms of new features, Ubuntu Studio 18.10 will include the latest release of Ubuntu Studio Controls which will configure the JACK Audio Connection Kit to automatically detect and add hot-plugged USB audio devices as well as allow one to use multiple audio devices simultaneously. This is done independently of QJackCtl and is the first graphical tool to create such a configuration for the user out-of-the-box, making it a unique feature for Ubuntu Studio among operating systems for audio production. Another feature of Ubuntu Studio Controls is its ability to set the CPU governor to “Performance” for performance-heavy tasks such as audio production or to “Ondemand” for default CPU performance to save energy.

            • Kubuntu Cosmic Cuttlefish (18.10) Beta Released

              The beta of the Cosmic Cuttlefish (to become 18.10) has now been released, and is available for download at http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/kubuntu/releases/18.10/beta/

              This milestone features images for Kubuntu and other Ubuntu flavours.

            • Ubuntu Budgie 18.10 Looks Like an Essential Upgrade

              Ubuntu Budgie 18.10 is released in October and it promises to be the best release yet.

              A raft of major improvements are touched on in the preview notes for Ubuntu Budgie 18.10, which spread its wings alongside the regular Ubuntu 18.10 beta on September 27.

              Stock Ubuntu 18.10 might be little sparse on visible changes (sans its spiffy new theme of course) but there’s plenty of foliage to sift through over on Ubuntu Budgie’s branch…

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Haiku R1/beta1 has been released

    After nearly 6 years since R1/alpha4, Haiku R1/beta1 has been released. See “Release Notes” for the (lengthy) release notes, “Press contact”, for press inquiries … and “Get Haiku!” to skip all that and just download the release.

  • Haiku R1 Beta Released For Reliving The BeOS Experience As Open-Source

    The Haiku operating system after sixteen years in development and six years since their last alpha release, this BeOS-inspired open-source operating system has reached its beta milestone.

    Since the Alpha4 release has been countless improvements from better package management to greater hardware support, much better application support, improved media handling, EFI/GPT support, a new thread scheduler, countless new drivers, and frankly a hell of a lot of other improvements.

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Snips NLU

    Natural language understanding is a form of natural language processing that enables machine reading comprehension. Common applications of this include AI assistants, chatbots, and voice assistants.

    “Behind every chatbot and voice assistant lies a common piece of technology: Natural Language Understanding (NLU). Anytime a user interacts with an AI using natural language, their words need to be translated into a machine-readable description of what they meant. Voice requires an additional step, which is to transcribe the voice of the user into the corresponding text, prior to running the NLU,” Joseph Dureau, CTO of Snips, wrote in a post.

  • Aqua’s Kube-Bench Wins 2018 InfoWorld Bossie Award for Best Open Source Software
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Contributing to the European Commission’s review of digital competition

        Following on the heels of our submission to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission last month, we have submitted a written filing to the European Commission Directorate-General for Competition, as part of a public consultation in advance of the Commission’s forthcoming January 2019 conference on competition challenges in the digital era. In our filing, we focus on two specific, related issues: the difficulty of measuring competitive harm in a data-powered and massively vertically integrated digital ecosystem, and the role played by interoperability (in particular, through technical interfaces known as APIs) in powering the internet as we know it.

        Mozilla’s Internet Health Report 2018 explored concentration of power and centralization online through a spotlight article, “Too big tech?” The software and services offered by a few companies are entangled with virtually every part of our lives. These companies reached their market positions in part through massive innovation and investment, and they created extremely popular (and lucrative) user experiences. But we are headed today down a path of excessive centralisation and control, where someday the freedom to code and compete will be realised in full only for those who work for a few large corporations.

      • Hubs by Mozilla: Immersive Communication on Any Device

        Hubs by Mozilla lets people meet in a shared 360-environment using just their browser. Hubs works on any device from head-mounted displays like HTC Vive to 2D devices like laptops and mobile phones. Using WebVR, a JavaScript API, Mozilla is making virtual interactions with avatars accessible via Firefox and other browser that people use every day.

        In the course of building the first online social platform for VR and AR on the web, Mozilla wanted confirm it was building a platform that would bring people together and do so in a low-friction, safe, and scalable way. With her years of experience and seminal studies examining the successes and pitfalls of social VR systems across the ecosystem, Jessica Outlaw and Tyesha Snow of The Extended Mind, set out to generate insights about the user experience and deliver recommendations of how to improve the Hubs product.

      • Support Localization – Top 50 Sprint and More

        I hope you can still remember that last month we kicked off a “Top 20 Sprint” for several locales available on the Support site. You can read more about the reasons behind it here and the way it had been going here.

        In September, the goal has been extended to include a wider batch of articles that quality into the “Top 50” – that is, the 50 most popular Knowledge Base articles globally. You can see their list on this dashboard: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/contributors/kb-overview

        I wanted to share with you the progress our community has made over the last weeks and call out those who have contributed towards Mozilla’s broader linguistic coverage of support content, making all the possible versions of Firefox easier to use for millions of international users.

      • The Developer Toolbar (or GCLI) is no longer in DevTools

        The DevTools GCLI has been removed from the Firefox codebase (bug), which roughly translates into 20k less lines of code to think about, and the associated tests which are not running anymore, so yay for saving both brain and automation power!

        We triaged all the existing bugs, and moved a bunch worth keeping to DevTools → Shared Components, to avoid losing track of them (they’re mostly about taking screenshots). Then the ever helpful Emma resolved the rest as incomplete, and moved the component to the DevTools Graveyard in Bugzilla, to avoid people filing bugs about code that does not exist anymore.

        During this removal process we’ve heard from some of you that you miss certain features from GCLI, and we’ve taken note, and will aim to bring them back when time and resourcing allow. In the meantime, thank you for your feedback! It helps us better understand how you use the tools.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Happy 35th Birthday GNU!

      The GNU project was officially announced on 27 September 1983 by Richard Stallman. Thirty-five years of a project that has now become the fundamental building block of everything we use and see in technology in 2018. I would not be wrong to say that there isn’t a single proprietary piece of software that anyone is still using from 35 years ago – please post comments if there is something still being used.

      There is only one reason for this longevity: the GNU project was built upon the premise that the code is available to anyone, anywhere with the only restriction that whatever is done to the code, it shall always be available to anyone, forever. Richard Stallman’s genius in crafting the copyleft license is the GNU General Public License is probably the best hack of the 20th century software industry.

  • Public Services/Government

    • The rise of open source use across state and local government

      It’s important to distinguish between “Open Source,” “Free and Open Source (F/OSS)” and “Enterprise Open Source” solutions.

      Open source is a term used to denote software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Additionally, it often consists of a broad community of contributors participating in a collaborative development process, resulting in greater innovation, improved capabilities, and increased interoperability due to the openness of the architecture and interfaces.

  • Programming/Development

    • Nuitka 0.60 released

      Nuitka is a compiler for the Python 2.7 and 3.7 languages…

    • Nuitka Release 0.6.0

      This is to inform you about the new stable release of Nuitka. It is the extremely compatible Python compiler. Please see the page “What is Nuitka?” for an overview.

      This release adds massive improvements for optimization and a couple of bug fixes.

      It also indicates reaching the mile stone of doing actual type inference, even if only very limited.

      And with the new version numbers, lots of UI changes go along. The options to control recursion into modules have all been renamed, some now have different defaults, and finally the filenames output have changed.

    • py3status v3.13

      I am once again lagging behind the release blog posts but this one is an important one.

      I’m proud to announce that our long time contributor @lasers has become an official collaborator of the py3status project!

    • Software disenchantment

      So I want to call it out: where we are today is bullshit. As engineers, we can, and should, and will do better. We can have better tools, we can build better apps, faster, more predictable, more reliable, using fewer resources (orders of magnitude fewer!). We need to understand deeply what are we doing and why. We need to deliver: reliably, predictably, with topmost quality. We can—and should–take pride in our work. Not just “given what we had…”—no buts!

    • The relative performance of C and Rust

      So take all of this as disclaimer: I am not trying to draw large conclusions about “C vs. Rust” here. To the contrary, I think that it is a reasonable assumption that, for any task, a lower-level language can always be made to outperform a higher-level one. But with that said, a pesky fact remains: I reimplemented a body of C software in Rust, and it performed better for the same task; what’s going on? And is there anything broader we can say about these results?

Leftovers

  • Science

    • DNA islands effective as ‘anti-bacterial drones’

      Genomic “islands” that evolved from viruses can be converted into “drones” that disable Staphylococcus aureus, bacteria that are often resistant to antibiotics and pose a threat to safe hospital care, a new study finds.

      Conducted by researchers from NYU School of Medicine and published online in the journal Nature Biotechnology on September 24, the study found that a certain type of bacterial DNA can be engineered to replace disease-causing genes with ones that kill or cripple bacteria.

      The type of DNA featured in the study, a “pathogenicity island,” evolved from viruses that stayed permanently in the bacteria they infected to become a part of their genetic system. The result is a hybrid entity that contains useful genes passed on by the bacteria when they reproduce, but that is also in some cases cut out of the bacterial superstructure, and packaged like a virus in a protein shell (capsid) that can inject its DNA into other bacterial cells.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • What next for marijuana use in SA after landmark court ruling

      There is much more work to be done to design a humane and rational system to regulate cannabis.

    • UN High-Level Meeting On Noncommunicable Diseases: A Call To Action

      The political declaration includes commitments to reduce NCD mortality by one third by 2030, and to scale-up funding and multi-stakeholder responses to treat and prevent NCDs.

      Amina J. Mohammed, deputy secretary-general of the UN, explained in the opening plenary that “NCDs are responsible for 70% of deaths globally,” and that “these include mental health conditions.” The rise of NCDs, she said, can also be linked “with globalization, climate change, and urbanization.”

      “With just under 12 years left to meet our targets and deliver on Sustainable Development Goals,” Mohammed said that the world will need bold commitment, innovation, policies and plans for implementation, and collaboration to overcome barriers.

      Mohammed urged heads of state and ministers “to seize the moment and ensure that NCDs are embedded in health systems, and to move toward universal health coverage.”

      [...]

      On the declaration, health advocacy group Knowledge Ecology International said in an 18 September press release that while the declaration does affirm the rights of states to use intellectual property flexibilities to safeguard public health, “there are areas where the declaration is a disappointment,” including no mention that NCD drugs are “prohibitively high,” only a brief mention to the “risks associated with conflicts of interest” in multi-stakeholder partnerships, and a reference to mobilization of resources only “through the lens of voluntary mechanisms.”

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Defcon Voting Village report shows that hacking voting machines takes less time than voting

      Whether it’s showing that “secure” firmware can be dumped with a $15 electronic component or that voting systems can be hacked in minutes, the Voting Village researchers do yeoman duty, compiling comprehensive reports on the dismal state of America’s voting machines, nearly 20 years after Bush v Gore put the country on notice about the defective systems behind our elections.

    • Election Security Remains Just as Vulnerable as in 2016

      The ability to vote for local, state, and federal representatives is the cornerstone of democracy in America. With mid-term congressional elections looming in early November, many voices have raised concerns that the voting infrastructure used by states across the Union might be suspect, unreliable, or potentially vulnerable to attacks. As Congress considers measures critical to consumer rights and the functioning of technology (net neutrality, data privacy, biometric identification, and surveillance), ensuring the integrity of elections has emerged as a matter of crucial importance.

      With mid-term elections in just two months, Secretaries of State should be pressed to do their jobs and increase security before voters cast their ballots.

      On the one hand, the right to vote may not be guaranteed for many people across the country. Historically, access to the ballot has been hard fought, from the Revolution and the Civil War to the movement for civil rights that compelled the Voting Rights Act (VRA). But recent restrictions on voting rights that have proliferated since the Supreme Court struck down the VRA’s pre-clearance provisions in 2013. Coupled with procedural impediments to voting, unresolved problems continue to plague the security of the technology that many voting precincts use in elections. With mid-term elections in just two months, Secretaries of State should be pressed to do their jobs and increase security before voters cast their ballots.

    • Cybersecurity Researchers Spotted First-Ever UEFI Rootkit in the Wild

      Cybersecurity researchers at ESET have unveiled what they claim to be the first-ever UEFI rootkit being used in the wild, allowing hackers to implant persistent malware on the targeted computers that could survive a complete hard-drive wipe.

      Dubbed LoJax, the UEFI rootkit is part of a malware campaign conducted by the infamous Sednit group, also known as APT28, Fancy Bear, Strontium, and Sofacy, to target several government organizations in the Balkans as well as in Central and Eastern Europe.

    • First-ever UEFI Rootkit Spotted in the Wild

      UEFI is an overly complex replacement for BIOS, and is often conflated with one of its payloads, Restricted Boot aka Secure Boot.

    • Did You Get Logged Out of Facebook? It’s Because 50 Million People Got Hacked
    • Facebook Hacked [sic], 50 Million Users Affected

      “The vulnerability itself was the result of three distinct bugs and was introduced in July 2017,” Rosen told reporters in a press call. “It’s important to say—the attackers could use the account as if they were the account holder.”

    • Facebook confirms major security breach affecting 50 million users

      And it waited until 6 pm on Friday to tell everyone about it

    • The Facebook Security Meltdown Exposes Way More Sites Than Facebook
    • Facebook Says Breach Affected About 50 Million Accounts

      There was a loophole in Facebook’s code for a feature called “View As” that let people see what their account looks like to someone else. The vulnerability allowed hackers [sic] to steal access tokens — digital keys that keep people logged into Facebook so they don’t need to re-enter passwords. Once logged in, the attackers could take control.

    • Facebook says nearly 50m users compromised in huge security breach

      Articles about the data breach by the Guardian and the Associated Press were temporarily flagged as spam on Facebook, preventing users from sharing news of the attack on their profiles. The company attributed the error to its “automated systems” and apologized, but did not provide further explanation.

    • Everything We Know About Facebook’s Massive Security Breach

      Facebook has yet to identify the hackers [sic], or where they may have originated. “We may never know,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of product, said on a call with reporters Friday. The company is now working with the Federal Bureau of Investigations to identify the attackers. A Taiwanese hacker named Chang Chi-yuan had earlier this week promised to live-stream the deletion of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook account, but Rosen said Facebook was “not aware that that person was related to this attack.”

    • Facebook is Using Your Phone Number to Target Ads and You Can’t Stop It

      Tech publications are screaming today that giving Facebook your phone number for 2FA allows them to target you for ads. But this misses a bigger point: Facebook is using your phone number to target ads whether you give it to them willingly or not.

      In fact, the problem gets much worse. Researchers have been able to prove that Facebook allows personally identifiable information, like your phone number, to be used to target you based on shadow profiles of information that they build—profiles that you cannot see and have no control over.

    • Facebook’s been caught using their customers’ 2FA information to spam them with text ads

      Just when you thought that Facebook couldn’t get any more greasy, they have outdone themselves in a manner that places them well beyond even the most succulent of French Chef finger-kisses: the phone numbers that many folks gave them in order to activate the service’s two-factor authentication protection? Zuckerberg and his crew are using it to serve up advertisements to unsuspecting users.

    • Yes Facebook is using your 2FA phone number to target you with ads

      Facebook has confirmed it does in fact use phone numbers that users provided it for security purposes to also target them with ads.

      Specifically a phone number handed over for two factor authentication (2FA) — a security technique that adds a second layer of authentication to help keep accounts secure.

    • Hacker [sic] to Live-Stream Attack on Zuckerberg’s Facebook Page

      Self-professed bug bounty-hunter Chang Chi-yuan, who ferrets out software flaws in return for cash, says he’ll live-stream an endeavor to delete the billionaire’s account at 6 p.m. local time from his own Facebook page. He didn’t get into details or respond to an online query.

    • Hacker “Cancels” Plan To Live Stream Attack To Delete Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Page

      Update: The Taiwanese hacker has suspended his plans to attack Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page and make attempts to delete it. “I am canceling my live feed, I have reported the bug to Facebook and I will show proof when I get bounty from Facebook, to delete it,” he said on his page.

    • Defcon Voting Village report: bug in one system could “flip Electoral College”

      Today, six prominent information-security experts who took part in DEF CON’s Voting Village in Las Vegas last month issued a report on vulnerabilities they had discovered in voting equipment and related computer systems. One vulnerability they discovered—in a high-speed vote-tabulating system used to count votes for entire counties in 23 states—could allow an attacker to remotely hijack the system over a network and alter the vote count, changing results for large blocks of voters. “Hacking just one of these machines could enable an attacker to flip the Electoral College and determine the outcome of a presidential election,” the authors of the report warned.

    • NSA Tools Used to Unleash Crypto Mining Malware by Hackers [Ed: More suitable headline would be, "Microsoft back doors Used to Unleash Crypto Mining Malware by Hackers"]

      Hackers are now using software developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) to illicitly mine cryptocurrencies. According to a recent report released by the Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA), compiled by a collective of cyber-security experts from McAfee, Cisco Talos, NTT Security, Rapid7 and Sophos, among others, crypto mining malware detections have jumped to over 400 percent within the past one and a half years.

      Malicious actors are hijacking computer processor resources via internet network infrastructure intrusions, and computer hacks, among other means. One of the more worrying trends is the use of an NSA exploit leaked early last year by Shadow Brokers dubbed EternalBlue.

    • Facebook Data Breach Affects At Least 50 Million Users

      If you found yourself logged out of Facebook this morning, you were in good company. Facebook forced more than 90 million Facebook users to log out and back into their accounts Friday morning in response to a massive data breach.

      According to Facebook’s announcement, it detected earlier this week that attackers had hacked a feature of Facebook that could allow them to take over at least 50 million user accounts. At this point, information is scant: Facebook does not know who’s behind the attacks or where they are from, and the estimate of compromised accounts could rise as the company’s investigation continues. It is also unclear the extent to which user data was accessed and accounts misused.

      What is clear is that the attack—like many security exploits—took advantage of the interaction of several parts of Facebook’s code. At the center of this is the “View As” feature, which you can use to see how your profile appears to another user or to the public. (Facebook has temporarily disabled the feature as a precaution while it investigates further.) Facebook tracked this hack to a change it made to its video uploading feature over a year ago in July 2017, and how that change affected View As.

    • Cybersecurity Research Shows Risks Continue to Rise [Ed: Sean Michael Kerner says that cybersecurity market will grow, according to the cybersecurity market]
    • Oracle Improves Security, Performance in Java 11
    • Another Linux Kernel Bug Surfaces, Allowing Root Access [Ed: Far less severe than back doors like Microsoft Windows back doors, which can be remotely exploited without even a local account on the target machine]

      A high-severity cache invalidation bug in the Linux kernel has been uncovered, which could allow an attacker to gain root privileges on the targeted system.

    • Not allowed to code? Really?

      Lots of interesting, but not surprising, information is being made public about the Singhealth data breach.

      The Commitee of Inquiry has been told that there was an IHIS employee who found a bug in the Allscripts “Sunrise Clinic Manager” EMR in 2014 who then made the loophole known to a rival of Allscripts, Epic Systems Corporation. Both of these vendors products are closed, proprietary and, IMHO, unnecessarily and excessively expensive products.

      [...]

      If a bug is reported – whether it is a “the button is of the wrong shape” or “this option dumps out the entire database”, assuming that proprietary vendors have a bug reporting process – nope, they don’t – then things can be moved along without too much excitement. All software have bugs. If a vendor (open or closed) does not offer a way to report bugs, you have to demand that there is a way to do it. Red Hat has both bugzilla.redhat.com and access.redhat.com to submit bug reports on all of the open source projects and open source products (go here for an understanding of the differences between open source projects and an open source products) that Red Hat is involved in and makes available to paying customers (access.redhat.com).

      Maybe there is a some place at Allscripts and at Epic Systems that one can file bug reports, but it is not immediately evident.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • US Airstrike Kills 18 in Southern Somalia

      In general, the claims of self defense are made as a legal justification for US airstrikes in countries like Somalia, as opposed to providing a positive identification of an enemy.

    • New WikiLeaks Release Exposes Corruption in UAE Arms Deal Fueling War on Yemen

      The transparency organization WikiLeaks just released a new document that sheds light on the corruption behind a lucrative French/German arms deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), weapons that are currently being used to wage a disastrous and genocidal war against the people of Yemen.

      The document details a court case from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration regarding a dispute over a “commission payment” made to Abbas Ibrahim Yousef Al-Yousef, an Emirati businessman, as part of a $3.6 billion arms deal between France’s state-owned weapons company Nexter Systems (then GIAT Industries SA) and the UAE. Per the deal, which was signed in 1993 and set to conclude in 2008, the UAE purchased 388 Leclerc combat tanks, 46 armored vehicles, 2 training tanks, and spare parts, as well as ammunition.

      Those weapons have been an important part of the UAE and Saudi coalition’s war in Yemen since it began in 2015. The war has killed over ten thousand civilians, largely the result of the Saudi/UAE bombing campaign, which has targeted and crippled the country’s civilian infrastructure. The result of those bombings, as well as of the UAE/Saudi blockade of Yemen, has been over 17 million people near starvation – including 5.2 million children – and preventable disease epidemics that have claimed tens of thousands of additional lives.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • 27th Annual Pioneer Awards

      The keynote speaker for this year’s awards will be one of Barlow’s many friends, Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg is known for his years of work advocating for government transparency, including his efforts towards releasing the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg and Barlow also co-founded the Freedom of the Press Foundation. You’d be remiss to miss this, if you’ll be in town!

    • With his internet cut off, Julian Assange steps down as editor of WikiLeaks

      Assange created the organization in 2006 and has served as its editor-in-chief ever since. Hrafnsson, an Icelandic journalist, will take over, though he’s not new to leadership at WikiLeaks. In the past, Hrafnsson has “overseen certain legal projects for WikiLeaks” and it is believed that Assange has had less of a day to day role in its operations over time. Assange will remain involved as the organization’s publisher.

      Assange remains holed up in London’s Ecuadorian embassy after first seeking refuge there in 2012 in order to avoid extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations. Six months ago, the Ecuadorian government took actions that isolated Assange, cutting off his internet access and disallowing him from seeing visitors.

    • Correction: Ecuador-UK-Assange story

      In a story Sept. 26 about Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s views about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Assange over the past two years had continued to hack the accounts of politicians around the world. It should’ve said Assange had published material from hacked politicians’ accounts.

    • Julian Assange Quits As The Editor Of Wikileaks: Here’s Why

      Assange will continue as a publisher at Wikileaks and has handed over his responsibilities to Kristinn Hrafnsson, who is an Icelandic journalist and has worked as WikiLeaks’ spokesperson between 2010 and 2016.

      Assange has been given refuge at Ecuador’s embassy from where he was carrying forward his task of publishing secret information including stolen emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman on WikiLeaks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • “Jobs Alliance,” Funded by Trump Backer, Tries to Block Gas Plants That Would Bring Jobs to West Virginia

      The legal action, it turns out, was funded by Murray Energy Corp., one of the nation’s largest coal producers, one of the group’s leaders testified in a deposition in the case. Murray Energy’s founder and CEO is Robert E. Murray, who is among the nation’s best-known advocates for reviving the coal industry and cutting regulations related to it.

      The OVJA also is seeking to stop two other natural gas power plants proposed for West Virginia, and Murray Energy has acknowledged paying “certain legal fees” for the group. Like the Moundsville plant, the facilities proposed for Harrison and Brooke counties would provide hundreds of construction jobs for several years and then about 30 permanent positions. All told, the three plants would cost more than $2 billion to build.

      Power plants need several kinds of government permits, and the jobs alliance has focused its legal attacks on air-pollution permits issued by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and utility “certificates of need” permits handled by the state Public Service Commission.

      Testimony in the power plant cases before both agencies doesn’t reveal details about Murray Energy’s funding for the OVJA lawyers, and current financial records for the alliance aren’t publicly available.

  • Finance

    • Russia’s Central Bank Revealed Crypto Related Ponzi Scheme

      A group of Russian and foreign companies operating under the name of Cashberry enjoyed spectacular success, but the Central Bank of the Russian Federation found it to be a classic Ponzi scheme that attracted thousands, the Russian media outlet Interfax reports.

      Cashberry’s business is based on multilevel marketing, which implies that those who come later pay dividends to their predecessors. They pose themselves as a P2P investment platform where lenders and borrowers find each other. Cashberry used aggressive marketing techniques, including pushy advertising in mass media and social media, offering highly profitable investments with guaranteed returns in rubles and cryptocurrencies.

    • 35-Year-Old Unknown Creates the World’s Most Valuable Startup

      “The most important thing is that we are not a news business. We are more like a search business or a social media platform,” Zhang said in a 2017 interview, adding that he employs no editors or reporters. “We are doing very innovative work. We are not a copycat of a U.S. company, both in product and technology.”

      What’s remarkable is Zhang was able to do it all without taking money from the twin suns of China’s internet: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent. It’s the first startup to emerge from the dwindling cohort of mobile players that hasn’t sought protection or funds from either of the two. In fact, it’s often locked horns with them, in court and elsewhere.

    • Crypto’s Open Secret: Its Multibillion-Dollar Volume Is Suspect

      Four months ago, BitForex was just one of many obscure exchanges offering users the ability to trade cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

      Today, the Singapore-based platform is regularly reporting daily transactions that exceed $5 billion — nearly matching turnover on London’s 217-year-old stock exchange.

    • Tesla CEO Elon Musk Charged For Fraud By The SEC

      Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, has been charged for fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over his tweets that falsely claimed of taking the company private. These tweets allegedly hurt Tesla investors and also disrupted the market.

      The company is also expected to be sued, but Tesla has not been named as a defendant in the complaint. The SEC says that Musk made a series of “false and misleading statements” in his tweets about taking the company private.

    • Supreme Court to Decide Whether States Can Impose Excessive Fines on the Poor

      The Eighth Amendment protects people from the devastation caused by state and local fines they can’t reasonably pay.

      When it reconvenes this fall, the Supreme Court will decide whether the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution can help stop state and local authorities from using people who come in contact with the justice system as their piggy banks. The case has ramifications for communities across the country, finally settling a question about whether the Constitution’s prohibition on excessive financial penalties only applies to the federal government or to all public authorities.

      The court will hear Timbs v. Indiana, which shines a light on the government practice of squeezing low-income communities for money they do not have through asset forfeiture. State and local asset forfeitures, along with steep court fines and fees, have exploded over the past three decades, burying people — especially poor and low-income people — under mountains of accumulating debt.

      Earlier this month, the ACLU submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Timbs, arguing that the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause protects people from exorbitant financial penalties driven by state and local authorities’ quest to generate revenue.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Digibyte (DGB) – Jared is right about censorship and the need for blockchain technology

      While Alex Jones may not be the best example in pushing for decentralization due to his controversial nature, Jared is right on the need for a censorship free society. That’s because while it could be well intended, entities tasked with such censorship could end up overstepping their boundaries, and that could be a risk to society.

    • Curator João Ribas Resigned Over the Censorship of His Robert Mapplethorpe Show, But the Museum Says It Didn’t Change Anything

      After just eight months on the job, João Ribas has stepped down from his post as artistic director of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto, Portugal, in response to the museum’s censorship of a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition he initiated.

      The curator told the Portuguese daily newspaper Público that he was “no longer able to continue to lead the institution” after it had removed 20 works from the show “Robert Mapplethorpe: Pictures” and restricted access to certain parts of the exhibition for visitors aged 18 and under.

    • James Woods Is Correct That Twitter Shouldn’t Have Blocked His Account, But Still Hypocritical On Free Speech

      I think we’ve made our general feelings about James Woods perfectly clear. After all, he’s the guy who sued an anonymous Twitter user for a somewhat mild comeback that referenced cocaine usage (leaving aside that Woods himself had tweeted very similar hyperbolic tweets suggesting people he was arguing with were on crack). In the middle of that lawsuit, the (still) anonymous tweeter died, leading Woods to gloat about “winning” the case and about the guy’s death. Suffice it to say, Woods is — in our opinion — a terrible human being. Suing someone for being mildly critical of you is bad. Gloating over their death takes you up a few notches to being a horrible human being.

      That said, when Woods’ own free speech is attacked via a similarly bogus defamation lawsuit over his own tweets, we didn’t support the plaintiff just because it was against Woods. We noted, instead, that we hoped he won the case — and he did.

      Now Woods is in another situation, where — somewhat incredibly — he’s trying to make himself out as a free speech warrior. It seems that Twitter suspended his access to his account because of a meme he had tweeted. It was what appeared to be a fairly obvious satirical fake meme urging men to stay home on election day to let women’s vote have more weight. Woods admitted that it was “not likely” to be real, but still noted “that there is a distinct possibility this could be real.” First of all, there was no such distinct possibility. Second of all… none of it makes any sense. The meme is completely nonsensical no matter what your views on these issues are.

    • Laws Targeting Israel Boycotts Fail Again in Court

      For the second time this year, a federal judge has ruled that anti-boycott laws likely violate the First Amendment.

      A new wave of state laws that try to limit Americans’ constitutional right to engage in political boycotts is now 0 for 2 in federal court.

      On Thursday night, a federal court blocked Arizona from enforcing a law requiring state contractors to certify that they are not participating in boycotts of Israel. The court agreed with the ACLU that the law likely violates contractors’ free speech rights under the First Amendment.

      “A restriction of one’s ability to participate in collective calls to oppose Israel unquestionably burdens the protected expression of companies wishing to engage in such a boycott,” U.S. District Court Judge Diane J. Humetewa wrote in her decision issuing a preliminary injunction against the law.

      This is the second federal court to consider this type of boycott ban, and they both came to the same conclusion. Earlier this year, the ACLU successfully blocked a remarkably similar law in Kansas. In that case, the court held that the First Amendment protects citizens’ right to “band together” and “express collectively their dissatisfaction with the injustice and violence they perceive, as experienced both by Palestinians and Israeli citizens.”

      We filed the Arizona lawsuit on behalf of Mikkel Jordahl, an attorney who has contracted with the state for the last 12 years to provide legal services on behalf of incarcerated individuals at the Coconino County Jail. Jordahl opposes Israel’s settlement expansion in Palestinian territories and what he considers Israel’s unwillingness to ensure the rights of Palestinians under its rule.

    • Washington Post Shows How Not to Talk About Free Speech

      The Washington Post has published a raft of commentary recently lamenting what its authors see as the decline of free speech, largely in response to the New Yorker canceling plans to interview Steve Bannon at its annual festival (FAIR.org, 9/7/18). The magazine had faced criticism for inviting Bannon, former chair of the white supremacist Breitbart News and once the chief strategist for President Donald Trump.

      The Post’s pieces suffer from dubious, superficial understandings of free speech, and function as attacks on the left that whitewash the far right.

      [....]

      If one takes a minimalist approach to free speech, centering on the First Amendment guarantee not to be jailed or otherwise harmed by the state for expressing one’s views, then it’s clear that such a right hasn’t been violated: The New Yorker abandoning plans to host Bannon doesn’t prevent him from thinking or believing anything.

      If one takes a more expansive definition of free speech, holding that the right is only meaningful when a person is allowed access to the (usually privately owned) means of delivering their words, there is still no convincing argument that his freedom is being violated here: As Zakaria himself noted, Bannon was recently showcased by the Economist (9/15/18) and the Financial Times (3/23/18), as well as on 60 Minutes (9/10/17) and CNN (6/1/18). It’s hard to portray Bannon as a free speech martyr based on his lack of access to mass media, since he has had more such access than all but a few people in the United States.

    • Everything Wrong In One Story: Data Silos, Privacy, And Algorithmic Blocking

      Facebook is probably not having a very good week concerning its privacy practices. Just days after it came out that — contrary to previous statements — the company was using phone numbers that were submitted to Facebook for two-factor-authentication as keys for advertising, earlier this morning the company admitted a pretty massive data breach in which its “view as” tool was allowing users to grab tokens of other users and effectively take over their accounts (even if those users had two factor authentication enabled).

      This is, as they say, “really, really bad.” It turned the “view as” feature — which lets you see how your own page looks to other users — into a “take over someone else’s account” feature. That’s a pretty big mistake to make for a product used by approximately half of the entire population of the planet. I’m sure there will be much more on this, but a few hours after the announcement, Facebook had another headache to deal with: numerous reports said that people trying to post articles about this new security mess from either the Guardian or the AP, were getting that action blocked, with Facebook’s systems saying that the action looked like spam…

      [...]

      Tragically, the powers that be are often looking at this the other way: trying to magically “force” big companies to “lock down” data, which actually only increases the value and demands on the silo, while expecting magic algorithms to protect the data. If we’re serious about protecting privacy, we need to start looking at very different solutions that don’t mean letting the giant internet companies control all this data all the time. Move it out to the ends of the network, let individuals control their own data stores (or partner with smaller third parties who can help with security) and then let those users choose when, how and where to allow the large platforms access to that data (if at all). There are better solutions, but there seems to be little interest in actually making them work.

    • Censorship by the mob

      For nearly 90 years, the Institute of Race Relations has stood for classical liberalism, which encompasses eight fundamental tenets.

    • Google Executive Declines to Say If China Censors Its Citizens
    • Ex-googler who quit Google on moral grounds writes to Senate about company’s “Unethical” China censorship plan
    • Former Google Scientist Asks Senators For Answers On China Censorship Search Project
    • BBC News on opening of ‘Hair’ as theatre censorship ended
    • Kuora: Censorship of American tech companies in China, and the question of reciprocity
    • Google confirms ‘Project Dragonfly’ for China
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Victory! Gov. Brown Signs Bill Adding Sensible Requirements for DNA Collection From Minors

      California’s kids now have common-sense protections against unwarranted DNA collection. Gov. Jerry Brown this week signed A.B. 1584, a new law requiring law enforcement to get either judicial approval or permission from both the minor and a parent, legal guardian, or attorney before collecting a DNA sample from the minor.

      EFF has supported the bill, introduced earlier this year by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, from the beginning. DNA can reveal an extraordinary amount of private information about a person, from familial relationships to medical history to predisposition for disease. Children should not be exposed to this kind of privacy invasion without strict guidelines and the advice and consent of a parent, legal guardian, or attorney. Kids need to have an adult present who represents their interests and can help them understand both their rights and the lifelong implications of handing one’s sensitive genetic material over to law enforcement.

      This law will make sure that happens.

    • Mobile Websites Can Tap Into Your Phone’s Sensors Without Asking

      When apps wants to access data from your smartphone’s motion or light sensors, they often make that capability clear. That keeps a fitness app, say, from counting your steps without your knowledge. But a team of researchers has discovered that the rules don’t apply to websites loaded in mobile browsers, which can often often access an array of device sensors without any notifications or permissions whatsoever.

    • Mobile Websites Can Access Your Smartphone’s Sensors Without Permission

      Your mobile has a swathe of sensors that are used for adjusting your phone’s orientation, movement, detecting IR light, and biometric authentication. While mobile apps require you to grant access if data has to be collected from your phone’s sensors, there are no such rules for mobile websites. And many popular websites are using it selfishly.

      As per a report from Wired.com, researchers from North Carolina State University, Princeton University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northeastern University have uncovered that out of top 100,000 sites ranked according to Alexa Ranking, 3,695 websites have scrips running on their mobile websites that access your mobile’s sensors.

    • Study Shows Facebook’s Still Miles Away From Taking Privacy, Transparency Seriously

      If the entire Cambridge Analytica scandal didn’t make that clear enough, Facebook keeps doubling down on behaviors that highlight how security and privacy routinely play second fiddle to user data monetization. Like the VPN service Facebook pitches users as a privacy and security solution, but is actually used to track online user behavior when they wander away from Facebook to other platforms. Or that time Facebook implemented two-factor authentication, only to use your provided (and purportedly private) number to spam users (a problem Facebook stated was an inadvertent bug).

      This week, a new report highlighted how Facebook is letting advertisers market to Facebook users by using contact information collected in surprising ways that aren’t entirely clear to the end user, and, according to Facebook, aren’t supposed to work. That includes not only private two-factor authentication contact info users assume to be private, but data harvested from other users about you (like secondary e-mail addresses and phone numbers not directly provided to Facebook). The findings come via a new report (pdf) by Northeastern University’s Giridhari Venkatadri, Alan Mislove, and Piotr Sapiezynski and Princeton University’s Elena Lucherini.

      In it, the researchers highlight how much of the personally identifying information (PII) data collected by Facebook still isn’t really explained by Facebook outside of painfully generic statements.

    • Police consider drones to monitor badger cull protesters

      Police have warned badger cull protesters that they may use drones to try to keep order in the far south-west of England following heightened tensions between activists and officers.

      In an email to protesters seen by the Guardian, a Devon and Cornwall officer said the force would consider using drones “where intelligence dictates”.

      The force said it was considering drones because of a spike in crimes in some areas within cull zones but protesters insisted the move would not stop them from trying to prevent badgers being killed.

      The cull in England has been hugely expanded into 10 new areas, with up to 42,000 animals now due to be shot in an attempt to curb tuberculosis in cattle, up from 32,500 last year.

    • A court upholds but curbs India’s giant biometric ID system

      The court ruled with a majority of 4-1 that Aadhaar was constitutional and could remain obligatory for those wishing to receive public benefits or file taxes. Given that a majority of Indians do one or the other, that in effect makes participation mandatory. To throw out Aadhaar altogether, the court said, “will amount to throwing the baby out of hot water along with the water”.

      Yet the court also struck down sections in the law allowing the use of Aadhaar by private companies, giving critics cause for cheer. For months mobile operators and banks had been threatening to disconnect customers’ phones or close their accounts unless they provided their Aadhaar numbers. [...]

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Citizens’ group wants prosecution over CIA rendition program

      North Carolina state and local officials should prosecute participants in a CIA program that ferried terrorism suspects to secret sites where they were tortured, an advocacy group seeking to stir action over the former U.S. policy is demanding.

      Prosecution is one of dozens of recommendations to be released Thursday by the private, 11-member North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture. The academics, lawyers, retired military officers and clergy who make up the self-appointed group held a public teach-in in Raleigh last year.

    • CIA Used Criminal Probe of US Airline for ‘Torture Flights’ – Commission

      A commission established by North Carolina to investigate that state’s role in a CIA torture campaign is urging authorities to launch a criminal probe of a state-based airline used to transport Muslim terror suspects, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said on Thursday.

      The ACLU press release summarized a report by the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture dubbed “Torture Flights,” which found that a company named Aero Contractors that was employed by the CIA used a state-owned airport as a base to fly terror suspects to US-run “black sites” around the world following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

    • Louisville students protest CIA Director Gina Haspel’s links to torture

      CIA Director Gina Haspel didn’t discuss her involvement with coercive interrogations of suspected terrorists during her speech Monday at the University of Louisville, but she couldn’t escape her past.

      While Haspel answered questions ranging from what’s your favorite book and what is your favorite type of bourbon, nearly a dozen students stood outside the Miller Information Technology Center with signs and chants branding her as a “war criminal.”

      Haspel spent decades working for the CIA, and in 2002 oversaw a secret “black site” prison in Thailand during the harsh interrogation — described as torture by critics — of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who was accused of the bombing the USS Cole. She also advocated for the destruction of more than 100 videotapes that documented interrogations, according to former CIA officers. A special prosecutor decided not to bring charges.

    • Federal Court Victory for Migrant Farmworkers Protects Their Right to Organize

      The court ruled that a North Carolina law targeting a farmworkers union likely violated the 14th Amendment.

      Farmworkers play a vital role in North Carolina’s multibillion dollar agriculture industry, providing essential labor in a state that produces much of the nation’s sweet potatoes, tobacco, Christmas trees, and many other crops.

      More than 90 percent of these workers are Latino. Many are migrants working seasonally under temporary visas, and they are among the lowest paid and most vulnerable workers in the state. They face high risks to their health and safety, substandard living conditions, and abuse and exploitation by their employers.

      This month, they won an important victory in federal court that vindicated their right to fight for safe working conditions and fair pay.

      For years, North Carolina’s only farmworkers union — the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) — has worked tirelessly to advocate for the rights of these workers. The union has successfully negotiated on their behalf with major employers, such as the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

      But in 2017, North Carolina passed a new law that made it all but impossible for FLOC to operate, gutting the union’s ability to collect dues from members and make collective bargaining agreements on their behalf. Not coincidentally, the North Carolina Farm Act of 2017 was sponsored and supported by legislators who have a vested financial interest in suppressing farmworker organizing.

    • Contra Kavanaugh, Redux – emptywheel
    • Alyssa Milano: ‘I did not have my phone confiscated’ at Ford/Kavanaugh hearing

      “I did not have my phone confiscated as proven by the fact that I didn’t stop making social media posts,” Milano said, adding that her sign was taken.

    • Kavanaugh’s opening remarks are a master class in a common sexual abuser defense tactic

      I put myself through the torture of listening to his statement, and it was full of more shit than I expected. However, his defense had a pattern that abusers—especially sexual abusers—often use when facing accountability.

      The tactic is DARVO, which stands for: Deny the behavior, Attack the individual doing the confronting, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender. It’s a term coined by Dr. Jennifer Freyd at the University of Oregon.

    • In Plain Terms, Judge Brett Kavanaugh Lies About Everything

      He lied even when he didn’t have to lie. He lied in preposterous ways easily disproven by common sense. (The “Devil’s Triangle”? “Renate Alumnius”?) He lied like a toddler, like a guilty adolescent, and like a privileged scion of the white ruling class, which is a continuum with which we all are far too familiar. He lied and he dared the Democratic members of the committee, and the country, to call him on his lies. And now, he is a couple of easy steps away from having lied his way into a lifetime seat on the United States Supreme Court. This guy is going to be deciding constitutional issues for the next four decades, and the truth is not in him.

    • No Senator Can Uphold Their Oath of Office and Vote for Kavanaugh’s Nomination

      Senators cannot provide advice and consent when basic questions have not been answered.

    • Hannah Hetzer on New War on Drugs, John Conroy & Jamie Kalven on Chicago Police Violence

      Listeners may know that Donald Trump’s big speech at the United Nations General Assembly was met with laughter. But another funny-not-funny event that took place was largely overlooked. At a sort of glorified photo op, Trump announced a new plan for the “world drug problem” that reflects a return to inhumane and disproven approaches. We’ll hear from Drug Policy Alliance’s senior international policy manager, Hannah Hetzer, about what’s going on.

    • Challenged by Long Island Lawmakers, Police Will Look Into Treatment of Immigrant Families Who Reported Missing Children

      At the behest of county lawmakers, the Suffolk County Police Department said Thursday it will look into what went wrong when Latino families came to the department in 2016 and 2017, desperate for help finding teenage children who had disappeared, only to have their concerns ignored and their children labeled runaways.

      It turned out that many of the missing had been murdered by members of the gang MS-13, some of them buried in Suffolk County woods known as the gang’s “killing fields.”

      The county executive and the head of the Police Department also have agreed to meet with advocates for immigrant and Latino Long Islanders in the coming days.

      The developments came in response to radio, text and video reporting from ProPublica, Newsday and This American Life that outlined how police bias against Latinos hindered the department’s ability to stop a wave of MS-13 murders.

      “This whole entire body has seen the video and read the article, and it’s very disturbing,” Legislator Monica Martinez, who chairs the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee, said during the hourlong discussion at a public meeting. “There is commitment from both the commissioner and the executive to meet with advocates and legislators to discuss this further. This is an investigation going on and therefore certain things cannot be said.”

    • Giving Cops The Finger Is Protected Speech, Says Another Federal Court

      Another federal court has given its official approval of flipping the bird to cops. This isn’t to say it’s a wise idea, just a Constitutional one. Extending the middle finger is protected speech. Detentions or arrests that follow bird-flipping are usually unsupported by any of things officers need to have on hand (probable cause, reasonable suspicion, etc.) to deprive someone of their liberty.

      Other cops have argued the hand gesture that pissed them off so much they broke the Constitution is some sort of universal distress signal. The ensuing interaction wasn’t about being offended, but rather their outsized concern someone in the vehicle might be in need of assistance. Courts have found this argument literally unbelievable.

      In this case, the cop being sued made no such argument. Instead, Officer Wayne Minard maintained he had probable cause to pull Debra Cruise-Guylas over again because he had only issued a warning about her speeding. The court doesn’t agree with this assessment. It points out Guylas had already been pulled over for speeding. The citation ultimately issued by Officer Minard may have been for impeding traffic, but the purpose of the original stop was fulfilled when the citation was issued. No further violation had occurred when Minard pulled Guylas over a second time.

    • ‘A Hidden History Runs Through Our Social Movements in This Country’

      September 15 marked ten years since the largest bankruptcy in US history, that of Lehman Brothers, triggering—or exposing—a crisis that cost millions of people their homes, their jobs and their financial futures, followed by a government bailout of the banks behind the damage. The admission in a New York Times op-ed by former Treasury secretaries Henry Paulson and Timothy Geithner and former Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke that they “certainly didn’t get everything right” seemed to pass for reflection in corporate media.

      But more substantive conversations are happening, have been happening, elsewhere, among those for whom the 2008 crisis and the response to it highlighted not only the flaws in the current system, but alternative visions.

      We’re joined now by Nathan Schneider. He’s a journalist and assistant professor of media studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and author of—among other titles—the new book Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition That Is Shaping the Next Economy, out now from Nation Books. He joins us by phone from Boulder. Welcome to CounterSpin, Nathan Schneider.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Registrar Killing Zoho Over A Few Phishing Claims Demonstrates The Ridiculousness Of Having Registrars Police The Internet

      For years, we’ve pointed out the dangers of the attempts to move the “policing” function up the internet stack (or down the internet stack, depending on your perspective) from the end-user internet services deeper to infrastructure players. We just recently warned about the mess that will be created by focusing on infrastructure players. Indeed, for years, we’ve worried about targeting domain registrars with takedown notices. There are a variety of reasons for this: first off, registrars are not at all prepared to be in the content moderation business. They just run a database. But, more importantly, their only tool to deal with these things is incredibly blunt: to effectively turn off an entire site by not allowing the URL to resolve.

      And yet, there’s increasing pressure for registrars to police the internet. This is mostly because of people (starting with the legacy copyright players, but others as well) over-hyping the fact that if some content/services are taken down, it just pops back up somewhere else. So, those who focus on censorship try to look further and further along the stack to see where they can block even more.

      A story this week shows just how damaging this can be. Zoho is a very popular online service provider of tools for businesses. We’ve used Zoho a bunch at times, as they offer a really nice and fairly comprehensive suite of business apps at prices that are much more affordable than many of the larger players (while often being just as good, if not better). But earlier this week Zoho disappeared from the internet for a lot of users, after its registrar, Tierranet pulled the plug on their service, claiming it had received too many complaints of phishing attempts via Zoho. Zoho points out in response that (1) it had received a grand total of three reports from Tierranet of attempting phishing, and it had promptly removed the first two accounts and was in the process of investigating the third when all this went down, and (2) it received no warning that Tierranet was about to pull the plug on them and was given no way to reach out to the company in this emergency situation (leading the company to take to Twitter to try to get attention).

    • Web Archives As Evidence

      Kieran McCarthy’s Archive.org’s Wayback Machine is legit legal evidence, US appeals court judges rule reports on the gradual process by which US appeals courts are allowing Web pages recovered from the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to be entered in evidence:

    • Bloated

      It used to happen sporadically but now it is a daily experience. As I am browsing the net I click on a link (usually a newspaper website). The page starts to load. Then I wait. And I wait. And I wait. It takes several seconds.

      Once loaded, my patience is not rewarded since my MacBook Air mid-2011 seems to barely be able to keep up. Videos start playing left and right. Sound is not even turned off by default anymore. This shitshow festival of lights and sounds is discouraging but I am committed to learn about world news. I continue.

    • Giving people a choice about Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) versus the web

      The decentralized nature of the web, as it is, is under serious threat from initiatives like the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project spearheaded by Google. Search engines are becoming content repositories for large sections of the web. Many major web publishers have already ceded control over their own websites and handed over a treasure trove of data about their audiences to Bing and Google.

      The Redirect AMP to HTML extension for Firefox gives users a choice to opt-out of a centralized web in favor of the wonderful open and decentralized web.

    • Some Apple Employees Think Company’s New TV Service Will Be Dull As Nails

      Like many companies, Apple has been trying to disrupt the traditional television sector for years. But like countless companies before it, Apple has repeatedly run face-first into a cable and broadcast industry that’s aggressively resistant to actual change. As a result, Apple’s efforts to launch a TV service have been comically delayed for years as cable and broadcast companies (worried that what Apple did to the music industry would also happen to the TV sector) tightly restricted how their content could be used if the approach varies too far from accepted industry norms.

      So despite Steve Jobs insisting that Apple had “cracked the code” on a next-gen TV set as early as 2011 — and efforts to strike licensing deals that have been ongoing since at least 2012 — nothing much has really come from Apple’s promised revolution on the television front.

      In the years since, numerous streaming providers (Dish’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Sony’s Playstation Vue) have jumped into the sector, and Apple is definitely a late arrival. As such, the looming TV service Apple appears poised to launch seems to be very much a derivative offering that isn’t likely to disrupt the sector all that much. A report in the Wall Street Journal (paywall, see Gizmodo’s alt. take) notes that Apple has set aside $1 billion for original programming, but Tim Cook’s fears that the service could tarnish Apple’s pure brand image appear to be causing some notable problems.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Qualcomm wins patent case against Apple but fails to get import ban on iPhones
    • Qualcomm now facing 232.8 million to 250 million adversaries in the Northern District of California

      If they were all just seeking a few cents per person, that would be much less of a problem. But they seek, besides injunctive relief against Qualcomm’s conduct, to be compensated for having been overcharged whenever they bought a smartphone in the U.S. during the relevant period. A report by the plaintiffs’ licensing expert “found that the incremental overcharge for each of these five OEMs ranged from 1.13% to 3.84% of the total cost of the device.” Maybe some more specific numbers will become known during the further proceedings, but it already appears to be a safe assumption that this is about many billions of dollars (as is Apple’s lawsuit in the Southern District of California).

    • Qualcomm Loses First Round in Apple Patent Fight at ITC

      Apple Inc.’s iPhones shouldn’t be banned from the U.S. even though they infringe a patent owned by Qualcomm Inc., a U.S. International Trade Commission judge found Friday.

      Judge Thomas Pender found that Apple infringed one of three Qualcomm patents in the case but declined to recommend the import ban sought by Qualcomm. The judge’s recommendation “makes no sense,” Qualcomm said.

      The judge’s findings are subject to review by the full commission, which has the final say. If the commission goes along, it would eliminate a powerful bargaining chip Qualcomm could use to push Apple into agreeing to pay license fees.

    • Qualcomm Accuses Apple of Giving Its Intellectual Property to Intel
    • Qualcomm accuses Apple of giving chip secrets to Intel
    • Qualcomm claims Apple stole IP to help Intel fix lower-quality modems
    • Qualcomm claims Apple stole software trade secrets and gave them to Intel
    • Qualcomm accuses Apple of stealing its secrets to help Intel
    • Qualcomm is accusing Apple of stealing its secrets and giving them to its top rival — Intel
    • Analysis of Qualcomm’s AI Technologies, Patents and Strategies, 2018 Report – ResearchAndMarkets.com
    • Qualcomm Accuses Apple of Stealing Secrets to Help Intel
    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Board statement on harassment, openness, and CC community

        Creative Commons is firmly committed to a workplace, community, and culture of mutual respect, free of harassment. We take all allegations of harassment and misconduct very seriously. We care deeply about the pain and anguish that is felt by victims of harassment, even many years after the fact.

        CC has recently become aware that former intern and employee, Billy Meinke, has published an open letter to the Board of Directors about his experience working at CC from 2012-2013. Mr. Meinke also blogged in 2017 about his experiences. In response to that post last year, the Board carefully reviewed all the facts and processes related to Mr. Meinke’s 2014 complaint to ensure the matter had been handled appropriately and fairly. We were confident that Mr. Meinke’s claims were promptly and thoroughly investigated when first reported, that CC’s response was appropriate, and that all processes and procedures were properly followed.

      • Copyright and Speech Should Be Treated Like Traffic Tickets

        While there may not be consensus on what they are, there is a shared belief that U.S. copyright law has some serious problems. But the CASE Act, which aims to treat copyright claims like traffic tickets, is not the answer.

        On Thursday, August 27, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the CASE Act (H.R. 3945). The CASE Act would create a “small claims” system for copyright, but not within the courts. Instead, cases would be heard by “Claims Officers” at the Copyright Office in Washington, D.C. And the Copyright Office has a history of presuming the interests of copyright holders are more valid than other legal rights and policy concerns, including the free expression values protected by fair use.

        Basically every concern we had about the CASE Act last year remains: Turning over quasi-judicial power, which would include issuing damages awards of up to $15,000 per work infringed or $30,000 per proceeding, and agreements which boil down to binding injunctions, to a body with this history is unwise.

        In addition to the problem of turning the Copyright Office into a quasi-court with jurisdiction over everyone in the U.S., CASE would invite gamesmanship and abuse, magnify the existing problem of copyright’s unpredictable civil penalties, and would put this new group in charge of punishing DMCA abuse, while also limiting the effectiveness of the DMCA’s deterrence factor.

      • Thanks To Streaming Fragmentation, Bittorrent Traffic Is Suddenly Rising In Traffic Share

        When it comes to the type of traffic the content industries are worried about regarding piracy, the present is no longer the past. You can see this in many ways, such as anti-piracy efforts largely focusing on illicit streaming sites, the trend in laws and takedown notices also targeting streaming sites, and the overall messaging coming out of the copyright industries about how evil streaming sites are with little distinction between the legal and illegal. All of this has been built in part on the realization that bittorrent traffic, the piracy metric of a decade ago, has been steadily dropping in its traffic market share for several years. Combined with a drastic rise in streaming traffic share, the takeaway was that pirates weren’t downloading any longer and were instead streaming.

        The other side of that conversation is how good, convenient streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have taken away some of the impulse for copyright infringement as well. It turns out that if you give the public access to what they want at a reasonable price and make the content easy to get, there’s no longer a need to pirate that content. Who knew?

        Unfortunately, the past few years have seen a drastic fragmentation of the streaming market. Where there was once the need to essentially have one or two streaming services to get most of the content you want, exclusivity deals and homegrown content created by the streaming companies themselves has carved out more borders in the streaming services industry, often times requiring many streaming services to get the content people now want. And, because every action has an equal and opposite reaction, Canadian broadband management company Sandvine is reporting that bittorrent traffic is suddenly on the rise.

      • FrostWire Team Calls it Quits After Google Deletes Android App

        After more than 14 years developing file-sharing applications, the FrostWire team has dramatically quit following what appears to be an invalid DMCA takedown notice. The notice targeted FrostWire’s Android app, which Google deleted from its Play Store and refuses to reinstate.

      • CBS Shuts Down Stage 9, a Fan-Made Recreation of the USS Enterprise

        Stage 9, a beautiful fan-made recreation of the Enterprise ship from Star Trek: The Next Generation, has been shut down following a cease-and-desist from CBS. The people behind the two-year-old project tried to reason with CBS, offering to make changes to keep their dream project alive, but the broadcasting giant wasn’t interested in discussion.

      • CBS Bullies Fan Star Trek Project To Shut Down Despite Creators’ Pleas For Instructions On Being Legit

        Lawsuits and intellectual property disputes revolving around the Star Trek franchise are legion. This is largely due to just how massive and popular the franchise has been over the past decades and into the present. Still, we’ve seen all kinds of examples of how either the disputes are frivolous or silly, or cases in which IP owners had so many options open to them other than bullying and suing but chose to ignore those alternative routes.

        That brings us to Stage 9, a non-commercial labor of love put together by fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Stage 9 is the virtual recreation of TNG’s Enterprise starship that allows fans of the series to explore the beloved vessel and immerse themselves in the chief setting of the series. Stage 9 has been built over the past two years by creators that have taken great pains to state that the project was not affiliated or licensed with CBS or Paramount and that they weren’t doing this to make money, only to artistically demonstrate their fandom.

      • Cox Highlights Double Standard and Wildly Inaccurate Notices in Piracy Case

        Internet provider Cox Communications has responded to the federal complaint filed by several major record labels. The ISP refutes all copyright infringement claims and notes that DMCA notices can be wildly inaccurate. In addition, it mentions that under the “Copyright Alert System,” which the labels were part of, ISPs were not required to terminate subscribers.

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